09. March 2006 · Comments Off on Some notes on Project Runway: Season 2 · Categories: That's Entertainment!

Well, contrary to my earlier prediction, Daniel Vosovic did not win; Chloe Dao (who was my initial favorite) did. Although, in his defense, he had the most pieces that were workable as daywear, rather than haute couture.

But she won by virtue of her professionalism, a quality Daniel V. and Santino most surely lacked, and she shares with Kara Saun – the “runner up” – from last season.

Overall, while there was some quite stunning work here, fashion design is very much like automotive (or general industrial) design (something I’m much more familiar with): You either work for yourself, for your customer, the illuminati, or the general public. In this season’s (whole) crowd, there was neither a Wendy Pepper (“The Longshot”), with great marketability but no original thought, or a Jay McCarroll, with both a unique view, and a general marketability.

09. March 2006 · Comments Off on Entertainment Trivia For 03/09/06 · Categories: Fun and Games, That's Entertainment!

OK, this should be an easy one for any of you willing to admit to occasionally liking to dress up in pointy ears or a funny forehead:

By far, the record for performing the most guest roles in the Star Trek franchise, is held by this actor.

But tell us, Andrew V.: what sort of Trekkie garb do you have stuck in the back of your closet? 😉

A Qualified Congratz to reader Andrew V. (see comments).

09. March 2006 · Comments Off on The Incredible Shrinking Rain Forest · Categories: Ain't That America?, Politics

Do you recall the “rain forest” in Iowa from last year’s pork-laden transportation bill? Well, it seems as though all is not paradise with that project:

Yet despite the high profile of the project and Sen. Grassley’s generous boost, the Environmental Project has not raised a dime in private financial backing, at least none that has been announced publicly. Moreover, the management of the project has been widely criticized for missing numerous deadlines, switching architects in midstream and strong-arming the local government in Coralville over land-use and municipal-financing issues.

Meanwhile, the burn rate has been considerable. According to Department of Energy records, the Environmental Project has drawn down $3,735,558 in federal funds, as well as, according to Environmental Project Director David Oman (a former AT&T executive and one-time Republican gubernatorial candidate who earns a salary of $210,000), the entire $10 million donation by Mr. Townsend.

The growing perception in the state that the project was, if not a boondoggle, then a money pit, led Sen. Grassley to pull the plug on federal funds in November last year, passing legislation that froze further outlays until the Environmental Project raised $50 million in matching funds. If it fails to do so by December 2007, the grant will be withdrawn.

A very interesting article. But one caveat: author Michael Judge claims the funding for Alaska’s “Bridge[s] to Nowhere” has been terminated. It is my understanding that Stevens terminated the specific earmarks, but was able to get the same funding transfered to a general grant for Alaska’s transportation.

09. March 2006 · Comments Off on Forget HD Worries With Goggle GDrive · Categories: Technology

This from Eric Auchard at Reuters:

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) – Google Inc. is preparing to offer online storage to Web users, creating a mirror image of data stored on consumer hard drives, according to company documents that were mistakenly released on the Web.

The existence of the previously rumored GDrive online storage service surfaced after a blogger discovered apparent notes in a slide presentation by Google executives published on Google’s site after its analysts presentation day last Thursday.

“With infinite storage, we can house all user files, including emails, web history, pictures, bookmarks, etc and make it accessible from anywhere (any device, any platform, etc),” the notes in the original Google presentation state.

Nothing on pricing in that story. But some good discussion over at the Googling Google blog. There’s some concern, which I share, about 4th Amendment protection of data stored on a remote server.

08. March 2006 · Comments Off on Something Is Rotten In Washington · Categories: Military, Politics

This really stinks:

Top Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives say they are planning legislation that would block a Dubai company from taking over operations of several U.S. ports, setting up a showdown with the White House.

The chairman of a key House committee says he will attach a provision blocking the proposed deal to an emergency spending measure for the war in Iraq and for Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts.

I can’t think of any three major issues more unrelated than these. But lumping them together in the same bill, as a matter of political expediency, is business as usual in Washington.

06. March 2006 · Comments Off on Just What Is A Chopper? · Categories: Ain't That America?, General, That's Entertainment!

I’m currently watching the generally very good History of the Chopper on the Discovery Channel. And they just had this club, of mostly old-timers, from South Dakota. And their standards for membership include, “must have own bike, of at least 650cc, and it must be a chopper.” And looking at the clip of one of their rides, everyone’s bike had an extended fork and ape-hangers.

But is that what defines a chopper? I think not! One of my old detail clients was a very successful Jaguar mechanic in central Orange County. One of the things his success had bought him was a high-6-figure bus-based motorhome, with a custom bike, which resided upon a hydraulic lift in one of the motorhome’s luggage bays. This bike, by dictates of the packaging, if not the owner, had neither extended forks or ape-hangers – it was in the “drag bike” style. But few that saw it would doubt that it is a “chopper”.

But it did have a big cube, Harley-based motor. Is that a requirement? I think not! While a Harley V-Twin is virtually de rigor for today’s “choppers”, lots of customizers in “my day” were doing beautiful bikes based upon Triumphs, Hondas, and others. And no-one doubted that they were “choppers”.

So, just what constitutes a “chopper”?

06. March 2006 · Comments Off on Entertainment Trivia For 03/07/06 · Categories: Fun and Games, That's Entertainment!

This is inspired by Sgt. Mom’s Borderline Radio post.

I was originally going to ask the call sign of Wolfman Jack’s radio station from American Graffiti. But that alone would be too easy. So, in American Graffiti, George Lucas portrayed Wolfman Jack’s studio as just on the outskirts of Modesto, CA. Name the famous legislation which made this an impossibility (as well as said call sign).

The Answer! I knew this was too easy. Reader M. Thompson has it down (see comments).

06. March 2006 · Comments Off on Blackstar Program Wrap-up · Categories: Military, Technology

One of the things I have found most interesting about the YB-70 program was its possible use as the first stage in a parasitic Fly-To-Orbit system. This, and much more, is covered in this wrap-up by Aviation Week & Space Technology of everything they gathered, relative to the “Blackstar” program, over the years.

Hia Tip: InstaPundit

06. March 2006 · Comments Off on Entertainment Trivia For 03/01/06 · Categories: Fun and Games, That's Entertainment!

Well, I had another one lined up for today. But this, from Puzzleblogger Kevan Choset, at Volokh, was so good, I had to share it here.

An easy one. What do these actors have in common?

  • Warren Beatty

  • Kevin Costner

  • Clint Eastwood

  • Mel Gibson

  • Robert Redford

I have some guesses. But I’m staying mute – both here and there. Hint: based upon Choset’s history as Puzzleblogger: the correct answer likely has more to do with some mathematical or heuristic relationship of the names themselves, than a finer point of cinematic history.

Congratz to reader Andrew V., who got the final two actors who’ve won Best Director Oscars.

However, this is the last time I steal a trivia question from another blogger:

Is that it, Kevan – 5 actors who have won directing Oscars?

If so, I am gonna’ be sooooo mad. Easy is right: too frickin’ easy! I’ve been racking my brain this week, trying to find some mathematical or heuristic relationship between the actors’ names, birthdates, etc..

[note: time stamp jiggered]

05. March 2006 · Comments Off on Fresh Meat For This Mil Grill · Categories: Site News

I believe that I have mentioned before that Sgt. Mom and I are seeking promising new solo milbloggers that might want to join our team here. To this point, in my case at least, the search has been pretty haphazard. But I’m starting to get a bit more methodical about this. I currently have this tabulation of new blogs, and this one, But we are specifically looking for milbloggers, and culling the wheat from the chaff in these general lists is a daunting task.

In any event, if you have any recommendations, please pass them along. As always, we are looking for current or former military people, although we have discussed widening the qualifications to include civilian employees of DoD, PMCs, military-related think tanks, and the like. But what we are most interested in at this time are writers currently on active duty, and preferably deployed overseas.

Comments are closed. Please email Sgt. Mom or myself with your recommendations. I would like to keep this confidential for a number of reasons – not the least of which is not wanting to offend those that might be referred to us, but we decide to pass on.

04. March 2006 · Comments Off on Reclassifying History · Categories: History, Stupidity

The blogosphere seems to have overlooked this story:

US intelligence agencies have been removing thousands of historical documents from public access, the New York Times has reported.

The restoration of classified status to more than 55,000 pages began in 1999, the paper said.

At that time, the CIA and five other agencies reportedly objected to what they saw as a “hasty release” of sensitive information.

The files include documents already published or obtained by historians.

The New York Times said the reclassification programme accelerated after President Bush took office and especially after the 9/11 attacks.


Under existing guidelines, government documents are supposed to be declassified after 25 years unless there is a particular reason to keep them secret.

But some historians argued that the reclassification program is removing material that can do no conceivable harm to national security, the New York Times said.

Some conspiracy theorists and Bush-bashers (even though the project started under Clinton) are running with this. But this seems more like another example of government bureaucrats with too much time on their hands to me. The original NYTimes article is now archived, and access costs, at least for non-subscribers. If anyone can forward me a copy, I would appreciate it.

03. March 2006 · Comments Off on Opec Prez: World Oversupplied With Oil · Categories: World

This from Tom Doggett and Chris Baltimore at Reuters:

WASHINGTON – OPEC President Edmund Daukoru said on Friday that the global oil market is “oversupplied” by about 2 million barrels per day.

“The market is indeed well supplied with crude today,” Daukoru told an audience at the National Press Club in Washington, ahead of next week’s meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Daukoru’s view that the global market has plenty of crude oil differed with that of the United States, the world’s biggest oil consuming nation, which believes the market needs more oil.

This is quite disturbing. Absent the undue influence of Governments, “Market Makers”, and powerful cartels, the free market doesn’t lie. And the market tells us there is no surplus in crude production. Over the past two decades, we’ve been blessed with the fact of OPEC’s waning power. And there were always producers (mostly Saudi) willing to increase production to counter the actions of other nations, who wanted to launch the market into an inflationary spiral. However, the expansion of the “emerging economies” (most notably India and China) has tapped the world’s surplus capacity. Ladies and gentlemen, hold on to your hats; it’s quite likely to be a bumpy ride.

01. March 2006 · Comments Off on Some Tears For A Very Good Man · Categories: General, Site News

I’ve just received this email frome “Nurse” Jenny Comer:

Just want to let all of you know that Joe passed away at around 10:00 this morning. One of his favorite things to do was write posts for the Daily brief. Thank you for all the kind comments earlier.

I’m sorry – I had some other posts I wanted to do tonight. But I just don’t think I can bring myself to it.

28. February 2006 · Comments Off on Bloggin’ on The Shield · Categories: That's Entertainment!

Are we seeing the beginnings here of an unholy trinity of Mackey, Kavanaugh, and Antoine Mitchell?

27. February 2006 · Comments Off on A Question For The Trekkies · Categories: That's Entertainment!

I am currently watching ST:TNG:A Matter of Time. And I am wondering, when was the “Temporal Prime Directive” introduced into the Star Trek mythos?

27. February 2006 · Comments Off on “I’m an Okie from Muskogee” · Categories: General, Media Matters Not, The Funny

Today, on FNC’s Special Report with Brit Hume, they corrected an earlier story, which claimed Oklahoma was a landlocked state, with no interest in seaports. They said, “Oklahoma is connected to the Gulf of Mexico via Catoosa.” *Sigh* I guess they don’t listen to Merle Haggard in New York.

27. February 2006 · Comments Off on Are Traditionalist Christians Now Disfavored By The Courts? · Categories: General

This from guest-blogger Gene Sisk at Volokh::

The enduring legal myth is that members of minority religious groups face a decidedly uphill battle in securing accommodation for unconventional religious practices, expression, or values from the courts. According to the conventional wisdom, traditional Christian believers may anticipate a more hospitable welcome from the judiciary when asserting claims of conscience or religious liberty. However based upon our empirical study of religious liberty decisions in the federal courts, the proposition that minority religions are less successful with their claims was found to be without support, at least in the modern era and in the lower federal courts. In fact, counter to popular belief, adherents to traditionalist Christian faiths, notably Roman Catholics and Baptists, appear to be the ones that today enter the courthouse doors at a disadvantage.

For those concerned with religion and the courts, the rest of this, and Gene’s whole series, are a must read.

As I commented at Volokh: My initial reaction is that those of nominally “Christian” faiths are more a target currently, because the practices of other religions, which the secular state have found abhorrent, have already been adequately circumscribed by the courts.

But I find this most interesting, and will follow these posts “religiously”.

26. February 2006 · Comments Off on On Martha Vs. The Donald · Categories: Ain't That America?, Media Matters Not

All of the celebrity culture folks I’ve heard to date have harped upon this “rift” that has developed “between these two former friends.” Well, I think these two media savvy New Yorkers know how to play the “any press is good press” game just as well as they do in Washington or Hollywood.

What do you want to bet that they won’t be kicking back together in a penthouse at One Central Park West in a week’s time, beatin’ back 40 year old Laphroaig, and laughing at the sheeple?

26. February 2006 · Comments Off on Who’s Making Our Armor? · Categories: Media Matters Not, Military, Technology

This Ceradyne press release via Reuters:

COSTA MESA, Calif.–(Business Wire)–Jan. 18, 2006– Ceradyne, Inc. (Company) (Nasdaq:CRDN) Chief Executive Officer Joel Moskowitz appears on KOCE in an interview on “Dialogue with Jim Doti,” which aired Tuesday, January 17, and is scheduled to air again at 10 a.m. PST on Sunday, January 22, on KOCE.

During the 30-minute interview, Moskowitz discusses his early days as a ceramic engineer, Ceradyne’s beginnings as a supplier of military helicopter armor, factors contributing to the Company’s growth and competitive position, and his outlook for 2006 and longer-term. Ceradyne develops, manufactures, and markets advanced technical ceramic products and components for defense, industrial, automotive/diesel, and commercial applications. Additional information about the Company can be found at www.ceradyne.com.

Except for the historical information contained therein, the interview contains forward-looking statements regarding future events and the future performance of Ceradyne that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Words such as “anticipates,” “believes,” “plans,” “expects,” “intends,” “future,” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties are described in the Company’s supplemental prospectuses, dated December 13, 2005, as filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and the documents included or incorporated by reference therein.

Ceradyne, Inc.
Joel Moskowitz, 714-549-0421, Ext. 8261
Silverman Heller Associates
Dan Matsui/Gene Heller, 310-208-2550

This should be a very interesting show for tech-heads. But I don’t know if Dialogue with Jim Doti airs on your local PBS station. I’ll try to find a link to a podcast.

26. February 2006 · Comments Off on Iran To Enrich Uranium In Russia · Categories: General, GWOT, Iran, Technology, World

This from Reuters:

Busher, Iran – Iran has reached a “basic” agreement with Russia on a joint venture to enrich uranium and will continue talks in coming days, Iran’s nuclear chief Gholamreza Aghazadeh said on Sunday.

My other sources believe the enrichment will be performed, at least partially, by Iranian personnel, but in Russian facilities. My only opinion, at this point, is: trust, but verify.

26. February 2006 · Comments Off on InstaSPAN · Categories: General, Media Matters Not

Glenn Reynolds will be on C-SPAN’s Q & A, tonight at 8pm EST. It repeats at 11 and 6am tomorrow.

26. February 2006 · Comments Off on Montana Obviously A Net Exporter Of Bullshit · Categories: My Head Hurts, Politics

I just awoke to the voice of Democratic Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer (who will be on CBS’ 60 Minutes tonight) on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal. He was from a flyover state, he was wearing a bolo tie, but he sounded for all the world like a San Francisco barking moonbat. I’ll have to catch the podcast, when it’s up on their website later, to get the details. But it included such gems a (to paraphrase): “and we will capture the carbon dioxide from burning coal-diesel, and pump it back into the ground.” Right,,, (assuming CO2 emissions are even a problem in the first place) we’re going to tie balloons to the tailpipes of all the cars. And: “back in the ’70s, when I was a kid, Saudi Arabia was dependent upon the US for wheat. And I thought, “ok – a bushel of wheat for a barrel of oil. But, since then, after a major program by the Saudi government, Saudi Arabia is self-sufficient in wheat. We should be able to do the same with fuel.” The truth is, Saudi is a net importer of food products (about 1,150 USD per capita annually vs. about 900 USD for US net oil imports). Further, they are only “self-sufficient” in wheat by virtue of massive government subsidies, and at the cost of critical aquifer depletion.

And, to a person, every caller was saying, “oh, this is sooo enlightening.” It’s a nation of sheeple.

And what’s really frightening is that this inveterate bullshiter might be running for President.

26. February 2006 · Comments Off on Entertainment Trivia For 02/26/06 · Categories: Fun and Games, That's Entertainment!

When this famous segregated country club decided to make room for this Hollywood star, one of its members is noted as saying, “can’t we at least pick one who looks like a gentile?”

Of course, feeding the quote into Google will likely give you the answer straight away. But please give the other folks a sporting chance. Oh, and hint #1 is in the question itself. 😉

Congratz (again) to reader Bill. (see comments)

Danny Thomas, you might recall, was a Lebanese Catholic.

25. February 2006 · Comments Off on (Relatively) New PBS Must See · Categories: Media Matters Not, Politics

If you are at all concerned with global geopolitics, and you are not already watching Foreign Exchange, with Fareed Zakaria, now in its second season on PBS, you really should. Zakaria has long been one of my favorite MSM foreign affairs specialists (and one of the few redeeming qualities to Newsweek magazine and ABC News’ This Week with George Stephanopoulos). And his TV program, which I’ve watched from about the fourth or fifth show, has been consistently excellent.

On this week’s installment (check your local listings – not yet on their website):

  • A discussion on what US policy should be, relative to nuclear technology in India.
  • A report on Estonian high tech. Zakaria reports that they lead the world in WiFi coverage, and a “paperless” government.
  • A discussion of the Muhammad cartoon controversy with columnist and author Christopher Hitchens.
25. February 2006 · Comments Off on It’s Quite Rare That Barbara Boxer And I Agree · Categories: Military, Politics

It’s much more common that my local Representative, Dana Rohrabacher (R – Huntington Beach) and I are on the same track. But, in this case, we have something of a syzygy: it would be crazy to put C-17 production on ice.

This is called for in the new QDR, which I have already criticized. But it is a marked change from the previously held view of the Pentagon, which was that additional C-17s were critical to “transformation”. This stands to reason, as the C-17 carries far more than the C-130 (or the C-141) can, and will go places the C-5 (or the C-141) can’t. It’s a key player in rapid in-force deployment to the most remote parts of the globe.

Couple that to the limited savings to be had, due to the $5bn required just to maintain production capacity, should it be required in the future (verses about $9.2bn to continue production), as well as the cost of a planned C-5B engine refit (about $2bn for 50 planes), and logic dictates continuing with the additional 42 on order.

Hopefully, and in any case, Boeing will secure foreign orders for the C-17.

25. February 2006 · Comments Off on Very Bad News · Categories: Site News

Nurse Jenny has just informed me that our own dear Joe Comer, HerkyBirdMan, has suffered a massive stroke, and is now in hospice care. His prognosis is not good. Please join me in keeping Joe, Jenny, and their family in your thoughts and prayers.

24. February 2006 · Comments Off on Has anybody used Foxit? · Categories: Technology

I’m still trying to limp along here – forestalling the inevitable wipe and reinstall. one of my biggest problems is the fact that I can’t get the freaking Acrobat reader to work. I’ve never really liked it anyway; it seems quite bloated and slow.

Checking around, the freeware Foxit reader looks pretty promising. It’s highly rated on C/Net. Does anyone here have any personal experience? Any gems of wisdom to offer? I’m particularly curious as to if installation automatically changes your linkages, so Foxit becomes your default reader?

Update: Typical BS – It downloaded and installed just fine, and seems to work well (and MUCH faster than Acrobat), but only with MSIE! Firefox still wants to use Acrobat. I’m going to go chew on my fingernails for a while. GRRRRRR!