Tag Archives: Rant

Why Betsy DeVos is NOT Good For America’s Education System

Earlier today, Betsy DeVos was confirmed by the United States Senate as the Secretary of Education in President Trump’s cabinet. Despite overwhelming public opposition, a hearing in which DeVos showed multiple times her lack of educational experience and knowledge, and two Republican senators who stood up and voted against her appointment, Vice President Pence cast the deciding vote, breaking the tie and pushing the confirmation through.

Betsy DeVos is an ardent supporter of charter schools and vouchers over the existing public school system. This is most evident in her leadership of the American Federation for Children, a nonprofit group which pushes these same agendas. DeVos, however, has no formal education experience or qualifications, as stated earlier. I, as a former elementary school teacher and holder of a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, have both the experience and qualifications to speak first hand as to why charter schools are rarely a good idea for our children’s’ education. Continue reading Why Betsy DeVos is NOT Good For America’s Education System

The “Muslim Ban” and False Equivalence

False equivalence is a logical fallacy in which two opposing arguments appear to be logically equivalent when in fact they are not. This fallacy is categorized as a fallacy of inconsistency.

— “False equivalence.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2017. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_equivalence

On Friday, January 27, at 4:42 PM, President Donald Trump signed an executive order titled “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States”. The full body of the executive order can be found here.

The backlash was almost immediate. Protests are taking place in cities and airports across the country. Governors and legislators on both sides of the aisle have spoken out opposing the executive order on multiple grounds. This is now the second weekend since President Trump took office in which protests took place.

One of the main reasons for protest comes from section 5(b) of the executive order, which states:

Upon the resumption of USRAP admissions, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, is further directed to make changes, to the extent permitted by law, to prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality. Where necessary and appropriate, the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security shall recommend legislation to the President that would assist with such prioritization.(Emphasis added)

Many have taken that section of the order as proof that the ban is focused on preventing Muslims from entering the United States of America and is religious discrimination. White House cyber security advisor Rudy Guliani comments on the Fox News Channel appear to reinforce that concept:

“I’ll tell you the whole history. When [Mr Trump] first announced it he said ‘Muslim ban’. He called me up, he said, ‘put a commission together, show me the right way to do it legally’.

— Eleftheriou-Smith , Loulla-Mae. “Donald Trump asked Rudy Giuliani how to ‘legally’ create ‘Muslim ban’, claims former New York mayor.” The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media, 30 Jan. 2017. Web. 30 Jan. 2017. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-muslim-ban-rudy-giuliani-how-legally-create-islam-us-immigration-entry-visa-new-york-a7552751.html

Some of my friends on social media are calling out the protesters and opponents to the order using two examples of previous presidents who placed bans on refugees and/or revoked visas for foreign nationals. Their point is that there were no protests when these events occurred, so why should there be protests now. I have reviewed these two incidents since one took place when I was only 5 years old and the other I was not aware of, and I’ve found that both of these incidents are false equivalencies. Read on to learn why.

Continue reading The “Muslim Ban” and False Equivalence

Thoughts on Apple and the FBI

Before all of the recent security and privacy hullabaloo between the FBI and Apple, Apple tried to help the FBI. Apple could have recovered the data from the San Bernardino shooter’s phone if it was connected to a known wifi network and allowed to back up to iCloud.

The problem is that the FBI told the San Bernardino police to reset the password on the user account. This prevents access to the backups.

What the FBI asked Apple to do at that point was write a custom firmware update for that phone. It had to be made by Apple and digitally signed by them, otherwise the phone wouldn’t accept it. The firmware would remove the limitation of 10 incorrect password attempts before the phone would wipe itself. They also wanted Apple to remove a limitation to how fast they could enter passwords.

Here are the problems with that request:

1) No matter how careful the FBI or Apple are, there’s no guarantee that firmware won’t get hacked and reverse engineered. Imagine every iOS device made vulnerable because somebody lost their thumb drive.

2) How much time, money, and effort would Apple have needed to develop the firmware hack? That’s not Apple’s job. They’re not a forensics company.

3) One of Apple’s major selling points is their security. By hacking their own security, they severely damage their own reputation and their sales.

4) There are other iPhones in the hands of state and federal authorities. The FBI picked this particular phone because they knew the emotional impact it would have. They wanted to set legal precedent. They failed.

I’m glad they did.