Monday, July 26, 2004

From the New York Times (registration required), regarding the dust up Linda Ronstadt caused by dedicating the song "Desperado" to Mikey Moore and encouraging everyone to go see F911:
"This behavior assumes that Ms. Ronstadt had no right to express a political opinion from the stage. It implies - for some members of the audience at least - that there is a philosophical contract that says an artist must entertain an audience only in the ways that audience sees fit. It argues, in fact, that an artist like Ms. Ronstadt does not have the same rights as everyone else."

Wrong. Or should I say right. If it argues that Ms. Ronstadt does not have the same rights as everyone else, it is right. It is also a fact that she is getting paid by the promoter for her performance, and he has the right to tell her to go suck an egg if he feels that her actions are counterproductive to his goal of conducting a successful show.

My place of employment is very specific regarding demonstrations of political belief. I am not allowed to make this type of statement to my co-workers or customers while I am representing the Company I work for. So in fact is sounds to me like Linda is getting treated just exactly like lil' old me at work.

Sing and entertain paying customers. It is what she is getting paid to do. It is what her employer expects her to do. She has no right to use the venue presented to attempt to further her (wacky) political views.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Once again, in his own down to earth style, Steven Den Beste explains to wishful thinkers why it is very unlikely that we will have a "mole", or high level traitor, in the Al Qaeda network in the near future, if ever.

His logic applies to so many topics. I, for one, will never question his judgement with respect to alternative fuels. Of course, I agree with his conclusions so have no reason to doubt his judgement, but still.
Well, I have taken the plunge with a new template. Now I have to see if commenting is working. Someone please leave a comment if you can.
Wizbang: Fahrenheit 9/11- Moore Lies has the goods on the left-wing fatty.

I know that many people are disgusted by Michael Moore's biased attacks on President Bush. I have to admit that most of what I have heard Moore put out was just well-enough "spun" to avoid being able to pin the goods on him. Well, no longer. He has finally been shown as willing to totally fabricate material in order to support his contentions.

If Bush & Company are as eevvvvillll as Mikey contends he should have no problem finding facts to back up his assertions. The fact that he needs to fabricate newspaper stories makes a statement in itself that, perhaps, the whole "evil" perception is just that, purely fabricated by Morre and his ilk.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

While the passage of time has given the apologizers for the behavior of the fourteen Syrians the chance to organize the rebuttal to Annie Jacobson's tale of Terror in the Skies, it has not changed the facts I talked about in my previous post. If Air Marshals assert that they were more worried about the behavior of nervous passengers than the Middle Eastern appearing men on the flight, they are making a strong argument that someone should have taken action to inform the Syrians on the flight that they were making other passengers nervous and to knock it off.

Did the men get up and move around the plane after the final approach began and everyone had been asked to stay seated? If they did, why weren't there more consequences for them than have been made public? If there were not consequences, why not? I certainly would not feel that I have the right to ignore the captain's commands and do what I wanted at any time during the flight without having to answer to authorities.  

Let's say that the "Authorities" were really nervous about the Jacobsens' behavior on the flight. Then, let's ask why the "Authorities" are on the plane in the first place. Are they there to collect a paycheck? To remain anonymous, and thus act as a deterrent? Are they there to protect the aircraft, and, most importantly, the people flying in the aircraft? I would hope the last. And if that is true, and they see something that worries them, they need to DO SOMETHING about it. If they see passengers acting strangely, or doing things that are not allowed such as leaving their seats after the captain has asked everyone to remain seated, they need to ACT. If they are worried about "blowing their cover", let's get some blow up dolls to serve as air marshals. They would serve just as much of a purpose if staying undercover is the ultimate goal of an air marshal.

Someone from the TSA needs to come clean on this story. I have heard one side, and a bunch of mutterings and musings and off the record quotes from unidentified sources trying to downplay the story. Not good enough. I don't trust the rebuttal without specific facts and a coherent story.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

A link to an article that has caused major blogitation. There has been a tremendous amount of chatter on other sites debating the authenticity of this story. To me, whether or not the details are true (I doubt the story happened as described) the issues it brings to light are very important.
If there were 14 suspicious appearing and acting Middle Eastern men on the flight, and if current anti-profiling guidelines prevent questioning each and every one prior to the flight simply on the grounds of political correctness, we have a huge problem. Political correctness has come to the point where it is a threat to the lives of Americans.
Americans, of course, are strong believers in the rights of all people. In a perfect world, none of these rights would be violated. It is sad but true that we do not live in such a world. Threats to our own freedom, and to our very existence, have to be acknowledged and confronted. The greatest of these current threats is the one posed by radical Islam, which emenates from Middle Eastern theocracies. This threat, most recently and most violently illustrated inside the United States by the attacks of September 11, demands that we take action to confront it. Military action in Afghanistan and Iraq is one correct response to the threat.
There are other threats already present in our country that military action cannot deal with. It is a function of Law Enforcement to protect our society from these threats. This is where the issue of political correctness re-enters the discussion. When artificial barriers prevent Law Enforcement officers from taking actions neccesary to protect our society, our very way of life, these barriers need to be carefully examined and discarded if it is found that they enable the comission of more harmful (numerically and/or in degree) acts than they prevent.
We need to examine the practice of racial profiling in this light. First, if we were to allow racial profiling to be part of the security check process prior to boarding an airliner, what harm would be caused? Perhaps there would be some hurt feelings among young Middle Eastern appearing men. They would be the target of more intensive screening, regardless of how many of them were scheduled to board a flight. Why? Because that is where the threat is coming from. These people are more likely to be affililated with the radical Islamic groups who have vowed to attack the United States than elderly Caucasian ladies or their pre-teen grandchildren. A sane society focuses on preventing potential threats to itself and not on protecting the self-esteem of entire demographics, large percentages of which are actively attempting to destroy that very society. An insane society focuses on treating everyone as an equal threat, regardless of what history and the facts of the moment show them. Our current actions regarding racial profiling are thus shown to be the actions of an insane society. Our obsession with protecting the feelings of all simply serves to make it easier for our sworn enemies to do everything they can to damage our society.
Now let's look at what the positive consequences of allowing racial profiling during airport security checks. Obviously, focusing resources on the more likely threat will make the task of the potential terrorist more difficult and is a good thing. It has the potential to either make us much safer than we presently are for the same cost, or to allow us to maintain our existing level of airport security at a lower cost to society. Which is preferable is debateable, but either is positive. Profiling also would make travel simpler and less irritating for a large segment of the people who pass through airports on a daily basis. The lessening of frustration while continuing to intensly screen those who pose the greatest threat would be a great benefit to society.
Perhaps the greatest non-financial benefit to racial profiling in airports would be the long-term impact it could have on the community of Middle Eastern men. This singling out of these individuals would, over time, drive home more effectively than any other action we could take, that the views of their group, as a whole, are not welcome or acceptable in our society. While we allow all law-abiding people to vist and enjoy our country, the views of too many young Middle Easterners vis-a-vis the United States are not acceptable in our country and have consequences. One consequence is that they should be subject to more intense airport security procedures. I understand that not all Middle Easteners are a threat, and I regret that many who are freedom loving, productive members of our society would be negatively impacted, but even more non-threatening members of our society are hurt by the current foolish regulations airport screeners are forced to follow. And this constant inconvenience would over time cause more of this demographic group to apply pressure to fellow members of this group to change their views.
 Many would say that these actions would cause bitterness and animosity to build in the Middle Eastern community. My response is that things are bad as they are. This action needs not be taken in a confrontational manner. I would do everything in my power to explain that it is done to protect everyone in the most efficient manner possible. Those protected include the people who are inconvenienced by accident. If you are a Middle Eastern appearing man who is subject to extra security checks, or "racially profiled", and have no terrorist leaning or ties, I am sorry, but the actions taken protect you just as much as they protect the other passengers on the plane.
It is time for a new approach to this issue. There is no place for knee jerk, cookie cutter, politically correct decisions on issues such as racial profiling. We need to do the things that make us safest at the least cost and lowest frustration. A true cost/benefit analysis shows that racial profiling in an airport screening enviroment acheives these goals. When a group no longer poses an obviously great threat to us, they will have earned the right to no longer be racially profiled. Until that time, they deserve closer scutiny than the rest of us.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Currently have 2 posts waiting to be published and have been trying all evening. I was getting frustrated with 1and1 so I logged in and, sure enough, there was a message waiting for me:

Dear Sir/Madam

We regret to inform you that, due to an operational malfunction with the RAID system of one of our hosting servers earlier today, your website data is currently unavailable.

Our technicians are currently working to resolve the issue as rapidly as possible. However, due to the amount of data to be restored, please be aware that this process could take up to 20 hours to complete.

In an effort to expedite the restoration process, we will disable access to FTP and SSH for the duration of the data restore.

Please check your message board for updates. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience.

The 1&1 Support Team

Kind of cool to have that kind of communication. The only improvement would have been to have it emailed to me.

I have heard a lot of bad things about 1and1 on various message boards, etc., but I have nothing but praise for their service to this point.

Phil Libin's Vastly Important Notes: The other shoe is an amusing yet alarming look at the deadly serious jocularity that is airport security post 9-11.

The same issues of security measures that don't make sense yet are rigidly enforced are often encountered at border crossings.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Just for a moment, let's examine the premise that President Bush is an evil genius bent on misleading the American people who will stop at nothing in order to promote his agenda. He has stolen the 2000 election. His appointments to the bench and his legislative priorities are designed to undermine democracy in America. His ill-conceived Patriot Act is the forerunner to a new "World Police State", dominated by the United States.

The illegal war attacking the peace-loving Iraqi people (interestingly enough, John Kerry voted in favor of this crime) is motivated only by the Bush family's unnatural obsession with the destruction of Saddam Hussein. The president's Texas oilman buddies stand to rake in hoards of cash once the United States seizes oil fields of Iraq.

Let's not forget the ill-gotten gains sure to accrue to the likes of Halliburton and other unfeeling multinational corporations. We know that Bush and his ilk will encourage the companies that are wrongly profiting from this illegal war to ship the jobs they will create to service the Bush aggression offshore.

I am sure that, in the eyes of many in this country and around the world, these circumstances fall far short of describing the true crimes being perpetrated on the American people by the man they refer to as bushhitler. However, I have yet to read an explanation of why this evil, lying administration has failed in their hunt for WMD's in Iraq. If a leader is willing to steal an election, push through Congress laws that strip away basic freedoms of Americans, unilaterally start illegal wars of aggresion in order to steal the natural resources of a peaceful society half a world away while at the same time ignoring the nuclear threat posed by a rogue regime on the other side of the world, and structure all these actions so that a small group of his close friends profit from them, the planting a few WMD's in Iraq would seem to be no stretch at all. I am sure that Donald Rumsfeld could have them on site within hours and search teams led to them within days. Would this not fit in perfectly with the evil Bush's plan for world domination?

Why haven't American and Saud oilmen, closely aligned with the President, swooped in to take over the resurgent Iraqi oil industry in order to co-opt the windfall profits that are to be had? What is Bush waiting for before he takes action to wreck the one hope for a peaceful, prosperous, non-US dominated world, the United Nations?

Perhaps George W. Bush is not the evil man he is portrayed to be by many on the left. He is taking the actions he takes because he truly believes that freedom, far from being a gift from the United States, instead is a right God grants to all men. President Bush understands this and is willing to stand up for it and do everything he can to spread that freedom. Rather than lambasting him for these actions perhaps the entire nation, indeed, the entire world, should be thanking him. He is one of the only leaders in the world who is willing to risk his career because he believes others deserve to be free. Certainly not a French position, is it?

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Does anyone else feel the same way about the computer industry as I do? While in the past I have always been hungry to upgrade, or at least throw in some more memory or a new video card, I have found that the machines I am using now are perfectly adequate. I am not a gamer and don't do a lot of photo manipulation and so find my P-3 putzing along a mere 866 mhz adequate. If I upgraded, what would I gain?

I think this is a sign of the maturation of the computer industry. The only upgrade I am even considering at the present time is more hard drive space, and the biggest driver for that is the thought of installing linux. I don't want to have to repartition my existing drive and take the chance of messing things up just to do that when hard drives are so cheap.

The lifespan of the computer for non-gamers has increased from 2 years to 5 years. That's what I think.
Michelle Malkin has an interesting story about the way American veterans are sometimes treated by members of the left. Kind of puts the lie to the claim that "we support out troops but not the liberation of Iraq", doesn't it?

This is the type of story that drives home, for me, the unbridled hate that the lefty types have for President Bush. I really do not understand how they come to the conclusion that he is a "baby killer" or a "murderer". I see two conflicting lines of thought being pursued at the same time by the same group and they cannot be reconciled. Is George W. Bush stupid? Is he an evil genius? He cannot be both. Stupid and genius are mutually exclusive. Yet the contention that he is unfit to lead the country because of his qustionable intellect often accompanies assertions that he is part of some evil plot to destroy democracy in America, as Algore alleged in this speech. Not the type of thing you would expect a stupid president to be able to achieve, would you?

On the other hand, Jacob Weisberg said this on Slate:

As the president says, we misunderestimate him. He was not born stupid. He chose stupidity. Bush may look like a well-meaning dolt. On consideration, he's something far more dangerous: a dedicated fool.

So which will it be? Too stupid to lead the country, or an evil genius bent on destroying the American way and installing himself as dictator for life, or at least until he hands power over to his brother Jeb?

I propose that there is a third way. I believe that George W. Bush is taking the actions he takes as President (not all of which I aqree with, by the way) because he is truly committed to preserving the American way of life and improving the lives of not only Americans, but also freedom-loving people all around the world. He wants to prevent the recurrence of 9/11 style attacks. He is truly committed to doing everything he can to help America and Americans become more economically successful and to allow us to improve our standard of living. He understands that governement is not omnipotent and cannot achieve these goals alone and that the world is imperfect, but he is still willing to work to improve things. He does not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Notice that in this scenario, Bush in neither evil nor an idiot. While large portions of the population can and would disagree with policies he advocates, this does not neccesarily mean that he is trying to destroy democracy. Nor does he act simply because he is stupid. His postions are reasoned and thought out. Persons who disagree are not neccesarily dim. Humans do disagree. This does not make anyone stupid.

The next time you hear a shrill cry from the left claiming that Bush is Hitler, a murderer, or a baby killer or that he is too stupid to serve as president, ask the speaker to explain just why this is so. I think you will find that they are unable to justify these positions and need to realize they have been taken in by the wave of hate that has overwhelmed any thread of reasonable thought that existed in liberal circles. And that is sad, and dangerous for our society.

Update: The Seattle newspaper's story of the incident and aftermath.