January 31, 2008

Voter's Guide
— Ace

Pretty simple, really.

Thomas Sowell joins those intemperate, unhinged, wanna-lose-the-war traitors who have a slight problem with Maverick McAmnesty.

Thanks to Larwyn.

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Flashback: McCain's Negotiations to Quit the GOP and Join the Democratic Party
— Ace

Democrats say McCain nearly abandoned GOP

By Bob Cusack

Posted: 03/28/07 07:39 PM [ET]

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was close to leaving the Republican Party in 2001, weeks before then-Sen. Jim Jeffords (Vt.) famously announced his decision to become an Independent, according to former Democratic lawmakers who say they were involved in the discussions.

In interviews with The Hill this month, former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and ex-Rep. Tom Downey (D-N.Y.) said there were nearly two months of talks with the maverick lawmaker following an approach by John Weaver, McCain’s chief political strategist.

Democrats had contacted Jeffords and then-Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I.) in the early months of 2001 about switching parties, but in McCain’s case, they said, it was McCain’s top strategist who came to them.

At the end of their March 31, 2001 lunch at a Chinese restaurant in Bethesda, Md., Downey said Weaver asked why Democrats hadn’t asked McCain to switch parties.

Downey, a well-connected lobbyist, said he was stunned.

“You’re really wondering?” Downey said he told Weaver. “What do you mean you’re wondering?”

“Well, if the right people asked him,” Weaver said, according to Downey, adding that he responded, “The calls will be made. Who do you want?” Weaver this week said he did have lunch with Downey that spring, pointing out that he and Downey “are very good friends.”

He claims, however, that Downey is grossly mischaracterizing their exchange: “We certainly didn’t discuss in any detail about the senator’s political plans and any discussion about party-switchers, generically, would have been limited to the idle gossip which was all around the city about the [Democrats’] aggressive approach about getting any GOP senator to switch in order to gain the majority. Nothing more or less than that.”

Downey said Weaver is well aware that their discussion was much more than typical Washington chit-chat.

“Within seconds” of arriving home from his lunch with Weaver, Downey said he was on the phone to the most powerful Democrats in town. One of the first calls he made was to then-Senate Minority Leader Daschle.

“I did take the call from Tom [Downey],” Daschle said in an interview. “It was Weaver’s comment” to Downey that started the McCain talks, he added.

Daschle noted that McCain at that time was frustrated with the Bush administration as a result of his loss to George W. Bush in the 2000 Republican primary.

Daschle said that throughout April and May of 2001, he and McCain “had meetings and conversations on the floor and in his office, I think in mine as well, about how we would do it, what the conditions would be. We talked about committees and his seniority … [A lot of issues] were on the table.”

Absolutely not so, according to McCain. In a statement released by his campaign, McCain said, “As I said in 2001, I never considered leaving the Republican Party, period.”

Maverick.

I don't think these guys are lying. And I imagine they have diaries and scheduling books and the like which, while not quite proving they're telling the truth (they could be forgeries, etc.), will pretty much prove that McCain is lying.

Guess when that documentary evidence will make it to the press?

Pretty cool h/t on this: Mark "The Great One" Levin.

Apparently this is flying around all over the place because a lefty guy I know just got it, too.

UPDATE: Jack M. This is one of those occasions where I can offer first hand confirmation as to the essential truth of this story. I can't offer it from the Democratic side, as I have no idea what the nature of McCain's discussions were with Daschle, et. al. I was privy, however, to discussions with John Weaver during the time-frame in question.

Weaver has a public quote that gained some prominence. I'll look for it later, and link it if I can find it. Some reporter asked him (I think it was in 2002) about the candidates who he was now representing since he switched from a registered Republican to Democrat. Weaver's response was essentially "all of my clients are Democrats". The reporter, surprised, prompted Weaver with the reminder "and John McCain" to which Weaver responded "oh yeah...right."

Why is this important? Well for one it illustrates the mind-set of those closest to McCain at a time contemporaneous to the period all these discussions were taking place. Clearly, in the minds of many in McCain's inner circle, he was a Democrat regardless of what letter followed his name on the C-Span graphic.

But many of you will say "Jack, you are gonna take the word of Daschle, Edwards, blah, blah, blah?."

No. I'm going to tell you why I believe these allegations. Because John Weaver told me this personally.

One of my former bosses in the Senate served on a Committee with McCain at the time. He also had a friendship with Weaver that preceded his election to the Senate. For that matter, so did I.

And while McCain's threat was making the rounds, we had discussions in my bosses office about how to capitalize on it if McCain made the jump. We saw opportunities to move up on certain committees that we might not otherwise have had the seniority to attain. Why did we take this so seriously? Because Weaver, when asked, did nothing to disabuse any of us of this "rumor."

Jeffords' jump really caught most people in both parties off guard. As I remember it, he jumped because he was upset that the Bush administration wouldn't fund some education program at the level Jumpin' Jim wanted. At the time, nobody spent much time worrying about anything Jim Jeffords was up to. But Jeffords was hearing the same rumors too. In talking to some of his staffers in the wake of the jump, one of the things I was told was that Jeffords was motivated to do it at the time he chose, because he was convinced that if McCain jumped first, nobody would care about the reasons Jeffords was offering for switching.

Which makes this story sadly ironic in a way. I remain convinced that had Mr. Irrelevant, Jim Jeffords, not jumped, and had his moment of glory for staging the one-man Senate coup, John McCain would have done so. And the GOP would not now be considering nominating him as the standard bearer.

So, if McCain can convince the country to elect him President, he'll have Jim Jeffords, and his desire to beat McCain to the punch, to thank.

Which doesn't make me feel any better about the prospect of a McCain nomination.

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Close Your Eyes...
— Ace

... and imagine the most wonderful things in the world, things that make you happy and warm inside.

Concentrate.... I'm going to try to peer inside your minds. more...

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Rewind: McCain *Didn't* Say He Wouldn't Sign McCain-Kennedy Comprehensive Piece-of-Shit if President
— Ace

We thought he flip-flopped. He sure seemed to flip-flop from his Meet the Press "Straight Talk" that he would sign an amnesty were it presented to him.

But it's worse than that -- he evaded while sticking to his guns.

Now, when I heard this, I too thought he said he wouldn't vote in favor of his own comprehensive shit were he president.

But listen to what he actually says: He only says he would not vote for it because it wouldn't come to a vote in the first place. He repeatedly refuses to answer the question, even put to him three times by two different questioners, simply asserting that it won't come to a vote.

Via Kausfiles, with a transcript, except that transcript is wrong.

Kausfiles reports McCain as saying "No, it would not" (meaning the bill wouldn't come to his desk) when in fact McCain says "No, I would not" sign it.

But he's right on the actual point, because McCain's "No, I would not" is immediately followed by the claim that he woudn't ever be in that position because it woudn't pass:

No, I would not, because we know what the situation is today. The people want the border secured first. And so to say that that would come to the floor of the Senate -- it won't. We went through various amendments which prevented that ever -- that proposal.

He's still saying he'd sign the fucking thing if it comes to his desk! Fucking still!

So the little bastard is telling us he "gets it" that we want border security first, and he promises to give that to us -- unless 60 Senators pass a version of McCain-Kennedy without border security first, in which case, fuck border security, he's signing it into law.

So his "promise" on "securing the borders" first isn't a promise at all -- it's a prediction only, a prediction that the American people and the Senate will force him to "build the goddamn fence" before he can sign an amnesty bill.

But if that changes -- if we lose more Republican votes in the Senate, which is likely -- and if they present him his bill without that border-security-first, he is telling us: I will sign it, as I have made no promises about my own actions, only predictions about the likely actions of others.

The Lie: McCain's claim that Kennedy-McCain couldn't come to his desk as president is itself a lie.

Some of you may take comfort in the fact that the votes to sustain the filibuster were won somewhat easily. That's deceptive -- before the actual votes, both sides said the votes were too close to call, counting somewhere between 57-62 votes to end the filibuster and vote amnesty into law.

They weren't lying. They weren't saying that for dramatic purposes. There really were that many votes for amnesty.

So how did the amnesty side wind up with merely 43 or 45 votes?

If you don't know this, when the party, or the leadership of the party at least, really, really wants something, and your vote is needed to put it through, you are expected to vote the way the leadership demands. The purpose of "whips" is to whip votes the way the leadership wants them to come down.

They promise you extra campaign money from the party senatorial/congressional campaign funds to overcome voters lost due to your voting against your constituency's wishes. They'll promise money from big donors directed to your campaign to help you, and nice appearances by party bigs to help get out the vote. And they promise future committee assignments and leadership assignments, too -- if you play ball.

And maybe you'll get some tasty earmarks for your district, too.

And if you don't, you're threatened: You won't get any party help. You won't get prize assignments to committees. Your earmarks may be overlooked or simply refused. You'll be on your own.

That's the pressure that's brought to bear on Senators and Congressmen in a big important vote the leadership wants. And on amnesty, the leadership of both parties wanted it.

But if a vote looks like it's going down in flames, all votes are "released." You no longer have to jeopardize your electoral future by voting against your constituency's desires. You are "released" to vote either according to your own beliefs or your best electoral positioning. The latter, of course, is more important.

So there were in fact 57 to 63 or so votes to defeat the filibuster and pass amnesty into law at various times. Only a few key votes actually changed. Only three or four or maybe five Senators actually committed themselves to changing their vote to sustain the filibuster and reject the amnesty bill.

But these three to five senators were critical, as they dropped the votes in favor of amnesty below the crucial 60 vote threshold -- and at that point, and only at that point, were all the other pro-amnesty commitments released to vote according to how their outraged voters were demanding.

And that was when the lopsided vote against amnesty occurred, giving the illusory impression that amnesty was easily defeated.

It wasn't. But for the votes of three or four or five senators, those votes promised to the leadership would not have been released and would have stayed with the amnesty side, and amnesty would have passed by, say, 62-36 or whatever. (Some Senators, like Tim Johnson, were absent; others might have simply not voted.)

Remember how so many senators wouldn't give you an answer on how they were voting when you called their offices? They were not still deciding. They were in fact committed to vote for amnesty if it was close to passing but were reserving the right to vote against it if it wasn't going to pass anyway.

They were lying to you. They knew how they would vote -- they would vote with the winning side, whichever way it went. They just didn't want to tell you that.

So when Maverick McAmnesty tells you there's no way the Comprehensive Piece of Shit could possibly reach his desk again as president, he's flat-out lying to you and he knows it. Merely losing one or two or three anti-amnesty votes in the Senate will give it more than enough votes to pass this time 'round.

And don't forget that a McCain presidency would represent, as many are saying now, the death-knell of the supposed power of talk radio to influence politics. Many of those who voted against amnesty at the last moment did so because they feared what Laura Ingraham and El Rushbo might do to them.

McCain's presidency would be taken as proof that grassroots outrage like that is a spent force, and the voters can be spurned with impunity.

Amnesty was, is, and remains just a few crucial votes away from passage.

Those guys who wouldn't give you a straight answer last time -- like Burr, for example, or Stevens, or Brownback, the guy who thinks voting on amnesty is so nice he had to do it twice, once yes when it might pass, and then no when it had already failed -- didn't suddenly see the light and vote according to constituent wishes.

They were simply released from their commitment to vote for this very unpopular bill when the count showed it was just a few votes shy of passage.

And McCain is telling you the bill couldn't be brought up again.

Right.

Straight Talk, ya'll. Comin' right at ya, but a little sideways and crab-wise sometimes.


Brownback Changing His Vote From Yes To No: Video here at page bottom, in case you'd forgotten.

Yes when it might win, No when it had failed.

And the Senate is filled with bravehearts just like him.

Posted by: Ace at 04:46 PM | Comments (73)
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Hillary - Obama Debate Thread
— Ace

It's already a half hour in the can on CNN.

Hot Air has some background for ya. The big question is how hard Hillary will play the "girl card" again, this time whining and acting like Tina Turner to Obama's Ike over his snub of her at SOTU.

Meanwhile... Hot Lesbian Gangbang Action.

Metaphoric, of course.

Posted by: Ace at 04:31 PM | Comments (37)
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And Now... *French* War Porn
— Ace

Caution: May not be quite as good as American war porn.

You can safely skip to near the end. The build up is a bit long.

Thanks to Cuffy Meigs, who's also blogging about the 50th anniversary of the Explorer 1 and the early American space program.

Posted by: Ace at 04:23 PM | Comments (22)
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Whoa: Media Big and Clinton State Department Official (and Hillary Adviser) Strobe Talbot Accused of Being Soviet Intelligence Source By Defector
— Ace

Let's get some disclaimers out of the way: a charge is not proof.

A defector's word is not necessarily the gold standard.

Someone who prefers capitalism to communism might just want to make a lot of money after a lifetime of want.

Further, the book's charge is not that he was a bought-and-paid for spy by conscious decision, but rather an unwitting, gullible dupe. A media lefty whose ego could easily be stroked, and who thought he was "among friends" when chatting amiably about American foreign policy decisions and intentions with KGB agents.

Friends who, of course, just thought he was such a super, super smart guy that they would never betray his trust by reporting his words to their Soviet spymaster superiors.


Still.

The Media Blog has the link and the teaser:

How should the media handle sensational allegations that one of the most esteemed members of their profession, former Time magazine journalist and top Clinton State Department official Strobe Talbott, was a dupe of the Russian intelligence service? How should they deal with hard evidence that one of their sacred cows, the United Nations, is penetrated by Russian spies?

The answer is that most of them will ignore it.

This is the fate they're giving to Comrade J, a blockbuster book about Russian espionage written by former Washington Post reporter and author Pete Earley.

Comrade J is about a Russian master spy, Sergei Tretyakov, who defected to the United States because he was disgusted with the Russian/Soviet system and wanted to start a new and better life with his family in America. He identifies former Clinton State Department official Strobe Talbott, a current adviser to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, as having been a trusted contact of the Russian intelligence service.

Back in 2000, when Talbott was named head of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, he was described as "a key architect of U.S. foreign policy" during the Clinton years. He now heads the Brookings Institution, a liberal Washington, D.C. think tank.

But Tretyakov has some impressive credentials of his own. He wasn't just a low-level official. He is described as the highest ranking Russian intelligence official ever to defect while stationed in the U.S. and handled all Russian intelligence operations against the U.S. He served under cover from 1995-2000 at Russia's Permanent Mission to the United Nations but was secretly working for the FBI for at least three years.

Talbott denies the charges, calling them "erroneous and/or misleading," and his denials are featured on page 184 of the book. He says that he always promoted U.S. foreign policy goals and that the close relationship that he had with a top Russian official by the name of Georgi Mamedov did not involve any manipulation or deception.

This is not the first time that Talbott has come under scrutiny for his alleged contacts with agents of a foreign intelligence service. In 1994, when he was being considered for his State Department post in the Clinton Administration, he was grilled by Senator Jesse Helms, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, about his relationship with Victor Louis, a Soviet "journalist" who was actually a Soviet KGB intelligence agent. Talbott had been a young correspondent for Time magazine in Moscow.

...

Romerstein, a retired government expert on anti-American and communist propaganda activities, said the Earley book is valuable because it documents that the Russian intelligence service picked up where the KGB left off, and that operations against the U.S. continued after the end of the Cold War.

But he said the information about Talbott needs further explanation from Talbott himself. "Talbott really has to explain more than he did to Pete Earley what his relationship was to Mamedov, and he should tell us about his relationship with Victor Louis," Romerstein told AIM.

An intelligence source, it is claimed, but not a conscious one:

...

The book cites Talbott as an "example of how a skilled intelligence agency could manipulate a situation and a diplomatic source to its advantage without the target realizing he was being used for intelligence-gathering purposes." It says Mamedov was "instructed" by the SVR to ask specific questions to get information about certain matters.

"The point is that there are many ways to get intelligence," Earley explained. "And one of the best ways is not by stealing secrets but by becoming friends, getting people to let their guard down, massaging egos, and getting them to tell you helpful information."

However, the book says that Talbott was so compromised by his relationship with Mamedov that the FBI asked Secretary of State Madeleine Albright not to share information with Talbott about an espionage investigation at the State Department because Mamedov might learn about it and tip off Russian intelligence. Earley says he confirmed this account but that Albright has refused to discuss the incident.

Click on the Media Blog link to go to Accuracy in Media and read the whole thing.

Eh, it's not a big story. Not sexy or important or scandalous or anything else that would justify coverage.

I can of course see why our courageously curious media simply can't be bothered to dig into it.

It's either true or it's not true, of course. The media could probably help figure out which, but really, isn't it really better to not know? I mean, digging into it could lead to bad facts, and no one likes bad facts.

Our wise gatekeepers, The Deciders, are right to just hide this from us.


Thanks to CJ.

NPR Interview With Tretyakov: See-Dub of Junkard Blog says this NPR interview with the defector is very interesting.

And interesting for this reason, too: Not a single question about the explosive charges against Strobe Talbott. Fancy that!

I suppose I'll just throw out the possibility that it's possible that this lefty was a CIA asset for a long time, deliberately feeding the KGB what American intelligence wanted them to hear. A double agent.

And of course that would make Talbott a hell of a guy. Such a hell of a guy that he maintains his cover when repeatedly questioned about his suspect KGB pals.

I'm guessing that's not the case, though. The FBI advisory on him either means they were out of the loop (possible) or staged that incident to convince the Soviets Talbott was legit (also possible).

It's also quite possible this is precisely as high-ranking spymaster Tretyakov thinks it is: an arrogant fool who may have thought he could "reach out" to Soviets spies (probably posing as moderates looking to change the system from within) and concoct between them their own private path to detente.

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Schwarzenegger Endorsement: McCain Will "Reach Across the Aisle" to "Get Things Done"
— Ace

Michelle Malkin wonders if this is really a point in his favor -- on many issues, conservatives would prefer to not reach across the aisle and not get "things" done if the other option is to stick to conservative principles and at least observe the first rule of medicine, "Do no harm."

Stasis and inaction is preferable to bad change and ill-considered new legislation and benefits, after all.

This dovetails with a point made by a Corner reader:

There's one question that no one seems to have asked McCain about judges: will he apply his "reach across the aisle" attittude to SCOTUS nominations? Or put another way, is McCain going to be the Senate's man in the White House, or is he going to stand his ground on nominations?

It's frustrating to me that no reporters (or anyone else) have asked these kinds of questions of McCain. Here's the long version of the question:



If you are president when the next Supreme Court vacancy occurs, and you seek advice and input about who would be a good nominee, will you ultimately nominate the person who you believe would do the best job on the Court, or would you instead seek a consensus nominee who you think will best satisfy yourself and fifty or sixty United States senators?



I have absolutely no clue how McCain would answer this.

Ramesh Ponuru answers:

Me neither. His remark that consulting with senators is required by the Constitution was not a hopeful portent, but perhaps that remark does not reflect his considered judgment.

I do have a clue. McCain has for years told us with his every action that, when presented with a conflict between conservative principles and cordial bipartisanship deal-making with Democrats, he far prefers the latter.

I don't know how anyone could imagine that McCain, proud of his ability to see past the petty conservative dogma so many of the rest of us are preoccupied by in order to meet the opposition halfway (and then some!), will suddenly become some sort of Federalist Society Stalwart on judges once he's president.

Wouldn't that be playing to partisan animus and ideological litmus tests and special interest agents-of-intolerance, in other words, everything that Maverick McCain heroically stands against?

There's some back-and-forth on this at the Corner; scan down to see the argument.

McCain is telling two audiences two different things. To moderates and Democrats, he says he'll work for compromise in the spirit of friendship and amity. To conservatives, he vows he'll stick to his "Reagan convictions."

This is Straight Talk? It's similar to how he talked up global warming and cap-and-trade legislation in liberalish New Hampshire but then said not a word about this in South Carolina.


Senator, it can't be both. It really, honestly can't.

Posted by: Ace at 02:02 PM | Comments (29)
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Another Beloved Right-Wing Celebrity Viciously Outed As Gay By Angry Leftist
— Ace

Stewie Griffin, outed by his leftist creator as having a "conflicted sexuality" in which his shame of homosexuality drives him towards rage. And world domination.

Via The Malcontent, which is psyched to count Stewie as a fellow gay right-winger.

Oh well. We still have Lois.

What is it about the Family Guy? I have a love-hate relationship with it. Well, a love-indifference relationship. I don't watch it much. On one hand, the gag-type jokes -- mainly in those excrescent flashbacks -- are forced, lazy, dumb, derivative, and not funny.

On the other hand, the character-driven parts of it can be very funny. I've heard Stewie spit out a musty Victorian insults a hundred times, but I still giggle when he calls someone an "Applejohn," whatever the hell that is.

And on one hand, Seth MacFarlane too self-consciously "pushes the envelope," often resulting in "outrageous" moments that don't shock so much as they annoy. When someone's obviously, studiously attempting to shock you -- like Madonna -- it feels far less like an entertainer trying to please you and more like an entertainer trying to please himself over how "wicked" and outre he is.

And on the other hand, sometimes he really does push the envelope so far you enjoy the giddy thrill of disbelief that yeah, he went there, or that he managed to get that past Standards & Practices.

How sick is this?

Oh, I guess it has to be said that The Simpsons has been implying that Bart's gay for years. Homer too, I guess, though his gay moments really don't seem to imply he's gay so much as he's stupid and capricious. I think he just forgets he's heterosexual from time to time.

Posted by: Ace at 01:34 PM | Comments (33)
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Lancet Study Claiming 600,000 Dead Iraqis Debunked; Turns Out It's An Even Million
— Ace

Um, okay.

I just did my own study. It turns out the correct figure is forty-three thousand million bazillion kajillion. Grant me, baby. I've got spreadsheets and pie graphs and everything.

I'm sure you'll be very, very surprised to find out this new study was done by many of the same people responsible for the former thoroughly debunked Lancet study.

Posted by: Ace at 12:52 PM | Comments (32)
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US Navy Kills Level Boss, Grabs Power-Up: You Got The Lightning Gun
— Ace


A railgun projectile strikes a target.

The future and its enemies? The enemies should be worried.

A futuristic weapon getting a trial run by the Navy demonstrated its destructive power at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren.

In the demonstration Thursday, engineers fired the electromagnetic railgun at what they said was a record power level: 10 megajoules.

The previous railgun power-use record was about 9 megajoules of muzzle energy.

Railguns use electromagnetic energy to launch projectiles long distances — more than 200 nautical miles.

...

The Navy hopes the railgun will eventually replace the standard 5-inch gun on its ships. The weapon isn't expected to be deployed until at least 2020.

The railgun tested Thursday actually has a capacity of 32 megajoules, but the Navy is slowly building up the energy level in a series of tests.

...

According to the Navy, the railgun, when fully developed, will be able to launch solid projectiles at Mach 5, or about 3,700 mph.

Click on the link to find video of the railgun about midway through the article.

Thanks to Driver.

A Whole Lot of Hell: Defense Tech writes that a single destroyer armed with railguns could pretty much wipe out every strategic target in North Korea.

Maybe that's overstated. Okay, maybe it will take two or three.

I found that looking for proposition I think is true but haven't been able to establish yet: I think railgun projectiles are not tipped with chemical-explosive warheads, but rather rely on the awesome kinetic energy of a heavy metal object flying at Mach 6 or 7 for their explosive effects. Not sure of that yet; still searching.

My only evidence of this so far comes from this discussion of a railgun's statistics in the Champions/Hero role playing game, which of course I find utterly convincing.

Let's try a different approach wherein an attack is required to simply punch through hex after hex in a straight line to total up the damage done. Actually, I can see a major problem with this. the frontal area of the ship is 25*50=1,250 hexes, which means that punching a hole clean through the ship lengthwise would only do 30/1250=0.24 BODY to the ship, but would require (20+10)*2 + (8+6)*200 = 2,860 Body from a human scale attack. For comparison, that's the average damage on an 817d6+1 RKA (12,260 pts). I don't have that many dice and you still have to do that four times to inflict one BODY on the ship. This approach is not going to work, I think.

Real-world anti-ship weapons, such as mines, missiles, shells, and torpedoes all have one thing in common: the letter E, which stands for "explosives". Science-fictional weapons such as lasers and hypervelocity solid projectiles also tend to release their energy as an explosion. Let's see what happens if we use an attack with the Explosion advantage to try to destroy our quota of hexes.

5ER lists an option for RKAs which I'll be using here: subtract 2 points of damage for every hex of expansion. That will make things much easier to calculate.

We can see from the numbers in the last post that to inflict one point of BODY damage on the ship, we need to damage the component hexes of the ship out to a radius of 16 hexes, at which point the damage will be 32 less than the damage at the point of impact. To destroy an internal hex will require 14 Body. Therefore, the damage at the point of impact must be 46 Body, the average result of a 13d6+1 RKA, Explosion (+1/2) (300 pts).

On this same model, a 20d6 RKA, Explosion (+1/2) (450 pts) would do an average damage of 70 Body at the point of impact and would do 14 Body out to a radius of 28 hexes. Assuming a hemispherical damage pattern again, this would destroy 91,952 hexes for a total of 11 BODY to the ship.

It would also appear, at first glance, to pretty much cut the ship in half, but the hole in the hull will "only" be 20 hexes in radius.

Exactly. I wish the Navy would stop talking in abstract scientific gobbedly-gook like "10 Megajoules" and speak in terms that the average American can understand, like 10d6 Mega RKA + AoE Explosive Effect. Or old school, like +6 Vorpal Holy Avenger Shells.

Oooh...

Thanks to a bunch of folks for that, including Exurban Jon and Buzz.

Entropy writes like he knows what he's talking about (though on the Internet you could always be talking to a dog, of course):

They're not going fast enough for real 'explosive' effect yet. Mach 5 would be getting close, but that's with 3 times the power this one used. So how fast was this one?

Mach 8 is hypervelocity. That's when metal reacts more like liquid and you get giant meteor craters as the ground vaporizes on impact, causing the freaking dirt to explode.

Not 'blow up the dirt'. No. I mean 'the dirt blows up'. You don't hit the dirt with explosives, the dirt it hits becomes the explosive when it's hit, and turns into rapidly expanding gas.

We're not going nearly that fast yet though. But I guess it still counts for something beyond just your basic "holy shit" forcepower...which this seems to be exceeding.

Even still it has a shitload of power, but without the explosiony goodness one would think there'd be a high chance of just penetrating the target straight through and actually doing just a little damage.

Eleven writes that these projectiles can't be tipped with conventional chemical warheads, because they'd explode on launch due either to the electrical firing (I don't know about that; it's electromagnetic, not electric) or maybe just because the sudden acceleration is not really any different than sudden deceleration, like hitting something, that can easily set off an explosive round.

It's Old: So says Fresh Air. Well, obviously we've had these in the works for a while, but the new record is fresh.

Fresh Air points to this great article by Wretchard from 2004 about these coming weapons. A must read. (By the way: Wretchard confirms the projectiles are solid darts without chemical explosive tips.)

A first-order analysis comparing the 200-mile volume of fires capability of a single hypersonic naval rail gun to the ordnance delivery capacity of a carrier air wing of F/A-18s is instructive. In the first eight hours of conflict, a single naval rail gun could deliver twice the payload, three times the energy, to ten times as many fixed aim points as carrier aviation.

He writes that such capability is not decisive, however, without a valid military doctrine behind it -- what exactly do you actually do with such firepower? seems to be his point.

I'm only being somewhat glib and sophomoric when I say don't worry, grant us the firepower and we'll come up with as much doctrine as you like to justify it.

I have to admit that the subtlety of Wretchard's point eludes me, though.

(Oh, I see: He's talking about the will to use such a ferocious weapon, or, more accurately, the lack thereof.)


Posted by: Ace at 11:51 AM | Comments (76)
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Al Qaeda Commander Killed By Missile Strike and Dick Cheney's Demonic Wrath, But Mostly Dick Cheney's Demonic Wrath
— Ace

The High Value Target recently vaporized has been reconstructed, approximately, enough to identify him.

Egypt - Abu Laith al-Libi, a top al-Qaida commander in Afghanistan who was blamed for bombing a base while Vice President Cheney was visiting last year, has been killed in Pakistan, according to a militant Web site.

Al-Libi was a key link between the Taliban and al-Qaida and was one of the Americans' 12 most-wanted men with a bounty of $200,000 on his head.

It seems congratulations are in order. And Al Qaeda is doling them out.

"He was martyred with a group of his brothers in the land of Muslim Pakistan," said the Web site, which frequently carries announcements from militant groups. "Though we are sad for his loss, he left a legacy that will inflame the enemy nation and religion."

The statement included al-Libi's picture. In an earlier announcement on the same site, a banner appeared in a section reserved for affiliated militant groups and not open to public posting.

"We congratulate the Islamic nation for the martyrdom of the sheik, the lion, Abu Laith al-Libi," it said.

Let us have far more of these joyous occasions and the consequent congratulations. They're like surprise parties. The most wonderful surprise parties in the whole world.

big dick cheney.jpg
Dick Cheney's turn-ons include sunsets,
Victorian erotic poetry, and Death.

Thanks to Doug.

Third Highest-Ranking Al Qaeda Terrorist?: So he's been ranked, but I hear that's only his computer ranking, artificially inflated by running up the score on inferior competition like Chinese prostitutes and 12 year old schoolgirls.

Against real competition from the Great Satan Conference, he didn't fare so well.

Posted by: Ace at 11:38 AM | Comments (50)
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"For Patriotism, Not Profit"
— Ace

This isn't another McCain bashing post. I don't understand the anger over McCain's line, expressed here by Mark Steyn. Though many others have sharply criticized it.

I'm getting a bit tired of Senator McCain's anti-business shtick. The line about serving "for patriotism, not for profit" is pathetic. America spends more on its military than the next 35-40 biggest military spenders on the planet combined: Where does he think the money for that comes from?

Well, look. Romney has a good credential: he was a wildly successful and very canny businessman. He knows how to manage and lead and get things done.

McCain has a damned fine credential of his own: he was a patriot and hero who served his country in a time of war and stoically endured torture at the hands of "the gooks" (and on that point, having never endured torture myself, I'm willing to give him a pass).

Romney is by no means intentionally denigrating McCain's service when he points out how his own career path makes him very qualified for the presidency. But implicitly, it really can't be taken otherwise: Yes, indeed, he was a superb businessman. But that was because he chose that path. Had he chosen McCain's path -- service to his country in the armed forces -- he would not have have had so much time to excel at business.

I think McCain's "for patriotism, not profit" is a fair shorthand for a simple idea: Yes, Mr. Romney, you surely have acquired a good resume. Perhaps I can't directly compete with many of the bullet-points on your resume. But I have bullet-points of my own which you can't match. While you chose business, I chose the Navy.

I'm not really sure how McCain could make this point without being perceived as "denigrating" Romney's career in capitalism, anymore than Romney can't quite avoid suggesting that his own experience in business is more valuable than McCain's experience as a pilot in war. Either man, by arguing his own experience is more valuable than the other's, implicitly and unavoidably denigrates the other's.

Surely Romney doesn't intend to suggest that McCain's service is somehow second-rate -- but how can he avoid doing so in urging that his own business experience makes him the most qualified candidate? Similarly, McCain really can't help suggesting that a career in business is less worthy than a career in the armed forces if he is to champion his own credentials.

Urging that either is consists of a greater credential for the presidency implies, inevitably, that the other is lesser. It is the nature of the thing and cannot be finessed.

The other McCain quote noted up by Steyn -- there are some "greedy people" on Wall Street who may need to be "punished," -- plus McCain's resistance to the Bush tax cuts as "unfairly" benefiting the rich, do indicate, together, a skepticism towards capitalism and free enterprise than we're used to seeing in a Republican nominee. McCain can talk up the Reaganite platitudes of free people pursuing their own economic dreams, but he seems to have at his heart an antagonism to the system, or at least its excesses (both real and imagined) that are far more common to liberal economic thought. His calls for a society motivated primarily by idealism and patriotism are at odds with the notion that, while idealism and patriotism are fine motivations, the central impulse that actually drives a dynamic capitalistic economy is, frankly, self-interest, or at least a local rather than national interest -- providing for oneself, and of course providing for one's family, and not necessarily devoting the greater portion of one's working hours directly to the common weal. Capitalism posits that the common weal is served best by free people making economic decisions that better themselves; McCain does seem to have reservations about this notion, and seems to pine for a society in which people skip the middleman of enlightened self-interest and work directly for the vague cause of "America."

But on the actual "for patriotism, not profit" quote -- I find it unobjectionable and, indeed, rather unavoidable, unless McCain is expected to simply say in a debate, "You've won me over, Governor. Your experience in business surely is more relevant to the presidency than my own experience defending my country."

And, let's face it, McCain could certainly make the point more insultingly, if he wished:

I'm reminded of the Kipling quote (I think) along the lines of "All men think less of themselves for having never served as a soldier." I think that's largely true, especially on the right, and I'm not sure some of the anger of McCain's line isn't partly a defensive reaction to that. Say what you will about McCain, but he is, in fact, a hero, and if it hurts to be reminded that the great majority of us are not, that's not really McCain's fault, nor even his intent. "I am a hero" always carries with it the slight "...and you are not," but all of us non-heroes ought to just accept that and give the hero his proper due.

I don't think he deserves to be president, but I do think he's earned the right to remind us of what he gave for the country.

"Greedy People:" Chad objects that McCain may be right about some "greedy people" having crossed the line of the law and needing punishment. And Chad might be right about that.

However, it seems to me that this is rather easy target of opportunity, too. Politicians are always good at pointing fingers; "predatory lenders" are the new "junk bond dealers," I guess. And as with junk bond dealers in the eighties, there are almost certainly some illegalities going on here.

Because there are crimes and criminals in every industry.

Blaming an easy target may be a good bit of throwaway bullshit on the hustings - especially for someone who doesn't economics as well as he should -- but let's remind ourselves of the nuances here.

Instapundit's nothing that the Old Evil of denying loans to bad credit risks has now apparently given way to the New Improved Evil of giving loans to bad credit risks. Oh, it's not quite reverse-redlining; redlining is an odious practice of using an external factor -- the neighborhood were one resides, which is often, of course, a racial monoculture -- to deny an individual a loan.

But the general point holds -- those who once railed against lenders for not giving a chance to bad credit risks are now railing against them for granting them that chance... with consequences that should have seemed more obvious than they apparently did.

Posted by: Ace at 10:58 AM | Comments (60)
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Bill Clinton Blasts Truther Heckler
— Ace

With video if you want to watch.

Jiggity tipped me to the local station that ran this last night and I've been looking for a video clip since. Glad someone finally put it up. It's not earth-shaking, but I do enjoy them being told to shut up.

Meanwhile, in one of the most absurd lies Hillary has yet uttered, she insists that she can "control" Bill Clinton. Oh, yeah. She's been on the ball with that for years, huh? She's really got her man p-whipped, doesn't she? Short leash on that hound.


Posted by: Ace at 10:08 AM | Comments (16)
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Mark Levin: Rally for Romney (or, More Accurately, Against McCain)
— Ace

Hard-hitting piece.

Even worse than denying his own record, McCain is flatly lying about Romney’s position on Iraq. As has been discussed for nearly a week now, Romney did not support a specific date to withdraw our forces from Iraq. The evidence is irrefutable. And it’s also irrefutable that McCain is abusing the English language (Romney’s statements) the way Bill Clinton did in front of a grand jury. The problem is that once called on it by everyone from the New York Times to me, he obstinately refuses to admit the truth. So, last night, he lied about it again. This isn’t open to interpretation. But it does give us a window into who he is.

Of course, it’s one thing to overlook one or two issues where a candidate seeking the Republican nomination as a conservative might depart from conservative orthodoxy. But in McCain’s case, adherence is the exception to the rule — McCain-Feingold (restrictions on political speech), McCain-Kennedy (amnesty for illegal aliens), McCain-Kennedy-Edwards (trial lawyers’ bill of rights), McCain-Lieberman (global warming legislation), Gang of 14 (obstructing change to the filibuster rule for judicial nominations), the Bush tax cuts, and so forth. This is a record any liberal Democrat would proudly run on. Are we to overlook this record when selecting a Republican nominee to carry our message in the general election?

But what about his national security record? It’s a mixed bag. McCain is rightly credited with being an early voice for changing tactics in Iraq. He was a vocal supporter of the surge, even when many were not. But he does not have a record of being a vocal advocate for defense spending when Bill Clinton was slashing it. And he has been on the wrong side of the debate on homeland security. He supports closing Guantanamo Bay, which would result in granting an array of constitutional protections to al-Qaeda detainees, and limiting legitimate interrogation techniques that have, in fact, saved American lives. Combined with his (past) de-emphasis on border-security, I think it’s fair to say that McCain’s positions are more in line with the ACLU than most conservatives.

Add to that Robert Novak's column stating that he has "multiple sources" for McCain's statement that, had he been president, he would have nominated Roberts to the Supreme Court -- but not Alito.

That was the background for conservative John Fund's Wall Street Journal online column the day before Florida voted. Fund wrote that McCain "has told conservatives he would be happy to appoint the likes of Chief Justice Roberts to the Supreme Court. But he indicated he might draw the line on a Samuel Alito because 'he wore his conservatism on his sleeve.' " In a conference call with bloggers that day, McCain said, "I don't recall a conversation where I would have said that." He was "astonished" by the Alito quote, he said, and he repeatedly says at town meetings, "We're going to have justices like Roberts and Alito."

I found what McCain could not remember: a private, informal chat with conservative Republican lawyers shortly after he announced his candidacy in April 2007. I talked to two lawyers who were present whom I have known for years and who have never misled me. One is neutral in the presidential race, and the other recently endorsed Mitt Romney. Both said they were not Fund's source, and neither knew I was talking to the other. They gave me nearly identical accounts, as follows:

"Wouldn't it be great if you get a chance to name somebody like Roberts and Alito?" one lawyer commented. McCain replied, "Well, certainly Roberts." Jaws were described as dropping. My sources cannot remember exactly what McCain said next, but their recollection is that he described Alito as too conservative.

Posted by: Ace at 09:45 AM | Comments (147)
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I Hate It When That Happens
— LauraW.

You know how it is. You're at the local pub, pounding suds before a roaring fire, gazing boozily into the flickering flames, and BAM.

Epiphany time.

"Why, hey there, look at the poker sitting amongst the coals," you mutter to yourself. "It's glowing a delightful cherry red, innit?"

And then, naturally, you pull down your pants and ask your friends to brand your ass.

Always seems like a good idea at the time, doesn't it?
Heh, I know, I know. If I had a nickel for every....look, just don't ask.

Thanks to Eddiebear.

Posted by: LauraW. at 05:56 AM | Comments (43)
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January 30, 2008

Rasmussen California: McCain 32%, Romney 28%
— Ace

That's apparently before Giuliani dropped out and endorsed McCain, but I think most of Giuliani's people will go to Romeny, endorsement or not.

The polls suggests a slight edge here for Romney picking up Giuliani's voters...

Sixty-five percent (65%) of Giuliani voters had a favorable opinion of Romney while 53% said the same about McCain. Sixty-eight percent (68%) of Giuliani’s voters believe McCain would be at least somewhat likely to win if nominated. Sixty-one percent (61%) are that confident about Romney’s electability.

McCain's always been a very known quantity. Either you liked him or you didn't. Effectively he's the incumbent, and late-deciders break for the challenger. I don't think an endorsement changes that.

Four points? In California? Very doable. Guessing at a 3:2 Romeny: McCain break, about 15% supported Giuliani, that's... hmm, three net points right there or thereabouts.

Posted by: Ace at 08:26 PM | Comments (83)
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Karl of Protein Wisdom on "McCain Derangement Syndrome"
— Ace

Excellent response to those suggesting we ought to just fall in line behind the preening peacock from Arizona.

Correction: I wote it was Goldstein; it's not, it's Karl. Thanks to Allah for the tip and the correction.

Posted by: Ace at 06:04 PM | Comments (63)
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Debate Open Thread
Update: Romney Vs. McCain On Who Flinched Less In War's Darkest Hour-- Advantage, Surpisingly Enough, Seems To Be... Romney

— Slublog

The debate is on.

Someone should tell John McCain that holding up newspaper endorsements to defend himself against charges of holding un-Republican thoughts is...unwise.

This is a really good debate... [Ace] and you should watch it in rebroadcast if you've missed it. I have to rewatch it myself to dig up the good bits.

From what I saw -- and I'm not sure I saw enough of it to judge -- but McCain seems to have dug up a damaging quote by Romney refusing to take a position on the surge in December 2006. Romney's answer seemed to be he waited for a briefing by Fred Kagan before deciding upon his position, and, immediately after hearing the plan from that surge promoter, supported it.

McCain flip-flopped on whether he would vote for his own bill should it come up again, after initially evading answering it.

Romney Response [Ace]: I just asked for a clarification of Romney's response on the quote I mentioned above; I imagine the Romney folks will have it out soon.

In the meanwhile, before they've addressed that directly, they've offered this response to McCain -- that McCain himself proposed benchmarks that would end the war, well short of the goal of victory, if not met.

In 2007, Sen. McCain Suggested Setting Benchmarks In Iraq Which, If Not Met, Might Mean The End Of Our Mission In Iraq


In January 2007, Sen. McCain Suggested Setting Benchmarks For Success In Iraq. "Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., one of the most stalwart supporters of the war in Iraq, said Thursday that he might propose that the Iraqi government meet certain benchmarks for the United States to continue its engagement. Fellow senators and independent political scientists said McCain's thinking reflected growing concerns within the Republican Party about the course of the war, and also might mark a turning point for the likely 2008 presidential contender, whose previous unconditional backing of the war may have hurt his prospects. McCain said Thursday that he hadn't yet decided on precise benchmarks. 'They'd have to be specific and they (the Iraqi government) would have to meet them.'" (Margaret Talev, "McCain Suggests Iraqi Government Meet Benchmarks," Knight Ridder, 1/25/07.)

Sen. McCain Suggested An End To The Iraq Mission If Benchmarks Weren't Met:

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., one of the most stalwart supporters of the war in Iraq, said Thursday that he might propose that the Iraqi government meet certain benchmarks for the United States to continue its engagement.

Fellow senators and independent political scientists said McCain's thinking reflected growing concerns within the Republican Party about the course of the war, and also might mark a turning point for the likely 2008 presidential contender, whose previous unconditional backing of the war may have hurt his prospects.


McCain said Thursday that he hadn't yet decided on precise benchmarks. "They'd have to be specific, and they (Iraqi government officials) would have to meet them," he said.

Asked what penalty would be imposed if Iraq failed to meet his benchmarks, he said: "I think everybody knows the consequences. Haven't met the benchmarks? Obviously, then, we're not able to complete the mission. Then you have to examine your options."

(Margaret Talev, "McCain Suggests Iraqi Government Meet Benchmarks," Knight Ridder, 1/25/07).

McCain's claim that he has been unwavering seems rather overstated. And here are his own words stating that he supported benchmarks which, if not met, would end the US engagement in Iraq.

I don't find that to be a shocking position, myself. I've always thought McCain was less a hero and more a politician -- a hero once, to be sure, but he's had plenty of time to adapt to his chosen profession of politics. And many conservatives were scrambling at that hour as to what to do in Iraq.

But it seems that his claims that Romney supported a timetable for withdrawal, or benchmarks which would compel withdrawal if not met, are entirely off-base. No statement from Romney supports such a scheme, whereas a statement from John McCain himself does.

When the war seemed about to be lost -- and his own political future imperiled -- he did talk up hard benchmarks, not soft ones used only as a guide-post. I think he was probably not giving us Straight Talk here, and was grasping for some formulation that might appease anti-war sentiment, but he did go further in his statements on this front than Romney did.

And for him to criticize Romney for hedging at the war's darkest hour when he himself hedged even more seems, well, par for the course, actuallly.

The Media Parrots... are all chirping about the McCain attack and how he alone stood up, unbowed, at the moment of truth.

They really should check their email boxes.

Incidentally, was I dreaming or did Janet Cook actually ask the sort of questions someone should ask Republicans at a Republican debate? They were good questions designed to elicit differences on issues important to Republicans.

She should be invited to do more of these.

Romney's Response: I got this from the Romney people. It just restates what I thought Romney's take was.

Fred Kagan briefed Governor Romney on the surge in early January of 2007. Gov. Romney supported the surge on the same day that President Bush announced it: Jan 10, 2007.

So McCain, who advocated benchmarks for withdrawal in January 2007, is knocking Romney for not supporting the surge affirmatively before it was actually proposed as a policy -- in December 2006.

Trust the media to continue to get this one wrong.

Hmmm... Jim Geraghty crunches the numbers and finds that rumors of Romney's political death have been greatly exaggerated. After Mega Tuesday...

That would put things at about McCain at 500+ (needing 1,191 to be the nominee), Romney at 325, Huckabee at 230 or so.

Dude. That's barely ahead at all.

In Fairness... now that I consider it, it's likely that McCain was mixing that sop to anti-war sentiment in his call for more troops. So he was saying, in total, give the surge a chance and I'll consider hard benchmarks; if it doesn't work, then we pull out.

That's an understandable way to sell it. Still, I don't think McCain is as clean on this as he seems to believe. Apparently Romney's answer to the timetables/benchmark question should have been a firm no -- this is what McCain contends -- but in fact, when asked about it himself, McCain supported hard benchmarks.

Video of the exchange at Stop the ACLU.

Posted by: Slublog at 04:14 PM | Comments (162)
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This Imbecile Again
— Ace

Oprah cast as a god-queen because, see, she's "the closest thing we have to a living deity." I guess some might say we actually already have a living deity.

This guy... it's annoying because he's a one-trick pony with the cutesy ironic-heroic portrayal of celebrities and yet he gets attention for it. I don't object to this politically -- what do I care if he half-mocks, half-glorifies nitwits like Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and Oprah Winfrey?

But I object because it's easy, stupid, shallow, and gimmicky, like so much modern art of outrage is, and yet he's feted for this stupidity.

Oh, pish-posh! His cheeky ironic-heroic portrayals present interesting questions about our celebrity culture!

Really? Like what? Which "questions" are being posed here? And man, the observation that celebrities serve the same shared-mythos function in our society of the gods of Greece is, well, not exactly fresh.

Whatever. I guess I can always console myself with my Life Motto that sustains me in times of anxiety and fear, We're all going to die so who gives a rat's ass?

Posted by: Ace at 02:41 PM | Comments (86)
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