Saturday, March 31, 2012

Can someone please explain to me how Progressives are smarter than I am?

This is what I think Earth Hour looks like:

A little creepy when you call me a Thought Criminal because I'm using this picture, isn't it?  And it seems that Rocket Scientists are now sadly lacking in the brains department here, too:
Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers will turn off lights on the International Space Station.
And that will save exactly HOW much atmospheric CO2?
Hope the idiocy makes the lefties feel good about themselves.

Three yards of mulch

It doesn't look as big as I thought it would.  Probably not enough for the rose garden.


Bobby Bare - Lynching Party

It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important.

- Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In my lifetime we've gone from a time where the lynch mob would drag possibly unconvictable prisoners from their cells and string them up, to a much more enlightened, gentle, Progressive era:
Lee apologized on Wednesday evening and offered to compensate an elderly Florida couple who had to flee their home after he tweeted their address on March 23, claiming it was that of the parents of George Zimmerman, the man who killed teenager Trayvon Martin.

But according to the Smoking Gun, on Wednesday, [Roseanne] Barr tweeted the correct address for Zimmerman's parents, then deleted the tweet, then threatened to tweet it again.

 “If Zimmerman isn't arrested I'll rt his address again. maybe go 2 his house myself," Barr tweeted.
Image via Wikipedia
On May 25, 1911, a young black man in Okemah, OK was about to be lynched by a mob.  His mother, acting as mothers do, rushed to plead with the mob to spare the life of her child.

They strung her up, too.  They raped her first, though.

It's a truism that Progressives believe in the perfectibility of mankind, while conservatives believe in original sin.  It's been said that an optimist believes that we live in the best of all possible worlds while the pessimist fears that this is indeed so.  I'm quite interested in how Ms. Barr and the rest of the Progressive Mob baying for George Zimmerman's blood think that they're "perfecting" mankind here by publishing Mrs. Zimmerman's address.

Educated people know that this question has been asked before, in a different guise.  As a student of history, I fear that I know the answer all too well:
Communism probably killed at least 85 million people, and might have killed as many as 140 million people.
But this time is different, right?  Because tweeting someone's parent's home address to the Mob would never result in blood, right?  And if it did, well nobility of purpose and all that.  Too bad about the rape.  Mistakes were made.  Eggs, omelets.

And so I must say once again that I do not think that Progressives are smarter or nicer than the rest of us.  I do not think they are better educated than us, in either history or music.  Because if they were, they'd remember this song.  And those days.

Lynching Party (Songwriter: unknown)
The Lynch mob gathered in the square across from the jail
Young Billy watched them from his cell and felt his courage fail
Bill swore he wasn't guilty but the evidence was plain
Tomorrow he would go on trial for killing Mary Jane
They shouted beat the prisoner hardy we're gonna have a Lynchin' party
Gonna hang him high watch him die for killing Mary Jane

The mob is closer to the jail excitement all around
The deputies kept moving back afraid to hold their ground
Then the young girl cried you cowards but the Lynch mob searched ahead
Dragged young Billy from that jail and soon the kid was dead
They shouted beat the prisoner hardy...

The weeks went by and no one spoke about it anymore
Or seemed to see the wreath Bill's mother hung upon the door
Then one night they dragged a ragged hobo from a train
And he confessed he was the one who killed young Mary Jane
They shouted beat the prisoner hardy...
Gonna hang him high watch him die for killing Mary Jane
What an odd turn that people who are so moved by Strange Fruit see justice at work here, or that they do not at least condemn the injustice.  And yet still they somehow think that they occupy some sort of Moral High Ground, while they whip up the mob.  Odd how they do not see that their type is sadly legion in this Republic's history.  They are but the latest in a long line, and are unlikely to be the last.
Our country's national crime is lynching. It is not the creature of an hour, the sudden outburst of uncontrolled fury, or the unspeakable brutality of an insane mob.

Friday, March 30, 2012

There's a special circle in Hell waiting for you, Scooter

Former cop starves former K-9.

Seems the dirtbag was fired from the P.D. "for cause".  There's a surprise - whatever he did was so extreme that even the Union couldn't save his job.  Reading the story, that's not hard to believe.

Die screaming in a fire, scum.

Earl Scruggs, R.I.P.

Thanks for all the great music.

He was the only person to win two Grammys for the same song.

Nothing to see here

Move along:
Azerbaijan has granted Israel access to airbases in its territory along Iran's northern border for potential use in a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, a report published Wednesday in Foreign Policy magazine quoted senior US officials as saying.
Must just be that Caspian Seaside resort property.  That stuff's crazy affordable ...


Via blog brother PISSED, here's a story that will touch you, if you're any damn good at all:

I have a soft spot in my heart for little one eyed dogs.

Gunnie trivia time!

OK, Borepatchians, here a trivia question for you: Sherlock Holmes' companion Dr. Watson was an officer in the British army in Afghanistan (circa 1880s).  As such, he would have been responsible for purchasing his own side arm.  So the trivia question is: which revolver would be have packed?  A Webley, or an Enfield?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Time begins once again

In Spring, a young man's thoughts lightly turn to "Play ball!"  The dogwoods are in full bloom, the wisteria is spectacular, and the umpire once again brushes dirt off of the plate.

Go Sox!

The post title reference is to this, although 2cents pointed this out to me back when he had to give me a photocopy* instead of a link.  The center fielder cannot hold.  Funniest bit on baseball ever written:
All-star Cincinnati shortstop Johnny P. Sartre in 1964 became the first major leaguer to refuse the Most Valuable Player Award. Sartre declined the prestigious award because of his long-standing opposition to the infield-fly rule. He denounced the rule, claiming that it severely limited human freedom and that it introduced into the game "a momentary paralysis in the midst of movement—all play suddenly assumes an automatic quality." The lifetime .350 hitter had made news several years earlier when he referred to the Ground Rule Double as an "absurd bourgeois convention."

* Kids, ask your parents.


That would be me.  There was a drip in the ceiling in #1 Son's room (right by where the water comes into the house from the street).  I had a plumber come out to fix it, because water in the ceiling doesn't improve with age.

The water heater chose that moment to give up the ghost.  Lucky that, with a plumber in the house.

And hey, I didn't really need that $2,000 anyway.  Probably would have glown it on a Garand and ammo, or something.  Lucky me.

Random thoughts

It took some digging to find the 2009 posts from the Czar of Muscovy where he read through the entire Obamacare bill (so that you don't have to™).  Interestingly, I found some links to posts here, and some of them are pretty interesting.  I typically wait a while before tagging posts here in the "Best Posts" category, but looking back after a couple years, these probably should have been included.  Makes me wonder about my casual tagging attitude and general lack of work ethic here.

It's not often I find myself think thing "Stephen den Beste is wrong".  I'd better think about this, because I do think that he's wrong.  But I also think that he's Stephen den Beste.

While I whine about plumbing, at least I don't have someone re-plumbing my circulatory system like blogfriend Stephen.  Get well soon, buddy.  The world needs good men like you.


I once got an envelope full of cash from Newbius, although I never met him.  You see, he bought my snowblower from me when we moved back south from Yankeeland.  I didn't need it anymore, and he remembered the huge snow storms of the previous winter.  He lived just off of I-95, and we were heading right past there.

Sadly, he had to be on the Left Coast for a funeral when we went by.  I dropped the snowblower off with his neighbor, losing what it turns out to have been my only chance to meet him although we did talk several times.  He was as funny and irreverent over the phone as he was on his blog.

Pax, Newbius. 


So the SCOTUS heard arguments about whether the individual mandate could be struck down but the rest of Obamacare left standing.  I'm not a lawyer*, so I don't know how the court will rule: leave the entirety standing, strike down the whole statute, or strike down some but leave some.

The idea that the whole thing should be struck down seems reasonable to me (again, IANAL), because nobody knows what's in the bill, and nobody knows how the bill would be different from what Congress voted for.  And this seems rich irony:
Are we supposed to go through the whole 2700 pages? Ha ha. Why should they? The members of Congress didn't. Obama didn't. (Signing the bill, he said: "... you know the feeling of signing your name to pages of barely understandable fine print").

And who can ever forget: "We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it"? If the Court drags the whole thing down, no one will ever know what the hell was in it. And I mean no one. Absolutely no one on the face of the earth knows the entire text, and no one will ever know.
Philosopher Kings, right there.  This is probably a good time to say to everyone who ever said that Progressives are smarter than anyone else that the need to shut up and sit down in the back of the room.  Grown ups are talking.

But it's not quite true to say that no one knows what was in it. Perhaps no common man, but a Czar is another breed entirely.

* IANAL, but I know guys who are.  He has an informed opinion that's pretty interesting.

Big day for Atlanta

On March 29, 1886, Coca Cola was first made here.  Lose the polar bears, boys.

It's unknown if this is being celebrated by Atlanta's most notorious resident, Lt. William Calley.  Troops under Calley's command shot up a village in Vietnam, and he was duly convicted of murder for that.  Georgia's then Governor Jimmy Carter was outraged over this conviction, and led a state wide protest.  Maybe Calley can build a house with you, or go visit Hugo Chavez, Mr. President.

Also today in 1911, the U.S. Army made the unexpectedly wise decision of adopting the Pistol, caliber .45, Automatic, Model 1911.  This is perhaps the most spectacularly successful decision that the Army ever made.  Then again, it's never safe to bet against John Moses Browning (PBUH).  Just sayin'.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Anyone want to go to the Marietta Gun Show on Saturday?

Drop a comment or send an email.

A modest suggestion on Lawfare

So a Federal Court says that a $300+ fee to keep and bear arms is reasonable.  Okie dokie.

So here's what I wonder.  Rather than funding a conservative Think Tank, why don't some rich old geezers fund a bunch of lawsuits, using this sort of precedent?  Say, requiring people to pay $300 every 4 years "for a background check to ensure that voter fraud is not being done"?  And their first born for Sunday Roast, too*.

The first suit will result in screams of "racist", but the real fun would happen when the fourth or fifth suit - and the second appeal - get run up the legal flagpole.  Then leftie's heads will simply start going all 'splody.

It's Alinsky's Rules, right?  Hold your opponent to his own standards.  In a very real and Legally Binding sense.  I'm guessing that $10M would be enough to change the course of history ...

Via Uncle.

* Aretae informs me that I can't use the term "A Modest Proposal" in a post title if it doesn't involve devouring poor children.  Happy to oblige.

Deadly sin.


What year saw the first four-engined strategic bomber?

Here's some military history trivia for you.  World War II saw the perfection of the heavy bomber, by the United States (B-17, B-24, and B-29) and the United Kingdom (the magnificent Avro Lancaster of "Dam Busting" fame).  So here's the trivia question: which year saw the introduction of this form: four engines, long range, heavy bomb load, large crew, powerful defensive armament?

The answer is 1913.

Imperial Russia beat everyone to the punch on this, by years and years, with the Ilya Muromets Type B heavy bomber.

Four engines?  Check.  Heavy bomb load (for the day)? Check (the plane could carry 800 kg of bombs, and the Russian Air Force heavy bombers dropped 65 tons of bombs on the Germans during the Great War).  Long range?  Check (the plane set records for distance before the opening of hostilities).  Large crew?  Check (it had a tail gunner, and hatches that allowed mechanics to walk out onto the lower wings to service the engines in flight).

And defensive armament?  Check, double check, and triple check.  The only bomber lost to enemy action was one that was jumped by four German Albatros fighters.  It shot three of them down before going down itself.  Yowzer.

So how did Imperial Russia design and field squadrons of aircraft that were at least 15 years ahead of their day, back when that represented 2 or 3 generations of military aircraft?  It was an Igor Sikorsky design.  'Nuff said.

I will never own a car that contains this

Automated driving capability:
Advanced driver assistance systems can offer remedies. On the one hand they can support the driver in demanding and difficult situations and on the other hand develop room for freedom during monotonous driving situations which are often accompanied by the risk of decreasing attention. Especially the latter is a potential field of application for highly-automated driving. Continental, the international automotive supplier, has now completed a two-week endurance test in the US state of Nevada. More than 6,000 miles of highly-automated driving on public roads in Nevada were completed and had the aim to show that it becomes possible to develop room for freedom for the driver which does not serve primary vehicle guidance and therefore provide the driver a welcome change in certain situations. Especially aspects of driving safety were evaluated. Nevada is the first US state to explicitly permit automated driving on public roads.
In other words, the computer drives the car so that you don't have to.  This is a spectacularly bad idea - so bad, in fact, that I don't just refuse to drive a car that has this.  I won't own one.  And you shouldn't either.

There are the magic five words that explain why: the computer drives the car.  It's a guarantee that this prototype has precisely bupkis in terms of computer security.  After all, it's a prototype, proving the concept is viable.  Functionality is everything, the threat is diffuse - how would anyone hack it, when it's a one-of-a-kind?  And anyway, there's always time to add security when you go to production, right?

Riiiiight. [rolls eyes]

Or maybe leverage the outstanding security in the car computer networks that lets someone pwn your brakes and throttle wirelessly as you cruise on down Route 66?

Fail.  But that's not the worst of it.  Yeah, it's bad when the Bad Guys can take over your car and drive you wherever they want.  So what's worse?  Imagine what happens when they can do that to 5% of the cars at rush hour.  It takes almost nothing to jam up the commute - rush hour is essentially a super saturated solution, running across the highways.  Introduce any perturbation, no matter how small, and the solution crystallizes, with speeds dropping asymptotically towards zero.  The highways become, as the French like to describe it, bouchée: corked.

Now imagine an "Occupy Beltway" movement ten years hence.  They release a Press Release saying that they're going to shut down the rush hour at the top 25 US cities.  As proof, they will shut down traffic on the Washington Beltway later that afternoon.  Everyone's already at work; there's no way to get home, or avoid going into the office.  You're already there.  And a dozen #OccupyBeltway cars are already waiting, circulating I-495, loaded with laptops and wifi and specialized 'sploits that will make the newfangled cars go out of control and crash.

One crash slows Springfield, VA to a crawl.  Three dozen crashes around the entire beltway shuts the entire system down.

After the mayhem, they release a Youtube video, where masked H4X0rz say that New York City, Los Angeles, and the rest are next.  The roads belong to #Occupy, and they will be releasing a list of demands shortly ...

Like I said, this is simply staggering Epic Fail.  I hate to say it, but the Department of Transportation should forbid it on public highways until the manufacturers can demonstrate to the National Computer Security Center that the system's security architecture isn't carefully crafted from Moonbeams and Cotton Candy.

Yeah, I thought so.

Like I said, I'll never have one of these in my garage, and you shouldn't either.  Gives new meaning to getting your kicks on Route 66.

Hat tip: The Antiplanner.  I would have left a comment over there, but you have to be logged in to do it.  Helpful protip: if you make me log in to comment, and I can't because I don't have an account, you don't get the comment.  Srlsy.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fifteen years isn't all that long

My youngest is older than that.  And that's how long the Congressional Budget Office says the economy will last before "shutting down" because of the government debt crisis.

It's not true that Nero fiddled while Rome burned.  It's a true fact that he didn't do anything to put out the flames.  Me, I have a retirement plan: don't retire.

UPDATE 27 March 2012 20:50: So much for "The Greatest Generation," who've impoverished their grandchildrenJ'accuse.

Welcome home, Soldier

Casey from Carolina Cogitation is back from 13 months in Afghanistan.  Glad to have you home safe, and thanks for doing a thankless job!

In Soviet Russia, future is always known. Is past that is changing.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the Western elites were shocked to see just how moribund the system was.  Only a few years earlier, the CIA had determined that the USSR was the third largest economy in the world. The numbers were cooked, the statistics unreliable.  Sophisticated analysts knew that knowing how the sausage was made was the most important part.

So how is the sausage made here in the good old US of A?

That's an interesting question, and the rabbit hole goes deep indeed.  The indices that track the economy - unemployment rate, CPI inflation index, even the very size of the economy itself - all have been changed over time.  Ever wonder what inflation is, if we tracked it like we did in the Bad Old Days of Jimmy Carter?  Every wonder how Carter's "Misery Index" (inflation plus unemployment) compares to Obama's?

Hard to compare, because the past is always being changed.

Shadow Stats tracks this sort of thing.  I won't spoil your fun by telling you the respective misery indexes*, so head on over.
We forget everything. What we remember is not what actually happened, not history, but merely that hackneyed dotted line they have chosen to drive into our memories by incessant hammering.

- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago
* OK, I lied.  Carter index = 21%, Obama index = 26%. 

Rest in peace, Eric Lowen

Thanks for the great music.

Via reader Aaron in email.

Monday, March 26, 2012

If you don't read the newspapers, you're uninformed. If you do read the newspapers, you're misinformed.

At the risk of correcting Mark Twain, here's an example where you get both at once.  It's a twofer!  East Coast loses 50% of its refining capacity:

In 2011, Sunoco shuttered its 178,000 bpd refinery in Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania after it said it received no bids. The refinery, which began operation in 1902, is being evaluated by a regional board as to what the best use will be.

Sunoco has said it will close down its 335,000 bpd Philadelphia refinery, the nation's longest continuously running plant, by July 1 if there are no buyers.

ConocoTrainer also idled its 185,000 bpd refinery in nearby Trainer, Pennsylvania in late September. The company says it continues to seek a buyer.

All three refineries are in a 12-mile radius.
700,000 bpd of refining capacity have been idled.  With gas at $4/gal there were no bidders?  How come?  Migraine headaches? George W. Bush?  Space aliens?  The article doesn't say. 

It's what's not said that demonstrates the bias.  What's the over/under on either the Federal or the Pennsylvania EPA regulations making these too costly to continue refining oil into gasoline?  The suspicion is that in a election year, you can't handle the truth ...

The MSM has a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom, prole.

Via Ace.

Why are the Swedes so racist?

I mean, what's with the neo-Nazis under every bed?
Are there neo-Nazis in Sweden? If not, then why are their mystery writers mentioning them? And if there are, then what justification do Swedes have for thinking of themselves as morally superior to us Americans?
It seems that you can't open a Swedish fiction book without finding neo-Nazis.  And yet Swedes seem to think that they're more moral than Americans.  Now this might not make sense to you, but that's because you're insensitive.  So proactice being more sensitive.

Like this:

Honorable Manhood

JayG's son has moved on from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts.  Congratulation to the young man (no longer TheBoy, or at least not for long).  Jay muses on that most difficult change for a man - having to watch your child from the sidelines as they grow to being the adult you hope they'll be.

Because then it's not about what it used to be.  It's not being the biker/gun nut/road rage man that we all love to read.  It's about being that man that I'm proud to call a friend.

You don't fool me, because I went through this, too:
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The Archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the Archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
You're a stable bow, Jay; you bend with gladness.  Your arrow flies swift.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Dallas area Blogshoot - lock and load for April 21

OK, I have final confirmation on availability of the venue for 21 April, so let's lock the date.  Details below.

Date/Time: Saturday, 21 April 2012 1100 hours.

Location: 3100 E. Beltline Rd, Ferris, TX 75125.

What to bring: Water is important, and snacks are good.  If you got 'em, bring your guns and ammo.  At the New England blogshoots we always joked that we had enough guns to invade Canada.  Since everything's bigger in Texas, we'll need guns - lots of guns.

Raffle: We're having a Blogshoot raffle to support our gunnie brothers and sisters trapped behind Enemy Lines in the People's Soviet* of Massachusetts.  Each pre-ban AR magazine you donate to the Cause will get you one chance to win.  I'll bring prizes, as well as the obligatory stuffed children's toy that we sacrifice to the Gunnie Ghods.  Remember, these have to be pre-ban, meaning manufactured before 1994, or we can't send 'em to JayG and the Crew.  Bring your old stuff - these are surprisingly hard to get in Massachusetts (which is the point).

Carpooling:  The Texas Gun Blogosphere's own community organizer, Southern Belle has generously agreed to help, err, organize.  While carpooling is a commie plot to undermine the fabric of American society, at $4/gal it's pretty dang expensive to do long road trips (ask me how I know!).  We have folks in Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas - and points outside and in between).  If anyone is thinking about NOT coming because of the cost of gas (or the hassle of driving), please leave a comment here or over at her place.  I can bring two people from Austin to and from the blogshoot, and if we can get a few other folks to volunteer, we can bring a Texas sized crew.

Here's the list of the folks who have expressed an interest :

U.S. Citizen
Dwight Brown
Southern Belle and Kx59
Bill in Austin
Shepherd K
That Guy
Bob S
Cap'n Jan
John Farrier
Pat St. John
Mark (from Corpus Christi)
An Ordinary American
Mark Smith
Texas Sean

If all y'all can drop a comment to say whether you think you're in or out, and if you'd like to ride with someone, that'd be very much appreciated.

Potential Attendees:

Kevin Baker

* Mrs. Borepatch keeps telling me that they don't have a proper Soviet there.  I'm sure she can tell you why if you ask her.  Me, I keep saying that they have an Improper Soviet there ...

UPDATE 25 March 2012 22:27: Epic Freudian slip corrected courtesy of Old NFO, who sadly can't make it.  When we link up, the beers are on me, my friend.

Beats me

My day is pretty busy.  After fixing the waterfall and mulching the garden, I'll don suit and tie for grown up martinis.  Because the booze will deaden the muscle pain.

Mmmn mmm mmm! Barack Hussein Obama!

The video is different now than it was then.  Heh.

Antonio Vivaldi - Spring (from The Four Seasons)

This is by far the most famous of Italian baroque composer Vivaldi's works. You've heard it.  It's almost playful, a joyful welcome to the new green shoots.

Vivaldi was perhaps the most famous baroque composer, commissioned to write a piece for the wedding of French King Louis XV.  Strangely, he died a pauper in Vienna, and the young Joseph Hayden was in the youth choir at his funeral.

Youtube cuts this off in its prime, much like Vivaldi himself came to a sudden (and suddenly unexpected) end.  It's worth seeking out for your CD collection, assuming that it's not already there.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Australia votes themselves out of their mess

Well, Queensland (one of the most populous states in Oz) just did:
Labor has been reduced to only a handful of seats, with the ABC election computer putting the LNP on track to win an amazing 78 seats in the 89-seat parliament.
Labour lost 45 of their 52 seats in the State Parliament.  And this bit is particularly delicious:
10:40pm: Almost an entire generation of potential Labor leaders were among those swept away by the LNP. Click here to see who stays and who goes.
I'm not an expert on the Australian political system, but this may drop them below the point where they can participate in governmental functions (ministries, etc), putting them on par with parties like the Greens and the Monster Raving Loonies.  It seems like a record loss down under.

And it's driven by voter rage over Labour's Carbon tax and higher petrol prices.  Labour has gone from controlling the Parliaments of all 7 Oz States to losing the 4 largest (population-wise).  Come the next general election, Labour may join the Whigs.

But hey, at least they got to enjoy ramming their philosophy down the voters' throats.  Good on ya, Cobbers, returning the favor.

Random thoughts

Most people aren't particularly ideological. They're not big fans of government, they don't particularly hate government, they just want government to work tolerably well. So what metrics will tell them when it's working tolerably well? This seems to be a major problem for independent voters.

Progressives are fans of government. They favor all sorts of interventionist policies ostensibly to correct market failures. Their problem is that while there arent good metrics on government efficiency, pretty much everyone agrees that governmental efficiency is terrible. It's hard to see that you couldn't save $100 B a year with actual efficient governance - that's the entirety of the claimed Obamacare cost, and half of the actual cost. If Progressives won't demand efficient governance even for something this important to them, they'll never convince Independents to vote for them. This seems like a big problem for them.

Conservatives are fans of government stopping people from doing things they don't like, too. They will have to rely on government agencies for this. Since the equilibrium state of any mature agency is to be captured by the organizations the agency is responsible to regulate, what will this regulatory capture look like? I suspect nothing that Conservatives will like. This seems to be a problem for them.

It's pretty funny when your older brother calls you to ask how he can hack the Admin password on his new laptop. AFAIK, the Computer Fraud And Misuse Act doesn't prohibit you from breaking into your own computer. It got me wondering though - has anyone ever sued themselves?

The falacy of stopping bad things from happening

I've been working in computer security for a long time, and have seen a lot of new technologies introduced, some to stay, some just to come and go.  All of these have been inspired by the same goal: make the bad thing go away.  Make it so it won't happen again.

One of these which I was involved with almost did this.  We almost changed the world.  Almost.  But it was too complicated, and too hard to make work in the Real World.  We didn't really understand the consequences for the people who would have to manage it when we came up with the idea, and so it's gone now.

We see this all around us.  There's a deep, primal desire to make the world intelligible.  Whether it's sacrificing virgins to the Volcano Goddess or putting one more scanner or procedure in place at the airport security check point, the motivation is the same.

Make it so it won't happen again.

Alas, I've come to despair of the new security technology that will do this.  Now I look to prevent mistakes that are preventable, which means that we have to live with the mistakes that were unpreventable.  Now I realize that like Heisenberg's Principle - so often used as an inappropriate analogy, like here - taking action to change something also has consequences.  That some of those consequences can be bad - maybe not as bad as what you're trying to prevent, but certainly worse than an alternative you might have chosen.

I've come to believe that thinking things through before you act is one of the ways that you can prevent the preventable mistakes.  Well, some of them, anyway.

Tam says this about self defense and when you should shoot, and when you should be somewhere else.  Some things are unpreventable, and we just need to adjust, and move on as best we can.   But other things are indeed preventable mistakes.

If you're wrong in computer security, people don't die.  That's one of the nice things about this branch of the security career tree, that the Bad Guys don't shoot at you.  As far as I can tell (and I've looked, quite hard over the years) nobody has ever died because of a computer security failure.  Nobody has ever made a preventable mistake in their firewall rule set, or certificate revocation mechanism that killed someone graveyard dead.  The consequences of the choices we make in my industry can end careers, but not lives.

That's one of its charms, when you think about it.

We're surrounded by choices, whether driving home from the bar after (maybe) one too many or how we interact with our fellow citizens when packing our heater of choice.  Choices have consequences, even when you choose right.

And by "right" I mean "avoid preventable mistakes".

It's not possible to stop all bad things from happening.  We should understand that we can make things worse than they would have been, if we're not careful.  You all know you should read Tam, and while it goes without saying I'll say it anyway.  RTWT.

Connie Smith - Once A Day

(Image source)
A lawn mower can change your life, if you're not careful.  It changed Connie Smith's.

She had an accident when she was in high school - the mower almost took her leg off.  She was in the hospital for a long time, and someone brought her a guitar to help her pass the hours.  She taught herself to play chords, and then entered talent competitions once she was discharged.  Country singer Bill Anderson heard her singing in Columbus Ohio, and introduced her to Chet Atkins.  A year later, she released this single.

It was the first debut song my a female country artist to reach number one on the charts.  To this day, it holds the Billboard record for the most weeks at number one by a female Country artist. 

She never had the commercial success that she arguably deserved.  Her style was much like Patsy Cline's, and she remained artistically respected - eleven Grammy nominations.  She was just inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame earlier this month.

Once A Day (Songwriter: Bill Anderson)
When you found somebody new
I thought I never would
Forget you
For I thought then I never could
But time has taken all the pains away-ay
Until now, I'm down to hurtin'
Once a day

Once a day (once a day)
A-all day long (all day long)
And o-once a night (once a night)
From dusk till dawn (dusk till dawn)
The only time
I wish you weren't go-one
Is once a day
All day long

I'm so glad that I'm not like
A girl I knew one time
She lost the one she loved
Then slowly lost her mind
She sat around and cried her life away-ay
Lucky me
I'm only cryin' once a day

Once a day (once a day)
A-all day long (all day long)
And o-once a night (once a night)
From dusk till dawn (dusk till dawn)
The only time
I wish you weren't go-one
Is once a day
All day long
Once a day
All day lo-ong
After three divorces, she's been Mrs. Marty Stuart for the last fifteen years.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Security Smorgasbord, vol 4 no 1

TSA Follies, Act The First:

A FBI Counter-Terrorism Special Agent says that the TSA is "tilting at windmills":
TSA has never, (and I invite them to prove me wrong), foiled a terrorist plot or stopped an attack on an airliner. Ever. They crow about weapons found and insinuate that this means they stopped terrorism.  They claim that they can’t comment due to “national security” implications. In fact, if they had foiled a plot, criminal charges would have to be filed. Ever hear of terrorism charges being filed because of something found during a TSA screening? No, because it’s never happened. Trust me, if TSA had ever foiled a terrorist plot, they would buy full-page ads in every newspaper in the United States to prove their importance and increase their budget.

I have a unique position from which to make these statements. For 25 years, as many of readers know, I was an FBI Special Agent, and for many of those years, I was a counter-terrorism specialist. I ran the Los Angeles Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) Al Qaeda squad. I ran the JTTF’s Extra-territorial squad, which responded to terrorism against the United States or its interests throughout the world. I have investigated Al Qaeda cell operations in the United States, Pakistan, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand, just to name a few.


I have dealt with TSA since its inception and FAA security prior to that. I have witnessed TSA operate since they became a separate organization in 2002 and seen their reaction to intelligence provided them. I have now watched them operate for a decade, and I have respect for their hard-working employees who are doing a thankless job. But I have come to the conclusion that TSA is one of the worst-run, ineffective and most unnecessarily intrusive agencies in the United States government.
Long, but worth it for the straight talk.  Brutal straight talk.

TSA Follies, Act The Second

The comments here are particularly interesting.  Click on the tab that sorts them in terms of "highest rated" and then start reading.  All of the comments supporting the intrusive TSA search are from commenters in Europe.  All of them.

I said recently that in the 19th Century, everyone in Europe who thought that Europe sucked came here.  It seems that Europe has been breeding for an appreciation of suckiness.

All Your Devices Are Belong To Us

All your devices can be hacked.  All of them:

Avi Rubin is a big gun in computer security.  This is nothing short of horrifying, although putting Pac Man on a voting machine is pretty stylin'.  Another reason for my next car to be a '69 GTO.  Hack that, bitches ...

You watch us, we watch you

Anonymous released a bunch of U.S. Government diplomatic cables.  The ACLU saved one, and then filed a FOIA request for the same cable.  The U.S. Government gave them one that was heavily redacted. So now we know what the U.S. Government thinks is secret.  Yikes.

I'd say that the ACLU just hacked the Fed.Gov ...

The "Mad Minute", Finnish style

Weer'd points us to a video of a guy recreating the "Mad Minute" with his Finnish Mossin.  It's cool, and you should go see.

My only thought watching this was that he entirely neglected his shooting sling, and I mentioned this to some guys at work.  Alehandro (immigrant from Finland, spectacular shooter, and spectacular security guy, and not at all his real name) commented via email (reproduced here with his permission):
Shoots close to a Winter War veteran... speed-wise. ;)

I don't fault him for the sling deal -- most Finnish soldiers in Winter / Continuous War didn't. Simply because in a heartbeat you needed to use your rifle as a club when the Russians got into the trenches from the side of your position. Strict no-sling-wrapping is STILL an FDF rule -- you simply learn to shoot steady without it (sling is only used to carry the weapon, nothing else).
Filed under "Things I Did Not Know".

Tsunami cause Global Warming

Chief Jay Bob emails to point out local (to him) Chicago meteorology news:
AccuWeather said we were in for a fifth consecutive winter of above average snowfall, somewhere between 50 and 58 inches. In reality, just 19.8 inches of the white stuff have fallen, according to WGN chief meteorologist Tom Skilling, not only well below AccuWeather's prediction, but also 14.3 inches below the yearly average.

AccuWeather called for brutally cold temperatures for December and January, and slightly milder mercury in March. Nope. The period of December through February — known as meteorological winter — ran 6.4 degrees above average.
Hey, predictions are hard, especially about the future.  Right?  But hey, there's a good explanation:
Margusity was a good sport about AccuWeather's swing and miss, even offering up a retroactive long shot theory for the warm winter and recent heat wave — the drifting debris field from last year's devastating Japanese tsunami seems to be sending warm air aloft above the Pacific Ocean, which could be contributing to warmer temperatures here, Margusity said.

"If you match up where that debris field is right now with where the warmer than normal water temperatures are, they match up perfectly," he said ...
We desperately need global Tsunami Cap And Trade legislation!  Look, it's not at all surprising that tsunamis cause Global Warming.  Everything causes Global Warming.

Obama's Doppelgänger

Ere Babylon was dust, The Magus Zoroaster, my dead child,
Met his own image walking in the garden.
That apparition, sole of men, he saw.
For know there are two worlds of life and death:
One that which thou beholdest; but the other
Is underneath the grave, where do inhabit
The shadows of all forms that think and live
Till death unite them and they part no more

- Percy Bysshe Shelley, Promethius Unbound

A Doppelgänger is a spiritual double of a living person, a mirror image.  Often interpreted as a sinister omen, Shelley's poem anticipated his own death, and indeed he claimed in a letter shortly before his death to have met his own doppelgänger.

Consider the current day, and the current political campaign.   You could fairly describe Barack Obama's 2008 campaign thusly:
  • He represented himself as holding positions other than his core beliefs (running as a moderate and governing as a radical).
  • His view of "flyover" Americans was characterized by unknowing elitism ("clinging to their guns and religion").
  • He made campaign statements that he later contradicted (he could no more renounce Jeremiah Wright than his own family, until he did).
  • His supporters convinced themselves that the most important thing was replacing the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and so wrote their own hopes and dreams onto the blank slate that was the Candidate's very carefully crafted blank image.
It worked, spectacularly well.  Instapundit has coined a term to describe the buyer's remorse afflicting former Obama cheerleaders: hey, rube!

I'm struck by the similarity between the Obama/2008 and Romney/2012 campaigns.  Consider Romney:
  • He represents himself as holding positions other than his core beliefs (running as a conservative after governing Massachusetts as a moderate).  Nobody believes his current positions on Obamacare or Gun Control, not even his supporters.
  • His view of "flyover" Americans is characterized by unknowing elitism (cheesy grits, y'all).
  • He made campaign statements that he later contradicted (compare anything he said in Massachusetts to anything he's said this year).
  • His supporters seemingly have convinced themselves that the most important thing is replacing the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and so are writing their own hopes and dreams onto the blank slate that is Romney's very carefully crafted blank image.
Instapundit also is fond of pointing out that every Obama promise comes with an expiration date.  That would explain the entirety of Romney's flip flops:
  • He was firmly Pro-Choice, but the expiration date has passed and now he's firmly Pro-Life.
  • He was firmly against citizens owning dangerous "Assault Weapons", but the expiration date has passed and now he's firmly in favor of a citizen's right to keep and bear arms (and a lifetime member of the NRA, to boot, at least for the last couple years).
  • He was firmly in favor of the State forcing you to buy something that you don't want and maybe can't afford (health care), but the expiration date has passed and now he's firmly going to repeal Obamacare.
I could go on, but you get the point.

Quite frankly, I don't see how anyone can say with a straight face that Romney would be a better president than his Doppelgänger, particularly if the Stupid Republican Party keeps control of the House and gains control of the Senate. Remember, this is still largely the party of George W. Bush and Harriet Myers, and so is presumptively champing at the bit to go back to the glory days of 2005. A GOP President won't restrain them any more than Bush did. They won't restrain a GOP President, any more than they did Bush.

A Republican Congress with Obama in the White House will be continually at war with each other, and so government will grind to a halt. That's the first benefit. The economy is likely to be no better in 4 years, and so the blame for that would not fall on a first term GOP President. That's the second benefit. Obama will resist all oversight into the EPA, DoJ, TSA, etc, and so a continual drip-drip-drip of government overreach and incompetence can be maintained for years, discrediting the Progressive Agenda. That's the third benefit, burying the liberal corpse at a crossroad with a stake through its heart. Oh, and Obamacare can be defunded, along with the portions of HHS that are responsible for implementing it. If Congress simply doesn't appropriate the funds, you have stopped it. Let Obama veto the budget, shutting down Government, all to save a wildly unpopular bill. A Republican Senate can delay SCOTUS nominations for a full-on Bork-style vetting.

Now, it's perfectly reasonable to say that the GOP are a lot of weaklings, who won't do any of this. I'm quite willing to consider this argument, in fact. But that just makes my case, which is to ask why they should be rewarded with even more uncontrolled power when they haven't demonstrated that they've changed their Bad Old Ways? After all, we're told that the Republic will cease to exist if Obama is re-elected, right? And the Congressional GOP still can't be trusted to rein him in?

I don't trust Romney at all, but think I understand him decently well. I don't trust the Congressional GOP much, but think I understand them decently well. I think I understand Obama decently well. I am a student of history; history tells you about today, if you listen. It will keep you from being surprised, if you listen.

I remain convinced that less damage will accrue to the Republic if we maintain divided government and let the Progressive Vision finish its death throes than to make a huge gamble that the same old crew has learned their lesson. Me, I'll take gridlock.

Stated another way, rather than vote for the fascist, I'll vote for the fascist.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

You know, The Shawshank Redemption is a simply superb film.  Watching it with #1 Son just adds to the pleasure.  Great story, great script, great acting.  And great company watching it.

I'm certain that Alexandre "Dumbass" would have laughed.

Caption FTW!

Well played, anonymous Internet poster!  Via #1 Son.

Rudyard Kipling weeps

From the place where Great Britain used to be, a 14 year old girl can't buy a pancil sharpener because she's under age and it could be a "dangerous weapon".

*Face palm*

Europe and America in the 19th Century engaged in a grand experiment, where everyone who thought that Europe sucked came here and everyone who though that Europe was great stayed there.  A century later, we see the Philosopher Kings on the eastern shores of The Pond trying desperately to keep the Realm safe from the scourge of pencil sharpeners.

I guess I would say that - all my ancestors thought that Europe sucked.  Me, I like Europe fine, but I guess I know enough about the place that the whole "we should be more like Europe" brings on a giggle fit.

Not that we don't have this sort of silliness here, of course.  But it's easy to move around in the USA, and so places like Detroit and California are in Marx' final stage where the State "fades away" (this time taking the population and institutions with it, or more precisely, sending them to Texas).

A modest proposal

So people are talking about a national concealed carry reciprocity bill, to protect citizens from being caught by unusual and impossible to understand local regulations.  We can hope for the best for swift passage and being signed into law.

But why stop there?  Consider someone traveling to a different State who unexpectedly finds themselves in a risky situation.  Why shouldn't they be able to purchase the tools to protect themselves?  Sure, it would be the sale of a firearm to an out of State resident.  But if a CCW licensed person can be trusted to bring a firearm into a different State without causing riot and disturbance, why not let that same citizen buy a gun?  It's not like you expect him to cause riot and disturbance, after all.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Progress: that's "progressive", right?

The People's Cube clearly are Thought Criminals and Enemies Of The State®

The study demonstrates that Social "Scientists" are liberals, p > 0.05

The authors test the hypothesis that low-effort thought promotes political conservatism. In Study 1, alcohol intoxication was measured among bar patrons; as blood alcohol level increased, so did political conservatism (controlling for sex, education, and political identification). In Study 2, participants under cognitive load reported more conservative attitudes than their no-load counterparts. In Study 3, time pressure increased participants’ endorsement of conservative terms. In Study 4, participants considering political terms in a cursory manner endorsed conservative terms more than those asked to cogitate; an indicator of effortful thought (recognition memory) partially mediated the relationship between processing effort and conservatism. Together these data suggest that political conservatism may be a process consequence of low-effort thought; when effortful, deliberate thought is disengaged, endorsement of conservative ideology increases.

Source: "Low-Effort Thought Promotes Political Conservatism" from Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
OK, let's see: people drinking in bars are more conservative, and so drunks are conservative?  No, that can't be it.  People working on hard problems are conservative?  Dang it - that's not right.  People who are busy are conservatives?  Come on, come on.  OK, how about this proves that people who don't think are conservatives?  Bingo!

I mean, you'll jeopardize your tenure chances if you come back with any of this:
  • People who are successful enough that they have sufficient discretionary income to go clubbing are more conservative.
  • People who are successfully able to concentrate on difficult work tend to be conservative.
  • People who are able to multi-task and handle heavy work loads are conservative.
There, see how easy all this is?  Just massage the results, and they'll drop right into however you want to frame the debate.

Via Fosetti, who captures the essence of the matter:
Instead of "studying" this with data, they should have just gotten drunk with people. People get more conservative when they’re drunk because they stop pretending to believe bullshit (e.g. that everyone is equal).

Man, I sure am glad that I'm paying higher taxes to support this institution of "higher learning"!  After all, it's a "public good" and everything!

The joys of parenthood

Yeah, we had a couple like this with the kids.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Irony, that bitch

Seems I trolled some lefties. 

Go leave some commenty love, to clue them in.

An Army of Mockery

That Obama fellow: Smartest. President. Ever.

You need to go to page 8 or so to see mine.

Monopoly Mishaps

#1 Son is studying Internet Video in college.  Here's his Class project.

About $2,000 a minute, by my calculation.  But he is learning the ropes.

Monday, March 19, 2012

How to fly the B-17

War Department training films.

Stalin was a "Bronie"?

Wait, what?

I hate to say it, but the man makes some sense here.

Happy Mojo Day!

Srlsy.  Just be careful out there ...

If you don't lose yours, it can be pretty awesome.

Quote of the Day - Incitatus edition

Via Fosetti (in a particularly interesting post), comes this gem:
The whole spectacle of how the media and academia unanimously praised these smelly hippies, unemployed critical studies majors and outright street people as noble revolutionaries and trailblazers who will transform the whole world into a progressive utopia where our lives are managed by people who clearly currently can’t begin to manage even their own, is not that different from when Caligula appointed a horse as a senator.
In other equine analogies, the current campaign contribution laws suggest that most members of the "World's Greatest Debate Society" are pretty much Clever Hans, anyway.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Why thanks!


How ya going to be a Light Bringer and stop the Seas from Rising if all you're doing is getting horses shot out from underneath you?  Come, sir - the Republic demands more of its leaders!

Created with Quickmeme.  You know what to do.

Your daily LOL

How Harry Potter should have ended.  Watch all the way to the end to see who the new Defense Against The Dark Arts teacher is.

Aaron Copeland - Appalachian Spring

Photo copyright: Borepatch
Spring is in full bloom here in the north Georgia foothills.  The landscape is just beginning to encounter rolling hills here, but you don't have to drive very far north to find the Appalachian mountains, that range perhaps most caught up in the early history of this Republic.  Settled by tough Scots-Irish people who valued simplicity and self reliance, it has been in many ways and for many years both the physical and psychological backbone of this land.

Aaron Copeland is in a sense the classical music equivalent of this.  His music is not "sophisticated" in the European sense, but it celebrates the American spirit in a way that the Old World tropes could never capture.  Like Norman Rockwell, his work has caused no end of sneers from more "refined" sensibilities on both sides of the Pond.  Also like Rockwell, it's been wildly popular with ordinary Americans.

Copeland originally wrote this piece for Martha Graham, the great dancer.  No less an eminence than Eugene Ormandy asked him to expand it to a full orchestral work.  It may be Copeland's most famous work, and there's a very good chance that just about all my American readers have heard not only this piece, but the old Shaker song that is the theme that runs through it and in a sense perfectly captures both Copeland's body of work and the American spirit:
'Tis a gift to be simple, 'tis a gif to be free.
'Tis a gift to come down to where we ought to be.
And when you find yourself in the place just right
'twill be in the valley of love and delight.
That may be the best summation of the Immigrant Dream ever penned.  That hope was as fresh and filled with promise as Spring itself.  Copeland captured it all, in an ever so simple (but not at all simplistic) hymn to the season, and to the land, and to its people.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Quote of the Day - Rutherford D. Hayes edition

But obviously Rutherford B. Hayes isn’t as “forward-looking” as a 21st-century president who believes in Jimmy Carter malaise, 1970s Eurostatist industrial policy, 1940s British health-care reforms, 1930s New Deal–sized entitlements premised on mid-20th-century birth rates and life expectancy, and all paid for by a budget with more zeroes than anybody’s seen since the Weimar Republic. If that’s not a shoo-in for Mount Rushmore, I don’t know what is.
Smartest. President. Ever.

The greatest year in music

I'm not sure that 1966 was the best ever, but I'm not sure it wasn't.  Offered  for your consideration, some of the year's songs.

Cass always had the talent.  Michelle was just there as eye candy.

Love the clothes.

Man, they had a bunch of hits from that album.

I'd argue that this was a down year for The Beatles.  Yowzer.

All of these are significant recordings, almost all of which grace the "Top Songs of Rock And Roll" lists.  There were a ton of others that never make the list, but which are iconic in their own way.  Here are some personal favorites.

I can neither confirm nor deny that I used to be able to play this on the guitar.

That's just fun, right there.

And this one is for 2cents, who was in my second grade class that year.  Back when he was cute and I had hair.

And I always liked this song, and the Cathedral itself.  It's worth visiting, if you get the chance.

ZOMG! Sarah Palin is so dumb!

I mean, she doesn't even know that Rutherford Hayes didn't think the telephone was stupider than her!  And to think that she might have been near the Oval Office!

Lonestar - Like Coming Home

Image via Wikipedia
The first time I saw one of those tiny "Smart" cars, I thought of the old joke:  Boy, that's cool.  Do they make one for men, too?  Lonestar is a bit like that.

It's Country Music for older women who need a little reassurance.  Right now, I hear Pistolero's voice whispering in the back of my head: Dude.  Man Card: revoked.

Like honey badger, Lonestar don't care.  27 hit singles, 9 number 1 hits, and a song that hit #1 on both the Billboard Country and Hot 100 charts.

And like honey badger, I don't care.  I'm home, almost for good now.  This song captures that feeling of just plain happiness.  Sure it's sappy.  Sure, it puts your Man Card on probation.  That peaceful easy feeling at the end of a long, long road is pretty damn good anyway.

This wanderlust: it's gone now.  It's like coming home.

Like Coming Home (Songwriters: Brandon Kinney, Brian Maher, Jeremy Stover)
Riding restless under broken sky,
Weary traveler, something missing inside,
Always looking for a reason to turn around.
Desperate for a little peace of mind.
Just a little piece of what I left behind:
Well, I found it now: you're like coming home.

You're like a Sunday morning, pleasing my eyes;
You're a midsummer's dream under a star-soaked sky.
That peaceful easy feeling at the end of a long, long road.
You're like coming home;
You're like coming home, all right.

Go head and let your hair fall down.
This wanderlust: it's gone now.
I'm here in your arms; I'm safe from the road again.
These are the days that can't be erased:
Baby, there isn't a better place;
You're like heaven: you're like coming home.

You're like a Sunday morning, pleasing my eyes;
You're a midsummer's dream under a star-soaked sky.
That peaceful easy feeling at the end of a long, long road.
You're like coming home;

You're that innocence, that serenity,
That long-lost part of me.

You're like a Sunday morning, pleasing my eyes;
A midsummer's dream under a star-soaked sky.
That peaceful easy feeling at the end of a long, long road.

You're like a Sunday morning, pleasing my eyes;
You're a midsummer's dream under a star-soaked sky.
That peaceful easy feeling at the end of a long, long road.
You're like coming home,

Friday, March 16, 2012

So what's a sear?

The U.S. Army taught a bunch of city boys how all the gun parts fit together and work.

Isegoria found this, and has one on automatic weapons, too.  Plus the street price of mortars in Mogadishu.

Overheard at dinner

I was eating dinner with the kids, and the conversation turned to politics.  Hilarity ensued.
#1 Son: The only things that are certain are death and taxes, and death doesn't change when Congress is in session.

Me: You're an Enemy Of The State®.

#2 Son: That's because the State sucks!
I wish he wouldn't say "sucks", but heh.

Targeting the Little Satan, or the Great Satan

So Iran is readying a nuclear test, and the entire Middle East is on tender hooks.  Everyone expects Iran to start lobbing nukes at Israel as soon as they roll off the assembly line.

I'm not sure that this makes sense.  After all, Israel is the "Little Satan".  There are other targets in the area that may be more interesting:
(AP) —  Iranian patrol boats and aircraft shadowed a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group as it transited the Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday.

The passage ended a Gulf mission that displayed Western naval power amid heightened tensions with Tehran, which has threatened to choke off vital oil shipping lanes.
We are, after all, the Great Satan.  They've attacked us before.  The Revolutionary Guards are staffed with guys who would take a nuke on a one-way mission.  The current Administration is staffed with rookies, and the Iranians might be able to cause them to send two carrier groups.  I'd say "three", but that's just crazy talk.  Wait, what?

The push to get Iran to do something terminally irrational (now that USS Enterprise in its final tour of duty is almost on location just off the side of CVN-70 Lincoln and CVN-72 Vinson in the Arabian Sea, where the US will shortly have not one, not two, but three aircraft carriers) is now in its final stretch. As AP reported earlier, Iran has been now entirely cut off from the global financial system, as that anchor of international financial transactions, SWIFT, has just taken Iran off the grid. This leaves Iran with just three options for international trade: making gold into a fully convertible currency, barter, or exchanging Rials for Renminbi and other local currencies. As a reminder, virtually the entire non-parked naval fleet will be in the Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf in the next 4-6 days, where 3 aircraft carriers and one big-deck amphibious warfare ship are just waiting for the order.

Taking out a carrier or two would put a real crimp in any American response to an attack on Israel.  It likely would have a certain popularity in much of the International Community, unafraid of our Apologizer In Chief.

But hey, probably nothing to see here.  I mean, we have all the Right People® in the Oval Office now.  They have a (D) after their name, so everything's fine.  Oh, wait ...