Thursday, March 26, 2020


"When are we ever gonna have to use this?"

As a teacher, my math students used to ask me that question frequently when they couldn't see an immediate application for a skill in their lives.

I wish that more of you had paid attention when your teachers had presented simple statistics (mean, median, mode, and range) because it might help you have a better grasp of what is occurring with COVID-19.

Let me reteach you now using the data from where I live.

St Lucie County lies directly to the north of me:

You might not think that 9 cases is much, but lets examine the range (the actual lowest and highest values in a set of data).

A 19 year old and a 77 year old have contracted the disease. Two days ago the lowest value in the range was 24. So that means that we know three of the 9 data pieces - 19, 24, and 77.

Many of you should be concerned that two out of nine victims are under the age of 65 (the lower value of the range that used to be considered "at risk").

Average? Add up all the values and divide by how many there are.

Well, we don't know six of the numbers, but a little algebra can give us an idea. Using the letters a through f to represent the ages of the six unknowns, we can write the following equation:

(19 + 24 + a + b + c + d + e + f + 77)/9 = 46

Then we work to solve it as follows:

(120 + a + b + c + d + e + f)/9 = 46 (add the three ages we know)
(120 + a + b + c + d + e + f) = 414 (multiply each sides by 9)
(a + b + c + d + e + f) = 294 (subtract 120 from each side)
Now we use a little creativity. We will pretend that the remaining ages are all the same to get a closer estimate.

6a =294
a = 49

What this means is that the remaining six people are clustered around the age of 49. 

Remember that the youngest two are 19 and 24, and the oldest one is 77. So any pairs of two ages must average out to 49 (example 25 and 73, 26 and 72, 27 and 71, etc). 

This closer look demonstrates that the majority of the cases in St. Lucie County are under the age of 49 - which lands them in a group that previously was not considered at risk.

With a little bit more insight into the statistics, look at this morning's snapshot of Palm Beach County to the south.

Once again, the average age is 49 (which means around half of those diagnosed are under the age of 49). But what is more troubling is that the range is 6 to 88.

Six?? Children were supposed to be at low risk for this illness. 

But consider this - if a child gets sick, even with mild symptoms, they have lowered immunity. 

Lowered immunity means that if the child is exposed to other conditions - strep throat, staff infections, other bacterial or viral infections, they are far more likely to get a secondary illness.

Yes, school is out indefinitely and many people are beginning to appreciate the job that teachers do for 180+ days a year, but that doesn't mean you should entertain your children by taking them out into an environment that is a health risk.

Now that you have a better grasp of the math for these simple statistics, look at Martin County. Follow the example from Palm Beach County and see if you can extrapolate (predict) the ages of the diagnosed cases.

Are you there yet?

Approximately half of those cases are under the age of 58. Yet initially the high risk age group began at 65.

Why the difference for all these counties? Failure to take the health threat seriously. Even worse, behaving in a way that directly countermands the safe guidelines.

"It's hot enough to kill the virus!" Really? Human body temperature is around 98.6 degrees, more or less. When is the last time the temperature got that hot for a even an hour  or two (much less a few days)? 

Indicators are that this virus prefers hard/non-porous surfaces (like boats, jet skis, "refreshment" bottles and cups and cans) get the idea.

Let me ask the question differently. 

I'm not asking if you are willing to stay home for 15 days. 

I'm asking if you think 15 days staying home is a reasonable price to pay for the life of your grandparents, parents, elderly aunts and uncles, young family members. 

Can you give up two weeks to help ensure that you aren't the person who inadvertently causes the death of another?

Now that you know this isn't just an "old person's problem", are you willing to temporarily change your behaviors?

Do the math for yourself. It's not hard to figure out!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Homegrown Terrorism

Less than 50 miles from the Southern White house at Mar-a-Lago lies an independently functioning cell of the biggest terrorist threat to this country.

If you listen to Fox and Friends, they had a broadcast from the Lighthouse Diner on US 1 in Tequesta, just 30 miles up the road from Mar-a-Lago and a mere 15 miles away from this particular terrorist cell.

None of the security for either of these knows that the threat is so close, because it has become background noise in our society.

The operatives in this terrorist organization are from all walks of life. They are both citizens and immigrants, legal or otherwise. They are from all races, religions, and orientations. There is no quantifying them under a single demographic that can be targeted and wiped out.

Illegal drugs and the culture it propagates is destroying American society faster than any outside enemy possibly could.

At this point, you might be thinking to yourself that "terrorism" isn't the correct word, after all, we have already publically acknowledged that we have a drug "epidemic" or "crisis" or "problem". Shouldn't terrorism be reserved for describing extreme threats?

If you are of this mindset, you obviously have never had a family member, friend, or loved one become a front line victim of drugs.

Examine the first four definitions of terror from Merriam-Webster and you will find that they all apply to this situation. (Click link here.)

a state of intense or overwhelming fear; violence or the threat of violence used as a weapon of intimidation or coercion; a very frightening or terrifying aspect; someone or something that inspires fear

The addict lives constantly at this level of fear - wondering if they will be discovered, where to get the money for the next fix, whether the next fix will kill them, whether the dealers they owe money to will kill them, whether they will end up incarcerated, wondering how long they will be in withdrawal until they get their next fix.

The families of the addict dwell in this zone, once they learn about the addiction - scared that they will find the addict dead, frightened of the drug paraphernalia that the addict leaves around, worried about the repercussions from the dealers, trapped in the cycle of constant requests for money, frightened to discover theft of valuables that the addict sells, pawns, or trades for drugs.

The dealers themselves are the terrorists, the source of the fear for the users as well as their friends and families. Often, they capitalize on the slowly expiring love and loyalty that friends and family have for the addict. They actively threaten harm to the addict to squeeze more money out of the friends and family. They threaten harm to the family to coerce the addict into theft or dealing drugs.

Even the recovering addict lives in a state of anxiety and fear, much of it caused by our society. Once they get clean, they often are unable to gain employment which leaves them unable to provide for themselves or their families. They have restricted access to ongoing support systems because of a shortage in our healthcare system. Nobody will trust them - not employers, not friends, not family. Each time they fall, it becomes easier and easier for them to relapse - it is a vicious cycle.

Once you actually have someone close to you become involved in drugs, you learn just how pervasive the fear is, dwarfing the threats that appear in news blurbs.

These terrorist acts are occurring every day, every hour, every minute, under our noses. And the impact is going significantly unreported.

Our society sweeps it under the rug. Obituaries list "sudden death" rather than "drug overdose". Wealthy families hide the addict in costly rehabs and send them on extended vacations. Middle class families use all their healthcare resources on detox and rehab until the money runs out. Poor families hope that law enforcement will take the addict off their hands.

There are homeless people living in tents and shacks in the woods all over this country, existing at panhandling and working as day laborers long enough to get the money for their next fix.

We are spending millions of dollars and countless resources taking out "high profile" targets that are a "credible threat".

We are spending millions of dollars of United States money battling "outside threats" from other countries.

We are spending millions of dollars of taxpayer money waging political infighting battles.

But we aren't even spending a fraction of that to combat this home grown terrorist threat.

There aren't enough treatment facilities.

There aren't enough employers who will give a recovering addict a fighting chance.

There isn't enough money or latitude for law enforcement to make tactical strikes on the bases of these terrorists on a routine basis.

We don't need to worry about another country "taking down" our society, we are allowing it to happen from within.

Time to refocus and channel all our energy, resources, and money towards breaking the hold of these terrorists on our citizens and freeing them to once again have the quality of life they deserve.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

What is the TRUE Cost?

I've watched (sporadically) the political inter- and intra-party fighting for several years now with increasing levels of disgust.

This issue isn't just isolated to a single political party - all of the parties and their individual members indulge their over-inflated egos with this chicanery (Conservative, Democrat, Green, Independent, Liberal, Republican, Working Family, etc).

The sociological and psychological harm has been well-documented in the media (accompanied by an elementary school level finger pointing from all stakeholders involved who justify their behavior with a "He/she started it!" allegation).

Meanwhile, there is a marked lack of civility growing nationwide and the sense by many individuals that their personal wishes, whims, and dreams are far more important than the rights of others or any sort of moral imperative.

But what has not been addressed at any point is the actual monetary cost of this nonsense.

I am calling out for a full accounting of the comprehensive dollar amount spent over the past ten years on investigations, hearings, trials, arrests, incarcerations, and any other related actions initiated by any one political party or its members against any other political party or its members.

To be more specific, that accounting should include (but not be limited to) the following:

  • The governmental salary of any individual involved (including but not limited to elected officials and their support staff) based on the percentage of time spent on these activities;
  • The cost of facilities and maintenance (including but not limited to utility bills, custodial fees, and other maintenance) based on the percentage of time utilized for these activities;
  • The cost of materials (including but not limited to office supplies, equipment, etc) utilized for these activities;
  • The cost of media (including but not limited to television commercials, interviews, videos, audio recordings, etc) utilized for these activities; and
  • A full accounting of the total number of hours expended on these activities.
The public should be privy to a complete, open, and honest reporting on how our government is actually spending our time and money, since they are elected officials that should be serving PUBLIC not personal interest.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Why did the chicken cross the road?

To become a judge.

Who wouldn't? 

Once you get in, you're basically there for life, able to indulge yourself with all of your pet peeves and biases. 

Guaranteed pay - no worries about having to secure clients or rely on assigned counsel. 

Healthcare. Pension. Easy hours. (Less than a 40 hour work week most of the time.) Guaranteed vacations. All state and federal holidays off. 

And you don't even have to work much while "at work" - a staff of clerks and court personnel to manage all the paperwork and even write your decisions for you. (About the only thing you might have to do yourself is wipe your butt.)

It used to be said of teachers - "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach."

I assert that this more accurately describes judges. If a practitioner of the law were truly successful, they would be practicing. 

But that takes initiative, perseverance, confidence, charisma, and intelligence. 

These are qualities sorely lacking in many judges. Yet the mediocrity characteristic in the judiciary gets rewarded. 

If you play the game, you get "promoted" - being moved to progressively higher levels of court.

It would be great if all of us could score this type of employment - who wouldn't want to "work" without doing anything?

But this is one of the reasons that there are so many complaints about the justice system and the judiciary - after all, at this point most decisions handed down are subject to the whims and foibles of these mediocre malcontents.

Do the research for yourself, don't take my word for it!

Six Degrees (or less) of Separation

Since the chatterverse (FB, Twitter, etc) has been in full gear about Jefferson County, NY lately, maybe a history lesson is in order.

Arthur Shawcross is the focal point, at least as far as I know.

Back in 1972, Jack Blake was one of my 5th grade classmates at Wiley School in Watertown, NY. He was the first verifiable victim of Arthur Shawcross. Jack had a magnetic personality - mischievious with strong leadership qualities. We (his classmates) only knew that he went missing from school soon after our class picnic at Thompson Park. And then the following fall, our teacher explained that he had been murdered and gave us a redacted version of what had happened.

But Arthur Shawcross was never convicted of Jack's murder. He was only charged with the death of his second victim, Karen Ann Hill from Rochester. The district attorney at the time was Hugh Gilbert, the Assistant District Attorney was Bill McCluskey. (If that last name sounds familiar, keep reading.) According to some reports, Bill McCluskey was the one who struck a deal that allowed this miscarriage of justice.

Flash forward to 9th grade - our classmates due to graduate together included Leo McCluskey (yes, same name as the ADA for Jack Blake's murder because he is Bill McCluskey's son). Leo broke into the home of Dr. David (Sandy) Gregor and stole a handgun, but somehow forgot the ammo or didn't know how to use it properly. Leo then went down the street to the home of now Judge Hugh Gilbert, and strangled Holly Gilbert, Hugh Gilbert's wife, with a pair of her pantyhose.

Arthur Shawcross was released from prison in 1987 - the same year I started my first professional careeer. During that career, I had multiple encounters with and interactions with multiple members of the Shawcross family.

Bill McCluskey had other children besides Leo, he had twin sons, one of whom is now a judge in Jefferson County, NY.

Isn't life odd the way things circle around?

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Castle Doctrine and

Picture this:

You and a close friend have a turbulent parting of the ways, and during the divide, one of their monogrammed items is left inside your house.

Rather than contacting you and making arrangements for the return of the item, they break into your home, change all the locks, and implement a code based security system for entry.

Once they have taken over your home, they decide that anything in your house is theirs.

You contact the appropriate authorities, and after investigating, they inform you that your friend was well within their rights, since it is their monogrammed item.

However, the monogram is merely initials, and doesn’t even specify your former friend’s name.

A similar episode just happened to me recently.

My GoDaddy account was hacked by a former business/relationship, simply because he didn’t want to request a transfer of a domain which theoretically names his business.

However the name is not unique or uncommon, and even his IT professional who runs the network and VoIP phones for his company has said that the domain is NOT the one used by the company in print, social media, printed company materials,and advertising.

Once inside my account, he has claimed that he has full rights to the other domains within the account, as well as all the account records dating back years before we developed any type of relationship.

GoDaddy’s response has been equally culpable, to say the least. They not only allowed him access to my account, they have failed to reinstate my ownership.

Additionally, they have failed to turn over any of the other domains that I held in the account.

Apparently they don’t care about legalities, non-tangible possessions, or failure to obey telecommunications law.

All GoDaddy is focused on is soaking up as much money as they can from their users. And they saw an easy mark in this guy.

He actually bragged about “spending a few hundred dollars” after one phone conversation with GoDaddy customer service.

No wonder they are aiding and abetting a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(2) and 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(4), after all, more money for them.

He is gullible to say the least, and believes anything even a barely adequate salesman tells him, so he is an easy mark for the seasoned professionals at GoDaddy.

My thoughts? A person’s home is their castle and they have the right to defend it - so I am enlisting the assistance of law enforcement at all levels possible.

What’s mine is mine, and not his to illegally seize, especially when he never made the appropriate request for transfer of the domain in question.

Normally, extreme measures are left for when you have exhausted all remedies on an increasing basis with no results. Apparently the policies in place at GoDaddy are mere “window dressing” and aren’t even taken seriously by their own employees.

That’s okay, break USC and it can be referred to Federal agencies such as DOJ and FBI. And since I actually did follow all the protocols requested by GoDaddy, with no results, escalation is a natural consequence.

Let the chips fall where they may.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Delta is the New United

What are some of United Airlines claim to fame in recent years?

  • Overheating infants to the point of hospitalization by flight delays.
  • Pushing elderly people to the ground.
  • Losing pets, mixing them up and sending them across the globe, or actually killing the pets.
  • Literally stealing a toddler's seat and reselling what had already been paid for.
  • Assaulting a doctor and forcibly removing him from a flight in favor of airline employees.
  • Threatening to cancel flights when customers record incidents.
  • Imposing dress codes on the fly to ban passengers using benefits.

All these are incidents that made headlines for United Airlines, and made people realize that even though they paid money for a service, the employees can act capriciously and make false claims to deny even paid customers access to flights.

Well move over United - Delta Airlines is taking a page out of your poor customer service handbook!

On Sunday I was flying to West Palm Beach, FL from Syracuse, NY and was treated to an example of this nonsense.

I have been a TSA PreCheck traveler for over two years, and have frequent flyer accounts set up for all the major airlines that include my Trusted Traveler Number.

When  I examined my boarding pass in the Delta app, I realized that somehow the TSA precheck hadn't been issued on my flight.

En route to the airport, I called Delta to correct the situation - something I had previously done on several occasions with American Airlines, successfully I might add.

Imagine my surprise when the online agent told me that I would have to "check in again" on the app in order to get the boarding passes fixed.

Even more amazing - this was the message that I got from the app for my flight. Needles to say, my boarding passes had completely disappeared from the app and I was unable to retrieve them.

When I informed the online agent of this issue, she told me that I would be able to print them at the self-service kiosk or with the agent at the counter.

For those of you wondering why this was an issue - you cannot go through TSA without a valid boarding pass, which the Delta online agent had managed to delete from my app.

Guess what...the advice the online agent gave me did NOT work!

The kiosk gave me the same message as my app.

When I tried to get assistance from an agent at the counter (three of them were chit-chatting with each other and not paying attention to whether customers needed assistance) I was also in for disappointment.

I had to loudly say "I beg your pardon! Could someone print my boarding passes?" before I got any of them to notice me.

Meanwhile, time was running short.

The agent who reluctantly agreed to help me listened to the problem, and then told me that he "wasn't allowed to print boarding passes".

I once again explained that a Delta online agent had deleted my boarding passes from the app and that I wouldn't be able to go through TSA without them, and he said "Why didn't you just go through without TSA PreCheck?"

Somehow he didn't comprehend that a Delta agent deleting my boarding passes meant that I wouldn't be able to get through TSA at all.

I asked him if he realized that not having boarding passes was a problem, and once again asked him to print my boarding passes as the online agent had deleted them.

He said he would call upstairs and ask for permission, but stated that he "Didn't have to print them."

After he called and printed them and handed them to me, he stated "The door closes in 10 minutes, so you'd better hurry," and I held back on the obvious - that he had taken more than 10 minutes to provide any customer service...add on the kiosk failure time and we were up to 15+ minutes of delay BY DELTA!

As I left, I stated "I have never had to deal with this shit from American Airlines," which led to the agent telling me "Don't swear at me or we don't have to let you fly!"

Nice! Apparently these days you aren't allowed to offer a critique of failed customer service without the airlines denying you travel.

When I went upstairs, the gate agent told me that "I didn't have to allow your boarding passes to be printed!" and "I don't have to let you fly because you swore at my agent downstairs!" and he followed me halfway down the boarding ramp repeating those phrases.

Meanwhile, not only wasn't I able to recover my initial flight boarding pass, I couldn't recover the connecting flight boarding pass through the app or via computer.

So, let's clarify the situation:

  1. In the past I have called American Airlines and had my TSA PreCheck number added and my boarding passes reissued via the app with no problems whatsoever.
  2. I called Delta Airlines and attempted to have my TSA PreCheck added which reuslted in a Delta Airlines agent deleting my boarding passes.
  3. The app would not allow me to recover the boarding passes.
  4. The self-service kiosk would not allow me to print the boarding passes.
  5. The desk agent initially refused to print the boarding passes, and then threatened to not let me fly.
  6. The gate agent threatened to not let me fly.
  7. Delta followed up by asking me to complete a survey...seriously?
If I worked at Delta Airlines management/customer service I would be far more concerned about the following issues:
  • Why did the online agent delete the boarding passes?
  • Why did the online agent not realize that there would be an issue with the kiosk or the desk agent?
  • Why did the desk agent not willingly and cheerfully print the boarding passes without arguing?
  • Why is it "wrong" to give a critique of customer service that involves an accurate description of the process?
Frankly, what I went through with Delta was a load of crap...feces...excrement...shit! They were at fault in the process and failed to remedy the situation in a timely and stress free manner for the customer.

My recommendation? Don't fly Delta Airlines unless you have no other options!