The practice of posting That Was The Week That Was, an overview of the recently ended week, has tapered off here, as this kind of admin post is one of the least exciting to do. However, it’s a great way to call retroactive attention down on posts that might have been missed.
This is a truncated version of TW3, just to get the facts and posts up there (although, this will be posted late).
We really need to update our TW3 girl.
Here’s the basic stats:
Most of these are up from last week’s numbers (not yet posted, either) as we recover from some forced time off for family reasons. Thank you for all the comments, every one is read
And these are this week’s posts in brief:
- Soporific Sunday is the usual Sunday lazing-about post.
- We offered a link to a rare video on Last Century’s Navy.
- A few comments On the Departure of Byron T. Jones from the bowsprit of the BATFE.
- Let’s look at a bad day in the Vietnam unpleasantness: Ambush is Murder: A Painful Lesson, 17 Oct 67.
- We can’t write about guns without shooting them, can we, so we told you we’d Gone Shooting! and then that Shooting Went Well, We Joined the Range.
- Another one of those sites full of strategy experts became our Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Strategika. Because this one had real no-$#!+ experts.
- The Instant that Ended a Police Career occurred when a cop bounced a spitting suspect’s skull off the concrete wall. And now he’s probably going to jail (the cop, that is).
- And in related police weirdness, “Officer, discipline my unruly kid” department: No, this is not what police are for!
- Breaking: Bergdahl to be Charged with Desertion. That they couldn’t decorate him for going over to the Taliban shows the lame-duckness of the Administration, right now.
- For all that they were never 100% sorted, these things have a physical beauty to them: 1970s Rarity: .44 Auto Mag. We wish we were writing about guns more, dammit. (Well, whose fault is that?)
- From the Dzhokar Tsarnaev trial: Flashbang & Speedbump Went Shooting. One thing not covered (even by us) is that this may have been a way for them to get ammunition for the 9mm handgun they used to murder MIT campus cop Sean Collier. In MA, they’ll only sell pistol ammo to permit holders.
- Like Pharaoh, he took many to his grave: When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have A320s.
- Sometimes Scouting isn’t just for kids: 4 Men. 3 States. 2 Weeks. = 1 Rifle + 1 Good Deed of the Day
- Quick Update on JADE HELM 15 is our second post on the UW exercise that has the ignorant in a tizzy.
- OT: What Does it Take to Get Fired, if You’re a Professor? Well, falsifying another prof’s evaluations so she gets fired and deported would probably do it, but the prof in question says it’s not fair. (Update to the story: apparently this guy was a notorious nut job on campus already. You can’t throw a rock around here without hitting a UNH grad, especially if you buy coffee or donuts… heh… who has a Marco Dorfsman story).
- Friday Federal Follies: VA, TSA, DEA, ATF: Fifty Ways to Fail your Nation. Believe it or not, we had Feds calling us complaining that we left the latest aw$#!+s from their agency out.
- Auction Alert! RIA Online Only Auction Tomorrow, in which we showcase some tasty offerings.
- And we went ahead and bid on them, and some others: So, We Bid on Today’s Auction. (We won the Walther and the three East Euro pistols).
- Bubba the Gunsmite continues smiting in: Benchwork with Bubba: Mosin Edition.
- And More Jade Helm Full Retard® is an update on the frothy, stupid reax to an exercise that’s probably pretty boring if you’re not an on-the-ground player or facilitator.
- We had another Matinee all ready, but then we started to watch this. Wow. Saturday Matinee 2015 13: Generation War (German, 2013, TV).
- And, that brings us back to do, eh. That Was the Week that Was: 2015 Week 13.
We told you we’d be brief! See you next week with the numbers & posts again.
(DVD image) Berlin. 1940. Five 20-year-old friends enjoy a last time together before the currents of the century separate them: solid, practical Wilhelm is a 2nd lieutenant in the army, and leaves in the morning for his duty station in the East. Charlotte, “Charly,” is a freshly qualified nurse, and she can’t bring herself to tell Wilhelm she has fallen for him. Wilhelm, for his part, doesn’t want to make any promises — there’s a war on, and it wouldn’t be fair. Wilhelm’s younger btother Friedhelm is completely unpractical: he’s lost in words and poetry, and is dead-set against the war but he’s now a draftee, and their parents have made Wilhelm promise to keep him alive. Greta dreams of being a successful singer, but she has a problem: her boyfriend, Viktor, the fifth of the friends, and a son of a World War I soldier, is a Jew.
We viewers, watching this scene and knowing the history of Germany, know what these characters do not: horrors lie ahead.
There has probably never been a movie or TV series that has shown the horrors, the misfortunes and misdeeds of the ordinary German in what Germans now call “the NS-time,” as thoroughly and as well as Generation War (its German title is Unsere Mütter, Unsere Väter; “Our mothers, our fathers.”) It is unstinting, unsparing, and unsentimental. In places it is hard to watch.
Acting and Production
The actors are apparently household names in Germany; Volker Bruch as Wilhelm may be the largest star of them (we don’t really follow Teutonic showbiz), and Tom Schilling as Friedhelm gets, perhaps, the widest-ranging character. They are all good and deliver powerhouse performances, as do a large cast of secondary players, bit players, and extras.
The villains — to the extent that anybody’s a villain here, where almost everyone does something horrible sooner or later — are well played, Mark Waschke as a self-serving Gestapo functionary and Sylvester Groth as a cheerful mass murdering SS officer.
Sets and locations are extremely well thought out, and very often provide a visual contrast. In that sense, we mean that the sets are often places that were once beautiful grand houses, now ruined by war; and the outdoor locations are often places of great natural beauty, despoiled by the violence of warfare. This occurred so frequently in the hours of the series, that we came to think it was a deliberate decision on the part of the director and producers.
Each two-hour segment of the miniseries feels long (perhaps because the subject matter is so uncomfortable) and builds to a climactic last-minute reveal — and cliffhanger. (ETA: IMDB says the segments are 90 minutes. They felt like two hours, but not because they dragged, because they’re packed with intensity).
A score can make or break a show, and the score here was truly magnificent. Themes, motives from classical music, and the melody of a beautiful song that Greta sings all recur, sometimes seriously, and sometimes ironically or mockingly. The main theme is as beautiful and as tragic as the entire production is.
Accuracy and Weapons
You can’t have a war without guns, and they put a great deal of effort into getting the right guns, or ones that are very near to correct. We could quibble about a couple of anachronisms in firearms and equipment, in which the Germans have gear on screen before their historical ancestors had it in the real world (MG42 before 1942; Kubelwagen at the start of the invasion of Russia).
Explosions are largely realistic. CGI, when it is used, is used skillfully and artfully. For example, both prewar and ruined postwar Berlin were re-created for different scenes; characters watch a train pass with Tiger tanks on flatcars at one point. (They know they nailed that bit of CGI: they put it into the trailer).
In one scene, which is featured in the trailer and that bookends the first episode, Wilhelm is firing an MP.40 and the casings fall on his copy of the “five friends” picture. They have made the casings wartime, unfinished steel. Give them +1 for that. But with the single flash hole of Boxer priming — give them -1 for that, and us -1 for being nerds enough to notice.
In another, there’s a continuity error where a P.38 pistol turns to a P.08. That this is a classic Hollywood error that they’ve been making since the war doesn’t, it seems, keep new producers from making it.
One important plot point is served by a Russian with a clutch of Panzerfaust grenade-launchers, although the Germans never seem to have this German weapon.
As a German production, it focuses primarily on German issues, but there are accurate if unflattering scenes of Russians, Poles, and American occupiers as well.
The bottom line
Some reviewers have described Generation War as “The German Band of Brothers.” It isn’t really; in some ways, it’s more ambitious, trying to show the whole grand sweep of a great war in about five or six hours. The war actually slew some 12 million Germans, while the Nazi regime slew millions of others, not only the famous, doomed Jews; and no survivor was left untainted by the events of 1939-1945. At one point, one of the characters shouts that there were no choices any more, just the choice of death or lying. At the end, the survivors among the friends can barely interact when they meet in the ruins of the location of the prewar party.
A very high level of the filmmaker’s art is here deployed in the service of a bleak, dark and depressing story, and we found it best taken in installments. The individual episodes are long, but they tend to draw one in and we did watch each in one sitting. Watch it yourself and use your best judgment before you let a family member or friend who is struggling to process war experiences see it; for some such sufferers it will be cathartic, and for others it may exacerbate depression.
For more information
These sites relate to this particular film.
- Amazon.com DVD page:
- IMDB page:
- IMFDB page: (none yet)
- Rotten Tomatoes review page:
- Wikipedia page (note that the Wikipedia entry is bursting with errors):
YouTube is a great place to look for proof of the proposition that half of everybody is below average. Here’s a screenshot of some of the people who don’t know that you Never Go Full Retard®.
OK, they’re a little bit… nuts, eh? Or, perhaps, cognitively challenged? They just don’t know that the Academy doesn’t like it when you go full retard.
But surely that’s all of them, right? Er, no….
“Texas FEMA Domes?” “Synagogue of Satan?” (Tip, folks. Learn something about other religions before you form opinions on them. There are people who worship in synagogues. Oddly enough, the God they worship is not Satan. Or Mephistopheles, Beelzebub, Baal, or The Lightworker. (Yeah, we slipped that in to see if you were paying attention). As far as FEMA oppressing you is concerned, you do realize that these guys can’t even get MREs to a flood or tornado scene in two weeks. If you see someone’s tongue stuck to a cold window, and his pants are on inside out, that’s the FEMA guy.
“Red Dawn Texas”? Oh, brother. Full Retard®. But if the actual YouTubes are retarded, you should see the imbecility in the comments:
Plasma Burns? We’ll tell you what burns: stupid. In some of these cases it spontaneously combusts on exposure to oxygen.
Hey, the Three Stooges only played at being this stupid, and they entertained people.
After the jump, there’s a guy who claims to be former SF, and who talks sense (we don’t know him, nor does the retired SF field-grade who found the link) in his YouTube. And yes, all the spastic goonery above was in response to this good-natured, calm and patriotic video by Pastor Joe Fox (if we got his name right) on the next page
On this lovely weekend day, as a light snow sprinkles on us in seacoast New Hampshire (Dear God, winter can end any time), we settle in to spend some quality time with our favorite (in entertainment terms) gunsmith, Bubba. If you’re a habitué of Reddit’s /r/guns, you probably caught this beauty last week, but if not, here it is in all its… glory. It is stunning, for some values of “stunning.”
Obviously, the guy who posted this bubba’d Mosin on Imgur is having some fun with it, as he carefully photographed it with the props of booze and cartridges. The booze? He explains, “Alcohol for scale and realism.” Gives you the full Bubba. (He is a Marine vet of Afghanistan and has another Imgur page with info about the weapons he used).
This gun seems to hit the high points of Bubbadom on several levels.
- It started with a Finnish M39, a collector Mosin. The front sight was removed along with the last few inches of the barrel. We doan need no stankin’ sights. The rear sight, however, was left on, because removing that is Hard To Do.
- The stock is hacked down and the Modern Art forearm tip grafted on.
- The whole thing is painted OD. Can’t tell if it’s a brush job or rattle cans. When his phone doesn’t ring, it’s the Maaco Crappy Auto Body franchise not offering him a job in their DILLIGAFF Paint Shop.
- That bolt handle… ugh. First, the workmanship looks like a reject from a Teach Yourself Welding class. Second, that bolt handle is extended and the weirdo industrial knob (which has more than a whiff of Harbor Freight about it) is cleverly located forward and underneath the trigger entirely; believe it or not, the idea behind modifying rifle bolts, back in the days of Peak Sporterizing, was to make the bolt easier and faster to operate, as well as to clear a scope and mount.
- Given that this guy has the metal-shaping skills of Katy Perry, this Acme bolt handle didn’t clear the stock, so he chiseled a gouge in the stock for it to rest in. That part is left in the original bare birch or whatever for contrast. Scandinavian Design FTW!
- Rather than apply his welding savoir-faire to the trigger, he took the coward’s way out and added a big wide trigger shoe. Because he who dies with the most mods on his gun, wins.
- The Thalidomide bolt handle still didn’t clear the scope and mount, so you can see some crude saw (note toolmarks) has been used to chop off the after end of the scope.
- The $10 bargain basement scope (he thinks, a Center Point) and mounts are guaranteed to last at least until the gun is fired. No, handled. Until the gun is handled.
- The stilt-high see-through mounts are meant to be used with iron sights, by people who buy $10 scopes and therefore need to go to backup any time they hunt outdoors in weather (when was the last time you hunted indoors?). Therefore a cheek weld is impossible.
- So a hunk of foam is Ace-bandaged on to the stock to make a sort of rustic cheekpiece.
Bubba Facit, as the Romans might have said.
Somewhere in Finland, a guy who spent a hunk of the last century turning Mosins into finely crafted moose and elk hunting rifles is weeping inconsolably.
At Rock Island Auctions (their online auctions require a second registration at GunAuctionOnline.com).
We might as well tell you what we bid on, although not how much. As you might expect, we bid on the AR-10 parts kit and the Walther from last night’s post, plus five more lots.
We didn’t bid crazy large amounts, so odds are we won’t win a thing. Remember that there’s also a 17.5% buyer’s premium, meaning nearly a fifth more will get slapped onto whatever price gets hammered down for these items. Here’s what’s in those lots we bid on:
- Lot 141 is an interesting .22 imitation of an AR-15 that was made in the 1960s and 70s. To get it we have to bid on the whole lot, which includes two “rubber ducks.” In the unlikely event we win, the “ducks” may find their way into a post (and then, perhaps, onto GunBroker. There’s actually a market for these things, albeit a limited one).
- Lot 689 includes a lot of junk, but also some original AR-10 parts.
- Lot 175 is three East Bloc pistols, two CZs and an East German, Ernst Thälmann Werke Makarov (Thälmann was apparently some kind of Communist Horst Wessel, and the commies renamed a looted arms factory for him) . We like CZs and these would plug East Euro collection holes. We doubt we’ll win because dealers can probably turn these arms into cash rapidly.
- Lot 691. If we had these parts around we might build some FALs. Then, we might not. Note that (cue “Sesame Street”) one of these things is not like the other: the ringer is a G3 or CETME stock.
- Lot 789. The previous-mentioned Walther Model 8. The condition seems only fair to us with a lot of untreated rust speckles on the slide. And you can occasionally find these in pawnshops, etc. cheap (less frequently, now that even a lazy shop owner can look things up on the internet). But they’re relatively uncommon.
- Lot 10. A representative Brown Bess, we think an EIC model (the least desirable variant) but there’s not enough info in the post to be sure. They call the condition “fair” which may be a bit of a stretch. We bid low and don’t expect to win, but hey.
- Lot 695. The previously-mentioned AR-10 parts kit. Looks like the Edgewater buffer is hosed, and the furniture is, as is usual for Portuguese guns, barely held together by crude repairs and/or falling off where the crude repairs aren’t holding up any more. Most of these have really crummy barrels too, so bidding on this is taking a risk. Still, we have one we could make receiver drawings off of, and occasionally an H&H (billet aluminum) or CKA (steel) receiver comes up on auction somewhere. Considering how few AR-10s were made by Artillerie Inrichtingen, a surprising number of these extremely historic firearms have survived in one mode or another. We want this, in part, to see if the BCG is a repark job!
So, did any of youse bid? On what?
Yeah, we could have posted about this earlier. There’s some really cool stuff there. There ought to be — there are 1,133 items in about 800 lots, some of which contain multiple guns. You can view the catalog sequentially or search it here.
Of course, some are not even one whole gun, like this AR-10 parts set:
If that’s too retro for you, there’s an AR-180 set, too.
And then there’s this tasty Walther Model 8, a single-action forerunner of the pioneering double-action PP.
The Model 8 looks very Browning-derived, but the interesting thing is that it is closer to the Browning 1910, aesthetically, than the earlier Model 2, 4 and 6 pistols. The grip monogram is that of Carl Walther.
Don’t want a Model 8? The auction also has a Model 2, two Model 4s, and a nice selection of PP, PPK, PPK/S and P.38 pistols. And that’s just the Walthers. There’s bound to be something you like. (Our problem: we like every-damn-thing from the Brown Bess on up).
Again, sorry about the late notice. But the auction is taking place tomorrow, Saturday, and so we’re just barely in time (we may be up at 0600 bidding, actually). Good luck!
Rather than do a more general Friday Tour d’Horizon, we thought we’d zero in today on various ways that various federal agencies are screwing up.
Yes, it is shooting fish in a barrel.
The Department of Veterans Affairs
To start with, we have the VA. When they banished some stumblebum named Diana Rubens from the Bureaucrats’ Right Hand of God®, a DC assignment, way out to the far provinces, to wit, Philadelphia, she exacted a payment by way of compensation.
The Department of Veterans Affairs confirmed Wednesday that it paid a senior manager $288,000 in “relocation payments” when it reassigned her from Washington last year to become director of the agency’s problem-riddled Philadelphia office.
The chairman of the House Veterans Affairs committee called the payment to Philadelphia Director Diana Rubens “outrageous.”
Ya think? He also said it “raises questions about VA’s commitment to fiscal responsibility.” What questions? It perfectly illustrates VA’s fiscal responsiblity, about that of a two-year-old. Nevertheless, a mealy-mouthed spokesman, himself a worthless six-figure drain on the taxpayers, stepped up to defend the VA’s practices of fraud, waste and abuse:
A department spokesman told the Philadelphia Inquirer that federal regulations allow the payment of certain relocation expenses, including the costs of house-hunting, moving, terminating leases, and a per diem rate for meals and temporary housing.
Translation: “Shaddup, peasant, or we’ll give the next payroll patriot half a mil.”
What did your last move cost your employer (or, more likely, you?) The VA paid over $2,000 per mile to move Rubens. No matter how Rubenesque her lifetime swilling at the government trough has made her, that’s too much. Remember, when they say they don’t have enough money to treat sick vets, it’s not that they don’t have money. It’s just that spending it on their ostensible mission is a lower priority than six-figure bogus bonuses for underperformers.
Added VA Item: Exec Given Bonuses for Failing retires
The Washington Post reported Wednesday that “embattled” VA official Glenn Haggstrom, who was paid large bonuses — more in bonuses than a middle-class annual income — whilst overseeing $2 billion in cost overruns and blowing through deadline after deadline, has quietly retired . About the only difference this makes is that he can’t get more bonuses now. We paid him for not doing his job before, and now we’re going to pay him for not doing his job for the rest of his life.
Added VA Item: Legislators Introduce Bill requiring VA to fund hospitals over bonuses.
Naturally, the VA opposes the bill. Details here. Driving the bill is the VA’s budgetary incontinence on the cost of construction of a new hospital in Aurora, CO (eastern suburb of Denver), where the cost bill rocketed from $630 million to $1.73 billion, nearly triple, in about eight months, due to mismanagement by Coffman (in fact the original cost was $328 million, so mismanagement has amplified the cost more than fivefold since the beginning). Amid accusations and acrimony all round, the contractor has walked off the job and the hospital project is standing abandoned and vandalized at this writing. But what’s most important to VA managers got taken care of: Coffman got $64,000 in bonuses. We might not have a king, but it’s good to be Beltway nobility. (Silly colonists, thought they’d built a republic).
TSA: Expedited Pre-Check for Notorious Terrorist
The weirdo California terrorist gang, the Symbionese Liberation Army, was one of those bizarre ructions of the 70s. But another bizarre ruction of the 70s was giving terrorists short prison sentences, and one of the released SLA creeps was a woman who then went by the nom de guerre Kathy Soliah, but whose real name was Sara Jane Olson. Soliah/Olson showed up at Minneapolis-St. Paul airport recently, where the TSA’s vaunted pre-check system flagged her as a person needing only token screening.
No one good, decent, honest, intelligent, moral or ethical has ever been employed by TSA in any capacity whatsoever.
CBP: The Border Patrol Perv
Elsewhere in the morass that is DHS, it looks like a Border Patrol supervisor was, not to put too fine a point on it, a perv. Armando Gonzalez is charged with setting up hidden cameras to film women in a restroom at the Chula Vista CBP station.
If we’re not going to let the Border Patrol, you know, patrol the jeezly border, then we shouldn’t be shocked when the devil finds work for these idle hands.
The DEA: Hookers OK, So Long As the Drug Cartels Pay
You have to hand it to senior managers of the DEA who figured out how to avoid getting bad press for spending government money on sex parties with throngs of hookers. They just had their good buddies, the drug cartels, pay for the hookers. Hey, no conflict of interest there.
But the report says they really cracked down on the crooked agents who were partying with the drug traffickers: some of them got punitive suspensions of from two to ten days. (The longer suspensions went to Supervisory Special Agents who took bribes from the drug dealers in the form of “money, expensive gifts, and weapons,” according to the OIG report).
We guess now the drug cops and drug dealers go dutch on the whores, and that’s OK. You could say they’re consolidating agency purchases of hookers and hookahs.
Between the DEA hiring their hookers and the ATF shipping them guns, it’s only a matter of time before the Sinaloas and Los Zetas have their own SEIU local.
ATF: Banning Bullets, Buggering Buddies!
ITEM: Speaking of the ATF, America’s Triggerhappy Favorites also got fired up a bit in the same OIG report that broke the story of the DEA’s drug-funded hooker mixers. In a case that’s been widely covered, for example at CleanUpATF.org, the ATF’s Director of Industry Operations was caught by police in New Orleans prostituting himself in a hotel room. He had replaced a bathroom door with one containing a “glory hole” (if you don’t know, count yourself lucky) and advertised his services on Craigslist in the “men seeking men” personals. His defense? He did this all the time while he was traveling. His punishment? None. After all, ATF senior managers don’t want to be biased against gays, prostitutes, and gay prostitutes, especially in senior ATF management where they’re probably pretty common.
ITEM: In addition, “ATF training” meant something different to two training instructors than to the rest of them. The wayward pair seduced new agents in a training class — for years. And the Program Manager covered for them — for years. Their punishment? Well, they’re still there, still screwing all the new hires, so apparently B. Todd Jones and Tom Brandon thought that was punishment enough.
ITEM: ATF’s drone program was crucified by another report. (That’s a news story; here’s the OIG report). The Bureau blew over $600k on six drones it then never used. Then, it threw another six-figure purchase order down, and bought five more of yet another type or kind. It appears to be driven by FBI envy, but the FBI has fixed wing aircraft as well as drones (the FBI also has 17 drones, but only two pilots. Soviet planning lives at the Hoover Building!). ATF lost its authority for fixed-wing capability when it was found to be acquiring OV-10 reconnaissance/strike aircraft after its fiascos at Waco and Ruby Ridge. In the fallout from the attempted attack-plane acquisition, the then-head of aviation services for ATF was found to be stealing from the agency, and went to prison.
It appears that in addition to its two sets of non-working drones, which produced only one failed attempt at flight, ATF has also had drone missions flown by DHS and FBI, although the record-keeping of all three agencies is too dodgy to count them.
It’s the bad managers at ATF that make things hard for the other percent. But now that they’ve blown over a million dollars on drones without anything to show for it, they’ve decided what they really need is a drone needs analysis.
So that they can justify buying moar dronez. Words fail.
ITEM: ATF Agent, AUSA Corruption & Affair sink cases
Last month, a Federal judge threw ATF agent Lou Valoze and AUSA Cameron Ippolito out of the Southern District of Georgia courts for a long-standing affair and related corruption that has tainted every prosecution to emerge from Valoze’s long string of “storefront stings” in the area. Some 332 cases are in jeopardy (200 involving the dynamic duo directly and 132 more involving Ippolito and Valoze’s subordinate agents), and it appears that the two lovers systematically and routinely lied to judges, which judges tend not to like (although you’d think they’d have gotten used to it). An OIG investigation continues, but so far, no consequences for the two crooked Feds. The defendants they lied into jail aren’t happy, and an interesting detail in that same story: Valoze and Ippolito are both married, just not to each other.
It’s possible that some of the criminals Valoze and Ippolito teamed up to incarcerate will stay in, but if so, it will be despite their dishonest efforts.
It was defense attorney Amy Lee Copeland who exposed the Ippolito/Valoze affair, forcing US Attorney Ed Tarver, who had long known of and tolerated it, to admit it to the court.
ITEM: Another US Attorney in Love / Trouble
Amanda Marshall, US Attorney for Oregon, was involuntarily put on leave early this month after credible allegations emerged that she was stalking one of her subordinates.
And that’s not all….
…it looks like even Interpol is rotten to the core, as another tale of nepotism and corruption teaches us. Which might be a good time to wrap this post up.
This post has been edited since going live on 271800 Mar 2015. Two more examples have been added to the initial section on the Veterans Administration, thanks to tips in the comments and email.
Well, you could ask Marco Dorfsman (amusingly called Draftsman in one place in the story — Damn You Autocorrect!), and he could tell you.
In December of 2012, Dorfsman altered the student evaluations of his colleague, French lecturer Emilie Taplin, by lowering her student evaluation scores. Court documents state that Dorfsman changed the average scores for every class Taplin taught that semester, as well as her overall average awarded by students. The tampering made it appear that her performance fell below acceptable limits for her department, court documents state.
Taplin’s contract for re-employment for the 2013 calendar year was still under consideration and had not been renewed as of the time Dorfsman altered her student evaluations. In January, Dorfsman said he came forward with what he had done.
“Last December I had what I can only say was an emotional breakdown and I did a terrible thing,” Dorfsman said in an email sent to colleagues on April 19, 2013. “I lost my judgment and in a moment of great stress I tampered with a colleague’s student evaluations.”
The Professional Standards Committee of the Faculty Senate terminated Dorfsman in May 2013 due to “moral turpitude” after an investigation.
But wait! If you were to, as we’re always saying, Read The Whole Thing™, you’d see that it’s not necessarily over. Dorfsman fought the firing, and an independent arbitrator let him stay — even while noting that his underhanded attack on Prof Taplin’s reputation (the reason for which attack is not stated, but we reckon we can guess) not only jeopardized her job (we can not find her listed as current UNH faculty) but also her work visa, which was contingent on the job.
A judge has, on appeal by the University, reinstated Prof Dorfsman’s firing, and rejected a motion for reconsideration. Dorfsman may now appeal to a higher court.
From time to time we encountered the guy in SF who had all the tools to excel in SF but instead displayed what our society once was not ashamed to call what the university has called it in this case — “moral turpitude” (a term that can be a legal term of art with a very narrow meaning, but we’re using it in its broadest and most general sense). Sometimes he had buddies and teammates and even leaders who would go to bat for him, but these cases never ended well (one such has just been an occasion for an enlightening backchannel discussion with a distinguished retired SF officer). The right answer always is the same: give the guy leave and impetus to go excel elsewhere.
Prof Dorfsman may feel terrible about what he did, and he may be bound and determined never to commit such a misdeed again. But there is a bell he can’t unring here; a change of horizons may give him a chance to rebuild his reputation, but UNH should not.
We note that even Michael A. Bellesiles, stripped of the Bancroft Prize when his book Arming America: Origins of a National Gun Culture was exposed as an academic fraud (Clayton Cramer played a major role in this exposure), has been rehabilitated, sort of: a college unconcerned with academic integrity has given him a job; his original, bogus book has been republished in all its fraudulent glory by a Communist publishing house; a new book published to glowing reviews (and nearly nil sales) by a New York house which loves his ideology enough to overlook his scholarship, and uncritical, slobbering tonguebaths in the New York Times and Chronicle of Higher Education. Even though Bellesiles has been exposed as a fraud again, in an article he wrote for his friends at the Times. Even though some writers clearly no longer trust him and don’t accept his supporters’ claims that it’s all because of a “swiftboating campaign by the NRA” (which also forgets that the Swift Boat officers and men had the truth of it, and Secretary/Senator Kerry is the one who has been dishonest about his past).
So Dorfsman has a way forward: emulate Bellesiles by attacking what academics everywhere abjure (like gun owners, in Bellesiles’s case) and praising what they adore (like central government control of things like guns). Will he do that?
Before we could even take the post live, Dorfsman is activating that exact exit strategy. Here he is on twitter, seeing raaaaacism (with the obligatory 5 a’s) everywhere:
note, we’re having a hard time getting images to load at the moment. Bear with us).
…and here he is, praising socialism.
Yeah, it just hasn’t been tried hard enough. You know, by all those sissies. Like Mao. And Stalin. No real surprise, that a guy who would falsify documents to injure another teacher at his own university thinks he’s entitled to Other People’s Money.
On 24 March, no doubt in response to the hyperventilating around the more suspicious end of the libertarian blogosphere, the US Army Special Operations Command issued a press release about exercise JADE HELM 15.
The title of the release mentions that this is about preparing at home for threads abroad, and it goes on to say:
USASOC periodically conducts training exercises such as these to practice core special warfare tasks, which help protect the nation against foreign enemies. It is imperative that Special Operations Soldiers receive the best training, equipment and resources possible.
While multi-state training exercises such as these are not unique to the military, the size and scope of Jade Helm sets this one apart. To stay ahead of the environmental challenges faced overseas, Jade Helm will take place across seven states. However, Army Special Operations Forces (ARSOF) will only train in five states: Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. The diverse terrain in these states replicates areas Special Operations Soldiers regularly find themselves operating in overseas.
The training exercise will be conducted on private and public land with the permission of the private landowners, and from state and local authorities. In essence, all exercise activity will be taking place on pre-coordinated public and private lands.
Do go Read The Whole Thing™, especially if someone has told you the sky is falling. It is not, Mr Little. Everything in that release is ex cathedra stuff that was approved by the boss or his representative for public release, not our informed speculation. (Although we can’t help boasting it tracks our informed spec pretty closely).
More informed speculation follows.
Why are these exercises spread out over such a large area? Because, in wartime, the operation of a Joint Special Operations Task Force (JSOTF) can cover a large, even continental area. (While the exact alignments of SF Groups, Theater Special Operations Commands, and other elements is classified, it’s not rocket surgery to figure out the general areas of responsibility).
Moreover, single SOF missions may involve long, intricate and arduous infiltration/exfiltration means using multiple services’ equipment and personnel. (For example, a flight of over 1,000 miles, with a parachute jump at the end, and the a/c having to fly 1,000 more miles to get home, is not out of the question).
A parachute infiltration is not just training for the jumpers, but it’s training for the aviators and mission planners, too. The skills involved in flying 600 miles to a blind (i.e. unlit, no radio beacon) dropzone you’ve never seen before at low level are completely different from the skills used to run six minute racetracks around Holland DZ at Fort Bragg, or to hold formation on a mass-tactical drop of the 82nd Falling Horde on the much larger Sicily DZ.
Infiltration means are not the only system that needs to be thoroughly shaken out in peacetime exercises, in order to be able to count on it in wartime contingencies. Communications systems also need distance to be tested, especially satellite and HF burst transmissions.
Compare to big combined-arms exercises: while the tankers think that they’re the ones being exercised, at higher HQs they’re sweating the logistics of drawing prepositioned armor or moving units on or off railheads. A well-developed exercise shakes down every echelon and every enabling support function in some way.
In addition to these enabling technologies, one would expect SOF elements in JADE HELM 15 to conduct strategic reconnaissance, direct action, and guerrilla warfare training.
Frankly, we’re pleased to see such a large and sophisticated exercise taking shape. It tells us that SOF is off the back-to-back-deployment treadmill and is able to hone its edge with realistic and effective training again.
That’s a good thing.
How a blogger, an FFL, a dad and a grand-dad ganged up across the nation to show a Boy Scout a Good Deed of the Day. Now, the Story Can Be Told, as a Hollywood narrator might say.
It begins with a boy approaching a milestone in life and in scouting: Eagle Scout. The top level in Scouting, Eagle is achieved by a relatively small minority of Scouts. Kyle was proud of his accomplishment, and his dad wanted to do something for him. Knowing that Kyle was into guns, Dad heard about a Boy Scout commemorative that Ruger had made. Finding ads for it online, he called number after number only to find… nope, sorry. We forgot to take down the ad. He went to his local FFL, Moti Adika of MASA Firearms in Coral Springs, FL, a guy with a strong Israeli accent. Moti knew the gun, and knew the market — and he told the Dad, gently but unmistakably, that he was screwed.
You see, that commemorative was offered for one year only — five years ago, in 2010. Gun distributors and dealers buy guns to resell, not to keep, and if your inventory takes five years to turn over, you’re not going to make it as a dealer of guns or anything else. “I’ll keep my eye on the auctions,” is something like what Moti said, “but you better not count on it.”
So dejected Dad mentions it to Granddad Bill, his father-in-law. They get on like a house on fire anyway — Dad’s a line pilot, and Granddad Bill is a retired Army pilot, and they both like guy stuff, Mom, and the grandkids.
“Wait a minute,” says Granddad Bill. “I know a guy who knows guns.” and he sends an email to your humble blogger.
But the email crosses the wires as Weaponsman.com is relocating south to deal with family turbulence. It goes unread. But South turns out to be kind of diagonally a couple of streets over from Granddad Bill, and soon enough Weaponsman and the former Hook driver are at lunch with Weaponsdad and another buddy.
“Hey,” says Weaponsdad. “Did you ever answer Granddad Bill’s email?”
“Wha?” Weaponsman intelligently replies around a sandwich of some type.
And the facts about the Dad’s urgent need for a weapons intervention lest the Dad have to conceive a Plan B for an Eagle Scout gift.
“No problem. I’ve got this for action,” Weaponsman intones, his eyes smiling behind his WileyX’s. Because this is going to be easy, right? Most commemorative guns stay NIB for decades. Most of them have examples in the secondary market all the time. And none of these soi-disant collector’s items ever seem to appreciate much, compared with real collectors’ items.
We learn about the rifle. It’s a nice looking thing, with a better than standard walnut stock, a schnabel forearm, and some Boy Scout markings. It’s quite the “attaboy,” and all we need to do now is find one.
We strike out. Our favorite FFL strikes out, and reaches out to his distributors.
They laugh at him. “We just had a guy from Florida asking.” Moti? “We laughed at him, too.”
Hey, anything to bring a smile to your face, you know? That leaves the auction sites. We hit the best and brightest, Gunbroker.
The former Auction Arms, now GunAuction.com, the NRA’s preferred auction site.
And so on down the list, with synonyms for zero piling up. We even thought about trying GunsAmerica, even though they’re assclowns and we don’t trust them as far as we could throw them, but decided that some principles are stronger than helping a Boy Scout.
So we set some snares on the auction sites and take out the 18F google-fu. Like the Dad before us, we find lots of ads. “Oh, crap, what’s the URL for that ad? We sold out of those in about a year.”
Then, the klaxon goes off. One has been listed on GunBroker! Initial bid $550, open auction. It was a nice one, in apparently new condition, with all the paperwork and junk that comes with a new one:
Some Strategic Bidding Tips
This is how we bid on that gun in order to buy it successfully, make a Scout and his Dad happy, and avoid any suggestion of a legal violation.
- First, in a case like this where you’re bidding for friends, make sure they’re friends you trust. Your credibility on the auction site is at risk. If you win the auction and the actual buyer taps out, you’re left holding the bag (which you can only rescue by buying the gun yourself and having it delivered to you, or making an arrangement with the seller).
- Second, when multiple guys know that someone is looking for a specific gun, coordinate lest you bid against one another. It didn’t take Moti any longer to find the BSA rifle auction than it took us; he advised The Dad to set up a GB account and bid himself. Three-way coordination was necessary to be sure than only one of us bid on the auction, so as not to drive the price artificially high for a single customer.
- Third, in an interstate deal, take pains not to violate Federal and state law. This deal involved domiciliaries of three states: IL, FL, and NH. Rather than buy and take possession of and deliver the gun, we chose to simply bid on behalf of the buyer, who isn’t likely to use GunBroker enough to establish a login of his own. If you buy a gun for someone else, that’s potentially a straw purchase, even if the end user of the gun is definitely not a prohibited person. (ATF prefers to pursue cases like this than actual violent criminals; in one case, they put an FBI agent in prison for buying his father a Glock to get the LE discount). So in this case, we just bid for The Dad. He bought the gun himself, sending the check to the listing dealer, and receiving it from his own dealer, Moti. We never touched the money or the gun, and it did its interstate travel from IL FFL to FL FFL — it’s even more on the up-and-up than it needs to be. Do not count on your being an honest person to protect you… make it tough for a dishonest ATF agent to screw you.
- Fourth, an early bid in a long auction just signals your interest and brings out competing bidders. It’s some bizarre group effect of human psychology that relatively few want to be the first penguin in the water, but great swathes of the public will happily dive in once the first one has taken the plunge. So bid late.
- Fifth and Finally, don’t let an item you want slip away because you only made one bid, and don’t overpay because you got caught up in the heat of a bidding cycle. Decide what the gun is worth to you before you make the bid, and set a max bid of that amount. That both ensures you won’t lose it to a bid you’d have outbid if you could have, and just as importantly acts as a cold-blooded check on the tendency to bid in hot blood. (This is just like setting abort criteria for a mission, or a pilot setting a missed approach point on an instrument approach — it has to be done in advance, in cold blood, fixed and briefed, and then adhered to rigidly).
As it happens, no one else bid on the Scout commemorative, and it was The Dad’s for the minimum bid of $550. With Fedex shipping, it came to $571. It’s enroute to him, per the Fedex tracking number.
And the Scout? He doesn’t even suspect it’s coming. Heh.
Kevin was a former Special Forces weapons man (MOS 18B, before the 18 series, 11B with Skill Qualification Indicator of S). His focus was on weapons: their history, effects and employment. He started WeaponsMan.com in 2011 and operated it until he passed away in 2017. His work is being preserved here at the request of his family.