How Snowden turned U.S. intel into a healthcare.gov Tech-Apocalypse

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The Federalist‘s Ben Domenech wrote a great analysis of how Eric Snowden‘s revelations hurt the U.S. when he released information on U.S. international intelligence operations that really had no relation to the protection of American privacy.  It only hurt U.S. intelligence efforts around the world.

And if you really think the U.S. shouldn’t be doing this at all, as if no other countries do whatever they can to figure out what the U.S. is up to or what our interests might be internationally, you are quite the naive one!

The other interesting development from President Obama’s speech yesterday was the decision (See second paragraph.) to allow his subordinates to determine and design a system for allowing access to U.S. phone records when needed for reasons of national security.

The president said he no longer wants the National Security Agency to maintain a database of such records. But he left the creation of a new system to subordinates and lawmakers, many of whom are divided on the need for reform.

Wait a second …

Isn’t this the same creative team with the same management and executive leadership that came up with the healthcare.gov website?!?

So how well will all of you be sleeping NOW with that little nugget of info???

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No man is an Island … unless an Island he is

zombie-hands

Now I know what a Zombie Apocalypse
might look like …

I stand alone.  It’s official.

At some point this week, my last hope that good parenting, a quality standard of living, and the example – so often set here – that a grounded political philosophy can hold up to any intellectual challenge was smothered in the simple act of renewing a Pennsylvania driver’s license.

My youngest son changed his voter registration to Democrat.  And he is the smart one!

Was the smart one …

How did he express his change of affiliation when asked?  “I changed my mind.”

He made it sound like he was changing his socks.

Maybe it’s a statement on my Leadership.  Maybe I didn’t politically proselytize enough when the boys were so impressionable the correct politic would have been permanently ingrained, like their Philly accents.  Maybe I made one too many mistakes as a parent.

Oh well …

So now I am surrounded.  But that’s OK.  I can take solace in the following.

    • Neither one of them votes to my knowledge; and unfortunately, getting an Absentee Ballot is about to get a lot harder for one Temple Owl!
    • Mr. Hoot is also going to love taking the Broad St Subway back to school in the company of so many of his Democrat buds!
    • The two lost offspring who still list our home as primary residence do not as yet have to buy their own healthcare on those sterling examples of Government efficacy and Democrat “know how”, those Obamacare exchanges.  (I just want to be in the room when they find out how much they will be paying!)

doctor-obamacare

    • Neither have they had to worry about supporting themselves entirely on their own, and by doing so discover just how hard it is to stay ahead of the curve all the while supporting so many who simply don’t bother trying.
    • Nor do they possess the baseline from which they can gauge all that marvelous Hope and Change to which they are obviously drawn.
    • I still hold very limited influence over my Better Half. Carol votes Republican – I think – but has little interest in changing party affiliation for some reason.

In the end, I will continue to stand as the Lion at the Gate.  Politely accepting the political materials dropped off at the house by my Democrat opposition during elections cycles and quietly sorting the mail.   Not sure why those materials never seem to arrive with their intended receivers.

I guess all’s fair in Love and Poltics!

Of course I told the house’s latest Democrat that he will always be welcomed back into the real Party of Progress … once he regains his senses!

But for now, I am the lone Grand Old Party stalwart beating back the political zombies seeking to weaken the ramparts, while keeping the inmates calm and reassuring them that they can have their political say the second Tuesday of every November!

Pomegranates Eating Tasty Anthropoids

Every so often on my way to work, as I enter Philly via Cheltenham I come across a red Prius – a Hybrid no doubt – sporting a red bumper sticker that states

Usually I just get a chuckle out of it; shake my head; and move along.  That’s just my first reaction however.  I might also ponder what reason or purpose these creatures would serve, if not those so clearly expressed on the back of my favorite red Toyota Prius hybrid. How might I classify such purposeless creatures?  And I resist the temptation to say “Democrat”!

(Sorry … My post-election resistance is still low.)

But since the last time I saw the aforementioned bumper sticker, it has been tugging at my brain like a persistent 3-year-old.  I simply can’t shake the nagging question of what exactly such Tasty Animals were intended for, if not Exploitation by Man. With another Thanksgiving approaching, a holiday when many a stately bird is sacrificed in the name of the National Family Holiday, it seems to be an appropriate time to consider this problem.

Two’s a secret; three’s a conspiracy …

It’s an interesting conundrum, with many little twists and turns that really make you think about the ecosystem Man inhabits and his effects on said system.  But in the interest of Full Disclosure, I have to be honest in admitting I really, really, really love a good ribeye!  Especially one done on a very hot barbie, where the fat cracks and sizzles as it melts and adds that unmistakable flavor to moist, tender beef …

Geez, I’m sweating …

Anyways, I’m always struck by the compassion and sensitivity of the Meat is Murder (MIM) crowd.  They are passionate.  They are committed.  They are plainly speaking from the heart for those species that cannot speak for themselves, that cannot lobby their rights, that are truly at the mercy of Man.

But let’s think about that one …  Would it be any different if Man wasn’t the dominate species?

Pomegranate-enslaved humanoid

In researching the subject of Meat is Murder, I ran across the following argument, “Suppose a species larger and smarter than man existed on Earth.”

What if the Pomegranates were perched at the top of the food chain?

(I know … pomegranates?!?  Bare with me.)

My guess is that a lot of us would be lying low in the weeks running up to Thanksgiving, should our sweet human meat enjoy the status as the National Foodstuff of Master Pomegranate’s Black Friday Eve.  But if that were the case, it would – most likely – be a condition that developed over the course of Nature’s millennia.

Unless of course, we speak of an alien Pomegranate species from another galaxy, roaming the star systems in search of good fertilizer and moderate growing temps; pillaging this Big Blue Marble; and feasting on local populations.

In either case, the Pecking Order would have been established – as it always is – based entirely on which species was stronger, more adaptive, of greater intelligence, and possessing the more highly developed kitchen cutlery.  The Stronger hunt and kill; they domesticate the Weaker species; some they would eat; some they would ride; some they would use for clothing or entertainment.

Pomegranates: proficient breeders whose offspring are capable of forming intricate designs in the wild

Of course, from our point of view this situation would suck.  It would especially suck if it happened at the hands of alien Pomegranates that supplant us at the peak of the Big Blue Marble food chain.  All of us turkeys-in-waiting would be cursed with the KNOWLEDGE what was at steak.

Sorry … Couldn’t help myself.

But let’s not kid ourselves, if Pomegranates took a page from the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, they would do what they wanted with us.  This is until we stopped them.  No touch-y feel-y existentialism would likely alter the end result – Cranky Giblets!  (Just in case, here’s how to avenge Humankind.)  This is – not surprisingly – what our REAL, current carnivore competitors do TO US when we wander into their oh-sh*t-where-the-hell’s-the-truck/boat territory.

Survival of the strongest …

Now the MIM crowd would argue that Man – as the more intelligent species – should be much more sensitive to the plight of the lesser animals.  Perhaps we were back when Man was still living in caves and limited to eating nuts and berries.

I tend to believe that the definition of Animal Husbandry changed dramatically and irreversibly when that first caveman found out what fire roasted meat tasted like.  From then on, the over-riding quest became finding the best way to roast, grill, bake, or broil the perfect piece of meat.

Don’t let this …

And as anyone who has tried to go back to the Nut ‘n Berry route after years of steaks and breast meat can tell you, it ain’t all that easy trying to put THAT genie back in the bottle!

And while we’re at it, why would The Line be drawn at Animal/Vegetable by the MIM crowd?  What about the feelings and sensitivities of our plentiful Plant life?!?  Nope, the MIMs don’t want to go there!  How could they possibly push BOTH concepts of “Meat is Murder” and “Salad is Murder”???

Yet there are numerous studies on the intelligence, reactive capabilities, and even communication behavior of plants.  But the MIM crowd doesn’t want us marching down that road … Recoiling at the screams of the Chick Peas as they are conveyed in the millions towards the HummusMasher 8000!

… or this happen to YOU!

No … No … Picking among species we are “allowed” to eat would defeat the purpose, because no truly sensitive, well-adjusted, in-tune with Nature being should be able to do that!  So, we are left to our own devices in determining the whys and hows of an Animal/Plant line of demarcation.

But here’s the Key Point …

You can be certain that if the Pomegranates truly ruled The Planet, and along the way developed a taste for Human spareribs; we’d all be hiding right next to the turkeys in the weeks leading up to Black Friday Eve!

A 1% President?

(Enjoy this re-post both timely and appropriate for this week of  the Democratic National Committee convention in Charlotte, NC. Previously posted in January 2012.)

Democratic Party officials announced recently that President Obama will accept his party’s nomination on the last night of their national convention at Bank of America Stadium.

It’s an odd choice, given the recent spate of Occupy Wall Street events originating from the most liberal wings of the Democratic Party.  The visuals will not be very comforting to those who believe that the richest 1% of the country set the rules that elevates, protects and perpetuates their wealth, while at the same time oppresses the remaining 99%.

The re-election imagery for OWS’s Presumptive Hero could be a Recipe for Disaster …

  • Standing in front of a Bank of America backdrop, which BofA paid $100 million just for 20 years worth of naming rights …
  • In the Home of the Carolina Panthers and their 1% athletes …
  • Who are owned by Jerry Richardson, former CEO of Flagstar, whose net worth is estimated at $500 million …
  • In front of Democrat contributors willing to pay up to $1.5 million for the full-blown Premiere Events Package.
  • Serve over 8.5% Unemployment and the “disappearing middle class”

Hmmmmm …

Well, the good news is that it will be a heck of a lot warmer for the good Occupy Wall Street people in Charlotte in early September than it was on Wall Street this past November.  That’s assuming of course that they even bother to show up to drag this particular demographic of the 1% out into the glaring media light.

I’m not holding my breath … 

If you too want the Superbox Treatment”, consider your options:

Suzi Emmerling, a spokeswoman for the Charlotte Host Committee, confirmed a Bloomberg report that those deals — presented to Washington lobbyists last month — include an escalating menu of packages starting with the $1 million “presidential” level. Those who buy in will receive a “premier uptown hotel room,” a “platinum events package and “concierge services.” Another $500,000 “Gold Rush” level includes hotel room, credentials and a “premiere events package.”

Myself?  I’ll be home watching the Democratic National Convention on TV with my 99% compadres, all the while marveling at how the Democratic 1% get to live it so large!

When the crazies kill, why sanction the legal and responsible?

Here we go again …

Another crazy gets hold of an arsenal of weapons; breaks almost every law in the books; and shoots scores of innocents.  And the result is predictable … a groundswell of opinion that never wavers … PASS LAWS TO RESTRICT GUN OWNERSHIP!

The problem with that sentiment is that third word … “LAWS”.  Because “laws” only apply to those inclined to obey them in the first place!  

It’s one thing if our elected leaders had the backbone to take on such an unpopular position (unpopular that is to most people who do not live in large, liberal-run cities) and accept the political consequences.  But that’s rarely ever the case, when politics and power are of greater value.  And that’s exactly the sentiment that was expressed by Democrat stalwart Senator (CA) Dianne Feinstein, who stated, although a sane discussion on gun control and a ban on military-type assault rifles was important, an election year was not the time to address it. 

Huh?!?  Wouldn’t that be the PERFECT time to address the issue?!?

Apparently the Democrats see a discussion of gun control to be a political loser in a year when President Obama is fighting for re-election in what is expected to be a close election.  For these Democrats, the subject of limiting gun violence by restricting access to guns for everyone is trumped by White House aspirations.  It says much about where the issue really sits with the political animals of the Democratic Party.  So, if they refuse to have this discussion now, why should they be taken seriously when they finally get around to it? 

In that same vein, we are still waiting for The President to get around to his 2008 campaign promises on gun control.  Instead, President Obama has signed bills allowing guns in national parks and even on Amtrak!   He has steadfastly refused to seek reinstatement of the Assault Weapons Ban.  And maybe that’s the real reason Democrats – like Senator Feinstein – do not wish to bring it up now!

But in truth, even if we did have this conversation today, it would accomplish NOTHING for keeping guns of all shapes, sizes, and magazine capacities from the criminals and the crazies. 

If it were that easy, we wouldn’t have had Aurora … or Columbine … or Howard Unruh … or the University of Texas clock tower … or Virginia Tech …

That’s the REAL problem … the criminals and the crazies.  You have no right to ask law-biding citizens to give up access to responsible gun ownership if you have no prospects for denying similar weapons to the criminals and the crazies.  And it’s mind-boggling that anyone would propose such a ban in an age where our own Federal Government openly distributed guns to the most dangerous criminals currently on the continent.  They must solve the problem of keeping automatic assault weapons from the drug runners, the gangs, and criminally insane before asking John Q. Citizen to even consider doing the same.   

I ain’t holding my breath on the former, but fully expect continued efforts to do the latter.

For another reason entirely, I laugh when gun opponents run up the flag of the Founding Fathers to claim that they had no intention for gun ownership to exist outside what was needed for the purposes of organized state militias.  That may well have been their original intent, just like it was to restrict the voting rights of women or to count African slaves as 3/5 of a person.  In reality, the concept of militia had little-to-nothing to do historically with the development of a gun culture in the United States.

Every household in 18th century America REQUIRED the possession of a firearm.  This was not a legal requirement; it was a requirement for survival.  For if you lived anywhere other than the relative safety of early American cities, a gun was as important as food in surviving the dangers and hostilities of the unsettled frontier. 

Whether it was dealing with the growing hostility of a native population or using the point-of-a-gun to discourage foreign intervention and push American civilization West across the North American continent, the National Government fostered the concept of private gun ownership – far removed from the concept of militia service – among its citizens.  Huge tracts of territory were settled and controlled; colonial forces from Spain, Britain, and France were pushed out; and the Wild West was colonized, then civilized with the help of armed citizens that NEVER once stepped foot into a militia formation.

It renders the concept of “militia” a convenient interpretation of a badly worded phrase in the Bill of Rights.  So for better or worse – depending on your point-of-view – America grew and flourished as the result of a gun culture that was accepted by a Government led directly by those same Founding Fathers.  The same ones who supposedly never intended private gun ownership outside of a quasi-military apparatus. 

The irony seems lost on those who want to blame the carnage on law-biding citizens and their long-held rights.

The evolution of a President?!?

It is refreshing to witness President Obama‘s “evolution” on the issue of gay marriage.

His Darwinesque mutation took only three years!!  That’s just the three years he spent in The White House.  Should you discount his two years as an active U.S. Senator, his seven years as a State Senator, and his years serving as a community organizer?  Perhaps gay marriage was never an important issue to him or a conscious thought that simply never crossed his mind.

Interesting that Evolve has suddenly found its way into President Obama’s skill set at a time when so many Liberals choose the very same word as a snarky suggestion to Conservatives who come down on the wrong side of social issues.  Apparently Conservatives weren’t the only ones needing to “evolve”.

Well, at least we can take comfort in knowing this was not a politically motivated “coming out”!  It’s not like he …

  • wanted to avert all eyes from the Economy during a re-election year, or
  • needed a Vice President and Press Secretary to stick their heads up out of the foxhole first to see if it was safe, or
  • was headed for a HUGE George Clooney-organized Hollywood fund-raiser …

George Clooney‘s Obama fundraiser …. oops!

Oh, c’mon … That couldn’t be the reason why this was announced now … in a re-election year … on the eve of a night with deep pocketed, gay and gay-supporting Hollywood types … Could it?!?  Nah ….

The best part is that our Brave, Forward-Thinking, Ground-Breaking President has once again given the objective media chills … be they up Chris Matthews leg or down Robin Roberts back!

I’m just thankful this evolution was totally the result of careful introspection and the need to lead the Nation in the right direction, completely devoid of any political motivation whatsoever!

Next up … Fixing the Economy!!

Now I can get back to figuring out how to help that Nigerian Finance Minister rescue that £150 million …

A 1% President?

Democratic Party officials announced recently that President Obama will accept his party’s nomination on the last night of their national convention at Bank of America Stadium.

It’s an odd choice, given the recent spate of Occupy Wall Street events originating from the most liberal wings of the Democratic Party.  The visuals will not be very comforting to those who believe that the richest 1% of the country set the rules that elevates, protects and perpetuates their wealth, while at the same time oppresses the remaining 99%.

The re-election imagery for OWS’s Presumptive Hero could be a Recipe for Disaster …

  • Standing in front of a Bank of America backdrop, which BofA paid $100 million just for 20 years worth of naming rights …
  • In the Home of the Carolina Panthers and their 1% athletes …
  • Who are owned by Jerry Richardson, former CEO of Flagstar, whose net worth is estimated at $500 million …
  • In front of Democrat contributors willing to pay up to $1.5 million for the full-blown Premiere Events Package.
  • Serve over 8.5% Unemployment and the “disappearing middle class”

Hmmmmm …

Well, the good news is that it will be a heck of a lot warmer for the good Occupy Wall Street people in Charlotte in early September than it was on Wall Street this past November.  That’s assuming of course that they even bother to show up to drag this particular demographic of the 1% out into the glaring media light.

I’m not holding my breath … 

If you too want the Superbox Treatment”, consider your options:

Suzi Emmerling, a spokeswoman for the Charlotte Host Committee, confirmed a Bloomberg report that those deals — presented to Washington lobbyists last month — include an escalating menu of packages starting with the $1 million “presidential” level. Those who buy in will receive a “premier uptown hotel room,” a “platinum events package and “concierge services.” Another $500,000 “Gold Rush” level includes hotel room, credentials and a “premiere events package.”

Myself?  I’ll be home watching the Democratic National Convention on TV with my 99% compadres, all the while marveling at how the Democratic 1% get to live it so large!

Was slavery the only issue in U.S. Civil War?

The following was written as a letter to the editors at The Philadelphia Inquirer in response to several letters (See fifth letter down.) in the past week or so protesting commemorations of The Civil War as “glorifications” of slavery (i.e. commemorations in the southern U.S.).

I really do not understand all the sudden angst over observances related to the American Civil War.  I do not understand the insistence on framing the war totally within the context of slavery.  Anyone, who has taken the time to study the development of the American experiment through the 18th and 19th centuries and the origins of the hostilities that broke out in 1861, recognizes that slavery was not the only issue that defined the war.   

The American republic had many more issues before it than the horrors of slavery.  The questions of states rights, the strength of a centralized federal government, the interests of agrarian vs. industrialized economies, even the success of a Lincoln-led administration were all factors of immense national interest at stake.  As such, both the North and the South had legitimate vital interests in the conflict that went beyond the insidious practice of slavery. 

Slavery as the only issue related to the war does not explain Lincoln’s own admission that he would have resolved the conflict – if he could – without freeing a single slave.  It also does not account for the fact that hundreds of thousands of poor, non-slave owning Southerners fought willingly against the overwhelming advantages of the North.  The fact is that hundreds of thousands died in that war with no stake on the issue of slavery.  Many of them unemployed immigrants fighting for the North just for money to survive in a new world. 

There is no reason to restrict “glorification” of a preeminent event in American history solely to the issue of slavery.  To do so dismisses so much more that can be learned about how the United States stayed a united nation and the experiment continued on its epic journey.  

Mike —-

 All the angst seems motivated by the fact that the wrong people – Southerners – might want to commemorate an event that was also crucial to the history and development of that region.  Not to mention the fact that hundreds of thousands died there also, many of them dirt-poor farmers who did not own and could not afford slaves.

This is so much more about Liberal guilt over American history than it is any attempt to put that event into its proper historical context.