Saturday, September 27, 2014

Our Open Sewer, the World Wide Web

It doesn't seem merely coincidental  that Yahoo Mail and
Gmail are both currently experiencing password problems
of major proportions, along with the latest large franchisor
hack of  fast food Jimmy John's customer cards (06/'14-09/'14).
We must realize all the major email providers are linked,
especially Google and Yahoo. The www. is an open sewer
which will never be completely controlled until a major technical
paradigm shift occurs. Few know just how fiendishly difficult
this is, which explains why tech providers mostly issue small
changes, apps, patches, packaging, links and updates,
rather than real revolutions.

(This sad scenario reminds me of STDs--you and your sex
partner are not only enjoying a private, intimate moment, but
are including everyone else you both have had sex with,
biological transmission-wise...ugh.  Here's to
compartmentalization, whenever/wherever possible.)

Compartmentalization could really help those of us using
the web right now; employing encryption is great, where 
rigorously instituted, but it's not perfect security either.
Desperation proposes practicing old, mundane

(1) Bring back snail mail
(2) Use cameras, not cell photography
(3) Use traditional landline phones, not VOIP
       at home
(4) Find an old-fashioned fax that does not
       record/store photo copies of transmissions

There are probably many "old school" ways to
reduce your web-enabled annoyances in your
private life--but then there's the web-wired
work place, public places...ugh, again. (-!)

Unintended consequences rear their ugly
hydra-headed tentacles yet again.

[Update, September 30, 2014: The latest
hack involves Albertson-owned food
giant Jewel-Osco. It is now becoming
so routine, the lack of hack-denying
encryption by big organizations must
now be termed "willful stupidity", all to
fatten the corporate bottom line, natch.]

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Myth of American Maturity--Political, Public Behavior is by "High Schoolers"...

And "college freshmen". I have attended public meetings of
widely varied kinds and persuasions since 1960, at a camp
ground outside Austin, Texas. Slowly, but surely, public
demeanor has devolved into shouting matches, personal
attack, less apprehension of  relevant facts, etc. If you
receive emails importuning you from sundry organizations
and campaigns, note the low level of English--"hey", "gonna",
too many exclamation points and red bold face, ad nauseam.

Over 125 years ago, fist fights and canings were sad
spectacles on the floor of the U.S. Congress; afterwards,
greater attention to dignified, reasoned behavior seemed to
be on the ascendant.  In the past few decades, lapses in
public have become more widespread, sanctioned by
"let it all hang out", the emblematic cliche' of the 1970s.

Go to village or city meetings, watch nightly news,
read so-called "premier" newspapers--will you
observe maturity of expression in those venues?
Here and there, yes, often, no.

The "me" generation(s) have become the forever
funsters who refuse to grow up or old gracefully,
via Viagra, plastic surgery, implants, etc., with
less-than desirable behavior mimicking the young to
match. (It's not an attractive historical moment we're
living in.)

Acting like irresponsible teenagers gives the lie
to any myth of American maturity, even in the
political arena and some churches--right at a time
when we must be at our best, with proliferating
primitive terror groups gaining ground each week.

Heeding H.G Wells' prescient fiction from the early
1900s and the factors in the Fall of Ancient Rome
(~410 A.D.) should be enough to help hurry us along
any growing up we'd better do; I wouldn't give most
"high schoolers" the vote or much credence in
serious matters...

But there they are, in Congress, in your town,
your state, irrespective of their true chronological

Monday, September 22, 2014

China vs. The United States: Death By a Thousand Cuts

China doesn't need a sophisticated missile system or any other
advanced weaponry to achieve ascendancy over our country.
China has "invested" roughly ten per cent of its economy over
here; those notes, called in when we are least able to repay,
are a  potential form of Trojan Horse, trampling by economic
devious, deft, design. It can destroy our trees (the Emerald
Ash Borer came from cheap Chinese imported wood), put lead
and other toxins into imported baby bibs and pet food, and now
--high tech, fake IDs. According to Chicago CBS TV 2, the fakes
sell for about $100 each, and are almost impossible to detect--
even by Homeland Security. (Recalling Tweedle Dee and
Tweedle Dumb Ridge and Chertoff, highly-placed  "national
security experts", I feel zero surprise at the latest news.)

It's time for clarity on U.S. security matters. Besides
insane, murderous Middle East primitive religious radicals,
China and Russia have never gotten over the "end" of
the Cold War. Russia's areas of attack involve cyber
situations, Mafia-like tactics and kidnapping gullible
girls for the sex trade. Lately spoiling for a fight, Russia
has tested us through proxies NATO, the Ukraine and
its Russian Separatists. China, however, harries my mind
more than Russia, whose moves via Putin patently
reveal themselves...

China has the expertise of subtlety and patience,
producing one small problem at a time, aided by
Clinton's NAFTA, which was poorly thought through.

Let's beware, be aware: China may become the next
superpower, simply by administering death by
a thousand cuts.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The 227th Anniversary of the U.S. Constitution: Today's Important Date Will Be Sparsely Showcased

For decades now, our national and local media mavens here
have handed short shrift to the nation's most significant
document, the presumed highest law of the land, our often
imitated Constitution. Such a shame, because the process
to create the document is as fascinating to learn about as the
resultant body of laws is inextricably connected  to who we

The Founders were a group of men who assiduously prized
learning, and it showed. Jefferson, Minister to Paris, could only
participate by packet, which took six weeks from Europe to the
Colonies. But what an immense influence he was, sending books
to Madison about civilizations from all around the world, Greece,
Rome,  Asia, Northern Africa, on governments and trade practices
they had  erected in their successful societies. (Of course English
Common Law was the greater portion, already practised by
Colonial  lawyers and administrators.)

Madison, who wrote most of the Constitution, had all of these
references to consult for the duration of the Constitutional
Convention, which ran from May to September, 1787.
European Enlightenment values were imprinted into our
document, which has stood for 227 years, only added to by
amendment 27 times. What an astounding achievement: sitting
down, deliberating as to the best society to create, entailing
issues of due process, human rights, legal aspects of declaring
war and conducting trade...

But you won't see much on  the free networks tonight or
cable news, except on rare history programming. George
Santayana still has the telling words on the subject--
"Those who forget the lessons of history are doomed
to repeat it".  George wouldn't be surprised to discover
how few constitutional rights, requirements, obligations
and privileges are understood by the average adult

Our ignorance imperils us all--THAT does get showcased
on every night's news broadcasts.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

September 11th: Praise for the President, Pans for the NFL

13 years after the terror attacks on the East Coast,
September 11th brings sobering reflections: terror lives,
it always may, it must be beaten back as much as possible.
To this end President Obama has come up with an action
plan, slightly circumspect and coordinated globally (he
hopes) to limit the threat ISIS poses to its region and
the West. Considering how little the U.S. really knows
about the culture, concerns, language and history of 
Arab areas, Mr. Obama's current plans are reasonable
indeed. It isn't just a matter of two American journalists
being beheaded, as primitively ghastly as such tactics
are; it is the stated intentions of these murderous armed
radicals that should alarm us...

The saying, "you can't kill an idea" is accurate, for good
or for ill, but we must regard such as ISIS as weeds
which require killing periodically, simply to survive.
Our resolve, treasure and policy must be clear here.
Back in the early 2000s, Freedom House claimed no
less than 50 nations out of the some 200 on Earth
harbored Al Qaeda cells and sympathizers. That is
a significant minority worthy of concern--and

Then there is the apparently sanctioned domestic
terror at home, men against their female partners.
Memo to the NFL and all football teams: why would
we women watch football, buy tickets to games,
marry or have sex with its players, clean players'
homes and allow these thugs to father our children?

Victimized Mrs. Rice in  her way is as blameworthy
as NFL head Roger Goodell, good-appearing (perhaps)
if not good at setting proper boundaries and penalties
for unacceptable behavior. Beaten senseless for all to
see via videos, then fiancee Rice subsequently marries
Mr. Rice. --WHAT? No consequences for almost
killing her? That's not love, not as I could possibly
understand it. She should think more of herself
than that. But I've said, still say, the whole world
of the NFL and any pretenders to that status sanction
violence toward its players and their women. It
will never end until the sport morphs into Touch
Football instead, unlikely for decades if at all.

So on this day of somber remembrance,
praise for our President, pans and boycotts
for the NFL.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Don't Cry for Me, Chicago-I'm Crying for You

...With the two presumed candidates for Chicago Mayor
in 2015 being Karen Lewis and Rahm Emanuel, Chicago
loses whoever wins. One, Karen Lewis, seldom evinces
the high intelligence she presumably possesses, having
taught Chemistry at Lane Tech and elsewhere for 22 years.
Then there is Rahm E., a diplomate in the Arts with political
experience and a very profitable but short stint as an
investment banker.

Why are either of them qualified to run a diverse, important
city like Chicago? I see her as a loud, overweight woman,
who could do and know better as a scientifically educated
person.  She may run because she has an ambitious ego and
backing, however insignificant or significant such support may be.
HE is even more of a maneuverer and an opportunist, who I trust
less; these two do boast a fiery nature, but feistiness alone can't
carry the day...

If the motive is to inject justice, peace, morality, fair play,
financial solvency and a reaffirmation that Chicago IS the city
that works, that is.

Does Chicago STILL WORK? Will it work with either R
or K at the helm? I'm crying for Chicago, where I lived and
worked for most of my life, so I care, worry too.

Here's hoping a dark horse comes along with  the finest
credentials, someone who inspires all to aim higher, who
then becomes the next Chicago Mayor.  

Hope, hope, hope....