Saturday, May 31, 2008

 

More Good News

Because the source is the CIA, we have to take this with a large grain of salt, still...

Remember the Defeatists talking point that by fighting Muslim extremists in Iraq and Afghanistan, we were merely making more Muslim extremists and providing al Qaeda with a propaganda win and an unlimited source of money and new recruits. The increasingly political (and decreasingly accurate) CIA said just this as lately as two years ago. Hold on there, kitty cat.

Now the CIA head, Michael Hayden, says just the opposite. Money quotes:


...the terrorist movement as essentially defeated in Iraq and Saudi Arabia and on the defensive throughout much of the rest of the world, including in its presumed haven along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border...

...major gains against al-Qaeda's allies in the Middle East and an increasingly successful campaign to destabilize the group's core leadership...

Osama bin Laden is losing the battle for hearts and minds in the Islamic world and has largely forfeited his ability to exploit the Iraq war to recruit adherents. Two years ago, a CIA study concluded that the U.S.-led war had become a propaganda and marketing bonanza for al-Qaeda, generating cash donations and legions of volunteers.

All that has changed...

I've recently read closely the two declarations of war (fatwas) Osama bin Laden issued during the Clinton administration. Wild ravings and wishful thinking was my initial reaction, but the brilliant, evil and successful 9/11 plot was a direct result... So I think we need to take bin Laden at his word. Remember the strong horse parable. It was just a minor point in passing to bin Laden, but that's our winning strategy. We need to be the strong horse. We need to take the war they've declared to the enemy, who expected a Lebanon/Somali type retreat by us to their strong horse attacks. We are doing that in Afghanistan and Iraq. Our allies, such as they are, are doing that to a lesser degree in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. And as a result, despite dire and wrong predictions of a strengthening al Qaeda, they are proving the weak horse and new recruits are staying away in droves.

The one big drawback is that when we close with the enemy and can shoot them, they can shoot us too. We take casualties, tiny, historically insignificant casualties, but each is a tragedy to the family of our fallen warriors. Seems to cost a lot of money too. Well, the results of catastrophic attacks cost a whole lot more.

A strong horse kills the enemy, and does not negotiates with them. A strong horse stays until the job is done, and does not runs away like girly men facing a big spider. A strong horse just wins, baby.

The facts on the ground are getting ever harder to spin into defeat and disaster, even for the alternative reality Defeatocrats.

Good news indeed.

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Good News

The credible, scientifically sound idea about causation is that one thing leads to another. The Warmies think that increasing CO2 concentration in the atmosphere drives global warming. We climate change deniers think it's historically just the opposite, warming ultimately from the sun causes the oceans to release more CO2 into the atmosphere. Most of the Earth's atmosphere is not greenhouse gas (99% is oxygen or nitrogen). In the remaining 1%, the overwhelmingly important greenhouse gas is water vapor (either the invisible stuff we call humidity or clouds). Even of the atmospheric CO2, almost all of it is naturally occurring from plants and the admittedly increased amount we humans put into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels is insignificant in comparison. So any tax on, or cap and trade bureaucratic nightmare regarding, or outright ban of, CO2 production which our leaders would saddle our economy with is absolutely wasted effort and would be the cause of untold suffering (here in America with merely a slightly lower standard of living, but greatly magnified in the developing world).

The Lieberman-Warner Act, scheduled for debate soon, is a cap and trade bureaucratic nightmare, but these guys report it has no chance of passage. Whew, dodged a bullet there. But with each of the possible next presidents a Warmie, and the almost certainty of Democratic gains in the House and Senate in November, perhaps this is just a bump on the road to ruin we seem to have charted for ourselves. But at least it's not happening yet. Good news, indeed.

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Congratulating Our Own


Contributor Mark Dunn has returned to the professional stage after 16 months, backing, on guitar, cute, country singer Cori Jean Anderson (as part of her posse--that's posse, not the other word) at the Wild West in Canton, Georgia. Well done, Mark.

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This Day in the History of Losing Battle After Battle Until the War is Won


On this day in 1864, the Battle of Cold Harbor in Virginia began. The troops of the Army of the Potomac numbered well over 110,000 while the Army of Northern Virginia barely had 68,000, but they were dug in behind trench works, with walls of dirt in front and logs just above the top of the dirt to protect their heads. It was no surprise that a series of straight ahead, frontal attacks failed over the next week and a half. General Grant later wrote: "One attack I always regretted ordering....At Cold Harbor no advantage whatever was gained to compensate for the heavy loss we sustained." Work parties like those in the photo were still burying what was left of the dead well into 1865. Not war, but murder.

Between the beginning of May of that year, when Grant attacked Lee in the Wilderness, to the abandonment of attacks at Cold Harbor, the North sustained 52,000 dead or wounded while the South suffered just 31,000 combined casualties. Yet Cold Harbor was the last true victory for the South through the remaining 10 months of the war.

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Thought of the Day

crescentem sequitur cura pecuniam majorumque fames multa pentibus desunt multa

Horace

The accumulation of money is followed by increasing care and increasing appetite. They who seek much will ever be wanting much.

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Friday, May 30, 2008

 

Why We Thank God John Kerry Was a Terrible Candidate

Here is a little story about what John Kerry, the 'general discharged' Vietnam war hero, thinks about the war Islamic extremists have been waging against us since 1979. He thinks no such war exists. Money quote:


Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) believes that on September 11 "we were basically at peace."
Asked to clarify his remarks, specifically asking about the attacks on the U.S.S. Cole during Barack Obama campaign conference call, Kerry said, "well, we hadn't declared war..."?

We hadn't declared war. So by that 'logic' we were not at war with Japan on December 7, 1941 because we hadn't yet declared war. Is this guy a maroon or what?

A state of war exists when either side declares war or commits a warlike act, like bombing our ships at Pearl Harbor or bombing the Cole or bombing our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. It doesn't have to be reciprocal.

Here is the fatwa (declaration of hostilities) issued by Osama bin Laden in August, 1996 and here is the shorter, more direct declaration of war on us, issued by Osama bin Laden on February 23, 1998. Money quote:


...we issue the following fatwa to all Muslims: The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies -- civilians and military -- is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque [Mecca] from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim.

Obama doesn't know where Auschwitz is or what a disaster Kennedy's meeting with Khrushchev in Vienna was. Kerry doesn't know about al Qaeda's declarations of war years before 9/11. Besides Joe Lieberman, is there a single Democrat in a leadership role who has even the faintest clue of what's actually happening in the world? You at least have to wonder.

Oh yeah, here's the kicker, at the same time John Kerry is proving he lives in the Democratic alternate reality, he throws this projection/insult:

Kerry also called John McCain "out of step with history and facts."

"Hello, kettle? John 'Pot' Kerry here; you're black."

UPDATE: Captain Ed Morrissey makes almost precisely the same point. Great minds, etc.

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This Day in the History of Fatal Knife Wounds to the Eye


On this day in 1593, English literature took a hit when playwright Christopher Marlowe, aged 29, was killed in a barroom brawl allegedly over the bill. Marlowe was the 'inventor' of blank verse plays (used extensively by others, including Shakespeare) and his best work includes Dr. Faustus and The Jew of Malta (although Diomedes thinks we ought to call it The Jewish Person of Malta). It might have been a false hope that had Marlowe survived the knife blow he would have written more. His old roommate, Thomas Kyd, another playwright, had been arrested in early May and tortured for treasonous libel; as usual, the torture didn't work and Kyd said the offending material (a tract on the heresy known as Arianism--no trinity) found in his room was Marlowe's, who was under investigation by the Privy Council, but out 'on bond' while they sorted it out. Had it gone wrong for Marlowe his play writing might well have ended in 1593 no matter what had occurred in the tavern.

Kyd didn't fare so well either and though not executed for the libel, he was blackballed from further work and died the next year at age 36.

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Thought of the Day

fugit irreparabile tempus

Virgil (from the Georgics)

Irreplaceable time runs away.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

 

I Knew I Liked Battlestar Galactica...


But I never could put my finger on why, until now. This is Katee Sackhoff, the manly one, of three or four comely young lead women.
This is the last season of BSG and I'm already suspending my disbelief on how poorly the plot meanderings are going. Not a good thing.
Sackhoff is kind of a one note samba, repressed rage just below the surface. I do have to say that I expect greater things of her in the future.

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This Day in the History of Muslim Conquest


On this day in 1453, the Roman Empire in the East fell at last and to Sultan Mehemet II, who captured Constantinople after a siege and bombardment and then one full day of storming the shattered walls. The Muslim forces outside the walls outnumbered the Christian defenders nearly 15 to 1.

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Thought of the Day

festinat decurrere velox flosculus angustae miseraeque brevissima vitae portio dum bibimus dum serta unguenta puellas poscimus obrepit non intellecta senectus

Juvenal

The flower of our narrow, miserable and very, very short portion of life hastens to fade rapidly; while we drink, while we call for garlands, for perfume, for girls, old age sneaks up without our knowing.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

 

A Three Hour Tour...


Anthony Watt notes the subtle irony of ecotourists on a huge former Soviet ice breaker, there to see the arctic sea ice 'before it disappears forever,' stuck in that same ice.

Too subtle for most ecotourists, I fear.

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Contrast and Compare

Here is what the al Qaeda types are themselves saying about the war in Iraq. Money quote:


According to al Qaeda, their collapse in Iraq was steep and catastrophic. According to their stats, in late 2006, al Qaeda was responsible for 60 percent of the terrorist attacks, and nearly all the ones that involved killing a lot of civilians. The rest of the violence was carried out by Iraqi Sunni Arab groups, who were trying in vain to scare the Americans out of the country.

Today, al Qaeda has been shattered, with most of its leadership and foot soldiers dead, captured or moved from Iraq. As a result, al Qaeda attacks have declined more than 90 percent. Worse, most of their Iraqi Sunni Arab allies have turned on them, or simply quit.

Here is what Senator Obama's campaign said to Senator McCain's offer to travel to Iraq together to do some fact checking on the ground:


John McCain's proposal is nothing more than a political stunt, and we don't need any more 'Mission Accomplished' banners or walks through Baghdad markets to know that Iraq's leaders have not made the political progress that was the stated purpose of the surge. The American people don't want any more false promises of progress, they deserve a real debate about a war that has overstretched our military, and cost us thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars without making us safer."

So for al Qaeda, the war is lost in Iraq and for Obama, the war is lost in Iraq (how else to interpret false promises of progress and not being made safer?). As Mark Knopfler once sang, two men say they're Jesus, one of them must be wrong. I hate to have to say it, but I believe the al Qaeda types have the clearer vision here, at least clearer than the candidate of the alternative reality left who simply cannot see progress in Iraq no matter how apparent. There is indeed none so blind as he who will not see.


The question voters need to answer is do they want a wilfully blind man as their leader? The question kind of answers itself, doesn't it?

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This Day in the History of Bleak Days


On this day in 1940, the Belgian Army, 800,000 strong just two weeks before, having been rolled back by determined German attacks, and abandoned by the British Expeditionary Force (who bugged out at Dunkirk), surrendered to German forces. The photo is of a Pkw 2 crossing one of the innumerable canals in that part of Europe.

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Thought of the Day

de nihilo nihil fit in nihilum nil posse reverti

Unknown Epicurean

Nothing comes out of nothing and nothing can be reduced to nothing.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

 

Top Forty-Six War Movies

Here, in no particular order, are the top forty-six war movies ever made:

  1. Lawrence of Arabia (WWI)
  2. Grave of the Fireflies (WWII)
  3. Pork Chop Hill (Korean War)
  4. Mr. Roberts (WWII)
  5. Zulu (1879 Invasion of Zulu Nation by Britain)
  6. Glory (American Civil War)
  7. The Bridge (WWII)
  8. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (Napoleonic Wars)
  9. Blackhawk Down (Somali Civil War)
  10. Fires on the Plain (WWII)
  11. Paths of Glory (WWI)
  12. Breaker Morant (Second Anglo-Boer War)
  13. The Great Raid (WWII)
  14. The Beast (Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan)
  15. Battle of Algiers (War of Algerian Independence)
  16. Ride With the Devil (American Civil War)
  17. The Winter War (Soviet-Finnish War)
  18. Dark Blue World (WWII)
  19. The Steel Helmet (Korean War)
  20. The Bridge on the River Kwai (WWII)
  21. The Grand Illusion (WWI)
  22. The General (American Civil War)
  23. When Trumpets Fade (WWII)
  24. Casablanca (WWII)
  25. Threads (Cold War)
  26. Seven Samurai (Sengoku Period)
  27. Hell is for Heroes (WWII)
  28. Go Tell the Spartans (Vietnam War)
  29. 49th Parallel (WWII)
  30. The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968) (Crimean War)
  31. The Grey Zone (WWII)
  32. MASH (Korean War)
  33. Downfall (WWII)
  34. Bravo Two Zero (First Gulf War)
  35. The Best Years of Our Lives (WWII)
  36. Conspiracy (WWII)
  37. Beau Geste (1939) (War of Algerian Independence)
  38. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Cold War)
  39. Stalag 17 (WWII)
  40. Rolling Thunder (Vietnam War)
  41. The Sand Pebbles (Chinese Civil War)
  42. Harakiri (Shogunate Period)
  43. Closely Watched Trains (WWII)
  44. United 93 (Jihadi War)
  45. Alexander Nevsky (Teutonic Knights Attack on Novgorod)
  46. The Duellists (Napoleonic Wars)

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Friday Movie Review (quite early)


Went with Kit to see the latest installment of the 7 part C.S. Lewis children's stories set in Narnia, Prince Caspian. Despite the name, from which you might think central Asia, every one of the Narnia conquering Telmarines seemed like 16th Century Spaniards. It's the same group of brothers and sisters from the first book and movie, a little older but not much wiser. Still pretty good with edged weapons. Wonder where they got to practice those in public school in war torn London?

I guess this was about Christian faith and symbolism and test after test perhaps by the long absent magical lion Aslan. There was some OK swordplay. The one on one fight in front of Aslan's 'tomb' was actually pretty well staged. More on that below.

There were no charming talking animals, with the possible exception of rat sized mouse Reepicheep (voiced well by Eddie Izzard). This is mainly a war movie set in a mythical land in no historical time. That's a problem for our sympathies. We don't have a lot for anyone, particularly the title character, who seems much older than the character in the book, there a mere slip of a lad.

I have to admit that I liked the endlessly repeating trebuchets. Very nice, but they seemed to do almost no damage. The Telmarines also seem to lack any long range weapon but cross bows of varying sizes. You never saw them reload, which is the crossbow's greatest drawback, if that's the right word. Compare that to the rapid fire Susan (of the good body--see above) is able to achieve with her short long bow. The Telmarines' cavalry was pretty weak too. The purposefully stomping, Roman type shield carrying infantry seemed the bulk of the army, so of course they hardly fought at all.

The director is Kiwi Andrew Anderson, who did the Shrek movies (produced the third rather than direct) and the first Narnia chronicle. He does a good job here, but it seems that the fighting completely overwhelms all the interpersonal action. It's a long movie too which might drag a little here and there.

I had the good fortune not to have read the Narnia books when I was young (I did read most of the Out of the Silent Planet trilogy back then--always a sucker for sci fi). But I did read them recently and this is not one of the good ones. The movie might be better than the book. They added some stuff too, like bringing back the white witch (merely suggested in the book), and the unsuccessful raid on the huge castle. The ending seemed different too, and the opening part, the escape, was much better in the book.

The new companion was a very cynical, but ultimately loyal dwarf named Trumpkin (so cute!) I couldn't tell who played him but it was Peter Dinklage, who was so great in The Station Agent. He nailed the role, but since he is a dwarf, it might not have been too big a stretch for him, if that's the right phrase. On the bright side, too, is the fact that during the sword fights, which were generally clumsy wild swinging things, I didn't feel the need to yell out "Stab him" every time an opponent swung too far ever to recover for a parry. I do that constantly during the 'sword' fights in the ever decreasing in impact Star Wars movies. So it had that going for it.

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Worse Than Nebraska


Here is a new photo of a new horizon on Mars from the Phoenix which landed successfully this past weekend. Wow, Mars! Looks great!
Who are we trying to kid? It's a featureless mudscape. Why would anyone want to go there? I am told that there are areas on Mars which look like the area around Moab, UT, except much more spectacular.
Memo to NASA, go there! These safe, scientifically 'interesting' landing spots are buzz-kills big time.

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This Day in the History of Judicial Orders, Technically Right, Morally Wrong, Ignored

On this day in 1861, Chief Justice Roger Taney ruled in, Ex Parte Merryman, that President Lincoln's suspension of the writ of habeas corpus was unconstitutional. Lincoln ignored the Court's ruling. He had a civil war to win. Of course habeas corpus can be suspended during a rebellion, but Congress has to do it, not the president. Whatever.

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Thought of the Day

et res non semper spes mihi semper adest

Ovid

My hopes are not always realized but I always hope.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

 

This Day in the History of Last Guys to Quit


On this day in 1865, Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith, commander of the Confederate Trans-Mississippi division (the Confederate army in Texas) agreed to surrender to Union forces although he and his men would not lay down their arms until June 2 in Galveston. Smith fled to Mexico and then Cuba to avoid capture but traveled finally back to Virginia to sign the oath of loyalty to the saved Union. Smith was a Floridian by birth and at his death in 1893, he was the last of the Confederate Generals.

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Thought of the Day

In the part of this universe that we know there is great injustice, and often the good suffer, and often the wicked prosper, and one hardly knows which of those is the more annoying.

Bertrand Russell

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Short TV Post

Just finished watching Recount on HBO about the aftermath of the 2000 election, and it wasn't that bad. A few things got left out--like the disenfranchising of several hundred overseas military voters because the Florida officials followed Florida law but forgot about the consent decree, accepted by Florida, which made more inclusive Federal laws supreme in that area, and the fact that the witnesses at a Civil Rights Commission investigation, looking into the alleged racial disenfranchisement, all got to vote. Oh, yeah, and they left out the part that a consortium of the New York Times and other news organizations re-examined the 43,000 state wide undervotes (ballots which showed no choice for president), the recounting of which the United States Supreme Court had stayed pending a decision by them, and BUSH STILL WON, as he had after every recount in Florida in 2000.

It doesn't seem too minor a thing to mention as a 'footnote' at the end of the film. Perhaps HBO ran out of time or space to include that apparently uninteresting historical fact.

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

 

This Day in the History of Missed Opportunities


On this day in 1521, the Diet of Worms (which somehow had evaded attack by robins) completed its four months of deliberation and issued the Edict of Worms, declaring Martin Luther a criminal and permitted anyone to kill him without consequences. Of course, no one did, and as a result a sizable portion of the holy catholic Church broke off into a score of separate sects under the later rubric 'Protestant.' And then there was a counter-reformation where the Catholic Church got a lot better in no small part through the efforts of the Society of Jesus. Or so I believe.

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Thought of the Day

redit agricola labor actus in orbem atque in se sua vestigia voluntur annis

Virgil (from the Georgics)

The farmer's toil returns in an orbit and the year rolls in its former footsteps.

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

 

Global Warming Causes More Cyclones



Even the most basic of astronomical knowledge includes the Great Red Spot on Jupiter, a several hundred year old hurricane. Well, now it's the Great Salmon Spot and there are more of them. What could be the cause? Robert Britt says it's global warming, sorry, climate change. Tough to blame the heating there on anthropogenic greenhouse gasses. Let's review--Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and even Pluto are warming. What could be the cause of that? Mystery for the ages, that one.

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WAKE ME UP INSIDE

You can see that from the opening of the music video that it was not too much a stretch for the First Cav to apply this Evanescence song to helicopter gun camera video below. Good song.


 

Good News from Pakistan


An experienced al Qaeda member, an Algerian explosives expert with the nickname Abu Sulayman Jazairi, who was believed to be plotting against European interests, was possibly killed by an American airstrike on Damadola, Pakistan 10 days ago.

We can be reasonably sure of the numbers we're killing, but I'm with former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, we don't know how many are turning to Jihad to replace them. Still, there is a number out there where we would be depleting their ranks, not merely with the deaths of their fighters but also with the disillusionment of those who might join the Jihad.

One outfit says that the absolute numbers of terrorist attacks worldwide are down substantially since 2001. That's maybe not a complete measurement of success, but of some comfort to those who hope the sacrifices of our nation and especially of our armed forces are not in vain.

The Democratic talking point that fighting them only makes more of them has rarely sounded more hollow, especially since the surge change in tactics. Anyone who knows the successes the British had in Malaysia, and ours more recently in Afghanistan and Iraq, knows that you win any sort of war by making the enemy unwilling or unable to fight any more. Both unwillingness and inability are achieved by killing them and destroying their war material. That's like War 101 stuff.

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Apache Gun Tape Compilation

A music video for boys--more war porn from Iraq. 30 mike and Hellfire raining down on our enemies.


 

This Day in the History of an Early Tit for a Later Tat


On this day in 1941, north and east of Iceland, the famous German battleship, Bismark, blew in half the famous British battlecruiser Hood from a distance of 9 miles. There were only three survivors from the Hood. The doomed English Battleship, Prince of Wales, was also damaged and had to flee the area. Not a good day for the British Navy. The Bismark's fuel tank, however, was damaged in the fight and she had to return to port, a voyage she never quite completed. The idea had been to loose the battleships Bismark and Tirpitz on the convoys in the North Atlantic and on their way to Murmansk. The Germans never got that done either.

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Thought of the Day

I'm never going to be famous. My name will never be writ large on the roster of Those Who Do Things. I don't do any thing. Not one single thing. I used to bite my nails, but I don't even do that any more.

Dorothy Parker

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Friday, May 23, 2008

 

This Day in the History of Losing Battle After Battle Until the War is Won


On this day in 1864, the Battle of North Anna started in Virginia, where General U. S. Grant attempted to outflank Robert E. Lee and failed miserably, as usual, although he inflicted more casualties on the Rebels than he took in this somewhat minor series of battles. Indeed, one could argue that the whole of the fighting in 1864, from the Wilderness to Petersburg, was Grant being out-generaled by Lee (until Lee had no more men left). The next big battle, at Cold Harbor, would be a doomed Union frontal assault against well prepared trench works, where the North took more casualties than the South had men, as described then, not war, but murder.

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Thought of the Day

habemus luxuriam atque avaritiam publice egestatem privatim opulentiam

Sallust (quoting Cato regarding Rome)

We have luxury and avarice, public debt and private opulence.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

 

Real History


Talk about inconvenient truths. Cliff May reveals over at the National Review Online how viciously untrue is the 'conventional' view of history that Israeli fighters forced the Palestinians off their land as Israel was attacked by Arab forces within hours of its birth:


The U.N. passed a resolution that established Israel and called for an Arab state as well. Jewish leaders agreed. Had Arab leaders done likewise, Palestinians also would be celebrating 60 years of statehood this month — and there would have been no war and no refugees.

[A recent Washington Post story said that Palestinians] fled “their native Jaffa out of fear of advancing Israeli troops.” This has become the conventional narrative — Palestinians driven from their homes by Jews. But as Efraim Karsh, head of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Studies at King’s College, University of London, writes: “The recent declassification of millions of documents from the period of the British Mandate (1920–1948) and Israel’s early days . . . paint[s] a much more definitive picture of the historical record. . . . By the time of Israel’s declaration of independence . . . none of the 170,000–180,000 Arabs fleeing urban centers, and only a handful of the 130,000–160,000 villagers who left their homes had been forced out by the Jews.”

Karsh quotes Ismail Safwat, the Iraqi general who served as commander-in-chief of the Arab Liberation Army that was attempting to “drive all Jews into the sea.” Safwat noted “with some astonishment that the Jews ‘have so far not attacked a single Arab village unless provoked by it.’ ”

The overwhelming majority of those who fled, Karsh explains, were instructed to do so “by their own leaders and/or by Arab military forces whether out of military considerations or in order to prevent them from becoming citizens of a prospective Jewish state.”


This is not what alternate reality Democrats believe, nor those ignorant of history, but I may be repeating myself there.

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This Day in the, Sadly, Lost History of Anti-Communist Democrats

On this day in 1947, the "Truman Doctrine," which said that we would forcefully stop the spread of Communism worldwide, became more than just a concept as President Truman signed the legislation by which Congress had appropriated military and economic aid for Greece (and also Turkey), engaged in a low grade but savage civil war, waged by local Communists who sought to take over the country. The aid to these countries morphed the next year into the Marshall plan, our most effective tool, early on, against the spread of Communism in Europe, and later into NATO. President Reagan's ultimate defeat of the Soviets came because he merely continued, robustly, the sound policy started by Truman. Like President Bush (son), who also made real his own Doctrine regarding militant Muslim extremists, Truman was a very unpopular president in part for standing up to the forces of evil in the world.

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Thought of the Day

fama est obscurior annis

Virgil

The rumor is ever more obscure through the years.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

 

I Think Olbermann's Referring to Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao

Although, like 99.92% of our nation, I don't watch him, failed sportscaster Keith Olbermann got some pixels on the web regarding his 13 minute rant about George Bush and golf. Here's one of the most offending parts:

Mr. Bush, at long last, has it not dawned on you that the America you have now created, includes "cold-blooded killers who will kill people to achieve their political objectives?" They are those in — or formerly in — your employ, who may yet be charged some day with war crimes.

Only after some well deserved criticism of Mister Olbermann's denigrating our troops as cold blooded killers and equating them to the terrorists, Keith reacted and clarified his words, but he either lied* about what he meant or he made it worse.

Here is what Keith Olbermann said he meant to say:


No writer nor broadcaster is ever as clear and precise as he thinks he is.

Television goes by quickly and the viewer is not provided a copy of a script.

So it is possible that reasonable viewers might have been confused by exactly to whom I referred, especially considering I edited the original line:

"Mr. Bush, at long last, has it not dawned on you that the America you have now created, includes cold-blooded killers who will kill people to achieve their political objectives? They are called your cabinet. And your Pentagon."

During the editing process it seemed that was a little broad, that there appear to be men in both places, General Ricardo Sanchez, former Secretary of State Powell, perhaps even Secretary of Defense Gates, who did not merit inclusion in that list.

Obviously, my use of Mr. Bush's phrase "cold-blooded killers" did not refer to U.S. troops.

Oh, so the cold blooded killers are the cabinet members and the Pentagon. Which ones in the Cabinet? Maybe the lack of reference to the troops was not so obvious, after all. Who works in the Pentagon? Isn't it members of the American Armed Forces? So before the "editing" process, he specifically called the cold blooded killers members of the Armed Forces assigned to the Pentagon. Then he says he didn't mean members of the Armed Forces. Olbermann must think we're really stupid. I return the sentiment.

* Olbermann claimed on the Daily Kos site that very day that he did not edit out any sentence of his diatribe as Johnny Dollar clearly demonstrates.

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This Day in the History of Dangerous Times

On this day in 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed "an unlimited state of national emergency," regarding Germany's submarine activities in the Atlantic as well as the expected reaction of Japan to the following diplomatic pressures with which we tried to stop Japan's war of conquest in China:


July 25, 1940: The US prohibited the export of oil to countries outside the Americas and Great Britain. This decision was confirmed on August 1, 1941 when it was modified to include aviation fuel and allow exports to all countries of the British Empire as well. (We had supplied Japan with approximately 65% of the oil it used).

September 26, 1940: An embargo on scrap iron and steel exports to Japan was initiated. [and the future action]

July 26, 1941: The US (and Britain)froze Japanese assets. The Dutch East Indies followed-up two days later and cancelled its oil contracts as well. These moves resulted in the loss to Japan of 75% of its foreign trade and 90% of its oil supplies.

The wonder is that Japan waited until December to act out.

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Thought of the Day

absentem qui rodit amicum, auit non defendit alio culpante hic niger est hunc tu Romane caveto

Horace

He who attacks an absent friend, or who does not defend him defamed by another, this is a black [soul], of this one you Romans beware.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

 

Bad News for The Least of the Kennedy Brothers

The news is that Teddy Kennedy (D-MA) has a "malignant glioma" in his brain. It is the consensus here that such a tumor is the worst of the worst and Kennedy will be lucky to live another 6 months, no matter what treatment he gets.

Now I have to deal with the amount of sadness that news causes me.

OK. Done.

UPDATE: I see that I'm being way too harsh compared to other right center sites who all wish him and his family well and talk about prayers. Like with Rob at Say Anything. It's just that I think he killed a woman merely because he wouldn't report it within the first several hours. He also spearheaded the backstabbing of SE Asia. Tough to feel sorry for that sorry an excuse for a human. Darn, there I go again.

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This Day in the History of Early German Successes


On this day in 1940, just 10 days into the attack, elements of Gerd von Rundsted's German Army Group A, the XIX Panzer Corps, under Heinz Guderian, reached Abbeville on the Somme River a few miles from the English Channel, having severed communication between the British Expeditionary Force (with surviving elements of French, Dutch and Belgian forces attached) on their right and the bulk of the French Army on their left; and right there Nazi Germany won the Battle of France, although fighting would continue until June 25th, 1940.

I've read Guderian's memoirs (Panzer Leader) but the book doesn't begin to account for how the Germans beat most of the rest of Western Europe so quickly and seemingly effortlessly. I do know he often pushed his faster but outgunned tanks past where his orders allowed. Looks like they just outfought the Allies at concentrated points and then outquicked the retreating forces so they never could recover. Guderian survived the war and died in May, 1954, 14 years to the day after his breakthrough over the Meuse at Sedan

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Thought of the Day

breve tempus aetatis satis est longum ad bene honestque vivendum

Cicero

A short time on Earth is long enough for living a good and honorable life.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

 

Friday Movie Review

Went with young Charlie to see the new Robert Downey Jr. movie Iron Man at the Continental. Let's review the basic movie rules. 1) I will not go see a cartoon (unless it's Japanese); 2) I will not go see a movie based on a television show (unless it's Get Smart); 3) I will not go see a movie based on a comic book I've read (or even heard of) (unless it's Iron Man); and, 4) I will not go to see a remake or usually a sequel (unless the first one had flaws and the new or next one's director is good). I also feel that I am somewhat out of the loop here because I remember Robert Downey, Sr. and enjoyed some movies he was in. I am also a fan of Jon Favreau and like most of the projects he's been involved in. He's the director here and he did a good job, making a clanking, absolutely standard comic book plot seem almost fresh and new. I think however that Downey is the key. He makes the film fun and it was a lot of fun. Go see it, the over two hours speed by.

My favorite parts were the tests of the flying boots and hand repulsors (which seem not to follow Newton's Third Law). My least favorite parts had Gwyneth Paltrow in them. Other parts hard to take were with Jeff Bridges. The scenes with Terrence Howard were good. I think the thing that I like about Iron Man is that he kills people he thinks (usually correctly) are bad. Why go to all this trouble to make the suit only to fight crime and deliver the wrong doers alive to the authorities. This version realizes we are at war with Muslim extremists and during war you kill your enemy.

The politics of the movie are otherwise hard to pigeonhole. Downey is OK with making weapons and with his father's involvement with the Manhatten project until he's on the receiving end of his weapons; but then he makes a suit which is clearly a weapon, and which he uses as a weapon. Kind of a confusion there. Of course the bad guy is merely for profit and will sell weapons to his (our) nation's enemies as well as kill his friend and mentee. Not really a political counterpoise to Downey's tortured position there. And the bad guy (all the bad guys have shaved skulls) in Afghanistan is not a socialist looney who sees American hegemony and hidden conspiracy everywhere but is an admirer of Genghis Khan who wants to outdo the Mongols and rule all of Asia (and Europe). He's not really religious, or political either, just evil. We don't see him die either.

But of course I'm expecting valid political content from a comic book.

The visuals are cool, but the special effects don't assault you. All seems about right. Good summer movie.

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This Day in the History of Evil

On this day in 1943, Berlin was declared "Judenrien" (clear of Jews). Wow! What an important accomplishment, Nazis. How was the Judenrein nuclear weapon development program going then? Ours, Judenvoll, was progressing nicely, 26 months from success.

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Thought of the Day

credula vitam spes fovet et fore cras semper ait melius

Tibullus

Credulous hope cherishes life and ever whispers that tomorrow will be better.

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

 

Why Tom Harkin is Not Worth Listening to

It's not that he lied about the scope of his service during the Vietnam War. It's not that he called Cheney a coward for not getting drafted during the Vietnam War but recently criticized John McCain for being too involved in the Vietnam war. It's not that he's pretty stupid, a member of the hate America club and a poor liar. It's that he denies actual and true history in urging us to stab in the back the Iraqis who have stood up to al Qaeda in Iraq and other Muslim extremists.


We hear about what will happen when we leave [Iraq], all this talk about a bloodbath and everything. Well, Madam President, I can remember Vietnam. I can remember the same things: Oh, if we leave Vietnam we either fight them there or we fight them here. We have to stop the Communists in Vietnam or it will be the Philippines next and then Japan. We have to stop them there. And if we leave, there will be a bloodbath in Vietnam. All of the people who supported us will be slaughtered in the streets.

Well, it didn't happen.
Didn't happen? DIDN'T HAPPEN?

The guy's in the Democratic alternate reality. Here is true history and here, here, here, and here. Just less than 500,000 were executed; tortured, starved or worked to death; or forced to flee by boat to other nations, during which fleeing hundreds of thousands died. I guess Harkin (and John Kerry) don't consider that significant.

UPDATE: Here's a bitter little pill for the Democrats. Money quote:


The epitaph for the U.S. involvement in Indochina had been given earlier that month before the fall of Phnom Penh in neighboring Cambodia. Just days before his execution at the hands of the Khmer Rouge, Cambodian statesman Sirak Mitak penned a final note to the U.S. ambassador refusing his offer of evacuation.

‘I cannot, alas, leave in such a cowardly fashion. As for you and in particular for your great country, I never believed for a moment that you would have this sentiment of abandoning a people which has chosen liberty….You leave and my wish is that you and your country will find happiness under the sky.

‘But mark it well that, if I shall die here on the spot and in my country that I love, it is too bad because we all are born and must die one day. I have only committed this mistake in believing in you, the Americans.’

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This Day in the History of Inexorable Muslim Reconquest


On this day in 1291, the Mameluk Sultan of Egypt and his son effectively took back the Holy Land when the last significant Christian stronghold of Acre fell to Muslim attack. Although there were Crusades after this, none were to the actual places where Jesus had lived and preached.

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Thought of the Day

rebus angustis animosus atque fortis appare sapeinter idem contrahes vento nimium secundon turgida vela

Horace (ever an advocate for the Golden Mean)

Wisely show yourself resolute and strong when perils press you, likewise shorten your sails when they swell excessively with a favoring wind.

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

 

Godley and Creme- Cry [Remix] (Remastered Audio)

More Miami Vice nostalgia, from one of the best episodes, Definitley Miami, with American born French hottie, Arielle Dombasle, and Ted Nugent. The song's from the same guys who, in 10cc, did "I'm Not in Love." "Cry" has it's own impressive music video as well.


 

Russ Ballard- Voices (Remastered Audio)

Feeling a little nostalgic about mid 1985 right now. What better than a tight little music video from Miami Vice. Who the heck is Russ Ballard anyway?


 

Steyn on Obama's Consciousness of Guilt

Mark Steyn makes good points with more humor than this guy deserves here. Money quote:


It says something for Democrat touchiness that the minute a guy makes a generalized observation about folks who appease terrorists and dictators the Dems assume: Hey, they're talking about me. Actually, he wasn't – or, to be more precise, he wasn't talking only about you.

Yes, there are plenty of Democrats who are in favor of negotiating with our enemies, and a few Republicans, too – President Bush's pal James Baker, whose Iraq Study Group was full of proposals to barter with Iran and Syria and everybody else. But that general line is also taken by at least three of Tony Blair's former Cabinet ministers and his senior policy adviser, and by the leader of Canada's New Democratic Party and by a whole bunch of bigshot Europeans. It's not a Democrat election policy, it's an entire worldview. Even Barack Obama can't be so vain as to think his fly-me-to-[insert name of enemy here] concept is an original idea.

[...]


In his 2002 letter to the United States, bin Laden has a lot of grievances, from America's refusal to implement Sharia law to Jew-controlled usury to the lack of punishment for "President Clinton's immoral acts." Like Barack Obama's pastor, bin Laden shares the view that AIDS is a "Satanic American invention." Obviously, there are items on the agenda that the free world can never concede on – "President Clinton's immoral acts" – but who's to say most of the rest isn't worth chewing over?

This will be the fault line in the post-Bush war debate over the next few years. Are the political ambitions of the broader jihad totalitarian, genocidal, millenarian – in a word, nuts? Or are they negotiable? President Bush knows where he stands. Just before the words that Barack Obama took umbrage at, he said:

"There are good and decent people who cannot fathom the darkness in these men and try to explain away their words. It's natural, but it is deadly wrong. As witnesses to evil in the past, we carry a solemn responsibility to take these words seriously."

Here are some words of Hussein Massawi, the former leader of Hezbollah:

"We are not fighting so that you will offer us something. We are fighting to eliminate you."

Are his actions consistent with those words? Amazingly so. So, too, are those of Hezbollah's patrons in Tehran.

President Reagan talked with the Soviets while pushing ahead with the deployment of Cruise and Pershing missiles in Europe. He spoke softly – after getting himself a bigger stick. Sen. Obama is proposing to reward a man who pledges to wipe Israel off the map with a presidential photo-op to which he will bring not even a twig. No wonder he's so twitchy about it.

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This Day in the History of the Right Move Far Too Late


On this day in 1938, Congress passed the Vinson Naval Act, providing for a two-ocean navy, about 3 years before we would need all the naval vessels we could build. The reason the Japanese expanded so rapidly in the Winter of 1941-42 is that we were horribly under-prepared for war and luck (and the Enterprise) kept us in it until we could spool up our truly amazing industrial might and absolutely crush both the Germans and the Japanese. For example, before the war, it took both us and the Japanese about 36 months to build an aircraft carrier; by the end of the war, we could build one in about 15 months while it still took the Japanese about 36 months.


We're down to under 300 ships in the Navy now, about 200 too few.


The photo is the USS Carl Vinson, CVN 70, named after the clear eyed Georgia Democrat who served 50 years in the House. It is difficult to imagine what might have happened if Rep. Vinson had not given us the 1938 head start to having a proper sized Navy.

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Thought of the Day

hoc praestat amicitia propinquitati quod ex propinquitate benevolentia tolli potest ex amicitia non potest.

Cicero

Friendship has this over kinship, that kinship can exist without goodwill, but friendship cannot.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

 

Democrats Carp

In the great 1964 movie Dr. Strangelove, in the War Room, with the heads of our government discussing what to do about General Ripper's ordering his wing of B-52s to attack Russia, there is this exchange between Adlai Stevenson look alike President Merkin Muffley, played by Peter Sellers, and General Buck Turgidson, played by George C. Scott, just after the General proposes a co-ordinated, all out, sneak, first strike on the Soviet Union:

Mufley:"It is the avowed policy of our country never to strike first with nuclear weapons." Turgidson: "Well, Mr. President, I would say that General Ripper has already invalidated that policy!"

On Wednesday, President Bush said these things in front of the Israeli Knesset:


There are good and decent people who cannot fathom the darkness in these men and try to explain their words away. This is natural. But it is deadly wrong. As witnesses to evil in the past, we carry a solemn responsibility to take these words seriously. Jews and Americans have seen the consequences of disregarding the words of leaders who espouse hatred. And that is a mistake the world must not repeat in the 21st century.

Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: “Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.” We have an obligation to call this what it is – the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.

Some people suggest that if the United States would just break ties with Israel, all our problems in the Middle East would go away. This is a tired argument that buys into the propaganda of our enemies, and America rejects it utterly. Israel's population may be just over 7 million. But when you confront terror and evil, you are 307 million strong, because America stands with you.

America stands with you in breaking up terrorist networks and denying the extremists sanctuary. And America stands with you in firmly opposing Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions. Permitting the world's leading sponsor of terror to possess the world's deadliest weapon would be an unforgivable betrayal of future generations. For the sake of peace, the world must not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.

Here is what Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), said during the kerfuffle of faux outrage by Obama over these perfectly true and sensible words of our President, which, by the way, were not aimed at Obama, even though his consciousness of guilt makes him confess they do indeed apply to him..


The tradition has always been that when a U.S. president is overseas, partisan politics stops at the water’s edge.

Here is a partial list of the Democrats who have already invalidated that "water's edge" tradition.

But perhaps I have it wrong, it's only the President who can't say true things which could apply to a number of Democrats while overseas, while the Democrats, outside America, can say any vile thing they want about our President. It's another one-way rule.

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Better Firepower Through Technology



A 68 pound 25mm chain gun from Aliant TechSystems. The Germans in 1939 and 1940 conquered Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands and France with tanks armed with a smaller, slower shooting gun than this. The optical system on the left side of the photo ranges the target and sets the shell fired to airburst just above it, so that it destroys targets out of the line of sight (i.e. in trenches). This can be mounted on a Humvee. Heck, Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura could walk around firing this thing carried in a harness.

Who says things are getting worse?

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This Day in the History of Miserable Union Failure


On this day in 1864, on the final day of the Battle of Proctor's Creek, 18,000 Confederates under the command of P. G. T. Beauregard and George Pickett stop cold the advance of 33,000 Yankees under Benjamin Butler on a peninsula, called Bermuda's Hundred, in the James River at its confluence with the Appomattox River, south and east of Richmond and just opposite the important river port of City Point. The Confederates sealed off Butler's Army of the James 5 days later in the battle of Ware Bottom Church. Around this time, Lee and Grant and Meade were busy fighting in the Wilderness and at Spottsylvania Court House, so Butler's utter failure here wasn't even a distraction to Lee. At this point the tactics in the Civil War were changing from Napoleonic disposition of moving mass formations into more like the trench warfare of the First World War, as the photo reveals.
Butler was a political appointment to his generalship. Historians can tell.

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Thought of the Day

Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.

Oliver Wendell Holmes

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

 

The Isley Brothers' Best Title



*

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Why Computer Climate Models May Not Support Our Full Reliance

We have heard that computer models of climate from now into the future show dire predictions of global warming. Secretary Kempthorne seems to have heard the predictions. We also know that the World is far more complex than the computer models. When the time clock is set back on the models and they predict the last century, for example, they always get it wrong and do not track what is the historical record. Indeed, the models don't rely at all on historical temperature records. And the mistakes are apparently not random, with some mistakes cooler than it was and some warmer, they are almost all warmer.

Sometimes the modeling mistake is 3.5 times what really happened

So of course we should believe them vis a vis the growing population of Polar Bears. No possibility of modeling overstatement there.

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This Day in the History of Thermonuclear Firsts


On this day in 1957, Britain joined an exclusive club when it tested its first fusion device over Christmas Island in the Pacific due south of Hawaii, one of a number of weapons tests in the "Grapple" series.
The photo shows what occurred within microseconds of detonation.

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Thought of the Day

luctantem Icariis fluctibus Africum mercator metuens otium et oppidi laudat rura sui mox reficit rates quassas indocilis pauperiem pati

Horace

The merchant, fearing the Southwest wind wrestling with Icarian waves, praises retirement and rural life in his hometown, but soon he repairs his shattered boat, incapable of enduring poverty.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

 

Sometimes You Get the Bear...


It's official; flawed predictions of the future trump actual facts. The Polar Bear is listed as a threatened species because of "declining Arctic Ice." It doesn't matter that there are more bears now, 5 times more bears, than there were in 1950 (The eagle came OFF the list for going from 1,000 to 13,000 in the lower 48). It doesn't matter that the bears are still increasing in numbers over most of their range. It doesn't matter that the Inuit dispute the scientists in Canada who say the bears are declining in northern Manitoba. It doesn't matter that the number of bears are increasing in the areas of greatest warming. Facts, as I said, don't matter. My friend Hugh Hewitt has the story on the meaning of this.

The Arctic probably can't carry 50,000 bears. How in the world will we get North America's greatest predator off the list?

With the swallowing of the anthropogenic Global Warming bunk by McCain and this action by a Republican Administration, we see how much the pseudo- and actual false science has penetrated the minds of too many.

You win this one, Warmies. More's the pity.
UPDATE: Slight mitigation of this horror show here.
UPDATE II: Laer at Cheat Seeking Missiles, who fights on the front lines of needless government restriction of reasonable development (for humans), puts me back in a sour mood with his closer look here.

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Good News from Afghanistan


Despite the doom and gloom being spread by the media lately (like the fertilizer it is) that things are about to go way south in Afghanistan, it turns out that the Taliban really doesn't want to come out and play with the Brit, Canadian, Aussie and American troops there. The (Slightly) Dreaded Taliban Spring Offensive has failed to materialize for a second year, even as we continue to seek and kill them.

Behold the Strategy Page's take here. Money quote:

While some Taliban commanders have tried to develop new tactics to reduce casualties (smaller units of Taliban, and avoiding contact with police and troops), nothing has worked. The Afghan army is larger (76,000 troops) and better trained than last year, and there are more foreign troops. Worst of all, more tribal leaders have sided with the government this year, meaning tribal militias are also ready to fight Taliban moving through previously pro-Taliban territory.


Over half the Taliban in Afghanistan are from Pakistan, for Pete's sake.

The photo is of American Marines laughing at the Taliban during a lull in the fighting near Madrassa, Afghanistan. At highest resolution you see the camera caught the Marine top left in mid-spit.

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This Day in the History of Real Advances in Medicine


On this day in 1796, English physician Edward Jenner performed the first (kinda) successful vaccination, inoculating an eight-year-old boy, James Phipps, against smallpox by infecting him with the less virulent but related cowpox, thus laying the foundation for modern immunology. We should continue to infect citizens with cowpox, just in case Soviet weaponized smallpox falls into the hands of terrorists.

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Thought of the Day

recta actio non erit nisi recta fuit voluntas ab haec enim est actio rursus voluntas non erit recta nisi habitas animi rectus fuerit ab hoc enim est voluntas

Seneca

An action will not be right unless the intention is right, for from it comes the action. Again, the intention will not be right unless the habit of thought has been right, for from it comes the intention.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

 

The State of the Climate, Late Spring 2008


The sea ice around Antarctica is a million and a half square kilometers more extensive than it was at this time last year, and last year was a record since we've recorded the view of the whole of the Southern Ocean from space. It's about 1.2 million square kilometers above 'normal.' It's growing as the Southern Hemisphere plunges towards Winter.
In the North, the Spring thaw is in progress and the Northern Ocean's sea ice is down from 'normal' about .6 million square kilometers; but seven of the 14 areas the Northern Ocean is subdivided into have more ice than this time last year and three are the same. Four are down. We'll see if this Summer repeats last Summer's record melt. I'd bet against it.

On the sun, there are no spots (although a big flare was observed over the horizon lately), and there have been hardly any for years now. The flux density number from the Canadian Space Agency is 64 point something, about as low as it ever gets, and it's been in the high 60s for weeks.

The reliable satellite measurements of global mean temperature in the lower troposphere (where we live) are just barely above 'normal' having recovered from 2007's near straight line plunge; but neither still has a rising anomaly from the mean temperature between 1979 and 2000.

It was cold here this morning and a mixture of rain and snow. Pretty late for such snow but not unheard of. All the snow packs in the state are above normal. That's good.

Another beautiful Spring/Autumn on our beautiful planet.

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Thought of the Day

longe mea discrepat istis et vox et ratio

Horace

Both my language and my thinking differ widely from theirs.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

 

Good News from Iraq


Bill Roggio recounts the surrender of the Mighty Madhi Army in Sadr City. Whether the peace will last is another matter. I think it helped a bit that they walled off part of the militant slum from the rest of Baghdad.
The two vehicles to the soldier's left are Bradleys with an Abrams to his right in the distance. The near vehicle to the right of the soldier is a mystery to me. Looks like some sort of MRAP, perhaps a MaxxPro.

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Hillary's Downfall

NOT SAFE FOR WORK

But funny as heck. Like Woody Allen's What's Up, Tiger Lily? it's just an old movie with new subtitles, but what subtitles. And I liked Downfall, with Bruno Ganz's great impersonation of Hitler during the final days, down to the Parkinson's symptoms in his left hand. The movie has a lot of head shots self inflicted by high ranking Nazis, too. What's not to like? Would that Hillary stick it out to the end in some bunker in Denver.


 

Don't Fear the Reaper



The future of Aerial Warfare, the MQ-9 Reaper.

See the two smart bombs (GBU-12 Paveway II or GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions)? It can also carry four AGM-114 Hellfire missiles on the wings.

This will be the plane skynet uses to mop up the surviving humans after the nuke strikes.

We only have 10, so far, and they are 10 months deployed in Afghanistan.

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The Grandeur of Nature



This is the Chaiten volcano in Chile erupting. Apparently, just as ice crystals dropping through clouds can generate enormous electrical charges which discharge catastrophically, so too can the friction of ash and cinders in the air. Or so I would conclude from the image.
From a little farther away, the cloud of ash has its own beauty.


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The Moon and Mercury



Actually, if we could see the surface details of Mercury, it would look remarkably like the Moons, without the lava flow 'seas' of course.

Funny how even the most mundane of images can be so beautiful.

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Yuto Miyazawa - 8-Year Old Japanese Guitar Phenom!

The guitar is bigger than he was. I didn't know the first and last song, but he does a pretty good version of the Clapton version of Crossroads. If his career has the normal arc of an American rock guitarist he'll be staging a comeback, after beating heroin, at age 14. Still sings like an 8 year old.


 

This Day in the History of Early Cold War Battles Won


On this day in 1949, the Soviet Union announced an end to the Berlin Blockade and on that day allowed normal land communications between western Europe and the city to resume. The Berlin airlift, bringing supplies into the western sections of Berlin, the once and future capital of Germany (which was blockaded by the USSR beginning on June 24, 1948), ended after 277,264 flights. Take that, Commies.

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Thought of the Day

adeone homines immutari ex amore ut non cognoscas eundem esse

Terence

That a person should be so changed by love as not to be know again as the same person?

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

 

A Disgusting Sight

103 year old Morley Safer kissing the very substantial butt of never was that great actor Alec Baldwin tonight. Morley called him one of the more interesting actors of his generation. Yeah, if by interesting you mean his acting range is basically limited to narcissistic louts. He was good in Beetle Juice, Heaven's Prisoners and Malice, OK to passable in Hunt for Red October and State and Main and probably Glengary Glen Ross (never saw it, probably never will). But consider the stinkers: The Shadow, Mercury Rising, Adventures of Pluto Nash, Pearl Harbor, and Cat in the Hat. Then there are the cartoon and TV triumphs--Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends, Clerks (cartoon version), SpongeBob SquarePants Movie and the last of a dying breed, a TV sitcom, 30 Rock. Yeah, a great actor. Hasn't anyone at 60 Minutes seen Team America?

It didn't end there, more's the pity.

And yet it's his off-screen performances that can get in the way of a truly gifted man, and often it's his liberal politics that make him red meat for his critics.
"They hate liberals who can throw a punch," Baldwin tells Safer.
Asked who "they" are, Baldwin says, "They, yeah, this…they. The vast right wing conspiracy that's after me."
Liberal politics has always been his passion. He grew up in a working class family on Long Island, N.Y. He has an impressive grasp of the issues, and spends a huge amount of his time and money supporting causes he believes in, like animal rights, the environment, and the arts.
Gross me out. Mr. Eloquence had a little trouble there identifying his 'oppressors.' Part of the true gift, no doubt.

The guy is a poli sci drop-out from safety school George Washington U in DC, for Pete's sake, who finished with a BA from dumb ass NYU, in drama, wow! quite a stretch for a Hollywood actor, at age 35. Impressive grasp of the issues like animal 'rights' and the 'arts'. Yeah, and he translates the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus into Middle Sanskrit for fun on weekends. 60 Minutes producers must think we'll believe anything they say. At best he's a self absorbed lefty 'thinker' with 950 SATs and a 2.5 gradepoint average, who looked pretty good in his youth and was good at the pretending.

Not through yet, over at the creaking with age CBS flagship show.


But his bare-knuckled approach to political discourse has made him an easy target for conservative junkyard dogs like Sean Hannity. (That's Morely doing the name calling).

Your eloquence, if that’s the word, can get you into deep trouble," Safer remarks.
"So I don't make the eloquent point so eloquently, is that what you're saying?" Baldwin asks.
"Or you make them perhaps excessively eloquent, as in your description of Dick Cheney, who you said was a sociopath and a terrorist. And you later apologized by just calling him a lying, thieving oil whore and a murderer of the U.S. Constitution," Safer replies.

I think I just threw up a little in my mouth. I'm OK, now. (Although Morley said it, that was Baldwin doing the neither clever or accurate name calling this time).

The real irony here is that they are taking this never was actor seriously. People in the real world think he is a joke, and a pretty sad one at that. We watch him now with the same fascination rubes watch the Geek act in sideshows--we can't believe he really bites the head off the remnants of his once promising career.

I personally can't get past that he criticizes the President and Vice President in the same way he speaks to his 12 year old daughter (or 11 years old, he seemed unsure on the phone message), whom he called a "thoughtless little pig" (et al.) What a great guy! Well worth praising far beyond his deserving on neither relevant nor cutting edge 60 Minutes. If I were an actor still trying to get work, I would move Heaven and Hell not to be so showcased there. It is the death of any vestige of cool.

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Test


 

Lame After the Fact Light Posting Excuse

I got up very early Saturday to drive though a Spring blizzard over Berthoud Pass to the shooting range near Hot Sulpher Springs up past where you can walk across the Mighty Colorado River and not get your feet wet. So no blogging.

At the range I did well (consistent, not accurate) with the Ruger 10/22 in 22 mag. I also did well, accurate OK tight grouping, with the Remington in 300 Weatherby magnum. But the beautiful gun, the thousand dollar plus Colt Saur in 300 Winchester magnum, continues to be mystery to me. I won't accuse it of a wandering zero, but it was 8 inches low at the start and the accurate group at the end at 200 yards could not have been covered with a dollar bill. I would say that's OK but for my hunting buddy Gary who gets near quarter covered groups with his 150 dollar Savage in 30.06 and with his Safari grade 2 BAR in 7 mm magnum.

Since we're reloading our ammo, we can't blame it (I can't) without damning my reloading ability.

Also, I'm heeling my pistol shooting. It might be that the Glock 19 has a trigger pull weight I'm not used to. In any event, my shooting skills are rusty at best and I need much more range time.

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Friday, May 09, 2008

 

This Day in the History of Great Political Cartoons


On this day in 1754, the first American newspaper cartoon was published, the famous illustration by Benjamin Franklin in his Pennsylvania Gazette shown here. I would have made Virginia the head, though, because that was where most of the brains were.

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Thought of the Day

hoc patrium est potius consuefacere filium sua sponte recte facere quam alieno meto

Terence

This falls to the father, to accustom his son to do right of his own will rather than from fear of consequences.

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

 

This Day in the History of Losing Battle After Battle Until the War is Won


On this day in 1864, two days after the Union defeat in the Wilderness, Union forces numbering approximately 100,000 under General Grant and General Meade (never a good idea) attacked Confederate forces numbering approximately 52,000 under General Lee near the Courthouse in Spotsylvania County, north of Richmond. The battle lasted until May 21, 1964 and is called a Confederate victory because they blocked Grant's advance to Richmond, didn't get overwhelmed and annihilated and imposed more casualties on the North than they took. However, the North had more men and could take such casualties while the South could not over the long haul. Much of the fighting was done from trenches and Union forces broke through the Confederate trench line. But in a successful counter-attack on May 12, in what is often called the most intense fighting of the war, they regained much of the lost ground through hours and hours of bayonet fighting because it was raining and the powder got wet and because there was often just no time to reload.

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Thought of the Day

ira furor brevis est animum rege qui nisi paret imperat hunc frenis hunc tu compesce catena

Horace

Anger is a brief madness; control your temper; for unless it obeys, it commands you; restrain it with bit and chain.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

 

Dead Sure Predictions


Based on this photo, showing the Chaitén volcano's ash plume over Chile and Argentina, I predict cooling in the extreme southern edge of South America and south of that. And it's already been cooling in Antarctica.


(h/t Anthony Watt's great website)

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Report on the American War Dead in Afghanistan and Iraq

For April, as announced by the Department of Defense, 53 service members died--48 from service in Iraq (up about a dozen from last month) and 5 from service in Afghanistan (that's down, slightly).

Here's a further breakdown: In Iraq, 24 were killed by IEDs. That's the principle source of the rise in combat deaths over last month. Six were killed by small arms (mostly RPGs this month); two were killed in accidents; five from non-combat causes; one in a rocket attack; four Marines were killed in combat operations in al Anbar; and, four from indirect fire. One soldier died but there was no further information.

In Afghanistan, one was killed by an IED and two in combat operations without further detail. Two were killed by small arms fire. Because of the paucity of firefight deaths, I'd still say the (slightly) Dreaded Spring Taliban Offensive is yet to arrive.

Only woman woman died; 40 year old Petty Officer 1st Class Cherie L. Morton, was found dead at her home in Bahrain and her death is a mystery. Two Majors , a Captain and two First Lts, including Matthew Vandergrift, 28 of Littleton, CO a few miles from here, died with harness on their backs.

Our hopes and prayers go out for all our brave warriors.

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This Day in the Long History of Liberation of France From Foreign Occupiers


On this day in 1429, the Maid, Joan of Arc, inspired French forces to break the siege of Orleans and helped finally to end the 100 Years War on terms much more acceptable to the French. She paid for it, though.

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Thought of the Day

curatis funeris conditio sepulturae pompae exequiranum magis sunt vivorum solatia quam subsidie mortuorum

Caesar Augustus

The care of the funeral, the site of the sepulchre, the pomp of obsequies are consolation to the living but not much for the dead.

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Friday, May 02, 2008

 

Light Posting Excuse

Springtime in the Canadian Rockies. I'll be back Wednesday.

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This Day in the History of Legislative Legerdemain

On this day in 1996, the Senate passed, 97-to-3, an immigration bill to tighten border controls, make it tougher for illegal aliens to get U.S. jobs and curtail legal immigrants' access to social services. I don't want to judge the legislation prematurely, but it's beginning to look like it's possible that we may not have rigorously enforced this law.

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Thought of the Day

aut formosa fores minus aut minus improba vellem. non facit ad mores tam bona forma malos.

Ovid

Would that you were either less beautiful or less corrupt. Such perfect beauty does not go with such bad morals.

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

 

Revising the Predictions

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) puts out a series of report in which it discusses what has happened recently and what it has high confidence will happen in the future based on computer modeling. Here is the revised 2007 Synthesis Report in pdf form, which means I can't copy out sections and reproduce them here for comment.

OK. Let's look at p. 30. Where it says that recent increases in sea level are consistent with global warming. It says that the sea has risen 3.1 mm from '93 to '03 and about 57% of that rise was from thermal expansion. I'm OK with the percentage (which is less than I thought) but why is it talking about that particular period of time? Does it have anything to do with the full implementation of the Argo system, about 3100 robot buoys all over the world's oceans which measure salinity and temperature from the surface to half a mile or so down below the surface? Here is the only article on the subject I could find which mentions the mean global ocean temperature. It says that the seas have actually cooled over the past 5 years (Oh, back to 2003 then). So the thermal expansion which is nearly 2/3 of the supposed rise in sea level hasn't existed for the past half decade. Indeed, the ocean has actuall cooled. Any mention in the IPCC of the necessary sea level drop? No, None. Indeed, the mentioned supporting data is very selective. For example, sea ice loss in the North is heralded as support while the record rise in sea ice in the South is ignored (again on p. 30).


But what about the predictions for global warming for the next 92 years? Well, from figure 3.2 on p. 46 we can see three predictions for 2000-2100 based on three different computer models. the predictions range from a 1 degree C rise to a 2.6 degree C rise for the century. There is no prediction of a .64 degree C temperature drop world wide in 2007 and no prediction of falling temperatures between 2007 and 2015. But temperatures did fall world wide in 2007 by that amount.


And falling temperatures for the next 7 to 10 years is just what some scientists are now predicting.
(The article reveals the following: The IPCC currently does not include in its models actual records of such events as the strength of the Gulf Stream and the El Nino cyclical warming event in the Pacific, which are known to have been behind the warmest year ever recorded in 1998.)

To call the IPCC reports science is to reduce the word 'science' to meaninglessness.

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