mytopleft

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Still pimping that post, but with less romance

While trying to promote this post, I inadvertently used a song that contained a lyric I wanted to use, but the theme of the song was not really what I was going for. I was going for "lift this post up where it belongs in the standings," but the song, which shall not be named here, apparently distracted some people. Check the comments, as I decline to explain. So in promoting this post, which is really close to breaking into the all-time Top Five on Eff You, maybe I should have used this:


On the other hand, still that whole love thing going on. Maybe this would have been better:





Friday, April 29, 2016

You could help out the blog and get your mom something cool

Shop at Amazon through the link on the right (or the ads on the page) and this blog gets a little sumthin-sumthin, at no cost to you. Or you could check out this deal. Just sayin'.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

I like this post so much, I want it to make the top 5 of all time

It is about 100 posts short at the moment. Come on, people, help this post make it up where it belongs.


Click on the link above.

It sucks when science doesn't support your panic theory

Alas, this refers to last Friday, because I am slow, but it still holds true:
With the Obama administration set to sign on to the Paris climate agreement Friday, founder of The Weather Channel John Coleman isn’t mincing words when it comes to the role he believes science has taken at the United Nations.
“The environmentalists, bureaucrats and politicians who make up the U.N.’s climate panel recruit scientists to research the climate issue. And they place only those who will produce the desired results. Money, politics and ideology have replaced science,” John Coleman wrote in a USA Today op-ed.
. . .
“When all the scare talk is pushed aside, it is the science that should be the basis for the debate. And the hard cold truth is that the basic theory has failed.
Anyone who understands the theory upon which manmade global warming is based  -- and that includes all of the alarmist scientists, although none of the alarmist media -- knows that the data do not support what they are pushing so hard, and hasn't for a long time. These people are so full of shit the only color they see is brown. And green, of course, from the government grants they keep getting to study this "crisis/" More coming.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Civil War quiz you should try

Mrs. Wolves recently sent me a quiz on The War Between The States, even though the quiz said it was about The Civil War. I scored 29 out of 30, and only missed the one because I doubted myself. Damn.



There was some weekend farming activity

Not a lot, really, because mostly I was reseeding things that got killed by the frosts and cold we had a couple weeks ago. I thought we might be gambling a bit, given the weather forecasts, and I think it turns out we were. So, Saturday I packed up Jeb the Wonder Dog and off we went to The Farm:


Yeah, we've seen that one a time or two. Or one like it, anyway, as that was taken Saturday. So, when I got to The Farm, it turned out that the spinach had pretty much completely failed, the peas were at about 90 percent failure, and the radishes were over 50 percent failure. The peas barely came up:


The radishes were under half germination:


Almost no spinach in the small bed:


One plant in the larger bed:


So I res-sowed spinach in the big bed:


And spinach and radishes in the smaller beds:


We also harvested some asparagus:


Potatoes coming in;


Even Farmer Tom's planted-wrong potatoes are coming up;


Also, the green beans, planted after the last freeze, are starting to come up:


We'll see how the reseeding works out. Should see some garlic soon, and I think tomatoes and peppers will go in this weekend.

This actually seems to be the norm lately

Yeah, the University of Salisbury recently experienced a hate crime involving a drawing depicting a person being hanged with "#whitepower" written beneath it. Yeah, black students did it;
The students identified as the people behind a recent racist drawing found at Salisbury University’s library are black, school officials confirmed Tuesday.
The image, found April 10 on a whiteboard in Blackwell Library, showed a stick figure being hung and labeled with a racial slur. Underneath was the hashtag “#whitepower.”
The university confirmed Tuesday, April 26, the students involved in the incident were black, spokesman Richard Culver wrote in an email. The university would not provide names of the students, citing the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
Call me a hater, but this seems to happen a lot in recent years. Minorities on college campuses can't seem to find enough racists stupid enough to do the hateful things that activists wish they would to justify the activists' existence, so they perform the hateful acts themselves. I don't feel like looking up numbers on this, so if you disagree, prove your case and I'll come back with examples. Otherwise, refer to the title of the blog.

Monday, April 25, 2016

A little behind the times, but still funny

I think this is an excellent skit. Not sure why people think Ted Cruz is robotic:


Please, God, let Trump lose.

Which war, exactly, is Iran planning to fight?

Everyone in the region who might fight a land war with Iran has more modern tanks than this:
Earlier this month, Iran unveiled a new main battle tank, the Tiam, that appears to be a mashup of Chinese and US tanks from the 1960s, The Diplomat reports.
The tank appears to have the main hull and engine of the US' M47M Patton, a variation of the M47 Patton made in the early 1960s, and the turret of China's type 59/69 tank, first produced in 1958.
Seriously, no one in the region drives tanks with technology that old. Further, the new Iranian tank apparently sports a 105mm gun, just a wee bit smaller than the 120mm guns typical on U.S. and European models, and even smaller still than the 125mm guns typical on Russian tanks these days. A gun that small is likely to fail to penetrate the armor of any nation's tanks that Iran might go up against. What the fuck are they thinking? This thing looks like something third-line Soviet reserve units were driving in the 1970s, for God's sake:


Not sure what, or if, they're thinking. They still fly local copies or the 1960s-era MiG-21, and they produce copious amounts of them, apparently based on the theory that they can simply overwhelm an opponent. On the other hand, they also are bolstering their air force with local copies of the Su-27, a much more modern fighter and actually one of the better dogfighting planes ever built. But they could build as many of these tanks as they want, and likely only ever kill a more modern tank by accident. It looks like it has reactive armor, at least on the turret and front, but I don't see that saving it against modern ammunition designed to defeat reactive armor. So why are they building these? Beats me.

This might make some good game food

I like meatballs at least as much as the next guy. This looks pretty good:


Feel like I should test drive this before football season.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Is the F-35 in trouble because of this? I don't know, but I doubt it.

Before I even get started on this post, I really wish somebody would do something really nice for me, because going through the GAO report on this issue was torture. Like all other government agencies, the GAO doesn't use 10 words when 100 will do. Despite all of that verbosity, it seems clear that the GAO thinks that the F-35 program has serious problems.

But I don't think so, at least not in the same way the GAO does. The General Accounting Office, which is a bean-counting agency, not a military agency, seems to have issued a report revealing problems with the F-35's computerized logistics system. For God's sake, don't try to read the entire thing. It will kill you. Still, please note that this system, known as ALIS, has no actual impact on the F-35's ability as a fighter aircraft in any direct sense.

Nonetheless, The Daily Mail, a liberal rag in the United Kingdom, has blown this report up as some sort of death sentence for the F-35. I have spent a considerable amount of time with the GAO report, and I disagree. It's not great, but it is the sort of reporting you would expect from a newspaper that does not want the U.K. to purchase the F-35 from the United States. Further, it is the sort of report you might expect about an extremely expensive weapons system from an extremely liberal administration that really doesn't want to buy weapons systems.

While the GAO is supposed to be nonpartisan, so is the Environmental Protection Administration, and I don't think anyone believes that, either. Career government jobs are held primarily by liberals -- conservatives go to the private sector and make a lot more money in exchange for less security -- and under the Obama administration, of course, the appointed heads of those agencies are as liberal as they come. So take "nonpartisan" with a grain of salt.

So what is the report about? The Autonomic Logistics Information System is described in the GAO report as "a complex system that supports operations, mission planning, supply-chain management, maintenance, and other processes." Please not that the system does not control the airplane itself in any way. ALIS is a highly sophisticated system that keeps maintenance crews updated on needed maintenance, pilots updated on mission plans, logistics personnel updated on what materiel is needed to support upcoming missions and the like. All very important tasks. Enough to ground the plane, as The Daily Mail and the GAO claim? Maybe not. Let's dig deeper.

The Daily Mail focuses on software problems and the fact at the ALIS system relies on a central server that is not located at the same place as the aircraft, which can complicate things in remote locations:
So far, the software has been so flawed that maintenance crews have had to resort labour-intensive alternatives.
According to National Interest, in one instance maintainers had to manually burn data onto CDs and to send the massive files across a civilian WiFi network.
One major problem, the report said, is that the F-35 data produced goes through a single main operating unit which has no back up.
National Interest, a pretty good publication on national security that is cited by The Daily Mail, goes into a bit more detail:
ALIS is the ground-based computer system meant to diagnose mechanical problems, order and track replacement parts, and guide maintenance crews through repairs. It also allows pilots to plan missions and later review their performance. At least, it’s supposed to do all of those things. So far, the software has been so flawed that maintenance crews have had to resort to time-consuming workarounds. In one instance, maintainers even had to manually burn data onto CDs and drive off base to send the massive files across a civilian WiFi network.
So ALIS is supposed to help ground crews keep the aircraft up and running while also assisting pilots in evaluating their mission performance. Worthy goals. Even National Interest, though, while criticizing the failures of ALIS, acknowledges that the problems can be dealt with.

Ultimately, ALIS will be fixed. The GAO's main gripes with the system actually are not that it doesn't work, per se, but that there are not redundant backups and that it might be hard to use in remote locations:
The Department of Defense (DOD) is aware of risks that could affect the F-35’s Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS), but does not have a plan to ensure that ALIS is fully functional as key program milestones approach. ALIS users, including pilots and maintainers, in GAO’s focus groups identified benefits of the system, such as the incorporation of multiple functions into a single system. However, users also identified several issues that could result in operational and schedule risks. These include the following:
• ALIS may not be deployable: ALIS requires server connectivity and the necessary infrastructure to provide power to the system. The Marine Corps, which often deploys to austere locations, declared in July 2015 its ability to operate and deploy the F-35 without conducting deployability tests of ALIS. A newer version of ALIS was put into operation in the summer of 2015, but DOD has not yet completed comprehensive deployability tests.
• ALIS does not have redundant infrastructure: ALIS’s current design results in all F-35 data produced across the U.S. fleet to be routed to a Central Point of Entry and then to ALIS’s main operating unit with no backup system or redundancy. If either of these fail, it could take the entire F-35 fleet offline.
DOD is taking some steps to address these and other risks such as resolving smaller ALIS functionality issues between major software upgrades and considering the procurement of additional ALIS infrastructure but the department is attending to issues on a case-by-case basis. DOD does not have a plan that prioritizes ALIS risks to ensure that the most important are expediently addressed and that DOD has a fully functional ALIS as program milestones draw close. By continuing to respond to issues on a case-by-case basis rather than in a holistic manner, there is no guarantee that DOD will address the highest risks by the start of full-rate production in 2019, and as a result, DOD may encounter further schedule and development delays, which could affect operations and potentially lead to cost increases.
These are legitimate gripes. They also ignore the fact that, until very recently, aircraft maintenance, supply chain and the other functions of ALIS were performed without a computer program telling everyone what to do, step by step. While ALIS obviously simplifies those tasks, those tasks somehow got accomplished before ALIS existed, pretty much since the dawn of combat aviation. Go figure.

The problem here is that GAO, as a bean counter organization, is looking at the potential cost to "fix" ALIS, a project the GAO estimates at $20 billion to $100 billion. That's a pretty broad range, indicating that the GAO really has no fucking idea what needs to be done to "fix" ALIS or what that will cost. The total life-of-program cost of the F-35 is $1.3 trillion, $900 billion of which is operations and sustainment -- the costs to keep the plane in the field. It is not at all clear that the cost to "fix" ALIS, to the extent that it is actually broken, will exceed the initial $16.7 billion cost of ALIS. If that is the case, doubling the cost of having a redundant ALIS system that works in remote areas would be little more than a rounding error in the total program cost. I'm not saying the total program cost was a great idea -- anyone who reads this blog knows I am not a believer in one-size-fits-all aircraft -- but if we're spending that kind of coin, it won't kill us to spend a little more to get it right.

The Department of Defense has spent a lot of time telling Congress and others that ALIS is a critical component of the F-35 that makes the plane worth the price. That might be true, or it might not. We're probably too far along in the program to throw the whole thing out, but I don't think logistics software, which has no impact on combat performance in any direct sense, would make it worth grounding the fleet. I'm sure there are things that ALIS does that are classified and wonderful, but there obviously are ways around the shortcomings the GAO cites. Fixes will come, and they will cost money. But I wouldn't bet on any of the problems cited in the GAO report resulting in a halt to the F-35 program, or even a grounding of the fleet.


Hat tip to Hot Air.

Yes, Prince was awesome on guitar

I'm not even sure I need to make this case anymore, but why not, right?


Questions?

Now, that's interesting

I was looking over metrics for the blog today, and I noticed that the top two search phrases used to find Eff You were "California deserves what it gets" and "Eugene Robinson is an idiot." Both propositions are true, and I am sure there are posts on the blog that express similar sentiments. I just was not sure if I have ever used those exact phrases. As it turns out, I have, in fact, put up a post titled "California gets what it deserves, if you ask me." Close enough. And I also have a post titled "Eugene Robinson is an idiot," which is not only an exact match, it is completely true. Sounds like some word-of-mouth advertising going on.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

An object lesson on why government should not be funding private projects

It would appear that one of the centerpieces of Emperor Barry I's "clean energy" policy is what could best be described as a dismal failure, surprising no one except administration officials and other liberals:
California regulators may force a massive solar thermal power plant in the Mojave Desert to shut down after years of under-producing electricity — not to mention the plant was blinding pilots flying over the area and incinerating birds.
The Ivanpah solar plant could be shut down if state regulators don’t give it more time to meet electricity production promises it made as part of its power purchase agreements with utilities, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The plant has had problems for years, and never has lived up to expectations. At the same time, it apparently has flash-fried thousands upon thousands of birds while not producing all that much electricity -- at a cost of $1.6 billion in federal aid in addition to whatever the ninnies who built it invested:
The Mojave Desert plant, built with the aid of a $1.6 billion federal loan guarantee, kicked off commercial operation at the tail end of December 2013, and for the eight-month period from January through August, its three units generated 254,263 megawatt-hours of electricity, according to U.S. Energy Information Administrationdata. That’s roughly one-quarter of the annual 1 million-plus megawatt-hours that had been anticipated.
Output did pick up in the typically sunny months of May, June, July and August, as one might expect, with 189,156 MWh generated in that four-month period. But even that higher production rate would translate to annual electricity output of less than 600,000 MWh, at least 40 percent below target.
While the high-end numbers of birds fried by the plant -- estimated at 28,000 per year -- are provided by environmentalist groups and thus are suspect,  there is little question that the plant's design ensures that many birds will get torched. The plant utilizes high towers with water boilers on top, with highly focused mirrors reflecting sunlight onto the boilers to heat water, generating steam which is used to drive turbines and create electricity. Birds that fly between the mirrors and the boilers get cooked in mid-air. It apparently is quite a sight.

BrightSource, which owns the plant along with NRG and Google, has conceded that some of the problems with electricity generation stem from weather:
The company said that “weather at Ivanpah since February has generally been worse than expected, resulting in reduced output.” July, when generation dipped to 35,967 MWh from 64,275 MWh in June -- the plant’s best month so far -- was particularly lacking in sunshine, BrightSource said, at least relative to the expectations the company developed over several years of meteorological study of the area.
Please note that the plant is located in the Mojave Desert. If you cannot rely upon regular sunshine in the Mojave, where exactly can you rely upon it? This is the problem with solar power. First, the sun only shines for about half the day. Only a few hours of that sunshine are useful for the production of electricity. And apparently even in the Mojave, which I might remind you is a FUCKING DESERT WHERE THE SUN WILL KILL YOU, sunshine cannot be relied upon. This is one of the main power sources Barry I wants us to count upon. What the fuck is wrong with nuclear power, I don't know.

So let's recount what we've learned from this. Supposedly mature technologies involving solar power 1) don't produce as much power as bureaucrats think they will; b) the sun apparently does not always shine in the desert; iii) most of the fucking country is not a desert anyway; IV) and nowhere in the world does the sun shine 24/7. These factors add up to a bunch of really good reasons solar power is not a good plan for future power sources given current technology, as well as a whole bunch of really good reasons why government funding of these projects when the private sector would not build them on their own is really, really, really fucking stupid. The federal government does not exist to pick winners and losers by giving some people money, but not others. All this project did was put taxpayers on the hook for somebody's stupid idea.

Don't worry, hikes in the minimum wage don't cost jobs

Unless, of course, you actually hike the minimum wage, as Los Angeles is already finding out and California writ large will soon discover:
Los Angeles was once the epicenter of apparel manufacturing, attracting buyers from across the world to its clothing factories, sample rooms and design studios.
But over the years, cheap overseas labor lured many apparel makers to outsource to foreign competitors in far-flung places such as China and Vietnam.
Now, Los Angeles firms are facing another big hurdle — California's minimum wage hitting $15 an hour by 2022 — which could spur more garment makers to exit the state.
Last week American Apparel, the biggest clothing maker in Los Angeles, said it might outsource the making of some garments to another manufacturer in the U.S., and wiped out about 500 local jobs. The company still employs about 4,000 workers in Southern California. 
. . .
The minimum wage is accelerating changes in the L.A. apparel industry that began decades ago, industry experts said.
This is the LA Times, talking, people -- not exactly the most conservative publication in the world. In fact, outside of New York, it likely would be hard to find a newspaper more likely to support dramatic increases in the minimum wage. And yet, even before California's increase kicks in, even the LA Times sees that it is hurting employees as companies decided LA and California are becoming too expensive to do business in. True for years, of course, but California finally is pushing things past the breaking point. The only part about this that is surprising is that there are people in California who find this surprising.

Fear not, though. California not only is not alone in their surprised (some might call it economic ignorance), California actually was warned. Of course, it paid no mind when Seattle decided in June 2014 to torpedo its economy with a hike in the minimum wage to $15 per hour, with predictable results:
Now that the first Seattle minimum wage increase has been in effect for more than ten months, and as local employers brace for the additional minimum wage hikes that will eventually increase their annual labor costs per full-time minimum wage worker by 61% and by a whopping $11,300 (from the increase in hourly labor costs from $9.32 to $15 an hour), are there any noticeable effects so far on the city’s labor market? Is Seattle’s radical experiment with the highest-ever minimum wage in US history serving as a “model for the rest of the nation to follow”? Or is Seattle serving as an “economic canary in the coal mine” for other cities and states (and the country) considering the “bold action” of imposing higher labor costs on employers by as much as $15,500 annually per full-time minimum wage workers if they enact legislation increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour?
Naturally, the AEI study answers  its own question:
Early evidence from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Seattle’s monthly employment, the number of unemployed workers, and the city’s unemployment rate through December 2015 suggest that since last April when the first minimum wage hike took effect: a) the city’s employment has fallen by more than 11,000, b) the number of unemployed workers has risen by nearly 5,000, and c) the city’s jobless rate has increased by more than 1 percentage point (all based on BLS’s “not seasonally adjusted basis”). Those figures are based on employment data for the city of Seattle only(not the Seattle MSA or MD), and are available from the BLS website here (data are “not seasonally adjusted”).
So, raise minimum wage by a lot, decrease employment by a lot. Why, exactly, is this surprising?

Friday, April 22, 2016

Oh, God help me, more military shit coming -- and electric cars still suck

I am working on a post on the latest problems with the F-35, which some papers are attempting to make sound like program-enders. I don't think so at all, but I am still reading the very lengthy report from the Government Accounting Office. I don't know whether to do a post or claw my eyes out so I don't have to read any more. In any event, while you wait breathlessly, by all means check out this post in case you were thinking about buying an electric car.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Well,shit

Prince died. He was only a little older than me. He was unbelievable. Shit. Here he is in 2004 during a tribute to George Harrison with Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne (both of whom were in The Travelling Wilburys with Harrison, Bob Dylan and Roy Orbison), Steve Winwood, Harrison's son, Dhani and God knows who else. Not really what he's famous for, but the man could flat-out play that guitar:



Maybe one of the best guitarists ever. In 2007 he put on one of the best Super Bowl halftime shows ever -- in a torrential downpour:


Upon reconsideration, the absolute best Super Bowl halftime show. The biggest stage in music, and he wasn't afraid to play other people's music. Hell, he owned it. Dude was a musical genius. He could play anything he touched. Also a great songwriter and, obviously, performer. A terrible loss well before his time. I guess with Merle Haggard and David Bowie, this makes three, if you believe in that kind of stuff. He was finally touring again, too. I was hoping to see him. RIP, Prince Rogers Nelson.











Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Should we mess with classics?

I'm not sure how I feel about this, even though I like the actors I recognize;


Really, though, are there not some movies that are so good we shouldn't remake them? Because this is  just another remake of a genuine classic, Kurasawa's The Seven Samurai, I don't know if I can level that criticism at this one, but didn't the Psycho remake convince you that some movies are remake-proof? The Dirty Dozen? Who wants to see that done again? Gone With The Wind? Anyway, I might want to see this one, just out of curiosity.

Wow. Post still catching fire

This post has moved into my all-time top 10 for hits. Not too shabby.

Holy crap

A reader sent this to me. Wow.


Try THIS in your fucking Prius

A good chunk of east Texas is experiencing flooding, as you may know. This is why owning a Hummer is a good thing:


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

OK, so I went farming this weekend. What of it?

Yeah, I went to The Farm Saturday, and we did lots of stuff. Of course, Jeb the Wonder Dog came along, and yeah, he stuck his nose out the window:


There were several tasks in front of me Saturday. First, I had to fill this box with dirt and plant garlic in it:


So I did. It might look like dirt, but it's dirt with a bunch of garlic sets under it:


There was a bunch of other planting to do, as well. We had brussel sprouts:


Green beans:


Cauliflower and broccoli:


With all the planting, it would be easy to forget  the stuff already in the ground. Like the peas, which are coming up:


And the radishes:


Not to mention onions:


 So, I got the brussel sprouts in the ground:


Likewise for the cauliflower and broccoli:


All in all, it was a productive Saturday. Watered everything down, and prepared for the planting in the next week or so of beans and tomatoes. Can't wait.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Every bit as competent as the Trump campaign itself

But funny. Thanks to Hot Air for a cheap post:




Gotta love it.

The Republic is doomed

Apparently, today's college students are completely willing to accept delusional thinking. Normally, when someone believes something that is clearly contradicted by facts, biological, physical, chronological, historical or otherwise, they are deemed delusional. No more:



Allahpundit over at Hot Air tries to make sense of this. You can't. Have you read 1984? As Ace points out, once you are willing to accept that 2 + 2 = 5, you are willing to accept anything, and dictatorship awaits. I guess we're closing in on that.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

This post is taking off

Not sure why, but this post has been going gangbusters (at least for this blog) since it was posted a few days ago. Go figure.

Court disappoints dozens of atheists

Spaghetti, apparently, might be the food of the gods, but is not God itself, a federal court in Nebraska has ruled:
(RNS) A federal court has ruled that the Flying Spaghetti Monster, referred to as “His Flying Noodliness” by fans and followers, is not, alas, the object of a real religion.
In a 16-page decision, the U.S. District Court of Nebraska ruled on April 12 that Pastafarianism is satire, not sacred, and that anyone who thinks it is a religion has made an error “of basic reading comprehension.”
“This is not a question of theology,” the ruling reads in part. “The FSM Gospel is plainly a work of satire, meant to entertain while making a pointed political statement. To read it as religious doctrine would be little different from grounding a ‘religious exercise’ on any other work of fiction.”
The Flying Spaghetti Monster was born in Kansas.
The Tuesday (April 12) ruling came in response to a prisoner’s request to have Pastafarianism recognized as his religion, which would entitle him to Pastafarian literature and trappings. For example, Pastafarians sometimes wear colanders on their heads.
Pastafarians actually are atheists mocking actual religions and religious beliefs. Their "gospel" is mildly amusing, but is in no danger of being mistaken for religious doctrine. I have no objections to FSM followers doing their thing, but I think the court properly ruled that they deserve no protections under the Constitution. Thank God this case wasn't heard in California.

Hat tip to Legal Insurrection.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Apparently most Marines don't think women in combat roles is a good idea

It would appear that the Marines, despite pressure from the Obama administration, are not sold on the idea of allowing women into all combat roles:
A survey of nearly 54,000 members of the Marine Corps found that two out of three male Marines and one out of three female Marines were opposed to opening all combat jobs to women, underscoring the depth of opposition the service faces as it is required to begin fully integrating them this year.
The survey was carried out in 2012 by the think tank CNA, but the results were withheld from the public as the Defense Department announced in January 2013 that it would open all combat jobs following a lengthy research period that ended last fall. Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter made the change official in December, giving the services until this spring to begin fully integrating women.
Previously, the Marines conducted training exercises that indicated male-only units performed better than male-female units in pretty much all respects. Nonetheless, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus apparently doesn't give a shit, telling the Marines that, testing or evidence or reality notwithstanding, women will be in combat roles, period.

Mabus, or course, is an idiot who is simply doing what Emperor Barry I tells him to. I don't think a lot of people think there are a lot of women who can carry 80-100 pounds of equipment into battle, carry it for many, many miles, and then fight when they get to their destination. I don't think there are a lot of people who think that there are a lot of women who can carry a 200-pound wounded fellow Marine to safety under fire. Or even not under fire. And I don't think there are a lot of women who want to even try.

As long as the Marines are allowed to maintain the same physical standards for combat arms units, I don't really think that Secretary Mabus' idiocy will make much difference. Few women will want to even try to meet those standards, and it is unlikely that many, if any, will pass. If the Marines are forced to lower the standards, I think we can be sure that combat readiness will suffer.

The rationale for allowing women into combat roles is that the military, and especially the Marines, tends to favor promotion to high levels to people with combat experience. The truth, though, is that promotion boards measure candidates against people in the same field: logistics officers, intelligence officers, and other rear-echelon officers are not measured against trigger-pullers when promotion time comes. They are measured against other officers in their field.

I suppose that you could argue that the Marine bias in favor of promotion to top levels of people with experience in combat commands, would exclude women from consideration from four-star level, and thus from consideration for commandant of the Marine Corps. I don't think that means that people who cannot physically handle the demands of combat should be allowed to serve in combat roles, forcing the other members of their unit to pick up their slack, just so that person can perhaps become commandant later.

The military is not a social experiment. It is an organization dedicated to breaking things and killing people. Women, by and large, are not real keen on this mission. Wh would you want them leading such an organization?



The most selective U.S. military service is apparently about to get more selective

The Marines are famously picky about who they will accept as recruits. They apparently plan to get even pickier:
As the U.S. Marine Corps pushes to develop a more mature and highly skilled force, top brass may opt to raise the bar to get to boot camp.
Lt. Gen. Robert Walsh, deputy commandant of Marine Corps Combat Development Command, said requiring higher scores on the general technical, or GT, portion of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery is one option under consideration as leaders work to shape the future force.
I think this is an effort by the Marines to remain the point of the spear -- first deployed, always. It is the historic role of the Marine Corps -- "First to fight," as the song says. I guess we'll see where this goes, It seems to be a nod to the growing role of technology in warfare:
Efforts to develop more sophisticated decision-making and leadership skills at every level in the service are also behind the effort to raise the bar for incoming Marines. The Corps' Expeditionary Force-21 strategy calls for smaller units to operate more independently and in a more disaggregated manner than they have in the past.
"The big challenge is looking to the future and bringing in the right talent. I'll be honest: we're looking very hard at recruiting," Walsh said. "We're very successful in recruiting, but we're looking at raising the bar in our entry-level capabilities on who we bring in, GT scores and what [military occupational specialties] they go to. What we're seeing is, the entire force we want to raise up to a higher level."
I guess we'll see how this turns out.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Electric cars suck

Bjorn Lomborg, a Danish environmentalist who isn't green-crazy but seems rather practical, has a piece in The Telegraph that makes it clear that electric cars are not going to be the saviors of the planet. Lomborg wrote "The Skeptical Environmentalist," which makes it clear that he is an environmentalist but that he doesn't fall for every so-called green frenzy that comes along. Naturally, the environmentalist community hates him, because they only accept true believers, not actual thinkers. No, really hates him. His piece in The Telegraph is unlikely to make him more friends among the global-warming alarmist crowd:
As Elon Musk presented the new Tesla 3, a fawning press announced that the “world-changing car” could “dominate” the market. Within days, 276,000 people had put down $1,000 to pre-order the car.
But the Model 3 doesn’t exist yet. There is no final production version, much less any production. Musk is “fairly confident” that deliveries could start by the end of 2017. But running on schedule isn’t Tesla’s strong suit. Meanwhile, Tesla’s current best-seller has been plagued by quality problems.
All of this might just be another iPhone vs Galaxy conversation – except that these vehicles are hailed as green saviours and so are subsidised to the tune of billions of pounds.
Before unveiling the car, Musk sanctimoniously declared that Tesla exists to give the planet a sustainable future. He pointed to rising CO₂ levels. He lamented that 53,000 people die from air pollution from transportation. Tesla, the story goes, is a lifesaver. Like other electric cars, it has “zero emissions” of air pollution and CO₂.
Lomborg points out that most of the electricity that recharges electric cars is made with coal, so emissions reductions are largely negated. Further, the process of making an electric car, and its essential batteries, is hardly CO2-neutral:
Moreover, while electric cars typically emit less CO₂, the savings are smaller than most imagine. Over a 150,000 km lifetime, the top-line Tesla S will emit about 13 tonnes of CO₂. But the production of its batteries alone will emit 14 tonnes, along with seven more from the rest of its production and eventual decommissioning.
Electric cars are largely a feel-good move for people who want to think they are helping the environment, much like hybrid gas-electric cars such as the Toyota Prius. Note that sales of the hybrid Honda Accord paled in comparison to the Prius, because the Accord looked like, well, an Accord. The Prius looks like a fucking jelly bean that is clearly identifiable as a Prius, so greener-than-thou drivers can feel good about themselves, knowing that everyone around them knows that they, and they alone, are saving the planet. It might not be true, even by the standards global warming true believers use to define "saving the planet." Things to think about before you "go green."




Dear God, more food porn?

Made beef stroganoff the other night, though I might share. Yes, I have done beef stroganoff before, but this is a different recipe.

Anyway, Get about 1-1/2 to 2 pounds of decent quality beef, and cut it into strips. Then get out your meat mallet and pound it thin. Yes, I realize I've been asking you to beat your meat with a hammer a lot lately. It's the price we pay for haute cuisine:


Brown the beef in a skillet, then set it aside:


Next, chop up a large onion and toss in some sliced mushrooms. Use fresh or jarred mushrooms. I don't care. Both work well. Toss them in a skillet with some butter and sautee:


Throw in the beef, and add 1/4 cup of white wine:


Mix it up right:


And, you know, season with salt, pepper (or in my case, house seasoning):


Pour in about a cup of whipping cream. You also can use sour cream, or some combination of the two. I use both:


Cook up some egg noodles to spoon the goodness over, fix some kind of vegetables and bread, and you are good to go:


Bon appetit.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Hell yeah, it's food porn!

One of the advantages, if you can call it that, of being suddenly unemployed is that you have time to cook. That would be the situation I found myself in Wednesday night when I got the email letting me know my project was over. What did I do? Well, I started looking for a job. And, of course, I cooked. Friday night, upon request by Mrs. Wolves, I made chicken Kiev. I've made it before, but it has been a while. Anyway, start with a few boneless, skinless chicken breasts. As is so often the case in life, larger breasts are better, but as you can see, I started with a mix of large, medium and smallish. How many you start with depends on how many you have to feed, and how much you like leftovers. I started with three, which I consider the minimum number necessary to make this labor-intensive dish worth the effort:


Cut those breasts in half, width-wise:


Gather your ingredaments (besides the chicken, of course). You will need a stick of butter, salt and white pepper, tarragon, and chives. Fresh chives are probably better, but who the fuck has fresh chives in April? Dried is fine. At least my dried chives are home-grown:


Cut the butter, which should still be cold and hard, into 1-tablespoon chunks. Try to mold them into ball-ish shapes, taking the corners off:


Now it is time to beat your meat. Put a chicken breast (half) on some wax paper, and fold the paper over it. This will contain the meat-spray that will happen when you beat your meat:


With your mighty hammer, beat your meat until it is about 1/4 inch thick. A little thinner is OK, but thicker will make it difficult to do what must be done later. Trust me, you'll see:


Once all of you meat is beaten, you are ready for the next phase:


Mix about 1/8-tsp of white pepper, salt to taste, 2 tbsp of chopped chives and 2 tbsp of tarragon:


Roll the butter balls in the mixture:


Place a seasoned butter ball in the middle of a beaten breast:


Roll that sumbitch up and seal it up tight with toothpicks:


One all the the breasts have a butter ball interior and are sealed up right, it is time to really get down. Put the sealed-up breasts on a plate with some flour. Beat a couple eggs in a small bowl, and put some plain breadcrumbs in a dish like the one you see, or any other low, flat bowl. Like I fucking care what kind of dish you use:


Roll the chicken breasts in the flour, coating them completely:


Roll the chicken breasts in the beaten egg, once again coating them completely:


Roll the chicken breasts in the bread crumbs, once again coating them -- well, you get the idea:


At the end of this process, you should have a bunch of sealed up chicken breasts covered in bread crumbs:


If you were a mind-reader, you would have heated up some cooking oil -- vegetable, canola, corn, your choice -- in a large skillet. You will now fry your chicken balls :


About 5-8 minutes per side, depending upon thickness:


Naturally, if you are a kitchen professional, you made bread:


You also might have made asparagus and hollandaise sauce. If bread is not enough for you, maybe you made rice or something. We were happy with bread:


Can't lie -- pretty fucking good. Bon appetit.