Friday, September 28, 2007

A great line...

Over at Flopping Aces, Wordsmith has provided us with an excellent line:
Do you see that bumpersticker that says "Department of Peace"? We have that dept. already. It's called "The Department of Defense".

Amen to that. People don't start fights when they think they're gonna get their asses kicked.

Face it, sanctions won't cut it...

The military dictatorship in Burma is not going to be hurt by sanctions. Not when they're willing to crack down on monks. They even killed a Japanese journalist wielding nothing but a camera.

There's only one thing the generals in Burma are going to understand, and that's an ass-kicking.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Why Louisiana is right...

Louisiana's law allowing prosecutors to seek the death penalty for child rapists is facing a possible Supreme Court challenge.

Hopefully, the justices will note this Nevada incident when they deliberate the case. These are folks who really cannot be rehabilitated. You either lock `em up for life (which is expensive) or you can make sure they will never hurt a child again (there is no recidivism after capital punishment is imposed on an offender).

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ahmadinejad doubles down...

Seems that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not only a Holocaust denier, he's also a 9/11 Truther!

Maybe people saw him for the nutcase that he is. But when 45% of respondents to a Daily Kos poll say they'd want him as President... one just has to wonder about the left's sanity.

Monday, September 24, 2007


Idris Leppla, a senior at Columbia University, is astonished to learn that the Naval Academy exists to educate future naval officers. (Hat tip to Wizbang.)

To paraphrase the classic line from Billy Madison:

Ms. Leppla, what you've just written is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever read. At no point in your rambling, incoherent article were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone who has laid eyes on your screed is now dumber for having read it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Balkanized Belgium?

Where can you find a political crisis, even though things seem normal? How about Belgium?

Eve Fairbanks has done some pretty good reporting on the situation there. It does seem like those who worry about the EU could be a bit premature. The chaos in Belgium - if things do spiral worse - might bode ill for the EU's attempt to extort Microsoft into surrendering details on its products. Not that such a development would be a bad thing, mind you.

It might be interesting to watch - if only to see the EU squirm.

Actions have consequences...

Columbia University is finding out actions have consequences. Host a Holocaust-denying asshole, face the potential loss of funding.

Now, who could have a problem with that?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Sheets out... the season is in doubt.

If Ben Sheets is gone for the season, the Brewers have probably had it. Other than dealing with some taunting - call it being persecuted for my team's sake - it's not so bad. There was a lot of progress made this year.

Just last year, some injuries sent the team below .500. This year, the injuries knocked the Brewers only out of first place and turned what should have been the NL Central title in a runaway to a loss in the last 1/16 of the season.

Hillary's Dukakis moment...

Michael Dukakis once proudly proclaimed that he was a card-carrying member of the ACLU. We know how that worked out for him in the 1988 general election.

Fast forward to 2007. Hillary Clinton, with her Senate vote, chose to defend's defamatory ad aimed at General Petraeus. Petraeus has a 52% favorable rating - a lot higher than the 11% Congress has. The military in general is also something that 69% of people have at least "quite a lot" of confidence in. Compare that to the 14% Congress gets.

Republicans need to hammer this constantly. The Democrats are undercuttign our military while the country is at war. Most people won't stand for that.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Priorities quiz...

Here is a very simple priorities quiz:
You have a choice to either cheap shot the Vice President of the United States or you can dish some abuse on a head of state who has denied the Holocaust. Do you:

A. Compare the Vice President to one of the worst cinematic villains in history, or
B. Take a hard line against the nutcase head of state, and urge New York to make sure the piece of shit is on his own while he is there.

That is the kind of choice that gets made in 2008. America needs to choose wisely.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

2 Legit 2 Quit...

The Brewers fought their way to a tie for the NL Central lead, and now, the real question is, "How's Ben's hamstring?"

12 games for the Crew left. 10 for the Cubs.

Rickie's back and has been hot, Ryan's treated NL pitching like a bunch of baby seals, Prince has bcome the best slugger in the NL, JJ's broken out, and a bunch of other guys have all stepped up.

2008's dynamics just changed...

In 1995, the dynamics of the 1996 Presidential election changed due to the government shutdowns over GOP efforts to reform Medicare. The Republicans, with the best intentions and in trying to do the right thing, embraced a very poor strategy that enabled Bill Clinton to gain the upper hand in the 1996 election.

The same is happening in 2007, albeit it is not getting the play that the 1995 budget battle did. AJ-Strata has the details. The short version is that the Democrats were essentially banking on the troops to fail - and now that they have NOT failed, but instead have succeeded, the Dems are now in a huge pinch.

Their base is demanding an end to the war, and they have proven they can knock off those who displease them (see the 2006 primary for the U.S. Senate seat in Connecticut). However, in the 2006 general election, Joe Lieberman came back and won as an independent. In essence, the anti-war position is held by a majority of the Democratic primary eelctorate, but it is a very tough sell to the general public - and this was before things like the "General Betray Us" ad.

In essence, the Democrats are now going against the one institution that is held in high regard across a very broad spectrum of the American public. Meanwhile, the Republicans are not only sticking up for the troops and their commander, they are also following the miliary advice they are getting.

The Dems just put themselves into a hole... even though they may not realize it yet.

The EU and Microsoft

Greetings, everyone. Some time ago, my brother Harold invited me to contribute to this blog on an occasional basis, but I never really had the opportunity to do so until now. However, as I've often had to do in person, I need to correct my brother on some rather important points relating to Microsoft's behavior.

Before I begin, I should probably give an idea of my background. I am a computer engineer and UNIX administrator working in the DC area. My personal specialty is in computer and network security. While my primary job responsibilities involve running mostly UNIX and Linux servers, I also work with Windows servers and desktops quite a bit. At home, I have both a Linux machine and a Windows machine, and my laptop runs both Ubuntu Linux and Windows Vista Ultimate. While for day-to-day tasks, I prefer Linux (it's more productive for me), I also fully support using Windows when it's needed.

With all of that said, my brother is way off in his recent post on the EU and Microsoft. This is not akin to saying that Airbus has to hand over all of its blueprints to its competitors. In reality it is far different from that.

The EU case centers around client/server protocols that Microsoft built into Windows. The roots of the case stretch back to the early 1990s, and efforts by Microsoft to break into the server market. Since the 1970s, the server market has been mostly dominated by large mainframes and UNIX servers (with the UNIX servers growing in market share as they replace some mainframes). These servers are large, multi-user machines that would communicate with each other using various protocols (essentially languages used for one machine to talk to another).

During the 1980s, with the arrival of the PC, a new model arose, where single-user machines would also connect to the different servers using different protocols. Because of a series of savvy business deals, Microsoft rose to dominance over the single-user PC market with MSDOS, and later Windows.

In 1993, in an attempt to break into the server market, Microsoft released Windows NT. This used a brand new set of protocols to communicate between Windows desktop PCs and NT-based servers. Microsoft refused to release any information about these protocols, in an attempt to keep other companies from being able to work as easily with NT servers and Windows desktops.

Well, in 1998, SUN Microsystems filed a complaint with the EU because they refused to provide information on the protocols used by NT to communicate between servers and desktops. Essentially, they said that Microsoft was trying to use its dominance in one market (desktop PCs) to dominate another market (servers). Under European law, that is illegal.

Before we continue, it's important to note several things about protocols. As I said before, protocols are like different languages spoken between computers. If you are reading this, it's because your computer supports several different protocols, including TCP (Transmission Control Protocol), IP (Internet Protocol), HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol) and DNS (Domain Name Service). In order for a protocol to work, both the sender and the receiver have to understand the same protocol. Just like two people cannot communicate if one of them only speaks German and the other only speaks Japanese, both a server and a client (desktop) need to understand the same protocol to exchange any information.

Using a variety of tools, you can listen in on the conversations that two computers have using a specific protocol. From there, you can reverse engineer the protocol if you are given enough time. However, this is a very slow and time consuming process. Moreover, it is extremely error prone, and you never know if it is complete. How easy do you think it would be to translate a message from Japanese to English just by listening to a lot of Japanese? Over time you have to guess at what specific sounds mean, and check to see if they are correct. Even then, you never know if you've learned the entire vocabulary. How would you know the word for dog if you've never seen it? In the same way, you can figure out some of a computer protocol, but you never know if it is complete.

To make a long story short, in March 2004, the EU ruled that Microsoft had abused its dominance in the desktop market to influence the server market through refusing to release their communications protocols. Whether you agree with the principle or not, it was in violation of EU law. Microsoft was ordered to release the specifications of their protocols in order to allow their competitors to be able to communicate with their servers. This didn't require source code. It only required that they release the protocols themselves. You can see a good example of how such specifications are usually written by looking at RFC 793: TCP. Notice carefully that there is no source code, only a description of how to talk using the protocol.

Well, Microsoft released a specification for the protocols, but several groups complained to the EU that the specification that Microsoft released was so poorly written as to be almost unusable. After reviewing the complaints and Microsoft's responses, the EU agreed that the complaints were justified. Microsoft was then ordered to release the source code of their implementation so that others could use it to verify compatibility. That doesn't mean that Microsoft's competitors can use Microsoft's code in their products. It only means that they can use Microsoft's code to understand the protocol, and then they still have to write their own code to translate it.

And that is the real debate here. Microsoft broke EU law, law that was in place before Microsoft was ever incorporated. That law applies to all companies that operate within the EU, not just Microsoft. When they were told that they had violated the law, Microsoft then refused to do what was required to fix the problem. As a result, Microsoft now faces harsher penalties than it would have previously.

You don't have to agree with the law, but that doesn't mean that you have a right to ignore it. Microsoft needs to play by the same rules as everyone else, and that means that they have to fulfill their obligations under EU law.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Slow-rolling the troops...

Looks like Democrats are going to just not take up any funding for operations in the Iraqi theater of operations of the Global War on Terror.

It's really the only option they have left. Our troops' success on the ground means that there is no support for cutting and running as the Democratic leadership wants to do. So now, they will have to try other approaches... and this one will have the added benefit of punishing the troops for their success - which derailed the Democrats' plans for political power.

And they claim the support the troops.

I think we know the proper response to such a claim.

Monday, September 17, 2007

EU extorts Microsoft...

OK, imagine the United States told Airbus that as a condition of competing in the United States, they had to provide all their blueprints and documentation to Boeing, Lockheed, and Northrop Grumman.

Well, that's what the EU is telling Microsoft to do.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Another thought exercise...

OK, if someone were to say that one of your best friends "cannot continue [his/her] life", what would you do?

Because, when you boil things down to it, that is what Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is saying, albeit the scale of murder that he has stated his intention to commit is on an international scale.

This guy needs to be told in very blunt terms that if he so much twitches in that fashion, we're gonna blow him to Mars.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My thoughts on the Petraeus hearings...

The best was for me to describe my thoughts about the hearings over the past few days where General Petraeus is to use a cartoon by Michael Ramirez from Investor's Business Daily from this past February.

Harsh? You bet.

Accurate? Just look at the way that the Democrats - particularly the Senators who confirmed Petraeus earlier this year - have acted.

For eight-plus months, they have undercut him in the media at home. They have pronounced his efforts a failure, and have attacked his integrity. All the while they have done this the cut-and-run crowd has sanctimoniously declared that they are patriots and they support the troops. If they opposed the strategy he was going to implement, then why did they confirm him? Would it not have been more honest to just reject his nomination?

If it looks like a stab in the back, sounds like a stab in the back, and smells like a stab in the back... it probably IS a stab in the back.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Six years later . . .

Six years ago, I was in a meeting about two miles from the Pentagon.

It wasn't going well. My client was in a screaming match with a person from a different Navy command.

Suddenly, one of my co-workers came in and dumped the news on us.

What came next is a bit of a blur. I remember seeing the smoke from the Pentagon, a dull sense of panic when I couldn't get a cell phone signal, and rounding up email addresses from other meeting attendees to notify their commanders, employers, and loved ones that they were OK.

What I can't remember is what the screaming match was about.

This post is dedicated to those who put themselves in harm's way for others' sake, and especially to the memory of those who died going up the stairs.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. -- John 15:13

Taliban surrender....

Six years after, 9/11, the Taliban are about to give up.

The troops won this one. Will Congress throw this away, as its leadership seems inclined to do so with Iraq?

Six years since a day of infamy...

It's hard to believe that is has been six years since we were the victims of an unprovoked and dastardly attack. Far too many have forgotten, if you ask me.

On the left, we have people who want to go back to treating terrorism as a law enforcement problem, as we did in the 1990s. Of course, that was a big part of the reason we had 9/11 in the first place, but you just can't say that nowadays, or you are some neocon chickenhawk warmonger.

On the right, we have people who seem far more interested in ideological purity on a bunch of side issues than they are in winning the global war on terror. Not only is this a bad sense of priorities, but it has also led to leadership in Congress that is incompetent at best (at worst, they are determined to inflict a defeat on America in the global war on terror).

The country deserves a hell of a lot better than what it is getting.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Are the immigration hard-liners are crying wolf?

Eve Fairbanks makes a good case that the immigration hard-liners are crying wolf in her column at the Washington Examiner.

This column is a home run that put any of those hit by Rickie Weeks, JJ Hardy, and Ryan Braun in their historic accomplishment yesterday to shame (as the Brewers get back into first).

Her money quote:
Samuelson’s column was supposed to get the goat of people like me, those who both favor a generous immigration policy and feel the poverty of our residents reflects poorly on our country, since we should be able to do better.

But I’m not even on board with his premise — that it’s a bad thing that the number of poor Hispanics is increasing here, as long as they’re not badly influencing our own society. They are better off than they were — a concept that doesn’t enter into Samuelson’s moral calculus.

It's a no-doubt home run of a column.

The decisive battle begins...

The decisive battle of the Iraq Campaign in the Global War on Terror is starting.

In essence, General Petraeus now has to face off against the only entities capable of throwing away the gains of the last eight-plus months of effort: The Senate and House of Representatives.

The anti-war Democrats are already attacking Petraeus, largely because he's about to tell them something they don't want to hear.

Of course, the fact is, the military is the entity the American people trust the most to deal with Iraq. Hence, with the success of the surge, the Democrats now have to take down Petraeus... and it will come down to a fight between an Administration that says the military needs to make the call against a Congressional leadership that seems determined to inflict a defeat on the United States of America.

Friday, September 07, 2007

And they claim they support the troops...

Looking at the reaction from Congressional Democrats, I find it harder and harder to believe them when they say they support the troops.

For instance, look at how the Petraeus report is being delivered. Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois (who supports the troops so much he compares them to Nazi Germany and the Khmer Rouge), has already all but accused General Petraeus of being a puppet. So has the rest of the Democratic leadership.

However, in the era of Google and blogs, one can find "the ground truth" (to use Nancy Pelosi's term) over at Strata-Sphere's Iraq subcategory, which has followed the progress for a while now. Compare the posts there (with links to media reporting) to what you hear from the Democratic leadership, and decide for yourself whether or not Petraeus is being honest.

Incidentally, the Democratic irresponsibility on this issue onlyincreases when you consider the fact that Petraeus is wary of any cutbacks because he believes the gains are fragile. In essence, the Democrats seem to have a perverse desire to throw away our troops' hard-won progress. And they claim they support the troops?

That is nonsense.

Owlgore on a Gulfstream

I'd hate to imagine his carbon footprint based on what Matt Drudge reported.

But he's saving the planet, so I guess he's allowed to.

This Degree of Stupidity Should be Physically Painful

Lynn Woolsey wants us to stop arming and training Iraqi security forces.

Great idea. Stop training the Iraqi security forces, pull US troops out of Iraq, and watch Iraq collapse into --followed by a three or four-sided regional war.

Lynn, please do not take this personally . . . you're an idiot. Nay, you are an imbecile.

To paraphrase the immortal line from Billy Madison:

Woolsey, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Talk about dumb...

If you're gonna murder someone, don't describe the crime you pulled off in a novel.

The UN economic forecast...

Seems the UN is forecasting lower economic growth for the US in an election year.

Now, I am sure the fact that most of the UN Bureaucracy doesn't care for the present administration has little to do with it. Then again... could they be capable of skewing a report to tamper with our domestic politics?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

When you hold all the aces...

Standing pat is a good thing to do.

At this point, the strategy is working - and it's time to keep it moving forward.

Furthermore, this is a defensible position. With the military objectives being achieved, and the progress on the political side, the President's position is comparable to that of Raymond Spruance on June 18, 1944.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Defensetech has it right...

I cannot put my feelings on the CSAR-X controversy better than Defensetech put it last week:
[I]t’s starting to get to the point where the debate has devolved into the arcane world of defense contracting procedure and who dotted which “i” and crossed what “t” and when. At the same time, America has hundreds of thousands of troops worldwide in combat who will need this capability and it may start getting to the point where the bickering comes at the cost of our troops’ lives.

I'm just speaking for Harold here, but if you ask me, it's time to start getting this chopper fielded. In any case, as I have pointed out at Strategypage, the HH-47 blew the competition out of the water. It wasn't my first choice, either, I might add. I favored an HV-22, myself. Why the V-22 didn't get a shot is a mystery to me. But it didn't. That said, we got a darn good rescue chopper that can do the job - if Congress stops the bickering and starts funding.

We have troops in combat who need these choppers. Congress, by bickering, is rapidly approaching dereliction of duty.

The Politico's misleading headline...

The headline at the Drudge Report reads, "Romney Calls Situation in Iraq 'a mess'...", however, a closer look at the story shows that he not only backs the surge, his ultimate goal is success.

Seems the Politico needs some work on headline writing - "Romney says surge just a beginning" would be better, if you ask me.