Thursday, March 31, 2011

Libya. Is that still in the news?

In which I rail and rant and am not amusing or even very readable and I do not care.

The plan [1] seems to be this: bomb the snot out of the Libyan Army.  The hard part done, rebels advance.  Then we declare victory and go home.

Now, bombing the snot out of an entire country didn't work from 1943 - 1945: German industrial output increased right up until the Allies captured the actual buildings and put them out of business.   Didn't work in 1950 when the mighty Air Force flew over millions of Chinese and flat out failed to see them.  And so on.  But it will be different this time.  Wishing will make it so.

So - predictably - some stuff was blown up at great expense and a lot of soldiers were fried up like a a pig at roast.  But we don't care about them because they're in the service of evil.  Or maybe they just wanted to get out of Flyspeck, Libya, get a steady paycheck, wear a nice uniform and get laid.  Whatever.

And so - because soldiers are tricky bastards - they adapted and improvised.  They got their shit together.  And because they're an army and the rebels are just some guys with high motivation but not much organization or discipline or logistics they're beating the rebels (aka Our Guys) like kettle drums.

So now what?  The King done bought us a war.  We're losing [2]

We got to either go big, send arms, send the cavalry, something.  And we better do it in a pretty big hurry before Our Guys are flattened like bugs on a windshield. 

Or we need to declare ourselves the winner and get out.

Neither choice is palatable.

Now what?

[1] As much as there could be said to be a plan worthy of the name, which there isn't.
[2] This is not a current-events blog so this might be overtaken by events not long after being published.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tab Clearing

Up Against The Wall, Motherf*cker!, by James Dunnigan.  Recreate 1969 on your dining room table: play as radicals or The Man.

Dunnigan's 'How To Make War' is only $13.45 at Amazon.  Think they'll ship to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C?

Bowling for Bitcoins - Meet the Trader 04.

Dana F. Smith and Max Wolf Valerio - Mission Miracle Mile Trilogy (+1)

J.E. Pournelle: The President has abandoned the principles of the Laws of War and Peace that began with Hugo Grotius publishing his book of that title in 1625.

Edmund Burke: Reflections on the Revolution in France:
When men of rank sacrifice all ideas of dignity to an ambition without a distinct object and work with low instruments and for low ends, the whole composition becomes low and base. Does not something like this now appear in France? Does it not produce something ignoble and inglorious — a kind of meanness in all the prevalent policy, a tendency in all that is done to lower along with individuals all the dignity and importance of the state? Other revolutions have been conducted by persons who, whilst they attempted or affected changes in the commonwealth, sanctified their ambition by advancing the dignity of the people whose peace they troubled. They had long views. They aimed at the rule, not at the destruction, of their country. They were men of great civil and great military talents, and if the terror, the ornament of their age. They were not like Jew brokers, contending with each other who could best remedy with fraudulent circulation and depreciated paper the wretchedness and ruin brought on their country by their degenerate councils. The compliment made to one of the great bad men of the old stamp (Cromwell) by his kinsman, a favorite poet of that time, shows what it was he proposed, and what indeed to a great degree he accomplished, in the success of his ambition:

Still as you rise, the state exalted too,
Finds no distemper whilst 'tis changed by you;
Changed like the world's great scene, when without noise
The rising sun night's vulgar lights destroys.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Things I Did Not Know This Morning But My Wife Did

Most late model cars have an arrow in the gas gauge pointing to the side of the car with the gas cap.

Quart is short for quart-er.  As in 'four'.  As in 'four quarts to a gallon'.  Dunh.

Libya Again

Travis hit on two reasons I might think more kindly of the current shenanigans in Libya.

(a) there is pragmatic argument for someone to play Imperial Power of the World...especially if they can do it on the cheap, (b) there is a moral argument to support most anyone against a genocidal dictator.

There is no denying that in the long run places where the United States goes to war up do really well.  And you can't argue with the moral side of things: getting rid of genocidal dictators is a good thing. 

Seemingly the best thing a Third Word fella can do for his descendents is to get his country invaded by Americans.  Surviving to have descendants is not assured . . .

We get back in the car and move on, south toward Ajdabiyah. Every five minutes or so, we pass more wreckage. Some of the tanks are pancaked. We also see minivans and SUVs that are charred and smashed, as if they were stomped by a giant flaming robot. Some lie on their sides. I think I even see a BMW 3-series burned out on the side of a hill.

BMW, BMP, whatever: they all look pretty much the same on the screen while cranking along at 500 em-pee-aitch.  Shit happens and it's a good idea not to be close to a tank in the middle of the war.  Granted civilian 'close' and military 'close' are not remotely the same thing but there you go.

As personally sympathetic as I am to the Imperial Power / moral argument jazz the unpleasant fact remains: we live in a Republic.  The Constitution lays out certain roles and responsibilities for the three branches of government.  The executive [1] can't just go to war for humanitarian reasons, or to ensure Europe has cheap gas, or whatever the latest excuse is.

There must to be authorization by Congress.  Or the United States must be under threat of attack, or have been attacked.

The Current Occupant didn't get the authorization, didn't even ask for it.  Libya hasn't attacked the United States, wasn't going to attack the United States.  The President - the fellow sworn to uphold the laws of these United States - just pretty much blew off the whole thing.  Too much bother, I suppose.

Morality don't enter into it.  We've got a Constitution: we should use it.  This war against Libya is just plain illegal and wrong as anything the government has done. 

And it's being done in your name, and mine.

[1] Not even getting into the legality of the War Powers Resolution of 1973 - which I don't think it is, much.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tax the bumwad

I remember a lesson from school. People in the Bad Olde Days in Europe in one country has dark, smelly houses.  Because they had very few windows.  Because the government there laid a tax on the number of windows a house had: the more windows, the more tax. So people, not being completely dumb, built houses with few windows, people could not throw the non-existent windows open to admit fresh air and sunshine, their house were dark and smelly.

The subtext I took away was that the people in charge Back Then were egregious butt-heads, we were much more enlightened in the modern age.

Recalling the lesson that you get less of what you tax ... maybe not so much.

(Omaha) Mayor Jim Suttle went to Washington Tuesday flush with ideas for how federal officials could help cities like Omaha pay for multibillion-dollar sewer projects.

Among the items on his brainstorming list: a proposal for a 10-cent federal tax on every roll of toilet paper you buy.

Based on the four-pack price for Charmin double rolls Tuesday at a midtown Hy-Vee, such a tax would add more than 10 percent to the per-roll price, pushing it over a buck.

Adding 10% to the price of anything is a pretty steep tax, nu? Makes baby wipes, and 'soap on a washcloth' look like a better and better deal.

Monday, March 21, 2011


A useful tip from my days in the Marines: when firing a machine-gun you depress the trigger while chanting 'Fire a six to eight round burst'. This is to prevent the barrel from melting.

Now, yes, the only place I've found this to be actually useful is playing 'Call of Duty' but there you go.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Good gravy what next - patchouli?

We're now suddenly in the middle of a civil war in a country of no strategic import. Supporting one group of people whom you don't know and probably wouldn't like if you did, opposing another group of people you don't know and wouldn't like if you did. Who have not done nothing to this country in over a decade. This doesn't square with Just War doctrine or even common sense.

Representative Democracy: you're doing it wrong.

Aw for the love of Pete

Mar 18, 2011 — President Obama has directed the U.S. Department of Defense to coordinate planning with international partners for possible international military action if Libyan leader Muammar al-Qadhafi does not comply with the terms of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973, the president said in a televised address March 18, 2011.

Is it too much to ask that we finish the two wars we're already got before we launch another one?


Also: Libya?  F**king A** End of Nowhere Libya?  Whathisface is a carbuncle, sure, but why the f**k should we give a rat's ass about who is shooting whom in that god-forsaken patch of nowhere?

They told me if I voted for McCain we'd have X (where X is a value that Right Wing War Hawk McChimpy BusHitler types are for and right-thinking peace loving Americans are against).  And they were right.



Tactical Kitty


You got my back?
Dude. I got your back.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Slow on the switch

There I was, dandling the grandchild.  Fed, burped, rocking slightly.  Little Monkey reached for the nearly empty bottle, intention clearly etched on his face . . .

I wouldn't drink that.


It's breast milk.

I wasn't going to drink that. I wanted you to think I was. Ha ha!


Too late I realized that I should have said that after he'd chugged; a great moment in Dad history that wil never be.

Monday, March 14, 2011

... and if you're not careful you may learn something before it's done

Hey, hey, hey!

This isn’t a daily gag strip like Penny Arcade, the writing, composition and rendering are all very involved. To use ecological terminology, Dresden Codak is the K-selection strategist of webcomics.

A what?  Oh.  Oh.  Ohhhh.  Fascinating.



Have a Coke and a smile

Q: How much coke did Charlie Sheen do?

A:  Enough to kill Two and a Half Men



Sunday, March 13, 2011

Man's Search for Meaning

Don't aim at success—the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one's personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long run—in the long run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think of it.

From 'Man's Search for Meaning'


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Screenshot Fun

Oh, Linux: you're not OS X but you are pretty darn nifty.


I am amused that Linux makes a better platform to run multiple terminal sessions of Windows hosts than Windows does.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dear JPMorgan Chase

Bite me.

JPMorgan Chase, one of the nation's largest banks, is considering capping debit card transactions at either $50 or $100, according to a source with knowledge of the proposal.

Wells Fargo,  you too.  Yeah, I understand your stated reasons.  I understand they're a fine grade of bullshit.

If a cap like this does make its way into accounts across the board, consumers would be forced to write checks, withdraw cash from ATMs, or put their spending on credit cards.

Oh the horror:  being forced to manage a checkbook.  To handle actual cash.  To - dare I say it - take my business to an organization that actually values me as a customer?

Oh wait: already done that.


Monday, March 07, 2011

Love Is

Love is the singular thing that can not be measured.  It can only be felt, experienced, lived. 

And I do live it, swim in it, glory in it as much as I do the air around me.

* Politicians

Jesse Jackson Jr. 'Change the Constitution to provide every kid with an iPod and a laptop.'

J.J. Jr's intellectual twin, Donald Trump, is thinking about running for president, may God have mercy on the Republic.  He's either an idiot, or he thinks we are.

John Kerry wants to do a no-fly zone and only crater enemy runways.   Because you can do that without going to war.  I guess?  I don't know how blowing up parts of another country don't count as 'war', but I'm just a dumb grunt.  Also: that won't work: it takes about a heartbeat to fill in craters.  Also: if you think the Libyans are just going to let our sky warriors fly around and blow up runways without shooting back, you're dreaming.

That thing about fighting the last war, Senator?  You're supposed to do that with wars you won.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Fred on Everything: Screw the Troops

Fred Reed
The vets that the reading classes have heard about are the highly intelligent and talented who return and write books. I know perhaps a dozen of these. Some seem sane, others are eaten by secret demons. They are the ninety-ninth percentile. The great mass of damaged vets are inarticulate and unseen. A lot are of intelligence below the average and few are educated. They don’t read columns on the web, or most likely anything else, and since you do, you probably wouldn’t be comfortable around them. I’m not. But the military made them what they are. Washington made them what they are. We made them what they are, by tolerating Washington and the military.

Emphasis mine.

Terminal Lance #110 "Bootcamp: The Swarm"

Terminal Lance #110 "Bootcamp: The Swarm"

I LLOLd.  Boot camp, nailed, in three panels.

Like, maaan, Staff Sergeant King was going off on me, I mean like completely gonzo [1].  I'm locked at attention in his office, he's behind me, yelling about this and that and it's second phase and I'm used to this then ka-WHAM a frigging file cabinet full of paperwork and lead weights slams to the ground next to me.

[1] When the PMI is giving after-hours instruction - out of the goodness of his heart, because he cares - it is bad form to just nod off during class.

Read while out and about on the town

"There is no placebo for sex."

No, I don't know what it means.  But it keeps chasing around my head, so onto the blog.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Tab Clearing

Original content?  Phah - too much going on in real life.

Figures: They Speak For Themselves. From Aaron 'Dresden Codak' Diaz. NSFW.

Using a water gun to sprinkle holy water at Mass?  Not only no, but hey-all no.

Is Your Job an Endangered Species? Technology is eating jobs—and not just obvious ones like toll takers and phone operators. Lawyers and doctors are at risk as well.

How the West became so dominant.

Moral Combat: Why do liberals play computer games like conservatives?

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

I'm leaning to very cleverly stupid

In which I asked a very intelligent - or very cleverly stupid - question on the F5 Advanced Design and Configuration Forum and it sparked a new 'Post of the Week'.

Thanks, Joe and Colin.