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Everything posted by sbeaulieu

  1. As Peter stated, I believe it has the ring of truth to it as well. Knowing that the letter might be published, Saucy Jack went to lengths to ensure no extensive details were given (other than snipers haven't been employed). We call this Operations Security (OPSEC). The writing gives him a constructive outlet to pass the time. I like it a lot. Recon are astute observers. Hope he and his brethren make an impact and come home safe. ~ Shane
  2. A key word here should be necessity. With regards to animals being a source of food and clothing (and glue apparently), we find enough reason to extinguish their lives for our benefit. However, there are humane ways to seeing that those animals do not suffer slaughterhouse-style. As humans, we are capable of killing quickly and efficiently. We should do so out of necessity. As a pet owner, I'm emotionally attached to my dog, cat, and guinea pigs. I'd even be willing to put a hurting on anyone that tried to harm them. I wouldn't set aside that human life is more valuable than animals. But in seeing a person capable of inflicting needless harm on a defenseless animal, I would find fault in that person's ethics...that it's ok to exert pain for their amusement. I'd beat the shit out of them. I would also intervene on seeing it done...animals have every right to exist as we do without some fuckhead ruining their day because that person has nothing better to do. It's abberant, irrational behavior. Again, necessity (and I don't mean necessity of some psycho, either) being the deciding factor. ~ Shane
  3. Brad, I'd have to say that the doughnut hole will no longer exist, provided you are able to place your teeth in perfect alignment to separate the border atoms of the doughnut proper from the doughnut hole. I know that when I eat a doughnut, I bite into the doughnut hole space, thereby consuming it with the doughnut proper ~ Shane
  4. When I did a search on William Hickman, I went to Wikipedia. There you will find an entry regarding AR and 'The Little Street.' William Hickman - Wikipedia The part that seems to have been left out is the following, which would clearly help demonize her - Rand wanted the hero of her novel to be "A Hickman with a purpose. And without the degeneracy. It is more exact to say that the model is not Hickman, but what Hickman suggested to me." All said, you have all brought up good points. As Doc pointed out, Hannibal is an extremely memorable character. I could see AR trying to base a similarly memorable character on a real person. What better way is there to write fiction if not based on real individuals or experiences? The more you can associate realism in stories, the more drawn in the reader is (in my opinion). ~ Shane
  5. I can't view the video from work, but the rest has me hooked! Sign me up soonest. Will a $20 bill do? Haha! ~ Shane
  6. Air superiority is one of the most important tools for setting up the battlefield to be played by our rules. It is not, however, the deciding factor (I agree). Air dominance denies the enemy access to airspace, severly limiting their maneuvering, intel gathering and logistics support, while providing us access to the same. However, most engagements are decided on the ground...door to door. While I also agree that wars/battles may still be lost, that association is more reminiscent of history (say pre Persian Gulf War). The approach to war these days is more joint because of the strengths each service brings. ~ Shane
  7. Adam, At a glance, it looks like 5-10% of the bills were for renaming post offices. Glad our tax payer dollars are being efficiently whittled away. ~ Shane
  8. Red: Is Taliban under the UN banner? That's a tricky one. Since Afghanistan is a UN nation and the Taliban are of that country, then technically...yes. As such, they are unlawful combatants. Didn't U.S. public at large regard the Natives as less than human at one time? So according to your logic, the U.S. soldiers/civilian combatants captured by the Natives didn't deserve chivalry? By natives, I assume you mean Native Americans? If so, UN wasn't around then. What we did to the Native Americans was deplorable. I would have to say that Native Americans were practicing common law retribution (with the whites getting what they deserved). If you mean Afghan natives, couldn't say from experience or knowledge. Who decides what is right or wrong? Victors write history. Society has the final say in what's right or wrong. But by humane standards, I would go out on a limb saying that we are in the right. As a member of the UN, the US has followed the edict on how we conduct war and how we fight against the enemy. Using their tactics by putting innocent civilians in harms way is not right. Indeed, what they are doing it is natural consequence of the war, according to you? Correct. So for the right price, everyone's a whore? Under favorable conditions, I'm sure everyone has a price. ~ The enemy of my enemy is my friend ~ Mao was a civilian, Chiang was a career Military man, Mao won despite the overwhelming disadvantage. My statement implied the local population under Taliban control. They are given little to no information and kept at bay with boots on their throats. ~ Shane
  9. Red, Why do you think they[Taliban] should play by our[their enemy's for now] rules? Countries under the UN banner fight using LOAC. Part of those rules are to ensure that 1 - Appropriate force is applied to fulfill objectives while minimizing enemy/civilain casualties 2 - Minimize human suffering through use of approved weapons and munitions (i.e., no hollow-point bullets, or nuclear, biological, chemical weapons, etc.) 3 - If the enemy is injured/captured, they will be provided the best care until hostilities have ended - provided they have not committed warcrimes, they will be returned to their countries since they were lawful combatants (technically, Taliban should be classified as unlawful combatants...who are not afforded protections under the Geneva Convention...would explain Gitmo). Taliban doesn't care about human lives, so the above does not apply to them. Too bad Taliban doesn't follow Saladin's example of chivalry. I imagine that in their eyes, we're seen as less than human, so do not deserve chivalry. Do you think we should play by their rules just for the hell of it? No. Two wrongs don't make a right. History has shown that offense breeds new defense and vice versa. In an asymmetrical battlefied, we adapt new tactics to counter theirs. They do likewise. Did Mujahadeen in the 80's wear uniforms while fighting the Soviets? If they didn't, then they were not lawful combatants against the Soviets? So why did the U.S. help them? My personal guess is that the expansion of communism was the greater threat. Right or wrong, the US has been caught in that vice before. Are you a civilian? Active duty AF - 17 years ~ Shane
  10. sbeaulieu

    New Book

    I have to agree with Ninth Doctor on stating it's an Objectivist Novel. I know Terry Goodkind and he's never put the word Objectivist in any of his novels. I didn't even know of his association with Objectivism until he told me about Ayn Rand in a phone conversation...6 books into his series. You also limit your audience by categorization. Anyone who dislikes Objectivism will not buy the book, much like I would never pick up a book that was categorized by the author as being a Communist Novel. If the characters are well fleshed philosophically, that association will come to light soon enough. Stating their philosophical slant before opening to the first page means the reader loses out on character development, a key ingredient in any successful novel. Outside of that, a 40-year journey to change our government sounds very, very intriguing! I wish you the best of luck ;) ~ Shane
  11. Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) is what is setting the tone on how this operation is playing out. There are specific guidelines in dealing with civilians. However, the language in it speaks more to two sides that play by the rules. Clearly, Taliban does not. Opposing forces are supposed to wear uniforms which mark them as lawful combatants, meaning that they are legally engaged in war. Taliban forgoes that in favor of blending in with the local population. This tactic ensures that we have the harder road to travel in making the distinction between them and the civilians in hopes we will inflict civilian casualties. Politically, it distorts the world's views on our efforts. For the Taliban, it eases their recruiting efforts. It's very dicey. In some articles I've read, our aim was to notify the civilians we were rolling in...and to get out. The Taliban have kindly informed those trying to leave that it's dangerous because of bombs and IEDs. Bullshit! They want them there to maximize civilian casualties. They care litte for their own lives...why should they care for anyone else? Problem is, the civilian point of view is limited. ~ Shane
  12. Peter, I can attest to seeing the military culture shift, being a military brat and 17 years in the service. Tolerance is certainly the linchpin on approaching this sensitive issue. Before coming into the service, I was friends with a former Navy officer who is gay. He said that during his enlistment, he laid low and didn't make his sexual preference known, for the same reasons I mentioned in my previous post. Homosexuals need to be aware of the dangers they face if they come into the service due to fact there are those that see a legitimit right in assaulting them. How they could ever come to that conclusion is beyond me. As you stated, there are those that flaunt it publicly. In those cases, they are inviting trouble, sad as that may be. Point is no matter who or where you are, check your six, know your surroundings and act accordingly. The military's PDA policy is essentially preference-neutral. The exceptions would be returning home from a deployment and kissing your significant other, etc. Outside of that, military bearing applies. Good points on the historical perspective, Peter. ~ Shane
  13. My personal views on gays and lesbians in the service are this: Their sexual orientation should never have any bearing on wearing the uniform. They are human beings first with a part of them that says they are willing to lay down their lives to protect American freedoms. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, straight...what does it matter? There's a military policy about public displays of affection (PDA) that keeps shows of affection to a bare minimum. Preferences should matter behind closed doors between consenting adults, period. ~ Shane
  14. My introduction to Nietzsche, strangely enough, was in the prologue to Conan the Barbarian: "That which does not destroy me, makes me stronger" The rest of what I know comes from bashing and not much else. It will be interesting to read his work. Either way, I never held him in a positive or negative light (due to my lack of knowledge of his works and societal impact). ~ Shane
  15. Two letters...GM. I can dig more for specifics. That's pretty recent and I'm sure there are shockwaves still being felt at General Motors. ~ Shane
  16. Oh yes, great idea Brant.. But the problem is, it'd make your food a source of fuel for the military machine, meaning due to the principles of supply and demand the prices would go up considerably and then that'd cause even more economic chaos in the US. But... If you all became Muslim, you probably could afford it because you wouldn't be eating the pig as a source of food! Now that's funny! ~ Shane
  17. JS, Thanks for your reply. Ninth Doctor, Your example highlights why I have problems with texts that are adhered to long after their writing. ~ Shane
  18. Peter, I loved the movie. Others here did not, or probably won't see it. They'll point out that it's anti-capitalism. While I agree to some extent, in today's world there are corporations that seek to scour the earth for resources, regardless of who lives there. To some degree, it is anti-military. In today's world, there are mercenaries for hire to achieve corporate agendas through force. Do I think this reflects what capatilism is? No. Do I think this reflects what our military is? No. What it does highlight is the specific sectors of capitalism and militarism that use force as an option, and willingly so. I think James Cameron did a great job in endearing the audience to the Na'vi plight of outsiders forcing their will on them. Diplomacy failed because the Na'vi said no. As such, any moral institution would have pulled chocks and left. There are examples of that today with deforestation. Aside from that, the CG was stellar as well as the storyline. I went a second time this past weekend. There is still an objectivist message in there, but I'll leave that for others to find. ~ Shane
  19. Adonis, Welcome to OL. Thank you, so far, for an insightful view into your interpretation of Islam. It's certainly eye-opening. I agree wholeheartedly that the media panders to the fearful - their agendas too painfully clear. Two points I'd like to make: interpretation and feasible longevity of the written word (any religion and philosophy). Interpretation: Everyone has an opinion. As such, everyone's interpretation will likely be different to one degree or another. Give a screenplay to five directors and you will get five wholely different movies. This will always be a source of strife inside and outside of any religion. Without living authors to clarify their passages, we will never be 100% certain what their intent was. They are not hear to answer questions and thusly will remain unanswered. On TV, there's a female pastor, Melissa Scott, that goes to extremes at interpreting scripture. It's amazing to watch her. Her knowledge, in my opinion, is unsurpassed in my experiences. But again, it's one interpretation. I'm sure not all will agree with her. Feasible Longevity: The Bible, Qu'ran, and ancient philosophies were written to address issues relevant to their time. Do you still think all passages hold water for today's world? Fundamentalists grasp every word as truth as if it still applies today. I would be more sympathetic if there were updated versions that cover the changing world. I'm uncertain if something like a Papal Bull, for instance, is sufficient or if there's a Muslim or Jewish version of the same. Again, welcome! ~ Shane
  20. Michael, Kat and all... Hope everyone's Christmas went great! Our kids got spoiled. May this New Year be full of promise and achievements
  21. Thanks, Bob! I do remember one other savant now that you mention documentaries. This savant was blind, so likely his hearing was highly attuned to begin with. His talent was playing any tune he heard on the piano, even operatic pieces. My question should have been more focused on the abilities that Kim displayed on memory. Being a genius on ~15 subjects has got to be very high, even for savants. ~ Shane
  22. One amazing individual. Imagine, 58 years of remembering everything! Are there any other people like him in recorded history? Or is he the first we know of? I really enjoyed that movie! ~ Shane
  23. After seeing the movie yesterday, I'm in awe on several fronts. From a technical standpoint, Cameron and crew outdid themselves. My son and I watched it in 3D...spectacular work on creating a new, believable ecosystem. Simply amazing! From a storyline perspective, I saw it simply as a setting where corporations were in control using military muscle for security and for leveraging their interests as a last resort. In this movie, unobtainium sells for $20M per kilogram, so greed (in the bad sense) rears its ugly head. The RDS corporate boss (Giovani Ribisi) is willing to displace, by force, the indiginous lifeforms to get at a substantial cache of the rare ore. Conflict. ** SPOILER ** As a diplomatic effort RDS has funded the Avatar program, which blends human and Na'vi DNA. A human pilot controls the avatar through a mental interface. It is RDA's hope that by using these avatars, they can ingratiate themselves with the locals. They introduced language and schooling, medicine and supplies, etc. The underlying motive was to get the Navi to move from their current location to exploit the unobtainium deposits under their hometree. Sounds a lot like deforestation efforts in South America. Needless to say, their diplomatic efforts failed. The bulk of the movie focuses on Jake Sully (a parapalegic Marine). He shares, conveniently, an exact genome match to his twin brother (killed), who was a scientist slated to pilot the Na'vi avatar. The twist in the story comes in the guise of a warrior avatar (all previous pilots have been scientists) in the form of Jake. He presents an intel doorway for the dubious Col Quaritch. Promising Jake will get his legs back, the Col has him in his back pocket. As Jake is integrated into the Na'vi society, he starts to become one of them. He learns their ways, customs, and language. His mindset changes as he falls in love with the Na'vi and his mentor, Neytiri. Unfortunately, Jake is unable to persuade the Na'vi from moving. RDA implements their military solution. Conflict ensues and it culminates in all-out war. ** SPOILER ** There is a lot going on in this movie outside of the CG spectacle. I would persuade each and everyone of you to view the movie for yourself. Chances are if you listen to critics, you're not getting the full story. If they lean left or right, the takeaways are going to differ considerably. If you're like me, you'll go to a movie simply for the joy of sitting down with loved ones and having a good time. James Cameron spent a considerable amount of time on this story. I, for one, am glad he told it. It was visually engrossing and was able to evoke emotions. That's not CG, that's storytelling. ~ Shane
  24. Corporal punishment in the schools might be a good idea, or at least the notion of it. It kept me in check as a kid when I saw a paddle on the desk. In the bigger picture, South Park (originator of either the "kick a Jew day" or "kick a ginger day") should come out with one for "kick a bully" day. If kids are so malleable, balance the outcome a bit with some reciprocity ~ Shane