Monday, April 30, 2012

Warning: light posting ahead. And behind.

My Internet router died last week and I'm waiting for the new one to arrive this week. Until it gets here, light posting only, as for some reason I can't link to articles when I'm on my phone or Kindle.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I FINALLY got it!!! (or "New additon to the library.")

Fight It Out, by Captain Oliver L. Gordon, RN.

This book has been out of print since the 1960's. It is now impossible to find.

Which I find rather sad. The book was written by the captain of the British heavy cruiser HMS Exeter during the Java Sea Campaign in World War II. The Exeter's role in the campaign was both heroic and tragic, a victim of rotten luck inasmuch as during her two engagements against Nihon Kaigun surface forces (in the Battle of the Java Sea and her subsequent escape attempt with the destroyers HMS Encounter and USS Pope) she was hit by exactly one shell each time -- but each managed to disable her engines. The second time, since she was under the guns of four Japanese cruisers (Myoko, Ashigara, Nachi and Haguro) and a brace of destroyers, proved fatal, as she could not longer avoid subsequent shells or, more importantly, incoming torpedoes.

British cruiser HMS Exeter sinking in the Java Sea March 1, 1942, after being chased down by the Japanese cruisers Myoko and Ashigara.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Another proud moment for Obama

Not only did he stupidly insult our closest ally (or what was once our closest ally before Obama started insulting them), but he stupidly insulted our closest ally, er, stupidly:

Barack Obama made an uncharacteristic error, more akin to those of his predecessor George W Bush, by referring to the Falkland Islands as the Maldives.
President Obama erred during a speech at the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, when attempting to call the disputed archipelago by its Spanish name.
Instead of saying Malvinas, however, Mr Obama referred to the islands as the Maldives, a group of 26 atolls off that lie off the South coast of India.
The Maldives were a British protectorate from 1887 to 1965 and the site of a UK airbase for nearly 20 years.
Cristina Kirchner, the Argentine president, has renewed her country's sovereignty claim to the Falklands in the build-up to the 30th anniversary of the Argentine invasion of the islands, which triggered the Falklands War, on April 2.
She has accused David Cameron of maintaining a "colonial enclave" in the South Atlantic and taken Argentina's claim to the UN.

Friday, April 13, 2012

"Where's the kaboom? There was supposed to be an earth-shattering kaboom?"

North Korea decided to intimidate the world with a missile test. There may not have been an earth-shattering kaboom, but the North Korean government can at least console itself with the fact that there was at least a kaboom:

North Korea launched a multistage rocket Friday morning, again defying countries that want it to stop pursuing advanced weapons, but it blew up less than two minutes into flight and parts crashed in the Yellow Sea off South Korea.
Despite the failure, the U.S. and its allies quickly condemned the launch, with the White House saying that a food agreement it had reached with Pyongyang in February was dead. But the launch also denied North Korea a key propaganda victory and raised questions about the state of its ballistic missile technology.
The rocket took off at 7:39 a.m. local time from a new launch facility in the country's northwest corner and flew south toward Japan's Ryukyu Islands, the Philippines, Indonesia and Australia.

It apparently exploded about 80 seconds into flight, roughly the time its first stage should have burned out and second stage kicked in, U.S. and South Korean defense officials said.
Pyongyang issued a brief statement saying, "The earth observation satellite failed to enter its preset orbit," and added that its scientists were "looking into the cause of the failure."

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The bull in the china shop is China

China? Acting like a bully? Nooooo. It's so unlike them </sarcasm off>:

The standoff in the South China Sea between the naval forces of the Philippines and China is in danger of escalating, as the U.S. continues to watch anxiously.
China has now sent a third ship to support its claim to the area known as Scarborough Shoal off the northwestern Philippines.
Philippine warships attempting to arrest the crews of a Chinese fishing fleet that had entered the territory sparked the latest dispute between the two Asian countries.
They were stopped from doing so by the arrival of two Chinese surveillance ships, which then ordered the Philippine warships to leave the area.
They refused arguing that its Philippine territory and have since sent a second warship to the area.
"We're not retreating from our own territory," Alexander Pama, Chief Vice Admiral of the Philippine navy said.
China also claims the rich fishing ground as its own despite it being within 200 nautical miles of the Philippines.

Forgetting simple truths

Michael Ledeen has a must-read column titled Wrong, Wrong, Wrong. But Celebrated. He discusses simple truths established by history being willfully ignored by foreign policy "experts" today, especially in the cases of Syria and Iran. Two key grafs are simply irrefutable by anyone with a knowledge of world history:
Historians used to know that “peace” usually comes after one side defeats the other in war, and the winners impose terms on the losers.  That is what successful “peace conferences” are about, and the terms imposed on the losers define the “peace.”

[...]

Forget about working things out around conference tables.  The war against us is on, and we won’t have anything approaching peace until that war is won.  By us, or by our enemies.
Read the whole thing.

Your EPA at work

You gotta be kiddin' me:
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enforced nearly $500,000 in fines and mandatory “environmental projects” on a school bus contractor for “excessive idling,” and as part of its anti-idling campaign to reduce the carbon footprint of school buses waiting to pick up children for their routes.
“As part of a settlement for alleged excessive diesel idling in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Durham School Services will commit to reduce idling from its school bus fleet of 13,900 buses operating in 30 states,” read an EPA press release on Tuesday.
The EPA says an agency inspector two years ago spotted buses of the Durham School Services, the second largest school bus transportation contractor in the country, “idling for extended periods of time” in school lots in New England.
“The inspector observed some buses idling for close to two hours before departing the bus lot to pick up school children,” it said. State rules limit idling to three minutes in Connecticut and five minutes in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, where the infractions occurred.
Durham reached a settlement for the violation and agreed to pay $90,000 in penalties. It also agreed to pay for $348,000 worth of environmental projects, including implementing a national training and management program “to prevent excessive idling from its entire fleet of school buses.”

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Why is this creepy? (or "New addition to the library")

The Last Patrol, by Harry Holmes. (No, not Henry H. Holmes, who is a famous serial murderer, but Harry Holmes, who is a British historian. I can't believe anyone would get the two mixed up.)

Anyway, The Last Patrol is about each of the 52 US submarines lost in World War II. Does a fairly nice job recounting the circumstances of each loss, as well as their earlier careers, though I did notice a few rather glaring omissions.

For instance, Holmes discusses the mystery surrounding the sinking of the Gudgeon. Gudgeon's loss has been associated with, among other things, a Japanese air attack on April 18, 1944 near the island of "Yuoh." Except there is no island of "Yuoh" anywhere in the Pacific. Holmes mentions the date of the attack but does not mention the issue of "Yuoh" at all.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The gift that keeps on giving

The US is still reaping the bitter fruits of Obama's inexcusable decision to veto the Keystone XL pipeline:
Even if President Barack Obama approved the controversial Keystone XL pipeline tomorrow, at least some Canadian oil would still flow to Asia, according to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
In a public one-on-one interview here with Jane Harman, head of the Wilson Centre think-tank, Harper said Obama's rejection of the controversial pipeline -- even temporarily -- stressed Canada's need to find other buyers for oilsands crude.
And that wouldn't change even if the president's mind did.
"Look, the very fact that a 'no' could even be said underscores to our country that we must diversify our energy export markets," Harper told Harman in front of a live audience of businesspeople, scholars, diplomats, and journalists.
"We cannot be, as a country, in a situation where our one and, in many cases, only energy partner could say no to our energy products. We just cannot be in that position."
His wide-ranging question-and-answer at the influential non-partisan think-tank -- which also touched on border security, trade, the Arctic and Syria among other topics -- followed a meeting with Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon at the White House for the sixth North American Leaders' Summit.
Harper also told Harman that Canada has been selling its oil to the United States at a discounted price.
So not only will America be able to buy less Canadian oil even if Keystone is eventually approved, the U.S. will also have to pay more for it because the market for oilsands crude will be more competitive.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Leave Jenna Talackova alone

I'm a little late to the show on this, but last week there was a story about the refusal by Miss Universe Canada to allow a transsexual Canadian woman to compete:
Beach shots depict her as every inch a curvaceous beauty queen.
But 23-year-old Jenna Talackova was born male, and that led the Miss Universe Canada organizers to disqualify her last week as a finalist in the 61st Miss Universe Canada pageant in May.

The rules of the contest run by the Donald Trump organization say entrants must be “naturally born” females.
The Vancouver woman underwent a sex change four years ago.
“She did not meet the requirements to compete despite having stated otherwise on her entry form,” said a statement from Miss Universe Canada. “We do, however, respect her goals, determination and wish her the best.”
The pageant’s New York-based parent backed the decision.
“After review, organizers discovered that Jenna Talackova falsified her application and did not meet the necessary requirements to compete in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada pageant,” a statement said.
The disqualification has won Talackova widespread sympathy and raised the question of whether the pageant has the right to decide who is female.

An endorsement Obama doesn't need

Outgoing Russian President (and Putin puppet) Dmitry Medvedev:
My colleague Barack Obama and I have once again had a constructive discussion of the various issues on the international agenda and on bilateral cooperation between the Russian Federation and the United States.
I said that although there are varying assessments of the reset in relations that has been much spoken about over these last three years, I think that we have accomplished very useful work over this time. These have perhaps been the best three years in relations between our two countries over the last decade. We achieved a lot, starting with the New START Treaty and ending with our cooperation on the most sensitive international issues.
Well, in my opinion, that START treaty is not a feature, but a bug. But Obama is not the only one to blame for that mess; a major assist goes to Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Virginia ... oh, that's right, Indiana).