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Weblog Code of Ethics

Via Rebecca's Pocket we find the weblog code of ethics:

  1. Publish as fact only that which you believe to be true.
  2. If material exists online, link to it when you reference it.
  3. Publicly correct any misinformation.
  4. Write each entry as if it could not be changed; add to, but do not rewrite or delete, any entry.
  5. Disclose any conflict of interest.
  6. Note questionable and biased sources.

Most of this seems like common sense to me, but it is worth noting so that others realize it.

Update: I forgot to give this post a title, and it took a style change for the entire weblog to notice it.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Blogging” Thursday, Sep 30 2004 09:03 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Government Balance Sheets

The Wall Street Journal September 28, 2004 edition ran an editorial by John Steele Gordon about entitled “We'll Know When They're Serious.” The opinion piece covered the ballyhooed surpluses of the government budget and the ultimate effect on our national debt. This paragraph sums it up nicely:

Just consider. In FYs 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001, the federal government ran up “surpluses” amounting to $558.5 billion. So the national debt was reduced by $558.5 billion in those years, right? No, it increased by $1.312 trillion.

Well, what the heck happened? It turns out that the generally-accepted accounting principles (GAAP) that businesses are required to use do not apply to the government that enforces them!

If we were dealing with a company, we would try to calculate its cash flow by taking the net income, add back depreciation expenses and accounts payable, subtract capital expenses, accounts receivable, and, if it made products, inventories.

Obviously our net income is the difference in the debt. We should compare that to the cash flow to see if there is some funny booking. Was there some sort of reserve that was being filled through debt financing? What the heck made us incur so much debt when we were supposedly spending so much less money? Were there some expenditures deferred to some future fiscal crisis so we could let out the balloon and get the crisis behind us? Was a large amount of capital written off?

You'll know when the politicians are actually serious about dealing with the federal deficit when they subject themselves to the same accounting strictures that every corporation faces. Until then, it's just talk—pay no attention.

Until some strict standards are applied to government accounting by an outside entity, we'll nevera really know what's going on. I'm glad that the government has its first MBA President ever, but he's been too busy to do the hard work to make government finances transparent to its public.

I recently had to read an article in The New York Times called “When a Rosy Picture Should Raise a Red Flag” where many of these ideas for detecting corporate shenanighans arose. Obviously something is up.

The advice I give to those reading out there is never let an organization express its financial situation in any other way than GAAP. You cannot compare it to other organizations and you can't be sure everyone's definitions are the same without it. Sure, you might have to learn a little about accounting and finance to understand it completely, but it's worth it.

In fact, start with the book How To Read a Financial Report by John A. Tracy.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Tuesday, Sep 28 2004 03:05 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Debate Season

According to Stolen Thunder, Kerry has already lost the first debate:

What I see here, is a match-up between a President who will speak plainly, without all that much detail, but he will be able to sell his ideas, and a Senator who seems to be preparing to ignore style and personality, planning to overwhelm his opponent with data, but who may not see beyond the audience in the hall.

Perhaps Bush can ask what allies Kerry will have left by the time he gets to the presidency.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Monday, Sep 27 2004 11:48 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Flippity Flippity Flop

The Bush/Cheney campaign has a new commercial out today, borrowing a page from the Swift Vet playbook. The commercial is all Kerry quotes from the last couple of years. How can you trust someone who doesn't know where he stands, indeed.

I look forward to the debates. I can see that Bush is setting the tone. I hope he has memorized every position Kerry had and when he had it.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Monday, Sep 27 2004 10:00 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Review: Star Wars, DVD Edition

So we sat down the entire family to watch a movie I first saw when I was seven years old. In fact, I watched it nine times that year, once in Spanish. It was probably the first major memorization piece I did, competing with the Preamble to the Constitution.

Misty and I were perhaps trying to reproduce the intense excitement we, as youngsters, had that summer. We experimented by doing “Family Movie Night” with seven-year-old Alana, and almost-five-year-old Ryan.

George's changes to the movies were subtly different from the old Special Edition, but dramatic from the original version, which I still have on Laserdisc. The cleanup of special effects artifacts is phenomenal, although I could still see discolored blotchy regions of reddish black around the Tie Fighters attacking the Millenium Falcon. No one else noticed. I believe everyone focused on the great picture and sound.

The golden standard of Family Movie Night is Finding Nemo. It's brilliant color and unusual location are hard to compete with for the four-year-old set. Even that movie in the theater had the occasional repetitive questions, dramatic outbursts and forgotten plot points. The only times where there was no fidgiting and asking the endless talking were during the space battles. Alana actually fell asleep for the final assault, although she often stays up that late on weekends.

For me, personally, it was a great rendition of the classic. For Misty I could tell she was annoyed with the family bickering (and possibly with my occasional direct quoting of lines as they were said) but says it was really cool. It was special for her since she hadn't seen it for decades and it was the first movie she saw ina theater. Alana says she didn't like the movie because it was violent. She says she prefers Star Trek, although she wasn't firm on that point. Ryan liked the movie, and even remembered the name the next morning. He especially liked “when that guy destroyed that big robot-ship.”

We'll see how it goes when we move on to the slightly more violent and definitely darker Empire Strikes Back.

Update: I forgot to comment on the music during the final battle. Yes, the music was dropped to an almost inaudible level. That disturbed me at the time. I should go review the laserdisc to see the difference.

The Star Wars soundtrack was one of the first movie soundtracks I listened to for its own sake. John Williams raised the statute of the movie with its soundtrack. It is another element that set the movie apart from its counterparts. Compare it to the music in V: The Final Battle for stark contrast.

Between the score for this movie and the vinyl rendition of The Hobbit I grew up a strange kid. I would have preferred to hear that score throughout the battle rather than during the quiet parts.

Amazon.com links:

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Review” Saturday, Sep 25 2004 09:10 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Rudy Is Sorry

In the Washington Times we have this week's “Inside the Beltway”'s revelation that Rudy Guiliani is offering an apology to George Bush:

Former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani told President Bush this week that he is sorry.
“I owe you an apology,” Mr. Giuliani began. “I made a mistake during my [Republican National Convention] speech... I said that with 64 days to go, John Kerry could change his mind five or six times about what to do in Iraq. Well, he's already changed his mind four or five times and I'm going to be proven wrong again because I think we're looking more like eight or nine times.”

Gotta love him.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Friday, Sep 24 2004 04:13 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Douglas Brinkley Backs Off From His Kerry Claims

In today's New York Times we find an analysis of the Vietnam attacks on both candidates. hidden within is this jewel:

“Every American now knows that there's something really screwy about George Bush and the National Guard, and they know that John Kerry was not the war hero we thought he was,” said Douglas Brinkley, the historian and author of a friendly biography of Mr. Kerry's war years, acknowledging that Mr. Kerry's opponents had succeeded in raising questions about his service.

Even Brinkley doesn't believe Kerry's exaggerated claims of his four months of service anymore, and Brinkley had access to more notes than we did.

Even so, many refer to the Swift Vets as “discredited” as if saying it was so enough times would make it so.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Friday, Sep 24 2004 03:41 PM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  No trackbacks

WSJ reacts to Kerry

The Wall Street Journal's reaction to Kerry's comments yesterday were even stronger than my own:

While Mr. Kerry has every right to criticize U.S. conduct of the war, one would think he'd be wiser than to attack Mr. Allawi for saying it will be possible to hold the same elections that Mr. Kerry said just this Monday were his own exit strategy from Iraq. Or to accuse Iraq's Prime Minister of painting an unrealistic picture about a country the Senator has never visited. Having described the U.S. allies who liberated Iraq as a “coalition of the bribed,” Mr. Kerry now insults the Iraqis he'd be working with if he becomes President.

Frankly, I can accept Allawi's comments that they are doing everything possible to have a legitimate election in January, but John Kerry appears to think that getting votes from the “Bush Lied” camp is more important that keeping good relations with the very democracies we've helped create.

Allawi apparently had some choice comments aimed at Kofi Annan:

Mr. Allawi politely suggested that the Secretary General “probably is misinformed” about the real situation on the ground. He added that he hoped the U.N. would respect its own Resolution 1546 and “do whatever it takes to ensure the elections” are held on time.

It's hard to see what kind of game Annan is playing. Clearly he is dragging his feet on the “Food for Oil” scandal and he is doing little things in order to derail Bush's reelection and US involvement in the rebuilding of Iraq. Why would he do such things?

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Friday, Sep 24 2004 10:07 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Allawi, Kerry, and Racicot

Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi of Iraq addressed Congress today. He said a few things about Iraq that were curiously unreported by the Press.

First, there is this:

We are succeeding in Iraq.

Secondly, there is:

Every day we grow in strength and determination to defeat the terrorists and their barbarism... As we mourn these losses, we must not forget the progress we are making … we are fighting for freedom and democracy, ours and yours.

Finally, there is:

We Iraqis know that Americans have made and continue to make enormous sacrifices to liberate Iraq, to assure Iraq's freedom... I have come here to thank you and to promise you that your sacrifices are not in vain... My friends, today we are better off, you are better off and the world is better off, without Saddam Hussein... Your decision to go into Iraq was not an easy one, but it was the right one.

Kerry, apparently, didn't like this.

I think the prime minister is, obviously, contradicting his own statement of a few days ago, where he said the terrorists are pouring into the country... The prime minister and the president are here obviously to put their best face on the policy, but the fact is that the CIA estimates, the reporting, the ground operations and the troops all tell a different story.

We went on to attack Bush

George Bush let Usama bin Laden escape at Tora Bora... George Bush retreated from Fallujah and other communities in Iraq which are now overrun with terrorists and threaten our troops. And George Bush said on the record we can't win the war on terror.
And even today, he blundered again saying there are only a handful of terrorists in Iraq... I think he's living in a make believe world.

Kerry's nuance is that a few hundred people cannot both be a handful and a flood. I suppose he's right. It doesn't change the fact that a few terrorists are causing trouble for 30 million people, but yet a new democracy is being born and at least those terrorists are not terrorizing outside of the war zone.

It's an empty hope of mine that they'll stay there, but for sure some of them are there, wasting money and material that could be used over here. If they ever stand up they get shot down by the finest army in the world.

Obviously the Bush/Cheney campaign wasn't going to let Kerry's statement stand:

Today, John Kerry showed he lacks the judgment and credibility to lead the United States of America to victory in the War on Terror.
His attacks on the veracity of the Iraqi Prime Minister's historic address to Congress reveal a stunning propensity to take political cheap shots for his own benefit by denigrating our allies in this important struggle against a global terror network. President Bush is proud to stand with Prime Minister Allawi while John Kerry attacks progress and resolve and advocates a policy of retreat and defeat in the face of terror.
John Kerry said today, “And when you people judge me and the American people judge me on this, I want you to judge me on the full record.” We're confident the American people will.

To me it appears that Kerry is so willing to win that he's willing to sacrifice our current allies in hopes of building new ones later. Even the new ones, however, and not exactly friendly. What he doesn't understand, perhaps, is that Al-Quaeda would like just as much to cause him pain as Bush.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Thursday, Sep 23 2004 11:23 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Changing Star Wars, Again

While I'm still waiting for my pre-ordered Star Wars DVDs to arrive from amazon.com I have been looking around on the web to see how the DVDs turned out. I ran across this story at CNN about changes Lucas made to the movies, again, since the special editions. A visual comparison appears here a the Digital Bits.

I wasn't pleased with the special editions, especially the infamous “Greedo shot first” problem, so I'm pleased to see that some of the more hinky computer generated images (CGI) changes were improved and that Greedo and Han shot a little more simultaneously. Little touches like Imperial fonts instead of English and redoing the rotoscoping job on the light sabers are nice too. Tweaking some of the characters so they merge smoothly with the prequel trilogy is fine, too, like a minor voice change for Boba Fett.

However, big changes like having Anakin Skywalker played by Hayden Christensen in the finale of Return of the Jedi may indeed be hard to take. I'm also less fond of the Han and Jabba chat in the new version of the original movie. I'm extremely less fond of the enhanced explosion of the Death Star.

Other items I'll have to comment on when I see or hear them, like this comment from the review at the Digital Bits:

There is, however, one change I can't stomach, and it has to do with the music. During the first part of the Death Star battle at the end of the film, John Williams' score has been reduced in prominence in the sound mix. This is particularly obvious right as the X-Wings make their dive down to the surface to begin the attack—the familiar “Force Theme” trumpet fanfare is now almost inaudible. Lucasfilm says this was a deliberate creative decision and I absolutely hate it. Ah well... seems like there's always something to dislike when George tinkers with these films.

The third film has always been weakest for me, maybe because I got older and didn't like the cuteness or maybe because the ending fell flat for me. However, it looks like I will like the changes to have Hayden there even less. The prequel trilogy has been a must-see for me, of course, but has not been as compelling as that summer in 1977 that redefined a genre in Hollywood.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Wednesday, Sep 22 2004 12:40 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

September 21 ASLET Update

The folks over at ASLET Updates have posted a pretty damning quote allegedly from ASLET Secretary Tim Dee's web site although I couldn't find it there:

Even with the insurance coverage, ASLET has had to pay out huge amounts in legal costs. To date, legal fees have amounted to the neighborhood of $250,000. This is money that could have been much better used to further ASLET's organizational goals. Instead, it boosts the bottom lines of legal firms that will endure whether ASLET survives or not.

Why is this damning? Because the audited financial reports of the society do not list any legal fees paid out. If there is a quarter million dollars spent on something, I'd expect to see it in the books. If someone else is owned this money and it hasn't been paid out, it should still show in accounts payable.

Coupled with the large number of resignations coming out of ASLET (3 board members, various paid staff), lack of notice of a general meeting, no data about next year's conference, etc. if there is a cash flow problem at ASLET the members need to know about it soon.

However, I'm not a member. I did not renew after Frank Hackett interfered with and derailed the proper operation of the Bylaws Committee (of which I am still a member until I am removed).

I'll just keep reading up on my parliamentary procedure... but what I have been reading just boils my blood. I have come across principles like, “All meetings must be characterized by fairness and good faith,” and “Trickery, overemphasis on minor technicalities, dilatory tactics, indulgence in personalities, and railroading threaten the spirit and practice of fairness and good faith.” Over the years I have seen good people run over by those who do not espouse such common sense.

(In my time on the Judicial Committee of the Libertarian Party of Oregon I got famous for my minority opinion on a ruling on dilatory procedures... although not as famous as some of my bi-partisan bylaw reforms that actually passed by majority vote.)

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Tuesday, Sep 21 2004 11:03 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Dan Rather Statement

Again, via Drudge:

Last week, amid increasing questions about the authenticity of documents used in support of a 60 Minutes Wednesday story about President Bush's time in the Texas Air National Guard, CBS News vowed to re-examine the documents in question—and their source—vigorously. And we promised that we would let the American public know what this examination turned up, whatever the outcome.
Now, after extensive additional interviews, I no longer have the confidence in these documents that would allow us to continue vouching for them journalistically. I find we have been misled on the key question of how our source for the documents came into possession of these papers. That, combined with some of the questions that have been raised in public and in the press, leads me to a point where—if I knew then what I know now—I would not have gone ahead with the story as it was aired, and I certainly would not have used the documents in question.
But we did use the documents. We made a mistake in judgment, and for that I am sorry. It was an error that was made, however, in good faith and in the spirit of trying to carry on a CBS News tradition of investigative reporting without fear or favoritism.
Please know that nothing is more important to us than people's trust in our ability and our commitment to report fairly and truthfully.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Monday, Sep 20 2004 09:21 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

CBS Finally Concludes It Was Misled

Via Drudge we find CBS's mea culpa in the New York Times.

After days of expressing confidence about the documents used in a 60 Minutes report that raised new questions about President Bush's National Guard service, CBS News officials have grave doubts about the authenticity of the material, network officials said last night.

It turns out that the earlier evidence of a smoking gun was correct:

But officials decided yesterday that they would most likely have to declare that they had been misled about the records' origin after Mr. Rather and a top network executive, Betsy West, met in Texas with a man who was said to have helped the news division obtain the memos, a former Guard officer named Bill Burkett.

And someone has been identified to take the fall:

Mr. Rather interviewed Mr. Burkett on camera this weekend, and several people close to the reporting process said his answers to Mr. Rather's questions led officials to conclude that their initial confidence that the memos had come from Mr. Killian's own files was not warranted. These people indicated that Mr. Burkett had previously led the producer of the piece, Mary Mapes, to have the utmost confidence in the material.

And one feeble attempt to shift blame:

Mr. Howard also said in the interview that the White House did not dispute the veracity of the documents when it was presented to them on the morning of the report. That reaction, he said, was “the icing on the cake” of the other reporting the network was conducting on the documents. White House officials have said they saw no reason to challenge documents being presented by a credible news organization.

I love the White House's quote, however.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Monday, Sep 20 2004 06:31 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Eric S. Raymond's “Top Ten Reasons I'm Neither a Liberal Nor a Conservative”

I visited a satirical ESR post a couple days ago, and now he reposts an old item outlining his top ten reasons he's neither a liberal or a conservative.

Oddly, I agree with all of his reasons for not being a liberal, but not all of his reasons for not being a conservative. For example I would add “religious zealotry” and remove “Ronald Wilson Reagan.” At any rate, I would think from looking at this list that I'm a right-leaning moderate, but I reject the left/right dichotomy as it is.

I agree with the libertarians. There's another axis: authoritarianism. I tend to agree that both sides of the coin are far more authoritarian than I like. If we can be trusted to vote, the government should trust us a great deal more than it does.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Sunday, Sep 19 2004 10:19 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Kerry and Gun Control

Over at OpinionJournal Kimberley Strassel examines Kerry's apparent reversal on gun control. She points out an issue that is obvious to the folks who actually watch gun politics:

His other credibility problem is his record. Guns have been a big voter issue for a long time, and there is no shortage of organizations on both sides of the debate to keep track of votes. Whether you ask the NRA or the Brady Campaign, the word on John Kerry is the same: He has voted for every gun-control bill in the Senate over the past 18 years.

She also observes the fruits of his attempts to pander to gun owners:

This all explains why Mr. Kerry is getting shot down in his gun efforts. This past weekend, while interviewing potential voters at a Pennsylvania gun show, I asked several if Mr. Kerry's attempts to look gun-friendly had made an impression. Those attendees who didn't immediately bust out laughing or roll their eyes noted that it was the past 20 years that would matter when they entered the voting booth, not the past 20 months.

There are New England liberals that don't have the same problems when they venture out and talk to gun owners in the rest of the United States.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Guns” Sunday, Sep 19 2004 10:08 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

What Blogs Have Wrought

The Weekly Standard's article “What Blogs Have Wrought” is required reading.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Sunday, Sep 19 2004 09:18 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Another Nail in the CBS Coffin

Via Blogs for Bush we get this ABC News exclusive report:

“I never pressured anybody about George Bush because I had no reason to,” Staudt told ABC News in his first interview since the documents were made public.
“He didn't use political influence to get into the Air National Guard,” Staudt said, adding, “I don't know how they would know that, because I was the one who did it and I was the one who was there and I didn't talk to any of them.”
“He was highly qualified,” he said. “He passed all the scrutiny and tests he was given.”
“No one called me about taking George Bush into the Air National Guard,” he said. “It was my decision. I swore him in. I never heard anything from anybody.”

Seems to pretty much settle it without having to raise the ghost of Jerry Killian.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Friday, Sep 17 2004 02:41 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Captain's Quarters Fingers Bill Burkett as CBS Memo Source

Captain Ed has found the smoking gun. All we do now is roll it all up. ABC and The Washington Post are both eagerly digging themselves.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Thursday, Sep 16 2004 05:00 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

CBS & SCO Charge: Bush Stole Unix!

The infrequently posting Eric S. Raymond awakens to post a satirical look at the altered reality that SCO and CBS must live in to believe their own statements. I remember Eric's notoriety in the mainstream press when his IPO made him rich and he told the world he was going to get a tricked-out 1911. Me, I know him best from The Cathedral & The Bazaar, The Art of UNIX Programming and his essays on bug reports.

Anyway, let's get to the meat:

In a startling and unexpected joint press conference, CBS and SCO, Inc. announced today that President George W. Bush had conspired with IBM to steal Unix code while Linus Torvalds was AWOL from the Finnish army.
Standing shoulder-to-shoulder at the podium, Dan Rather and Darl McBride flourished what they said was documentary proof, in the form of source code listings found in a wastebasket at Texas Air National Guard offices.

A week ago such a posting would be unbelievable, but today it has the ring of truth to it.

Onward to a rare look into what I do at work.

“SCO is seeking additional discovery from IBM,” added Darl McBride. “We have confidence that if we can just get our hands on every IBM code listing from the dawn of time and depose every IBM employee living or dead, we will be able to drag this case out long enough to swing not just the the 2004 elections but the 2008 ones as well!”

Drat, for now I though I'd avoid being deposed by SCO even though I manage the EVMS and JFS teams. So far some of my engineers have been mentioned in press releases, but I've been untouched.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Thursday, Sep 16 2004 04:43 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Terror in the Skies, Part VIII

Annie Jacobsen has posted Part VIII of her series at Women's Wall Street. It's mostly a criticism of the Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS):

Air Marshals stick out like sore thumbs. It's no secret that Air Marshals are required to wear a sports coat, collared shirt, dress slacks and dress shoes on every flight.
The Airline Pilots Security Alliance (APSA) sees the dress code as representative of a deadly problem—bureaucracy. “The dress requirement is just one more example of career bureaucrats ignoring the pleas of frontline operators,” said APSA Spokesperson Brian Darling. “A lot of these managers have been off the frontlines too long. At some point, someone's got to shake them and say, 'Another airplane is going to hit a building!'”
The way in which Air Marshals enter airport secure zones and board aircraft pose additional opportunities for a blown cover. Because they carry firearms, Air Marshals can't go through security screening with other passengers. But instead of being able to pass through these areas incognito, Air Marshals often walk into security areas through exit lanes—marching against the flow of passengers and drawing attention to themselves.

She goes on to point out that El Al has air marshals on every flight, dressed in plain clothes, and than El Al has not had a hijacking in many years.

Me, I'd like to be able to carry a knife on planes again, if not a gun someday. I'm no terrorist, and I wouldn't mind having something other than my laptop to beat one up if I had to.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Terrorism” Thursday, Sep 16 2004 12:50 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

New More Powerful Tasers

My local KATU News reports about more powerful tasers available to the public. Insert local big city cop fear-mongering here.

Looks like the cops are nervous about people with tasers. However, the quote I find interesting is Multnomah County (Oregon) Sheriff's Deputy Paul McRedmond's:

If you point a Taser at an officer, a law enforcement officer, we may use deadly force upon you.

Why do you think this is? Beacuse incapacitating a police officer makes it impossible to perform his duty to protect the public. If your duty is to protect your family, I think you can do the math about what you should do in a similar circumstance.

I'm sure this will lead to discussion.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Guns” Thursday, Sep 16 2004 11:30 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Knox Credible on Memos, but Not On Bush

Say Anything Blog has picked up on the fact that Killian's secretary is probably a reliable source on whether or not Killian typed the memos (she says he didn't), but her personal knowledge of Bush seems to be suspect.

The Houston Chronicle, Sept. 14: Last week, Knox said she had no firsthand knowledge of Bush's time with the Texas Air National Guard...
60 Minutes, Sept. 15: Knox remembers Lt. Bush well, and saw him often as he showed up for weekend training in 1971 and 1972.

Well, which is it?

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Thursday, Sep 16 2004 10:46 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Kerry Incoherence

Tim Blair points out that The new, improved Kerry is even more incoherent than the last. He highlights this interview snippet with Don Imus, a Kerry supporter and radio show host:

John Kerry: I mean, what you ought to be doing and what everybody in America ought to be doing today is not asking me; they ought to be asking the president, What is your plan? What's your plan, Mr. President, to stop these kids from being killed? What's your plan, Mr. President, to get the other countries in there? What's your plan to have 90 percent of the casualties and 90 percent of the cost being carried by America?
Don Imus: We're asking you because you want to be president.

Kerry did point out his new economic plan yesterday in the Wall Street Journal (the only online site I am willing to pay for). It should available today over at OpinionJournal but I don't see it there yet.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Thursday, Sep 16 2004 10:18 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Pandering to Misery

Crush Kerry has noticed that two of Kerry's recent speeches to minority groups were the same except for the part about each group's source of misery. To the all-black National Baptist Convention he emphasized Brown v Board of Education, to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus he highlighted the passage of the Civil Rights Act. To the Baptists he said “children of color” and to the Hispanics they were “minority children.”

Kerry's cult of victimhood is not appealing to me, but then, I am not empowered by being a victim. Tammy Bruce does a far better job deconstructing the malignant narcissism of the left that makes it generate this cult, but I guess it's not far afield for Kerry to try this kind of appeal.

But to do so using the same speech with such minor changes is amusing.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Thursday, Sep 16 2004 09:58 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Beldar Blog on Journalistic Ethics

Beldar Blog has a great piece on journalistic ethics. My favorite point is that Dan Rather is embroiled in the conflict and thus should not be the advocate that conducts the investigation. Since Bob Schiefer seems to be motivated to save CBS's bacon, maybe he should be the one? Otherwise my choice would be Bernard Goldberg.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Thursday, Sep 16 2004 08:37 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

CBS's Noon Statement, Delayed Until 5:45pm

I am underwhelmed. Via Drudge we have this after a day of waiting.

Statement by the President of CBS News, Andrew Heyward:
We established to our satisfaction that the memos were accurate or we would not have put them on television. There was a great deal of coroborating [sic] evidence from people in a position to know. Having said that, given all the questions about them, we believe we should redouble our efforts to answer those questions, so that's what we are doing.

Even Killian's secretary says they are fake, guys. Give it up!

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Wednesday, Sep 15 2004 04:46 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks


Via Polipundit we find that the word of the day is pajamahadeen. I've never blogged in my pajamas, but I have blogged in my bathrobe.

At the moment, I'm dressed.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Blogging” Wednesday, Sep 15 2004 09:49 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Applying Cooper's Seven Problems and Pitfalls of New Product Development to Firearms Instruction

Robert G. Cooper's book Winning at New Products, 3rd Ed (ISBN 0-7382-0463-3) is an interesting read for those of us making new stuff, but I wondered how his seven weaknesses could be applied to firearms instruction. If you want to read about it in the book, see the end of Chapter 2.

Here are the seven weaknesses:

  1. A lack of market orientation
  2. Poor quality of execution
  3. Moving too quickly
  4. Not enough up-front homework
  5. A lack of product value for the customer
  6. No focus, too many projects, and a lack of resources
  7. The lack of a systemic new product process with discipline

At first blush it's pretty easy to see how to recognize these pitfalls. I have been through them myself. Not identifying the right target market is self-explanatory. Not teaching the class well (execution) is easy to notice as well. We at Northwest Safety and Firearms Education (NWSAFE) figured that one out right away. “Moving too quickly” emphasizes the need to actually prepare for a class by learning a lesson plan and making (and sticking to) a budget. The up-front homework primarily consists of preparing the student for the class to ensure their attendance and payment. The “too many projects” bug has bitten us a few time, but now that we have generated enough instructors who can execute on almost any lesson it is less of a problem.

We do fight the lack of resources issue all the time. People think that firearms instructors who do it for fun get rich in the process. That's hardly true. I did a big study on it a few months ago and found that most volunteer firearms instructors are in the hole and at best break even after they have been at it for a while. The places to make money, and even then it's not a lot, is when you have an advanced curriculum and you own your own range that has other ways to support itself. The public and member-run ranges get antsy about us teaching there a lot and they do charge us for the privilege.

The last is the most interesting. “A systemic new product process,” to me, means the development of new courses. NWSAFE relies on NRA's training department to do much of the course development, while we tweak it to work with our resources, making sure we meet the requirements. One course that we've been waiting for is to teach private citizens about concealed carry. Such a course has been in development inside NRA for over seven years. It has been announced to the senior trainers more than once, and withdrawn. Perhaps it is NRA that needs to learn new product development.

I have suffered and overcome some of these pitfalls, but I face a new one not on Cooper's list. Burn-out. Between my returning to school, and having a family with at least one school-age kid, I have very little time to dedicate to my firearms pursuits anymore. My latest project is building a range on my own property so I don't have to drive an hour to shoot.

We'll see how it goes.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Guns” Wednesday, Sep 15 2004 09:27 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Kerry Didn't Just Make Stuff Up, He Told Others To Lie

The Winter Soldier story continues, with Fox News telling us about Steven Pitkin, who says Kerry coached him on what to say about atrocities in Vietnam even though Pitkin had never observed any. This is a contradiction with Kerry's own story about his time at Winter Soldier before the 1971 Senate hearing.

He has said the graphic testimony he gave was merely a repetition of testimony combat veterans told him.

But, then again, he wrote the first after action report that seemed to earn him a Silver Star in creative writing, too.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Wednesday, Sep 15 2004 09:12 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Dan Rather Must Be Fired

We wake up this morning to BeldarBlog stating, in no uncertain terms, that Dan Rather must be fired, amongst the other collaborators at CBS News.

Dan Rather and everyone else at CBS News who had direct managerial authority over, and supervisory involvement in, the production of last Wednesday night's 60 Minutes II broadcast about the Killian memos must be fired. Not retired. Not pensioned off. Not allowed to resign. Not given 30 days' or even three days' notice.

I suspect it's time now to collect a list of advertisers on the 60 Minutes II program and start a boycott if they continue to support fraud on the public airwaves.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Wednesday, Sep 15 2004 08:46 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Chemical Weapons in Darfur, Deployed by Syrians?

Via Captain's Quarters Blog we see a report that claims Syria used chemical weapons in Darfur, Sudan a few months after Saddam's capture.

Any bets Syria got 'em from Iraq?

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Tuesday, Sep 14 2004 08:27 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Fixing the Electoral College

Lots of folks have complained about the electoral college. I think I have a way to fix it.

Chagne the system so that the votes in the electoral college more accurately represent the makeup of the United States: 1 vote for each congressional district, as determined by the vote of the folks in that district, 2 votes for each state, as determined by a statewide vote.

Of course, if you look up at the house and senate at the moment, the GOP is leading the Democrats, but look at the current electoral college and you'll see 55 votes for Kerry in California, but California hardly votes 100% for anything.

People grouse about the popular vote, people grouse about state's rights. I think this system better protects both. It's set up the same way, and for the same reasons, as the House and Senate in the first place.

Frankly, I think governors should be elected the same way.

It does, however, bring up the Gerrymandering debate again...

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Tuesday, Sep 14 2004 04:23 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

September 14th ASLET Update

Via ASLET Updates we find the interesting theory that Executive Director Frank Hackett may be running the organization out of money before he can be fired so that the demise of the organization can be blamed on those that follow. Golly, that sounds familiar.

For what it's worth, I'll volunteer for an audit committee when the time comes but I'm by no means a CPA.

As it is, I did volunteer to be on the nominating committee at ASLET, but Tim Dees doesn't like the fact that I'm no longer a member.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Tuesday, Sep 14 2004 03:40 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

The Putin Doctrine

Via Drudge we find that Putin wants to take the fight against terrorism abroad, including the use of pre-emptive strikes.

Putin hasn't been all that good to the Chechens, but the hostage shootings in the school in southern Russia weren't exactly pleasant either, were they?

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Terrorism” Monday, Sep 13 2004 11:49 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

CBS and “Undue Influence”

In my old days of running for office and being parliamentarian for the Libertarian Party of Oregon, I ran across an important statute, ORS 260.665 which defines “undue influence:”

(1) As used in this section, “undue influence” means force, violence, restraint or the threat of it, inflicting injury, damage, harm, loss of employment or other loss or the threat of it, or giving or promising to give money, employment or other thing of value.

It goes on to prohibit:

(2) No person, acting either alone or with or through any other person, shall directly or indirectly subject any person to undue influence with the intent to induce any person to:
(c) Register or vote in any particular manner;

The question that comes to mind for me is, does the apparent fraud inflicted on or by CBS News in form of forged documents consistute undue influence on the election? Does slander and libel imply harm?

I think it does.

ORS 260.993 goes on to set the criminal penalty for violation as a Class C felony. I'd love to see a felony conviction on cheeseballs that try to unduly influence elections. Someone made those bogus documents.

Others may see this have a chilling effect on the media. I don't know about that. If they actually verified the vercity of what they broadcast about political candidates would that be such a bad thing?

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Monday, Sep 13 2004 09:46 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks


Via the Gun Owners Action League (GOAL), we find this on the ATF web site:

On September 13, 1994, Congress passed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, Public Law 103-322. Title IX, Subtitle A, Section 110105 of this Act generally made it unlawful to manufacture, transfer, and possess semiautomatic assault weapons (SAWs) and to transfer and possess large capacity ammunition feeding devices (LCAFDs). The law also required importers and manufacturers to place certain markings on SAWs and LCAFDs, designating they were for export or law enforcement/government use. Significantly, the law provided that it would expire 10 years from the date of enactment. Accordingly, effective 12:01 a.m. on September 13, 2004, the provisions of the law will cease to apply. This open letter is to advise the import community of the effect of this on importations.

It's over.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Guns” Monday, Sep 13 2004 08:27 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Moveable Type 3.11

This morning I upgraded to MoveableType 3.11. I notice a lot of 404s doing comments in my logs so I'm wondering if this will fix it. Otherwise, I have something broken.

(This is also a test to make sure I didn't break anything.)

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Blogging” Monday, Sep 13 2004 08:13 AM  |  Permalink  |  1 comment  |  No trackbacks

September 11, 2004

A lot of blogs are remembering 9/11 today. I suppose I should do my part.

I awoke to a phone call on 9/11/01, a little after 6am. The gal on the phone was telling me that a jet plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. I was still trying to wake up when I heard her exclamations on the phone as the second plane crashed into the south tower. It was an agonizing experience.

I watched a little of what I could find on the web. I didn't have cable servce at home. At that point I had given up television for a couple years already. I wandered into work where I found out about the third crash at the Pentagon.

It was an eerie time. Internet news sites were slammed and very little information was available. The weird story of the fourth flight took hours to play out. Rumors flew fast and furious.

However, my most painful moment related to 9/11 was hearing, a lot later, the tape of the stewardess on the second plane talking on her cell phone as they went into the south tower.

I don't like reality shows where people get hurt. I'm too empathetic. I absolutely hated that tape. I didn't like watching video of people jumping from the towers.

Two and a half years later I got the 9/11 Commission Report from audible.com and listened to it on the drive to and from work. Even in two-hour-a-day chunks, parts of the report are hard to listen to. Recounting the story of people falling from the building and emergency workers dodging these people as they tried to escape the doomed buildings were particularly hard for me.

9/11 has been referred to as a day of reverence, or reflection, or anger, or other emotions. For me it is a reminder of the need for proactive, not reactive, measures to handle our own safety.

In real life I work on building software products. Proactive rather than reactive measures rule the day there as well. Even so, most of the engineers around me support Kerry/Edwards. It apalls me that to them the proactive measure of fighting an enemy before he can effectively deliver his blows is “aggression.”

To me it is getting inside the enemy's OODA loop.

This enemy declared war against us a long long time ago. It took nearly three thousand deaths for us to react.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Terrorism” Saturday, Sep 11 2004 10:45 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  1 trackback

Genocide in Darfur

Via Redstate we learn a nation has invoked the UN Article VIII Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

About time.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Friday, Sep 10 2004 04:22 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Kerry Asks Bush to Extend Assault Weapons Ban

Via Yahoo News we find that Kerry wants Bush to not let the AWB sunset.

Campaigning in Missouri, where he trails Bush in opinion polls less than two months before the Nov. 2 election, Kerry said as a hunter and outdoorsman he would never try to change the Second Amendment to the Constitution giving Americans the right to bear arms.

It is to laugh. The cheeseball from Massachusetts goes on to use a scare tactic, like Cheney was accused of:

“I don't think we need to make the job of terrorists any easier,” the Massachusetts senator said.

And he tries to claim that the AWB has no real effect on gun owners:

“I mean, heavens to Betsy folks, we've had that law on the books for the last 10 years and there's not a gun owner in America who can stand up and say they tried to take my guns away,” he told a town hall meeting in St. Louis. “I mean, let's get real. Let's get real.”

The condescending sap obviously hasn't tried to buy full capacity magazines, or rifles appropriate to high-power competition, or even my little Beretta 84F, has he?

Even at face value, Kerry fails the gun owners' test badly.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Guns” Friday, Sep 10 2004 04:02 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

The Forgery Story Continues

Yesterday I mentioned the Sixty Minutes II documentation was fraudlent, and Captain Ed has a good summary here, but this is my favorite part:

So now we have documents typed in a way that was impossible for the time they were made, sourced from personal files of a dead ex-officer whose family angrily deny he ever had, and authenticated by another ex-officer who never actually saw them. Is this journalism?

I'd expect a lot of trouble at CBS right now.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Friday, Sep 10 2004 06:48 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Bush Doctrine

Yesterday I mentioned the Bush Doctrine, today Winds of Change analyzes it.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Thursday, Sep 9 2004 03:57 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Sixty Minutes II Uses Forged Documents to Attack Bush

Via Power Line Blog we find that there are some interesting problems with the documents produced by Sixty Minutes II to back up their claims that Bush was not present for his duties with the Texas Air National Guard.

Having been involved in document publishing I have to agree with the findings on the various characters and superscripted type found in those documents. I had to use Guttenburg on Apple ][ computers to get that sort of print around 1980, and eventually moved on to FinalWord then TeX and Microsoft Word (first for DOS and then for Windows).

My typewriter was a Smith-Corona. I never could afford a Selectric.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Thursday, Sep 9 2004 03:51 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

AP Quoting Out of Context

This morning, after my long vacation from blogging, I started reading things on Power Line about the Associated Press making up booing Clinton's heart bypass at a Bush/Cheney rally, falsely twisting details of Arnold's life and all over the place I read a bunch of stuff this morning about a comment Cheney made in a speech.

Via Patterico's Pontifications we find the full quote, whereas Dan Gillmor and a VC get it wrong. Since I was not able to post a comment at Dan Gillmor's site because it thinks I said I'm from “un.org” I have to wonder about his filter.

The full quote, with the AP-shortened version highlighted:

We made decisions at the end of World War II, at the beginning of the Cold War, when we set up the Department of Defense, and the CIA, and we created the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and undertook a bunch of major policy steps that then were in place for the next 40 years, that were key to our ultimate success in the Cold War, that were supported by Democrat and Republican alike—Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower and Jack Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon and Gerry Ford and a whole bunch of Presidents, from both parties, supported those policies over a long period of time. We're now at that point where we're making that kind of decision for the next 30 or 40 years, and it's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on November 2nd, we make the right choice. Because if we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again, that we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States, and that we'll fall back into the pre-9/11 mind set if you will, that in fact these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts, and that we're not really at war. I think that would be a terrible mistake for us.
We have to understand it is a war. It's different than anything we've ever fought before. But they mean to do everything they can to destroy our way of life. They don't agree with our view of the world. They've got an extremist view in terms of their religion. They have no concept or tolerance for religious freedom. They don't believe women ought to have any rights. They've got a fundamentally different view of the world, and they will slaughter—as they demonstrated on 9/11—anybody who stands in their way. So we've got to get it right. We've got to succeed here. We've got to prevail. And that's what is at stake in this election.

The one side says that Bush/Cheney will do anything slimy and underhanded to win the election, but it looks to me like the Associated Press is spinning out of control, and a slew of publications are playing along.

Update: Even Power Line has missed the message in the full quote.

Update 2: I've drawn a comment with this post. It appears the people don't get the difference between saying that an opponent won't make the right decisions about how to react to a incident and that horrible things were sure to happen. I read the above quote to say that the reaction to an incident was what matters. Cheney clearly is talking about the motivations for developing what is now called the Defense Department. He is also clearly talking about how he and President Bush intend to use that department for defense of the US. He also clearly indicates that his opponents, Kerry and Edwards, don't seem to want to treat the threat of Islamic extremists who use terror as a weapon like a real threat. They don't (always) articulate that we're at war. Kerry has, of course, tried to say things about twelve different ways, nuance be damned. Bush has articulated the Bush Doctrine.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Wednesday, Sep 8 2004 11:40 AM  |  Permalink  |  4 comments  |  1 trackback

September 8th ASLET Update

On August 12, 2004 I posted an update on the ASLET situation. As a piece of review, I am on the Bylaws committee of this flailing organization. My posting drew an acerbic comment from Bob Smith, who appears to have loyalties to one of the factions. I will admit that I find Phil Messina's criticisms of the organization to be particularly compelling, and I don't like seeing evidence of ethical breaches in a police trainer's organization.

Phil welcomed an opportunity to respond to Bob Smith's comments, which we'll get to in a second.

ASLET itself is heading for trouble because it's board is not fully constituted of elected members, as two are missing. The best way to fix this problem, in my opinion, is a mail ballot to cover the period until the next election, but the bylaws are silent on this issue. (I happen to recall mentioning that the bylaws are somewhat insufficient.)

Also, it appears ASLET is on the hook to hold an election for it's entire board since it has not, to date, had a fully-legal election of its board since its inception. Delaware law being particularly sticky on this point. I recall that the Bylaws committee wished to correct this problem until it was deflected from it by Frank Hackett starting to call its meetings and direct its agenda.

Here's Phil's reply to Bob Smith's comments

It appears Mr. Smith has a lot of information about ASLET'S insurance that could only come from the ASLET Board.
I wish the board was that forthcoming with all its members?

Indeed, getting information about ASLET's finances has been rather difficult.

While it is true that I do enjoy substantial support from current and former ASLET members (being one of ASLET'S highest all time recruiters) it is also true that only a very small percentage of ASLET'S members have any connection to Modern Warrior whatsoever. However, it appears that some of the ASLET board members are so arrogant they would rather believe that anyone that doesn't agree with them must be brainwashed by Modern Warrior than think they might possibly just be wrong.

I, for example, have never been to Modern Warrior to take any classes. I happen to live on the opposite side of the country. I've watched one of their videos at Firearms Academy of Seattle related to a class Mas Ayoob taught.

Those that do support me either in part or as a whole do so because they have in some way experienced the ASLET Office or ASLET Board's unresponsiveness in answering even the simplest of their questions, and they know that I will at least do my best to keep them informed of what the board is doing both in front of them and behind their backs.
The fact that ASLET is now rushing headlong toward bankruptcy has very little to do with litigation, most of which has been covered by insurance. In fact, the only cases that were not covered were those seeking corporate records, not financial damages.
I have no control over the fact that certain ASLET members have decided to use hundreds of thousands of corporate dollars to try to prevent me from running against them rather than to simply lobby to have members not vote for me in the next election.

In fact, it seems that using corporation funds to stave off lawsuits relating to the actions of individual board members is unethical to me. However, I'm one of those stodgy people that believes board members are duty-bound to work in the best interests of the membership and not themselves. Conflict of interest problems seem to infest the boards that I observe directly.

And despite the fact that the board has already had to admit that they have removed me as a director unlawfully on two separate occasions only to have to reinstate me, and have barred me from the ASLET Seminar unlawfully only to have to reimburse me, they still insist on continuing a policy of first breaking the law and then claiming that they didn't know any better or received bad advice after they've done as much damage as possible.
Now there is a new election coming up, ASLET'S impending financial insolvency can't be hidden any longer with dubious bookkeeping and the entire board has to run for office as I informed the membership before the last election.

This new election is key to returning ASLET to legal operation.

Because they now realize that the path toward bankruptcy, which started the very first year Frank Hackett took over as Executive Director (with immediate losses in annual net revenues) can't be avoided as long as he stays in that position, they have now turned their efforts toward looking for scapegoats as they try to move toward the lower decks of the Titanic, so they don't get chosen to stay with the band as the ship goes down.
The bottom line here is that Frank Hackett was never qualified to run ASLET anywhere but into the ground, and the board members who selected him never did their "due diligence" or they would have discovered it immediately.

Frank Hackett's insistence on using cost accounting instead of accrual-based accounting was my first indicator that there was something severely wrong with how the organization was being handled. Cost accounting (or, basically, accounting that's based on summarizing cash flows) misses a lot of events that are important to painting an accurate financial picture. It misses important information on the timing of receivables and payables.

In fact, gaming the timing of receivables and payables is a way to paint a rosier picture of an organization, but such practices don't last forever. You cannot defer unpaid expenses to the next quarter forever. What happens is that the size of those unpaid expenses snowballs and eventually the organization defaults on a particularly large debt to an important creditor.

Now they are in cover up mode and are looking for excuses as why they have failed, rather than expending those energies trying to avert the financial disaster heading their way.

I think this is an impossible task unless they hope the organization goes completely bankrupt before they are called to task. Members of bankrupt organizations are typically not motivated to throw good money after bad.

ASLET is in serious financial trouble and only a new board that is willing to take the issues head on can fix it. Cosmetic surgery to make the membership look bigger than it is or to fill the upcoming seminar with bodies or simply inflate the numbers with spin or out and out fabrications won't save it.

Blaming the troubles on lawsuits is a sucker bet, too, if those lawsuits turn out to be based on real problems. However, by then the organization will be gone and the members will have long since given up trying to obtain value from it.

At the rate it is going, some time next year ASLET will be forced to use its endowment fund money just to pay its operating expenses, and once it reaches that point the board might as well vote to dissolve the corporation, because it will already have failed miserably in fulfilling its promised mission.

Any board member that allows this to happen will be in breach of their duty to the organization, as well. While the organization doesn't pay board members (although it does pay Hackett) they are elected representatives of the membership and owe it to the membership to do a good job.

Although I would like to see ASLET saved, with financial documents still being withheld it is impossible for me to know if the incoming board can even take office and get things moving in right direction before the vultures are flying overhead.

One of the lawsuits turns on the fact that witholding financial information from board members is a violation of the bylaws and Delaware state law.

Of course that doesn't mean we shouldn't try.
Phil Messina
ASLET, Board Member.

That's the extent of Phil's reply.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “General” Wednesday, Sep 8 2004 10:40 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Hugh Hewitt (And Josh) Apply OODA to Politics

Via Instapundit we find Hugh Hewitt writing about the application of OODA loops to the current political campaigns. OODA (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) Loops were developed by fighter pilots as a model of quick thinking and action. Much emphasis is made on getting “inside” your opponent's OODA loop in order to disrupt it.

While Bush-Cheney 2004 is not coordinating with Swift Boat Vets for Truth, is not sending out talking points to the talkers on radio row, is not hard-wired into Brit Hume's head, and most certainly does not run the center-right of the blogosphere, all of these forces are swarming around Kerry and delivering many serious blows to his credibility and his strategic plan. They are “inside the Kerry campaign's OODA loop,” and the result is paralysis and recrimination within Kerry's staff.

I certainly am doing nothing coordinated with anyone except writing what I feel in this blog. Some folks have linked to me on occasion. I have not gone out of my way to link to other folks unless I find them interesting. Some of my friends read this blog. Many infrequently. I have no idea if my familiy reads it at all except I harass me wife about it.

However, when a news item (and the blogosphere decides what's news, not the Mainstream Media) comes out, it circulates around the blogosphere and gets progressively refined by more and more blogs. Centers of comptency like Captain's Quarters create the high notes and quality-filtering high-volume item aggregators like Instapundit accelerate them towards the heart of the Kerry campaign as every blog picks up the “good ones” and echoes them.

The Kerry campaign then spends more of its time attacking the source than addressing the message. But the source often has very little dog in the fight. Will the Swift Vets be devastated by being attacked? Hardly. They don't want public office. They won't lose any business over this (although a local Oregon prosecutor got some scrutiny over what he said). Most of them just want to retire in peace. Ultimately attacks on these messengers will fail because even claims that they want Bush to win sound weak. Actually, they want “anyone but Kerry.”

Kerry wants to wave his hands and have it stop. Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido, writes

Do not fail
To learn from
The pure voice of an
Ever-flowing mountain stream
Splashing over the rocks.

I interpret this to mean, “It doesn't do you much good to try to hold back a flood by waving your hands. It is ever-flowing. It will wear away the rocks in time. It must be dealt with. Move out of the way permanently, direct an effective effort to contain the flood with your tools and abilities, or find some way to make the flood go somewhere else by draining away its power.”

Aikido certainly taught me it was better to let a punch land somewhere ineffectively than to face it head on. I think Kerry's attacks on the messengers have done nothing to absorb the blow of the message, instead it multiplies it by giving it credibility. And since Mainstream Media is no longer the conduit of the message, it cannot be trusted or manipulated to drain the flood.

So, how is the online media inside Kerry's OODA loop? Simple because Kerry does not appear to be set up to orient on the attacks. Without orientation his decisions are ineffective and his actions even less so. If Kerry was delivering a message instead of reacting he would be far more effective. Instead he has been lost for a month. His message was, “I am a war hero.” and the Swift Vets knew where the attack would come and had an effective counter in place (Ayoob's first law of human conflict).

Hewitt goes on to talk about swarming as a new method of conflict. It's hardly new as guerillas and terrorists have undersood it for a long time. However, what's new is the latest technologies that enable it and the efforts of some at engineering it.

Ueshiba offers us a lasting piece of advice,

Do not look upon this world with fear and loathing. Bravely face whatever the gods offer.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Thursday, Sep 2 2004 03:10 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Never Let Your Opponent Define You

A key strategy in gaining popular support is to tell your own story your own way and never let your opponent define you. McQ at Questions and Observations has noted that Kerry failed to avoid having his story be told by the Republicans last night. Nor has Kerry responded.

Kerry spent seventy words talking about his twenty years in the Senate in his convention speech but harasses Bush about the seven minutes he spent reading a book to children on the morning of 9/11.

Rob at Say Anything found a New York Post piece that is not asking Kerry about his talking points, but rather, asks the questions the Swift Vets want answered.

And he adds an ouch:

The only veterans' benefit young John Kerry fought for was the right of vets to be spit upon in public.

That is why you want to define yourself.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Thursday, Sep 2 2004 01:07 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

My Campaign Pledge for NRA BOD

If elected, I will do everything in my power to encourage the NRA training department to roll out their already-developed training for the nation's millions of concealed carry permit holders called Personal Protection Outside the Home. That training has languished unused for seven years and has been announced to instructors several times. It is terrible that the world's largest firearms training organization refuses to teach private citizens how to draw a pistol from a holster.

Joshua R. Poulson
Ridgefield, WA
NRA Training Counselor

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Guns” Thursday, Sep 2 2004 10:27 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Terror in the Skies, Part VI

Anne Jacobsen adds another entry to her Terror in the Skies series at Women's Wall Street. She adds the information that the two airliners downed in Russia appear to have had bombs in their toilets.

What hasn't been widely reported is that Russian investigators now believe the two commercial aircraft were exploded from their toilets.
According to the Russian newspaper Gazeta, At first, the experts on explosives were puzzled as they saw no traces of explosions in the passenger salons or noses of the planes. However, when the tail part of the TU-154 was examined, in the area where the toilet is, a piece of the edging with the illuminator had been torn away.

She goes on to disucss the links between Al-Quaeda and Chechen Terrorists and touches on the Black Widows.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Terrorism” Thursday, Sep 2 2004 10:09 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Not Selected by NRA Nominating Committee

As I expected, I was not selected by the NRA Nominating Committee for inclusion on the ballot this coming year. Now I have to go collect signatures of life members.

Upshot, though, is that I get some statistics and information.

62 eligible people were submitted to the nominating committee, 28 were selected for inclusion on the ballot. Some have have already been members of the board, as we would expect: Sanford M. Abrams, Thomas P. Arvas, Dave E. Bennett III, J. William Carter, Patricia A. Clark, Allan D. Cors, Charles L. Cotton, Dave G. Coy, John L. Cushman, William H. Dailey, Roy Innis, Herbert A. Lanford, Jr., John Milius, Ernie Padgette, Peter J. Printz, Todd Rather, current NRA president Kayne B. Robinson, Carl T. Rowan, Jr., Harold W. Schroeder, Bruce E. Stern, and Harold J. Walter.

The ones that were not former board members—from what I could see at The “NRA Winning Team” web site—were Joel Friedman, James S. Gilmore III, Zell Miller, Tom Selleck, Don Turner, Todd A. Walker, and Dennis L. Willing.

So, twenty-one of twenty-five outgoing board members were reselected by the nominating committee, and they picked seven new names out. However, Zell Miller and Tom Selleck are obvious celebrity candidates. James S. Gilmore III is a less-obvious celebrity if you aren't from the Washington, DC area. Don Turner is the chief rangemaster for the Ben Avery range in Arizona. The others certainly have firearms involvement, but aren't as big of names.

My petition needs to be postmarked by October 11, 2004 to get on the ballot at this point.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Guns” Thursday, Sep 2 2004 08:33 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

My Favorite Cheney Quote

Full transcript on Fox News.

In his years in Washington, John Kerry has been one of a hundred votes in the United States Senate—and very fortunately on matters of national security—his views rarely prevailed.
But the presidency is an entirely different proposition. A senator can be wrong for 20 years, without consequence to the nation. But a president—a president—always casts the deciding vote. And in this time of challenge, America needs—and America has—a president we can count on to get it right.

Seems like the GOP is taking the leadership angle straight on.

Update: Captain Ed prefers

John Kerry sees two Americas. It makes the whole thing mutual. America sees two John Kerrys.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Wednesday, Sep 1 2004 08:16 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Kerry the Lieutenant... Governor

Via Instapundit we find this article about Kerry's term as Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts under Governor Michael Dukakis.

“It's extremely important that I, as lieutenant governor, say 'Look, this is what Sen. Kerry was doing 25 years ago when he was in lock step with Gov. Dukakis and they raised taxes in a recession and put the Massachusetts economy right into the dump,'” Healey said.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Wednesday, Sep 1 2004 07:57 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

“Arnold, I'll Be Back”

The folks at Slings and Arrows point out a piece from today's OpinionJournal Best of the Web Today that I overlooked. Until now, that is. First, there's Arnold's speech:

Let me tell you about the sacrifice and the commitment that I have seen firsthand. In one of the military hospitals I visited, I met a young guy who was in bad shape. He'd lost a leg, he had a hole through his stomach, and his shoulder had been shot through. And the list goes on and on and on.
I could tell that there was no way he could ever return to combat. But when I asked him, “When do you think you'll get out of the hospital?”
He said, “Sir, in three weeks.”
And do you know what he said to me then? He said he was going to get a new leg, and then he was going to get some therapy, and then he was going to go back to Iraq and fight alongside his buddies.
He said, “Arnold, I'll be back.”

Poignant. But then add Taranto's analysis:

Who could miss the implied comparison to someone who left Vietnam after being awarded three Purple Hearts for wounds that didn't require hospitalization, and then rather than return, went to Washington to slander his “buddies” as war criminals? We're not naming names or anything, but you see what we mean.

Slings and Arrows said, “ouch!” Me, I just hope the everyone out there in TV-land picks up on this. I missed the speech and I haven't had a chance to read the transcript yet, but if it is as good as I've been reading, I need to watch it soon.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Wednesday, Sep 1 2004 04:15 PM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Fourth Swift Vets Ad

Say Anything has spotted the fourth Swift Vets ad (Quicktime, MPEG, Windows Media Player, Realplayer).

It's a short ad that refers to Kerry throwing his medals (or was it ribbons?) over the fence at the White House. Not nearly as interesting an ad as the last ones, and a lot shorter. This ad doesn't have any veterans telling us how they feel or what they saw. That would have been much more powerful.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Wednesday, Sep 1 2004 09:50 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Arnold's Shot at the “Two Americas”

As if Guiliani's crack about there being a need for “Two Americas” so Kerry can vote for and against the same thing was a warning shot, Arnold adds

Our troops don't believe in “two Americas.” They believe in one America and they are fighting for it.

Not a joke. This was aimed straight at the faux populism of Edwards. Arnold's enthusiasm does not come from class struggle. He escaped the manufactured class struggle in order to be himself, here in America.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Politics” Wednesday, Sep 1 2004 09:01 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks

Chechen Terrorists Seize School in Russia

Apparently we already have a followup to my earlier Chechen Black Widow posting. On my drive in this morning I hear that terrorists have seized a school in Russia, killing eight people and holding hundreds hostage. Since my daughter had her first day of second grade yesterday it hits close to home to see such an act on the first day of school in Russia.

Fatima Khabalova, spokeswoman for the regional parliament, earlier said one of the dead was a father who brought his child to the school and was shot when he tried to resist the raiders. She also said at least nine people had been injured in gunfire after the hostage-taking.

I sure as heck would have resisted, and it's still legal for me to carry when I pick up and drop off kids in my state.

The ties between the Chechen terrorists (some call them rebels) and Al-Quaeda is long-standing, and they do seem well-organized and possibly well-funded. Since we didn't do anything to fight the Chechen arm of Al-Quaeda we can see what would have been in store for us if we hadn't attacked them in the Middle East.

Clayton Cramer wrote an analysis of the Chechen terrorists on his blog this morning as well and admits,

...these actions by the Russian government in no way excuse attacks on non-combatants or taking hostages. Chechnyan terrorism has completely destroyed any sympathy that I had for their cause. If you want to portray yourself as heroic freedom fighters, you attack legitimate targets: combatants or political leaders, not children; you take prisoners, instead of executing them.
It looks to me as though what we are seeing in the Chechnyan terrorism is not victims of Russian abuses responding badly, but an al-Qaeda farm team—a group that does not believe that there are any legitimate restraints on their use of terror.

I have to agree.

Josh Poulson

Posted in category “Terrorism” Wednesday, Sep 1 2004 08:22 AM  |  Permalink  |  No comments  |  No trackbacks


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