You are here

Just Thinking Chronology

Reading on a Saturday Morning

Submitted by Roanman on Sat, 11/25/2017 - 20:55

 

But not getting around to posting until much later.

We've posted on the nature of America's "defense" spending on a couple of occasions, most notably here  and here .

Here's al little something from the Financial Times.

As always, clicking on the map will take you to the article from which this image was taken.

My favorite sentence from this piece reads as follows:

"US officials acknowledge that its record is mixed and calibrating the extent to which they get involved will remain a delicate balancing act."

 

The stock in trade explanation for the practice of stationing American military personel for all practical purposes the length and width of Africa is nicely summarized by this piece by Republican United States Representative Will Hurd of Texas on CNBC in the winter of 2016 and in response to the atrocity at the Pulse night club in Orlando, Florida.

"The unfortunate reality is that the terrorist threat is not going away any time soon, and increased dramatically when countries like Iraq, Syria, and Libya destabilized. This was a direct result of the U.S.'s decision to slowly pull away from our global responsibilities over the past eight years. 

ISIS took advantage of a crumbling Syria, which we did little to stop. They took over the city of Fallujah in Iraq in January 2014, and President Obama discounted the threat they posed. If there's anything we should take away from the Obama administration's tenure, it is that disengagement is positively correlated with the rise of the terrorist threat. The U.S. must lead a broad coalition of countries to uproot terrorist groups from wherever they control territory. Radical Islamic extremism is a global phenomenon and it will require a global strategy to mitigate. 

The U.S. has not kept up with the rapidly changing nature of the threat environment. While our military is more likely to continue engaging in nonconventional conflicts, the structure of the Department of Defense (DoD), the way our forces are trained, and the types of equipment the department purchases all reflect preparation for conventional warfare. Insurgent groups discovered quickly the advantages of fighting this kind of asymmetric conflict. There is a need to reexamine the way the DoD operates to ensure it is the most flexible and efficient military force in the world. As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have demonstrated, raw power does not determine military victory — flexibility and efficiency does. 

America is the country people around the world look to as the shining example of liberty. They consider us the global champion for human rights and to act when those rights have been violated. Shirking from this responsibility has damaged our international credibility immensely. 

We must restore American leadership by speaking up when countries violate the principles of international order. We must demonstrate our commitment to make this world a more free and prosperous place by upholding the promises we have made to our allies."

Forgetting, for the moment, questions having to do with how is it that stationing our military in harm's way all over the globe keeps Americans safe, particularly if the complaint about terrorism begins with the shooting at the Pulse. Which, if you think it through is prima facie evidence that troops abroad do not protect us from terrorist acts here at home.

Let's examine that "shining city" thing for just a minute.

Click on some headlines which link to the original site of their publication.

'Human tragedy': LA homelessness jumps to record-breaking level

As America Gives Thanks, Homelessness Continues To Set New Records In Major Cities All Over The Nation

1 in 7 New York City Elementary Students Will Be Homeless, Report Says

Baltimore Murder Crisis Continues: 2nd 'Ceasefire' Scheduled For Next Weekend

Three Americans Now Own More Wealth Than Bottom Half of US Combined: Report

That oughta keep you busy for a minute.

 

To quote a lot of people on thanksgiving although not necessarily on Thanksgiving.

Submitted by Roanman on Wed, 11/22/2017 - 18:27

 

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, 'thank you,' that would suffice. Meister Eckhart

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.  Melody Beattie

If a fellow isn't thankful for what he's got, he isn't likely to be thankful for what he's going to get.  Frank A. Clark

None is more impoverished than the one who has no gratitude. Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy. Fred De Witt Van Amburgh

Who does not thank for little will not thank for much.  Estonian Poverb  

Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced, discharged and used up in order to exist at all.  William Faulkner

Thanksgiving after all, is a word of action.  W.J. Cameron

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.  Thornton Wilder

Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.  Unknown

To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.  Johannes A. Gaertner

A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues.  Cicero

God has two dwellings; one in heaven, and the other in a meek and thankful heart.  Izaak Walton

Nothing is more honorable than a grateful heart.  Seneca

O Lord that lends me life, Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.  William Shakespeare

Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don't unravel.  Unknown

Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.  Aesop

God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today.  Have you used one to say "thank you?"   William A. Ward

 

On this Day In History, Richard Nixon Resigned From The Presidency

Submitted by Roanman on Tue, 08/08/2017 - 09:33

 

 I know this to be the case because I happened to have tickets for Joni Mitchell that night at Pine Knob.

You can trust me on this one when I tell you that the crowd was ready.

 Under normal circumstances, I would have never gone out and bought myself a ticket to a Joni Mitchell show but ..... there was this girl .....

 Anyway, I was completely unprepared for a band that rocked as hard as Tom Scott and the LA Express.

To this day, Court and Spark remains one of my all time favorite records.

Do what you want, but my best advice to you would be ..... crank it.

Apologies for the crap resolution, the great version of this performance has disappeared from the internet.

He bought a 57 Biscaine, he put it in a ditch.

Drank up all the rest that sonofabitch.

Rest in Peace, John Warren Geils Jr.

Submitted by Roanman on Wed, 04/12/2017 - 07:45

 

They may have come out of Boston, but if you're a Detroiter of a certain age, you know for a fact that The J. Geils Band is ours.

I don't even know how many times I saw this band, for a while there it seemed like they were in town nearly every week.

Here is J. Geils on guitar, Seth Justman on organ and piano, Stephen Jo Bladd pounding the drums, Danny Klein on bass, the always magnificent Wooba Gooba With The Green Teeth, Peter Wolf on vocals and the great Magic Dick on his lickin' stick.

One of the surest things in the history of Rock and Roll, this is J. Geils live and at the height of their powers in 1977.

 Whammer Jammer.

"Let me hear ya Dickie."

 

 

Yeah, Yeah, I know ..... Whammer Jammer was Magic Dick's moment. But J. Geils always seemed perfectly happy in the background gluing the whole thing together.

At least that's how I remember him.

 

On this Day in History, Garry Kasparov Loses at Chess to a Computer.

Submitted by Roanman on Fri, 02/10/2017 - 07:31

 

On February 10, 1996 World Champion chess player Garry Kasparov lost the first of a 6 match series to "Big Blue" a computer built by IBM that was reputed to have the ability to analyze 2,000,000 moves per second.

This victory was the first ever for a computer under international chess rules for match play which requires 40 moves in the first two hours, 20 moves over the course of the next two hours and one last hour to complete the match.

Cheer up humans, Kasparov, who is widely considered the greatest player in the history of the game, ended up winning the series with three wins, two draws and the one loss in the first match.

Abandon all hope humans, Big Blue won the 1997 rematch.

Click on the photo above for an interesting ... at least to me ... Time Magazine story on the move that got inot Kasparov's head.

Click on this little gear right here for a move by move accounting of the entire series.

As an aside, who the hell sets up an even game series?

Just sayin'.

Garry Kasparov would retire from professional chess in 2005 and pursue a career as a professional critic of Vladimir Putin. So much so that the fact that Kasparov is still alive is evidence to Iowa Republican Congressional Representative, Steve King that Vladimir Putin does indeed allow dissent.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Just Thinking Chronology