Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Thoughts of the day

The Serenity prayer should be my guide, yet I couldn't resist commenting here, here, and here on a Princeton history professor's hit piece on President Bush, coinciding with the opening of Bush's presidential library. Here, too, under Yoo's National Review article.

This National Geographic interview with David Schanzer, Director of the Triangle Center of Terrorism and Homeland Security at Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy, is informative:
As the 9/11 attacks demonstrated, al Qaeda was a powerful and dangerous organization 12 years ago, but is now a shell of what it once was. Central al Qaeda and its affiliate organizations around the globe still aspire to execute attacks inside America, but their capabilities to do so are dramatically diminished. The threat is present, but no longer acute.
. . .
What is the trend today? Is terrorism being used less now than it was a few years ago, or are we just not hearing so much about it?

The decade since 9/11 has seen less terrorism (of all ideologies) than other recent decades. There were 168 attacks in the ten years after 9/11, but in the 1970s, there were 1357 attacks.

In the months after the 9/11 attacks, there was a general expectation-and dread-that 9/11 was just the first of many terrorist attacks inside the United States. Yet the total number of attacks since then is relatively few. Why is that, do you think?

The counterterrorism strategy against al Qaeda that has been executed since 9/11 has been extremely effective. We eliminated the safe haven that al Qaeda enjoyed in Afghanistan and captured or killed hundreds of senior leaders and thousands of rank and file militants.

It is also important that governments in countries like Saudi Arabia and Yemen, who were on the sidelines prior to 9/11, joined the fight because they felt threatened by al Qaeda as well.

We have also tightened our visa issuance process and border security (at a great cost to our international image and economy) so that it is much harder to enter the United States, especially from certain countries.

Some of the steps we have taken were counterproductive (the torture at Abu Ghraib prison, to name but one example). And we have not eliminated the sources of grievance at the United States that gave rise to al Qaeda and could spawn other terrorist movements in the future.

But we have crippled the organization that attacked us on 9/11 to the benefit of the United States and the world.
There are cost/benefit and risk/reward analyses. There is also weighing trade-offs and alternatives.

CUMilComm need: core (living heritage and essence) and progress (tangible benefit and making a difference), with ties that bind a demographic with living flows across generations and geographies, especially to the core base on campus. Eg, Hearts of Oak.

“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die.” (on youtube) is the grim mantra that revives the Mandy Patinkin character who refuses to accept defeat despite seemingly mortal injuries in his running duel against the Christopher Guest character in The Princess Bride. I associate the line and scene with anyone who refuses to quit and keeps fighting despite seemingly decisive defeat and overwhelming disadvantage when surrender and submission seem reasonable. A good pop culture example is Rocky coming off the mat in Round 13? to nearly knock out Apollo in their first fight. With the NBA play-offs in mind, another example is an 8th seed that's blown out 3 straight games by an obviously superior number 1 seed to start their series, but then in Game 4, the 8th seed claws its way to a win. Then they eke out a Game 5 win. Now it's Game 6, 1 game from a tied series and a winner-take-all Game 7. The 8th seed is dug in and the 1 seed has no more moves in reserve, no higher gear to put away the 8th seed.

Truth (introverted, honest, genuine, real, open, integrity, essential, inquisitorial) and politics (extroverted, dissembling, guarded, maneuvering, manipulative, agenda, adversarial) are fundamentally different in nature.

Meg Tilly says she was burned when she gave her truth in a political setting, an interview. The interview was represented to Tilly as focused on her new book, but instead focused on "tabloid fodder" about Tilly's love life. A journalist's take. How does one live a truthful life while engaging a political world?

I like elegant, simply functional solutions. Goes with scavenging.

Maslow's hierarchy: Making a life decision based on I-want is preferable to I-need, but I-need must be secured, too.

The dead end of Junior Seau's CTE: How do you fix your crumbling life when the tool to fix your life is your mind, your brain, yet the chief culprit in your downfall is corruption of your brain's workings (broken hardware, software errors).

Ray Mears ties an "Arab-style headdress" to shade his head for desert survival.

The ADA's How to floss.

Best Yet garden combination pasta sauce is surprisingly good.

Salty egg and onion fried rice, fatty country pork rib (broiled and grilled with onions), and bone broth is a decadent meal.

I tried a bachelor stew with ground turkey instead of the canned salmon. It's better with the canned salmon and salmon oil. Bachelor stew made with canned salmon is decadent. Made with the ground turkey, it's just soup.

When deciding what flavors to add, keep in mind it's not a sliding scale where more flavors equals better flavor and fewer flavors equals worse flavor. Plain is a flavor, too. Think in terms of distinct flavor profiles, not comparitively more or less or better or worse.

The store-brand smoked hocks aren't bad at 1.49/lb. There's still some aftertaste, but it's better than the factory-brand smoked ham I bought a while back. Still, cooking my own pork is better.

Duncan Hines dark chocolate fudge brownie mix is unexpectedly weak flavored. Too bad I didn't grab a 2nd chewy fudge brownie mix instead. The dark chocolate fudge brownie mix instructs adding 1 large egg, 1/3 cup oil, and 1/3 cup water for chewy brownies, while the chewy fudge brownie mix instruct adding 2 large eggs, 1/4 cup water, and 3/4 cup oil for chewy brownies (the amounts differ for "cake like" or "cookie like" texture). I planned to exchange the 2nd box of dark chocolate fudge brownie mix, and would have, had the store not been sold out of chewy fudge brownie mix. Instead, I decided to experiment. Since the listed ingredients are the same for both brownie mixes, although it's implied the amounts of the various ingredients differ, I tried adding 2 eggs, 1/4 cup water, and 3/4 cup oil to the 2nd dark chocolate fudge brownie mix in order to find out whether the result would taste like chewy fudge brownies. Nope, still weak flavored. I'm adding grape jelly and sour cream for flavor.

The Salton works for making brownies and bannock. They fluff up like man-tou, probably because I use the 1 quart mixing bowl with water around it, so it cooks with wet steamer heat, not dry oven heat.

Farrelly brothers bowling comedy Kingpin is a classic.

Simpsons classics Homer's Barbershop Quartet and Last Exit to Springfield sped up to 15 minutes.

Laina, aka Overly Attached GF, has a youtube channel. Turns out she's an entertainer with an expressive face.

Jason Collins, the starting center on the fun, likeable Kidd-led Nets teams of the early 2000s, admitted he's gay. Good for him. However, the dark side of the story is that Collins dated Carolyn Moos for 8+ years from 2001 to 2009, when Collins broke off their engagement a month before their wedding. (Pic of her in college - cute girl.) Moos, born in 1978 and unmarried and childless at 34, invested her biologically prime years in Collins based on a lie. Dated 8+ years, engaged - did they not have sex? More from Moos about losing her fertility and aspirations of being a wife and mother to Collins's lie.

I wonder how Monica Seles is doing these days? I had a small crush on her back in the day. She seemed like an unaffected, down-to-earth, approachably cute, nice girl who happened to be great at tennis. Hm. As far as I know, she hasn't married nor had kids either.

'Yeah? You and what army?' It's true. If you're going to battle, you need an army, or at least a gang. Righteousness ought to be enough to compete, but in the real world it is not even close.

Keanu invokes The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost and wonders whether he should pursue his dream and thereby choose the risk of freedom over the guarantee of security. As always, the harder right is weighed against the easier wrong.

Oh, my broken heart.

The change must be internal this time.




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