by baldilocks

Originally posted November 23, 2009. Edited.

There use to be a mosque near my home, but the adherents have since move their digs to Crenshaw Boulevard.

The congregants were all black, but I’m not sure if they were Black Muslims (Explanation: back in the day, the distinction “Black Muslim” indicated that the persons under discussion belonged to the Nation of Islam and therefore subscribed to the ideology set forth by Elijah Muhammad—an ideology considered an anathema to other Muslims.  These days, the term merely means a Muslim who is black, that is, they may be NOI adherents or they may not be. I make the distinction to indicate that I did not see anything other than black people coming and going from that mosque, but that’s not a surprising thing in South Central Los Angeles and, therefore, no indication of whether the mosque belonged to NOI or not.)

A several years ago, something occurred that I’ve thought about every now and then, especially after reading about terror attacks.  At midday, I was in the back of the house in my office—blogging, of course.  At some point, a noise entered my consciousness.  It was a voice, a tinned one and, as I listened I became aware of three things: that the voice was male, that it was coming out of a bullhorn and that it was repeating the same phrase over and over again.  However, I could not make out the words at first.

As the volume decreased, I originally thought that the origin of the voice had moved on.  But it had only gone around the block a few times.  Finally, the origin of the voice came back around on my street and, apparently, the driver decided to park for a few minutes almost directly in front of my house. The unintelligible phrase was being repeated once more.  And once again.

Finally I got up from in front of my computer, went to the front of the house, peered through the blinds of the large picture window in the living room and…froze.

The voice was coming from speakers attached to the type of truck that is sometimes used by ice cream vendors. The truck was spotlessly clean and gleaming white except for the design on the side: the huge blood-red star-and-crescent symbol of Islam.

The occupant had been exhorting the residents of this neighborhood using a two-sentence phrase, most of which I have blocked out of my memory.  But I do remember one part and, really, it’s the only relevant part.  The occupant was advising us to…

“Embrace Islam.”

By the time I gained the presence of mind to grab a camera, the gleaming white truck had moved on.  I haven’t seen it since.

From the time that it came to light the Major Nidal Malik Hasan basically warned the FBI and the Army of what he was–if not of what he was about to do [at Fort Hood in 2009]—I’ve been thinking of that “ice cream” truck and what that particular vendor was selling.  Aren’t jihadis required to warn their infidel foes and invite them to convert before any attack?

“Embrace Islam,” he said.  Left unspoken was the alternative.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done on February 2017! Follow her on Twitter.

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baldilocks

 

All was well the day of my daughter’s surgery.  Despite waiting an additional two hours because of a higher priority case, the surgeon came out around 4 pm to tell me everything was finished and looked great.  He said someone would arrive in about 15 minutes to take me to my daughter’s recovery room.

Unfortunately, that person never came.  I sat in Yale’s Pediatric Surgery waiting room for another hour, and when the lights went dark, I realized I had been forgotten.  An hour after that, after speaking with various Yale officials and frantically scouring the hospital, I finally found my daughter on the 7th floor in recovery.  Right about that time, I received a Yale text message asking me for my opinion of today’s service.

After dashing off my response, I figured that was it.  Yale is a massive hospital, just the sort of place where little people like myself get ignored.  To my surprise, two days later a young man called me and wanted details.  We spent almost an hour going over what was great and finding where the breakdowns were.  By the time we were done, he told me the two very specifics things that Yale would work on to make sure that breakdown never happened again.  A few months later, when my daughter returned for surgery, I observed first-hand a smoother post-surgery process.

Thinking about it as I’m typing still makes me smile.  Yale took my feedback and acted on it, making their process better.  They took a negative interaction and ultimately made it a positive.  They didn’t pay me compensation, apologize profusely, or give me candy to make the problem go away.  Instead, they acted on the problem, solved it, and continued to provide great medical care.

I’m also part of the military’s medical system, and the difference is stark.  When a doctor at Eisenhower Army Medical Center messed up my wife’s surgery, instead of working to fix the problem, he told her to essentially shut up.  I was at work and got a sobbing phone call, which I acted on.  Our command’s medical team met her at the hospital to address the issue.  She filed an ICE complaint, and our patient advocate met with the hospital to try and resolve the issue.

And in the end, none of it mattered.  The doctor was never disciplined.  The hospital never corrected anything, nor allowed her to go out in town to see a civilian doctor.  Despite all the documentation, nothing was ever done.

This isn’t a one-off.  I’ve had movers break and steal items.  I’ve had an investigator negligently list false information on my security background check.  I’ve had big issues with the Navy’s handling of special needs children.  I’ve discovered yeomen throwing away submitted awards for my Sailors (if you ever wondered how a Medal of Honor could get “lost,” now you know).  And in almost all cases, despite filing complaints, documenting the issues and saving emails, nothing happens.  Nobody gets fired.  Nobody gets disciplined, especially DoD civilians.  I’ve had some great advocates get me compensation in some cases, but the process rarely gets fixed, meaning the Sailors after me probably got screwed too.  Worse, I’m often told that my claims are baseless and I should watch what I say.

Too many people think the military is some sort of wonderful organization that can get stuff done.  Maybe that’s why people are calling (foolishly) for a military coup.  News flash: there is a lot of inefficiency that you don’t see and don’t want.  All too often, uncaring people are allowed to make life miserable for the young men and women in uniform, with no repercussion.

Plenty of people freaked out when Congress approved rules that could zero-out a civil servants pay.  Are you surprised though?  There is plenty of frustration when organizations like the VA still aren’t cleaned up.  And I have to give Congress credit, because when nobody would fix a situation where almost 200 Air Medals for my Sailors “disappeared” (thrown in the trash), a letter to my Congresswoman actually got results.

For those of us who have been constantly screwed by the system, we’re a lot more hopeful that this might bring about real change.  Maybe as we’re improving the military we can truly make our bureaucracy great again.


This post does not represent the views of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other federal agency.  It only represents the views of the author.  But that should have been obvious from the start. 

Have you donated to DaTechGuy yet? You should!  Instead of buying that latte from Starbucks, drop him 5 dollars.  I guarantee he’ll put it to better use.

You can check out the author’s blog here.

I’m hijacking a post to ask for prayers.  My 7-month old daughter Rebecca went in for open heart surgery on Wednesday.  She has a variety of heart issues, and the surgeons were able to fix many, but not all of them.  Everything seemed to be going well in recovery, and we were hoping for a Sunday or Monday return home.

Those hopes were dashed yesterday.  Her left lung collapsed, she spiked a fever, and now the atrial part of the heart is beating at twice the rate of the ventrical part (I think I said that right, don’t quote me, I’m not a doctor!).  At best, we’re looking at a week stay in Yale’s PICU.  At worst, she may have to have another surgery to install a pacemaker.  She’s hooked up to so many lines right now the tree that held them all fell on one of the nurses yesterday.  It’s not good by any measure.

We are very fortunate that TRICARE (the military’s health insurance) covers all this, and I know that comes at a cost to the taxpayer, and that taxpayer isn’t a faceless person, it’s people like you.  So thank you.  Seriously, from the bottom of my heart.  Without the generosity that America has shown towards their military families, we would be in a lot worse situation.  You should be proud to know that at least in this case, it’s going towards saving a life.  And while I occasionally rail about the bureaucracy (as in my previous post), in times like these I count myself fortunate for having coverage.

We’re asking for your prayers.  We’ve been praying to Blessed John Duns Scotus for a miraculous cure of her heart.  I know Yale has some of best everything in terms of doctors and nurses.  We’ve been trying to stack the deck in our favor, but I think the earthly stacking attempts are not enough.  So please, when you get a chance, please say an extra prayer for Rebecca.

Mr. Morgan: Are you sure this work will be in competent hands?

Curly: Soitenly, we’re all incompetent!

The Three Stooges: Slippery Silks 1936

All the talk Thursday night was about the unanimous ruling of the 9th circuit concerning President Trump’s Temporary Travel ban from seven countries named by the Obama administration as potential Terror problems.

President Trump came in with a tough playing field in hand and took quick action and when the 9th circuit made its ruling the president tweeted this out:

As the media, Democrats, liberals in Hollywood  amazon and others are busy high fiving themselves they don’t seem to have realized the impossible position they’ve put themselves in and the frankly no lose position they’ve put the Trump Administration in concerning the war on  terror, at least politically.

If the administration is able to keep the country safe and prevent attacks, they will naturally get the credit for it and Trump’s tough talks only reinforces that he is taking steps, even against opposition, to do so. There is likely little the left could do about that.

However if the administration foils any Terror plot and even a single one of those plotters is a muslim immigrant who was either

Previously vetted by the previous admin
From one of the named countries in the current POTUS’ executive order
Was in contact with terrorists from one of the named countries

The administration can trot this out not only as proof the ban but can even suggest that said plot only reached whatever stage it was at BECAUSE of the lack of a ban and can point an accusing finger at the left if they do so.

That’s bad enough but if there is a successful attack of any type involving any persons with any or all of the attributes I’ve already listed the problem for the left is even worse, particularly given this news:

A staggering 77 percent of the 1,100 refugees let in since Judge James L. Robart’s Feb. 3 order have been from the seven suspect countries. Nearly a third are from Syria alone

If the travel ban had been in place or if it had run its course the left could have proclaimed it ineffective, now thanks to the court and their own high level efforts that situation is completely reversed.

This president will IMMEDIATELY point at the Democrats and the left opposition to his travel ban and extreme vetting as the cause for said successful attack (and don’t think for a moment he won’t do this, we aren’t talking George Bush, this is Donald Trump).

He will fix not only fix the blame firmly there but will be able to point to his tweet of Friday to showcase the fact that he feared this might happen. And he will invariably get that tweeted out before anyone of the left is able to mount any defense.

Furthermore given that the media’s trust ratings are further below sea level than the dead sea, attempts to counter such a move are likely to fail with all but your most partisan allies.

Congratulations Democrats, liberals, media, you have by your political efforts and your court filings successfully not only reinforced in the public’s mind Trump anti-terror efforts, guaranteeing him credit for any successful defense but you managed to at the same time transfer the political responsibility for any successful terror attack in the foreseeable future from this administration to yourselves. In fact you didn’t just transfer it, you went out and seized it.

I often say the right thing is usually the smart thing, often the wrong thing is often the dumb thing. The left’s move was not only wrong as it makes America less safe, it was VERY stupid setting yourself up as targets both actual and political.

It was something I didn’t think you would be stupid enough to do…but you were!

Closing thought. If Amazon is taking a victory lap how long do you think it will take any terror victims to use that fact to sue them for a small fortune for enabling such an attack?

Update: The Conservative Treehouse gets it:

If President Trump does nothing, the underlying challenges to the Executive Order continue forward in the courts, while he gets his SCOTUS pick -Gorsuch- on the bench. If he so chooses, the DOJ can eventually bring the case to the Supreme Court, where almost everyone admits the Ninth Circuit and Judge Robarts decision will be overturned and all of the protestation from the left will have been for naught.

In the interim of the slow case proceeding, ANY instance of violence and terrorism provides President Trump the opportunity to use his bully pulpit -and Twitter- to hang the occurrence, foreign or domestic, like a millstone around the neck of Democrats up for elected office in 2018.

There is no downside on the domestic security agenda for President Trump; however, the Democrats are fraught with fear that something might just happen. Ultimately, THIS, the politics behind the entire construct, is the reason for the ninth circuit tonight asking for an en banc hearing of their own judicial ruling.

What you haven’t heard that the 9th circuit has apparently decided to appeal the ruling of it’s own 3 judge panel to itself?

Maybe it’s just me but I’ve never heard of a judicial circuit appealing it’s own ruling to itself


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