Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Friday, 2017.12.15
What would you like people to say about you at your funeral?

LOOK, he's MOVING!!

2006.09.30

Blog Haiku #1

Words gather.
Spell check.
That’s not what I meant.

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.

The Tin Foil Brain

This from Swiss researchers, so you know it’s accurate:

Stimulating a certain area of the brain can produce a creepy feeling that someone is watching you when no one is, scientists said Wednesday.

Swiss researchers made the discovery while evaluating a young woman for surgery to treat epilepsy. They believe their finding could help explain feelings such as paranoia which afflict patients suffering from schizophrenia.

When they electrically stimulated the left temporoparietal junction in her brain, which is linked to self-other distinction and self-processing, she thought someone was standing behind her.

If they repeated the stimulus while she leaned forward and grabbed her knees she had an unpleasant sensation that the shadowy figure was embracing her.

“Our findings may be a step toward understanding the mechanisms behind psychiatric manifestations such as paranoia, persecution and alien control,” said Olaf Blanke, of the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, in the journal Nature.

The left side of the brain. Hmmmmmmmm. We can only hope that someday appropriate medication will help.

[Edit History]

2006.09.23

Added link to original article.

2006.09.13

One Arab’s Apology For 9/11

Emilio Karim Dabul:

WELL, here it is, five years late, but here just the same: an apology from an Arab-American for 9/11. No, I didn’t help organize the killers or contribute in any way to their terrible cause. However, I was one of millions of Arab-Americans who did the unspeakable on 9/11: nothing.

The only time I raised my voice in protest against these men who killed thousands of innocents in the name of Allah was behind closed doors, among the safety of friends and family. I did at one point write a very vitriolic essay condemning their actions, but fear of becoming another Salman Rushdie kept me from ever trying to publish it.

Well, I’m sick of saying the truth only in private – that Arabs around the world, including Arab-Americans like myself, need to start holding our own culture accountable for the insane, violent actions that our extremists have perpetrated on the world at large.

Yes, our extremists and our culture.

I would like to thank Mr. Dabul for his apology. But more importantly, I would like to congratulate him for his courage. What he has done, is no small thing. I wish him peace and a long, happy life with his family.

2006.09.11

Bloggers and Main Stream Media – Get Ready To Rrrrrrrrrrumble!

In regards to the relationship between blogs and the Main Stream Media, David Carr writes in the New York Times:

The cliché about not arguing with people who buy ink by the barrelful is in the process of being replaced by another: best not to pick a fight with people who have gigabytes of text at their disposal unless you are interested in a duel on equal footing.

I think about it differently. Note to the Main Stream Media: It’s best not to bring a Thesaurus to a Dictionary fight.

2006.09.09

Tribute To Mary Melendez

[From September 10th through September 12th, 2006, the JZ:TOL weblog homepage will be dedicated to remembering Mary Melendez and her family.]

Many diamonds passed from this earth on the morning of September 11, 2001. When I signed up with “2,996: A Tribute to the Victims of 9/11” to be one of the bloggers assigned the task of honoring one of those precious gems chosen at random, I looked forward to the opportunity. It would be an opportunity, I thought, to come to know just a little bit more about the life behind one of those diamonds. What I didn’t know was how difficult, emotionally, this responsibility would be. You see, my diamond was Mary Melendez.

Mary Melendez
Mary Melendez
August 22, 1957 – September11, 2001

Upon first seeing her picture, I smiled. How could you not? What a grand effect her smile must of had in person. I’d wager as effortless as a Spring breeze across a wheat field is how a smile came to Mary. A smile like that isn’t put on from the outside, it shines tirelessly from within. That’s what I thought when I first saw her picture.

As I began to cast about to learn more of Mary’s story, I was fortunate and heartened to find a wealth of remembrances. Having read all I could find, there were other things I came to know as true about Mary. She gave and received love unconditionally. And she is deeply missed.

Mary’s kindness and generosity clearly touched many, many lives. For play or for parties, for kids and adults, the Melendez’ house was the place to be. Every neighborhood, it seems, has a house like that. A trusted second home. For Mary and her husband, Ramon, to have created and shared such a space is a testament to the quality of love they held within their own family.

The center of Mary’s life was her family. While a successful professional in her own right, she made accommodations to her work schedule in the interest of spending more time with her family. A loving wife and proud mother to four boys, her life reflects the depth of her love, strength and undoubted ingenuity for keeping each of her sons on track.

The caliber of support for her sons is to be admired. When her son, Ricky, was leaving for Marine Corps boot camp in Parris Island, S.C., Mary saw to it a proper party was thrown to send him off to his next success. While he was away, Mary wrote to him every day, keeping him up to date about all the little things that together mean “home.” She and Ramon had made plans to attend Ricky’s graduation on September 15th.

As I researched and wrote this post, I kept wanting to write as if I were speaking directly to Mary. It seemed to be the only way I could adequately express some of my thoughts and feelings about what I had come to know about her and her family.

I can tell by your smile, joy and happiness simply shined from within you just by being who you were, an expression undaunted by events around you.

I know you did not belong on the front line of an unknown war and am saddened to know you were there.

America, the country, is forever indebted to you. America, the idea, will always remember you, for the very soul of Freedom and Liberty is composed of those such as yourself. To harm you was to harm all of us. To loose you as we did was to threaten the very soul of America and what it means to live in freedom.

I pray that you are at peace. I pray for your family that they may find peace.

I think all of America knows in the abstract the loss of life on September 11, 2001, was horrific. But there is a lot of room in the abstract in which all manner of horror can be packed away out of sight, much as you might isolate a monster on a deserted island. A much smaller percentage knows the loss first hand. The loss of a family member, a friend, a coworker or even an acquaintance. A direct connection, however brief or slight the touch, has tapped them into the full electricity of the loss.

I will not presume that my humble tribute to one of those lost on that fateful day has allowed me to experience the loss borne by so many others. But I can say the experience of researching and writing this post has allowed me to set foot on that abstract Monster Island, and even this slight and humble gesture has had a profound and lasting effect on how I frame news reports of all my fellow humans who have died similarly.

It has been my honor and privilege to write this post in tribute to Mary Melendez. For the rest of my days on this earth, memories of September 11, 2001, will forever be touched by thoughts of Mary Melendez, her family and a sadness knowing she perished on that day. But even this will thaw and melt away as I remember the image of Mary’s smile, leaving the comfort of knowing that the world was made a better place for having been graced by such a being. It is by remembering the life she lived and the family she created that we can all find renewed hope for ourselves and our children.

May God bless Mary Melendez, her family and all her friends.

Additional Links

Tribute and Comments on Legacy.com.
Comments on September 11, 2001 Victims.
Mary’s cousin, Josie Cleary

Tributes to the other victims can be found on the “2,996: A Tribute to the Victims of 9/11” web site.

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.

2006.09.02

Steal This Lunch

Go ahead. I dare you. From the New York Times:

For those with autonomy in their jobs – generally, well-paid professionals – breast-feeding, and the pumping it requires, is a matter of choice. It is usually an inconvenience, and it may be an embarrassing comedy of manners, involving leaky bottles tucked into briefcases and brown paper bags in the office refrigerator.

I think what creeps people out, and by people I mean “guys”, about this is that it’s stuff which was once inside someone’s body and now is on the outside. Most generally, when this happens, it’s not a good thing, ranging on a scale from unpleasant (“Earl, there’s something on your nose.”) to disgusting (“Earl, that looks infected.”) to flat out horrifying (“Somebody get a tourniquet around Earl’s torso fast!”).

To most, there’s nothing cute about a baby burp, especially as the count rises over time. Although Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes might go gaga over baby’s goo goo given their propensity for collecting trophy excretions. What’s worse, from a guys perspective, is the stuff is being saved. And for non-clinical reasons at that. Imagine a bag labeled “Earl’s sputum. DO NOT TAKE!” or “Earl’s sperm. DO NOT TAKE!” parked in the office refrigerator right next to your egg salad sandwich.

That’s how guys think about it. Of course, babies think otherwise. They have yet to be bent by our convoluted, contradictory and puritanical social conventions. They have yet to be pressured by peers and crushed by the protuberant herd in their journey from self expression to self repression.

Personally, this doesn’t bug me. My perspective is rather pragmatic on these things, the result of having grown up with five sisters, three of whom followed my mother into nursing careers, and supporting my late wife, Janet, through 10 years of battling breast cancer. These experiences left scant room for mystery in regard to what women have to deal with while growing up and trying to forge a career.

Pump away girls, it bugs me not.

A discussion thread is happening about this article over on Althouse (H/T, by the way).

[Edit History]

2006.09.03

Fixed klutzy sentence.

2006.09.23

Edited for clarity.

2006.10.02

Updated dead link to Tom and Katie’s trophy.


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