Category Archives: What are they thinking?

Never Underestimate Your Opponent

BBC News – Iraq insurgents ‘hack into video feeds from US drones’

Let me see if I understand this.
U.S. unmanned surveillance aircraft, such as the Predator, broadcast their video in the clear, so that anyone, and I mean anyone with a receiver can pick it up.

And now we are surprised that insurgents have “hacked” into these open video feeds?

“Hacked?” Hardly. Hacking is an act of overcoming at least some kind of barrier to gain illicit access to the data.

On the other hand, if I buy a television at Costco, and tune it to Channel 7, I can watch baseball games because they are broadcast in the clear.

Why would anyone reasonably expect any result other than the one they got?

Then again, the final quote from the “Pentagon spokesman” sums it up so well:

“As we identify shortfalls, we correct them as part of a continuous process of seeking to improve capabilities and security. As a matter of policy, we don’t comment on specific vulnerabilities or intelligence issues.”

“As we identify shortfalls”
Sorry, guys. This is counter-intel 101.
You don’t broadcast your stuff in the clear. Maybe in 1960 when encryption technology was cumbersome but today? Hello?



Defiling the Flag In The Name of Protecting It

Dispute over flag protest erupts in Wisc. village – Yahoo! News

Short story.
A veteran in a dispute with the local government flew his flag upside down on as a protest.

Some people, including the local chief of police, didn’t like it.

The police came onto his property, and took down his flag. The flag was returned to him the next day.

The police chief is quoted as saying:

Marinette County Sheriff Jim Kanikula said it was not illegal to fly the flag upside down but people were upset and it was the Fourth of July.

“It is illegal to cause a disruption,” he said.

And with that last statement he totally loses it.

You see, Mr. Congine didn’t cause a disruption. All he did was fly his flag, on his flagpole, on his property, upside down.

Other people may have reacted in a disruptive way (certainly Chief Kanikula did), but that was their choice. All they had to do was recognize that a free society (what we are celebrating on July 4, by the way) requires a couple of accommodations to work.

First, you may exercise your rights, but not in a way that inherently infringes on the rights of others.

But more importantly, having your rights requires you to tolerate the rights of other people to do things you might even find repugnant. But so long as your rights are not infringed, a free society asks you to get over it.

The only person whose rights were being violated here were Mr. Congine’s.

You may believe it is disrespectful of the flag and the USA to fly the flag upside down. You have an absolute right to hold that belief.

Mr. Congine, however, did not hold that belief. He holds the belief that flying the flag upside down is a universally accepted symbol of distress, and is using that symbol to demonstrate his displeasure with the government. And he has as much a right to that belief as you have to yours.

You have no inherent right to impose your differing interpretation upon Mr. Cogngine, and certainly have no right to threaten violence if he continues to fly the flag. And, just to be sure, sending armed police officers onto his property to take down his flag is just that. If you don’t think so, then ask yourself what would have happened if he had resisted them.

This kind of thing threatens the very fabric of our freedom. It defiles the very flag these people claim to have been protecting.

Certified Lead Free or Go Directly to Jail

This first came on my radar out of the ebay forums.

Remember how the Government Was Going To Save Our Kids from Lead?

anything containing lead – or more importantly anything that hasn’t been tested and proven lead free -[can] NOT be sold.

A couple of days ago the government released a statement that summarizes as:

“The new law requires that domestic manufacturers and importers certify that children’s products made after February 10 meet all the new safety standards and the lead ban. Sellers of used children’s products, such as thrift stores and consignment stores, are not required to certify that those products meet the new lead limits, phthalates standard or new toy standards.

The new safety law does not require resellers to test children’s products in inventory for compliance with the lead limit before they are sold. However, resellers cannot sell children’s products that exceed the lead limit and therefore should avoid products that are likely to have lead content, unless they have testing or other information to indicate the products being sold have less than the new limit. Those resellers that do sell products in violation of the new limits could face civil and/or criminal penalties”

Let’s see – if it is already in your inventory, you don’t have to have it tested at great expense before you can sell it. BUT if it turns out that it DOES contain lead, you are still a criminal, and we can put you in jail. That is very reassuring.

I am surprised this isn’t getting on the radar of the mainstream media, but then again, no I’m not. What big, well financed clothing manufacturer is going to release a press statement about the negative impact of a law that will make entry into their market incredibly expensive?

Now, in all fairness, the rulemaking process is underway. There are proposed rules which would “certify” some materials, such as wood, natural fibers, etc. as unlikely to have lead content, and therefore exempt them from testing, for example. But if you are in the business of making ANYTHING that is targeted at kids, you best stay on top of this issue, and get involved (write your congresspeoples, etc) if you don’t want a bunch of bureaucrats making rules that put you totally out of business.