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May 2004 Archives

May 4, 2004

A Greater Victory

Looks like Michele has hit the big time; she's been linked by The Corner. Her work covering Rall & Wright (maybe they can go on the road as a hate act) has been excellent.

I just have to say: you go, girl! Keep the fires burning.

Sick, sick, sick...

I'm sorry, I really am, but...

This is just wrong!

Note: do not click on the link if you really like kittens. :)

Skirts are up, and so are revenues

Could it be?? Is this true??

'Federal Deficit Likely to Narrow by $100 Billion
Tax Receipts Pare Borrowing

By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 4, 2004; Page E01

Smaller-than-expected tax refunds and rising individual tax receipts will pare back federal borrowing significantly for the first half of this year and could reduce the $521 billion deficit projected for the fiscal year by as much as $100 billion, Treasury and congressional budget officials said yesterday. '

(snip)

'G. William Hoagland, a senior economic aide to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), said he dashed off a memo to GOP leadership predicting the 2004 deficit could be trimmed to $420 billion, a record in dollar terms but considerably lower than the White House's $521 billion projection.'

But still...

'Democratic and Republican budget aides in the House warned yesterday that it was too early to reach conclusions. Spending could still take an unexpected jump because of surging hostilities in Iraq. The improving federal borrowing picture, they said, may just be bringing the administration's $521 billion deficit forecast more into line with the $477 billion deficit predicted by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, Capitol Hill's official budget scorekeeper.'

I imagine that Terry McAuliffe is investing a lot of money in Pepto-Bismol right now. Heh.

Son of Thor

Rather a while ago, Jerry Pournelle helped develop a weapons concept called Thor. Basically Thor was a collection of meter-long tungsten rods in low-Earth orbit, each rod having it's own de-orbit package and guidance vanes. Whenever a powerful (but non-nuclear) strike would be needed, commands would be send to the appropriate number of Thor rods, which would de-orbit, then guide itself to the target.

By the time these puppies hit the ground, they've got several thousand feet/second kinetic energy each. You better believe anything hit by one (or more) of these is going to be wiped out, like a bolt from above. Or, like Thor's hammer.

While the DoD hasn't gone that far yet, it has developed what StrategyPage.com calls "A Deadly Bomb With No Explosives." (scroll down to the May 4, 2004 entry)

The CBU-107 Passive Attack Weapon (“PAW”) is basicallly a cluster bomb carrying several thousand steel and tungsten "bullets," instead of the usual bomblets. This results in a non-explosive, kinetic-kill weapon with very good accuracy, where the "bullets" reach speeds of up to 1,000 feet/second. The target is destroyed without secondary explosions, or any "leftover" unexploded munitions on the ground.

Wow. But, I still want to see the orbital version...

May 9, 2004

Losers rule, ok?

I'm sorry about the title but I love this article:

"US-Italian-Polish Offensive in 3rd day
From the AFP via the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)"

Think about it; the "polacks," the "better fighters than lovers," and the US Army/Marines, kicking ass and taking names.

God, I love this country! {chuckle}

EXCUSE me!?

If you have delicate ears, or are of otherwise of refined disposition, do NOT read the following post.

I apologize to my regular readers for the following language.

Continue reading "EXCUSE me!?" »

"SHE" is back!!!

Yes, that sexy, classy, and ever-fascinating blogger Rachel Lucas has returned to the fold.

Oh, damn. How do I celebrate this? The Green Party goober upstairs has already left for the weekend, alas. No one to human-sacrifice now.

Whoopsie. Almost forgot; there's a Gore-ian across the street. Scrump-tidillyumptious! Just let me break out the barbecue sauce... :)

May 10, 2004

Mil-hacker cyber Olympics

Wow. There's even a Super Bowl for hackers now.

Well, if you're a member of the one of the military academies, there is.

StrategyPage.com reports that "The fourth annual Cyber Defense Exercise (CDX) was held on April 19-23, 2004."

(snip)
"CDX originated over beers and bragging down at Texas A&M between Army and Air Force personnel as to who had the better cadets and developed into a formalized event by 2001, due in large part to the efforts of West Point instructors and the NSA. Each participating military academy is tasked with putting and keeping on line a set of Internet services on a network, including e-mail, a database, and on-line chat room. NSA organizes the event and provides a Red Team to attack and crash services, as well as operating a secure VPN (Virtual Private Netwotk) to connect the academies for the exercise."

Apparently there's some folks at West Point who would like to expand the competition to include public universities for a "NCAA-like tournament."

Speaking as a true geek, that would be truly cool. Speaking as a citizen, I'm happy that our armed forces are stroking their cyber-talents, especially in view of the computer-militaristic views in China these days.

May 11, 2004

The REAL obscenity

I got quite a bit of traffic a couple days ago regarding my little rant regarding the hypocritical hysteria over the Abu Ghraib "torture." Apparently at least a couple of folks found that offensive. Some of those sort of folks like to use the word "obscene" when talking about Abu Ghraib.

Well, they're full of it. They don't have the slightest clue what they're talking about. What, you want an example? Ok.

This is obscene.

In case you haven't heard yet, a young man named Nick Berg was beheaded on videotape, just like Daniel Pearl. Watch the tape. Listen to that poor boy screan as they saw his head off with a knife, and then hold it up in front of the camera. Then, think about the "naked butt" pyramid, and other "tortures" inflicted on the Iraq prisoners.

Then, after that, look me in the eye and tell me about the "obscenity" of Abu Ghraib.

What in the hell is wrong with these people!? How morally obtuse do you have to be to not comprehend that we are talking about two tremendously different ways of life here?

On the one hand, we have some idiot reservists who embarassed some prisoners, for which they should be soundly punished. On the other hand, we have sick cowards who don't even have the courage to show their faces as they slowly murder a civilian who never did them any harm.

The really sick part is that the looney part of the Left will immediately say we "provoked" this foul atrocity, because they are pathologically locked into a "hate Amerikka" mode that prevents them seeing the bloody reality in front of their faces.

Let me paste in a quick quote from Emperor Misha's excellent post regarding Abu Ghraib and the Berg murder:
"Now, first I have to say that it was, is and continues to be my impression that the idiots parading around in our uniform that did this are nothing but a bunch of sick pervs doing all of it for shits and giggles, and there is nothing at this time that makes me believe otherwise. For one thing, professionals would never EVER pose for pictures and distribute them to G-d and everybody.

However, and this is a big however, if you consider stripping people naked and putting hoods over their heads "torture", then you need to turn Oprah off, right now, and get the fuck away from the TV until you've re-acquainted yourself with the real world that we live in."

There are too many people who still don't seem to understand that there is, out there, a way of life which is devoted to the death and destruction of America. Those people need to wake up, and tell the world where the stand, because sometimes you just can't sit on the fence and hope the world ignores you.

Me, I stand with the West. Where are you?

May 12, 2004

Size Does Matter!

I orginally posted this on Dean's World while I was guest-blogging, but I like it so much I'm putting it up here as well.

This is dedicated to Anna over at Belligerent Bunny Blog, in honor of her marvelous "Arsenal of Democracy" series.

One of the more perennial debates in the armed forces has been size (caliber) vs. stopping power. This is why the US Army originally developed the M1911 .45 caliber pistol during the Phillipine Moro insurrection.

Today the US armed forces (as well as most American police) use the M9 9mm (.35 caliber) pistol. Interestingly enough, the Marines are looking at buying a new .45 caliber model to replace the M9. Sometimes, bigger is better.

There's a similar search going on for the rifle range as well. The Leitner-Wise Rifle Company has developed a kit that upgrades the standard M-16/AR-15 5.56mm (.22 caliber) automatic rifle to 12.7mm (.50 caliber).

Just for reference, the US Army Air Forces used .50 caliber machine guns in the classic P-38, P-47, and P-51 fighters. The Browning M-2 ("Ma Deuce") .50 caliber machine gun was the most efficient air-to-air weapon before the development of 20mm and larger automatic cannon.

The upgrade kit results in a rifle that fires what's called a "mini-50" round, which is shorter than the standard M-2 or Barrett sniper .50 caliber round, but still carries a hefty wallop. The resulting rifle is about 36 inches long and weighs between 8-12 pounds, depending on configuration, with a recoil similar to a 12-gauge shotgun. A standard 30 round M-16 clip will hold 10 mini-50 rounds.

Besides stopping power, a .50 caliber rifle makes an excellent anti-vehicle or anti-helicopter weapon, not to mention the impressive effect of an armor-piercing round...

Personal note: I do not, ever, want to be on the recieving end of one of these puppies...

There's a good photo of the modified rifle from StrategyPage.com here.

New Bio-Terror Weapon Unleashed!!

What we laughlingly call "responsible authorities" in Washington D.C. deny the following unclassified story.

A new threat is about to terrorize the MidWest: insurgent cicadas.

Yes, the Bush administration has once again lied to America, despite Dubya's complaint that "Rumsfeld never mentioned anything about any goddam cicadas."

But fear not, for Cincinnati has faced the latest challenge with a Rapid Response High-Tech invention: the Cicada Swatter(tm).

While the Cicada Swatter(tm) may look like an ordinary badmitton racket, that's a part of its 21st Century stealth technology. Don't be fooled by cheap copies imported from haughty, nuanced France!

Scoring (number of swatted bugs) is as follows:
- 20 swats: Hunter.
- 70 swats: Predator
-100 swatts: CICADANATOR

Now available at Cincinnati Walgreens and Krogers. Website (under construction) here.

May 13, 2004

They Bear FULL Responsibility!

I know this analogy has been drawn before, but I couldn't resist linking to the new trailer at apple.com.

From The Life of Brian, What have the Romans ever done for us?

May 15, 2004

Iron Blogger SUPREME

The Queen Of All Evil reigns supreme. She smacked down the puling upstart Ara Rubyan like a red-headed stepchild at K-Mart.

All Hail her (formerly) Red-Headed Highness.

Hmm... What If?...

Ara Rubyan, buttocks still stinging from a recent spanking, has presented an interesting possibility for the Democrats this year.

What if Kerry picked John Glenn for his running mate?

As I said over there:

This may shock a couple of folks, but I voted for Glenn regularly. :)

Now, if it were Glenn/Kerry, instead of the other way around, now... Heh.

Actually, Glenn is probably the only Democrat who could beat Bush at the flight-suit game: Marine aviator, ace, war hero (no "missing" medals or war crimes here!!), and the first American in orbit to boot.

I have to say, if he were (say) 10-15 years younger, and the Dem Presidential candidate, I would be tempted. Really, I would.

So, what do you think, y'all? Could a Kerry/Glenn ticket do it? Even more so, would a Glenn/Kerry ticket make you stop, think, and maybe putl the "D" lever this fall?

The phone lines are open...

May 16, 2004

Payback of a different kind

Chris Muir has, in his usual inimitable way, gone to the root of the problem.

05-16-2004.gif

Word for the Day

His Awesome Impressiveness, the Emperor Misha, has coined a delightful new word.

"Assweasel."

Sally forth, and enjoy the latest broadside from His Majesty.

May 18, 2004

Private Enterprise Milestone

We have a new milestone! The Civilian Space eXploration Team (CSXT) launched the first fully privately-funded rocket into space Monday in Nevada. The rocket was about 6.5 meters long, and reached an altitude of over 100 kilometers.

The CSXT received signals from the rocket while it was in space, then the rocket and the telemetry package descended under different parachutes. According to avionics manager Eric Knight, the team has detected the telemetry beacon, but haven't yet reached it.

Link cheerfully stolen from Dean.

While I am excited about this (and the X-Prize competition) as Dean is, we have to keep things in perspective. None of the new launch technology will count for much if we don't alter the legal conditions of space exploration, including international treaties.

For example: when an American Airlines jet crashes, AA is the party responsible; but under current law if a privately-owned spacecraft crashes, the launching country is responsible, so if the CSXT rocket had crashed in Mexico, the United States would have been liable, not CSXT.

Another problem is that according to UN treaty, there's no private property in space. Yep, that's right! There is, therefore, no way for a particular privately-owned company to protect their investment from the nearest greedy bureacrat.

If the Bush administration is serious about space exploration, they should concentrate at least as much on changing the legal sphere as on funding. If the money is flagged for NASA, I would say forget the money, and just fix the laws. The Bush administration is already under fire for Kyoto and the ABM treaty, so they might as well load for bear.

This is something we can all influence. Write your local Congresscritter, and Senator, and explain how you feel that the current laws are too restrictive to allow private investment in space development, and that we need to pry the direction of US space development out of the fingers of NASA.

If you want more information -especially for the above letters- here's some places/books to check out:

G. Harry Stine's The Third Industrial Revolution
G. Harry Stine's Halfway to Anywhere

Jerry Pournelle A Step Farther Out
Pournelle's web pages on space development. Use Control-F [find] "Space", there's no direct link.

The Space Access Society webpage.

May 23, 2004

Strength

Sometimes someone hits the nail right on the head.

Every once in a while, someone drives the nail right through the wood.

Bill Whittle is not only through the wood, he's out the other side and across the street. All I can say is read it.

Strength Part 1
Strength Part 2

I generally tend to be pretty verbose when I get worked up, but this work has left me speechless.

I repeat: read it.

A big thanks to Misha I for the original link!

May 30, 2004

Extra Credit

Wow. It's been a week since I posted anything.

This is not good. I won't bore anyone by posting my personal problems, but it's getting pretty hard to work up the gumption to accomplish anything, much less post on the blog.

Anyway, I'm putting this up to announce that Dean has asked me to return as a sem-regular (on weekends, or occasionally exciting topics of immediate interest) poster on his blog, concerning things scientific and/or military.

Hopefully this will get me fired up a bit, so that I post more here. :)

My Kind of Endorsement

Motorcycle group Rolling Thunder, comprised of 70 chapters and over 7,000 members, endorsed President Bush today in Washington D.C.

When Bush accepted the endorsement from group leader Artie Muller, the president joked "Artie, I thought you were going to offer me riding lessons."

The group organizes an annual Memorial Day gathering in Washington, D.C. This year (according to Yahoo! news sources) "The straightlaced US capital was shaken by the furious roar of 80,000 leather-clad bikers riding Harley Davidsons for the annual Memorial Day rally."

Rolling Thunder is dedicated to POW/MIA and veteran's issues such as better veteran's benefits, and volunteers to provide time, food, and clothing to local veterans and communities.

Bikers (and veterans) for Bush. Is this cool, or what?

vert.bush.motorcycle.ap.jpg

May 31, 2004

Zero tolerance, or zero fortitude?

Misha was way too easy on these guys.

In Yet Another Perversion of Justice from our public school system, a Denver girl was threatened with a knife, had her hair set on fire, and she was the one sent home!

I feel so much safer now, don't you?

Memorial Day

I'm taking the time to remember my father today. He fought in the Second World War as an infantryman. He was "just" one of the mudfaces.

Like many veterans, he almost never talked about what happened to him during the war. In fact, he only mentioned the war twice all the time I knew him. The first time was, well, a long time ago when my older brother, Glenn, once reproached my father for not going camping with him. Glenn was a pretty active Boy Scout as a kid. My father replied that Glenn "knew damn well he'd done all his camping thirty years ago, and he'd had his fill of it then."

The other time was when I quoted Heinlein to him once: "Get your first shot off fast. This throws the other man off, and gives you time to aim your second shot." Well, it turns out that's almost exactly how it happened. My father was on patrol in some European town when he came around one corner of a building exactly the same time a German soldier came around the opposite corner. Both were surprised. Both fired; both missed. The only reason I'm here today is that the poor German still had an older bolt-action rifle, while my father had his trusty M1 Garand, so all dad had to do was aim, and squeeze...

And that's what my dad did during the war.

My father, Allen Trueman Tompkins, was born in February 1925, so he was pretty young when he joined the Army. I can't ask him when he actually joined, since he died of cancer over 20 years ago.

So this is in thanks, and in memory of my father and all his brethren who suffered bad camping, terrible times, and death, all in service of our country.

I miss you, dad.

There's some other things you should see today. One of them is the prayer that Rosemary put up.

Another is the list of 72 reasons why the Marine Corps Moms find today especially important.

Finally we have a memorial from Sgt. Hook. If you can get through that list without tears in your eyes, there's something wrong with you.

About May 2004

This page contains all entries posted to The Gantry Launchpad in May 2004. They are listed from oldest to newest.

April 2004 is the previous archive.

June 2004 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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