I Didn’t Go To Jail and Got Really Lucky

Back in October I was pretty certain that I was going to jail. There was a bench warrant for my arrest due to a missed court date. I forgot, that’s it. My wife was in the hospital, unable to speak. I’ll just say my mind was 100% focused on my wife, court was the last thing on my mind, unfortunately. Having your wife in the hospital for the third time in as many months becomes very anxiety inducing, lol.

Lucky Bastard

With the bench warrant out for me, I decided it was time to hire a lawyer. And FUCK was he an awesome lawyer (rather cheap, too). He explained to the powers that be that I had simply forgotten because my wife was in the hospital. He also brought to their attention that I had never missed any of my 5 prior court dates. Luckily the judge was lenient and cancelled the warrant.

My lawyer had a lot of good contacts, and even worked with the judge many, many years ago. After my attorney met with the prosecuting attorney, he told me everything I’d been wanting to hear. Prosecutors agreed for a deferred judgement, 6 months probation, and 50 hours of community service. The deferred judgment was the one I really cared out. The fact that my lawyer only charged me $500 was a major plus, too. He’s sort of a family friend, and the exact opposite of what you’d expect a lawyer to look “be”. He’d fit in really well at Burning Man. I liked him a lot.

Or Not So Lucky

The whole ordeal turned out to be quite expensive. $300 for my probation officer and another $600 or $700 in court costs and fines. Luckily I was able to pay it all of right away. If I hadn’t, I probably would have procrastinated and eventually forgotten about it, lol.

What Happened

This all started back in June of 2013 when I was pulled over by an Iowa State Trooper for supposedly following the vehicle in front of me too closely. I think that’s a pretty subjective thing, but I’m not well versed in traffic law, so whatever.

I realized I had a small amount of marijuana in the car, which I threw in an empty mcdonalds sack I had sitting in the front seat next to me. I never rolled the sack down, and that was my fatal error. I didn’t roll it down because I was expecting the trooper to approach my vehicle on the drivers side, not even thinking he’d go to the passenger side because he pulled me over on a busy highway in Des Moines.

Obviously, the state trooper saw the marijuana in the wide open bag and asked me what it was.

I replied, “It’s medicine”. To which he replied a quite firm, “No.”. It thought it was kinda amusing. I fessed up and he searched the car and all that jazz. Sat me in the front seat of his car and I immediately asked if I was going to jail. He assured me I wasn’t because nothing else was found in the car and it was my first offense.

Since this is my first community service sentence (and hopefully the last), are there any non-profits that need any web work done? I’d really like to do that for a non-profit. Or, even doing some manual labor outside would be great too, a nice change from being in an office all week. And I love the cold weather.

Also, the break from marijuana has been rather nice so far. The most notable thing I’ve noticed is an increase in ambition. Not just increased ambition in my work life, but in my personal life as well. I stil love some idle time here and there, but not like I used to. Now I just need to work on weaning myself off my pack a day Newport menthol’s habit. They’re so damn tasty, though.

If you’ve got any suggestions on non-profits who could benefit from some web development work, please leave a note in the comments or on Hacker News.


Tor Is Important For Privacy and The Internet

Tor is an extremely important tool for people living under oppressive governments. It allows them to get around the restrictions put in place on them, essentially allowing them access to the full, unfiltered Internet. Tor needs more relays/nodes to be more efficient and provide more bandwidth and speed for these users.

Tor is also used for illegitimate reasons, too, like torrents, all types of illegal network activity, and various other things. I believe the legit uses of Tor far outweigh the illegitimate uses.

If you can run a Tor relay/node, you should. It’s really easy to do, even on Windows.You don’t need to be an exit point, as exit points are subject to more scrutiny and usually violate most hosting provider’s TOS.

I used to run a Tor relay about a year ago but stopped, don’t even remember the reason.

I’m now running 3 Tor relays/nodes. One at home, one at ChunkHost, and the other at DigitalOcean.

The DigitalOcean relay is crazy good. It’s amazing how much data passes through it, I’ve got the bandwidth speed limits set pretty high.

I’ve currently got two months of free DigitalOcean hosting, that I’m not really doing anything with, so I figured I might as well run a tor relay, especially since DigitalOcean seems to be OK with customers running them.

After my two free months of DigitalOcean run out, it should cost me about $5/month to keep the droplet (DigitalOcean’s weird name for a vm) to use for small projects when needed, and to run as a dedicated tor relay.

If you can afford an extra $5/month, you should look into doing the same. It’s good to help when you can.


The FCC Uses GitHub

This post on Hacker News discusses developers (or whoever really) including their .git folder when pushing to their production site. Not something I’ve ever had an issue with given my workflow. The HN piece linked to an article where the author discovered that some of the top 100,000 Alexa sites were including a .git folder on their live, public facing site. One of those sites is run by the Federal Communications Commission.

To check to see if you’re including a .git folder, just navigate to yourdomain.com/.git/config. Taking a look at the FCC’s git config file, we can see that they’ve also got a GitHub account, named fcc-admin! It’s a private GitHub account, though.

Because their .git folder is there, we can also see when they push new code to the fcc.gov website, via the .git/logs/HEAD file. You can have a look at it here. I wouldn’t be surprised if they remove this folder before too long. So, I’ve created a public Gist containing the contents of their git config file and the HEAD log file for archival purposes.


Valerie Plame Suing Rove, Libby, & Cheney

Valerie Plame has filed a lawsuit against Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, and I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby. She and husband Joe Wilson are claiming their exposure was intentional and malicious, and was done in an attempt to destroy their careers. Here’s a bit from the article at CNN:

The lawsuit accuses Cheney, Libby, Rove and 10 unnamed administration officials or political operatives of putting the Wilsons and their children’s lives at risk by exposing Plame.

“This lawsuit concerns the intentional and malicious exposure by senior officials of the federal government of … (Plame), whose job it was to gather intelligence to make the nation safer and who risked her life for her country,” the Wilsons’ lawyers said in the lawsuit.

Libby is the only administration official charged in connection with the leak investigation. He faces trial in January on perjury and obstruction-of-justice charges, accused of lying to FBI agents and a federal grand jury about when he learned Plame’s identity and what he subsequently told reporters.

There’s already lots of discussion on this:
Stop the ACLU
Outside The Beltway
bRight & Early
Hot Air

All those sites have all the details, I won’t bother re-stating the facts. I’m not really sure how I feel about this, but it seems like something Valerie and Joe wouldn’t want to get themselves into voluntarily. Won’t this additional attention just put them and their family at greater risk?


Bush in Iraq

The Bush administration has seen it’s fair share of good news in the last few weeks. Well deserved good news too.

In a White House that had virtually forgotten what good news looks like, the past few weeks have been refreshing. A Republican won a much-watched special congressional election. President Bush recruited a Wall Street heavy hitter as Treasury secretary. U.S. forces killed the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq. And now the architect of the Bush presidency has avoided criminal charges.

The death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is a big one. That guy has been responsible for so much violence in Iraq, it’s great seeing him bite the dust.

With Zarqawi dead, a new Baghdad government in place and Rove freed from prosecutor’s cross hairs, the White House hopes it can pivot to a new stage in which it is no longer on the defensive. In recent weeks, under new Chief of Staff Joshua B. Bolten, the White House has tried to do more to set an agenda, moving aggressively into the immigration debate and agreeing to join direct talks with Iran over its nuclear program under certain conditions.

Anyway, Bush made a “secret” visit to Iraq yesterday. Some think he may be laying the groundwork for troop reductions in Iraq. I don’t really see that though. To me it seems to be more of a pep-rally sort of thing. Bush was there letting everyone know that we need to stay until the job is done. Or at least until the Iraqi forces are able to handle the insurgents on their own. Even when the Iraqi forces are ready, we should still maintain a military force in the country, just to ensure the job is done right. It’d be terribly depressing if the country fell into a civil war or something once the U.S. packs up and leaves. In my eyes, we need to have a decent number of troops there for the next 50 years, just to protect our investment. “Our investment” being the nation of Iraq itself, not their oil.

Flopping Aces has some nice pictures and a video. Hot Air also has the video and a link to the transcript from Bush’s speech.

Others blogging include:
Blogs for Bush
California Conservative
Big Dog’s Weblog