Monday, November 30, 2015

The Gamecock Football Season is (mercifully) Over

My feelings on Gamecock football this year.

You know how there's all those different "stages" of grieving? After the Citadel loss, I went into acceptance. I think I had previously been at bargaining, but the loss to Citadel drove me into accepting the fact that the Gamecock team was dead this year.

Accordingly, I didn't go into the Clemson Carolina week all fired up. I wasn't sad. I was just more "meh" than anything. It's hard to get all fired up for a rivalry game (or any game) when there no realistic hope of winning.

I will be mildly interested to see who ends up coming to Columbia to figure out how to deal with the team and try and move from a pretty bare cupboard to something resembling a team with talent. Maybe Carolina will go out and get a young guy looking to make a name for himself after the last two coaches were certainly guys who had made their mark elsewhere.

Mostly, I'm just glad the season is over.

In other college football news, the Athletic Director at the University of Georgia has lost his everlovin' mind, because he fired Mark Richt. All Richt did was keep them just shy of winning National Championships and he won the SEC East every once in awhile and won the SEC title twice.

Oh well, I guess Georgia folks demand to win every game they play.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Turkey Shoots Down Russian Fighter Jet

I assume that Turkey's status as a NATO member will be enough to protect it from Russian retaliation, but with Putin in charge, who knows? If the Russians retaliate, will NATO ride to the rescue? If the United States isn't going to help, I'm not sure how motivated NATO will be.

I could see Russia responding by hitting the villages around where their jet was shot down, with ground to ground missiles/rockets.  Any Turkish planes near the Russian border might get shot down.

In response, the Turks close the Bosphorus to Russia. In response, any Turkish planes that violates Syrian air space are attacked by the Russians.

Now what?

I'm not saying that's all going to happen. However, I'm pretty sure that Putin is going to respond with something more than a social media campaign to #BringBackOurMigs.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Col. Ralph Peters has a fever, and the only prescription is total war

Remember my prescription for ISIS? No, it's not more cowbell.

Apparently, Col. Ralph Peters agrees. Smart guy.

Our military has the resources to shatter ISIS, but political correctness has penetrated so deep into the Pentagon that, even should a president issue the one-word order, “Win!,” our initial actions would be cautious and halting. We’ve bred a generation of military leaders afraid of being prosecuted by their own government for the kind of errors inevitable in wartime. Instead of “leaning forward in the foxhole,” our leaders lean on lawyers.

If lawyers had had to approve our World War II target lists, we couldn’t have won. War is never clean or easy, and the strictures imposed on our military today just protect our enemies. Collateral damage and civilian casualties are part of combat and always will be. The most humane approach is to pile on fast and win decisively — which results in far less suffering than the sort of protracted agony we see in Syria.

The generals who won World War II would start by leveling Raqqa, the ISIS caliphate’s capital. Civilians would die, but those remaining in Raqqa have embraced ISIS, as Germans did Hitler. The jihadis must be crushed. Start with their “Berlin.”

Kill ten thousand, save a million.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Obama, Syria, and Moral Preening

Obama’s own policy decisions—allowing Assad to convert peaceful demonstrations into an increasingly ugly civil war, refusing to declare safe havens and no fly zones—were instrumental in creating the Syrian refugee crisis. This crisis is in large part the direct consequence of President Obama’s decision to stand aside and watch Syria burn. For him to try and use a derisory and symbolic program to allow 10,000 refugees into the United States in order to posture as more caring than those evil Jacksonian rednecks out in the benighted sticks is one of the most cynical, cold-blooded, and nastily divisive moves an American President has made in a long time.

For no one, other than the Butcher Assad and the unspeakable al-Baghdadi, is as responsible for the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria as is President Obama. No one has committed more sins of omission, no one has so ruthlessly sacrificed the well-being of Syria’s people for his own ends, as the man in the White House. In all the world, only President Obama had the ability to do anything significant to prevent this catastrophe; in all the world no one turned his back so coldly and resolutely on the suffering Syrians as the man who sits in the White House today—a man who is now lecturing his fellow citizens on what he insists is their moral inferiority before his own high self-esteem.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

About all the terrorism...Carthago delenda est

Yeah, I've been absent from the blogging recently. There's been a big crush of work, and when I haven't been working, I've been ferrying kids to soccer games and generally otherwise doing things that need to be done.

By the way, four year old soccer is pretty hilarious.

In any event, something that isn't so funny is all the bad news out of Paris. Obviously, ISIS has decided that it's not "contained". Apparently, they seem to be the opposite of contained. In the wake of the Paris attacks, we're now faced with the decision of what to do with these people.

It seems our President doesn't really want to go and, you know, fight these people. He's decided that sending in soldiers to fight just isn't something he's going to do. I know lots of people support this decision not to get involved in ground combat, given how poorly the Iraq war ended up going. I get the reluctance. I really do.

However, something must be done. These barbarians are not going to stop. In fact, ISIS gets stronger as it continues to have this aura of invincibility. These people need to be stopped. And stopping them means killing them. Sorry, but it does.

I don't think we need to go into Syria and topple Assad. He's a bad guy, but he's not the problem we're dealing with (now). Also, going in and deposing the leader of Syria is exactly a replay of Iraq, and that didn't go so well. So if you are saying that we have to get rid of Assad when we go in to destroy ISIS, then I'm probably going to vote that we just don't go in at all. I'm not interested in regime change in Syria. I'm interested in utterly destroying ISIS. That's it. As Michael Corleone said, "I don't feel like I have to wipe everyone out. Just my enemies."

I don't think we should build schools, roads, or do anything that actually could be construed as "nation building" in Syria and/or Iraq. That's not what the military is for. The military is a tool that we use to kill people and break things. So let's do that.

I would be willing to commit ground troops, air support, and all that goes with it to go into Syria, and kill everyone in the ISIS territory and destroy every building in ISIS territory. After that, I think we should sow salt into the earth.

Then we leave. Bye. Don't make us come back.

No building schools, no building roads. No helping people vote or imposing democracy. Just kill the people in the ISIS areas, leave not one brick stacked upon another, and then leave. (Oh, yeah, don't forget to salt the earth.)

It's not going to be a quagmire. We're going to go in, do the job, and then leave. Done and done. Total war. Complete and utter destruction. Not a proportional response. I'm talking about a disproportional response.

You don't like my plan? Fine. What's your plan? Are we supposed to wait until ISIS detonates a bomb in the US, or downs a US commercial airliner?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A soldier's account of the Western Front on November 11, 1918

Thanks to all the veterans for all the the sacrifice they have made by their service. Although Veterans Day is for all who served, it always seems appropriate first to remember the sacrifice of the men of the First Wold War. After all, the date of Veterans Day is taken from the Armistice Day, which marks the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front.

Colonel Thomas Gowenlock served as an intelligence officer in the American 1st Division. He was on the front line that November morning and wrote of his experience a few years later:
"On the morning of November 11 I sat in my dugout in Le Gros Faux, which was again our division headquarters, talking to our Chief of Staff, Colonel John Greely, and Lieutenant Colonel Paul Peabody, our G-1. A signal corps officer entered and handed us the following message:

Official Radio from Paris - 6:01 A.M., Nov. 11, 1918. Marshal Foch to the Commander-in-Chief.
1. Hostilities will be stopped on the entire front beginning at 11 o'clock, November 11th (French hour).
2. The Allied troops will not go beyond the line reached at that hour on that date until further orders.
                                                                      MARSHAL FOCH
                                                                      5:45 A.M.
'Well - fini la guerre!' said Colonel Greely.

'It sure looks like it,' I agreed.

'Do you know what I want to do now?' he said. 'I'd like to get on one of those little horse-drawn canal boats in southern France and lie in the sun the rest of my life.'

My watch said nine o'clock. With only two hours to go, I drove over to the bank of the Meuse River to see the finish. The shelling was heavy and, as I walked down the road, it grew steadily worse. It seemed to me that every battery in the world was trying to burn up its guns. At last eleven o'clock came - but the firing continued. The men on both sides had decided to give each other all they had-their farewell to arms. It was a very natural impulse after their years of war, but unfortunately many fell after eleven o'clock that day.

All over the world on November 11, 1918, people were celebrating, dancing in the streets, drinking champagne, hailing the armistice that meant the end of the war. But at the front there was no celebration. Many soldiers believed the Armistice only a temporary measure and that the war would soon go on. As night came, the quietness, unearthly in its penetration, began to eat into their souls. The men sat around log fires, the first they had ever had at the front. They were trying to reassure themselves that there were no enemy batteries spying on them from the next hill and no German bombing planes approaching to blast them out of existence. They talked in low tones. They were nervous.

After the long months of intense strain, of keying themselves up to the daily mortal danger, of thinking always in terms of war and the enemy, the abrupt release from it all was physical and psychological agony. Some suffered a total nervous collapse. Some, of a steadier temperament, began to hope they would someday return to home and the embrace of loved ones. Some could think only of the crude little crosses that marked the graves of their comrades. Some fell into an exhausted sleep. All were bewildered by the sudden meaninglessness of their existence as soldiers - and through their teeming memories paraded that swiftly moving cavalcade of Cantigny, Soissons, St. Mihiel, the Meuse-Argonne and Sedan.

What was to come next? They did not know - and hardly cared. Their minds were numbed by the shock of peace. The past consumed their whole consciousness. The present did not exist-and the future was inconceivable."

Monday, November 9, 2015

New study reports that the Medicaid expansion is going to, get this, cost more than previously estimated.

I'm shocked, shocked, to find out that a previously low estimate of the cost a government program is being revealed to be, like, um, completely wrong.
Illinois once projected that its Medicaid expansion would cost the state $573 million for 2017 through 2020. Yet 200,000 more people have enrolled than were expected, and the state has increased its estimated cost for covering each. The new price tag? About $2 billion, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Hey, they estimated $573 million, and it ends up being about $2 billion. No big deal. I'm sure they can just raise some taxes on just a few really rich people. Problem solved.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Thursday Open Thread

Yeah. I'm being slack. Sorry 'bout that. I'll have content tomorrow after court.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Interesting new book challenges common knowledge of WWII

Looks like I found another book to add to my nighttime reading.
In my new book The War in the West: Germany Ascendant 1939-1941, first in a three-volume history, I am challenging a number of long-held assumptions about the war, many of which are based on truth by common knowledge, rather than through detailed and painstaking research.\

My Damascene moment came some years ago when I was being given a tour of the Small Arms Unit at the British Staff College at Shrivenham. I was glancing at a German MG42, known as a “Spandau” by the Allies. “Of course, that was the best machine gun of the war,’ I commented, relaying what I’d read in many books.

“Says who? Says who?” retorted my guide and head of the unit, John Starling. In the next few minutes, he proceeded to deconstruct everything I thought I knew about this infamous weapon: that its phenomenal rate of fire caused massive problems of over-heating, that it was widely inaccurate (for which having since fired one, I can now vouch), that is was incredibly expensive to manufacture, massively over-engineered and lacked certain simple additions that would have made its handling so much easier.
I love stuff like this. He talks about looking at the "operational" level of the war as opposed to the strategic or tactical level. It's all about the nuts and bolts of things, rather than the dynamic flair of personalities.

As someone famously said "Amateurs talk about tactics, but professionals study logistics."

Relaxing Sunset View

I saw this, and it made me think of how it now gets dark so early in the afternoon. You can just feel the darkness creeping in around you on this picture.

Switching back to "Standard Time" in the fall is something that I enjoy. It's one of the way we mark the passing of the seasons. The winter is cold, dark, and bleak. Summer time is warm, bright, and hot. Rather than complain about how "outdated" Daylight Savings Time is, I say that we embrace the difference in our seasons and enjoy the winter months.

Build a fire, enjoy a good book. Have some bourbon.


Monday, November 2, 2015

My Jack-o-lantern carving skills surprised even me.

"Fate rarely calls upon us at a moment of our choosing." -Optimus Prime
I hope everyone had an enjoyable Halloween weekend. For our part, the kiddos had a good time doing the trick-or-treating deal, and we even managed to squeeze in some fall pictures at the Horseshoe.

I also tried my hand at making a jack-o-lantern on Saturday. Although I am not known for my arts and craft skills, I gave it a whirl. Since the eldest child is into Transformers, I thought I would go with the Autobot insignia. It turned out far better than I had hoped and the eldest child was thrilled.

Excellent dad moment. So I've got that going for me.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Did you think last night's GOP debate was awful? You're not alone.

There's an old saying that goes, "Most people talk about the weather, but nobody ever does anything about it".

Well, everyone is talking about how awful the moderators were last night, and Dr. Ben Carson has decided that he's gonna do something about it.

In an interview shortly after the debate, Barry Bennett, manager of the Ben Carson campaign, called the session here in Colorado "unfair to everyone" and said the current debate structure should not remain in place. "I think the families need to get together here, because these debates as structured by the RNC are not helping the party," Bennett said. "There's not enough time to talk about your plans, there's no presentation. It's just a slugfest. All we do is change moderators. And the trendline is horrific. So I think there needs to be wholesale change here."

Bennett said he will call Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski Thursday to propose a unified call for change. "Corey and I talk regularly, so I will talk to him," Bennett said. "I will call Frank Sadler (Carly Fiorina's campaign manager), I will call those guys and say listen, we can choose our own network and our own format. We don't need to be led around like prize steers."
Good for Carson. Good for all of them. They don't need the networks. Way back in the day when the only way to get in front of people was to use television, the networks had the power. Nowadays, the candidates have a myriad of ways to get in front of people. The candidates are the draw. The networks need the candidates now.

I'm glad that someone is wising up a little. For starters, maybe we can get rid of morons asking their moronic questions of people seeking to be President.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Regarding the Spring Valley High School Matter

By now, I assume that you've seen the video of the Richland County Sheriff's deputy "removing" a Spring Valley High School student from her desk. If you haven't seen it, here's a link.

I've noticed that all of the comments I have seen flying around on FaceBook, Twitter, and the other parts of the web have fallen into two categories. The two categories are this:

Category 1: You have to respect authority, and a student who won't obey teachers and openly defies a police officer gets what's coming to her. She should have known better.

Category 2: The police officer has no excuse whatsoever for his actions, and under no circumstances should force be used like this against children in school, who are just there to learn their ABCs in a safe space.

Not a lot of room for middle ground between those two lines of thought, is there? And it would be nice if life was simply a binary choice like this all the time. The answer is either A or B. Either the police officer is totally at fault, or the student is totally at fault. The thing is, life isn't this simple; it's complicated and messy.

Both the student and the officer contributed to this situation. They both made decisions that led to the ultimate violent outcome of the conflict. Both sides are wrong in certain ways, in my opinion. Let's take them individually.