Wednesday, May 31, 2006

You can't make up trash like this

This just in: A group of Dutch pedophiles have decided to launch their own political party. I guess the mantra of "trying to work within the system" got thru to them, so what better way to change sexual age of consent laws that to form a political party. It also makes them much more acceptable to the mainstream. Next we will start hearing about how they cannot help it if they are attracted to children because they are "born that way" (sound familiar?) so we cannot condemn them for being pedophiles, yada, yada, yada.

Needless to say, the Dutch, home to legalized drugs, prostiution and gay marriage, are shocked.

Fortunately (or unfortunately), this is only in Holland, but, you can be certain that pedophiles in America will pick up on this and run with it. You open the door for one group of perverts and the next thing you know, every other group of deviates wants in.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Another "water is wet" study

In what qualifies as the most obvious story of the day, researchers have found that when the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide increases, poison ivy grows faster and is more vigorous.

Wow. I never would have guessed that one [/sarcasm]. I mean, after all, carbon dioxide is essentially plant food, several studies have already shown that trees grow faster in high CO2, and most species of plants evolved in atomspheres with carbon dioxide concentrations three to four times higher than today. For anyone who understands basic plant biology, this study's findings would have been quite predictable.

But I doubt this study was intended for scientists. Rather, it was intended to create screaming headlines like "Global Warming Will Create Super Poison Ivy!". Judging by the way they pounced on it -- it was featured on NPR's "All Things Considered" this afternoon -- that was exactly what the MainStreamMedia wanted.

Ever wonder why you don't hear about any studies showing how increases in carbon dioxide will increase forest growth, improve plant health, and produce larger crops? It's not that such studies can't, haven't been, or aren't being done, it's that such studies would undermine the alarmist position prevalent in the Media and, unfortunately, the scientific community.

After all, they have a society to engineer and Proles to micromanage. They can't let such things like facts get in the way.

Thought for the Day

This woman made my day.

She's the late Strom Thurmond's illegitimate daughter. In a time where she could hit it big with the Media and go on the Oprah circuit as a tell-all black victim of Southern White Racism, she chose instead to be objective, look at the larger picture and think of herself as an American. Here's the money quote:

"I am every bit as white as I am black," Washington-Williams said Saturday in a speech at Sundance. "I was a slave, I was a master. I was for Kennedy and I was for Nixon. But I transcended into a simple person who loves America for the wonderful place that it is. We should still judge people on their character, not their skin color."

In a world where too many people are too eager to play the race card, this attitude is priceless.

Perhaps this is why the Deseret News buried the story in the back of the local section. [/snark]

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day

I have some quick thoughts about Memorial Day:

Many brave men have died to give us the freedom to honor them on this day. We should all give thanks that they responded to the call when asked by their country and didn't run away.

My father was one of those brave men. Unfortunately, because I'm overseas right now, I am unable to properly honor him and his memory, but I will do so when I'm back in the US again.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Great El-ahrairah's World Cup Predicitions

Since the World Cup of Soccer is almost upon us, the Great El-ahrairah will look in his magic soccer ball and give his predictions on who will win.

1. I predict that the US National Team will do as well if not better than they did in 2002, but they will not win the World Cup. :(

2. I predict that the winner of the World Cup will be either A) Germany or B) some other team not including France or Brazil.

3. I predict that France will crash and burn yet again and cry all the way back to France.

4. I predict that Brazil will have a collective brain-fart and crash and burn in the second round to the US National Team by a score of 7-0.

Of course, if any of this is wrong, I'm only a rabbit, so what do I know about sports?

The Giro d'Italia

This weekend saw the final stage of the Giro d'Italia, the national bicycle race that is to Italy what the Tour de France is to Hexagonland. An Italian rider, Ivan Basso, for the CSC team won the race and won it very convincingly (like Lance Armstrong style). I watched a few of the mountain stages on the TV and he dominated everyone else. Now that Lance Armstrong has retired from cycling, he is also the favorite to win the Tour de France this year (he was second behind Armstong last year).

Speaking of Americans who could fill Lance's shoes (or pedals), here is an article from the Deseret News on yet another American cyclist with Utah ties. Levi Leipheimer came in sixth last year in the Tour de France in July and won the Tour of Germany in August, so he could be the next American to win the Tour and really piss off the French.

Forza Rossazzurra!!!

This weekend was a memorable one for the soccer fans of Catania, Italy. Catania's soccer team has been promoted to the Italian top flight divison, Serie A for next season, the first time in 23 years. The whole town celebrated last night with the festivities going on late into the night. Here is a photo of the banner that was hung up during the night outside our apartment building.

The banner sez "The boys of the prohibited zone, Lower Nesima". I didn't know I lived in a prohibited zone. I guess with Catania being promoted and Juventus probably being demoted to Serie B (second division), the only other thing that could be make this better was if Palermo was demoted also. Anyway, forza Rossazzurra!!!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

On May 20th in military 1941

On May 20th in military history….in 1941. The Germans launch "Unternehmen Merkur" (Operation Mercury) to capture the Greek Island of Crete. After the Germans and Italians had captured Greece in April 1941, the next logical target was the island of Crete to where the Greek and English Commonwealth forces had escaped. Crete was strategically important because the Ploiesti oil fields were within bombing range. It could also be used by the Allies as a jumping off point for an invasion of the continent thru Greece. For these reasons, it was decided to invade the island.

Since the British essentially controlled the oceans around Crete, an amphibious assault was out of the question, but the Germans enjoyed air superiority, so to capitalize on this, an airborne/glider assault was planned. Air borne and glider troops would land at various strategic points around the island, including airfields, and then when the airfields were secure, reinforcements would be flown in. Up to that time, German airborne troops had conducted themselves very well, so the plan was expected to be successful. The German units assigned to the invasion were the 7th Air Division, the 22nd Air Landing Division and the 5th Mountain Division, about 43,000 men.

Defending Crete were about 9,000 Greek troops and around 25,000 Commonwealth troops evacuated from Greece. Unfortunately, the Commonwealth troops were a kind-of-hodge-podge of intact units and stragglers. Because they had been evacuated from Greece, most of the units lacked heavy equipment.

The German plan called for three main airborne landings, Heraklion, Malame and the group of Chaina Souda, Prison Valley and Rethymon. Unfortunately, none of the landings accomplished what they had originally set out to do. The German paratroopers were badly mauled at every objective. One of the main reasons was that German paratroop doctrine called for the paratroops to jump without their weapons, which were dropped in canisters. When the paratroops landed, they were essentially unarmed and forced to seek out the canisters that contained their weapons. Up to that time, this had not been that much of a problem. Unfortunately, this was an accident waiting to happen and many of the German paratroops were killed by the defenders while searching for their weapons.

After the first day, things looked grim for the Germans. However, as is the case in war, mistakes made by the Allies enabled the Germans to turn the tide of battle. A New Zealand unit was occupying a hill above the airfield and which enabled them to control access to it. Unfortunately, during the night, they withdrew and this allowed the Germans to gain control of the airfield and allowed them to start bringing in reinforcements the next day. A counterattack by Commonwealth forces on the third day of the invasion did not dislodge the Germans, so with the Germans in control of an airfield and reinforcements arriving, the British decided to evacuate the island. British casualties were about 5,500 wounded and killed and about 12,300 captured. However, the Germans suffered (officially) 4,500 killed and wounded with another 2,000 missing in action (presumed dead). Unofficial British estimates were that the Germans lost 16,000 killed and wounded during this battle.

This was Germany’s paratrooper debacle of World War II. The victory was a Pyrric one as the Germans never again mounted an airborne invasion because of the casualties that they suffered. The Allies still had to learn the same lesson, which they did at Operation Market-Garden in 1944. Paratroops are ideally suited for being dropped into areas where there is not much in the way of enemy forces and major relief is expected in two days (read: Normandy). However, since they are essentially light infantry, dropping them in on top of prepared enemy forces (as what happened in Crete) or enemy armored forces (as what happened to the British at Arnhem during Operation Market-Garden) just results in dead paratroopers.

Note (War-porn commentary follows. Ignore if it doesn’t "float your boat"): The Operation Market-Garden fiasco was the brainchild of British Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery. Not wanting General George Patton to take all the credit for the defeat of Germany (like he did in Sicily), he devised a plan where the British forces would cross the Rhine and drive into Germany and get all the glory. Unfortunately, his plan was totally "dorked up" and resulted in the loss of many British paratroopers. He also thought that the British would take Cane in two days after the Normandy invasion, but it took the Allied breakout during Operation Cobra in July 1944 to break the stalemate. Many years ago, before everyone was "surfing the /net", I was reading a Usenet group about World War II and someone had posted that the British guv-mint was looking for donations so that they could erect a statue of Montgomery, the hero of Normandy. I thought this was obviously flame-bait, but I posted back that maybe they were also looking for donations for a statue of Neville Chamberlain, the hero of the Sudenenland, since both places were British debacles.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Michael Schiavo, Moonbat

Look who's joining the Kos Kids (h/t Michelle Malkin).

I already knew that Mr. Schiavo was a deluded narcissistic prick. But it's always nice to have him publicly confirm it.

In keeping with his inflated self-opinion, Mr. Schaivo -- get this -- takes credit for President Bush's drop in the polls. Uh-huh. And the fact that most of the Republican Party rank-and-file are about to revolt over the President's feckless performance on issues of border security and government spending has nothing to do with it, I suppose. As I noted back then, the drop coincided with the President's ill-advised "vigilante" remarks.

I mean, every poll shows that Americans are still angry about the Terri Schaivo murder, er, euthanasia. [/sarcasm]

Get a clue, Mikey. You may think you're the center of the Universe, but politically speaking you're sooo 2005. Your 15 minutes were up a long time ago, and your groveling before the Kossacks in order to get some attention tends to confirm your has-been status. Indeed, if you wanted to elect Republicans you couldn't have picked a better group to do it with: Kos' PAC hasn't supported a single winning candidate yet.

Oh, and Mikey, here's a hint: You're not that popular outside of the Kos Subkulture. If you'll remember, no prominent elected Democrat dared to be seen with you in public. Perhaps that should tell you something.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Oh Great Oprah! Tell me what to think!

While "surfing" the 'net last week, I stumbled on to this puff-piece about Guru Oprah and how she has become the "conscience" of America. I guess if your life rotates around what she spews on her TV program, this would be a fair assessment. The Oprah-Effect has already been well documented. If you have some bogus book to sell, if you can get on Oprah's program, you are pretty well guaranteed to make some serious change as all her Oprah-wannabees snatch up the latest Oprah-approved best-seller.

Since she has such an audience, when Oprah talks, people listen. Now she has jumped on the "Save Darfur" bandwagon, so get ready for the MSM to "discover" that there are innocent people being killed in Darfur.

Towards the end of the piece, we start getting into some negative reporting about her. One persone describes her followers as "incrediblly gullible, bandwagon-jumping trend-slaves" (Wow! Good description. It's better than "status-seeking social-climbers"). But the best quote of all is this:

The fact that Winfrey has never been married, never had children and is a billionaire distances her from her audience, Schlussel says. "How could anyone like this be in touch with the average American woman?"

Since it was P.T. Barnum (I think) who once said that (I paraphrase) nobody ever went broke underestimating the stupidity of the American public, maybe the Great El-ahrairah should do the same as Oprah. Since I have never been pregnant, I am uniquely qualified to tell women what to do when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth. If this makes you laugh, how much more ridiculous is it for Oprah to tell people how to run their lives?

Since it has been said that "there's a sucker born every minute", there will be enough idiots in America to continue making Oprah a very rich person for a very, very long time.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

On May 10th in military 1972

On May 10th in military history….in 1972. The United States starts large-scale bombing operations against North Vietnam at the start of Operation Linebacker when Lt. Randy Cunningham/Lt. (Jg) William Driscoll shoot down three North Vietnamese fighters to become the first aces of the Vietnam War and USAF aces, Capt. Steve Richie/Capt. Chuck DeBellevue get their first kills.

In May 1972, in order to coax the North Vietnamese back to the bargaining table in Paris, the United States military launches the Linebacker air raids against North Vietnam. On the 10th of May, the US Navy and the US Air Force launched a series of coordinated attacks against targets in and around the cities of Hanoi and Haiphong. Early in the morning, the US aircraft carriers USS Coral Sea, USS Kitty Hawk and USS Constellation (Lt. Cunningham’s ship) launch their air wings against targets around Haiphong. Lt. Cunningham was supporting flak suppression over the Hai Dong railyards when he responded to a call for help from some A-7 fighter-bombers. He engaged two MiG-17 "Frescos" and downed one with a Sidewinder shot. His second victory came when he destroyed a MiG, which was closing on the fighter wing XO.

His third victory came after one of the more memorable air-to-air combats of the Vietnam War. Most Vietnam War air victories did not involve much in the way of maneuvering. If either of the pilots did not gain the advantage quickly, they would break for home. However, while Lt./ Cunningham was heading back out to sea and home, they encountered a MiG-17 heading straight for them. The MiG started firing at them, so Lt. Cunningham pulled his Phantom straight up, expecting the MiG to break off since MiGs usually avoided climbing contests with Phantoms. However, this time, the MiG stayed with him, matching his maneuvers in a classic, airborne chess game. The advantage passed back and forth between the two pilots until finally, the Vietnamese pilot decided he had had enough dogfighting for one day and tried to disengage at the top of one a vertical rolling scissors by nosing his aircraft over and diving straight down towards the ground. Unfortunately, this maneuver gave Lt. Cunningham’s Phantom a perfect view of his tail, so all he had to do was pull his aircraft over into a dive to get into firing position. Lt. Cunningham wasn’t too sure that a Sidewinder shot would be successful, but he launched one anyway. He was about to launch his second Sidewinder shot when black smoke started pouring out of the MiG and it crashed into the ground.

It has been reported that the third MiG was piloted by Vietnam’s leading ace, Colonel "Toon", but no documentation has ever been found to support this. Whoever was the pilot, this was the longest aerial dogfight of the war.

However, the day was not over for Lt. Cunningham and his RIO, Lt. (Jg) Driscoll. On the way back to the USS Constellation, a SAM hit their Phantom over Nam Dinh. Although he tried to fly the aircraft back to the USS Constellation, they were forced to bail out over the South China Sea, not far from the Vietnamese coast. A helicopter from Okinawa later rescued them.

Because of his heroism and airmanship and being the only American of the war to shootdown three MiGs in one day, Lt. Cunningham received the Navy Cross for his actions on the 10th of May. Adding the three aircraft shot down to his two previous victories made LT. Cunningham the first ace of the Vietnam War.

Later in the day, Capt. Steve Richie got his first kill of the while piloting an F-4D armed for air-to-air combat. His kill came against a Chinese J-6 (a kind-of MiG 21 variant) that he brought down with a two Sparrow, ripple-shot, but not before another Vietnamese fighter brought down his flight leader with guns.

The North Vietnamese Air Force had its worse day of the war, loosing eleven aircraft to US fighters, eight of them to the US Navy and six of those eight to fighters from the USS Constellation. Although the result was outstanding, from reading the various accounts of the action, there were many occasions that US fighter pilots found themselves in "kill" positions on Vietnamese fighters, but were too close for missiles. If the fighters had been armed with guns of some type, the numbers of enemy fighters shot down would have been much greater. The Vietnamese fighters knew this and took advantage of the F-4’s lack of guns. The best US "MiG-killer" of the war, the F-8 Crusader or "Gunfighter" which was flown by the US Navy and US Marine Corps, was armed with four 20mm Vulcan cannons along with two AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles. The F-8 was the last fighter designed with guns as it’s primary weapon, and was envisioned as being a close-in, highly maneuverable "dogfighter". The F-4 Phantom by contrast was to attack incoming bombers with long-range missiles and maneuverability was not emphasized in it’s design. As a result, the F-8 kill-to-loss ratio was 19:3, where although most of it’s kills came from missiles, the ability to use guns when required and maneuverability combined to make this the "MiG-Master" of the fleet.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Work Trip photo-blogging

Thanks to the miracle of the wireless internet connection, Captain Holly is blogging from his hotel on the Olympic pennisula of Washington. I'm here for work-related training combined with a mini-vacation/personal business trip to the family cabin near Orofino, Idaho.

And speaking of which, here's the cabin. One can almost hear the banjo music playing....

Drove past Puget Sound Navy Yard in Bremerton on the way up. My father worked there for a few months in 1942 as a machinist before he joined the Navy. It is the final resting place of DD 971, the USS David R. Ray, among others. Had I more time, I would have stopped and done tourist stuff there.

Washington isn't called the Evergreen State for nothing. There's green stuff everywhere when you get west of the Cascades; the Olympic pennisula is probably the best place to grow conifer trees on the face of the earth. Beautiful country. Makes me pine for my chainsaw...(okay, that was bad).

There's alot of Navy installations throughout the area. Which makes for an interesting contrast because the area is also crawling with hippies (Upside: Hippy chicks readily show off their boobs. Downside: In most cases, it's not a pleasant sight. Ugh). They set up cappucino shops and little cottage stores that sell wind chimes and macrame and silly lawn ornaments made out of old car parts.

And they all hate the military. But since calling the troops "babykillers" and spitting in their faces is considered a bit gauche even in Blue America, they're reduced to sporting bumper stickers with inane, self-contradictory slogans like "Support the troops -- Bring them home" on their Subarus.

More later this week (internet connection permitting).

Friday, May 05, 2006

A story "ripped" from The Jerry Springer Show

Here's an actual "love story" that sounds like it was ripped from The Jerry Springer Show and of course, it had to happen in Utah.

Husband A legally marries Wife A. Later, Husband A and Wife A decide that it would be really cool to live as polygamists, so Husband A divorces Wife A (now called Divorced-Wife A) and legally marries Wife B and the three of them live together in "perfect harmony".

A few years later, Wife B dies and Husband A takes another plural wife, Plural-Wife C, but does not marry her legally. Still, life is just hunky-dory for Husband A, Divorced-Wife A and Plural-Wife C.

Husband A has a friend, Polygamist-Friend D. Polygamist-Friend D has the hots for British-Tart E and wants her to become one of his plural wives. Unfortunately, British-Tart E cannot stay in the country unless she legally marries a US citizen. Polygamist-Friend D is already legally married to another woman, so as a favor to Polygamist-Friend D, Husband A secretly marries British-Tart E legally so that she can stay in the country without telling Divorced-Wife A (although Plural-Wife C knew about it). Polygamist-Friend D and British-Tart E go off and live happily together with Polygamist-Friend D's other wifes.

Now comes the "fun" part. Husband A dies and Divorced-Wife A decides to have herself declared as Husband A's common-law wife so that she can inherit his estate. Hilarity ensues when Divorced-Wife A is told that Husband A is already legally married to British-Tart E and ergo, British-Tart E is his legal heir. Oops!

Doesn't this sound like a Jerry Springer episode? The only thing missing is a transvestite and a trailer park.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

It's about time

Thanks to the time that The Great El-ahrairah spent in France during his LDS Church mission and being married to a French citizen, I have a great appreciation for one of the world's annual sporting events, the Tour de France.

Having followed the Tour for many years and actually seen the tour on numerous occasions, I have often thought that the Great State of Utah would be a perfect place to host a bicycle race a la Tour de France. Thru the miracle of sports sponsorship, my wish is coming true: The Tour of Utah will be held in August. What makes Utah "this is the place" for a cycling event? The Tour de France is won almost every year, not by the cyclist who is the fastest on flat terrain (the sprinters), but by the cyclist who can climb the mountains and what do we have in Utah? Anyone? Bueller? That's right, mountains! Although the Tour of Utah is only in it's second year, with the right kind of sponsorship, it could become one of the big bicycle races in the world. You will know that we have hit the big time when the big teams like Discovery start fielding a team because "anyone can climb L'Alpe d'Huez, but Little Cottonwood Canyon? That's a ball buster."