Saturday, November 09, 2002

AN HONORABLE MAN
A few days ago the blogosphere became aware of an insulting and profane Email that was sent to an Air Force cadet. Prof. Reynold's posted about this, which is how I became aware of it, but the real legwork was done by Neal Boortz (please scroll down till you see the yellow blocked text).

Okay, so some professor who's social development was arrested during his college days during the Viet Nam War acted like a real horse's backside. Happens all the time, except this time it happened to be picked up by bloggers. Now the horse's backside is discovering that his Email account is constantly bombarded with messages that let him know in no uncertain terms just what a horse's backside smells like to the rest of us. This is exactly as it should be.

Everybody's missing something, though. The President of St. Xavier University is a guy named Richard Yanikoski, and right now he probably feels like the bug under the microscope. One day he wakes up, kisses his significant other on the cheek on his way to the office, only to find that a real blizzard o' crap is waiting for him when he gets there. What went through his mind that day? What would go through the mind of any of us in his shoes?

"Gee, what the heck did I do to deserve this abuse?"

We've seen the brass at universities close ranks and act like horse's backsides themselves the last few years. Think the way that the administration at SFSU ignored the riot caused by pro-Palestinian protestors, or the way Emory dragged it's feet and hoped that the Bellesiles scandal would just fade away. But that's not what Dr. Yanikoski did. He looked in to the matter and saw what was going on. Instead of closing ranks and ignoring things he took action. The horse's backside has apologized to the cadet that he wronged. Dr. Yanikoski, an innocent man caught up in something he knew nothing about, has also expressed his regrets.

People are too involved in this, angry and emotional. Not only are they expressing outrage to the horse's backside but they're also venting some spleen into Dr. Yanikoski's Email tray. Even though he must be under enormous pressure, he's refused to discuss any disciplinary action that he might take. Not only is this the policy of St. Xavier but it's the right thing to do. After all, everybody might want to know what the consequences are for being a total ass, but we aren't the injured party and we really don't need to know.

If you agree with me please Email Dr. Yanikoski at yanikoski@sxu.edu and give him an "attaboy". I think it's important for the people in the ivory tower to learn that there's a price to pay for being a jerk. I don't think that someone should pay a price for trying to do the right thing when he's got a jerk working for them.

Update
For anyone who has questions about what steps Dr. Yanikoski has taken to resolve this issue, please go here and read what he has to say for himself. In my opinion he's done more than was required of him and probably all that he could.

JANES' ROUNDUP
The latest from Jane's Defence has just been updated on their server. Let's take a look at some of the items that are available to people who can't afford the prices that they charge.

"SpecOps" Isn't About "Spectacles/Optometrists"
As this article explains, the war in Afghanistan really showed the usefulness of Special Forces. The U.S. military is seeking to expand the program. What's amazing to me is that the other branches of the service that aren't directly involved with most Special Forces operations, the Air Force and the Navy, are looking to expand their ability to support such operations without much of the usual infighting.

The Air Force, historically reluctant to provide close air support, is thinking of replacing it's aging AC-130U gunships with a new version code named the AC-X. There have been rumors circulating that the AC-X will be the first aircraft fitted with new laser cannons.

The Navy, for it's part, is seeking to develop a small, high speed, shallow draft submarine for working in shallow littoral waters. Code named "LOKI", the program is aimed at building a "submersible fighter" that can zip along close to shore, up rivers, and may be even capable of air-droppeed insertion in to inland waters (like the Great Lakes or Lake Victoria). This would allow support like cruise missiles to be launched far inland, as well as keeping waterways free from enemy interference. I'm waiting for someone to suggest that we convert a ballistic missile submarine in to a Loki sub-carrier.

Eye in the Sky
The recent stealth attack against wanted terrorists in Yemen was carried out by an unmanned Predator aircraft. Although not nearly as flecible or useful as conventional aircraft, the Predator can be used to hover over a battlefield and attack pop-up targets of oppurtunity. Bandwidth shortages, jamming, and command and control problems will keep the numbers of these little technological wonders down, but it should be interesting to see how they perform in Iraq. I'd surely love to see a column of T-72 tanks get in the way of one of the new Predator B drones. With a payload of 3750 pounds, I think the drone could carry enough Hellfire missiles to put the hurt on the column. And without endangering any of our own servicemen, to boot.

In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night....
It looks like an Advanced Night Vision system is finally going to be installed on some of the C-130 Hercules aircraft that are owned by the Royal Air Force. (Click on that last link. The RAF has a cool website.)

This is good news for everyone concerned, but I bet the lucky C-130 pilots that are the first to get the new vision system are dancing in the streets right now.

Friday, November 08, 2002

THE PIGS ARE TAKING WING!
According to this item from the Guardian, French pres Chirac is miffed at U.K. PM Blair. Chirac claims that Blair was rude.

So someone managed to be ruder than a Frenchman! Heck, first the end of the Cold War and now this! What's next, world peace?

THAR SHE BLOWS!
So I was reading Prof. Reynold's blog. He has a link to a Norwegian blogger that makes savage fun of a letter by an environmentalist who opposes increasing the limits allowed for whale hunting.

Before anyone gets too excited, let me point out that the whale population has recovered from the numbers they fell to in the 1970's. The ban on whaling has done what it set out to do, mainly protect the various species from extinction. Now the restrictions could be relaxed without courting total destruction. Some people have an emotional problem with that, I suppose. It's just such a person that Mr. Valberg rips in to.

Be warned that it's confusing going for a few paragraphs if you haven't been reading previous posts.

GOOD NEWS!
The only time I met some anti-global protesters was after the recent protests in New York. While I was at the gas station I was approached by some college kids that were travelling in a van. They were trying to find a hotel where they had reserved a room. The only problem was that the hotel was on Columbus Ave. in Omaha, Nebraska. I had to explain to them that they were actually in Columbus, Ohio and that they had a really looonng drive ahead of them. (Don't worry. I directed them to a reasonably priced hotel here in Cowtown. But first, swear on anything you name, I first had to explain what the numbers on the buildings were for. Don't they have house numbers in Iceland?)

According to this post at the Guardroom, the protests are getting smaller. Less people are showing up to smash things, and the police are having an easier job.

Or maybe a few hundred buses just couldn't find the freakin' parking lot where they were supposed to start the march.

PLAIN SPEAKIN' FOR SIMPLE FOLKS
I think I like this version of the new U.N. approved Iraq resolution.

AND I'LL BE IN SCOTLAND BEFORE YE!
I was just reading Kim du Toit's blog. He mentions that Scotland is suffering a huge increase in gun crime.

Okay, so Scotland is having problems. Scroll down the BBC article and look at the hardware the cops are hauling around. Hey, aren't those H and K MP5A3's? AND they are fitted with fancy optical sights. They're probably capable of aimed shots at individual targets out to 100 meters (maybe a little less. Depends on the ammo and skill of the shooter). Pretty serious hawglegs for the Scottish police.

A question for my readers: What would happen if some American cops started to carry this type of weapon all the freakin' time? Would the newspapers give them a pass, or would people be (heh) up in arms?

SOUND WISDOM
So here I am, living in the one country in the world that promotes the idea and fact of personal liberty the most. The first country to set up modern democracy, and the very first in every successful modification of that democracy. Great sacrifices have been made by my country and my people to make this idea a reality. Sure, it's not perfect but it's an ongoing process.

This is why the incredible rhetoric from the anti-American left is a puzzle to me. The U.S. tramples on the rights of minorities? Where else are the rights of even the smallest groups better protected? The U.S. is deliberately destroying other cultures through globalization? Someone point to the U.S. Marines that are lining up the citizens of Paris and Antwerp and forcing them (at bayonet point) to buy burgers in the local McDonald's. The U.S. foriegn policy is driven by an insatiable lust for oil? Why haven't we invaded oil producing nations closer to home like Mexico or Argentina (and why haven't we left Isreal to fend for itself and so curried favor with Arab countries)?

Almost all of the rhetoric is emotional, angry, and divorced from easily perceived reality. So why do these people insist on sounding like canidates for the asylum?

Victor Davis Hanson might have an answer. In his latest NRO column he discusses why these guys say the things they do. The whole thing is thoughtful, logical, and interesting to those that find this subject compelling. But the rational of the anti-Americans can be expressed in one line in the middle of the article....

"...it is a fundamentalist secular religion, not a reasoned stance, one entirely inconsistent and unpredictable in its choice of friends and foes — except for one constant: Whatever America does, it hates."

I don't think I'm going to be puzzled by the anti-Americans any more. Go read the whole thing.

Thursday, November 07, 2002

UNANSWERED ROLL
So I'm taking undergraduate courses at the Ohio State University even though I'm 38 and haven't seen the inside of a classroom for 18 years (long story. I'll tell you about it later). It feels like hostile territory to me. There's a big central area that's called the Oval and whenever I walk through it I'm always passing some pro-Palestinian rally, or a protest against the war, or some people claiming that gun owners want to kill children. Just about every building and sidewalk anywhere near there is scrawled with "DROP BUSH, NOT BOMBS" or "AMERIKA=FASCISM" or "NO MORE WAR!" All of these bright young people with no freakin' clue. It wears at you after awhile.

Today I saw something different, something strange. About 20 Army R.O.T.C. members were standing by a blackboard in jogging suits with ARMY prominently displayed. Most of the kids were ignoring them but a few would glare with hostility at the cadets. Every so often five cadets would jog up and five of the ones standing around would start running. I noticed that there were four or five groups of these young people jogging laps around the Oval, always in groups of five.

I asked what was going on. Someone pointed to the blackboard and I noticed that the words "TO REMEMBER THE FALLEN" was painted on it. Whenever one of the cadets completed a lap they wrote down the name of a victim from 9/11.

40 cadets. One quarter mile per lap. Close to 3,000 victims. You can do the math.

They knew better than I that it was hostile territory. They were jogging over the same slogans and hateful rhetoric that I ignore every day. They moved in groups to head off the kind of trouble that we've seen at SFSU. In a few months they might be part of the invasion of Iraq. Next year they might be part of the garrison there, or they could be part of an assault somewhere else. Some of the kids they jogged past hated them and the uniform they wore, but the cadets kept running anyway because it was the right thing to do.

Some people in academia and celebrities claim that speaking out against the current administration and the proposed Iraq invasion is an act of profound courage, even though there's no place on Earth that places a higher value on freedom of speech.

Freakin' idiots! They have no idea of what courage really is.

I do, though. I just saw 40 examples of it.

"TO SAVE LIVES"
Just read an article by Dorothy Rabinowitz. This week she's talking about the U.S. Air Force's Pararescue Force. The motto of the Pararescuers is "We Save Lives" and "That Others May Live".

Go read it. Ms. Rabinowitz makes the point that university administrators are objecting to allowing the military to recruit for such units.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

THIS DOESN'T LOOK GOOD
Via blog goddess Natalie Solent comes this little gem. Seems a blogger named Diana Hsieh and her husband attended the Front Sight Institute, a superb firearms training facility. But she started to have problems when she found out that the founder, Ignatius Piazza, was involved in the allegedly dangerous cult called Scientology. After trying to work out her misgivings through private Email, she posted her thoughts on her blog. Now it appears that Front Sight is sueing Ms. Hsieh.

Read the last link carefully (Yeah, I know it's pretty long). You'll see that many pro-gun websites and organizations have been threatened with lawsuits unless they delete any negative content and stop talking about the issue.

This isn't a good idea. We gunners are very clannish, and I simply don't see how Ms. Hsieh or the others are in the wrong with simply voicing their misgivings. I certainly expect to see Front Sight's business to suffer.

Now I better get on the phone to my lawyer. I expect to find notification of a lawsuit filed against me to arrive at any minute.

LOOKING FOR EMPLOYMENT
Both Stephen Den Beste and Prof. Reynolds have linked to this article in City Journal. Tha article relates some very disturbing problems that France is having, and the author says that real trouble might be on the horizen.

One of the things that I found telling was a story about a protest by the police in Paris....

"...the day before I witnessed the scene on the Boulevard Saint-Germain, 8,000 police had marched to protest the release from prison on bail of an infamous career armed robber and suspected murderer before his trial for yet another armed robbery, in the course of which he shot someone in the head. Out on bail before this trial, he then burgled a house. Surprised by the police, he and his accomplices shot two of them dead and seriously wounded a third. He was also under strong suspicion of having committed a quadruple murder a few days previously, in which a couple who owned a restaurant, and two of their employees, were shot dead in front of the owners’ nine-year-old daughter."

I don't know the details of the case, probably because I can't speak/read any language other than English and most of the news Items I Google up are in French. Still, on the surface this seems to be a really piss-poor performance by the police. Someone needs to take a serious look at training standards in Paris.

I'd take on the weapons training aspect, but like I said before I don't speak the lingo.

I'M NOT GONNA WEAR A REDSHIRT!!!
All aboard the Pork Chop Express! Toady Jack Burton has written a post about a high-powered laser that was recently used to shoot down a shell before it hit the target. Jack wants us to mount a few on the Space Shuttle and start our own Star Fleet.

It looks like my plan to start a galactic empire is moving along nicely.

So who wants to vote for me as Galactic Overlord? It will be the last vote I'll ever allow you to have, but you shall be richly rewarded for it.

Those of you who vote the correct way will be, anyway.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

HAPPY GUY FAWKES DAY!!!
If you're an American you're probably wondering what the heck Guy Fawkes Day is.

England was a hostile place for Catholics in 1605. Some Catholics wanted to change that, and they figured that they could seize power if they blew up Parlaiment when the King arrived on November 5 for a ceremony to open the legislature.

So they got some mysterious and shady mercenary named Guy Fawkes to put gunpowder barrels in the basement of Parlaiment. (They first wanted to dig a tunnel under the building and plant powder there, but these politician types didn't find digging to be to their liking.) Come the 5th they were going to see the government of England come a-rainin' down!

But someone decided to save a buddy. A letter was delivered to some politician telling him to, I dunno, call in sick or something. This raised his suspicions and he started to raise the alarm.

But it was a really slow motion alarm. See, they had trouble actually finding the gunpowder. Keep in mind that the basement was actually a warren of rooms, some connected and some not, that was chock full of junk that had been stored down there for a couple of hundred years. (Think of how cluttered your own basement is after a decade or so.) Another problem was that they were down in a really dark basement looking for gunpowder barrels with one of these. Heck, no wonder it took a long time. They probably sent down the guy with the lowest rank and stood a few blocks away and waited for the boom.

Anyway, they found the gunpowder and Hawkes was arrested. They tortured him for a few months to get him to talk, which you can plainly see simply by comparing his signature.

The rest of the conspirators were either rounded up lickety split or tried to make a break for it and organize a rebellion in the countryside. They were all in custody in a few months, but a few of them had to be taken after some sword fights.

So now it's all a holiday in England, with the kids setting off fireworks and little straw figures of Guy Fawkes being burned after dark.

What I want to know is why there aren't more movies about this. It would be pretty cool, particularly the sword fights at the end.

Monday, November 04, 2002

DAMNED IF YOU DO...
I was just reading this post over at Natalie Solent. She works through the Russian idea of burying the corpses of Islamofascists wrapped in pork products as a way of psychological warfare. What interests her (and should interest everyone who pays attention to this issue) is the pros and cons.

One of the things that worries her is how Western resolve will suffer if the Islamofascists retaliate by mutilating the corpses of those from our side that they capture...and film the mutilation for broadcast on that evening's news.

Read the whole thing. I have to agree with the conclusion she reaches in the next-to-last paragraph.

THE AD GAME IS A HARSH MISTRESS
Anybody out there ever read any Robert A. Heinlein? He's best remembered now for his military science fiction novel Starship Troopers, mainly because it was made in to a slick and entertaining film. But Mr. Heinlein had a very broad appeal, mainly because he wrote many young adult sci-fi novels.

One of them was Podkayne of Mars, a story about a young girl beginning her first steps on the road to becoming an adult (and no, there's no sex in it. This is a book for teenagers and precocious pre-teens, after all). In the novel, the title character and her younger brother go on a grand luxury tour of the solar system but are sidetracked by various adventures. The future societies are lovingly detailed, with many aspects of our own society inflated to absurd proportions.

One example is when Podkayne arrives on Venus to find a culture swamped with rampant commercialism. Holographic ads are everywhere, and it's impossible to get a moment's peace.

This struck a chord with me today when I was reading The Guardroom, a blog that reports on law enforcement issues. In this post, jjd reports on plans to put ads on police cars.

Now if they'd only develop some powered combat armor I'd take the ads in stride.

Sunday, November 03, 2002

HONOR DEMANDS
This post by Susanna at Cut on the Bias has certainly rung a few bells with me. I recently posted something that I know she took as being personal. I certainly didn't mean it to be, but I could have written the post in a more thoughtful manner that would have made this clear. I regret any offense that I might have caused. and would like to apologize.

I'm very grateful that both Megan McArdle and Jim Henley took this in the spirit that it was offered and didn't take offense. If they did then let me offer an apology to them as well.

THE EVIL EMPIRE
So I'm looking over Prof. Reynold's blog and I see that he links to this post at Jay Zilber's blog. Seems that Jay has uncovered some pretty convincing evidence that we're living in the bearded Spock universe, where the Federation was actually the evil Empire.

If that's the case then I know the first place we should conquer once we get warp drive.

Hey, this might be just the kick in the pants that NASA needs to get the space program going again!

SPEAKING OF THE FLYING CAR.....
Seems Kevin Smith of Clerks and Dogma fame made a short film for an appearance on the Tonight Show way back in Febuary. It was a conversation between the guys from Clerks about what they'd go through to get the one-and-only flying car.

Personally I'd wait until the German scientist with the foot fetish produced the hacksaw and then I'd pull out this bad boy. I'd claim it was self defense.

Then I'd just take the friggin' car and leave.

THE FINAL FRONTIER
I was wandering around a department store the other day when I decided to look over the watches. I always liked watches. Little bite sized nuggets of hi-tech precision instruments.

Some of them just tell time and have a few extra features such as an alarm. Some are powered by ambient light and never need a battery. All of them are water proof down to 300 feet or more.

But that's old hat nowadays. For centuries learned men were collecting data on the weather and atmospheric conditions using just a barometer. Here's a watch with both a barometer and an altimeter. Though it's not mentioned directly, the watch also has a thermometer function. This one does all that and monitors your heart rate to boot. But this watch has a GPS receiver built in, along with navigation screen and an interface so you can hook it up to your computer and program it with your route. (I suppose the watch would start saying "Hey, jerk! You're going in the wrong direction!" if you wander off the programmed path).

I remember the way it was 30 years ago. Watches had to be wound. Digital watches that would do nothing but tell time weren't introduced until 1973. Since waterproof watches were so rare and expensive, anyone who had one would ALWAYS bring it up in conversation ("Yeah, it's 9:30. My watch (ahem) is, you know, waterproof.")

We marveled at the communicator on Star Trek, and now we have cell phones. We've been waiting for a Dick Tracy 2-way TV watch, but now we have cell phones that take and transmit pictures. We might not have phasers but we do have laser sights to aid in aiming.

But I'm still waiting, unfulfilled. See, my car still doesn't fly.