Author Archives: Hognose

About Hognose

Former Special Forces 11B2S, later 18B, weapons man. (Also served in intelligence and operations jobs in SF).

Memorial to Waste | National Review Online

This mess is the "tapestry" for the Ike Memorial.

This mess is the “tapestry” for the Ike Memorial. And we thought that Chairman Maotin Luther King was bad.

We have covered, long ago, the saga of the abominable Eisenhower Memorial, which even earlier we called, deservedly, emetic. This disaster is the result of a runaway commission of Washington insiders, who chose society architect Frank Gehry sight unseen. Gehry produced an abominable hackery of chain-link-fence “tapestries” and a statue of a child in an empty field.

The Eisenhower family is unsatisfied with this insulting abortion of an art-school undergrad C-minus design, and Congress tried to pull the plug on the failed commisssion and the Gehry eyesore. Gehry, for his part, has taken his fee (paid up front) and rather than produce the construction plans he was paid for, spent the money on a sleazeball lobbyist, figuring that with enough of a lobbying presence he can always hit the taxpayers up for more money (he’s received, and blown, $15 million so far).

From Mona Charen’s syndicated column:

The Eisenhower Memorial Commission was established in 2002 with a budget of $64 million. It is staffed by nine full-time employees, some earning six-figure salaries, and presided over by a 93-year-old, ailing board chairman.

Without a design competition, the commission chose a design by Frank Gehry that critics, including the Eisenhower family, regard as insulting to Eisenhower’s memory. Featuring enormous metal “tapestries” eight stories tall that would depict the Kansas prairie, the block-long memorial park with its enormous metal curtains would dwarf the statuary in the center. The original design called for Ike to be portrayed as a barefoot boy. Thus is a key figure in the history of the 20th century reduced to insignificance. Historians sometimes do that to people — memorials are meant to do the reverse.

The boy Ike has since been replaced, after protests, with a proposed statue of Ike as a cadet. Not much better. West Point has produced many cadets but only one Eisenhower. Gehry now proposes to eliminate the tapestries, but keep the pillars. Commission member Bruce Cole, who believes a simple statue of the man would have been best (and most consistent with Ike’s wishes), says the pillars standing alone “look for all the world like industrial smokestacks.” Others say they evoke an unfinished highway overpass or the final scene of Planet of the Apes.

Since the memorial has been stalled, you may ask, what happened to the money? After 15 years, the commission has spent $41 million, including paying Gehry 95 percent of the price of construction drawings before the design was approved. According to the set Washington Examiner, Gehry used some of the $15 million he received to hire former Clinton counsel Gregory Craig to help secure approval of the design. That’s how it goes when you’re well-connected in Washington.

Republicans in Congress declined the commission’s request for $50 million more. They appropriated just $1 million last year, which still leaves the corrupt commission in business. Is this farce to be the only memorial to one of our greatest leaders?

via Memorial to Waste | National Review Online.

You gotta love Washington. It’s the only place where anybody would kill something off by giving it “just” $1 million a year.

Here’s a better idea:  give it $0 a year, and let Ike’s family hire a sculptor, and do a Kickstarter or Indiegogo fund raiser to pay him. We’d hit that. What’s the problem with doing it that way?

Ah, yes. No scope for grifters, grafters and grabbers of the Gregory Craig variety. If there is no waste, no carrion, there is nothing for him to feed on, and he would have to get a job in the productive economy — something he has never learned how to do.

As for Gehry, let him find people that want to live in leaky, rusty eyesores, or corporations that want to make their employees work in them, on his own. He’ll survive, or not, without a handout from the US Government.

Whining Their Way Up: Women Demand Equal Results for Unequal Effort

Some months ago, in April, actually, we noted the whinging of failed Marine infantry officer Sage Santangelo. She bombed out of the infantry officers’ course, and then hit the WaPo in a welter of finger-pointing.

Here’s a blog entry that we missed at the time, in which a real infantry Marine lets her have it.

In going to General Amos you proved that you are not interested in being a leader. You’re interested in a career. Amos gave you special treatment because you’re a woman, which you accepted. I wonder what General Mattis would have told you. Either way, you’re not qualified to lead troops and they’re going to put you into an administrative billet that’s going to be a cakewalk. It might be great for your career, but I imagine your command is going to hide you in a corner because you’ve already proven that if you have a problem, you’re going to go to the media (when some ruck runs might have been more fruitful to your conditioning, Devil).

Yep, I just devil-dogged you, ma’am. Since I’m a civilian, I’ll even throw in a fully modified knife hand for this next part.

Did any of the 24 male Marines who didn’t pass your IOC class get a sweet-talk from the Commandant? No. Did they go to the Washington Post to complain about it? No. They’re probably training to take the course a second time. What about the other female 2nd Lieutenants, were they given a career boosting deployment to Afghanistan? No. Not to mention, those 24 men were trained to the standard that you say would have allowed you to pass the course, so what caused their failure? I  agree that women should be given a second chance to take IOC, but you have to take responsibility for your lack of preparation. In combat, you can’t call the Commandant. You take charge of the troops under you or good men (and women) die. Aren’t there leadership principles (that you learned in The Basic School) that lay this out for you? # 11. Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions.

“We need to set women up to succeed in combat roles,” you said. To put it another way, women need special treatment. This undermines your whole argument of women being equally capable of serving in combat. The Marine Corps needs self-starters in leadership roles, especially in counterinsurgency operations and asymmetric warfare. We don’t promise you a rose garden either, an old recruiting poster states to potential female recruits. Perhaps you need a reminder that it’s called serving your country, and not the other way around.

via Dear 2nd Lt. Santangelo, the Marine Corps Promised You a Rose Garden. | Don’t Ever Call Me A Hero.

The likelihood of Santangelo taking any of this advice? Zero. She’s already learned that all she has to do is pout and whine and be daddy’s girl to the dotty old commandant. Her career, her sole focus, is irredeemably tainted with the stench of special pleading and special favors. Nothing she achieves from here on out will lack an asterisk.

SPARTY, Circa World War I

This grainy, moïre-wracked image comes from American Machinist, Volume L (50) Jan-Jun, 1919.


It appears in the bound volume of the trade magazine on page 266, and does not seem to be referenced in the text. A few pages earlier, there’s another self-propelled artillery piece, a 9.2 inch howitzer.


The first of these weapons, at least, is well known to specialist researchers. The Holt Tractor Company of Stockton, California made early tracked tractors for agriculture. Their initial models steered not by differential braking or power to the tracks, but by a “tiller wheel” that was mounted out in front of the machine. By World War I their ag tractors were very successful, and their engineers adapted them to military use around the time of the US’s entry into the long-running European war in 1917.

All the military tractors were experimental. The Army Ordnance Department experimented with them, but deployed none of them to France.

The versions included what may have been the first manufactured tank, and at least seven or eight iterations of the self-propelled artillery design, most of which mounted the US 75mm M1916 field gun, a variant of the French 75.

The popular Holt tractor was also adapted in Britain, experimentally, and France and Germany produced tanks based on Holt running gear. The most famous of these tanks was the German A7V, a tank that was outnumbered in German service by captured British tanks.

The Holt company is a trademark you may not recognize today, as the forerunner of a modern giant whose trademarks you definitely know. As the company was best known as the maker of the Holt’s Caterpillar Tractor, it changed its name first to Holt’s Caterpillar and finally, just to Caterpillar. So Holt’s tractor is still with us.

While Caterpillar (and small-c caterpillar) tractors would be successful as artillery prime movers, the company does not seem to have adapted their post-war tractor models into potential military sales. The engineering requirements for tank tracks and suspensions are too different from those needed for tractors, bulldozers and earth-moving equipment. And also, the US didn’t get serious about tanks until it began to seem clear that we’d need to start numbering our World Wars, so there was no money in tank development for an American firm in most of the interwar years.

Weds Thurs Weapons Website of the Week

spy vs spyIf you’re a prepper…

If you’re a veteran…

If you’re interested in how the world of intelligence works at the nuts and bolts level…

…you’ll want to read GuerillAmerica.

The blog provides practical, doctrinally-based instruction in intelligence tradecraft across a wide range of disciplines. In particular, its analytical tradecraft posts like this one about evaluating single-source information are pure gold (and something that is often covered poorly in analytical training, even inside the IC).

Few people think about UW intel tradecraft beyond collection, or perhaps beyond agent handling. Those things are important, but anything from networks to entire countries that has been rolled up after being taken unawares, usually had collected all the information they needed to see the fist that was about to hit them. It was their failure to evaluate and analyze this information — failure to process raw information into usable, actionable intelligence – that condemned them to be bystanders at Pearl Harbor, the roll-up of SOE’s réseaux in the Netherlands, the Nork invasion of South Korea in 1950, the abject failure of the Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961, or the al-Qaeda attacks on 11 Sep 2001.

(Yeah, this was supposed to go up on Wednesday. It didn’t. So sue us. Our next scheduled date for lawsuit service is 29 Feb 15).

When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have lighters

Anyone who’s ever read a gun control organization’s website knows, accidents are a reason to Do Something!!!1!

So, what do you do about an “accident” like this?

A SUV full of teenagers crashed in Idaho after one of the passengers lit the driver’s armpit hair on fire with a lighter, authorities said Wednesday.

All five young people in the Ford Bronco were hurt in the crash Sunday and received medical treatment, the Ada County Sheriff’s Office said.

Two of the passengers, ages 15 and 16, were thrown from the vehicle, but none of the five suffered life-threatening injuries.

The sheriff’s department said the rollover occurred after a 16-year-old boy was goofing off in the front seat and lit 18-year-old Tristian Myers’ armpit hair on fire while Myers was driving. The crash happened at about 5:30 a.m. in southeast Boise.

It looked like this:

armpit hair prang

Deputies cited Myers with inattentive driving, while the 16-year-old was cited for interfering with the driver’s safety. The passenger’s name wasn’t released. A 17-year old also was in the front seat but was not cited.

Deputies also said none of the teens was wearing a seatbelt, and there was evidence Myers was driving too fast.

via Sheriff: Burned armpit hair led to Idaho car crash – Yahoo News.

Too fast. No seatbelt. Stupid prank. About the only dumb-ass driver stunt these kids missed was a skinful of Judgment Juice. At what point did it cease being An Accident and become A Lead-Pipe Certainty?

One is reminded of Forrest Gump’s Mama’s principle: “stupid is as stupid does.”

Come to think of it, but not only applies to the prank pulling kids, but also to the gun control organizations.

IG Final Report: 313 VA Patients Died, but we dunno if we kilt ‘em

VA-veterans-affairsThe war of the spin between the grandstanding pols in Congress and the political hacks and payroll patriots at VA continues.

Can’t they both lose? By a knockout?

The VA whitewash language, previously reported here when it was leaked in August, was inserted by a senior executive after the report was done. Using a proof-beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard, the VA Office of Inspector General, the Palace Guard that has been whitewashing VA failings since, well, its inception, can’t prove that any of these patients, at least 20 of whom were documented as having received substadard care (at that same reasonable-doubt level of certainty), died because of their craptastic VA treatment.

Other side of the coin? The IG admits that they can’t prove any of the 313 died from anything but their craptastic VA treatment.

Occam’s razor suggests that some of these vets would have kicked the bucket anyway, but some of them were killed by the VA’s corruption and underperformance.

For which, despite the Andrei Vyshinskiy show trial aspect of the House hearings, and despite the no-harm-no-foul resignation of the inept and unconcerned Secretary Rick Shinseki, no one has been held accountable. 

The show trial analogy breaks down pretty quickly. What happened to the guys Vyshinskiy prosecuted? Oh, that. Why can’t that be in the future for the patient-killing VA bonus-grabbers?

None of the VA crooks has even been charged. None of the bogus bonuses has been revoked and reclaimed: the cheaters who took them still go to the office (we nearly said “to work,” which would have been an error) at VA every day. Why, most of them are in line for more bonuses this year.

Government is never having to say you’re sorry.

And security in the knowledge that, at every level, someone else pays for your failures and misdeeds.

The heads of the VA don’t know who’s responsible. The head of the IG can’t find his arse with both hands and a lensatic compass. The VA heads who leaked a misleading description of the IG final report whitewash (suggesting it was even a greater whitewash than it is, to preempt release of the actual document) have no idea how their spin got to friendly (i.e. Dem-partisan and anti-veteran) newsmen.

Maybe it’s time for some new heads. How about using the appropriations power and cutting VA SES headcount by 25%? Senior managers do not deliver care to veterans, anyway; they just get in the way. Then, evaluate the survivors’ level of cooperation with the investigation, while teeing up another 25% of overpaid overhead. There’s nothing an SES does at VA that a GS-13 can’t do.

The M1917 Revolver: Brilliant Adaptation

Two Colt 1917 revolvers (one repark'd for WWII), from an excellent article in

Two Colt 1917 revolvers (one repark’d for WWII), from an excellent article in

One of the most remarkable and unique improvisations in American military history was the M1917 .45 caliber revolver. There were actually two: one made by Colt, and one by Smith & Wesson. The Colt was quite close to the Model 1909 that the company had made for the Army in cal. .45 Long Colt; the Smith was based on the company’s large-framed revolvers. But both were chambered for a first among revolvers: a rimless cartridge, using the then-novel, now-routine improvisation of a “half-moon clip.” It was the success of the M1917 that made the idea possible.

Reviewing a period (1918) source on this weapon’s development, the 7 Nov 1918 issue of American Machinist1, some things jump out at us:

  • The mechanics of the day had a remarkable can-do spirit;
  • Even then, there was a tendency for some people to condemn service weapons; the purchase of revolvers, “led to the circulation of the gross fallacy that the 45-caliber Government Colt automatic was a failure and that it was given up by the Government in favor of a new type of double action revolver.” (In almost everything written postwar by an Ordnance man, whether members of the tiny prewar cadre of 100 officers and 750 men, or one of the many thousands of engineers and workmen called to the colors, you can expect to find reference to unfair press criticism). Plus ça changé, plus c’est la même chose;
  • The Army made plans for a certain level of handgun issue, but the demand for handguns on the front was much higher, leading to a doubling of the order of Colt pistols, and still leaving unmet demand even after Colt upped production “200 percent in six months.” That was the impetus for the 1917;
  • Institutional memories of ammo mismatches in the Spanish-American War made Ordnance peremptorily rule out reissue of stored .38 Colt M1904 revolvers. (The article does not mention stocks of .45 LC revolvers, so they may have already been through disposition by the time the US entered the war);
Here's a Colt 1917, one of many now for sale on GunBroker.

Here’s a Colt 1917, one of many now for sale on GunBroker.

  • The article, which was “Passed by the office of the Chief Military Censor, Washington, DC on 16 Oct 1918,” was lighter in technical depth than we’d have liked to see. Whether those two facts were related, we can only speculate.
  • The article contains some errors, many of them small: “Smith-Wesson” instead of “Smith & Wesson”, etc. The mere contemporaneous nature of a source is no guarantor of accuracy, it just removes one potential cause of inaccuracy.
And here's a "Smith-Wesson" -- heh.

And here’s a “Smith-Wesson” — heh.

  • Some errors are larger, like the suggestion that the velocity lost by gas leakage in the revolver’s cylinder/barrel gap was “balanced by that used in the operation of the automatic pistol.” But the revolver’s gap comes before the barrel exits the bore; most of the auto’s use of the shot’s energy comes after the bullet exits the bore, and after the bullet exits the bore it has all the energy and velocity it’s ever going to get. As a simple matter of physics, Mr MacKenzie should have caught this.
  • This may also be an error, but the article suggests that Winchester was about to begin producing M1911 pistols. Fascinating if true; imagine the collector enthusiasm for them, if the programmed half-million Winchester 1911s had been made.
  • One of the keys to the success of the 1917 was the three-cartridge half-moon clip. Colt and S&W revolvers both accepted the same clips, and the ammunition was supplied to the front like that, in clips.
  • The initial 1917 revolvers were made from revolvers and parts that were in inventory at Colt and Smith.
  • An Army pistolero was supposed to be content with 24 rounds of ammunition, back in those days!

By December 7, 1918, the US Army Ordnance Department had accepted 417,275 “Pistols, cal 0.45, Model 1911″ from “Colt and Remington, Bridgeport.” (We’re not sure whether that means that the pistols were made or inspected there), and an additional 289,211 “Revolvers, caliber 0.45, Model 1917 (Colt and Smith & Wesson)2. We are not sure whether production stopped at that time, but we know rifle production, at least, continued into 1919, so it’s possible that revolver production was continued to fulfill new contracts.  However, the November, 1918 article only described contracts for 250,000 revolvers; there must have been another order beyond those noted by MacKenzie.

The text of MacKenzie’s article is attached, after the jump.


1. MacKenzie, Paul Allen. Using Rimless Cartridges in New Service Revolvers. American Machinist, Volume 49, No. 19. 7 Nov 1918. Contained in Volume XLIX, July 1 to December 31, 1918, p. 366. Retrieved from Google Books.

2. Colvin, Fred H. How Ordnance is Inspected. American Machinist, Volume 50, No. 7. 13 Feb 1919. Contained in Volume L, January 1 to June 30, 1919, p. 312. Retrieved from Google Books.

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Shenyang Juvenile Delinquency Campaign

Apparently, China has a real problem with JD’s. The Chinese have another problem, too, although they haven’t yet cottoned to it: sociologists and psychologists. These pseudo-scienticts are a much more serious threat to society than criminals; murder and theft have been with us since Genesis, but the soft -ologies are mostly a 20th Century “own goal.” As China grows stronger and wealthier, these academics appear, parasites eating away their host from within.

In any event, the bright sparks at the Shenyang Center for Psychological Research have concluded, based on their interviews with a bunch of juvie soul-takers and widowmakers, that they’re depraved, not on account of they’re deprived, but because their parents called them bad names when they were small.

“Words can be weapons,” the Shenyang center argues, and their clever way of illustrating it is to take the insult (like “moron” or “you’re garbage”) and turn the characters (Chinese characters naturally) of the word of phrase into a stylized image of the weapon the particular little darling used. Like this:

While we’re thrilled with the brilliance of their concept, as science it’s a bit thready. Chinese parents are notoriously firm with their kids. Is the kid who took up a gun and killed somebody the only kid ever called a “moron”? We’re kind of doubtful about that, although we recognize no real, credible numbers for the denominator can possibly be created.

While, “Don’t call your kid ‘moron’ or ‘garbage'” is probably a good rule of parenting thumb, we can’t escape the suspicion that the people doing this are not going to be reached by public service announcements coming from artists and -ologists. So who’s the “moron”?

Of course, it wouldn’t be if we didn’t look into the story of the kid who was told, “you’re garbage,” and had those words turn into a weapon, to wit, a crossbow. The kid was Liu Jiakai, a farm kid who had the cross of an alcoholic father to bear:

Whenever he got drunk, he went crazy. He used to say I was useless, I was garbage.

Sometimes I wondered if I was his real son.

My mother was sick, she had a brain tumor. Paying for her treatment put us in debt. And then I dropped out of middle school… and found a job working on an OEM production line. Partly to make money, but also I really didn’t want to see my father.

The foreman was just like my father, bad-tempered. He also called me, “garbage, garbage, garbage.”

Later one day I made a cross-bow and shot him in the hip. I never thought he would end up a paralytic.

I really regret what I did. The thing is, calling me, “garbage,” you know, deeply affected me. But my father will never know how much.

For those of you looking to critique your next meal at the Great Wall Buffet, “garbage” in Mandarin sounds kind of like “fee-oh-uh”.

But we dunno. Does everybody who gets called names as a kid plan out elaborate and violent revenge… and then execute the plan? Maybe the kid’s father called it right.

We lack Liu’s daddy issues, but wish we could learn a bit more about his crossbow. You can learn more about the Shenyang campaign for parental civility at, but unfortunately, no more details about Liu’s homemade crossbow.

Homemade crossbow? We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention, that’s what you get with gun control in a brutal police state.

What happened to this abused child?

This is a passage from a book of nonfiction by a guy who is, unusually, celebrated both for his award-winning fiction and for his award-winning novels. (He’s also an Army combat veteran, a fact modestly omitted from his book-flap bio). It describes how a child was disciplined. The only change we have made was to substitute generic terms or pronouns for proper names.

His father was old-fashioned, a firm believer that beatings were a part of the boys education. These were administered with such regularity that he was once thrashed, following [a notorious murder], merely because he questioned the notion of his own mortality and eternity. In particular, he became suddenly dismayed by the thought that if he died the world would simply go on without him, and he would be forgotten, and that would be the end of it and of him. His father’s reasoning for beating him was that abstract concepts such as these were better with to his father and other adults rather then occupy important time in a 10-year-old’s mind.

Boy, that sounds rough. And he obviously remembered it, for it to have a place in his biography. Must have scarred the kid for life, don’t you think? Probably made an utter ruin of the boy. What do you think happened to this abused child? Let’s take a poll!

What happened to this abused kid? free polls


Answer in a separate post (along with the ID of the book) at circa 1800 EDT today.