May 29, 2009
January 19, 2009
The Korea Herald reports that there have been Naval engagements...
Naval ships from the two Koreas have engaged in a number of bloody clashes in the West Sea on North Korean provocation.
...though is unclear if this is referring to recent events. There have been several clashes at sea between the two countries over the last few years.
Coming as it does during the potential disruption of the Presidential transition this is an even more worrisome development than it would normally be. This is most likely bluster by the Hermit Kingdom, but it certainly bears watching.
Note that the US and South Korea are still technically at war with the North. The armistice is still in effect but no peace treaty has ever been signed.
September 12, 2008
It should be noted that the Houston ship channel is one of the most vital pieces of national infrastructure.
Send your thoughts and prayers to
and everyone else in the line of fire. Ubu in particular is in a bad situation and can't actually evacuate due to family responsibilities..
UPDATE: The 584 foot bulk freighter Antalina has suffered an engineering casualty and was unable to avoid the storm. The ship is adrift is adrift in 80 knot winds with 22 crew aboard. Coast Guard and Air Force rescue aircraft were unable to remove the crew and the aircraft were forced down in Lake Charles. Antalina is reportedly a Cyprus Registered coke carrier.
From the USCG Press release.
"Unfortunately there were 80-knot winds on scene, well beyond the operating conditions for the air crews to safely rescue the crew of the Antalina. The safety of the rescue crews and the crew of the Antalina are of the utmost importance to us. The Coast Guard will continue to maintain contact with the crew of the Antalina and monitor their situation very closely," said Rear Adm. Joel R. Whitehead, commander, Eighth Coast Guard District.
I've been able to find no info on the Antalina aside from that given in the Maritime link. She is said to be a coke carrier. Bulk freighters carrying such low value cargo are often not in the peak of maintenance. The vessel has traditional lifeboats, which are perilous in good weather let alone in the teeth of a hurricane. This is a serious situation.
UPDATE 3:It looks like they made it.
Via The Unofficial Coast Guard Blog, the acknowledged Military response is...
USS Nassau w/1000 medical bed facility. The NASSAU arrived in Norfolk, Virginia at 1000 EDT September 12 and on-loaded a Disaster Relief Team (DRT), Beach Party Team (BPT), Fleet Surgical Team (FST) and 4 x Utility Landing Craft (LCU)
(20) title 10 aircraft and helicopters to include HH-60s, SH-60s, HC-130s;
(14) USCG platforms to include HH-65s and HU-25s;
(9) Air National Guard platforms to include HH-60s, MC-130s;
(61) Army National Guard helicopters.
This is in addition to the National Guard , Army, Civilian Federal, Volunteers Churches and NGOs.
UPDATE: *Coast Guard video of rescues is here and here.
This is driving me nuts....I'm still on medical leave and thus nondeployable. At this time they don't even need any back fill here ( at least not from a broke coastie). 2 times I had to drop out of school for mobilization but see no action and save no one except a St. Bernard...Now this.....an actual emergency...what I enlisted to do...something that applies to my rate in spades is happening and I'm Walter Mitty with a keyboard.
September 11, 2008
August 31, 2008
This is very nearly a worst case track.
It looks like NOLA is going to be in the danger quadrant and winds will be blowing into New Orleans from Lake Ponchartrain. This is a far, more direct hit than the city got during Katrina and will put maximum stress on the levees. Weather Nerd has more.
A better idea of the windspeeds can be seen below click here for full size.
Information Dissemination has a post on the Navy side of the disaster preparations, note that the main difference between this and 2005 is that the current governor of Louisiana is competent and also unlikely to deny them entry and Mayor Nagin is not being an ass. Having learned his lesson, he has ordered a timely evacuation this time and seems to be implementing a real evacuation plan.
Regards the Hospital Ships, Mercy is still in Paupa New Guinea but Comforts last publicly acknowledged location was Baltimore.
GUSTAV IS A LARGE TROPICAL CYCLONE. HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND
OUTWARD UP TO 50 MILES...85 KM...FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL
STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 200 MILES...325 KM. THE NOAA
AUTOMATED STATION AT PULASKI SHOAL LIGHT FLORIDA RECENTLY REPORTED
2-MINUTE AVERAGE WINDS OF 51 MPH...81 KM/HR...WITH A GUST OF
60 MPH...96 KM/HR.
THE LATEST MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE REPORTED BY THE AIR FORCE
HURRICANE HUNTER IS 960 MB...28.35 INCHES.
AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS STORM SURGE OF 18 TO 25 FEET ABOVE NORMAL
TIDAL LEVELS IS EXPECTED NEAR AND TO THE EAST OF WHERE THE CENTER
OF GUSTAV CROSSES THE NORTHERN GULF COAST. A STORM SURGE OF 1 TO
3 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS IS POSSIBLE IN THE DRY TORTUGAS AS
GUSTAV PASSES TO ITS WEST.
GUSTAV IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE TOTAL RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS OF 6 TO
12 INCHES OVER PORTION OF LOUISIANA...SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI AND
SOUTHERN ARKANSAS...WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF UP TO 20
INCHES POSSIBLE THROUGH WEDNESDAY MORNING. ADDITIONAL RAINFALL
AMOUNTS OF ABOUT AN INCH ARE POSSIBLE OVER FLORIDA KEYS AND
ISOLATED TORNADOES ARE POSSIBLE OVER THE CENTRAL GULF COAST LATER
This has every indication of being at least as bad as 2005.
If you want to help, either in person or by donation, Rambling Rebuilder, who spent much of 2005/2006 doing relief and recovery efforts along the Gulf Coast sends these helpful links.
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief...are acknowledged as the experts in Hurricane relief in the southeast.
Habitat for Humanity...helps out with the aftermath of these things.
Samaritans..don't get much attention, but Rambling Rebuilder says they were very heavily engaged and helpful in the area after the 2005 calamity.
These are the ones he saw that were most visible.
There is also a big list of relief NGO's on this page.
If by some bizarre chance you are reading this and are in the above indicated path....get off the damn computer and leave!
July 21, 2008
A B52 crashed off Guam today. At least two are dead. The Coast Guard is involved in the search for the missing 6.
June 29, 2008
While giving a dog and pony show for the public a soldier fired his rifle at a crowd.
Instead of blanks however the weapon was loaded with live ammo.
17 people were hit, including some children, fortunately no one has died. Without even knowing what weapon he was firing it is not really possible to say muchiven but given the probability that people were very tightly packed it seems likely that he pulled the trigger for a very short time before realizing what had happened.
There is already some speculation that this must have been a deliberate act on the part of the armorer or the soldier. However, it should be remembered that the USAF recently unwittingly flew several atomic warheads over the US before the mistake was caught.
Awful things can happen without a plot or malice.
June 11, 2008
Japan Probe has a very good roundup here including the medias inevitable focus on the fact that the killer was an Otaku who had virtually no possessions aside from Doujinshi...While this line of reportage is understandable given recent events involving the impending release of another crazy Otaku, it tends to confuse cause and effect. Humanity had bitter petty killers long before modern video games...before Pac-Man, before Dungeons and Dragons, before cartoons, comic books, dime novels, plays at the Globe, Jousts, or tournaments at the Colosseum. Media is unlikely to have made this sicko sick. No modern day Hays Code or Comic Code Authority is likely to have filled the dark void in this nihilists soul...
The real question is how he was able to stab 14 people before being subdued
UPDATE: Upon reflection, and after sleep, that question is easily answerable...Akihabara on a Sunday is wall to wall highschool and college kids. 14 stabbings, if he was fast would take roughly 14 seconds, especially if the people were unaware of who he was or what he was doing (given the location he could have been momentarily mistaken for a cosplayer doing some ad-libbed street theater).
Rather more importantly, it appears from the Japan Probe pictures that first aid was indeed being rendered mainly by bystanders including the two in this picture trying to save the stabbed policeman.
Also here performing mouth to mouth and other first aid..there doesn't seem to be a first responder in sight yet but these kids and someone with a first aid kit have stepped up...
Additionally, it appears from this picture that a bystander actually helped subdue the assailant (unconfirmed, but likely from the pic)...look at the picture to the left.
None of this has been in any English language media that I've yet seen which does a disservice to the people of Tokyo. The purpose of the post was never to rag on the Japanese in the first place, but this omission needed to be corrected in this post....we now resume the otherwise unmodified .... but now rather less topical rant...
Steven Den Beste mentioned the sad story on Sunday and it provoked this thoughtful and disturbing comment from Toren Smith. Here is an excerpt, but read the whole thing..
...there was a recent incident on a train where an unarmed guy flashed a girl, and when she protested, he beat her up right in front of the other passengers and at the next stop stuffed her down between the train and the platform. No one did anything to stop him during the act or his escape, and no one even stayed as a witness...snip... When one of the witnesses to the train flasher assault later came forward via anonymous phone call to a TV station, he said the reason he didn't want to get involved at the time was he didn't want to get hurt (the pathetic pussy) but worse, he would have been late for work if he'd stayed to be a witness for the cops. He was dead serious with that excuse and had called in to make it clear he had a perfectly understandable reason for not getting involved.
Like a lot of east Asian nations, Japanese culture has what we in the west might perceive as a passive streak. A society influenced by close proximity and limited resources Japan tends to place high premiums on honor, courtesy and not bothering each other.
That is not the issue here.
There is a large difference between the sort of nonconfrontationalism born from centuries of basically urban society and the sort of aloofness referenced in Toren's comment..
That is NOT unique to Japan. It is becoming endemic in many parts of the world. It is symptomatic of a deeply disturbing sheep-like mindset and is not at all consistent with an adult worldview.
It is every persons responsibility to have at least a cursory preparedness for something out of the ordinary happening and lending assistance if at all possible for those unable to do so.
This is called adulthood.
If you are uncomfortable with that sort of existence, take heart, after adulthood you won't have to worry about it any more.
It should be noted in passing that some of the most restrictive gun control laws on the planet did not prevent this from happening. On the contrary, one of the reasons for having adult citizens being armed in some way, even with a leatherman, is not just for personal safety, it is good citizenship, as it provides a robustly decentralized safety net and deterrent against things such as this. Japan is singularly unlikely to adopt this model for historical and cultural reasons and as such this particular option is of mainly local (USA) interest in discussing this incident...but it does bear discussing.
However, even in circumstances such as Japan, the UK or Washington DC, where even a cursory armament is not possible, there are things an adult can do to be prepared...things as low maintenance as simply making a note of the nearest fire exit or knowing enough to apply direct pressure to a wound...or having the gumption to pull someone out of oncoming traffic...
...or to not stand by and let a kid get knifed, do something, throw rocks or your cellphone...
...yet doing just that....which is nondebateably the right thing...is being criminalized.
Also, the honest truth is there is much less likelihood of the passersby stepping in to do anything (mostly for passive societal reasons). The Japanese are as comprehensively disarmed as the British. As there, using any item as a weapon proves intent and possession--ie, pick up a rock at the side of the road for defense and you are have now "voluntarily armed yourself "with an "weapon intended to do bodily harm."
This is not unique to Japan. Toren mentions the oft mentioned disarmament in both body and spirit in the UK, and it is a mindset not unheard of here either. But like everywhere it is generally supremely impolitic (and often downright rude) to ask...
...why a large group of basically military age people might scamper out a window and leave an 76 year old instructor alone to face an assailant with a .22 ...without so much as helping the old man hold the door shut..... These are painful and indeed hurtful questions but they need to be asked.
Murdoc has rather related thoughts in this well thought out Gunpundit post.
Citizens need to be adults for a republic to work and, rather happily, history has shown they are quite capable of actually being able to do so.
UPDATE: Post revised 3 hours after timestamp to fix hyperlinks and replace an accidentally deleted block of text...in order to (hopefully) achieve coherence.
June 01, 2008
Many, like this one are hear wrenching....
February 14, 2008
January 22, 2008
Well, the Dow is of by hundreds of points, the Fed is announcing surprise inter-meeting rate cuts, Bank of America reported a 95% fall in its profits, and the outfits in the new spring catalogs have the shape and coloring of badly-decorated Easter eggs. All in all, not a good morning
It got worse....Fred Thompson dropped out of the race, meaning we now have to choose between one of the RINOs running and whatever greater evil the Dems put forth.... Feh...
Due to a wreck in the tunnel, I missed a class...
UPDATE: Rusty Shackleford...the omega Fred-Head of the MuNuvians is backing Romney and makes his case here...I'm furtively leaning towards McCain. Frankly, his war record counts for a lot.
January 05, 2008
A disputed election in Kenya has exploded into violence. Baldilocks has roundups here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. On a related note Captain Ed brings word of a possible resolution, facilitated by the intervention of US Assistant Secretary of State Jendai E. Frazer who seems to have gotten a tentative power sharing agreement on the table.
December 13, 2007
Update: Via Dr. Reynolds comes the sad news that Tom Dee passed away last night.
October 13, 2007
It should come as a suprise to no one....but most of the Burmese monks seem to be.... gone.
There were a lot of them just 2 weeks ago.
More here.UPDATE: Oh...
October 01, 2007
Sylvester Stallone and his film crew have escaped Burma where they were filming a new Rambo movie. Stallone reports they encountered what he describes as " ...a hellhole beyond your wildest dreams.." and were themselves brought under fire at times.
"I witnessed the aftermath - survivors with legs cut off and all kinds of land mine injuries, maggot-infested wounds and ears cut off. We saw many elephants with blown off legs. We hear about Vietnam and Cambodia and this was more horrific,'' Stallone told the Associated Press.
The families of several of his extras were imprisoned. He and his film crew have gotten several Burmese survivors (extras and such) out of the country as well. They reportedly filmed a good deal of the aftermath of the atrocities.
None of the news coming out of Burma is good....
August 02, 2007
Dear God what a mess......
Just seeing this on the news in Japanese....what the hell?
It doesnt look like terrorism...structural failure perhaps....a LOT needs to be done regards this nations decaying infrastructure....but , I am too tired to do anything but pray for the victims.
June 30, 2007
Send him a few kind words.
June 05, 2007
Thankfully, she's OK, but even the smartest of us can be blindsided by the random encounter table of life. Wow!
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