Thursday, December 22, 2005

[Xmas] Deck Us All With Boston Charlie

The formalities of the season must be observed, and one of them is The Original MashUp, brought to us by The First Blogger, the esteemed Dr. Jerry Pournelle.

One might wish to go back to the original source, however, and short of a trip to Fort Mudge in the depths of the Okeefenokee, here may be a viable reference for the serious scholars of Pogo among us.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

[Feds] It's a matter of national security

If word gets out that we're ill-prepared, it will only encourage the hurricanes to intensify their attacks. Therefore, is it a matter of National Security that FEMA conceal its incompetence?

Mark Tapscott blogged:

If there were an award for the least popular federal agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency would probably be a near-unanimous choice, thanks to the barrage of negative media it received during the Hurricane Katrina debacle. Maybe that is why FEMA is using the Freedom of Information Act to keep behind closed doors the results of its own customer satisfaction survey on how well the agency’s inspectors did their jobs following hurricanes Charley, Frances, Jeanne and Ivan. The way FEMA is doing it points to why one of the most frequently used and abused FOIA exemptions ought to be seriously tightened up or repealed outright.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

[Feds] TSA does something right

However, there's actually an improvement: The TSA new policies are a real improvement in safety.

Read this article by a real security expert, Bruce Schneier, to understand why the TSA is moving in the right direction and why critics like Salon don't get it. Key quote:

Exactly two things have made airline travel safer since 9/11: reinforcement of cockpit doors, and passengers who now know that they may have to fight back. Everything else -- Secure Flight and Trusted Traveler included -- is security theater. We would all be a lot safer if, instead, we implemented enhanced baggage security -- both ensuring that a passenger's bags don't fly unless he does, and explosives screening for all baggage -- as well as background checks and increased screening for airport employees.

The TSA deserves credit for its shift in policy, not abuse.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

[Media] No, I Didn't Crash Blogger

If you tuned in yesterday and found 404 - Page Not Found or suchlike on all of Blogspot.Com (where this blog is hosted), I didn't do it. Wasn't my fault. No, not me.

Blog*Spot was down for a few hours yesterday due to an unexpected server outage, causing timeout, 404, and similar errors when trying to view blogs. This problem was solved and we are implementing better monitoring to better catch and resolve such issues in the future. If you continue to have problems viewing Blog*Spot blogs, please try clearing your browser's cache and cookies, then reloading the blog(s) in question. Thanks for your patience.


The timing was soooo concidental.. for the Oregonian local bureau published a story on my blogging just before Blogspot crashed.

Oak Lodge Community Council meeting Wed. the 7th

The regular November-December Oak Lodge Community Council meeting is tomorrow evening, December 7th, at Oak Lodge Sanitary's office.

The agenda is packed: Ron Weinman from Clackamas County's DTD will update us on the County's Capital Improvement Progam (CIP). Applicants or representatives from two groups will share information, there are several land use applications for review as well as District and agency reports.

Thoughts on the war

Every once in a while, Fred On Everything writes about something I can actually quote.. not that he's wrong, mind you, but a steady diet of Fred would unravel the minds of the media elite and those who accept the 500 channels of video pablum delivered from the the White House Press Office and the poverty industry via Comcast-ABC/Disney-DirecTV-CBS-Dish-NBC-TimeWarner.

I like to keep him prominently on my virtual shelf because he will challenge his own assumptions as ruthlessly as anyone else's. That needs doing, a lot.

Well, he's provided a cogent and concise comparison of the working stiffs in the press (not the suits who decide what gets covered, but the actual foot soldiers of the Fifth Estate), their motivations, and how those are bound to collide with those of our military. Here's a snippet:

For example, many in Washington who actually know how the press works (the military actually doesn’t) believe that the press supports the war in Iraq, has until recently given the White House a free ride, and has been adroitly controlled by the government. I agree. If newspapers had been against the war, they would have published countless photos of gut-shot soldiers who will never get a date, paraplegics doomed to a life on a slab, and more Abu Ghraib photos (which they have.) Soldiers don’t know this. In any event, anything but unqualified support is treason.

The military usually regards journalists as cowards. (“Coward” and “traitor” are their gravest pejoratives.) This is questionable. When the 2000th US soldier died in Iraq, I checked the site of Reporters Without Borders and found that 72 reporters had been killed there (with two more missing), or 3.6 percent of the military total. I don’t know how many troops have served in Iraq. Just now it is about 160,000. To be conservative, let’s call it 130,000 on average, making 347,100 for two and two-thirds years of war. By the equation 2,000/347,000 = 72/x, one finds that there would have to have been 12,500 reporters in Iraq to have equal rates of death between reporters and soldiers. Otherwise, the press is taking casualties at a higher rate than the military. The calculation is rough, but makes the point.


When I was a child back there in Journalism School (with an odd curriculum, very out of fashion, where Journalism was under the School of Business and there was a strong expectation you'd have to be able to calculate and read a balance sheet to cover a story), I went to school with Iranian and Iraqi students, and my senior paper was on the Islamic Press. Folks, brace yourself: They don't think like we do.

It's kinda clear to me that our overseas press, brave as they are, miss the boat, and fail to engage the Islamofascists with the same degree of skepticism they've used for two centuries to keep our government occasionally honest. Sure would be nice if they considered this advice from a guy who knows what's going on:

Here's something that needs to be emphasized. The leaders and media of the western world continually refer to 'mujahadeen' (holy warriors) and 'jihad' (holy war) in their references to Islamic terrorists. By the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed (Allah bless he and his progeny) and Islamic law, the terrorists should properly be called 'mufsidoon' (evildoers) who engage in al-Hiraba (unholy war against society - that which destroys, rather than supports, betterment of humanity). These words make considerable difference when speaking to and of Muslims. The connotations of all are extremely important. Can you imagine trying to recruit a young Muslim for a suicide murder mission if he is going to be participating in al-Hiraba and thus condemned to 'jahanam' (hell)?

I routinely espoused the concepts of 'musfidoon' and 'hiraba' to the people and leaders in my province in Iraq - they began to use the words! This even spilled into some of the rhetoric of people from other provinces! We must continue to use the proper words of Islam to describe the despicable acts committed by those who pervert the teachings of the Prophet (Allah bless he and his progeny).


More discussion follows here, in the First Blog.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Amyl acetate, amyl butyrate, amyl valerate, anethol, anisyl formate, benzyl acetate, benzyl isobutyrate, butyric acid, cinnamyl isobutyrate,...

Why McDonald's French Fries Taste So Good is an Atlantic Monthly excerpt from Schlosser's Fast Food Nation. This article notes the rise of, and influence of, the flavor industry in the manipulation of our culinary desires.

The laundry list of chemicals above came from a Burger King strawberry shake. Have it your way?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Calendar of Public Meetings for December 2005

Please consider that times and places may change, so confirming details in advance is wise.

Locations:
County Commission Board Offices are at 2051 Kaen Road.
ESD office is at 4101 SE Lake Road.
Homewoods Heights is at 17999 SE River Road.
Oak Lodge Sanitary Office is at 14611 SE River Road.
Milwaukie Center is at 5440 SE Kellogg Creek Drive.
Mt. Scott Fire Station of CCFD No. 1 is at 9339 SE Causey Avenue.
SSC is the Sunnybrook Service Center, 9101 SE Sunnybrook Blvd.

Tuesday the 6th
8:30 AM Board of Commissioners Study session at Board offices.

Wednesday the 7th

7:00 PM Traffic Safety Commission meets at SSC.
7:00 PM Oak Lodge Community Council regular Nov.-Dec. meeting at Oak Lodge Sanitary office.

Thursday the 8th

7:40 AM Economic Development Commission meets at SSC.
10:00 AM Land Use Hearing with Hearings Officer at SSC.
10:00 AM Clackamas County Commissioners weekly meeting at Board offices.
6:00 PM NCP&RD DAB meets at Milwaukie Center.
7:00 PM Historic Review Board meets at SSC.

Friday the 9th
10:00 AM Milwaukie Center Advisory Board meets at Milwaukie Center.

Monday the 12th
6:30 PM Planning Commission meets at SSC.

Tuesday the 13th
9:00 AM Board of Commissioners Study session at Board offices.
6:30 PM Oak Lodge Sanitary Board monthly meeting at Board offices.

Wednesday the 14th
9:30 AM BCC Land Use Hearing at Board offices.

Thursday the 15th
9:00 AM Land Use Hearing with Hearings Officer at SSC.
10:00 AM Clackamas County Commissioners weekly meeting at Board offices.
7:00 PM North Clackamas School Board meets at ESD office.

Monday the 19th
7:00 PM Fire District No. 1 Board meeting at Mt. Scott Fire Station.

Tuesday the 20th
8:30 AM Board of Commissioners Study session at Board offices.
7:00 PM Oak Lodge Water Board monthly meeting at District offices.

Wednesday the 21st
9:00 AM Sunrise Corridor Briefing at SSC.

Thursday the 22nd
10:00 AM Clackamas County Commissioners weekly Board meeting.

Tuesday the 27th
8:30 AM Board of Commissioners Study session at Board offices.
7:00 PM Jennings Lodge CPO meets at Homewoods Heights.

Thursday the 29th
10:00 AM Clackamas County Commissioners weekly meeting at Board offices.

Tuesday December 27th
CPR training at Fire District #1: Contact the Fire Prevention Office, 503-655-8537 for details.
The cost is $10 to residents of Fire District #1.

Many thanks to the indefategable Dick Jones for this information. Any errors are mine.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Economic Recovery via WiFi

It was rumored that the first connection New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin had with the outside world after Katrina travelled on a WiFi-connected Vonage VOIP telephone linked through the dedicated folks at DirectNIC.com, who stayed on line throughout it all.

Now, Nagin's announced an initiative to cover the entire city with WiFi, starting with the Central Business District and the French Quarter. Be nice if they could fix Old Glory first, though.

But, the economic advantages of free Internet everywhere are not difficult to see... and not impractical. Sure wish the folks around here would look at free WiFi as a way to apply CPR to what's left of downtown Milwaukie, instead of bemoaning the juggernaut that is Wal-Mart.

UPDATE: BellSouth has yanked the offer to allow the City of New Orleans to temporarily use a BellSouth building to aid in the recovery, allegedly because of the WiFi project. If you're a BellSouth shareholder, you may wish to express your views here; the web form for comments for everyone else is over there.