Load HEAT- Sofia Boutella

So, we got around to watching Kingsman- The Secret Service again this week. A fun tongue in cheek poke at the James Bond series. Colin Firth was great, the newcomer was good, but I’ve never heard of him, Samuel L. Jackson was a riot as the villain.  But what caught my eye was Jackson’s henchman, the scary “Gazelle” with her spring steel/sword prosthetics in lieu of feet.


Turns out Gazelle is dancer, model, and actress Sofia Boutella.

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Filed under Load Heat

Sleepy Hollow Fire-Wenatchee

There’s a bad, bad fire up in Wenatchee, WA. And our friend MushDogs is very likely in the thick of fighting it (at his advanced age!).

Spare a prayer for the folks affected.



Snowbirds and Blue Angels

The Royal Canadian Air Force’s demonstration team is the Snowbirds. The Blue Angels need no introduction. Both have always put on a good show, but this is the first time I’ve seen them perform together. What a sight!



Soldier, recruit part of Insane Clown Posse lawsuit

One active-duty soldier and one man who believes he was wrongfully denied entry into the Army are among six “Juggalos” who have taken the Justice Department to court, claiming they and other supporters of the rap duo Insane Clown Posse have been illegally harmed by an FBI report identifying the Juggalos as a “hybrid gang.”

A federal judge in Detroit dismissed the case in 2014, but lawyers for the plaintiffs, in a suit backed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, appealed the ruling. Oral arguments were made June 18 in a federal appeals court in Cincinnati, which is considering the case.

At issue: Whether the gang designation in a 2011 report — “National Gang Threat Assessment: Emerging Trends” — unfairly categorizes the rappers’ fan base as a criminal element. By using the “hybrid gang” label, the government is illegally “subjecting them to significant harm, including repeated police harassment and denial of employment,” according to the complaint.

via Soldier, recruit part of Insane Clown Posse lawsuit.

I’m actually sympathetic to the plaintiffs here, in spite of their appalling choice of fandom. Juggalos are primarily guilty of bad taste, not ongoing criminal enterprise.

Having said that, I cannot see any particular injury suffered by SGT Hellin that the court can provide relief for. Nor, with the information available just from this article, can we determine that Mr. Gandy was denied enlistment solely because of his ICP affinity and affiliation, or if there were other factors that lead to his enlistment being denied.




On Moral Panics- Part II- Deception from the Right

As evil as I find the outright lies from the political left, just as outrageous are the attempts on the political right to deceive.

Here’s a rather attention grabbing headline from stalwart “conservative” publication The Weekly Standard.

U.S. Troops Face Eating, Drinking Restrictions During Ramadan

Holy Cow! US troops subjugated under Islam! What the heck, guys?!

During the 30-day religious celebration of Ramadan, even non-Muslims are expected to obey local laws regarding eating, drinking, and using tobacco in public. Violators can be fined up to $685 or receive two months in jail. A spokesperson for United States Central Command [CENTCOM] said that “we are not aware of any specific instances of anyone being arrested” for such violations.

Uh, no.

Because here’s the very next paragraph.

\For military personnel outside of U.S.-controlled areas, the only exceptions for the rules are for those “performing strenuous labor.” Such personnel are “authorized to drink and consume as much food as they need to maintain proper hydration and energy.” It is unclear what constitutes “strenuous labor” or whether additional exceptions might be made during a heatwave affecting some areas of the region that has taken hundreds of lives. (emphasis mine-XBrad)

There are no Islamic restrictions placed upon US personnel while performing their duties on base. Basically the US is saying that when you go into  town on pass or liberty, follow the local law. That’s exactly the same thing they tell people stationed in Korea, Japan, Germany, Colorado, and even such exotic locales as Alabama.

But telling your audience that doesn’t gin up outrage, so what’s the point.

It’s much like the stories going round last year about dining facilities in Afghanistan cutting back on hot chow. Yeah, they did. Because they were downsizing the posts while sending the troops home, and had to cut from four hot meals a day to three. Yes, it was a burden on some troops (not many, and mostly those in the rear- troops in the COPs were already lucky to get two hot meals a day). But when you redeploy a unit from a theater, you bring the non-essential stuff home first, and the combat power home last.

Shame on Jeryl Bier and the Weekly Standard for attempting to gin up controversy. There’s so much more out there that is a valid concern, why invent stuff?



Space X Falcon 9 Launch Failure

Today’s launch of a cargo mission to the International Space Station ended with the loss of the vehicle at about 2:19 into the launch.

From what I can see, it looks like a failure structurally somewhere forward on the vehicle, rather than the booster stages exploding.


Filed under space

First Female Combat Engineer Enlists, First Female Infantryman Next?

I hope that one day we can shift our thinking about war. I hope that war will one day cease to affect our nation’s children, our brothers and sisters. I hope that one day we unite through linguistics for basic rights. I know this will probably never occur in my lifetime, at least not globally, but until someone brings a fight to my door, for now I choose peace. Preparedness however is a different issue. We have over 300 million people in our country and up until recently only a little less than half could volunteer to fight in a combat capacity.

Oregon, a state which has been one of the first to adapt a counter culture which bolsters their own rights, has now been the first to enlist a woman into a combat arms MOS. In this regard they are the tip of the spear. This is huge. Essentially, the Oregon National Guard has just contributed to history with regard to a subject that most people disagree upon. Who knows if this will work out, but the implications are huge. The days of women being unable to serve in combat openly are over. Eighteen year old Mackenzie Clark of Damascus, Oregon changed all that. She is the first of her kind. She is the first female combat engineer.

via First Female Combat Engineer Enlists, First Female Infantryman Next?.

Best wishes to Private Clark.

Combat Engineer, MOS 12B is the only MOS outside of the 11 series that has a mandate to be prepared to fight as infantry should the need arise.  That’s a legacy, a holdover, from the days of World War II where large numbers of Engineer regiments were essentially unskilled labor.

Of course, the smart combined arms commander usually has a shortage of engineer assets, and more than enough work for them to do, and so avoids using them as infantry.

Whether enlisting women in MOS 12B is a good idea is, however, an open question.  We’ve simply decided to not ask, and instead plunge ahead.