Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Tuesday, 2017.03.28
Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of - but do it in private and
wash your hands afterwards.

		Robert Heinlein, "Time Enough For Love"

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.

2006.07.08

Life on Fellini Street

Odd week, this. More so than most. Turning 45 without the one I had hoped to grow old with probably set the tone and the rest just flowed from there.

We’ve had a solid week of rain here in the land of perpetual drought. I had planned to replace one of the sprinkler zones during the holiday but that just turned into a muddy mess.

The person responsible for keeping me employed declared I was introverted. The surreal song-and-dance that followed as he strained to make this sound like an asset and a compliment is just too…beige…to describe.

Thursday I came home to discover someone had seen fit to walk up onto my porch and steal the 6 or so small American flags I had stuck into a flower pot. I found one in the street out in front of the house and retrieved it. This one will be hung on the inside of my glass door next to the Urban Scare Crow. I decided this act had some intent behind it which I didn’t like. Was it a political act? Was someone casing the house? Was it a solicitor miffed at the Urban Scare Crow? Is this making me needlessly paranoid (as opposed to necessarily paranoid, I suppose)? I filed a police report for the theft in case I need to establish a pattern or if others in the neighborhood had their flags stolen.

Minutes after the all-business police officer left along with his rather cute ride-along, Bethany I think her name was, all bloody hell broke lose. Six or seven police cars converged on the house two doors down along with an ambulance. The street was blocked and crime scene tape went up. The couple in the house had been in the midst of one of their numerous arguments and the dude went into his backyard and shot himself dead. We know this because the coroner showed up, too. As this was playing out, I looked to the neighbor directly behind me who is busily mowing his lawn. A little leaguer could have thrown a stone from where the lawn mowing neighbor was and hit the dead neighbor. Smelly gasoline powered machine being pushed across a lawn. Dead guy on a lawn. Only one conclusion can be made from this at the end of a week like this: Lawns are bad things. But of course, I already knew this.

I fully expect Rod Serling to ring my door selling cookies, magazines and V8 engine blocks. If he does, would you like me to put in an order for you?

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.

2006.06.12

Michael Yon Still Fighting HFM, et al.

I purchased a legitimate print of this photograph, Strength and Compassion, from michaelyon-online.com and have it on prominent display in my office as a reminder of why we are fighting, what we are fighting and what it takes to be successful. The story behind the moment captured in this image of Major Mark Bieger carrying a little girl named Farah is particularly compelling. As a consequence, I have a small stake in preserving the integrity of this image as desired by Michael Yon. I therefore view the use of this image by HFM, in the manner in which they have done so, to be personally offensive.

[Edit History]

2006.06.19 – Sweet. Never underestimate the power in an Army of Davids.

2006.03.02

From the College-Is-Stranger-Than-Fiction Department

As a self proclaimed act of public obedience, some students from Atlanta took it upon themselves to drive down the highway, four cars abreast, at 55 miles per hour.

In my view, this was a poorly thought out stunt. Alan, Esq has indicated this is far from being an act of public obedience, rather it was against the law (Follow the link for an excellent discussion on the stunt.) Without the consent from all the other “participants” in this stunt, their act was certainly unethical. Without a plan in place to respond to the dangerous situations that were likely to arise, their act was reckless. Watching the video leaves the distinct impression the plan was to just do it and see what happens. There is no sense they considered when things were getting out of hand and what they would to de-escalate the situation they created.

The lives and well being of real people were put at risk because of the irrational response from a few drivers this stunt provoked. What will never be known are the extended consequences of the delay this group imposed. How many appointments were missed or meetings and deliveries delayed? What other unintended consequences may have resulted from this stunt? There my have been no emergency vehicles involved during their 10 minute stunt, but the video shows how they almost created the need for one. How much safer, and less sensational, would they have been driving single file, convoy-style, in the far right lane?

The objective was “follow the rules and show them how stupid those rules are.” In the end what did they really prove? That some drivers are assholes? This bit of insight is about as profound as revelations the sky is blue. What they demonstrated is that assholes can take it upon themselves to run unethical and dangerous experiments at the expense of everyone else. Lets hope their next project doesn’t involve guns.

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.

2004.09.06

Infected with Hate

[Note: Much of this article was written in the months following the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York, September 11, 2001.]

On September 11, 2001, the unthinkable became all anyone could think about. The stunning reality is that, in fact, the unthinkable had been well thought out. With a great deal of planning, a small group of humans meticulously thought through every step, solved every obstacle. They thought the unthinkable until it became the familiar.

We are left to ask what is the path that led to these events? Surely not the faith of Islam any more than beer makes a man psychologically capable of murder. It’s something much deeper within the individual that makes such heinous acts possible. Self-rightous self-loathing, a festering maggot riddled sense of self provides the fuel. The larger context, intentionally or not, provides the spark. In this case, shallow interpretations of Islam by warped minds, false prophets bent on installing their personal hallucinations on the world, provided the incubator to collect and raise an army of sick individuals. It didn’t have to be Islamism. There are a wide variety of candidates floating around the world. (more…)

2004.08.31

Canary’s in the coal mine (in the land of democracy)

[Note: Much of this article was written in the months following the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York, September 11, 2001.]

One of the “superpower” traits of America’s government is it’s sheer size as well as the colossal power of it’s potential military punch. However, it does not possess any “superpower” qualities we like to ascribe to comic book super heroes. Rather our government is a collection of garden variety human beings, bundles of emotions teaming with conflicting desires and tangled by primal drives. Hardly the substrate for collective superpower capabilities.

The thing about bringing groups of people together, you only get superior capabilities in rare circumstances. In the case of large groups, like governmental bureaucracies, what typically results is something that functions closer to it’s least common denominator. Expecting such an organization to protect us from other smaller groups of humans with malicious goals is a bit like expecting peace of mind when enrolling your children in a daycare run by unfit parents. (more…)

2004.08.26

Urban Scare Crow

I believe I’ve hit on a solution for the incessant door-to-door solicitations at my home. There used to be a sign on my front door that said, in bold, “NO SOLICITORS“. Except for a few self-rightious bible thumpers and the occasional butthole, the sign was honored. But someone, probably one of the more aggressive solicitors, pulled the sign down – screws and all. Frustrated after being hit three times within an hour one evening, I ordered the following placard from one of those custom on-line sign shops:

NO SOLISITORS
Violators will be charged a
$50 SOLICITATION FEE

This is taped next to the doorbell and on the inside glass of the storm door where it cannot be removed without serious damage to the door. Since posting this, there hasn’t been a single violation and summer is typically prime door-to-door sales time.

Apparently, the bastards don’t give a crap about respecting a homeowner’s wishes. But they sure as hell are sensitive to hits on their wallets.

😀

2004.06.11

Archimedes and Parking Laws

In his column from June 04, 2004, Jim Spencer treats us with a rare and fabulous repartee – an insightful and probing exchange which delves to the very ontological foundation of our society, no less – he enjoyed with one of our city’s parking enforcement officers. (I’ll pause while you collect your ribs…)

The facts, as presented, are that Mr. Spencer pulled in next to a parking meter, turned the car off, got out of the car, blew kisses at the parking meter (or some such thing), got back in the car, drove around the block and pulled in next to the same parking meter. And yet, “I never parked.”, proclaims Mr. Spencer, when tagged with the “can’t return to the same parking space or any space within 100 feet of it for 24 hours” law. The Parkinazi1 disagreed and wrote him a ticket. (more…)


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