Wednesday, December 27, 2006

300... Awesome

Looks like some awesome moviemaking. My teenage son just told me that it's going to be the "coolest movie ever." Just a caveat folks... please don't get your history from Hollywood. It will surely be fantasy in a historical setting. Get your history here.
John Kerry in Iraq.

This photo of Senator Kerry in the chow hall with the troops is priceless.
Today's Absurdity 12/27/2006

In a New York Times story headlined "U.S. Says Captured Iranians Can Be Linked to Attacks" we find the following quote

"American officials have long said that the Iranian government interferes in Iraq, but the arrests, in the compound of one of Iraq’s most powerful Shiite political leaders, were the first since the American invasion in which officials were offering evidence of the link.

The raids threaten to upset the delicate balance of the three-way relationship among the United States, Iran and Iraq. The Iraqi government has made extensive efforts to engage Iran in security matters in recent months, and the arrests of the Iranians could scuttle those efforts.

Some Iraqis questioned the timing of the arrests, suggesting that the Bush administration had political motives. The arrests were made just days before the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution imposing sanctions on Iran for its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment."

This is fine example of the tortured logic of misapplied Cold War realism at it's worst:
The raids upset the delicate balance, not the presence in Iranian military officers in Baghdad).

There is a balance, a delicate one at that to upset... yes the Iraqis and Iranians are meeting, but I doesn't look like we're engaging in much dialogue... and again - why is it that our response to agression gets categorized as destabilizing? That would be as absurd as blaming the Israelis for violating a cease fire when they attack groups who've just launched rockets... No one would consider that, right?

The arrests scuttle efforts to engage in security matters. Technically, this is correct. The Iranians are already pretty "engaged"in internal Iraqi security matters, what with providing material and technical support for strikes against civilians and coalition forces and all. Therefore, their arrests would tend to lessen their engagement.


Equally worthy of discussion in the same report is the US language "the chief spokesman for the American command, said the military, in the raid, had “gathered specific intelligence from highly credible sources that linked individuals and locations with criminal activities against Iraqi civilians, security forces and coalition force personnel.”

I thought our policy in the war on terror was to consider terrorist as enemy combatants, not criminals. Is there some nuance here that we should explore further?

If course... you know all this Iranian stuff is just a neo-con conspiracy. ;)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Open Season from Stuck in the Mojo

I just bought my first CD in a while from these guys - Stuck Mojo

I bought it for a few reasons -
First off I've been waiting to hear from a band (non-country) that understands that we're at war. These bubbas obviously get it. 'bout fuckin' time someone did.
Second, not only do they get the message right... the music's pretty good too. Rock meets rap - not in a weak way - but with the hard edges of both. Good warrior music.
Another reason is that these guys are trying the new marketing model - they're giving out their tracks for free - but you can order the cd if you like it. After reading the story of this band's problems with getting paid for previous music, I can understand. I know nothing about the music business, so don't know if their story is common, but I have a suspicion that it is. In that case - good for them.

Here's the link to their video on youtube. Also Michelle Malkin over at HotAir is following what might be suspicious goings on with their youtube honors/ranking.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Santa's Dwarves?

Has anyone else noticed the number of TV commercials using Santas dwarves instead elves? ***

Home Depot has one, Verizon has one... there's another with a whole sledload of 'em.

Does it bother anyone else? The cynic in me says this is some warped form of political correctness... but come on. Santa has elves, not dwarves.

***Sure, dwarfs and elves. I prefer the Tolkien spelling

Organizational Change.

Chapomatic has a great post listing some books about change in organizations

He's included some good titles. I would add that before reading any of them, one have a go at Edgar Schein's book "Organizational Culture and Leadership."

Understanding the existing environment is critical to any successful change effort, planned or otherwise. I found that his work in defining what culture is holds true, especially in military organizations.

His definition of organizational culture is

"A pattern of shared basic assumptions that the group learned as it solved its problems of external adaptation and internal integration, that has worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way you perceive, think, and feel in relation to those problems."

The other component that Schein brings out quite well, and one especially appropriate for meritocracies like the Navy, is leadership's role in shaping and transmitting culture. Leaders in an org model how we deal with world around us - how to be successful - the skipper shows us how to respond to crises.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Georgia Legislature Bones Widows and Orphans...

Someone should be doing a story on this. In a nutshell, the 2005 Georgia legislature passed HERO SB-42 that authorized a $2000 education benefit for Georgia soldiers who spend 180 days in a combat zone - the benefit is transferable to their children, but not spouse. The problem is that if a soldier is killed or wounded and evacuated before the 180 day mark - no benefit. There was a plan to fix this, but for some reason it's been pulled of the agenda.... what's going on? For more info and some contacts, see the link here...

The benefit is a great gesture, but they didn't get it right. So why the reluctance to fix it?