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.


Bush Bites Back

It’s been a long time coming. Bush has taken heat from the left for far too long, without fighting back much. They constantly engage Bush, citing he mislead the American public with his reasons for going to war. I may be mistaken, but didn’t a pretty large number of Democrats vote for going to war?

Bush gave a killer speech today, slamming Democrats for rewriting the history of how the war in Iraq began.

While it’s perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began. (Applause.) Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war. These critics are fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community’s judgments related to Iraq’s weapons programs.

They also know that intelligence agencies from around the world agreed with our assessment of Saddam Hussein. They know the United Nations passed more than a dozen resolutions citing his development and possession of weapons of mass destruction. And many of these critics supported my opponent during the last election, who explained his position to support the resolution in the Congress this way: “When I vote to give the President of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat, and a grave threat, to our security.” That’s why more than a hundred Democrats in the House and the Senate — who had access to the same intelligence — voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power. (Applause.)

I doubt this will really improve the situation for Bush. Democrats will continue lying, because well, that’s what they do. They’re already denying they’ve tried rewriting history. Lets hope Bush will keep it up and not allow the dems to continue berating him at every chance they get. What better time to initially bite back than Veterans Day?

The Political Teen has the video. Others blogging:
Iowa Voice
Pundit Guy
Point Five
Don Surber
Confederate Yankee
Stop the ACLU
Protein Wisdom


City-Owned Telecom

The last few weeks there’s been many commercials airing, urging voters to turn down a proposed city-owned telecom bill. I was all for it, being that we don’t have many good options for internet service here in Iowa. This should provide some more options eventually for Iowans.

Voters in 17 Iowa cities voted for the proposal, allowing cities to build their own telecommunications companies. This will really piss off Mediacom.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Voters in 17 cities are giving their local governments the right to form their own telecommunications company.

Supporters went to the polls Tuesday night and sent a message to companies like Mediacom and Qwest, which helped fund a $1 million campaign blitz against the measure.

Cities such as Dubuque, Mason City and Waterloo can now start their own cable, telephone and Internet systems and potentially charge less than other companies.

On the other hand, 15 cities voted against the the proposal. One of those cities being Nevada, where I usually reside. Nevada is currently served by Iowa Telecom for phone service, they’re our only option for non-voip phone service. Mediacom is the only cable provider. Both companies offer broadband, but Iowa Telecom’s is piss slow and Mediacom offers basically no upload speeds.

Residents of 32 Iowa communities delivered a split verdict Tuesday on whether their cities should seek a role offering cable television, Internet and other telecommunications services.

Totals showed 17 communities passed the measures to form communications utilities and 15 defeated them. In the Des Moines metro area, proposals failed in Altoona, Carlisle, Norwalk and Windsor Heights.

The proposal was defeated in Nevada and six other communities served by telephone company Iowa Telecom. “I think it shows that (voters) just took the time to research the issue,” company spokesman Dan Eness said. “They realized a municipally owned telecommunications utility was not in the best interest for them.”

OK Dan, you wouldn’t just say that simply because you’re an Iowa Telecom employee would you? Of course not. I should thank the Des Moines Register for getting thoughts from mostly Mediacom or Iowa Telecom employees, that’s super!