Comments by: YACCS
Thursday, February 27
Spiced Sass - Waking Up
I was a child of the 60's but I had no ideology. It is a serious mistake to believe that the "hippies' embodied a generation of self aware, socially conscientious, idealistic soldiers against injustice. If my mid-western experience of hippie-dom is any measure, the main concerns centered around pinpointing the best dope and dealers as opposed to distinguishing flaws in the social system, and Viet Nam, foremost, was a canvas, a backdrop on the set.Like many things, "It seemed like a good idea at the time" can come back to haunt you. Forty years later, we're still feeling the repercussions of that time. But not all of it was bad - not all of it was good, of course.
From the perspective of years, it's hard to realize that what we might see as a 'golden age' in the 40s and 50s was at least as beset with trouble and problems as the 60s and 70s... and 80s and 90s. There are always problems, there are always solutions, workable or non... There are always some who take the low road, and some who take the high. There are those who toss aside anything resembing responsibility, and some who take on more than their share. There are those who want to destroy the society that nurtured them, some who don't care one way or the other, and those who want to preserve what they have. It's been that way since the Roman empire, the days of the Greek city-states, and even earlier.
Those in my generation who chose to buy the lie has cost this country beyond measure.This country is a strong one. At one time we had a civil war, but a hundred and forty years later we're stronger than any other nation on Earth. Whether we can maintain that strength, that greatness of purpose, is another matter. There are those who would tear it down, who put party loyalty over the good of the country - just take a look at Washington these days and you can ask yourself "Which of the noisy clowns is in it for the good of the country, and which for the good of the political party he belongs to?" Sadly, to me it's really evident that the Democrats aren't exactly worried about the country.
But a lot of people are waking up to that, and wondering just how they could have been fooled for so long.
Zee is one of them. I heartily recommend her blog to you. She writes very well indeed. And she also wonders - how can she pay the debt she feels she has incurred.
Well, she's woken up - I feel that's a big portion of the repayment right there. And she wants to make amends - there's a second portion.
And she was wondering - just how does she go about making amends? She wants to do SOMETHING - she's aching to pay for the free ride she's gotten for many years. I suggested she take a look at FreedomCorps, or CitizenCorps, which has a number of service programs that anyone can volunteer for, or she might be interested in Community Emergency Response Teams if they're available in her area. Perhaps there's other things I'm not aware of, and you could suggest in the comments.
Also, if you have to go to (or through) airports often, consider finding out if your local commercial airport has a USO. They're always in need of snacks, food, drinks, comfort items (such as razors and shaving cream, toothbrushes and toothpaste) books and magazines for the troops passing through. Often military families travelling together have small children - Matchbox cars, books and other small toys for kids passing through can help a lot. The USO can be a welcome respite during a stressful trip.
That's about all I can think of tonight. And it's an early morning tomorrow, so...
CNN.com - Iraq says it will destroy missiles - Feb. 27, 2003
UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- Iraq has informed the United Nations that it will comply with an instruction from chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix to destroy missiles that have been deemed illegal under U.N. sanctions.Ummm - five pounds of c-4 and a hundred feet of primacord would be sufficient, I think. Heck, just get an EOD troop or a SEAL in there, and you'll have those things in bits faster than you can say "What was that big noise?" Or send in an M-1 tank and they'll be flat and ready for recycling in two passes.
But this IS typical Saddam stuff - delay, delay, and finally assent - then delay some more. Can't figure out how to destroy them. Right.
Remember that poll I got sent?
Here's the results.
But you know something? I'm really glad we've got a President who's not concerned with the polls. I think he's got a better idea on how to handle the war and whether to even GO to war than the people Zogby polls.
Heresy, I know. American politics depend on polls - otherwise how would we get anything accomplished? But it's starting to be evident to me (and to anyone who knows Bush's actual history instead of the crap the left try to spin as it - especially on what he was doing as Governor of Texas) that he really does care more about doing the job in office that he sees needing to be done than to position himself for re-election by promising the moon and the stars.
So far, I'm glad I voted for him and I'd do it again without hesitation.
Wednesday, February 26
Now, It's Business That Booms (washingtonpost.com)
KABUL, Afghanistan -- The day Taliban soldiers fled this capital, Sabir Latifa had $9,000 in savings from his dried fruit exports and a head filled with ideas about how to do business in a changed Afghanistan.Once again, capitalism rears it's ugly head. When will we learn? People are OBVIOUSLY happier under the thumb of a dictator or a regime that severely limits what the person can do. Kabul is modernizing, and "In a city that had a handful of shopworn eating places two years ago, a new Chinese or Italian or American hamburger restaurant opens almost weekly, as well as kebab shops by the score." This is a clear case of too many sources for food, and will undoubtedly cause a lot of confusion and concern among the Afghanis who are inexperienced in choosing among many options. Wouldn't it be better to just add maybe one or two a year for a while, until the cultural climate has allowed the people to become comfortable with selecting among so many choices? Obviously the people will suffer under this, and a return to the days of the Taliban are just around the corner.
Qatar builds churches for Christian communities
Qatar has decided to build churches on its territories so as Christians from various sects will be able to perform their religious rituals, officially and openly for the first time, according to an official Qatari source.Contrast this to Saudi Arabia, where NO religion other than Islam is allowed.
I believe that Qatar has gotten the hint - trying to keep things as they were in the 7th Century is a sure way to fail in the 21st.
France Warns Iraq War Would Cause Split (washingtonpost.com)
In an impassioned appeal, French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin warned Wednesday that waging war now against Iraq without exhausting avenues for peace would split the international community and "be perceived as precipitous and illegitimate."Ummm... it might split off FRANCE - but at this point the only 'international community' that's against the war is the FrancoGermanic Alliance. China looks like it'll either go with things or abstain, and Germany may well abstain.
In all honesty, it looks like France went way out on a limb - and in the best Looney Toons tradition is busy sawing away at the branch.
Perhaps they ought to heed Chiracs' wisdom. There is indeed a time to 'shut up', and it's when speaking up gets you into more trouble - as France is eloquently demonstrating.
Tuesday, February 25
Judge reveals a bribery offer of thousands of pounds after the trial of a man who incited his followers to enjoy killing the 'infidels'No comment. It's obvious he's innocent, isn't it? After all, only innocent people try to bribe the judges to let them go.
You know, a year ago or even six months ago I'd have felt some sympathy for this guy. No more.
At one time, I thought Islam was primarily a religion of peace. I still think it is - but there's a lot of criminals and terrorists who are using Islam to excuse their actions, and the internal structure of the religion prevents others from speaking up against their 'Islamic Brothers' - no matter what crimes they're committing.
However, a religion is judged by it's worst members and by what the religious leaders who adhere to the structure of that faith say. And, judging by what's been posted in various locations web-wide, people are starting to see through that "religion of peace" thing. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, waddles like a duck, sheds like a duck, shits like a duck and flies like a duck it'll still be a duck even if you want to call it an artichoke.
It ain't no artichoke, and I'm tired of trying to tell myself it is.
Monday, February 24
DILACERATOR: Another Round in Old versus New Europe
...but the gist of it is that they've said in no uncertain terms that they're not going to be bullied around by France. After a meeting in Prague with the Czech foreign minister Svoboda, Polish foreign minister Cimoszewicz made the important announcement that the Visegrád Group would continue its work and cooperation also after the countries had become members of the EU.Welcome to freedom, guys. Where you can decide to say 'No, thanks' to the folks who'll be glad to take your membership fees, but not allow you a voice in the club.
RAFAT Abdulmajeed Muhammad is a slightly built man of 45 with a distant stare and a scarred body. He lives alone in Sulaimaniyah, northern Iraq, and owns nothing but the clothes he stands in. He spends his days trying to forget the past 14 years, which he spent in the darkness of Saddam Hussein’s most infamous political prison.A roll of film, bought by a journalist. Who was accused of spying. And they found a card for this man's shop, where the film was bought.
And 14 years of his life lost.
If you're Anti-US and pro-Iraq, you need to read this. THINK, if you can, about the type of government you're against here in the US - and which you're for in Iraq.
And think of the thousands of people who've been tortured and murdered in Iraq because they dared disagree with Saddam.
Last summer Mr Muhammad had the top joint of the second finger of his left hand smashed off with an iron bar for insulting Saddam, an offence for which five years were added to his sentence.But, you say, the US is evil because we've got a death penalty. Which is handled by due process - and someone is executed ONLY when all legal requirements have been met. These guys - where was their due process? Where were their appeals? Where was their painless execution?
Where was Amnesty International?
(Oh, I know where YOU were - at a protest somewhere chanting "Free Mumia!" And oh, how relevant you felt...)
Read this - and understand your 'relevance' is dust in the wind.
Sunday, February 23
Actor George Clooney Frustrated by U.S. War Drive (washingtonpost.com)
Clooney, 41, said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was making a mistake to think a war against Iraq would be an easy win for the United States.Oh, please. You're a friggin' ACTOR, for crying out loud.
Hell, as an AF paperpusher I've got a better handle on what's going on than you do - and I for SURE know that I don't know a hundredth of what's been planned! Perhaps you've got sources the President and Joint Chiefs of Staff don't? Somehow, I doubt that.
George - get a clue. You were an adequate Batman, but not great. You weren't a real soldier - you read a script that was anti-war and you acted the part. You've got an opinion, but it's not an educated or informed one, and you're taking the counsel of your fears.
Yet YOU believe you're right. You've got a right to your opinion - but it's not an informed one. Until it is (and it's possible to get informed, if you do the work) you really ought to not believe your syncophantic staff when they tell you you're really knowledgeable in foriegn affairs.
Saturday, February 22
Lucas Digital Ltd. LLC - Work In Progress
Oh my. You've GOT to see this...
They've done it again. You'll need DSL for this one.
WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards called President Bush "out of touch ... out of tune" with regular Americans as the freshman senator sought Saturday to turn his political inexperience and lucrative legal career into virtues.Uh, bub? There's this little thing I think you forgot - most people like the idea of continuing to live in a terrorist/terrorism free environment. Now, you may think it's all smoke and mirrors - but there was a hell of a lot of smoke and not a few mirrors broken on 9/11. As I've blogged before - you guys are going to have to do a DAMN sight more work on the issues before you'll get my vote, and about the only way I won't vote for a Republican for President would be if Al Gore switched parties and got the nomination.
Here's a hint - if you're calling Bush an idiot, all you're preaching to is the party faithful. THAT won't get you elected, and after reading this article, you won't get my vote at all.
Woof. Do some downloads. This guy knows how to string stuff together...
And speaking of much longer - next Saturday I start outprocessing from the AF Reserve. You see, for the last 10 years I've been shovelling paper out there. And about six, seven months back they eliminated the requirement for my job at the base I'm at. So I was faced with either getting a job at another base (and sadly, the AF doesn't subsidize commutes) or crosstraining (which is kind of difficult after you've gotten over 20 years time in service) or retiring - since I've got 23+ good years and over 4500 points towards retirement. (They don't start paying you until you hit 60, however.)
So - after looking at all the options and discussing things with she who must be consulted, I chose the retirement option.
Honestly, I'm conflicted. I feel a responsibility to stay in, especially considering what's on the horizon, but on the other hand I've basically been labeled 'surplus' to the current needs. And I've been associated with the military since 1974, when I first joined up. So, it's definitly a part of my life, or has been a phase of my life for close to 30 years.
But phases of your life end, though. And perhaps it's time for this one to end also. (Sigh)
7 days till I start outprocessing. Seems very strange to be counting it down, with the Iraq conflict looming.
ANKARA, Turkey — A broad agreement to let U.S. combat forces deploy in Turkey in case of war against Iraq centered on a Turkish demand for $15 billion in loans and grants, a Turkish official said Saturday.Okay - we've got Kuwait & Qatar, Iran isn't going to be helpful to dear ol' Saddam in the conflict (unless we're really misreading things, and the mullahs are going to figure that even though he DID cause a war and gas Iranians, better to support the devil you know - him managing a dictatorship instead of a democracy and all that) and now Turkey's signed on.
Time's getting short. Won't be much longer, I think...
Friday, February 21
I'm an American. Even during my hippie days, it meant something to me. I've never had a problem with it. Apparently there are those in the world who do.I've never been a political animal, it always having been something I could comfortably ignore. Until now. My politics have become an 'a la carte' adventure, a mosaic still being created. I have much to study, much to learn. But here is what I do know. I am frigging American to the bone and, the greatest threat to western civilization that I have so far espied is the one who comes riding in on the trojan horse of liberalism. The left. So, be warned. Hell hath no fury as a woman who has found her allegiance and rediscovered her country. I'm an American. Do. Not.Fuck.With.Me.There's a lot of folks who have basically been apolitical, but are now finding they need to examine the issues. And when those issues are examined and thought about, in many, many cases they're becoming exceedinlgly angry at the 'useful idiots' in the peace movement. I hope you enjoy reading her. I'll be adding the above link to the blogroll on the left in the next day or two...
Wednesday, February 19
the dissident frogman, time to take sides! :: The Price of Peace
View - and if you're of the anti-war persuasion, pay very close attention to the sentiments involved.
From Fox - Gephardt Launches White House Bid
ST. LOUIS — Rep. Dick Gephardt, seeking the presidency after eight frustrating years as House Democratic leader, said Wednesday that if elected he would repeal the vast majority of President Bush's "patently unfair" tax cuts to finance an ambitious new health care initiative.No. Please, no.
Come on, you damn fool Democrats - is GEPHARDT the best you can do as a candidate? And you're just plain stuck on the same page, aren't you? Class warfare. Patently unfair tax cuts. Health Care. Gee... where have I heard this before? Oh - Clinton. And Gore. Man, talk about a broken record - a complete lack of NEW issues.
LOOK AROUND! IS THIS ALL YOU CAN FIND TO CAMPAIGN ABOUT?
Get a damn CLUE. You put the 'charismatic' Gephardt up with this, and you might just as well take the Democratic party out back and shoot it, because you're going to gut it alive. You're not addressing what people are caring about - you're pandering to your own little illusions that these subjects are really important to enough people to get you elected.
And it IS NOT. Yank back the tax cuts to fund a bloated medical buracracy? It ain't gonna fly - no way, no how. ESPECIALLY if you model it after HillaryCare. You start talking serious numbers, and let people who can add 2+2 do the math, and your support will evaporate. You've got to actually address people's concerns, not rehash campaign slogans from 12 years ago.
But then - the Democratic Party isn't exactly the party of ideas and progressive thinking any more, is it?
Oh, it just keeps getting BETTER.
Three Mystery Ships Being Tracked
Three giant cargo ships are being tracked by US and British intelligence on suspicion that they might be carrying Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.But hey, no WMD here. Move along now... just don't try to inspect those ships, okay?
Tuesday, February 18
Which is better?You decide.
There's many who would say that 'after' was - but I don't think you'll find many who were directly affected and lived through it who would agree.
Monday, February 17
Memo to Binladen: Go to Hell!
When the Prophet Muhammad (saw) and his companions fought in the name of Islam, Allah made them victorious and glorified them in this world. They made Islam the currency of human civilization for over a millennium. You and your men on the other hand face nothing but defeat, global ridicule and contempt and run and hide like rats in caves and dungeons. You live in the dark. Your faith neither enlightens you nor enables you to live in the light and you have made Islam the currency of hate and violence.Written by Dr. Muqtedar Khan, who is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Adrian College in Michigan. He is on the board of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, Center for Balanced Development and the Association of Muslim Social Scientists.
A good read. I've been waiting a long time for this. CAIR certainly isn't doing much in the way of reassurance as far as I can tell. Dr. Khan's main site, http://www.glocaleye.org has some interesting articles of an anti-war slant - he doesn't like the idea of a war yet he realizes that war may be necessary, and when the US goes to war, he'll back the US 100%. THIS is loyal opposition - not what the Democrats are doing.
Sunday, February 16
The Telegraph - Defiant Iraq spurns French 'alternative' - Bulgaria refuses France's offer.
In the meantime, Bulgaria has vowed to resist French attempts to bully it into withdrawing support for America's plans to disarm Iraq. Last week the French ambassador to Sofia warned Bulgaria that its pro-American stance could jeopardise its efforts to join the European Union.I'm thinking that Bulgaaria is seeing the writing on the wall regarding the European Union. At present, the EU EXCEPT for France and Germany (and to an extent Belgium) are backing the US. France (and to some extent Germany) are trying to force the EU into THEIR version/vision of the way it should be - and it looks like there's resistance.
France doesn't run NATO. Neither does Germany. Neither do they run the EU - it's supposed to be a 'consensual' thing with all members equal. Not with some members (like France & Germany) 'more equal' than the others.
They'd better understand that - or it's going to collapse. Right now, NATO's shaking badly due to France and Germany. The EU may not be far behind.
I'm apparently on the Zogby poll list. Every so often they send something, I fill it out, and never hear back.
Today I got a poll on the war. What a surprise.
Currently, would you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose a war against Iraq?
Would you support or oppose a war against Iraq if it were only comprised of bombing the country?
Would you support or oppose a war against Iraq if it included sending in hundreds of thousands of U.S. ground troops?
Would you support or oppose a war against Iraq if there were hundreds of American casualties?
Would you support or oppose a war against Iraq if there were thousands of American casualties?
Would you support or oppose a war against Iraq if it meant thousands of Iraqi military casualties?
Would you support or oppose a war against Iraq if it meant thousands of Iraqi civilian casualties?
Would you support or oppose sending your son or daughter to war to remove Saddam Hussein ?
In your view, what poses the greater danger to the US, is it North Korea, Iraq , Al Queda , or some other international country or force?
Are you much more likely, somewhat more likely, somewhat less likely, or much less likely to support a war in Iraq after hearing Colin Powell speak at the UN or has it made no difference in your opinion?
Much more likely
Somewhat more likely
Somewhat less likely
Much less likely
Would you support or oppose a war against Iraq if the U.S. waged it without significant UN or international support?
Did you watch or listen to Secretary of State Colin Powell's address to the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday?
Do you agree or disagree that Colin Powell made a convincing case for war with Iraq ?
Honestly, I don't know that war is the only option left at this point. I DO know that the other touted options haven't worked, that there seems little chance that a meteorite is going to hit Saddam on the head, and that there are indeed evil people in the world who shouldn't be allowed to continue. (And no, Bush isn't 'evil'. You've got to be a non-elected dictator, killing your own people in the thousands on a daily basis, and be prone to shooting your cabinet members and family if they disagree with you to approach 'evil' status.) On the good side, Saddam's so gutted his military of anything resembling competent leadership that it won't be a long battle, but it could be a messy one.
Show me an option that'll work, that'll get Saddam to disarm, that'll get inspectors into the country and NOT have them interfered with.
I'd like there to be an alternative to war. I don't think there is one that'll work.
Saturday, February 15
Argument - From the Independent
My recurring nightmare – literally – is that, when all this is over, I meet up again with some of the friends I made in Iraq (and who I talk to everyday by e-mail), and they say to me: "You knew we hated Saddam, with his torture chambers, his secret police and his 100 per cent 'election' results. You knew we were desperate to overthrow him. You knew about the 5,000 people he gassed at Halabjah. You knew. So when British and American planes were just miles away, waiting to kill Saddam so we could begin to rebuild our country, what did you do?"Indeed. How could anyone?
Look - I can understand how folks could hate Bush. I understand how they could think he's an idiot, that he's a moron, that he's (insert favorite argument for denigrating Pres. Bush here...) - but what I find very difficult to understand is how SADDAM's actions and torture of his own people, which are documented like nobody's business, are to be completely IGNORED and glossed over!
Actually, I think 'glossed over' is inaccurate - they're not 'glossed over', because that would imply they're noticed and regarded as significant in the first place. They aren't. As far as the Peace crowd goes, Saddam's a saint and Iraq is the Garden of Eden, and all the population are smiling, happy Munchkins just looking to follow the Yellow Brick Road.
Which brings the question: "If you're so sure that Bush is wrong on Iraq, are you equally as sure that Saddam is right for Iraq?"
Try to get a Peace activist to actually answer that question - and I'll bet you a box of Munchkins that you'll see intellectual contortions of the highest order, and you won't get a sensible answer out of them.
Guardian Unlimited Film | Interviews | Pretty boys can think (But George Clooney apparently can't...)
"The question is," he goes on, "do we go on murdering each other, or are we going to take time out to ask ourselves why we're so angry in the first place? I get mad at someone, then I find out more about why they did what they did to make me mad, and the anger disperses. We get angry because we don't have enough information." His mousseline is now neatly stacked on the side of his plate. All tidied away.One of the things I see, and that may be causing the problem, is the fact that certain segments of our society have a real problem with the concept of evil. With the concept that people would do bad things BECAUSE they enjoy doing it. For example, Saddam's gassing of the Kurds - it's ignored, or excused because we may have sold him the precursor materials to make the gas. It isn't that he's evil because he used the gas, WE are 'evil' because we provided the materials used to make the gas.
Same thing with criminal activity. Criminals aren't evil because they use guns - guns are evil because they exist and criminals use them. It's a case of putting the cart before the horse, of confusing cause and effect. Someone who's truely evil will find a way to kill others - no matter how much you make excuses for them.
For example - consider Israel and the Palestinians. Is Arafat evil? To my way of thinking - he is. He rejected an Israeli settlement that would get the Palestinians 95% of what they wanted, and instead started urging his people to blow themselves up in pizza parlors and shopping malls. He's started a death cult, in which the highest service a Palestinian youth can perform for his culture is commit suicide, preferably taking out one or more Israelis in the process. But there's a lot of people who don't see this as evil - who are apparently unable to associate the cause (an Arabic leader's complete refusal to negotiate) with the effect - suicide bombers exploding themselves while targeting women and children.
The IDF works hard to avoid unnecessary deaths and casualties. Hamas glories in them. Arafat encourages them.
Which is the more moral organization?
Which one is 'Evil'?
Okay, time for a quick update.
During the time I was in Albuquerque, I was able to get a lot of things in order, and a lot of things in process. The home care service we selected, "Angels on Assignment", came across as very good and caring and were highly recommended by several of the in-home health care pros who were visiting mother to do her physical therapy and monitor her blood levels and vital signs. They'll do a lot of minor things, the cooking, cleaning, laundry and such. (Please note that Mother objected to MY doing their laundry while I was there - but she'll let these people do it. Sigh. Go figure...) They started on Friday. Long term, I think they'll be a great help.
Father had two stents put in, opening up his left anterior descending artery from it's 70% blocked condition to 100% open. He was much pinker when I last saw him on Thursday evening, and I'm rather optimistic that he's good for a while longer. You might find this amusing - when he was feeling bad last Sunday, Mother wanted him to get Peggy from across the street to take him over to the hospital but he objected to that because he didn't want her to wait for hours if it turned out to be nothing. So, he drove himself.
To the hospital.
With a heart attack.
You know, you've got to be proud of a father who's so resilient (not to mention STUBBORN) that he'd drive himself to the hospital when he's having a heart attack. Personally, I'd let 911 do the driving...
I was able to get a good handle on their finances and legal situation. Again, they've been pretty resistant to either Steve or myself knowing what's going on regarding their wills and such - but now the objections have been dropped. There's a lawyer who will be visiting them next week to start the wills process and get powers of attorney written up (both general durable and medical) which they both realize are needed. Financially, their resources aren't what I'd hoped they'd be, but aren't as bad as I (or Mother) had feared. The big problem was sorting everything out - my father is a pack rat (which seems to be a hereditary condition) and his files have EVERYTHING - though the order is something I've yet to determine. For example, can you tell me why he'd file a 10 ounce silver bar in with information he's gotten from his current general physician? I asked, but he didn't tell me... (grin)
But it was very interesting looking through the old stuff. I found his old Navy performance evaluations from WW2, his supervisory evaluations when he was supervising a team of aircraft electronics specialists as a government worker after WW2, and reams of other assorted papers. When I mentioned all that to him, he said it was stuff he'd been meaning to throw away years back - but never had. I told him I was glad he hadn't, because it let me see his history, to piece together what he was like them. And then he changed the subject to how Mother got him to propose to her. (Remember, this was 1942. What we'd consider part of a normal courtship today would really be reserved for marriage. And no, it didn't involve any of that...)
All in all, I think my folks and I communicated more on this trip than on any other trip I've made. Sadly, I think it's because they both realize that there's not much more time to get the stories across, to share the feelings, and to get things straightened out. But at least we're making a start, and getting some good progess done.
What will the near future hold? They've come to the decision it may be time to pull up stakes and head to Georgia. We'll see. But I may be on the lookout soon for a house - single level, two bedroom, with at most one step up into it from the garage or front. If you know of such, would you let me know?
Thursday, February 13
Well, Jerry is coming home on Friday. His father had stents placed today to compensate for the blockage in his coronary arteries. But, he's feeling good. has good color, and is eating and moving around without any problem. Not sure yet when he gets to go home from the hospital. Jerry has arranged for a home health aide to come to his mother's house daily for a few hours to do the cooking, cleaning and whatever else needs done. Jerry has also handled getting the financial and legal affairs in order. I'm very proud of how he's handled everything. Jerry's folks are discussing selling the house and moving to Atlanta. We'll see where that goes. Keep us in your prayers.
Monday, February 10
This is Sue. I just got off the phone with Jerry (in Albuquerque). His father had a heart catheterization today, and he has 1 vessel that is 100% occluded. Also, his heart function is 70% of normal. If he were 63, they would be doing bypass surgery, but since he's 83, they will probably control it with medication. Tomorrow, they will do a stress test to further evaluate his heart. His mother needs alot of help taking care of her daily needs, so I'm very glad that Jerry went. They are talking about assisted living or having in-home help. Another option is coming to Georgia. We'll see. Just wanted to keep you all informed. Thanks for your warm thoughts and offers of help. It's nice to know that friends are ready to help.
Quick update from the Nurses' station.
Father's at 70% capability, one artery blocked 100%, other two arteries at 70%, 1 sticy valve, one leaky valve. If he were younger, they'd be looking at a bypass with valve replacement, but he's 83 - that limits things.
They'll be doing more tests tomorrow, see what comes up, whether he's more of a candidate for ballon angioplasy or medication.
Too much damn fun, is what it is... maybe more tomorrow, probably not.
Sunday, February 9
Saturday, February 8
Jebus Harvey Crisco on a pogo stick.
Been giving more thought to what's going on with the FrancoGermanic Alliance trying to slide around the UN Security council and slip themselves into the position of 'occupying' Iraq. Maybe I'm coing a bit late to the party, but I'm thinking there's something smelling decidedly wrong about all that.
There's an old saying that if you want to find out why something is being done, you've got to follow the money. (There's another saying, 'Cui Bono' - which loosely translated is "Who Benefits?") Now, applying that sort of thinking (and bearing in mind that what I've seen in the news and what I've been able to find on the Internet is what I'm basing my logic train on - and that I'm NOT going to be putting in links to what I've been able to find, you should (if you've read this far) be able to find things for yourself. I take that back, I'll provide one link. To Google.Com. Happy hunting.) to what I've been able to find, here's what I'm thinking.
1. Saddam's been delaying as long as he can, promising cooperation that never quite materializes. Why? Because he's playing for time. Why? Because either he's cooking up batches of crap for WMD as fast as he can stoke the reactors, waiting for WMD he's aready spread to be used, or because he's in the final stages of creating a nuclear bomb or rebuilding one that got stolen when the USSR disintegrated.
1a. Why would he need to rebuild one? Simple. Gamma and neutron poisoning of the electronics involved, plus likely mishandling 'tween the USSR and a storage facility in the Big Sandy would make the triggering circuitry... questionable at best. If it's a uranium bomb, the timing is much less critical on light-off. If it's a plutonium bomb, everything has to go off exactly right - a few milliseconds delay on a triggering signal to one of the fuses in an explosive lens and all you've got is a low-order explosion scattering a few pounds of plutonium around. The compression of the plutonium to criticality is VERY time-dependent. And the parts involved in the trigger and timers can't be picked up at Radio Shack or the Iraqi equivalent.
1a1. Why would he delay in the final stages if he's building one? If he's got a plutonium bomb, as I said it's VERY timing dependent. A low-order fizzle wouldn't help establish him as someone who'd spit in the eye of the West - it'd establish him as a joke. Building a uranium bomb is comparatively simple - but what are the chances that Saddam would go for the simple route for a bomb? Your guess is as good as mine there. We know he's got the uranium, whether he can put it to use in time is another matter.
1b. Using WMD is a fool's game, as anyone with half a brain should recognize at this point. If you use them, and they can be traced back to you, you are not only toast, you're going to be well carbonized toast with smoke rising from the surroundings. Which is where the deniability aspect comes in, with terrorist organizations eager to strike at the US who'd just LOVE to get some unmarked packages with all sorts of fun stuff inside...
2. Germany and France are not only delaying the whole process, they've been really reluctant to sign onto a lot of the anti-terrorism approaches. And they're also very anti-semetic, which may be a factor in their decision to tacitly support Iraq, but that's really specualtion on my part.
2a. The two most vocal opponents to doing anything militarily in Iraq have been Germany and France. Their reasoning is specious at best - saying there hasn't been enough time for sanctions and such to work. However, to me it seems the twelve year period since 1991 has been enough time if Saddam was going to disarm in good faith. That he hasn't disarmed, that he hasn't complied with the articles he signed at the end of the Gulf War, leads me to think that he's going to comply only when forced at the point of a gun - and not before.
2b. There has been a pretty hefty paper trail pointing toward Germany as the source of a lot of 'equipment' - that's all well and good, but what SORT of equipment is the question - and it looks like a lot of the stuff they've been importing has been on the banned list. This is not good - since Germany was supposedly 'assisting' in the enforcement of the sanctions as a member of the UNSecurity Council.
2c. France has a rather large Muslim population. In itself this would not be a problem, but there's plenty of information available to show that in a lot of the cities the minorities are essentially taking over and disrupting society. Think of Mad Max movies, or any movie you've seen where society breaks down and gangs are the authority. That's parts of France, apparently. Again, this is not good - a militant Muslim community would significantly skew France's actions in the world, since the leadership would need to give tacit concessions to keep the next 'French' revolution from putting their heads on the chopping block.
In short - France and Germany have been making deals with the devil, assuming the status quo wouldn't change significantly. However, that damn upstart US has upset the fromage cart, and is threatening the whole deal. If their support of Iraq is made clearly public, it will damage their standing in the world. If they can't dissuade the US (and they haven't, neither has their reasoning made a bit of difference to a lot of other countries in NATO) they're going to take it up the ass sideways - and they don't want that.
Can't say I blame them, but what they're seeing is the result of THEIR bad decisions. And, whether you're one man or a country - the results of bad decisions WILL come back and smash you.
CNN.com - Liechtenstein for rent - Feb. 7, 2003
ZURICH, Switzerland (Reuters) -- Country for hire, one careful owner.Hell - why take over a country when you can RENT it?
Just think - no pesky dissatisfied population to squash, no damage to the infrastructure from fighting, no need to rebuild after you win - and when you get tired of it (or your lease runs out) you don't owe anything to it!
Man, I'll bet Iraq wishes it had come up with this concept...
United Press International: Rumsfeld annoyed over secret plan on Iraq Germany and France were/are apparently putting together a secret plan to get UN inspectors and troops into Iraq. Okay - they were griping about US being unilateral - what should we call THEIR actions?
And the UN doesn't exactly have a sterling record. UN troops have run prostitution rings in Bosnia, and they were directly responsible for massacres in Yugoslavia.
Separate from the secretive process that the United States delegation found outrageous, the U.S. government is likely to reject out of hand any such proposal to beef up inspections.But they'll do better in Iraq, right? By the way, a lot of folks are starting to wonder just WHY France and Germany are pressing so hard to keep the US out of Iraq.
Friday, February 7
Diplomacy is failing. The United Nations is teetering between impotent protest and surly compliance. Europe is split painfully down the middle, an unsought bonus for America's hawks. Nothing now stands in the way of the Anglo-Saxon war machine but a few dozen miles of desert, a few dying spasms of jaw-jaw and a former US Marine called Ken O'Keefe with blazing eyes, hacked hair and a row of "cut here" crosses tattooed round his neck.Gee. Too bad. He'll have to find some other way to become a human bulls-eye.
Don't get me wrong - I admire the strength of the man's convictions. However - I can also admire the accuracy of a marksman who can put a bullet on a target 500 yards out. I'll admire it even more if it's the target he was supposed to hit. ("What? You mean I should have hit the target on lane 3? Dang.")
Strength without precise application and direction means nothing. Precision without the strength is back it up is useless. This guy is confusing the cause of world discord (Iraqi intransigence) with the effect (the US getting ready to pound on Iraq) and figures that by trying to keep the effect from happening the cause will disappear.
But Saddam's already scrambled that egg with his actions over the last 12 years.. It ain't gonna unscramble because you wish it would... or because you're on top of the targets that need to be taken out.
Thursday, February 6
opinion.telegraph.co.uk - Benn - not Powell - made the case for war on Saddam
A YouGov poll carried out on Wednesday evening for ITN showed a decisive shift of opinion in favour of war. They put it down to Powell with his centrifuge tubes, but most people hadn't had time to weigh through Powell's evidence while eating their supper. It was Benn who did it the night before.Great Britain is getting a clue. You see - they had someone go interview Saddam, then they broadcast the interview.
Saddam didn't come across too well, apparently.
Voice From the Commonwealth
While the petition framed the call for Iraq regime change as an endeavor to avoid an American-led invasion of Iraq, some intellectuals in the Arab world have begun to express guarded optimism about impending US military action. "I feel a positive outcome might ensue from the coming war," wrote Saudi political analyst Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi. "[It] promises a new free, democratic and stable Iraq instead of today's fragmented dictatorship; a constitutional and tolerant Iraq run by the rule of law; an Iraq at peace with its neighbors; an Iraq that would pursue development in the interests of the prosperity and happiness of its people."Interesting analysis of the 'Arab Street'. Hard to prove, of course, but encouraging....
Wednesday, February 5
Headline news from Sky News - Witness the event - MARINES MASQUERADE
Stylish, aren't they?
Over atSpecWar they've got some pictures of the new Marine digital camo, woodland, desert, and urban. I had the chance to see this stuff close up - and it tricks the eye something fierce. You literally don't want to look at it, your mind registers it as grass or something and you look away. I was looking at a group of 3 marines in good fluorescent light, and it was real hard to keep my eyes on the fabric. For more info, you can take a look here at Hyperstealth.com and here at Marine Corps Systems Command.
Tuesday, February 4
Sea Dragon was a two-stage design of 1962 capable of putting 1.2 million pounds (550 tonnes) into low Earth orbit. The concept was to achieve minimum launch costs through lower development and production costs. This meant accepting a larger booster with a lower performance propulsion system and higher stage dead weight then traditional NASA and USAF designs. The first stage had a single pressure fed, thrust chamber of 36 million kgf thrust, burning LOX/Kerosene. The second stage was ‘considerably smaller’ (thrust only 6.35 million kgf!) and burned LOX/LH2.Shuttle Alternatives...
The engineering's been done - they're feasible, but...
...this came just as Apollo was being cut back and the Viet Nam war was eating an ever greater amount of the US budget. NASA dissolved their Future Projects Branch (dropping almost all the manned Mars landing work). Prospects for Sea Dragon essentially disappeared, and Aerojet could no longer fund it on IR&D.And a possibility bit the big one.
Now, the question I've got is two-fold:
1. Are they going to build a Shuttle follow-on? and
2. Is it going to be a delicate, state of the art, push the envelope till the damn thing breaks sort of thing?
The above ship looks damn near perfect from an operational viewpoint. Durable, rugged, and SSTO. Which, I'll make a wild assumption, will keep it or a system like it from consideration.
You look at the rhetoric
Against an Iraq war...
And you say to yourself...
"Have we seen this before?"
Afghanistan they said
would be quite the thing
to show how GW Bush
is wearing Sauron's Ring.
That didn't turn out
to be at all true.
But you're on the left...
what can you do?
You ignore all you can
and discount the rest.
People are free?
Well, that's not for the best.
Now they've got a chance
but capitalism's at fault.
We'll give them McDonalds,
instead of veggie broth.
(And thin stuff, at that. Dishwater soup. Wave a chicken and a stalk of celery over the water, add a bit of dirt for thickening, and serve it up. Ethnically correct. Doesn't matter if the kids die on it, it's politically correct. Can't have capitalists and multinational conglomerates come in and sell food, oh no...)
How evil we are!
It's the new rally cry.
Why, when we freed their country,
NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE DIED!
(On either side. Why, there certainly weren't enough US casualties. We weren't playing fair. And that's what war's supposed to be - we're supposed to take massive casualties, so the anti-war folk can point at how inept and uncaring and brutal our military is. We didn't do that in Afghanistan. Don't change the paradigm on them, they can't cope.)
Always complaints about how evil
anything the US might do is -
and it's all characterized quite well
as a horrid, evil fizz..
But there's an awful lot
they truely do ignore
folks dead by the dozen,
by hundreds and scores.
And not by OUR hand
instead by Saddam -
a generous guy
with gas or a bomb.
Documented deaths of folks
who just might dare
complain that Saddam's regime
is no way very fair.
Do they really wish
that the US would fail?
That our war machine
would step on a nail?
It's a funny thing
to watch the distortions
as they justify all
of their intellectual contortions.
"A regiem change is needed!"
Oh, they'll nod for it's true.
"They need to be freed! Oh -
US? Um... just not by you."
"Who else?" we ask -
and get a blank stare.
It's a very hard task
for which we've prepared.
Who else, they go -
and then they go mum.
(For a while. You can almost see their brains fight for traction, given the ground they thought was solid is shifting, then they shift into reverse and try to get back to dry land.)
"The US is evil!
It's all about oooooil!"
They chant and they rail
"No Blood For Oooooooil!"
Trash a city in protest?
Oh, it's quite the thing.
Shows that they're serious
about the Anti-War fling.
They suggest no options
which haven't been tried.
Sanctions? We did that
and Iraqi folks died.
(Never mind that Saddam was selling off relief supplies, and building palaces. After all, it's the people's fault they didn't vote him out of office. Hey, he had an election last year and won by a landslide. 102%, in fact. No other candidate allowed, but it shows just how much the people are behind him. Especially with a gun poking them in the ribs. Makes you want to vote for the right guy, you know?)
The dead? They don't matter -
far better indeed
to complain it's about oil
in some sickening screed.
(Let's see. On a good year (for Iraq) we get 1% of our oil. We take them over, and we get ... 1%. Because we're going to honor the contracts with Germany and France. Hmmm. Maybe we need to take a look at those contracts.)
When you have no option
to offer that works
an option unlisted
will get shoved out in first.
War's a bad option -
but all others are worse.
Let's see what will change
When Saddam's in a hearse.
Monday, February 3
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Anti-war movement ignores Saddam's crimes
Nevertheless, it is deeply disturbing the way the Stop The War campaign is ignoring the Iraqi government's monstrous human rights violations, and offering no counter-plan for overthrowing the murderous regime in Baghdad.The Anti-war Guardian is starting to come around - apparently some of the anti-war folk are looking at the movement, and thinking something's seriously wrong with their objectives.
The leaflets and posters of the Stop The War coalition do not mention Saddam's repression of his own people. There is not a word about the brutalities of detention without trial, torture, execution and the ethnic cleansing of Kurds and Shiites.Bingo! Give the man a... clue.
Sunday, February 2
lgf: Early Indications
The problems started on Columbia’s left wing, the wing that was struck by a piece of insulating foam that peeled off the external fuel tank during liftoff.As I thought.
Sigh. Life is so fragile sometimes - and to think that a piece of foam could start a chain of events that led to the destruction of the Columbia.
Saturday, February 1
We lost Columbia.
Damn, damn, damn.