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Mail 674 May 9 - 15, 2011
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May 9, 2011
Meet the MH-47G, capable of going where no Blackhawk has gone before
Blackhawks are not the real workhorses in Afghanistan, the Chinooks are.
If you remember the SEAL who was killed during Operation Anaconda a few years ago, the birds used in the extracting that team (including the one shot down) were all Chinooks.
The MH-47 Chinook helicopter conducts overt and covert infiltration, exfiltration, air assault, resupply, and sling-load operations over a wide range of environmental conditions. The aircraft can perform a variety of other missions including shipboard, platform, urban, water, parachute, forward arming and refueling point, mass casualty, and combat search and rescue operations. Using special mission equipment and night vision devices, MH-47 aircrews can operate in hostile mission environments over all types of terrain at low altitudes during periods of low visibility and low ambient lighting conditions with pinpoint navigation accuracy.
For something more informative than the Nightstalkers’ official website, you might try:
Regards, William Clardy
"There is always an easy solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong." -- H.L. Mencken
But we were told this was a covert operation, and only two BlackHawks were used, and no one noticed as they wended their way into Highland Falls and assaulted a house very near the Academy, and...
The point actually being that if you remove the restriction that this has to be quick and completely covert, many options emerge. Two assault BlackHawks, followed by a fleet of extraction vehicles. Surely no one would notice a sky train like that moving in from the Afghani border to Abbottabad.
Pakistan PM Warns of 'Full Force' Response to Future U.S. Raids - FoxNews.com
How much is real and how much is bluster for domestic politics?
If they hadn't crashed a helicopter, perhaps the US would have exploited plausible deniability?
Of course the big issue is sovereignty. Perhaps even nations that have 200+ nukes are no longer considered sovereign by the US? Perhaps the Pakistani government will use it's nukes to assert it's sovereignty? If not, perhaps the government will be replaced with a military theocracy that will. If this explains Obama's 16 hour hesitation, then he has earned my respect.
What seems obvious to me is that Pakistan (1) knew we we coming, (2) will never admit it, and (3) counted on plausible deniability. We got in and got out. As you point out, the wreck of an undeniable US helicopter wrecked some pretty good cover stories.
Here's a question I haven't seen asked, and it's a simple one: why would you shoot Bin Laden in the head when inside that head is the answer to just about every major question you'd have about his organization, its sources, methods, and plans, starting with "Where's your Number 2 man?" I can see it if he's shooting at you, but that doesn't seem to have been the case. It just doesn't make sense, like taking a power drill to his hard drive before you've sucked the data off of it. Certainly you might want the world to believe he's dead, but a dead man tells no tales...
All the best--
I have heard many conspiracy theories about what horrors bin Laden could relate and how damaging that would all be to the secret masters of America. We know that the original Delta Team orders when we first went to Tora Bora were KILL BIN LADEN. Those could be changed by the President, but apparently they never have been. I have no serious comment on the conspiracy theory. Such conspiracies are very hard to keep quiet. Of course the bin Laden operation was extraordinarily successful at preserving secrecy. Bin Laden was never warned. By anyone. It would not have taken a lot of warning.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is upset about the shooting down of an unarmed Osama bin Laden <http://tinyurl.com/64b429m>. This came up in a prayer meeting on Thursday--one of those in attendance was concerned that the members of the Seal team would feel guilt about shooting an unarmed man. I replied 'No, they won't', mentioned the long-standing, unwritten American policy that we would relentlessly kill any leader who ordered such an attack on us, and suggested that was one of the reasons the Cold War never became hot. That put a real damper on the discussion.
UK teeth are in bad shape: <http://tinyurl.com/6j3gaco>. One of those areas where healthcare is rationed.
The Scottish National Party wins in Scotland and Labour loses. <http://tinyurl.com/5sx5mq4> The Tories might be open to Scotland becoming independent.
Volume crime is usually not investigated. I think this case will be, though. <http://tinyurl.com/68jtxgc>
Recruiting students based on their ability to pay. <http://tinyurl.com/6ehbwnj> It has been like that for foreign students for years, leading to problems like this: <http://tinyurl.com/6b765l2> About 30% of the foreign masters theses I read are written in 'business english', which consists of English words written in some foreign grammar, usually Chinese or Hindu. My head hurts.
Greek debt in trouble: <http://tinyurl.com/3qvyb6c>.
-- Harry Erwin, PhD "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." (Catherine Aird)
"Usually, there’s about a ten-year lag between sunspot changes and their impact on earth’s temperatures. The sunspots began predicting lower temperatures about 2000, for instance, and the cooling trend began eight years later in 2007. Now the sunspot minimum that just ended is predicting quite serious cold, perhaps about 2020."
It's sure cold out in Los Angeles. We usually have a bright spring before June Gloom.
Jerry, First my credentials. If you disassembled a motor car that I had never seen to the last nut and bolt, I could reassemble it. Where computers are concerned I am like the driver who only knows enough to check the oil, water, and tyres. Anything else being left to a professional mechanic. When I downloaded Firefox 4 it ate most of my bookmarks. When I downloaded firefox 4.01 it ate everything except Google search. It is horrible.. Stay with Firefox 3.6.17. If you are running windows 7 do not go to a restore point. Firefox seems to be immune to being restored and retaliated by crashing my computer Luckily the Firefox help pages tell you how to revert to the old version. I am running an untweaked version of Windows 7, so I suspect that this will be a common problem. I know that a lot of your readership are computer experts who will smile at my lack of skill but I issue this warning to those of us who regard the computer as a tool and are indifferent to the niceties of coding. John Edwards
I have nothing good to report about Firefox 4.
“It was kind of cryptic. I’m not used to reading cursive or writing it myself.”
-- Roland Dobbins
Dr. Roy Spencer on the tornado outbreak in Huntsville.
I particularly call your attention to his April 29 blog post:
MORE Tornadoes from Global Warming? That’s a Joke,
<snip>For example, the poster child for active tornado seasons was the Superoutbreak of 1974, which was during globally cool conditions. This year, we are seeing much cooler than normal conditions through the corn belt, even delaying the planting schedule. Cool La Nina years seem to favor more tornadoes, and we are now coming out of a persistent La Nina.<snip>
More tornadoes due to “global warming”, if such a thing happened, would be more tornadoes in Canada, where they don’t usually occur. NOT in Alabama.
It is well known that strong to violent tornado activity in the U.S. has decreased markedly since statistics began in the 1950s, which has also been a period of average warming. So, if anything, global warming causes FEWER tornado outbreaks…not more. In other words, more violent tornadoes would, if anything, be a sign of “global cooling”, not “global warming”.
Anyone who claims more tornadoes are caused by global warming is either misinformed, pandering, or delusional.<snip>
I note that the current outbreak is (a) later in the month of April and (b) further south than the 1974 outbreak (which I also lived through in Kentucky, though the nearest tornado then was somewhat further away -- to the north -- from home than the 6.7 miles closest approach of the North Alabama F5 tornado to my home in Huntsville). Also bespeaks more cooling yielding higher temperature gradients.
See my letter several months ago quoting Ringo from "The Last Centurion" on Meteorology 101 ( http://www.jerrypournelle.com/mail/2010/Q2/mail621.html on Tuesday).
Spencer hasn't yet posted April average temperatures, I suspect because events have kept him from his office for the last week. They should be out in the next couple of days.
I recall more tornadoes in Mississippi and Alabama when I was quite young -- the 1930's -- than when I was in High School -- 1940's. I had some interest in them in high school and they didn't happen often or close by (we had a motorcycle and would have gone down to have a look, not during one, but aftermath, but we never had a chance to do that). I was gone from the South after 1950.
Holder vs. Holder,
Thought you’d find this interesting: “Why does the Obama Justice Department seem to have trouble mounting a full-throated, compelling legal defense of Osama bin Laden’s killing? The problem for Eric Holder the attorney general could be Eric Holder the private attorney.
“In 2004, Mr. Holder chose to file an amicus brief on behalf of Jose Padilla, the al-Qaeda terrorist sent to our country by bin Laden and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to carry out a post-9/11 second wave of attacks. In the brief, Holder argued that a commander-in-chief lacks the constitutional authority to do what his boss, the current commander-in-chief, has just done: determine the parameters of the battlefield. By Holder’s lights — at least when the president is not named Obama — an al-Qaeda terrorist must be treated as a criminal defendant, not an enemy combatant, unless he is encountered on a traditional battlefield:”
“It would be useful if staffers at congressional oversight hearings passed around copies of Holder’s Padilla brief. It is a comprehensive attack on Bush counterterrorism, an enthusiastic endorsement of the law-enforcement approach in vogue during the Clinton era (when Holder was deputy attorney general under Janet Reno, who also signed on to the Padilla brief). This might explain why Holder sometimes has difficulty answering seemingly easy questions. That’s what happened this week, when the Senate Judiciary Committee quizzed the attorney general on the lawfulness of the U.S. military’s targeted killing of bin Laden.” <snip>
“A few days after the 9/11 atrocities, Congress — by huge bipartisan margins — enacted a sweeping authorization of the use of military force (AUMF). The AUMF, which was promptly signed by President Bush and has been reaffirmed repeatedly in congressional appropriations signed by Presidents Bush and Obama, states in pertinent part:
The President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons. <snip>
And so forth. The piece goes on to show how the attorney general tries to wiggle out of this, but he clearly has difficulty differentiating the justifiable acts of the virtuous current administration from the unjustifiable acts of the previous evil administration. Typical.
Just WHAT were our sailors forced to do for Osama's funeral?
Osama bin Laden was buried at sea, supposedly with a proper Muslim ceremony. Andrew Bostom reveals what all that entails. I am very disgusted.
Did Naval Burial Ceremony for Bin Laden Curse Jews and
Christians, and Confer Pardon and Paradise on the Muslim Mass Murderer? "http://www.andrewbostom.org/blog/2011/05/07/
May bin Laden suffer the right and proper torments in hell.
Osama photo, why not release it?
Why is the USA not releasing photos of Osmamas face after they had him, simple, because when they had him, he did not have one.
The reports I have seen say that he was hit twice in the face. They also say that even the SEALs there were not certain they had the right guy after that, the damage to his face making him unrecognizable. About all they knew was that he was 6 ft 4, and so one SEAL offered to lie down next to him to see if he was, they not having any other way to measure him.
Conclusion, releasing a picture of him would be no help, since no one would recognize him from it. Some would say it was not him, and start conspiracy theories. Others would agree it is him, but be angered by the damage done to his face. Yet others would say "how can you release such a gruesom photo"? Look like a lose lose situation to me.
May 10, 2011
Google Chrome hacked
Cheap energy = prosperity!
Drill here, DRILL NOW!
David Couvillon Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve,
Hi, Jerry. You note….
The “New and Improved!!!” Firefox 4 moves most of the functionality to the new “Awesome Firefox” button, which ain’t so “awesome”. Click that Firefox button and select Options, then “Menu Bar”. This restores the normal Windoze Menu bar, and puts a LOT of things back where they were in previous versions. Still not great, but livable.
Germans tell us who really killed Bin Laden
I wouldn’t have believed it, if it wasn’t reported by the news. Check out who really went in to get Bin Laden.
Gee, who would have suspected...
Counter-Strike FPS game level replicates bin Laden's Abbotabad compound.
-- Roland Dobbins
Special Operations: SEALs And Their Dogs,
A tail of dogs and SEALs:
Woof! What great gear these pups are getting!
An amazing military dog op
Hopefully this link will lead to the picture with the dog. I wonder if these dogs become as much of adrenaline junkies as the people do.
I hope you are feeling better. I am in one of the groups that get nagmail from Kaiser about getting my flu and pneumonia shots, I got them all last year and still got a few really ugly viruses this year. Flu? Who knows? A real downer and discomfort? You bet! Get well soon!
Subject: Actresses speaking out
Dear Dr. Pournelle,
A recent letter included mistakes I made in the past, and was unfair to a rather talented lady.
Sigourney Weaver is talented, educated, and attractive. She has won nominations and awards for many performances in her long career, which is not limited to movies. She has a masters degree from Yale, no easy accomplishment. As for beauty, the brief scene in _Alien_ is overblown by those with limited observation. Her nude scenes in _Half Moon Street_ allow her to steal a movie from Michael Caine, a very fine actor.
Ms. Weaver's interest in environmentalism probably comes from studying Dian Fossey for the role in _Gorillas in the Mist_. She is Honorary Chairman of The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, and has spoken publicly on many issues. I would not care to debate her on an environmental issue. Assuming anyone has limited knowledge outside of a single profession is a dangerous assumption. Look at what Joan Crawford and Hedy Lamarr did.
William L. Jones
SUBJECT: Do you belong to the elites
A tongue-in-cheek test for one's elite status. The test contains a few questions that are Canadian specific, and can be ignored, but the interesting bits are in the commentary after the test, and on the second page of the article.
Dr. Spencer reports that global temperatures are trending upward again as the La Nina relaxes.
Tornadoes versus Blizzards
Temperatures below average for longer into the year than usual? Above-average snowfall? "That doesn't prove anything because the weather is not the climate!"
Tornadoes? "This is a direct result of Global Warming!"
-- Mike T. Powers
Mysterious Maine Earthquakes Caused by Ice Age Rebound
I have found this phenomena described elsewhere.
As I recall from high school, rebound earthquakes in formerly glaciated areas have been going on for a long time, and are less common now than they used to be.
For a PDF copy of A Step Farther Out:
May 11, 2011
Col. Couvillon is of course 100% correct - there were not 40 people inside the house, nor could that number of personnel be accommodated, along with their equipment, in fewer than 4 Blackhawk variants. 8 shooters max inside a house of that size, else they'd get in one another's way and risk shooting one another.
The raid was obviously planned as a flat-out assassination. Even if bin Laden had an RPG or a crew-served weapon in his bedroom, all the SEALs had to do was to toss in a couple of handfuls of flash-bangs and CS-gas grenades into the room in order to completely incapacitate anyone within, then drag out whomever they wanted to extract.
I believe that handling this as an assassination and then disposing of the body at sea borders on the criminally incompetent. There was immense propaganda and intelligence value in taking bin Laden alive; assuming it was in fact bin Laden who was killed in Abbottabad, the Administration handled the situation with their typical lack of finesse.
--- Roland Dobbins
I do note that the official story is not well crafted if the notion is that it should be believed. I could have devised a better story myself, and I don't think I am all that much smarter than the troops who had the job to do. One may question the judgment of the king, but it is not necessarily the case that all the minions are as lackwit as their master.
Why would you shoot Osama? That's easy. Let's think it through for a second. First, where do you stash him? An Afghan jail? I seem to have heard something about that recently, suggesting it isn't a great idea. Secret CIA prison? Hmm, I seem to recall somebody at a fairly high level in the US government who was against that plan. Gitmo? Wasn't there a promise to shut it down a year ago? How would it look if a man who ran on a platform to end Gitmo put high profile prisoners there? A US prison? No, that would entitle him, as per US courts, to the protection of the US legal system, including discovery. We've already lost classified information and sources because lawyers used discovery to release classified information and who gave it to us to terrorist sympathizers.
But we'll handwave that away, and say we can keep him in the phantom zone. Now, how do we question him? Waterboarding, something we do to every SERE class, is torture when we do it to a man who isn't protected by the Geneva Convention, except for the part we were wise enough not to sign, but is just harsh training if we do it to me. Instead, we can basically bore him until he wants to talk. Now if they grabbed me, I'd be tortured to death with real torture, involving blow torches, drills and other such pleasant devices. They still claim we must treat our prisoners well lest our men be mistreated upon capture, which would make me hysterical if I hadn't seen what happens in real life.
So, with no chance we can get actionable information in time to do anything about it, why bother? Three years ago I'd have been willing to lose men to get UBL alive. Now, no point. You may have noticed that three years ago we'd occasionally announce the capture of some named terrorist. Now we announce they received a Hellfire Enema instead. At the time we put the current policies into place it was widely speculated that the result would be fewer prisoners, more deaths and more collateral damage, and nobody should be surprised to see it happens. I do fail to see how this is more morally defensible, but that's not my job. I fail to see why it was worth calling for war crimes trials three years ago and is now a wise move, but that's not my job either. I was wondering how the change would be defended, but I see the method chosen was to ignore the question.
Floods in MidWest = Global Warming?
In listening to the coverage on the floods I hear many direct or indirect claims that this flooding is because of AGW.
At the same time I see from the coverage that this is not the highest floodwater peak in Memphis and (IMHO) far more importantly, I never, ever hear anyone address the change in square miles of impervious surface in the basin areas of the Mississippi and its tributaries.
Here in the Atlanta area we rarely heard of major floods of Peachtree and Nancy Creeks until the late 70's and early 80's. It started happening fairly often and was blamed on the significantly increased runoff caused by development.
I don't know where to find that datum on impervious surface area for those basins, but I have to believe that between buildings, roads, driveways, parking lots, etc. it has increased significantly in the past 70-80 years. That has got to be a factor in flood levels.
John Harlow, President BravePoint
The flood is caused by the melting snow. So far as I know the massive snowfalls were not predicted by the AGW models, nor do they explain the El Nino/La Nina conditions that seem to govern precipitation in North America.
Maine Ice Age Rebound
- Most Respectfully,
Newport Beach lifeguards make over 100K/yr
Sounds like a great deal unless you have to live there...in Newport Beach, that’s about minimum wage...
They can retire at age 50, too, same as police and firemen.
“Lifeguard salaries here are well within the norm of other city employees.”
---- Roland Dobbins
Jimmy Doolittle's Granddaughter on the Tokyo Raid
After looking at the youtube, there are other raid clips. They are all interesting. Note especially what the destroyer accompanying the carrier is doing in that sea.
This is very interesting. Jimmy Doolittle's granddaughter speaking about the raid on Tokyo.
I learned a good bit from watching that video. It's not very long. Recommended.
May 12, 2011
I suspect one reason the White House staff have been mishandling the OBL assassination story is that most of them are either unaware or have never bought into the policy that I mentioned in the last Letter from England. On the other hand, I sincerely hope our adversaries believe we are serious. "Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock." (Will Rogers) See also: <http://tinyurl.com/3esoxdk>
'Use of Weapons'--I enjoy Iain Banks a lot, but 'Excession' is my favourite of his novels.
How Europe does healthcare--a Guardian survey of some major systems--<http://tinyurl.com/69vznc3>
UK university graduates taking low-skill jobs: <http://tinyurl.com/69jlc9q> . "Would you like fries with that?"
Parochialism in the UK about international secondary qualifications: <http://tinyurl.com/6jrjn7y> . The UK Government and universities seem to be unable to see how UK education stacks up against other countries.
Deadwood in the universities <http://tinyurl.com/5um6t55>
-- Harry Erwin
I never heard of the winner before, and wondered how such an unknown could win by so many votes...until I looked at the link and realized it was a UK publication running the contest. It is a doubly keen accomplishment that this was done in an overseas market. Now if someone in Hollywood would drop by and suggest they actually DO the movie..l..
"Use of Weapons"
I'd never heard of this novel (and I do tend to keep track of SF), and after reading the Wikipedia synopsis I could only think (in a voice like Marvin the Robot's) "sounds awful" (at least in respect to the original 1974 version which the author claimed required 6-dimensional thinking to comprehend).
I suspect ballot stuffing is responsible for its victory in the "best sci-fi film never made". That, or provincialism (both the poll-taker and author are English). I suspect a similar-but-less-successful ballot stuffing was responsible for the second-place finish of "Mote". That's not casting aspersions on "Mote", but it's hard to avoid suspicion when 3rd place had less than 10% of the 2nd place vote, and "Lucifer's Hammer" received less than 1% as many votes.
And I won't berate the point by noticing the injustice of NO votes for "King David's Spaceship" ...
The Use of Weapons,
Ian M. Banks is an intense writer who is more or less the opposite of you and Larry. And his books are generally memorable. They stick with you.
The Use of Weapons is a kind of living hell for a man (well, a male humaniform). It is a gripping, grim tale, with a whale of a twist at the end. Highly recommended. I also highly recommend Look to Windward as a more approachable story set in the same universe.
I do not believe I have ever met Ian Banks, and while I have probably read one of his earlier books I have no memory of that; which is not a denigration of Banks, but of my absentmindedness. His politics are not mine.
May 13, 2011
Home no longer a castle
'"We believe ... a right to resist an unlawful police entry into a home is against public policy and is incompatible with modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence," (Indiana Supreme Court Justice Steven) David said.'
This can't be allowed to stand if we are to maintain even a pretense of our Constitutional liberties. What the hell is "modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence"? Make it up as you go along? Do whatever you can get away with? The article even mentions that the Common Law principle being cast aside, without new Constitutional amendment or even new legislation, has been around at least since the Magna Carta.
Liberal sociological jurisprudence governs. The notion of the Constitution as a contract is not in vogue. Ask at Harvard Law School.
I find the uproar in California over the Governor's commutation of the sentence rather amusing.
A few years back California was leading the pack in criticizing Bush for not commuting the death sentence of a female murderer. What the folks on the Left refused to acknowledge even when it was pointed out was that the Governor in Texas does not have a real power to commute a sentence. He basically serves as a rubber stamp to a decision of the Board of Pardons and Parole. Nothing unusual there, the whole structure of Texas government is based on a distrust of the Governor (and every other elected official living out of rifle range). The Constitution (1876) even gives the Lt Gov more power than the Gov!
So California is now screaming for a concept like used in Texas. But you can be sure that when a Liberal killer gets into the news they will be demanding that the absolute power of the Governor be restored to save their darling. To put it bluntly, the mob is fickle, and we have destroyed ourselves as a nation with all the pandering.
Of course we could do away with most of this and simply have people's courts, with a jury composed of whomever showed up. Or have a public opinion poll decide important cases. But people's courts are the usual answer when the question comes up.
I think I'm going to be sick.
"Overturning a common law dating back to the English Magna Carta of 1215, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Hoosiers have no right to resist unlawful police entry into their homes.
"In a 3-2 decision, Justice Steven David writing for the court said if a police officer wants to enter a home for any reason or no reason at all, a homeowner cannot do anything to block the officer's entry."
re: killing Ben Laden & "if this had happened in the 40's"
Yamamoto was deliberately killed in 1943 by the US Air Force. And I do not think that bringing him to a trial that would have had 100% chance of condemning him to the death penalty warranted taking extra risk to life & limb of US soldiers.
Jean-Louis Beaufils, Paris
Oddly enough I once worked for Thomas Lanphier, the Colonel (then-captain) generally credited with shooting down Yamamoto. Equally oddly enough I never head him tell the story. Most of what I think I know about it is probably wrong. I do remember the newspaper headlines in 1943 when the mission was accomplished. We all followed the war news in those days, even in country schools.
_The Operational Code of the Politburo_.
-- Roland Dobbins
Darth Vader: Obi Wan is dead
Dear Dr. Pournelle,
I know that I should, as an American, be incredibly furious at the comparison made in this parody ...
unfortunately, I can't stop laughing long enough to be angry!
PS. If the article doesn't slay you, the comments surely will. Personally, I think it's very suspicious Vader won't release any pictures of the dead Obi-wan Kenobi. Verrrry convenient -- BDP.
If you do not manage to control yourself, you should report to the nearest government mental health center. What could possibly be funny about -- ah -- excuse me --
It gets even better. Turns out the German news report on which Seal team got Osama really missed the mark by only a little bit.
As one might suspect, I have multiple letters on this....
Subject: Greenland Residents Happy with Warming
The residents of Greenland are pretty happy with a warming trend there to the consternation of Secy of State Clinton.
-- Dwayne Phillips
What a surprise!
Subject: The Education Bubble
The final two paragraphs in this post sound like
something out of your "Higher Education" novel.
Can (will?) organizations do an end-run around the education system?
***"New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common." -- John Locke***
I confess that I thought it would have happened by now.
The liberal meme seems to be that that the Presidential order to mount the operation to kill Bin Laden was "gutsy". I believe it was the correct decision, but what were the alternatives? Imagine that it became known that the President had actionable intelligence on the whereabouts of OBL and did NOT try to kill or capture him. Clearly we did not trust the Pakistanis to cooperate. I think that the President had no realistic choice other than to try. Of course there was a risk of failure that would have been damaging both personally and nationally. On the other hand, the consequences of not trying would certainly have been personally damaging and possibly (politically) fatal.
I want to be clear that I find no significant fault with the President in this case. My case is against the those fawning over what appears to me to be the only sane decision. The only real judgment involved was the timing. The guys in the helos were the gutsy ones.
Life on the Mississippi,
When Mark Twain wrote Life on the Mississippi, he spent the second half describing the river and environs as they then existed. I’ll pass on some of the sociological discussions, though I believe they should be reread today. What I have never forgotten is his discussion of how the river engineers had straightened the river to improve navigation (the first half of the book of course vividly illustrated why they wanted to). He noted how, with the constant shortening, pretty soon . . . well, he did know how to practice the “if this goes on” trick very well.
My grandfather lived and died in Lake County, up by Horseshoe Bend and Reelfoot Lake. He learned to swim in the river (local boys kept throwing him into the water until he swam away). He tells me that his own is father thought those river engineers, with their dikes and cuts, were foolish: “The river will keep its length,” he said.
The floor of the old house was six feet above the ground. My grandmother showed me where, four feet above the floor, the floodwaters had come in 1937. They had a picture on the wall of a “traffic jam” in Ridgley – boats meeting at Main and King streets. After that they built a really big berm. When I was young Granddad would often carry me out there and we would literally take the Chevy to the levee.
But if that levee breaks, all that will happen is a lot of bottomland will fill up with water and get another layer of fertile silt. That’s what makes it so productive. But downstream in Louisiana the US Army Corps of Engineers is engaged in eternal warfare, trying to keep the Mississippi flowing past New Orleans – there is a spot where the river wants to take a shortcut and that would take NO out of the seaport business. John McPhee covered it in his book, The Control of Nature. (His descriptions of the inspection committee made me think of Escape from Hell.) Anyway, the Corp’s efforts have caused the entire delta to slowly sink for lack of replenishment, and they’ve just barely been holding the river back. With this flood it might actually break through and take that shortcut. Stay tuned.
When I lived in Memphis it was known as "Bluff City" because the city itself was high above flood levels. That wasn't true of some of the farmlands around the city of course, and there was always worry about the levees. McPhee's book was very good.
Real Fusion Progress
Jerry, It looks like Bob Forward's ideas on fusion may pan out. At least this sounds like real engineering.
The other part of this that I like, if the Navy likes the final product (assuming there is one) it will be safe. After all, the Navy didn't put "A Bombs" on their ships until it was safe. I understand that is still the philosophy of the Navy.
I confess I thought that fusion research would have paid off more by now. But we have energy sources if we would develop them.
May 14, 2011
I am a bit under the weather and have taken the day off.
|This week:||Sunday, May
Aside from demonstrating the usual lack of skill in preparing power point slides, the following is interesting, if a trifle blurred.
And interesting point is that the oceans had to have gotten Really Cold down to the benthic deeps during the Ice Ages and that the current ocean warming is simply the still on-going recovery from that deep freeze.
This was sent by an friend who is one of the best applied mathematicians I know.
And of course they did have to get COLD, and that's a very big heat (and cold) sink...
The $4-TRILLION cost of AMNESTY
The $4-TRILLION cost of AMNESTY! Help B.A.N. stop Obama's Amnesty Scheme
There are between 12,000,000 and 23,000,000 illegal aliens living in the United States today. Recent studies have conservatively estimated the fiscal cost of granting Amnesty to these individuals at nearly $4 Trillion dollars.<snip>
Surprisingly enough, the L.A. Times gets the clemency issue right.
-- Roland Dobbins
The Indiana Supreme Court has stricken down the 4th amendment.
"Indiana Supreme Court rules Hoosiers have no right to
resist unlawful entry of their homes by police" "http://hotair.com/archives/2011/05/14/
I'm sitting here mouth gaping wide over this one. Nazi Germany maybe. But this is, for crying out loud, Indiana.
We have a great deal of mail on this matter, and I will deal with it next week. This negates a common law right held since Magna Charta.
The "forces of the Crown" will no longer tolerate defiance from any "tenement"
Friday the 13th was a very bad day in the Indiana Supreme Court:
Looks like they’re right about folks thinking that we have a common-law right of forceful resistance tending to promote violence and increase the chances of someone getting injured or killed.
On the other hand, I wonder what “remedies” they would offer the widow Guerena, whose husband died thinking that he was defending his home and his family, only to be slandered by a spokesman from the Pima County Sheriff's Department.
Regards, William Clardy
"There is always an easy solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong." -- H.L. Mencken
We have not heard the last of this, but given the new appointees to the US Supreme Court the outcome is not certain.
Democracy in action.
--- Roland Dobbins
Arab Spring has mixed benefits. We have written about this before: more next week. And note the rebellions in Syria continue. US policy for the Middle East needs intense consideration.
Political satire? Just read the news.
A proposal for a governmental agency to quash Internet rumors - from Bill Clinton.
“That is, it would be like, I don’t know, National Public Radio or BBC or something like that"
Never a dull moment...
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IF YOU SEND MAIL it may be published; if you want it private SAY SO AT THE TOP of the mail. I try to respect confidences, but there is only me, and this is Chaos Manor. If you want a mail address other than the one from which you sent the mail to appear, PUT THAT AT THE END OF THE LETTER as a signature. In general, put the name you want at the end of the letter: if you put no address there none will be posted, but I do want some kind of name, or explicitly to say (name withheld).
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I try to answer mail, but mostly I can't get to all of it. I read it all, although not always the instant it comes in. I do have books to write too... I am reminded of H. P. Lovecraft who slowly starved to death while answering fan mail.
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