Gongol.com Archives: 2018 Weekly Archives

Brian Gongol


August 11, 2018

Threats and Hazards A dire and sad warning to China's exiles

A Western journalist with a long history of reporting on China warns Uighurs outside the country: "Don't go back under any circumstances. The very act of having been abroad is enough to condemn you. They will threaten your family and friends, but your going back will not save them." Meanwhile, Reuters is reporting that a UN panel member reported on credible evidence that at least a million Uighurs are being held in political indoctrination camps in western China.

Aviation News Airplane joyride ends in crash

A 29-year-old airline employee apparently took a small commuter airplane from Sea-Tac and crashed it with no one else aboard.

The United States of America Why national leaders should start as local leaders first

A compelling argument from a think-tank consultant who has found his thoughts on national policy strongly influenced by his work on a state committee. People forget that Federalism made sense in the 1790s, when the entire country was less than 4 million people. It makes even more sense today, when 4 million is the population of just a mid-size state. This country isn't uniform, and we shouldn't fool ourselves into thinking it is. We're better off with lots of experiments and adaptations suited to local conditions, with a national government mainly suited to defense and protecting individual rights.

Iowa Iowa City Public Library shares "books we hated"

This is a great idea. Some books are better and some are worse than others, and it's healthy to acknowledge that. As Sen. Ben Sasse so well put it: "We must be able to grapple with ideas we don't like, and internalize the distinction between a bad book and a wrong book." There's nothing wrong if a librarian admits to hating "The Great Gatsby" or "Ulysses" or "The Fountainhead". Isn't it healthy for libraries to encourage debate about both writing and ideas? Doesn't that start with honesty? For instance, James Joyce's "Ulysses" is a huge struggle to read. But talking about it (and whether the reader liked it) opens the door to telling someone why they really must read Joyce's spectacular "Dubliners", and maybe sample some of "Finnegans Wake".

News Home delivery of gasoline

For those times when stopping to refuel is asking too much from life

Broadcasting Lightning strike takes KGAN off the air

The lightning blew up a transmission line to the tower, which happens to be one of five transmission towers in Iowa that reach to 2,000 feet -- placing them tied at #8 for the tallest structures in the world.

Broadcasting Show notes - Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio - August 11, 2018

Live from the Iowa State Fair from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm Central Time. Streamed live at WHORadio.com on the iHeartRadio app.



August 10, 2018

News Administration claims it wants a "space force" by 2020

Yet introducing an entirely new branch of the armed forces is not the responsibility of the Executive Branch. Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution unequivocally gives that authority to the Congress alone. Also, there's the weighty matter of long-standing international agreements prohibiting the militarization of space. And also the question of whether an entire military branch is necessary for such things. These things are matters for serious study and deliberation, not promotional campaign emails selling merchandise.

Computers and the Internet NATO needs cyber-cooperation, says former Estonian president

He's in a position to have an informed opinion on the matter: Estonia is a past satellite state subjected to Russian aggression and occupation, a forward-leaning and tech-friendly society, and an eager member of the NATO alliance (since 2004).

Business and Finance Retaliatory tariffs slash US auto exports to China

What good is sacrificing the automotive industry for the sake of trying to profit a raw-materials sector (in steel and aluminum) that can't possibly keep up with real demand? The US should pursue cooperative, multilateral approaches to constraining China's bad behavior (like intellectual property theft) -- but that requires a constructive and rules-based approach. Tariffs aren't it.

News Dirtbags gather in DC

On the anniversary of the awful events in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, some of the same bad actors are planning to gather in Washington, DC, for another white-supremacist rally. And there will most certainly be counter-protests.

Computers and the Internet West Virginia tests Internet voting

The company providing the technology is adamant that it can secure the votes via blockchain. But it's the human element that should make people apprehensive about any experiment like this. Some Iowa voters got bad information from text messages intended as reminders on primary-election day in June. There is something authoritative and certain about physically appearing at a polling place on election day (or in returning a properly completed absentee ballot) that is simply not replicable in a world of apps and websites. The risk to Internet voting is far less a matter of communications security than one of social engineering.

Threats and Hazards Super-creep breaks into home demanding to see new baby

It happened in British Columbia, where the adult victim found herself fighting off a neighbor with a pair of gloves and a butcher knife



August 9, 2018

News If you don't love America regardless of skin color, you don't love America

Laura Ingraham's idiotic protestations to the contrary notwithstanding, America is about a belief system -- particularly one about the way things are to be done and how people are to be treated. If she thinks that is threatened by the origins of new entrants to the country, she doesn't understand the nature of the country itself.

News A wimp and a liar?

A President who cannot defend his actions isn't a strong person

News An unlikely butterfly garden

Unlikely because of its location: Inside the Omaha Correctional Center. But it's part of a 12-week course offered to some of the inmates. The sooner we train ourselves to ask whether people have productive alternatives to idle time and bad behavior, the sooner we'll make progress against crime. It's best to keep people out of the correctional system to begin with, but when they land there, rehabilitation should be a priority for as many eligible people as possible.

News Ireland's housing shortage in the spotlight

Stories emerge of homeless families taking shelter at police stations



August 7, 2018

Computers and the Internet Social media services need to treat bad behavior consistently

As Benjamin Franklin put it, "Pardoning the bad, is injuring the good." It's hard not to imagine that there's an appeal for a big tech-platform firm to get regulated as a public utility -- common carrier rules could apply, and someone else (the government) would be responsible for the hard choices. But, of course, the sweet smothering embrace of quasi-monopoly status tends to make the monopolist fat, sloppy, and lazy...and thus highly susceptible to massive disruption later on. There is a left-wing push for government regulation that fails to recognize the unintended consequences. And the trouble flows in other directions, too: With Google rumored to be seeking a way to provide a censored search engine in China, one must pause to reflect on whether classical-liberal values are strong enough to emerge spontaneously, anywhere, when given enough time (which they would) -- but what service does it do those values (or the people who hold them) to participate in their repression?

Business and Finance Elon Musk openly muses that he wants to take Tesla private

As Charles Koch has put it: "I'd counsel any entrepreneur to do everything possible to keep her company private, no matter how big it grows."

News Florida may be exporting "voracious, omnivorous predatory lizards" to neighboring states

And yet still people have the temerity to ask why we put up with Iowa winters. The frost line is our Maginot Line, people!


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