The Affordable Care Act stumbled out of the gate with their website, Healthcare.gov. It was a bust. Face it, there's nothing but bad news involved with the rollout except the number of people who tried to log on initially. That was very encouraging news. But if you can't buy what you're advertising for sale, you're bust. And so went the site and so went the President's credibility.
Fortunately, the fix is in. Oh, not like in a horse race, but as in a fully working site replacement. There's only one catch. It's not the government's site. It's a free site that three computer jockeys designed themselves over a few days and nights. It's healthcare.gov only it works. The site is called HealthSherpa.com and all you have to do is put in your zip code and all the rates and plans come up for you. Since it's inception, they've added on a feature that calculates your tax subsidies as well. So this site is good to go.
It's up and running right now.
And it's simple too. All the federal government needs to do now is take it over. And the three 20 year olds, Ning Liang, George Kalogeropoulos and Michael Wasser who built it are willing to give it up -- to the government -- for free. They did it as a public service. Of course they should be paid for this, but look at what we can do here as a country with education, advanced technology and some collective brainstorming. MailOnline reports:
The website claims: 'The Health Sherpa is a free guide that makes it easier to find and sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. We only use carefully vetted, publicly available data.'
The programmers are also adding features to the site, such as a section on tax subsidies. But the three 20-year-olds say they worked on the project as a service rather than to make money.
CBS News made this report:
If the Republicans were around in 1776.
If Democracy had been proposed by the colonists.
If we needed all 13 colonies to join up or we'd perish.
If the Town Criers were all from Fox News.
What would that be like? Well, thanks to Mark Fiore, we can get see for ourselves: CLICK ON THE PICTURE BELOW to be magically transported back in time.
Just over a week ago, I wrote a piece about internet safety and how you have to work to stay protected. It was called, Why Porn Sites Are Safer Than Small Business Web Sites.
Now comes some shocking and very, very scary news. Private citizens, those with webcams, remote or built into their computers, tablets or smartphone devices are being hacked. Without the victim knowing, their camera's have been activated, their actions recorded. And in many cases, picking up innocent people in a totally nude state.
Then, these people are contacted and extorted or their pictures will be released across the Internet on social media sites. Sometimes using your personal accounts, meaning all of your friends and contacts will be shown these images.
The extortion being extracted isn't only money. In order to keep these private video/pictures off the Internet, the perpetrators in some cases are having their innocent victims perform perverse sex acts on camera for the pleasure of the extortionist.
Sound like it's science fiction or that it can't happen to you. YOU'RE WRONG.
Here's the story of the current 2013 Miss Teen USA, Cassidy Wolf.
About four months ago, Wolf said she received an anonymous e-mail from a stranger saying he was in possession of photos of her that were taken in her bedroom via the webcam on her computer after it was hacked. The person tried to extort her in return for ensuring the photos were not made public.
“I wasn’t aware that somebody was watching me (on my webcam),’’ she said. “The light (on the camera) didn't even go on, so I had no idea.”
Now it's not just beauty queens and models who have been hacked. It's regular people like you and me. And we don't know it.
HUFFPO reports this:
Jared James Abrahams of Temecula surrendered to agents at the FBI office in Orange County to face a charge of extortion that could send him to federal prison for up to two years, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.
That sounds like a pretty light sentence, up to two years for what he did.
Abrahams, a college freshman majoring in computer science, allegedly would use the women's webcams to capture nude images, then send emails threatening to post them on their hacked social media accounts unless they either sent him nude photos, a nude video, or logged onto the Skype video chat service and follow his orders for five minutes.
According to the affidavit, the victims included several women from other countries.
One teenager in Ireland responded to the demands by writing: "Please remember I'm 17. Have a heart," according to the court record.
Abrahams allegedly responded: "I'll tell you this right now! I do NOT have a heart. However, I do stick to my deals. Also age doesn't mean a thing to me!!!"
The girl then allegedly stripped during a Skype session, according to the FBI affidavit. A woman in Canada also stripped, according to the document.
Cyber-crimes are here. They're now. And they could be happening to you and if you don't take precautions, you might not find out until it's too late.
If something like this happens to you, please call the authorities. Here's how to contact them.
Yesterday, Paddy posted in her wonderful Saturday Links an entry that caught my eye:
It just sounded so wacky I had to check it out, and I wasn't disappointed. It's unintentionally hysterical especially to someone of that persuasion. Me. Now, I'm not one to refrain from an occasional foray into postulating what the future might hold. Who knew that I'd live long enough to see some of the things come to fruition that as a kid I thought were pure Jules Verne?
I mean my childhood fantasies of the future have now come true in so many ways: personal computers, self-driving cars, cell phones that show you television shows, microwaves, voice controlled everything.
Admittedly it doesn't take a whole lot to impress me with the future. I was really excited when they came out years ago with the "Pocket Fisherman" -- a collapsible fishing rod from Ron Popiel? Remember him? Well now that we have the Google Glass Jew, I'm wondering what's next. A self-conversion circumcision app? One snip and you're a Jew? Yikes.
Well, close. In a few weeks, Reince Priebus, on behalf of the RNC, is going to announce the latest, newest and most innovative app yet -- Google Glass GOP!
It's Google Glasses that allows you to see things the way a Republican would see them. You could say they're one step forward and two leaps back.
I got to wondering what the world would look like. So I contacted a friend over at Google who's in the R & D division and he's sending me a pair. While I was waiting, I closed my eyes and got to imaging -- It started with some wavy music, fluttering light, and then I was magically transported to the future...with me wearing my Google Glasses GOP.
It's a sunny day. Well, we're led to believe it's sunny. The pollution is so thick that sans your glasses and their auto day/night vision setting, you can't actually tell if its day or night. Without any EPA regulations to get in our way, air quality is now measured in how many fingers you can make out in front of your face. Telling day from night requires you to carry a watch, illuminated with radioactive waste from one of the unregulated fracking polluted lakes or discarded nuclear waste from processing runoffs. It's cheap because there's such an abundance of it. But the good news is it's free. Just run tap water over the watch, assuming you have a tap to use, and it'll glow for hundreds of years.
As you continue on your way, your Google Glass GOP will warn you of falling birds dying in mid-flight because of the pollution. Those mutated, three headed pigeons are really messy and hurt when they hit you. Beware.
Anyway, Google Glass GOP will help you avoid nasty potholes and broken concrete sidewalks as you stroll along the deserted boulevards passed boarded up storefronts of failed concerns, victims or deregulation.
Google Glass GOP does help you avoid discarded businesses whenever possible. And should you be forced to pass one of these boarded up, out of business establishments, Google Glass GOP does let you tap a button allowing you to see what the buildings and business did look like back in their heyday which is sure to stir many a happy memory.
You find yourself hungry. Have no fear. Google Glass GOP will direct you to the closest hobo village and encampment. There you'll be able to trade whatever you still have left from your foreclosed home and bankruptcy from student loan debt to join in the mass civilian handouts found by Freeganists. You might know them as organized dumpster divers who share what scraps the Wall Streeters and other 2-percenters have discarded. Sometimes there's even a new Gucci sweater that's only been worn once by a high ranking "Too Big To Fail" corporate boss. Google Glass GOP can identify that for you.
You're never far from another "White Zone Only" community. Google Glass GOP will guide you to a security zone. If you can prove that you're White, Christian, straight, male, and have no compassion, you'll be granted entrance to GOPania, the Nirvana of American life. But you'll be facing random police checks. Questions about how you'd demean a woman, a gay person, a minority or anyone with open thoughts will flash over your Google GOP Glass and your access to free passage will be determined by your answers. You might even face incarceration without any notice should your responses not match up with those of the Supreme GOP Ruler -- Emperor Limbaugh. All hail Rush.
Life is heaven if you're wearing rose colored, Google Glass GOP. If you want the experience of your lifetime, you'll give anything for a chance to see life the way it's supposed to be. Special options include showing you your unborn child all gown up, should you have wished for one of those long outlawed procedures called an abortion. If ever that thought crossed into your mind, Google Glass GOP will immediately show you a video of your adult child saving your life from a burning fire, carrying you to safety from the conflagration. That's made possible because there will be no more fire departments with the closing down of the government and all of it's supported services. Lucky for you, Google Glass GOP steers you away from so many mistakes.
Face it, the future holds great things. And you can have them now, if you'll just close your mind to any rational thinking, put a smile on your face and grab yourself a pair of Google Glass GOP.
Oh, I was kidding about the self-circumcision app. In the GOP Glasses land, there aren't any Jews. By banning them, out goes circumcision and along with it, that outdated, barbaric unnecessary regulation. Men of the future, it looks like turtle-neck sweaters will be back in vogue.
Well, technically 2013 is more than half over. And we've seen a lot. Some of it good. But in the Political Carnival's never-ending search to bring you balanced reporting and commentary, we also like to share often attempted success with occasional monumental failures.
Go grab some popcorn and a beverage because you won't want to get up and leave the screen. Maybe even close the door and shut the windows because you don't want to disturb your friends, family and neighbors as you howl in laughter as these epic fails. So now, as Paul Harvey would say, "Here's the rest of the story."
Meet Reggie Walton, the complicated guy in charge of FISA, the secret court. Well, FISA isn't exactly a secret, but their actions are, for the most part, kept separate from public scurrility. This court is the one who says whether or not the burden of proof has been met by the government to spy on you. We need someone to check on the Big Brother and these are the folks who are entrusted to do so. And Reggie's their boss.
According to Jacob Fischler:
Reggie Walton is the Presiding Judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, whose 11 members are appointed directly by the chief justice of the Supreme Court. With all of the Edward Snowden talk about spying and the spotlight on the collection of telephone numbers and emails tagged by the National Security Agency this Court, ithas created huge interest because they are the secret body giving the National Security Agency it's power.
So who's this guy running things -- the John Roberts under the "invisible robes?" Not a lot is know about him but some information has been gathered. He is colorful, if nothing else. And if his past actions are any indication of his mind set, he's perhaps more of worthy of the title of maverick than good ol' John McCain.
Here's some high and low lights.
Well, that sounds relatively benign, perhaps a bit conservative for my tastes, but it's not my tastes this court was set up to please. It's the American public and our bill of rights, specifically our first and fourth amendments.
What you might find interesting though is he's a criminal. As a poor, young Pennsylvanian, a young Walton found himself on the wrong side of the judge’s bench on more than one occasion. According to Walton, while “admittedly, on a couple of occasions, I wasn’t falsely accused” of a crime, in a number of instances he was. His phraseology, "I wasn't falsely accused" indicates he was self-professed guilty, and I like that he's honest. We all made mistakes and he's human. That's a good quality in a jurist. Perhaps that's why he's demonstrated a willingness to push back against what he believes to be bad policy or illegal efforts by law enforcement
As a federal prosecutor in Philadelphia, Walton pushed unsuccessfully for less of a focus on incarceration for drug offenders. In the 1990s, he did lock horns with the U.S. Attorney’s office in Washington, which he viewed as bending the rules in order to win cases. While yes, we have an obligation to vigorously prosecute people, we don’t do it at all costs," he was quoted as saying.
Hopefully that's in insight to Judge Walton's ruling style. He doesn't seem the type who would rubber stamp the DOJ’s requests.
His clerks have warned, though, as for the question of transparency and greater public scrutiny of the court’s activities, don’t look for Walton to become a champion of openness. Walton said that there are certain circumstances under which judges on his court can release their opinions and committed to ensuring they know of those opportunities. But Walton is clearly not going to push the boundaries of the classification process, bluntly warning Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Diane Feinstein that “I would not anticipate many such cases given the fact-intensive nature of [these] opinions.”
Time will tell. But at least we now know a bit more about the leader of the gang that determines our privacy. Putting that in the open is stage one.
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Lt. Col Barry Wingard is the lawyer for Gitmo detainee Fayiz Al-Kandari. For their ongoing story + related topics, please click on the link below:
Kuwaiti Citizen Detained at Guantanamo since 2002
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