by baldilocks

Hot news flash, yes?

I don’t know. People accumulate money for reasons, with comfort being among them. But the implication in this Guardian piece is that there is something wrong with purchasing insulation against the Special Hell that is LAX.

The guiltiest pleasure at Los Angeles international airport’s (LAX) new private terminal for the mega-rich is not the plush, hushed privacy, or the beds with comforters, or the massages, or the coriander-scented soap, or the Willie Wonka-style array of chocolates and jelly beans, or the Napa Valley cabernet.

It is the iPad that sits on a counter at the entrance, with a typed little note: “Here is a glimpse of what you’re missing over at the main terminal right now.”

The screen shows travellers hauling bags through packed terminals, queuing in long lines, looking harassed and being swallowed into pushing, shoving paparazzi scrums – routine hazards for the 80 million people who pass through LAX each year.

“There they process thousands of people at a time, they’re barking. It’s loud. Here it’s very, very lovely,” said Gavin de Becker [yes], who runs the new terminal, called Private Suite.

He wasn’t wrong. The $22m facility, the first of its kind in the US, opens on Monday, giving the 1% a whole new way to separate themselves from everyone else’s reality. (…)

It is pricey. In addition to annual membership of $7,500, you pay $2,700 per domestic flight and $3,000 per international flight. The cost covers a group of up to four people. If you aren’t a member, you pay $3,500 for a domestic flight and $4,000 for international flight for a group of up to three people.

I don’t recall any barking, during the two round trips I made via LAX last year—to Nairobi and to Albuquerque in order to visit my various parental units. What I do recall about the Tom Bradley International Terminal, however, is that I couldn’t find one single electrical outlet except near the exit. After a ten-hour trip from Amsterdam—also with no access to electrical outlets—trying to use my Über app was a precarious business with nearly no juice on my phone.

I couldn’t care less about some phantom rich guy allegedly laughing at me. I do care about not being able to charge my  %^%*&$ phone in the huge feceshole that is the Bradley Terminal while trying to get home after 18 hours of air travel.

If in need of some Hunger Games-style schadenfreude check out the iPad showing the hoi polloi running gauntlets over at the main terminal.

Remember: the animosity that some have for the rich is cover for unacknowledged if thinly disguised covetousness and personal feelings of inadequacy.  This piece is designed to exacerbate that.

But, do the rich laugh at the poor? I’m sure some do, and that says a lot about the laughers’ personal feelings of inadequacy as well. I guess that there are things against which money is scant refuge. And Mr. de Becker seems intent on exploiting that. Capitalism–the worst economic system there is…except for all of the others.

Would I buy a spot in this bit of LAX purgatory if I had the means? You bet your ass I would. And I would have better things to do with my time than laugh at some poor black chick who can’t find an electrical outlet in the international terminal—like help the owners of the terminal install acknowledgement to the facts of the 21st century.

(Thanks to Liberty Blitzkrieg)

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

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I’m not old enough to remember Vatican II.  As I grew up, I sometimes heard people talk about a “Latin Mass,” but I never attended one until well after I graduated college.  That’s when I started teaching Catechism at our local church, and in order to make sure I could answer 9th grader questions, I researched a lot before each class.

I found a cool mixture of tradition and reverence at the Tridentine Mass.  I grew up with the Novus Ordo, but I attend both the Tridentine Mass and Novus Ordo, depending on what makes the most sense for my family at the time.  I’ve even gone to Eastern Rite churches when I travel.  To me, the Mass was always about the miracle: the transubstantiation of bread into the Body of Christ.

Sadly, I feel alone in thinking this way.  A storm brews inside the Catholic Church.  On one side are the so-called “traditionalists,” who treat the Novus Ordo as heresy.  The other side has the “progressives,” who believe the Church needs to modernize for the 21st century.

I get caught in the middle of this storm.  My in-laws never attended my wedding because I wasn’t “Catholic enough” (read: attends the Novus Ordo).  I bristle when people complain about “rad trads,” and then tell me they are OK with artificial birth control and abortion.  It’s aggravating, and unfortunately I have few friends that I pleasantly converse with about my Catholic faith.

But this whole debate is really a fallacy, because being Catholic has absolutely nothing to do with what language the Mass is said in.  I’ve met wonderful people on both sides of this debate, and it greatly bothers me that people spend their time vilifying others with all the evil that already exists in the world.

For so-called traditionalists (or “rad trads,” or whatever other silly titles they have), your blanket judgement of people that attend a Mass in vernacular is ridiculous.  Jesus didn’t give us a rigid Mass structure, he gave us guidance and the Church built a Mass, which has evolved over time, even before the Tridentine Mass came into existence.  So don’t lecture me how you are the original Mass, unless you want to roll back to saying the Mass in Aramaic.

For so-called progressives, I’m even more dismayed.  So little is expected of us as Catholics: weekly Mass, regular Confession, follow basic Church teachings, pray regularly and teach your kids about the faith.  When you consider that in many places you can’t attend Church without risk of death, these requirements are a small price to pay for salvation.  Yet over the past month here at my local church I’ve seen:

  • A bulletin announcement for parents picking up kids from Catechism, asking them to please attend Mass with their kids.
  • A lasy in front of me at Mass constantly checking Facebook on her phone during Mass.
  • People regularly showing up late to Mass and leaving early (get an alarm clock perhaps?).
  • Folks coming into the pew in front of me while I’m praying and talking loudly.
  • People shaming a mother for bringing her kids to Mass when they make one tiny peep of noise…sadly, the same loud people that interrupted my prayer earlier.

And I’m not trying to call out my local Church, because I’ve seen similar things elsewhere.

For both sides, you all are being played by an atheist-minded media hell-bent on tearing the Church apart from the inside.  This media gleefully alters quotes from Pope Francis to get people riled up.  It dramatizes Church business like the Synod of Bishops on the Family.  I think I spend more time proving that what the media says is wrong to people than I do talking about how much I love the Church.

And that is the problem.  We’ve become so focused on hating each other we often forget that the Church is supposed to bring people together, to help us overcome the daily temptation to sin, and to be our supernatural support structure.  We’re so busy arguing about who is better that we forget to see the good in others.  We’ve been corrupted by the world around us, rather than changing the world for the better.

I encourage you to change the status quo.  If you’ve never attended a Tridentine Mass, find one and go.  Same for Novus Ordo.  Talk to those Catholics after Mass.  Volunteer to teach Catechism and build young adults who are strong in their faith and knowledge of the Church.  Turn off your phone and pray peacefully on Sunday.  Set a good example, not just at Church, but whenever you walk out into the world.

Be that light to the world that Jesus wanted us to be.


This post represents the views of the author and not the views of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

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4th Doctor: Scringe stone found in a dead man’s pocket? A lost mine? A phony map. Are people still falling for that old guff? I mean, are they?
1st Romana: You mean you didn’t believe his story?
4th Doctor:  No.
1st Romana: But he had such an honest face.
4th Doctor: Romana, you can’t be a successful crook with a dishonest face, can you. 

Doctor Who, The Ribos Operation part 1 1978

While I haven’t been doing tech now for several years, given the great hack of 2017 I think it’s one again time to give you several pretty basic rules on password security, that, if followed by John Podesta and the DNC, would likely have the media looking for a different conspiracy to blame Hillary Clinton’s defeat on.

Rule Number 1:  If it has a computer in it and said computer connects wirelessly to any other, it’s hackable:

Your phone, your game system (and at the rate we’re going pretty soon your car and toaster) are all basically computers, accessing the net and being accessed.  Any such systems need to be treated as such when it comes to keeping sensitive info or opening attachments or setting passwords.

Me I don’t connect my cell phone to the net, I don’t use it for email, hell I generally don’t keep it charged or on unless I’m traveling.  I use it as a phone when I need a phone, that’s it.

Rule Number 2:  If you live in the first world and have a credit or debit card you ARE worth hacking.  

A lot of people figure because they’re just average folks without a lot of money hacking you isn’t worth someone’s time hacking or spamming you remember (per gallup figures) that the median per capita income in Nigeria is $493, That for a quarter of the nations of the world $100 represents the median monthly per capita income of a person.

If my temp warehouse job paying just over minimum wage with no bennies  pays above the median annual household income of all but 23 countries in the world, higher than Spain, Italy, Portugal and nearly double the median annual household income of Russia is enough to draw the ladies from Cape Verde to work & make 13 times the per capita GDP of their nation, how much more tempting is just sitting at home and trying to make such money without traveling thousands of miles and learning a new language and culture.

And remember we’re talking median incomes meaning there are plenty of people who make less.  If you are taken for a few hundred that might get you angry, but it’s more than most folks see in a month and if you can be taken for a few thousand for most such folks, they’ve hit the lottery.

Rule Number 3:  Your passwords are only as secure as the least careful person who knows them 

There are plenty of people who don’t bother to change default password or use something like their birthday or their phone number or address as a password, but even if your password is a Klingon phrase translated into Esperanto using a book cipher from an obscure 11th century Arab poet, if you give it out to Harold to check his email on your tablet it’s only as secure as Harold keeps it.

Rule Number 4:  Your home and business network is only as secure as the least careful person on it

Even the most careful person slips up on occasion, think how often the least careful person does and remember any shared platform means your security is dependent on every other person on it.

Rule Number 5:  Rule Number 4 about business networks applies to your bank, to Amazon, to your electric company and anyone else who stores your credit card info.

I would be Very careful about who you allow to keep a stored credit card on file and how many people you allow such info.  if you think it’s a pain just remember the number of hours you have to work to earn that $100 , $1000 or $10000 again or the number of hours you have to spend on the phone to get a phony charge credited.

Rule Number 6:  Attachments and links in unsolicited emails (even from friends) are your enemy.

This is also known as the “John Podesta Rule”  If you have an attachment that claims to be from a bank or a friend or amazon  or the electric company you don’t click on said links or open said attachments until you email them back (at the address you have stored) or call them (at the number online NOT the number provided in the email) to confirm it.  And if you get an email from a friend and it consists only of a link make it a point to email your friend back and let them know they’ve been hacked.

Rule Number 7:  NEVER EVER CLICK ON A “VERIFY ACCOUNT OR PASSWORD” LINK IN AN EMAIL AND ENTER YOUR ACCOUNT OR PASSWORD INFO

That is an old one but it still takes in plenty of people.  the IRS, your bank, comcast, amazon et/all aren’t going to be sending you unsolicited emails like this.  It’s one thing when you set up an account to get a “click here to verify” while doing so, it’s quite another to get one a week, a month or a year later.  If you’re not comfortable simply deleting these emails call the company or organization in question, they would likely like to get info on these hacks.

Rule Number 8:  Open wi-fi to the pubic is just that, open to the public

If you are using an open wi-fi network in a public don’t you dare be buying stuff online or entering your credit card info, particularly in a big city.  That’s just asking for it.

Rule Number 9:  Run the updates

It doesn’t matter if a software or OS maker has found and fixed a vulnerability in a piece of software if your system never updates to install the fix as those who fell for yesterday’s superhack discovered:

The security holes it exploits were disclosed several weeks ago by TheShadowBrokers, a mysterious group that has published what it says are hacking tools used by the NSA as part of its intelligence-gathering.

Shortly after that disclosure, Microsoft announced that it had already issued software “patches” for those holes. But many companies and individuals haven’t installed the fixes yet or are using older versions of Windows that Microsoft no longer supports and didn’t fix.

By Kaspersky Lab’s count, the malware struck at least 74 countries. In addition to Russia, the biggest targets appeared to be Ukraine and India, nations where it is common to find older, unpatched versions of Windows in use, according to the security firm.

Note again the vulnerability of older systems that patches weren’t made for

Rule Number 10:  Apple devices are not immune

Amazingly there are still some people who think that if their device is made by Apple it can’t get a virus and are therefore safe, let me remind them:  1.  Most attacks these days are on the software run on an operating system rather than an OS itself  2.  If someone has your password they don’t need a virus.  It’s a corollary to rules 4 & 5.  Your system is only as secure as the least secure program you run on it.

Now it’s likely the big worldwide hack used tactics more advanced than any of this, furthermore none of these tips guarantee that you will never be hacked any more than locking your doors and windows guarantees your house will never be broken into but if you remember these steps and earn to  recognize unsafe behavior then over time you will be more likely to spot a scam when it comes.


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