Monday, July 24, 2017

They're at it again!

Lots more rally action here, after last week's two videos on the subject.  A lot of this is inside-the-cab video, which gives a new and very scary perspective on just how fast things can go wrong.



Charlie Gard: the inevitable result of a post-Christian world

I'm sure my readers have been following the sorry, tragic saga of Charlie Gard.

The real issue here is, who has parental authority over a child?  Is it the infant's natural, physical parents?  Or are they merely acting as custodians for the State?  In a post-Christian world, the latter view appears to be in the ascendant - and that should trouble not only Christians, but anyone who favors individual rights, freedoms and liberties over the authority of the 'nanny State'.

Charlie’s parents, Chris and Connie, have raised over a million dollars to bring Charlie over to America for an experimental treatment. But England’s health service seems to believe they know better than Charlie’s own parents. The National Health Service, NHS, told his parents he should be left to “die with dignity.”

Socialized medicine takes the human element out of health care and looks at illnesses and diseases in a strictly cost-based, quantitative view. If the likelihood of survival is low, the “national health experts” won’t take the “risk” with treatment. Never mind that the parents have already made plans to take the risk somewhere else.

However, the Charlie Gard case speaks to the ... redefinition of marriage in a broader, cultural sense. And this immorality affects medical care and health insurance, which leads to a socialized medicine with a subhuman view of man, while bestowing deity-like prominence on the State.

It isn’t just about denying parental rights in the medical treatment and health care of Chris and Connie’s child. It is denying they are even Charlie’s ultimate parents at all.

. . .

Charlie Gard isn’t just an example of the failures of socialized medicine. You’re thinking too small. It is the denial of true liberty.

There's more at the link.

This case is a direct, immediate warning to Americans of the likely consequences of single-payer health care.  The Chicago Tribune points out:

Why does the British government have such wide authority over Charlie's treatment? One big reason: Because the government funds a single-payer health system, picking up medical costs for British citizens.

We imagine many Americans reassure themselves that this country's largely private system of health insurance would never be so dismissive of a parent's right to make decisions about a child's health care. Or deny a parent the right to take a child home to die.

But this medical drama, no matter anyone's opinion, foreshadows the difficult decisions to come if America converts its medical insurance system into a single-payer model. (Note that "single-payer" is a euphemism for government-controlled health spending and care.)

The prospect of single-payer here isn't far-fetched: Medicare and Medicaid already account for about 38 percent of U.S. health care spending. Democratic politicians have floated the notion of lowering the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 55, or of a broader Medicare-for-all. Before Obamacare became law in 2010, there also was talk of a so-called public option — a government-run plan — to compete with private plans on market exchanges. That was widely seen as a Trojan horse for single-payer.

. . .

Bottom line: Single-payer is no panacea. Free treatment isn't free. Somebody — everybody — pays. To which proponents of single-payer would retort: Private insurers aren't models of generosity: Sometimes they pay for costly new treatments, sometimes they don't.

Chris Gard and Connie Yates probably never thought they'd be in this predicament, arguing with the British government about whether they could take a child home to die. Nor could anyone predict that a critically ill infant far from U.S. shores would provide one more reason for Americans to remain wary of a single-payer system.

Again, more at the link.

When Obamacare was introduced, there was much talk about so-called 'death panels'.  Opponents of the law warned of them;  supporters derided the very idea.  Well, the case of Charlie Gard demonstrates conclusively that in the absence of a morality that values human life as worthwhile in and of itself, even in the absence of any reference to a Divinity;  that sees human life as intrinsically valuable, rather than measuring that value in terms of dollars and cents . . . death panels are inevitable.  The British courts are, right now, functioning as a death panel in the case of Charlie Gard.

As a retired pastor, you'll understand that my own position on this is clear.  Others will doubtless differ.  Nevertheless, I pray most sincerely that God will protect young Charlie Gard from those who would see him dead, rather than allow his parents to spend their own funds and those donated by supporters, to give him a chance at life.  If his death is inevitable, let it occur;  but let it not be dictated by bureaucratic fiat, or imposed by a godless, indifferent State, overriding the wishes of his parents.

For the rest of us . . . the case of Charlie Gard illustrates the perils of allowing the State to dictate what health care we may, or should, receive.  "He who pays the piper, calls the tune":  and if we allow the State to pay the piper, we should not be surprised to find that we have no say at all in what he plays.  I'm absolutely certain that in time, this will extend to telling older people that they may no longer consume the lion's share of health care dollars, as they have in the past.  It's more cost-effective to let them die, because their utility to society is less than that of younger, more productive, less unhealthy people.  If you think that won't happen, explicitly or implicitly, there's this bridge in Brooklyn, NYC I'd like to sell to you.  Going cheap!  Cash only, please, and in small bills.

We have been warned.


End of a long-drawn-out death

Readers will recall the saga of the wreck of the Costa Concordia cruise liner off the Italian coast in 2012.  It was raised from its watery grave in 2014, in what turned out to be the largest and most complex marine salvage operation in history, and towed to Genoa, where dismantling began.

The Ship Recycling Consortium has announced the completion of their task of scrapping the Costa Concordia.

Less than three years have passed since the arrival of the Concordia wreck in Genoa, on July 27th 2014. Below some of the most significant numbers of this project since the beginning of the operations:
  • Workforce employed: up to 350
  • Total effective hours worked: approximately 1 million
  • Companies and suppliers involved: 78 (98% of them are Italian)
  • Total recycled material: approximately 90%, equal to over 53,000 tons for almost 4,000 trips to recycling facilities in Italy
  • Total dismantled material: 8,000 tons with over 850 trips to dismantling facilities.

There's more at the link.

It's a sad farewell to a ship that should never have sunk, but for the tragic and criminally stupid actions of her Captain.  He began serving a 16-year prison sentence for his crimes in May.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sunday morning music

Regular readers will know that I've been a lifelong fan of the music of Jethro Tull and its leader, Ian Anderson.  He's far more than just a rock or pop musician.  He's composed in genres ranging from pop, to disco, to folk, to hard rock, and any number of combinations thereof.  He's also transcribed many of his compositions for orchestra (and a number of classical orchestral works into rock songs, too!).

I thought you might be interested to see how his orchestral adaptations have worked.  Here's just one example from 'The Orchestral Jethro Tull', which is one of my favorite Tull/Anderson albums.

First, from the legendary 1971 album 'Aqualung', in the 40th anniversary remastered edition issued in 2011, here's 'Mother Goose'.

Now, here's the orchestral version, featuring a much older band, with lots more musicians.

I find it a whimsical, light-hearted and interesting variation on the original rock version.  You might like to check out the other orchestral renditions on the album (you can listen to samples at the link, and if you subscribe to the Amazon Unlimited music streaming service, the full album's available there at no additional charge).


Saturday, July 22, 2017

Doofus Of The Day #966

Today's award goes to a biologically clueless pet owner in Britain.

An unsuspecting pet owner had the shock of his life when he thought caring for his two new little female guinea pigs would be a breeze.

It turned out that he couldn't have been more wrong. He'd accidentally bought a male and a female, which began multiplying "faster than he could react".

Before he knew it, the babies had mated with one another, and he had 160 little guinea pigs running around in his garden in Gosport, Hampshire.

There's more at the link.

I'd have thought that when the first litter of guinea-piglets appeared, that would have been what the professionals call A Clue . . . but to wait until he had 160 of them before figuring it out?  Verily, the mind doth boggle!


Is there a maritime jobs crisis in the USA?

I'm asking because two fellow bloggers have complained about the situation for US merchant seamen and officers in recent weeks.

First, Captain Jill is having a very hard time finding work.

I spent most of every day this week still trying to find work. Filling out online applications (again), for all the same places that I’ve already filled them out for. Calling everyone I could find to call. Still getting the same results...

Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

So, I broke down and went to Houston on Wednesday to see about joining the SIU. The unlicensed seamans union. I’ve been an applicant with the AMO (licensed officers union) since at least December and have had 1 (yes only 1) possible job. That job was gone before I could even return the phone call! Since then, they don’t answer the phone, they don’t return calls, I’ve pretty much lost hope that they actually have any work.

Of course I would rather use the license I’ve spent 30+ years and $50,000+++ to earn! But if I have to sail as a deckhand, I’m perfectly willing to do that too. Anything out at sea is better than working at McDonalds or Domino’s, which seem to be the only jobs open to me on the beach.

S***! 2 college degrees and 30 years of experience to earn the highest license there is out there, and what does it get me? NOTHING! Not a damn thing!

Yeah, I’ve had it pretty good up until the last couple of years. I was able to save a few bucks. I was able to travel and enjoy life. I did really love a few of my jobs. Never really hated any of them. But after almost 2 years of unemployment and unable to find ANY work that will even come close to paying the bills, I have to say I am getting more than a little bit pissed off.

Yes. Pissed off! Frustrated. Angry. Depressed. Un-motivated. I could go on...

There's more at the link.

Then, Paul, Dammit! informs us that the fuel sector of the US maritime industry is in a bad way.

There's a serious morale issue throughout the ports of NY/NJ fuel barge crew. My company is not immune there. Oh, we're doing fine compared to the poor bastards down in the Gulf of Mexico, where even master mariners are working as able seamen and thankful when there's even that for work. While you're not seeing massive savings at the pump anymore thanks to the suits in the futures markets who're really cashing in, efficiencies have led to companies being able to get oil out of the ground cheaper on land, which is competitive with offshore oil, even given the disparities of distribution costs. Jobs have shifted for now, and both shale oil and offshore oil have plenty of wells just waiting for the price index to rise enough to be worth kicking the drills in gear. In the meanwhile, while the low-hanging fruit is being brought to market, there's lots of hungry bellies.

Morale is pretty low in the US maritime fuel transport sector, at least in many parts. It seems like medium-parcel movements are down, too, but not to the extent that I've seen in the small boats.

Unfortunately, I lack the ability to read crystal balls, and I don't have enough chatty friends in the marketing sector for fuel transport to really put together a more complete, coherent synopsis for what's going on, but I can say that the coconut telegraph among friends and shipmates and acquaintances online, there's an awful lot of this time is different in terms of riding out the slowdown.

Well, we'll see.

Again, more at the link.

Does anyone know whether these problems extend throughout the US merchant shipping industry?  Are they on both the East and the West Coasts?  What are the reasons for the downturn?  How bad is it here compared to elsewhere in the world, where I note that some articles complain about a skills shortage?

I'd like to know more.  If anyone can provide further information, or post links to relevant articles, I'd be grateful.  Thanks.


Friday, July 21, 2017

The REAL housewives of ISIS . . .

. . . according to the BBC - with tongue firmly in cheek!


More rally thrills, spills and chills

Here's another great video of things that can - and, all too often, do - go wrong in rallying.

After watching that, there's no way any rally team could pay me enough to drive a Smart Fortwo, or something equally tiny, in such events.  There's not nearly enough metal, crumple zones and space around the driver to be safe!


Robert Stacy McCain brings the smackdown to LGBTBBQWTF

Following my essay on gender and sex last Wednesday, I was intrigued - and felt vindicated - to find that Robert Stacy McCain has his own views on the subject, very similar to mine.

In January 2014, when I first wrote about the controversy between radical feminists and transgender activists, it seemed to me a bad joke. “The Competitive Victimhood Derby,” I called it — two rival tribes of left-wing nutjobs vying for the coveted Most Oppressed Award. Subsequent research, however, convinced me that the radical feminist nutjobs were actually right on the basic issue — being male or female is a fact of science, not subject to politically motivated revision — and transgender activists were wrongly seeking to hijack “gender identity” (and feminism, along with it) in a way that amounts to Female Erasure, to quote the title of a recent radical feminist anthology on the subject. “Facts are stubborn things,” as John Adams said, and there is something fundamentally dishonest about the ideology of the transgender cult.

Young people are becoming seriously confused by the transgender cult. Or perhaps the causation works the other way, and confused young people are magnetically attracted to the cult belief that, with the “treatment” of synthetic hormones and surgery, they can escape their adolescent woes by “transitioning” into the opposite sex. Feminists have identified the factor of social contagion in what they call “rapid-onset gender dysphoria.” Through the influence of peers, and also through online recruitment by transgender cultists, many teenagers are quite suddenly convinced that they were “born in the wrong body.” In a matter of months or even a few weeks, an otherwise healthy teenage will develop an obsession with “gender transition” and demand that parents not only accept their new transgender identity, but often threaten suicide unless parents support them in seeking hormone “treatment” immediately. This kind of emotional blackmail is part of the transgender cult’s ideology, as activists claim that anyone who opposes them is effectively sentencing teenagers to death by denying them acceptance and “health care.”

. . .

Identity politics produces a demand for government programs, and universities are training the future bureaucrats who will run LGBT programs and who, of course, will be employed at taxpayer expense. Meanwhile, there are career opportunities in “journalism” and “political activism” (insofar as these are still separate fields of endeavor, e.g., the editors of Teen Vogue promoting anal sex). If “the personal is political,” as feminists declare, then politics turns into nothing but a constant stream of demands for an ever-increasing number of government programs to provide “solutions” to an ever-increasing number of personal problems, based on the assumption that taxpayers will pay the bills.

. . .

We don’t have enough lunatic asylums in America to house all these weirdos and nutjobs, and there’s not enough money in the world to pay for all the outpatient treatment they’ll need. The next time you’re debating health care, remember this: Crazy is a pre-existing condition.

There's more at the link.  Recommended reading, because he analyzes what the 'other side' is up to in their attempt(s) to force us to pay for their phobias, complexes and delusions.


We've got to do something - even though it'll never work!

I see politicians are up to their usual shenanigans again.  This time it's in formerly great Britain.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: "We are announcing new measures to combat knife crime and the devastating impact it has on families, individuals and communities.

"We are going to be consulting on new legislation so that people can't buy knives online without having their identity checked.

"At the moment you have to do it by the click of a button. What we are proposing is that if you want to buy a knife online it has to be collected from a place where you have to show your ID.

"We have evidence that young people have been able to buy knives without verifying their ID and I want to stop that."

. . .

The new drive will also aim to close off a loophole that means police can be powerless to act if they discover knives in someone's home.

A ban on the possession of outlawed weapons such as zombie knives and knuckledusters on private property would mean officers can seize them and make arrests.

Any restrictions will be drawn up so that those who keep weapons for a legitimate purpose, such as cultural items or antiques, are not penalised.

There's more at the link.

I've written about this utterly worthless approach on several occasions, particularly as it relates to firearms.  Back in 2009 I pointed out:

You can't stop criminal actions by banning things. You can only stop them by stopping the people who commit them. The tools used are basically irrelevant.

. . .

Cars don't cause accidents: they're caused by road conditions, or mechanical failure, or flawed driving technique, or an impaired driver, or a combination of these factors. Aircraft don't cause plane crashes: they're caused by weather conditions, or mechanical failure, or pilot error, or an impaired pilot, or a combination of these factors. Guns don't cause massacres: those are caused by human beings deciding to commit murder. Whether they do so with a gun, or a bomb, or a fire, or an axe, or a knife, is basically irrelevant. In every case, the driver, or pilot, or murderer, may be sane or insane, impaired or unimpaired, rational or irrational: but there's always a human involved. The car, or plane, or gun, is simply a tool in their hands.

. . .

Again and again and again, the instrument is not the cause of the problem; the instrument is not guilty of the problem; and banning the instrument won't solve the problem!

Again, more at the link.

Politicians realize that to be re-elected, they have to make people feel that they're in control, and the country is safe in their hands;  so they act, and react, and posture, as soon as a problem reaches the public eye.  The fact that the measures they propose will do absolutely nothing to solve the real problem - human nature - is neither here nor there.

If criminals can't get their hands on one tool, they'll find another.  Witness the recent spate of acid attacks in the UK - a crime that was vanishingly rare until very recently.  I'm willing to bet a large part of it can be laid at the door of 'knife control'.  Denied access to their former tool of choice, some criminals simply turned to acid instead.  Ban or control acid?  They'll turn to gasoline, tossing a cupful of it at a passerby, followed by a lighted match.  Ban or control gasoline?  Good luck driving your vehicle!

Prisons are one of the most rigidly controlled environments in human society, an authoritarian's wet dream;  but even there, knife regulations, even total bans, don't work.  I've worked in prisons, and recovered so-called 'shanks' from inmates and their cells.  They make their knives out of toothbrush handles, bits of wire, stolen air-conditioning vent covers . . . anything they can find.  We had to order feeding trays and drinking 'glasses' for the inmates made out of a specially brittle plastic, that would break up rather than take an edge if you tried to sharpen it.  I've seen a very deadly shank, used in a prison murder, that was made out of an eight-inch length of rebar.  The convict stole the metal from a work site within the prison, then spent close to a year rubbing it furtively against concrete, bricks, and other masonry every opportunity he got - except in his cell, of course, where the damage might have led to a search.  After a lot of hard work, his rusty bit of scrap steel had a deadly sharp point on it . . . as one of his prison enemies found out to his (terminal) cost.

Controlling a thing cannot and will not work.  Those with evil intent will always find another thing, another way.  The Home Secretary must surely know that . . . but she doesn't care.  She's a politician.  She knows she has to be seen to be doing something - no matter how useless she knows it will be.  The latter is the least of her concerns.

Why anyone votes for conniving, lying grifters like these, irrespective of party or policy, I just don't know . . .


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Good Lord, this makes me feel old . . .

The Feral Irishman has posted a long series of photographs of "old-time" goods, equipment, and technology.  Here are just a few examples.

A hard-boiled egg slicer.  I used those as a kid to help Mom in the kitchen . . . and sliced my thumb on the sharp wires more than once!  (Hint:  shell the egg first.  What's more, if you slip a regular egg in among the hard-boiled ones, and your sister tries to shell it, and gets egg all over herself and the counter, your mother will not be amused . . . and your backside will smart!)

Liquid glue for school projects.  The rubber caps seldom stayed intact.  They got brittle with age, and cracked, letting the contents leak all over the place (unless you managed to pry one loose first, in which case the glue turned up in all sorts of . . . interesting places!

My second car - a 1971 Chevrolet Firenza, bought used in the early 1980's - had two keys that looked exactly like those;  one for the door, one for the ignition.  Why they couldn't have made them use the same lock, I'll never know . . .

Oh, heck, yes!  Mom used to wrap our sandwiches in wax paper if their filling was sufficiently gooey that it might leak all over the other things in our school lunch boxes.  I must have used up miles of the stuff.

My mom's washing machine was the spitting image of this beast when I was a young child.  Every week, the outside "laundry room" would reek of steam and Sunlight green laundry soap, shaved into it from great big bars.  (Believe it or not, even in an age of modern detergents, you can still buy Sunlight laundry bars in South Africa.  Old habits die hard, I guess!)  The tub would be filled from a hose attached to a nearby hot-water tap.  Clothes would be agitated in the soapy water, then fed through the mangle rollers above the tub to press out as much liquid as possible.  The tub would be drained (pumping out its contents through an exhaust hose into a sink), then refilled with cold water.  The laundry was tumbled in the fresh water, to rinse it, and re-mangled:  then it was hung on a series of drying lines tied across the back yard.  You could play wonderful games, stalking each other up and down the lines of laundry . . . provided you didn't get them dirty in the process.  If you did, your backside smarted!

Candy cigarettes!  I wish I had a dollar for every one of those things I "smoked" . . . I could retire!

Lots and lots of memories in those photographs.  Click over to Irish's place and look at the rest for yourself.  I recognized each and every one of them.  Am I an old fart, or what?


The oldest aircraft design meets the newest aircraft technology

I'm fascinated to learn that a carbon fiber version of the 70-year-old Antonov An-2 biplane has been developed in Russia.  It made its first flight just last week, and is now being exhibited in Moscow.

The Siberian Aeronautical Research Institute (SibNIA) plans to certificate the new model ... within two years, then promote the aircraft to passenger and cargo operators, says Oleg Parfentyev, adviser to the chairman of SibNIA for aviation projects ... Parfentyev describes how Russian carriers now fly four-engined Antonov An-12s from Moscow to Novosibirsk, where the payload is redistributed to smaller cities. A fleet of TVS-2DTS aircraft would allow the same operators to fly direct to the secondary cities, bypassing the hub stop at Novosibirsk, he says.

In addition to newly-composite structure, the TVS-2DTS features Honeywell TPE331-12 turboprop engines and new interiors.

There's more at the link.

The original An-2 first flew in 1947.  It used the forward fuselage of a Douglas C-47 transport (license-built in the Soviet Union as the Lisunov Li-2), shortened, with a single radial engine in the nose, and biplane wings covered in cloth.  It could carry up to 12 passengers, or up to about 2¼ tons of payload.

A turboprop version was developed in the 1980's as the Antonov An-3, but didn't attract much customer interest.  Hundreds, possibly thousands, of the original An-2 model are still flying in Russia and China, particularly in regions with rough-and-ready airstrips (or no airfields at all).  It's a quintessential "bush aircraft".  North Korean special forces use it as a raiding platform, because its wood and canvas construction doesn't show up very well on modern radar, and it flies so slowly (cruising speed is about 100 mph) that modern fighter aircraft can't fly slow enough to keep station on it, and shoot it down.

SibNIA began developing its 'Westernized' version of the An-2 a few years ago.  In 2012 it flew an aircraft with a Honeywell turboprop engine and a 5-bladed modern propeller.  This proved successful in flight tests, and the Institute decided to modernize it further, in the hope of attracting interest from the owners of hundreds of An-2's still operating.  They first developed a fully composite wing, made of carbon fiber, which they flew attached to an original fuselage fitted with the Honeywell engine and new propeller.  Here's a 2015 video showing it in flight.

The latest version, now on display in Moscow, adds a carbon fiber fuselage to the wing, meaning that the entire aircraft is now of composite construction.

Whether or not this ultra-modern edition of a 70-year-old biplane can achieve commercial success remains to be seen.  Nevertheless, I have a feeling that, somewhere up there, the shade of Oleg Antonov is smiling.


Revenge rears its ugly head in Mosul

Strategy Page notes that we can expect a wave of revenge attacks in Mosul, Iraq, recently liberated from ISIL control.

Many families from Mosul, both those who fled and those who stayed to the end, are demanding that the families of Iraqis who joined ISIL or worked for them must be punished. This is a tricky situation because most of the suspects are Iraqi Sunni Arabs, many from prominent Mosul families and clans. Because some 900,000 people (nearly have the Mosul population) stayed in the city there are plenty of witnesses to the many locals who, because of belief, greed or fear, worked for ISIL. Many of the survivors know that well-connected (from prominent families) and wealthy (often from doing business with or for ISIL) will be able to bribe their way out of any prosecution and punishment. So there will be a lot of murders and disappearances (because of murder or slipping away into exile) in the next month or so.

The list of avengers is long and includes many non-Moslems (Christians, Yazidis and others) and non-Moslems (Kurds, Turks, Assyrians and so on). Many members of the army and commandos who liberated Mosul had lost family (and now soldiers) and not all of them were able to refrain from instant vengeance on captured ISIL men. Since this sort of thing has happened so many times in the past there is a certain informal protocol that is observed. For a brief period the incoming security forces will ignore the revenge killings but after a few months the vengeance will be drifting away from punishment towards extortion and other gangster motivation. So by the end of the year Mosul will settle down to its usual simmer of angry religious, ethnic, tribal and political feuds.

This will be a time when many secrets can be revealed because of the chaos and desperation. Experienced intel operatives, both foreign and local, know this. The American Special Forces specializes in making the most of situations like this. It’s like a brief flash of light in a dark cave of secrets. Yet few of the secrets will be particularly shocking because this routine has played out in this area so many times over the last few thousand years. This time the difference is the impact of mass media and the movement of so many foreign volunteers to ISIL and the dispersal of ISIL survivors back to their homelands. Groups like ISIL have been a feature of local life for over a thousand years but exporting that form of madness to the non-Moslem world is a new angle. Another novel feature is the large number of landmines and explosive devices rigged to explode when disturbed that have been left behind. ISIL hid away lots of weapons, ammo and explosives. All this stuff will keep the death toll from the Battle of Mosul increasing for years to come.

There's more at the link.

I'm informed by some friends over in that part of the world that the Yazidis in general, and Yazidi women in particular, are particularly ruthless and vengeful in their attitude.  After all, ISIL tried to exterminate the Yazidis root and branch, massacring their men and children, and forcing their women into sex slavery.  Many of the women escaped from their captors, and have formed their own armed units to fight back against ISIL (including an entire battalion fighting alongside Kurdish forces).  One contact tells me that when Yazidi women find an ISIL fighter, the results are, as he puts it, "usually long-drawn-out and messy" for the latter unfortunate.  One is inevitably reminded of Kipling's famous dictum . . .

Austin Bay also points out that there are valuable urban warfare lessons to be learned from the fight to liberate Mosul.

"Mega-cities" -- think Tokyo, Seoul, Los Angeles, Berlin, Lagos, Cairo, Mumbai -- are 21st century political, economic and infrastructure realities. Urban combat in a mega-city will occur.

Mosul has some of the features found in mega-cities. The U.S. and its allies should conduct thorough and candid after action assessments of Iraqi and coalition operations in the liberation of Mosul.

Food for thought, indeed.


Lawdog Volume 2 is on the way!

Following the smashing success of the first volume of The Lawdog Files, Castalia House is responding to overwhelming public demand (as expressed in the reviews) and accelerating the publication of Volume 2:  'The Lawdog Files - African Adventures'.

Click the image above to be taken to the book's pre-order page on Amazon.  It's already (as I write these words) ranked at 3,095 in the Kindle Store (out of well over 5 million items for sale there), and it's still almost three weeks before publication!  I predict another runaway best-seller for the Dawg.

We might also see a Volume 3 of The Lawdog Files before long, depending on how many readers keep on screaming for more.  Castalia's very good like that - they're small enough to 'turn on a dime', so to speak, and interrupt their existing schedule to respond in a hurry to reader demand, yet also big enough to have all the staff and skills needed to get a new book published very quickly.

Stand by for loud cackles of laughter from all sides on August 10th!