As I mentioned earlier I have grown fed-up with the blogging client I was using to create my posts. The final straw was the loss of a post that had taken me about an hour to put together, all because of both some unresolved performance issues and due to some truly none-too-bright assignment of hotkeys. The specifics don’t matter. The bottom line is that I’m using a new tool to blog.
Getting used to the interface is always a bit of a learning curve. What would make most folks laugh is that the interface I’m having to get used to is a WYSIWYG screen. Being an old code hack from back in the day when “windows” was defined solely as a glass-filled aperture in the side of your house, I blogged literally in raw HTML code. The layout of the posts was completely done using the various tables and tags found in HTML 1.1. Most people don’t even look at the source code their blogs use to render on the screen. For the past 3 years, I’ve never written a blog in anything but.
This new tool is Anconia RocketPost and it’s pretty nice. There are a lot of the features I can’t use but that’s a function of using Blogger as my blog space. One of these days I might pick up and move from there but for now it’s working OK. RocketPost uses a very “MS Word” kind of interface so I would guess most folks would be immediately at home. The only thing that’s very different from the way I used to do things is in how it handles quoting. Previously, I’d provide the link to the source material and then do a quote indented on both sides. RocketPost provides a very fast quoting method whereby you literally copy the source text, then immediately copy the source URL. With both of those on the clipboard, you press “control-q” and the quoted block appears on the screen with the word “Link” following it. The link provides the hyperlink back to the source code. I’ve looked at the effort required to change that and have decided it’s not worth the time. We’re all just going to have to get used to it.
In any case, please bear with me as I get used to this thing and get back up to speed. Thanks!
Robert L. Scott, WWII fighter ace and author, died today. He was 97. Scott wrote the immortal work “God Is My Co-Pilot” telling the tale of his adventures in the air. He was a member of the famous Flying Tigers, flying a P-40 Warhawk in the China/Burma theater of the war. He is credited with 22 kills and retired from active service as a Brigadier General.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds – and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.
John Gillespie Magee, Jr. [Link]
Godspeed, General Scott.
With the offer by Dubai Ports to accommodate both a delay for additional review and the addition of what amounts to an American holding company to insulate the operations in the US from the UAE-based company executives, this whole issue has cooled off considerably. I trust this incident will lay to rest any arguments remaining that all Republicans and conservatives are nothing more than “yes-men” for the President?
One of the arguments advanced in defense of the original deal was that anyone standing in opposition to it was only doing so because it was an Arab company. Some came right out and slapped the “racist” label on such folks while others merely left the accusation hanging in the air. To make such an accusation is to belittle the very real concerns based upon the actions and associations of the UAE with regard to terror groups in the past. That’s not to mention the verifiable presence of people there who are – shall we say? – sympathetic with our enemies’ goals and methods. I think it’s quite easy to be more concerned about this transaction than one would be were the company Australian and not be racist.
That said, I have some questions for the people who are opposed to this deal:
- What does Dubai Ports have to do to be able to complete this deal, in your eyes? Is there a set of conditions they can meet to win your approval?
- Are you advocating that any foreign firm currently under contract at one of our Nation’s ports be subject to the same conditions? If so, and they fail to meet them, are you prepared to lobby as aggressively for their removal?
It would be nice to have a reasoned debate on this topic, given that it’s an important one. I would like to point out, however, that the Bush Administration seemed tone-deaf to the aggitation this deal caused. Were I on the President’s staff, I’d be asking the committee who approved this deal in the first place what they were thinking in doing so without notifying the White House well in advance. It’s just not that hard to see that such a deal would carry with it an emotive content. The deal, properly explained away from the induced hysteria that the initial “they’re selling our ports to Arabs” reports caused, would have been far more easily understood. I think it would have generated less opposition. An explanation in advance of those reports would certainly have avoided the Republican backlash in Congress.
The President himself only made matters worse by stepping up and threatening a veto, the first one of his tenure. How, exactly, did he expect Congress to react? I think they reacted in a completely predictable manner and the President should have seen it coming.
I guess we’ll wait for the completion of the re-review and go from there.
Testing out this new posting application. Wish us luck.
After spending almost an hour on a post regarding the Dubai Ports deal the application I was using to write it managed to choke and wiped out said article. Printed word cannot convey the machine-murderous thoughts I have spent the last 3 minutes desperately trying to avoid enacting,
After spending almost an hour on a post regarding the Dubai Ports deal the application I was using to write it managed to choke and wiped out said article. Printed word cannot convey the machine-murderous thoughts I have spent the last 3 minutes desperately trying to avoid enacting, so I’ll just say this:
I’ll try again later, folks. I’m too pissed off to write. Anyone have a favorite post editor they’d like to recommend?
Sorry for the light posting but I’ve been in training classes all week. When I get home I’m pretty well spent, so writing has been a low priority. I should be back in the saddle after today’s classes. The port operations sale, a variety of gun laws being pressed in the Virginia State legislature, the ongoing efforts by the MN Dems to supress free speech, and many more items have my attention. I’ll be posting my thoughts on each in turn.
In yet more proof of their “free speech for me but not for thee” attitude, the Democratic Party of Minnesota is actively engaged in open attempts to supress the speech of supporters of American policy regarding the Iraq theater of the war on terror. This includes the bizarre assertion by the chairman of the MN Dems calling a Lt. Colonel in the US Marine Corp “un-American” for supporting that policy.
Power Line has been covering this pretty well, given that it’s local politics for them. One wonders what’s going through the heads of the Dems up there. Would they support an ad equating our sitting President with Hitler, one of the 20th century’s worst nightmares? Sure! Hey, you may not like it or agree, but freedom of speech guarantees the right to speak even when it offends. Would they applaud an ad alleging that same President lied through his teeth to take us to war? Absolutely! Yeah, they may not have proof, but that’s just an indicator of how the President is covering things up so well.
But allow some vets and their families to privately pay for an ad to broadcast their perspective, backed up by the fact that they have actual, first-hand experience on the topic? Outrage! Un-American! Untruthful! Lies!
OK, I get it. They’re offended somehow. Rather than actually take to debating the issues they’ve got problems with, however, they’re trying to force the television stations who accepted the ads and the payment for transmitting them to pull them from the air. That, ladies and gentlemen, is attempted supression of free speech, no matter how you want to spin it. They claim the ads are lies. Where? What, specifically, is untrue about what was said on those ads? You won’t find those answers here, folks, because no answers have been given by the Dems up there. And un-American? How so? (Aside from the monstrous crime of taking a position the Dems oppose.) Again, you won’t find an answer to that here because they don’t have one up there.
Please, don’t take my word for it. Click on this Power Line post and follow the link within to take you to a recorded interview with Lt. Col. Bob Stephenson, one of the “un-American” soldiers involved with the ads. Judge for yourself and then ask what else the Dems would like to supress.
Blogging has been light for me the past couple of days. The reasons are work-related (some) and due to my attempting to read a new book. Since reading is one of my lifelong loves, that last statement is a bit of shocker for any who know me. That’s going to require a bit of an explanation.
In 1997 I was attending college again. In the last set of classes before getting my degree I was required to take a course titled, “Logic.” No real mystery, there: the degree I was seeking was for computer information systems. When I arrived at the class, however, I found that this particular class had nothing to do with programming, circuit design, or anything else attached to the information systems field. This was “Logic” – with a capital ‘L’ – of the type practiced and refined by the likes of Plato and Socrates. The application of reasoned, rational, and structured thought to a given proposal or argument. I recall very clearly the professor warning us of several items regarding this class.
First, it was going to be difficult. The vast majority of people, he said, make no use of real logic in the bulk of their lives. While they might have common sense and be able to smell a bad argument when they encounter it, actually refuting it with logic is beyond the ability of most people we would run into in our lives. That included the population of our class, he said. What he meant was that many of us in that class would turn out to be unwilling to expend the effort necessary to employ the lessons that would be taught. He made it very clear that he was expecting to lose a third of the class as the quarter progressed. (He was wrong, by the way. We lost slightly more than half by the end, the highest “student mortality rate” I’ve ever seen in a class I was attending.)
Second, he told us that those of us who finished would be astonished at the poor quality of argumentation that had been surrounding us our whole lives. Family disputes around the dinner table, friendly and not-so-friendly debates at the student union or coffeehouses, and anywhere any discussion of politics was held would illuminate this lack of rational thought process in so much of our conversations.
Finally, he told us that those who completed the class would be unable to actually sit and listen to policitians or political pundits any more without shaking our heads in amazement that anyone bothered to listen to these aforementioned clowns.
He was 100% correct on all counts. I aced that class and it wasn’t easy. But it was likely the most valuable class I ever took in college. If I had anything to do with it, I’d make it a required course for every degree in higher education. The lessons learned are difficult to apply, however, in an environment where people are simply unwilling to be rational about the things being discussed. Now, being irrational about religion is to be expected. No one’s going to simply prove God’s existence – or lack thereof – by debating the issue in front of a whiteboard. You can’t make rational assertions about which is better: vanilla or chocolate. That’s a matter of taste and personal preference and there’s very little logical thought involved in those topics. It almost goes without saying that the matter of love is definitely not in the sphere of logic. It’s expected and perfectly OK to not be completely logical about these matters. But about politics and law? There’s no wiggle room, there.
All arguments (and by this I mean a proposal submitted for discussion, not a screaming match) consist of premises and conclusions. The premises are statements of fact or previously proven conclusions and conclusions are the points being asserted. Premises are supposed to support their conclusions. The Prime Directive of argumentation and logic is this: If the premises are true and the argument’s construction is valid and you intend to be rational, then you must accept the conclusion. That’s a very high bar for acceptance, mind you, because if any of the premises used to prove the conclusion are not verifably true, then the argument being pressed is not conclusive and may, therefore, be dismissed. That’s not to say what’s being alleged is necessarily wrong or untrue, it’s just that the argument to the contrary isn’t compelling. The allegation is no more than opinion and conjecture. And you know what they say about opinions…
So last week I picked up a copy of the new James Carville / Paul Begala book “Take It Back.” The book purports to be a roadmap for Democrats who want to take back the houses of Congress, the White House, the country, the future, and whatever else most of the leftist Democrats are complaining we Republicans have “stolen.” I bought the book for the same reason I bought other books by Carville and various left-wing authors: I’m interested in what they have to say. Unlike most of the Democrats I personally know, I take the time and effort to actually listen to and consider the viewpoints of my opponents. Carville might be dead wrong on a lot of what he says – and I have come no where near forgiving his juvenille and ludicrous performance opposite John O’Neill of the Swift Boat Vets in the 2004 campaign – but he’s not completely stupid. A lot of people on the left hang on his every word so it’s important to know what he’s saying. Call it “knowing your enemy” if that makes it easier.
What’s not easy is trying to continue reading a book that builds on classically invalid and unproven conclusions beginning on paragraph 8. Without a shred of evidence, Carville and Begala launch right into the tired and useless diatribe of “Bush Lied” and “Bush Stole the 2000 Election.” Both of these screeds have been shown to be the unsubstantiated hogwash they are time and time again and yet, right here in a book published in the last couple of months, they make the assertion as though it’s graven-in-stone fact. These assertions are used as further premises in proposing further conclusions and calls for action.
Every conclusion or assertion that descends from either of these is equally invalid and equally useless in rational debate. That doesn’t stop them. As I mentioned over a year ago, the crowd that buys into this crap knows full well that they have no proof of any of this but they don’t care. They don’t need proof because they’ve become so insulated from opposing thought that their echo chamber is all they hear. And when repeated baseless assertion is all they hear, it becomes unnecessary for them to even think about proof. Carville and Begala are just 2 of the higher-profile enablers that keeps the Democrats from engaging in rational thought and discussion. So long as that’s true, rational thinkers may continue to dismiss any assertion they make and their reaction to that is what marginalizes them with the majority of voters. (Yes, the majority. Check out the results from the 2004 election.) Their continued reliance on what amounts to calls of “You’re a liar! You’re a creepy liar!” makes reading their book a real chore. I am attempting to press on, but they’re making it a real fight.
I intend to blog on the actual content of the book when I finish it. Under normal circumstances, with a reasonably written book, this would be over in a couple of day. Slogging through this irrational quagmire of a book is going to take longer. Hang in there, folks. I’ll make it as soon as I can.
The US Navy has suspended operations on the USS Kennedy citing concerns over faulty equipment on the 38-year-old ship. The move drew immediate fire from the likely sources: the representatives of the State where she’s based:
|::::::::||U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw said he was told by Navy Secretary Donald Winter that the carrier was being taken out of operation because faulty equipment could endanger pilots attempting to land on it.
“I greeted that information with surprise and skepticism in terms of the timing,” said Crenshaw, whose district includes the carrier’s base at Mayport Naval Station near Jacksonville.
Florida’s two U.S. senators also weighed in.
“We need to repair the JFK as soon as possible, so we’re not reducing our carrier fleet from 12 to 11 in a time of war,” Sen. Bill Nelson said in a statement.
In the meantime, Nelson said another carrier should be moved from Norfolk, Va., to Mayport “so all our other carriers aren’t sitting ducks in one port.”
And so all those employees and contractors sitting on their hands in Mayport will have something to keep them employed, perhaps? That’s just a wee bit too transparent, Senator. So, wanna call up Senator Warner of Virginia and ask him to figure out which Virginia employees and contractors will lose their jobs since the carrier they’re servicing is being moved to Florida?
My gut instinct, however, tells me Nelson’s right about simply dropping the number of carriers in the fleet. Senator Warner, who chairs the Armed Services Committee, has introduced legislation to repeal the mandate Congress passed pegging the number of carriers at 12. A study performed by the Navy concludes they can do with 11. My thought on the matter, however, is that it takes a very, very long time to build one of these guys. If the US gets into a shooting war with an enemy possessed of nukes and the ability to deploy them tactically over water the first thing they’re going to aim at is the nearest carrier group. Those ships are strong and well defended but they’re not strong enough to sail out the other side of a nuke strike. And while simply taking out several of our carriers won’t completely cripple our capabilties it would certainly put on hurt on us. We’d have to ramp up building carriers quickly and, with the slide in shipbuilding capacity that’s been going on over the past 40 years, that’s not something that’s going to come up quickly, either.
The Kennedy is one of the two remaining carriers that operate on conventional power as opposed to nuclear, the other being CV 64 Kitty Hawk. Kitty Hawk is to be replaced by CVN 77 George H. W. Bush. (A ship designation I’m sure will cause much frothing at the mouth over at Kos and other parts of the fever swamp. Of course, we can always just drop the “H. W.” and allow the ship to stand for the current President Bush as well, if they’d like that one.) Kennedy is not slated for replacement until the build of CVX 79 which isn’t scheduled to be commissioned until 2017. That’s a long time…
I recommend caution in arbitrarily removing this capability from our arsenal. Let’s be sure we can sustain the loss.
I direct you now to this post at Captain’s Quarters where the funding approval and denial results at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities speaks volumes. Check out the table reproduced from one of the conservative students’ groups:
(After several attempts that produced a mangled table, I suggest you just click the link for CQ and view it there. It’s way too early for me to be stressing about HTML code, here…)
The sheer drop in the funding for the conservative groups coupled with the surge in those of a liberal persuasion strongly suggests there’s more than just random forces at work. Captain Ed says it best and you should read it all there.