Book Review: Fascism, A WARNING by Madeleine Albright

 

As many of you are probably aware, I just finished, FASCISM – A WARNING by Madeleine Albright. While I do not normally review political books here, because you will never win a political argument, there is an amazing amount of history in this book with each piece followed up with opinion, however, the book is informative and entertaining. While much of it was a history recap and brilliantly written, the last few chapters seem to be a combination of facts and opinion. These last chapters were my favorite sections because I think it truly brings out what a divided nation we have become.

Below are two bad dreams – one that convinces liberals that the right are Fascists and two, the nightmare that drove citizens to vote for Trump. In the end, both parties are on the brink of either Social Fascism or Nationalist Fascism. There is also a third dream in the book that focuses on terrorism “within” the United States and a world where the United States just becomes like other middle east countries and bombings and killing is just part of life, and we all end up being barbarians- ridiculous rules where we can’t even stop terrorism because of offending a group of people – PC gone really bad. Again, I highly recommend this book for everyone on the right, everyone in the center, and of course the left. The book is filled with all kinds of “bad directions” Trump is taking us and from the many stories told in the book, only time will tell.

“Envision Uncle Same in his long white nightshirt, tossing and turning, his sleep disturbed by three very bad dreams:
In the first, reactionary billionaires conspire to monopolize media platforms and pour their riches into campaigns of favored candidates who, when in office, ensure the selection of complaint judges. Laws are enacted to ban Muslim immigrants, criminalize abortions, unfairly restrict voting, divert funding for public education to private schools, and drill for oil here, there, and everywhere. The president is given full authority to issue or revoke broadcasting licenses, expand Guantánamo to include domestic criminal suspects, and bar investigations of himself. From cradle to grave, an increasing number of citizens spend their lives within a conservative echo chamber, where they watch nothing but Fox News, memorize Breitbart catechism, and learn only what goose-stepping right-wingers want them to know. Finally, as climate change advances and epic floods inundate our cities, heavily armed civilian militias are organized to protect private property, made bold by the promise of presidential pardons should anyone pull a trigger in “self-defense”.

 

Nightmare number two: Wealthy liberals from Hollywood and New York invest their money in favored candidates who, when elected, conspire to enforce rigid standards of political correctness across all major institutions of society- government, police, media, sports, theater, universities, and kindergarten classrooms. Anyone who violates these vague and unwritten norms, or is accused of having done so, is labeled a bigot and fired. Right-wing speakers are barred from public gatherings because their exercise of free speech might injure the sensitivities of club-wielding anti-Fascists. Gender-specific bathrooms are banned as discriminatory, and terrorists pour across our borders because to stop them would require racial profiling. The Second Amendment is repealed, fossil fuels are prohibited, and an increasing number of citizens spend their entire lives within a Socialist echo chamber, leaning only what Fascist liberals want them to know”. – Madeleine Albright, Fascism – A WARNING.

 

I think our country is being led by party members that are so extreme that any one of the three “bad dreams” in this book, while meant to be exaggerations, will most likely hit home for many of my readers and friends – on both sides. I see the arguments and I see the passion on both sides; knowing these people personally at some point in my life, they surely aren’t the villains my opposite friends call them out to be. We need to see the danger on both sides, whether it’s ANTIFA or some Neo-Nazi group demonstrating, provoking, or calling for violence, we need to always remember what that leads to, and where it has led us to in the past.

 

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Two new books I picked up at THINK

One reason I like going to conferences is you can get books you have been eyeing for 20% off. This year I picked two books I have been thinking about getting for a while. The first one by colleague Sanjev Sharma, “The DevOps Adoption Playbook”, I hope to hone in my cloud development and management skills. Being a long time user of IBM Cloud (formerly BlueMix) this should be a fun read.  The next book is the “The Strategic CIO – Changing the Dynamics of the Business Enterprise”. I was browsing in the IBM book store and I came across this book. I love books with many stories and use cases and little anecdotes about running a business or in this case an IT department. My current role is similar to where we strive to serve the sales, services, and partner community with first class demonstration capabilities similar to a production run team – servicing our partners, sellers, and services. In the first few chapters I can already relate to what Phil Weinzimer has written about being “business first, technology second”. That has been my goal, how I my team and I make the most impact on the business and continuously innovate to make it run smoother.

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Book Review: Learn To Program with Minecraft

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Ok, I know it has been a long time since I did a book review but I really like this book and now I am trying to get my son to go through it.

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Do you use Audible.com?

I was checking out the Audible.com site and I think the concept is very cool but I would like to get others opinions on this.  I can easily see myself using my iPhone for audio books when I run or am working out.  I like music but I also like listening to news or sports and was thinking I might enjoy listening to a book. The price looks pretty good, for $150 it looks like you get 12 books.

I wanted to see if anyone else has any experience with this product or use it with their iPhone or MP3 player.

2011 Focus

2010 is gone, here comes 2011!

Professionally:

This is going to be a fun and challenging year for me.  I have several areas of interest that I will be focusing on in 2011, the first and foremost is web 2.0 patterns (as is Matt) and techniques, and to follow, getting them to work seamlessly in the Eclipse and Lotus Notes client, ie. project Vulcan.  So you will continue to see various web-client integration patterns using things like Open Social API’s, Dojo, and more. The challenge will be mixing web and Eclipse based technology in a seamless and re-usable manner.  Many have already seen the attachment viewer, which was my first stab prototype at the concepts.

On the personal-professional side (ie. my hobby), I am still diving on WordPress, JQuery, MySQL, and PHP.  I always “play” in other areas that are either opposite or compliment my job at IBM.  This gives me a slightly different take in technical debates.  I always fall back to Sun Tzu – “know your enemy” – well, that’s probably extreme but I am sure someone I work with would call JQuery the enemy!  I also plan on reviewing a few books this year so I am looking for suggestions in that space.

Personally:

Lot’s of stuff going on at the home front.  With Kim and the girls fully moved in, the house is finally starting to settle; but that doesn’t mean its not somewhat chaotic on a daily basis.  With four kids in sports and with me coaching one of them it gets a bit ugly but its fun.

The Inventor’s Guide to Trademarks and Patents

If you want to learn how to get money for your intellectual property or patent something in the software world then you should check out this book. I was just re-arranging my books and found this little gem. It has a lot of great ideas and pointers for where to get started.

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=bobsblog0b-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=0131869124&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

Software is a team sport

That line was taken from Making it Big in Software by Sam Lightstone.  I really love this book and since I have read it I have used it frequently as my little hidden consultant and mentor.  The great thing about the book is it really is a mentor because it literally hits on every aspect of my job at IBM.  I do have a primary team at IBM but the reality is I am on many teams.  Management teams, documentation teams, test teams, development teams, sales teams, etc.  IBM is a massive company and many times your product or your skill set is required to help any one of those areas – whether its in a new sale or a critical situation with a large customer – you can get called on at any time.  The book goes into talking about the difference between School and Profession – where it states how school makes you be selfish in your ideas and work while the professional world is the exact opposite – teamwork prevails!

So once again, I highly recommend this book but I also want to give my readers the importance of working as a team.  I love sharing information and I love giving credit where credit is due, heck I love it when the team creates something amazing or does something well.  If you are on a software team, remember…. it is a team sport!

Book Review: High Performance JavaScript

This book is a great resource and reference.  It is probably not something you will read from front to back but more reference the individual sections when needed.  What I did was somewhat scan the entire book first and then revisited each chapter for a clearer picture.  What I found was an amazing amount of tips and tricks to have high performing JavaScript in your code.  Many may think with frameworks like Dojo you don’t need this stuff but that is not the case.  You will need to write your own code at one point – unless you only reference Dojo declaratively – and even so, you could always check the Dojo code to see if it is using the techniques suggested in this book!  What I really like is how the book explains the current browser landscape and shows performance numbers between the different browsers in most cases.  This sort of time stamps the book but it does not invalidate the many examples of making your script perform well.  From simple string concatenation to regular expressions, the book has a wide range of tips to help your applications.  I recommend this book to anyone writing web applications that use JavaScript for any platform or browser.  This book could easily enable developer leads to create a checklist of code review items for JavaScript.

New “Bob’s Picks” on my site

I added a new Amazon widget to my site (check it out in the upper right of the site).  I look at the new carousel widget as quick links to products that I am either reading or reviewing.  I actually had to make a few minor changes to the overall site in order to get this thing to display.  I moved the page navigation to the left and I had to make a few size and CSS adjustments.  All in all I think I like the widget.