Thursday, June 19, 2014

Iraq Faux Pas: The Next Trick

by Meg Sonata

A friend of mine used to say, “Now, for my next trick....” when he dribbled hot sauce on his favorite tie. The purpose of this phrase becomes obvious: deft recognition that the speaker has committed a faux pas, a social error that cuts the speaker from his gang's pool and holiday parties.

French may offer the international language of diplomacy, but in American English, the art of speaking the truth slant becomes poetry, the achievement of Emily Dickinson, a spinster who never traveled to Iraq or presumed she knew how Iraqis should celebrate their social events.

God knows—in whatever language He speaks now in the West—Senator Dianne Feinstein could use a translator for her proclamations. As reported by CNN, she declared: “The Maliki government, candidly, has got to go if you want any reconciliation," under their headline: “Chorus grows for al-Maliki to go.”

So, we're speaking “candidly” now? Okay, let's begin by acknowledging we've heard this chorus before. We heard the ranting rise—let's see, how long is the list?--over Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Libya—and, if we're speaking “candidly,” that same chorus now grows for US leaders to be more than bobble-heads.

Yes, while job openings may appear slim, there's always an opportunity for Mr. or Ms. Fix-it in the US. Now, credentials for this position in Iraq remain the question: How many Americans know World History back to the seventh century? How about the Roman Empire? You good on that, too?

Grievances in the Middle East run clear back to the Great Pyramids. These include whether they should still be standing, who should stand over them waving a banner, and who has a right to export wonders of the ancient world—from East to West, and even West to West.

Step forward, applicants for the Mr./Ms. Fix-It position in Iraq. Oh please, lecture us again. We are holding our breath to see how many sentences you can construct with out-sourcing to shock and awe us. A competition for faux pas comes with the territory; the records for faux pas are just outstanding!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

"Ignorant Folks" and Wiretapping Laws in the US

"Ignorant Folks" and Wiretapping Laws in the US 
(9_ 9) A New Rolling Eyes Column!

by Meg Sonata

In all disputes concerning recorded conversations, where are the legal statements from lawyers regarding federal and state regulations on wiretapping? The following website offers an overview and sources for "ignorant folks who want to advertise their ignorance," as highlighted by CNN in its lead story this morning: 

This website may prove invaluable because it offers links to states' laws, too. 

See also:

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Should Jeb Bush Run for President?

How about Jeb Bush taking up painting? In just two years, his brother has progressed from painting himself in a bathtub--which is better than painting himself into a corner. In his case, that corner was Iraq, and this country doesn't need another country on our "To Re-Do" list--or our Bucket List--or our "They-love-us-until-we-help-them-and-then-they-hate-us" list.

Since George Bush is painting world leaders now, how about Jeb painting a series of American leaders? He could start with mayors and progress to governors. Since that list is ungovernable, he could shorten it to a series of governors NOT running for president. There you go, Jeb! What better way for a Bush to be America's favorite un-president? 

America has enjoyed its share of Bushes and presidents from Texas and elections from Florida. How about returning to reality--like a president from Alaska, which would break the mold of dynastic and imperialistic US leaders! Yes, one woman knew where Russia is, and she alerted the US to the Russian bear on the prowl. Why didn't more voters listen?

Can this country vote for a leader based on their knowledge and intelligence, instead of demeaning any candidate who speaks his/her mind? The temptation to make history, instead of sense, plagues America now, worse than bird flu or the Ebola virus. Let Americans think for themselves, and be brave enough to see what happens. How's that for a campaign slogan?

Until the 2014 and 2016 elections arrive, can America even imagine a future when legislators would tend to their responsibilities, instead of campaign fund raising? When they would take out their calculators while planning budgets, and actually read bills before voting them into law? Can they set an example for US students in math and reading? Well, since we're Americans, we can always dream. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Pat Buchanan Lets His Arrow Fly

On this Sunday morning, be sure to listen to Pat Buchanan's sermon on the practical implications of holding fast to traditional Christian virtues. Like an arrow---->
----> Buchanan's geopolitical analysis flies to the heart of rivalry between global powers. 

Watch out when Russia and Islam agree that the West sides with Satan. That is my point, not Buchanan's, but, numerically and geographically, it is equally significant. Putin's stand against immorality may tamp down Muslim unrest in countries which once formed part of the USSR. If they have to choose between attacking Satan or Russia, which will they pick? 

In this context, it is worth taking a good look at George Bush's portrait of Putin at Do you see any trouble with Putin's eyes? Cold and merciless, yes. Glasses needed? No. Like a monocle, shadow outlines that right eye--which focuses on the future like a glittering firefly. 

While the West jokes about tolerating lies and escalating debts, do you see any humor in Putin's face? Do you see him planning an appearance on the Late Night with Jimmie Fallon show? Is he portrayed with his golf bag hooked over his shoulder, or with his wife and daughters spending millions in China? 

How can the West counter a cold-hearted realist who chooses Christianity as his flag ship in international diplomacy? Who offers Crimea a vote on their mother ship? Who offers Edward Snowden sanctuary in the practice of free speech? What does the US do with a rival who competes with America at being the legendary America?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

America: A Nation of Ninnies? A New Rolling Eyes Column! ((0) (0))

At 4:13 am on April 2, 2014, America's challenges seem obvious--and, as much as I hate to yank credit, they aren't Obama's fault. Is he responsible for a TV commercial which runs nightly, claiming that everybody's talking about No-No, a hair-removal device? Did he personally orchestrate another TV commercial which claims that everybody's happier with a tan? No, no!

Does anybody in his right mind believe these claims? Not one of my neighbors rushes at me to exclaim over No-No. As a fair-skinned American, I blanch at the insistence that I need a tan. Tanning machines offer a prescription for skin cancer for Casper the Ghost and his relatives. Yet these demands keep pouring at America's night-owls--and pouring out of our media into the world--and nobody objects.

Meanwhile, the search for MH370 concerns security analysts worldwide. Earthquakes threaten California and Chile. Cancer patients may not know whether Obamacare gives them health insurance or not. And--the kicker!--Americans know more about energy supplies in the Ukraine than they do in their own states. Just dive into research on energy suppliers and distributers in the US, if you're very, very brave.

Since when have we, as a nation, accepted outright nonsense as our nightly fare? Since when do we pay more attention to body hair and a "glowing" tan than we do to the power that keeps that TV running and the heat on during a savage winter? As the Arctic vortex eases, can we expect US citizens to walk out of their insulated caves like sleepy bears, and shriek: "Yikes! What's happening?"

Here's a newsflash if we need one: That savage winter has drained US energy sources, and sent fuel bills sky-high! Just call your energy company for the real scoop because you won't find it on the media. And here's the devil in the details: No amount of body hair has been keeping us warm this winter. Tans won't accomplish that miracle, either. Require relevant information from the media because hairless amoebas enjoy very short lives. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Support Our President's Spelling Skills -- A New Rolling Eyes Column! ((0) (0))

A Spelling Guide for Obama --  A New Rolling Eyes Column! ((0) (0))

Since President Obama struggled with spelling "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" recently, here is a spelling list he needs to study:

1. M-A-L-A-Y-S-I-A: Since he forgot the first E in "respect," he needs to remember that the Y in Malaysia comes after the second A, not the first. Okay?

2. M-A-L-A-C-C-A: This word may cause trouble for him since the speller must double the C, not the L. He probably saw the Malacca Straits as a child. Right? 

3. V-I-E-T-N-A-M: 58,193 American soldiers gave their lives there during the Vietnam War, according to Easy to remember!

4. C-R-I-M-E-A: Although this word begins with "crime," it refers to a part of Ukraine, not Chicago--and it adds an A after "crime." Simple spelling rule!

5. U-K-R-A-I-N-E: Spelling this word is easy, too. It includes all the English vowels except O. If Putin can spell it correctly, the American president better, too! 

Will I-Phones Resolve the Missing Malaysian Airliner Mystery?

Alexander Graham Bell may have jetted out of his grave this morning. The Washington Post reports that some relatives insist they are achieving ring-tones on missing passengers' I-phones!

Could any message ever be more vital than the first one he sent on the telephone?

"Come here. I want you!"  

This is the very same message now ringing through the world for the passengers and crew of the missing Malaysian airliner. Bell didn't mince any words, did he? He could have wallowed in emotion, as current media do. He could have moaned and blamed the other party. Instead, he got right to the point. Hell freezes over until we solve this mystery: You are wanted--and right now! Come! Here! Travel to me via this vital instrument! 

Now two major publications are reporting this startling development:

the Washington Post:

the UK Daily Mail:

And both report the same supposed impossibilities: Not only are some passengers' I-Phones ringing, but some QQ accounts register missing passengers' activity online. 

Still missing, though, is any report of Iran's benevolent hopes for its apparent escapees, since the two passengers who purchased stolen passports did not want to call that country "home" any more--and were willing to try a space leap, if necessary, to get out.

So, will the I-Phones supply the clues that investigators need to solve this mystery? As the laws of physics dictate, every body--even an I-Phone--has got to be somewhere. Now, where there's a live I-Phone, is there also a live human being, even if s/he doesn't pick up that instrument to assure callers: Yes, Mr. Bell, my phone and I survived hell and high water!   

Missing Airliner: The Perfect Mystery?

Mystery fans follow the missing plane story because, so far, it appears to be the first case of a plane being virtually or actually vaporized. Not a single concrete clue to its location or disposal seems to exist. How does this happen in a concrete universe? 

So the passport trail becomes critical. The latest: one of those two Iranian false passport holders was supposedly seeking political asylum in Germany and was on his way there--and then the whole plot--plane, passengers and all--disappears? 

I have read mysteries for years, and there's never been one like this! Agatha Christie's novels are as close as any writer's ever come to this disappearing act--other than magicians. She wrote during wartime, so she used spies and double identities in her plots, as did Shakespeare, but Agatha Christie is famous for her locked room mystery 

Computer technology complicates events, of course. Is there a way now to erase a whole plane and its manifest from radar and memory? Were the Malaysian pilot and crew in on a plot to escape detection as the plane leaped from the South China Sea to Germany? 

Every nation on earth has a stake in this story, which has revealed that officials have not been checking passports against the Interpol list of stolen and lost passports, as they must do, as a critical step in avoiding disasters plotted by terrorists. 

If nations practice security measures perfectly, though, they also foil the schemes of freedom lovers seeking asylum. How do we resolve the plot of the missing plane without throwing the desperate back into the dragon's mouth? 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Is Barack Obama Talking to Daniel Suarez?

by Meg Curtis, PhD

The president can assess Daniel Suarez's qualifications as a consultant by viewing his TED talk here: Obama can gift himself with one of Suarez's novels, as a late Christmas present, to bring him up to date on the necessity of integrating challenges to the health, well-being, security, and freedom of the American citizenry. 

Obama can also read this summary on Suarez's book jackets: "Daniel Suarez is an independent systems consultant to Fortune 1000 companies. He has designed and developed enterprise software for the defense, finance, and entertainment industries." This author functions on the cutting edge of Information Technology. He assesses the mentality of gamers, high tech workers, governments, and independent creators of robotics systems.

To listen to Suarez is to step, along with him, into the implications of technology for democracy. He illustrates his TED talk with graphics portraying how analysts can view data in groups so as to identify communications hubs, thus allowing analysts to facilitate community organization, or destroy each hub and communities along with the hubs. He can imagine where we are going from where are are--and how we keep the US safe from daemons. 

This consultant opens his book Daemons with these prophetic words in the frontispiece:

"daemon...A computer program that runs continuously in the background and performs specified operations at predetermined times or in response to certain events.

Condensed from '"Disk and Execution MONitor.'".

Is this concept not the hub of a functioning health care system? The patient about to undergo heart surgery may not have days to spend trying to contact his insurance provider before the anaesthesiologist grabs him. New parents need to keep their attention where it belongs: on new members of their families. And the US cannot afford any health care system which does not offer both computer expertise and respect for vital human beings. 

The Zombification of Language -- A New Rolling Eyes Column! ((0) (0))

by Meg Curtis, PhD

The use of language as a club offers the first sign that zombies have invaded America. 

Consider current phrases involving "there." 

1. "There's no there there.": Even a neuroscientist could not translate this sentence into a meaningful statement. First, repetition creates a tautology, which repeats the subject in the predicate. In such circular logic, the speaker whips listeners' heads around in a verbal tornado so fast that they forget to scream: "You aren't saying anything! You're short-circuiting my brain!" This is a classic case of violence committed on a literate audience. 

The same example serves to illustrate how language can be used to distract, instead of reveal, meaning. No speaker uttering these words can accuse anyone of obfuscation or propaganda because that speaker is violating the most basic principles of honest communication. To check the speaker, just proceed to to catch the press conference on May 13, 2013. 

Researchers may be surprised to discover that this sentence was not original to the speaker that day. Gertrude Stein uttered it first, as this website records: So, are elitist speakers in American now quoting even more elitist American authors to confuse the American public? Gertrude Stein is famous, of course, for saying: "A rose is a rose is a rose." Write that on a valentine, and see what happens. 

2. "S/he was always there for me": This common claim illustrates the trickle down effect of both economics and language. No listener will ever be able to determine where "there" is from this sentence. Was this anonymous "she" waiting outside the speaker's bedroom with a hot towel and nuts, like an airline hostess? Was "she" the one who turned up to provide bail money after the speaker was charged with DUI? Meaningless tributes praise no one.

George Orwell spoke these words bravely: " It [the English language] becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts." His famous essay on this subject, "Politics and the English Language," is online at https://www.mtholyoke. edu/acad/intrel/orwell46.htm. Consider Orwell's warnings carefully. He fights zombification where it begins: in the brain.