Monday, February 28, 2005

On this day in military 1942

On this day in military history….in 1942. The cruisers USS Houston and HMAS Perth are sunk by Japanese forces at the Battle of Sunda Strait. After the destruction of the ABDA (American-British-Dutch-Australian) naval squadron the day before at the Battle of the Java Sea, the surviving two cruisers were ordered to escape to Australia. The Sunda Strait is located between the islands of Sumatra and Java and connects the Java Sea with the Indian Ocean. It is only 30 kms wide at its narrowest point and has a number of small islands in it, including the island of Krakatoa. The two cruisers were attempting to escape when they stumbled onto a Japanese amphibious force attempting to invade Batavia. They immediately attacked the Japanese transports, but were quickly sunk after being stuck by Japanese “Long Lance” torpedoes.

The fate of both ships was not known to the world for almost 9 months. It was not until a Japanese troopship carrying former crewmembers from the HMAS Perth was torpedoed and the POWs were saved that some details of the battle began to emerge. The story of the USS Houston was not fully told until after the war was over and her survivors were liberated from prison camps. The Houston’s captain, Captain Rooks, received the Medal of Honor posthumously for extraordinary heroism. The crews of both ships are honored at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne, Australia.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Six Nations Rugby Round-Up II

This year's edition of the Six Nations Rugby Tournament is shaping up to be rather interesting. In this weekend's action, France lost at home to Wales, 24 to 18, England lost in Dublin to the Irish, 19 to 13 and Gli Azzurri of Italy lost in Scotland, 18 to 10. With the French loosing at home to Wales, only Ireland and Wales have the possiblity of a "Grand Slam", or going 5-0 this year. If Ireland won the Grand Slam, it would be the first time since 1948. If Wales won the Grand Slam, it would be the first time since 1978.

Both Ireland and Wales are 3-0 in the standings, France is 2-1, Scotland 1-2 and England and Italy are both at 0-3. England, Scotland and Italy are out of the running for the trophy and only have the "wooden spoon" to avoid this year. The next games are the weekend of 12-13 March where Gli Azzurri travel to England, France travels to Ireland and Wales travels to Scotland. This years winner could come down to the game between Ireland and Wales on the 19th of March in Cardiff. Although Wales looks good, I think the winner this year will be Ireland since they have always been up there every year. Hopefully, gli Azzurri can avoid the dreaded "wooden spoon" and win at least one game. I think that England will probably clean their clocks when they travel there for the 13 of March, but maybe they can pull it out against France in Rome on the 19th. We can only hope.

On this day in military 1942 and 1991

On this day in military history….in 1942. The ABDA naval squadron is destroyed at the Battle of the Java Sea. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese forces were running rampant throughout the Pacific. The Japanese decided to invade the Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia, to gain access to its oil and raw materials. The assorted naval forces of America, Britain, the Netherlands and Australia (ABDA) were gathered together under one command, Admiral Karel Doorman, to oppose these landings.

Small groups of ABDA forces had attacked the Japanese invasions at Balikpapan in Borneo and Palembang in eastern Sumatra, but without any visible effect. As the main Japanese invasion fleet gathered to attack Java, the entire ABDA squadron sailed forth to attack the Japanese troop transports. The ABDA force consisted of five cruisers and nine destroyers. However, due to the lack of modern warships (most of the ABDA squadron ships were World War I vintage) and lack of training time together, the attacks didn’t go off as well as expected. The Dutch light cruisers and a number of destroyers were sunk by Japanese “Long Lance” torpedoes and the HMS Exeter (veteran of the Battle of the River Platte with the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee) was damaged by torpedoes and retired from the battle. The only ships that were undamaged, the USS Houston and HMAS Perth escaped to the west towards the Sunda Strait (where they were sunk the next day). The HMS Exeter and the other two destroyers were sunk the next day also while trying to escape to the Sunda Strait. Only four old American destroyers (which had exited the battle early to refuel) sailed south thru the Bali Strait (between the islands of Java and Bali), evaded the Japanese squadron stationed there and managed to escape to Australia.

On this day in military history….in 1991. Retreating Iraqi forces on the Kuwait-Basra Highway are decimated by coalition air forces. As the coalition armored forces started rolling up the Iraqi flanks in Kuwait, the Iraqi forces started pulling back to Iraq along the Kuwait-Basra Highway. The somewhat orderly withdrawal quickly degenerated into a veritable “sauve-qui-peut” (a French word for “get the f**k out of Dodge”) and in a repeat of the bombing of withdrawing German troops by Allied air power during the Battle for the Falaise Pocket in World War II, coalition forces bomb, strafe and destroy Iraqi forces along the “Highway of Death”. After the war, about 1500 burned out and destroyed vehicles were found along the highway, but the number of Iraqi dead will never be known.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

On this day in military 1991

On this day in military history….in 1991. The 2nd Armored Calvary Regiment (ACR) attacks elements of the Iraqi Tawakalna Republican Guards Division and 12th Armored Division. After having executed the “Hail Mary” flanking movement, the US-lead coalition was attacking the Iraqi forces in Kuwait from the west flank. The 9 M1A1 Abrams tanks and 12 M2A2 Bradley fighting vehicles of Eagle Troop under the command Capt. H.R. McMaster were out in front of the main US force, scouting for enemy troops in a heavy sandstorm. Their mission was to locate the enemy and hold them in place while the heavier forces of the 3rd Armored and 1st Infantry divisions could come up and assault the enemy positions. Late in the afternoon, Capt. McMaster’s troops stumbled on to dug-in elements of the Tawakalna and 12th Armored divisions. Using their M1A1 tank’s superior war-fighting capabilities, the US tank forces proceeded to decimate the Iraqi forces. After 40 minutes, one US cavalry troop had destroyed an entire Republican Guards Brigade consisting of 37 Iraqi T-72s and 32 other armored vehicles while loosing only one Bradley fighting vehicle. The battle could be described like “shooting ducks in a barrel”. It was one of the most lopsided victories of all time.

An interview with an Iraq armored brigade commander after the war puts the dominance of the US armored forces in perspective. When asked about his units’ losses during the war, he stated that when the US Air Force started bombing, he had only lost two tanks after one month of bombing. After one hour of fighting with the US Army M1A1 Abrams tanks, he only had one tank left. The US Air Force likes to talk about how air power is the “do-all, be-all” of combat, but everyone knows that the real way to destroy tanks is with other tanks, or as they say in the Armored Cav, "tank-on-tank" action.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

On this day in military 1917 and 1991

On this day in military history….in 1917. The British give the Zimmermann Note (or Telegraph) to the US Ambassador to Britain. The Zimmermann Note was a diplomatic communication from Arthur Zimmermann, the Germany Foreign Secretary to Count Johann von Bernstorff, the German Ambassador to Mexico. It was intercepted and de-crypted by British Intelligence and stated that in the event of war between the US and Germany, Mexico would be asked to enter the war as an ally of Germany. In return, Germany would restore the lost territories of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. At the time, the US was trying to negotiate a treaty between the warring European powers and Germany was participating in the talks, not to find a peaceful resolution to World War I, but to stall the US entry into World War I. The telegram was the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back” as it turned public opinion against Germany and on 2 April, President Wilson urged Congress to declare war against Germany, which they did four days later. Yet another example of wars being lost due to stupid actions.

On this day in military history….in 1991. The ground phase of Operation Desert Storm begins as US-lead coalition forces invade Kuwait to remove the Iraqi invaders. In August 1990, Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait. Immediately, the US sent military forces to Saudi Arabia to stop any Iraqi invasion and also to get ready to remove the Iraqi forces by military means if necessary. After six months of building up the coalition forces, the air phase of Operation Desert Storm started on 16 January 1991. After bombing anything Iraqi that moved in Kuwait and Iraq, the US-lead coalition invaded Kuwait.

The Iraqis had expected the US to try a frontal assault on their forces in Kuwait from Saudi Arabia including amphibious landings. In order to play into these expectations, the US forces kept a large contingency of Marines off shore and along the Kuwait/Saudi Arabian border. When the ground phase of the campaign started, the US forces along the Kuwait/Saudi Arabian attacked Iraqi positions in Kuwait and US Marine forces acted like they would invade Kuwait from the sea. Both of these actions were to hold the Iraqi Army in place so that they would not react to the main US force. The main US forces, aided by new GPS technology, executed the famous “Hail Mary” flanking move where, instead of attacking the Iraqi defenses directly from the front, they moved out to the west into the “impassable” Iraqi/Saudi Arabian desert, turned to the north then turned back to the east to hit the Iraqi forces in the flank and cut off them off from the rest of Iraq. Aided by night-vision goggles and superior equipment and training, the US forces overran the Iraqi forces and took only negligible casualties (125 killed) while the Iraqi forces suffered (estimated) 100,000 killed and 300,000 wounded. On the 28th of February, President George Bush Sr. declared a cease fire after Kuwait was liberated.

Although the US triumphed during the Persian Gulf War, Saddam Hussein was still in power in Iraq and it would be only a matter of time before the US would again be at war with Iraq. That date came in March 2003 when President George Bush Jr. decided that Saddam Hussein had to go for the greater good of mankind and the US invaded Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Honoring a fallen warrior

Something has jolted Captain Holly out of his family-obligation-induced blogging hiatus.

One of the Army snipers that Kim du Toit adopted a few months ago has been killed in action.

Kim has restarted a fund he created to support him and other members of his unit.

Captain Holly is proud to support such efforts, and encourages you to do so, too.

Laws are for everyone, including CNN

This is too rich: CNN violated a Federal gun law while doing an anti-gun story. Triggerfinger and Smallest Minority have good summaries of the story and the legal aspects (note to self: Add Triggerfinger to blogroll). This is turning into a big issue; even the Professor has noticed.

I say fry 'em. Gun control is less about preventing criminals from getting guns as it is about harassing law-abiding gun owners. Welcome to our world, CNN. Maybe when you're facing 10 years in Club Fed for a paperwork violation you'll reconsider your slavish devotion to the idea of gun control.

But then again, since CNN is full of liberals, I'm not expecting much.

And while we're at it, let's make our troops use blanks, too.

A Marine 2nd Lt. has been charged with two counts of murder for simply defending himself.

I'm sorry, but when I read the details of the incident, I can't for the life of me see why he should be charged. Police are involved in shootings like this all the time, and for the most part they are justified. Considering the increased risk of death that our troops face on a daily basis, they should be cut even more slack.

There simply has to be some information that we're not getting here. Three possible explanations are:

1. The Marines have incriminating evidence that they are not revealing;

2. The officer or officers involved in the decision to prosecute are Clinton holdovers following their own political agenda;


3. The choirboy terrorists were relatives or friends of some powerful person(s) (ie, members of the Saudi Royal family) and the Administration is doing a quid pro quo to keep them happy.

Since the Marines didn't bother to even remonstrate Lt. Pantano for his actions until seven months had passed, I think that eliminates #1. And since I refuse to believe the Marines and the Bush administration are that politically stupid, I am skeptical about #3.

That leaves #2 as the most likely reason. Don't forget that Clinton was in power for 8 years, and during that time I'm sure a fair amount of Lefties came on board to help him destroy, er, reform the US military. By now they would be field officer grade (Major, Lt. Colonel, Colonel) and they would now be in position to pull off stuff like this. There's probably some pissed-off lesbian JAG colonel in charge of prosecution who is using this incident to stick it to Chimpy BusHitler and the NeoConFacists. If true, that would be the most disgusting reason of all.

Captain Holly will keep a close eye on this case.

They just can't give up, can they?

Having had their favorite anti-free speech bill shot down for the tenth year in a row, members of the Hate Crimes lobby are going to try another approach: Allow the voters to decide the issue directly.

Forgive me for yawning, but I've been through all this before. Back in 2001, after Utah Legislators sensibly refused to make concealed carry permits invalid in schools for the fifth year in a row, the anti-gun forces confidently started a voter initiative drive. And who could blame them for being confident? After all, the Salt Lake Media, the police chiefs, and the polls were all solidly in their favor. Even weasley former Utah Governor Mike Leavitt "expressed support" (natch).

Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the revolution. While the voters might have liked the idea in abstract, they weren't willing to sign the petition and the initiative died. It turned out that in a post-9/11 world, most parents didn't really mind the idea of a legally-armed principal or teacher in their kid's school. It's safe to say the issue has been settled for now.

I predict the same thing will happen with hate crimes. Polls show about 60% of Utahns support a hate crimes bill, but most of that support is quite weak. And once the LDS majority finds out that hate crimes laws are being used by militant homosexuals to persecute and prosecute conservative Christians, the issue will finally die the death it deserves.

For as Captain Holly has repeatedly said: You can protect free expression. Or you can "stop hate". You can't do both.

A new addition to Friends of the Warren

I have just added another fine blog to the Friends of the Warren. Put your furry, rabbit feet together and say "Hello" to the The Iconic Midwest. Yeah! Watch out Insta-pundit! The Warren and it's killer bunnies are hot on your heels!

Saturday, February 19, 2005

On this day in military 1945

On this day in military history….in 1945. US Marines invade Iwo Jima. When the US invaded the Mariana Islands during June-August 1944, they gained a foothold from which they could use long-range B-29 bombers and start the strategic bombing of the Japanese mainland. Unfortunately, if a bomber was damaged or had a mechanical problem over Japan, there were no airfields where they could land until they got back to base in the Marianas. Due to the distance from Japan, there was also no fighter cover for the bombers. To remedy this situation, the US decided to invade Iwo Jima (which means “sulfur island” in Japanese), a volcanic 7 ½ square mile “rock” within easy striking distance from Japan. Fighters based at Iwo Jima could provide fighter escort to the bombers and also have enough “loiter time” over the target that they could attack any targets of opportunity.

On the morning of 19 February, the 3rd (veterans of Bougainville and Guam), 4th (veterans of the Marshall Islands, Saipan and Tinian) and the newly formed 5th Marine Divisions stormed ashore. The battle lasted 36 days and cost the lives of 7,000 US Marines and another 19,000 wounded. The Japanese lost 21,800 men with only 200 soldiers taken prisoner. A quarter (27) of all the Medals of Honor awarded to the US Marines during World War II were for the Battle of Iwo Jima and of those, 13 were awarded posthumously. Admiral Chester Nimitz said that “Among the men who fought on Iwo Jima, uncommon valor was a common virtue”.

A memorial to the US Marine Corps is located in Washington, D.C. The memorial is a statue of the men who raised the US flag on Mount Suribachi during the fighting on Iwo Jima. For the US Marine Corps, the battle for Iwo Jima was the defining moment in the history of the service. If youare ever in Washington, D.C., take some time to visit the memorial.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Maybe next year......or maybe not

Many years ago, football and basketball were my favorite sports. But, when the Cap'n came back from Canada, he got me hooked on hockey and I've been a hockey fan every since. When I was single, I went to many of the Salt Lake Golden Eagles games in the old Salt Palace, but when I got married, I wasn't able to go to as many (lack of money and time). But, when I'm in the US, I like to take my son and heir, the evil Sith lord, Lord Weggie, to see a game. Here in Italy, there isn't a whole lot of hockey going on, so I haven't been following it much. On Wednesday, the NHL decided to cancel the 2004-2005 season due to labor problems. The owners wanted a salary cap like the NFL, NBA and MLB and the players didn't. They did offer a 24% pay cut, but still held out against the salary cap. The Cap'n might think differently, but personally, I support the owners' position. Whether that means that cancelling the season was the right thing to do, only time wil tell, but like every other sport with high-paid spoiled athletes, I thought that what they were saying was just a bunch of whining. Anyway, now with no NHL season, maybe the US will be able to field a decent team for the World Championships this year.

Update: Just like something out of Monty Python and the Holy Grail ("I'm not dead yet!"), it looks like the reports of the NHL demise were premature.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

On this day in military 1461, 1864 and 1944

On this day in military history….in 1461. The Lancastrians defeat the Yorkists at the Second Battle of St. Albans during the Wars of the Roses. The Wars of the Roses were intermittent English civil wars (from 1455 to 1487) fought over the throne of England between the forces of the House of Lancaster whose symbol was the red rose and the House of York whose symbol was the white rose (now you know why it was called the Wars of the Roses). Both houses were branches of the same royal house, the Plantagenet (sounds French) who traced their lineage back to King Edward III (if you really want to dig around in English royal genealogy, go to the official royal website,, and have fun). For Americans, it is sufficient to know that the English had their own Civil War that was not finished until Henry Tudor (of the House of Lancaster) defeated the forces of Richard III (of the House of York) at the Battle of Bosworth and then married Elizabeth of York, the best surviving Yorkist claimant to the throne. Aren’t you glad we have elections?

On this day in military history….in 1864. The C.S.S. Hunley sinks the U.S.S. Housatonic and herself in the 1st successful submarine attack in history. During the Civil War, the Union conducted a blockade of the Confederacy. The Confederate forces were always thinking of new and different wars to break the blockade, including fast ships and ironclad warships. One of the ways was to build a ship that would dive under the water and plant a bomb against the side of a ship. The C.S.S. Hunley was just such a ship. It was built like a long, cylindrical iron boiler that could hold a crew of eight (seven oarsmen and the captain). Propulsion was provided by the seven oarsmen who turned a hand-crank propeller. It carried an explosive charge that was attached to a 22-foot spar off the front of the ship. The C.S.S. Hunley would sail up to the unsuspecting ship, jam the explosive charge into the hull, and back away before the charge blew up. The C.S.S. Hunley was also the first true submarine since it used ballast tanks to dive and surface. However, it was a “death trap” for its crews. Five men died when the captain accidently dived with the hatches open during a training mission and one another occasion, the inventor, Horace Hunley and seven other were killed when it failed to surface during a trial dive. Although it had never launched a successful attack, on the night of 17 February 1864, it attacked the U.S.S. Housatonic in Charleston harbor. The explosion sent the U.S.S. Housatonic to the bottom in five minutes, but the C.S.S. Hunley also sank, although the cause is not known. In 1995, the wreck of the C.S.S. Hunley was found and raised from the ocean floor. All remains of the crew that were found were buried with full military honors in Charleston’s Magnolia Cemetary.

On this day in military history….in 1944. US carrier forces raid the Japanese anchorage at Truk Lagoon in the Caroline Islands. Truk Lagoon was the main Japanese base in the central Pacific and one of the major anchorages for the Japanese fleet in World War II. It was the only Japanese base in range of the Marshall Islands. To insure air and naval superiority during the Marshall Islands invasion, Operation Hailstone was executed to neutralize Truk. In two air strikes, the US sunk three Japanese crusiers, six destroyers, three other warships and 32 merchant vessels. 250 Japanese aircraft were also destroyed on the ground. The US suffered only 25 aircraft lost. During World War II, there were three surprise air attacks against warships in port. The British showed the world that it could be done against the Italian fleet at Taranto, the Japanese refined the idea against the US at Pearl Harbor and the US perfected the idea against the Japanese at Truk. As a result of the attack at Truk, the largest concentration of shipwrecks in the world are located at Truk lagoon. If you are a diver, this is your Mecca.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

My Kyoto Treaty Celebration

The Kyoto Global Warming Pact just came into force (or farce) yesterday and to celebrate, I decided to watch the favorite movie of environ-mental wackos, The Day After Tomorrow. All I have to say is, other than being a load of trash, how did anyone in Hollywood think that this movie would be a blockbuster? It seemed like the film was a bunch of unrelated events, strung together to make a film. One of my favorite "check your brain" moments was when the father tells his son to stay indoors and not good outside because it was too dangerous, and then he decides to travel to New York to save him. Oh well, if the film had been better done, maybe more people would have watched it, but luckily, its message of impending "doom and gloom" was lost due to how bad it sucked.

On this day in military 1804

On this day in military history….in 1804. Lieutenant Stephen Decatur, Jr. and a small group of men, retake and burn the USS Philadelphia in Tripoli harbor. In the 1700’s, the Barbary States of Northern Africa (Algiers, Tripoli, Tunis and Morocco) were semi-autonomous city-states that lived off of privateering, kidnapping and extortion in the Mediterranean. Both Great Britain and France more or less lived in peace with them thru military might and payment of bribes. Before the revolution, the US was protected by the British navy as a British colony. During the revolution, the US was again protected thru a treaty with France. However, after the revolution, the US was forced to fend for itself and the Barbary Pirates started extorting money from the US for safe passage of its ships thru the Mediterranean. At one point, the amount that the US was paying to the pirates was 20% of the US government annual revenues.

President Thomas Jefferson, when he was the ambassador to France, had always counseled against the payment of bribes/ransom since it would just encourage more attacks (where have we heard that before). When he became president, he refused to pay any more ransom to the Barbary Pirates and the pasha of Tripoli, followed by the rest of the Barbary Pirate states, declared war on the US by chopping down the flag of the US consulate in Tripoli and throwing the US consul in jail. President Jefferson sent the US Navy to the Mediterranean to protect US shipping. The US Navy set up and maintained a blockade of the Barbary ports. In October of 1803, the USS Philadelphia ran aground and was forced to surrender to the city-state of Tripoli. In order to keep the Barbary pirates from using the ship, under the cover of night, Lt. Stephen Decatur, Jr. and a small hand full of men, sailed the USS Intrepid into Tripoli harbor and set the USS Philadelphia on fire.

Although the US Navy kept the blockade up and fought a series of battles with the Barbary Pirates in Tripoli harbor, the turning point came when a force of US Marines and Arab mercenaries under the command of Lt. Presley O’Bannon and the former consul to Tunis, William Eaton traveled 600 miles across the Libyan desert to attack and capture the Tripolian city of Derna in present day Libya. When the pasha of Tripoli saw that he now had to worry about an overland attack as well as naval forces blockading his harbors, he signed a peace treaty in June 1805 to end the war.

Although the US Navy did most of the “heavy-lifting” during the Barbary Pirates War, the US Marine Corps came away with the most notoriety. Two important Marine Corps symbols came from the Barbary Pirates War. The first is the phrase “….from the shores of Tripoli” in the second line of the Marine Corps Hymn which refers to the US Marines attack on the city of Derna during the Barbary Pirates War. The second is the Mameluke Sword which was presented to Lt. O’Bannon by the rightful ruler of Tripoli, Hamet Karamanli. This type of sword that Marine officers carry today commemorates the US Marine Corps service during the Barbary Pirates War.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

On this day in military 1898

On this day in military history….in 1898. The battleship USS Maine explodes and sinks in Havana harbor which precipitates the Spanish-American War. In the late 1890’s, Spain’s empire in the New World was starting to come apart as more and more of her possessions wanted their freedom. The Spanish military was fighting guerrillas in both Cuba and the Philippines. At the same time in the US, there was a “battle” between rival American newspaper chains for readership. Since nothing sells newspapers like “bad news”, the newspapers competed with each other by printing reports of Spanish atrocities committed against the Cuban “freedom fighters”. Because American business had invested heavily in Cuba, the USS Maine was sent to Havana harbor in January 1898 to help protect American interests there. On the night of 15 February, an explosion ripped thru the battleship USS Maine, causing it to sink with 260 of her crew. Although the cause was not immediately evident, American opinion, urged on by the press, singled out sabotage by the Spanish as the culprit. A Naval board of inquiry later stated that the cause was an underwater mine. In April, after the US Congress passed a resolution declaring Cuba a free and independent nation, the Spanish broke off diplomatic relations. The US Congress declared war on the 25th of April.

After the declaration of war, the US Navy quickly destroyed the Spanish Navy at the Battle of Manila Bay in the Philippines and the Battle of Santiago Bay in Cuba, thereby isolating Spanish possessions in both the Caribbean and the Pacific. After the invasions of the Philippines and Cuba, the Spanish sued for peace in August, 1898.

The aftermath of the war was that Cuba became free and independent and the US gained the territories of Guam, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. Thanks to modern technology, the real reason of the sinking of the USS Maine has been found to be due to an internal explosion, most likely caused by a smoldering coal fire igniting volatile coal dust. It is interesting how just one unattended smoldering coal fire brought down the Spanish empire.

Trivia of Note #1: The Bugs Bunny cartoon phrase “You may fire when ready, Gridley” came from the Battle of Manila Bay. The US squadron commander, Commodore George Dewey, uttered this phrase when he instructed the captain of his flagship, the USS Olympia, that he could begin firing at the Spanish ships.

Trivia of Note #2: Theodore Roosevelt became a war hero when he lead his “Rough Riders” up San Juan Hill outside of Santiago during the invasion of Cuba.

Trivia of Note #3: The Spanish-American War was the first war in which the newly admitted state of Utah was able to participate. Batteries “A” and “B” of the Utah Light Artillery (commanded by a son of Brigham Young) participated in the Manila Campaign and the 24th Infantry and the 9th Calvary Regiments saw action at the Battle of San Juan Hill.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Six Nations Rugby Round-Up

For all of you fans of "a ruffians sport played by gentlemen", here is a recap of this weekends Six Nations Rugby scores.

France travelled to England and beat England at Twickenham, 18 to 17, the first time in eight years that France has won in England. From what I have read, apparently the French kicking game showed up for the match and England's stayed home.

Ireland travelled to Scotland and dominated the Scots at Murrayfield, 40 to 13. Everyone pretty well figured that Ireland would win, but the question was by how much.

Wales travelled to Italy and had their way with the Azzurri at Rome's Flaminio Stadium, 38 to 8. I watched most of thei game on the idiot box and the Azzurri just couldn't get things going. They did score a try when one of the players blocked a kick and picked up the ball and ran it in for a try, but after that, nothing seemed to work. Their kicker could have made it close, but he missed the conversion on the try and two field goals before the half. The Azzurri needed some more practice on tackling.

The next games are on the 26th and 27th of February. England travels to Ireland, France is at home against Wales and the Azzurri travel to Scotland. As it stands now, three teams (Ireland, France and Wales) are undefeated and three teams (Italy, Scotland and England) are still looking for their first win. I was thinking that Ireland would go all the way this year, but the way that Wales man-handled Italy and France going to England and winning, I'm not so sure. I predict that England will loose to Ireland, France will beat Wales and the Azzurri will win in Scotland, the first time for them.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

On this day in military 1945

On this day in military history…in 1945. The Allies fire-bomb Dresden. In 1945, the Allies were looking for ways to use strategic bombing to support the Russian’s advance on Germany but distrupting train traffic to the Eastern Front. Berlin and Leipzig had large train yards and were obvious choices, but since the Germans could route traffic to other cities (like Dresden) if the rail years were bombed in Berlin and Leipzig, Dresden was also targeted. Although Dresden had no major military industries, its train yards had already been bombed before, so it would not be the first time that Dresden was bombed.

The city was bombed during the night of 13 February and 14 February. The Allies dropped high-explosive bombed to knock the roofs off the building, exposing the wooden timbers inside and then dropped incendiary bombs to ignite the timbers, which resulted in a firestorm that amplified the destruction.

Many have said that there was no military reason to fire-bomb Dresden and that it was a war crime. Although the British denied it, many have thought that the bombing was in retaliation for the German Luftwaffe fire-bombing Coventry earlier in the war. After his capture during the Battle of the Bulge, Author Kurt Vonnegut was prisoner of war near Dresden during the bombing. He wrote about his experiences in the book “Slaughterhouse Five”.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Why North Korea and Lil' Elvis has nukes

North Korea just announced that they have "the bomb". Whether this is true or not, the Democrats in Congress will start hyperventilating and blaming the President for this foreign policy "debacle". To properly assign blame, we need to know why North Korea and Lil' Elvis has nukes. Ergo, this post by Liberal Larry will not only entertain, but also make things crystal clear on who exactly "is" the guilty party. Here's a hint: He has a thing about White House interns in thong panties and the word "is".

On this day in military 1763

On this day in military history….in 1763. The Treaty of Paris ends the French and Indian War. The French and Indian War (the Seven Year’s War for Europeans) was one of the first true “world wars” with fighting taking place over the entire world. The British got the ball rolling when fighting broke out in the Ohio Valley and eventually spread to Europe and the rest of the globe. The British fought the French in North American, Europe, the Caribbean, the Philippines, India and coastal Africa. By the time the war was over, Great Britian, Prussia, Hannover, France, Austria, Russia, Sweden, Saxony, Spain and Portugal had been sucked into the conflict.

Most of the fighting of the French and Indian War took place in Canada and the Ohio River Valleys. The decisive battle was the French defeat at Quebec by the British. The Treaty of Paris forced the French to give up most of her possessions in North America to the British. Now you know why Canada has a French-speaking minority. An interesting aside about Canada and the French. English-speaking Canada calls themselves “canadian”, however, French-speaking Canada call themselves “canadien” (Canadian) and English-speaking Canada “anglais” (English).

More interesting info about the French and Indian War. The war got started when General (then Colonel) George Washington was ordered to take his Virginia militia to the Ohio Valley and force the French out. The French had built a fort (Fort Duquesne) on the junction of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers (present day Pittsburgh) and Washington was on his way there to ask them to leave (this was back when war was civilized). The French refused to leave (sound like Monty Python?) and so he built another fort, Fort Necessity (close to present Uniontown, Pennesylvania), and waited. Eventually, the French showed up and he was forced to surrender. George Washington was also a part of British General Braddock’s failed expedition to take Fort Duquesne at the Battle (more of an ambush) of the Monongahela.

Another bit of military history. The French and Indian War was a very brutal war where civilians were massacred on a regular basis. The reason for this was that both the French and the British had Indian allies that were only too happy to kill women and children of their enemies since this was how war was fought on the North American continent before the Europeans arrived. Ergo, the "civilized rules of war" of Europe did not have much sway during the war.

The James Fennimore Cooper novel, The Last of the Mohicans, is also set during the French and Indian War in upstate New York at Fort William Henry. During the actual war, Fort William Henry was forced to surrender to the French and when the British forces left the fort, the French Indian allies attacked and massacred many of the survivors. The siege of Fort William Henry and subsequent massacre play an important roll in the story. If you desire a Hollywood/Cliff Notes version of the novel, the 1992 movie, The Last of the Mohicans (duh!) starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Madeline Stowe is a good start. I went and saw the film and thought it was pretty good with all the "killin's and scalpin'" going on. I told Cap’n Holly to go see it and he said that he couldn’t go without his wife and she probably wouldn’t like it so I told him to tell her it was “love” story (Don’t laugh. If you think about it, it is.) then she would want to see it. I don't remember if it worked or not.

The Weeping, Wailing, and Gnashing of teeth continues...

Wife of Utah Democrat Party bigwig Ted Wilson and Pravda of Utah columnist Holly Mullen has provided her snippy take on the recent failure of the proposed Utah Hate Crimes Law (see here and here for details). A clueless rant such as this one simply begs to be fisked, and Captain Holly is just the person for the job.

Mullen begins her drivel with this non sequitur:

The 1838 massacre at Haun's Mill was the perfect hate crime.

Acting on an order issued three days earlier from the governor to "exterminate" all Mormons or drive them from the state, a Livingston County, Mo., militia descended on members of the embryonic church, who were hiding in the little mill town. Mobsters shot women and children point-blank. They executed men and hacked them to pieces. In the end, 17 people paid the ultimate price for practicing their religion.

In 1844, LDS Church founder Joseph Smith suffered the same fate, assassinated by a mob at the Carthage, Ill., jail. Smith, a prophet and martyr to millions of LDS faithful, remains a timeless symbol of religious persecution.

Uh, Holly, why don't you actually read a little history before writing about it? If you will notice, in both cases the mobs were acting with the express (Missouri) or implied (Illinois) permission of the governors of those states. These men, Governors Boggs and Ford, ignored the laws about murder, conspiracy, riot, robbery, etc, when they ordered or winked at the mob violence. Do you really think that a Hate Crimes Law would have stopped them?

Strange that in the 160 years since Smith's murder - a relatively short spell in history - our state leaders just can't get their arms around a law to protect minority groups singled out for violence based on who they are or what they believe.

Get a clue, Holly. What happened in Missouri and Illinois was government-sponsored terrorism -- and a Hate Crimes Law wouldn't have made a whit of difference.

And are you now comparing today's Utah Legislature to Missouri mobsters?

The tables have turned, of course. Utah's majority at the Legislature - nearly 90 percent LDS - is well in charge. Hard as it is to recall the days of minority persecution, it's on their shoulders to try. It boggles the mind to know that they can't. Or won't.

Answer: I guess you are.

It boggles the mind how a second-rate writer such as yourself gets a regular column, but I digress.

Once again, a hate-crimes bill has fizzled at the Legislature. A Senate committee axed it 4-3 on Tuesday.

Yeah, so? And is there something illegal about that?

The most effective witnesses dazzled the panel by transporting it from what should have been a rational discussion of crime and its specific, hate-based motivations to a special Twilight Zone - a place where the "gay agenda" rules and homosexuals will rewrite our children's textbooks.

You know, considering how hate crimes laws are being applied in Sweden, Britain, Canada, and even Pennsylvania, I don't think this is very far-fetched.

Optimists had thought the bill finally had a chance. Silly believers in humanity, those optimists.

They were silly, alright. They believed that just because the Upper-Crust East Bench Liberals of Salt Lake County support something, everyone else should support it as well. Sorry, democracy doesn't work that way. We plebes down in the valley have a say in government, too.

A black woman testified how her home and car had been vandalized and tagged with racist graffiti.

Yeah, about 10 years ago. The thing that got her upset recently was the fact that someone had the temerity to criticize Martin Luther King. Or do you think that should be a crime, too, Holly?

A Latino Republican described a Hispanic man who had been shot and skinned.

And how is this horrendous deed not already against the law?

Senate Bill 181, tweaked and scrutinized by umpteen lawyers, is not about special treatment, extra rights or devaluing other crime victims. It has always been about increasing punishment for those who commit crimes with the intent of intimidating an entire minority group. Police would still have to produce evidence. Prosecutors would still have to prove a case.

I agree that it's not about special treatment or extra rights. It's about stigmatizing and marginalizing certain points of view, with the ultimate goal of criminalizing them. This is the reason why so many proponents of the Hate Crimes Bill say that we need the law in order to "send a message".

It's another way of saying they want to shut certain people up.

Based on the examples I've provided above, I'd say the targets of this "message" are religious conservatives, both Mormons and Evangelical Christians, who believe that homosexuality is a sin.

And there are times when Utah shows its weak and fearful side. We can do so much better.

And there are times when Utahns have to stand up to protect their rights. As you seem to have forgotten, Mormons were persecuted by the government because the powers-that-be didn't like their doctrines. Kind of like how the governments of Sweden, Great Britain, Canada, and Pennsylvania are persecuting Christians for their opposition to homosexuality.

I agree: We can do better. Let's promote religious freedom and free expression, instead of speech codes and political correctness.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

The Utah Legislature takes one step forward...

Freedom of speech won again yesterday.

The sighs of relief from freedom-loving people have been drowned out by the wails of disbelief from the Great and Wise Elites of Utah Society. How could this bill have failed? they ask. After all, it was supported by the Media and the police. Even polls showed that Utahns supported the proposed law by huge margins!

(Personal Media Bias Observation: On the drive home yesterday, listening to the radio station KSL at about 5:35 PM, host Scott Seeger let his bias show during a sob-fest interview with one of the bill's sponsors. He said "Senator Hale, why can't we get this law passed?" [emphasis added])

Supporters of this bill continue to make the same fundamental mistake that advocates of the gun-free schools bill made: They assume that because the Upper Crust of Utah Society supports a law, well then the common man must support it as well. Then, as now, they were sadly mistaken. (Ed: Come to think of it, aren't the Hate Crimes lobby and the Gun Control lobby made up of the same people? CH: Why yes, you're right)

Back a few years ago, when the Utah gun control lobby figured out that Utah Concealed Weapon permittees could carry in public schools, they mounted a furious campaign to get the law changed. They followed the same tactics as the Hate Crimes Lobby: Namely, get the MainStreamMedia to provide constant favorable coverage, round up some sympathetic police chiefs, release polls "showing" huge majorities favoring the law.

Well, polls don't vote. People do. And the people who bothered to call their legislator on legal concealed weapons in schools and on hate crimes overwhelmingly rejected the wisdom of their Betters and opposed the laws. The repeated defeats on the school issue killed that bill. Hopefully, this latest defeat will spell the end to efforts to curtail free speech via Hate Crimes Laws.

...then takes two steps back

The Utah Legislature is considering adopting restrictions on persons who protest at religious events.

Pretty much everyone agrees that this bill is intended to prevent the infamous street preacher Lonnie Pursifull and his ilk from bothering members of the LDS church at the Church's semiannual conferences in Salt Lake City. While I can agree that getting in someone's face and insulting their religion should not be protected free speech, I have a hard time understanding why they should be kept a certain distance away, or prohibited from handing out literature. And I certainly don't believe that they should be held civilly liable if someone doesn't like their pamphlets.

It's somewhat ironic that the basis for this law is a Colorado statute designed to prevent anti-abortion protestors from picketing clinics.

This perhaps explains why the local ACLU is squeamish about challenging the law if the bill passes (another explanation is that the Utah ACLU isn't very keen to take the side of the LDS Church in any dispute). A successful challenge could undercut their precious protections for abortion clinics, and in the ACLU's world, abortion is the most fundamental right of all.

In addition, this bill would be counterproductive anyway, at least for LDS people. The over-the-top antics of the street preachers in previous conferences had wonderful postive effects; they shamed many opponents of the Main Street Deal into supporting the Church's position. What's more, some moderate evangelicals have noted that their "outreach" (read: missionary) efforts to Utah Mormons were essentially destroyed in the angry backlash against Pursifull et al. Mormons who want these people discredited should allow them to speak as loudly as they wish.

When your opponent is making a fool of himself, don't stop him.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

On this day in military 1587 and 1807

On this day in military 1587. Mary, Queen of Scots is beheaded for her plot to kill Queen Elizabeth I and now you know why the Scots hate the English. The plot to kill Queen Elizabeth and replace her with Roman Catholic Mary, which is known as the Babington Plot, used encryption to conceal the contents of the messages from Mary to the conspirators. However, due to a counter-intelligence operation run by Sir Francis Walsingham, the conspirators were caught because the courrier of the messages was a double agent and thru one of the first instants of the use of cryptanalysis, the messages were decrypted. All very much James Bond, MI-5, cloak-and-dagger, hush, hush, nudge, nudge, know-what-I-mean stuff.

On this day in military history….in 1807. Napoleon defeats (barely) the Russians at Eylau, Poland. This was the first major set back for Napoleon and his army. After having destroyed the Austrians at Austerlitz (not far from Brno, Czech Republic) in December 1805 and the Prussians at Jena-Auerstedt (near Naumburg, Germany) in October 1806, he had turned his sights on the Russians. With the defeat of the Prussian Army, the Russians had decided that it was best to “run away and live to fight another day” and were retreating towards Russia. This allowed Napoleon’s army to enter Poland virtually unopposed. There Napoleon decided to take up winter quarters and rest his army. Unfortunately, the Russians decided that this was the best time to counterattack, and in January, 1807, started searching for a way to close with and destroy Napoleon’s army. In February, 1807, the two armies were again in close proximity. Due to the bad state of the Polish roads, the winter weather and the ease which Napoleon had dispatched the Prussians at Jena-Auerstedt, the Grande Armée was more dispersed than was Napoleon’s custom. However, the Russians where concentrated at Eylau and were ready to strike. The battle started on the 7th of February. Napoleon was desirous to avoid commencing the battle before the rest of his forces could be brought forward, but things got out of hand and the battle started in earnest when the French advanced forward to take the town of Eylau. The fighting went on into the night of the 7th and continued until the Russian forces pulled back a bit. The next day, as the snowstorms continued, the fighting started back up as Napoleon ordered a frontal assault. That didn’t go as planned and things started looking like Napoleon could go down in quick defeat. To avoid this, he sent his corps reserve (the VII) forward on the Russian left to relieve the pressure on the rest of the line. Unfortunately, due to the snowstorms, the VII corps veered off line and advanced straight into the Russian center where it came under fire from both the French artillery, which was blinded due to the snow storms and the main Russian guns.

The result was that the VII corps was almost wiped out. The Russians took advantage of the situation and attacked the French center. The French center started to give away and things were ripe for a crushing Russian victory when Napoleon decided to commit his cavalry reserve to save the day. This day, the French cavalry performed as was expected and were able to turn the tide of battle along with the timely arrival of French reinforcements. However, the fighting continued on until late into the night and when the Russians finally left the field of battle, the French were too exhausted to pursue. The French had won the battlefield, but suffered enormous losses and had failed to destroy the Russian army.

Not the best way to win over voters

Rocky Anderson, Salt Lake City's Mayor and resident Don Quixote, has decided that to get things done "his way", he needs more non-LDS Church members on the Salt Lake City Council. As such, he is looking for and opening supporting non-LDS candidates to run against those members of the council who are members of the LDS Church.

I think somebody in the Mayor's office needs to take him aside and tell him that doing what he has proposed is no way to win friends and influence people. Imagine the controversy that would arise if the LDS Church was doing the same thing. When people talk about "promoting diversity", what they are really saying is they want to force their minority views on the majority in the name of "diversity". "Rock-Head" is trying to build his own "People's Republic of Salt Lake City" and I hope he gets severely "spanked" for this.

Monday, February 07, 2005

A good laugh

I haven't been following the Terry Schiavo controversy much, but this post by Liberal Larry will have you laughing big time. Enjoy.

My Iraqi home away from home.....

I was reading some posts at Bigwig's blog (the one who started it all) and stumbled onto a picture of my "Iraqi home away from home" where I cooled my heels during the summer of 2003 after the invasion.

Saddam built the Al-Faw Palace to commemorate his victory at the town of Al-Faw (duh!) on the Al-Faw pennisula over the Persians during the Iraq-Iran War. In all actuality, he lost it to the Iranians first and then was able to retake it just before the end of the war. Anyway, the palace came thru the war in most one piece. The whole compound where the palace is located came thru in one piece. We just bombed the Special Republican Guard barracks, the building that housed the air conditioning for the palace, a bridge to the palace and sent a JDAM thru the window of a house where Qusay or Uday was supposed to have stayed. All in all, it was a pretty nice place. Unfortunately, when I go back, I won't be staying there. I'll be somewhere else.

The other oval ball tournament

Even as the US is going gaga this weekend over the Super Bowl (New England won 24 to 21), the world's oldest national sports tournament (since 1910), the Six Nations Rugby Tournament, got underway with a few surprises. For the un-initiated, the nations involved are England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, France and Italy. For the last couple of years, the French and the English have dominated with a strong showing by Ireland. Scotland, Wales and Italy have been in the "also ran" category, lucky enough to win a game. This weekend, Scotland travelled to Paris and lost 16 - 9 and Italy lost to Ireland in Rome, 28 to 17, but the big upset was England losing to Wales, 11 - 9 in Cardiff. This was the first win over the English for Wales in 12 years, so there was probably lots of drunken celebrating going on after the game.

Next week, Wales travels to Rome to face Italy, Ireland travels to Scotland and the French have to travel to Twickenham Stadium in London to face the English. Normally, the France-England game would decide who won the Six Nations Cup, but this year, both the English and the French have to travel to Ireland. If the Irish beat the Scots at Glasgow, and the English beat the French, this could be the year for the Irish to hoist the cup, which they haven't done since 1985. I guess buying that Irish Rugby jersey on sale when I was at Gatwick Airport in November was not just me looking for a cheap souvenir. So, instead of cheering Allez France! or Forza Italia!, maybe I should start cheering GO IRELAND!

Sunday, February 06, 2005

On this day in military 1941

On this day in military history….in 1941. The British 7th Armoured Division (“The Desert Rats”) destroys the Italian 10th Army at the battle of Beda Fomm. In September 1940, Mussolini ordered his forces in Libya to attack the British in Egypt. The Italian forces advanced about 50 kilometers across the Libya/Egypt border, stopped at Sidi Barrani along the coast road and started digging in. In December 1940, the British West Desert Force launched Operation Compass which exploited a gap in the Italian defenses at Sidi Barrani to attack the Italian rear. Not wanting to be cut off, the Italian forces started a general retreat with quickly turned into a veritable “sauve-qui-peut” (ever notice how words for military defeat are always French?).

Along the north coast of Cyrenaica in eastern Libya, the distance from Tobruk to Benghazi on the Gulf of Sirte is over 320 kilometers along the coast. However, across the desert, the distance is only 240 kilometers. The Italian Army was retreating along the coast road with elements of the British Army in hot pursuit. The rest of the British Army decided to take a “short cut” across the “bulge” to the Gulf of Sirte and catch the Italian Army before they could escape.

As the Italian 10th Army was traveling south along the coast road from Benghazi to El Agheila, the British 7th Armoured Division (11th Hussars) arrived first and set up a blocking position along the coast road to the south of Beda Fomm. The Italians encountered the blocking force and as they were trying to break thru, the rest of the 7th Armoured Division (3rd and 7th Hussars) struck the Italian left flank at Beda Fomm. At that point, being trapped in a classic “L” ambush on a divisional/corps scale, the Italians decided to surrender. Over 25,000 prisoners, 100 tanks, 210 guns and 1,500 other vehicles were captured by the British Army.

It must be a Republican conspiracy

If you've ever wondered why the Utah Democrat Party has been relegated to permanent minority status since the early 90's, this is a great example.

Imagine you're an advisor to a political party who holds virtually no statewide offices, narrowly holds one congressional seat, and can't even muster enough votes in the State Legislature to prevent the Republicans from passing any legislation they wish to.

So, Mr. Advisor, how do you keep your party from marginalizing itself even further? Well, if you're a Utah Democrat, you replace an ailing liberal state Senator with an even more liberal gay-rights activist, one whose principal claim to fame is leading the charge against a constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriage.

I can't believe the Democrats are truly this stupid. It has to be a Republican conspiracy.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Speaking Truth to Power

A US Marine General let the cat out of the bag: Killing brutal, repressive Islamofacists is fun.

Sorry, I just can't muster much outrage over this. I sure hope the USMC Commandant finds a pair and tells the Professional Whiner Class to screw themselves.

They let Kevin Costner in, didn't they?

(Drudge has a wealth of interesting items on his site today. The following three posts are from links found there).

Ward Churchill, the anti-American University of Colorado professor who described victims of 9/11 as "little Eichmanns" who deserved their fate, is apparently not an real, genuine Native American. Details of the controversy can be found here and here and here.

(The most entertaining background information can be found here at the radical American Indian Movement (AIM) website. While disavowing that Churchill is an Indian or part of their movement, the AIM leadership shows their loopiness by claiming he is part of a CIA/Richard Nixon plot undermine Native Americans. My head spins...)

In the past 30 years, there has been an explosion of persons claiming Native ancestry, mostly in a genuine desire to reconnect with their roots. But there have also been a few white "wannabees" who have claimed false Indian ancestry either to make a quick buck or to provide moral justification for their virulent anti-Americanism. Movies like Little Big Man and Dances With Wolves were made just for these types.

(My wife's deadbeat, 100% European cousin was one of them. He was so good at pretending he was part Lakota that he conned his way into participating in the sunrise ceremony at Arches National Park during the 2002 Olympics.)

This has been in part facilitated by an indulgent ignorance on the part of guilty whites, who refuse to show any skepticism towards Native claims of mistreatment, lest they be accused of "insensitivity" or worse yet, "racism". But it also has been caused by the tribes and Indians themselves. By unquestioningly adopting everyone who has some Indian blood in them and claims solidarity with their cause, they allow the Ward Churchills of the world to set their agenda and speak in their name.

Ward Churchill wouldn't have gotten away with his con job for so long if he hadn't been saying the things his Indian "brothers" wanted to hear. After 9/11, his hatred of America became a liability. But he wouldn't have even made it that far had they not embraced his revisionism in the first place.

It must be a conspiracy!

The perpetually clueless gay lobby continues it's march towards defeat.

I've said it many times before, but I'll say it again. If you're planning on radically redefining marriage and overturning centuries of tradition, the absolute worst way to do it is by forcing your views on an unwilling majority by judicial fiat.

I can't help but wonder if the Lambda Legal Defense Fund isn't secretly funded by Focus on the Family.

I'm glad she's not my neighbor

This woman has some real problems.

Okay, yeah, you could say that the girls were out a bit late. But for cryin' out loud, anyone with a brain could have quickly seen that there was nothing malicious or evil about what they did. The fact that the woman had to go to the hospital speaks volumes about her hysterical personality. The fact that she sued them speaks even louder about her principles.

I'm glad she's not my neighbor. What a b#*ch.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

The goose that laid the golden egg

This via Michele Malkin. Apparently, the Blogosphere's favorite gay "conservative", Andrew Sullivan, is going on a blog hiatus for a few months. At one time (during the war), I used to read Mr. Sullivan's blog, but since he always seemed more interested in promoting his lifestyle than being conservative, I stopped. However, I do remember him making his tele-evangelist plea a la Jim Bakker/Orel Roberts/Jimmy Swaggert, begging for money so that he could keep his blog running. I guess he was so successful at "duping" enough people to cough up the cash that he has decided to take that "exotic" European/Middle Eastern vacation. Hey Andrew, I have some advice for you. Europe and the Middle East in the winter isn't all that "exotic". You might as well wait until the spring/summer.

Anyway, that got the Great El-ahrairah thinking. If Andrew can do it, why can't I? All I need to do is post a PayPal button on The Warren website and Presto!, the money will start rolling in to the Great El-ahrairah Early Retirement Fund. Then, in a few months, I can put out a sad-but-resigned-to-my-lot post about how I'm going on a blog hiatus so I can go on a well-deserved vacation to Tahiti (Fiji? Hawaii?) and get away from the daily grind of blogging. Oh yes, and write that long-overdue book about, um, Belly-Button Lint and the Proletariat, yada, yada, yada, ad nauseum, etc. I just have to figure out a way to keep Captain Holly's worthless furry paws out of the "cookie jar" for this to work. If not, he'll probably vacuum up all the cash and buy some "gunz" or something "redneck" like that.

We can all give thanks to Saint Andrew of Lavender for he has shown us in the Blogosphere/Internet the way to financial independence and wealth. It's the goose that laid the golden egg.

Can't they do any better than this?

A Utah lawmaker has introduced a bill that would allow law-abiding citizens to carry a loaded gun in their cars without a permit.

Some of the responses from the anti-gun crowd have been downright idiotic. (Since Pravda of Utah colmunist Holly Mullen won't disclose her bias, I will: She is married to Utah Democrat Party activist and former SLC mayor Ted Wilson. Ed: But there's no such thing as liberal influence in the Media, and you're a Reactionary White Male Homophobe for even suggesting it. CH: Sorry. Do I have to go to re-education camp now?).

The basic gist of the arguments against it is that allowing persons to carry loaded guns in their cars WILL RESULT IN THOUSANDS OF DEATHS DUE TO WILD SHOOTOUTS DURING RUSH HOUR!! CHILDREN WILL DIE BY THE BUSHEL!! EVERY ACCIDENT WILL END UP LIKE THE OK CORRAL!! YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO...well, you get the picture.

Oh, puh-LEEZE! I have heard all this before, about 10 years ago when the Legislature liberalized Utah's concealed carry law. At the time, there were roughly 3,000 permittees throughout the state, mostly well-connected types such as anti-gun defense attorney Ron Yengich (known locally as "the poor man's William Kuntsler") and several politicians. A legislative analysis revealed that as many as (gasp) 10,000 Utahns would obtain the new permits if the bill passed.

This potential three-fold increase in the number of permits was greeted with horror by the gun controllers and police. Why, there'd be mayhem and death if the commoners were allowed to carry! Only "good" people whom the police had first screened and approved were wise enough to carry a deadly gun. If the concealed carry law passed, well, the police couldn't be held responsible for the inevitable, gory results.

Today there are more than 60,000 permittees, and there have been very few, if any, shootouts or road rage incidents connected to them. In fact, they've been quite responsible. And as the number grows, the absurdity of the arguments against allowing citizens to carry without a permit increases. Vermont and Alaska allow loaded guns without a permit. Where are all the road rage incidents in those states?

In my experience, if you give people greater freedom, 99% of them will use it wisely. The remaining 1% are either so malicious or stupid that they will abuse it anyway, regardless of what the law says.

Can't the anti-gunners come up with something new once in a while?

Duh! Ya think!

The headline said "Study: MTV Delivers a Diet of 'Sleaze'" and the first thought that came to mind was "DUH!". I wonder how much money they had to spend to come up with that conclusion. I guess the next "study" that they will publish will be that Playboy Magazine shows naked women.

On this day in military 1943

On this day in military 1943. The Four Chaplains of the the USS Dorchester go down with the ship. The Four Chaplains of the Dorchester, George L. Fox, a Methodist minister; Alexander D. Goode, a Jewish rabbi; Clark V. Poling, a minister of the Dutch Reformed Church, and John P. Washington, a Roman Catholic priest were crossing the Atlantic ocean on the USS Dorchester with troops for the war effort in Europe. The captain of the ship had instructed the troops on board to sleep with their life jackets since enemy submarines were believed to be in the vicinity. When the submarine's torpedo hit, there was mass confusion since many of the troops on board had not heeded the captain's instructions and were frantically looking for their life jackets. The chaplains gave up their lifejackets to soldiers who did not have any and refused to board the already overcrowded lifeboats, thereby sealing their deaths as the ship went down. It is said that as the ship sank, the chaplains could be see on deck, holding hands and praying.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

In the UN's eyes, there IS a difference

A high-level UN-appointed panel has determined that although the Sudanese government did commit mass killings, torture, rape and other atrocities, it is not guilty of genocide. But, to show that the UN means business (this time), the panel went on to say that what has happened in Darfur did merit trial in the International Criminal Court. Isn't this the same criminal court where Slobovan Milosevic holds his three-ring circus? No wonder the US and the Iraqi people want Saddam tried in Iraq, without the "help" of the UN. Remember, if you want justice, ignore the UN.

On this day in miltiary 1800

On this day in military 1800. The USS Constellation defeats the French frigate La Vengeance. The Constellation was the first ship to commissioned in the US Navy. It was first in a line of six, 38-gun frigates (Chesapeake, Congress, Constellation, Constitution, President and United States) commissioned by the new US Navy. Its nickname was the "Yankee Racehorse" due to it's speed on the water (excess of 14 knots).

It entered service before the Quasi-War with France of 1798 to 1801. This "war" was fought entirely at sea and was in response to the US trying to protect it's commerce fleet from French privateers. Its first victory was in February 1799 over the French 36-gun frigate L'Insurgente, the then fastest ship in the French Navy. A year later, the Constellation found itself off the coast of Guadeloupe where it engaged the 52-gun French frigate La Vengeance. The battle lastest five hours in the dark and at the end, the Constellation was victorious, although the French ship was able to escape in the darkness, badly damaged with many casualties. The Constellation also served during the Barbary Pirates War against Tripoli and the War of 1812 against Great Britain. The ship was decommissioned in 1853.