Friday, September 30, 2005

Why pacifism doesn't always work

With my joining the armed forces, I'm sure you've figured out I'm not a peacenik. I hold a high value for freedom for my friends and family...and am willing to fight for it. For some out there, peace is something that they feel *must* be pursued; even to their own doom. While I respect their outlook, I cannot understand that they have nothing they would ever fight for.

One of the main visionaries for these people is Ghandi. While (once again) I respect his outlook, I cannot fathom his choices when dealing with some opponents. While dealing with the British with acts of civil disobediance may have worked, it was a major failure when dealing with the Muslims...and, arguably, led to more deaths. In this fascinating post by neo-neocon, she goes into excellent detail on the pitfalls on Ghandi's pacifism:

Even when the killing had started, Gandhi refused to take pity on the Hindu victims, much less to point fingers at the Pakistani aggressors. More importantly for the principle of non-violence, he failed to offer them a non-violent technique of countering and dissuading the murderers. Instead, he told the Hindu refugees from Pakistan to go back and die. On 6 August 1947, Gandhiji commented to Congress workers on the incipient communal conflagration in Lahore thus: "I am grieved to learn that people are running away from the West Punjab and I am told that Lahore is being evacuated by the non-Muslims. I must say that this is what it should not be. If you think Lahore is dead or is dying, do not run away from it, but die with what you think is the dying Lahore..."

This is absolute pacifism run amok; as Elst writes, "a form of masochistic surrender." There is an ancient Talmudic saying: "He who is kind to the cruel ends up being cruel to the kind." The fact that in Gandhi's efforts to stop violence "he indirectly provoked far more violence than was in his power to control" is a good example of that principle in action.

Read it all, for it is excellent.

They can have my internet when they pry it from my cold dead keyboard

In an unsurprising move, the EU wants to share control over the internet.

The European Union insisted Friday that governments and the private sector must share the responsibility of overseeing the Internet, setting the stage for a showdown with the United States on the future of Internet governance.

A senior U.S. official reiterated Thursday that the country wants to remain the Internet's ultimate authority, rejecting calls in a United Nations meeting in Geneva for a U.N. body to take over.

EU spokesman Martin Selmayr said a new cooperation model was important "because the Internet is a global resource."

"The EU ... is very firm on this position," he added.

The Geneva talks were the last preparatory meeting before November's World Summit on the Information Society in Tunisia.

A stalemate over who should serve as the principal traffic cops for Internet routing and addressing could derail the summit, which aims to ensure a fair sharing of the Internet for the benefit of the whole world.

At issue is who would have ultimate authority over the Internet's master directories, which tell Web browsers and e-mail programs how to direct traffic.

That role has historically gone to the United States, which created the Internet as a Pentagon project and funded much of its early development. The U.S. Commerce Department has delegated much of that responsibility to a U.S.-based private organization with international board members, but Commerce ultimately retains veto power.

So a bloated, nanny-state nightmare wants to take control of the internet. One sec...

BAHhahahahahahahahahahahaha *gasp* BAHahahahahahahaha

Ok. Now, that I'm okay, lets think about this. The US designed the internet. Has pretty much let it be free information to the whole world...and the EU wants to control it when they can't even get their own act together. about no.

Maybe I'm being kinda harsh. Then again, we're talking about the group that forced Microsoft to sell a seperate version of windows that doesn't have media player...because it was free. Hmmm...I think that's a definate no.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

New Benchmark Run!

I ran in today's beautiful weather and busted out a 22:55 3-mile time. This puts me squarely in the 70s for my PFT score and thus makes me very happy. 250, here I come!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Rained out

Well, my wife and I were rained out of our usual 3-mile runs. I did do my crunch, pull-up, push-up routine with the following numbers:

75/70/70 push (lower than yesterday, but I'm starting to feel the muscle breakdown)
105/50/26 crunch (yeah, baby!)

My pull-up training was simply 3-sets of normal training sets followed by 3 sets of inboard (with pinky-fingers touching). My training sets consist of 3 reps. Doesn't sound impressive, but the program seems to be working.

I'm hoping we'll get that 3-mile run tommorrow. Perhaps the numbers will give me a hint as to my next PFT time.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

PF Craziness

Well, this morning I bested my best...again. I busted out 70/80/70 push-ups, totalling 220. I'm rather pleased and kinda wish pull-ups were that easy. Then again, the Marines have never been about easy.

Yesterday, my wife and I did an easy-paced 5-miler. Interestingly, we both had some juice left at the end of the run, and so we ended with a moderate sprint. This is good news. Previously, the five-milers had been leaving us exhuasted...and every time we ran them, we got slower. I'm really hoping this means that our bodies are starting to condition to the longer distance. This would be wonderful in several regards...but mostly as a possible sign that we may be about to make a significant drop in our 3-mile times.

As for those pull-ups, I'm still chugging along. My new training sets will consist of sets of 3, as my set of 2 experiment resulted in an hour of doing pull-ups. My hope is that, God willing, I can make that 16 pull-ups. All else being the same (23 min 3-mile, 100 crunches), that gives me a solid 250 points. Now, I'm still working on my 3-mile time...which if I can drop another minute or two off, it will only help me.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Push-ups are fun

As a part of my pull-up program, I do three sets of push-ups in the morning (with rest days on saturday and sunday). This particular morning, I broke my own record. My three sets consisted of 60/70/65. That's 195 push-ups in about 20-25 minutes. The downside is that I can barely type afterward. The upside is they actually feel really good. It's a good morning warm up that I'm hoping will pay off with at least 12 pull-ups...though, I couldn't argue if I could bust out 20...

How to ruin a perfectly good book

When I was a sophmore in high school, we had to read "To Kill a Mockingbird." Now, this was actually a good book. It was easy reading, good story, excellent moral points. However, I don't think I'll ever enjoy reading it. Why? Because it brings back some memories of anger.

The teacher had a weird issue. If the class before ours did something wrong, we'd hear about it for 35-40 minutes. In teenaged life, this is an eternity. I'll never forget the week-long rant we got after somebody "borrowed" the freshman class float (of which she was the advisor). It was a funny prank...and somewhat ingenius (or so I thought...and no, I wasn't involved). Of course, the float made its way back (I mean, really, where do you hide a float)...however, for the next week, my Lit. class heard nothing except how horrible we were as a class, and that in all her years of teaching, she had never had such a horrible class.

My own experiance came to a head when she accused me of plagerism (one of several honesty-based "sins" I do not take lightly). If she wanted to accuse me, it's good to have something we like to call "evidence." To this day, it bugs me that she would throw such a charge around. I know kids do it...but, come on. At least tell me whose words I stole.

Anyway, my point is to demonstrate how important the role of a teacher plays in the future. I had lots of good teachers...and a couple of bad ones. The good ones have helped me face the challenges in front of me. The bad ones created new obsticles. Teachers leave a lasting mark on all they lead.

Last I had heard (from a guy who was 4 years behind me), that particular teacher had retired. In the end, she left a long line of bitter 20-somethings. I hope she was replaced with someone who doesn't make people hate the subject she teaches...because the best teachers can communicate their love of that subject.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

How to support the troops

Go read this well written comment from a Marine in Iraq over at The Indepundit (Citizen Smash's blog):

Thanks for doing this. The battlefield this weekend will be on the homefront. The only thing that truly concerns me is that the seditionist groups will succeed in causing the American people to lose their will and the enemy will win politically the victory we have denied them militarily.

Let there be no mistake: we are winning here. Morale is outstanding and we are successfully taking the fight to the enemy. You will see a successful referendum in less than 3 weeks and a successfull election in less than 3 months. I see the positive resuts of our actions everyday. The MSM ignores or denigrates almost every piece of positive news, exaggerates every negative and makes the enemy and his actions out to be more than they are.

They absolutely cannot defeat us militarily and have no strategic vision except the destruction of all who oppose them. A strategy based on such a negative is doomed to fail, unless we cut and run. That is the enemy's only chance to win. The biggest threat we face is a determined enemy who will not quit because, like the Vietnamese they see the possibility of victory because of a perceived willingness to quit at home.

Go read all of it and understand.

Marine Dropship - here we come!

Apparently, the Marine Corps has been looking into deploying...from space. Now what may have inspired this may have been the butt-kicking dropships from Aliens...but it's still a cool concept. Oh, yeah, so here's the link to the article: Marines in Spaaaaaace!

The effort is called "Hot Eagle," and it could be the first step forward in the Marine Corps' hopes for space travel. Within minutes of bursting into the atmosphere beyond the speed of sound -- and dispatching that ominous sonic boom -- a small squad of Marines could be on the ground and ready to take care of business within 2 hours.

The Marine Corps calls the concept the Small Unit Space Transport and Insertion Capability (Sustain). This plan, a growing group of Marine supporters say, is the natural evolution of the service's proclivity for expeditionary warfare that began decades ago with amphibious landings...

It may not be ready for mainstream, it just doesn't have that "Marine" look to it.

Maybe if it can look like this:

That looks "Marine-like." For those who haven't seen it, that is the Marine Dropship from the movie Aliens.

DIY - Homemade Sentry Gun

For all those techno-geeks out there comes this gem: Sentry Gun. It uses an airsoft pellet gun (6mm plastic bbs) on a computer controlled turret...and shoots intruders. Make sure and watch the video at the's fun watching any sibling get nailed by your room protection project. Awesome!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Wow...what a lowlife

I usually try not to judge it's not my place. However, there are some whose actions lend themselves to a judgemental state. Like this guy: Donations found at Louisiana official's home

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Police found cases of food, clothing and tools intended for hurricane victims at the home of the chief administrative officer for a New Orleans suburb, authorities said Wednesday.

Officers searched Cedric Floyd's home because of complaints that city workers were helping themselves to donations for hurricane victims. Floyd, who runs the day-to-day operations in the suburb of Kenner, was in charge of distributing the goods.

Police plan to seek a charge of committing an illegal act as a public official against Floyd, and more charges against other city workers are possible, police Capt. Steve Caraway said.

The donations filled a large pickup truck four times. "It was an awful lot of stuff," Caraway said.

I find the last statement in the article amusing:

Philip Ramon, chief of staff to Kenner Mayor Philip Capitano, has said city officials were investigating the alleged pilfering but added that many employees were themselves hurricane victims.

And lets hear the last thing I quoted:

The donations filled a large pickup truck four times. "It was an awful lot of stuff," Caraway said.

This man needs to hang out and dry for a looooooong time.

Free suggestions, please take one

Wizbang has an interesting post on reducing your chances of being poverty-stricken:

1) Graduate from high school. School attendance is mandatory until the age of 16, and free. Further, the law encourages kids to stay in school -- our labor laws are designed to encourage kids to stay in school and out of the work force until they are 18.

2) Don't have a baby out of wedlock. Again, this is one you gotta work at to violate. It's been about 2000 years since anyone just "woke up pregnant" -- itt's pretty well established what sorts of things lead to pregnancy, and the vast majority of pregnant women did those things willingly. Yes, there are exceptions, but those are very rare exceptions.

3) Don't get married as a teenager. This is an expansion of the above one. But it also reminds people that marriage is supposed to be forever, and that's a hell of a commitment to make before one is 20 years old. Even miliatary enlistments are only for a couple of years, and nobody in their right mind is gonna give a 20-year mortgage to a 19-year-old. Take a couple of years as an adult to establish yourself, find out just who and what you are, before making a lifetime commitment.

4) Don't get hooked on alcohol or drugs. Again, those are active choices. Nobody wakes up an alcoholic or a junkie; it takes a bit of work and effort to develop an addiction. In fact, teenagers have to violate the law to even get their hands on it, let alone regularly enough to develop a dependency.

Now, this is not a formula guaranteed for success. Even Will says that "poverty is minimal," acknowledging that it is there.

I should know. I'm a living example.

I followed all those rules without realizing it at the time. And I was born with some remarkable gifts and advantages. I've had numerous opportunities throughout my life, and I've let most of them pass me by. So I find myself now with some hefty debts, living paycheck to paycheck.

But I don't blame anyone but myself. I can look at precise moments in my life when I had a chance to do better, and for various and sundry reasons (the biggest being sheer laziness) they slipped through my fingers.

Every now and then, though, I grab one at the very last moment. One such case was my dithering and procrastinating when Kevin picked me as one of his "guest bloggers" back in April 2004. I hemmed and hawed at the time, wondering if I could find enough material to come up with a couple of pieces a week. A year and a half and over a thousand postings later, I find I can't imagine my life without Wizbang -- and the readers who make it all worthwhile. I'm still a "nobody from nowhere with a nothing job and no life," but I'm also a part of the #10 blog in the Ecosystem, only six points behind the Drudge Report (who, in my opinion, doesn't count as a "blog") and 26 behind the legendary Hugh Hewitt.

So, no, I don't "blame" poor people for being poor. But I don't believe in protecting people from the consequences of their bad decisions. One of the most fundamental rights has to be the right to be wrong -- and depriving people of the right to make mistakes is a grave injustice.

I don't think I could say it any better.

The obscenity is in the mirror...

Frontpage magazine had this article that had this section:

The crowd rose to its feet and howled its approval when Boston City Councilman Chuck Turner took the stage categorizing America as "an obscenity". Said Turner, "The reality is, we have to cleanse the soul of America. Our soul is covered in militarism, economic exploitation and racism. We need to cleanse ourselves. We need to acknowledge the obscenity that America is. We need to acknowledge that people around the world acknowledge that America the beautiful is America the obscene...we are obscene, we are a joke to the rest of the world." Turner then went on to claim that local, state and federal officials plotted and carried out the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King. When he said this, many people in the crowd nodded in agreement. Turner left the stage to a thunderous ovation.

I think this man needs to look in the mirror to find an obscenity. It saddens me to no end that this man was given an ovation of any kind. A good hard slap sounds a whole lot better.

I'm gonna feel that tommorrow...

In my continuing effort to lower my run times, I did my first round of "speedwork." For non-runners out there, this consists of an easy run with sprints interspersed throughout it. So, today, I ran 4-miles with a sprint after every half-mile marker (total of 6, as I didn't start in a sprint, nor finished with one). I have to say that I found the run exhausting...but not as much as I thought I would. I feel the soreness it different places than usual...especially the calves (are they really spelled that way?). Anyway, I hope to successfully start improving those times with more speedwork. For now, I'm just going to sit here and wallow in my pain...

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Maxing out!

I have been working on increasing my PFTs and have hit my first major marker. Back in March, I could only do 35 crunches before I couldn't do anymore. Today, I hit 100...this maxes out that particular exercise for the Marine PFT. Now, some of my older readers my remember the routine I've been using to increase my crunches...well, I hit my goal there as well. I just busted out 178 crunches in 6 minutes. I busted out a 100/50/28. What's that mean? Well, I did 100 crunches in 2 minutes. I rested for two minutes and then did 50 in one minute. After a minute rest, I did 28 in 30 seconds.

I'll be working on a way to start maintaince as soon as I can consistantly hit 100. Next up, pull-ups and run...

It's those crazy martians with their pollution...

Powerline posted about climate changes on Mars and it got me to thinking...if it happens where there aren't pollution causing humans, then why is it automatically humans fault where they happen to live? Like this craziness:

Britain should drastically reduce the growth of air travel to bring greenhouse gas emissions within levels that will avoid dangerous climate change, a report by leading environmental scientists said Wednesday.

Air travel has boomed in recent years thanks largely to cheaper flights, and the government predicts that the number of air passengers in Britain will more than double by 2020. But aviation is a major source of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, because planes burn huge amounts of fossil fuels at high altitudes.

The government says it wants a 60 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, compared to 1990 levels, as the nation's contribution toward preventing an increase in temperatures that would threaten a dangerous level of climate change.

But the Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research, which includes scientists from universities across Britain, said that target is incompatible with the current expansion rate of the aviation industry.

So once again we have people who honestly believe the world is going to slow cook itself because of human pollution. Nevermind the "Global Cooling" scare of the 70s. Why don't these people act like real scientists and continue their recordings objectively. Taking 50 years of data and trying to apply that to a several *billion* year old planet and screeching about man-made global warming makes no sense. History has shown that Earth changes it's own climate happens. Get over it.


This morning, MSN has a peek back to the sane world:

Under questioning by members of the Senate Commerce subcommittee on disaster prevention and prediction, he shrugged off the notion that global warming played a role, saying instead it was a natural cycle in the Atlantic Ocean that fluctuates every 25 to 40 years.

A refreshing moment of clarity.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

PFT madness

While my pull-up program continues, my running seems to have suffered a setback...but I think I know why. It's only been maybe 3 weeks that I have started my EZ 5-milers on mondays...and I think it's taking some time for my body to adjust to the longer distance at one time. I suspect it's probably a bit much to expect my body to continue making hard 3-milers without hit in my times. My wife has noticed a significant drop in her times as well...and I suspect this is to blame. I hope that the effects go soon...we have a 5K to run...and I have some PFT scores to raise.

The greatest moment in journalism

I know it's all over the blogosphere, but I hafta post it too. Lt. General Honore has reached status of greatness after a press conference in which he told some reporters to do their stinking jobs:

Male reporter: General Honore, we were told that Berman Stadium on the west bank would be another staging area...

Honore: Not to my knowledge. Again, the current place, I just told you one time, is the convention center. Once we complete the plan with the mayor, and is approved by the governor, then we'll start that in the next 12-24 hours. And we understand that there's a problem in getting communications out. That's where we need your help. But let's not confuse the questions with the answers. Buses at the convention center will move our citizens, for whom we have sworn that we will support and defend...and we'll move them on. Let's not get stuck on the last storm. You're asking last storm questions for people who are concerned about the future storm. Don't get stuck on stupid, reporters. We are moving forward. And don't confuse the people please. You are part of the public message. So help us get the message straight. And if you don't understand, maybe you'll confuse it to the people. That's why we like follow-up questions. But right now, it's the convention center, and move on.

Male reporter: General, a little bit more about why that's happening this time, though, and did not have that last time...

Honore: You are stuck on stupid. I'm not going to answer that question. We are going to deal with Rita. This is public information that people are depending on the government to put out. This is the way we've got to do it. So please. I apologize to you, but let's talk about the future. Rita is happening. And right now, we need to get good, clean information out to the people that they can use. And we can have a conversation on the side about the past, in a couple of months.

Bwahahahahahahahahaha...only one thing to say: Owned! This man needs to be *THE* PR guy for the pentagon. For you see it to believe it people, Political Teen has the video.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Where's the Military?

As I've told some people I'm joining the Marine Corps, I get a lot of "why would you do that" or "you know you could get sent to Iraq" type remarks. Well, first, I say that my commitment to my country overcomes my fear of death (oh where, death, is thy sting). Second, purely by statistics, the current war is relatively "safe." How safe? Well, military is not in the 10 ten most dangerous jobs:

1. Logging workers
Fatalities: 92.4 per 100,000 employed
Median Pay: $29,730

2. Aircraft pilots and flight engineers
Fatalities: 92.4 per 100,000 employed
Median pay: $129,250

3. Fishers and related workers
Fatalities: 86.4 per 100,000 employed
Median Pay: $24,100

4. Structural iron and steel workers
Fatalities: 47 per 100,000 employed
Median pay: $42,430

5. Refuse and recyclable material collectors
Fatalities: 43.2 per 100,000 employed
Median pay: $25,760

6. Farmers and ranchers
Fatalities: 37.5 per 100,000 employed
Median pay: $40,440

7. Roofers
Fatalities: 34.9 per 100,000 employed
Median pay: $30,840

8. Electrical power line installers and repairers
Fatalities: 30 per 100,000 employed
Median pay: $49,100

9. Driver/sales workers and truck drivers
Fatalities: 27.6 per 100,000 employed
Truck driver median pay: $33,520
Driver/sales worker median pay: $20,090

10. Taxi drivers and chauffeurs
Fatalities: 24.2 per 100,000 employed
Median pay: $19,570

Those who know me know of my business endevor into roofing...number 7 on this list. This puts roofing as being far more dangerous than a military career.

This also makes me glad I never pursued a career in logging...


I'm continuing a new program to build up my pull-up, and the first thing I've noticed is that I'm really sore...from push-ups. I have done 65 push-ups in one stretch, but I'm feeling the pain from 3 max sets of push-ups now. My back is on FIRE.

Yesterday, I ran another 5-miler with my wife. I would like to stress the importance of shoes. I got nice blisters on both my arches because I forgot my running shoes and ran with my normal shoes (which, however nice, are not made to my particular foot type). The result was a lot of pain at the 4th mile. Not fun. The pain means I'll remember it...and not forget them next time.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Gore opens mouth - my head explodes

Former VP Al Gore has spoken. Hilarity ensues. In particular, two separate comments. The first:

Hurricane Katrina offered “a taste” of the disasters, and the response to them, that the US could expect as a consequence of climate change, former vice president Al Gore said on Saturday.

He cited recent research that found warmer sea surface temperatures - a result of global warming - had strengthened hurricanes and major storms around the world.


He said: “Katrina is the first sip, the first taste, of a bitter cup that will be proffered to us over and over again. It is up to us [to tackle climate change], and it does involve accepting that there is a legitimate role for government.”

I think Mr. Gore watched The Day After Tommorrow a few too many times.

Second comment:

Speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, where climate change was one of the key issues under discussion, he also criticised those politicians he said wanted to trim government too far, as weak government was incapable of responding adequately to emergencies. about bloated and corrupt government was incapable of responding adequately. How about we start with some pork programs...dump them...and feed some tax dollars into emergency programs. Then we cut some more pork programs and perform some more tax cuts. Then we cut social security and other "hidden" taxes. Then we cut down and limit social/welfare programs. Now we have a leaner faster responding government. Create cross-training programs between federal and state agencies, and now we're good to go...and we also get some tax relief for some extra Christmas spending.

I'm all for free speech...but destruction of property?

Michelle Malkin has an interesting post on the hung-jury case of anti-war protesters going too far:

Four anti-war protesters who spilled their own blood at a military recruiting station accused the Bush administration of trying to intimidate them and others from demonstrating against the Iraq war by prosecuting them in federal court.

The four defendants _ dubbed "the St. Patrick's Four" for their March 17, 2003 protest _ go on trial in U.S. District Court beginning Monday. The U.S. Attorney's Office decided to prosecute the four following a mistrial in April 2004 in Tompkins County Court, where the 12-person jury ended in a deadlock after nine members voted to acquit the protesters...

Two days before the invasion of Iraq, Burns and co-defendants Peter DeMott, 58; and sisters, Teresa Grady, 39; and Clare Grady, 46; were arrested at a U.S. Army and Marine Corps recruiting station at a mall in Lansing, about 65 miles south of Syracuse. During the protest, they splattered their blood onto the windows and walls, posters, pictures and an American flag.

Now it's one thing to protest. Its entirely another to destroy property. How destruction of property that isn't yours is a "protest" is beyond me. Not to mention how unsanitary spattering blood all over the place is. Actually, it seems almost...well...gross.

I noticed that the case seems to be avoiding the real issue. Property was destroyed for the purpose of a protest. Destruction of property is a criminal act. Instead, the defense is trying to say this protest was okay because it's protected by "international law." I've yet to figure out how destruction of property is legal in any court.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Blood pressure, what blood pressure

In an odd note, I've been taking garlic pretty consistantly to lower my blood pressure. Interestingly, it's worked. My old readings sat around 142/80...they seem to have settled down to 130/78. Interesting.

Book Review: Desperate Journeys, Abandoned Souls

Full Title: Desperate Journeys, Abandoned Souls: True stories of castaways and other survivors

Author: Edward E. Leslie

While I waited at MEPS, I took this book that I had borrowed from a friend. It proved to be an excellent read while awaiting the next physical or exam (a process that can easily last 2 hours). This book contained absolutely fascinating stories for survival (well, at least most of them survived) and the events that led to their maroon/escape.

One aspect I found the most interesting was the analysis of what the differance between those who survive and those who don't. It is odd how some are able to barely hang on for 3-6 months or even years...yet others literally give up and die in 2 days. It may be as simple as the human will to live (though, I'm sure some divine intervention could help):

...a man loses his instinct of self-preservation. After two or three or four days of tramping, all you think about is sleep. I would long for it; but then I would say to myself, "If my wife still believes I am alive, she must believe that I am on my feet. The boys all think I am on my feet. They have faith in me. And I am a skunk if I don't go on."

These are the words of Henri Gullaumet, an early Air Mail pilot who crashed in a snowstorm in the Andes Mountains (and later the subject of an IMAX movie). This shows one part of what I see as the "winning" survival attitude. Those who survived rarely sit and wonder what they will do. They complete the task at hand, whether it be finding food, building shelter, or walking out of the mountains, it is simply a task that starts with a single step.

In my personal life, I have to say this book was enlightening. With the chance to go to Officer Candidate School, I plan on using this thinking to make it through the tough physical and mental games that I would be put through. Just concentrate on what task needs to be done...and do it. These people survived in far worse conditions...and survived. I can, too.

I would recommend this book to any history buff. It's a fascinating read that gives some adjustment to what consitutes a "bad day"...and how to survive one.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Just FYI

I've been actively deleting spam comments and trying to come up with the best system to prevent the stupid things...very annoying. I generally try to avoid deleting decent comments, as I like discussion...however, I dislike the spam. I'll see if my current settings seem to work for, no I'm not squelching dissidents.

My first PFT

Well, I didn't do as well as I hoped. I only had 5 pull-ups and my 3-mile run was 24:08. However, I busted out 95 crunches...which puts me in easy striking distance of the perfect 100. Admittedly, my 3-mile time was added to when I lost my way a couple times (30 seconds lost would be fair). I suspect that I could bring that down to my standard of about 23:20 without much trouble.

The interesting part is that the Officer Selection Assistant encouraged me a whole lot, saying that if I could bust out a 250 PFT score in 5 weeks, I'd have an excellent chance of getting into OCS 191 (January 15). The place I feel I need the most improvement by far is the pull-ups. If I can bust out 16 pull-ups and get into the 22s on my runs, I'll be golden. The tough part is those pull-ups...but I have a plan. More later.

Why Europe hates the US

There are two excellent posts on the reasons for European anti-Americanism. One comes from NRO: Lonely Days, Lonely Nights

Anti-American books tore up the best-seller list in France throughout the Clinton presidency. The staged anti-globalization riots during the 1990s were not love letters to America or the Democratic party. In 1999, Bill Clinton needed 10,000 policemen to protect him from Greek activists who aimed to firebomb him. Protesters in Athens continually pulled down a statue of Harry Truman. Despite the relentless jackassery of people like Michael Moore and others who attributed 9/11 to Bush's policies — including our failure to sign the Kyoto Treaty (stop laughing) — al-Qaeda got its operation up and running throughout the sunny days of Bill Clinton and the dotcom bubble.

In the 1980s, anti-Americanism was also a big problem, but fortunately the elites of Europe generally understood — with some lamentable exceptions — it was better to have America as a friend than the Soviet Union as a ruler.

But now that the Cold War is over, European elites have been liberated from the need to play well with the United States. Elections in Germany and France have largely been won in recent years by running against America. The U.S. is the only superpower and European elites don't think anyone but them should be superpowers. The Chinese have a similar attitude, of course, and pretty much every foreign policy article and expert I can find says we're going to be playing Cold War-style games with China for the next 50 years.

In other words, we are facing at minimum two enormous problems that will far, far outlast the Bush presidency, and, unlike in the past, it's not entirely clear we can rely on our friends to stand with us. This is a broad generalization, which means that it's open to contradiction by a great many facts while still, I think, remaining true. We do have some real friends, most notably Britain, Japan and Australia.

The article contains some exceptional points...I must encourage you to read all of it.

The second is from Sigmund, Carl and Alfred: The Who And Why Of Who We Are.

We went on to explain. Europeans, we said, dislike Americans because, in a short period of human history, went on to surpass Europe in being the center of global influence. What was even worse, was that America was built by European 'garbage' as we put it. He started to object, but we immediately interrupted.

We went on to explain that a century ago, Europe was only too happy to rid itself of the 'wretched refuse' and 'teeming masses'. The European elite and intellectuals thought that once rid of the annoying and newly demanding 'unwashed' peasant class, Europe would once again regain it's rightful place as the center of the moral and political world, and thus preserve the imperialist relationships they had established, if not formally, then by necessity. Through benevolent noblesse oblige, Europe would assume control the economic and political fate of the 'lesser' nations. Without masses of lower classes, now demanding equitable political participation, Europe's destiny would be assured. America, that upstart, would be relegated to it's proper position- that of being subservient to Europe, no more than a source of cheap raw materials for what must be the dominant European economic model.

I find this absolutely fascinating. I really wonder if he's really onto something here. I'll have to consider the possibilities. Very it all.

I love my wife...

In an e-mail from earlier today:

come on, they're the Marines. Are there really other branches?

If she keeps that up, I bet they'll start letting her say Semper Fi.

Awesome quote of the day

Amtrak is a quasi-governmental agency whose mission is to transport taxpayer dollars out of federal coffers to an undisclosed location.

-Scott Ott of Scrappleface

Delta and Northwest in Bankruptcy...

Delta and Northwest Airlines have both filed for Chapter 11 (creditor protection...13 is liquidation) bankruptcy:

ATLANTA (AP) - Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL), and Northwest Airlines Corp. (NWAC), hobbled by high fuel costs and heavy debt and pension obligations, filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors Wednesday, becoming the third and fourth major carriers to enter Chapter 11 since the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Delta's late afternoon filing included its low-fare carrier Song and was followed shortly after by Northwest's.

Delta's total debt is roughly $28.3 billion, and it listed $21.6 billion in assets, according to the filing. The asset figure would make Delta's bankruptcy the ninth-largest in U.S. history, according to bankruptcy tracker New Generation Research Inc. The ranking did not change following Delta's recent $425 million sale of feeder carrier Atlantic Southeast Airlines to SkyWest Inc. (SKYW)

Delta and Northwest said passengers were not expected to see any immediate effects from the filing.

I'm curious how this will effect my father (a pilot for American Airlines). He's currently furloughed and awaiting being called back. Other rumors are still flying around, but he expects to get called back sometime in the spring.

One interesting note is that new rules on Chapter 11 bankruptcy go into effect in October. These rules give the owner 180 days to complete a restructuring plan. If the plan has not been filed, then outside groups can make recovery offers. Currently, the owner has complete control indefinately (as United has shown with it's two full years of time in bankruptcy).

We'll see how this all plays out, but I'm wondering if my dad will be back in the air sooner than expected.

What Hurrican Katrina has taught me

A post at Captain's Quarters demonstrates something I found interesting. The post deals with the fact that the flood waters from the levee breeches is not the toxic brew the media said it was. Captain Ed asks an interesting question:

How did the "toxic soup" story start, anyway? So far we have heard ridiculous stories pushed over and over again by the national media that sounded just good enough to be true. The floods supposedly killed 10,000 people; now it looks like the casualties might not reach 1,000, still devastating but a completely different scale. Survivors supposedly resorted to cannibalism of corpses, according to civil-rights activist Randall Robinson, who later withdrew the story after the media spread it like wildfire.

Plenty of people want some accountability for government officials for their miscues during the response to Katrina. The Exempt Media has led that charge. If they want to see that, we should also demand an independent commission into the reporting that crossed over into hysteria and mythology, spreading falsehoods that unnecessarily have added to the burdens of Katrina victims from New Orleans.

From everything I have heard recently, the mainstream media has so overblown almost everything they've reported from this hurricane (after they began to ignore it until the levees broke).

So what does this teach me? The mainstream media has lost it's mind. There are no facts issuing from them...just sensationalism. The have followed the path of the Weekly Enquirer, and will soon be putting up stories about finding Hitler's body on the moon.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

So long Art

Arthur Chrenkoff has posted his last at his blog. I count Art as one of several who inspired me to start blogging. He's moving on to a job that will not allow him to blog any longer, and thus, his blog will be missed. I'll also have to replace his blog in my side bar.

Those who have read his awesome "Good News from Iraq" features have seen what the mainstream media hasn't. There are definately several posts that were started after reading something there.

Good luck with the new job, Art. You'll be missed.

My first PFT

Well, I've got it first PFT. It'll happen this thursday at 4pm. I've got mixed feelings about it, as I don't feel quite up to par, yet. I know my crunches and run are where they need to be, but my pull-ups are what scare me. I've been consistantly doing about 5, but I need to double that...preferably, quadruple that. I've still got 6 weeks to work out a final PFT score of 225 or greater. My personal goal is a 250. I'll be bustin' my rear, but I will do it.

Oozing people

Ever know someone whose life magically seems to ooze over into yours? You know, I like being friendly and helpful, but when my life starts revolving around what I can do for them (usually for free) on a daily basis, a line gets crossed. It's a very annoying line...mainly because you have to find the very fine line between going the extra mile and going the extra 15 miles (or otherwise supporting them at the cost of your own productivity).

Sorry, just needed to rant.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Always Remember

A moment of silence for those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.


I attended my first recruit poolee function and had a pretty good time. It started with a stretching session and then an explination of standing at attention and parade rest. After that, we were split into four teams and ran a relay race. Each person ran a half-mile. My team pulled off the win. During my run, I came back around the front stretch and one of my teammates (a recruiting Sgt., I believe) was encouraging me by saying something like, "Come on, you've got them horselegs. Keep going!"

I didn't think too much about it until after I left, but I started laughing as I've never been called "horselegs" before...nor have I ever heard anyone calling anyone else that. I suppose I'm kinda proud of the term...

I also made an impression on my local recruiter, who has decided to start running with my wife and I. This will definately add a new dimension...and a new reason to push harder. Hopefully all this will come together to lower my times and increase my PFT score. Maybe I'll let that name stick...horselegs...

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Awesome quote for today

"The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil Constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men."
-- Samuel Adams

If you ever want to know why I joined the Marine Corps...

My recent observation about Marine Officers

I attended a picnic for officer candidates and those who passed OCS and are now 2nd Lt. in the Marines. It was a very interesting experiance, as it was the first time I had a chance to meet up with the people I would be working with in the future.

So what was my observation? They're entertaining and act like big kids. I think I'll fit right in...except I won't be the one eating the 5-inch catapiller for $12.

Comment Spam

Some readers may note some deleted comments. In a rather annoying development, I seem to have attracted some comment spam. Two were about IPOs (oh, yeah, like I'm going to randomly invest my future in unknown companies that mysteriously spam my comments) and others were about random "work at home blogs."

Now, I like comments...but I hate spam. Sooo...I might actually require registered people in my comments. The unfortunate side is that the few people that do comment my stop because it's annoying to login to write comments. I'll keep an eye out for these rather annoying spam comments and make a decision as it is warrented.

More miles and miles and miles...

I ran a fast-paced 3-miler today at 23:20. I have to say that I'm amazingly consistant. My last 3-miler was 23:34, and before that 23:13. Fun. Tommorrow I'm planning on adding speedwork to my workout (probably on order of 3 miles...though I'll figure out the exact distance as soon as possible).

As for my officer candidate application, I'm pleased to have several people willing to write letters of recommendation. This clears up the vast majority of the application work. In other words, I'm almost to the pure waiting and PFT'ing part of the process. I'll probably try to do my first official PFT on the week of the 18th. I'm trying to ensure that I break 200 with my eye on 250. I'm getting very close. My big concern is still pull-ups, but I'll continue to try to tackle that and do everything I can to improve them.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

It's all about the buses

Remember my post here about the failures of the local governments in Louisiana? Well, here's probably the best example: Priority Evac: The Hyatt.

Conservatively, these 400 buses could have transported 25,000 people out of the city in one trip. If evacuations had begun on Saturday, when Bush "pre-declared" the disaster area, these buses could have made three trips to Houston before the hurricane hit and more to nearer locations.

Hard to find that many drivers? Maybe, if you didn't bother to plan to use these buses. But at a minimum, couldn't a few of these buses have been turned over to corrections personnel, with orders to transport the jail inmates elsewhere, instead of just unlocking the doors and turning them loose to prey on the helpless people left behind?

And on Tuesday, when the levees broke, couldn't volunteers have been found to drive as many buses as possible the short distance to the Superdome or the elevated portion of I-10 so they wouldn't be lost to the floodwaters?

As JunkyardBlog notes, it's not as if they didn't have a plan, and it's not as if these buses weren't a vital component of that plan:

Here's the southeast Louisiana evac plan supplement, most recently revised in 2000. Go to page 13, read paragraph 5. It states:

5. The primary means of hurricane evacuation will be personal vehicles. School and municipal buses, government-owned vehicles and vehicles provided by volunteer agencies may be used to provide transportation for individuals who lack transportation and require assistance in evacuating.

Well, well. Can you say "smoking gun," Mr. Mayor? Mr. Ebbert? How about a smoking arsenal? I guess whether or not you decide to act is based on how you define "school and municipal buses" and "staging area." Or "hurricane." Or "mandatory," as in "mandatory evacuation."

Read it and understand.

This man's life has just ended

A man who was shooting at military *RESCUE* helicopters has been caught.


A New Orleans man was arrested and charged with shooting at a military rescue helicopter. Authorities said the bullets apparently did not hit anything.

Wendell Bailey, 20, was taken into custody Monday night by agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The agents were in the neighborhood to investigate neighbors' complaints of gunfire and heard shots from an apartment window as a helicopter flew over.

This man's life is over.

PFT frustrations

Well, I'll start on the good side. Yesterday, I busted out an easy-paced 5-miler. It actually wasn't that bad and I maintained an ok pace (9:55/mile). My running has improved and my shin splints have long left me. In other news, my crunch program still seems to be working well.

And then there's my problem. I seemed to have reached some sort of plateau with my pull-ups. I am increasing the amount of weight I can do on the lat. pull-down machine (at 110 for 30 reps right now), but until I hit my own weight, I'm not sure what effect that will have. I'm working with the arm curl and wrist curl to increase my forearm strength, but haven't seen any major gains. It's frustrating when I have my first PFT coming up shortly. I will continue to work on this and hopefully I'll break through this setback.

Why I don't donate to the Red Cross

The Red Cross has a wonderful past in helping others. Unfortunately, they have one of the highest overheads of any relief organization (something like 54 cents on each dollar). If you're wondering's on reason. Yup, baseball statuettes. Your donation dollars at work.

The Salvation Army has one of the lowest overhead rates (I believe its around 18 cents to the dollar), so I kinda like them a lot better.

I guess I'll finally post about it...

So, I haven't posted anything about Hurricane Katrina and the current mess that's being cleaned up...mostly because I get angry. I frequently get angry at those on the left that seem to think the whole affair is President Bush's fault (never mind what everyone's government classes should have taught them about State rights). So...I'll let someone speak for me. Bryan Preston at Michelle Malkin has a great post on who is at fault for the current state of things: Apocolypse Now in New Orleans.

Instead of acknowledging the faults that lie at city level and stepping in to organize relief efforts, Louisiana and New Orleans officials spent most of last week lashing out at the Bush administration, though its response was three times faster than the response to hurricane Andrew just 13 years ago. Government actually got quicker at doing something, in spite of the massive increase in the number of lawyers on the public dime in the intervening years. The locals blamed the feds even though the administration, whatever its faults, was ahead of all local officials when it came to declaring a state of emergency and requesting a mandatory evacuation. A massive butt-covering exercise is underway in Louisiana as I write, so massive it is second only to the actual relief and law and order efforts going on in the vast Katrina destruction zone.

Here's Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu, threatening to punch President Bush if local officials come under any criticism.

Here's a local New Orleans official bizarrely suggesting that the head of the government needs to be "chainsawed off."

These officials and dozens like them all across Louisiana are trying to shift blame to Washington for their own failures.

The buses I mentioned earlier and have blogged about extensively all weekend are evidence of and a symbol for those failures. They sit unused and waterlogged, their empty seats representing lives lost to the flood. Their useless presence in flooded parking lots demonstrate that the best plan is useless if it's never implemented. And they fact of their unuse demonstrates a deeper pathology at work in New Orleans government: The entire thing was rotted from the inside out. New Orleans' government was a disaster waiting to happen.

Read it all and understand.

Update: The Anchoress pointed out this snippit from a Washington Post article:

Other federal and state officials pointed to Louisiana’s failure to measure up to national isaster response standards, noting that the federal plan advises state and local emergency managers not to expect federal aid for 72 to 96 hours, and base their own preparedness efforts on the need to be self-sufficient for at least that period.

I think every tornado alley city and state knows this. Why shouldn't New Orleans?

Thursday, September 01, 2005

More Looney Leftist Protesting

I wish these people would drop the pretense of "supporting the troops." What they do makes no sense to me. Now they're protesting an air show featuring the Blue Angels:

On Sat., Sept. 10th, Maine Veterans for Peace will be joined by other major peace and justice groups (see list of co-sponsors below) in a massive protest: . to protest the false god idolatry of the Blue Angels Air Show, whose "ooh-&-aah"performances have one purpose: to promote badly-lagging military recruitment to protest the obscene waste of American tax dollars to stage these Blue Angels' multi-million dollar extravaganzas . to protest Bush's immoral, monomaniacal Iraq war -- nearly 1,900 U.S. and 100,000 Iraqi civilians dead, at a cost of over $300 billion, and still counting . to protest NASB's complicity with the war machine, providing surveillance aircraftto target ground forces, which in the end cause horrendous "collateral damage" . to challenge NASB to convert to peaceful purposes, creating good-paying high-tech/industrial jobs, making products that improve lives, not end them

Captain's Quarters also notes that Leftist Matriarch Cindy Sheehan will be on hand.

I, Aaron ...

do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the smae; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

On Wednesday, August 31st, I was sworn into the United States Marine Corps in the Delayed Entry Program. My officer application is now in full swing as is my personal physical program. Things are moving, and I put my life in God's hands as to what direction they go.