Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Crazy

Ok, so I haven't posted in a while, but this one just makes me shake my head...
Three lead suspects — Jamal Zougam, Othman Gnaoui and Spaniard Emilio Suarez Trashorras — were convicted of murder and attempted murder and received sentences ranging from 34,000 to 43,000 years in prison, although under Spanish law the most time they can spend in jail is 40 years. Spain has no death penalty or life imprisonment.

Um, how effective is that really? Is the stigma of a 43,000 year sentence supposed to deter this sort of behavior? Amazing...

Then, of course, there is the insanity going on in Delaware, which has been quite well documented by FIRE. I won't go into the main points, as they are articulated elsewhere, but this selection from the "Strategic Change Assessment" (P12) should give any parents of potential students pause:

Rules regarding human subjects Our assessment efforts must fall within the boundaries of University of Delaware human subjects’ policies maintained by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research. Normally, the types of assessment processes used by Residence Life would qualify for an exception to the full board review. ... When recording verbal responses, it is required the students sign an informed consent form. A framework for the form can be obtained from Jim Tweedy. Any of our tools that are designed to be primarily educational in nature are fully exempt and do not need approval. Our tools designed to examine educational techniques will require advance approval. ... As we become more effective in our pre-planning of assessment, we will be able to establish “series approval” allowing us a more efficient means of navigating the process. We will be engaging in further training on human subject regulations.

Congrats! You are unwitting guinea pigs in this massive social experiment.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Eli has done it!

Not only has he qualified for the Olympics, he has his own personal web page: elibremer.com. I guess that is how you know you have really made it. Naturally, there is some misinformation on there, like that he was born in Massachusetts. Nice try, bud, but if you really want to claim the birthplace of the Revolution, I'll gladly see your 'live free or die' and raise you a John Kerry. Heck, I'll even throw in a few Kennedys. Anyway, I am quite proud. Now he just has to figure out what he is going to do with his life if he ever decides to grow up. Not that that is the recommended course of action... Tamsey suggests politics. I can't say that I disagree. On to Peking!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Friday, May 04, 2007

Protection

According to Foxnews, Congress is considering the wisdom of depriving people of a constitutional right on the basis of the terrorist watch list. Aside from the whole 5th Amendment issue, I think it is amusing that Ted Kennedy might find it harder to get a gun...

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Unexpected Visitor

Turkey hunting the other day, I heard a slight rustle in my blind, and as I turned around, this fellow raised his head. With nowhere to run (he was between me and door) I just watched as he decided that it was time to move on.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Doing great

Tamsey is a real trooper. We got to the hospital at about 7:30 PM, after stopping for some marble slab creamery. After an hour of inprocessing and paperwork, Tamsey decided it was time for a baby, and shortly thereafter Benaiah Paul entered the world head-first and making plenty of noise. Mom and baby are doing great. More pictures as bandwidth allows.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Questions I never thought I'd have to answer

This evening my philosopher-son, after listening to my diva-daughter sing an old childrens' rhyme involving methods of detaining Panthera tigris said, "Dad, why do you catch a tiger by his toe?"

Needless to say, I was not stumped for long. "Well, JB, because that is where his claws are, and once you have him by his toe, his claw can't scratch you."

I thought I had him but again: "What is a holler?" For a moment I considered something about a small valley in the mountains, but resisted and told him it was a long, deep yell.

While he pondered, I posited this question: "What if he doesn't holler?" and his immediate reply was entirely logical: "Don't let him go!" But he was not done. "Well...why don't you catch him by the neck and cut off his head? Then he can't scratch you."

Alas, I had no answer.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Obama is in good company

Once upon a time, I lived in the fair city of Cambridge, Ma. And one thing that they do reeeeeealy well there is hand out parking tickets.
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama got more than an education when he attended Harvard Law School in the late 1980s. He also got a healthy stack of parking tickets, most of which he never paid.

The Illinois senator shelled out $375 in January — two weeks before he officially launched his presidential campaign — to finally pay for 15 outstanding parking tickets and their associated late fees.

The story was first reported Wednesday by The Somerville News.

Obama received 17 parking tickets in Cambridge between 1988 and 1991[4 per year is about par for the course--ed.], mostly for parking in a bus stop [surprisingly poorly marked--ed.], parking without a resident permit [actually, this usually means they didn't see it because of snow--ed.] and failing to pay the meter [the ticket appears about 3 seconds after the meter expires, and I once got one before it expired; they assumed it would and preempted it--ed.], records from the Cambridge Traffic, Parking and Transportation office show.

He incurred $140 in fines and $260 in late fees in Cambridge in all, but he paid $25 for two of the tickets in February 1990.

Jen Psaki, a spokeswoman for the Obama campaign, dismissed the tickets as not relevant.

"He didn't owe that much and what he did owe, he paid," Psaki said on Wednesday. "Many people have parking tickets and late fees. [In Cambridge, this is an understatement--ed.]All the parking tickets and late fees were paid in full."

Now, I don't agree politically with almost anything Sen. Obama stands for, but in this case I'll have to defend him. Anyone who leaves Cambridge sans parking tickets either does not have a car, or has been there less than 30 minutes. There is strong, well founded suspicion that the city makes more money on giving out tickets than it does on taxes. And that is saying a lot. Good on you, Sen. Obama! You have proved to me that you really did spend time in Cambridge.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Kiwi!

Impressive. Amusing. I don't know what else to say. Worth watching.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Let the conspiracy theories begin...

From the WSJ:
The sudden, sharp decline by the Dow Jones Industrial Average shortly before 3 p.m. Eastern time today was triggered by a tabulation delay by Dow Jones data systems, which calculates the average. There was a temporary lag in calculation of the 30 large-stock average due to a surge in order flows as the market continued to tumble in afternoon trading, much like a clogged pipe. Just before 3 p.m., Dow Jones Indexes switched over to a backup system to calculate the average, which nearly instantly registered the huge move.
I can see it already: Haliburton made the computer system, which was installed by KBR, and run by Diebold. The explosion in Afghanistan was the way the VP signaled his cronies to begin the Ricochet Scheme. The President approved it, btw, to get NPR to stop talking about Iraq. It should make an interesting made-for-tv movie.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Follow up to the last post

The Weekly Standard has a great article about Blackwater. Jon, they are definitely an outfit you should check out.
Blackwater is a company most Americans first heard of when four of its contractors were murdered in Falluja, Iraq, in March 2004, and their bodies desecrated on camera. It is the most prominent of the private security contractors in Iraq. You might think of the North Carolina facility as Blackwater's Fort Benning or Quantico.
I sort of wonder why Boeing doesn't do the same sort of thing with refueling and airlift. I bet they could be really competitive, cost-wise, and provide some surge and flex capability for our aging fleet.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Fires of freedom still burning bright

My brother was my wing man at that point and as we took evasive maneuvers I heard him they were taking rounds. By the time I got turned around to see him he was gone. As I continued to look for his helicopter we were also shot down. I was able to land the helicopter in a small courtyard. I shut down the helicopter to assess the damage and to make sure my crew was ok. My crew was fine and the helicopter was shot up pretty bad but was able to fly the three to five minutes back to the Green zone.
...
It took about twenty minutes to locate the helicopter. It had been shot down in a small ally which made it very difficult to locate. By the time we found the helicopter two of the bodies were dragged out and into the street. The Army and our PSD team got there just in time before they could do anything with them. I landed at that location so I could make sure they were my guys. When I unzipped the second body bag that the Army had already put them in, I found my brother.
Just a reminder, there are still men out there dying. They are giving their lives for a noble cause that is greater than any one life: freedom. Many of them wear the uniform. Some do not.

When I was there, I was really impressed with the professionalism and skills of the Blackwater guys, as well as the Global, Bechtel and other teams. The skill and reflexes of the Brits on the Bechtel team saved my life, when our truck was hit by a VBIED at the Assasin's Gate. These are not 'Mercenaries', they are men who believe in what we are doing and risk their lives every day for their brothers. Sometimes literally.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Jim Webb needs a new speechwriter

We hoped that they would be right, that they would measure with accuracy the value of our lives against the enormity of the national interest that might call upon us to go into harm's way.

Enormity (Websters): an outrageous, improper, vicious, or immoral act

Enormity (Cambridge): extremely evil act or the quality of being extremely evil

The origin of 'enormity' is similar to 'enormous,' that is, large in excess, though the meaning grew from the idea of being significantly departed from the accepted, moral norm. I really hope that he meant the significance or importance of national interest, and needs a new speech writer. The alternative is that he believes the national interest of this country has been evil since the time of the Korean conflict (which, despite his accolades to Eisenhower, is technically ongoing).

Just my $.02 on tonight's speeches... UPDATE Ok, a quick search shows that he does seem to know what the word means:

Webb said the enormity of what happened there is, "almost beyond description." But he says the government hasn't "really stepped forward to do anything about it."

Interesting...

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Yet another military atrocity uncovered

So what does an explosive dog get in paradise? 72 fire hydrants, toilets with fresh water and bone that never gets chewed up? Beats me, but it seems like someone thinks this is an improvement on Black Jack Pershing's legendary plan.

I also wonder what kind of training an explosive dog really needs...

Another odd headline

Seems to indicate a deficit of plus-sized women in China. Interesting what makes news these days.