Archive | March, 2007

This one ought to raise a few hackles

30 Mar

Maybe even result in some threats.

I wish to posit an idea: The U.S. lost the war in Iraq.

This is the important point–our troops did not lose the war. They have done everything asked of them, and more, in a place where sane people fear to tread.

Their commander-in-chief, however, and his advisors, lost the war, right after the CinC put on a flight suit and landed on an aircraft carrier to deliver a speech in front of a “mission accomplished” banner.

Our troops accomplished their mission–to remove Saddam Hussein from power–but our leaders lost the war by not being prepared for the post-mission tasks and challenges. And now Iraq is a disaster, a quagmire, and no one is happy that the U.S. is still there–with no signs of leaving anytime soon.

Has everyone in our executive branch and the Pentagon forgotten the basics? Objective, strategy and tactics. They haven’t figured out what the real objective is–a peaceful, democratic Iraq. They say the objective is bringing democracy to Iraq, but they leave out the peaceful part. And if you don’t understand that you’re trying to bring peace and democracy to a nation, your strategies and tactics are going to fail.

Of course, if we didn’t have a president who wanted to ride the bomb all the way down, we wouldn’t have this problem.

I don’t ordinarily like to say “I told you so” to people, but to those in Ohio who voted for Bush, we tried to tell you.

Anyway, I’m out of here for about ten days. Go ahead and leave flames, jokes, deep thoughts, and other stuff in the comments. They’ll show up eventually.

Here’s an example of what I hate about the Internet

28 Mar

Sadly, we have to deal with thugs in real life. And we have to deal with them online as well. In this case, we have to hope that these thugs are caught and have to pay a price.

The Internet is a wonderful thing, like any tool or device. It can be used for bad things as well, but we don’t have to like it.

Are we as a species becoming less decent as time goes forward? There’s certainly plenty of evidence to support that hypothesis.

Proof of human cruelty

15 Mar

Human beings can be horribly, horribly cruel. A 17-year-old girl loses her dog, puts up notices around the area to try to find the dog, and has the worst possible experience.

If the police ever figure out who did this, I hope the officers who arrest the bastard are dog lovers. Animal cruelty is one thing, but this just goes beyond anything I could ever conceive.

Moving images

9 Mar

The work of this photographer is amazing. While there are a few images of joy, most are of tragedy–anguish and pain caused by man’s own inhumanity to man. (Men seem to be the perpetrators and their acts create victims of both genders.) Famine. War. Greed. Hatred. Alone or together they wound us.

You may be tempted to not view the images, and that temptation is very understandable. It’s easier for us to practice “out of sight, out of mind.”

But we must see what we are doing to our brothers and sisters, directly or indirectly, and ask ourselves what we can do to change things. Individually, we probably cannot do a lot, but with others we might have a chance. Here are a few options:

Twenty bucks to one or more organizations like this doesn’t absolve us of our sins, but it would be a greater sin to sit by and do nothing at all.

If you don’t have a few dollars to spare (and even if you do), be sure to visit the One Campaign and add your name to the list. It really is the least you can do, but it’s still better than nothing.

Privacy matters

7 Mar

The next time someone tries to tell you that privacy isn’t that important in this time of terrorism, plagues, and the imminent rapture, ask them if they still close the stall door in a public restroom or put their letters to their grandkids in envelopes. Using a restroom or sending someone a greeting card is not illegal or immoral, but we still prefer to do some things in private. And when we accidentally open the door on someone in the restroom, we feel embarrassed for them and for us–we are by nature uncomfortable with invading someone’s privacy.

There’s a reason we close bathroom doors, use envelopes and more. We humans need privacy from time to time. As I write this, my office door is closed. Am I doing anything immoral or wrong? Nope, but it’s good to have some privacy even at work. We keep the doors to our homes closed, sometimes the blinds are drawn.

Without some level of privacy, we lose our humanity. Animals relieve themselves in front of anyone who happens to be around. They communicate in the open, even if we can’t understand their language. But we humans aren’t comfortable with this, and we ought to expect that our governments will respect our desire for privacy on many levels.

Clever, plus really well done

7 Mar

Remember Apple’s “1984” advertisement?

Take a look at what one Barack Obama fan has done with it. Too cool.

Just a little more surveillance

6 Mar

The Bush Administration wants web site operators like YouTube, Flickr, and other services that host images or videos to keep records about who uploads what–just in case something is later on determined to be illegal. So if I upload pictures to Flickr from a trip to Disney World, Flickr would have to keep a record of what I uploaded (and presumably copies of my uploads), when I uploaded it, and where I uploaded it.

Gee, not only would this potentially infringe the copyright in my photos or videos, but it seems like an awfully plain invasion of my privacy. If my photos don’t depict any illegal behavior, then why would records need to be kept?
Will these power-hungry monsters ever stop? Will the Democrats in Congress have the backbone to say “no”?

Hell, let’s just make it simple: require everyone to turn over copies of their home keys, Internet passwords, public and private encryption keys, safe combinations, etc. with their tax returns. It’d be so much more efficient than this slow creep into every last corner of our privacy