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Friday, June 24, 2011
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June 20, 2011
Dear Dr. Pournelle,
I note that President Obama overrode his own legal team in order to prosecute the war in Libya and is continuing to do so, using what I consider specious reasoning.
I note the dead quiet which the Republicans on the hill are responding to these revelations.
How much do you want to bet the Republicans aren't going to do a thing? I suspect the War Powers Act has been a thorn in the side of Republican presidents for forty years, and allowing President Obama to convert it to a dead letter would be a very useful precedent post-2012.
Dems and Reps who believe in an Imperial Presidency may think this is a great idea. *I* think the founders, who vested the power to declare war in the congress for a reason, would not view it so.
Presidents are notorious "answer shoppers."
Terry Pratchett and the right to die: <http://tinyurl.com/5vdvstl>
Know of any cloud developers? <http://tinyurl.com/5v2u3pu>
Spam clogging up Kindle: <http://tinyurl.com/3rx3ygc>
What is the true purpose of a university education? <http://tinyurl.com/5w5b3oe>
This may have some interesting knock-on effects: <http://tinyurl.com/5sqjzyt>
The American opinion of UK-style 3-year university courses: <http://tinyurl.com/5vlwafc>
Harry Erwin, PhD
Consultant's advice: "Pay me now or pay me later. It'll cost more later."
The Iron Law
Re: Pakistan Arrests C.I.A. Informants in Bin Laden Raid
"It would get us out of Afghanistan, too - a big bonus."
As thrilling as it was to read about the lead elements of the Greek column yelling "Thalassa, thalassa" as they reached the coast, I have no desire to emulate it while marching from Afghanistan to the sea to wait for the navy. Let's try and get our people out first before smart diplomacy takes full effect.
Dr. Cochran's conclusion regarding Pakistan seems to proceed from the assumption that there is neither will nor mechanism for our enemies in Pakistan to do us harm. One can hope that he is correct.
Unfortunately, the consequences if he is wrong make such an assumption seem simplistic.
Conversely, there is no guarantee that our current activities in Pakistan will accrue to our benefit or serve to mitigate that risk, either.
And on that note, I don't have any particular wisdom to convey about what we should be doing in Pakistan.
Leave them alone? Stop sending them money, and make them understand that harboring our enemies can be dangerous.
Global warming, global cooling, or just weather?
Still More Barbarians
These uprisings are becoming harder to ignore, well for sensible people.
-------- Most Respectfully, Joshua Jordan, KSC
NATO strike on Tripoli kills civilians - LIBYA - FRANCE 24
Baby dolls, sfinally.
Got to credit Gadaffy for the timing. Obamma is against the war powers deadline. Britain and France are out of ammo. Their toy aircraft carrier is at the end of its endurance.
Teddy Bears as expected...
June 21, 2011
Chaos Manner Reviews?
This is a gentle reminder that today marks three months since your last Chaos Manner Review. I look forward to reading your next review and hope you will be able to get to it real soon now. Smile
It has been a while. I hope to get back on schedule shortly. Apologies. I have had this springback flu since March. I keep thinking I am about over it, and I am not. I will probably go down to the oncologists to be sure it is a recurring flu and not something worse. I keep trying....
“Whereas liberals are people who are concerned that someone, somewhere, is doing something without permission.” And here I thought that was Puritans. >G>
But the motives are different. The Puritans were concerned about your virtues. Liberals are concened that you are not regulated and without regulations who know what terrible things you might do even though you didn't intend to.
Felony child spanking
This is insane. Felony child spanking.
Even the prosecutors noted that it was a “simple” spanking, with the hand, leaving no bruises. This is apparently a felony in Corpus Christie TX.
Another city added to my avoid at all costs list. I used to fly USAF and NATO students there for training every once in a while, but I’m not doing that anymore and certainly won’t take my family to such a stupidly hostile judicial locale. Thank god I’m not Navy so I probably won’t be stationed there. My kid needs physical correction now and then but a felony conviction would take me out of my career field immediately. I simply can’t take the risk and of course I’ll casually remind any of my peers who travel there of the risk they’re taking when entering that particular zone of stupidity.
Hell, my life and career are at a lower risk here in Iraq where they’re actively shooting at us. At least here they’re simply lobbing explosives at us (with great enthusiasm I might add), not trying to remove my ability to provide for my wife and kids. If I’m dead my wife at least gets my pension, but TX Judge Jose Longoria could damage my whole family for the rest of our lives and is therefore a worse threat to me and my family than any terrorist. Unlike terrorists you simply can’t go around shooting judges no matter how big of a threat they pose, so my only option is avoidance.
That said, a suitable response might be to force that idiot judge to take care of my 3 yr old son for a month… My boy is a highly destructive force of nature already, and most behavioral modification methods simply don’t work. But he sure responds to getting swatted on the butt.
Get permission, and regulation, and...
What about Pakistan?
Greg Cochran, as usual, had something interesting to say, this time about Pakistan.
My thoughts on Pakistan? Blame it on two nebbishes.
The first nebbish, fairly well single handedly, overthrew the old Peace of Westphalia definition of "nation"m replacing it with the high minded nonsense of "ethically pure nations".
The result was Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and the various "nations" of the modern Middle East. The reader may tally the wars spawned thereby, If he has but the hour to spare.
Seeing how well the idea had worked, our second nebbish, some thirty years on, threw his shoulder to the flywheel of history. Clement Attlee (a ranking claimant in a crowded field for title of worst British PM since Lord North lost the First British Empire over a spat about tea) decided to give Wilson’s idea a go in the turgid ethnic waters of the Indian sub-continent. Pakistan was created by sub-dividing the British Raj, thus ending perhaps the most stable period of Indian history since the reign of Babar.
It has worked about as well as could be expected. In other words, it spawned, and continues to spawn, about as many wars and related warlike nastinesses as the earlier three Problem Children of Wilson himself. combined.
While Pakistan would be cheaper in dollars and blood as an enemy than "friend" of these United States, that’s not the solution. The problem is the very concept of such "ethnic nations". They are not more stable than polyglot states, but less. They are all too often hotbeds of irredentism, envy and plain malice, concerned more with settling ancient scores than minding their own business.
I would rather see a restoration, under the New Delhi regime, of the old Raj than any continuation of the current Pakistan, no matter how reformed.
Of course the problem is getting Russia and China to allow this. Each has a vested interest in continuing the current unstable situation, as part of the latest iteration of that venerable "Great Game" between contesting powers of central Asia.
Any rational Indian policy, were an Indian government left free to deal with matters, would involve a quick absorption of Pakistan into India. The calculus is elegantly simple. India already has more Muslim citizens than the entire population of Pakistan. While there would be a continual state of siege in the absorbed Pakistan, at least the Indians could deal with the unrest directly, and not have an unstable, irredentist "state" with nuclear weapons on their doorstep.
Because it is rational, and would lead to a long term solution, it will never happen as a result of planned action.
Which means it is inevitable.
Pakistan will eventually reach a domestic crisis in which the Pakistani elite will see a confrontation with India as their only way out. The Pakistani elite would rather go down in flames than allow power to slip away. Much as with Libya, they exist for their own purposes, not for any "national" ideal.
Nuclear weapons will either be used, or their imminent use credibly threatened, by the Pakistanis. India will finally do what will work, and "finis Pakistan".
Near term five to ten years, long term twenty. Ninety-five per cent.
And of course, we will be blamed for it all.
In reference to teddy bears: there are none visible in the accompanying photos, but this was posted on the DrudgeReport under the headline "9 civilians killed in Obama's 'non-war'" (all-caps removed).
Navy Plans to Scrap First Experimental Stealth Ship
"Navy spokesman Chris Johnson told FoxNews.com the ship's fate is all but sealed: To the junk heap it will go.
"The next disposition is dismantling and recycling," he said."
We'll see a lot more of this, soon.
June 24, 2011
TSA shakedown in Tampa -
It is late and I was just running through stuff on my computer before heading for bed when I saw the story about VIPR and the TSA shaking down a bus station on your site. I tried looking for it online and found no major outlet talking about it. I searched "TSA" on the Fox channel 13 site for the Tampa area and did not come up with it. I tried on another major news site-no joy. I see a rather sketchy clip on YouTube. Admittedly this is not extensive research.
Now I would not put this incident as being beyond something TSA would do. However, I would expect to see something on a major news outlet, and would also expect to hear at least token yelling by some civil rights organization. Maybe things really are this bad already, but I would really like to find a mainstream source for this story.
If this is true, it is chilling. If it is a hoax, it says something about the fears building in our nation. If it is a hoax I wish "they" would consider that fake footage will steal the strength of anything that is real.
I have looked -- not very hard -- for confirmations, and found none, and I have asked in a couple of conferences of people who have better connections than most.
I am concerned mostly that we can't just say, "nonsense!" and have done with it -which we most certainly could have any time in the last Millennium. I hat to think that such things are possible; but then I would have said it was impossible that a Federal Agent woud try to confiscate a retired general's Medal of Honor on the grounds that it might be used as a weapon on an airplane flight, and that, alas, was entirely true. I would have thought that any Federal Officer who tried that needed to be dismissed, on the grounds of stupidity, but if not on that, on the grounds that we do not want anyone who would do that to be a federal officer.
Here is another that one hopes cannot possibly be true.
A woman was arrested for videotaping police from her front yard in Rochester, New York.
The woman, who is unidentified at this point, was recording a traffic stop where police had a man handcuffed on May 12th. The video was uploaded to Blip TV today.
The cops noticed her recording and started hassling her with absurd notions.
“I don’t feel safe with you standing behind me, so I’m going to ask you to go into your house,” the cop said.
“You seem very anti-police … due to what you said to me before you started taping me.”
It is not clear what she said before she started recording, but if she said anything threatening, they would have arrested her at that moment.
She ended up getting handcuffed and taken away after she refused to walk into her house, even though she was clearly on her own property. </>
-------- Most Respectfully,
Joshua Jordan, KSC
But we have
Now this is something I found in a mainstream Florida news source -
Don't shoot photos or video? But it's a public space
But this is the most open administration in the history of the nation
The F.B.I. seized Web servers in a raid on a data center early Tuesday, causing several Web sites, including those run by the New York publisher Curbed Network, to go offline.
<snip>Mr. Ostroumow said that the F.B.I. was only interested in one of the company’s clients but had taken servers used by “tens of clients.”<snip>It is not clear what the F.B.I. was looking for, or whether the raid was in response to recent attacks by hacker groups on corporate and government sites.
A government official who declined to be named said earlier in the day that the F.B.I. was actively investigating the Lulz Security group and any affiliated hackers. The official said the F.B.I. had teamed up with other agencies in this effort, including the Central Intelligence Agency and cybercrime bureaus in Europe.<snip>
DailyTech - USC Researchers Switch Rat Memories On and Off,
Researchers Switch Rat Memories On and Off with chemicals:
OK. We expected this would come someday. But this next is fascinating: “In addition, the researchers built an artificial hippocampal system that could mimic the interactions between the CA3 and CA1. When the electronic device was activated, the pharmacologically blocked rats were able to remember their long-term training once again.”
Now I know that seems like bad news at first, but the operative words are: "a growing burden on government action". You see, when they can't act we won't suffer! =) If only that were true...
-------- Most Respectfully, Joshua Jordan, KSC
Good news. Yes, of course.
Not an example of a Naval reduction in force.
The Navy will scrap a twenty-six year old X-Project test vehicle. They tried for five years to get a museum to take it, no takers.
I cannot imagine the Navy failed to wring everything out of the Sea Shadow she had to give, not in twenty-one years of operation's. You can see design features obviously based on her in the latest classes of USN destroyers and frigates.
Not to mention that the ultimate stealth ship was invented about two hundred years ago.
By Robert Fulton.
But the Surface Warfare guys are clever, and equipped with iron rice bowls. Kind of like the fighter jocks. Fortunately the Army finally got rid of the cavalry, or we might still have those dashing troopers insisting they were still relevant.
Then again, a horse is fairly stealthy, at least compared to a tank, and as long as you keep the Old Grey Mare downwind of the enemy.
I expect you are right. Good news. One less thing to be concerned about.
But where to put the turtles ?
Jay Lake fans rejoice: a copy of the long lost Mother of all Flat Earth maps has been found!
-- Russell Seitz
It's turtles all the way down...
Here is a defense of ethanol… Do any of your experts know if the statements in the article are true?
In a nutshell, the article essentially states that nearly all of the criticisms of ethanol use for automotive fuel have been addressed through increased production efficiency, and future efficiency gains (such as engines optimized for ethanol use) will make ethanol even better overall than petroleum fuels.
It seems a bit too optimistic and the expert certainly has a personal interest in ethanol production, working for Argonne Natl. Lab to make ethanol fuels work. So is he right or…?
I have not done a serious study of ethanol for years, but I do wonder why it needs subsidies if it's so useful? Harnessing solar power to make storable energy is inefficient. Ethanol is inefficient. The numbers count, and I have not done them in a while. But I worry about systems that require subsidies.
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