Thursday, December 31, 2009

Was there a second bomber on NWA 253?

Maybe Ted Petruna wasn't so crazy after all.....
Apparently the DHS has been working overtime to bury it's head in the sand...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The NEW Space Race is about to begin

I have for some time been saying that the next phase of space exploration will be one of resource development. It is not much harder to go to the asteroids than it is to go to the moon or the other planets. The hard part is getting out of Earth's gravity well, once there the fuel required to go elsewhere is virtually negligible. It is quite literally "raining soup" in space. Virtually every valuable natural resource exists in undreamed abundance just outside our gravity well. Gold, Hydrocarbons, Iron, Nickel, Chromium, Aluminum, Carbon, even nuclear materials like Thorium and Uranium are all out there in abundance. 60% of all the Nickel ever mined on this planet came from an ancient asteroid impact near Sudbury Ontario Canada. And that was just one medium sized asteroid. Any country that had access to that much mineral wealth would quite literally P0WN the rest of the planet. They could corner the market and control the market price simply by controlling the amount of the mineral in question that was available at any given time. The technology to do this exists and has existed for some time, but until now there has not been the political will to apply it.

That is about to change.

Russia has announced plans to intercept and deflect an earth orbit crossing asteroid, Apophis, purportedly to prevent it from impacting earth at some later date, possibly 2029, 2032, 2036, or 2068. in 2029 it will approach within 18300 miles of earth. But here is the fact of the matter, it is just as easy to deflect the asteroid as it is to put it in high earth orbit. The Russians are mum on this, after all it would be a violation of the UN treaty on Outer Space to do such a thing, and they certainly don't want or need competition for their plans, but mark my words, this is exactly their plan. They have already cornered the European market for Natural gas and have had no compunction about cutting off the spigot if their price isn't met.

But it will only be a race if someone else steps up and challenges them. Will it be us? Or will the next planetary super power speak Russian or Chinese or Indian?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Fix Bayonets!

H/T, Ambulance Driver.

Monday, December 21, 2009

We are screwed...

So....Very... Screwed....

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Open Letter to Annise Parker

I emailed Ms. Parker, congratulating her on her win. Below is a slightly edited version for public consumption:

Ms. Parker, I am a GOP precinct chair in Spring. I am also a long time local blogger that posts under the nom de plume of "Rorschach". I live in the ETJ and in an area that was recently "annexed for specific purpose". So while I pay city sales taxes now, I do not pay city property tax and therefore do not have an official say in the running of the city, even though those of us that live in the ETJ are heavily influenced by actions in City Hall.

I want to congratulate you on your winning the Mayorship of (Editorial note: what is expected to be when the next census is done) the third largest city in America. If you would be so kind to lend me you ear (or eyes as the case may be.) for the moment I would like to suggest something that I believe would serve you and the city of Houston in good stead. You have made it clear that you intend on changing the way HPD works. This is a good thing, HPD is a broken dysfunctional organization in need of wholesale repair, but I think you and I both can agree that change, for the sake of change, is not enough, nor is change necessarily good, it needs to be the RIGHT change. Jay Wall tells me that he and Alan Helfman have spoken to you about trying to implement CompStat here in Houston, and that you were somewhat positive about it. But like any tool, CompStat is only as good as the people wielding the tool. I would suggest that you seriously consider talking to Chief Bratton about coming to Houston, if not as police chief himself, perhaps as a consultant to help us maximize HPD's effectiveness. He has turned both New York and LA around and allowed those cities to bring crime down twice as fast as Houston has over the same time period while working with what would rightfully be called short handed departments.

I believe (and many others do as well) that HPD's bloated command staff is frankly not a good place to look for talent, given the situation with the Crime Lab and the Latent Print unit, and Houston's sanctuary city status among others. Too many of these failings can be laid at the feet of this very command staff. The city of Houston is short upwards of 5000 police officers but as you are painfully aware is on the brink of bankruptcy, so obviously we do not have money to spend bringing more police on board, but we can do what we can to make the officers we DO have as effective as possible. This is what CompStat does. Who better to implement this system but the person who quite literally wrote the book? Chief Bratton I believe is currently unemployed, having retired from LA. He may not be willing to take on the Chief of Police job, but I'd be willing to bet one of his former command staff would be willing to take on the challenge. I think it would serve you and the city well to at least contact Chief Bratton and try to hire him as a consultant to help put HPD right.

Please, I beg of you, do not let identity politics influence your choice for Chief of police or his or her command staff. These positions are far too important to be awarded based on someone's ethnicity or sex or sexual orientation. We need the best person for the job, not the best minority for the politics. This is no place for an affirmative action candidate. Your win is proof that Houston is a gender and color blind city. But part of that color blindness dictates that neither gender nor race should influence who gets a job. It should be based strictly on the person's qualifications. Color and gender blindness absolutely MUST cut both ways.

While you and I probably diverge on many issues, you and I seem to agree that a city has certain obligations it MUST meet before it wastes money and resources on more frivolous endeavors. Things like basic sanitation, and maintenance of infrastructure and police and fire protection all have much higher priority than supporting the Houston Arts Alliance, or building a soccer stadium, or buying hybrid vehicles that cost 65% more than an equivalent gasoline powered vehicle, or LNG trucks that never see the outside of a repair shop, or any number of other wasteful programs that the city takes part in. Just like your family budget, if you can't pay the rent, or buy groceries, you don't go and buy yourself a sports car or new furniture. This city has bought itself too many sports cars and too much new furniture. I know you have inherited a bad situation and I offer you any help or advice I can give. I wish you luck.

Monday, December 07, 2009

I knew this was gonna happen

Over a year ago at one of the semi-monthly blogger get togethers (Cory Crow, Ubu Roi or Kevin Whited can probably confirm this), I stated that Obama would try to get cap and trade passed but would be stymied in congress, so he would instead pass CO2 restrictions by fiat, he would instruct the EPA to declare CO2 a dangerous pollutant and would regulate it without having to get approval from Congress. I'll be damned if my prediction didn't come true in spades. What Congress needs to do now is to cut off every penny of funding for the EPA and hold it's funding hostage. Or alternately pass a law declaring CO2 to NOT be regulated by the EPA much the way tobacco products are not under the purview of the FDA.

End runs can work both ways.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Attempted terrorist hijacking dry run is dismissed by Media and TSA Updated Again

Below is an unedited email that was forwarded to me by people I know and trust. I do not know the original quoted individual but if my friends vouch for him, I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. I will be attempting to verify the story in the meantime. The story was reported by KHOU and Fox News as simply an uncooperative passenger that would not get off his cell phone. That would appear to not be the case. Below is the story that has been forwarded to me originally from a gentleman by the name of Tedd Petruna who is reportedly a diver that works at the Neutral Buoyancy Lab at NASA's JSC:

One week ago, I went to Ohio on business and to see my father. On Tuesday,
November the 17th, I returned home. If you read the papers the 18th you may have seen a blurb where a AirTran flight was canceled from Atlanta to Houston due to a man who refused to get off of his cell phone before takeoff. It was on Fox.

This was NOT what happened.

I was in 1st class coming home. 11 Muslim men got on the plane in full attire. 2 sat in 1st
class and the rest peppered themselves throughout the plane all the way to the back. As the plan taxied to the runway the stewardesses gave the safety spiel we are all so familiar with. At that time, one of the men got on his cell and called one of his companions in the back and proceeded to talk on the phone in Arabic very loudly and very aggressively. This took the 1st stewardess out of the picture for she repeatedly told the man that cell phones were not permitted at the time. He ignored her as if she was not there.

The 2nd man who answered the phone did the same and this took out the 2 stewardess. In the back of the plane at this time, 2 younger Muslims, one in the back, isle, and one in front of him, window, began to show footage of a porno they had taped the night before, and were very loud about it. Now….they are only permitted to do this prior to Jihad. If a Muslim man goes into a strip club, he has to view the woman via mirror with his back to her. (don’t ask me….I don’t make the rules, but I’ve studied) The 3rd stewardess informed them that they were not to have electronic devices on at this time. To which one of the men said “shut up infidel dog!” She went to take the camcorder and he began to scream in her face in Arabic. At that exact moment, all 11 of them got up and started to walk the cabin. This is where I had had enough! I got up and started to the back where I heard a voice behind me from another Texan twice my size say “I got your back.” I grabbed the man who had been on the phone by the arm and said “you WILL go sit down or you Will be thrown from this plane!” As I “led” him around me to take his seat, the fellow Texan grabbed him by the back of his neck and his waist and headed out with him. I then grabbed the 2nd man and said, “You WILL do the same!” He protested but adrenaline was flowing now and he was going to go. As I escorted him forward the plane doors open and 3 TSA agents and 4 police officers entered. Me and my new Texan friend were told to cease and desist for they had this under control. I was happy to oblige actually. There was some
commotion in the back, but within moments, all 11 were escorted off the plane. They then unloaded their luggage.

We talked about the occurrence and were in disbelief that it had happen, when suddenly, the door open again and on walked all 11!! Stone faced, eyes front and robotic (the only way I can describe
it). The stewardess from the back had been in tears and when she saw this, she was having NONE of it! Being that I was up front, I heard and saw the whole ordeal. She told the TSA agent there was NO WAY she was staying on the plane with these men. The agent told her they had searched them
and were going to go through their luggage with a fine tooth comb and that they were allowed to proceed to Houston . The captain and co-captain came out and told the agent “we and our crew will not fly this plane!” After a word or two, the entire crew, luggage in tow, left the plane.
5 minutes later, the cabin door opened again and a whole new crew walked on.

Again…..this is where I had had enough!!! I got up and asked “What the hell is
going on!?!?” I was told to take my seat. They were sorry for the delay and I would be home shortly. I said “I’m getting off this plane”. The stewardess sternly told me that she could not allow me toget off. (now I’m mad!) I said “I am a grown man who bought this ticket, who’s time is mine with a family at home and I am going through that door, or I’m going through that door with you under my arm!! But I am going through that door!!” And I heard a voice behind me say “so
am I”. Then everyone behind us started to get up and say the same. Within 2 minutes, I was walking off that plane where I was met with more agents who asked me to write a statement. I had 5 hours to kill at this point so why the hell not. Due to the amount of people who got off that flight, it was canceled. I was supposed to be in Houston at 6pm. I got here at 12:30am. Look
up the date. Flight 297 Atlanta to Houston.

If this wasn’t a dry run, I don’t know what one is. They wanted to see how TSA would handle it, how the crew would handle it, and how the passengers would handle it.

I’m telling this to you because I want you to know….

The threat is real. I saw it with my own eyes….

-Tedd Petruna

I believe that if this story is true, we may have narrowly avoided another United Flight 93. I would hope that these 11 individuals are currently cooling their heels in some jail cell right now, but all indications are that they are walking around free men, waiting to try again.

Pierre LeGrand vouches for Mr Petruna as well.

Update II Here is an account from a second person who verifies the story of the first report by Mr. Petruna. H/T Musings of an Esposito

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

How can we miss you if you won't go away?

Looks like Van Jones is back....