Moved to New URL

February 21, 2008

I have moved the blog to a different URL to make it easier to find.

You can find it here at www.theinquisitivetechie.com


Voices from the front lines

February 20, 2008

I read several moving blogs today written by soldiers serving behind enemy lines in Iraq or Afghanistan.

The insights provided are incredible. Images of their daily lives, that are both frightening and funny at the same time. In this post, from ruminations of a soldier medic, you can feel the confusion and intensity of a first time firefight:

Every one looked at every one else as we started hearing booms. They started getting louder, so we all started throwing on our body armor and helmets. My guys all went outside to investigate. At this point, I was kind of scared, but I didn’t really know what to expect. This was the first time something like this has happened to me. I ventured outside cautiously to find out what was going on. The shooting, the booms, all the sounds you don’t want to hear-they just kept escalating. They weren’t going away.”

There are a lot of perspectives that we have a hard time understanding about these soldiers. They are all serious, hard working, dedicated, and well, so young. From Eighty Deuce on the Loose in Iraq:

“OK, heres where the Infantry guy thing comes into play. First off, consider our situation. We are a bunch of males, many of which are straight out of high school. We now live together, work together and pretty much spend 24/7 with each other. And to make matters worse, you coup us up inside a Humvee for 10’s of hours at a time. Its going to get crazy. “

Some of the stories are funny. Gallows humor at times, but there are many belly laughs out there. Bill and Bob’s Excellent Afghan Adventure is full of them:

“There is an old saying that the only difference between an Army story and a fairy tale is that a fairy tale starts with ‘Once upon a time,’ and an Army story starts with ‘No shit, this really happened…’ “

While funny at times, Bill and Bobs’ writer uses real statistics in his skewering the of media and the New York Times in particular, on their sensationalist story about Global Terror War veterans and the violent crimes some have committed since returning from theater.

I found many that had unique photos from behind the lines, which were particularly fascinating to me, because I have seen so few of them on the news. Army of Dude (best. name. ever.) has tons of photos, as does Leave the Gun (is it a Godfather reference? – “leave the gun, take the cannoli”). Finally, how can you not like a guy called Dude in the Desert. Simple. Easy.

Snipers - by Leave the Gun

These stories are not being told in the mainstream media, and these soldiers “outside the wire” know it. Their insight is invaluable in us really understanding the war in Iraq, the forgotten war in Afghanistan, and any other place our kids are dying. Read their stories, understand their emotions, and support our troops. Not by buying a new magnetic sticker for your SUV, but by listening to them, by recognizing their sacrifices, and by respecting them.

These are serious young people, and they are serving in chaotic and dangerous places because they said they would. They have earned your respect.

Here’s a couple of ways you can support our troops:

Learn more at 1000 Reasons, or over at Vet Voice.

Send em some love over at Soldiers Angels or AnySoldier.

Get the facts straight over at FactChecker.org

Support Peace


Guns.

February 15, 2008

I know perfectly sane people that own guns. Lots of them. They are our fathers, my friends, my customers, and people just like me.

Except, they own guns. No other single factor about these people in any way, other than the fact that they own a handgun makes them any different from me.

But they feel different to me in some way. I do not love them less, or respect them less, but they feel different now, and I don’t know why.

Several times over the last month or so, I have had random conversations about, and one unexpected exposure to, handguns. More specifically, I have had conversations about owning guns and carrying them. But I have to rewind…

This story starts in back in January, at a client’s office in a rough neighborhood. I’m sitting at a table in a small conference room with a client, talking about software for his business.

The wiry, smaller man reaches into his waistband and drops a small automatic pistol on the conference table in front of me. “Check this out” he states, matter of fact like. I am being watched, very carefully, for my response. I also know immediately and instinctively not to reach for it, without question. I can see this clearly in his eyes.

“wow” … is all I can muster. This is a Twilight Zone like moment for me, one I have not experienced before, and my brain is trying desperately to right itself. I have never had a gun pulled on me in a meeting before.

“this is a rough neighborhood… huh?” is all I can blurt out as I try to save myself. Poorly.

“Nah, I always have one on me, anyways. I have a carry-all permit, Check out the other one on my leg.” Two guns now.

“really?” Again, meekly, I mutter. I am surprised again, and I am now mad at myself. I didn’t notice his earlier cue to show all of our weapons, and he takes this as an immediate weakness, and moves his chair a bit closer to me, sensing that I am perhaps uncomfortable, with the guns in the room, and on the table so to speak.

“Guns sure make a conversation go in a different direction sometimes.” he simply states, and pops the little handgun back into it’s secret holster and the guns are all gone.

This is surreal. I am a computer consultant, not a cop, or a army captain. Most of us are not armed at work. I am definitely not. He finishes mumbling that the software is great, and thanks me. He walks out of the room, and I find a reason to leave, quickly.

Read the rest of this entry »


Behind Obama’s Wave of Victories: The More They Know Him….

February 14, 2008

Great article on Obama’s surge to overtake Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries over at the Huffington Post…

People want someone to believe in.

Obama Button


What the heck is a Superdelegate?

February 12, 2008

SupermanSuperdelegates! The word is everywhere. It seems that the Democratic nomination may come down to being decided by these superdelegates. I had some questions – What are they? Who are they? How does this all work? So let’s see…

From Wikipedia – At the 2008 Democratic National Convention superdelegates will include all Democratic members of the United States Congress, Democratic governors, various additional elected officials, members of the Democratic National Committee, as well as “all former Democratic Presidents, all former Democratic Vice Presidents, all former Democratic Leaders of the U.S. Senate, all former Democratic Speakers of the U.S. House of Representatives and Democratic Minority Leaders, as applicable, and all former Chairs of the Democratic National Committee.” Barack Obama and Hillary are both superdelegates.

There is an exception, however, for superdelegates who endorse another party’s candidate for President; they lose their superdelegate status. In 2008, Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman was disqualified as a superdelegate because he endorsed Republican John McCain. A detailed list of superdelegates and how they are projected to vote can be found here at the 2008 Democratic Convention Watch.

Donnie Fowler over at The Huffington Post, says that his dad is a superdelegate and that “we have nothing to fear” from the superdelegates. Some other folks are not so easily reassured. The Washington Post has a great article on superdelegates and how they are being courted. Bill and Chelsea Clinton have been calling superdelegates personally to ask for their support.

A new CBS Poll has Obama ahead, including the superdelegates. Other people are sure that Obama is Winning.

The real issue it seems is that the superdelegates are voting along similar lines as the general population, and that more importantly, the margins of victory or defeat in Ohio and Texas are even more important. This race will go down to the wire. Let’s just hope that There won’t be a Superdelegate Train Wreck come this summer.

It really just comes down to this doesn’t it – who can beat John McCain in the fall? I believe that the Democrats superdelegates will ultimately support whichever candidate gives them their best chance to beat John McCain. As we all know, A rising tide floats all boats, and the Democrats will all be better off with either candidate in office, wouldn’t they?


Wil Weaton voices interesting thoughts on Barack Obama

February 11, 2008

Obama Button

One of my favorite blogs to read is Wil Weaton dot Net 1.5. Wil grew up playing Wesley Crusher on Star Trek, The Next Generation, and is still acting, writing, and blogging. He is humble, intelligent, and funny, and his blog often provides insight into the Star Trek groupie culture, and what it’s like to be, well, Wil Weaton.

A few days ago Wil gave his endorsement for Barack Obama, and listed some information as to why. There is a great quote from blogger Patrick Nielsen Hayden:

“I’m for Obama knowing perfectly well that, as Bill Clinton suggested, it’s a “roll of the dice”. A roll of the dice for Democrats, for progressives, for those of us who’ve fought so hard against the right-wing frames that Obama sometimes (sometimes craftily, sometimes naively) deploys. Because I think a Hillary Clinton candidacy will be another game of inches, yielding—at best—another four or eight years of knifework in the dark. Because I think an Obama candidacy might actually shake up the whole gameboard, energize good people, create room and space for real change.

Because he seems to know something extraordinarily important, something so frequently missing from progressive politics in this country, in this time: how to hearten people. Because when I watch him speak, I see fearful people becoming brave.”

This makes sense to me. I have written about our culture of fear, and how our leaders have used it to their advantage. We need to be a nation of the brave, choosing what is correct over what is politically expedient. No more fear.

Thanks for reminding me Wil.


Follow the the underwater cable story over at Digg.com

February 7, 2008

This is the kind of coincidence that turns tinfoil into hats.

read more | digg story


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