Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Thursday, 2017.04.27
Everyone's head is a cheap movie show.

		Jeff G. Bone

2006.10.20

Blalock’s Conflict Model

Looking back over the past few days, I’ve the impression the Spirit of Rosanna Rosannadanna has been haunting me – “It’s always something.” It’s been a convergence of deadlines, personal tasks it’s just time to get completed, music lessons (voice, cello), health, things breaking down and cool things arriving in the mail.

One of the interesting projects I’ve been working on since the first of the year (and one of this week’s deadlines) has been helping a fellow DU student with her Masters thesis. Elizabeth Twomey approached me to write an application which would facilitate the use of Blalock’s general model for understanding conflict. We made the decision to create this as a web application and the prototype/proof of concept is posted on one of my big boxes. You can explore the results on the web site I built for Liz to demonstrate this part of her thesis.

2006.10.09

Nuclear Short Man Syndrome

I have to wonder, just how many phone books was Kim Jong Il standing on in order to tower over former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright? Even accounting for the retro hair fluff, he’s got the “steely eyes staring down upon you” advantage:

Madeleine Albright - Kim Jong Il

Oh, and I’d just like to join in with the hearty “Cheers!” for Albright and team. Thanks for the fine, fine work back in the day. Without it, we wouldn’t be where were are now. Shinny!

2006.10.07

Foley’s Follies

In building my Bloggers League baseball team, I want Ann Althouse on the roster for a power hitter position in the rotation. She hits another one out of the park:

Like many from my generation, I am very strongly dedicated to the ethic of individual expression. That does not, however, in any way make it hard for me to acknowledge the absolute rule against adults doing anything sexual with children. I think you can flatly reject what Foley did and still believe in the value of individuals finding their own way around conventional morality and making their own rules about what is good. Obviously, social conservatives are the big champions of the moral order, but that doesn’t mean that to oppose what Foley did requires you to become an all-out social conservative. A responsible, freely expressive individual recognizes the need for some rules. (Emphasis added)

While individuals go about the process of “finding their own way around conventional morality and making their own rules,” in my observation, quite a few seem to drop the bit about being responsible for the consequences of their decisions and actions on other people. I’m sure it’s a complex problem, but it appears as if in the process of expanding the expression of their individuality they come to believe that the only way to “really” manifest their complete individuality is to drop the idea of limits entirely. Rules set limits. By extension, so does the concept of responsibility. Rules and responsibility become bad things on the path toward absolute individualism.

Abandoning limits on individual expression, and therefore abandoning responsibility for however that expression may manifest, imposes greater limits on those around such a person. Someone expressing themselves with an extended vocal outburst of profanity in a public coffee house will cause those within earshot to place additional limits on their own expression by reducing the number of coffee houses to which they may frequent by one (assuming the don’t want to hear extemporaneous profanity à fortissimo, of course.) This is but a trivial example.

On a larger stage, the effects are more pervasive and less easily remedied. The effects from the Law of Unintended Consequences begin to manifest as the spin goes out of control. This is what I see happening with the events surrounding the Foley scandal. Things get recursive and bizarre (Gays asserting “traditional values” to out other gays for the purposes of advancing a liberal party agenda? What’s up with that?) The hyperbole is enough to make one dizzy. People who’s experience with taking responsibility for their own actions is, shall we say, a bit rusty, are all gung ho to dust off what ever “moral code” seems to serve their agenda and apply it to the object of their moral outrage.

There are many other current events which illustrate this principle. Declaring “freedom” from the shackles of responsibility reveals all manner of contradictory outrage in individuals as well as larger collections of individuals. Their actions become decreasingly rational and increasingly emotional. In classic ends-justify-the-means style, behaving from such a frame leads to actions devoid of any need for explanation or justification and the consequence to others is of no concern. So, for example, we see soldiers hiding behind women and children in Lebanon (applying the apposing side’s moral code of not killing women and children) for the benefit of fulfilling their own individual expression (saving their own ass) with zero regard for the consequences (women and children caught in the crossfire.)

[Edit History]

2006.10.07

A manager’s dilemma. My Bloggers League baseball team isn’t even a post old and I can’t decide if Althouse should go in the rotation as a power or clean-up hitter. I see she has a post today that beautifully illustrates my point about adherents to the Church of Individualism loosing track of the consequences of their actions.

Her post addresses recent developments around an incident involving protesters at Columbia University who stormed a stage where Jim Gilchrist, the founder of the Minuteman Project, was giving a presentation (video here). It seems Columbia’s investigation involves looking at various Facebook profiles.

As of late Thursday night, 13 Columbia students and alumni had joined a Facebook group titled, “YES, I was there when Gilchrist was rushed faster than CUFT’s Quarterback.”

“I don’t [agree with the decision], but there’s nothing we can do about it,” Patric Prado, SEAS ’09 and creator of the group, said. “I was there, and it’s fine that they want to incriminate people who actually started violence. … Yes, we were stupid, but we got our message across that we weren’t going to accept this on campus.”

Universities, employers, and law enforcement agencies have widely contended that materials posted on Facebook-including posts, photos, and personal information-are admissible in investigations. Hornsby emphasized that screening Facebook was just one of several methods that the University would employ to conduct its investigation.

Student leaders expressed concerns Thursday night about the tactic.

“I was worried that that was going to happen,” Marcus Johnson, CC ’07 and co-chair of the University Senate’s student affairs committee, said. He later added in a statement, “As a University Senator and chair of the student affairs committee, I will do my best to make sure that all students are as safe as possible. On another note, everybody should quit Facebook right now.”

“On some level, I have to agree with the University,” Daniel Okin, SEAS ’07 and president of the Engineering Student Council, said. “That being said, it worries me that they would use the Facebook for that.”

The protesters did themselves in by not thinking about what might follow from their blunt protest (University launches investigation) and the subsequent posting of their involvement on a public web site (University collects evidence). But, Ann pushes the run home:

To use the material in an investigation is not to presume it is conclusive proof of something. What makes people think that if they do something in a place that makes them feel confessional it somehow doesn’t count? The students storming the stage also seemed to feel entitled to act out. That doesn’t make them not responsible for what they did. They can’t say oh, we were surrounded by friends who all thought this was just fine and we felt in charge of our own space. Really, these are intelligent college students. Why do they feel a special immunity from being observed in a public place?

Read the whole thing. She illustrates how the selective application of rules and responsibility exposes various agendas among the players involved.

2006.10.08

One example of the hyperbole around the Foley scandal. Gateway Pundit has a post related to the scandal in which he states:

Representative Jack Kingston and 10 fellow Republicans sent a letter to the Democratic leadership asking them to go before the Ethics Committee and disclose what they knew about Foley’s activities for the safty (sic) of America’s children.

I took issue with this in the comments to Gateway Pundit’s post, specifically, the “for the safety of America’s children” phrase:

I don’t think what Foley did, in context, was a threat to America’s children. Rather, a threat to a specific (yes, vulnerable) group.

To my knowledge, Foley didn’t have access to the entire nation’s children and the entire nation’s children were not somehow at greater risk from Foley’s behavior. Acceptance into the White House page program is a highly competitive process, not just any child/young adult can participate. As a result, it’s a select group of bright kids. What ever the result of the Ethics Committee’s inquiry, it would likely have little or no bearing on the safety of America’s children. It could, however, have a significant impact on how the White House page program is monitored and therefore the safety of the children/young adults in the program.

The more rigorously problems are defined, the higher the quality and durability of the solution. And in cases like Gateway Pundit’s post, the scope is too broadly defined to yield a meaningful solution to the actual problem at hand (i.e. the relationship between elected officials and their pages.)

This is but one example of what happens as scandals are sensationalized. There has been so much of this in the Foley scandal that the whole thing has spun off its axis. In this state, no one will be happy with the outcome as any proposed solution will not sufficiently cover each position’s definition of the problem space.

2006.10.05

The View’s All Rosy From Rosie’s Rose Colored Glasses

What Rosie O’Donnell said (video here):

I think the horror of imagining 6 to 13 year old girls hand-cuffed together and shot execution style one by one is perhaps enough to awaken the nation that maybe we need some stricter gun control laws.

Yes. More laws. Stricter laws. THAT would have stopped the monster. Eeeeeeeeevvvvreeeeeybody knows if there is a law against committing some heinous crime, the criminal low life and predators will stop and control themselves. Ack. Now, now Rosie. We can talk. You don’t have to go yellow. You’re sounding a little yellow there. Rosie continues:

If the man did not have a gun. If the man had a knife. And he walked in there. And there are adult women there. The man said “I would like the women to leave because I’m gonna keep the girls.” I guarantee you if that man did not have a gun the mothers who were the teachers in that school would never have left those children alone in that room.

I wouldn’t be so sure the outcome would be as implied by Rosie, i.e. the mothers and teachers would have fought back against a knife. Consider this, as reported by ABC News:

The oldest of the five Amish girls shot dead in a Pennsylvania schoolhouse is said to have stepped forward and asked her killer to “Shoot me first,” in an apparent effort to buy time for her schoolmates.

Rita Rhoads, a midwife who delivered two of the victims, told ABC News’ Law and Justice Unit that she learned of 13-year-old Marian Fisher’s plea from Fisher’s family.

What’s more, Fisher’s younger sister, Barbie, who survived the shooting, allegedly asked the gunman, Charles Carl Roberts IV, to “Shoot me second,” Rhoads said.

“They were amazing,” Rhoads said, “absolutely amazing. There was a tremendous amount of calm and courage in that schoolroom.”

“Marian, the oldest one, did ask to be shot first,” Rhoads said. “The faith of their fathers really was embedded in them. … How many adults are willing to do that? Not many.”

And there’s Rosie, professing to know the mind of an Amish person. Actually guaranteeing for us exactly how an Amish person would respond. I can smell the stench of her hypocrisy right through the Internet. Keep those glasses on, Rosie. You can’t handle the truth.

2006.10.01

Dashboard Mohammed

Apparently, in high demand:

Dashboard Mohammed

A quote from the Daily News reads (H/T Michelle Malkin):

Frank Peters, a professor in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at NYU, warned that a bobblehead Muhammed was “a really bad idea.”

“Jews and Christians have gotten used to this kind of thing, but Muslims haven’t,” he said. “This may not be his intention, but these things have consequences.”

Well. I say let the desensitization begin. It might prevent the logical outcome of current trajectories.

A question, though. If no one is allowed to depict Mohammed, how do they know what he looks like? Maybe Mohammed doesn’t look like Dashboard Mohammed at all, which would mean all those symbols of rage (Danish cartoons, South Park episodes, etc.) are not offensive in the least because they actually don’t represent Mohammed.

Maybe he looks like this:

Circle

Or this:

Square

Or this:

Triangle

Would these images be representations of Mohammed if I said they were, or even simply claimed it was my intention that they were? In a rational mind, Dashboard Mohammed could be declared as not being The Mohammed rather just a Mohammed and all would be peachy. But rage blinds the rational mind like a hot iron to the eye.

If the radical Muslims could please provide a picture of what nobody is supposed to depict then all this nonsense can stop and we can all be respectful. But then, of course, they’d have to declare jihad on themselves. This reads like the Knights Who Say “Ni”. You know, the iron clad chaps from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Those fellows who can’t say that word…er…can’t think of it right now. Ooops! That’s it. Argh! I wrote it again! There, I’ve written it again! I can’t stop writing it! Help!

[Edit History]

2006.10.01

Sorry. The quote from Michelle Malkin is linked, just further up in her post. Link added to this post.

Also edited for clarity.

2006.09.29

Dean Esmay Builds A Strawman

Most of his post is a waste of otherwise fine electrons. This is so because his opening premise is so ineptly crafted it would be laughable if it were part of a Three Stooges script. Lets start with what he wrote:

Recently, I noticed that some of Iran’s unelected and illegitimate leaders have said that Islam is incompatible with democracy.

This very statement–that Islam is incompatible with democracy–is why I fight so hard with many of my friends on the Right: accepting that statement means we have to declare war on the entire Muslim world if we’re to hope for human freedom to survive.

Um. No. “Incompatible with democracy” does not equal “have to declare war on the entire Muslim world.” That is, not to non-Muslim people. I would say there is mounting evidence (read “dead bodies”) to suggest the math works this way among radical Muslims, “incompatible with democracy” does equal “have to declare war on the entire non-Muslim world.”

Mr. Esmay continues:

To me it would be akin to, in World War II, declaring ourselves at war with “Germanic People,” “Latin People,” and “Southeast Asians.” Not Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s Italy and Tojo’s Japan. No, we would have declared that we were at war with anyone of Germanic or Latin descent, and anyone who happened to be short, yellow, and slant-eyed (to put it rudely and crassly).

Ack. Here he attempts to directly equate religious beliefs with genetics. He builds a false bridge between what some people believe in their heads, “democracy” and “Islamism”, and what is expressed by everybody’s DNA. His use of the word “akin” is telling and the premise is tissue paper thin. Throughout my life, I can choose to believe in any number of epistemological systems, religious or otherwise. (Whether or not a person understands they have this choice is another matter.) Yet I could no more choose to be an Asian than I could choose to be honey bee. Isn’t going to happen.

Mr. Esmay’s propensity to generalize will forever blind him to the actual threat from radical Muslims toward all non-Muslims regardless their race. He is much more comfortable arguing about all Islam and all Muslims and all races. In World War II, we did go to war against Germans, not because they were German but because it happened to be the Germans who were holding to Nazi principals of government. Did Mr. Esmay not notice that distinction? And yes, Nazism was incompatible with democracy, too.

Not only is Mr. Esmay’s anorexic research in full view, but his math is bad. No sir. Two plus two does not equal seventeen. A person’s religious beliefs do not equal a person’s genetic composition. They are different. Fundamentally different. Problems in one domain cannot be solved with solutions derived from the other. Prayer will not cure cancer and neither eugenics or genocide will obliterate the infidels. That won’t prevent the radicals with the same cognitive dissonance from trying.

[Edit History]

2006.09.29

Some deeper thinking from Eric Scheie.

2006.10.01

More genetic vs cognitive confusion here (H/T: Tim Blair):

Almost chuckling with glee, [former President Bill Clinton] told how, when DNA was analysed, it showed 99.9 per cent of what makes us human turned out to be identical. How he gloried in this confirmation of his faith in the commonality of humanity.

He became an Arkansas preacher again as he urged the crowd to concentrate not on the 0.1 per cent which was different but on what was the same.

Our DNA may define us as human, but it does not define our humanity. No measure of genetic engineering, aimed at obliterating that pesky 0.1 percent, will resolve the problems of humanity. Rest assured, where it counts, myself and this dude…

Ahmadinejad

…and those like him, have vanishingly little in common, DNA notwithstanding.

2006.09.27

When Rational Thinking Prevails

Thank your lucky Stars and Stripes each day level heads walk the walls, regardless who’s side they’re on:

[A]t 40 minutes past midnight on [26th September 1983] [Colonel Stanislav Yefgrafovich] Petrov looked up and saw a missile launch from a United States silo had been detected by one of his satellites. Now you might expect panic at this point but missile command tends to attract the serious, sober type, probably the type of people who smoke a pipe and sew leather patches on their jackets, and Petrov kept his head.

He knew the satellite had been reported as suspect and decided to hold off on informing the high command. Then a second missile launch was picked up, and shortly after another, and another and another. Petrov knew that if he waited until he could confirm the launches with ground radar it would be too late for his country, he and his family would die and the Yankees would win the Cold War.

Thankfully for us he thought before acting. He reasoned that it was illogical for a surprise attack to launch missiles one after the other – instead you’d launch everything you had and hope to wipe out the enemy before they reacted. He left the launch button alone and thankfully the missiles proved to be ghosts.

Col. Petrov thought of his family. He also reasoned the “attack” did not follow a rational pattern and therefore likely to be an error reported by an already suspect satellite. In 1983, threats by enemies were still regarded as rational on some level. If rational, then predictable.

Contrast this to the already irrational perceptions carried by the Islamofanatics smugly prancing around our little global village. You know, the ones that use women and children as human shields and glorify violent death. What do you suppose would be the likely outcome of the scenario faced by Col. Petrov if the finger on the button, rather than being guided by reason and thoughts of family, was instead guided by hate and Allah’s will as dictated by the voices in his head and the words spewing forth from the likes of this cheery fellow:

Al Sadr

Or this happy nut:

Ahmadinejad

I fear somewhere out there the countdown to launch has already started.

2006.09.21

A Vast Supply Of Shortages

Of smart pills, that is. The Instapundit is keeping track.

2006.09.09

Politicians Demand ABC Censor Kill Cancel Broadcast Of TV Program

Any time a government entity or politician starts calling for censorship, it makes me sharpen my quill and nudges me closer to gun ownership just on principle. In this case, it’s the Democratic National Committee and all manner of associated Democrats who are hollering for ABC to pull its docu-drama miniseries, “The Path to 9/11”.

Why are they miffed? Seems they take exception to the Clinton’s being portrayed as anything other than god-like. Particularly in regards to the Clinton administration’s kitten glove approach to terrorism.

For the non-reality based party to get their undies in a knot over a faux reality “docu-drama” is not surprising. Neither was it surprising that the Right was upset at what they perceived as an inaccurate docu-drama portrayal of Ronald Reagan. But the right didn’t resort to thuggery and dictatorial tactics. That the Democrats would demand censorship and threaten to pull the broadcast license of a major TV network is more than a little disturbing. I took a similar stand when elected politicians in Washington, DC, (Democrats, surprise, surprise) sought to sensor Ann Coulter because they didn’t like what she said (see Government Demands Censorship Apology).

With their usual deftness and whisper grasp of ideas with solid ground under them, the Democrats have succeeded in escalated the issue from bad TV to stifling free speech. They crossed the line with Coulter and they are doing so now. The raggedy edge of the Left’s mask peals away and what do we see? Big Brother? Totalitarianism “for the good of the people” seeking to rub out any government “by the people”? What ever is behind that mask, I don’t like it.

Note to Moonbat Bitten Democrats suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Clinton Euphoria: Your TV has a power switch (No, really, it does!) and a channel changer (Yes, yes, it really, really does!). Use them to turn away as you seem to be able to do so well with news of beheadings, forced conversions to Islam at gun point, murdered American soldiers, road side bombings, Medal of Honor recipients and those awkward times when freedom fighters valiantly attempt to land airline passenger jets but miss and slam into major buildings instead.

[Edit History]

2006.09.10

Ann Althouse shoots and scores:

” It’s too late to decide to attack Bin Laden, so let’s attack this TV show.”

How insanely repressive. You know, mainstream politicians really should worry about bloggers. Ironically, the bad judgment shown by bloggers here is about wishing for hardcore repression of speech, but free speech is our lifeblood!

Clearly Bill Clinton, Sandy Berger, Madeleine Albright and American Airlines have good cause to sue Disney/ABC, the BBC, Australian and New Zealand television, and any local affiliate that broadcasts the show. How can we further help their lawsuit? I think a first step is paying close attention in each country to how the show is being marketed. Get us copies of ads, promotions, etc. that show local broadcasters and others promoting the show as true and non-fiction. How else can we help their suit?

Oh, yeah, bloggers really ought to want to encourage lawsuits by public figures who think something inaccurate has been said about them. This is the worst case of myopia I’ve seen in my years of blogging. You guys are complete idiots.

2006.08.01

Sheehan Fast Woes – SOLVED!

Like all things done for the first time, its easy to be a little clumsy out of the gate. Such is the case with Cindy Sheehan and her efforts at protest fasting. We can forgive her noble, albeit awkward, first effort. After all, she isn’t a professional at this. Not yet, anyway. Being a compulsive problem solver, I noticed several slight “defects” in her fasting method which can be corrected with a slight modification to Ms. Sheehan’s fasting techniques:

Sheehan Fast

Not so much as a sippy hole for that dreaded flipachino caramel machimoto double sucrose latté (soy, please). There are, however, some unavoidable, perhaps unintended, consequences:

  • If nothing can get in, well, then nothing can get out. We will experience a drought of Sheehan wisdom. But I do feel that together, we can endure this loss. [Group hug everybody!]
  • We can respectfully acknowledge and honor Casey Sheehan’s sacrifice, unencumbered, as it would then become, by Ms. Sheehan’s thought process.

The JZ:TOL legal department has insisted on the following disclaimer: Use this fast-enhancer responsibly and have someone – doesn’t have to be a friend – close at hand to rip this device off at the slightest indication you might be slipping toward The Joy of Oblivion. And if you know Ms. Sheehan, be that safety net for her because I do believe she may be at risk in this regard.

Related Stories

Cindy Sheehan Watch
Peaceniks Make Fasting Easier All The Time – Michael Fumento (HT: Megan McArdle/Instapundit)
Juicers Quit – Tim Blair
Not so “fast” – Michelle Malkin
The Cindy Sheehan diet: sweeping the nation! – Hot Air
Hunger Striker News – Gateway Pundit
Goodness! Cindy and Willy Nelson(?) Team Up for Hunger Strike! – Gateway Pundit

[Edit History]

2006.10.16

Hmmm. Appears the Amazon Poll strongly supports the notion that Ms. Sheehan’s capacity to eclipse her son’s death with her own thirst for the lime light is exceeded only by her vastly uninformed and shallow insights into world events.

The time to recognize the honorable Sheehan is long over due.

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)

2006.07.18

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.

2006.06.28

The Tortoise and the Hare

This past Sunday morning, like most Sundays, I got up, made coffee, fetched the paper. My dogs are too small to do the fetching. The Sunday paper is about as big as they are and “fetch” is not in their working vocabulary. They’re more likely to disappear down the street.

As usual, I sifted the paper to remove what is for me nothing more than fodder for the recycle bin – ads, travel section, style section (Ha!), movie listings ($15 for a crappy experience? No thanks.), want ads, classifieds, etc. That left me with 1/8 the original paper. What remained was gathered up to be tossed aside to be read here and there over the coming week. Hold on. Last week’s stack is still there. The stack even consists of bits from the week before that. And before that. Behind in my reading, I should say.

But I can’t say that. What I do once the chaff has been sifted from the paper is power up the laptop. I hit an “A” list of sites (Google News, Pajamas Media, Slashdot, Instapundit, Newsforge, Gateway Pundit and a few others) to find out what’s been happening. Then move on to a “B” list (Schneier on Security, Armed and Dangerous and Cato Unbound, just to list a few) which are updated less frequently and usually have more in depth analysis, opinion pieces and the opportunity to contribute to a dialog. These lists change depending on my interests and world events.

I read through the 1/8 of the paper that survived the sieve. As far as the news part of it is concerned, it was anything but current. Everything – and I mean everything – was news of which I was already aware. The interest pieces were not interesting. The entertainment pieces were boring (Is it me or just the hype which makes it seem like Angelina Jolie had been pregnant for 12 months?) The exceptions were the sports and opinions sections, being published to the web about the same time the hard copy goes to press. So I’d have to say I’m very much up on my reading. Its the hard copy newspaper which is behind.

The news race isn’t about covering the distance. Its about evolutionary speed. With blogs popping up like so many bunnies, its an abundance of riches – sort of. I still have to keep my chaff sifter handy as there is a lot of junk in the blogsphere. But blogs do a pretty damn good job of outing bogus news. This is something the MSM sucks at. In fact, they go the other way and are a significant source of problems when they work to manufacture the news they think I should be getting. Digitally altering pictures to fit a story or staging “news” such as Dateline NBC did when it sent Muslim-looking men to a NASCAR race with camera crew in tow in an effort to capture anti-Muslim sentiment among a collection of Americans NBC prejudiced as harboring such sentiment.

The Main Stream Media has become largely irrelevant and a source of little more than noise on its good days. And damn near dangerous on most of the rest. The arrogance is repugnant. Last year I dropped the daily delivery of the Denver Post and today I cancelled the Sunday only delivery. The TV news noise was solved ages ago with that handy little power button on the TV set. What can I say, Main Stream Mediocrity. Bub-bye news whores and purveyors of propaganda. See you in the funny papers.

[Edit History]

2006.07.08

The blogsphere is pretty damn good about dragging spineless, bitter, hateful slugs out into the sunlight as well.

2006.07.12

Some thoughts on a similar effect with the TV network news.

2006.08.06

More egregious MSM photo fakery vetted by Hot Air, echoed by Little Green Footballs and Michelle Malkin and critiqued by professional photographers.

2006.08.17

And then there is this:

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has begun an investigation of the use of video news releases, sometimes called “fake news,” at U.S. television stations.

Video news releases are packaged stories paid for by businesses or interest groups. They use actors to portray reporters and use the same format as television news stories.

The layers of fakery and fluff in the MSM news are thicker than Tammy Faye Baker‘s foundation.

2006.06.22

Pelosi’s Pompous Posturing

Today, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs has finally taken pro-active action to protect the 26.5 million veterans and military personnel whose private information has been compromised due to the Bush Administration’s incompetence.

One year of free credit monitoring is a necessary first step, but it must be followed by a much more comprehensive approach. Democrats, led by Congressmen John Salazar and Lane Evans, have introduced the Comprehensive Veterans’ Data Protection and Identity Theft Prevention Act of 2006 (H.R. 5588) to protect the personal information of our veterans.

This comprehensive legislation would protect veterans from identity theft and other harm, with a year of free credit monitoring, an additional free credit report in the second and third years, one year of free fraud alert, and a free credit security freeze. It would also create an Ombudsman for Data Security at the VA charged with assisting veterans who are the victims of a data breach and/or identity theft.

Thus spake House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Yeah, more laws. That’ll stop dem dare bad guys. “Pro-active action” – so they’re working doubly hard at trying to appear doubly busy about solving the problem. This law will certainly not solve the problem and will do precious little to protect the individuals who are at risk due to the breach. The horse is out of the barn, but damn if Pelosi isn’t there to close the gate with authority and lock it. Twice. Take that, you bad guys.

Measures like this have been and will continue be useless until real consequences are attached to failures to secure data. Its called responsibility, folks. Something that’s a bit of a vanishing character trait among more and more citizens and something that appears to be entirely absent in the character of just about all of our elected politicians.

And as far as having “been compromised due to the Bush Administration’s incompetence,” that’s just a useless dig and transparent, puny posturing on Pelosi’s part. One of several she had in her fluff release. How many of the people involved in the breach were democrats? I’d ring the same bell if it were a Republican congressperson swiping at a Democratic president. Its just useless and shows how little the congressperson cares and understands about the true issue.

My previous comments about identity theft protections can be found here.


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