Busy Weekend Day

Sorry for the light posting; I was busy today with going to breakfast with the candidates after this morning's Grant-Sali radio debate, watching three sessions of the General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and watching the end of Nebraska's closer-than-it-should-have-been OT win over my alma mater, Kansas. I'll try to post more tomorrow.

An Excellent Boat Page

Because of this interesting exchange over at Rontini's BBS, I took a closer look at the outstanding USS Casimir Pulaski (SSBN 633) boat page that Don Murphy runs. It's an excellent resource for anyone interested in life aboard one of the "41 For Freedom" boats. I especially liked the voluminous pictures from the virtual "tours" of upper, middle, and lower levels forward. All in all, the site is a great place to spend an hour or so.

Do Ya Think?

I just posted this over at MilBlog Ring HQ:

Secretary Rumsfeld has apparently made a startling admission:
"Well, I think that anyone who looks at it with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight has to say that there was not an anticipation that the level of insurgency would be anything approximating what it is," Rumsfeld told CNN...
Actually, I seem to remember Gen. Shinseki anticipated what was needed pretty well. I admit, I'm not a big Rumsfeld fan; as a CENTCOM staff weenie in 2003-'04, I didn't work directly with the Secretary, but I worked with people whose bosses got taskers directly from the SecDef in meetings, and none of them liked him very much either.

The Submarine Force had a similar personality in Admiral Rickover; quite a few people hold that while he was indispensible in the '50s and '60s, but had outlived his usefulness by the '70s. Likewise, I think history will judge that Rumsfeld was the right man for Afghanistan, but the wrong one for Iraq. (Of course, I recently finished reading Cobra II and Fiasco, so those books might have warped my fragile little mind.)

Standing by for incoming...

Any thoughts from my readers on this?

Bell-ringer 0011 29 Sep: SubSunk's post that he references in his comment is here.

An Oldie But A Goodie

I've linked to this list before, but I've never posted the whole thing. Especially for the disgruntled nukes out there, click on the "Read more!" extended entry link to find the "100 Reasons Why McDonald's Is Better Than Submarines":

1) No McORSE
2) If you have to take a piss, you can go take a piss. No questions asked.
3) You'll never have to go port and starboard on the fryer.
4) Better pay.
5) The f**king sun.
6) Air.
7) The boxes of food at McDonald's aren't stamped "Rejected by Hardee's" or "Not fit for human consumption".
8) The ability to call in sick.
9) The ability to quit.
10) McDonald's doesn't get their uniforms from the same company as the state penitentary.
11) McDonald's doesn't deploy.
12) They have actual janitors.
13) No McDrills.
14) The grill breaks, you CALL someone to fix it.
15) At least your boss accepts that he's a clown.
16) No McResin Discharge.
17) No all night hydro on the fryer.
18) One word: overtime.
19) Every day is slider day!
20) At McDonald's, you will never, EVER, worry about being put in prison for ten years because you told your wife what the secret sauce is.
21) They pay you for training.
22) You'll never die a horrible, excruciating death from the crush depth implosion of a McDonald's.
23) No steam piping.
24) No time at McDonald's will you hear your boss give a thirty minute dissertation over the P.A. on the importance of being at the register 15 minutes early.
25) They won't ask you about Taco Bell operations on the advancement test.
26) You get to leave work EVERY day at the end.
27) McDonald's will eventually fire the really stupid employees.
28) two words: Happy Meals.
29) McDonald's doesn't look like a big black turd.
30) Grimace don't do Vulcan Death Watches.
31) McDonald's has a slide out back.
32) To do something at McDonald's, you look at the color coded chart, not OP umpty-squat, chapter whatever, reference 3, ACN B, rev 17.
33) If McDonald's catches fire, you LEAVE.
34) No McSmall Valve Maintenance.
35) No McCOB.
36) Leaving McDonald's in an emergency doesn't require a steinke hood and a lot of praying.
37) The coffee's better.
38) Someone else makes the water.
39) You don't have to live there to work there.
40) The only cones come from the ice cream machine.
41) McDonald's doesn't go into drydock. (again and again)
42) ALL the tests are multiple choice.
43) Their TV commercials are a lot cooler.
44) Three words: Sea Foam Green.
45) Stock in McDonald's is worth something. The Nav is a part of an operation that is 6 trillion dollars in the hole.
46) Special sauce isn't "hand made".
47) No McBilges to clean.
48) Opening for business doesn't require a full day of preparations and everyone to show up for a brief at 0230.
49) Three words: Stupid ass hats.
50) Personnel inspection requirements are written on the door. (No shirt, no shoes, no service)
51) At McDonald's, dislocating your shoulder is not considered getting the good deal.
52) McDonald's never had an accident that cause a person to be stuck to the ceiling impaled on a french fry. (ie. No Mc-SL1)
53) Because you deserve a break today.
54) Even the little Hamburglar is cooler than a goat.
55) Mayor McCheese doesn't wield a righteous thumb of indignation.
56) You can choose which McDonald's you want to work at.
57) If you want to buy your boss a beer, that's okay.
58) If you want to tell your boss to f**k off and just die f**king die, that's okay too.
59) There is no Uniform Code of McDonald's Justice to deal with.
60) The news comes from USA Today, not Ric Crawford, GS-12.
61) No one will rack you out at 2 in the morning to start the grill.
62) Chances of you getting called back after you get off work are pretty damn slim.
63) Putting the pickle on the hamburger doesn't require an QA-34 and a signature to be used against you in a court of law, should they want you.
64) The only guy in a silly yellow suit is Ronald.
65) How many McDonald's were sunk in W.W.II?
66) Fixing the register doesn't require a rubber room and a rope man.
67) Nothing on the menu contains the phrases, "Horse cock" or "baboon ass".
68) At McDonald's, the riders would have to leave at closing time.
69) $2.99 is a meal price, not a daily wage at McDonald's.
70) You don't have to go single register operations if someone spills a Coke.
71) McDonald's doesn't require a 24 hour Shutdown Register Operator and McRoving Watch.
72) McDonald's doesn't call your house at 5:30 in the morning blaring some god-awful atiquated song about a bugler just to wake you up.
73) No McRadcon.
74) At McDonald's, your boss will never make you drive him around for two and a half months so he can spy on Wendy's.
75) You will never be locked in for 24 hours pretending to operate everything. (ie no McFastcruise)
75.5) You don't have to come in to work at 7:00 only to wait around for an hour waiting for your boss to tell you things you already know.
76) At McDonald's you will never hear, "Shake machine troubleshooting team, and all off watch drinkmakers, lay aft."
77) No McGMT.
78) At McDonald's you don't have to route a 1250 for a new stack of cups.
79) If you burn a hamburger they won't take away half a month's pay for two months and restrict you to the playground.
80) Knowledge of the material of construction and variable operating characteristics of the grill are not prerequisites for operation.
81) You don't have to take apart the shake machine once a quarter just because.
82) You don't have to share your bed with two coworkers.
83) You don't have to shave off your goatee when the district manager comes.
84) At McDonald's, when the toilet clogs, you don't rig pressurized air to the shitter.
85) You don't have to shut everything off and call in the last shift to start the grill.
86) Early in the morning, you don't cycle the drink machine on and off just for practice.
87) You scrub the floors because it's dirty, not because it's Wednesday.
88) There is almost always plenty of parking. If not, drive through.
89) Don't like what you got? Take it back.
90) You don't have to take a turbidity prior to putting a new catsup dispenser on service.
91) Failure of the warming oven door to open is not a panic causing event. It will also not preclude you from starting another fryer or pulling the fries out of the vat due to interlock.
92) No Mc-HPACs.
93) No one hates it so bad they refer to it simply as "The Mac".
94) No 16 hour days at McDonald's prototype making burgers in the middle of the desert for no one.
95) If you wipe up a catsup spill at McDonald's, you don't have to let it dry before you throw it away.
96) They won't secure one of the register operators to keep track of the people going into Burger King.
97) You don't have to have permission from the Manager, Assistant Manager, and Register Operator before going into the freezer.
98) At McDonald's, the toilet paper stays in the bathroom, not on the dinner table.
99) You don't have to completely undress to pinch a loaf.
100) ALL of the articles of the Constitution apply to you at McDonald's.

Shine the Light on Me

Not long ago I noticed a little uptick in traffic to this blog, which corresponded to the time when two strange comments were left by an "anonymous" poster.

Usually a bump in traffic means someone linked to my site. Curious, I checked the logs, and lo and behold, found the source -- and the likely identity of the "anonymous" poster.

I was linked to by a thread at the Democratic Underground forum, and they like me, they really like me!

Not.

Ha ha. Must've touched a nerve.

Their comment thread about me is entitled,
Yet another scumbucket rightwing blog
First I'll explain the "odd" comments that got me wondering. One was a snarky line that implied the "real" threat to our liberties comes from Catholics, rather than jihadists following islam.

The other comment I deleted because it was an obvious "Moby" comment, i.e. the poster was attempting to impersonate what they imagined a far-right reader might say, and left a deliberately extreme statement, assuming I'd agree with it and leave it on the site -- then they could point to that and say, "see how bigoted these conservatives are!"

It was clearly a set-up.

And I do not agree with it at all either.

Because I can give some context, I will reproduce it here; it was left on this posting about how well the Canadian armed forces are doing in fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan:
canadian soldiers are cool
they remind me of the south. love guns, god and women. hate gays and lesbians. there are none in there military. they beat em down.
Yeah, right, like I might think that "hating gays and lesbians" is "cool." See, just because I disagree with the social utility of same-sex marriage, then by left-wing anointed-victim-group identity-politics, I am therefore a bigot, a racist, etc.

My objection must, in their mind, have nothing to do with rational arguments, and everything to do with bias. Any objection to anything their pet special-interest lobbies desire is read as due to personal hatred of the members of the group, rather than an objection to the policy on its merits.

This is pure social coercion.

It's handy to frame things that way if you want lockstep groupthink.

It's politics by peer-pressure.

One thing I could never abide was peer-pressure, and this blog is one way I speak out against it by taking anti-PC positions.

So I deleted that comment.

But if you go look at the thread where they talk about me, you can see these people have real problems with simple reading comprehension.

Take the quote from Ann Coulter I use on my masthead, right at the top of this page under my blog title. The initiator of this thread, by the name of "EstimatedProphet", who is likely my "anonymous" commenter, says:
Even quotes Coultergeist's invocation to kill all Middle Easterners in the title
All?

Where does it say all???

Coulter's quote clearly says kill their leaders, not "kill all Middle Easterners."

Duh!

It's one single simple sentence, and he can't even get that right!

I mean, if we killed them all, who would be left to convert to Christianity, which is the whole last third of the statement?

Furthermore, why don't they support the killing of the leaders who run repressive terror regimes, where gay people are being literally stoned to death and women who aren't modest enough are beaten, raped, and hanged?

As a matter of standard policy?

Instead, their outrage is directed at me, the imaginary bigot. I think the real enemy is too scary for them to face; they can't handle the Truth.

So therefore, apparently my blog is "good for a laugh", and the purpose of that thread was for "shining light on cockroaches."

This is a perfect example of blind prejudice, where the subconscious of the left-winger sees what it imagines I wrote in spite of the evidence in clear black-and-white, and is clearly operating in a world outside of reality, by getting that simple quote wrong and erroneously imputing gay-hating motives to me.

Talk about stereotyping!

I really wish the opposition would grow up and get beyond the 2000 elections.

As a small-c "conservative" -- or am I a small-l "liberal"? -- I am not a straight-Republican voter. My favored mode of governance is partisan gridlock in times of peace, and partisan unity in times of war -- like now.

One party doesn't have all the answers, and it would be great if a true loyal opposition, that understood the threat, was providing real discussion to sharpen our thinking on strategy, instead of relying on stupid ankle-biting defeatist slogans and "gotcha" political maneuvering.

It's bad for civic morale.

Wake up and smell the jihad!

A Note From The Front

In case you didn't read it last week, head right on over to Castle Argghhh!!! and check out the E-mail from a Marine in Iraq. You'll be glad you did.

DUmb Conspiracy Theory Of The Day

You can always be assured of finding a good conspiracy theory when you head over to Democratic Underground, but I thought this one was a cut above the average. Sometimes I think people posts these things just to get commenters to appear foolish by agreeing with the posts, but this one passes the "too strange to be made up" smell test. Excerpt:
Recently, I began to notice that emails from some of my more activist friends began to have some additional information in the message header.
Doing some investigation, I found that DHS requires that emails from approved computers include this information as a means to verify the accuracy and source of the message. So what were these people doing what I thought was corresponding from an approved computer? Were they agent provocateurs of the New World Order?
...My conclusion is that someone is using this to track accounts of interest in order to create a social network analysis tool for their databases. Proof my friends that we are being spied on, even if all we are is politically active and have nothing to do with terrorism. It also proves that Fearless Leader's proposals to create laws allowing him to spy on terrorists is nothing more than a sham.
The responses are pretty funny; it's only at the very end that someone with a clue points out what DomainKeys really do (and no, it's not used to track Progressives). The rest of the responses are an excellent study for anyone interested in the paranoia sweeping a good portion of the country in recent years.

Unless, of course, all the posters are non-moonbats with a weird sense of humor pretending to be moonbats...

Update 0643 27 Sep: Actually, this one's even better. (Chap even discusses it over at MilBlog Ring HQ.) The guy's even got an (unsigned) DD-214.

The Launch Of Freedom

PCU Freedom (LCS 1) was christened and launched today in Marinette, Wisconsin, today; as you can see from this photo, she made quite a splash:

Freedom is the first of a planned run of up to 60 Littoral Combat Ships; the second hull, Independence, is being built to quite a different design. I haven't been following this class of ship very closely, but CDR Salamander has; he doesn't seem to like them very much.

From my perspective, a small 3,000 ton ship seems like it's not really big enough to either give out or take any real punishment, so hopefully it'll just be involved in "presence" missions where it won't have to really fight. It'll probably look pretty through a periscope, though.

The Worst Possible...

When we moved into our house here in Meridian, it was almost out "in the country"; probably half of the section we're in was still cornfield, including a 20 acre plot about 100 yards away. In the two years since then, however, the farmers have all sold out to the developers, and everything's being replaced by new houses -- except the 20 acre plot, which is turning into a strip mall. At first, we were hoping for useful stores -- video rental, good restaurant, etc. Unfortunately, the first store that's going up is an auto parts shop; sure, it's useful, but only on rare occasions.
Since we're resigned to not having lots of good stores going there, SubBasket and I have been entertaining ourselves by trying to come up with a list of the worst possible establishments to open up, in terms of lowering our property value. So far we've come up with ideas like "tattoo parlor", "biker bar", and "dirty book store".
This got me thinking back to an old game we used to play on the boat: come up with the worst possible Familygram. For those young pups who don't remember what it was like before shipboard E-mail, "Familygrams" were the way submarine Sailors used to get news about what was going on at home. As I remember it, when the boat left on deployment, each Sailor's significant other got six forms; she could put up to 40 words on each, and bring them down to the Squadron office, where they'd be put on the broadcast.
I can't remember exactly what we came up with for the most bad news you could fit into 40 words, but I know it involved the car crashing into the house and burning both to the ground, kids all sick/arrested/prostituting themselves, and wife running off with some shipyard worker. Does anyone else remember coming up with something especially horrifying?

One Sub Decomms, Another To Move

G-man, an old Dolphin Sailor, has quite a few posts on the last week's "retirement" of USS Dolphin (AGSS 555). And from today's Pacific Daily News, it looks like we have official word from the Navy that USS Buffalo (SSN 715) will be heading to Guam next spring to bring that base back up to three SSNs.

Infallibility Strawman

There goes the media (AFP) again! Setting up a ridiculously misinformed strawman argument to slam the Pope's criticism of islam:
LONDON, England (AFP) - Yusuf Islam, the British singer known as Cat Stevens before his conversion to Islam, added to the criticism of Pope Benedict XVI's recent remarks about the religion.

Islam, known for his 1970s hits including "Father And Son" and "Wild World," [and also known for supporting the death decree on Salman Rushdie, but the AFP neglects to mention that -- ed.] said that the pope quoting from a medieval text which attacks some of the Prophet Mohammed's teachings as "evil and inhuman" showed the pontiff was not infallible.

Roman Catholic theology says that the pope cannot err in teachings on faith or morals.
NO, it DOES NOT say that! Not everything the Pope says is considered infallible.

In fact, hardly anything any Pope has ever said is considered infallible.

Sloppy reporting? Or intentional obtuseness? I think it's deliberate misreporting in order to make Catholics look bad.

Because it's so obviously wrong.

The report continues, to drive the point home:
In an interview with BBC television, Islam said that he went to a Catholic school, "so at one point I used to believe that the Pope was infallible."

But he added that the pope's comments on Islam showed he was fallible
No, it shows nothing of the kind.

First, his comments on islam were correct, proven so by the violent responses worldwide.

Second, here are the rules on infallibility from the Catholic Encyclopedia:
-- infallibility is not attributed to every doctrinal act of the pope, but only to his ex cathedra teaching; and the conditions required for ex cathedra teaching are mentioned in the Vatican decree:

1. The pontiff must teach in his public and official capacity as pastor and doctor of all Christians, not merely in his private capacity as a theologian, preacher or allocutionist, nor in his capacity as a temporal prince or as a mere ordinary of the Diocese of Rome. It must be clear that he speaks as spiritual head of the Church universal.

2. Then it is only when, in this capacity, he teaches some doctrine of faith or morals that he is infallible (see below, IV).

3. Further it must be sufficiently evident that he intends to teach with all the fullness and finality of his supreme Apostolic authority...

4. Finally for an ex cathedra decision it must be clear that the pope intends to bind the whole Church. To demand internal assent from all the faithful to his teaching under pain of incurring spiritual shipwreck (naufragium fidei) according to the expression used by Pius IX in defining the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin.
So the Pope has to say a specific statement is an ex cathedra teaching for it to be held infallible, and this has only been done so a handful of times in the last 2000 years, on very basic and fundamental points of Catholic theological doctrine, such as to affirm the Immaculate Conception.

The article goes on to stress that:
It need only be added here that not everything in a conciliar or papal pronouncement, in which some doctrine is defined, is to be treated as definitive and infallible. For example, in the lengthy Bull of Pius IX defining the Immaculate Conception the strictly definitive and infallible portion is comprised in a sentence or two; and the same is true in many cases in regard to conciliar decisions.
And:
We mean in other words that the Church is infallible in her objective definitive teaching regarding faith and morals, not that believers are infallible in their subjective interpretation of her teaching. This is obvious in the case of individuals, any one of whom may err in his understanding of the Church's teaching; nor is the general or even unanimous consent of the faithful in believing a distinct and independent organ of infallibility.
Let's look once more at this Yusuf Islam, aka Cat Stevens, and see what the AFP didn't find worthy of noting.

I recall when Rushdie was condemded to die for offending islam, that Cat Stevens, when asked his opinion of the matter, replied, "whoever defames the Prophet must die."

This is his official statement about that incident, from his own website:
By Yusuf Islam
March 2nd, 1989


Under Islamic Law, the ruling regarding blasphemy is quite clear; the person found guilty of it must be put to death. Only under certain circumstances can repentance be accepted.

On 21st February, I was speaking to a group of students at the Kingston Polytechnic, and in response to a question, I simply stated the Islamic ruling on the Rushdie affair. Suddenly. my picture was splashed on the front page of newspapers all over the world next to the headline: 'Kill Rushdie says Cat Stevens'. It is very sad to see such irresponsibility from the 'free press' and I am totally abhorred.

My only crime was, I suppose, in being honest. I stood up and expressed my belief and I am in no way apologizing for it. I expressed the Islamic view based on the Qur'an, the Prophet's sayings (peace and blessings be upon him) and the rulings of the Caliphs and renowned schools of Islamic jurisprudence.
...
The fact is that as far as the application of Islamic Law and the implementation of full Islamic way of life in Britain is concerned, Muslims realize that there is very little chance of that happening in the near future. But that shouldn't stop us from trying to improve the situation and presenting the Islamic viewpoint wherever and whenever possible. That is the duty of ever Muslim and that is what I did.
And anyone listens to this guy? As an authority on Papal infallibility?

The Day On The Future Of Submarines

The New London Day has a series of articles on the future of the Submarine Force in the Sunday paper -- read it today, though, because you'll have to register to see them tomorrow. The articles include a case for Force growth, an overview of current threats, a discussion of EB's role, a call for submariners to be "louder", and one saying that subs are worth the money it costs to build them. The one I found most interesting on first reading was this one discussing the future Force numbers for various construction scenarios, including this excerpt:
The Navy projects that the SSN force will drop below 48 boats, a level the Navy has identified as necessary, in 2020 and remain below that number through 2033, a period of 14 years. In 2028 and 2029, when the force is projected to bottom out at 40 boats, it will be lacking one boat out of every six that the Navy has stated are required. The bottom will occur just as the Navy's four converted Trident cruise missile submarines (SSGNs) are scheduled to leave service, so the SSGNs will not be available to compensate for the reduced number of SSNs when the force bottoms out, and in the years after that.
I'll look over the articles again when I'm more awake and see what other interesting tidbits they might have; of course, you're invited to bring up any salient points in the comments.

Bell-ringer 0627 25 Sep: SonarMan has more over at his place.

More Anti-PC News

More good news from the standing-up-against-political-correctness front.

This also doubles as good news from the popular-culture front, in terms of the attitudinal zeitgeist.

Mockery of the jihad drives them nuts:
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A car dealership's planned radio advertisement that declared "a jihad on the automotive market" has drawn sharp criticism for its content but will not be changed, the business said Saturday.

Several stations rejected the Dennis Mitsubishi spot, which says sales representatives wearing "burqas" — head-to-toe traditional dress for Islamic women — will sell vehicles that can "comfortably seat 12 jihadists in the back."

"Our prices are lower than the evildoers' every day. Just ask the pope!" the ad says. "Friday is fatwa Friday, with free rubber swords for the kiddies." A fatwa is a religious edict.

Dealership president Keith Dennis said the ad does not disrespect any religion or culture. He said it was "fair game" to poke "a little fun at radical extremists."

"It was our intention to craft something around some of the buzzwords of the day and give everyone a good chuckle and be a little bit of a tension reliever," he said.
Well, it sure made me laugh!

CAIR is complaining, but nobody cares.

World Wide Web of Jihad



Here's a quick-and-dirty diagram I sketched up, to show roughly the present state of the interconnections of the worldwide jihad movement.

Click on it for an enlarged view.

Arrows show the directional flow of products or control; key inputs and outputs of each entity.

Solid Lines are existing; Dashed Lines show connections that are strengthening or in progress.

Red Lines are connections that existed but have been broken so far in the counterstruggle.

Blue Lines show connections that are weakening, either due to diplomacy, law enforcement, ongoing military action, technological advances, or simply the march of time.

Most of those important Red Lines are actually a result of the Iraq invasion.

Note the Green Circle that marks the Nexus that must not be allowed to occur: the joining of A-Bombs to Jihadists, as that will lead directly to The End of Life As We Know It.

Note how much trouble Iran is making, but see also that its supports are weakening. All that is propping it up is money from oil exports and energy from gasoline imports (Iran is too backward to refine its own gasoline).

Cut the gasoline in or the oil out -- which is rather simple to do with a naval blockade, military interdiction, and sanctions -- and the entity withers quickly.

That Iranian Dotted Line to the A-Bombs must turn red very soon!

Note also that Saudi Arabia is a key instigator, that also depends on people paying it for the oil extracted from territory nominally under its control, which is an Achilles' heel if I ever saw one.

This diagram indicates that neutering both Iran and Saudi Arabia by cutting their cashflow from oil will significantly reduce the resources going to Jihadists, and remove a new and volatile source of A-bombs.

See too the solid lines from North Korea and Pakistan to the A-bombs -- that is extremely troubling. The first regime is deterrable but desperate for cash; the second is inherently unstable and one bullet away from delivering a small atomic arsenal directly to the jihadists.

The gut says, one way or another, North Korea, Pakistan, and possibly Iraq are not going to survive as distinct countries for very much longer: NK will be absorbed and the other two will dissolve. Parts of Turkey and/or Iran will merge with a new independent Kurdistan.

To Tom Lehman: A Humble Suggestion

As I turned on the TV this morning to see how the Ryder Cup was going, I knew deep in my heart what I was going to see: Euro-weenies beating up on Americans. It was as I feared. How is it that the American team, with the three best players in the world, consistently gets beat by a bunch of Europeans who have to take tea breaks all the time?

The more I thought about it, the more I realized -- Europeans are just better at this "team" thing than Americans are. Then, the solution hit me -- each team Captain is allowed to pick two players to round out the team, in addition to the top ten guys in the standings. The American captain, Tom Lehman, chose a couple of golfers to fill out the team -- despite the fact that the team already had 10 golfers. What he needed to choose were people who knew about team play already -- NFL linebackers. Just imagine how well the Americans would do if Sergio Garcia knew that Ray Lewis was a threat to tackle him every time he stepped into the tee box or lined up for a putt? Would Colin Montgomerie be as likely to hole a chip shot if he knew Brian Urlacher was about to jack him up? I think not...

This year's Cup is probably already a lost cause; we need to start preparing for 2008, when we can show the world what America does best by showing Euro-golfers that "pain" is more than just getting hit in the crotch by an errant shot.

Update 1056 24 Sep: Jeez, we suck.

A Milestone In Rexburg, Idaho

Long-time readers of this blog have probably picked up that I'm infinitely proud of my daughter, "Sweetness", who's a sophomore at Brigham Young University - Idaho. She took part in a very spiritual experience on Thursday, and I wanted to share it with you.

She goes to college in the small town of Rexburg, Idaho, on the other side of the state from where we are. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is building a temple in Rexburg, just up the street from Sweetness' dorm, so she's been able to watch it being constructed. One of the highlights when a temple is going up is the raising of the statue of Moroni to the top -- this is what she, and many others, braved the wet and the cold to see on Thursday. She took a picture of the statue as it was being maneuvered into postion:

Here's a closer view of the statue being fastened into place:

"Sweetness" reported to her Mom that the crowd spontaneously started singing as the statue was going up, and that the Spirit was strongly felt by all. News reports of the statue raising can be seen here and here.

USS Dallas In Souda Bay

Navy NewsStand has some pictures out of the visit of USS Dallas (SSN 700) to Souda Bay, Crete: here, here, here, here, and here. The thing that makes Dallas stand out among U.S. submarines is her Dry Deck Shelter:

The thing is huge! I don't even want to guess what hydrodynamic effect that thing has on Dallas' top speed. More information on the DDS can be found here, and some articles on the Swimmer (or SEAL) Delivery Vehicle that goes inside are here and here.

Wow, Those Democrats Must Have Superpowers

I've never liked ridiculous hyperbole on the campaign trail, and I think I like it even less when it's my President who's using it. Check out what President Bush said in Tampa yesterday:
"If they get control of the House of Representatives, they'll raise your taxes. It'll hurt our economy. And that's why we're not going to let them get control of the House of Representatives," Bush said.
There are arguments to be made for not wanting the Democrats to take control of the House, but this one stretches the bounds of credibility. Unless the President thinks the Dems are going to take over not only the House, but also the Senate, I don't think a bill to raise taxes would pass both houses. Additionally, I assume President Bush would veto such a measure, which means that he either thinks that the Dems are going to get 2/3 of each chamber so they can override his veto, or it means he was blowing smoke. (Granted, he probably means that they won't vote to extend the tax cuts that expire in 2010, but there's another election in between now and then, so he still isn't making any real sense.)

I'd like to think that I could hold the President to a higher standard than that.

Update 0010 23 September: The President's having a tough week -- a story comes out that seems to show him acting as I hoped (and thought) he should have been in the aftermath of 9/11 -- getting Pakistan to understand that we were serious about the "with us or against us" concept -- and he denies that it happened. I think he's getting bad political advice.

Now It's Just Getting Ridiculous

Coming quickly on the heels of Time magazine's non-story of the impending minesweeper deployment, The Nation has uncovered another shocking piece to the puzzle of our "impending" attack on Iran -- The Eisenhower Strike Group is about to deploy! Here's an excerpt of what they say:
As reports circulate of a sharp debate within the White House over possible US military action against Iran and its nuclear enrichment facilities, The Nation has learned that the Bush Administration and the Pentagon have issued orders for a major "strike group" of ships, including the nuclear aircraft carrier Eisenhower as well as a cruiser, destroyer, frigate, submarine escort and supply ship, to head for the Persian Gulf, just off Iran's western coast. This information follows a report in the current issue of Time magazine, both online and in print, that a group of ships capable of mining harbors has received orders to be ready to sail for the Persian Gulf by October 1...
...According to Lieut. Mike Kafka, a spokesman at the headquarters of the Second Fleet, based in Norfolk, Virginia, the Eisenhower Strike Group, bristling with Tomahawk cruise missiles, has received recent orders to depart the United States in a little over a week. Other official sources in the public affairs office of the Navy Department at the Pentagon confirm that this powerful armada is scheduled to arrive off the coast of Iran on or around October 21.
The Eisenhower had been in port at the Naval Station Norfolk for several years for refurbishing and refueling of its nuclear reactor; it had not been scheduled to depart for a new duty station until at least a month later, and possibly not till next spring. Family members, before the orders, had moved into the area and had until then expected to be with their sailor-spouses and parents in Virginia for some time yet. First word of the early dispatch of the "Ike Strike" group to the Persian Gulf region came from several angry officers on the ships involved, who contacted antiwar critics like retired Air Force Col. Sam Gardiner and complained that they were being sent to attack Iran without any order from the Congress...
...One solid indication that the dispatch of the Eisenhower is part of a force buildup would be if the carrier Enterprise--currently in the Arabian Sea, where it has been launching bombing runs against the Taliban in Afghanistan, and which is at the end of its normal six-month sea tour--is kept on station instead of sent back to the United States. Arguing against simple rotation of tours is the fact that the Eisenhower's refurbishing and its dispatch were rushed forward by at least a month. A report from the Enterprise on the Navy's official website referred to its ongoing role in the Afghanistan fighting, and gave no indication of plans to head back to port. The Navy itself has no comment on the ship's future orders.
Emphasis mine. All this is fascinating if true, but here's the kicker -- the Eisenhower ESG completed their JTFEX at the end of July, so an October deployment would be right on time (or maybe even a little later than normal) for a regular deployment cycle. They most assuredly wouldn't do a JTFEX in the summer if they weren't supposed to deploy until "next spring". The writer from The Nation is just making stuff up. This whole meme that's spreading through the lefty media reminds me of the great "Summer Pulse" scare of 2004 when people were tracking carrier deployments as proof of an impended U.S. attack on Iran just before the 2004 elections.

These people seriously need to get another angle to play -- this one's getting old.

Pictures Of Lost Submarines

Some pictures came out recently of what may be two of history's most famous submarines in their final resting places. Most importantly, the Russian team that found what may be the wreck of USS Wahoo (SS 238) -- which I blogged about last month -- released some pictures that can be viewed here. Here's one of the pictures, of the rudder, stern planes, and props:

In the other piece of submarine photo news, underwater pictures of the Royal Navy's Holland V can be seen here -- divers just recently finished cleaning all the nets and other flotsam that had collected over the hull since she sank under tow back in 1912. (The article says that this boat is the RN's first submarine, but I always thought their actual first submarine sank a year later, and was raised in the 1980s -- it's now on display at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum.)

A Thai Coup

One night in Bangkok
The PM was in New York
He should have stayed home.

Bell-ringer 0015 23 Sep: My old shipmate Paul, whose thoughts on Thailand I trust, has this to say in the comments:
Apparently Taksin knew or strongly suspected this, because his whole family was out of the country. The Thai general in charge has close ties to the royal family, and is widely respected by the people. Very quickly, the Thai king endorsed the military takeover as necessary.

Time Magazine: Scare-Mongers?

I haven't gotten my copy of Time magazine yet this week, but it looks like they're going back into the "write about stuff to try to scare people" mode. Their cover story this week is about "What War With Iran Would Look Like" -- there's a synopsis here, which contains these excerpts:
The first message was routine enough: a "Prepare to Deploy Order" sent through Naval communications channels to a submarine, an Aegis-class cruiser, two minesweepers and two minehunters.
The orders didn't actually command the ships out of port; they just said be ready to move by October 1.
A deployment of minesweepers to the east coast of Iran would seem to suggest that a much discussed, but until now largely theoretical, prospect has become real: that the U.S. may be preparing for war with Iran.
Whoa, scary! The article goes on to couple this "news" with a report that the CNO apparently ordered an updating of plans for the potential blockading of Iranian ports; this prompted an apparent denial from DoD that anything strange was happening, according to The Army Times (which still was able to get in a quote from a Democratic congressman about how scary the Administration is).

I don't know if the CNO ordered a routine review of war plans or not, so let's concentrate on the first item in the article: the "prepare to deploy" part. Interestingly, it mentions "two minesweepers and two minehunters" -- I wasn't sure there was that much of a difference between the two existing classes of Mine Countermeasures ships, but let's assume for the sake of argument the Time meant "Osprey-class MHC" for minesweeper and "Avenger-class MCM" for minehunters (although it could be vice versa). Time makes it seem like a big deal that we're sending minesweepers (or hunters) to the Gulf, without bring up one salient point: we already have 4 of them stationed there! Yes, that's right; we already have 2 Osprey-class MHCs (USS Cardinal and USS Raven) and two Avenger-class ships (USS Ardent and USS Dextrous) forward-deployed out of Bahrain.

OK, so we already have four minehunters there -- it still sounds scary to be doubling our force, you might say. It might be, if it wasn't for the fact that the two Osprey-class ships currently in Bahrain are being decommissioned in Dec. '06 and being transferred to Egypt. So, it looks like rather than doubling the force, we're just replacing the ones that are already there but leaving. Since all the Osprey-class ships are to be decommissioned by the end of 2008, I wouldn't be surprised if the two "minesweepers" that got prepare to deploy orders were the Cardinal and Raven, who are going to "deploy" to their new owners in Egypt -- which means we'd still just have four minesweepers in the Gulf.

And what about the cruiser and the submarine that were mentioned? Well, it turns out that Navy ships, especially since 9/11, do "surge deployments" all the time -- this search of Navy NewsStand returns almost 300 hits for surge deployments, including ones for USS Memphis, USS Columbia, and USS Louisville from this year.

Bottom line: This just isn't a big deal, no matter how much Time wants us to believe it is.

Avast, Ye Scurvy Dogs!

"Submarines are underhand. Unfair. And damned un-English. The crews of all submarines captured should be treated as pirates and hanged.” - Admiral Sir Arthur Wilson, RN, 1901

Today is "Talk Like A Pirate Day". Since submariners have traditionally been seen as the spiritual successors to pirates among the world's navies, it's only right that we should honor our somewhat piratical past. To that end, here's a picture of HMS Conqueror (S-48) flying the Jolly Roger on her homecoming from the Falklands War and her sinking of the Argentine cruiser ARA General Belgrano (the ex-USS Phoenix):

Dave Barry has more on the importance of this day. Read it or prepare to walk the plank!

A Job Title To End All Job Titles

From this Flag Officer Assignment announcement found at the Navy NewsStand:
Rear Adm. (lower half) Mark I. Fox is being assigned as deputy to the deputy chief of staff for political, military and economic business, Multi-National Forces Iraq. Fox is currently serving as deputy assistant to the president and director, White House Military Office, Washington, D.C.
"Deputy to the Deputy"? As an Flag Officer? I'm sure RADM Fox is a fine officer, but c'mon... this should serve as a wake-up call to everyone who sees it that the Navy just has too many Admirals. Maybe NAVPERS can come up with a "Drawdown Game" for Flags -- but of course they won't. One of the most jealously-guarded items within each service, and for each community within the services, is the number of General and Flag Officer billets they get -- no one wants to give up a slot, because that would mean they'd be perceived as becoming less important. The Navy has well over 200 Flag Officers for a force of 282 deployable battle force ships -- most of which are commanded by O-5s. The Army has 25 General Officers for each division -- or about 1 per battalion/regiment, which are also commanded by O-5s. At least the Air Force is looking at cutting their numbers of Generals -- although I doubt it will actually happen, for the aforementioned reason.

And don't even get me started on the number of O-6s with no apparent function other than to keep people below them in the chain of command from working efficiently...

Hope For Sweden?

Sweden and the Netherlands seemed to be in a race as to which national identity would disappear first, its socialist handout policies overwhelmed by an unchecked wave of unassimilated muslim immigrants, against which nobody could speak in a stifling PC atmosphere.

But perhaps there is hope for Sweden, though this is just the first step.

In a totally surprise outcome today, the ruling socialist party is suddenly out after 12 years!
Swedish opposition ousts government
STOCKHOLM, Sweden - A center-right opposition vowing to streamline Sweden's famed welfare state ousted the Social Democratic government in a close parliamentary election Sunday, ending 12 years of leftist rule in the Nordic nation.

Prime Minister Goran Persson, who had governed for 10 years, conceded defeat and said his Cabinet would resign after the Social Democratic Party's worst election result in decades.

With 99.7 percent of districts counted, the four-party opposition alliance led by Fredrik Reinfeldt had 48.1 percent of the votes, compared with 46.2 percent for the Social Democrats and their two supporting parties.

"It was team work that helped us win," Reinfeldt said in a victory speech to jubilant supporters in downtown Stockholm.

Persson said Sweden's social model — a market economy blended with a high-tax welfare state — was at stake in the election. But the opposition led by Reinfeldt's Moderate Party insisted it would not dismantle the system but help it survive by promoting jobs over welfare handouts.

The results showed the Moderates with 26.1 percent, a strong gain from 2002 when it won only 15 percent of the vote. After taking over the party leadership in 2003, Reinfeldt, 41, steered the party toward the center by toning down its conservative polices.

"We dared to challenge ourselves, we dared to admit our faults," Reinfeldt said. "That renewal has not just begun, it will continue into the future."

Final official results were expected Wednesday, but were unlikely to change the outcome.

The Social Democrats had only 35.3 percent, which if confirmed would be the party's worst showing in parliamentary elections since 1914.
Leftists defeated, by wafer-thin margins, in Mexico and now Sweden.

It was thought by many that their handout policies would buy votes; that too many people would be afraid of losing their slice of the pie through any "reform":
Sweden is a small country. The 9 million inhabitants do not constitute more than 0.14% of the world’s population. The immigrant population amounts to just over 2 million, or 22% of the entire population....

Approximately 5,310,000 or 59% of the population belong to the fit-for-work age group 20-64. Of these approx. 4,050,000 are working. More than a million people do not work; that is, either they have not got a job, are studying, are unable to work, are sick, disabled or just “damn lazy”. Why work when the benefit per day is just $10-15 lower than the work wage?
...
340,000 immigrants have such poor knowledge of Swedish that they find it impossible to function fullly in society. 20,000 of those who have come to Sweden the last 20 years have such serious reading/writing difficulties that they should be considered as illiterates. Less than half of those who have been granted residence permits start their free (but not yet(!) compulsory) course in Swedish for Immigrants (SFI ) within a year. 40% of the SFI-pupils are shirking the Swedish language training.
...
The sitting Swedish Social Democratic Government tries to remain in power by appealing to all recipients of public welfare (with Swedish as well as with foreign background). With the prominent help of their supporting two sects, the Greens and the Lefts, they are fleecing the working Swedes to maintain a big sponging immigrant population. Swedish society can probably be fleeced at least for another one or two voting periods. Generous welfare benefits attract more and more people and when the share of the idle population grows big enough, the tax burden for the remaining work-force must make working become unprofitable. Hopefully this will soon happen and cause the system to collapse.
Happened earlier than expected.

Now, let's see what they do.

Australia Reads Riot Act

Normally, this is not what one expects to hear from an official "multicultural spokesman"!
AUSTRALIA'S Muslim leaders have been "read the riot act" over the need to denounce any links between Islam and terrorism.

The Howard Government's multicultural spokesman, Andrew Robb, yesterday told an audience of 100 imams who address Australia's mosques that these were tough times requiring great personal resolve.

Mr Robb also called on them to shun a victim mentality that branded any criticism as discrimination.

"We live in a world of terrorism where evil acts are being regularly perpetrated in the name of your faith," Mr Robb said at the Sydney conference.

"And because it is your faith that is being invoked as justification for these evil acts, it is your problem.

"You can't wish it away, or ignore it, just because it has been caused by others.

"Instead, speak up and condemn terrorism, defend your role in the way of life that we all share here in Australia."
Rather blunt! Excellent.
Mr Robb said unless Muslims took responsibility for their destiny and tackled the causes of terrorism, Australia would become divided.

Mr Robb, the parliamentary secretary for immigration and multicultural affairs, said it was important for migrants to learn English.

"I see as critical the need for imams to have effective English language skills -- it is a self-evident truth that a shared language is one of the foundations of national cohesion," he said.
Nice turn of phrase there at the end.

Another Year Older, Another Year Snarkier

Today marks my 2nd anniversary as a blogger here at TSSBP. Here's my blogiversary post from last year -- much as one doesn't take as many pictures of your 2nd child as the first, I'm sure I won't write as much as I did last year to mark the occasion. (The link above has the obligatory link to my first ever post.)

Statistics-wise, I got a little over 150,000 visits this year, and just over 310K page views. I wrote 744 new posts this year -- this kind of surprised me; I had expected the number would have gone down from the 610 I did the previous year. In addition to continuing to contribute to the submarine group blog Ultraquiet No More, I joined the gang over at MilBlogs Ring HQ for some group mil-blogging -- it was there that I helped expose the Jesse MacBeth fraud. Here at my home blog, I tried some more humor writing, to mixed reactions, when I authored the SPUD-LIB Manifesto -- an ultimately successful crusade to get permalinks from Idaho ├╝berblogger Clayton Cramer.

I appreciate everyone who's kept reading me as I "evolve" as a blogger -- I hope to be able to provide even better content over the next 12 months.

-- Joel Kennedy -- "Bubblehead"

A Cornucopia Of Submarine Links

Eric at The Sub Report has done it again -- directed the 'net-using denizens of the deep to a great repository of submarine information and links. His find for today: COBLINKS.

COBLINKS takes over where Rontini's Links page left off by providing what appears to be the most up-to-date and complete links to all things submarine. He's got a list of submarine bloggers that's almost as long as mine, for example. (I note, however, that he doesn't have my old friend RM1(SS), blogging as The Old Coot, listed -- as for me, I just re-found his blog today, and have to get it added to my blogroll.)

Anyway, COBLINKS has somewhere between a cubic butt-ton and a metric sh*tload of good links, so if you have some free time, it'd be a great place to explore.

Civilization Politically Impossible?

What a surprise:
A HARDLINE cleric linked to Somalia’s powerful Islamist movement has called for Muslims to “hunt down” and kill Pope Benedict XVI for his controversial comments about Islam.
...
“We urge you Muslims wherever you are to hunt down the Pope for his barbaric statements [oh, that's rich... -- ed.] as you have pursued Salman Rushdie, the enemy of Allah who offended our religion,” he said in Friday evening prayers.

“Whoever offends our Prophet Mohammed should be killed on the spot by the nearest Muslim,” Malin, a prominent cleric in the Somali capital, told worshippers at a mosque in southern Mogadishu.
We hear this phrase a lot, don't we? That's nearly exactly what Cat "Peace Train" Stevens, now known as Yusef Islam after his "reversion" (not conversion, they consider everyone born a muslim and thus converts are really "reverts"), said about the Rushdie affair at the time: "Whoever defames the Prophet must die."

Where are the "moderates" coming out to counter this? Maybe, just maybe, that's really what this "religion" is all about?

I mean, that's what its leaders and vocal adherents keep saying over and over through the centuries.

If they are all wrong, somehow, then one must be using a funny defintion of "muslim."

Here is Cat Stevens' official statement on the Rushdie affair:
By Yusuf Islam
March 2nd, 1989

Under Islamic Law, the ruling regarding blasphemy is quite clear; the person found guilty of it must be put to death. Only under certain circumstances can repentance be accepted.

On 21st February, I was speaking to a group of students at the Kingston Polytechnic, and in response to a question, I simply stated the Islamic ruling on the Rushdie affair. Suddenly. my picture was splashed on the front page of newspapers all over the world next to the headline: 'Kill Rushdie says Cat Stevens (Bio)'. It is very sad to see such irresponsibility from the 'free press' and I am totally abhorred.

My only crime was, I suppose, in being honest. I stood up and expressed my belief and I am in no way apologizing for it. I expressed the Islamic view based on the Qur'an, the Prophet's sayings (peace and blessings be upon him) and the rulings of the Caliphs and renowned schools of Islamic jurisprudence.
When will people listen to their own ears?

But I digress from my main point. Back to the Somali cleric:
“We call on all Islamic Communities across the world to take revenge on the baseless critic called the pope,” he said.
These ravings would all be ludicrous if not for the fact they are striving with all their might to obtain atomic bombs.

Such devices can only come with the support of a state.

It is a many-headed, but finite, hydra. The list of possible state sources is North Korea, Pakistan, and Iran. Iraq's program, outsourced to Libya, has been shut down, but at a terrible political cost.

The whole list has to be shut down, soon, to stop the otherwise inevitable.
No matter where we started on that list, it's likely the same political cost would be in effect right now.

The central question of our time is: Do we act to pre-empt this list, or sit back and wait to take at least one 10-kt hit (or worse) first?

And, to then have to respond in the face of hyper-proliferation.

If politics has made pre-emption impossible, then politics has ultimately made civilization impossible.

The people trying to gum up the GWOT should worry more about preventing the scenario in which suddenly the only authority is a brigadier general having looters and dissenters shot on the spot.

These thoughts were partly sparked by some comments seen at Belmont Club:
The Mad Fiddler said...
The great thing about a culture that honors freedom is that people are willing to declare where they stand on contentious issues.

This helps identify the idiots.
...
In Tom Clancy’s novel “The Sum of All Fears” arabs recovered a nuclear warhead from a crashed Israeli jet, and used it to build a terrorist bomb. By the time Hollywood money sensed Clancy’s story as a vehicle for Hotness Ben Affleck, CAIR had waged a vehement and successful campaign to coerce the industry away from depicting Islamic Arabs as terrorists. (Ironic, ain’t it?) Despite that thousands of terrorist acts around the world each year are done by Islamic Jihadists, Hollywood executives didn’t have to look far from their own favorite list of “usual suspects” to replace the Islamic Arabs with NeoNazis.

Well, sure, I accept that NeoNazis can be insane mass murderers.

But that tautology was clarified over six decades ago.

The threat we need to deal with now is that of the resurgent Jihad, which has only been dormant for a time.

Not the threat of a resurgent Reich, but Dar al Islam.

How might things have gone in World War II if Hollywood and the Left had spent the 1930’s striving to convince America that our chief danger was from, say, Quechua fanatics intent on re-establishing Atahualpa’s Inca Empire from out of the mists of time, and not from the Axis powers?
And:
Pyrthroes said...
Just after the Trade Center towers were completed, John McPhee (a prolific writer for The New Yorker) authored "The Curve of Binding Energy". Therein he and a nuclear-weapons engineer instrumental in developing the H-bomb walked the Twin Towers with a waste-basket containing a concealed basketball -- the size of a hydrogen warhead, according to the engineer.

Not once we they accosted or questioned, of course, though neither had made any effort to disguise themselves as businessmen or tenants. But even in the mid-1970s, nuclear terrorism, "proxy war" if you prefer, was very much on certain peoples' minds.

Against this, sorry-- there is no defense.

The civilized world will either take stringent preventive measures NOW, or the basketball will come.

What "measures"? -- well, beginning yesterday, the Nuclear Club is closed.

Any Iranian, North Korean, or other regime found developing a nuclear WMD should be "outlawed" in the classic sense. No diplomatic pussy-footing: The Chief of State and his enablers are terminated by any means; their State scoured for any vestige of fissionable material; regardless of ideological, nationalist, or other yawps, that entity WILL NOT possess the basketball.

"Politically impossible"? Then so is civilization.

Trading in anonymity, nuclear terrorists assume that because their origins are obscure, civilized communities must dither and waffle until culprits are "exposed". Not so. Extortion on this scale is preventable, before catastrophe takes everything down with it. Who grunts and fusses against "imperial hubris" et.al. in the face of McPhee's insights going back a generation deserves to perish utterly.

The rest of us need not enslave ourselves to death.
But for short-term political gain, those shackles are being put upon us.

Immigration Raid

Oh, boo-hoo! Look at the spin in this article on an immigration raid:
Immigration raid cripples Ga. town
STILLMORE, Ga. - Trailer parks lie abandoned. The poultry plant is scrambling to replace more than half its workforce. Business has dried up at stores where Mexican laborers once lined up to buy food, beer and cigarettes just weeks ago.
This is meant to horrify us into stopping anti-illegal immigrant raids.

Instead, I am horrified that a whole town could be so infiltrated by illegal foreign invaders as to essentially be foreign territory within our own borders.

It is precisely such towns that should be reformed.
This Georgia community of about 1,000 people has become little more than a ghost town since Sept. 1, when federal agents began rounding up illegal immigrants.

The sweep has had the unintended effect of underscoring just how vital the illegal immigrants were to the local economy.
Vital? More like instrumental -- it was an illegal economy. So this town depended on exploitation, did it? Glad that's been fixed.
More than 120 illegal immigrants have been loaded onto buses bound for immigration courts in Atlanta, 189 miles away. Hundreds more fled Emanuel County. Residents say many scattered into the woods, camping out for days. They worry some are still hiding without food.
The argument that "but we can't deport them all" fails, because many more apparently self-deport when the crackdown starts in earnest.
Last month, the federal government reported that Georgia had the fastest-growing illegal immigrant population in the country. The number more than doubled from an estimated 220,000 in 2000 to 470,000 last year. This year, state lawmakers passed some of the nation's toughest measures targeting illegal immigrants, and Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue last week vowed a statewide crackdown on document fraud.
Seems to be working.
Other than the Crider plant, there isn't much in Stillmore. Four small stores, a coin laundry and a Baptist church share downtown with City Hall, the fire department and a post office. "We're poor but proud," Mayor Marilyn Slater said, as if that is the town motto.

The 2000 Census put Stillmore's population at 730, but Slater said uncounted immigrants probably made it more than 1,000. Not anymore, with so many homes abandoned and the streets practically empty.
You mean illegal aliens.
"This reminds me of what I read about Nazi Germany, the Gestapo coming in and yanking people up," Slater said.
Just bite me. You're exploiting these people economically.
The B&S convenience store, owned by Keith and Regan Slater, the mayor's son and grandson, has lost about 80 percent of its business.

"These people come over here to make a better way of life, not to blow us up," complained Keith Slater, who keeps a portrait of Ronald Reagan on the wall. "I'm a die-hard Republican, but I think we missed the boat with this one."
So they interview the mayor and the mayor's family who run the company store. Of course they're upset their little fiefdom has vanished.

Here is the unintentionally revealing money quote:
The poultry plant has limped along with half its normal workforce. Crider increased its starting wages by $1 an hour to help recruit new workers.
Oh, so your wages were below free-market rates, were they?

Bwahahahaha!

That's the real crux of the matter, isn't it?

If poultry costs me a little more for border security and an orderly process of admitting properly documented foreign guest workers -- who aren't part of some exploitive black-market economy -- I'm happy to pay it.

Indeed, I demand to pay it!

Sub-blogger WillyShake Hits The Big Time

Congrats to WillyShake for getting mentioned by NRO's The Corner yesterday for his post on the Pope's speech -- a speech that Muslims found offensive for some reason (going so far as to fire-bomb churches, apparently because they're upset that their religion was mentioned as being founded in violence). As is appropriate whenever a sub-blogger gets linked by a "mainstream" site, he (WillyShake, not the Pope) mentioned our group submarine blog Ultraquiet No More in an update to the post welcoming the new readers. BZ, Willy! (It would have been even cooler if Benedict XVI had mentioned UQNM, though.)

Regarding the over-reaction to the Pontiff's speech, Ninme has much more (as would be expected). I personally was impressed that the Pope stood his ground and didn't issue an apology, only an "I'm sorry you misunderstood me" statement that will, I'm sure, cause even more protests.

Football's Really Starting Up

With seven college football games tomorrow featuring match-ups between Top 25 teams, it looks like the season is really getting into full swing. The game that most interests me is, of course, the Nebraska - Southern Cal game, which kicks off at 1800 MDT tomorrow in Los Angeles. Those who have been reading my blog for a while know that I wasn't happy when the new Nebraska Athletic Director, Satan, dictated a shift from an exciting option attack to the pass-centric "West Toast" offense three seasons ago. While I'm still patiently waiting for Satan to get run out of Lincoln on a really uncomfortable rail, I still hope the team does well -- a Nebraska fan's loyalties are too strong for even a psychotically evil AD to destroy.

As it turns out, Nebraska's been doing pretty well so far this year, with dominating wins over La Tech and Extreme Northwest Nicholls State Teachers College for the Criminally Incontinent. Tomorrow's game against USC should be another story, unfortunately. While I'd like to see Nebraska win, I think we're about a year (and home field advantage) away from challenging the Trojans. Bottom line: This year, I'm just hoping we can beat the 18 1/2 point spread.

Next year, though, the game's in Lincoln, so I've got that to look forward to.

Update 2150 16 Sep: NU beat the spread! Woo-hoo! Just wait 'til next year, Trojan fans, and we'll have a chance of beating you for real.

Digital Vatican

The Vatican is online.

Looks very interesting! Note the link to the "Vatican Secret Archives" on this page.

Here is the Pope's own page.

Find out how to become a Swiss Guard, serving now for 500 years.

Give Peter's Pence by credit card for the poor.

You can even send e-mail to the Pope at this page, using the link entitled "Greetings to the Holy Father."

The address is [ benedictxvi@vatican.va ].

Pope All Out of Bubblegum

Pope Urban Benedict XVI has caused quite a stir in a number of ways recently.

First, of course, the headline news, which is getting this kind of headline play in the media:
Pope enjoys private time after slamming Islam
Or
Benedict blunder shows he has failed to master media machine
Both from AFP, of course.

Multiple links to the seething response are here.

The cause is this statement:
The pope quoted from a book recounting a conversation between 14th-century Byzantine Christian Emperor Manuel Paleologos II and a Persian scholar on the truths of Christianity and Islam.

"The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war," the pope said. "He said, I quote, 'Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.'"
Nothing could be plainer nor more true.

It's as true now as it was then.

Well of course the apologists are out in force, saying he couldn't have really meant anything by it. This was a scripted speech, however, and
The Rev. Robert Taft, a specialist in Islamic affairs at Rome's Pontifical Oriental Institute, said it was unlikely the pope miscalculated how some Muslims would receive his speech.

"The message he is sending is very, very clear," Taft said. "Violence in the name of faith is never acceptable in any religion and that (the pope) considers it his duty to challenge Islam and anyone else on this."
Yet, to protest suggestions that islam might be intolerant and violent, muslims are acting out violently the world over:
[German PM Merkel said:] "What Benedict XVI was expressing was his absolute rejection without compromise of any use of violence in the name of religion."

Most Muslims did not see things the same way.

In Gaza City, four small makeshift bombs exploded near the oldest Christian church...
Oh, the irony:
ANKARA, Turkey - A Turkish lawmaker said Pope Benedict XVI would go down in history "in the same category as leaders such as Hitler and Mussolini" for remarks he made about Islam. Meanwhile, Pakistan's Foreign Ministry summoned the Vatican's ambassador to express regret over the remarks.

But anger still swept across the Muslim world, with Pakistan's parliament unanimously adopting a resolution condemning the pope for making what it called "derogatory" comments about Islam, and seeking an apology from him.

"Anyone who describes Islam as a religion as intolerant encourages violence," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said.
Funny how they never show this kind of outrage at the real and daily atrocities committed in the name of islam.

Actually it's not funny at all; it's perfectly understandable, because jihad terrorism is a central tenet of islam.

But wait, there's more!
In the backlash, some of the more subtle — yet potentially far-reaching — references have been overshadowed.

The speech suggested deep dismay over the current conditions of Christians in the Middle East and the rest of the Muslim world, said John Voll, director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University in Washington.

"This reflects the intention of Pope Benedict to distinguish himself from his predecessor on his approach to interfaith dialogue," said Voll. "And by this, it means more reciprocity."

Voll said the pope may increasingly instruct Vatican envoys to stress issues of forced conversions of Christians and limits on Christian rights and worship.
Also irritating to them, no doubt, was Benedict XVI referring to Constantinople by its rightful name in his speech, rather than as istanbul.

Looking at the text of the speech, I am also struck at how the Pope also knows about the so-called "peaceful" verses are abrogated!
The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: "There is no compulsion in religion". According to the experts, this is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur'an, concerning holy war.
Whenever any islam apologist quotes such verses, they are either ignorant, or are deliberately practicing taqiyya -- the "noble" art of lying in order to deceive the infidel about islam. Because such verses, in all schools of islamic jurisprudence, are abrogated, null, and void.

But then there was the news from behind the scenes.

The Pope is shaking up the top offices of the Vatican hierarchy:
(ANSA) - Vatican City, September 15 - Pope Benedict's remodelling of the Vatican hierarchy neared its completion on Friday as a new secretary of state took office and a 'foreign minister' was appointed.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, 71, until recently the archbishop of Genoa, took over the mantle of secretary of state from Cardinal Angelo Sodano, 79, at a simple ceremony held at the pope's summer residence outside Rome.

Benedict thanked Cardinal Sodano for his 15 years of service and referred to his "sadness" at seeing him step down. [oh, that's rich, with what is revealed below! -- ed.] The prelate will keep his role as dean of the college of cardinals and continue to work with several Vatican departments.

Cardinal Bertone, who worked as the pope's deputy at the Vatican doctrinal department for eight years, now becomes the second most powerful person in the Vatican after Benedict himself.

He will be in charge of all the political and diplomatic activities of the Holy See.
...
But the other appointment announced on Friday was also crucial for the Vatican's role in world affairs .

It saw 54-year-old Monsignor Dominque Mamberti, apostolic nuncio in Sudan and Eritrea, tapped for the post which is similar to that of foreign minister in a national government.
...
Given current tensions between the Islamic world and the West, Mamberti's experience in several countries with large Muslim populations may have been one of the reasons for his appointment.
This is huge, because Sodano had been a thorn in Benedict's . See this article from just 6 months ago for all the backstabbing and controversy:
Step by step, with a few well-aimed decisions, Benedict XVI has already expunged two of the bastions in the curia that were opposed to him: the Congregation for the Liturgy, with the appointment as secretary of an archbishop of Sri Lanka in his trust, Albert M. Ranjith Patabendige Don, and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, with Fitzgerald’s dismissal as president.
Fitzgerald was too touchy-feely with islam, it seems:
Benedict XVI has also brought about a correction of the previous Vatican line in regard to Islam. In removing archbishop Fitzgerald from the curia, the pope has said the last word on the symposia that he loved to organize with Muslim leaders like sheikh Yussef-Al-Qaradwi or the heads of Al-Azhar, who signed ceremonious appeals for peace with the Vatican and then, the next day, inflamed the crowds by exalting holy war and the suicide terrorists.
But back to Sodano:
And now everyone in the curia is waiting – or fearing – for the next blow to fall against the secretariat of state, with the retirement on account of age of its senior office holder, cardinal Angelo Sodano.

Sodano, 78 years old, from Isola d’Asti in Piedmont, seems to have no intention of leaving.
But now he's out.

Aus mit!

Not a moment too soon:
Among the new cardinals chosen by the pope, there are personalities who constitute a living contradiction of the ecclesiastical geopolitics dear to the secretary of state.

For example, Sodano has always pursued a very submissive policy with China, in agreement with the most pro-Chinese of the cardinals in the curia, Roger Etchegaray of France, the author of a book on this subject that is almost utterly silent on the oppression of which Christians are the victims in that country.

Sodano once said that, in order to establish diplomatic relations with China, he was ready to move the Vatican nunciature from Taipei to Beijing “not tomorrow, but this very evening.” This statement provoked great irritation among the persecuted Chinese Catholics, and in particular with the combative bishop of Hong Kong, Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, according to whom religious liberty should come before any sort of diplomatic accommodation.
And:
The change of course desired by Benedict XVI also draws the Church closer to Israel. Sodano was a great admirer of Yasser Arafat, and is a supporter of the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah, who is ardently pro-Palestinian. But pope Ratzinger immediately flanked Sabbah with a more moderate auxiliary who will succeed him in two years, Fouad Twal of Jordan, previously the archbishop of Tunis. And is planning to appoint as the bishop of the Hebrew Christians who live in the state of Israel the present custodian of the Holy Land, Franciscan Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who is viewed very favorably by the Israeli authorities.
Not just Sodano's politics, but his morals are also in question. Can anyone doubt his being the second in command at the Vatican was a huge part of the sexual abuse candals with this revelation?
With him [Sodano] gone, also gone will be a barrier to a decision on the fate of the powerful founder of the Legionaries of Christ, Father Marcial Maciel, with whom Sodano is very close. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has completed a thoroughly detailed preliminary investigation of the accusations against Maciel – sexual abuse of his seminarians and violation of the sacrament of confession.

Last Good Friday, shortly before he was elected pope, Ratzinger indicated this sort of “filth” as one of the evils that must be eliminated from the Church.
Yep, sure looks like the Pope is all out of bubblegum.

Australia Leading The Way

Fair Dinkum!
SYDNEY (AFP) - Migrants to Australia would have to pass an English language test to prove they were "fair dinkum" (genuine) about fitting into society Down Under, Prime Minister John Howard has said.
...
Under the proposed changes, which will be officially unveiled in a government discussion paper Sunday, migrants will also have to demonstrate a knowledge of Australian history.

Howard, who has spoken at length in recent weeks about the need for Muslim migrants to integrate into Australian society, said people who genuinely wanted to fit in would have no problem with the government's blueprint.

"Certainly we are going to lift the waiting period to four years, there will be a fairly firm English language requirement and the paper itself ... will contain quite a number of issues," he said.

"It won't become more difficult if you're fair dinkum, and most people who come to this country are fair dinkum about becoming part of the community.
Bravo!

And what about the opposition?
The opposition Labor Party leader Kim Beazley weighed into the debate this week when he suggested migrants and tourists should sign a declaration saying they support Australian values before they could get a visa.

The values cited by Beazley included freedom, democracy, respect for women and "mateship".
The islamists will surely have trouble with those.

That even goes further, for tourists!

We should do the same with our visas.

Looks like they're on the same page in squashing multiculturalism to preserve Australia's identity.

Only the Green Party (or is that Watermelon Party -- Green on the outside, Red on the inside?) is opposed.

What People Overseas Think Of Americans -- A Personal Anecdote

As part of the coverage of the 5th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, there were a lot of words written about how the rest of the world hates Americans. In response, I'd like to offer a personal experience that shows that there are still parts of the world where America is admired.

So there I was -- on a TAD trip to Warsaw, Poland, back when I was at CENTCOM in early 2004. I had finished up work for the day, so the U.S. Army major I was working with and I went to do a little shopping for the home folk after changing into civvies. We walked into a department store, and split up after a while to look for stuff. I had a question, so I went up to the clerk and gave her my best "Dzien dobry"; in response, she said, "I can speak English". I was a little disappointed, because I'd been working hard on the five or six Polish phrases I'd learned from the liaison officers in Tampa, so I asked her how she knew I wasn't Polish. She explained: "I knew you were an American when I saw you walk into the store, and you were talking with a black man as an equal."

So, there are still some places outside the U.S. where people know that being an American is something special.