Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Thursday, 2017.04.27
I have no problem with anybody who wants to ride a motorcyle without a helmet,
or walk on a tightrope between two skyscrapers -- providing they have either
some special health insurance premium or a card in their wallets saying that
when their brains become huevos rancheros on the sidewalk, they stay huevos
rancheros on the sidewalk.

		Amy Alkon

2006.08.24

The Blogsphere’s Tribute To The Victims of 9/11

If you are a blogger, do this: 2,996: A Tribute to the Victims of 9/11. You can sign up by clicking here.

I’ll be giving a great deal of thought for a post honoring Mary Melendez. She died in the World Trade Center.

Mary Melendez
Mary Melendez, Age 44

2006.08.02

Making The World Safe From Treeists

I am soooooooo relieved the police have pounded another gang of rogue tree climbers into the ground. Whew! It was getting to the point I was a fearin’ to leave my house!

To the 12-year-old friends planning to build themselves a den, the cherry tree seemed an inviting source of material.

But the afternoon adventure turned into a frightening ordeal for Sam Cannon, Amy Higgins and Katy Smith after they climbed into the 20ft tree – then found themselves hauled into a police station and locked in cells for up to two hours.

Their shoes were removed and mugshots, DNA samples and mouth swabs were taken.

Crikey. I’d ask where’s the common sense to this but I already know the answer – THERE ISN’T ANY. There’s a thread about this stringing over at Slashdot.

And let’s not forget Glenn Reynolds’ question: “Will somebody please explain to cops that they can’t arrest people for photographing them?”

2006.07.29

Definition Of Moral Equivalence

If the U.S. or Israel does something violent, you speak only in terms of your horror and righteous anger that we have killed people. If our enemies do something violent, you call attention to their understandable frustration and outrage and our role in making them feel that way.

Thank you Ann.

If we are in a country (including our own) fighting for the Freedoms of Speech and Liberty, we are aggressors, invaders and imperialist pigs. If they are fighting from the cover of a baby’s crib and flying jet aircraft into buildings, they are freedom fighters.

[Edit History]

2006.07.30

Case in point (HT: Instapundit):

THIS is the picture that damns Hezbollah. It is one of several, smuggled from behind Lebanon’s battle lines, showing that Hezbollah is waging war amid suburbia.

Where’s the outrage over the fact Hezbollah is setting up anti-aircraft guns in grandma’s flowerbeds?

2006.08.01

The Weaponization of Children – Gerard Van der Leun (HT: Michelle Malkin)

2006.07.27

The Last Words Of Kevin Cosgrove

Stunning.

Kevin Cosgrove

I have watched this and will watch it again – every time I show it to someone else. Then I will list for them all the points of Shar’ia law they are in violation of just by standing there and being who they are. The best they can hope for is the life of a dhimmi. At the hands of rabid fanatics, it is more likely the consequence of their transgressions will put them in that building with Kevin Cosgrove.

We know Kevin Cosgrove’s last words. What will yours be?

For a fascinating “What If”, read SF writer Dan Simmons’ April 2006 Message.

More comments here.

[Edit History]

2006.07.27

Case in point:

On 15 August, 2004, Atefah Sahaaleh was hanged in a public square in the Iranian city of Neka.

Her death sentence was imposed for “crimes against chastity”.

The state-run newspaper accused her of adultery and described her as 22 years old.

But she was not married – and she was just 16.

A fine example of the “pure values” President Mahmoud Ahmedinajad seeks to slather world-wide. Under Shar’ia law sex outside marriage is a capital crime, just as serious an offence as murder and drug smuggling. Care to venture a guess how many Americans have a noose with their name on it?

2006.07.28

Another thread regarding Atefah Sahaaleh can be found over on Tim Blair’s site.

2006.08.13

An hour long video of Atefah Sahaaleh’s story can be found here. Seventh century thinking caught on video. Who says we cannot go back in time?

2006.09.11

Added picture of Kevin Cosgrove and his children.

2006.07.21

Operation Mag-Neato Update

Coolness.

   
 

Doc Lee Letter

Are you doing your part?

2006.07.18

Anyone For A Piece Of Pie? Everyone?

La Shawn Barber, saying what we’re thinking

Blacks already receive reparations with every lowered standard, every welfare check, every skin color-entitlement government contract, every race-based program subsidized by taxpayers, and every politically correct doctrine that seeks to suppress honest discussions on race and encourage others to apply different standards to black Americans in just about every area of American life.

If only reparations would stop the complaints, excuse-making, pandering, envy, and hostility! I would be the loudest proponent, donating my share to the poorest of the poor, shouting from the rooftop, “Thank God for this cash, for now my people are free, satiated by the ultimate government check!” (Emphasis added)

Articulate perfection.

[Edit History]

2006.07.19

Cobb has a perspective on how things could be. Writing on African American achievements, he observes:

I percieve a kind of checkboxification going on and a reflexive statement about ‘race relations’ etc. Everybody plays this game. My token is more representative than your token. But I don’t think it is fair to the achiever, the achievement or to the audiences.

And concludes…

So here’s to hope that African American acheivement remains apolitical.

I’ve witnessed remarkable achievements done by many people out of necessity or for the simple thrill of it. I’ve then watched as some of those people and their achievements were snatched by less ambitious folk along the sidelines and spirited away to serve some political agenda as an “aggrieved out-group” icon. I echo Cobb’s hope and look for the day when personal achievements are regarded, pure and simple, as human, unencumbered by qualifiers or tokenization, and therefore available to any of us with the desire and will to succeed. That is a day I would dearly love to see.

2006.07.14

Everything I Needed To Know About World Peace I Learned From A Vegetable

No one is safe in this war of information. No one is immune from the Fanatical Eye. Even those professing the faith are subject to slavery and death. And if you are not a Believer, then you must die. What’s the answer? A vegetable seller in Mumbai (HT: Tim Blair) has it. Speaking on the incredible resilience displayed by Indians (fortunately a still common human characteristic all over the globe) after the horrific bomb blasts in Mumbai several days ago:

“We keep priding ourselves on how we bounce back after these blasts and Mumbai’s ‘spirit’, but haven’t we got it wrong?” asked Anshuman Datta, a vegetable seller. “Shouldn’t we be priding ourselves on our ability to hit back at those responsible?”

There it is. Hitting back at those responsible.

It isn’t hitting back at terrorists or Jews or politicians or soldiers or stock traders or corporate executives or parents or bloggers or main stream media or peace activists or police or or or or… Its hitting back at those responsible – pure, simple, clean. Put the effort there. Strip that effort of all political agendas and self serving interests (failure in this makes the solution part of the problem.) If there are no meaningful consequences to such abhorrent behavior, there will only ever be increasing levels of abhorrent behavior.

Clarifying for the barbarian pea brain that such behavior will result in great ouchiness has a effort for success curve commensurate with the duration with which barbaric behavior has been tolerated. Viewing the egregious lack of accountability among our leaders – left and right, public and private – and the self serving interests (not to any “cause” but to the individual’s need for…whatever) pressed by many “activists”, I have to say I’m not encouraged. We have prepared the soil over the past 50 years with the fertilizer of political correctness and saturated the earth with obscene levels or tolerance. We are sowing ugly and tenacious weeds indeed.

2006.06.21

Reflections On Guns and Freedom

I came across this post, Guns and Freedom, by Bill Whittle from December 17, 2002.

When I was a little kid, I asked my dad (who had served in the latter days of WW2 in Europe as a U.S. Army intelligence officer) about images I had seen of really huge numbers of prisoners being marched to their execution, guarded by perhaps five or ten men with rifles. I wanted to know why they didn’t just rush the guards? I mean, it’s one thing if they were heading to another crappy day at work camp, but these people were being marched off to be killed. I mean, for God’s sake, what did they have to lose?

I was six. My dad looked at me. He’d been to the camps, seen some horrible things. When I asked him why they didn’t fight back or run for the woods, he said, without any arrogance or pride or jingoism, “I don’t know Billy, I can’t figure that one out myself.” Then there was a long moment. “But I can’t imagine Americans just walking off like that, either.”

United Airlines flight 93 is a sobering validation to the impression Bill Whittle’s father has of Americans. In the span of a mere 28 minutes unsuspecting and unprepared American citizens figured out they were under attack, planned and executed a counter attack and in doing so prevented the terrorists from hitting their intended target of either the White House or the United States Capitol.

2006.06.20

Operation Mag-Neato

It’s simple, just do what the Sergeant says:

Mail any and all refrigerator magnets (the tackier the better,naturally) to me, Sargeant Lee at:

Dr. Darren Lee
Attn: PSYOP
TF-3-187
FOB Brassfield Mora
APO AE 09349

Here’s the one I sent (Iraq is a dangerous place and information is power.):

Operation Mag-Neato - JZ-TOL

Read all about it here, here and here. And more here.

[Edit History]

2006.07.11 – Looks like the address has changed. The address above is the latest one as of this date. Alas, I haven’t spied my contribution.

2006.07.20 – New address again. Visit Doc. Lee’s web site to be sure you have the latest address. It’s looking pretty.

2006.06.17

Modern Day Marshalsea

While on a recent trip I found myself short of cash. “Not to worry,” me thinks. “A convenient cash advance from my credit card and all will be set right.” And so it was, until I got my credit card bill. I hadn’t done any kind of cash advance for years, as in 15 years. Having learned early about the black pit that is “Credit Card Debt,” I vowed to myself as a young lad never to fall into that dark, unholy place again. Since that day, I’ve paid my credit card balance in full each month.

But there are new rules (new to me, anyway) about cash advances. Not only do you pay a “fee” for the cash advance transaction, $20 in my case, but the damn thing is subject to immediate and Draconian finance charges. Check out the APR put in place by a simple cash advance:

Ouch

It would seem with the recent changes in bankruptcy laws (aggressively lobbied for by the banking and credit card industry) and the ability to jack interest rates to such obscene levels, the credit card industry has successfully pilfered the signage above the very gates of Hell: “All hope abandon, ye who enter here!” All the more reason to be mindful of the benefits of hard work and grateful I can pay my balance in full each month.

2006.06.13

Aluminum Overcast

Growing up in the 1960’s, the events of WWII were a mere 25 years in the past. It seemed like ancient history at the time, but now that those events happened more than 60 years ago, both age and experience have given me a different understanding of times’ relativity. Its easy to understand why my brothers and I had a strong interest in that particular war. WWII was more recent to us than the Vietnam war is to the kids growing up today. We did the outward kid stuff like playing soldier and building models of ships, tanks, canons, aircraft – virtually all manner of military equipment was of interest.

But we knew more of the history around the arsenals we built. Certainly more so than the kids today. Our kid play involved re-enactments of the Battle of the Bulge, Anzio Beach and the Ploesti Oil Raid. We knew the history of the Desert Rats and the 8th Air Force. In that respect, it wasn’t play. We taught ourselves the details of an important time in world history and in doing so gained a lasting appreciation of war and its effects. That a man could die in battle wasn’t such an abstract concept. We didn’t have the Game-Over-Reboot-Start-Again filter.

My greatest interest, my speciality even, was aircraft. No detail was too small or insignificant to commit to memory. Indeed, no self respecting student of the Mustang would dare claim expertise without knowing the subtle differences between a P-51B and a P-51C beyond the obvious fact they were manufactured in different locations. No doubt enthusiasm of this sort was inspired partly by my father’s tales of being an Air Scout and hanging around the likes of Joe Foss.

But it was more than that. There was something attractive about being a fighter pilot or even a member of a bomber crew that was different from serving on the land or at sea. Once the aircraft left the ground, a whole new set of rules were in effect. All you had to work with was what you brought with you into the air and all you could do was move forward – no cavalry, no digging in, no backing up. Its the kind of environment that appeals to a grown up Aikido black belt libertarian who’s not afraid of a fight.

Each time I see one of the old WWII era aircraft fly over, I think of the men who went to war in these machines. Each of those moments is a Memorial Day unto itself as I cannot help but imagine standing on an airfield in England in 1944, the plane I’m watching having just taken off on its way to a mission deep in the heart of Germany. I’m seeing and hearing exactly what it would have been like over 60 years ago. These moments are a brief experience of times long gone. Unfortunately, memory of the sacrifice is fading, too.

I thought of these things yet again this past weekend as the Experimental Aircraft Association’s B-17G, “Aluminum Overcast,” visited Centennial Airport. My office window looks out over the flight pattern for Centennial Airport, so for the past four days I’ve watched this amazing piece of history take off and head out across the flat Colorado landscape several dozen times. I did manage a couple of good shots with my trusty Sony DSC-W7, and even a little video. Below is one of the better pictures.

B-17G Aluminum Overcast
Boeing B-17G “Aluminum Overcast”

[Edit History]

2008.06.02

Grammar fix.

2006.06.10

Government Demands Censorship Apology

Not good:

House Democrats from Long Island and New York City on Friday joined the chorus of critics slamming Ann Coulter.

The lawmakers signed a letter drafted by Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) demanding that the conservative commentator apologize for saying in her new book that widows of some 9/11 victims are “enjoying” their husbands’ deaths. The book refers to the four New Jersey women as “the witches of East Brunswick.”

I’ve been working on a more considered response to Ann Coulter’s remarks and the reactions that followed. But this development breached my patience and demanded an immediate response.

Is our Congress so out of touch with, you know, reality-based reality that they believe it appropriate and worth the time to issue what measures up to a demand for censorship? “Apology,” my ass. Coming from Congress, such a demand carries a far greater implication of intimidation than a similar letter from, say, the local cub scout troop.

In light of this pointed abuse of power, I care less about what Ann Coulter said specifically, and more about showing Congress with my finger just which Constitutional Amendment I’ll die fighting to protect. It is neither appropriate nor a good use of their time for the Congress to meddle in this issue. I felt just as strongly when they meddled in the life of Terri Schiavo. Neither party, indeed no elected official has any business here except to fulfill their oath to office and protect the Constitution.

This development has the same stench as the on-going revelations about corruption within the ranks of Congress and, even more troubling, the lengths to which they will unite to protect themselves from the very same laws we are all subject to, including members of Congress. The sewage that is Congressional Hubris assumes each of the members are above the law, entitled even. Likewise for those for whom they wish to confer protection. Bizzzzzzzt! (That’s the sound of me voting for America’s new Third Party: the Not-An-Incumbent Party.) Protecting their darling shielded puppets, what ever the cause, on my dime makes me want to Ensz in their shoes.

Note to Ann Coulter: Don’t! The issue just spilled over into your fundamental right to free speech and I support you in protecting that right.

Note to Congress, Democrats and Republicans: Get back to work!

2006.06.08

Spinning Little Worlds

As reported on Counterterrorism Blog

“Reacting to the killing of Abu Mus’ab al Zarqawi in Iraq, pro-Jihadi commentators on al Jazeera rushed to assert that the ‘death of Zarqawi won’t weaken al Qaida but will actually unify the organization.'”

If this is an accurate assessment, we’re left to wonder what prevented al Qaida from bumping Zarqawi off themselves and thus achieve the lauded organization unification sooner. Spun the other way, if eliminating the leader strengthens the organization, what do terrorist organizations think will happen when leaders of free nations are assassinated? When the world gets smaller, attempts to spin bad news as good just ends up looking like tail chasing. And yes, al Jazeera, those stripes DO make you look thiner.

Observing how jihadi spin is in such synchronization with the MSM leads me to conclude a fundamental strategy from both spheres, albeit with different agendas perhaps, depends on persons of freedom being incapable of rubbing two thoughts together. To some extent this is true, particularly among the extremes which simply have no room for more than one thought. But reading the signs, I have a growing confidence that this kind of shallow reasoning will backfire on those who presuppose its mystical, magical powers.

[Edit History]

2006.06.09 – Nice parody from Eric Raymond punctuating the freakish relationship between the MSM and terrorist organizations. But then again, the reality of it gets a little spooky.

2006.02.18

From the We-Don’t-Need-No-Stinking-Badges Department

Its -11°F here in Denver this morning and the power to the neighborhood has been out for the past 30 minutes and counting. What caused me to shiver wasn’t Mother Nature’s biting cold, rather this from an article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

Houston’s police chief on Wednesday proposed placing surveillance cameras in apartment complexes, downtown streets, shopping malls and even private homes to fight crime during a shortage of police officers.

“I know a lot of people are concerned about Big Brother, but my response to that is, if you are not doing anything wrong, why should you worry about it?” Chief Harold Hurtt told reporters Wednesday at a regular briefing.

And just who is it, Chief Hurtt, that decides whether or not what I’m doing is “wrong” in your Utopian Police State? You and your stripe? That there are American citizen who think like this is not what is frightening. Its when they are leaders in the police force, and in a position to “advise” politicians, that this thinking crosses the line. Is the Fourth Amendment safe?

Signs like this have increased in frequency since the terrorists of 9/11 gave their domestic counterparts exactly what they needed to push an agenda which believes the only secure society is one that is safely tucked under the heel of a boot. The signal is above the noise and has been for some time.

This isn’t a ding against the police. I have great respect for the job they do. The concern is directed at the neo-Luddites who’s understanding of a consequence couldn’t win them a game of tic-tac-toe. Its of special concern when such thinking wears a uniform – police or military. Nano-surveillance of law abiding American citizens isn’t the way to better security. It is, however, a substantial invitation for abuse. It moves me closer to buying a gun. Not because I feel the need for one. But to do so while I still have the right. The founding fathers of America understood the only real check against a totalitarian government was an armed citizenry capable of tearing down any despots. Despots know the only sure way to stay in power is to disarm the citizens. And detailed surveillance of every citizen would be a useful tool for finding who has what and with whom they are meeting.

[Edit History]

2006.02.24 – Bruce Schneier is running an interesting thread on this story.

2006.02.08

Mohammad in the Gutter

In an unfortunate display of example following postulation, the flame fanning by Muslim clerics behind the Danish newspaper [Jyllands-Posten] cartoons as reported by the Wall Street Journal echos points I made regarding the “War on Christmas” crusade being waged by various fundamental Christian groups (See Jesus in the Checkout Line)

In writing how unthinking followers confuse the symbol with the real thing, in this case how a tree IS Christmas:

This is where the dogmatic followers in the “War on Christmas” crusade are stuck – the label. The crusade leaders know this and use the effect on the followers to advance their agenda.

Now match this with what the Wall Street Journal reports:

Keen to “globalize” the crisis to pressure the Danish government, Mr. [Ahmed] Abu-Laban [a fundamentalist Palestinian cleric] and his colleagues decided to send delegations to the Middle East. They prepared a dossier to distribute during the travels. The document, which exceeded 30 pages, featured copies of the published cartoons and Arabic media reports about the controversy. It also contained a group of highly offensive pictures that had never been published by the newspaper, including a photograph of a man dressed as a pig, with the caption: “this is the real picture of Muhammad.”

(more…)


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