Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Saturday, 2017.07.22
As all these results were obtained, not by any heroic method, but by patient and
detailed reasoning, I began to think it probable that philosophy had erred in
adopting heroic remedies for intellectual difficulties, and that solutions were
to be found merely by greater care and accuracy. This view I have come to hold
more and more strongly as time went on, and it has led me to doubt whether
philosophy, as a study distinct from science and possessed of a method of its
own, is anything more than an unfortunate legacy from theology.

		Bertrand Russell, "Logical Atomism

2008.06.30

Who’s Boat Is This, Anyway?

“Running your own blog” is a relative phrase. For most bloggers, the meaning doesn’t go beyond authoring the posts and monitoring the comments. Having the password to the admin page constitutes “running their own blog.” But if you’re hosting your blog with some vendor, such as blogspot or wordpress, that’s a bit like renting a cabin on a cruse ship and feeling like it’s your boat to command. If the crew decides they don’t like you, they just might lock you in your cabin. Perhaps even throw you overboard.

This looks to be what is happening to several pro-Hillary, anti-Obama blogs over at Google’s blogspot. Assuming some other explanation doesn’t emerge from these suspicious coincidences, it’s another showing of Google’s increasingly obvious political bias. Their anti-American bend has long been on display since they acquired YouTube – jihadist and US soldier snuff videos a-plenty, pro-American videos…not so much.

Stories such as this serve as a reminder as to why I accept the extra work required to run the server on which this blog is hosted. It’s my boat. And if some pouty elitists with a leash to a Google Goon get tied up in knots over the content, best they can do is sail on by…or break the law.

[Edit History]

2008.07.01

More on this from the New York Times which, oddly, has this in the “Technology” section.

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.

2008.06.03

Rules Strictly Enforced…

…except when they’re not.

2008.05.01

Nanny Mayor Looses, Threatens Violence

New York City, currently wearing the face of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has a lawsuit against handguns. It suffered a setback yesterday when the Second Circuit Court of Appeals tossed it out. Says Mayor Mike:

“I am disappointed in the court’s decision. Regardless of this ruling, we will continue our fight against illegal guns full bore — in the courtrooms, on the streets and in the Congress.” [Emphesis added]

Interesting choice of words there. My understanding of “full bore” is that it is a reference to bringing out the big guns, but I’m not a gunsmith. Let’s see what Mayor Mike’s own New York Times has to say about “full bore“:

Some lexicographers think the bore first measured an engine cylinder (and have a 1927 citation), while others think that the origin is from the measurement of the inside of the barrel of a gun. ”A .45-caliber gun can take a .44-caliber load,” John Snyder of the gun lobby tells me, ”so full bore would be the maximum-size load. In another sense, it means ‘maximum capable powder load.’ ”

Well, there’s certainly a gun angle. Regardless it’s a reference to maximum, unrestrained power. As a bonus, Mayor Mike is going to fight this out “on the streets.” Some how, I don’t think that means he’ll be asking the police to increases the number of hugs they give New York citizens.

2008.01.31

No Knock, No Knock…

The latest police drug/SWAT raid gone bad:

The parallels to Cory Maye are pretty striking. You’ve got a young guy minding his own business, with no criminal record, whose worst transgression is that he smokes a little pot from time to time. A bad informant and bad police procedures then converge, resulting in police breaking down his door while he’s sleeping. He fires a gun to defend himself, unwittingly kills a cop, and now faces murder charges.

The difference here from most other botched “no knock” raids is the homeowner defended himself, killed a cop (which he didn’t know was a cop) and is now facing murder charges. When the tables are turned, the home owner’s family buries their dead and the police bury the incident under an “internal investigation.”

There are far too many of these botched raids across the country every year and they are growing at a disturbing rate. It’s the consequence of literally giving police departments military surplus weapons with no culpability for police when they screw up. The idea of a SWAT team descending on you for jaywalking, while still laughable, is a little less so with each botched, unnecessary military-style police raid for misdemeanor crimes. I believe it was Napoleon who said: “You can do anything with a bayonet except sit on it.” If you literally give the police this power, they will find a reason to use it. It could even be said they must find a way to use it. We pay them to do that. The problem is, it’s moving down the path of unrestrained abuse. And it’s long past time to put some much needed checks and balances in place.

Unfortunately, this is unlikely to change soon and a good reason for not tolerating drug business in your neighborhood. Not just because of the drug dealers but because the increasing probability the police will screw up their raid with deadly consequences. Maybe even to you.

2007.12.11

Jeanne Under Fire

Jeanne Assam, a woman of remarkable poise under fire – both from bullets and the press.

There is a Buddhist koan wherein a monk is on a boat with 100 people. One of them is a murder. What does the monk do? Kill the murderer and save the lives of innocent passengers or does he stay true to his vow to take no other life? Perhaps there is a Christian counterpart to this koan and if so, it would seem Ms. Assam faced that riddle. No matter how many interviews she gives, only she will ever know if she answered the challenge correctly. That’s as it should be.

Watch for the control freaks with a specialty in gun control work to vilify her – because they simply can’t let a heroine stand here – and the press to do the same – because that’s what they do.

Personally, I breath a little easier knowing there are people about in the world like Jeanne Assam. One of Plato’s remnants revealed.

[Edit History]

2007.12.11 14:20

News on the Tubes indicates the gunman died of self-inflicted wounds. As I mentioned above, the gun control control control control freaks will work to pull Ms. Assam’s efforts into the mud. And so they are. As Michelle Malkin notes:

“The anti-gun extremists who are desperate to shoot down Jeanne Assam’s heroism will grasp at this detail as vindication somehow. But if not for her courage and her steady aim, he would not have gone down.”

The AP article linked above tosses in an “Oh, by the way” smear at the end of the article:

“Also Tuesday, Minneapolis police Sgt. Jesse Garcia said Assam was fired from the Minneapolis force in 1997 for lying during an internal investigation. Sgt. John Delmonico, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, said police were investigating a complaint that Assam swore at a bus driver while she was handling an incident on a city bus.”

Question for AP: What makes this relevant to the events on December 12th? Is this a juvenile attempt to establish that only “bad” people have guns? If reporting twisted truth and abject bias was lethal, the legacy media would be the biggest mass murder of all time. Soooooooo predictable.

2007.12.11 14:31

Ha! The comments on Malkin’s blog are excellent…

TexasTiger:

“Matthew Murray entered the church with 1,000 rounds of ammunition. Nine hundred and ninety-nine were intended for parishoners and the thousandth for his own coconut.

Jeanne Assam’s actions convinced him to skip ahead a bit to the last round…that’s all.”

J S Ragman:

“Great news! Her conscience is clear, and he’s still dead. “

2007.12.07

Dumbing Down American Feminism

Honestly, my dog would be more of a feminist than Germaine Greer if it were to bite Greer on the ass. As told by Pamela Bone in her article, “Why we stay mute on Islamic sex apartheid”:

Greer: “It’s very tricky. I am constantly being asked to go to Darfur to interview rape victims. I can talk to rape victims here. Why should I go to Darfur to talk to rape victims?”

Questioner (me): “Because it’s so much worse there.”

Greer: “Who says it is?”

Questioner: “I do, because I’ve been there.”

Greer: “Well, it is just very tricky to try to change another culture. We let down the victims of rape here. We haven’t got it right in our own courts. What good would it do for me to go over there and try to tell them what to do? I am just part of decadent Western culture and they think we’re all going to hell fast and maybe we are all going to hell fast. 

Tricky, it is. Tricky, tricky, tricky, tricky.

Greer implies that there is no need to travel to Darfur to talk to rape victims because rape is a heinous crime where ever it occurs and as such she can talk to rape victims in Australia. If that is her point, I can agree with her. But as Bone points out, the magnitude of the problem is so much greater in Darfur. Indeed, rape is a greater problem in many parts of the world, in terms of both numbers and the way the victims are treated. By failing to speak out against rape in other parts of the world from the relative safety of free speech democracies diminishes the plight of those rape victims. If it matters less there, how much less does it matter here?

2007.11.29

Name A Teddy Bear, Go To Jail

That’s the LAW!

A British teacher in Sudan was convicted Thursday of the less-serious charge of insulting Islam for letting her pupils name a teddy bear “Muhammad,” and was sentenced to 15 days in prison and deportation to Britain, one of her lawyers said.

Courts often rule ignorance of the law is not a defense. But what about when you’re pinned by laws of the ignorant? Can the British teacher, Gillian Gibbons, at least claim ignorance of Medieval laws?

Michelle Malkin asks a population of turned backs: “Where are the human rights groups, the feminists, the moderate Muslims?”

And check out the self-loathing among the Brits! (H/T LGF) Criminy, no wonder we won independence from them. Here’s hoping the Brits with sense prevail and prevent the radical Muslims from winning the ground right out from under their English feet.

For the record, my teddy bear is named “Mr. NOT Muhammad”.

[Edit History]

2007.11.30

Wow. Thousands in sudan call for british teddy bear teacher’s execution. Check out the pictures in this article. They not only want her dead, they want her hacked to death.

There is simply no negotiating, no possibility of “dialog” with people who want you and me dead. Islam: The Religion of Perpetual Outrage, ca. 600 AD

2007.11.20

Washington D.C. Politicians Puzzled Why Sun Always Rises In The East…

…and the effectiveness of D.C. gun ban is still a mystery.

For the past 30 year, Washington D.C. has had one of the most restrictive laws against private ownership of handguns. Yet during that time, the number of violent crimes involving handguns has not decreased.

Guns were used in 63 percent of the city’s 188 slayings in 1976. Last year, out of 169 homicides, 81 percent were shootings.

And now the constitutionality of the ban is probably headed for review by the US Supreme Court.

“We were trying to send out a message,” recalled Sterling Tucker, the council chairman at the time.

And so they did. The message was “For the tastiest, richest target environment, come to Washington D.C. We’ll service all your easy crime spree needs!”

“It’s a pretty common-sense idea that the more guns there are around, the more gun violence you’ll have,” D.C. Attorney General Linda Singer said.

That’s ugly common sense and, like all things involving humans, there are a few more dots to connect than just the line from point A to point B. If homeless, penniless people can figure out how to get their person to warmer cities in the winter, violent criminals are going to figure out where the easy marks are and D.C.’s ban has rolled out the carpet for these thugs for over 30 years. AG Singer’s shallow analysis misses the more obvious common sense: The more criminals you have around with guns the more gun violence you’ll have. This conclusion emerges naturally from D.C.’s 30 year experiment. Or does AG Singer base her argument on the false assumption that any human with a gun and without a badge is a criminal? She continues:

“One of the difficult things is, you can’t measure what didn’t happen,” Singer said. “You can’t measure how many guns didn’t come into the District because we have this law.”

Neither can you measure the number of bombs that didn’t hit their target in Germany during World War II. But you sure can measure the effect of the bombs that did. Someone who is honestly, legitimately and objectively interested in lowering the violent crime rate would have to concede it is time for D.C. to allow law abiding citizens to own and carry handguns to defend themselves and study the effect over the next 30 years. Such experiments elsewhere strongly suggests D.C. would experience a drop in the number and percentage of violent crimes involving guns. But doing this would require the gun nihilists to give up the “pretty common sense” that fits their narrative.

[Edit History]

2007.11.20

Looks like it’s a go: US court to review Washington, D.C., handgun ban

2007.10.31

Repeat After Me…Them…Us…Them…Us

What happens to you if you are a religious zealot bent on making those whom you deem non-human? If you’re…well…just about anywhere in the Middle East, you’ll enjoy State support for you bent thinking. But in the land of democracy, freedom and liberty, you can be brought to justice and be held accountable for such twisted thoughts when they are acted upon:

The brokenhearted father of a Marine killed in Iraq won a long-shot legal fight today after a federal jury in Baltimore awarded him nearly $11 million in a verdict against members of a Kansas church who hoisted anti-gay placards at his son’s Westminster funeral.

The jury’s announcement 24 hours after deliberations first began was met with tears and hugs from the family and supporters of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, whose March 2006 funeral was protested by members of the Westboro Baptist Church with signs including “Thank God for dead soldiers.”

Snyder’s father, Albert, won on every count of his complaint, as well as $2.9 million for compensatory damages and $8 million for punitive damages.

Sweet. Although I know from a bit of experience that this does little to ease the pain for Lance Cpl. Snyder’s family. It’s also likely the fight isn’t not over.

H/T to LGF. More coverage by Hot Air and Michelle Malkin.

2007.10.09

Nothing Says “We Care!” To Your Customers Like A Good CYA Strategy

Saw this article on the front page of the September 7-13 dead tree edition of the Denver Business Journal: “Rising laptop thefts push prevention initiatives“.

It’s not enough simply to call in the IT people or have an expert run a “penetration test” of your company’s network, say lawyers who specialize in data security.

They insist that executives need legal as well as technical advice up front. They say companies face new data-security laws as well as evolving legal notions of what precautions they need to take.

That sounds really good. It’s a difficult task and requires a team effort. But hold on there…

[Bryan Cunningham, a principal of the Denver law firm Morgan & Cunningham] cites a key advantage to bringing in lawyers up front: “If you hire a law firm to supervise the process, even if there are technical engineers involved, then the process will be covered by attorney-client privilege.”

He noted that in a lawsuit following a data theft, plaintiffs usually seek a company’s records of “all the [data-security] recommendations that were made [before the breach] and whether or not you followed them. And if you go and hire technical consultants only, all that information gets turned over in discovery. [But] if you have it through a law firm, it’s generally not.”

So there you have it. Park the problem behind a lawyer straight away. But why stop there? Why not implement a corporate-wide strategy to shield all manner of mistakes, mishaps and negligence behind attorney-client privilege. Have attorneys supervise your employees and “consult” on safety issues. Cover the whole supply chain and service path while your at it. No more embarrassing or expensive issues falling out of discovery related to bad employee behavior, OSHA violations, service incompetence or product problems.

In actuality, this article is poorly titled. This isn’t a “prevention initiative” for data security, it’s a preemptive initiative for corporate irresponsibility.

This approach is a disincentive for businesses to provide adequate data security. It’s much more cost effective to pay a team of attorneys to “supervise” the data center than it is to implement and maintain a data security strategy (as the article notes, the threats are constantly changing and so must the security strategy.) What does a corporation care about 100,000 customer credit card records they let loose into the wild if they’re shielded by attorney-client privilege and not likely to be held accountable or responsible? Rather than caring about prevention, they will care more about squashing any news of such a loss. And this, I grant you, is a brilliant strategy for accomplishing just that.

[Edit History]

2008.05.26

Grammar fixes.

2007.09.12

Politics As Sports

From the OpinionJournal:

The NFL is investigating charges that a New England Patriots employee videotaped the New York Jets’ signals over the weekend, potentially tainting the Pats’ 38-14 opening-day victory. And MSNBC.com’s Bob Cook sees an analogy:

Even though [Patriots coach Bill] Belichick is far from being found culpable . . ., the coach’s long history of poor sportsmanship means it hardly stretches the imagination to see him being Dick Cheney in the NFL’s version of warrantless wiretapping.

It’s just like wiretapping! Well, except that the war with al Qaeda isn’t a game, and the other side adheres to no rules whatever.

Neither are they held accountable. It does seem a significant portion of our politicians (and presumably their constituents) would rather just send al Qaeda to their room for a time-out and let the whole thing blow over.

2007.07.24

Today’s Money Quote

From David Freddoso at The Corner on National Review Online:

“Didn’t the Founders talk about political speech as the most important kind of free speech? Or is the First Amendment somehow reserved for the practice of offending Christians with museum exhibits?”

2007.06.03

When Napping Is Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Nap

Take a nap, go to jail No rest for the wicked? There will only be rest for the wicked.

A teenage girl could face criminal charges after the two toddlers she was baby-sitting drowned in a nearby pond in a rural Pennsylvania town.

The coroner says the deaths were accidental. But the 18-year-old, who is related to one of the girls, could be held responsible if she is found to have been negligent or reckless.

The baby sitter told state police she put the girls down for a nap Wednesday and took a nap herself. When she woke up, she said the two girls were missing from the house.

There are a few other clichés that could be rewritten to match the sentiment.

It’s a tragedy with potentially far reaching repercussions. I suppose the sitter was negligent, 18 years is certainly old enough to understand the responsibility – or at least it was when I was 18. My sense is that kids these days are more isolated from the ideas of consequences and responsibility. We can thank the shift toward a nanny state mentality in public education and draconian social services for much of this. But Dr. Helen asks:

So, if taking a nap while babysitting turns out to be a crime, what would napping while parenting be called? And if cases like this are prosecuted–isn’t it too dangerous to babysit for anyone, relatives included?

Glenn Reynolds observes:

Everybody wants to demonstrate that they care about kids by ratcheting the standards for parenting and childcare ever-higher. But in doing so we raise the costs of having kids — you can’t even go out, because who’ll babysit if the liability is so extreme? — and that probably does more societal damage.

I also note that when I was on the state’s Juvenile Justice Reform Commission, I heard a lot of child-welfare authorities who testified make the same kind of excuses for the neglect or abuse of children in their care that they refused to accept from parents, etc. — we’re so busy, there’s not enough money, it’s not our fault they live in a building that’s old and unsafe, etc. As Reverend Lovejoy said, when the state does it, it’s not wrong!

I’m not surprised that the same excuses are used by bureaucratic authorities. Government institutions are not made up of socially enlightened people with superior intelligence and impeccable moral vision (although they themselves may think they are such divine beings.) It’s much more likely the wheels are cranked by regular people who have a lot invested in having acquired the position they occupy. So they want to protect their position and do so with regular people excuses. In the worst cases, however, the wheels are cranked by folks matching the lowest common denominator. These people are scariest of all as they will actively work to insure there is a market for their “skills.” What do you suppose the Baby Sitter Police might look like and who would join the force? I can think of a few models in place right now.

[Edit History]

2007.06.06

There’s more to the story (H/T: Instapundit):

A teenager had been up all night drinking at a party before coming home to baby-sit her stepsister and another toddler, who both wandered outside and drowned in a nearby pond while the teen slept, state police said Tuesday.

“OK im finally done drinking and im rocked lol,” she text-messaged a friend — using the shorthand for “laughing out loud” — between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. last Wednesday, police said. A few hours later, the children were dead.

The emerging facts are more than a little disturbing. As it turns out, the teenager is actually 19 years old and is telling conflicting stories. I’ll say it again: “My sense is that kids these days are more isolated from the ideas of consequences and responsibility.”

2007.05.24

Urban Scare Crow – The Fine Print

I’ve written previously about my urban scare crow. It has served me well for close to 3 years now. A recent rash of arrogant, smug, self-rightous doooooo-gooders of various sorts have seen fit to interpret the scare crow’s message, shall we way, rather liberally. “I’m not really a solicitor. I’m here for an important cause.” Well, it had better be to tell me my house is on fire, the locus are coming or you’re bleeding to death.

Turns out, their important cause is to tell me what heinous damage I’m doing to the planet animals my soul what ever gross nominalization they have printed on their clipboard and how money and/or a signature can heal my evil ways. This has prompted an addendum to the urban scare crow:

Urban Scare Crow - The Fine Print

Lucky for the clinically thick I lack the time to chase after my 50 bucks. But hey, at least I know of one hobby to pursue in retirement.

🙄


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