Event: HEARD’s 3rd Aniversary Bash

By BitcoDavid

HEARD will be celebrating its 3rd year, on Tuesday, February 18th at 6:30 PM, Eastern. The event will be held at D.C. Public Library, Tenley-Friendship Branch, 4901 V Street NW. There will be speakers, a new class of interns announced and the Al Jazeera documentary will be screened. Embedded below is the FaceBook invitation page.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

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#JusticeForFelix and now #JusticeForRicardo

By BitcoDavid

I was alerted to this story by this FaceBook page. I was immediately struck by the similarities between this case, and that of innocent Deaf prisoner, Felix Garcia – whom we’ve been working on freeing for the past year and a half, and Pat Bliss has struggled with for for over 17 years now.

Ricardo Harris in the early stages of his nightmare, whereas Felix has been living his, for the past 30 years. Felix needs our help, but so does Ricardo. In both cases, innocent Deaf men – unable to appropriately defend themselves against prosecution – are being sacrificed to a Justice system run amok. And all this on the eve of Eric Holder’s new approach to criminal law reform.

When is enough, enough? When do we demand a cessation to the wonton disregard for Human lives and dignity that have become this nation’s hallmark, in the so called war on crime. Nobody’s saying that wrong doers shouldn’t be punished, but never before has the slope to a lifetime behind bars been so slippery. What was once considered a hard road is now an 8 lane highway.

America can’t prosecute her way out of all her ills. It should be hard to get into jail. It should be next to impossible. That’s what the Founding Fathers would have wanted – and why they established the single-most progressive legal system in the World. One where everyone was given equal protection, everyone was given their day in court, and the burden of proof fell upon the state.

Here’s what the creators of the FaceBook page had to say about Ricardo Harris.

Ricardo Laron Harris; he is deaf and from South Bend, IN. Harris nationality consists of the following: African-American, Panama and Puerto Rican. He attended Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY, while attending he was involved with an organization called Ebony Club as a Public Relations in 2008 and Vice President in 2010. Not only that he was involved with an organization at his college, he was a Vice President for a Head Start school where his youngest daughter attended. Harris has three beautiful daughters.
My reason to reach out to you is to seek your help to spread the news about Ricardo Harris. When Harris visited Georgia, on his school break, he came across a crime at the wrong time, wrong place to be involved. He is deaf. There was no way to call 911 from his cell phone, he would not have been able to hear the dispatcher to explain what was going on. His own cell phone was not able to download AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) to reach out to the Sprint Relay Service IM due to the service was not effective in the area he was located with the crime. Harris went down to the front desk to ask the receptionist to call 911, they refused. For what reason? I have no clue. So without him just giving up, Harris drove down to the closest gas station and ask the person there to call 911 for him. When the police arrived, they obviously had the wrong assumption and went ahead and arrested him. I’m briefing you with this situation because what Harris went through was unfair. I cannot tell more but if you would like to know more, please contact him or visit Harris at the Cobb County Jail (in Marietta, GA).
Harris has not had any criminal record within the system. So with this all being said, it is irrelevant that Harris has had to stay in jail since January 1, 2013. There is no other evidence against Harris, he is an innocent deaf man who does not deserve another night in jail. Since he has been charged with this crime, his lawyer does not have nor received any kind of discovery package with additional updates.

When I think about either of these cases, I feel myself seething with rage. There is no excuse for us to carelessly throw away lives with no regard to innocence. What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty? What ever happened to beyond a shadow of a doubt? Why have we so willingly become the World’s jailer, warehousing a full Tenth of our citizens in hellish confinement?

Please go to the FaceBook page and click “Like.” Show your support for a wrongfully accused Deaf man, torn from his family. Help this beautiful little girl get her father back. And while you’re in such a generous and caring mood, don’t forget Felix Garcia. Our petition needs just over 300 more signatures, before it can be sent to Florida – the state that owes Felix the life they stole from him.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

No Child Left Signing

By BitcoDavid

An auditor for the No Child Left Standing law, was rewarded for his years of hard work, with tickets to see the legendary BSO doing Beethoven‘s Ninth. After a stellar performance of the Maestro’s magnum opus – considered by musicologists the world over, to be the greatest musical work ever written – our auditor was asked his opinion. “Well,” he replied, “I’m glad you asked, because I’ve made some notes.”

1) I noticed the chorus doesn’t do anything but stand there for a full 3 movements. I hope we’re not paying them for that time. They should only be paid for the time they’re actually singing.

2) What’s with this 1st violin, 2nd violin, etc., etc.? One violin should be able to play all the parts. No wonder Beethoven died broke.

3) In fact, the whole string section could have been replaced with a Casio keyboard. You can grab one of them at any Radio Shack for under a C-note.

4) All the audience members should take a computer generated survey test. They’d have to fill in all those little dots. Then we’d know for sure if Beethoven was really a great composer or not.

He rambled on, but I think you get the point.

But what about my point? I’m sure you’re asking yourself that, by now.

Image Credit: BitcoDavid

Image Credit: BitcoDavid

Many of the members of the ASL Meetup group are High school students. They are taking Sign in school, and enjoy the class so much, that they give up their Wednesday evenings to show up in our group and practice their Signing. Most of these kids are Hearies. Sign offered as a language credit in High school – like any other language – serves a far greater purpose than merely teaching Deaf kids how to get along in mainstream schools.

It teaches kids, hearing and Deaf alike, how to learn. It offers a cerebral stimulus that’s far more beneficial than simply regurgitating math problems for a standardized test.  When kids – or adults, for that matter – study for a standardized test, they tend to do something called “brain dumping.” In essence, you spend a few days memorizing answers, which you immediately forget upon completion of the test. A good example of this is Microsoft’s MCSE tests – all of which, I’ve taken. Now, I do know a lot about computers, but very little of it was learned in MCSE classes.

I’ve written before, about the numerous educational values of learning a second language, and those values are all intensified because ASL is a visual language, as opposed to an aural one.

In short, by eliminating ASL programs, to save a few bucks, we are not only doing Deaf kids a disservice, we’re doing all kids one. Learning is a process that involves much more than rote memorization and chundering answers on multiple choice computer forms. I see the looks in the eyes of these young people in our group. They have found something to love, and that’s the first and most essential step in a lifelong career of learning.

Please join DeafInPrison.com in the #Keep ASL In Schools program. To learn more go here, on FaceBook, or here.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

According to the ASL Meetup group…

By BitcoDavid

Even this promo pic looks scary. Image: Schmoes know

Even this promo pic looks scary. Image: Schmoes know

Well, the results are in. According to the overwhelming majority at an unusually large Meetup group, last night – The Conjuring is a really scary movie. Some members told me – in flawless Sign, of course – that it’s even scarier than The Ring. The latter being the Scariest movie I, myself, have ever seen.

Further, it was decided that Black is the best color. It makes you look thin, and it hides things like coffee stains and spilled frozen yogurt.

A certain amount of the evening’s discussion was devoted to Algebra, a heinous torture invented by the Arabs as revenge for the crusades. I learned the Sign for Algebra, and proposed an immediate moratorium on the subject, immediately afterward.

Algebra

Algebra (Photo credit: kollektive Wahrnehmung)

On the FaceBook side, ASL Learners by DeafInPrison.com, is coming along nicely. We’re up to 30 members at this point. In a completely non-scientific poll, we’ve determined that the overwhelming method for most fledglings to learn Sign, is via the Meetups.

If you’re on FaceBook, please sign up for our group.

***And, don’t forget Felix’s petition. We’re just shy of 600 signatures. Felix is still rotting in Tomoka for a crime he didn’t commit. Come on, people. Pam Bondi is champing at the bit, to cut him loose. Let’s help make it easier on her.***

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

DeafInPrison.com Launches ASL Learners FaceBook Group

By BitcoDavid

The sign for "I love you."

The sign for “I love you.”

Interested in learning ASL, but don’t know where to start? Perhaps you’re an ASL teacher or a Terp, and you’d like to share some of your knowledge. Maybe you’re a student of Deaf Studies, and looking for some like-minded people to bond with. Or perhaps you’ve thought about joining an ASL meetup, and you’re looking for one in your area.

Then, boy howdy do we have a FaceBook group for you! ASL Learners by DeafInPrison.com. From stumbling speller to Signing whiz, come join our group and share your experiences with others who are interested in learning, teaching and otherwise promoting this fascinating and fun language.

Through both DeafInPrison.com, and this FaceBook group, we will be working on bringing my particular ASL meetup group, online. This will allow users from all over the world to enter the group through a video-chatting client, and have people to practice with. Marsha Graham, who is currently nursing a broken wing, has been working with me on this idea. I’m hoping this group can help bring this concept to fruition.

In case you missed the link above, here it is – unformatted for your copy and pasting delight.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/183395051831306/183400825164062

Please feel free to join. We’re glad to receive new members.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

Event: FCC Phone Rates Workshop, Wednesday July 10

By BitcoDavid

Image courtesy of H.E.A.R.D.

Image courtesy of H.E.A.R.D.

We have mentioned before, that Deaf inmates pay a much higher rate for phone service, than do hearing inmates. Furthermore, most facilities offer only the bare minimum in terms of usable telephone communication devices, to Deaf inmates. Add to this the fact that communications companies and the prison facilities themselves, profit off phone use by all inmates, and you can easily see why this is a problem that we need to address.

Below is a reprint of the FaceBook page regarding this event. Font emphases and additional links are mine. Here’s the FaceBook link. https://www.facebook.com/events/683795964980254/

People can attend in person, or view the entire event online. A link to the streamed event can be found in the text below.

The Federal Communications Commission has invited HEARD’s founder to speak about issues important to deaf and hard of hearing prisoners at the Reforming Inmate Calling Services Workshop that the FCC is hosting on Wednesday, July 10, 2013.

The workshop is free and open to the public. Please come show the FCC that we support equal access to telecommunications for deaf, signing, and hard of hearing prisoners and their families.

If you cannot attend in person, the FCC will live stream the workshop on its website at http://www.fcc.gov/events/workshop-reforming-inmate-calling-services-rates

From the FCC:

The all day workshop will focus, among other things, on the impact of current inmate calling services rates on inmates and their families, a review of state reforms of inmate calling services rates, and a discussion of the costs of providing inmate calling services and how to balance the needs of consumers and correctional facilities.

Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. The request should include a detailed description of the accommodation needed and contact information. Requests should be made as soon as possible in order to allow the agency to satisfy such requests whenever possible. Send an e-mail to fcc504@fcc.gov or call the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202.418.0530 (voice), 202.418.0432 (TTY).

For further information, contact Gregory Haledjian at 202.418.7440, or via e-mail at gregory.haledjian@fcc.gov.

Federal Communications Commission
Commission Meeting Room (TW-C305)
445 12 th Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20554

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

In a Related Story…

By BitcoDavid

Our contributor, Jean F. Andrews wrote this as a response to a comment on her last post. After reading it, I thought our readers who had not seen the original comment thread, would be interested in it. It may be useful to those of us who are not parents of Deaf children – but are interested in learning Sign – because she mentions Adapted Little Books. I’m thinking said books could be useful to Baby Signers like myself. I did a couple of different searches, and couldn’t find any exact reference to what Jean writes of, but I’ll get her to spill the beans for us. I think a see Spot run kind of thing might be just the ticket. I can translate Les Miserables down the road.

Yes there are many advantages to early access to ASL and that is well documented in the research literature.

However, we must not loss sight of the fact that our aim is to help children who do not have this early advantage. They come to school at age six or seven and their parents are often so frustrated with speech and hearing clinics who despite the best intentions have not been able to promote a basic language with their deaf children. In our reading acquisition research with families we have found them to be simply busy…with work, with family life, that many do not have the time to learn another language. It is a challenge of our profession to provide parents with training that fits into their schedule such as through YouTube, videophones, and the internet. One strategy we have found is using “Adapted Little Books,” These are short English phrase books that are translated into ASL (short stories about 2 to 3 minutes) that build a common core vocabulary in ASL and in English. These materials are free to parents and teachers.
Our deaf children are learning ASL and English at the same time and this is our teaching reality that we must address. Instead of saying…”you should have…or if only you were a deaf mother…etc. etc. Those are dead-end thoughts.

Meanwhile, from the Christ on a Crutch Desk comes this little nugget.

ABC reports that a New Jersey public school has threatened a 12 year-old girl with suspension if she continues using ASL to communicate with her friends on the school bus. DeafInPrison.com got the story from Chazz Griffith, a member of the #Keep ASL In Schools Video Group on FaceBook.

School officials have threatened a hearing-impaired girl with suspension if she uses sign language to talk to her friends on the school bus, the girl’s parents say.

Danica Lesko and her parents say sign language is the only way to for the 12-year-old to communicate, especially while riding to school on a noisy bus.

But officials at Stonybrook School — which is not a school for the hearing-impaired — and district officials in Branchburg, N.J., apparently believe signing is a safety hazard. They have sent a letter to the Lesko family ordering Danica to stop using sign language on the school bus or risk a three-day suspension.

The March 30 letter from her principal that said Danica was “doing sign language after being told it wasn’t allowed on the bus.”

The Leskos may file a lawsuit over the sign language ban, claiming officials are violating Danica’s civil rights and violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“She has a hearing problem, and now she’s being punished for using sign language,” Mary Ann Lesko, Danica’s mother, told The Star-Ledger of Newark. “It’s absurd.”

Danica’s parents told the paper that other students who rode to school with their daughter made fun of her, and refused to stay in their seats as they teased other girls who were using sign language. They said school officials are singling out Danica and not addressing those who should really be reprimanded.

Schools Officials: Safety First

In a statement released through the school district’s attorney, David Rubin, the Branchburg Board of Education refused to discuss the details of Danica’s case, saying only that its version of events differs from the parents’ version.

However, the board insisted it has not violated anyone’s rights and is only trying to protect other students who must ride on the school bus.

“The Board is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to all students with disabilities, and is satisfied that there has been no violation of that policy in this case,” officials said in the statement. “The Board is also committed to assuring the safety of all students who travel on District buses, and will continue to take appropriate steps to accomplish that goal.”

One deaf-rights advocate said Danica’s parents have a strong basis for a lawsuit because sign language could be a considered a foreign language, and school officials could be violating the girl’s First Amendment right to communicate.

“Why should there be a ban?” asked Charlotte Karras, outreach coordinator for the Edison, N.J.-based Alliance for Disabled in Action. “It’s a violation of her communication rights. She’s said it’s the only way she can communicate with her friends … It’s [the ban] against the ADA and violates the First Amendment and her family can file a discrimination suit citing the Americans With Disabilities Act.”

Karras said her organization would be willing to help the Leskos with any legal action.

Danica’s parents say she began losing her hearing last November, when a classmate allegedly shot a bottle rocket near her ear. They have already sued the Branchburg School District over that incident.

Block quoted in full from ABC news. I always endeavor to bring you original content, and if I take a news story from another source, I usually rewrite the story with citations, rather than simply reprint the entire story. In this case however, I feel it’s important enough to present it in this format.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

Post Birthday Digest Post

By BitcoDavid

Here's my little guy.

Here’s my little guy.

Yes, you read that right. I’m 56 years old (going on 35). Jack’s birthday is tomorrow. He’ll be 4. You look at his pics, and you think, awww – such a punim. But see, Jack’s days as a puppy were not good ones. He was born into a Georgia dog fighting ring, and unceremoniously dumped by the roadside to fend for himself. He was never properly weened and he learned early, that not all people are nice. My wife and I work hard with Jack, helping him come to grips with his behavior and fear issues. We are hoping that at 4, he’ll grow a brain, and things will get a little easier. He couldn’t ask for two more loving dog-parents, but he still struggles with a lot.

The logo shot from BitcoDavid's BoxingBlog

The logo shot from BitcoDavid’s BoxingBlog

If you pat your thigh, and then snap your fingers twice, you’ve just said Dog, in ASL.

My thanks to all who wished me a happy birthday yesterday, on FaceBook. I actually spent the better part of the day, responding. It was pretty great. My coach, Ilir Ymeri – former European heavyweight champ – had another birthday celebration in mind. 10 rounds. Not too shabby for a guy who’s only 4 short years away from the starin’ window.

OK. So on with the post:

Following in the footsteps of British scientists – who were fired for their efforts – the Dutch have come up with a calibrated method of determining a drug’s addictiveness. The primary arbiter appears to be the effect on brain chemistry. Drugs that rewire the brain’s ability to manufacture chemicals such as dopamine or serotonin are seen to be more physically addictive. The results of this research was published by AlterNet, here. It’s worth noting, that pot is nowhere on that list, but alcohol gets a quite respectable, 2.13 – out of 3.00.

Interestingly however, the report doesn’t mention psychological addiction at all, but I’d pay special attention to the rating given to Methadone.

Again, here’s that link.

This news may be a week old, but since everybody has their panties all knotted up over the terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon, and the ensuing police siege – nobody really noticed. According to CNN, a huge explosion took place at a fertilizer plant in Waco, Texas on the 18th of this month.

At least 2 are known dead, and dozens more have been hospitalized. Some of the victims were firefighters. This disaster is worth noting because although it couldn’t be seen as an attack, it was the result of a crime. Apparently, the owner of the plant was storing large amounts of Ammonium Nitrate, without reporting it, or taking the legally required precautions in its storage and production. Ammonium Nitrate was the primary ingredient in the bomb used by Timothy Mcveigh.

This story was as obscured by the Boston thing as Mother Teresa’s death was by Princess Di’s. But then again, this was just a Texas businessman, not a swarthy brown guy, so…

Here’s CNN’s link to the story.

With all that has been going on – bombings, birthdays, fights and driver’s license renewals – I haven’t had a chance to cover the 13 Corrections officers who are being charged with smuggling drugs and other contraband into a Maryland jail. According to the WaPo, a national gang had a deal going with the female officers. The women were paid in cash, sex, drugs and high end automobiles.

According to the indictment, 4 of the women are pregnant with a single inmate’s babies, and 2 more have his name tattooed on their necks and wrists.

According to the WaPo report, the women worked for the Black Guerilla Family. These guards smuggled cellphones, prescription pills and narcotics in their underwear. The gangsters purchased Mercedes Benz and BMW automobiles which the guards were allowed to drive.

Here’s the link to the WaPo’s coverage.

Image credit: Wikipedia

Image credit: Wikipedia

This came from PrisonMovement, via Twitter. The Gainsville Times reports that Hall County, Georgia is going to start employing Video Relay services in its jail facilities. The system will only be used for visitation, and Deaf prisoners will still need interpreters for all medical and court related issues, but this represents a major step in the right direction. DeafInPrison.com has long been advocating for the use of Video Relay in prisons and county jails. Most institutions are reticent, because of alleged security issues.

In a quote in the Times’ story, Sheriff Couch of Hall County had this to say:

“Technology has come a long way. The administration and staff of the Hall County Jail continuously work toward gaining access to all the latest tools available,” he said in a release announcing the new system. “This is so that everyone incarcerated in our facility has equal access to the provisions set forth in their constitutional rights. For those whose primary communication is sign language, we are pleased to offer this tremendous service.” — Gainsville Times.

Here’s that link.

We have two very interesting op-eds from AlterNet. In the first, they point out that Ayn Rand’s infamous character John Galt may have had more to do with some of the more tragic events of the month of April, than anybody realizes. It’s a very interesting perspective, and one worth giving a read and some thought to.

The second piece poses the question, “are we a nation of drama queens?” Do we seek out stories like the Boston bombing because they’re like crack to us? Does the media prey on that addiction and feed it? A great article, and a very necessary question.

Here are the links to both pieces.

http://www.alternet.org/economy/free-market-ayn-rand-ideology-was-root-cause-horrific-explosion-texas

http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/boston-bombings-are-tragedy-theres-something-else-we-gotta-ask-america-drama-queen

Join Lipreading Mom in #StopHearingLossBullying

Join Lipreading Mom in #StopHearingLossBullying

And I’ve saved the best for last. You know we did some promotional work on Lipreading Mom’s Stop Hearing Loss Bullying campaign. Well the big news is, we’ll be working with her on the editing of the video! BitcoDavid, who’s done just a bit of video editing in his day, will be lending a hand in the tech end of this project. I’m proud and honored that Shanna has allowed me to work with her on this very important issue. In return for our services, Shanna’s agreed to do some posts for us, here. She’s a wonderful writer and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with for us.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

 

This Site is Going Blackout 22 April 2013 ~ Protest CISPA

DeafInPrison.com is proud to join Moorbey’z Blog and others in this effort. Click the pic for more info.

Click to visit the original post

Update on Englewood Case from H.E.A.R.D.

By BitcoDavid

This came from HEARD’s FaceBook page. If you haven’t yet done so, and you’re on FaceBook, you can shoot on over there, and give ‘em a “Like.” HEARD – Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of the Deaf – is an organization that works tirelessly to aid both the Deaf community and the wrongfully convicted. They have been a wonderful resource for DeafInPrison.com

The Justice Department announced yesterday that it has reached settlement agreements with the City of Englewood and the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The agreements resolve allegations that these law enforcement agencies failed to provide effective communication to individuals who are deaf, including crime victims, witnesses, members of the public, arrestees, and detainees. These law enforcement agencies came forward voluntarily to enter into these agreements while the Department’s investigation was ongoing, so no finding of violation was made against either entity. The agreements also resolve a private lawsuit brought by individuals who are deaf, the Colorado Association of the Deaf, and the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition. The agreements are very comprehensive and may serve as models throughout the nation’s law enforcement and detention communities.

People interested in finding out more about the ADA and the Department’s settlement agreements with the City of Englewood and Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office can access the ADA website at ADA.gov, or call the toll-free ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 (voice) or (800) 514-0383 (TTY).

Again, you can go here to find out more online.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

Be Afraid… Be Very Afraid

By BitcoDavid

'E Pluribus Unum', a white Vermont marble scul...

‘E Pluribus Unum’, a white Vermont marble sculpture, 1982, President Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, Honolulu, Hawaii (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They’re everywhere, lurking under every rock, skulking behind every dark corner. The evil doers. The criminals, bent on the senseless destruction of all you hold dear. They exist only to rape your daughters, steal your goods – oh, and hack into your identity.

Whether it’s crazed road ragers who will shoot you for cutting them off in traffic, teenaged gang initiates who kill at random, immigrants who dig through your trash looking for credit card numbers or techie geniuses who want to turn your computer into a zombie, you’re constantly being told to live in fear.

E pluribus unum should be rewritten as, be afraid and buy some crap. Build more prisons and cut the school budget. I’m scared, and only a kristallnacht  of prosecution will let me sleep at night.

But Black men with guns aren’t our only criminal problem these days. Hackers. Hackers are everywhere, using their 200 I.Q.s as weapons against us. All we want to do is go on FaceBook – but no. These Gen-Y cyber-terrorists are out to post kiddie porn all over our pages, and use our e-mail addresses to steal our jobs.

Phreaking equipment

Phreaking equipment (Photo credit: pyoorkate)

Speaking as a member of the Hacker community, and as someone with – oh just a smidge – of technical skill, let me explain something to you. There’s Hackers, Crackers, Phreakers, Social Engineers and Script Kiddies. Hackers are people who want to know how things work. We’re equivalent to the Hotrodders of the 1950s. Steve Jobs was a Hacker. So was Bill Gates. Crackers on the other hand, are guys who actually try to break into computer networks – sometimes to do damage, but most often, simply to prove that they can. Phreakers are specific to telephone systems. There was a time when you could access any corporate or government network by simply punching in the right numbers on your phone. As systems grew more complex, Phreaking began to ebb in popularity. however, Phreakers still exist.  Social Engineers don’t use technology. They manipulate wet-ware (you) to get access to systems. A Social Engineer is the guy who calls you at work and says, “Hi, I’m over here in the advertising department, and I forgot Bob’s password. You wouldn’t know it, would you?”

how-to-catch-script-kiddies

how-to-catch-script-kiddies (Photo credit: liquidslave)

Finally, we have Script Kiddies. These are people who simply go to certain Web sites to download Trojans and other malware. They actually know less about computers than you do.

Anonymous

Anonymous (Photo credit: Schuilr)

So on one hand you have a group of people who work towards Internet freedom, citizen journalism, pseudo-Socialist information sharing and flash-mob protesting. And on the other you have the D.O.J. Now, I’m not saying that true cyber-crime doesn’t exist. Nor am I defending it, or trying to say that it doesn’t pose a threat.

You can download a free and very effective anti-virus program here, and none of the above will be able to do anything to hurt you.

But like everything else where the Justice system is concerned, one needs to read between the lines and develop a sense of nuance. God forbid we end up with a War on Hacking similar to our failed and insane War on Drugs.

Personally, I’m far more afraid of Bank of America, than I am of some kid who knows a little perl.

To learn more, go to this article from the NYT, or here on Twitter.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

He Was About to Take Out His Gun

By BitcoDavid

Craig Egan made this video after he had a harrowing experience with a security guard. He writes, ” I am traumatized! Please watch my video from the beginning to the end. I am sending one STRONG message that everybody needs to build a better deaf awareness.”

Apparently Egan was attempting to gain access to a building which required inputting a password ID. That Egan was attempting to enter a password known to him, suggests that he had rights to be in this particular building. The assumption is that it was his place of employment. When his password failed to work, he was approached by a security guard. Egan is Deaf, and could not hear the guard’s attempts at communication. When he finally looked in the direction of the guard, it was too late. Feeling threatened, the guard went for his gun.

This is but one more example of what happens when ill-trained authorities interact with the Deaf. Had the individual received proper training beforehand, he would have known to tap Egan lightly, on the shoulder, and to speak directly to him after having established eye contact. Further training would have even made it possible for the guard to communicate with Egan via ASL, or an interpreter.

As it was, it would have taken very little for this episode to have escalated into a disaster.

Here is the link to the youtube Video.

http://youtu.be/WQj7FX-2WLU

Learn more about all this by requesting to join the Deaf and Hard of Hearing group on FaceBook.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

Women’s Playground Movie Pulls No Punches

By BitcoDavid

Tapestry Entertainment has finally completed their long anticipated independent film, Women’s Playground. A screening is to be held at the International House of Philadelphia, 3701 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia Pennsylvania 19104 at 6:00 PM, next Sunday, with more screenings in more cities to follow. Tickets are 15 dollars and can be ordered through their Web site at:  womensplayground.net

Trailers can be seen on YouTube, by simply searching “Women’s Playground.”

Although I have not yet seen the film, I have been reading about it on FaceBook, and have watched all the YouTube trailers and shorts – there are about 20 of them, and they themselves are well worth watching.

They’ve come up with a truly brilliant idea. This movie is not a documentary. It’s a full length dramatic production written from interviews and letters by actual female inmates at existing prisons. The end result is a film that both entertains and informs. But, don’t expect a TV show. This is a hard hitting – no holds barred look into the lives of women in America’s prison system. Drug addiction, prostitution, rape and violent abuse are its mainstay themes, and you will not leave the theater with a pleasant taste in your mouth.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

 

Update on the #JusticeForFelix Project

Update on the #JusticeForFelix Project

By BitcoDavid

Felix Garcia Should Be Granted a Full Pardon

Let me start with the petition site. We’re currently at 331 signatures, which is where we’ve been for a while now. We still need almost 700 before we can send the petition. But, there’s a silver lining. Our numbers on the page – signatures notwithstanding – are pretty good. We’ve had 389 FaceBook shares and 54 tweets. It has been shared 9 times on Google+ and once on StumbleUpon.

The Petition page has a Google ranking of 6, out of a possible 10. It’s been listed on Google 156,000 times, 91,900 times on Bing and 8,942 times on Alexa. according to Google it has received 149 backlinks. That means that 149 sites other than our own, have posted a link to the page. All things considered, these numbers are really pretty good, and they support the point that there is substantial interest in freeing this innocent man.

Image: Pat Bliss

I received this via e-mail from Pat Bliss.

Felix’s case is now in the hands of an experienced clemency attorney to take it before the Governor and has signed on to do it pro bono for Felix’s sake. However, there will be reasonable and necessary costs such as photocopies, postage,   public records requests and travel incurred. A trust account has been set up. If you would like to help in this last stretch   of Felix’s quest for freedom, please send a check or money order [mention Felix Garcia under memo] made out to: Reginald R. Garcia P.A., P.O. Box 11069, Tallahassee, FL 32302. Thank you!  Pat Bliss

I would like to thank our magnanimous publisher, Joanne Greenberg, for allowing us to post this. When she created this site, and contracted me to manage and edit it, she insisted that it remain non-commercial and that it never solicit funds. However, she understands the need to help Felix, and has asked me to assure that no funds received here will

Image: Pat Bliss

go to DeafInPrison.com. This is funding for Felix’s case, to cover expenses above and beyond fees for the attorneys – who have graciously offered to handle the case pro bono. So, I repeat. No money from this drive will go to DeafInPrison.com, BitcoDavid BlogSites, or any of our contributors. It all goes to Felix’s worthy cause.

It is our intention to submit the petition coinciding with the attorneys case. It will provide the body blow that will support the attorneys in their knock out punch. (Sorry – had to throw a little Boxing lingo in there.) If you can help financially, it will be greatly appreciated, but if you can’t please sign the petition – if you haven’t already – and share, share, share.

Thank you all, and Happy Thanksgiving!

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

Deaf Couple use Internet and Technology to Run Restaurant

Today’s New York Times reports on a Deaf couple that have opened a pizzeria restaurant in San Francisco.

Russ and Melody Stein, who are [D]eaf, own Mozzeria, a restaurant in San Francisco. Workers use sign language, pen and paper, bulletin boards and the Web to communicate.

What strikes me, is something that I’ve been saying for quite some time, regarding the legal community. Simply stated, the need for live interpreters can be mitigated – or at the very least, minimized, through creative use of the Internet and other new technologies.

THE rise of social media and new technology has been an unexpected boon for the deaf, making it much easier to communicate with hearing people — in ways like simple text messaging and video relay services. Twitter and Facebook put us on par with other restaurants. Hearing guests may notice that instead of just picking up the phone and calling, they need to rely more on the Internet to reach us or make reservations.

Melody Stein uses an iPad app to confirm reservations via a translation service.
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/14/jobs/a-deaf-couple-realize-a-restaurant-dream.html?emc=tnt&tntemail1=y

Numerous apps already exist for both iOS and Android devices. For a decade now, WiFi equipped laptops and Webcams have been ubiquitous in Police vehicles. Officers could be quickly and inexpensively trained to use online services for communicating with Deaf suspects and victims.

This is an uplifting story, and well worth the read. But as you peruse it, I would ask that you read behind the lines a bit. Think about ways we can harness the greatest communications invention since the telephone to help other Deaf pursue their dreams – and more important, how we can help innocent Deaf avoid the morass of problems brought about by an intolerant and ignorant legal system.

Here, again, is the link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/14/jobs/a-deaf-couple-realize-a-restaurant-dream.html?emc=tnt&tntemail1=y

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