Showing posts from October 8, 2006

What border security?

To prove how poor border security is, this guy has a mariachi band lead elephants across the border in Brownsville.

“If I can get an elephant led by a mariachi band into this country, I think Osama bin Laden could get across with all the weapons of mass destruction he could get into this country,” Bhakta said.

The mariachi band was not immediately available for comment.

Well, glad to know those patrols are working out so well.

More on the Norks "nukes"

Earlier, I talked about seismology and how it will be able to tell us whether or not the Norks nukes were indeed, nuclear. Here's a better explanation of how that works.

More lies about WMDs.

I have been hammered over and over for my support for the Iraq war because it was based on "lies." That is, Iraq never had them. How they were counted and labeled by UNSCOM if they never existed is never clear to me, but I digress.

My rebuttal is that the Bush administration was told by George Tenet that it was a "slam dunk" that they had them. They provided detailed intelligence to them about what they had and where they had it. When that information turned out to be false, the President was accused of lying.

Lying used to mean putting forth something as true that you know to be false. Now lying apparently includes being wrong. If someone asks me what time it is and I tell them the wrong time because my watch stopped now I am a liar.

Since those are the new rules, I declare the CIA to be a bunch of liars.

Some recent secret reports stated that Pyongyang did not have nuclear arms and until recently was bluffing about plans for a test, according to officials w…

a little levity

I have no idea if this story is true. I do know that it is funny. Put down any beverages before reading.

Non-Nuclear North Korea

Michael Yon is saying that the "nuke" wasn't one. Apparently, seismography will tell whether or not it was based on the smoothness of the declining spike on the graph. A non-nuclear blast uses conventional munitions which leave tell tale indicators that they were detonated in tandem. YMMV. Personally, I don't think this clears things up very much nor does it really matter.

Not Atomic [Michael Yon ]
A very well-placed government source told me Tuesday afternoon that the North Korean explosion was non-nuclear. The explosion may have been an actual nuclear test — this is unknown — but the source reports the outcome was non-nuclear. The source stressed the importance of bearing in mind that though the explosion occured in North Korea — if it was actually a test and not merely a dictator clamoring for attention and influence — the test may have been by or for the Iranians. The source reported that American physicists with access to the information see no sign of nucle…

Oh this is just great.

The good news: The Brits are doing very well at breaking up these plots.
The bad news: There are a lot of them

The good news: They're not restricting their search to brown people
The bad news: There are more would be mass murderers than we thought

Chemicals Find: Two In Court
TWO Pendle men have appeared before Pennine magistrates accused of having "a master plan" after what is believed to be a record haul of chemicals used in making home-made bombs was found in Colne.
Robert Cottage (49), of Talbot Street, Colne, and David Bolus Jackson (62), of Trent Road, Nelson, made separate appearances before the court charged with being in possession of an explosive substance for an unlawful purpose. The offences are under the Explosive Substances Act 1883.
Both men were remanded in custody to appear at Burnley Crown Court on October 23rd. Cottage was arrested at his home on Thursday, while retired dentist Jackson was arrested in the Lancaster area on Friday, the same day as he left a…

Cynicism and politics

This report details a former Bush Admin insider who has written a tell-all book about how Evangelical Christians are viewed as rubes who they have to fawn over so they'll get the votes needed to get into office. Well, yes. I think the only people surprised by this news are Evangelical Christians. This is something Andrew Sullivan also noted recently.

I'm cynical enough to think that both parties view virtually all voters are ignorant rubes who need to be led by their betters and they're just the ones to do it.

One thing that disabused me of my political naivete happend when I was in college. One of my roommates was working for a politician in on a particular piece of legislation. The politician directed a senior aide to contact the opposition special interest group to get their help to craft a bill that would be diametrically opposite to their cause and would simultaneously be unconstitutional. They were happy to oblige. It gave them both something to argue over and…

The Libertarian swing voters

Cato, has found that the swing voters are libertarians.

Well, yes.

Let me say, I love Cato. I believe in what they do and in their limited government view of how our nation should be run. That said, they tend to define "libertarian" so broadly sometimes that nearly anyone disposed to liberty gets the label. Calling "soccer moms" libertarian is a bit of a stretch. In my experience many of them support a great deal of social spending where families and children are concerned.

Take the report with a grain of salt but read it.

h/t: Andy


I've never been a fan of "Bushisms" that are popular with leftists. Largely they are unsourced and frequently don't belie the intelligence of President, just his ability to speak clearly. There are a great many people who are very smart and are poor public speakers. That said, this one, is too much:

These budget numbers are not just estimates; these are the actual results for the fiscal year that ended February the 30th.* [sic]


The guy doesn't even know how many days are in February?

Throw some more gas on the "President Dumbass" fire why dontcha?

Democrats overconfident?

Instapundit had an interesting letter:

UPDATE: Reader Michael McFatter emails:
It's not just California. Rove has been refining this machine for the last three elections and some smaller ones in between. This is the real reason they call him The Architect. When you hear The Architect you should think The Matrix, not building designer. This guy pioneered direct mail for politics in the 80's to extraordinary success. Every election the system gets better. He experiments every election too, in select districts to see if new strategies work and then collects huge amounts of data back after the election. Newsweek had an article that brushed the surface of this, but it got buried under the Foley scandal. I think there are going to be some very, very surprised Democrats come November 8. It doesn't matter if you lead at the polls if the other guy gets 95% of his supporters to cast their vote and you can only manage 65%.

This is certainly true but I think it's way too early to pr…

That YouTube Video....

You know, this one

Of course I find it funny because it's hyperbolic. I don't subscribe to the idea that this is all Clinton's fault. There's blame to go around but to believe that he didn't have a majority stake in the blame portfolio is to deny reality.

The video did make three points I agree with and something liberals often deny:

"Making nice to our enemies will not make them nice to us."
"Evil dictators will be evil dictators no matter what we do"
"Security is not a joke, can we afford a party who treats it like one?"

Can you refute any of these? Even if you ignore the assumption in point 3 that they're talking about the Democrats, can we afford any party that isn't serious about security?

That YouTube Video....

You know, this one

Of course I find it funny because it's hyperbolic. I don't subscribe to the idea that this is all Clinton's fault. There's blame to go around but to believe that he didn't have a majority stake in the blame portfolio is to deny reality.

The video did make three points I agree with and something liberals often deny:

"Making nice to our enemies will not make them nice to us."
"Evil dictators will be evil dictators no matter what we do"
"Security is not a joke, can we afford a party who treats it like one?"

Can you refute any of these? Even if you ignore the assumption in point 3 that they're talking about the Democrats, can we afford any party that isn't serious about security?


I like jagon. It often gives you insight into the trials and trevails of the industry. Attached below is a list of some of the funniest military jargon I've come across.

AWR - (Alpha Whiskey Romeo) Allah's Waiting Room. When engaged, [insurgents] have a tendency to flee to the same building (the AWR), at which point the troops radio in an air strike.
LPCs - Leather Personnel Carriers, or combat boots. Generally used when describing a mode of travel (ie. "we'll be taking our LPCs over to the range")
Big Chicken Dinner - Bad Conduct Discharge.
Chicken in a frypan - Specialist (E4) rank insignia, which has an eagle inside a shield.
First Lieutenant, Second Award - a Captain, so named because the insignia of grade consists of two parallel silver bars
Jesus Cruisers - Flip flops. See also Shower Shoes
Rock Eaters - Term used by troops during the Balkan missions to describe locals. It comes from the locals teeth decay, which was explained by saying that they ate rocks …

Kim's not crazy

Kim's not crazy. Not in the homeless guy on the subway muttering to himself way. He's crazy as in taking risks he ought not to be taking category.

Read the whole article.

LOST figurines

So cool!

Amazing detail. I appreciate the talent and skill required to make these things but I don't understand what people do with them once they buy them.

The Judas Kiss

I was watching a show called MacIntyre's Millions recently. It details a reporters attempt to buy plastic explosives on the black market. After much ado, he gets in touch with a middle man who gets them a few kilos as an introduction. He tells them he wants to up the ante to get more and bigger. During that conversation the middleman assures him he's "100% safe when doing business with me." The reporter realizes at that point that he's going to get a bullet in his head. It is a appropos that in true Mafia fashion, his killer comes not with a mask of rage but with a smile and a pat on the back. It was really a creepy moment. A more naive reporter would have missed the threat and probably ended up dead. For those of you with TiVo, look for it. It's worth your time.

We have always been at war with Oceania

Apparently, there's a new history on missile defense.

It's amazing to me that people can either lie so brazenly or they are actually capable of doublethink. I refuse to believe they don't remember their vehement opposition to TMD. They somehow interpret it as supportive while decrying it the entire time. Sort of the way Democrats favor "real security" a diaphanous concept that is never clearly defined.

Warren Zevon

I used to listen to Warren Zevon ages ago. It was only a short time but I liked "Excitable Boy" enough but could never really put my finger on why I liked it. Looking back it wasn't the melodies or even a particular hook. Rather, it was his dry wit that drew me in. My wife and I were watching "Justice" and I heard the theme song and it sounded familiar and as I suspected, it's Warren.
Herewith are the lyrics:

Lawyers, Guns and Money

Well, I went home with the waitress
The way I always do
How was I to know
She was with the Russians, too

I was gambling in Havana
I took a little risk
Send lawyers, guns and money
Dad, get me out of this

I'm the innocent bystander
Somehow I got stuck
Between the rock and the hard place
And I'm down on my luck
And I'm down on my luck
And I'm down on my luck

Now I'm hiding in Honduras
I'm a desperate man
Send lawyers, guns and money
The shit has hit the fan

Send lawyers, guns and money...

Sound advice I'd say.

Jimmy Carter vs. the NYT

This post points out that Jimmy Carter is to blame for North Korea's nuclear program not Bush. File under: Red on Red

Race based voter disenfranchisement in Mississippi

That noted Bush mouthpiece, The New York Times has a story about Democrats denying votes to people based on race.

We live in quite a world.

Democrats are now isolationist/non-interventionist
Democrats are now suppressing votes from white people
Republicans are inveterate spenders
Republicans favor Big Government
Democrats bemoan falling oil prices
Republicans are imbroiled in a sex scandal
Up is down
Black is white
Freedom is slavery

Harry Reid is an excellent Real Estate speculator

AP Exclusive: Reid Got $1M in Land Sale

Some people are always telling me how Republicans are the corrupt, power hungry criminals whereas Democrats are perfect and clean in all ways.

Sane people realize that people in positions of power become increasingly susceptible to corruption over time. The longer you are in Washington, the more corruptable you are.

Here's the lede:

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid collected a $1.1 million windfall on a Las Vegas land sale even though he hadn't personally owned the property for three years, property deeds show.

Then it really goes downhill:

In the process, Reid did not disclose to Congress an earlier sale in which he transferred his land to a company created by a friend and took a financial stake in that company, according to records and interviews.

And then there's this:

The senator didn't disclose the sale on his annual public ethics report or tell Congress he had any stake in Brown's company. He continued to report to Cong…

No More Troops


At this point I'm inclined to agree. I've been a proponent of the Iraq war since before it started and of Transformation as well. I've been careful to delineate between trends and states. That is, the trend may be improve but the state of things is still poor. I've firmly believed that while the state of things in Iraq was generally poor, the trend was improving. Now, I don't think so anymore. Transformation from a warfighting perspective is a success. As a means of peacekeeping, however, it is an abject failure. They are two vastly different things. One is warfighting and the other is police work. Soldiers are not cops and should not be. Transformations gaping hole is that they need civil affairs battalions as large as (if not larger than) the warfighting and it's attendant support commands. Now, things are divided into Tooth and Tail. Tooth does the fighting and tail supports those fighters. We need a third disti…

North Korea Update

Asian nations consider sanctions on the DPRK. Meanwhile, Japan is indicating they're a foregone conclusion.

I think the parties involved know the test was likely a dud but they needed a reason to focus on North Korea and to put the screws to them. Partisans both left and right are now blamestorming about how we got here rather than what we do next. Largely because, frankly, that's an easier question to answer. We can all agree that a nuclear North Korea is nothing anybody wants. Not even China, their erstwhile ally.

The only two nations with any serious leverage over North Korea are Japan and China. The latter controls the oil pipeline from which Kim's Korea relies. Without that oil, they will quickly find their shortages even more dire than they already are. Japan's leverage comes in the form of remittances from their resident North Korean population. They are wealthy (by DPRK standards) and they send a good deal of cash back to their relatives in the DPRK.…
Congressional spouses get paid. How is this even remotely legal? Where is the ethics committee?
Ugh. Where to begin. I haven't been posting much of late as my interweb has been broken. That, and I've been super busy. My work at CandyCo has been very busy. Part of my job here is training users on migration from one platform to another which means I have to give these "webinars" twice a week and it requires me to talk for over an hour. I don't mind teaching people in matters technical but in this case, it's more of a lecture with me packing a great deal of information into a short period of time. Not my favorite thing. In addition to that, I'm the sysadmin for both the new and legacy platforms. So, whenever I finish these sessions, I have at least three or four critical path problem tickets waiting for me. Fun fun fun.

On the other front, I guess it's time to let the cat out the bag, my wife and I are expecting.

Here then, is the Baby FAQ:

Q. When is the baby due?
A. Early January

Q. Is this your first?
A. No.

Q. How many do you hav…
North Korea's nuclear bomb test has certainly stirred the hornet's nest. First question: why announce the test in advance? Pakistan didn't and India didn't. The key difference is that neither of those countries was using the development of the bomb as a negotiating tactic. Pakistan needed a nuke to deter India's numerically superior troops from invading and India needed to keep Pakistan from nuking them. Not so North Korea.

Defense tech declares it a dud

Captain Ed has more that points to the idea that this was a big conventional boom disguised to look like a nuclear one.

Chester reminds us that the DPRK has tried this one before. I've been thinking that if they hadn't announced it as nuclear test in advance, an explosion of that size would have been construed as a mining blast (albiet a big one), or possibly an accident. Announcing it in advance elminates the second possibility before it can be considered.

The links above do mention that you don&…
The "Secret Letter" from Iraq. I think "secret" is a misnomer here. The word, private is more applicable. It's a sobering read. One thing that is most frequently conflated (wrongly, in my view) is state vs. trend. How Iraq is trending is not the same as it's state. The trend may be good but the state is still bad. That is, the place is a disaster but it's a less bad disaster than it was in the past.

I've reproduced the letter here in full:

All: I haven't written very much from Iraq. There's really not much to write about. More exactly, there's not much I can write about because practically everything I do, read or hear is classified military information or is depressing to the point that I'd rather just forget about it, never mind write about it. The gaps in between all of that are filled with the pure tedium of daily life in an armed camp. So it's a bit of a struggle to think of anything to put into a letter that's wo…