4/12/2014

"Get offa mah lawn, you Marathon runners!"

In the one year anniversary of the Marathon bombings, which claimed four lives and caused many others to lose limbs and hearing, I had the misfortune of reading a comment that the marathon should be cancelled.  According to the poster, the marathon has deviated from being a sport to being an excuse to clog up streets, for rich tourists, college students and drunken Red Sox fans to cheer people who can barely run.

At first, I was inclined to agree with them.  Sometimes that ability to take something like the Marathon bombings and make it wall-to-wall "where were you?" exploitation as media tends to do sours the effort.  It's also a way for the BAA to make more money.

The more I thought about it, though, I changed my mind.  Run on and ignore these cranks.  There's no reason not to run - better yet, the best reason to participate is to show everyone that Boston doesn't run away.

As to those who will loudly complain about "security theater" from the police and the inconvenience of being detoured because you can't sail down Boylston: there's always the prospect of watching the marathon on TV from the comfort of your home.  Just don't be surprised if others who are interviewed on TV have a different view other than being stiffnecked...like the ones running for their lost ones (not just for the Marathon victims), the ones who lost a limb but chose to run, the ones raising money for a cause, and the ones who were affected last year.

4/07/2014

Computer techie? Um, no

So sorry to have been amiss on posts, but it happened again...computer on the fritz.  This time, however, it has a much happier ending.

My grandfather passed away at the ripe old age of 91.  The night after his funeral, I was posting something on Facebook, when the computer began resetting like crazy.  I thought it was just the computer acting funny, and it would return to normal.

It didn't.  I tried rolling it back to a previous state, using anti-virus software, and so forth, but finally, the system gave up and stated it needed to be recovered.

Off I went to the computer repair shop, and two days later, the bad news: a pretty nasty virus plus some pretty nasty malware corrupted the RAM and the hard drive.  A new RAM module, plus a complete wipe of the hard drive plus a reinstall of the operating system, would be in order.  That took about four days.

That wipe took out all of the music I had put there, some documents, pictures of trips I had taken, everything.  It was just easier to start fresh.

The next Saturday, I picked up the computer and it ran like it was new.  It was expensive...and a lesson learned.

During that time, I became familiar with Evernote to satisfy my writing cravings.  I'm in the midst of a side project that might be part of a new blog (or actually, a blog I had started, then deleted because I didn't like it).  So far, it will be fiction.  I'll let you know when it comes out.  In the meantime, I'll try to keep up with this blog.

3/03/2014

Gutting the rule of law

When people talk extensively about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, most of the time they're talking about the rule of law.  Those two very important items guarantee the freedoms and peace we enjoy.

Michael Barone illustrates this nicely.  If you dissolve the rule of law, you descend either into uncontrollable anarchy or stifling dictatorship - both very, very bad outcomes.  In the Ukraine, the people want the rule of law, and in so doing ousted someone who prefers the bad old days of the Soviet Union - Vladimir Putin.  Venezuela is also protesting because they had the rule of law but another dictator shredded it up, and with it the economy.

Restoring that rule of law when it has been absent is going to be very hard.  The Ukrainians see its benefits and thus rebel violently to ensure the alternative - the annexation of their country right back to Russia instead of becoming part of the European Union - never occurs.

2/27/2014

Order in the court: CLEAR!

I served on a jury in 2011 and for me, the experience wasn't that bad at all.  There are some cases that are pretty interesting (financial, probate) while others can be grisly (murder, assault).

Judges have heard all of the excuses, but when a person is really having a heart attack, any other judge would take the common sense and see that the person is not faking.  The judge in this case, however, thought this would be maybe a case of heartburn and it would pass.  Someone should pass the stats along to His Honor regarding untreated heart attacks leading to death.

To his credit, though, the juror with the heart attack will return.  “Jury duty is one of those things you have to do[...][i]t’s part of a democracy.”  Certainly true, but a jury isn't useful with eleven live jurors and one with a case of rigor mortis and a very foul odor.

2/22/2014

Mayor Occupy Wall Street

When the new City Council in New York convened, one of its leaders shouted, "Long live the Occupy Wall Street movement!"

Now, they have a Occupy Wall Street mayor.
  
Mayor DeBlasio was elected in a landslide over a weak Republican, but with only 31% of the vote.  Now they are seeing the fruits of their labors: they are seeing a textbook case on how a massive ego, militant ideology, and a group of corrupt fellow travelers are ingredients for the absolute worst government has to offer.

In other words, he is the perfect example of the very worst Occupy Wall Street had to offer: rigid, ignorant, disdainful, egotistical, militant, and ready to fight anyone who disagrees with them.

Even Mayor Menino, in his 20 years serving Boston, was prickly and defensive, but he didn't dare go around and attempt the imperialistic "I'm Mayor and I can do whatever I want!" shtick - at least in public.  Not even Marty Walsh has gotten to that level - yet.

Al Roker, in rightfully criticizing DeBlasio for his keeping the New York City schools open during a state of emergency, called him "a one term mayor."  I'd go further than that - one day DeBlasio and his minions will go too far, and the fed-up citizens of New York City will do what the citizens of California did to Gray Davis: they removed him from office and elected someone else. 

Seattle Seahawks player Richard Seymour would be perfect for that job.

2/16/2014

One U2 song the Chancellor will never live down

The new fad among the social media set is internet shaming - when someone does an unspeakably bad gaffe, the Twitter mob takes over to get their pound of flesh.  They will hound their prey with hash tags and internet memes until the subject submits to their will and apologizes and/or makes good.

Thursday's snow storm dumped 8-10 inches of snow in New York City.  The State of New York called a state of emergency.  The Mayor of New York decided to have the schools open, despite the dangers of crossing treacherous city streets.  When asked by the schools didn't close down, the Chancellor asserted that "it was a beautiful day".

Enter an enterprising Staten Island high school student, who decided to bring it to the best forum he knew: Facebook.  (FB page is here.) Currently, he has 50,000 plus "likes" and countless stories from infuriated parents, teachers, and administrators properly blasting the Mayor and the Chancellor for their tin-eared and out-of-touch response.

It's not limited to New York, either.  Open mouth/insert foot seems to be de rigeur for anyone who feels they must vent their spleens and show their prejudices.  The First Amendment does protect free speech, but it doesn't protect you from well-deserved criticism when used inappropriately.

It's also easier to overreact and be called "wimpy" and "oh, man, have we become too easy?" rather than be marooned, be injured or be killed.  David didn't have to use a rock to hit Goliath upside the head; he used a computer.

2/13/2014

A gentry of fools; a nation of serfs

A very good column by George Will regarding Downton Abbey is more of a tone poem of simpler times: when the gentry ruled, commoners were nowhere to be found, and the help gritted their teeth just to survive the day.

Any society with a stratification system - where the elite rules over the virtual "untouchables" - will at one point see its lower classes restive and angry because it's been taken advantage of constantly.  The gentry fears any form of revolt, because without the lower classes, they would be forced to be self-sufficient.  Hence, the gentry patronizes its peons with bread and circuses.

In a nutshell, that is precisely what "progressive" politics is.  It is a self-anointed gentry of arrogant, selfish individuals,ululating solidarity and promising paradise as a foil for grabbing and keeping more power, to the point where the gentry can violate the serfs without interference from the commoners.  They pledge to eliminate poverty, but it is a false front for snatching away rights, money, and power. And if one person deigns to speak up and defend themselves, retaliation is certain and swift.

The people watching Downton Abbey as a period drama can see the parallels of our modern politicians - career politicians and rabble-rousers, fattened by lobby donations and soothed by media ego-stroking, whose only goal is to see how much they can fool the public into believing they care when they stuff their pockets full of illicit lucre.  They will blame all others and bogeymen other than themselves, and indignantly profess innocence when count after damning count of the indictment is read with the word "guilty" following each convicted crime.

A better counterexample to Downton Abbey would be Robin Hood.  On the surface, it is a story of a man stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.  It is false - Robin Hood stole back the goods from the corrupt government and restored them to the poor. The word "progressive" is anything but: it's a code word for militancy that regresses the poor to virtual servitude; gives them carte blanche to seize wealth for their own vanity, and be wholly parasitical and perpetually vengeful - at all costs.

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