Category Archives: Lord Love a Duck

Are we sick of VA failures yet?

VA-veterans-affairsAre we sick of VA failures? What a silly question. Of course we are! We bet you are, too. Almost everybody is sick of VA failures… especially those poor bastards, VA patients.

The problem is, apparently, that the Department of Veterans Affairs and its legions of mismanagers are not, yet.

ITEM: Procurement + Corruption = Procurer

This is one where it takes time and patience to Read The Whole Thing™, but it rewards the effort. Basically, a VA senior executive, Susan Taylor, engaged in a decases-long conspiracy to defraud the government, in part by directing contracts to a company called FedBid, whose representative shared her bed during this period.

Then she lied about it. Under oath. A lot.

The story is a mulligatawny of sex, lies and boatloads of taxpayer money, so it makes for interesting reading, as IG reports go.

Of course, Susan Taylor was promptly fired – wait! No, she wasn’t. Well, at least she was suspended for a period. No, not exactly. But surely she lost her bonus? Received a written reprimand? Well, no. None of these things. After all, this is the VA! She, and her contractor pals, have faced… absolutely nothing, nothing at all. That’s how they roll in the VA. She’s still collecting her $200,000-plus in pay and benefits. And FedBid is still raking in the tax dollars, too. The VA is one hell of a good deal – for non-veteran DC insiders. For veterans, not so much.

There is a cameo appearance in the scandal by one veteran who diserves dishonorable mention: General George Casey. Casey’s former rank was used, apparently, to secure contracts for the shifty outfit, FedBid. If you can’t quite place Casey, he’s the former Army Chief of Staff who famously categorized the Fort Hood jihad attacks as “workplace violence,” condemned witnesses who reported Hasan’s allah akbars and shouts for jihad for “jumping to conclusions,” and spoke dismissively of the dead even as they lay unshriven in the morgue. The thing really at risk was his program of minority outreach: “As great a tragedy as this was, it would be a shame if our diversity became a casualty….”

Is it any surprise to see a man with such an abscessed moral center turn up, sticky-fingered, in a corruption probe?

ITEM: It’s Lousy in Louisana

Care

Cartoon from Watchdog.org, from one of their VA story pages.

At least it is, if you’re a poor vet incarcerated in the 111-bed Overton Brooks VAMC in Shreveport. If you are, you might be lying naked on a bare mattress. Because they did a dope deal with another VA hospital that’s over two highway hours away, they run out of linens all the time.

And the laundry knows they’re doing government work: the threadbare sheets and pajamas come back suspiciously smelly, and still containing the EKG electrodes from the last guy.

There’s no money for better laundry, officials say; there’s no money for stuff like toothpaste, either. It seems like they blew the money: TVs for a propaganda-message network, imported furniture, and, naturally, something between $3 million and $9 million worth of solar cells. The solar cells are meant to partly offset the environmental damage caused by driving across the state for the badly laundered bedclothes, and shipping desks thousands of miles from a foreign factory.

The VA’s individual contracts are wasteful, if not corrupt, also. The agency paid about $3k each for the 42-inch TVs. They deliver — we are not making this up — “the weather… and uplifting sayings from Michelle Obama.” The TVs came from an earmark for an “emergency information system.”

Tori Richards at Watchdog.org has been covering Overton Brooks. She broke the first story. She also covered an American Legion donation of $5,000 in emergency supplies to provide the linens and amenities (like toothpaste) the managers won’t.

But those responsible in Shreveport? Hey, nothing has happened to them. Except bonuses. Doing fine on bonuses, while the vets lie naked… that’s the VA in a nutshell.

ITEM: When is an ER not an ER?

It’s isn’t a trick question, there really is an answer: when is an ER not an ER? When it doesn’t have a doctor. That’s why the Fayetteville, NC lost its certification as an emergency department last month, as a contractor took the money but didn’t bother to, er, staff the depertment fully.

So they had to relabel the ED an “Urgent Care Center,” of which one word, “center,” might have a bit of truth. No one “cares” and there’s no “urgency.” The Fayetteville Observer:

Veterans who have received care from the Fayetteville VA emergency department in recent weeks have reported that there was no medical officer on duty and that the hospital has been short staffed.

Others reported long waits at the emergency department, caused in part by waits elsewhere in the medical center.

Veterans said they had been told to go to the emergency department while waiting for a primary care physician. Waits for such a doctor can take months, the longest of any VA in the nation, and veterans said there have been times where more than 50 patients have waited for care.

One veteran, Joseph Edwards, said he spent several hours in the emergency department earlier this month waiting for a doctor’s shift to start.

Nancy Edwards said nurses were turning many veterans away and telling many to return at 8 p.m., when a doctor would be on duty.

Blogger “Dr Whitecoat” has a comment or two:

If true, the Fayetteville VA Medical Center is violating federal EMTALA requirements. If a patient comes to an emergency department seeking medical care, the patient must receive a medical screening examination to determine whether an emergency medical condition exists.

I won’t hold my breath waiting for news of the investigation of these incidents.

No, not holding his breath is a good idea, or he’d be “Dr Blueface.”

So that’s progress: send ‘em to the ER, and when they get there, it’s not an ER and there’s no doctor. 

You might ask, if you were sleeping up to this point in this blog post, who has been held accountable for this failure. Consider us to have made a short, sharp snort in lieu of a laugh.

No VA employee in Fayetteville has needed to fear any loss of bonus, threat to job, or even tongue-lashing from a boss, of course, but there was something like consequences (mirabile dictu!) in that the contractor was replaced, effective 1 Oct 2014.

The ED’s still down.

One wonders what the discussion was like, but we’ve reconstructed it:

VA Manager Ian Faith: One more thing. The Fayetteville ED’s downgraded.

Dr. David St. Hubbins: What!

Ian Faith: I wouldn’t worry about it. Fayetteville’s not a big Army town.

Lord love a duck.

Exit question: what percentage of DVA employees are “employed” (if that’s the word) in HQ or otherwise in offices in the National Capital Area, or in other administrative offices such as regional or functional administrations, and not involved in direct patient care?

Pennsylvania State Police — the Hits Keep Coming

PSP SIG 227ITEM: News sources are reporting that the instructor who plugged David Kedra did it during mechanical training on the new SIG P227 pistols in the classroom. This is pretty much the definition of negligent homicide. Emphasis in the below quote is ours:

According to [State Police Commissioner Frank] Noonan, Kedra was shot in the chest during a training exercise at the Montgomery County Public Safety Training Complex on the 1100 block of Conshohocken Road around 4:45 p.m.

Sources say he was in a classroom for a demonstration of how to break down and clean his service weapon. They say an experienced state police firearms instructor was handling a gun that somehow misfired.

The bullet hit trooper Kedra in the chest.

via Funeral arrangements announced for fallen Pa. state trooper | 6abc.com.

Note the excusatory removal of human agency from the firing of the pistol, aka, “it just went off!” as the perp usually says. In this case, the “gun… somehow misfired.” The gun did not misfire. It fired just damned fine. The idiot instructor (1) applied ammunition to the gun, or took up a gun into which someone had introduced ammunition, and then (2) pulled the trigger.

On a class on disassembly of a weapon that was explicitly selected because, unlike the firearm it is replacing, it can be diassembled without touching the trigger.

Exercise for the reader: do this. See what you get charged with. See how it compares to what the Pennsylvania poltroon does not get charged with.

ITEM: State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan just received the porn emails, he didn’t send them. (Apparently there’s a major porn email scandal cleaning out the cabinet and senior lawyers’ offices of the PA state government). So he’s golden, right?

Gov Tom Corbett says Noonan:

…did not participate in opening, originating, forwarding or replying to any message…

But underlying this story is not all that it seems. PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane obtained the emails over a year ago, and held them until this October for campaign purposes. She is now providing them selectively to election campaigns and to media supporters of her party .

korrupt_kathleen_kaneKane is best known outside Pennsylvania as a 2nd Amendment opponent and criminals’ advocate who has worked to undermine licensed concealed carry in Pennsylvania, including revoking previously negotiated reciprocity agreements.

Kane has selectively released emails from the email accounts of former attorney general’s office staffers who were of the opposite party. She has not released any from her own party or supporters. Earlier this year, she spiked prosecution of members of her own party who took bribes in a sting operation.

Her attempt to include Noonan, who apparently never even looked at any of the emails (which have not been released; we have to take her word for it they contained “porn”), having failed, he can get back to the serious business of not finding fugitive Eric Frein.

And she can get back to the serious business of protecting every footpad and highwayman in Pennsylvania, and screwing over crime victims and concealed carriers.

Know your What-stop?

speeding bulletBullets, you know, have a life of their own. The life begins when the firing pin crushes the primer case and some of the impact-sensitive primer mixture against the primer anvil, and it ends when the spent bullet comes to rest.

In between, the bullet can get up to all kinds of mischief, like this one did. It’s almost like the seemingly-enchanted bullet in The Hole Book that we wrote about recently — through or past the target, through the window, off a refriger magnet, off a microwave oven… on and on and on, with, miraculously, no human casualties. South Carolina news station WSPA.com says:

The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office says a woman heard gunshots at her home on Murph Road in Pauline when the bullet broke the pane of glass around 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

The incident report states the .30 caliber bullet broke the glass, struck a magnetic clip under a cabinet in the kitchen and dented housing on a microwave oven. The bullet then dropped onto the toaster and bounced into a burner on the stove.

The homeowner believed the target shooting was happening on Walnut Grove Pauline Road.

The SCSO deputy states he went to a home on that street and found out a man’s son was target shooting with an AK-47 at an empty propane tank in the back yard. The man didn’t says he realize his bullet went to the neighbor’s house behind him.

via AK-47 Target Practice Bullet Hits Neighbor’s Home In Pauline – WSPA.com.

So, where did this Wile E Coyote Certified Genius™ think the bullet was going to go? There’s a reason everybody learns to consider his backstop, and what may be downrange beyond it: because it’s best safety practice. And there’s a reason that some people don’t do that: because some people are functionally brain-dead, even as they walk among us.

Fortunately, no one was injured, and, speaking well of the restraint of the Spartanburg County deputies, the shooter wasn’t shot, pistol-whipped, tased, or even charged, but we’d bet he got a good enough talking-to that he isn’t going to do that again.

Nossir, his next dumb stunt will be completely different. Well, that’s why we have deputies, to take those calls. Well done, SCSO, and best of luck next time. ‘Cause there will be a next time.

The Secret Service Qualifies with the M1 Pencil

 

Secret service ammo stocks for qualification.

Secret Service has secured the necessary ammo stocks for qualification: 1 x M1 Pencil No.2 per Agent.

Reporter Ronald Kessler, in a much longer piece on the failings of the Secret Service these days, notes that there’s a reason that they all seem to pass periodic weapons and PT requals:

When it comes to firearms requalification and physical fitness, the Secret Service either doesn’t allow agents time to fulfill the requirements or asks agents to fill out their own test scores.

via The Secret Service Thinks We Are Fools | TIME.

Sure, ’cause we can totally expect a bureaucrat to be honest about some facet of job performance he’s struggling with, right? Especially if it’s a high-stakes qualification that could lead to unpleasant career consequences. Right?

Counter-ISIL Strategy: Designed to fail.

Did we call it? USS Arleigh Burke launches Tomahawks against targets that essentially round off to zero. Navy photo.

Did we call it? USS Arleigh Burke launches Tomahawks against targets that essentially round off to zero last night, as part of the Potemkin offensive. Navy photo.

The president has a simple, straightforward strategy for combating ISIL in the Middle East. But there’s just one problem with it: it’s designed to fail.

As he describes the Allied approach, it comprises ground forces provided by the Iraqis, along with separately-stovepiped air forces provided by the US (and possibly some allies, if he can convince any of them to sign on to a war he himself prosecutes halfheartedly). The problem is, for precision strikes to be effective you need two things: one, eyes on target to control and direct the fire, and two, precision guided munitions. In the past every attempt to use one or the other in isolation has come a cropper.

For example, the Kosovo War was conducted by PGM without eyes on the ground. Most of the ordnance was wasted on decoys or mistaken targets. In 1998, the US conducted a retaliatory strike against several Al-Qaeda-related targets in Afghanistan and Africa. The strikes were carried out using PGMs – specifically, sea-launched cruise missiles. The missiles we will have we hit their targets, but the targets were at best, worthless: in Afghanistan, we blew up the empty bleachers at training camps; and at worst, counterproductive: in Africa, we blew up an unrelated factory because of bad intelligence. In 1993, in Somalia, we tried putting Special Operations Forces on the ground without PGMs or, for that matter, any air support to speak of. We know how that worked out.

Precision guided munitions and drone strikes appeal to Washington politicians because politicians are men of incrementalism and half-measures and compromises, and these weapons are half-measures. War is no place for half-measures; ask a Vietnam veteran.

Some in the commentariat see the problem, that is, the problem of will and intent, if not the tactical and operational problem of how these half-measures can be even half-effective without skilled guidance from the ground, in close proximity to the targets (and therefore, in close proximity to the enemy). Angelo Codevilla, writing in The Federalist:

This indulgence so overwhelms our ruling class’s perception of reality that the recipes put forth by its several wings, little different from one another, are identical in the one essential respect: none of them involve any plans which, if carried out, would destroy the Islamic State, kill large numbers of the cut-throats, and discourage others from following in their footsteps. Hence, like the George W. Bush’s “war on terror” and for the same reasons, this exercise of our ruling class’s wisdom in foreign affairs will decrease respect for us while invigorating our enemies.

via Washington’s Ruling Class Is Fooling Itself About The Islamic State.

Codevilla is right, and he is right on target: none of the plans being kicked around by the amateur strategists in DC have either the intent or the capability of defeating the enemy.

There’s another problem with the absence of boots on the ground — what happens when a pilot goes down? Without a PR package on standby, he or she stars on al-Jazeera’s Beheading of the Week.

History tells us how Fortune disposes of irresolute half-measures. We’ve mentioned Vietnam, but another eerie parallel to the situation now unfolding in Syria and Iraq (and threatening Jordan and Lebanon) is the Bay of Pigs invasion of April 17-19, 1961.

Operation Bumpy Road was ordered by President Eisenhower, but was not ready to execute yet… and therefore the go/no-go decision fell to Eisenhower’s successor, John F Kennedy.

But Kennedy couldn’t decide, “go” or “no-go”. Instead he, And his brother, Atty. Gen. Robert F. Kennedy, decided to micromanage the invasion plan. They moved the invasion, from a place where a failure could’ve left the survivors in good position to conduct guerrilla warfare from the mountains, to a place where a failure would have left the survivors defenseless on the water’s edge. And then they cut the planned Exile Air Force airstrikes, to well below the minimum the professional planners had originally been willing to accept. (Once the operation was undeway, RFK cut the strikes still further).

Result: the biggest US foreign policy fiasco of the 20th Century.

And it looks like the prototype of what they’re planning now.

Well, the 21st Century is young.

UPDATE

Well, what did we tell you? The image we just added to this is not a file photo of the futile, symbolic, domestic-politics-driven cruise missile pinpricks against AQ in 1998. No, it’s from last night’s futile, symbolic, domestic-politics-driven cruise missile pinpricks against Khorasan (same Islamic turd with a new label on the punch bowl):

U.S. strikes hit the group’s “training camps, an explosives and munitions production facility, a communications building, and command and control facilities,” according to a Pentagon statement released Tuesday morning.

…White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes …

Wait, was he the guy who used to be a campaign flack, or the guy who used to be a campaign van driver? We get our incompetent national security officials confused sometimes…

Rhodes said that Syrian opposition forces alone are “certainly unable” to combat the threat of the Khorasan Group.

What Syrian oppo is he referring to? ISIL, against whom we’re supposedly also launching ineffectual pinpricks with one eye on the approval ratings and the other on the midterm elections? The Al-Nusra Front, which has made common cause with AQ? AQ itself? There’s no western, pluralistic opposition.  They were wiped out during a previous period of half-measures and poll-watching!

And what good can we expect a handful of Tomahawk pinpricks directed at empty bleachers (“training camps”) and mud huts (“explosives and munitions production … and command and control facilities”) to do? Ah, but it makes a manikin look more like a man, perhaps.

And finally — the Navy was critically low on Tomahawks before this little play opened in off-Broadway national security theater. Now they’re lower than that, and nothing to show for it.

 

“Non-Traditional Legal Analysis” of Self-Defense Case

Law-ScaleAndHammerSurely you remember the George Zimmerman trial? We mean the one in the courtroom where he was acquitted in about the length of time it took the jury to choose a foreman. But we understand if you may be thinking of the much louder one that took place in the media, where the President and the press sentenced him to be hung, drawn and quartered, salted, boiled and eaten, with the trial to follow, in no particular rush since the outcome was already res judicata and known far and wide.

Well, the University of Miami law school has decided that its assembly line for unemployed JDs would not be complete without a course on the case, to be taught by a lawyer from the firm that managed the other trial (the media-circus variety). Andrew Branca, who tweeted the bulk of the trial from a live TV feed, and wrote extensively about it, brings the snark:

A short-course on the Zimmerman trial could, of course, be utterly fascinating, if taught by the attorneys actually involved: Angela Corey, Bernie de la Rionda, and John Guy for the State, and Mark O’Mara and Don West for the defense. The trial strategies and tactics involved, the various decision-points and choices made, how set-backs were overcome, or not overcome, would all be vastly insightful.

Alas, that is not what this course is to offer. Its focus will instead be far less substantive: social justice, generally, and a great many specifics never actually relevant to the trial. Among these are:

  • “federal civil rights violations”–none were ever found, despite tremendous resources devoted by the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • “Stand Your Ground”–never at any point relevant in either the physical confrontation nor the criminal trial
  • “international human rights standards”–oofah

At its heart, of course, the Zimmerman trial was simply a very straightforward and traditional case of an aggressor committing a vicious aggravated assault upon an entirely innocent victim, that victim lawfully defending themselves with a legally carried pistol, and the aggressor dying as a result of that lawful act of self-defense.

There’s not much room for “social justice” there, however, so instead in this course  “…students will engage in non-traditional legal analysis, exploring the literature on the sociological intersection of race and the law, and examine and reflect on complementary forms of advocacy, such as the use of the media as a tool of advocacy….” (emphasis added)

“Non-traditional legal analysis”? “Sociological intersection of race and the law”? “Use of the media as a tool of advocacy”? Yeah, that sounds like Crump & Park, alright.

Question: How’d that work out for them in the Zimmerman trial?

But wait, there’s more: “The course will highlight . . . the ability of music to communicate messages that impact legal reform.”

Music.  Oofah.

via Trayvon Martin | George Zimmerman | University of Miami.

We think “oofah” is Andrew’s version of “Lord Love a Duck.”

Look, Zimmerman is a poor candidate for sainthood, but he didn’t murder anybody. And when “social justice” comes to conclusions diametrically opposed to the actual justice system with courts and everything, it earns its scare quotes.

It’s worth going to the original post at Legal Insurrection to see one of Andrew’s finds — the same airheaded attorney that will teach this “class” in a four minute snit (stet) on the Greta Van Susteren show after Zimmerman was acquitted. You will be amused to learn, having seen her struggle to match wits with Van Susteren, that her undergrad minors at Georgia were Political Science and African American Studies, both of which require a student to fog a mirror for an
“A”; and her law degree is from Florida State University Law, another assembly line for unemployed JDs which places about two-thirds of graduates in law positions. The single biggest employer of FSU Law graduates is government.

The Greatest Jet Never – the TSR-2

These short newsreels depict the TSR.2, a revolutionary warplane that was quietly taken out and shot (literally; the protype ended up on a tank range as a target) by a declining Britain in 1966.

TSR2-Newsreels.mkv

(You need a .mkv video player to play this. We recommend VLC).

The TSR-2 had planned capabilities than nothing in RAF service quite matches today. These inclue a design speed of Mach 1.1 at 200 feet, and Mach 2 at altitude, with a combat radius of over 1,000 nautical miles. It was designed for nuclear and conventional strikes. It had a precision strike capability 10 to 20 years ahead of the US’s developments in that genre, including capability to deliver television-guided smart weapons. It had modular reconnaissance capability, including live datalink. It was, militarily speaking, a revolution in the air.

So why did it die so early, and so hard? What killed the TSR-2?

  • British politics, in part. It became a football contested by the Labor and Conservative parties of the time, not on its merits but as a way to score points on the other side. It didn’t help that the plane was designed with a potential war with the USSR in mind, and Harold Wilson just couldn’t see the Soviet Union as an enemy.
  • Galactically bad judgment by British MOD and parliamentary leaders, going back to Sir Duncan Sandys (pronounced “Sands”) and his 1957 Defence White Paper which concluded that the manned aircraft was obsolete, and Britain henceforth would place its faith entirely in missiles and other robotic systems. Was this decision the dumbest in the history of air war — dumber than Hitler’s 1942 decision not to produce jet fighters? Unlike Hitler, Sandys was a man of generally good judgment; he had been deeply involved in the nation-saving development of Radar, and many other British technical coups of WWII. But unlike England, Germany’s aeronautical industry recovered (until pan-European consolidation, but that’s another complaint). The British leaders who actually killed off the jet, Secretary of State for Defence Denis Healey and Minister of Aviation Roy Jenkins (who later, as Home Secretary, would do his best to decriminalize crime),
  • Britain’s Soviet-inspired postwar industrial policy, which relied on central planning and forced consolidations in the thriving and innovative British aeronautical industry. (The one holdout against forced consolidation, Handley-Page, was forced into bankruptcy instead, and the planners counted this a victory). Thousands of aeronautical engineers and tens of thousands of skilled workers lost their jobs (perhaps a third to a half of them found new jobs in Canada or the USA. The guys who went to Canada wound up in the USA when Canada had a similar brainstroke vis-a-vis the CF-105).

english_workers_use_an_english_wheel_to_make_tsr_skins

  • The inability of the consolidated firms, wracked by personnel turbulence and culture clashes, to perform at the level of the previous, private industry. This led to the actual TSR.2 failing to meet many of its optimistic performance goals.
  • Further bad judgment in assigning responsibility, which left the stumbling Vickers firm (descendant, in part, of Hiram Maxim’s machine gun enterprise) in charge over the capable, proven (they designed and built the successful Canberra and Lightning jets), team from English Electric.
  • Still further bad judgment, in the political assignment of the untried Bristol Olympus design. All the delays, and most of the cost overruns, came from the immaturity of this powerplant.
  • Even further bad judgment, in making the subcontractors report to the Ministry, rather than to the prime contractor, which had no control whatsoever. This was symptomatic of Ministry micromanagement, which included delaying the project so that non-pilots could haggle over the position and labeling of instruments and switches.
  • Failure to plan for the normal problems found between drafting board and first flight, including engines that fell short of spec and weight gain. This left the design team and the MOD managers facing new decisions, one option of which was always to cancel the whole project.

In the end, they canceled the TSR.2, and they scrapped, burned, and shot up the airframes, tools and tooling, and burnt and shredded most of the paperwork, to make sure it did not rise from the dead to embarrass Whitehall. They also ordered that the scrapping and burning be as well publicized as possible — the broke British government managed to film the arson with color film.

tsr-2_prototypes_burn

 

 

And when they canceled the plane, they initially required industrial managers to keep the decision secret from their own, doomed-to-layoffs, workforces.

Why were these extreme measures taken? As with other instances where this has happened, like the cancellation of the Avro Arrow CF-105 in Canada, and the cancellation for further Republic F-105 Thunderchief acquisitions in the USA in favor of the on-paper TFX, the decisionmakers probably knew that they were screwing up. Hence, the seemingly vindictive destruction of the ability to reverse the decision — a reversal which might ding the decision-maker’s “legacy.”

Healey and Jenkins, the only men who could have issued these orders of vandalism, have made pro-forma denials ever since the initial British public reaction to the cancellation and destruction of the TSR turned out to be negative. Neither is a man of any particular demonstrated integrity (quite the contrary), but it’s anyone’s guess whether the vandal was one or both. They also canceled the nascent Harrier project (then called P.1154) on the grounds it would never fly, and canceled a transport plane. Healey would scrap new (and renewed) aircraft carriers and preside over the greatest unilateral disarmament of an undefeated nation in world history.

Had Denis Healey been in the pay of the KGB he could have done no more damage to British defense policy and strength. (The same is true of Jenkins; his junior position meant he could do less damage than Healey). The TSR cancellation, especially when coupled with the many other cancellations that came out of the 1964 Labour government, fundamentally ended a half-century of British aeronautical industry leadership, and ultimately led to the near-dissolution of the British aerospace industry.

The TSR.2 cancellation continues to have repercussions. Britain and its European defense partners are looking for a replacement for the aging Panavia Tornado jet. Rumor is they’re looking for a plane that’s supersonic on the deck, and with a 1000 nautical mile radius of action….

The Eisenhorror Continues

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.

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.

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 WeaponsMan.com 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 WordsCanBeWeapons.com, 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.