Temporary? Sewage from the Washington Post

The Washington Post has slyly entered the liberal media campaign against D. Rump (take the pledge to *NOT* give his full name social media hits as well as to document whence come his policy proposals) by temporarily publishing a cartoon depicting Cruz’s children as monkeys. Nice play Post – if you no longer care about your integrity and reputation as an actual news outlet and home to journalists. Let’s review: 1) You gave Cruz a media storm 2) You created sympathy for Cruz amongst the folks who are certain of your liberal bias 3) You admitted that your editor is completely asleep at the switch 4) You lowered yourself to the rung of publications several layers of sewage below the surface where it is perfectly fine to attack innocent children 5) You washed your hands of all this with a note 6) Good luck with the hand washing, Pilate – at least it is sewage, not blood.

Anyone who believes this was inadvertent likely believes you are an objective source of news. Shame on them. Shame on you.

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So how much would it cost to house 50,000 Syrian immigrants in luxury for as long as it takes to be sure they are safe?

Nothing, compared to our humanity.

This entire issue is being presented as an either/or “I’m right and you are wrong” issue. We absolutely should take a share of world-wide refugees on a continuous basis over time. That should be a general policy of every stable free country the even pretends to be a member of the community of nations.

Ah, but we do have some specifics to consider.

If they happen to be from a region (neither ethnicity nor race nor religion) where it seems likely persons with bad intentions will infiltrate the refugee pool, I don’t find it innately offensive that we take our sweet time getting the innocents completely free into our society.

Done poorly it could be offensive.

Done well it could be a model for civilization.

Oh, and by the way: Some folks are trying to liken this to the almost certainly illegal detention of citizens of Japanese extraction in World War II. If you are paying attention, that should not pass the laugh test for more reasons than I’ll try to enumerate. But I will give you a few off the top of my head:

First, the WWII interment included citizens as opposed to petitioners for entry.

Second, the WWII interment probably expropriated wealth from citizens without due process.

Third, the WWII interment (whether for lack of resources or wanting to punish persons of Japanese extraction for the bombing of Pearl Harbor whether or not they had anything to do with it or both) involved facilities that could be generously described as austere.

Okay. I hope that is enough that you will actually laugh out loud if someone tries to convince you that detaining #SyrianRefugees for a while has any correspondence with the WWII interment of citizens of Japanese extraction.

What we should be proposing for the #SyrianRefugees should be so good and laden with features (such as education, cultural opportunities, and entertainment) that the candidates for entry will be disappointed upon release from the screening facility. It should be so good that someone who infiltrated with bad intentions will exit into society with a new world view. Finally: Give the #SyrianRefugees who are candidates for entry to the US a legitimate opt-in, opt-out choice for alternative placement in some other country. We’ll know our program is not good enough if there are not plenty of candidates for entry into other countries who will leap at the chance to come here knowing they may face a protracted stay at the screening facility.

Dear Congress:

Do the right thing. I’m pretty doggone sure you can find some money for this in defense and intelligence budgets. It will probably cost less than one fighter jet. And if you’re more interested in adding up the financial ledger than doing the right thing as its own reason, get your staff to estimate the public relations (okay, propaganda) value of this approach over those shouting “Death to America.” And please remember: Most of the refugees are just plain folks running away from trouble they had no means to fight against. If we take 50,000 or 100,000 it would be a difficult task for the bad authorities in the currently bad places these fellow humans are fleeing to place more than one or two infiltrators. So let’s treat all of them extremely well as we provide them a safe haven. And release them carefully.

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

I’ll be saying Merry Christmas, perhaps as early as the start of Advent. I might also toss in a Happy Holidays now and then and the only reason I won’t say “Happy Hanukah” to my Jewish Friends is I can’t get agreement on spelling or pronunciation. But I won’t be offended by any business or person who says anything else or even is rude about my greeting. First, Christ would not like it. Second, the First Amendment has got freedom of religion just right: The state cannot establish a particular church nor impede the free exercise of a particular church. And while I might reward a business with a nice Christmas display after Thanksgiving, I won’t be boycotting a business for whatever reason they decide to not have a Christmas display. That would be downright un-Christian.


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Improved #IranDeal

The existing #IranDeal proposed by the Obama administration for approval by congress involves a considerable amount of questionable verification procedures. For the moment, let us assume the verifications will all work and even that Iran will make no attempt to circumvent the proposed deal. In that case, it is entirely reasonable to expect Iran to have a nuclear arsenal within twenty years. With a modest amount of circumvention and subterfuge that could be as little as twelve years, but let us not get side tracked by splitting hairs over eight years more or less.

The Obama administration and various pundits claim this is the best deal we are going to get and that the alternatives are all worse. My response is that plenty of alternatives that would be readily agreed to by Iran exist. They are too numerous to list, so I will just relate my personal favorite, which tends to stabilize the region, eliminate any reason for Israel to make a preemptive strike, and generally sets the stage for Iran to work on the welfare of its people and economy.

My favorite version of an improved #IranDeal is this: Iran gets a nuclear arsenal NEVER.

Apart from removing the time limits on the various inspections and quantities in favor of Iran getting a nuclear arsenal NEVER, we sweeten the deal: As long as Iran does not have a nuclear arsenal, we promise to not invade them. (And they still get all the accommodations in the current deal.)

This is a far better deal for Iran, and if you doubt they will accept it, offer it to them.

I do not respect any counter arguments or reasoning claiming to understand the minds of those in  power in Iran regarding their strategic interest so as to presume they will not accept this version of the deal. Argue all you want why they won’t accept the deal. OFFER the deal genuinely and they will accept. Prove me wrong, don’t try to argue me wrong. When a simple test is available, it is idiotic to argue that you know the minds of someone else. So rather than writing a tome about exactly how I think it is in Iran’s strategic interest to avoid the costs and risks of a nuclear weapons program, just do this: OFFER the deal.

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test blog entry to check filter to oaktable.net

nothing to see here, just testing a filter to a technical blog aggregator.

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IRAN “Deal” is a plan for IRAN to have nukes within a dozen years

The Iran “Deal” trading a removal of economic sanctions (which make it difficult economically for Iran to pursue development of nuclear weapons and delivery mechanisms) for the promise of a delay in developing nuclear weapons by Iran is a short sighted agreement.

In fact, even assuming that Iran perfectly adheres to all it is supposed to do, this “deal” is a plan for  Iran to be within its rights to be able to resume building a nuclear arsenal in a decade and probably have significant throw weight within a dozen years.

Are we convinced a mere decade will transform Iran into a nation we can trust with nuclear weapons?

Not likely.

No nukes for Iran now, No nukes for Iran tomorrow. No nukes for Iran for a *LOT* more than a dozen years. Stop this plan. Stop any plan for Iran to eventually have nuclear weapons.

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STEM to STEAM, Andy Savage, and a manipulative huffpost ad that could have been great

Andy Savage gave a powerful and on-target keynote at the Collaborate Conference (Quest, OAUG, and IOUG #C14LV). There is a nice summary at http://collaborate.ioug.org/p/bl/et/blogid=40&blogaid=289 , which I recommend. My favorite bit was point #7 : Art belongs in the same discussions as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S.T.E.A.M., not S.T.E.M.).

Andy phrased his entire take, even the bits of irony, on calling for positive action.

This is in contrast to a recent huffpost manipulation: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/24/verizon-ad-tells-parents-to-encourage-girls_n_5526236.html

that insinuates compliments on being pretty imply stupid repression. It cobbles together a fictional account that would make anyone who took even the basic youth sports coach seminar cringe. See it yourself. Now the voiceovers of objection to specific acts of the girl in question were about preventing certain imminent disasters, but were phrased in the worst possible way. It is probably worth watching. Then come back here.

Now as I recall the very first introductory NYSCA seminar video, there was a bit about encouraging positive action, especially in kids. Scene one, dad coaching new bike rider on a sidewalk fringed by hedges: “Don’t ride into the hedges.” Of course the kid looks at the hedge on one side and rides right into it. Scene two: “Ride between the hedges down the center of the sidewalk.” The kid looks at the hedges, then looks at the center of the sidewalk, and rides down the center of the sidewalk to success. Hooray. Oversimplified? Perhaps a bit, but the underlying point is to coach the thing you want to have happen as a positive and as the last words in an instruction.

So what does this have to do with the Huffpost ad? Sigh. Well plenty. So consider the girl in the muddy rivulet wearing a party dress. “Don’t get your dress dirty.” could have been: “Let’s get into our adventure clothes before we climb up that muddy stream.” Another bit has the girl struggling with a power drill awkwardly on what looks like expensive equipment that might be ruined or at least damaged by unskillful drilling. “Be careful! Give that to your brother!” (Who in addition to being male, seems older and skilled at using power drills just by the way he takes the handle.) So how about “Let’s practice some drilling on some scrap so we do a better job on the telescope.” The message still prevents the imminent danger and probable damage, but it re-casts the message from “you can’t do that” to “you surely will be able to do that better with a little practice.”

That sums up my objection to the manipulation of this ad. 1) Its very title implies that a compliment about being pretty must come coupled with offensive other remarks, and 2) That there is no way to prevent bad results without causing psychological restriction on the person restrained from getting dirty in party clothes or getting hurt and damaging expensive equipment.

So rise above this manipulation! Voice restraints and prevent accidents WITH your best thoughts about how to accomplish the desired activity safely and to a good result. If you cannot offer a solution in real time, there is always the generic fallback, something like: “Hang on a second. Let’s figure out how you can do that {safely | effectively | without trashing your pretty dress}. ”

And let’s make sure we don’t trash ART while praising Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Praise being well-rounded and note that excellence in Art is synergistic with excellence in STEM: STEAM! (Thanks Adam). And of course also, let’s get geared up for #C15LV. Happy New Year.

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