Sunday, November 30, 2008


Via Lawdog

I showed this to my oldest daughter. Her comment was "that is soooooo wrong."


Quote of the Day

I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury - Groucho Marx

Its been one of those weekends

Repairman Jack: By the Sword

I just finished reading By the Sword: a Repairman Jack Novel. I recommend it with some qualifications. I like Jack. He's a fixer. Well, essentially he's a merc for hire. He lives below the radar. As far of the government is concerned he doesn't exist. He has a moral compass so there are things he won't do. The previous novels have him being drawn into a battle of supernatural forces: good vs. evil. They are all good reads. The qualification is you can't really read this novel and understand what's going on if you haven't read the others. They also seem to be more and more formula. There ain't much to surprise you here. That's ok with me because I like the character and sometimes it how you get to the end not the end which by the way is already known. Wilson has already written the last novel in the series: Nightworld. Last: I'd really like to see more of Jack outside the supernatural realm. That was the original attractions for me: an independent man making his own way in the world. Oh well, read and enjoy.


Two bits on Mumbai of interest:

Mumbai photographer: I wish I'd had a gun, not a camera. Armed police would not fire back and this piece from David Hardy Via Instapundit.

In regard to whether it would have made a difference if the victims had been armed, it couldn't have made it worse. Armed citizens willing to defend themselves and family might have ended the attack. Ont he other hand trained terrorists armed with rifles against civilians armed with handguns? For myself I'd rather go down a sheepdog not a sheep. Hell, some of the professional sheepdogs in Mumbai apparently hunkered down with the unarmed civilains and took not one shot at their attackers. Those who survived need to find other work. You carry the gun, you take your pay, you do your duty.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Real Thanksgiving

If you're interested in the real history of Thanksgiving read this, editorial by Vin Suprynowicz.

The gist of the editorial is that the Plymouth Colony almost failed because the Pilgrims were communist. They had no incentive to work and didn't. It wasn't until the Governor of the colony gave plots of land to the colonists, allowed them to keep the fruits of their labor, and do with it as they pleased that it really took off. The lesson? Communism fails whenever and wherever it rears its ugly pug Go read it and capitalism rocks. Oh and Vin, when do we get a sequel to The Black Arrow?

A French Infantryman's View of American Soldiers

This was posted over on John Ringo's blog. The title's his. Ringo is the author of The Last Centurion, Gust Front,, and Kildar.

"We have shared our daily life with two US units for quite a while - they are the first and fourth companies of a prestigious infantry battalion whose name I will withhold for the sake of military secrecy. To the common man it is a unit just like any other. But we live with them and got to know them, and we henceforth know that we have the honor to live with one of the most renowned units of the US Army - one that the movies brought to the public as series showing "ordinary soldiers thrust into extraordinary events". Who are they, those soldiers from abroad, how is their daily life, and what support do they bring to the men of our OMLT every day ? Few of them belong to the Easy Company, the one the TV series focuses on. This one nowadays is named Echo Company, and it has become the support company.

They have a terribly strong American accent - from our point of view the language they speak is not even English. How many times did I have to write down what I wanted to say rather than waste precious minutes trying various pronunciations of a seemingly common word? Whatever state they are from, no two accents are alike and they even admit that in some crisis situations they have difficulties understanding each other.

Heavily built, fed at the earliest age with Gatorade, proteins and creatine (Heh. More like Waffle House and McDonalds) - they are all heads and shoulders taller than us and their muscles remind us of Rambo. Our frames are amusingly skinny to them - we are wimps, even the strongest of us - and because of that they often mistake us for Afghans.

Here we discover America as it is often depicted : their values are taken to their paroxysm, often amplified by promiscuity and the loneliness of this outpost in the middle of that Afghan valley. Honor, motherland - everything here reminds of that : the American flag floating in the wind above the outpost, just like the one on the post parcels. Even if recruits often originate from the hearth of American cities and gang territory, no one here has any goal other than to hold high and proud the star spangled banner. Each man knows he can count on the support of a whole people who provides them through the mail all that an American could miss in such a remote front-line location : books, chewing gums, razorblades, Gatorade, toothpaste etc. in such way that every man is aware of how much the American people backs him in his difficult mission. And that is a first shock to our preconceptions : the American soldier is no individualist. The team, the group, the combat team are the focus of all his attention.

And they are impressive warriors ! We have not come across bad ones, as strange at it may seem to you when you know how critical French people can be. Even if some of them are a bit on the heavy side, all of them provide us everyday with lessons in infantry know-how. Beyond the wearing of a combat kit that never seem to discomfort them (helmet strap, helmet, combat goggles, rifles etc.) the long hours of watch at the outpost never seem to annoy them in the slightest. On the one square meter wooden tower above the perimeter wall they stand the five consecutive hours in full battle rattle and night vision goggles on top, their sight unmoving in the directions of likely danger. No distractions, no pauses, they are like statues nights and days. At night, all movements are performed in the dark - only a handful of subdued red lights indicate the occasional presence of a soldier on the move. Same with the vehicles whose lights are covered - everything happens in pitch dark even filling the fuel tanks with the Japy pump.

And combat ? If you have seen Rambo you have seen it all - always coming to the rescue when one of our teams gets in trouble, and always in the shortest delay. That is one of their tricks : they switch from T-shirt and sandals to combat ready in three minutes. Arriving in contact with the enemy, the way they fight is simple and disconcerting : they just charge ! They disembark and assault in stride, they bomb first and ask questions later - which cuts any pussyfooting short.

(This is the main area where I'd like to comment. Anyone with a passing knowledge of Kipling knows the lines from Chant Pagan: 'If your officer's dead and the sergeants look white/remember it's ruin to run from a fight./So take open order, lie down, sit tight/And wait for supports like a soldier./ This, in fact, is the basic philosophy of both British and Continental soldiers. 'In the absence of orders, take a defensive position.' Indeed, virtually every army in the world. The American soldier and Marine, however, are imbued from early in their training with the ethos: In the Absence of Orders: Attack! Where other forces, for good or ill, will wait for precise orders and plans to respond to an attack or any other 'incident', the American force will simply go, counting on firepower and SOP to carry the day.

This is one of the great strengths of the American force in combat and it is something that even our closest allies, such as the Brits and Aussies (that latter being closer by the way) find repeatedly surprising. No wonder is surprises the hell out of our enemies.)

We seldom hear any harsh word, and from 5 AM onwards the camp chores are performed in beautiful order and always with excellent spirit. A passing American helicopter stops near a stranded vehicle just to check that everything is alright; an American combat team will rush to support ours before even knowing how dangerous the mission is - from what we have been given to witness, the American soldier is a beautiful and worthy heir to those who liberated France and Europe.

To those who bestow us with the honor of sharing their combat outposts and who everyday give proof of their military excellence, to those who pay the daily tribute of America's army's deployment on Afghan soil, to those we owned this article, ourselves hoping that we will always remain worthy of them and to always continue hearing them say that we are all the same band of brothers".

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A New New Deal

It looks like Obama and his fellow travelers want to use FDR's New Deal as the template for our economic recovery.

From the Washington Post

With financial markets fluctuating wildly and unemployment rising, Democrats want to push a stimulus package through Congress in January and have it ready for Obama's signature when he takes office Jan. 20. Over the weekend, the president-elect announced that he had instructed his advisers to assemble a massive jobs program that also would make a "down payment" on much of his domestic agenda.

The plan would include new funding for public-works projects to repair the nation's crumbling infrastructure, as well as a fresh infusion of cash to promote green technology and alternative-energy sources. It also would include targeted tax cuts for working families, students, the elderly and job-creating businesses that Obama touted on the campaign trail.

The problem is that it wasn't FDR's economic policies that got us out of the Great Depression.
Like Democrats, "many people are looking back to the Great Depression and the New Deal for answers to our problems," says George Mason University Economics Professor Tyler Cowen . "But while we can learn important lessons from this period, they’re not always the ones taught in school."

What Cowen means is that the conventional wisdom of the Great Depression is absolutely wrong: Government action did not save the economy. "In short, expansionary monetary policy and wartime orders from Europe, not the well-known policies of the New Deal, did the most to make the American economy climb out of the Depression."

Now if you want to instigate our entry into a world war, like some have suggested FDR did, that might work. Your Code Pink wackos will have a problem with it. Well maybe not. i don't think they opposed the war so much as the President who lead us into it. If we were attacking an aspirin factory, bombing a Balkan nation into oblivion, or ending a genocide in Africa instead of ousting a genocidal dictator in the Middle East they probably be al right with it. But getting back to the original point, I really don't think selling our children's birthright with these stimulus packages is gonna do it. It didn't for FDR.

The Winter War

Lawdog offers this interesting bit of history.
On this day in 1939, the Soviet Red Army -- probably on direct orders from the Politburo -- shelled one of their own villages on the Karelian Isthmus and immediately began pointing fingers at Finland.

Four days of intense Soviet propaganda later, Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili -- in a tactic that had served him so well previously in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia -- sent his troopies over the Finnish border.

Unfortunately, most of what Uncle Josef managed to do was severely irritate a large part of the population of Finland in general, and a certain five-foot, three-inch skinny little farmer in particular.

Over the next three-ish months -- 30NOV1939 to 13MAR1940 -- the 250,000 grunts of the Finnish military faced off against 1,000,000 (one million) Soviet soldiers.

There are numerous scholarly works explaining the results -- the Soviet officer corp was still recovering from one of Uncle Josef's little purges; Finnish tactics were simple (Charge!) and flexible; the Soviet armies being used were drawn from the south of the Soviet Union and weren't really accustomed to brawling in -40 degree weather; and the Finns quite happily cheated (a favourite target of Finnish attacks and artillery barrages was the Soviet field kitchens. Nothing wrecks morale quite like never, ever seeing a hot meal during 90+ days of fighting in Arctic weather.)

Whatever the reason, the Finnish military (metaphorically-speaking. Sort of.) hauled off and place-kicked the Soviet Red Army right in the wedding tackle and kept on punting until they were dragged, kicking and screaming, to the peace table on March 12, 1940 -- 105 days after the Soviets started the whole thing -- to sign a brutal and dishonourable cessation of hostilities.

Soviet casualties were almost 400,000 men dead, wounded and missing; with another 5,600 POWs. They managed to inflict less than 70,000 dead and wounded on the Finns, with only about a thousand Finnish POWs.

And that skinny farmer? Well, he picked up his iron-sighted Finnish copy of the Mosin-Nagant M28, sewed himself an oversuit of white bedsheets, and (with the occasional judicious application of a K31 submachine gun) proceeded to personally turf between 500 and 700 Soviet solders in front of Saint Peter's desk until 06MAR1940 when a Red counter-sniper got lucky and put Simo Häyhä out of the fight for the rest of the (all-too-brief) war.

That averages out to about five enemy personnel a day for 100 continuous days. With iron-sights.

While Finland ultimately lost the Winter War that was started this day, 69 years ago, the cost of that defeat was best summed up by a Soviet general officer, who later stated: "We gained just enough land to bury our dead."

So remind me not to piss off a Finn.

South Carolina: A Tax Holiday for Firearms

I think I need to move to South Carolina. Oh well...

Thanksgiving Day

I spent the day with my father-in-law laying down hardwood flooring in the hallway and keeping an eye on Fox News and the happenings in Mumbai India. I think these terrorists clearly intended to do to India what was done to us on 9/11. If the body count is lower its not for lack of trying on the part of the terrorists. I'm glad it didn't happen here and I wish it hadn't happened there. I credit the Bush Administration with the fact we've not had another 9/11 in the last seven years. I hope the level of vigilance remains high under the Obama Administration. Time will tell. In any event I'm thankful for my family, that I'm working, that in hard economic times I'm getting along, and for those men and women overseas who are away from thier families so that I can have a peaceful holiday at home. Happy Thanksgiving Day.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

HS Precision Gets Endorsement by Lon Horiuchi

Wow! Guess I ain't got to worry about buying any of their product...ever.

The 47th Samurai

I don't know how I missed it when it came out in '06. Maybe I was lost over in those Baen titles but I was walking the aisles in the library the other day and there on the shelf was a new, to me, Stephen Hunter novel. Better than that it was a new, to me, Bob Lee Swagger novel. I checked that sucker out and read it in two days. I enjoyed it. Its not Point of Impact or Pale Horse Coming but its good. Bob Lee goes to Japan to fulfill a debt of honor and all hell breaks loose. Even when Hunter is a little off his game he is head and shoulders over most of what's out there. I understand he's got another Bob Lee book out. It will have to wait until I finish the latest Repairman Jack novel.

Guns and the Second Amendment

I'm a gun nut. I embrace the term eagerly. Others use it with the intention to degrade. But I'm a gun nut and a freedom nut, and a liberty nut and well you get the idea. I believe in the Bills of Rights: all of them. I will admit I hold the the Second Amendment a bit closer to my heart than the others. Why? The Second helps us protect the others. Guns are politics. Through the Second Amendment they serve as reminder to those in power that it is we, the people, who run the show. The right to keep and bear arms was intended to provide the people with the ability to just say no to government and make it stick. The simple fact is that you can't make an individual with a gun do a damn thing he or she doesn't want to. The most you can do is kill them.

Possessing a gun is a political act. This strikes me as why gun ownership is under constant attack in the United States and all over the world. Those in power, left and right, feel compelled to protect us from ourselves whether we want them to or not. They have to be in control. God forbid we control our own lives, tell the busybodies to go to hell, and have the means of giving directions.

Guns are politics pure and simple. Nothing more. Those that say otherwise are just trying to change the subject by misleading their audience.

So I'm a proud gun nut and you should be too.

Rabbit Bodyguard

Usagi Yojimbo, by Stan Sakai, is a comic book or, for those to snooty to read comics books, a "graphic novel". It is the tale of a wandering ronin samurai in feudal Japan. And the lead is a rabbit. All the character are anthropomorphic animals but even so the comic offers a historically and culturally accurate depiction of the period. Usagi wanders the countryside interacting with a multitude of interesting characters. The stories range from action-adventure and mysteries to comedic fun. Sakai keeps getting better and better. Easily one of the best comics on the market today. Sometimes it's so damn good it hurts. All of the back issues are available in collections from And why do I bring this up. Two Reasons: I want you to buy and read it so Mr. Sakai will be able to keep producing it and the image over to the left is not me but Usagi and the least I owe Mr. Sakai for its use is a glowing recommendation. Please read it. you will not be disappointed.

...and what do I think they are gonna do about it?

The "it" is Charlie Rangel's questionable fund raising activities. The "they" is the Democrat Party and Congress. The answer is not a damn thing. The Democrat Party is more interested in using their majority in the House and Senate to pursue the ethical failures of the Bush Administration and the Republican Party than in cleaning their own house.