Are We Going Nuclear?

Three years ago I wrote my thoughts on the a sort of endgame for the war on terror. I argued it would “end” (terror will always be with us, we’re human and that won’t change) sooner rather than later with a nuclear strike.

Well, there was a story out a day or two ago about the US military “losing track” of several ballistic missiles. I saw the headline, glanced at the article and moved on. Too much work, soccer practice planning etc. (gets back to my thoughts on “what was it like during…).

Today I read this observation in the Atlantic Free Press which tries to connect the dots a bit.  Are we positioning the weaponry at Barkdale for future use?  Let’s stay tuned.

Losing My Religion

The unquestioned life is not worth living – Socrates

This article by LA Times reported William Lobdell really resonated with me.  Among other things, it touches on a few of the areas connected to religious faith that I find troubling.

I just finished watching Deliver Us From Evil last week.  As a father of two sons and a daughter, I couldn’t help but be enraged watching the exchange with the father who’s daughter was molested by a priest.  The priest was a family friend and molested the man’s daughter on more than one occasion in the man’s own home.  Watch as the man says forget the term “molestation,” that sugar coats it.  His daughter, around 6 years old, was raped and sodomized by this monster.

It’s one bad apple you say, don’t let it spoil the bunch.  Then explain the behavior of the church going to unimaginable lengths to avoid rooting out this cancer and instead doing everything in its power to protect and shield these sick, twisted motherfuckers.

I’m crushing keys just thinking about this holy hell.  And this is how the church deals with its innocents, its children.  Not in my world.  Not then, not now, not ever.

Go For It Michel!

Awesome stuff

Everything Is Sexy About Air Travel Today

Manwich

 “There’s nothing sexy about air travel today…” Owen Thomas, Valleywag

I think Owen’s looking in all the wrong places.  The presence of cheerleaders and “god-mayor” Gavin Newsom is just putting lipstick on a pig.  Our major airports and a large segment of commercial carriers are near or at the breaking point.  Seemingly a day doesn’t go by this summer without another story of record flight delays, record airport congestion – on and on.

As with most good things in life though, you have to know where to look to find them.  To find the sexy stuff in air travel you have to look at smaller regional airports and  smaller aircraft.  The trend started with fractional jet ownership and gathered steam with jet card programs.  As Adam Smith noted, “Today’s luxuries are tomorrow’s necessaries.”

That’s why at Jetworx we’re working on Networked Charter – networking people to share a charter flight.  If we can crack the code of networking folks with similar flight itineraries and finding capacity for the unused leg if any, the pricing becomes very competitive.  Will it ever rival JetBlue pricing?  Probably not, but it doesn’t have to.  The flight experience is so far superior that it should command some premium over the typical routine of being thrown together with a few hundred other folks in a jet designed to maximize ASM, not your comfort and enjoyment (though I do appreciate that JetBlue legroom).

And with the boom in private jet travel, you have the natural by-product of available empty legs.  The majority of flights flown using a jet card are one ways.  That’s because you’re better off financially booking a round trip charter on your own.  So you have all these one way drop offs, but the jets usually have to fly the return leg back to base.  Enter the empty leg.  If you can find one that matches your plans – or ideally yours and those of a few others – they can be a great deal.  Sexy!

You want more sexiness?  Very Light Jets (VLJs) hold promise of truly changing the face of air travel.  We don’t have a critical mass of these little guys in flight yet to determine if their promise will be fully realized, but there’s big players and big money fighting hard here.  Cessna’s Mustang, Eclipse’s 500 and Adam’s A700 are just a few.  Honda is working their magic and could have a winner on their hands very soon.

More sexy?  How about inside the cockpit?  Technology has redefined the way jets – hell even little single prop puddle jumpers – are flown.  Names like Avidyne and Garmin are making flight displays that are nothing short of revolutionary.  And how about a parachute for your plane?  Cirrus and BRS can hook you up, literally.

Are you seeing this sexy stuff at SFO on Continental?  Probably not, but it’s out there, you just have to know where to look.  Now you know how to start making air travel sexy again.  Don’t let the boss have all the fun.

Oh the picture?  I’m not sure if it was Owen’s recipe, but there’s your man-sandwich.  Enjoy!

War Is Hell. Or Why My Lai Always Confused Me

War is Hell. – Gen. William T. Sherman

Years ago when reading and learning about the Vietnam War, I was struck over the historical revulsion to the My Lai massacre. I bet you could examine any war and find a similar event or events. What struck me was the outrage directed at the men involved. We all know what happened was horrific, assuming you’re a moral person. But I was puzzled over the surprise that it happened at all.

What I understood at a young age was that these actions did not take place in a vacuum. They took place during a guerilla war. Stand in the boots of a bunch of 19, 20, hell even 30, 35 year old soldiers fighting a ghost. The enemy is there, the enemy is gone. These people are friendly, no the just set us up for an ambush. And on and on.

Existing under these conditions seems likely to produce behavior exactly like that which took hold in My Lai. Maybe not full time. But certainly it would produce, at minimum, short violent convulsions like My Lai, if for nothing more than releasing the crushing fear of your own mortality that shadows you through every rice paddy in Vietnam or dusty road in Iraq. I would like to think I would know good from evil, but I’m not going to deceive myself. It would become blurry at best certain moments. And that’s all it takes.

Here’s a quote from Gen. Colin Powell that gets right to the heart of the matter, “”I mean, I was in a unit [the Americal Division] that was responsible for My Lai. I got there after My Lai happened. So, in war, these sorts of horrible things happen every now and again, but they are still to be deplored.” (emphasis mine)

This article got me to thinking again about soldiers, fighting, and the transformation to killers. Unfortunately, I think it’s inevitable for survival in situations like this. So long as people thousands of miles away commit young men and women to war, it will always devolve into kill or be killed.  So let’s squelch the outrage.  It’s happened before, it’s happening now, and it will happen in every future war.

So while those of us out of harms way can continue to “deplore” such behavior, it won’t change a thing.  It’s human nature.  As long as we fight wars, deplorable things will continue to happen.  Let’s just drop the feigned outrage.

Now Go Enforce It

 

You could see this coming a mile away when the Leegin decision was handed down.  It would seem the burden/expense should be on the manufacturer to track down its contractual client that’s responsible for passing along underpriced goods.

If the ebay seller has no contractual relationship to the manufacturer where is the cause of action?  Those pushing for the Leegin-like laws (alliterate!) didn’t think through the real world implications of their enforcement.  Talk about a can of worms.

I’m Not a Plastic Bag

The last thing this and this are about is being friendly to the planet. A woman at the Montclair, NJ store summed it all up with this gem, “It’s status, my dear.” Yeah, waiting in a long line in front of a Whole Foods Market on a rainy day with a throng of other wet folks captures my idea of status.

And check out this “green preen” from the designer’s website:

We have shipped the bags by sea and carbon offset our production and freight through the purchase of carbon credits.