This new year may well be a challenge, but let us embrace it—since we have no other place to run to.
Regards — Cliff
1 month ago
The civilian getting the ride in the second seat is the Host of the car show "Top Gear" on BBC (James May) shown through Europe at 9:00 PM Sunday night in Belgium . The views are spectacular as the U-2 flies at altitudes which constitute "SPACE."Regards — Cliff
I just noticed an interesting set of musing[s] about Professor Shahriar Afshar, wondering fearfully what theorist[s] will do if the Large Hadron Collider fails to find the mysterious Higgs BosonThat kind of musing needs to be stamped out. I don't think we can afford to admit that science might be wrong. Next people will be questioning Anthropomorphic Global Warming, or at least the quality of the science behind it.
"Top Secret" shall be applied to information, the unauthorized disclosure of which reasonably could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security that the original classification authority is able to identify or describe.My experience from forty some years ago is that what was TOP SECRET in the morning may be unclassified by the evening. On the other hand, some things are held as TOP SECRET for a very long time.
Under the direction of the National Declassification Center (NDC), and utilizing recommendations of an ongoing Business Process Review in support of the NDC, referrals and quality assurance problems within a backlog of more than 400 million pages of accessioned Federal records previously subject to automatic declassification shall be addressed in a manner that will permit public access to all declassified records from this backlog no later than December 31, 2013.This Memorandum, "Presidential Memorandum - Implementation of the Executive Order, 'Classified National Security Information'", can be found here.
This Wednesday is the deadline to register to vote in the January Special Election! Anyone not yet registered, should go to your town/city clerk and fill out a small card. It takes two minutes.Whatever your flavor of party, or distain for parties, voting in the Special Election in January is important.
Fourteen months later, more than 160,000 people -- the vast majority of them strangers -- have visited the site, http://yllescasfamily.blogspot.com.The name is pronounced YESCAS.
Matthew 2:16-18 (Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition)Perhaps we should reflect on the very young and how their innocence is tampered with by those who forget how young and defenseless they are.
16 Then Herod perceiving that he was deluded by the wise men, was exceeding angry; and sending killed all the men children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the borders thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.
17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremias the prophet, saying:
18 A voice in Rama was heard, lamentation and great mourning; Rachel bewailing her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.
Scotland Yard has warned businesses in London to expect a Mumbai-style attack on the capital.In the November 2008 Mumbai attack 174 people were killed and some 300 injured. While most of the killing occurred in the first half hour, tracking down the perps took three days. As most of the terrorists were prepared to die, the police ended up with only one suspect in custody.
In a briefing in the City of London 12 days ago, a senior detective from SO15, the Metropolitan police counter-terrorism command, said: "Mumbai is coming to London."
The detective said companies should anticipate a shooting and hostage-taking raid "involving a small number of gunmen with handguns and improvised explosive devices".
Welcome to Scildweall: The Online Journal of Military History. Scildweall is Old English for Shield Wall, a defensive tactical formation commonly employed by Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian forces during the early medieval period. Scildweall will cover all facets of military history, both past and present. From Thermopylae to Fallujah, Scildweall will examine and analyze the latest works and information associated with the history of warfare. It is my hope this journal will prove both timely and relevant and help broaden the study and the lessons of military history.I commend this blog to those interested in military history.
WASHINGTON—A Nigerian passenger on board the same Northwest Airlines route that was attacked on Christmas Day was taken into custody in Detroit on Sunday after locking himself in the bathroom for an hour and becoming verbally disruptive upon landing, officials said.From a news article posted just a little while ago.
The official says the passenger was taken into custody after becoming verbally disruptive on landing. Subsequent interviews by investigators determined he was a businessman who became ill during the flight.The source is the AP and the Detroit Free Press.
The official was not authorized to discuss the investigation and therefore spoke on condition of anonymity.
Assailants on Tuesday gunned down the mother, aunt and siblings of a marine killed in a raid that took out one of Mexico's most powerful cartel leaders—sending a chilling message to troops battling the drug war: You go after us, we wipe out your families.This is just the next nation over. And it is our drug habit that is fueling this.
It's worth considering that these same cartels are now deeply and directly involved in controlling the drug trade inside the U.S. as well.I wonder what our Senators are doing to prevent the spread of this killing spree to the United States. This is not something we can opt out of. In Mexico the drug cartel soldiers even go into gated communities.
On September 11th 2001, the government’s (1970s) security procedures all failed, and the only good news of the day came from self-reliant citizens (on Flight 93) using their own wits and a willingness to act.Let us hear it for "The People". We all need to be alert citizens, without becoming East German informers on our own parents and spouses.
On December 25th 2009, the government’s (post-9/11) security procedures all failed, and the only good news came once again from alert individuals.
We were in Priya Indian Cuisine♠ (used to be Kebab Indian Cuisine). I got chatting with our waiter and found out that he was from India and Pakistan and South Africa, and a few other places. He speaks 9 languages. He said he arrived in America a few months ago and found his job quickly. He said it was easy -- just talk to people (in their language).I had a terrible time in school learning French and as a result I have been afraid of foreign languages ever since. However, it is obvious, or should be, to one and all that learning foreign languages is of great benefit.
"If this pattern continues, you're going to see an inability on the part of America to deal with big problems in a very competitive world, and other countries are going to start running circles around us.This is from Columnist Charles Hunt, with a headline "O Rips the American Way"
What he is saying is that other governments around the world -- those tyrannical states that do not share our respect for the minority -- are better forms of government, better equipped to compete in this modern world.But what does this have to do with MSNBC Commentator Chris Matthews?
“Why did you pour that coffee into your saucer?” George Washington supposedly asked Thomas Jefferson one day in trying to explain the new Constitution to him. “To cool it,” said Jefferson. “Even so,” said Washington, “we pour legislation into the senatorial saucer to cool it.”♠It isn't like Democratic Party Senators, in years gone by, have not used the threat of a filibuster to slow down or block legislation. Why else was the final reconciliation from the Civil War so long delayed?
The Senate reflects the problems of the country. During the Vietnam War and the civil rights revolution that were tearing the country apart, there was not a lot of civility on either issue. Actually, the Senate is more civil today than in the 1960s, because the issues are not as wrenching.Mr Dove has twin daughters, who served as Senate Pages, one as a Democrat and one as a Republican. The Republican daughter, Laura, is today the Assistant Secretary for the Senate Minority Party.
Acts of the Apostles tells the story of how Stephen was tried by the Sanhedrin (high priests) for blasphemy against Moses and God (Acts 6:11) and speaking against the Temple and the Law (Acts 6:13-14) (see also Antinomianism). He was stoned to death (c. A.D. 34–35) by an infuriated mob encouraged by Saul of Tarsus, the future Saint Paul: "And Saul entirely approved of putting him to death" (8:1). . Stephen's final speech was presented as accusing the Jews of persecuting prophets who spoke out against their sins:One of my Father's favorite Christmas Carols was Good King Wenceslas, which starts out "Good King Wenceslas looked out, on the feast of Stephen".'"Which one of the Prophets did your fathers not persecute, and they killed the ones who prophesied the coming of the Just One, of whom now, too, you have become betrayers and murderers." (7:52)
Anxious families are repaying debts instead of spending in the shops, amid concern over the uncertain economic outlook. The share of income saved in banks and building societies has risen to its highest level in more than a decade, heightening fears that faltering consumer demand could prolong the recession.Thank God it is the UK where this sort of bad behavior is happening.
PRESIDENT: Hello everyone, and Merry Christmas. As you and your families gather to celebrate the holidays, we wanted to take a moment to send greetings from our family—from me, from Michelle, from Malia and Sasha—and from Bo.I think that our President has found his place as Commander in Chief in terms of reaching out to our Service men and women. Even for those who are "quartered safe out here"♠, it is time away from friends and family. Just the fact that the President remembered is important to those in uniform, and their families.
So to all our men and women in uniform spending the holidays far from home—whether it's at a base here in the states, a mess hall in Iraq or a remote outpost in Afghanistan, know that you are in our thoughts and our prayers. And this holiday season—and every Holiday season—know that we are doing everything in our power to make sure you can succeed in your missions and come home safe to your families.Regards — Cliff
FIRST LADY: And to all Americans, from our family to yours, Merry Christmas.
PRESIDENT: Merry Christmas, everybody.
The Obama administration next month will unveil its first National Security Strategy (NSS), according to Pentagon officials. Draft versions of the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review refer to a January 2010 rollout of the new NSS, a keystone strategic planning document, these officials say.The Pentagon is pushing for the NSS to include discussions on the following:
In September, the Joint Staff -- according to the [previously cited] briefing -- offered its view that the new strategy should consider six strategic challenges: transnational violent extremism; proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; rising power and regional instability; cyber and space vulnerability; competition for natural resources; and natural disasters and pandemics.This will be an interesting document to read. We should hope that it provides some insight as to where the Obama Administration is going with regard to climate change and international institutions and maybe even world peace.
So the Guantanamo detainees won't be moved to Illinois after all? I am so not surprised.That is pretty harsh from someone who voted for Mr Obama.
Cambridge District Court Judge Matthew Nestor ordered Sen. Anthony Galluccio to stay in his house at all times until a Jan. 4 hearing to determine whether he has violated the terms of his probation. For now, he cannot attend Senate sessions, which he had been allowed to do under previous terms of his home confinement.I am willing to believe it was his "Colgate Total Whitening and Sensodyne toothpastes" that caused the problem with the breathalyzer tests. But, what comes to mind is the quotation I have heard attributed to Curtis LeMay—"I can not distinguish between the unfortunate and the incompetent and therefore will not try." This seems to fall into that category.
The climate of risk aversion begins in American society at large, which puts a higher premium on minimizing casualties than on defeating the enemy. It continues with American politicians and other elites who focus on the abuses at Abu Ghraib and Haditha in Iraq, but rarely point out the far more numerous instances of American valor.There should be no doubt that he is correct.♥
Researchers have found that the leadership ranks of big organizations are dominated by either “sensing-judging” or “intuitive thinking” personality types. Those in the former category rely primarily on the five senses to tell them about the world; they prefer structure and standardization, doing things by the book and maintaining tight control.OK, so the Army has more "sensor judgers" in the upper ranks. I suspect it has always been thus. My wife recalls that when we went to Army War College in 1983-4 and we all took the MBTI test that we were told that 78% of Army Officers were "sensor-judgers", or SJs. That compares with 46.4 percent of the US population as a whole. (I am NOT an SJ, but rather an INTP, which explains everything.)
In the late 20th century, the Army gravitated toward standardization, as peacetime militaries often do, and consequently rewarded the sensing-judging officers who are now the Army’s generals and colonels. But this personality type functions less well in activities that change frequently or demand regular risk-taking, like technological development or counterinsurgency. Organizations that thrive under such conditions are most often led by people with intuitive-thinking personalities. These people are quick to identify the need for change and to solve problems by venturing outside the box.
The military should incorporate personality test results into military personnel files, and promotion boards should be required to select higher percentages of those who fall into the intuitive-thinking group. Many highly successful businesses factor personality testing into promotion decisions; the military, with far more at stake, should be no less savvy.Precisely because so much is at stake we should not be selecting people for promotion based upon what they scored on a personality test. We are not hiring people to work in banks. And, it isn't just which of the 16 categories one falls in, but how far one is in that category. For example, I am a "P", but close to a "J". The upshot is that, as a supervisor, I tend to be laid back, right up until the deadline comes into sight, at which point I become very goal oriented. I expect that this personality tick can be annoying to someone working hard to meet a deadline.
If we started making personality tests part of screening criteria, how soon would it be before people started gaming the tests? Probably a day or two. I know enough about the MBTI that I could be any personality type I wanted it to reflect. And what exactly is the right mix? Do we want (or need) a General Officer corps completely filled with George S. Pattons?In answer to that question re General Patton, the answer is "Of course not".
Yes, I hear you saying, but it’s only public radio. Only public radio, my eye. WBUR is the second-most listened to morning station in Boston, after WBZ, and ranks fourth in evening drive time. WGBH, which until recently combined news and classical music programming, ranks below 20 in both categories. Public radio types don’t like to crow about share points, but more listeners means more marks come pledge drive time. And advertisers - sorry, underwriters - pay more for placement on shows with big audiences. Numbers matter, a lot.I was a little disturbed by the line "more listeners means more marks", but in the end, it is true that the listeners are the marks, and when it is pledge time there is a lot of programing time devoted to getting the marks to forward money.
I don’t so much blame the judge - Galluccio has been pardoned for two OUIs, and the clerk/magistrate in Boston broomed his demolition derby caper in the Back Bay. And of course, he ran away from his latest crash and hid long enough to make a Breathalyzer immaterial.And, I didn't see where there was much need for Mr Carr to show charity. It appears that members of the Massachusetts judicial establishment have already shown way too much charity to Mr Galluccio.♠
The event took place in the third-floor offices of the Career Center of Lowell, where just one floor below more than 4,700 job seekers have received training for new jobs and employment has been found for 593 people. Stimulus funds coming into the 5th District have totaled more than $350 million and more than 1,600 jobs have been retained or created, Tsongas said.So, I opened up my Microsquish Excel Spreadsheet and ran the numbers. I wasn't so sure about the outcome. So, today I call the Office of Congresswoman Niki Tsongas and talked to a nice young woman who explained to me that these numbers were approximations and one could not draw specific conclusions from them. That sounded like some Tea Party accusation that the Obama Administration numbers were fuzzy, so I thought I would press on with my analysis.
How well have our wars against nouns been going? OK, now al Qaeda is a notion, an idea. So was the object of the global war on "terror."I think this anonymous writer has captured something. I think that in particular, the "war on drugs" is going to come around and bite us, and bite us hard, here in the US in the next decade.
I hereby take up shield and lance and charge at other vague nouns, such as "fear" or "poverty" or, even, "drugs." How have those wars gone?
Keynesian theory says that government spending is more potent than tax policy for jump-starting a stalled economy. The report in January put numbers to this conclusion. It says that an extra dollar of government spending raises GDP by $1.57, while a dollar of tax cuts raises GDP by only 99 cents. The implication is that if we are going to increase the budget deficit to promote growth and jobs, it is better to spend more than tax less.I am probably pushing fair use here, so I will leave it at that and leave the blog post and the article to you to read and to think about and to draw conclusions from.
But various recent studies suggest that conventional wisdom is backward.
One piece of evidence comes from Christina D. Romer, the chairwoman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers. In work with her husband, David H. Romer, written at the University of California, Berkeley, just months before she took her current job, Ms. Romer found that tax policy has a powerful influence on economic activity. According to the Romers, each dollar of tax cuts has historically raised G.D.P. by about $3 — three times the figure used in the administration report. That is also far greater than most estimates of the effects of government spending.
By this time next year, U.S. troops will have been in Afghanistan longer than the Soviets were. The United States has been engaged in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq longer than in any previous war. Not factoring in the increase in soldiers going to Afghanistan that President Obama announced last week, some 220,000 American women have engaged in combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.The number 220,000 American women engaged in combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan is pretty stunning. That is a lot of people—twice the official population of the City of Lowell. Some women won medals for heroism and some died. But, as the two authors point out, women have performed well and the problems expected have not materialized.
In the past eight years, more than 2 million U.S. servicemen and servicewomen have served together in situations and for durations that have never existed in previous conflicts. Whatever issues remain to be resolved, the feared "disasters" did not materialize. There have been no epidemics of rape, no waves of "get me out of here" pregnancies, no orgies and no combat failures. In short, our men and women in uniform have behaved as military professionals.I attribute a good part of that success to the fact that we have an all volunteer force. Kudos to our professionals in uniform.
Our century will become only more violent. American women and gays have a stake in the survival of our republic, and the military will continue to need to draw on their strength, intelligence and courage. It is time the military acknowledged them and welcomed them into the profession of arms, rather than using, ignoring or discarding them.To follow through their argument, read the whole article.
It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition.Regards — Cliff
For those keeping political score, Democrats were almost twice as likely to believe in ghosts and to consult fortune-tellers than were Republicans, and the Democrats were 71 percent more likely to believe that they were in touch with the dead. Please hold the Barack-Obama-as-the-ghost-of-Jimmy-Carter jokes. Heard them all.Gee, I haven't heard any. I think he should have shared some of the jokes, although I recognize it is the NYT.
It's 22 days to be remembered, during which a string of 13 consecutive brutal blizzards hammer Nome and the region. Several days, except for police and KNOM, everything just about shuts down. The region affected is the size of Maine to Alabama, and west as far as Chicago. Some of Nome's plowed streets have sheer walls of snow ten feet high.Not everywhere in Alaska has ten feet high snow walls. Fairbanks, being in a desert plain, has snow, but not nearly as much.
The test is who supports it and who doesn't. Former US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, doesn't. Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin does.
- that the US must hold itself to a higher code of conduct, hence his invocation of his ban on torture and his order of the closure of the detainee center at Guantanamo Bay;
- that the international community, if it is truly serious about trying to avoid war, must fully engage tough diplomacy against rogue nations such as North Korea and Iran that would keep crises surrounding those nations from becoming wars;
- that the world must engage with governments of ill-repute, and try to bring them back into the fold; and
- that a nation's hostility towards human rights and economic injustice cannot be allowed to thrive, for those conditions lead to war in the long term.
As America joins the rest of the world in finally fighting global warming, we need to bring our battle plan up to scale. If you believe that astronauts have been to the moon and that the world is not flat, then you probably believe the satellite photos showing the Greenland ice sheet in full-on meltdown. Much of Manhattan and the Eastern Shore of Maryland may join the Atlantic Ocean in our lifetimes. Entire Pacific island nations will disappear. Hurricanes will bring untold destruction. Rising sea levels and crippling droughts will decimate crops and cause widespread famine. People will go hungry, and people will die.Maybe.
We all got into this mess together. And now, with treaty talks underway internationally and Congress stalled at home, we need to act accordingly. Don't spend an hour changing your light bulbs. Don't take a day to caulk your windows. Instead, pick up a phone, open a laptop, or travel to a U.S. Senate office near you and turn the tables: "What are the 10 green statutes you're working on to save the planet, Senator?"So, a Congress that can't get out of its way to pass Health Insurance Change is going to quickly pass legislation on climate change just when the public is coming to believe that the Scientists have been cooking the books? I have faith, but not that much faith.
Well, I have "news" for you. When the reporters go, so do the facts. And their checkers.And she singles out Right-Wing blogs for her contempt.
They just interview scientists and don't actually try to understand the science? Even when there is evidence of deceit, they don't pry themselves away from their dependence on interviews with scientists? Drastic, mindboggingly expensive policy changes are proposed based on this science, making this potentially the biggest fraud in history. Why isn't the NYT on fire trying to figure everything out and helping us readers see into the controversy? The best we can do is to give our readers a sense of what the prevailing scientific view is... Really? That's the best you can do? Just a "sense" of what "prevails" among scientists? Then the best you can do is to be part of the very problem you ought to be studying: The scientists' efforts to create an impression of consensus.Regards — Cliff
... authorize the Secretary of the Interior to extend grants and other assistance to facilitate a political status public education program for the people of Guam.If we change the status of Guam, will re readdress the status of Puerto Rico? Other US territories? Or is this all about job creation?
US-Mexico: The US Treasury Department has frozen the U.S.-based assets of 10 companies and 22 individuals believed to be linked to the Mexican drug cartel Beltran-Leyva Organization (BLO), which is accused of smuggling drugs into the United States and of murdering Mexican counter-narcotics agents, Reuters reported today. The companies targeted have locations throughout Mexico, and are involved in businesses such as air and vehicle shipping, electronics retailing, hospitality services and health-products trade.Hats off to the US Department of the Treasury.
According to the news services from the Texas border, marijuana smuggling is way up but human smuggling is way down, to oversimplify a complex security problem. The question for the Treasury is why does this process take so long and seems so scatter-shot?
Treasury and its Office of Intelligence and Analysis should be one of the best staffed and best backed intelligence operations in Washington. Despite a small staff, OIA does real work towards permanent solutions. Doubters only need to ask the Banco Delta Asia and North Korea.
This is tonight’s good news—one Department that fights security problems with the tools that the US excels at: brains and finance.
America's Search for Security: The Triumph of Idealism and the Return of Realism, by Sean Kay
Chakra: A Novel, by Richard Bulliet
The Return of George Washington: 1783-1789, by Edward J Larson