Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Fred Thompson explained

By Berkley Breathed.

Click on the image to see it better!

Reading lists.......

On my back across the pond to the correct side of the International Date Line. United has surpassed my already low expectations by dropping me into SFO 2 hours late. Fortunately I planned for this, having done more than a coupld OJ esque runs to the gate before. So I am in the lounge catching up.

Yesterday, during our meeting, I was very unpleasantly suprised when one of the principals opened the meeting my holding up a copy of Mark Steyn's America Alone, The end of the world as we know it.. He pronounced that reading this book was critical to understanding the US war effort. He really meant it. In what had to be my daily faux paux-I sat there slowly shaking my head.

First-I don't agree with Steyn on so many things and I am not a big fan of his Eurabia hypothesis. Its not so much the theory-its Steyn's explanation of the causes of it. He trots out the familar canards.

More importantly though-it highlights the problem with so called "sanctioned" reading lists. They don't really provide diverse points of view. They simply reflect the agenda of the person who puts them together. Look at the US Navy's "Official" reading list for example. There are some good books on it. However it is what it is-a list made from a certain opinion.

My reading list for Naval Officers would be much different. For starters, all of the so called "business books" would be gone in order to make room for more of the classics, and more history reading. A book by Rudy Giuliani would not make the cut-as it hardly qualifies as a classic. I'm a big believer that the Navy does a fine job of educating its officer technically and a lousy job in educating its officers in terms of history, philosophy and critical thinking and argument. My point is proven whenever I pick up the Naval Institute proceedings and see an author quoting Max Boot as a "strategic thinker". -GAG, SNIFF, SNORT.

However in the end it would be just my opinion. Just like the guy who recommends Mark Steyn. The problem is that he is doing it from a position of authority so it sounds more important than it really is.

Its just an opinion. And those are like......?

UPDATE! Expat at Large has a better explanation over at his place.

I wonder how many of the Navy's books are on this list:

Probably not too many..............

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Interesting turns

Finished with the meetings today and getting everything arranged for the exercise in pain next month in Korea.

Talked to the S.O. today. I have never, ever , heard her talk so much about politics so much before. She even e-mailed me to tell me about LDP getting their ass handed to them in the House of Councillors election. Amazing. She was positively giddy about Abe-san being in really big trouble politically.

Read for yourself.

Simply amazing. I've know the woman for over five years,and I have never seen her this interested in politics. Every time I think I have her figured out-she goes and surprises me.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling coalition was thoroughly trounced in Sunday's election, losing its majority in the House of Councilors, nearly complete returns showed.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faces reporters Sunday night at Liberal Democratic Party headquarters in Tokyo after confirmation of the LDP defeat in the Upper House poll.

The Democratic Party of Japan meanwhile took over as the leading force in the Upper House.

Despite the huge setback for his Liberal Democratic Party, Abe said he plans to stay in power.

"As prime minister, I have promised to carry out reforms . . . and it is my duty (as prime minister) to fulfill that promise," he said in a televised interview at LDP headquarters.

As of 12:30 a.m. Monday, the DPJ had captured 59 seats, far better than the 35 gained by the LDP, with results for seven of the 121 seats up for grabs still undecided, according to Kyodo News.

New Komeito, the LDP's junior coalition ally, secured seven seats, while the Japanese Communist Party won three and the Social Democratic Party captured one.

The combined seats won by the LDP and New Komeito fell far short of the 64 they needed to keep control of the Upper House.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Election Day......

In Japan. Today was voting for the upper house of the Diet. Just got off the phone with the S.O. I asked her who she voted for and she told me MINSHUTO. (Democratic Party of Japan). She said she wanted to do anything that would be opposed to the Abe party. (JIMINTO-Liberal Democratic Party-the leading partyh in Japan).

So we both don't like the leaders of our respective countries. Maybe there is hope for us after all.

How many months till November 2008?

Time for bed. Tonight was the ritual "eat a big ass steak in Texas dinner-hear your arteries harden as you do" dinner. I'm stuffed. Shiner Bock was good though.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Decisions, decisions.......

Today was a good work day. S.O. is pissed off at me, because when she called my cell phone, I answered with the back ground noise of one of my favorite bars in the background. ...........How many times have I told you not call?

So I had finished the conversation and had another beer. Seemed like the only thing to do.


Today was a choice: work over, play twilight at Hawks Creek Golf course ....or blog. What would you do?

I know what I did. FORE!

Thank God for Daylight Savings Time.......

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Deep in the heart

Of Texas.

Greetings from the land of fat women.

Flight over was OK. I used my cunning and wit to outwit the travel office and get the flights book on the airline I wanted. ( The Australia trip put a big hole in my plans to get top tier status with Star Alliance.....)..

I did not sleep very well on the first leg to SFO. So when it came time to get to DFW, I was out as soon as I could recline the seat.

Arrive DFW. At the rental car counter, I followed my old adage: Pick the cute lady clerk, smile, and be polite. A larger car was mine for no extra money! ( Of course it took a while, her name was Maria and you know what that means. She was the duty Habla person......).

To the car! Bags in, door closed, set the seat. Turn on the radio-its 5pm by now. Great! I can listen to All Things Considered.

"Today the market took its second biggest drop of the year losing 311 points in today's trading."

Well isn't that special? More good news for me.

Out the exit, turn down the road for the exit to 360. 5 minutes later-parking lot city. 25 minutes later I finally get to I-30. I'm ready to put my fist through the radio..........

Another 30 minutes later I make it to the hotel. Wasn't that fun? One more thing to admire about Texas.............

Get checked in=email checked, nap ensues. Now I am awake and its 11pm. DOH! This is going to be fun!

Can't sleep, so maybe I should go out and find some late night fun. Like my hero:

Ja ne! More news when I get in the right time zone.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Maybe this is what the White House needs ....

To explain Iraq. Japan Probe shows off a new Japanese manga (comic) book explaining the recent Japanese Defense White paper. (Boei hakushoー防衛白書)。Quoting from the Mainichi Shinbum:

In the “Manga de Yomu Boeisho Hakusho (Defense Ministry White Papers in Manga)” series printed in 2005, a little girl wearing “Lolita” fashions and an apron is involved in exchanges — sometimes violently — with a hawkish stuffed teddy bear as they rumble over the way Japan should defend itself.

News of the story spread through Japan’s Internet and by word of mouth and turned the manga into a hit, with second and third editions hitting the bookstores rapidly. It seemed a given that the publisher, Japan Defense Foundation for Mutual Aid, would be given the contract to print last year’s manga version of the ministry’s white papers, but things didn’t quite turn out that way.

“Publishing rights are decided in public bidding and another company undercut us,” a spokesman from the Japan Defense Foundation for Mutual Aid tells Cyzo. “But it
was such a popular book that we didn’t want its success to end after only a
single year. We asked the same author of the 2005 edition to draw up another
manga using the same characters in a way that would help readers to understand
what’s going on with the defense of Japan.”

I would not exactly call her a "Lolita", but judge for yourself. The front of the booklet says in Japanese: Heisei 17 (2005 in the Hesei era)-"Comics to read!" " The Defense of Japan". Outside the comic is saying, "Comics to read" "The Defense White Paper".

Just my idea of a childrens bed time story............

Once inside there are more comics to see.

In a nutshell her and the bear are arguing over whether there is a threat to Japan as the bear is saying Japan is a peace loving country. She yells at him saying there is a threat of war to Japan and needs to be talked about.

And so they do here. Unfortunately it's in Japanese. Suffice it to say the bear continues saying Japan is a peaceful country and therfore American bases like Okinawa are bad. Which just makes the girl mad. So her and the computer explain why they are necessary. The war on terror, disaster relief, its all there......

Heavy reading.

I feel the need......

For a trip to Hong Kong. Spike reminds me why.

Fallows calls it right.

On Gen Petraeus and the upcoming report. Read his article on David Petraeus and the "New Jesus" problem.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Punching the strawman............

I'm a baby boomer. And proud of it.

I've had it with people who should know better attacking my generation as a bunch of dope smoking, sex fiends, who shirked their responsibilities to serve and protect their country. That the folks born of the period were " the most narcissistic, damaging and damaged, selfish generations we have ever produced." People who should know better-like Dean Barnett and others who seem to think that all people born between 1947 and 1964 are somehow defective human beings. Folks with this view that feels as if every thing from the 60's is painted black:

TO THOSE who were young then, the late 1960s were the best thing since 1789. All that followed paled by comparison. This was the time of the Paris riots, with students hurling cobbles and the flics hurling tear-gas back; the first convulsions over the war in Vietnam; the Prague spring, quickly crushed by Soviet tanks; and everywhere the sense that the young, by sheer numbers, could overthrow the established order and make the world again.

If they failed to remake it, this was largely because they were out of it on one illegal substance or another.

That's crap and so too is this hypothesis by the good Mr Barnett:

In the 1960s, history called the Baby Boomers. They didn't answer the phone.

Confronted with a generation-defining conflict, the cold war, the Boomers--those, at any rate, who came to be emblematic of their generation--took the opposite path from their parents during World War II. Sadly, the excesses of Woodstock became the face of the Boomers' response to their moment of challenge.War protests where agitated youths derided American soldiers as baby-killers added no luster to their image.
Few of the leading lights of that generation joined the military. Most calculated how they could avoid military service, and their attitude rippled through the rest of the century. In the 1970s, '80s, and '90s, military service didn't occur to most young people as an option, let alone a duty.

But now, once again, history is calling. Fortunately, the present generation appears more reminiscent of their grandparents than their parents.

Besides the point that it is a gross mis-characterization of an entire group of people and an era-that actually has a lot of good things to remember (how many Gen X'ers walked on the moon?)-it is factually incorrect.

As they would say on NPR, lets go do the numbers.

In 1960, the population of the United States was 178,554,916 people. The size of the active duty military in 1960 was 2,475,400 men. (Women were less than 3% of end strength-ah for the good old days!). At the height of the Vietnam War the active duty force was 3,546,100. Expressed as a percentage that means 2% of the total population was serving in the military. In the 1960's the military was deployed world wide not only trying to win in Vietnam but keeping the Soviet hordes at bay in Europe.

In 1970 the size of the armed forces was 3,064,800. The total American population was just over 203,976,452. Percentage wise about 1.5%

Now fast forward to 2000. US population is now 281,421,906. Total size of the active duty military 1,384,300. 0.4% of the US population was serving in the military. In 2005-5 years into the War on Terror and two years into the Iraq War-the number of people serving was about the same. (Much to the eternal shame of Donald Rumsfeld I might add-a boomer himself).

But wait, you say. The Cold War was on then, there was a draft, people had to serve. To which I reply-so what? The key fact is that they went. Much of the "Greatest generation" was drafted too-does that somehow dimish their service? Are the names on the long black wall in Washington DC somehow less worthy of honor and reverence than these names?

I would take issue with Mr Barnett's lack of military service-except it would not be fair-he suffers from cystic fibrosis. However the guy he subs for is one of "the leading lights of that generation [who never] joined the military.". Not our boy Hugh. While I was out boring holes in the Indian Ocean and almost getting shot into it, he was out getting his law degree. Like the fictional fellow barrister Barney Greenwald ( who at least had the decency to serve):

Meantime me, I was advancing little free non-Prussian life for dough. Of course, we figured in those days, only fools go into armed service. Bad pay, no millionaire future, and You can't call your mind or body your own. Not for sensitive intellectuals. So when all hell broke loose and the Germans started running out of soap and figured, well it's time to come over and melt down old Mrs. Greenwald--who's gonna stop them? Not her boy Barney.

Or Hugh Hewitt.

What Barnett, and his mentor really want to do, is to undercut anyone who might happen to have the temerity to think that the talents Mr Barnett is extoling might be being squandered in a conflict that can have no good resolution for the United States. Just like many people had similar thoughts about during the 60's and 70's. Most them were not on the streets then. They were paying taxes, voting and doing the working and dying in the US then. Dean Barnett, and his American Spectator editors however, wish to advance the shibboleth that they are intellectually superior to those who hold opposition views to the war in Iraq.

Mr Barnett-before you go throwing rocks at the Boomers about serving-maybe you should look who served and who didn't. Because of lot of your so-called friends never bothered.

Then, you can just go

Why I hate going to the doctor these days.....

For some reason, physical exams take longer than they used to:

Monday, July 23, 2007

Just a reminder......

To Lex and Bullnav. That when a candidate really needs a good photo op-they don't go to Maryland or Virgina. Republicans or Democrats, when they need to channel the nation.........

They go here.

Just when you thought it could not get any worse........

The Democrats go and show you again that they are their own worst enemy.

You probably don't know this, but when George Bush says his prayers at night, he probably thanks God for the fact that, if the Democrats have to control Congress, God has given them incompetent leadership. GWB gives thanks for it and prays for the continued health and well being of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.

Because if they had leadership that actually understood what was going on, the math in both houses, the resolve of "true believers" like William "the bloody" Kristol, and the relatively weak cards that they have to play-they might actually be able to do something to slow down the Babylon express.

It would actually be funny if the outcome were not so damn important. Because it is so important, its just a tragedy the Democrats are being so poorly led.

One of the interesting things on Mondays is that I get to watch the news shows in the morning as I am getting ready for work and again at lunch. So I got to watch Meet the Press and Face the Nation today. Watching Russ Feingold had me shaking my head again and again. Witness this particular exchange:

MR. RUSSERT: President Bush is determined to continue the war in Iraq, he’s made that very, very clear. Is there anything that Democrats can do to get him to pay attention or to hold him accountable, in their minds?

SEN. FEINGOLD: Well, I’m shocked by the administration, in particular the president’s response to the November election. Usually, when presidents are repudiated in elections, they say, “Well, maybe I ought to reassess.” Instead, he did just the opposite. He did this surge, which went contrary to the will of the American people. I think we need to do something serious in terms of accountability. And that’s why I will be shortly introducing a censure resolution of the president and the administration. One, on their getting us into the war of Iraq—in Iraq and their failure to adequately prepare our military and the misleading statements that have continued throughout the war in Iraq. And the second, on this administration’s outrageous attack on the rule of law, all the way from the illegal terrorist surveillance program to their attitude about torture, which we heard a little bit about today on this show. This administration has assaulted the Constitution. We need to have on the historical record some kind of indication that what has happened here is, in the words of Director McConnell, as you just quoted him, disastrous. Somehow we have to address that. And I think it’s a good time to begin that process.

MR. RUSSERT: A censure resolution against the president?


Haven't we been down this road already? And did it not fail miserably? Why does the good Mr Feingold-a Rhodes Scholar, for whatever that proves-seem to think it will work now?

Actually the later analysts on the program summed it up well when they projected that this will blow in his (and Harry Reid's) face:

MR. RUSSERT: And now a Democratic senator’s going to introduce a resolution to censure him for his conduct in the war.


MR. RUSSERT: I think a big tactical mistake from a Democratic perspective. There are 30 Republican senators who are desperate to get away from President Bush. They’ve been pushed back toward President Bush by, one, Harry Reid making this more partisan, and a censure resolution would make it hyper- partisan. So I think it would be huge for the whole political landscape if those Republicans drifted away from Bush. But it’s not going to happen if there’s censure resolutions, if it’s a partisan debate.

I'm 7000+ miles from Washington, vehemently opposed to this war, and frustrated as hell with "the decider". However I can see that as plain as day. Harry Reid though seems to have trouble using his glasses it seems. Witness his buffoonery on Face the Nation:

HARRY REID: Now, there--I have to say this, Bob. There were a number of valiant Republicans. Olympia Snowe is going to be on your show later. I admire and respect her so much because she broke from the pack and voted with us, as did a number of senators. We need more Olympia Snowes, people who are willing to do the right thing.

SCHIEFFER: Well, but that still goes to the point, senator. I mean, it is the impression of many people that you do not want to vote now on any Republican proposals because you don't feel they go far enough. And we know the get-out-now crowd doesn't want votes on those--on those issues. The stay-the-course crowd doesn't want it either. Why do you not want to let people vote on that?

Then later:

REID: One simple amendment--let me just give you one example. Jim Webb from Virginia, he has all the requirements of somebody that has the ability to offer an amendment about how our troops are doing. And he's said--and by the way, some of your viewers don't know who he is, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, decorated for courage, his valor--he said these troops are spending too much time over there and not enough time at home. Fifteen months in-country, fifteen months out of country, simple amendment like that. They blocked it, wouldn't let us vote on it.

SCHIEFFER: So in--and we're going to leave this because I have to ask you about other questions--your position is it's the Republicans who are still blocking the
vote. They're going to come on and say, `It's your fault.'

Sen. REID: Bob...

SCHIEFFER: So the divide is still there. But...

Sen.REID: Bob, but the facts are what they are.

SCHIEFFER: OK. And that's your version of the facts.

Sharp as a bowling ball-that's our boy Harry. I guess in Nevada they don't learn basic arithmetic-like adding and how to do fractions. Otherwise he would come to an inescapable conclusion.


Now for the record, I supported Webb's idea-I still do. He is absolutely right that our forces are getting worn down by not enough turnaround time at home. The fact that some pro-war supporter is not proposing this shows you how much they "really support the troops"-especially since most of them let Rummy beat the Army down to begin with; instead of banging on desks demanding a bigger Army. Guys like Duncan Hunter, Dr Chu, and Mitch McConnell have been just as much a threat to our Soldiers as any insurgent in Iraq has been. That is a story for another day though.

Point is-that if you are going to ask Republicans to risk the wrath of Rove, you have to show them something for the effort. And Harry has done nothing to show any movement to the center. Instead they actually give voice to all of the impeachment nonsense and all the other fal de rol just to appease their so called-pole smoking, tree hugging, feminist loving- "base", losers each and every one.

So when September rolls around and Gen Petraeus reads the "All is well" script that is currently being written for him in Washington-what will Harry do then?

Not very much, I think.

And so, when Bush gives thanks to God in heaven-he thanks Him heartily for making his opposition stupid.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The word for today.......

Happy Sunday! Its time for this week's Japanese lesson.

The word for today is genpatsu. (原発). Which is the newspapers way of abbreviating genshiryokuhatsudensho (原子力発電所)-Atomic power plant. There is another word you should probably know too, shinsai (震災)-disaster. Bousai-(防災)disaster prevention was the headline on the Asahi Shinbum today.

Genpatsu shinsai has been a daily fixture in the newspapers since the Niigata earthquake. Here is why:

KASHIWAZAKI, Niigata Pref. — The Niigata Prefectural Government inspected theKashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant Saturday to check for radioactive water leaks and other problems caused by last week's powerful earthquake.

Volunteer workers from across the nation gather Saturday in Kashiwazaki, Niigata Prefecture, to help people hit by last week's earthquake.

The plant — the world's largest in terms of capacity — announced a barrage of leaks and malfunctions in the wake of last Monday's magnitude-6.8 temblor, which killed 10 people and injured more than 1,000.

The inspection was based on a safety agreement signed by the operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., with Niigata Prefecture, the city of Kashiwazaki and the village of Kariwa.

"Concerns over nuclear power plants have been spreading. It is important for Tepco to ensure transparency and promptly disclose information," Niigata Gov. Hirohiko Izumida said after a meeting on the disaster.

The prefectural team spent more than four hours inspecting radiation measurement data provided by Tepco and leak sites after arriving at the nuclear power plant at around 11 a.m.

Fucked Gaijin has a pretty good chart showing why the plant is in a bad location. And what could happen if a 1964 style earthquake showed up in Japan. Great! Something to make me sleep well tonight.

However the TV has had Army deserter and former North Korean movie star Charles Jenkins on reassuring every one its a great time to visit Sado Island:

Sado Island is off the coast of Japan near Niigata. Jenkins and his Japanese abductee wife live there. He works in a tourist shop there selling souvenirs.

So we got that going for us..................

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Harry who?

Certainly not Harry the Horse.

Rather its time to talk about Mr Wizard-Harry Potter!

Now I've never been deep into the whole Harry Potter series-although I really do admire J.K. Rowling for being able to take an idea and turn it into a multi-million dollar franchise. I have read not one Harry Potter book. I bough the first one for the S.O.-in English. She plodded through about half of it and gave up as the effort to get through each chapter was time consuming for her ( just like when I try to read Japanese books-especially if they go from top bottom and right to left!)

(Somebody already created the idea for the Wanchai Chronicles-so its back to square one for me to do that..............).

I have seen 3 of the 5 movies. The third one was a little too dark for my tastes and to tell the truth-I did not see how it was a kids movie at all-parts of it are pretty scary if you ask me.

Nonetheless the speculation has been running rampant this week about how the series will end. Who morts? Who survives? Its a pretty safe bet that Voldemort is going to get what's coming to him, I think. The question is-does Harry survive the attempt?

The books were on sale in the book store next to Daei today-I was very surprised to see that they were in English and there were none already translated into Japanese! Who came up with that marketing plan?

Suffice it to say I don't think its going to end like this:

Come on Harry! Show me some magic!

Which might be just what Harry needs...........

John Cole answers the mail.......

And in the process points out why Hugh Hewitt is a poor writer.

One has to push back when these guys-regardless of which side of the aisle they are on-distort the facts.

Like when William "The Bloody" Kristol tries to just make them up out of thin air.

The surge-monger wrote:

What about terrorism? Apart from Iraq, there has been less of it, here and abroad, than many experts predicted on Sept. 12, 2001. So Bush and Vice President Cheney probably are doing some important things right.

Uh, sorry Bill. That's not exactly true-even with your caveat about Iraq:

Somebody is doing proper analysis:

The implication that there has been less terrorism abroad is simply not true.

In fact, since 9/11, terror attacks and fatalities have been on the rise around the world—not just in the Middle East, but nearly everywhere. Just look at the graphic to the right, which is adapted from FP's 9/11+5, a look at the state of terror around the world five years after 9/11 by two terrorism experts at RAND. Even without counting the Middle East, the number of attacks elsewhere
in the world has soared for the years 2002-2005 over the period 1998-2001.

FP's summary is what the rest of us wishes Kristol's commentary was, fair and balanced:

It's fine and fair to debate Bush's legacy, and he's surely done a few good things over the past six years. And Bill Kristol is certainly entitled to his own opinion; if he think Bush has been boffo, then more power to him. But Kristol is certainly not entitled to his own facts.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Meanwhile, back in the present.......

We are starting to get ready to go back to Korea.... :-(

Here is the USFK inbriefing:

Work harder! Not smarter!

A Will Smith moment......

About a year and a half ago I wrote this post. I wrote that post out of frustration, after having tried, in vain, to convince my boss not to make a not so good choice. My boss-despite warnings from several sources- made the decision to go with a certain choice.

Two weeks ago-it all blew up. No suprise on my end-just sadness at having tried hard to keep it from happening. Sorrow too-after hearing the grim details of what my co-workers had to put up with as a result of that one decision.

In the words of Detective Spooner: "You know, somehow, 'I told you so' just doesn't quite cut it. "

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Thomas Freidman gets it.

He really does-Iraq is about the Iraqis, and their failure to do anything for themselves. In the end it's not the Democrats who are failing Iraq-it is the Iraqis not even living up to the incredibly low standards Arabs set for themselves.

Help Wanted: Peacemaker

By Thomas L. Friedman

I can’t imagine how I’d feel if I were the parent of a soldier in Iraq and I had just read that the Iraqi Parliament had decided to go on vacation for August, because, as the White House spokesman, Tony Snow, explained, it’s really hot in Baghdad then — “130 degrees.”
I’ve been in Baghdad in the summer and it is really hot. But you know what? It is a lot hotter when you’re in a U.S. military uniform, carrying a rifle and a backpack, sweltering under a steel helmet and worrying that a bomb can be thrown at you from any direction. One soldier told me he lost six pounds in one day. I’m sure the Iraqi Parliament is air-conditioned.

So let’s get this straight: Iraqi parliamentarians, at least those not already boycotting the Parliament, will be on vacation in August so they can be cool, while young American men and women, and Iraqi Army soldiers, will be fighting in the heat in order to create a proper security environment in which Iraqi politicians can come back in September and continue squabbling while their country burns.

Here is what I think of that: I think it’s a travesty — and for the Bush White House to excuse it with a Baghdad weather report shows just how much it has become a hostage to Iraq.
The administration constantly says the surge is necessary, but not sufficient. That’s right. There has to be a political deal. And the latest report card on Iraq showed that a deal is nowhere near completion. So where is the diplomatic surge? What are we waiting for? A cool day in December?

When you read stories in the newspapers every day about Americans who are going to Iraq for their third or even fourth tours and you think that this administration has never sent its best diplomats for even one tour yet — never made one, not one, single serious, big-time, big-tent diplomatic push to resolve this conflict, but instead has put everything on the military, it makes you sick.

Yes, yes, I know, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is going to make one of her quick-in-and-out trips to the Middle East next month to try to enlist support for an Israeli-Palestinian peace conference in the fall. I’m all for Arab-Israeli negotiations, but the place that really needs a peace conference right now is Iraq, and it won’t happen with drive-by diplomacy.
President Bush baffles me. If your whole legacy was riding on Iraq, what would you do? I’d draft the country’s best negotiators — Henry Kissinger, Jim Baker, George Shultz, George Mitchell, Dennis Ross or Richard Holbrooke — and ask one or all of them to go to Baghdad, under a U.N. mandate, with the following orders:
“I want you to move to the Green Zone, meet with the Iraqi factions and do not come home until you’ve reached one of three conclusions: 1) You have resolved the power- and oil-sharing issues holding up political reconciliation; 2) you have concluded that those obstacles are insurmountable and have sold the Iraqis on a partition plan that could be presented to the U.N. and supervised by an international force; 3) you have concluded that Iraqis are incapable of agreeing on either political reconciliation or a partition plan and told them that, as a result, the U.S. has no choice but to re-deploy its troops to the border and let Iraqis sort this out on their own.”

The last point is crucial. Any lawyer will tell you, if you’re negotiating a contract and the other side thinks you’ll never walk away, you’ve got no leverage. And in Iraq, we’ve never had any leverage. The Iraqis believe that Mr. Bush will never walk away, so they have no incentive to make painful compromises.

That’s why the Iraqi Parliament is on vacation in August and our soldiers are fighting in the heat. Something is wrong with this picture. First, Mr. Bush spends three years denying the reality that we need a surge of more troops to establish security and then, with Iraq spinning totally out of control and militias taking root everywhere, he announces a surge and criticizes others for being impatient.

At the same time, Mr. Bush announces a peace conference for Israelis and Palestinians — but not for Iraqis. He’s like a man trapped in a burning house who calls 911 to put out the brush fire down the street. Hello?

Quitting Iraq would be morally and strategically devastating. But to just drag out the surge, with no road map for a political endgame, with Iraqi lawmakers going on vacation, with no consequences for dithering, would be just as morally and strategically irresponsible.

We owe Iraqis our best military — and diplomatic effort — to avoid the disaster of walking away. But if they won’t take advantage of that, we owe our soldiers a ticket home.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Odds and ends..........

I went into Tokyo yesterday. To Ebisu to be specific-but I took a little different way to get there than I normally do. Which gave a me a lot of time to observe and read the latest and greatest news from Nihon.


To the very cute girl in the designer jeans that was in front of me, in the middle of the herd, going up the steps at Keikyu Shinagawa:

Next time please wear a belt with those jeans. Watching them ride up and down your incredibly attractive derriere and small of your back-exposing what appeared to be the top of a black, very lacy, pair of panties (with the laundry tag pointed up, whether by accident or design)- was very distracting and unsettling to say the least. Stuck in the crowd as I was, it was fortunate I did not have to fall forward and use my hands on your jeans to break my fall. For the both of us. There are probably some very good belts you could buy to prevent that.


Speaking of shapely female forms, Japan Probe has published a survey of the 10 most desirable Japanese women to go to the beach with. Assuming it ever stops raining:

She's number 1!

And speaking of riding the train-this weird video wraps up several years of riding Tokyo trains in less than 2 minutes! Wasuremono nai yo ni, go chui kudasai!

I've been to just about every one of these stations!

As for the ongoing scandal about Senator Vitter and the recent public apology he and his wife made, I think it's up to the voters of Louisiana to decide through either a recall or at the next election. Since he has had to admit his infidelity to his wife-he has ceded ownership of the marriage (and his genitals) to her anyway-can't he be left alone to suffer that incredibly uncomfortable existence? And that's all I have to say about that. He who is without sin and all that...............

Meanwhile, the Apple I phone has a challenger. ( H/T to Fucked Gaijin):

It's hard to look at a multimedia phone like the upcoming nani from Japan's Sophia without making comparisons with Apple's just-launched attention seeking iPhone. Due to be unveiled at the Wireless Japan 2007 exhibition tomorrow, the nani's most prominent feature is a large touch-sensitive screen that - at 4.3 inches - beats the iPhone by almost an inch. The resolution is also more impressive, at 800 x 400 pixels, compared to 480 x 320 on the Apple device. The rest of the package, however, seems unlikely
to pass muster, although it may have sounded cutting edge a year ago. The processor runs at 600MHz and there's Wi-Fi, dual cameras and a digital terrestrial tuner. Memory comes in the form of a microSD card with no internal user storage at all...

I probably cannot afford one.

Not a good day to be a policeman in Hiroshima:

I'm blaming it on the dog!

Click on the image to see it better.
If you have ever tried to meet a date at Shibuya station, you know what this is about:

Click on the image!


The yen is weaker than ever, but that is not stopping Iran from demanding more satsu and less greenbacks.

No wonder they are standing in line for gas in Tehran!

Finally, I stumbled across this the other day. The Drinking Man's guide to Star Trek:

Vulcans are the designated drivers of the Universe .

Top Ten Signs Your Starship Captain is a Drunkard.

10.) When Spock mind probes him, Spock gets hammered.

9.) Wakes up next to a Klingon chick at least once a week.

8.) Starts the ship’s self-destruct sequence just to fuck with the yeoman who blew him off in the officer’s lounge.

7.) Each time you discover a new planet he tells Spock to scan the surface for cheap scotch and loose females.

6.) The first thing he says when negotiating with Romulans is, “So, what’s the ale situation?”

5.) McCoy tells him, “I’m a doctor, Jim, not a bartender!”

4.) He keeps slipping down to the engineering room to “discuss ancient Scottish traditions” with Scotty.

3.) Giggles every time Spock says they should launch a “deep space probe.”

2.) Whenever a female yeoman brings him a clipboard he tries to open a tab.

1.) Is willing to make beer runs into the neutral zone.

Ja ne!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

An oldie

But still a goodie. Though probably not as funny after the 7/7 bombings. However I thought about this song on the Subway today. (Reason 345 to be glad I'm in Japan).

Mili can you verify?

London Underground Song

See more like this on kontraband.com

The damn cat..........

Is just begging to get kicked across the room these days.

This furry creature:

Has decided that when the sun comes up-it is somehow his sworn duty to wake us up. Which probably would not be so bad, except the sun comes up at 4:30am in the summer here. (Japan does not observe daylight savings time).

He usually goes into the bathroom and knocks my shaving cream can off the sink. Of course I have fixed his ass on that by keeping the door shut.

So today he decided that knocking my cell phone off of my dresser would be a good idea. He usually tries to knock the S.O.'s makeup cases off too.....which nearly got him dropped kicked through the door.

You have been warned..............

Monday, July 16, 2007

Bad day in Nigata.......

This has been a weird summer. Rain, cool temps and typhoons and now earthquakes!

7 dead, over 700 wounded in a strong earth quake in Niigata prefecture near Kashiwazaki city:

This video is from Niigata City.

Prime Minister Abe was in Nagasaki and was rushed back to Tokyo by JASDF aircraft. The following video explains that while showing pictures from Nagaoka city and other places of what is being called the Nigata Chuetsu Oki Jishin (Niigata central big earthquake). See for your self:

All over the news here as one might expect. 68 aftershocks so far, but none felt down here in the Kanto plain. The Nagano mountains tend to shield us from those things.

However, if that news were not enough, this also has raised concerns about nuclear power (Genhatsu) again in Japan:

The 10:13 a.m. quake also caused a blaze at a nuclear plant, the first fire at a nuclear plant to be caused by a quake, according to officials of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
The quake caused minor tsunamis, disrupted public transportation and destroyed about 515 houses. It also resulted in widespread power failures and cuts in water supplies, as strong aftershocks continued in the area. The four women and three men who died all lived in Niigata Prefecture and were in their 70s and 80s.
Four of the seven nuclear reactors at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture which were operating at the time of the earthquake and automatically shut down following the quake.
But an electric transformer outside one of the reactors caught fire at around 10:30 a.m. The fire was extinguished about one and a half hours later. No radioactive leakage has been detected.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

I knew it!

Thomas Barnett points out in his blog, what many of us knew deep down. Midlife crisis is caused by women and women really do marry for money.

They also prove that Muslim suicide bombers are sexually repressed.....but I think most of us knew that already.

The other key ingredient is the promise of 72 virgins waiting in heaven for any martyr in Islam. The prospect of exclusive access to virgins may not be so appealing to anyone who has even one mate on earth, which strict monogamy virtually guarantees. However, the prospect is quite appealing to anyone who faces the bleak reality on earth of being a complete reproductive loser.

Barnett sums it up well: "So it all comes down to a sense of progress and potential, and that's why I argue most for individual-level connectivity."


The S.O. and I went to a dinner party last night. With the Typhoon bearing down on Tokyo, sticking close to home was the right thing to do. It was interesting in many ways-I could not drink, so all I could really do was watch and listen. And realize how much I have really changed in my viewpoints. Some were Navy some were civilians, almost all were, politically, well to the right of me.

Most of these folks have kids and are dealing with trials and travails that come with raising teen-agers. So that discussion tended to predominate the conversation. What their kids were doing, what they were not doing, how they were set to succeed or not. The same worry that parents have across the globe. To my credit, I generally stayed silent. Since I "opted out" when my daughter was 16 and my son 18, I really was not in a position to comment. Plus if they knew my real thoughts on the subject-I would probably not be invited back for another meal. Which would really disappoint the S.O. (Her continuing mental "contamination" by American women is the subject of a whole another post....).

One subject came up from one of the military folks. Speaking of history he had recently finished reading a book about the great Kanto Plain earthquake and the subsequent fire demolished a lot of Tokyo and Yokohama. He was bemoaning the fact that so many of the Americans knew so little of the history of the host country-and when he had tried to teach them some in "officer training" they seemed positively disinterested. While, in his view, so many Japanese knew their history "chapter and verse". As only a black shoe would-he bragged about how he was going to "smack some sense into them".

I had to force myself to keep my mouth shut. First of all, my observations of the average Japanese prove quite the opposite-many of them are quite lacking in any fundamental knowledge of the history beyond the immediate past 20 years. They know that Japan lost World War II-however few that I have come across have an in depth understanding of why-or what could have happened differently if things had taken a different path. I think if I were to compare my observations with those who actually have to live in Japanese society-not just those who live within a protected enclave that is an American military base, I think you would find more than a few people who would agree with me.

As for his anger with his own subordinates for resenting his attempts to "enlighten them" I had to keep myself from laughing out loud and calling him a fool. Can't he see? First-this "Officer training" is just another meeting that keeps them from doing any number of the pointless tasks they are required to perform. Second, and the Navy has only itself to blame for this, its not exactly accessing people with a burning desire to know its history. From the top down it has pooh pooh'ed a knowledge of history and tradition-so why be surprised when the folks who make up your ranks aren't interested in these things? They can tell you down to the penny how much is in their 401K though.

As for the perils of parenthood-I just could not work up an interest. Believe me I tried-but I kept finding my mind wandering to other things. And other places.
No body's fault per se-but just a stark fact. I marveled at how I have changed-not necessarily for the better. However my beliefs just aren't in sync with so many of theirs anymore. Maybe they know something I do not. Or maybe I have learned something they have not. Or maybe its a little bit of both. Who can really say? So long as everyone is happy I guess that is the main thing-but does anyone really know when they are happy? I wondered this the whole time-while resisting the urge to reach across the table and smack on particular smug son of a bitch who was spouting platitudes about "controlling the American Sailor". He would not need to be controlled you pig headed idiot-if maybe you guys would treat him like an adult and stop trying to control every aspect of his private life.

Out of respect and I hate to admit it, love for the S.O., I kept quiet. Nonetheless as I drifted off to sleep, I was troubled about how much my mind has shifted. There is a lot still to be sorted out me thinks.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Another rat leaves the ship.........

The ship that is George Bush's presidency that is...........

Imagine if you will, if this were a parliamentary style of government-would George Bush survive a no confidence vote?

Probably not-especially when Bush supporters like this one start questioning his sincerity.

I'm not referring to what used to be called Bush Derangement Syndrome. That phrase suggested that to passionately dislike the president was to be somewhat unhinged. No one thinks that anymore. I received an email before the news conference from as rock-ribbed a Republican as you can find, a Georgia woman (middle-aged, entrepreneurial) who'd previously supported him. She said she'd had it. "I don't believe a word that comes out of his mouth." I was startled by her vehemence only because she is, as I said, rock-ribbed. Her email reminded me of another, one a friend received some months ago: "I took the W off my car today," it said on the subject line. It sounded like a country western song, like a great lament.

As I watched the news conference, it occurred to me that one of the things that might leave people feeling somewhat disoriented is the president's seemingly effortless high spirits. He's in a good mood. There was the usual teasing, the partly aggressive, partly joshing humor, the certitude. He doesn't seem to be
suffering, which is jarring. Presidents in great enterprises that are going badly suffer: Lincoln, LBJ with his head in his hands. Why doesn't Mr. Bush? Every major domestic initiative of his second term has been ill thought through and ended in failure. His Iraq leadership has failed. His standing is lower than any previous president's since polling began. He's in a good mood. Discuss.

Of course he is in a good mood. The people he really cares about-his inner elite circle of rich cronies is being taken care of. The nearest threat to that circle breaking has been eliminated with reprieve of Scooter Libby-thus protecting the Sith Lord Cheney from further scrutiny. Ms Noonan comes out and finally realizes what us Bush bashers have known all along-he says one thing, but means quite another. " With Mr. Bush it is the people who are forced to be cool-eyed and realistic. He's the one who goes off on the toots. This is extremely irritating, and also unnatural. Actually it's weird. "

It could be that maybe, just maybe, George Bush believes the lies that have been told to him by any number of sycophants. That he believed we would be welcomed as liberators, that he believed that Iraq was fertile ground to plant democracy and that somehow it would outgrow the inadequacy of its people to understand what that involves-much less execute. He may have actually believed the lies of Donald Rumsfeld that the military was too large and too well paid-that it actually could take on a major ground war while foolishly shrinking it's numbers.

Which no one wants to believe because if its true-it makes him out to be a bigger poltroon than any of his opposition ever thought. And leaves the people stuck:

You work, pay your taxes, which are your financial contribution to making it all work, you become involved in local things--the boy's ball team, the library, the homeless shelter. You handle what you can handle within your ken, and give the big things to the president.

And if he can't do it, or if he can't do it as well as you pay the mortgage and help the kid next door, you get mad. And you fire him.

Americans can't fire the president right now, so they're waiting it out. They can tell a pollster how they feel, and they do, and they can tell friends, and they do that too. They also watch the news conference, and grit their teeth a bit.

More than just a bit-so much so I may need to see a dentist. Thank God I out grew hitting things..............

After you read this..........

You are never going to look at Katie Couric the same way again.

Like I need this s**t!

The other Skippy, the Canadian one-who writes better and is funnier than me-lets you know exactly what is wrong with CBS news these days:

Les Moonves made a fundamental mistake and it has blown up in his face to the tune of about $75 million over five years. He bet that he could do in news what he did in entertainment, get a perky piece of ass to drive up ratings.

That didn't work, and it didn't for one fundamental reason: women prefer getting their news from someone they either see as a potential father or sex partner. But may Jesus save anyone who tries to let boys have a little fun, too, because your wife sure as shit won't. Women will rip that Teleprompter-reading tart to fucking pieces. You should note that something like 90% of the hit articles on Katie have been written by women.

Or maybe I'm the only one who really needs to be devoured by a cougar. Who can say?

Not that it really matters. Les Moonves still gets to go home every night and fuck Julie Chen from the CBS Early Show and lavish her with gifts paid for with all of that groovy CSI: Miami and Everybody Loves Raymond money. What the fuck does he care what happens to the network's loss-leader?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Why not now?

'The time has come,' the Walrus said,
'To talk of many things:
Of shoes -- and ships -- and sealing wax --
Of cabbages -- and kings --
And why the sea is boiling hot --
And whether pigs have wings.'

"Withdraw, why withdraw? We are killing lots of them!" -Quote from a Turkish commander during the Korean war when he was directed to pull back before his position was overrun by Chinese forces in November of 1950.

I've put it off long enough-making a post about the ongoing mess that is Iraq. I have watched the news with great interest-particularly the two big issues that have come to light lately, namely that true to form: the Iraqis have failed again to do anything useful with their government and the repeated pleas that the "surge" has only just started and it needs more time. If one listens carefully and between the lines, you can almost hear a small voice (that sounds a lot like GWB's) saying, "Stay the course!"

Its hard for me to approach Iraq objectively because when it comes to Arabs, I have a huge bias against them. I never liked dealing with them during my trips to Bahrain and always felt dirty and cheated after talking to them. Its irrational I know, but unfortunately there is a certain amount of history to back it up-they have messed up every good opportunity given to them in the 20th century and beyond.

Yet, that's hardly fair at all. Most Iraqis just want the same things any other person wants-to have a decent place to live, make some money, and to live and raise their families. I know that deep down inside-but I still have to make a conscious effort to overcome my own deeply held prejudices. At this point left to sheer emotionalism-I hate the Iraqis-sight unseen. I know that's wrong. Plus there is evidence that Islam is not the real problem-Asian Muslims don't have the problems that Arabs seem to thrive on.

Here is what I do know:

1) After 4+ years of violence, Iraq is still a basket case as a nation. Whatever progress has been made as a nation following the fall of Saddam's government is completely offset by the fact that on average somewhere between 100 to 200 Iraqis a week are dying via violent means. Despite all efforts to spin that brutal fact into some sort of "progress", the absolute numbers still hold at about that number.

2) This fiscal year, the war will cost about $135 billion. This, while pressing needs at home and in the world are ignored. Imagine what 135 billion would accomplish to bring cures to the disease that are killing millions world wide. Think what that level of resources could accomplish if it were available to put to good use.

3) It’s nice that Mr. Bush is still confident about Iraq, telling us on Tuesday: “I strongly believe that we will prevail.” We’re doing almost as well today as we were in October 2003 when “We’re making really good progress.” Then in September 2004, Mr. Bush assured us that Iraq was “making steady progress.” In April 2005: “We’re making good progress in Iraq.” In October 2005: “Iraq has made incredible political progress.” In November 2005: “Iraqis are making inspiring progress.”

4) This "progress" we are told helps keep America safe. The old canard that if we fight them there, we don't have to fight them at home. If so, then why are we being told this?

5) Its also "clear" that if we leave, Iraq will fall apart and there will be genocide. Of course if we stay there are increased risks for the average Iraqi too. They don't win either way. What that does not say is that, if we leave, it will give one side or the other a carte blanche to wipe out the opposition. A lot of that speculation is unproven however and there are those who think that things might actually get better since the main "target" would be gone. Its not a popular viewpoint to be sure but it is there.

6) In terms of the concept of the war on terror-Iraq is a side show. It is not the "Central Front" as we are repeatedly told. Most war supporters vehemently disagree with that premise. The causes of terrorism do not change, fundamentally. Its about economics and the disparities of economics within the Arab world that give the current brand of wackos room to operate. I strongly agree with Thomas Barnett when says that we would be better off, "eschewing the war of ideas and focusing more on creating economic facts on the ground--slow and steady--while al Qaeda gets all caught up in illusory "victories." I don't want America or the Core on a war footing for the Long War, so de-escalating its crisis profile is a good thing ". It always been the economy stupid! Give people things to have, sex to have , and things to lose and they tend to lose interest in ethereal concepts of religious war. However in the current construct we are actually manufacturing more terrorists than we are killing-because of the increasing fundamental structural inequalities of the world economy. Don't believe me? Go look again at Asia and where they do have problems-Philippines and Indonesia-both poor nations.

7) People are tired of this war. They are tired of seeing the people they care about get killed and maimed for folks they don't necessarily feel are really appreciative of the sacrifices that are being made.

So what is to be done? We cannot leave because we will lose and winning seems father away than ever. We are in a problem that defies solution as James Fallows points out:

This of course is entirely contrary to the Bush Administration’s position, which as of the president’s latest statement still asserted that American troops must stay until “the job is done.” It’s at odds with many liberal hawks, and conservative hawks too, who say that the U.S. “can’t afford to lose” so must stay until we “win,” whatever that means. In fact “winning” now seems to mean some combination of: (a) leaving without appearing to be chased out; (b) leaving without an immediate upsurge in violence; and (c) leaving without al Qaeda-etc trainers quickly filling the vacuum, especially in the Sunni regions. Yes, we can’t afford any of those consequences of losing. But — because of misjudgment, mismanagement, and failures we will be ruing for years — they appear to be what’s in store.

If it is not in our power to prevent these disasters, then it is better to do as little extra damage to ourselves as possible before they occur. Sure, it is theoretically in our power to do more in Iraq. It’s just not possible in the real world. To start with: we’re not going to double the size of our military to sustain an open-ended presence in Iraq.

So the choice is between a terrible decision and one that is even worse. The terrible decision is just to begin leaving, knowing that even more innocent civilians will be killed and that we’ll be dealing with agitation out of Iraq for years to come. The worse decision would be to wait another year, or two, or three and then take that terrible course. If we thought a longer commitment and presence would lead to a better outcome, then the extra commitment might be sensible. But nothing occurring in Iraq in the last year has given rise to any hope that things are getting better rather than worse.

So in the end it comes down to narrow self interest-the only real factor that can or should matter in decisions affecting the national interest. To date George Bush seems unable to divine the national interest-only sticking to the course his advisers set him upon with no thought or plan. All of those same advisers are gone-back to the Starship Project for the New American Century-warping out of his orbit.

He-and we-are left holding their bag. So I'll come to the question I asked at the start. Why not now? What will be different in September? NOTHING. Except Gen Petraeus will be able to give the report that will be written for him 6000 miles away in Washington DC.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

In memoriam.......

Of Lady Bird Johnson who passed away yesterday at the age of 94.

They don't make women like her any more. In fact, today's supposedly "liberated" women would look down on a woman who stood by her husband during a long career and pursued interests that complimented his. In the process she served her country quite well. As first lady she stood by her husband during a very difficult time when he was literally among the most despised men on earth.

I can remember her focus on keeping America beautiful. "Her beautification programs benefited the entire nation. She translated her love for the land and the environment into a lifetime of achievement," Betty Ford once said.

She also represents, in my minds eye, the strong "Southern Woman" which is also a dying breed. My father's mother though, who was of the same mold, would have understood Lady Bird very well. She would never have voted for her husband though, but I could picture the two of them having a civilized conversation.

May God grant her rest and peace. America is a better nation for her presence.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

On this we agree......

At least Mark and I do. Actually we agree on several things-in particular the level of buffoonery that goes on in Yongsan Barracks. (Are you listening BB Bell?).

He's also right about this father doing serious psychological damage to his daughter.

When she pulls the Uzi out and guns down the gallery-we can say, "I told you so!"

Besides-and I know I'll catch hell for this-women should not play in men's golf events anyway.

Just say no.....

To sexual harassment.

( The poster says No! Sekushuaru harasemento).

Or you could end up like this guy.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Slowly coming to the realization........

I'm never going to do all the things I want to do in life.........

Maybe more on that later this week. For now though its clear to me that I'm:

I'm in a funky mood today. Its nice to be back home for a while, I don't go anywhere for almost a month. I'm going to try and drag the S.O. here next week:

The news is depressing today. The Iraqis have continued to surpass on the low side, my incredibly low expectations of them. Notice how you don't even hear of Al Malaki anymore? "A man George Bush could work with...." Yea, sure. We do the work and they just sit. And the spiral of violence continues......and will continue until these folks abandon Islam once and for all. I've said it before and I will say it again-I'm sick of hearing about "the good Muslims". There are none.

Important history tidbit, you Sunnis and Shias.........listen closely:

MOHAMMED WAS A FRAUD! He was then and still is now.

Then again, maybe that astute observer Fred, was right after all.

Another topic waiting in the wings is the fact that my beloved Hong Kong celebrated its 10Th anniversary since the sellout handover from Britain. I have a draft post on that on the way too...but like wine it needs to age a little. Hemlock sums it up in his recently published book which could also be applied to the government of the United States:

Are you listening George?

Finally, the damn doctor has me on some medication so I cannot even drink away my sorrows this evening. Bastard! I'd kill for a about 4 beers right now. 10 more days to go.

Oh well it could be worse. It could always be worse. A lot worse. Gotta remember that.

And he was too old to Rock'n'Roll but he was too young to die.
No, you're never too old to Rock'n'Roll if you're too young to die.

Now if you will excuse me, I'm going to go cry myself to sleep. Its either that or beat someone-which is probably not a good idea. The S.O. keeps a crying towel handy for these occasions anyway.

Monday, July 09, 2007

No amplification required.........

I'm going to promote Air Force Blues again. Any web site that makes this advertisment has to have something going for it:

Screw your buddies!

You can have a buddy, or enemy, immortalized in an Air Force Blues comic.

Hey folks, here’s a new way to spend your money! For a small donation (I won’t set a limit; anything helps) you can have a buddy, or enemy, immortalized in an Air Force Blues comic.

Know a fighter pilot who’d give Lt. Dahl a run for his money? Maybe you know a crew chief or comm. troop who’s in need of a little razzing? And who doesn’t have that one special Security Forces guy they’d love to stick it to in a harmless way? No matter the job, we can make it work. Ihave lots of ideas for strips involving several career fields, but if I don'thave one I'll come up with one or you can give me your idea. I’ll even sign a print of the ‘toon and send it to you/them. Just send me an email.

Its a thought.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

I'm dissappointed....

My blog is not quite in the gutter where it should be:

Online Dating

Sigh........Even Mili got an R rating! Guess I should read Spike more.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Death of common sense........

Getting slowly but surely dug out from a long trip and dealing with weighty personal issues has to be a physically and mentally exhausting activity. So I've taken a while to comment on something that Phibian has commented extremely well on the last month of so. The United States Navy-following in the footsteps of its sister services is losing its ability to behave in a common sense fashion.

I think there are 4 issues that point this out.

First, a recent message talking about establishing a task for to research work/life balance. Huh?
What does this mean exactly? The way I understood it, one of the responsibilities of a unit CO was to preserve work/life balance-e.g. know when to give time off-even if it does not exactly follow the prescribed times to do so. Isn't that also what having the ability to grant 96's etc is supposed to be for?

But as others have pointed out this is about something deeper. Mainly preserving advancement opportunities for women in spite of their having time lost due to pregnancy ET AL. The Navy is supposed to be a family friendly employer. Where did it say that in the contract?

Which leads into my second point. The Navy is so heavily into creating all Sailors in its model moral image that it has unintentionally created situations where Sailors who make mistakes will be given no opportunity to make up for them-especially if they run afoul of the increasingly strict regulations. There are several examples of this-however the macro effect has been to make Sailors afraid to come forward and seek help without getting crucified in the process. It applies to family problems, alcohol problems, medical problems that are embarrassing, and other things.

Issue 3 is the Phibian's favorite (and mine) whipping boy of diversity. I still do not understand how if one recruits best qualified without respect to race, sex, or creed ( and I am coming to believe without respect to sexual orientation either-this from watching the Australians) why one will not get a diverse force. However that is not what the diversity push is all about. Its to make sure the folks with a noisy constituency get their "fair share" by publicly codifying programs that make "affirmative action" look tame.

Finally is the issue of another kind of balance-the Navy is doing a poor job of buying things for itself. The fleet is busier than ever, but doing it with less Sailors and less aircraft and ships. It still has the same number of flag officers though. Why is that? And why is it that it seems other countries with smaller budgets seem to be able to crank out capable aircraft and ships-which may not have all the bells and whistles but seem to work just fine for the missions expected. While in the US Navy -just about every shipbuilding and aircraft program is behind schedule-seriously so. And on the people front-it has never made sense to me to keep increasing the number of personnel being fed to the IA monster (Individual Augmentation) while at the same time cutting personnel numbers. I know people are expensive-they get more so when they go on deployment after deployment after deployment.

Bottom line-the service that has given me and I gave it-a lot. Has some serious problems right now. It always has, but no more so than ever, it seems to be doing nothing to face them.

Except get a spiffy blue set of BDU's that no one wants to wear. Phib's got background on that too.

Just a thought. Now I have to go back to worrying about what to do now that I have to grow up.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Game shows........

Featuring fighter pilots:

I know a few who could qualify-H/T to Air Force Blues!

Foot in mouth disease.........

Japan has a new defense minister. Over here, telling the truth about some things is down right dangerous:
TOKYO: Japan's defense minister resigned Tuesday after suggesting the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 were inevitable, a comment that stirred up a storm of criticism in a country where the bombings are seen by many as an unjustified slaughter of civilians.

Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma, a native of Nagasaki, said he did not mean to condone the attacks.

"I just meant that there was nothing we could do about it," he said after tendering his resignation to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose administration has been plunging in popularity and faces key parliamentary elections later this month. "I don't think people understood what I meant."

Kyuma's remarks generated angry criticism from survivors of the bombings, opposition lawmakers and fellow Cabinet members.

His statement is both right and wrong. Its correct in that as long as the Japanese government stayed on its course of death before surrender and fighting to the last man, the attacks were inevitable. However in my observation, most Japanese do not understand how close they came to be divided a la Korea or Germany style and how close the Soviets came to gaining a foothold here. Which would have been disastrous for both Japan and the United States. Hokkaido would have been gone as well as most of northern Honshu I think.

As a result Japan will have it first female defense minister-which is in itself controversial since she is seen as another hack from inside Abe's faction of the ruling coalition.

This is going to get ugly. It already did last night with huge headlines in the Japanese papers. Because in Japan-what happened to them was uncalled for-as opposed to what they did to others, which was simply something that happened to the other guy. You always have to be mindful of that over here.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Quantas strikes again!

Well, I'm back.

I had to change my flight info and depart a couple of days early. Getting that done was like pulling teeth. Had to drive out to the airport and like their American counterparts looked at my ticket like it was tainted. So it took me almost 24 hours to get back to Japan-including a 6 hour layover in Sydney. Not really enough time to do much except look out side in the lounge.

While I was out, the US Supreme Court showed that it really does not understand the concept of dealing with important cases. This one seems more important than school bussing if you aske me. Read below. Thanks to the reader who sent it to me. I am very disappointed but not surprised:

Many of you have heard by now that the US Supreme Court has declined to hear our case. We knew that this would be an uphill battle from the start and after over five years of pursuing what we still believe is a law that is unconstitutional, hundreds of thousands of military retired veterans (and a potential for over millions) who have faithfully served this country are still being victimized by a ill-conceived,illogical federal law that remains in effect and gives a State Court judge "carte blanche" to make decisions about the conduct of our armed forces and destroys those men and woman financially that have honorably served their country for the remainder of their natural live - no matter what the circumstances are for divorce.

Admittedly, in all probability we have reached the "end of the line" with our lawsuit effort. However, we are still exploring with our Legal Team options that may remain. We will continue to update our contributing members in the days ahead. We thank you for your support and believe me the managing members of the ULSG feel just as betrayed and bad as you do.

Below is a news release that has been prepared by our Legal Team. Please disseminate it far and wide to include your local newspapers, elected representatives and others you feel will need to see this.

Semper Fidelis!

Jack C. Crutchfield
For the Managing Members, ULSG

***********FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE **********



June 19, 2007, Tampa, FL – Twenty-six years afterCongress accepted its invitation in the case of McCarty v. McCarty to spell out divorce courts’ limits for dividingveterans’ retired pay, the Supreme Court declined on June 18, 2007, to review achallenge from divorced veterans that the resulting statute isunconstitutional.

Tired of unsuccessful legislative efforts against thestatute –- entitled the Uniform Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA)–- a group of divorced veterans formed the USFSPA Litigation Support Group(ULSG) to challenge the law in court. Dozens of divorced veterans affected bythe law –- men and women who served in the military’s major branches -– signedonto the lawsuit filed in 2004 in the United States District Court in Alexandria, Virginia,under the title Adkins, et al. v.Rumsfeld, which later was renamed Adkinsv. Gates, to reflect the replacement of the Secretary of Defense.

The lawsuit worked its way from the federal trial court tothe United States Court of Appeals in Richmond,with both courts refusing to grant relief against the USFSPA but also acknowledgingthat the law is not airtight against attacks by future litigants.

The divorced veterans then petitioned the United StatesSupreme Court to review the USFSPA’s constitutionality. Several months later,on June 18, the Supreme Court declined the review petition without comment.

The ULSG contends that Congress may have meant well inenacting the USFSPA, but that the law has resulted in harsh consequences todivorced veterans, many of them unanticipated and unintended. ULSG officer JackC. Crutchfield said: “Although the USFSPA was passed when most beneficiaries ofthe law were women, the tide has greatly changed since then, with countlessfemale veterans now being harmed by this law.”

In this litigation, the divorced veterans asserted thatamong the law's failings is that it does not even exempt veterans who joinedthe military before the law was ever passed. The litigants assert that thisamounts to an unconstitutionally retroactive application of the law andunconstitutional taking of property, seeing that the law was passed only afterthe Supreme Court said that veterans' retirement pay could not be divided indivorce court.

After the divorced veterans petitioned the Supreme Court toreview the USFSPA’s constitutionality, the GI-Janes and American RetireesAssociation veterans groups filed friend of the court briefs supporting theveterans’ petition. Signing onto the American Retirees Association’s brief werethe Air Force Sergeants Association, the Fleet Reserve Association, theNational Association for Uniformed Services, and the Retired EnlistedAssociation.

The divorced veterans’ lead attorney, Jonathan L. Katz said:“The Supreme Court’s decision not to review the case does not reflect theCourt’s view on the statute’s Constitutionality or flaws. The Court, having just nine justices and a mountain of annual review petitions, accepts only oneto two percent of petitions for review. We look forward to future courtchallenges against this unjust law.”

ULSG officer Jack Crutchfield said: “The USFSPA is unconstitutional,and this court challenge needed to be brought. Our excellent legal team broughtto light the serious flaws in this law. Thousands of divorced men and women whoproudly served their country are victims of this unjust law and feel itsprofound financial harm daily; the law needs to be stricken.”

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT: MEDIA INQUIRIES: JonathanL. Katz, Attorney at Law Lead Counsel for ULSG, LLC Marks & Katz, LLC 1400Spring Street, Suite 410 Silver Spring, MD 20910 Phone: (301) 495-4300 Fax:(301) 495-8815 E-mail: jon@markskatz.comwww.markskatz.com

NON-MEDIAINQUIRIES ULSG, LLC PO Box 270337 Tampa, FL 33688-0337 email: Members@ULSG.ORG http://www.ULSG.org.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?