Monday, December 31, 2007

The Loss Of A Leader

The aftermath of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto is about as messy as one would expect from a Muslim state. Her party is blaming Musharraf for her death while the government is busy blaming Al Qaeda.

Accounts of her death varied. First she was shot and then the shooter blew himself up. The next story to surface was she was killed by shrapnel from the bomb. The next variation was she died as a result of blunt trauma brought on by hammering her head into the sun roof latch from the force of the blast. All of these accounts and more have made the rounds.

The first complaint from the Bhutto camp accused the government of not providing sufficient security while she campaigned. That may or may not have been the case, but the government’s answer that no one else in her bullet and bomb proof car was injured by the blast; only her when she presented the assassin a target by rising through the sun roof to wave to supporters. I think that one goes to the government.

Video showing a man firing a pistol at her has surfaced. I find it immediately suspect. In this day of hi-tech cinematography, the video was obviously available immediately after the assault. Why has it taken this long to surface? Not only are videos immediately available, they can also be altered significantly. A modern computer, an off-the-shelf software package, and a little time (say 5 days or so) is all it takes.

Lastly we come to the post-mortem, or lack thereof. The released medical report noted an “open head injury with depressed skull fracture, leading to cardiopulmonary arrest.

There has been no autopsy and the reasons are murky. The doctors say the police prohibited the examination. Not so say the cops, they would not prevent a post, but it was up to the family to order one. The widower having accused the government of complicity in his wife’s death, said he wouldn’t trust a government autopsy, hence he didn’t insist on one.

So far the established facts are these:

Benazir Bhutto is dead at the hands of a person or persons yet to be identified. Whether by bullet wound or blunt trauma caused by her head slamming into the sun roof latch is, in my mind, immaterial. I will reconsider my opinion if a bullet is recovered from the corpse and matched to a weapon.

She died as a direct result of exposing herself to a throng of people lining the roadway being traveled by her motorcade. No amount of security forces can protect an assassination target if the target does not look after her own well being.

The electorate of the Middle-East prefer bullets and bombs over ballots. The world is poorer by one beautiful, very talented woman.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

From Those Wonderful Folks Who Brought You The Second All-DOD Outdoor Invitational Circle Jerk

It is time for the citizenry to get seriously involved in the military promotion system. The Southwest Asia fiasco and its attendant waste can be laid largely at the feet of general officers who become politician’s lap dogs rather than tell them what they want is truly beyond doing.

I’ve ranted about our shortcomings in that theater for a few years now. Nothing new there. What I’m carping about today is the current combat aircraft procurement program.

The venerable F-15 doesn’t have the life expectancy touted by the military back when. The whole fleet of the –A -B -C –D are grounded for structural problems. In days gone by another bird in the same type could be pressed into service. No more. The F16s are deployed for the most part and the F-22 is just coming off the assembly line.

Forces assigned to pad alert here at home are stretched to the limit. The California ANG is covering the whole West Coast. Isn’t that just peachy? In the event of an aerial terrorist attack the defense of 48 million people will be in the hands of men are not exactly front line quality. Makes me feel all warm and toasty inside, it does.

I pointed this problem out back when the Navy, at long last, retired the F-14. The new bird of choice and the only one fit for carrier operations is the new F/A-18 Super Hornet. A single problem causing the grounding of the model reduces the USN to being just one more frigate navy. Those kajillion dollar carriers will be about as useful as a side saddle on a pig.

I know it is expensive to maintain each aircraft model, and the logistics of deploying multiple aircraft boggle the mind. I know whereof I speak, as I took a ride to the Western Pacific back in the day. The Ticonderoga CVA14 hauled 2 models of fighters, 2 models of conventional attack aircraft, and one of heavy (read nuclear armed) attack, a number of different variants of the venerable AD, some modified Anti-submarine aircraft, and rescue helicopters. The ship's storage compartments were jammed deck to overhead with goodies to keep all that equipment serviceable.

Putting all the eggs in one basket has been an unsound practice since long before the advent of aircraft, maybe even fire arms. Someone came to their senses a few years ago when it was proposed that all B2 bombers be assigned to a single base. That didn’t happen and the US still has the heavy bomber fleet widely dispersed. Too bad that thinking wasn’t at hand when the F-20 proposal was shot down.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The News On Thursday

It’s been some time since I commented on the ridiculous items appearing in the news. Looking at today’s idiocy, I think it is high time I did.

The first thing catching my eye was the vigilantism aimed at the Drew family of Dardenne Prairie, MN. Mrs. Drew was the one who perpetrated a hoax that is thought to be instrumental in a 13 year old girl’s suicide. The Drews are being shunned by neighbors and their home is a target for vandalism. Minnesota is that part of the Bible Belt that believes in the old testament dictum of an “eye for an eye” obviously.

The next little tidbit is about the RC distributing a coloring book warning youngsters about pederasty on the part of the priesthood. I’m surprised parents allow their children to attend church functions if the situation is that grim. They sure wouldn’t let the kiddies go to school if teachers were such a threat that the school districts had to warn their students on such matters.

Then there’s an article on the hazards of commercial flight due to taxiing accidents. Aging infrastructure and overworked air controllers are fingered for the condition. Let’s see; I’ll bet some of that trillion plus dollars that went down the sewer in Iraq could alleviate the problem.

Then there is an article bewailing the rise in teen age birth rate. Not to worry, one government spokeswoman announced that the teen age birthrate diminishes significantly once the kids reach twenty. The Dems are blaming that and the rise in STD infections on the lack of teaching about contraception and the use of condoms. To appease the fundamentalist right, all of the federal sex education funding has been aimed at teaching abstinence. Right. Kids are curious and are going to experiment. Sex N Drugs N Rock & Roll was not only a 70s phenomena.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Belkin 1 Netgear 0

My roomies are night owls. Fortunately I don’t share their proclivities so I was abed the other night when the power surge came along. More importantly all of my equipment was off. The roomie who using his desktop at the time suffered a catastrophic failure. The machine will no longer come on. Dead. Right. There. As it were.

Rather than attempting to repair it, he replaced it with a Fry’s special which cost him a whopping $249.99. Plus the Governator’s share, of course. And it came with MS OS Vista. Boo! Hiss! I have yet to hear one positive comment on it, and I certainly am not going to buck public opinion.

The household set-up is Comcast broad band which usually has a downlink speed in excess of 3 Mbs. Ample for all of us, so it is set up on Wi-Fi. I attempted to download the Vista compatible driver for his existing wireless adapter, but it is not supported for the OS.

Off he went back to Fry’s and picked out a Netgear wireless USB adapter that cost him well over eighty iron men. A bit pricey, but the box clearly stated that it was Vista capable.

There is capable and then there’s capable. The device came with a CD which had drivers for Win 2K and XP among others, but not Vista. To get the Vista drivers one needed to download them. Now there’s a conundrum; how’n the heck are you supposed to download before you establish connectivity? (If you work that one out give me a call. The number is still 1(800)32JESUS) To top that off, customer service was also online. Product support was effectively out of reach.

Using my desk top, I downloaded the drivers onto my flash drive, and using sneaker-ware I attempted to install it to the new machine to no avail. At this point I was ready to nominate Bill Gates to be The Great Satan and Netgear’s marketing gerbils as Lesser Satans.

Back off to Fry’s for a refund and another adapter. This time I went along and picked a less pricey Belkin thinking that in worst case we could always move the computer closer to the modem for a direct Cat 5 hookup. That proved unnecessary as it installed on first try, having the proper driver on the accompanying CD.

He was on the net within ten minutes of opening the packaging. For $50 less, mind you. The point in this case is price is no guideline as to value.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?