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Out Of A Coma

September 17, 2012 Leave a comment

We’re back …. or at least out of a coma.

Slightly after our little stint of “help” from the folks at Sophisticated Pittsburgh on upping our number of blog writers, they in fact lost many of theirs.  In other words people got real jobs, go married, or just disappeared of the face of the earth at SP.  As a result, we are coming back to our original self.

So, about our original self. The blog experimentally started in 2005, and was moved to .mac via the Apple iWeb.  We started writing around the time that PittGirl, CafeWitness, and others started and gained one of the top growing blog rankings ending up with 2000 readers per day, across 15 countries while on the .mac site.

That actually scared us, considering the amount of vomit we spewed out in those days along with the other rant blogs.  I’m not sure we’ll be as harsh these days, but we’ll try.

BTW – while we were hosting on .mac, Apple kindly asked us to move our site due to their product not being originally made for the amount of throughput we were getting.

So, around Spring of 2008 we moved to WordPress.

The Weasel is back, and we will be blowing word chunks as far as possible.

Cheers

-SWB

Forgetfulness and Steel – History Repeats Itself

August 9, 2011 Leave a comment

“Forget history and you guarantee it will happen again” … I hated my high school history teacher because he made a vow to fail us all (not a challenge, mind you, an actual vow) … but the above was his favorite quote, and it’s the one critical piece of life that I learned from him.  Unfortunately our country and our government is proving that taking on this attitude about history is really one of the keys to sustainability and survival.

The situation that lead to the current financial crater that is wall street can be blamed on ignoring the “forget history and you will guarantee it will happen again” advice.  Our current situation is eerily similar to one not too long ago … the plight of the steelworker.  You had two groups, both hard working, strong, and carrying large egos.  Neither would give in, neither would compromise … both had a fight until the end attitude.  Some say that represents honor. Some say that represents stupidity.

The end result was many losing homes, life long possessions, families, and what defined them as a human …. the steel industry. A few mentioned over the years that it wasn’t that compromise would not happen that made the steel industry fade away as we know it, but how long it took to get to a point where compromise could or would happen. By the time it progressed to the point of possible compromise, other countries took advantage of the opportunity to wedge into the steel industry, and quickly separated the bulk of the US steel mills from it.

It’s not that our financial situation as a country cannot be fixed, it’s that the egos of the politicians took so long to get to any kind of initial compromise that sever damage was done, leading way to loss of everything for those just hanging on, and loss of part of what defines us as a country.  So the question is, are our politicians going to wait long enough that our country going into sheriff’s sale and gets divvied up by the other entities of the world … or will they actually defend us, instead of their egos, and restore America where the dream of raising a family is possible?

Few people realize, much of wall street is now owned by outside investors, so defending American is really not in it’s top interested …….. making the bottom line, or at least cutting losses for it’s foreign investors is.  Main Street is no longer in a position to be helped by Wall Street, because we have some of the same interests … the only protection we can gain at the wall street level is from our politicians having enough pride in their country to protect it’s residents … but it seems that if they win and are rewarded with the right to say “I was right!” it’s OK if the American Dream is reduced to finding a better dumpster to dive into for dinner tonight.

“Forget history and you guarantee it will happen again” ….

Translation: “Stupid is what stupid is”

-SWB

Dollar Bank and MasterCard Drop the ball big time

June 7, 2011 Leave a comment

First … to consumers, this is a credit/debit card alert (and most likely you’ll hear it from us WAY before hearing it from Dollar Bank or Master Card): MasterCard caught a processor possibly fraudulently charging to customer accounts, so cards were shut off and/or canceled.

Now on to the rant.  After standing in a store having my card twice declined as a debit, and then declined as a credit, I called the number on the card to see what was going on.  They informed me there was a card security issues and my card was shut off and canceled. When I asked who was the “offender” I was told that MasterCard does not inform Dollar Bank.

Now, I have online banking with alerts set to go to email ….. never received anything and was told by customer service that only if I had happened to log on to http://www.dollarbank.com would I have seen an alert.   Now keep in mind we left PNC for multiple reasons, one being that we felt they used bailout money to drive National City down to acquire them – which in our eyes was illegal.

…but…

When something happens on your account with PNC and previously with National City, you knew via email immediately (or within minutes) what was going on.  Not specifics, mind you, but general info … ie. “your card was shut off due to security issues, call customer service for more info.”.  Neither National City dropped the ball on their customers by not informing them especially if they had elected to be informed with their account alerts via email.

So … basically still being clueless because I don’t know what vendor I am dealing with that was trying to post fraudulent charges to accounts associated with my bank, by no fault of my own after I get my new card I will be forced to link that card or use that card with a vendor that was known to process fraudulent charges.  The best security is to immediately inform and keep your customers informed.  Dollar Bank and MasterCard both dropped the ball on that by keeping their customers in the dark.

So, we elect to give a clueless trophy to Dollar Bank for being back around the early 90s in technology that keeps their customers in the dark, and to instantly going from what we thought was the better bank in Pittsburgh to what in our opinion is now close to being a joke.

We also give MasterCard a trophy for making sure their customers are in the dark so as the thieves of the world can take their pickings.

-SWB

PS – When we had National City / Visa combo as our banking … no issues.  Dollar Bank / MasterCard … issues.  BE AWARE.

Royal Wedding – Marriage At It’s Best

image (c)www.officialroyalwedding2011.org
 

What Marriage Should Be
The Royal Wedding

Yes, like everyone else we are going to talk about the Royal Wedding, and we were amongst the many getting up at 4am to witness the start.  What we aren’t going to do is rant on about the style of hats, the fashion techniques in making them, and the sophisticated dress of the occasion. What we are going to mention is the fact that the Royal Wedding – even the media show that it was made the marriage of two people truly in love and not marrying for convenience the priority of the event. Although we’ll admit we wished we were hat designers in London this year (it would have been a retirement year).

Click Here to read the rest of the article.

I *WILL* picket that funeral ….

March 3, 2011 Leave a comment

… even if I drive a whole family just trying to grieve into an endless spiral of depression.  I DON’T CARE how they feel.

Read The Tribune Review’s coverage on the courts giving the OK to picket military funerals and basically that is the underlying message from the people taking those actions.

Personally I am a huge supporter of free speech even when I strongly disagree with what is being said.  It’s how people get their opinion’s stated, work things out, and reason we don’t have a dictator as a leader. It is America.

But …

When you use the excuse of free speech to punish a family that only wants to bury a dead son or daughter, etc with respect, you are now into a level of hate crime – not free speech.  If you want to speak out against the military, you take that to the government that can do something about it, not the grieving family that has absolutely no power to do anything.

There are two main points to prove where these people are going wrong in what they are doing (and I make these point while saying I am not in total agreement with the wars we are in also):

1. For a Christian, turning someone away from God is the worst possible outcome of the use of your faith.  If you turn up at someone’s funeral picketing with hateful messages about the loved one that just got buried because they were in the military, you are doing exactly that – turning people away from God.

2. From a free speech perspective.  You’ve just opened the door to hate crimes being condoned due to free speech court decisions. This is a quote from the Tribune-Review:

“First Amendment advocates praised the decision, saying the right to free speech must be supported no matter how hateful the message.”

That statement is the key to showing this who attitude towards picketing a military funeral is simple wrong and completely against the grain of our country.  It’s an attitude you would expect in a place like China, not America.

So now with the statement above you’ve actually opened up the Pandora’s box on the issue.  You’ve now opened up arguments that it’s OK for someone like a white supremacist to say that a statement like “All Blacks Need Killed”, etc is free speech, not pre-hate crime talk.  Did the first amendment advocates think of this before being happy that they have now cleared the way for slander to rein over this country, and for hate to quickly consume our actions??

Probably not.

-SWB

This was written to get you to think about your actions before you take action.  Free speech is a true gift that NO OTHER COUNTRY HAS.  If we, as American’s drive it into the ground just because one group wants the “we are right, the courts say so” trophy – our country will be ruined (and the right to any type of free speech will be ruined).  Our parents were right when they constantly said “think before you do”.

** SWB was allowed to write this response to the Trib’s article as an editorial, etc.  The site that now sponsors the blog is not responsible for this posts content.

Changes To SWB

January 24, 2011 2 comments

Our New Owners

Yup, we being taken over.

This is for the good.  After being inactive for a while, another site has inquired about taking over Screaming Weasel.  There will be changes, it will retain some of  the sarcasm, but will lose some of the “rantiness”  and negativity that it had when it started around 2005-2006 and rant blogs were the fad – although we will gripe a little through it,  and SWB will be the occasional guest writer.

We think you’ll like it … and what it will present about Pittsburgh.

If you want to check out our new owners, Click Here

Here is their future WordPress Blog (Click Here)

Please welcome Karyon Nightly (sophisticatedpgh) as  the new main writer.

-SWB

American Education And The All Consuming PSSA

April 8, 2010 Leave a comment

I’m not sure this will be a true “Rant Files” post, but we’ll run with it anyway.

Now, like everyone else in America we have a student involved with some form of testing used to rank the schools they go to.  In Pennsylvania, it is the PSSA (Click Here for the Wiki definition).

Unfortunately, this has resulted in schools teaching to prepare for those tests, and pride in higher rankings in those tests that it has adversely affected the quality of learning in out entire country.

Why?

  • The schools teach to test … they no longer teach to learn and apply the knowledge learned.
  • We teach quantity, not quality … our schools in this country teach quite a bit more than schools in other countries, but our students retain less overall than students in other countries.
  • There are others, but those are the main two we will discuss at this time.

What are the results of this?

  • Our own colleges and universities value international students heavily over American students because the international students bring the rankings up, bringing in more tuition to those colleges and universities. Scan the net, you’ll find many articles supporting that.  If you don’t believe that, go to the individual establishments and look at their push to gain international students.  They don’t bring in international students because it’s “cool”.
  • Our jobs are going to international individuals (not just offshore, or outsourcing … companies are moving people to this country to take over American jobs). They are not always getting our jobs because they are cheaper, but because they are better educated, more confident in what they know, and more capable to get the job done.  **Reality check here**
  • The hopes of the current generation to even have a little taste of “The American Dream” without having to move to another country are diminishing quickly.

How can I make these accusations, and what is my background?

  • I worked in a fortune 100 companies where I had the ability to communicate with people from about 60% of the countries on this planet.  Although my job was technical, part of it was discussing daily life and smalltalk to get the customer to calm down and be able to work a problem with me … or at least to get me the information I needed to do so.  Many of those people were parents, so education was always a top topic.
  • I still have family in both Italy and Germany.  That family includes farmers, business owners, and university professors.  I’ve talked with them enough to know where education stands in their countries.
  • I was educated with the basics well enough that it allowed me to get to a place that others only get to by attending college for six years, after only going to a tech school in the 80s. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had teach that instilled such a good foundation of basics and a capability of learning that at the age of 7 I was learning analogue electronics, at the age of 8 leaning how to program computers, at the age of 9.5 learning digital electronics and computer upgrades, at the age of 12 had written and sold my first full accounting package that remained in use until 1999, and at the age of 16 was working in an electronics sales job making the same part time as the full time adult sales people did.  I was a product of the education system at that time.

What are the differences?

  • Well, as I said before our schools now teach to test – not teach to acquire a solid foundation of basics that can be built upon. Teaching how to effectively apply the knowledge gained is also a lost art form in out schools.
  • Other countries teach much less in their schools than we do in America, but they teach it well.  When those students go on a holiday break they have effectively been educated with a good foundation of basics and knowledge of how to apply them that when they come back from even a longer holiday break they take very little time to get back on track compared to the time it takes our students.  They also retain what they have learned, and have the capability to quickly and solidly learn new things on their own – many times after education, our students who should be self sufficient still need hand holding in the workplace.  I know that because I’ve worked with the current generations of workers. “Taking off running with something” is NOT in their resume’ of capbilities anymore as it was with previous generations.

Who is to blame?

  • Everyone:
  1. the teachers for not keeping with the basics to provide a good learning foundation.
  2. the parents for not reinforcing to the schools what their children need to learn. (the customer is always right – unless they keep their mouths shut because they don’t want to make waves).
  3. the politicians for putting into place a system that both forces schools to pay more attention to rankings, and allows them bragging rights about their rankings – both causing them to put students second.
  4. etc, etc, etc.

My foundation:

It wasn’t that it was my being a “geek” that go me my knowledge and abilities, but the foundation and work ethic that my teachers, family, and mentors put in to me through my education that gave me the confidence, knowledge, and know-how to do anything I needed to.  I still retain that capability.  Sadly I don’t see that in many students today (they still need mommy to hand hold them most of the time) … unless you give them a written test – but if you make them apply what was on a test or remember it even shortly after a test, many, sadly, can’t.