Archive for the 'general' Category



Riehl World View Gives us a Handshake

BY Herschel Smith
8 years, 1 month ago

The magnificent Riehl World View gives The Captain’s Journal a very polite nod and handshake and welcomes us to the world of conservative blogging (and according to Google Analytics, a few readers were turned our direction too).  A hearty thanks.

Who is the lackey? Tim Russert or Daily Kos?

BY Herschel Smith
8 years, 2 months ago

Tim Russert (CNBC) recently did a customarily soft-ball interview with Markos Moulitsas and Jerome Armstrong about their new book, “Crashing the Gate.”  The interview (and book) made clear the disdain the Markos and the political left (mainly the grass roots activitsts, bloggers, etc.) have for the inside-the-beltway people, even democrats.  In fact, Markos finds distasteful everything other than “outsider credentials.”  What I found so amusing (and ironic) about this interview was what they two of them think of each other.  Russert has ridiculed Kos for thinking that Gore is electable, while Kos has made quite ugly statements about Russert.  Daily Kos has a commentary on Tim Russert that is about as hateful, vulgar and venomous as a commentary can get.  I know, a web site owner may not be responsible for or necessarily even agree with every entry of every blogger on his site, but this commentary is particularly hateful, and as best as I can tell, represents the attitude of most on the far left towards both Tim Russert and Chris Matthews.  They see these two basically as lap dogs for the RNC and the administration.  For what Kos thinks about Russert, see Here, and followup here and here.  There is a little more on Russert here.  Regarding how the liberal blogs and grass roots activists see Russert, see here.  Be careful.  Some of the entries contain profanity, and most of them are very biting and hateful.

But in the interview, Russert seemed disinterested, almost disengaged.  Markos gushed and waxed on about poor Kos … we get no respect or support compared to the conservative bloggers, and so on and so forth (as if Michelle Malkin gets RNC money to blog!).  In a particularly irrelevant moment, he mentioned that you can drive into Chicago and see billboards of Michael Savage.  You are tempted to ask, “so what?”  Russert stared back with rather empty eyes, and I became disengaged in a little while (I am normally a political junkie and it is not like me to disengage).

Here is the question: will the real lackey stand up?  Did Russert not know what the folks at Kos think of him?  If not, since he himself is included in this beltway insider crowd that they have such disdain for, Russert was woefully unprepared for the interview.  If so, why would he grant the interview?  Did Markos know what Kos thinks of Russert?  If not, is Markos not managing the Kos content as well as he needs to?  If so, why would he go to Russert for the interview to begin with?

In hindsight, the interview would have made much more sense had the following brief discussion occurred on camera just prior to the interview.

Russert: I think you’re a buffoon for thinking that Gore can be elected.

Markos: I think you are a worthless lap dog for the RNC and the administration.  You are the very type we talk about in our new book.

Russert: Very well, since I like to be liked by everyone, how’s ’bout an interview on your book.

Markos: Great! I like to have the respect of lap dogs too, and anything I can do to get inside the beltway so that I can criticize those inside the beltway, I’ll do!  I’ll smile a lot, too.

How pathetic.

Wen Ho Lee Wins Big!

BY Herschel Smith
8 years, 2 months ago

1.6 million dollars.  That is how much the U.S. government and five news organizations together have agreed to pay Wen Ho Lee.  The settlement comes in lieu of further court action, possibly all the way to the SCOTUS, to decide if the news organizations are required to relinquish their sources when it was reported that Lee was being investigated for espionage.  See here for story.  In my opinion, while I understand why the payment has been made to Lee, I consider this whole affair to be deplorable.  No … not the treatment of Lee.  Lee was untrue to his covenant with the U.S. government, and got paid big for it.  As a primer to this story, read the indictment of Lee here.  Also see an interesting blog dedicated to Lee and the events surrounding his indictment here.

Let’s cover a little bit of ground about what all of this boils down to, speaking technically.  This is all about the miniturization of nuclear weapons.  China already has nuclear weapons, so the threat is not that they would become a nuclear power.  Lee took secure documentation (source code, input files, etc.) and made it unsecure, taking it off of the premises of LANL (Los Alamos National Laboratory).  This information contained weapons dimensions, mechanical firing data (i.e., the manner and speed with which the various parts of the fissile material are rapidly fired towards each other to cause super-criticality, along with the shape of the parts), isotopic mixture, and the source code for all of the computations to simulate the event.

Basically, it contains all of the information that the U.S. engineers, physicists and chemists have worked on for the last five decades to miniturize nuclear weapons.  This is important mainly for the following reason: weapon delivery.  The heavier that a weapon is, the more missile that is required to deliver it to its target.  This effects the range and effectiveness of the weapon and missile taken together.  A miniturized nuclear weapon can be delivered with a smaller missile, thus making the owner capable of reaching longer distances with the weapon than would otherwise be the case.  The corollary is that with a given missile, more effective weapons material can be delivered with miniturized weapons.  The miniturization of weapons also effects nuclear weapons aging (or rather, our response to it).  As the fissile material ages, its isotopic mixture changes due to radioactive decay, reducing its effectiveness compared to initial conditions.  Compensation can be achieved through use of the same fissile material in redesigned weapons, thus avoiding the need to create new fissile material.  Replacing the stockpile is expensive and burdened with political baggage.

Now.  The issue in this case is not (1) did Richardson divulge the information that Lee was being investigated, (2) was Lee mistreated, (3) was the information Lee took from LANL the highest classification or was it later classified that way in order to indict Lee, or finally, (4) was Lee a spy.  The issue here is that he took information that, had it been lost or released, accidentally or intentionally, could have made the world a much more dangerous place, and knowingly and purposely removed it from LANL by bypassing engineered security features.

If China had obtained this information (who knows?), the next steps were easy.  A quick e-mail to the engineers running the enrichment facility to give them new isotopic mixture specifications, another quick e-mail to the fabrication engineers to redesign the mechanics of the weapon, a good Fortran/C++ compiler for the source code, and suddenly, the world becomes a much more dangerous place than before.  This bypassing of the security features at LANL is a breach of signed agreement, unforgivable, deplorable and unpatriotic at the very least, and at the worst, was intentional espionage.

Oh. And by the way, the U.S. has never found one or more of the electronic media that Lee made for “backup” purposes.  And Wen Ho Lee is 1.6 million dollars richer today partially at our expense.

 

Marine Defends Himself Against Assailants

BY Herschel Smith
8 years, 2 months ago

See the AP story below about a Marine (“Once a Marine … Always a Marine”) who defends himself against four assailants (and would-be robbers).  In summary, he successfully defended himself against four assailants, one with a shotgun, one with a pistol, and one with a set of brass knuckles (reported by Shepard Smith of FNC on 5/30/06).  While it is unfortunate that someone had to die and another become seriously injured, the solution to such a thing is for the assailants to have decided against such actions and to have found a job.  The Marine was entirely within his right to have defended himself.  The outcome was not a surprise, and future assailants beware!  Your next “victim” might very well be a United States Marine.  Two books come recommended by the Captain’s Journal:

Making the Corps, by Thomas E. Ricks

Into the Crucible, by James B. Woulfe

“Making the Corps” is probably still the best book I have seen on Marine Boot Camp.  It is an easy, quick read, and while Ricks goes into a rambling and paranoid discussion towards the end of the book concerning the dissociation of the military from Civilian control and ideology, the book is still recommended.  “Into the Crucible” is a little bit propagand-ish, but it is well-written propaganda, very informative, and an even easier read than “Making the Corps.”  Both of these books should be part of your library.  There is still a side of boot camp that the books cannot tell … a side that can only be verbally communicated from a son to a father after graduation from boot camp (sorry, mothers are not invited due to the explicit nature of the discussion).

May 30, 2006, 10:23AM

Former Marine Fends Off Atlanta Robbers
(c) 2006 The Associated Press

ATLANTA — A former Marine used a pocket knife to fend off a group of
would-be robbers, killing one and wounding another, police said.

Thomas Autry, who authorities said will not be charged, had been
walking home from his job waiting tables Monday night when four people
got out of a car and chased him, Atlanta police detective Danny
Stephens said.

One of the attackers had a shotgun and another had a pistol, Stephens said.

The suspects caught up with Autry, who yelled for help and pulled a
knife out of his backpack. He kicked the shotgun out of one of the
attacker’s hands and stabbed both a 17-year-old girl who jumped on him
and a man who also attacked him.

The suspects fled in their car but police found them later at a
hospital where the girl was pronounced dead. The man stabbed in the
incident was in critical condition, Stephens said.

Autry’s attackers will face robbery and aggravated assault charges and
are suspected in other robberies over the past week, Stephen said.

Stephens credited Autry’s military training with helping him fend off the group.

“I would say he had to do what he had to do to stop the threat,”
Stephens said. “You can tell his training kicked in and he knew what
to do.”

Autry, 36, suffered a cut to his hand and a bruise on his chest, Stephens said.


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