Saturday, March 08, 2003

BIG TO SMALL
Thanks to A Voyage to Arcturus for linking to this site. It starts out 10 million light years away from the Milky Way, and it reduces the view by a power of ten until you're looking at quarks. Pretty kewl.

DRAWING LINES
Prof. Reynolds has posted a link to a Walter Russell Mead that examines why the French hate us.

Mead makes the case that it isn't simply arrogance or an outraged sense of superiority that drives the French anti-Americanism (though there's plenty of that floating around). No, instead the French hate America and all her people because they're afraid. Deep, omnipresent, crap-your-pants kind of fear.

Personally, I'm one of those guys who wants people to love America. I see the way we've promoted democracy, stood against evil regimes and dictators (sometimes alone), and always tried to do what we considered to be right even if we've dropped the ball every so often. But I also have to admit that being feared is fine and dandy if they refuse to love us.

I also think that France has performed a service for the US. By desperately trying to oppose American efforts in the War on Terror they've forced many countries to take a stand. We now know who's with us and who's with France. I'm no psychic, but I'm willing to bet that those who pick the French side are doomed to decline.

YOU GUYS HAVE TO CHECK THIS OUT
I came across this site that has plenty of nifty how-to articles.

Some of particular interest to me are all of the ones in the "PRIMITIVE TOOLS AND PROJECTILES" section.

Don't have feathers for your arrows? No problem! Use duct tape! (I bet the guys at Ready.gov don't know about this one!)

You're gonna need a bow to shoot all of those arrows, so you can make one from a sapling growing in your neighbors yard. If the old grouch has a big dawg tied to the sapling you'll have to make a composite bow.

So you've killed sumptin', and now you wanna eat it. You're going to need a knife, maybe even a steel knife. Then you'll have to make a fire. Considering how cold it's been lately you can even make fire from ice.

Check it out. Plenty of great ideas. Get the kids involved in a game of real cowboys and indians.

GOOD ANALYSIS
Thanks goes out to Stephen den Beste for pointing me to this post on Bittersanity.

The subject of the post is the UN, and how many Americans think that it's day is past. Maybe, the reasoning goes, we should get rid of it.

"It's a major step, but not an unthinkable one; the UN's moral legitimacy arises from its utility, and to get rid of it for non-performance is more like firing an incompetent worker than tearing down a temple."

Well, that's the American view. The European view is that the UN exists to rein in nationalism.

"Considering what European nationalism did to the twentieth century - not to mention the nineteenth, the eighteenth, and I could go on for a while - it's reasonable for them to have concluded that nationalism unrestrained is the evil that causes war."

So the Euros are horrified when Americans such as myself suggest that the UN has failed in it's mission: to prevent war, violence and improve the lot of Mankind. This makes some conversations I've had with people from Europe suddenly become clear. They'd seriously say that America was more of a danger to the world than anything else, that we were right on the edge of becoming something worse than the Nazis. They'd say this even though we stared down the Soviets for them during the Cold War, even though we haven't even tried to conquer the world even though it would be absurdly easy considering how they've let their military become so weak.

At the time I just thought they were stupid, but now I see that they were simply crazy.

Whatever. Being a practical sort I'm all for kicking an anthill or two over if it gets in the way. I'd pay good money to travel to New York and just stand around on the sidewalk outside the UN building to watch those guys load up the U-Haul.

A SMALL VICTORY, OR DID WE HEAD OFF A DEFEAT?
It would seem that a California judge dismissed gun makers, trade associations and weapon distributors from a liability lawsuit. Some gun dealers are still included in the suit, though.

This is being hailed as a victory by the manufacturers, but I just consider it a dodged bullet. This crap should have never gotten as far as it did.

THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF THE POT CALLING THE KETTLE....WELL, YOU KNOW
On Friday Pres. Bush imposed US sanctions against Zimbabwe. Now the president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, claims that the sanctions are motivated by racism.

The article mentions that the EU first imposed sanctions. I doubt that Bush will be cut any slack for following Europe's lead, though.

Considering how the French have been treating Mugabe like some sort of hero, I wonder what they'll say about this.

A REPORT FROM BEHIND ENEMY LINES
I had to travel to OSU to meet a fellow student. To save parking fees I park my car a few miles away and take the bus to campus. Right in front of the parking lot where I leave my car was a group of anti-war protesters.

They've been there every weekend for the past two months. There were about 70 of them or so, and there was also three guys carrying signs that stated "BUSH IS RIGHT". The police were just pulling some of the peaceniks out of the crowd because they were getting too physical with the pro-invasion guys. As I passed through the crowd I could hear them comparing the quiet conversation the police were having with the belligerent anti-warriors with the riot police and tear gas that greeted Viet Nam protests in the 1960's.

I think this illustrates what's wrong with these anti-war types. On one hand they have their heads up their butts by stating that the UN can disarm Saddam even after the complete failure of 18 resolutions and 7 years of inspections. On the other hand they also have their heads stuck in 1964.

Any way you slice it, these guys aren't living in the real world.

Friday, March 07, 2003

I LAUGHED OUT LOUD AT THIS ONE
The dawgs just sat there and stared at me like I was some sort of lunatic. Via blog goddess Natalie Solent comes this winsome little tale.

It's kinda like an auto accident. You know it's wrong to look at the carnage, but it's just so damned fascinating!

READER COMMENTS
Proof that I'd rather let my readers do the work (and proof that my readers are a canny bunch), I decided to reply to some of the comments left out here where everybody can see. Hey, it beats working to generate copy.

A More Potent M-16
At this post I mentioned that the US Army is looking for a new cartridge for the M16 that will be more lethal at longer ranges. An experimental 6.8mm cartridge is being considered, but I didn't have any ballistic info on the new round so I couldn't tell how much more effective it is.

Fusilier Pundit left a comment where he states that the new round is effectively identical to the .243 Winchester. If so, then comparing it to the .223 Remington (which the M16 now fires) shows that the .243 has about 70% more energy at the muzzle. More telling is the ballistics downrange, since the new heavier round retains more of it's velocity over distance. This means that it has about 100% more energy than the .223 at 500 yards. Not a bad solution to the problem.

Listen!
In this post I linked to an item at StrategyPage.com that reported on how Russia dispatched two destroyers and a supply ship to the Persian Gulf area. uisgebaugh and a reader who didn't leave a name suggest that they might be there for intel gathering. They could just sit there and record US communications during the impending invasion of Iraq. Good call, that makes perfect sense. I can't think of a more credible reason except to get away from Russia for awhile.

The Hermit Kingdom
In this post I linked to an article on the NRO server. The author states that war with North Korea is probably inevitable, and I said that I couldn't tell whether a sit-and-wait-for-NK-collapse is a better idea than a pre-emptive strike.

Long time reader Patrick states that the sit-and-wait policy is probably the best one, and more intel on the NK nuke program is needed before a decision is to be made. That's probably true, but it's really tough to get intel out of NK. They've got that place locked down tighter than Fort Knox.

Fred Boness, another long time reader, points out that the Chinese bear watching. China more-or-less created this situation with their actions during the Korean War and their subsequent aid and support of the NK regime. Mr. Boness also points out that China now has a tiger by the tail. NK acts as a good buffer between their border and American troops, and they wouldn't like it if millions of refugees started to try and move north. Good points all, and it makes me wonder what kind of aid the Chinese are passing to the North Koreans. The sit-and-wait strategy only works if NK can't develop a nuke before they collapse, and they might not collapse if China wants to keep them around. Interesting.

Tarring With a Wide Brush
I linked to an article by Peggy Noonan in this post. Ms. Noonan is pointing out policies and attitudes within the Democratic party that eroded their support over the decades. What caught my eye is where she suggests that the anti-gun stance that the Democrats assume is both elitist and unrealistic.

Meg left a comment where she objected to the inclusion of all Democrats, stating that she knew people who belonged to the party who also owned weapons. I can see how she might reach that conclusion, but I think it's pretty obvious that the article is suggesting the party's stance on gun control is both wrong and elitist. It doesn't appear to me that Ms. Noonan is saying that you have to be a gun hater before they'll let you vote in their primaries.




Well, that's about it for now. If you'd like to start a private conversation then just Email me. I'm always glad to hear from people, except that guy from England who keeps filling my Email account with messages calling me a "Fucking twat". I think it would be best if he found another hobby. Stamp collecting, say.

SOUND WISDOM
An acqat...an aquait...someone I work with has pointed me to this article in the OpinionJournal by Peggy Noonan. She writes about how the Democrats lost her sympathies. She talks about many things in the essay, but she also touches on the way Democrats view upright, honest, hard-working and law-abiding gun owners (like most of you who're reading this right now).

"Those who oppose the right to keep and bear arms are not as a rule the kind of people who would, or could, take down a nut waving his gun at the kids in a McDonalds. Those who oppose gun rights are more like the kind of people who when the incident was over would write a sensitive essay about how it felt to come face to face with one's existential powerlessness when faced with the sudden force of a sick man who alas shot two kids right in front of me. You may mean to be helpful in the abstract, but you are not helpful in the particular."

Read the whole thing.

Thursday, March 06, 2003

THIS SHIT HAS GOT TO STOP
Swen the Coyote has been on top of this story for awhile now. I've been keeping quiet while I waited to see how things turned out.

According to the Yahoo! news server, things have finally been dragged into the light of day.

So how do I feel about this? Rape's an assault, period. People who join the military have made a commitment to protect our values, our country, and the people who live here. The way I look at it, those that make this commitment deserve my respect.

Those that violate those values are beneath contempt. Swen stated that those responsible should be prosecuted to the fullest extant of the law. That means a trial, disgrace, prison. I'm just sorry that ruining their lives is the only thing we can do to the guilty.

There are those who won't look at this the same way I do. They'll point out the we need agressive people at the point of America's spear. They'll say that some of the accusations might just be from someone who is trying to gain revenge for an imagined slight, or that it's to distract from poor personal performance. I'm sure that they'll even be able to come up with an incident or two where this is true.

Aggression, yes. Savagery, no. Consider: Do we want someone in a position of responsibility who would do something like this to their comrade? Anyone who would commit such a crime should be dealt with as wolves are.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

GUNTALK: GAWDDAMM BRITISH PIECE OF SHIT
During the Zulu War the Brits were armed with the Martini-Henry rifle, which was plenty effective for the time. Although they had problems with the crappy el-cheapo brass cartridges the powers-that-be insisted on buying, the rifle itself didn't do too bad a job.

During World Wars I and II the Brits used the .303 Lee-Enfield. It's generally considered to be the best rifle of WWI, and the best bolt-action of WWII. Not too shabby.

Now the time for single-shot or bolt action military rifles is long gone, and the Brits are having trouble. They've gone and saddled their fighting men and women with the SA80 assault rifle and it's done nothing but fail regularly ever since. StrategyPage is reporting that the powers-that-be have decided that the problem isn't with the gun, it's with the magazines. The troops are supposed to turn in crappy magazines for new ones when they notice a problem. This is after the UK gov spent $500 USDollars per rifle to try and fix it!

$500 per rifle! $500 per rifle! I keep saying it but it doesn't make any sense. They could have bought brand new guns for that price. Heck, I bet the US gov would have sold them some surplus M-16's for that price. Sure they'd be second hand, but they would work.

I'm interested in self defense, and you really don't have any time to swap out magazines or do some gunsmithing when the bad guy is charging you with the knife in his hand. You're gun had better work, or else. If you don't have a gun that will go bang right out of the box without modification then it's a peice of crap, end of story. The Brits have bought themselves a great big steaming pile.

LET'S DECLARE TODAY "OBVIOUS DAY"!
I'm struck at how many articles I've come across today that made me roll my eyes and say "Well, DUH!" Must be a slow news day.

StrategyPage.com always has some background included in their posts so it's well worth the read if you're not familiar with the situation. But even they are putting stuff up that's just too obvious for words.

IVORY COAST: Cease Fire Won't Hold (duh)

UGANDA: "Peace" Means "Time to Reload" (Duh!)

PHILIPPINES:No US Troops, More Terror Bombs (DUH!)

I THINK THEY'RE WETTING THEIR PANTS RIGHT ABOUT NOW
So a bomb went off at the Davao International Airport in the Philippines. A terrible act of terrorism. Innocent people lost their lives, just so some bozos could get some press.

Tim Blair reports on an interesting stand that the Philippines largest Islamic seperatist movement is taking. They're insisting that they had nothing to do with it. They're even willing to cooperate with a police investigation to prove it.

This is an indisputable example of how the War on Terror is doing some good. Before the Afghanistan campaign, I doubt that any Islamic seperatist movement would have been so quick to scream their innocence.

One last point. The name of the Philippine Islamic movement is the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). But when I ran "MILF" through Google I came up with a great number of pr0n sites with the same initials (CAUTION! Don't click on the link if you're at work).

No word yet on whether the Philippine group is going to cooperate with an investigation to see if they had anything to do with those.

INSPIRATION
Great post at the Guardroom about Lonnell Cooper, one of the first Black officers on the Fort Worth Police Department. Read the little blurb that jjd has posted and click on the link for the full article.
THE RIGHT MAN FOR THE JOB
Good post over at The Chicago Boyz about the new Chief of the British General Staff, General Sir Mike Jackson. Sounds like a guy who has his head in the right place.

THESE GUYS SHOULD PICK UP THE CLUE PHONE
I've never been a journalist and have no desire to start. One reason is that I'm rather fond of conversation with stimulating and intelligent peple. I don't think that I'd have much oppurtunity to indulge in this if I hung out around journalists.

Case in point: this article on the Yahoo! news server which reports on how Hans Blix is pleased that Saddam is showing more cooperation now that the invasion is near. No word on how Iraq defied the UN and continued to fund WMD development programs for 12 years when the threat of invasion wasn't present.

Another example is this WaPo article on proposed "ballistic fingerprinting" laws. The author states that guns would be tracked through a database of ballistic markings found on bullets, but fails to mention the problems that keep such a database from actually working. This is so incredibly obvious to anyone who knows a little bit about firearms that I wonder if anyone who owns a gun ever reads the WaPo. I suppose not.

BIG SURPRISE
J. Bowen has a link at No Watermelons that leads to this op-ed peice in the NYPost. The editorial discusses how the anti-war crowd are actually anti-US! What a shock!

Prof. Reynolds would probably note that this is an example of how the mainstream press is sssooo far behind the BlogoSphere, but I don't think the NYPost rates as "mainstream press".

BEHIND ENEMY LINES
The Yahoo! news server has this article that reports on a walk-out staged by university students across the country to protest the impending Iraq invasion. Yeah, that'll show the war-mongering crowd! Waste the money your parents are paying to give you a chance at a better life! Freakin' idiots.

I notice that none of these kids are walking out in protest when brutal, murderous dictators defy the UN and refuse to destroy WMD's that threaten innocent lives. Freakin' idiots doubled.

I'm 39 years old, and I recently went back to college after a 20 year abscence to earn the ol' sheepskin. It's true that I've got a bunch of experience under my belt since I last went (and plenty of experience flowing out over the belt, as well), but I could swear that the academic standards are much lower now than they were then. No surprise if this is the kind of material they have to work with. If the colleges tightened up the standards they'd never be able to find anyone who could make the grades. Then they'd go out of business.

Monday, March 03, 2003

INTERESTING ANALYSIS
Stanley Kurtz has an article on the NRO server where he considers the problem posed by North Korea. Mr. Kurtz says that war is inevitable, and that a pre-emptive strike is preferable to fighting NK on their terms.

Things seem to be pretty desperate in NK, and they're probably getting worse by the day. It's hard to tell what's going on in a country so secretive and insular. There's no question that the NK gov will fall, but the problem is when. Another point to ponder is that, should the writing be on the wall and the end fast approaching, will they decide to go out in a last blaze of glory? Dunno. Maybe. Like I said, it's hard to tell what's going on in there. They certainly haven't been acting in a way that we would consider rational.

I've heard people say that we should just sit back and wait for things to come crashing down on their own. Safer for everyone involved. That might work, but it might not. Then there's the course advocated by Mr. Kurtz. Go in and get it over with before the bad guys can kill too many innocents. This might also be the best way to go, but it could also be a bad idea. We have no real way of knowing.

The situation might be frustrating, but it certainly is interesting. Like having an axe murderer chopping down your front door is interesting.

SPACE DRAGON
According to that most realiable of sources, Pravda, China is set to take the next step in it's space program and send a man into orbit. Good for them, even though they're about 40 years behind the curve. StrategyPage.com goes a step further and reports that China wants to send probes all the way to the Moon. No timetable as to when any of this good stuff will happen, though.

China is a fascinating country. Much of the really ginormous country is isolated and backwards, with few roads and almost no contact with the outside world for decades at a time. But the Chinese are also very versatile and innovative, not to mention really really enthusiastic about pulling together and acting as a group. Sure, they would do better to build some roads and modernize before farting around with high-tech space industries that they're not really set up for. But they'll do it if they think they should, no matter the cost or even if it's a good idea or not.

On a personal note, I'm all for the Chinese space program. It could give the free world the incentive we need to get out there ourselves. Or, if we drop the ball, at least someone will explore the final frontier.

Update No surprise that Prof. Reynolds is all over the story.

NORTH KOREA IS REALLY GETTING ANNOYING
According to the Yahoo! news server, some North Korean fighter jets harassed one of our surveillance aircraft flying in international airspace.

Seems there were two improved MIG-29's (neato pics and info to be found here, with a more detailed analysis here). Coming along for the ride were two MIG-23's. The aurveillance craft was a RC-135.

Looks like NK put together an effective little force package for this mission. All four of the aggressor aircraft are effective dogfighters, but the MIG-29 is also large enough to carry a fair number of long-range missiles to soften up any flight of American craft coming to the rescue. Looks like they loaded for bear before going up to terrify the crew of an unarmed US plane. A plane too slow to get away or even dodge, I might add.

We should be flattered. The four aggressors are probably the last well-maintained fighters that the North Koreans have left. They certainly are the most advanced aircraft that they have in their inventory.

As to what NK is trying to accomplish, I really have no idea. For decades they've threatened Japan or South Korea every so often in a modern game of "Show me the Danegeld". Aid packages and free stuff would be offered every time they fired a missile over the Japanese islands, or when they'd start talking about invading South Korea. The Bush Administration has decided to stop passing out the goodies, and that seems to have confused the poor little Communists terribly. They've been ratcheting up the pressure over the past few months, reactivating old nuclear reactors and threatening to nuke South Korea. I suppose this is just the latest.

The reason I don't know what they're up to is that even those guys must realize that they're going to go too far some day and start a fight they can't win. Sure, they can kill a bunch of South Koreans in the first few hours. They can do that simply by attacking South Korea with conventional artillery, considering how close Seoul is to the border. But then all of them will be stomped flat, and right quick, too.

To pull this kind of horsepoop things must be really desperate in the Hermit Kingdom.

Sunday, March 02, 2003

MOUNTING GUNS ON SHIPS FOR LESS MONEY!
According to StrategyPage.com, German armament manufacturer Rheinmetall has come up with the idea of mounting the turret from a PZH2000 self-propelled gun on the deck of a ship. This would give the vessel some impressive firepower for low cost.

If it works it's genius! I want one for my front yard.

THIS IS INTERESTING
According to StrategyPage.com, Russia has dispatched some destroyers to the Persian Gulf.

Any ideas as to what those guys want?