Taking it in the Back Door

Serious people are using the events of Paris to whine about how The Authorities don’t have enough authority to suspend your right to have a completely private conversation on your cell phone. Their excuse is that Bad Guys might be having conversations about doing Bad Things — a concept that should stink to high heaven of Pre-Crime. The Authorities want to make it impossible for your phone to be completely secure, in the name of catching Bad Guys, never mind that history shows it doesn’t work that way.

I have said this before but let me say it again: A back door that Good Guys can use is a back door Bad Guys can use. It’s a back door that can be used to empty your bank account, steal your identity, stalk you, obtain information useful for blackmail and/or extortion, or otherwise make your life miserable.

Oh, and a couple of last words: Secretary Kerry says there were 12 “problematic” people out of 785,000 Syrian refugees, and that sounds like good odds to me (I wonder how many criminals you’d find if you investigated 785,000 random Americans); and I too will stop using variants of ISIS in favor of the more accurate Daesh, for they do indeed sow discord; and some of my online friends have pointed out that the White House didn’t turn into the Bleu, Blanche, et Rouge house? Please note CONGRESS in the picture above and stop making up things to be upset about.

In Closing: it concerns me that the IRS is baffled; I wonder who looks at that information; “great“; scientific weasel words; perfect except for the errors; manufactured outrage.

Music Monday: Mancini

Henry Mancini is in my mind a giant in the world of 20th Century Music People Want To Hear. He’s so amazing, you probably aren’t even aware how many of his songs you know: Baby Elephant Walk; Moon River; Days of Wine and Roses; Theme to Love Story; Yeah, I could have gone with Pink Panther, but it’s November. Enjoy multiple versions of Windmills of Your Mind.




And of course… Dusty! With bonus skaters going in circles.

The Story of John and Tom

There are people who will tell you that John and Tom never got along, but there’s others that will tell you there as close as brothers. Then, others will tell you they actually were brothers, and some will tell you they were cousins. And, in the end, it doesn’t matter.

Something happened between them — the truth about what it was or whether it was an intended slight has been lost to history. After that, one exacted vengeance on the other. Then John’s sons and Tom’s sons fought, using what the other’s father had done as the excuse. Time passed, and the Sons of John and the Sons of Tom continued their acts of retribution, one against the other. And in turn, the more recent crimes one against the other was used as reason for the righteousness of new violence. Decades and more.

“You can’t trust the Johnsons” or “The Tomsons are nothing but bloodthirsty barbarians” became the logic of the people. “Just look what they did and how many dead children are left behind!” was a frequent refrain among either side. A leader who attempted to talk of peace between the two families was quickly stripped of power — and sometimes stripped of life itself. “The only way we will have peace is to kill them all!” one side would say — it doesn’t matter which side said it first, because each said it at one time or another. Then the other would use that as proof that no peace could be made.

I have no solution. But I know that giving the Johnsons and the Tomsons more guns and bombs and bullets will only leave behind little Johnsons and Tomsons with new grudges.

France: Je Suis Désolé.

Translation: I am sorry.

Today Paris was rocked by explosions and gunfire. At least 40 are dead so far. Oops, make that at least 60. Nobody yet knows who is responsible, or why. Of course that is subject to change at any moment. Not even the American media dares call it “terrorism” just yet — although it is surely on the minds of many people.

Think your happiest thoughts for France.

Looks like USA Today scored 60% again.

EDIT: The hostages are free, over 150 are dead, and now the word “terrorists” is in play. The attacks were well organized, except for the pesky issue of what they were trying to accomplish.

Seeing Red… Cups

Somebody decided that the fact that Starbucks is using plain red holiday cups this year is part of some War on Christmas. Never mind the fact that the “holiday” images of years past — “Vintage ornaments and hand-drawn reindeer have appeared in past years” — are no more religious than Black Friday Sales. It’s ridiculous.

I wish I had time to make up stuff to be upset about.

Listen: If you want to “put Christ back into Christmas,” start with acts of kindness towards your fellow man and stop looking towards a coffee shop for advice.

Yet a few more words on the TPP

Click the image to read the article it came from!

Now that the actual text has been released, it is possible to speak to what is there, rather than just fear of what might be there. So here’s a few of the things that have been said:

  • Some Canadians call the provisions “troubling” and say it’s the “worst” thing for their country. Remember, Canada isn’t really that different from the United States in many ways.
  • Liberals call it a corporate power grab.
  • Most Presidential candidates are against it, including Trump, Jindal, and Kasich.
  • The Financial Times is trying very hard to tow the middle line and calls it a revamp of international arbitration (which seems to me like curing Tuberculosis with a shotgun).
  •  The Boston Globe pretty much says that there’s good and bad, but it’s much too complicated for a “straight up or down vote”, which is exactly what the Senate is going to do thanks to Fast Track Authority.
  • Bottom line: TPP can still be stopped. Make sure your Congresscritters know where you stand.

Have a great week.