Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It Isn't Easy Being Green

Kermit knew it and the Bamster is fighting an uphill battle getting us all to abandon our nasty internal combustion engines and electric lights, but here's a victory in his battle:

New Green Ammo for M4

Why do I have doubts?

There's not much in that item beyond propaganda. Is the change in composition of the alloy really going to make a 62 grain poodle-shooter able to penetrate the same way a 7.62 round will? There is no way that 62 grains of throw weight is going to pack the punch at end game of 174. Velocity is not significantly different and weight is roughly three times as much.

Less muzzle flash? That's good, but flash hiders are pretty much standard and if it is really dark, then any flash is a flash.

Bismuth is the major component change to replace the lead. It has a lot of similarities to lead in terms of weight and density, but it is brittle so expansion could be problematic. Maybe the real issue is that Wikipedia lists it as "twice as abundant as gold" in the earth's crust. Excuse me, but that seems to mean expensive.

Probably the real question is whether the amount of lead being deposited in the war zones by US troops is really an environmental hazard worth worrying about. Put in the perspective of events like World War II, you would have to ask if this is an issue. The amount of DU scattered around Iraq had the greenies disposable panties in a knot, yet no one seems to be as harmed from that as they were from Sadaam's torching of the oil fields.

I like the M4 and the various attachments that can be hung on it. But, I'm not in combat with it. I can well understand the desire of real operators for a round that can reach out and not just touch someone but put them into cardiac arrest. The 7.62 has already got a lot of equipment that supports it. Even the AR platform does the job. Without doubt there are a lot of existing service rifles that handle that full sized round better than the AR.

The 6.8 SPC is also a contender with significantly more bang for the bucks. That fits perfectly in the AR with just a different upper.

I'm not impressed with the whole idea of a "green" cartridge. I am not convinced that it offers significant advantage and I'm not sure there is a compelling benefit to be realized for the cost expended.

An Alternate Reality

I respect our heritage and the traditions of our nation. I must. I spent most of my adult life in the service of that country around the world and occasionally in some degree of peril. I'm a believer in American exceptionalism. We are different and arguably better than most places.

But, I also am a realist and I've lived long enough to know a bit of the background of many traditions that aren't immutable. One that I often spend some time discussing with people is the Pledge of Allegiance. Righteously they proclaim outrage against those who protest regarding the phrase "under God" in the Pledge. I point out that there's some background they should be aware of.

The Founding Fathers didn't say the Pledge of Allegiance. It didn't exist. They did, at the end of the Declaration of Independence pledge their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to the principles enshrined in that document, but they didn't pledge allegiance to the flag. The flag came along shortly, but the Pledge of Allegiance didn't show up for another hundred years. In 1892, the first Pledge was written. Apparently, patriotism didn't require demonstration in ceremony before then.

There was no mention of God until 1954 when Dwight Eisenhower was padding his resume for re-election in '56. The enemy was Communists and they were, by definition, godless. To insure support from the Knights of Columbus, Ike spearheaded the drive to add the phrase to the Pledge which now seems to be a stumbling block for the liberals.

I had been trained in a Pledge without "under God" and the principle of primacy rules. What we learn first we learn best and it is almost impossible to correct. To this day I can't stay with the crowd when they recite the Pledge. I invariably forget the new phrase or take the breath pause out of sync with the masses. Is it "one nation under God...breath...indivisible" or "one nation...breath...under God indivisible"?

Regardless, the essential is that reciting the Plege of Allegiance does not make you more or less patriotic. It is a ceremony and whether it really reflects your behavior and beliefs is not determined by the action.

Recognizing all of that, I've got no objection to the exercise and I willingly participate.

But, knowing all that, what do we make of this:

Reluctance to Offend Some and Finding Qualified Teachers

I find that unbelievable in America. This is a school! Their job is to train and educate children in America. That involves not indoctrination of an individual teacher's ideological posture, but creating a citizenry for the future of this nation. Lincoln and Washington trump Cesar Chavez and Rosa Parks. America wins over fascism. Performance reigns over self-esteem. It is that simple.

The argument of the whining superintendent and school board that they fear some students might be offended is bogus. If they are offended, they need to be re-oriented to what America is all about.

The incredible statement that they could not find "qualified teachers" to lead the Pledge of Allegiance is simply outrageous. I could take a homeless illiterate off the streets of Bedford-Styvesant and train him to lead the Pledge in about 20 minutes.

What the hell is wrong with these people?

Don't Look at Real Evidence

In the last twenty years the inexorable movement across the nation is toward "shall issue" concealed carry legislation. That means that discretion of the issuing official is removed from the equation and the government must issue the permit to anyone who meets the qualifications established by the legislature for the permit. The squeals of the left were loud and long. It was going to be Dodge City, High Noon, St. Valentine's Day on Clark Street all rolled into one bloody package.

The last time I heard there were now 41 states with some form of concealed carry permit. Dr. John Lott, of Chicago, has written extensively and very thoroughly documented the outcome. Wherever the rights of the people have been preserved, crime has gone down and communities are safer. Wholesale violence has never occurred and permit holders remain among the lowest demographic in crime stats. Yet, we get the totally predictable, if equally unbelievable bleating here:

We Must Take Their Guns Away!

It doesn't leave much doubt about their agenda, does it. They seem in deep denial about the difference in safety between walking the streets of the Bronx or Brooklyn at midnight and walking the streets of Sherman TX or Colorado Springs. In one place you've got a life-expectancy of minutes, in the other a benign environment of security--but then you've got an armed citizenry in place.

Of course you noted the deadly statistics of the NYT editorial. Good journalist are responsible for good numbers. Did you follow the link for those death figures? Here, I'll help you:

Murder, Suicide, Accident, and Police Interventions

Somehow the Brady Campaign does not seem to me to be an unbiased source of statistics. But, that shouldn't bother the true believers. The sky is falling, the sky is falling. The proles will be armed...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Without Need For Comment

Soccer Officially Announces It Is Gay

Modern View of Fascism

It is certainly easy to see how the tendencies of the current administration could cause one to assume a linkage to fascism...

Customer Disservice

You must have seen the TV commercials with the smarmy guy in business suit who offers something to a toddler then offers something much better to another child. "Would you like a pony?"

I've been TV shopping since SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed)opened the window of opportunity two days ago by saying, "Why don't we get a larger television..." and "How much better would our Blu-Ray viddies look in 1080p?" That led to a call to my satellite provider about some service adjustments and another HD tuner.

I'd been watching their commercials and couldn't help but be aware that they now promise "Free HD for Life" to their new customers. I went to the web page and tried to manage my account. That was the start of a downhill slide. I was about to get the toy pony so I figured I'd better ask about the real one.

First is the task of finding a phone number on the web site. It isn't everywhere. They would much rather you do your own work on the Internet forms. Or, maybe read the FAQ, or maybe submit an email query, or worst case load up their LiveChat applet. New customer? Oh, you call this number. Existing customer? Ahh, there's the number for existing stooges wanting a pony.

Dial, listen to machine telling me to state my request. Get decoyed into wrong menu choice. Wait for response. Get dropped for a busy signal after five minutes of advertising messages about what a valued customer I am. Lather, rinse, repeat three times. Twenty minutes into the engagement I'm ready for a cardboard pony if it will get me an interaction with a human.

Call once more. Punch "zero" in for every menu choice. Finally get a person. Ask about HD free. He tells me I'll lose my HD Platinum. I ask what channels that covers, since the info is unavailable on the web site. He rattles off a bunch that I've never heard of so I figure I can do without. I don't need Fashion Shopping Channel in HD nor the Fishing Network.

To get free HD, I've got two choice. Pay $99 or convert my account to paperless billing and automatic pay debit. I point out that $99 isn't "free" is it? OK, I go for the debit option. Ooops. Human can't do that on the phone. Must go to web site for that.

I ask about getting additional HD tuner, possibly with the DVR which they advertize and I don't have. He says that's an "upgrade" to my service. I point out that the web site clearly says three receivers at no charge and I've only got two. Ahh, that's for new customers on initial installation. But wait, I counter, I've been a valued customer (I know because they told me in one of the messages I heard while on hold...) for five years now. Don't I get at least the same service as a new guy off the street? Well, no I don't.

But wait again. I point out that when I initiated my service I got three receivers, but when I didn't add the third TV after a year I returned the unused box to the company. I want it back! Sorry, this is a program upgrade and you'll get a one time charge of...$99! Does the two TV DVR work through the system co-ax or does it need any extra line connecting the remote TV? Human doesn't know.

I sincerely believe that somewhere there is a company which actually provides customer service to their customers. I believe that there are real live humans answering phones somewhere to serve people. I believe they speak American English without accents and they can actually perform useful tasks for the customers. I believe there is managment somewhere that knows their business depends on satisfaction of their existing base and treating them at least as good as the new customer. I believe that customers are always right and satisfaction is guaranteed. I believe that behind the curtain is a real pony, but my TV service provider isn't treating it very well.

Supreme Court? Who Cares?

They aren't like us. They make their own rules. They aren't bothered by things like a Constitution or a Second Amendment or incorporation under the 14th Amendment. They will do what they want to do to keep their control over the little people.

View more news videos at:

Did you get all that? He is going to determine who is a "responsible adult"! You can bet it won't be you or your neighbor. He is going to try to restore the "assault weapons ban" which was nothing more than smoke and mirrors against guns that didn't look like they thought a gun should. It was all about creating a new definition that any gun which could fire a shot each time you pulled the trigger was some sort of evil mechanism.

He's going to encourage local crack down on gun shop owners, despite their right to do business and their existing regulation by BATF. Isn't that roughly parallel to Gov. Jan Brewer in Arizona seeking to locally enforce federal laws? Sure sounds like "profiling" to me. Gun shop owner equals bad person.

Did you notice the malapropism regarding closing the "gun shop loophole"? He didn't even read the cliche right. It's "gun show loophole,"--that's the one where a citizen can sell his own property to someone else without need for government approval.

Memo to Big Dick in Chicago: We don't want your stinking laws in the heartland. We don't want your crime in the nice parts of the country. We don't approve of your flaunting of the Constitution. Let your people go. Mr. Mayor, tear down those walls.

Be Very Afraid

We don't get to listen in on the Supreme Court very often. I think we'd probably satisfy our unprofessional curiosity very quickly if we did have the chance. But, occasionally there can be value to paying attention.

This comes from the discussion during Citizens United in which Solicitor General Kagan lost in her pleading to let government shutdown the rights of groups of people with a common interest to have their political arguments heard. She is trying to convince the Justices that even though the applicable statute says that books could be banned if the government didn't like what was contained, that has not happened so far. It's sort of "no harm, no foul" on our First Amendment potential abridgement.

She is going to be confirmed. Have no doubt of it. Fortunately she's replacing another leftie who is leaving the court. But, there could be a day coming in which one of the rational jurists on the panel is replaced. That will shift the balance.

Meanwhile all that has happened is that the tenure of a leftist justice has been increased by roughly thirty more years.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Newspeak ala Orwell

We all tend to think we know what the Constitution says and what the "law" is. It would seem a simple matter to read the plain English and anyone with that capability could clearly understand the law. When we encounter a phrase right at the front of the First Amendment that says, "Congress shall make no law..." it should be clear that it means that when it comes to those issues then listed, that Congress can't make any laws about them. We all know better. Congress makes plenty of laws about stuff that the Constitution says are off limits. And, usually, we (the people) demand them.

When the Second Amendment says quite clearly that a right "of the people"..."shall not be infringed" that would sort of lead one to believe that the area is not open to negotiation.

Here's part of the opinion released this morning:

"Given the empirical and local value-laden nature of the questions that lie at the heart of the issue, why, in a nation whose constitution foresees democratic decision-making, is it so fundamental a matter as to require taking that power from the people?" Breyer wrote. "What is it here that the people did not know? What is it that a judge knows better?"

There's a catch though. Breyer is writing in dissent! The power that he refers to as being taken from the people isn't the power to defend themselves and their property from goblins and oppressive governments. He's good to go on that. It is the power of the select few to determine what they want to take from you that he seeks to defend. He's squarely for the power of the government of Chicago to deny you the right to protect yourself and render your family helpless in a city riddled with criminals and thugs.

Here's more on the story of the day's Supreme Court rulings:

McDonald v Chicago Headlines a Good Day in Court

The actions of the day also included a slap-down of a government oversight board as well. That one, however, won't have permanent impact particularly in view of the current administration's agenda.

The Smell of Napalm in the Morning

It smells like victory! I continue to wonder what part of "shall not be infringed" did they not previously understand?

Heller Upheld as Applicable to All 50 States

Imagine! The people of the Messiah's old neighborhood will now have the right to defend themselves in their homes and hopefully very soon on their own streets.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Understatement Personified

There is a global economic summit going on in Toronto. That means protests. Lots of security in riot gear and lots of bearded and braless idiots confronting them and I honestly don't know what for. There will be rants against "globalization" which I assume to be bad, although I've never figured out why a bigger market, broader selection of products and higher productivity would be bad, especially if accompanied by lower prices for consumer goods. There will be a smattering of anarchists running around turning over cars, breaking windows and throwing Molotov cocktails for the sheer joy of it. And there will be a bazillion breathless press-drones recording it all for the nightly news.

I thought I would go to get some information on what the protestors are protesting this time. Here's a report that should illustrate a lot of things but few of them have anything to do with the rationale for the protests:

Canadian Definitions Needed

I guess in a society in which the rugged Yukon and the pioneer culture has been replaced with abhorrence for guns you get this:

Police fired at least half a dozen rubber bullets at protesters

Wow, at least six!

The rally, promoted as a "festive parade" in support of rights for cyclists, was one of several afternoon anti-G20 events.

Tim Middleton and his wife were seen towing their children, Emeth, 3, and Istra, 5, in carts behind their bikes. Middleton told CBC News that a police officer had warned his family to "stay back" in case of tear gas, but he and his wife thought the situation was safe and decided to ride on.

The cyclists eventually wound up at the G20 detention centre, where they chanted, "Let them go, let them go" and "Wasted billion dollars."

There are some problems with that episode. "Rights for cyclists" has very little to do with chants of "Let them go" and "Wasted billion dollars." And how heart-warming that Tim and wifey with two toddlers choose to disregard police advise and ride on to their eventual arrest. That should teach the children what a Canadian jail looks like inside.

Black clothing, weapons found
About 70 people were rounded up in the morning after police found street-type weapons and black clothing hidden in bushes. It's believed the bricks were to be used by anarchists

Gosh, those Canadians have funny laws! Black clothing is apparently frowned upon and bricks are defined as weapons. I can see the bumper stickers: "When Bricks Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Bricks."

But, maybe this one is the most frightening:

Four other people were arrested in the early morning after they were caught coming out of a city sewer in the financial district on Queen Street West between Yonge and Bay streets.

Toronto police spokesman Sgt. Tim Burrows told CBC News that the four were arrested 2:25 a.m. ET "while leaving a maintenance hole cover, after being in the underground infrastructure of the tunnels."

Burrows said no explosives were found and "the security plan is well intact."

Excuse me? Four people are roaming around the foundations of the downtown buildings in a tunnel system, only to blunder into the police upon popping out of a manhole cover and the "security plan is well intact"?

I'd say if people are burrowing around in caverns beneath city center without authorization during a G20 summit meeting without detection that the security plan is not intact, it is pathetic.

Photo-Op Gone Bad

It's in the job description. You're in elected office so you have to interact with the proles. You go to the coffee shop and eat soggy waffles. You take the Premier of Russia to the corner for a grease-burger and fries. You stop in to get some cool refreshment in Milwaukee and start to step on your stuff...

Frozen custard is something you don't see very much anymore. I grew up with it in Chicago, but can't recall the last time I saw a frozen custard outlet. We've got frozen yogurt and that frozen dairy product that oozes from machines in Mickey D's and Dairy Queens and of course plenty of ice cream stores. But no custard joints spotted recently.

It wasn't a bad moment when the Delaware Delinquent dropped in and asked for an ice cream in the custard shop. The owner corrected him and was probably happy for the publicity which would come from the exposure.

True to form the Assistant Abettor in Chief to the Messiah doffed his standard government issue black suit jacket (acrylic, three button, summer-weight, shade 1523) and perched a jaunty paper hat on his carefully coifed hair plugs to get some working man pictures of him filling a couple of custard cones from the machines.

But, then it went terribly wrong:

Never Call a Voter a Smart-Ass

Mr. Veep, the reason you stopped in was to listen to the people. When the people jokingly point out a problem in their lives, pay attention. When the man suggests that taxes might be too high for the common folk, don't smack him down. Thank him graciously for his hospitality and tell him you'll work very hard to see what can be done.

How tough would that be?

Closing the Loop

Can't post Layla once...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

What Do These Folks Have In Common?

1.Glenn Beck
2.Sarah Palin
3.Rush Limbaugh
4.George W. Bush
5.Ann Coulter
6.Michelle Malkin
7.The Tea Party Patriot
8.Dick Cheney
9.Bill O’Reilly
10.Michelle Bachmann
11.Karl Rove
12.Sean Hannity
13.Matt Drudge
14.Newt Gingrich
15.Andrew Breitbart
16.Mark Levin
17.Laura Ingraham
18.Roger Ailes
19.Clarence Thomas
20.Rupert Murdoch
21.James O’Keefe & Hannah Giles
22.Antonin Scalia
23.Mitt Romney
24.Marco Rubio
25.Jim DeMint
26.Michael Savage
27.Chris Christie
28.Bill Kristol
29.John Roberts
30.Donald Rumsfeld
31.Scott Brown
32.Grover Norquist
33.Pat Buchanan
34.Jan Brewer
35.Liz Cheney
36.John Boehner
37.Thomas Sowell
38.James Dobson
39.Paul Ryan
40.John Bolton
41.Dick Armey
42.Michael Steele
43.Samuel Alito
44.Mike Pence
45.Jim Inhofe
46.David Horowitz
47.Bob McDonnell
48.Charles Krauthammer
49.Ed Morrissey
50.Eric Cantor

Rules of Unengagement

I first encountered Mark Steyn during one of his regular guest host gigs on the Rush Limbaugh show. I don't sit listening to Rush every day, but if I have occasion to be in the car during the pre-noon hours there is a good chance I'll be tuned to WBAP 820 in Dallas and listening to Mark Davis then Rush. When I caught the British accent of Steyn and the biting humor of this self-identified "undocumented talk-show host" I was hooked. Then I began to stumble across Steyn's editorials. Pithy, to say the least!

Here's an overview of the nation's problem:

Unengaged, Uninformed, Uncaring, Unqualified

That captures it all about as well as anything. He drops this indictment along the way:

Stanley McChrystal is a liberal who voted for Obama and banned Fox News from his HQ TV. Which may at least partly explain how he became the first U.S. general to be lost in combat while giving an interview to Rolling Stone: They'll be studying that one in war colleges around the world for decades.

It is almost beyond belief that an American fighting man would admit to being an Obama supporter. The cognitive dissonance for that shakes the foundations. It may also be the explanation of how to rise to general in today's military. Expressing political support for an avowed socialist and American degrader while denying your supporters free access to information and simultaneously subjecting them to Kool-Aid dousings of the mainstream media is the stuff of top drawer sycophants.

But, wait, there is more concise criticism before getting to the meat of the Mark's man:

The management of BP were unable to vote for Obama, being, as we now know, the most sinister duplicitous bunch of shifty Brits to pitch up offshore since the War of 1812. But, in their "Beyond Petroleum" marketing and beyond, they signed on to every modish nostrum of the eco-Left. Their recently retired chairman, Lord Browne, was one of the most prominent promoters of cap-and-trade. BP was the Democrats' favorite oil company. They were to Obama what Total Fina Elf was to Saddam.

Read the rest for the real essence of what the man has to say. It's priceless.

Reality TV

Back in the days when there were only four channels on your TV, three network and one local, you always could find something worth watching. Now I've got more than 400 coming into the dish and there's nothing worth looking at. Most nights we'll sit around reading a book or watching a movie DVD rather than look at the mind-numbing drivel that TV offers us.

These were mostly the second tier shows. Look at the names of the stars. A lot of them were big time eventually. We watched religiously and we blocked off our week in terms of what shows were on what nights. These were talented people. There were writers of entertaining scripts, production staff with incredible talent and listen to the music of the themes:

When some of us graybeards sit reminiscing of the good old days, this is part of what we are talking about. There was more, though. A lot more.

Saturday Morning Rocker

Still one of the best pieces ever written.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Cher, Bono, and Rory?

Unlike a President, a governor of a state can have a major influence on the state's schools. That makes this a compelling ad:

He's sincere and he's got a lot of programs in mind. He's ready to lead according to his web-site:

Meet Rory and Learn All About Him

Well, you can learn all about him except his last name apparently. He's the son of Senate Majority Leader and soon to be private citizen, Harry Reid.

One has to wonder why Rory is so reluctant to let the voters of Nevada make the connection. Could he be ashamed of his father? How embarrassing.

We Don' Need No Steenkin Legislation

I probably get to read through the US Constitution a bit more than the average bear and even I don't dig into that short document often enough. But we all understand the basic concepts which Madison developed; a three branch form of government with separation of powers and an ingenious system of checks and balances to keep any one component from over-running the others. That is what stabilizes us and what secures us from tyranny.

There is increasingly less confidence in the current administration's compliance with those principles. While Americans from an earlier time were aghast at the seizure of executive power which Franklin Roosevelt attempted, today the populace has been conditioned to demand that the President provide them with everything which they want. The seem to believe that the chief executive functions as a monarch and that our legislature is simply the facilitator, sort of a Politburo which formalizes the fiats.

That is why this gradually emerging story is chilling:

Executive Order For Legalization?

Why would they do something like that?

Simply put it is a no-lose political situation for the Messiah. The writing is on the wall. The electorate is peeved and there is going to be a blood-letting of liberals in the legislature come November. The Bamster's minions are going to the voter's gallows figuratively and he must do something to save them or at least mitigate the disaster.

Obviously an executive order which would instantly bring anywhere from twelve to twenty million currently illegal immigrants citizenship would be a boon for the Democrats. These folks are largely Latinos (although not exclusively) and that community has tended to lean heavily toward the Democratic Party. The only tough part would be to get the executive order out, get the new citizens lined up and registered, then get them to vote. The newest iteration of ACORN is surely primed to take on the task.

The EO would certanly be challenged in court, but it wouldn't be overturned before the elections and might even be upheld citing the similar Reagan amnesty of 1986 under quite different circumstance and with considerably smaller numbers.

Even if Obama doesn't take this action, he still benefits politically from the opportunity to characterize the conservatives in opposition as anti-Hispanic. He can activate the existing Latino base which doesn't always turn out to vote, by motivating them to re-elect the party most likely to offer their friends and family amnesty in the future through a proper legislative process. He wins either way.

And, America loses.

Betting on the Come

If one applies logic to problem solving, a basic principle might be that you should have a reasonable idea what the results of your action will be. You should clearly define what your problem is, then develop a solution and finally be able to explain how your solution is going to mitigate the problem.

That would be logical, but that wouldn't be legislative in America. Today we propagandize a problem through appeals to mass emotions and fueling class envy. We create a scapegoat like Big Oil or Wall Street or "special" interest groups. Then we propose a draconian solution and finally we carve out exemptions for all of our campaign supporters. We wrap it all in contorted language that effectively masks the reality that it is another step on the road to totalitarianism.

Dodd Confesses Incompetence Proudly

Here comes another 2000 page bill that no one has read. But, can he really have said this:

"No one will know until this is actually in place how it works. But we believe we've done something that has been needed for a long time. It took a crisis to bring us to the point where we could actually get this job done."

That is positive evidence of irresponsibility. But it tracks quite consistently with the Speaker of the House famous admission on the healthcare bill:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

There is Much I Don't Understand

I retired a long way from general ranks. Once I thought I could get close and once I was even picked for rapid progression which might lead to a bright future. But I've always said what I thought and when I was younger, I did it without prompting and often in indelicate language. At first that served me well, but when more mature behavior was in order the old habits didn't die easily. I wasn't close to making general.

But along the way, my checkered path intersected many general officers. Some of them I met on their way up and some I met when they had donned the rank. As in all professions there were some that were outstanding and some that were buffoons. Some were the sort of leaders that you would follow to the gates of hell and sacrifice everything to avoid them failing. Others were butt-kissers who paid no attention to their subordinates and engaged in brutal cut-throat politics among their peers and competitors to get ahead.

Along the way I worked for guys like Jack Chain who became CINCSAC, but was a fighter pilot to his very core. I went on his wing to Hanoi and he flew mine once or twice. I doubt that he changed very much on his way to four stars.

I was an Ops Officer under Chuck Donnelly when he was a wing commander and was awed at the way he handled his wing. While other wing commanders had chewed, yelled, intimidated and embarrassed, when Chuck was in command he instilled a feeling in his troops that they could do the job and when you stumbled in the process you felt that you had let the boss down. He made four stars and some say he changed. I saw him when he had two and he still looked the same to me.

I followed the path of Bear Chambers when he was a Captain in F-105s and then worked for him when he was Wing Commander in the AT-38 Fighter-Lead-In Program at Holloman. He was a prince of a guy. He was at a reunion two years ago and although he made three stars he was still a solid fighter pilot that I'd go to war with in a minute.

Tony McPeake wasn't called Merrill when he was a Captain at Nellis. He was known as a good stick and regular guy. Somewhere along his way to Chief of Staff, he sold his soul. I'm sure there is someone who was in the AF during his tenure that thought well of him, but I can't say I've ever met one.

I could go on, but you get the idea. Some generals remained good guys and some fell victim to the quest for power at the expense of their common sense and ethical foundation. Guys like Joe Ralston and Ron Fogleman are on my short list of greats. Even guys like my one-time nemesis, Mike Carns, have my grudging respect for their efforts and achievements.

But now I've got this McChrystal and Petraeus soap opera to ponder.

McChrystal seems respected and admired by a lot of Army folks and some purple suit guys as well. No question that he's talented, dedicated and willing to get mud on his boots. How then do you account for the interview?

General officers are, if nothing else, discrete. It was indiscrete to invite Rolling Stone magazine into his staff meetings. It was foolish to imply some of the derogatory things which he said, even if he believes them to his core. It was beyond irresponsible to surround himself with a selected staff which acted like a bunch of towel-snapping high-school football players cavorting in a locker room after a winning game. That sort of thing does not happen at the four-star level, even in a combat zone. Or at least it shouldn't.

Did he want out? Was it intentional? Had he analyzed the situation and determined that his best result was something unconventional like this? He is the master of unconventional warfare, after all.

Then there is Petraeus. What is he thinking? The record of the trashings which this administration has heaped upon him is long and sordid. Biden, Clinton, Pelosi, Reid, and an incredibly long list of others have all expressed disagreement, distrust, and distaste for him. He has four stars already and a long career completed. He has a bright future available as valued board member or director in dozens of defense industries. He has been touted as a potential top level political candidate in 2012. He could write a great book and make big bucks on the rubber-chicken circuit. He doesn't have to take this abuse.

More importantly, Petraeus could make a huge statement by declining the "opportunity" and resigning. I'd pay to see it!

What Can I Say?

Going Gaga

Read What?

I commiserate with friends about the cultural void which inhabits the heads of my students. These are college-aged, if not always college-ready, graduates of our primary/secondary educational process. I've watched them in Texas and watched them in Colorado for ten years prior to this, so it isn't a local problem.

They've never seen Gone With the Wind, Citizen Kane, Patton or even The Untouchables. They've not heard the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, the Who or the Dave Brubeck Quartet. They haven't read Catch-22, any Hemingway/Faulkner/Steinbeck or Twain, or a non-fiction, non-school book in their lifetimes. They don't know who was President before George W. Bush, and some of them don't recall that far back. They can't tell you if Korea preceded the Spanish-American War or whether Vietnam was before or after WW II.

So, it isn't surprising to see this study about what students are being encouraged to read in colleges these days:

Politically Correct, Culturally Sensitive, and Definitely Socialist

When it comes to knowing how to capture the hearts and minds of a people, the modern American pedagogue could teach Westmoreland and LBJ some lessons.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Take Your Time

What? You in a hurry like you think there's a war on? Six requests and ten minute delay before finally getting clearance to engage.

But, once the HHQ gets off the proverbial pot, the guys in the field know how to take care of business.

What We Are Dealing With

Take a look at this from three years ago:

It is a hearing. Gen. Petraeus has been called from Iraq to testify to the Senate. The soon-to-be Commander-in-Chief, who at that point had never been to Iraq has seven minutes to get information, so what does he do? He pontificates.

He expresses dismay that almost(!) a trillion dollars had been spent on four years of combat operations against an enemy that had taken a good shot at mortally wounding the economic core of the US. Apparently his criterion of what constitutes big bucks has been adjusted recently.

He demonstrates reluctance to use strong language and appears positively sophomoric when he accuses President Bush of say "A-S-S". Apparently his standards of professional language has been revised.

He is appalled that the meeting is coincidentally on 9/11, somehow linking that to endorsement of a justification for the war in the first place.

He is unhappy with the results of the administration's conduct of the war and in denial about the impact of the surge.

He suggests that cost/benefit analysis is necessary before acting impulsively. Wow, what a concept! I wonder what happened to that.

Within days he will vote "Present" on a motion condemning the infamous New York Times ad about "General Betray-Us".

There is more to be disgusted about there, but grab the rest for yourself.

What a pontificating and pompous, self-centered A-S-S.

News From Long Island

Donning the nom de plume, T. Coddington Van Vorhees VII, the always brilliant Iowahawk offers commentary on much of the civilized world:

Disillusioned Over Life in Paradise

That, good reader, is talent!

Old Soldiers Never Die, They Just Fade Away

Dugout Doug challenged Harry Truman on tactics and the artillery captain one-upped the battlefield general. Militia Captain Abe Lincoln had the last word over George McClellan. Now it looks as though Press Secretary Robert Gibbs will slice and dice the counter-insurgency operator on behalf of the Emperor:

Handling Obama's Heavy Lifting

When Gibbsy speaks clearly, you know you're in a heap of trouble.

Right now, early reports indicate that Gen. Petraeus will be digging out the cammies and putting the dress greens in the closet.

I'm just fantasizing about how powerful a message could be delivered here, if Petraeus simply said, "No thanks, Mr. President."

Rethinking Confidence

I'm continually amazed at the default confidence which Americans put in their government. The same folks that grouse about their latest hassle at the DMV, trying to untangle their Social Security entitlements, or the delays in getting responses or even consideration from the Veteran's Administration, will calmly explain to me that government run healthcare is the answer. They blithely accept that government "creates" jobs and that "stimulus" of make-work projects in the hinterland will improve the economic outlook. It's absurd.

That brings us to this morning's bad news:

Cap Off, Berms Moved, Workers Dead

That is a concentration of bad which you won't often encounter. A robot blunders into the containment cap, a couple of workers have died (exactly when or why is not yet apparent) and the crack bureaucrats of the US Fish & Wildlife have mandated cessation of the sand berm dredging operations.

Move the Operation

Apparently the office drone at Fish & Wildlife hasn't noticed that fishes and wildlife are being killed by the oil hitting the coasts.

At least we've got some well-meaning ecologically disturbed sea captain out there trying to stop the boom-and-burn operations because it is harvesting and broasting the occasional sea turtle. Better to let the whole eco system die rather than listen to their mortal turtle screams in the night:

BP Fiddled While Turtles Burned

I fervently believe that the Messiah can successfully make a beautiful and very tasty three-egg omelot without breaking any eggs or harming any hogs in the dicing of the ham.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Who's Next?

I'll confess that my military career was a rapid rise followed by extended stagnation, usually couple with headshakes of disbelief about where it went despite my record. My problem was that I never missed an opportunity to not shut up. I have always had opinions and I've never been shy about expressing them. That does not always get rewarded.

We have always had two distinct tracks in the military. Occasionally the rare individual can operate with a foot firmly in each camp. There should be no doubt that the business of the military man is killing people and breaking things to support national policy objectives. That requires a somewhat brutal outlook.

Top level management requires nuance and balance. It benefits from forging alliances and fostering loyal supporters. You climb the corporate ladder by hitching your wagon to a star and occasionally by scrambling over the heads of those who get in your way. It is difficult and it requires a different perspective than that of a warrior.

The warrior is not always nuanced. The careerist is not always a warrior. When the two come together you get something special, but it doesn't happen often. I've only known a handful...a small handful.

A warrior bristles at the headquarters assignment. The professional staff officer avoids the discomforts of the actual war-fighting. When cross-overs occur, the warrior gives a lousy briefing and the careerist isn't very aggressive.

Yet, we have always had a bench of waiting warriors to draw upon. When we need a leader for Desert Storm we don't go across the Potomac to the Pentagon, we look to Tampa for a crusty old guy like Norm Scwartzkopf. He doesn't go to the Pentagon either when he needs an air component commander. Stormin' Norman latches on to crude fighter pilot Chuck Horner. Then they go win the war.

Ten years later when we crank up Iraqi Freedom, a similar pattern emerges. No perfumed prince to hit the desert. We've got Tommy Franks ready and able.

For Afghanistan it looked like Stan McChrystal was the go-to guy. Now, he's being called to the Messiah's woodshed for a talking to. It looks like McC has gone off the reservation with his interview for Rolling Stone.

On the Cover of the Rolling Stone

The rule is that you voice your concerns and ideas in the staff meeting, then when you go out the front door, you speak as one voice...the voice of your leader. When McChrystal signed on he sold his soul to the Messiah. He took a dangerous job and agreed to comply with the guidance of someone who hasn't the slightest idea about leadership, the military or war-fighting. That has left the General where he is today.

But, here is an aspect that we should be aware of as well:

Don't Go Where You Might Encounter the Enemy

So, while McC doesn't like the guidance from above, the troops below seem to have some mis-givings about their field general. You can't have it both ways.

McChrystal should go. Will the Bamster have the initiative to do that? If he does, is there someone left on the bench? Is there a warrior remaining who is willing to deal with the Commander-in-Chief? I've got serious doubts.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Adam Smith Redux

The principle is so simple. If there is a lot of something and nobody wants it, it will be cheap. If there is very little, but everyone wants some, it will be expensive. The part that liberals don't get is that if you stand aside, there will be a shift. Too much? People will stop producing it. Too little, resources will be brought to bear to meet the demands. As the relationship changes the price will move in the desired direction. "Invisible hand"...catchy phrase that.

Of course, there is no such thing as delayed gratification in the liberal play-book. As J. G. Wentworth keeps ranting, "It's my money and I want it now!" That's why libs love Keynes.

What amazes is that the rest of the world, at least the successful parts, gets it. Remember OPEC? What's going on there?

Oil is a limited resource. At some point it runs out, although when it runs out is a date that keeps getting pushed down-range, unless we go enviro-whacko and tie our own hands behind our back. The OPEC nations have lots of oil. They have lots of demand. They can pull a Wentworth and get a seemingly large lump sum now, or they can collect the annuity over decades if they don't get greedy. Controlling production supports a healthy price and stretches out dissipation of the resource over time.

So, they combine and agree to restrict their production. They limit supply and keep the price up to maximize their return. Classic economics.

Now we see this:

Saudis Bag Double the Gold

Well, how do we make out in that one? Keep the gold off the market and you restrict the availability which causes the price to rise. In the process, your horded reserves appreciate significantly. Life is good.

What is the US situation? We've based our economy on fiat currency. We say a dollar is worth something, but there isn't any fixed commodity that relates to what we say. That works nicely when everyone wants dollars and trusts the US. But how about when the US is borrowing from anybody in vast quantities with little apparent ability to ever make substantial repayment for the venal purpose of simply handing out welfare to the voters?

Is the Saudi currency going to be valued? Is the US dollar?

It seems these benighted desert dwellers have learned the basics much better than we did. Once we knew, but now we have forgotten.

Making the News

OK, we've got a disaster in the Gulf. Everyone agrees to that. But you don't have to be Solomonic in your wisdom to notice that this is more about political posturing and "gotcha" than about solutions. Not a day goes by that we don't get another saturation point statement from the Messiah about how hard he's working to solve the problem, find an ass to kick, turn the nation green and be stern with Iran. The various minions of both parties then spin for the day and the media of the competing perspectives pluck the inflammatory headline that best fits their agenda.

Try this piece:

BP Lied, Penguins Died

What did you get from that? Why tar balls have now come ashore at Florida's Navarre Beach in the panhandle. This report just in:

Caitlyn Blizzard, an assistant in the Santa Rosa County public information office, said that despite the official report of tar balls, she walked Navarre Beach on Sunday morning and saw nothing but blue water and pearly sand.

"People are in the water right now on Navarre Beach," she said Sunday afternoon. "The water's clear. It's beautiful."

I guess it could be worse, but it is really hard to file your coverage of the tragedy from Washington and Atlanta, neither of which have a view of the Gulf.

Then involved politician Ed Markey, representing Massachusetts whose coastal residents are reeling from the economic damage caused by the spill...oops, never mind.

Markey's got a smoking gun that showed BP lied about the potential size of the leak in one of their possible scenario estimates.

"It's not like anybody's trying to hide anything," he said.

(BP spokesman Tony,) Odone said BP gave the document to Congress on May 4. Markey's office did not respond to queries about why it had waited until now to release it.

If this was so critical one has to wonder why Markey didn't bring it up seven weeks ago.

Then the flap over TX Representative Joe Barton's comment on the strong-arm "shakedown" of BP to the tune of $20 million continues. OK, it is appropriate for BP to be held responsible. They have admitted culpability repeatedly. They have stated that they will compensate those injured. There is operative law here.

Could we possibly agree that BP can be bad, but still be entitled to the respect that all citizens and corporations might expect to be free of intimidation in the hands of the gestapo and dictator in the White House?

We like to raise the phrase "rule of law" when we talk about the American way, but we've got an administration that repeatedly makes its own rules, ignores the law, and then shapes the message to vilify the victims of their malfeasance.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day Fantasy

Maybe a movie this evening?

Calling James Madison

Madison, Hamilton, Jefferson, Franklin, Jay, Morris, anybody left to be frightened by what we have become? The statements in this item should leave your jaw dropped and tears in your eyes. It shows what our future holds:

Most of You Won't Even Notice

It is inescapable that if we are to have security we must sacrifice some degree of our freedom. All the Ben Franklin cliches about if you sacrifice one or the other you deserve neither are hyerbole. When you join society you are going to have to put the lid down when finished and drive on the same side of the road as everyone else, regardless of your personal preference.

But where on the spectrum of total security versus total freedom we draw the line for our society makes a huge difference. Total security is prison. Total freedom is anarchy. We've always drawn the American line on the more freedom end of the spectrum.

"The First Amendment protects radical opinions, but we need the legal tools to do things like monitor the recruitment of terrorists via the Internet," Napolitano told a gathering of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy.

You will be able to have your radical opinion unless Big Sis decides it doesn't fit her mold. That seems clear.

"Her speech is sign of the maturing of the administration on this issue," said Stewart Baker, former undersecretary for policy with the Department of Homeland Security. "They now appreciate the risks and the trade-offs much more clearly than when they first arrived, and to their credit, they've adjusted their preconceptions."

Beyond the admission that the administration was immature when elected, the chilling aspect of that statement is that it means the Messiah has realized that his opportunity to seize control is waning. The sheeple are getting restless and if he doesn't tighten the screws while he can, he won't be able to later.

Jan the Terrible goes on to tell us not to worry:

She added, "We can significantly advance security without having a deleterious impact on individual rights in most instances. At the same time, there are situations where trade-offs are inevitable."

Isn't that reassuring? It won't have a "deleterious impact" on your rights "in most instances". In other words, you will be hauled off in the night by jack-booted members of the Homeland Security Enforcement SWAT team only occasionally.

There is definitely a threat of terrorists in this nation today. Yet we repeatedly see evidence of political correctness trumping common sense in responding to the obvious. We see ample evidence as well of bureaucratic incompetence in management of existing tools such as terrorist watch lists and no-fly rosters.

My feeling is that in-place tools are adequate and we don't need Big Sis watching and controlling our free expression of political ideas in America.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Nada Mas

No more. We should never again participate in the fiasco of political intrigue and short-pants stupidity which is the FIFA World Cup. I mentioned my disaffection with soccer a couple of days ago. I wasn't fibbing. I didn't watch USA vs Slovenia. How ludicrous is a tournament in which ties keep you in the running?

But I couldn't miss the reporting about this episode:

I do know what "off-sides" is in soccer. That is probably the only thing I remember from my attendance at Squadron Officer School decades ago. This wasn't off-sides.

Look at the clip. The ball is kicked before any US player has moved ahead of an opponent. It certainly isn't a "fast-break" basketball style. Moreover, at least three Slovenian players are mugging Americans. The most egregious has one of our players in a bear-hug. Not even an NFL lineman would try that move.

Probably the worst aspect of the whole mess is that the referee simply stonewalls any question about why the goal was disallowed in the first place.

We should stop participating in this sort of global theater in which the apparent objective is to show how pathetically impotent the US is when left to the whims of a Mali operative on the world stage.

Soccer is a game suitable only for pre-pubescent teen-aged girls in upper middle class suburbia where their metrosexual fathers can root for them and mom can wait in the Excalibur or go shopping until the tedium ends.

Saturday Morning Mischaracterization

There is an incredible amount of misinformation about the humble nature of the tactical aviator. Here's a classic example of that sort of aircraft envy. What we've got is a rotor-head trying to characterize a fighter pilot. He's close, but he is nowhere near tall enough, handsome enough or talented enough to really be a fighter pilot.

There I was at 30,000 feet, one engine flamed out, the other on fire and a MiG on my tail...

Friday, June 18, 2010

I Don't Know Fighters, But I Do Know Hype

Russia, the erstwhile Soviet Union worker's paradise, has been in the business of selling crappy low-cost, marginally effective weapons world-wide for at least half a century. Since the collapse of the SU their market share has deteriorated badly. That's why they need some new product. Enter the PAK-FA T-50.

It first flew about six months ago. I say "it" advisedly. What flew was an aerodynamic shape, an aircraft mock-up. It was powered by an engine from the previous generation T-35. It had no avionics or sensors aboard. Indeed, none have yet been developed. It has no weapons yet and nothing has been publicly postulated.

It does have 3D articulated engine nozzles which give it remarkable agility. It would be superior on "So You Think You Can Dance" but the tactical utility of such hot air concentrations in a swirling IR weapons arena is dubious.

Now we've got CEO and national leader spokesperson bleating on what it is going to do:

Putin Likes The New Jet

Let's summarize:

  1. A one-off research aircraft with old engines and no weapons suite
  2. Opponent to a full production, operational jet that has been flying for 13 years
  3. The "wonder" of access to sensors and controls without leaving stick and throttle has been standard since the 1970s in fighters under the acronym HOTAS (Hands on Thottles and Stick)
  4. The language convolution of "costs three times less" is mathematically impossible. One time less than cost is already zero. An English news source should know the proper phrase is "costs one third".

Maybe we should have a counter-campaign in which the Bamster touts the Raptor. Of course Putin has flown and the Bamster hasn't experienced fighter aviation. I know some guys who would love to take him for a ride in a modern tactical jet.

Jindal in Wonderland

Yes, there's a crisis going on and the damage, once sustained, will be hard to remove. So, why then isn't it happening? Maybe it is a function of government bureaucracy. "We've got rules and regulations" and they must be followed:

Who Built These Barges and Where are Your Fire Extinguishers?

The Coast Guard needed to confirm that there were fire extinguishers and life vests on board, and then it had trouble contacting the people who built the barges.

Excuse me? Were the barges built well before the current problem? Didn't the Coast Guard already have that information? Can this be anything other than higher headquarters directed stalling? It has to be intentional because it is too ludicrous to be simple bungling.

Watch the video, then do the math. Sixteen barges for x number of days sucking up oil at a rate of 4,000 gallons an hour per barge. That's a lot of oil, ain't it?

Let's get cap and trade passed to fix the problem! What do you think?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Energy Disaster

As the CEO of BP testifies, we can ponder the dangers of our dependence upon energy sources which can damage the environment, costing lives, property and incredible amounts of money to clean up.

One never knows when a malfunction in a remote area will lead to a break down that endangers all around it and causes a far-reaching impact. Sure, we were told there was no danger and that this was the best way to fuel our society. But they lied to us.

The technology is far from safe. Mechanical things can fail and when they do the consequences can be far reaching. We need to act now to wean ourselves away from this dependence on fickle nature to satisfy our needs.

Gear boxes fail. When they do they can generate an awful lot of heat as the force of the huge blades continues to make them turn. The ones you normally see as not functioning in a field of whirling blades aren't turned off. They have failed, but they didn't burn.

The fact is that we are going to see a lot more of this in our future.

A Night at the Comedy Club

It would have to have been as funny as anything that has happened in Evanston since the race riots of the late '60s. Bring together three famous personalities, gather a large audience of their fans and then let them ad-lib their best stuff.

Apparently a rainy evening and a luke warm response to the publicity campaign of no less than five organizations kept the audience down. Yet, you have to say that the writer at American Thinker got his money's worth:

Cliches, Confusion and Consternation at the Library

That is really going the extra mile for your art! Especially if activist chic is not your native language. So many of the jokes were couched in insider's argot.

Over Their Heads

In conversation and in classes I tend to demean the American people. You don't have to be around me for too long to get the impression that I firmly believe America is too dumb for democracy, our educational system is successful only at dumbing down the sheeple, and the future is only getting darker.

Here we can see evidence that I am right:

Oil Spill Speech Missed Target Audience

Yes, the analysis says that the speech was appropriate for a 9.8 grade level which is high school freshman. You see words that average 4.5 letters are too long for the audience to comprehend. The grand rhetorician typically speaks at the 7th grade level to connect with his minions. Isn't that what I've been saying? If you are smarter than a 7th grader you wouldn't be a Bamster supporter.

Let me offer one critique for the speech analysis professor. The audience for a presidential oval office televised speech isn't seventh or ninth grade. Those folks are watching reruns of Cops to learn proper questioning responses when arrested on drug charges. They are probably out on the street corners discussing whether to smoke up, score some crack or steal a car for the evening.

People who watch presidential speechs on oil spills tend to be a more educated audience such as your media reporters or speech analysis professors. Ooops, caught! I see your point. Never mind.

Middle of Nowhere

Last year I was on the highway between Saratoga, Wyoming and Steamboat Springs, Colorado. It was awesomely beautiful country. I could visualize herds of buffalo populating the rolling grass-covered hills leading up to the "purple mountains" majestically rising to the clouds along the distant horizons in every direction. No buffalo were seen but there were plenty of antelope. There wasn't a house in sight and "sight" covered at least 30 miles in every quadrant. I commented to my wife that I thought it would be a great experiment to dump the Messiah, along with Michelle and the two princesses down right there. They could have their full wallets with cash and credit cards as well as their cell phones. No cars, however. They would be picked up in two weeks.

That is what needs to be done with anyone in Washington who bleats ignorantly about walking or biking. There was no place to spend a dime there and no cell phone service to order from Domino's either. I figure they would either starve or find themselves taken in by a kindly rancher (if they could discover a ranch house in their roamings). They might have to work for their keep.

Just $1.2 BILLION of Your Money!

Admittedly that location was a bit extreme, but it isn't that different a situation from the small town in north Texas in which I live. We've got 3500 residents according to the sign at the city limit. We're just 60 short miles north of Dallas and less from some pretty well equipped bedroom burgs that are undergoing rapid development into urban clag.

Despite that, if I want a quart of milk, a new T-shirt, today's newspaper, or a book of stamps it won't be within walking distance and my bicycle has a good chance of being the instrument of my demise along the country roads and 4-lane divided speedways.

So what do you get for $1,200,000.000.00 these days when it comes to getting people to do what is physically impossible in huge chunks of the country?

This is a place where we assuredly could nip away at the budget deficit, don't ya think?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Education Made Easy

I thought it was about books and theories and study and practice. Apparently it isn't. All you have to do is chant it and have a bit of rythym and you can move mountains. Or at least you can indoctrinate mush-heads:

I thought they had driven a stake in the heart of such crass propagandizing in the last months of the 2008 campaign. Apparently not.

Shooting Really Low

The hard-core is abandoning the Messiah apparently. No more chills down the leg?

Mediocrity is its own reward apparently.

Sominex With Bees

I've got an open mind. Sure, I'll admit the opening is narrow, but it is open. With that consideration I came to two conclusions last night. First, I needed to see what was with the FIFA World Cup madness. If all of the people in the civilized world and large portions of the uncivilized including portions of the US were going crazy with Cup fever, I might be missing something.

Second, I needed to know what a vuvuzela sounds like.

So, after the Rangers edged the Marlins last night with a clutch triple from pinch-hitter Matt Treanor in the top of the ninth, I switched to ESPN2 coverage of whatever match was ongoing. Turned out it was Portugal vs Ivory Coast. So what? I don't have an interest in any national soccer team, so what's the diff?

I cured the second part of my quest immediately. A vuvuzela, when operated en masse is like a kazoo, but without the melodic potential. It's a mindless buzzer which isn't quite as entertaining as one of those New Year's eve grinder noise-makers. The stadium sounded like it was a scenario for some sort of horror movie, Return of the Killer Bees.

Then, with the volume turned down, I watched the game for a while. I gave it a fair shot. I watched it for three or four months. I entered a time warp in which nothing happens on grass for long intervals broken only by a pompous guy in short pants pulling out a spiral notebook and waving colored cards in the air. Then all of the other guys resume running around in random circles and then falling down a lot with grimaces of pseudo-pain.

I haven't seen so many flops without cause since the last time I watched a Lakers game. Apparently they all run around until someone is out of breath. Then he runs to within six yards of an opponent and throws himself on the ground screaming he has been injured. The guy with the notebook then picks up the ball puts it someplace random and after a breather someone gets to kick it again.

Several months into the game, with the score breathlessly tied at zero-zero, I gave up. Elapsed time on the game clock which is calibrated in eons and millenia said 32 of them had passed.

I went to bed, having assuaged my ignorance. Ten weeks till football season resumes. Texas remains in the Big 12 (10) and all is right with the world.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Scary Stuff

Here's a clip of an interview between Mark Levin, conservative radio talk show host, and Alvin Greene, the Democratic candidate for US Senate from South Carolina:

It's a Long Story and He Doesn't Want to Talk About It

I can only think that he's probably as good as some of the ones that are currently in place.

But my cynicism about the incompetence of our Senators doesn't really explain voter behavior. Maybe this citizen of South Carolina is having some regrets. Consider that this woman is one of the small percentage that is involved enough to vote in a primary election!

I Thought He Had a Name Like Al Green, the Singer

That's a grand endorsement of democracy in America folks!

Work in Progress

This template shift isn't working as smoothly as it initially appeared to. I've been operating out of my geekery comfort zone, rooting around in arcane corners of html coding trying to find out where the gidget is that causes unwanted stuff to happen.

So far I've tracked down the white border causer for pictures and made it go away. The unwanted border was causing space to disappear between pix and wrapped text. I've still got a shadow box I don't want and will dig more to root that out...or not.

There's also a delayed glitch on picture location in posts. The left or right positioning with word wrap is OK, but centered pictures display initially in the proper position, then snap to the left margin. Dunno why.

Title has gone from the default white to a dark brown to make it a bit more prominent and my picture has been deleted. If you want to see my ugly mug look at my Facebook page.

I'd like to have block quotes show up in a different color than main posting but so far I can only do that manually by formatting at the time of posting. Excuse my oversight if I occasionally forget to do that. Ditto for italicizing.

Still, I'm pretty happy with the cleaner look. Will see if I keep it or try something different which might be a little less glitchy.

Government at Work

Think about it. Have you ever sought government service on anything? Maybe you got a driver's license renewed or had a property tax problem or maybe got a ticket from a red-light camera that didn't seem fair or possibly had a probate issue or something. Did you come away from the experience ready to give the bureaucrat a five star rating for service, efficiency, courtesy, job knowledge and promptness? I'm betting not.

Why then do we default to dependence upon government to be the best agency to handle major problems?

We are getting wall-to-wall, 24/7 coverage of Gulf oil spill issues. The Bamster is on a whistle-stop tour of the beaches visiting every state (except Texas so far) and pontificating about evil BP, the magnificence of his intervention, the disaster that dependence upon oil has caused, the length of the recovery and the future of a world with carbon cap and trade in place. Then he assuages the local governors with a short ad campaign for the vast number of undamaged beaches. Wrap it all up with a sno-cone, a Bushwacker, a plate of craw-dad tails or some shrimp scampi to prove that he's just one of the Cajuns and the seafood is still safe to eat.

All of that raises more questions than it answers. How bad is the spill? Can we overlook the Rahm Axiom about never letting a crisis go to waste? Could the administration be so base as to actively be exacerbating the problem? Read this:

The Roads Not Taken

The documentation of remedies proposed and refused is stunning. Worst of all, it isn't difficult to add to the list. What can we conclude? What's the objective here?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Can We Figure It Out?

I regularly ask my classes if America is too stupid for democracy. They are initially stunned, but once they consider the evidence they begin to agree with the statement. The most compelling argument is usually their own political awareness and behavior.

We've got more evidence supporting my contention coming out of South Carolina. The Democratic primary election has provided an unusual outcome. The winner with 60% of the vote is an unemployed gentleman who's only work history appears to be that he was involuntarily separated from service in the US Army. Currently he is facing felony charges for showing obscene photos to a college student.

He faced an opponent who campaigned aggressively and spent more than $200,000 seeking the nomination. The winner spent nothing, made no appearances, has no campaign organization, filed no reports and so far in interviews demonstrates little knowledge of the issues or even the role of a US Senator. How did he beat the judge?

Now the Democratic Party is embarrassed. I had thought them incapable of abashment, but that's what they say they are. The most prominent Democratic incumbent from the state, Rep. Jim Clyburn sees this as some sort of Republican dirty trick. The President's chief political advisor, David Axelrod, doesn't think this was fair.

The direction this is moving seems to be to somehow overturn the election under grounds that Mr. Greene is unfit to serve. That would seem to be all the confirmation one would need for my thesis that Americans are too stupid for democracy. They made the choice in an open election. How do you disregard the outcome without leaving the concept of elective representation in total disarray?

Who is a Democrat in South Carolina? How did they make their voting choice?

Assault on Streets of Washington

A student on a government project discovers how vicious the streets of our nation's capitol can be.

Oh, wait! That's an elected representative of the people. He apparently has some difficulty with understanding the civil rights of people in America. There is no obligation for the student to identify himself to the Congressman. The representative clearly commits an assault and a battery on the student and if we were stretching, we might even pile on "kidnapping" since he grabs him and restrains his departure.

Clearly it was an incriminating question. Asking him if he supports the agenda of the President was meant to insult and embarrass him I guess.


Reality Bites

I guess they were disappointed that the tinfoil flying saucer with the five-year-old trapped inside was already used:

The Reality Show That Got Too Real

I wonder what the producers would have done if Abby wound up dead? I wonder what dad would have done?

Most of all I wonder where the big bucks to outfit this effort came from if he is really so cash-strapped that he is flogging the lives of his kids into high risk endeavors to survive.

The Elusive Prey

Complaining about inequity which is nearly proportional to the split in the population and which is exacerbated by lack of cooperation has got to be a typically liberal concept.

Do you watch the Sunday talk news shows? I used to catch several of them, particularly when Tim Russert was still doing Meet the Press and David Brinkley was still around. When we got the likes of Chris Matthews fawning and George "Senior Policy Advisor at 25" Stephanopolous, my Sunday consumption dropped a bit. Now, I can't find much except Chris Wallace show and it runs twice on Sunday so it is accessible.

More Women Wanted

The implication, of course is that there is some sort of gender prejudice operative. But what about the stat quoted in the piece?

Women make up 17 percent of the membership of the House and Senate, a proportion that is only a couple of percentage points higher than how often they appear on Sunday shows. But some advocates of more appearances by women said the shows should be working harder — with a kind of talking-heads version of affirmative action — to have women appear in numbers more closely approximating their percentage of society as a whole.

So, the percentage of women appearing essentially parallels the percent in the legislature, but they want the proportion of women appearing to mirror the general population, which is slightly more than 50% female. Is that going to give you any particular insights into government? Would that be more informative than actually having individuals who are doing the heavy lifting show up?

Then there's the question of availability. They discuss the resistance of Pelosi to make herself available. Clearly she understands that it is unlikely that she would be able to make very many gaffe free appearances.

Yesterday on Chris Wallace's Fox News Sunday show he wanted to have the California nominees for US Senate appear. Republican Carly Fiorina showed up. Incumbent Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer declined. Should she have been arrested and brought to the dock of Fox News in chains to satisfy the Politico?

Boulder Daily Camera

There is hope for America when the daily newspaper in the People's Republic of Boulder writes a beautiful review of Fighter Pilot like this one:

Sky Maneuvers, Victory Rolls & Falling Fire

They grab on some of the parts that don't always jump out at most reviewers and in the process offer the reader some insights into the man.

At one time, Olds wrote that he considered his roommate Wally a coward for crying in his sleep during the war, for moaning and calling for his wife.

"Then it dawned on me that Wally wasn't a coward at all," he wrote. "In fact, he was just the opposite. He was one of the bravest men I would ever meet.... He performed as well as anyone else. Moreover, he did it despite the fear he was experiencing. What Wally did took far more. He also taught me that somewhere deep inside there is a voice talking to each of us willing to listen. Sometimes that voice is extremely prescient, as in Wally's case: He died strafing an airfield in Holland."

I've always been amazed at how we deal with fear. I've known people who apparently are totally fearless. Maybe they are and maybe they aren't. Robin was always honest. He never, during the years I knew him, claimed to be more than he was. He was quick on several occasions to deny legends that had grown up around him. I believe he was honest in his discussion of fears, both his own and those of the men around him.

The review finishes with some beautiful quotes extracted from the book:

Overall, a reader can take away many good food-for-thought quotes by a man who not only survived, but thrived, during two of the world's most notable battles such as, "It crossed my mind I should jump off the truck and head for the woods, but it was out of the question. Music was music, and the sooner faced the better;" "You can't survive as a fighter pilot if you dwell on your sorrow much past the first beer" and the advice he received from a general that the most difficult part of continuing his career in the service will be the people: "In the military, they mostly divide themselves into four major categories: There are the 'me-firsters,' the 'me-tooers,' the 'deadwood,' and the 'dedicated.' Stick with them (the dedicated), search them out, and work hard to be worthy of their company."

I consider myself fortunate to have been a part of the project.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Change We Can Believe In

I just got tired of green.

Time in Grade

No question about seniority here. It sure makes me feel old though. I remember the coronation. It was the major event of the week and I was just ten years old. Black and white television had live coverage from across the Atlantic and the weekly news magazines were filled with color photos of the pomp and circumstance. It was a magnificent display of wealth, tradition, style, grace and history.

HRH Elizabeth II Trooping the Colors at 84

I think she has an understanding that she must hang on, lest her eldest divot and dunderhead in waiting should be elevated to the throne. Not much chance of that with these mentions:

The Prince of Wales also attended the ceremony despite suffering from a persistent chest infection and is scheduled to take three days off next week.

Does he need to bring a letter from the doctor when he returns to princifying?

He was accompanied the Duchess of Cornwall, who suffered a broken leg earlier this year and had the cast removed only two weeks ago

Apparently the business of royalty is pretty dangerous.

In an aside, the delectable Catherine Zeta-Jones made the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

Make it Christmas Now

Don't you just love the leadership of our administration? They pontificate, bloviate, speechify and posture. They tour the coast and overfly the slick. They make appearances, express outrage, show their macho ass-kicking side and in the end demonstrate that they are both ineffective and incompetent.

Here's a mid-level functionary in the Kabuki, a one-star Coast Guard bureaucrat, expressing the mandate that came to him from the firmament above. He's got to "do something." He's got to show "sense of urgency." He's got to display control. So, what does he do?

I'll Give You 48 Hours to Get Out of Town, Black Bart!

Can this dumbo not discern that BP is hemorraging money every day that this goes on? Can he not recognize that this disaster is going to cause the collapse of the company, the loss of tens of thousands of jobs, the escalation of the costs of oil globally? Is it naive to assume that BP has every motivation already to apply all of the resources it can muster to end the issue as soon as possible? BP isn't dragging their feet because this is fun for them.

What's the admiral going to do if BP says we can't bring more assets to bear because you and your minions are in the way?

Why isn't the Coast Guard putting pressure on the bureaucracy to waive the Jones Act?

Best Containment Vessels in the World Stand By

The vilified Bush administration did it almost immediately after Katrina, why can't the Bamster Bunch?

Could we have used an additional 90,000 feet of boom a day with deliveries starting the day after agreement?

Boom Available In Maine But Bureaucrats Booted It

Let's see 90k feet per day for the last 23 days would equal over 392 MILES of boom delivered by now. I'm betting that the company in Maine is non-union and the Bamster puppetmasters won't approve of it.