Saturday, September 29, 2007

Duck Soup

Got a telephoto lens, and didn't see anything exceptional.

Well, I took some photos none the less.
Seems these were the only guys hanging out other than the ducks.

Seems there were a lot of them about, but they kept taking off from a long ways away. Probably getting nervous due to hunting season being near.

I suppose I'll need to find some place else for a subject. This area is nice and quiet generally though. That's why I go there to walk. That and the fact that the area is pretty large so I can go for a long walk.

This one is neat as I just snapped if off. The water really makes the leaf stand out strong.

This tree also is loud.

Not sure why it is so far ahead of the rest of the trees, but it is pretty.

People of the Gun

Yeah, Not much posting as of late, but I'm putting too much time in at work and even now I'm just breaking from my test plan generation to write this. You should start reading with the SayUncle link.

Not sure exactly where it starts, but I saw the link to SayUncle at Bruce's leading me to Jeff at Alphecca.

I probably should participate. Though I'll need some more time to get the photo done.

Uncle in his comments made me feel guilty, so I bought a couple of shirts. Look pretty good, though for me these are highly work unfriendly.

More to the point, this is about debate. That is really evident from SayUncle's post. Gunners in the blogsphere for the most part are quite willing to participate in discussion and send you to the facts. Something that has evidently ruined the GunGrabbers attempts at unreasoned discourse.

One thing I haven't seen often in all this debate though has been triggering me to research. I am a bit low on the discussions on how to stem the societal violence for which guns are so often blamed. I guess I'm going to go into one of those cycles of reading and buying books. I did it with the screeching about the Iraq counterinsurgency which was constantly being called a failure. (Went through 10+ books on the subject to come to the conclusion that those screaming failure don't have a clue. Not that they are just uninformed, but they really don't have a clue and don't want one.)

Any suggestions on reading on the topic would be appreciated.

Monday, September 24, 2007

NYTimes "Erred" with Moveon.orgs Ad?

If this is the description of an error, I'm guessing they err intentionally.
WASHINGTON - After two weeks of denials, the New York Times acknowledged that it should not have given a discount to for a full-page advertisement assailing Gen. David Petraeus.

The liberal advocacy group should have paid $142,000 for the ad calling the U.S. commander in Iraq "General Betray Us," not $65,000, the paper's public editor wrote Sunday.

Clark Hoyt said in his column that MoveOn was not entitled to the cheaper "standby" rate for advertising that can run any time over the following week because the Times did promise that the ad would run Sept. 10, the day Petraeus began his congressional testimony. "We made a mistake," Times spokeswoman Catherine Mathis was quoted as saying.

MoveOn, saying it had no reason to believe it was paying "anything other than the normal and usual charge," said Sunday that it would send the Times $77,000 to make up the difference.

The Times also violated its own advertising policy, which bars "attacks of a personal nature," Hoyt said.

Many Republicans have preferred talking about MoveOn's ad rather than the war.

I like that last line. I'm still trying to figure out its relevance to the story since it sounded like it was aiming at the actions of the NYTimes and not a discussion of the political machinations of the Repugs. But, hey, why not make an editorial comment that is irrelevant. Seems that is the normal method of doing things in journalism these days.

So if they violated at least two of their own house rules I guess it is plausible that it was a mistake, but it has a certain fishy smell to me. Not that the NYTimes isn't known for its rather bent coverage and editorial stand on the present administration.
Friday, the Senate voted 75-25 to denounce the ad. Sen. Hillary Clinton, of New York, the Democratic presidential front-runner, was questioned about the ad while taping interviews with all five Sunday talk shows.

Clinton said she did not approve of personal attacks from any quarter but avoided criticizing MoveOn by name.

The group told its 3 million members by e-mail that some might think "the language went too far. . . . But make no mistake: this is much bigger than one ad."
Interesting that the Senate sprang into action on this one. More likely they just want to be on record as not supporting a statement that derides the armed forces and specifically a general who is showing some success at this time. Hillary definitely walked the fine line of not condemning anyone specifically and yet condemning them. She definitely is a class A politician. And that isn't a compliment.

As for, I expect that we'll be seeing more of this brand of rubbish.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Laughtenberg Terrorist Gun Bill

I'd almost give this a hearing, except that Bloomberg is bellowing for it. That makes it more than a little suspect in my mind.
The bill, S. 1237 / H.R. 2074, was introduced by Sen. Lautenberg and Rep. Peter King (R-NY) and, for the first time, allows the Department of Justice to prohibit known and suspected terrorists from buying a gun. Currently, terror suspects are not prohibited from purchasing firearms. This bill gives the Justice Department the authority to block such purchases.

“It defies common sense that nothing in our gun laws prevents terror suspects from buying a firearm. This 'terror gap' in our gun laws has been open too long and my bill will close that gap,” said Sen. Lautenberg (D-NJ).

“One of the most glaring mistakes in preventing 9/11 was the government’s failure to share information and connect the dots,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “As you remember, 2 of the 19 hijackers were on a terrorist watch list, yet they were allowed to board an airplane. Today, suspected terrorists cannot fly – but they can still buy guns. We just can’t afford to wait for another attack to take these kinds of basic, common-sense precautions.”

Well, it might be a good idea if the country didn't have a thing called a constitution. Where did they get the idea that you can now punish people because you "suspect" that they are bad? Last I knew punishment could only come after a trial by ones peers.

And how is this common-sense? Last I heard the terror suspect list was a warning tool. It doesn't have any way of vetting the suspects. Hell, it's had children and politicians on it, yet they still are flying. Common sense would dictate that the list actually have vetted intelligence and some specificity to who exactly they are worried about rather than just a name.

No doubt that a terrorist can use guns to great effect, as was seen in Washington D.C. area Beltway snipers. But take a second and think this through. If they can't get them legally, what makes you think they won't have ways of using their network of sympathizers to assist them with a straw-purchase or just a plain old theft?
Currently, there are nine factors, such as status as a felon or evidence of serious mental health problems, under Federal law that disqualify an individual from buying a gun – but being a known or suspected terrorist is not one of those factors. The government is powerless to stop a gun sale to a terror suspect unless he also meets one of the nine disqualifying factors. The Lautenberg / King bill gives the Department of Justice the ability to use terror watch lists to prevent a terror suspect from purchasing a firearm from a licensed dealer. The bill also allows the Department of Justice to prevent known and suspected terrorists from working with explosives and from becoming a federal firearms license (FFL) holder. These DOJ determinations would be subject to judicial review and, under the bill, a suspect would have the opportunity to challenge the determination in federal court.
Challenge it in court? How will that work when you can't even challenge your name being on the terror suspect list now?

This is security theater at its worst. All we need now is some screeching harpy bellowing that it's for the children.

Go ahead and enact it. It is worthless and will remain so.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Camera Play

Yeah, no link, just pictures. Click on the photo to get the full size shot. Most of these are quite large.

Here's the first one. If you're a hunter you know this was a great shot.

I know. You can't see much, but he's right in the middle of the photo. If you can't pick him out, I'd suggest you don't bother hunting. I only got one shot due to the Flash. It slows down the multi-shot option to a huge extent, and the woods where I saw him were a bit dark.

Then there is this cheeky bastard. I took this photo as soon as I saw him. Well actually I walked up about 20 more feet and then took it. I didn't want to completely miss getting the photo.

I thought he'd be much more nervous, but I essentially just walked up to him. I cut this one out of another photo I took while I was standing looking at him. He's friggin' huge. Head to the start of his tail, he had to be 3 feet long. He didn't seem to care much that I was there until I got close.

He dove in when I was about 6 feet from him and said "hello." Then he proceeded to swim around and around for a while.

There was another one, but I never got close enough for anything but a really far photo.

It's obviously starting to enter the fall season. Some stuff is starting to change color, though I have a feeling that has more to do with the dry weather we had at the end of the summer. Still pretty crispy in the woods. Here's a picture of a pond I showed full of water in the middle of the summer.

No water at all. As a matter of fact, you can see that meant that the local ATV imbeciles have decided it's someplace else they can drive around. Amazing the amount of stupidity that these people will stoop to.

The upper dammed areas are obviously still full. Just getting lower.

It was fun taking the photos. I guess I learned from the GeeqWhyph that you just go out there and just take a lot of pictures and dump what you don't like later. I never got anywhere near filling my 2Gig of memory.

I didn't get any good photos of the hawk that was flying around, nor would the turkeys stick around for a family photo. I did get a photo of a shikpoke, but he was too far away, and you can't make him out at all. I think I need to find a larger telephoto lens.

Security Morons

This one definitely sounds like everyone over-reacted, but then, this student is a complete moron.
An MIT student walked into Logan International Airport yesterday morning wearing a glowing device with wires coming out of it, prompting a bomb scare and her arrest at gunpoint.

The student, Star Simpson, 19, said she had designed the device, which she called a piece of art, and had worn it for several days, hoping to attract prospective employers visiting MIT for a weeklong career fair.

But police and prosecutors said Simpson, a sophomore majoring in electrical engineering and computer science, put herself and others in danger by wearing a device that looked like a bomb to the airport.

"This is total disregard for the situation; this is an airport, post-9/11," Assistant Suffolk District Attorney Wayne Margolis told an East Boston District Court yesterday during Simpson's arraignment on charges of possessing a hoax device.

The device, made of a plastic circuit board decorated with green LED lights and wires leading to a nine-volt battery, was attached to the front of Simpson's black, hooded sweatshirt when she walked up to the information counter in Terminal C at 8 a.m. and asked about an incoming flight from Oakland, Calif., said Major Scott Pare of the State Police. He said Simpson was also carrying in her hand between 5 and 6 ounces of Play-Doh, a substance that can resemble some plastic explosives.

I guess I can't fault the security people overly much. They have defined actions for threats, but I'm kinda thinking they could have read this a little better. Though you have to admit she was acting suspiciously.
When Maria Moncayo, who worked at the information counter, asked Simpson what the device was, she walked away without responding, according to the police report. Moncayo then called police.
If your looking for attention for your "art" don't you think you'd want to say it was just that?

And the security forces:
Outside the terminal, police officers surrounded Simpson. They aimed their machine guns at her and ordered her to raise her hands. The airport's explosive ordnance disposal unit approached and investigated the device.

"She said it was a piece of art, and she wanted to stand out on career day," Pare said. "Thankfully, because she followed our instructions, she ended up in our cell instead of a morgue."

I'm going to say that is a definite over-reaction. Come on. Blinking LEDs. Who puts LEDs on a bomb? I suppose the automatic weapons are the standard response weapon, so I guess we'll cut them some slack even if it sound over done.

The problem with Boston is that with all this crap causing over-reactions, sooner or later someone is going to get shot or worse, someone is going to openly walk into the airport with a bomb and will be ignored.
Last winter, two Charlestown artists planted 40 blinking circuit boards around Boston, setting off a wave of bomb scares that brought the city to a halt. The packages were a marketing stunt for a show on Cartoon Network. The artists, Peter Berdovsky and Sean Stevens, performed community service as part of their plea deal. Criminal charges against the artists were dropped.
The problem with making a comparison to this is that these marketing devices were hung in areas for a prolonged period before anyone even became nervous. Walking into an airport is a whole different thing.

She certainly got the attention she wanted. I'll even bet she gets a job offer. Personally, I hope they throw the book at her.

Ok, now I've seen the device. (Scroll down)

These people are all complete idiots.

The problem I have with the commentary at that link is that someone assumes that just because there are LEDs that there couldn't possibly be a bomb. Frankly, I suspect that that is how we come to telling terrorists how to get past security by weakening the ability of the responders to use reason.

Sadly, the security and airport people probably have to react this way due to the rules.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

People's Republic of Barney

Got this from the GeekWyfe from Granted, I think.

Mark Steyn talking about the Massholechusetts Miracle Deval Patrick and his speech on 9/11.

This bit is just humorous.
Why do radical imams seek to convert young Canadian, British and even American men and women in their late teens and twenties? Because they understand that when you raise a generation in the great wobbling blancmange of Deval Patrick-style cultural relativism – nothing is any better or any worse than anything else; if people are "mean and nasty" to us, it's only because we didn't sing enough Barney the Dinosaur songs at them – in such a world a certain percentage of its youth will have a great gaping hole where their sense of identity should be. And into that hole you can pour something fierce and primal and implacable.
Yep, Deval is definitely a strong indicator of the emasculation of the US.

Read the rest, it's humorous if you can get by your nausea.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Man Skills

Seen this floating about. Not the most interesting list. Insty started it.

1. Patch a radiator hose - done it, no big deal, try patching a brake line
2. Protect your computer - yawn, in what way, firewall, virus protection, scripter. How about setting up a security gateway or defining your firewall from scratch? Daily work.
3. Rescue a boater who has capsized - Nope, I hate the water, and see no real reason for boats
4. Frame a wall - Yup, Siding, roofs, chimneys, etc
5. Retouch digital photos - Why?
6. Back up a trailer - with trucks, tractors, horses
7. Build a campfire - Matches, flint&steal, never done it with a fire-bow, but that's because I'm lazy
8. Fix a dead outlet - Yep. replace a circuit breaker standing knee deep in water.
9. Navigate with a map and compass - Yep, not really good at it, but I can
10. Use a torque wrench - Yep, Who cares?
11. Sharpen a knife - All the time, Axes, scissors, drill bits, chainsaws.....
12. Perform CPR - Nope. I know the basics, but don't know any more.
13. Fillet a fish - yep. Cleaned a chicken, squirrel, rabbit, dear, etc.
14. Maneuver a car out of a skid - With more and less success.
15. Get a car unstuck - More than I care to admit.
16. Back up data - all the time. Automated it as well.
17. Paint a room - Umm, yeah. Whitewashed, wall papered, sheet rocked, paneled
18. Mix concrete - from mix or the various parts. Even done Lime mortar
19. Clean a bolt-action rifle - yep and just about every other style shape and size
20. Change oil and filter - All the time. I never go to a shop. Probably will change when I buy a car and can't do it myself any more
21. Hook up an HDTV - Don't watch much TV. Don't want to either. I doubt it is very difficult. I read instructions pretty well.
22. Bleed brakes - Yep, and replaced pads, rotors and drums
23. Paddle a canoe - Umm sure. Small boats, ride horses, ride a bike, fly a kite - I don't get this one
24. Fix a bike flat - Far too commonly
25. Extend your wireless network - Hmmm wonder why this one. Done it at work, but have you hacked a neighbors or looked and accessed one that you weren't supposed to? Not saying I have....

Say Uncle adds these:

Clean a carcass - yep see above
Purify water - Tablets, iodine, filter, boiling, what else? (nuclear, chemical, or biological?)
Tie a knot (including one for a fishhook) - Yep. Strangely I even have some idea of how to do it with a hook that has no eye.
Know the lyrics to at least ten kids’ songs - Not likely
Break up a dog fight - Yep, though the dogs don't generally like my methods.

Here's another one:
  1. Stop arterial bleeding - Hmm. I guess I know the method, just never have had the need
  2. Hit the 10 ring with iron sights - from how far?
  3. Order a martini - Yep. can even make one
  4. Tell a joke - Well, yeah, but not really well.
  5. Put out a grease fire - been there done that
  6. Read a children’s book aloud with funny voices - Did I mention "not likely" recently?
  7. Grill a steak - oh yeah, every once and a while
  8. Change a door lock - Yep - Still thinking about figuring out how to pick a lock
  9. Look good in a suit - Well, that's not bloody possible. If you've ever seen me you'd understand
  10. Set a digital clock - Heh. Even the one on the VCR
  11. Make eye contact - with what? Bull, vicious dog, good looking lady, shit bag manager?
  12. Patch sheetrock - Um yeah, since high-school
  13. Make a paper airplane - a bunch of different kinds
  14. Make a toast - with a toaster, toaster oven, stove, open-fire
  15. Throw a punch (doesn’t matter if they see it coming, Mexi.) -Yep, had practice. Try to avoid that these days
  16. Tie a sailor’s hitch. - Don't know that one.
  17. Tie a tie - Yes, though see 9
  18. Accept a compliment - Yep. Though I find it embarrassing
  19. The Shocker - ?????
  20. Split wood - and cut down the tree with an axe, chain saw, hand saw
  21. Hang a picture frame - many times
  22. Standing leg sweep - Nope, too fancy for me
  23. Compose a photograph - Yep, just not very good at it
  24. Drive a stick - yep, twigs, branches, logs etc...
  25. Climb a fence - Chain link, picket, stock, etc.
Interesting. I wonder what else should go on the lists.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Shrinking Kilogram?

PARIS - A kilogram just isn't what it used to be.

The 118-year-old cylinder that is the international prototype for the metric mass, kept tightly under lock and key outside Paris, is mysteriously losing weight — if ever so slightly. Physicist Richard Davis of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in Sevres, southwest of Paris, says the reference kilo appears to have lost 50 micrograms compared with the average of dozens of copies.

"The mystery is that they were all made of the same material, and many were made at the same time and kept under the same conditions, and yet the masses among them are slowly drifting apart," he said. "We don't really have a good hypothesis for it."
I'm confused. If that is the "standard" how can it be changing? I'd say everyone else must be changing and it must be right. Or at least that's the logic I keep hearing from politicians.

Damn French can't even get this right.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I don't read many columnists, because frankly there are far too many like the one I've linked. No insight, no logic, and frankly no intelligence. Do papers really print these things because they attract readers?
How long do we want to remain in Iraq? Another six months?

Twelve months?



Last spring, when the president proposed sending an additional 30,000 troops to Iraq as part of a "New Way Forward," his supporters said we would know in six months whether this effort would bear fruit. Six months, said senators Joe Lieberman and John McCain. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said we'd know if the surge was working in "five to six months."

Before Congress Monday, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, said that though almost nothing we've been trying to achieve with the surge in Iraq has come to pass, it still was too soon to make a decision. Iraq still is beset by sectarian and terrorist violence; its government is no closer to political reconciliation. More people were killed in August, after the increase in American forces in Iraq, than were in February, before the so-called surge began.

Apparently I saw and read some completely different General Petraeus testifying in congress.

Makes you wonder why it's a "so-called" surge since it has essentially peaked and the general is looking at the time period when it can be withdrawn. So how isn't this a surge.

Then there is the indications that the surge is working. Seems that the data is clearly supporting the fact that it is working. So all the Bush supporters are right. But in context to this Op-Ed that bit of information appears to have been lost. So I'm not certain what the relevance of this statement could really be.
But, Petraeus was quick to add, it was too soon to begin bringing troops home. Instead, he said, give the surge another six months.

Another six months.

And after that? If another six months passes, and nothing changes, and more people die? Then what?

So here's a bit of historical perspective for this mouth which has dissociated any relationship with its neural control, Counterinsurgencies take time. Malaysia took more than 10 years and that was a small one. Algeria took much longer and still failed. Counterinsurgencies in South Africa (Boer war) took almost a decade after the end of the regular fighting if you can actually decide on when that was. How long has Peru been fighting the Shining Path? How long has the Tamil insurgency been ongoing?

But she want an answer on when we flee. Her basic analysis is that we've failed and should just swallow our pride and run home. She doesn't mention our moral obligation to prevent a sectarian genocidal civil war that we essentially will have started, nor does she appear worried about the fact that the destabilization of the region would likely have dramatic impact on the world economy. Didn't think about all those who will suffer if serious energy issues arise from this and how that impact will harm vast numbers of people.

Why bother looking ahead and understanding moral responsibility. But that seems to be the way with this flavor of Progressive. Go to her listed blog if you need further development of this theme. You'll note the intelligent diatribes about Chimpy. She makes real columnists look literally brilliant.

Apparently this theme of needing to know when the US is going to be out of Iraq is not original either.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, after meeting with Mr. Bush at the White House, said it appeared the administration was planning for a "10-year" military commitment in Iraq.

Gen. Petraeus, who had remained composed through much of his congressional testimony, at one point became frustrated when Democratic Senator Robert Menendez demanded to know how many more years American troops would be in Iraq.

"I cannot predict that," Gen. Petraeus replied. "You know, I'm as frustrated with the situation as anybody else. This is going on three years for me (in Iraq), on top of a year deployment to Bosnia as well. So my family also knows something about sacrifice."

No doubt this brand of shrill demands was heard during other wars. But this is about the only question that is consistently heard from the "progressive" set. I wish I had seen Menendez's questions. It would have been nice to see his side of the debate related to the potential dangers of rushed withdrawal to balance his demands for a completion data. (Yeah, that was sarcasm for those of you with tin ears.)

The report of course points to what the "journalist" views as a fumble by Petraeus in answering the security question.
But in surprising, unscripted remarks before a Senate committee yesterday, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq said he couldn't answer the one question many people were asking: Has the current Iraq war strategy made the U.S. safer?

"I don't know, actually," Gen. Petraeus said in response to persistent questioning by Republican Senator John Warner.

The general's comment was a rare departure from longstanding assertions -- by the White House and senior U.S. military leaders -- that no matter the difficulties in Iraq, the war is protecting the U.S. from even greater dangers.

Fascinating analysis. Apparently they figure he blundered, instead of viewing this as an honest answer. No spin or attempt to push Bush's line. Gee, that's interesting, he didn't draw conclusions from data he didn't possess. But he obviously blundered instead of providing a powerful indicator that he was making his own statement and not that of the White House. Giving him a bit of credit there would have been too much though. And, No doubt, that conclusion will never be seen in the MSM.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Petraeus' Testimony

His statement is over at QandO. Read that statement and not the vivisection that the MSM has been doing.

I'd comment on the Dems speeches, since that was what they did instead of questioning the general, but the fact that Lantos, Skelton and Wexler all pissed themselves over Petraeus' testimony makes it not really worth mentioning.

Dems Debate Who Would Lose Iraq the Quickest

In the usual foolish rush to the left the Democratic Presidential candidates tried to upstage each other in the debate as to who would get the troops out the soonest, and thus ensure complete failure and instability in the middle-east. A perfect performance for all who prove beyond any doubt that they really shouldn't be running the country.
"I'll strongly support in the coming days efforts here to terminate that participation based on firm deadlines," said Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd in the debate, which was broadcast on Univision, the nation's largest Spanish-language network.
Yep, tell the terrorists and sectarian fanatics when we'll be gone to ensure they wait until they have no restrictions on the devastation they can cause.
Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards said he is concerned the Petraeus report "will be basically a sales job by the White House, that it'll be a PR document." He said Congress should use its power to fund the war to insist on a withdrawal timetable.
Right, and Silky Pony is an advocate for the poor. With that type of rhetoric, I'm thinking that I'm much more willing to believe Petraeus than Edwards. Screeching that Petraeus is going to spin this for the president and not tell the truth is shameful. This also blatantly ignores that there is no "Petraeus report." The legislation required that the President provide the report and that Petraeus testify. McQ at QandO has gone into that point several times. (and apparently isn't making much headway with the clueless.)
Hillary Rodham Clinton said nothing in the report will change the basic problem that there is no military solution in Iraq. "We need to quit refereeing their civil war and bring our troops home as soon as possible," she said.
Now that is scary. Hillary is a more moderate voice. Of course she, like most of the screeching dems misses the basic point, which is quite strongly supported by historical president, that all counterinsurgencies have a portion of their solution that is military. Without the military part, none of the others have any chance of starting, never mind succeeding. This line of rhetoric is so lame that it's nonsensical. What is her solution then? Run away and let the region go into a destabilized state with Iran as the central power? That would make things so much better.
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson retorted that Clinton and others who want to leave residual forces in Iraq would leave soldiers at risk.

"I'd bring them all home within six to eight months," Richardson said. "There is a basic difference between all of us here ... This is a fundamental issue."

Idiot. It is a fundemental issue. Remember what happened in Afghanistan when the Russians left? No, he probably doesn't, but let's remind him. They stopped fighting in Afghanistan and started attacking the western countries. So Richardson is advocating leaving a known battlefield where the battle is being fought by soldiers and moving it to where civilians have to fight. That's just precious.

And to no one's surprise, the bottom of the barrel proves that they haven't any clue:
Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich was loudly applauded for saying he would pull troops out of Iraq immediately. Illinois Sen. Barack Obama aligned himself with Kucinich.

"I was a strong opponent of the war, as Dennis was," Obama said, adding that President Bush is trying to make it appear that the 35,000 troop surge earlier this year has had an impact.

Makes you wonder if anyone bothered to point out that at least Richardson's time line was moderately possible, while this is just moronic. There is no "immediate" withdrawal. These clowns are completely out of there little shriveled up brains if they can't even realize that it's not physically possible without abandoning vast amounts of equipment that will then be used in the mess they think of as a solution.

Then there are the voices of reason like Joe "bug-out" Biden:
"The truth of the matter is that the American administration's policy and the surge are a failure," said Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), a White House candidate and chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee.

Petraeus, who recently sent a letter to his troops saying the surge is making slow progress, is expected to argue the same at 12:30 today in a televised House hearing and tomorrow in the Senate.

"I think he's dead flat wrong," said Biden on NBC's "Meet the Press," signaling the tone Petraeus and Crocker will hear from Democrats. "The fact of the matter is that this idea of the security gains we've made have had no impact on the underlying sectarian dynamic."

So much for hearing the evidence before making a judgment. My point? This guy isn't even near being reasonable. He, like so many of the screeching dems have already decided what Petraeus will say and have denounced it. Biden proves he holds politics ahead of doing the right thing right from the start and with that standard of behavior sets himself in the ranks of fanatic.

Success starts slow in Counterinsurgencies. The surge has started the movement toward success. No doubt it can easily be lost, and no doubt it took too long to start, but it has started. With the advocates of cut-and-run braying again we can see the probability of failure rearing up again. Unity of effort only appears to have any standing in Iraq itself. Here in the US they prove that they would rather play politics rather than succeed. This in itself is helpful to the insurgent.

The part I find most offensive is that neither side will ever mention historical perspective. Every time Vietnam is used someone shrilly points out that it doesn't apply, and that's the only place they will go. Malaysia, Algeria, etc are all examples that are more appropriate, yet they are generally ignored by the MSM and the politicos. Unfortunately I see this as iron-clad evidence that those who ignore history are bound to relive it.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Gun Database Upgrade Incompetence

Yeah, yeah, I know a government doesn't ever do anything like a corporation. But, if this was a company heads would have been rolling.
But the gun rights lobby had once again made its presence felt, even if it didn't win the fight outright: The upgrades took about a day-and-a-half, allowing the system to go back online faster than anticipated, and state officials contritely promised to consult with sportsmen's groups and gun dealers in the future before taking actions that affect them.
A day and a half to upgrade. What in the hell were they doing? I could understand if the new system was a bit glitchy for a day and a half, but being completely off line for that time really smells like someone didn't have a clue about what they were doing.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Nuclear Flight

This is interesting, not so much for the reason that Nuclear weapons were flown in a bomber as for the reaction by the politicos.
The Air Force continued handing out disciplinary actions in response to the six nuclear warheads mistakenly flown on a B-52 Stratofortress bomber from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., on Aug. 30. The squadron commander in charge of Minot’s munitions crews was relieved of all duties pending the investigation.

It was originally reported that five nuclear warheads were transported, but officers who tipped Military Times to the incident who have asked to remain anonymous since they are not authorized to discuss the incident, have since updated that number to six.

Air Force and defense officials would not confirm the missiles were armed with nuclear warheads Wednesday, citing longstanding policy, but they did confirm the Air Force was “investigating an error made last Thursday during the transfer of munitions” from Minot to Barksdale.

The original plan was to transport non-nuclear Advanced Cruise Missiles, mounted on the wings of a B-52, to Barksdale as part of a Defense Department effort to decommission 400 of the ACMs. It was not discovered that the six missiles had nuclear warheads until the plane landed at Barksdale, leaving the warheads unaccounted for during the approximately 3 1/2 hour flight between the two bases, the officers said.

As expected, Ed Markey of the People Socialist Republic of Massachusetts pissed himself on hearing the new.
“Nothing like this has ever been reported before and we have been assured for decades that it was impossible,” said Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass, co-chair of the House Bi-partisan Task Force.
What an idiot. Does he really believe that this was "impossible?"

Ike Skelton didn't quite piss himself, but he was obviously very nervous.
“These reports are deeply disturbing,” said Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. “The American people, our friends, and our potential adversaries must be confident that the highest standards are in place when it comes to our nuclear arsenal.”
I want to know what standard he's drawing on. This is obviously a screw up, but the weapons were never in an active state or even prepared for use. The article even mentions that nukes are carried in aircraft, just not bombers. No doubt the fact that they violated procedure will earn someone a deserved kick in the ass.

And I'm especially wondering why should make potential adversaries confident in our handling of nuclear weapons. I'd rather they be a bit nervous on that point.

I love this assurance to the public:
Non-proliferation treaty experts said the Air Force didn’t violate any international nuclear treaties by transporting the nuclear warheads on the B-52, but it was the first time since 1968 that it’s been known publicly that nuclear warheads were transported on a U.S. bomber.
Right, because god knows that flying nukes on a plane is so much more of an issue than having thousands of them mounted on ICBMs. No worries there.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Unions Coming to Ruin a Company Near You

This article gives some worrisome insight on where Unions are trying to go and with the dems towing the line again, it's time to be worried.
Take a recent story from The New York Times, which could easily have been published decades ago. Union officials are petitioning the federal government’s labor board to re-allow “minority unionism.”

This scheme would force businesses — small or large — to deal with any number of employees who want to be represented by unions, even if a majority of employees don’t want the union in their workplace.

Think this development isn’t a big deal? Think again.

The union game plan is to organize employees in an area that is highly leveraged for power, like cooks in a restaurant’s kitchen. The idea is to organize the group, bargain to impasse, and then walk off the job (while being able to provide wage-replacement benefits for just a few people). Anyone familiar with labor relations can envision how the rest of the scenario plays out.

Doesn't sound like this would be any real benefit to the workers. It's definitely a power play. Can't win by fair means, then get some unfair legislation through and force yourself on those that don't want you. Unions may want to consider this as well, at some time in the future the government will change and your supportive laws will disappear.

This one is bothersome as well:
The biggest rule change of all would be the passage of the ridiculously misnamed Employee Free Choice Act.

Few voters have heard of it, and that’s just the way labor leaders want it.

After all, who would want to advertise the fact that they are holding a political gun to candidates’ heads to end the practice of people voting their union sympathy (or lack of it) in private? If politicians — especially Democrats — don’t drink the Kool-Aid, they will be denied their chance to gorge on a feast of forced dues dollars.

Given this below-the-radar campaign, it’s not surprising that most people don’t know that union bosses have shoved this atrocity through the House and received majority approval to move forward on the Senate floor. The other shoe drops if a Democrat is elected president in 14 months. All the leading candidates have pledged passage of this law and a newly elected president will have many cards to play with a new Congress.

Union officials are willing to take extreme measures to push this terrible bill precisely because they see it as a magical elixir to cure labor’s pains. They seem to be in denial of their real problem: few people want to buy their “services.”

I wouldn't join a Union, because frankly they play in politics of which I disapprove. If they stuck with their core message it would be one thing, but these guys are far from being intelligent players on the overall scope of where this country is going. Sadly their narrow focus causes them to support initiatives that their membership doesn't and that frankly is wrong. The bill would be more appropriately named Employee Lack of Choice Act.

Don't believe me, well look here.
Facing declining membership, union officials have turned to a highly questionable practice of organizing new members through a process called “card check.” With card checks, paid union organizers try to persuade workers to sign cards saying that they favor union representation. This persuasion is documented as frequently including deception, coercion, and harassing visits to workers’ homes.
No doubt that not all unions play this game, but if this bill is passed they will be able to. Don't like what they union is doing, well, you best shut up or they'll just make you sign that old loyalty oath, again, and then the dirty dealings get harsher. Not that there has ever been any illegal activities in labor unions.

His Calculator Needs New Batteries

This guy is just amazing:
"In some discussions I told them 'I am an engineer and I am examining the issue. They do not dare wage war against us and I base this on a double proof'," he said in the speech on Sunday, reported by the reformist Etemad Melli and Kargozaran newspapers.

"I tell them: 'I am an engineer and I am a master in calculation and tabulation.

"I draw up tables. For hours, I write out different hypotheses. I reject, I reason. I reason with planning and I make a conclusion. They cannot make problems for Iran.'"

Yep that's Ahmadinejad. Wonder if he calculated France's changes with Sarkozy's arrival as well.

Of course he's probably forgotten to bother to figure out the economic impact that his calculations have caused. Or the effects this will have down the line when the west really does get sick and tired of him. Especially if his country does get a nuke and give it to some nut job that uses it.

Rock Star Obama

Clooney says it so it must be true.
"You've been in a room once in a while with a rock star. He walks into the world, and he takes your breath away. I'd love him to be president, quite honestly," the actor told reporters Friday at the Venice Film Festival, where his legal thriller "Michael Clayton" was premiering.
Yeah, that's what I'd want, a rock star for president. Talk about flushing the country down the crapper.

But with brilliant support like this, I'm sure the moderate centrist will jump right on board.

Or not.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

What the Surge is Doing

No this isn't the lame-ass analysis of politicians but a statement from someone working in Iraq.
Petraeus' theory is playing out in real life.

Initiative: The coalition and the Iraqi army, rather than waiting to be attacked, are identifying and attacking enemy enclaves. This means that insurgent causalities are increasingly being suffered in engagements initiated by Iraqis and the coalition forces rather than by insurgents.

Co-optation: In the Anbar province, the Sunni area west of Baghdad once thought lost, previously unimagined levels of normality and security are in evidence. Coalition forces and Sunni tribal leaders have made common cause against Al Qaeda. The sheiks realize now that Osama bin Laden's surrogate gang of foreign cadres and local thugs trash local traditions in favor of their bizarre interpretation of Islam. The coalition's arming of local Sunni self-defense groups has been criticized as support for militias. But the Petraeus plan appreciates the distinction between good and bad groups of armed locals -- sort of like the distinction between good and bad cholesterol, with the good flushing out the bad.

Intelligence: Intelligence is from the ground up, including a local census, new identity cards and widespread, street-level information gathering. Among the goals is to identify and root out "sleeper" agents left behind to intimidate the local population.

Ground game: Insurgents can make promises they never intend to keep. Coalition forces and the Iraqi government cannot afford to fall short on promises. A key component of the surge is deployment of Provincial Reconstruction Teams into Baghdad neighborhoods and outlying provinces to work with local officials and community leaders on the small, but essential, aspects of daily life. These brave people work in tandem with military combat teams, both taking up residence in neighborhood encampments. Message: The new security is for real and tangible benefits flow from maintaining security.

Insurgent reaction: News of rocket or mortar attacks on the Green Zone or a spectacular truck bombing is actually evidence that the insurgents are trying to inflate perceptions of their capabilities as an antidote to the reality that their fingers are being pried from their grip on the throat of the Iraqi people. As more areas are secured, the insurgents must rely on high-profile attacks to sway public opinion, especially in the United States. Counterinsurgency theory tells us that this is as certain as night following day.

It is not counterinsurgency theory that's new. What's new is that Dr. Petraeus has shaped an old theory with new experience and Gen. Petraeus has taken it out of the classroom and into the battle space.
Note this isn't declaring victory or failure, which the politicos seem to keep doing without actually making any argument for why. For the most part these are good indicators only if the US has enough intestinal fortitude to keep at it.

Caught the link from SWJ Op-Ed Roundup.