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29 December 2012


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I am playing with different ideas for my next novel. Here is the first chapter of one idea: A Middle Eastern flavored dark fantasy following the adventures of a courtier for the Caliph of a Thousand Ebony Spires.



Interesting story on the return of bison to the wild in Germany. Even more interesting take on the nature of the people there.

"The ancestors of the town's residents were once the subjects of the prince's ancestors, and now they also proved to be compliant."


Charles I

Where your DARPA dollars are going, and what the local cops will want next. Creepiest The meshworm; scariest, the microwave sound gun.


robt willmann

An update on a couple of recent topics--the potential nomination of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense, and "gun control".

1. On Thursday, 27 December, a full-page ad was taken out in the New York Times newspaper against Chuck Hagel, claiming to be by the Log Cabin Republicans, a Republican "conservative" gay organization.



This demonstrates that the anti-Hagel people are not yet sure that his nomination has been blocked. And today, Sunday, 30 December, in a British newspaper The Guardian -- as opposed to a U.S. newspaper -- an article by Glenn Greenwald asks the question: who paid for the expensive ad? The executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans confirmed that the ad was not paid for out of "existing funds", but was funded by a "number of donors" whose names he did not want to reveal; and the same executive director, R. Clark Cooper, speaking for himself, had previously spoken favorably about Hagel.


Unless there is a public pronouncement by the White House that someone else is being nominated, a counterattack on Hagel's behalf can continue without letup.

The opera is not over until the fat lady sings.

2. Now, a nifty little turnabout on gun control. After the tragic shootings at the Newtown elementary school, some Hollywood movie and TV and entertainment people made an ad against guns to demand a plan about gun violence.


Someone has put together a video with the "celebrities" saying their lines in the anti-gun ad interspersed with clips from movies and TV shows in which they are involved in violence themselves!



Colonel Lang,

I saw an interesting proposal
somewhere on the net - to wit that the
guards for the President and the Congress
and the Mayors of big cities be disarmed
and that as a substitute the area
around them be declared a "gun free
zone". The rationale was that if "gun
free zones" were good enough to protect
children in schools then it ought to be
good enough for elected officials.

Maybe we should try it; I mean how could
we lose?

USMC 65-72
FBI 72-96


I can hear them now, 'but no one is influenced by our movies' (Only by your advertisements, right). Not to mention they all made millions and gained all that celebrity status and influence peddling violent entertainment.

We should have a special violent movie tax, just like the gun and bullet taxes being proposed.

Hank Foresman

A follow up to Robt Willman's comments about the opposition to Chuck Hagel; over at the New York Review of Books, there is a good essay by Elizabeth Drew on this subject. A worthy read and it highlights the increasingly corrosive nature of politics in Washington. Here is the link: http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2012/dec/27/preemptive-war-hagel/

Charles I

And when that fails try free fire zones everywhere.

The beaver

Interesting piece:

“It’s most likely that on Monday they will announce that Hagel will be the choice,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice President of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, an umbrella group that represents 50 of America’s largest Jewish organizations, to Jewish talk show host Zev Brenner.



"on Monday they will announce that Hagel will be the choice,” I sure hope so. pl


Let them all of them - celebrities, politicians, etc - who want to disarm everyone give up their armed guards first. Lead by example, as it were.

Otherwise, molon labe.

robt willmann

Update 2.

The covert (and not so covert) operation to counteract and resist the smear campaign directed at Chuck Hagel remains active, as today on the NBC Meet the Press television program, host David Gregory presented a taped interview with president Obama in which he asked about Hagel.


The part about Hagel's possible appointment as Secretary of Defense goes from 21 minutes, 23 seconds into the interview to 22 min. 52 sec. Gregory tries to set Obama up by phrasing his question in terms of Hagel's old comment about a gay ambassador -- without mentioning Israel, the Israeli or Jewish Lobby, or Iran -- but concluding it broadly to include everything with, "Is there anything about Chuck Hagel's record or statements that's disqualifying to you should you nominate him to run the defense department?" Obama starts with a canned response that he hasn't made a decision yet, etc., but Gregory interjects with, "Anything to disqualify him?" Obama says, "Not that I see," continuing that he has served with Hagel [in the Senate], that Hagel is a patriot, he served with valor in the Vietnam War, and has done an outstanding job on the Intelligence Advisory Board. Obama then eases through Hagel's remark about the gay ambassador.

So far, so good.

Also in the interview, Gregory brings up gun control, but follows New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg's suggestion to him when Gregory had Bloomberg on after the Newtown event to use the words "gun regulations" and not "gun control". This part is from 13 minutes 55 seconds to 18 min. 10 sec. Obama maintains that he is going to be "putting forward a package" on the gun issue and that public opinion expressed to members of Congress is going to be the important thing. I interpret this as meaning there will be a big push for more gun control legislation with Obama and the mass media promoting it; vice president Biden will be the front man, of course, and it will probably start soon in 2013.

Nightsticker is right about the security guards around Congress and various mayors being well armed. As soon as reporters start asking Bloomberg, et. al. when their security details are going to stop carrying guns, the gun control push will fizzle out. But I don't think we're going to hear any such questions. Nevertheless, it has been pointed out that the school in the Washington D.C. area where the children of Obama and other known persons have gone (including David Gregory) has at least 11 security guards, not counting any Secret Service.



Perhaps the rapper Ice T (Tracy Marrow), no stranger to violence himself or verbalizing about it, can produce a pro-gun public service ad for the gun control struggle, as he appeared in England on a British television show after the Denver, Colorado shooting at the theatre showing the Batman movie. Ice T of course supported gun ownership and the Second Amendment, optimistically predicting that guns will remain in the U.S.


Jim Ticehurst

"This Will Be The Best Security For Maintaining Our Liberties, ..A Nation of Well Informed Men..Who Have Be Taught to Know and Prize the RIGHTS which GOD Has Given Them...Cannot Be enslaved...It Is In the Religion of IGNORANCE...That TYRRAY Begins..."
Benjamin Franklin.. 1706-1790

Alba Etie

Col Lang
I believe the nomination for Hagel will be announced tomorrow .


"A carousel (from French carrousel, from Italian carosello), or merry-go-round, is an amusement ride consisting of a rotating circular platform with seats for riders. The "seats" are traditionally in the form of rows of wooden horses or other animals mounted on posts, many of which are moved up and down via gearwork to simulate galloping, to the accompaniment of looped circus music."

Col. sir,

Are we the fools in for a ride (galloping to the accompaniment of 24/7 propaganda/news loops), or are we the ones dictating events [Deus ex machina]?



Why so much violence in the NE? Is it something inherent in the culture?

Seriously, what's your solution? A national gun register? That only works after the fact unless the federal government starts deciding who gets a gun and who does not. If yes, then we can start buying our shotguns at Purdys as in England. Banning semi-auto weapons like the Ruger Ranch Rifle? Would that have prevented these shootings? I have several bolt action big game rifles that would have done the job. Banning large capacity magazines (not 'clips' dummies)? OK. What else do you have? pl


America needs to declare War On Violence. It's an American tradition which worked on poverty and drugs.


But weren't those guns banned? I mean, if the guns are banned, that means you can't own them, right?


excellent concept... & so efficient!
internal security under SU & Eastern Bloc communism did so much for those systems - well worth emulating. & TSA has been a great organizational effort, training regime & behavior-adjustment stage for our children's bright future.

Allen Thomson

Since this is an open thread and random comments are, I trust, in order, I'll note that some significant fraction of the Mexican population seems to be spending New Year's in San Antonio. Scads of license plates from Nuevo Leon, Jalisco, Distrito Federal, Coahuila, etc. When I did some last-minute shopping just now at the local H-E-B (I-10 & Wurzbach)there was more Spanish of the metropolitan kind than English to be heard.

robt willmann

No doubt about it. And that area in northwest San Antonio is near the medical center and medical/dental school area and the residences are still majority "white" (Non-Hispanic), I think. Plenty of hotels for them given the tourist-oriented part of the local economy.

As you know, there is another significant fraction of the Mexican population in the west, southwest, and south sides of SA, whose cars have Texas license plates but whose drivers have no driver's license and who speak a little different version of Spanish :-)

Many years ago I had a lady friend whose parents lived in the deep west side where I went for New year's Eve for homemade menudo and other traditions. Despite the municipal prohibition, there were so many fireworks going off in the neighborhood that it probably sounded and looked like an active war zone! The good old days....

Al Arabist

"Why so much violence in the NE? Is it something inherent in the culture?"

Definitely cultural. Frankly it's hard to claw your way through life in the Northeast without a mindset of entitlement. Entitlement combined with strong feelings of victimization make a toxic mix for the less stable among us.

William R. Cumming


HAS the USA abandoned coalition warfare as a strategy driver? PRO and con arguments?

Assuming it has been a driver since WWI should it be abandoned?

William R. Cumming

Today's Sunday NY Times, the 6th of January, has a book review of new book titled "Bleeding Talent" in the business section about management in current US Armed Forces.


Tyler, sorry it took so long to get around to this. I like it. Reminds me of Jon Courtenay Grimwood, and a bit of Frank Herbert. I'd love to read this novel.

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