Monthly Archives: February 2018

Southern California on some roads less traveled

Images of Southern California


I have probably mentioned this before, but my idea of a perfect trip is to start the journey with no idea how it will end. Whether I have a seemingly unlimited amount of time, or just 4 days, as I did last week. Some of the most memorable trips I have had are the most unexpected.

Like having my tour group leave Nairobi for Cairo, and 4 of us were bumped for the overbooked flight. I spent a day or 2 just wandering around Nairobi – with no itinerary.

When I did get to Cairo the next day or 2, I took a taxi to our group’s base – the Radisson Hotel in Giza, and the memories of Cairo, and rounding a corner of the wide boulevard – and seeing suddenly the great pyramid at Giza loom into view – was a lifetime memory. That is a memory I would not have had if I had been with the group on a tour bus from the airport.

So I not only welcome the unexpected, I work to get it.

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A father’s lament

Posted by lex, on January 30, 2008


In the WSJ today, Danny Pearl’s father notes with pride and sadness the sixth anniversary of  his son’s brutal murder:

The shocking element in Danny’s murder was that he was killed, not for what he wrote or planned to write, but for what he represented — America, modernity, openness, pluralism, curiosity, dialogue, fairness, objectivity, freedom of inquiry, truth and respect for all people. In short, each and every one of us was targeted in Karachi in January of 2002…

It was through Danny’s face that people came to grasp the depth of cruelty and inhumanity into which this planet of ours has been allowed to sink in the past two decades. His murder proved that 9/11 was not an isolated event, and helped resurrect the age-old ideas of right and wrong, good and evil. Moral relativism died with Daniel Pearl in January 2002.

Ah, if only that last part was true…

Update: Title changed to more closely reflect reality.  The persons responsible for improperly titling this post have been sacked.

Update 2: For no particular reason, this reminds me of a transcendental conversation –

Moral Relativist: There are no such things as absolutes!

Transcendentalist: Are you absolutely sure?

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By Lex, On February 12, 2007


`When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’`The question is,’ said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.’`The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master – – that’s all.’

On the issue of gay marriage, I must admit to a certain degree of ambivalence. I don’t believe that anyone decides for themselves what they find beautiful in another person – they find beauty where they can, they find it where they must. They are, in other words, as their God has made them. Far be it from me to question God.

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With respect, I remain doubtful

Posted by lex, on February 7, 2009

It appears perhaps that the IAF are not quite the hard men that many of us took them for:

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Life’s all about the details

I’ve had a few things to post peculating in my head, but OTOH we are at 86% of our allotted space for this particular plan, and Hizzoner gets priority. I’m combing through the Wayback Machine seeing posts we missed from our official archives and I have to say, he left us an embarrassment of riches. He had both a keen sense of humor, and a keen sense for geopolitics.

I have been posting (now, and scheduling) what was at the time current events –   and whether history will prove him  right or wrong his process of getting to where he arrived is worth noting –

Anyway –

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Smoking gun

By Lex, Posted on February 13, 2007


CAPT Ed reports via the UK Daily Telegraph that the Iranian National Police have lost over a hundred high-end, Austrian-built sniper rifles. They’ve just, you know: Gone missing. People lose things.

There’s good news and bad news for all of those concerned about what mischief may arise when a sniper rifle goes missing: The good news is that Coalition troops have found the rifles. The bad news is that they found the rifles in Iraq. In the hands of Shia extremists who have been using them to kill American soldiers. So maybe Iran ought not hold their breath until we give them back:

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That whole transition thing

Posted by lex, on January 7, 2008

I’m willing to admit my lack of expertise in this at least: I haven’t had a civilian job since I was shoveling ice cream at Baskin-Robbins at age 17. That too will change in time, tic-tock, but over at The Flight Deck, Kris asks what it is that leads to a successful military-to-civilian transition – and her interest is not just academic:

I’m calling out to all of you who are active, retired, reservists – anyone with a military background who at some point has tried to secure employment in the private sector.  I’d like to know what worked well and what didn’t.  What were your interviewing experiences like?  How do you think your military background affected your ability to get a job?

Here’s a chance to help other vets, and as Kris says, the possibilities are exciting.

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Still not clear on the operational concept

By Lex, On January 10, 2007


European Commission says U.S. airstrikes not helpful in bringing long-term peace to Somalia

BRUSSELS, Belgium: The U.S. airstrikes in southern Somalia as part of an anti-terror operation will not contribute to bringing about long-term peace to the African nation, the EU’s executive office said Tuesday.

“Any incident of this kind is not helpful in the long term,” European Commission spokesman Amadeu Altafaj Tardio said.

We see things differently.

A war on terror – we were serious about that, by the way – is necessarily a war on terrorists. Long-term peace for Somalia may be an important consequence of that campaign but it is not the goal, or otherwise we could have endorsed the Islamic Courts Union’s program of extrajudicial shootings and intimidation of their cowed citizenry.

Our goal is far more simple: Find the people who get their jollies by murdering our citizens and other innocents, and then flush them out from within their comfortable safe havens and into the open where they can be smashed like bugs.

Pour encourager les autres.

They could have had it their way – they were welcome to their faith and traditions, so long as it didn’t result in some of them flying airplanes into skyscrapers or blowing up embassies and subway trains. But we’re not interested in a dialogue with al Qaeda – we understand them perfectly.

If the EU wants “helpful,” then they can remove the caveats restricting the freedom of movement of their forces in Afghanistan so that they can be employed against the Taliban militants who blow up girls’ schoolhouses and assassinate local government officials. Or they can pass the ammunition. Or else they can just get the hell out of our way.

Just don’t lecture us about “helpful.”

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Pork Busting

Posted by lex, on December 22, 2007


It’ll never happen of course, but it’d be fun to see the fireworks if a president who really cared about fiscal discipline more than underwriting political pork ever followed this finding of the Congressional Research Service to its rational conclusion:

A December 18 legal analysis by the Congressional Research Service concluded that ‘because the language of committee reports does not meet the procedural requirements of Article I of the Constitution — specifically, bicameralism and presentment – they are not laws and, therefore, are not legally binding on executive agencies… Given both the implied legal and constitutional authority as well as the long-standing accepted process of Presidents, it appears that a President can, if he so chooses, issue an executive order with respect to earmarks contained solely in committee reports and not in any way incorporated into the legislative text.’

Whee, that’d be a ride, and it’d make the the current tussle over executive and legislative privilege look like a preschool school brawl. Congress exists on an all-pork diet and would react violently. It’s more than likely that a bipartisan coalition would defund the entire bureaucracy in  a fit of pique.

But I would so love to watch the Byrds and Murthas of the world collapse into apoplexy.

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The Peace Process

Posted by lex, on November 21, 2007


Many critics point to the current US administration’s hesitation to engage American prestige in the Middle East peace process as the reason why things over there remain a chaotic mess. Why we should risk wrestling with that particular pig – especially given the painful lessons learned by the Clinton administration during their attempts in the region – is a mystery, however. And over in the WSJ, former Clinton-era UN Human Rights Commission delegate Jeff Robins points out some of the reasons why Condi’s Mid East engagement process may well be the worst thing to come out of Annapolis since Jimmy Carter graduated.

In order for there to be peace between Israel and her neighbors, everyone concerned must prefer that outcome to the status quo risks and costs of continued, smoldering hostility. Clearly, not everyone does:

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