Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Military Rules for Non-Military Personnel

So I got this email from a civilian friend of mine:

Dear Civilians,
We know that the current state of affairs in our great nation have many civilians up in arms and excited to join the military. For those of you who can't join, you can still lend a hand. Here are a few of the areas where we would like your assistance:

(1) The next time you see an adult talking (or wearing a hat) during the playing of the National Anthem---kick their ass.

(2) When you witness, firsthand, someone burning the American Flag in protest---kick their ass.

(3) Regardless of the rank they held while they served, pay the highest amount of respect to all veterans. If you see anyone doing otherwise, quietly pull them aside and explain how these veterans fought for the very freedom they bask in every second. Enlighten them on the many sacrifices these veterans made to make this Nation great. Then hold them down while a disabled veteran kicks their ass.

(4) (GUYS) If you were never in the military, DO NOT pretend that you were. Wearing battle dress uniforms (BDUs), telling others that you used to be
"Special Forces," and collecting GI Joe memorabilia, might have been okay when you were seven years old. Now, it will only make you look stupid and
get your ass kicked.

(5) Next time you come across an Air Force member, do not ask them, "Do you fly a jet?" Not everyone in the Air Force is a pilot. Such ignorance deserves an ass-kicking (children are exempt).

(6) If you witness someone calling the US Coast Guard 'non-military', inform them of their mistake---and kick their ass.

(7) Next time Old Glory (the US flag) prances by during a parade, get on your damn feet and pay homage to her by placing your hand over your heart. Quietly thank the military member or veteran lucky enough to be carrying her---of course, failure to do either of those could earn you a severe ass-kicking.

(8) Don't try to discuss politics with a military member or a veteran. We are Americans, and we all bleed the same, regardless of our party affiliation. Our Chain of Command is to include our Commander-In-Chief (C in C). The President (for those who didn't know) is our C in C regardless of political party. We have no inside track on what happens inside those big important buildings where all those representatives meet. All we know is that when those civilian representatives screw up the situation, they call upon the military to go straighten it out. If you keep asking us the same stupid questions repeatedly, you will get your ass kicked!

(9) 'Your mama wears combat boots' never made sense to me---stop saying it! If she did, she would most likely be a vet and therefore, could kick your ass!

(10) Bin Laden and the Taliban are not Communists, so stop saying 'Let's go kill those Commies!' And stop asking us where he is? Crystal balls are not standard issue in the military. That reminds me---if you see anyone calling those damn psychic phone numbers, let me know, so I can go kick their ass.

(11) 'Flyboy' (Air Force), 'Jarhead' (Marines), 'Grunt' (Army), 'Squid' (Navy), 'Puddle Jumpers' (Coast Guard), etc., are terms of endearment we use describing each other. Unless you are a service member or vet, you have not earned the right to use them. That could get your ass kicked.

(12) Last, but not least, whether or not you become a member of the military, support our troops and their families. Every Thanksgiving and religious holiday that you enjoy with family and friends, please remember that there are literally thousands of sailors and troops far from home wishing they could be with their families. Thank God for our military and the sacrifices they make every day. Without them, our country would get its ass kicked."

"It is the soldier, not the reporter who has given us the freedom of the press.

"It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech.

"It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who gives us the freedom to demonstrate.

"It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag."

(Please pass this on so I won't have to kick your ass!)

"If you can read this, thank a teacher"

"If you are reading it in English, thank a veteran."


A Few Words on Leadership

I just got back to my room from a training exercise that was supposed to end at 1830 (6:30PM). Usually we have to stay for a few extra minutes for administrative items and we are usually free to go around 1845. We were finally let go around 1915. Now, 45 minutes isn't something that I'm going to flip a lid about. You can try to waste my time & smoke me until Taps. I don't friggin' care; Until: You start preventing my people from doing things they need to do (ie: attend class, get some friggin' food before the Chow Hall closes; simply things like that). As you have probably guessed, I just witnessed and was subject to some of the worst leadership I've seen in my entire life.

To Leaders: Don't waste your people's time. Your people are your most valuable asset. Treat them like you care about them. And don't friggin' get mad because your people are motivated, having a good time, and executing the training correctly. Just because you suck as a human being (no exaggeration) and have no friends, don't take it out on your subjects. Take care of your people and respect their time. When the stupid training schedule says that training will be complete at 1830, stop training at 1830.

The proof that I am a Christian is that a certain person, a straight leg, I might add, is still breathing and walking on this earth.

Thanks for listening.
God Bless You,
God Bless America,
AIRBORNE All the Way,


Friday, September 23, 2005

US-CERT ST05-016 -- Understanding Internationalized Domain Names



Sunday, September 18, 2005

Movie Review: Lord of War

I must say, this movie is nothing short of incredible. Lord of War is the type of movie that you need to see in theaters. The beginning is freakin' outstanding if not awesome (and I don't use "awesome" very much). A few quotes from the movie that I liked:

"There are over 550 million firearms in worldwide circulation. That's one firearm per every twelve people on the planet. The only question is, how do we arm the other eleven?"

"I supply to every army but the Salvation Army."

I don't want to tell you much about the movie other than to run out & watch it as soon as you're done reading this post. However you should be forewarned - it is rated R for a reason. Besides the usual stuff, there is brief nudity and drug usage. The scariest aspect of the movie is that it is based on real events. That type of thing really went and still goes on even today.


Saturday, September 10, 2005

Pictures from the Baton Rouge Airlift

As promised on the 5th of September, I sorted through my pictures and decided to post a few from the Airlift. I'll put a short description with each photo.

Here is our fearless leader (pilot) & our chariot of relief.

Some of the volunteers that purchased relief items and loaded the planes.

Our very loaded plane.

The Mississippi River and some ships. As you can see, shipping was affected somewhat.

We were only a part of the relief effort. Not all the planes shown were bringing in supplies, but a clear majority were involved. In the foreground is a friend of mine.

Civilian helicopters were also involved in the operation.

One of the incoming civilian jets. From what we were able to read, they were unloading MRE's (Meals Read to Eat) and other food products.

US Army BlackHawk helicopters.

More BlackHawks at that part of the airfield.

BlackHawk and Chinooks. These guys were flying all day long.

The same area later in the afternoon. Not many of them left.

One of the Chinooks leaving.

A surreal sky over Atlanta, GA upon our return from a hard day's work later that evening.

For all those that are complaining the Army isn't doing anything to help out down there. Shut the hell up & drag your sorry selves down there and pitch in. Those pilots were flying operations constantly all day long. We saw three separate helicopters, fully loaded, MEDEVAC survivors in to the airfield in a matter of 15 minutes. There is no way of telling how many missions were flown out of that field alone on that day.

While watching the news coverage the night we got back from the airlift, I couldn't help but notice how all these people were screaming at the TV cameras for help from the government, yet they won't lift a finger to bring any of it about. "You don't realize they just lost everything they ever had in that storm." Yeah, I do realize that. If my home was destroyed and I lost everything I ever had, I'd sure as heck be working to bring some order back to the area. I challenge you to actually watch what is going on while the cameras are rolling. These people are all sitting around outside with garbage all around them. Not one person was attempted to clean up the area that they were sleeping in. Mind you, this was not in their old neighborhoods or anything. This was just outside of the relief shelters. Did anyone else see the clip of the inside of the Louisiana Superdome, or whatever it was the people were staying in during the storm, after they were moved out? It looked like there had been a full blown riot & war in that place. I'm not going to get into all that. I wanted to put out these pictures. I encourage you to listen with a cunning ear when these people start complaining, though.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures. If you'd like to get involved in relief operations or make donations, you can contact the Red Cross, Angel Flight, or any of the other great organizations helping out down there.


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

FLUP: It is NOT Price Gouging

WaMi brought an article pertaining to the "gasoline price gouging" issue that I was discussing just the other day. This new article directly addresses how when a market is allowed to run free the supply will correct itself faster than government imposed price controls. Not only will it correct faster, but it will also correct in a manner that will be less costly in the long run.

Please see Jerry Taylor's "Gouge On" article.


Monday, September 05, 2005

The Baton Rouge Airlift

This past Friday the opportunity arose that would enable me to participate in the relief efforts for the people of Louisiana. I was affiliated with the group Angel Flight. We left on Saturday morning and returned Saturday night. During our flight times, I took some time to write down some observations and thoughts. The following is a copy of those writings:

"03SEP2005 (SAT) 1213 7,000ft West of Atlanta [Dekalb]. Departure time: 1157. Arrived at the field and proceeded to move supplies to seven planes. Initial loads were soap, deodorant, some canned foods. When weight limits were approached, diapers were taken to fill the space. Our flight consisted of soap, deodorant, tooth-brushes, diapers and (finally) first aid kits. We also had two other passengers. 10,000 at ~1220; this seems to be our cruising altitude. Arrive [estimated] Baton Rouge: 1404 (1304 local time). Descent began 1355."

The next several hours were spent moving supplies, getting some food for ourselves, and preparing for our return flight.

"Wheels up 1616 (1516 local time) from Baton Rouge, LA. We are headed back to ATL [Dekalb] after having dropped off our cargo. We are +1 passenger. Cruising speed was 160 knots [during the] inbound [flight]. I anticipate the return will be much faster as we are lighter. While there [at Baton Rouge], inbound air traffic seemed to be constant [other Angel Flights]. There were also a lot of helicopters, at least more than you'd expect, involved in the relief supply efforts. The trip was seemingly anticlimactic as we didn't get to see the people or the places that the supplies were going to. The reward that we've received is being able to watch the news and knowing that we were able to help someone. I really don't understand why two of our passengers came along. They acted sort of like tourists. We could have brought another 325 lbs, or so, of supplies. I should expound on our +1 passenger some more. She is from the New Orleans area. From the bits I've heard, I assume she was evacuated before Katrina hit. She said that she had watched, on the TV, some of her neighbors get rescued. All of the phones are down in New Orleans so she has no idea how extreme the damage is or who is left.
Cruising altitude is 11,000 ft at 155 knots. 2:20 is the expected return flight time."

Our +1 passenger was an 87 or so year old black woman who also had a heart condition (unbeknownst to me at the time). She was brought to the Atlanta area so that she could be with her daughter and some of her family. She did not have enough money to buy a plane ticket or get out of the area otherwise. Two of the local news channels were waiting for us at the airport to film the reunion when we released our precious cargo.

The two tourist passengers I referred to really didn't have a purpose for coming. Congratulations that you are the president of a university. I really don't care. As far as I am concerned, you were a hindrance to operations that were concerned with bringing relief to displaced (not misplaced) people. I have no idea what you expected to find, but in my opinion, if you were really concerned with the well being of these people, you would have found another way to get out there. Instead, you decided to ride along with us for free and were, more or less, a leech the entire time. Even if you do contribute thousands or millions of dollars to the operations, then another $400 for round-trip tickets on a commercial flight shouldn't hurt.

Advice to readers: If you are even involved in relief efforts, don't do something that will possibly take food/supplies from the hands of those you are helping just because you are nosey.


P.S. - I will have some pictures soon.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

It Is NOT Price Gouging

Too many of you whining individuals do not understand enough about economics. If you have never heard of the commodity futures' markets, you need to sit down for a crash course in how the world works.

Hurricane Katrina's path into New Orleans was determined several days before the September 2005 commodity futures' contracts expired.

Our economy works on a system of "supply and demand". When the demand for a product exceeds the availability of the product, that manufacturer can afford to charge a higher price for that product. Why is that? Because someone is bound to pay the higher price. IE: There is only 1 jelly-filled doughnut left at the auction. There are 7 "people" standing around waiting to buy the doughnut. That doughnut will probably be sold for more than $4.00. It wouldn't surprise me if it sold for more than $10.00. The $10 price will be paid because there is a limited supply with a greater demand. Likewise, if there were 20 doughnuts left with only 2 people there, the doughnuts will probably sell for cents each. Not the greatest of examples, but it is one that works. Another example would be ticket "scalpers". Apply tickets to the already-typed example.

Back to the futures' markets. Contracts traded months in advance before the contract matures or "expires". When a contract expires, whoever is holding it at that time will take delivery of said contract (lumber, gold, cattle, natural gas, etc). Using General Mills as an example, they don't only make money when you buy their cereal. They also (attempt to) make money before they ever receive the grain and wheat that they will be using to make the cereal. This is done on the commodity markets. Prices fluctuate on the futures' markets as do the prices on the stock market. General Mills will try to buy or sell contracts in order to make money on the movement of the day, week, or even several months.

As I stated earlier, the September contracts on unleaded gas were to expire days after the strike of the hurricane, which was, September 01, 2005. The speculators saw that the supply of unleaded fuel would be affected. They, therefore, began to buy contracts of unleaded gas. When people begin to buy, the price always goes up. What day did we notice the price of gas go up at the pumps? In my area, on 31 AUG the price of gas went up significantly. 01 SEP we see the price of gas even higher. A factor that people are failing to connect is that the US failed to produce and provide several million or even billion barrels of oil, due to the storm*. This has created an even larger shortage of fuel. (Thank you OPEC.) Now, with shipping having been interrupted (New Orleans is a major port), fuel deliveries are either being delayed or diverted to other ports. As anyone who is in business knows, every day additional day that a product is not available to a consumer is lost money. This is the first new cost the company must overcome. The second new cost the company will need to overcome is the additional cost of moving the product to the alternate delivery site. The third cost incurred will be the added transportation cost after the product has been delivered to the mainland. For example, if fuel is normally brought to New Orleans and is then diverted to Tampa Bay, FL, the driving of the fuel from Florida to the Louisiana distribution points will be another incurred cost.

As you can see, these costs continue to build on top of each other. Do you expect the companies to simply swallow the loss of revenue? As always, the consumer will be the one to pay the balance.

If you would like to watch the futures' markets, see this site. Walter E. Williams also wrote an excellent article on this subject as well.


*The US is the third largest oil producing country in the world. Saudi Arabia and Russia are first and second.