Friday, September 16, 2011
NFL to Fondle Fans
Not being struck down by football madness myself, it doesn't affect me beyond it being yet another "safety nazi" measure chipping away at civilization - I can simply continue my years long tradition of neither attending nor watching NFL events.
I would point out, though, that major league sports events have been considered significant and vulnerable targets for both "traditional" and NBC terrorist strikes since 2001 and not without justification. Particularly with this new NFL initiative, where else are you going to find 50,000+ unarmed and unarmored targets in a single place with minimal security?
Perhaps it's time on general principles to avoid such ill-advised events - not just because the organizers insist on enforcing helplessness amongst their patrons, but because it's just bad strategy to be at one of the more likely ground zero's for the next major terrorist act on American soil.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Go help JayG now....
It seems he's in this "Kilted to Kick Cancer" contest, and he's not entirely clear on fashion faux pas, or the difference between a kilt and a pinafore. Someone really ought to help him.
If you're nearby, take him out for coffee (if you can separate him from his "glamorous" new outfit) and explain the difference, would you? And while you're at it, click on the poor confused boys pic and donate to the cause - it may be the only way to save him!!
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Obama & Jobs
Just maybe the best possible thing a government can do for an economy is to - get out of the way.
The best a government can offer a healthy young man or woman in these dark times might be an infantry position guarding our southern border - three hots and a cot, a crap salary, and a tent not being a bad way to wait out a recession as we reach a tipping point where those welfare checks just won't cash any more.
Perhaps a flat tax, with a floor beneath which folks are figured to be sufficiently bad off that they don't need their income taxed to achieve the recommended daily amount of misery - that they are sufficiently busy trying to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads that we don't need to sap their minimal resources with yet another burden.
Rather than using the income tax for social engineering, perhaps we are better served with it just generating revenue without inspiring an entire industry dedicated to enforcing and evading its onerous legal and fiscal requirements. The money saved by business could hire innumerable new workers - if business felt it was safe to hire them in the first place.
Towards that end, let us repeal the abomination of ObamaCare - rammed through unread in the middle of the night, with neither debate, consideration, nor comprehension. "You have to pass it in order to read it!".
Starting over and trying again appears a far wiser choice than moving forward with the vast and unsustainable financial burden known as ObamaCare that inspires only uncertainty, fear, and visions of doom in the business community.
Imposing a ten year moratorium on the creation of new federal regulations might not hurt, either - particularly if accompanied by an effort to repeal many of the existing regulations presently burdening the productive sector of society. See "get out of the way".
I'm sure others, wiser and more knowledgeable than I, can offer far more insightful and canny suggestions - but that's the best I can come up with off the cuff, and rather than sit and rant about the absolute crapulence of the current administration... I'm going to try and, at least occasionally, put out a few positive thoughts on how the current cluster could at least start to be untangled.
Monday, September 12, 2011
Coffee & Offices
Having parted ways with my former employer, I've landed a new job with a group whose goals I believe in that's populated by decent and down to earth folks - all very cool things.
Like any new job, there's the challenge of learning the way the new team does things, and usually some kind of physical challenge or another involved someplace.
In this case, I'm looking at coffee (the stuff of life) not being terribly convenient...and an office that's really nice, but so dead quiet that mere thought rattles the windows. After a bit of contemplating, I have some solutions..
I've not been a fan of Keurig in the past as it seemed like locking yourself into a proprietary system that didn't have any real guarantee of continuing - something that didn't thrill me. However, if I'm only making coffee for *me*, keeping muss and fuss to an absolute minimum...the Keurig canister system seems to be made of win with its' canister system, eliminating loose grounds and filters.
One Keurig-style coffee machine, coming up.
I work better with *some* kind of background noise to keep the creative juices flowing, but not so much as to irritate co-workers. After a bit of pondering, found a glorified clock radio with an integrated iPhone dock.
It's not the art-deco piece I'd like (sadly, nobody is making those), but it's at least got some warmth to it, I can play the work-safe iPod tunes on there at a pleasantly muted volume, and I got a "floor-model" deal on it.
I'll call that a win..and still pretty darned happy with the new job.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
On this day
I remember a twin sense of fear and anger as the news kept coming in and I made the call that I would be working from home that day. I remember favoring, if the target could be determined, an all-out effort to destroy the individuals responsible for this attack on our nation.
The anger is cooler today, if only because that sort of fury cannot be sustained. We have been at war in the Afghanistan and Iraq for 10 years now, with immense cost in life and treasure - and the job is far from done. Osama Bin Laden and many of his cronies are gone, but their habit of thought persists.
Today, we have among us more than a few appeasers and cowards leading our nation, emerged from the boltholes of falsehood and glory-hounding they sought out in the early days of this conflict, made bold by the cooling of the nations wrath since the early days after the assault upon our nation.
These cowards and fools would have us believe that our task in Afghanistan and Iraq is coming to an end, and that our obligation to both our nation and our dead - and to the people of those benighted lands - is at an end, and it is time to bring our troops home.
Yet our troops are still wounded in combat, and the invaded nations are still simmering hotbeds of the more radical sorts of Islam...ready to burst again into flame the moment we turn our back. Our President and his party fail to discern the lesson of WWII...that sometimes, an extended occupation (see: Germany, Japan) is not merely a good idea, but simply necessary.
To eradicate an idea, to shatter a pattern of thought, takes far more than combat and much more than military victories. It takes decades of education, and of creating institutions built in something other than corruption, cronyism, and tribalism. Inculcating the notion that religion and governance are bad bed mates is a work of generations, not a mere decade.
Until that work is done, we are at hazard of needing to re-visit Iraq and Afghanistan with further rounds of blood and thunder, merely to run a gore-covered red queens race to get back to where we are now.
Yet our leader would have us withdraw to the near certainty of embracing such a bloody future for all of three nations. Our work there is not nearly done, and our work has been hampered far too much by sensitivity and political correctness.
At home, those same leaders pay lip service to some of the most critical lessons of September 11th, 2001 - that "government" not only will not always be there to save us, but that it cannot always be there to save us. That the responsibility for stopping evil in its tracks rests, more often than not, with individuals such as the heroes of Flight 93.
We are left with the "look busy" efforts of the scum and villains of the TSA, performing Security Kabuki and with a vastly understaffed Air Marshal program and the promising armed pilot program first hobbled by opponents at its' creation and then de-funded by the current administration - crippling what few actual efforts at effective air security have been made.
Instead we have airports turned temples of anti-constitutionality, where probable cause and reasonable suspicion are mere trivia paid lip service, at best. With privacy shattering radiation producing scans and intentionally abusive pat-down searches as an option, our nation celebrates the sacrifices of our nations soldiers and the dead and wounded of that first Taliban offensive.
Today is rightly a day of national mourning and remembrance - but not with the hand-wringing over-blown sensationalism of the national media, but rather with a quiet moment in each of our hearts asking "is our job in Afghanistan and Iraq so finished that we may be reasonably assured of no more evil from those lands?" paired with "is our nation the bastion of freedom, privacy, and individual liberty - or have our leaders substantially emasculated that which the Taliban found most offensive, our freedom?"...
And, upon pondering those questions, I find my answers are far from reassuring. Our nation has strayed far from the track of sanity in favor of sensitivity, and from freedom to false safety.
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
~Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Thuggery & Felonies, let me count the ways...
Let's count the crimes, shall we? At first glance, I'm guessing about four separate crimes, but we may have more here. Let's look closely.
LONGVIEW, Wash. (AP) — Hundreds of Longshoremen stormed the Port of Longview early Thursday, overpowered and held security guards, damaged railroad cars, and dumped grain that is the center of a labor dispute, said Longview Police Chief Jim Duscha.
Ok, holding someone hostage is a criminal act - specifically Unlawful Restraint (RCW 9A.40.040) at a minimum and (a Class C felony under Washington law, good for up to 5 years), and depending on technique (Was deadly force used or threatened?) possibly either Kidnapping 1 (RCW 9A.40.20 - up to life imprisonment) or Kidnapping 2 (RCW 9A.40.30 - a Class B Felony under Washington law, good for up to 10 years).
Six guards were held hostage for a couple of hours after 500 or more Longshoremen broke down gates about 4:30 a.m. and smashed windows in the guard shack, he said.
Now, when the nice Longshoremen broke down the gates, they were almost certainly intent upon what a reasonable person would consider "criminal activity" as shown by their subsequent hostage-taking. This would, in turn, lead to a legitimate charge of Burglary in the First Degree (RCW 9A.52.020) for all of the co-conspirators, another Class A felony.
When they smashed the windows in the guard shack and broke down the gates, most likely doing more than $750.00 in damage, they managed to commit Malicious Mischief in the 2nd Degree (RCW 9A.48.080) - another Class C Felony, good for another 5 years.
By cutting brake lines, the union thugs further pursued their felonious adventures in violation of RCW 81.60.070, Malicious Injury to RailRoad Property and and engaging in RCW 9.05.060 (Criminal Sabotage) - by tampering "in such manner as might, if not discovered, endanger the safety of any engine, motor, car or train, or any person therupon" with railroad equipment. And managed to make themselves eligible for another 10 years in prison.
No one was hurt, and nobody has been arrested. Most of the protesters returned to their union hall after cutting brake lines and spilling grain from car at the EGT terminal, Duscha said.
And then there's the matter of that grain...which, not surprisingly, didn't belong to the union goons. Now, the laws of Washington take a dim view of depriving others of the use of their property without the blessing of the courts. We call that theft (RCW 9A.56.20-50) , around here - and when you add the icing of using coercive force or the threat thereof, we consider it upping the ante to robbery (RCW 9A.56.200-210).
And, based on the evidence today, also believes in a most unusual right to commit felonies with reckless abandon without suffering censure or penalty.
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union believes it has the right to work at the facility, but the company has hired a contractor that's staffing a workforce of other union laborers.
Not content with their other criminal activities, threatening a police officer with assault with a deadly weapon (and yes, a baseball bat is certainly such) is considered at absolute best a bit of a faux pas - and likely a criminal one, though I'm not able to find a citation at this late hour.
Thursday's violence was first reported by Kelso radio station KLOG.
Police from several agencies in southwest Washington, the Washington State Patrol and Burlington Northern Santa Fe responded to the violence to secure the scene that followed a demonstration Wednesday.
"We're not surprised," Duscha said. "A lot of the protesters were telling us this in only the start."One sergeant was threatened with baseball bats and retreated, Duscha said. "One officer with hundreds of Longshoremen? He used the better part of discretion."
Arrests should be made. Soon. A picket line is all well and good. Nasty letters and mean looks are just dandy. But when an organization crosses the line into felony assault, kidnapping, death threats, and random property destruction in a campaign of blatant intimidation... the fun is pretty much over and it's time to bring the hammer down.
The train was the first grain shipment to arrive at Longview. It arrived Wednesday night after police arrested 19 demonstrators who tried to block the tracks. They were led by ILWU International President Robert McEllrath, who said they would return.
The blockade appeared to defy a federal restraining order issued last week against the union after it was accused of assaults and death threats.
EGT chief executive Larry Clarke said it was unfortunate that law enforcement needed to make arrests.
Given the apparent prior assaults and death threats, it looks like ILWU is naught but a thuggish criminal organization worthy of the full weight of RICO...an abhorrent law far to often abused, but designed (however badly) as the best way to deal with such criminal organizations.
When will the arrests begin?
Saturday, September 3, 2011
The Bigotry Test
The test is easy enough - take a statement that someone makes about a group of individuals, and substitute either a group you're actually a member of or a group that's generally acknowledged as having been selected out to put up with truly egregious amounts of crap, historically.
For me, variants of the phrase "gay" work. For others, words like "christian, white, muslim, heterosexual, etc" may provide the needed sting to burn through cultural assumptions.
Fortunately, the folks over at the The Oregonian (PortlandLive.com) and members of the Portland LGBT community have been gracious enough to provide us with a good demonstration.
Ok, so far, pretty darned neutral. Mars Hill Church is, in fact, an evangelical set of congregations.
Again, the Oregonian and writer Steve Beaven are doing a great job reporting objectively. No meat here, yet.
Southeast Portland’s Sunnyside neighborhood, one of the city’s most liberal districts, is bracing for a culture clash next week with the arrival of a conservative, evangelical church whose founder preaches against homosexuality and once said yoga is "demonic."
Last week, the Seattle-based Mars Hill Church bought a vacant, 106-year-old church building at 3210 S.E. Taylor St. for $1.25 million.
On Sept. 10, the congregation will meet its new neighbors, some of whom were trying to understand Thursday why an evangelical congregation would move into a neighborhood known more for its leftist politics than its devotion to church.
The man who sold the ornate stone building to Mars Hill doesn’t believe neighbors will warmly accept the new church. David Rinella, who previously lived in the basement of the church with his family, said Thursday that area residents never made him feel welcome.
“They do not want that to be a church,” said Rinella, who is the owner of Rinella Produce and hosted religious services at the church for years. “They would have been happy if that was a McMenamins (pub). I think there are a lot of hypocrites in that neighborhood.”
You wonder why Deumling would feel a need for a good neighbor agreement, but still no meat. The test has yet to show naughtiness.
Ok, so far we're still exploring the wonderful world of fact (and good reporting on the part of The Oregonian). Darn it, surely there's got to be some meat here SOMEPLACE.
A spokesman for Portland’s Q Center, which serves the LGBTQ community, said the organization would “extend an olive branch” to the Mars Hill congregation and invite them to the Q Center’s headquarters in North Portland.
“We’ll be respectful of them and try to make friends,” said the Q Center’s Logan Lynn.
Mars Hill Church was founded in 1996 by Pastor Mark Driscoll and operates nine campuses, mostly in Seattle, with three more on the way, including the one in Portland. Driscoll is a tech-savvy minister who preaches — often in jeans and baseball caps — against homosexuality and urges gays to turn from sin.
There we go!! Let's try the test...
Hmmm. The thud you hear is the lead balloon hitting the ground. No, that *fails* the bigotry test. But to be fair, let's keep trundling through and see what passes or fails, shall we?
“A inter-racial couple walks into your group, you’re supposed to tell them to repent,” Driscoll said in a sermon posted on the church website. “And if at any point you don’t tell them to repent, you’re not faithful to Biblical Christianity.”
Regarding the Mars Hill Church:
What, you mean like a Pride Parade?
The faces and costumes change, but bigotry is fairly evenly distributed across every demographic you'd care to name. Based not only in fear and unfamiliarity, it's based in laziness - it's EASIER to just lump folks into a group and stick them under a set of labels and expected behaviors.
The problem with bigotry isn't only that it's "not nice" in so very many ways, but that it lays a cornerstone for a delusional view of reality. Whoever you are, try the "test"...and if you catch yourself or others *failing*, then wake up and rejoin reality.
Now, go read the article and even browse through the paper. The way the writer handled this article actually eroded, a tiny bit, my cynicism regarding the journalistic profession.