Problem solved . . .

I wrote a few weeks ago that I had received an email from WordPress saying that I had 90 days to set up the 2-step verification, or I’d loose access to my blog. I opened up the Help FAQ on the 2-step verification, and it was even worse than my worst nightmare. They didn’t just want to send me a text message when I lost my password or something – they were going to send me a NEW text message EVERY TIME I LOG IN!

After weeks of searching for an alternate site, and frantically hand-wringing over how much this world seems to be rejecting participation from people like me (individualists, loners, people who value privacy) – – –

I sent an email to Customer Support (WordPress calls them “Happiness Engineers”) asking if I had any options. Today I got a reply. Here is the text:

Hi there!

A while back an errant email was sent out telling users they had to set up second factor authentication. The email was an error, and you are not required to do so, you won’t lose access to your site.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Have a great week 🙂

So, I’m going nowhere, and this blog will continue exactly where it is.


Radio Shack is desperate…

RadioShack died this year but its icy hand still holds the social security numbers of millions of customers—information they promised to keep to themselves. Noble! Also hollow and meaningless!

Via the Guardian, the ‘Shack’s attorneys are reportedly looking to sell everything not nailed down in the wake of the company’s bankruptcy filings—including your name, contact information, social security number and anything else you were dumb enough to give them in exchange for a tiny warranty.

The highly sensitive information (SSNs and the like) is retained at stores for two years and then purged. Less sensitive purchase records were expunged after three years in some cases, but RadioShack kept them “indefinitely” if customers bought a warranty, so if you bought insurance on your television in 1998, RadioShack remembers.

Now the company is trying to determine how much it will be able to legally sell in an effort to keep creditors at bay. It has decided emails and addresses are probably what it wants to sell, specifically “67 million customer name and physical mailing address files together with any associated transaction data collected by the Debtors within the five (5) year period prior” to its bankruptcy, according to a recommendation by the company’s attorney, Elise Frejka.

The FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection is reportedly NOT a fan of this plan, pointing out that RadioShack’s privacy policy explicitly promises to protect personally identifiable information.

This is all exactly why I don’t ever give any business anything I can find a way to avoid giving them.  I pay cash whenever possible, do not fill out warranty or product registration cards, and never, never, never buy the extended warranty.  Once you give a business your personal information, you’ve lost control over it, forever.

Get Ready . . .

My guess was on the mark – Loretta Lynch was confirmed Thursday morning as the next Atty. Gen of the United States.  Basically, this means not only will nothing we didn’t like about Holder be changed, but you can expect civil asset forfeiture to be more broadly abused and that Holder will not be held accountable for any scandal that occurred under his command.

If we still had a Constitution yesterday, we won’t Monday morning when she is sworn in.  She fully supports Obama acting like a king, dictator, or tyrant and sees Congress as an unnecessary relic that impedes “progress”.

Oh, and one more thing:  she also fully supports Obama’s immigration policies, which will bring a lot more people with anti-USA attitudes into the country to become citizens.  Citizens with an agenda to make the USA more like the 3rd world countries they left.

Deteriorating society…

Before 7am (local time) yesterday, I had already read these articles:

How Federal Agents Illegally Force #Twitter, #Google, and Banks to Turn Over Private Customer Data Without a Proper Warrant

Noting that the FBI uses 30,000 “national security letters” a year to conduct searches under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, Whitehead said, “The Fourth Amendment is dead. There is no privacy any more.”

75% of Air and Rain Samples Contain Monsanto’s Round Up

I’m seriously wondering how much longer it will be worth the effort to resist the direction this world is hurtling in. It may be about time to do a reboot – with a VERY long break between avatars.

The Elf on the Shelf

I just read an article on Yahoo News about this phenomenon that started in 2008 with a mom-and-daughter self-published book, titled “The Elf on the Shelf”.  The book is all about how Santa is too busy to watch everyone on his own, so he sends elves out to watch kids and report back on whether they are naughty or nice.  The book even helpfully comes with a little plushy elf that you (as the parent) are supposed to put on shelves, counters, and other areas (move him around to keep the kids convinced that he actually does report back to Santa every night).

There are two GLARING problems, in my humble opinion (IMHO).  The first is that parents spend their children’s entire lives trying to teach the kids to tell the truth – be honest – and the example you’re going to set is to lie to their faces about this Elf?  Brilliant strategy – no wonder kids grow up distrusting their elders and rejecting everything they were ever taught.

The second is a bit more subtle – surveillance.  With all the information in the news today about the privacy abuses of the NSA, and similar governmental organizations around the globe, do you really want your kids to get comfortable with the idea of being spied on by anyone?  That is what the Elf on the Shelf is doing – telling kids that it’s a good thing to be spied upon.

I think the smart money would be on telling kids the truth about Santa and Christmas (which isn’t a Christian holiday – it’s origins are more than a thousand years older than Christianity) – and saying “NO” to the Elf.

If you already have an Elf in your home – stage a “meltdown” in front of your kids and tell off the Elf.  Denounce his spying and general invasions of privacy, and kick him out.

Why Individual Privacy matters . . .

According to “The Register” in the UK, Oracle has now given corporate HR departments software to track your personal physical fitness.  This is such a bad idea that George Orwell’s “thought police” would be jealous.

Remember Teri Schiavo?

Who can forget the media/medical/legislative circus that surrounded Terri Schiavo’s last days and weeks? Certainly not me. No matter which side of the debate you were on, the one certain fact was that NOBODY was sitting on the fence.

Would you want to be the center of a circus like that if you were in the same condition she was in? I know I wouldn’t. So, here is how you can take a very simple action to put the circus on the road to somewhere else:

No matter what you want your living will to stipulate, once you’ve registered it, nobody can overrule your choices but you. If you believe in the sanctity of life, and want artificial life support to continue until the electric company declares bankruptcy from supporting you, so be it. If you want to designate someone to have the authority to make that decision for you if you can’t make it yourself, it’s done. If you want to put it in writing that certain types of life-sustaining treatment are never to be used on you, it’s your choice.

And the Living Will Registry will instantly notify any hospital exactly what your preferences are, if the need arises. End of debate.

Make your will known – today. Don’t wait for tomorrow, you don’t know what might happen. Remember, Terri Schiavo was perfectly healthy when her heart stopped beating, just long enough to induce a coma.