The pen is mightier than the sword


I am an Atheist.  As a follow on, I do not believe in the supernatural either.

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

I would also like to remind us of the Second Amendment, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Why mention of these?  Current events have led many to demand protection from the Government.  Many are angry, and none want to live in fear.  So the solution is, “protect me from them.”  Let us see if that is the best approach.

Have rights ever been infringed?  Is this question different from, “have rights been limited?”  The problem with answering the question is one of definition.

  1. the action of breaking the terms of a law, agreement, etc.; violation. “copyright infringement”
  2. the action of limiting or undermining something.
    “the infringement of the right to privacy”
    In one definition we violate the statement (you can no longer go to church, talk about religion, you can no longer own a gun, etc).  What we are seeing here is that the law of the land implicitly states that we allow. Then we  enact law that says what is allowed, is not allowed.  In this way we have infringed.

    In the second part of the definition we limit something.  It is a fact  based on this definition that my right to keep and bear arms has been infringed.  I can not go out and legally buy a fully automatic M-16.  The reason is that law has been put in place that infringes my right.  I am not making a moral conclusion about this, I am only stating a fact.

    What I am demonstrating is that although we the people have rights that can not be infringed, we allow it.  I wish I could say we allow infringement because we do a risk analysis and decide that the infringement of our rights is less risky than the outcome of protecting the right.  What actually happens is that we cower in fear and demand protection.

    We have done this with our right to peaceably assemble too.  We want to make sure that trade, commerce, and personal security are not effected by rampaging mobs.  You can peaceably assemble as long as you have a permit and will disperse if “law enforcement” dictates.  Again, we want easy and safe instead of free.

    So when I hear people talking about Muslims and Islam I shake my head.  I KNOW that we can infringe on the right “protecting the free exercise (of religion).”  I know that if a large enough majority allows this right to be infringed for the safety of the people of the country, that Muslims can be forced out of the country.  I know this because of all the examples I have seen of infringement of rights that can not be infringed.

    As an Atheist I would not miss the practice of religion – any religion.  This does create a problem for me.  Religion is an ideology.  We do not have freedom of religion because gods demand it.  We have freedom from ideological control because people demand it.  I demand it.  I can not defend freedom of ideology while cherry picking ideologies that I do not like for removal.

    I will tolerate outdated mythologies and fallacy driven ideologies. Yes, I said tolerate.  I will put up with childish simplistic concepts of morality.  I will allow you to pollute the market place of ideas, because I truly believe that when the broad light of day shines on the lies you have to tell to support your ideology, fewer and fewer people will believe it.

    There is one type of ideology I will stand against.  One that demands harm to another for having a different ideology.  I do not care if you call yourself Nazi, Muslim, or Christian.  I will not support anything you say that demands harm to another.  I will not sit idly by while you use your ideology to harm another.  I do not care if you have a problem with me drawing cartoons of a revered leader, take issue with me protecting someones right to marry, or require the execution of someone because of their religious belief.  I will fight you with every ounce of energy, every breath I draw, and any word I can utter.

    But…. I will still let you urinate in the drinking water of ideas.  Because truth acts as a filter and removes the piss of unruly children.

The ten people you can not help.


This article was originally written by Joseph Mattera. I took the liberty of correcting it to reflect rationalism making it useful for… reality.

1. Those who do not take responsibility for themselves.
The first step toward self-improvement is to remove all excuses for mediocrity or failure. Those that continually blame other people or dieties for their failures or succeesses will never be able to identify what the root cause was.  Without this it can not be stopped (if failure) or reproduced (if success).

Leaders can complain about their spouses, the income level of their non-prrofit, the lack of staff, etc., but I have learned that within every challenge is the seed of opportunity for success, which requires the creativity of problem solving.

2. Those who do not have a desire to seek truth.
The definition of wisdom is “the ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting.”

We do this by studying, measuring, and concluding based on evidence.  To imply that there is a system outside of the scientific method that will yield results is to turn your back on reality.  Those that spout pseudo-science or religous nonsense cannot be helped.

3. Those who create distance so they are not accountable.
There are certain people I have met in life who only let others get so close before cutting off the relationship. They are willing to tell you about their delusional religous beliefs, “pray for you,” and inform you that you are going to their fantasy hell.  Yet when you challenge their belief, when you point out the failures in their arguments, the ignorance and denial displayed by them is madddening.

The easiest way to identify these individuals is that they make use of the fruits of science in their daily lives, some even claim to use the scientific method, but they will still tell you that refuted claims are acceptable as long as it defends the position of their faith.

Whether it is fear or rebellion, those who live like this have put a low ceiling on their lives and will not grow past the infant stage concerning their potential in life.

4. Those who insist on having a negative outlook on life.
Religous training can cause an individual to have an overwhelmingly negative view of life.  When one believes they have been guaranteed a “do over” there is little reason to exert the effort to approach this life in a positive light.  When you believe such garbage as “not of this world” or “not my real home” you have no reason to take this life seriously.

This is a weird way some folks attempt to shield their emotions from the pain of disappointment; it is a very common practice with many people. If you discover that you are communicating with someone that believes this existance is disposable, or isn’t the “real” one, how can this life have value, much less be approached positively?

I cannot empower a person who refuses to think rationally about themselves, the world, or life.

5. Those who refuse to have a vision for their future.
There are many very talented people I have been in relationship with who live their lives without any strategic plan or vision for their future. They are just living from day to day to prepare for their retirement.

Those who are successful have a compelling vision that drives them daily even more than the desire to make money. Inside of every human being is a desire for self-actualization.

If a person refuses to tap into that and value that vision as their barometer for success then my continual pep talks will not do the trick either.

6. Those who live in self-deception.
There are many people who are living lives of denial regarding rationalism a replacing it with a “relationship with god” to the detriment of their families and all things regarding their lives.

The sad thing is that denial is the first step to outright deception, in which a person concocts an alternate, false reality that continually feeds their mind and emotions the things they want to hear about themselves and their key relationships. This insulates them from reality and from others.

When you confront people like this, they become upset and blame you for not understanding them or for wrongfully accusing them of something. These are the people I cannot help unless reality steps in and delivers them from delusion and deception.

7. Those who do not want to pay the price for success.
There are many that want the perks of success but don’t want to pay the price for success.

Whatever we do in life, we are expected to sacrifice our time, invest our talents and be committed to a long, grueling process with many setbacks until we reach our peak performance. This kind of sacrifice is needed in every area we desire success in, including our marriages, relationships with our children, leading a company, etc.

Consequently, I have found that I am not able to empower a person to the fullness of their destiny if they don’t want to work hard at self-improvement.

8. Those whose primary agenda is socialistic.
There are some people whose only agenda in life is to advance their own agenda to control others.

They don’t want to work with a team. They want everyone else to invest their lives in the individuals cause, but they are rarely ever willing to pour back into me or people around them.  The easiest way to explain this concept is “redistribuition,” or “forcibly take from those that have, to give to those that have not.”

I have learned that those who only want to use me or politics to advance their own agenda (even if it is socially related) have greatly limited their own lives. Thus, I back away from these people until they change.

This is because we are all human beings.  We need to follow our individualistic sense of destiny, and sacrifice and invest our time for the good of ourselves and others. This, in turn, will do more to release self-actualization.

9. Those who refuse to keep privacy.
I have been with very talented individuals that I had to back away from because they did not know how to remain faithful to their obligations or because they broke confidence by continually talking behind other people’s backs.

Reality and rationalism dictate that a person who doesn’t keep their word can not be trusted.  Would you want someone that you can not trust in your “inner circle” of friends?

10. Those who lack transparency, humility and integrity.
The Scientific method requires us to admit our faults.

Those that do not admit their faults cannot have the kind of relationship with a mentor suitable for personal growth.

It is important for me to have a transparent relationship with those I am mentoring since a person who deceives me is not giving me a chance to honestly speak into their life and help them in their areas of weakness and vice-versa. Those who want to progress have to learn to practice the discipline of admitting failure.

My government embarrasses me…


World, I hang my head in shame.  I am an American.  When I was eighteen I raised my hand swearing to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.  I knew that joining the military put me in harms way.  That I was joining a rare breed of people that gave the government a blank check that could be cashed for a value of up to and including my life.

Seven individuals in Government have sickened me.  They’re hollow, pathetic, and weak.  Their position puts our sons and daughters in the military in unnecessary jeopardy.  My son wants to be a Marine.  I was a soldier.  My father and mother were airmen.  My grandfathers were Marines and Seamen.  My family gives a damn.

A bipartisan Senate Select committee on intelligence made up of 8 Democrats and 7 Republicans voted 11-3 to declassify the report on TORTURE (no, I am not going to bullshit people into believing TORTURE is an interrogation technique).  To quote another well written author on the subject, “Tom Coburn R-OK, showed particular testicular fortitude by voting “present”.”

When I swore to uphold the Constitution, I did NOT agree to protect people using torture.  We were attacked by terrorists on September 11.  I remember.  I watched with tears rolling down my face helpless as I saw plane loads of people dying while buildings fell.  I watched helpless as something I loved, people I swore to defend and protect were killed.  I did the only thing I knew how to do, and that was find out what I could do to help.

And now, today, I find out that the terrorists won.  The America traded its humanity on that day.  We turned our backs on the high road.  A group of 15 Americans do not all agree that TORTURE=BAD.  Incredibly, afterwards some of them lied about their vote.  Afterwards all the Republicans stated they voted against it, a mathematical impossibility based on the outcome.  A few of them did the right thing, but are lying about it.

World, I’m sorry.  I want to represent the kind of America that sends aid after an earthquake.  That commits its lives and sacred honor to the defense of liberty and freedom.  I am watching my own government spit on the grave of every soldier ever.  They have chosen to defecate on the tomb of the unknown soldier, and for that, I am sad, angry, and offended.

Some observations pointing at the future


Remember when an audio recording device, a video recording device, a camera (still v.s. motion), a computer, a stereo, a phone, a wireless router, a book reader and a radio were all separate items? Now I carry them around in my pocket in my iPhone.

In 1992 a movie came out called Sneakers. Ben Kingsley and Robert Redford were together in a scene talking about how technology was changing things. They were sitting in a room with a Cray Supercomputer (Cray X-MP). Turns out that I carry one around every day as an iPad Mini Retina. An iPad that does with 12 watts what the supercomputer did with kilowatts.

I am willing to bet that things will continue to combine into single devices. This includes the merging of smartphones with tablets. Once we get passed the requirement of holding a phone up to our face, we will use tablets to make calls. We will put bluetooth stereo headsets on and use our tablets to provide the phone connection. How do I know this? Because I already do it.

The other thing that will be merged in to tablets is consoles. Sega and Nintendo got out at the end of the market. I hope that Microsoft and Sony choose not to waste their resources on more consoles. The A8X chip can handle 4k graphics. The A9 will rival an X-Box One.

I know that AMD, Intel, and every other chip manufacturer can compete with this as well. The fact is we are post Desktop, becoming post Laptop, and are steadily moving to tablets. They are light, have enough power, a large enough user interface, and can be made into “netbooks” by adding a keyboard. The most important factor is cost to capability. Tablets have this in spades.

My concern being an Apple user is that Apple is facing a contradiction. They are a hardware company. They are going the correct direction (tablet with smart watch). They are wasting resources in the mean time with a new desktop computer, the Mac Pro, and ultimately the iPhone line. Apple is having to waste resources waiting for us to catch up.

I have read many places the sentiment that, “there are some people that NEED the power of a desktop.” The fact of the matter is, you have that in a tablet now, without the power consumption. So when do we all quit pretending and just migrate over? Really, when do we concede that it really is all about the tablets?

Prof. LaVecht’s fixin’ wax


If you are looking for an easy place to source fixin’ wax from consider this store. This formulation of fixin’ wax was pulled directly from the pages of the Necronomicon itself. Wether you need to wax a bow string, protect a leather carrying case, prevent oxidation of your metal blades or barrels, coat a wooden handle, or stop your lips from chapping while in the arctic air of the mountains of madness, this is the fixin’ wax you have been looking for. No great old ones were harmed in the creation of this product.


How college professors at Capella University demonstrate they do not want attention deficit students; part 1


Hi, I am Everett Vinzant, and I am Attention Deficit.  I know it sounds like I am going to an AA meeting, or that I am making light of AA meetings with that as my opening statement.  I am not.  I am stating this up front so that I can keep you focused on the fact, that I can not, by definition keep focus.  Writing is the most enjoyable torture I find.  It requires from me the single discipline that I may never have.  It causes me to organize, something I often fail at.  All joking aside, YOU do NOT understand ADD (or ADHD) if YOU do not live with it.  Just consider that.

I am taking college courses on-line.  I am having to study something that I have no interest in.  This potentially means I will fail.  I will explain why.  I have to organize myself to take the course on-line.  Since I am taking two courses on-line now, this becomes exponentially (not linearly) more difficult.  In fact, it is so difficult that I had to get outside help to organize myself.  It was not possible for me to organize the work that needed to be done AND do the work.

With that hurdle overcome I had to deal with the problem of interest.  I am entering a 2000 level course (IT2230 Intro to databases).  I teach the CISSP, CASP, and CISM.  These are security certifications that require basic knowledge of the material in this course.  I am required to teach the basics of databases.  I already have some knowledge and experience in this subject.  I know that if I do not find a way to relate what I am learning to what I already know, I will have a difficult time paying attention.  If I do not find a way to keep interest in this class, I will get distracted, do other things, and fail the class.

The first week of the class was painful.  We covered material I am already familiar with (did I mention I teach it).  The second week we are studied a subject I do not know as much about.  We are moving from basic structures in databases (in the first week) to basic functionality in queries and reports (in the second week).  I had a question about queries and basic table design.  This is what I asked:

I have three tables.  A primary key in table A is referenced in table B.  A primary key in Table B is referenced in table C.  A primary key in table C is referenced in table A.  Does the fact that I just created a loop in the database bode ill for me?  I would worry about this in routing or switching in a network, so I was wondering if it mattered in a database design?  I ask because I could see causing a query to infinitely loop through a poorly designed set of tables like this.

I have tied this material directly to something I understand.  In order to see if I understand the course material I need a response to the question.  I expect an answer to be something like, “yes, you could potentially have a problem due to poor design of the tables in the database.”  This would indicate I understand something.  I could also see, “not really, because…”  I would have even accepted, “great question, read this (or go here), to do some research on the subject.”  The student advisor for the class left a response.  I leave it here as evidence.  The response demonstrates that the student advisor does not understand how a primary key works in a relational database:

The key (primary key) are the only way to link and pull data from all the tables.  When building databases you have one single source of reference that will remain a constant in every table.  This will help when pulling inquiries.

This is exactly incorrect.  A primary key is used to give each record a unique identifier.  Each table in a database can have a different primary key for the records in the table.  However all records in a table use the same primary key (at least at a basic level in a relational database).  Knowing this I responded asking for clarification.  I provide my response below.  If you wish to skip it, it can be summarized as an explanation of how I know the answer I was given is incorrect, along with a quote from the inventor of the relational database explaining why the response is wrong:

Maybe you could clear up some confusion on my part.  It was my understanding that the primary key was a function of the table, not of the entire database.  That is to say that a primary key uniquely specifies a tuple within a table.  A foreign key is a field in a relational table that matches the primary key column of another table.  So according to the definition of a foreign key I should be able to construct a primary key in each table, and have a foreign key in each table point to the primary key of any other table.  Many relational databases support the many to many relationship I am talking about.  SQL is one of them.

From Microsofts website discussing implementation of primary keys in Access, “each table should include a field or set of fields that uniquely identifies each record stored in the table. This information is called the primary key of the table.”  It does not say that the primary key is the same in every table in a database.  So I am guessing that there is a primary key of the database as well?

Some research found this interesting history lesson:
In a relational database there is no real fundamental requirement to designate one and only one key per table as “primary”. E.F.Codd (inventor of the relational database model) originally used the term “primary key” to refer to any and all keys of a table and not just one.

Nowadays the term Candidate Key is used for what used to be known as a Primary Key. By convention one candidate key per table is designated as the primary one (the preferred or most important one) but the key thus designated is not essentially different to any other key of the table. The choice of a primary key is therefore arbitrary and is only as important as you want to make it.

Again, the reference here is per table, not per database.

Finally we hear from the instructor.  I provide his response so that you know it was what was really offered.  You can skip the technical explanation in the middle.  The first sentence and the last sentence are what I am focusing on here:

You are getting a bit too “into the weeds” on this subject at this stage in the course. Here’s what you “need to know” at this point (you’ll go a bit deeper in this subject later in your studies and degree program): You need a single primary key for every table in your database. The primary key provides a unique identifier for every record (i.e., row) in that table. The primary key is an integral part of setting up relationships between tables, reporting, queries, etc.

Let us know if you have additional questions (you’ll want to keep it “high level” – i.e., “introductory” – at this point).

In essence it says, “you are right about what you said regarding primary keys, please do not ask questions that might require some insight at this point, you are not allowed those answers yet.”  It is NOT a response to the question I asked, not in any way.

For the thousands of dollars I am paying Capella University for this class, you better believe I am going to get a better answer than, “go away kid, you’re bothering me.”  This instructor has thrown cold water on my interest in databases because my question was an inconvenience.  I have never in my years of taking college courses seen a more pathetic example of a response to a question in my entire life.  The wrong answer from the student assistant at least showed an attempt to answer the question.  This demonstration is directly attributable to why people that are attention deficit have problems in school.  WE are the inconvenience.  Damned those weirdos with diagnosed disabilities.

Tomorrow I demonstrate that I am penalized for writing a class discussion that no student in the class is willing to put in the work to respond to.