Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Angels Are in The Details

The Angels are in the details.

On September 11. 2001 2,997 lost their lives.  Our nation was the victim of a terrorist attack so evil we still can't get our heads around it.  The terrorists were the devil.  Their cunning, hatred and their sheer power to inflict pain are without parallel in modern history.  Although their followers are trying to again plumb those depths.

We are once again in an election year here in the USA.  It's the ugliest, most mean spirited, most delusional election in our history.  There is a lot of talk about hate, hate speech, racism, misogamy, fanaticism and more.  We would do well to get ride of the hyperbole and remember what real hate, real evil really is.

But if we look back on September 11th, we need to realize the that the real legacy is not hatred, but the 2,997 angels that should really be the focus of the story, our history.

Until 9/11 these angels had lives, loves, hopes, fears and dreams.  Let's remember the angels.

Today, as I have every September 11th since 2006, I'm taking a time to remember Peter Hanson, the handsome, young software engineer, Sue Kim Hanson, his Korean-American bride, and their two old daughter, Christine.

The Hanson's were killed when United Flight 175 was hijacked by the terrorists and purposely crashed into the World Trade Center.

Sue Kim was a Doctoral Candidate at Boston University.  She, Peter and Christine decided to take a vacation to Disneyland and to visit Sue Kim's father in California before she had to defend her Doctoral Thesis.

Blind hatred killed the Hanson's.  The terrorists never knew them, because to know them might have lead to understanding, to doubt in their mission, to have concerns about the justness of their cause.  The leader of the terrorists, Osama bin Laden didn't want to know people, he wanted to see numbers.  Peter, Sue Kim and Christine weren't people to the terrorists, they were just the number 3. Just 3 out of 2,997.  We need to remember them, as angels.

Please take a few minutes today to remember Peter, Sue Kim and Christine.  Say a prayer for them and their families.  Say a prayer for us all.  Remember people today, not numbers.


In 2006 a blogger project was begun on the fifth anniversary of 9-11.  Called the "2,996 Project" volunteers were asked to write a short remembrance for each of the victims of the September 11, 2001.attack.  I was randomly assigned Sue Kim Hanson.  Each year since I have repeated my effort to honor Sue Kim and her family.  You can read each of my essays following the links below:

September 11, 2006 - Susan Kim Hanson

September 11, 2007 - Remembering Sue Kim Hanson

September 11, 2008 - Remembering Sue Kim Hanson

September 11, 2009 - Remembering the Reality: 9-11-2001: Sue Kim Hanson

September 11, 2010 - Reflections on the Life of Sue Kim Hanson

September 11, 2011 - Tears in Tragedy - Remembering Sue Kim Hanson

September 11, 2012 - Honoring the Memory of Peter, Sue and Christine Hanson

Spetember 11, 2013 - The Tragedy of War, The Victims of Hate, Remembering Peter, Sue Kim and Christine Hanson

September 11, 2014 - Will Hatred Ever Be Replaced with Understanding? Remembering Sue Kim Hanson on 9/11

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Brain Dead is the Most Brilliant Piece of Political Satire Ever - But Is It Fiction?

Three things about the short summer series Brain Dead on CBS Television.

First you should be watching this show.  It's fast, funny, brilliant, cleverly written and wonderfully acted. The link above will let you see past episodes.

Second, as a satire on the current state of political discourse and governmental function it is stunningly on point.  Watch the scenes from the show taking place in the Senate, then watch the real news and you're unlikely to be able to tell the difference.  Its terrible funny..... or is it?

Third, the show creators, Robert and Michelle King are having entirely too much fun.  The "I think I love you..."  sequence in Sunday episodes is one of the greatest moments in television history.

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Man Who Wasn't There

When did Barack Obama lose his ability to understand, to identify with and to inspire huge groups of people?  In 2008 Barack Obama was a master communicator.  His campaign appearances drew tens of thousands and motivated millions more.  He swept Hillary aside in the primary election, easily who the Presidency and even won the Nobel Peace Prize. He quite literally inspired the entire world.

Somehow he lost that ability.  It's been gone for a few years.  It faded away slowly and we didn't really notice at first.  But it's completely gone now. Maybe the Presidency has worn him down. Maybe he is so isolated that he has simply lost touch with the people.

Obama has done some very bold and courageous things. None may be more important or have more of a lasting impact than his warming relations with Cuba, reopening the Embassy and relaxing travel.  This was long overdue and it will, in fact, be a major part of his legacy.

But then he completely mishandles his reaction to the Terrorist Attack in Brussels.  Obama actually DID NOTHING WRONG, HE SIMPLY DID NOTHING.  He reacted badly, coldly, even callously.  When people needed comfort, warmth and support he offered...... well. he offered nothing.  He completely mishandled the optics of the tragedy.  He appeared uncaring, aloof, out-of-touch.

A baseball game and a Tango didn't help.  

I think we all miss the Barack Obama of 2008.  I think the world needs that Obama and not the sad, isolated shell of the once great man that we are presented with today.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

How to Eliminate All Free Speech

For reasons that are unimaginable, many Liberals and virtually all Progressives are anxious to eliminate Free Speech here in the USA.  It is, I believe, all about control.... thought control.  There is a bizarre desire to eliminate all opposing ideas and, most certainly, all opposing political ideas.

The effort of any and all groups to eliminate opposing ideas is not new.  It's as old as mankind itself.  The United States, however, was founded on the exact opposite principle: FREE and OPEN exchange of ideas, political points of view and opposing thoughts.  In our relatively short history the exchange of ideas has been robust and often firey.

But the Progressives now have a new weapon to eliminate debate and stop all opposing speech without crossing the hallowed "free speech" line.  It's called "you hurt my feelings" gambit, also known as the "safe space" demand.

Curiously, in demanding a "safe space where the supposed victim can avoid having their feelings hurt, the progressives wantonly destroy their opponent's entire lives.  They don't just "hurt their opponent's feelings" they cause the opponent to lose their job, perhaps their entire career, be removed or expelled from school, and ruin their reputation.  And they do this without any proof that this opponent ever caused the slightest harm to any one.

The bottom line is you damned well better keep your mouth shut or you will be ruined forever.  Of course you still have your blessed "freedom of speech" provided you never use it.

There have been dozens of horrific examples of these assaults in recent weeks.  One of the most egregious however is the attack by the progressive citizens of Revere, Massachusetts of a local high school cheerleading captain, Caley Godino. Godino's offense? She actually took an interest in local politics instead of spending her time on SnapChat or watching One Direction videos.

God knows we cannot let our children have any opinions.  And we certainly can't let them Tweet those opinions on their own Twitter page.  Those opinions might hurt someone's feelings.  Those opinions might threaten someone's "safe space."  Note the word "might" in my analysis. No one actually ever said they were harmed in any way.

Godino sent out one Tweet in response to her high school teacher's Tweet about the poor turnout in a recent election.

"When only 10 percent of Revere votes for mayor cause the other 90 percent isn't legal," Godino replied sarcastically, maybe even a little snarkily, in her tweet.

Of course all hell rained down on Godino after she dared to voice her opinion.  Some other unnamed and protected students complained to the school "authorities" and, in order to shelter and protect these unnamed students, the mighty forces of the school district stepped in to make certain Godino would never, ever voice her opinions again. 

Revere Superintendent Dianne Kelly says the district believes in freedom of speech, but cannot support what she calls insensitive language. "If you're going to stand up and say something that other people will find offensive, then you need to be prepare to deal with the ramifications of that," Kelly said. The ramifications? Kelly kicked Godino off the cheerleading squad for the rest of the year.  

Allow me to translate. What Ms. Kelly means is she will never allow any free speech on her watch. Debate is forbidden.  Opposing ideas are never to be allowed.  If you dare to voice your opinion, you high school career is over and your life will be a living hell.  Thank you for molding America's future leaders, Ms. Kelly.

Caley Godino's opponents never had to name themselves. They were and are anonymous. They never had to defend their political positions or engage in debate.  They never were forced to tell Godino why her opinions were wrong or why their's were right.  The very debate upon which America was founded was never allowed to happen.  That might have violated someone's "safe space. " 

ULTIMATE IRONY:  The mascot of the Revere High School is the "Patriots."

Saturday, October 03, 2015

We Have No Solutions to Gun Violence

Yes, I hate videos on the Internet, too. But you really need to watch this.  Gun violence is destroying inner city America yet it seems like only white, rural college shootings get the press.

We need solutions. Sadly every proposal I've seen from President Obama and  our "leaders" would accomplish nothing beyond harming law abiding citizens.  We really need solutions that will reduce Chicago violence.

We are witnessing America's Genocide.  We're shooting 11 month old babies.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Cultural Genocide

The lives of our political opponents matter.  Not their physical lives, we don't care about that. It's their cultural lives, their cultural symbols, their values, morals and mores that matter. To defeat our political enemies we must utterly destroy all the factors that give their lives value, meaning and structure.  And, let's be honest, we do want the complete and utter destruction of all who might disagree with us in any way.

This attitude of complete cultural destruction has led the left to try to eliminate everything remotely connected to the pop culture "Confederate Flag" icons of the conservative and especially southern society.

This excuse for such destruction of an icon is, of course, the senseless murder of the nine black church members at the hands of white supremacist Dylann Roof in Charlotte last week.

But, as horrific as those murders were, they are not the subject of this post.  Instead it is the remarkable reaction that has swept our entire culture in just a few short days, to effectively ban all things remotely connected to the Civil War.

As a Sociology major in College this is simply stunning to behold.  This is the equivalent of a paleontologist discovering the bone of an undiscovered species of dinosaur.  Rarely do you get to see what can only be described as a tidal wave of coordinated social activity happening across all political spectrums, all races, all economic classes, all at once.

This isn't simply South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley suggesting the Confederate Flag be removed from the Statehouse grounds.  That might have started the chain reaction, but look how far its come!

Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Sears and more are pulling everything Confederate off the shelves.  States are pulling down flags and statues and memorials.  Film critics are calling for the withdrawal of the movie "Gone With The Wind," allowing it only to be shown in museums and only on special occasions.  Amazon and Walmart are "suggesting" authors or publishers revise their cover art if it contains anything related to the Civil War.  Will we ban books from schools and public libraries?

Polygon, the gaming news website, reports that Apple was quickly affected by the societal groupthink with a form of censorship that is breathtaking to behold:

"Now, it appears that Apple has decided to join them by pulling many Civil War wargames from the App Store. As of the writing of this story, games like Ultimate General: Gettysburg and all the Hunted Cow Civil War games are nowhere to be found. Apple is famous for reaching for the axe rather than the scalpel when it comes to political issues (like rejecting Hunted Cow's Tank Battle 1942 for depicting Germans and Russians as enemies), so this move doesn't come as a great surprise." 

Can we erase history? It appears Apple is going to try.  But they are not alone.  When Republican Governors like Robert Bentley of Alabama personally remove Confederate Flags and further suggest any school named after a Civil War General be renamed, memorials removed and school mascots banned, you realize we have a seed change turning into a tsunami

Until two or three days ago, Walmart admits it had virtually never had a complaint about pop culture Confederate merchandise.  The public outcry, mostly on social media, happening that quickly.

People tend to jump on the bandwagon. They love to be on the "winning side."  What they may have never noticed Thursday, becomes issue #1 by Friday.

How long will this last? Will there eventually be blow back.  So far only (former) Senator Jim Webb has offered any caution or defense. Certainly his thoughtful and nuanced response absolutely dooms any hope he had of a Presidential candidacy.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Societies and Cultures that "Work"

Sociologists and Anthropologists (my duel majors in college) attempt to study cultures and societies objectively, dispassionately, scientifically.  It is relatively easy to do when studying ancient societies or remote and isolated cultures.
Some societies, cultures and religions work and work well for centuries. And by working I mean they thrive, gathering wealth, power, population size and geographic size.  They have the ability to affect other surrounding cultures and spread their values, laws and morals.

If a culture or society works and thrives, that doesn't mean it moral, good, fair or free.  It does mean the members of the society generally follow their rules and laws. Very very often, historically, these laws and rules are religious in nature and survive nations and governments.  

Morals are passed down from parents to children, values that must shared by all and must be strictly upheld.  For example marriage is discouraged outside of many cultures, ethnic groups and religions. This insures children receive the values, attitudes and strict moral codes of the culture.

ISIS is attempting to form a Caliphate in Iraq and Syria (and beyond).  But the Muslim culture and the Islamic religion that is its base, including and especially Sharia Law, already have proven to be the basis of a culture and societal structure that works.  Sharia Law and the overreaching Muslim culture have already survived hundreds of years through multiple nations and governments.

That does not mean it's good or moral.  That doesn't mean its actions are fair or free.  Most of us are horrified by the stoning of non-believers, the murder of the victims of rape or incest or the enslavement of people from outside the tightly closed society.  We in the west, see these actions as savage.

Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of people from all around the world are joining ISIS.  It's a virtual world wide mass migration.  Here in the west we're trying to stop people from moving the Iraq and joining the armies of ISIS.  Yet people do make their way to a society they see as moral, just and, especially, functional.  They want the rules, the laws, the morals and the leadership to guide their lives.

We need to understand how cultures, societies, nations and religions all work to help us understand why other cultures often breakdown. We need to understand why some cultures thrive and their members prosper, while others live in poverty, riddled with crime and corruption.

We need to understand this in our own American Society and culture where, through our inaction, ignorance and neglect, seem to have said "In spite of our Tweets to the contrary, Black lives actually don't seem to matter."  How is it that we allow this American Genocide continues unabated, ignored or tolerated by most of society.  We need to understand why violence and crime are rampant throughout American inner cities and now are spreading into the supposedly safe suburbs.  

This Wall Street Journal article by Heather Mac Donald is an excellent place to start. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Silence of the Lambs

This will be my shortest blog post ever.

Its sole purpose is to highlight that the presumptive Democratic Party Candidate for President, Hillary Clinton, has not held is single press conference or ever a single press interview since launching her campaign one month ago.  She has answered virtually no questions and has never addressed any of the real and substantive issues surrounding her candidacy.

So far it appears this strategy is working.  How long can she continue?


UPDATE 5/30/2014  - Although Ms. Clinton took a very few questions two days last week, her strategy continues to avoid all questions and make the press hungrier and hungrier for any sort of news.  It's a blazingly brilliant strategy.

Even Fox News fawns over her every speech of scripted interaction with so-called voters (all of whom are carefully screened shills).  She get her message and exactly her message out every day.  It is easily the best election strategy I've ever seen!

Can it continue through the election?  We're all beginning to think it can.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Speak Truth to Power

There is a great deal to like and to admire about Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple.  He is a courageous and visionary liberal leading what is arguably the finest and best run company in America. He came out recently as gay and is the only openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

Among the many liberal convictions he has put into practice at Apple in an environmentally responsible effort on climate change, going even so far as to challenge shareholders who are, in Cook's opinion, "climate deniers."

It is from this framework that he led a chorus of corporate leaders, politicians and celebrities in condemning Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Cook said, "Our message, to people around the country and around the world, is this: Apple is open. Open to everyone, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, how they worship or who they love. Regardless of what the law might allow in Indiana or Arkansas, we will never tolerate discrimination. Opposing discrimination takes courage. With the lives and dignity of so many people at stake, it’s time for all of us to be courageous." 

Writing in an op-ed in The Washington Post, Cook said, in part, "There’s something very dangerous happening in states across the country. A wave of legislation, introduced in more than two dozen states, would allow people to discriminate against their neighbors. Some, such as the bill enacted in Indiana last week that drew a national outcry and one passed in Arkansas, say individuals can cite their personal religious beliefs to refuse service to a customer or resist a state nondiscrimination law."

I am greatly bothered by the fact that Cook and many other "Liberals" are on exactly the wrong side of this issue, demanding conformity to a rigid and terribly narrow standard of behavior instead of standing up for individual's right of moral conviction.  

But I am even more concerned that Cook leads a group of bullies in a mob action to demand an orthodox Jewish photographer or a Muslim baker be forced under penalty of law to deny their religious and their moral convictions and participate in acts or ceremonies forbidden by their religion.  Deny Allah or lose your business, livelihood or freedom.  

Cook insists we deny to others the very freedom of moral conviction that allowed gays to gain an open and free place in our society. Cook seems to have forgotten that when the so-called "majority" forced gays into hiding, it was the religious minority of Unitarian Universalists (and other liberal churches) who welcomed gays and lesbians into their churches and performed gay marriages when they were outlawed.  

Unitarians have for centuries lived their beliefs even when prohibited by the state.  They are the religion of the pilgrims, driven out by The Church of England and the King to find freedom in the America they founded.  Now Cook wants to deny this freedom of moral belief.  God help the next persecuted group as Cook wants actions taken based religious belief to be denied by the state.

Errr...well, he wants then denied in Indiana and Arkansas.  Not so much elsewhere.

V the K, writing over on The Gay Patriot responded perfectly, "It takes N0 courage to “stand up to” bakers and florists who just don’t want to take part in gay weddings (although it gets you a lot of “trained seal applause” from other sanctimonious poseurs). Standing up to legitimately brutal regimes … that would be actual courage."

Indeed, as it turns out, Cook wants no part in speaking truth to power.  Challenged by more that a dozen bloggers and pundits, they wrote an open letter to Cook.  The letter reads, in part,  "Tim Cook says that, “Opposing discrimination takes courage,” and we agree. We call on Mr. Cook to live up to our shared principles by pulling Apple out of Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Iran until they stop their official government policies of jailing and murdering gays and lesbians."

Tim Cook has not, as yet, responded.  Sadly, I've lost substantial respect for Mr. Cook.  He is, as V the K implied, a poseur.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

#Black Lives Matter

#Black Lives Matter.  If there was a signature Tweet that defined the year 2014 it was the hashtag "Black Lives Matter."

What I think bothers me is that hashtags have become the feelgood contribution of too many people toward curing our society's ills.  I did my part. I sent out a Tweet.

The problem is that Tweet won't save the life of a single Black person.  Nobody will find a job because you Tweeted a socially responsible Tweet.  Schools will not improve.  Gangs will not stop their turf wars.  Random acts of violence will not cease. Nothing will change.

Because, for all too many people, the value of a "Black Life" is a random Tweet.

The protests are now dying down, as they must.  The protester's beclowned themselves with their stupid acts of violence and meaningless, pointless, goalless splendor. Protests with a hashtag driven mentality.

The biggest result of the nationwide protests was the implosion of Bill De Blasio's New York.  But De Blasio was well on his way to destroying the city on his own.  The protests simply accelerated the process.  Black Lives Matter.  You will see a massive increase in murders in New York this year.  As usual, most lives lost will be black.

Maybe the Glitterati will come up with a new hashtag to decry that violence.  After all, hashtags are easier and cheaper than the real investment that must be made in our society to actually save black lives.  And hashtags make our Hollywood stars, sport's gladiators and various celebrities feel so very good.

#Black Lives Matter.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

I See Dead People

As a nation we genuinely have our priorities misplaced.  We are spending millions upon millions of dollars attempting to prevent people with Ebola from entering our country.  Don't get me wrong, Ebola is very frightening and we are not well prepared to fight this deadly infection.  And we had that one very well documented, reported and investigated case of a man from west Africa dying in Dallas, Texas.

Meanwhile tens of thousands of young Americans are dying every year due to gang and gun violence in virtually every American inner city and pocket of poverty.  Many, many are completely innocent, guilty of only being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  And many, like Laylah Peterson, are just children.  Laylah was shot and killed last week while sitting safely on her grandfather's lap in their own home in Milwaukee.  Two men fired shots into the house, for some unknown reason, and shot the child.

Laylah was white and the shooters allegedly were black and some are claiming this was racial violence.  I'm pretty certain the reason doesn't matter.  If you want to write this off to racial violence, I'll be happy to post the story of a black four year old girl shot the day before in nearby Racine, Wisconsin.  Here the shooters were also black. Race doesn't matter.

That fact is that deaths from Ebola here in the United States will be rare.  Yet by the time I finish writing this blog entry another child, perhaps two or three, will be dead from the massive violence right here in America.

You probably know all the steps we are taking to prevent Ebola, airport screenings, triage centers, CDC edicts, hospital preparedness and more.  We even have an Ebola Czar.

What are we doing to end youth violence in our inner cities? On a Federal level virtually nothing.  Not a damned thing.   Unless the victim is black and the shooter is a white policeman (or neighborhood watch patrolman), you are unlikely to hear a peep from the President or the U.S. Attorney General.   Again, this isn't about race, it's about priorities.

The greater St. Louis area is preparing for riots and an eruption of violent protests this week when the Grand Jury might possibly fail to indict patrolman Darren Wilson who fatally shot eighteen year old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

"Hands up, don't shoot."  Do you suppose if little Laylah had raised her hands, they home invaders would have held their fire?

In Milwaukee there are no protests, there are no riots and there will be no violence over the murder of a 5 year old girl.  Police have few leads and there have been no arrests. There isn't even a person of interest. The FBI isn't there and neither is the justice department.

But by tomorrow there will be one or more similar murders in the same Milwaukee neighborhood.  And by next weekend there will be more.

My personal hero today is Milwaukee District Seven Alderman Willie C. Wade.  Alderman Wade is walking his district alone, knocking on doors, looking for a lead as to the identities of the shooters who killed five year old Laylah in cold blood.  He is hoping that his constituents will talk to him, a black, a trusted friend, when they might not talk or "snitch" to the police.

Willie C. Wade is a real hero.  We need more heroes.  I'm tired of seeing dead people,

Friday, October 17, 2014

Ebola Infects the Presidency

Three Short Ebola Observations:

  • We American citizens were over confident and, well, downright smug about the ability of our vastly superior Health and Medical Structure to combat Ebola if it ever invaded our country.  Now, as it turns out, our strengths have proven to be our weakness.  In small African nations, the population is very poor and relatively stationary making it easy to locate and quarantine the infected people.
    Here in the United States, people are relatively wealthy and extremely mobile, taking trips constantly by plane, train, bus and even vacations on cruise ships.  In Africa an Ebola victim generally can only infect family, friends and very close neighbors.  Here anyone EXPOSED can jump on a plane, train or ship and expose hundreds or even thousands of people.  Our wealth and independence make controlling the disease both more difficult and vastly more expensive.
  • President Obama's extremely poor management style where no one is ever held accountable for anything, has created a massive bureaucracy of sheer incompetence throughout the Federal Government.  Never in our history has our government been less prepared to face a crisis.  As error after error piled up on the gross mishandling on the first Ebola patient, no one from the CDC ever did so much as issue an intelligent guideline, let alone provider hands-on direction to health care workers.  
    The hospital did not even have the correct protective gear for doctors and nurses for days.  The CDC never issued guidelines on how to handle the infection.  CDC Director Thomas Frieden, no matter how intelligent or educated he might be on infectious diseases, is a grossly incompetent manager. Worse, he is an ineffective spokesperson.  Many Democrats as well as virtually all Republicans are calling for his resignation.

    Peggy Noonan writes in The Wall Street Journal "The administration’s handling of the Ebola crisis continues to be marked by double talk, runaround and gobbledygook. And its logic is worse than its language. In many of its actions, especially its public pronouncements, the government is functioning not as a soother of public anxiety but the cause of it."
    To be certain Mr. Klain will have, as his primary job, communicating with the press and public.  Since he cannot credibly answer a single question, the press will eat him alive and the public will further lose confidence in the Obama Administration.
    You would think at least on person advising the President would have said, "Sir, you know this appointment of a political manager is going to look very bad and will reflect poorly on your continued handling of this crisis.  This IS NOT a political crisis, Sir, it's a medical crisis." 

    Perhaps it was said. Perhaps the President chose not to listen.