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 Mail 435 September 9 - 15, 2006







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Monday October 9, 2006

Subject: Letter From England

We're at the end of the political silly season, with party conferences taking place.

Telegraph <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/> . This site is hard to link to, but it has stories today on the Tory recovery and multiculturalism.

Russian journalist assassinated <http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,1890481,00.html>  <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4801601.stm>  <http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-2393752,00.html

Tory revival <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/5416822.stm>  

Protests against rationing of NHS services. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4801515.stm

Multiculturalism and the multi-faith society--some politicians just don't get it. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/5416732.stm>  <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4801605.stm>  <http://observer.guardian.co.uk/politics/story/0,,1890492,00.html

Zinoviev letter <http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/article1819658.ece

-- Harry Erwin, PhD, Program Leader, MSc Information Systems Security, University of Sunderland. <http://scat-he-g4.sunderland.ac.uk/~harryerw> Weblog at: <http://scat-he-g4.sunderland.ac.uk/~harryerw/blog/index.php>


Subject: Spy satellites 


One of your readers wrote about China blinding our intelligence gathering satellites with lasers, and there was some speculation on whether it was deliberately being covered up. Having been in that business for many years (but no longer), I can tell you two things … someone performing deliberate attacks on spy satellites is nothing new … most of the platforms have had for many years various forms of protection against that type of thing, and they weren’t developed and installed on the satellites ‘just in case.’ Additionally, most of the reason you don’t hear about this is ANYTHING associated with this type of intelligence gathering is classified at very high levels, and even general comments by anyone in the ‘know’ are rarely made.


Having been in the same situation, I have to agree. We have had surveillance and protection systems in place for most of our civilian space efforts, and with good reason. And we almost never talk about such matters.


U.S. Navy Professional Reading Program

From: http://www.strategypage.com/ 

October 8, 2006: The U.S. Navy has announced Navy Professional Reading Program (NPRP), which is a list of sixty books the navy leadership believes that sailors should read. There's a lot of pop-psychology and pseudo-learned business stuff here, but it's nice to see the fiction. Every sailor should read The Cruel Sea.

The books are divided into "collections," each directed at a different age and rank group. Naval ranks are E-1 to E-9 for enlisted, and O-1 to O-10 for officers.

Junior Enlisted Collection (from recruit E-1 to E-4)

D-Day, June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II, by Stephen E. Ambrose The Declaration of Independence and Other Great Documents of American History, 1775-1865 Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card Flags of Our Fathers, by James Bradley The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini Life in Mr. Lincoln's Navy, by Dennis J. Ringle Lincoln on Leadership, by Donald T. Phillips A Passage to India, by E.M. Forster A Sailor's History of the U.S. Navy, by Thomas J. Cutler The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey Starship Troopers, by Robert A. Heinlein Time Management From the Inside Out: The Foolproof Plan for Taking Control of Your Schedule and Your Life, by Julie Morgenstern

Leading Petty Officers Collection (E-4 to E-9)

American Government, by Robert A. Heineman, Steven A. Peterson, and Thomas H. Rasmussen Billy Budd and Other Stories, by Herman Melville The Caine Mutiny, by Herman Wouk The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror, by Bernard Lewis The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy's Finest Hour, by James D. Hornfischer Not a Good Day to Die: The Untold Story of Operation Anaconda, by Sean Naylor The Sand Pebbles, by Richard McKenna Shackleton's Way: Leadership Lessons From the Great Antarctic Explorer, by Margot Morrell and Stephanie Capparell The Sheriff: America's Defense of the New World Order, by Colin S. Gray The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, by Malcolm Gladwell To the Shores of Tripoli: The Birth of the U.S. Navy and Marines, by A.B.C. Whipple Victory at Yorktown: The Campaign That Won the American Revolution, by Richard M. Ketchum

Division Leaders Collection (Junior officers, O-1 to O-3)

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner The Golden Thirteen: Recollections of the First Black Naval Officers, edited by Paul Stillwell; foreword by Colin L. Powell The Good Shepherd, by C.S. Forester The Innovator's Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business, by Clayton M. Christensen Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time, by Dava Sobel On the Origins of War: And the Preservation of Peace, by Donald Kagan Recognizing Islam: Religion and Society in the Modern Middle East, by Michael Gilsenan The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power, by Max Boot Shield and Sword: The United States Navy in the Persian Gulf War, by Edward J. Marolda and Robert J. Schneller Jr. Two Souls Indivisible: The Friendship That Saved Two POWs in Vietnam, by James S. Hirsch White-Jacket: or, The World in a Man-of-War, by Herman Melville The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century, by Thomas L. Friedman

Department/Command Leaders Collection (O-4 to O-6)

The Cruel Sea, by Nicholas Monsarrat Eagle Against the Sun: The American War With Japan, by Ronald Spector Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done, by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan The Fate of Africa: From the Hopes of Freedom to the Heart of Despair, by Martin Meredith From Beirut to Jerusalem, by Thomas L. Friedman Imperial Grunts: The American Military on the Ground, by Robert D. Kaplan Implementing Diversity: Best Practices for Making Diversity Work in Your Organization, by Marilyn Loden Jefferson's War: America's First War on Terror, 1801-1805, by Joseph Wheelan Leadership: The Warrior's Art, edited by Christopher Kolenda; foreword by General Barry R. McCaffrey, USA (Ret.) Master and Commander, by Patrick O'Brian One Hundred Years of Sea Power: The U.S. Navy, 1890-1990, by George W. Baer Thinking in Time: The Uses of History for Decision Makers, by Richard E. Neustadt and Ernest R. May

Senior Leaders Collection (Admirals, and those aspiring to be one)

The Art of the Long View: Planning for the Future in an Uncertain World, by Peter Schwartz Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, by Robert Pape Goodbye, Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War, by William Manchester The Great Wall at Sea: China's Navy Enters the Twenty-first Century, by Bernard D. Cole Leadership, by Rudolph W. Giuliani Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, by Michael Lewis The Pursuit of Victory: The Life and Achievement of Horatio Nelson, by Roger Knight Rethinking the Principles of War, edited by Anthony D. McIvor The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning, by Henry Mintzberg Scenarios: The Art of Strategic Conversation, by Kees van der Heijden The Second World War, Volume 1: The Gathering Storm, by Winston S. Churchill 1776, by David McCullough

 Some interesting choices here...


Indeed. I would add Strategy of Technology, and Doug Beeson's E-Bomb to that list. The Army's list, I am told, has my CoDominium stories on it.

Strategy of Technology in pdf format:


Subject: This time the DNC screws up a photo

They want to get into power so they can bring the WRONG TROOPS home!




Subject:  - Soft tissue inside a T-Rex bone

Dr. Pournelle,

The California Academy of Sciences' Science Now
  reports that they found soft tissue inside a T-Rex bone. They try very hard not to break them when they collect them, but they had to in this case. Surprise! Tissue that was flexible and stretchy, with blood vessels intact.

Robin Juhl


Subject: American embassies 

Hi Jerry,

Your comments about "empire vs. republic" seemed appropriate this week, as I had occasion to visit the U.S. embassy here in Switzerland. Passport renewal time for one of the kids, and we met the empire.

If you know any place in the government to send this diatribe, I would be pleased to do so. There's no point to sending it to the embassy here - these are just working stiffs stuck with policies handed down from on high. Meanwhile, I'm sending it to you, because I've got to tell it somewhere...

American embassies are both the place American citizens can turn for help or services, and the representative of America to citizens of other countries. What kind of face does America show abroad?

While most embassies here are in pleasant older buildings, the U.S. Embassy is in a fortress. A huge steel fence surrounds a building that looks (and is) a concrete bunker. Several years ago they blocked the front steps, and replaced them with a concrete maze. It's clearly designed to keep the enemy in the firing zone as long as possible while providing clear lines of fire from the building. Very inviting.

Ah, but security has been improved further: they have blocked off the entire area. 10-foot steel fences block every road leading into the neighborhood. It's a residential area - it must be really great living there, do they search your house?

Once past this, we get to the building. We are stopped on the sidewalk, where we have to show our passports. There is some theater because my second child has come along but not brought his passport. Then - still on the public sidewalk - we have to hand over our bags. We are kindly allowed to take out the "essential" items, but this only means the passport renewal papers - everything else stays. Even though waits are often long, one is not even allowed to take a mobile phone in.

Then we were allowed through the firing zone to wait in front of the door. Eventually, someone opened the door, and we were told to empty our pockets, take off our belts and watches, put it all on a table, and walk through a metal detector. Twice. I had a pocket knife, and was told to take it back outside and put it with our other belongings. This took a while, as several other people were being separated from their possessions.

Eventually, I was back inside with the kids. As soon as we had picked up our things, we were all but pushed into the waiting room, as the next victims were waiting. It was really great: juggling papers, wallets, keys, belts, watches, etc. while making your way through a room full of people, and looking for a place to reassemble yourself.

Finally our number was called, and we went to the armor-glass window. I had received a document by mail, and the first page has a list of "what you need" to process a passport renewal, all of which I handed over. The list did *not* say that both parents had to be present, nor did it say that we had to bring the child's birth certificate. The bit about both parents was noted on page 5, and the birth certificate is supposed to be only necessary for first-time passports. Tough, I was told, she does this a hundred times a day, she knows what's required, no the wife can't do it by mail, yes you travelled hours to be here, goodbye.

As a small aside, they only answer the phone a couple of hours a day, and during those times the phone is overloaded. When you call the American services line, and the lines are busy, the message you get is amazing. It was recorded by some military guy, spontaneously and very quickly. The message is a wonderful example of customer relations - in a nutshell "the lines are busy, call back later <click>".

And this is the preferential treatment given to Americans by their own embassy. I can only wonder what treatment foreigners get, when they apply for visas or whatever. Be damned what impression it makes, the empire doesn't have to care.

Sorry, had to get that off my chest. After this flabbergasting experience, my wife and I both get to take off work next week and try again. I am so looking forward to it...



Subjects, not citizens...


Subject: IM logging 

Dr. Pournelle,

Concerning the questions concerning IM logging from Rick Hellewell, specifically "can a user save IM chats to a file for later perusal?" The answer would appear to be, it depends.

The information I've seen indicates that some IM clients save chats to log files as a default option, some require the user take deliberate action to do so. At least one, Google's, saves the chat on a central server. In any case, the fact that cut and paste can be used to save a chat session into a file (as I have personally done when needing to preserve a chat so that I could use it when typing up meeting minutes or creating an actionable item list) to my mind, makes the question of whether or not the sessions are logged mute. As with email, if you wouldn’t want it published on the front page of the New York Times, don’t use a public communications medium to transmit it to an endpoint over which you have no control.

As for possible root kit behaviors, installation of keyloggers to gain user ID/passwords and credit card numbers is common as are programs that search files for such information. Changing the keywords used by such a program in order to discover files of a more salacious nature would seem to be a simple exercise.

Ralph Hyatt


Subject: Re Colonel Couvillon

For an interesting case in point to support the professionalism claims from Colonel Couvillon read this interview on Patterico.


In particular note part four "Treatment of the Detainees". That there only have been four or five people lose it at GTMO dealing with the detainees given the way the detainees treat our soldiers to showers of feces, urine, semen, saliva, vomitus, and combinations of these on a several times weekly basis is a testament to EXTREME professionalism.

(I find the descriptions of our treatment of these detainees wholly disgusting simply because we are being TOO nice to them, particularly the more violent of them.)

The fifth and last part of this interview series is up to day. It is marvelous reading. And I find the Q&A that follows the postings quite interesting as well. Stashiu (official pseudonym) has answered questions about the interview remarkably well.

{^_^} Joanne


Subject: Every army's nightmare, 


Now they've torn it: the US Army is fighting every faction in Baghdad - simultaneously:




Jerry: re: "Now Drudge is reporting that it was all a prank by pages egging Foley on."

You reported the initial falsehood by Drudge. Are you going to report the fact this is not true (http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/ 001739.php)?

Just curious...

Gmail [michaelhallca@gmail.com]

One reason I do not do topical news is that I have no resources to check such things. I would presume that almost all my readers are intelligent enough to have other sources; I said that Drudge was reporting that; he was; should I retract it? Drudge was reporting this, and it's my understanding that that particular case he mentioned was precisely that: some teen-agers baiting the Florida Fag, as boys will often do. The hardly precludes other such stuff, and clearly there were plenty of other examples of this unhappy man's series of unfortunate communications.

I fail to understand who wants what here, other than that Democrats want Speaker Pelosi. Are you arguing that it ought to be illegal for Congressmen to have homosexual sex at all, or only with some restricted set of people?

Republicans in general, and Foley's constituents in particular, prefer not to have gay Representatives, which is why Foley was so eager to keep his orientation, if not secret, at least out of the newspapers. Most Republicans do not want actively practicing gay Representatives, and will likely support someone else in the primary. Most Republicans do not think it is a good idea for older men to have homosexual relations with 16 year old boys at all; however, the Democrat controlled city council in DC has made that legal, and it is not illegal for older men to have homosexual sex with consenting 16 year old pages; although in fact there is no evidence that Foley did in fact have such relations with any of the pages while they were pages.

I keep getting mail like this, and I do not understand why unless it is to waste my time. I made it clear from the beginning that Foley was clearly not someone his constituents would have elected had they known what he was doing, and he ought to resign without regard to the legality of his acts; what in the world more is expected of me?

Another example:

JP> It is legal for older men to seduce 16 year old boys in DC.

You keep saying this as if it were relevant. It's legal for an adult to have sex with a 16-year-old in DC. It's illegal anywhere in the country for him to *talk* to a 16-year-old boy about it *on the internet*, thanks to a Federal law sponsored in the House by Mark Foley (R-FL).

There's also the matter of workplace sexual harassment. That's illegal in DC too. According to House rules, *all* Members are supervisors of *all* Pages.

-- Jim Flannery newgrange@newgrangemedia.com 

Let me be explicit: a law that says it is illegal to *talk* about a *legal act* is not a good law and is not likely to be upheld in any court. There is a matter of principle here, and most of those yammering about Foley would be the first to be offended by any other restriction on free speech. Are you in favor of restricting free speech when there is no crime other than the speech itself? Is anyone in favor of laws restricting free speech when the only crime is the speech itself?

As to sexual harassment and the like, precisely what is the difference between the President of the United States succumbing to the seductions of a 19 year old intern and a Member of Congress discussing masturbation with a 17 year old page? If this is a proposal for closer supervision over interns and pages, I expect that is already very much under discussion. I do note that Foley has not sought to defend his actions.

As I said earlier: this is a front in the cultural wars. Most of those who seem so unhappy with Foley would not, I think, support the Boy Scouts in refusing to allow gay Scoutmasters. Some in this country want toleration of homosexuality to stop with toleration; others want actual approval. The nation seems divided here, which is a great change from when I was a boy: in those days there were sodomy laws in every state. I know of no organized effort to return to such laws. 

Being gay is no bar to being a Member of Congress. There are Congressmen who could openly enjoy the legal privilege of having a 16 year old homosexual lover in DC and retain their seats; so what is all the uproar about?

Tell you what: I really believe Foley ought to resign. He ought not be a Member of Congress, because his constituents would not approve of his actions. Let's ask him to resign.


Subject: Suggested alternate titles for Mamelukes

Dr. Pournelle:

I read the first three chapters of Mamelukes over my morning coffee. You made my day! Of course now I'll have to read the first three over again just to be sure I am caught up, which will make my bride say, "Honeyyyyyy, put down the book(s)!"

You'd mentioned that Baen Books didn't like "Mamelukes" as the title. I don't see why not, considering Janissaries is also a little-known word. Wasn't there a racehorse by that name? In the event that the title must change, I have a few suggestions for you. Janissaries: Demon Sun, or Janissaries: Firestealer, or even simply Madweed.

Still, Mamelukes were slave soldiers serving Islamic rulers, weren't they? Being forced to cultivate madweed while serving the Shalnuksis, no way home, no reward except not being nuked... pretty good description of Mamelukes. It also works for the humans serving the Confederation.

I could ramble on and on, but I should get back to work.

Best regards, and thanks for the three chapter "tease" :)

Bill Kelly Houston, TX





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Tuesday, October 10, 2006


This day was devoured by locusts.





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Hi Jerry, I just read the post from Brad in Switzerland about passport renewal. Well I’m an expat as well here in Italy and because I didn’t want to jump through hoops when it was time to renew my passport last year, I down loaded the renewal form off the State Department’s website, had the photos taken and sent it all in the mail to my sister in San Diego who mailed it in for renewal, which is something that can be done in the states. When they mailed her my new passport, she mailed it to me and I think the whole thing took about two weeks. You might want to suggest this to Brad before he takes more time off from work. Just because I’m paranoid do me a favor and don’t include my name if this goes up on your website.

Thanks for all you do;



Regarding former Representative Foley -- I for one believe that, by and large, you are correct. Some more detailed thoughts from someone who knows more than he cares to about the dynamics of child sexual abuse...

1. Sixteen year olds are fully sexualized, and a substantial number of sixteen year olds are not virgins. Protection of five year olds from sexual predators is an issue; protection of sixteen year olds is pretty much possible only if you lock them up. And protection of 18 year olds is ultimately their own responsibility.

2. The 18 years old logging his IMs is at the same moral level of a female intern of the last decade who didn't have a dress dry-cleaned -- claming bragging rights on the interest by the empowered elder. Tawdry, perhaps, but also evidence that the attention wasn't unwelcome -- which mitigates any sexual harassment charges which might be imposed because of the disparity of seniority. If proven, the allegations that the teenager was playing "bait the creepy gay representative" makes it even more tawdry -- and less actionable against Foley, possibly even constituting legal entrapment.

3. Foley's actions were in no way defensible. But if he were a Democrat, nobody would even try to defend him, or even care what he had done. All you've done is make that point -- and it is hardly a defense of Foley so much as an indictment of the Democrats. In the absence of evidence of actionable lawbreaking, all that can be done and should be done has been done.


Watching NK developments with greatest interest.





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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Subject: Britain's National Health Service strikes again

Nobody could make this stuff up.


-- Robert Bruce Thompson


Subject: Researchers develop nanoparticle sensor  

This may be as huge in implications as the particles it detects are small:


SOCORRO, N.M. - New Mexico Tech researchers have developed a sensor that uses the light-emitting properties of some nanoparticles to analyze and identify individual components of single strands of DNA and RNA.

Chemistry assistant professor Peng Zhang said team members hope they can refine the emerging technology and eventually adapt the tiny sensors to detect cancer cells in their early stages and to target and destroy cancerous cells and tissue.

"I am very excited about the potential for this new application, especially since the preliminary phase of this study has shown that we can identify cancer cells," Zhang said. "The next step will be to modify these nanoparticle sensors ... and actually kill cancer cells with them."



Subject: _300_: From Herodotus to the Silver Screen via comic book and virtual reality


VDH's Private Papers::History and the Movie "300"

=[M]ost importantly, 300 preserves the spirit of the Thermopylae story. The Spartans, quoting lines known from Herodotus and themes from the lyric poets, profess unswerving loyalty to a free Greece. They will never kow-tow to the Persians, preferring to die on their feet than live on their knees.=

Rod Montgomery==monty@sprintmail.com

I recall finding the Grave of the Three Hundred; when I was there it was not marked. There is an enormous statue of Leonidas on the freeway, and the usual kiosks selling guidebooks, and guides soliciting business; but when I asked them where is the Grave of the Spartans, they told me this was it. I knew better. It was on level ground, and while the terrain has changed since the battle -- the sea is a hundred yards away now -- it is clear that this was never a hill. Herodotus says they were buried on a small hill.

Across the freeway from the enormous statue of Leonidas -- "erected by Americans of Greek descent" -- there is a small hillock. There are no markers, but there is a small goat trail. I went up that trail, and at the top there is a bronze plaque, that says, in Greek, "Stranger, go and tell the Spartans..." There was a fresh flower on the small cairn. There were two when I left.


Subj: IBM delivers speech-to-speech translator to US forces in Iraq

http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/20423.wss  IBM Press room - 2006-10-12 Made in IBM Labs: Speech Translation Technology Breaks Through Language Barrier for U.S. Forces in Iraq - United States

=The United States Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) is embracing automated speech-to-speech translation techniques to help offset the current short supply of military linguists. Developed by IBM Research, supplied and supported by IBM's Technology Collaboration Solutions group, the Multilingual Automatic Speech-to-Speech Translator software -- dubbed "MASTOR" -- will initially be deployed on 35 ruggedized laptops to various Department of Defense components including the Army Medical Department, U.S. Special Operations Command and the Marines.=

=MASTOR is available in two-way English to Iraqi Arabic, English to Modern Standard Arabic and English to Mandarin Chinese; additional languages are planned. The solution can recognize and translate a vocabulary of over 50,000 words in English and 100,000 in Iraqi Arabic.=

http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/presskit/20324.wss  IBM Press room - IBM TechWatch: Made in IBM Labs - United States

=The impetus for IBM TechWatch: Made in IBM Labs was a recent a call to action by IBM business leaders to "unleash the labs," a concerted effort to bring IBM research, scientific, engineering and developer talent closer to clients to work collaboratively on real-world business problems. Clients benefit from working directly with IBM's technical community through quick access to expertise and resources and innovation that's more targeted to their needs. IBM developers get first-hand knowledge of clients' technology, business processes and pain points and use their experiences to spur further innovation.=

Rod Montgomery==monty@sprintmail.com




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Friday,  October 13, 2006

Subject: NORTH and SOUTH Who has the Lightning?

If you'll look closely at the right hand side of the photo you can clearly see that the South Koreans have plenty of electricity, but the North is quite dark.


I'm reminded of a subplot from your novel Lucifer's Hammer on the importance of electricity to create and maintain an industrial civilization.

Everyone who makes energy policy should be required to read this novel. You can buy it here. http://www.amazon.com/Lucifers-Hammer-Larry-Niven/dp/0449208133/sr=8-1/qid=1160744357/ref=pd_bbs_1/102-0538012-6444112?ie=UTF8 Lucifer's Hammer <http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/0449208133/ref=dp_image_0/102-0538012-6444112?ie=UTF8&n=283155&s=books

  Jim Coffey

Well I can hardly object to your recommendation...

I have often used that picture as my wallpaper.


Subject: Russell Seitz re Ultimate Digital Camera -

Move over Nikon- this 160 megapixel quality product is about four times better than the human eye :


Russell Seitz

See also Russell's WSJ piece today.



Subject: Sir Richard Dannatt

I don't think that any of the top generals/admiral/air marshals in England have ever thought that Iraq made a lick of sense. Still, they're reluctant to openly contradict their civilian bosses. Evidently Dannatt has had all he can stomach.

Gregory Cochran


TONY BLAIR’S foreign policy was in tatters last night after the head of the Army said that the continued presence of British troops in Iraq was responsible for bloodshed at home and abroad.

I have always said that so long as the military wants to continue we have some obligation to take that seriously; we sent them in there, and telling them to abandon fallen comrades without accomplishing anything is never a good idea. But when the generals have had enough, the only reason to overrule them is when there are vital national interests at stake. I have seen little debate on the national interests at stake here.


Subject: More about the British army chief

Hi Jerry,

More on from the UK army chief interview:

Most UK soldiers happy that a high ranking officer finally speaks out:

Most of his statements certain look much like what you have said in the last few years, but it is certainly news when it comes from the senior army commander. Looks like Fred was wrong about the officer corps, but right about the sentiments in the army (the UK army at least). The big question is, do the US army feel the same, and will they begin to speak up?

What does this mean for the future? I find it almost certain, that the UK will pull out shortly after Blair leaves power (sometime next year). The British can not live with an unhappy army. With them, everybody else from the "coalition of the willing" will leave as well. Yes, the US can stay alone, but I doubt that it is possible politically. The neocon long war is falling apart - at least in Iraq. Further denial of this will only hurt the west. Focus should now be shifted to what can be achieved between now and Christmas 2007, by which I find it probable that the last western soldier has left Iraq.

I look forward to your comments.


Bo Andersen Denmark

What can we achieve, and what steps must we take if defeat is inevitable?


Subject: Iraqis follow the Pournelle prescription


It seems that the Iraqi parliament agrees with you (ignore the headline; the story is about how they have voted to divide up the country):



And see below


And in a lighter vein:


This is great fun:


The Blue Ball Machine!!!


Holey Moley!!





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Saturday, October 14, 2006

Subject: Iraq and isolation

The president says that if we cut and run they will follow us home. Is it defeatism to take that statement seriously and address that possibility? Is it defeatism to look into means to assure it can't happen? I would think that building border fences, cancelling visas, and building up the Navy would manage to keep them from following us home, and would be cheaper than continuing the war. Indeed, I would think that closing the borders, paying a lot more attention to visas, building up the Navy to 600 ships, investing in genuine X Programs that build up our space access capabilities, providing substantial (billions) prizes for certain technological developments such as mobile energy storage and reusable orbital launcher systems, building nuclear power plants, and developing our domestic oil resources would not cost substantially more than continuing the war. Is it defeatism to at least study that possibility?

I admit I find the idea of isolationism appealing on my down days. Screw 'em all. But you know, at some point while I sit in Vortex USA while the Brutals batter themselves to death on whatever incredible barrier we have to erect to keep even a vial of smallpox out, I'm going to start missing things like bananas.

The current war is one price we're paying for not finishing the Gulf War, and for not using the tactics in this war that gave us victory in every other war we've ever won. I often hear from the anti-war crowd that we won WWII in less time than this. I point out that if we were using the tactics and weapons we used on Germany and Japan, we would have won this one a hell of a lot sooner.

If we leave Iraq in defeat, our enemies will see this as an immense victory. If you think the war is recruiting al Qaeda members now, wait until al Qaeda has sent the U.S. packing.

They will come after us. After digesting the rest of the Middle East and probably parts of Europe and Asia first. And eventually, we will have to resort to real war. The anti-war protesters don't know what a real war looks like. There are still some older people who do.

Maybe real war would have been inevitable no matter what we did. I find it hard to believe that Saddam, if he were still in power, would be sitting quietly right now while Iran built atomic bombs.

Tom Brosz

Winning in Iraq may take 'real war', warre, rationing and conscription and two million under arms, a million constabulary in Iraq backed up by the Army and Marines. Is this a price we will pay? What is the likely outcome of "staying the course"? Does "staying the course" mean feeding troops into a 100 men a month meat grinder? Or are there measures short of warre that will win?


The cost of victory

Jerry P:

You started off well, and I agree. But defining success by stationing 2 million troops in Iraq is conquest, not victory, at least in the minds of those of us who don't want empire. Of the 2 million troops, how many are we willing to lose? Success may be defining the what the coalition troops can accomplish and what the Iraqi people must supply; recognizing the limits to what we can do without totally occupying the country. We need to recognize the difference between what we can do and what we cannot do. I would suggest that we cannot dictate peace to parties who do not recognize the legitimate political rights of others who are also citizens. From the status of Sunni vs Shia in other countries, one sect or the other seems to feel the necessity for domination. This seems largely to be the result of the Muslim encompassing of secular authority by clerical authority. So in Muslim countries one or the other clerical group must dominate. I can not see any way that the coalition forces can prevent this from happening. And if it does happen, there will be turmoil until there is some stability. This may be with the Shia being supported by Iran, and the Sunni by the Saudis and maybe the Syrians.

Where the Kurds will end up is the problem, in particularly for Turkey whose Kurdish population will take heart and want autonomy. But without a solution provided by those local powers, the coalition forces probably cannot accomplish much except to lose troops and delay the inevitable.

Charles Simkins

How is invading a foreign nation, removing its President, occupying the country, etc., etc, anything other than conquest? Conquest is a matter of intent and outcome, is it not? How was anything you say not obvious before we went in? And how will we accomplish whatever it is you want without going to warre?


Subject: Canada troops battle 10-foot Afghan marijuana plants

Not a headline I ever expected to see: "Canada troops battle 10-foot Afghan marijuana plants"


"Have you ever really looked at your rifle, man? It's sooooo cool!"

I thought the use of indigenous camouflage materials was very appropriate, but they didn't say whether they were using whole plants or just the buds, and whether the plants were in bundles or bales. <grin>

--Gary Pavek


Fighting back.


- Roland Dobbins



Studds, 1st openly gay congressman, dies

By Jay Lindsay, Associated Press Writer | October 14, 2006

BOSTON --Former U.S. Rep. Gerry Studds, the first openly gay person elected to Congress, died early Saturday at Boston Medical Center, several days after he collapsed while walking his dog, his husband said. He was 69.


Studds was first elected in 1972 and represented Cape Cod and the Islands, New Bedford, and the South Shore for 12 Congressional terms. He retired from Congress in 1997.

In 1983, Studds acknowledged his homosexuality after the page revealed he'd had a relationship with Studds a decade earlier, when the page was 17. Studds was censured for sexual misconduct by the House, then went home to his constituents to answer questions in a series of public meetings and interviews with the press.

Studds defended the relationship as a consensual relationship with a young adult. The page later appeared publicly with Studds in support of him. The scandal recently resurfaced when former Republican Rep. Mark Foley resigned after exchanging sexually explicit instant messages with a page. Republicans accused Democrats of hypocrisy for savaging Foley, but saying little about Studds at that time.

Hara said Studds was never ashamed of the relationship with the page.

"This young man knew what he was doing," Hara said. "He was at (Studds') side."

Studds left Congress and became a lobbyist for the fishing industry and environmental causes.

In 1996, Congress named the 842-square mile Gerry E. Studds Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary after him in recognition of his work protecting the marine environment.

But of course he only did it with the page. He didn't talk about it on the Internet. Quite different cases, actually. And Studds stayed in the closet until the page outed him. Clearly this means that Hastert must resign.



Some guys and a car and some snow. Heh heh.


And some people think blondes are dumb.



Subject: Groupthink in the sciences, 


I am looking at the inside or the back cover of Science News, October 7, 2006. There are two books that complain about string theory, and for the same reason. The title of one book - Not Even Wrong - says it all in three words. Both books complain that string theory is not even a theory; "it is unsupported by experiment, unfalsifiable and unconfirmable." The writer of the second book speaks of "groupthink" that has "hijacked theoretical physics."

Taken with the hysterics surrounding Climatism, it seems that we may be entering a time when official Science is becoming less scientific and more religious in its characteristics. And as proof, there have been recent calls by "green" advocates for an Inquisition to try "Global Warming deniers" and execute them.

Robert predicted all of this, of course.


The October issue of Physics Today has a biting editorial on "Theory in particle physics: Theological speculation versus practical knowledge," aka String Theory. There is about a 2 month delay on letters to the editor, so the December issue should make for some mighty interesting reading.

http://www.physicstoday.org/vol-59/iss-10/p8.html is listed as a free download.



BuScience anyone? Doesn't "peer review" = "Groupthink"?



I have to think about this more, but one comment that seems immediately obvious:

Peer review is NOT "groupthink" in concept, though it can easily tend that way in execution. A properly constructed peer review should evaluate a proposal or a paper on its technical merits and the coherence of its arguments, even if the results are contrary to the prejudices of the reviewer.

Scientists being human, however, their prejudices can impact their decisions, and when those prejudices concern controversial issues (e.g. global warming) groupthink can develop.


Oh, I agree. I don't have a solution to the problem. But we have come to a pretty pass when we spend billions/year on AIDS and won't give the discoverer of retroviruses a couple of million to do research contrary to the groupthink. There needs to be a way to fund contrarian research by people like Duesberg and some of the global warming doubters. Insurance against being wrong isn't all that expensive, and sometimes results in massive savings -- and sometimes results in finding things you wouldn't have found had you not been looking for an experimentum crucis.


Subject: User education is pointless,


Says here, "Security expert: User education is pointless:"


This reminds me of Pournelle's Reminder: 50% of the population is below average.

If half - or even a third - of the people online are below average, then perhaps this guy is right: we shouldn't depend on users to protect themselves. By expecting them to do so, we end up with ZombieNets.

Something to chaw on in your pitifully few idle moments.


I am not sure it follows. People seldom need educating but they often need reminding. I point out that the American People have done pretty well taking care of themselves with self government for 200 years. Alas, we now have the tendency for government to take care of everyone, and in doing so make it impossible for people to take care of themselves -- and discourage them for trying.

It could be that the quality of citizen is declining, but it could also be that by relieving people of responsibility we also discourage them from trying to be self governing and self controlling.

But we certainly have ZombieNets...


Subject: RE: Can the West defeat the Islamist threat?

The biggest failure I see with how the ‘War on Terror’ has been fought is the way the US reacted initially.

Within a week of the attack on 9/11 the President should have gone to Congress and asked for a formal declaration of war on Afghanistan. No pussyfooting around with police actions and UN mandates.

This should have been followed by a speech to the people in which the President asked all men to do their duty, report to the nearest recruitment station and prepared for a general mobilization of all forces.

This could have and should have been done. Rationing and other effects would soon follow.

Instead of this everyone decided that what would be best for the country would be to return to normalcy. Frederick the Great’s comment about the Burghers in the towns, and the Farmer’s in the fields should not care that the state is at war comes to mind.

The problem is the state is not at war. The President has never declared war on Iraq or Afghanistan. Unless you are at war, people will not treat it with the same urgency.

I feel that this will all change when someone finally nukes something. As Kosh said to the Centauri Emperor, it will all end in fire.

Dave M.

We had plenty of reserves for the Afghan operation; had we sent to Afghanistan what we sent to Iraq, we would have had entire success.  It's the Iraqi war that lacks resources.


Subject: "The Lights of Freedom"

Jerry, it just occurred to me that "The Lights of Freedom" is a pretty appropriate title for that satellite recon mosaic image, that shows night lights everywhere on the planet.

I don't have the URL for the complete world image, but http://www.deskpicture.com/DPs/Astronomy/zByNight_2.jpg

 is the one you just mentioned. --John


The following is long and somewhat technical and worth your attention. Most of the letter is on North Korea and nukes and proliferation; you can skip through the Foley section if you like.

Subject: Korean Nukes and Foley


I couldn't resist the temptation to check in to see how you and the other Paleocons are reacting to the North Korean's alleged nuclear test.

In perusing your comments on Korea, I couldn't help but notice your comments on the Foley mess. After our arguments about Martha Stewart, you'll probably be amazed to find that I totally agree with your commentary on Foley. As distasteful as his behavior is to moral traditionalists such as myself, it is my understanding that the cultural liberals have succeeded in legalizing consensual, homosexual relationships between adult men and teenage boys in certain jurisdictions, including DC. I'm also unaware of any FCC or other regs that would make it illegal for consenting adults to engage in less than graphic, electronic communications about their actual or potential sexual liazons. If it were, about 99.999% of the adult population would have to be arrested. The simple fact is that if the GOP leadership had punished Foley for his deviant and predatory sexual behavior, the liberals who are now calling for Hastert's head would be screaming "Homophobia." My own personal opinion is that the parents of the Pages involved had a very real and reasonable expectation that their son's and or daughters were going to Washington to further their educations, not to become the sexual toys of Congresscritters. Those parents now have a perfect right to excise certain portions of Foley's anatomy using a dull knife and no anesthetic.

As to North Korea. There has been considerable uncertainty regarding the authenticity of NK's nuclear test. While I was attending New Mexico Tech, the DoE conducting an above ground simulation of a kiloton nuke using about 700 tons of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil. Since the test was non nuclear, it was not a highly classified event. They had hundreds of of DoE and DoD employees as well as academics from across the country to witness the event. Many of those who lodged in Socorro the night before the event partied hardy all night and I was told that several beer trucks were even at the event. Although I wasn't invited to attend the party, I was able to feel the ground shock as I was sitting in the Library.

This experience combined with the fact that the test was announced in advance makes me wonder if the NK's might have just packed a tunnel with a couple hundred tons of high explosives which they then detonated to con the world into believing the that they'd joined the nuclear club. The initial failure to detect any radiation seemed to confirm my suspicions. Underground tests release many orders of magnitude less fallout than above ground tests. However, many of the fission products are noble gasses which can diffuse through solid rock. Also, the rock above the chamber excavated by the explosion will eventually collapse. The fracturing of the rock combined with the pressure from the rock falling into the chamber (remember the dust clouds when the towers collapsed on 9-11-01) will result in other fission products being ejected to the surface and into the atmosphere. This is why underground nuclear tests are conducted under the Nevada dessert rather than under Manhattan.

The latest news is that radioactive fallout has been detected. This too could have been simulated by the North Korean's by releasing some radioactive fission products recovered from spent fuel rods. However; an analysis of the composition of the radioactive material and the isotope ratios should determine the truth. If the event was for real, most of the radioactivity will be from isotopes with half-lives measured in days.

While many people are dismissing the NK nuke test as a dud and are now ridiculing their competence, I am forced to consider another, far more alarming possibility. Among the issues that has lead to this crisis is NKs insistence on reprocessing reactor fuel to extract plutonium. I piss off a lot of liberals and environmentalist wackos by pointing out that the Plutonium in spent fuel is not the same as bomb grade Plutonium. Bomb grade Plutonium is mostly pure, Pu-239 which is the most fissile isotope. Reactor waste grade Plutonium includes large portions of other isotopes, most notably Pu-238 and Pu-240.

While the fast neutron fission cross section of Pu-239 is high enough that waste grade Plutonium can still sustain a nuclear explosion, these impurities pose serious practical difficulties. First is that the critical mass for waste grade Plutonium is over an order of magnitude larger than for bomb grade plutonium. Secondly, the relatively short lived Pu-238 isotope produces large amounts of thermal energy. While this heat makes Pu-238 valuable as a power source for space probes, this heat poses serious problems for a weapon designer. First and foremost any bomb built out of waste grade Plutonium would include tens of kilograms of Pu-238 which would produce hundreds of kilowatts of heat. Your bomb is going to need to have a really big refrigeration system. Thirdly and most seriously, the Pu-240 isotope in waste grade plutonium poses extremely severe problems for a weapons designer. While the half-life of Pu-240 is relatively long and therefore the radioactivity is low, Pu-240 undergoes spontaneous fission to release neutrons. This means that such a device would require several feet of shielding to protect the technicians. Even more problematic is the large neutron flux from the Pu-240 will result in relatively large amounts of fission energy being produced before the device reaches critical mass. Unless your bomb design includes a very sophisticated and very, very large mass of high explosive to trigger the explosion, the device will blow itself apart before critical mass is achieved.

The preceding discussion is not intended to suggest that building a nuke out of reactor waste grade Plutonium is impossible. However; it is extremely difficult. Former President Carter's ill-considered decision to cancel the breeder reactor and order that reactor wastes be disposed of rather than recycled was in part a reaction to the success of US weapons labs building a device out of waste grade Plutonium. Unfortunately, Carter ignored the fact that the resulting device was about the size and weight of a railroad locomotive and the explosives that were needed to trigger the explosion accounted for a significant fraction of the total energy of the subkiloton explosion.

I suspect that the North Korean's just tested a bomb that was fueled with waste grade Plutonium. The low yield and minimal fallout would be consistent with that. Also, given the fact that North Korea is not known to possess a weapons production reactor to produce bomb grade plutonium and the isotope separation capacity to produce bomb grade Uranium is also thought to be limited, they might be reluctant to expend their limited supply of high grade fissile material on a nuke test. North Korea is known to have large quantities of spent fuel rods and an active reprocessing plant. The Korean's might have decided to conduct a test using a device that employs reactor waste grade Plutonium. If so, the device in question is not militarily usable. However; the ability to build such a device demonstrates a level of technological competence that is very impressive and should be sobering.

Unfortunately, your jaded response to the potential North Korean nuclear test is about what I would expect from a neoisolationist. I'm not a nuclear weapons alarmist, but I'm not sanguine about nukes either. Even a single, moderately powerful fission bomb can inflict a tremendous amount of carnage. If detonated in the middle of Manhattan Island during the middle of a work day, the prompt death toll would be in the millions. If such a bomb were delivered by terrorists rather than by missile or bomber, it would be a surface burst that would result in radioactive fallout orders of magnitude more lethal than the minimal fallout that resulted from the air bursts that the US employed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is logical to presume that as horrendous as such an attack would be, the nation as a whole should survive it. However, the stock market collapse that followed 0-11-01 forces me to wonder if the economy might collapse. As much as the prospect of all of the bureaucrats in DC being nuked (or better yet, the Four Whores of the Apocalypse who rule Multnomah county) appeals to my libertarian instincts, I'm realistic enough to understand that anarchy would be a plausible result and that anarchy can be even more lethal than tyranny.

We also have to consider the possibility of North Korea exporting to a nuclear black market the way A Q Kahn of Pakistan did before his activities were revealed as an unexpected result of Bush's Iraq invasion. One obvious customer is Iran which is still struggling to work the bugs out of their gas centrifuges. While NK is too impoverished to manufacture many nukes, the Iranians have enough oil revenue to finance a very robust nuclear infrastructure. If no action is taken in response to the NK test, we could see them proliferate to a number of countries that can afford to build significant arsenals and use the revenue to buildup their own production capabilities to build far more than just a token arsenal.

You seem to content to believe that isolationism can insulate us from attack if North Korea and Iran have nukes. What if the precedent results in other countries going nuclear. Will isolationism save us if Brazil, Argentina and Chile have nukes. What about Venezuela or even Mexico having the bomb. There is a political movement in Mexico that feels that the US should return the occupied territories of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. While this movement isn't taken seriously now, even in Mexico, their views could become far more credible to a Mexico that is armed with nuclear weapons.

Once again, I must emphasize that I'm not a nuclear alarmist. You would have been amazed and amused by the reaction I got from a local newspaper editor when I wrote an op-ed piece some years ago in response to the local "Shadow Project" in which I conclusively proved that while thousands of people received horrific burns at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, no one was actually vaporized. I also pissed off one of my professors at New Mexico Tech when I insisted that he actually do the math to prove his assertion that SDI was futile because the nukes detonating when they are intercepted over the pole (it would take some horrendously sensitive salvage fusing that would probably make the warheads far vulnerable to interception) would melt the ice caps and flood coastal cities. He was amazed and enraged when the calculations revealed that the energy of 10,000 megatons (then the total of the US and Soviet strategic arsenals) would melt enough ice to raise ocean levels by only a trivial amount (about 1/3 of a millimeter if I recall correctly). I then pointed out that since floating ice displaces its own mass in water, the melting of the ice wouldn't raise ocean levels at all.

However; while I'm not a nuclear alarmist, I'm amazed at how easily you dismiss the threat that nuclear proliferation could pose to human civilization. Perhaps you should reread the passage in "The Mote in God's Eye" in which you describe how Earth grown coffee is a rare delicacy because most of the planet is still radioactive from the war that ended the CoDominium. To be blunt, I always thought that while it was reasonable for you and Niven to indulge in artistic license, this was just another example of the gross hyperbole about nuclear weapons effects that add credibility to the appeasement and unilateral disarmament lobby. To be blunt, by the time the Second Empire discovered the Moties, the radioactivity of the fallout would have decayed to the point where it would have been an interesting thesis for some archeology grad student to prove that a nuclear war had even occurred. It is exceedingly unlikely that there would have been any area's where the radioactivity levels would have remained dangerous. If you doubt me, check out the fallout decay tables in "The Effects of Nuclear Weapons." However; your allusion to a large scale nuclear war ending civilization on Earth, causing the collapse of the CoDominium, and leaving Earth's infant colonies to fend for themselves is very reasonable. The problem is, we don't have any colonies.

While I dismiss the claimed, global environmental effects of nuclear war such as the infamous "Nuclear Winter" theory, I believe that even a limited nuclear war could have devastating effects on the industrial ecology that supports human civilization. Supporting modern, technological civilization requires a very large and complex industrial ecology. You and Niven touched on this concept in "Oath of Fealty." Although the residents of your Arcology were technologically competent, they were utterly dependant on daily trade with the City of Los Angeles to sustain themselves. Building their Arcology or the nuclear power plant that provided the hydrogen that fueled their city in a building would have required human and material resources from all over the globe. While I enjoyed your Prince of Sparta series, I thought you and S & M Steriling were off your rockers when you suggested that Sparta was capable of building starships when they were still having to import all of their machine tools and other technologically sophisticated products, mostly from earth. Perhaps this was one of the factors that contributed to Lysander's decision to build an empire? Aggregate a population base and industrial ecology large enough to sustain their civilization before it collapsed. You were far more realistic in your War World Series in which you made it clear that Haven's technological civilization wouldn't survive being cut off from the rest of the first empire. You were also right on when you made it clear that the loss of their technology would inevitably result in their population collapsing below the critical threshold needed to rebuild technological civilization. In spite of all of their genetic enhancements, I can't imagine the Saurons being able to rebuild technological civilization either. One possibility is suggested by the genetic mutation that allowed that horse to give birth out side of the Shangri La valley. If the same adaptation were to occur in humans, then Haven's enhanced carrying capacity might allow the population to grow large enough to rebuild technological civilization.

All of these seeming digressions inevitably lead to my main point that because we do live in a global economy in which the factories and people that are required to make the most sophisticated products are scattered across the globe, even a limited nuclear war might disrupt the industrial ecology so severely that it would collapse. I remember one study of the vulnerability of the US refining capacity to nuclear attack. Because all of the US Refineries are concentrated so severely, a few dozen nukes would take out most of our refining capacity. This reduced refining capacity is going to bring the entire economy to its knees. Ironically, such a disruption of the global economy would probably be more devastating to the third world populations that weren't directly targeted than to the industrialized nations that were attacked. Even the third world countries that are reasonably successful are highly dependant on imports of critical machinery, fuels, chemicals and manufactured goods to sustain their predominantly agrarian economies. These countries are also dependant on food imports to offset seasonal variations in production and in times of famine. The inevitable chaos that would result from a limited nuclear war is going to ensure that the only countries that will be importing food or anything else will be the technologically, militarily competent countries who can and will take what they need to sustain themselves in the aftermath of a limited, nuclear war.

Your solution to the North Korean problem is to rely on a combination of deterrence, missile defense (probably augmented by a rational civil defense policy), and isolationism. I agree with you whole heartedly about the need for a robust deterrent and missile defenses, and I'm probably a more active advocate of civil defense (if you thought about civil defense, you wouldn't live in LA), However; I'm also realistic enough to know that deterrence can and will fail eventually, while missile defenses can dramatically reduce the carnage and the devastation of a nuclear attack, some of the missiles could and would reach their targets, and civil defense can only limit, not eliminate the casualties from the nukes that get through. We need to continue our efforts to build and maintain a global community that discourages irrational countries from acquiring the technology to destroy us.

James Crawford

When my friend Mel Tappan moved to the Rogue River and urged me to do so -- back in the days when I was an editor of Survive Magazine and considered a journeyman survivalist and colonel of my own survival company -- I told him the best way to survive a nuclear war is not to have one; and I could do a lot more about that by staying on Los Angeles, where I could chair the Council that worked with Graham and Reagan on SDI. I don't regret the decision. Mel, alas, died when separated from modern medicine and UCLA hospital.

I suspect I have thought at least as much as you have about the requirements of a modern civilization.

Thanks for explaining some of the technical aspects. I never know how much I can or should say on such matters.

I don't do topical news. My current thought is that NK had a squib, a partial detonation, but they had good decoupling and isolation; but that is a mere guess. I am sure they did not have the technology to build a sub-kiloton weapon. I am also sure that NK or any other country with a few hundred million dollars can manage to acquire fissionables and given fissionables can build a 15 KT device.

There is speculation that NK is trying to develop a suitcase weapon. They certainly have every reason to want one, but it's a hard thing to do.





The Rights of Englishmen, Part XLVI.


- Roland Dobbins


The Rights of Englishmen, Part XLIX.


-- Roland Dobbins

At Runnymede, at Runnymede,
What say the reeds at Runnymede?
The lissom reeds that give and take,
That bend so far, but never break,
They keep the sleepy Thames awake
With tales of John at Runnymede.


Global warming: the chilling effect on free speech.


- Roland Dobbins




CURRENT VIEW     Saturday

This week:


read book now


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Subject: scientists look to place a proscience president

I suspect that, were they successful, this would be a bad idea:


I would suggest that a President should have - amongst other qualities - intelligence and a balanced viewpoint. A President that values the scientific exploration of Pluto more than he values the defence of the nation may quickly discover the folly of his decisions - but by then, it will be too late.

If scientists truly wish to influence government, they should consider doing what big business has done for many decades: lobby. But that takes money, and few scientists are as wealthy as the heads of the companies they work for.

Regards, Charlie



"It has become like a cult."


-- Roland Dobbins

See also the chapter "Your IQ or your Life" in Barzun's Teacher in America (a book every teacher should read).


It is column time, and both column and mailbag will be up at www.chaosmanorreviews.com



Subject: Daily Diatribe - lots of meat from JihadWatch in particular

Robert Spencer, decidedly not a techie sort, "pushed the wrong button". Charles, of LGF, came to his rescue. The site is back up full steam and was full of nice juicy information steaks and chops.



Korea is of course a big deal today. Michael Barone has an interesting take on his blog today. He presents two views, Thomas Lifson’s somewhat upbeat view and Nicholas Eberstadt’s view of the NORK regime as “revisionist”. He remarks that if Eberstadt is correct only the demise of Western Civilization will suffice for the NORKs. Of course, this is the stated goal of the Iranian regime. The holiday from history is over. Absolute evil does exist in this world and we must defend ourselves from it.

link http://www.usnews.com/usnews/opinion/

For relief from the Foley situation we have the Harry Reid situation. He is taking heat from main stream media as well as conservative bloggers. Michelle Malkin collected a bunch of links in her blog today.

link http://michellemalkin.com/archives/006109.htm 

While we are fighting terrorists it might be a good idea if our borders were a little more secure. Raj Bhakta films a Mexican walking across the border. Now that’s not particularly unusual as an occurance unless you consider that the filming location was right under a border crossing bridge. Raj had to point out the fellow to the 5 people manning the border crossing on top of the bridge. Then the next day for a stunt Raj hired a Mariachi band and an elephant. He crossed riding the elephant with the band playing and nobody bothered to question or stop him. Video is located here along with some discussion. Raj is now running for Congress in Pennsylvania. I hope he wins.

link http://hotair.com/archives/2006/10/13/video-

Bomb an airplane with supplies from E-Bay? Well, the British terror cell recently busted up used E-Bay for purchasing supplies. They also hollowed out AA batteries to hide the detonators they planned to use. I can see why TSA overreacted. But one could wish they overreacted a little more intelligently. Meanwhile, I am DRIVING to Las Vegas not flying when going to a convention next week.

link http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=

Where are the moderate Mohammedans? Robert Spencer airs the question again. And it becomes increasingly obvious that the moderates are afraid for their lives. They are declared apostate. And in Mohammedanism and under Sharia law this is a declaration that they must be killed, promptly.

link http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/013568.php 

I’ve been harping on the CAIR/Terrorist/Extremist connection for some time now. Here, and here with the sentence, is more data.

link http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/013565.php

Rules for living under Mohammedanism Somali style are detailed in this post from Robert Spencer. It lists 19 grim rules for living under Mohammedan rule.

link http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/013562.php

Some moderates are not willing to be shut-up, either. Wafa Sultan is legendary in this regard. Ynet has a biography with her famous second al Jazeera video on it. She reads an imam the riot act. She is a remarkable, well educated, and brave woman. She and people like her are ones we must nurture not the CAIR people, from whom she has received warning phone calls. I must thank Robert Spencer for the pointer. Wafa is one awesome woman indeed.

link http://www.ynetnews.com/Ext/Comp/

When are the Western liberals going to realize enough is enough, that we must engage the Mohammedans on all fronts in this war on terrorism? These links are all pointing to Mohammedan attrocities perpetrated over the Pope quoting a Byzantine dhimmi from a discourse with his master/captor and then asking for a rational discourse with modern Mohammedans.

links http://www.jihadwatch.org/dhimmiwatch/archives/013555.php  http://www.jihadwatch.org/dhimmiwatch/archives/013560.php  http://www.jihadwatch.org/dhimmiwatch/archives/013563.php 

We are fighting absolute evil in the persons of the terrorists. The Mohammedan religion as it sits today breeds these evil beings. Yet our liberals keep supporting them saying WE are the evil ones. I suppose they might realize “I make a booboo!” when they are faced personally with the “Convert, accept absolute subjugation, or die” options.












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