Alan K. Henderson's Weblog


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Monday, May 31, 2010

Remembering The Fallen

(This is an annual Memorial Day post.)

Revolutionary War (1775-1783)
Wars on the Barbary Pirates (1801-1805, 1815)
War of 1812 (1812-1815)
War Between the States (1861-1865)
Mexican-American War(1846-1848)
Spanish-American War (1898)
China Relief Expedition (1900-1901)
Pacification of Nicaragua (1912-1913)
Interventions in Mexico (1914-1917)
World War I (1914-1918)
Pacification of Haiti and Dominican Republic (1915-1918)
Allied Intervention in Russian Civil War (1918-1920)
World War II (1939-1945)
Korean War (1950-1953)
Vietnam War (1964-1973)
Hostage rescue mission in Iran (1980)
Lebanon peacekeeping mission (1982-1984)
Counterinsurgency mission in El Salvador (1980-?)
Liberation of Grenada (1983)
Invasion of Panama (1989)
Iraq War (1990-1991, 2002-present)
Somalia peacekeeping mission (1992-1994)
Attack on USS Cole (2000)
Afghanistan War (2001-present)

The Veterans Museum has information on many of these conflicts. Information on Allied activity during the Bolshevik Revolution is here. See Wikipedia entry on Manuel Noriega for details on the Panama conflict. This site tells of American pilots who fought in the Battle of Britain.

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Lost - Finale

(Episode: The End. Spoilers ahead. Lostpedia synopsis here.)

It was a satisfying ending, relative to what the show had become.

The flash-sideways eventa are actually a future situation: the "Lost" universe's afterlife, where people exist in a sort of limbo vaguely resembling their former lives, mixed with their hopes and frustrations. When they realize that they're dead and remember their previous lives - something triggered by contact with people with whom they shared their most intense moments in life - they are ready to move on to the undisclosed next phase. (Maybe they're each given their own hatch-riddled island to rule.) Desmond has been arranging for many of the Losties to gather in one spot - Jack being the last to come around - before moving to Phase 2.

In the earthly timeline...

Richard and Miles are on their way to Hydra Island to blow up the plane, but plans change as they discover Frank Lapidus alive in the sub flotsam. Instead of blowing up the plane, they now plan to fly it.

Desmond had been rescued from the well by the Nadlers. They had been avoiding all other human contact, but broke their Prime Directive for this one occasion. MIB and Desmond arrive to collect Desmond upon threat of MIB-inflicted knifely death; Des complies.

They meet up with Jack and his party. Ben secretly lets Jack's people know he's been in radio contact with Richard and his pals, and that they're fixing the plane for flight. They go to the cave. Jack, MIB and Des go in.

Desmond is the only one who can approach the "cork" in the Cave of Light and survive. He does MIB's bidding. The light goes away, the island slowly begins to crumble, and MIB is mortal again.

Jack battles it out with MIB at the cliff and is critically wounded by a knife to the abdomen. MIB struggles to finish the task, but Kate shoots him with a single rifle shot. Jack invokes captain Kirk in Star Trek III and kicks MIB down the cliff.

Sawyer and Kate take the sailboat MIB planned to board and head out to Hydra Island, in radio contact with Miles, Richard and Frank. They catch their departing flight just in the nick of time.

Meanwhile, Jack passes the Guardian torch to Hurley. He has to go in the cave and restore the light, invoking Spock from Star Trek II. He drags unconscious Desmond to the rope, restores the "cork," and Hurley and Linus pull up what they think is Jack but is Desmond. Hurley offers Ben the job as his Number Two.

Jack survives his knifely and electromagnetic injuries long enough to leave the cave, either at a different exit point or some time after Ben and Hurley have left. He collapses among the bamboo, sees the Ajira plane flying safely overhead. Trusty Vincent the Dog comes to be with him at his last moments. Jack dies in joy, accomplishing something that really mattered.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Congratulations To Charles Djou

He's the first Republican in 20 years to win Hawaii's first Congressional district.


School Daze

School suspends student for wearing a rosary, because it's might be a gang symbol.

Yeah, there's been a lot of rumbles between Opus Dei and the Dominicans lately.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

We Are The Priests, Of The Dairy Farms Of Syrinx

The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler is shocked that the Food and Drug Administration says there's no inherent right to food choice.

Well now, isn't the FDA's very existence based on that assumption?

The story (emphasis in original):

The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF), an organization whose mission includes “defending the rights and broadening the freedoms of family farms and protecting consumer access to raw milk and nutrient dense foods”, recently filed a lawsuit against the FDA for its ban on interstate sales of raw milk. The suit alleges that such a restriction is a direct violation of the United States Constitution...The FDA essentially believes that nobody has the right to choose what to eat or drink. You are only “allowed” to eat or drink what the FDA gives you permission to.

Yes, the claim is being reported accurately. Page 25 of the Iowa District Court's dismissal of the plaintiff's case against the FDA says in black and white: "There is No Right to Consume or Feed Children Any Particular Food."

Going back to the article...the author goes on to explain that there is no genuine safety issue here - raw milk causes fewer illnesses than pasteurized. Rather, he perceives this to be a nod to raw milk's competition, the major dairy producers. Read the whole thing.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Making Legal Communications More User-Friendly

In this Volokh post about Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett dropping his subpoena for the identities of two Twitter account holders, I went for the obvious snark:

Was the subpoena under 140 characters in length?

Commenter "Fub" responded:

Easy: “All your tweet are belong to us!”

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Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) responds to President Calderon:

Text of his speech here.

Here's one notable quote: "Arizona has not adopted a new immigration law. All it has done is to enforce existing law that President Obama refuses to enforce."

Here's another, earlier in the speech:

Unlike Mexico’s immigration law -- which is brutally exclusionary -- the purpose of America’s law is not to keep people out. It is to assure that as people come to the United States, they do so with the intention of becoming Americans and of raising their children as Americans.

Unlike Mexico, our nation embraces immigration and what makes that possible is assimilation.

Here's the text (complete with Gov. Jan Brewer's signature) of the law that Obama's top officials will condemn without reading.

Brewer would make a great DHS chief. But we need to make a change in Washington in 2012...

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Mexican President Felipe Calderon: Hipócrita

Loose immigration laws are good enough for our country, but not for his. Read the whole thing.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Western Hemisphere Irony Day

Guest-blogging at Instapundit, Ed Morissey notes observances in Cuba and Chicago. Meanwhile, while visiting New York City one of the most well'known victims of Communism, the Dalai Lama, proclaims himself a Marxist.

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Great Britain Takes One Step Away From Civilization, And Two From Sanity

Worst. Olympic. Mascots. Ever.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Don't Mess With Arizona

Los Angeles mayor Villaraigosa wants a boycott, eh? Arizona can play that game, too.


Lost - Jack Wins The Job, And He Doesn't Have To Answer A Question About Arizona's Immigration Law

(Episode: What The Died For. Spoilers ahead. Lostpedia synopsis here.)

On the island, Jacob leads Hurley to a campfire, and are joined by Sawyer, Jack and Kate. It's time for Jacob's replacement to step in. The job was forced on Jacob, Jacob is asking for a volunteer. Jack takes the job. Jack figures out that he has to find a way to kill MIB; Jacob doesn't know if there's a way, but he concurs.

Miles, Ben and Richard go to the Barracks to get plastic explosive from Ben's secret room. Widmore and Zoe find them. Words are exchange, and they discover that MIB is about to happen on the scene. Miles runs for it, Widmore and Zoe hide in the room, Richard goes to talk to MIB, and is promptly attacked by the Smoke Monster (we do not know if he was killed or not).

Ben approaches MIB expecting to be killed. MIB asks Ben to lead him to Widmore, Ben complies. MIB kills Zoe, demands to know what Widmore's up to. He won't say in front of ben. MIB had Widmore whisper in his ear. Ben shoots Widmore in cold blood, but not before MIB gets his info.

They go to the well where Desmond was left, and he's gone; someone had dangled a rope for him to get out. My bet's that Claire did it; I doubt Richard (if he survived) or Miles could have gotten there that early. MIB plans to use Desmond's unique resistance to electromagnetism to destroy the island.

In the flash-sideways, Desmond is at work. He goes to the school to beat up Ben (the latter sees flashes of the other timeline when Des beat up Ben as Ben was plotting to shoot Penny), and delivers a message for Ben to relay to Locke: "He [Desmond] said he was trying to get you to let go, not to hurt you, and for some reason I believed him." Locke had heard Jack say somethign nearly identical, and takes it as a sign to go through with the operation that might restore his ability to walk.

Des gets himself arrested, and is located in a holding pen between Sayid's and Kate's. The three are released to be transferred to another facility - but they go to the waterfront instead. Somehow, Des had arranged for Hurley to bribe the paddy wagon driver - Ana-Lucia Cortez, no less - to release the prisoners. Cortez takes her bribe, Sayid leaves with Hurley in a Hummer, and Des hands Kate a formal gown and says they're going to a concert.

Seems that Desmond is gathering the final seven Candidates (plus Kate) into one spot. He's got three in direct cahoots: Kate, Sayid, Hurley. That leaves the Kwons, Sawyer, Jack and Locke. Is Mrs. Hawking (Mrs. Widmore in this timeline) in on all this?

We still don't freakin know why Charles Widmore returned to the island. What in the hecking heckity heck was he after there?

Do those sonic pylons offer a clue as to how to kill MIB? How did Widmore - or DHARMA - find out about their effectiveness as a barrier against Smokey?

Ben seems willing to do Smokey's bidding. Is he really, or does he have something up his sleeve?

The big 2.5-hour finale is next week.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Don't Mess With Alabama

(via Spatula City)

Don't Mess With Texas

It's not news that a lot of doctors are refusing Medicare cases - Medicate notoriously underpays them - but the trend seemt to be picking up steam in the Lone Star State.

(via Vodkapundit)

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Specter Goes Down

Sestak wins the Democratic Senate primary.

Not as dramatic as James Bond's last tangle with SPECTRE chief Ernst Stavro Blofeld, but more enjoyable.


Kobayashi Maru No-Win Scenario, Miss America Edition

There isn't a penguin's chance in the Mojave that Miss Oklahoma could have come up with an answer suitable enough to still have a shot at winning this contest. America is simply too divided over enforcement of immigration laws.

One point: "stares' rights" is a misnomer. States don't have rights - they have jurisdictions.

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Separated At Birth



Mr. Newt Is Right

He says that barring military recruiters from Harvard - during war, mind you - should be an automatic disqualifier for the Kagan nomination.

Her ruminations on First Amendment free speech issues are worrisome, too.

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Houston, You Have A Problem

Some of y'all may have seen this story and accompanying video of Houston teacher Sheri Lynn Davis beating a student. before viewing the video, I imagined a teacher flying off the handle and wildly throwing blows at a kid. But that's not what happened. Several times, including the moments just before the first assault, she pauses and assumes a fighting stance. She put a lot of premeditation into the attack.

And maybe I'm imagining things, but Davis acts like someone with street fighting experience. Not exactly how I picture 40-year-old schoolmarms.

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The Welfare State Bubble, Simplified

The $14 trillion debt on the balance sheets is just a small portion of the government's liabilities. Look at this chart. The government has promised "$52.145 trillion in net present value of the scheduled benefits (before the passage of healthcare legislation) over the next 75 years to Social Security and Medicare."

Tax hikes will not pay for this. Social Security and Medicare will both die. There is no way the programs can be sustained. The only question is the cause of death - sudden uncontrolled crash, or phasing out the programs toward sustainable alternatives?

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Great Minds Thiink Alike

Jonah Goldberg and I announced the latest Jovian news with the same headline.

He also links this Onion article: "Jupiter's Liberals Worried About Their Ammonia Footprint." Go check it out.

By contrast, Glenn is blaming Saturnian aliens.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

It's Bush's Fault

One of Jupiter's belts is missing.


Lost - Origins

(Episode: Across The Sea. Spoilers ahead. Lostpedia synopsis here.)

So, Jacob and his twin brother were originally mere mortals, their mother killed by the island's then-guardian to keep humanity from discovering what Lostpedia calls The Source. Twin Brother discovers others (Romans, apparently - their mom and the Guardian speak Latin) who discovered the electromagnetism and have been digging to find its source.

MIB's entry into the cavern of lights either transformed him into the Smoke Monster, or released Smokey from imprisonment. I buy the latter theory, because MIB's vision of his birth mom is consistent with Smokey's well-known masquerades.

Why can't Smokey kill off candidates? Why does Jacob lure people to the island when the previous guardian tried to keep outsiders from discovering it? My head hurts.

The Thinklings have live-bloggage of the episode.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

One Of The Greatest Political Ads Ever

The race in question is in the late John Murtha's district (PA-12).


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Guess Who Said This?

If it weren't for the reference to four marriages, you'd think that James Dobson or Phyllis Schlafly wrote this:

One significant, and enduring, effect of The Pill on female sexual attitudes during the 60's, was: "Now we can have sex anytime we want, without the consequences. Hallelujah, let's party!"

It remains this way. These days, nobody seems able to "keep it in their pants" or honor a commitment! Raising the question: Is marriage still a viable option? I'm ashamed to admit that I myself have been married four times, and yet I still feel that it is the cornerstone of civilization, an essential institution that stabilizes society, provides a sanctuary for children and saves us from anarchy.

In stark contrast, a lack of sexual inhibitions, or as some call it, "sexual freedom," has taken the caution and discernment out of choosing a sexual partner, which used to be the equivalent of choosing a life partner. Without a commitment, the trust and loyalty between couples of childbearing age is missing, and obviously leads to incidents of infidelity. No one seems immune.

The author is Raquel Welch.

She also had this to say about her career:

“When you're just a poster girl it’s such an empty, empty feeling, and even though people may admire you, it’s not for who you are. It's not about you, it's just about 'her' and that totally superficial kind of a look," Welch continued. "I don't think anybody wants to feel like that they're just good because of having looks. It’s just very uncomfortable and rather sad."

Update: Click over to my 2003 post on how both the strictest and loosest attitudes toward modesty devalue women. The money quote:

One [attitude] places sexual beauty on so high a pedestal that non-sexual beauty receives far less notice and appreciation as sexual beauty. The other perceives all or most aspects of female beauty to be erotic in nature, thus calling for a legalistic code of modesty that conceals even that which does not necessarily incite prurient interest.


Saturday, May 08, 2010

It's The Organized Crime, Stupid

Why Governor Brewer is stepping up border enforcement.

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Memo To Single British Ladies

I do not own a Blackberry or iPhone.


Friday, May 07, 2010

Matt Miller Can Suck On Moldy Baklava

Disgusting headline du jour: The 'No Good Options' Era: We're all Greek now

Dude, sane Americans don't want to be Greece. We want to move away from Greekdom. We want the Greeces of the world - nations bankrupting themselves with government spending far in excess of what a healthy economy can support - to be brought into financial submission.

Best comment belongs to joeshabadoo2391:

Only a liberal would describe not living within your means as "not a good option."

I stand with the Germans who don't want to subsidize uncontrollable spendthrifts.

And I'm quite pleased that the current Chancellor is someone who grew up in East Germany. Perhaps the post-Communist remaking of Eastern Europe offers clues to the runaway government spending crisis.

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It's Bush's Fault

Galactic star formation is slowing.


Just In Time For Mother's Day

2007 Ferrari F430 Spider - $199,900 (obo)

If you don't have a down payment, maybe you can work out a deal with the IMF. Your credit can't possibly be worse than Greece's.

(Link via Clayton Cramer)

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Lost - Sighted Sub, Sank Same

(Episode: The Candidate. Spoilers ahead.)

See Wikipedia and Lostpedia for synopsis.

MIB has been maneuvering to have all the Candidates killed off, and that appears to be a priority over his other desire, escape from the island. Perhaps he has considered the possibility that his imminent avenues of escape might be cut off in the process, and is willing for the next band of hapless island crashers to get him off. Which means his freedom can't be complete unless he ensures that Jacob doesn't have a successor.

Sayid's cryptic message from Desmond "It's going to be you" suggests that the successor will be Jack.

The death toll in this series is maddening and depressing.

Four more episodes to go.

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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The Deepwater Horizon Accident In Pictures

Watts Up With That? has an illustrated rundown of the events that's worth checking out.

Maybe Scientology Could Put In A Bid

The Unification Church is selling the Washington Times.

(Link via Vodkapundit)

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Calling The Kettle Black

Kevin D. Williamson fisks Will Saletan.


Monday, May 03, 2010

World Press Freedom Day

Is today.

I wonder how many of the UN members that voted for this observance actually live up to its tenets.

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Sunday, May 02, 2010

Thoughts On The British Petroleum Oil Disaster

Wikipedia has a list of major oil spills. Six involved offshore platforms, two of which were caused by tanker collisions (Iran's Nowruz Field in 1983, Mexico's Kab 101 in 2007) .

The four others involved platforms - all blowouts that occurred during drilling operations: Santa Barbara spill (Santa Barbara Channel, California, 1969), Ekofisk B (North Sea, 1977), Ixtoc I (Gulf of Mexico, 1980), and the Deepwater Horizon last month.

There hasn't been an accident like this in 30 years.

That tells me that the the industry in general had figured out a long time ago how to do this kind of drilling safely, and that this disaster owes itself to a unique set of circumstances - human error, human sabotage, or something else.

We can find out what went wrong and avoid the same mistake(s) in the future.

Meanwhile, wind farms and skyscrapers are killing off birds in greater numbers than the Exxon Valdez did. Our feathered friends will tolerate this for only so long.

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