Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Another Meme Down The Memory Hole 
Remember that hilarious YouTube parody of Hillary's campaign, in which the author superimposed English subtitles of a fictional rant by Hillary Clinton over a German-language scene from Das Untergang depicting Hitler ranting at his commanders in the last days of the Nazi regime?

I thought it was the funniest thing I had ever seen on YouTube.

Unfortunately, the video has mysteriously disappeared.

It can't be that YouTube is protecting the copyright on the Untergang movie. For one, the video was clearly parody, protected under fair use, and second, a number of other similar parodies using the exact same scene are still up on YouTube.

I can't imagine the author wanting to take down his masterful work.

Why did YouTube disappear the Clinton Bunker parody?

Splash, out


Labels: ,

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Fiddle blogging - Two jigs from a fine young player 
I just can't say enough good things about Ms. Bronwyn de Paor, from Ennis, Ireland, and the way she plays these two jigs by Tommy Peoples.

Exquisitely done. Just exquisite.... and she's not even 18!

math dhà-rìreadh, a Mhàighdeann de Paor!

Splash, out


Labels: , ,

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

There are some things I will never joke about. 
But the Holocaust isn't one of them.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Great Moments In: Logo Design 

Not sure where I snagged this from, alas.

Splash, out


Labels: , ,

Always be kind. For everyone is fighting a great, great battle. 
I was struck by the photograph in this sad story...

The collection agencies call at least 20 times a day. For a little quiet, Diane McLeod stashes her phone in the dishwasher.

But right up until she hit the wall financially, Ms. McLeod was a dream customer for lenders. She juggled not one but two mortgages, both with interest rates that rose over time, and a car loan and high-cost credit card debt. Separated and living with her 20-year-old son, she worked two jobs so she could afford her small, two-bedroom ranch house in suburban Philadelphia, the Kia she drove to work, and the handbags and knickknacks she liked.

Then last year, back-to-back medical emergencies helped push her over the edge. She could no longer afford either her home payments or her credit card bills. Then she lost her job. Now her home is in foreclosure and her credit profile in ruins.

This woman is in her 40s and struggling under a mountain of debt, with her home in foreclosure. She has to live with her 20 year old son to make ends meet (though a lot of 20 year olds still live with their parents, anyway. But not because the PARENT has to, but because the child has to.)

On top of that, she's overweight, and look at the table! A can of fully-sugared Coca Cola, a bottle of what looks to be Yoo-Hoo chocolate drink, and an ash tray.

There's just so much wrong with that picture. It's the picture of resignation, defeat, and surrender.

I wish I could buy her a cup of coffee and tell her that she doesn't have to surrender. She can still go on the attack. Pick a front and take ownership of it. It might be smoking, it might be the sugar, it might be exercising more. But small successes lead to big ones.

I should take this opportunity to highlight one of my favorite blogs: Escape From Obesity.

Some weeks back, when I quit my long-hours-at-a-desk marketing gig and had several weeks off, I decided to change a lot of bad habits. I decided I was going to make my health priority one every day. Cleaning up my diet, not overeating (I mentioned on this blog at some point, my biggest vice is stress eating.)

I started lifting weights, working out, signed up to study martial arts (krav maga), and overall kicked myself in the ass.

As a result, I've dropped about 15 pounds, taken about 2 minutes off my two-mile run time (if the treadmill calculates distance accurately), and my khakhi shorts are falling down when I walk, unless I have the presence of mind to wear a belt.)

Now, I've made some of the same resolutions before. But this time, I actually had TIME to build these good habits with a minimum of distractions. But that wasn't the only difference. The real difference was that I also had time to look to others who had overcome challenges far greater than mine - and who were successful. I read their blogs, got their tips, watched their time-lapse photos on YouTube, taken over weeks, months, and years, and cheered them on, and let their success rub off on me.

I went out and found every personal weight loss accountability blog I could find. Ok, most of them are pretty lame, to be honest. But what's NOT lame is reading the initial entry! What got them started? What was the emotional spark that got the fitness engine running? What motivated them to turn that ship around?

Anyway, Lyn, the author of Escape from Obesity, is just an amazing, human blogger. Just riveting. Most of us would regard a weight loss blog as something trivial. But that's nonsense. For some people, it's a matter of life and death. It's a life of playing with their kids or having to watch your children's childhood go by without you.

Since beginning her blog, in August of last year, Lyn, a mother of young children, has lost 62 pounds...and changed her life. But I keep coming back and reading and rereading her very first post, Why I Am Fat:

Well, here I am at 5'7 and 278 pounds, a walking, living, breathing mound of fat layered on top of a thin person. Well, not walking so much these days, as my knees are shot from the excess poundage for 10 years. Yes, I have ruined my knees, my health, my chance to move freely and enjoy this one life I have been given. Why? For a brownie. Yes, for one brownie I traded my soul and my happiness. If you are thin you might think that is ridiculous. If you are fat you know the sense of sheer desperation and loss of all sensibility when you smell a warm, freshly baked, rich, chewy, fudgy brownie. Ahhhhhh, yes, a hot brownie with a glass of skim milk. Did that one brownie make me fat? Well, technically no. But it is that one moment, that split second when one decides that a brownie is worth whatever consequences it brings... it is the hundreds of times in ten years when one brownie does not seem all that harmful... it is the accumulation of 500 brownies, 300 Big Macs, 700 Cokes, 800 chocolate chip cookies, 150 slices of cheesecake... over a ten year span, that got me to where I am. Each instance is small. Just one brownie. Just for today. Add them up and you get to be 130 pounds overweight. In each and every instance, I chose a bite of this or a taste of that for my health and happiness.

I never understood the saying, "Nothing tastes as good as thin feels." Of course it does!!! How could being thin compare to the deep dark chocolate taste in a slice of Triple Chocolate Cheesecake?? Or a plate of bacon/cheese smothered french fries drenched in salt and dunked in ranch dressing???? Being thin could not POSSIBLY compare to the ecstacy of eating those foods. But suddenly, recently, I had a revelation. It is not that 5 minutes of standing around hungry being thin feels better than shoving fantastic, greasy, near-orgasmic foods into my ever-waiting mouth. It is that 5 minutes of ecstacy in eating WHATEVER delights I can imagine, is no comparison to an hour, a day, a year, a lifetime of being healthy and alive, being able to run and play with my kids, being able to ride a horse or roller blade or fit in a normal size lawn chair without collapsing it. No brownie, no PLATE of brownies, no chest full of chocolate cheesecakes can compare with the opportunity to walk down the beach with my family and to live long enough to see and know my grandchildren. No cookie or Big Mac is worth being stuck in the house, immobile with bad knees, and knowing that my kids are embarrassed of me when I come around their friends. It is not worth it. Feeling miserable and being immobile is too high a price to pay for that brownie. I am not going to live this way anymore.

I think it was St. Bartholomew who admonishes us to be kind. For everyone is fighting a great, great battle.

Splash, out


Labels: , , ,

Be Careful What You Wish For 
We've all been wanting oil prices to come down. Well, not libtards, apparently, but reasonable, responsible, mature thinkers would like to see oil prices come down.

You see, in an engine, oil is a lubricant, that helps an engine run smoothly, without overheating and scraping metal shavings off of the engine parts as they move together.

But in an economy, oil is a friction, not a lubricant. Energy prices above zero represent a drag on the economy. Only oilmen sell oil for its own sake. For everyone else, oil, and its derivatives, represents overhead, not revenue.

Well, oil prices have just undergone their biggest weekly drop ever.


No major new sources of energy - either in oil nor in some replacement technology - have come on board. And there has been no sudden sea change in the willingness of the libtards in Congress to allow these new sources of energy to come on line.

Even if they did, the long time lag between Congress's willingness to take the responsible course of action and the time the new energy could actually reach the market would mean that the net present value - the value of a future kilowatt's worth of oil or some form of energy that can replace a kw worth of oil someday, discounted by a reasonable interest rate back to today, of that new energy, as set by marketmakers, is quite small.

No, if energy is falling all of a sudden, that's not because of the expectation of good news on the supply side. It's because of the expectation of bad news on the demand side.

Oil prices are falling because economies are slowing down, and as a result, are not locking in future prices on nearly as much oil.

That said, I'll wager that 90% of the dumbasses that blame "speculators" for high oil prices don't even know what a speculator is in this market, or what they do.

Splash, out


Labels: , ,

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Agence France Press 
Photo and caption:

US soldiers secure the area at a newly installed check-point at the Babadag training facility in Tulcea, Iraq. A string of suicide attacks against Iraqi security forces killed at least 37 people on Tuesday, including 28 when two suicide bombers blew themselves up among a crowd of army recruits, security officials said. (AFP/Daniel Mihailescu).

The blank adapters and MILES transmitters are a nice touch, no?

Via Hot Air.

Splash, out


Quote of the Day 
Ralph Peters: "We should have killed that punk on a battlefield where it was legal to do so."

Labels: ,

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A desperate fight 

The Taliban attempted to overrun a newly established U.S. outpost in the Kunar Province of Afghanistan, launching a complex attack at approximately 4:30 in the morning. As of right now, the coalition confirms that nine U.S. soldiers have been killed in the attack, with 15 more US troops and 4 Afghan troops wounded.

Bill Roggio has more details, including information about a separate incident in which the Taliban was able to mass in company strength and conduct an ambush.

This engagement ended better for us, with US Marines and allied Afghans killing 40 screaming moojies in the Helmand province in Southern Afghanistan.

The Taliban have been resurgent lately, undertaking bolder and larger scale operations, though these are very risky for them, since to concentrate in enough force to overrun a combat outpost, they would have to gather in clumps large enough to be vulnerable from the air. I suspect that Taliban casualties in the first attack will prove to be severe indeed.

But, of course, they don't care a lot about their own. The point of the attack was, doubtless, to successfully overrun and eliminate an outpost at whatever cost. The real target isn't the US military. The real target is the halls of congress, the halls of parliament in allied nations, and the media.

Were they successful? That's up to us.

Meanwhile, send up a prayer for our fallen soldiers, our families, and all the men and women of the units engaged.

Splash, out


(P.S., The photo, I believe, was taken by Ahmad Terry. The photo is not connected to the incident today.)

Labels: , ,

Saturday, July 12, 2008

RIP Tony Snow 
Drilling this weekend, so I don't have time to do much blogging. I did want to log on long enough to publicly pay my respects to Tony Snow, who passed away this week at the tragically young age of 53.

I haven't owned a television set since Bob Dole was running for President. But if there were more people on TV news like Tim Russert and Tony Snow, I probably would have made sure to have one all these years. Tony was eloquent, engaging, honest, likeable, and a very able spokesman for the Administration.

As the public voice and face of Government, Tony Snow's job was huge. And he handled it with grace and class every day.

RIP Mr. Snow. And thank you for your service to journalism and for your time spent in the direct employ of the people of the United States.

You will be missed.

ADDED: I had no idea, but Tony was a musician!

And here he is playing with Ian Anderson!


Scroll into the comments to see what the baying lefty jackals at Balloon Juice were saying about Petraeus last year.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Hello, what's this??? 
According to Howard Kurtz, CBS correspondent Lara Logan "had spent the previous two months involved in negotiations that freed a kidnapped CBS videographer, Richard Butler."

But Butler wasn't freed by negotiations. He was freed by an Iraqi Army raid. At least, according to previously published reports.

So what's the backstory here?

What was the settlement? What did CBS give away? And to whom? What did they offer? Was it a promised story or angle? Cash? Did they just turn every CBS journalist on the planet in to a walking, talking certified check?

More, please, Mistuh Kurtz!

Splash, out


ASIDE: Originally, I planned to write a post, basically saying let he who is without the first sin cast the first stone here. Lara is human, as is her paramour. I congratulate her on her pregnancy, and I propose that slack should be cut for her.

Labels: ,

The libtard intellect!

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

More on Guns 
Reader Nate writes in:

You'll get lots of letters on this topic, I'll be brief:

You're Army so you trained on the Beretta M-9. First shot double action, later shots single action. That's why you like autos - later shots straighter, less trigger pull.

BUT the most popular cop gun brand is Glock, which is double-action only. Every trigger pull is full cycle. Makes it handle just like a double-action revolver. No accuracy advantage to the auto over a revolver but no disadvantage, either.

Second-shot accuracy of autos over revolvers isn't a good reason to object to the DC policy.

Heller said the Second Amendment protects weapons in common usage, but not unusual weapons. Leaving aside all the 9mm Glocks and Berettas in private hands, the venerable .45 ACP was invented 99 years ago and there are literally millions in service across the country. There's nothing unusual about semi-auto pistols, regardless of magazine capacity. If the Second Amendment doesn't limit us to muskets (the arms common in 1776), it doesn't limit us to arms common before 1900, either (revolvers instead of autos). That's the real basis for objecting to DC's policy.

Splash, out


Labels: , ,

Shoots as fast as lightning but it loads a might slow 
Steve Earle on firearms:

Monday, July 07, 2008

Close-Quarters Marksmanship In Home Defense: Revolvers v. Semis 
Glenn Reynolds links to this article detailing how the District of Columbia would like to get around the Supreme Court's Heller decision by continuing to ban semiautomatic pistols. If the plan is adopted, the city would restrict legal ownership of firearms for home defense purposes to revolvers.

Current city law defines a "machine gun" to mean "any firearm which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily converted or restored to shoot: a) Automatically, more than one shot by a single function of the trigger; b) Semiautomatically, more than 12 shots without manual reloading."

Gura said the Heller decision does not protect "dangerous or unusual weapons" — like fully automatic, military style machine guns — but it does protect weapons "in common use" or those people would use for "lawful purposes." Semiautomatics, which police departments have made their weapon of choice, would fall under that category, Gura said.

"It's unfortunate that, you know, they seem to think that a ban on semiautomatic firearms is constitutional. It's not," Gura said. "Semiautomatics are garden variety. It's a normal, non-exotic, typical technology. It does not let you spray bullets. ... People here 'automatic,' and they think, 'Oh, it's Rambo.' It's not."

Mendelson said he does have a limit to what he thinks is safe.

"I think an individual possessing a handgun that can fire 18 rounds — that is loaded and can fire 18 rounds semiautomatically — is a problem for public safety in the District," Mendelson said. "I don't know what the correct number is, but something less (than 18 shots)."

Peter Nickles, interim attorney general for the city, said it remains to be seen whether the city will include any updates on semiautomatics as part of its rules changes. Currently, the city is trying to balance a number of issues, including meeting the court's ruling and avoiding further legal challenges.

Pluff said the argument for allowing semiautomatic pistols might be overstated, at least when it comes to self-defense. Revolvers are more accurate, more reliable and easier to manage than higher-tech semiautomatic pistols in an emergency, he said.

"From an accuracy standpoint, from a reliability standpoint, revolvers are still very popular," Pluff said.

He said the chief priority in his mind for a self-defense weapon is "to take myself away from danger. ... For most people, most confrontations, it's not going to be a high volume of rounds being shot."

But, Pluff said, when it comes to safety inside the home — a major question in the minds of policymakers — semiautomatics and revolvers are no different.

In practical terms, this is nonsense.

It is true that revolver rounds typically have a straighter trajectory. But that is because revolver rounds are frequently more powerful than your standard 9mm or similar common pistol round. (Remember Dirty Harry?). Novice shooters may also prefer the revolver because it is more intuitive. You can figure it out by looking at it. And revolvers have no safety switches to worry about...but experienced shooters will have rehearsed the safety flick many times and will master it with motor memory after a time.

The bottom line is this: These ignoramuses are ignoring one of the key differences between a semiautomatic pistol and a revolver:

Every round you fire with a revolver requires the shooter to manually cycle the hammer from the down position all the way back to the cock position before you can fire again. The semiautomatic pistol, on the other hand, harnesses the recoil to slide the bolt back, pushing the hammer back to the cocked position for you.

This means that except for the very first round, the semiautomatic firer has a significant advantage in speed compared to the typical revolver firer.

That brings us to the fundamentals of tactical close range combat shooting.

The typical close quarters pistol engagement in a chaotic setting...for example, in a home where the assailant has the element of surprise working for him... happens at extremely close range - typically within 10 or 15 feet.

At that range, the ballistic accuracy of the revolver round compared to the semiautomatic round - that would be relevant at longer ranges (25-50 meters) is totally irrelevant. For the purposes of the close quarters life-and-death engagement against a man-sized target within a room, both firearms are accurate enough.

In the life-or-death gunfight at close quarters, the key is to be able to get your first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth shots off as fast as possible... BEFORE your assailant has a chance to get his shot off at you. In that context, you don't take a nice sight picture aligning the attacker's center of mass or head nicely on the front sight post like you do at the range. Instead, for the first shot or two, you rely on motor memory and instinctive muscular alignment to point and shoot, even while the pistol is on its way up to the picture perfect tactical pistol firing stance.

You may grab a pistol from the drawer, pivot, fire, and fire three more times before you line up the sight posts. This is good. It's all about speed, and short-circuiting the attacker.

To illustrate what I'm talking about, have a look at this clip:

Look at the drills between :30 and :38.

Notice none of them involve aimed shots. All of them involved 'double tapping,' firing two or more rounds, from the gut.

The first shot may be lethal, but that's not what's important. What's important is that by getting your shot off FAST, you short-circuit your attacker's draw...and continue short-circuiting it by firing faster than the attacker. You can do it with a revolver. But your first shot is very likely a miss and your second and subsequent shots will be that much slower because of the necessity to go through the full hammer cycle with each trigger pull.

You engage him, you render it impossible for him to take an aimed shot at you because of the bullets striking his body, and you KEEP firing until he is no longer a threat.

That may require several shots, because a dying man can still fire.

Further, in the home defense setting... it's very likely dark. You cannot assume that the attacker is acting alone. You MUST be ready for a follow-on attack by another invader... and you do NOT want to be fumbling around in the dark for another revolver barrel in order to reload because you just fired five of your six rounds. (Or was it six? See, in all the excitement, I kinda lost count. Punk.)

You cannot turn on the lights to LOOK for more ammo, because you illuminate yourself while the second attacker whose existence you MUST assume can stay concealed in the dark, and you are vulnerable while you look for the ammo, and vulnerable while reloading. You CANNOT afford this in a lethal fight.

If the Heller decision that upholds the individual's right to own a handgun and keep it loaded in the home for practical reasons of self-defense is to have any meaning, any attempt by the City to ban the semiautomatic variety must be struck down. Prohibiting law-abiding citizens from using the most effective tool for the job is foolish because it again cedes the advantage to the criminal, who will observe no such restrictions.

The dumbass sheltered libtard bureaucrats that come up with this crap need to pull their heads out of their asses, and consider the real world.

Splash, out


Labels: , ,

The decisive point 
The decisive point in the Iraq war is now in and around the city of Mosul. That's where the fight is, that's where the action is, that's where the story is.

So how does the New York Times cover the news?

By sending the dumbest reporter in the country to Baqubah!

Splash, out


Labels: , ,

Tell us something we DON'T know! 
Tofu causes dementia.

No, really, honey...the doctor says it's for my health. 
In a breathtaking case of confusing correlation with causality, "science" has made headlines with a study that finds that men who have sex regularly are less likely to have trouble getting it up.

In other news, Popes are more likely to be Catholic, and bears in the woods have a higher propensity for defacating in forests.

Splash, out


Labels: ,

RIP Joseph Patrick Dwyer 
The soldier in this famous photograph, Joseph Patrick Dwyer, is dead.

From the Army Times:

During the first week of the war in Iraq, a Military Times photographer captured the arresting image of Army Spc. Joseph Patrick Dwyer as he raced through a battle zone clutching a tiny Iraqi boy named Ali.

The photo was hailed as a portrait of the heart behind the U.S. military machine, and Doc Dwyer’s concerned face graced the pages of newspapers across the country.

But rather than going on to enjoy the public affection for his act of heroism, he was consumed by the demons of combat stress he could not exorcise. For the medic who cared for the wounds of his combat buddies as they pushed toward Baghdad, the battle for his own health proved too much to bear.

On June 28, Dwyer, 31, died of an accidental overdose in his home in Pinehurst, N.C., after years of struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. During that time, his marriage fell apart as he spiraled into substance abuse and depression. He found himself constantly struggling with the law, even as friends, Veterans Affairs personnel and the Army tried to help him.

Contrary to the opinion of blogs like Crooks and Liars, who have no compunctions about using a soldier's tragic death to score cheap political points against the VA and the Administration, evidence be damned, this isn't a case of a soldier not getting helped by the VA. He was hospitalized at least twice for psychological issues, at least once in a military facility, at government expense. He promised to go to counseling, and counseling was available for him.

If the hospital services are made available, and counseling is made available, a guy is going to huff anyway, you can't then blame "the system" for his death. Only a moron would blame VA cutbacks for his death.

He lived as a soldier and as a hero. And he died as a human, but he died under his own power. The Bush Administration had nothing to do with it.

Let us thank God that men such as him lived.

Splash, out


Labels: , , ,

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Spectacular Victory 
That's how the Times of London puts it:

American and Iraqi forces are driving Al-Qaeda in Iraq out of its last redoubt in the north of the country in the culmination of one of the most spectacular victories of the war on terror.

The clincher: Al Qaeda has been expelled from the city itself and driven into the countryside, where US and Iraqi firepower can be brought to bear and where it is impossible for them to disappear into a crowd.

American and Iraqi leaders believe that while it would be premature to write off Al-Qaeda in Iraq, the Sunni group has lost control of its last urban base in Mosul and its remnants have been largely driven into the countryside to the south.

Al Qaeda has a lot of flexibility and resilience. But it's hard for me to imagine that Ayman al Zawahiri would want to throw good fighters after bad and reinforce failure. For that reason, so long as the US remains steadfast, I don't see Al Qaeda making any major comebacks. They may find a home in another town, and 1,200 people can cause a lot of trouble. But 1,200 people are a lot of people to hide, as well.

Instead, I believe Al Qaeda will attempt to open another front. The Horn of Africa seems like an obvious choice, but if I were in there shoes, I'd look for someplace as landlocked as possible. Perhaps Uzbekistan and Chechnya are due for a heat-up.

But Al Qaeda in Iraq is just about finished.

Harry "The war is lost" Reid could not be reached for comment.

Splash, out


Labels: ,

Saturday, July 05, 2008

That was then, this is now 
"I won't wear that pin on my chest."

I guess this means primary seas on is over.
Barak Obama: The candidate of change.

Splash, out



"Why I Am Not Patriotic" 
Is it Ok to question his patriotism now?


Another response to Stephen Carter, via Megan McArdle 
I'm responding to another post by Megan...actually, responding THROUGH Megan to Carter. Here's the post by Megan:

I just asked Stephen Carter a question--and I'm going to ask the Aspen Institute for the video of his answer. The question is one that I've been worrying at for a while: what do you do with captives of an entity that considers itself at war with you, but when there is no state to declare an end to the conflict?

His answer is too rich to do justice, which is why I want the video, but a couple of points:

1) Captives who fight out of uniform are not covered under Geneva. This presumably includes the prisoners at Guantanamo. Nonetheless, he says, we should treat them as if they were.

2) Geneva, and more broadly just war theory, is meant to deal with states. This is a gigantic problem with quasi-military terrorism.

My response:

Carter is dead wrong.

Megan, you are a libertarian and an econ blogger. You're all about incentives. If you incent something, you get more of it. If you remove the incentive, you get less of it.

If you treat combatants in and out of uniform the same way, you remove the incentive for the enemy to abide by the laws of land warfare. You give him every incentive to blur the distinction between combatant and noncombatant. You give him no reason whatsoever to do anything else.

(Historically, we've executed enemy combatants who did this (c.f. the Battle of the Bulge, when the Germans put English speaking Wehrmacht soldiers in US uniforms to sow discord in the rear. We shot them when captured).
If you remove all incentive for our enemies to adhere to the laws of war, they never will. They can avoid American firepower by hiding among civilians - and inevitably increase casualties among civilian noncombatants due to the confusion that Carter wishes to enable and reward.

Tell me, where is the ethics in that? We're doing a favor here for precisely whom?
Answer: Terrorists, and ONLY terrorists.

I hope you're actually misrepresenting Carter here, because if your characterization of him is accurate, I'm not very impressed with him.

As for how long to keep an illegal combatant prisoner, the answer is NOT complicated, and is EXACTLY the same whether there is a state to declare surrender or not: You keep them until the cessation of hostilities.

In the case of Al Qaeda, that could be a very long time, because Al Qaeda has no responsible chain of command with the authority to order its members to lay down their arms and cease hostilities.

This is our problem, exactly, how?

Let the word go forth to the entire world that if our enemies have a problem with the prospect of being held in prison until they rot, then they should not adhere to nonstate terrorist groups, and they should comport themselves in accordance with the laws of war.

Make it AL QAEDA'S problem, not ours.

This isn't difficult reasoning.

Labels: , ,

Targeting and the Just War Theory 
Megan McArdle is attending a conference in Aspen with Stephen Carter, who is giving a talk on proportionality under the Just War theory.

I can't tell how much of this is Carter and how much of this is McArdle, but I had to respond to this passage from McArdle's post:

Carter is now discussing the problems inherent in the twin principles enshrined in both just war theory: proportionality and discrimination.

Proportionality means that you should use the method that will produce the fewest casualties. But taken to its logical extreme, this would dictate that commanders are obligated to take an objective in a way that kills 100 of their guys and 200 of their guys, instead of in a way that kills 10 of your guys and 1,000 of their guys. Indeed, some proponents of international law do argue this. But it is morally thorny (and you can then start asking what minimizes net casualties over the course of the war, rather than current ones). Moreover, if you have a theory of war that tells commanders they should sacrifice large numbers of their men to save the enemy, you will have a theory of war that is never applied to an actual war.
The problem of discrimination is also difficult. We think of just war theory as telling us that you can't target civilians, but in fact it says you can't target "non-combatants"--that's why you can't shoot prisoners. But this becomes extremely difficult. Who is a non-combatant? The cooks? A general back at headquarters? Infantry troops who happen to be asleep?

My response (also in her comments:)

I hope Carter is a little smarter than to use the examples given here. For example, there is NO doubt, NONE, that a general back at headquarters is a combatant. There is NO doubt, NONE, under international law, the law of land warfare, or anywhere else, that infantry troops asleep are noncombatants. There NEVER has been, EVER. There is NO doubt, NONE, that cooks in the direct service of an army at war are combatants.

This isn't a Golden Gloves boxing match we're talking about, Megan. It's war.

If I were a maneuver commander, at war, I would deliberately bypass alert, awake combat units to kill a sleeping general at his headquarters in a heartbeat. I would also bypass them to kill cooks. This is at the heart of maneuver warfare doctrine: When attacking, bypass the enemy's strengths (his combat arms units) and focus on critical vulnerabilities.

And you know what? Overall casualties are MUCH, MUCH lower that way. Once winning without fighting becomes impossible, then it is my obligation to win by destroying my enemy's ability to make war by crippling his command, control and logistics. In other words, by avoiding contact with his warriors as much as I can, or fixing them in place, and attacking his rear. I have a professional responsibility to AVOID a war of attrition, (using infantry against infantry,) if that's possible. (Natch, the enemy will be doing his best to KEEP me from focusing on his rear, and sometimes we'll lock horns and the result is a battle of attrition until someone surrenders or withdraws.)

The gray areas aren't where you state. The gray areas are really factory workers, civilian clerks and typists who work in the enemy's defense ministry, foreign ministry, and secret police headquarters, and people who work at civilian radio stations and TV stations which are commandeered by the enemy for the purpose of militarily relevant communications and other support for the war effort.

Is it justified, for example, to destroy a building from the air that normally has a hundred civilian typists and copier repairmen and snack bar workers and janitors in it? If you strike it, should you strike it after hours, KNOWING you will only kill the janitors? Or should you strike it during business hours, killing everyone there, including single mother handicapped minority lesbian typists, knowing that if you take out one ministry, the other government buildings will experience a mysterious increase in sick calls and absenteeism.

If you make the strike, will you shorten the war? Will you kill FEWER people overall as a result? That's where the gray area is.
But a General back at the rear? No question. Kill him. AND his driver, AND his radio telephone operator, AND his cook, AND his stenographer, AND his aide de camp, AND his security detail, AND the guys who update his maps and make sure his headquarters has plenty of staplers, acetate and printer toner.

If any "theorist" doesn't understand the importance of focusing my combat power against WEAKNESS, not strength, and the importance of attacking my enemy's command and control nodes and lines of logistics and communication, rather than on his fighters, this is a theorist who needs to find a new line of work.

Labels: , ,

Disappearing Bud Day's Record 
If all you watch is CNN, all you'd know about Bud Day is that he is a former POW and one of the Swift Boaters and POWs for Truth.

Check the comments to that article to see how Bud Day is perceived by those ignorant of history.

Veterans, however, know that there is rather more to Bud Day's bio than that.

Good catch, Greyhawk.

Unfortunately, that's not the only time the mainstream media has tried to disappear or malign Bud Day's record.

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, July 04, 2008

How does a libtard observe Independence Day? 


Time with family?

Honoring our flag, the republic for which it stands, and honoring our nation's armed forces?

Hell no! By wishing that our country could have been even more awesome by appeasing its oppressors, ditching the founding documents, pissing on the Rights of Man, and not bothering with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Labels: ,

Brian Beutler 
Brian is expected to recover fully from his recent shooting in Washington, D.C. His medical bills, unfortunately, are substantial. If you have a few dollars to spare, Megan McArdle is collecting.

There are multiple relief funds set up, but the more the merrier; if you want to help Brian out, you can PayPal me the money at mmmcardl@gsb.uchicago.edu, or you can send a check to me via the Atlantic, 600 New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington DC 20037. Try to write a note on any PayPal transfers about what it's for, but I don't get that many, so I'll know anyway.

Once again, all my prayers for Brian and his family.


UPDATE: An uncanny coincidence on Brian's blog (and there ain't no way in Hell I'm gonna jinx myself by uploading that picture directly!

Labels: ,

To win without fighting ... 
... is the acme of skill.

--Sun Tzu

Well done, amigos. Much more analysis at Terror Wonk, most notably a look at the ethics of using an NGO as a false flag for a ruse.

Finally, in my previous post I noted that there may be a cost in using ruses involving NGOs. Several people with a lot of background on the issue told me that many Colombian NGOs are effectively FARC fronts. The mere fact that the hostages’ guards fell for a ruse that an NGO was aiding in a FARC operation lends some credence to this argument. It is not an unfamiliar phenomenon, the Israelis complain deeply (and with much justice) about NGOs acting as fronts and agents for terrorist groups as well.

However, NGOs in principle are expressions of the fundamental right of association aka civil society – a right and value that is essential for the liberal democratic polity. That some become fronts for loathsome causes is not new, Stalin too had his useful idiots and front groups. One of the great challenges of asymmetric warfare (whether it is terrorism, counter-insurgency or something else) is distinguishing between groups exercising this right – even if their views are controversial – and groups that are fronts for organizations undermining legitimate authority.

Read the whole thing.

Personally, I don't have too much of a problem with the practice. If NGOs have a problem with it, perhaps they should do a better job at not being stooges for terrorist organizations.

Hat tip, Counterterrorism Blog

Labels: , ,

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Market Forces at Work at the LA Times 
The Los Angeles Times is the latest newspaper to undergo a round of layoffs.

I've been there. I was one of the last six people standing after a round of layoffs that displaced more than 50 people at Mutual Funds Magazine between 2000 and late 2002. It's stressful, sure. But most of us came through it ok, and we even have better hours (except for Barbara, who went to work at Time Magazine)

Nevertheless, reporters are entitled to do some bitching at the mismanagement of their newspaper. And it's not entirely because their liberal paper has cost them a lot of subscribers. Honestly, I don't think that's a huge problem for the Times. (You can fix that by starting up a more conservative paper and working out cross-selling deals for advertising to both populations).

No. What really led to the layoffs at the LA Times is information like this:

the average Los Angeles Times journalist produced “51 pages” per year, while the average journalist in Baltimore or at the company’s Hartford Courant produced “300 pages” per year.

51 pages a year? For a full-time reporter who complains about his insane hours?

That's not very impressive.

I know reporters do a lot more than just crank out copy. Enterprise stories and deep investigative pieces will drive down your page per reporter rate, because these stories take so long to put together, research, and report. (On the other hand, the alt weeklies do it all the time!)

You also have to consider that the LA Times will keep a reporter in quiet places that don't see a lot of coverage. Like Iraq for example.

Splash, out


Labels: , ,

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Blogger Down in DC 
Blogger Matt Beutler, a DC area blogger, was shot three times during a mugging attempt. He's ok. Losing his spleen.

My prayers are with Matt and his family.


Labels: ,

Obama's mortgage 
Sorry, WaPo and hyenas of the right.

There's nothing that says politicians shouldn't shop around for the best deal. Obama got a below average mortgage rate. But unlike the case with the Countrywide loans, there's no damning paper trail and no formal VIP loan.

Obama's credit seems solid, and I would imagine if he shopped around enough, someone would have offered him those terms at that time.

Sure, the house was probably overpriced in '05. But bankers are not very smart, and they probably knew that. The broker sure would not have been compensated to point that out. He brought in a healthy commission for a super jumbo loan, even without the points.

It's possible that there was some shenanegans going on. But the article does not dig into the underwriting. It does not dig into the relevant FICO scores. It does not dig into the down payment or LTV rates, if any. So this article was not ready for prime time. If there's a story there, the reporter has not gotten it yet.

This critique gets it right, in my view.

Unless the Washington Post has access to Obama's FICO score -- and unless it has rented an apartment to him, it probably doesn't -- it is missing a pretty important piece of information on what Obama's mortgage rate ought to have been. What was Obama's FICO score? I don't know, but considering that...

* Obama had just gotten a $2.27 million book deal from Random House -- about $1 million more than the value of the mortgage.
* The Obamas each had exceptionally secure jobs that paid them a combined annual salary of about $500,000 per year.
* The Obamas had just sold their condo, on which they had realized a $137,500 profit.
* The Obamas were prominent public figures whose political futures depended in part on maintaining a reputation for responsibility and trustworthiness.
* The Obamas are known to be relatively thrifty and have no credit card debt but substantial savings.

...I would think that the Obamas were exceptionally creditworthy. So indeed, Obama received a "discount" -- the same discount that any borrower in his position would have received.

There's lots of reasons to distrust and oppose Obama. More every day.

But based on what I know so far, this isn't one of them.

Splash, out


Labels: , ,

Hitch gets waterboarded! 
"If this isn't torture, there is no such thing as torture."

Well, that's not quite true. One could say the same thing about tickle torture as well.

Nevertheless, though my own feelings have been ambivalent about it, I've written here that waterboarding must be considered a form of torture.

I've also written that I don't have a problem with it being used on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. They picked the fight. Tear up their networks by the roots.

Nonetheless, had Hitchens' "interrogators" used, say, a good 24 year old single malt scotch whiskey, rather than water, I suspect we'd be reading a very different essay.

Splash, out


Labels: ,

Citizen Soldier 
So I went and saw Mongol the other night. First movie in a theater I've seen since 300 came out.

I might write about Mongol later (I liked it) but what I was really impressed by was this trailer.

Apparently, I'm the last idiot on the planet to have seen it, but I thought it was fantastic!

At last, an ad agency that understands us! I was particularly impressed with the attention to detail... noting that the 29th Division, a Guard division, was at Normandy (though by 1944 it would have contained few actual Guardsmen).

It works much better on the big screen. So sit up close.

Splash, out


Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

McCain's POW experience left him an intellectual cripple 
That's the line from another deranged libtard ... with all due respect for McCain's military service, natch.

ABC News' Teddy Davis and Molly Hunter Report: While Barack Obama was urging supporters not to devalue the military service of rival John McCain, an informal Obama adviser argued Monday that the former POW's isolation during the Vietnam War has hobbled the Arizona senator's capacity as a war-time leader.

“Sadly, Sen. McCain was not available during those times, and I say that with all due respect to him," said informal Obama adviser Rand Beers. "I think that the notion that the members of the Senate who were in the ground forces or who were ashore in Vietnam have a very different view of Vietnam and the cost that you described than John McCain does because he was in isolation essentially for many of those years and did not experience the turmoil here or the challenges that were involved for those of us who served in Vietnam during the Vietnam war."

"So I think," he continued, "to some extent his national security experience in that regard is sadly limited and I think it is reflected in some of the ways that he thinks about how U.S. forces might be committed to conflicts around the world."

Yes, this Democrat thinks that McCain, somehow magically rendered illiterate by his time in prison, is an intellectual cripple, by virtue of the fact that he missed out on the key developmental experience of smoking pot, dropping acid with Timothy Leary and and banging hippie chicks during the Summer of Love. Obama, of course, has the advantage of living through this time of enlightenment. He would have been about seven or ten years old at the time.

What a condescending prick.

Splash, out


Labels: , , ,

Democrat says McCain "shouldn't use military service" in politics. 
That's right...a member of the Party of "John Kerry Reporting For Duty," a member of the party of PT 109, and a member of the party headed by the guy who said the quote I've been using at the top of this page, says John McCain shouldn't mention his military service.

Apparently, the Democrats would prefer running two people against one another who have zeros for biographies.

I should further note that this particular Democrat made it a point to wear his own son's combat boots during his campaign.

And just take a look at this knucklehead's autobiographical web page on his own PAC site, Born Fighting.

The relevant passages that most clearly illuminate Webb's breathtaking hypocrisy here are too lengthy to quote. You just have to see it to believe it.

Nope. No mention of his military service there, huh?

These people are shameless. Utterly shameless.

Splash, out


UPDATE: Sweetness and Light has a campaign commercial Webb ran just two years ago, and lots more on this theme.

Labels: ,

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Site Meter

Prev | List | Random | Next
Powered by RingSurf!

Prev | List | Random | Next
Powered by RingSurf!