Friday, May 30, 2014

A SAD DAY

Congratulations America, we just traded this man for a friend of Obama and Biden.  A man who served two combat tours in Vietnam and left half his foot behind there has just resigned as head of the Veteran's Administration. Perhaps he was not the man we needed to head Veteran's Affairs these days but that doesn't negate my earlier argument; we will never find a better man to head the Veteran's Administration. Whatever else may have been going on, I think we can take it as certainty that no man will have his concern for wounded and injured veterans.  If we are lucky we end up with someone like Gorelick.

The general will be replaced by a former politician. But wouldn't it be nice if Mr. Mattis was available?

The problem with that is that the Secretary's support staff is about as scary as a can of tuna. I accept that and maybe we CAN have a VA clinic in Adak staffed by 27 SES, 210 GS-15, 548 GS-14's, 159 doctors, 121 nurses and 2,399 clinical staff. There are plenty of Quonset Huts still there, left over from the War. Throw in the surly cafeteria and catering staff and I think they'll all be deliriously happy to stay in their positions on the government payroll.

The real problem is that nobody can fire the worst, punish them, or transfer them against their wishes. It's a management problem with a solution. An elegant solution might be that all staff must use the VA for all medical and make it an instant firing offense to "jump" the line.

EVER DESPICABLE BROOKS

The odious David Brooks has penned another liberal call to arms today in the New York Times. It pretty much defines America as the world police and he makes an argument for surging into every autocracy in the world (except Iraq or Afghanistan) and doing whatever it takes to bring to them the fruits of democracy enjoyed by other great democracies such as Haiti, Pakistan, Libya, and Venezuela. He calls it "tending the international garden."
As Robert Kagan shows in a brilliant essay in The New Republic, for the past 70 years, American policy makers have understood that underreach can lead to catastrophe, too. Presidents assertively tended the international garden so that small problems didn’t turn into big ones, even when core national interests were not at stake. In the 1990s, for example, President George H.W. Bush and President Clinton took military action roughly every 17 months to restrain dictators, spread democracy and preserve international norms.
What tending the 'international garden' looks like at home:


Most people have shed the illusion that somehow democracy belongs to everyone or that everybody in the world enjoys the rights enshrined in the Constitution of the United States. Everybody except the liberals.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

BECAUSE IMPORTANT

Maybe she could put a few more radios in the sash because important.


You know, maybe some plebe could be attacked and need to be rescued...somewhere.

WTF is it with all these radios officers wear these days?

TRIPPING ON RICE

The headlines scream about big trouble in the China Sea and there are, of course zillions of concerned citizens who insist that the United States must stretch its hand out and calm the waters. They think we should get involved. That's one point of view. It's not mine. When you think about involving ourselves in that clusterfu#k you have to ask yourself two very important questions:

1.  Do you honestly think Obama and our State Department could do anything in this case that would be anything other than devastatingly bad for the United States and its interests?

2. What possible benefit would we reap from involving ourselves in this fight?

Arguably, we should have been engaged in as many Freedom of Navigation exercises as possible since China declared an Air Defense Identification Zone over the China Sea that overlaps the national sovereign airspace of half the countries in the region. I haven't heard of any FONS but that is not to say that they haven't been happening.

The problem with air navigation exercises such as this when playing with a country that knows it has nothing to lose, is that it is hard on our airmen who get shot down, captured, killed or indefinitely detained. Let us say that finding the motivation to send men and women to play these sorts of deadly games requires a certain amount of faith that if something dire does happen, there will be consequences.
U.S. Navy frontline spy plane detained in Communist China 2001
The planning staffs at CINCPAC and the Far East Air Forces have a pretty good idea what Obama's response is going to be if China shoots down another one of our aircraft and they have probably come up with some of the tamest little non-FONS anybody never heard of.

About the worst thing I can think of is to let Kerry and the State Department have a lash at 'coordinating' affairs with Vietnam and China. We'd be firing missiles and shooting at people within a month. They'd have both China and Vietnam angry at us and also piss off the Philippines, Malaysia, Japan, Korea and, based on their past performance, the only dictator over there that would feel any sense of satisfaction would probably be the Sultan of Brunei who just rammed sharia law down his peoples throats.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

SPECIAL VICTIMS

As we come through a holiday dedicated to remembering those who sacrificed their lives in defense of the United States it will probably only hurt a little bit to reflect on the special victims funds. These were created by the government to reward the families of the ordinary men and women who were going about their daily lives when muslims attacked on 9/11. These people hadn't joined the military, hadn't been drafted, weren't serving the nation or mankind in any exceptional way but they were killed in an attack on the United States by terrorists.

From wikipedia here is their story:
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund was created by an Act of Congress, the Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act (49 USC 40101),[1] shortly after 9/11 to compensate the victims of the attack (or their families) in exchange for their agreement not to sue the airline corporations involved. Kenneth Feinberg was appointed by Attorney General John Ashcroft to be Special Master of the fund. He worked for 33 months pro bono. He developed the regulations governing the administration of the fund and administered all aspects of the program.
Feinberg was responsible for making the decisions on how much each family of a victim would receive. Feinberg had to estimate how much each victim would have earned in a full lifetime. If a family accepted the offer, it was not possible to appeal. Families unhappy with the offer were able to appeal in a nonadversarial,Official Fund website (archived) informal hearing to present their case however they wanted. Feinberg personally presided over more than 900 of the 1,600 hearings. At the end of the process $7 billion was awarded to 97% of the families; the average payout was $1.8 million. A non-negotiable clause in the acceptance papers for the settlements was that the families were to never file suit against the airlines for any lack of security or otherwise unsafe procedures.
The United States has never even dreamed of compensating the families of American servicemen on such a lavish scale. It's hard to argue that it would be ruinously expensive either since the dead and wounded from our post 9/11 wars would barely rise to the level of Congressional awareness. More, it would impart some sense of urgency from the political masters of the nation's Armed Forces to preserve American soldier's lives at virtually any expense and we would see very different  Rules of Engagement. I don't expect to see anything like this. It's not why people serve their country. Such thinking never was.

What concerns me a little bit though is that Congress established a precedent for rewarding the victims of muslim terrorism in New York City, but failed to follow the same path when it came to dealing with the aftermath of the Fort Hood mass murders carried out by a muslim terrorist. That might be due to an urgent desire on their part to extinguish the idea that the people of the United States owe anything to the victims of terrorism on our shores. After all, the Supreme Court has found that the police have "no duty" to protect citizens against violent criminals even if police officers are right there at the scene of the crime and afraid to come to an unarmed citizen's defense.

I wonder what will happen when the terrorists lay their hands on a weapon of mass destruction and use it against New York City or Washington DC.  A competent attack carried out with working weapons of mass destruction will kill on the order of 100 times as many civilians as were killed on 9/11. Will those killed by muslim terrorists on 9/11 remain special victims or does every American victim of muslim terrorism deserve a payout from US?

Were one to look back at the fortunes of those who signed the Declaration of Independence one would find that we were terribly pragmatic in the early days of the Republic. They were orders of magnitude smarter and more honest than our present ruling class who have given up on even trying to pay off the national debts. The new bunch have bought into the idea that owing trillions isn't a problem for them; their failure to pay is a problem for others. At the current rate of debt payment, your great great grandchildren still won't be paying off the national debt, they'll only be paying interest on it.

History is stuffed to bursting with the fate of nations that failed to pay their debts. It's a transitory problem if you count in centuries.

Monday, May 26, 2014

CIVIL WAR LETTER HOME RANDOLPH COUNTY, VIRGINIA

                                                      Randolph County, Va
                                                      October 12th 1861

                                                               Dear Father

                                                                        I received your letter and Ma and Emma’s and the papers you sent me and commenced to answer them but had not written long before the company was called to go to get there pay so that I had to go and leave the writing for some other time, the next day we were ordered to move our camp to Huttonsville which is 8 miles closer to home. On the 11th (yesterday) I was on guard but tonight I have time for Lieutenant Davis has given me permission to write in his tent and let me use his pen and ink and of course I accepted.  The Lieutenant is not very well but hopes to soon be around. Do not tell his wife that he is very sick for it might trouble her. The supposition is that we are on our way to winter quarters. The whole brigade is gathering together here and as soon as we get all of our close and some rest we will come to Indiana. This brigade is reported at Washington by the Sur. unfit for duty which makes me think more that we are coming home. If we do come to Indiana to winter quarters I will get a furlough to come home. I will get one anyhow for the Colonel told me that he would give me one soon but I do not want to get it here for will have to pay my own way if I do. I did not draw as much money as the rest of the boys for they were in the state service and I was not.  I drew $25.44. I have it all in gold but the 44 cents. There was some persons discharged that I might have sent it home by but I did not like to trust them. I will try to bring it myself when I get a furlow. There was about 50 men discharged this week. I understand that Frank Doughty was among them. He has not done anything since he has been in the service. I told you in my other letter that I had not been here for nothing had got into a battle. To give a description of the battle is more than I will attempt until I can tell you with my own lips. You say that you have not heard whether I ever got that dollar you me or not. I got it. I am as well as ever I was but it is not the case with all for the fever is in camp. It is adapted to this country. We have not got it in our company. It’s almost 10 o’clock. I must quit writing. Give my love to all. Write. Kiss all for me. Your affectionate son,   Luther Beaver



HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY

Wishing everyone a safe and joyful Memorial Day. We all reached this point in history thanks to the sacrifices of many soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen starting a long time ago.

They sacrificed everything. Remember them.




Sunday, May 25, 2014

PLAYING FAIR IS LEARNED BEHAVIOR

Some kids never learn. I like this guy.


Learning shouldn't take a lifetime.


 Hat tip to Objectivist1  Sorry I left that off. I usually remember to credit the places I steal stuff  my sources.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

SOMETHING FOR BUCK

I have one here that I ran across on the road this week. It is right down Buck's alley. From the good author at Everything is Broken:


It covers the ugly and bitter truth about computer and information security in a humorous and disarming way. You should spend a couple of minutes reading through the link.





Meet my "Trigger Alert". In it's stunning debut it will warn readers that Everything is Broken is a disarming cynic and people who read the site might get depressed about information security.

IT WASN'T A TRAINING FILM

I have to admit that when I read this headline this morning I thought it was going to be about Kerry. 


 I instantly thought of Dr. Strangelove where he explains how Doomsday Machines work.

Nobody did it better than Peter Sellers.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

IRANIAN FINAL SOLUTION

I see in the news today that Russia is going to build eight nuclear reactors in Iran. Now if we just get China to ship food to Iran...

REAL CLIMATOLOGY

I've had the sigil here for some years now but most people laugh and move on. I really did study at the Pennsylvania State University and took a minor in the field. I studied atmospheric science a long time ago under Pierce Lewis and a number of other scholars and professionals in the field. There is a natural variability to climate. It moves as the sun directs it.

I'm not at all happy that Al Gore decided to politicize natural variability. We had ice ages and warming periods all through history. Some of it was recorded history, but some was also the manifest history of the planet. To assign a variable to man is to fail to appreciate how enormous the biosphere is. At the outer edge, it reaches 0 degrees. At the occluded front it reaches 70ª deltas in temperature.

While only a charlatan would indict man, only a politician would indict humanity and demand that we pay for that sin while totally obfuscating the fact that there is literally no way to make it better. 

NOW THEY TELL ME

The latest news flashed before my eyes so quickly I had to stop in my internet tracks, back up, reacquire the target and move to the kill.
Antivirus "is dead," says Brian Dye, Symantec's senior vice president for information security. "We don't think of antivirus as a moneymaker in any way."
Well if only they could get my fine Windows XP laptop to accept this reality and finally move on. Every time I boot the machine it goes through a forced loop to perform a virus scan and, after notifying me that I'm a delinquent who doesn't care a whit about computer security, wants to reach out to the Symantec Mothership and download the latest and greatest version of their virus scan for a mere bazillion dollars.

The thing is, I figured out about 7 years ago that it's over. I doubt the speed of hack has increased but the penetration is nearly 100% in spite of all the aftermarket attempts to limit the damage. Yes, I view populating this realm on par with the old European style of battle. We're going to march into the gunfire people until we get taken down. We're going to regret it when it happens, shift to our computer backup, reboot, and we're going to march on. We're going to close up the files and move on over the wreckage of the previous ranks.

Still and all, it never happened to me. Maybe I'll be a cyber general someday.

CNN PROVIDES ALL THE NEWS BIG BROTHER REQUIRES

Zucker speaks for all the media when he declares he and we have no need to know the truth and are stupid for thinking we have the need to know. This is Zucker, the head man at CNN.

“So we’re still there whenever that happens,” he continued, “but we’re going to supplement that with some different kind of storytelling.” 
What kind of stories? “Climate change is one of those stories that deserves more attention, that we all talk about,” he explained — though he lamented the fact that “when we do do those stories, there does tend to be a tremendous amount of lack of interest on the audience’s part.” 
But there are some stories Zucker is loathe to touch, like the House select committee on Benghazi scandal. 
“We’re not going to be shamed into it by others who have political beliefs that want to try to have temper tantrums to shame other news organizations into covering something,” he explained, taking a not-so-subtle shot at the Republican Party. “If it’s of real news value, we’ll cover it.” 
For all his talk of “real news,” Zucker felt compelled to explain why his network obsessively covered the missing airliner for two months despite possessing almost no new information. 
“I’m incredibly comfortable with it,” he declared. “It was an enormously important story: an American-made Boeing jet liner, with Rolls Royce engines with 239 people, disappears into thin air . . . That’s why we devoted the resources that we did to it.”
But Zucker did admit that CNN anchor Don Lemon’s theory that the plane could have been swallowed by a black hole was over the top.""
What a stupid putz.

UPDATE AGAIN
I really wonder if he knows. He is the classical case of yes men. He needs a version of the Early Bird to show him that the news is, other.

ONCE THIS MIGHT HAVE MATTERED

Not anymore. This guy has pretty conclusively demonstrated that he doesn't believe he has the authority to act as a representative of the people.

WASHINGTON, DC - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after President Obama designated a new restrictive national monument area in New Mexico, and failed to include important additional protections for border security:

“For many months I have warned that the president’s fondness for unilateral action has created widespread doubt among the American people that he and his administration can be counted on to enforce any law he signs, particularly when it comes to securing our nation’s borders and reforming our immigration system.  The president’s announcement today intensifies those concerns, demonstrating a level of audacity that is remarkable even for this administration.   Once again, the president has chosen to bypass the legislative branch -- and, in this case, do so in a manner that adds yet another challenge in our ongoing efforts to secure our Southern border.  At a time of continued cartel violence in Mexico, we should not be putting any additional restraints on efforts to protect our borders. 

“What’s particularly disappointing is that even Senate Democrats recognized the need for additional border security protections, including them in their own legislation on this issue.  Yet the president and his administration have chosen to ignore those efforts, and the concerns that its new restrictions will place additional burdens on Border Patrol personnel and limit access to high crime areas along the border, making it easier for drug smugglers and human traffickers to move in and out of the country.  Today’s announcement will also limit access to these areas by local law enforcement who are vital to our efforts to prevent crime and counter drug activity in our border regions.  The president should fix this immediately and make sure that federal and local officials have the access and tools they need to secure our borders and address the violent crime that has become all too commonplace along our Southern border.”

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

NATO WAS ALWAYS A MYTH

I read the ongoing struggle to define America's role in Ukraine and the Balkans. It makes me wonder if people understand that the underlying basis for realpolitik demand a certain underlying hard truth. I don't think even 10% understand where we stand on the issue anymore.

It was always the Delian League. It's funny how few in the West understood this truth even after many decades of undermining it at every opportunity. I was born at the height of the Cold War in Bavaria at the instant the Berlin Wall first appeared. My father was an artilleryman trained to fire nuclear bombs from artillery and in Germany to do that if it became necessary. The Russians had good reasons to believe that one of us was serious about keeping the borders we had agreed upon.

When we pulled the nuclear weapons out of the OTAN equation it all became nothing but myth, voodoo and legend. Our Armies alone had zero chance against the forces of the Warsaw Pact. That state lasted until the USSR collapsed the first time. Mutual Assured Destruction still reigned up until the demise of the USSR. Everybody knew that. Reagan made it so clear even the French understood that Pershing II missiles and GLCMs maintained not just the balance of terror but the status quo of the post-Concert of Europe, as approved by the Republic.

That light went out soon after the USSR collapsed. Not immediately. It took some time and serious effort to extinguish the hope of NATO. We did it with the reliable help of all of our "allies." It takes effort to maintain a credible threat to the Armies of the USSR and Russia. Not one single one of our European satraps even bothered to try. Two of them tried to maintain a credible nuclear deterrent but, honestly, hell would freeze over before either would launch a nuclear weapon of any size. They would lose Paris or London in the exchange and that's all there is to either of them. We could lose Washington 20 times over and not miss it much. It's not our Center of Gravity.

As you read about this, reflect on how difficult it is to keep enemies out of the Baltic or the Balkans or Eastern Europe. Those places are not ours to contest. As always, they exist on the strength of diplomacy alone. I think all of them know that. I'm losing confidence that we or the State Department know that. There seems to be a widening acceptance that their fate is ours to contest, even if it requires all military means. Means we lost long ago. We aren't the shadow of the military that staved off the might of the USSR and Warsaw Pact and we gave up the nuclear weapons decades ago in the spirit of friendship. A nuclear sunrise in the east will never happen at our hands. We'd better hope that none of our "putative allies" figure out how to make a nuke and raise a tall man in a wide hat in a place dear to Russia. They're a hasty bunch but war in Western Europe now has just one outcome.

It's not like the Japanese Empire defeating the United States or us defeating China or Russia. Those simply cannot happen. Major war in OTAN would lay waste to Europe. Still, they have been there and done that so many times. I don't think OVERLORD will ever happen again. We have found that we can live with an accommodation with Russia. Yalta proved that in spades.

TRAIN TO FAIL

We sometimes did this as an occupational hazard with our own. Some people cannot be trained. One should recognize this and just move on. It is not so much the clash of civilization or the clash of culture as a fundamental gap over which information and training will not pass.

Good soldiers spent lifetimes trying to train people in the basics of modern warfare. The British spent centuries trying this with Egyptians and Jordanians and countless others. The U.S. just spent 13 years trying to do this with Iraqis and Afghanis and the results are far from palatable.  Why would or should we waste a penny on training Libyan terrorists to be better soldiers? What is the payoff for us? Can we relax at the end of the day and say, with satisfaction, that we just trained a better version of the NKVD, Khmer Rouge or Pathet Lao?

The British thought that they could do it after spending a few decades with the Welsh and a couple of centuries with the Scots and Irish but everything the US has done since the initiation of the Cold War has been training "allies" to stand by us in the line of battle against a common menace. What a dismal failure all of that was.

Can anybody point to even one single example where the training payed off?  And no, you don't get to count the Germans or Japanese. I'll invite you to start with the Italians or the Belgians or the Dutch, if you like. If they're not noticeable by their absence, they're noticeable by their total lack of effectiveness. Seriously, what's the point of sending Dutch troops anywhere? Oddly we don't even refer to Central or South America or Africa. We also don't mention Southeast Asia where we spent a generation doing this thing.

Not What You Think. SAS in North Africa Long Ago
Perhaps that's it. I may miss the underlying purpose of the 'training of foreign soldiers'. It's possible that the Forces of Order need people perfectly trained in screwing things up. We are past masters of doing that. It probably doesn't help at all that the guys above are pretty much the ones we send off to do Foreign Internal Defense training (FID). They specialize in making things go from bad to worse. How could you think that they know how to build when their mission is always to destroy? [If you buy into their building program, consider the promotion rate for builders as opposed to destroyers.]

I read yesterday that the Navy decommissioned its own internal training triumph of bureaucratic training apparatus. That was a very bad idea from the outset and it became a nightmare in short order. We lost tens of thousands of man-days of real training to those clowns as they sought to grow their empire with their own uniquely meaningless training events. I still feel good after spending some effort to kill them before they metastasized. They weren't evil, they were just very very wrong. They leached resources like nothing since the Space Shuttle.

RADM Morneau (EOD) was present at the disposal. A post for another day. There used to be room for one SPECWAR 1 star from the Navy and there were no SPECOPS admirals since forever. There was a reason for that. A very good reason.

GLOBAL WARMING DELENDA EST

The facts are in and its pretty clear that there has been no global warming for 17 years and 9 months. None. That means that nobody now in high school has ever lived in a time when the earth was warming. The latest news is based on real science and not tree rings, frog neck diameters, lengths of women's skirts but on information culled from satellites that were designed to take the earth's temperature.

From Maggie's Farm

UPDATE:  From the settled science front comes recent news. We are doomed. The funny thing, if you count funny as I do, is that all the changes these pogues want are tiny incremental meaningless changes by the First World with no impact at all on the gas production in China, India or Africa. As usual with our Lantean friends, they don't count those people in their equations or their science or their understanding of human nature.

And no, I don't believe the folks at Salon anymore than I believe Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Al Sharpton or Kim Jong-il.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

INFLATION

Per pupil spending by each state.

There is the law of diminishing returns and Gresham's of course, but this seems to be the Triumph of Hope over Results. The link will show each state's spending on education and the result. Those who will succeed, will.


Monday, May 19, 2014

A CRITIQUE OF PURE LANGUAGE

I had never heard Jill Abramson speak until I listened to her commencement speech at Wake Forest today. Like many people, I was interested to hear what she had to say, until she started talking. People who watch television may have heard her speak before, but not me. She has the voice and speech patterns of an older Obama and to be honest, I cannot abide listening to him talk. It is physically painful to me to listen to the President of the most scientific and erudite country in the world, address his audience in one or two syllable words and rely on short sentences of less than 10 words. I know he got the job based on his soaring rhetoric and I even watched the famous speech live from a hotel in New London. I was not impressed. Somebody he knew, trusted and respected taught him to stick to short declarative sentences.

Voice is an instrument and it requires tuning, adjustment and a certain amount of training. I get that. Throughout recorded history, people understood that. Oratory was the path to the ruling class for those inclined but not born to the purple. You literally could not join the ruling class until you perfected the Voice.

Never before has there been such a clear example of the ruling class nominating and electing a loser by shoving him, however dismal a speaker he truly is, into the 'oratorical ruling class'. The socialists used him to beat the drum slowly and align the votes to get their man in office. He has been EXTREMELY GOOD for big business and CRONY capitalism. The rest of us, not so much. Simply look at who this man picked as his ruling class.

You could join the managing class and you could be a billionaire owner with a voice that cut metal but to win the hearts and minds, you needed to cultivate a persona and that includes getting a voice that matches. Listening to her commencement speech today was on par with listening to Obama fail to explain anything that a reasonable 10 year old understands better than he does.


I listen to the ebb and flow of conversational English. I'm no Colonel Pickering but I can tell the difference between a Hawkbill and a handsaw when I hear it. I just happen to agree with Henry Higgins. I see that it was nothing but a play every time I see a Jill or Barack move up to the top of the heap. On the other hand, the people who lurve them are hard core socialists and I'm OK with that. They tend to wreck their own future when they take control. They're the first against the Wall.

I never once, had to subject my working days to listening to somebody who used whiny voice when talking to me. If this person did communicate with me as she does to the students in the video, I'd have avoided her entirely and relied on email and letters for all communications.

OTOH, if 

The Lady of the House of Ceausescu is not sounding whiny. It makes me wonder what the Bolshevik murder of the Tsarina and her children sounded like. Her, "I have the Right to do what I want." is pure Libertarian. What a pity she failed and joined the hard left socialist cause.

There's a host of articles today at Instapundit about the firing and contentiousness but none seem to address the fact that listening to Ms. Abramson speak is a torture on par with water-boarding or listening to 10 minutes of the President talking.

Scary thing? He decided that the very best gift he could give another Head of State was a USB drive with all of his speeches. We're lucky the Queen didn't urge her government to declare war on us for the 5th time.

WE BUILT THAT

Another interesting graphic about change. People today think it is monolithic and has always been as it is now. It took a little while to throw it all together and get it to stick.


Saturday, May 17, 2014

WHAT NEW INNOVATIONS

I'm curious. Here the brainiacs of American Policy slammed the door on THE MAN who owns our access to space and still, Popular Mechanics suggests that we need to fear Russia's ignorance of space stuff and science. We could just use our space launch stuff and conclusively demonstrate our superior understanding of rocketry and space science, right?

Soviet powered rocket at Cape Canaveral 2011
What exactly has come out of our long fondue party in space over the last 30 years? There was Tang. Anything recently?

Maybe NASA ought to try a new ad campaign to demonstrate all the myriad reasons for our space superiority because other than spy satellites I'm not really seeing any ROI, and why do we need Russian engines to power all of our rockets anyway? What idiot thought that was a good idea?

I  never laughed as we fell out of orbit. I know what we lost and what we gave away.

UPDATED: This posted without warning and before intended.

Friday, May 16, 2014

DARN GLOBAL WARMING

What a fiasco! Manmade Global Warming now affects Jupiter.

Damn Bush!


KRAUTHAMMER ON OBAMA TARGETING ENEMIES

He has long been an icon of the rational point of view. Look at anything he has ever said and you find somebody who is willing to go where the facts lead and those that hide the facts never seem to learn that there are millions of people who devote their very lives to turning up inconvenient facts. It's not all National Enquirer and TMZ, but it's close. What is truly sad, is that the places one used to turn to for news, facts, information and enlightenment have been revealed to be nothing more then septic tanks of turgid sanctioned 'newspeak' as certified by the Ministry of Truth.

In truth, I looked elsewhere on the planet for a more reliable news source but was forced to make do with real clear politics for now. They have the video.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: It gives light [lie]to the administration's claim that this had nothing to do with the election, nothing to do with targeting opponents of the administration. The BOLO, the be on the lookout, here's who you target, specifically says that these are groups where you can find statements in the case file that are critical of how country is being run. That's the definition of the president's opposition. These are the people that you target. This is a major abuse of power. They covered up for two years and now they say, 'hey, dude, two-year-old story so it's old news.' Let's see if the mainstream media will treat it as old news or what it really is new news of misleading America and covering it up.
I think we can reliably count upon the major media to ignore it. It's what they do.

BIG ATMOSPHERE FATWA CLAIMS ANOTHER ONE

The weather fanatics have scored another Global Warming Triumph.
Bengtsson's recruitment by the GWPF (the London-based think tank set up by former Chancellor Lord Lawson) represented a huge coup for the climate realist cause. The Swedish climatologist, meteorologist, former director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg and winner, in 2006, of the 51st IMO Prize of the World Meteorological Organization for his pioneering work in numerical weather prediction - was by some margin the most distinguished scientist to change sides.
But this, of course, is why he has been singled out for especial vitriol by the climate alarmist establishment - as he describes in his resignation letter.
People who don't hesitate to mangle science and lie repeatedly are also the first to resort to violence and threats when they get called upon to prove their arguments. For something that they and their partisans claim is settled science, it sure is looking like a no man's land to me. There's no room in the middle anymore. The CRU, AlGore and their henchmen have turned the little strip in the middle into a wasteland.


CURIOUSLY MEANINGLESS NUMBERS

This little number is about what we who are honest have come to expect out of employment stats. The government no longer tells the truth, if it ever did. So, what percentage of law school applicants fail to make it over the Bar Exam? When 30% - 50% or more fail the Bar Exam, how can they get meaningful jobs as lawyers right after graduating from Law School?

The Bar Exam has to count for something doesn't it?


If one looks at the actual numbers one wonders how people working part time or not at all are paying off law school and college loans and isn't it a wonderment that those least in a position to be able to afford Obamacare are the unemployed and underemployed part time workers on the list above who have to shell out even more money in order to comply with the law.

WE'LL NEVER FIND ANYONE WHO CARES MORE

This whole thing seems about as contrived a witch hunt as ever we've had in politics.

This trip to the Firing Squad seems unseemly. We won't ever find anybody more committed to veterans than this man and he is a thousand times better than Togo West. Shinseki is forced to try to exert his will against a massive bureaucracy so iron clad it makes the State Department's crew of anti-American marxists look positively wishy washy. He can't fire, move or demote anybody since they have achieved the status of minor deity within the Civil Service Pantheon. He cannot even terminate their hierarchs and minor demons. Somehow, as with the administrators of USPS Hell, he must find a way to do good IN SPITE of the bureaucrats who make up 99% of the evil.

It's sad that it seems to take no effort at all to staff an organization with incompetent zealots and make it much worse but it is nearly impossible to do anything to make it better. A trip to your neighborhood DMV is all it would take to show how intractable some bureaucracies can be.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

BRING OUT THE PIRATES

An article about the dissolution of network searches in the Wall Street Journal brought to mind the heady days of Pirate Radio and Screaming Lord Sutch.

So, we now have that to look forward to in the wacky world of EU tubes.

Thank eu.

IF SATURN APPROACHED

From House of Eratosthenes


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

PROGRESSIVE PEACE TALKS IN CIVIL WAR

A Civil War divides a nation and out of NPR come those who demand peace talks. Yes, I just listened to NPR again, damn my soul, and they want progressive peace talks, along the lines of our peace talks with the PLO, Muslim Brotherhood, Al Kaeda, the Taliban, Iran, the Cali drug Cartel, etc, but now they think we need to jump into Syria. They want a "negotiated end" to the Muslim War in Syria.

Can't you see these same progressives intervening in the American Civil War 150 years ago and just insisting that Lincoln drop his stance on the Emancipation Proclamation since he didn't really believe in freeing the slaves anyway? You know, just as a useful tidbit for negotiations with the South over their legitimate grievances. [off sarc//]


Expediency is the ruling star of politics and war. One should always keep that in mind.

AMERICA'S BEST

Your average liberal or Congressman still believes that the Army is the failure's last resort. As it is:
With the United States drawing down its troop numbers from wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the active duty prospects for a generation that grew up in the age of terror aren't apt to improve, say area recruiters and educators. As it is, about four of every five adults who seek to join don't qualify.
There is something fundamentally wrong with a society that cannot produce citizens who meet the minimum standards to serve in the Armed Forces. It's a telling sign of the future when four out of five young adults who want to serve, are turned away as not worthy.

What does society do with the young adults who cannot meet the Army's standards?


Never mind. Just forget I even asked.

I DON'T THINK THEY GET IT

One of my peers, who happens to be a lawyer and professor at a Law School, wrote this:
POSTCARDS FROM VENEZUELA: “The guardsmen beat them with their fists and the butts of their rifles, taking away their personal belongings before setting fire to the car.” If I lived in Venezuela, I’d find out where the guardsmen lived, and shoot them when they walked out the door in the morning. That is, of course, the proper response to dictators and their minions of every stripe, even Hollywood-backed socialists.
People who lost the right to bear arms got to take long train trips to oblivion. There's almost no difference between thugs who would abrogate your existing rights and ones that will put you on the train.

BETWEEN THE LINES

If you read through the whole article discussing the theft of Robert E. Lee's house you'll see they left out just one little fact about the place we call Arlington National Cemetery. The Army stole this house and property from the adopted son of George Washington. We don't have much of a track record when it comes to honoring the memory of George Washington. It took some pretty special people to honor his memory and preserve his estate at Mount Vernon.

They say that war inflames passions. I suppose it always has. 150 years ago the Union started to bury soldiers in Robert E. Lee's rose garden. We can't seem to stop.


NOBODY SAW THIS COMING

The Russians express contempt for the United States and ban the US from the International Space Station. They also banned the sale of any more rocket engines to the US where Americans don't know how to actually make rocket engines anymore, or something like that.


Thanks Obama.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

CONSIDER THE POOR LAWYER

I read this article from Above the Law about Assistant District Attorneys in Massachusetts being paid less than the custodians who clean the court rooms in that state. I was not exactly brimming over with sympathy.  Consider that as an entry level attorney they are just embarking on their life of crime. They'll make it all back and more when they run for political office. I suspect that the reason the Crime Lords running the State House pay them so little is because they want to encourage more attorneys to run for political office or broaden the lawfare base.

From this poor soil grow such weeds as:



We watched Draft Day last week and I really enjoyed it as a movie about people and motivation. It struck several chords with me. When I worked within a system, it sometimes looked like the boundaries were constraints. The system I worked for had only one rule though and that rule was iron clad. One broke it at one's dire peril. [Not anymore of course. Now they have 666 unbreakable rules] On the other hand, success was always rewarded with an open hand. That was the movie in a nutshell. Socrates nailed it long ago with, "To your own self be true."

If you read the article linked from Above the Law you will see that entry level Assistant District Attorneys make about the same money starting out as young officers in the Armed Forces do. Given that they're about as useful to society, I don't have a problem with that.

LIFE AT THE MARGINS

The 99% keep telling me that Fox News is evil and nobody watches it. I don't get it.


Monday, May 12, 2014

THEY ARE KINGS

You should read this article by Richard Fernandez at the Belmont Club.  It covers a topic I've been writing and rewriting for a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, every time I rewrite it it gets longer and longer. The people who stole all the information in the world and use it to target their enemies have acquired an unparalleled fire control system that can seamlessly target their enemies in real time.

They are like the Kings of old who could name their enemy and wish him dead and lo, a minion would smite him. We no longer make wars on peoples or even countries. As each of the last 3 administration's intelligence tsars have said, we know the names of our enemies and with Total Domain Awareness and drones that can strike any target anywhere on earth, there is no shortage of minions to smite them.

These brainy guys and girls thought they found a new way to fight and win wars of dominance over control of resources and the spread of ideas by killing their enemies by name. Somebody at the top of the Intelligence community sold these people the idea that we had TDA and could effect change by assassination in lieu of overt war. That's called covert war and they are always hideously messy and brutal since they take place in the shadows and, more importantly, they are against the law.

When you wage a war in the shadows, nobody at all is ever held accountable for any atrocity. The rules of land warfare are ignored and the Geneva Convention nothing more than pieces of paper. The real danger is what happens when people try to throw light onto them. All of the people behind the Intelligence curtain can only perceive such people as their enemy and treat them just as they do the nation's enemies. War goes on in the shadows but now they've corrupted the Law to aid them in destroying their enemies.

STEADY HANDS

Found at Good Stuff. 



SUPER INTELLIGENT SHIP

According to the Navy Times, Ex-USS SARATOGA "is expected to make its way to Texas this summer." It's terrible what happens to these ships when you let them decide what to do and where to go.
                                                                  Ex-USS SARATOGA in Newport                         photo by Tim Anderson

Sunday, May 11, 2014

MEDIA STAR DESTROYER

The quote below is the final paragraph of her screed against Matt Drudge and those who followed in his wake to bring you the real news of the world. Drudge took off when he scooped what used to pass for media by revealing the story that led to the impeachment of a US President. The media, all 'Friends of Bill', planned to bury it. Back then, the news consisted of folks like Dan Rather, Tina Brown and Walter Duranty.

The media that ruled over the dark era of the pre-Information Age made sure that we never learned what they refused to report if it would harm their friends and we only heard from them about the things that would damage their enemies. If they were forced, they didn't hesitate to make shit up.  Yep, that link takes you to the NY Times with its incredible "FAKE BUT ACCURATE" headline about the lies Dan Rather knowingly fobbed off on the entire world as if it was real news.

Tina thinks there was no justification for the collapse of rationed news reported by powerful savants except Drudge. As usual, she hasn't got a clue.
The ascendant media that looked down on him has been pretty much destroyed. No one would have believed that that only 13 years later the Graham family would no longer own The Washington Post, that the two mighty news magazines would become a shadow and a corpse, and that the juggernaut CNN would be chasing the spoils won by cable TV’s counterpart to the Drudge Report, the Fox News Network. That too, is a story of humiliation. And not just hers.
Drudge is a good place to start but the windows I have here open on the entire world and there are a near infinite number of sites I trust for news a hell of a lot more than I do anything from the NY Times, CNN, 60 Minutes, or the BBC. I mean seriously, imagine a "news service" that knowingly hires a liar like Dan Rather or fails to note that 300 children claimed that a BBC presenter was a pedophile, or a network that "made a deal" with Saddam and axed all the bad news out of Iraq in order to preserve access to the country so their reporters could gather stories used to ambush the President.

It was a self-serving, loathsome and incestuous business of scoundrels, thieves and liars. The truth was not in them.

A CUNNING DEVIOUS CRIMINAL

Frank Bourassa lives in Canada where he decided to counterfeit U.S. money and made a mint doing it. Evidently it took the U.S. Secret Service and RCMP years to track down this brilliant forger and master printer. He swung a good deal with the Canadians and spent a month and a half in jail for his $250,000,000 crime but only a low grade moron would sneer that the United States can't touch him.

Even assuming the idiot had never heard of American Bounty Hunters who don't have to obey any laws at all and who frequently cross borders to kidnap and bring back wanted men, has the blind moron never heard of Extraordinary Renditions? It's not going to take SEAL Team 6 to nail this guy and 'help' him 'turn up' suddenly, out of the blue, for no reason at all, in Miami or Gitmo.


I like the way the way the Secret Service handled this:
U.S. Secret Service Deputy Special Agent in Charge Stuart Tryon declined to comment on Bourassa’s short prison visit, beyond saying the case was "handled by the Canadian government per their normal procedures." Tryon confirmed that Bourassa is not wanted in the U.S.
There are two things Frank doesn't seem to know about us. We have lots of sealed indictments and anybody who knows about them is under some sort of legal gag order that prevents disclosing their existence. The other thing he doesn't know is that American law allows/encourages police and federal agents to lie to suspects and everybody else in order to gain a conviction.


There's just one more thing he might find of interest in regards to international agreements that the US has signed up to. The US doesn't feel particularly bound by any of them.  This one was negotiated with a country that, unlike Canada, had nuclear weapons:
Budapest Memorandum Commitments
In the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, the United States, Russia, and the United Kingdom made a commitment to respect the independence, sovereignty, and existing borders of Ukraine. The United States government remains committed to the Budapest Memorandum.
Just not to Ukraine or the letter, spirit or intent of the Agreement. 
You can take that to the bank, Frank.

Friday, May 9, 2014

REDUCED SHAKESPEARE COMPANY

This is a lot of fun. Your money back if you don't laugh out loud.


Thursday, May 8, 2014

PLAYING TAG WITH THE REAL PIRATES

This fascinating article brings to mind a wonderful story I read about an assault team that was going on what looked like a one way mission to death and glory. They had themselves a lottery before they left on the mission and one of the young soldiers drew the slip that corresponded to 100% casualties. As he said, I definitely have mixed feelings about this....


China and Vietnam have been engaged in struggle since we left Vietnam 40 years ago. It would be interesting to see what a full scale war would do to the economy and how Russia would react. I think we can safely predict that in the event of war, we'll do considerable viewing with alarm.


Remember this guy? He was supposedly the smartest man in the world. Oh, well, maybe that was his boss. It would take some epic stupidity to intervene militarily in any war between Vietnam and China.

THE FORCES OF DARKNESS

Who else knew about KAOS? It seems that there were a lot of existential threats to civilization and always have been. Other enemies of civilization that I recall offhand:

Boskone, The Mad Dogs of IMT, Vegans, Mordor, Draka, Kzin, Klingons, Romulans, Kardashians, SMERSH, Elves, orcs, bureaucrats, Big Tobacco, Bugs, Muslims since forever, Pirates, Moriarity, Mongol hordes, Styphon, Stobor, Melconians and Berserkers.

There's a few others. We have our eye on them.


FARLEY MOWAT

Farley Mowat died this week at age 92. We all read and enjoyed his tale of tribulations in The Boat That Wouldn't Float. We were going through our own phase of boating at the time and found his observations about lunatics who boat to be right on the money. His biography claims that he was controversial and that some people didn't care for his books. A lot of people are like that. I, on the other hand, never read any of his non-maritime books. I neither knew nor cared about controversial, I just didn't get around to it.

If you're interested in standout maritime stories about life aboard a salvage ship after the War, you can't do any better than these two books. I reread them for many years.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

LONG FALL TO EARTH

A little known conundrum of space is that gravity works. It always works. When I watched this commercial I remembered the fancy maneuvering of two sides as one sought to shed and the other sought to avoid responsibility for tracking near earth orbit. The Air Force so did not want to go on with their version of Space Fence. I can kind of see why. They viewed it as trash disposal and who wants to pay the garbage men? A branch next to me at SPAWAR lost the toss and gained the job. They wanted it. At the point they were at, they'd have stripped naked and danced on tables for money.

On the other hand, the Navy totally lost out on space launched NSA spy satellites to NRO.  It's a lesson we all learned when we were young. Let those who care, look after the things that matter to them. The Navy has demonstrated that it can kill satellites at will in NEO. GEO is beyond the reach of all but 3 countries. We'll know who did it when they launch.


There is only one power that can kill things in NEO and falling. We call it ABM . It used to be against the rules.

The very first principle of fire control is target acquisition. Try to imagine how long aircraft last in a domain that has the means to search things out in orbit and destroy them.

Except for us and those like us.

WHO FUNDS CHAOS ANYWAY

When the issue of better armed, trained and equipped forces comes up, nobody on earth can beat the U.S. but that counts for nothing when we talk about the proxies we train. There are other forces with deep pockets who engage in arming and equipping their proxies. You don't think AK-47s, RPG-7s and ammo all grow on bushes do you?

Who funds the people out killing ordinary people now? During the Cold War it was us against the nationalists and the COMINTERN funded by the USSR. The USSR doesn't have money for that sort of thing so who is funding all the anti-civilization forces that appear to be armed to the teeth these days?

We used to have a system known as Swift that tracked the flows of money into terrorist accounts but somebody leaked its existence to the New York Times and that was that. Of course we now know that what we once did cooperatively through international agreements was superseded by total penetration of the world's banking system by the NSA and others. We might have more allies in our efforts to eliminate the killers if we maintained that they were terrorists and not some poor misunderstood 'militants'.

We never hear about the forces of order sending a negotiating team to deal with the funders of terrorism. You and I both know that we know who is pouring money into terrorist coffers. I don't know why we have plenty of heavily armed negotiators available to negotiate with ranchers about a few stray cows but cannot find any to scrape up to send along to negotiate with the people who send money to Boko Haram and other terrorists. Its like the hands off approach we took to all the good people here who gave the IRA money all through the troubles. Now it's the Holy Lands Foundation or some other scheme to funnel money to terrorists. You'd think the hundreds of millions of dollars they get from the US State Department would be enough.

In the places that eschew civilization, the enemy almost always has a monopoly on zeal, character, honesty, integrity, ethics, etc. Zeal is translated as fanaticism. Character, honesty, integrity and ethics are also the hallmarks of people who say what they mean and do what they say. Again, we're talking about fanatics. We dislike everything they stand for but they live and die by the code they accepted. We always end up supporting the profiteers, entrenched bureaucrats and fools. In the land where character is king, we always settle for the knave who doesn't believe in anything but is out for himself.

Monday, May 5, 2014

A SEPARATE HISTORY

It makes one wonder about a "common core".
What was "common about"that?

I was formed overseas but it was a long time ago. We're mostly harmless. I miss the old divisions, but not this one.

MORE ANGRY CARTOGRAPHY

If there wasn't more than a grain of truth to these, they wouldn't be so amusing.


Sunday, May 4, 2014

PLAYING WITH NUMBERS AND GRAPHS

This is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It's an interesting graph don't you think?


It's really kind of staggering how visualization works.

ORBITAL HUMOR

Ars Technica has a video up on their page which shows the movement of the Space Shuttle Transport System Transport (STS) Aircraft as it moves from the airfield to the Houston Space Museum. The video is interesting to people like me. I wondered at the puckish humor painted on the 747. Snapshots from the short video below:

The shuttle attachment pintle on top of the 747 where the orbiter goes

The Schematic for people who cannot read

Saturday, May 3, 2014

ICONIC PICTURES OF THE 21ST CENTURY

100 iconic photos of the century so far. They missed a few but all were good.

It's hard to believe it has only been 14 years. It feels longer.



Dwarf Combat Bread in Action

Red Circle Around Earth