Archive for September, 2008

Listen to the Money Talk:

Posted in politcs, rankers with tags , , , on 27, September 2008 by chockblock

p.s. more change we can believe in need (h/t : xbradtc)

Swiming in Dangerous Waters

Posted in army training, HOOAH!, War On Terror with tags , , , on 25, September 2008 by chockblock

China, India and many other Asian nations are in the midst of a mini-arms race. They fly Su-27 derivatives. Many are concerned that the U.S. response many not be up to meeting the new jets:

A U.S. air-warfare simulation pitting F-35 Joint Strike Fighters versus the latest Russian Su-35 heavy fighters resulted in a clear victory … for the Russians. “The JSF had been clubbed like baby seals by the simulated Sukhois,” one Australian opposition politician said, quoting a source close to the simulation.

In other news, China develops a new ballistic anti-ship missile.

The new Navy ships are not up to this new threat:

Navy Retreats from Shoreline Warfare
By David Axe

Kearsarge_from_ch53e_aug_11_2008 Just last week the U.S. Navy accepted the first of its new shallow-water-fighting “Littoral Combat Ships,” the late and over-budget Freedom. But that doesn’t mean the Navy is truly committed to dominating shallow waters, despite the endless rhetoric that has flowed from the Pentagon in recent years.

Oh yes, Pakistan may have fired at U.S. choppers when they are not aiding the Taliban by air.

So where does that leave us in Uniform? Life is gonna get interesting. After Iran gets the bomb, war may be sure to follow. Temping as it may be, their nuclear status is but a part of the picture. Asia threatens to explode. North Korea has helped Iran. China has helped out their military. Russia and Croatia sold or may have sold them the S-300. China has it and the HQ-9 derived from U.S. technology.

As the world gets smaller, several nations are getting more and more militant. Russia’s little jaunt Georgia,into South Ossetia shows that the bear is back. Not as strong as he was but his baaaack! We can’t talk ourselves out of this, that’s what THEY want us to do. We have to stand up and fight when the time comes. Those of us who wear kevlar to work will have a busy decade. As long as Congress and the DOD give us the gear, we’ll make it. But we need to look at the long haul.

The current wall st. mess is bad, but these clowns did themselves in, with all those bad loans and some clowns in congress who let them do it.

We need a leader not someone who will not take the time out from building his cult campaigning to deal with the economy.

I don’t know about hope but we’ll see a lot of change in the next few years.

BTW: Via In From the Cold:

Half-Way There

The chief of research for Israeli military intelligence estimates that Iran is “halfway” to obtaining its first nuclear bomb.

plug in hybrid, circa 1969

Posted in politcs, rankers, tech pron, Uncategorized with tags , , on 17, September 2008 by chockblock

Both Wikipedia and Wired have write ups on a plug in hybrid built in the 1960’s. Yes, back when the U.S. was at war in Vietnam, Laugh-in was sockin’ it to ya and man walked on the moon.

The concept car with the cumbersome designation XP-883 was nothing more than an experiment relegated to history, but it worked a lot like the Toyota Prius and Saturn Vue plug-in hybrids the two companies are working on today. It was sufficiently ahead of its time for Popular Science to call it “radical” and ask, “wouldn’t it be great to have a car that changed from electric drive for use around town to gasoline power for highway driving?”

“It makes so much sense,” the magazine wrote in July, 1969, “that we feel they’re missing a bet if they don’t put it in production.”

The XP-883 looked like an Avanti hatchback or the AMC Gremlin’s prettier sister. At 122.2-inches long, 57.3-inches wide and 46.3-inches high, it was a little bigger than a Smart ForTwo and a little smaller than a Honda CRX. It had a fiberglass body for light weight, but just what it weighed has been lost to history.
….
You may think this little hybrid is pretty far advanced,” PopSci wrote, “but the fact is it could be built today. It’s not held up because the engineers are searching for a breakthrough.”

(source Wired.com)
Wired asks “So what’s taken so long?”

This is what has taken so long:

  1. cheap (during the 1980’s and 1990’s) oil
  2. batteries
  3. powerplans scared of what hybrids will/would do to the power gird
  4. lazyness

That last one gets’em every time. An all electric car sounds neat in theory. It did to me until my friend (the environmental engineer) pointed out that you just shift the pollution load on to the power plans. Plus you have tons of lead-acid batteries to be disposed of. even “maintenance free” batteries go bad (trust me that Army uses thousands).

He told me that 10% of the cars are 90% of the pollution. When they burn gas, they do it dirty, belching smoke into the sky. Taking them out is a good fix. we are doing that gradually as gas prices go up (people can afford them) and the cars wear out (face it our 1978 dodge charge will/is returning to the earth from whence it came).

Hybrids are great in that we can get them on the road without waiting for that “big breakthrough”. Trust me, it’s always on the horizon. New Mexico Tech is an engineering college, one of the best in that nation. Los Alamos labs hired our grads. If a battery breakthrough was in the works we’d hear about it by now.

When scientists and engineers first started to play with hybrids, most of the college types I knew thought it was a cop out. One womn went so far is to think that the big oil companies were behind it. In reality hybrids are the best for the future. All the electric motor needs is to spin. Heck, you could burn alcohol, hydrogen, natural gas or cooking oil (any flammable oil really).

Humans are just lazy. It was easier to make big gas guzzlers, with oil flowing like water during the last 30 years. Only until recently has the oil chicken come home to roost. We need hybrids. We can kick our dependence on foreign oil and stick it to those oil-sucking, women hating medieval regimes we send our petrodollars to.

P.S. T. Boone Pickens and the CNG (compressed natural gas) industry has spent a pretty penny pimping natural gas. Taking both the green and patriotic angle. The reality is that they want US the taxpayer to pay for the dirty work. They line their pockets and we foot the bill. NO DICE. Pay for it your selves.

PMCS, end of day, COB, WTF?

Posted in ADA, army training, guns, HOOAH! with tags , on 16, September 2008 by chockblock

With all the politics, you dear reader, may not know that I am currently a soldier stationed at Fort Bliss Texas. We in the military are know for using acronyms that baffle the common civilian. If you know a soldier, sailor, marine, or airman you might have heard these terms:

  1. PMCS (Preventive Maintenance Checks and Services)
  2. End of Day/ Close of Business

PMCS is the ounce of prevention that keeps all Army equipment running. Sure you check the oil and tranny fluid in your car. You make sure that your tires are properly inflated. You may even get you car serviced at the shop. However PMCS is more than that.

We check every nut and bold. Tires? We look for cuts, dents worn treads. Even though we have run-flats, we still check’em. You may get away with forgetting to check you tires, but people can die if a HMMWV has a flat in the wrong place. Lights? Always, in fact the Army is moving towards having more running, parking and taillights to LED’s. Light emitting diodes fade with time, they don’t just go out. Fluids are topped off, brakes are checked. But we go further. Chassis are inspected. A nut loose, rust or cracks in the wrong place can spell disaster. You may have a generator or have seen one in action. It is noisy and you don’t give it much thought. If our generators die, people die. generators power everything from Patriot radar screens, mobile kitchens, to guard posts and hospitals.
And it’s done on every Monday (“motorpool Monday”). Some old, old soldiers call it Motor Stables (which shows you just how long this has been going on.
Before a vehicle moves, it gets checked. Every tank, bradley, truck, HMMWV, trailer, generator etc. If it has parts and can move, we are to to PMCS it.

The Army uses a comic book like magazine, Preventive Maintenance Monthly, to keep soldiers up to date on maintenance issues. It was started during the Vietnam war to train service members on the M-16. They got into trouble with J.K. Rowling, LOL! However the magazine is online for any soldier to download.

End of Day/COB is that magical time when all work stops. The First Sergeant, or Command Sergeant Major will hold a formation after which the unit is dismissed. On weekends we get a safety brief. While it’s a laundry list of do’s and dont’s, we listen. Most of the don’ts come from risky behaviors that got soldiers killed. Every unit has numbers for soldiers to call when they are too tipsy to drive. From Commanders to sergeants to taxi cabs. We are briefed on the next day or week and we are sent on our way.

P.S. Brad has a couple of real good write-ups on how supply works in the army.

Chew on this: frosty Sarah-cudda edition

Posted in politcs, rankers, War On Terror with tags , , , , on 16, September 2008 by chockblock
  1. Confederate Yankee: The Official Wasilla Banned Books List, hurry get the dirt on Gov. palin!
  2. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae donated to Obama, dumb and dummer
  3. Patterico’s Pontifications » ABC Edits of Palin Interview Were Unfair, TV from the Soviet/Stalin school of journalism.
  4. WHAT MAKES PEOPLE VOTE REPUBLICAN? By Jonathan Haidt. Simple, we want more of our money in our wallets.
  5. NOVA | Astrospies | Watch the Program | PBS, it’s late, but the program is l33t!
  6. Ayers: Bombing America Not A Big Deal, This man was Obama’s friend. he gave him his first job. And he also plotted to kill Americans.
  7. Atlantic Monthly Editor to Offer Apology to McCain for Photog’s Doctored Pics,an employee of a two bit MSM rag makes hateful “art” bashing McCain, but blogs are not “real journalism”?
  8. Anti-Americanism Is Mostly Hype, By FOUAD AJAMIAs a boy, I went with my family to see relative in Juarez Mexico, and let me tell you, foreigners hate Americans till they need our help.

Expecting a bailout…

Posted in politcs, rankers, Uncategorized with tags , , on 11, September 2008 by chockblock

In the 1980’s, there were bankers and other finical professionals who invested in real estate. They operated savings and loans. Taking peoples money and making mortgage loans. These loans would be backed by the federal government. However as Congress deregulated the industry (from Wikipedia):

Although the deregulation of S&Ls gave them many of the capabilities of banks, it did not bring them under the same regulations as banks. First, thrifts could choose to be under either a state or a federal charter. Immediately after deregulation of the federally chartered thrifts, the state-chartered thrifts rushed to become federally chartered, because of the advantages associated with a federal charter. In response, states (notably, California and Texas) changed their regulations so they would be similar to the federal regulations. States changed their regulations because state regulators were paid by the thrifts they regulated, and they didn’t want to lose that money.[citation needed]

Imprudent real estate lending

In an effort to take advantage of the real estate boom (outstanding US mortgage loans: 1976 $700 billion; 1980 $1.2 trillion)[citation needed]and high interest rates of the late 1970s and early 1980s, many S&Ls lent far more money than was prudent, and to risky ventures which many S&Ls were not qualified to assess. L. William Seidman, former chairman of both the FDIC and the Resolution Trust Corporation, stated, “The banking problems of the ’80s and ’90s came primarily, but not exclusively, from unsound real estate lending.” [4]

So bankers became fiscal cowboys, spending other people’s money like there was no tomorrow. And Congress let them get away with it. Even as the economy turned against the savings and loans.

The result? New laws and a taxpayer bailout of risky investments. Massive FAIL. Many people lost large amounts of money. The courts would resolve the worst cases, several politicians would find their careers cut short. This crisis may even have helped cause the 1990-1991 recession.

You would think that Congress would learn. Yet Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are being taken over by the government.

During the early 2000’s, mortgage companies began backing loans where:

* The credit score threshold for conventional mortgages, which had generally been 670 or more, dropped to about 630. In the real world, a score of 630 indicates that you’re having trouble with your debt load, paying your bills on time, or a little of both.

* More ominously, the credit score threshold for subprime mortgages, which had generally been 630 or more, fell to about 590. A score of 590 is the credit scoring equivalent of barely having a pulse.

(source: Think Enron Was Bad? ‘Fredron’ and ‘Fanron’ May Be Worse)

But these were backed by the Government. They were actually owned in part by the government. So once again we come full circle. Possibly another recession, new laws and efforts to try and curb bad behavior.

However one of the figures in the S&L crisis is running for president. The media, for all it’s doom saying about the economy, did NOTHING to warn about the mortgage crisis. Most of the reports of the takeover have been positive. However, history is ripe with examples of government FAIL when it tires to run a business.

Time will tell if McCain has learned from history. Wall Street, Our Congress, and media have not.

Sara Palin Pwns the chosen one

Posted in politcs, rankers with tags , , , on 7, September 2008 by chockblock
  1. Media loves to hate Sarah Palin, my favorite line: She’s only 44 years old. She’s just not seasoned enough – and if you don’t believe me, just ask Gloria Steinem, age 74, or Barbara Walters, age 78, or Sally Quinn, age 67, or Eleanor Clift, age 68, or Andrea Mitchell, age 61, or Gail Collins, age 62.
  2. John McCain – Master Strategist, Sorry Obama, his kung-fu is better.
  3. And she pollswell, too
  4. Washington Times shows how much in the tank the MSM is for Obama
  5. Don’t tell anyone but, Obama and Biden Voted for Bridge to Nowhere (h/t: LGF)