Tuesday, April 29, 2008


AFSCs came down today: 21M1, Munitions and Missile Maintenance.

Yeah, can't say I was expecting that one. The projected numbers were for a grand total of 9 to be selected from ROTC nationwide out of a total of 531 non rated non tech job slots. For those of you that are wondering, those 9 are 1.7% of the total slots. And I got one of them. Talk about rolling the dice and coming up a little short. But it isn't all bad...I did put it down (last) on my sheet, so I can't complain too much. And I was a little worried that this was just going to be ICBM maintenance (the AFMANs and AFIs I was able to track down were kind of confusing on this point) but I'm now pretty sure that 21M also includes munitions (as evidenced by the "Munitions" in the job title...like I said, the AFMANs are confusing). As long as that's the case and I'm not stuck working on ICBMs and are thus able to be deployed to do a real job, I'll be happy.

UPDATE: Based on the bases I can request assignment at, it's pretty clear that 21M includes Munitions/Ammo. So anyone know any munitions officers?

Monday, April 28, 2008

How we're all feeling

The Channel coast is socked in with rain and fog computers don't work--high winds on the drop zone idiots at HQ. No jump tonight AFSCs today. The invasion has been postponed; we're on a 24 hour 48 hour 72 hour we'll tell you when we feel like it stand down.

If you didn't pick up on it, we're all supposed to be finding out our AFSC (job) sometime soon. It was originally promised Friday, then earlier today, then COB today, now we're on to noon tomorrow. Some sort of computer snafu at HQ.

And the Air Force was also supposed to be paying me the past month and a half...

What you can find in the Tiers

Or, why going exploring in the Library is a bad idea.

For those of you who don't know what the Tiers are, they're the old section of the library that the newer library was built around. They're basically cinderblock rooms filled with nothing but shelves full of books. They're usually deserted.

To answer the first one, did you know that ISU had a very detailed nuclear war survival plan that was written in 1962? Did you also know that Parks Library has a copy of it? I discovered it tonight.

To answer the second, I went looking for a copy of Benjamin O. Davis Jr.'s autobiography in order to write a book report for my History of Black Power class. Half an hour later, I ended up leaving with that, as well as two other books regarding the use of airpower in counter-insurgency warfare. Oops. A little light reading to distract myself in between studying.

South Park Monday

So much to do at Cartmanland, but you can't come!-'specially you Stan and Kyle.

Why Iowa Sucks

The air temperature should not be 42 (with a windchill of 34) headed towards a low of 26 when it is still light out at 2000. It's just wrong.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Last Man Out

A political argument you might hear tossed around during the closing days of the Vietnam War was, "Who will be the last man to die for a mistake?" Fortunately for us, Operation Frequent Wind was a success and there was no (American) "man left behind." (The South Vietnamese are another story.) Since it is that time of the year, Instapinch has an interesting video of the last flight out from Da Nang, while SJS has the story of an astonishing feat of airmanship involving a South Vietnamese pilot, his family, an O-1 Bird Dog, and the USS Midway.

However, while there was no American "man left behind," as the curtain closed on the French agony in Indochina, they were not that lucky. Again, from Bernard Fall's Street Without Joy:
The G.C.M.A.'s were organized on the basis of the experience gathered during World War II by the European maquis and by such Allied long-range penetration groups as the British "Chindits" of General Orde Wingate in Burma, and the United States "marauders" of Brigadier General Frank D. Merrill. However, contrary to the two Allied groups, the G.C.M.A.'s were not meant to return to bases situated behind our own lines but were to remain permanently in enemy territory. Individual men were to be returned via aircraft from secret landing strips if they were sick or wounded or, as often happened, had simply broken down physically or mentally under the strain of that kind of warfare. In other words, the G.C.M.A.'s were not "raider forces," but guerrilla forces; when the war ended in Indochina, they were also far larger than both the Chindits or the Marauders ever had been: by mid-1954, there were 15,000 of them, requiring 300 tons of airborne supplies a month.

The core unit of a commando group was usually up to four hundred strong, each such group being commanded by two or three French senior NCO's or perhaps by one lieutenant and a few NCO's. In some cases, even corporals found themselves at the head of a whole tribe at war with the Viet-Minh.


The cease-fire of July 1954 also brought an end to G.C.M.A. operations. Frantic efforts were made by the French to broadcast messages to all the groups operating behind Communist lines to fall back to Laos, the 17th parallel, or to the shrinking Haiphong perimeter before the Bamboo Curtain rang down on them for good. But for many, the broadcasts came too late, or the T'ai or Meo could not reconcile themselves to leave their families exposed to the Communist reprisals which were now sure to come. And the Frenchmen who were with them and who could not possibly make their way back across hundreds of miles of enemy territory, stayed with them, to fight with the tribesmen to the end.

This was a fight to the finish, and no quarter was given on either side. One by one, as the last commandos ran out of ammunition, as the last still operating radio sets fell silent, the remnants of the G.C.M.A. died in the hills of North Viet-Nam. There was no "U-2" affair, no fuss: France did not claim the men, and the Communists were content to settle the matter by themselves. French officers recalled with a shudder the last radio message picked up from somewhere in North Viet-Nam nearly two years after the fighting had officially stopped. The voice was a French voice and the message was addressed to the French. It said:

"You sons-of-bitches, help us! Help us! Parachute us at least some ammunition, so that we can die fighting instead of being slaughtered like animals!"

But the cease-fire was in effect and the last French troops left Indochina in April 1956, in compliance with the demands of the Vietnamese nationalists.


By 1959, the struggle was over. The mountaineers were thoroughly purged of all "reactionary" elements and whatever Frenchmen there had been left among them were now dead or captured. Only one Frenchman, Captain C-------, who was thoroughly familiar with several mountain dialects, is known to have made his way out of the Communist-occupied zone after a harrowing 500-mile trek through the mountains from tribe to tribe. And thus ended the French experiment of anti-Communist guerrilla warfare in Indochina.

But if there really is somewhere in the Great Beyond a Valhalla where warriors gather, I hope that it will reserve a small niche in a shaded place under a canopy of high trees for the sacrificed tribesmen and their French comrades from the Composite Airborne Commando Groups.
I don't envy those French officers who received that last radio transmission.

What's On Tonight

Like John says, you should probably watch this:

As a programming note, the reason I've been absent the past couple of days is two fold: one, finals week is rapidly approaching, which means that Dead Week is even closer, which means that those papers and projects I have put off all semester need to be getting done; two, I was tapped on kind of short notice to serve as Mr. Vice at our Det.'s Dining Out, so I've been busy the past few days preparing for that. It went off without a hitch last night, so that was good.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Petraeus to CENTCOM

Or, in the words of AM, "CENTCOM is not IRAQCOM."

My thoughts from a comment there (that basically mirrored a subsequent post...something about great minds I guess):
My first thought was reeeeally bad idea, for a variety of reasons.

Primary among these is the fact that CENTCOM is not Iraq. CENTCOM is not Iraq and Afghanistan. CENTCOM is not Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran. CENTCOM is about 15 major issues on top of 50 intermediate ones on top of too many minor ones to count. Is it really a good idea to move the guy who has spent his past tour worried solely about one of those major issues directly into worrying about all of them?

It's not a slur on Gen. Petraeus, but it's only natural for someone who has spent years focused on one problem to naturally continue to focus on that one problem.
And another comment from the above linked post:
Heh, insert comment about "great minds and all that" here.

Forget Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran. What about the HOA? What about piracy and the subsequent maritime interests involved?

I'm with you that SACEUR would've been a good place. Hell, I'd even be okay with sending him to SACEUR and then back to something Middle East related (either CENTCOM commander or a "war czar" type position, or whatever). But sending him directly from MNF-I to CENTCOM just isn't a good idea.

And you're just talking about this from a regional perspective. What about domestically? Do we really want all the baggage from Iraq to be carried over into our larger regional policy? Because like it or not, mentioning the words "Petraeus" and "Middle East" in the same sentence are going to conjure up images of "General Betray-us" and "willful suspension of disbelief" on both sides of the aisle.
Yeah, suffice to say I don't think this is that good of an idea. Especially considering this on the domestic front: his tour as CENTCOM commander will theoretically last into the next administration. Do we really want all that baggage clouding every discussion on policy in the Middle East?

COIN Food for Thought

From Bernard Fall's history of the French in Indochina, Street Without Joy. As I mentioned in a previous post, I defy anyone to read either of his two books (the other one being of course Hell in a Very Small Place) and still think poorly of the French military.

I'm about 4/5ths of the way through it and there have been a few passages that have stuck out to me, both in regard to COIN and to other things as well. Today's is counter-insurgency in a nutshell (or about four paragraphs).
By the end of D-Day plus-2, all organized resistance had ceased, and on the following day began the withdrawal of the first-line units, the paratroopers, amphibious groups, and marine commandos. Now came the real job of permanently controlling the newly-occupied area. Bridges that had been dynamited over the past years had to be rebuilt; roads cut into ribbons by Viet-Minh saboteurs had to be filled in, the whole artificial desert which the Communists had created around the "Street Without Joy" had to be eliminated. Vietnamese government administrators made their timid appearance in the face of a hostile or frightened population which, after a week's fighting and years of life in a state of siege, needed everything from rice to anti-malaria tablets.

"Funny," said Major Derrieu from the 6th Spahis, watching some of the new administrators in the village of Dong-Que, "they just never seem to succeed in striking the right note with the population. Either they come in and try to apologize for the mess we've just made with our planes and tanks; or they swagger and threaten the farmers as if they were enemy nationals which-let's face it-they are in many cases."

"That may be so," said young Lieutenant Dujardin, standing on the shady side of his M-24, "but I wouldn't care to be in his shoes tonight, when we pull out. He's going to stay right here in the house which the Commie commander still occupied yesterday, all by himself with the other four guys of his administrative team, with the nearest post three hundred yards away. Hell, I'll bet he won't even sleep here but sleep in the post anyway."

"He probably will, and he'll immediately lose face with the population and become useless."

"And if he doesn't, he'll probably be dead by tomorrow, and just as useless. In any case, there goes the whole psychological effect of the operation and we can start the whole thing all over again three months from now. What a hopeless mess."

"Well, if the Vietnamese can't lick that, we certainly cannot. After all, it's their country. Let's saddle up." With a shrug, both men walked back to their tanks, climbing into the turrets with the litheness of long practice.

Below them, on the tiny square of ruined Dong-Que, the young, earnest, Vietnamese administrator in his khaki shirt and slacks, was still talking to the villagers. They stood there, impassively, like so many wooden statues.

"Street Without Joy," Bernard Fall, p. 169-170
This should sound painfully familiar.

Mid Week Rock

Seemed fitting given that Spring has (finally) arrived in Iowa permanently, with the subsequent change in attire among the female population.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Flying Thud?

It'll be a reality if the Collings Foundation has its way (h/t: Guidons Guidons Guidons):
Collings Foundation is a 501 (3) with some 40,000 donators. They collect, restore, maintain and fly vintage aircraft at air shows. They are a class act. One part of Collings is the Vietnam Memorial Flight currently consisting of an F-4D, TA-4J, and HU-1. Another is their Wings of Freedom Tour flying B-17, B-24, B-25 and P-51.It took them four years to work through the Air Force and AF Museum at Wright Patterson bureaucracy to get an F-4 Phantom II. It is the only civilian owned F-4 flying today in the world. There was and is no cost to the government to get, rehab and fly the F-4. It's fully funded by the Collings Foundation.

I've been asked by Bob Collings to help them get a F-105 Thud. Scattered around the country, mostly outside on static display, pedestals, et al, the Air Force has about a hundred F-105s, 96 non airworthy. Most are deteriorating due to weather and exposure. Collings Foundation would pay all cost to get a Thud, to get an engine, to rehab it to flyable condition, and the cost to fly it. Not one penny of government funds involved. When trying to get the F-4 excuses like liability, et al were used. None of the military / AF Museum arguments against letting go of an F-4 have become problems.

For all veterans of our era, to see a thud fly again would be a thrill; would be a living memorial. And it would be special memorial to the hundreds killed in the Thud, to we POW Thud drivers, and to all who flew and maintained it. According to Bob Collings (neat guy), a word from the Republican ranking member of the Senate Armed Forces committee would do wonders to shake loose just one F-105. I see no down side, but think there would be upside to John from the veteran Vietnam era community. I'm trying to get this letter to John McCain should know soon if it gets to him (he seems busy lately!) As a Thud Weasel guy, Bob Collings (Collings Foundation) asked me to help contact the F-105 community.

I'm sending this the Wild Weasel Society, River Rats and drop it into the NAMPOW listserve. I assume most Vietnam vets, and all Thud drivers / maintainers would support seeing a Thud fly again. Any and all support you can help with is great. Bob said to contact him for as much detail as you want or need to help get the ball rolling. The web site is on top of this doc, his email info@collingsfoundation.org.
This would be pretty dang sweet. The Thud was a man's airplane...

South Park Monday

The original use of the montage song:

If you've got to get good at something really fast, there's only one way to do it!

Just for kicks, here's the original from Rocky:

And here's the quintessential montage scene, from Rocky IV:

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Desktop Meme

Buck tagged me in a meme that asks you to publish your desktop photo. Here it is (click for higher res):
Looking up that photo made me realize that I have about 54 MB of pretty good plane pr0n stored on this computer. I think I might start putting some of that up on a more regular basis.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Sucks. It sucks even worse when it's on a fist sized chunk of your shin and it's still oozing five hours after it happened.

(Belated) South Park Monday

It's over! It's finally over! We can go back to having fun again!

Pretty much sums up how I feel about baseball.

You're the best--around!

One of the better South Park montages.

Mid Week Rock, Money Edition

Figured it was appropriate given the fact that the Air Force has seen fit to not pay me the past month. Some sort of paperwork snafu. All I know is that in the period where I was supposed to get my usual $450 stipend I received a grand total of $15. Lesson learned: don't depend on receiving your deserved pay in a timely manner. I'm still waiting for that money...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Glad I'm not in the Spanish Military

I talked about Spain going down the tubes earlier this week. It's worse than I thought. A common criticism of women in the military (especially in the Navy) is what you do with them when they get knocked up, as they inevitably will. But what about when your Defense Minister is the one who is pregnant?
When Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero's new cabinet members took their oath of office before King Juan Carlos on Monday, one of them, the recently-appointed Defense Minister, stood out from the rest. Literally. Carme Chacón, 37, is not only the first woman to head Spain's armed forces. She is also seven months pregnant.


But for all the preparation, the sight of Chacón inspecting troops on her first day in office, with her rounded belly covered in a stylish maternity blouse, came as a jolt. After walking firmly past a line of erect soldiers in their dress uniforms, the minister gave a brief, adulatory speech, then led the troops in a rousing cheer of "Viva España!"

For Spanish feminists, the small shock of that moment is exactly the point. "It's an important image precisely because it conveys normality," says Marisa Sotelo, president of the Madrid' based Women's Foundation. "It serves a pedagogic function: it shows that women can be and are everywhere."

"Women can be and are everywhere." Unless they're on maternity leave, apparently:
Delicacy indeed, For now, the most pressing question is what Chacón will do when she gives birth in June. Thanks to Zapatero's efforts, Spanish women are entitled to 16 weeks paid maternity leave. But can a defense minister — especially a female one — afford to take four months off? Although the Socialist government recently increased paternity leaves to 15 days, it may soon find itself under internal pressure to extend those breaks for fathers as well.
Thank God we've got SECDEF Gates.Or, for that matter, SECSTATE Rice. Both competent individuals who are, more importantly, NOT PREGNANT.

For those of you who didn't click on the USS Acadia link above, what the hell, I'm probably in enough trouble already:

Apropos of nothing

Some Venture Bros. for your Tuesday...

Icarus. So, uh, what are trying to tell me here, little man, that you don't like Zep?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Posted Without Comment

h/t: this excellent list, courtesy of Radley Balko.


Absolute blasphemy:
Resentment at Proposed Cyber Command Patch

By Michael Hoffman - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Mar 17, 2008 7:27:29 EDT

Cyber Command’s new emblem can’t be anointed officially until the new command is stood up this October, but the one in the works replicates the former Strategic Air Command’s patch.

Only “minor modifications” have been made to the SAC emblem to create AFCYBER’s design and “bring it up to current Air Force emblem standards,” according to service documents.

“By assuming the lineage of the Strategic Air Command, cyber-warriors demonstrate the ability to project strength and achieve global effects with the inclusion of the cyberspace domain, with air and space,” according to lineage and heritage records.

But that striking similarity to Strategic Air Command’s patch has started a controversy. Former airmen who served under SAC have posted on multiple Internet blogs their displeasure at the almost identical designs.

“I respect the fact that our ‘cyber warriors’ are a critical asset in our force structure, but in my opinion they should wear a patch of their own design, not one lifted from a previous generation,” said retired Col. Ron Thurlow via e-mail.

h/t: AF Blues

Take a look for yourself:I cannot for the life of me figure out how the leap in logic was made to give the lineage of this:And this:
To this:

General LeMay is rolling over in his grave...

Down the Tubes

Say goodbye to Spain:
MADRID (AFP) - Spain's re-elected Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announced a government Saturday which for the first time included more women than men and a female defence minister.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


It's snowing. In April. On VEISHEA weekend.

I hate this state so much.

UPDATE: Did I mention it's so windy the snow is coming in sideways? Because it is.

Friday, April 11, 2008

What was on tonight

The local FOX station runs syndicated South Park at 0230 which comes in handy when I'm having trouble sleeping, like tonight.


It's been just under 20 hours since everyone on Earth pooped their pants...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Of brooches, patches, and nametags

From wine critic Matthew DeBord:
Gen. David H. Petraeus may be as impressive a military professional as the United States has developed in recent years, but he could use some strategic advice on how to manage his sartorial PR. Witness his congressional testimony on the state of the war in Iraq. There he sits in elaborate Army regalia, four stars glistening on each shoulder, nine rows of colorful ribbons on his left breast, and various other medallions, brooches and patches scattered across the rest of the available real estate on his uniform. He even wears his name tag, a lone and incongruous hunk of cheap plastic in a region of pristine gilt, just in case the politicians aren't sure who he is.
That's a lot of martial bling, especially for an officer who hadn't seen combat until five years ago. Unfortunately, brazen preening and "ribbon creep" among the Army's modern-day upper crust have trumped the time-honored military virtues of humility, duty and personal reserve.
I actually agree with him on the ribbon creep. Unfortunately for Mr. DeBord, it's not restricted to the upper crust. It's not a conspiracy by the generals to make themselves feel more manly and to intimidate simple suit wearing legislators. It's just the way the military is. Given the choice, when I pin on butter bars I'd like the only ribbons on my uniform to be the ones I've earned, which in my case would be one: marksmanship ribbon for qualifying expert on the M-9. Since I'm in the military during a "time of war" I'll get to also pin on the ketchup and mustard. Personally I think that's a load of crap, but I'll wear it because (and here's the important point that Mr. DeBord REALLY misses) it's called a uniform for a reason. Gen. Petraeus doesn't get to pick which medals and patches he wears. He doesn't get to decide to wear his super duper special titanium name tag instead of his cheap plastic one. He doesn't get to decide whether or not to wear his "The General" name tag instead of his real name.
The greatest military leaders, in the age of organized national armies, have often conspicuously modified the official requirements of the uniform, even in the most public of settings. Ulysses S. Grant accepted Robert E. Lee's sword while outfitted in disheveled Union blue and muddy boots. Douglas MacArthur presided over the signing of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender on the deck of the battleship Missouri without donning so much as a necktie with his khakis. George Patton was flamboyant, in his jodhpurs and riding boots, but he backed it up in battle after battle. His legend derived equally from brilliant tactics and an outrageous wardrobe.

Perhaps the best example, however -- and one that Petraeus and his cadre should look to for inspiration -- was set by two of the most politically savvy generals America has produced: Dwight Eisenhower and George Marshall. In photographs following World War II, with Ike fresh from rescuing Western civilization while Marshall was working to rebuild it, both men appear victorious, yet somber, cognizant of the challenges met and the challenges ahead. Eisenhower wears a single row of ribbons, Marshall three.
Personally, I think one of the most dishonorable things Gen. Grant and Gen. MacArthur did was to receive those surrenders in the fashion they did. Acting in that manner shows, to me, utter contempt and disrespect for your opponent. I'm not sure how Gen. Patton fits into this. Apparently Mr. DeBord feels that if Gen. Petraeus would run around Iraq beating enlisted men suffering from PTSD and wasting lives in useless assaults he would be entitled to wear a flashy uniform. As for Gen. Eisenhower and Gen. Marshall, they would've been only authorized to wear 11 and 9 ribbons, respectively. So while they may have cut down on their ribbons a bit, their wearing of one and three rows of ribbons is more a symptom of the military's habit of giving out ridiculous amounts of medals these days.

Apparently it's a little too much to expect someone writing for a major newspaper of record to understand these little things called "details" that would add context to a piece of writing.


USAF Col. Gary Crowder:

The armed reconnaissance aircraft is part of a bold plan conceived by Col. Gary Crowder, commander of the Middle East-based Combined Air and Space Operations Center,to upgrade the Air Force’s theater control system, which the service uses for air-to-ground integration ...

“What we have found over here is that the structure, which focuses almost exclusively on providing the Army kinetic ... close air support, is being taxed pretty hard because that’s not what [they’re] asking us to give,” he said in an April 1 telephone interview, referring to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The aircraft conducting combat missions over Iraq and Afghanistan drop bombs, strafe targets, or perform a low-level show-of-force only 10 percent of the time. The jets and unmanned drones primarily are used for what the military calls armed reconnaissance, meaning their mission is to pass video and other data gathered through sensors and targeting pods back to an operations center where it can analyzed.

But in a world where irregular warfare is the primary focus -- and appears to be for the foreseeable future -- a balance of fighter jets and armed prop-driven aircraft could prove beneficial, Crowder said ...

An Air Force Academy graduate and former F-111 pilot, Crowder contends that this type of mission could be performed by airmen in a small command and control aircraft, such as the Beechcraft AT-6.

Not like I've suggested this before or anything...What annoys me most about the whole situation is it seems that whenever this is brought up everyone starts making unrealistic proposals about using A-10s, or Skyraiders, or OV-10s. Even the Marines aren't immune. 10-12 airframes? At best these sort of proposals would provide a handful of limited capability aircraft. At worst they are pie in the sky ideas that make it easier for opponents to discredit the entire idea of a low intensity warfare aircraft. There are three basic choices: the A-67, the Super Tucano, or the AT-6 Texan II.

Of course, none of this matters because the idea actually makes sense, which means the Air Force will flee away from it running and screaming while plugging their ears, instead preferring to make their contribution to COIN by avoiding Haditha/Abu Ghraib type PR black eyes by...bombing the crap out of the population. Like I said previously, we've done it before and we've got the people. This needs to have happened 3 years ago.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Epic Maneuver

I think this is the most epic soccer maneuver I have ever seen.

Don't like Reporters?

Then you'll love this video.

h/t: Radley Balko


No, really.

"I'm from the government and I'm here to--SURPRISE!"

h/t: Radley Balko

Mid Week Rock, Bonus Edition

If we're going to have a video featuring jet fighters, we need some good ol' fashioned jet noise:

Jet noise is in fact okay.

For those of you who are a little more old fashioned...

Mid Week Rock

Some Boston for your Wednesday

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Blood Pressure Raiser

I mentioned the Spike TV show DEA earlier tonight. It was on so I was watching as much of it as I could stomach, which turned out to be about 5 minutes. What set me off was the discussion of the heavily armed members of the task force as they prepared for a raid on a suspect. "Yeah, he's an old f**k, he's like 60."

Explain to me why a no knock dynamic entry warrant was necessary. As it turned out, the suspect was so drugged out he couldn't even stand up. Regardless, he's SIXTY. He had done time in prison and he was selling drugs to kids, so he wasn't a nice guy. But you're seriously telling me that a dozen heavily armed and highly trained men in the prime of their lives can't handle one sixty year old without resorting to SWAT tactics? Really? Did they consider the possible consequences of their actions if someone else was in the house?

I already know the answer to that one. The DEA thugs' lives come before everything else. Guilty, innocent, they're all civilians and expendable collateral damage. Which, of course, isn't even the proper mentality of a soldier, much less a supposed law enforcement agent.

It makes me sad that most people in this country would find nothing wrong with a dozen heavily armed and armored men leaping out of dark vans and busting down doors in a residential neighborhood. All to stop Americans from getting high.

Make sure to check out Radley Balko's thoughts on the matter. Excellent as always.

The Drug Years

Was watching a documentary last weekend on drug use in this country on VH1. Looks like a pretty decent piece focusing on how drugs influenced the culture in this country. Had a couple thoughts...

First, how did a bunch of dirty stinking f**king hippies make such awesome music? The answer, of course, is that the people making the music weren't actually dirty stinking f**king hippies but were just smart musicians who knew how to make money.

Second, I hope that one day we can look back on shows like Dallas SWAT and DEA with the same mocking derision that we view the portrayal of drugs on shows from the '60s like Dragnet.

It had some of the stereotypical images of Vietnam vets being a bunch of drugged up bums who were damaged goods as well as the CIA being a major player in running drugs, but that was a minor point compared to its discussion of the forming of the war on (some) drugs and the DEA. It even included some of the anti-drug viewpoint, spouting off such statements that the Reagan/Bush years were some of the most effective in the war. When that is juxtaposed right next to another interview stating how futile the war is, you really start to see the idiocy of the anti-drug at all costs position.

Overall, an enjoyable way to waste a Sunday afternoon.

Sex Scandals

Say what you want about the Europeans, but they know how to have a sex scandal. Blowjobs in the Oval Office? Chump change. Engaging in normal activities with just one prostitute? Bush league. Try 5 prostitutes and a Nazi themed orgy in a torture dungeon:

Last Sunday the British tabloid News of the World posted video footage on its website of Mosley and five prostitutes in what it frothily described as "a depraved Nazi-style orgy in a torture dungeon." In the secretly filmed video, the paper reports, Mosley "barks orders in German as he whips two hookers dressed in striped uniforms reminiscent of Auschwitz garb while girls in Nazi uniforms look on."

The video, which has been removed from the newspaper's web site, also captures a prostitute commanding Mosley to strip before she inspects his head and genitals for lice, which the paper suggest was "mocking the humiliating ways Jews were treated by SS death camp guards in World War II." Placed in chains, Mosley leans over a torture bench and whimpers as a dominatrix strikes him with a rod, saying "You're going to be shown how we treat prisoners in our facility." Later, when Mosley takes hold of a whip, he states that a blonde inmate "needs more of ze punishment."

Here's the best part:
Mosley's background ensures that he won't get off that easily. His mother, Diana Mitford, was a celebrity British Nazi sympathizer in the prewar years, while his father, Sir Oswald Mosley, founded and led the British Union of Fascists — a guest of honor at their wedding in 1936, at the Berlin home of Joseph Goebbels, was none other than Adolf Hitler.
You can't make shit like this up.

Plane pr0n

Some good shots of the Blues and some good heritage flight shots.

Courtesy of Danger Room.

Monday, April 07, 2008

South Park Monday

No video today, just audio. NPR's "In Character" interviewed Cartman last weekend. Be sure to scroll down the page to check out the Proust Questionnaire interview.

Also, summary for the new South Park: "This Week on South Park: "Eek, A Penis!"
While Ms. Garrison is off trying to find a way to become the man he was
always intended to be, Cartman is put in charge of the classroom."

I'm looking forward to this one.

Okay, I lied. If we're gonna talk about Cartman, we have to relive his finest moment:

Saturday, April 05, 2008

The Autobot has Spoken

"Why doesn't this station play any goddamn Hannah Montana? I hate you 88.5 KURE, Ames' alternative."

Why not indeed.

(For those of you thinking WTF, the local campus radio station, 88.5 KURE, calls their automated play system "the autobot." When it's active, "he" will say things in a Microsoft Sam voice in between every couple of songs. This afternoon I heard him utter the above phrase.)

Friday, April 04, 2008

Why Tech Matters

It's common in liberal arts circles, especially military circles with a liberal arts focus, to ignore and/or denigrate technology. One example would be gun issues, as referenced in the post below. People conflate "assault weapons" only capable of semi-automatic fire with selective fire weapons that can rock and roll, forgetting (or choosing to ignore) the distinct mechanical differences in the weapons. Another example is the counterinsurgent's focus on the human factor, through studying anthropology, sociology, and economics as opposed to the conventional war's focus on technology for the sake of technology, with humans just being operators moving things in a prearranged pattern. (I'm exaggerating, of course.) However, tech matters. More specifically, a solid understand of the limitations of technology matters, especially when talking about military strategy.

I was treated to an example of this in my politics of the middle east class last night. A group was giving a presentation on the chances of Iran making nuclear weapons and the subsequent repercussions if they do. It wasn't a bad presentation, but let's just say that they got more wrong than they got right, especially with regard to the technical aspects.

For example, as I'm sure SJS can tell you, having enriched Uranium does not a bomb make. Having (uninspected) facilities to enrich Uranium is bad, but there's a leap from enriched Uranium to a bomb that will reliably go off. Just ask the Norks about that one. Furthermore, there's yet another step (that I'm sure SJS can also tell you about) to go from having a working bomb to mounting it on a reliable and effective delivery system. However, listening to their presentation, it made it sound like once Iran had the capability to enrich Uranium we would be one step away from having fully operational nukes mounted on IRBMs pointed straight at Israel.

Speaking of Israel, a discussion after class brought up another "tech matters" point. The discussion focused on the likelihood of Israel taking out the Iranian facilities before they got a chance to become operational. Most everyone thought that Israel would until I raised the point of if it was even technically possible for Israel to strike the facilities, taking into account a) can Israel physically get there to strike them, b) can they project enough force to reliably strike all the facilities, c) do they have the technical capability to strike buried and hardened Iranian facilities, and d) can they get good enough intel to be sure they are striking all the facilities. This certainly muddied the waters a bit.

Bottom line, tech matters, and it's a shame that it is often overlooked when discussing pol-mil strategy issues.


A summary:

President of SCCC: a campus should be no different, students who are licensed to carry elsewhere should be allowed to carry on campus, this could have ended any one of the massacres.

Victim: you don't know where the shooter is coming from, college students are all homicidal maniacs just waiting to snap, and you can't be sure you'll get him so why even bother.

President: .....

Victim: AK-47S AND UZIS!!!!


Like I said, ownage.

h/t: The Giant

Thursday, April 03, 2008


No longer the worst PTU in the U.S. Military:I can't WAIT to see the Navy schleps working out wearing these in the morning.

h/t: Bubblehead, who has a post full of snark that included this gem:
Mr. Carroll speaks the truth; the Navy wants to lead its Sailors from both the front and from the top. Anything else would be sodomy.
He speaks the truth.

South Park Imitates Real Life

In last night's South Park, one of the funnier bits was Butters' little "YouToob" video:

What you may not have known is that it was in fact based off of a real (albeit very tripped and f**ked up) YouTube video:

Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot? Be sure to check out the comments section, as it appears that South Park fans have found the video.

Speaking of Manly Stuff...

...check this site out. Pretty much everything you ever wanted to know about being a man, from writing a good love letter to grilling a steak, from financial frugality to proper wear of a hat, it's all there. Looks like I have a couple more things to add to my Man Budget.

Also, I think this article needs particular attention:

Why a Man Should Carry a Pocket Knife

How many times have you been in a situation where you’ve said to yourself, “Damn, a knife would be really handy now!” Here are a few instances when a pocket knife can come in handy or just make the simple things in life more enjoyable:

1. Opening a box.

2. Cutting rope, tags, and string.

3. Cutting an apple. I love eating an apple that I’ve cut with my pocket knife, slice by slice. You feel like a bad ass doing it. You hold the apple in your non-dominant hand and then make a slice with the knife using your dominant hand. After you make the slice, pinch it between your thumb and knife blade. Bring the blade to your mouth and deposit the apple slice.

4. Opening a letter. Sure, you could use your finger, but using a knife is just more manly.

5. Weapon. Not the most effective, but it’s better than nothing.

6. Camping. How else will you sharpen the point of a stick in preparation for stabbing your prey? And by prey I mean hot dog.

7. You never know when you’re going to have to MacGyver your way out of a crisis. Be prepared.

8. You need something to clench in your teeth when swinging from a rope.

Couldn't agree more. In fact, some would say that REAL men carry two.

h/t: Patrick

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Internet Commenter Funeral

Another one from the folks at College Humor:

Mid Week Rock, Awesome Rockin' Stealth Tits Edition

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

An Air Force at War

It's nice to see that there are USAF personnel out there getting in the fight in ways that don't involve the phrases "Creech AFB" or "In-Lieu-Of Taskings."


You're cleared for take-off
Air Force Special Operations Command combat controllers give a C-130 Hercules take off clearance and provide air traffic control during a mission to establish and assess an airfield March 15 at a forward deployed location in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jeremy T. Lock)

h/t: David Axe


No, seriously:
TRENTON, N.J. - Independent truckers around the country pulled their rigs off the road and others slowed to a crawl on major highways in a loosely organized protest of high fuel prices.

Some truckers, on CB radios and trucking Web sites, had called for a strike Tuesday to protest the high cost of diesel fuel, saying the action might pressure President Bush to stabilize prices by using the nation’s oil reserves. But the protests were scattered because major trucking companies were not on board and there did not appear to be any central coordination.

On New Jersey’s Turnpike, southbound rigs “as far as the eye can see” were moving at about 20 mph near Newark, said Turnpike Authority spokesman Joe Orlando. Other truckers had gathered at a service area near Newark chanting and protesting.

Man Budget

A portion of my budget every month is devoted to manly things. This could be anything from something as simple as some Break Free CLP and duct tape to a new knife. Items that qualify for inclusion on the man budget include: knives, duct tape, firearms, Break Free, beer, ammunition, tools, POWER tools, trips to the firing range, motor oil, first aid kits, Tuf-Cloth, flashlights, and about 50 other things. If it will help you do better in a man related activity (building things, shooting things, killing things, fixing things, being prepared, etc.) then it falls under the Man Budget.

This month's man budget purchase was a roll of duct tape, a tape measure, and a level. The duct tape was because I was almost out, while the tape measure and the level were as a result of going to work on the AFROTC float for VEISHEA and realizing that I did not have either of these essential pieces of equipment and that this was as good an excuse as any for purchasing them.

No one gets left behind


Staff Sgt. Matt Maupin's mother took a call from President Bush tonight extending his condolences after the Army identified the missing soldier's remains in Iraq.

Bush has met several times with the Maupins during the past four years and pledged to them that everything would be done to find out what had happened to their son after he was captured by insurgents on April 9, 2004.

Carolyn Maupin took the President's call on a cell phone at 9:45 p.m. behind the Yellow Ribbon Support Center in Batavia.

Carolyn Maupin's friend, June Izzi Bailey, said she was told the White House had just found out about the DNA match and called the family as quickly as possible.

Maupin's parents were notified earlier Sunday when a three-star general visited them and gave them the news, they said.

"Matt is coming home. He's completed his mission," his father, Keith Maupin, said.

Worth taking a moment to mention these folks, who are doing good work. Contrast that with this little discussion (h/t: In From the Cold):
On Wed., Mar. 6, Operation Anaconda hit a snag. A United States Navy Seal fell out of his helicopter over the Afghan mountains and was quickly dragged away by enemy forces. Risking their lives to save the body of their comrade, soldiers pursued the enemy fighters, eventually retrieving the body after a 12-hour chase. The victory, however, did not come without losses. By day's end, six American soldiers had been killed and 12 had been wounded.


"It never crossed any-body's mind [to debate the policy]. You're an eternal optimist. Even if there's one guy you can take back, then it's worth it to take back one," Golson said. "It's a code of ethics, a way of life. It's part of the culture of being in the military, that you are a cohesive unit. And you don't leave anyone behind."

Most professors, however, disagree with Golson's honor-based ethics, in which a body's recovery has value in and of itself, not simply because other individuals, such as family members, value its recovery.

"We care about objects we have histories with," Philosophy Professor Shelly Kagan explained. "Obviously you've been through a lot with your body. Even when the thing is broken, it still has some kind of emotional importance and value."

Adopting an essentially utilitarian position, Kagan pointed out that "in our culture there is some importance given to the possession of the body of a loved one." And insofar as the return of the body is important, to loved ones or others, the body should be rescued provided there is no risk to life. But if soldiers may be harmed in a recovery operation, Kagan advocates weighing the risk to the soldiers against the importance of recovering the body.

It goes on in that fashion for several paragraphs. I'm not sure if I've ever seen a better example of Ivory Tower syndrome. It's not that their logic is particularly flawed. They just don't "get it." It's not something that is questioned, it's not a matter of no one gets left behind, but only if we have to expend another 2 lives, or only if we can keep the expenses under $500,000. It goes without thinking and without saying.

No one gets left behind.