Charles Oliver - Econ/Media-Boy
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Charles C. Watson - Science/Tech-Boy
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Ron Campbell - sushi-bait.
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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.




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Shoutin' across the Pacific
Chiizu taberu koufuku shiteiru saru ga kangei-saremasen.
 
Sunday, October 31, 2004
 
The Revolution in Military Affairs. There are a few bugs:

Once the invasion began, breakdowns quickly became the norm. For the movement of lots of data—such as satellite or spy-plane images—between high-level commanders and units in the field, the military employed a microwave-based communications system originally envisioned for war in Europe. This system relied on antenna relays carried by certain units in the advancing convoy. Critically, these relays—sometimes called “Ma Bell for the army”—needed to be stationary to function. Units had to be within a line of sight to pass information to one another. But in practice, the convoys were moving too fast, and too far, for the system to work. Perversely, in three cases, U.S. vehicles were actually attacked while they stopped to receive intelligence data on enemy positions. “A lot of the guys said, ‘Enough of this shit,’ and turned it off,” says Perry, flicking his wrist as if clicking off a radio. “‘We can’t afford to wait for this.’”



....................................

Meanwhile, commanders in Qatar and Kuwait had their own problems. Their connectivity was good—too good. They received so much data from some of their airborne sensors that they couldn’t process it all; at some points, they had to stop accepting feeds. When they tried to send information to the front, of course, they found the line-of-sight microwave-relay system virtually disabled. At the command levels above Marcone’s—the brigade and even the division levels—such problems were ubiquitous. “The network we had built to pass imagery, et cetera, didn’t support us. It just didn’t work,” says Col. Peter Bayer, then the division’s operations officer, who was south of Marcone’s battalion on the night of April 2 and 3. “The link for V Corps [the army command] to the division, the majority of time, didn’t work, to pass a digital image of something.”



posted by Charles at 6:45 PM
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Saturday, October 30, 2004
 
Some Thoughts on Strategy from Anthony Zinni and William Lind.

posted by Charles at 8:31 PM
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Tuesday, October 26, 2004
 
More Catching Up. I see that Glenn Reynolds has expresses an
interest in James Webb's new book Born Fighting.

I wonder if he's aware that Webb vigorously opposed the war in Iraq? And still thinks it was a bad idea

Webb isn't exactly a pacifist.

Webb seems to understand the Borderer/Back Country ethic far better than many self-proclaimed Jacksonians.

As David Hackett Fischer notes in Albion's Seed, the Scotch-Irish valued cunning at least as much as bravery.

It is interesting that the proverbs of the backcountry justified the use of violence only when it promised to succeed.

Better a coward than a corpse.

Better a living dog than a dead lion.

He that fights and runs away will live to fight another day.


.......

Here was an ethic of violence which had been formed in ambuscades and border-raiding.

.........

A friend who knew him well for over forty years said that "no man knew better than Andrew Jackson when to get into a pssion and when not."


Some "Jacksonians" seem to think that it consists merely of a readiness to use force to settle disputes.









posted by Charles at 11:35 PM
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Sunday, October 24, 2004
 
Catching Up. Lots of depressing stuff on Iraq.

The Washington Post analyzes the impact of the war in Iraq on the larger war against Islamic militants.

The key finding:

Twenty months after the invasion of Iraq, the question of whether Americans are safer from terrorism because Saddam Hussein is no longer in power hinges on subjective judgment about might-have-beens. What is not in dispute, among scores of career national security officials and political appointees interviewed periodically since 2002, is that Bush's choice had opportunity costs — first in postwar Afghanistan, then elsewhere. Iraq, they said, became a voracious consumer of time, money, personnel and diplomatic capital — as well as the scarce tools of covert force on which Bush prefers to rely — that until then were engaged against al Qaeda and its sources of direct support.



The New York Times has a three-part series looking at how the adminsitration failed to predict the current guerilla war in Iraq: 1, 2, 3.

Here's the money graph:

General (Jay) Garner said the administration's mistakes had made it easier for the insurgency to take hold.

"John Abizaid was the only one who really had his head in the postwar game," General Garner said, referring to the general who served as General Franks's deputy and eventually his successor. "The Bush administration did not. Condi Rice did not. Doug Feith didn't. You could go brief them, but you never saw any initiative come of them. You just kind of got a north and south nod. And so it ends with so many tragic things."


And finally The Los Angeles Times shows how the administration couldn't figure out what to do in Fallujah.

Money graphs:

(Lt. Gen. James T.)Conway, the commander of the Marines in western Iraq, told the overall commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, what the Marines had in mind.

According to one well-placed defense official, Conway also told Rumsfeld directly that the Marines favored a deliberate approach. But Rumsfeld rejected his advice. The Defense secretary and Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, believed that "it was unsatisfactory to have parts of the country that were not under control," Pentagon spokesman Di Rita said.

A civilian official who declined to be identified said that "the military leadership told us this was something they could do with a low risk of civilian casualties, using their precision weapons."

It was on April 1 that Rumsfeld and Abizaid briefed Bush on plans for attacking Fallouja. Rumsfeld's decision not to inform the president about the Marines' dissenting recommendation was proper, Di Rita said. That argument had been settled at a lower level.

.................................

The Marines were unhappy. They had not wanted to attack Fallouja initially, but once their advice was ignored, their only goal was to crush the enemy. Now, they felt, they were being called off just when victory was within their grasp.

Conway seethed in private. Months later he went public with his discontent, an unusual step for a Marine general.

"I would simply say that when you order elements of a Marine division to attack a city, that you really need to understand what the consequences are, and not, perhaps, vacillate in the middle of something like that," he told reporters. "Once you commit, you've got to stay committed."







posted by Charles at 2:15 PM
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Wednesday, October 20, 2004
 
I'm Back. My new hard drive now seems to be free of worms, trojans, viri and spyware. (I think.) More later.

posted by Charles at 7:29 PM
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Friday, October 08, 2004
 
Diet of Worms. Okay, the tech installed my new hard drive yesterday afternoon. After I got back from Hooters, I re-installed Windows and my other software. Then I went online to download the Windows Service pack, and not 15 seconds after I got to the Windows Update, my anti-virus software told me I had the W32.spybot.worm and it couldn't do a damn thing about it. And not two minutes after that it has seized my machine.

I've been able to do a little research on this bug and it says it's pread by kazaa, which I don't have, so I'm perplexed about how I got it so quickly. But until I have the time to try to remove it, my PC is pretty much useless. (Still.)


posted by Charles at 10:11 AM
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Saturday, October 02, 2004
 
Communication Breakdown. For some reason, Windows will not load in my home PC, and my very limited skills haven't been able to do anything about it. So until I can get a tech to look at it, I have no home access to the Internet.

I've still got a computer at work, of course. But when I'm at work they sort of like for me to actually do work-related things, so if I'm slow (okay, even slower) about answering e-mail or posting please understand.


posted by Charles at 11:07 AM
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