November 28, 2007

Filed under: — Chap @ 11:18 am

A coupla blogging Campbells might like this vignette.

November 25, 2007

Spot The Trendlines

Filed under: — Chap @ 9:42 pm

Via Hot Air’s news feed, indication that China may have been militarily effective in Darfur.

Filed under: — Chap @ 8:13 pm

I couldn’t write a short story with a tool like this in it because people would think he was too stereotyped.

Update: Whacked by Victor Davis Hanson.

Filed under: — Chap @ 12:41 pm

Now this is period artwork goodness, available for your home walls.
(Curated by Barry)

Filed under: — Chap @ 6:59 am

Seems to me if you’re writing a newspaper article, and want to get something across, then doing it the way the LAT attempted here ain’t it.

Lecturing the Pope on Catholic practices, doctrine, or dogma is insane enough, but for the editorial board of the LA Times to presume to tell Benedict it would be “wiser” to listen to “other Catholics” than “hard-liners” to avoid “mischief” is certifiable.

AP Pounds The Table

Filed under: — Chap @ 6:37 am

The local leftish radio station has been saying that guys like Scott Beauchamp and Bilal Hussein and Green Helmet Guy et al get attention because of the right. I think they forget that the military folks as an interest group (unfortunately so) respond because the issues are closer to them. That’s also why the PR defense for this kind of kerfuffle works in NYC but not in Fort Obscuro.

Innocent until proven guilty is a criminal case touchstone. Unfortunately for the AP’s Bilal Hussein, he was picked up in war, and not by cops. The recent announcement that the Iraq government will try charges against Hussein has AP blustering loudly without explaining what Hussein was doing with those guys he was photographing so closely. Funnily enough, the AP honcho who wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post not only got the op-ed printed, but apparently was newsworthy enough for CNN to write about the op-ed!

Bruised Orange has a five dollah challenge for one of the AP responses.

Especially worrisome is the note buried in the link the Orange refers to from the Associated Press’ lawyer for Bilal Hussein, where the lawyer says interviews were done with a brother of Hussein who works as a satellite tech for a news agency. Who else in the Hussein family is tangled up in this mess? Maybe the brother currently evading American and Iraqi military as a wanted AIF fighter?

And as Insta alludes, do we have a family of guys like this we’re talking about?

So I guess Hussein will have a day in court. Prepare for a bumpy ride.

Update: Confederate Yankee points out the thing that got many people wondering about Hussein–why would a reporter be in custody for a month and not say who he is? Also, Shackleford has a barrel with dead fish and a hole from a shotgun slug.

Filed under: — Chap @ 5:36 am

And to fill in some background is some ouch ouch ouch from Small Wars Journal about retired LGEN Sanchez.

Filed under: — Chap @ 5:33 am

This is a very interesting analysis of Iraq’s changing situation that matches descriptions of how the world works that I got from Iraqis and a few other places. My gut tends to agree with the “it’s still touch and go but we’ve got a shot” comments.


Filed under: — Chap @ 5:23 am
(via b3ta)

Snark Of The Day

Filed under: — Chap @ 5:11 am

How’d this show up in the Columbia Current?

I think of it when I walk down 116th & Broadway, and see all that ivy concealing all that rot.

Now that I think of it, a European I met at one of them fancy universities highly recommended Walt and Mearsheimer’s latest book…arrrgh.

Splodeydope Tells His Tale…And He Didn’t Like It Much

Filed under: — Chap @ 4:51 am

Also via John Burgess, an article that is best read while thinking of the newspaper’s target audience–it makes more sense that way.

Al-Shaie says he does not know the fate of his friend, who brought him to Iraq. He believes he may have died fighting. “The conditions in Iraq are very difficult… We were brainwashed and were used by these people,” he said.

“Most Saudis in Iraq have gone because of fatwas permitting them to fight. However, we all know that the Kingdom’s Higher Scholar Committee has not approved these decrees. Many young Saudis that went to Iraq have been influenced by what they see on websites and hear in cassettes,” he said.

“The Iraqis are not happy with foreigners fighting in Iraq. They think we’re interfering in their internal business,” he said. “I advise young Saudis not to go to Iraq.”

Huh. How about that.

Filed under: — Chap @ 4:25 am

Geez. No sooner do I get a job that keeps me too busy to read than I find a new required reading list.

November 24, 2007

Filed under: — Chap @ 5:09 pm

Gerard Vanderleun has the ultimate Christmas gift for you. However, it’s not on this list.

November 22, 2007

Why I Scare People When They Ask Me What I Think The Future Is Like

Filed under: — Chap @ 8:19 am

Well, in the “happy future space”: making brains work on other stuff directly, Van Eck phreaking brain waves, memory, not to mention this week’s stem cell hooh hah, nanotech, etc….

Filed under: — Chap @ 8:18 am

John Stossel reflects on the capitalist nature of Thanksgiving. (Stossel’s in favor of both.)

Now That’s Good Parenting

Filed under: — Chap @ 8:18 am

Congratulations to Carl Brown, Sr. and his wife for raising a kid who can save a life in third grade.

Filed under: — Chap @ 8:17 am

I think I found the cover art for the Lost Led Zeppelin Album.

Filed under: — Chap @ 8:17 am

Dave Kopel’s excellent summary of the Knights Templar issue that popped up the other week is a useful reminder in terms of geopolitics.

To oversummarize: I have always rejected the “you Americans are arrogant and should do what we want instead” complaint, knowing there’s always a grain of truth in it somewhere; the Knights Templar shows the danger of falling off the tiger of primacy in power. That’s the challenge of being strong–the choices seem to be stay strong, disappear, get stomped by those you once protected, or somehow become beloved while weakening.

November 17, 2007

Dear Diary And All That

Filed under: — Chap @ 5:57 am

Hi there.

Long time no see.

Twenty uncompleted posts in the queue, all started over a month ago. Or maybe two months; the days have been running together. Haven’t been on line, save for a mail check at a break or the occasional quick scan, for about that long. I’ve got this set of notes here on the desk with the outline for a proposal I’ve yet to complete; should have done it a long time ago, it isn’t happening until at least Thanksgiving if I catch up on sleep. Typing hurts, whine moan complain. (I injured my wrist–no idea how, but the time online at the previous job and a nasty habit of carrying on volleyball spikes and a move and a new kid might have something to do with it. I think I have four different attention-grabbing gadgets for my arm at the moment from which to choose, most of which are broken in one way or another.) Not difficulty like it did for Chuck Ziegenfuss, mind you, and that’s a story worth considering right now, but a guy can whine.

On the other hand, the family’s doing okay, the kids remember who I am, and the bills are getting paid. The job’s getting done.

You know. The important things.

I guess this is a transition period of sorts for the old blog neighborhood I used to know. Many blogs lately went dark. Rantingprofs is gone–I know where she went, but she’s not coming back for a while. Nobody has a public idea where Smash went off to; he just up and left. Baldilocks shut down, but still lurks a few places and might appear occasionally at Milblogs. Gut Rumblings’ proprietor is no more. Geez, lots are gone–Prakash, 2Slick, Vadergrrl, Hubris, the group bloggers at Stryker’s, you name it.

Lex scared y’all the other week before he realized he was bitten by the writing bug too much to just go cold turkey. (Heh, I says; he threatens to leave for a weekend and gets a hunnert something farewell eulogies. Popular guy.) Sailors are used to close friends disappearing; the ship is the people inside it, after all, and when you leave the ship you can never ever go back the way it was. The advantage of the job is that you make close friends quickly; the disadvantage is that you keep saying goodbye to them. I am not leaving, but neither am I going to be of much use to anybody here on line checking hourly. I’ll pop in when I can–and if the other gig’s editor tells me she likes the columns I’ll do a few more. If I get asked by someone worth following to write something appropriate, then I’ll wait to get to a break period and crank something out, and when the time appears I’ll drop a note at Milblogs.

A few short notes of what I’m seeing here in the situation my old boss called “a fine and pleasant misery”:

  • If I were in a midlife crisis, this would be a good way to do it: new family, new career field, hanging out with people younger than some of my T-shirts. I’m unconnected from the friendships and information pipeline I’ve been associated with since 2001 and instead am inundated with a completely different subject. It’s a bit unnerving being so dissociated with the info flows of the rest of the military, but that’s okay. I’ve got work to do. I am back on the merry-go-round and grabbing for a brass ring again. One gets few chances like that in life.
  • And the youngsters? They may be young, and uninformed of some of the details of why we fight. But they get it. They get it just fine and have a clear sight picture of what’s downrange and why they’re there.
  • Guy I’m serving with here was in Iraq. He was there back before Petraeus &co., back when things were more rough. I had to print out current reports from our embedded samizdat reporters (Yon, Roggio, et cet) in the area he was in to show him the enormity of the change he had helped effect. It’s 180.
  • Quote (sort of) from someone else that explains the war change in a nutshell: “We were getting mortared every night; this was while General Casey was still there. One night, after getting shot at we heard this sound I’d never heard before. We all looked around, a little worried, and the artillery guy with us had this huge grin. “That’s outgoing ordnance, folks!”
  • Many, many interesting stories here. I’m awash in first termers but also guys who are on their way back out to the field; fascinating stuff.
  • Dedicated folks, some not even American, helping me get smarter on my new chosen field.
  • Guys, younger than my T-shirts, listening to a fellow teach us who casually mentions what it was like in a Saddamite prison. Not pretty, frankly.
  • Learning about the nukes and SEALs who rocked out of this place. It’s a different skill set, I guess, doing this job. I saw a 50% failure rate in another part of this circus and will act to avoid becoming that kind of statistic. Luckily I hit the ground running as fast as possible, but this job is for very young men and women and substituting effort for skill doesn’t work here like it did in nuke school back in the day.
  • Unrelated to the dear diary moment, but worth mentioning: I took heat from an unhinged stalker type who took umbrage at my agreeing with the New Republic’s Peter Beinart that we needed every American political party to understand and maintain cultural and intellectual institutions that perpetuate an understanding of the use of national force. Turns out that Senator Clinton must understand this, as she hired Michael O’Hanlon; so does Senator Lieberman, whose speech was pretty devastating.
  • The new Defense Department instruction is going to be a challenge to meet for Navy folks, who don’t do in country training or have a fully stood up community. My buddies working this have their work cut out for them in the Puzzle Palace.
  • I am very glad that I picked the Navy and haven’t been in boot camp for decades. I had forgotten how much quality-of-life suck is inherent to being such a junior pup in the world, and it only gets worse in some of the other services. It’s bad enough that more seem to be entering the service with more credit card debt than when I last looked at E-1-E3 financial health. I remember concrete drying watch (some clown put his initials in wet concrete on base in the ’80s and therefore our unit, not containing said miscreant, had four guys posted at each concrete square, literally assigned to watch concrete dry). Most depressing comment, from smart sergeant to married guy with a kid on the way, was to sign up for WIC right quick. I know there is income mobility in service life and salaries go up in a year or two for the average junior enlisted; I know it isn’t a great idea to be an E-1 with six kids and maxed out credit cards; but perhaps the salary of a guy about to get shot at, working 12 hr days plus en route to same, and married with one kid shouldn’t require a good leader of soldiers recommending resorting to WIC.
  • So. Back to work for me. I’ll write when I can and lurk when I get on line.

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