Wednesday, June 20, 2018

World Refugee Day

I won't link to the original posting on Facebook, but I'm refreshed by former President Obama's eloquence in his World Refugee Day statement.  May it serve as a reminder of the ideals and responsibilities of this great nation.

Today is World Refugee Day.
If you’ve been fortunate enough to have been born in America, imagine for a moment if circumstance had placed you somewhere else. Imagine if you’d been born in a country where you grew up fearing for your life, and eventually the lives of your children. A place where you finally found yourself so desperate to flee persecution, violence, and suffering that you’d be willing to travel thousands of miles under cover of darkness, enduring dangerous conditions, propelled forward by that very human impulse to create for our kids a better life.
That’s the reality for so many of the families whose plights we see and heart-rending cries we hear. And to watch those families broken apart in real time puts to us a very simple question: are we a nation that accepts the cruelty of ripping children from their parents’ arms, or are we a nation that values families, and works to keep them together? Do we look away, or do we choose to see something of ourselves and our children?
Our ability to imagine ourselves in the shoes of others, to say “there but for the grace of God go I,” is part of what makes us human. And to find a way to welcome the refugee and the immigrant – to be big enough and wise enough to uphold our laws and honor our values at the same time – is part of what makes us American. After all, almost all of us were strangers once, too. Whether our families crossed the Atlantic, the Pacific, or the Rio Grande, we’re only here because this country welcomed them in, and taught them that to be an American is about something more than what we look like, how our last names sound, or the way we worship. To be an American is to have a shared commitment to an ideal – that all of us are created equal, and all of us deserve the chance to become something better.
That’s the legacy our parents and grandparents and generations before created for us, and it’s something we have to protect for the generations to come. But we have to do more than say “this isn’t who we are.” We have to prove it – through our policies, our laws, our actions, and our votes.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Banning Immigrants is Wrong

I can't believe I had to write that title.  In the 21st century, no less.
Did the sitting President, his aides, and his supporters forget that the United States of America is a country of immigrants?

Obviously, like all countries, we have a legal framework to immigrate into the country.  But to deny the legal immigration of any person from a handful of countries who do not profess your preferred faith, is morally reprehensible and fundamentally against the values of this nation.

President Trump's executive order banning immigrants from 7 predominantly Muslim nations is not just reprehensible, though, it is indefensible.

Nora Ellingsen, who provided case assistance for international terrorism investigations for 5 years at the FBI, recently analyzed the public terrorism cases and arrived at this damning conclusion:

Since January 2015, the FBI has also arrested more anti-immigrant American citizens plotting violent attacks on Muslims within the U.S. than it has refugees, or former refugees, from any banned country. As we wrote about herehere and here, in October 2016, three white men from Kansas were charged with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction. According to the graphic complaint, the anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant men planned to attack a mosque in the area. The men progressed quickly with their plot, amassing firearms and explosives. The targets were people from Somalia, who ironically, would now be covered by Trump’s order.
...if the purpose of the Executive Order is to keep Americans safe by keeping foreigners from certain countries out, it surely bears emphasis that the empirical data indicate that foreign nationals simply aren’t plotting attacks within U.S. borders at the same rate as U.S. citizens. Indeed, the rates aren’t anywhere close to comparable. 
President Trump's order is hateful and only fans the flames of animosity that divide us and inspire terrorism in all of its forms.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Inventor in Japan

I am delighted to announce that I have been acknowledged as an inventor of Japanese patent #5261432 for a system I designed while at NTT Communications.  I'd like to thank my friends and colleagues NOZAWA Ken, SHIMIZU Shigeko, and YAMAMOTO Rie for their support, and my manager HATAKENAKA Teruaki for his patience and understanding.  Most of all, I'd like to thank TAKANASHI Hitoshi, the head of NTT Multimedia Communications Laboratories at the time, for making it possible for me to live and work in Tokyo.

The patent has a rather long title that translates to "Communications System, Packet Transfer Method, Network Switching Equipment, Access Control Equipment, and Program" and describes a unique system we devised to extend corporate network traffic to select terminals on public networks without the need of VPN software by creating virtual circuits through a (trusted) telecommunications infrastructure.  I initially designed the system to meet some specific business requirements of NTT Communications' HOTSPOT wireless service; it is awesome to see the diagrams from my design document -- including the one above -- appear verbatim in the patent.

I am a little disappointed that I got bottom billing on the inventor list, but I assume that reflects my status as a contractor and the work that I assume Nozawa-san, Shimizu-san, and Hatakenaka-san had to do to shepherd the patent application along after I returned to California.  Nonetheless, I've got a patent in Japan -- how cool is that?

Friday, November 15, 2013

TSA Admits to Security Theater

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.  -- Benjamin Franklin
That quote has been repeated so many times over the past decade that it now sounds trite and tired.

Over that decade the government has taken away our right to privacy, our freedom of movement, our right against unreasonable search and seizures, and eight billion dollars worth of our labors (and thus, our lives) each year -- all in the name of "safety from terrorists."

Well it turns out that leaked internal documents reveal that the TSA knows it doesn't prevent any terrorism.  That is right: all of those rights that have been forfeited by the American people in the name of safety were lost for nought.  Just as Benjamin Franklin warned, we are left with neither liberty nor safety.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

But if it makes the roads safer...

Just yesterday I made the comment that I didn't expect the average America to understand the danger of the surveillance state until it started being used to enforce traffic laws.  Not surprisingly, I wasn't the first person to come to that conclusion.  Only, this guy put his money where his mouth is.

Update: Apparently the artist behind the signs is Stephen Whisler.