Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The ACLU and Blind Pigs

File this under "even a blind pig finds an acorn every now and then".

This reads like a bad TV movie (IF you weren't/aren't living through it).

Hmmm. It occurs to me that normally within in these kinds of stories there's some easily identified 'worst case' villian involved, but in this one article I'm having a hard time deciding exactly which of these people truly present the greatest threat to the American Way of Life. Is it the paranoid and rationalizing school administrators? The strawman-creating Berkley-programmed Academe? The morality-stunted Ninth Circuit (apologies for the redundancy) Judge?

About the only one we know who isn't a threat is the Student victim.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Opponents of Long Range Strike

I posted a slightly abbreviated version of this in a comment at Strategy Page a couple of months ago. I wanted to make sure I had a copy of it at my place as a kind of quick reference for me to refer to in the future. Whenever I run into the typical 'anti' long range strike weapon systems type I can now just point them here.

"Enemies" of Long Range StrikeThere are several entrenched interests that have played tag-team in working continuously against the development of a new Future Long Range Strike heavy bomber. In order of effectiveness, they are: the Speed Fetishists, the Nostalgia Air Force, the Cruise Missile Cultists, and the Airliners Alliance. At the current time, the Speed Fetishists and Nostalgia Air Force are the strongest insurgents.
Speed Fetishists
The Speed Fetishists invoke the 'Faster! Faster!' battle cry for two interrelated reasons. First, faster means smaller which means more fighter-like, which is what fighters-can-do-everything pilots believe in.
Unfortunately it also means shorter range and lower payloads. 'Faster' has also meant 'more survivable' in the past, and the Speed Fetishists can't seem to wrap their heads around the possibility that 'faster' just means 'die sooner' on the modern battlefield against a sophisticated near-peer foe.
Speed Fetishists cling to the heartfelt belief that faster is better, yet cannot explain what a Mach 2 speed will do for you against a Mach 10 double-digit SAM, except decrease your turn rate and ability to get out of the way for any given bank angle.

The Nostalgia Air ForceThe Nostalgia Air Force is fully vested in the near-religious belief that the venerable B-52 should fly on forever, and that the B-52 is the most dependable of all the LRS assets. The first is a romantic notion, and the second is a false truth. The fact that the BUFF has changed missions from direct attack to standoff in high threat areas gets glossed over in discussion of its long operational life on the one hand, while if a new bomber design came down the pipe tomorrow and had a forecast operational life equivalent to the BUFF's - it would be pilloried for having 'too high' forecasted life cycle costs on the other hand.
The vaunted reliability and O&S costs of the BUFF are the result of gaming the maintenance reporting burdens, due to the availability of co-located attrition reserve aircraft, essentially 'flying spares', that allow work to be performed off an organization's O&S books. 'Hard break' on a B-52? Just rotate it into the Attrition Reserve pool and bring on a full-MC bird, and voila!... little reported downtime. Trouble is, when they forward deployed in OEF/OIF, they had the worst MC rate in-theater.

The Airliners Alliance & Cruise Missile CultistsThe Airliners Alliance guys come and go, as it seems each generation of defense planners has one or two bean-counters get what they think is an epiphany, and the idea gains traction until somebody actually does the cost tradeoffs between standoff and direct attack...and realizes that the system cost including weaponization is many times higher using commercial airframes to carry standoff weapons (caveat: only IF it is ever actually used however).
And in anything but a highly permissive environment, a commercial airframe would need to carry standoff weapons such as one of the various cruise missile types. This makes every aimpoint an expensive proposition to attack, even if cruise missiles were a) suitable for the aimpoint and b) had a high success rate. The cost differential between direct attack and standoff attack is dramatic.
For example, even assuming 100% success rate for each weapon type, the cost differential of employing JDAMs instead of certain cruise missiles saves about the equivalent of an Aegis cruiser for every 1000 aimpoints serviced.
I may clean this up later and perhaps add some graphics, but for now I just wanted to get it on the site.

Lord Monckton on Global Warming

Former male model G. Gordon Liddy interviews a man he thinks Al Gore fears the most here (mp3 audio).


H/T American Thinker

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Moral: There Are Good Reasons For Tankers to be MORE Than Tankers

Our guys in the deep canyons of Afghanistan just got a whole lot 'better connected' to their lifelines.

Note: Keep in mind when you are reading this post how Boeing attempted to minimize the importance of 'excess capability' including non-tanking duties as part of their disinformation campaign supporting their KC-45 protest. (See here for more on the KC-45 fiasco)

In a recent public release, the Air Force reveals a success story that Boeing may not want you to think about too much....even though it involves their venerable KC-135s. the title of the piece is "Manas KC-135s revolutionize combat operations", and it gives accounts of how Air Force KC-135s are now contributing more than just fuel on station in prosecuting the War on Terror:
"During the fourth mission with a ROBE refueler on July 27, our aircrew overheard radio chatter between an F-15 (Eagle) pilot and a joint terminal air controller on the ground," Colonel Bence said. "A forward operating base deep in a valley was under attack and in danger of being overrun. We could tell the F-15 pilot was struggling to identify and strike the targets without causing collateral damage or friendly casualties. We turned on ROBE and within minutes, we knew the system was a success by a comment made by the F-15 pilot. The fighter pilot said, 'I don't know where the picture (target imagery) is coming from, but I got it (the target) now. Thanks.'
That is only one of the success stories of the ROBE provided in the article, and the AF article honestly airs a little dirty laundry by also giving an account of the difficulties involved in fielding the system, including having to overcome significant institutional intransigence in getting the ROBE capability actually in the planes, working AND deployed forward :
Despite its initial successes and demonstrations in several military exercises, ROBE was not embraced by everyone, and many of the "B-kits" purchased by the Air Force remained shrink-wrapped for years in storage, quietly waiting for the right opportunity to prove the system's worth.
Honestly, I didn't think this would ever happen. It has been a LONG time coming considering the relative scope and benefit of fielding such a capability. The last thing I heard about the program was at a lecture given a couple of years ago by a retired AF Chief of Staff who gave an account of the fact that even HE couldn't get the Tanker Community to get past the tanker-only mindset and 'get with the program'.

When Jumper was pushing this on his watch I thought it was a great idea. He likes to point out that tankers are nearly always around and overhead wherever airpower is operating. I knew from flying test missions as an LCO and telemetry systems operator, over the mountainous Western test ranges, that our plane invariably collected the cleanest data with the fewest droputs than any of the range ground stations ever collected-- and that when we relayed the data we collected from our operating altitude, every ground station involved could pick up our transmissions. It is a simple matter of line-of-sight working better (and farther) going up and down than it does sideways over the horizon.

There's another interesting facet to this success story that always gets overlooked AFTER a success. If the press/detractors had gotten their teeth into this program BEFORE Spiral 2, the program might have been cancelled before it could have a fair chance to succeed:

"With previous versions of ROBE, because of the limitations of the satellite antenna, whenever the aircraft would bank through a turn it would lose connection to the satellite, Sergeant Judd said. With Spiral 2, they are installing more antennas which should drastically improve the aircraft’s ability to stay connected." (source here)

Al Qaeda: Death From Above

From the LA Times:

"An intense, six-month campaign of Predator strikes in Pakistan has taken such a toll on Al Qaeda that militants have begun turning violently on one another out of confusion and distrust, U.S. intelligence and counter-terrorism officials say."


Read the whole thing before the LA Times realizes it doesn't support the anti-war meme. Of course, if the LA Times editors checked in with the Long War Journal more regularly, they could have told everyone about these successes pretty much as they've unfolded.

Kudos to the Predator operators, and the Chain of Command that showed some brains and unleashed the power. I take some small vicarious satisfaction from your successes as part of the test organization that helped Abe Karem get the Predator's ur-ancestor into the sky.

Predator History Trivia: Internally we referred to the Project Amber as the 'Albatross', as in 'hanging around our neck'. To this day this causes confusion among some alums (myself included) when we talk among ourselves about past projects.

Abe Karem's then-company, Leading Systems, had (what looked like to us from the outside) some of the most fly-by-night techs and engineers as we ever ran across. All we were supposed to do on the program was facilitate their test operations and evaluate their progress. On one mission, the engine was running prior to take off when it was discovered there was some critical control function(s) that weren't working. Without shutting down, one LSI guy opened a panel, pushed some rat's nest wiring around until the thing started 'working', gingerly reinstalled the panel and gave a thumbs-up to take off. No sh**.

Powerline's Scott Johnson Nails President Obama

Powerline's Scott Johnson has a riff on why he's 'depressed' in a personal reflection on Professor Victor Davis Hansen's recent post: Thoughts About Depressed Americans .

Johnson's bottom line: "I am depressed because the president of the United States is a fool who will immiserate us, render us wards of the state and lose us our life and liberty to those who understand what they are about."

I'm not depressed Mr. Johnson, but that's not saying that the source of your depression is not real or accurately perceived. Your reasoning is sound. I'm not depressed because there is a growing resistance to this fool (and his fellow fools of Pelosi, etal) who would immiserate us.

I'm more frustrated and angry but still optimistic because we have these folks on our side.

Conservatives! Ya gotta have faith and commitment, baby!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Making the Jersey Shore Safe for Summer

Thank goodness. Because when bikini waxes are outlawed, only outlaws will have bikini waxes!

Via JammieWearingFool

Updated out of the Box:
Cripes! Instapundit has already picked this up. Curses, Instapundit and your Legion Army of Davids!

Friday, March 20, 2009

More ‘Verde’ Than You…

…you self-aggrandizing, brain-dead, punk-a** pinhead.

So…. A few weeks ago, I was driving back from a visit to my friends and their new beach house in my 2007 Ford Focus, doing ‘about’ the speed limit (translation 3-5 over) and I get this guy (In the unisex Chicago sense of the word) going about 5-10 mph faster than me coming up from behind. We’re on the twisty Hwy 126 between Santa Clarita and Port Hueneme (in the People's Republik of CA).

The traffic on the road clears up a bit as we near Santa Clarita and ‘Eco-boy/girl’ whips around on the left and passes me, and asks me (in writing!) the question:

Hmmmm. Now, I lived in an earth-bermed solar home in Northern Utah for ten years. I LOVED the fact that my energy bills in the dead of winter were only equal to about 5% of ANY of my neighbor’s energy bills- BUT!-Not even once, EVER!, did I get an urge strike out on a sacred campaign or did it occur to me to question how anyone else lived. I reasoned (and still do) that everyone gets to make their own choices for their own reasons.

Now this pile of piety believes he/she has a mission to ask everyone he/she passes on the road if they are 'Verde'?

Hmmm. Am I “Verde”? Well… Let’s do a side-by-side comparison shall we?

Vehicle Operation
First, according to one road test, your slime-green Prius only gets a very few more miles to the gallon than my Focus does in the real world at real highway speeds: and that is ONLY if you are driving rationally in the first place. This test bothered the acolytes of the hybrid religion enough to cause them to attempt to rationalize away the disparity between the Prius’ computer calculations and the measured gallons needed to refill the Prius’ tank by claiming that the Prius’ tank construction MIGHT or COULD have caused refill volumes to vary and skew the test. This rationalization gets cherry-picked by who conveniently fails to note that the critique itself is pretty well debunked soon after in the same thread. There’s some other real and imagined problems with the ‘test’, some relevant some not, but the bottom line is that unless you drive the Prius like a complete energy-managing jerk on the highway, you are NOT going to get all that much better mileage than someone else who was driving a small and economical internal combustion vehicle if THEY were also driving like a complete energy-swapping jerk. (My heart warms knowing there are boards and websites out there on HOW to drive like an idiot in the pursuit of the magical maximum Prius MPG. )

Now, having observed your driving style Zippy, I submit that I’m getting as good as or better mileage than you are. Notice I didn’t even bring up the reality of battery replacement costs that are coming down the road.

(Side Note: Please spread this among the faithful: CO2 is NOT a pollutant, and the EPA can’t make it a pollutant any more than a law can successfully make Pi =3.)

Advantage: Focus (or Maybe at worst a Tie)

But what about the other relative eco-life-cycle costs?

Vehicle Manufacturing
Dust to Dust”, a 'study' claiming less energy expended per mile driven for a Hummer vs. a Prius over the operational lives of each caused quite a ‘dust-up’ itself among the Enviros, spawning self-righteous denunciations from the true believers (see here and here). Admittedly, there was much to criticize Dust to Dust about. But while I do not accept the critics’ views of the Dust to Dust piece entirely I find their criticisms generally have some merit, but they miss (for their own reasons I'm sure) the true problem with Dust to Dust: It was a grandstanding comparison between too dissimilar vehicles.

Dust to Dust got the press’ attention, so you could call it a complete success by one measure. But now we have to listen to the legions of Prius fans thumping their chests over what should be a ‘no duh’ point: Prius has a smaller carbon footprint than a Hummer. Worst of all, the points concerning the environmental damage that is a product of Prius’ battery production, AND the fact that making it is much less earth-friendly than building something like my Focus, a comparable car, is simply lost in the noise.

Advantage: Focus

Vehicle Disposal
Well we’ve covered manufacturing and use: That leaves disposition of the remains at the end-of-life. Since the only thing really different between the Prius (and other similar hybrids of course) is the electrical side of the propulsion package in the Prius, and both cars have an internal combustion propulsion system as well, the waste stream is therefore more complex with more components for the Prius. Fortunately, automobiles contain perhaps the highest percentage of recyclable components of any consumer product, so the extra burden of recycling the battery/charging elements can’t be too much higher than a conventional automobile of similar size, although relative toxin content has to weigh more heavily towards the hybrids. Toyota even has a recycling program that only Heaven knows if it will survive the future wave of obsolete and no-longer-trendy Prius retirements that will come someday. I’ll cut the Prius some slack.

Advantage (slight): Focus

Therefore, in case you missed my earlier answer to your question:

Since you asked, I am MORE ‘Verde’ than you, you self-aggrandizing, brain-dead, punk-a** pinhead.

Honestly, the world is full of these types. How do the rest of us survive?

I almost forgot: After rushing up on me in their poor-handling, high body-rolling POS hybrid econobox, and whipping (as much as a Prius can 'whip' anyway- more like 'lurching')around me as soon as it cleared enough, Zippy here came back into my lane, hit the brakes and turned right shortly after I snapped the pic. I had to swerve to get around him.

Updated 21 Mar 09 11pm Central: corrected and clarified some minor points.

Ultimate Police Car?

(This post is for my Brother-in-Law, "Lt. Dan" and my Baby Brother Mr. City Manager.)

If this is the ultimate Police Car, where is the automatic donut dispenser?

Now, now...remember! Citizens are allowed to profile.

Seriously, I think if they can make these cars have much longer operational lives, at lower operational costs, all when being 'rode hard and put away wet', these guys may be on to something. Cities would love to get more duty out of their vehicles and lower life cycle costs.

Looks like a good candidate for adaptation to taxis as well.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

San Francisco gets Even Weirder

Like a lot of the rest of the world, I visit Instapundit daily. I had some time on my hands and went back for seconds this evening. What did I find? A link to an article on some San Francisco denizens who seem to have some odd ideas about great sex. I mean, even weirder than usual.

In what seems to me to be more in the vein of cheerleading, the 'journalist' authoring the piece provided this gushing description:
"...Ms. Daedone, 41, who can quote the poet Mary Oliver and speak wryly on the intricacies of women’s anatomy with equal aplomb."
Well, hells bells! I can 'quote Kipling and speak wryly on the intricacies of women’s anatomy with equal aplomb'. Doesn't mean I'm going to start up some weird commune. Heck, you won't find me doing anything weird unless the wife gives the OK....and she won't even let me date.

Oh... and Mary Oliver ain't no Kipling. Yech.

"So Strange", She Thought; Didn't Run

....Those are my 'six words'.

From the original article by Beverly Beckam:

There's a little book that has been on my desk for months, "Six-Word Memoirs on Love & Heartbreak," inspired by Ernest Hemingway's contention that a story can be told in half a dozen words (His famous line? "For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.")

The book is full of six-word tales, some good: "I thought we had more time"; "I have never been in love." Some not so good: "I told you it affects me."

"He sold his boat for me." These are my six words.

What are your six words?

Hat Tip: Instapundit

Saturday, March 14, 2009

"Surging" the Taliban

With my Daughter-in-Law now on duty in Afghanistan, I won't necessarily be thinking and reading more about what is going on there, but I will probably be writing more. In that vein, I highly recommend Frederick Kagan's (along with Max Boot and Kimberly Kagan) AEI short publication How to Surge the Taliban to give the reader some things to think about, that they might not have otherwise, to broaden their perspective. Need an example? How about:

"The civilian death toll in Afghanistan last year was 16 times lower than that in Iraq in the pre-surge year of 2006, even though Afghanistan is more populous."

It will be interesting to watch Team O's machinations if they really start trying to pull out of Afghanistan...while trying to look like they are not trying to pull out. (Yes I think that's what Team O would do if they thought they could pull it off).

Hmmmm. "Daughter-In-Law" is too wordy and not properly descriptive. She shall henceforth be referred to as D3, for Daughter Number 3. (Yes she's the oldest, but she signed up for the job last and there is no hope for advancement or escape.)

Updated 11pm: Fox News reports Gen Petraeus says pretty much the same thing, except their headline is a little more counter-intuitive. Must have been written by a former NYT employee.

Monday, March 02, 2009

All part of the plan folks

At this rate, sometime during the next four years, Obama will have eventually nominated every card-carrying Democrat for an Administration post. Is this some kind of stealth tax-relief plan for everyone else?
(via Instapundit)