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September 24, 2005

Li'l Links

"Cindy Sheehan doesn't speak for me, either." Dbie the AFSister is pretty adamant about that, so when the Support the Troops troops arrived in Cincinnati (heh--I can actually spell it!), she was there, too...

Jay at Stop the ACLU has become something of a legal scholar. F'r instance, if a lawyer were to sue the Boy Scouts because a Scout being "reverent" somehow violates said lawyer's civil right to be irreverent--and wins--guess who foots the lawyer's fees? Heh. We do. Sez so right in 42 USC 1988(b). But if paying the ACLU to raise your BP into the stroke-zone isn't your cuppa, drop in and sign the petition to return the law to its original intent of protecting Free Expression and removing Establishment Clause lawsuits from its purview.

by CW4BillT on Sep 24, 2005 | Denizen Link-Fest!

Ya Gotta Love the Irish

They always get to the point. 'Course, it sometimes takes 'em forever to get there, but they do make the ride enjoyable...

This from Newton Emerson of the Irish Times, 8 September 2005:

As the full horror of Hurricane Katrina sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if this is the end of George Bush's presidency. The answer is almost certainly yes, provided that every copy of the US Constitution was destroyed in the storm. Otherwise President Bush will remain in office until noon on January 20th, 2009, as required by the 20th Amendment, after which he is barred from seeking a third term anyway under the 22nd Amendment.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if the entire political agenda of George Bush's second term will not still be damaged in some terribly satisfying way. The answer is almost certainly yes, provided that the entire political agenda of George Bush's second term consists of repealing the 22nd Amendment. Otherwise, with a clear Republican majority in both Houses of Congress, he can carry on doing pretty much whatever he likes.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if the Republican Party itself will now suffer a setback at the congressional mid-term elections next November. The answer is almost certainly yes, provided that people outside the disaster zone punish their local representatives for events elsewhere a year previously, both beyond their control and outside their remit, while people inside the disaster zone reward their local representatives for an ongoing calamity they were supposed to prevent. Otherwise, the Democratic Party will suffer a setback at the next congressional election.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if an official inquiry will shift the blame for poor planning and inadequate flood defences on to the White House. The answer is almost certainly yes, provided nobody admits that emergency planning is largely the responsibility of city and state agencies, and nobody notices that the main levee which broke was the only levee recently modernised with federal funds. Otherwise, an official inquiry will pin most of the blame on the notoriously corrupt and incompetent local governments of New Orleans and Louisiana.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if George Bush contributed to the death toll by sending so many national guard units to Iraq. The answer is almost certainly yes, provided nobody recalls that those same columnists have spent the past two years blaming George Bush for another death toll by not sending enough national guard units to Iraq. Otherwise, people might wonder why they have never previously read a single article advocating large-scale military redeployment during the Caribbean hurricane season.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking how a civilised city can descend into anarchy. The answer is that only a civilised city can descend into anarchy. As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if George Bush should be held responsible for the terrible poverty in the southern states revealed by the flooding. The answer is almost certainly yes, provided nobody holds Bill Clinton responsible for making Mississippi the poorest state in the union throughout his entire term as president, or for making Arkansas the second-poorest state in the union throughout his entire term as governor. Otherwise, people might suspect that it is a bit more complicated than that.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if George Bush should not be concerned by accusations of racism against the federal government. The answer is almost certainly yes, provided nobody remembers that Jesse Jackson once called New York "Hymietown" and everybody thinks Condoleezza Rice went shopping for shoes when the hurricane struck because she cannot stand black people. Otherwise sensible Americans of all races will be more concerned by trite, cynical and dangerous political opportunism.

As the full horror of that sinks in, this columnist is simply glad that everybody cares.

'Nother hat tip to V-23.

BTW, beer's on ice fer the next time you come over the pond, Jimbo.

by CW4BillT on Sep 24, 2005 | Hurricane Katrina
» Villainous Company links with: Too Funny
» J Rob's House of Opinions links with: Take This Guy to the Pub

*sigh* it was bound to happen...

Some warped soul has invented a digital clock for Luddites.

Heh. Hat tip to V-23.

September 23, 2005

Friday Caption Contest

Admiral of the Moat Fleet Boquisucio sends:

The Russians used to have a mighty army in uniforms of steel. I wonder what ever happened to them?

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You caption.

by John on Sep 23, 2005 | I think it's funny!
» Villainous Company links with: Too Funny
» Stop The ACLU links with: Sunday Funnies
» Cafe Oregano links with: Carnival of the Caption Contests
» Isaac Schrödinger links with: Peek-a-boo

September 22, 2005

Hee!

When I was in Oklahoma... I essentially imported my wife (SWWBO) from Kansas...

The only cow in a small town in Kansas stopped giving milk. The people did some research and found they could buy a cow in Oklahoma, for $200.00.

They bought the cow from Oklahoma and the cow was wonderful. It produced lots of milk all of the time, and the people were pleased and very happy.

They decided to acquire a bull to mate with the cow and produce more cows like it. They would never have to worry about their milk supply again.

They bought a bull and put it in the pasture with their beloved cow.

However, whenever the bull came close to the cow, the cow would move away.

No matter what approach the bull tried, the cow would move away from the bull and he could not succeed in his quest.

The people were very upset and decided to ask the Vet, who was very wise, what to do.

They told the Vet what was happening. "Whenever the bull approaches our cow, she moves away. If he approaches from the back, she moves forward. When he approaches her from the front, she backs off. An approach from the side and she walks away to the other side."

The Vet thought about this for a minute and asked, "Did you buy this cow in Oklahoma?"

The people were dumbfounded, since they had never mentioned where they bought the cow.

"You are truly a wise Vet," they said. "How did you know we got the cow in Oklahoma?"

The Vet replied, with a distant look in his eye, "My wife is from Oklahoma."

by John on Sep 22, 2005 | I think it's funny!
» NIF links with: Countdown to the weekend
» Stop The ACLU links with: Sunday Funnies

Winning Work - losing friends

It has been an ugly two weeks.

One of the reasons for slackness in posting.

The contract I am working on ends soon. The client put out the Request For Proposal and its associated Performance Work Statement...

Which means that in addition to keeping up with the client work that pays the bills, we had to take the time to convince the client that they *really-really-really* don't mind the excessive compensation we get and *really-really-really* like the quality and quantity of brain-sweat we produce, and convince them to continue spending millions for our brilliance for 5 more years. All while quietly and indirectly dissing those hosers who are competing for the work (not a chance, bubbas!).

Let's just say it's ugly. The client writes the RFP by committee, so in many respects it resembles the proverbial horse-designed-by-committee... the camel.

We have no choice but to write the proposal by committee... only it really has to be a horse.

Ugly ugly ugly. Especially with a lot of FNGs on the prop-writing team. Many Big Defense Companies maintain prop-writing teams. We don't. We're privately held, so that kind of overhead comes directly out of our pockets, not the investors, and we're exactly the greedy-guts Beltway Bandits the anti-globalist protesters think we are.

We have a process to do this... but like all good processes, we don't always follow it - and immediately remember why we should.

Our prop manager neglected to account for all the FNGs, and many of us experienced writers had new roles in addition to our writing assignments (I had compliance).

And boy did we pay the price for skipping some of the preparatory steps, painful as those would have been. Would have saved us much grief later when we finally came to understand the structural/organizational flaws in the RFP that were going to make the prop a real pain to write coherently, yet follow the form and pattern the client has come to expect over the years.

We set a GICOD, a Good Idea Cut-Off Date. Intended to cut off the jaw-jaw and get the thing written. After you pass the GICOD, no new ideas are to be floated. At least not by munchkins. There comes a point when you just have to sit down and write.

I detest the Good Idea Fairy. Especially when he wakes up and waves his magic wand two days and thousands of words *after* the GICOD. I especially hate it when he's senior enough to ignore the GICOD. But, it is balanced by the fact that he was *right*.

Good thing SWWBO has been on the road, as I haven't been home much more than she has.

The Interior and Exterior Guard have not had the tender loving attention that they desire and rate.

The Exterior Guard is okay with that. A treat, tummy rub, pat on the head and they're cool.

The Interior Guard... well, Praetorianism raised its ugly head there.

The Interior Guard has been particularly restive, as their very-precisely-determined mess schedule has *not* been adhered to.

And, as SWWBO has been gone and I've been doing the procuration of comestibles... well, suffice it to say that quality has not been up to snuff.

And since we're all dieting, quantity has been right out.

And quality worship-by-Armorer has been lacking.

It all came to a head last night.

In the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry, you can see what I was greeted by when I came home.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by John on Sep 22, 2005 | Furry Family Members
» dave's not here | David Earney links with: Travels in the Blogosphere
» ROFASix links with: Writing a Proposal for LUH

September 21, 2005

Kewl.

Simply, kewl.

H/t, CAPT H.

Update: As SGT Jeff points out, this story could also be a TINS that got out of hand over time... and sucker-punched the Guardian, too. I admit to scepticism when I first read it... but then saw where it was coming from and said... "Kewl".

Geez. We can't fact-check *everything* the MSM does... even if we do fact-check each other out the wazoo!


Even better, in a here and now sort of way - someone I know has sold their first novel! How kewl is that!

What's unusual about this photo?

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Answer in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

September 20, 2005

Ahhh...

"Don't get stuck on stupid, reporters."

*grin*

PAO Flack: "What the General meant to say was..."

"You are stuck on stupid."

Get some, Russ.

Hoo-ah!?!

Update. Snerk.

Oliver Willis spanks the Vokdapundit and Instapundit as clueless neanderthal rethuglican crackers (admittedly my words, not his) who've obviously never spoken to a person of color (more specifically, a person of notably dark hue) or, apparently read the Linux boards or used Google to search for everyday city argot.

Why? Because they hail LTG Honore's "Stuck on Stupid" line as a "new catchphrase" which apparently annoys Oliver, because, well, because it's a 'black thang' and we persons of paleness apparently are not allowed to use it without permission, or at least disclaimers of it's ethnic origins. Possibly, Oliver has some subsumed issues with too-cute uses of the word 'stupid', given his blog's tagline.

I think it's more sour grapes, and perhaps because it's not quite Oliver's favorite kind of black person who provided the magic moment (though, to be truthful, I have no idea what LTG Honore's politics are) that caused the phrase to escape Oliver's demesne. That and because it ain't gonna get used by his side of the political fence, but rather, against it. Therefore, this must be pooh-poohed early and often!

Note to Oliver: Martin Luther King, Jr., was *not* the first person to utter the words "I have a dream" in a public venue. If "the internets" had existed then, I suspect one could have Googled the phrase and come up with a few hits, too.

Perhaps an even more relevant example would be "Ich bin ein Berliner." President Kennedy wasn't the first to say that - but he was the first American president to say it in the context of a beleagured post-war west Berlin.

Then there's Todd Beamer's "Let's Roll." Mr. Beamer was certainly not the first to say that, either.

No, to become a catchphrase with a cachet outside of normal conversation, it has to be tied to a notable person saying it at a notable moment.

That's all.

It's not racist, or even clueless, Oliver. Really.

I think you're just jealous.

Oh, and Oliver - yes, as someone who has been associated with the Army from birth, this right-wing blogger has met black people. Many, many, many fine ones. Just for the record. Shhhh! I've even met gay persons. Wearing uniforms, too! And women! I know, that will come as a shock.

Heh. Typical blogger - I managed to make this all about me!

Update: I promise, in order to not step on Sortapundit's last nerve, Castle Argghhh! will not get Stuck on Stupid.

Hmmmm...

When Bill wrapped up his last term, I'm not sure this is what he had in mind in the "Legacy" department...

September 19, 2005

Food for thought.

A juxtaposition of things today offers food for thought.

The Confederate Yankee has been doing some digging, and suggests that rebuilding New Orleans as it was is perhaps, long term, just not a good idea. Go read it. I'll wait.

Okay, yer back. Now, what makes that interesting today is that in addition to the paean to the Coast Guard that Blake sent me yesterday, he also sent along the picture he took of Fort Knox, Maine, along with some history.

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Golly, John, but I hope you have broadband, as I'm sending several pictures with this. The first two are the ones I couldn't send earlier, and the other two relate to the little essay below. I particularly like the Ft Knox one, because it shows how a single fort could command both entrances to the anchorage at Bucksport. I don't recall if I mentioned it in my earlier post, but Bucksport was important enough to rate a large coastal fortification specifically because it was a major source of spars for shipbuilding, and supplied both the Portsmouth and Boston Navy Yards. [emphasis mine] There's also one picture of this garden spot I'm living in, just for GP. [see post below this one] I expect that a lot of your readers have already seen Kuwait at least once...

So, what's the point? One reason that New Orleans and the mouth of the Mississippi gets so much attention is because of the Port of New Orleans. How much money do we spend to keep the river flowing through there, if the river *really* wants to be somewhere else?

And the point of Fort Knox - Bucksport is to point out... realities change. We don't need spars for merchant and naval vessels anymore. Perhaps this is the opportunity to fundamentally change the nature of New Orleans. It's certainly food for thought.

Not that we'll have much discussion that way. People are generally short-sighted, and politicians are sensitive to people. 50 years is a long time from now. Politicians will get votes for spending the money here, now... and with the exception of a Strom Thurmond, none now serving will be around to hear the blame if the scientists are correct.

So I doubt we'll seriously have the discussion of just what New Orleans *should* be, given this opportunity to make fundamental changes. And I'm not spitting in the eye of Donna Brazile, Mayor Nagin, or others on this, I'm just saying let's take a look at the alternatives.

by John on Sep 19, 2005 | Hurricane Katrina
» NIF links with: ARGH!
» The Glittering Eye links with: Catching my eye: morning A through Z

Getting to the Fight, part 4.

More from Blake... "Somewhere in Kuwait"

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Since I can’t write about ongoing logistics operations for operational security reasons, I thought I’d take some time to say a few nice things about the members of a sister service who did an awful lot of work under lousy conditions to enable the 101st to deploy in a timely manner. More specifically, I’m talking about the United States Coast Guard.

Everybody knows about the newsworthy and impressive things the Coasties do: helicopters hoisting hurricane victims from the roofs of their flooded houses in New Orleans; motor lifeboats busting through waves taller than they are to rescue sailors in peril at sea; armed cutters intercepting drug runners, and all that sort of thing. And I have to admit that there are some things that the Coasties do that fill this former paratroop sergeant with fear and loathing. For example, the Coast Guard put their Motor Lifeboat and Surfman training facility right at the Columbia River bar, the place with the worst wave and surf action in North America. Someone who can handle a motor lifeboat in those conditions deserves my respect, assuming I can keep from puking on his/her shoes just from thinking about what lifeboat crews have to put up with.

But there are also jobs the Coasties do which are far less glamorous than that stuff, but are absolutely essential to what I do. When we were loading the ships for Iraq earlier this year, the Coast Guard Port Security Detachment and Marine Safety Detachment assigned to the port we were using were an essential part of the process. These guys don’t often get a lot of press, but they are really important players as far as I’m concerned.

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The Port Security guys do get neat toys to play with. The attached picture shows one of them. It’s a Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat, (or RHIB in military acronym-speak,) which can be fitted with pedestal mounts for machine guns fore and aft. The Coasties call it a Rapid Response Boat (or something like that,) and “rapid” is the word. The ones at the port we were using were fitted with twin 225 hp outboards, and I saw a couple go zipping past the pier we were working at that were doing about 30 knots. There’s another picture around here somewhere of one of these babies at speed headed up the St. John’s River toward the big Dames Point Bridge.

The thing is, as long as we had a ship alongside the pier either loading or unloading military cargo, the local Port Security Det had two armed RHIB’s on station near the ship to provide 24-hour security on the water side. Day or night, rain or shine, the Coasties were there. I’ve pulled my share of guard duty before, and I know it can’t be anyone’s favorite task. But these guys did it anyway, and did it well.

Just as important is the work of the Marine Safety Detachment, because they help us make sure that the boat is loaded safely, and that all of the numerous and varied kinds of hazardous materials that an Army brigade habitually takes in its supplies when it moves (literally everything from acetylene to warfarin,) is properly prepared and stowed (according to a set of VERY complex rules,) so that the risks to the vessels transporting the brigade are minimized. The detachment we worked with this time even sent people up to Fort Campbell while we were loading out to help ensure that we didn’t have incompatible materials stowed in our shipping containers, and that all of the requisite paperwork was properly filled out. And all of this before we ever loaded the first flatcar. And then they worked with the Army port battalion and the ship’s crew to plan the stowage of all of this stuff on the ships, they rechecked our vehicles and containers at the port to make certain they hadn’t missed any problems of preparation on their first pass, and then they checked the stuff as it got stowed to make sure the stow plan was followed. This was by far the easiest outload that any of us can remember, and the men and women from the Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville Marine Safety Detachment played a large part in our success.

Thanks, guys.

Ya done good.

Amen, brother.

Proud Coast Guard Dad Larry K would like to point you to this album of Coasties doing unglamorous work (i.e., running around in little boats vice Big Flying Contraptions that so catch the eye of camera-carriers) in the Katrina rescue and recovery efforts.

Parts 1, 2, and 3 can be reached by clicking the respective numbers.


September 18, 2005

All better now.

If you were by here earlier and wondering if we'd slipped over into Real Estate sales... nah. Hosting Matters burped and forgot to re-register our domain name.

Our apologies, sometimes the billing system does not properly renew domains. Renewed now, will be resolving within a few moments. Regards,

Sxxxx

The nice lady fixed the problem... but I gotta tell ya, there was some pull to just lettit go...

On a completely unrelated note... as I was sitting here doing some photoshopping that will prolly get me fired... snerk! I had a thought regarding Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin.

How convenient that they got to ship off a huge chunk of their now-disgruntled voters... so they can't vote against 'em in the next election. Still plenty left, I'm sure, but I bet Al Gore and John Kerry looked at that and thought to themselves... hmmmm. A few voters here and there...

Update: Heh. I see I was *slightly* ahead of the curve.

Let's have a look at the Denizens. Even is some of 'em have been AWOL lately...

AFSis takes a break from Disaster Kitty work and gives us an update on Katrina evacuees from her neck of the woods... including the guy who walked to Cincinnatti from New Orleans.

Punctilious goes to school.

Castle Adjutant Barb has taken leave and is climbing in mountains in Switzerland. IN mountains. She's also shilling for the Analog Kid's new e-postal shooting match.

SWWBO has been discussing sexism as well as Cindy Sheehan.

Fuzzybear Lioness is trolling for Neffi, Bill, and Dusty. On a more serious note, she's been ruminating on Neptunus Lex's post on on the dilemma facing the warrior, as aptly expressed by General Lee, "It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it."

Kat, either up early or late to bed, notes that while we've been obsessing about Katrina and who's at fault - the Afghans have been getting on with business.

The Snarkatron has also taken leave, and is, at last report, at the Outpost, doing an Inspection of Firebase Rockford.

Jack is being Jack, poking fingers into all eyes! Even-handed is our Jack! (gotta read the comments).

MSG Keith discusses 6 degrees of separation, military style. Careful, Keith - you're hanging with a lotta gunners!

Heh again. I had some troubles this morning... including losing *this* link to Alan taking a lawerly look at Renee Zellweger... which is just as well, because after being twitted in the comments, I went back and found this - Jetsicles!