Press Release (RP)

Sochi, Krasnodar Krai (RP) - The now-disbanded "Voting Integrity Commission" launched by the Trump administration uncovered no evidence to support claims of major voter fraud, according to an analysis of administration documents released Friday. Once translated into English, the documents revealed that the highly-touted team, led by Russian mathematician Gregor Yukuvlevich Perlman, discussed the possibilities for over an hour at each of the bimonthly meetings that ran from January through March in the picturesque resort town overlooking the Black Sea.

The conclusion that no major fraud occurred seems to have left a void of information about whether minor voter fraud occurred, what the difference between major and minor voter fraud might be and how well major and minor translate into Russian. When questioned about this discrepancy the translator had to excuse herself for personal reasons, and Perlman - whose ability to speak English tends to fluctuate - was unable to effectively communicate well enough to finish the press conference.

Washington, DC (RP) - A "Federal Commission on School Safety" has been launched by the Trump administration in response to the increasing number of tragedies involving guns, students and teachers. Department of Education Chief Betsy DeVos announced that the newly-formed commission will not look at the role of guns in school violence, disregarding the fact that so far in 2018, at the rate of one incident per week, school shootings have caused the death of at least thirty-seven students and adults, as well as at least thirty-one serious injuries.

The Education Honcho also is seeking to eliminate 29 discretionary programs and declares that "our commitment to spending taxpayer dollars wisely and efficiently by consolidating and eliminating duplicative and ineffective federal programs that are better handled at the state or local level." In other words, 'Instead of working to make education more effective by consolidating and standardizing and regulating our nation's education at the national level, I choose to continue to cop out, put my head in the sand, be a traitor to the very concept of education and admit that dutifully doing the job I am being paid to do is way beyond me or anyone on my team.'

Menlo Park, CA (RP) - Mark Zuckerberg was admitted into Stanford Hospital today suffering from stress-induced heart palpitations after an historic and impassioned plea from President Obama has reduced traffic on facebook by more than half! In his twenty-minute address on national TV, President Obama masterfully explained how the Russians were able to affect our last election and how they might be planning to again interfere in what may be the most important election in our nation's history.

Our forty-fourth president also detailed how Zuckerberg and others have amassed fortunes by duping America and the world into being his product, for which he pays nothing, while selling them and selling to them. Obama's pleas to not log into facebook at least until after the election have hit home with a large percentage of the electorate, leaving facebook personnel reeling, as this company built on little more than air and an idea possesses nothing tangible upon which to stand.

NYC, NY (RP) - Roger Goodell delivered his "State of the League" address yesterday, emphasizing the strength and health of the NFL. The bewildered Commissioner focused on player safety, claiming "We can remove the violence from an inherently violent game without adversely affecting the product", comparing the negligibly noticeable difference between drinking a non-alcoholic beer and imbibing in your favorite draught. This, about a game in which one of the primary goals is to hurl a participant to the ground against their will.

Goodell also defended his continued attempts to place a team in London in hope of securing his legacy as the Commissioner that made football a global sport, despite the clear indications that Europe loves soccer, few NFL players want to live in England, the 'N' in 'NFL' stands for 'National' or that the sport -while still popular - is clearly in decline, making further expansion a fool's game.

Washington, DC (RP) - Protests unlike any we have seen since the days of Nixon hiding in his office and peering at America's youth through parted curtains continue in DC as thousands of demonstrators chanted "Real News. Fake President." The group repeated the mantra for close to twelve non-stop hours today before finally breaking for the evening.

An eerie feeling of a creepy Halloween tinted the day, as trump masks, memes, altered photos and a wave of orange wigs dotted and decorated the landscape. It was reported that upon viewing the uprising the president's initial response was to claim a win for himself, seeing it as a sign that America unmistakably loves him and his hair! Accordingly, plans to construct a one-panel White House Walk of Fame with a new bigger star commemorating trump's achievements during and before his time in the White House were quickly drawn and funded; construction has begun.

Just Login

"Just login to our system." A very common demand these days. You can't get a mortgage or buy a toy or receive medical care without creating an account and logging in. It sounds reasonable, but is it?

Entering your life's data into any system is risky, as we are repeatedly reminded by the steady stream of news reports about hackings that assurances about the safety and security of your data are mere rhetoric, no matter the company or organization. Demanding that you to login to a system assumes that you are willing to take a huge leap of faith, and trust that:
  • the system is well-built and supported,
  • the people administering the system are highly skilled, and that
  • state-of-the-art security measures (ineffective as they may be) are in place and the people administering them are highly skilled.
This is like asking you to jump off a cliff based on a stranger's assurances that "it'll be OK". In the first place, systems come and systems go. Systems can be well planned and constructed by groups of seasoned programmers and User Interface Specialists, and they can be dreamt up and put together by a dude in a room with a coffee pot and a goldfish named 'Shiny'.

The fact that someone working for the company with which you want to do business or must do business chose a 'system' doesn't begin to mean that it is well-built or easy-to-use.

Secondly, you probably know an IT professional. Is she perfect? Does he get high? Does she ever have a bad day or a poor night's sleep or take a sick day? Any computer system is only as flawless, secure and infallible as the people administering it; that is to say no software system or online application is flawless, secure or infallible.

The point is, that it's rude. When you crack the nut and separate the meat from the shell, what we are being told is: Give us all the data you have - data that if misappropriated can be used to absolutely ruin your life - and put it in this system that we were told is reliable (but we don't really know, not being programmers) so we can store it in an unspecified database on an unspecified server behind unspecified security measures, all of which are administered by people sharing unspecified qualifications and certifications, if any, as there are no state or federal regulations or standards for these positions. And it is presented without option or conversation, politely but firmly letting us know that we can either "just login" or surf on down the internet and find another company with which to do business; a company that will undoubtedly demand that you just login to their system.

Though life without screens and software may seem hard to imagine (or remember), it has been less than twenty-five years since Windows 95 freed us from having to load DOS first, and we are still developing rules, procedures and etiquettes surrounding their use. Businesses will do what is easiest and most cost-effective, inevitably at the expense of the consumer, until the consumer pushes back. Hey Consumers! Wake up! Time to give it a shove!

At the very least, before asking a customer / client / patient to "just login", it would be polite and considerate for businesses to inform the consumer of the required use of the system and provide them with information about the system and the company that developed the system, including a link to their website.

When instructed to "just login", REPLY with two questions:
  1. Will you please provide me with information about this system?
  2. If I create an account in this system, will my data be stored securely, and if so, how?
Or in the vernacular, "Can I al least take a look before I agree to marry him?"

You will undoubtedly get responses like, "We can't share that information", "I don't know", "yes, it is secure", "the system is called Joe's System", and other evasive, non-answers - mostly because no one has asked before and they either sincerely don't know and/or don't want to be bothered. But do not relent fellow Consumers! These are reasonable questions and there is nothing preventing any business from answering them except lack of knowledge, stubbornness or arrogance. Your IT buddy will verify that.

Remember that your data is yours. No one has a right to it. And it is valuable. You wouldn't just hand over your wedding ring or watch or car simply because someone asked, and those things are specs of sand compared to the diamond that is your data. Protect it greedily and stubbornly. Distribute it sparingly and only when justifiably required. Remember that you do have a choice the next time a screen implores you to "just login to our system."

A graduate of Portland State University, Steve (Reeno) Kloser is the author of Beginning Band - A Guide to Success and Let's Make Music - Classroom Recorder Course. He is also an accomplished teacher, conductor and composer, having penned numerous pieces including La Vida and Fly With Me.

Teacher, cook, Packers fan and proud American, Reeno's usually slanted outlook often presents an unlikely perspective on issues old and new.

Reeno currently lives in Portland, OR.

Follow Reeno on Twitter

Some Will Go To College - All Will Go Through Life complete as a .pdf
School is for Winning
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