Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Archive for November 2012

Yemen: An Ancient Nation at the Crossroads of Opportunity

I recently took the first of several trips to Yemen and Qatar. My purposes revolved around a point I had been making for the last few years: that some small nations were poised to implement national infrastructure cybersecurity structures ahead of larger and more developed nations. This theory went on to suggest that small wealthy nations and small developing nations each had distinct types of conditions which could present recognizable opportunities to make progress.

Central American, North Africa and the Middle East present a range of such nations. On the Arabian Peninsula examples of each are to be found in Qatar and Yemen. The first is a highly developed nation with complex infrastructure and surging growth, the latter is an impoverished nation tentatively coming out of decades of dictatorship.

After meeting with a wide range of individuals and groups in Yemen and key Qatari officials the opportunity to advance these issues in both nations is clear. Qatar stands to advance strong foundations laid in previous years and solidify its position as a role model for national cybersecurity infrastructure development.

Developing these capabilities in Yemen, however, could provide support for issues of national, regional and global interest.

Caroling, Caroling, Caroling

We were talking at work yesterday and somehow got around to “The Twelve Pains of Christmas.”

There are so many things to love about this song.  Video’s “meh” but most of them are.

Feel free to post your favorite holiday song.

A New Year, A New Moose?


Strummerson recently started the conversation on the Moose that I’ve had in my head for a few months: what kind of blog are we/do we want to be?  There seems to be a core group of commenters/authors who apparently have time in their lives to post things; I sit in front of a computer eight or nine hours out of the day so I can lurk or post at my leisure.  But there are others who are able to come and go when life lets them.  I will admit that I generally let someone else post articles (diaries) because I can’t get my thoughts together long enough to be coherent and worthy of being read.  And it seems that the last few month have been particularly slow but with the new year perhaps there is a chance to put further thought into what the Moose should be and how the Moose should look.

I’ve Missed So Many of You

I’ve missed many of you and I know some have wondered if I’m ok because I sort of vanished off the internet.

In short, I’m fine!!  Like anyone, I’ve had some challenges and life changes and will more than likely be moving to the UK, while traveling there quite a bit between now and then.

LIke all of you, I was so thrilled and relieved by the election results. I was fairly confident Obama would win. But, the results were more than I had even hoped for. GOBAMA !! I’m looking forward to the next 4 years.

Dogs! On the Beach! Another picture diary

Oh, joy!  Oh, bliss!  Oh, happy happy day, when a dog may romp and run free, unfettered by leash or law!  Poor dogs; they were made to run – well, most of them; I daresay a bulldog would beg to disagree; but for most canines in modern times, time off the leash, unfenced, unfettered, is hard to come by.  A free-roaming dog can be a nuisance, occasionally a menace, sometimes, sadly, a pathetic heap in the road.  We confine and circumscribe them for their good and our own, and mostly they adapt and cope.  But do they not, now and then, pine for freedom to run?

 In my town of Ipswich, there is a time and a place for such glorious liberty.  The vast sandflat sweep of Crane Beach is thrown open to Canine Americans and their attendant humans every year, from October 1 through March 31, and while part of the beach still requires the four-legs to be leashed (though there are always owners who ignore such strictures), one end of the beach is officially a leash-free zone.

The day after Thanksgiving, brilliantly blue-skyed, tolerably warm, light-breezy pleasant, I went for a walk there, and had a ball watching the dogs have a ball.

Has the Moose Become a Quadrennial Gathering Spot?

It was nice to “see” everyone on election night.  But it would be nice if we could actually grow the Moose back to and beyond what it was a few years back.  Feels dead and depressing around here.  Is this dying with a whimper?

Some Views From Jerusalem

This past Friday evening, as I finished mopping the floors and removed the food I had prepared for our guests from the oven, I heard the siren that announces the approach of the Sabbath in Jerusalem every week.  It is a deep lowing moan broadcast over the hills of this garden city, echoing off its pale stone and resonating through its cypresses and cedars and palms and eucalyptuses, and flowers blooming even in November.  In our home, as in many, the siren always spurs one last burst of energy to finish preparations as it calls us to relinquish our week-day efforts and concerns.  I always feel like a wind-up toy that speeds up frantically as it spends the last twists of animating tension in its mechanism.  For the siren proclaims the arrival of the particular moment in which we understand ourselves as commanded to slow down, to relinquish all the electronic devices that occupy such a central role in our daily lives, and to put aside all instruments of material creativity and production.  It begs us to pause and remember how all the arts of our hands should be guided by reflection, how all meaningful activity depends upon rest and quiet, how all acts of signification require contemplation in order to attain significance.  It suggests that a grateful consciousness of our status as caused creatures will enhance our abilities and experiences as causes and creators.  This siren tells us that the time has come to move at a slower pace, to sing ancient poetry and to study enduring stories and their commentaries, familiar texts that promise a potentially infinite yield of meanings.  It announces the weekly occasion on which we celebrate our existences by indulging in richer foods spread on festive tablecloths and to savor them more slowly than we do on other days, and to share them with those we love.  It bids us place our hands upon the head of each of our children to invoke upon them weekly blessings of enlightenment, of peacefulness and well-being.  

I look forward to blessing my children on Sabbath eve as a highlight of each week.  But this week, as missles and rockets flew back and forth between Gaza and southern Israel, the yearning for peace and well-being for children felt particularly acute, for mine and ours and theirs, all caught in the middle of a cascading political failure, a persistent vacuum of vision and leadership.  I put on my jacket and stepped out of our garden gate to head to a local synagogue to hear how a Rabbi with whom I have been studying on Sun. evenings for the past few weeks would respond.  A deeply kind and compassionate man, he is composing his doctoral dissertation in Philosophy on the metaphysical and theological underpinnings of John Rawls’ concept of distributive justice.  As such, his commitment to traditional Judaism is deeply intertwined with a rigorous and deeply felt humanism, a combination all too rare these days.  

Three steps out of the gate, as I turned up the lovely, quiet street we live on, a different kind of siren sounded.  This siren was a shrill, electric, undulating alarum.  Given that the Palestinian and Jewish populations are intertwined here and that the city is the site of Islamic holy sites of the highest significance, no rocket had ever been fired from Gaza at Jerusalem before this.  Yet they would not perform a civil defense drill on the Sabbath.  I turned on my heel, literally – thinking to myself “aha, so that is why they call it turning on one’s heel” – crossed the garden in five elongated strides and reentered our apartment.  The special blend of aromas, of cleaning products and fresh cooking that we enjoy for a few hours every Friday evening refused to be perturbed.  We calmly took our three children down to the basement library.  I could feel myself reverting automatically to the efficient detachment I learned as an infantryman, but it was now mixed with a consciouness of the necessity to exude reassurance.  We called a friend in the neighborhood to check in about the protocol.  Usually, we do not use the telephone after commencement of the Sabbath.  But this seemed to me to fall under the rabbinic injunction to set aside any and all Sabbath restrictions in the face of the faintest possibility that human life is at stake.  Our friends were not sure what to do either, given the unfamiliarity of the situation in Jerusalem.  We waited while they checked and called us back with instructions.  After the siren sounds, if there is “something” then “it” will occur within 90 seconds.  Generally, one should wait about 10 minutes to make sure the siren doesn’t sound again.  Then everything is “normal” again.  

The Many Varieties of Arabic

By: inoljt,

If you’ve ever read a speech, you’re probably aware that there is quite a difference between written English and spoken English. Spoken English is generally quite relaxed, often ignoring grammatical rules. Written English, on the other hand, is quite formal. Most written speeches would sound quite awkward if used in casual conversation.

This situation is not unique to English. Many languages, in fact, have more formal written than spoken forms. Indeed, many of these take the formality much further than English.

Arabic seems to be one of these languages.

More below.

Living on Tehran Time

Prelude: I may have written about this before, but the one good thing about losing my mind is that I cannot remember much over the past few years~J It is also a very difficult subject to write about as I feel so much sadness for a wonderful country and it’s magnificent citizens.

Oh and I am weary of men who cannot seem to keep their penis’ in the proper place (my Mom think these fellows should be forced to super glue said appendage to a thigh if they are too stupid to act responsibly). That said, on to something new and different and on my very favorite topics: me (heh, narcissistic much:~? Of course).

The Petraeus Puzzle

It’s interesting to note the subtext in the Petraeus resignation controversy, that the FBI investigation was the result of his paramour “blowing” the affair:

The F.B.I. investigation that led to the sudden resignation of David H. Petraeus as C.I.A. director on Friday began with a complaint several months ago about “harassing” e-mails sent by Paula Broadwell, Mr. Petraeus’s biographer, to another woman who knows both of them, two government officials briefed on the case said Saturday.

When F.B.I. agents following up on the complaint began to examine Ms. Broadwell’s e-mails, they discovered exchanges between her and Mr. Petraeus that revealed that they were having an affair, said several officials who spoke of the investigation on the condition of anonymity. They also discovered that Ms. Broadwell possessed certain classified information, one official said, but apparently concluded that it was probably not Mr. Petraeus who had given it to her and that there had been no major breach of security.

Scott Shane and Eric Schmitt – Biographer’s E-Mails to Woman Led F.B.I. to Petraeus NYT 10 Nov 12

Given Paula Broadwell’s biography, “…she specialized in military intelligence, spending time at the U.S. Special Operations Command and the FBI Counterterrorism Task Forces before pursuing an academic career…” according to her publisher, one assumes she knew an email containing classified information would lead to an analysis of her on-line activity and the exposure of her relationship.  Her motivations are further confounded by the unnamed officials’ suggestion that “the two women seemed be competing for Mr. Petraeus’s loyalty, if not his affection.”  Needless to say her book “jumped from a ranking on Amazon of 76,792 on Friday to 111 by mid-Saturday.