Our government in chaos

Your government at work.

US Park Police lost track of huge supply of weapons, report says

The U.S. Park Police has lost track of a huge supply of handguns, rifles and shotguns, according to a report released Thursday on the law enforcement agency responsible for safeguarding the National Mall and critical American landmarks.

In the scathing report, the inspector general’s office of the Department of Interior faults staff at the agency for having no idea how many weapons they control and says the department has no clear policies or procedures for investigating missing weapons. The office said top managers, including the police chief, have shown a "lackadaisical attitude toward firearms management."

I’ve got about 24 years with the military and it’s often hard to grasp just how out of control our civilian side is.  Is no one, anywhere in government accountable for anything?  It seems not.

I’m not talking about conspiracies here just plain incompetence.

Weapons accountability isn’t difficult, just like financial accountability.  However, if you never make any leaders pay for mistakes who will care?  It’s a top down thing. 


Trying out a tablet, not the kind you think

I bought a WACOM Bamboo tablet.  These are not the IPAD or Android tablets but a drawing tablet.  I like to draw and love some of the digital art I’ve seen but haven’t really tried the digital tablet till now. 

The toughest thing about a tablet is the fact that you watch the screen and draw on the tablet.  That takes a little time to get used to.  Below is the first thing I did.  It’s pretty shaky but I did it quickly and didn’t keep cleaning it up.  It was really just to try out the tablet.


Yeah it needs work but it only took me about a hour.  The second picture was a drawing of a boxer.  Why a boxer?  No idea just started doodling.  This one was more a practice in layers and background.  But still kind of fun.  Again not good or finished even but fun to play with.

boxer1 copy

Colorado Heat

It’s been a tough couple of weeks with wildfires and heat.  Today it’s forecasted to hit 92 degrees in Colorado Springs and Pueblo should hit 100.  Nice huh?  You know all that talk about “dry heat” and how much better that is?  Well don’t believe it.

This is of course bad news for the fire watch.  It’s terribly dry here and with the heat we generally get wind.  Hopefully no new fires will start.

Imagine fighting a fire in that heat in these clothes.


Not fun.

Of course Las Vegas is forecasted to hit 116 by this weekend.  Ouch.

Current Reading

Ok, I just finished Alex Berenson’s The Night Ranger.  This is one more

novel featuring John Wells, a Muslim and former CIA operative.  In previous novels John spent a lot of time in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban and Al-Qaida, this time out he’s asked by his estranged son to help located some kidnapped friends in Africa.  This is an area John isn’t  familiar with.  The pace is pretty quick and easy to stay focused on.  John is a flawed lead who while good at what he does is constantly questioning himself and his religion.  Overall fun and quick. thumbs up


I’m also reading Bing West’s The Wrong War. 

I’ve only just begun but I can say so far this book is a strong critique on COIN and it’s use in Afghanistan.  The first half is spent in the Korengal and Waigal Valley’s.  It’s appears to be an honest assessment and through the time on the ground with the troops rings pretty accurate to me so far.

The New York Times book review

Kirkus reviews

Secretary Defense Hagel, great choice

Smooth move.

“your not a member of the Taliban are you?” No, Chuck he’s Indian and a Professor at the University your speaking at.

Only the brightest need apply

SoD Hagel probably didn’t mean anything by the remark but can you imagine say Rand Paul Saying something like that?  Is this the smartest guy for the job?

Meanwhile over at the Pentagon:

Washington (CNN) — The Pentagon unveiled plans Tuesday for fully integrating women into front-line and special combat roles, including elite forces such as Army Rangers and Navy SEALs.

While Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine and special forces commanders detailed steps they will take, not all shared the same comfort level with the initiative, raising potential real-world scenarios that must be addressed before moving too far forward.


nicholasmourad Says:
June 20, 2013 at 4:51 pm edit

I was actually at the event, and this is completely out of context. A woman from the Associated Press tried to ask a question, and media wasn’t allowed to ask questions at the event. She was in the back of the room, and Hagel probably couldn’t see her, so he asked the Taliban question.

Once they got the mic away from her they gave it to Professor Gandhi. After the event, he had only good things to say, and today came out with a statement affirming that.

It was a stupid misunderstanding.

Syria, I’m sure it will all work out as planned

John Kerry apparently wants to bomb the Syrian airfields and John McCain want’s to hang out with the rebels all the while according to Reuters the hardline Islamist have pretty much taken over the rebels.

Kerry was shot down by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, who said the Pentagon would not back a plan without clear entrance and exit strategies, noting that neutralizing Syrian air defense would require more than 700 sorties, according to the Bloomberg.

Special Report: Syria’s Islamists seize control as moderates dither

(Reuters) – As the Syrian civil war got under way, a former electrician who calls himself Sheikh Omar built up a brigade of rebel fighters. In two years of struggle against President Bashar al-Assad, they came to number 2,000 men, he said, here in the northern city of Aleppo. Then, virtually overnight, they collapsed.

Omar’s group, Ghurabaa al-Sham, wasn’t defeated by the government. It was dismantled by a rival band of revolutionaries – hardline Islamists.

As Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) often says, We’re in the best of hands.

NSA got your number?


The National Security Agency has acknowledged in a new classified briefing that it does not need court authorization to listen to domestic phone calls.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, disclosed this week that during a secret briefing to members of Congress, he was told that the contents of a phone call could be accessed "simply based on an analyst deciding that."

If the NSA wants "to listen to the phone," an analyst’s decision is sufficient, without any other legal authorization required, Nadler said he learned. "I was rather startled," said Nadler, an attorney and congressman who serves on the House Judiciary committee.

You thought they had safeguards in place? Don’t worry just trust them. 

Remember they said it was just meta-data. 


Did he even have access?

Many funny things come out of Washington. This week with the Leak of NSA programs I’ve heard a few pundits, congressmen and administration officials say that they didn’t think Snowden would have access to the information he’s talking about. Now I’ve seen Snowden’s job described a System Administrator (SA). If Snowden was a system administrator over the systems that contained these programs, it’s completely possible he’d have quite a bit of access. Do they ever wonder who gives them their user permissions on a system? Who creates their user profiles? It’s the System Administrator.

Now he would still need to be a SA on the right systems but it’s sure possible. I personally don’t think they’d be defecating concrete rectangles if they thought he had no access.


Why we don’t win.

Why we don’t win by Angelo M. Codevilla.  It’s a good read.


For decades, under Democrats and Republicans, liberal internationalists, neoconservatives, and realists, the U.S. government let the terrorist wave build. Then after 9/11 it spent over 5,000 American lives in Afghanistan and Iraq without achieving anything that it had promised, while conducting a self-discrediting diplomacy toward Iran, Russia, North Korea, and China. At home, the Homeland Security department diminished our liberty without increasing our security. In this respect, the differences among Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, and Richard Nixon, and among Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Madeleine Albright, Warren Christopher, George Shultz, and Henry Kissinger, are less important than their similarities: the "small war" of terrorist acts that has beset us since the 1960s—infinitesimal as wars go—was enough to expose our bipartisan ruling class’s incomprehension and incompetence. America’s problem is that this class has set the country on a downward slope in foreign as well as domestic matters, and that it is increasingly difficult to imagine America on any other trajectory with it at the helm.