Archive for ‘Opinion’

February 5, 2014

#AmericaIsBeautiful – America The Beautiful — #Culture, #Politics, #Commentary

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Perhaps you watched an American Football game on Sunday. Odds are that if you are reading this blog, you did watch the Super Bowl. This is something that a large part of Americans participate in, myself included … all my life. I then spent the next two days seeing the commercials dissected on news shows across cable TV and the Internet.

So I watch the commercials, to see the reflection of America. I am also hoping that for this one day a year, the commercials are entertaining and thought provoking. Who can forget Apple’s iconic, “1984″  Super Bowl commercial for the Mac. In fact, that is what this blog is about  —  our American icons.

Coca-Cola did a commercial,  #AmericaIsBeautiful . The song “America The Beautiful” was sung —  how beautiful. Really it was beautiful. I have to admit my hypocrisy upfront. While I was reveling in the song and its meaning to me, my primitive self had a moment of rage. The song had a couple of choruses  sung in foreign languages. How dare they meddle with such a beloved American icon, as America The Beautiful ? But that half a second passed and I rationalized (as my rational mind is wont to do) that it was just foreign born Americans or other citizens of the world lauding America The Beautiful in their first language. I just enjoyed the lovely singing.  I loved how the commercial tied into Queen Latifah’s beautiful rendition of America The Beautiful .  But my rational self said Coca-Cola is going to feel a firestorm now for meddling with an American icon.

I knew that the irrational 5% of America (uh commonly called the Tea Party), would be up in arms over this commercial over the use of foreign languages used in this version of the song. I knew they would boycott Coca-Cola, itself an American icon, but these are not rational people. They (the Tea Party) would spew their hateful rhetoric and start a boycott in their usual way of social conservatism  — not fiscal conservatism as they espoused as their rationale for existing. These Tea Party thugs would try their totalitarian tactics to bend Coca-Cola, the American icon of business to their will. I do not think  the Tea Party would see the ugliness in contrast to this beloved business icon, nor was it possible for them to appreciate the irony in their attacking the #AmericaIsBeautiful commercial.

Coca-Cola for its part would need to learn that not all publicity is good publicity. Even 5% of a very large number is still a very large number. That could hurt the bottom line for Coke. I am not a shareholder and I have no allegiance to Coke as I am not usually a consumer of this company’s products. But I want to engage the other 95% of America, the rational 95%. Let’s buy a twelve pack of a Coke product (I think this jester will get their ginger-ale) and render the Tea Party boycott as weak as their numbers are and to show they have NO power over the other 95% of Americans !   Symbolism at its most eloquent. Render the Tea Party moot. Even better would be to vote them ALL out of Congress this November.

Let’s end the concept of “social conservatism” by exposing it to the light and showing it for the TOTALITARIANISM that our parents / grandparents fought against in World War II and its aftermath, the Cold War. Lets make sure that,   #AmericaIsBeautiful  is not ironic.

Think about it America, talk about it, then just do it.   Make America The Beautiful the real thing !

–Stanczyk

September 14, 2013

Ayn Rand – Alice O’Connor – Alicia Rosenbaum — #Russian, #Jewish, #Genealogy

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

AynRanOConnor_PetitionCitz_page1

AynRanOConnor_PetitionCitz_page2

In Stanczyk’s first genealogical examination on Ayn Rand’s genealogy:

 Ayn Rand – A Genealogical Examination — 15th-August-2012

I omitted publishing her citizenship papers, which I am now including in this article.

“Alice” applied for citizenship on 29th June 1929. She declared herself to be a Hebrew (i.e. that she was Jewish), not Russian. She also said she emigrated from Mexico (clearly a lie) and that her last residence was Petrograd, Russia. Her occupation was ‘clerk’.

I say clearly a lie, since her Ship Manifest that records her REAL arrival on, 19-Feb-1926 as Alice Rosenbaum  arriving in New York City, NY on board the SS De Grasse. I just wanted to emphasize that she was a liar on numerous occasions when it suited her purposes. So I guess I can conclude that Objectivism includes a tenant of lying  – tough to base a philosophy/economic theory on lies. That is not intellectualism, that is an academic fraud.

On March 13, 1931 she was granted citizenship. You can see her citizenship is 5 years after her REAL arrival.  So what was June 29th, 1929 if not an arrival date?  It was a return from her honeymoon vacation! Do you see how she twists things to suit her purposes?

In the original article I did mention that she collected Social Security & Medicare to pay for her lung cancer surgery & medical bills. I forgot to mention that she had applied for Social Security before 1951 (probably in the  1930′s like our ancestors) when she lived in CA. You can get her SS5 application if you are so inclined. I chose not to spend the $35 for that document but you can go to Ancestry.com and order the SS5 there easily enough.

—  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —   Two more images of Alice O’Connor (Ayn Rand) :

IndexCard_AliceO'Connor USNatlIndex_AliceOConnor

September 8, 2013

NCAA Football 2013 — Post Week 2 #BigTen, #B1G

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

WeekPostSo far the college football season has been great:  Clemson-Georgia, Georgia-SC, Michigan-Notre Dame, Florida-Miami, Texas-BYU, plus a few FBS teams beat FCS teams. Its early but how are things shaping up relative to inter-conference play ?

So far the Big 10 (which as twelve teams in contrast to the Big 12 which has ten teams — but ignore the names).

Big 10:   only three losses

ACC:      only five losses, beat the SEC in two head-to-head, two ACC-on-ACC, so three losses really

PAC 12:  only four losses, one of which was PAC12-on-PAC12, so lets call it three losses

SEC:       only six losses, two of which were SEC-on-SEC contests so lets call it four losses

Big 12:   only five losses, one of which was BIG12-on-BIG12 so really four losses

So Big 10,  ACC,  and PAC 12 are the leaders so far in inter-conference play. Who are soaking up the losses? American Athletic (9 losses, really 8),  Mid American (15, really 14), Conference USA (16, really 15), and the Independents (including Notre Dame) with only six teams have seven losses.

So it is this jester’s opinion that the National polls are skewed to the SEC (which to be fair has won the National Title so many years in a row). None the less, the rankings need to be re-balanced upon this season’s truth not on last season’s results.

Next Week …

No. 1 Alabama vs No. 7 Texas A&M  — Must see Game

No. 18 UCLA     vs No. 22 Nebraska   — Very Compelling Game

Tennessee at No. 2 Oregon

No. 3 Ohio State at California

No. 20 Washington at Illinois

Ole Miss at No. 15 Texas

No. 14 Notre Dame at Purdue

No. 21 Wisconsin at Arizona State

No. 8 Louisville at Kentucky

Boston College at No. 25 USC  — (only interesting ACC  inter-conference game)

A lot of Big 10 vs PAC 12 games this week.

 

My Picks …

Texas A&M over Alabama in an upset. TAMU is at home, but BAMA has had a week to prepare so it will be close. Alabama’s reign is over!

Nebraska over UCLA in a mild upset. Again Nebraska is at home and they have looked like a juggernaut. Nebraska has two games, but UCLA has two weeks to prepare. Stats slightly favor UCLA over Nebraska so I guess it is just the home field advantage I am hanging my hat on and Big Red having two games under its belt. Almost a toss-up.

Winners – Oregon,  Ohio State,  Notre Dame,  Wisconsin,  Louisville,

Toss Ups –  Washington/Illinois,  Ole Miss/Texas,   Boston College/USC

Wisconsin looks like Fielding Yost Point-A-Minute team, unscored upon so far. The biggest lock. It will be high scoring game (no defense played here unless it is by Wisconsin).

On the Toss-Ups take the home teams. USC must watch out for Boston College though.

April 25, 2013

Boston suspects’ father (Tsarnaev) — says he’s returning to US

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Sad Saga of Tsarnaevich continues …

Boston suspects’ father says he’s returning to US [According to AP].

Read the AP article and it is apparent that the father and mother are still speaking ill of the USA. The mother goes so far as to blame US as the cause for the family’s woes!  Huh??? 

This is the backwards thinking of criminals who commit an heinous crime then blame witnesses or authorities who arrest them. REAL people are dead, maimed, property destroyed, many others were threatened, hijacked, kept prisoner/kidnapped, stolen from, RUN OVER (vehicular homicide? — still waiting on the coroner report), etc.

The citizens of the US are the victims of the Anzor/Zubeidat Tsarnaev (Царнаев) family NOT the other way around as the mother tries to twist the blame!

Believe Stanczyk when I say this. I have personally known others who victimized productive citizens then blamed those productive citizens when they are caught/arrested for their own actions / crimes that were committed with full intent to harm. Twisted Logic needs to be opposed. It is nothing more than being a troll!

Previous Articles:

The Sad Saga of the Tsarnaevich

1st Court Appearance of Tsarnaev

April 21, 2013

The Sad Saga of the Tsarnaevich — #Family, #Law, #Terrorism, #Boston, #Tsarnaev

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk has not been riveted by a story since the DC Sniper story of October 2002. So today, I chronicle the sad saga of Tsarnaevs (царнаев Tsarnaev in Russian Cyrillic). My story source materials are listed at the end. There are similarities to the DC Sniper story, both were on the east coast. Both had an older man and a younger man dynamic (Allen/Boyd, Tamerlan/Dzhokhar). Both were senseless killings of people. Let’s see what motive Dzhokhar ascribes for his and his brother’s actions. John Allen Muhammad (JAM) said his motive was an Islamicist jihady-thing.

Possibly estrangement played/plays a role in both stories. The DC Sniper case was not allowed to prosecute a case based upon JAM’s estrangement from his wife/kids. Tamerlan/Dzhokhar seemed to be separated from their father and estranged from an aunt and two uncles in the US/Canada. Tamerlan said he was estranged from America, unable to form any friendships (except for a murdered friend?). That estrangement of the brothers Tsarnaev may have been felt more strongly when their father left America to go have a brain hematoma operated on … in Russia. Why not the US? Was it a stroke or a tumor. Someone said it was brain cancer — albeit a tumor could be interpreted as an early stage of cancer. Certainly Anzor, thought he was going to die [perhaps he wanted to die on Russian soil], perhaps the sons thought he would too. In 2011, the FBI asked questions of Tamerlan, at the behest of some foreign nation, if he was involved with a terrorist organization (which the FBI had cleared him and his family of). Perhaps an aunt who is(or will be) a lawyer and two uncles who are doctors made the brothers Tsarnaev feel inadequate (or maybe only Tamerlan). Perhaps Tamerlan was feeling angry and tied down by a wife and daughter and rueing his inability to compete in Olympic boxing.

Anzor (Анзор) Tsarnaev (Царнаев) fled Chechnya for the neighboring safe-harbor of Kyrgyzstan. After a few years of this self-imposed exile, he moved his family to Dagestan, and a year later he comes to the USA in March 2002, under refugee status; This was with help from his sister, Maret (a lawyer or studying law in Canada). Ruslan & Alvi the two brothers of Anzor are doctors (MDs) living in Maryland. In 2003, Tamerlan and his sisters (Bella & Ailina) emigrate to the US and rejoin their family.

The Tsarnaev (Царнаевых) Family (Father, Mother, Tamerlan (Тамерлан), Dzhokhar (Джохар), and two daughters, Bella & Ailina) relocated to USA in 2002/2003 under refugee status with the aid of the aunt (Maret).

Timeline

October 1986 Tamerlan Tsarnaev born, Kyrgyzstan

About 1987 Bella Tsarnaev born, Kyrgyzstan

About 1990 Allina Tsarnaev born Kyrgyzstan

22 July 1993 Dzokhar Tsarnaev born, Kyrgyzstan

Before 1993 Ruslan Tsarnaev (brother of Anzor, uncle to the alleged bombers) emigrates to US

2001 Family moves to Makhachkala, Dagestan (Russian Federation)

2002 Maret Tsarnaeva – after she helped them [Anzor, her brother and his family] apply for refugee status to the US. [source: Maret’s words, from Wash. Post article 4/19/2013]

March 2002 Family moves to US, apply for refugee status (Exact Location unknown), Except Tamerlan & two sisters; [Dzhokhar’s principal said they left March 2002 for US; source: http://www.freeinews.com/global/alvi-and-ruslan-tsarni-two-uncles-speak-on-bombing-suspects]

2003 Tamerlan & two sisters come to US

2003 Tsarnaev family move to Boston area (source: uncle Ruslan in MD)

2006-2008 Tamerlan at Bunker Hill Community College; 2007 Tamerlan becomes legal permanent resident [source: NBC].

2011 Dzokhar graduates Cambridge Rindge & LatinSchool, Receives $2,500 Cambridge city grant, enrolls in UMASS-Dartmouth pre-med program.

about 2011 Anzor returns to Russia [after treatment in Russia for brain cancer or a brain hematoma?]

September 2011 Tamerlan’s friend Brendan Mess is murdered in Waltham, MA

January 2012 Dzokhar visits Dagestan [his father? for operation ??]. It appears Tamerlan went too and stayed for six months in Dagestan area.

13 June 2012 Mother (Zubeidat Tsarnaev) is arrested for alleged shoplifting at Lord & Taylors store

11 Sept 2012 Dzhokhar becomes a Naturalized US citizen (at TD Banknorth Garden, Boston)

15 April 2013 2:50PM Tsarnaevs are alleged to have planted and exploded two bombs at Boston Marathon.

18 April 2013 Photos, Videos place both brothers at scene of crime, Eye Witness and Victim Jeff Bauman witnesses a suspect (Tamerlan) drop bag which blows up 2 minutes later and identifes him to FBI. FBI releases photos & video of two suspects.

19 April 2013 1:35am Tamerlan Tsarnaev dies of wounds: gunshots, explosive burns, injuries from being run over and dragged by car by his younger brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev according to eye witness accounts.

19 April 2013 8:45pm Dzhokhar is captured after a final shoot-out at his hide-out in boat; Captured alive, conscious & transported to hospital.

What does the father say?

Анзор Царнаев, отец Джохара и Тамерлана Царнаевых (Aznor Tsarnaev, father of Dzhokar & Tamerlan — the brothers Tsarnaevich).

The father is sowing the seeds of misinformation in the Russian Federation in a predominantly Muslim state. He has claimed the US has framed his sons (a charge echoed by the Canadian aunt, Maret). Read the Interview from Izvestia. The FBI should, look at the timeline of the father’s comments and the phone records and translate them. Notice the father never came back to the US and supported his children (who had become adults, though Dzhokhar was too young to live alone with an older brother, who was young and married and had a baby, with no adult relatives for support). Stories of 20-April-2013 indicate the mother is in Dagestan. I did not see whether the charges against the mother were resolved (was she innocent or guilty of the crime? Was she deported?). Now the father wants permission to enter the US again??? After his fomenting dissent abroad, I do not think we can risk the father coming back to the US. What crime might he commit because his one son is dead and his other son faces numerous capital crime charges. There is a reason that the doctor brothers have disassociated from the rest of the family. These men are doctors. We must think about their safety too. Who knows what the father might do. The father spoke poorly of our nation to his nation/peoples. We cannot let that kind of radical inside the US, not under the present circumstances. Every American needs to write/call/email their Congressperson and let them know we do not want ANZOR TSARNAEV back in the USA. I also think that MARET TSARNAEV should not be allowed back in for similar reasons, even though she appears to live in Canada.

http://youtu.be/MZIb5xMSoLE (Youtube of father, see translated Interview [below] in Izvestia newspaper with the father from 19-April-2013 about 5:00am EST). The father is either lying or woefully misinformed about his family. Sad.

Izvestia newspaper interview (URL: http://izvestia.ru/news/549078), translated:

Father of Tsarnaevich brothers, some years living in Dagestan, is confident that his sons were not involved in bloody events that took place a few days ago in Boston in the United States. The eldest son of Tamerlane, he said, was happily married – with his American wife, that he raised his daughter. And the younger Johar – honors and pride of the family. Tsarnaev Anzor, who lost one son, fears that security forces would kill both.

[Anzor] – My children just set up. One killed, how could they? The same intelligence agencies. They had to hold it simple. Now I’m afraid for the second son. I keep in touch with them. Yes, I live far away, but I know what my kids are doing.

Q: When was the last time you spoke with your sons?

- With Tamerlane, immediately after the terrorist attack in Boston. As soon as I heard on TV, how awful it happened, I immediately dialed the phone the elder son answered, I asked, “Were you there? Since you did not happen? “He said, ‘Dad do not worry, we did not go there. Weare alive and well. “

Q: When you last saw sons?

- A year ago. But all the time we called each other. They talked with myself, I know what my kids are doing. The elder son – a boxer, four-time champion of America, one of the versions[twice Golden Gloves]. In the U.S. everyone knows he is a celebrity [before the Boston Marathon bombing]. Tamerlane is also a musician, playing the piano jazz. Once wanted to become a professional boxer, we tried to dissuade him, we said, what about permanent injury, why do you need it? And then he got married and had a daughter, now she is three and a half years. And he changed his mind to go to the professionals [actually dropped out from accounting studies at Bunker Hill Community College].

Q: He worked somewhere?

- No, he studied at the acting school, and sat with the child. He has worked as a wife. In a social institution – do not remember the name – took care of the disabled. My son did not have any free time. Always is on the clock.

Q: And Johar? When did you last talk to him?

- Three days ago. I Called and asked how things and said that he should come here for a vacation. He agreed. After all, he is the last time the child was, when we left, so he never returned. I briefly talked to him, he was in a hurry to go to class.

- It is known that he went to Cambridge?

- Yes, my youngest – the pride of the family. Always straight A student, dreamed of becoming a great doctor. He received a scholarship to study as the most talented. Never in any radical groups did not participate, hate talkers. With the money he has, of course, there were problems. But I helped him, sent a little bit, and he himself worked. In his free time, got a job as a pool lifeguard. He did not have time for all sorts of nonsense. And then, he could not go for it against the will of Tamerlane and his older brother would not allow to deal with such things.

- You yourself why left the U.S.?

- I went back home to die. I had a hematoma of the brain. I was sure – this is the end. But it has taken out, literally at my grave. And my sons were there.

- They became citizens of the United States?

- No, both of them – the citizens of Russia. For Tamerlane, his wife – an American, but he himself Russian. And Johar too. I fear for my second son. I am afraid that they will kill him, too. But I know – they[my sons] are not to blame.

My Opinion

Neither the mother, the father, nor the aunt should be granted access to travel to the US. The father and mother both have sown the seeds of dissent against the US in a predominantly Muslim state of the Russian Federation. The aunt in Canada (Maret) I am on the fence about whether the aunt should be allowed into the US for access to the trial or to support Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Her rhetoric is inflammatory and this trial will already be a sensation and tension-filled event wherever it is held and we will have to have extra security if the aunt is allowed in her due to her remarks.

I think the presence of the father, mother, and aunt presents an element of risk and the potential to foment further violence, if not actually commit actual crimes [in the case of the parents].

I think Ruslan and his brother Alvi are fine/decent/honorable Americans and we should protect both of them as valuable members of American society who are estranged from their brother Anzor (and his sons). The presence of these other Tsarnaevs on US soil, risks injury to these two valuable Americans who are medical doctors. The two daughters might also be harmed by violent rhetoric if these Tsarnaevich are allowed to re-enter the US. The safety and the protection of our society will be at risk throughout the resulting trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev; There is no need to increase that risk further.

I wish Ruslan and Alvi and their families well. I feel empathy for Tamerlan’s widow and 3 year old daughter. I hope for the best for the two sisters who remain in the US.   The rest of the sad Tsarnaevich in this saga we should not support or entertain upon US soil. Dzhokhar the naturalized US citizen is due his legal rights — but those rights do not include the support of those who foment dissent against the US in nations abroad and then wish to egress to our nation afterwards and use the media focus of a sensational event for their own purposes.

What do you say, my fellow Americans? Say it loud enough to be heard in Washington D.C. !

Source Materials

  1. A Quick Search of Ancestry.com for “Tsarnaev
  2. Google.RU search on Анзор, джохар , царнаев (Anzor/Dzhokhar , Tsarnaev) in Russian Cyrillic
  3. NYT/USA Today articles
  4. Washington Post/Baltimore Sun articles
  5. Boston Globe articles, timelines
  6. Izvestia Interview, Youtube Videos (Anzor, Ruslan)
  7. MyLife.com pages on Tsarnaevich with public declared names, ages
April 20, 2013

Anzor Tsarnaew — Lying or Misinformed? … You decide

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

AnzorTsarnaewIzvestia newspaper interview URL: http://izvestia.ru/news/549078

Izvestia newspaper interview with the father about 5:00am EST on 19-April-2013

Here is the Youtube video that goes along with the Interview:

http://youtu.be/MZIb5xMSoLE

This is the same father (man) that claims the US is framing his sons for:  the Boston Marathon bombing killing 3, wounding about 180 others, killing of MIT campus officer, car jacking, running gunfights / bomb throwing, running over Tamerlane, having guns/ammo/bombs(IEDs), shooting police  … etc.

[Did I miss any of the ALLEGED offenses that father thinks are not true of his sons???]

Translation of Interview (of Anzor Tsarnaew – Анзор Царнаев):

Father of Tsarnaevich brothers, some years living in Dagestan, is confident that his sons were not involved in bloody events that took place a few days ago in Boston in the United States. The eldest son of Tamerlane, he said, was happily married – with his American wife he raised his daughter. And the younger Johar – honors and pride of the family. Tsarnaev Anzor, who lost one son, fears that security forces would kill both.

- My children just set up[framed/entrapped]. One killed, how could they? The same intelligence agencies. They had to hold it simple. Now I’m afraid for the second son. I keep in touch with them. Yes, I live far away, but I know what my kids are doing.

- When was the last time you spoke with your sons?

- With Tamerlane immediately after the terrorist attack in Boston. As soon as I heard on TV, how awful it happened, I immediately dialed the phone Sr., asked, “Were you there? Since you did not happen? “He said, ‘Dad do not worry, we did not go there. All are alive and well. “

- When you last saw sons?

- A year ago. But all the time we called each other. They talked about myself, I know what my kids are doing. Senior – boxer, four-time champion of America, one of the versions. It in the U.S. everyone knows he is a celebrity. Tamerlane is also a musician, playing the piano jazz. Once wanted to become a professional boxer, we tried to dissuade him, they say, is a permanent injury, what do you need it? And then he got married and had a daughter, now she is three and a half years. And he changed his mind to go to the professionals.

- He[ Tamerlane] worked somewhere?

- No, he studied at the acting school, and sat with the child. He has worked as a wife. In a social institution – do not remember the name – took care of the disabled. My son did not have any free time. Everything is on the clock.

- And Johar? When did you last talk to him?

- Three days ago. I Called and asked how things and said that he should come here for a vacation. He agreed. After all, he is the last time the child was, as we left, so never and never returned. I briefly talked to him, he was in a hurry to go to class.

- It is known that he went to Cambridge?

- Yes, my youngest – the pride of the family. Always straight A student, dreamed of becoming a great doctor. He received a scholarship to study as the most talented. Never in any radical groups did not participate, hate talkers. With the money he has, of course, there were problems. But I helped him, sent a little bit, and he himself worked. In his free time, got into the pool lifeguard. He did not have time for all sorts of nonsense. And then, he could not go for it against the will of Tamerlane and his older brother would not allow to deal with such things.

- You yourself why left the U.S.?

- I went back home to die. I had a hematoma of the brain. I was sure – this is the end. But it has taken out, literally at my grave. And my sons were there.

- They became citizens of the United States?

- No, both of them – the citizens of Russia. In Tamerlane wife – an American, but he himself Russian. And Johar too. I fear for my second son. I am afraid that they will kill him, too. But I know – they [the sons] are not to blame.

August 17, 2012

Ayn Rand vs Objectivism: A Critique — An Election 2012 Primer, #Rational, #Politics, #Opinion

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

If you have been following my Ayn Rand / Objectivism series, this the third part and yes I know that these posts are each very long posts. Thank you for your fortitude and open rational mind’s attention. I wrote this article and the other two consecutively so you can just go back one or two blog posts to read the prior articles.

In the first article I criticized Paul Ryan for being a false Atheist, Objectivist and Catholic in his acceptance speech and elsewhere in his political life. I also stated Rand’s stated tenets of Objectivism.

The second article (the one prior to this one) just covered Ayn Rand’s life in a genealogical sense and I included many links which I encourage you to follow those links and examine the genealogical documents to check my validity of my writings on Rand and the context of her life.

In this article I want offer up for your rational and reasoning mind, my critiques of Ayn Rand and/or her espoused philosophy (Objectivism).

Context

By the time Ayn Rand arrived under her real name of Alice Rosenbaum (also Alisa Rosenbaum), on SS De Grasse in the ship’s cabins (not 3rd class or steerage as most emigrants did) on February 19, 1926 she was absolutely “cooked”. From that point on, she was not going to be swayed from her life’s philosophy. The only things she was going to change, would be her name, to “Ayn Rand”.

She was born into a well heeled Jewish family (father owned or was the pharmacist). Rand made it clear that her family was not so “jewish”, definitely not observant jews. I do not know that I believe that (but I’ll save that for later). Rand also said her mother was inattentive to her and her two sisters. Rand also said she taught herself to read in 1911 (about age 6). How about that she actually remembered the year that she declared she was a reader and that nobody else helped her to learn to read? Rand was born the year after her parents were married in 1904 (St. Petersburg, Czarist Russia). So she was the eldest child — no other child to teach her, if her parents did not instruct her in reading. This would be counter to what just about all other Jewish families do, at least so their children can read the Torah (Moses’ Law portion of the Bible’s Old Testament). So again I am skeptical about that self-taught reading business. In high school she reads Victor Hugo (Les Miserables) and discovers Aristotle. She also declares since she is a rationalist, she is also an atheist. Also, there was that Bolshevik Revolution thing in 1917 (right before high school that forces her/her family to move to Ukraine, then Yevpatoria, Crimea). The Communists strip her father of his pharmacy business and they struggle just to eat in the now Communist Russian state (no Czar in control anymore). After graduating from her Crimean high school her family moves back to St. Petersburg (now called Petrograd) and enrolls in Petrograd State University in 1921 where she learns Nietzsche. in 1924 she graduates from Leningrad State University (St. Petersburg is now called Lenningrad) — the same university she had enrolled in, just a new communist name. She almost did not graduate as the communists threw her out, but supposedly foreign instructors fought to have her reinstated so she could finish her studies. We really need someone to go to the Russian Archives and get a copy of her transcripts to remove all of these disputes. Anyway, also in 1924 she enrolls in State Technicum for Screen Arts where she learns screenwriting. She has a love of motion pictures, particularly American/Western motion pictures. In 1925 she gets published her first writing a pamphlet on “Pola Negri” [Polish actress]. Somewhere along the way, after high school and before 1926 she has an affair with a Jewish man, cheats on him with a Communist, breaks it off with the Communist, endangering herself and her family by ending that relationship so badly. This saga is chronicled in her mostly autobiographical We The Living book. Somehow her “destitute”, hardly-able-to-eat family and her scrape together the money for a passport (from Riga) and a ticket for cabin passage on an ocean liner and $50 (USD) and she has a typewriter among her possessions. So Alice Rosenbaum arrives in New York City (Ellis Island) February 19th, 1926 (with the $50 cash required to enter the US). She goes to her uncle Harry Portnoy in Chicago, IL (presumably on the train using some of that $50). So she is now the fully cooked Alice Rosenbaum whose rigidity kept her from changing anything, except her name, which somehow, somewhere, at somepoint becomes Ayn Rand??

Are you with me so far? This age-6-self-taught reader, who knew at age 9 she wanted be a writer, gives up Judaism to be an atheist in high school. She is treated poorly by Communists (her father’s loss of business, kicked out of school, possibly witnessed/knew of pogroms). She hated the Communists, that represented the state taking everything from her/her family. No Collectivism or Self Sacrifice for the State for her. She hated the will sapping, sinking-to-the-lowest-common-denominator that a Totalitarian Economy represented. She entered a relationship with a Jewish man on whom she cheated (with a Communist, no less — conflicted). She studied screenwriting and then left Communist Russia to go to America with an eye to go to Hollywood and be a writer.

Genealogical Critique

First off, I do not believe she demonstrated self reliance. How could she have afforded to come to America especially in a ship’s cabin and with $50? Her last residence was Leningrad (from her father). Also note that she came over and immediately lived with her uncle in Chicago — not very independent or self-reliant. She lived off her uncle’s largess for 6 months before moving onto Hollywood, CA. I am sure she worked to earn some of her keep and to earn money to move to California to pursue her dream of writing for motion pictures.

Second, why would an atheist identify herself as a Hebrew on the ship’s manifest? She could have put Russian. With a name like Rosenbaum, she could have put German too, but Hebrew?? In Communist (read atheist) Russia, she identified herself as a Hebrew. Was that safe to maintain a religion in Communist Russia — especially when she said she was atheist in high school? Even under the Czars, Jews (i.e. Hebrews) were often uprooted and moved to certain remote countryside towns in the “Pale of Settlement“. Seldom were Hebrews allowed to remain in the cities (unless wealthy or in vital professions — which a pharmacist might be considered on both accounts). She has an affair with a Jewish man after becoming an atheist and before emigrating. What Jewish man would want a woman who was not a Jew to have his children? A child is Jewish only if the mother was a Jew (by birth or conversion). Would an atheist do? Probably not. Not so atheist, I guess. In fact, she continues to identify herself as a Hebrew up to and including her Petition for Naturalization filed in December 1930. For the record, the Kensico cemetery where she (and her husband) were buried has a Jewish section, albeit it is not clear whether they are in the Jewish section or not.

Her Naturalization does not show a name change to Ayn Rand. She signs March 13, 1931 as Alice O’Connor. Her signature is distinctive too. The way Ayn Rand handwrote her captial ‘A’ was the same on on Alice O’Connor (her married name) as it was on Ayn Rand (see wikipedia for Ayn Rand signature). She must have have filed a name change somewhere, some place, at some point, because on her Social Security data (more on this later), her name is Ayn Rand!

Thirdly, if we accept the firsthand accounts of others about Ayn Rand. She had a temper! Witnesses say she slapped Nathaniel Branden (including Nathaniel himself — who is still alive and wrote a book on his relationship with Ayn Rand) multiple times. Then she forced Nathaniel and Barbara Branden out of the Objectivist organization that Ayn Rand founded/owned. So we see violence and force on just this one man — against her own Objectivist Principles of Non-Violence and Non-Force. Of course, we could chalk that up to Rand selfishly making herself happy (does that override all other Objectivist principles?). What was the cause of such violence/force? Branden was selfishly making himself happy with his wife and another woman BESIDES Ayn Rand (whom he had a multi-year affair with, then spurned Rand’s advances when he got serious about Patrecia Scott). All these people were Objectivists until Rand “excommunicated” them from her organization. For the record, Nathaniel Branden who was 25 years younger than Rand lied to her about the age difference being a problem and the fact he was in another affair and that he hid from Rand due to her reputed anger.

Finally, notice from the image that Ayn Rand filed for Social Security in CA before 1951. She did not just fill out the forms. She also took monthly Social Security checks (starting about age 69) and also accepted Medicare health insurance when her health started to fail. So even though she said ‘self-reliance’, no ‘welfare state’ — when push came to shove she took the government social programs’ monies. Did you know her health failed because she was a heavy smoker (who developed lung cancer)? So she made all of America pay for her nasty smoking habit — so much for no collectives of any kind. She took Social Security and MEDICARE which she needed because she chose to smoke (probably because it made her selfishly happy). In Rand’s eyes SELFISHNESS is a virtue. In fact she wrote a paper with just that title (actually twice — the second time to repudiate Nathaniel Branden, her excommunicated lover, to her Objectivist subscribers).

From a genealogical perspective, I maintain even Ayn Rand could not be an OBJECTIVIST and that nobody could, because in my opinion it is not possible due to contradictions with reality as we KNOW it. Rand said the “Attila” (aka Man of Force) was not an OBJECTIVIST. Likewise, not the “Witch-Doctor” (later called the mystic) either because he was guided by his emotions and his blind beliefs and/or wishes. It looks like by her life events, she was both Witch-Doctor and Man-of-Force. Oh, she was also a PRODUCER/CREATIVE too. She did sell 25 Million books, at least 7 Million (as of 2010) of which were Atlas Shrugged. By any rational measure Ayn Rand was a successful writer — ergo we can give her the label PRODUCER/CREATIVE.

Philosophical Critique

I am not a professional philosopher, so I will leave philosophical arguments to others. I will say any foundation based on:

Man as Heroic is unfortunately flawed. I wanted to believe it. Certainly, I have seen numerous “heroic” examples from men, women, children, and even animals. But to say man is heroic 100% all of the time is just not believable. There are just too many counter examples to enumerate.

Non-Violence / No-Force – is also a flawed assumption. There has never been a year without violence in the history of mankind. Even if we limit the definition to be just global or civil wars, or genocides then we would see 90+% of all years are violent. Obviously the more violent acts you add in, the closer the limit approaches a violent act happens almost every minute (or is it every second). Force occurs more frequently than violence especially if you view force to be a superset of violence.

Rational, Only Rational – Is there such a person. Even Mr. Spock had his AMOK time where his reason failed him. I have never seen a human be rational at all times, every day. I also have never found a man who was not ruled by emotions. Has there ever been a man/woman who was never happy/sad/fearful/angry/… ? If so then he was probably violent (as in a psychopath).

The Witch-Doctor falls in in the rational area, as he is ruled by emotions or has wishes or blind beliefs. Ergo, he fails to be rational. The Attila man is found here as a failure of rationality too since he/she would use violence/force to get his way. I agree there are Witch-Doctors and Attilas. I would have to say that some Attilas are Producers. How about Julius Caesar for example?

Producers / Creative – OK. Here is one where we find the basis is not flawed. Not all men are Productive/Creative. Even if a man is Productive/Creative he is not that every waking moment. Still I do nto find Rand require Producer/Creatives to be so at all times. Just that they be so. But how much make you a Producer? Is there a threshhold below which man is not to be considered not a Producer?

No Intellectuals before the Industrial Age? Ayn Rand said in a Jan 1st, 1961 interview with James McConnell (University of Michigan) where she said emphatically that there were no intellectuals before the industrial age. That is patently false. This shows Ayn Rand to be ignorant of the classics. There were the seven sages (Thales, Solon, Chilon, etc.) who were intellectuals and capitalists and sometimes soldier and politicians too. I simply offer people to read books on Socrates, Aristotle, Plato or Pythagoras minimally. But I am thinking of the book, Diogenes Laertius, “Lives of Eminent Philosophers” from the Loeb Classical Library Vol I. translated by R.D. Hicks. These men made their living from their intellectual property.

Selfishness is a Virtue, Altruism is bad, No Collectives – I think any sensible person would agree these are wrong. For good examples of collective enterprises I offer: Social Security, Medicare (the two weakest), Airports, Harbors, Road, Trains, Schools, Hospitals, Dams, Museums, Zoological Parks, National Parks, Insurances (Health, Life, Disaster, Business), Military (this can be good/bad) & Defenses, Savings & Loans/Credit Unions (again good/bad), Helping Your Neighbor in a Disaster, Food Coops. Are not any of these good? I think they all are in some fraction. These are my counter arguments to collectives.

By the way I think only being motivated for your own happiness without regard to others is fundamentally in opposition to violence and/or Man-As-Heroic.

Being Self-Reliant is a good thing and I accept this. But I think people needed to band together from the earliest hunter-gatherer clans, to early agriculture/non nomadic and group defense are the proof there have always been collectives and that this is an evolutionary survival technique that created a possibility for man to survive and master the world.

Laissez-Faire Economics – Businesses are people who just want to be happy without regards to others (i.e. humankind). I think the current worldwide “Great Recession” proves that to be a flawed economic model. Also it leads to business that pollute the environment or think that creating asbestos products is ok even if businesses knew it would kill many people. No need for ethics? Come on. These things lead to violence. These things are obviously wrong. Why are there people who cannot see this?

By the way, if you read books on game theory (the mathematics, not real games) you will see that defection is almost intrinsic. Where is the nobility or heroicness in “Everyone For Themselves”? I know violence is there.

These to me say OBJECTIVISM is flawed. Let me also cite here Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem which says any system (even philosophical ones) will have truths that are outside of the system. Also conversely, there will be falsities inside any system. OBJECTIVISM is not the only ISM with this problem all ISMs have this as a problem — including ATHEISM, any religion (i.e. Catholicism), etc. Did Ayn Rand not know about Bertrand Russell or Godel??

How large were the gaps in here knowledge. Good thing she was a successful writer. I’ll skip further analysis here. Go to these links below:

Where Alice Rosenbaum Went Wrong

Guardians of Ayn Rand

Literary Critique

As I said, Ayn Rand sold 25 million+ books so she was an unqualified success! Rand did make it to Hollywood. On her 1st day she meets Cecil B de Mille and works as an extra actor on King of Kings where she meets her husband, Frank O’Connor [she tripped him on set to get him to notice her -- I am sure that made her selfishly happy]. Dream come true.

Her two works for which she is well known are fictional works. FICTION. Atlas Shrugged , Rand’s magnum opus, was a Dystopian Sci Fi novel. It was 1168 pages and included a 60 page monologue. Roundly criticized and yet also popular. But did anyone ever read it completely — every word? I think more people read the complete War & Peace than read Atlas Shrugged. Many synopses exist on the Internet — help yourself. I do not think it was as well written as L. Ron Hubbard (another sci-fi novelist cum philosopher-organization-builder). If you want a Slavic sci-fi writer with more heft how about Stanislaw Lem. Of course, the great Russian-born sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov is even accorded an even better standing as a writer.

If all you want is a good totalitarian critic, go for Slawomir Mrozek or the Nobel Prize winner Czeslaw Milosz. Both were authors of such heft and deep thought and yet provided entertaining criticism of totalitarianism. Very literate writers.

However, I am not planning on running for Vice-President with an idea to implement the Foundation Trilogy economic ideas. These books motivated at least one Nobel Prize winning economist (Paul Krugman). So why should we elect people who want to implement Atlas Shrugged ideas? FICTION.

Do not forget that all NON-PRODUCERS are just supposed to die. This seems a lame literary idea for implementing in real life politics/economics.

Paul Ryan & Faux Objectivists

So why does Paul Ryan so prominently promote himself as an Ayn Rand devotee? And why, oh why would we want to elect someone, much less a whole caucus of Tea Party people who espouse Ayn Rand’s OBJECTIVISIM and Economics? They belie themselves by working on social issues which are EXACTLY what Ayn Rand would not have done (She was correct in this concept of not taking rights from a minority by a ruling majority). They did not concern themselves with economics at all. They even stone-walled raising the debt ceiling until it ruined the once perfect credit rate of the USA making everybody pay more for everything — including the debt they were against. Yet this one act guaranteed that debt would grow exponentially.

Let’s see whether they do it again this year and let sequestration throw the US Economy into a depression.

Either way, these are NOT OBJECTIVISTS. They are merely anarchists determined to minimize the US government to a size where they can strangle it in the bathtub. Did you do that Google assignment from article one? Are they really trying to bring about the chaos from Atlas Shrugged? Do most of the Tea Party actually think they are PRODUCERS? Clue to Tea Party caucus, you actually have to work (no sign of that in D.C.) to be a PRODUCER.

Only one Tea Party caucus member turned down the Congressional Health Insurance — he may have actually been an Objectivist. The rest of the TEA Party Caucus complained they had to wait one month for the health insurance to start (NOT Objectivists). Didn’t any of those idiots ever work for a company who provides health insurance? They ALL make you wait 30 days before your health insurance starts — more proof these people were NOT Producers.

A couple flaws from that FICTION. The other 99% will not just die. They may become violent or forceful. Also, who among the 1% of producers are going to pick up the garbage or fix the sewer pipes? Some more useful collective endeavors. I guess they will die from disease these faux PRODUCERS. Who will defend these non-violent, now-disease-weakened producers? Who will heal them or nurse them back to health from their illness? Maybe, just maybe almost everyone is of use and a PRODUCER in some way — even the bloggers. Everyone who works is a PRODUCER. Let’s manufacture/motivate some more PRODUCERS. Isn’t that what real PRODUCERS do?

We still need to work on the US Economy. Let’s use New Keynesian economic ideas and bury the Laissez-Faire economics in a garbage dump. Hey, isn’t that Paul Krugman guy a New Keynesian economist? We may not want to elect Dr. Krugman either, but perhaps we should utilize his economic suggestions of June 2012. After all he is a member of the G30.

Oh, Paul Ryan, just so you know Friedrich Hayek had strong reservations against Laissez-Faire economics. So either make your staff read Ayn Rand or read Friedrich Hayek but not both as they are in direct conflict. Hayek believed:

Hayek was prepared to tolerate “some provision for those threatened by the extremes of indigence or starvation, be it only in the interest of those who require protection against acts of desperation on the part of the needy.”

“[Hayek] advocated mandatory universal health care and unemployment insurance, enforced, if not directly provided, by the state.”

Aren’t you Tea Party types against those policies? Perhaps you should actually read books and not just say you read them.

July 12, 2012

Much More Ado About Mitt … Its All True — #Bain, #Romney, #Presidential, #Politics

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Today’s research is from SEC / EDGAR website …

Today a whole lot of comments about whether Mitt Romney was involved or not with Bain after February 1999 or not. I do not want to cover that ground but I recommend the following articles that cover the issues:

Boston Globe – “Mitt Romney stayed at Bain 3 years longer than he stated

Yahoo News – “Report: Romney at Bain Three Years Longer Than He Claimed

There were many other sources as well.

My motivation was the Romney campaign denying these reports and calling the President and his team misleading. This is another lie/inaccurate statement by the Romney Campaign team and Romney to deny the President and his campaign team and the Boston Globe report.

This jester went to the SEC website and looked at the EDGAR webpages listing the Bain SEC filings from 1999 through 2002. I have compiled a spreadsheet with links for any journalists or media types to follow or for you my blog followers/readers to follow.

The facts are as the Boston Globe and President Obama stated. The Bain companies’ SEC filings indicate that Mitt Romney had substantial involvement with Bain well beyond February 1999.

Romney had involvements with Bain as the various fillings state as:

  • Has Mitt Romney signature as a preparer/submitter of the filing
  • Title: CEO,   Principal Occupation: Managing Director Bain Capital Inc.
  • Share voting and dispositive powers
  • Mr W. Mitt Romney is the sole shareholder, sole director, Chief Executive Officer and President of Bain Capital and thus is the controlling person of Bain Capital.
The above are lines directly from copied from the SEC filing text (see spreadsheet below). In many of the filings Mitt Romney’s name was listed many times in many capacities. But clearly he was involved for longer than he has stated. Maybe as much as three years into 2002. Definitely, my spreadsheet showed some level of involvement through at least May of 2001. I could not find any involvement as of  February 8th, 2002 and going forward (as indicated by SEC filings).
My Methodlogy was to only look at Bain Capital, Brookside or BCIP filings, but there were many more where Bain was involved with other companies that I did not examine. There were a total of 131 filings and I only examined 20 filings and document sixteen filings below in the spreadsheet table.
Mr Romney you need to apologize to the President and indeed to all of America. You definitely had involvement as documented by the legal filings with the SEC. Beyond apologies, I think Mitt Romney owes all Americans complete transparency to get beyond this controversy. Mitt Romney I call on you to be open and transparent on this controversy and any SEC investigation. The first step is to release all TAX RETURNS from 1999 through 2008 inclusive. This covers the period of concern in the Boston Globe investigative article, which said you did not finalize your severance until 2002 and then made it a ten year severance pact, retroactively starting from February 1999. Hence we need 1999 through 2008 TAX YEARS to examine your involvement and to clear up whether these “mistatements” on your or your campaign’s part were meant to deceive MA voters and/or the USA voters in this Presidential campaign (as well as 2008′s campaign too).
Now before I stop writing and paste my research, let me state that I am still a registered Republican. I even sent money to Mitt Romney for his 2008 campaign and still receive his mailings up to the present.
But I vote for Democrats since TEA Party, Grover Norquist pledgers seems to be dedicated to ruining this country by doing NOTHING in DC and by sowing the seeds of anarchy with their ignorant, made up facts and puerile focus on women’s health rights, gay marriages, suppressing voter rights, etc.  These are not intellectual Republicans. They are not small government/low tax Republicans — because they work on limiting civil rights instead of lowering taxes and creating jobs and solving the economic woes of our nation. You cannot be a small government/low tax government if you keep trying to get the Federal government involved in social issues of every American. Real Republicans do not want to enforce social mores by Big Brother-Big Government, they are merely fiscal conservatives and prize securing the blessings of America by utilizing the military in only just ways and to ensure our defense and protection of our liberties from all enemies foreign and domestic.
Here is the spreadsheet data(evidence) that will stop the Republican/Romney lies … [If you do not believe me, then click on every link and look at each document as I did.]
Filing Date Link to SEC Filing ROMNEY Involved SEC File to Read NOTES
4/13/1999 www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1033683/0000950131-99-002266.txt Yes 0000950131-99-002266.txt has his signature
9/27/1999 www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/830134/0000927016-99-003307.txt Yes 0000927016-99-003307.txt
2/14/2000 www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1027584/0000950131-00-001153.txt Yes 0000950131-00-001153.txt has his signature
2/14/2000 www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1033683/0000950131-00-001151.txt Yes 0000950131-00-001151.txt
7/6/2000 www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1033683/000092701600002402/0000927016-00-002402.txt Yes 0000927016-00-002402.txt
7/14/2000 www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1065042/000092701600002483/0000927016-00-002483-index.htm Yes 0000927016-00-002483.txt
7/26/2000 www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/6885/000092701600002587/0000927016-00-002587.txt Yes 0000927016-00-002587.txt Mr W. Mitt Romney is the sole shareholder, sole director, Chief Executive Officer and President of Bain Capital and thus is the controlling person of Bain Capital.
11/6/2000 www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1033683/000092701600003722/0000927016-00-003722-index.htm Yes 0000927016-00-003722.txt share voting and dispositive power
2/13/2001 www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/874689/000092701601000754/0000927016-01-000754.txt Yes 0000927016-01-000754.txt has his signature
2/13/2001 www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1065042/000092701601000764/0000927016-01-000764.txt Yes 0000927016-01-000764.txt
2/14/2001 www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1065042/000089843001000644/0000898430-01-000644.txt Yes 0000898430-01-000644.txt has his signature
2/20/2001 www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1054290/000092701601001009/0000927016-01-001009.txt Yes 0000927016-01-001009.txt Title: CEO,   Principal Occupation: Managing Director Bain Capital Inc.
2/22/2001 www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1065042/000089843001000745/0000898430-01-000745.txt Yes 0000898430-01-000745.txt has his signature
5/14/2001 www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1033683/000092701601501004/0000927016-01-501004.txt Yes 0000927016-01-501004.txt share voting and dispositive power
5/14/2001 www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1033683/000092701601500679/0000927016-01-500679.txt Yes 0000927016-01-500679.txt share voting and dispositive power
2/8/2002 www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/874689/000104596902000154/0001045969-02-000154.txt No 0001045969-02-000154.txt After this no indication of Romney involvement in SEC filings
The above are for Bain Capital, BCIP, and Brookside. There were a total of 131 filings 1999-2002 that involved Bain entities. The remainder were listed under differing company names and were not examined

April 8, 2012

RAOGK – Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness — #Genealogy

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

This Passover / Easter weekend seems a good time as any to reflect on our family genealogy.

I know (or at least I think) that the website RAOGK/Random-Acts-Of-Genealogical-Kindness went defunct and that heirs/friends of the original website owner were trying to revive this website of genealogical service to others. I hope it does get a new life.

But even if it does not, we can still engage in RAOGK. Genealogy is the original collaborative / crowd sourced research field. For years, I have volunteered and also been the benefactor of other volunteers who have bestowed their time/efforts for a greater good. It is one of the reasons, I treasure genealogy as a past time, because of the general kindness of our fellow researchers who also share a passion for research, history, genealogy and family and a fondness for others who also engage in genealogy.

As my previous blog article chronicled, Steve Kalemkiewicz did his part this Holy Week. He went to the Detroit Public Library and did just a bit more research than just what he needed to do for himself. As a result we all have 14 new names that may benefit our research.

On Good Friday, I was able to get back to Holy Trinity Cemetery (Phoenixville) and take about 70 pictures of headstones. This I sent off to the PGSCT&NE for their cemetery databases. It should yield a good 100-140 new names for their databases. Holy Trinity is a mostly Polish cemetery, in fact its name on the two Gate Posts is written in Polish on one and English on the other. I thank Jonathan Shea and the others at PGSCT&NE who collect and post this info to their website.

As a side note, I’d like to mention that the PGSCT&NE is putting on a free seminar for researching your Slavic Roots.  You can register for this April 28th seminar, by calling 215-360-3422. The seats are limited and You Need to pre-register. This is another RAOGK.

Do yourself and others some good and perform a RAOGK soon!

Happy & Blessed Easter/Passover to all readers!

–Stanczyk

March 4, 2012

To Tweet or Not To Tweet … That is the Question

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Pardon the Bard in me. But I had to soliloquy.

To tweet or not to tweet — that is the question! Whether it is nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous Ads or by opposing end them.

Stanczyk™ knew this would happen. First the IPO then the looting of your privacy and the deluge of adverts that must accomplish a $100 Billion justification of Twitter’s existence. I was frustrated by sponsored tweets spamming my tweet stream already … it just Zucks! There are better ways to monetize the website that are far less intrusive.     Zuckerberg call me!

Now we find Twitter wants to sell our tweets too??? Isn’t that our IP (Intellectual Property)?  Do I need to put a © [copyright] on my tweets — Now I am down to 139 characters to be a content provider. I expect royalties for my copyrighted tweets — please sign the licensing agreement Mr Zuckerberg before you sell mine. This is your only legal notice! … ©™®  [Date: 3/4/12]

Let’s Go To Google+

Oh, didn’t Google just change its privacy rules? I am sure they will do NO evil. Let’s see if this jester can summarize their new privacy statement briefly …. Hmmmm …

“You have no privacy if you use any of our software.”

That pretty much summarizes  the non-Evil gobbledygook. I’m here from Google and I am here to help you.    Damn you: Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Eric Schmidt  (Google’s founders and Executive Chairman). Now we have to dump our search history and … everything else. Did everyone dump their search history by the March 1st deadline? Do not criticize Google’s efforts or our robo spiders will leave you in the dusty cobwebs of isolated Internet ignominy  (go use Bing you miscreants).

When did Silicon Valley become such lecherous corporate Privaphiles? Is their software so bug free they can GUARANTEE nobody will be harmed by their intrusiveness; Nobody will be slammed for their Internet address; Nobody will be crossmerged incorrectly with other similar named nefarious netizens ?

Time will tell whether we live happily ever after … or not. Right now its just … “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”.

February 26, 2012

Responses – Exploring Gedcom — #Technology, #Genealogy

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Mail Room

The mailroom received three emails / comments from the “Exploring Gedcom” article.

Tamura Jones (Modern Software Experience), Louis Kessler (BeholdGenealogy.com),  and  Stan Mitchell (GenApps.net / ezGED Viewer).

Good solid GEDCOM experts all (unlike this jester who is only a journeyman apprentice to these fine men) and as you can see they are also bloggers themselves.

Here’s my summation:

  1.  WHITESPACE – All three disputed the whitespace proposal. Even though it was an optional feature accessed via on/off check-box — I yield to what I see as rising tide that I cannot swim against. I assume that XML will also be treated as badly by all for EXACTLY the same reasons — too verbose and makes for a poor data transfer mechanism because of  the bloat.
  2. UNICODE – Tamura pointed out that it was in the 5.5.1 standard. I said maybe so, but hardly implemented, needs to be mandatory. I also hate the two-hexabyte binary debris that makes an otherwise TEXT file into a partial binary file. Tamura points out that this byte-order indicator is commonly hidden (I am old school and use vi — nothing hidden) by PC editors. Besides, the HEAD tag CHAR sub-tag could be used to determine character set and keep file textual. Tamura said that would be a catch-22 (since you do not know the files encoding). Tamura points out that everyone does as I suppose and use ASCII (or UTF-16LE or UTF-16BE) to determine encoding.  Documentation needs to be updated too. Really almost no support for generating UNICODE chars in app — should be required, otherwise data entry is limited to clever users (i.e. tech-types or their friends).
  3. DATES – nobody liked DATES (or NAMES) as a zero level. I can live without dates, as I can always create a dimension with every possible date to slice & dice my genealogy facts. Names was also not part of my vision, other than I want a bunch of AKA names for an INDI.
  4. LOCN – Everyone agreed, the PLAC tag did provide a minimalist capability. 2/3 saw a good reason to have LOCN at the zero level, as I proposed. Let’s hope this feature gets in.  We may need to keep PLAC tag for backwards compatibility until all gedcoms have been converted.
  5. EVENTS as a zero level tag seemed to interest people, as MULTI-PERSON events (aka EVENT_TYPE_FAMILY) is NOT adequately dealt with in GEDCOM 5.5.1. I also think people want to standardize these events as much as possible and leave open the ability for a user to add their own events. EVENTS was also related to GROUPS which people seem to want in some fashion. The need to analyze a social network needs to have some better GROUP/EVENT/ROLE visibility that the current standard provides. I think we really we need EVENT and EVENT_TYPE tags to keep from adding a new GEDCOM tag every time someone says we need a new event (BIRT | CHR | BAPM | BARM | BASM | BLES | SLGC). All TYPE tags should be from a standard list that a user can add to. The list should be allowed to be localized (into a native langauge). This keeps parsing to a minimal while allowing for expansion. OLD tags are kept for backwards compatibility until a gedcom is upgraded to a later version. I think we also need a ROLE_TYPE to replace ROLE_IN_EVENT and add more standard roles, (i.e. GodMother, GodFather, Witness, Neighbor, MidWife, Rabbi, Brother, Sister, Aunt, Uncle, Cousin, Border, etc.) and this should also be localized and user upgradeable. Keep  EVENT_TYPE_FAMILY and EVENT_TYPE_INDIVIDUAL for backwards compatibility.
  6. DOCUMENTS (deferred) – The case was not made nor was the concept adequately explained. To Stanczyk this is related to multimedia and is for making it possible to locate all documents of a certain type (i.e.  Declaration of Intent) with its date and location and a locator to the multimedia  representation and pull these documents out in their own right regardless of the individual or family or group.
  7. GROUPS (deferred) – Some interest in defining a non-family group (ex. military unit, college fraternity/sororiety, religious society, etc.). These groups would be interesting in their own right to study. At RootsTech 2012, this seemed to be a novel idea that had a positive feel to the audience.

GROUPS is not intended for a non-traditional family unit which needs some thought and design in this Modern Family World.

Tamura chided me that many of my “wants” are a part of an offshoot of GEDCOM called GEDCOM 5.5EL (Extended Location GEDCOM derived from version 5.5). The only difference is  I want to get rid of the need for _LOC (a custom tag under GEDCOM definition) and use LOCN instead. Also I would want their undefined tag called NAMC (possibly renamed NAMA for NAMe Alias or NAMe Altertnate) be 0:M; meaning that you can have zero, one or many alternate/alias names for this LOCN (or INDI why not?).

Also the NAMC (or NAMA) should have a subtype FONE and FONETYPE (soundex, DM, Bieder-Morse, etc.) to aid in advanced searches or Google searches. But this is the argument for NAMES at zero level. The last names are usually where the  soundex/phonetic matching need to be stored. We do not need to repeat this data for each individual (INDI) just for each unique last name or alternate name. These things get created in Surname Index pages – how much easier if the NAMES (re surnames and alternate surname) had a zero level with the FONE, FONETYPE and the INDI had an XREF pointing to each NAME/NAME ALTERNATE s/he had used during their life. One might even hope that the zero level name had an XREF to each INDI too. If I were the Data Architect for GEDCOM, I have a zero level NAMES (for SURNAMES) and their soundex/phonetic codes, plus XREFs back and forth to INDI.

I need to cut this response short, but a great thanks to all who read the article and the above three for improving my thoughts by their comments/emails.

P.S. – If you follow the GEDCM 5.5EL link, you will notice they show their gedcom indented and then go on to say about the whitespace:

” improves readability … should (and will) not be performed at real Gedcom-output.”

My sentiments exactly. Sometimes you just need to show the gedcom (and indentation improves the presentation and understanding). I too never intended it to be processed into the gedcom output/exported to a file for transport (just for my own personal examination or writing purposes). However, I have capitulated on whitespace — so please no more email on whitespace and bloat.

February 5, 2012

Is GEDCOM Dead? Date/Place of Death, Please?

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

The RootsTech Conference is living up to its name. Everywhere there was a sea of: iPhones/Androids, iPads (in huge numbers), and laptops. Even the very elderly were geared up. Google, Dell, and Microsoft were at RootsTech. — why not Apple, especially since their customers were present in LARGE numbers??? [note to Tim Cook have Apple sponsor and show up as a vendor.]

According to Ryan Heaton (FamilySearch), “GEDCOM is stale.” He went on to speak about GEDCOMX as the next standard as if GEDCOM were old and/or dead. They were not even going to make GEDCOMX backwards compatible! In a future session I had with Heaton I asked the Million dollar question, “How do I get my GEDCOM into GEDCOMX”? After a moments pause he said they’d write some sort of tool to import or convert the existing GEDCOM files. Well that was reassuring??? So they want GEDCOMX to be a standard but FamilySearch are the only ones working on it and they have not had the ability to reach out to the software vendors yet (I know I asked).

My suggestion was to publish the language (like HTML, SQL, or GEDCOM). I asked for “railroad tracks“, what we used to call finite state automata, and what Oracle uses to demonstrate SQL syntax, statements that are valid with options denoted and even APIs for embedding SQL into other programming languages. Easy to write a parser or something akin to a validator (like W3C has for HTML).

Dallan Quass  took a better tack on GEDCOM. His approach was more evolutionary, rather than revolutionary. He collected some 7,000+ gedcoms

GEDCOM Tags

and wrote an open source parser for the current GEDCOM standard (v5.5). He analyzed the flaws in the current standard and saw unused tags, tags like ALIA
that were always used wrong, custom tags and errors in applying the standard. He also pointed out that the concept of a NAME is not fully defined in the standard and so is left to developers (i.e. vendors) to implement as they want. These were the issues making gedcoms incompatible between vendors. He said his open source parser could achieve 94% round trip from one vendor to another vendor.

Now that made the GEDCOMX guys take notice — here was their possible import/conversion tool.

The users just want true portability of their own gedcoms and the ability to not have to re-enter pics, audio, movies over and over again. RootsTech’s vision of APIs that would allow the use of “authorities” to conform names, places, and sources would also help move genealogy to the utopian future Jay Verkler spoke of at the keynote. APIs would also provide bridges into the GEDCOM for chart/output tools, utilities(merge trees), Web 2.0 sharing across websites / search engines / databases (more utopian vision).

GEDCOM is the obvious path forward. Why not improve what is mostly working and focus on the end users and their needs?

FamilySearch get vendors involved and for God’s sake get Dallan Quass involved. Publish a new GEDCOM spec with RailRoad tracks (aka Graphic Syntax Diagrams) and then educate vendors and Users on the new gedcom/gedcomx.    Create a new gedcom validator and let users run their current gedcoms against it to produce new gedcoms (which should be backward compatible with old gedcom to get at least 94% compliance that Quass can already do)!

Ask users for new “segments” in the railroad tracks to get new features that real users and possibly vendors want in future gedcoms. Let there be an annual RootsTech keynote where all attendees can vote via the RootsTech app on the proposed new gedcom enhancements.

How about that FamilySearch? Is that doable? What do you my readers think? Email me (or comment below).


P.S.
       Do Not use UML models to communicate the standard. It is simply not accessible to genealogists. Trust me I am a Data Architect.

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November 21, 2011

Roots Tech – Ancestry App v 3.0.1 – #Genealogy, #Technology, #Meme

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Yesterday (20th-November-2011), Stanczyk’s iPhone flagged his attention that his Ancestry.com App had an update available (Version 3.0.1).

What’s New in Version 3.0.1

  • Now the App has Shaky Leaves! The “Shaky Leaf” hints point you at possible new discoveries.
  • A simple merge tool helps toadd new relatives & info to your family tree
  • A new in-app purchase option with special  pricing  for Ancestry.com.
  • This new version also automatically adds information to photos
  • It allows you to change your tree privacy settings in the App
  • Adds an integrated user feedback & support feature
  • Its faster and more stable (Time will tell)

I tried it on a new tree with a few people. When I download the tree and used Roots Magic 4.x to display the Gedcom, I still get a tree without the proper family linkages. This bug appeared before iOS5 and still persists. I do not get it on my older pre-iOS5 trees that existed on Ancestry.com (before the bug). This bug is not an Ancestry App bug. So early adopters will not see this bug unless you create a new tree and download the Gedcom file for use in another family tree program. The tree appears just fine on Ancestry.com and also in the Ancestry App. I am not certain what is happening in the GEDCOM format of the file. I can use Roots Magic 4.x on older Ancestry.com trees (downloaded Gedcoms) and the family relationships are fine.

So I am leaning towards this being an Ancestry.com bug (not a Roots Magic bug).

There was NO mention of whether this makes the Ancestry App iOS5 compatible. It says, it requires iOS4 or later to run the App. It is a 15.9MB download so it takes a bit of time and bandwidth to download. Still it is under the 20MB that forces an iTunes on the computer download. Synching works fine in both directions, so you can create or modify your family tree on the web or in the smartphone App and both sides stay in synch. Because you update to 3.0.1, your entire tree will need to be downloaded. If you get to be about 1,000 people this does take a noticeable amount of time. For 100 people trees or less the delay is miniscule.

Download the new version. Portable Genealogy is back. But please Ancestry, can you fix the Gedcom issue, so I do not need to see people complaining on the Ancestry-app-mailing-list any more? Your website should work interoperable with other genealogy programs that support the GEDCOM standard or Ancestry should remove the feature “Supports GEDCOM”.

November 8, 2011

Fold3 – Genealogy for Profit Website & Ancestry.com SUBSCRPTIONS

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

OP-ED PIECE

This is Stanczyk’s first opinion piece. I hope it inspires comments and opinions in you my fine Internet Technorati. It would be nice if FOLD3 or ANCESTRY reads this article and comments/responds. If you do not want to read opinion then you are done for the day, loyal reader.

Fold3 used to be Footnote.com.  Stanczyk had used Footnote while it was Footnote. We appreciated the Historical documents and especially liked:

  • Naturalizations
  • City Directories
  • Newspapers

These were valuable resources on top of all the historical/genealogical material they had accumulated from the National Archives (NARA). I liked how they integrated users and their material and how users could ‘Annotate’ Historical documents and link them to their own documents which could be uploaded to Footnote. This was helpful for Genealogy and for History too.

So when Ancestry.com bought Footnote, we had a cautious optimism and hope that this research material would be folded into Ancestry.com’s own valuable databases.

Here’s what happened …

Ancestry.com renamed Footnote.com to Fold3. Ok that was lame and really not useful for newbies. What is Fold3? It lacks broad meaning and is a poor branding.

They decided to focus on the military research material??? OK most of the NARA databases were military in nature (Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War, etc.). Perhaps this heroic focus would be a good thing. But what about the other things?

Ancestry.com then proceeded to announce that they jettison City Directories and Historical Newspapers. Ok but that was a MAJOR reason to pay for Footnote/Fold3.

You now have to look under ‘Other‘ when browsing their collections. There you will still find Naturalizations and Passport Applications. Are these remaining … permanently? What else will be lost?

Ancestry.com now is a front-end search engine for some of Fold3′s databases. I do not like this. You pay for Ancestry. You buy their ‘DELUXE’ package to get access to everything and here are data that you cannot access without paying for??? Ancestry we already paid for EVERYTHING. Either give us access to the Fold3 (you own it) data in your search engines or remove this data!

Stanczyk used to index for Ancestry.com, but not any more. Ancestry has muddied the waters about what is Ancestry and what is included in DELUXE. It used to be everything. Now there seems to be a new class of data that is NOT a part of EVERYTHING. Why buy Footnote and NOT include it in Ancestry? Is it to “milk” two subscriptions from your customers? OK, then keep them separate: two companies, two websites and two well defined subscriptions with well defined databases.

I do not like this ‘hybrid” where EVERYTHING is NOT EVERYTHING. I do not like the shell game of what data is where and the implicit attempt to shuffle data and force customers to have two paid subscriptions this does NOT pass the smell test. OPTIMISM is now gone and replaced with DISTRUST for Ancestry.com. Ancestry.com needs to restore that DELUXE means EVERYTHING. If that means removing FOLD3 data, then remove FOLD3 data and do not mingle the two enterprises. This is causing ill will and losing Goodwill for Ancestry.com.

Buy FOOTNOTE if you must. Rename Footnote to FOLD3 if you must. Keep them as two subscription companies separate and distinct if you must. But this disintegration of FOLD3 (nee FOOTNOTE) and the subsequent pollution of Ancestry.com with this bait-and-switch mingling of Ancestry with Fold3 leaves your CUSTOMERS with a bad taste in their mouths. You have made GENEALOGY and HISTORY worse by buying FOOTNOTE, not better. The TOTAL VALUE is now less for FOLD3 than it was for FOOTNOTE and even ANCESTRY is diminished by these decisions.

Ancestry, what were you thinking?

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