Archive for March 2005

S.M Stirling’s The Prince coauthored with Jerry Pournelle

March 31, 2005

I’ve just finished reading The Prince, which is a collection of the entire Falkenberg Legions and Sparta storylines they have ever written, and I must say that this bundle was better than the synopsis led me to believe. It delves deeply into the near future and a culture that we see the signs of, but have not irreversibly doomed ourselves too. It explores human nature, government, and the role of the military when everything has fallen down. It explores this through Falkenberg, a military genius. There’s a lot of fun watching him solve problems using his military force on various worlds colonized by the CoDominium. And the last two stories, were more gripping than the others. Because while Falkenberg fought for a concept, civilization, rather than any particular nation it was always easier to see his mercenaries as professionals in the farflung future. Not so with Sparta, the Spartan militia and brotherhoods reminded me all too often of the American revolution, the American founding fathers, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

This world of The Prince, is a world where America never became a hegemon, never became sole superpower, and therefore never pushed the Soviet Union to disperse. This is a world where colonies, like Sparta, have to fight a war of Independence from the criminals that the homeworld sends to them as refuse. The criminals use classic terroist and guerrila tactics, the same ones they are using in Iraq. The terroists kill, hit and raid, kidnap, and perform all sorts of atrocities without any consideration for the rule of law or the laws of war. Thereby excluding themselves from law itself.

Except the guerrilas have the backing of the only superpower that exists in the story, which is the CoDominium. Iraq has the backing of Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. Minor powers at best. To see them fight such an insurgency to create a life without terrorism for their children on Sparta, was very gripping and brought home just how lucky we are to be living in an age where the American hegemony still exists, still exists to fight terrorism rather than appeasing it or using it as a means to take over our enemies.


A deserter is surprised!!

March 30, 2005

Pablo, take note:

The only surprising element about how this story has unfolded is that it took this long for the Navy to formally charge you. We can only guess as to the reasons behind the delay. Perhaps the Navy just wanted to make sure they did a very thorough investigation before moving forward. Maybe the powers-that-be believed a delay might stifle some of the excitement about your case in the anti-war movement. More likely, there was some bureaucratic SNAFU that had to be worked out.

Regardless, the outcome of the investigation was inevitable. You did, in fact, miss ship’s movement, by your own design. You did, in fact, take an unauthorized leave of absence from your assigned duty station. These are the charges against you.

What did you expect? I’ll bet someone convinced you that if you filed a very thorough conscientious objector package, there was a chance that those charges would never be filed. I’ll bet you thought that chaplain’s endorsement of your CO package was your silver bullet. I’ll bet you thought the Navy was going to quietly let you go, to avoid a big stink.

Well, as Red Forman might say: “Pablo, you’re a dumbass!”

EuroNews Part 4

March 30, 2005

Kosovo news

UN News and others

Investigators of the United Nations oil-for-food program in Iraq said yesterday there wasn’t enough evidence to show that Secretary General Kofi Annan knew of a contract bid by his son’s Swiss employer. However, they criticized the UN chief for not properly investigating possible conflicts of interest in the matter.

Annan cleared… and you can believe as much of that as you want.

Crude futures gained only slightly on Wednesday, staying above $54 a barrel after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said it has suspended talks on a second output increase.

If I didn’t know better, I would think they are trying to squeeze us for money. Of course, I do know better, they are squeezing us because of fear of reform and free market forces that would break Opec’s monopoly if Iraq started selling oil cheaper.

The UN has run Kosovo since the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) drove out Yugoslav troops in 1999 amid grave human rights abuses in the fighting between Serbs and Albanians. Ethnic Albanians in Kosovo outnumber other ethnic groups, mainly Serbs, by about 9 to 1.

The Iraqi people and American foreign policy dodged a terminal blow when the UN pulled out of Baghdad. I guess we can thank the terroists for doing that, if nothing else. When push comes to shove, the UN turns tail, but it is also when the US shines the most.

He either fears his fate too much
Or his deserts are small
Who dares not put it to the touch
To win or lose it all.

We should all remember that, lest we give the UN any legitimacy in Iraq. I always suspected Bush’s appeasement of the UN and world international affairs on the advice of Tony Blair and Colin Powell were a dangerous and misguided policy.

EuroNews Part 1
EuroNews Part 2
EuroNews Part 3

Bleach Episode 25

March 30, 2005

Bleach’s Episode 25 has some interesting differences with Naruto. In that in Bleach’s episode, the humour is spaced quite evenly through the 18 minutes. That means however, that when anything serious comes up, it never stays serious. There’s always some absurdity going on or something else equally laughable. While it’s funny, for sure, it totally ruins the seriousness of that particular segment.

When they’re in a human spirit cannon-ball and they’re about to hit a shield and get separated, the episode still depicts the rivalry between Ichigo and an Indiginous Forces ally in ridiculous terms. This kind of warping between seriousness and the threat of imminent death with humour and absurdities, is very unsettling. Unlike Naruto, which paces humour into one episode.

You will clearly know which episodes of Naruto are the funny ones and which are the serious “mission” orientated ones. It is consistent with the story arc as well, some story arcs are small and funny while others are long and serious.

No need for legal guardians

March 30, 2005

Terry Schiavo might be palatable to those who worry not for Judge Greer’s impartiality, but who are they trying to kidd here by saying ADJUDICATION without jurires are A-Okay?

KEVIN adds: Not just state-approved, but state-ordered. If the mother had agreed that there was no hope, that’s one thing. But to go against her wishes is abusive. Nanny-statism at its worst.

The Roman Legion

March 30, 2005

Great overviews of the organization and political influences of the Roman Legion.

The no death penalty slippery slope

March 29, 2005

No death penalty means real criminals are treated as the victims. That is just how it is.