Category Archives: news

From the Did You Know Dept: Data Security in the Travel Industry is Nicht Gut!

If you want the full story, head over to CPO Mag

Here is the bottom line from the article for travelers

(Which? Magazine that studied their security) is encouraging customers of the travel industry to be extra cautious when dealing with hotels, resorts, airlines and other forms of transport. The magazine’s cyber security specialists advise unique and strong passwords for each travel account, the use of two-factor authentication (2FA) whenever it is available, not creating website accounts (checking out as a “guest” instead) when it is not necessary, and not allowing these sites to save credit card details. For those who need to travel frequently, a good password manager may be helpful in securely juggling a number of different travel industry accounts.

It is also wise to keep an eye on “loyalty account” point balances, as hackers have recently begun to focus on these as they provide an easy means to anonymously purchase gift cards that can quickly be sold or used while remaining difficult to track.

Trumpster Dumpster – You’re Paying to Kill US Solders? Who Cares!

One more tick on the clock, one more gut wrenching tidbit from the Trump White House

Trump said yesterday that when he spoke to President Vladimir Putin of Russia last week, he didn’t think it was worth the time to mention the Russian government’s reported bounty payments to Taliban fighters.

Here is Trump’s explanation

“That was a phone call to discuss other things, and frankly, that’s an issue that many people said was fake news,” Trump told Axios.

Many people? The only person I have heard saying that is Donald Trump himself.

Hey Mac! Where Do I Stash the Dead Bodies!

This headline is made worse in that it is not the first time we have seen it

Arizona and Texas are requesting refrigerated trucks as their coronavirus outbreaks leave morgues running out of space for bodies

Yup, that was New York not too long ago.  This brings home the message conveyed here

Leaving The Pandemic Response To States Doomed The Country To Fail Together

And here we are

NATIONWIDE CORONA CRISIS

Let’s be honest about this crisis. It didn’t have to be this way. America has failed. Not because the American people are bad people. But because we elected a man to the White House who doesn’t belong there, and because GOP Senators refused to acknowledge that fact during impeachment.

If this is not the mother of all wake up calls, I don’t know what is.

Oh Great, a New Tariff War

This started with French protesters complaining that the GAFA humongo companies are hurting French companies. In case you don’t know, GAFA stands for Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple.

President Macron decided to respond to the complaints and signaled he will impose a tax on GAFA revenue earned in France. (3&). Whether that is a good idea  or a bad one, the US is responding, signalling that it will impose a 25% tariff on an array of French luxury goods.

Stay tuned on this one. And load up on your handbags!

The Jeffrey Epstein Messtoid May Not be Over

Just about everything related to Jeffrey Epstein reeks. Based on the news, he stole his way to riches,  indulged his sexual perversions on young girls, and built a network of high flying society figures to party with. Then it all came apart. He was arrested and hanged himself (or so the story goes).

So game over, right? Wrong.

The recent arrest of Ms Maxwell is round 2 of this affair. Why?  It is asserted that Ms Maxwell was up to her eyeballs in helping Epstein manage his sexual affairs.Not only that, it is alleged that she participated in the “fun”.  And as important, no one knows what Ms Maxwell knows about who else was “in” on the Epstein party wagon.

Consider this tidbit in the news today

Lawyers for Prince Andrew consulted a Washington lobbyist with ties to the Trump administration about potentially assisting the prince with fallout from his relationship with the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein. No deal was struck.

The mind boggles. It is well known that the prince was a close friend of Ms Maxwell, and that he consorted with her and Epstein. He denies any sexual wrongdoing. It is also well known that Donald Trump consorted with Epstein. Trump denies any sexual wrongdoing.  Then we have Bill Clinton, who has admitted to  bumming rides in Epstein’s private jet and denied that he was involved in anything untoward.

Most likely, Ms Maxwell does not relish the thought of spending the rest of her life in prison. So if she has something to offer prosecutors, she has a strong incentive to try to make a deal and spill the beans. On the other hand, if she does have beans to spill, some powerful people may be squirming in their chairs. And following this line of thought, those folks have huge incentives to do what they can to prevent being exposed.

Stay tuned!

A New Type of Journalism?

I am a big, big consumer of what is called “news”. Each day, I peruse a number of newspapers, journals, blogs, etc. And I am always looking for how well issues are explained. Sadly, I find that all too often, articles are geared to provide only a superficial understanding of what they are talking about.

Here is the typical format

  • Headline designed to max out page views
  • Next you get a “grabber sentence”, usually a repeat of the headline. In this example
  • Then you get a smattering of facts.  about what has just happening or is happening
  • Then you get the clincher  a superficial conclusion.

Unfortunately, this type of writing does not give the reader much of a chance to develop a deeper understanding of WHY this is happening, or to offer IDEAS for what should be happening.  In other words, it is a subpar learning platform rather than a starting point for discussing the issues involved at a higher level.

Can we do better? Yes.

Some sources are trying to do that now. Vox is one. Vox attempts to go beyond the headlines to explain how we got to where we are, and it does offer ideas.

My idea — Vox is focused mainly on US news. Let’s make this a standard for a new type of journalistic platform that caters to locations and peoples around the world.

A platform that is

  • process rather than position  oriented (think of it as NOT Fox or MSNBC)
  • trustworthy – designed to “call out” things that are not meeting standards for public discussion, and get responses to its ctiiques
  • learning oriented – treating issues as  symptoms of solvable problems rather than just random events
  • future oriented – demanding that we leave the world a better place than we found it

What do you think? Could this be done? If there is enough interest, we might start a thread here about how to build this platform.

A Russian Bounty on US Soldiers in Afghanistan?

When I first heard this story, I had some doubts about its accuracy. It seemed far fetched that a Russian intelligence unit operating in Afghanistan would offer the Taliban a bounty for killing US  soldiers.

But things have gotten more complicated since then. The White House has denied that the president or vice president were briefed on such a report. Hmmm …. one has to wonder why they would not be briefed. Is this not important?

And when you think a second more, you realize that the denial leaves out some huge issues. First, there is no denial that such a report exists. And so, we cannot be blamed for assuming that it does. Second, there is no denial that the report is accurate. Once again, until we hear otherwise, we  cannot be blamed for assuming that it is.

Stay tuned.