28 December 2009

(Video NSFW) Jihad Hobbyist = Jihobbyist...

*WARNING* Audio portion of this video is NSFW.

Another 'tard has tried to bring down a transoceanic airliner with chemical explosives. This person, an educated and wealthy Nigerian, appears to have succumbed to the newest condition afflciting disturbed Islamic males, jihobbyism.

Jihobbyism is the extension of taking on Jihad as a Hobbyist . Some disaffected person, after too much extremist cybersurfing, decides to "become one of the martyrs". In this case, the internet - not a war in Afghanistan or Iraq - becomes the recruiting medium for impressionable Muslims. A person endlessly scrolling through pages of propganda, videos and jihadist podcasts effectively self-indoctrinates. There is no need for recruiting cells, almost anyone can become the Islamic equivalent of the Manchurian candidate.

The sooner we confront the falsehoods of this propaganda and challenge all true believers in Islam to reject violence, the sooner we will be able to engage in meaningful discourse and marginalize these zealots.

I often wonder whether South Africa would have been able to shed the mantle of apartheid had the internet existed. Or would they have collapsed into a spiral of fear and falshoods?

Proponents of peace do not blow up airliners.

Until then, we will be forever at war.

17 December 2009

MilBlog Silence...

In solidarity with my fellow MilBloggers – HG&U will be dark through 21 DEC.  There is a need for the free and open expression of ideas, opinions and accurate news.  Our founding fathers demonstrated this adherence to the principle of free speech with aggressive pamphleteering and oratory.  We, as a nation, can not stand by (or sit) while restrictions on the rights of humanity are put in place.  In my mind the internet reflects the ongoing evolution of our planet’s freedoms. 


Wednesday 16 December 2009,

Many if not most, fellow milblogs -- including This Ain't Hell, From My Position, Miss Ladybug, Boston Maggie, Grim's Hall, and those participating in the Wednesday Hero program -- are going silent for the day. Some are choosing to go silent for a longer period of time. This blog will resume operations on Monday December 21, 2009.

The reason for this is two-fold.

First, milblogs are facing an increasingly hostile environment from within the military. While senior leadership has embraced blogging and social media, many field grade officers and senior NCOs do not embrace the concept. From general apathy in not wanting to deal with the issue to outright hostility to it, many commands are not only failing to support such activities, but are aggressively acting against active duty milbloggers, milspouses, and others. The number of such incidents appears to be growing, with milbloggers receiving reprimands, verbal and written, not only for their activities but those of spouses and supporters.

The catalyst has been the treatment of milblogger C.J. Grisham of A Soldier's Perspective. C.J. has earned accolades and respect, from the White House on down for his honest, and sometimes blunt, discussion of issues -- particularly PTSD. In the last few months, C.J. has seen an issue with a local school taken to his command who failed to back him, and has even seen his effort to deal with PTSD, and lead his men in same by example, used against him as a part of this. Ultimately, C.J. has had to sell his blog to help raise funds for his defense in this matter.

An excellent story on the situation with C.J. can be found at Military Times: While there have been new developments, the core problem remains, and C.J. is having to raise funds to cover legal expenses to protect both his good name and his career.

One need only look at the number of blogs by active duty military in combat zones and compare it to just a few years ago to see the chilling effect that is taking place.

Milblogs have been a vital link in getting accurate news and information about the military, and military operations, to the public. They have provided vital context and analysis on issues critical to operations and to the informed electorate critical to the Republic.

On Wednesday 16 December, readers will have the chance to imagine a world without milblogs, and to do something about it. Those participating are urging their readers to contact their elected representatives in Congress, and to let their opinions be known to them and to other leaders in Washington.

Some milblogs will remain silent for several days; some just for the day. All have agreed to keep the post about the silence and C.J. at the top of their blogs until Friday 18 December.

The issues go beyond C.J., and deserve careful consideration and discussion. We hope that you will cover this event, and explore the issues that lie at the heart of the matter. Contact the milbloggers in your area or that you know, and hear the story that lies within.

A Partial List of Participating Blogs:

This Ain't Hell

Boston Maggie
Miss Ladybug
Drunken Wisdom
Grim's Hall
From my position
CDR Salamander

Haze Gray and Underway!

Two cartoonists join in!

Private Murphy
Delta Bravo Sierra

Check them out as well...

If you wish to donate to CJ's defense fund, please use the following address, or click the link below. He's in a serious battle against a serious foe. Read the article to find out all about it.

Grisham Legal Fund
c/o Redstone Federal Credit Union
220 Wynn Drive
Huntsville, AL 35893

Please write "Grisham Legal Fund" in the memo line if you use this option.

Milblogs have been a vital link in getting accurate news and information about the military, and military operations, to you. Today, many milblogs are gone and others are under attack from within and without. Today, you have the chance to imagine a world without milblogs, and to do something about it. Make your voice heard by writing your congressional representatives and others, and by making donations as you see fit.

The battle for freedom of speech and the marketplace of ideas is fought on many fronts and in many ways. Without your help, the battle may well be lost.

14 December 2009

Got the power...

Just because I love the M1A2.

Merry Christmas

09 December 2009

Now what...

The President finally made a “decision” on Afghanistan.  Surprisingly, it is very much like the initial recommendation from Gen. Stanley McChrystal.  We will augment our forces in Afghanistan by nearly 40,000 troops, almost two full divisions, and seek almost 10,000 troops from contributing allies.  Recall, this conflict – which started in 2001 – is a NATO operation under Article 5, mutual self defense.


The war was originally executed in a proxy fashion, with indigenous militias, CIA operatives and SOCOM forces.  In fact, Afghanistan was won with only 1300 US troops deployed and no allied help.  We only increased our troop levels to more than 30,000 in 2008.


In essence, we held Afghanistan and maintained control with a fractional force through critical elections and numerous fighting seasons with less than a full division.  This troop level was actually lower than some provinces in the Iraq conflict. 


Now we will see troop levels in the AOR at or near 100,000 in 2010.  This is meant to be a surge through at least July of 2011, many – including myself – will criticize the President for announcing an end date to this effort.  Whether this will result in a successful timeline is unclear.  Our enemy remains elusive, able to melt across various borders and gaining support from numerous proxy players, such as Iran.  There are a host of those with criticism of our strategy, however, Afghanistan is not Iraq, there is no centralized ruling party – nor has there ever been a central government in this tribal nation.


Afghanistan is also not Vietnam.  There is no superpower supporting the opposing side nor are there large standing armies in place.  What we found in the country was a failed state – a victim of having limited natural resources (and thus no national economy).  Afghanistan has also suffered almost continual warfare since the 1970s and a narcotics based agriculture – in which farmers benefit little.


So the question remains, now what?  There are three critical needs.  Establishment of a viable national, central Afghan security force is vital.  Think cavalry in the old west of the United States.  Secondly, the role of the central government must be clarified with some version of power sharing with local tribal leaders.  The central government’s role must be the allocation of resources and fostering of trade and industry.  Finally, some policy which permits recognition of differences of faith without allowing the Taliban to regain control to the extent they had prior to 2001.


This is a huge task.  One which will require more than eighteen months.


06 November 2009

One Dad's Opinion: Generation Rescue: A Timeline...

Just some backstory on the dangerous "grass roots" group known as Generation Rescue. A collection of hysterical, non-science anti-vaccinationists who are driven by emotion (note - feelings about ones children will drive parents to do anything, even if it's wrong).

One Dad's Opinion: Generation Rescue: A Timeline

Fort Hood...

Yesterday we lost soldiers, murdered by a fellow soldier - and no less an officer, medical practioner and psychiatrist.  The actions by the officer involved have brought tragedy and shame to the military.  It continues to underscore how the poison of mental illness, including irrational religious belief, can overcome education and reason.  My heart goes out to the families of the fallen and those wounded by this despicable act. 

09 October 2009


Holy smoke. I have heard of unwarranted accolades, but this is entirely
ridiculous. One speech in Egypt does not a peace prize make. I like the
President, but this is absurd. Once again, we are witness to the further
politicization of the Peace Prize. To place Obama with the likes of Sadat
and Begin is unthinkable.

The United States radically revamed its awarding of the Medal of Honor from
Civil War handouts to rigorous, vetted and deserving selection processes. I
am frankly at a loss.

-----Original Message-----
From: The Huffington Post [mailto:dailybrief@huffingtonpost.com]
Sent: Friday, October 09, 2009 6:35 AM
Subject: ALERT: Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize

politics alerts

October 09, 2009


Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize

President Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for "his
extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation
between peoples," the Norwegian Nobel Committee said, citing his outreach to
the Muslim world and attempts to curb nuclear proliferation.

The stunning choice made Obama the third sitting U.S. president to win the
Nobel Peace Prize and shocked Nobel observers because Obama took office less
than two weeks before the Feb. 1 nomination deadline. Obama's name had been
mentioned in speculation before the award but many Nobel watchers believed
it was too early to award the president.



08 October 2009

Crossing the line...

I run the header of Day by Day Cartoons by Chris Muir because I like his art, generally agree with the premise of the cartoon and have actively supported his work financially. I am not, however, very fond of the most recent strip detailing salacious attributes to Obama political appointee Kevin Jennings.

Claims made by various pundits on media outlets, like FOX and CNN, have been proven to be incorrect and exaggerated. Media Matters details the pivotal issue around a self reported event by Mr. Jennings which occurred early in his teaching career. This is a baseless measure for pursuing his resignation. Whether he is qualified to hold the post by virtue of academic or experiential qualifications is a different matter.

A person’s sexual orientation should generally be off limits. There are boundaries – pedophiles are clearly a category in which orientation should be considered disqualifying.

What concerns me is the role these “czar’s” play in policy development. Having known a number of political appointees, I have found them to be a mixed bag. In areas requiring highly specialized knowledge, they tend to be well qualified and provide value to the nation. In roles in which their position is simply to maintain the administration’s philosophy, I have found them to be negative influences on their organization, and by extension the nation.

I would like to see more accountability from our government and much better transparency. I trust the government to act in my best interests and spend my money wisely, both for today and tomorrow.

30 September 2009

About time...

I am in part of the DoD which deals with acquisition. For any fans of history, the Navy A12 fighter was one of the greatest disasters of DoD acquisition and heralded a wave of reform and reorganization. Now we are seeing aspects of real reform in the field. The M-ATV is a vast improvement over the unwieldy and far too heavy MRAPs in the Iraqi theater. Although the MRAPs were near invulnerable, they lacked maneuverability, could not cross some roads and limited quick response.

The newest and most effective wave of acquisitions are developed from battlefield needs, frequently can be filled with COTS (commercial off the shelf) gear and don't take years to deploy. The news of the entry into the Afghanistan theater of the M-ATV will be welcome news to troops who are seeing a substantial uptick in roadside bombings.

From: info106@info.govdelivery.com [mailto:info106@info.govdelivery.com] On Behalf Of American Forces Press Service
Sent: Wednesday, September 30, 2009 4:17 PM
Subject: New Protective Vehicles Head to Afghanistan

New Protective Vehicles Head to Afghanistan
Wed, 30 Sep 2009 16:11:00 -0500

New Protective Vehicles Head to Afghanistan Overnight

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 30, 2009 - The first parcel of an influx of vehicles designed to protect troops from deadly roadside bombs is expected to arrive overnight in Afghanistan, a Defense Department spokesman said today.

The expected delivery comes soon after the department awarded an order for more than 6,600 of the mine-resistant, ambush-protected all-terrain vehicles -- known as M-ATVs -- to be fielded over the next year.

"That is just the first wave of a massive production and transportation program that will see at least 6,644 of these life-saving vehicles delivered to our forces in Afghanistan over the next year or so, making it one of the fastest and highest-priority acquisition programs in the history of the Defense Department," Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters today.

Three M-ATVs were loaded onto a C-17 and four onto a C-5 at the Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., yesterday and flown to Afghanistan. Morrell characterized the shipment as an "extraordinary achievement" considering that the contract for production of these highly maneuverable armored trucks was awarded to the Oshkosh Corp. just three months ago.

Conventional MRAP vehicles feature a V-shaped hull to deflect roadside bombs, and are proven to be lifesavers on the battlefield. The M-ATV provides troops a smaller and more maneuverable vehicle that can travel off-road and navigate Afghanistan's difficult, mountainous terrain, Marine Corps Systems Command officials said.

Morrell said the department would like the M-ATVs to have an effect in Afghanistan similar to the one that MRAPs had when they were delivered en masse to Iraq, leading to a reduction in casualties resulting from roadside bombs.

"These new vehicles are urgently needed, because improvised explosive devices are claiming the lives of more U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan than ever before," he said. "The hope is that the M-ATVs will have the same impact in Afghanistan as the MRAPs did in Iraq, providing our troops the best counter-IED protection money can buy so that they can defeat the terrorist networks responsible for planting these bombs, and ultimately win the trust and confidence of the Afghan people."

The M-ATV supports small-unit combat operations in highly restricted rural, mountainous and urban environments that include mounted patrols, reconnaissance, security, convoy protection, communications, command and control, and combat service support. It is designed to replace the up-armored Humvee in Afghanistan. The M-ATV will carry up to five personnel: four plus a gunner.

Morrell added that the vehicle has captured the attention of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who previously made it a personal mission to oversee the expedited fielding of the MRAP vehicle in Iraq.

"With so much riding on this program, of course Secretary Gates will be watching it like a hawk in the coming months, just as he did the MRAPs," Morrell said.

Related Articles:
First M-ATVs Deploy to Afghanistan

25 September 2009

Foiled again...

The threat to the United States continues to exist, relatively unabated.  The recent spate of news regarding foiled plots is likely partly intentional.  I would hope that the current administration is reminding our enemies that we will not relax our efforts to eliminate the threat of terrorist attack.  Despite the grim news from Afghanistan, it is likely a good sign as it will force the administration and its allies to get serious about dealing with the nearly ungovernable region of the world.

FBI, Navy Foiled Alleged Terror Plot on Quantico
Fri, 25 Sep 2009 14:50:00 -0500

FBI, Navy Foiled Alleged Terror Plot on Quantico

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 25, 2009 - An indictment handed down yesterday in a North Carolina federal court charges three men with plotting to attack Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., with the intent to murder U.S. military personnel.

The men -- two American citizens and a legal U.S. resident from Kosovo – are Daniel Patrick Boyd, 39; his son, Zakariya Boyd, 20; and Kosovo native Hysen Sherifi, 24, according to Justice Department and Marine Corps news releases.

The three allegedly were involved in a plot to procure maps of the base and assemble weapons as a precursor to an attack, the releases say. They also are named with four other men -- including another Boyd son, Dylan, 22 -- in a sealed indictment July 22 for alleged involvement in a conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, as well as conspiracy to murder, kidnap, maim and injure persons abroad, the releases say.

Agents from the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and Quantico's headquarters' staff collaborated on an investigation that uncovered the alleged plot at the base.

"We have been in close coordination with NCIS and FBI agents and other officials throughout the Boyd investigation," Quantico's base commander Marine Col. Dan Choike said in a Marine Corps news release.

"We have ensured that the safety and protection of our Marines, their families and civilians who call Quantico home, received our first and absolute attention," Choike said. "That attention in all matters continues to be our main focus."

Others indicted in the alleged broader terrorism activities include:

-- Anes Subasic, 33, a naturalized U.S. citizen;

-- Mohammad Omar Aly Hassan, 22, a U.S. citizen; and

-- Ziyad Yaghi, 21, a U.S. citizen.

All seven men are residents of North Carolina.

The defendants were arrested July 27 at various locations. All are being held without bond.

"These charges hammer home the point that terrorists and their supporters are not confined to the remote regions of some far-away land, but can grow and fester right here at home," U.S. Attorney George E.B. Holding said in the Justice Department news release.



16 September 2009

The greatest sacrifice...

The Medal of Honor, MOH, in its current form represents the highest level of sacrifice a citizen can make.  What has always struck me about this award is the simple bravery which was exhibited by a member of the armed forces in the face of overwhelming danger and chaos. 
- CD

Obama to Award Medal of Honor to Soldier
Wed, 16 Sep 2009 11:31:00 -0500

Obama to Award Medal of Honor to Soldier

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16, 2009 - President Barack Obama is scheduled tomorrow night to award the Medal of Honor to Army Sgt. 1st Class Jared C. Monti at a White House ceremony.

The ceremony will mark Obama's first award of the nation's highest military honor, and the sixth Medal of Honor awarded since Sept. 11, 2001.

Obama will present the award posthumously to Monti's family. His parents, Paul and Janet Monti, are scheduled to accept the award. He also is survived by a brother, sister and niece.

Monti, of Raynham, Mass., was 30 when he was killed June 21, 2006, in a firefight in Gowardesh, Afghanistan, near the Pakistan border. He was assigned to the 10th Mountain Division's 3rd Squadron, 71st Calvary, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, out of Fort Drum, N.Y.

Monti enlisted in March 1993 and attended basic training and advanced individual training at Fort Sill, Okla. His military honors include the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, five Army Commendation Medals, four Army Achievement Medals, three Good Conduct Medals and three National Defense Service Medals.

He was posthumously promoted to sergeant first class.

The Medal of Honor is awarded to servicemembers who distinguish themselves conspicuously by gallantry above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in military action against an enemy of the United States.

The award for extraordinary merit has been bestowed on 3,447 men and one woman since President Abraham Lincoln signed it into law Dec. 21, 1861. Five servicemembers have received the Medal of Honor -- all posthumously -- for service since 9/11.

Related Sites:
Special Report: Medal of Honor

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08 September 2009

Latest to go...

A long time ago I took up a direct commission in the Navy Reserve.  It was 1997.  The internet boom was in full swing, Clinton was POTUS and it looked like most of the free world would continue to expand and things would chill out. 


That was not to be the case.  The USS COLE (DDG 67) was bombed in Aden harbor, our embassies in Africa were attacked and things just went south from there.  As a consequence, I was shocked (but perhaps not surprised) when the World Trade Center was attacked almost eight years ago. 


At that time I was the CO (commanding officer) of a maintenance unit in Norfolk, Virginia.  A lot of my sailors were recalled to active duty and assigned to security across military facilities around the nation.  What many people fail to remember is that until 2001, almost all military installations were open bases.  That is almost anyone was permitted to drive around on base, with a few exceptions.   I was turned away from Fort Knox when I asked to conduct a spot citizen’s inspection.


I was an officer with NPS (no prior service) at the time.  As part of my community, we were rotated through various schools, training evolutions and assignments UI (under instruction) to build up our credentials and experience enough to make us useful to the Navy.


One of my very good friends, Steve Michaels, is now deploying to Afghanistan.  Steve is a great guy, a competitive marathoner, piano player, Eagle Scout and uber-geek (anyone with a masters in Electrical Engineering qualifies).  He is also dedicated to his beliefs and committed to our nation.


I spent time with Steve in New York at the New York Maritime University’s campus under the Throgg’s Neck Bridge.  It was for a two week course in basic naval engineering.  We were instructed by the saltiest of merchant mariners and billeted aboard the school’s break bulk freighter, the Empire State.   


Steve is an enthusiastic member of our nation’s armed forces.  He stayed the course when a lot of our colleagues fell by the wayside.  Spend some time reading about his experiences at Major FUBAR.


31 August 2009

Photos and dispatch from the war...

Michael Yon is a great writer who continues to deliver the ground eye view
of operations in OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom). With the renewed focus
on Afghanistan, it's critical to understand the political, military and
economic challenges in this important part of the world. Not the least
reason is its proximity to Pakistan (nuclear armed, Islamic, not too stable

The region has frustrated great powers for some time, Britain in the 19th
century, the Soviet Union in the 20th and now attempts to thwart the efforts
of the United States and the rest of the world from imposing some sort of
rule of law into a perennially lawless region.

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Yon [mailto:myonmail=michaelyon-online.com@mcsv63.net] On
Behalf Of Michael Yon
Sent: Monday, August 31, 2009 8:33 AM
Subject: Photos and dispatch from the war


I'll definitely miss being out with British combat troops. Great soldiers
who can always count on the support of at least one writer. The British
Ministry of Defense, however, needs a tune up.

Am back with U.S. forces and did three missions on Sunday. More on that as
time unfolds.

American and British forces are working closely together here. The
U.S./U.K. relationship in Helmand is extremely good. (Presumably elsewhere,
too, but I do not know.) My first mission yesterday was with a U.S. Air
Force helicopter rescue team to pick up a British casualty. The British
people at home should know that our helicopters will get their men and women
off the battlefields and back to the hospital in less than an hour, no
matter what.

Please see today's dispatch, wherein a British soldier who was watching out
for me gets his antenna shot off.

Very Respectfully,

Michael Yon

PS Please sign up for my Twitter.com updates at "Michael_Yon" (not Michael

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19 August 2009


Afghanistan remains a quandary.  The nation is bereft of any civil infrastructure, in fact, it never had any to speak of ever.  The countryside is demanding, landlocked and incredibly fracture with tribal rule the norm.  Combine that with a huge illicit drug crop and you have a recipe for chaos, which Western powers realized as they watched the Soviet army become bogged down and then defeated in the 1980s.  How should we approach this breeding ground for extremists?
The unseating of the Taliban in 2002 was brilliant.  The US managed a conflict with proxy players and technology to stunning effect.  The problem is that the nation requires billions in building dollars and a complete overhaul of its government if it is to maintain its progress.  Unlike Iraq, Afghanistan has no true national identity and no underlying rule of law upon which to rely.  One of my favorite writers in the field is Michael Yon.  He posts routinely from Iraq and now Afghanistan.  His perspective is often from the ground level - a grunt's eye view of the conflicts.  His latest dispatch identifies the plight of our most stalwart allies, the soldiers of the United Kingdom. 

From: Michael Yon [mailto:myonmail=michaelyon-online.com@mcsv12.net] On Behalf Of Michael Yon
Sent: Wednesday, August 19, 2009 12:15 AM
Subject: Do Americans Care About British Soldiers?

Email not displaying correctly? View it in your browser.
19 August 2009

Greetings from Afghanistan,

There is every indication that this war will become worse than I saw in Iraq.  Very dangerous here.  Too much happening to explain quickly.  Will require ongoing series of dozens of dispatches.  (Am on it.)  Would need 24/7 head-cam to truly capture this. 

Meanwhile, please see this very interesting dispatch: Do Americans Care about British Soldiers?

Your Writer,

Michael Yon

PS Please sign up for my Twitter.com updates at "Michael_Yon" (not Michael Yon).

Please remember that this website accepts no advertisement and is dependent on your support.   

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07 August 2009

Thus ends a hero's quest...

CAPT Scott Speicher was pronounced MIA (Missing in Action) during the Gulf War in 1991.  He was flying combat operations over Iraq.  A key installation in Iraq was named for him after the invasion of 2003.  CAPT Speicher progressed in rank, largely benefitting his surviving family, until such time as his fate could be determined.  CAPT Speicher was one of the critical missions of operations once the invasion began.  There was some belief that he may have been alive and held in an Iraqi prison. 
Alas, this fragile hope proved for naught.  His recovered and identified remains will no doubt find a special resting place.  More importantly, just as US forces conducted an exhaustive rescue operation for USAF CAPT Scott Grady, the persistent search for CAPT Speicher (and truly for all MIAs) reminds those serving that we will not leave a comrade behind.

August 07, 2009

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22 July 2009

Free, today only...

Chris Hoofnagle at Denialism Blog Blog points out a book review by Malcolm Gladwell  of Chris Anderson’s work.  In the article he posits that FREE will never be a viable price.  I concur.  For many who advocate letting advertising pay for everything (or medical savings to pay for healthcare costs), let me offer the following;


There is no free.  Anderson is capitalizing on the work and infrastructure which had a decided and measurable cost.  Anderson’s analogy of a “Freemium (minority pay, subsidizing majority free)” is perfect.  At sometime the whole of the web was built and paid for by someone.  Your computer was paid for and it allows all sorts of "free access", but you already paid for the computer, the access, the wifi card, the time to learn to "download". 


The argument can be expanded to almost anything.  There will be no free healthcare - it must be paid for by someone (perhaps the "freemium" model will prevail).  Public radio is not free - you have paid for it in a hundred subtle ways - including the purchase of a radio receiver. 


We are simply not recognizing the impact of micro-monetization and the value it brings to a provider.  Without middlemen and distributors, those content providers can reap their rewards directly, however, the amount that they reap - due to the new pricing model - is typically far lower than expected, but likely a more accurate representation of market value.

17 July 2009

Don't talk to robots...

There is some brilliantly creative stuff on the web, almost all of it free. Is this a bad thing?

08 July 2009


I have been woefully behind in blogging. I did update a few of my links, including the addition of a blog from an American Actress in London. For those in the UK and those who want to be, she has some very good insights on the cultural and lifestyle issues for Americans abroad.

An American Actress in London

22 June 2009

It is official. MCI is now my least favorite airport. A formerly graceful collection of partial circles on the Missouri plains, post 9/11 has converted it into a crowded, inefficient nightmare.

16 June 2009


I have added typepad, we'll see if it has value.

12 June 2009

Battle Du Jour...

I have spent some considerable time away from the blog in an area of one of my personal interests, that of medical ethics.  There are a number of excellent sites which detail the battles raging within science / evidence based medicine.  Given the pending debate over health care in the nation - it is worth making the rounds as several sites offer a professional view into the healthcare world.  I promise to return at some point to tackle the arising urgent issues;
1 - North Korea - bluff and bluster or doom and disaster
2 - The shrinking pirate problem - no news is good news?
3 - Why we need to rethink our weapons programs
4 - Obamaconomy - It's his to win or lose
I know I just overcommitted, but that's just who I am.

05 June 2009

Twit - blogging. Apparently I can now join the ranks of the hyperstimulated and twitblog via text.

01 June 2009


Dr. George Tiller, a Kansas doctor who ran one of three clinics in the United States specializing in performing late term abortions (post 21 weeks), was murdered in his church on Sunday.  The alleged assassin, Scott Roeder, is a 51 year old male with no immediate links to extremist "pro-life" groups.  This doctor had previously been shot in the arms in the early 1990s and had his clinic bombed by the self-professed "pro-life" movement. 
I am a generally conservative guy, some would call me a monarchist.  I am, however, firmly in the "pro-law" / "pro-choice" side of this debate.  The President stated that no matter how profound our differences, they can not be resolved with violence.  I agree with him in this fully.  What is most disturbing is that these social issues, abortion, gay-marriage and others seem to evoke such irrational responses from the advocates from each side.  Mind you, I believe there is a definable right and wrong for almost any moral quandary, even if the definition is "less wrong".  Requiring women to act in a subservient manner to men due to some religious tenet is wrong.  Prohibiting two consenting adults from entering into a contract making their relationship permanent in the eyes of the state and the public is wrong.  Shooting a person because you don't agree with the practice of their legal profession is wrong.
The spokesperson for Operation Rescue made a public statement denouncing the shooting, and disavowing involvement.  I can not help but find their words specious when they are couched in the following phrases, "we have been pursuing legal means to bring Dr. Tiller to justice". 
Ah, the mantra of the zealot - bring them to justice.
Sound like Al-Queda to me.

14 May 2009

RPG? What RPG, I'm holding that for a friend...

Naval forces of CTF 151 make a significant capture of a pirate mothership off the Somali coast. In this action it was the response to an Egyption ship which led embarked helos from teh USS GETTYSBURG and ROKS MUNMU THE GREAT (what a cool name) to discover the pirates' floating base. It should also underscore how tought this operation will be to sustain in an ongoing basis. The mothership was not much more than a small fishing vessel with a few small arms aboard. The pirates will turn out to be unemployed youth seeking to make a quick buck at the behest of some higher headman.
We can not employ guided missile cruisers to stop pirates. We need to deploy a small squadron of light craft centered around an amphibious ship, preferably an LHD. This would provide a platform for embarked helos, critical for identifying these vessels, and a base for high speed vessel response. With MARPAT (Maritime Patrol) overflights, we could provide sufficient deterrent for the far offshore operations of pirates. Additionally, the Rules of Engagement (ROE) should be modified to permit the use deadly force in defense of any civilian vessel under current attack.

From: American Forces Press Service
Sent: Thu 5/14/2009 11:39 AM
Subject: Combined Task Force Makes First Suspected Pirate Capture

Combined Task Force Makes First Suspected Pirate Capture
Thu, 14 May 2009 11:16:00 -0500

Speicher Search Details Announced

            The Navy announced today additional details regarding the recent discovery of the remains of Navy Capt. Michael "Scott" Speicher in Iraq.  Speicher was shot down flying a combat mission in an F/A-18 Hornet over west-central Iraq on Jan. 17, 1991, during Operation Desert Storm.
            Acting in part on information provided by an Iraqi citizen in early July, Multi National Force – West's (MNF-W) personnel recovery team went to a location in the desert which was believed to be the crash site of Speicher's jet.  The Iraqi, a Bedouin, was 11 years old at the time of the crash and did not have direct knowledge of where Speicher was buried, but knew of other Bedouins who did. He willingly provided his information during general discussion with MNF-W personnel and stated he was unaware of the U.S. government's interest in this case until queried by U.S. investigators in July 2009. 
            The Iraqi citizens led MNF-W's personnel recovery team to the area they believed Speicher was buried. The area where the remains were recovered was located approximately 100 kilometers west of Ramadi, in Anbar province. There were two sites that teams searched. One site was next to the downed aircraft that was discovered in 1993 and the other site was approximately two kilometers away. The second site was where Speicher's remains were recovered.
            The recovery personnel searched two sites from July 22-29. The personnel recovery team consisted of approximately 150 people, mostly Marines and other forces under MNF-W.
            The recovered remains include bones and multiple skeletal fragments. Based on visual examination of the remains and dental records at the site, a preliminary assessment was reached that the remains were that of Speicher. After searching the site another day, no further remains were recovered.
            On July 30, the remains were turned over from the recovery team to MNF-W mortuary affairs at Al Asad. The remains were then transported to Dover Port Mortuary at Dover Air Force Base, Del. They were examined by the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology's (AFIP) Armed Forces medical examiner who positively identified them as those of Speicher on Aug. 1.
            Positive identification by AFIP was made by comparing Speicher's dental records with the jawbone recovered at the site. The teeth were a match, both visually and radiographically. AFIP's DNA Lab in Rockville, Md., confirmed the remains to be Speicher on Aug. 2 via DNA comparison tests of the remains by comparing them to DNA reference samples previously provided by family members.
            Photos are available at http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=2934 .
            For additional information, please contact Navy public affairs at (703) 697-5342.

Combined Task Force Makes First Suspected Pirate Capture

American Forces Press Service

ABOARD USS GETTYSBURG AT SEA, May 14, 2009 - Ships from Combined Task Force 151 prevented a piracy attack in the Gulf of Aden, which resulted in the apprehension of more than a dozen suspected pirates aboard an alleged "mothership" yesterday.

The South Korean destroyer ROKS Munmu the Great and guided missile cruiser USS Gettysburg responded to a distress call from the Egyptian-flagged motor vessel Amira, which reported being attacked about 75 nautical miles south of Mukalla, Yemen.

Several assault rifle rounds and a rocket-propelled grenade round struck the Amira, causing little or no damage. A rope was thrown from the skiff in an attempt to board, but the attempt failed and the suspected pirates abandoned their attack.

Gettysburg and Munmu the Great launched their embarked helicopters which flew immediately to Amira's location. During its flight, the SH-60B helicopter assigned to Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron Light 46 located a small boat suspected of serving as a pirate mothership.

A Gettysburg visit, board, search and seizure team boarded the boat along with members of U.S. Coast Guard Legal Detachment 409 and apprehended the suspected pirates after finding eight assault rifles, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and a rocket-propelled grenade. All 17 of the passengers were brought on board Gettysburg for further questioning.

"This is another clear example of how coordination between the Combined Maritime Forces resulted in the successful disruption of pirate activity," said Royal Navy Commodore Tim Lowe, deputy commander of the Combined Maritime Forces. "It is imperative that all maritime forces continue to synchronize their efforts to deter and disrupt these unlawful and aggressive acts."

Gettysburg and Munmu the Great are operating in support of CTF 151, a multinational task force established to conduct counterpiracy operations under a mission-based mandate throughout the CMF area of responsibility to deter, disrupt and suppress piracy and secure freedom of navigation.

(From a Combined Maritime Forces news release.)

Related Sites:
U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet/Combined Maritime Forces

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13 May 2009

Hey Washington DC, don't panic...

Well, in order to insure that the nation doesn't get all panicky, the Department of Defense has issued a press release about some exercises over Washington, DC. This is to avoid embarrasment to the administration over the Air Force one photo op over New York City. The military is often involved in very complex operations and takes great pains to analyze and avoid "blue on blue" incidents. These are events where friendly forces engage one another in unintentional combat. There are a host of famous examples of "friendly fire" incidents. But the military considers the level of risk at much earlier levels. For example, erroneous identification of aircraft are a real risk for blue-on-blue actions. As such, the nation exercises routinely to avoid this type of error - for once an engagement takes place, the results are usually irreversibly lethal.
As a public service, I put forth the attached press release. No doubt this has been forwarded to the media, who are bombarded by the DoD with numerous press releases daily. Hopefully this will not be lost in the shuffle. However, given the proximity to its occurrence, the exercise initiaties on 15 MAY, we may be in for some panic.

From: DoD Advisories
Sent: Wed 5/13/2009 11:20 AM
Subject: NORAD Flight Exercise Planned for Washington, D.C.

NORAD Flight Exercise Planned for Washington, D.C.
Wed, 13 May 2009 11:17:00 -0500

No. 039-09 May 13, 2009
cellspacing="5" cellpadding="0" width="100%" bgcolor="#ffffff" border="0">
NORAD Flight Exercise Planned for Washington, D.C.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command and its geographical component, the Continental United States NORAD Region, will conduct exercise Falcon Virgo 09-07, on May 15 and 19 between midnight and 6:00 a.m. in the National Capital Region (NCR), Washington, D.C.
The exercise comprises a series of training flights held in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Capital Region Command Center, the Joint Air Defense Operations Center, the Continental U.S. NORAD Region (CONR), Civil Air Patrol, U.S. Coast Guard and CONR's Western Air Defense Sector.
Exercise Falcon Virgo is designed to hone NORAD's intercept and identification operations, as well as procedural tests of the NCR Visual Warning System. Two Civil Air Patrol Cessna aircraft, two Air Force F-16s and one Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter will participate in the exercise. Residents may see these aircraft approaching and flying in the vicinity of the Washington D.C. area as part of this exercise during the late night and early morning hours from midnight through 6:00 a.m. on May 15th and the 19th .
For more information on the Falcon Virgo exercise, please contact CONR Public Affairs at (850) 283-8080, or the NORAD Public Affairs Office at (719) 554-6889.

U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)

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06 May 2009

Another one bites the skirt...

A lifetime ago I worked in early satellite radio.  Not the current slick XM / Sirius hegemony we have today, but rather the content delivered via satellite to small stations (mainly AM) across the nation.  The format was news/talk with some feature and sponsored programming.  We hosted folks like Sonny Bloch, Gary Null, Jack Ellery, Chuck Harder, and others.


Suffice to say I quit when I discovered the network had been bought and was being run by Nazis.


True story.


Thus my fascination with the media was truly ignited.  I note today, while perusing Ad Age, that one of my few favorite cable outlets is changing its “branding”.  SciFi is becoming SyFy.  With all reference to syphilis aside, the rebranding is the result of the niche channel’s success.  The company, in a terse March 16, 2009 press release poses the usual reasons for making the switch.  Most importantly to allow for unique, and enforceable, brand identity as well as a growth towards imagination based programming.


I suspect we will see a change from solid, science fiction / horror / fantasy programming to one more skewed and demographically focused towards females 25-54.


It already is touting more reality shows, Quantum Leap / X-files like programming in its cable guide glossy section in the May 4, Ad Age.


I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.  It’s where the money is, and after all, not everyone like Lifetime, Oxygen and every other “niche” cable outlet.






05 May 2009

The Doctors Sheds its Last Vestige of Credibility...

CBS, in a desperate bid for ratings, on its medical equivalent to The View, The Doctors, is planning to put vaccine denialist Jenny McCarthy on its show. It will be interesting to see if any of the paid medical performers are willing to counter any of her non-science rhetoric.

The press release on the event is here. The show has been roundly criticized in serious medical circles and the show itself is as staged as any “reality” TV production. Each of the medical pundits wears a variety of lab coast, scrubs or standard “doctor casual” clothing. They all look great and present a beautiful multi-cultural front which continues to support their presumed godlike powers.

I think I will tune in to XM’s ReachMD, a serious channel with real topics on medicine and science.

27 April 2009

No friend of Frank...

My blog-friend, Boston Maggie , was invited to the Pentagon as part of a milblog team to talk about access with the respective service heads. I am disappointed to report that the response form the Navy was disappointing. She provides (below) some detail to her visit. The Navy presenter is ADM Frank Thorp, who is the Navy’s top PAO (public affairs officer) known as the CHINFO.

Let me be blunt, RDML Thorp blew it, almost as badly as he botched the initial interviews as an O6 regarding PFC Jessica Lynch's fate. I am continually amazed at how many flag and general officers seem to forget how important good PR is in today's world, even the small elements. You can bet that this meeting will be repeated across the net. Having been an individual to see first hand how a little news story can ruin well laid plans (Dixie Chicks), I am appalled at this officer's behavior. At the very least you represent the citizens of the nation (essentially his boss) and were due much more courtesy.

I am also disappointed in RDML Thorp as he has had a front row seat on many groups which have been analyzing the new paradigm for communication. In fact he sat on the Defense Science Board on this very topic in January of 2008. The recommendations from that board were to recognize the sea changes and take action now.

The amount of positive play that military affairs gets outside of the "trade" journals (Army / Air Force / Navy Times, etc.) is almost zero. What friendship does he expect to strike up with the perpetually anti-military NYT? The WSJ is more concerned about the impact of reduced military spending and could care less about insights generated by journalists like Bing West, Michael Yon and the like. And yet these are the very people who end up providing the feedstock for the main stream media.

The DoD and the Navy in particular do not get the new media. They almost had it during the Iraq war as they provided access during the major combat stage. However, once the tanks stopped rolling and the tough foot patrols began, their support dried up. Even professional journals like Proceedings have started to dip their toe in the new media waters. I am a minor league MILBLOGGER, but my perspective is first person and has been witness to some amazing events, which got no mention in the MSM.

I had intended to reprint the whole of her e-mail story, but will await her publishing it on the web. Suffice to say, the cat’s out of the bag and hopefully RDML Thorp will take a moment and reflect on how easily impressions are made or broken in our new viral, global media world

Until the military recognizes that they must pay as much attention to the small stories as the big ones, we will continue to find short shrift via official channels.