Sleepy, Seasonable Sunday

It’s Sunday and all we want to do is crawl back under the covers. It’s sunny and seasonably cool here so maybe a sweatshirt is in order if we’re going to take a bike ride along the beach. No one will be in the water this weekend, except the hardiest of the wetsuited surfers.

Funny thing. Surfers do it, and they sometimes overdo it when the waves are really running. But they never, really never, seem to get so hypothermic they need help. Nobody can recall a callout for a cyanotic, nonresponsive surfer.

What!?! Responsible surfers with good judgment? Who ever heard of such a thing?

But apparently there are such things. In any event, they enjoy their sport with no interference, one hopes, from the rest of us. And most of the time, we can do the same. A free country is a good thing.

We will post last week’s TW3 wrap-up sometime today. (Update: It’s up now). And don’t miss last night’s Saturday Matinee. Other than that, we’re in our usual Sunday mode: Peace, out!

That Was the Week that Was: 2014 Week 37

That was the week that was TW3It’s been so long since we’ve done a TW3, we’re not sure we have the ordinal week right.

But we’re too lazy to check. How ’bout that?

We don’t guarantee that the links will be live when the post goes live, and until they are, you’ll have to scroll back to see the posts — the usual is four posts a day except Sunday, which we deviated from a hair this week.

We conduct these weekly post-mortems, time permitting, to keep track of our own performance on the blog, but we hope they’re useful to you. Especially, take a look at the list of articles — you may have missed something that interests you. All past TW3s can be found in the Administrivia category. Enjoy!

The Boring Statistics

With over 70% of the year behind us, we have posted about 950 posts, and we’ve been fairly consistent. This week was an average one, statistically speaking; article count was 27; last  week’s was 22.  Word count was an average-ish 19,000 words, up from 14,000. Seven posts  were over 1,000 words, but none of them over 2,000. (Even 1,000 words is a lot to ask a reader on the web). The mean and median post sizes were 704 and 594, compared to last week’s 756 and 609. (In other words, the difference is nought by noise). The closer those two measures of central tendency are, the more consistent our post sizes are. There was only one sub-100-word post, but 12 total sub-500-word posts. (We’re trying to write more briefly). We exceeded our self-imposed minimum of 19 posts.

Our hit counter, the Rich Counter plugin, failed three weeks ago. Since then, the author has issued a new version (for the first time in years) but it still does not work, and he does not respond to email or web contact, so we’re reluctantly going to have to  declare him dead. We’ll probably have to pick out a new, preferably still supported, plug-in.

So far this year we’ve had 928 blog posts, and over 5,600 comments.   Comments were 161 for the week as of press time, a little lower than we’ve been running in recent weeks. Thanks for commenting!

Most Commented Post of the Week

Our most commented post was When Defense Cuts Go Too Far with 28; Kiddie Diddler Released on Technicality drew 21. Of course, a lot of you were still talking about last week’s Scruff Face post, mostly fervidly defending his 9/11 trutherism.

Referrers

I’d like to thank our top referrers, again, but without stats we can’t do it. Sad puppy face.

The Week in Posts

Here’s the recap of our posts for this week:

We hope you enjoyed this week’s content. We enjoyed bringing it to you!

Here’s how we did on last week’s promises:

The overdue and the underdelivered:

  1. X A major post on Gerald Bull’s awesome space-capable artillery that seems to have entrenched itself on the back burner. (We actually did work on this a little this past week).
  2.  To post 3 x day x 6 days. Exceeded.
  3. One gun-tech or -industry post and one SOF/UW post per day x 6 days. Depending on how one classifies posts, we did this. We had some good industry posts and broke gun news (amd were the first SOF source to pick up the Rangerette news).
  4.  To post a   X WWWW, a √ TW3, and a √ Saturday Matinee, before COB Saturday. Everything but the Matinee.
  5. One back Saturday Matinee. No, sorry ’bout that.
  6. Our never-finished series on the Greek Civil Wars.

This is pretty much going to be a standing set of promises until we have a reason to improve them.

For Next Week

Our goals are unchanged:

  1. to catch up the long-festering back posts mentioned above, now back up to just two features (Gerald Bull, and the Greek Insurgencies). We also have some other stuff that has sat way too long in the draft queue.
  2. to post three times a day, six days a week, of which:
  3. one gun-tech or -industry post and one SOF, UW, or war-related post up daily.
  4. a WWWW, on Wednesday.
  5. a Saturday Matinee, and a TW3 before the week ends at midnight Saturday.

The draft queue is in the 260s… we’d beat it down to around 250 from its peak of 270-something, but there are always new half-written stories dropping in here. See you with a TW3 on Saturday, if all goes well!

Saturday Matinee 2014 037: Lilyhammer (2012-14, TV)

Lillyhammer S1We’re hesitant to review a TV show that’s still running, as a positive review from this site has been the kiss of death before. Still, we’re not Judas on a mission… more like Hardy expressing his great regard for the dying Admiral. So we will send a kiss the way of Lilyhammer, the consequences be damned.

Lilyhammer is a Netflix production for which two seasons are available online; the first is also available on DVD in the USA. It stars musician and actor Steven Van Zandt as “Frankie the Fixer,” a New York mobster placed in the Witness Protection Program, and, at his own request, in the city he calls “Lilyhammer,” which he took a shine to while watching the Winter Olympics in 1994: Lillehammer, Norway. The constant theme of the show is old-school conservative mobster Frankie, in his new identity as half-Norwegian, half-Sicilian-American Giovanni “Johnny” Hendricksen, clashing with the liberal, touchy-feely culture of modern Norway.

For anyone, it should be fun. For an old Norway hand like all us 11th Group remnants (the group was disbanded 20 years ago last month, which we were remiss in not mentioning. The human sacrifice was part of a Clinton-era jihad against SOF, tucked inside that perennial Washington sacramental rite, defense budget cuts), well, for us it’s must-see TV. It’s the biggest hit ever in Norway, where it’s produced; Van Zandt shares writing duties with Norwegian creatives, and the beautiful winter scenery of Lillehammer and environs is practically a character in the show.

LillyhammerIf you’re a mobster trying to scare people, a nearby Olympic city with all the winter-sports installations has its charms. Being taken for a ride is bad enough, but “a ride” on the luge track is a whole new level of intimidation.

In Norway, things are a little different across the board, but enough like the USA that a visit to Norway — especially an extended visit, or a period as an expatriate — trips Yanks into a cognitive Uncanny Valley. Scandinavia had a huge impact on the USA, on the structure of towns across the country, on accents and culture in a region. The fabled upper-midwest civic engagement we know today as “Wisconsin (or Minnesota) nice” has its roots in Scandinavia (many of the emigrants from Sweden and Norway alike carried Swedish passports, as the two nations did not separate until 1905. Naturally, they did it bloodlessly and amicably — very Scandinavian). In any event, the producers of the show are keenly aware of this Uncanny Valley effect and they manage to inflict it both on the characters (for the USA is as foreign-but-familiar to the Norwegian characters as Lillehammer is to Americans) and the audience.

As Johnny applies Mob Way techniques to solve Norwegian problems (waitlisted at kindergarten!), trouble in the form of brutal British mobsters, his old compatriots from La Cosa Nostra, or incorruptible cops, continues to find him.

Acting and Production

Van Zandt took a risk in this show of being typecast as a mobster, after his star turn as Silvio Dante, Tony Soprano’s right-hand consigliere. Another Soprano alumnus, Tony Sirico, shows up in Season 2, playing Frankie/Johnny’s brother the priest. But the real strength of the show is in its Norwegian cast, playing characters who range from a homey police chief turned crime novelist, to two hard-of-thinking brothers, to a dirty old welfare bureaucrat.

This illustrates some of the ensemble cast -- and the fondness for visual quotes, here from McHale's Navy.

This illustrates some of the ensemble cast — and the fondness for visual quotes, here from McHale’s Navy.

The producers and directors have a lot of fun with the show, and no doubt we miss some of the snarky little quotes they insert from classic films. In Season 2, for example, we’ve seen The Godfather crop up, and a hilarious homage to Saving Private Ryan. These scenes aren’t wedged it — they advance the plot, but they’re also the crew’s way of having a little fun, and inviting the audience into an in-joke with them.

Since much of the dialogue is in Nynorsk, you’re going to need the subtitles.

Accuracy and Weapons

The film is art, not current events, and weapons are a sideline to the characters and story. There are only a few howlers. (For example, in one Season 2 episode, “Johnny” is teaching his infants to shoot a revolver… when a Norwegian friend appears shocked, he says not to worry, the safety’s on. Er, yeah. What’s next, a suppressed Model 29?

British and American criminals are shown having no qualms about violating Norwegian gun laws. At one point early in the first season, Johnny shows how he has smuggled a revolver into the country. (Pro tip: that will not work in real life. You will wind up in Norwegian prison, which, on the upside, is not all that bad).

The bottom line

Key characters include Johnny Henriksen and Torgeir Roar.

Key characters include Johnny Henriksen and Torgeir Roar.

Lillehammer is good TV — maybe great TV. Van Zandt would be entertaining doing almost anything on screen, but he’s ably supported by a brilliant cast of mostly Norwegian players. Wry fun is poked at both the ignorance of a typically insular American — at one point, Johnny describes a lefty Norwegian character as “redder than a baboon’s ass,” and on learning he studied in Prague, says it’s no wonder he got that way, hanging out in Russia with the commies. (What he says on being informed that Prague is not in Russia is even funnier). But there are also plentiful jokes made at the expense of Norwegian immigration do-gooders and integration-resistant immigrants, hard-of-thinking criminals, and bumbling cops.

For an interview with Van Zandt about the show, see this link at Rolling Stone. They’re hopeless when they write about national security or international affairs these days, but pop culture for the boomer generation is their sweet spot.

For more information

These sites relate to this particular film.

  • Amazon.com DVD page:

http://www.amazon.com/Lilyhammer-Season-Steven-Van-Zandt/dp/B00ECL7ZGA/

  • IMDB page:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1958961/

  • IMFDB page: ikke (none).
  • Rotten Tomatoes review page: none.
  • Wikipedia  page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lilyhammer

Breaking: Rangerettes, two different kinds

rangerette-benjaminA Friday night bad-news blast launched the Army’s latest iniquity into the weekend. The fix continues to be in for sending women to Ranger school in the Army. Indeed, they’ll be coming on two different pathways, both designed to use the halo of Ranger School and the Ranger Tab to burnish the packets of female careerists.

The first is for actual attendees at the school.

First, the Army is seeking female soldiers who want to attend Ranger school as students. Women in the ranks of specialist through major can apply. They must meet the physical qualifications and prerequisites required to attend Ranger School.

Those prerequisites are:

Physical requirements to attend Ranger school include completing at least 49 pushups in two minutes, at least 59 sit-ups in two minutes, at least six pull-ups, and a five-mile run in 40 minutes or less. Candidates also are required to complete a combat water survival assessment consisting of equipment removal and 15-meter swim in the Army Combat Uniform and boots.

These physical qualification tests must be done within 90 days of reporting to Ranger school.

Enlisted applicants must have a standard General Technical score of 90 or higher and 12 months or more active-duty service remaining after completion of Ranger school.

Those are not “fog a mirror,” but they’re also not insuperable requirements for reasonably fit women, especially the way most Army units grade female pushups — a nod of the head will do. But half the men who enter the course, after meeting that standard (with real pushups, even), drop. How’s the Army going to keep its hothouse flowers from wilting? Well, they’ll have a cadre of “observers” watching to make sure the gals are not held to the same standard as the guys.

Second, female soldiers can volunteer to serve as observers and advisors to the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade. These slots are open to staff sergeants through master sergeants, chief warrant officers 2 and 3, and first lieutenants through majors.

These volunteers will not be Ranger instructors, and they won’t evaluate students in the course.

Nope. They’ll just be The Sisterhood’s eyes and ears, and any RI who writes up a dud female for a Major Minus Spot Report, or who fails a female 2LT for the things that 2LTs frequently bolo on a graded patrol, will have a notation in his file that may say some other words but will translate to: “Sexxxxxist! Career over.”

Of course they’ll have to meet high standards:

Women who volunteer to serve as observers must undergo a selection process that includes a fitness test, land navigation, a combat water survival assessment, an operations order test, as 12-mile road march with a 35-pound ruck, and review boards, according to the Army.

Note how much lower the standards than the ones for attendees. Translation: “We expect them to fog a mirror.” Note that this PT test is only to the much lower sex-normed PT standards. After all (to put it in language the President might understand), we can’t expect the Rangerettes to drive from the men’s tees.

The Army wants packets by 10 Oct 14 and the first graduates participants (can’t get ahead of the narrative) will be identified in December.

If approved, the Ranger course assessment will have male and female soldiers training together, according to the Army.

“If approved.” How droll. Let’s see, what are the odds that something that’s being dictated — including its outcome — by the E Ring suits to the Army chain of command will not be “approved”?

The standards will remain the same, and there will be no change to current performance requirements or graduation standards, officials said.

We have always been at war with Eastasia. The sugar ration has been raised from 25 to 20 grams. The standards will remain the same. I promise I’ll respect you in the morning.

“We will be prepared to execute the assessment professionally and objectively if directed,” said Maj. Gen. Scott Miller, commanding general of the Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning, Georgia, in a statement.

The one fact in that whole paragraph is that Fort Benning is in Georgia. This is a command-directed outcome, and the assessment will produce the outcome directed, and Miller thinks we’re ammunition-handler material if he expects us to believe him. (Well, with the press, he may have a point).

All female candidates selected for the course will be required to attend the Army National Guard Ranger Training and Assessment Course at Fort Benning before the start of their Ranger school class.

Translation: “We’re so sure this is going to be a success, that we’re going to run a prephase to see just how much coddling and how heavy a thumb on the scale will be required to achieve that success!”

via Women invited to apply for Ranger School | Army Times | armytimes.com.

UPDATE 15 Sep 14

We continue to follow this up with more reporting. Here’s a little cold water of truth on the mating dogs of the press and their Kurdish Women Warriors meme that’s going around. More to follow.

Today Only: Tales from the Teamhouse Volume III, Free Download

tales from the teamhouse IIIForget whether this one has a Hognose story or two in it, think they’re in earlier ones. That means this one’s probably better. These were collected back in the 1990s and published under the auspices of the late Ben “The Plunderer” Roberts, a Vietnam SF soldier turned real-estate entrepreneur.

These are a series of books of stories and reminisces of SF soldiers from the 1950s to today. Normally they’re available in paperback, but the Kindle format is new. A great many of the original authors are now no longer with us, including SGM Reg Manning, CSM Rudy Cooper (a three-war vet), and many others.

Today only, Kindle download of Volume III is free at this link. (As long as the price shows as $0.00, click the “Buy Now” button).

Tales from the Teamhouse Volume II is also available on Kindle, but they cost actual money. Some grifter thinks he’s going to get $350 for the paperback of Volume II… good luck with that. Volume I is only available in hard copy at the moment.

There’s always some rumors about a Volume IV. For that to happen, I think Old Mountain Press (run by Tom Davis, a Navy and Army SF vet) needs to see that Volumes I-III have a following.

Breaking: Pennsylvania State Police Attacked! (Updated x3)

Pennsylvania_State_PolicePress are reporting that two members of the State Police were attacked outside their barracks at shift change by an unknown shooter or shooters, who seem to have escaped. The shots hit at about 11:30PM last night, and a large area remains under intensive investigation with many roads closed, including the east-west Interstate 84 (it may have opened by now).

The press reports are unclear about whether any specific suspect is being sought at this time.

These reports will quickly be obsolete, so your best bet is news searches, but here are a few:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/09/13/pennsylvania-police-barracks-shooting/15574705/

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/report-shooting-pennsylvania-police-barracks-25477646

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/09/13/348181800/2-troopers-shot-at-pennsylvania-state-police-barracks

The victims have yet to be identified. The wounded trooper is reported to be in stable condition, which beats “critical,” anyway. (Update: he’s expected to live. Whew).

Another State Trooper, Joshua Miller, was killed in the area in 2009, but he was shot by a suspect after a car chase. This incident appears to have been a deliberate targeting of the state police. The barracks is not located near anything else of significance, so someone went there to shoot cops. Specific cops? These individual cops, for some real or imagined reason? What’s his motivation? All unknown at this time, and anything would be speculation.

We’ve beaten up on the Pennsylvania State Police before for their pistol OCD. However, at this time, we hope the trooper makes a full recovery, the cops quickly nail their shooter, and we extend our condolences to the family of the fallen trooper.

UPDATE

Police have a “person of interest” in custody. No further information. They haven’t stopped searching

But is this case connected to two previous murders that the PSP and Kentucky police already suspect are connected? We’re referring to the ambush murder of Bardstown, Kentucky police officer Jason Ellis, previously covered here (and here), and the highway murder of Timothy Davison, who was on the phone to police as he was chased down across Maryland and Pennsylvania and killed in what has been ascribed to violent road rage.

UPDATE II

State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan identified the murdered trooper as Corporal Bryon Dickson of Dunmore, PA. Dickson is survived by his wife, Tiffany Dickson, a nurse, and by his two young sons. He recently transferred from Philadelphia. The wounded man, Trooper Alex Douglass, is in critical but stable condition after surgery. The police have corrected the time of the shooting to 2250 hrs.

The shooter seems to have gotten away clean after firing two shots. Noonan confirmed the PSP were talking to a “person of interest” but said that the man was not a suspect. Noonan would not confirm this person’s identity, but state police spox previously identified him as one Jeffrey Hudak, 48. The police put out a wire with his birth date and license tags.

UPDATE III

Paramedics responding to the scene reported being taken under fire, according to news reports.

In the recording of dispatches between paramedics and Pike County 911 operators, the paramedics request the incoming helicopter head to a different meeting spot.

“We are under fire. We are moving the landing zone to the middle school,” a responder is heard saying in the recordings.

The first helicopter takes off with a patient within 30 minutes, the report says, but the second is grounded — that patient didn’t make it.

Transcript and audio:

http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2014/09/pike_county_shootings_pa_state.html

This is not good. But if the guy who did it did it alone, and did not run his mouth, he’s probably going to get away with it. Of course, if this is his first time, it won’t be his last, and sooner or later he’s going to screw up and get caught.

Tracking Tease

Got a phone call yesterday from a friend at a range in West Virginia. Three guys including a former SF man, a former SEAL (range officer), and a dealer/gunsmith/armorer without military service cracked the box on a new TrackingPoint .300 WM rifle on a long range.

This is file photo a standard TP XS3 rifle. Don't know yet what exact model our guys had.

This is file photo a standard TP XS3 rifle. Don’t know yet what exact model our guys had.

Quick take-aways:

  • Best packaged gun any of them had ever seen. In the gunsmith’s experience, that’s out of thousands of new guns.
  • Favorably impressed with the quality of the gun and the optic. It “feels” robust.
  • It’s premium priced, but with premium quality. Rifle resembles a Surgeon rifle. “The whole thing is top quality all the way, no corners cut, no expense spared.” They throw in an iPad. The scope itself serves its images up as wifi.
  • First shot, cold bore, no attempt to zero, 350 meters, IPSC sized metal silhouette: “ding!” They all laughed like maniacs. It does what the ads say.
  • Here’s how the zero-zero capability works:  they zero at the factory, no $#!+, and use a laser barrel reference system to make automatic, no-man-in-the-loop, corrections. Slick.
  • The gun did a much better job of absorbing .300WM recoil than any 300WM any of them have shot. With painful memories of developmental .300WM M24 variants, that was interesting. “Seriously, it’s like shooting my .308.”
  • By the day’s end, the least experienced long-range shooter, who’d never fired a round at over 200 meters, was hitting moving silhouettes at 850 yards. In the world of fiction where all snipers take head shots at 2000m with a .308, that’s nothing, but in the world of real lead on target, it’s huge. 
  • It requires you to unlearn some processes and learn some new ones, particularly with respect to trigger control. But that’s not impossible, or even very hard.
  • They didn’t put wind speed into the system, and used Kentucky windage while placing the “tag.” This worked perfectly well.
  • An experienced sniper or long range match shooter, once he gets over the muscle memory differences, will get even more out of the TrackingPoint system than a novice, but
  • A novice can be made very effective, very fast, at ranges outside of the engagement norm, with this system.

As Porky Pig says, for now, “Ib-a-dee-ib-a-dee-ib-a-dee-That’s all, folks!” But we’re promised more, soon.

Everybody is really impressed with the Tracking Point system. No TP representative was there and as far as we know this is the first report on a customer gun in the field, not some massaged handpicked gunwriter version. And as far as we know this is the first report on a customer’s experience with both experienced school-trained snipers and an inexperienced long-range shooter. The key take-away is the novice’s ringing of the 850m bell on moving targets. That’s Hollywood results without the special effects budget, and with real lead on real target. No marketing, no bullshit, just hits.

We asked about robustness. This isn’t like the ACOG you can use as a toboggan on an Afghan stairway and hold zero (don’t ask us how we know that one). But it seemed robust to the pretty critical gang shooting it Friday.

We wish Chris Kyle were here to see this. Maybe he already has!

Stand by for more on TrackingPoint, and on more on this range complex when the principals are willing to have some publicity.

Friday tour d’horizon time

ITEM: Muslim Fundamentalists Against Terror

Many American and Western defenders define all Islam as the enemy. Islamic extremists do that, too. But Americans who have worked against terrorism, especially SF and SOF guys, know how much our efforts have depended on brave, patriotic people who risk their lives for their vision of the future: one that includes Middle Easterners who take their place at the table of the nations and who don’t strive to compel others to their faith.

We have often asked, “If all Moslems are not terrorists, where are the scholars and imams condemning the terrorists?” Some of our Arab allies, notably the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, have effective projects to use their nation’s religious leaders to turn terrs away from violence. And here’s something new to us, although it’s been around for a while: Salafi Manhaj, an effort by hard-core fundamentalist imams and scholars to apply rigorous Islamic scholarship to analyzing soi-disant Islamic movements like ISIL and Boko Haram.

Naturally, this kind of contrarianism has its detractors. This Moslem Brotherhood-associated and pro-terrorist site, which venerates Qutb, condemns Khalid al-Anbari, a British imam and one of the principals behind Salafi Manhaj.

ITEM: Fijian Peacekeepers Released

The Fijian Peacekeepers from UNDOF who surrendered to the Syrian al-Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda-aligned group, have been released. There were no conditions and no ransom placed on their release, according to a news report. Their weapons seem to have been retained by the Syrian islamists. They had been promised they would not be harmed if they surrendered without trying to keep the peace or prevent the al-Nusra Front from its program of ethnic and sectarian cleansing. The Fijians plan to return to duty as non-peacekeeping “Peacekeepers,” ready to do whatever else al-Nusra asks.  Your UN in action!

ITEM: Before there were Lugers

There were Borchardts. The website Land of Borchardt has some interesting information on this  novel invention from the Gay Nineties — and the Lugers that followed it. Good site, and we’d rather mention it now that stick it in reserve for a future W4 and risk forgetting about it. The website design and navigation is redolent of the 1990s, but the photographs (of the site owner’s own collection apparently) are well worth the effort.

ITEM: Anti-hunting woman suggests… exterminating humans instead

Her piece is excerpted at length at Bearing Arms so we’ll only snip a couple of lines in support of our proposition, which is that she’s bat guano crazy:

I am deeply sad imagining that [the deer she likes to watch] might be killed in this upcoming hunting.

… We as humans …. are so overpopulated, so is the solution just to kill some of us?

What do you do with that kind of bat guano crazy? Come on, you know the answer. You give it tenure! And that’s what the University of Cincinnati did. Lord love a duck.

ITEM: Pistorius Convicted of the RSA Equiv of Negligent Homicide

The legless running champion (well, we do live in the 21st Century, people!) was acquitted of murder. The judge ruled that there was no evidence of the intent needed for a (premeditated) murder conviction, but that he was unreasonably negligent when he fired through a bathroom door. He says he was shooting at what he thought was a home invader, but what he hit was his own girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius’s case was one of the weakest  self-defense claims we’ve ever seen, and he was convicted of culpable homicide, the RSA crime most equivalent to negligent homicide in the USA. The South African legal system is very different — for example, the prosecution can now appeal the murder acquittal, if they want.

Pistorius was also convicted on a gun charge. The RSA used to have gun laws that were racially-disparate: liberal for white, confiscatory for blacks. Since the advent of the black majority, the laws have been homogenized racially, but are strongly biased against armed self-defense. (Not that this would have been a strong case of self-defense anywhere).

More at the Washington Post.

ITEM: If she only had a brain

She does, but a Chinese woman is missing one rather large organ in it: her cerebellum. This case excites doctors because it’s the first case they’ve had to examine and test a living example of the rare developmental disorder, cerebellar agenesis — meaning, her brain never grew the part that provides balance and some other motor functions. The woman is a bit slow and has balance and gait problems, as you might expect. She’s 24 and otherwise in good health.

More at New ScientistAbstract of the article at Brain(Subscription required for full article, abstract is free).

ITEM: Cop’s boasts of thug life get him jammed up

Intending to follow in the president’s footsteps with the best-selling autobiography, former New York cop Corey Pegues Shopped around a story of his crack dealing, attempted-murdering past two publishers. When the New York Post ran the story, local cops on Long Island took advantage of New York’s unpleasant anti-gun laws to confiscate his firearms. Next, they’re trying to go after his rich ($135k/year tax free) disability pension. The NY Post ran that story, too.  And one about his pride in his notoriety. And one about him claiming that being a criminal made him a better cop. Even the crooked cop’s supposed buddy, a cop killer, isn’t buying it.

ITEM: Cop’s actual thug life gets him jammed up

That’s the way it looks from the headline, which reads: Manchester police officer charged with felony assault on Cape Cod. Yow. Guy sounds like a one-man crime wave. But read the article, and it’s this: he pushed a guy. So he’s maybe a sphincter muscle, but if we’re going to arrest all of those, we’d better build a lot more prisons.

ITEM: GQ Says Everybody in the Military Gets Raped

We have little else to say about this compedium of bullshit war stories, mostly by nutcases, many of whom seem to have been trainee discharges for misconduct or mental illness, and bullshit statistics, except that it’s bullshit. Complete with a guy whining about how the VA won’t see him with his bad discharge. Guess what? There’s only one guy who can cause someone to have a bad discharge — that guy. Anyway, here’s the link if you want to read a thinly-sourced piece about how everybody got raped in the service. (OK, not everybody. But GQ says 14,000 a year, which means that over 4% of military men get raped in a four-year hitch, and another 4% must be the rapists. Clearly, the writer is pulling it out of where he says the rapists are sticking it in).

By the way, what does anybody at the Women’s Wear Daily of the Fire Island set know about the military? That would be like Weaponsman.com writing a feature on the difficulties faced by dress designers.

Dress designers, relax; we promise not to do that.

ITEM: UK too is arming Kurds

We’ve mentioned before Germany’s commitment to arming anti-ISIL Kurds. Good on Mrs Merkel. Not to be outdone, the UK is also sending £1.6M in machine guns and ammo to the Pesh Merga fighters. We don’t have the kind of make and model details we have from the Germans, yet, though.

ITEM: USA Today thinks the Army’s too white

There’s a lot of diversity blather in the article, but it comes down to this: the path to senior command is junior command in the combat arms, and “not enough” black officers seek or win those junior command. So the answer? As we’ve come to expect from Ray Odierno et al., more diversity blather. That’ll fix it.

Funny, there’s no mention of Hispanic or Asian officers. Maybe they’re not underperforming.

ITEM: You’ll Grow Hair on Your Palms

If you were the sort of person who stood up a little picture of President Obama, and then set to fapping, the resulting splatter patterns of ejaculate-on-paper might well resemble this column from the New York Times’s airily lightweight, but incurably infatuated, David Brooks. He works himself up to such a profound orgasm over the recent national-security speech that he manages to compare his favorite Nobel Tee Ball Participation Prize recipient not only with Moses, but also with King David and the Apostle Paul.

For some inexplicable reason, Jesus Christ Himself is missing from Brooks’s comparisons of his Dear Leader. Perhaps he leaves that role for his favorite Beatle to claim for himself Himself. (There, fixed it for ya. -DB).

 

Ari Fleischer Remembers 9/11 (via twitter)

Geez. Ari was President Bush’s press secretary and was close by him for most of the day. Ari writes (tweets, to be specific):

I started 2take notes of what Bush was saying and doing. I have some 6 pages of notes on a legal pad. The originals are in a bank vault now.

There were a few times he wasn’t with the president, like this moment:

He also called Ted Olson, the Solicitor General, whose wife was killed on Flight 77. I stepped out of his cabin so he could have privacy.

Everyone who was old enough to be alert that day knows where he was and what he was doing. Imagine the memories that survivors like Ted Olson have of that day. One’s heart fills.

Fleischer’s whole Twitter feed is worth a look, to see his memories of that day. He was in the eye of the hurricane, and they were getting just as much bullshit and misinformation as we were getting out in the cheap seats. It was 13 years ago, so for many people some aspects of the raw shock of the day may have dimmed, some memories of the fog of war descending on our fair land may have evaporated. Read Ari. They’ll come back.

Your humble WeaponsMan was in Florida. My team had drilled that prior weekend (it was the weekend our unit had a disastrous range accident, nearly killing former team member Rich Connolly, who is alive and well today, thank a merciful God and a lot of good surgeons) and we were already trying to process both Rich’s wounding (which we all expected to be fatal; sometimes it’s great to be mistaken) and the murder of Ahmad Shah Massoud, which had just taken place. And then this happens. Rich’s injury was coincidental (but it would deprive us of his good nature and talents in Afghanistan in the coming year) but Massoud’s assassination, by suicide bombers disguised as reporters, was not.

We were immediately convinced the attack was a response to the weak, feeble answer of standoff munitions lobbed at the perps of previous al-Qaeda atrocities. A family member who was a devotee of President Clinton, the man launched those inept and ineffective strikes between, shall we say, puffs on his cigar, didn’t want to hear it. Fans never do.

We had missed the Fort Drum range weekend for a corporate board meeting in FL. After the attacks, US airspace was closed, and all of us were stranded in Florida (the board members and presenters were mostly from the Northeastern USA and Central and South America; Miami is where inter-American business gets done). But that’s another story.

Ari’s twitter feed from yesterday brings back all the confusion, the false reports, the horror of that day. So if you don’t want to see that, with insights as to how it looked from three feet left and behind the President, you don’t want to check out his feed. We have no idea what he’s doing now.

Look what a metal detector finds!

We’re used to seeing European metal detectors pull up relic guns, but American ones? Well, it does happen. Here’s a kid whose hobby is metal detecting, and at the start of the video, it’s a few days after he’s found a rusted-solid Uzi. So he came back to the same site. What will he find next?

The thing he doesn’t recognize at about 1:30 is the folding stock from a Czech Samopal Sa. 25 (Vz.48)He also finds the rest of it, and more Uzi, Sten, and Thompson parts, and a rusted suppressor. Best guess — he found the remnants of an illegal armory that someone, probably not the original guy who assembled these parts and guns, disposed of. Some of the parts may be contraband; others have clearly been destroyed by the ravages of corrosion.

UPDATE

Oops. This was supposed to kick off at 0600 today. It’s being posted late (1530 actually) and the rest of the day’s posts will be sent at about two hour intervals after that, all slotted into their original intended slots. Embarrassing.