Saturday, August 27, 2005

BRAC Commission

After much hand-wringing and deliberation, the BRAC Commission has voted, and the loser is the United States Air Force. The Commission shot down much of the Pentagon's proposal in relation to the Air Force. Ellsworth AFB remains open, Cannon AFB remains open even though the Commission agreed to remove its F-16 FW, and the Pentagon's ANG plan was all but shot down in flames. Let's examine each of these in depth, and possibly begin to understand why this is so bad for the Air Force.

First, Ellsworth. Currently, the USAF's fleet of B-1 bombers ("Bones"'s a corruption of the designation B-One) are based at both Ellsworth AFB in Rapid City, S.D., and Dyess AFB in Abilene, Texas. This is a carry-over from the Cold War when the military distributed its forces to limit the possibility of a catastrophic loss in a nuclear attack. In the current climate, this simply isn't a legitimate threat anymore. After all, the B-2 force is based entirely at Whiteman AFB in Missouri, so the argument that basing all the Bones at one AFB is a national security risk simply isn't true. The next argument is that closing Ellsworth would not save any money over a 20 year period. Yes, that's right. According to the BRAC Commission, closing an AFB would not save money over the long run. While I'm not privy to their formulas, that sure sounds like the definition of fuzzy math to me. The final argument is that relocating to Dyess would hurt force readiness, because while the Bones can train down to 300 feet at Ellsworth, they are restricted to a hard deck of 500 feet around Dyess. While this is somewhat more valid of an argument, to the best of my knowledge, there isn't that much of a difference between 500 and 300 feet. Both are considered low-level. Regardless, this does not seem like a good enough argument to be the sole reason Ellsworth was kept open. No, it would appear that as usual, politians have interfered with the BRAC process and were able to lobby to keep their bases open, thereby costing the taxpayers of our country money.

Then there is Cannon AFB. Cannon AFB is based in the tiny community of Clovis, N.M. The Air Force wanted to close Cannon because it is home to a hodge-podge of Block 30, 40, and 50 F-16s. Block is a designation used to distinguish between the different production "batches" of fighters; the differences between blocks are often quite large, especially in the avionics department. Having different Blocks in the same Wing complicates maintenance. Clovis did not want Cannon to close because closing the base would devastate the local economy. The Commission, after much struggle and agony, came up with a half-assed solution that reveals the true nature of the whole chirade of the BRAC process. While the F-16s will be reassigned, resolving the standardization problem, Cannon AFB will REMAIN OPEN. This AFB now has no mission, as the only major one listed on its website is that it is the homebase of the 27th FW, which would cease to exist after its F-16s leave. Cannon AFBs only purpose is to act as a subsidy for the economy of Clovis, N.M.

I must be confused, I was under the impression that the purpose of the United States Armed Forces was to defend this country, not to sustain the economy of tiny towns in the middle of the desert. Apparently, the BRAC Commissioners felt otherwise:

"The vote was a compromise among commissioners who struggled to balance national security interests with fear that closing the base entirely would devastate the economy around tiny Clovis, N.M. Some commissioners said the fate of Cannon was the most difficult decision to make so far."

And therein lies the problem. By creating the BRAC Commission, we introduced politics into the issue, even though the BRAC Commission was supposed to do away with politics by preventing the Pentagon from playing hardball with Congressmen who wouldn't support the Pentagon's budget or agenda. Now we have swung so far back the other way that an AFB is being kept open, wasting everyone's money simply because the Commissioners couldn't bring themselves to make a "tough" decision and take 20% of a community's economy away.

Finally, we reach the ultimate in power politics in the BRAC process: the USAF versus the state Governors. First, let's look at some background. The ANG is a can of worms, because the state governors share control over the force with the President. The President, through the DoD, can call up ("federalize") ANG units and deploy them. The governor can also call out ANG units and deploy them for various purposes, usually for some type of disaster relief. The contention comes in two areas: first, whether the DoD has the authority to "take away" airplanes from the governors and secondly, whether the DoD has the authority to shut down ANG bases. The first should be obvious, as most state governments would not have the ability to maintain state of the art military aircraft without some assistance from the federal government. As such, the federal government should be able to dole those aircraft out as it sees fit. The second issue is more contentious, but really isn't even that big of an issue, because there are only a few ANG bases the Pentagon wants to outright close. Most bases are simply going to be realigned; their aircraft will be taken away, while their personnel will be given a new mission, such as expeditionary support or control of UAVs.

So, now that we understand the background, let's look at the arguments made by the states in favor of keeping their bases. First, we have the homeland security card, played especially well by politicians from the Northwest in relation to the closing of an F-15 ANG base near Portland. According to the politians, "Moving the jets to another part of the country would leave the Pacific Northwest vulnerable to a terrorist attack." Left unsaid is the fact that a det. of two fighters will permanently be on alert status in Portland. This is the same amount of jets that were on alert status before the move. So, in reality, with the Pentagon's plan, nothing would have changed except the fact that we would save money by consolidating the Eagle force while maintaining the same Homeland Security commitments prior to the realignment. The BRAC Commission bought the homeland security B.S. and agreed to let the ANG base remain open.

The next argument is that removing the aircraft will undermind the ability of the ANG to support their state government. Simple question: when was the last time you heard a state governor use F-15s or F-16s to deal with hurricane damage? When was the last time, outside of firefighting, that you heard a state governor use a C-130 to do anything?

The dirty little secret of the ANG is that during the Cold War, Congressmen would use the ANG as a method of distributing pork to their constituents. It was a simple matter to get a small squadron of F-16s or C-130s based at your local municipal airport. This brought money in to the community, and the Pentagon went along with it because it helped with dispersion.

Now, the Pentagon is trying to correct this costly mistake by consolidating the ANG into larger bases, which will obviously save money. Local politians are fighting to prevent the cash cows from going away, cloaking their fight in the rhetoric of "homeland security" and "local disaster relief." Don't be fooled. Both arguments are canards meant to prevent the truth from coming out, and unfortunately, it looks like the BRAC Commission bought the lies.

"Commissioners long have voiced concerns about the homeland security impact of the Pentagon's proposal. Weeks ago, the panel asked that an alternative plan be crafted jointly by the Air Force, the National Guard and state adjutants general who oversee Air Guard units on behalf of state governors.

When that effort failed, commissioners said they had no choice but to come up with their own plan, which they said distributes aircraft around the country more evenly to ensure homeland security is not hampered.

"We have established more flying units then the secretary recommended but we still could not get a flying unit in every state," Commissioner Harold Gehman said."

So, bottom line? The fact that the BRAC Commission exists guaranteed that politics would become a part of the equation. Whenever politics gets involved, money concerns get involved. And whenever politicians get involved with money, the taxpayer loses.

Just remember this the next time the Military is looking for money: According to Airman Magazine's 2005 copy of "The Book," the FY-'05 USAF budget had 34.9% of its budget, the largest piece of the pie, go to Operations & Maintenance. That's $34,329,000,000. And thanks to the BRAC Commission, the USAF was unable to bring that amount down and distribute it more efficiently. And yet, you just know, deep down, that it will be the sole fault of the USAF the next time the service goes through a budget crunch. It will have nothing to do with the fact that an AFB is being kept open another 5 years without any sort of mission. Nothing to do with the fact that forces can't be consolidated. Nothing to do with the fact that the DoD has to partially maintain countless tiny ANG bases around the country.

And certainly nothing to do with the parochialism of local politicians, who will be the same politicians ripping into the Air Force for its future budget woes.

Here are some links I used in researching this story: AP News story,, the USAF's BRAC report, DoD's BRAC homepage, the BRAC Commission's homepage, and some MSN articles (1, 2, and 3). Also, Perry of Eidelblog has a good post up on the subject.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Civilian Control of the Military

Bobby of Bobby's World has a very good post up detailing some interesting parallels between the Peloponnesian Wars and our current Military, with regard to civilian control, especially relating to policy: who makes it?

Bobby makes reference to the invasion of Sicily by the Athenians and arguments made by Nicias against the war. We pick up the story after Nicias' first argument has been defeated and he is forced to change tactics.

"Nicias noted that they could not risk defeat and would need to send overwhelming force...Further, he argued, the expedition would need tremendous stocks of provisions and huge sums of money in order to ensure that it was able to accomplish its mission. Lacking any of this, Nicias claimed, would lead to the defeat of the expedition and Athens itself."

It should be noted that Nicias was a military leader appointed with carrying out the mission.

Now, fast forward thousands of years to the present day. Out of the ashes of Vietnam rises not a coherent strategy for fighting an insurgency, but instead the Weinberger Doctrine and the Powell Corollary, which are as follows:

Weinberger Doctrine:
    1. The United States should not commit forces to combat unless the vital national interests of the United States or its allies are involved.
    2. U.S. troops should only be committed wholeheartedly and with the clear intention of winning. Otherwise, troops should not be committed.
    3. U.S. combat troops should be committed only with clearly defined political and military objectives and with the capacity to accomplish those objectives.
    4. The relationship between the objectives and the size and composition of the forces committed should be continually reassessed and adjusted if necessary.
    5. U.S. troops should not be committed to battle without a "reasonable assurance" of the support of U.S. public opinion and Congress.
    6. The commitment of U.S. troops should be considered only as a last resort.
Powell Corollary:
    1. Force should be used only as a last resort.
    2. Military force should be used only when there is a clear-cut military objective.
    3. Military force should be used only when we can measure that the military objective has been achieved.
    4. Military force should be used only in an overwhelming fashion.
While on the face of it, these seem like reasonable expectations of force, they are really only valid in fighting a conventional conflict, against a state actor, using conventional combined arms. Think Soviets pouring through the Fulda Gap, and you'll get the idea. The obvious problem with this is that since the Weinberger Doctrine was laid down, we have fought one war that was a straight conventional conflict solely against a state actor: Operation Desert Storm. Every other single conflict has ranged from Grenada, where low intensity warfare was fought with conventional forces, with near disastrous results, to Somalia, where low intensity warfare was fought with unconventional forces improperly applied with near disastrous results, or to the Balkans, where a limited air campaign was followed by the deployment of "peacekeeping" troops.

As I said in a comment on Bobby's post, both the Weinberger Doctrine and the Powell Corollary appear to be based in a large part on Clausewitz's thinking. Clausewitz's ideas, unfortunately, do not apply well to the concept of fighting low intensity warfare; that is to say, 4th Generation Warfare. He tailored his ideas in response to the "polite" wars that were fought in much of the 1600s and early 1700s, and then refined them in response to the "passion" wars of Revolution (American and French). While his ideas on total war and war simply being a continuation of politics by other means are good strategy to follow if you are fighting a conventional war, they are poor advice for fighting an insurgency. Counter-insurgency operations are rarely along the lines of a total war, and conventional military tactics and timetables are useless. Therefore, logically, neither the Powell Doctrine or the Powell Corollary can be condusive to fighting an effective counter-insurgency campaign. In fact, both were narrowly tailored to prevent the United States from ever being militarily involved in a low-intensity conflict. While this is all well and good, the problem lies in how the Army in particular, and the military as a whole, has interpreted the Doctrine.

The Army has consistently been stuck in a Cold War era mind-set. This was only reinforced by its only decisive post-Cold War victory, the Gulf War. So, instead of gearing up to meet the new threat presented by failed states and terrorist organizations, the Army has stubbornly stuck to its guns and refused to change, while the military as a whole has become sucked into the "Bigger, better, faster" mantra that consumed the USAF for much of the '50s and '60s. Everything must network, everything must be high tech, and most importantly, it must have some application in fighting the Soviets if they ever decide to come through the Fulda Gap. Heck, up until Operation Iraqi Freedom, the NTC out at Fort Irwin has basically been re-fighting the Gulf War. The relatively strong insurgency in Iraq has forced the Army to change, fortunately, but I highly doubt that the Army will learn any long lasting lessons from the conflict.

The Army was and still is able to justify their stance on low intensity warfare by pointing to the Weinberger Doctrine, saying that they aren't supposed to do that kind of warfare because the NCA isn't supposed to order them into that kind of a situation. And then we get into situations as I laid out above, where the Army is trying to fight a battle that it isn't equipped for and isn't trained for. I should add a caveat here: I have no beef at all with field-grade officers and below. These guys have done an AWESOME job of adapting and improvising to accomplish the mission in all of the afore mentioned scenarios, but especially the current conflict in Iraq. My problem is with the fact that the official Army strategy and education values are the antithesis of what these officers are accomplishing.

Another incident to consider would be to examine the time period from 1995 to 2001 with regard to Afghanistan. In this time frame the U.S. Army really did pull a Nicias. The Clinton Administration actually was somewhat serious about dealing with Osama, but faced two significant self-imposed hurdles. The first was the intelligence "wall" and other such intel problems. The second was a lack of putting troops on the ground. This is what I want to address. The blame here is actually two-fold, but the larger part of the blame must fall on the Army and the Joint Chiefs for refusing to green-light any sort of plan that would involve putting a small number of SOCOM troops on the ground to capture/kill Osama. The Clinton Administration repeatedly asked for a smaller plan, but the smallest that they ever got involved thousands of regular Army troops to "secure the area" in order to allow operations for months at a time. The Army knew that the Clinton Administration would never approve a plan that basically amounted to invading Afghanistan. So in effect, the Army was dictating policy to the policy-makers. Now, the Clinton Administration must shoulder some of the blame by refusing to absolutely demand, as Bush/Rumsfeld did in the run-up to OEF, that the Army's plan was crap and that they needed to come up with something else. But the fact still remains that they never should have needed to do that. The Army unfortunately forgot its role, and tried to make policy instead of giving the policy-makers all available options.

Now, granted, the SOCOM option would have been difficult and risky, for a variety of reasons. We did not have basing rights anywhere close(this is pre-9/11, remember), and the possibility for losing a large amount of troops was there.

But that is all beside the point, because the Clinton Administration still should have gotten ALL options, not just the ones the military wanted them to see. What makes it all worse is that the Chairman of the JCS at the time was Hugh Shelton, a former special forces guy.

This is completely unacceptable. The military, and the Army especially, needs to get its collective head out of the sand and accept the fact that it is never going to be able to fight the "glory battle" against the Communist hordes. Instead, it is going to be slowly and painfully rooting out Islamic extremism. It should be noted that combined arms are great for this kind of battle, so I'm not being a technophobe. All I'm saying is that the tactics that those combined arms are trained in needs to be looked at an re-evaluated. Granted, the Army has been forced to do this by the Iraq conflict, but it is still dragging its feet. The Army should be teaching counter-insurgency as its primary mission, and conventional warfare as a secondary mission, not vice versa like it is currently.

Monday, August 15, 2005


Posting will be a bit spotty over the next couple of weeks as I get established in Ames. I'll try and keep you all updated as things go, but I leave tonight and move in tomorrow, so we'll see how it goes.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Cindy "Mother" Sheehan

As most of you know, Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Casey Sheehan, a soldier who was killed fighting in Iraq. Now, I'm going to cover a few bases in this post, so bear with me.

First, I'd like to highlight how the latest story off the AP wire describes Mrs. Sheehan. This isn't a news story. It's a fluff piece, glorifying Mrs. Sheehan and her message. Out of the entire piece, there is one paragraph that deals with the fact that some consider her a pawn of the left wing and that "some in her family accuse her of changing her position." There is also one paragraph that contains a weak objection from a bookkeeper that we need to "support the troops," but that then goes on to point out that she has never lost a son, apparently effectively negating her objection. Finally, there is one paragraph devoted to President Bush's response. So, out of a 885 word news story, there are 148 words that could be remotely construed as to offer some opposition to Cindy Sheehan's message, and just 13 words dealing with the fact that some accuse her of changing her message. Let me say that again. Out of a 885 word news story, just THIRTEEN were devoted to some information that could significantly impact how we perceive the story. Fair and balanced?

(Out of a sense of fair play, I must point out that a previous AP story that I read Thursday did a much better job of outlining the objections of those who say she changed her story. That story has since been pulled completely; I cannot find a copy of it, and the story that was at the url has since been changed completely.)

Michelle Malkin does a good job of rounding up information regarding the changing story. The bottom line is that, at best, Mrs. Sheehan has allowed her grief to be manipulated by those who wish to make a political point.

Manipulation brings me to my next point. Over at Kos' place, we have the latest plan on how to "frame" Cindy Sheehan. Yes, they are talking about how to frame a mother's grief. Here's a taste: "This is not Mother Sheehan's vigil, this is a vigil over the dead son, killed by the ruler for his own selfish reasons" and "If there are any persons who are theatre professionals at the Sheenan vigil, they should arrange things much more theatrically."

So, it's not about "Mother Sheehan's" grief, it's about everyone's grief. And don't forget, we need to stage everything to make our point, truth and common decency be damned.

H/T to Greyhawk for both the Michelle Malkin piece and the Kos story.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Social Security "benefits"

I was hanging out at a friend's house the other night, and we got onto the discussion of how much we each made at our summer jobs. We ended up looking at her paycheck stub, because I wanted to see if she was having income tax and other state and federal taxes deducted when she shouldn't; most teenagers don't make enough to pay income tax or any other sort of tax other than Social Security and Medicare, so if you have income tax taken out you are forced to fill out a tax return in order to get your money back. Asinine. Anyway, she was having the money taken out, but that's not what I want to talk about. On the check stub, I noticed that SS and Medicare were conspicuously missing from the listing of taxes that were deducted from the paycheck. I looked around the paystub, and lo and behold, those two taxes are listed under "benefits." Yes, that's right, money that the government has taken from you to give to someone else is listed as a "benefit" for you. This is the statist world we live in, my friends. It is now considered a benefit for the government to take money from you and give it to someone else, with the promise that you will get the same handout when you reach a certain age and/or condition (in the case of Medicare), baby boomers and basic economics notwithstanding.

It is truly sad that we have reached this state of affairs. What is even sadder is that I would be willing to bet that the majority of Americans would see absolutely nothing wrong with this. "Of course Social Security is a benefit; I'm planning on using that for retirement." People who, thanks in part to FDR and the generations of statists that have followed him, have been conditioned to trust the government above all, even ahead of ourselves. It really should come as no surprise that our liberties have been steadily curtailed just as government assistance programs have risen. As Eric points out, you can only be given adult freedoms when you are willing to make adult choices, and more importantly, accept all consequences for those choices, both good and bad. Until we are ready as a society to accept this simple truth, we will continue to be treated as children of the state, in both freedom and responsibility.

Moving on, it is even more reflective of our society that those among us who make little are still required to pay taxes for the primary purpose of supporting others, but not required to pay taxes that have at least some perceived benefit to us. As I pointed out above, I do not, as do most teenagers, make enough to pay any sort of tax on my income other than SS and Medicare. So, according to our government, I make enough to pay for those who were too stupid to plan for their retirement and those who want others to pay for their healthcare, yet I do not make enough to pay taxes that I will see a concrete benefit from. It is nice to know we have our priorities straight in this country.

So, to recap, the government taking money from you to give to others with a promise that you will get the same treatment is now a benefit, and while the government might not make you pay for the drain you put on their resources, you will ALWAYS make enough to pay for the stupid among us.

Why, oh WHY can't these at least be opt-in programs? I will always maintain my own health insurance, and I could have invested an extra $150 in my IRA with the money I would've gotten from SS. With a little help from the investment calculator at and my dad, I calculated that the extra $150 invested above would be worth $2,764 in 43 years, assuming I invest them now, tax-free in a Roth IRA that has a 10% rate of return.

So, thanks to mandatory government "retirement planning", the government has stolen $2,764 worth of my money in exchange for a nebulous promise that I will receive some sort of recompensation when I become old and decrepit and too stupid to save for my own retirement.

Thanks, government! It's nice to know that some faceless bureaucrat cares enough about me to steal that much of my money!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Your Destination, Please

The Bellevue Police Department is continuing to trample on local teenager's Constitutional rights. As you may remember, last spring I blogged about how a friend of mine had her Fourth Amendment rights violated with a borderline illegal search of her car following a routine traffic stop. The reason given for the search? She was acting "suspicious" so the police had "no choice" but to search her car. This time, the teenager in question was my cousin. She was on her way to babysit at a friend's house in Bellevue when she was stopped by a Bellevue police officer because she was speeding. She had no problem with being stopped for speeding, because she admits she was speeding. However, the police officer then proceeded to interrogate her, demanding that she tell him where she was going, who she was going to be with, and why she was going there, among other things.

This is completely out of line. There is aboslutely no reason why a police officer should be interrogating an 18 year old girl about where she's going and why during a simple traffic stop. Setting aside the simple common sense privacy concerns, the Supreme Court has held that we have a "right to privacy" in this country. Now, whether or not you believe in that right, the Supreme Court has held that the said right exists. This would appear to be a clear violation of that right by a law enforcement organization. Next up, we have the fact that she was being interrogated by a police officer without probable cause, and without a warrant or being placed under arrest or being detained for questioning. In each of these cases, there are specific legal guards placed on the process to protect the citizen from the officer.

This police officer is accountable to no one, as evidenced by the treatment my aunt received. She called into the BPD and asked to speak to the officer. She stated that she had no problem with the speeding ticket, but she failed to understand why the officer needed to question her daughter. The officer responded with a statement that went something like (I'm paraphrasing) "I'm a police officer, therefore I have the right to question whoever I want to about whatever I want to, and there's nothing you can do about it."

Sounds like the good ol' U.S. of A to me. And remember, these are only the two cases that I've heard about. As I stated in my previous post, I have witnessed numerous traffic stops in Bellevue that had turned into full-on car and body searches. Race, make of car, time of day, all differed. The only thing that was constant was that all of those stopped and searched appeared to be teenagers.

I'm sorely tempted to go speeding in Bellevue to see what kind of Constitutional trouble I can get myself into. There's nothing I would like more than being able to tell the officers trying to search my car to get a warrant and to tell that arrogant "officer of (his) law" who questioned my cousin that I'm not going to answer his questions.

On a slightly more serious note, does anyone have any serious suggestions about what to do? It seems to me that unless I've witnessed two exceedingly rare coincidences, there appears to be a culture of discrimination against teenagers in the Bellevue Police Department. I know I could write a letter, but seeing as how a) I'm not a citizen of Bellevue, and b) none of this actually happened to me, I'm not sure that the letter writing route would get me anywhere. Your suggestions would be appreciated.

Sunday, August 07, 2005


Yesterday marked the 60th Anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. And of course, we're bombarded with anti-nuclear propaganda, along with guilt trip writing such as this, and this. Rather than taking the time to fault each of their points, I'll simply direct you to someone who has already done all that for me, in a very detailed fashion. Go here for what is probably the most in depth writing you'll see on the subject of "should we or shouldn't we have dropped it." (H/T: Instapundit)

Also, as you may or may not know, the ACLU has finally brought suit against the City of New York to stop their unconstitutional random searches. Eidelblog has much more on the subject.

Speaking of Eidelblog, Perry's been added to the blogroll. Another one of the LLP guys who has become one of my daily reads. Plus, he added me to his, bloggers know how it is. :-p

Anyway, sorry for the lack of writing as of late. I've been pretty busy getting ready to leave for college, and have been splitting what is usually my blogging time into studying for A) my AFOQT, which is the test that follows me around for the rest of my Air Force career and is the test that will have a large bearing on whether or not I get a rated slot, and B) Sun-Tzu, Clausewitz, and Boyd. I'll probably be writing about Sun-Tzu sometime soon, with Boyd to follow and Clausewitz after that.

I'll leave you with one last bit of irreverence, courtesy of Perry again. Seems that when Kim-Jung Il isn't plotting to take over the world or write world-class stage productions to perform in front of Madeline Albright, he instead golfs with nothing but holes in one and can recall every single government phone number in North Korea. Yes, I know...I was thinking the same thing. They have phones there?

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Politically correct team mascots

The Fighting Illini of the University of Illinois and the Seminoles of Florida State are in the news again today, after the NCAA issued a statement saying that teams with mascots deemed "hostile or abusive" would not be allowed to have that mascot or its likeness on any of their gear if their team makes it to an NCAA post-season tournament. Sigh. Where would we be without political correctness? But I have to ask the question, why does it always seem that a very small number of vocal people raise these objections? If the vast nation of Native Americans is so upset, why aren't they all out protesting, writing letters, etc? Could it be that most of them DON'T CARE? Naw, couldn't be it. Anyway, why are Native Americans the only ones who are allowed to get offended? After all, like this guy points out, the Fighting Irish and the Vikings aren't exactly outstanding portrayals of the Irish and people of Scandinavian descent. For that matter, why are the official "minorities" the only ones allowed to get up in arms about anything? Degrading jokes about Catholics and Republicans/"Conservatives" are widely accepted in pretty much anything. As long as the joke is somewhat funny and not too degrading, I'm more than willing to laugh at myself. Why? Because I understand that we live in a liberal society, where it's okay to criticize and make fun of whatever the hell I want to. I know this last part is a bit off topic, but I think it all comes back to the same problem. I think that if someone with no knowledge of our country's political structure was to come to visit, they would think that we had an inherent right to not be offended enshrined in our nation's laws, if not our Constitution. Regardless of what the alleged "offense" is, if you are an officially recognized "minority" and have something to bitch about, all you need to do is contact a news media organization, charge one of the -isms, and you'll get your way.

Anyway, like Brad says, we can't stand for this because if we don't stand for the Illini, who will speak for me when they come for the Cyclones?

Monday, August 01, 2005

Poker night

Had poker night for my friend's birthday party. Was doing pretty crappily, due to a combination of bad cards and a couple of stupid mistakes. I'm all in with my last chips, with a 4-5 in my hand and 6-8 in the flop. The turn comes up, its a Jack. I'm about ready to throw in the towel and go upstairs to get some food when the river comes you've probably guessed, it was a 7. Win the hand, and I'm back in. Play for awhile, and get it down to four left at the table (out of beginning with 7). We had decided that the top three got money, and its pretty evenly matched between myself and two other guys (birthday boy was way ahead, 100+ chips to our 80ish). Blinds are at 4-8 by now, and birthday boy gets into it with me. I'm holding an Ace-Jack, off-suit. Flop comes down and gives me a pair of aces. The turn was a 2, and the river was a 4. Birthday boy goes in 15..the community cards didn't appear to have much. I figured he was bluffing, so I go in. Little did I know that apparently, birthday boy NEVER bluffs. Came up with a 2-6 straight. So I'm down 15, but still in it. Two hands down the road, I'm holding Jack-Ace. Jack comes up on the flop, and Ace comes up on the turn. Other two people fold. Birthday boy goes in with 20 after the river came up with a 4. I'm thinking that he's bluffing this time, especially after last time and after the fact that he's already gone in 8 on this hand. So, with all but two of my chips, I go in. Turns out this son of a gun was holding pocket fours. Lesson learned: when Jason bets big, he's not screwing around. Ever.

Oh well, I played off a couple good hands with a straight and a pair of Aces and Kings that outright knocked one guy out and helped put another out of his misery. And but for the grace of God and that 7, I would've been the first guy away from the table. And while I'm not a hold 'em expert, that would've been very disheartening, as one of the guys we were playing with had the stupidity to ask if we allowed "four-card straights." No offense, he's a great guy. But four card straights?!? And I was gonna leave the table before this guy? I guess it wasn't such a bad night after all. Just would've been nice to get some of my $5 back.