Thursday, July 31, 2008

The joys of old houses

It isn't just the fact they have soul.

Europeans: chasing illusions

A great interview in Der Spiegel with the Dutch writer, Leon De Winter that has so much more than one the author or interviewers think. The foolishness of "European Diplomacy" with Iran, that Islamization of Europe, Israel, the US - and unintentionally a view of what most Americans never see - the latent arrogance of Germans towards, well, everyone.

First, lets look, at De Winter's take on Iran.
SPIEGEL: What do you think the Europeans are doing wrong?

De Winter: They are chasing illusions. At the time, I met Fischer during a reception at the headquarters of Springer Verlag (publishing house) in Berlin, and he came to me and asked: "What do you have against me? Why do you write such negative things about me?" I said: "I have placed so much hope in you, but you have disappointed me." And he was really taken aback. I tried to explain the situation to him. He had to be told that the Iranians weren't taking him seriously; they were making a fool of him. Fischer's response to this was that we had to pursue a dialogue and return to the negotiating table again and again.

SPIEGEL: But Fischer was right. What would have been the alternative?

De Winter: We could have told them: If you don't stop, we'll wipe you out!

SPIEGEL: You can't really mean that.

De Winter: Yes, I really do. I would have told the Iranians that if they don't halt their nuclear program today, we'll put the fear of God into them tomorrow. And they would have stopped because that's a language they understand. You can't go to these people and say: "Listen, if you renounce generating nuclear power, we'll help you produce something else. And if you don't do that, well, we'll be very, very sad." "Okay," is definitely what the guys in Tehran would say "That's a threat that we take seriously, and we'll meet your demands." What a ludicrous idea.
...but here is a perfect example of what Europeans put up with all the time, something across the pond we only get glimpses of (especially if you don't read German). The dripping condescension:
SPIEGEL: But Fischer was right. What would have been the alternative?

De Winter: We could have told them: If you don't stop, we'll wipe you out!

SPIEGEL: You can't really mean that.

De Winter: Yes, I really do. I would have told the Iranians that if they don't halt their nuclear program today, we'll put the fear of God into them tomorrow. And they would have stopped because that's a language they understand. You can't go to these people and say: "Listen, if you renounce generating nuclear power, we'll help you produce something else. And if you don't do that, well, we'll be very, very sad." "Okay," is definitely what the guys in Tehran would say "That's a threat that we take seriously, and we'll meet your demands." What a ludicrous idea.

SPIEGEL: That is, with all due respect,
the slightly simplified worldview of a novelist who lives in nice, little Holland and doesn't have to make such decisions. A foreign minister has responsibilities and has to be more cautious in his judgments.
Ohhhhh, yea. That is the German "elite" that I know. A little peak under the rug at the well varnished anti-Americanism;
SPIEGEL: Does your love for the States have something to do with your Jewish origins?

De Winter: That's certainly possible. But if that were the case, then I would feel most at home in Israel. I travel a lot to Israel, but I wouldn't want to live there.

SPIEGEL: Why not?

De Winter: Because of all the things that we have talked about. If I had lived during the 1920s, I would probably have also emigrated to Palestine. But today? I don't see it as the duty of every Jew to live in Israel. As far as I'm concerned, America is the Promised Land because everyone can live there as they please, no matter where they come from and no matter which god they worship -- as long as they work and respect the laws.

SPIEGEL: A fairly idealistic view of the United States.

De Winter: Please leave me with at least one illusion!

I guess we would all be better in the world without Americans and Jews. Once they are done with then perhaps the focus could be back on what is really in the way of a better world ... the English and the French!

American - the new and improved Jews - hate and smear them with no guilt! Blame them for all your own failings ....

The interview was conducted by Martin Doerry and Henryk M. Broder - who German and ... Martin Doerry comes from both Jewish and Third Reich background - and Broder is of Polish/Jewish origins and his background almost comes across as "NeoCon" in the American context. Looks like Spiegel went in to be balanced, but it came out as a hostile interview.

Funny in that the authors, soaked in the German political stew, probably are tone deaf to it. My pro-Israeli American ears hear it quite well though - but - to cut them some slack, perhaps it is somewhere between where they think they are, and where I think they are. I'll meet them half way ... once the authors make the effort to actually visit the USA lie De Winter, if they haven't already - and they need to visit more than NYC and LA.

Either way - I am sure glad I hold a USA passport.

When Chap met Phib

It's an '80s thing; you wouldn't understand.

Chap always looked like such a clean nice boy - but I miss a beard now and then.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Big Caribou

Goes quite well with this oldie but goodie.
House #1 A 20 room mansion ( not including 8 bathrooms ) heated by natural gas. Add on a pool ( and a pool house) and a separate guest house, all heated by gas. In one month this residence consumes more energy than the average American household does in a year. The average bill for electricity and natural gas runs over $2400. per month. In natural gas alone, this property consumes more than 20 times the national average for an American home. This house is not situated in a Northern or Midwestern 'snow belt' area. It's in the South.

House #2
Designed by an architecture professor at a leading national university. This house incorporates every 'green' feature current home construction can provide. The house is 4,000 square feet ( 4 bedrooms ) and is nestled on a high prairie in the American southwest. A central closet in the house holds geothermal heat-pumps drawing ground water through pipes sunk 300 feet into the ground.

The water (usually 67 degrees F.) heats the house in the winter and cools it in the summer. The system uses no fossil fuels such as oil or natural gas and it consumes one-quarter electricity required for a conventional heating/cooling system. Rainwater from the roof is collected and funneled into a 25,000 gallon underground cistern. Wastewater from showers, sinks and toilets goes into underground purifying tanks and then into the cistern. The collected water then irrigates the land surrounding the house Surrounding flowers and shrubs native to the area enable the property to blend into the surrounding rural landscape.

And the kicker.
HOUSE #1 is outside of Nashville, Tennessee ; it is the abode of the 'environmentalist' Al Gore.

HOUSE #2 is on a ranch near Crawford, Texas; it is the residence of the President of the United States, George W. Bush.
You can verify it at: Snopes.

Dude, my brain hurts

This city's famed marijuana bars have weathered many challenges over the years and are still smoking. But now they face an unwelcome blast of fresh air: On July 1, the Netherlands will be one of the last European countries to ban smoking in bars and restaurants in compliance with EU law.

The Health Ministry says the ban will apply to cafes that sell marijuana, known as coffee shops. But this being Holland, which for centuries has experimented with social liberalism, there's a loophole: The ban covers tobacco but not marijuana, which is technically illegal anyway.

But that still leaves coffee shops and their customers in a bind. Dutch and other European marijuana users traditionally smoke pot in fat, cone-shaped joints mixed with tobacco.

"It's the world upside down: In other countries they look for the marijuana in the cigarette. Here they look for the cigarette in the marijuana," said Jason den Enting, manager of coffee shop Dampkring.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

That is what you get for buying French ...

I don't think the French Canadian parts of the Canadian armed forces buy just French stuff ... at least I hope not - the ERYX for one.

The future is Red

As you brace yourself for the "inevitable Democrat future" and the rising Left, Michael Barone has a tonic for you.

Also remember, the future belongs to those who show up. The right is out breeding the Left by leaps and bounds generation through generation. Don't discount that fact either.

Hat tip VodkaPundit

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Anon'o'blogger's battle

The barbarians are sending out scouting parties.
"You can complain about the government, and you should be able to do that without fear of retaliation or threatening actions on the part of the people in these positions," said Lillie Coney, associate director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a Washington-based watchdog group. "I guess they've kind of annoyed them at some level, but you really don't want to see law enforcement or government resources spent in this way."
"We are quite interested in preserving the anonymity of the bloggers," said Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the ACLU of Tennessee. "Anonymous speech has long been protected speech under the First Amendment."

Maritime Strategy Monday: needle gun your way to victory

Some smart thinking is going on at NAVSEA - but I see one thing missing from a batch of goodies NAVSEA spy sent my way; can you spot it? I bet Byron can.

The thing that is missing from that call of action slide is a discussion of proper (not "optimal") manning. Properly led, supported, trained Sailors - in the right numbers - is the best way to keep ships in the right condition for decades of service.

In our technology and industry driven support commands, we forget that at our peril.

McKiernan's redemption

Over the last few months as Gen. McKiernan has moved towards and started to make his presence known in Command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan to lead NATO forces, I have been pondering something that I have not yet read much about WRT the background story. I don't think I am alone in noticing something about the man and his story in this war that demonstrates the moral indefatigable nature of the man.

Perhaps a quick overview is in order for those who don't quite know where I am going. Those who have kept a close eye on the leaders in this war, especially the post-2003 Iraq invasion portion, and who have read
Fiasco, Cobra II, or other books great and small about the invasion of Iraq and its planning, should have a solid understanding of Gen. McKiernan and his place in this war and its history/mythology. If not, you need to do some reading - I'm not going to review it all here for you.....but I'm a nice guy, so let me help a little to get you up to speed.

In 2003, then Lt. Gen. McKiernan was the Commander of the Combined Forces Land Component Command (CFLCC or "Sif-Lick")/U.S. Third Army (yes, Patton's Army). Now, hold that thought and let's take a snapshot of his then Lt. Gen (3-stars) contemporaries over a half-decade ago.
  • SECDEF Rumsfeld and Dep. SECDEF Wolfowitz - gone.
  • CJCS Gen. Myers - retired.
  • Dep. USCENTCOM and the USCENTCOM Gen. Abizaid - retired.
  • Commander V Corps, Gen. Wallace - TRADOC Commander.
  • Commander 1 Marine Expeditionary Force, Gen. Conway - Commandant of the Marine Corps.
  • Commander 101st ABN Div, Gen. (then 2-star MG) Petraeus - Commander, USCENTCOM (designated).
  • Commander US CENTCOM Air Forces (CENTAF) - Gen. Moseley - just fired/resigned as Chief of Staff for USAF.
  • Commander 1st Marine Division, Gen. (then 2-star MG) Mattis - Commander, Allied Command Transformation.
  • Commander US Special Operations Command, MG (then BG) Harrell - retired.
That is just a few - none of them are in combat roles. Many, Mattis and Petraeus, have been promoted over and through him. McKeirnan just put on his 4th-star after being a 3-star since JUL 01 - almost 7 years. As COM 7th Army/USAREUR has hasn't been in the wilderness per se - but in a global war he has in a way been watching others fight the war - and watch his one-time subordinates move up and forward.

There is a lot to admire in the man. He could have retired or turned bitter like the Revolting Generals - or just drifted to a farm and retirement somewhere. He didn't though, he kept at it - serving where and how he could, waiting for the call to bring him back to the front.

I wonder, as a 3rd Army guy, if Gen. Patton's time in the wilderness between the slapping incident and the post D-Day breakout was in his mind. Probably, as his name for his plan for the invasion of Iraq was Cobra II - Cobra I was Patton's 3rd Army run through France after the breakout.

How much of that was in his mind, I don't know - what I do know is that he has been given a second chance. As COMISAF, he is commanding at a time of increasing risk at all three levels; Tactical, Operational, ands Strategic. He also, unlike his time in Iraq, is getting significant forces coming his way - if you can read between CJCS Mullen's and the CINC's lines right. The hints are all over the news. Don't know how soon they will get there - but at least he knows they are coming - if not for him, for his relief.

AFG is a growing challenge and one where I think we have the right man at the right time for the USA. As for our ISAF allies - they on a whole just don't get it, and many like Germany won't and will not turn to the sound of gunfire. They will argue and tie you up in War College/Academic discussions on the "Comprehensive Approach" until the enemy is at the gates because no one ever reviewed Step 1: a safe & secure environment. No, it will be up to the Anglosphere nations and its auxiliaries to reach the right End State in AFG - Gen. McKiernan will set the foundation for that.

As a note of full disclosure, in the past, I have had the opportunity to work in close proximity to/with Gen. McKiernan. He has never owned paper on me though, but I have seen him work personally, and those who have worked directly for him have the greatest respect for the man and his quality. I am optimistic.
As a added bonus - I cannot emphasize the importance of and treasure trove of inside knowledge there is in Amb. Thomas Schweich's article from last week, Is Afghanistan a Narco-State?

Anne, Bookie, and ninme don't need no stink'n "BlogHer"

Anne, Bookie, and ninme are my three favorite XX bloggers (sorry FbL & Maggie, but they were with me almost from the beginning - but you're on Phib's "Nice" list). One thing I know about these dream women - they don't need this junk.

FOR two days last week, many of the men’s bathrooms at the Westin St. Francis Hotel here were turned into women’s bathrooms. The stalls on the second floor were lined with note cards featuring nurturing messages like “You are perfect.” Nearby, women were being dusted with blush and eye shadow, or having the kinks in their necks massaged.

There was a lactation room, child care, and onesies for sale emblazoned with the words “my mom is blogging this.” No doubt they were.

Last weekend, about a thousand bloggers, almost all without the Y chromosome, attended the annual BlogHer conference, which began in 2005 to help female bloggers gain exposure. It has since evolved into a corporate-sponsored Oprah-inflected version of a ’60s consciousness-raising group.


There were tears at many emotional panels, and also much hooting and applause, whether in response to news that Michelle Obama had just written her first blog post on the BlogHer Web site or that Michelin would be giving away a set of tires.

There were also more than 40 brands, including General Motors and K-Y Jelly, sponsoring the BlogHer event in hopes of connecting with the scene’s microcelebrities.
GMAFB. What they want is more LIBERAL XX blogs. Identity politics runneth amok; we should send Skippy, MTH, and LBG to the next one so they can "live-blog" all the good self-help going on.

They dont' even mention
MichelleMalkin - a XX who stands athwart the blogosphere like, well, take that visual any way you want. She is so huge, even Allah works for her.

Silly chick whine fest - not worthy of the women I love, respect and admire. Mrs. Salamander harumphs at you!

Oh, and if K-Y Jelly is looking for the right place to advertise, well, every Sailor has a story .....

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunday Funnies

Note to my readers: Yes, once again I am heading into a vast "internet free" area for about the next 10 days. I won't even have email access this time, much less a closet-friendly access to the web. Nope - I have to go cold turkey, but that is OK as there will be PLENTY of things to keep me busy.

All that being said, I have a set of posts scheduled and ready to go every day I am gone, including the regular features and some items you don't want to miss. Byron, set the troll watch - and I will see all sometime around 08 AUG. Until then, my posts will still open the day's conversation, but you can consider them "Open Post" opportunities in comments to point folks to the interesting goodies that may be coming up. Being that my access to news will be exceptionally limited, if there is something you think I may have an interest in, please hold the email until ~the 8th. I read every email that comes in, and I wouldn't want any juicy bits to get lost in the chaff.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sen. Obama (D-IL); thanking the "troops"

We at least he found someone in uniform that he could have his photo taken with.

German police are as good as the Americans at Landstuhl when it comes to the Senator's time, right?

Hat tip ConfederateYankee.

The audacity of ignorance

Now the world will watch and remember what we do here – what we do with this moment. Will we extend our hand to the people in the forgotten corners of this world who yearn for lives marked by dignity and opportunity; by security and justice? Will we lift the child in Bangladesh from poverty, shelter the refugee in Chad, and banish the scourge of AIDS in our time?

Barack Obama
Campaign Speech in Berlin, Germany
July 24, 2008
(I)n 1991 Cindy McCain was visiting Mother Teresa's orphanage in Bangladesh when a dying infant was thrust into her hands. The orphanage could not provide the medical care needed to save her life, so Mrs. McCain brought the child home to America with her. She was met at the airport by her husband, who asked what all this was about.

Mrs. McCain replied that the child desperately needed surgery and years of rehabilitation. "I hope she can stay with us," she told her husband. Mr. McCain agreed. Today that child is their teenage daughter Bridget.

...(T)here was a second infant Mrs. McCain brought back. She ended up being adopted by a young McCain aide and his wife.

"We were called at midnight by Cindy," Wes Gullett remembers, and "five days later we met our new daughter Nicki at the L.A. airport wearing the only clothing Cindy could find on the trip back, a 7-Up T-shirt she bought in the Bangkok airport." Today, Nicki is a high school sophomore. Mr. Gullett told me, "I never saw a hospital bill" for her care.

You would think that with only 99 other Senators to schmooz with - and 1 opponent in the election - that such a gifted gaggle as Team Obama would get the irony of this.

Hat tip GatewayPundit.

Friday, July 25, 2008

You FauxNews simpletons ...

Ahhh, the condescension of the clueless.

Hat tip ChickenhawkExpress.

Diversity in the military: a balanced view

Must give credit where credit is due. The WaPo has a very balanced work on the situation of minority officers in the military. As you know, I beat up the Diversity Bullies any chance I get, mostly for their simple, mindless, stale, Rm. 222 psychobabble that makes no sense to anyone outside the Grievance Dept. of the University of Your Choice. I also don't care for their thinly veiled insinuation that the dearth, in some places, of minority officers in the higher ranks of the military is due to some institutional racism or rampant racism in the officer corps as a whole that won't promote minorities; a world view about 180 deg off from reality.

Via the AP's Lolita C. Baldor, we have one of the rare MSM bits that I would be willing to give to someone as a "Ref. A" to understanding the numbers the Diversity Bullies hand out like talismans.

Though I could quibble with some of the items in the article, I won't Instead, you should review her summary, the rest of the story if you will, that goes the majority of the way towards explaining why in many places, the military does not "look like America."
Blacks make up about 17 percent of the total force, yet just 9 percent of all officers. That fraction falls to less than 6 percent for general officers with one to four stars, according to data obtained and analyzed by The Associated Press.
Only one of the 38 four-star generals or admirals serving as of May was black. And just 10 black men have ever gained four-star rank _ five in the Army, four in the Air Force and one in the Navy, according to the Pentagon.
The Army has led the way with black officers, with nearly double the percentage at times over the past three decades as the other services. Blacks represented 11 percent to 12 percent of all Army officers during that time, compared with 4 percent to 8 percent in the Navy, Air Force and Marines.

The reasons for the lack of blacks in the higher ranks are many and complex, ranging from simple career choices to Congress and family recommendations. Most often mentioned is that black recruits are showing less interest in pursuing combat jobs, which are more likely to propel them through the officer ranks.

"Kids I've spoken to, who choose to do supply, who choose to do lawyer, who choose to do admin, have the impression that 'If I go to Army and become an infantry person, that is not a skill that I can carry to the civilian work force,'" said Clarence Johnson, director of the Pentagon's Office of Diversity Management.
I wouldn't wish that job on anyone.
...young black officers choose other fields because "they want to prepare for a future outside of the military, and they believe that being in communications, being in logistics will provide them a better opportunity to succeed."

In 1998, nearly a quarter of all active duty black officers were in various combat fields. As of this month, that had fallen to 20 percent, compared with nearly 40 percent for non-blacks, according to Pentagon data.

This year, roughly half of all black active duty officers gravitated toward supply, maintenance, engineering and administrative jobs _ almost double the rate of non-black officers.

"That tells me, honestly, over the years the pipeline for those blacks going to general officer is not going to be markedly improved above what it is now," Johnson said.

He said he hears recruits say, "I'm joining this ROTC thing, so that when I get out in four years or eight years, whatever time frame it is, I want a skill I can use."
Another stumbling block is getting more members of minority groups into the military academies.

While white cadets often come from families steeped in military history, black students may not have that long line of ancestral officers.

A review of congressional nominations to the military academies shows that black and Hispanic lawmakers often recommend fewer students.

The fewest appointments to the academies came from Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., who forwarded just three names for the classes of 2009-2012. Two other members of Congress _ Massachusetts Democrat Michael Capuano and New York Democrat Jose Serrano_ sent up five names.

According to Pentagon data, the number of lawmakers who failed to nominate at least one candidate to each academy increased from 24 in 2005 to 38 this year. Of the 75 lawmakers overall who did not nominate someone to each academy in all four years, 40 were either black or Hispanic.
Compared with the corporate world, the military appears to provide a bit more high-level opportunities. As of late 2007, just five of the Fortune 500 companies were headed by black chief executives _ or just 1 percent.
Since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began, the percentage of blacks coming into the Army has plunged from 22 percent to 13 percent. Also, the percentage of blacks in military overall has dipped in the past 10 years, from more than 20 percent to 17 percent today.

The decline has come in part because family members and other adults who influence young people have become less likely to recommend military service.
Summary: the problem does not come from the military - if it is a problem at all.

Buck Sergeant over at MilBlogs has a slightly different take on it. A take BTW that I don't disagree with on the whole - it is just that there is some good news here in that some of the truth of what is actually going on slipped out - and that is good. Half full.

Fullbore Friday

Sometimes a country has men serve them better than perhaps they deserve. Often, some leave a life of unique experience. One of those men left us recently.

Take some time to honor a rare man; Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, Indian Army.
HIS most famous remark was not, strictly speaking, true. On the eve of the war with Pakistan in December 1971 that led to the creation of Bangladesh, India’s prime minister, Indira Gandhi, asked her army chief, Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw, if he was ready for the fight. He replied with the gallantry, flirtatiousness and sheer cheek for which he was famous: “I am always ready, sweetie.” (He said he could not bring himself to call Mrs Gandhi “Madame”, because it reminded him of a bawdy-house.)
A bit flippant. However, you think you have equipment challenges?
And of his armoured division’s 189 tanks, only 11 were fit to fight.

He was not, in other words, ready. But, as he put it, “There is a very thin line between being dismissed and becoming a field-marshal.” Mrs Gandhi rejected the resignation he offered, and acceded to the delay he wanted. His job, he told her, was to fight to win. In December he did, cutting through the Pakistani army like a knife through butter, and taking Dhaka within two weeks.
A lion with a bit of a cheeky-monkey he was.
He had shown this in the Indian army’s darkest hour, the abject defeat in 1962 by China. Already a general, he had the previous year quarrelled with India’s defence minister, V.K. Krishna Menon, about national security. He was vindicated when the Chinese army swatted aside Indian resistance and briefly occupied what is now the state of Arunachal Pradesh. Mr Menon resigned. General Manekshaw was rushed to the front to rally the demoralised troops. His first order was: “There will be no withdrawal without written orders and these orders shall never be issued.”

General Manekshaw was able to demand courage from his soldiers because his own was not in doubt. Known as Sam “Bahadur”, or Sam the Brave, an honorific given him by the Indian army’s Gurkhas, the first of his five wars was for the British in Burma, where he was seriously wounded. Assuming he would die, an English general pinned his own Military Cross on Captain Manekshaw’s chest, since the medal could not be awarded posthumously. Another story has it that a surgeon was going to give up on his bullet-riddled body, until he asked him what had happened and got the reply, “I was kicked by a donkey.” A joker at such a time, the surgeon reckoned, had a chance.
I wanted to take time to honor him for the same reason The Economist did; his own nation didn't.
The prime minister, along with the army, navy, and air-force chiefs, all missed his funeral—which was a modest one held in Tamil Nadu in the south, not a grand one in the capital. His friends grumbled that even foreigners such as Lord Mountbatten were afforded greater respect in death. Bangladesh, however, paid grateful tribute to his part in the nation’s foundation.

He too might well have been disappointed that his obsequies were not grander. His last words were “I’m OK”, though he had rehearsed a better line nearly 37 years earlier. For death at least, the brave soldier had indeed shown himself “always ready.”
Rest in peace Field Marshal.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A grateful Berlin rejoices!

Germans love their memorials. As they are now awash in his wonderfullness, they have given him a great honor.

As Mrs. Salamander might (and actually did) say, "Res ipsa loquitur."

Oh; he's post-racial....

What a putz.
I know that I don't look like the Americans who've previously spoken in this great city.
The 6th sentence. The 6th. Move-on, indeed.....and I counted 14 "..this is the moment..."

Jake Tapper provides a little perspective on the Junior Senator from Illinois' priorities.

The German magazine Der Spiegel is reporting on line that Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. has “cancelled a planned short visit to the Rammstein and Landstuhl U.S. military bases in the southwest German state of Rhineland-Palatinate. The visits were planned for Friday.”

“Barack Obama will not be coming to us,” a spokesperson for the U.S. military hospital in Landstuhl told Der Spiegel. “I don't know why.”

Obama senior adviser Robert Gibbs told us in a statement, “During his trip as part of the CODEL to Afghanistan and Iraq, Senator Obama visited the combat support hospital in the Green Zone in Baghdad and had a number of other visits with the troops. For the second part of his trip, the senator wanted to visit the men and women at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center to express his gratitude for their service and sacrifice. The senator decided out of respect for these servicemen and women that it would be inappropriate to make a stop to visit troops at a U.S. military facility as part of a trip funded by the campaign.”

- jpt

UPDATE: The McCain campaign issued the following comment on Obama’s decision to cancel a visit to the troops at Ramstein Air Base and Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany today:

"Barack Obama is wrong. It is never ‘inappropriate’ to visit our men and women in the military," said McCain spokesman Brian Rogers.

What a putz.

Just reading is enough, but that's OK, thanks to RetroMusicSnob, I found something better to listen to.

DB Sweeney: on the right team

It is easy, very easy, to throw stones at the lack of support of the military and the goofy cr@p that 21st Century tinsel town produces - but there are good people out there when you dig around some. DB Sweeney is one of them.

Check out the 17 JUL PodCast from the DennisMillerRadioShow like I did and hear what he is doing for the military and giving everyone a sneak-peek at his movie, Two Tickets to Paradise gratis. Good interview over at DirtyHarry'sPlace (Part 1 and Part 2)

Here's the trailer - or you could just buy it from Amazon. It's a buddies-on-a-road-trip comedy/adventure that features Ed Harris, Moira Kelly, John McGinley and, of course, Sweeney himself. The payoff for the trio of buddies is two free tickets to a Super Bowl in Miami. Just two. Dude flick.

Here's LBG's clip. BZ DB.

Sen. Bunning (R-KY), my hero

Got this tip from Gary's show; a beautiful thing.

If you liked that, then see the extended stuff posted by "obaidkarki" here and here. I don't know who "obaidkarki" is, but that's ok - I'll share a medium #3 fruit drink at the Iskandarin Grill in Manama anyday...

A Navy at War: Part VII

Often times, someone can tell you what they are really worried about by what they accidentally tell you.

CHINFO has chick problems.

From the usually harmless CHINFO MPTE News Clips - this time from 16 JUL, a little harmless thing; but remember, we are - in theory - a Navy at war.
18 Common Phrases to Avoid in Conversation: Some things should never be
said. Here, how to avoid putting your foot in your mouth - and what to
use instead.

Highlights include:
*Don't Say: "You look tired."
Why: It implies she doesn't look good.
Instead Say: "Is everything OK?" We often blurt the "tired" comment when we get the sense that the other person feels out of sorts. So just ask.

*Don't Say: "Wow, you've lost a ton of weight!"
Why: To a newly trim person, it might give the impression that she used to look unattractive.
Instead Say: "You look fantastic." And leave it at that. If you're curious about how she got so svelte, add, "What's your secret?"

*Don't Say: "You look so good for your age."
Why: Anything with a caveat like this is rude. It's saying, "You look great - compared with other old people. It's amazing you have all your own teeth."
Instead Say: "You look great."

*Don't Say: "That's not my job."
Why: If your superior asks you to do something, it is your job.
Instead Say: "I'm not sure that should be my priority right now." Then
have a conversation with your boss about your responsibilities.

*Don't Say: "This might sound stupid, but..."
Why: Never undermine your ideas by prefacing your remarks with wishy-washy language.
Instead Say: What's on your mind. It reinforces your credibility to present your ideas with confidence.

*Don't Say: "Are you pregnant?"
Why: You ask, she's not, and you feel totally embarrassed for essentially pointing out that she's overweight.
Instead Say: "Hello" or "Great to see you" or "You look great." Anything besides "Are you pregnant?" or "What's the due date?" will do. Save yourself the humiliation and never ask.

*Don't Say: "How could someone as perfect as you still be single?"
Why: A statement like this comes off as a backhanded compliment. What she hears is "What's wrong with you?"
Instead Say: "Seeing anyone?" If she's tight-lipped about her love life,
move on to other topics.

More here.
Somewhere, the warfighter weeps. But ... let's end on a happy note. Byron, Skippy, The Regulars - any additions?

Hat tip OPNAV spy.

What a Weiner

From another planet.

Hat tip MilitaryMotivator.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Lt. Col. Russell; standing by .....

What may be a moment of glory this fall.
The 45-year-old Russell, a Desert Storm veteran, former Army lieutenant colonel and Army reservist who survived the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon, was not even publicly campaigning during the quarter. He is on active duty with the Army until after Aug. 1 and is barred from actively campaigning until then.
What campaign you ask?
A jaw-dropping political miracle may be on the horizon. No, I’m not talking about the second coming of the Obamessiah. I’m talking about the long-deserved comeuppance of troop-smearing, pork-feasting, scandal-tainted Democratic Rep. Jack Murtha of Pennsylvania.

The 18-term congressman’s challenger, staunch conservative Republican newcomer William Russell, raised nearly $670,000 in the second fundraising quarter. Earmark king Murtha scraped together a measly $119,000. Russell’s underdog campaign bested Murtha without the perks of incumbency, national name recognition, big PAC donations or mainstream media support.
You can give here.

UPDATE: Welcome to Ace's readers! Don't be a snob, come back and visit anytime.

MilBlog TV

Hat tip GreyHawk.

Retirement can be hard on a marriage...

For some reason, John came to mind when I saw this.

Hat tip Allah.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Why I drink....

Balvenie 21-yr Portwood for now. I think I will crack it open after supper tonight.

More free help for Team Obama!

He simply needs to find the right venue in Berlin without pi55ing off the Germans any more than he already has. One must be nice to the host.

Yesterday we offered up the Soviet War Memorial. He could also try the new USA Embassy in Berlin - but that might not work either.

Hey! I have another idea. Lots of room. Very historical. It is a sure bet to shore up the Democrat base and those Europeans who have felt so isolated from Amerikkka over the last few years.

The Marx-Engels-Forum
would be perfect! See!

If he really wants to kick it off with his German hosts though, he needs to learn how to dance to this. Chap does.

DDG-1000 gets underway!!!

Kind of sort of.

We are all by now quite familiar with this painting of what the USS ZUMWALT (DDG-1000 (sic) ) is supposed to look like,

Over at gCaptain you can get the scoop of what a little Russian Oligarch money and solid German shipbuilding can buy you.


The first thing that went through my mind was, "Where is the video of it during sea trials in heavy weather at high speed?" Can't find that, but there is this video of the yacht known as "A" and "Project Sigma;" sorry about the cheezy music.

The WSJ calls her ugly. Well, I don't think that is fair. You can call her a lot of things, but ugly isn't in the top 20. Not even close.

The designer, Philippe Starke isn't even a maritime designer - more a furniture dude. You can see his angle on the yacht at his website under "vehicles." A difficult site to navigate through, but you'll figure it out. In this interview I found it funny that nowhere does he mention "DDG-1000" anywhere. To deny that this yacht is derivative is just plain dishonest.

120m chick magnet...but I would love to be the fly on the wall when Blohm & Voss engineers talk about the tumblehome hull some, though most concerns have to do with damage control which in a yacht isn't a big deal....and yes I know the hull form below the waterline is very different between DDG-1000 and "A," but come'on and have some fun with me.

Hey, maybe we can use some anti-terrorism funds to buy a few for "4-Star and Senior Civilian Executive" transport....

Hat tip Tom commenting over at Galrahn's place.

Judgement to lead?

His words at the end are critical to understanding the man. Notice that it is all about politics. His inability to accept what he sees with his own eyes and admit he was wrong - and the inability to see the serious nature of what is going on should give any Obamaton pause.

Say what you want about McCain - but politics is not #1 on his list of motivating factors.


Hat tip Powerline.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Now THAT looks like and officer II: Electric Boogaloo

Surge working beyond what we ever dreamed ... bla .. bla... bla... would not be where we are in Iraq without it ... bla ... bla ... bla ....


I know some of you hate SDK and Chap and Maggie's Dad thinks it is of Soviet origin - but I am no longer embarased when a senior officer goes on the Sunday Shows in summertime.

The next oil war

But this is fueled by oil, but will be paid for by blood. You can also file this under the "unintended consequences of Kosovo" file. One big difference here is that those who desire self-determination based on ethnicity, geography, and religion - but are being prevented it by archaic early 20th Century imperial cartography - are Christians while the retrograde, aggressive militarists are oil-fed Muslims. Therefor, those desiring international support for self-determination in line with what was given to the Kosavars should, well, keep the address of their relatives in LA.
Having spent heavily on its military, Azerbaijan has raised the possibility of recovering Nagorno-Karabakh and its other occupied territories by force. Although the forthcoming presidential election is a factor, this more aggressive stance is not mere bluster. Azerbaijan is frustrated at the failure of 14 years of negotiation and has concluded that a credible military threat might be the best way to force the Karabakh Armenians to make concessions—or, if that fails, to drive them out.
The major change in the situation in recent years has been on the Azerbaijani side: the army that lost the war is undergoing a transformation funded by the country’s oil windfall. Mr Aliyev said recently that defence spending had risen tenfold since 2003 and now stood at US$2bn annually. Already this is far in excess of Armenia’s defence budget and it is set to rise still further. The military hardware that Azerbaijan has acquired is not on its own regarded as sufficient to recover the occupied territories, but it is a statement of intent. The crucial element is understood to be the quality of Azerbaijan’s troops. Pointedly, Mr Aliyev said in early June that their professionalism is increasing daily.
It is therefore wrong to dismiss Azerbaijan’s re-armament and more aggressive stance merely as pre-election bluster. It is a response to the failure of conflict resolution, and it betrays a belief that a change the balance of power in the region is one way to force the Armenian side to be more flexible in negotiations. For Azerbaijan’s leadership, this course of action has the added attraction of creating an option to seek to recover the territories by force if its more muscular diplomacy fails.
Would the Russians let the Armenians, once again, be slaughtered by a Muslim land grab? With the position of Russia WRT South Ossetia and Abkhazia - and a poke at the West in their support of Kosovo - do you think the Russians would let the use of military force to take Nagorno-Karabakh stand? Just to add fun to the mix, you know, of course, that ~25% of Iran's population is Azeri, right? Talk about blood feuds, these guys cannot even be in the same class together to study peace.

History is fun. Big fun. Make sure you vote for the right cruise director.

Maritime Strategy Monday: Force level milestone or millstone?

From the outstanding, something for you guys to chew and fume over. No excuses.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

"I am a jelly donut"

Oy. The Berlin stop at the Obama 2008 Tour is just not going well.

Doing the
Brandenburg Gate was a bust - so Team Obama decides to move to another site.

Germans happy? Notsomuch.
Still, even as the issue of his speech’s location has now been settled, a number of politicians in Berlin are still dissatisfied with the site. The Siegessäule — or Victory Column — was erected in memory of Prussia’s victories over Denmark (1864), Austria (1866) and France (1870/71). The column originally stood in front of the Reichstag, Germany’s parliament building, but was moved by Adolf Hitler to its current location in 1939 to make way for his planned transformation of Berlin into the Nazi capital “Germania.”

“The Siegessäule in Berlin was moved to where it is now by Adolf Hitler. He saw it as a symbol of German superiority and of the victorious wars against Denmark, Austria and France,” the deputy leader of the Free Democrats, Rainer Brüderle, told Bild am Sonntag. He raised the question as to “whether Barack Obama was advised correctly in his choice of the Siegessäule as the site to hold a speech on his vision for a more cooperative world.”

Andreas Schockenhoff of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats said, “the Siegessäule in Berlin is dedicated to a victory over neighbors who are today our European friends and allies. It is a problematic symbol.”
Allah makes a very good point about Sen. Obama's new venue for his campaign speech in Berlin. Yes, it is a campaign speech.
The more basic question is why Obama feels the need to conduct a campaign event among Germans. Meeting with foreign leaders makes sense for a man with no foreign policy experience whatsoever, but that doesn’t require massive rallies among people who aren’t voting in this election. In his rush to look impressive for no one’s purposes but his own, Obama has made himself look ignorant and arrogant all over again.
Here, let 'ole Phib help out. There is a nice place in Berlin right between the Brandenburg Gate and the Siegessäule - it might work better with the Obama theme and is set in the beautiful Tiergarten. The Soviet War Memorial. What a great photo-op it will be.

Photoshop via Mrs. Salamander who wishes it to be know that this is a, ahem, "quick & dirty" and does not represent the actual quality photoshop quality work she can do if given the proper time. FbL and Maggie; no comments about my timing and my wife's timing not being in synch. None at all.

"Give me a second. I gotta go kill these guys first."

Stars & Stripes has the best account, first person, of the engagement last week in Afghanistan's Kunar province. A must read.

Hat tip The Armorer @ Argghhh!!!.

Sunday Funnies

Saturday, July 19, 2008


I'm with LGF, I don't care much for on-line quiz bits, but this one by Pew is fun. Mostly because you get to see your fellow citizens without their clothes on.

Your turn - not bragging, but .....

US Military: looking like America

Yep, I'm lashing out today. Let me roll up two things. I'm going to go there - as ordered.

First, as directed by the CNO and beaten into me by the Diversity Bullies - I take diversity into consideration in everything I do.

Next, Sen. Obama's unprecedented internationalization of his campaign encouraged by the sycophantic media is simply shameless on its face.

So, holding a campaign rally in Kuwait, this photo is making its rounds, as is this one.

Using the larger picture.

37 identifiable Soldiers. Roughly six are White/Asian/Hispanic. Seven are unidentifiable. ~24 are predominantly of sub-Saharan African decent.

Is the USA 65% "African American?" If not, then why is the backdrop? Who is going to be responsible to explain to Sen. Obama the importance of Diversity? (Actual percentage is 13.4%)

To quote the CNO,
"When the American people look at our Navy they should see themselves reflected back. It ties us more closely to the citizens from whom we come but also ties us more closely to the citizens who we serve," Roughead said.
I cannot stand this subject - but what you rub in my face sometimes gets blown back in your own. Goose - Gander; sauce for all.
UPDATE: GBS mentioned it in comments - and I have failed both you and the CNO by not taking Diversity into consideration in all I do. More examples from youtube here and here. Seeing reality so you don't have to.

Obama called "unrealistic" by Iraqi PM

A little over the top of a title? Perhaps - but some of the cultish Obamatons are running with this idea,
Maliki agrees with Obama’s 16 months’ proposal

EzraKlein Archive | The American Prospect

Fundamentally, Maliki’s comment is evidence of what the Iraqi government sees as the primary impediment to their government attaining real legitimacy: Us. The American occupation is hugely unpopular, and if Iraq is to truly stabilize, its government needs to be seen as independent from the occupiers and opposed to their continued presence.

McCain needs to either come out with a new Iraq plan featuring a withdrawal component tomorrow, or explain why he believes America should fight for continued military dominance in Iraq over the objections of the American people, the Iraqi people, and the Iraqi government.

Why do I suspect the rightwingers will declare that this has been their position all along? …

On second thought, they won’t. They’ll come up some other mind-bending, through-the-looking-glass dodge that I can’t envision yet.

That is from an ole Blog Buddie of mine Stephen - still all full of invective since the surge seemed to work and the evil Rethuglicans are trying to stop Sen. Obama from finding a way to cure cancer and saggy boobs.

It makes me sad because Stephen and Ezra obviously don't have much experience talking and/or doing business with Arabs - especially very sharp political ones. Let's look at the whole quote. The Obamatons want to focus on the words in Blue, but the ones in Red are just as important - but neither are what the blind think they see.
SPIEGEL: Would you hazard a prediction as to when most of the US troops will finally leave Iraq?

Maliki: As soon as possible, as far as we're concerned. U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes.

SPIEGEL: Is this an endorsement for the US presidential election in November? Does Obama, who has no military background, ultimately have a better understanding of Iraq than war hero John McCain?

Maliki: Those who operate on the premise of short time periods in Iraq today are being more realistic. Artificially prolonging the tenure of US troops in Iraq would cause problems. Of course, this is by no means an election endorsement. Who they choose as their president is the Americans' business. But it's the business of Iraqis to say what they want. And that's where the people and the government are in general agreement: The tenure of the coalition troops in Iraq should be limited.
This is a classic Arab polite hedge. Cultural training 101. No definition of "short time" or "tenure." No borders of "slight changes." Maliki has his own domestic audience to worry about, as well as the entire Arab world. What do they expect him to say?

Why don't they ask him if Iraq would be better off if the USA did what Obama wanted a year ago? No surge with a non-conditions based withdraw well underway? No, we wouldn't want to talk about that, would we?

Can I please find some Obama supporter somewhere who still has their sanity? Please? Substance? Maybe? It's not that hard.

OIF is conditions based. When the conditions are right, which thanks to the surge and other things the PM outlines in the interview is going well, we will go home. The US military will only leave on a timetable set by time if the leadership is ordered to do so contrary to approved plans and doctrine.

UPDATE: This is just silly. AFP, AP, Bloomberg, USAToday, FoxNews, the whole gaggle are missing it. On a different angle, everyone needs to read the point Kingsley Browne makes in comments, and the translation problems outlined at HotAir he brings up. Also in comments, Hal make my point quite well - all cult, no perspective.
UPDATE II, Electric Boogaloo: Looks like PM Maliki agrees with me - and hedges some more;
...a spokesman for al-Maliki said his remarks "were misunderstood, mistranslated and not conveyed accurately."

Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said the possibility of troop withdrawal was based on the continuance of security improvements, echoing statements that the White House made Friday after a meeting between al-Maliki and U.S. President Bush.

You are a racist - move on

Over the last few months is should be clear to all that of the many things Sen. Obama (D-IL) may or may not be - he is not the post-racial candidate.

What ever you may do, if you do not support Obama you are simply a racists. If you have not reached the point where that work means nothing to you, then you need to get there. Allah pulled a perfect example from the Gov. of New York.
Governor Paterson, delivering a speech today at the NAACP’s 99th annual convention at Cincinnati, suggested that the defeat of Senator Obama in the presidential election would be a victory for racism in America…

“Can America reject the crucible of race that has dictated and pervaded all of our history to embrace an African American man who has the right polices for the next decade in this country? Can America overlook its past practices that were so grave that in 1820 the great Scottish Whig, Sydney Smith, writing in the Edinburgh Review, said of America: ‘How can they protest the tyrannies of Europe when they torture and brutalize one-sixth of its population?’ How can America get past this and elect an African-American president of the United States?” Mr. Paterson said.

He continued: “Can America go past the crippling way that we’ve shot ourselves in the foot over and over, denying opportunity to people who are bright, to people who are qualified, to people who are able because they didn’t look like us, or they didn’t come from where we came from, or they are from a different gender, or they are from the African continent? Can America push that away and find new leadership? We’ll find out in the next few months what America can do.”
Once again, we are not talking about issues here, just genetics and tribalism.

If you think that if we elect Obama that we will have somehow cleansed ourselves, you could not be further from the truth. Any and all opposition to Obama's agenda or refusal to get on board the post-election honeymoon; you will be called a racist. Any opposition leader or individual will be called a racist.

Roll up that in the real policy goals WRT affirmative action and its lieutenants, and no - you will not start a new post-racial period in the USA, just the opposite.

If Obama did not have all the racial baggage and the "r" word is not already being honed as a weapon against any and all of his opponents (just ask Sen. Clinton's supporters) - then maybe we could move forward.

You have a choice, either support Obama; lie to others about where you really stand and vote, shut-up, or prepare yourself to be branded a bigot. You don't have to be White or Asian either - I watched a Black Army Sergeant Major get a load of grief for being a McCain supporter.

No you know why Democrats came out so strong against Ken Blackwell and Michael Steele. You want to get beyond race - it will take Black leaders who have made that step themselves. Sadly, Sen. Obama seems to be stuck in Rm. 222.

Self actuating Air Force joke‏

This is just not worthy of a Representative Republic. Roman Empire - maybe.

Sycophants and lick-spittles are the only ones who can defend this. The worst part of it is how it was funded --- and the fact our C-5, C-17 and C-130 have more important things to do. If you must ride - grab some webbing or the jump seat; square footage is needed for mail.
Top U.S. Air Force officials sought to spend millions of dollars in counterterrorism funds on "comfort capsules" for military planes used by senior officers and civilian leaders, The Washington Post reported on Friday.
Over the past three years, the service asked to divert $16.2 million in counterterrorism funds to the project, but was twice rebuffed by Congress, the Post reported, citing internal e-mails and budget documents.
Air Force officials say the government needs the new capsules to ensure that leaders can talk, work and rest comfortably in the air. But the top brass's preoccupation with creating new luxury in wartime has alienated lower-ranking Air Force officers familiar with the effort, as well as congressional staff members and a nonprofit group that calls the program a waste of money.

Air Force documents spell out how each of the capsules is to be "aesthetically pleasing and furnished to reflect the rank of the senior leaders using the capsule," with beds, a couch, a table, a 37-inch flat-screen monitor with stereo speakers, and a full-length mirror.
Air Force documents about the SLICC, dated June 8, 2006, emphasize the need to install "aesthetically pleasing wall treatments/coverings" -- in addition to the monitor, footrests and a DVD player. The beds, according to one document, must be able to support a man with "no more than 50% compression of the mattress material." The seats are to swivel such that "the longitudinal axis of the seat is parallel to the longitudinal axis of the aircraft" regardless of where the capsules are facing, the document specified.
The effort has been slowed, however, by congressional resistance to using counterterrorism funds for the project and by lengthy internal deliberations about a series of demands for modifications by Air Force generals. One request was that the color of the leather for the seats and seat belts in the mobile pallets be changed from brown to Air Force blue and that seat pockets be added; another was that the color of the table's wood be darkened.

Changing the seat color and pockets alone was estimated in a March 12 internal document to cost at least $68,240.
It initially planned to build 10 of the capsules, he said, for use by four-star generals, fleet admirals and federal officials at the level of assistant secretary and above.
This is lame.
Explaining his instructions to subordinates, McMahon said he used the term world class "in just about everything I discuss. . . . That represents an attitude." He said he wanted to "create an environment that whoever was riding in that would be proud of," the government would be proud of and "the people of the United States" would be proud of.
An Air Force at war.