Monday, April 30, 2007

Kid's these days

BB's Xeni Jardin is covering down on Coachella, which strike's me as some sort of Burning Man without all the commitment.

I don't know.

Coachella? Me, I prefer the classics.

Speaking of Heinlein



My googling led me to the blog dedicated to Robert Heinlein. Looks defunct, but with posts from 2002 to 2006, there's plenty to read.

Time enough for blogging.

The Invisible (armored) Hand

The Army Times (yeah, the Army Times. Don't worry, I snuck it out of the store between a copy of this months Playboy and Hustler) has a story (not yet online) on the new fire resistant Army Combat Uniform.

Cool. Evolution in action. My rule of thumb, if someone tells you they have the best solution, no improvement needed, instantly distrust them. It's sort of like in 2005 when the black SAPI (small arms protective insert) plates were traded out for green E-SAPI.

Here's a look at the uniform system:



(I hope no one sees a branding opportunity under the ARMY:STRONG lovemark)



The hood, as I understand it, is additional flame protection. Looks hot. Note under the vest (back picture) and you'll see additional kidney protection

I'm not trying to hate, but it looks like PEO is becoming more and more receptive to private market initiatives. Like Crye Precision:



Often times, some things make sense. Just takes folks awhile to get there.

And here's a picture of Dina Meyers, to round out this Starship Trooperish post:

Support gun control? Then be prepared to cowboy up!

This type of stuff makes my head explode:

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - April 26, 2007 - A Philadelphia lawmaker who supports tougher gun-control laws said Thursday he will likely start wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying his gun more often after receiving a threatening e-mail.

"A" threatening email? Hey, no issue with him cowboying up, if he "feels" threatened, but, well....never mind. I've got to put my head back together.

Oh, and check out his use of the royal "we."

Note, if we're not James Taranto, we should refrain from employing the royal "we."

(what's good for the goose, ain't for the gander)

Sunday, April 29, 2007

"All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my fatwa"



A good article in the LA Times on graphic novelist Frank Miller.

What do you want the headlines to say?

"Did they want a headline saying, 'Congress is standing up to President Bush,' or 'Congress gives President Bush free rein?' "

Boston Globe

I hear alot how one of the great failures of the Merkin Imperial War Machine is it's inability to get it's message out, through the gatekeepers of the fourth estate.

There's some truth to that. Some bad, but you know, largely some good.

I look at the relationship, the bubble it's sometimes called, between the members of the media and members of our political class, up there in Delta Charlie. A tad incestuous, introspective and self serving.

What I would worry about is the Imperial War Machine getting caught up in that entire process, an unintended consequence of trying to massage the message. The media has a NEED to KNOW, NOW, so they can REPORT, EXCLUSIVE, BREAKING NEWS.

If there's no crisis, well, by god they'll just have to invent one. And there'd be a great temptation to play along with that, inside the ranks. Camera's are very seductive. They can also make one very stupid.

Stick with "just the facts, ma'am."

Another county heard from

We take the simplified view that the Long Global War on Terror and Stuff is a struggle between a globalisizing west, as championed by the Merkins, and a retarded form of cave dwelling, as championed by the Salafists.

But I like keep in mind, there's that hybrid out there, sort of tripping everyone up.

From Wired's Copy Editor, Tony Long:

And in going forward there is only one solution. War itself must be made obsolete and that means eliminating the reasons men wage war: nationalism, religion, greed. But it will never happen, not in my lifetime or in yours, because that means 1.) abandoning the concept of the nation-state 2.) abolishing all religion 3.) replacing stock-market, corporate capitalism with universal socialism. It requires nothing less than a reinvention of the human condition. Imagine.

He's a Lennonist. Imagine that.

1.) abandoning the concept of the nation-state

Well, we are working on that. So far the experiment's been going gang busters in Somalia, pre-9/11 Afghanistan, Lebanon, the NWFP of Pakistan and the occasional Emirate Eruptions in the Anbar Province.

2.) abolishing all religion

Gods, large and small, abhor a vacuum. Something always slips in, as an object of worship. Gaia, anyone?

3.) replacing stock-market, corporate capitalism with universal socialism.

Socialist systems are a shared delusion. I forgot who said it, and I paraphrase, but "as long as there is one unsocialized rock, there will always be boat people." Read This Perfect Day. Operating here is the principal that man is a pain avoiding, pleasure seeking animal. I call it my People Theory of Osmosis. Folks move from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure. It's the permeability of the membrane (border) that determines the flow. When folks start lining up to enter the current, extant socialist paradises, I'll give them a relook. Till then, balls.

In the great game of globalization, jihad and capitalism are not the only game in town. That compromise candidate still wants to be heard from.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Small Point

Emailed a buddy of mine about some such nonsense. He hits back with " Acknowledging that
there was no evidence of weapons of mass destruction..."

OK

Fair enough. But we did find Ideologies of Mass Destruction.

And that should be the focus.

OK?

Back to web 2.0

One Worldism? Sure!

But which "one world?"

I like George Monbiot. He's a useful barometer of the next flash in the pan. Back on Tuesday, he wrote:

The campaign for a UN parliamentary assembly is being launched this week on five continents. It is backed by nearly 400 MPs from 70 countries, a long and eclectic list of artists and intellectuals - among them G√ľnter Grass, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Alfred Brendel and Arthur C Clarke - several government ministers and party leaders, including our own Ming Campbell, six former foreign secretaries, the president of the Pan-African Parliament and a former UN secretary general. After 160 years of ridicule, Tennyson's crazy idea is beginning to look plausible.

Read it all.

My take? No thanks.

Let's do the heavy lifting first, the enfranchising later.

I'm getting old; I don't want to live through the horrors of democracy.

"Treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity"



The "white privilege" movement tickles my funny bone. It's a 360 degree response to the "white power" movement.

To wit, it's the same damn thing. Sure the details differ, but the way I end up looking at things it comes down to "well, you're born white, therefore you are:"

1. Superior and arrogant.
2. Superior and guilty.

Balls. Both movements celebrate that lazy sort of collectivism that ticks me off. Both judge people by position (how you were born) instead of accomplishment (what have you done).

Both degrade the individual.

The school district in Seattle got into a bit of a dustup about using federal funds to send students to a "White Privilege" conference in Colorado to, I assume, get their minds right:

For the 2006 conference, a paper by Tobin Miller Shearer (who is white) argued that white people could not enter the kingdom of God unless they confronted the way racism and white privilege shaped their lives and spirituality. He maintained that white people tend to be far too individualistic and need to acknowledge their membership in a group that is unavoidably racist.

Silliness abounds.

Here's to hoping White Privilege Movement is to people of palor what ebonics is to the neo-"angry black male."

Hell, here's just to hoping.

A lust is born

There's probably several good reasons for not buying Royal Enfield Bullet Military:



But I can't think of any. Wife's even cool with Military. I need to book it on my medium term purchase list.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Oh.

I think I've met Paul. At a wedding, back in 2000. If it's the same guy, then, yeah. Scary smart and driven.

Ballsy too. Good thing he's already fully vested in the corporation.

Interesting read, tho:

Army Officer Accuses Generals of 'Intellectual and Moral Failures'

(Actual article here)

Via T.P.M.B. Blog.

UPDATE: No. He wasn't the droid I was looking for. Don't know him.

The Battle of the Bulge and the "flying sergeants"

If you're in Belgium, some time on your hand, then rent a car and drive. I'd recommend St. Vith, Bastogne and Malmedy. Wereth-11. Go in the late fall, when the wind is whipping up and down the rolling hills. Take a guide.

Dress warm.

You'll be walking the ground of the Battle of the Bulge. Where men fought, divisions died and the Nazi's were finally and forever broken.

Here's what you'll see. Dense forest and low, rolling terrain. You could hide divisions in there. An Infantry Company Commander emplaced his unit in one bowl, and assumed he had friendlies to his left and right. Circled by terrain, he could not see over the next hill. Stand in one of those bowls, look up, and you'll see what he saw. Datastarvation. What to do?

Flying Sergeants. NCOs in the Air.

They would have flown something similar to the Taylorcraft L2 Grasshopper. Looked like this:



The Sergeant was given flying lessons, placed in the cockpit and told to go hunt Nazis. They were closer then, to the barnstorming era, then our Air Marshals are today. They used muscle to push plywood, whereas today our Air Lords can push G's at the edge of space, disconnected from the mundane.

Back then, though, those Sergeants were the eyes and the ears of the force, connected to and responsible for, the forces on the ground. They extended that one hundred yards out just a little bit further. Army had Sergeant Pilots for one reason: necessity. Just like WWII saw and exponential increase in Units of Action (they called them divisions) the Army also recognized a need for short range recon, and turned to the NCO Corps to fill that need. Grasshopper Pilots.



Necessity.

Of course, as you all know, the weather kept all aircraft grounded, those fateful days, and the results are well known. From the 106th Division breaking at Schnee Eifel to Pieper finally running out of gas, the Battle of the Bulge raged.

NCO Pilots.

The Cat picks up on the debate between the Army and the Army Air Force over who "controls" the coming UAV fleet:

The Air Force insists that all UAV operators, even if they are sitting at video terminals, must be rated pilots but the Army says this nonsense, pointing out that the best Army UAV operator in Iraq was trained as a cook.

Bottom line, why pay a Major $80,000 dracma to do what a young NCO does in his off time, namely, run a joystick. Doesn't make sense, from a national point of view. Of course, if you're in the Air Force and you take the long view, you know the nation will need more of these:



Than this:




You know this impacts dollars in the outyears. So you worry.

Tough. Necessity makes the needy greedy.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Guess who came to dinner?

Chief of Staff of the Army, Four Banger Casey. Another short dood, surprising. Thirty six years of service and two weeks on the job.

Quick impressions:

  • He wants to continue transitioning the Army. Planning to the outyear 2020. Talked about the future combat system, but more in terms of how R&D from the FCS is being pushed to the Iraq Theatre. Things like UAV's and UMGVs
  • Army needs to get better at growing strategic leaders. Good at tactical and operational, but need strategic (which is why I think career progressions are being elongated. An intentional aging of the force).
  • Sees war lasting at least a decade. Iraq style conflict an outlier, but not pushing for a strict counter insurgency force. Need a strategic force to fight.
  • Modularity works, need some tweaks, so make them and set the force.
  • Army readiness. Doesn't apply to Army in the field. Units prepping to deploy have equipment shortages, but they are due to lack of capital investment in the nineties and acquisition cost in building modularity. BLUF: fighting forces fully enabled.
  • Asked if the Army could ditch the beret and go back to patrol caps. Received the second largest applause.
  • Stated he was pursuing a policy of free two week leave for Soldiers on second deployment. Largest applause.
  • Asked some questions about healthcare. Whatevs. The question was an obvious set up, IMHO.
  • Asked about media relations. Basically said, well, "what are you going to do?" Army needs to improve strategic communications, but recognizes all the impediments aren't in the corporation.
Just my impressions. No direct quotes.

Because it's so impractical

I'll probably end up making this:




Zonageek's idea, and a good one. I'll be swapping out my 80GB hard drive in the mac book, and this looks like a good reuse. Of course, I'll need to stalk up on some plastic baggies, but still, a nice project.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Wherein I disagree

I'm about a third of the way through Barnett's BFA, and probably should withhold comments. Several reasons:

1. I'm not a book critic.
2. I'm not that smart.
3. It's early.

But. Yes, the magnificent "but." Pages 99-104, inclusive. Persia.

See, I get his argument on China. I do, and prefer it. A long hard slog to Peking would not be in the medium term interest of Merka, myself, or Eason Jordan (he'd need a longer website name). The Han have been all over the map. They've done Dynasty and Dallas, experimenting from Marx/Mao to Macy's/Mayo, with a side of fries.

At the end of the day, China is looking to buy in to globalization and the sweet, sweet nectar of capitalism. So, I'm cool with that.

Then there's war with CHICOMS. That white paper they threw out there, back in the late nineties? The one about asymmetric warfare? If I read it right, it was more about defeating a technologically and materially superior foe in a straight force on force, state on state, mano a mano conflict.

Fair enough.

You can always tell what "side" someone is on when they talk about Persia. The "faster please" crowd focuses on the Persian Mullahs state sponsor of terror, from Hamas, to Hizbullah to playing host to the al-Qaida CEO's son, since the fall of the Taliban. The "grand bargain" crowd talks about Persia in terms of it's nuclear ambition.

Me, I'm in the seam. I don't like Persia because of the way they mean to wage war.

Look, there's a lot to like about the Persians. Absent the Mullahs, they're pretty decent. They do not like the Mullahs. Got it. But 90 thousand plus pasdaran and their stick wielding palestinian acolytes should be able to keep that in check.

The regime is weak. But, when is that different? All collectivists regimes are eventually revealed as weak, run by small men with dying dreams (Castro? Kim? Call your office). That's the nature of things. The Persian Mullah's understand their weakness and their youth bubble. I don't see the adopting the CHICOM 4-2-1 approach (as Barnett explains, the one kid supports two parents and four grandparents. No time for war). Look at the Iran-Iraq War. The simply took that youth bubble and rolled them towards Iraqi lines as human mine detectors.

The Persian bomb is a hedge, not just for regional ambitions, but also internal repression. Thinking they'll be bought off by Mercedes Benz (Germany is Persia's commercial partner. Like the French shopping Peugot's and nuclear reactors to Saddam) is patently wrong. Persia is a rational, but rational within their rule set.

Here are the flags of the Pasdaran and Hizbullah. I'm a visual learner.




They probably use the same Madison Avenue advertising firm.

Persia's Mullahs, the surviving bazzari, the internal "NGOs" are heavily invested in the regimes survival. Allow them the bomb, and they'll valve off the steam of internal dissent in a manner that would bring a tear to the eye of Vincente Fox. Only, the Core will be the one getting scalded.

The way I see it, the Mullah's retreat under the umbrella, and continue their destabilizing the Middle East. Shopping the Shia of Iraq to them, in some sort of soft partition (that sees the Merkins moving up north into the welcoming arms of Kurdistan) just feeds the beast. The Mullah's then employ their non-state, totally deniable, "like, dude, never heard of them" actors increase the Mullah's interest from a regional to supra regional (yeah. Europe) arena.
Full disclosure, I'm not "down" with the Sunni's. The way they treat the Shia reminds me of Jim Crow Merka. But despising Sunni supremacists doesn't mean throwing in with Shia supremacists (no matter how ecumenical on the terror front).

My point is, just like we instinctively won't accept the Wahabbi rule set into the core, we ought not accept the Mullah rule set either. Especially in exchange for something a transitory as a "stable Iraq." Not on the Mullah's term.

No sir.

So war? No, not necessarily. But if not war in the short term, then, please, a hell of alot more of "everything else." The Mullah's need exit stage right.

Their way of war countenances Idiot and Vehicle Born IED's, attack on civilian populations as a way of shaping the Informational Environment (link to .pdf). Their way of war sees a state actor claiming Core protections, while engaging in Gap behavior. Murderers. Plain and simple.

You do not want to bring Persia into the Core, dragging their decidedly Gap rule set with them. We already have a U.N. We don't need the Mullah's in.

No sir, says this Br'er Rabbit.

Dumb things done

Every once and awhile, I reformat my harddrive, maily to clean up the junk the accretes over time. Usually, I'm good about back dat dataz up, but this time....

Well, I didn't loose much. Mainly my voodoopad wiki, but I can rebuild it later. Still, a bummer.

The Republic of Phred

Hey, Phred.

Hey.

How's it been?

Pretty busy. Burning the two or three braincells I have left; trying to get things done at work.

Oh. So, that's why you're going with the "interview" style post?

You bet.

Ok. Let's get started. Who do you think is going to win last years superbowl, the Nicks or the Mariners.

Umm. Definitely the Mariners. They have a great power forward this year.

You know nothing about sports, do you?

Not a thing.

That's o.k., we're just warming up. So, what's on your mind?

Well, I think that new planet is pretty cool, the one with water, or potential for water.

Gliese 581c?

Yeah, that's the one. Pretty cool. Maybe life, maybe none. But it sure is livening up here about our local. Odds are, I'll never get there to look around, but maybe someone will one day.

We could send automated probes.

We could send people.

All righty then. What else.

Hear the one about the giant prehistoric fungus?

He walked into a bar with an iman, a rabbi and......

Prototaxites. Big giant fungus. My subaltern and I have a little side bet going. I think the world largest living organism is a fungus. He says it's the Aspen forest. We argued over size versus mass. But what it comes down to is, see, the fungus is a dood. The aspen forest is a colony of doods, united "for the children," but still a collective. Borg like.

Wow. You are a nerd.

Thank you.

So, um, how to approach this....um, are we losing?

A man once asked his sensei, he said, "sensei, the power company is threatening to turn off my lights if I don't pay my bill." And the sensei asked, "so, what are you going to do about it, you padawan learner." The p-diddy thought for awhile, and then said, "nothing." The sensei then replied, "ah, then you don't really want to have lights, then."

???

You have to pay your bills, if you want to have lights. Look, nevermind. You can spend all day in the soup of sophism. You can read The Management of Barbarism or even about the Plan. Dense reads, both. Or you can do this. Go down to your corner liquor store, and pick up a copy of FM 7-100 Opposing Force Doctrinal Framework and Strategy. I believe you'll find it between US Weekly and Me Daily. Flip to page 1-9 and read this:



If you think you're losing, then you are. It's the only wish that comes true, from wishing it so. What's funny was listening to the noos, last couple of days. NPR gave some airtime to "appeal for redress" run by Petty Officer James Hutto. Now he's running around giving speeches about "No justice, no Peace" and ending U.S. "Imperialism." Um, digger wasp? Petty Officer Hutto comes from a different tradition than I. Se, he's more like the aspen forest, and I, young willow, am the humongous fungus (hummmmmm).

O.K., where are you going with this?

Nowhere, actually. I was just thinking today, about the phrase, "exporting revolution." We've been at the recieving end of alot of that; communsim, fascism, nazisn, euism, worldisperkyism and islamism. All of it's pretty bankrupt, non rule bound, and ineffective. We have a revolution, here on our shores, and it's pretty well....

Care Bears?

No. Americanism. Rule of law, means testing, meritocracy, etc. We ought to push back, and export our revolution.

It's not our place to.....

Well look. That's silly. You always improve your foxhole. In this instance, the earth. Why do doods with strange ideas get to wreck entire nations, and then wag their finger in our face and say it's not our place to interfere? I've never really understood that. If this war is about ideas, we need to be pushing ours as hard as we can. You be surprised how much the Rest of the World (TM) would be receptive.

But, why?

You got anything better to do? Gliese 581c is pretty far away.

The People(TM) won't like that.

You'd be surprised.

All right, then. It's pretty obvious you're tired. Thanks for your time.

It's the most precious thing I have. Glad to share.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

America (PBUH), INSERT yeah!!

Man, I've got more books than time, right now, but I'll probably drop for this book (I need to build up my sabbatical stack o' reading, anyways):


Americanism, the fourth great western religion.

I don't hide my love of America (PBUH), but I don't know if it's really a religion. But I do see America (PBUH) as an idea increasing applicable to a dysfunctional world. Just my thinking, is all. A blurb:

If America is a religion, it is a religion without a god, and it is a global religion. People who believe in America live all over the world. Its adherents have included oppressed and freedom-loving peoples everywhere—from the patriots of the Greek and Hungarian revolutions to the martyred Chinese dissidents of Tiananmen Square.Gelernter also shows that anti-Americanism, particularly the virulent kind that is found today in Europe, is a reaction against this religious conception of America on the part of those who adhere to a rival religion of pacifism and appeasement.

Besides, if one treats environmentalism, pacifism and the general nuttiness of jihad as religion, the why not Americanism? Makes for an interesting century. Of course, the way my mind works, I put that blurb together with the blurb from John Robb's new book, Brave New War:


This evolutionary leap in the methods of warfare makes it possible for extremely small nonstate groups to fight states and possibly win on a regular basis. The use of systems disruption as a method of strategic warfare gives rise to a nightmare scenario in which any nation—including the United States—can be driven to bankruptcy by an enemy it can't compete with economically. We are staring at a future where defeat isn't experienced all at once but as an inevitable withering away of military, economic, and political power through wasting conflicts with minor foes.

How can we defend ourselves against this pernicious new menace? Brave New War presents a debate-changing argument that no one who cares about national security can afford to ignore: it is time, says Robb, to decentralize all of our systems, from energy and communications to security and markets. It is time for every citizen to take personal responsibility for some aspect of state security. It is time to make our systems, and ourselves, as flexible, adaptable, and resilient as the forces that are arrayed against us.

See if al-Qaida and Associated Militias (remember, it's a brand now) can unmoor themselves militarily and philosophically from the nation state, maybe the west ends up doing the same, to survive.

Like I said, interesting century.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Congrats, Tony.

Newest entry in the inkstained lineup.



Tony Carrillo, of fminus. Congrats, man. Well earned.

Thing I love about "instant success," is it's never instant.

Tony's been at it for years, and I look forward to watching his strip grow.

Speaking of flags

At popsci some neat ideas for Martian Flags.



Now, all we have to do is go there, and stuff. Easy.

King of the Hillism

Some short hippocket knowledge I use.

Look, the Harlem Globetrotters haven't lost a game since the prokaryotes and eukaryotes split over irreconcilable differences. The games rigged.

If they went up against an NBA team, they'd get rolled.

My point? You rig the game in your favor, you end up shooting yourself in the foot. You lose the skills that got you to the top.

Sure, it sucks. You're at the top of your game, and along comes some snapperwhipper causing you to reinvent yourself. Suck city.

Damn markets.

But you know what? That's just the game.

The google and earp day

They remind me of the sabbath, and tell me to keep it holy.




I zoomed in on the .gif, and looked for a struggling polar bear, but alas, none were found. Was I too late, I asked myself, anguishing in anguishment. Or had Kevin Costner, Last Man on Earth, used them as a meat animal.

It's all so confusing.

This morning, I watched New York Times' reporter Thomas Friedman on one of those morning talk shows. He engaged in an unfortunate bit of sophism ("If this administration wanted to win, then why didn't they send enough trupes to win?") and then moved to discussing "Green." So, I finally caught up with Mr. Friedman's article, from last weeks NYTIMES Magazine, called The Power of Green.



Leave aside the unfortunate choice of flags (see, um, "white flags" have meaning), Mr. Friedman argues for using the Power of Green (i.e. the environmental movement) as a robust means of advancing Merkin Geopolitical aims:

The motto of the American Revolution was “no taxation without representation.” The motto of the petroauthoritarians is “no representation without taxation”: If I don’t have to tax you, because I can get all the money I need from oil wells, I don’t have to listen to you.

He's got a point. For resource societies, populations are essentially surplus. The House Saud is the easiest example, but the RUSMOB is trending that way.

It's when he starts global warm-mongering that I start drifting. Problem as I see it, is that that territories already owned. The hair shirt sized. You don't get to drive the train, only negotiate your surrender.

The global warm-mongering movement, and environmentalism at large, is owned by people who, for lack of a better idea, never let a "good idea" pass.

Sad. Could there be in issue with global climate change? Possibly.

Keep this in mind, no one ever comes up to you and says "hey, elect me, and I'll stick a pin in your eye." They always start with a "good idea."

My take on environmental policy? A good idea, in the wrong hands.

"Cast down your bucket where you are."

Instapundit links to a review of the book by Angela McGlowan, called Bamboozled, and asks:

Are the democrats in danger of losing the black vote?

And concludes (actually, this is pretty much the whole post, but come on, it's Instant Punditry, right?)

It's an interesting argument, but it would be more persuasive if the Republicans were smarter.

Well, no. I don't think the Republican Party needs to be smarter, or the Democratic Party less dumber.

Here's how I view my vote. It's a commodity. Every two, four and six years (on the national level) I "sell" my vote to the "highest bidder." I calculate my sale based upon return, based upon who, individually and secondly as a Party will further my own self-interest. Everyone does.

It's how we calculate self-interest that differs. For me, I'm strong on National Defense, Property Rights, Individual Liberties, Transparency, Accountability and a permissive rule set. Basically, anything that let's an individual grow, make mistakes, pay for those mistakes and move on. I'm not into Grievance, Gotcha, Get-some, Purity of Thought or Cultural Programming.

I like my elected leaders humble, open, frugal and informed. I vote to send people to Delta Charlie to sit shiva on the instruments of governance and to try, really try, not to make a mess of things.

It's how our republican system works, ideally. See, I'm busy living my life. I don't have a brace of Helots toiling in the field for me, freeing me up to engage in the more esoteric ins and outs of pure democracy. Country's far to big for that, anyways.

Self-interest. There's two ways of looking at self-interest. One, someone gave me something, my self interest is met. I think of this a corrosive. The second way is someone got out of my way, and I built something. Far healthier.

Black America thought has followed two strains of thought, IMHO.

W.E.B. Dubois and Booker T. Washington.

Here's my shorthand:

Washington believed in the basics. He felt thought it was within the hands of Black America to conduct our own uplift, after the Civil War. He argued for building businesses, trades, and skill sets necessary to survive and thrive in a still racists America.

Then you had Dubois. DuBois felt that Blacks in America could not succeed until racism was destroyed, until we were "liked." He chased every utopian dream in trying to make that happen. Of course he failed.

Refining this further, I carry around in my noggin "Washington as Builder" and "DuBois as Griever." DuBois (1965) far outlived Washington(1915), and saw many, then, unimaginable changes, but his form of grievance left and indelible mark on Black American thought.

Washington was a simple, plain spoken man. DuBois, slick and urbane.

Jesse J., Al S., (now) Stinger et al are inheritors of DuBois thought. Like me, love me, accept me, and all will be ok. Except it won't

Leave aside disneylands like Beale St and 18th and Vine, you go to the heart of the Black Diasporas, the Harlems and Roxburys, the A.T.L.s and Chi-Towns, you see what Dubois' particular form of grievance mongering has wrought (I wouldn't recommend investing in property, there). Instead of pride in doing, a fake sort of esteem based not on what you've done, but how you were born has dominated. A false esteem whose lowest common denominator "hip hop culture," has replaced any authentic sense of the Black American experience.

Bad programming.

Instead of following in the traditions, the reasoning, and the logic of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters [ed note--"Randolph was born in Crescent City, Florida. He never grew up being "racially internalized." Meaning that he never saw himself any less than the white kids around him." WORD!!], we've slipped into grievance mongering. The easy road, paved with gold? Right? I mean, why compete on an even playing field, when you can just jigger the rule sets in your favor?

Because of the long term effects. There is no pride in begging. Without pride, without esteem (real, not imagined) we become something less than our full potential. Rainbow Coalitions, my ass!!

So back to the Democratic and Republican Parties. Treat them as businesses, selling a product. Call that product Good Governance. Every few years, they come around, peddle their wares, and through slick advertising, rallys, the dog and pony talk show circuit, they attempt to exchange product for your vote.

Seems to me, the smart way of going about selling your vote, whether your ethnicity is to ensure that those parties deliver on the their promises, and that you make sure they are promising the right things.

Business development versus income redistribution.
Property surety versus collective housing.

Things like that. "Pity the fool" who pities you.

Black Americans don't need to vote Republican or Democrat. We need vote our own self interest. We need to ask how, after the abolition of old Jim Crow, our communities collapsed, worsened and were destroyed. If we start voting our own self interest (which is remarkably what I would define as America's self interest) then both parties will adjust their business practices. They both want that vote. Do that, and we're in a buyers market. Don't and it remains a sellers market.

Success is the only secret hiding in plain sight. Just need to look for it. Hey, maybe we just need to ask Margaret Sanger or Senator Robert Bryd. Ha, ha. Kidding. Right?

But one thing that needs to go by the roadside is hate. Hate feels good, but without exception, always ends up destroying he who wields it most. Don't ask me why, it's just a rule. See your original manufacturer for specifications.

Anyways, I need to wrap this up. The wife and I are going grocery shopping. Busy, busy, busy, we have a life to build.

No time for hate.

End Post.


A ship lost at sea for many days suddenly sighted a friendly vessel. From the mast of the unfortunate vessel was seen a signal, "Water, water; we die of thirst!" The answer from the friendly vessel at once came back, "Cast down your bucket where you are." A second time the signal, "Water, water; send us water!" ran up from the distressed vessel, and was answered, "Cast down your bucket where you are." And a third and fourth signal for water was answered, "Cast down your bucket where you are." The captain of the distressed vessel, at last heeding the injunction, cast down his bucket, and it came up full of fresh, sparkling water from the mouth of the Amazon River.


To those of my race who depend on bettering their condition in a foreign land or who underestimate the importance of cultivating friendly relations with the Southern white man, who is their next-door neighbour, I would say: "Cast down your bucket where you are"--cast it down in making friends in every manly way of the people of all races by whom we are surrounded.

Cast it down in agriculture, mechanics, in commerce, in domestic service, and in the professions. And in this connection it is well to bear in mind that whatever other sins the South may be called to bear, when it comes to business, pure and simple, it is in the South that the Negro is given a man's chance in the commercial world, and in nothing is this Exposition more eloquent than in emphasizing this chance. Our greatest danger is that in the great leap from slavery to freedom we may overlook the fact that the masses of us are to live by the productions of our hands, and fail to keep in mind that we shall prosper in proportion as we learn to dignify and glorify common labour and put brains and skill into the common occupations of life; shall prosper in proportion as we learn to draw the line between the superficial and the substantial, the ornamental gewgaws of life and the useful. No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem. It is at the bottom of life we must begin, and not at the top. Nor should we permit our grievances to overshadow our opportunities.

Booker T. Washington Addresses 1895 Atlanta Exposition

Saturday, April 21, 2007

I had a good day

....blowing stuff up.

The Broken....

Record Army.

You hear that alot, today. Seems the Army Recruiters a keeping up their numbers by shanghai-ing former druggies, pimps, prostitutes and the odd politician. The Army's broken. It's not the world class force we had back in Dad's day, when Oldsmobiles were actually desirable cars.

Yeah. I like to look at things from the other side.

Back in the day, you had a cookie cutter promotion process where senior leaders selected juniors based on the same narrow gates they went through. Basically, there was one path to success.

Today, the imperial grunts are being shaped by something better than the best promotion process. War. Reality. A changing security environment. Call it what you will. But you wind up with multiple paths to success. And a more adaptable force.

Ask yourself, though, who do you want as your Leviathan, at the end of the day?

A junkyard dog?

Or best in show?

"Remember, perception equals reality"

That was a particularly obnoxious phrase that used to display prominently at an old worksite of mine. The phrase always rubbed me the wrong way, because it was a sentence fragment. I always dressed it up by mentally adding "...for the insane."

But hey, it's a cute phrase and probably appealed to the greybeards who had it put up.

Look, we have leaders that think myspace is where you bunk, youtube refers to a friends television set, and blogging is something impolite people do after a hearty meal. They also think you should classify everything, even if its been on CNN for the last half-hour. Worst of all, they believe they should react to the security environment instead of shaping the environment.

But hey, that's just my humble opinion. I'm probably wrong.

So, earlier this week, Four Banger Fallon, the CENTCOM Combatant Commander, decided to roll out the B Vocabulary:

TAMPA - "The Long War," a phrase coined by former U.S. Central Command chief John Abizaid to convey the time needed to defeat the religious extremism fueling al-Qaida, has been jettisoned by his successor, Adm. William Fallon.

And

"The change in vernacular is a product of our ongoing effort to use language that describes the conflict for our western audience while understanding the cultural implications of how that language is construed in the Middle East," McLaughlin wrote in an e-mail.

The Long War, continues the article, has now been replaced by [SOUND OF CRICKETS CHIRPING IN VACUUM]. I kid. But we'll need something. Some suggestions:

The Footnote Wars
The Politically Inconvenient War, '08
The Career Ending War
The Army/Marine Corp War
The Must Cover Ass War

More disturbing is the attempt to recast, actually narrowcast, this as "We remain committed to our friends and allies in the region and to countering al-Qaida inspired extremism where it manifests itself. But one of our goals is to lessen our presence over time, [and] we didn't feel that the term 'Long War' captured this nuance."

Narrowcasting reactionaries.

AL-Qaida is a brand, these days, less a global organization of super secret squirrels, and more the forerunner of whatever disaggregating movement eventually triumphs over the Evils of Capitalism and globalization. It's an evolving enemy.

Systems approach.

So I also read that the Administration of President Bush is looking for a "War Czar." At this time, no takers. So far, it seems, some retired Four Bangers have been approached, and all have turned the administration down. Which is probably a mixed blessing. Think Jay Garner.

WAPO's Thomas Ricks on the Hugh Hewitt show:

TR: A couple of months ago, Newt Gingrich, I think it began with him, former Speaker of the House, told the White House you know, your biggest problem here is the bureaucracy of the U.S. government. Except for the guys fighting on the ground in Iraq, there’s nobody in the system for whom winning in Iraq is the top priority. And he made a series of recommendations, about 18, that said you really need to get the government in gear.

In the military, you make a bad decision, you get dead. In the Rest of The Government (ROTG) you get lateralled. There is a need to wake up the slumbering sloths of guv'mint (or fire them. no matter). It gets back to the whole Interagency debate.

So my recommendation for War Czar (besides ditching Czar)?



  • Best recommendation for Barnett, he probably doesn't want the job. Which is fine in my book. Draft him.
  • He comes with his own strategic vision to plug that big gaping hole around which our DIME currently revolves.
  • He likes America. Not always a given in Delta Charlie.
  • He wants to shape, vice being shaped by the strategic environment.
We either engage the world on our terms, or the world will keep engaging us on theirs.

No more cave dwelling, no Dobbs/Buchanan Nirvana to retreat into. O.K. I'm done.

Now, I can haz cheeseburger:











Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Um, AFRICOM...?

Department of Everything Else?
Lesser Includeds?
MOOTWA +
SysADMIN?
Way Ahead?

Thomas P.M. Barnett publishes some sweet, geek, eyecandy, and asks:

"See if you can spot the reproducible strategic concept"



Today I talked my subaltern. I told him we could easily conquer the world. Holding it, now, that's another matter. Choosing between fighting and surrendering, you fight. Choosing between fighting and something better, you choose something better.

But our current "multicultural" brief only offers surrendering. Alas.

Tomorrow, I get to blow stuff up. To bed early tonight.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Over at the Danger Room

Noah blogs about a religious revival occurring at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.

No comment. But link diving, I dig up this jewel:

Polish Brig. Gen. Marek Tomaszycki assumed a dual role as commander of the Polish military contingent in Afghanistan and as one of CJTF-82's deputy commanders March 22.

(So, CJTF-76 chopped RC South, retained RC East and became CJTF-82. Interesting. And assigning a Polish General as the Deputy Commander, even more so).

My two favorite, pre-Napoleonic republics were The Most Serene Republic of Venice (duh) and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Both were islands of liberty in the Continental System.

Early adopters.

Glad to see the Pols onboard.

Send in the Graphic Designers!!

Actually, jokes aside, this makes a pretty nice patch. Hope it goes from concept to left shoulder (of course, in keeping with the other COMCOMs, you'll have to stick a sword in there).

Monday, April 16, 2007

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Straight food p0rn

Best tapas I ever had was in a Spanish restaurant in an Italian city. I don't think it came close:



I need to research some tapas recipes.

RUSMOB on the waves..

Looks like the RUSMOB has launched a new class of submarine, the first since the dream of the Soviets ended:

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia on Sunday launched its first new generation nuclear submarine since the fall of the Soviet Union as the Kremlin seeks to upgrade its undersea nuclear strike force. The long delayed Yuri Dolgoruky, the first Borei-class (Arctic Wind) nuclear submarine, was moved to the dry docks at a highly secret submarine base in the Arctic town of Severodvinsk, the heart of Russia's northern submarine fleet.

Here's the highly secret base of Severodvinsk, near Archangel:



Drilling down, and what do you see, our old friend, the Kiev class aircraft cruiser Admiral Gorshkov:



She's being refitted for use in the Indian Navy as the INS Vikramaditya.

Full disclosure, as a phrap, Phred wanted to join the Navy. I figured it was as close as I could get to Starfleet. My love of ships has not quiet left me. I remember when the SOVUNION started flooding the seas with the Kiev.s, Kirov's and Kuznetsovs. Scary days indeed.





As part of the Superpower contest, the SOVUNION started building a blue water Navy to compete with us Merkins. Carrier Battlegroups, along with Nuclear Weapons, Space Program, Big Armies and Clients were considered de riguer for any respectable Superpower.

But the SOVUNION, a continental power, never quiet got the hang of Carriers. Largely do to the expense and complexity of maintaining them.

Today, the CHICOMs and Indians have bought a couple of Carriers from the RUSMOB fire sale (everything must go!! prices this cheap are inane!!). They're aiming for Great Power status, and Great Power status must be demonstrated. Right?

It's funny, we Merkins aren't "Super (Thanks for asking)" because of eleven carrier groups. Or our, rather delayed, space program. Or the soon to be fielded 45 Brigade Combat Teams. Or even, because of a twelve trillion dollars economies.

All those visible "things" are the result, not the reason.

So, If I were some middling power, I'd be asking "how", instead of focusing on the "what."

Mindset and all.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

"How I learned to stop to worrying....

..and love the Bomb CHICOM.

Just kidding. At least about the "love" part.

If I could pick out one trend, in the last century, it was the tendency to over emotionalize ideology over results. All the little -isms, from socialism, to communism, Nazism and the current crop of Islamism all had one thing in common. They pimped a grievance, and used emotionalism to push "the cause."

I distrust causes in general, and movements in particular. Pace Hoffer, they always seem to come to the same end. Spent, bankrupt and eventually doing more harm than the good they promised.

I'll keep it short, because I tend to ramble.

Finished the first of the John Hopkins videos mentioned below. Started with Thomas P.M. Barnett, because in his books, he always leads with hope. I mean, you can always bomb later, right?

Towards the end there, he talks about Merka's relationship with the CHICOMs, INC. Hey, there's two school of thought there.

One says we need to be ready to blow the Han to hell in a, must resist pun, Handbasket once on toe touches water.

The other is a cynical "realist" view of engaging China (NOKO are their problem, they'll get a sphere of interest, etc).

It was the last few minutes of Barnett's speech I found interesting. Now maybe I'm over interpreting, but here's my takeaway: Self-Interested Cooperation based on economics.

Sweet, sweet capitalism.

Google and Amazon. Google is striving to be the company that knows everything. Amazon is striving to be the company that provides everything. Me, I'll take the knowledge role.

Remember back in the day, when the varying Asian tigers were about to roll Merka, and turn her economy into kibbles, by producing cheap goods? I said back then, well, yeah, China can stamp out the CDs, but it's Michael Jackson (back when he had a reputation) that gives those CDs value.

We are google to the CHICOMs amazon.

Interesting factoid. In the next few years, the CHICOMS overtake the U.S. in the consumption of oil. Heard that before? Well, it won't be because the Merkins have rolled over and died. It will be because we're doing something else. What? I have no idea.











Fact is, we've got quiet a significant lead over just about everyone, China, India, hell, even the Europeans, in productivity, research, quality of life, etc. Now, we can get Lou Dobbsian, and try to preserve what we have (top of the resource heap), or we can set the next economy. I'm an optimist. We are trendsetters.

So back to self-interested cooperation. Strikes me as a more rational, less emotional way of interacting between nations. Less attachment to ideology, and more attachment to integration. Or as Barnett calls it, connectivity.

He sees a rising tide. Plausible.

If we Merkins and the CHICOMs went to war, it would be MADE. Mutual Assured Destruction, Economic. We wouldn't win, and the CHICOMs would certainly lose (less economic cushion), but you describe the effects all around as "not good."

So we interact with China. While remembering our own self interest (something our Diplomats seem incapable of doing, as they work to reach a deal).



Ideology. Every month or two, someone is writing an article about the Rising Chinese Hegemon. Or, lately, the Rising Indian Hegemon. Maybe not. Historically, neither nation travels far. Might be a result of numbers. They've got enough population, issues and complexity to keep them busy. What I find funny, is that it's usually a left of center person praising the The New Next Upcoming Sure To Be Gangbusters Superpower who will replace the Hated Capitalist Entity (tm). Look, the Indians are shedding Fabian socialism. The CHICOMs see communism more a matter of bunting, and less a matter of functioning.

The irony is that to displace the Capitalist Entity, they're having to become more like the Capitalist Entity. But when they get to where we are at, we'll have moved. See Lisbon 2010 for details.

They'll still be different states, sure. Further back on the road to individual freedoms, you bet. Without all the baggage. But without all the benefits, too.

Come circa 2030, we'll just be welcoming the Han to the 1980's and the Europeans to the 2010s. It's how we roll.

The DoP(e)

The Department of Peace initiative has been percolating about for awhile, but thanks to Tigerhawk, I finally got to read the thing. Now, I am at peace.

As suspected, it's a piece with retrogressive progressivism. Which is a shame, when there are serious calls for a Department of Everything Else.

On the one hand, the Secretary need prevent cruelty to animals, too, on the other, enforce arms embargoes. Man, that's a lot of work for her (am I off base in assuming a her?)

The bill also throws a bone to the Human Security Doctrine. Which, I've heard of before.

O.K. Twitter interuptus. I've got a friend online, one I haven't talked to in awhile.

Let me just say it's disappointing when the way ahead is paved with retreads.

Disconnecting from reality?

Plenty of talk about where Russia is going (looking at it's business climate, I'd say south), but this article in Pravda really takes the cake:


American radio icon Don Imus disgraced, fired after threat to reveal 9/11 secrets

In a clear sign of its intent to reign in dissident American media personalities, and their growing influence in American culture, US War Leaders this past week launched an unprecedented attack upon one of their most politically 'connected', and legendary, radio hosts named Don Imus after his threats to release information relating to the September 11, 2001 attacks upon that country.

Um. OK. News to me, but I guess that's why there's the interwebs. In other news, there was a dwarfish alien mysteryiously killed, a dwarfish porn star that knows how to party and a flying car.

Has the Pravda become the National Enquirer?











Or maybe they just need better translators.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Old friends

Golgi apparatus, mitochondria, lipid layers and the like. One cell, a leukocyte. So simple, yet so complex.

Via Make: The inner life of cells.

Where was this, when I was in school?

Rent A Wife?

Funny commercial. Funnier site.

This is a parody, right? Sometimes it's hard to tell.

Best Review Ever

An entirely tongue in cheek take on "The 300."

So i took the afternoon off today b/c of personal time needed and went to the movies, well technically three in a row at the same theater on 16th St Pavillions, because it was a day to relax.

And i saw THE MOVIE that explains it all friends and family. You have to watch "300" b/c it really explains why the US (who is Sparta in the movie) has to go and fight the Muslims in the world. I kind of felt like i was Unitus but i think they were basically meaning he was the President, but a better one that what we've got right now, but the same leader/ruler of America. They explain that they're (Muslims) threatening our way of life and even defiles Jesus Christ who is our man in the big race.

Unitus tries to get UN approval to attack Iraq... but they're weak and feeble and turn them down. So he goes in on his own to protect freedom and culture in our Western World in this battle. On the way, ugly France (beautiful stereotype) tries to get on his side but only Unitus has the skills and utmost military technology to face the opponent in this battle so we turn them down. Unitus does take in the Aussie's on the way to the battle, though which i thought was classic! So France basically decides to backstab Unitus half-way thru his conquest and sides with the 'Persian' bastards during the battle. In the battle, they're using Sparta vs Persia as the America versus brown people (Muslims) and the scenes are incredible (old school Sparta/ancient Greek-style fighting). During the most cinematographically-awesome battle scenes, they even bring in the Chinese (one billion man army) as the Untouchables, that we have to kick in the ass as well during the mini-war.

It really shows the American woman (Unitas' wife) as being a source of strength and wisdom in the movie as well which was cool. Right up until when she sleeps with the leader of the Democratic Congress to get her voice heard and illicit support for her husband. She gets screwed literally, then shows she can f%k back by proving the leader of the Democratic party (this leader guy) is even being paid off by the damn Muslims aka Persians.

Yeah, it's a little extreme i know, but explains it a lot better in my eyes than anything i could possibly articulate. Watch the story, listen to this side of the argument (as well that of many of my friends via the movie) and then we'll talk politics.

UPDATE: I should mention I recieved this in an email.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Prophet

Daniel Keys Moran is among my favourite writers. His Continuing Time series has been almost prophetic at spotting trends. AIs as internet filters, automatic shotguns, suborbitals and genetic engineering.

His book, The Last Dancer had the Johnny Rebs planning to crash the Earth Internet by taking out the UN routers, located in space. Of course, te protagonist, Trent Castenaveras can't allow that, so he ends up blocking the move.

So, when I come across news stories like this, I just shake my head, and go, wow:

US military plans to put Internet router in space

Cisco Systems and Intelsat General, a subsidiary of Intelsat, are among the companies selected by the U.S. Department of Defense for its Internet Routing In Space (IRIS) project, which aims to deliver military communications through a satellite-based router.

Ever closer to an interplanetary internet.




Yes, I am cleaning out my work email...

And posting the interesting stuff, here.

For all those seminars you wanted to attend, but couldn't?

Try here: Rethinking the Future Nature of Competition & Conflict Seminar Series

Some familiar faces.



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