Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A simple truth

Voting for Santorum Equals Electing Obama in November!
There is a reason that the United Automobile Workers and its troops are urging its Michigan members to vote Tuesday in the crossover Michigan primary, and to cast their vote not for Barack Obama, but for Rick Santorum. They understand, as evidently many conservatives and Republicans do not comprehend, that Santorum as the Republican nominee would be nothing but a wonderful gift for the Democratic Party.

In an election year in which by all measurable standards Barack Obama should be toast, and when his major policy “achievement” of ObamaCare is detested by the public in all the polls, he is ahead in the same polls when pitted against any of the current crop of Republican candidates and gaining strength with every passing day. And even with rising gas prices — which of course will fall by November — and high unemployment, it is more than likely that the current occupant of the White House will indeed have a second term in office. If Rick Santorum is the nominee, it is a certainty that Obama will win.

Monday, February 27, 2012

New addition to the library

HMS Electra, by Lt. Cmdr. T.J. Cain.

I'm turning my research on the Battle of the Java Sea up a notch.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Iranian regime is not rational

Yet our leaders refuse to accept that simple fact:
It was little surprise when the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff panned a potential strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities by Israel. The Obama administration has been squishy on its relationship with Israel from the start, and fears an Israeli strike devolving into a crisis for which the White House is even less prepared than the current drama.
It was jarring, though, to see Gen. Martin Dempsey give far too much credit to the ability of this Iranian regime to be an equal negotiating partner.
In an interview aired Sunday on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, Dempsey was asked by the host if he viewed Iran’s behavior as “highly irrational” and “sort of unpredictable,” or whether they are “fairly calculating.”
“I’ll tell you that I’ve been confronting that question since I commanded Central Command in 2008,” Dempsey said. “And we are of the opinion that the Iranian regime is a rational actor. And it’s for that reason, I think, that we think the current path we’re on is the most prudent path at this point.” That’s the path of sanctions and “open-hand” negotiation that has proven fruitless thus far, and brushing aside talk of the option of military action while claiming that all options are still on the table.
Any country that has made “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” chants part of their repertoire since 1979, that held three young American hikers on laughable charges for two years after plucking them off the Kurdish border, that operates off an apocalyptic view that “the Jews should be fought against and forced to surrender to prepare the way for the coming of the Hidden Imam” (Ayatollah Hussein Nuri Hamdani, 2005) is not operating rationally. The degree of calculation by which they buy time for their nuclear program walks hand-in-hand with, not in conflict with, Tehran’s irrationality and unpredictability.
So why the insistence that Iran is, somewhere deep inside, willing to play by the rules toward America’s preferred resolution? Not just from Dempsey, but take White House spokesman Jay Carney at today’s press briefing: “We feel as I’ve said and others have said, as, most importantly, the president has said, that there is time and space for diplomacy to work, for the effective sanctions to result in a change in Iranian behavior, an agreement by Iran to live up to its obligations, to engage in negotiations and resolve this matter peacefully.”
The Iranian mullahs have no intention of resolving this peacefully, except on their terms. They want nuclear weapons and they plan to use them.

Arguing anything else is idiocy.

Where in the world

are Iran's warships?
Did they dock in Syria, or didn’t they? Last week, two Iranian war ships, a destroyer and a supply ship, passed through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean. According to Iran’s government, they docked in the Syrian port of Tartus. According to the U.S. government, they did no such thing.
More specifically, on Saturday Iran’s state-owned PressTV reported that the two Iranian vessels had docked in the Syrian port of Tartus. On Tuesday, a Pentagon spokesman, George Little, told the press, “We have absolutely no indication whatsoever the Iranian ships ever docked in Syrian ports.”
What’s going on here? One day there are two Iranian ships docking in Syria. Three days later, it seems that, like the Flying Dutchman, they never made port. Whatever they did during their swing through the eastern Mediterranean, they are now reported as having left the area, heading back through the Suez Canal.
These are not phantoms, or flyspecks invisible to the hi-tech eye. These are ships, substantial objects, which the U.S. certainly has the ability to track. I can’t claim to know what actually happened, and, alas, I have no inside sources here. So this is pure speculation. But it sounds as if the Iranian ships were indeed heading for Tartus,  and then ran into some reason to back off — leaving the Iranian government to  bluster that the ships had docked, rather than admit they’d chickened out.
Well, what happened? Read the whole thing and join the speculation.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Rick Santorrible

I am not the only one who is noticing how horrible a Rick Santorum nomination would be for the GOP because of his social conservatism.  The always-readable Jennifer Rubin had a talk with an unidentified conservative scholar complaining about Santorum on big government and, my pet peeve, social issues:
I had lunch with a conservative scholar and writer on Friday. Remarking on the rise of Rick Santorum, he exclaimed sarcastically, “Oh, swell, the Republicans have found a guy who’s a big spender AND an extremist on social issues!”
On one level it was a funny remark, symptomatic of the notion among many conservative curmudgeons that if there is a way to screw up an election the GOP will find it. On the other, it was an interesting statement that suggests that the Republicans, after winning a House majority in 2010 by stressing limited government and focusing much less on social issues, may undo their success by choosing a candidate with positions unpopular with a substantial majority of Americans — big government and excessive meddling in personal lives (having nothing to do with abortion, on which the GOP is virtually united and public opinion in general is at least evenly divided.)


These outside-the-mainstream views apply to areas such as working women, women in combat, contraception and gays in the military. On this last point, the AP notes, “A CBS News poll gave a 48-41 edge to supporters of gays serving openly in the military. Republicans who felt strongly about the issue were twice as likely to support gays in the military than to oppose them, however.” Moreover, Santorum insists on reinstating the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which even those who opposed dropping it may find ludicrously impractical.

Your right to know supercedes your right to exist.

As this story makes apparent:
The full details of recent experiments that made a deadly flu virus more contagious will be published, probably within a few months, despite recommendations by the United States that some information be kept secret for fear that terrorists could use it to start epidemics.
The announcement, made on Friday by the World Health Organization, follows two months of heated debate about the flu research. The recommendation to publish the work in full came from a meeting of 22 experts in flu and public health from various countries who met on Thursday and Friday in Geneva at the organization’s headquarters to discuss “urgent issues” raised by the research.
Most of the group felt that any theoretical risk of the virus’s being used by terrorists was far outweighed by the “real and present danger” of similar flu viruses in the wild, and by the need to study them and freely share information that could help identify the exact changes that might signal that a virus is developing the ability to cause a pandemic, said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who represented the United States at the meeting.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Conservatives don't like seeing more skin at CPAC (or "A Defense of Tina Korbe")

Though I am a conservative when it comes to security issues, lately I have been ranting about the evils of another branch of conservatism, social conservatism.  Despite my opposition to things like illegal immigration and quotas and preferences based on race or gender, I actually consider myself a social liberal because, in general, I do not believe the government has the ability or the responsibilility to protect people from themselves; and I resent the determination of many on both sides of the political spectrum to force everyone into and make us conform to "boxes," whether political, cultural, racial, gender, ethnic, religious or whatnot.  As anyone who knows me personally can tell you, I don't fit into any box; hence the name of this blog. 

Specifically, I believe that drug use and prostitution by themselves are victimless crimes and should be legalized and taxed; the legal drinking age should be removed; I don't like abortion but I don't believe it's nearly the moral absolute that both sides think it is; I support legal protections for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered; I believe that birth control is moral and should be legal.  Yes, I am a proud ROMAN Catholic and, yes, I think the Church is flat-out wrong on birth control; their position is not, I believe, rooted in Scripture so much as it is rooted in a leadership consisting of only celibate men who seem to believe there is no reason for sex outside procreation.  I don't believe that just because a type of  conduct is "immoral,"
based on a typicaly subjective definition, that it follows such conduct should be illegal.  The only objective interest of government is to make sure such conduct does not hurt others.  Beyond that, shut up.

The theme I have been hitting is the town in the movie Footloose, Bomont (though who really remembers the name?), where dancing and music were banned because of some warped morality.  It's fictional and extreme, to be sure, but it's an analogy that is readily understandable.  The town in Footloose sucked.  It was a boring, suffocating place where one preacher's definition of "morality" was imposed on the whole town.  Moviegoers would not have wanted to live there. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

LightSquared to go dark

Good news for pilots, GPS users and the US military:
The Federal Communications Commission moved on Tuesday to block LightSquared’s planned nationwide wireless network over concerns that it cannot be fixed to coexist with global positioning systems.
The FCC is the final word on whether LightSquared can proceed, unless the company decides to take the issue to court.
The FCC’s decision was prompted by the conclusions of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which advises the president on telecom issues and formally concluded earlier Tuesday evening that LightSquared’s proposed wireless should not go forward.
The quick reaction seemed to catch LightSquared off guard. Just an hour before the FCC announced its decision, a LightSquared spokesman blasted the NTIA conclusion and said the company “fully expects the [FCC] to recognize LightSquared’s legal rights to build its $14 billion, privately financed network.”

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Is the game up in Iran?

Sure sounds like it, if this report by Reza Kahlili is true:

According to Mehr News Agency, sources within Iran revealed that there will be an announcement in a few days that the previously secret nuclear site, the Fordow nuclear enrichment facility, is now fully operational and enriching uranium at a 20% level.
The Iranian leaders had intended to transfer much of their low-enriched uranium stock from Natanz to Fordow and to start the process of enrichment at a much higher level with protection against any attack.
It is reported that the site cannot be destroyed even with the current bunker-buster bombs kept in the U.S. military’s arsenal.
It should be noted that the Fordow facility can only house 3,000 centrifuges, and is therefore useless for providing fuel for a nuclear power plant. The only purpose is for clandestine use or for making a nuclear bomb. It is also important to note that enriching uranium to the 20% level is 9/10 of the way to weaponization.
Iran currently has enough enriched uranium for six nuclear bombs and continues its illicit nuclear activities despite four different sets of UN sanctions already in place.

Paul Ogden running for Marion Superior Court

I would be remiss if I did not call attention to my blogging and webcast pal Paul Ogden and his campaign for Marion Superior Court judge.  A bit of a maverick campaign, since he (horrors!) was not slated by the Marion County Republican Party.  But to many of us, that's not a bug, that's a feature:
While I believe wholeheartedly in my Marion County Republican Party, I am disappointed that the power and authority of grass roots party workers has been virtually eliminated in favor of party bosses calling the shots.  When I first started in 1986, party workers still had real influence and elected officials knew they had to stay in touch with those workers to be endorsed by the party.  Slating conventions featured numerous races that had had multiple candidates eagerly seeking out the support of party workers. 

A couple weeks ago, the Marion County GOP had a slating convention at which 16 of 17 races were uncontested.  The only contested race was for Superior Court Judge.  In that race, several Republican judicial candidates had withdrawn before slating with the exception of Judge Carol Orbison.  Judge Orbison said during her speech to the convention that she was told a committee of power brokers had met before slating and decided she should not run for re-election.  She did not heed that warning and was not slated, though she has filed to run in the primary.  The fact is, party leaders now appoint the vast majority of those who vote at slating, people who just to show up and vote the way leadership wants them to vote.  Candidates know party bosses have almost complete control over the endorsement process.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Did I cry "wolf" on the incandescent light bulb ban?

I may need to do a mea culpa here.

For most of last year, many Republicans, myself included, were screaming "Murder!" (not "Bloody murder," because bloodiness is not a requirement for murder) over the pending "ban" on incandescent light bulbs that began its phase-in on January 1, 2012, with the popular 100-watt bulb the first target.  It was never to be a legal prohibition per se but a requirement that incandescent bulbs meet certain energy efficiency standards.  Our belief -- well, the belief in certain conservative circles, that I parroted -- was that it was impossible for incandescent bulbs to meet these new standards.  There was a definite resentment on our part at forcing us to give up a simple, safe and cheap product and instead use the less effective, less pleasant, more expensive and far more dangerous compact fluorescent bulbs, all in the name of the Green Nazis.

Or so we were told.  And so we believed, including me.

Rest in peace, Whitney

Whitney Houston has passed away from causes as-yet unknown.

Whitney's use-by date had passed a long time ago, due in large part to her self-destructive lifestyle.  But this is incredibly sad on any level.  She first came out when I was in 9th grade.  I didn't care for her first two hits, which were romantic ballads, but her third, "How Will I Know?" got me hooked.  She had the best singing voice of the 1980's (even better than Cyndi Lauper, who was pretty damn good in her own right), and has only been matched since then by Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera (who I remember singing the National Anthem at Pittsburgh Penguins playoff games in 1991 and 1992 when she was, like, 12; makes it so ironic that she messed it up during last year's Super Bowl) and -- maybe -- Amy Lee.  Whitney Houston was like a singing companion for me during high school and college.

I hope Whitney has now found peace from the demons who haunted her in life.

Where did I go this weekend?


Nothing can soothe the soul and create a warm fuzzy feeling like flightless antarctic birds playing hockey.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Can we handle Iranian mines?

The ever-lovable mullahs of Iran have threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz by the use of mines, missiles and possibly blockships, in the event they are attacked, which, of course, they deserve.  We've prepared for missiles.  Can we handle mines?

This alarming post in PJ Media says we are extremely short-handed in the minesweeping department:
The USS Ponce, a lightly armed and slow-moving amphibious transport dock built in 1970, is about to be upgraded by the U.S. Navy. According to The Washington Post, it will become a forward staging base aimed at Iran.
The likely mission for the Ponce would be responding to Iran’s threat to mine the Strait of Hormuz and prevent oil tankers from passing through the Gulf.
The Navy probably plans to use the four MH-53 helicopters supported from the Ponce flight deck in counter-mine operations. Unfortunately, the MH-53 is old and has an aging mine sweeping capability. It will be hard pressed to do the job, and if it fails, there will be oil tankers burning in the vital and narrow Strait.
A better choice would have been the modern and capable Osprey mine hunters. Built in the 1990s on the design of the Italian Lerici-class mine hunter, Ospreys have fiberglass hulls to minimize the chance of setting off a magnetic mine. Equipped with excellent sensors, they played a major role in clearing Soviet-type mines placed in the Gulf by Iraq during the First Gulf War. They not only cleared transit waterways, but also proved effective at clearing mines from harbors, including Basra, and have significant advantages over helicopter anti-mine systems.
Too bad Navy infighting forced the liquidation of the Osprey program in 2007.

My latest appearance

on Civil Discourse Now is here. With hosts Mark Small and Paul Ogden, guest Mike Kole and I talk Presidents of the United States -- best, worst and mediocre-est.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

When gas prices spike

you know whom to blame.  The single most inexcusable act of Obama's presidency is the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline.  And it may cost us for generations, for the Canadians have now reached a deal with the Chinese to ship them oil:

China and Canada declared Thursday that bilateral relations have reached "a new level" following a series of multibillion-dollar trade and business agreements to ship additional Canadian petroleum, uranium and other products to the Asian superpower.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Chinese leadership said Thursday their new energy and economic co-operation agreements — as well as billions of dollars of private-sector deals — signed by the two countries over the past few days are unprecedented and will only open the door to additional trade and investment.


Why Rick Santorum is horrible

I've said before that I'd hold my nose and vote for Rick Santorum over Obama because defense and foreign policy are so important that they override Santorum's despicable social policy.  But let's not lose sight of the fact that Santorum is a lousy candidate who will alienate large segments of the electorate by, as I've said before, advocating the town in Footloose.

Nate Nelson tellis it like it is to Republican caucus-goers:
Yesterday, some of you in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri delivered stunning victories for former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) in the race for the GOP presidential nomination. You may have thought in caucusing and voting for Santorum that you were dealing a blow to the big government establishment. Unfortunately, you weren’t. Santorum is and has always been a card-carrying member of the Beltway GOP. Santorum’s record in the U.S. Senate reveals consistent opposition to the principles of limited government, fiscal restraint, and individual liberty. That’s why libertarians can’t support him now or in the general election and why you shouldn’t either.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

9th Circuit rules California anti-gay marriage initiative unconstitutional

Those damn social issues just never seem to go away:
A federal appeals court Tuesday struck down California's ban on same-sex marriage, clearing the way for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on gay marriage as early as next year.
The 2-1 decision by a panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found that Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure that limited marriage to one man and one woman, violated the U.S. Constitution. The architects of Prop. 8 have vowed to appeal.
The ruling was narrow and likely to be limited to California.
“Proposition 8 served no purpose, and had no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California,” the court said.
The ruling upheld a decision by retired Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who struck down the ballot measure in 2010 after holding an unprecedented trial on the nature of sexual orientation and the history of marriage.

Even more restrictions on Sudafed?

You can see this coming.  Even some idiots in Indiana want it: to effectively deny the mast majority of people access to an effective drug for combatting cold symptoms because a tiny minority of people misuse it.  Yes, we are talking about pseudoephedrine (PSE), the active ingredient in Sudafed, which is often used by meth heads to cook up meth.

We already have the incredibly stupid requirement that puts Sudafed behind the pharmacist's counter, and restricts how much you can buy.  Annoying and frankly insulting, but manageable.  To people such as Professor Keith Humphreys, however, that simply is not enough:
Methamphetamine cooks cannot operate their labs without easy access to the cold medicines that contain pseudoephedrine (PSE). This has resulted in a long-running political battle across the U.S. Many state legislators want to make PSE-containing medicines prescription-only, which as the Oregon and Mississippi experience shows, virtually eliminates a state’s meth labs. On the other side, the cold medicine industry, which makes hundreds of millions of dollars a year selling PSE to meth cooks, opposes such a restriction.
The industry’s response has been to propose an electronic cold medicine purchasing system called NPLEx. The idea is that if someone tries to buy too much PSE-containing cold medicine, the system would notice and block the sale.
From the point of view of stopping meth labs, the system is worthless. South Carolina put it in last year rather than create a prescription-only requirement, and saw meth lab incidents increase by 65%. Kentucky, where the NPLEx system was invented, has had it in place statewide since 2007 and seen meth lab incidents increase by 500%. Meth cooks easily thwart the system by using false ID or by hiring people to buy the cold medicine. The NPLEx system is thus worthless from the point of view of actual effectiveness.
Prof. Humphreys does not come out and say it, but you can see where he is going with this: he wants pseudoephedrine made prescription only.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Yes, the Iranian mullahs really do want to kill us (or "Yes, Ron Paul is still an idiot.")

Caught this little tidbit via Israel Matzav:
Iran was working on developing a missile with 10,000 km range that would put America in reach of a potential Iranian attack, Strategic Affairs Minister and Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Thursday.

According to Ya'alon, the missile was based on a solid fuel propellant and would have been able to significantly increase Iran's offensive capabilities. In November, a mysterious explosion rocked an Iranian missile base near Tehran where Iran was working on developing this long range missile.


Ya'alon said that the Israeli government was committed to stopping Iran's nuclear program "in one way or another."

"We need a credible military option. The Iranians understand the West has capabilities, but as long as the Iranians don't think that the West has the political stomach and determination to use it they will not stop," Ya'alon affirmed. "Currently they don't think that the world is determined."

Sorry for the light posting

was really busy last week.


to The New York Football Giants:

A classic logo: the New York Giants old-style "NY" logo.

Yes, as a Chargers fan I hate Eli Manning and, for that matter, all the Mannings, and as a football fan I hate Tom Coughlin, but I love pretty much all things New York City, and that trumps.

Friday, February 3, 2012