Thursday, March 31, 2011

Separating Satire from Serious

Did you know that Woody Harrelson ran for President in 2000? Yep! He was the candidate of the American Hemp Coalition. Not surprisingly his campaign went up in smoke.

Remember the campaign of Pat Paulsen?

So, what do we make of Donald Trump?

Trump the Birther?

Is the Donald for real? Is he serious or is he just having fun at our expense and killing time between bankruptcies and hot blonde wives? Is the Messiah a citizen? At this point what difference does it make? Is he a muslim? That isn't a disqualification regardless. So, what's with Trump?

There is always the double-agent option.

Don't laugh too hard. I learned the hard way about the subversive side of politics when I was running for office in Colorado. People that supported and stood with you were not always what they professed to be. Those who conferred and advised were later found to be within the camp of the opposition. Things said were taken out of context. Positions expressed in detail were modified and abbreviated until they were publicized to prove exactly the opposite. Trust and honor were not within the lexicon of the local party stalwarts.

Clarence Page offers an opinion on Trump and what his impact is on the body politic:

Trump Showcases Right-Wing Nut Views

If Trump is playing, he is doing us a disservice. If he is serious, he is patently unqualified to be a candidate. Either way he makes a strong case for ignoring him.

From Brigid's Home on the Range

Her writing usually waxes poetic, triggering melancholy memories and tempering them with a beautiful philosophy of life and an appreciation for all the glory that surrounds us. She draws upon her incredible range of experience and talents to add something worth pondering to every day. For variety, you get some incredibly knowledgeable commentary and reviews on guns and shooting tempered with some military history or possibly some great flying stories and a couple of times a week some food porn photos and to-die-for recipes.

Brigid's Home on the Range

But today she goes all Iowahawk on me with an email disclaimer that absolutely must be appended to everything you are tempted to send out lest you be sentenced to a life of penal servitude for failure to disclose the danger and possibly threatening the safety and well-being of the children, working poor and unfortunates of the world:

IMPORTANT: This email is intended for the use of the individual addressee(s) named above and may contain information that is of a sensitive top secret nature, or classified, or not in any way to be read by persons with no sense of humor, low pain thresholds or religious beliefs that involve aliens or large numbers of virgins (void in New Jersey). We take no responsibility for non-receipt of this email because you are still running Windows NT as everyone knows how well that worked out. If you received this email in error, even if it is addressed to you, forwarding of this email is not authorized, (either explicitly or implicitly) and constitutes a possible breach of Al Gore Internet law or a disabling social blunder. Any sentences involving the name "Charlie Sheen" were inserted in error and are to be ignored. No animals were harmed in the transmission of this email, although the yappy dog next door is on borrowed time. Be advised that there are no hidden codes or messages contained herein, however that contrail of Acme Airways Flight 102 that goes over your house at 2 PM each day is giving your neighbor the directions to the Mother Ship. Reading this message backwards will only give you a headache but if you listen to Abby Road backwards you will hear "Paul is Dead". So just ignore that warning box from SpySweeper. If if makes you feel better, pour a circle of salt around your chair, wave your hand over your computer and solemnly mutter "OMNI OMNI VOR" (Latin is allowed) and with that blessing, you should be safe from Malware.

Consider yourself warned!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Parsing the King's Speech

Of course we must act under certain conditions, but Jon Stewart wonders exactly what those conditions are:

Deja Vu Again

This week I've been reading Dinesh d'Souza's book, "The Roots of Obama's Rage." I met Dr.d'Souza three weeks ago in Vail and was impressed. He's a very personable and knowledgeable man. The thesis of the book is an analysis of the president's public actions to support a contention that the man is not driven by a desire for socialism or a welfare state, but rather by a deep-seated anti-colonialism. The argument is well supported by d'Souza with background material including significant quotes from Obama's own books about his father.

In one section the discussion is about Bamster's 2009 visit to Brazil where he announces his support for offshore drilling. No, not for the US, but for Brazil. While the US is supposedly seeking independence from foreign oil, the President lauds the exploitation of foreign oil by Petrobras. Dr. d'Souza contends that is not to make western hemisphere oil available to the US, but rather to deny it to us while building the third world development of S. America. In other words to take from the hands of colonial exploiter, America, and disburse to exploited former colonies. It is a correction for past evils.

The deja vu moment was pretty powerful a few minutes ago when the President gave a speech on energy independence.

Who Me? Deny Oil Development? They Lie!

"So any claim that my administration is responsible for gas prices because we've, quote un quote, shut down oil production -- any claim like that is simply untrue. It might make for a useful political sound bite, but it doesn't track with reality," Obama said.
Don't recall the moratorium on Gulf drilling which still continues. Don't think about ANWR. Don't notice the newest refinery in the US being built in 1978. None of your observations track with Obama's reality.

He asks us to accept this alternate reality and deny our own observations. That raises the question about whether he actually believes what he is saying himself.

An Outline

The announcement is due in about three weeks. We all wait with bated breath for his disclosure of his plans for the future. He is going to address the nation:

Coming Soon: An Announcement

So, here is a model which the Messiah can use for his speech. I think it is a good one that is clear, to the point and one which he could certainly feel good about taking for his own:

The situations are so similar it is frightening.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Speech

Yes, I watched. No, I wasn't impressed.

Revisionist history works best when a decent interval passes before the revision. You must allow memory to fade so that your shaping of the facts, your selective omissions and your self-serving emphases can be accepted as true. If the history you are rewriting is less than two weeks old, many of us will remember what really occurred.

The Bamster did not lead in any of this. He was not decisive. He was not creative or organizational or strategic or even consensus building. He was driven, kicking and screaming to action by events which he followed and garbled and confused until finally he had no choice but to get involved and even then it was only with a litany of disclaimers and caveats that made the value of the action much less than it could have been on the national stage.

I leaned forward in my chair throughout the speech waiting for him to mention Sarkozy and Cameron. I wanted at least a nod to the unequivocal statements from the French on what was needed and then the actual implementation of those statements. I wanted to hear him share at least a bit of the credit for the outcome that he now pushes to arm's length.

But, it wasn't there. I was asked to believe that he led and then I was told nothing about outcomes or futures or the rest of the Middle East or the dream that America should have for the future.

It wasn't there.

Market Research

This makes entirely too much sense:

Texas Considers Meeting Shortfall With Recreational Activity

Sure, the Bible Belt will squeal like pigs at the idea of adults making their own choice about what to do with their disposable income. Clearly you should be tithing to the Reverend Bucyrus T. Longhorn rather than throwing twenty down on a hard eight.

But one need only look at the outcome every election cycle as county by county and precinct by precinct, the blue-noses lose wet/dry elections and the reality that folks like a beer after work or with a Sunday football game is acknowledged. Now the additional reality of gambling as entertainment that can make big bucks without taxing people is going to get a hearing.

Will Texans actually gamble? The market research has already been done and the results are beyond question. The state line with Louisiana is littered with casinos from Shreveport to Baton Rouge to the Sabine Lake coast. The border with Oklahoma is aglitter with native American enterprises welcoming you to luxury suites, swimming pools and blackjack tables. The line with New Mexico promises that the Apaches won't scalp you, but they will give you a chance at a major slot jackpot. Texans are spending the money, why not keep it at home?

This will be interesting and how the conservative super-majority of the legislature handles this will be enlightening.

Monday, March 28, 2011


I've read the Declaration of Independence a couple of times and the Constitution too. I'm pretty well versed in the concept of inalienable rights and the guarantees of those documents. I don't find a thing there about government feeding me. I find even less about our government feeding the rest of the world.

So, look at this collection of loons:

Congress-Critter and Fellow Travelers Fast For Funds

When you've got a pocket full of money and things are going well, be magnanimous  and give freely to help others. When you are broke, leveraged to the hilt and the loan-shark is gonna break your legs when you don't come up with the vig this week, then you probably can't buy lunch for the world for a while.

I particularly like that emotional quote about this budgeting will be "silencing the voice of the voiceless..." That's classic!

I'd like to call their bluff on this one. Fast your little heart out. I'll check back in about three months.

Tactical Indecision

Anybody know which direction to the enemy? 

CIA Phone Home

The guys from Langley have been conspicuously absent without leave during this whole Middle East collapse business. Who is minding the intelligence gathering in these places? Where is the Hum-Int which should be telling us about these things before they occur? Where is the analysis that explains who the motivators are and where the leadership is based? Who is offering predictions on outcomes and power shifts?

For all we see, the Egypt blow-up was unpredicted. Tunisia came out of nowhere. Bahrain? Seriously? Wasn't Bahrain a bastion of pro-democracy, free-market capitalism in the region? How did Assad's control of Syria crumble over night? If Yemen, why not Somalia? Dubai? Qatar?

We keep hearing about "freedom fighters" and demands for "democracy" and an "Arab Spring" but the parallel to what went in in Europe as the Eastern bloc collapsed is hardly more than a seasonal coincidence. There is no cultural parallel that lets us predict a conversion to Western political or economic values. The people pushing and shouting in the streets are definitely not European.

Is it simply an aberration that this all boiled over at once? There is no such thing as coincidence in matters of this magnitude. Where is the puppet-master? Who is sending out the action messages? Have we any idea what is developing across this very significant chunk of the globe?

CIA, does anybody over there have a clue?

If It Is True...

This pretty impressive. It certainly shows a creative approach to high school and if what the item describes is really what goes on, then I'm all for it. But read a few of the comments for the Luddite perspective on the topic.

High School Goes Digital

Let's be objective on this. Today's student will be working in a digital age. If they don't have those skills, they are going to have a tough time competing at the top tier. So, if these things are going on in that school, then they are getting a great educational experience and an incredible preparation for life in the 21st century.

But, I have been in a small college classroom and I see how the partial introduction of laptops can fail. A year ago we finally progressed to a campus wireless network. Some classrooms have workstations and an instructor console that allows student interaction and monitoring, but most don't. What do I see?

Without an instructor console or an agility to command the class attention while simultaneously prowling the aisles to see what is actually on laptop screens, you really don't get students doing what they are ostensibly bringing the laptop to class for. They aren't taking notes. They aren't grabbing research. They aren't gathering supporting information. They aren't following your PowerPoint with the online edition to add their comments.

They are Facebooking, playing Freecell, checking email, shopping for T-shirts, and generally distracting themselves. Those without laptops are texting on their cellphones in their laps thinking they aren't seen by the instructor and knowing that they stand a good chance of being embarrassed by the mean old fat guy in front of the class who will ask them to leave.

Now if we consider the folks who commented that it is too expensive or impractical or not traditional or somehow subversively progressive, let's note that they apparently don't have familiarity with the cost of textbooks today. The average high school or college text costs a tad north of a Benjamin. Take the average student course load of six classes that covers the cost of a nice netbook or laptop.

The laptop is lighter, more likely to come to class then a backpack of books, more accountable at the end of the semester, and less likely to be unusable from doodling, dog-earring, page-ripping or abuse. The potential for interaction with both local and distant educational sources is incredible, if the instructor is creative and innovative in application.

I don't like some aspects, such as the mention of peer-editing for writing assignments. That can be helpful occasionally, but it can also mask total illiteracy from free-riders in the classroom.

Overall, I think it presents some great potential. I think it is definitely a portent of future education. I would like to see more of it sooner and I do think it is cost-effective.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Brilliant Idea

"You know, those are some pretty neat outfits. Why can't I have something like that for the White House? I mean I could even take a dozen or so with me on Air Force One when I go give pep talks at union rallies. I wonder if we could get a bit more gold braid for floppy epaulets. I wonder if Farrakhan would let me have forty or fifty of his guys? I better have Holder and Gates look into that...."

From Below the Fold

I didn't know this. In fact, it is a bit shocking. Yet, I do know the responsibilities of 17th AF and I'm quite familiar with the task of a Joint/Combined Task Force Air Component Commander.

Not A Fighter-Chick, But...

This must really be a stick in the eye of the Qatar and UAE members of the air coalition.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Stupid Statements

You should always be sure that when you say that you will or will not do something that you actually are in complete control of that outcome. At least that's true if you are the President of the United States.

If you say you are going to do something, you are expected to do it. If you say that you will not do something, you then should not do it. If you specify that a military objective is to achieve regime change or that you are going to engage in military operations to support a rebel force with airpower, then you need to recognize that what does or does not get harmed is not fully predictable.

How Do You Do This?

When you are slinging cruise missiles from ships, subs and aircraft you really can't be certain who is going to be standing at ground zero when they reach their end game.

You simply cannot say with certainty that the US military operations will not result in the termination with extreme prejudice of Col. Qaddafi.

What will his spokespersons have to say when the report comes in that the former leader of Libya was in the wrong place at the wrong time?

Happy Birthday, Steven

Friday, March 25, 2011

Basic Concepts

If one has ever been in a management or leadership or executive role, it is inevitable that you will have encountered some basic principles of organization. Of course, that rules out the Bamster. Unless, of course, you count community organizing or voting "present" for a couple of years.

Among the rules, one of the basics is "unity of command." You can only work for one boss at a time. You might even recognize that as biblical in origin. "You cannot serve two masters; God and Mammon." If you've got more than one source of direction you will inevitably come to a fork in the road and Yogi's dictum will not be adequate. If your two bosses give you different directions which will you choose? If one of your two bosses is deciding by a committee of 28 fractious directors then it will really get complicated.

That's is the sandwich which SecState Clinton weasel-worded in her announcement last night. It is the result of the clear guidance of the Messiah that after kicking the hornet's nest he wanted no part of the longer haul responsibility of dealing with the resultant. He didn't know who would lead, but it wouldn't be him.

Before long it became apparent that it couldn't be the Arab League regardless of the emotional efficacy of that solution. They don't have adequate skin in the game or is there a willingness from those who do to subjugate their forces to such inconsistent and duplicitous objectives.

The best outcome might have been a clear turn-over to France and/or Britain who had led the charge and certainly met the qualifications for the task. But that got complicated when Germany balked and Italy which was hosting the party demanded some rent. That threw the ball into NATO's court.

Once upon a time NATO was a reasonably sized alliance with common interests, a visible and clear opponent, and serious vesting in the mission. Today it is nearly three times the membership and the role is flexible, ill-defined, and apparently well beyond the immediate North Atlantic theater of operations. Today forging a workable command structure from these diverse and conflicting interests if impossible.

So, the result which was announced yesterday was the clear violation of unity of command. Apparently the agreement was finally that NATO would assume command/control of the airspace denial mission, the "No-Fly Zone." But, they would NOT take control of the remainder of the mission supported by UN Resolution 1973 which involves cutting off armor and artillery attack on innocent civilians in Libya by Qaddafi forces. That is still under the US AFRICOM control.

That raises the issues of who is in charge of what missions. Who allocates available forces? Who determines which jets do what jobs? Can a mission in progress by diverted? Can it shift from Command A to Command B? Who handles ROE and the conflicts which arise? Who gives final firing dispensation? Who sets priorities? Who deconflicts?

At the most simple level, what would have happened with the French Rafale shooting of the Galeb? Was it a No-Fly mission or was it a ground attack? The Galeb had flown, but was attacked after landing. Who would be in charge now?

The mark of a pro in sports is that he wants the ball. A pitcher wants the ball. A receiver wants the ball. A running back wants the ball. A point guard wants the ball. Obama doesn't want the ball.

Rare Photo Captures Elusive Star

I didn't know such a person existed. I had heard rumors of a sighting many years ago of an exceptionally young rising star without a mustache, but there was no evidence that such an individual had existed beyond a very short period of only a few weeks. Yet, like Bigfoot, we see here photographic evidence:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

If You Know the Words...

My first Huskie, Simi, was a great singer. He did a wonderful job of "Row, Row, Row, Your Boat" particularly when it was a three-part round. He also was pretty good with Happy Birthday. He was sort of into blues and didn't do much rocking or ballads. But he was a piker because he couldn't accompany himself. I tried to get him interested in guitar or saxophone...

Now this hound's got chops:

A Crappy Idea

Merging one of the two inevitabilities of life with a third we get this proposal out of Omaha:

Federal TP Tax Floats To Top

This looks more like something Bloomberg might surface for the toilet bowl of New York City. It hardly seems consistent with a pretty red state like Nebraska, but what do I know about that region.

What I do know is that when Omaha needs to build sewers, they won't flush in my house in Texas. When Omaha has a municipal infrastructure issue it doesn't require a federal tax on anything. I don't want to buy an inch of pipe in a system 600 miles away.

For the mayor to seriously believe that this is in any way a federal issue is the problem here, not the product being taxed.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Stay Clear of Downed Aircrews

It has been several years since we had a robust business of SAR (Search And Rescue) for downed aircrews. I wouldn't want it any other way. Going in to grab a tactical jet crew means that the defenses bagged the fast mover and you are going to be slow and expected. At some point you are going to hover or touch down and you may have to send a rescue element to the ground to help the crewman. It is not a mission for the faint of heart.

When asked to go, it is inevitable that the adrenaline is going to spike and that means the probability of engagement of anybody in the area that appears in the slightest bit threatening is going to be inevitable. Add language difficulties, indistinct lines of friendlies, and various unfamiliar uniforms or lack of uniforms. Apparently six locals got caught up in the rescue of the Strike Eagle crew. That is unfortunate, but it might be prudent to stay well clear of crews unless you can clearly identify yourself, your aid is essential, or you are willing to take a high risk.

Reports From the Front With Pix

The pictures demonstrate the effectiveness of the air campaign pretty graphically. Some of the headlines are disturbing, however.

The Messiah's reluctance to provide leadership is fueling a disaster both for Odyssey Dawn and for NATO. The array of coalition forces show that this is very much a NATO operation. That means a command/control structure is largely in place. It would be primarily 5 ATAF and COMSOUTH. Italy has opened their bases and France has taken a lead role. But France, which reintegrated with NATO military structures in 2009 doesn't want NATO in charge. Italy demands NATO control.

That little brouhaha is purely a Messiah-driven outcome. Leadership requires being in the front. The last thing he appears to want to do is lead. How did we get to this point?

And then there is that ludicrous headline of Algeria saying the operation is "disproportionate"! Yes, you damn fools. Combat operations are supposed to be disproportionate. That is how you win!

UPDATE: Germany Pulls Forces From Coalition Over Leadership Lack

Rumors are that the Bamster is taking fiddle lessons to serenade Michelle as the world burns. Circus to offer lions versus Muslims main event during daily shows.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Remember Murtha?

Combat is brutal. It can be dehumanizing or it can be, as Aristotle wrote, ennobling. It can reduce man to brutal and bestial conduct or it can demonstrate courage, self-sacrifice and the recognition that there is more to life than self.

The late Congressman John Murtha vociferously claimed his military credentials and service as a Marine, despite the fact that it was largely in a reserve billet. He was the leader of an accusatory force that demonized a group of American fighting men in the Middle East. The murder charges were false and the accused were uniformly exonerated, but not before their lives were negatively impacted and they were subjected to massive vilification in the media.

I'm not sure what to make of this:

AWOL, Fearful, Plea Bargaining, But Guilty?

There is nothing wrong with being fearful enroute to war. There is something seriously wrong about going AWOL for several weeks with your main squeeze. That triggers suspicion in my mind about basic character.

Did this rogue platoon commit atrocities? The pictures I've seen so far don't really offer much but depictions of combat casualties. I can ascertain nothing about the circumstances leading to the deaths. I can tell nothing about the civilian or military linkages of the bodies. I can only reserve judgment and wait for a trial.

But, there have been enough instances of fabricated scenarios to make me have doubts. There have also been instances of terrible situations in which leadership failed and evil was done. Abu Ghraib and My Lai come all too readily to mind.

Then one other thing jumps out at me.

We can't control our name. We are born into a family and that bestows an identity. Can a name be predictive of behavior, of mindset, of culture?
Might he have been better off the child of the Eloi?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Worth a Thousand Words

You'll Get No Argument Here

Do we Americans have a clue? Is our educational system preparing young adults for life in the world? Do we know the why and the wherefore of policy choices? Can your teen-ager explain why something costs what it does?


I can't find a thing to disagree with in that piece.

Oh, "tumbleweeds"? That is a fighter pilot codeword for an individual with no tally (he doesn't see the enemy),  no visual (he doesn't see his leader),and no clue (he's got no idea what the situation is.)

America is tumbleweeds. Our citizens are only qualified for snacko duty.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

What The Constitution Says

The other day I pontificated about the Bamster groveling at the UN for permission to act as Commander-in-Chief. I noted that the title confers upon the President the position of sole authority to determine when, where and how the US military is employed as an instrument of national policy.

One reader with the catchy nom de plume of  ""  wrote:
Ed, you say, "That's a catchy title, but the essence is that you are the sole determinant of what the US military will or will not do."

The sole determinant? Strange, I thought the Constitution mentioned something about the Congress having to approve, bless, nod, wink, or something along those lines before we could engage in military action (what some might call "war" when you're killing foreigners with your military).

Despite the suspicion that PYB is probably not a policy hawk, let's consider his comment. Like so many Americans he brings up the Constitution without apparently having really given it a lot of consideration. I've been unable to find any phrasing regarding winking, blinking, blessing or nodding by Congress as prerequisite to military employment nor do I encounter a definition of "war" as killing foreigners with your military.

What is he referring to?

It could be that the Congress has the authority to "raise an army." That you might recall was a sticky point about the Articles of Confederation which manifested the reluctance of the states to cede their independent militias to a national government. It give Congress a budgetary power to define the US military. But that isn't really a determinant of who, when or where that military will be employed.

The Constitution also gives Congress the authority to "declare war" which is certainly linked to the President's C-in-C responsibility. The only problem there is that the last time we declared a war was 1941. We have quite obviously engaged in many wars since then. So, that doesn't seem to be a stumbling block anymore. In fact, you could make a very strong case that the threat of modern war makes Congressional action, debate, posturing and bloviating totally  impractical before forging a response. We will never again see a declaration of war prior to significant military action.

Does Congress have to approve of a C-in-C employing the military?

Well, yes. They will have to authorize the funds at some point. Does that need to be done before the action? Not if you have a trained and equipped force in being, which we do.

Is that funding threat a constraint? Hardly! What politician in his right mind (that leaves out Dennis Kucinich and Sheila Jackson-Lee) would stand before the voters on a platform of having abandoned America's fighting forces in harm's way without a supply of beans and bullets?

So, Congress doesn't have a vote in the employment of the US military. At some point they offer a check/balance, but it isn't in advance and it isn't a very powerful one. I stand by my contention that a President doesn't have to beg, whine, plead, or petition the United Nations prior to taking action with the military in furtherance of American policy goals.

Defensive Posture

As the "coalition" begins to act and the press war of American pacifists take up their whimpering positions against any and all military action at any time in response to any provocation, the Libyan dictator shows exactly how a strong defense is deployed:

Bring Forth The Women & Children

Yes, there isn't anything that says military preparedness and fighting spirit quite like a phalanx of cowering citizens stacked up around your throne.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Where's The Beef?

Help me here. I watched this live last night. I waited for the clear and unequivocal action statement. You know the one I mean. The statement that "at this moment, US jets are launching from xxxx air base to strike at...." Or, "I have directed that the xx Fighter Squadron deploy to..." Or maybe, "the USS Ronald Reagan air wing will be commencing airspace denial operations immediately..."

What I heard was that in a couple of days Hillary will go to Paris and the Bamster will be with the kids in Rio.

Can you find the beef in that? Help me here.

Saturday Morning Rocker

I mean this is the ultimate in a fantasy for a skinny little effeminate kid:

Friday, March 18, 2011

Punctuation Error

It takes a British newspaper to explain very clearly what should be obvious to all:

Weakness Manifest

The punctuation error? There is no question mark needed at the end of the headline.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Waffling & Weakness

I don't know if the Messiah has ever been in a rapidly deteriorating combat situation. The enemy is coming, your forces and supplies are depleted, the outcome looks hopeless and there are prayers for John Wayne and the 7th Cavalry to come riding out of the canyon. If you don't hear the bugle today, you won't see the sun rise tomorrow.

That must be what it feels like in Benghazi.

So check this out:

Bamster Petitions the UN and Hillary Strategizes

I've got two short notes for you, Mr. President.

1.) You are the Commander-in-Chief of the United States military. That's a catchy title, but the essence is that you are the sole determinant of what the US military will or will not do. You don't have to give one of your vacuous orations to the United Nations which frankly doesn't give a large pile of camel dung what you want. You don't have to ask. You simply must find your heuvos and give the order. You don't even have to know too much about what you are talking about. Simply tell the JCS to stop Qaddafi and they will do it.

2.) Hillary is your Secretary of State. She doesn't have a clue about tactics or aircraft or weapons or defense suppression. You don't want to listen to her. Your go-to guy is the SecDef and with him the JCS. They know about stuff like that. If the situation has deteriorated to where Hillary knows more than that bunch about how to apply airpower to a one-camel dictator, then you are even more incompetent than I have been giving you credit for.

We are NOT the subjects of a world government and we are not dependent upon the UN to play a game of Simon Sez before we act.

Get Your Green On

Put be careful where you spend your night because not all pubs are as mellow:

Working Holiday

Back from a break in the grind for a couple of days in Ft. Worth. Had an invite to speak to the B-36 Peacemaker Society, a group of aviation historians, former aviators and Carswell/Lock-Mart airplane builders. Enjoyed offering my interpretation of the Vietnam Air War to the group on Tuesday night and then took advantage of the opportunity to spend some time in the Stockyards Historic District.

Stayed at the Stockyards Hotel, a truly historic building with links back to Bonnie & Clyde, Dillinger, and the real old west. Felt a bit like a Humphrey Bogart film noir scene with a room that actually had the neon lights of the bar downstairs flashing in the window. Fortunately authentic wooden shutters could black it out, but it definitely oozed atmosphere. Didn't quite embrace the brass tub plumbing and the wooden flush box toilet, but it is authentic and historic.

Downstairs was the H3 BBQ restaurant with some ribs the SWMBO (who doesn't particularly like BBQ) pronounced outstanding. I had a chicken-fried steak which is sort of a "never-pass" indulgence of mine. Once every couple of months probably won't be immediately fatal.

Saw the longhorn cattle drive down exchange street and roamed the region. Got my boots shined, resisted a silver and gold buckle that would commemorate a rodeo I was never in and cursed my departure rush for the trip that caused me to leave my Stetson home. NEVER AGAIN! This is Texas and my hat goes with me from now on!

Last night was the best dining experience I have ever had in Texas, bar none. And that includes the now defunct "Le Reve" in San Antonio that was named one of the 10 best in America as well as the remarkable San Antonio steakhouse, Bohannan's.

The spot was Tim Love's "Lonesome Dove Western Bistro" and don't let the name put you off.

Lonesome Dove

Top to bottom the menu was remarkable, the service was impeccable, the food excellent and the experience memorable. The "warm ancho chile chocolate cake with roasted pepita ice cream" was the sort of desert you can eat the last bite and then say, "Take me Lord, because I have lived to find perfection."

Ya know, I'm sort of beginning to think that cowboy culture in Ft. Worth might be better than that oil money snobbishness that manifests every so often in Big D.

Gotta do more research. I know. A thankless chore, but I'll do it for you.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Unmovable Job

It was a senior class in Political Science when I was in college. It was taught by the department chairman and it occurred on a Monday in late November of 1963. You probably know the week-end I'm recalling if you were alive then. The President had been assassinated and America was stunned.

For those of us in college it was an earth-shaking event. We had effectively known only two other Presidents in our life time. Truman had been elevated to the position when we were little more than infants. Eisenhower had served the rest of our short lifetimes. Kennedy was an anchor for us regardless of our politics which were still somewhat indeterminate. We were apprehensive about what would become of America.

Dr. Smithburg had lived a long time and through many administrations. In that regard I can identify with him today, particularly when the chronology of the office that is so familiar to me is so alien to my students. Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II have all come and gone. My students might recall Clinton. The reassurances of Dr. Smithburg have served me well over that time. The office is too big to be endangered by an incompetent.

He told us that America was a huge and stable nation. A President was a leader, but he was only one man. He might be a good President or a bad one, but the country had a stability which could absorb the efforts of a single man and would be impacted only slightly by the worst incumbent and improved just incrementally by the best.

I've come to know that was true and wise.

That is until now. The world is much smaller. We are much more co-dependent on the global community. We will be impacted and quickly by events around the world. Competence does matter. Action is necessary and dithering while determining the best political position to take for an election will not feed the bulldog.

The cliche of Nero fiddling while Rome burned is familiar. The detachment of Marie Antoinette suggesting that the starving people could eat cake if they had no bread plays very well today.

They ski in Vail, rent the best hotel in its entirety in Spain, entertain the hoi polloi in the White House, commandeer a prime tee time several days a month and along the way ignore the significant events that require America to lead.

Today we don't need to dig deeply to confirm that it matters very seriously who the President is. Dr. Smithburg's consolation has expired. The world has changed and we very apparently are adrift in dangerous seas.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Shopping in Sherman

Well, I did buy a new car recently. And, yes I shopped locally and also in the metroplex. I wound up buying in the big city but the pitch in Sherman at the Buick dealer looked like this:

Million Dollar Marketing

This is going to generate the very predictable outrage that will fuel sales to levels a stumbling author can only dream about:

Pot-Smoking, Prostitute Paying, Modern Messiah

The umbrage of Christian fundamentalists at this work of fiction will create a buzz which will blast this into the NYT best-seller lists for months to come.


It is a story, whether you consider it a blasphemy or not. It is an entertainment for a reader. It has all the evil attached of a cartoon depiction of the Prophet. It does not merit censorship. It does not merit assassination. It does not rise to a need for burning at the stake. Torquemada go home!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Chump Change

You've seen the footage of the earthquake and tsunami. You've seen the incredible damage. Now to put it in perspective, read this:

Estimates Range to $30 Billion

Sort of puts it in perspective for you doesn't it? I mean by the scale of Obama's stimulations it becomes mere pocket change. $865 billion last year for economic pumping gives you a bit of insight into what that much money looks like relative to what you've seen in Japan. Maybe he should fire off a few bags of money, suitably plucked for pocket lint, of course.

Pick Your Poison

You've got a position on nuclear power. We all do. I'm in favor of it because it is reliable, doesn't consume massive quantities of fossil fuels and isn't a ludicrous concept like windmills as far as the eye can see or thousands of acres of solar panels.

So we've just seen a geological event which should make us all recognize the insignificance of man in the total environmental scheme of things. In the process we are watching a nuclear power event unfolding and regardless of your side you can arm yourself with an expert opinion to bolster your pro or con position. You can second guess the Japanese for their dependence upon nuclear energy but that might require denial of their power needs or their fuel resource availability. Do not expect the outcome of the current situation to be a sudden shift to coal or oil dependence for their electrical grid.

What amazes is the plethora of "experts" pronouncing from ten thousand miles away what is occurring within the containment dome at Fukushima. When you read these analyses be sure to look at the organizations which employ the experts. Among the ones I encountered this morning are the Ploughshares Fund and a group called Beyond Nuclear, for example.

Who are they?

Ploughshares Fund Seeking Nuclear-Free World

So, clearly they have an interest in painting the situation in the darkest possible light.

Beyond Nuclear Working For Freedom From Nuclear Power

So, when you encounter the disaster mavens blathering about total meltdowns, be sure to weigh the info carefully. Don't minimize what the possibilities are, but don't simply latch on to the propaganda without question.

The eventual agenda question in the US is still going to be about applications of nuclear power technology. It is inevitable and the debate will have to be conducted free of emotionalism if at all possible.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

DOJ Rewrites Local Rules

The concept of federalism in America's form of government has always been both critical and tenuous. Certainly the Founders felt the latitude of the states to manage their own internal affairs was an essential component of the new Constitution. The balance between what the states could do and what would be delegated to the federal level was the source of the debate between Hamilton's Federalists and Jefferson's Anti-Federalists.

Over time it would be impossible to deny the erosion of power for the state and the assumption of control by the national level. Today it would be nearly impossible to find a single facet of our lives which does not have the regulatory fingers of the feds grasping.

But, in the half century since Civil Rights reform and with the evolution of Affirmative Action to insure that balanced attempts are made to improve racial balance and diversity in the work place without reverse discrimination or quotas, it is difficult to justify this:

Lower the Standards Regardless of Consequences

It is ludicrous to believe that you can simply adjust the line of acceptable performance to meet your goals without compromising public safety. The DOJ didn't say that the test was discriminatory. They said that the result wasn't what they wanted and therefore rather than examine the test for bias they directed that the standard be lowered.

I wonder how it will feel in a year or so in Dayton when the police or fire departments respond to an emergency. Maybe they should simply call Attorney General Holder for help. I'm sure he would handle the situation.

Special Saturday Morning Rocker

Friday, March 11, 2011

Now Hear This

One of the most amazing things I saw at Vail was little more than a throw-away by one of the participants. It was a hobby project and it simply blew me away. The other attendees expressed similar awe.

The gentleman was a plasma physicist. He had immigrated to the US as a child with his parents from Lebanon. Currently he was working on plasma propulsion systems seeking to find a practical means of extended space travel that was not dependent upon carrying billions of gallons of chemicals for conventional rocket motors. A dream was a system that might someday defend the earth from an errant asteroid without Bruce Willis and his Space Rangers. It would land on the asteroid and then employ the existing ice formations to source the propulsive power for the plasma engine to divert the impending doom. Or it could take us to Mars and beyond.

Certainly impressive enough, but it was his spare time gadget that was revolutionary. He had built a simple program which he was running on his iPhone as an app and demonstrating with a $20 Radio Shack hand-held portable speaker roughly 2" x 6".

He theorized that creating a true 3D sound experience that was far superior to stereo or 5.1 surround systems was simply a matter of removing extraneous sounds from the reproduction, not synthesizing or modulating or adding anything to the sounds.

Using simple MP3 files on his iMac, he ran the filter on the phone and played it wirelessly through the speakers. Off, the sounds were flat and tinny with just two inches of separation between the tiny speakers. On, the sound enveloped you magically coming from behind you or to your side or moving around your head as he played a fly buzzing over you.

A forest became real, a waterfall almost splashed you, Pink Floyd's "Money" rang up the cash register nearby and you could hear the ambience of the sound on the store counter. A cathedral choir echoed melodically and everyone who experienced it was stunned.

This is a billion dollar creation for this man. It is small, cheap, simple and incredible. It can be incorporated in virtually every audio delivery system in our world and it will open up new experiences in music and theater reproduction. I hope to see this commercially within a very short period. You will be impressed!

Thursday, March 10, 2011


While the Messiah equivocates and spins slowly in the breeze deciding whether to defecate or go blind, we see French President Sarkozy make a clear judgment and move aggressively.

France Recognizes Interim Government

Such an act is not insignificant. It gives instant credibility to the insurgency and provides a clear message of a European interest in the outcome. It also makes a statement about the continued viability of the Qaddafi regime.

But as an effective move beyond the diplomatic it doesn't really stop the immediate bleeding. This, on the other hand is something that we could quite easily have taken the lead in:

Proposes Decisive Strikes to EU

The EU won't make a decision on whether or not. They are really not involved in military operations and for matters of combat actions they are simply a debating body. But by raising the issue before the group, Sarkozy again lets Qaddafi know what awaits him. He can remember only too well a night in April of 1986, when America had a strong president and he nearly died in his tent.

His air force is also seeing these developments and they know very well that there is considerable difference between missions against a rag-tag group shooting rifles into the air and a well-trained force of French fighter pilots. They are not going to be sleeping well from this point forward.

Meanwhile, Hillary is seeking consensus and building communication links:

Moving with Deliberation and Timidity

Sweet Home Chicago

I'm a bit teary-eyed this morning after seeing this. This is my neighborhood. This was my childhood. This was my part of the city; my schools, my parks, my theaters, my restaurants, my buses, my life. This is exactly where I lived until I left the city for the Air Force and never came back.

Thanks to my best friend from those days who sent this today. A toast to the good times, long gone.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

No-Fly Zones

By now everyone is familiar with the term, but as I watch the talking heads and the administration puppets posture on this, I'm confused at the obfuscation. But, that of course, is the entire purpose of obfuscating in the first place, isn't it?

Hillary Says US Can't Lead It

We've heard about how a carrier air wing is inadequate to handle the 24/7 tasking. Probably true. We've heard about the basing issue. Arguably not true. Crete is close enough with great RAF facilities. NAS Sigonella on Sicily is close enough. Decimomannu on Sardinia is close enough. Goia del Colle at the toe of Italy is close enough. All have extensive tactical aircraft support capability.

The 24/7 issue is bogus. Libya's Air Force is not a day/night, all-wx operation. They have neither the weaponry nor the training for night ground attack ops. You don't have to be overhead all the time.

Area of operations is not a factor. The airspace of concern is strictly coastal. Overflight issues are not of concern. It primarily Mediterranean operations and all neighboring nations are supportive and certainly will not be obstructive.

Probably the most serious consideration is the one that SecDef Gates raised. He stated that before you could operate a no-fly zone you needed to suppress the Libyan air defenses and that required ground attack. Clearly a level of escalation we don't want to reach.

But that is a bogus argument as well. We have operated many no-fly zones without prior ground attack. You declare the zone then you simply put the eyes out on any radar that comes up. Anti-radiation missiles have been excellent at this for a very long time. You can also deny radar targeting information with effective jamming. The Libyan air defense system is far from sophisticated and could not be resistant to such controls.

The most important ace in the whole deck is the one that they don't want to use because it would make the argument strongly that we need to buy much more of the system. The whole justification for the 187 aircraft contract termination on F-22 has been that the system is unnecessary with the current threat environment. Application here would belie that entire flimsy argument.

The F-22 is ready to deploy at Langley. Put them into Sigonella or any other base you'd like on the Mediterranean littoral. They operate with impunity. They are undetected and therefore the Libyan AF never knows if and when they are airborne. They patrol and with their self-generated data plus shared info from other platforms such as the carrier aircraft and AWACS they can detect and engage anything airborne. They can also effectively destroy it. And the enemy never knows they have been had. No need to die all tensed up.

This is exactly the sort of force multiplier and air dominance mission which the aircraft was built for.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Stop the Madness

I'm left speechless by the inane stupidity of this:

Too Many Male Warriors Leading

Get this through your politically correct head: The military is NOT  a sociological laboratory or test-bed. It is a critical war fighting machine that requires a certain skill set and the leadership comes from qualification not from gender, ethnicity or sexual preference.
Having military brass that better mirrors the nation can inspire future recruits and help create trust among the general population, the commission said.
They seem to overlook the fact that the military currently is more trusted by the general population than any aspect of our government and most certainly more than the Congress.

Rolling a Mercedes Megabuck Car

Make sure your insurance covers this before you do it:

Monday, March 07, 2011

The Good Ol' Days

Remember noticing stuff like this?
The Congressional Budget Office estimated Friday that the U.S. federal budget deficit for fiscal year 2007, which ended Sunday, was about $161 billion, or 1.2% of gross domestic product. That’s down from the $248 billion shortfall recorded in fiscal 2006, which translated into 1.9% of GDP. The Treasury Department will report the official tally later this month.
I mean that's big bucks. The deficit for the year was $161 BILLION! That's not chump change.

But, that was then and this is now.
The federal government posted its largest monthly deficit in history in February at $223 billion, according to preliminary numbers the Congressional Budget Office released Monday morning.
That figure tops last February’s record of $220.9 billion, and marks the 29th straight month the government has run in the red — a modern record. The last time the federal government posted even a monthly surplus was September 2008, just before the financial collapse. 
This single month is the largest deficit in the nation's history and it breaks the record for a single month set last year by the Messiah. It should be noted that he has been in office 25 of those 29 consecutive months focusing on recovery and job creation.

What seems to be the problem with the process here?

Living the Dream

Maybe you've never heard of DMV Music Box. It's a Washington area rap/hip-hop music bunch and they've got a pretty slick web site if you like that sort of thing:

DMV Music Box Follows A Dream

OK, so you probably know from the Saturday Morning Rockers that isn't my genre. But cut them some slack. They've got an annual music awards ceremony and the competition is fierce. The event was well covered by the local news and here's  a glimpse of the big winners:

What'chu Mean I Din't Win?

Party like it's 1999 or something.

Deep Breath, Pause...

My apologies for the blank space these last two days, but I have been simply overwhelmed by my experience in Vail. My head is still spinning from the people I met and the discussions I've had. When the vertigo ends, I will offer some reports. Hang with me.

Thursday, March 03, 2011


Last night after a great dinner, we gathered to hear former President of Columbia, Alvaro Uribe, speak on his vision of leadership and development for his nation. He made the great point that South America is not to be ignored for resources, capacity and development. He is that rare commodity, a humble and transcendent leader who appears to exemplify the "big picture" without regard for his personal aggrandizement.

Then we had a bit of entertainment in which a remarkable amount of music was delivered by two very talented men. Doing this number at 8200 feet elevation is not for the aerobically challenged.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Windy Enroute

Watching the progress of my pick-up ride coming this way and absolutely amazed by the info on Enter a tail number and you get the day's itinerary and in-flight following in real time.

The catch is that they are bucking 120 kt headwinds this morning at FL 400. Running about 45 minutes late, but at least there is no T&A thug groping me while I do the funking chicken in my bare feet and holding my pants up with one hand as I try to keep an eye on my laptop which was last seen moving away from me on a conveyor belt.

Note to Fox TV

I just sat through another football season in which, apparently, there is not a single audio engineer who can mix sound to let the important stuff be the focus. Frankly, I think that Joe Buck and Troy Aikman are the best commentary team since Al Michaels and John Madden. Yet there is no volume setting on my TV that lets me hear the commentary over the crowd noise. I know what a crowd sound like, I want to know what the play-by-play is saying.

Last night it appeared that the football broadcast sound crew was handling American Idol. It is a singing competition and the important part is the contestants, not the back-up band and chorus do-wop singers.

Now, paranoid type that I am, I did note that not all of the singers got the audio burial treatment. Some came through clearly, which leads me to consider that there is some "shaping" going on to predispose winners.

Nah, that's too evil.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Telling It Like It Is

Consumer Reports made their reputation on honest and objective evaluation of products. They don't take advertising in their publications or on their website and they would lose credibility quickly if found guilty of sugar coating a review. So, we get this:

Volt Makes No Sense

Particularly note-worthy was the lemming-like tendency of the enviro-true-believers to want what ever is deemed green at the moment. So, we've got this little toad of a car which is tethered to a wall socket and costs as much as a very well-equipped top end sedan by several manufacturers that is subsidized by the Greenmeister in Chief to make it less non-competitive, then the dealer tacks a $5,000 premium above sticker on the thing because the Birkenstock crowd wants it so badly.

Off to Vail

Off to Vail for a five day leadership symposium and it is looking likely a decidedly upscale event. Here's my ride:
It's got a nice interior too:
Wonder what I did to deserve this?

That Was Then...

Yesterday was the last day of Black History Month. That brought the Congressional Black Caucus together to wail about the pending demise of the gravy train and link it to...drum roll, please...race!

Budget Cuts Will Set Back Equality

How do you get there? History is past. It has occurred and the lessons have been instructive, if not totally embraced in society. We have worked our way through the civil rights movement and it would be difficult to find formalized discrimination in modern America. The schools are integrated, barriers have come down and opportunity exists. It is still tough, but there are few remaining barriers to success for those who will strive.

Yet, the CBC seems to believe that the only way we get equality is through dependency. Making a race rely on government distributions is not the way to equality.

But apparently it is a very reliable route to re-election.