Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Friday, 2017.12.15
God help those who do not help themselves.

		Wilson Mizner

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.

2006.06.21

Reflections On Guns and Freedom

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

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

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

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

2006.06.20

Coffee For Dead People

God bless Folger’s coffee. Two pots a day of their magic elixir got me through undergraduate biochemistry. But this? Did Folger’s actually make this commercial? The Anchoress may be speechless, but I’ve got something to say.

folgers1.jpg

“You can sleep when you are dead”? E-gads. This commercial made me wish I was dead. At least now we know what happens when the Teletubbies go on slim-fast and procreate.

folgers2.jpg

“Tolerate Mornings”? What an enticement. How about “endure chocolate” or “put up with clean water”? This looks to be the kind of effort from people who have never actually had a cup of coffee – sort of like me making a commercial for childbirth. I could do it, but it would be wrong. Note to Folger’s Marketing Department: Wake up and smell some better coffee. Watch the whole thing here:

[Edit History]

2006.06.20 – Oh, no, Mr. Bill! They have an official Tolerate Mornings web site along with a better video clip – click on the little television after the Flash introduction.

Operation Mag-Neato

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

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

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

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

Operation Mag-Neato - JZ-TOL

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

[Edit History]

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

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

2006.06.19

Jason Leopold Reaps The Whirlwind

There was something in Joe Laurias’ Washington Post column wherein he dings Jason Leopold, “My Unwitting Role in the Rove ‘Scoop’“, that has me thinking.

Leopold is a product of a narcissistic culture that has not stopped at journalism’s door, a culture facilitated and expanded by the Internet.

This begs the questions, how was it this narcissistic culture came to be? There isn’t an easy answer to this question, but I would start looking for tracks around the politically correct camps, the bullshit agendas entrenched in our public schools and the fallout from have-it-instantly disposable consumerism relentlessly driven by increasingly sophisticated mass marketing. The alter of political correctness demands blind faith in following the path of guilt and punishes critical thinking and skepticism. From the earliest age possible, young minds are steeped in this rancid tea in our public school system. After 12 years of this, out pops a walnut ready to get it now, chew it up and spit it out.

Leopold’s life appears to be a story of instant gratification – get the cocaine high now no matter the cost, get the story euphoria now no matter the tactics. I wouldn’t call his life a tragedy, its just pathetic. He has had his instant gratification at our expense and will be chewed up and very soon spit out to the gutter. He has my pity, the little I can muster, but nothing else. There would be more if he could but reclaim his responsibility in this mess. Sadly, he seem to lack this capability as well. After having been completely exposed, he shamelessly works to cloak his sloppy “reporting” in shallow words. He is the epitome of the cut-and-paste mentality and those of his ilk are dangerous indeed.

Jason Leopold’s offence was egregious and his unmasking should be ruthless. That he has done great harm to those who strive to report the news should never be forgotten or forgiven lest others choose his path. Let him find the sympathy he deserves in drug rehabilitation and therapy. He is young and can forge a new career, assuming he can clean up his life. A long tour of duty doing one of those jobs it is claimed Americans refuse to do may serve to realign his bent sense of responsibility.

[Edit History]

2006.06.19 – It seems Karl Rove is still about to be indicted. After careful review, Capt. Smith of the USS Truthout has reconfirmed the re-verification that there cannot be any icebergs in the water around him and therefore that thing their boat rammed into couldn’t have been an iceberg and therefore they didn’t hit what ever it was that wasn’t there. Well, we’ll just have to wait and see if the imminent indictment of Karl Rove continues to not happen or not.

2006.06.17

Making Pretty Pigs

From the people who brought you “getting ahead of the news cycle,” We now have several freshly minted euphemisms to help us in our daily battle to dodge responsibility from our “mis-appropriated” squeals and rants. Yes, the cache of cosmetics available to us for prettying up our warty hogs has just grown by two. No longer are we limited to simply putting lipstick on our pigs.

Back in May, Jason Leopold with truthout.org “reported” that Karl Rove would be indicted in the CIA leak case and that he would then immediately resign his White House job once the charges were announced. For months leading up to this…ummmm…broken story, Leopold and truthout had been hyping the imminent indictment of Rove. And for months, much to the frustration of Leopold and truthout, the indictment kept not happening. And so it continued. In the hours and days after Leopold broke the news on truthout, the indictment kept not happening. Even so, some of the MSM was sucked into this scoop of slop. Truth out. Reality in. No indictment.

Finally, buried within the comments sections of truthout’s web site was a kind-of-sort-of retraction whining about having “gotten ahead of the news cycle.” Translation: “We wanted this wish to come true soooooooo much we marshaled all our journalistic sources for news substrate to focus on this issue and so extract the truth: our crystal ball, under cover garden faeries and the magic 8-ball – we even threw the runes! And our sources told us Rove would be indicted.” Or, to put it more succinctly, truthout pulled the truth out of its collective ass and peddled it as fact.

This past week the last remaining pebbles of ground beneath truthout’s feet gave way as it was announced that Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald told Rove’s attorney that Rove will not be indicted in the CIA leak investigation. Jason Leopold and truthout have jumped both the shark and the couch in a single bound. Impressive.

Yesterday, on a front page post, truthout retracted their story…sort of.

Instead of saying “we were wrong and you were right,” truthout says “there is a major contradiction between our version of the story and what was reported.” (Note to Mr. Leopold and truthout: facts don’t have versions. You’ve confused them with opinions.)

Instead of saying “we are retracting our lame new story,” truthout says they are “going to stand down on the Rove matter at this time.” Stand down? Sounds like they have legions of news reporters who will now holster their pens (They don’t have pencils. Those eraser thingies are waaaaaay too dangerous.) At this time? I guess they reserve the right to spill their version of the news on this matter at some point in the future, based on their sources, of course.

Finally, you gotta love this: “We defer instead to the nation’s leading publications.” Translation: “If its news you want, go somewhere else. We don’t do news.”

And so, my friends, we now have at our disposal the following cosmetics for our boarish flubs:

  • We got ahead of the news cycle.

  • There is a major contradiction between our version of the story and what was reported.

  • We’re going to stand down on this story.

Use as needed, then exit stage left.

[Edit History]

2006.06.17 – Tim Blair has similar notes.

2006.06.18 – Jason Leopold gets spanked pretty good by Joe Lauria in the Washington Post.

Modern Day Marshalsea

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

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

Ouch

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

2006.06.16

Fake But Accurate News: More Zarqster Un-safehouse Documents and Items

Secret, covert and High Ranking Officials who wished to remain anonymous stealthily descended on the JZ:TOL campus via Black Helicopters this morning (Guys, next time do this at night so the neighbors don’t notice.) and revealed some of the details surrounding additional documents and items found after the Zarqster met his maker (Who knew Allah looked like a 500 lb. smart bomb?) Among these items:

  • A personal diary with fuzzy pink covers and sequin hearts pasted on the spine. The diary, unfortunately, is locked with a tinsy, tiny padlock and the key was not recovered after the raid. Elite CIA safe crackers and code breakers are currently working around the clock in an effort to breach this hitherto unknown security device.

  • A “To Jihad List” which included, among others, the following items:

    • Milk, Peanuts and Soy Sauce with MSG

    • That neighbor with the incessantly barking dog

    • The Moon

    • All clothes that are not black

    • Iceland

  • A cell phone with Paris Hilton’s phone number on speed dial (This may or may not mean anything. After all, my cell phone came with Paris’ number pre-configured for speed dial.)

  • A copy of “Jihadi Illustrated” – the swim suit edition.

  • Instructions for how to properly carve up a hostage for holiday presentation and intimate sleeper cell gatherings, including tasteful garnish suggestions.

  • Several trunks of collector’s quality GI Joe dolls.

  • A dozen bottles of extra-strength headache medicine.

I have the impression there was more to reveal, but the Home Owner’s Association Covenant Enforcement Committee had already flagged the helicopters as a violation so I had to ask the informants to leave.

2006.06.13

Aluminum Overcast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Edit History]

2008.06.02

Grammar fix.

2006.06.12

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.

2006.06.11

You Don’t Belong To You

The Orlando Sentinel reports:

A new state law that would allow Floridians to block access to their credit histories could be superseded by one of several federal proposals now working their ways through Congress.

Consumer advocates say one of the federal measures in particular would eviscerate the state “security-freeze” law, which was designed to protect credit files from identity theft.

I’ve been an advocate for such a credit report freeze for a long time. Credit checks are a critical link in the chain of events leading to identity theft. Anyone attempting to use your personal data to acquire a credit card, cell phone account or plethora of other items and services typically has to clear the credit check hurdle. In my experience, this has largely been regarded as a mere formality, something to breeze through on your way to acquiring that wicked kuel widget. If the vendor hit a credit lock, the bell would ring and stop the transaction.

I have not had my identity stolen, but I do have an Evil Twin. Some deadbeat dad with almost the same name as I (different middle name.) Since first becoming aware of this cretin during my first semester as an undergraduate, its been periodic waves of cleaning this bum’s stain off of my life. I’ve been sued by hospitals for Evil Twin’s unpaid medical bills, chased by the State of Alaska for child support to the tune of $40,000 (I have no children), harassed by a correspondence school in New York for non-payment of course materials and bunches of other bill collection issues. Some of Evil Twin’s slime ended up on my credit report and it took two years of effort to clear the record.

Had I been able to lock my credit report, this piece of the headache would have been prevented. The time measured in years it takes to clear a credit record is more than offset by the relatively infrequent delay in completing large item purchases (the ones that typically require a credit check.) And that’s all it is, a delay. I have every confidence the vendor will be interested in my money even after waiting a week or two.

But unfortunately for you and I, the credit card companies are not particularly interested in our pain and suffering. That’s all just collateral damage under the bridge in the name of maximizing business profits.

The Industry wants to limit the opportunity to freeze a credit history to those victimized by ID theft or those who have good reason to suspect their personal financial information has been compromised.

“The Industry” isn’t interested in preventing our suffering but they are willing to let us close the barn door after the horse has run off. Consider this: Its as if “The Industry” has control over all the doors on your house and by default all those doors are unlocked. This is so they can walk in when they please and entice you with nifty bobbles and shinny trinkets. They cannot do this if you control the locks. However, if your house is robbed and everything of value cleaned out, “The Industry” is gracious enough to let you lock the doors so that vast stash of nothing you have won’t be stolen.

I suspect most of the population has a purchasing strategy that doesn’t go much beyond their brain stem and can be summed up as “See shinny object. Bite.” But then there’s the rest of us who give due consideration to our purchases. A minority who are capable of independently determining what are our needs and what are our wants. Believe it or not, we don’t need advertising to discriminate between the two.

Many consumers may not realize how inconvenient a freeze on access to their credit records can be until they try getting quick approval to finance a purchase, said Anthony Dimarco, vice president of the Florida Bankers Association.

“My biggest concern is if a consumer signs up for a freeze, then goes shopping at a department store and wants to get instant credit approval to buy something,” he said. “Suddenly, reality raises its head. You can’t unfreeze your credit instantaneously. The person may realize that’s not really what they want.”

That’s your biggest concern, Mr. Dimarco? First may I suggest some mouth wash because your breath stinks when you make such feeble attempts to tell us how we should be thinking about this. Secondly, your assertion reveals a fundamental misunderstanding about what at least some of your customers want. Those who are diligent about preserving the integrity of their credit history and who choose to make the effort to lock their credit report, are not the type to find themselves in the middle of a department store blindly signing up for instant credit. Rather, myself and others realize there is a far greater chance of some criminal attempting to get your instant credit in my good name. That’s what reality’s head looks like to us. And preventing that, Mr. Dimarco, IS what I really want.

[Edit History]

2006.08.02

Amy Alkon reminded me of another aspect to this issue. In addition to being particularly insensitive toward actually preventing fraud, “The Industry” would also rather you do the leg work for them in tracking down the deadbeats. Its implied in the description of what I’ve had to battle with in regards to my Evil Twin. A company is owed money by Evil Twin. Some butt hole flips open the phone book, looks up my name and says “Oh, look! Evil Twin is in the phone book!” and they initiate the machine to start hammering me for Evil Twin’s delinquency.

Sometimes I wish having a thought was attached to the pleasure/pain centers of the brain such that logical thoughts had a pleasant sensation whereas illogical thoughts had all the comfort of giving birth to a water buffalo through the nose. Note to “The Industry” bill collector butt holes: Deadbeats are not responsible enough to maintain their own phone number and such so just move along.

Alas, all I can to is rant, for sure as water buffalos are big, “The Industry” isn’t likely to care. In fact, they would care greatly if some legislation with muscle was in place that dinged them mightily for not fact checking. “The Industry” would undoubtedly vigorously fight such legislation. No, they would much rather I go to great lengths to prove the negative, that I am NOT Evil Twin. Having done that, they move on to the next poor soul listed in the phone book with the same name as the deadbeat. You would have an easier time convincing me that I am short than convincing me this is anything other than deliberate strategy.

2006.06.10

Government Demands Censorship Apology

Not good:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fake But Accurate News: Whitehouse Press Briefing

[Ed. The following are a couple of snippets from the latest press briefing by White House Press Secretary, Tony Snow, on the recent demise of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. A US military general was also available for questions. In attendance were terrorist operatives reporters from various Main Stream Media organizations.]

…..

Reporter: General, were the photos of the allegedly deceased Abu Musab al-Zarqawi “Photoshopped” prior to presenting them to the press?

General: “Photoshopped?” What’s that? I don’t understand what you’re asking. Do you mean did we have the film developed at a MotoPhoto? No.

Reporter: General, how do you explain the fact freedom fighter Abu Musab al-Zarqawi survived the blast from not just one, but two 500 pound IED’s?

General: First of all, the ordnance used in this operation were not “Improvised Explosive Devices,” or “IED’s,” rather very sophisticated weapons delivered with laser precision by highly trained and competent professionals. IED’s are the weapon of choice with the terrorist organizations and have killed and injured many of our brave soldiers as well as a great many more innocent Iraqi civilians. And as far as Zarqawi’s having survived the blasts, all I can say he was lucky.

Reporter: Can you elaborate on the “Conspiracy of Luck” which you just made reference to?

General: Ahhhhh…

…..

Reporter 1: Is there any truth to the rumor that His Eminence Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was robbed by elite US combat soldiers just before he died?

Snow: No truth. Rumors? I thought you guys were professionals and dealt with facts and stuff.

Reporter 2: So, for the record, are you not saying these rumors are unsubstantiated non-truths or are you not saying they are likely un-truths pending Congressman Murtha’s investigation?

Snow: Ummm…

Reporter 3: How do you explain the growing reports which claim Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Benevolent, was robbed by US military personnel as he lay on his death bed?

Snow: “Reports?” Because two reporters asked about a goofy rumor that makes it a report? I think I got off the elevator on the wrong floor.

Reporter 4: Is there any truth to the rumor that the Exalted Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was sexually abused by elite US combat soldiers just before he died?

Snow: I think I’m in the wrong building.

Reporter 5: Are you claiming these atrocities wouldn’t be true if they had actually happened?

Snow: Excuse me. I just remembered I have a dental appointment for a root canal.

Reporter 6: Are there any more rumors you care to neither confirm nor deny?

Social Parasites Wanted, No Experience Necessary

Amy Alkon is attending the Human Behavior and Evolution Society conference at the University of Pennsylvania. She makes note of these comments from behavioral ecologist Marlene Zuk (University of California, Riverside):

She talked about parasites as a normal part of life, and noted that they’ve shaped life from the beginning: “We evolved with parasites…” and “…we remove them at our peril.” She spoke of the unexpected downsides of removing our pathogens.

This has me thinking. It is a common observation that our social behavior is a more developed or complex extension of basic physical models and that our social structure is often modeled after similar systems in nature. So while Professor Zuk is talking about actual little critters, what are the implications of removing societal parasites? Is it actually a good thing for society to have some portion of the population living on welfare? Does the social burden of 14 million illegal aliens provide some as yet unrecognized benefit, something deeper than the ideas and claims being kicked around in the MSM and blogsphere? And the same for social security, Medicaid and Medicare.

I don’t have an answer to these questions, but they may merit consideration if a socially healthy solution is to be crafted to many of the current issues we face. I believe there is a very real possibility we are failing to define many of these issues in a manner which can result in positive solutions.

That which does not kill me makes me stronger.

Friedrich Nietzsche

[Edit History]

2006.06.10 – Ooooops. Wrong link to Advice Goddess post. Its fixed now.

2006.06.20 – Sissy Willis takes a similar tack with regard to immune response research and the social context.


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