Daily Archives: 01/04/2013

Military: Blocked Websites:

(Community Matters) Air Force on blocked websites

Statement from DOD Official:

The DoD does NOT block LGBT websites.

The Air Force (the branch who are actually running the system where there seems to be this issue) uses a system called Blue Coat to block sites based on a website categorization database they maintain.  Blue Coat reviews websites and gives each site one or more categories e.g. “Financial Services”, “News/Media”, or “Adult/Mature Content,” etc.   The Air Force blocks or allows websites based on these categories.  For instance, It allows “News/Media” but blocks “Adult/Mature Content.”  The Air Force has no control over Blue Coat’s categorization of a given website (it can only request a review by Blue Coat).  But again – it’s just a categorization.  “LGBT” is, for some reason, a ‘category.’  And, as John Aravosis points out – it’s odd to be ‘categorized.’  But, it is only that.  A website category.  Americablog itself even has a self-assigned subcategory for LGBT, so much of his outrage is misplaced.

The DoD faces a perception challenge here:  If a website is blocked, the access denied page that shows up on the screen, lists all of the categories that page falls under, but doesn’t say which one of those categories actually blocked the website.  The screenshots that Aravosis shows that Blue Coat has givenwww.joshseefried.com (one of the blocked sites) three categories: “Military”, “Blogs/Personal Pages”, and “LGBT”.  As it happens, “Military” and “LGBT” are allowed.  But, the “Blogs/Personal Pages” category is blocked.  The bottom line is that this site is blocked because it is a blog, not because of the LGBT categorization.  There are numerous LGBT websites that are not blocked because they do not include the blocked categories.   It should be said that various commands may from time to time based on any number of considerations ranging from bandwidth issues (usually in an austere combat zone) to operational security reasons (something that only individual commanders may assess), “Blogs/Personal Pages” may or may not be blocked at all.  But the standard default position for many commands is to block all Blogs/Personal Pages.  It might interest you to know that the Nickelodeon blog is also blocked in that command. Continue reading

Pres Obama & Fiscal Cliff

(Community Matters) NPR Liberals In A Dither Over Whether Obama Blew It, Or Nailed It

You’re kidding me. For the record: I think he nailed it.


André Comte-Sponville(Community Matters) from Brooks’ column this morning

In his extremely French book, “A Small Treatise on the Great Virtues,” the contemporary philosopher André Comte-Sponville argues that “politeness is the first virtue, and the origin perhaps of all the others.” Politeness is a discipline that compels respectful behavior. Morality, he writes “is like a politeness of the soul, an etiquette of the inner life, a code of duties, a ceremonial of the essential.”

good to be reminded. As Steven and I are reexploring philosophy, I’m adding Comte-Sponville to our reading list

This largeness, this grossness and gorgeousness of folly is the thing which we all find about those with whom we are in intimate contact; and it is the one enduring basis of affection, and even of respect.”

Congressman Joaquin Castro

(Community Matters) Joaquin was sworn in as Congressman for Texas’ 20th district last night. I couldn’t make it in in time for the actual swearing in but I did in time to celebrate over dinner.

castro joaquin inauguration 010313










Unfortunately, I intended to make Senator Tim Kaine’s event but dinner went over. We’re lucky these two great guys are among our representatives.