Right to Boycott

Part of my Google news feed today included a disturbing story.  Just Google, “congress to make boycott of Israel illegal.”  This is a direct attack on the first amendment and freedom of speech.  Freedom of speech is the most important of our fundamental rights.  It has to be exercised, or it has no value.  And here is the thing, freedom of speech is the two edged sword.  You have the right to express your opinion no matter who disagrees.  But that also means that everybody else gets to express their opinions, no matter how offensive you find what they say.  Here is the text of the first amendment.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. (Emphasis mine)

I believe it is reprehensible to boycott Israel.  I believe that Israel has every right to all of the land currently occupied by the Palestinians.  And I have the right to say as much.  This also means that people with anti-Israel sentiments have every right to boycott Israel.  They have every right to speak whatever antisemitic ideas that occur to them.  The KKK has every right to speak whatever racist ideas they wish.  Pedophiles have the right to advocate adult child sexual relations.  Everybody has the right to argue pro-life, or pro choice, whichever they believe.  No matter what the topic, you have the right to voice your opinion.  No person, no matter what their political position, has the right to dictate what you can or cannot say, discuss, advocate, or condemn, no matter how offensive they believe your words are.

No matter how much I disagree with their ideology, opponents of Israel have the right to boycott, to organize boycotts, to discuss their reasons for the boycott, to come together in their mission.  I, nor any other person, has the right to obstruct them.  The second amendment clearly states above that, Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech.  So let them pass their law.  I wager it will be contested to the supreme court where it will be struck down as unconstitutional.

Motorcycle Rear Ended

In a previous post I mentioned trying to find a motorcycle.  Here is why.

Yesterday I got rear ended, as the title says.  Thankfully I was not injured at all.  But the bike did not come out so lucky.  I was sitting at the light on Broad Street and Maney Avenue.  There were a few cars in front of me.  The light had just turned green and I was preparing to go.  Then the car behind me struck the bike.  He says he was trying to get something off the floor under his feet.  He was afraid it would go under the brake peddle, and he did not realize he was rolling forward.  It crushed the lights and the license plate holder and mangled the rear fender.  All of that damage is cosmetic and should not cost a whole lot to repair.

However, when I was loading the bike into the trailer I noticed a vibration in the rear end.  I fear that the impact tweaked something in the back.  Maybe it just knocked the rear wheel out of alignment.  Maybe that put the drive shaft in a bind causing the vibration.  Maybe it bent the frame.  Maybe it bent the driveshaft.  There are any number of things the impact could have done that could easily cost more than the bike is worth to repair.  If that is the case, then I’ll get a check to replace it.  With any luck the guy’s insurance won’t try to low ball me.  I imagine they will try, but information is power, and I intend to be well informed before the negotiations begin.

So, if they do total out the bike, depending on what I get from the insurance company, I can put some money with it and get the bike I really want.  For a while now I have been looking at the 2008 Honda VTX 1800 Tourer.  And that picture is even my favorite color scheme that they had.  For reference, my bike has an 1100 cc engine.  Jumping up 700 cc in engine displacement is no small thing.  My 1100 is rated at 50.3 hp, 65.5 ft lbs of torque, and weighs roughly 650 lbs.  The 1800 is rated at 106 hp, 120 ft lbs of torque, and weighs 800 lbs.

Again, if they give me enough, and I put some money with it, I might be able to get that bike.  So this whole incident could end up being a blessing in disguise.  I will definitely post here if I get one.  Those VTX 1800’s are really nice bikes.  [crosses fingers]

Facebook Rant

I honestly do not understand how Facebook has grown to be what it is.  I’m good with tech stuff in general, but I cannot figure out how Facebook works to save my life.  I mean, what the hell is my Facebook Wall anyway?  It’s not really a blog, because all kinds of stuff keeps showing up on it I did not post.  And where does all that stuff come from anyway?  I thought it was supposed to be MY wall.  How do other people post to it?  It’s not really a message board, I don’t think.  I think you’re supposed to be able to reply to stuff, but for the life of me I don’t know how.  I never can tell where something I write is going to end up.  Will it post to my wall, to my friend’s wall, or to the ether?  It feels very random.  Is what I am writing a post, a comment, a reply, etc?  I never know how Facebook will treat what I am writing.

Then, a friend of mine texted me a screen capture from his phone of a Jeep for sale on the Facebook Marketplace.  I spent hours trying to find that Jeep.  The Facebook Marketplace is the most retarded and unsearchable site I’ve ever tried to use.  I can’t find anything on it.  I can’t even find the marketplace at all on my computer.  Tonight I decided to search for a motorcycle.  I got nothing for my hour of just trying to find the marketplace, never mind anything on the marketplace.  I never found the Marketplace itself.  Google sent me to http://www.facebook.com/fbmarketplace.  From there I entered the model of bike I want and the results were not Marketplace ads.  All of the results were basic Facebook pages, or posts, or blogs, or comments, or whatever the hell they are, but not For Sale ads.  It is not a marketplace if no commerce is being conducted.

Go to hell Facebook.  You’re retarded.

Another Bone to Pick with Microsoft

Back in August Microsoft deployed their Anniversary Update for Windows 10.  I learned my lesson on early adopting anything coming out of Redmund, so I have my Professional copies set to defer feature updates.  I do not intend to take on those updates unless I absolutely have to.  Well, yesterday Microsoft forced my hand and jammed the Anniversary Update down my throat, like it or not.  I did everything I could to stop it, even editing the registry to make my ethernet connection register as a metered service.  It still downloaded it.  I unplugged the cable from the back of the machine which stopped the download midstream and frantically Googled for a way to stop it.  Not finding one, I phoned Microsoft for a solution.  The tech I finally spoke to told me there were two solutions they could offer.  1) Let the update finish and then use the recovery option to go back to an earlier build.  2) Stop all updates completely.  So, I had to choose between a bad option and a bad option.

I understand that security updates are important, so I went with bad option number one.  Now I get to the bone I am picking.  I have my computer encrypted with Bitlocker, and other stuff.  In process of installing this rather large update, Windows required a few reboots.  During the first reboot, I unlocked my encrypted thumb drive that contains the key file required for my computer to boot, and I prepared to enter the password also required to boot, and watched in amazement as it simply continued on with the install without any input from me.

Let’s put this into perspective.  I have configured Bitlocker to require a key stored on a TPM chip installed on the motherboard, a key file stored on the above-mentioned hardware encrypted thumb drive, and a twenty character alpha-numeric pin (the maximum length Bitlocker supports).  My computer, while installing the update, rebooted.  The screen showed the video card post screen, the raid post screen, and the motherboard post screen that handed the process over to the Windows boot loader.  At that point, with only the TPM portion of the process fulfilled, the Windows Update process continued to write to an encrypted file system.  How?

I presume that the RAM was cleared, so the encryption key shouldn’t have been stored there.  The file system is encrypted, so it could not have been stored there as the update process would not have the key to read the key.  So the only place left is the unencrypted boot sectors of the system drive.  That is a massive security hole that completely destroys the point of encryption.  If the key was written to an unencrypted portion of the system drive, that key is now recoverable by a hacker or other threat to my digital security.

The other possible explanation, Windows temporarily disabled Bitlocker for the duration of the update process.  This is an equally bad situation.  It took hours to fully encrypt the 930GB of usable space on my system drive, despite that fact that it’s four striped SSD’s.  How then, can the update process, in a matter of minutes, circumvent that encryption?

This whole post boils down to one thing.  What little faith I had in Bitlocker is gone.  At great expense and with much effort, I have switched to other solutions.  Thank you, Microsoft for costing my hundreds of dollars and many hours to fix your gaping security holes.

Basket of Deplorables Rejoice

Even now, months after Hillary Clinton called half of Donald Trump’s supporters a “Basket of Deplorables,” (read the story) I am amazed that she actually said the words out loud.  But she did, and I doubt that it had the intended effect.  I know that what I am about to write might not strengthen my case, but here goes anyway.

After the election, I went to the liquor store to purchase a bottle of Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum.  I’m earning my Deplorable Badge, I know.  I informed the lady at checkout that I was buying my celebratory bottle of rum.  She inquired to what I was celebrating.  When I told her I was one of the Irredeemable Deplorables that is happy that Donald Trump won the presidency, she grinned, shook my hand and proudly proclaimed to be a Deplorable herself.  It would appear, according to my very small sample of two, a very scientific survey if there has ever been one, being a member of Donald Trump’s Basket of Deplorables has become a badge of honor.  Take that Crooked Hillary.

If you would like to proudly proclaim being a Deplorable, please feel free to do so in the comments below.  I would love to hear from you.