Kansas Sunset

Sunset through the treesTonight just a picture. I know I”ve been slacking lately. There’s a few things going on at work, and besides it’s Spring and the puppy never tires of chasing her stick and playing “keep away” with me. (The neigbhors watch me sometimes panting raggedly as I chase a blurred streak with a stick in her mouth around the yard…) I’ve got a few articles I’m working queued up, more on the food and energy (primarily energy! Food is just fuel for humans…) crisis, the Fourth Fitna, or Islamic Civil War, and maybe some on Intelligent Design and the stalking horse “Academic Freedom” bills flying left and right.

Kasey is worn out at the moment and sleeping soundly.

USS Michael Murphy: DDG 112

Secretary of the Navy, Donald C. Winter announced on May 7 at a ceremony in Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y., the name of the newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer will be USS Michael Murphy. Designated as DDG 112, the name honors Lt. Michael Murphy who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during Operation Red Wing, in Afghanistan on June 28, 2005.

“Michael Murphy’s name which will be forever synonymous with astonishing courage under fire will now be associated with one of the U.S. Navy’s most technologically advanced, most powerful and most capable warships,” Winter said.

rest of story here.
Who is Michael Murphy?
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10/22/07

This will be my only post on this day.

Here’s to a friend of our country and a friend of all that is good in this world. Here’s to the strength of one of our best cut down on the battlefield fighting against insurmountable odds. Here’s to a man who though wounded and under fire still took the time to say “thank you” before hanging up his satellite-phone after calling for reinforcements against the 30-40 Taliban his four person team was fighting. Here’s to a man who showed mercy and died from it, without regret.

Lt. Michael Murphy, Navy Seal has just been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest honor in this or any other land. Celebrate his life, his virtue, and his courage today, as will I.

Also please do not forget The Navy Seal Memorial

Guns on Campus

Toy guns to be sure, but demonstrators carrying guns while wearing fatiques after the two campus massacres is a bit in poor taste, and I suspect these idiots are doing more to harm their cause than aid it. Stop by Zombietime to view the photos and see if you agree.

Enviros: “Come Out Out Damned Spot!”

Watt’s up with this is still tracking sunspot activity, and as he’s been predicting there’s no joy in Gaeaville. The rest of the story is that with the cooling we will see from lack of sunspots our agricultural growing ranges in both Northern and Southern hemispheres will shrink this year. (previous warming cycles provided bumper crops in agricultural regions.) This will exacerbate the ongoing food inflation, and possibly lead to severe shortages in some regions.

Just a reminder that even if the Sun went out we might have hope with Nuclear energy.

UPDATE: More evidence that a 10-30 year cooling cycle is here.

Butterfly Fly

“The Butterfly”

The last, the very last,
So richly, brightly, dazzlingly yellow.
Perhaps if the sun’s tears would sing
against a white stone. . . .

Such, such a yellow
Is carried lightly ‘way up high.
It went away I’m sure because it wished to
kiss the world good-bye.

For seven weeks I’ve lived in here,
Penned up inside this ghetto.
But I have found what I love here.
The dandelions call to me
And the white chestnut branches in the court.
Only I never saw another butterfly.

That butterfly was the last one.
Butterflies don’t live in here,
in the ghetto.

Pavel Friedman 4.6.1942

This poem is preserved in typewritten copy on thin copy paper in the collection of poetry by the poet, which was donated to the State Jewish Museum during its documentation campaign. Pavel Freidmann was born on January 7, 1921, in Prague and deported to Terezin on April 26, 1942. He died in Aushchwitz on September 29, 1944.

Our Bright Future

It’s easy to accept convential wisdom that we are someway doomed to energy poverty, and in the current environment of over-regulated energy and the impacts to food production I can see why some folks go there. I refuse to because history demonstrates that humanity almost always figures a way to muddle through — that “almost” deserves some consideration, but I won’t dwell on it.

Jerry Pournelle is waxing a bit apocalyptic which is fair given current energy situation, political environment, and the wave of populist pseudo-science sweeping the nation. However as the survivalists of the ’80’s discovered scarcity only gets to pinch middle america so long before there’s a response. Jerry has re-opened discussion on burning food here, and here, both are worth reading.

Jerry’s making a lot of sense in his stance – e.g. if we can’t develop our own sources of energy due to political ennui, then ethanol in all of its ugliness is preferrable to sending our billions to tyrants. Even then Ethanol’s not enough, and we must continue to investigate Hydrogen and other means.

Worst come to worst, we do have energy solutions – if the situation gets to the point where it starts affecting Little League and soccer, then it will get taken care of. We have plenty of inelegant, ugly sources of energy if we choose to use them. Coal use could be ramped up, coal gas could be ramped up, we could drill offshore. We could drill ANWR, we can go after oil shale, we can damn more rivers and creeks – the energy is available given the will and the want.

On the other hand we could remove some prohibitive regulation to build 80-100 new generation Nuclear reactors and plug this gap quickly, cheaply, and cleanly.

Whether it’s food to fuel our bodies or fuel to move our cars, everything comes back to energy availability — and given sufficient cheap energy all things become possible. Whether it’s cleaning our environment or saving the rainforest energy abundance is the key.

The conventional concern over liquid or gaseous fuels is habitual thinking – burning hydrocarbons is how we move our vehicles now but it doesn’t have to be. We really don’t need to burn anything to get our cars to move – we could electrify the major roadways and our cars if we had sufficient energy and zero gas or liquid fuel to burn.

Before you say that’s crazy, electrifying roadways and putting whips and electric meters on cars requires a lot less labor, capital, and infrastructure than paving the roads did during the 1940’s-1980’s, prior to that most roads were unpaved. If we implemented electric roadways on a large scale backed by next generation reactors, then efficient ways to do it would be discovered because that’s just human nature. Our freight could transport on mag-lev rail, and our ships would move with the proven technology of naval nuclear reactors.

The real challenge given zero combustable gases would clearly be aerospace, not ground or sea transport.

Meanwhile there is hope for improved cheap nuclear and enough to satisfy our needs. Huffpo gets math and assumptions egregiously wrong here, but please note that McCain is the only candidate fully backing nuclear energy.

The challenge this year and next is to get congress off their duff – they need to make it less prohibitive to build nuclear energy plants, they need to allow some more drilling as a stop-gap, they need to create a transcontinental high speed rail right-of-way with a power intertie and OC128 Fiber routes in it for kicks.

Solar and wind need more maturing before they replace the proven technologies, and we are about to hit the wall where fuel scarcity starts affecting middle class lifestyle in America in a big way.

Meanwhile the strange bedfellows alliance of global warming activists, greenpeace anti-nuclear groups, ethanol lobbies, and coal lobbies continue to really drive energy policy in this country. You’ve seen the results of that dark cabal of collective political interests over the past 30 years, and you see it echoed in Obama’s speeches on how we have to give up some things. Obama is the candidate of of entropy, ennui, and a low-energy future. It’s time to drive these energy stasists out of politics, it’s time to take your children’s future back from them.

Rites of Spring Roundup

Grab bag for Marxists..

Every May all of the Marxists get out and demonstrate or march. This spring was no exception, and like last year the theme was around Illegal immigration. The Socialists and Communists can’t find many willing supporters of revolution who are home grown US Citizens, so they look to imports for support. I’ve posted the great photo above from Ringo the Gringo because it’s a great combination of looming communism, and the nexus between Black and Latino Liberation Theology.

The marches were all much thinner than announced, and showed much less organization than the ’06 marches which were obviously well-financed. With the rift in the Democrat party and the need for funds for both candidates, the socialists and communists are putting their money elsewhere  – pick a candidate, and it’s not John McCain.

You will see everything from illegal immigrants who just want to be american to demonstrators who support terror organizations (FMLN, Fatah, Anarchists, Communists, some wannabe Direct Action /Black Bloc’ers, and some black and red alliance people.) These are definitely hate America first people.

In the pictures most of the posters are hand printed, and note that many of the professionally made posters and banners you do see are faded, spotted, or blotched in spots – signifying that they’ve been used multiple times already. No nicely printed signs with a nationwide central theme, distributed across the whole country as we’ve seen in the past. (2006 in particular) This points to the disunity in the kaleidescope of socialist, moonbat, and Communist organizations as well as lack of funding. (Nationwide coordinated central themes takes unity as well as money.)

Here are some photjournalistic view of the demonstrations:

Ringo The Gringo (from whom I borrowed the great photo above – sorry mom, I know you like Barack…)

Taliban Update: Suicide Assasination Attempt on Namdar Fails

Namdar\'s Offices BombedThe Taliban affiliated group, Lashkar-e-Islami,  leading the failed efforts in the Khyber Pass sought retribution today with a suicide bomber attack on one of their Tribal opponent’s offices. The blast killed several, but Namdar was not present so like the Karzai attempt it was a strike-out.

Namdar led the tribal turning that destroyed the recent Taliban efforts to block the Khyber and interdict supplies to the US forces North in Afghanistan. More from NDTV:

Several people were feared killed on Thursday when a suicide bomber blew himself up at the office of an Islamic group in Pakistan’s restive Khyber Agency, officials said.

The suicide bomber targeted the office of the ”Amar bil maroof wa nahee aanelmunkar” (promotion of virtue and prevention of vice force), the religious police of a group led by Haji Namdar at Bara, the main town of the northwestern Khyber Agency.

A spokesman for Haji Namdar said the head of the suicide bomber has been found.

Official sources said Haji Namdar was the actual target of the attack though he escaped unhurt. He is a rival of Mangal Bagh Afridi, another radical leader who heads the Lashkar-e-Islam group.

The sources said they feared the death toll could rise as several of the injured were in a critical condition. The seriously injured were rushed to hospitals in Peshawar, capital of the North West Frontier Province.

When the Taliban first announced their plans in the Khyber I predicted doom for them since there are too many vested tribal interests in the area, and they are not going to allow outside interference in their region. The Wazirs lost miserably, tucked their tails and ran into a trap where they were killed. They will undoubtably continue to seek retribution, but if that goes on much longer they might stir up something they don’t like. The Khyber agency tribes are cunning and they are better trained and more capable than the Taliban — they aren’t going to put up with this.

In other news Syed at Asia times details the failed attack on Karzai, making it out to be more than it was, the important nugget here is the cooperation between Hekmatyar and Haqqani. That indicates to me that the Afghanistan Taliban are more stressed than portrayed, and it also indicates the source of their arms. Hekmatyar has long ties to elements in Iran, and he is their agent of instability in Afghanistan.

While Syed portrays the actions as smart, the reality is that failed efforts kill innocents, and steel more of the Pashtun against the Taliban. The fact that they are now working tight with Hekmatyar again isn’t going to win them friends either.

In a more recent article Asia times details the alignment of Taliban forces and leaders, but the reality is that they are down to fourth and fifth string leaders. Callow, inexperienced rookies for the most part, who will crumble now that the surge is on and the marines have landed.

The Spring offensive this year will be against the Taliban, not by the Taliban. They will try to slip small groups north, attack aid workers and other soft targets, I expect night visits to villages and school burnings as usual, but they can’t mount an effective campaign. They will try to grab headlines in other words rather than try to win.

Al Qaeda in Somalia Leader Dies in Air Strike

Aden Hashi Ayro, Al Qaeda’s named leader in Somalia, was Killed in an air strike. AP was called by an Al Qaeda source who gave them the information:

The American military launched an airstrike Thursday targeting the head of al-Qaida in Somalia, a U.S. defense official said. The head of an Islamic insurgent group said the attack killed its leader.
Islamist leader Aden Hashi Ayro, believed to be the head of al-Qaida in Somalia, was killed when the airstrike struck his house in the central Somali town of Dusamareeb, about 300 miles north of Mogadishu, said Sheik Muqtar Robow, a spokesman for the Islamic al-Shabab militia.

Another commander and seven others were also killed, Robow said. Six more people were wounded, two of whom later died, said resident Abdullahi Nor.

“Our brother martyr Aden Hashi, has received what he was looking for—death for the sake of Allah—at the hands of the United States,” Robow told The Associated Press by phone.

Aden Hashi Ayro killed four aid workers, was trained by AQ in Afghanistan in the 90’s, and this is a major blow against the Islamic Courts and Shabab terrorist organizations in Somalia. In other exploits he dug up an Italian colonial-era cemetary and erected a mosque in its place, and sheltered Al Qaeda transiting the region.
More at The Long War Journal
More here at Reuters.