Monday, July 16, 2007

Another blog

I've started a second blog, this one specifically for world of warcraft. If that's what you're trying to find, it's at

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Change of Address

I'm moving. If you want to follow me, the new address will be

I like Google, but their blog system is just about the worst one with which I've worked. I have trouble logging on, often, both to post and to read (and read comments). Haloscan is problematic at best, causing problems even when blogger itself is doing well.

I've literally given up on posting something - and consequently never written - more than once.

Enough. Goodbye.


Monday, October 30, 2006

It's prediction update time

We're fast approaching the deadline for my "95%" prediction. That is, the US getting into a shooting war (whether called such or not) with Iran before the November 7 elections.

For what it's worth, I'm a lot less confident.

Supporting the likelihood: There are sufficient assets in place - both air and sea assets - at this time. Israel's Olmert-led ruling coalition has recently put a person in charge of strategic assets (nuclear weapons) who has been heavily advocating an attack on Iran. Iran is making a LOT of noise of reaction should the UN sanctions go into place.

Against the likelihood: There's been a relative silence on the US front about Iran. The UN sanctions appear unlikely to be in effect anytime soon - and the current draft reflects the insistence of some members of the security council that it prohibits military action in the event of violations. One of the carriers in the region is nearing the end of its six month deployment (Enterprise left homeport May 2, 2006) and appears to be getting ready to sail home.

The peculiar nature of current deployments is such that after about November 12 and till sometime in mid-January any movement of assets - both air and sea - into the region will be unscheduled. In other words, they'll either be in response to or anticipation of provocation - and in turn a more obvious indicator of intent.

For the record, I hope I'm wrong. I hope we do not have hostilities in the Middle East - not soon, not ever. But I still bet on seeing shooting before the new congress is seated in January, and still think the odds favor it beginning within a week. Not 95% any more, but more than 50%.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

October 17?

I keep stumbling across this date in the various blogs and specialized news articles I read. There's almost a feeling of weight to the day.

It popped up on Firedoglake in a discussion about the signing of the torture bill (Military Commissions Act). Apparently the President told the leadership of congress that he wanted to have a signing ceremony on October the 17th. So despite it being approved some days ago it only got around to being delivered to the president's desk on the 11th of October. This started the ten day ticking clock for signing. (Constitution, Article 1, Section 7. It automatically becomes law if Congress is in session, it automatically becomes void if they're not in session.)

It popped up in an investment site I read - - in an article by Roger Weigand who says a friend he considers to be normally very conservative has said things will pop in the market on the 17th (actually, "mentioned October 17th as D-Day for some kind of markets ripping excitement.") Yes, that's headed into "someone I know says someone he knows heard somewhere..." territory. It's the date that catches the eye.

I ran into it on a military site. I ran into it on some discussions of federal grants and authorizations as an updated deadline for certain pending categories.

Now as regular readers know I believe we're going to be shooting at Iran before the elections. But I would have pegged the date as closer to the 31st. Two major reasons for this apply.

First is political bounces fade. And 3 weeks prior to the elections is - I think - too early.

Second is that my guesstimates of various logistic and forward assets deployments had them onsite no earlier than the 21st of October and more likely the 26th. Yes, they're deploying. It's bits and dribbles of information, but we've got a fair chunk of assets moving that direction. But the date... the 17th feels too early.

But it keeps popping up, and I find I'm not going to be really comfortable that Tuesday.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Mommy This

The Rude Pundit's got it almost right. The Democratic party needs to pull the whole argument into one simple meme: Democrats are for the children. Just about every position they're running boils down to that - and the Foley Protection Scheme just crystalized who really cares about the children. (Talking the talk works till it's time to walk the walk.)

The thing is, I believe there's a slightly better position - and it's one the GOP has happily been backhanding at the Dems for some time now.

The Dems are the Mommy Party. Now, the GOP's been using that as 'all soft and weepy and hand-wringing and...'. But I ask you - you ever see a mother act when her child is threatened?

" But the Woman that God gave him, every fibre of her frame
Proves her launched for one sole issue, armed and engined for the same;
And to serve that single issue, lest the generations fail,
The female of the species must be deadlier than the male."

No, let's quote the whole darn thing.

The Female of the Species

WHEN the Himalayan peasant meets the he-bear in his pride,
He shouts to scare the monster, who will often turn aside.
But the she-bear thus accosted rends the peasant tooth and nail.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When Nag the basking cobra hears the careless foot of man,
He will sometimes wriggle sideways and avoid it if he can.
But his mate makes no such motion where she camps beside the trail.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When the early Jesuit fathers preached to Hurons and Choctaws,
They prayed to be delivered from the vengeance of the squaws.
'Twas the women, not the warriors, turned those stark enthusiasts pale.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Man's timid heart is bursting with the things he must not say,
For the Woman that God gave him isn't his to give away;
But when hunter meets with husbands, each confirms the other's tale—
The female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Man, a bear in most relations—worm and savage otherwise,—
Man propounds negotiations, Man accepts the compromise.
Very rarely will he squarely push the logic of a fact
To its ultimate conclusion in unmitigated act.

Fear, or foolishness, impels him, ere he lay the wicked low,
To concede some form of trial even to his fiercest foe.
Mirth obscene diverts his anger—Doubt and Pity oft perplex
Him in dealing with an issue—to the scandal of The Sex!

But the Woman that God gave him, every fibre of her frame
Proves her launched for one sole issue, armed and engined for the same;
And to serve that single issue, lest the generations fail,
The female of the species must be deadlier than the male.

She who faces Death by torture for each life beneath her breast
May not deal in doubt or pity—must not swerve for fact or jest.
These be purely male diversions—not in these her honour dwells—
She the Other Law we live by, is that Law and nothing else.

She can bring no more to living than the powers that make her great
As the Mother of the Infant and the Mistress of the Mate.
And when Babe and Man are lacking and she strides unclaimed to claim
Her right as femme (and baron), her equipment is the same.

She is wedded to convictions—in default of grosser ties;
Her contentions are her children, Heaven help him who denies!—
He will meet no suave discussion, but the instant, white-hot, wild,
Wakened female of the species warring as for spouse and child.

Unprovoked and awful charges—even so the she-bear fights,
Speech that drips, corrodes, and poisons—even so the cobra bites,
Scientific vivisection of one nerve till it is raw
And the victim writhes in anguish—like the Jesuit with the squaw!

So it comes that Man, the coward, when he gathers to confer
With his fellow-braves in council, dare not leave a place for her
Where, at war with Life and Conscience, he uplifts his erring hands
To some God of Abstract Justice—which no woman understands.

And Man knows it! Knows, moreover, that the Woman that God gave him
Must command but may not govern—shall enthral but not enslave him.
And She knows, because She warns him, and Her instincts never fail,
That the Female of Her Species is more deadly than the Male.

-- Rudyard Kipling

Friday, September 29, 2006

S.3930 65-34 passed

I've finished reading it. Let's put aside the ranting and wailing and myriad details.

Our Congress has just passed a law that makes Abu Ghraib legal.

For the first time in my life I will vote a straight Democratic ticket. It's not a question of whether the Democrats have a good plan. It's a question of whether I'm going to allow the current villains to profit from their evil.

Monday, September 25, 2006

On Georgia's voter id law

I actually agree in principle with the alleged intent of the law - ensuring that only those eligible vote. My problem has been that the implementation appears to be intended to deny access to otherwises eligible instead of to the ineligible. Oh, it's subtle, but there are two parallel issues that make me lean toward this opinion.

First, it's a "right now" law. A problem was identified - the difficulty of a proportion of eligible voters in getting photo ID cards. Two solutions were possible: A massive ID program so as to minimize the effect for the upcoming elections; a lesser intensive ID program that would still be functionally effective for all potential voters by the time the law took effect in XX years. The solution chosen was a less intensive program (six mobile units that went to high-density locations only, with minimal notice of their appearance) for the then-upcoming election. The appearance was for denial of certain groups.

Second, and actually more important, is that while the voter ID fraud for polling places is uncommon, voter ID fraud on absentee ballots is one of the most common such frauds. Yet the legislature not only didn't tighten those laws, they loosened them so that committing such fraud is EASIER.

I've a solution to the latter problem, one which would actually make it more likely that I accept the alleged intent is the real intent. Add a simple three requirements for absentee ballots in Georgia. Note that applications can be submitted by mail, by fax, or by direct submission at the office of the county registrar. The requirements plus some commentary are:

1 - An absentee ballot application submitted by mail or by fax must be notarized. The notary block must include a 'how identified' section (which happens to be something already required of the notaries of almost every state).
2 - Absentee ballot applications turned in at the county registrar's office require the submitter to present ID as though they are voting.
3 - Absentee voter applications that are "on behalf of" applications can only be submitted at the registrar's office. Yes, you can submit on someone else's behalf in Georgia. It's done, for example, when the actual voter is in the hospital, or college student says to Mom "Help, I need an absentee ballot", or... It's a rather generous list of people who can submit applications on behalf of others. However, this line creates a traceable line for fraudulent applications while allowing the 'on behalf of' clause to continue.

On a list to which I submitted this, another person wanted to add the requirement of the ballot going to the home of registration. That rather defeats the intent of the absentee ballot, unfortunately.

Oh - regarding item one. A requirement of the registrar office shall be to contact the notary public to verify they notarized the document. For those who haven't dealt with notary publics in depth, this is a fairly easy requirement. The state - every state in the US - maintains a record of contact for registered notaries public. And the notary is required to maintain a log of all items notarized. Two phone calls, then, complete the verification. No contact for the notary or notary cannot confirm the signing? Ballot application denied.