Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Tuesday, 2017.09.26
If you don't have a nasty obituary you probably didn't matter.

		Freeman Dyson

2008.06.11

Dear New York Times, Go Out Of Business Already

In the New York Times: Unlike Others, U.S. Defends Freedom to Offend in Speech

Damn straight, Gray Lady…er…Lady of Deathly Pallor. And also unlike others, we’re the stronger, freer nation.

“A couple of years ago, a Canadian magazine published an article arguing that the rise of Islam threatened Western values. The article’s tone was mocking and biting, but it said nothing that conservative magazines and blogs in the United States do not say every day without fear of legal reprisal.”

Just the conservatives? The setting on Adam Liptak’s nanny firewall is clearly blocking the hate dripping and oozing from such sites as HuffPo, Daily KOS and even Barack Obama’s official web site. In either case, such things are not said “without fear or legal reprisal”, rather they are said under the protection of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Some prominent legal scholars say the United States should reconsider its position on hate speech.

“It is not clear to me that the Europeans are mistaken,” Jeremy Waldron, a legal philosopher, wrote in The New York Review of Books last month, “when they say that a liberal democracy must take affirmative responsibility for protecting the atmosphere of mutual respect against certain forms of vicious attack.”

Yes, visibility from the ever elevating Ivory Tower must be a challenge these days, Professor. “Affirmative responsibility?” What the hell is that? Makes as much sense as “negative responsibility.” Is this how legal philosophers talk amongst themselves whilst sipping brandy and smoking Virginia Slims on the balcony?

Professor Waldron was reviewing “Freedom for the Thought That We Hate: A Biography of the First Amendment” by Anthony Lewis, the former New York Times columnist. Mr. Lewis has been critical of efforts to use the law to limit hate speech.

But even Mr. Lewis, a liberal, wrote in his book that he was inclined to relax some of the most stringent First Amendment protections “in an age when words have inspired acts of mass murder and terrorism.” In particular, he called for a re-examination of the Supreme Court’s insistence that there is only one justification for making incitement a criminal offense: the likelihood of imminent violence.

The map is not the territory, guys. The word is not the thing. If an artist can understand this, maybe you professorial philosophy types should switch to smoking pipes.

Laws that attempt to eliminate words which supposedly “inspired acts of mass murder and terrorism” are unenforceable and subject the vast majority of the population to the tyranny of the select few who “define” such words. It’s what’s happening in Canada.

The State jargon of despots such as Hussein, Stalin, Hitler and Mao was the politically correct language of their respective States and times. You won’t eliminate mass murder and terrorism by controlling speech. It’s more probable you will help pave the way toward the next set of global atrocities.

Harvey A. Silverglate, a civil liberties lawyer in Cambridge, Mass., disagreed. “When times are tough,” he said, “there seems to be a tendency to say there is too much freedom.”

“Free speech matters because it works,” Mr. Silverglate continued. Scrutiny and debate are more effective ways of combating hate speech than censorship, he said, and all the more so in the post-Sept. 11 era.

“The world didn’t suffer because too many people read ‘Mein Kampf,’ ” Mr. Silverglate said.

Indeed.

2007.11.10

Run, Legacy Media, Run!

Glenn Raynolds’ wrap up from Blogworld Expo in Las Vegas:

It really underscored to me how big and diverse the blogosphere has become. There were lots of big bloggers I barely knew of, because they’re in areas I don’t follow. Some tech folks were telling me that they liked it because, going to the tech conferences, they saw the same people every time. I think a lot of political-blogger types felt the same way. There was plenty of cross-fertilization.

But the bottom line is that the blogging pond has gotten very big, and there are a lot of big fish in it now. I think that’s a huge success for the blogosphere.

I would agree and I believe the blogger’s effect on news and information is still defining its self. Just two years ago there were a handful of blogs I kept up with on a daily basis and of those I pretty much kept up with all the posts and comments. Of that handful, just two remain that I follow that closely: Instapundit and Tim Blair. I still tune in now and again to many of the old favorites, such as Althouse, Hot Air, Gateway Pundit, Iowahawk, The Anchoress and the Advice Goddess. But the time that had been spent keeping up with the second tier blogs has been supplanted by time spent at a variety of excellent blogs related to my business and industry. Two years ago, there wasn’t much out there in the blogosphere related to my business. At least not much beyond the posting of code samples, requests for technical support and rants against Microsoft and such. Today, there are a number of excellent blogs related to software design, development and security. Joel Spolsky and Bruce Schneier are no longer such lonely examples in the blogosphere.

The adaptability of the blogosphere, where evolutionary rules prevail more so than the revolutionary, is not its only advantage over the legacy media. The blogosphere, I believe, will host a diversity of which the politically correct congregation cannot even conceive. When an environment of diversity exists without fear of reprisal or repression by guilt, there can be true dialog and understanding.

In the blogosphere there are no suicide bombers to be fearful of, entitled, unfocused hunger strikers receive the collective yawn and laughter they deserve, lies are exposed, and justice prevails. In the legacy media, you’ll find support of terrorists tactics (bombers, snipers, use of human shields), exaggerated importance of trite stories, fabrication, lies, bias disguised as journalism and efforts to incite lynch mob frenzies among their readers. True, you may find this among bloggers. But other bloggers will expose such bloggers. Legacy media does not do this to its own.

I have great faith in the general population’s distaste for being duped like this and judging from the falling circulation and stock prices among the major US papers as well as the anti-war bombs being cranked out by Hollywood, I’d say the general population is catching on to what a shabby product the legacy media is producing. And for those that see, the blogosphere is there to catch them.

2007.10.26

When Jerks Attack

More from Bobby Caina Calvan

“I am new to blogging and it was meant to be a diary of my experiences — and as a way to avoid writing individual e-mails to friends and family wanting to share in my experiences. Yes, I realize — and am embarrassed by naivete — that nothing is private on the Web.”

Wow. That a reporter, a purported professional in the information industry would not understand the very medium within which he works, is telling enough. Even more striking is the glimpse he revealed, and then withdrew, into the bias at the root of all his reporting. He may be embarrassed at his naiveté regarding privacy on the web. If he had any awareness about the larger story to his revealing blog post, he would be pained by the shame he now carries for having utterly failed at is profession.

While I don’t see fit to foist as high an honor upon Mr. Calvan as Michelle Malkin, I do regard him as a pushy, arrogant little boy. Bad day for Mr. Calvan. Perhaps this Calvin’s words will be helpful to Bobby:

You know, Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocketship underpants don’t help. – Calvin

[Edit History]

2007.10.26

As apologies from the MSM go, this one is pretty good. At least, I, the consumer of his post and his reporting, wasn’t accused of “misunderstanding”, “misinterpreting” or otherwise “taking it the wrong way.” Refreshing. Let’s hope he’s a better reporter for having had this experience and figures out how to report the facts in a dozen languages rather than…er…as his bio at the Asian American Journalists Association – Sacramento Chapter states:

At last count, he also knows how to offend people in at least a dozen languages – the list is growing.

2007.10.10

Nose Rings And Trusted Sources

Very interesting article at the American Thinker by Randall Hoven (H/T: LGF). “Media Dishonesty Matters” is a list of 101 incidents of false and misleading information from sources generally considered trusted. It’s an enlightening list and worth reading the whole article. The preamble to the list contains this comment:

I did receive a few complaints for not having “conservatives” on the list. There turns out to be a good reason for that: there just aren’t that many who pass the criteria for clear dishonesty in the public debate.

It highlights why I tend to trust “conservatives” more than “liberals” or “progressives” – they tend to be less emotional and more rigorous in substantiating their arguments with facts. I’ve also noticed, the more thorough an individual is in vetting a particular issue, the more likely they are to be “conservative” on such issues. When approached in such a manner, it isn’t that the individual is “conservative,” rather the dispassionate, reasoned analysis makes them appear so. Mind you, I find them every bit as compassionate as those from other tribes. As a generalization, however, they are less emotional. That makes for better decisions in highly charged situations.

A word about facts is in order. I’m thinking of those things that can be independently verified, points of knowledge that can be tested, replicated and shared. Issues like global warming, finances and what caused the World Trade Center towers to burn and fall all can be reduced to verifiable facts. Abortion and stem cell research debates as generally framed by those from the “conservative” tribe fail on the matter of fact. What the Bible, Koran or Betty Crocker says doesn’t concern me in the least on these issues.

But facts require patience and too few people have what it takes to collect and consider the requisite critical mass for understanding of complex issues. And if they do, there is often a failure to consider context and consequence when using those facts to derive a decision. As Mr. Hoven notes:

While I provide a source for every item, a single source is not usually sufficient to prove anything. You might have to do some of your own searching if you remain unconvinced of a party’s guilt. Space is limited.

So is time. But it’s easy once you get the hang of it. It’s your choice. Be lead by a nose ring or find your own path. Either way, it’s your choice.

2007.06.20

O’Hare + CNN = Mini-Hell

I’m waiting for my connecting flight to Rochester and United is delayed because of some sort of system-wide computer glitch. I have yet to get through this airport without a delay. CNN is spewing info-filth into the waiting area. So far in the “news”: Firemen are dead, a mother and baby are dead, a truck plowed into pedestrians, an ambulance crash was caught on tape and there has been a raccoon rescue.

Not feeling particularly informed here.

One thread of solace, via GPRS I can connect to the real world.

[Edit History]

2007.06.20

Hey, things just improved! A lady sat down next to me eating McDonald’s with her mouth open. At one time I used to think that stuff smelled good. Or maybe it always smelled like crap and I just had no relative reference. Bonus! There’s a kid just behind me throwing popcorn around (occasionally eating some with his mouth open.)

2007.06.27

Got this email from United, send last Friday:

************************************************************
We apologize if your travel was disrupted
************************************************************

On behalf of United, I want to express our sincere regrets
for any disruption to service you may have experienced when
flying with us on Wednesday and Thursday this week. We know
you expect us to take you where you want to go with on-time
departures and arrivals. We failed to meet your expectations
on those days.

As you may be aware, a computer outage, due to human error
during routine system testing, significantly impacted our
operations systemwide. Working as a team, we were able to
get our airplanes and crews back on schedule…and our
passengers on their way.

We greatly appreciated your patience and know that we will
make every effort to keep this type of situation from
occurring in the future.

Your satisfaction and business mean a great deal to United,
and we look forward to our next opportunity to serve you.

Sincerely,

Barbara Higgins
Vice-President
Customer Experience
United Airlines

Hmmmmmm. Do you suppose anyone lost their job?


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