Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Iraq, China and Sun Tzu

Well, looks like George is having a good month - only 28 Americans dead so far this month. In preparation for my trip to China, I've been doing a little reading, and dragged out my old copy of Chinese General Sun Tzu and the Art of War. This famous tome is still being used by military schools around the world to teach basic strategy - there is nothing earth shattering about the ideas in the book, except perhaps their timelesseness. I noted Chapter 2 of the book - on invading a nation far away, and that one best do it quickly - which somewhat has contrasted with out little excursion in Iraq. Here it is - and it makes great reading in comparison with the reality of what we have seen these last 4 and one-half years in western Asia . . .

Generally, the requirements of warfare are this way:

One thousand quick four-horse chariots,
one thousand leather rideable chariots,
one hundred thousand belted armor,
transporting provisions one thousand li,
the distribution of internal and on the field spending,
the efforts of having guests, materials such as glue and lacquer,
tributes in chariots and armor,
will amount to expenses of a thousand gold pieces a day.
Only then can one hundred thousand troops be raised.

When doing battle, seek a quick victory.
A protracted battle will blunt weapons and dampen ardor.
If troops lay siege to a walled city, their strength will be exhausted.
If the army is exposed to a prolonged campaign, the nation's resources will not suffice.
When weapons are blunted, and ardor dampened, strength exhausted, and resources depleted, the neighboring rulers will take advantage of these complications.

Then even the wisest of counsels would not be able to avert the consequences that must ensue.
Therefore, I have heard of military campaigns that were clumsy but swift, but I have never seen military campaigns that were skilled but protracted.
No nation has ever benefited from protracted warfare.
Therefore, if one is not fully cognizant of the dangers inherent in doing battle, one cannot fully know the benefits of doing battle.
Those skilled in doing battle do not raise troops twice, or transport provisions three times.
Take equipment from home but take provisions from the enemy.
Then the army will be sufficient in both equipment and provisions.

A nation can be impoverished by the army when it has to supply the army at great distances.
When provisions are transported at great distances, the citizens will be impoverished.
Those in proximity to the army will sell goods at high prices.
When goods are expensive, the citizens' wealth will be exhausted.
When their wealth is exhausted, the peasantry will be afflicted with increased taxes.
When all strength has been exhausted and resources depleted, all houses in the central plains utterly impoverished, seven-tenths of the citizens' wealth dissipated,
the government's expenses from damaged chariots, worn-out horses, armor, helmets, arrows and crossbows, halberds and shields, draft oxen, and heavy supply wagons,
will be six-tenths of its reserves.

Therefore, a wise general will strive to feed off the enemy.
One bushel of the enemy's provisions is worth twenty of our own, one picul of fodder is worth twenty of our own.
Killing the enemy is a matter of arousing anger in men;
taking the enemy's wealth is a matter of reward.
Therefore, in chariot battles, reward the first to capture at least ten chariots.
Replace the enemy's flags and standards with our own.
Mix the captured chariots with our own, treat the captured soldiers well.
This is called defeating the enemy and increasing our strength.
Therefore, the important thing in doing battle is victory, not protracted warfare.
Therefore, a general who understands warfare is the guardian of people's lives, and the ruler of the nation's security.

Truer words were never spoken. . . .

Monday, October 8, 2007

Slow Boat to China

I'm going to China. 3 weeks. For 12 days. Official State of CT education trip. As a Board member, off I go. The Chinese want to learn essentially how to set up Western style locals board - not for control - they'll never give up state control - but for input and discussion. This ought to be interesting.

First, I'm spending about 13 hours in Tokyo - I'll be at the airport hotel right there - no reason to leave the area - Tokyo is too far away but i'm gonna take a taxi to a local town and sample the cuisine and meet some people as the Gaijin wandering over from the airport. See if I have the same good time I had in Cozumel. When I was on a cruise I walked into town looking for cheap tequila - I found it - so cheap I never in a million years ever though of buying it - but I did stop in at a bar. At lunch time I sat with a bunch of workers for a couple of hours, having Corona beers [at 50 cents each] and lunch [some kind of pastry with very tasty and spicy meet and vegetables]. I bought the house a round of beers [there were 8 guys there] and got to see picutures of their families in wallets- showed them mine - and we hooted and hollered over [now get this] not sports but 1970's reruns of the Dating Game and the Newlywed Game in voiced over in Spanish with english subtitles. This was hilarious. Between my LA bus spanish and their 6th grade english, we all got by. I was sad to go - but - the boat was leaving and they dropped me off at the dock in a rattrap old pickup. The tender security did want to let me on the pier - there I was - shorts, t-shirt, flops, very tan, coming off a locals 25 year Ford pickup. I literally had to go to the ship with the tender and a security card to prove who I was - since they take embarkation photos now - my room card scanned my picture. Juan the security guard was just dying to stay on the boat but I shrugged and said buenos dias.

Anyway, Japan, and then China for 12 days. I am fascinated but kinda scared at the same time. I am flying in separately from the rest of the crew - I'm using miles to go business class - imagine 14 hours in a coach seat? The plane is booked almost full, too, for the other members of my group who are getting to Beijing only an hour later than me.

The Great Wall. Monogolia through the gate - they say the desert starts literally on the other side of the gate. One side lush and oriental, the other side dry as Mongolian beef. Terra Cotta Warriors. Tien an Mein Square. A 6 hour bus ride to Jinan, near the Home of Tsing Tao beer and Confucius. Working with senior officials of government of 230 million people - who look forward to learning from those of us who are successful in a town of 6000.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Islamic Epcot -

i've been busy - but this what went through my mind today -

The Islamic Epcot -

We have several lands surrounding Terror World. The Shia Pavilion and ride, where everyone dies. The Shi'ite Peaceful Nuclear Explosions ride and land, where you can leave glowing like the world around you. The 'New' Hanging Gardens of Babylon - where the severed heads of the infidels are hanging. IED Row - where you can experience a fun filled multimedia ride down the road to the Baghdad Airport, filled with explosives and IEDs by the roadside. Burqa World, where women can choose from two colors for their head to toe footwear, blue or black. What the fashionable woman is wearing this year.

The ever-popular "Suicide Bomber Experience: where you put on an explosive vest and try to explode yourself amonst the most jews. The arcade is filled with the many new and exciting games including "YOU Blow Up the World Trade Center," where for 50 cents were per try you can compete with the members of the September 11th flight crews to see who can make the trade center fall the fastest. And, the always popular "Kill Bush, Flight 93" game, where you try to fly your 767 full of screaming passengers through the window of the Oval Office while George Bush is trying to run out of the room.

These and other thrills await you at Desert World, the Epoct of the Middle East.
Your visit is capped off by the nightly performance of "Baghdad Skies," an American F-18 bombing raid at sunset, with live bombs and anti-aircraft fire

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The ultimate luxury vacation

Some folks yearn for the 2 week camping trip, others for a beach, others for the luxury hotel and spa in a fabulous city. like Paris or Rome. I would not mind that, but for the current cost of traveling overseas. No matter where you go in the US, the employees are never obsequious enough for me - even at a Four Seasons level accommodation. For the truly heights of butt-kissing accommodations you need to go to France or Britain. And then, you need to fly, and unless you want to spend more on airfare than the fanciest suite in Paris for a week, you end up flying coach. Even then, you still need to go to an airport, and deal with the crowds.

But this is not about that . .. this is about travel with true luxury. Luxury of time, Luxury of space and luxury of ease. It may sound silly, but we have a vacation home on an ordinary middle class street on an ordinary public golf course in a small town in South Carolina. That town is truly the last small town on the coast between Down East Maine and Miami that is not over developed and ugly. Nor is is very expensive. This is an ordinary 3 bed 2 bath home, with the only distinguishing element being a pool.

Yet, provides the ultimate oasis. The reason is that we do not have to pack anything. Even traveling to a posh suite in Paris or Maui or wherever, you have to pack your stuff. You need to plan, and choose and select and pack and deal with the hassle of air travel and the risk that Chuck in Connecticut will rifle through your stuff because your stuff got sent there instead of to Charles DeGaulle. You have to lug your stuff to your posh suite, even if the butler puts it away.

In our case, we can fly our own airplane into the local small county airport, only 5.5 miles from the house, take a free courtesy shuttle van to out house, drive the van back to the airport with our local vehicle, go food shopping at the supermarket on the way home, and there we are - home.

We have clothes and toiletries and games and toys and liquor and food and everything we could want. ALREADY THERE.

We decide to go, and 6 hours later we are sitting on the porch having a libation. No TSA body cavity search, no rude french cabbies who are really islamic terrorists in training, No hassle. We save time. The ultimate luxury. I realized that waxing my wife's car for a mothers day gift today. I washed, and waxed and vacuumed and cleaned, and then waxed it again. Then I'll cook dinner for her. I gave her the luxury of time, of not worrying about when she can find time to clean the car, and not worrying about cleaning, or choosing a restaurant to dine in and to wait in line on mothers day. A quiet day. Simple, with family. And freedom of time.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Eastern US temps to be 110F in 2080

Lookie lookie - the sky is falling the sky is falling - oh what can we do now, please save us . .

I read the article. I have some questions, and I posed them in an email to the principal researcher - see what you think. If he answers me, I'll post it here -

Professor Lynn - as an amateur astronomer, pilot and weather buff who has a home weather station and a decade of records, I am sorry that I could only view your article in the April 2007 issue of the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate with incredulity. While of course you are credentialed researcher and I am but a poor smuck on the street, your conclusion that somehow summer average temperatures will increase by 10F over the course the next 80 years strains my mental faculties. It moreover makes no sense based on obervable criteria.

Your computer models may tell you what your research published, but the conclusion is contradictory both internally and externally.

In order to make your conclusion viable, essentially, global warming must create a semi-permanent La Nina. In effect, the warming atmosphere will cause the ocean under it to cool across a vast area of the Pacific Ocean and allows a trough to form over the eastren Pacific, which encourages the development of a downstream ridge over the Eastern CONUS. Thereafter, that La Nina will not cause a heat imbalance, which would assist in reversing the pressures and then the temperature, but, remain a semi-permanent feature of summer, which downstream causes a teleconnection that pumps up the Azores / Bermuda High causing a decrease in precipiation which allows the ground to warm in a closed loop.

I'll state again that I am not a climate scientist, but your conclusion makes no sense based on 50 years of living in the northeast and watching what happen when temperatures warm in the area. You know for a fact that air becomes more able to carry moisture as it warms. So, where do your models show dewpoints in 80 years? There is no way that 70F+ dewpoints will not create at least airmass TSRA even in the absence of cold fronts. What will happen is that the influence of these warms temps and the Bermuda High will warm the ocean under it, which, as we know, will weaken the High, allowing cooler air from the poles to come south into this incredibly moist airmass. The TSRA will be spectacular and the droughts and high temps ended as the TSRA moisten the ground. What you are essentially stating is the summer climate of the Carolinas will come north 7-8 degrees latitude. What do we see every single day in the Carolinas from the Solstice to late August? Afternoon airmass TSRA. And that’s what you'll get in this situation. Efectively limiting the heating by the cloud cover in afternoon.

Every other study I have seen shows El Nino becoming predominant in a global warming scenario, not a La Nina. El nino summers are generally cool and damp the northeast USA since the warm air over the eastern Pacific creates a down stream trough in the atmosphere. You are essentially arguing that this will not happen since if an El nino becomes a semi=permanent phenomenom the normal consequence of that will not happen in the atmosphere because of 'Global Warming.' That is not a good enough excuse. The laws of physics and the way the atmosphere works do not change because someone has a computer model. You admit that the teleconnection between the EastPac trough and Eastern CONUS ridge exists, so if an El Nino forms, a trough will predominate over the Eastern CONUS, bringing cooler and not warmer temps.

In order to scientificablly viable, a global warming model, and in fact the entire argument for human caused global warming, needs to explain how global 'cooling' existed in the 1960's and 1970's. If a model cannot explain already known phenomena, then it cannot satisfy any reasonably rigorous scientific review. We should be able to wind the global warming models back to 1900, add the CO2 and recreate the climate that we KNOW happened. If we can't do that, then the models are wrong.

Finally, I have one question that I have NEVER seen answered simply and coherently. If one looks at the blackbody absorption spectra of water vapor and CO2, they overlap. Logically, if water vapor is already absorbing all of the radiation at a certain frequency, how is CO2 going to add to the absorbtion of re-radiated infrared? It is akin to adding a piece of paper to aluminum foil covering a window; the room gets no darker. Every purported explanation begs the question, and uses as an example the planet Venus, with its' dense CO2 atmosphere and high temperatures. However, Venus has orders of magnitude less water vapor than Earth. It is akin to looking at an apple and calling it an orange because it is a fruit.

I am not one of those deniers of global warming. I simply have an open mind and want to be convinced of the Science before I start tinkering as a species with the climate of a planet whose largess we need to continue to survive.

I look forward to your scholarly input -

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

I WON!!!

I won FreeLotto! I never even bought a ticket!! Maybe that is the key to winning the lottery, don't buy a ticket, and wait for them to come to you. This one has to be legit - it is in London! Why, all they need is my name, address, bank information, social security number [I wonder how they know about that in England?] annual income, last tax return [to establish identity of course] occupation and spouse and children's names. I can't believe I finally won the lottery.

Why, I will quit my job today and make sure my spouse does the same. I called the number and gave him all the information they asked for, he was very nice. Well, I made up the social security number using an '800' number - I think it was a phone number for sex line I saw in the back of FM magazine. There was little pause when I told him I was a Treasury Agent in charge of internet fraud schemes. He told me he had another call, and promised to call me back. We never got to my bank information so they could deposit the check. I guess we'll deal with that when he calls back.

One has to wonder - is anyone that stupid? Paypal, Tax Refund schemes, if there is a way to get your identity they'll steal it. The one scheme I have NOT seen yet is selling people goods for very low prices and using the stolen identities to deliver the goods to the first few dozen people so no one gets suspicious. Guess that might actually be work, and the scammers definitely want to avoid that.

At this point, anyone who gives any personal information over the internet via an unsolicited email deserves what they get.

The one that took the cake was my credit card company which for real sent out a newsletter that required you to log in to get it. Are they nuts? I called them, and after the usual transferring around finally spoke to someone in fraud and security who had a cow when I told them about it. That was about 6 months ago.

Does ANYONE really ever log in to the fake 'Fifth Third Bank" login? And where is the Fifth Third Bank anyway?

Friday, April 27, 2007


it is hard for a man to make a good friend. Men are strange creatures; we are hard to get to know and harder still to make friends. I have had perhaps one good friend in my life. I have no good male friends now. Part of that problem is me, part of that problem is men in general. I've had and have several good friends, but no close friends. I have tried to take the male friendship to the next level, in terms of being close in a male bonding sort of way, but men usually rebuff that at some level. I suppose I am not an easy person to deal with either, being intelligent, opinionated, having a breadth of knowledge if not in fact a depth of knowledge. I think part of it comes from my high school days, which is the source of all angst for adults I think.

In high school I ws not in a clique. I could have been in the brainiac nerd clicque, but I was a athletic and liked to party. I could talk to girls too. I could have been a jock and in the popular clicque but I was too kind hearted to be popular and sit around and watch my nerd friends be teased mercilessly. The jocks for the most part were too stupid to even consider hanging around with. This seems to carry forward to adulthood at some strange level. Guys who are workaholics I just don't get; they are missing something just as much as the bums, drunks and the lazy. Guys into sports bore me too, which is why I say that I am part of hte problem. Perhaps the fact that I played sports at a AAA level makes watching them boring as hell. I am just not into all the little details of some team I am not playing on, I mean who really cares? I want to see team play, martinez is sleeping with tyrone's wife and her sister, none of my business.

I get my interest from intellectual discussions about serious topics, and humor, which, once again, makes me an interesting man according to most guys wives that I know. Interesting, attractive in that way that some people have of not really giving a damn what others think about them. I have my crazy mother to blame or thank for that part of my personality.

So, I know many people, few of which are my friends. As I get older I see the inevitable that I may have women as friends. Most men lack the emotional complexity that I find interesting. Sitting around talking about last nights game that I likely did not watch is not stimulating to me - and going to someones house to have fake male bonding time watching two teams play some sport that I make not like and certainly am not following seems just a little silly.

I suppose I need to not be so damn serious all the time, but thats where I find my humor too. A strange man. Perhaps I need to change the name of my blog. But, another friday night and I sit here alone, my spouse asleep as she usually is by 9pm. Wondering what is going on out there in the world. The weather is so damn miserable around here all the f'in' time, so I can't even go out for a walk or spend time outside.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A Week as Guest Editor

Back in February, Steve Blust, Executive Editor of the Beaufort Gazette, offered to the blogosphere the ability to spend a week as a guest editor. I took him up on it, and he took me up on it. So, the Week of April 16, I spent an hour a day at the Gazette offices while they set up the paper for the next day. I want to thank Steve, and Chris Passante, and the other members of the crew, Ian, Dave, Lisa, Nicole and everyone whom I forget to mention, for tolerating the intrusion of an opinionated newbie to their daily confab.

Monday started with Steve explaining his role. and mine, and the role of the Guest Editor, along with the philosophy of the paper which is local first, learn what people don't already know from electronic media and internet, and be interesting. I would receive a daily 'budget' of news stories from which to pick, or I could suggest my own from other sources. The true power of the press lies not in the editing of the paper, but in the preparation of the news budget. If an item is not in the news budget, then it will not likely make it in the paper - or in any other media for that matter. This is probably left to interns and fresh kids out of school, but I never found out where the news budgets actually come from before they make it to the Gazette, except in a general sense, i.e., the NY ro LA times, McClatchy - Tribune, etc. Fox is not on the list. Maybe they should be.

Anyway, Monday April 16 started off with a bang. [after reading this I realize this is a poor choice of words - edited] VA Tech and the associated stories dominated this news day. We discussed how to handle this story in the coming days as it was a major event nationally. We also had the big windstorms in Bft, fires, and the McKinney murder trial started.

Tuesday had a local murder trial continuing, along with the identity of the VTech murderer. A murder trial in a town of 12000 in a county of 100,000 is a big deal.

Wednesday looked boring, until NBC broke its' story about receiving the VTech video, and the hour's work was for naught as events took over the lead stories for the next day with the VTech rant and video.

Thursday started the build-up the Airshow, which ended up of course being the second major national story of last week. The Blue Angels arrived and the candidates for local elections began taking center stage in Beaufort, while the guilty verdict in the McKinney trial was reported and photographed by the photog and reporters - whom I never got to meet since they were likely all out in the field in the middle of the afternoon.

Friday ended the week with a discussion of the coverage of the upcoming Marine Corps Airshow, other pending stories to be covered on the weekend, and we had a very interesting exchange on the story concerning the Iraq stories reported in the front section on Sat am. These included the wall being built around Baghdad neighborhoods and how it contrasted with the happy news coming from the administration. Also in the paper was a story about how the military is giving up on Iraqification. The news room thought these last were important national stories which contrasted strongly with the stated reasons for the surge into Iraq. A few members of the newsroom staff thought these were important stories and would be important stories in the coming weeks. Yet, they were no in the NY Times or LA times last week.

I know that my thoughts were taken seriously. I have different leanings than most newsroom people being conservative, and I trolled the news those days to learn as much as I could as to what was going on in the world, national, region and locally so I could make a constructive contribution. I did add or move a story in importance once or maybe twice, the first time was that they Gazette seemed to forget that April 17 was tax day this year; they must have all had their returns done by then!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Beaufort Marine Corps Air Station, April 21, 2007, 3.42pm

My airplane was in the civilian display area for the airshow at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort. My wife and I own a home on Ladies Island, about 5 miles as the crow flies from the Air Station. I had been tending the airplane and watching little kids enjoy playing pretend doing the zoom whoosh zoom pretend play inside my cockpit.

When the B-2 flyover and Angels show started I closed the cabin door and paid attention to the Air Show. I had 2 other pilots with me, people that I had met 'online' in various listservs who just happened to be there. We had a perfect seat since every time they overflew the crowd at 500 feet or so they came right over the top of us. We were standing with the heads on a swivel as we watched the various maneuvers. As we watched the Fleur de lis, which is the next to last maneuver, and then the final center show break pass [which was NOT very good -the timing was way off as the 6 different airplanes hit the center point spread over perhaps a second - not much, but very noticable] they zoomed up into the vertical to reform for the center show break. They reformed from the vertical and then blasted out in separate directions. I mentioned to Wade that it was interesting that in this maneuver none of the aircraft were ever aimed at the crowd or show center. He made a comment about the airshow accidents in the past and the new safety precautions were simple and did not really change the show at all.

We then turned as they flew over and watched them three of them easily reform. We saw two others catch up from behind and the right wing on that last maneuver had blasted way off to the west and was starting to come back toward the formation of three. I watched him pass behind the group from my perspective, and then make the turn back in toward the formation. He was in tight reef as he needed to change direction 180 degrees and then catch back up. As completed the 180 deg. turn, still in a bank, he just slid off right down below the tree line and then a huge plume of black smoke erupted. I knew what I saw, and my other 2 pilot friends knew what they saw as well. We looked a each other with a 'did you just see what I saw look.' I went oh shit in my mind. It seemed like no one else around us knew what happened. The aircraft were low to the ground, and 3-4 miles away so it took pretty good vision to pick out what was happening. All the pilots around us seemed to start looking around immediately. you could see it happen.

Then the Blue Angels reformed for the last maneuver which was the Delta, all six jets in a delta formation zooming in and down the runway to a carrier break. Any doubt we had was removed when only 5 jets showed up for the Delta. Even so, most people did not know enough to count the jets but you could see the pilots around us looking up and counting. Then, we heard sirens from the base start up, while the Angels were landing. Then the rescue helicopter, sitting strip alert, spooled up and took off in the direction of the smoke virtually at the same instant we heard the sirens. The pilots and crew of the various airplanes all seemed to look around, then at each other and then down. All at the same time. The Blue Angels announcer continued the show patter, since, from where he was, he could not see either smoke or what happened.

All around us happy, smiling people were leaving the airshow, after a great display. Those who knew were in a surreal situation. I know I wanted to scream to everyone around me - 'can't you see what just happened!!!' Of course, when there are 50,000 around you, that would not be very productive. The police locked down the base and pretty quickly, people started figuring out something was wrong. But not sure what. One guy came over with his family and asked me what was going on - and I told him and he did not believe me. The smoke was gone by then. He found out later.

So, I hope LCDR Kevin Davis caught his three wire and died doing what he loved. The CNN video clearly shows what we saw. I have my suspicions with what happened, and we'll let the Navy figure it all out. Can't hide the physics of something, and they'll know once they get into the F-18 sims and recreate the accident. I hope something crucial broke, or a bird strike into the cockpit, both of which explain what I saw. There are lots and lots of migrating birds in the marshes and fish filled waters of Beaufort County South Carolina. There was no burst of flame from the airplane before it hit the ground, so if it was a bird strike, it was not into an engine.

LCDR Davis died doing what he loved and what fewer than 500 men have done in the entire history of the world. A proud accomplishment. A sad time for his family.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Nut Cases and the Second Amendment

The question is what to do about the Second Amendment in light of Cho The Crazy South Korean?

You can pass all the gun control laws you want but can't either predict or even know when someone is going to go off the deep end. One reasonable law which I would support would be surrender for safe keeping of all handguns if you have an active restraining order against you. This means keeping a list however, and that list can cause all kinds of mischief. Perhaps this would have solved this perhaps not. While recriminations will not bring anyone back, a good after action analysis will make response better in the future. It will also result in the VaTech Chief of Police getting a more appropriate job, like mall security guard.

Personally, I do not want the government regulating guns because they do such an honest and even-handed job regulating everything else. However, handguns do need more direct regulation, and I can't believe I am saying it. Banning them may not be a good answer, since there are millions more honest, law abiding citizens who own handguns, and it is simply wrong to take their property without them doing anything wrong. However, the right to carry concealed flintlock rifles and small bore cannon cannot be restricted by our government.

I own three rifles and one handgun. My handgun is a Colt Model 1911 .45 caliber military pistol. I do not keep it loaded in the house. I worry about that because nothing is more useless than an unloaded handgun. . . a member of the british royal family perhaps, but they generally don't stop by the house.

My prayers go out to the members of the VaTech family, and all the other families who lost members to gun violence. Simply put, we do not need to really ban guns, we can simply create draconian penalties for the use of the weapons. We do not need to harass law abiding citizens, what we can do is imprison the idiots who use guns in the commission of crimes. Minimum 20 year term of the use of a gun in a crime. One sure thing about incarceration, the recidivism rate is pretty low when one is behind bars. I am tired of the whole sorry ass 'poor inner city' young corrupted by a culture of violence,bad childhoods, yada yada yada. Life was no picnic for me, or a lot of people I know but we did not take to gangs and guns to show our manliness. Do the crime, do the time is my motto.

I'd rather pay $100,000 a year to keep a violent gangbanger in jail, than $100,000 to schedule a convocation at a high school or college after a tragedy.

'Everyone' saw the warning signs and people actually did something in this case. . . there is just a limit as to how far a free society can go in detaining people like Cho. I'm sorry. Lots of people are sorry. I wish there was a way to stop people like him from going postal; it were not a gun, it would be a knife, a sharkgun, or poison or some weapon. People like Cho find a way.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Kinder and Gentler

Yesterday, that blog was definitely not kinder and gentler, but fairness and justice matter alot to me. That is why I am a Republitarian, but that is for another post.

For years, I reacted to even the smallest disappointment with anger and frustration. We are talking when someone isn't driving fast enough, and I am not late for anything, just 'in my way.' Perhaps I am still like that a little bit, but I am definitively now kinder and gentler. And I am a happier person for it. My law practice works better because I am more understandings and less 'lawyer like,' people never expect it. Kill em with kindness. That being said, oddly enough, in my political life I was ALWAYS patient and able to deal with any disappointment or others doing their thing with equanimity and peace. Mostly because I always ultimately was a scheming son of a bitch and able to outmaneouver other people.

Anyway, I had been praying for years for the Lord to take this burden of intolerance and anger from my heart. One day, last fall, sitting in church, listening to a sermon from our new very young Pastor, I was struck with the fullness of my life. I had meaning in different areas, I could fly above the clouds and see the world from a differnet perspective, I had a woman and a child who loved me and gave value and meaning and validation to my feelings. I realized that my burden was like a sack of bricks, and all I needed to do, was set it down. Feeling the richness of my life, seeing the beauty of the world, and the gifts from God we experience every day, I saw all I needed to do was take the load, and set it down. And I did.

Here I am months later, and while I can still get frustrated I do not get angry any longer. Others have seen my change and see it as 'losing weight' [which in a way it was], or a new haircut, or hair style, or some other external change. I know what happened that day and realized all I needed to do was stop. To relax and enjoy the life, the challenges, the successes and failures the Lord has set before me. I know that every success, every failure, every challenge, builds our character and enriches our soul. The human interactions depict and even shape who we are. Call it Karma. or being a Christian, or whatever, but this prayer was answered, in a way never really thought of. Thank you Lord for the strength to set down my burden.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Rape, Duke and Sexual Politics

I am smart enough to know that simply because the Duke Lacrosse players are exonerated, it does not mean they did not sexually abuse that woman, or are 'innocent,' but it does mean that the prosecutor does not believe he has the evidence to even go to trial. That is pretty powerful since the old lawyer's saw goes a prosecutor could indict a ham sandwich for murdering the pig. It does not take much to go to trial. Prosecutors take marginal cases to trial all the time, sometimes to coerce a defendant to plea to a lesser charge because the prosecutor is convinced something illegal occurred, if not what is being charged. This is REASONABLE use of prosecutorial power.

Personally, the Duke defendant's major faux paus was political correctness; how dare they, in this day and age, hire a stripper. This woman was there to take her clothes off and pretend that she desired these boys sexually. 'Modern' college men at 'liberal' arts research institution wanted to pay a woman to get naked and most likely then perform simulated sex acts with the other woman who was present. Oh the sheer rough indecency of it all. That is obviously what these two strippers were paid, at least in part, to do. Who knows that happened, perhaps the woman did not get paid what she wanted to be paid for whatever 'extras' the boys wanted, perhaps she was cornered and placed in fear and wanted to teach these boys lesson, and perhaps she was actually touched against her will. Her will involves the exchange of cash, so that touching is a transaction. Rape is certainly out of the question in the absence of DNA.

Does ANYONE recall the 'outrage' at their 'actions?' Duke, in a fit of politically correct stupidity, SUSPENDS the rest of their season and essentially suspends the team. For what? Nothing it appears now. Perhaps now these liberal and politically correct idiots running this school will offer a deep apology to these now young men, with as much fervor and press hounding as they did when they 'suspended' them, the presumption of innocence notwithstanding.

This case disgusts me, as a man and as lawyer. Nifong SHOULD be disbarred. For two reasons. First, if this woman WAS sexually assaulted, she will never get her criminals tried for their crimes. Second, if the woman was NOT sexually assaulted, Nifong totally abused these men's rights, literally trampled them under his rush to destroy their character and lives over a crime which did not occur, was imperfectly investigated, and where exonerating facts were covered up for MONTHS.

Which brings me to sexual politics. No matter WHAT the facts reveal, i.e., this woman did not have so much as pubic hair of THREE boys who supposedly had sex with her against her will on her person. That is simply impossible. Even if they were ALL completely shaved they would have left sperm, or, using a condom, spermicidal jelly or even latex from the condom. None was found. Yet, she had the sperm of at least one other person and the pubic hair of at least two others on her genitalia when she was raped checked the next day. A woman has the right to do as she pleases with her sexuality, but, someone, somewhere, needed to explain how those other men's dna got on her body. This ALL being said, none of the women who so vehemently protested in the days before and after their arrests will EVER believe that this woman lied.

This woman asserted criminal charges, the heinous crime of rape, falsely. These men were completely innocent of rape and now, apparently, innocent of ANY charge because none are being prosecuted. The new Prosecutor lacks the belief even that something illegal occurred.

Where is the moral, and liberal, outrage against destroying three lives for two years? Where is the outrage against abuse of prosecutorial power? Where is the outrage by these womens, black and liberal groups FOR these men? By contributing to the lynch mob mentality these groups fostered the subornation of justice, and encouraged the ignoring of these boys right to fair trial and even a fair evaluation oft he charges against them. The Duke administration is similarly guilty of ignoring what was the right thing to do, which was NOTHING, no consequences until these boys were proven guilty. Yet, they joined the hysterical mob mentality that these boys MUST have done what they did, after all, they hired a stripper. It is, after all, indeed a short trip from hiring a stripper to rape. Happens every day. to that, I answer: Tawana Brawley.

IF I had any say in the NCAA Lacrosse tournament, I'd save a space for Duke this year. If Duke has any class and any remorse, the Administration should resign. What they did was wrong and against every tenet of a supposedly modern institution of higher education.

But I know what will happen. Nothing. No one will apologize, the liberal, black and womens groups will slink back into their cave until they can express fresh outrage at the next event which did not happen. By failing to stand up for these young men now, they cheapen the charge of rape, and make it harder for every woman who comes thereafter, who is attacked, assaulted, smitten and whose life is destroyed.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Racism now reduced to mere words

Looks like we've come a long way in the country. Why, racism has been reduced to name calling. No one gets murdered, pillaged, assaulted, raped, or sprayed with water cannon any longer. Racism now consists of name calling. Not only Imus but the black community should be ashamed of itself. Why, the 'black community' and the Artist formerly known as SnoopDogg. and presently known as convicted felon, uses invective all the time, calling white people crackers and white trash and all manner of insulting names, yet, where is that black outrage at his racism? Heck black folk call each other nigger all the time. I do not see southern white greeting each other with 'hi Cracker" eponym.

And to let Al Sharpton AND Jesse speak for you? Why Sharpton was directly responsible for the deaths of two people in riots which HE instigated. Does no one forget Jesse and his Kikes and Heebs remarks? How come HE still has his job?

If racism has been reduced to name calling, well, 'Black' americans, welcome to the party. Irish. Italians, Polish and blondes have been the butt of jokes for more years than I've been alive. Grow a thicker skin. What ever happened to sticks and stones. . .

And, Imus is an idiot that I don't listen to anyway - he was an idiot 20 years ago and is one today. Vote with your wallet instead of your outrage - stop giving him more press and he'll go away on his own.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Bored in the Crazy World

In my life, I am getting bored. Late 40's, can do what I want, pretty much spend what I want within normal human limits. I entered local politics because I believed that respect and empowerment could cure the problems in our local education system, and amazingly enough, they did. When I joined our Board of Education my goals were simple, bring back respect and give the teachers the tools and freedom they wanted to teach. In my heart I believed that making them partners in the process would eliminate alot of the problems we had internally; it is hard for partners to cast stones at each other and look each other in the eye everyday.

Our teachers were in up roar, they came to a BOE meeting the spring my first year in a fighting mood; almost all of them. On the warpath. I waited another year, learned the ropes, then fought for the position of Chair. I then saw the problem was the Supt. in part, the other part was the unreasonable expectation of staff. I'd fix that once I took care of the other part of the equation. So, over the course of 2 years, we eased our current Supt into retirement. He wanted to be part time after he retired, and many in our town wanted only a part-time supt, so he maneouevered himself to be the natural choice. I outmaneuvered him. We got a full-time supt, young, vibrant, who I and only one other member saw was the perfect choice, so we fought that battle as well, and won.

Here we are 3 years later, it seems all the battles are fought and won. Everyone loves him, everyone respects him, and everyone trusts him. Suddenly, the staff problem went away. I insisted that staff make up the budget for a year, not the admin. So they did, and they saw there was no place to make cuts that did involve them. They were full participants in the process and now trust that process. They did this the year BEFORE we did negotiations over a new contract; no, that was not a coincidence. When we negotiated, we agreed fairly quickly on our contract, we all knew the constraints and there was no 'hidden' money. Staff became a partner, and thus, it became hard to throw stones. We now concentrate on things like learning and teaching, curriculum and best practices. Boring.

Now, no one attends out meetings, there is no controversy. The community knows it is listened to, the taxpayers groups trust our open budget process, staff contributes positively to management, the kids learn better. But, it is now boring. It is funny how making things work gives great satifsfaction but leads to boring. God, please let it continue to be boring!

Even the practice of law is boring. LEt me tell you something, in litigation, especially labor litigation, every body lies. The employers lie to minimize their liability, employees lie about being the best employee since they last invented sliced bread. So, after a while, the faces change but the reality of humans fucking with each other does not. Americans are an interesting lot, we are just a bloodthirsty as the islamic terrorists, we have just sublimated the blood lust into the litigation lotto.

I am not willing to claim by married life is boring, since, well, it may get real exciting here soon which I am not looking forward to, but one never knows. I hope my new rekindled friendship with M does not result in my abusing that friendship since, our friends only know one side and I know I am not and never have been an angel. Faithful and honest perhaps, but an angel, never.

As a cynical optimist, I truly always hope for the best from human nature, which always expecting the worst, and while never being surprised, I can still be disappointed. Friends have told me of the complex nature of that response, and call it interesting 'for a man.' In my younger days disappointment led to anger and frustration. In the last 6 months it has led merely to bemusement, that humans just are what they are.

Tomorrow I'll tell you how and when I became kinder and gentler. It may surprise you.

Monday, April 9, 2007

global Warming assholes

During the coldest first week of April in seventy years from the Rockies, to Texas, to frigid golfers at Augusta National, and on to Southern New England, my thoughts turn to cable television in the early 1980's, to the old MTV commercials, when various music celebrities told us that "I want my MTV!" I'll paraphrase that by stating "I want my global warming!" With Spring a cruel joke of the calendar this year, as it was also last year, and the year before that as well, the long sunny evenings give us time only to admire the hardy joggers dressed as if it were January, as $2 a gallon heating oil burns up and out our chimneys, you have to wonder how bad can global warming really be?

Does anyone remember that the global warming nazis, and I do not use that word lightly, promised us a decade ago that winter would be but a memory in New England in 10 or 15 years? I do. One does realize that they never made any promises about Spring, however. All we hear about is gloom and doom, but how can all of global warming be bad? It certainly will be better than coldest spring since the 1930's. Better than the widespread loss of crops. Better than the increased burning of gas and oil to heat homes nationwide. It is possible for us to actually produce FEWER 'greenhouse' emissions over the course of the year, if it were not so cold.

The only people really complaining about global warming, are those who have nothing to lose. The rich, mostly liberal groups, celebrities and politicans, whose own lavish lifestyles are justified by 'carbon credits,' warn us almost daily about how you and I are destroying ice, causing droughts, and killing species on a wholesale basis. What bunk. Ice records reveal that is accreting in places like antarctica, while the ocean near the poles is warming. The sun is putting out more energy today than

There is simply no climatic evidence of the horrors promised. There is no one starving any more in Africa than starved in the 1980's when we had the horror of global cooling. Africa's problem is overpopulation in marginal areas, not global warming. The monsoons in Asia do no more damage today than they did then either. We hear of hurricanes, Katrina evidence the end is near, yet no one recalls Camille, or Gloria, or the 1938 Long Island Express, until reminded of them. As the warnings of latest disasters are screamed across the television almost nightly, as you shiver in your cold home, the daffodils do not come up, and the forsythia refuses to bloom, global warming is not all bad. Nothing natural is all bad.