Dear Law Enforcement – It’s Your Fault We Justifiably Don’t Trust You

Posted on | October 27, 2014 | 3 Comments

FBI Director James B. Comey

There’s been a lot of fuss lately about Apple’s move to take themselves out of the encryption loop when it comes to having access to your private data that you store on products you purchase from them. Apple will no longer have access to the private keys that can decrypt the information on your personal devices. Google quickly followed suit. The decision makes them unable to comply with law enforcement’s request for your private information. The move was celebrated by users concerned with the privacy of things they save on devices that have become ubiquitous to modern life. That ubiquity is what gives law enforcement a raging erection at having access to such a detailed cache of personal and private information. They were not amused at no longer having easy access and went into ‘the sky is falling’ mode led by FBI Director James B. Comey in a session at Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.

“…those of us in law enforcement and public safety have a major fear of missing out—missing out on predators who exploit the most vulnerable among us…missing out on violent criminals who target our communities…missing out on a terrorist cell using social media to recruit, plan, and execute an attack.

Criminals and terrorists would like nothing more than for us to miss out. And the more we as a society rely on these devices, the more important they are to law enforcement and public safety officials. We have seen case

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after case—from homicides and car crashes to drug trafficking, domestic abuse, and child exploitation—where critical evidence came from smartphones, hard drives, and online communication.” -Going Dark: Are Technology, Privacy, and Public Safety on a Collision Course?” – FBI Director James B. Comey

Comey talks as if he and law enforcement are entitled to our personal data. It’s as if he believes that we are wrong for wanting privacy.

“And with sophisticated encryption, there might be no solution, leaving the government at a dead end—all in the name of privacy and network security.” – James B. Comey

It seems that Comey doesn’t understand how much privacy is important. In this post 9/11 world where law enforcement and government have eroded our liberties, civil rights, and privacy, this statement shows just how little he values it as long as he gets what he wants. This type of thinking doesn’t help foster trust. In case he hasn’t been paying attention, the people don’t trust law enforcement or the government. We aren’t being given reason to.

Let’s look at what we’ve been witness to in regards to trust from those that are supposed to protect and serve us: we are over two months in with protests in Ferguson and the shameful police response against civilians there, the killing of civilians by police across the country, the NSA’s massive warrantless internet and telephone spying program on everyday United States citizens and even members of Congress, the Edward Snowden revelations, the Project Prism surveillance program, the DEA impersonating Sondra Arquiett on Facebook using her pictures and even those of her children to create a profile to interact with suspects in a drug investigation, the California Highway Patrol ring of officers who have been stealing nude photos of women they stop and share them as a game, and the program of a coalition of several police agencies in Virginia that are stockpiling private phone records put together with little oversight. This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means yet it is mentally exhausting to think about.

“I think it’s time to ask: Where are we, as a society? Are we no longer a country governed by the rule of law, where no one is above or beyond that law? Are we so mistrustful of government—and of law enforcement—that we are willing to let bad guys walk away…willing to leave victims in search of justice?” – James B. Comey

Comey is correct. It is past time to ask about where we are as a society given these revelations about those with the type of power that these agencies have. If he is serious about a dialogue about public trust and the organizations that are supposed to be trustworthy he has to start by fixing these issues. You can’t ask the people to trust you while at the same time aggressively violating that trust. Those with this responsibility should be held to a higher standard; should hold themselves and each other to a higher standard. Trust is easily broken but hard to get back. He may head the FBI and have no control over the other agencies, government, or local law enforcement but nonetheless he and his agency will be painted with the same brush.

Oh shit that's America

This mistrust is the fault of law enforcement. Every time the line has been crossed, every time the blue wall of silence protects one of their own, every revelation of transgressions upon the citizens you serve that takes place places the fault squarely on the shoulders of those in power. If you have the ability to fight against it and don’t then you are allowing it to continue to the detriment of all our sakes. You want a dialogue? Start there.

Don’t forget about the position the people are in. Many feel like they are caught in between the proverbial rock and a hard place. On one hand there are legitimate threats from criminals trying to do harm to them. On the other hand are the people that are supposed to uphold the rights and protect the safety of citizens abusing their authority and power. We’ve went from “innocent until proven guilty” to “guilty until proven innocent”. From collecting information on suspects to collecting everyone’s information and treating the population with suspicion.

“I want to get a better handle on your thoughts, because those of us in law enforcement can’t do what we need to do without your trust and your support.” – James B. Comey

If trusting law enforcement scares some people more than the threats you describe then you have failed in what you do. There is no debate on whether we need law enforcement agencies, or course we do. The debate is about whether they are out of control and trustworthy.




iPhone 6 and Apple Watch Thoughts

Posted on | September 11, 2014 | No Comments

#455057716 /

It’s that time of the year where Apple self-proclaims themselves the ushers of the next big thing. This year’s two big reveals at Apple’s September 2014 Special Event were the latest iteration of the game changing smartphone, the iPhone 6, and the much speculated about, Apple Watch or as the rumors called it, the iWatch.

The iPhone comes out every year with some speed and power improvements and a barely distinguishable, at least to me, design case. Regardless of with Jony Ive says and no matter how nice they are to look at, they all still basically look the same. So all the adjective-filled talk about the new a design does little for me, it’s always about what’s under the hood. As expected, iPhone 6 brings more power, speed, better camera and screen, and increased battery life. Par for the course. However, the M8 chip was impressive.

“The new sensor should be able to know whether you’re running, riding your bike, or walking, and it’ll be able to estimate distance as well as how far you’ve gone. It’ll even be able to track elevation for the climbing-inclined thanks to its very own barometer, which will pick our your relative elevation by measuring air pressure. ” – The iPhone 6’s New M8 Chip Makes It a Truly Badass Fitness Tracker

To me that is pretty amazing. I don’t think these sensors get the awe they deserve because, as Apple always puts it, “they just work”. This M8 chip will be very useful for developers in creating new apps or adding features to current ones, especially in the fitness tracking realm. Apple has made it no secret that they are going after that market as well. Good on them, we could all use a but more exercise these days.

Let me say, I’m an Apple fan, not fanboy as there are definitely some sour tasting apples in the Cupertino grove. See what I did there? I am stocked with Apple products. I am typing this on a Macbook, I own two Mac desktops, an eMac, a Powerbook Titanium, and an iPhone 4. This past year I lost my 80 gigabyte 3rd generation original iPod on a train. I miss you. My family members are all also willing prisoners of the Apple ecosystem. Let me put it this way, my uncle still has a working

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Apple 2 and my grandmother has a better iPhone than I do. So yea, we like the products.

Instead of colors this time the latest iPhone comes in sizes. Presumably the rainbow of colors idea which followed the iMacs aren’t going any further than the iPhone 5c. This time we get the iPhone 6 at 5.44 inches long and 2.64 inches wide and the iPhone 6 Plus at 6.22 inches long and 3.06 wide. Plus meaning huge. This is where I’m at an impasse with Apple and the iPhone. This larger size phone aka phablet popularized by the Samsung Galaxy and HTC lines, is entirely too large! Especially the 6 Plus at 6 plus inches. I don’t want something this large in my pants (had to do it; giggity). It’s not convenient. You need a purse or a backpack to carry this thing around. Or I’d have to dig out that old fanny pack for it. You know you had one too; don’t judge me. iOS 8’s Reachability “feature” that allows you to reach something at the top of the screen with one hand by pulling it down to where your hands are, to me, is proof that the device is too big. Look at that retina display of densely packed pixel eye candy goodness displaying a blank top half of the screen. Gorgeous.

I wasn’t a fan of the increased size of the iPhone 5 but it wasn’t a pocket buster at 4.87 inches long and 2.31 inches wide. It’s one of the reasons I held on to my Steve Jobs approved size, 4.54 inch long and 2.31 inch wide, one-hand useable, iPhone 4. Jobs famously said of the crop of larger phones that were being rolled out against the smaller dominate iPhone that, “You can’t get your hand around it,” followed by, “No one’s going to buy that.” He was wrong about people not buying the larger phones but absolutely correct about the inconvenience of not being able to get your hand around it. This leaves me stuck as to where to go after I buy the newly reduced iPhone 5s because I definitely will not buy an ogre sized phone. At least give us a pocket sized version if you are going to do different sizes now. The iPhone Mini could be the original size. If I can’t work it with one hand or fit it comfortably in my pocket it’s useless to me.

At that size, the technology gets in the way. Co-founder of both Twitter and mobile payments company Square said it well, “The best technologies, they disappear, they fade into the background and they’re relevant when you want to use them, and they get out of the way when you don’t.” Steve Jobs would probably agree. Isn’t Apple’s “just works” philosophy saying basically the same thing?

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Ferguson Live Stream

Posted on | August 13, 2014 | No Comments

UPDATED — Nov. 26

St. Louis County Police Scanner

The ongoing fight in Ferguson in protest of the police murder of Mike Brown. If these streams go down and you know of another please leave the link in the comments.

Also check the live stream of information from Reddit

Incident Google map of incidences in Ferguson:

Stephen A. Smith Is Being Unfairly Demonized

Posted on | July 31, 2014 | No Comments

#166943585 /

Some topics can’t be discussed because emotions run too high. There are certain triggers that shut people’s faculties of reason down completely and doesn’t allow for further or clear listening. Even if you agree with their fundamental point, there is an absolute, all or nothing, position that gets clung to in those situations. Stephen A. Smith is learning that right now in the wake of his comments within a discussion about NFL player Ray Rice.

This didn’t go over well. Many people immediately went into “he’s blaming the victim” mode and completely tuned out the real point he was making. I heard no victim blaming. What you can hear when you step back and listen is the reality that some people won’t play by the same rules. Prevailing wisdom in our society says that men should never hit women. I don’t think there is much debate there. The problem is we can’t say there is zero debate there because not everyone agrees with the same rules as the rest of us. In those instances, a woman may find herself in a situation she didn’t expect to happen if she believes that 100% of men agree on not hitting women. There are police records and YouTube videos galore showing that this isn’t the case. This is a reality. To avoid this possibility people should not put themselves in a situation that may bring about this outcome. To say that isn’t blaming the victim, it’s advice.

But what I’ve tried to employ the female members of my family, some of who you all met and talked to and what have you, is that again, and this what, I’ve done this all my life, let’s make sure we don’t do anything to provoke wrong actions, because if I come, or somebody else come, whether it’s law enforcement officials, your brother or the fellas that you know, if we come after somebody has put their hands on you, it doesn’t negate the fact that they already put their hands on you. So let’s try to make sure that we can do our part in making sure that that doesn’t happen. – Stephen A. Smith

Excellent point. Whether or not the man gets away with beating the woman, the beating already has taken place and the damage is done. Many blogs, news articles, and tweets quickly jumped on the story and pulled reactions from social media like this that I saw on another site.

Yes of course you can provoke your own beating. Let’s not be naive. Anyone can. To think there is an invisible bubble of protection at all times around you that stops anyone from hitting you for any reason is a fantasy. There are long lists of police reports that destroy that imaginary realm. Of course they shouldn’t do it but people do things they shouldn’t do all the time. It doesn’t matter if they know it’s wrong, they are in an agitated state, have mental instabilities, or just simply don’t care or agree with those rules, they still do it. It happens. Would you poke a pissed off bear? No. No you wouldn’t because that would provoke a mauling and it would be the least surprising thing. Sometimes people are in a state that we know we should just let them be. We have all been at that moment and pushed too far. It happens. Yes people need to exercise control of their anger but if we walked away we wouldn’t fan those flames either.

If you hit somebody, you cannot be sure you are not going to get hit back! – Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi is correct and, even though she’s caught flack for her statements, the audience seems to agree. Yes there is a size and strength difference in most cases between men and women. Yes a stronger person should exercise more control due to their increased strength. At the same time, if you know a person is stronger and more powerful than you, don’t attack them. Aside from them being women, I know not going to swing on Laila Ali or Ronda Rousey because that wouldn’t end well for me. I especially wouldn’t do it if they are already agitated for whatever reason. As professional fighters, they have a greater responsibility to exercise control yet I’m not going to take that chance. In their agitated state they may lose control all over my fantasy bubble of protection.

See that look of surprise on her face? It was all fun and games to the inebriated woman because she thought she had a mutual understanding with that man she didn’t know that hitting her wasn’t possible. He had a different understanding. She had hit him once already and he wasn’t happy with it. Her retort was a mocking “Did it hurt that bad”. This was the second hit, that he indeed provoked, so that he could try to make a point. She was clearly out of control and thought it was ok to hit strangers. Let’s not pretend we’ve never seen this before. What he did wasn’t right and he should have walked away but the point remains that sometimes people don’t agree with how we think they should handle a situation. He clearly didn’t.

This guy didn’t get the memo that he shouldn’t hit her back either.

The fact that these guys are wrong does nothing to lessen the damage that has already been done by their retaliation. This idea to rely on men always maintaining composure and control will wind up with more situations like this. Please read that again. Relying on that idea will get some people into trouble. If a woman attacks a man with this idea that he definitely won’t hit her back she may be in for a very harsh “a-ha” moment. It may not be right but it’s a very real possibility. To mitigate that outcome, women should keep their hands

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to themselves. If you hit anyone, no matter who you are, you should always expect that they will hit you back. It’s the same advice I would give any woman in my family. You never know how a person will react. This is the point that Stephen A. Smith and Whoopi Goldberg were talking about. Due to the outrage and controversy, Steven A. Smith issued an apology that was no doubt forced by the network. He has also been suspended for a week from his job. Here is the problem, people hear or read Smith’s comments and equate it solely with domestic violence and abusive in relationships. Even the normally level-headed Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks seemed to shut down and pretend to not understand what Smith was saying. They even went so far as to title their response video as “Did ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith Justify Violence Against Women? Well, What IS He Saying?” The confusion comes in because Smith’s comments were during a discussion of a domestic violence incident. Smith commented on that incident and then switched gears. Smith clearly didn’t justify violence against women. Whoopi didn’t either, yet it is such an emotional charged issue that many will stop listening past a certain point.

For anyone not understanding, let me ask you this, do you lock your home? Do you secure your purse and other valuables when you go somewhere? Why? The majority of us can agree that stealing is wrong and shouldn’t be done. Even still, we don’t rely on the idea that everyone understands stealing to be wrong. We take steps to limit that possibility. Stephen A. Smith has said many questionable things in the past I’m sure but what he said here wasn’t wrong. He didn’t endorse or justify violence against women. He didn’t blame the victim. He clearly stated multiple times that he was against men hitting women. I will say, in the middle of a conversation about domestic violence, he may have chosen the wrong time to make these statements. It doesn’t make them any less true; just ill-timed.

keep calm and keep your hands to yourself


Far Rockaway Rappers Rap Against Gentrification

Posted on | June 9, 2014 | No Comments

Sean Blaise ft Stacks the MenACE & TrisNev - Fuck Out the Rock

Far Rockaway rappers Sean Blaise, Stacks the MenACE, and TrisNev are no fans of the gentrification going on in Far Rockaway, Queens in New York and have no problem telling those imposing on their neighborhood to get the “Fuck Out the Rock”. This joint definitely reminds me of the 90’s with the uptempo break beat and the faster flows. It vibes nice while delivering a message that many who live in neighborhoods they are slowing being forced out of share.

Anyone who has ever been to Far Rockaway could easily see that it would be a target for gentrification. You’ve got housing projects full of poor people on beach front property. You know developers are itching to get rid of them so they can have a Hamptons closer to Manhattan. And with the hospital closings a blind man could peep the game. It’s good to see local rappers speaking out for their neighborhood, although I don’t think lines like “where the drugs are on point” help their argument. The high crime rate and weekly shootings is what drives down the prices that helps outsiders move residents out. Hurricane Sandy didn’t help at all. If anything it sped up the process. Stacks the MenACE sums up these community relocation efforts with:

“…bout they green like Rondo
say, get out pronto, we trying to build some condos
so grab your shit and walk off like you struck out
gentrification really means….get the fuck out
but in a nice way, isn’t this

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a nice day
for rich kids to come through and move in where I stay?”

Stacks is not wrong. In neighborhood take overs, those that are transplanting residents don’t care where the former occupants go just as long as they leave. Of course on the surface gentrification can look like it’s making the neighborhood better. Sure, the safer streets, economic development, and the attention the communities have been calling for seem like a God send. That is until the neighborhood is no longer affordable for the people who lived there.

we live here now

Crossposted from


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