Doug Petersen Writer, Technologist, and Uneasy Citizen of Oceania

30Aug/131

Minor Rants on This Week’s News

Great cartoon at www.theoatmeal.com that depicts an unmoved viewer comfortably ensconced in his easy chair watching the news. APR 2011: Syrian army fires on protesters. SEP 2012: Syrian army dropping cluster bombs. MAR 2013: UN concludes Syria dropped fuel-air bombs. JUN 2013: Tensions mount in Syria after Jihadists decapitate Catholic priest. JUL 2013: Death toll in Syria eclipses 100,000. TODAY: Syrian government uses chemical weapons. This last frame causes the couch potato to leap from the comfort of his chair to declare the use of chemical weapons an OUTRAGE! Brilliant cartoon in my opinion. What is it, outside the marketing of war, that makes the method of killing somehow more important than the fact that people are being killed?

News outlets have informed us that Obama is determined to punish Syria for the alleged use of chemical weapons. To hold them accountable. But the tin star is no more flattering on our Nobel Peace Prize winning President’s chest than it was on Bush's. And how many military fronts does he think we can support? Iraq (where we still have a presence). Afghanistan (a quagmire he escalated). Egypt (where a democratically elected government has been toppled in what we used to call a "coup" but can't because the prez wants to fund the opposition). Syria (where it appears we're determined to play kingmaker because of our vital American interests in the area). And speaking of strategic American interests (which used to be code for oil), what are they now? Regardless, nuclear Iran is probably happy that we're busy elsewhere. As much as I dislike agreeing with Sarah Palin, she recently had a valid point when she said, "Let Allah sort it out." Picking sides in Middle East conflicts only creates determined enemies out of one side and makes no lasting friends on the other. Is anyone still unclear why they hate us over there?

Propublica posted this yesterday: "This is why you don't hire brilliant people for jobs like this. You hire smart people. Brilliant people get you in trouble." First, that is without a doubt the worst Human Resource advice I've ever heard. Second, it was posted in reference to their article on Snowden impersonating NSA personnel. They reported that Snowden may have used someone else's credentials to log in. Wow! An evil genius! Propublica has a right to attract readers in whatever manner they choose but it seemed more than a bit thin to me. But I guess the bigger problem I have is that "news organizations" propagate the idea that it took a genius to circumvent NSA security when it was actually pathetically easy. As I described in an earlier blog post, the NSA has no business protecting the Colonel's recipe let alone state secrets. Simple controls that many businesses have (like dual control policies and data loss prevention systems) likely would have thwarted Snowden. The NSA completely effed up. Quit making excuses for them!

The Big Reveal. A lost art that has been re-discovered. We're not talking about a ceremonial revealing of the bust of a great American or the dedication of a prominent national monument. No. The kind of reveals that have risen to much-anticipated status in our culture today are...well...let's just take an example from today's headlines: Kevin Jonas (of "legendary" Jonas Brothers fame) and his wife...get this...have revealed...are you ready...the gender of their unborn child!

That’s the news, folks!

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  1. Looking forward to Major Rants :)


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