Even a blogger needs to eat. This blog is primarily Charles' hobby. But if he is intent on continuing to woo the Hooter's waitresses
in Chatanooga he needs something that pays.... wings don't come free you know. Here's a link to his
day job where he works the education beat
and, assuming he can't annoy enough people that way, is sometimes allowed to write opinion pieces.
Need perspective? Watson offers readers all they could possibly eat. For a unique view on current events, namely how they look from
orbit, here's Chuck's Real-Time(ish) Satellite Imagery of Areas of Interest.
Whenever it strikes his fancy, and there's good telemetry, Chuck will
process and post near real-time images of locations in the news. Eminently engrossing.
Wanna get into the head of a Japanese salaryman? Why, for Chis'sakes?! Well, assumin' you do, feel welcome to check out
the on-line journal of
Campbell's English class. Everyday, a group of disaffected salarymen are required to spill out their inner-most thoughts about life, the universe
and everything in broken English. Amazingly prosaic.
Shoutin' across the Pacific
Chiizu taberu koufuku shiteiru saru ga kangei-saremasen.
Saturday, January 31, 2004 A Perfect Storm. Regular readers of this blog know that I have two great passions: pro wrestling and politics. And recent headlines combined both. Greg Dyke, who recently resigned as head of the BBC is also the man who killed pro wrestling in the UK. Dyke was head of ITV in the early 1980s and pro wrestling was one of the highest-rated shows on TV. But he decided the demographics weren't what he wanted, so he cancelled it. The local promotion never got airtime again, and it basically folded in a few years.
Friday, January 30, 2004 See No Controversy. Here's an online petition opposing Georgia's new science curriculum, the one that omits any reference to evolution, the Big Bang and the age of the earth. Now if we could just get a petition opposing the new history curriculum which omits any mention of the Civil War during high school U.S. history.
The Home Front. Confederate sympathizers over, such as the foilks over at LewRockwell.Com have attacked the movie "Cold Mountain" for daring to suggest that many Southerners opposed secession and for pointing out the brutal way pro-Confederate types dealt with men who didn't wish to fight for the Confederacy.
The truth is quite different. In the elections for the Georgia convention to consider secession, the final vote was 42,744 against secession and 41,717 in favor. Secession was most popular in the cities and the southern part of the state. Rural areas and the northern part of the state tended to oppose it. DEspite that, delegates to the convention voted to secede.
Donald Sensing has some facts on how the Confederate home guard dealth with men who refused to fight for the rebels.
Thursday, January 22, 2004 Officers. From everything I've read, Wesley Clark seems to have been respected more by his superiors than by the men who served unber him or by his peers.
Tacitus has some interesting remarks regarding Clark's attempts to belittle John Kerry's military service.
But I'd add one thing. Clark's put burst about being a general came in response to Bob Dole's joke that after Iowa "I think just politically you just became a colonel instead of a general."
His reponse was an odd one, even for a thin-skinned self-important man. I think maybe he didn't get the joke.
I think the most important point of the article goes beyond the use of SOF against terrorists. The first observation made is that there was an attitude that terrorism is a crime, an therefore a law enforcement problem rather than a military problem. While the administration has grasped this point, it has avoided the logical conclusion: the enemy isn't some abstract group of evil do-ers, or "hijackers of a great religion", but miltant Islam.
I served in an Air Force Special Operations Squadron for a while in the 80's, but was really more concerned with technical matters so I'm hardly the hard core SF type. The article is quite correct in stating that the mainstream military mistrusts specops, partly because the fundamental calculus of "acceptable risk" is radically different in planning these types of operations from the standard military model. And there is a lot of resentment against the "glamour" associated with SF, and the "we're the elite an you're not" attitude most SF types have doesn't help.
That said, I've always had mixed feelings about the value of special ops. It's been said that the amateur studies tactics while the professional studies logistics, I would add that the novelist or scriptwriter studies special ops. Both intelligence and SF are secondary to logistics (and I would add technical capacity under logistics) in wide scale conflicts. Against terrorists and revolutionaries SF is of greater effectiveness and importance.
Thursday, January 15, 2004 The Worst President since Richard Nixon Maybe it's because Ron dropped by for a visit last week or that I'm recovering from a cold/flu bug that the walking petri-dishes of disease (the kind that come with the culture media built in, not the sterile ones), aka nieces and nephews, brought, but I'm feeling more pessimestic than usual:
I have never understood why some conservatives and republicans have stood up for Nixon. On the domestic side, he gave us OSHA, EPA, gun control, and more regulations than even most Demo-rats dream of. Economics - need I mention wage price controls? In foreign policy, supposedly his strong point, he gave us the ever-growing threat of China by creating a situation where we would trade with them, allowing them to maintain their opressive government while expanding their economy (Contrast our treatment of China with the former Soviet Union - or modern Russia, for that matter). Although Carter took a lot of flack for the "hollow military", it arguable that Nixon caused most of the problems in the military in the 70's, and in fact Carter did some good things such as pushing for breakthrough technologies such as smart munitions. In space policy, Nixon burdened us with STS through a political decision that selected Rockwell (a Califorinia company) over much better designs from Grumman (based in New York) that would have created jobs to Demo-rat leaning states. Leaving aside his paranoia and the stuff most Demo-rats hate him for, he was a horrible President, and we are still paying the price for his bad policies.
If Reagan is the model of a Republican president, regretably, GW Bush is shaping up to be more in the mold of Nixon than Reagan. Regulations and domestic spending are exploding. McCain/Feingold limitations on free speech, The Patriot Act, and other actions in the so-called "war on terror" will come to haunt us at some point. Our Foreign policy appears misguided and confused at this point - I don't believe in bowing to the UN and other countries unless it is our interest to do so, but the current administration seems to delight in pissing off our "allies" for no good purpose. Example: the awarding of contracts to rebuild Iraq. Why couldn't we have announced open competitions? I'm sure that during the technical review process it would have turned out that, say, French or German companies did not meet the requirements of the RFP's for some reason or another. (That is what France does in their foreign aid projects - they never exclude US companies from bidding, but there is always some reason the bid from a French company is technically superior to anything a US company proposes.)
W's recently announced space policy also seems like a politically motivated decision that will do more harm to our space program than good. Gutting the science programs to keep the shuttle flying is a bad idea. For that matter, keeping the shuttle flying at all is dumb to start with - we're already nine years after the design lifetime, and shouldn't bother to patch it together for pizza deliveries to ISS that could be done by Russia using Proton, Soyuz, and Progress much cheaper and safer. The Moon/Mars proposal is a bit of a farce - no way on NASA's current budget of 15-16 Billion a year, especially with the millstone of STS hanging around NASA's none-too-robust neck.
As for the election this fall, there's no place else to go. But my guess is that in 10 years, we'll be talking about "The worst president since Nixon".
New Beat. We brought a new reporter on board Tuesday. I'll no longer be covering both education and the county government. That's the good news.
The bad is that I've been moved to the county beat full time from education.
When I first started on the schools beat, I was a bit hesitant, but I grew to like the job. I hope the same will be true of the county beat. Among other things, it involves covering the county commission, the Whitfield/Dalton planning commission, the health department and the smaller city governments in the county.
Maybe It's Just Me. I was never one of the "Libertarians for Dean," but one thing I found refreshing about him was his wife's role in his campaing. Or rather, the lack of it. I frankly would prefer that candidates not bring their families into the political process. Dean, for instance, is running for president, not national husband. And I haven't seen any indication that a man's marital or other family relationship has a lot of bearing on how well he'll do as president.
But judging from Drudge's site, what I find the most appealing thing about Howard Dean is considered scandalous by some.
Sunday, January 11, 2004 Friedrich the Great. My former boss Virginia Postrel has a nice article on F.A. Hayek in the Boston Globe. I didn't realize that Hayek had become part of the social science core curriculum at Harvard of all places.
Tuesday, January 06, 2004 Hard Copy. One of our local school board members has a name that's very similar to that of a well-known professional wrestler, and I'm obsessive about checking whenever I mention him because I'm convinced that one day I'm going to accidentally use the name of the wrestler.
I mentioned that to my editor last night, and he said, "That's nothing. I used to work at a paper near Fort Rucker. I woke up in a cold sweat on more than a few nights wondering if I'd reversed those first letters."
Monday, January 05, 2004 The Gay Press Seems To Have An Agenda. I found this on David Meltzer's Wrestling Observer Web site:
Out Magazine in the February 2004 issue is doing a story on Midwest Pro Wrestling's Tommy the Spider Baby, real name Terrance Griep, who claims to be the first openly gay pro wrestler. Here's a funny one about journalism. The magazine interviewed me probably two months ago and asked about it, and was very disheartened when I mentioned that over the years there have been so many openly gay pro wrestlers, listing name after name. I guess they decided that was info best left ignored.
I've never heard of Griep. But Meltzer is right. There are plenty of major, major names over the years in the business who were openly gay or bisexual.
Hormesis. It's not just a company that sells canned meats. Actually, I first heard of the concept in Petr Beckmann's olf "Access to Energy" newsletter, so it's interesting to see it apparently getting more mainstream acceptance.
Saturday, January 03, 2004 Glow meter Savannah is down-river from the Savannah River Site (SRS), where all sorts of interesting stuff goes on. There was a bit of a local ruckus a few weeks ago since DOE decided to cut funding for radiation monitoring in Georgia. I've put the radiation monitor at my office on-line here. No comment that it was reported in the article that the monitoring was costing DOE $650K per year (about $100K per year per site) to do the monitoring.