The last historical film we presented on Napoleon chronicled his rise, which was built largely on good fortune and pure nerve. Those continued to serve him in good stead, amplifying his self-regard, up until his rather irrational decision to solve Russian backsliding on alliance with him… by invading Russia, in 1812. (With Bonaparte so preoccupied in the East, Britain was able to take a decent shot at turning a war they stumbled into, into a near-run reconquest of America … but that’s another story). This French film (professionally dubbed into rosbif) is a more traditional documentary, with acted scenes separated by low-budget CGI and talking-head historians (both French and Russian ones, who have a somewhat different view). The first half of the video culminates in Napoleon’s pyrrhic victory at Borodino before Moscow. A much weakened Grande Armée then takes up lodgings in an empty Moscow… that is promptly set afire by clandestine incendiaries, sent out by Alexander I. At this point, Napoleon’s plan, to defeat the Russians and impress them into alliance, is absolutely impossible. He persists.
Here’s the second part, in case the first one doesn’t lead in automagically.
It does underestimate the now-proven effect that disease, especially typhus, had on the Grande Armee. Instead, they attribute the devastation of the army to stress and starvation.
Napoleon made several errors here:
He underestimated his opponent;
He underestimated the effect that disease, especially typhus, would have on the Grande Armee;
He conducted a total war with limited-war aims;
He believed that a single decisive victory would end the war on his terms.
When he took the enemy’s capital, he considered himself the victor, and the campaign over. To his chagrin, the Russians didn’t see it that way.
When it was clear his plan had no hope, he clung grimly to it.
When he finally made the call to retreat from Moscow, he made it far too late for a horse-drawn army — 19 October 1812.
Every one of those errors comes, in our opinion, from his charmed life that began when he made gambles against tall odds, and seemed charmed to win, regardless of those odds. Improbability obeys mathematical laws and cannot continue forever, even if Napoleon hadn’t been stacking the wagers on his gambles ever higher.
The biggest casualty of the ill-considered Russian Campaign may have been Napoleon’s aura of invincibility.
We can’t discuss machine guns on this site without someone — usually Kirk — reminding us that the GI M122 tripod is rudimentary junk, and the class of the tripod world was the German Lafette 42. We’d like to steer those interested in these ‘pods to the incredible Lafette 34/42 web page of “Bergflak“ (“Mountain AA”) who is posting his work in progress on these amazing feats of German engineering.
How complicated was it? These are the parts of the lower half of the MG.34 Lafette. (The lower half of the MG.42 version was fundamentally identical).
Not complicated enough for you? Here’s 100-odd more parts from the Oberlafette, or upper half.
But wait, there’s more! 70-something parts that comprise the T&E mechanism.
Here’s a brief blurb from Bergflak:
The MG Lafette was a pretty complicated piece of machinery for its time. Some would say “typical German over-engineering”. It contains several systems that all work together. The difference between the Lafette 34 and the Lafette 42 is mainly the cradle. The weapon mounts and the trigger mechanism are simpler on the MG42 cradle. In addition it has a different bolt box. Everything else seems to be identical. This page will only describe the Lafette 34. The change from the Lafette 34 to the Lafette 42 will be fully dealt with on the Wartime development page. On this page I will briefly explain the function of each of the components that make up the Lafette. For an even better and deeper understanding of the components you must visit my page Extreme details or the pages about Evolution of the Lafette (when they are finished).
These pages explain which each part does, and pages on the evolution of the MG-34 and MG-42 Lafettes actually are complete now. Unfortunately, the page explaining the usage and employment of these tripods is not yet complete.
The whole site is worth reading already, and it stands to reason that as more information is acquired and analyzed, the site will just keep getting better and more useful.
There’s a million stories in the naked city, or something like that. There’s only a few stories a day at WeaponsMan.com, and a lot of them are pretty dry if you’re not a gun person. Here’s a few updated on stories that have been told before:
Tom Kratman has reappeared in the comments after a long absence. We believe that’s an indicator that he may have just dropped a manuscript on his editor and is in the calm before publication, but perhaps he has other reasons. Meanwhile, Tom and Amazon are offering you the Crack Dealer Special: your first hit of the Carrera Series, A Desert Called Peace, for free (on Kindle). The series was great entertainment even paid for. Some people have charged that Carerra is a Mary Sue: he’s just like Kratman only more so: more handsome, more accomplished, more lucky, and more sociopathic. All we will say to that is that Tom would not center a series on a character who was unbalanced for no reason.
We mentioned before that even though most “hate crimes” are hoaxes, and most “nazi threats” are as dead as Adolf his crazy old self, there are realneo-nazi murders; even if they’re very sparse compared to the TV version, they actually do occur in non-zero quantities worldwide. And even though TV has 1000 white racists killing black people to 0 black racists killing white people, in the real world the situation isn’t entirely reversed: while whites killed out of black racism and resentment are an everyday affair, there is a non-zero set of real white racists who kill black people. A pox on all of them. (Worse yet, this asshat was a veteran. May his poxes contract poxes).
While the happy news readers on TV are often lying (the tell is: their lips move), the mystery of man’s bestiality to man, and the sheer complexity of the human race, makes life imitate their art, occasionally.
In cheerier news, the Official Blog Niece has distinguished herself in dance competition yet again, and the weather is warm enough for Small Dog Mk.II to enjoy some outdoor time, which is his favorite. (That’s the thing with dogs: everything is their favorite).
And we’re looking forward to a great week in the Extended New England Winter.
Ah, those Englishmen. Gotta have their tea, even if they just got a call “See the woman, possible suicide.”
After the wild tea parties were over, the woman was found.
Worse, the tea came from that suspicious Colonial tea vendor, Mickey D’s. What manner of Londoners were these strange rozzers?
Two police officers who went to McDonald’s to buy a cup of tea before responding to a suicide call have been allowed to keep their jobs.
Well, you really don’t want to have the tea after the call, do you? (And especially the biscuits… especially after some of the riper suicides).
PC Gavin Bateman and Tony Stephenson had received a call, graded ‘significant’ by the Met, shortly after midnight on April 16.
But rather than head straight to the home of a woman in Poplar, east London, deemed vulnerable by the London Ambulance Service, they waited 24 minutes before heading there.
Instead, the pair drove to the local fast food restaurant to pick up some refreshments and complete ‘administrative tasks’ before continuing with the call, a misconduct panel heard.
But by the time they reached the woman’s house, almost 40 minutes after a friend had called 999 when she received a suicidal text from the woman, the 22-year-old was found dead.
Yet today a Metropolitan Police disciplinary hearing gave the two police officers written warnings after they admitted misconduct but denied gross misconduct.
Amy Clarke, representing the Met, told the hearing: ‘The call was graded ‘S’, meaning significant, the more significant grading is ‘I’ which means the officer has to attend immediately.
‘PC Stephenson confirmed to the contact centre that they had accepted that call and that they were en route, that was at 00.03.
‘The CAD (dispatch system) went through to the vehicle so the officers could read the details which said ‘police requested for psychotic illness, significant risk to herself or others.
OK, so we get this deep in the story before we learn the two accused cops weren’t told it was an explicit suicide threat, but rather that it was a Crazy Lady call.
Anyone who has ever dealt with a Crazy Lady, copper or not, ought to know that fortifying oneself with the caffeinated beverage of choice beforehand is probably a good idea, and in most cases you will be facing an unpleasant but not life-consequential experience.
‘The officers decided not to proceed straight to the address and went to a nearby McDonald’s where they purchased refreshments before driving to a roundabout where they drank their drinks.
‘At 12.37 the officer’s left and went to [the woman’s] address.
Let’s not lose sight of the fact that the officers didn’t kill her. Loon killed her self. It is quite difficult to keep a determined suicide from whacking him- or herself; it’s still worth trying, but the failure here is not the officers’. We think the verdict of “negligence deserving reprimand, not gross neg demanding firing” is just about right.
One last thing: if you get a text from a suicidal friend, maybe you’d better not count on Teh Authoritah to go to the friend’s aid.
Consider the important part played in national defense by one often forgotten individual — Jody.
If you served, Jody needs no introduction. He’s the civilian guy who’s got your girl and gone while you were away at the drill faces (pun intended) of the salt mines. If you didn’t know, “Jody” is the much-reviled star of dozens of cadence calls, used to get trainees’ brain stems into sync so that they march in step, and their minds lose any grip on the fact that D&C is training for any of the wars of the eighteenth century.
But that’s the Army for you: centuries of tradition, untainted by progress.
Jody serves a valuable purpose, as hard as that is to bear in mind when you’re trying to talk PV2 Joe Tentpeg into putting down the .45 because Mary Sue Rottencrotch back on the block is not really worth particle-blasting the inside of one’s cranium with gunpowder over.
First, Jody polices up all the untended Mary Sues, keeping the dating market in balance back in Hometown, USA, when the boys run off and join up. He prevents them from suffering the girlish feelings that proceed from separation and loss, and gets them started on the womanly emotions that attend duplicity and backstabbing.
He also provides a great motivator than training NCOs can exploit to keep young soldiers and junior officers in a razor’s-edge state of fighting keenness.
These are some of the reasons that some unknown philanthropist has chosen to honor Jody with his first-ever motivational bumper sticker:
Consider one of Jody’s other accomplishments: he also peels off many unsatisfactory and unworthy former girlfriends and ex-wives, letting soldiers seek superior women, more suited to their higher status.
For all these reasons, considering what-all he’s done for the boys, why, Jody’s practically a veteran himself, by now.
He could even have PTSD from a decade of listening to Mary Sue complain.
And deep down inside, every soldier knows it: Jody? Sucks to be him.
We’re not really feeling it for a technical post this morning, so instead let’s introduce Andrew, a self-described “gun nut” and the personable host of the one-year-old GY6 Slo Mo video channel. Here is a loooong burst with a gun that solves a problem nobody has, a belt-fed full-auto AR in 9 x 19 mm.
This isn’t especially practical. If there’s something that needs a whole belt of 9mm at point-blank range, you fight it, we’re backing off and calling a fire mission. But it looks like fun and that’s reason enough to own a gun.
Actually, if you are interested in the Freedom Arms FM-9 belt-fed upper, he has a 20 minute full review, that answers pretty well “what it is,” without going deep into “what it’s for.” The quick-change barrel system (enabled by the gun being a simple mass-locked blowback) is clever and good.
We don’t think we want one, but we do think we understand it after Andrew’s video.
The feed mechanism is the now-customary MG-42 based design. Our guess, without examining the weapon, is that the reason that Freedom Ordnance wants you to load the belt with the feed tray cover down, and not up (mentioned at about 6:45 and 8:45), is because closing the feed tray with the bolt forward can damage the mechanism. It’s possible to design a feed system that can be safely close bolt-forward or -back — FN’s world-market machine guns are designed that way, by having a spring-loaded roller.
And here’s the promised first of a series of ballistic videos.
These videos are quite unscientific, but they’re entertaining. Entertainment is an interesting use for high-speed photography that was developed for scientific and industrial purposes. (And, he makes it clear, he’s not trying to be scientific).
Don’t expect any great revelations from the shot-in-the-head videos. A 9mm kills Casualty Carl dead. Supersonic rifle rounds will usually produce an avulsed (evulsed?) cerebrum in Homo sapiens and will probably result in the catastrophic structural failure of Casualty Carl’s coconut skull… killing him dead. A .22 LR from a pocket pistol will break up the skull less, but will probably still kill Casualty Carl dead. In real life, humans have survived and recovered (more or less) from gruesome, close-range cranial wounds with all these weapons, but the odds are a head shot that’s a square hit has taken the recipient out of the fight for the immediate future.
This week’s Tour d’Horizon may actually publish on time. That’s kind of a big deal, as last week’s was finally published today (minus a few categories). You can read last week’s TDH at this link. (Link fixed, thanks to Brian Jaynes for the heads up -Ed.)
I don’t wanna work, I just wanna bang on my gun all day.
Build Your Own… SIG
This post on Gunnit Rust (the reddit gun-building sub-thread sub-thread) about homebuilding a SIG P229 clone reminded us that Matrix Precision Parts can provide with every part, jig and tool you need to make your own, legally (in most states of the US, that is. If you’re in some hellhole like North Korea or New Jersey, may God have mercy on you). First, here are the ingredients:
The basic jig (#2 in that picture, the numbers are fully broken out in the thread) also works with 1911s. There are two setups, here’s one of them (and he warns that the Hyskore “Armorers Vise” he used is crap):
Overall, this process took about four hours on my first run (I had to cut the slide rails a little more a second time because the slide was seizing up and refusing to cycle). As you can see, I had a cheap and subpar setup and managed, even though the most complex mechanical tool I was ever entrusted with with were safety scissors. Anybody can do it if they want to.
He did run into problems. The SIG factory coating on the slide chews at the bare aluminum frame, for instance. It’s also no way to save money on a SIG: Counting his tooling costs, he’s out $1500, although some of that was simple unwisdom (he purchased bluing equipment, while what the frame needs is anodizing or hard Cerakote). Still, he up and did it.
1970s Beretta 92S Pistols
If you missed these when a rash of them hit GunBroker, Robertson Trading Post in Tennessee still has them in five grades from $289 to $359. This model (92S) differs from the USGI M9 and commercial 92FS in three major particulars: it lacks ambidextrous controls, it does not have the firing pin safety, and it does not have the magazine release in the customary “Browning” position at the back of the trigger bow. Instead, the push-button mag release is at the rear base of the grip.
Even the lowest-priced firearms are serviceable; these guns predate the economization that introduced plastic and MIM parts. These specific firearms were made from 1977 to 1981.
Now That’s a Bayonet Mate
French RSC 1917 semi-auto with its stabber — all six feet of it. Embiggen for effect. This was one of the first semi-autos, and the first one issued seriously by a major power’s army.
There was actually a lot of innovation in this early shot at a semi-auto service rifle; one suspects John Garand remembered this operating rod.
It was a product of the same committee that gave France the Chauchat — which actually worked OK for France, compared to the monumental failure of the US Cal .30 version.
Ultimately, they gave up on keeping them running and converted ’em to straight-pull bolt-actions That makes survivors extremely rare, and given the gun’s importance, extremely expensive. Here’s the source.
Gun Stocks update
Anyway you want it: we have the table, our analysis, and the popular chart. We have simplified to one chart and table, incorporating Olin.
Gun Stocks since the Election
Everybody’s down this week, as are the indices (Dow Jones 300 Industrials, Standard & Poor’s 500). Most of the industry news this week has been in non-public firms (Remington, Colt). Q1 of 2016 ends this month and by mid-April we should have some financials to look at.
Disclaimer: Your Humble Blogger holds RGR, bought at about 56.40 on 9 Nov 16. It bottomed in the 40s later that day before rebounding a little by close, but it is taking its sweet time recovering. Yeah, shoulda bought OLN. (It’s still paying a dividend, though).
Kansas, like many states, has a firearms law that explicitly exempts in-state made and -sold firearms that never leave the state from Federal regulation, having, as they do, no nexus with interstate commerce. The law was always arguable if not outright questionable, but many pro-gun legislatures have laid them down as a marker of their pro-gun bona fides. These laws have been the target of anti-gun elements in the DOJ and in the last Administration, and one of the Kansans who acted in accordance with the state law was made an example of. His case is now on appeal, and the state Attorney General has asked US AG Jeff Sessions not to defend the case on the appellate level. Failing that, he wants Sessions’s support for a Presidential pardon for the unlucky Kansan. Sessions has given an noncommittal answer, promising only to consider the AG’s plea. (GOA Article) (KS AG’s letters to Sessions).
New York pols are upset that a Federal law may allow out-of-staters to defend themselves from the NYC criminal element — and cut into the market for $10k bribes for licenses.
The Czech Government wants to enshrine gun rights in the national constitution. If nothing else, it keeps a market alive for CZ-UB despite EU overreach.
Back to New York, Attorney General Schneiderman, this assclown… …isn’t very interested in pursuing actual violent criminals, but he’s death on guns — even toy guns. In New York City, there’s actually a Stasi snitch page on the city website for turning in toy sellers!
Usage and Employment
The hardware takes you only half way.
This guy gave himself one in the hat… which was on his bed-post. The 5.45mm round continued through the bedpost and hit the wall sideways. Here’s his take-away:
[L]ast night I bought myself some nice East German AK-74 mags. This morning I was bored and decided to function check them and make sure they fed properly.
First mistake, I should of just waited until I went to the range on Monday. There is a time and a place for everything, and 7am in my bedroom was not it.
So I cycle a few times and everything was running fine and dandy. I remove the magazine and rack the bolt back. Must be clear! Nope!
Pull the trigger to drop the hammer and BANG! My first and hopefully last negligent discharge.
My idiot self forgot to visually inspect the chamber. The extractor must of failed to eject the round, and the rest is history.
Geez, did this bozoid do anything right? Turns out, he did.
Fortunately I was following the “Point in a safe direction” rule, so nothing important was damaged.
Not much to add to that. Reddit thread here, pictures of the damage here. If you’re not lucky enough to be good, it’s good to be lucky. (And the only luck you can count on is the luck you make for yourself by not doing stupid stuff).
Cops ‘n’ Crims
Cops bein’ cops, crims bein’ crims. The endless Tom and Jerry show of crime and (sometimes instantaneous) punishment.
Happy Days at ICE
Sometimes a major sea change shows up in the form of … a form. ICE has received a new detainer policy from senior management, that replaces the “hands off, let criminals walk” policy of the ancien régime.
There used to be one single detainer form, but it was split into three more complex forms, the better to inhibit the detention of criminal aliens. The three new Obama detainer forms are replaced by one (again). And a serving agent observes, gleefully:
The new form is like our pre Obama form. The new policy is detain illegals!!
Brett Kimberlin is a lifelong career criminal with an unusually eclectic palette of crimes: terrorist bombings, child sexual abuse (not proven but the evidence was strong), lots and lots of perjury and forgery. He did time for drug smuggling. He was a felon in possession of firearms (which were never recovered and are presumed to still be in his possession). He was also the only suspect in a cold-case murder that can’t be prosecuted without a confession, because the other witnesses are dead. He’s an adjudicated pedophile. But he has a new career… in the news media, the demand for dirt on President Trump is so strong that he’s become a valuable, even treasured source for the media.
The Perils of Kathleen: Long Tail
Not a lot of activity week. But it seems that nothing will ever knock former Attorney General of Pennsylvania, and convicted felon, Kathleen Kane, out of the news.
Item 20 Mar: Merger Kane Opposedbetween PA health care firms going forward. Her opposition was probably a shakedown attempt, rendered moot by her legal problems.
Item 15 Mar: Kane Still in Courton a civil suit by victims of her relatiation during her disastrous career as AG. She won dismissal in state courts; now her victims have gone to the Feds in a long-shot attempt to win justice.
The big news, which deserves a post of its own, is the indictment and arrest of the Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams. Williams was, briefly, a hero for taking up prosecutions of crooked politicians that Kane had spindled on political grounds. But he turned out to be an even bigger crook himself — while what he did with the public’s trust and money is pretty bad, he’s also jammed up for stealing his mom’s savings, and then, after running a fundraiser for her, stealing that money too!
Unconventional (and current) Warfare
What goes on in the battlezones of the world — and preparation of the future battlefields.
Cross Putin? Well… He has a Lot of TT-33s
A Russian turncoat parliamentarian who went over to the Ukrainians got the treatment that was once reserved for anti-Soviet exiles, like Stepan Bandera. An unknown assailant came up behind Denis Voronenkov and his bodyguard and emptied a pistol, including several headshots into the downed Voronenkov. The pistol was a 1940s-50s vintage, perfectly deniable TT-33.
It’s a pretty safe bet that investigators will learn nothing from this pistol. What are they going to do, ask Russia?
But let it never be said that Russian chivalry is dead. Despite the opportunity, the assailant didn’t also shoot Voronenkov’s pregnant wife, Maria Maksakova. She’s unharmed, for purely physical values of unharmed.
If I were the Ukrainians, I’d be looking hard at Voronenkov’s “bodyguard,” who seems to have taken a dive in this incident.
This assassination is only partly about whacking Voronenkov, as happy as the Kremlin no doubt is to be rid of him. It’s also sending a message. And that is: our reach is long. Even in the very center of Kiev, under the light of security cameras, mere yards from police positions: we can still find you, reach you, and pay you back.
What Do UN Peacekeepers Actually Do?
We know they don’t keep peace. In Lebanon, they just work for Hezbollah. (But then, so does the nominal Lebanese Army, to which we provide lethal and ISR aid). Seriously, though, you wouldn’t like UN Peacekeepers to do in your town what they do in the unfortunate locales that have hosted them heretofore. Stuff like this:
In Haiti, UN peacekeepers dumped fecal waste into the local water supply, igniting a cholera outbreak that has killed 9,000 so far. In other strife-torn regions like Congo, peacekeepers have looked on while rival forces plunder the populace.
…peacekeepers stay for years to prop up dictatorships that have little local support.
Peacekeepers sent to the Central African Republic were accused of raping more than 100 girls in one community. Four of the girls were allegedly tied up and forced to have sex with a dog.
Poor dog. But hey, that’s just one country!
Sexual assaults by UN personnel have been documented in Bosnia, Burundi, Cambodia, Congo, Guinea, Haiti, Kosovo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Mali and Sudan.
What they don’t do is keep the peace and protect people. (In the Balkans, Dutch UN peacekeepers handed over civilians to their murderers, for one rebarbative example). So why do we approve and fund them?
When we were growing up, in the 1960s, people thought the UN was a wonderful thing. But they felt that way about tie-dyes, “turn on, tune in, and drop out” and levitating the Pentagon with the power of their minds. It was a stupid time.
Hate-Crime Spree Turns Out to be Fraud
New York politicians, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-Five Families) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-Guns Done It) are demanding new powers to fight Hate Crimes, because of bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers across the nation, and because vandals had trashed tombstones in a historic Brooklyn Jewish Cemetery. And they blamed, who else? Donald Trump.
But The Narrative™ is falling apart. First, a suspect for about 20% of the bomb threats was arrested — and instead of being the right-wing white d-bag everyone assumed, he was a left-wing black news reporter, Juan Thompson. Of course, “news reporter” is, as is well known, a synonym for “d-bag” these days. But there was still 80% Real Klan Nazi creeps out there — they couldn’t all be Reporters Of Color, could they? (And it did, in fact, turn out to be a white guy… but we’ll get to that).
Next, the cemetery story turned out to be as phony as that fifth of the bomb calls: turns out that it wasn’t that some random Klansman was turning over the tombstones of the respected ancestors of today’s New York Jews, but that today’s descendants don’t give a rat’s rip about great-great-great-whatsis Schlomo, and the fallen tombstones were the result of neglect, not vandalism. “It was years, if not decades, old,” explained the police.
“This is my hammer…there are many like it, but this one is mine — wait, does this pink tie make me look gay?”
Is anybody surprised that Chuck Schumer doesn’t honor his ancestors’ final resting place? Seeing as how there’s nothing in it for him?
And finally, this week, the third domino fell: the rest of the JCC bomb threats turn out to have been made by a Jewish kid — a 19-year-old American living in Ashkelon, Israel. And he appears to have been paid by somebody to do it. (We’ll just note that Morris Dees has a lot of money, even after paying alimony to five wives. So does the ADL).
Of course, these politicians, being Social Justice Warriors, double down and insist that even though round-to-100% of the antisemitic hate crime wave was phony, the Dark Curtain of Fascism is Descending on America. After Thompson’s arrest, Evan Bernstein and Oren Segal of the ADL blamed… the goys, of course.
Well, it would if we elected Schumer to anything important. Fortunately, he’s only a Senator, like Caligula’s horse.
Army Has a New Participation Trophy!
An Army that keeps defining excellence down, to the point that a marginal SP/4 with zero deployments has a ribbon rack to match George S. Patton Jr’s after WWI and North Africa, is never going to fail… to entertain, anyway. The Army is developing the “Expert Action Badge” to ease complaints from the 95% of the Army that’s perma-fobbits that the combat-MOS guys get a shiny that they don’t. It’s not faiiiiir! < / whingey millennial voice> The new dongle will go to any soldier who demonstrates proficiency in his or her MOS, and is likely to look like this:
This Expert Fobbit Badge replaces the old motivational approach, the First Sergeant’s $#!+ List for those who don’t demonstrate proficiency in their MOS. (There’s already a shiny ribbon for graduating from Advanced Individual Training, but the Army admits with this badge that soldiers generally come out of AIT incompetent in their MOS). It’ll be interesting to see where the hurdles are set up. Will a finance clerk have to get a soldier’s pay started up within three months of him or her arriving on station? Will a cook have to set up both tray-packs, and MRE issue?
The CIB was created in 1942 to recognize that infantrymen were something unique, and the EIB recognizes the same thing in peacetime. The Combat Medical Badge and CFMB recognized that grunts and special operators don’t go into The Valley alone. But the Army today has to motivate the Tee Ball and Scoreless Soccer generation, and that means lots of praise, earned or not.
A nominal Briton, who rented a van and murdered four people with it and common knives was a career violent criminal turned jihadi, who spent four years (2005-09) in top terror exporter Saudi Arabia being radicalized, but was dropped as not dangerous by British police. Now eight of his terrorist associates are in custody.
A Libyan named Diallo Mamoudou assaulted two Italian policemen in Foggia with this kitchen knife or steak knife… …and his car. He’s a guest of the Italian taxpayers now, which, when you think about it, isn’t really a status change for the bum.
A nominal Frenchman with the Name of Peace® (Mohamed) loaded up his car trunk with weapons and did his best to plow into pedestrians in Antwerp, Belgium. His best was kind of lousy and he wound up in custody without killing anybody. No 72 virgins for you, Mo!
Meanwhile, staffers acquired by the Univision illegal-alien-media empire in the break-up of the Gawker gossip and revenge porn site had an active shooter briefing from DHS. Gossip columnist Anna Merlan wrote an outwaged jeremiad about how unfaiiiirly they suggested that terrorists Just Might Be Moslems. Her fear? White Christians, and all males.
Is it time to o disband this thing yet, and letting all its bloatoverhead seek its own level in the Dreaded Private Sector™? Just shorts this week, or we’d never get the post up….
Heh, there are some good points in there, but a lot of them look like the old VA bureaucrats’ wish list. We like our one-point plan better: disband this thing.
VA Exempts More Jobs from Hiring Freeze
Claims processing and cybersecurity jobs have been added to previous exemptions for patient care professionals, National Cemetery workers, and critical positions in contracting and project management. The claims processors were added because the backlog, which a max-overtime effort had brought down since 2014, is rising again.
Angry Feminists? Gee, there’s a change
Feminists were angry about a separate women’s auxiliary in the venerable Royal British Legion, so the leaders rolled it into the main organization. Then the feminists got more angry, demanding that women quit. (But if you read all the way to the end of the very dishonest article by one Andrew Levy at the Daily Mail, they’re actually quitting because membership dues are being raised to equal mens’.
Health & Fitness
Lord Love a Duck!
The weird and wonderful (or creepy) that we didn’t otherwise get to.
Why this Rhino is Getting Chainsawed
A couple of weeks ago, criminals looking to steal something salable on the Asian traditional medicine market broke into a zoo in Thoiry, France, and shot a white rhinoceros named Vince dead. They got away with the animal’s horn, worth hundreds of thousands to unscrupulous merchants and quacks with superstitious customers in China and Vietnam.
This keeper is dehorning the first of 21 rhinos in the Dvur Kralové zoo in the Czech Republic, but a Belgian zoo is doing the same thing, and others are expected to follow. As gruesome as it looks, the rhino is only sedated to let the keeper work — the horn is made of keratin, and cutting it is like trimming a human’s fingernails or a cat’s claws. Like those, the horn will grow back, requiring repeated trimming every few months.
The hope is that if murdering the beasts for money is made unprofitable, the animals — and the species, because its survival is already a near-run thing — may survive.
The Big Boys Wouldn’t Let Me Party With Them
Chuck Berry died this month. If you listen to or play rock n’ roll, you owe a debt to Chuck (and he owed it to a bunch of other guys that have gone before, like Louis Jordan). It turns out that he had just cut a new studio album. Pity that now most of the money will stick to the fingers of LA middlemen, but that’s the business. Here’s the one single released so far, Big Boys:
He recorded this at age 89-90. Wow. (Some of the guitar riffing is his son filling in). It’s got those classic Chuck Berry conversational gems of lyrics:
If I would know then what makes the world go round
I woulda known what goes up must go down.
Most interesting guy, three-time felon for three different classes of crime, still playing monthly gigs near his Missouri home at age 88, and probably the most-licks-stolen-from guitarist since Charlie Christian plugged one into an amplifier.
RIP Charles Edward Anderson Berry, 1926-2017.
Oh, what the hell. Let’s bring him back for an encore… live on French TV, around the time Your Humble Blogger was born. Sometimes you listen to Beethoven, and sometimes you just want him to roll over.
Here is a fantastic BBC dramatization of the rise of Napoleon as a company and field grade officer. While it’s quite possible to quibble with the historical details and dramatization of the film, and actor Tom Burke looks about as much like Napoleon as he does Shaquille O’Neal, it’s quite well done and a lot of fun. It does bring out several things about Napoleon that made him an effective leader:
His technical proficiency as an artilleryman;
His intellect, the principal power that set him above his peers;
The general incompetence of other French Revolutionary leaders;
His remarkable nerve and audacity, which led him to irrational levels of risk taking; and, finally,
His damnably good luck.
The speech before the Toulon attack is as good as any in fiction — yes, including the hortatory speech in Shakespeare’s Henry V. (We couldn’t determine whether Napoleon ever said such a thing).
It’s interesting to observe the number of times Napoleon was in mortal danger, and survived. Just consider the consequences of being wounded in the 1790s, and yet the Corsican’s robust constitution and impossible luck saved him for greater things.
Was Napoleon brilliant? Or was he a monster? Could he have been both? Regardless, the legend of Napoleon begins with a young artilleryman on his way to not just one but many dates with Destiny.
Nope, not the kind that Snowflakes use to protest everyday life on today’s learning-free college campuses. More the kind that come attached to bulls.
Angry bulls. Bulls that you just stuck a little cocktail skewer into, and now are a mite peeved. And are looking to take out their rage on something human and dressed in red.
One is put in mind of all the old British jokes about the sexual orientation of Spanish Bullfighters. Only for the guy who received a near-foot-long bull horn enema, it was more like getting you-know-what without getting kissed.
Antonio Romero was horrifically gored during a bout with the furious beast in Mexico City on Monday.
The matador ended up with the bull’s horn some 11 inches up his rectum, causing “severe” injuries.
The stomach-churning clip shows Romero seemingly in control as he goads the animal with a red cloth, called a muleta. But something goes wrong as he tries to get the bull to pivot around him. The angry beast rears up, catching him on the arm and knocking him off balance.
As Romero stumbles back in an effort to avoid the bull’s deadly horns, the animal throws off the muleta and homes in on its helpless target. Now, with its tormentor in its sights, the bull takes its terrible revenge.
Here’s the video, but as usual with a goring (“cornada” en español), the action is over in a few seconds. (Quick work by the assistant bullfighters — forget what they’re called — in distracting the beast).
It was probably a bullfighter who first coined the smart-aleck comeback, “If it was up your [you-know-what] you’d know.” Well, now, Antonio Romero knows. He’s in hospital and will need more surgery than what the bull did to him.
USS John F. Kennedy,CVN 79, starts to take shape. Almost two years construction up to this point.
What’s the difference between an admiral and a drunken sailor? Answer’s at the end.
Ships are big. And, to steal a word from the President’s Twitter stream, building more ships is going to cost us… “bigly.”
$80 to $150 billion bigly. And that’s the Navy number, before it’s inflated with cost overruns to make sure there is No Retired Admiral Left Behind, and because some future SecNav may want to add to or remove the Transgender Head on the Poop Deck.
The Navy, at least, is talking about building actual Navy ships, not the science fiction experiment that was the DDG-1000 class, or the two mission-weak, firepower-absent and capability-poor “social justice cruisers,” the LCS or Literal Comedy Ship.
The exact size of the future fleet doesn’t matter right now, but rather the Navy just needs to start boosting its investment in shipbuilding quickly – which means buying many more Virginia-class attack submarines, Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and Ford-class aircraft carriers in the next few years, [Vice CNO ADM Bill Moran] said.
“I’m not here to argue that 355 or 350 is the right number. I’m here to argue that we need to get on that trajectory as fast as we can. And as time goes on you start to figure out whether that number is still valid – 10 years from now, 20 years from now 355 may not be the number,” Moran said today at the annual McAleese/Credit Suisse “Defense Programs” event.
“Our number, give or take, to get to 355, or just to get started in the first seven years, is $150 billion. That’s a lot of money.”
A larger, more capable fleet is a good idea. Building instead of mothballing carriers, destroyers and attack/all-purpose subs is a complete and welcome reversal from what we’ve seen for the last dozen-plus years.
But is anybody confident that the Navy and its cozy little cabal of shipbuilders can manage a big-ticket project?
Well, ADM Moran starts off with, “give us the money and we’ll start to figure it out.” That’s not very reassuring.
Moran told USNI News following his remarks that dollar figure wasn’t exact but was based on the Navy’s best guess for how much it would cost to immediately begin a fleet buildup. A Navy official told USNI News later that one internal Navy estimate put the cost at about $80 billion over the seven years, whereas a Congressional Research Service estimate was closer to $150 billion.
OK, so now we’ve seen three independent estimates: 80, 150, and 155. That means that, based on government procurement history, building the ships will probably cost, not the average, $128 billion, but the sum of $385 billion.
“When you look at the number that started our 355 trajectory, to jump-start it – in order to jump-start it we think we need to build an additional 29 or 30 ships in the first seven years,” he said.
If it’s thirty ships, that’s an obscene $13 billion per hull. But he’s already waffled it down to 29, so it’s $13.3. But wait! Once Congress gets hold of it and demands fewer ships built in more Congressional Districts, maybe we’re looking at 20 or 25 ships. The Navy will certainly still spend every dime, so we’ll be sending our sailors to sea in new 1970s designs that average $15 to $19 Billion per ship.
Someone’s making out, and it’s not the nation’s ability to project sea power.
“When you do all that math, it’s a lot of money that we don’t have. But we were asked to deliver on that, so we’ve passed along what we think it would take. And obviously, any number you give in this environment is going to be sticker shock. So that’s why I say don’t take me literally, all it is is a math equation right now.”
Those 30 ships would mostly come from three ship classes in serial production today.
The Virginia-class submarine Minnesota (SSN-783) is “pressure hull complete,” signifying that all of the submarine’s hull sections have been joined to form a single, watertight unit. Newport News Shipbuilding photo.
“We definitely wanted to go after SSNs, DDGs and carriers, to get carriers from a five-year center to a four-year center and even looked at a three-year option. So the numbers I will give to you are reflective of those three priorities, because those are the big impacters in any competition at sea,” he told USNI News.
This is actually sensible. How about a stop-work order on the born-obsolete Literal Comedy Ship, before one of them gets into a sea fight with an Iranian Boston Whaler and loses, uh, bigly?
“Amphibs come later, but I’m talking about initial, what are we building that we can stamp out that are good. We know how to build Virginia-class, we know how to build DDGs.”