Saturday, January 31, 2004

Purity Of Essence

For the record, Terrence made this joke a few weeks ago.

I've actually counted - the man blinks twice in his thrity second ad here in Wisconsin. And he closes it with: "I'm Wes Clark, and I endorsed this message." Jesus, man, yer th' freakin' messenger, I sure as hell hope you endorsed it!

I think his people cut him off before he said "in one of my more lucid moments."

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Soft on Defense?

Some in Congress are supporting legislation to permanently increase the size of the U.S. military, a step Rumsfeld opposes. [More...]

How is it that the GOP is widely regarded as being pro-military when the Administration won't:
  • increase the size of the military
  • improve pay or living conditions
  • rotate troops out of a combat zone before a year is up
  • increase the size of a deadly deployment to better protect troops
Instead, it cuts veteran's benefits and gets them poorly involved in stupid conflicts.

If we're serious about ridding the world of terrorism and removing dictators, then I guess the tanks are getting to ready to roll over the DMZ in North Korea. Clear ties to terrorism, torture, and weapons of mass destruction. After we "catch" Osama this spring, I suppose we'll restart the Korean Conflict and bump the Terror Alert level up to Red by Election Day.
I know, I know: we were supposed to have a moratorium. I just can't help myself, though.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Top this, monkey boy!

Swing, batta batta batta!
I await your response, sir.

What exactly is being taught to our military planners these days?

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. military is planning a spring offensive against remnants of the Taliban and al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan, a senior Defense Department official said Wednesday. [More..]
"Enemy forces: we will attack at precisely 4:35 Zulu. Please plan accordingly." WTF???
Gee, I hope this doesn't have anything to do with nabbing Osama shortly before the election cycle

The Manchurian Candidate

I think it's readily apparent why we're refocusing on space. Again, I am happy that we're going out there, but I don't want to do it half-assed and for the wrong reasons and at a really bad time.

Thanks for the civics lesson. So, how did the Prez run up $87B? I remember at the time Congress debating what to do about it. No one wanted to kill the funds because it would appear like they were stiffing the military in the name of politics. But the question inevitably came up: what if Congress won't foot the bill?

Turns out, they have to. The Prez can run up however big a bill he wants. The United States is obligated to pay it. Much like a wife having to cover her husband's huge bar tab. In much the same way, though, there are various long-term, relationship issues.

Also, there's that discretionary spending that's supposed to be kept to, what was it, 4%? How's that been going?

I'm currently listening to "Rage Against the Machine" ... while working at an Air Force facility. Talk about holding two incompatible ideas in one's head simultaneously.

"Senator, I don't know where you get your information, but I'm here to tell you that you don't have a monopoly on virtue!" (Al Haig, Senate confirmation hearing for State, 1981) — as emailed to Shawn by Brian 7 April 2003 — words I shall live by.

In my email, I had written: "Marriages are complex and delicate. Man and woman are barely the same species, and yet we're forced to subjugate and sublimate at least some of ourselves to each other."


Look, do you really want to use experience as your yardstick here? Bill Nelson rode the shuttle, Bush has not, the other* JFK had never been to the moon, and LBJ had never been to Vietnam. Comparing two politicians based on their personal experiences relative to the task at hand is a tricky possibility at best.

Churchill was a cavalry officer and a combat journalist who led the greatest air force into battle over the skies of London in the summer of 1940. Jimmy Carter was an Annapolis educated submariner who helped to create our present "invisible" stealth fleet of aircraft. Would you have said in 1976 that Gov. Carter was unfit to lead anything more then an engineering division on a sub? Please. The man knew a winner idea when the F-117 was presented to him.

Speaking of 1976 . . . Point of order on the present Mars missions - at $800,000,000 they are 1/5th the cost of the Viking missions. And they move and send more data! Shouldn't they only be capable of 1/5th the Viking missions? (Paging Dr. Moore. Paging Dr. Moore. Dr. Moore, please report to the Economics of Technology Department, stat!)

We can put more men on the moon and it should cost a damn sight less then the Apollo missions did. Inventions like the inflatable habitat, the nuclear rocket and the ISS should bring the costs down considerably.

But, as long as the argument is based on "It cost trillions of dollars in 1969, and since we haven't learned a damn thing or had any advances in technology since then, it'll cost just the same or even more" then there can be no discussion.

We do things better now. That is undeniable. What Congress spends on the project is another matter altogether. Remember your basic Polly Sigh when people start bitching about the President and the pursestrings - only Congress can initiate a spending proposal, only Congress can send that proposal to the president's desk. The president's spending powers are extremely restricted.

The better question is, why us? If there is a buch to be made on the moon, shouldn't free market capitalism send companies there?

* John F. Kerry has taken to referring to himself in memos as JFK, just giving the man the benefit of the doubt.

Apples to Apples

•Spend $12 billion on new space exploration plan over next five years. $1bn will be new money, the rest reallocated from existing NASA programs.
•Retire shuttle program by 2010
•Develop new manned exploration vehicle
•Launch manned mission to moon between 2015 and 2020
•Build permanent lunar base as "stepping stone" for more ambitious missions
•Complete commitments to International Space Station by 2010
Source: White House
Times Bush has gone to space: 0
"Space flight: You can't do it on the cheap and I just don't think a billion dollars increase over five years -- that's $200 million a year -- is going to do it," said Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. [More...]
Times Nelson has gone to space: 1

Forget for a moment that I'm pointing out the wrong numbers, which should be the time spent studying the current state of NASA (I feel Nelson will do well in such a comparison, though): Should the number of times you do something give you more weight in debate? Yes

That's why I usually defer to Brian in arguments about history, law, cold weather, the Navy, and deer hunting.


Hey, Fed: Watch your mouths! You're killing me!!
Now I'll have to live in a cardboard box.


Hey, Brian — how do we measure the lurkers? Specifically the ones who email me? I've gotten snide comments from 3 different sources (two relatives, one friend). Maybe there should be some way to add annotations?
Yeah, like I'm going to write my own blogging software. Like that's even possible. Next thing you'll tell me is that I should put the code up for the whole world to see. Hey, that's actually not such a bad idea...

Batter up!

Hate to pick nits, but since the flash is hosted on a .fr domain (damn that coalition of the unwilling — they shall never be allowed to bid on reconstruction contracts!), I believe the units of measure would be meters, not yards.

I just got 319.3! Whoo, hoo!!
When was the US supposed to go metric, anyway? But then what would we call, say, a quarter pounder with cheese?

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Umm, guys?

From the rover Opportunity:

Don't those radii seem a little *too* regular?

It's probably just an imprint in the sand from the landing bags, but it also looks a lot like an ancient mosaic.
No, I don't believe in a face on Mars, either.

Penguin Batting

Ask yourself: "If I'm not penguin batting, who is? If I won't penguin bat now, when will I?

If not us, who?
If not now, when?

I smacked one bad boy damn near 300 yards.

Monday, January 26, 2004

More left-wing news

Insurgents in Iraq's volatile "Sunni Triangle" launched three deadly attacks during a 24-hour period, killing two U.S. soldiers, three Iraqi police officers and four civilians.

The Sunni Triangle is Iraq's most volatile region, an area north and west of Baghdad that is a hotbed of opposition to the U.S.-led coalition and scene of political instability.
Oh, sure, CNN talks about how the Sunni Triangle is a mess, but do they mention in the same article how attacks are down? Or that the goal of these al Qaeda-backed terrorists is to destabilize any hope for democracy in the region? No, because they don't want to further alienate investors, who presumably includes Martin Sheen and Barbara Streisand? Instead, they talk about how over 500 soldiers have died in securing the freedom of these people, despite their best attempts to refuse such freedom.

Does anyone note how this proves that Donald Rumsfeld was right all along when he said that more troops would only present more targets? After over 500 soldiers have died, the attacks have slowed significantly, proving that our military forces there simply had to be "right-sized". These acts of attrition, while regettable, allow the forces there to be more agile.

Do those left-wing talking heads ever talk about this? No, instead they present the wrong aspects of everything, and then when someone speaks out against their tirades, they go after them personally, like how they've savaged Rush Limbaugh. I mean, come on people, it takes an awfully big man like Rush to admit that he had a problem and seek to correct it on his own. Did he hurt anyone? No. Do they report that? Of course not!

I know it was my first try, but how was that? Was it convincing? Do I have a future as a producer on the Sean Hannity show?

Why, oh, why?

Are you switching sides only to make a point or do you want to take the blog in a brand new direction?


Just kidding. I'll post some jingo-istic, pro-Admin, neo-con replies ASAP.

Hey, I didn't serve in the military either! Does this mean that I can parade around in a flight suit?

All enemies, foreign and domestic

How much fuel resources does Alaska have? How much damage does our exploitation of such resources do? What are the long-term implications?

This is the same kind of thinking that lead the Army Corps of Engineers to straighten rivers. As your dad pointed out, Brian, it's not fair to look through the lens of time and ask how engineers might not be familiar with the workings of the Bernoulli family, but I sure as hell can look at the future through that lens and see that screwing around with Mother Nature will have long-term devastating effects that we can hardly anticipate.

The dodo's extinction doesn't really seem to have too much effect on the environment. The killing off of most the whales doesn't seem to do much either. What's the magnitude for daily species die-offs? In the hundreds? I certainly am not going to start saying that the sky is falling, but I'm also not going to say that we can make any kind of mark we want on the planet with impunity.

Pentagon Internet Voting has been on NPR a lot lately. I'd be happy if it produced a paper trail, but as it is, there are grounds for concern. I should know. I program.

Have I really been such a conspiracy theorist (remember, just because it sounds paranoid doesn't mean that it isn't true)?

I think you won't need to worry about Bush stealing this election. Just remember to stand up for President Kerry as strong as you do for every prez.

Mr. Purpuro, thankfully, is not running the Bush campaign.

"And vulcanize the tires, dammit!"