The Bookworm Beat 11-18-15 — “the mother of all round-ups” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265I have been collecting links for days and will try to share them all with you. Here goes:

Only conservatives are paying attention

In an attempt to deflect attention of Muslim depredations in Paris, the Left and its foot soldiers (all of whom seem to be my Facebook friends) immediately attacked Americans and other Westerners for failing to pay attention to a bombing the day before in Lebanon (an ISIS v. Hezbollah bombing, so it was Horrible People v. Horrible People). I eventually got tired of commenting on their posts to the effect that I have been paying attention to all of these attacks, primarily because they are all different manifestations of a single radical Islamic entity, and I’ve been trying to get everyone to pay as much attention as I do.

Emma Kelly says what I was too polite to say explicitly to these Leftists: The reason you didn’t know about these other attacks isn’t because the newspapers didn’t report them, it’s because you weren’t paying attention.

I’ll add something that Kelly didn’t, though: You weren’t paying attention because American and European media outlets don’t want you to see that Islam is a problem, so they report on these incidents, but downplay them. Meanwhile you get loud noise about Ben Carson’s alleged lies, Hillary’s brilliance, Republicans’ meanness, Donald Trump’s hair, and Kim Kardashian’s pregnancy.

[Read more…]

The Bookworm Beat 10-27-15 — “it’s just another day” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265I’ve been going through my emails, with 200 down, 300 or so yet to go. Even though I’m only less than halfway through, I’ve discovered marvelous articles hiding in my email box thanks to friends from all over.

Did Merkel unilaterally doom Europe?

We no longer subscribe to the great man or great woman school of history. We’ve also abandoned the notion of high tragedy arising from the hubris of said great men or women. Perhaps, though, it’s time for us to revive that genre.

Daniel Greenfield convincingly argues that Germany’s Angela Merkel, with her mad plan to replace her country’s shrinking, aging population with Muslim refugees, will have single-handedly done to Europe what generations of Muslim conquerors have tried to do, which is to turn it into a part of the global Caliphate:

[Read more…]

Fleet Week in San Francisco

Blue AngelsFleet Week is almost upon us here in San Francisco.  As many of you know, it’s one of my favorite times of year.  But Fleet Week isn’t just about the civilians in San Francisco; it’s also about the sailors and Marines who visit our city.  If you’d like to make the event more fun for them, consider donating to a GoFundMe campaign to buy San Francisco’s seafaring guests a good hamburger while they’re ashore.

My past Fleet Week posts in chronological order:

A great day by the Bay

A lovely day on the Bay

A delightful evening aboard the USS Green Bay

What’s not to like about the Blue Angels?

A short, but very sweet, visit to the USS Pinckney

“The best job in the world”

The USS Carl Vinson rocks

The girl’s guide to visiting the USS Makin Island

The Bookworm Beat 9-13-15 — the “good friend” edition and open thread *UPDATED*

Woman-writing-300x265My weekend got derailed because my mother is ill. She’s in a skilled nursing facility, but likes my company. I also am a fixed reference point when she gets delirious, so I can help re-orient her. Fortunately, my insistently anonymous friend knows what interests me and sent me a wonderful compendium of news stories:

She’s even incompetent at being a crook

Now, this is interesting.  According to Hillary’s tech company that took control of her server in 2013, it has never been wiped.  This story is just getting more bizarre by the minute.  And yet again, one has to wonder about the incredible gymnastics Hildabeast and her attorney have gone through not to answer questions about the server.  What is going on?  Inquiring minds really want to know.

You’d think Hillary and her team would understand the difference between a local hard drive and an off-site server, at least when it comes to deleting content.  Sheesh!

Certainly she has her supporters, though.  The Justice Dept. filed in a FOIA case a brief saying that Hildabeast had a right to unilaterally delete her emails without any review by a third party officer, as required by State Dept. regulations upon her end of service.  It would appear that we are indeed going to get treated to the world’s most blatant double legal standards and that DOJ is going to protect Hildabeast and State.

[Read more…]

A rebuttal to those who accuse America of imperial arrogance (I’m talking to you Mr. Obama)

American Cemetery at Meuse-Argonne

American Cemetery at Meuse-Argonne

I have been to several American military cemeteries in Western Europe. They are deeply moving places, because they shelter the bones of Americans who died far from home, defending the freedoms of people other than themselves. The following email therefore resonated very strongly with me:

In alphabetical order

1. The American Cemetery at Aisne-Marne, France… A total of 2289

2. The American Cemetery at Ardennes, Belgium… A total of 5329

3. The American Cemetery at Brittany, France… A total of 4410

4. Brookwood, England – American Cemetery… A total of 468

5. Cambridge, England… A total of 3812

6. Epinal, France – American Cemetery… A total of 5525

7. Flanders Field, Belgium… A total of 368

8. Florence, Italy… A total of 4402

9. Henri-Chapelle, Belgium… A total of 7992

10. Lorraine , France… A total of 10,489

11 . Luxembourg, Luxembourg… A total of 5076

12. Meuse-Argonne… A total of 14246

13 . Netherlands, Netherlands… A total of 8301

14. Normandy, France… A total of 9387

15. Oise-Aisne, France… A total of 6012

16. Rhone, France… A total of 861

17. Sicily, Italy… A total of 7861

18. Somme, France… A total of 1844

19. St. Mihiel, France… A total of 4153

20. Suresnes, France… A total of 1541

Apologize to no one.

Remind those of our sacrifice and don’t confuse arrogance with leadership.

The count is 104,366 dead, brave Americans.

And we have to watch an American elected leader who apologizes to Europe and the Middle East that our country is “arrogant”!



Americans, forward it!

Non-patriotic, delete it!

Most of the protected don’t understand it.


More travel notes — Fredericksburg

Sleep has gone from being a luxury to a necessity, so I don’t have the luxury Of writing anything. I do have some pictures, though of the remnants of that bloody battle, where General Burnside used 18th century tactics, designed for minimally accurate, slow-firing, smooth-bore muskets, to send his Union soldiers like lambs to the slaughter before the 19th century’s more accurate guns.

Here are some photos of bullet-marked buildings, ancient stone walls that once sheltered the Confederate troops who mowed down Union soldiers at the rate of 1,000 per hour, a cemetery where tens of thousands lie buried, a brick building before which doomed Union soldiers marched, and just the beauty of a place that was home to a terrible tragedy long ago:













The Bookworm Beat 6-24-15 — the “midnight ramblings” edition

Woman-writing-300x265I should be heading for bed, as it’s after midnight, but I’m so thrilled to have a moment to myself that I can’t resist a little blogging. I’m feeling especially smug (and tired) tonight because my heroic 1:30 a.m. efforts yesterday were the difference between success and ignominious failure on a big motion. Damn it all! I deserve some time to write.

Anything you can be I can be better….

My favorite military humorist, Lee Ho Fuk has taken the Rachel Dolezal mantra — “anything you can be I can be better” — to a whole new level:

[Read more…]

Another splendid evening commemorating the Battle of Midway

Battle of MidwayFor most Americans of a historic or patriotic bent, yesterday — June 6 — was a day to honor the incredible bravery of the American troops who stormed Normandy’s shores on June 6, 1944.  Too many people have forgotten that, before D-Day, the Allies had no boots on the ground in the fight against the Germans.  It was the incredible organizational abilities of the American military, combined with the staggering bravery of American men, that marked the beginning of the end of Nazi dominance in Western Europe.

Almost two years to the day before D-Day, however, the American Navy won a staggering victory at seas — perhaps the greatest naval victory in American history — that marked the beginning of the end of Japan’s control over the Pacific.  The Pacific war raged on for three more bloody, painful, and deadly years, but it was the Battle of Midway, which raged from June 4 to June 7, 1942, that dealt the Japanese a blow from which they never recovered.  The numbers, which I’ve taken from Wikipedia, tell something of the story of the enormous odds against the Americans as they went into battle, something that makes their victory that much more inspiring:

Battle of Midway statistics

As you can see, the Americans were grossly outnumbered, not to mention that USS Yorktown had been pieced together over the course of three frantic days in Pearl Harbor after the terrible damage she suffered at the Battle of the Coral Sea, yet Americans triumphed. A significant part of America’s victory was the extraordinary courage that members of the Navy and Marines — many of whom were quite new to the military — showed during the battle. The program I received at last night’s commemorative dinner, included a lovely contemporary quotation from Ensign William R. Evans, USN: a pilot of Torpedo Squadron 8, KIA at Midway, written on June 4, 1942. I’d like to quote it here:

Many of my friends are now dead. To a man, each died with a nonchalance that each would have denied as courage. They simply called it lack of fear. If anything great or good is born of this war, it should not be valued in the colonies we may win nor in the pages historians will attempt to write, but rather in the youth of our country, who never trained for war; rather almost never believed in war, but who have, from some hidden source, brought forth a gallantry which is homespun, it is so real.

When you hear others saying harsh things about American youth, do all in your power to help others keep faith with those few who gave so much. Tell them that out here, between a spaceless sea and sky, American youth has found itself and given itself so that, at home, the spark may catch. There is much I cannot say, which should be said before it is too late. It is my fear that national inertia will cancel the gains won at such a price. My luck can’t last much longer, but the flame goes on and on.

There was another kind of bravery on display at the Battle of Midway, and it was one that last night’s speaker, Admiral Scott “Notso” Swift, Commander of the Pacific Fleet, touched upon in his very thoughtful and thought-provoking speech to commemorate the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Midway:  The bravery of the admirals called upon to make the decisions in advance of the Battle, something they did without massive oversight, not to mention second-guessing, from people at desks thousands of miles away. (I did not take notes last night so I can only summarize what I understand him to say. Anything that sounds wrong is my fault, not his.)

Admiral Swift reminded the audience that the Americans had not cracked the Japanese code, although they did believe that they had a general idea of what the Japanese were communicating to each other. It was certain that the Japanese were planning a major, and imminent attack to cement their control over the Pacific, but nobody knew precisely when or, more importantly, where they were going to attack. The probable targets were eventually narrowed to two: Either the West Coast (Washington or California) or the small, but centrally located Midway Island. Admiral Nimitz was convinced that the battle would take place at Midway, but the desk jockeys in Washington were convinced the mainland coast would be the target.

Nimitz’s team used a false message about a water problem at Midway, which the Japanese promptly relayed, to prove pretty conclusively that a specific numerical sequence in the Japanese code did indeed refer to Midway.  Having somewhat allayed the fears in D.C., Nimitz gave the order to prepare for battle. And so it was that the American Navy’s small and tattered fleet steamed out into the Pacific, looking everywhere in those vast, empty waters for the much larger Imperial Fleet.

I will embarrass myself by exposing my ignorance if I describe how American fliers, at enormous risk to themselves, found the Japanese fleet, or how bravely the men in planes and on board ships fought to bring about that almost miraculous victory. What I can relay, though, is something that Admiral Swift said, which really struck me.  Admiral Nimitz, although he tracked the battle minute by minute, did not interfere with command decisions at the scene of the battle. He trusted the team he had assembled — and who were on the water, dealing with matters in real-time — to make the right decisions. His trust was rewarded, because his admirals, not to mention the men in their command, acted with courage, flexibility, and innovation to destroy the Japanese fleet. It took a lot of time and human capital before this blow was fully effective, but Midway was the turning point.  From that point onward, the question wasn’t whether the Japanese would lose, it was when they would lose.

After having made this point about Nimitz’s willingness to trust his team, from the admirals on down, Admiral Swift said that our modern military today has a zero-tolerance attitude when it comes to mistakes. This attitude, while virtuous in its way (nobody wants the risk of a sloppily run, careless military), leads to micromanagement. Indeed, as a friend commented to me later, today’s communication advances mean that the people at the desks, from high-ranking military commanders to way too many lawyers, can oversee a battle in real-time, and provide running critique and commentary. Kind of like this:

Bin Laden's Hunter

My take on this is that, not only do too many cooks spoil the broth, there’s a problem when these cooks are focused on concerns other than winning a specific battle.  Moreover, it can mean that important decisions get delayed while a message is being relayed down the line.  For example, the same friend told me that D-Day might have turned out quite differently if Hitler hadn’t put himself in command.  Although the commander of a Panzer division some 25 miles away from Normandy’s beaches could easily have moved in and destroyed the Americans, the Germans in Berlin who received the message about the D-Day landing were afraid to wake Hitler up.  For that reason, there was a 12 hour delay before the Panzer commander was told to head for the beaches.  By this time, though, the Americans were reinforced with men, vehicles, and weapons, and the German commander realized that he had lost his window of opportunity, and elected to regroup further inland.

Back to Admiral Swift’s speech, the Admiral said that, with excessive caution, micromanagement, and overly strong command-and-control (my words, not his), we run the risk of stifling the initiative, instinct, and moral courage that made possible victories such as Midway, victories that relied on experience, instinct, and a deep and abiding trust in ones team, starting with the admirals and captains, and running all the way down to the enlisted sailors.  (Again, those are my words, not Admiral Swift’s, but I think that’s what he said.)

If I understand correctly what Admiral Swift was saying, this was a very important statement coming from the Commander of the Pacific Fleet, because it appears that he’ll use his position to give the people in his command more autonomy.  Again, if I got this right, I highly approve of the idea.  (If I got this wrong, someone correct me, please!!!)

I’ve focused on Admiral Swift’s talk, because I thought it was so interesting, but that wasn’t the only interesting part of the evening, of course.  I’ve gone to enough Midway Commemorations to know a lot of people there and it’s a great pleasure every year to see them again, exchange hugs, and catch up a little.  And as always, I delighted in the gorgeous setting at the Marines Memorial Club, enjoyed the delicious roast beef, and took a great deal of pleasure in seeing everyone dressed up in evening clothes and formal uniforms (complete with rows of ribbons, golden stripes marking years of service, and the insignia of their rank).

The one sad part of the evening was that only one Midway veteran was able to attend the dinner last night.  I believe that the first time I went, perhaps six or seven years ago, there were fourteen.  The one man who did attend was Navy Lieutenant Junior Grade Oral L. Moore, otherwise known as “Slim.”  At the Battle of Midway, Slim was an Aviation Radioman, 3/c, flying in a Bombing Squadron 8 SBD dive bomber off of the hornet.

Although Slim’s plane wasn’t involved in the attack on the Japanese carriers at Midway, during a Search on June 6th, the plane’s pilot, Ensign W.D. Carter, spotted the Japanese cruisers Mikuma and Mogami.  Because the Mogami had been damaged in a collision with the Mikuma, resulting in a shortened bow, Carter thought he was seeing a two different types of ships — one a standard heavy cruiser (the Mogami) and the other alarger battle cruiser (the Mikuma).  Carter’s instructions to Slim led to a moment of historic confusion that was only cleared up sometime later.  Here is what the book with veteran autobiographies has to say:

Believing he was seeing a standard heavy cruiser (MOGAMI) along with a larger battle cruiser (MIKUMA) with no bow damage), Carter told Moore over the dive bomber’s intercom to send “SIGHTED ONE CA, ONE CB” to the American task force. Moore had never heard of a “CB” (battle cruiser), and thought the pilot had said “ONE CA, ONE CV” (one cruiser, one carrier), which is what he sent via Morse code. It was correctly copied that way by radiomen aboard the USS Enterprise, where Admiral Spruance was astounded that another Japanese carrier was in the area. He ordered scouts in the air to find and verify the report. (Most written histories of the battle state that Moore’s message was garbled in transmission, resulting in the “CV” mistake, but that was not the case.)

A short while later VB-8 pilot Roy Gee [who also attended Midway commemorations] overflew Enterprise and dropped a handwritten message reporting “two cruisers” but at a position slightly different than the one reported by Carter and Moore. This led Spruance to believe he was dealing with two groups of enemy ships, and he ordered a full strike from the Hornet. The confusion wasn’t cleared up for another hour when Carter landed and corrected his original sighting report.

Slim was also in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, in October 1942, where he sustained injuries to his feed and leg. When he finally made it to sick bay on the Enterprise, he discovered himself next to one of his high school classmates!

Slim is quite frail now, and needed help getting around at the event. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the sailor who escorted him was bursting with pride to be able to take care of such a valiant man — valiant in 1942 and valiant in 2015.

Of course, there was no shortage of valiant men last night. Seated next to Slim at the dinner was a man from the Philippine Army who had survived the Bataan Death March. And presiding as President of the Mess was Rear Admiral Thomas F. Brown (Ret.), one of the Navy’s most distinguished pilots during Vietnam. Here are Admiral Brown’s statistics and awards from his time in the air over Vietnam. I can also tell you that he is an incredibly nice man — and must have been one hell of a math teacher, which is what he did after retiring from the Navy.

Overall, my evening at the 73rd Battle of Midway Commemoration dinner was as I expected it to be: interesting, fun, and very moving. I am always honored that the Navy opens its doors to people without a Navy background when it comes to this event.

The Bookworm Beat 5-22-15 — the “no more doctors, please!” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265My post title notwithstanding, I am well, I have been well, and I expect that I will continue to be well. It’s just that I’ve spent between five and fifteen hours every week for the last few weeks in doctors’ offices thanks to my mother and my kids, all of whom are well, but who needed a variety of maintenance appointments. I’m all doctored out. Politics, however, still interest me:

Obama’s ego is all that stands between Israel and destruction

Obama sat down for an interview with his go-to Jew, Jeffrey Goldberg. Goldberg worships at the Obama altar, but periodically manages to sound as if he cares about the welfare of Israel and the Jewish people. I used to be fooled. I’m not anymore.

In any event, James Taranto caught Obama in a fascinating narcissistic moment in that interview. First, here’s what Goldberg wrote:\

[Read more…]