Dear Jean: You’re a Horrible Person

Abandoned puppy

Abandoned puppy

No doubt about it, Jean [Redacted] is a horrible, horrible person. How do we know that?

Lunachyq told us.

Lunachyq, a pet-centric blogger at WordPress.com, told us all about how Jean abandoned Cocoa, her sweet-natured pet of 12 years, at a kill shelter rather than drive 20 minutes to drop her off at a no-kill shelter. How Jean claimed she was giving her up only because of limited funds and a move to a no-pets apartment.

How Jean left out the bit about the tumors.

Here’s the thing, Jean.  Oh, I didn’t ask if I could call you Jean but I’m going to.  Or I could call you a number of other names, none of which you’d like very much.   When I saw Cocoa’s picture on the animal control website, when I saw that grey muzzle and read the description stating that her people of 12 years, her family, had surrendered her to the pound, it broke my heart.

Jean, I once had a dog that was so ornery she got in trouble for biting a kid on the butt because he’d been tugging her ears.  When the city quarantined my dog for 48 hours, I was fully prepared to leave my home, leave school, leave everything in the dead of night, everything except my dog.  I was going to Thelma and Louise our asses right out of town.  I wasn’t playing.   Because that’s how I roll.  No dog left behind, Jean.

So when I saw that picture of Cocoa, I just couldn’t understand why someone would dump a family member.   And my empathy for that dog consumed me, until I made yet another rash decision and I rushed to the pound to adopt her.

If the Google-Maps-Finds-Stray-Dog-a-Home story has you sniffling, prepare to lose your shit entirely at the rest of the letter. I’m afraid this story doesn’t have a happy ending, but if the Internet gets its way, there won’t be one for Jean either.

Posted Sept. 10, Lunachyq’s letter has already been shared more than 10,000 times to Facebook, has 475 comments, and 165 Likes on WordPress. The Internet may be made of cats, but it’s clear that dogs are also very close to its heart.

Photo via Mario Klingemann/Flickr

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Operation Global Media Domination: The Barrett Brown Situation

Barrett Brown Busted

Barrett Brown Busted

That glum-looking fellow is Barrett Brown: author, journalist, YouTube extraordinaire (really), Anonymous member, and fameball. At that moment, he had plenty to look glum about, having been arrested on a small sampler pack of charges which quickly grew into a basket-crushing potential 110 years in prison for, essentially, shooting off his mouth on YouTube and passing along a link in an IRC. He’s been in pretrial custody with no bail for nearly a year, and he’s about to go to actual real trial as opposed to pretrial hearings, about which we’ve all heard too much lately, particularly if we’ve also been following Jeremy Hammond and Sabu, which we have. For a living.

Yeah, not exactly what the guidance counselor suggested in high school as a career choice, but oh well.

I’ve covered his case(s) several times for the Daily Dot and this blog, and today there was a hearing to decide if the actual trial would be the subject of a media blackout; in other words, Barrett is prevented from speaking to the media about any aspect of his case, or even any topic that might touch on it. Of course it went through, but of interest to certain inwardly-focused-lately bloggers the defence presented a strong rebuttal which included a list of the influential articles by and about BB.

And guess who wrote two of them?

Arrested Anonymous Activist Barrett Brown Sends Letter from Prison

Anonymous Spokesman Barrett Brown Faces New Charges

So, on the one hand it’s good to be a part of this. On the other hand, it sucks that the motion was successful and that BB now has to live in the most unnatural-to-him condition of all; the condition of not conveying information. A lot of people have wanted to silence him for a very long time.

Coincidentally (???) WikiLeaks released new SpyFiles, carrying on Brown’s Project PM work of watching the watchers. Nice timing there, Assange.

In unrelated-but-still-work news, it appears that the Syrian Electronic Army isn’t happy just going after news organizations, but is now going after individual reporters who report on them, even favorably. I got a solid tip that a journalist whom I will not name has had some trouble with relentless attempts to control his Twitter account, and of course I’ve been getting increasing numbers of phishing emails for months now, along with the occasional romantic advance from an African woman on Facebook. Today I found some spammer had managed to put yet another Event on my Gcal, which is just, let’s face it, annoying even when a) the time for the pseudo event (“lets be freinds”)  is already past b) I’m a Vancouverite and therefore my solid commitment to attend an event is zero indication of whether or not I will actually attend.

And, just to up the wordcount, I’m going to copy/paste some material that was cut from my article today. Gee, can’t think why.

Anonymous is having a Hamlet-like crisis of conscience over OpSyria, and there is a significant chance that it will end up costing actual human lives, however it’s decided in the end. We spoke to blackplans, a spokesperson for OpSyria, about what Anonymous has, what it will use, and why (for once) they are sitting on something which could very well literally destroy their enemies.

NYPA. The four most important letters in Anonymous stand for: Not Your Private Army, and they remind everyone that the so-called Internet Hate Machine is an unruly, anarchic collective that cannot be pointed like a gun at any target that takes someone’s fancy. Any Operation has to attract and retain enough committed, talented, and energetic people to accomplish its goals, which is why “totally getting back at that kid who was, like, mean to me once” is never going to become an Op.The decision-making process at Anonymous is messy, time-consuming, and self-selecting; if not enough good people show up, the Op fizzles and subsides and the people move on. It’s a natural, if messy process. But once you’ve got good people, they’ve staked out their targets, they’ve made their attacks, and you’ve got the MacGuffin (documents proving identity, control of a database, a botnet that can DDoS a website into oblivion, or as in OpSyria’s case: all of the above) there is rarely a moment of hesitation. You dump that file, you paste that dox, you fire your lazorz, and then you stick a press release on Pastebin and sit back and laugh as the victim flails helplessly.

Not this time. Here’s what is going down, and why, at OpSyria.

As we reported Tuesday, OpSyria, the anti-Assad operation which includes members of Anonymous along with some non-Anons, claims to have proof of the identities of five key players in the Syrian Electronic Army. Exposing those people, particularly if they happen to be located outside of Syria, would almost certainly mean their targeting and eventual death at the hands of anti-Assad forces, whether the rebel Free Syrian Army or a foreign government that involves itself in the Syrian civil war (as the US may do).

This isn’t hanging out with your friends in front of a Scientology center singing “Never Gonna Give You Up.” It isn’t sitting in your Mom’s basement DDoSing the Pope’s website.

Shit is very, very real.

[at this point you can go to the article to see the majority of the interview. The below and the above were not included]

Blackplans: I have been told to tell we also have evidence of collusion between personnel of the Syrian Embassy in Bucharest and a member of the SEA who resides in Romania. We have found statements by him online to this effect. “I work most of the interrogation .. figures Syrian embassy in Romania in front of you online. Call and ask.” Apologies for the poor translation, this was in response to allegations of disloyalty from another senior SEA member.

Oh, and I will just leave this here…

http://twitter.com/blackplans/statuses/374984867995717632

[presumably they don't feel so bad about alerting Romania to the possible presence of the SEA operative(s) in their midst. I asked for more details and was told no, they couldn't give them to me without completely doxing the person, and they didn't want to do that. I suppose they just wanted to fire a shot across the bow of the SEA as a show of power]

————————————————————————————————————————–

There you have it: An Operation combining Anonymous and anonymous non-Anons is in possession of information that governments around the world have been pursuing for months. If they use it, those people will almost certainly die. If they don’t use it, what was the point of the Operation? To get to the point of pulling the trigger, and then to walk away instead? In a world at war, whether officially or unofficially, that is power beyond that of the state, of any Nation State. Are they ready for it? Is the world ready for it? Is this the end of the SEA as an entity, or will they double down on Assad and strike back somehow at a headless, faceless, stateless anti-organization? And what will they, or their enemies, do to those whose exposure has threatened the SEA itself, whether that information is revealed publicly or not?

It’s not too much to say that the fate of this not-officially-declared-yet cyberwar rests in the hands of Anonymous and its allies. And they do not leave fingerprints.

THEY WALK!

We are fucked, my friends

We are fucked, my friends

What did I say? WHAT DID I SAY?

I said, “We’re all fucked.”

We just got 25% more fucked.

Orcas can fly. Cougars can swim. Meerkats can operate AK-47′s. Raccoons have taken up swordfighting. And now, sharks can walk.

Good luck trying to get back to sleep tonight. THAT is in the ocean off the Moluccas. I swam in that water. That’s what’s down there. And you wonder why I don’t go in the ocean anymore.

Keep Calm and Hail Cthulhu

Keep Calm and Hail Cthulhu

Fast Food, Slow Progress

Can your family survive on fast food worker wages? That’s the question do-gooder icon Mother Jones put to readers recently, and although it’s a cliche, the answer really might surprise you. It might, in fact, horrify you. It sure did me.

Struggles by fast food workers for a living wage have been in the news for some time. Unlike waitstaff in traditional restaurants, they either don’t earn tips or earn negligible amounts ($15 a week was average when I worked for Starbucks twenty years ago).

Minimum wage is survivable provided one has a secure, affordable living situation and guaranteed hours, but guaranteed hours are a rarity in the industry. In the UK, McDonalds has made front page news for its commitment to so-called zero hour contracts which offer the workers anything from no work to overtime, as it suits the employer. Labour MP Andy Sawford responds, “In the ordering of their food they know how to identify customer levels so they cook the right amount, so they could use that same information with staff levels and give employees more certainty.”

This week, fast food workers around the country are set for escalating job action in New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit, Milwaukee, Kansas City and Flint, demanding a wage of $15 an hour and the right to unionize without management interference. The actions are supported and coordinated by the Service Employees International Union. “We are slowly dying,” striker Terrence Wise told Democracy Now.

So what does it actually take to live on a fast food salary, if the right wing media is to be believed and granting the wage increase would cripple the nation’s Happy Meal capability, leading to a dangerous international burger imbalance?

The Mother Jones calculator queries your household size (just me and the cats, but they’re big eaters), your state (Canuckistan, but I picked Washington because, well, I’ve been there and it looks a lot like Vancouver), your city (provided your household is larger than one; singles it seems can fit in anywhere), and how much you make in a year (good question; I estimated $30,000 this year). Then it spits out a rather shocking statistic.

To earn $30,000 a year working as a fast food worker, I’d have to work 64 hours a week. The average number of hours a fast food employee receives is less than 25, and I have seven years at Starbucks that confirm it.

A household like yours in Washington needs to earn $18,245 annually to make a secure yet modest living. A fast-food worker working full time would have to earn $8.74 an hour to make that much.

The average fast-food employee works less than 25 hours a week. To make a living wage in Washington at current median wages, s/he would have to work 39 hours a week.

In 39 hours, McDonald’s serves 112,125,000 customers and makes $122,394,480. That’s about 30,598,620 Big Macs.

As author Barbara Ehrenreich pointed out in her book Nickel and Dimed, while companies repeatedly claim their employees like the flexibility of the scheduling, interviews with the actual employees indicate a labor force that would prefer standardized hours, preferably full time. With an increasing proportion of breadwinners vs students in the staffing pool, that demand is a very real call to action and challenge to the industry. ThinkProgress reports that if hourly wages on the front line doubled, the price of a Big Mac would go up a whopping (see what I did there) 68 cents.

While six-figure think tankers continue to wrestle with the problem, the Pew Research Center reveals that women are the primary breadwinners in 40% of US families, and that the average income for a single mother who has never married is $17,400.

She’d better get a second, or a third, job.

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but broccoli is a robber’s best friend.

Emeralds for elephants yes you read that right

Emeralds for elephants yes you read that right

Just a couple of jewel robbery anecdotes, the first from the Tatler magazine, which used to be the most breathtakingly glamorous and vaguely scandalous thing out there. Ah, that was a long time ago. Now it’s Town and Country, with worse teeth. Both posts inspired by this dazzling jewel robbery on the Riviera, where by tradition all dazzling jewel robberies take place.

You know, on the one hand crime=bad. On the other, COOOOOOOOL!

I don’t know why, but why not? Non-violent jewel robberies are beautiful, beautiful things. There are some great stories out of London; in one case, a big emerald stone went missing while a shifty, Arab-looking man had been looking at a tray of loose stones. They stopped him, locked the doors, called the police, and had him searched thoroughly. The entire time he loudly protested his innocence and outrage and threatened to sue them. They couldn’t find a thing, inside him or out, so they had to let him go. A week later the cleaning woman found a wad of gum under the counter where he’d been looking at the gems, with the outline of that emerald pressed into it. He had a conspirator come by later and retrieve the stone from its ingenious hiding place.

and the second story, more a piece of advice really. But thanks, Officer Friendly!

I was working at Starbucks, and one day the bank a few doors down was held up. The bank staff holed up at our store, drinking cocoa and shaking, and the cops holed up at another table to discuss the case. One went up and placed their order, and I was working bar, which gives you a chance to chat to people. The cop came up to me to pick up the drinks and he said, “Promise me something.” I said okay, because I have a thing for men in uniform, and he said, “Promise me you won’t rob a bank.”

I said OK, because that had not been in my plans anyway.

He said, “Promise me you’ll rob a grocery store instead.” All of a sudden this conversation had become MUCH more interesting. I asked him why a grocery store.

“Because if you rob a bank you’ll get, at most $1800 and a minimum of five years. If you rob one of the big grocery store chains on a Friday night, you’ll get $20,000 minimum, and a maximum of 18 months.”

Well, thank you Officer Friendly. Noted.

Make your career plans accordingly.