Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Hurt Locker 
Looks like a good movie coming out depicting EOD folks in Iraq.

I got a kick out of the actors describing how hard it was in 20 pounds of gear in 115 degree heat every day. And how almost everyone had a nervous breakdown during the filming.

And it wasn't even real.

Hollywood doesn't attract people like Jimmy Stewart anymore, I guess.

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Beatdown II 
A grain dealer is personally tortured by a member of the UAE royal family and a police officer. Caught on tape.

And these are the moderates.

At least he didn't put a panty on the man's head.

Splash, out


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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Penny for the Old Guy 
Via Megan McArdle comes this illustration of Obama's 100 Million Dollar Joke.

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Bondholders Must Be Respected 
So it seems that the Obama Administration is presiding over the attempted mass rape of GM bondholders in favor of the auto workers.

Pennywise and pound foolish. But then, that's par for the course for a libtard. Minus the pennywise part, anyway.

Bondholders, writ large, will exact a stiff penalty for nonpayment. If bondholders - the owners of our nation's capital - are not respected, things get ugly very fast. Bondholders will simply stop lending money. It ain't hard to figure out.

Look. Bondholders understand that in a global economy, shit happens. They understand business risk. They understand currency risk. They understand the risk of natural disasters, market risk, systematic risk, nonsystematic risk, Milton Bradley Risk, management risk, and all kinds of other risks, and have, in theory, priced accordingly.

What they didn't price in - well, until now - is a President and Congress that was willing - even eager - to poke them in the eye just to buy votes from unprofitable laborers in swing states. Yes, they were always a constituency. But when push came to shove, until now, the bondholder was, if not venerated, at least respected. Not in the streets of Detroit, but in the halls of congress and in our bankruptcy laws.

There is a sea change going on, and it's going to lead to a massive repricing of risk. It already has.
If they don't extract their fair cut from GM, they will extract it from the rest of the economy as a whole.

Here's a vignette to help clarify how things work:

Stewie = bondholders.
Brian the Dog = global economy.

Any questions?

Splash, out


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Saturday, April 25, 2009

A slap in the face to veterans 
I'm traveling at the moment, and posting via iPhone, so I can't really link. But I had to respond to the Obama admnistration's decision to appoint former LA Times colmnist Rosa Brooks to a pentagon advisory post.

This is just the latest in an ever lengthening series of insults to America's veterans.

On March 3rd, 2007, on this blog, I pointed out that Brooks had referred to Bud Day, a former POW, a medal of honor winner, the man who saved McCain's life in prison, a torture victim, a tireless advocate for veterans, and an authentic American hero, as an "unprincipaled, right-wing extremist."

Her selection to a policy advisory position at any level in the DoD is an outrage.

Splash, out,

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Countercolumn News Ticker 
Entire CIA requests transfer to Canada ...

House Approves Measure to Waterboard Minority Members in Party Line Vote ...

Ann Althouse To Launch New Fetish Website ...

Obama Deals With FBI, CIA Infighting by Threatening to "Turn Air Force One Around Right This Minute."

Clarice Starling to Head New Counterterrorism Interrogation Team ...
...Code-named "Pinball Wizard"

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On this day in 1945, Allied forces liberated some 350 American soldiers from a concentration camp at Berga an der Elster.
Berga an der Elster was a slave labor camp where 350 U.S. soldiers were beaten, starved, and forced to work in tunnels for the German government. The soldiers were singled out for "looking like Jews" or "sounding like Jews," or dubbed as undesirables, according to survivors. More than 100 soldiers perished at the camp or on a forced death march.

It was on this day six decades ago, April 23, 1945, when most of the slave labor camp soldiers were liberated by advancing U.S. troops. The emaciated soldiers, many weighing just 80 pounds, had been forced by Nazi commanders to march more than 150 miles before their rescue.

Read the whole thing, and remember.

To this day I can't speak to a German without the Holocaust in the back of my mind.

Splash, out


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Hamas Tactics in Gaza 
Here's an animated video, produced by Israel, graphically depicting Hamas's tactics in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead.

It's a look at how assymetrical warfare is practiced in the major leagues. The tactics are not all that dissimilar to those practiced by the moojies in Iraq and Afghanistan, but Hamas and Hezbollah have been far more successful in exploiting a gullible media for their ends.

The best way to short-circuit this is by getting first-rate, actionable intelligence. Intelligence that informs surgical but violent offensive action maximizing the element of surprise. A predator or airstrike against a Hamas leader as he's driving through the countryside is the ideal.

But at some point, you have to get in there and root out the launchers and missiles and take the fight to the mortarmen and Hamas fighters where they live.

Israel has an extremely tough tactical problem to solve, with no good solutions - a testament to the skill, but also the ruthlessness and inhumanity of Hamas's leaders.

That said, watching the video, I kept asking myself: "would you like to know more?"

Splash, out


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Monday, April 20, 2009

Countercolumn News Ticker 
Homeland Security On Guard Against Pro-America Extremists ...

Obama Apologizes for Constant Apologizing ...

'E Pluribus Unum' Out; New Currency To Be Inscribed 'Mea Culpa' ...

Obama to Revoke Godwin's Law By Executive Order ...

Area Man Insults First Lady In Front of Obama To See if Obama Sticks Up For Her ...
...Obama Issues Apology for Wife's Behavior ...

Don Rickles Hosts Conference of The America's ...

Malia and Sasha In Search Of Positive Male Role Model ...

Staff Intervenes as President, Japanese Prime Minister Get Stuck in Bowing War ...

Developing ...

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Why didn't the financial media get any Pulitzers? 
So asks Megan McArdle.

I'll tell you why. Because, by and large, our financial media sucks.

Here's my comment, crossposted from her blog.

Tanta. She was doing the heavy lifting for our intellectually bankrupt financial press when it counted. Too bad all of you guys were too busy playing stenographer for your sources to notice when it could have counted.

But financial journalism as a whole is pretty useless.

They flopped on the S&L scandal until it was too late.
They whored themselves out hawking Internet stocks and funds at the worst possible time. Check out The Fortune Tellers for details.

They elevate chronic money-losers like Jim Cramer and idiotic concepts like Mad Money. Ed Slott should have Cramer's show. But he won't.

They promote self-promoting mental midgets like Suze Orman, who couldn't plan her way to Starbucks for a cup of coffee, rather than real planners.

They sat approvingly on the sidelines while Dave Ramsey insisted growth stock mutual funds average a return of 12% per year while leading hapless investors out of their guaranteed contracts, whole life insurance, fixed annuities, bonds, and EIAs like the the Pied Piper leading children to oblivion, and fell all over themselves quoting how much good he's done, when taking his advice was devastating to families in 1999 and devastating in 2007-2008, and never once called him on it.

You pay lip service to 'buy and hold' investing, but every cover on the big-circ glossies screams '10 mutual funds to buy now'

Your covers feature flights to safety AFTER the market crashes, and feature aggressive investments AFTER large rises in the market.

The financial media is the reason real-life, real-world investors only realize less than a quarter of actual market gains (I'm citing DALBAR here.).

Elaine Garzarelli makes one lucky call in 1987, and you idiots are still calling her for market predictions, 22 years later. How did that work out last time, when Smart Money called her? In their December 2007 issue, She recommended Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch and predicted Dow 16,000.

I guarantee you she'll still be getting calls from drooling reporters 5 years from now, if she's still working, and hasn't been shot by a client.

Smart money regards the financial media as a contrary indicator. The media is always the second dumbest guy at the poker table. The only dumber guy at the poker table is the guy who reads them.

They're asleep at the switch, by and large, while our pension crisis continues to build. They're asleep at the switch even now, while unrealistic GMIB riders threaten to cut the legs out from under major, major insurance companies, while there isn't close to enough capital in reserve at state insurance funds to make up the shortfall.

The financial media doesn't deserve Pulitizers. It deserves a kick in the nuts by an outraged public.

Splash, out


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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Susan Boyle, Considered 
My review, crossposted from a comment thread on Althouse:

The raw talent is extraordinary. I think there's no doubt about that. I was also impressed by the emotional range between Cry Me a River and the song she sang on BGT.

She hasn't yet tapped the talent she has. I suspect she can be much, much better.

The Le Miz song was probably not the right song to showcase her talent. As someone here mentioned, her voice vanishes in the low registers. This song has a lot of riches to be mined in those parts, and as a listener and musician, I'm always more interested in what a singer or musician does in the low registers and quiet moments than in the crescendos.

All singers crescendo alike. Especially on talent shows.

I think she could get a good deal more power out of her lower range, with some training. She uses her 'head voice' a lot, but she's not harnessing her abdominal power to push those notes through.

She tends to sing on the sharp side of the note. That's not a terrible thing in some instances. A lot of singers do it. It can help you stand out from an ensemble. Concert violinists will tune to A = 442 instead of 440 for this reason. It gives you a bit of sparkle.

But she should be aware of what she's doing.

If I were coaching her, I'd work to develop the ear just a bit to rein in her tendency to go sharp, wean her away from relying exclusively on her head voice, in order to give her some gas in the low registers. I'd look for material that better matches her range. (I think she might have some headroom left on the top. We haven't heard her full range on the topside yet.)

I'd also encourage her to depart a bit more from the usual Broadway sound. All those folks use the same vibrato, they use their head voice too much, and they all sound alike these days.

Back before contact mikes, you couldn't get away with the headvoice. You had to reach the floor mic, or no mic at all. The head voice didn't cut it. Singers had to nail it from the diaphram.

Then came the contact mics, and weaker singers could get bigger roles. In Ethel Merman's day, some of these people would still be in the chorus.

In baseball terms, she' a good AA ballplayer, with a good fastball. But a lot of kids can throw hard.

To hit the bigs, a good pitching coach needs to help her get the ball over the plate, and teach her a big league slider.

Splash, out


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I'll see your Susan Boyle 
And raise you.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Countercolumn News Ticker 
Saudi King Marries Obama Girls in Rose Garden Ceremony ...

It's Business As Usually as Teabaggers March in Miami ...

Obama Issues Executive Order Revoking Patriotism of Dissent ...

Chris Matthews Hospitalized for Terminal Restless Leg Syndrome ...

Michelle Obama Tapped to Lead Army of Klingon Mercenaries ...

Laura Bush Undergoes Surgery To Remove Beaming Smile ...

Spanish Court Indicts 3 Bush Officials For Jaywalking ...

Navy Officials Work on Anti-Seasickness Sniper Scope ...

Zero Mostel Sues Obama for Trademark Violation ...

Developing ...

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Countercolumn News Ticker 
"Mission Accomplished" banner hung on White House Veranda ...

Hollywood Deal in the Works ...
Rutger Hauer, Gary Oldman to Star as Pirates ...
Will Smith Cast in Role of Captain ...

USMC Frustrated by Lack of Photo Opps ...

Obama Pledges Withdrawal Timeline ...

Harry Reid: "The War is Lost"

Pelosi calls for immediate surrender ...
Offers daughter as concubine in return for peace ...

Vulcan Materials Corp Stock Soars as Halliburton Places Large Gravel Order ...

Obama Releases Third Memoir on Standoff ...

John Kerry Receives Purple Heart ...

Liberals: Captain Recklessly Endangered Pirate Lives ...

Trial Lawyers Scrutinize Bainbridge Captain ...

Cheney: "Invade Bolivia."

Administration Floats Plan to Charge Snipers for Bullets ...

Pirates Refuse TARP Money ...

Developing ...


Obama Administration Telegraphs its Punches 
I have an idea: Rather than leak our intentions to the news media, why not just send the moogs a fucking itinerary on Naval Dept. stationery?

And the OPSEC tag is born.

Splash, out


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The poor darlings 
Choice selections from the comments over at Yglesias's second home at Think Progress:

Thank goodness he’s safe. Now, what is going on in Somalia to make people so desperate that they resort to piracy…?

Yea! One US citizen is alive! How many people died of starvation today? Do they merit as much attention?

The Bush gangster regime hired the Ethiopian government to invade Somalia and to try and destroy the Islamic Court Union back in 1996.

How sad this all is. If something good can come from this incident, perhaps it will be that the world will pay more attention to the plight of the Somali’s and do something to fix it.

what a pathetic display…..the great american military finally found an “army” they could defeat. and the KKKristians? well they were able to complete the trifecta for their death cult as well as show the world how they are the experts in Jebus’ love and tolerance.

Why is it such a big deal when big countries push over smaller, weaker countries?

Fun crew you got there, Matt.

Via Neptunus Lex

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How Many SEALs Does It Take to Screw In A Light Bulb? 
Write the punchline in the comments.

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Pirates vow revenge against France, U.S. 
So says one of their own:

"The French and the Americans will regret starting this killing. We do not kill, but take only ransom. We shall do something to anyone we see as French or American from now," Hussein, a pirate, told Reuters by satellite phone.

Here's one of my takeaways from Machiavelli: Men avenge small offenses. But they cannot avenge large ones.

Splash, out


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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Countercolumn News Ticker 
Revenge Served Cold: 3 Pirates Dead As Yanks Take Revenge for Bill Mazeroski ...
... Payback 49 Years In The Making ...

Redemption Song 
Appropos of Easter, and today's headlines.

Ua mau ka ea o ka aina i ka pono


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Christ is Risen!!!! 
I'm off to play music.

Easter thoughts from the Anchoress.

And my favorite Easter song:

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Countercolumn News Ticker 
St. Augustine declares itself "open city" to pirates ...

ACLU Files Suit against Navy SEALs ...
...Failed to read pirates Miranda rights ...

Pelosi on dead pirates: "the poor darlings." ...

Pittsburgh to rename baseball franchise 'Seals' ...

Woman mauled by polar bear in self-correcting error ...

Papal indulgences sold on secondary market ...

As dollar declines, Treasury mulls making sex official medium of exchanges ...

Chris Crocker in "Leave Pirates Alone" YouTube Sensation ...

Area opera house announces zero-tolerance policy for sopranos ...

Local Man Silences Rock Guitarist Next Door with Gift of Sheet Music ...

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The leftard assault on American exceptionalism continues 
Justice Ginsburg advocates the citing of foreign law in American jurisprudence.

Amazingly, she can't even figure out why it's controversial.

“I frankly don’t understand all the brouhaha lately from Congress and even from some of my colleagues about referring to foreign law,” Justice Ginsburg said in her comments on Friday.

The court’s more conservative members — Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr., Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas — oppose the citation of foreign law in constitutional cases.

“If we’re relying on a decision from a German judge about what our Constitution means, no president accountable to the people appointed that judge and no Senate accountable to the people confirmed that judge,” Chief Justice Roberts said at his confirmation hearing. “And yet he’s playing a role in shaping the law that binds the people in this country.”

Justice Ginsburg said the controversy was based on the misunderstanding that citing a foreign precedent means the court considers itself bound by foreign law as opposed to merely being influenced by such power as its reasoning holds.

“Why shouldn’t we look to the wisdom of a judge from abroad with at least as much ease as we would read a law review article written by a professor?” she asked.

She added that the failure to engage foreign decisions had resulted in diminished influence for the United States Supreme Court.

That's retarded. Who gives a crap if the USSC is not cited in foreign cases? The USSC and Constitution represent the supreme law of the land. That is all the influence needed.

Ginsburg Shares Views on Influence of Foreign Law on Her Court, and Vice Versa
Send To Phone
LinkedinDiggFacebookMixxMy SpaceYahoo! BuzzPermalinkBy ADAM LIPTAK
Published: April 11, 2009
COLUMBUS, Ohio — In wide-ranging remarks here, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg defended the use of foreign law by American judges, suggested that torture should not be used even when it might yield important information and reflected on her role as the Supreme Court’s only female justice. The occasion was a symposium at the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University honoring her 15 years on the court.

Skip to next paragraph

Kiichiro Sato/Associated Press
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday at Ohio State University, where she talked freely about her work, past and present.

Times Topics: Ruth Bader Ginsburg“I frankly don’t understand all the brouhaha lately from Congress and even from some of my colleagues about referring to foreign law,” Justice Ginsburg said in her comments on Friday.

The court’s more conservative members — Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr., Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas — oppose the citation of foreign law in constitutional cases.

“If we’re relying on a decision from a German judge about what our Constitution means, no president accountable to the people appointed that judge and no Senate accountable to the people confirmed that judge,” Chief Justice Roberts said at his confirmation hearing. “And yet he’s playing a role in shaping the law that binds the people in this country.”

Justice Ginsburg said the controversy was based on the misunderstanding that citing a foreign precedent means the court considers itself bound by foreign law as opposed to merely being influenced by such power as its reasoning holds.

“Why shouldn’t we look to the wisdom of a judge from abroad with at least as much ease as we would read a law review article written by a professor?” she asked.

She added that the failure to engage foreign decisions had resulted in diminished influence for the United States Supreme Court.

The Canadian Supreme Court, she said, is “probably cited more widely abroad than the U.S. Supreme Court.” There is one reason for that, she said: “You will not be listened to if you don’t listen to others.”

Fine. Go be a Canadian judge, Justice Ginsburg.

American hostility to the consideration of foreign law, she said, “is a passing phase.” She predicted that “we will go back to where we were in the early 19th century when there was no question that it was appropriate to refer to decisions of other courts.”

No, dumbass. It's not a passing phase. The reason we cited other courts in the early 19th century is because we had not yet developed over 200 years of case law of our own, grounded specifically in our constitution, and therefore had no choice but to resort to other legal traditions - specifically English common law - for guidance in interpreting U.S. law.

That is no longer the case.

Our hostility to foreign law cited in American jurisprudence is no passing phase. It is part and parcel of American exceptionalism.

Of course, if you're a numbskull libtard, you think that America is not exceptional at all.

Splash, out


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Opie Disses America and Apple Pie 
Opie Cunningham, AKA Ron Howard, who's been making sappy movies for years," wants the U.S. to give up the struggle for freedom and liberty.

“at a certain point I don't think we'll be so consumed with being the pre-eminent super-power and, you know, driven by sort of militarism and this need to export, you know, democracy.”

Used to be Democrats were Americans.

Here's my response:

And here:

In other words, go fuck yourself, Opie. How dare you, after all this country and its freedoms has given you?

On the other hand, I thought parts of this were actually funny.

David Bellavia, however, was right to call Maher on it.

Splash, out


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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Vatican Rejects Pro-Abortion Caroline Kennedy as U.S. Ambassador. 
That's right. The Obama administration, so exquisitely sensitive to the risk that a visit to the graves of our honored dead in Normandy might potentially offend the Germans, appoints rejection-waiting-to-happen Caroline Kennedy, an apostate Catholic who has publicly rejected Catholic teachings on the sanctity of life, as ambassador to the Vatican.

The Vatican, of course, tells Obama to pound sand.

Smart. Nuanced.

Splash, out


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Administration Bringing Big Guns to Bear against Pirates 
We're finally getting serious with these pirates: The FBI is now investigating some of these guys, raising the spectre of possibly filing federal charges against the Marsk hijackers if any of them are taken alive.

Indeed, speaking in the hypothetical, of course, the Attorney General is now saying that if an American were harmed I'm sure they're quaking in their sandals.

Meanwhile, the FBI is treating the ship as a 'crime scene.'

Good idea. Taka a multi-million dollar ship and its cargo out of circulation for weeks while we wait for federal bureaucrats to complete their investigation.

The Obama Administration: Tough. Strong. Bold.

Splash, out


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Newspaper covering for corrupt politician 
Spotted on AngryJournalist.com

Here’s why I’m angry, latest installment:

Bureaucrat running in a state superintendent of schools election uses government resources (emails from his government office) for campaign purposes. And not a little bit. Blatantly. As in, with a “please forward this to all your friends and ask them to vote for me” type note attached. And the email trail goes straight back to his state office. Slam-dunk, misappropriation of state resources for political advocacy of a candidate, by the candidate himself (the guy’s an idiot, seriously).

And it’s not like I’m the only one to get the email, everybody in the newsroom got the email.

But can we do a story about it? Statewide candidate personally violates campaign rules, in a blatant and stupid manner?

Nope. No story. He’s “our guy.” Da fix is in, see? The PTB of the paper say no way, no story, youse didn’t see nuttin’, ’cause it ain’t gonna be a story in dis paper.

No story. We don’t even investigate it. Nothing.

So the next day, the most obnoxious local right-wing radio talkshow host in the state is all over it. He tells the whole story. He reads the entire stupid email on the air (of course he got it too). Spends half an hour on it, raking the idiot candidate over the coals, calling for an ethics investigation, yada yada yada.

And then he spends another half-hour, reaming out our newspaper (which he of course hates), mocking us for not breaking the story ahead of him, bragging how he knows we had the story but refused to run it. Taunting his listeners about why would anyone be dumb enough to pay for our paper, where we purposely don’t run real news stories, when they can listen to his show for free, where he actually breaks news stories like that one.

I feel like hammered crap. And I’m angry.

You should be angry, partner. We all should be.

A cursory search suggests that this angry journo is referring to Jeff Dickert, the teachers' union preferred candidate for the Wisconsin Superintendent of Schools. Badger Blog has more.

Splash, out


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Obama to fallen heros of Normandy: 
Drop Dead.

White House officials travelled to France at the start of March to discuss a visit by Mr Obama to Omaha Beach, the site of the American Cemetery, established in 1944 just after D-Day and where 9,387 American personnel are buried. Among them is Theodore Roosevelt Jr the eldest son of the 26th US President.

French officials and senior American military officers walked with White House staff through the cemetery discussing how the two presidents might follow the same route. But even before their trip, the White House had decided that Mr Obama would not travel there this week.

"It wasn't going to happen," said an American official in Washington. "We went through the motions to placate President Sarkozy but giving special treatment to France was not on our agenda.

Good idea. Slap Sarkozy across the face in order to justify slighting our honored dead. Yeah. That will make Merkle trust us more.

I'm with http://www.cassyfiano.com/2009/04/obama-visit-normandy-naaaah

Apparently, our genius president doesn’t understand that visiting Normandy has nothing whatsoever to do with giving special treatment to France. It’s about honoring the sacrifices of American heroes who died on that beach, who sacrificed their lives to stop the onslaught of evil.

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Just Wait Til You Have Children of Your Own Dept. 
Associated Press: Obama Urges Troop Funding He Once Opposed

President Barack Obama is seeking $83.4 billion for U.S. military and diplomatic operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, pressing for special troop funding that he opposed two years ago when he was senator and George W. Bush was president.

Splash, out


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Countercolumn News Ticker 
Single American takes 4 Somali Pirates Hostage ...

Senior Obama Officials Debating Which Pirate to Bow To ...

White House Paralyzed by Indecision: Is Handlicking Better Than Bowing?

U.S. Boat Seized By Pirates ...
S.S. Minnow Feared Lost ...
Emerson Howell III Among Missing ...
U.S. Pays Pirates to Keep Mrs. Howell ...
"A small price to pay," says Congressman ...
Ginger and Mary Anne Shackled Together in Pirate Ship's Hold ...
Pirates Selling Downloads for $1.99 Each ...

France Takes Lead from U.S. in Pirate Eradication ...

Quien es mas macho? Obama v. The Gimp ...

Accident kills driver trying to untangle hands-free device

Developing ...

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Obama Transparency at work 
Hmmm. We're considering a surprise military strike against some possibly Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist training camps in Somalia.

You know the kind. The ones that take 10 minutes to evacuate.

I have an idea. While we're mulling over the decision, how about we leak the entire frigging debate to the Washington Post?

If you're going to do it, do it.

If you're not going to do it, but want to preserve your options later, and maintain your ability to collect intel on the sites, then shut the fuck up about it.

Senior Obama administration officials are debating how to address a potential terrorist threat to U.S. interests from a Somali extremist group, with some in the military advocating strikes against its training camps. But many officials maintain that uncertainty about the intentions of the al-Shabab organization dictates a more patient, nonmilitary approach.

Al-Shabab, whose fighters have battled Ethiopian occupiers and the tenuous Somali government, poses a dilemma for the administration, according to several senior national security officials who outlined the debate only on the condition of anonymity.

There's another OPSEC violation embedded in the story so grievous I won't even spell it out, except to say that the WaPo has exposed itself to some possible criminal liability, as have these anonymous officials.

But many on the national security team insist that it is their caution and willingness to consider all aspects of the situation that differentiate them from the overly aggressive posture of the Bush administration that they say exacerbated the terrorist threat.

These are the kinds of kids that used to get beat up in the parking lot in high school. What is it about these blue-falcon assholes that compells them to slam their predecessors at every turn? Must come from the top, I guess.

Utterly classless. Amateur night at the arena.

Think the 'players' involved in the debate can't figure out who these sources are?

Splash, out


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Thursday, April 09, 2009

"Congrats, kid. The GM just called." 
"You're gonna be an Angel."

You had a curve ball for the ages.

RIP Nick Adenhart.

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Debbie Schlussel thinks a death threat is "protected free speech." 
Sorry, Debbie.

Muslim children have a right to attend school with being threatened with murder. That includes girls who wear hijab.

And death threats are not "protected free speech." They are fighting words by definition.

The real question is this: Why did the school district not take it to a jury?

Splash, out


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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

WTF is a "Medal of Valor?" 
Over seven years of war, and the Boston Globe doesn't know shit from shinola when it comes to covering the military.

Following a meeting with Gen. Ray Odierno cq, the top US commander in Iraq, and talks with Iraqi leaders, Obama arrived at a former palace of Saddam Hussein to decorate 10 troops with the Medal of Valor.

In the Globe's defense, on the other hand, this looks like a blog post that didn't make it through the copy desk/fact-checking system. If the newspaper has one.

Layers, and all that, wot?

Splash, out


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Obama Administration: Who you gonna believe? Me?? 
Or your lying eyes!!!!??

"It wasn't a bow. He grasped his hand with two hands, and he's taller than King Abdullah," said an Obama aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Video at the Ace link.

If I were the reporter, I'd out that rat. No source who lied to me had his anonymity guaranteed. Any reporter who does that is asking to be a tool.

Splash, out


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Saddam forced to watch the Southpark Movie in captivity. 

Oh. And the Telegraph apparently doesn't know the difference between the Army and Marine Corps. However, I'm cutting them slack, since they're not a U.S. paper.

Splash, out


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Lefty bloggers furious at the lack of free money coming their way. 
That's the word coming from the major lefty blogs. They're mad as hell, and they're not gonna take it anymore!
Here's a hint, you idiots:

The conventional media companies hire professional ad salespeople, and pay them a hefty commission, to go out and solicit ad space.

It's a brutal, highly competetive business.

The reason you haven't got your share is because you haven't put for the effort a publisher and ad sales force puts into revenue generation. Hint: If you put all your effort into content - which we love, and it's why we became bloggers instead of ad salespeople - that effort isn't going to putting hours and hours into developing a media kit, tracking metrics, spending money to get those metrics audited by a third party, and sitting down and making 400 phone calls a day to potential advertisers.

Because that's what your competition is doing to barely break even in many cases.

If Jane Hamsher would stop flapping her gums on Bloggingheads for free and sit and dial for dollars and learn to sell and close, she could bring in money.

But she wouldn't be writing, and that's not as much fun.

Libtards don't understand where money comes from. Which is why they are so eager to tax it when they think someone has too much.

I see this on www.angryjournalist.com all the time. Low-paid editorial staff complain about long hours and cutbacks in the newsroom and illustrate it by complaining about how the sales staff makes so much money, or got a neat trip or something.

Any good ad salesman should come to the newsroom, and say four little magic words: "I'm revenue; You're overhead."

Splash, out


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Army Pressuring Doctors to Fudge PTSD Diagnoses 
Salon has the goods.

From a doctor, captured on tape by a patient suffering from an anxiety disorder (PTSD or otherwise):

"OK," McNinch told Sgt. X. "I will tell you something confidentially that I would have to deny if it were ever public. Not only myself, but all the clinicians up here are being pressured to not diagnose PTSD and diagnose anxiety disorder NOS [instead]." McNinch told him that Army medical boards were "kick[ing] back" his diagnoses of PTSD, saying soldiers had not seen enough trauma to have "serious PTSD issues."

"Unfortunately," McNinch told Sgt. X, "yours has not been the only case ... I and other [doctors] are under a lot of pressure to not diagnose PTSD. It's not fair. I think it's a horrible way to treat soldiers, but unfortunately, you know, now the V.A. is jumping on board, saying, 'Well, these people don't have PTSD,' and stuff like that."

Contacted recently by Salon, McNinch seemed surprised that reporters had obtained the tape, but answered questions about the statements captured by the recording. McNinch told Salon that the pressure to misdiagnose came from the former head of Fort Carson's Department of Behavioral Health. That colonel, an Army psychiatrist, is now at Fort Lewis in Washington state. "This was pressure that the commander of my Department of Behavioral Health put on me at that time," he said. Since McNinch is a civilian employed by the Army, the colonel could not order him to give a specific, lesser diagnosis to soldiers. Instead, McNinch said, the colonel would "refuse to concur with me, or argue with me, or berate me" when McNinch diagnosed soldiers with PTSD. "It is just very difficult being a civilian in a military setting."

McNinch added that he also received pressure not to properly diagnose traumatic brain injury, Sgt. X's other medical problem. "When I got there I was told I was overdiagnosing brain injuries and now everybody is finding out that, yes, there are brain injuries," he recalled. McNinch said he argued, "'What are we going to do about treatment?' And they said, 'Oh, we are just counting people. We don't plan on treating them.'" McNinch replied, "'You are bringing a generation of brain-damaged individuals back here. You have got to get a game plan together for this public health crisis.'"

When McNinch learned he would be quoted in a Salon article, he cut off further questions. He also said he would deny the interview took place. Salon, however, had recorded the conversation.

Read the whole thing here.


Time to create a few more brain injuries. By cracking some heads together.

Splash, out


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Monday, April 06, 2009

The New Defense Budget's Here! The New Defense Budget's Here! 
The indespensable Abu Muqawamba has liveblogged the highlights.

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Tom Ricks Lists All-Time Top 10 Military History Books 
Catch-22 made the list? One of the top 10 books on military history ever written?

I mean, really?!?!?

Feh. No wonder Fiasco sucked so much.

Here's a few of the books that would be on my top 10 list:

The Last 100 Yards.
About Face, by Col. David Hackworth.
Enemy at the Gates, by William Craig
The Rommel Papers, by Erwin Rommel
Lee's Lieutenants, by D.S. Southall Freeman.
Landscape Turned Red, by Stephen Sears
The Art of Maneuver: Maneuver Warfare Theory, by Robert Leonhard
Strategy, by B.H. Leonhart
Black Hawk Down, by Mark Bowden
On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and On Society
The Art of War, by Sun Tzu
The History of the Peloponnesian War, by Thucydides
The Gallic Wars, by Julius Caesar
Caesar in Gaul
Learning to Eat Soup with a Fork, by John Nagl
The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, by Alfred Mahan (Ricks missed this one? What a piker!)
Anything by John Boyd
The Last Battle, by Cornelius Ryan
Stalingrad, by Anthony Beevor
The Fall of Berlin, by Anthony Beevor
A Peace to End All Peace, by David Fromkin
Anything by Winston Churchill on the subject. Or any other subject.
If we're gonna do fiction, War and Peace, by Lev Tolstoy.
On War, by Karl von Clausewitz
Grant's memoirs.
Sherman's memoirs.
E. Porter Alexander's memoirs.
Patton's memoirs.

The list goes on.

Put your faves in the comments.

Splash, out


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Fiddle blogging 
The great John Hartford.

The Force was strong with this one.

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Obama Channels Dan Quayle 
Our President, answering an Austrian reporter's question:

"I don't know what the term is in Austrian."

But what's even funnier? The press's adoring coverage of the gaffe:


Obama Again Invokes Personal Diplomacy to Avert NATO Stalemate

Lede: President Barack Obama waded into a diplomatic stalemate for the second time on his European trip and once again succeeded in bringing his more senior peers into harmony.

It's like reading a Nork press release describing the Dear Leader's daily bowel movement.

And what was the price extracted from the west? A groveling apology to the Muslim world for printing some cartoons.

Smart. Tough. I don't know what the word is in Luxembese.

Splash, out


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Sunday, April 05, 2009

Guitar blogging 
Pepe Romero,

Recuerdos de la Alhambra.

The sound isn't the greatest, but crank up the speakers, find a quiet place, and listen in. It's worth the effort.

Watch him wring every last drop of music from every note. Masterful. This is how it's done, kids.

Splash, out


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Countercolumn News Ticker 
North Korea Readies SomebodyDoneSomebodyWrongSong Missile ...

South Koreans Prepare SongSungBlue Interceptor ...

Actress Molly Ringwald Implicated in Long Duck Dong Plot ...

Obama Retaliates With Stern Lecture ...

Impacting ...

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Saturday, April 04, 2009

Isn't it ironic? 
Don't you think?

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For the record... 
Things have come to pass much as I had predicted.

From last October:

Forward P/Es are down around the 13 level, according to the Morningstar data on the Vanguard 500 fund, which I'm using as a quick proxy, with a dividend yield of around 2.47%.

Not too bad, but those forward-looking estimates were assuming normal times, and I would have to regard them as obsolete. I think the actual earnings next year will be quite a bit less than projected, and the real P/E is closer to 20x earnings right now, looking forward. So forward multiples will expand (because of declining earnings), or stocks will continue to fall until the the ACTUAL P/E, looking forward, is 12 or less (based on dividends of 2.5% or less.)

A big chunk of dividends will disappear, as financial services companies...most of them dividend payers themselves, struggle to recapitalize by retaining earnings.

Nevertheless, look at Bank of America, now trading at 11.5x earnings, with a yield of 12.27%! Very tempting, although that yield I suspect will fall, as BofA shores up its balance sheets. It may stop altogether for a while. And of course, as every stock investor should ALWAYS keep in mind, it COULD go to zero!

And from March of 2007:

Looks like bonds will be under pressure. Real estate will be under pressure. International stocks will be under pressure (actually, already are). Growth stocks will be under pressure. Is this the Perfect Storm?

I can't wait.

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Friday, April 03, 2009

Democrat districts shaft military voters 
From a reader:

In New York, ten counties make up the 20th congressional district, and nine of them sent their absentee ballots to overseas voters too late for them to be received and returned in time to count in this election. One county mailed them on March 12 and eight counties mailed them on March 13, all by regular mail with only one exception — Essex County used an express mail service.

Under New York law, absentee ballots in this race had to be postmarked by March 30, the day before the March 31 election, and received by April 7. That left most military voters only 25 days to receive, mark and return their absentee ballots, which everyone agrees isn’t enough time, given overseas mail delays.

A congressional seat hangs in the balance.

Some servicemember with standing (i.e., residence in the district) should file suit. Now.

The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, which is responsible for enforcing the federal statute that guarantees the right of overseas citizens and military personnel to vote by absentee ballot, contacted the New York State Board of Elections and requested that they issue their ballots sooner for this race. The two Republican members of the board voted to support this request. Yet the two Democratic members of the board, shamefully enough, voted against doing so. Were they trying to disenfranchise military voters?

I can think of no other reason.

The Justice Department then filed a federal lawsuit on March 24 against the election board and the governor of New York. But the requested remedy was nowhere near what should have been asked for to remedy this problem, and didn’t include any of the measures that we successfully asked for from other courts when I was at the Division coordinating DOJ’s enforcement of this statute.

The only thing DOJ leaders essentially asked for (and got in a consent decree) was an extension of time for the receipt of overseas ballots, from April 7 to April 13. In other words, despite the fact that almost every expert in this area now recommends at least a 45-day transit time for absentee ballots for military voters, Justice asked only for 30.

You've heard of the Texas Two-step? This is the Chicago Half-Step.

Millions for the Unions, not one cent for soldiers!

Splash, out


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Obama-nable servility.

All the more dismaying when one stops to consider the torture endured by men like Bud Day and John McCain for refusing to grant our enemies far less a media coup than this one.

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DENIED: Senate Committee Protects Women, Children, Poor and Disabled from Obama's Predations 
Obama's plan to limit charitable deductions was strangled in the crib, as it should be.

The U.S. Senate rejected a proposal by President Barack Obama to finance an overhaul of the nation’s health-care system by limiting the ability of the well-to-do to take tax deductions for charitable contributions.

The chamber unanimously approved an amendment to a pending budget plan that rejects the proposal to limit the size of itemized deductions that can be taken by those earning more than $250,000.

Obama proposed using the estimated $318 billion such a change would generate to help finance a health-care overhaul, which he says will cost at least $630 billion. Lawmakers said they feared the effect of such a tax change on charities.

No shit.

Unanimous, baby!

Splash, out


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Thursday, April 02, 2009

First they came for the purveyors of granny porn... 
...and I did not speak out, for I was not into granny porn.

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Phosphorus Follies 
An old friend sends me this piece on the old "White Phosphorus Is Used Against Civilians" chestnut written by Juliet Lapidos over at Slate:

Actually, though it's obvious the reporter does better than a lot of folks in reporting the issue, the two hours she spent reporting this piece wasn't enough to make up for her utter lack of background knowledge on the topic.

As a result, she can't tell shit from shinola when assessing her source documents, and therefore seems to place the idiotic allegations of Human Rights Watch at the same level with military doctrine and the Law of Land Warfare and the long experience of fire support experts.

Finally, she falls flat on her face with this passage:

White phosphorus has an iffy legal status.

No, dumbass. It doesn't. It's perfectly legal to use on the battlefield. As you yourself note:

No treaty bans the use of white phosphorus against strictly military targets, although there is a debate over whether it ought to be classified as a chemical weapon and prohibited under the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Yes. The debate is between sober, informed people who understand the munition and its uses on the battlefield on one hand, and ignorant morons on the other. Your problem, Julia, is that you still can't tell the difference.

Protocol III of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons outlaws the use of "incendiary weapons" on civilians or on military targets located within a concentration of civilians. The protocol, however, specifically excludes munitions that "may have incidental incendiary effects, such as illuminants, tracers, smoke or signaling systems."

And herein you falsify your own assertion. White Phosphorus, as used by U.S. and Israeli forces in the smoke/signal/illumination role, is exempt from the convention.


Because on the urban battlefield, white phosphorus saves lives, you dolt!

Splash, out


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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Tax Tip for Military Families 
Alright, troops, listen up!

Been deployed to a hostile fire zone for part of the last year? Did you qualify for the combat zone income tax exclusion?

If so, then check out the W-2 you get from Uncle Sam. You can do that on MyPay. Chances are pretty good your adjusted gross income is artificially low. Yeah, you got paid for the duty. But your TAXABLE wages are artificially low for being in a combat zone.

That being the case, you may be able to qualify for the Saver's Credit.

That means the government will give you free money (in the form of a tax credit) for saving for retirement.

From the IRS's Web site:

The saver’s credit can be claimed by:

Married couples filing jointly with incomes up to $53,000 in 2008 or $55,500 in 2009;
Heads of Household with incomes up to $39,750 in 2008 or $41,625 in 2009; and
Married individuals filing separately and singles with incomes up to $26,500 in 2008 or $27,750 in 2009.


You gotta be 18.
You can't be a full-time student.
You can't be a dependent on someone else's tax return.

How do you claim it? Follow the instructions on IRS Form 8880

Yes, the Thrift Savings Program qualifies, as do Roth IRAs, IRAs, SIMPLEs, 401(k)s and 403(b)s.

Of these, I would usually steer troops toward the Roth IRA for this purpose. Why? Because the other plans are all tax-DEFERRED. But with the combat zone income tax exclusion, you're effectively contributing with pre-tax dollars anyway. But the Roth IRA grows tax-FREE, with TAX FREE distributions in retirement, and none of those pesky Required Minimum Distributions the government requires you to take when you get older. (Yeah, most of you aren't worried about those now, but trust me. You will be, and you will hate them.)

With a Roth IRA (or a Roth 401(k) if your employer offers one), you get the FULL benefit of the combat zone tax exclusion, thus contributing with tax-free dollars. Your money compounds tax free. Tax-free income in retirement. (The government thinks you paid taxes on money going in. But since you were in a combat zone, you didn't.)

Combat veterans thus have the opportunity to take advantage of the most tax-advantaged retirement program the tax code allows. And the Savers' Credit just sweetens the deal with some free money from Uncle Sam.

(Aww. the gang at Military.com hasn't picked up on the story yet. Kids, don't try this at home.)

(Caveat: If your employer matches your contribution in a SIMPLE or 401(k), you may want to contribute enough to snag the free matching money. Plans vary, so your mileage may vary as well.)

Now, to kick the whole thing into overdrive: Do you own a small business? Follow the instructions on IRS Form 8881. The Government will give you free money - in the form of a tax credit of up to $500 dollars, tp start up a qualified retirement plan (provided it also covers at least one non-highly compensated employee.

Splash, out


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