Tag Archives: current-events

For Those That Served In Afghanistan

OK.  Take a deep breath and put your mind in neutral. 

Yes-Afghanistan has fallen and we left a lot of blood there.

No-You and our combat casualties did not serve in vain.

You shined a light in some of the darkest places on the globe.

 You did your job. You supported righteous endeavors.

You ensured tens of thousands of terrorists never died from old age.

You showed, for a brief shining moment, what American values are all about.

A moment some others may not be able to share.

You did this in obscurity and without public note, but to those that witnessed, you made a difference that will resonate far past your absence.

You were an American displaying what we as a Nation are surely all about.

Above all else, you were supremely, demonstrably honorable.

Many others cannot say that.

You brought smiles to countless people who otherwise would have nothing to smile about.

 For a moment in time.

The “agonizing reappraisals” can be left to policy makers, historians, and the American people. Not your job.

Rest easy, You, those that served, gave our dead and wounded meaning by your presence and participation in something greater than yourself.

You are and were our Praetorian Guard-providing purpose and pride to a Service in which many others, acting on a higher plane, could not match the honor.

You well served the small band of family you were with as your successors will wherever they are asked to serve. As they surely will.

Our Nation depends upon its well of citizens willing to serve for all of us, not just some of us.

Causes and policies will change, but the quality of your service will not and cannot.

That would be a betrayal to what serving is all about and for which we, the 99% who do not fight, expect.

Others may have cause for judgement. You do not.

We have no choice.

You do.

Rest easy.  You can sleep well. Some other citizens may not.

                A Vietnam veteran


This was posted in our Facebook Group today.

Well said.

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COVID-19 and Employment

I just had an interesting experience today. I’ve seen it in regards to others, but this is the first time that it hit me. I managed to hit a traffic cone in the middle of a freeway onramp a few weeks ago, and decided to pay for the damage out of pocket. I knew of this body shop 50 miles south, in Stockton. Over the years they had done some things for various cars of mine – I believe I came to know them through their affiliation (at the time) of the Stockton Mercedes-Benz dealer.

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Punching Geriatrics

Posted By lex, on January 6th, 2012

Sometimes there is justification.

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Really?

Posted by lex, on January 5th, 2012

Good ideas represent opportunities that fleetingly come and go. Bad ideas, on the other hand, never seem to have expiration dates:

In the president’s signing statement issued Saturday in passing into law the fiscal 2012 defense authorization bill, Mr. Obama said restrictions aimed at protecting top-secret technical data on U.S. Standard Missile-3 velocity burnout parameters might impinge on his constitutional foreign policy authority.

As first disclosed in this space several weeks ago, U.S. officials are planning to provide Moscow with the SM-3 data, despite reservations from security officials who say that doing so could compromise the effectiveness of the system by allowing Russian weapons technicians to counter the missile. The weapons are considered some of the most effective high-speed interceptors in the U.S. missile defense arsenal.

There are also concerns that Russia could share the secret data with China and rogue states such as Iran and North Korea to help their missile programs defeat U.S. missile defenses.

And what’s the likelihood of that? And, more importantly, what would be the consequences?

On the plus side, there’s every chance that Vladimir Putin would like us more.

So we’ve got that going for us. Which is nice.

(For those not a part of the system, the definition of “top secret” information is data which, if revealed, could cause “exceptionally grave damage” to national security.)

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Cloaking Device

Posted By lex, on January 5th, 2012

DARPA gets that teensiest bit closer to making one **:

Pentagon-supported physicists on Wednesday said they had devised a “time cloak” that briefly makes an event undetectable.

The laboratory device manipulates the flow of light in such a way that for the merest fraction of a second an event cannot be seen, according to a paper published in the science journal Nature.

It adds to experimental work in creating next-generation camouflage — a so-called invisibility cloak in which specific colours cannot be perceived by the human eye.

“Our results represent a significant step towards obtaining a complete spatio-temporal cloaking device,” says the study, headed by Moti Fridman of Cornell University in New York…

After proving that the “cloak” is possible, the next step for the researchers is to expand the time gap by orders of magnitude, firstly to microseconds and then to milliseconds, said Boyd and Shi.

The time cloak has a potential use in boosting security in fibre-optic communications because it breaks up optical signals, lets them travel at different speeds and then reassembles them, which makes data hard to intercept.

Last year, scientists reported a step forward in so-called metamaterials which act as a cloaking of space, as opposed to time.

Metamaterials are novel compounds whose surface that interacts with light at specific frequencies thanks to a tiny, nano-level structure. As a result, light flows around the object — rather like water that bends around a rock in a stream — as opposed to being absorbed by it.

Tinkering with time and space.

Geez.

** 03-21-21  Original link gone; substitute found – Ed.

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Casus Belli

Posted By lex, on December 28th, 2011

Iran threatens to create one:

A senior Iranian official on Tuesday delivered a sharp threat in response to economic sanctions being readied by the United States, saying his country would retaliate against any crackdown by blocking all oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, a vital artery for transporting about one-fifth of the world’s oil supply.

The declaration by Iran’s first vice president, Mohammad-Reza Rahimi, came as President Obama prepares to sign legislation that, if fully implemented, could substantially reduce Iran’s oil revenue in a bid to deter it from pursuing a nuclear weapons program…

Apparently fearful of the expanded sanctions’ possible impact on the already-stressed economy of Iran, the world’s third-largest energy exporter, Mr. Rahimi said, “If they impose sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, then even one drop of oil cannot flow from the Strait of Hormuz,” according to Iran’s official news agency. Iran just began a 10-day naval exercise in the area.

Oh, if only we had a Strategic Petroleum Reserve against such an eventuality.

Wait

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Loose Talk

Posted By lex, on December 29th, 2011

Having threatened to shoot itself in the foot by closing the Strait of Hormuz, and having heard the US 5th Fleet reply that “it’s just not going to happen,” cooler heads are prevailing, for now, in the Islamic Republic:

Iranian officials insist that the U.A.E. pipeline and others that are being constructed in the region will not lessen the strategic importance of the Hormuz Strait. But they have raised the issue repeatedly, which analysts say is a sign that they are nervous about it.

And Iran — which has enjoyed record oil profits over the past five years but is faced with a dwindling number of oil customers — relies on the Hormuz Strait as the departure gate for its biggest client: China.

“We would be committing economical suicide by closing off the Hormuz Strait,” said an Iranian Oil Ministry official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject. “Oil money is our only income, so we would be spectacularly shooting ourselves in the foot by doing that.”

Ahmad Bakhshayesh Ardestani, a political scientist running for parliament from the camp of hard-line clerics and commanders opposing Ahmadinejad, said it is “good politics” for Iran to respond to U.S. threats with threats of its own.

“But our threat will not be realized,” Ardestani said. “We are just responding to the U.S., nothing more.”

Domestic politics, in other words. Nothing to see here, move along.

Well, perhaps. But the rational actor theory has its critics.

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Solyndra Update

Posted By lex, on December 26th, 2011

Partisans may have long suspected that the Solyndra fiasco had much more to do with politics than policy, but when the Washington Post piles on in concurrence, the goose is fairly cooked:

Meant to create jobs and cut reliance on foreign oil, Obama’s green-technology program was infused with politics at every level, The Washington Post found in an analysis of thousands of memos, company records and internal ­e-mails. Political considerations were raised repeatedly by company investors, Energy Department bureaucrats and White House officials.

The records, some previously unreported, show that when warned that financial disaster might lie ahead, the administration remained steadfast in its support for Solyndra

They show that as Solyndra tottered, officials discussed the political fallout from its troubles, the “optics” in Washington and the impact that the company’s failure could have on the president’s prospects for a second term. Rarely, if ever, was there discussion of the impact that Solyndra’s collapse would have on laid-off workers or on the development of clean-energy technology.

Well, those are just little people and little things.

It’s the power that counts. Political power, that is.

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There First

Posted By lex, on December 26th, 2011

Theodore Dalrymple wrote what might as well be a companion piece to VDH’s “Vandal” post below, but citing instead the case of last year’s riots in the UK:

It is true that the British police have come to resemble not the force of uniformed citizens of which Sir Robert Peel (the founder of the modern police) dreamed, but a paramilitary occupier, feared mainly by the innocent and law-abiding. The police have become simultaneously bullying and ineffectual, the worst of all combinations, barking rudely at motorists who stop where they shouldn’t but disregarding manifestations of serious criminality entirely. The reasons for the degeneration of British policing are (again) complex, but one of them is the extreme leniency of the courts. For a long time, the police had little incentive to pursue criminals short of murderers, for the courts will impose a trivial punishment on them.

There’s a lot more where that came from. And sadly, likely to be a lot more like that in the coming years.

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Acta, Non Verba

Posted By lex, on December 13th, 2011

President Obama said all the right words during Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki’s visit to the White House this week:

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