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October 07, 2006

H&I Fires* 7 OCT 2006

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

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I'm off to go mingle n' shoot! You guys are up today! -the Armorer

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The blogs have gone nuts. The threat to out gay Republicans has inspired an out-fest! Roger L. Simon started it with a confession, then The Anchoress threw down the gauntlet by outing herself, too. It gets funnier. Just pick one and start clicking links/trackbacks. If you're confused, Fresh Bilge sets the record "straight" and SC&A get serious about it all. As for moi? I'll just let ya'll wonder... *wink* - FbL

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Oct 07, 2006 | General Commentary

Let us have a Caption Contest!

Courtesy of Boquisucio...

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Have at it!

Since only the hardcore show up...

...on Saturdays - here's a Whatzis for Mr. Bullet Encyclopedia, Chris:

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Post WWII.

You may begin. Anyone may play - but I'm hoping this one at least makes Chris pull a reference book off the shelf.

by John on Oct 07, 2006 | Ammunition

October 06, 2006

H&I Fires* 6 OCT 2006

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

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Call me cruel if you must, but I hope these two women don’t see natural sky or so much as a blade of grass for 3 years.

Light a fire on a university that causes millions in damage? Try to turn that clock back to a ‘simpler and better time’ while destroying places of learning? I call thee what you are: Luddite scumbags. You’ve earned the name and lived down to it.
ry
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Speaking of Luddites, SWWBO and I are off to Reno today for the Gunblogger Rendezvous! May Sarah BradySchumerStein suffer nausea with the knowledge we go to celebrate all things gunlike. -the Armorer

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Lex has some big decisions to make. - FbL

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Grim's got a good read on what is ailing the nation. Provocative. It is worth going on over to join the seminar over at his joint.
ry

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Oct 06, 2006 | General Commentary

Gunblogger Rendevous, con't

Wake up in Leavenworth, have breakfast in Phoenix, and lunch at Carnelian Bay on Lake Tahoe. Gotta lurve the marvels of modern transportation!

Best.Margarita.Ever at Gar Wood's in Carnelian Bay. Gonna hafta find some agave nectar for CastleRitas.

Snow, slush, rain, sun, breeze, brisk temps, the smell of a pine forest - what's not to like?

We've met Mr. Completely, Rivrdog, and a blogger I'm kicking myself to remember - I think it's Conservative UAW Guy... whose guns got lost by the airline yesterday but were recovered and delivered at 1AM this morning. The Circus-Circus has been great to work with (and I would note that the facility here is really rather nicer than their property down in Las Vegas). They did ask if we'd store our firearms in the rooms rather than in their rather-too-small for this group facility in the office. But they have been gracious hosts.

Rivrdog brought three cases of Oregon microbrews for us to knock down...

Much discussion of beer and brown spirits. This might be a verrrrrrrrrry interesting crowd to spend a day at the range with. Very different crowd, so far, from a milblogger meet! More characters, if that can be believed...

SWWBO is asleep at the moment, dragging from not having slept last night worrying about all the things that could go wrong (she worries, so I don't have to- good thing, too - because she's going to worry whether or not I do), the altitude, and walking around at altitude.

I made the mistake of checking my work email... and that generated... work. D-oh! More to follow after I get the incriminating pictures taken and delete any taken of me...

by John on Oct 06, 2006 | Gun Rights

‘SHOOT US, NOT THEM,’

Sigh. Such bravery.

Inside the Amish Schoolhouse.

I don't know what's apt for the Amish faith - but I do know, that here, at Castle Argghhh...

...now is the time when we dance: In Memoriam.

If you don't have RealPLayer, click here for the MP3.

What do you guys think?

I've got some thoughts - but not enough battery left to express them. I'll add mine later. Who knows, they might even have some thought behind them!

Miami Herald
October 6, 2006
Military Debates Raising National Guard's Status
Two generals oppose promoting National Guard chiefs to the level of other military branch heads, but backers said it ensures the Guard gets its fair share.

By Drew Brown
WASHINGTON - Two senior U.S. generals said Thursday they disagree with a proposal that would elevate the chief of the National Guard to the same rank and status as the heads of the other military branches and provide the Guard with its own budget. NATO commander Gen. James L. Jones and Gen. Lance Smith, commander of Joint Forces, said the measures would complicate the military chain of command and cause disagreement between the active-duty forces and the National Guard.

''My gut feeling is that it would be divisive, and I think creating a separate service, if you will, would be counter to the good order and discipline of the armed forces in general,'' Jones told the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves. With the passage of the 2007 defense bill last week, Congress asked the commission to examine the issue as it reviews the role of the National Guard and Reserves. Congress created the 13-member body last year to consider whether changes are needed in the way part-time soldiers and airmen are organized, trained, equipped and paid.

Advocates of putting the National Guard on equal footing with the active-duty military say it would ensure that the Guard gets its fair share of funding and equipment. Currently, the Army National Guard and the Air Force National Guard report to the Department of the Army and to the Department of the Air Force, respectively. The chief of the National Guard Bureau, who oversees both Guard divisions, is a three-star general who acts as an advisor to the four-star generals who head the Army and the Air Force.

Under the proposal, however, the National Guard chief also would hold four-star status and be given a seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a six-member panel that coordinates military policy. Army and Air National Guard, with more than 455,000 troops, have provided nearly half of the combat forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, virtually all of the peacekeepers in the Balkans and thousands for border security, disaster relief and other domestic missions.

The Iraq war has taken a toll on National Guard equipment stocks. Stateside units have only about one-third of the trucks, Humvees and other equipment they normally would have because most of their gear has been left in Iraq. The price tag for rebuilding those stocks has been estimated at $21 billion. ''It is one of the largest military forces, and it has the most missions,'' said John Goheen, of the National Guard Association of the United States. ``Yet it has no voice at the top of the Pentagon.''

Legislation proposed this year by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Sen. Christopher ''Kit'' Bond, R-Mo., also would require that the deputy commander of U.S. Northern Command, which oversees all military operations in the United States, come from Guard's ranks. The final version of the fiscal 2007 defense authorization bill stripped out those provisions and required only that the National Guard commission look into the issue and come up with a set of recommendations.

In a Senate floor speech last week, Leahy said that gutting the proposal signaled to the National Guard that Congress is ``not interested in truly supporting them.'' Jones recommended that pay and mobilization procedures be streamlined for part-time troops to ease the call-up process and to ensure that once they are called up, Guardsmen and Reservists receive the same pay and benefits as active-duty troops.

Albuquerque Tribune
October 5, 2006
Top Officer: Guard Not Needed On Joint Chiefs
By Michael Gisick
America's highest-ranking military officer says he opposes a push backed by Gov. Bill Richardson to name a National Guard officer to the country's top council of generals. Richardson said last month that the Guard deserves a seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff in recognition of its increased role in the nation's defense. But during a stop in Albuquerque on Wednesday, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Peter Pace said the Guard is already adequately represented on the council.

Adding a National Guard general would be "counter-productive," Pace said. The Joint Chiefs, made up of six U.S. generals, advises the president on military policy. It includes representatives of the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy, as well as a chairman and vice-chairman. Pace said the Army and Air Force National Guard are represented by the generals from those branches. Giving the guard components a distinct voice in the council would impede efforts to develop a "joint voice," he said.

Pace praised the Guard's performance and said the military "could not do what we've been asked to do without the Guard and Reserves." Richardson and other governors have expressed concern that the Guard - traditionally used by states to respond to natural disasters - has been stretched thin by deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. Richardson has said that placing a Guard general on the Joint Chiefs would give the Guard more say in its future and recognize that it is no longer a "secondary" military force.

As many as 40,000 National Guard troops were deployed to Iraq in 2004, about 40 percent of total U.S. troop strength there, though that number has declined since then. Members of the New Mexico Air and Army National Guards have made about 5,000 individual deployments since 2001, said Lt. Col. Kimberly Lalley, a New Mexico National Guard spokeswoman. That includes deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, the U.S.-Mexico border, Latin America and elsewhere, she said.

The New Mexico National Guard has about 4,000 members, Lalley said. Pace's comments on the Guard came after a luncheon speech Wednesday at the Rio Grande Inn in Old Town. Pace, the first Marine Corps general to serve as Joint Chiefs chairman, acknowledged a recent surge in violence in Iraq, which he attributed to increased operations against insurgents by U.S. and Iraqi forces.

Pace said the U.S. has enough troops in Iraq but that a greater number of competent Iraqi troops need to be trained, a process he acknowledged hasn't always gone well. "Clearly," Pace said, "many of the Iraqi forces we've trained haven't (had) the loyalty we'd want to the central government." That comment came after one audience member, who identified himself as a Marine Corps veteran, asked Pace how long the United States would put up with "this nonsense from the Iraqis."

Many Iraq analysts, including some within the U.S. military and intelligence communities, have issued increasingly dire warnings in recent months that sectarian violence and death-squad killings have left Iraq spiralling toward all-out civil war. But Pace praised the "courageous" leadership of Iraq's civilian leadership and said many Iraqi troops were performing well. He said the United States was determined to succeed in Iraq.

A handful of quiet protesters stood outside the hotel before Pace's speech. Terry Riley, a member of the group Veterans for Peace, said he was concerned the U.S. veteran's health care system still wasn't prepared to deal with returning service members. Several other protesters held signs declaring U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson, an Albuquerque Republican, and President George W. Bush were "terrible on national security" and "disgracing our intelligence." Wilson and her opponent, Attorney General Patricia Madrid, attended Pace's speech. The speech was sponsored by the Kirtland Partnership Committee.

Neener neener neener!

You're at work (those of you with jobs, anyway). I'm not! I'm between flights, at SkyHarbor, sucking down the first 'rita of many, about to gnosh on a breakfast burrito.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Right now, it's good to be us.

Gunblogger Rendevous!

SWWBO and I are here this weekend, while Prodigal Son guards the demesne.

The Gunblogger Rendezvous!

To keep you busy while we're getting there, another Whatzis? This one... well, this one is for MajMike.

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Sometime last century.

by John on Oct 06, 2006 | Gun Rights

October 05, 2006

H&I Fires* 5 OCT 2006

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

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Yesterday's briefing went *extremely* well. It's nice to do an in-progress review and have your client wowing the audience (which is *his* client) and the two-bagger is doing the old north-south and eating it up and really into the interim results. Then you get to Reagan to come home to find that Reagan National DOESN'T HAVE WIRELESS for pity's sake. I've got work to do people. Even a cowtown in the flyover like KCI has *free* wi-fi. Get with the program! I don't mind paying, it doesn't *have* to be free.

Moving on...

Goodness! Fred Phelps holds a High Seat with a Vengeful God, doesn't he? Apparently, in the Phelps playbook, that whole New Testament thing never happened... What? You didn't know that the murder of Amish schoolgirls... Was Ordered By God to Punish Governor Rendell of Pennsylvania? Heh. The Phelps Whelps intend to attend the funerals, just to make sure those nasty Amish know the score. Fred, while I wish you no personal harm, per se, (and I enjoin readers of this space to *not* act on any impulses they may feel) the world will be ever so much better a place when God calls you home. It would be better sooner if we (folks like me *and* the MSM) would just ignore you. But watching the Phelps Whelps at work is like driving by a gory accident, you just can't avert your eyes from the horror. H/t, Stop the ACLU.

Heh. Among the other things that's obvious about the whole Foley thing is... people don't understand the 'net and the software they use on it. On reason I decided to not be anonymous as a blogger (and accepted the topical restrictions thereunto appertaining...) is that it's damn hard to keep things sanitized. Remember, boys and girls, just because *you* turned off the log features of your IM system, doesn't mean the *other* people have. Just sayin'. And given that most of us who use this medium (and especially the younger ones for whom it "always been there" - once a single key bit of info is out there... the rest can cascade pretty quickly. Like the case of Jordan Edmund here, over at Passionate America.

CAPT H sends us to Grouchy Old Cripple - for a work-safe (except for Miss Thang, of course) b00bie shot. Those who know Denny will follow that link with caution... Of course, posting things like that is the advice I gave to SGT Hook as he looks for hits to break the 500K mark. He should break it simply because of the quality of his stuff, but the Internet and blogging doesn't work that way.

I gotta get to work and catch up on all the stuff I couldn't do yesterday. -the Armorer

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Oh, and one more thing. In all the time I spent in airports, restaurants, and on airplanes these last two days... I didn't hear One Word regarding Foley. And I was kinda listening for it. -the Armorer

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This is good to know, if you're keeping up with Ramadan-related taboos. Hmmm, so, inadvertent is okay. Ponderponderponder... -the Armorer

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A Cuban immigrant on being American. - FbL

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Barnett shows again why he gets it and the jaw-jaw only crowd does not.

Soft power. That’s the reason the Islamicists are pissed off! Because MoDo the Dodo writes about how evil it is for women to throw themselves on the pyre of their husbands in India. Because we send the Peace Corps out to evangelize for modernity in regions the Islamcists see as Fortress Islam. Because we have satellites orbiting the Earth that beams MTV and CBS News with Katie Couric so that people in Fortress Islam can pick them up with a hidden dish. Because the Sony Playstation is so damn fun and it seduces their kids with materialism and scantily clad women. Because we send tourists all over the world to click away with digital cameras while listening to Sara Brightman on their iPod. They’re pissed because our culture bleeds over onto theirs just by existing.

The fight is on. It has been on. It is not going away. It is over soft power/cultural power. It ends when the majority of the ME decides it can remain Moslem and embrace what bleeds over from our culture into theirs.
ry
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Late last night, W-K made a keen observation: Ry and Ernie were separated at birth. Oh Ry; you shouldn't have messed with Bert ;(~)

WARNING: Though the visuals are kid friendly, the soundrack is not. Do not open in work-sensitive environments. - BOQ
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I wonder if Ft. Sam Houston could follow Coronado’s lead, and thereby no longer worry about being in trouble with the electric company. Coronado apparently has a fairly serious solar collector array that’s helping it save money. (I could’ve said something snarkier, but I refrained from fear of something being done to me that would leave a mark.)
ry
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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Oct 05, 2006 | General Commentary

Time for a whatzis!

Trias likes those, and I missed his birthday, and we haven't done one in a while...


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The first hint - post WWII.

by John on Oct 05, 2006 | Ammunition

Oooops. Happy Belated Birthday Trias!

...which was on the 3rd, btw. The Adjutant reminded me, I just... failed.

Go forth, Denizens, and find presents for Trias and post 'em in the comments.

This is mine- a Bren Carrier with a PIAT and two Lithgow-built SMLEs, one of those with a grenade discharger cup! This one lives Down Under, where Trias lives.

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Admittedly, the flashlights *are* anachronistic...

by John on Oct 05, 2006 | Birthday

October 04, 2006

H&I Fires* 4 OCT 2006

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

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May not agree with Armchair Generalist on much, but the guy is the only NBCR warfare blogger I know of. Looks like there might be a change in policy regarding the use of Riot Control Agents on the field of battle.
If you think there was a row over 'torture' wait until this comes out and we have a fight over 'US uses chemical weapons'!
ry

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Jason over at Countercolumn has a nice tonic regarding the on-going meltdown of the Republican leadership who seem unable to get their stuff together... one has to keep in mind that at this point, the alternative is Speaker Pelosi, and decide if you want to risk that.

Rallying the troops Alright, I'm tired of this sh1t.

Tired of the lot of ya who are willing to hand the keys to Congress over to San Francisco whack job Nancy "The War in Afghanistan is Over" Pelosi and Harry "Stop Sign" Reid and the odious John "I was for it before I was against it" Kerry, all because some jerk in Florida has an AOL account and a hard on.

You're falling right into the Democratic trap. They are going to play this to the hilt, because it is their goal to take the election by stripping the base away from the Republicans. It's the hidden ball trick.

Yes, the GOP leadership acted suboptimally. But what do you think they should have done? Expel a Congressman because he is too friendly in some emails with some pages? Well, the Donks are hoping that you'll say "yes." But they're lying to you through obfuscation.

The Donks are going to rely on the press's inability to discern the emails from the IM's. And it's in the IM's that the real damning evidence was found - not the emails. For all the Donk braying, there is still nothing to suggest that the GOP house leadership knew about the IMs. Only a few of the emails. And while I posted when I was aware of only the emails that they certainly rubbed me the wrong way, and warranted some caution, there was nothing in them to suggest a crime. A propensity to one, perhaps. But Foley was voted into office by the people of his district - not by Dennis Hastert. Absent evidence of a crime, Hastert would have had no business trying to strip Foley of his office.

You can get the rest here. H/t, Mike D.

Okay - off to briefing land! Thanks for setting up the post, Ry! (Loud aside to Those Who Know) Oh, and I *did* din't I? 'Course, I hadda reset the date time group...-the Armorer

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First of all, I just wanna apologize for being as hard to see, as Nicole Richie's sides. Well, you know...

On that torture hell-hole, that we keep on SouthWestern Cuba, the depravity of this Hitlerian Hate-filled Administration never ends. Thanks to that Bastion of Truth and Righteousness: The San Francisco Gate, we are now put on alert that our detainees are being subjected to clogged arteries. Oh, the tortorous horror!!! - BOQ

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Well, this sucks. The PLA ‘honkers’ have the source code to all Windows running platforms connected to the internet ? There seems to be a new spate of activity that looks to be an exercise of the capability?

Phuque a duck. I need a rootbeer, stat.
ry
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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Oct 04, 2006 | General Commentary
» Sgt Hook - This We'll Defend links with: Referral

Pinged, Ping Pings Back.

Remember the kerfuffle over PING and their pulling their clubs from two Augusta, Georgia, area golf shops because they were giving discounts - to military personnel? When I mentioned it, I suggested that it wasn't a slap at the troops, it was preservation of a marketing/sales strategy (we can argue how good a strategy it is, but hey, it's their choice, and I assume it's spelled out in their agreements). PING has reached a compromise - *they* are going to offer a rebate to active duty personnel who buy their products. No doubt a result of the publicity, but it has the net effect of spreading the discount world-wide, not just two golf courses in Georgia.

Retirees don't qualify. Guess I won't be taking up golf... 8^)

Here's a note from a company spokesman that I confirmed (gotta admit - and it ain't Bill's fault, but when I got a note forwarded to me that was signed by "Bill Gates" my fraud-meter twitched) in subsequent conversations. I would note - the original was *not* addressed to me, it was an email sent to a Castle reader, Dave F, who had emailed PING reference the controversy - we're a second order effect...

Dear Mr. :

As someone who expressed concern over our relationship with the military, we wanted to make sure you are aware of PING's "Thank You Troops" rebate program.

We're in the process of finalizing the details of the program, but we can share this with you:

-The program applies to current PING equipment, including PING G5 and Rapture products. It is effective as of October 1, 2006.

-Active duty and Active Reserve members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and National Guard are eligible for the rebates.

-Cash rebate amounts will vary by product type and go directly into the pocket of the eligible military member. For example, PING will provide an $80 rebate on a set of 8 PING irons. PING will offer a $30 rebate on a PING driver.

The final details will be released in the next few weeks. In the meantime, PING executives will be meeting with military personnel to determine the best way to communicate the program to our troops.

Thank you again for taking the time to share your concerns with us.

Sincerely,

Bill Gates

My note to Bill:

Dear Mr. Gates:

My name is John Donovan, I am a "milblogger" who blogged about the dispute PING has had with the Georgia golf course shops offering discounted prices to military members.

I was forwarded this note and am writing to confirm its authenticity - unfortunately, with a name like "Bill Gates" my fraud-meter tickled slightly. Though I do trust the source forwarding me the note, I felt I should engage in a little due diligence to be sure.

Since I "pinged" you in a blogpost, I'm willing to put out this information even though, as a Army retiree myself, I feel left out... which is a completely empty gesture, as I've played golf twice in my life and the closest I get to it now is organizing a charity golf tournament. You guys weren't in any danger of losing business you never had...

http://www.thedonovan.com/archives/006454.html The 'ping' is in the middle of the post - as you can see, I did impute honest motives, not political ones.

If you'll confirm this, with any additional information you'd care to impute, I'll be happy, as one of the higher-traffic milbloggers, to help you get your word out.

Cheers,

John

And Bill's response:

John,

Thanks for your willingness to help. The message is authentic. Check out tomorrow's Augusta Chronicle for further information.

Thanks,

Bill Gates

So, there ya have it. I still think it was a bit of a mugging, but then, sometimes you invite the mugging when you walk down dark alleys flashing bling.

I'm gonna get in trouble for that last line...

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

October 03, 2006

H&I Fires* 3 OCT 2006

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

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I'm off to DC today for a drive-by briefing. Out this afternoon, brief in the morning, back tomorrow afternoon. Somebody else may need to set up the H&I tomorrow, depending on how the brief rehearsals go tonight (we might be up early, tweaking). On to other things. A while back we posted a picture of Dick Hoyt pulling his disabled son Rick in a boat during an Ironman contest, and I wondered whose ego was at work there. Several of you piped up with bits and pieces of the Rest of the Story. This seems like a nice summation of the whole story. H/t Dan H.

CAPT H offers us a chance to vote for Most Annoying Canadian.

He offers up this advice/information:

1. Rona Ambrose is the Minister for the Environment, who keeps telling people that Kyoto is not a good thing; and she doesn't listen to Dr Suzuki who thinks he knows better.

2. Kate McMillan is Small Dead Animals.

Cheers
John

Kate also looks fetching with that shotgun... -the Armorer

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The Top Secret Drum Corps... Jedi Samurai Drummers. H/t, Rich B. -the Armorer

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Ever wondered what a Hillary vs. Condi presidential election campaign would look like? - FbL

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Oct 03, 2006 | General Commentary
» Soldiers' Angel - Holly Aho links with: Nice Story... Bring Tissues

Nice work if you can get it.

by NASA October 2, 2006<br />
Astronaut U.S. Army Col. Jeffrey N. Williams is assisted by Russian search and recovery personnel after landing in Kazakhstan. Williams, who was in space for six months, was the primary flight engineer and NASA science officer aboard the International Space Station. This photo appeared on www.army.mil.

by NASA October 2, 2006 Astronaut U.S. Army Col. Jeffrey N. Williams is assisted by Russian search and recovery personnel after landing in Kazakhstan. Williams, who was in space for six months, was the primary flight engineer and NASA science officer aboard the International Space Station. This photo appeared on www.army.mil.

JSC2006-E-42734 (29 Sept. 2006) --- Astronaut Jeffrey N. Williams, Expedition 13 flight engineer and NASA ISS science officer, is assisted by Russian search and recovery teams on the steppe of central Kazakhstan on Sept. 29, 2006. Americans who also helped are out of the frame. This came a short while after the landing in the Soyuz TMA-8 spacecraft following undocking earlier in the day from the International Space Station. Williams and cosmonaut Pavel V. Vinogradov, Expedition 13 commander, spent 183 days in space while Anousheh Ansari, spaceflight participant, spent 11 days in space and 9 days on the ISS under a commercial agreement with the Russian Federal Space Agency.

Heh. No one told me this was a job option when I enlisted...

Well, actually, that's not true. I actually did have a degree that might have allowed me to apply - except we weren't taking people who needed no stinking glasses! Only fit for fodder, we four-eyes.

So, aside from propaganda purposes... why *do* we have Army Officers In Space? 8^) Colonel Williams is not the only one...

Artillery in the news.

FCS-NLOS-C... silly name. All part of the "breaking thought patterns" push in the Transfomation effort, where we call things by essentially made-up names so that we putatively think about them differently. The same operating paradigm that gave us "UEx" and "UEy" and "UA" so that we wouldn't slot things into Corps, Divsion, Brigade, but instead think of them as Units of Employment x and y and Unit of Action.

So, we couldn't call a cannon a cannon, either. Or artillery. No, it was Future Combat System Non-Line-Of-Sight-Cannon. This would distinguish it from... Line-of-Sight cannons, which were direct fire systems. Of course, then we were also talking about LOS's that would also have a NLOS mode...

Anyway, that's my world. In meatspace we know have this, from those people at BAE, British Aerospace and Electric, who appear to be the artillery supplier to the free world, no real players in the US anymore, the tube-makers at Watervliet notwithstanding.

Army takes delivery of Cannon firing platform for FCS Manned Ground Vehicles Printer-friendly version E-mail this article E-mail Alerts RSS Feed WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Sept. 29, 2006) – The Army today took delivery of the firing platform for a new cannon artillery system that will reduce battlefield risk to Soldiers, while meeting an essential Army modernization requirement.

The firing platform was unveiled at BAE Systems’ Land and Armaments division in Minneapolis and will be transferred this month to Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona for field testing. The firing platform is part of the Army’s new Future Combat Systems Non-Line-of-Sight-Cannon artillery system.

“The Army’s future force is fast becoming a reality today,” said Maj. Gen. Charles Cartwright, Future Combat Systems program manager. “This latest piece of hardware is tangible proof that FCS technologies are maturing on schedule, in accordance with Army plans and expectations. The true beneficiaries of these new capabilities will be our Soldiers.”

Future Combat Systems is the Army’s primary modernization program, and is the Army’s first major modernization in almost four decades. Future Combat Systems will provide Soldiers with near real-time situational awareness by using an advanced electronic network to integrate 18 new manned and unmanned air and ground systems. Future Combat Systems will increase the ability of Soldiers to handle the variety of missions they face every day, provide greater protection, and increase combat capabilities throughout the operational force.

Soldiers are already testing and fielding components of Future Combat Systems right now in Iraq and Afghanistan; and next year, Soldiers of the Evaluation Brigade Combat Team will begin testing FCS technologies and tactics at Fort Bliss, Texas. The plan calls for 15 Brigade Combat Teams with the full suite of Future Combat Systems; and all other Brigade Combat Teams having some Future Combat Systems capabilities.

The Non-Line-of-Sight-Cannon will give the Army a key capability that it currently lacks: a cannon artillery system that is fully automated, highly mobile, and capable of launching multiple rounds precisely on target simultaneously. Moreover, unlike the Army’s current artillery systems, the Non-Line-of-Sight-Cannon will be fully integrated into an advanced electronic network shared by Soldiers on the battlefield. This will make the Non-Line-of-Sight-Cannon much more responsive to Soldier mission requirements.

The Non-Line-of-Sight-Cannon also will help to minimize Soldier risk; because it will be much more mobile and deployable than the Army’s current-day artillery systems, which employ 1960s-era design technology. Reducing risk is a huge dividend of Future Combat Systems technology overall. Providing Soldiers with near real time situational awareness before they encounter potentially risky or deadly situations will save Soldiers lives. An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle will identify for Soldiers if there’s a sniper in the next alleyway or cavern. An Unmanned Ground Vehicle will help to dispose of an IED or roadside bomb.

The firing platform unveiled today will lead to delivery of early Non-Line-of-Sight-Cannon prototypes in 2008. The early prototype Non-Line-of-Sight-Cannon is the first of eight Future Combat Systems Manned Ground Vehicles.

The Future Combat Systems Manned Ground Vehicles will have 75-80 percent commonality stemming from a common chassis and other common components. These common components include a lightweight band track and a hybrid-electric propulsion system, which maximizes power and fuel efficiency. The Manned Ground Vehicles will be at least as survivable as current Army vehicles and, in most likely operational scenarios, considerably more survivable and capable than anything now in the Army’s inventory.

The Army already has fired more than 2,000 rounds from the Non-Line-of-Sight-Cannon System Demonstrator at Yuma. The firing platform unveiled today includes a cannon assembly that is 1,200 pounds lighter than the M777 cannon used on the Non-Line-of-Sight-Cannon Concept Technology Demonstrator.

“Technological advances are enabling our Army to achieve greater capabilities with less mass and weight,” Cartwright said. “Future Combat Systems is about making our Army more agile and more strategically deployable, while increasing lethality, survivability and tactical mobility. The Non-Line-of-Sight-Cannon is an integral part of our Army modernization efforts.”

There's a video that is essentially impossible to link to. Let's just say I predict a maintenance nightmare with all the autoloading systems.

But the "lightness" fetishists are getting their dream with this one.

Update (for JimB especially): Don't confuse the cancelled Crusader with NLOS-C:

Essentially, we've stuck the M777 ULFH (Ultra Light Field Howitzer, a brit-designed gun) on a light tracked chassis, and added robotics to reduce crew size.

by John on Oct 03, 2006 | Artillery

October 02, 2006

H&I Fires* 2 OCT 2006

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

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The Harvest Edition of the Carnival of the Recipes is up, for those who keep an eye on what bloggers cook...

From the Wall Street Journal (subscription required):

Democrats on al Qaeda October 2, 2006; Page A10

Democrats keep insisting that, whatever their opposition to the war in Iraq, they'd be as tough as anyone in fighting al Qaeda. We'd love to believe this for the country's sake, but then what are Americans to make of last week's Congressional vote on detainee interrogation and military tribunals...

{snippage}

...This amazing vote only reinforces the Republican argument that, given the chance, Democrats would return to the pre-9/11, law-enforcement model of fighting terrorism. "

Indeed, many of them would. And we know how well *that* worked. Mind you, you don't have to like the Bush model, either - but with your response to that mostly "status quo ante," that isn't really a plan, is it?

Snerk. SNL Franco skit in reverse - no, really, Monty Python is probably a better fit: I'm not dead yet! (see The Dead Collector on this page if you're confused). -the Armorer

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Then there's this, from the Daily Telegraph...

Muslim accosts injured Para in hospital By Thomas Harding, Defence Correspondent (Filed: 02/10/2006)

A paratrooper wounded in Afghanistan was threatened by a Muslim visitor to the British hospital where he is recovering.

Seriously wounded soldiers have complained that they are worried about their safety after being left on wards that are open to the public at Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham.

On one occasion a member of the Parachute Regiment, still dressed in his combat uniform after being evacuated from Afghanistan, was accosted by a Muslim over the British involvement in the country.

"You have been killing my Muslim brothers in Afghanistan," the man said during a tirade.

Because the soldier was badly injured and could not defend himself, he was very worried for his safety, sources told The Daily Telegraph.

A relative of the Para said the man had twice walked on to the ward where two other soldiers and four civilians were being treated without once being challenged by staff.

"It's not the best way to treat our returning men," he said. "They are nervous that these guys might attack them and, despite being paratroopers, they cannot defend themselves because of their injuries."

Go join your Muslim brothers, brother. Go join them. -the Armorer

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Regarding JimB's comment to this post about the possibility of an Al Qaeda attack during Ramadan (through Oct 24) - My Pet Jawa has the Atta videos, should you care to see them. -the Armorer

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Hey, since this is turning into Anti-War Day at Castle Argghhh! (see post below) let's have what passes for some humor. I admit, I *don't* have a yellow ribbon on my SUV. And I think a lot of people do for whom that is their greatest involvement in the war... so this link's for them. The rest of us can just see some anti-war humor without getting personally involved in it... ;^) H/t, Jim C, who, based on his emails to me today, must be annoyed with me and is trying to harsh my mellow! Oh, don't try to deconstruct it, just let it wash over you. Heh. I admit, I got distracted by the shell collection in the big dance number... -the Armorer

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What's up with this? Why are schools suddenly becoming the new Post Office? -the Armorer

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I'd love to hear what the types who hang around here think of this... - FbL

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Oct 02, 2006 | General Commentary
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: All the Comforts of Home
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: This is One Big Gun
» Planck's Constant links with: As a Jew I Apologize
» Planck's Constant links with: When Slick Willy was still Prez
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: Dana Borisova: The Russian Army Sex Symbol
» Planck's Constant links with: OTA - Converting to Islam - The Big Lie

Heh.

Fred nails me, I guess. This is what Owen has been trying to get across: War is too important to be left to the likes of me.

GI Joe is the go-to guy.

Further, and I want to say this carefully, officers often are not quite adults. They can be (and usually are) smart, competent, dedicated, and physically brave, and some are exceedingly hard men. But there is a simple-mindedness about them, an aversion to the handmaidens of introspection, a certain boyishness as in kids playing soldier. A lot of make-believe goes into an officer’s world. Enlisted men, grown up, see things as they are. Officers are issued a world by the command and then live in it.

Note the heavy emphasis of the military, meaning the officer corps, on ritual and pageantry. It is adult kid-stuff. Three thousand men building a skyscraper just show up, do their jobs, and go home. The military wants its men standing in squares, precisely at attention, thumbs along the seams, with brass perfectly polished. It wants stirring music, snappy salutes, and the haunting tones of taps, “Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full, sir.” This is justified as necessary for discipline. It isn’t. A gunny sergeant has no difficulty maintaining his authority without the hoop-la

Officers remind me of armed Moonies. There is the same earnestness, the same deliberate optimism-by-policy. Things are going well because doctrine says they are. An officer is as ideologically upbeat as Reader’s Digest, and as unreflective. This is the why they don’t learn, why the US is again flailing about, trying to fight hornets with elephant guns. “Yessir, can do, sir.” Well, sometimes, and sometimes not. It is not arrogance, more like a belief in gravitation.

Read the rest, here.

Of course, Fred doesn't know that many officers, methinks. Not well. There is some superficial truth here. And a lot of "I'm just sooo much smarter than you," too.

Of course, I'm doubly-damned. I'm a stupid officer, and one who wasn't successful by most lights. So I'm a real piece of fluff.

Hmmm. One thing, Fred, and your buddy Jim (not to be confused with my buddy Jim) - Vietnam was fought with a draftee Army, not a professional one. It's an important difference many of your age cohort can't quite wrap their minds around. Re-enlistment rates are still holding - which is not a support for your thesis, really.

Sure, there are always malcontents. And many of them have good reason to be. That doesn't mean they're ready to start refusing orders or lobbing grenades into tents.

Okay. Check still comes at the end of the month.

H/t, Jim C, who was marginally more successful than I... ;^)

CENTCOM Sends

Heh. Nice weapon, Ayman. I hope you're better with it than your late not-too-lamented minion in Iraq...

Izzit just me, or is there a nice targeting reference on that forehead?

This just in: President Bush reacts to Zawahiri - encourages freedom loving people the world over to squash Dark Ages throwbacks like Zawahiri...



Ayman Al-Zawahiri Reacts to Bush, Pope; Urges Muslims to Support Mujahidin

On 29 September, a jihadist website has been observed to post several links to a new videotape for Ayman al-Zawahiri, second-in-command of Al-Qa'ida, produced by Al-Sahab Media, an underground media organization that produces Al-Qa'ida tapes. The tape is entitled "Bush, Pope of the Vatican, Darfur, and the Crusader Wars" and is dated "Sha'ban 1427 Hegira."

The following is the translation of Al-Zawahiri's statement:

[Al-Zawahiri first appears wearing a white robe and dark brown turban with an office setting in the background. He begins to speak in Arabic, with English subtitles appearing on the tape.]

In the name of God, praise be to God, and may peace and prayers be upon the Messenger of God, his family, companions, and allies.

Muslim brothers everywhere, peace be upon you and the mercy of God and His blessings.

The murderer and spiller of Muslim blood, Bush, has stated that he has secret prisons, in which he holds the dangerous leaders of the group of Qa'idat al-Jihad [Al-Qa'ida of jihad], including the mujahid brother Khalid al-Shaykh Muhammad, may God free him, and he has stated that during the three years after Khalid al-Shaykh Muhammad's arrest, the interrogators have been able to get from Khalid al-Shaykh Muhammad valuable information which has helped the Crusaders to kill and arrest a number of leaders of Al-Qa'ida. I want to ask this lying failure: Who are those leaders of Al-Qa'ida whose killing or capture was facilitated by the information extracted from Khalid al-Shaykh Muhammad? And I say to him: You lying failure, what is the size of your losses after the capture of Khalid al-Shaykh Muhammad, may God free him?

Bush, you deceitful charlatan, three and a half years have passed since you captured Khalid al-Shaykh Muhammad, so how have you found us during this time? Losing and surrendering? Or, by the grace of God, attacking, seeking martyrdom, advancing, and injuring you on a daily basis. The strikes of the mujahidin deprived you of the pleasure of quenching your thirst for revenge with the capture of our champions, those who repeat what [Islamic poet] Abu-Firas [al-Hamadani] said:

Ya wanna see Abu-Firas' poetry? And the rest of his rant? It's below the fold, in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

The story of C Company

CAPT H sends us to this article in the Toronto Star.

It starts out like this:

The story of C Company Sep. 30, 2006. 05:44 AM MITCH POTTER MIDDLE EAST BUREAU

PANJWAII DISTRICT, Afghanistan—One must turn back time several generations to find Canadian soldiers in the state that Charlie Company finds itself today. Not since the Korean War has a single Canadian combat unit been so cut to pieces so quickly.

Either of the two events that rocked their world in the dust-caked hills of southern Afghanistan one month ago might qualify as the worst day of their lives. That they came back-to-back — one disastrous morning followed by another even worse — is a matter of almost incomprehensibly bad fortune.

The epic double-whammy — a perfect Taliban ambush of unprecedented intensity, followed one day later by a devastating burst of "friendly fire" from a U.S. Air Force A-10 Warthog — reduced Charlie to a status of "combat ineffective." They were the ones to fire the opening shots of Operation Medusa. But even as the massive Canada-led assault was gathering steam they were finished.

The soldiers left standing are not the same today as the ones who deployed to Afghanistan with nothing but good intentions barely seven weeks ago, as part of 1st Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, based in Petawawa, Ont.

A few are emotional wrecks, too fragile still to speak of what transpired during that fateful Labour Day long weekend. Others bleed anger from their every pore.

Some cling to wounded pride, anxious for it to be known that if not for enormous self-sacrifice, the volume of Canadian blood shed these two mornings would have been vastly greater.

Others are disillusioned, having come to regard their work in Afghanistan as a mission impossible. And others still are more driven than ever to succeed, if only to lend greater meaning to the loss of their fallen Canadian brothers.

The survivors of Charlie Company are closer now than they were before. And the other thing they have in common is a need to tell their story, which they do today for the first time.

Read the whole thing via the link above. What makes it blogworthy is John's take on it:

This is from a "PROGRESSIVE" newspaper, whose support for the Afghan war is very soft. They tend to support the idea that we should be conducting "peacekeeping" and "development" operations in a safer corner of the country; or be trying to sort out Darfur, where we have no integral access. Any place where war is not a factor.

I was intrigued that the reporter managed to satisfy his editors with the requisite horror of "blood shed in an unnecessary cause", while hinting that C Company has not really been broken/destroyed by this battle, and the pers were regirding themselves for further combat.

Cheers
John

I went looking for pictures to support this post, and so I went to the Canadian Department of Defence news website. Two things struck me this morning.

1. Their web banner is much more... militant than the old one (which I wish I had saved, now).

© Canada Ministry of Defence

2. Their photo site (at least at the moment, these things tend to be pretty dynamic) seem spend an awful lot of space on their casualties and associated ramp ceremonies (at least if you type in "Afghanistan" as a keyword) and other picture selections and captions seemingly try to emphasize how safe they're trying to make it. Like this one.

English/Anglais<br />
AR2006-P008 0044<br />
16 Sept 2006<br />
Kandahar, Afghanistan<br />
Light Armored Vehicles (LAV’s) provide safe a mode of transportation in addition to continous perimeter security for Canadian soldiers patrolling in and around in the Panjwaii District approximately 30 kilometers west of Kandahar City as part of Operation MEDUSA. </p>

<p>Op MEDUSA was conducted with an aim to clear insurgent forces from the Panjwaii District. TF 3-06 BG was the main manoeuvre unit in Op MEDUSA, which also had significant participation from US, Dutch and UK air and ground forces, as well as the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police. Op MEDUSA commenced on 2 September 2006.</p>

<p>Task Force Afghanistan is part of Canada’s contribution to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. This mission is about Canadians and their international partners helping Afghans rebuild their lives, their families, their communities and their nation. Canadian operations will work to improve the quality of life of Afghans by providing a secure environment in which Afghan society can recover from more than 25 years of conflict.</p>

<p>The Canadian Forces (CF) contribution in Afghanistan comprises about 2,000 soldiers, most of whom serve with Task Force Afghanistan at Kandahar Airfield and Camp Nathan Smith in Kandahar City. Additional personnel are assigned to Kabul, various military headquarters, and civilian organizations.</p>

<p>Photo by: Sgt Lou Penney<br />
TFA OP ATHENA<br />
Imagery Technician

English/Anglais AR2006-P008 0044 16 Sept 2006 Kandahar, Afghanistan Light Armored Vehicles (LAV’s) provide safe a mode of transportation in addition to continous perimeter security for Canadian soldiers patrolling in and around in the Panjwaii District approximately 30 kilometers west of Kandahar City as part of Operation MEDUSA.

Op MEDUSA was conducted with an aim to clear insurgent forces from the Panjwaii District. TF 3-06 BG was the main manoeuvre unit in Op MEDUSA, which also had significant participation from US, Dutch and UK air and ground forces, as well as the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police. Op MEDUSA commenced on 2 September 2006.

Task Force Afghanistan is part of Canada’s contribution to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. This mission is about Canadians and their international partners helping Afghans rebuild their lives, their families, their communities and their nation. Canadian operations will work to improve the quality of life of Afghans by providing a secure environment in which Afghan society can recover from more than 25 years of conflict.

The Canadian Forces (CF) contribution in Afghanistan comprises about 2,000 soldiers, most of whom serve with Task Force Afghanistan at Kandahar Airfield and Camp Nathan Smith in Kandahar City. Additional personnel are assigned to Kabul, various military headquarters, and civilian organizations.

Photo by: Sgt Lou Penney
TFA OP ATHENA
Imagery Technician

It's cherry-picking, to be sure, just going with my gut on first impressions this morning.

Mind you - our national characters are different, and the DND has a much different political/social environment to operate in - I just found the difference between their pictures and captions and ours bemusing.

On the keeping of secrets

CAPT H points us to Don Sensing - pointing out an artilleryman who can't resist publishing classified information. For shame, Don!*

Of course, it *is* a disease, seemingly. Mebbe it's contaminated spinach or something.. I had to divert my eyes last night as Mike Wallace and 60 Minutes blithely tossed up a slide marked "Secret" as a part of their Woodward interview.

Where I work, we have signs up that say cute things like "Clearance + Need To Know = Access." The Press has decided that Need To Know, as determined by their wants, needs, and ratings desires, trumps Any Other Consideration. Their definition, btw, is not quite how *we* go about classifying information. However, I'm beginning to agree with the Press. I think that all Pentagon and Coalition meetings should have Press presence *and* be put on C-Span, with a special subscriber feed for People In Remote Caves Hiding From Bombs, and all documents sent out as spam emails to whoever wishes to read them.

Heck, I should start up a new blog, completely anonymous of course - spoofing Instanpundit IPs - (no, wait - Kos's!), and just start posting all the Secret and heck, why stop there, Top Secret stuff I've been trusted with through the years up through today and on to tomorrow.

Because apparently, it's, well, like it's okay to do this, judging from all the prosecutions and investigations I see. I just can't *sell* it. To Israel or the Russians. *That* will get you put in jail.

Heh. I don't even talk work with SWWBO, because I can't keep what's classified from what isn't - so it's all in generalities. Technically, right now, saying that I do sometimes classified work is a technical no-no. How ironic if I get canned for that... vice what hasn't happened to boatloads of other people who've done far worse.

All I know is - if this were the world that Representatives Murtha and Pelosi, or Michael Moore or Markos Zuniga *say* it is, or becoming, Bob Woodward and Mike Wallace, and the production crews, and Woodward's publisher would be on their way to the Gulag, to work as drones on Katrina Clean-up crews, while living under tattered canvas, eating only what food they could scavenge for themselves in a savage wilderness. And randomly, one a day would be fed feet first into an industrial chipper, pour le encouragement les autrés.

Oh, wait - that's *my* fantasy. Actually, it isn't that, either. IIRC, it was Saddam's reality. Except for the Katrina clean up part, in case a dazed Kossack, or better yet, DU'er stumbles in from a Technorati search or something, and accuses me of dissing Saddam, because Katrina wasn't his fault and Bush is worse than Saddam and Hurricanes are all Bush's fault (and we Red Staters, too - because if Algore hadn't had the election stolen, Katrina wouldn't have happened...). Okay. I'll stop. I'm out of control, now.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

I know it's mean...

...but, frankly, this headline cheered me up.

8 killed in Hamas-Fatah fighting in Gaza.

The fighting continued throughout the day and sent schoolchildren and other civilians in downtown Gaza City fleeing for cover.

"This is forbidden in Islam, we are in the holy month of Ramadan," said Majed Badawi, 33, who managed to escape after his car was caught in the crossfire. "It's a shame on Hamas, who call themselves real Muslims, and a shame of Fatah as well. Why are they fighting and over what? We are victims because of both of them."

C'mon, Majed - we both know the only people who are supposed to honor the tenet of not fighting during Ramadan... are infidels. We're just supposed to submit or take it in the neck.

Amongst yourselves... well, the rulez appear to be rather different.

Sorry that you live in interesting times over there at the moment - but until people like you, Mr. Badawi, make those other chuckleheads match deeds to words... you're in for more interesting times.

Your problem is internal. Fix it.

October 01, 2006

H&I Fires* 01 OCT 2006

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

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Answer to yesterday's easteregg: Stripes.

I have found the music that introduces Princess Crabby. Here's the lyrics too.
ry
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Jules Crittenden - writing in the Boston Herald about The Good News From Iraq.

Hee! I'd go to a fundraiser like this one. I'll send this to Ryun, Brownback, and Roberts! -the Armorer

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I've (finally) posted my review of Michael Weisskopf's Blood Brothers. In a nutshell: buy it. - FbL

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I've been silent on the NIE, because while I have an opinion, I know it's uninformed. In the event, perhaps, not as uninformed as I thought, having been a high-level staff weenie - as The American Thinker points out. I thought the thing was ass-covering parading as useless gibberish with a frisson of back-stabbing. Turns out I was closer than I thought. -the Armorer

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Oct 01, 2006 | General Commentary

Argghhh!!!

Heh. If it turns out the Republicans *sat* on the Foley story, how does it spin any other way than they are desperate to hold on to their power, and that, at a minimum, should they actually manage to pull off retaining the House in November, that the leadership simply.must.change. I'm a squish in politics, unlike Dusty. And I'm not going to vote left to spite my face. But I find it increasingly hard to *support* this group of seeming buffoons. Sadly, the team that will take their place, from the Left, is full of its own horrors.

I wanna redo. And the Dems aren't a redo. I just want a whole new crowd. Top to bottom, soup to nuts. And yes, I know how impractical that would be. The Republic would survive it, however.

As I say for the Services, More.General.Officer.Scalps. Contrary to what the GO Corps thinks, tossing a few of their own to the wolves (when guilty of malfeasance and misprision, mind you, not just for sport), rather than just quietly retiring them - would *enhance* confidence, not undermine it. The same is true in politics. More scalps, not less. And the voters, on both sides, aren't very good at it, either - though right wing voters seem more able to toss their own than left wing. Of course, it's easier to toss the bums out when there are viable alternatives. I dunno. I'm getting to the point where I simply will vote against any incumbent who wants a fourth term - three for Senators. Federal, State, and local, and if they win the primary anyway, withhold my vote for the office in the General. These bastards, on both sides, are starting to wear my patience thin. If turnover is good for things like Boards of Directors, how can it not also be good for politicians?

Locally, Representative Ryun's operation is beginning to torque me - not because I don't get personalized responses and attention - I'm well aware I don't donate enough, nor have a big enough voice in Kansas to warrant that attention - but if all I'm going to get are boilerplate responses based on general subject, vice specific question or issue - and those weeks after the fact - I'm obviously represented by someone who either manages his staff badly, or who feels his seat is so safe he can just blow us off.

I find it interesting that I see signs, placards, and ads for his opponent, Nancy Boyda, all around (not huge numbers, but noticeable) and I don't see a single thing for Ryun. Boyda showed up for our local parade recently, Ryun did not (mind you - he does have the job, and I want him to do it, and we're a small population and apparently very safe part of his district) - but Ryun's almost complete lack of effort is telling, I think.

I'd like to see him get a real challenge in a primary.

Senators Roberts and Brownback on the other hand, have their staffs respond to questions and comments quickly, and with targeted responses (they may also be boilerplate, but are *far* more focused) and with words added that indicate the comment was in fact read, and not just scanned for General Topic. I appreciate that level of response. I don't expect phone calls and emails from the Big Kahunas themselves. But I expect some sense of them actually being read for comprehension by *someone*. I do not have that feeling from Ryun's office.

Sigh. Sadly, I judge this whole political thing more about what *doesn't* happen to me than what actually gets done. The one thing about having the Republicans in putative control means that I keep more of my money (vice when the Dems take control, when they allow me to keep some of *their* money - a telling difference in approach), the gun collection still exists, because I don't doubt that if the Dems ever get both houses and the presidency, the Arsenal of Argghhh! will be little more than a digital memory...

Geez, I'm whiny today.

Update: The Speaker's Office responds (no, I have *no* delusions it was my whining, thank you).

From: Speaker's Media Release
Sent: Saturday, September 30, 2006 5:36 PM
Subject: INTERNAL REVIEW OF CONTACTS WITH THE OFFICE OF THE SPEAKER REGARDING THE CONGRESSMAN MARK FOLEY MATTER

Speaker’s Press Office

United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT: 202-225-2800

September 30, 2006 Ron Bonjean or Lisa C. Miller

INTERNAL REVIEW OF CONTACTS WITH THE OFFICE OF THE SPEAKER REGARDING THE CONGRESSMAN MARK FOLEY MATTER

On Friday, September 29, the Speaker directed his Chief of Staff and Outside Counsel to conduct an internal review to determine the facts and circumstances surrounding contact with the Office of the Speaker regarding the Congressman Mark Foley matter. The following is their preliminary report.

Email Exchange Between Congressman Foley and a Constituent of Congressman Alexander

In the fall of 2005 Tim Kennedy, a staff assistant in the Speaker’s Office, received a telephone call from Congressman Rodney Alexander’s Chief of Staff who indicated that he had an email exchange between Congressman Foley and a former House page. He did not reveal the specific text of the email but expressed that he and Congressman Alexander were concerned about it.

Tim Kennedy immediately discussed the matter with his supervisor, Mike Stokke, Speaker Hastert’s Deputy Chief of Staff. Stokke directed Kennedy to ask Ted Van Der Meid, the Speaker’s in house Counsel, who the proper person was for Congressman Alexander to report a problem related to a former page. Ted Van Der Meid told Kennedy it was the Clerk of the House who should be notified as the responsible House Officer for the page program. Later that day Stokke met with Congressman Alexander’s Chief of Staff. Once again the specific content of the email was not discussed. Stokke called the Clerk and asked him to come to the Speaker’s Office so that he could put him together with Congressman Alexander’s Chief of Staff. The Clerk and Congressman Alexander’s Chief of Staff then went to the Clerk’s Office to discuss the matter.

The Clerk asked to see the text of the email. Congressman Alexander’s office declined citing the fact that the family wished to maintain as much privacy as possible and simply wanted the contact to stop. The Clerk asked if the email exchange was of a sexual nature and was assured it was not. Congressman Alexander’s Chief of Staff characterized the email exchange as over-friendly.

The Clerk then contacted Congressman Shimkus, the Chairman of the Page Board to request an immediate meeting. It appears he also notified Van Der Meid that he had received the complaint and was taking action. This is entirely consistent with what he would normally expect to occur as he was the Speaker’s Office liaison with the Clerk’s Office.

The Clerk and Congressman Shimkus met and then immediately met with Foley to discuss the matter. They asked Foley about the email. Congressman Shimkus and the Clerk made it clear that to avoid even the appearance of impropriety and at the request of the parents, Congressman Foley was to immediately cease any communication with the young man.

The Clerk recalls that later that day he encountered Van Der Meid on the House floor and reported to him that he and Shimkus personally had spoken to Foley and had taken corrective action.

Mindful of the sensitivity to the parent’s wishes to protect their child’s privacy and believing that they had promptly reported what they knew to the proper authorities Kennedy, Van Der Meid and Stokke did not discuss the matter with others in the Speaker’s Office.

Congressman Tom Reynolds in a statement issued today indicates that many months later, in the spring of 2006, he was approached by Congressman Alexander who mentioned the Foley issue from the previous fall. During a meeting with the Speaker he says he noted the issue which had been raised by Alexander and told the Speaker that an investigation was conducted by the Clerk of the House and Shimkus. While the Speaker does not explicitly recall this conversation, he has no reason to dispute Congressman Reynold’s recollection that he reported to him on the problem and its resolution.

Sexually Explicit Instant Message Transcript

No one in the Speaker’s Office was made aware of the sexually explicit text messages which press reports suggest had been directed to another individual until they were revealed in the press and on the internet this week. In fact, no one was ever made aware of any sexually explicit email or text messages at any time.

Mark Levin discusses the political side of it all, with backup from The American Thinker.

Note to J: I don't have to be balanced about this. The MSM is all over the other side of it - and I've made my feelings clear, as well, so I can be a mouthpiece for the other side on this one without a twinge of guilt.

It happens in every war we have...

...many soldiers, despite the hardship, the pain, the separation, the losses, develop a very strong bond with the people we're trying to help (regardless of what your thoughts are on how we are going about it).

MSG Robb Needham.  1-356 CSS, 4th Bde, 91st Div.  25+ years of service.

Meet one such soldier. MSG Robb Needham. 1-356 CSS, 4th Bde, 91st Div. 25+ years of service. A reservist of the 91st Division.

Needham was a Fort Lewis-based Army Reservist who twice volunteered for deployment to help train Iraqi police and special forces.

He was assigned to the Army's 1st Battalion, 356th Regiment, 4th Brigade, 91st Division. Needham initially felt a strong sense of duty to serve in Iraq. Once there, he developed a strong bond with Iraqis that he met, which made him want to return, according to family and friends.

"The people became the mission. I knew that part of him was left back there, and he had to go back," said Maj. Fred Miller, who served with Needham on both tours of duty and returned to Vancouver to speak at the funeral service at Living Hope Church.

Needham could be tough and always loved a good cigar, at home and in Iraq, but he was always ready to lend a helping hand.

Read more, from the Seattle Times.

Well done, MSG Needham.

BOUTEZ EN AVANT! (Push Forward). (Those who know, know).

MSG Needham certainly pushed forward, being where he was because he chose to be there.

Now is the time at Castle Argghhh! when we dance: In Memoriam.

H/t, Heartless Libertarian. Good idea *and* Good shootin' Dave.

This one's for Bill.

September 28, 2006 Soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division and a Kiowa helicopter move past an oil fire during a convoy to Al Jawala, Iraq. Photo by Air Force Staff Sgt. Samuel Bendet

September 28, 2006 Soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division and a Kiowa helicopter move past an oil fire during a convoy to Al Jawala, Iraq. Photo by Air Force Staff Sgt. Samuel Bendet

That was for Bill, this is for some others of us, too.

Basic Training - where people like Bill, myself, and the Heartless Libertarian prepared people for this, by running them, among other things, through things like this.

Caption for picture 1:

U.S. Army Soldiers move to their next objective during a morning raid in the Tameem district of Ramadi, Iraq, Sept. 3, 2006. The Soldiers are with Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Division based out of Baumholder, Germany. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy T. Lock) (Released)

Caption for picture 2.

U.S. Army Soldiers make their way through an obstacle during the confidence course portion of basic military training at Fort Jackson, S.C., Sept. 20, 2006. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Denise Rayder) (Released)

(Yeah, it's a clumsy post - but I'm going to be doing a bunch of work on my photohost today, and bandwidth issues are likely, but I wanted to credit the pics)