26 February 2007

Independent Senator calls for truce in Washington

Independent Senator Joe Lieberman wrote a great piece for the WSJ on Sunday:

Congress thus faces a choice in the weeks and months ahead. Will we allow our actions to be driven by the changing conditions on the ground in Iraq--or by the unchanging political and ideological positions long ago staked out in Washington? What ultimately matters more to us: the real fight over there, or the political fight over here?

Highlighting the political grandstanding on behalf of your former compatriats is not going to earn you high praise from them.

If we stopped the legislative maneuvering and looked to Baghdad, we would see what the new security strategy actually entails and how dramatically it differs from previous efforts. For the first time in the Iraqi capital, the focus of the U.S. military is not just training indigenous forces or chasing down insurgents, but ensuring basic security--meaning an end, at last, to the large-scale sectarian slaughter and ethnic cleansing that has paralyzed Iraq for the past year.

I've heard all along from the Dems that this is the same old strategy. Petraeus stated as much, but just a week later, Hillary misrepresented it in her call for dialog.

But the fact is that we are in a different place in Iraq today from even just a month ago--with a new strategy, a new commander, and more troops on the ground. We are now in a stronger position to ensure basic security--and with that, we are in a stronger position to marginalize the extremists and strengthen the moderates; a stronger position to foster the economic activity that will drain the insurgency and militias of public support; and a stronger position to press the Iraqi government to make the tough decisions that everyone acknowledges are necessary for progress.

But we must not make another terrible mistake now. Many of the worst errors in Iraq arose precisely because the Bush administration best-cased what would happen after Saddam was overthrown. Now many opponents of the war are making the very same best-case mistake--assuming we can pull back in the midst of a critical battle with impunity, even arguing that our retreat will reduce the terrorism and sectarian violence in Iraq.

Yes, at least he can admit that mistakes were made. If only the administration had done so publically earlier than after they lost Congress. The Democrats "we're the cause of the problem" self-blame induced retreat strategy is not likely to work. At least Joe knows it.

LA Times: prints refuted statement as headline

So, what's new?

Sunday the LA fishwrap had this as a headline: "U.S. has an Iran attack plan, report says"

Despite the Bush administration's position that it has no plans to go to war with Iran, a Pentagon panel has been created to plan a bombing attack that could be implemented within 24 hours of getting the go-ahead from the president, the New Yorker magazine reported in its latest issue.

so says an unidentified former U.S. intelligence official to Seymour Hersh. However, the last paragraph contradicts their own headline:

Pentagon officials say they maintain contingency plans for dozens of potential conflicts around the world and that all are subject to regular review.

Journalists fail to understand that planning is an ongoing, important process. Often involving a great deal of self discovery. We've been doing this for decades now. In fact, if we ever decided to not examine our defences from an unconstrained perspective, we'd be doing ourselves a disservice. I'd venture that if we had done extensive planning of the Iraq conflict involving several post-invasion scenarios, we'd have been better off.

22 February 2007

Jim Talent hits a home run

Former Representative, Senator and chairman of the Seapower Subcommittee on the SASC, Jim Talent has got it all right. Long, but worth the read.

20 February 2007

I must have done poorly in nursery school

Iron Shrink does a good job again debunking some bad research science apparently aimed at tagging conservatives as unintelligent. Here's what liberals are:

bright, distinctive, having a wide range of interests, being aesthetically responsive to the world about them.

And here's what conservatives are:

uncomfortable with uncertainty, conventional, traditionally sex-typed, constricted in their behaviors, judging self against conformist standards, and moralistic.
All of this can be predicted by reports on how 3 year olds in Berkeley, CA were perceived by their caretakers.

Appeal for Courage

Appeal for Courage is an active duty sponsored appeal for redress to Congress. They document the DoD directives that authorize it as a means to communicate to elected officials in support of the chain of command and the military mission.

I signed.

19 February 2007

Nurburgring lap videos

BMW has a new ad out that highlights the Nurburgring in an X5 SUV. The 13.1 mile long track is fascinating. The first video is of a Honda S2000 prototype, the second is an Opel Astra touring car but with a nice map with curve names.

18 February 2007

Hillary thinks we've already lost

Why else should she demand that we pull out our troops starting by June. Don't watch on while you're eating.

"The Iraq Troop Protection and Reduction Act" - well I guess "Abandon Iraq to Chaos Act" just doesn't have the same condescending ring to it (too much realism, too).

She's harder on the Iraq government then her husband was on North Korea in '94. "Real benchmarks with real consequences." That would have been nice against KJI, not the language you should use for the leader of a fragile democracy that continues to need our help with security.

Bush is not fighting to escalate the war. He's changing strategy. Her version of ending the war is just quitting.

In their own words

Watched "Flyboys" from our Nexflix account last week. I liked the movie, and as I was looking into the Lafayette Escadrille, I found somewhere that there was a first hand account of US volunteer flying by James R. McConnell at Project Gutenberg. The account it not very long, because his life was cut short. But, at the end are some letters from his squadron-mates about his death and the morale of the pilots after.

Good science in movies

Channel surfing yesterday, I watched a bit of Contact. Jodie Foster's character said that the frequency of the extraterrestrial transmission was "hydrogen times pi." I never noticed this earlier. They claimed that it was about 4Ghz and change. I thought, couldn't be hydrogen mass, which is just over one by our own scale. It had to be some universal scale - so I checked out Contact on Phil Plait's site, and that phrase isn't mentioned.

So, googling around, found that the the 21 cm hydrogen emmisions are also called the hydrogen line at 1,420 Ghz.

1 420.40575 * pi = 4 462.33627

I'm impressed that this was correct although hidden in the dropped word "line" from the statement. Or am I too much of a geek?

16 February 2007

Navy to Bolster Submarine Fleet

I got all excited when I read that headline in a feed. What a let down when I read it wasn't the US. We're still hoping to lower the VIRGINIA cost to afford to build two per year.

14 February 2007

Government taking away choice (liberty)

With a rational government policy, people would save money for routine medical care and buy insurance for solvency-threatening illness. After all, we don't buy auto insurance to pay for oil changes and worn-out windshield-wiper blades.

John Stossel quote about irrational mandates to health insurance.

Is it time to move some money out of equities?

Barry Ritholtz seems to think we won't have the 'goldilocks' recovery. Love to read contrarians. Compare the two graphs of US GDP.

CIA vs. DoD

As bubblehead surmised, I am still active duty. Although I have a TAP scheduled and my termination rad-health coming up soon. I found a letter from former USD(P) Douglas Feith in the Early Bird this morning.

Much earlier in my career, on post-JO shore duty I found out that the "intelligence community" was actually many rival camps. In my case, I was in a location very close to a potential adversary. Many of the estimates of the potential adversary's future intent and capability were in conflict. CIA said one thing, DIA differed, surprisingly ONI differed from DIA (somewhat). That's what makes Hugh Hewitt's recap of the whole Feith-Levin "war against the war against the war" very interesting.

Now, I can understand and appreciate intelligence organizations arriving at different conclusions based on different information available to them. But, when an organization selectively leaves out portions of intel that don't fit the picture, there is a problem. And the executive branch has more than a right to question the info and assumptions leading to conclusions - they have a responsibility to do so.

13 February 2007

I was tortured on the way to work this morning

Listening to the AM morning show on the way to work they played all 7:20 of Richard Harris' MacArthur Park. Last week I found out this is considered torture by the president of the Society of Ethnomusicologists. I thought he was a crackpot at the time, now I'm beginning to reconsider his point. The Hugh Hewitt interview is worth it, and make sure you listen to James Lileks take on it toward the end of the show.

Update: the poet laureate of the Hugh Hewitt show has an ode to ethnomusicologists.

Centcom working with bloggers

Maybe bubblehead can get a part time gig blogging for his old command. Sounds like a wise decision to counter the disinformation put out by AQ and others.

Navy wants dolphins, sea lions to defend us

I just loved this quote:

Sea lions can carry in their mouths special cuffs attached to long ropes. If the animal finds a rogue swimmer, it can clamp the cuff around the person's leg. The individual can then be reeled in for questioning.

12 February 2007

State GDP vs. The World

Was going to go on and on about how immense the US economy is after seeing this graph a few back on BigPicture. However, I saw a better post here and saw his h/t to Chapomatic. Great minds and all that.

William F. Buckley vs. Noam Chomsky

Every once in a while you find something on Youtube that is fascinating and educational. I was thinking this whole time that these two, who were so diametrically opposed could still debate with respect, completely avoiding labels and ad hominem attacks. Compare and contrast with FoxNews.

Guess I should have sold

Florida and Hawaii (where I have my two condos), are among the top ten in housing price risk. I haven't sold yet. I hope that I don't lose all of my capital gains - I'm counting on that to help me into a nice big house upon retirement.

Open Source Maritime Strategy

Looks like the 'Conversation with the Country' just finished in Atlanta. Looks to me like socializing the need to maintain the Navy as a valid fighting force. Briefings most of the day followed by polling the participants (business and academic leaders). Doesn't look like they're going to get rid of Sea Power 21 (bummer). I remember a simpler time when our strategy was 'Power Projection and Sea Control'.

Ben & Jerry's Defense Budget

What qualifies folksy businessman Ben Cohen, the man who gave the world Wavy Gravy ice cream, to critique the $2.9 trillion federal budget unveiled on Monday?

My answer, is not much. He's in the company of Ted Turner, Paul Newman and Lawrence Korb. You remember Korb from the 'Alternative QDR' of last year by the Center for American Progress (wonderful patriotic name, that).

"We won the Cold War. The world changed. But we're still spending ourselves into oblivion" on obsolete weapons.

Well, this is where business differs from the military. Unless you're in transports, you don't have to recapitalize as often as the military does. For example, the F-22 is the first fighter that the Air Force has bought in ~30 years. According to the Air Force Deputy, the average age of their aircraft is 24 years.

Similarly for the Navy; ships last 30-45 years and we curtailed a lot of our spending during the 'peace dividend' years. Remember, those were the in Clinton's first term. We thought the Cold War was the last war. That error has been made in the past (e.g. WWI). Gentlemen, your opinion is noted - and disregarded.

11 February 2007

Chicken Little Global Warming

Well, this little article had me scratching my head. It's about methane introduction into the atmosphere accelerating due to global warming. From the permafrost and undersea methane clathrates.
"Because the methane now emitted in our study region dates to the Pleistocene age, it's clear that the process, described by scientists as 'positive feedback to global warming,' has led to the release of old carbon stocks once stored in the permafrost."

This is from Prof Jeff Chanton, an Oceanographer. Others co-authoring his paper are a biologist and a forest scientist. Not exactly global climatologists. I prefer to listen to Richard Lindzen who is smarter than the science guy. I also listen this guy who happens to use the UN's own data to, shall we say temper their claims. His book is about half footnotes.

This guy is probably polishing his Oscar acceptance speech. Yech.

Fabulous First Post

Thought I'd start off with some humor. I found this linked at hotair.com and was really amused. Perhaps animated bunnies doing Casablanca or Pulp Fiction (language) is more entertaining.

Anyway, welcome and I hope that this blog won't get orphaned too soon and you'll get to know me over time.