Saturday, August 30, 2014

Scotland the Brave


For John, BLUFNext month will be interesting, elections here and across the pond.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



I don't know how the vote will come out on Thursday, 18 September on Scotland remaining part of the United Kingdom or separating itself back to its former independent self.

But, we do have partisan views here in Lowell.

And, of course, we have Scotland the Brave

No, I think it would be a bad move.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Scotland and England have been united since 1 May 1707, 52 years after Chelmsford, MA, was incorporated.
  After a mandatory Advert.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Trading Prisoners


For John, BLUFThe ISIL problem is not just isolated to Syria and Iraq.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Here is an interesting article from yesterday's edition of The Washington Post, about ISIL wanting US to release a prisoner from a Federal Prison.  It isn't like we are threatening to behead this woman, Aafia Siddiqui.  We just put her away for over eighty years for trying to kill American law enforcement personnel.

Here is the headline:  ‘Lady al-Qaeda’:  The American-educated PhD the Islamic State desperately wants freed.  From the article,

They want her back so badly, jihadists said they would have traded James Foley for Siddiqui, who’s in U.S. prison.  They said they would have traded Bowe Bergdahl for her.  They said they would trade a 26-year-old American woman, kidnapped one year ago, for her.
Regards  —  Cliff

  "U.S. officers were invited to question her and were ushered into a room without being told by their Afghan hosts that Siddiqui was “unsecured” behind a curtain that divided the room, according to an FBI criminal complaint. She grabbed an Army officer’s M-4 rifle that was on the floor next to the curtain and screamed, “Allah Akbar!” and, in English, “Get the f— out of here!” the complaint said. She opened fire, but missed the officers, who returned fire and hit her twice in the abdomen."

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Market Basket Back


For John, BLUFWill Arthur T be able to bring back the business?  That is the big gamble.



Today Market Basket got back in the grocery store business, after a settlement.

I believe Hannaford anticipated this, because they had special tents on the South side of the Store on Route 38 here in Lowell, to feed the folks who are in from as far away as New York. Here is a closeup of the hand made sign: In the mean time, here is a NECN TV truck in front of the Market Basket at the North end of Tewksbury. And to prove it is real, here is a Cart Herder straightening Carts (Carriages) at a Corral. My wife is thrilled.

Regards  —  Cliff

Like Brother Like Sister?


For John, BLUFMulti-culturalism is sometimes awkward.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



From MSN we have an Associated Press article from Reporter Michael R Sisak, about another member of the Tsarnaev family.  This time it is sister Ailiana Tsarnaeva.  Ms Tsarnaeva is living in Bergen, NJ, with her sister Bella Tsarnaeva.  There appears to have been a love triangle with someone from Manhattan involved with Ms Tsarnaeva's boyfriend.  Per the article:
Several media outlets reported Tsarnaeva told the Harlem woman she had "people who can go over there and put a bomb on you."
Actually, I would think the number of people is slowly dwindling.  But, maybe not.

The article has a very attractive photo of Ms Ailiana Tsarnaeva, who is a nice looking young woman and not some harridan.

Here is a link to the article and here is the lede:

NEW YORK (AP) — Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's sister was arrested Wednesday on suspicion she threatened to bomb a woman who previously had a romantic relationship with her boyfriend.  Ailina Tsarnaeva, who lives in North Bergen, New Jersey, made the threat against an upper Manhattan woman via telephone on Monday, police said.  She turned herself in at a Manhattan police precinct, and police charged her with aggravated harassment.
It appears Ms Tsarnaeva has already come to the attention of the police, over the passing of bad paper.  This time she was issued a ticket and told to appear at a 30 September court hearing.

The question is, as people from other cultures immigrate to the United States, how long does it take them to shed their old ways of coping with problems and adopt the ways of their new nation?  I would hope sociology could help us in this matter.  The flip side of the question is if we will be forced to adopt the coping techniques of the new immigrants.<.p> Regards  —  Cliff

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?