Building An Appropriate Wall

Border

Ok, let’s be honest, Trump is right about the border.  

And no, I do not believe that he is fascist and evil like the social engineers in politics would like you to believe for their own motives. 

Let’s face it, the border needs to be appropriately secured once and for all from illegal immigration. 

We need to support our law enforcement agents such as the Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement in protecting this great country. 

Why all the argument about “illegal” Immigration…it’s illegal!

By all means, provide amble and robust ways for peaceful-loving people to come to this country legally, especially for family, refuge, asylum, and to escape violence, persecution, and war.  

But if someone is here illegally, then Trump is right, we need to see that valid moral law and order is reestablished and not permit violence, crime, and chaos to continue by edict, closing our eyes to it, or even tacit permission. 

Whoever calls this fascism is either a liar or possibly some sort of anarchist and dangerous to a civilized way of life, plain and simple. 

How do any of our politicians who take the oath of office and swear to uphold our constitution try to get around this?

Here are some statistics relevant to the issue of secure borders:

Human Trafficking: There are 29.8 people in the world trapped in modern slavery or 1 out of every 236!  And there are 60,000 victims reported in the United States of America.  

Drug Trafficking: Drug trafficking in Mexico is a $50 billion business, and as of 2009, 23.5 million people in the U.S. age 12 and over needed treatment for illicit drug or alcohol abuse. 

Deadly Terrorism: The deadly toll of Terrorism has increased 800% since 2010 with an average of 30,000 people killed annually. “More attacks are happening and they tend to be deadlier than ever.”

Violent Crime and Murders:  In the five states of California, Texas, Arizona, Florida, and New York, illegal aliens accounted for 38% of all murder convictions, equating to over 7,000 of the murders. 

Economic Effects:  While undocumented workers do obviously help perform work particularly in some important lower wage jobs for us, there are also many negative economic effects of illegal aliens to consider such as undercutting wages or taking jobs from other who are legally entitled to the work. Additionally, the cost for their healthcare and education that is covered by the American people contributes to the overall staggering national debt. 

Overall, while “who we are” and want to be is a compassionate and generous people, there is no reason to circumvent the law and to let people into the country who have not duly applied and been permitted entry and stay.  

Shenanigans of “catch and release” or not to deport illegal immigrants “who don’t have a criminal record”–is completely nonsensical since being illegal is criminal!

We need to secure our country from human trafficking, drug trafficking, terrorism, murders, as well as the negative economic effects of illegal immigration, while at the same time opening our hearts and the process for vetted legal immigrants to make their way here and become productive citizens. 

We are and should be good people, but that doesn’t mean we need to be stupid and irresponsible and put at risk our nation’s security through unnecessarily reckless open and porous borders. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Big Data, Small Moments

Days Of Our Lives

There is a definite rhythm to our lives. 

And by analyzing the peak times of Google search terms, we can get a good picture of what it is (as Seth Stephens-Davidowitz notes in the New York Times Sunday Review).

– From starting a new day to taking care of bathroom business, looking for healing, and even goofing off. 

– Midday is some personal time for shopping, travel plans, and a news update. 

– The evening is a nice dinner and maybe some sexual intimacy.

– The night time is scariest with anxiety about health, leading to panic and thoughts of suicide, and easing off with drugs and pornography. 

– As we roll towards the early hours of the next day, we have a philosophical reawakening with contemplation about the meaning of life and our place in it. 

If we can get all this just from some data analytics of Google search terms, can you imagine what else we can learn about the masses and YOU, the individuals that make it up. 😉

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Addictions R Us

Addictions R Us

I was having an really interesting conversation with a friend–okay, and it got a little deep.

He said something fascinating to me–which is that everyone is addicted to something.

Think about it–some are addicted to the hard stuff…drugs, alcohol, smoking.

Others are addicted to sex, work, shopping, exercise, even religion.

In modern times, there are new addictions to technology, gaming, and social media.

My friend is smart and we discussed or alluded to a number of reasons for the addictive nature of all people.

1) Meaning – Many people have a tough time dealing with the seemingly meaningless, mortal nature of their lives. Without a strong purpose and meaning, we can sort of float through every day looking for some anchor, stability, or rhythm. Addictions, for better or worse, can provide that habit or repetition compulsion. While not very meaningful itself, these addictions help people forget–temporarily, during their high or while they are being kept busy–that they are perhaps lost amidst it all.

2) Pain – Everyone has pain–emotional, physical, mental–these cause stress on people and their ability to deal or cope can be stretched thin, and they turn to some sort of addiction as a “crutch” to help them get through the day. It reminds me of a very crude song that I overheard years ago, called “F*ck the pain away” (excuse the language here, please). Anyway, simply replace the first word, with “work, shop, drink, and so on and poof, you have opiates (i.e. pain relief) for the masses.

3) Fear – People are afraid–afraid of living, afraid of dying–and addictions take us away from having the time to stop, think, and have to deal with our fears. If every minute, I am running around doing a million things–then I don’t have the time to shut it all down and out, and deal with what’s really going on inside. In fact, some people credit the Holy Sabbath day, as being beneficial to us to just stopping all that daily stuff at least for one day a week!

We are all human, and there is no one who is immune to looking for meaning, avoiding pain, and dealing with their fears.

The question is do we just throw ourselves into something to keep going or do we take more of a Buddhist approach, accept that life is suffering and try to raise ourselves above it through healthy balance, contemplative meditation, compassion and thinking about others, doing good deeds, and so on.

Keeping busy is good too–but going through life in a drug or otherwise induced fugue is not–then we’ve lost ourselves, which is maybe the point for our crazy world where addictions abound and we are all too happy to dive right in. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Miles Cave)

Rape Crisis Nation

Rape Crisis Nation

I’ve been wanting to capture this in a photo for some time.

I took this picture from a moving Metro train and one with incredibly dirty windows at that.

It is the phone number for a 24-hour rape crisis hotline.

Underneath the phone number is a picture of a hand picking up a telephone to call.

It is written as graffiti on the wall facing the train tracks.

And around it are radio towers, telephone polls, what looks like transformers, and a barbed wire fence.

It is quite an ominous setting for the ad placement.

To me, rape is one of the most horrendous and brutal crimes.

Ironically, it physically and emotionally violates a person through the very means that most people make love and life.

My first exposure to rape was in the opening scene to the movie Death Wish, where Charles Bronson’s wife and daughter are brutalized–I saw this movie as a little boy and it left a huge imprint on me.

Over the course of my life, I have known people who have been both raped and molested and it changed them forever.

I found these rape statistics online, and even though rape is down 60% since 1993, 1 out of every 6 women in this country experiences a rape or attempted rape at some point.

Also, it means that 20 years ago, the percentage was about 26% or 1 out 4.

The Atlantic-2 years ago–reported similar numbers with 18.3% of women who were raped or where rape was attempted.

Honestly, I think the numbers may even be higher, since so many cases go unreported, and according to the American Medical Association is one of the most unreported crimes.

The numbers are outrageously high for a western, modern, civilized country or any nation!

What is even more shocking is that the U.S. is listed as the 6th highest country for reported rape.

Perhaps a large part of this is because we report more frequently in this country, but also maybe because we are more free and affluent and thereby, people are able to partake of vices such as alcohol and drugs, which are associated with sexual violence.

Rape is a horrific act and in medieval times, the crime of rape was often punished with castration or even death.

In Death Wish, Bronson became a semi-crazed vigilante and sought out his own form justice.

Today, in real life, we provide the victims a hotline number to call and the rapists–if they even get reported–and caught, prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced–may get some time or not, who really knows, but we should all care.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Sorry Amanda Todd

Just watched this video with my daughter about Amanda Todd, the 15 year old girl from Canada who hung herself on Wednesday.

She made some mistakes with some guys–looks like she was taken advantage of–and then she was ruthlessly bullied, tormented, tagged, shamed, followed, beaten, and encouraged to kill herself.

After depression, anxiety, drugs, alcohol, cutting, and drinking bleach, she finally hung herself and is gone.

To those horrible people that pursued this young women and essentially murdered her–you are vile and disgusting and G-d will one day bring you to final judgment.

To the family of Amanda Todd, our heart, prayers, and sympathy goes out to you–your daughter and all decent people like her deserve better from society.

If we can only learn from this tragedy, perhaps her death will not have been in vain.

She wrote: “I have nobody. I need somebody. :(”

Hopefully, she is now with the heavenly father–and has not just somebody, but the one that matters the most.

>Secure Border Initiative and Enterprise Architecture

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The enterprise architecture change process starts with requirements generation and management. Requirements become business cases and business cases become decision requests for new or changes to IT projects, products, and standards that go before the enterprise architecture board (EAB) and ultimately to the IT investment review board (IRB). The decision requests get vetted against the architecture for business alignment and technical compliance by the EAB. The IRB takes the findings of the EAB and also looks at return on investment and risk management. Approved changes to the IT environment get added to the enterprise architecture.

So mission-business requirements from the program sponser/end user are the starting point for changes to the EA.

What happens though when requirements are unclear?

Obviously, if the requirements are unclear, then proposed changes to the enterprise are sort of like shooting in the dark, and the ability to develop viable technical solutions is a guessing game.

An article on Secure Border Initiative in National Defense Magazine, July 2008, demonstrated how the architecture does not add up, when the “Border Calculus” is a big question mark.

After 9/11, securing the border became a more publicized issue. With the formation of DHS, the Secure Boarder Initiative (SBI) was set up in 2005.

SBI is supposed to secure the border, okay. But secure it against what is the question. What are the requirements for securing it?

  1. Illegal immigrants—“For many Americans—especially these who don’t live near the border—illegal immigration is what prompts their calls for a beefed up border.” While some say that “the U.S. economy depends on cheap labor…others claim illegal immigrants are a drain on the economy.”
  2. Terrorism—“For the Department of Homeland Security, charged with protecting the nation, keeping weapons of mass destruction out of the United States is the priority.”
  3. Drugs—“for many who live north and south of the four states that border Mexico, the real threat is narcotics.”

Each of these purposes, changes the equation. If the primary purpose you are securing the border is to protect against a genuine threat of weapons of mass destruction, then some may argue for highly secure border, one that is truly non-porous, without regard to cost. However, if the goals are more for controlling illegal immigration, perhaps a less perfect and less costly border security solution is acceptable. And if drugs are the issue, then maybe the money is better spent going after the source, rather than building fences that can be circumvented.

So understanding and building consensus on the true requirements are critical to developing a business case and a technical solution.

As it stands now, SBI is going in two directions:

  1. Physical fence—“to stop those on foot or on vehicles.” Estimates by the Congressional Research Service “say that maintaining those fences may cost up to $49 billion.” While critics say that these physical barriers “only delay an illegal crosser three to four minutes,” so is this worth it?”
  2. Virtual fence—“Sensors, cameras, improved communication systems and unmanned aerial vehicles.” According to the article, “no one seems know how much it will cost to set up and maintain these high-tech systems throughout their lifespan.”

Additionally, “plans call for doubling the number of border patrol agents.”

I guess without a clear consensus on what we’re trying to accomplish, any solution will get us there or not. Isn’t this what an enterprise architecture is supposed to help with—establishing a clear roadmap or blueprint? Of course, but it’s got to start with the requirements generation process and with the business owners.