What Would It Take To Wake Us Up?

During the second hour of Constitutional Public Radio today (again, access it at http://www.askshow.com or from the listen link on http://www.1510wwbc.com/), there was a discussion on just what it would take to really wake America at large up to the threat posed by the Islamic Jihad. The end point being, some people believe that this country has a collective sleep disorder, that even a nuclear attack on a city would not be enough to create a prolonged, nation-wide interest and effort.

So, what would it really take? Five years and more after September 11th, 2001, when people said that we'd been woken up, aren't we really dozing again? Sure, if someone mentions that date, or says "Nine-Eleven", it will still spark a memory, but hasn't it taken on a surreal quality? It gets filed away as something that happened, as one of the chat denizens put it, to "other people".

Part of me says, "Hey, that's good. It means the terrorists failed to inspire true, lasting terror in people." But, at the same time, as the fear of possibily being the next "other people" to die in an attack faded, so, too, did the desire to actively prevent the possibility of there BEING a next time fade. Instead of being a desire of everyone, it's just become another aspect of the political landscape. When that happened, the words stopped rousing people as much. "Oh, they're just trying to score political points with XYZ constituency by taking that position." Maybe this is too honest, but it's pretty weak that defending the country from foreign attack even HAS two positions within the country, aside from "Hit 'em hard" and "Hit 'em harder than those guys wanna hit 'em."

The loss of lives and landmarks wasn't enough to bring our heads up for more than a short while, in the grand scheme of things. What do we have to do, lose the Superbowl and whatever city it's being held in, before people stop snoring and realize that it really wasn't a fluke, and they're in it, too? Is it really going to take a nuclear explosion on our soil to serve as a wake-up call? I'd like to think it wouldn't go that far, but consider:

Words aren't the power that they once were. We're inundated with them. Saturated with them. The internet is vast, newspapers can stack them to the ceiling, television throws them out all day long. Plenty of people are out there warning that, while we're here taking our afternoon nap, people around the world are serious about trying to do in as many of us as they possibly can. Some of these people who want us done in get on television in their own lands and say so, and we can see those broadcasts. And still, through all that, people don't believe. It's not that they don't hear it, or don't see it. It's that they're choosing not to see it, because it's easier to live life without considering it... and that's exactly the mindset that has enabled this enemy to go on as long as it has. We're bigger than them, and we could be meaner and nastier if we were truly so inclined.

People here didn't truly stir until they could see, rather than hear. U.S. holdings around the world were bombed and otherwise attacked for years before 9/11/01, but until we saw the images of that day, the alertness wasn't there. The true desire to protect wasn't there. And then, almost as quickly as it began, it faded away, back into the background, even as the fight was carried to the enemy.

Would we wake up any longer if tomorrow the Sears Tower was crashed into by another group of men bent on Jihad? Think about that one for a bit, and be honest with yourself. Consider it your unofficial homework.


Lightening Up (If Only For A Moment)

It's the time of year for heart-warming stories, so in return for the previous offering, which was of a much more serious bent, I thought I'd offer up a story I ran across in my perusing of news today, about a man whose wedding ring became a needle in a haystack, and was found. Just a nice, sweet story, in keeping with the season.

Giving Thanks

A moment of silence and thanks. Silence for those who lost their lives in Pearl Harbor on this date in 1941. Thanks for those who continue to give their lives in the defense of this country. We continue to have the freedoms of this country due to their sacrifices.

God bless them, one and all.

Warming? Really?

Obligatory link: Media Shows Irrational Hysteria on Global Warming

Global warming is one of those things. You know the kind. "It'll give you cancer!" "No, it won't give you cancer, but it'll cause you to grow premature nose hair!" "Of course it won't do that, it'll make your fingernails fall off!" Within all the hype, there is some truth. Yes, there is a warming trend currently. However, to date, the evidence that mankind has anything to do with it has been contradictory at best (some would go so far as to say nonexistant).

And so, in the middle of this, comes the above release by professor Deming, claiming that he's been asked to make statements he believes to be untrue to push an agenda that mankind is at fault in the current warming of the earth. Could he be wrong in his conclusions? Certainly. Part of science is being wrong, and then re-hypothesizing and figuring out what's really going on. But what is undeniable is the continued litany of stories of people who want to push a scientifically unproven theory on the world as a given fact.

Just ask yourself, before you throw this out as anti-environmentalist agitprop, who really stands to gain by pushing unproven theories. After all, it isn't the scientists. They're set to lose quite a bit of standing in their community if someone can overturn their conclusions. And beyond that, run a quick Google search for the key words "sun" and "warming".

Man-made? Or a result of increasing activity in that massive, natural fusion reaction we have for a neighbor? Remember, it's 330,000 times more massive than our whole planet, give or take. It's enough to keep us in orbit, who's really surprised if it modulates our planetary temperature, too?


Let's Take Five On Spam

First, the obligatory link: Spam Doubles, Finding New Ways To Deliver Itself

A quick show of hands, who doesn't hate random spam e-mail? ... Okay, I know, that was an exercise in getting people to exercise by putting up their hands. Now, if you're still using Outlook, and I'm sure many people don't anymore, let's have at filtering one of the new waves of spam the article talks about. "It's me, WHOEVER", or "Hi, it's WHOEVER". How many people really send you regular messages with such simple key words repeatedly? We can filter these out without a problem.

Go hit TOOLS on the top bar (to the right of FILE), and open Rules and Alerts. Create a new rule, select the radio button Start creating a rule from a template. In the step one area, select the option Move messages with specific words in the subject to a folder. Then, in the step two area, click on the underlined "specific words" to open an input box. Put "It's me" (without the quotation marks) into the box, and hit add. Then do the same for "Hi, it's". If you're so inclined, you can catch additional spam this way by re-intering the same values, but with its instead of it's. Once done, hit OK, and click on the underlined "specified" for the specified folder. In the Choose a folder box, select Junk E-mail, then hit OK. After that, hit Finish, and your new rules are ready to go.

Congratulations, you're now filtering one of the season's dominant spam subjects in minutes! Heh... Obviously, you can repeat the process for any other key words you notice popping up repeatedly as spam. Be careful, though, that you don't accidentally key something to automatically go to Junk that isn't. It just depends on what words appear in legitimate e-mails to you, so don't forget to account for that, or you may end up sifting back through the junk folder to find something a friend or colleague is sure they sent you.


Vets for Freedom

Vets for Freedom got a long mention on Constitutional Public Radio (3-5pm ET M-F, accessible here: http://www.askshow.com/), so I figured a quick noting of it here was in order at the very least.


The short description, from the "About Us" section of their website:

The Vets for Freedom Action Fund is a nonpartisan organization established by combat veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our mission is to support policymakers from both sides of the aisle who have stood behind our great generation of American warriors on the battlefield, and who have put long-term national security before short-term partisan political gain.

Japanese of the Week

Going to start out simple here.

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Hakkiri (adv, n) - Clearly, Distinctly, Plainly

And with that, half of the URL title is "hakkiri". -_-; If anyone knows how I can input Japanese text directly into the editor instead of having to make an image file, I'm certainly curious.

Jumping Right In, or What You're In For

Instead of starting with something along the lines of a "who am I, why am I here" type of post, we're going right in with the kind of bizarre thing which can be expected to turn up here from time to time. First, the article: Child Arrested After Opening Holiday Gift Early

A few things... Isn't the title excellent? It's exactly the kind of thing that's going to grab people's imaginations and draw them right in. "What happened, some kind of overreaction? How does a thing like this happen?"

Once you actually get into the article, though, you land on this quote: "I'm trying to get him some kind of help," the 27-year-old mother told the paper. "He's the type of kid who doesn't believe anything until it happens."

I do hope the police in Rock Hill, S.C. have a great deal of free time on their hands, because even though the kid's obviously got issues, getting into Christmas presents early isn't exactly something I can rationalize as any kind of priority for those who protect and serve. Seriously, the first instance of a kid trying to get into their gifts early probably occurred five minutes after the inception of the wrapped gift. There's an order of magnitude difference between that and, say, stealing money and punching police officers.

It's a bizarre thing to be a last straw, at the very least, but that's what makes last straws so interesting.

As a side note, isn't it interesting that the easy-to-find link goes not to a station in South Carolina, but one in Connecticut? Keep an eye out for that, as it happens quite a bit. The local-local-local now makes the news half a continent away.