Thursday, January 29, 2009


It's been said that the best way to understand the actions of a bureaucracy is to assume that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies. There's something of that in this story:

The CIA's station chief at its sensitive post in Algeria is under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for allegedly raping at least two Muslim women who claim he laced their drinks with a knock-out drug, U.S. law enforcement sources tell ABC News.

The suspect in the case is identified as Andrew Warren in an affidavit for a search warrant filed in federal court in Washington, D.C. by an investigator for the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service.

A CIA station chief....RAPING MUSLIM WOMEN. If I was an al-Q propagandist, I really couldn't do any better than this. Whatever punishment they give this guy is entirely too good for him. I'd love to turn him loose in one of the seedier neighborhoods in Algiers or Cairo, or maybe southern Lebanon, or maybe even the FATA and just let things take their natural course.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mid Week Rock

Open Letter

To the idiot design professor (but of course I repeat myself):

The main hallways in the Armory are NOT in fact classrooms. Holding class and preventing any passage of others in that hallway not only inconveniences everyone else who uses the Armory, but poses a fire hazard. I suppose you really don't care about the inconvenience though, seeing as how your College has been inconveniencing ROTC cadets for 19 years and counting.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Just Because

Yes, that is in fact (at the time) U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft.

South Park Monday

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Bet

Given the subject matter of next week's BSG episode, what do you think the chances are that at some point at least one of the Adamas utters some derivative of the phrase, "Sometimes you have to roll a hard six"?

Saturday, January 24, 2009


If you're going to be a new officer sometime soon, you should probably read this. More than a few good lessons contained therein.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Seen in Ames

On a license plate:

BSG 75.

I think that might just be better than MANBRPG.

When the ATF pisses you off...

...just be glad you don't live in Canada. I'm doing some research on what, if any, of my firearms I will be able to take to Alaska with me (I'm planning on driving up there and would like to avoid shipping them if at all possible). Looks like I should be alright except for my AR, possibly my Carbine, mags for both the AR and the Carbine, and both my CZ and Sig handguns (no handguns with a barrel length under 4'' are permitted into Canada...the P225 has a barrel length of 3.9''). Of course, all firearms and ammunition will have to be locked up securely while in transport, but I expected that. It would probably be easier to just ship them all, but I don't like the idea of turning over a considerable investment to UPS or FedEx.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dien Bien Phu

Ever since reading Bernard Fall's Street Without Joy and Hell in a Very Small Place, I've been fascinated by the French experience in Indochina. In fact, I'm doing a research paper on the subject for a French history class I'm taking this semester. This fascination makes it all the more annoying that I have not yet been able to view this film:

A clip depicting the final fall of the fortress used to be on YouTube, but got pulled awhile ago.

Mid Week Rock least as long as we can keep printing money. After that...maybe you can't have everything you like.

Ew, that left a bad taste in my mouth...

That's better. Make sure to check out the live version of this song that's available in the related video list. The infamous Heat (who is a Major now apparently) makes an appearance.


As previously stated, the Carbine has been replaced by my CZ handgun as the home defense gun, at least temporarily until my Sig gets here. What's amusing is that prior to this, I had been keeping my handgun in the drawer of my desk away from my bed. I figured that the proper place for a home defense gun is as close to the bed as you can get (my Carbine had been leaning up against my desk about a foot away from my bed), so I moved the handgun to the other drawer. What's funny is that this drawer already contained my Ka-bar, as well as a few other knives. This drawer is now known as the "someone's breaking down the front door" drawer.

Although really, all of this stuff is for show because my roommate has a newly acquired 18'' barrel extended mag Remington 870.

Firearm PSA

Something to remember...when you are using a firearm, there are immense pressures being released inches from your face. Even a relatively low powered round, like .30 Carbine, can have a pressure of up to 40,000 psi. Always inspect your ammo, and think long and hard before you shoot non factory produced ammunition. My general rule of thumb is that I will only shoot handloads from someone I trust with my life, because that's in effect what you are doing.

If you are going to be stupid and shoot handloads from someone you don't know, you really shouldn't shoot them in a Garand, a firearm with a gas system that must use specific ammunition, so much so that even most standard commercial .30-06 ammo will cause damage to the rifle if fired in a Garand, abeit non-catastrophic damage.

What happens when you don't follow these simple rules?

You get to thank God you're only out a $1000 rifle and some pain in your hand.

Yes, that is in fact what's left of an M-1 Garand (Springfield Armory reproduction, thankfully, although they still used many USGI parts). You should really follow the link and read the whole thing, as the other pictures are even more incredible. The force of the explosion was enough to blow sections of the handguard 35 feet to both sides of the shooter.

Monday, January 19, 2009

South Park Monday

A look back...

Ha ha ha, he died like a pig.

Beauuutiful money, ha ha!

And a look forward...

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Dos Gringos are getting back together for a benefit concert in Las Vegas on 30 Jan. I know I've got at least one guy from the Vegas area who occasionally reads the blog who might be interested in attending, so if you're in the area, you should go.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Range Report

Hit the Ikes range today (going to get a membership there soon) with a few friends. Took the Carbine out and put a few rounds through it, as did some of the friends. She worked fine as always. Also got to shoot one of the friends' XD-9, which was enjoyable. As previously stated whenever I get around buying a new manufacture handgun an XD will be at the top of the list, although probably in .40.

More exciting was shooting my CZ vz.82. Initial impressions are very good. Trigger pull in SA was crisp and fairly short. DA was an eternity, but given the fact that it has an external safety and no decocker, carrying cocked and locked would seem to be the best option anyway. Grip feel was acceptable, but could be much improved with some quality wooden grips. The plastic ones are more than a little chintzy. Probably going to be heading here for those. Only one FTF; it occurred with the Sellier and Bellot ammo. However, I think this was a fluke, and in any case this will be the ammo I choose to use as the Silver Bear stuff seemed to give the gun a much sharper recoil. While I'm sure part of this was the fact that my hands were frozen by the point I started shooting that ammo, the cold can't explain the fact that sparks would occasionally fly out of the ejection port as the gun ejected the spent shell. This is probably a combination of the blowback action (no delay between cartridge firing and the slide separating from the barrel) and some poor quality powder. Regardless, this didn't occur with either of the other two manufacturers I fired and occurred more than once with the Silver Bear. The 25 Hornady XTP JHPs that I put through fed without a hitch. While 9x18 Makarov isn't the best choice for a personal defense round, it's better than using .30 Carbine and will do for now until I get my Sig P225 in 9mm Luger.

Most exciting, though, was getting to shoot my friend Patrick's Nagant 91/59. For those of you that don't know, the Nagant was the standard Russian/Soviet battle rifle from, as you might have guessed, 1891 until right around WWII. However, it continued to serve around the world after WWII. One of the most interesting variants is the 91/59, which has a carbine length barrel. What makes the 91/59 interesting is that unlike the purpose built Nagant carbines, the 91/59 was manufactured from cutting down a full length 91/30. 7.62x54R is a man's round if you are shooting it from a full size rifle. Shooting it from a carbine borders on the insane. I shot around 10 rounds out of it today and my shoulder is still feeling it. I can honestly say that the carbine length Nagants kick like mules. The other interesting thing about the carbine length Nagants is that firing a round from a barrel shorter than it was originally designed for means there is a lot of unburnt powder still behind the bullet when it exits the barrel. As you might expect, this powder becomes a fireball that projects a few feet beyond the end of the barrel, which is visible even when shooting in broad daylight. If you haven't yet experienced a carbine length Nagant, I highly recommend it.

Best. Movie. Ever.

I know there's at least one reader that will appreciate this:
h/t: x-planes

Friday, January 16, 2009

Fun with Bureaucracy

I think the people in the ISU bureaucracy may be some of the stupidest on the face of the planet. I was given the task of revising the constitution of the AFROTC student organization on campus (we have a "separate" student organization that is university affiliated so we can get the benefits of being a stuorg). It is no different than the cadet wing associated with AFROTC Det. 250, it's just a technicality paperwork thing to get us benefits.

Anyway, the constitution needed to be revised in order to fully comply with ISU rules regarding stuorgs. To start off, one of the issues was that the name of the organization was not listed. Having "Air Force ROTC Constitution" at the top of the document wasn't a clue? To deal with this stupidity I included the following sentences:

"As stated two lines above, the name of this organization is "Air Force ROTC." In case you didn't catch it the first time, the name of this organization is "Air Force ROTC."

The next stupidity I had to deal with was adding a section extolling our desire to fully comply with all ISU rules and regulations. Fair enough, but I felt compelled to add the following at the end of that sentence: "...and any other arcane bureaucracy that is foisted on us."

We are apparently required to provide for the election of stuorg officers. Since it is a military related organization, there are obviously no elections. However, in that section I did include what happens in case of a coup or insurrection.

Finally, I was required to add a section providing descriptions for the officer positions. To the wing commander position I added "Also generally acts like a bad dude." The treasurer is described as "the master of treasure." My favorite was the description of my position, the IG. As soon as the new constitution is approved, I am authorized to "engage in skullduggery and shenanigans as required."


The radio show has changed time slots. The show is on from 1600-1800 CST, I'll be on during the political portion of the show, which is 1700-1800. Like before, the show can be listened to in the Ames area on 88.5 FM or via webcast, which can be found at the station website.

EDIT: Forgot to add, the show is on Fridays now.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Really Cold, Part Deux

At the moment it is currently SIXTY-ONE degrees colder here in Ames than it is in Anchorage. 56 degrees colder here than it is in Fairbanks. To be fair, they are in the middle of a chinook, but still...sixty-one degrees? While we're making the rounds of places that should be colder than Ames but aren't, Fargo is currently at -22 compared to our -27.

Go ugly early?

Who said the A-10 isn't a beautiful bird?

h/t: x planes. There's a few other cool ones like this over there, including one featuring a P-40 AND a Garand.

Pluses and Minuses

Number of times "Diversity" appears in the NROTC classroom: 1

Number of times "Diversity" appears in the AFROTC classroom: 0

Number of times beer pong has been used as an educational example in the NROTC Naval Weapons class: 1

Number of times beer pong has been used as an education example in any of the AFROTC classes I've taken: 0.

Like I said, pluses and minuses.

Mid Week (Folk) Rock

Not quite rock, and I've posted it before, but it is a funny song...and topical too. It is definitely NOT hot in here. How cold is it?

Cold enough that the air is so dense that I could hear a train like I was standing right next to the Armory. Usually all you can hear at that distance is the horn and maybe a rumbling. I could hear every clank of the cars. Cold enough that grabbing an outside door handle with bare skin for the second it takes to open the door results in your hand hurting for 5 minutes.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Intelligent Humor

First, this video satiring a popular Econ textbook:

Next, this report on the comparative efficiency of Bon Scott vs Brian Johnson.

Both these come from this NYT story on stand-up economists, including one from ISU.

Monday, January 12, 2009

South Park Monday

Going back to school makes me a saaaaaad panda.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Need to find a way to watch this

Anyone wanna let me borrow some HBO sometime in February?

If you aren't familiar with the true story the film is based upon, check this out.

A few of the comments I was reading on another story about the movie disparaged it for being cliche and overly melodramatic, which, if it was purely a work of fiction, would be completely correct. The difference is that this is based on a true story, and not an isolated one at that. This happens every time a service member is KIA. It's nice to see the story finally getting told on film.

h/t: The CDR

Thursday, January 08, 2009


Why does the USAF have XXXL PT t-shirts? Height/weight standards anyone?

While we're asking rhetorical questions, why is there what I think is a search and rescue dog running around the Armory?

UPDATE: Now the dog is barking and I can hear the trainer talking to it...must be doing training or something. Nice looking border collie.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


The USAF FINALLY has a web presence outside of their official .mil site. The ones I think are the most significant are the official USAF blog, Air Force Live, the official USAF YouTube Channel, AF Blue Tube, and the official USAF twitter site, AFPAA. First, a big BZ to Capt. Faggard and his team for getting this project up and running. As George Smiley at In From the Cold notes, this is a sea change in AF thinking (if not a complete 180 degree shift). We're not quite all the way there, thanks to the idiotic filtering that prevents the viewing of any sort of blog from USAF computers. I won't discuss that any further other than to again state that it is an idiotic policy.

What I do want to discuss more in depth is something that Galrahn over at the USNI Blog brought up, which is the complete lack of a USAF blogosphere. While there are a fair number of active and retired USAF personnel who blog (the least of which would be myself), there are two important distinctions between this group and the Naval blogging network. First, the Naval side of things is an actual network. There is communication between the various writers, both on and off the blogs. On the USAF side of things that really doesn't exist, with a few very low order exceptions. Second, the Naval side of things actually seriously discusses matters of importance to Naval policy. With the exception of In From the Cold, ELP and (VERY occasionally) myself, I'm not aware of any active or retired personnel discussing issues of policy in depth. There are the industry reporters, like Danger Room, Ares, and David Axe over at War is Boring; these fill a related but distinct niche.

The full point that Galrahn brought up is that since the USAF blogosphere is, to use his words, "non-existent," the USAF PA folks are forced into trying to jumpstart one. This will dovetail with a point that George Smiley made which was that the effort by Capt. Faggard and his team has so far consisted largely of repeating canned stuff put out by the PA establishment that has already been released via the service's official .mil page and that it appears unlikely that they would be able to tackle a controversial subject, such as the recent nuclear troubles at Minot. Obviously if a blog (or a blogosphere, for that matter) does nothing other than repeat official .mil reporting, it serves no purpose. As I see it, there are three main ways in which less official new media can compliment the official .mil stuff.

First, new media provides a more personable way to communicate, leading to more personal stories, such as this account of a USAF combat photographer who at the site of a bombing in Sadr city which killed six coalition personnel, this series of stories from a flight surgeon assigned to Operation Deep Freeze, this story of a 1st Lt. teaching English in Korea, this video of fast roping from a CV-22, or this video of a mock commendation awarded to an airman for sacrificing his foot to save another airman's TV. By the way, the Operation Deep Freeze and teaching English stories come from PACAF's official blog, which isn't too shabby either. The point about these stories is that to my knowledge, none of them were disseminated through official .mil channels and that they provide a more personal look at USAF personnel, which is always a good thing when you are trying to connect with people.

Second, new media provides much more interaction, meaning you can communicate WITH your audience instead of TO it. This might seem like semantics, but it really is an important distinction. By themselves, Information Dissemination, CDR Salamander, or any of the other Naval blogosphere members would not be nearly as informative and useful as they are together and, more importantly, with their stable of regular commenters. AF Live has done this a little bit; I've seen Capt. Faggard comment on a few of the posts at other sites about some of the stuff his team is doing, but more could be done. Encouraging an actual conversation, by putting a post up on AF Live that is about a post elsewhere discussing something USAF related (bonus points if it talks about AF Live directly), would be a good way to start. Aim Points gets this half right, as it links to and provides outside perspectives (including blogs in the mix). The trick for AF Live will be to provide a commentary at their own place directed back towards the authors of the outside piece.

Third, new media provides a way for discussion of issues outside of official dissemination channels. This is most often referenced in regard to controversial issues, issues that official channels won't touch or cover very cursorily. (Minot, the other nuke troubles, and Maj. Jill Metzger immediately come to mind.) Here the AF effort has a larger struggle, as it seems unlikely that the official blog of the AF would be able to call for the resignation of leadership in the wake of a scandal, as other more unofficial blogs have done. However, there is still a role for an official blog to play here, albeit a more indirect one. By encouraging communication among (and growth of) USAF focused blogs, AF Live can indirectly effect this type of discussion of controversial issues. They can also affect it more directly by linking to posts discussing these issues in a professional manner. Linking to something and pointing out that it is interesting and bears a look does not necessarily confer absolute approval. Obviously this third way will be the most dependent on the level of approval from the brass and top cover from superiors, but there are still ways to make it work.

Overall, I feel that AF Live (and the other official AF new media efforts) are doing fairly well on the first point, although they could use more of those stories and less of the canned PA pieces, starting on the second, with more involvement from them this could be a good area, and nonexistent on the third, although to be fair this is going to be the toughest nut to crack. To be honest I'm just happy that the USAF has finally embraced new media instead of shunning it. I'll be very interested to see where Capt. Faggard and his team take this.

Quote of the Day

Comes from this USA Today story on DoD involvement with the new Transformers movie (thus providing the only reason to see the movie: lots of military hardware):

"Plausibility!" Bishop bellows. "It has to be realistic!"

Army Sgt. Matt Hibbert, holding a prop sniper rifle, calls down: "But sir, this is Hollywood! I'm shooting at invisible aliens and firing a gun that never runs out of ammo!"

Bishop bursts out laughing and lets him stay.

h/t: the AFPAA twitter (more on that later).

Mid Week Rock, Beginning of School/Milestone Edition

First, a song to try and get me psyched up for the can't grow up in NE and not get psyched up by this song. Even if you hate the Huskers (as I do) this particular part of the brainwashing to join the cult is too strong for anyone to resist.

Second, this is the thousandth post I've put up, so...

Thanks for reading! (The whole three of you...)

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Black Eye

Thanks ignorant fearful hicks. You've just furthered the meme that all Americans are exactly like you. Comparing Arabic to committing bank robbery is quite intelligent. I'm sure that will really make our foreign policy efforts in certain parts of the world much easier.

Support the troops? Care about the security of America? Don't make the job harder by being a stupid bigot.

(Belated) South Park Monday

It was on the other night, an oldie but a goodie:

Monday, January 05, 2009

(Educational) Time Wasters

If you've got some time to kill, Google's Authors@Google series is a good (and educating) time waster. (h/t: Chris) Two I've enjoyed so far are Christopher Hitchens:

And Randall Munroe (if you aren't reading xkcd you should be):