Justice Is Absent

This artist rendering of “Law and Disorder in the Court” reminded me of what is going on now with the nomination hearings on Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court. 


This is not a vetting process, but political chicanery, as Dr. Christine Blaseley Ford comes forward with last-minute allegations of groping from a high school party almost 40-years ago. 


Being a #MeToo victim of a serial sexual predator in elementary school, I understand the severity of these acts and the injustice of the abusers going scot-free their whole lives. 


Yet the timing of this right before the Judiciary Panel vote, the single accuser, the 40-years that have passed without a peep, the lack of anyone corroborating the story, the holding of the accusation for almost 2-months all create at least an air of suspicion on this whole thing. 


I truly empathize with any victim of sexual abuse, and for that matter the victim of any violent abuse or assault, and I too seek justice for these victims.


However, this latest political theatre is once again undermining our system of democracy and the ability to get anything done. 


Trust in the system is broken because criminals go unpunished, and also because anyone can be accused of anything any time with barely a shred of evidence. “Innocent until proven guilty” has been chucked out the window. 


The breakdown of the system of cooperation, compromise, and commitment to progress irrespective of politics in the halls of Washington, D.C. is perhaps the biggest threat that we as a nation now face.


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 

The Meaning of Silence

Silence.jpeg

Is silence a good thing or a bad thing–what does it really mean?


On the plus or neutral side:


Silence can mean modesty and humility–you withhold speaking out of turn or having a big mouth; you recognize that you don’t know everything and what you do know is not intended to put down or shame others. 


Silence can means secrets and privacy–you don’t say everything; you treat information properly based on need to know and propriety of sharing. 


Silence can mean good situational judgement–that you know prudently when to let others have their say, or when your opinion isn’t really welcome, or when it’s best to just stay below the radar. 


Silence can mean you simply don’t know–and it’s something you need to listen and learn more about rather than speak; it’s why we’re told that we have two ears and one mouth.


Silence can mean that maybe you don’t care about something–why get fired up or “waste your breath” on it when it’s just not your thing.


When can it be a negative:


There was a sign in the local school window that silence means (wrongful) acceptance; that is also something I learned in in the Talmud in yeshiva; if you see something wrong and don’t say or do something, you are (partially) responsible.


Silence can mean fear–perhaps you don’t accept something, but you’re afraid to speak truth or morality to power; you sit silently cowering, when you should stand up tall and speak out. 


Silence may also mean shame–you’ve done something wrong or don’t want others to know something that could make you look bad or put you in jeopardy. 


Silence can mean you are hiding something–it can be that you don’t trust or aren’t trustful; silence at a time when you need to answer or respond can result in suspicion about why you are “holding back,” instead of being forthcoming and truthful.


When to talk and when to remain silent? 


Certainly, “you have the right to remain silent.”


We need to use words with care and intent–to always seek to help and not to hurt. 


Words are so potent–the mouth is perhaps the strongest part of the human body, just like the pen is mightier than the sword. 


That’s why I pray that G-d put the “right words” in my mouth–to be constructive, positive, effective and impactful–to do good as much as possible with words and with silence. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

U-Haul Rental Truck Terrorism

u-haul

So true story…

This week I was walking in Downtown, D.C.

I see something strange, not usually there. 

There is a U-Haul van parked in front of the GW University School of Science and Engineering. 

Literally in front of the main doors.

A couple of it’s wheels are actually sloppily on the sidewalk and it is in front of a fire hydrant in front of the very doors to the school.

But that’s not all. 

All around the vehicle are oddly taped on posters as you see above. 

On some of the posters are antagonistic words about DOJ (the Department of Justice) and some even use the word “terrorist.”

Well, after the devastating terror attack in 1995 against the Oklahoma City Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building with a massive homemade bomb concealed in a rental truck that killed 168 people and wounded almost 700, I decided it’s probably a good idea to call the police. 

In the time that it took them to come, I was able to walk to the market place and to coffee…I know they are busy, but it seemed like forever. 

Finally, two patrol cars pull up…that’s good. 

I go outside to meet them. 

The officer after briefly looking around (and not in) the vehicle looks at me as I walk over to him. 

I said, “I called you about this suspicious vehicle.”

He goes sternly, “Well, what’s suspicious about it?”

I described the obvious…how it was parked with wheels on the sidewalk, at a fire hydrant, right in front of the main doors to the school, and with all those (crazy) posters all around it and uses the word “terrorist”.

Surprisingly to me, the officer responds, “That’s not suspicious!” Then he concedes, “but I will give it a ticket.”

He must’ve seen my face go into this contorted questioning look, but I thought the better of the situation and said with deference to him, “Well Sir, you’re the expert!”

I thank him for coming out and walk away feeling disheartened at this security response just 15 years after 9/11 and when we are still fighting a gruesome war with ISIS and against global terrorism. 

Then just a few days later, look at the article I came across with a homeland security warning:

“ISIS Guide: Rent a U-Haul As A Weapon, Target Thanksgiving Day Parade or Political Rallies.”

In the ISIS instructions, there is a picture of a U-Haul truck with the caption, “An Affordable Weapon” and the statement that “low security” gatherings “are fair game and more devastating to Crusader nations.”

With all due respect for our esteemed law enforcement, perhaps we need to take these terrorist warnings more seriously, and frankly even without the explicit warning, a suspicious U-Haul in downtown DC in front of a major university probably deserves more than just a parking ticket! 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Safely Detonate That Malware

I like the potential of the FireEye Malware Protection System (MPS).

Unlike traditional signature-based malware protections like antivirus, firewalls, and intrusion prevention systems (IPS), FireEye is an additional security layer that uses a dynamic Multi-Vector Virtual Execution (MVX) engine to detonate even zero-day attacks from suspicious files, web pages, and email attachments.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Target’s implementation of FireEye detected the malware attack on Nov 30, 2013 and it alerted security officials, but allegedly “Target stood by as as 40 million credit card numbers–and 70 million addresses, phone numbers, and other pieces of personal information–gushed out of its mainframes”over two weeks!

In fact, FireEye could’ve been set to “automatically delete [the] malware as it’s detected” without human intervention, but “Target’s team apparently “turned that function off.”

FireEye works by “creating a parallel computer network on virtual machines,” and before data reaches its endpoint, they pass through FireEye’s technology. Here they are “fooled into thinking they’re in real computers,” and the files can be scanned, and attacks spotted in safe “detonation chambers.”

Target may have been way off target in the way they bungled their security breach, but using FireEye properly, it is good to know that attacks like this potentially can be thwarted in the future. 😉

[Note: this is not an endorsement of any product or vendor]

In The Capital, Scary Cold

In The Capital, Scary Cold

So it was 3 degrees in Washington, D.C. today (and that’s before wind chill).

I don’t ever remember it being this cold, ever!

Getting on the Metro this evening, this big guy came on wearing this scary hat.

But what was really unusual was that even while we were on the train for a while, he didn’t take the scary hat off.

I didn’t know whether this guy was just still cold or whether we was a murderer or terrorist in waiting.

After a while, I said to the guy, I have a blog and does he mind if I take a photo–and he was nice enough and said, “Go ahead.”

So this is how he rode the Metro all the way home.

Today was a scary cold day–because of the temperature for sure, but also because of this unbelievable hat.

I was literally right in front of this guy–how do you think that felt? 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)