Saturday, December 31, 2011

Nostradamus and Me

That famous seer, Nostradamus, has a set of dire predictions for 2012 ... see his Grim News.  Although I do not partake of hallucinogenics nor gaze into a bowl of shimmering mercury (or was it water?), I, along with my friends and family, also make annual predictions as part of our New Year's Eve festivities.  Mine are not quite so dour.  For what its worth, here they are::

• China’s economy will weaken significantly … resulting in much civil unrest
• At least one country will leave the EuroZone
• A third party candidate will run for President … almost assuring Obama’s re-election
• Massive student-loan meltdown. U.S. taxpayers foot the bill.
• China will annex more territory … possibly part of Mongolia
• Jimmy Carter will attend Hugo Chavez’s funeral
• Another Solyndra-like green-energy scandal in the Obama Energy Dept.
• The Iran “navy” will be destroyed trying to stop shipping through the Strait of Hormuz
• Hillary Clinton will replace Joe Biden on the Obama ticket
• Israel will attack Iran … destroying many nuclear facilities
• It’s Green Bay vs. Patriots in Super Bowl. Green Bay wins.
• Inflation finally bites … up 5%
• The Occupiers will re-emerge with the warm weather … resulting in meaningless bloodshed
• At least one state will go bankrupt. U.S. taxpayers foot the bill.

Leadership Vacuum

The United States's President is luxuriating in a Hawaiian vacation ... by my count his fourth escape from the cloak of leadership in the last 12 months.  Russia's Putin seems to spend most of his time showing the world how manly he is ... as opposed to solving his nation's problems.  Japan has had 6 Prime Ministers in the last 5 years.  The Middle East is shucking leaders like they were oysters at a seaside clambake.  And it's not like the world doesn't have problems to solve ... the Euro monetary crisis, Iranian belligerence, the meteoric rise of Islamic extremism, the aging populations throughout Europe, a festering worldwide energy crisis, the American government's crushing debt burden, etc., etc.

Too often it seems to me that poobahs around the world covet the benefits of leadership while avoiding the responsibilities therein.  And the $64,000 question is: why this leadership vacuum?  Perhaps it is the mindset that resulted from the ending of the Cold War, "problems solved, time to party?"  Perhaps it has been a hiatus in leadership examples to be emulated?  After all, the Reagan/Thatcher template occurred almost twenty-five years ago ... outside of the cognitive lifespan of much of the world's population.  And, in the interim, we have learned that it was just fine to receive sexual favors in the oval office from a White House intern.  Reality television has demonstrated that life is nothing but a charade wrapped around a lottery.  "Optics" have taken the place of substance in the role of government.  And, as we recently found out in the FICA tax reduction skirmish in the U.S. Congress, bad politics now always seems to trump good policy.

Must we devolve into another worldwide calamity to reawaken our leadership juices?  As we enter this New Year, I am afraid that my short prediction is "probably."

Friday, December 30, 2011

Cosmic Silence

One of my favorite columnists, Charles Krauthammer, has written a thoughtful lament concerning the apparent lack of other sapient civilizations in the universe (see: National Review Article) or at least, if there are such extraterrestials (E.T.s), why we don't hear from them?   Basically, he states that, as we continue to find exo-planets within the habitable zone of "nearby" stars but are yet to see or hear any evidence of any life thereon, this suggests that "advanced civilizations destroy themselves."

I have a slightly different take.  Yes, I do believe, like many renowned scientists, that the laws of probability suggest that there are perhaps many billions (maybe even trillions) of other stars with planets that could and should support life.  However, when one unwinds the spans of time and distances involved in our universe, to me it is not surprising that we have not heard sapient coded message from afar.

Let me explain my logic:

- The universe is approximately 13 billion years old and our earth is about 1/10 of that age ... all back-end loaded.  I would imagine that many of these other theorized exo-planets are either yet to be ... or have been burnt to a crisp when their suns became red giants. Let's estimate that this culling percentage is 50%.  So automatically these billions of stars with habitable exo-planets is cut in half. 

- Now, sapient life on our earth has existed for perhaps only a million years ... or 1/13,000 of this earth's existence and scientific advancement sufficient to understand our time and place in the universe has existed for, at most, 100 years ... or 1/130,000,000 of this planets existence.  Let us (optimistically) imagine that this enlightenment age on earth will last for another 13,000 years.  This would result in a sapient window for our planet to be about 1/1,000,000 (one-millionth) of its total existence ... which fraction I suggest should then apply to other exo-planets.  Now these potential billions of habitable exo-planets with enlightened intelligent life is now reduced by 1/2,000,000 (1/2 x 1/1,000,000).

- As for distance spans, our universe is estimated to be 46 billion light years wide.  Now, no communication can travel faster than the speed of light, so assuming that sapient communications was or will be sent out from another exo-planet during our current and predicted future enlightenment age, it must originate within a bubble of 13,000 light years from Earth.  This reduces the number of habitable exo-planets from which we might ever receive a message by another factor of 3.5 million (13 thousand/46 billion).  Or such potential messages from habitable exo-planets with enlightened intelligent life are reduced by a factor of seven trillion (1/2,000,000 x 1/3,500,000)..  Now, assuming we want to get this message within the next 100 years, we then must multiply this fraction by 1/130 (100/13,000) ... resulting in a reduction of the number of eligible communicating exo-planets contacting us within the next 100 years by 910 trillion ... quite a bit larger than even the number of the estimated exo-planets.

-  So, my conclusion is that, even if my calculations are off by one or two orders of magnitude, it is very unlikely that there is an exo-planet from which we might receive an intelligent coded message sometime within the next hundred years.  That is assuming (and this is a huge assumption) that such an exo-planet has a power source large enough to radiate this coded message out over the vast distances of intergalactic space.  This required power source has been estimated to be as large as the energy coming from our sun.  Soooo ... I highly doubt that E.T. will be calling home anytime soon ... and that Charles Krauthammer should find solace in the assumption that our "civilization" could well last for at least another few thousand years without his doom-and-gloom conclusion being justified.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Dangerous Chess Game

Iran is saber rattling again ... threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz if stricter economic sanctions are imposed upon it by the European Union (see: Reuters Story).  Of course, the United States would not permit such a belligerent action (unless The Barry was distracted by a Hawaiian wagyu-beef luau) and would blow the Iranian navy, speedboats and all, into Davy Jones's locker.

Nevertheless, it is curious why Iran would exhibit such rhetoric bluster close on the heels of its equally lunatic take-over of the British embassy a few short weeks ago (see: TheWeek Article).  Not that such moon-howlings are alien to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad  (as sanctioned by the Iranian Ayatollahs) ... he has repeatedly threatened to obliterate Israel once Iran is in possession of atomic weaponry.

The question becomes why such taunting of the West is now escalating?  I can see three possible reasons:

1) The United States has recently pulled all of its troops out of Iraq.  Iran's throwing up of all this gorilla dust makes it look more imposing in the eyes of the Shiite Iraqis and thus increases its sphere of influence on its erstwhile enemy neighbor.

2) Iran's "elections" are due to occur in March.  There is no doubt as to the expected results of this sham balloting.  However, if Iran can get the nationalistic juices flowing among its younger people, there might be less chance of the kind of rioting that occurred after the last phony election over two years ago.  (Also, the capture of the U.S. drone aircraft a few weeks ago ... see: Cyber Warfare ...  may have been partially directed toward this very same end.)

3) Iran is suspected to be getting very close to actually producing atomic weapons and their ability to deliver them on long-range missiles.  A potential naval clash in the Strait of Hormuz could serve as a smoke screen, helping to distract the wimpy West from the far more existential threat of a nuclear Holocaust in this area.

So Iran is once again playing its foolish chess game --- a few black pieces against the full contingent of white chessmen.  One rash move on the part of any of its Revolutionary Guards could cause explosive repercussions ... such as Israel taking out much of Iran's nuclear capabilities and, maybe even, the United States obliterating that captured drone in the process (like we should have weeks ago.)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Kwanzaa

Today is the first day of Kwanzaa ... in fact it is the 45th anniversary of the creation of this special day meant to celebrate African-American culture.  To read more about the ceremonies and the rationales of this special day. (I eschew the word "holiday" since its derivation is "holy day" ... which Kwanzaa is not meant to be) go to this: Wikipedia Entry.

Now I could be wrong, but I think that the Seinfeld episode in which George Costanza's father, Frank, creates the equally ersatz "holiday," Festivus, was a tongue-in-cheek parody of Kwanzaa by the Seinfeld writers (mainly Daniel O'Keefe who therein memorialized his father's February, 1966 invention ... see another: Wikipedia Entry.  I also find it interesting that Festivus ... "for the rest of us" ... was conceived just a few short months after Kwanzaa was first celebrated.)

So, since it is now seems acceptable to invent special days to put forward one's personal agenda, I also intend to follow suit and propose celebrating Hirsute Day on February 12th.  Basically, on this day, I ask that we celebrate facial hair (such as Abraham Lincoln's beard and my moustache.)  I have chosen the 12th of February since Lincoln has been otherwise de-memorialized with the generic "President's Day" and this then will be my way to re-remember him.

Now, for the traditions of Hirsute Day:
- No celebrant is supposed to shave or get a haircut after January 1st ... this includes any observing women.

- The images which are worshiped on Hirsute Day (besides Lincoln and myself) are Sasquatch (Big Foot) and the Abominable Snowman (Yeti).  Multiple pictures of these heroes are placed on helium balloons and floated around the celebration room.

- The people who are condemned on this day are King C. Gillette, Jacob Schick, and any person with a shaved head (egs., Bruce Willis, Howie Mandel, and Sineed O'Connor).  Images of these people are placed at the center of dartboards and peppered with darts by the celebrants.  Any errant dart which bursts a revered helium balloon causes its thrower to be banished from future festivities for five years.

- Other festival traditions of Hirsute Day consist of wearing a hair shirt, performing monkey-like grooming ceremonies on the other celebrants' over-grown shrubbery, and eating butterscotch sundies (without the use of hot wet washcloths or Handi-Wipes).  At the end of the day, everyone stands in a circle, holding hands, and sings all the lyrics from the musical, Hair.  (See Hair Lyrics.)  This takes about three hours, after which everyone is quite angry and many start setting their neighbors' hair on fire (a permissible ceremonial ending ... consequently gaily decorated fire extinguishers are scattered around the room).

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Joy ...

Is hearing my granddaughter sing the Gloria duet in the church choir loft on Christmas eve.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Down We Go

Nixon had the good sense not to contest the 1960 election when it was pretty clear that Texas and Illinois  had been stolen for J.F.K. by L.B.J. and Mayor Daley (in Chicago).  He thought that it would besmirch the election process and this would create future problems.  Al Gore was not so patriotic when, in 2000, he lost in Florida and fought tooth and nail to overturn the results there.  Whether or not you believe that the Supreme Court gave this election to Bush 43, it seems clear that there were sufficient shenanigans on the part of Democrats to suggest that they had tried mightily to subvert the election process.  (It is suspected by many that punch-card ballots were gang-punched for Gore by Democrat inside operatives ... and this is how the hanging chads occurred at the bottom of each stack of punch cards.  Funny how none of the Bush 43 ballots had these same hanging chads?)

I think the resentment rising out of this Supreme Court decision has created a mindset among many Democrats that it is OK to take any questionable measure to insure that your candidate wins.  Witness how it has been recently revealed that one of the major duties of the "community organizers,"  ACORN, was election malfeasance.  I also suggest that Harry Reid's last victory in Nevada and Al Franken's drawn-out dog fight win in Minnesota might well be specific examples of voter fraud.  Now, we see that our Attorney General, Eric Holder, appears to be steering the ship of state into this maelstrom to try to insure a victory for The Barry next year.  See the details of his questionable actions here and here.

To me, it is very disturbing that there are people (mostly Liberals) who believe that a voter does not have to prove his/her identity in order to cast a ballot ... while they are required to do so for something as simple as buying a six-pack of beer.  And the accelerating trend toward motor-voter registrations and massive absentee ballot casting, again IMHO, may cause the election process in this country to become as corrupt as it was in Iraq under Saddam Hussein and how it currently seems to be in Russia.  I think I can hear a number of our august founding fathers gyrating in their sepulchers.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

John Boehner's Breakfast

Apparently (cynical) politics trumps (good) policy once again ...

My Way or the ...

A highway somewhere in Nevada

A smirking President Obama and his pugalistic wing man, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have responded to John Boehner's phone call to the White House in which he asked The Barry to send his economic advisors over to the House of Representatives to negotiate an end to the impasse over extending the payroll tax reduction for a full year ... see Boehner's Call

I think the technical translation for the Democrat reply was "pound sand!"  If Obama has to stay in the White House over Christmas and, maybe even New Years, the American people will start wailing, nashing their teeth and covering their heads with ashes from the Yule log.   The U.S. populus will then consult with Oprah, Dr. Phil and Joy Behar as to what they should do.  Need I tell you what their unified advice would then be?

OK, I'll enlighten you ... to a "whoop, whoop, whooping" audience, it will be "Take the Obama Turnpike straight to Penury!"

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Who is stonewalling in Washington?  Most media political pundits believe that the House Republicans have already lost this squabble over the continuation of the payroll tax reduction.  They have rejected the Senate's proposal for just a two month extension to U.S. employee's FICA tax reduction ... and, instead, are insisting that the Senate return to Washington and sit down with them in a Conference Committee to work out a compromise with the bill that the House had already passed. 

Harry Reid has once again saved The Barry from exercising any true Presidential leadership by flipping John Boehner off as he climbed aboard his jet to Nevada.  If you are not familiar with the details of this brouhaha, see: The NY Times' Take.  Meanwhile, back at the White House, Obama is playing the martyr as he stays ensconced there while the rest of his family is rollicking in the Aloha State's surf.  He has sworn not to follow them there until this bill has become law ... and he has already lost four days on the Kailua, Oahu links ... see: The White House's Site.  Funny how he can go from one of the four best Presidents this country has ever had to being a whimpering, simpering child ... all within a few short days.

Now, I usually make urine-poor political decisions, but I am greedily glad that Eric Cantor and John Boehner are playing Grinches in this case ... even if their only win turns out to be keeping the President stewing in his own "Holiday" juices for a few more days.  I just hope that the political cost is not too great for them.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Nefarious Acts

Snidely Whiplash
It seems almost daily that the Obama administration tries to pull off some Chicago-style dastardly act.  Currently it is by not promoting from within the Bureau of Labor Statistics and thus politicizing this erstwhile noble institution (upon which I have repeatedly relied in the past to point out how unemployment numbers have been misrepresented by the higher-up Obama jamokes).  See: PJ Media Exclusive.  Is there no act of subterfuge that these nefarious blaggards will not stoop to?

Thursday, December 15, 2011


If it came down to a election contest between Newt Gingrich and Barack Obama, I would without hesitation pull the "R" lever ... since I believe that four more years of The Barry would probably damage this country almost beyond repair.  However, I would prefer Mitt Romney instead of Newt Gingrich for no other reason than I believe that he can and will heal our economy.  At the moment all other considerations pale by comparison in my mind.

But recently Gingrich said that he would give the $1.4 million dollars back to Freddie Mac (money he got for his giving it "historical perspective" shortly before the sub-prime mortgage crisis) if Romney would give back the money that Bain Capital (Romney's former venture capital firm) got  from “bankrupting companies and laying off employees.”  Now, I have dealt with a few venture capitalists in my life time and I can't imagine that any of them has ever made an investment with the objective of bankrupting the company they just gave their money to.

This is nonsensical Newt.  So please stop playing fast and loose with such pejorative utterances (you too, Mitt).  And, if you do get the nomination, please erect a "Caution, Slow Down" sign between your fertile brain and your voice box.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"Just the Facts Ma'am"

Jack Webb

As is often said, there are lies, damn lies and then there are statistics ... particularly when uttered by politicians.  Debbie Wasserman Schultz, (D, Florida and Chairman of the Democrat National Committee) recently justified this aphorism when she said that unemployment had not gone up under Obama (see: Schultz Spins).  So, I have gone back to my source, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, to see if this were the case. The actual series (A-1) facts (see are reprised below.

To update from my previous Fact Check, when The Barry took office the civilian non-institutional population (CN-IP) of the United States was 232.6 million and the seasonally-adjusted number of people employed was 142.2 million (after the shock of the sub-prime mortgage crisis in late 2008). As of the end of November, 2011, the civilian non-institutional population was 240.4 million (up 7.8 million) whereas the equivalent employment number was 140.6 million (down 1.6 million). More interestingly, the percentage of the CN-IP that had jobs when The Barry took office was 61.1%; whereas today it is 58.5% (down 2.6 percentage points.) 

Or, if the employed percentage of the CN-IP had stayed the same as when Obama took office, then this country's employed labor force would total 146.9 million jobs ... up 6.3 million jobs. To fully recover from the shock of the sub-prime mortgage crisis (a loss of 3.0 million jobs as of January, 2009), President Obama's economic cabal would have had to cause allow 9.3 million jobs to be created ... let alone give  permit us any true job growth.

So, as we used to say when I was much younger dude, Debbie Wasserman Shwartz appears to be blowing smoke up our collective arses.

Addendum:  Don't forget that, to figure the grand total job creation shortfall under Obama, you need to add his actual jobs decline of 1.6 million to the above 6.3 million normative figure to get a 7.9 million deficit ... or a 10.9 million shortfall if one factors in the sub-prime job losses under Bush (again, before any true job growth.)

Sunday, December 11, 2011


This blog is written by an old fogey ... by necessity ... for young people may well not notice nor care about the increasing tempo of everyday life.  Much how Charlie Chaplin noted the frenetic pace of activity 75 years ago in his movie Modern Times, I too am feeling that the clock has been sped up dramatically.  Whereas Chaplin's culprit was mechanization, my bogyman is computerization.  (Not that there is anything wrong with that.)  As an example of this time compression, there is something called Rapid Rescore that allows real estate agents to use modern technology to upgrade potential buyers' credit ratings (temporarily) so that they can qualify for a mortgage on a home they probably can't afford (see: Rapid Rescore).  This was one of the basic bricks in the outhouse that brought the sub-prime mortgage miasma onto our economy ... but, even more suprisingly, it still exists!  Yikes!

Also, now day traders (mostly hedge funds) use ultra-fast computers to uncover price movements in the stock markets, commodity markets, and currency pits that foretell other price changes and, in milliseconds, take advantage of this information to make a small profit (see: High Frequency Trading).  But adding up hundreds and thousands of small profits makes (sometimes) big profits.  These traders have been using faster and faster computers to win out over the others doing the same thing.  And now the NASDAQ stock exchange is allowing certain traders to move their computers into the same building as its computers that resolve NASDAQ trades. This shorter and therefore much faster speed-of-light communications cuts even more time off these trading delays.  (We're now talking microseconds, if not nanoseconds, of competitive advantage.)

Is this fair?  Probably not ... but that is not the thrust of this narrative.  What I am trying to point out is that the tempo of everyday life is increasing to the point where much of the important things and, yes, even the aesthetic nuances of life are lost.  Even fast thinkers and/or glib talkers seem to have an edge in the media or politics ... how about Rush Limbaugh, Ron Blagojevich, David Letterman, John Stewart, Newt Gingrich, James Carville, etc.?  This suggests that the overdrive living pace today is affecting people's media preferences and performances.  And this faster tempo is often driven by the technologies we surround ourselves with ... Twitter, FaceBook, et alia.  Do I really need to know that cousin Clyde just saw Clint Eastwood walking through LAX ... or that sister Susan's gerbil just had gerbilettes?  Not really. 

And so this increased speed is also cluttering up our lives with data noise which I think is crowding out the more meaningful information that everyone should know.  Have you ever watched any episodes of "Jay [Leno] Walking"?  The factual stupidity of the average American is dumbfounding ... and yet we encourage everyone to get out and vote.  Are we nuts?

Yes, there is no holding back this tide of technology.  But just realizing what is happening to us is a small step forward.  And I hope that this critique might encourage others to understand better these fast-paced circumstances ... and take a little more time to think through your reactions ... particularly in response to more methodical minds and vocalizers (such as Mitt Romney.)  Remember, the laconic Will Rogers was a superstar even during the Roaring Twenties.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Strained Metaphors

Obama has a penchant for casting long, strained, and often silly metaphors to paint a pitiable picture of his Presidency:

I- describe us…as…I'm the captain and they're the crew on a ship, going through really bad storms. And no matter how well we're steering the ship, if the boat's rocking back and forth and people are getting sick and…they're being buffeted by the winds and the rain and…at a certain point-- if you're asking, "Are you enjoying the ride right now?" Folks are going to say, "No." And are they going to say, "Do you think the captain's good—doing a good job?" People are going say, "You know what? A good captain would have had us in some smooth waters and sunny skies, at this point." And I don't control the weather. Obama, coming up soon on 60 Minutes

Obama compared the country to a car Republicans drove into a ditch, "a deep ditch, muddy and hot, with lots of bugs." Democrats, Obama said, including him and Oregon's congressional Democrats, piled into the ditch and began pushing the car out. "We look up and Republicans are just standing there watching. We say, 'come on down and help''' Obama said. "But they just stand there and say 'you're not pushing hard enough. Finally, we get the car out of the ditch and the Republicans tap us on the shoulder—they want the car," Obama continued. "But we tell them you can't have the keys because you don't know how to drive." Then in his best laugh line of the night, Obama observed, "if you want to go forward in a car, you put it in 'D'; if you want to go backward, you put it in 'R.'" from the Willamette Week, 12/9/10

…We have gone above and beyond what was requested by the very Republicans who said they supported broader reform as long as we got serious about enforcement. All the stuff they asked for, we've done. But even though we've answered these concerns, I suspect there will be some who will try to move the goal posts one more time. They said we need to triple the border patrol. Or now they’ll say we need to quadruple the border patrol. Or they’ll want a higher fence. Maybe they'll need a moat. Maybe they want alligators in the moat! They'll never be satisfied, and I understand that. That's politics. But the truth is the measures we've put in place are getting results.  Obama in El Paso, Texas

Mr. Obama also tried out a cleaning metaphor, accusing Republicans of acting like fussy supervisors who refuse to lift a finger to help the crew.  “We’ve got our mops and our brooms out here, and were cleaning stuff out and they’re sitting there saying, ‘Hold the broom better; that’s not how you mop.’ Don’t tell me how to mop! Pick up a mop! Do some work on behalf of the American people to solve some of these problems.’’ from the New York Times, 5/13/2010
Such dewy drivel might play well to his adoring audiences, but now I think I understand why The Barry never wrote nor published anything when he was the Editor of The Harvard Law Review.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Free Markets Suck!

President Obama revealed a little more of himself than possibly his teleprompter writers intended on Tuesday when he spoke in Osawatomie, Kansas.  In essence he launched a backhanded attack on capitalism with "the free market has never been a free license to take whatever you can from whomever you can" (see: Speech Text around the bottom of page one).  This rhetorical flourish is clearly meant to imply that capitalism is, in fact, a free license to steal ... and the baby is now floating down the gutter along with the dirty bathwater. 

Interestingly enough, the New York Times neglected to mention this key dogmatic pronouncement in its write-up of this event (see: NY Times's Take).  Actually The Barry has said quite similar things in the past ... in particular at the Cooper Union in early 2010 ...  which went mostly ignored, I think, because he was still on his honeymoon with the American people (see: The Daily Kos Story). Now, I and many others on the right believe that this statement overtly manifests the key core value that Obama brought into the White House ... which had been taught to him on his anarchist mother's knee and reenforced by his many radical friends -- that capitalism is the source of all the world's evil.

And, despite his Elvis-like-intonings to the contrary, he also seems to view as anathema that bulwark of capitalism, the middle class.  He, after all, had signed his name to the Black Value System when he joined Reverend Jeremiah Wright's Trinity United Church which overtly states that "middleclassness" is to be eschewed (see: Black Value System Text, item #8).  (One could say, with tongue-in-cheek that, being the President of the United States, he clearly does live up to that disavowal.)  In essence his subtle but steady tilting toward Marxism seems to be the "change' he "hoped" to achieve when elected ... and he is doing a pretty good job of it ... by keeping the U.S. economy on life support and then by stirring the class-warfare cauldron with a vigor that would have been envied even by Norman Thomas.

Political Correctness Gone Ape

The Obama administration has reclassified the Ft. Hood massacre as "workplace violence" ... see: Ft. Hood Reclassification.  Yes, and then Treblinka and Auschwitz were just "retraining centers."

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Cyber Warfare

RQ-170 drone aircraft
Recently, the United States lost its software "leash" to a drone aircraft over Afghanistan and it ostensibly (crash?) landed in nearby Iran.  This was an ultra-modern stealth drone, the RQ-170, which is now going to be reverse engineered by the Iranians, the Russians, or, more likely, the Chinese (see: A Lost Drone).  How did this happen?  I strongly suspect this is one of the latest manifestations of cyber warfare.  Was this in retaliation for the United States (or Israel) cyber attacking the Iranian centrifuges (making them spin out of control) that are being used to purify uranium for its atomic weapons?  I suspect so.

We have known for some time that the software controlling our drones has been hacked into (probably by the Chinese ... see: A Drone Virus) and, yet, we let this top-secret drone fly apparently without a backup self-destruct override if it were crippled by a cyber attack.  This is similar to the counter-espionage sloppiness we exhibited in the raid on the Osama bin Laden compound in Pakistan.  Here a stealth helicopter had to be left behind with critical parts not destroyed, again to be reverse engineered by the Chinese.  We have even had a minor cyber attack on a water treatment plant here in the United States which may have serious implications for more egregious future events (see: Hacked Water Treatment Plant).

Now, I am far from being an expert on cyber security, but I did work for a few years in the late 1970's at a Data General research center in North Carolina where a hack-proof computer (the FHP) was being developed ... and, as it turned out, too many years ahead of its time.  And I do know that, given the huge strides that have been made in the miniaturization and speed of computer chips since then, we surely should have been able to develop a super-secure computer/software combo.  The question is ... why haven't we?

Monday, December 05, 2011

6 More Questions ...

For Liberals (including that uber-Liberal in the White House)::

1) Why, while championing infrastructure spending, would you put the kibosh on the Keystone XL Pipeline?

2) Exactly how will extending unemployment insurance beyond 99 weeks ever create even one job?

3) Why, since the Social Security System is on the fiscal ropes, should we extend any cuts to FICA taxes?

4) What does the U.S. do when Iran finally has the A-bomb and is about to (or does) use it on Israel?

5) Should the U.S. contribute even one dime to the bailout of the Euro (including through the IMF)?

6) What does the U.S. do if the relative peace in Iraq starts to unravel soon after we exit there?

Juxtaposition XXX

Republican's Barney Frank
Democrat's Newt Gingrich

Acknowledgment: Thanks for this idea goes to my wife, Jeanette.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

The Long Knives

An assegai

W.C. Fields, as Egbert Souse' in The Bank Dick, claimed that the antagonist bank robber had attacked him with a long knife, an “assegai."  Fields loved to use strange-sounding words like this one (including such others as "Lompoc" and "Petaluma"), but claiming he was attacked by a long knife in this classic movie made him an accidental hero. 

However, I have been increasingly perplexed by the assegais that are being wielded by almost everyone in the media these days ... to reduce the ranks of potential Republican heroes, the aspirants to the Presidency.  First Michele Bachmann, then Rick Perry, then Herman Cain and now Newt Gingrich and yes, even Mitt Romney are being sliced up by the press for any verbal gaffs and/or minor character flaws.  It's as though those media personae want to make their bones by taking down the current Republican front runner in the Presidential sweepstakes.

Thinking back to the last Presidential election, I can remember dozens of Obama's verbal gaffs and, not minor, but major character flaws that were glossed over by these same members of the fourth estate.  Such media inconsistencies have always perplexed me.  It's as though there is a subconscious narrative written in the stars that is then followed throughout the campaign by these too-often-pompous talking heads.  Some call this a double standard, but, to me, it is much more insidious and puzzling than this.  How does this happen?  Why can politics become a blood sport one day while, at other times, candidates seem to be adoringly carried on sedan chairs into office? 

This morning on Morning Joe, Mitt Romney was being savaged for expressing his private displeasure to Brett Baier of Fox News's Special Report for his tough interviewing technique. To me this is a mere bagatelle. Actually, this MSNBC morning show had previously become one that I looked forward to watching. Now, its seems to be nothing more than a pissing contest ... besmirching each favored Republican candidate in turn with clever pejoratives, snorts, and sideways scowls. As a result, I have started to switch more often to Imus in the Morning (gasp!!)