Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Fight in the Middle East is a Fight Over Ideas

For John, BLUFWe are dealing with fights over ideas in the Middle East.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Many ask why Muslim scholars don't push back against violent actors blowing things up and killing people in the name of Allah.  Here is an article from The Jordan Times, providing that very specific pushback.  THe author is Reporter Abeer Numan and the Headline is "Scholars say extremist militants should not be called ‘jihadists’".

The person who forwarded the article said:

The struggle against Muslim extremism is also a battle for ideas.  Few have spoken out against having their religion hijacked by criminals and murderers as much as the Jordanian religious leaders and the monarchy.
Since this battle with ISIL and other such groups is to a large degree a battle over ideas, it behoves us to pick our words in ways that do not enhance the standing of ISIL.

We should not think we can defeat ISIL by just killing people, by playing "whack a mole".  Strong, disciplined forces can push ISIL back into a guerrilla mode, but that is not the same as defeating the ideas being put forward by ISIL.  Those ideas are attractive to men and women around the world.  Not large numbers, but significant numbers.  For example, per Newsweek 16% of French Citizens support ISIL.  There are reasons to question the poll numbers and its methodology, but still, it is an indication of a problem in Europe.

Regards  —  Cliff

  For example, US Psychological Warfare types might be updating Wikipedia to make "the Islamic State" the "so called" Islamic State.

Attorney General Candidates Duck

For John, BLUFThe Justice system is more messed up than you think.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the print edition of The Boston Globe we have an interesting article from Reporter David Scharfenberg, of the Globe Staff.  The subject is the debate between Democrat Mass Attorney General candidates Warren Tolman and Maura Healey.  It can be found here on the Internet.

Early on the subject of rape on college campuses came up.  Rape is a serious issue on college campuses.  Young men and women, with high hormone levels, can get into situations they shouldn't.  Drinking only adds to the chances of improper conduct.  Then there is the impact of groups egging on their compadres.  And, remember, that rape is not limited to men attacking women.  It can be men on men or even, in some rare cases, women on men.

Here are some paragraphs from the article:

Tolman pledged to convene a summit with Massachusetts colleges, pressing them to address the headline-grabbing crisis more aggressively. “We will lead here in Massachusetts when I am attorney general and, you know what, other states will follow,” he said.

But Healey said convening meetings won’t solve the crisis.

“You solve campus sexual assault by giving schools the resources they need — rape crisis counseling centers, forensic investigators, relationships with police and district attorneys that are working so that people can come forward,” she said.

The question we should be asking is why Campus Administrations deal with rape, rather than having the allegations turned over to local police.  Is DUI adjudicated by the college or university?  What about vehicular homicide?  Murder?  Mass murder?

I take the campus adjudicating rape to be a sign that schools, for whatever reason, don't want these cases coming to public attention.  Thus, they have created their own legal system, based upon an assumption of agreement on the part of the students, based upon the act of enrollment.

I believe every candidate for Attorney General should be explicit in saying that if it is rape, then the case should be turned over the local police.

Regards  —  Cliff

  I wonder what it means for those of us enrolled in Continuing Education?  Am I subject to such kangaroo courts?

Registering Voters

For John, BLUFWords convey meanings and sometimes we use them improperly.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Listening to Candidate Fred Bahou on City Life I am convinced that he is an Independent Candidate for the General Court.  He is Independent in that he is willing to caucus with whoever provides advantage to him and to his District.

Here in Massachusetts there are 4,342,841 registered voters, of whom (as of October 2012) 2,283,273 are "unenrolled".  (1,551,693 Democrats, 484,099 Republicans and 23,776 odds and ends.) The term "unenrolled" seems to refer to enrolled by a political party.

Given the three to one ratio of Democrats to Republicans one wonders (1) how Republicans manage to get elected and (2) how many "unenrolled" are really Republicans who wish to disguise their political leanings, perhaps for reasons of commerce.

I suggest that we here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts drop the term "unenrolled" and replace it with the term I remember from my time as a voter in California, "declines to state".  These two million plus are not enrolled because they haven't made a choice, but because they are hiding.  Let's call them what they are, people who "decline to state".

Action to our Legislators.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Since the Commonwealth "enrolls" Citizens in political parties, does that mean that they can not be rejected or dismissed by the political party?  Further, does that involvement of State Government justify the State Government paying for Primaries?

Ethics at IRS

For John, BLUFWhat kind of a culture exists where the ethics person is corrupt?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Washington Times, by Reporter Jim EcElhatton, we have a very short article, "IRS ethics lawyer facing possible disbarment, accused of lying".


Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, August 25, 2014

Supply Chain Management

For John, BLUFThe Demoulas imbroglio has not yet smoothed out and may not for some time.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Market Basket has been basically closed for several weeks and here along the Route 38 Corridor the local Hannafords has taken up the slack, and done a good job.  And, as of Sunday there was no solution to the Demoulas family crisis.  The lack of a settlement has surprised me, in that I saw that as one possible explanation for why after lunch today I found the Hannaford shelves with Coke products pretty devastated.  There was no Caffeine Free Diet Coke and little other Coke product.  Normally the shelves are stocked, but not today.  And, some Pepsi product was in short supply, like Pure Leaf Ice Tea, where there was no Lemon or Diet Lemon on the shelf.

The question is why?  More important, for long term interest, is how fragile are the various supply chains upon which we depend.  My wife asked me that very question last evening, using the term "supply chain".  She has been reading a novel that includes an EMP attack that disrupts everything.

I wondered if this was a short term shortage as Coke responded to a restocking request from Market Basket, so that product could be prepositioned for a push to the stores.  That is one possibility.  Another is that Shoppers, fearing future disruptions, are hoarding Coke products, and other products, as a buffer in case of supply chain disruption.

Are there other options?

Regards  —  Cliff

  Most of us who have shopped at a Market Basket realize that as part of his approach to life, Artie T provides work for the disabled.  Now, with the turmoil in the Supermarket Chain that seems to be going away.
  And recently North Korea's EMP capabilities have been in the news.

2nd Order Effects

For John, BLUFIt isn't the crime, it is the coverup is a good paradigm for understand that actions lead to other actions.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

A lot of times we ignore the possible 2nd and 3rd order effects of our proposed good ideas.  Sometimes those effects are bad and sometimes they are good.

The Instapundit brings to our attention the fact that the recent emphasis on campus sexual assault issues has resulted in a reduction in "hookup culture" at Harvard and Stanford.  Unfortunately, Bloomberg has taken down the article at Insty's Link.  The article had even been listed by Memeorandum.

Here is an article from the Newspaper, Central Maine.

College hook-up culture wanes amid assault alarm

While sexual assault is undoubtedly a real problem, heightened attention in the media has created a ‘witch-hunt’ environment, says a Harvard Medical School psychologist.

The Instapundit ends with:
They told me if I voted for Mitt Romney, our colleges would be taken over by prudes who fundamentally disapproved of coeducation. And they were right!
So, creating a witch-hunt over sexual assault on campuses where casual sex is common brings about a reduction in the amount of casual sex. [GOOD]  This, in turn, will perhaps reduce the opportunities for men and women on campus to meet possible future marriage partners.  [NOT GOOD?]  This, in turn, could result in more "dating" at future work places, resulting in a possible growth in sexual harassment charges in the out years.  [BAD]  Or fewer marriages.  [NOT GOOD]  Remember, the magic number is 2.11.  Demography is destiny for your children and grandchildren, and maybe for you in old age.

Regards  —  Cliff

Scotland for Ever

For John, BLUFI am for "power down" to the lowest level, but this seems like going too far.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Web News Source Quartz, we have this on the Scottish Independence vote on 18 September:
Scotland’s boring independence debate.  The former British chancellor, Alistair Darling, has been urged to “keep it boring” in a final televised debate tonight against Scottish first minister Alex Salmond over Scottish independence.  The first debate was a shouting match that neither side won.  More voters believe Scotland should remain part of Britain than become independent, recent polls show.
This is going to end up like Market Basket, I fear.  Division with no gain for either side, just loss.

Regards  —  Cliff