Nathan Zachary

Crimson Skies:

Popular Science has been running a series on zeppelins of the future. Sky pirates can only be around the corner.

Horses / BP

Horses on the Border:

An article tracks the mounted Border Patrol. Photo 2 in the slideshow is beautiful.

Down with the General!

Down with the General!

Order #1, that is. Best of the Web reports:

Our item yesterday on a homeless-vets story brought numerous responses along the lines of this one, from a reader who asks not to be identified:
I love the column, and I agree about the tiresome "homeless vet" stereotype. I must disagree, however, with your conclusion that the soldier who received vodka disguised as Scope must have had other problems to begin with.

A college friend of mine is an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. His latest tour in Iraq was a staff position, meaning long days in a command office. When a group of us got together to send him care packages, he enjoyed the movies and candy bars, and loved the cigars. But he particularly appreciated the Maker's Mark and the port we sent. He and some fellow Marine officers spent last New Year's Eve smoking a cigar and sipping a cocktail from the roof of their building as Marine 155's fired artillery over their heads at insurgent positions in Fallujah. It must have been some spectacle, and I am happy for the small role we played in giving them a moment to relax.

The reason it worked out is that we disguised the spirits, much as Mike Lally's mother did. In order not to "offend our Arab hosts," alcoholic beverages are not allowed. As we were transferring the spirits into plastic bottles (port looks a lot like Ocean Spray Cranberry, while whiskey looks passably like Cran-Apple), my wife and I felt a bit silly, but we agreed that is was preposterous that a 37-year-old officer, a helicopter pilot entrusted with great responsibility, a husband and father of three with a B.S. and an M.B.A., fighting for freedom in a foreign country, couldn't have a glass of wine or whiskey while away from his wife and kids for Christmas and New Year's. No, he doesn't have a drinking problem, but as a grown man he certainly is entitled to a drink on New Year's Eve, and it was worth our feeling "silly" to give him that chance.

So, although the AP story deserves your criticism, please don't assume that Mr. Lally or his mother do as well, nor the thousands of others who just want to sit back off-duty after a long day and have a drink while they unwind. The notion that they are drunks is as invidious a cliché as that which the AP repeats. Spare the criticism for the policy that makes grown, responsible people employ such adolescent tactics just to give a man a chance to a pleasure that we at home enjoy and take for granted.
OK, we're convinced.
Hear, hear.

I haven't been drinking out of any plastic bottles (except the water bottles we get distributed here); and in fact, it's gone so far that I've developed something akin to a taste for this, in spite of its 0.5 overall rating. Still the best beer on VBC.

Hitch on Paine

Hitchens on Thomas Paine:

An interesting review of what is probably an interesting book.

Journos II

Since Janne Liked It So Well:

The NYT has decided to make a series out of their blunders; and therefore so has Iowahawk.

Click through the Iowahawk link for a few more, just as good.

"If they get out of line, just slag 'em."

That's the message I got from this article in the Guardian this morning:

"The west must be ready to resort to a pre-emptive nuclear attack to try to halt the "imminent" spread of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, according to a radical manifesto for a new Nato by five of the west's most senior military officers and strategists."
Now, I actually worked with one of the guys that authored this thing: Gen. Shalikashvili, who was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff after Powell. My impression of him was that he was a pretty conventional general officer, not given to hyperbole, or overstatement. That he put his name to this impresses me some.

However, I don't think the US or any of the other nuke-capable NATO members are going to be the first to light off a nuke on somebody's ass. Someone else is going to have to cross that particular line.


Democrats Beat Each Other With Sticks:

Cage match primaries are always fun:

Obama told the former first lady he was helping unemployed workers on the streets of Chicago when "you were a corporate lawyer sitting on the board at Wal-Mart."

Moments later, Clinton said that she was fighting against misguided Republican policies "when you were practicing law and representing your contributor ... in his slum landlord business in inner city Chicago."
It's also not a good sign for John Edwards that when he asks, "Are there three people in this debate, not two?", everyone thinks of Bill Clinton.

Actually, I'm learning quite a bit from the fistfight. The reporter says:
A blind trust held by Clinton and her husband, the former president, included stock holdings in Wal-Mart. They liquidated the contents of the blind trust in 2007 because of investments that could pose conflicts of interest or prove embarrassing as she ran for president.

Chicago real estate developer and fast food magnate Antoin "Tony" Rezko was a longtime fundraiser for Obama. Prosecutors have charged him with fraud, attempted extortion and money laundering in what they allege was a scheme to get campaign money and payoffs from firms seeking to do business before two state boards.
Are these really equivalent charges? Obama used his law degree to further the interest of a slumlord charged with extortion and money laundering... but Clinton used to own Wal-Mart stock? What?

It's not like you have to do a lot of research here -- Rose Law Firm? Billing Records? Cattle Futures? What's so bad about Wal-Mart?
Embracing the Suck.

I've now followed a number of soldiers' blogs as they write about their experiences 'over there'.

The most recent I've started follow is LT G.

Read his words at "Kaboom: A Soldier's War Journal".

The LT has a way with words. And, unlike most, he's introduced his fellow soldiers.

(via Acute Politics)
Evil Black Gun meets Hello Kitty.

Ain't that the cutest lil' thing? I truly think the magazine is just the right touch.

(via American Digest)