Irony Abounds as Female UAE Pilot Leads Attack on ISIS

Maj. Mariam Al Mansouri, the United Arab Emirates’ first female fighter pilot, prepared for takeoff on a flight last year. Credit Emirates News Agency, WAM, via Associated Press

In ISIS controlled territory within Syria, women are required to be covered from head to toe. Among the five Arab countries participating in strikes on ISIS positions within Syria, United Arab Emirates (UAE) sent squadron leader Major Mariam Al Mansouri on the bombing run. Learning of this must set the hair aflame on the heads of the ISIS wackos.  Western news media, in the meantime is happy to supply the story. See more on this from the New York Times.

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Hope and Self-Reliance

Hope is a town in Arkansas, birthplace of Bill, that American president of a few terms ago. “Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow,” the Clinton theme song, expressed how he turned his birthplace into a virtual motto—a cris de couer for all that needed doing, that needed fixing. Bill had hope. He passed it on. Many people had it when Barack Obama took office. Not so many among the GOP, of course. Fewer now than in 2008, even among some fellow Democrats. But that is the way of politics and of people. Many prefer to look to others for hope and inspiration. To look to others for the solution to all that ails them, spiritually, economically and otherwise. A foolish thing to do, that, expecting others to be one’s salvation. More often than not, such misplaced reliance leads to disappointment. Better to find hope within. Better to have faith that through one’s own thoughts and one’s own efforts whatever obstacles one may encounter can be overcome and one’s goals accomplished. Scary though it may be, having such self-reliance, it is and always will be not simply the best way but the only way likely to succeed.

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Foiling Foragers of the Office Refrigerator

Like many workplaces, my office had a refrigerator in which the cubicle farm dwellers stored the lunches,  snacks or drinks they brought from home. Most labeled their containers, of course, but that never kept the poacher’s paws from what he or she found palatable—and free. One could never manage to connect the thief to their booty, let alone catch them in the act. They knew better than to leave telltale evidence in their own cubicle. I’m not proud of my response, but it proved effective in foiling the thefts. As parents of young children at the time, we always kept a small bottle of ipecac in the medicine cabinet—in case one of them swallowed something they shouldn’t. I withdrew a quantity of the syrup and injected it through the navel of an orange. Sure enough, the orange disappeared from the office refrigerator. Soon after the poaching stopped.

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13 Years Since 9/11–What it Means to Me

In 2008 and again in 2011, I posted commentaries on 9/11. It is time to do so again, adding a different perspective. At the outset, I offer my profound sympathies to those who lost friends and loved ones to the actions of Osama Bin Laden’s terrorist followers. Today it is ISIS or ISIL who would target America as well as people of Iraq and Syria. While death comes to us all, it is  disturbing when it comes unnaturally at the hands of another. From my Buddhist perspective, this is a function of karma–the effects one receives as a result of causes one has made. Calvinists might have a different perspective–predestination or what others call fate. It seems preferable to the minds of most, I suspect, to absolve the victims of any blame and place it squarely on the terrorists who commandeered the planes and flew them into their targets. Blame is undeniably correctly put on the terrorists but that is missing the point–they are the instrumentality of one’s karma. There are those people who rush to get onto a plane that turns out to have a mechanical problem that causes it to crash, killing all aboard. At the same time, others are delayed by traffic and miss the plane. Different than a terrorist plot? Yes, in terms of how it happens but not in result.  Continue reading

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Samsung Warranty Service–the Worst I Have Experienced

I rant about stuff from time to time; often politics. But as a public service, I must warn you about Samsung. They do make wonderful products and seem to have a significant market share in televisions today. But woe unto you if something goes wrong with one of their TVs. In 40+ years of adult life, their customer service is the worst I have ever experienced with ANY product from ANY company.  I bought a 64-inch plasma 3D that was delivered on January 8 of this year. It was a great TV while it lasted–about 6 months. Then it abruptly failed, on July 6.  It took two weeks of calls (5 of them) to have my request for help  forwarded to the national service contractor that assigns technicians. They called me in a few days, said they would get back to me with a service date. They didn’t call. I called Samsung back and learned the request had been cancelled by the contractor. That is when I learned of the invisible asterisk in Samsung’s warranty. You will get in-home service for their wide-screen TVs ONLY if there is an authorized service center within a 25-mile radius of your home. So if you live outside a major metropolitan area–you are out of luck and out of service. Any guess how much geography this includes west of the Mississippi and east of California? Continue reading

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There is no Retirement Age in Life

“Age is not an excuse for giving up. Allowing yourself to grow passive and draw back is a sign of personal defeat. There may be a retirement age at work, but there is no retirement age in life.” Daisaku Ikeda

Sometimes referred to as the “Third Age,” retirement is when we get to do those other things we didn’t get to do while we were working. It is not the time to sit on the porch in a rocking chair. That is the way to an early death. Sure, for those who have spent decades at a physically–or even mentally,  demanding job there may be a reason to seek some rest and relaxation. Still, the mind and body must remain active. For me it is in writing–expressing my thoughts and experiences in the hope that they will encourage, inform or entertain others.

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Satire Day at Eagle Peak

That’s satire day, not Saturday.

Let’s mock the NRA to start with. Having defeated all reasonable efforts to curtail the killing of kids at schools by gun-toting madmen, do events in Arizona’s “Bullets and Burgers” provide the NRA with the “ammo” for their solution? Arm the kids! Put an Uzi in every elementary school classroom–for the kids, not the teacher and just see how the shootings stop. Instead of a madman shooting up a school, at the Arizona gun range we had a madman giving a 9-year old an Uzi and getting (accidentally) killed for his faulty instruction. All that’s needed is better training–sponsored by the NRA, of course and we will see what all those crybaby liberals have to say.

Can’t let ISIS/ISIL off the hook. Everyone thinks (myself included) that they are really psychopaths masquerading as Islamic militants. But consider this, just look at what they are doing for gender neutrality among orthodox Islamics. Just like the women folk, they are covering their entire faces in black cloth–except for the eyes. How devout! How noble in accepting the proscriptions imposed on females. Or perhaps they have gender identity disorders? Transgender? Nah, I think it is really they have personal identity issues–in that they don’t really want anyone to know who they are. This could stem from a fear of embarrassment–not wanting their friends or family members from finding out what they have been up to OR it simply means they lack the courage and conviction of standing up for their ostensible beliefs publicly. In other words, while barbarous in their conduct, they are inwardly cowardly–afraid to let anyone know who they really are. They are much like bandits around the world or members of the KKK and just as depraved.

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Don’t Cop an Attitude with a Cop Who Has an Attitude

Not exactly what Sunil Dutta said in a Washington Post column a couple days ago, but the import is there. Dutta is a 17 year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department and has been an instructor in homeland security at Colorado Tech University. While the column is more even-handed than the quote below from Dutta’s column, it encapsulates the problem which this Views post is about–too many police officers have an attitude problem of their own:

Even though it might sound harsh and impolitic, here is the bottom line: if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you. Don’t argue with me, don’t call me names, don’t tell me that I can’t stop you, don’t say I’m a racist pig, don’t threaten that you’ll sue me and take away my badge. Don’t scream at me that you pay my salary, and don’t even think of aggressively walking towards me. Most field stops are complete in minutes. How difficult is it to cooperate for that long?

Continue reading

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How to Separate Peaceful and Violent Protesters

Law enforcement officials in Ferguson, Missouri are having a difficult time separating peaceful from violent protesters. As a result, the peaceful ones suffer from teargas and other unpleasantries.  From someone who has been there and done that as an antiwar protester during the Vietnam War, let me offer this advice–it’s not the responsibility of law enforcement, it’s the the task of the protesters themselves. Continue reading

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Michael Brown–Karma versus Justice

Throughout America, news reports suggest there is a problem with the use of excessive force by police. Often it is applied in the arrest or simply the stopping of young African American males. It should be noted that it is also a problem in dealing with mentally disturbed individuals. The former occurs in major part due to institutional racism still embedded in the American system–profiling young Blacks. They are stopped all out of proportion with their representation in the population and all  out of proportion to their actual criminality. Then, when they do not respond with the respect and deference that law enforcement officials would expect, they are beaten or killed. Continue reading

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