Friday, February 27, 2009

Forget About It

The incomparable Alison Krauss & Union Station.

Playing An Old Game

RCAF intercepts Bear 2007.09.05

An old, dangerous game.

From the Canadian news network
As security officials worked to secure Ottawa on the eve of U.S. President Barack Obama's visit, Canadian fighter jets were scrambling to intercept a Russian bomber plane in the Arctic skies.

At a press conference Friday, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said the incident happened on Feb. 18th.

"At no time did Russian airplanes enter Canadian airspace but within 24 hours of the president's visit here to Canada last week we did scramble two F-18 fighter planes from Norad (North American Aerospace Defense Command) and Canada command," MacKay said.

We're moving back to the 1970s in domestic politics, why not international politics as well...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The First Attack on the World Trade Center

One of the early attacks of the War on Terror.

From National Review:

On the morning of February 26, 1993, Islamic militants steered a nondescript Ryder van through the winding darkness of the parking garage under the World Trade Center. They had spent years planning this moment in secret meetings at mosques and jailhouses, in rural outposts that served as paramilitary camps, and in safehouses where explosive compounds were mixed in makeshift labs.

Loaded into the van’s rear compartment was a 1,400-pound chemical bomb.
You can read the whole thing here.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Oh, That Second Amendment

"Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States."

Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, 10 October 1787

The Character of the Enemy

Jay Nordlinger, writing yesterday in National Review Online:

It’s sometimes helpful to remember the character of the enemy—in this case, the worldwide jihad. And that character is so dark, the mind can scarcely absorb it. I will simply excerpt a news item, without much comment on it:

A woman suspected of recruiting more than 80 female suicide bombers has confessed to organising their rapes so she could later convince them that martyrdom was the only way to escape the shame.

Samira Jassam, 51, was arrested by Iraqi police and confessed to recruiting the women and orchestrating dozens of attacks. In a video confession, she explained how she had mentally prepared the women for martyrdom operations, passed them on to terrorists who provided explosives, and then took the bombers to their targets.

“We arrested Samira Jassim, known as ‘Um al-Mumenin’, the mother of the believers, who was responsible for recruiting 80 women”, Major General Qassim Atta said.

The mother of the believers, indeed—believers in, and practitioners of, raw evil. If you would like to read the entire article, go here. Organizing the rapes of women; forcing them to self-detonate, as they in turn murder others . . . it doesn’t get any darker, does it?

George W. Bush said, continually, in a thousand different ways, that Islamofascism represents implacable evil—and that good people have no choice but to combat it. I think he was right. How about that?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Degrees of Accomodation

Some worthy quotes from Mark Steyn's latest in National Review:

The Home Secretary [Jacqui Smith] is best known for an inspired change of terminology: Last year she announced that henceforth Muslim terrorism (an unhelpful phrase) would be reclassified as “anti-Islamic activity.” Seriously. The logic being that Muslims blowing stuff up tends not to do much for Islam’s reputation — i.e., it’s an “anti-Islamic activity” in the same sense that Pearl Harbor was an anti-Japanese activity.

Anyway, Geert Wilders’s short film is basically a compilation video of footage from various recent Muslim terrorist atrocities — whoops, sorry, “anti-Islamic activities” — accompanied by the relevant chapter and verse from the Koran. Jacqui Smith banned the filmmaker on “public order” grounds — in other words, the government’s fear that Lord Ahmed meant what he said about a 10,000-strong mob besieging the Palace of Westminster. You might conceivably get the impression from Wilders’s movie that many Muslims are irrational and violent types it’s best to steer well clear of. But, if you didn’t, Jacqui Smith pretty much confirmed it: We can’t have chaps walking around saying Muslims are violent because they’ll go bananas and smash the place up.

And another:

In his first TV interview as president, Barack Obama told viewers of al-Arabiya TV that he wanted to restore the “same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago.” I’m not sure quite what golden age he’s looking back to there — the Beirut barracks slaughter? the embassy hostages? — but the point is, it’s very hard to turn back the clock. Because the facts on the ground change, and change remorselessly.

Read the whole thing.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Supertanker 910

Why do I find aerial firefighting so facinating?

I don't know, but doing it with a DC-10 is just that much more cool. (Wikipedia has more info here.)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Larry Miller

One of Salt Lake City's most prominent businessmen has passed away.

Larry Miller, best known as the owner of the Utah Jazz and the Miller Group of auto dealerships, died this afternoon as the result of complications from diabetes. He was 64.

More can be found here.

Larry Miller has shaped the face of Utah in ways big and small. Possibly his largest contribution to bringing Salt Lake into national prominence was when he purchased the struggling Jazz from New Orleans and made them into a championship contender in Utah. Through decades of patience, he built the team into an enterprise that has reshaped the face of downtown Salt Lake City.

That doesn't even begin to mention Mr. Miller's own charity efforts, which I cannot do justice to.

Though he had critics, my own experience found that Larry Miller also had more than a few fervent fans. Mr. Miller was a community booster in the sense few consider doing today - he believed that in building his community up, as his hometown prospered so would he. Mr. Miller took some big gambles, and they paid off for all us.

So I'll say something Larry Miller probably didn't hear very often: Thanks, Mr. Miller. You made our city and state a better place.


Appropriate for today, for some reason. Alison Krauss & Union Station, performing "Restless."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Fast Ship In Harm's Way

"I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm's way."

John Paul Jones (letter to M. Le Ray de Chaumont, 16 November 1778)
Reference: John Paul Jones: Fighter for Freedom and Glory, Lorenz (xii)

Monday, February 16, 2009

You Need to Know

I despise the cold virus.

That is all.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Time for Choosing

Stimulus Bill Passes House

Democratic Senator Predicts None of His Colleagues 'Will Have the Chance' to Read Final Stimulus Bill Before Vote

I'm not sure it's the "big win" everyone is saying it is for President Obama; all he had to do is keep his own party in line and buy off a couple of Republican senators.

I'm not sure it is the victory anyone wants, judging by this from the Drudge Report:

Fri Feb 13 2009 09:18:52 ET

Rep. John Culberson, TX claims the "stimulus" bill must be urgently voted on today -- because Speaker Nancy Pelosi is leaving at 6:00 PM for an 8 day trip to Europe!

Culberson made the charge on Houston's KSEV radio.

Pelosi is hoping to lead a delegation to Europe; there's a meeting with the Pope and an award from an Italian legislative group.

Calls to Pelosi's spokesman went unreturned.

In the rushing, Democrats have now broken their promise to have the public see the $790 billion bill for 48 hours before any vote.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) predicted that none of his Senate colleagues would 'have the chance' to read the entire final version of the 1,071-page bill before it comes up for a final vote.

Interesting. Get the bill passed - after breaking your promise to allow 48 hours for review (bill released at 11 PM last night, vote scheduled for 9 AM this morning) - and get out and stay out of town until the heat's off. Way to lead, Nancy.

So the stimulus package circus have you upset, too?

Then it's a time for choosing.

Get mad. Then get to work.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mt. Redoubt - Watching and Waiting

Mount Redoubt - 2009/01/31

Mount Redoubt, as seen by USGS observers on January 31st, 2009.

So, is no news good news?

Friday, February 06, 2009

Lady Antebellum - Love Don't Live Here Anymore

I Suppose An Explanation Is In Order

I suppose this comment from the last post deserves a bit more expansion:

*Sorry about the arch prose. I watched a Sherlock Holmes MYSTERY! last night ("The Second Stain"), and the show had its usual effect. For a period of at least 24 hours after watching, I have to repress urges to walk with a proper cane, smoke a pipe, and talk with a proper English accent. I blame you, Jeremy Brett.

Mr. Brett, of course, portrays the great detective, and as for the rest, well, just watch:

Mt. Redoubt Is Stirring

After turning away from matters seismological* after the Yellowstone Lake earthquake swarm, the Ring of Fire has decided to put on a show of its own.

Mount Redoubt, about 100 miles southwest of Anchorage, is preparing to erupt. Starting the weekend of January 24th-25th, 2009, seismic activity suddenly increased, activity that suggested magma was on the move inside the mountain.

Redoubt is known as an active volcano, most recently erupting in 1989-90. Generally, such eruptions are only really hazardous if you are on the mountain, downstream from the mountain on a river or stream fed by flows from the mountain, or downwind from the volcano. Resoubt is relatively remote in that there are no settlements on it; however there are some oil facilities and camps on the Drift River which could be affected by an eruption-generated mudflow. (These mudflows are called lahars, and result from snow and glaciers rapidly melting due to hot ash and pyroclastic flows. This sudden release of water scours the mountainside and collects soil in ash into a thick muddy mass that moves down a river, wreaking havoc. The mudflows on the Toutle River after the Mt. St. Helens eruption in 1980 are a textbook example of the hazard a lahar can pose.)

The real concern is volcanic ash. Volcanic ash in essentially pulverized rock, which means it is abrasive and can be heavy when it is allowed to collect. So, in a state that receives 70% of its supplies through the Anchorage airport will be watching very closely to see which way the wind blows when Redoubt erupts.

More information:
Alaska Volcano Observatory - Mt. Redoubt
Anchorage Daily News

*Sorry about the arch prose. I watched a Sherlock Holmes MYSTERY! last night ("The Second Stain"), and the show had its usual effect. For a period of at least 24 hours after watching, I have to repress urges to walk with a proper cane, smoke a pipe, and talk with a proper English accent. I blame you, Jeremy Brett.

Not Dead, Just Quiet

Still here. Still blogging. Occasionally blogging.

In other news, my friend Nate has started up his own blog, Nate Expectations. (You might remember him from over on the Wasatch Front.) He's been added to the link list to the right as well.