Saturday, March 31, 2007

Alec Baldwin: Forgiven?

Devoted anti-Bush celebrity Alec Baldwin became infamous for his claim that he'd leave the country if George Bush got elected, earning him the enmity of the right.

Yesterday, the news broke that he was personally bankrolling a soldier's college education.
Baldwin was so moved by a March 4 New York Times story about Pvt. Resha Kane's last day with family and friends before going for training to prepare for serving in Iraq that he — not his people — tracked down Kane's mother at a discount store where she works to offer his assistance, his spokesman said.

[ ... ]

Hiltzik said the actor would meet the Kane family in Mohave Valley and give them a check, which will be in addition to the $37,000 the Army will give Kane for college. A date for the meeting will be decided next week, he said.

Although Baldwin, 48, has been a vocal critic against the war in Iraq, Hiltzik said supporting the troops who are fighting there is important to the actor.

[ ... ]

Kane, a chemical operations specialist in the Army, said she wants to be a biochemist but is not sure what university she wants to attend once she leaves the military in three years.
I see one of three possibilities here:
  1. Simple PR stunt
  2. Baldwin believes John Kerry and Charlie Rangel when they say our soldiers are only in the Army because they're dumb
  3. A sincere, heartfelt gesture from someone who genuinely supports the troops

Friday, March 30, 2007

Ro, Ro,'s time for you to go!

Hopefully the catchy little chant that makes up the title of this post will catch on. Rosie O'Donnell went way over the top yesterday on The View, and it's time for ABC to kick her considerable ass to the curb.

I think it's time for a boycott of products and services advertised on The View. I was poking around on the 'net this morning to see if I could find anything that might give a list of the show's advertisers, but came up empty. I'm trying to avoid actually watching the show and taking note of all the commercials, but I'd prefer not to if at all possible. I suppose there's always the mute switch.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

121 House Democrats hate John Doe

After it was reported that the six flying (non-flying) imams who were booted off a US Airways flight planned on suing not only the airline but the "John Does" who'd reported their suspicious behavior, a measure was introduced in the House to protect private citizens against such suits.

The Good: The measure passed today.
The Bad: 121 members of the House voted against it.
The Ugly: Every single one of the no votes came from Democrats.

Aren't you glad voters gave them the majority last November?

Hat tip: Hot Air

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Thailand's 'shadow war'

There's a great article in today's London Times about the quiet war being waged in Thailand by Islamists against, well, pretty much everyone in southern Thailand.
IT IS the shoes of the murdered bus passengers that everyone remembers. Nine corpses, nine sets of footwear — a girl’s plastic sandals, a boy’s trainers and clean white socks, a woman’s sensible casuals — all lined up by the jungle roadside.

The scene marked another grim milestone in an insurgency that has torn apart Thailand’s three majority Muslim provinces for the past three years.

First, the attackers threw a grenade to stop the minibus. Then they shot dead the passengers, one by one. Only the driver survived. The executioners heard him gabbling to Allah for forgiveness, realised he was not a Buddhist and spared him.
That's not to say that all Muslims are safe there:
“Even a Muslim like me is better off back in the city and off the roads by 3pm,” said the manager of a hotel in which I was the only guest. “And I do not advise you as a foreigner to go out after dark.”

Yet statistics show that almost half the victims are Muslim. This is also a war within a war to dominate the Islamic community. Moderates risk threats and ostracism. Informers and collaborators with the Thai state are doomed.

Three schoolboys died the other week when grenades were thrown into their playground. The message, say analysts, is: Muslim youth should get out of schools run by the Thai government and attend private Islamic foundations often run by Thais trained in the Middle East.
Unfortunately, the prognosis for Thailand looks pretty grim:
“The coup leaders continue to ask the wrong questions and refuse to take the conflict for what it is — an Islamic insurgency,” said Professor Zachary Abuza of Simmons College, Boston, the leading foreign expert on the struggle. “Many Thais think it’s only about poverty and social justice,” he added.

[ ... ]

There remains little or no documentary evidence of global links, although a lone Arabic website has made its debut extolling the jihad in southern Thailand. Perhaps the greatest mystery is why the militants have stayed on their home ground, refraining from attacks on Thailand’s multi-billion-pound tourist industry.

In an ominous development, however, military intelligence officers recently disclosed that they had picked up two surveillance teams of suspected extremists in Bangkok and Phuket within the past 18 months.

“This is a downward spiral,” said Abuza, “and it could be just a matter of time.”

Religion of opportunity

Apparently discouraged and looking for easier targets, Sunni Islamic militants from Iraq are reported to be pouring into Lebanon.
Sunni militants are moving into Lebanon from Iraq because they regard it as a soft target for terrorist attacks, a British government minister has warned.

Several cells, each with up to 12 members, are said to be operating out of the Palestinian refugee camp of Ein el-Hilweh in the southern Lebanese city of Sidon.

Kim Howells, the Foreign Office minister, spoke out about the danger posed by the emergence of new Sunni jihadists in Palestinian camps after a briefing by the commander of the 12,000-strong United Nations peacekeeping force.

"Some very dangerous people have arrived here, from Iraq and other countries, who are seasoned jihadists and who sense that they might get an easier ride here - and there might be softer targets for them in Lebanon," Mr Howells said.
Oh, and just in case you're getting the idea that these Sunni militants are going to Lebanon because western imperialists are propping up a secular puppet government:
Amid Lebanon's worst political crisis since the 1975-90 civil war, there is a growing gulf between the Shia-led opposition movement, spearheaded by Iranian-backed Hezbollah, and the western-backed, Sunni-led government.
So much for the notion that American and British policies are the root causes of terrorism...these animals just like to kill.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Mohammed cartoon editor to receive award

Flemming Rose, the Jyllands-Posten editor who decided to proceed with publication of the Mohammed cartoons that triggered the Great Cartoon Jihad, is to be presented with a freedom of the press award.
Flemming Rose was named as the first winner of the annual Sappho Prize Monday for his 'uncompromising' attitude during the 2005-2006 Mohammed cartoon affair.

The award, according to the citation, goes to a 'journalist who combines excellence in his work with courage and a refusal to compromise'.
How appropriate.

Rosie O'Donnell, Charlie Sheen team up on 9/11 movie

I see moonbats...they're everywhere. Walking around like regular people.
They only see what they want to see. They don't know they're moonbats.

I've previously commented on the 9/11 fantasy nuttiness of Charlie Sheen and Rosie O'Donnell here. Well, it looks like Charlie and Rosie are going to combine their nuttiness in an attempt to bring nuttiness to new heights.
A controversial new film about 9/11 is raising eyebrows, not only for its content, but also for the people involved in the project: Rosie O'Donnell and Charlie Sheen.

The sitcom actor and talk show hostess have both become spokespeople for the 9/11 conspiracy movement.

"If the government is lying about flight 93, is it hard to believe the rest is a lie?" That line can be heard on the video "Loose Change," which has been floating around the Internet for years, but now Sheen is in talks with Magnolia Pictures to narrate a new version of the video and redistribute it.

Sheen believes the government may have been behind the attacks, and said so in a recent interview.

"I have a hard time believing a fireball traveled down the elevator over 1100 feet, and still had the explosive energy to destroy the lobby as it was described," Sheen said on "The Alex Jones Show."

Meanwhile, O'Donnell has been using her Web site to reprint excerpts from the 9/11 conspiracy site,
I just don't get it. How does this insanity of 9/11 conspiracy theories persist in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary? What do these guys do when someone like Khalid Sheik Mohammed stands up and says he planned it? Cover their ears and sing "la-la-la, I can't hear you!"? The only thing I can think of is that it's Bush Derangement Syndrome in its most advanced stages. Their hatred for Bush is so powerful and their grip on reality already so tenuous that these barking moonbats can't be persuaded by simple facts.

But there may be a silver lining to all this. If the American public is as well-grounded as I think they are, this is career suicide for both of these two whack jobs. Rosie will lose her job on The View, and Charlie won't be able to find work anywhere in Hollywood.

I'm going to miss Two And A Half Men...I kind of like that show.

Friday, March 23, 2007


Hot Air's got a good pictorial on what happens when we let the Democrats control military budget and policy.

He feels pretty

I think this might be from the '04 race and not something recent. But there's no reason to believe anything's changed.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

We have questions vis-a-vis your visa

I've got a couple of overseas business trips coming up and I'm in the process of getting visa paperwork together for those countries that require them. Having looked at the visa application forms from several countries, they're all pretty straight forward and the questions aren't particularly unusual. Not so for Russia. Here's a sampling of actual questions on the Russian visa application form:
  • Who will pay for your trip to and stay in Russia?
  • Have you ever lost your passport or had one stolen?
  • List all countries you have visited in the last 10 years and indicate the year of visit.
  • List your last two places of work, excluding the current one.
  • List all educational institutions you have ever attended, except high schools. (The accompanying blanks on the form demand name, address and phone number of institution, course of study and dates of admission and graduation.)
  • List all professional, civil and charity organizations which you are (were) a member of, or contribute (contributed) to, or work (worked) with.
  • Do you have any specialized skill, training or experience related to firearms or explosives, or to nuclear, biological or chemical activities?
  • Have you ever performed military service? If yes, indicate country, branch of service, rank, military occupation and dates of service.
  • Have you ever been involved in an armed conflict, either as a member of the military service or a victim?
And, under the heading of keeping out "categories defined under the law as being undesirable":
  • Have you ever been sick with a communicable disease of risk to the public or suffered a dangerous physical or mental disorder?
  • Have you ever abused drugs or been a drug addict?
How much you wanna bet this is the same form the old Soviet Union used? Commies suck...even "reformed" ones.

Saudi life laid bare

It's been a while since a "Saudi life laid bare" post, so here's one with a couple of articles, "cherrypicked" if you will, from Arab News.
Boy Left in Hospital With No Support
Arab News

MADINAH, 22 March 2007 — A boy was kept in hospital for two weeks without a single visit by any of his family members, a local newspaper reported yesterday.

His father was too busy with his three wives to visit the boy whose age was not disclosed.

The boy had gained sympathy of doctors and the whole hospital staff who said they couldn’t think of a logical reason for his family’s negligence. “They never respond to our calls,” said Dr. Mutawakel Hajjaj, who works at the hospital.

The report didn’t name the hospital, nor did it say for what the child was being treated. It mentioned that the child is being treated for some kind of “accident”.

The report said the child has been despondent and hospital workers have contacted the father who has told them he would visit but has not.

“We consider the kid’s problem personally, we do our best to cheer him up,” the paper quoted a nurse as saying.

The nurse also said she would move the boy to a ladies-only ward if his mother offered to spend time with him as he is receiving treatment.

Maid Murdered by Employer’s Wife
Arab News

JIZAN, 22 March 2007 — A maid died in a hospital in Jizan after being brought there by her sponsor [An indicator that the maid was probably an immigrant, i.e., non-Muslim --ed.] , whose wife had assaulted her. The man’s wife, who is a teacher, had been continuously torturing the maid by beating her, locking her up and burning her. The maid fell critically ill and died when her sponsor brought her to hospital. Police arrested the couple. The wife admitted committing the assaults and claimed that the maid had not been doing her job properly for the past few months.
Just another day in the Kingdom.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

German sharia watch

A judge in Germany has denied a battered woman's petition for an expedited divorce, citing a Koranic verse allowing husbands to beat their wives.
He beat her and threatened her with murder. But because husband and wife were both from Morocco, a German divorce court judge saw no cause for alarm. It's a religion thing, she argued.

The case seems simply too strange to be true. A 26-year-old mother of two wanted to free herself from what had become a miserable and abusive marriage. The police had even been called to their apartment to separate the two -- both of Moroccan origin -- after her husband got violent in May 2006. The husband was forced to move out, but the terror continued: Even after they separated, the spurned husband threatened to kill his wife.

A quick divorce seemed to be the only solution -- the 26-year-old was unwilling to wait the year between separation and divorce mandated by German law. She hoped that as soon as they were no longer married, her husband would leave her alone. Her lawyer, Barbara Becker-Rojczyk agreed and she filed for immediate divorce with a Frankfurt court last October. They both felt that the domestic violence and death threats easily fulfilled the "hardship" criteria necessary for such an accelerated split.

In January, though, a letter arrived from the judge adjudicating the case. The judge rejected the application for a speedy divorce by referring to a passage in the Koran that some have controversially interpreted to mean that a husband can beat his wife. It's a supposed right which is the subject of intense debate among Muslim scholars and clerics alike."The exercise of the right to castigate does not fulfill the hardship criteria as defined by Paragraph 1565 (of German federal law)," the daily Frankfurter Rundschau quoted the judge's letter as saying. It must be taken into account, the judge argued, that both man and wife have Moroccan backgrounds.
But it may not be as bad as it seems:
But the judge who heard the case may have to face further consequences for her decision. On Wednesday, numerous politicians in Berlin voiced their horror at the verdict -- and demanded disciplinary action against the judge.

Poolbar banned in China!

Well, actually, it would appear that all blogspot addresses are banned in China.

My brother alerted me to a site that will test a URL to see if it's blocked in China, and said "Good going!" because it reported this blog as being blocked.

So I poked around a bit, and it appears that China is now blocking all blogspot addresses. I checked a pretty fair number of random and not-so-random blogspot blogs, and every single one was banned. Several of these were non-English blogs that didn't appear to have anything political to say.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Airbus now able to kill passengers in record numbers

The Airbus A-380: Able to kill in one crash the number of people it takes lesser aircraft four crashes to kill!

As a frequent business traveler, I try to pay attention to what goes on in the aviation industry. When a major aircraft manufacturer starts delivering a new airplane to the carriers, it's a pretty major event, even if that airplane isn't of the same mammoth scale as the new Airbus A-380.

The A-380 seats something like 550 people. The current leader in seats is the Boeing 747, which at less than 400, doesn't come close. Most of the larger passenger liners, such as the Boeing 777 and Airbus A-340 have less than half the capacity of the A-380.

I'm not a great fan of Airbus products. Oh, sure...for the passenger they're nicely appointed, comfortable, etc. But there's a bit of a spotty record with Airbus products.

First, there was the mishap at an airshow in France in 1988 in which the first digital fly-by-wire A-320 descended into the trees during a low altitude, low speed fly-by. There are rumors that the control system decided the airplane was in landing profile and proceeded to land in the trees despite the pilot trying to convince it otherwise. The frightening result can be viewed here. After viewing that video, you'll be astonished to know that only three of the 136 people aboard died.

Then there's American Airlines flight 587. This Airbus A-300 departed New York's JFK airport minutes after a Japan Airlines 747. In the wake turbulence, the Airbus started to yaw and the cockpit crew tried to correct with some hard rudder input. The result of this heavy rudder input was the separation of the rudder along with the vertical stabilizer from the rest of the aircraft. All 260 of the passengers and crew on board, plus five on the ground, were killed. And what was the finding from Airbus? Pilot error. Excessive rudder input.

I wonder what kind of wake turbulence an A-380 will produce. There'll probably be a 15 minute wait period for smaller aircraft to depart behind one of these behemoths.

I fly a lot. My carrier of choice is Delta, not because they're all that, but because they fly no Airbus products. I'm hoping they'll stay that way.

Shocker: Immigrants not integrating well in Denmark

I missed this piece in Jyllands-Posten last week while I was traveling. The second paragraph is good for a chuckle:
While ethnic Danes and immigrants hold the same ground when it comes to questions of democracy and freedom of speech [Doubtful...Danish Mohammed cartoons, anyone? --ed.], the two groups are still worlds apart on issues such as homosexuality and gender equality, according to a government survey released Monday.
Gee, d'ya think?

The article goes on:
When asked about their views of homosexuality, 76 percent of Danish men and 89 percent of Danish women said it was 'acceptable'. Amongst immigrant groups, 59 percent of Iranian men and 52 percent of Iranian women agreed. For Danish with a Turkish heritage, 8 percent of men and 10 percent of women said it was acceptable.
At first the large percentage of Iranians that viewed homosexuality as 'acceptable' surprised me, until I recalled that a huge number of Iranians emigrated from Iran specifically because of their distaste for the Islamic theocracy there.

As for future generations of immigrants:
The responses varied only slightly for the children of immigrants, leading Erik Bonnerup, the leader of the Think Tank, to suggest that simply assuming that the group would integrate itself had been misguided. He said the figures revealed the need for a new approach.

[ ... ]

Children of immigrants tended to be more religious than their parents [This isn't unique to Denmark --ed.] , but the report said that was often a reaction to Danish youth culture, which young non-ethnic Danes often felt was filled with parties, alcohol and sex.
Amazingly, the writer managed to avoid using the words Islam and Muslim throughout the article.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Valerie Plame-Wilson-Ratched

I can tell this is Valerie Plame, because I'm pretty sure
Nurse Ratched never testified before Congress

It occurred to me while reading some of the many blogs and news sites that featured pictures of Valerie Plame that she looked an awful lot like Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.

And this one is Nurse Ratched...I can tell because of
the funny hat. Or wait...maybe Joe Wilson has a nurse fantasy...

Lost weekend

I really do love my job, but sometimes it's a bit of an ass-ache. I had to go to the west coast for work this week with plans to return on Thursday. I was looking forward to going up to DC Saturday morning for the Gathering of Eagles counter-demonstration, and then maybe get back home in time to go out for some St. Patrick's day festivities.

But as they say, no plan ever survives contact with the enemy. I ended up not being able to get out of San Jose until Saturday morning, effectively spiking my plans for GoE, but with a 5PM ETA, my vague St. Paddy's day plans were relatively intact. Well, my connecting flight from Atlanta was over an hour late getting out, and then half way to Richmond the pilot announced he was turning back to Atlanta due to a cabin pressure problem.

I ended up not getting home until well after 10PM. Thanks, Delta.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Rosie O'Donnell is insane

Being a leftist is fine. Being an ugly leftist is fine. Being a fat, ugly leftist is fine. Being a stupid, fat, ugly leftist is fine. Being an insane, stupid, fat, ugly leftist is fine.

Being an insane, stupid, fat, ugly leftist with a forum on national television is most definitely NOT fine.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


A buddy of mine sent me a link to this video. It's a beautiful tribute to veterans.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Global Swindle

In case you haven't caught it yet, UK Channel 4's The Great Global Warming Swindle is a fascinating show. Here's a link to it at Little Green Footballs. It's over an hour long, but for cryin' out loud, watch it.

For the longest time, I was convinced that there was at least a shred of truth to the anthropogenic global warming scare. Now I'm reasonably sure that the whole thing is a crock of shit.

My big takeaways were:
  • In Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, Gore describes the relationship between CO2 and global temperatures as "complex" when discussing ice core samples taken to study CO2 levels for known periods of elevated global temperatures. One of those "complexities" is that in previous warming cycles, the elevated CO2 levels were preceded by elevated temperatures. In other words, global warming causes elevated CO2 levels, not the other way around.
  • CO2 makes up something like 0.54% (or maybe it was .054%) of atmospheric gases. The percentage of that CO2 that's man-made is negligible. Think on that for a bit.
  • Cosmic rays, solar wind, clouds. This simple explanation for global climate change makes the greenhouse effect theory look like a Rube Goldberg scheme.
  • Maggie Thatcher's unintended consequences in trying to promote nuclear energy and break the coal miner's strike in a single blow.
Essentially, global warming is now a multi-billion dollar industry upon which the academic reputations of many scientists now depends. The genius of getting into this business as a scientist is that you can milk it your whole life because by the time you're proven wrong, you'll be dead.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Lawyers gone wild

Pakistani lawyers protest judge's firing.

I know that somewhere there's a great joke here. I mean, c''s not every day you see lawyers rioting. Not even in Pakistan.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

A tribute to Warthogs

No, not that kind...this kind:

The A-10A Thunderbolt II, better known as the Warthog. This one's gettin' her freak on with her 30mm cannon.

The A-10 entered service with the US Air Force around 1978 or so. When I enlisted in the Connecticut Air National Guard's 103 Tactical Fighter Group in 1977, we were still flying the F-100 Super Sabre, a late '50s era super sonic fighter-bomber. But it had already been announced that we'd be converting to the brand-spankin' new A-10.

A Connecticut A-10 in special 80th anniversary paint scheme

Of my 27 years in the USAF and ANG, about 20 were spent in A-10 units. I spent the first 14 years of my career with the 103rd Fighter Group in East Granby, Connecticut and much of my last eight years with the 175th Wing near Baltimore, Maryland. Both are, as of this writing, still A-10 outfits, though sadly, the 103rd doesn't look like it's long for the A-10 mission. As a result of my association with these two units, even though I was a comm-computer geek for nearly all my military life, I've got a deep affection for this ugly airplane.

An A-10 from the 175th near Baltimore

The first time I saw an A-10 hard at work was some time in the mid or late '80s at the tactical air to ground range at Fort Drum in upstate New York. We were holding a home station exercise over a drill weekend, but in the Comm Squadron, we were "non-players", meaning we had no part in the exercise. Instead, a few of us were asked to help out with "threat simulation" at the air-ground range. So on Friday morning, we hopped on our unit's small plane (a C-12) and flew up to Ft. Drum.
An MDANG A-10 unit patch

Since the exercise wouldn't start until Saturday morning, we spent Friday afternoon at the range learning what "threat simulators" do. It turned out to be pretty cool. The guys at the range were a motley crew from the 174th Fighter Wing, NYANG. They'd rigged up on a small trailer an old government issue swivel chair, some angle iron and a threat emitter from the ECM (electronic counter measures) shop that was used to test the radar warning receivers for fighter airplanes. The result was that the operator could sit in the chair and aim the emitter at airplanes as they were inbound to the target. This would light up the radar warning receiver in the cockpit, forcing the pilot to react. With evaluators on the ground recording the pilots' reactions, they couldn't just shrug it off and attack the target.

Another squadron's somewhat less PC version of the patch.
I'm willing to bet these are no longer authorized for wear.

The next thing we got to play with were the Smokey SAMs. These were very cool. On a four station launcher sat four solid fueled rockets about a foot high. As an A-10 came in to attack the target, we could launch one or two of these babies into the air, and all the pilot could see was a thick column of smoke coming up to meet him. This was another threat simulation in that it was a visual cue for the pilot to react to, generally by breaking hard left or right and pumping out simulated chaff and flare, which (if I recall correctly) were called Smokey Devils. These were little plastic canisters that trailed yellow smoke so that an evaluator on the ground could see that the evasive measures were taken.

Smokey SAM: Pyromania!

On Saturday, the fun started. The forward air controller signaled to me that he'd just cleared the first bird onto the target. We'd agreed in advance that the first one would be allowed in unmolested. I saw the A-10 come up over the line of trees behind us at an altitude of maybe 200 feet. Before I could register what was happening, I saw the smoke pour from the nose of the airplane, and at about the same time the smoke stopped, I heard the burst from the cannon. I don't mind saying that I nearly crapped my pants. Keep in mind that we were positioned on the ground between the A-10 and its target...not pleasant at first but way cool after the first few passes. I was hooked; a 'hog lover for life.

The A-10 is unique among fighter aircraft. It was the first airplane, and the only one to date as far as I know, to be designed specifically for the close air support, or CAS, mission. While it has a well-deserved reputation as a tank killer, it's raison d'etre is CAS, a mission in which killing tanks is just one facet. I come from an old school of thought that believes the whole reason we have all this awesome flying, floating and orbiting hardware is to help grunts on the ground gain and hold ground.

A patch from the NYANG's 174th Fighter Wing near Syracuse, New York.
The guys at the air-ground range gave me a t-shirt with this graphic on it.

The A-10 was designed with one simple goal in mind: kick the bad guys' asses so our guys don't get theirs kicked. To that end, it was built so that it could take the punishment that comes with flying very slow and low over the heads of people with guns that hate you. During the first Gulf War (or first phase of the present Gulf War, depending on how you want to look at it), some 'hogs returned to base with frighteningly large chunks missing. This one didn't do too bad:

'Tis but a flesh wound!

The bottom line is when it gets hot for our guys on the ground, there's no better sight than a flight of A-10s making life hell for the bad guys.

Unfortunately, the A-10 has been a bastard child to the Air Force almost since it entered the inventory. With all the cool, sexy stuff the Air Force has...stealth fighters, stealth bombers, ICBMs, satellites...well, this one low-tech mud fighter just didn't get the blood pumping for the military-industrial-congressional complex. Not only that, but the whole CAS mission has been all but discarded by the Air Force brass since the collapse of the Soviet Union as if it was no longer relevant. Combine all that with the fact that the aircraft's manufacturer, Fairchild Republic, is no longer in business and, well, you see the problem. If there was still a company out there wanting to make A-10s, they'd be lobbying their Congressman.

The GAU-8A 30mm gatling gun, around which the A-10 was built.

The rise of precision weapons also had much to do with this. Laser-guided bombs are great for hitting a fixed target like a building while minimizing damage to the surrounding area, but they kind of suck as a CAS weapon. Unfortunately, though, a handful of geniuses in the Air Force thought they'd get creative and "think outside the box" by having strategic bombers work the CAS mission by dropping precision weapons from high altitude. The end result too often is precision bombing of friendlies, the wrong target, or just dirt. A key theory of CAS is to have eyes on the targets. Things on the ground just change too quickly.

Here's some great analysis of the problem from Afghanistan in which the authors argue strongly not just for improvements to the A-10 program, but for revival of the 2-seat A-10B and a complete re-dedication to the CAS mission on the part of the Air Force.

And to end this lengthy post on a positive note, here's some news about the Air Force's plan to extend the life of the existing A-10 fleet into 2028. Good news indeed.

Remember: When in doubt, walk the rudders with a 3-second burst.

Worst suicide method. Ever.

Cutting your own arms off with a saw. Along with a friend.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Jeff Foxworthy, eat your heart out

From via XDA, here's a poem of lament from Saudi author and journalist Wajeha Al-Huwaider.
The following are excerpts from the poem:

"When you cannot find a single garden in your city, but there is a mosque on every corner - you know that you are in an Arab country…

"When you see people living in the past with all the trappings of modernity - do not be surprised, you are in an Arab country.

"When religion has control over science - you can be sure that you are in an Arab country.

"When clerics are referred to as 'scholars' - don't be astonished, you are in an Arab country.

"When you see the ruler transformed into a demigod who never dies or relinquishes his power, and whom nobody is permitted to criticize - do not be too upset, you are in an Arab country.

"When you find that the large majority of people oppose freedom and find joy in slavery - do not be too distressed, you are in an Arab country.

"When you hear the clerics saying that democracy is heresy, but [see them] seizing every opportunity provided by democracy to grab high positions [in the government] - do not be surprised, you are in an Arab country…

"When monarchies turn into theocracies, and republics into hybrids of monarchy and republic - do not be taken aback, you are in an Arab country.

"When you find that the members of parliament are nominated [by the ruler], or else that half of them are nominated and the other half have bought their seats through bribery… - you are in an Arab country…

"When you discover that a woman is worth half of what a man is worth, or less - do not be surprised, you are in an Arab country…

"When you see that the authorities chop off a man's hand for stealing a loaf of bread or a penny, but praise and glorify those who steal billions - do not be too surprised, you are in an Arab country…

"When you are forced to worship the Creator in school and your teachers grade you for it - you can be sure that you are in an Arab country…

"When young women students are publicly flogged merely for exposing their eyes - you are in an Arab country…

"When a boy learns about menstruation and childbirth but not about his own [body] and [the changes] it undergoes in puberty - roll out your prayer mat and beseech Allah to help you deal with your crisis, for you are in an Arab country…

"When land is more important than human beings - you are in an Arab country…

"When covering the woman's head is more important than financial and administrative corruption, embezzlement, and betrayal of the homeland - do not be astonished, you are in an Arab country…

"When minorities are persecuted and oppressed, and if they demand their rights, are accused of being a fifth column or a Trojan horse - be upset, you are in an Arab country…

"When women are [seen as] house ornaments which can be replaced at any time - bemoan your fate, you are in an Arab country.

"When birth control and family planning are perceived as a Western plot - place your trust in Allah, you are in an Arab country…

"When at any time, there can be a knock on your door and you will be dragged off and buried in a dark prison - you are in an Arab country…

"When fear constantly lives in the eyes of the people - you can be certain that you are in an Arab country."

Thursday, March 08, 2007

New travel threat: S&M chic

Harmless trinket, or vicious medieval weapon?
Click the image for full-size and judge for yourself.

Fashionable though it might be, a £200 (about $386) keyring styled after a battle mace may not be the smartest thing to carry while traveling.
Fashion manager Joanna Jeffreys told today how she was stopped at the Eurostar check-in and questioned about a designer keyring attached to her bag.

Security staff then frogmarched her to a holding roomand accused her of carrying a dangerous weapon. Miss Jeffreys, 35, who works at Harvey Nichols, was on her way to the Paris shows when she was stopped.

The offending keyring is made by Mulberry, costs £200 and is highly fashionable. It is in the shape of a studded ball and chain.

Miss Jeffreys said: “It is my favourite fashion accessory but I didn’t realise how much trouble it could cause.”

Staff at Waterloo Station asked her to explain what she was doing with the miniature mace.

[ ... ]

The trinket, designed by Giles Deacon, is in a Harvey Nichols range. It is part of a collection of S&M-inspired jewellery and handbags ranging from £100 to £1,000.

Miss Jeffreys said: “It is very cool stuff covered in studs, shiny leather and whip-style straps but you would have to be mad to think that any of it could be dangerous.

“It is just a fashion thing. I was astounded that the security firm were so strict that they would pounce on a harmless little keyring.
Come to think of it, spending nearly $400 for a keyring isn't the smartest thing, either.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Just in case you forgot...

Hillary Clinton is still a communist.

Spectacular bureaucratic stupidity

Quick, someone call Mark Steyn. Denmark's "family minister", Carina Christensen, wants Danes to increase their birth rate. To that end, Christensen is planning a nationwide tour so she can meet with Danish families to "discuss their everyday lives and what keeps them from increasing their ranks."

Uh, here's a clue, Carina:
The family minister, who has no children of her own, admitted that she has no plans to start a family in the near future.

'It isn't easy in 2007 to have a career mesh nicely with having a big family.'
*sigh* Some days it doesn't pay to wake up and chew through the restraints.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Tom DeLay savages the Dems

I've never really formed an opinion of Tom DeLay, but I seriously like what he says in this column. I tried picking a few choice paragraphs to quote here, but there's just too much good stuff, so here it is in its entirety.
Other than seeing overweight relatives over the holidays, there's never a bad time to be honest. If a member of Congress sincerely regrets a decision or a speech or a vote, whether about authorizing the president to use force in Iraq or anything else, the member should feel free to say so.

This is the calculus many Democrats would have us believe they used to come to their current hand-wringing lamentations over their votes on the war. This is all well and good, both morally and politically, except for one thing: Everyone knows it's nonsense.

The Democrat Party was neither consumed with conviction that we should remove Saddam Hussein from Iraq in 2003, nor was it duped into authorizing the use of force by the Bush administration. Instead, Democrats were generally content with the policy of their last president, Bill Clinton, whose approach to Iraq and every other Middle Eastern threat was to threaten much and do little.

The insincere gesture has been elevated by the Clinton Democrat Party to an art form: apologizing for slavery but opposing reparations; apologizing for tax hikes but opposing tax cuts; condemning a terror attack without doing anything to stop the next one; lamenting global warming but not doing anything about it. The Iraq war authorization was no different.

When the Iraq resolution passed in October 2002, the country supported the war. Democrats then worried that supporting President Bush would make the crackpots at mad, thus hurting them come election time. But at the same time, they worried that opposing Bush would make middle America mad, thus hurting them at election time. As usual, it was all about them, and they wanted it both ways. It's always politics with them.

They wanted to position themselves to take credit when and if the war went swimmingly, while at the same time being able to criticize the president if things went badly. They didn't vote for the war (or the USA Patriot Act, for that matter) because they believed in it, but because it was popular and they wanted people to like them. Their position hasn't changed in four years. The same craven logic explains the treacherous idiocy behind their nonbinding war resolution. Now that the war is unpopular, they want to distance themselves from the mission and stick it in Bush's face.

But in a million years Democrats wouldn't have the guts to cut off funding for the mission. On the chance that Gen. David Petraeus's surge works, they want to be able to take the credit for it. In that party, guts have been replaced with calculation.

Many conservatives believe that deep down, liberals are just pacifists, that what they really want to do is cut and run. I don't believe that. I think deep down what liberals want is for war to be easy and bloodless and that they get the credit for winning while Republicans get the blame for losing. If that doesn't sound like a serious national security policy in a time of war, there's a reason for that: The Democrats don't have a serious national security policy and haven't since Vietnam.

So go ahead and apologize, if you're really sorry, but the question begs: Sorry for what? For liberating 25 million people? For removing a tyrannical psychopath from the world stage? For ending a verified weapons of mass destruction program? For fighting the war against terror? Or are you really just sorry that you're saddled with the consequences of an insincere vote in the first place?

With such men and women leading Congress, the United States would have surrendered the Revolutionary War after New York, the Civil War after Bull Run, World War II after Kasserine Pass and the Cold War after Vietnam (come to think of it, that's exactly what they did propose).

Now there's something to apologize for. And yes, I am questioning their patriotism.
Hat Tip: Hot Air

Outsourcing the government

Here's a story from a couple weeks ago that highlights some of the problems with contracting out government activity.

A Lockheed-Martin IT employee at Sandia National Labs, which develops nuclear weapons, discovered that the lab's computers had been broken into. Told by his management to keep it quiet and inside the company, the employee, Shawn Carpenter, instead continued his investigation and shared his information with the FBI. He was fired by Lockheed-Martin, but a jury later awarded him nearly $5 million.
After discovering the lab's computers had been broken into, Carpenter retraced the hacker's steps, eventually "backhacking" into machines they controlled, where he discovered the sensitive data.

Carpenter refused to obey his bosses' orders to end his efforts and keep the information within Sandia; he instead contacted the FBI and worked for months with counterintelligence agents, who told him his information was aiding numerous ongoing investigations. Soon after his bosses found out, they fired Carpenter.

[ ... ]

When asked if she thought her corporation had been concerned because Carpenter had put national security ahead of the company's interests, vice president for human resources Kimberly Sue Adams said no. "Phrased in that way, absolutely no."
What's really troubling here is that Lockheed-Martin is about as big a contractor as government contractors come. They have countless government contracts in sensitive areas, and this episode just begs the question: How many more similar cases have occurred that haven't seen the light of day?

Monday, March 05, 2007

Pre-season Red Sox watch

Warning: Fans susceptible to seizures should not watch Daisuke Matsuzaka pitch.

The Red Sox's acquisition of Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka promises to make for an interesting season.
BOSTON—Now that Manny Ramirez has reported to camp and the spring-training opener against Minnesota is in the books, Red Sox fans are turning their attention to the awesome power rumored to dwell within much-touted off-season pitching acquisition Daisuke Matsuzaka—a man who many say possesses pitching powers and techniques beyond the comprehension of mortal fans.

"Daisuke is the pitching master!" said Boston Globe baseball columnist Bob Ryan, hopping from one foot to the other as he described videotape footage of Matsuzaka's otherworldly pitching power and control banishing a flock of evil, conniving, left-handed-batting carp-spirits to the netherworld during a 2003 Seibu Lions game. "His Ultimate Galactic Dragon Gyroball Pitch Power Explosion breaks three feet inside before cutting sharply toward the dugout, where falsehood and cowardice are forced to shrink before it!"
When reading the whole thing, remember that this is The Onion.

Unsolicited shill

The wits at Cox & Forkum have stuff for sale now over at Cafe Press. I generally don't shill for anything, but this is a good time and place to load up on t-shirts to counter those worn by the moonbats on your block.

Besides, spring is right around the corner. You know you need some new t-shirts to replace those old ones with the nasty pit stains.

From the foxhole to the bullpen

Corporal Cooper Brannan, USMC

Here's a great story about a 22 year old Marine with two tours in Iraq and a missing finger to show for it chasing a big league dream with the San Diego Padres.

I'll be following this story and cheering him on.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Democrats: Addicted to apology

The immediate reaction of a Democrat when finding anything offensive is to demand an apology. Within hours after Ann Coulter's ill-considered 'faggot' slur aimed at John Edwards, Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean was out there demanding apologies and that Republican presidential candidates denounce the asinine remark. Never mind the facts that no Republican candidates made the remark and that Ann Coulter represents nobody's campaign. There's political hay to be made, and the Democrats just love those apologies.

Similarly, when David Geffen made derogatory comments of the Clintons after making a sizable donation to Barack Obama's campaign, Hillary Clinton's campaign demanded that Obama apologize for Geffen's remarks. Oh, and he should give back Geffen's money, too.

Conversely, when talk show host Bill Maher echoes fringe left sentiments that the world would be better off if the Taliban had been successful in their recent attempt on Dick Cheney's life, the Republicans shrug it off.

So what is it with the Democrats and apology-mania? Let's assume for a moment that each and every Republican candidate did issue an abject apology for Coulter's remarks. Would they then be absolved of all guilt in the eyes of the Democrats? Not bloody likely. The video is already up on YouTube, and you can count on it being dragged out and dusted off by the Democrats when the campaigns get into full swing.

The insistence on an apology with no intention to forgive in return is nothing more than an intimidation tactic, much like that used by radical Islamists when demanding an apology for a perceived insult to Islam. It's designed to keep their opponents on the defensive while casting themselves in the role of perpetual victim.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Cardinal to Pope: The Antichrist might be a moonbat

A cardinal close to Pope Benedict is warning him that the Antichrist may be an anti-war, tree-hugging moonbat who believes all religions are equally valid.
An arch-conservative cardinal chosen by the Pope to deliver this year’s Lenten meditations to the Vatican hierarchy has caused consternation by giving warning of an Antichrist who is “a pacifist, ecologist and ecumenist”.
Now maybe if Ann Coulter had gotten hold of this little nugget, she wouldn't have given the Democrats so much red meat with that stupid faggot slur on John Edwards. The mind boggles at what she could have done with this at CPAC.

The media sucks

OK, so some jughead in Philadelphia who fancies himself an "amateur historian" has written a book laying out how Britain is responsible for all the world's ills. Setting aside for the moment that author Steven Grasse was inspired by the rampant American bashing that's in vogue these days, the book, The Evil Empire: 101 Ways That England Ruined The World, aims at the wrong target. For the record, I'm one of those who believes that the world is a much better place for Britain's widespread and profound influence on it.

What's really wrong with the world is the media, and the Daily Mail article linked above is a fine example. In an article that's supposedly delivering facts, i.e., it's not an editorial column, I see "factual" statements like these:
As for the debacle in Iraq, Grasse believes Britain is to blame for the bogus scaremongering over weapons of mass destruction which led to the ill-conceived assault on Saddam.


One reason for his campaign is that he believes that after the debacle of President Bush's war on terror, young Americans have fallen into an era of national selfloathing, equal to that which paralysed the U.S. in the wake of the Vietnam War.
Just who the hell are the writer and editor to decide which nation's military actions are "ill-conceived" "debacles", and what are such opinions doing being published outside the editorial pages?

This is the real problem. When the opinions of writers and editors creep into what are supposed to be factual news articles, the public consumes these opinions over and over again until to the public, those opinions are irrefutable facts.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

'Intellectual escapism'

While I strongly disagree with the writer's assertion that "President Bush’s incompetence has made things worse" in the struggle against Islamism, much of the rest of this editorial column from the London Times is spot on.
Somewhere, deep down, tucked away underneath their loathing for George Bush, in a secret place where the lights of smart dinner-party conversation and clever debating-society repartee never shine, the growing hordes of America-bashers must dread the moment he leaves office.

When President Bush goes into the Texas sunset, and especially if he is replaced by an enlightened, world-embracing Democrat, their one excuse, their sole explanation for all human suffering in the world will disappear too. And they may just find that the world is not as simple as they thought it was.

It’s been a great ride for the past six years, hasn’t it? George Bush and Dick Cheney and all those pantomime villains that succour him — the gay-bashing foot soldiers of the religious Right, the forktailed neoconservatives with their devotion to Israel, the dark titans of American corporate boardrooms spewing their carbon emissions above the pristine European skies. Having those guys around for so long provided a comfortable substitute for thinking hard about global challenges, a kind of intellectual escapism.

[ ... ]

Does anyone really think the election of President Hillary Clinton will be greeted with a sudden surge of German and French troops to Kabul and Helmand, routing al-Qaeda militants in the name of multilateralism?

President Barack Obama will find that when he wants to make good on his promise to win the war in Afghanistan, EU leaders will be much happier explaining how their new constitution will enlighten the world.

President John Edwards will discover, when he seeks a united front to tackle an enemy that would happily incinerate every European city and its inhabitants tomorrow, that the Europeans would much rather take urgent action to address the risk that global warming will produce a possible 18cm increase in sea levels by 2100.

'Threats of porcine tactics'

I keep telling myself this is no laughing matter, but I can't help it.

Norwegian anti-immigration politicians in Norway are threatening some rather, er, unusual measures if Muslims use Bergen's central square for prayers.
Norwegian anti-immigration politicians in Bergen have promised to chase off Muslims with pigs feet and squealing noises if Bergen's central square is used for prayers.

The leader of the Demokratene, an extreme populist party formed by outcasts of the populist Progress Party, Vidar Kleppe, said Wednesday that he backed the remarks of city council representative Kenneth Rasmussen.

Rasmussen reacted with threats of porcine tactics after Labour Party politician Jerad Abdelmajid said that the city's Muslims could take their Friday prayers in Torgallmenningen, Bergen's central square, when they will be without a mosque from March 31. Building of a new mosque is behind schedule.


"I completely agree with Kenneth Rasmussen that Muslims having their Friday prayers with their butts in the air in the city center is no solution. They can find other places," Kleppe told news agency NTB.
Heheh...he said "butts".

Hillary Clinton, crypto-commie

A little late, but here's your weekly reminder that Hillary's a commie.