Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Talk Like a Pirate! Arrrr

Arrr ye Mateys,

Back from a year in the bilges not talkin to ye and all, I'd like to offer me humble apologies for not faring thee here, but Talk Like a Pirate Day comes only once a year ye landubbers! So for ye get yer sails all a bind, let yerself ponder how a pirate might view some recent news.

Blackwater. Arrr, a name after me own liking I must say. Rebounds of saber's clashes and cannon ball ruin! Long known, these players of independent means have had their way in this waaar, providing the security that the King's men could not. Not so unlike pirates, this community aaarmed mercenaries thrives on the occupation, reaping the spoils and the bounty of the bloody conflict.

Follow me below to the bilges if ye dare....

The King's General Petraeus. Arrr, an untrustworthy soul if for no other reason than he's not a sailor. Blow me down mateys, how can these landlubbers expect respect when they've never ridden the seas? On the other hand me hardys, there be a certain Admiral Fallon who I might lean a little closer to in regaaards of a clear eye in these spoken matters. Seems the good Admiral thinks the General is akin to parrot poop when it comes to being an upstanding man worthy of military abides.

Rats fleeing the sinking ship. Arrr, it seems that the pace of Republicans leaving the governing wing of the Good Ship America to find their way into its underbelly is apace beyond anyone's expectations.

Arrr, the good Captain Reid of the Senate seems to have calculated his cannon balls with good reason mateys as he is now showing himself to be quite the cutlass bearing scallywag that we had been praying for all along. Now if the good lady Pelosi would set her eye on a similaaaar position, we might be seeing some movement here mateys.

So thaaar you have it ye scallywags, a gang plank you can use to to set sail on yer own news of interest to the pirates of the Kossac Seas. Ahoy mateys! And don't forget to toast to the future where victory is only over the horizon. Drink what ye may, but this pirate would suggest a PBRrrrrrrrrr!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Live bloggiing Panthers vs Texans

1st Quarter
•Carolina is off to a real strong start here with a solid seven point scoring drive followed by a fumble recovery and return by Ken Lucas down to the Texan's 17 yard line. Play was challenged but stood.
•Jake just hooked up with Steve Smith for their second touchdown. 14-0.
•Texans shred the safety for two plays and a TD. 14-7.
2nd Quarter
•Texans have the ball, momentum is pretty even though the ball is moving in Houston's favor.
• Ken Lucas just picked off a long pass. This is his second involvement in a turnover. Certainly making a statement. Panther's ball on their own four yard line.
• Oops, not going to happen, called back, Houston's ball on Carolina 29. Now down to the 13.
• Texans score, 14-14
• Ouch, first sack of the year.
• Momentum firmly Houston. Texans 17 Panters 14
3rd Quarter
• Starting as the other one ended. Sounds like a clinic. 31-14
,4th Quarter
• 4th quarter starts with Panthers with the ball, possible change of winds?
• No
• Final 31-14

Monday, September 10, 2007

Panthers strong and balanced in win

The Carolina Panthers excelled in many areas of the game today and came out of their first opening day road trip in six years with a decisive 27-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams.

Look for analysis and follow up later including some impressive individual and team stats including coach John Fox's 50th Panther victory.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

It Starts!

The Carolina Panthers start the regular season against the St. Louis Rams.

The Carolina Panthers (0-0), who closed last year with back-to-back road wins, open the regular season away from home for the first time since 2001 when they play the St. Louis Rams (0-0) at the Edward Jones Dome. A lot of has changed for Carolina since defeating Atlanta and New Orleans to complete the 2006 season with an 8-8 record, but a nucleus of returning players comprise the corps that will try to upend St. Louis.

Foremost are wide receiver Steve Smith and defensive end Julius Peppers, both coming off consecutive Pro Bowl seasons. A year ago, Smith missed the first two games with a hamstring injury but he still caught 83 passes for 1,106 yards. His last reception at St. Louis was a memorable 69-yard touchdown to give Carolina a 29-23 overtime victory in the 2003 NFC Divisional Playoffs. Peppers, whose 34.5 sacks are second in the NFL over the last three seasons, anchors a defense that has ranked in the top 10 four of the last five years. He is coming off a 13-sack season in which he also forced three fumbles and recovered two.

There are also a number of other familiar faces:

* Jake Delhomme, starting his fifth season at quarterback.
* DeShaun Foster, returning as the starting running back.
* Mike Rucker, coming back off knee surgery to start his 92nd game at defensive end.
* Jordan Gross, starting his 65th consecutive game at tackle.
* John Kasay, the last original Panther, again handling the kicking duties.

However, there are significant changes as well. Not starting at safety for the first time since Week Two of the 2001 season is Mike Minter, who retired during the training camp. Last year's second leading receiver, Keyshawn Johnson, has also retired, leaving Keary Colbert and Drew Carter to handle the receiving duties opposite Smith as they did in 2005.

The additions include the return of tackle Travelle Wharton, center Justin Hartwig and linebacker Dan Morgan, all of whom were lost for the year with injuries in the opening game last season. Morgan is joined at linebacker by first-round draft choice Jon Beason, who enjoyed a productive preseason and is one of 10 rookies on the youthful Carolina roster. Aside from Kasay and long snapper Jason Kyle, guard Mike Wahle is the only player on the Panthers roster with 10 years of NFL experience.

Only a dozen players remain from the roster that last played at St. Louis, and head coach John Fox says that the newcomers are in for a substantial challenge.

"We are playing a very good football team at their place in the regular season opener," said Fox. "Any time you go inside you know it is going to be loud, and given the circumstances, this will be a very difficult environment."

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Saber-Rattling 101:

How to Scare the Bejesus Out of Tyrants and Tin-Horns
by Joy Busey from People First Politics

The buzz on the left has been insistent for a couple of weeks now about what the Bush administration is planning to do about Iran’s apparently insane Shi’ite political leader and his nuclear ambitions. The carrier fleet and their escorts have been deployed to the Gulf, the rhetoric has kicked up a few notches about how accessible Iran’s nuclear facilities are to air and sea strikes, there’s even been some talk of a draft. Because Iran’s got a heck of an army and they could march it into Iraq if it felt the need.

There are of course many reasons to doubt that our current war-loving band of chicken-hawk miscreants in Washington are really dumb enough to attack Iran, particularly since Israel issued a statement on Wednesday that they’d be willing to live with a nuclear Iran. So long as it’s just power, of course, as opposed to weapons.

Thus it was with a wry smile and a roll of the eyes that I saw the several news reports about 5 ACMs - Advanced Cruise Missiles - mounted with 5-150 kiloton nuclear warheads (these qualify as tactical nukes as opposed to strategic ones on ICBMs that boast multiple megaton warheads) that were ‘accidentally’ flown from Minot AFB in North Dakota to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana on August 30. Oops.

The ACMs were reported to be among a stockpile of 400 destined to be decommissioned, so the warheads were supposed to have been removed at Minot before the cruise missile bodies were transported to Barksdale. According to The Army Times story, the Air Force insists that they had total control of the warheads at all times, even though they didn’t exactly know where they were for the duration of the 3 1/2 hour flight.

It’s all okay. They were “safely mounted to the B-52’s wing pylons,” right where they should be if the Air Force were planning to launch them from high altitude against a target. We have to figure these 400 tactical ACMs are part of that redundant overkill portion of our national stockpile, as both the Navy and Air Force have plenty of tacticals (and their delivery missiles) in or near the current theaters of operation. So it’s not like we should suspect a bombing attack on Iran doesn’t already have all the bombs it needs.

Yet having had a little contact and familiarity with military nuclear programs over the years, I’ve just gotta say this whole comedy of errors strikes me more as deliberate saber-rattling than as a legitimate oops. You just don’t oops these things. The fail safes are too stringent, the procedures too tight, the sign-offs at all levels of command and oversight too foolproof. You just can’t ‘lose’ these things. Maybe in some god-foresaken corner of old Soviet colonialism, but not right here in the heartland.

I figure Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has plenty of underlings doing nothing but following the debates in the U.S. press and cable news about whether or not we’ll be attacking Iran to prevent its completion of nuclear ambitions. I also figure they won’t be predisposed to believe this was a complete oops, any more than I am. There is certainly a threatening undercurrent to the fact that advanced, tactical nuclear-tipped cruise missiles (can be launched from sea or air) are being shuffled around from the deep northern midwest to active forward deployment stations such as Barksdale in Louisiana.

Perhaps it will work. It might just scare Ahmadinejad enough to settle his overactive dog and pony act, as well as serve to keep his troops within his own borders instead of marching into Iraq to wreak havoc on our troops there. In which case this intriguing episode of fine-tuned disinformation will have served its purpose well.

But in the meantime, shouldn’t we do a little investigating to find out if lax procedures and a cavalier attitude at our nuclear stockpiles might make them into targets for terrorist designs? I mean, if they won’t miss a warhead when it’s gone, we’ve something to worry about. Rattling sabers at ‘the enemy’ is one thing. Rattling them at We the People is something else entirely.

UPDATE: Looks like ex-spy Larry Johnson had the same take as I did, just a few hours (and inside contacts) later. Check it out at Staging Nukes for Iran?