Friday, May 28, 2004

Do you want to own or fly a B-52? Talk to the guys who made this.

Cover-Up Culture: When will the real Oil-for-Food investigations begin?
Here is some advice on the stock market and the future.

The Photon Courier has a revised report on the sinking of the HMS Hood during WWII if done by the media of today. It is an eye opener and it makes me wonder what reporters’ value.

Ireland wants to drain US brains. It sounds like Ireland good plan with a good PR company. Dublin in my eyes is just like any other big western city with bad traffic, high rent, but with drinking as part of the culture.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

It is getting testy here in England over where Robin Hood lived.

I have to say that I like heavy duty rock and roll. Ok go laugh, but here is one band, Iced Earth, is a band with brains that rocks . Read this interview with some blathering idiots and guess who has some brains? Via Andrew Sullivan.

Got give it up to the Germans, they do have some humor.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Do you want to know who is giving how much money to either candidate? Go here, type in your address or zip code and watch the list of names, amounts and date show up. Pretty interesting to see who is popular in the campaign? Democratic donations a more frequent than Republican, but they are in smaller amounts.

The Troubled Diva has the best recap of the Eurovision Song Contest. He has some pretty funny commentary, and he is pretty good at predicting this slick, high school talent contest.

Sorry not blogging for the past few days. It has been busy around the house. This upcoming weekend I will be at Brookwood American Cemetery and Memorial in Surrey paying my respect to my fallen brothers in arms.
After that the whole family will be in London to get a passport for the newest member of our family.

Friday, May 21, 2004

It was interesting to talk to some Germans. One thing that stood out was that there may be some animosity between those Germans who live in the Western part of Germany and the Eastern or former communist part. It seems that the Westerners have to pay a reunification tax (more here) to pay for the infrastructure (roads, telephone lines, sewers, ect..) upgrades. I was told this amount to 10 to 25 Euros per person a week. It sounds like it would be good to be a resident of the former East or communist section of German; but there is a small drawback. The wages to work there is only 75% of Western Germany. Also a few disparaging remarks were made of women and beer of that area. People will be people where ever you go.

Two reasons Canada is cool. One and two

France, its Muslims, and the Future by Randy McDonald Writes about the overstated impact of Muslims on France. Very well researched, long, but he makes a strong argument.

The last paragraph:
France’s problem with its nominally Muslim minority in the early 21st century isn’t a civilizational clash, any more than the United States’ problem with its nominally Catholic minority in the early 20th century was. The French problem isn’t whether or not it will be a Western country, or a democratic country, in a half-century. The French problem is how a large immigrant population, already fairly highly assimilated in the cultural sense but concentrated in certain immigrant ghettoes where assimilation in the socioeconomic sense is more problematic, will be integrated into itself. There’s no particular reason to think it will fail, given France’s own past immigration successes; there’s also no reason for complacency, given France’s problems with youth and immigrant employment, and with social exclusion. It's a touchy situation, but like graduate school it's far more difficult to fail than it is to muddle through and succeed.

A Catholic monk who is in favor of the War on Terrorism and America’s actions in Iraq. Scroll down to his May 13th post

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Philip Coggan writes an interesting article about Geopolitics and investments. How will Europe, China , Brazil, America and other countries look at the future? Will terrorist activities disrupt the markets that are built on the presumption of stable and free economies?

This article nails it on the head. al Qaeda basically told us that they are opposed to a democratic society and they will anything and everything to stop it. We will be there for fifty or more years. When I tell people that they gasp, but I ask them how long America has have had troops in Germany, Japan, or Korea? If we pull out of Iraq what will happen? If we pull out right now will al Qaeda declare a truce? I hate to tell everybody we are there for the long haul.

The media focus is on the blood shed, if it bleeds, it leads. Nobody will look at the news or buy newspapers if there is no mayhem. Most of the trouble is centered in a few hot spots and most of Iraq is busy recovering from 35 years of a brutal dictatorship. That effort to build new lives does not sell. The real effort against al Qaeda is being waged by the three lettered agencies in the shadows. Our grandchildren may read about the shadow war when it is declassified if we win. Nothing is guaranteed in life other than death and taxes, so we must keep our guards up fight the good fight. Our enemies want us dead, because we symbolize the good in the world and they don’t want that.

Last night we went out to dinner with Nana at the Cornmill, a typical corporate owned English pub. It was very good food and prices were reasonable. I found out that I could have spotted dick for desert; it is a traditional English sponge pudding. I had the orange chocolate cheese cake instead. An added feature of the restaurant is that they have a playground. If you want your kid to eat all of their vegetables tell them that they can not go out to play until they clean their plate off. The food will disappear and they will be running to the slides and monkey bars.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

It is simply numbers and facts that tell the truth. Milton Friedman is saying that the Euro might go to the history books.

"there is a strong possibility that the euro zone could collapse in the next few years because differences are accumulating between countries ... I'm not saying it is a certainty, just that it is a strong possibility".

He suggests that the euro could be replaced with the old national currencies.

One more quote to keep you thinking:

Furthermore, he believes that the EU - and even the US - will eventually be caught up by the rapidly growing economy of China.

"It is almost certain that, at the current rate of growth, China will overtake both the EU and the US. But this is quite a long time down the road".

Time to star learning Chinese?

So if Saddam had no chemical weapons, where did this crap come from? I feel sorry for the troops now in Iraq, because they will get to wear their MOPP gear for protection. Just wearing the suits in the heat of Iraq will increase the cases of heat exhaustion or just get sick.

Can somebody explain this to me?

Results of Homicide Bomber Attack on Bradley - WARNING:Bloody. Can you say pink mist?

Here is a new site that has the best maps of the Europe and America. Zoom in or out, it is quite amazing.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Here is an article from the Boston Herald about some of the Super Bowl Champs, New England Patriots, who went down to Walter Reed Hospital to talk to troops who are recovering from wounds.

``They couldn't believe how positive all the guys were,'' said team spokes guy Stacey James who joined in on the tour. ``There was a guy who lost both hands, one who lost a leg, and they were still talking about rejoining their platoon. The players couldn't believe it.''

Of course they couldn't. Because in the NFL, a broken leg can be considered a career killer!

Stacey said the Pats, who earlier met with the Commander-in-Chief at the White House, were told they were the first Super Bowl champs to accept the hospital's invitation to come over and say hey to America's real heroes.

They earned a few extra points in the admiration department from me, for being respectful to soldiers who are real team players. Not your stupid, dumb jocks, but considerate gentlemen. Go Pats!

I will be flying back home in a few hours and I will be organizing some ideas to post on the flight. This upcoming month will be busy with two trips to London, going to Boston and LA for a wedding and possibly back to Germany. At least I will earn some frequent flier miles for a future trip to Disneyworld!

I am new at the father and parenting aspect of life, but this makes some sense to me. My daughter slept with us for the first year in her bassinet in our room or sometimes in be between my wife and me. Sometime she crawled in bed with us in the morning, but now she is becoming Miss Independent and it shows from reports from her nursery and Sunday school teachers. She even practices PLFs off her bed now.

Here is an article on chopping off heads as a way to show who has won a battle.

Berg is, of course, not the first to be murdered in such a gruesome manner. Nor, alas, is he likely to be the last. For the cutting of heads (in Arabic, qata al-raas) has been the favorite form of Islamist execution for more than 14 centuries.
In the famous battles of early Islam, with the Prophet personally in command of the army of believers, the heads of enemy generals and soldiers were often cut off and put on sticks to be shown around villages and towns as a warning to potential adversaries.
In 680, the Prophet's favorite grandson, Hussein bin Ali, had his head chopped off in Karbala, central Iraq, by the soldiers of the Caliph Yazid. The severed head was put on a silver platter and sent to Damascus, Yazid's capital, before being sent further to Cairo for inspection by the Governor of Egypt. The Caliph's soldiers also cut off the heads of all of Hussein's 71 male companions, including the one-year-old baby boy Ali-Asghar.
Islamic history is full of chopped heads being sent around by special delivery to reassure rulers, to terrorize foes and to impress the common folk. In 1821, the Qajar king of Persia ordered a week of celebrations when he received the severed head of a Russian general who had been captured in a battle near Baku. In 1842, the Afghans massacred the British garrison in Kabul, a total of 2,000 men and their wives and children, chopping off their heads and putting them on sticks to decorate the city. (They allowed one man to leave to report to the British.)

Pretty interesting reading, I dare say.

Here is an Iraqi view of beheadings (second post form May 12th):

But I would like to inform the American friends that beheading was known to be one of the techniques of the Fedayeen Saddam. The late Uday, the son of Saddam commanded that particular outfit. I think it was the summer of 1999 when we woke up some morning to be shocked by some horrible news. Before we tell you about that it is necessary to recount something that has some bearing on the subject. You might have heard that an assassination attempt against Uday had taken place in 1996, which left him with injuries that caused impotency. This made him even more cruel and sadistic than his usual self. It has been revealed after the fall of the regime that he shot the doctor who broke the news to him (c.f. interview with one of the close bodyguards of Uday at Al Arabia last year). This added one more complex to his extensive repertoire of psychological problems. He started to hate anything to do with other people having any kind of sexual pleasure.

Well, that horrible day we learnt that the night before the Fedayeen had attacked scores of houses and dragged women and young girls to streets and beheaded many with swords leaving the heads at the doorsteps of the victims houses. Some of these heads were left in place for more than twenty-four hours. The atrocities lasted for several weeks. The pretext for this behavior was a campaign against prostitution. The women who were beheaded were alleged to be prostitution madams and some of their young girls. I remember that my young boys came home suffering from shock as one of these houses was in our area and they knew the occupants quite well. The victims were taken by surprised and there was nothing to arouse their fears before that night. This was typical of the Baathists when they planned some atrocity to attack suddenly at some predetermined moment without any previous warning. Throughout the reign of the Baath party and particularly the Saddam era, it was customary to suffer periodic atrocities carefully planned and imaginatively variable to keep the people terrified all the time. It was considered necessary not to leave the people too long without some thing awful to keep them intimidated properly. The Baathists were masters of the “Terreur”, and it was the essential means of their hold on power. In fact what we see now is something rather similar. It is a similar technique; they are trying to intimidate both the Iraqi people first but mainly the western people. They will stop at nothing. You must understand that this is their only expertise; their sole training and method and way of thinking. They think they can inspire fear and terror into the Coalition forces and their people and leadership exactly in the same way that they did with the Iraqis. They think that they can intimidate the whole world exactly in the same way that they did with us.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

The history of the bra.

Gas in Germany is 1.18 Euro/1.39 US dollar a liter or 5.25 US dollars a gallon. Some times I post the cost of living in the UK or Germany to the US, by using standard units of measurement that everybody can relate to. A Big Mac is one of them or gasoline is another. They are the same worldwide, so the difference is cost of taxes, materials, labor or miscellaneous costs such as marketing, sales or distribution are the only variables. It makes you wonder.

An excellent essay from Jeff Jacoby about what images make it on TV and why.

Over at the Braden Files, it has analysis from Strafor titled “The Edge of the Razor”.
Here is the first part of it:

The strategy of the United States in its war with radical Islam is in a state of crisis. The global strategic framework is in much better shape than the tactical situation in the Iraq theater of operations -- but this is of only limited comfort to Washington because massive tactical failure in Iraq could lead to strategic collapse. The situation is balanced on the razor's edge. The United States could recover from its tactical failures, or suffer a massive defeat if it fails to do so. One thing is certain: The United States cannot remain balanced on the razor's edge indefinitely.

Read the rest.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Do you ever wonder, when you walk into somebody’s office, you see a diploma and the first thought pops that pops into your brain is: how did this person earn this bachelors or masters degree? This might help you answer that question; they went to a diploma mill. You can buy anything in the world and so a degree should not be a stretch.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

I think we need more of this in Academia. I hated all the political teachers who preached on their soapbox while they should have been teaching. I just like giving them a hard time; all I had to do was to make sure I aced their tests to so I could just pass their class.

Over at USS Neverdock (Sunday May 9, 200 post ) has a post about the Financial Time's article with the subject: Turkish education plan brings charges of 'hidden Islamic agenda'.

And another post about an article from the Middle East Media Research Institute titled "Saudi Princess Responds to Charges of Antisemitism in Saudi Royal Family."

These are articles that should have more circulation in the main stream press, but with the efforts of the USS Neverdock, we can spread the word one set of eyes at a time.

Is old school TV comedy better than today’s offerings? I says yes. Most of it is nasty put downs and I get enough of that in real life. I don’t need to waste time and watch it on TV. Other than Fraiser, most of TV comdey is dumbed down for the "Jackass" mentality.

A good post about agriculture.

Time for some Schnitzel!
What is the difference between torture and coercive manipulation? Read here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Sean has sent me an email about a blog by an Iraqi. One of the posts is about his friend who bribed his way out serving in the old Iraqi Army under Saddam. Now his friend joined the new Iraqi army that is being trained by the US Army and now they real bottle water after running. Imagine that they get to drink good water instead of no water under Saddam’s thugs. Also the blog has an image of the new Iraqi flag. There is one post about the prisoner abuse issue and it is an eye opener on Iraqis views of the subject.

Conservative punk rockers? A bit of an oxymoron, not really if you speak to Nick Rizzuto: "Punks will tell me, 'Punk and capitalism don't go together,' " Rizzuto said. "I don't understand where they're coming from. The biggest punk scenes are in capitalist countries like the U.S., Canada and Japan. I haven't heard of any new North Korean punk bands coming out. There's no scene in Iran." It is good these guys are not getting roped into the political fashion police movement.

This is a new way to teach new infantry lieutenants. A sergeant conducting the training said: “When you get stung by simmunition, you know you have been hit,” he said. “Pain is a great motivator to teach you what you have done right and what you have done wrong.”

Lance is the Man. It must drive the French crazy that he is favored to win the Tour again.

Logistics is where the US Army excels compared to other militaries, but there is lots of room to improve. Here is one way.

Are movie blockbusters really movies or all the other (DVD, games, toys, books, amusement rides,…) tie-ins is all that matters, even if the movies, stinks? Can you go to McDonalds, Burger King or any other franchised retail outlet and avoid the marketing tie-in to products? It has been a long time since I seen a place free of that crap.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Now you can go to Rick’s Café, just like in the movie, also in Ireland you can not smoke in pubs.

Those Iranian snowboarders:
Shemshak is as far from the traditional image of Iran as you can get. Girls wear hats and ski jackets instead of the regulation scarves and long manteaus. The resort appears a declared area of truce in the public morality battle being waged between the young and the conservative elements in Iran. Here,the talk is of foreign holidays, parties and expensive clothes. A large four-wheel drive vehicle pulls up by the cabin entrance. The thumping beat of reggae washes over the car park and five languid young men step out, stretching, yawning and smoking. Their long hair, goatee beards and garish, chunky clothing define them as snowboarders.
Via USS Nevermore

The Air Force is now going macho. Are they going to stop using the Marriot as barracks? If I were a young man and thinking of joining the military, this one would be on my list of units to join.
A friend just evaluated some training of this type: Truck Crews Get Crash Course in Survival. He said was pretty good and it will pay off by saving lives. Also it was like the second “Mad Max” movie. Maybe that is why the Army is making it recruiting goals.
Update: I was talking to a few soldiers later after I put the post up and they game me their comments. One of them put simply: “I am starring in a real live movie, with real bullets, rockets and getting paid to air out some #$%#$#(s. When I am on leave back home I will get some free beer and #*^ a high school cheerleader, anyways she is my girlfriend.

Fast Jets Not Ideal Choice for Close Air Support. Who came up with that idea has brains of Einstein. Going slow, so they see what they are shooting or bombing comes in handy. The Air Force and Naval Aviation might not think it is sexy and they don’t want to go any slower, but it comes in handy.

Bill Simmons writes why I think Friends suck.

Do you want to read about the biased broadcast corporation or the BBC? Here is the inside scoop.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Greetings from Schwetzingen, Germany. I am now researching how to reconfigure units to make them more deployable with the new doctrine of Units of Engagement and Action.

Iraqi reaction to the prisoner abuse problem.

The Christian Science Monitor reports normalcy is returning to Fallujah.

Interesting art on the Internet.

Over at Admiral Quixote's Roundtable they are discusing that there are some who are praying (May 6th, 2004 post) for GW Bush to win in November.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Do you want to know what the Germans think of American soldiers? David Kaspar writes at Davids Medienkritik: More Media Madness: American Soldiers Labeled Mercenaries and Torturers by SPIEGEL Magazine Cover. Just think we over there during the cold war, ready to die for them, so they could have their beer and strudel. I am flying over tomorrow to Germany to do a short tour with the US Army and I can’t wait to go down to the Hauptstrasse or Speyerer Strasse for a beer!

Niall Ferguson writes the End of Europe. His speech is about the economics and cultural implications of EU turning into an expensive, but impotent bureaucracy.
I will be traveling to Germany to do a 10 day tour with the Army tomorrow. Blogging maybe light until I can find a computer that I can access.

Are the Anti-globalization protesters full of crap? Guess who is backing them?

Sometime people talk about not getting immunizations for their kids and it makes me want to go crazy on them. Personally that is child abuse. Here is an article about some morons in Sweden.

I have some good memories of Time Square. The New Yorker has few book reviews Americas’ most famous urban intersection.

Here is one view of the future of the Army.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Navin, wrote to me about my post how thin skin HMMWV suck for the troops in Iraq and how the army is racing to supply them with the up armored version. He suggested the US Army supply the troops with Casspir APCs. They look pretty good to me and they work well against IED, but the insurgents are now using RPG-7V1. More information here. The Casspir APC looks like a good vehicle, against an RPG-7V1 I am not sure.

England loves soap operas. They are all over the place. When I was sick and housebound a few years back, I was watching them in the US and coming here it is interesting to watch the British soaps. The American shows would have “beautiful” people: pearly white, straight teeth, in shape, thin, coifed hair; you know the typical Hollywood actors and actresses. Here in Britain, it is more of the everyday or Middle English type of person, somebody off the street with average looks.

In America the characters would be head of some billion dollars, multinational corporation, or of high prominence. Here in England they own a chipper, small store, pub or just a housewife. More down to earth in scale, while America is a flight of fancy.

But there are many similarities. Conflicts are over miscommunication, greed, vanity or other plot devices that are old as drama itself. They are all morality tales for each culture.

Do you hate movies that violate the laws of physics and common sense? Here is Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics. It explains what should happen when a bomb goes off in outer space and interesting events in movies that happen all the time.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

It is all over the news and the press is having a field day with this horrible news. It is deplorable, evil and contrary to every thing to which the country and army stands for. We all have some evil in our hearts and to what degree that we can control it determines how good of a person that we are.

The majority of the soldiers are good. They come from the same, towns, cities and families that you come from. They are your neighbors, friends, cousins, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers or other family relations. Generally Americans are good people. When a person joins the military, they have a rigorous background screening process to weed out the bad apples. Nobody with any serious crimes will be able to wear the uniform

When I was a commander in the US Army Reserve and National Guard, recruiters would come up to me with a young man, tell me that this young man has broken the law and to get him into the unit I would have to sign a waiver. I took this personally and I ask the wantabe troop into my office for a talk. My First Sergeant would be there with me and our bullshit detectors would be our only tools. On a few occasions I smelled something bad. I would tell the recruiter to get serious and stop trying to make their quota with these losers. Sometimes I would sign the waiver for somebody who was caught stealing when they were 13 years old, if they had a driving under the influence conviction or some other crime. The military is a way for young man or woman to better themselves. It was for me. They would say that they need money to pay for a university education, they want to escape the neighborhood that claimed the life of a sibling or for many other compelling reasons to join the Army. I would try to understand what they were going through and what motivated them.

Every time I would sign the wavier, I do it front of the future soldier and have a copy of the Uniform Code of Military Justice with me. I tell them that I or any other commander would use it in fair manner. But when used it would be swift and come down hard.

As I read the updates on this horrible cluster f#$@, it looks to me that another soldier brought this light. I am glad that it was not brought to light in some exclusive scoop in the press, but the chain of command is dealing with it, however a bit too slowly for a generation weaned on MTV and want instant gratification. I hope the press holds all militaries of the world to the same standards that they are doing to the US. In some other armies, this would be swept under the carpet or the perpetrators would be promoted. It looks like everybody involved will be pointing fingers at someone else, pleading stupidity, and other lame excuses. That is expected, rats will defend themselves. I wish the perpetrators would (literally and figuratively) do the right thing and fall on their swords. When UCMJ finally used, I hope they max out the sentences, and the perps will crack boulders into dust, glue the dust together and start all over again for 30 years. I understand Fort Leavenworth is a lovely place in the summer.

Here are more writings on this event by more eminent and eloquent writers. Here, here, and Phil Carter has some good insight.

Do you want to know what the real commanders and leaders from Iraq have to say?

Literally, the end of the world.

Sean, a daily reader, sent this article to me. I have seen and heard some great things about other nation’s troops who are serving with the US forces in Iraq; but this it over the top. The El Salvadorian and American governments should give every troop in this unit a medal.

Money quote: One of his friends was dead, 12 others lay wounded and the four soldiers still left standing were surrounded and out of ammunition. So Salvadoran Cpl. Samuel Toloza said a prayer, whipped out his switchblade knife and charged the Iraqi gunmen.

That man has mucho grande cojones.

Monday, May 03, 2004

Sorry for not blogging for the past few days. My newest daughter was baptized this past weekend and we had family and friends from all over America, Ireland, and from distant parts of England at our house. A good time was had by all to welcome a new child into the family of Christ.

I took a tour of the city center of Nottingham and will be post images and information of it soon.

Flack jackets do work.

One of the best sources of information on the ground in Iraq.

Is the world catching up with America in the sciences or is America slipping?

J. Peder Zane writes that “It would be too easy to call David Callahan's new book dishonest. And too ironic, given its title, "The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead.”

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