Morning Musings

The video of the White policeman (Officer VanDyke) of the Chicago Black who punctured a police car tire was long overdue. The video amply demonstrates the reason that the policeman was charged with First Degree Murder, and there is no rational reason for the charging to have taken more than a year.
The police officer who shot the prone Black (Laquan McDonald) 16 times was the ONLY policeman of the seven on-scene officers to discharge his weapon.

It was obvious on the video that the deceased was not a threat to any of the policemen. He was walking away when he was shot twice in the back. He still had the knife he used to puncture the police cruiser tire.

The law says that the policeman can use deadly force if he reasonably believes his life or the lives of others is in danger. Of course the law says “reasonably” and it is not even within the definition of “reason” that this policeman believed his life or anyone’s life was in danger.

The subject is now in the Courts. I suspect the policeman will take a plea if one is offered, and the case and the policeman will go away for 30 years or so, but I hope there is someone looking into why this case took so long to bring a charge. 

Something caused that police officer to snap — something that did not cause others to discharge their weapons. This was not a rookie mistake.

This was murder!


The president said this morning:

“right now, we know of no specific and credible intelligence indicating a plot on the homeland.” He later added: “In the event of a specific, credible threat, the public will be informed.”

The Paris attack had no credible threat, either. 

We don’t know what we don’t know, and what we do know is that there are not enough police to cover all the potential enemies we have already within our midst. No one is going to take out an ad, and our intelligence people have missed some REALLY big ones.


It’s the Silly Season on college campuses — as if every day is not. 

But the students seem to have caught a slightly different strain of insanity, and they seem a bit frustrated if we do not share the seriousness of their concerns. 

Living in the cocoon of academia one does not have a larger perspective than the campus, and those students are already living on someone else’s dime, either Daddy or the government. 

College administrators are a particularly craven bunch to begin with, and there are always currents influencing their actions — the Student Council, the professors, the football team, the Alumni…and sometimes one of those takes precedent over another. In this case, these recent cases, students and professors bring bad publicity and that brings a backlash from the alumni. 

The administration tries to mollify everyone, rather than taking a firm stand and saying, “Go back to class, or go home!”


The TrumpBots are an strange bunch — the are religious in their fervor and do not waver regardless of how stupid their candidate appears, how vain, and how wrong. 

Trump has some really good ideas, and some awful ones, but the TrumpBots applaud all equally and jump to his defense without discriminating. They form a Roman Square about him and act as pained as does Trump that anyone would question him.

Other more personable candidates would do well to poach some of Trump’s ideas.

We Were Not Alone

Guess what? 
As humans, we were not alone. 

It turns out that our branch of humans mated with Neanderthals, so they were of the same species, and the Europeans have as much as 4% Neanderthal in their DNA!

While that may not blow your mind, but how about this: The Neanderthals were not alone in Central Asia. A very large humanoid species called the Denisovians lived there also, and mated with the Neanderthals. All that has been found of the Denisovians was a tooth and the bone of a pinkie finger, some 110,000 years old, found five years ago in a Kazakhstan cave. 

It appears that the Neanderthals went to Europe, while the Denisovians migrated to Southeast Asia, where they donated about 1% of the DNA to the aboriginal Australians.

The cave stays year-round right at freezing, and the preserved DNA shows that there is another mystery yet to be revealed — the Denisovians — who broke from the chain of Neanderthals 400,000 years ago, mated with a fourth still unknown member of the human species whose remains have never been found. 


(And when it is found, I doubt that Dr. Ben Carson will believe it!)

Rules of Engagement

Let me tell you what I DO know: I know that the Rules of Engagement have tied the arms of the pilots, putting almost the entire ISIS capitol of Racca, off limits.
Let me quote the NY Times:

“WASHINGTON — American intelligence analysts have identified seven buildings in downtown Raqqa in eastern Syria as the main headquarters of the Islamic State. But the buildings have gone untouched during the 10-month allied air campaign.”

“And just last week, convoys of heavily armed Islamic State fighters paraded triumphantly through the streets of the provincial capital Ramadi in western Iraq after forcing Iraqi troops to flee. They rolled on unscathed by coalition fighter-bombers.”

“American and allied warplanes are equipped with the most precise aerial arsenal ever fielded. But American officials say they are not striking significant, and obvious, Islamic State targets out of fear that the attacks will accidentally kill civilians. Killing such innocents could hand the militants a major propaganda coup and alienate the local Sunni tribesmen, whose support is critical to ousting the militants, and Sunni Arab countries that are part of the fragile American-led coalition.”

That is the reason that 50% of our fighter/bombers return with their ordinance — and that is why I find it interesting that the French dropped their first 20 bombs on Raqqa — in all likelihood on the very buildings that are out of bounds to our bombers. Being personally bloodied has angered the French. The French are bombing on coordinates we supplied, but which we will not bomb!

Knowing history, I find it ironic that the French are taking the lead in the attacks on ISIS, but I guess it just the new norm, with the French being the hardliners on the Iranian Nuclear deal, and Forbes listing Obama as the third most powerful international leader.

I would remind you that in WWII We firebombed Tokyo, nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and Berlin and Dresden — all purposely killing the civilians who provided the support systems for the front-line troops. Osaka, 10,000 civilians killed; Kassel, 10,000 civilians killed; Darmstadt, 12,300; Pformheim, 21,200; Swinoujousi, 23,000; Berlin, 20,000 to 50,000; Dresden, 25,000; Hamburg, 42,6000; Tokyo, 100,000; Nagasaki and Hiroshima, 210,000.

Of course, that the last time we won a war.

Another Intelligence Failure?

Is it just my imagination, or is it our experience in the US that it is not the immigrants who sneak off to Syria to join ISIS, or, with the exception of the Boston Marathon Bombers, get arrested by the FBI for attempting to blow us up. 
It is the children of the Muslim immigrants. 

No system that vets immigrants does any look at their children. It can’t because many of those children are not yet radicalized. No one knows what’s in the minds of children — anyone who has ever raised teenagers can tell you that.

The Paris attack is a horse of another color. That appears to be a much more sophisticated and coordinated attack, something more likely from a sleeper cell awaiting the Syrian as the last piece in place to execute a well-organized attack. It is not easy to find eight men willing to commit suicide at one time, which is why most potential attacks are sole operations.

We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know

The takeaway from the Paris bombing is their sophistication. I have read many books on breaking the German Enigma Code, and the Japanese military code, and it emphasizes the need to know what your enemy is doing, before they do it.
In many cases, we were blind — breaking the codes hours after we needed the information. The Paris attacks were coordinated, and that means communication unless they all came from the same mosque or university.

The French have a highly capable intelligence service, but this one escaped them. The bad guys only have to get lucky once.

The interesting part to me is that in response, the French closed their borders. Now the European Union is not supposed to have borders, but the fact that Hungary closed their borders to the “Syrian” refugees tells us that borders still exist.

It remains to be seen if the Paris attackers were radicalized Frenchmen, or from the refugee hoards. I suspect we will soon know.

I Have Unserestimated #12 Navy!

The Bowl Selection Committee has a potential problem, as expressed by the fastest growing sports website, SB Nation: “Navy’s so good, it could force the College Football Playoff to delay its bowl lineup”
Wow! That’s pretty good, but when you realize that Navy rose in the Bowl Standings national from 24th to 12th today!

That puts Navy higher than TCU, Oklahoma State, Michigan State, Utah and many, many more.

“This is a really good team, as efficient as ever on offense, a bit more aggressive in its bend-don’t-break defense and dominant at field position and finishing drives. Having wrecked Memphis’ season, Navy will also have a chance of wrecking Houston’s on Black Friday.”

If they beat Houston, and Navy will be a favorite — which it was not two weeks ago — Navy COULD move into the Top 10. 

That would be very heady territory, and I actually doubt they are that good…but then I doubted Navy could beat 15th ranked Memphis, and I doubted Memphis could beat Ole Miss.

I have been underestimating Navy.

No Room For Sensitivity

I have been an Anglophile since WWII, although my ardor has recently cooled.
I am reading a great book, Enigma: The Battle For the Code and one passage defines my ardor:

“The Operation Archery task force was scheduled to leave Scapa Flow on 24 December 1941. Before they left, ‘Beaky’ Armstrong, the commander of HMS Onslow , the destroyer which was to transport Allon Bacon to Norway, called his officers together to explain what to do if their ship came under fire. ‘If you see anyone panicking, shoot him,’ he ordered. One of his officers remonstrated at this, saying, ‘That’s a bit steep, sir.’ Whereupon Armstrong replied, ‘You’re right. Bring him to the bridge, and I’ll shoot him.’ He had no time for cowards.”

The British were in a life-to-death struggle with the Nazis, and they had no room for sensitivity.

The book documents not the Bletchley Park part of the breaking of Enigma, but the British Navy’s almost phrenetic search for code books and Enigma rotors on captured U-Boats, tiny island support groups and armed trawlers to keep the Lads at Bletchley Park reasonably up to date.

The a Tail is Wagging the Dog (Again!)

The Missouri University president resignation is terrible on one hand, and beneficial on the other.
It sets a terrible precedent, but it also shows that the football section is more powerful than the administration. This example could easily be replicated in many public universities over any number of issues. Private universities are more difficult.

In 1969 at the height of college student protests, I was sitting in the Notre Dame dining room for lunch with Father Hesburgh, the famous Notre Dame president (he was president from 1952 to 1987), when a student tentatively approached with paper in hand and said, “Excuse me Father Hesburgh, but I have a list of student demands.”

Father Hesburgh slowly put down his fork, fixed the student with an unmistakable glare, and said, “You see that I am eating. See me later!”

The student slunk away.

Father Hesburgh would have fired the Coach and revoked the scholarship of every protesting student at Missouri, and never missed a beat.

It’s a different time…with different players. And much more powerful, with Coaches making four or five times what the college president makes.


I have no idea if ISIS provided a bomb to blow up the Russia jetliner over Egypt, but…
Have you ever flown Aeroflot?

In Russia it is called Aeroflop — for a reason.

And yes I have flown on Aeroflot! I was an adrenaline junkie — race car driver, submariner, scuba diver, private pilot, mountain climber…but I have never been more apprehensive than flying on Aeroflot!

Let’s just say that aircraft maintenance is designed by aircraft manufacturers to be as nearly idiot proof as possible, and the planes themselves will continue to fly with all sorts of things gone wrong, but some countries test that theory and Russia is one of them. This particularly plane was a French-built, Russian maintained charter jet. I would not drive a Russian-maintained race car and it doesn’t have 30,000 feet to drop in case of a problem.

So, I am awaiting bomb residue. If Britain and the U.S. Say that a bomb was “most likely” then I suspect our electronic intercepts have shown that conclusively, but Russia and Egyptian intelligence services are not so sophisticated — and both Russia and Egypt have commercial reasons not to scare away tourists.

So we will have to await the “answer.

Ben Carson and West Point

Ben Carson admits he was not “offered a scholarship to West Point.”
Neither has anyone else been offered a scholarship to any Service Academy! There are no scholarships! 


Everyone who attends any Service Academy does so through multiple competitive exams. Each Congressman/Senator can have four people at each Service Academy at a time — usually one in each grade. Congressmen use special Civil Service exams to determine whom they will nominate to each of the three Academies each year. (They use competitive exams to ward off their friends who want their sons or daughters nominated.)

Each First Nominee is then given a complete physical, and if the First Nominee fails, then the Second Nominee is examined.

(About 10% of the entering class comes from Enlisted ranks, after a Competitive Exam and a year of Prep School.)

Then, the resulting nominee is given an Entry Exam to determine if they are likely to be able to finish four rigorous years, and if THAT works, the NOMINEE is given an APPOINTMENT.

Then they enter the Service Academy!

Graduating is an entirely different thing!