November 2005 Archives

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November 28, 2005
Hating the Troops

Ted Rall is a scumbag. Other people agree.

But of course, you'd already know what I thought of him if you'd been reading this site in June of last year.

Yes, I was pissed off. Seriously so.

Posted by Russ at 11:50 PM | Comments (2)
November 27, 2005
Note to 1st and 2nd Level Network Engineers

To: Technical Underlings
From: Your Escalation Engineer

1) The proper greeting when I walk in the door at the start of my duty shift is "Hi, Russ" or some similarly generic greeting. It is not "I have an escalation for you" or, despite the evident faith and confidence you place in my abilities, "Man, am I glad to see you." It bodes not well for my day if the first thing I hear is someone begging for help. You can wait at least 10 minutes while my ancient laptop boots up.

2) If I tell you there are four people ahead of you in line to get a piece of my time, it means I think their issues are more urgent than yours. If I deem your problem to be more critical you will be moved to the head of the line, so stop pestering me.

3) Contrary to popular office myth, I have tasks to perform that do not involve you or your problems. Just because I am not working on your problem does not mean I'm not working.

4) No, I will not do your job for you just this one time simply because the problem is so unusual. You have peers who likely have seen the situation before. Ask them first. You might learn something.

5) If you haven't done your basic troubleshooting before bringing a problem to me, I will not help you... unless the reason you are coming to me is that you are on the edge of death at that very moment and therefore cannot help the customer. If, however, you actually want to be on the edge of death, go ahead and bring me your problems all willy-nilly — I'll be happy to oblige.

6) No, I haven't memorized the passwords for every network device we support. That's what the databases are for.

7) If you presume to schedule my time for me, please be sure to tell me in advance of the scheduled time. Otherwise I might get testy.

8) Do not presume to schedule my time for me. Ever.


Posted by Russ at 10:08 PM | Comments (2)
November 22, 2005
If it Quacks Like a Duck...

Prof. Rusty Shackleford calls a spade a spade:

You have betrayed America with your perverse love in the exact way that an abusive husband betrays a wife. You are a traitor.

[And yes, I am the master of mixed metaphors.]

Posted by Russ at 02:09 PM
Interview with the Tyrant, and the Quote of the Day

Who's your daddy Emperor? Misha, that's who.

At Stop the ACLU today, a rare — no, uniqueinterview with the man behind the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler.

The money quote:

Most of all, we need to learn to be proud of our American heritage and all that we’ve achieved. We need to relearn the pride and gratitude that comes from living in the only superpower in the history of the world that didn’t use its power to force itself on others or steal what was theirs, we need to learn to not apologize for being the richest, strongest nation on Earth because we worked very hard for everything we’ve got, and we need to be constantly reminded that all of this, this blessing that is our homeland, was built on individualism and courage and not on collectivism and fear.
Posted by Russ at 12:53 PM
November 20, 2005
Maybe Clothes Do Make the Man

Congressman John Murtha (D-PA) made rather a big splash this past week by very publicly "changing" his mind about the course of the war in Iraq — changing it to the same position he's held since last year, if not earlier. We already know this, of course, from a number of reports.

Murtha served honorably in the Marines, initially on active duty, and retiring from the Reserves in 1990, and is often described as a hawkish Democrat.

From the congressman's biography, I note that he has been in the House since 1974. Hmmm.

Murtha had a total of 37 years in the Marines, active and reserve. He had some number of years on active duty — his bio doesn't make it clear, but let's call it 12 years. I have no doubt that his years in uniform were spent completely honorably, and we know he was awarded the Bronze Star for valor during his tour in Vietnam. His service to the country cannot and should not be denigrated.

On the other hand, he has been a full-time Democrat congressman for more than 30 years.

Murtha has spent perhaps twice as much time in a suit as in a uniform. Which wardrobe, do you then suppose, has had more influence on his public pronouncements about the war?

Posted by Russ at 04:54 PM | Comments (2)
November 16, 2005
You Know (Part 9)

You know it can't possibly be a good thing when the first words the doctor utters are "Holy cow."

Posted by Russ at 04:40 PM | Comments (1)
November 15, 2005
No... No Bias There....

Last night while flipping through the on-screen TV guide, I noticed something on a channel I've not watched before: the Discovery Times channel, a cooperative effort of the Discovery Channel and the New York Times.

Showcasing the best in journalism from The New York Times,

This bit of.... No, no, no, it's just too easy. It just wouldn't be sporting of me.

... Discovery Times introduces NEW YORK TIMES REPORTING. Working with the newspaper's award-winning journalists from around the world, NEW YORK TIMES REPORTING will offer insight into some of the most important domestic and international stories in the world today.

Popular science plus shoddy journalism — finally, together in one neat package!

I wonder if Jayson Blair hosts any programs?

Back on topic... the program listing that caught my eye was "Why Intelligence Fails: Intelligence to Please," the description for which was:

Intelligence agencies receive pressure from governments to gather certain information.

Digging into the channel's website leads one to the online description of the program:

The mission of intelligence agencies is to gather information. In the United States, pressure on intelligence agencies to provide evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has become a flashpoint for political criticism.

Except, of course, we know that there was no such pressure. [Don't believe me — believe the Senate Intelligence committee. Go here, scroll down to Conclusion 83... y'know, where it says there was no pressure.] On the face of it, it looks like the Times is attempting to pass off an hour of BDS-laden historical revision as a documentary. And the media wonder why many on the right think they're a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Democrat Party.

I recorded the last half of the program, and if I think my stomach can handle a production with which the NY Slimes was involved, I'll watch it later and report back.

Update, 3:15pm: I watched it, and I feel like throwing up. The only good things that can be said of the program are that it wasn't funded by my tax dollars, and that Discovery Times doesn't have many viewers at 2am.

For the first 40 minutes or so, the program documents other countries' intel failures and the disasters that followed therefrom. [Surprisingly, the NYT thinks the 1968 Soviet crushing of Czechoslovakia was a bad idea. Walter Duranty, call your office!] This is known as "the setup." The show then moved on to the Iraq war, attempting to prove that the administration pressured the CIA to arrive at its pre-war WMD conclusions.

I don't know about you, but if I'm pressured to agree with my boss, against my better judgement, I'm not going to be enthusiastic enough about it to use the expression "slam dunk."

Apart from David Kay, ADM Stansfield Turner and Frank Gaffney (the sole Bush/Cheney defender on the program), I didn't recognize any of the people interviewed for the program, but Google can be useful:

Bob Baer: former CIA agent, current CIA gadfly.

Thomas Powers: former CIA guy, author of "The Vanishing Case for War."

Karen Kwiatkowski: former USAF Lt.Colonel, LaRouche supporter, conspiracy theorist.

Ray McGovern: notable, if at all, for his claim that the Bush administration didn't merely misinterpret existing intelligence, but that it manufactured the intelligence.

Greg Thielmann: State Department analyst since the Carter administration. Notable mainly for his disagreements with (now UN Ambassador) John Bolton and for his public disagreement with the current administration.

In short, however, the entire thrust of the documentary (one which Michael Moore would no doubt have been proud to produce) was to assume that the only casus belli was WMD, and then to try to show that the Bush administration pressured the CIA into delivering the results the White House wanted with regard to Iraq's WMDs, with the inevitable conclusion from Thielmann being that the actions of the administration amounted to a "high crime."

Do you suppose those last words were carefully chosen? What do you think the people at the Times are trying to say?

Posted by Russ at 09:06 AM | Comments (1)
November 11, 2005
Veterans Day

I never met my grandfather.

He served as an artilleryman in France in the First World War. He brought mementos home with him — some french coins, his rifle sharpshooter badge, a set of Captain's bars, his gas mask, his helmet, and others. Most of these items hang on the wall in my home, reminders of a man I never knew.

He served, came home, married, had three kids, died young, and was buried among fellow soldiers on the Presidio of San Francisco.

He never knew that decades later there would be another SGT Russell Emerson.

Thanks, granddad. I wish I could have known you.

Posted by Russ at 11:00 AM | Comments (5)
November 08, 2005
"The question was, 'How am I going to die?'"

At the office where I work, there are large TVs situated around the open bays and tuned to CNN (but muted, fortunately) so that most us us can see what's going on in the world. This is actually useful, professionally, since when a natural disaster occurs anywhere in the world, our customer networks are likely to be affected. Having hundreds of network nodes disappear over the course of a weekend is more easily explainable if you realize that there is, say, a hurricane coming onshore in Louisiana.

So the other night, we noted the news story of pirates thwarted off the coast of Somalia, and were talking about that part of the world. The subject of Black Hawk Down came up, and the conversation ultimately migrated to other books and films before we got on the topic of Hal Moore's and Joe Galloway's We were Soldiers Once...And Young. I and the Marine veteran in the office educated our coworkers a bit, and then the conversation moved along, but not before we touched on the story of Rick Rescorla on 9/11.

Almost serendipitously, then, Greyhawk of the Mudville Gazette today tells us that the 40th anniversary of the Battle of Ia Drang is coming up next week, with veterans of the battle gathering to remember their brothers in arms and the events that have earned them a place in the history books.

Boston Herald writer and editor Jules Crittenden wrote a remarkable article about a couple of the men who came through the battle, particularly about SGT John Eade. The entirety of said piece not fitting the space constraints of a newspaper, Mr. Crittenden has graciously allowed Greyhawk to publish the whole thing: I Am Going To Die Well.

Our troops then and now are not nameless automatons whose deaths and injuries are to be tallied as on a scoreboard. Each has a name, and each has a story. Thanks, Mr. Crittenden, for telling us more of those stories, lest we forget.

Posted by Russ at 03:53 PM | Comments (2)
November 07, 2005
Quote of the Day

Today it's France. Tomorrow, who knows?

I have watched this famous island descending incontinently, fecklessly, the stairway which leads to a dark gulf. It is a fine broad stairway at the beginning, but after a bit the carpet ends. A little farther on there are only flagstones, and a little farther on still these break beneath your feet.

Winston Churchill

Posted by Russ at 07:21 PM
November 04, 2005
Friday Catblogging

Is it a shoe box...?

Or is it a Lou box?

Someone looks mighty darn comfortable... even if his preferred nap spot looks disconcertingly like a coffin.

"Doesn't he look natural?"

Don't miss the Friday Ark at the Modulator, and of course the Carnival of the Cats (and don't miss parts two and three.)

Posted by Russ at 05:03 PM | Comments (5)
November 03, 2005
Question of the Day

Are you an American?

Posted by Russ at 12:09 PM
November 02, 2005
Quote of the Day

Steve H., on hurricane preparedness:

Even in the modern socialist Nanny Paradise, you are responsible for your welfare and that of your family. So buy some batteries and shut the hell up.
Posted by Russ at 12:53 PM | Comments (1)
For the Record

I'd just like to take this opportunity to note: my neighborhood is great, but it's made so entirely by the people in it. I am fortunate to be surrounded by such a terrific set of neighbors.

I'm so glad I left San Jose.

Posted by Russ at 12:23 PM | Comments (2)