Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Political Agnosia


Agnosia is the inability to differentiate between objects, persons, sounds, shapes, or smells in the absence of specific sensory defect or memory loss. As an example, the illustration above is a test used to determine the ability to differentiate length.

Political Agnosia

Political agnosia is a term I've coined in response to KP's post Sunday on FT's blog.  It's the inability to differentiate between political and non-political speech.  

KP's Post

KP's post was a well written piece on dealing with change and reduced performance.  It was in all ways, apolitical.

Public Commentary

The commentary almost immediately went  completely off topic, those posting apparently unable or unwilling to differentiate between political and non-political speech.  

Word of advice:

There is more to life than politics & if you make politics the defining factor of your life, you've kind of, and sadly missed the boat.


Monday, April 29, 2013

Don't You Feel SAFE?

Now I Can Sleep At Night

We can all breathe a sigh of relief knowing that we no longer have to look over our shoulders every time we see an Elvis impersonator.

After what seemed, at least in the media, as an open and shut case, suddenly fell apart when the prosecutor was forced to drop all charges.  It seems that Elvis, accused of mailing Ricin laced letters to President Obama and Senator Wicker were also mailed to a judge,  the wife of the current suspects previous political opponent.  

Leaving the courthouse Elvis was heard to remark "RICE?  I don't even eat rice".

So relax...



Now reports are leaking out from the Feds that the hiding Dzhokar was unarmed when police fired over 200 rounds into the boat.  Seems kind of counterproductive to seizing an intelligence asset for questioning.  Now obviously, he was extremely dangerous and police had no way of knowing whether he was armed or not, but it is distinctly possible that this was a case of "contagious" fire. Not that I can blame them, but perhaps its time to start arming our robots with tasers.

All in good fun

Our police and law enforcement officials do a wonderful job...

...most of the time.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Land of the Screed, Home of the Slave

If pressure cookers are outlawed, only outlaws will have pressure cookers...
Retailer Williams-Sonoma is removing pressure cookers from its stores near Boston.

“It’s a temporary thing out of respect,” the manager of a store in Natick said. The move is local and the cookware will still be available on the store’s website. He referred all other questions to the company’s corporate headquarters.

Another nearby store, Crate & Barrel, is continuing to sell pressure cookers. However, it did observe a moment of silence yesterday and asked employees to wear Boston-themed clothing to honor the victims. (
At first I thought this was a joke, or perhaps a rightwing fever swamp meme gone viral, but it looks like it could be true.

After all, we law-abiding gun owners were supposed to hang our heads in shame and stand silently in the public square to be pilloried and stripped of our rights after Sandy Hook, as progressive hosannah choirs screamed "IT"S FOR THE CHILDREN!"

After Sandy Hook, President Obama and his Ploofian nudgers orchestrated an operatic assault on our emotions, complete with pictures of children and a media blitz of grieving parents, but liberty-lovers stood firm and pointed out the non-sequitur that it all was. 

We all grieve, but further circumscribing the rights of law-abiding citizens won't bring back one murder victim, and, lamentably, it won't prevent further random acts.  Nothing in that grimy fistful of bills the Senate voted down would have prevented a Loughner, Lanza or a Holmes from commiting their grim crimes.  But those of us who point this out are callous bastards.

Have we really arrived at the intellectually-vapid condition where we believe an all-powerful state can overcome random acts of human nature? Have we become so emotion-driven that we cannot intellectually separate a benign instrument from a criminal who uses it to create destruction?

There are over 300,000,000 guns in this country. In 2011, there were 8583 homicides by firearms, 19,392 suicides, and 606 firearm-related accidents.

So, percentages by firearm for murders: 0.002861%; suicides: 0.006464%; accidents: 0.000202%.

I bet the pressure cooker percentages are even less, even including accidental explosions, and let's hope no one runs the numbers on automobile deaths...

An even scarier prospect is a nefarious murderer who crafts weapons of mass destruction from whisky or microbrews, or Gaia forbid, a toilet paper bomber...

Jacob Sullum, a great libertarian American who goes after Republicans and Democrats with equal gusto,  eviscerates President Obama for playing politics with dead children.  He also skewers the left's emotion-laden, logic-free arguments.

 See also:  Atlantic - Gun Violence in America

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Rock Opera: From Tommy to the Wall and beyond


While not the first,  The Who's 1969 Tommy is undoubtedly the first rock opera to reach international acclaim.  Originally titled Tommy 1914-1918 the story was set at the end of WWI (although the 1975 movie was set in WWII).  The premise introduced in the overture is that Captain Walker is lost in combat,  the mother gives birth to Tommy in "It's a Boy" and moves in with her lover Frank.  In 1921 Captain Walker returns and kills his wife's lover (in the movie it was portrayed the other way around) 

The first verse is the wife's lover singing to Tommy's mother.  The second verse reintroduces Captain Walker with the murder of his wife's lover, then the third by Tommy's mother asks "what about the boy?Captain Walker and his wife then admonish Tommy "You didn't hear it, you didn't see it, you won't say nothing to no-one".  Tommy is left traumatized in a semi-catatonic state,  deaf, dumb, and blind.  The last verse is sung by Captain Walker to his wife Here is the song 1921 from the 1975 movie (remember the movie switched the roles of Captain Walker and Frank):



Pink Floyd's 1979 The Wall, is the life story of the opera's protagonist, Pink, believed to be based on Roger Water's own life and that of the bands original leader Syd BarretThe songs tell the story of each event in his life, the death of his father, his overprotective mother, the oppressive school system, each adding a brick to the metaphorical wall isolating him from his humanity. The story climaxes with Pink, his metaphorical wall now complete, is in a drug induced hallucination believing that he is a Neo-Nazi fascist dictator, the audience his angry mob.


Styx 1983 Kilroy Was Here was the rock opera that gave us Mr. Roboto.  Set in the future under a fascist dictatorship that has outlawed rock and roll,  the song "Heavy Metal Poisoning" is sung by the antagonist Dr. Righteous, leader of the Majority for Musical Morality.



Green Day's 2004 American Idiot is the story of the anti-hero Jesus of Suburbia.  The song Boulevard of Broken Dreams is sung from the point of view of the protagonist, Jesus of Suburbia who, dissatisfied with his life, has run away from home to the city.  The prelude to this song "Holiday" features cruising the city, partying the night away and ends back in the car, breaking down in an open field where this song begins.


Friday, April 26, 2013

Bloomberg is no threat to anyone's freedom, you idiots.

Digital Trends



The Domain Awareness System, nicknamed "the dashboard," was developed by Microsoft for the NYPD -- a three-year project that cost up to $40 million.  It centralizes and synthesizes mountains of data and footage: street maps, feeds from more than 4,000 existing security cameras, 911 alerts,  arrest records, parking tickets and even radiation detectors. Officials showed how hundreds of scanners that read license plates can spot a vehicle that's just been put on a watch list and how smart cameras fueled by artificial intelligence can flag a bag that's been left unattended too long. Cops are looking for a suspect in a red shirt? No problem -- the cameras can highlight anyone in that color in a crowd.  NBCNEWS

Bryan Smith for New York Daily News


 "We’ve made major investments in camera technology – notwithstanding the objections of some special interests,"
  "What you're seeing is what the private sector has used for a long time. If you walk around with a cell phone, the cell phone company knows where you are…We're not your mom and pop's police department anymore."
"You wait, in five years, the technology is getting better, they’ll be cameras everyplace ... Get Used To It!
"I do think there are certain times we should infringe on your freedom."

 Big Brother is Here

At this moment the entire group of people broke into a deep, slow, rhythmic chant of 'B-B! .... B-B! .... B-B!'—over and over again, very slowly, with a long pause between the first 'B' and the second—a heavy murmurous sound, somehow curiously savage, in the background of which one seemed to hear the stamps of naked feet and the throbbing of tom-toms. For perhaps as much as thirty seconds they kept it up. It was a refrain that was often heard in moments of overwhelming emotion. Partly it was a sort of hymn to the wisdom and majesty of Bloomberg, but still more it was an act of self-hypnosis, a deliberate drowning of consciousness by means of rhythmic noise.  ~Mostly George Orwell 


I hope none of you 'Special Interests' have any objections.

The interest from the United States has come from smaller municipalities, from sheriff’s departments, and police chiefs from several major cities,” said Dave Mosher,  Microsoft vice president in charge of program management.
...Whether you like it or not! 

Thursday, April 25, 2013






The people who are worried about privacy have a legitimate worry, But we live in a complex world where you’re going to have to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days, if you will. And our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change.  Look, we live in a very dangerous world. We know there are people who want to take away our freedoms. New Yorkers probably know that as much if not more than anybody else after the terrible tragedy of 9/11, We have to understand that in the world going forward, we’re going to have more cameras and that kind of stuff. That’s good in some sense, but it’s different from what we are used to, Clearly the  Supreme Court has recognized that you have to have different interpretations of the Second Amendment and what it applies to and reasonable gun laws

Here we’re going to to have to live with reasonable levels of security, It really says something bad about us that we have to do it. But our obligation first and foremost is to keep our kids safe in the schools; first and foremost, to keep you safe if you go to a sporting event; first and foremost is to keep you safe if you walk down the streets or go into our parks,We cannot let the terrorists put us in a situation where we can’t do those things. And the ways to do that is to provide what we think is an appropriate level of protection. What we cant do is let the protection get in the way of us enjoying our freedoms, You still want to let people practice their religion, no matter what that religion is. And I think one of the great dangers here is going and categorizing anybody from one religion as a terrorist. That’s not true … That would let the terrorists win. That’s what they want us to do.



That would be Dzhokhar Tsarnaev



 That would be Nanny Bloomberg



"We know there are people who want to take away our freedoms"


The jaws of power are always open to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing. ~John Adams
If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen. ~Sam Adams
I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by the gradual and silent encroachment of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpation.  The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home.  ~James Madison
America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.   ~Abraham Lincoln
Every step we take towards making the State our Caretaker of our lives, by that much we move toward making the State our Master.  ~Eisenhower
A Terrorist can only kill or maim you, it takes a politician to enslave you.  ~Finntann

On a more humorous note,  I was working on this post for 4/24.  When I finished I scheduled it and was surprised to see Silverfiddle had written a post and scheduled it for the same time.  I was more surprised when I saw the content.  Modesty precludes me from saying "Great Minds Think Alike".  ~Cheers!



Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Most Dangerous Man in America

In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday the country’s interpretation of the Constitution will “have to change” to allow for greater security to stave off future attacks.

“The people who are worried about privacy have a legitimate worry,” Mr. Bloomberg said during a press conference in Midtown. “But we live in a complex word where you’re going to have to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days, if you will. And our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change.” (Politicker)

* * *

“All government, in its essence, is a conspiracy against the superior man: its one permanent object is to oppress him and cripple him.
If it be aristocratic in organization, then it seeks to protect the man who is superior only in law against the man who is superior in fact; if it be democratic, then it seeks to protect the man who is inferior in every way against both.
One of its primary functions is to regiment men by force, to make them as much alike as possible and as dependent upon one another as possible, to search out and combat originality among them. All it can see in an original idea is potential change, and hence an invasion of its prerogatives.
The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And even if he is not romantic personally he is very apt to spread discontent among those who are.” ― H.L. Mencken

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


(c) Balcer


A week after the Boston Marathon bombing, Canadian authorities arrested Chiheb Esseghaier of Toronto and Raed Jaser of Montreal in an Al-Qaeda linked plot traced back to Al-Qaeda in Iran to derail a ViaRail passenger train.

A spokeswoman for the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique near Montreal confirmed that Esseghaier was a doctoral student at the research institute.  Both have been charged with conspiring to carry out an attack and murder people in association with a terrorist group. 

Kind of makes you wonder... If you give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day... If you teach a man to fish,  he'll kill you.

It's Time to Readdress Immigration

I know the story today is from Canada, but anyway, are we frigging stupid?  For example,  the DHS runs what is known as the trusted traveler program.  This program provides expedited entry into the United States for citizens from the following countries:  Canada, South Korea, Mexico and... SAUDI ARABIA!

That's just stupid!  It's obvious it's time to update that list and add Chechnya and Dagestan. Please feel free to....

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<BANG HEAD HERE >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


MSN reports that Dzhokhar acted alone but was motivated by religion.  How do we know?  That's what he told us. Let's try this again...

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<BANG HEAD HERE >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

So, am I the only one who thinks that name "Dzhokhar" could also be pronounced "Joker"?  As in some kind of sick and twisted Batman joke?  Screw it... from here on out refer to this (insert favorite epithet here) as The Joker... he doesn't deserve a real name, or the associated infamy. 

We're our own Worst Enemy    

 You seriously have to wonder about the competency of our  government at times.  Especially given the majority of terrorists would appear to be here, at least initially, legally.  It would seem that a greater percentage of terrorists are here legally than migrant farm workers.  One has to wonder,  why they even bother.



Monday, April 22, 2013


David Coleman Headly (Daood Sayed Gilani), Nancy Conde Rubio, Ahmad Wais Afzali, Najibullah Zazi, Aifa Siddiqui, Zanaib Taleb-Jedi, Aduras Abdulle Ali, Abdul Tawai Ibn Alishtari, Ehsanul Islam Sadwquee, Mohammed Ali Hasan Al-Moayad, Nachimuthu Socrates, Syed Haris Ahmed, Karunakaran Kandasamy, Vijayshanthar Patpanathan, Pratheepan Thavaraja, Murugesu Vinayagmoorthy, Mohammed Abdullah Warsame, Patrick Abraham, Burson Augustin, Rotschild Augustine, Narseal Batiste, Stanley Grant Phanor, Oussama Kassir, Akram Abdallah, Ali Saleh Kalah al-Marri, Abdifatah Yusef Isse, Rahmat Ahbdhir, Tareq Mousa Al Ghazi, Wesam Al Delaema, Kamal Hassan, Imdad Ullah Ranjah, Bryant Neal Vinas, Sahilal Sabaratnam, Nadarasa Yograrasa, Parvez Mehmood Sandhu, Khaleel Ahmed, Zubair Ahmed, Saleh Elahwal, Javed Iqbal, Dritan Duka, Eljvir Duka, Shain Duka, Mohamed Ibrahim Shnewer, Serdar Tatar, Derick Shareef, Mufid Abdulqadar, Shukri Abu Baker, Ghassan Elashi, Mohammed El-Mezain, Abulraham Odeh, Monzer Al Kassar, Luis Felipe Moreno Godoy, Mazhar Iqbal Chughtai, Saifullah Anjum Ranjha, Ahmed Abdellatif Sherif Mohamed, Mohammed Zaki Amawi, Marwan Othman El-Hindi, Wassim Mazloum, Christopher Paul, Richard David Hupper, Yzsith Chhun, Hassan Abujihaad, Mohammad Doudzai, Nadia Naeem, Muhammad Mubayyid, Emadeddin Muntassar, Eyad Suleiman, Carmen Maria Ponton Caro, Victor Daniel Salamanca, Edizon Ramirez Gamboa, Zuhair Hamed El-Shwehdi, , Nabi Nabil, Abdullah Kasem Ahmed Muthana, Jalal Sadat Moheisen, Nicolas Ricardo Tapasco Romero, Agron Abdullah, Jose Tito Libio Ulloah Melo, Bernardo Valdes Londono, Julio Cesar Lopez, Luis Alfredo Danza Morales, Vinh Tan Nguyen, Jose Padilla, Kifan Jayyousi, Adham Hassoun, Ernest James Ujaama, Mohammed El-Zahabi, Nuradin M Abdi, Michael Curtis Reynolds, Simon Trinadad, Rafiq Abdus Sabir, Thirunavukarasu Varatharasa, Daniel Joseph Maldonado, Haniffa Bin Osman, Tarik Shah, Mahmud Faruq Brent, Hector Rodriquez-Acevedo, Haji Subandi, Erick Wotulo, Sabri Benkahla, Abdelhaleem Hasan Abdelraziq Ashqar, Muhammed Hamid Khali Salah, Reinhard Rusli, Halmi Soedirdja, Shiraz Syed Qazi, Mohemmed Subeh, Khalid Awan, Irfan Kamranm Abdul Qayyum, Kobie Diallo Williams, Abdulraman Farhane, Mohamed Shorbagi, Muhiddin Yassin Aref, Mohemmed Hossain, Ronald Grecula, Lina Berro, Noura Berro, Sami Ahmad Berro, Sadek Berro, Zeinab Berro, Almire Ali-Sadek Berro, Houda Mohamad Berro, Abul Halim Berro, Abdulamir Berro, Bilal El-Sablani, Abdul Karim Akram Berro, Amira Ali Farhat, Ali Abdul Farhat, Ahmed Murshed, Akram Abdul Karim Berro, Troy M Peters, Mohamed Albanna, Hatim Naji Fariz, Arwah Jabar, Ali Asad Chandia, Umer Hayet, Shahawar Martin Siraj, Saleh Ali Nasser, Monasser Omian, Sadik Omian, Jarallaw Wasil, Hamid Hayat, Chao Tung Wu, Sami Amin Al-Arian, Syed Mustajab Shah, Monir Awada, Nemr Ali Rahal, Fadi Mohammed Maatouk, Fawaz Rahal Rania, Abdulhakeem Nour, Uzair Paracha, Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, Omar Abdi Mohamed, Tariq Gujar, Ali Makki, Tarek Makki, Abad Elfgeeh, Aref Elfgeeh, Ali Maatouk, Naji Antoine Abi Khalil, Tomer Grinberg, Lynn Wingate, Ahmed Hassan Al-Uqaily, Herbert Villalobos, Michael Wagner, Mark Robert Walker, Heman Lakhani, Hussain A Berro, Ali Al-Timimi, Samih Fadl Jamal, Zacarias Moussaoui, Fanny Cecelia Barrera-De Amaris, Akem Abodayah, Mahmood Youssef Kourani, Cedric Carpenter, Lamon Ranson, Carlos Gamarra-Murillo, Mohammad Salman Farooq Qureshi, Rafi Dhafir, Ahmed Abdel Sattar, Lynne Stewart, Mohammed Yousry, Amr I Elgindy, Jeffrey Royer, Ali Mohammed Al Mosaleh, Zameer Mohamed, Ali Khaled Steitye, Saleh Eldin Ali El Hage, Hasan Ali Ayesh, Elmeliani Benmoumen, Edgar Fernando Blanco Puerta, Kamran Shaikh, Soliman Bihiri, Farida Ahmed, Manthena Raja, Imran Khan, James Elshafay, Yildirim Beyozit Turner, Hussein Nasrallah, Abdurahman Muhammed al-Amoudi, Basman Elashi, Bayan Elashi, Ghassan Elashi, Hazim Elashi, Fawaz Mohammed Damrah, Osama Musa Alferahin, Carlos Adolfo Romero-Panchano, Mohammed Junaid Babar, Abdulghefur Abdul Hassan, Moinudden Ahmed Hameed, Yehuda Abraham, Mohamed Daher, Issam Hassan Fawaz, Hammad Abdur-Raheem, Seifullah Chapman, Masoud Ahmad Khan, Muhammed Abid Afridi, Ilyas Ali, Aref Ahmed, Ali Daher, Numan Maflahi, Yaudat Mustafa Talyi, Adrianna Gladys Mora, Sayed Abdul Malike, Ibrahim Ahmed Al-Hamdi, Todd Randall Royer, Tarek Abdelhamid Sallam, Lori Foley, Jamil Salem Sarsour, Elkin Alberto Arroyave Ruiz, Fadi Haydous, Jeffrey Leon Battle, Patrice Lamumba Ford, Soliman S Biheiri, Amna Mahmoud, October Martinique Lewis, Mohammed Aatique, Hassan Abdallah, Hassan Moussa Makki, Ahmed Ibrahim Bilal, Muhammad Ibrahim Bilal, Ali Mohamad Akhdar, Artur Tchibassa, Bassam Kamel Khafagi, Yong Ki Kwon, Donald Thomas Surrat, Khwaja Mohmood Hasan, Hosam Yousef, Jubara, Maher Mofeid Hawash, Elias Akhdar, Robert Hansen, William G Hatfield, Priscilla Dhafir, Uwe Jensen, Marlon Rodriguez, Hussein Abuali, Hussein Addelhafiz Samhan, Mukhtar Al-Bakri, Ahmed Ali, Yasein Taher, Lymen Farris, Ayman Jarwan, Carlos Ali Romero Varela, Osameh Al-Wahaidy, Omar SHishani, Salim Nemir Awde, Nabil Mohamad Ismail, Brandy Bowman, Carol Gordon, Ernest James Ujaama, Sahim Alwan, Youssef Hmimssa, Libardo Florez-Gomez, Ahmad Mohamad Hariri, Yahya Goba, Shafal Mosed, Salim Boughader-Mucharrafille, Khalid Awan, Choudhry Hussain, Suhail Sarwer, Patricia Serrano-Valdez, Jose Guillermo Alvarez-Duenas, Enaam Arnaout, Mohamed Suleiman Al-Nalfi, John Earl Johnson, Faysal Galab, Mohamed Ahmed Issa, Yaser Khatib, Nageeb Abdul Jabar Mohamed Al-Hadi, Rabi Ahmed, Majeda Dweikat, Osama Yousef Basnan, Richard Reid, Ahmad Abeed Ahmad Ahmad, Nabil Sarama, Abdurahman Khalil Koshak, Karim Tebbakh, Jean Tony Oulai, Mohammed Mansour Jabarah, Saleh Ali Almari, Hussein Al Attas, Derrick Cleveland, John Walker Lindh, Ahmed Abdulla Elashmouny, Mohadar Mohamed Abdoulah, Mohammed Hammoud, Chawki Hammoud, Ayub Ali Khan, Ihsan Elashyi, Kamel Mohammed Trabeisi, Nabil Al-Marabh, Ashar Iqbal Butt, Mohammed Azmath, Kumeit Al-Saraf, Mohamed Hussein, Javaid Iqbal, Eyad Al Rababah, Mubarek Almutari, Kamel Albred, Haider Alshomary, Moeen Islam Butt, Mohammed Ibrahim Refai, Wathek Al-Atabi, Omer Salmain Saleh Bakarbashat, Raad Al-Maleky, Samir Almazaai, Nasser Abuali, Ahmad Kilfat, Akeel A Aboudy, Ali F Alazawi, Mohammed Maddy, Mustafa Al-Aboody, Hisham Al-Shiblawy, Ifikhar Ahmed, Sabah Al-Hachami, Fadhil Al-Khaledy, Hussain Al-Obaidi, Hussain Sudani, Agus Budiman, Zuhaier Ben Mohammed Rouissi, Said Harb, Malek Mohamed Seif, Nadim Dawe, So fiane Laimeche, Montaser Hamdan Al Hamdan, Assam Abdail, Faisal M Al Salmi, Mohammed Pervez, Mustafa Kilfat, Ehab Elmaghraby, Armoghan Alandon, Arkan Alandon, Robert Ferrari, Haider Al Tamimi, Arsalan Absar Rizvi, Nasri Al Hamdan, Muhamed Nasir Bin Hasher Alghamdi, Wael Kishk, Ali Alubeidy, Salman Hyder, Mohammed Basheer Al Qaryuti, Ahmed Nawaz Atta, Sabre Abassi, Maher Yousef Abu-Zbaida, Roxanne Kopke, Mujahid Abdul Menepta, Hadir Awad, Mohamed Abdi, Alawi Hussain Al-Baraa, Salam Ibriham El Zaatari, Hafiz Khalil Ahmad, Nermine Hani Ayoub Al Khammash, Abdul Farid, Sherif Khamis, Imitiaz Siddiqu, Luis Flores-Martinez, Ben Sami Fathi Hafaidh, Vincente Rafel Pierre, Traci Upshur, Jamshed Iqbal, Jawaid Iqbal, Victor Flores-Lopez, Khalid Al Draibi, Atif Raza, Hossain El Ouariachi. Kenys Galicia, Manel Fall, Hafiz Tauseef, Aisha Younes, Arshad Hussain, Faycal Haddoumi, Kamal Rahmani, Ansar Mahmood, Francois Guagani

Direct Experience

Someone suggested we set aside bigotry and rely on direct experience to formulate our opinions on terrorism.  Here is the list of 403 convictions for terrorism or terrorism related charges between 9/11/01 and 3/18/10.  Are they all terrorists?  Undoubtedly not. Are they all Muslim?  Obviously not.  They range from nut jobs to cultists, to FARC and ACU, to the Tamil Tigers, to real honest to goodness terrorists.  I see two possible conclusions that you can arrive at from this list, either we are systematically discriminating against Muslims or those of Muslim descent,  or the majority of terrorists are Muslim or of Muslim descent.  You can peruse this at your leisure and formulate your own opinions.

Not All Muslims Are Terrorists

The vast majority of Muslims are good, honest, decent people, yet... the vast majority of terrorists appear to be Muslim.   We have a problem and Muslims have a problem.  The question yet to be answered is what we do about it. 

What the answer is not

I can't tell you what the answer is, but I can tell you what the answer is not.  It's not deportations, it's not indiscriminate violence, it's not a police state, it's not discrimination, and it's not sticking our heads in the sand and denying we, Muslim and Christian alike, have a problem with Islamic terrorism.

In the meantime...

Add two names to that list: Tamerlan & Dzhokhar Tsarnaev 



Sunday, April 21, 2013

There are No Answers

The New Barbarians

In ancient times, and even up through the renaissance, people lived in walled cities to keep the barbarians out. They still do it today in places like Afghanistan. Civilization inside; barbarians outside. It was a simple concept, but it doesn't work in America. The barbarians are on the inside. With apologies to Walt Kelly, the barbarians are us.

Yeah, we need a security apparatus, but let's put resources in the right places. Post-911, every podunk police force is decked out like a Hollywood SWAT Team or a bad imitation of an overweight Navy SEAL Team, complete with mini urban tanks and airborne drones.

After the Boston bombing, we're hearing statements like this one from Chris Stirewalt:
"Americans had again grown complacent."
I hate statements like that. Complacency is one of the luxuries of living within the walls of civilization. Indeed, a rightful boast of police and military personnel is that they remain vigilant so the rest of us can be at ease. Civilized society vanquishes anarchy and banishes worries of safety and survival, freeing us to pursue love, social bonding and human achievement, to the betterment of ourselves and our fellow human beings.

It is a sad world we live in when we expect everyone to be on a hair-trigger, ever-vigilant, and to have a checklist full of contingency plans.

I find Allen G. Breed's statement disturbing, but I cannot disagree with it:
"this is a nation of "soft targets," full of opportunities for those who want to do it harm." (AP News)
This creates an "armor up" psychology in our society among people who should never have to preoccupy themselves with such worries. And many don't even armor up correctly. They instead encase themselves in MTV-poser bluff and rudeness, or harbor irrational fears of statistically improbable events.

What it has done to some of us:
"When you go through so much trauma, your perspective on life changes, your belief system changes," Busch says. "You lose your innocence and, at the same time, you go back to a point of innocence. ... It's like you just want to go home, and your definition of home is different."  (AP News)
This is a healthy attitude:
"And so the message Tamara Ruben sought to convey to her third- through seventh-graders as they celebrated Israeli Independence Day Tuesday at Temple Beth El Mekor Chayim outside New York City was to not let fear rule them - "that as much as possible not to let this event to dictate our daily life and make us afraid and paranoid and change drastically our style of life."

"Enjoy the simple things - the simple things that give us contentment and joy in life," says Ruben, director of the synagogue's school." (
AP News)
Paul LaRuffa, who survived five bullets from the DC snipers, sums up the inherent vulnerability of life:
"We can't arm every square foot of everywhere."

"We don't want to live in a country where there ARE no soft targets," he says. "There will always be evil, and we can't get rid of it. We can try like hell to lessen it, but there are limits to what we can do and what we should do." (
AP News)
My favorite quote comes Kent Kornmeyer a 55, year old singer and waiter who attended Boston College and lives in Beverly Hills, California:
“My attitude, then and now, is if you want me, come get me,” he said of would-be terrorists. “You’re not going to change the way I live my life.” (Bloomberg)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Vikings

The History Channel

The wife and I have been watching The Vikings on The History Channel.  The show is a historical fiction based on the stories surrounding Ragnar Lodbrok in the Norse Sagas.  Onetime King of Denmark and most of Sweden, he was the scourge of Britain and France from about 845 until his death around 860.  His sons avenging his death was the impetus of the "Great Heathen Army" invasion of Britain around 865.  

The Viking

I found the theme song of the show intriguing and started doing a little research.  The song is "If I had a Heart" by Fever Ray,  Fever Ray turns out to be Karin Dreijer Andersson  lead singer of the Swedish duo "The Knife", with her brother Olof Dreijer.  Fever Ray was her debut solo album. Here is another song from that album,  Keep the Streets Empty for Me:

If her voice sounds somewhat familiar, she also did the song "The Wolf" in the 2011 movie Little Red Riding Hood.


Friday, April 19, 2013

Gosnell: Abortion's Sandy Hook

What happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a horrible slaughter. So was what happened at Gosnell's abortion clinic.  It's time for a national dialog on abortion.

As Obama's anti-gun legislation goes down in flames (only 4% of Americans think gun control is the most important issue facing us today), even after the big emotional appeal from parents of the murdered children, abortion's ugliness rears is bloody head.

People outside the fringe left don't buy the alleged connection between the actions of law-abiding gun owners and those of Loughner, Lanza and Holmes. As a result, congress will not act, and we will proceed with the status quo. I expect a different result from the Gosnell story. Indeed, other abortion mills are coming under scrutiny as I write this.

Unlike the left's shaky dot-connecting on gun violence, the progression from abortion to infanticide is logical and anecdotally verifiable. It is an easy logical leap from killing a fetus in the womb before it is "viable," to late-term abortions, which NARAL and Planned Parenthood vociferously support. Some, like Senator Obama from Illinois, have made the next logical leap, which is to kill a baby that survives an abortion. Why not? We don't want the mother punished with a baby.

James Taranto, a pro-chioce agnostic, has written an extremely thoughtful piece on the issue. Like fellow previously pro-choice writer Roger Simon, he is not ready to call himself pro-life, but he can no longer say he is is pro-choice, and I think many Americans are similarly situated. As this story gains more coverage, I predict we will see a shift in public opinion against abortion except in the rare cases of rape, incest and life of the mother.

I also expect to see a push in many states to require abortion providers to be certified OB/GYN practitioners, and for those physicians to have privileges at an area hospital.

The reason this is so powerful is that unlike the left's asserted conclusions and beating us over the head with the sledgehammer of illegitimate law, the anti-abortion revulsion comes from within a person as they are confronted with the moral repugnance of killing an innocent human life.

Indeed, the pro-abortion lobby relies upon keeping images and other real-life aspects of the abhorrent practice away from the public consciousness. The use of Orwellian language like "reproductive services," "pro-choice," and "After-Birth Abortions" is a sure sign that their agenda is shifty and their moral and logical positions are weak. Indeed, a cornerstone of pro-abortion argumentation is to dehumanize a baby in the womb, denying her personhood.
Linda Couri, who worked at Planned Parenthood, described how she responded when a teenager considering abortion asked her the following question: "If I have an abortion, am I killing my baby?"
Couri said: " 'Kill' is a strong word, and so is 'baby.' You're terminating the product of conception."

Couri was haunted by the girl's question and troubled about her [own] response. She recalls asking her supervisor if she had done the right thing. The supervisor did not deny that abortion was killing a baby but told her that in the teenager's case, abortion was a "necessary evil."
Struck by the use of the word "evil," Couri continued to question her position at the clinic. Eventually, she left, and now she is a pro-life speaker. (Taranto)
I recommend Taranto's article to everyone, pro or con. Taranto discusses the issue much more dispassionately than I, and he demonizes no one. I think his teetering position reflects the vast swath of America much more so than mine, and he does an excellent job processing the information and walking through the logical and ethical issues surrounding abortion.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Tax Freedom Day

(c) Bjørn Christian Tørrissen

Pharoah ain't looking so bad these days.

It says in the Bible that "it shall come to pass in the increase, that ye shall give the fifth part unto Pharaoh, and four parts shall be your own".  A 20% Tax Rate?  What the heck was Moses complaining about?  Dude!  Take my people back!!!

Tax Freedom Day

Tax freedom day, calculated by the Tax Foundation,  is the day of the year that we have collectively earned enough money to pay our nation's tax bill for the year, this year it is today, five days later than last year.  According to news sources the Obama's paid 18% in taxes,  with that the case their tax freedom day was March 5th.  Had they paid the full 35% rate they wouldn't be free until May 8th.  Remember this is the guy who was campaigning that Romney was paying too little at 15%.  Apparently 15% is bad,  18% is good.  I fared a little better than average this year, my tax freedom day was April 11th.

Now Wait A Cotton Picking Minute!

18%?  I pay a greater percentage in taxes than the President of the United States?  His annual stipend from the government is far greater than my income, and I don't get free room & board.  How the hell does that work?  20%?  Like I said,  Pharoah doesn't look so bad these days.