Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I Need To Stop Checking Funky News Sites

I thought that we plumbed the depths of lame-o sexuality with this story.
I was wrong.
Things can be worse. So much worse.

An Elegant Solution to the Problem Set

The title refers to an oft cited requirement in jiu-jitsu. It's not enough to just pummel one's opponent and batter him into submission--although that's always acknowledged as a sound means of ending the confrontation. Instead, it is better to confound him, confuse him, and let him be the architect of his own demise. A liberal application of "brute force and ignorance" may well solve the problem, but it's not the preferred method of engineering the end of the conflict.
This article brought that axiom to mind. The introduction of the stuxnet computer worm into the Iranian "bomb project" called for high-end artistry in at least three different and difficult endeavors (procuring the software codes, introducing stuxnet to the Iranian computing systems, and keeping the malignant code under the radar until it had done its damage). Also, the stuxnet computer worm achieved three different objectives (skewing research and application numbers, so that none of the data can ever be trusted; ruining the life-cycle of Iranian centrifuges; and eating into the Iranian supply of uranium by "spinning" worthless product), all of which will have a long-term, deleterious effect on Iranian nuclear ambitions.
Further, the later attack on two Iranian scientists--at least one of whom was a leader in the effort to mitigate the effects of stuxnet--demonstrates a sublime commitment to spoiling Iranian efforts to generate a nuclear weapon.
Stuxnet represents the high end of the art of cyber mayhem.
The authors of this op make Assange look like a piker.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I'll Be In My Bunk...

Yeah, after watching this I needed some quiet time and a Camel.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Uniquely American Story

What other country could point to a story like this? A great American, who is, through determination and application, living the American dream.

Friday, October 29, 2010

On Traveling

Okay, still no Trav-O-Rama pics from when I'm on the road. This is less because I'm doing high-speed stuff that requires OPSEC than from the fact that I temporarily misplaced my cheap-o camera's recharge/download cable.

Shoes- So, going through the (always full of ass-pain) security lines, as I came out of the metal detector and and was replacing my three gray bins full of stuff into their rightful places before grabbing my shoes and belt and moving to somewhere out of the traffic to put them back on, some uber-traveler wearing plimsole flip-flops and nylon shorts goes waltzing by me with a very superior look on his face. Kinda like "I've got this dicked and you still haven't figured it out." Uh-huh. Check it out, my little shower-shoe wearing Twinkle Toes: those shoes do you no good in anything but getting through security. If anything bad happens, your shoes are a big, fat liability.
Bad Thing 1: Terrorist /random nut job on the plane. Your shoes are zero protection, and you have zero chance of using them (still attached to your feet) as a field expedient weapon. Foot stomp? Shin kick? Shin rake? Knee-buckler? Place-kick to the jewels? Nope.
Bad Thing 2: In-flight emergency/crash landing. Your shoes won't protect your feet from debris, twisted metal, other people's shoes as they run over your ass to get to the emergency exit.
Bad Thing 3: Post emergency survival situation. So let's say you survive the crash and the ensuing fireball, and you're on the ground wherever Mr. Newton's gravity says the plane will land. How good are your flip flops in triple canopy? A swamp? A mountainside? Yeah, I thought not.
Anyway, suck up the extra five minutes it takes you at the security point and wear a decent, reliable pair of brogans when you travel.

-Fitness on the Road: So, being tired of having my PT regimen limited to the quality of the gym at whatever hotel I'm in, and bored with push-ups, flutter kicks, and Hindu squats in the room, I started traveling with a kettlebell (hey, I'm authorized excess baggage, why not take advantage of it?). So, my first trip out with the kettlebell, I leave the room at the ass-crack of dawn to get a workout in. I'm feeling very smug and superior--kind of a fitness version of Mr. Twinkle Toes above--and head for the elevator to go outside and find a grassy knoll on which to kick my own ass. Waiting for the elevator, I run into another dude--carrying a kettlebell! How weird is that? Guess I'm not as original and kettlebells aren't as esoteric as I thought.

-Fall to your knees and give thanks: ...for the 2nd Amendment. I'm currently in what will be for me the third country in a row which the State Department ranks "critical" for violent crime. The Force Protection brief I received upon getting in-country is enough to make one want to spend the trip huddled under the hotel bed in the fetal position, thumb sucking. The bad guys are armed to the teeth, the good guys are outgunned, and the general populace are victims. It sucks. That whole spiel about how when guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns is a cliche for a reason. That reason being that it's farkin' true.


SWAT explained here.
Newest installment.

N.J. Gov. Chris Christie calls Jon Corzine quintessential limousins liberal Democrat in America

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Good For Her

Katrina Hodge, Miss England, has completed her term as the island nations reigning beauty queen and will now go back to her old job--as a corporal in Her Majesty's army.

Good for her. Hey, it's not on the same scale as George Washington refusing to serve more than two terms and going back to private citizenship, but I'm more than sure that she could have cashed out on the deal and used it to leverage some sort of private sector gig.


Knives, Watches, Guns, and Shoes

I'll never be a fashion trend-setter. My kids have to be cattle-prodded to go to market with me when I'm in my "shopping attire"--basically monkey-feet, MC-Hammer looking 1980's weightlifter pants, either a wife-beater t-shirt or an old flannel shirt with collar and sleeves ripped off, and of course, the ubiquitous man-purse. It's a fashion look I choose to call "Bohemian Steroid," and the eye-rolling it induces from my progeny is worth every penny I (don't) spend to achieve my sartorial splendor.
Still, there's some stuff that you've got to pay for if you want the product to "get it right." Knives, watches, guns and shoes are personal items I won't short on. In the interest of ensuring I've got the right tool for the job, I'll make my wife nuts with the price I'm willing to pay. Conversely, I'll usually do a pretty good job at ensuring that I don't confuse "want" with "need." If a $60 G-shock will give me the functions and reliability I need, I'm good with it.
But I can understand somebody wanting to pay a little extra to add some bling to the functional tool for which they are paying. Hey, if you want to shell out an extra $150 bucks for the Suunto you want instead of the G-shock you need, knock yourself out. It's a free country.
Still, are these guys asking almost 90 grand for a watch? And people pay that? Okay, I don't know what a tourbillion is, but still...

Friday, October 1, 2010

Dude, It Was In Your Butt

Everyone gets a little creative license when blogging. So, I thought that there may well be a little exaggeration in tgace's post about what criminals/bad guys are saying vice what they mean.

Apparently, I was wrong.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Is Nothing Sacred?

There are certain symbols, icons and archetypes with which one should not fuck. I'm not talking about cry-baby muslims who feel the need to run amok at the mere hint of a whiff of a rumor of some sort of "insult" to Islam. No, I'm talking serious shit, here.
True Grit is one of the best movies ever made. And John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn is probably the most iconic role that the Duke ever played.
You don't fuck with it...
Except the Coen brothers are outstanding film makers. And Jeff Bridges is probably the best of our current (sorry) generation of film stars. And the Coen brothers make really good films.
So something that never should have been, out of respect, out of homage, out of consideration for a work of art that can only be described as complete, is made and now looming over the holiday season horizon.
And I gotta say: I'm going to watch it, and I think it's going to be pretty good.
The Dude playing The Duke. Who'd've thought?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Holy Schnikes

Okay, saw this post from Starbuck, but at the time I didn't have the pipes (or the inclination) to download it. Now that I'm back in the world of broad band, though...
Holy shit.
All I can say is, if I'd been in the crew compartment during this particular adventure, someone would've gotten an ass-whoopin at mission complete. 'T's all I'm saying.
In the meantime...Holy shit.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Great Concept, Killer Trailer

Behold a trailer not for a soon-to-be-released cinematic extravaganza or for the ABC Movie of the Week. Nope, it's a movie trailer for a book. How awesome and original is that? Of course, awesome and original marketing techniques are required for the nexus of Star Trek and the Zombie Apocalypse. Double click to bring up der youtube; I can't seem to get the sizing right, dammit.

Meditations on Shooting

Just got off the road. Sorry, for technical reasons, no pict-o-graphic travelogue this time. Just a couple of observations.
One thing that continually chaps my ass is Uncle Sam's insistence that when traveling, you only get 75% of your per diem on travel days. Now, this makes sense if you're driving to a conference 138 miles up the road. But if you're travel requires a dedicated day and the inclusion of planes, trains, and automobiles, you're screwed. So, the day I'm pulling down only 75% of what the Army says I need in order to feed myself, I either pay airport extortionist prices or opt for no chow. Great. Yuh, it's not like I'm breaking the bank if I get a personal (cardboard tasting) pizza and a coke for $16, it's just the cognitive dissonance built into the system that makes me nuts.
Anyway, enough sniveling.
On this last trip, I was reminded of this article from SSG Wall in the Small Wars Journal. It's a great look at training requirements for the production of a real shooter, vice a soldier who has been trained to the minimum standard, and is therefor vulnerable to the vagaries of the long-shot engagements that are prevalent in Afghanistan. One thing the article doesn't cover, though, is the fact that the little .223 varmint round we use is going to be a limiting factor on long range engagements regardless of the training and proficiency of the shooter. I hear the SCAR rifle from FN has 7.62 variants for the average rifleman, which would greatly increase the efficacy of long range engagements.
But above and beyond training shortcomings for individual riflemen in Afghanistan faced with long range engagements, how about training shortcomings for the M2? The M2 training troops get now is weak, to say the least. The "Ma Duece" .50 calibre machine gun is arguably the best crew-served weapon ever fielded by our or any other army. Since it went into production in 1932, no significant design changes in the gun have been introduced. It's kind of like the Great White shark: why evolve if you're badass enough? However, the training and range work paradigm for the M2 sucks. The outstanding advantage it gives our troops in long range engagements is attenuated by the crap training we give M2 gunners (I won't go into detail here; take my word for it. If you disagree, let me know and I'll disabuse you of any notion that we spend the appropriate amount of time and effort training our M2 gunners).
Also, though, we've kinda sorta ignored improving optics that will maximize the effects this great weapon system generates. Different story for tankers and aviators, but infantryman (and those using the M2 for ground combat, like loggies in a convoy) fire the M2 using iron sights, thusly
For limited visibility engagements, the AN/TVS-5 is used
The M2 is a remarkably accurate weapon. Max effective range (the range at which the average well-trained gunner will hit the target 50% of the time) is 1800 meters, which is just over tracer burn-out. However, max range (the distance the round will travel with lethal effects) is a whopping 4.2 miles. So, do you think ergonomic optics would be a bonus in the long-range engagements of Afghanistan?
When using the iron sights, the gunner lines up the target, guesstimates the range, and depresses the butterfly trigger with his thumbs. He uses the tracer and the impact splash signature to figure out his round strike, and then walks it in from there. At night, he uses the AN/TVS-5 night scope, but the scope 1) suffers a "white out" effect due to the gun's prodigious muzzle flash and 2) knocks the snot out of the gunner, not quite leaving him with a blackened eye, but close.
So, I can guarantee that wherever we're using it, the capabilities of this magnificent weapon are not being leveraged for Joe. On the Mungadai, both Max Lumber and 19 Kilo Joe were M2 black belts, able to hit whatever they could see. But that was due to experience, talent, and determination--not to any range work the Army provided for them.
And, whatever shortcomings with regard to optics the M2 has, I'm more than sure that the Mark 19 has the same issues. Note that the young Marine gunner has a big ass white light attached to the weapon system so that he can shoot over iron sights at night. C'mon, we can do better.
On the topic of doing better, I ran into this article (sorry, I should give some attribution to whomever first linked to it, but I was a wee bit inebriated last night and have no idea) debunking firearms myths. Well worth a read. The only thing I would add to it is that weapons proficiency is a perishable skill. As great a gunfighter as you may have been at some point, if you're not on the range every day, you're not a great shooter. Period.
There are a bunch of bad habits which seem natural when one picks up a weapon that one needs to unlearn to be a decent shooter (let alone gunfighter). James Rummel points out one: the languid lean. I agree with everything he says--per usual--but would add that the same phenomenon is prevalent amongst fistfighters, too. Most boxers or strike-based martial artists will have to fight the inclination to lean so that the shoulders are behind the hips. Most MMA guys will fire off their punches from an upright position, most boxers (with their fists festooned with tape, padding and leather) take care to put their shoulders well forward of the hips. But the natural inclination of the novice fighter is to lean back, away from the bad man trying to punch one in the face.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

It's a Two-fer Kind of Day

First, today is Bruce Springsteen's 61st birthday, so happy birthday to The Boss.

Second, the Colombians bagged Mono Jojoy, leader of the FARC.
Burn in hell, you murderous son of a bitch.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Blogging May Well Be Light...

...on account of I think I'm going to pick up a new hobby:
Special rules govern the bagging of gators. Hunters are not allowed to use guns. Instead, they may use a pole, spear, bow and arrow, or rod and reel to catch the animal, then use a bang stick — a pole with an explosive charge on the end — to dispatch it point-blank before bringing it into a boat.

Might have to modify the rules a little bit, and throw out the whole "bang stick" schtick.After all, if you got an M4X and a Dead On annihilator, you don't need the bang-stick

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Structure Always Trumps Function

Now, see, this is the hallmark of an adaptive, flexible (and no, it's not the same thing, smartass) and learning organization. You need to solicit bottom-up input and ensure that your way of waging war has not become stratified or ossified. Like this guy. The good Colonel noted some deficiencies that seemed rather absurd in a war-zone, and brought attention to it.
Good for him! I'm sure his feedback will be considered valuable input in increasing organizational efficacy and efficiency. Thank God we've got an Army/DoD in which free-wheeling debate, constructive criticism, and organizational awareness are a preventative palliative against group-think and lock-step (goose-step?) organizational culture.
Man, I sure am glad that we've gotten beyond the pettiness and bald, blind ambition that subordinates the national interest to cheap individual agendas and unit chauvinism.
Nothing but totally kick-ass professionalism here! We are ready to...
Oh, they fired the guy. No shit.
I don't mind higher ups being self-serving, willfully blind pricks. Well, I do mind. But I can live with it as long as I can slide by/under/thru and still get the mission done. The thing that kills me, though, is the whole self- circle jerk about how organizationally great we are, when in fact we are, as a group, vain, vapid, and venal.
Some days, I want to suck-start my 9mm.

Il Bambino

Not just for the similarities in their rather generous physiques, my own mental moniker for NJ Governor Chris Christie is Il Bambino.
The guy has the poise, confidence, and stunning ability to deliver that is typified by Ruth's predilection for generating home runs in white-knuckle situations. And, too, I think I can see the shroud of legend ready to wrap around Christie.
Chris Christie stands out as a politician that is worthy of the name.
Politicians themselves try to make a dirty word out of politics. Every time a politician's opponent brings up a perspective on an issue that he doesn't like, the politician squeals that "we're playing politics with the issue."
Hey, Asshead, politics is how we resolve issues without resorting to bloodshed. Politics is--or should be--the honest attempt by people of good faith to move forward on a contentious issue while maintaining a civil society. Why should "playing politics" be a bad thing? You're side is doing shit I don't like on a certain issue; I want to use that issue to illuminate the fact that your values, beliefs, and and philosophy of governance is diametrically opposed to mine. Seems to me that crying "playing politics!!" is the first refuge of a scoundrel. So, whine-weasel, if we don't settle our differences by "politics," how then do we settle them? Cutlasses at dawn? I'm kinda sorta good with that, but I've got an unhealthy kamikaze twist to my personality. I'm relatively sure that most constituents of our constitutional republic want their principally- based differences settled in a peaceable, rational manner. So, is there a better means than "politics?" Is there any reason that "playing politics" should be ignoble? I would submit that it's far better than "playing cutlasses."
Anyway, the Babe had the ability to crush home-runs without regard to the situation, the home field, the temperance or volatility of the crowd. Hitting home runs was what he did; all else was superfluous.
Kind of like Chris Christie; Christie is there to reform NJ state government. He's not there for aught else. So, when he gets on the stage, he crushes 'em home in a manner that reminds me of the Sultan of Swat ("reminds me" in a 21st Century, YouTube kind of way). There's him, the bat, the ball, and the fence. Questions about anything else are superfluous.
Observe how, when Christie and his administration swing and whiff, Christie accepts all responsibility, puts the whole thing in context(1 erroneous page in an application of 1,000+ pages), and then drives home the point.

I'd work for the guy in a heartbeat.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Candidate # 2 Deserves Your Vote; Do More Than That

Starbuck passes on to vote for Candidate Number Two.
Please, do.
The guy was shot four times in the head during the Ft. Hood massacre, and lived. Now, a new car would help him and his fiance try to achieve a reasonable facsimile of a normal life.
Good on ya if you vote.
Now, do more than be a point-and-click do-gooder.
According to the narrative for Candidate Number Two:
Because this candidate wasn't injured in Iraq, and because he was shot on a US Army base by another soldier, the Army doesn't recognize his injuries as combat related, so the army/government doesn't offer the support or help for them that a soldier injured in Iraq or Afghanistan would have received.
The vehicle they have is a small car that she has to cram and twist and push his wheelchair into the backseat. It sits down low to the ground so it is hard for him, being 6-1 to get in and out of. They wanted to get something bigger but know that they can't afford to get anything right now. A bigger vehicle would make life a bit easier; it would be very much appreciated.

Our government does a lot of stuff it shouldn't. Help influence them to do something they should. Write your local congressman, and your senators, and get them to weigh in on making this right. Reach down in your itty-bitty, mustard seed sized, purple Kool Aid pumping heart and take five minutes to square away not only this young troop, but all the others wounded at Ft. Hood that may be running into bullshit obstacles because they weren't in a "combat zone" when they caught the mail.
My own letter to my congresswoman is excerpted here, cut and paste if you want:

I am writing you today to implore your help for an anonymous Army Soldier. On the internet this evening, I saw a free-car lottery from Woodhouse Auto Family. Basically, this business gives away a free car to those in need. Because, in these trying times, there are so many needy, they post the stories of the free-car candidates on-line and people vote on who recieves the free car for the current free car giveaway extraveganza. Kudos to the Woodhouse Auto Family for pitching in, but in the current crop of candidates, one sticks out. (http://www.woodhouse.com/difference/vote.htm) Candidate #2. From the Woodhouse website:
This candidate was at Fort Hood, TX Army Base Soldier Readiness Center checking in after returning from a second tour in Iraq. He was 5 days away from going to Officer Candidate School and pursuing a long time dream of becoming an Officer in the army. That all changed that day when one man that this candidate had never met, came in and started shooting. The gunman's goal was to kill as many Americans as he could and then take his own life.

This candidate saw the laser pointed at his head and was shot 4 times.

An American Soldier, shot four times in the head during the 05 November 2009 massacre, is one of the candidates for a car that will help him as he tries to heal up, complete his physical therapy, and resume--to the extent he can--a normal life. However, I was extremely distressed to read that:
Because this candidate wasn't injured in Iraq, and because he was shot on a US Army base by another soldier, the Army doesn't recognize his injuries as combat related, so the army/government doesn't offer the support or help for them that a soldier injured in Iraq or Afghanistan would have received.
The vehicle they have is a small car that she has to cram and twist and push his wheelchair into the backseat. It sits down low to the ground so it is hard for him, being 6-1 to get in and out of. They wanted to get something bigger but know that they can't afford to get anything right now. A bigger vehicle would make life a bit easier; it would be very much appreciated.

Ma'am, is this true? Are the soldiers wounded, broken, and traumatized by Major Hasan's murderous shooting spree unable to avail themselves of the best treatment and recovery therapy that the Department of Defense has to offer because of where and by whom they were shot?

On the website, the soldier is anonymous. But I would ask you to look into this in order to ensure that all the victims, all of the patriots who put on the country's uniform and were in a Deployment Processing Center, are taken care of, supported, and rehabilitated with the best our country can offer. That they were shot at Ft. Hood, Texas rather than somewhere in Iraq or Afghanistan makes them no less casualties of the war on terror.

Thank you

Thursday, August 19, 2010

This Is So Cool...

...and I'm so glad it didn't come out before my son left for college; I had enough problems with bottle rockets and potato guns.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

So, Where Exactly Is Starbuck?

We're sure that Starbuck is actually in Europe, right?

Because reading this I'm a little afraid that he's kitted up as a Stormtrooper, performing deeds of derring-do in Miami.

AAARRRGGGHHH!!!! Or, "It's Clobberin' Time!!!"

Y'know, there's a lot of good that can come from reading heroic fiction--even if that fiction's a comic book. My parents used to let me read comic books because, then, at least I was reading*.

Now, we've got some junk science headshrinkers that are saying that comic book heroes, particularly as portrayed in popular movies, are bad for young men's development.

Carlos Santos, PhD, of Arizona State University, also found that a boys’ ability to resist at an early age, the superhero machismo of being emotionally stoic, autonomous, aggressive and physically tough -- stereotyped images of masculinity -- were more emotionally stable, friendly and had better psychological health in middle school.

Uh-huh. And I'm sure these geeks define being in "better psychological health" as more able to cry, and more willing to give a buddy a hug when he's feeling blue.

So we've got a cabal of shrinks that is determined to disincentivize being emotionally stoic, autonomous, aggressive, and physically tough. Hey kids, instead of going to see the new Wolverine movie, we're going to do flower arranging!! Yay!!

First, I've spent a lifetime trying (and often failing) to matriculate and master stoicism, autonomy, aggression, and mental, physical, and moral toughness. Geez, not only do we need to put the kabosh on those movies, but we probably ought to round up and burn as many copies of Epictetus as we can find. Show me how, from a societal point of view, whatever values/attributes with which the shrinks would replace stoicism, autonomy, aggression, and mental, physical, and moral toughness, and describe how it would be better from both individual and societal perspectives. Life ain't an episode of Oprah Winfrey, schmuck-o.

Second, the movie lauds the old superheroes when they were confined to comic books, but denigrates their attributes when they show up on the silver screen. But here's the deal: these movies are popularly acclaimed or panned based on how true the screenplay stays to the hero depicted in the graphic novel. Scorn one, you've impugned the other.

Finally, I hope the shrinks know psychology and anthropology better than they do comic books.
...today’s aggressive, emotionally unavailable, detached and self-engrossed macho versions of superheroes like “Iron Man”, rarely address the virtue of doing good for humanity unlike the superheroes of yesteryear like Superman and Green Lantern.

Hey, dumbass, the Green Lantern turned bad and died an evil, genocidal maniac.

Know what I did this weekend? I went to see The Expendables with my son. And I'll guaran-damn-tee you that'll create less male behavioral problems than if we'd stayed at home watching Oprah.

*Yuh, a little hyperbole there; I read a lot. Mostly because we either didn't have a TV or didn't have any channels in English. Mostly.

On The Mosque At Ground Zero

It always amazes me, that I can (and, in a general sense, am) labeled as a right wing extremist because I think the Constitution is the best social contract ever written--or established--and that it should be followed.

So now, I'm amazed to find that I'm also a bigot. A xenophobic bigot, actually, because I don't think a mosque should be established at ground zero (don't give me any of that "two blocks away" twaddle; the damn building got hit with aircraft debris, that counts as ground zero). I know I'm not as deep a thinker as all my more socially attuned betters who have carefully considered the issue and decided that it's the sensitive, tolerant thing to do, and anyone who doesn't agree is a...what, take your pick: racist Islamophobe bigot neanderthal. Okay, guilty on the neanderthal bit.

But, I'm a neanderthal who speaks, reads, and writes pretty dinkum Arabic, in a pinch. A neanderthal with a degree in Middle Eastern Studies. A neanderthal who's logged waaay more time than most in the Middle East--and that's not counting combat tours, either. I've studied and written (in professional venues) a lot on cross-cultural communications with Muslims and Arabs, and more than a little on IO/Strategic Communications to boot. But hey, don't let that detract from my troglodytic conviction that, from a War on Terror (I know, we're not supposed to say that anymore) perspective, putting a mosque on or near ground zero is bad ju-ju. That's from a professional military point of view that doesn't take into account how heart-wrenching such an edifice would be to those (bigoted racist Islamophobes) who lost friends, family and loved ones on 9/11.

Yup, just me and my brother bigoted racist Islamophobes hold that opinion. Even if such brethren are, uh, muslims:
"What the citizens of the U.S. fail to understand is that the battle against the 9/11 terrorists is not their battle. It is a Muslim battle – one whose flames are still raging in more than 20 Muslim countries... I do not think that the majority of Muslims want to build a monument or a place of worship that tomorrow may become a source of pride for the terrorists and their Muslim followers, nor do they want a mosque that will become a shrine for the haters of Islam... This has already started to happen: [the Islamophobes] are claiming that a mosque is being built over the corpses of 3,000 U.S. citizens who were buried alive by people chanting 'Allah akbar' – the same call that will be heard from the mosque..."

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

Better Than The World Cup

There's a place in sports for guys who use blow-dryers, don't like contact sports, and enjoy running (even though running, as we all know, breeds cowardice).
But while the blow-dryer hair gel set is all agog at the World Cup, a far more manly contest is on.
Fuerzas Comando 2010 is on! (note: the link will show up in Spanish, if you don't hable, you can switch it to English on the Google translator widget at the bottom of the page)
Basically, commandos/Special Operators from around the Western Hemisphere gather to compete against each other in sniping, CQB, and other Special Operations skills. This year, 18 countries are competing for the cup, including the US. The competition is usually held in a different country every year. This year's venue is the Dominican Republic. Good stuff, check it out.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Quick Round-Up

Posting has been and will probably continue to be pretty light. Work is busy, family stuff is busy, and thus blogging necessarily frequently falls by the wayside. Though it's a beautiful weekend, and the sun is out, it's not quite time to start drinking yet, so here's a quick round-up:
My lovely commute: frequently, on my long (ass-ripping) commute home from the greater Miami area to the Keys, I'll take Card Sound Road instead of the Overseas Highway; especially on the approach to weekends. Traffic is considerably lighter, the scenery is much more bucolic, and one doesn't have to worry about the general mayhem caused by the eternal and infernal construction. The drive is about 8-miles longer on Card Sound, but you don't have to contend with alcohol-fueled, drug-crazed partiholics that think that they can make it to Key West in under two hours.En route, one passes Alabama Jack's, a famed way point for Keys-bound travelers that is sort of a covered but un-walled eatery/bar. Good food. Cold beer. Mmmm. Earlier this week, though, there was an added attraction: apparently a Customs and Border Patrol bird had had to make an emergency landing when it experienced a "land-this-sucker-now!" maintenance problem. As someone who has cut, blown, and chopped a couple of landing zones, the parking lot of which the pilots availed themselves is itty-bitty, in terms of LZs. I guess the choices were put it in the drink (bad), put it in the mangroves (worse), or shoot for the postage-stamp sized parking lot. All in all, a pretty good piece of flying. I didn't stop and talk to the crew, as I figured, were it me, after a sphincter tightening landing I would not appreciate some goober coming up to observe, "so, looks like you had a mechanical issue, eh?" I didn't want to get punched in the eye, and plus there were cigars and cold beer waiting at home. Of course, there were cigars and cold beer in the truck with me, but consumption rates being what they are, I had to get home most ricki-tick.
Gaming: I've never been a huge gamer. The kids enjoy their various games/systems, but I've never really gotten into it. I did rack up about a million dead Nazi bastards on the first Call of Duty, but that's because sometimes you get home from work and absolutely have to kill somebody, and a virtual kill is a little more socially acceptable than other options. Once I wore out the PS2 and it gave up the ghost, though, I never really looked real hard for a replacement. I guess one of the big games out there now is Counter Strike, and a whole lot of people take it seriously.
So seriously, in fact, that cheating has some severe repercussions.

The Arizona border control law has a lot of people up in arms. Basically, I'm a control the border first type of guy. In fact, I kind of think the border should be controlled by a barrier that can be seen from space ("virtual fences" are like the "virtual kills" mentioned above. They might make you feel better, but achieve no real-world results). I also think that, once the borders are controlled, we can have a debate about how best to "reform" our system--especially on the legal immigrant side. Every couple years, we matriculate quantum leaps forward with our information technology, but these seem to have impacted our legal immigration timelines not at all.
I understand that there are varying opinions over this. And I try not to get too agitated by the rank hypocrisy of the Mexican government. But this type of thing makes me lean toward being a very, very Ugly American. Oh, reeeally? You feeling lucky, pendejo?

One of life's great questions has been answered. But it begs more, zen-like questions: Does it not smell, or can you just not smell it? Thought provoking. Sort of a vegetable-based koan.

Trusting our troops: I posited after the official (piece of shit) report on the Fort Hood shootings came out that our troops should be armed in order to protect themselves, but that it would never happen because commanders don't trust their troops enough to have them walking around home station locked and loaded. Herschel Smith* from the Captain's Journal alerts us to the fact that the same thing may be happening in theater.
Some soldiers are being ordered to conduct patrols without a round chambered in their weapons, The US Report has learned from an anonymous source at a forward operating base in Afghanistan. Our source was unsure if the order came from his unit or if it affected other units.
I agree with Mr. Smith that such orders aren't only negligent, they are criminal. But the real problem is that commanders who give such orders do not trust their troops. Personally, I'm of the mind that anytime you issue a troop a weapon, it should come with ammo and the weapon should be loaded. At least with sidearms and carbines. Sniper and crew served weapons should have ammo to hand, but keeping them loaded could be deleterious either to the ammo or to the proper functioning of the weapon.
So the mental calculus needed to reach this type of order is: "we are in a COIN fight, less violence is better. My troops need to minimize the level of violence they employ in their problem solving techniques, but still need to be able to defend themselves. I cannot trust them not to react precipitously in an ambiguous situation, so I am going to slow down their ability to employ lethal force by telling them to patrol without a round locked into the chamber."
This is, if reported accurately, green tab cowardice.

Speaking of snipers, this is a good article. My only beef with most sniper articles is that they under-report the role played by the spotter. At the distances discussed by the articled, there is a good chance that the sniper can not even see the target once he adjusts his optics for windage and elevation. It is the spotter, for once accurately described as observing the round strike and doing the calcs to bring the sniper a hit.

*Herschel Smith is a doughty, imminently readable blogger who provides a great perspective on all things military and especially all things related to the USMC. I feel compelled to clarify, though, that he is not the Herschel mentioned here. That Herschel was my grandfather, about whom a family member wrote, after reading the blog post
Sounds like the Uncle Herschel I remember. He was my hero too, and a classic cowboy. I'll never forget him waving goodbye to YYY and ZZZ after a Christmas dinner, then turning around saying, "Hot damn, the Baptists have left. Break out the booze." He proceeded to open the trunk where there was at least one case of whiskey. Daddy used to tell us about Uncle Herschel riding the wild mustangs from Kilgore where they brought them in on trains. He said by the time Herschel got them home, they were all bucked out and made good horses.
Some things just make you proud.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Small Town Memorial Day

In memory of those who gave their last full measure of devotion.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Retraction, Sorta Kinda

Apparently, the police who accompanied the SEIU protesters to the private residence of Greg Baer were "shadowing" the protesters, not escorting the protesters. Well, that certainly makes it all better. The DC and Chevy Chase police officers really help to clarify the situation. In the front side of the interview, they talk about coordinating with each other and the protesters' liaison; of course, toward the end of the interview the Chevy Chase guy says that the protesters didn't coordinate with a liaison because they didn't want the police there. Okay. The officers also state that the DC police did not escort/shadow the protesters into Maryland. They had a smooth, coordinated hand-off with the Maryland police at the state line...except that the Maryland police did not make any arrests because they arrived after the protest started breaking up.
All in all, not a great performance by the police. And the verbal wrangling over trespass/disorderly conduct esoterica comes out as pretty weak when contrasted with the video of the protesters on this guy's lawn. And while I may have to further ameliorate my comments on the police, the demeanor of the mob does nothing to negate the concerns expressed in the thought experiment.
BONUS: If you've ever doubted Mongo's Rule #1*, ever thought that the 2nd Amendment did not establish an individual right to bear arms, or ever thought that the citizenry needs no access to private weapons because the police provide that protection, listen to the police officer from about 09:12 to 09:20. That pretty much says it all.

*If you don't have a gun, you're chum.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Who Dares, Wins

In military service, there is often friction between the soldiers and the warriors.
In this particular instance, the warriors won.

It's The Sun, Stupid

I remember comparing anthropogenic global warming advocates to loin-cloth wearing shamans dragging a virgin up the slope of a volcano to pitch her in and keep the fire gods appeased.

I feel so validated.

H/t Taranto at Best of the Web Today

A Discomforting Thought Experiment

Let's say you've got two kids. You're on the way home from a weekend baseball game with Kid 2. Kid 1 is home alone, because he's a little older and he's been instructed not to leave the house and provided with an emergency contact list. If you're a modern day uber-parent, you've also probably told a couple of neighboring adults that Kid 1 will be home, and you've asked them to keep an eye on the place for the 2~3 hours that you're gone.
Now, on the way home, you turn onto your street and find an angry mob outside your house. They're carrying signs denigrating you and your profession, and are on your yard and porch. The mob's vitriol is way past aggression, and looks to be edging up to full-out violence. Kid 1 is terrified enough that he's locked himself in the bathroom.
Apparently, this all part of the new politics of intimidation.
Interesting. Whatever martial prowess I've been able to matriculate over the years, I certainly never considered portable mobs of protesting union rent-a-thugs in the gamut of potential bad-guy opponents.
So, the thought exercise: what if it were your house, your yard that had come under the protesters' siege? What if it were your child that was so terrorized he felt compelled to lock himself in the bathroom? I know the automatic, knee-jerk reaction would be that it's "game on." Note to SEIU thugs: Casa de Mongo is a bad, bad place to decide to hold a protest and threaten aggression. I've a lovely assortment of street-sweepers that would more than level the playing field. Punks.
Most states' laws dictating use-of-force by citizens use the reasonable man test as one of the elements of the justified use of force. In most states, the way I've heard it phrased is that if a reasonable man has a reasonable belief that he is under threat of life, grievous bodily injury, or sexual assault ("man" and "he" being used in the proper English sort of way to include women), then the man can use the appropriate force necessary to defend himself and/or extricate himself from the situation.
So, where does this fit in? How would you react? And it would be, I'm sure, pure reaction. I don't think anyone plans to come home to a (possibly violent) mob on one's property.
Fortunately, you look over the crowd and--whew!--see some police officers. They'll surely help you out to...ooh, yeah, sorry. See, the police are there to escort the protesters from DC to your neighborhood, well, to your house, actually. They are out of their jurisdiction. So, what the hell are they doing there? Can they act to protect you if the crowd goes bad? Will they (since they escorted) "defend" the mob from you if you feel threatened enough to employ violence? If the crowd does go bad (throws rocks or bottles, hits with sticks (from the protest signs) or displays with intent to employ any type of weapon, are the cops legitimate targets, as they are out of their jurisdiction and have, through overt action, demonstrated that they are with, conceivably part of, the mob? What'n hell are the police doing escorting thugs to a demonstration that is on private property??
The guy this happened to, Greg Baer, is a white-collar, business-type lawyer who probably hasn't had a fight since the third grade, if ever. Apparently, the SIEU decided to protest at his house because he's the deputy general counsel for corporate law at Bank of America. The SIEU thugs say that they chose Mr. Baer's to protest at his residence because BoA has been foreclosing on so many people, and they're just looking out for the common man, the little guy who has no resources with which to combat the nefarious bank. They fail to mention that the SIEU is in hock to BoA to the tune of about $90 million.


The sad thing, for our country, is that Chicago rules cut both ways. I would highly encourage political activists to tone down their assaults on citizens in their private homes, and assaults on families. We are, I get the feeling, edging up to the border of a place we don't want to be. The video below is a classic, but what if the terms weren't how far you were willing to go to "get Capone," but instead to "defend your family? Your property?"

H/t Powerline

Monday, May 17, 2010

Herschel Would Be Proud

I went into the military for two main reasons.
1. It was all I ever wanted to do. I can't imagine having chosen any other profession. I'm a little amazed that 20-odd years have flown by. And I'm still trying to figure out what I'll do when I grow up (professional athlete and Indian Chief are probably out of the running; I could still be a fireman somewhere, though).
2. I had to find an honorable way to avoid the implicit familial obligation to commit myself to a lifetime of ranching in Alabama. Back-breaking, before-the-sun-comes-up 'til after-the-sun-goes-down, day-in-day-out whatever the weather ranching. I've enormous respect for cattlemen. It's an unforgiving, all day, every day, ball-busting profession (profession, not job). I come from a family tradition of cattlemen. They are my heroes. And there's no way in hell I was going to do that for a living. It's truly a calling, and if you're not called, stay the hell away. I liked the cows. I liked the horses. I liked the guns and the auction barns and the honky-tonks and the ranges and pastures. But I didn't love it. And being a cattleman is a labor of love.
So, when I saw this political add (posted up on AoS) it brought me back. This guy is not a poseur. I can imagine putting boots up on the rails of the Kennett-Murray auction barn and spitting tobacco juice with this guy*. He's for real. God Bless 'im.

*Alabama cattlemen taught me to set a horse, gave me my first beer, my first shot of whiskey, my first lessons in shooting, first taught me the intricacies of the ambush (because we were going to By-God get the sumbitches that were putting sugar in the tanks of the cattle trucks). They also first, through the auspices of Herschel, exposed me to tobacco. As I looked around the Kennett-Murray auction barn, every cowboy there was chewing on some sort of tobacco. Plug, leaf, and pulverized. Some seemed to spit incessantly, some spit never. When I asked one of the cowboys about it, he said, "well, boy, some spit and some gut it." I begged a pocketknife and a rind of Cannonball plug off of Herschel. The juice was pretty sweet, and I didn't know then to have a container on hand, so I gutted it. Which went well for about 15 minutes. Then I stumbled outside and heaved into a big rubber-made trashcan on wheels. I was just tall enough to hook my chin over the lip of the trashcan. When I went back in and told Herschel I'd tossed my world-class cattleman's breakfast, he said,"That's all right, boy; it'll get the worms out." I think I was eight.

About That Oil Spill...

I'm a little confounded that, as British Petroleum and the US Gov't (pretty much in that order) generate options and possible solutions to the oil leak out in the Gulf, I've not heard anyone mention demolitions.
I know more than a little about demolitions, more than I ever wanted to know about fluid dynamics, and absolutely nothing about oil drilling, petro-engineering, or marine geology. Still, if we think we can hit a "bulls-eye" at 5km subsurface with that top-hat thingie, are you telling me we can't properly position a couple of shaped charges to shut the damn leak down? You gotta be kidding me.
I've oft been criticized for an overt enthusiasm with and for demolitions. And even in the schoolhouse, I was upbraided numerous times for my robust employment of the P-factor (in demo calcs, P= Plenty. Admittedly, I never came close to Dirty Pat's trademarked, patent-pending "dirty diaper charge," which was a thing of beauty and a work of art).
With the pressure of 5 km of incompressible water up above the leak, I find it hard to believe that there is not a charge array that could shut the fucker down. I mean, BP guys are now pinning their hopes on golf balls and shredded tires, and no one's talking C-4? That's rooty-poot, man.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

C'mon, Grow a Pair

South Park has done more to deflate cultural shibboleths than any other show I've seen. Comedy Central has backed their skewering of about every sacred cow out there. Until they backed down from Islam. So, I guess free speech is pretty cool...until you've got to accept a little risk to practice it. Knuckleheads.
From Day by Day.
H/t Powerline.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Because I Am Welsh

Sometimes it's better to be lucky than to be good. And some times it's better to be quick, too.
RIP Mr. Lane. We salute you and those like you.
H/t Jay Nordlinger

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Not Getting Political, Just An Observation

Y'know, like a lot of my brethren in the unwashed proletariat, I was a little concerned over the seemingly extra-constitutional procedure used to manifest our new Health Care law. Call me a wild-eyed savage, but I was a little concerned that we might not be manifesting the will of the governed the way a representative republic should. I know, I got a little shaken, must've been from listening to too much Rush Limbaugh on my long (ass ripping) commute.
I apologize. I got a little shaky there contrasting Adams, Madison, Mason, Jefferson, et al with Pelosi, Reid, and Stupak.
But now I've been calmed by seeing the stellar intellectual crowd holding the reins and this, well, this absolutely demonstrated that I was hysterically under the sway of those tea partying bastards. Sorry guys, I don't know what I was thinking. I'm ever so much better now.
Our Founders would be proud.

The Professor of War

Mark Bowden, author of Blackhawk Down and Killing Pablo, has written an in-depth profile of GEN Patraeus.
Worth the read.

"We Don't Anticipate That," or, Consummate Professionalism

Now, see, this is why Boss Mongo isn't allowed to brief Congress. I've done the staff work. I've created the briefs. I've been the sole subject matter expert that can explain the whole shebang to the briefing officer. But under no circumstances have I ever been allowed to actually be the guy testifying. 'Struth, there is wisdom in that. I can guarantee you that my response--voluntary or involuntary--could in no way have matched the deadpan professionalism of this outstanding admiral.

H/t Powerline

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Why Ask Why?

Okay, read this article in a the UK Telegraph stating that GEN McChrystal and CSM Hall have decided to do away with some of the amenities on large Afghan bases like Bagram and Kandahar. Burger King, TGIF, etc are about to disappear because, in the Command Sergeant Major's words, "what it comes down to is focus." Uh-huh.
The whole line of reasoning, in both the UK Telegraph and in the CSM's post on the unit blog, sounds a wee bit mangled to me. Okay, the CSM states that "this is a war zone, not an amusement park." Thanks for clearing that up, Sergeant Major. I'm sure that the studs on their second, third, or fourth tour in the box were befuddled by the Pizza Hut trailer (yes, most of the concessions like BK and Pizza Hut are in little trailers, which only have an ordering window and a picnic table out front). In a previous post, I found and linked to a pretty good analysis that argued that
In Iraq and Afghanistan, army combat troops often get 200 days of combat in one 12 month tour, which is more than their grandfathers got during all of World War II.

I'm thinking that few of the kids that are over there have any illusions about where they are and what they are doing. Accusing a troop who looks forward to a whopper--maybe even something so decadent as a whopper with cheese--of not being mission focused, or of thinking that he's been sent to Coney Island for a year, is pretty fucking insulting.
Look, I'm sure that there are reasons for shutting down concessions that the troops enjoy--but I'm also pretty sure that those reasons have more to do with Command perceptions than reality. Those who say that "perception is reality" don't have a tight enough grip on reality.
First of all, the reasoning that troops pushed out on small outposts don't have BK, Pizza Hut, et al is specious. REMFs will always get over compared to front line (or "on outpost") troops, that's the nature of the beast regardless of how many concessions you close.* Okay, the troops on outposts don't have hot chow, running water, or electricity. They are fighting for the mission and their lives every day. So closing Burger King is supposed to give the FOBbits what, moral parity? Have all the FOB Dining Facilities stopped serving Surf & Turf once a week? I've served both on FOBs and out in the field, and I can tell you that
1. Nothing the FOBbits could go through would make me cut them any slack, and
2. Although I never thought of it in these terms then, knowing the privations any REMFs were going through would not have ameliorated my own bitches about my own hardships.
Oh, and do you think a troop assigned to a far-flung outpost might enjoy a Whopper when he passes through the FOB on that rare occasion when the mission pulls him back?
Mongo Rule #4: Never begrudge anyone a good deal.
Another reason proffered for saving our troops from the threat to good order and discipline that consuming french fries boiled up in hydrogenated vegetable oil is that Afghanistan-based units need the storage space and convoy volume in order to support the surge that are currently encumbered by concessionaires. Uh-huh. Then I'm sure that there is a staff study out there showing that combat troops are shorted because of (Burger King- rather than Dining Facility-bound) sesame seed hamburger buns.
Also, let's at least be consistent. The CSM expounds on the decision on the ISAF blog, but while his post has a lot of good Sergeant Major shit in it, it doesn't provide a lot of clarity to the decision making process. Burger King is being closed, but the Green Bean coffee shops are staying open. Let's see, where do people generally go when their explicit purpose is to fuck off? A burger stand, or a coffee house? Do the troops on the combat outposts have Green Bean and Starbucks, but not Burger King, so that's why the BK has to go?
I guess this is one of those command imponderables: why ask why?

*I remember waay back when I was a young 2LT Platoon leader during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. I had a lot of frustrations trying to accomplish the mission within our incredibly austere logistics environment. My units Deployment SOP stated that troops had to deploy with two pairs of boots. Within a few short weeks of working daily in ankle-deep sand, most troops' boots were abraded all the way through, and the guys were binding them up with 100 mph tape (the mil version of duct tape). Digging a foxhole in the sand was ever so much fun, but once we had cracked the code on the digging/sandbag emplacement kabuki dance that would let us actually dig a name-tape deep foxhole, we were still screwed because we couldn't get the 4x4 planks of plywood that we needed to use as the base of our overhead cover. We were eating MREs for every meal, except that the unit strove to provide us with a hot T-ration meal, with some sort of reasonably fresh salad and one soda pop per man at least once a week.
So after we had been there (Saudi Arabia) for a couple/three months, I get tagged one month to go to Corps to pick up the cash for the monthly battalion casual pay. My unit dropped me off at battalion, which gave me a ride up to brigade. After that, I pretty much had to hitchhike to division and from there to corps. The whole thing took about three days up and three days back, and is a story unto itself--especially the return trip. For whatever reason, some reg or policy stated that I had to have a side arm. So I had to turn in my M16-A2 and draw a M1911 .45, which was older than me, if not my father, and sort of rattled a lot if you shook it. Yuh, I was real happy hitchhiking home with a ratty-ass pistol and a briefcase with around $50k in it. What could possibly go wrong?
The point of the story is what happened when I got up to corps. First I had to get a legal brief from the Staff Judge Advocate pukes (reverting to my Infantry mindset for the purposes of the story). The huge GP Large Tent was totally floored with...4x4 pieces of plywood that you can be damn sure should've been up front providing troops with some means of building overhead cover. Every corps puke REMF bastard was wearing a brand new set of boots--desert boots!--specifically designed to withstand the Saudi sands. I (no shit) saw pallets of soda pop strewn about, and almost had a fucking aneurysm when I watched a couple young troops grab sodas off the pallet, take a couple quick swigs, and then toss their cans into the 55-gallon drum still half full. I also saw pallets filled with bundles of glassine envelopes with some kind of cardboard element inside. I found out that these weird widgets were water-operated MRE heaters. Who knew? I asked a couple of people that seemed associated with supply and/or transportation when these pallets--pallets!!--of MRE heaters would be pushed to the front. No one seemed to know. They never were.
Needless to say, the whole trip was an awakening.

Monday, March 29, 2010

An Elephant, An Ant, And The Punchline,"Did I Hurt You, Darling?"

I meant to post on this jackassery this weekend, but got caught up in domestic stuff (Panthers Girls' Softball win 10-1, meow!) . Not a big deal that I'm two days late, because the event itself was rooty-poot.
Earth hour: WTF is that about?
So, for one hour during the evening, we're supposed to turn off our lights, and presto! change-o! We'll make an impact on man-made global warming, or (now that the "warming" piece isn't working out so well) Man Made Climate Change. Or, if you're an egghead that has to prove your point by establishing unassailable intellectual acumen, Anthropogenic Climate Change. Phooey.
Y'know, even before the whole climate gate thing kicked in, I had some serious doubts about the whole "man-made" global warming spiel. I'm not going to try to document it here, and besides, you can go to Rush Limbaugh to get real citations for 100,001 reasons to throw the bullshit flag. While not a scientist, I'm pretty big on the scientific method and use it as a lens through which to view a lot of life [yuh, my primary lens is the martial arts, no doubt and don't get your panties in an uproar; but check it out, when I'm out on the mats and I've heard about, seen, or experienced a certain tactic or technique, I immediately break out the ol' scientific method: let's see if we can turn this observation into a hypothesis into a theory for the appropriate conduct of close combat through trial and error]. I don't see that from the protagonists of the Global Warming crowd. Do you?
I hear plenty of shrill screams that the science is settled. I hear plenty of "denier" ad hominem attacks. And, most damningly, I hear constant, almost plaintive excuses as to why or how the raw data of the "theory" can't be turned over for independent verification. Huh?
Despite the "elephant/ant" joke alluded to above, the imagery that the hysterical global warming crowd evokes is that of a breech clout-clothed shaman, his hair festooned with peacock feathers and his body whitewashed in a lime-paste coat dragging a screaming, kicking virgin up the volcano in order to throw her in, and thus appease the fire gods and prevent an eruption.
So for our designated time-hack for earth hour, I lit up the house (and a cigar), vacuumed every damn room while I had the kids keeping the laundry wheel spinning, and cooled the house to a nice 61 degrees--oh, and I had all the girls (trading off between folding and loading iterations) run shifts through the shower and had them blow dry/curl/flatten/whatever their hair.
Earth Hour my...pale moon.
Of course, maybe like most people, I don't deserve a vote because I'm too stupid, so democracy should be suspended while my intellectual and moral betters figure out what's good for me--and the planet.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Practice...And Clear Days

-Operating in temps below -40C? Not a problem.
-Iron sights, because optics won't survive the cold and give your position away, anyway? Piece of cake.
-Half your face shot off? Just doin' the job, man.
-Total body count? Oh, around 700 (200 up close with a sub-machine gun).

Any way you slice it, Simo Häyhä was a stone cold stud (no pun intended). Yeah, "the White Death" is a pretty pretentious moniker, but I'd say he earned it...

H/t to AoSHQ

Monday, March 15, 2010

There's Always a Silver Lining...Or Not

Another from Mr. Rummel: The Sad Facts of Life.
My personal favorite:

SFOL#67: All warnings on medicine bottles are bullshit. You can always take more than 6 of anything in 24 hours, and you can drink alcohol with EVERYTHING.

A Point To Ponder

Hell in a Hand Basket poses a question that strikes close to home. I've not been posting much lately. Not because I've lost my desire to blog, but more because I'm stuck with the ingrained ethic of "if you can't do it right, don't do it at all." So, while there are a plethora of subjects I'd like to blog about, I'm chary of putting out weak or poorly formulated posts.
Everyone knows that a blog entry is not going to be as refined as, say, a submission to a professional journal (and, uh, I'm not doing that, either). Still, I'm a far cry from establishing a decent "blog balance." Working through it.
Cutesy comments about current events are one thing. But serious topics deserve serious consideration and a decent rendering of the pro's and con's.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It's Kind Of Like "Conjunction Junction," Only For Today

If they'd shown me this in Econ 101, I might've passed the damn course. Good piece of work, because whichever side you believe in, the vid makes you pound your chest, proclaiming "see what I'm talking about?"

H/t (gulp) The Daily Kos

It Ain't About How Hard You Hit

Generally, This Just Isn't Done...

...But in this particular case, there's an exception to policy. Usually, aviators aren't awarded he-man studmuffin nifty rad hep cat macho points. Whatever heroic actions they take, are counterbalanced by the blow-dryers and beeswax lip gloss--er, balm. However, Flight Lieutenant Ian Fortune has given the whole of the aviation community bonus + man points for about the next three years.
Well done, LT.

Imperial Hubris

Blackfive points out that we're doing it again, foisting our American culture on a hapless indigenous culture for what are probably invidious reasons.
Blood for oil? Nope.
False accusations of WMD? Nope.
It's even worse: reflector belts.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

People In The Keys Are Pretty Laid Back...

...but if the Obama administration and NOAA ram through all these fishing regulations/restrictions, I do believe the Conch Republic will secede from the Union.

How Low Have You Sunk...

...when your breastmilk is declared a biohazard?

H/t Drudge

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

RIP, COL Bob Howard

COL Bob Howard, one of our country's most highly decorated warriors, was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery last Monday. Rest in peace, sir.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I'm Sorry But...

...Am I really supposed to give a F@*# about curling? Really? This is a sport? Actually, one would think that this is THE sport given the amount of coverage. I must be missing something.

Criticism Where Criticism is Due

Fuck. Sackcloth. Ashes. Hairshirt. Scourge. This report on the "Quiet Professionals" serving in Afghanistan is comprehensively damning. Recommend that you go to the link, watch the video provided there, and then read the article in full, to include the comments.
There are plenty of arguments I could bring up in extenuation or mitigation of the condemnations provided in the link. But still.
The only comment I will make, to all those who condemn USASOC for "allowing" this video to be published is this: The military has no control, no vetting, no screening, no censorship over the press once the press has gained access an event, unless there is something classified in the report. In other words, the only control the military has is the binary option of whether to admit access. After that, the press can slice and dice it however they want. Punto.
So, the silver lining is that DoD had enough confidence in its SF troopers to allow 60 Minutes three months of embedded access. The downside is that it was this particular team.
Without seeing the other four thousand hours of video taken, all I can say is: Epic Fail

So What You're Saying Is, "Basically, I'm a Parasite"

Got wind of this article from Blackfive: How To Leave A Soldier.
Although the authoress is well-written and expunges any internal venom or vitriol from her narrative, the article, to me, as a committed military professional, is simply stunning. I may well be taking the whole thing too personally, as her former husband's career timeline pretty much parallels my own, except (not denigrating the ex's) mine--and my family's--was/is tougher.
The article is the most ego-centric screed I've read in a while, to the point that it almost seems like parody. Every deployment, every friction point, is examined and articulated strictly in the terms that it affects the authoress.
In fact, when I review the authoress' timeline, she had a pretty fucking easy ride. The deployments that caused her relationship--or, her commitment to her relationship--to dissolve were often years apart. This passage, in particular, leads me to thinking that I'm reading the musings of an ego-centric bitch
Then came 9/11. My husband, like so many others, saw the attacks as a call to action. He went back on active duty and volunteered for a tour in Egypt. Our children were old enough to miss their father now. I put a calendar up in the kitchen so we could check off the days, took them both for cupcakes to cheer them up as we walked home from kindergarten. A part of me was proud of how brave we were all being. The other part was weary with being brave. I took a job at an independent bookstore and started spending time with the young, funny, book-reading guys I met there. When John came back things were awkward. I couldn't stop myself from being angry, couldn't help feeling abandoned.

So, you resent the fact that your husband couldn't refuse the sweet siren song of duty after your country was attacked and he figured that he had the training and experience that might just help preserve our country and our way of life. But hey, at least you got to spend time with young, funny, book-reading guys at the bookstore in which you worked. I mean, what better foil against which to compare your manly, balls-to-wall husband than a bunch of snarky, wise-cracking, haven't-done-shit-in-the-real-world post-adolescents who are still probably living off of Mom and Dad--mostly Mom.
What makes me foam at the mouth is the total moral vacuity of the authoress. When I look at the sacrifices that I've seen a multitude of Army wives go through--not to mention my own wife, and our kids--I pretty much want to vomit. There is no awareness at all of serving a greater good. Of any sort of cognizance at all of sacrificing for something above and beyond one's own self. Instead, it's all about her.
Hey, Toots, I've seen Army wives suck it up to a degree you can't even imagine. I've seen women that have put up with circumstances that would drive a Valkyrie to her knees. I've seen a snowed-in housing block where the sole husband not deployed (with a four-wheel vehicle) stomped house to house asking "Okay, so what do you need above and beyond diapers, milk, and bread?" I've known Army wives who have seen their husbands deployed two of every three years since 911 because of the husbands' particular skills and training. I've seen wives who've had to follow behind the Chaplain and Notification Officer again and again, because their husband was the Commander, and try to help a new widow pick up the pieces of her shattered life, while still scared spitless over her own husband's fate. I've seen a street marked in chalk, where all the wives could gather of an evening, with the chalk marks delineating where all could get reception on their baby-monitors.
This woman is a disgrace because she doesn't once acknowledge the impact of her (former) husband's service beyond how it impacts her. She doesn't acknowledge that the service and sacrifice of an Army wife is as great and significant as that of the Soldier himself. She can see no further than how it affects her.
The great irony is that she now lives in Manhattan with her avowed Marxist husband, cuddling over hot cocoa at night over some book or other, without realizing that the fact that she doesn't cringe every time a jet flies over is because of her ex.
Yeah, leaving a Soldier on deployment is easy, bitch.