“May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.”

"This report is maybe 12-years-old. Parliament buried it, and it stayed buried till River dug it up. This is what they feared she knew. And they were right to fear because there's a whole universe of folk who are gonna know it, too. They're gonna see it. Somebody has to speak for these people. You all got on this boat for different reasons, but you all come to the same place. So now I'm asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything I know this, they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, 10, they'll swing back to the belief that they can make people . . . better. And I do not hold to that. So no more running. I aim to misbehave." ~ Captain Malcom Reynolds

Saturday, April 28, 2018

EBay Would Rather Support Fraud and Theft Than Help Sellers

Yes, you read the title right.

No, it is not spam, or false, or libel - it is in fact an accurate representation of their corporate policies, as I have now discovered.

I know many people have issues with some of EBay's rules, policies and the like in regards to 2nd ammendment topics in particular - and I don't disagree. Be that as it may, they are the 800-pound gorilla in the online auction world, and until this week I used them as a way to dispose of numerous bits of old, unwanted gear and equipment in return for some extra cash.

Then I found out that you, the seller, don't matter in the least to their customer service policies.

I sold an item, shipped it to the "buyer" (in a box with security tape over the seams)... who then claimed that the box did NOT contain the purchased item. Who provided pictures showing the tape certainly had NOT been tampered with prior to his receipt, yet magically the property I placed within disappeared in transit. So, as this is now a "he said/he said" dispute, I attempt to use the EBay resolution process to find a common ground.

Let me summarize what that resolution process actually entails. Buyer claims item is lost/damaged/wrong/whatever in a statement. EBay notifies the seller. EBay then refunds the buyers money from your account, with you as a seller having ZERO ability to dispute or challenge this. I confirmed this with a lengthy (and upsetting) call to a customer service drone - who stated my sole recourse is to file a postal service claim and *possibly* receive compensation that way. This, despite my before and after photos of the box, despite my conflicting statement regarding the material sent, and despite a years-long record of sales with zero complaint.

Don't believe me? Do a simple browser search for EBay doing the same to numerous sellers worldwide - sometimes to the tune of thousands of dollars in merchandise being stolen or fraudulantly claimed as damaged.

In fact, there is absolutely NOTHING EBay will do to protect you as a seller - an individual can bid on and purchase an item, receive it, then claim the box was empty or the item damaged and their full purchase price will be refunded. This was confirmed to me by the very customer service representative I spoke with, mouthing the flowchart script about having to trust people and accept their statements. Now, I'm not saying the seller should get automatic credence either - buyer deserve to know they will receive the merchandise they paid for, in reasonable condition. However, it is completely insane to not extend equal protections to those attempting to market their wares.

Oh - and, for most of these cases, lacking *very* compelling evidence, you don't have enough grounds to pursue a criminal case in a dispute such as this.

I would go on, but I don't want to get spun up again.

Caveat emptor? More like, "Let the SELLER beware." EBay will not see any more sales from me, nor will I use their services to purchase items. I realize I'm a fraction of a fraction of their business, but I refuse to do anything at all to support a company which won't make any efforts to help their customers.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Umm... if you say so.

Just got back from a short work trip. As part of which, I had to get a rental car.

Now, in the interests of fiscal prudence, and good stewardship of the taxpayer's money, I was properly directed to get a "compact, economy" vehicle for the rental. Perfectly fine by me.

Well, I get to the destination airport, pick up the keys and sign the agreement and head outside.

Where, I'm greeted by a Cadillac mini-SUV...

(Side note - I'm not a Caddy guy... not my style... but yes, it was nice.)

I take a few moments, compare the remote I have with the assigned space with the vehicle occupying said space, and confirm I'm not hallucinating - then I head back inside. Very nicely, I inquire as to whether there's been a mistake, as I'm supposed to be in an economy vehicle, not a luxury one.

To which, the clerk leans forward, and almost conspiratorily says "Oh, but it's a hybrid. That makes it an economy..." as if that explains everything.

At which point I figure it's their money, and head on my way.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

*Knocks the dust off*

I want to try to get back to writing and posting again, really... going to make an effort, even if short stuff.

So - as much of my life these days involves the daily commute to & from things, and with me no longer being in "cop mode" during such drives, I have a growing list of observations regarding drivers.

I think I'm going to start an online university. My first two courses are going to be:

"Turn signals. Decorative accessory, or useful item?"


"Why is everyone passing me on the right, and what it should mean for my life?"

Monday, February 20, 2017


So, I recently had cause to order some adhesive strips from Amazon, due to an unplanned vehicle replacement.

This isn't a complaint thread - they did great, as always, in price and service.

No, this is an observation on the packaging used:

The order in question is the small bag at bottom.

The packaging is the large box, complete with bubble wrap....

Can't say they didn't protect my purchase!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

A Good Security Resource

The link here was originally written to provide women with a resource addressing online and social privacy and safety in the digital age. However, it is a good set of tools for anyone interested in such things and unsure of where to start. Worth looking over.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Know your enemy

One of the persisten problems with the "War on a Verb" approach of the past 16 years has been definitions. This has shaped everything from the reluctance to say or do certain military things, to accusations of racism, bigotry and the like towards agencies and individuals concerned about who the threat is. The sad fact is that the VAST majority of people spouting off about the whole topic don't actually know what they are discussing (this includes .gov figures and politicians) - so, they either deliberately or accidentally contribute to the spread of bad information.

In particular, I'm discussing the whole concept and conversation about "Radical Islam," "Jihad," and the like.

Words matter. In understanding what is truly going on. In holding informed discussions. In every sense of making the appropriate decisions.

As a small bit towards helping, I encourage you to read this essay which discusses intelligently the differences between "Muslim," "Islamist," "Jihadist," "Takfiri," and the like. One of the best summaries I've seen, and very balanced towards facts not opinions. It also links to deeper sources should you have the interest.

Good reading for anyone concerned.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Interesting, and concerning thoughts

Lawdog has a post up here worthy of a read.

He's not the only one sharing this concern - a lot of people talk a good game, but don't realize the true dangers of a civil war, or even the run-up to one.

And a whole lot of folks, on both sides, are digging in their feet these days...

Saturday, January 28, 2017

One of the "Special Snowflakes" (NSFW Language)

So, this little example of commentary (allegedly) from one of the rioters at last week's inauguration ceremonies showed up bouncing around today:

Apparently being posted on one of the 4chan political boards and elsewhere. 
Now, while it has a certain funny irony to it if true, it also should be incentive for some deeper thought. 
First off - let's examine the open admissions in this person's post. Which, match similar public statements at other such "protests" over the past two decades, and thus has obviously become accepted practice. Let's see - we have admissions of plans to assault others, to damage property, and all with the goal of intimidation towards the other side. And, very obviously, with the expectation that, just like "times before," there would be no significant consequences for said actions. 
In big part, this is a direct result of society LETTING such things become accepted behavior. In an ever-downward spiral from the 1960's up to today, "protest" for many groups has become completely synonymous with violent activity. Now, this is certainly not the case for every group, or every cause - but it has become the norm more than not. Often it is nothing more than an element of 10% or so who show up with these goals in mind, because they know that such activity will get 90% of the press coverage. And, when such events occur, what happens now? Officers and communities step back and allow such activity, either refusing to shut it down, or making only the merest token of interventions. When businesses and residences are suffering thousands of dollars in damages, when officers and other individuals are injured attempting to limit the spread of the violence, the local political drive is towards accomodation rather than control of the situation. Witness Baltimore's mayor in 2016 and the famous "">we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well" statement made in the public media. All of this often done in the name of respecting the First Amendment rights of the protestors...
Funny thing, that. Being a big fan of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the First Amendment discusses "peaceable assembly".  Neither the Founding Fathers, nor general society meant for it to cover wanton distruction, looting, or violence towards others. Which brings me back to the individual in question. Because it is absolutely apparent he DOES believe he is the victim in all of this - "We're the good guys." The outrage at being held accountable for such behaviors, the amazement that members are abandoning the cause when they might have to face consequences... all of it showing a mindset that somehow, because they're protesting against "The Man," in all his various forms, they should be held to a different standard. As sad as it is to realize, he is a victim in a way, for we have failed him. Much like a juvenile who commits crime after crime, with only the merest lectures as penalty, and then is shocked when at age 18 the same offense lands him with a jail term, we have taught the wrong lessons. By no means am I condoning a police state, or in any way saying we should cut down on protests or the rights of the people to address their government - we are founded on those beliefs, and they have been instrumental in addressing many wrongs throughout history. But, when we allow uncivilized behaviors, we only encourage more of it. When we give up the streets to destruction, we reap the consequences. And, when we fail to hold our citizens to the same standards of decency as others, it will only lead to more individuals who are shocked when they finally go too far and are held accountable.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Not mine, but I found it fitting

"Oh, you comment anonymously on the Internet. You must be so brave." —John Hancock, born OTD 1737 1st signer of the Declaration of Independence