QotD

Aug. 16th, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"As I hear all the tawdry details of Jenner's story, I am also re-reading 'How Sex Changed' by Joanne Meyerowitz. [...] In it, Meyerowitz discusses the reactions to Christine Jorgensen's coming out in the 1950s, and how both her tale and many others who came out shortly thereafter, were steeped in the same sort of salaciousness as the promotions for Jenner's autobiography.

"Upon reflection, I realize, too, that every transgender person - and not just the Jorgensens and Jenners - face this same sort of thing. When you are trans, the standards of privacy are thrown out the window. We are expected to share our most intimate details to anyone we come across.

"Without exception, any time I was interviewed in any depth, I found myself asked about my name prior to my transition, or for photos of myself from my youth, or for details of any surgeries I may have undertaken. It really didn't matter if any of that would be relevant to the story: my disclosure was simply expected.

"The same standard is not expected of non-transgender people. Maiden names and other such things are considered private enough to be used as security features with banks and other institutions. Non-transgender strangers don't expect details of another's hysterectomies or vasectomies unless they happen to be medical professionals. So many things are naturally considered one's own private business.

"The minute one divulges one is transgender, however, all bets are off. What's more, to make an issue about such questions is to risk being panned as deceptive."

-- Gwendolyn Ann Smith, 2017-04-27

Globall War of Terror: Riding Dirty

Aug. 15th, 2017 07:53 pm
drewkitty: (Default)
[personal profile] drewkitty
Riding Dirty

"They see me rollin ... they hatin ... patrolling they trying to catch me ridin' dirty..."

-- "Ridin'" by Chamillionaire

I tap Brooke's leg and Tiny's thigh at the same time. This is easy to do, we are jammed into the front cab of the diesel pickup truck like sardines ... except that Tiny is driving and Brooke is standing next to me, top half out of the sun roof swaying with the hardpoint mounted M249 light machine gun.

We smoothly come to a halt, turning slightly right, and Brooke tracks with the MG, fires a burst, then another.

"Go, go!" I command and we lurch forward into motion, tires squealing. The dismount crew in the back swears involuntarily.

Six souls, one pickup. And one huge mess.

The dash mounted GPS tells me where we are ... wrong way down Interstate 680, headed towards Milpitas.

The flashes ahead tell me where we are going ... to the rescue of a rescue convoy, ambushed repeatedly during its last leg of travel to our base in San Jose.

I am not looking at the radiation badge taped to a lower corner of the windshield. I don't want to know, and there is nothing we can do about it anyway.

The attackers are making only one big mistake, but it's enough. They are shooting on the move. Their only effective fire is when they pull alongside the convoy and fire broadside into it -- which gives them the chance to accurately shoot back, because they aren't stopping for trivia like dead crew, blown out tires and/or vehicle fires.

Speaking of which ... one of the trucks is giving off a column of thick black smoke. Crap.

I am supposed to be commanding this mess but it's all I can to do keep track of the pieces.

I tap driver and gunner again, we screech to another halt, and while Brooke fires two more bursts I jam the binoculars into my eyes and acquire a sight picture.

I key the radio, one of our radios, on our encrypted frequencies. Allegedly the frequency they have for us. I hope.

"Wagon, this is Apache. Wagon, do you copy?"

"This is Wagon. We are in serious shit. Wounded on all vehicles, multiple fatalities, at least one vehicle on fire."

"Copy all. Wagon, I need you to use the off ramp at Jackson. We're going to link up with you at the top of the ramp. Your exit in two miles."

"Copy!"

I key the second radio. "All elements, meet point is Jackson and 680. I need rifles and MGs on the military crest facing north. Buddy, we've got a rig on fire. Need emergency uncouple. Medics prepare to conduct triage and transfer."

We plow our way up the exit ramp at Jackson, swing hard right, and line up nose facing the freeway. Tiny gets out and I get out past him; he is already reaching for the rifle clamped under our seats.

Buddy's tow truck pulls a herringbone stop adjacent. The flatbed trailer with sandbag bunker makes a brief left, then backs up hastily and smoothly -- no beep sounds -- to make a three point turn, ready to go back down the ramp to escape.

Gunfire already. The rifles have targets; we're under 600 yards.

They're shooting back at us, from their motorcycles and buggies and trucks. They aren't hitting anything. But they are weaving around the stricken convoy like army ants surrounding spiders.

Then they start crashing, crumpling and veering off.

We are providing a vivid demonstration of effective fire from a stationary platform by trained personnel, as opposed to random gunfire from a moving platform by idiots.

The lead vehicle of the alleged rescue convoy pulls in. The armored windshield is starred. So are the sides.

The driver's side door opens and a body flops out, amid a splatter of blood. Our medics pounce immediately.

On the opposite side, a man wearing armor and helmet in digicam is bandaging his arm. I see the single star on his helmet.

"Major," I acknowledge. "We have five minutes to rally." He finishes tying the bandage tight and nods briskly. He keys his radio, giving further commands.

The flaming truck stops about a truck length short of the top of the ramp.

Buddy and I are running towards it. We are passed by Janine's pickup truck, which blasts the front half with a barrage of compressed air powered foam. It conducts a reverse three point to hit the opposite side. That's Fire Captain Janine to you.

Buddy has already climbed the back of the cab and is already checking the air brake and electrical connectors.

The fire ... is out. Molotov, napalm, flammable liquid, whatever.

I draw my baton and strike each of the front trailer tires, the ones most exposed to the flames, as Buddy taught me to do. They thunk with a reassuring meaty rubber sound -- as opposed to say, exploding and ripping my torso apart.

Buddy gives me a thumbs up. "She's good to roll!" He is already talking to the driver, after using his long K-bar type knife to cut loose what is left of the driver's side window.

There is no one in the trailer. The tail end Charlie of the rescue convoy is pulling up, with both mechanics and medics swarming it. Then we are transferring our one precious .50 caliber tripod mounted heavy machine gun.

We are bandaging wounds and thunking tires. The walking wounded are put back in their places, the hors de combat are carried on stretchers to our flatbed bunker-trailer for further attention, and the dead are bagged and stacked at the rear. Additional cover; I'm sure they won't mind.

Buddy rushes back to his tow truck. I follow, intending to ride shotgun with him - Tiny and Brooke have the run-and-gun regime down now.

That's when the other half of the enemy forces hit us from all sides, and things get really fucking busy really fucking quick.

Motorcyclist with lance. What is this? A Camelot remake? I draw my pistol and give him ten reasons to fall off and acquire a sudden case of road rash to go with his kinetic lead poisoning. The lance goes skittering into the wheels of another biker, whose face plant catapults his helmet - head still in it - like a demented bowling ball.

Minivan screeching to a halt, all doors removed, and people piling out of it just as Brooke tosses a grenade within. *WHOOOMP*

Not a professional grenade, but Mo does good work.

I am still looking at the guy with empty pistol holsters strapped to both legs. They are empty because he is holding both guns and firing rapidly.

Someone punches me in the gut. I stagger and take it, dropping my mag, smoothly reloading, and acquiring a sight picture. Pop pop pop, assess.

The two-gunner drops. He still has two guns, but no head.

Shot placement matters. He got me in the gut, but I am wearing armor. I got him in the face, where there is no armor.

As swiftly as the attack began, it is over. We are rapidly consolidating, neutralizing enemy wounded and bandaging new injuries. I reflexively reload (last one!) and holster.

Then I raise the binoculars for a quick scan.

A dark stain spreads from my groin down my right leg.

"GO GO GO!" I shout, and key up the radio. "GO GO GO!" I repeat on the tac net. I run behind Buddy's tow truck and leap onto the back bumper, bracing an arm against the extra piping we rigged as handholds.

It rips in my hand and I start to fall just as Buddy stamps on the gas.

Next I know, I am dangling upside down as the pavement whizzes past me. My right leg hurts like an anaconda is making sweet, sweet love to it.

The tow cable! It is wrapped around my leg!

My radio mike, attached to the radio by a coiled cord, skitters on the pavement, catches a Botts Dot, and shatters.

It is true that people in moving vehicles cannot hit anything with any accuracy.

It is the only reason I am still alive, as two motorcyclists with riders come up on either side of me and their riders level AK rifles.

I tighten my abused gut and curl up and fire at them, upside down, first one then the other.

They spin crazily out of my sight.

The tow truck comes slowly to a halt. Running feet come up to me and the cable loosens, dropping me into a pair of big, burly manly arms.

"Stop hanging around and get in front!" Buddy screams in my face as he carries me to the passenger side. The former shotgunner is already snapping his harness - why the hell didn't I put on a harness! - to a hard point in the back of the tow truck.

I get in and try to fasten my seat belt. I can't - the recoil assembly took a round.

Buddy hits the horn twice, checks his mirror, then slams on the gas without bothering with seat belts.

"Sorry about that, boss," he says, as close to awkwardly as his personality allows.

Then he smiles cheerfully.

"You can tell your grandkids you were a tactical pinata. Good shooting, boss, you got them both."

I turn around painfully in my seat to assess the situation, as best I can.

Where are all these attackers coming from? More motorcyclists, more modified cars and vans and pickups and even a couple of trucks, the latter sandbagged.

They really, really want this convoy. I mean, bad.

We make it to the 101 flyover ramp, from 680 to 101 south.

It's far too late for me to be in command of this mess. We are following contingency orders. Stick together, don't stop for shit, consolidate a defense at Point One next to the front gate.

If I hadn't envisioned this situation and planned for it well in advance, we'd all be dead shortly.

A pickup truck ahead of us groans into slow motion. It is heavily overloaded. So is the six-by horse trailer connected to it. The two are heavily chained together and to metal plates let down between joists in the overpass sidewalls.

Instant road barrier. Just add karma. Both sacrificial vehicles are loaded with rocks. And more than rocks.

Positioned correctly, just under the slope of the overpass -- that "military crest" I mentioned earlier -- as the driver runs for her motorcycle, long hair flapping. She picks it up, starts it and races ahead of us, using every bit of her acceleration advantage.

I have a beautiful view of the first three enemy motorcycles to go over the crest. Two scream briefly before colliding with the trailer. The third tries to lay down his bike to stop sort of the chains - which instead at those speeds, turn his body into a windmilling collection of disconnected limbs, torso sections and a brief streamer of intestine.

I reach into my pocket. Yes, I still have it. The blood runs down my abused leg as I pull it out.

I mutter to myself, "Safe to Arm, Arm to Ready, Ready to Fire, FIRE!" as I flick two switches, lift up a safety cover and press a key.

The trailer blows up just as the ersatz armored truck, a U-Haul converted with welded steel sheets, reaches it.

The chains should survive the blast just fine, but the load of rock is both very effective shrapnel and a continued barrier.

I look down at my leg. Then back at me in the mirror, turning white. Then my leg, then back to me, then to my individual first aid kit. I fumble out the tourniquet. I immediately apply it. Tight. Tighter. Cranking it down.

The leg now hurts like a white hot blowtorch. But I am probably no longer bleeding to death.

Eight minutes later we are at Point One. Adjacent to the Main Gate, but we are not about to move any of the gate defense out of the way right now. We hold here.

The medic who helps me out of the tow truck tries to lie me down.

"NO! That's an order!"

I sit up instead as he dashes off -- clearly I am not about to die, and that is his priority. I take what is left of the radio mike harness off of the radio and key up.

"Echo 18, Control on Command, how do you copy?"

"Copy good," a relieved voice states. "Instructions?"

"Hold hard. Defend the base. Only wounded go inside. Prepare for immediate mass assault."

The employee Reaction Force has already been at stations. I hear alarm sounds distantly. Everyone is either armed and taking up a defensive position, ready to perform according to the Emergency Operations Plan - Defense, or sheltering in a bunker.

Stretcher bearers are running forward out of our base.

I hear a throaty gasoline growl from one of Detroit's finest engines, and a brief siren squawk.

It's the Hate Truck. Now with extra barbed wire chunky goodness. Splashed red in places.

"We already fought off one attack!" shouts Patty, normally one of my two night shift supervisors. But this is a all hands on deck routine. The other night shift supervisor, Sarah, is at the Main Gate Bunker commanding the defenses.

"Excellent," I shout in reply. "How many?"

"About thirty!"

"We got hit by over fifty! They've got more coming! It's a Dead Man's Party!"

A single motorcycle appears on the road behind us. One of our own scouts.

He transmits on Command.

"Here they come, fast as hell and thick as grass!"

I never, ever should have let these people watch _Zulu_.

Limping, I drag myself to the bunker-trailer. The medics can look at my leg while I whiteboard the outer perimeter fight.

But I have one chore first.

"Command Relay. Fire mission, Point Seven, Ranging Round."

Obligingly a single FWOOOP sounds from inside the perimeter. Putting the captured mortar to good use.

A single explosion, then another. That's a secondary.

"Fire mission, rapid fire, fire for effect, rapid fire."

Six more FWOOPs and the mortar falls silent. That's all we got, seven rounds. But what better place than here, and what better time than now?

More secondary explosions.

"Break. All units are cleared for selective defensive fire. Take your time, make every shot count, punish the bastards."

A disciplined crackle of small arms fire, with the occasional short burst, echoes along the otherwise empty road and apparently deserted perimeter. The only obvious target is the heavily fortified Main Gate Bunker, and us among our convoy vehicles.

The enemy commander has even less operational control than I do. His people are enraged, wounded and have an obvious target. But attacking it brings them broadside down seven hundred yards of our perimeter defenses.

They don't make it. None of them.

"Launch recon drone," I order calmly as the medic loosens the tourniquet to see if the pressure dressings will hold. Let's see what's left.

"Battlesight, command vehicle, multiple antennas," I hear on the radio. Then from the rooftop of H5 Executive. CRACK CRACK CRACK. CRACK CRACK.

Gasoline vehicles do not normally explode. But if you have a markswoman with a gyrostabilized heavy rifle put incendiary high caliber rounds into the engine block and then the gas tank ...

WHOOMPH!

That's what defeat smells like, asshole. Avoid it.

QotD

Aug. 15th, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"Race hatred cannot stop us
 This one thing we know
 Your poll tax and Jim Crow
 And greed has got to go
 You're bound to lose
 You fascists bound to lose."

  -- Woody Guthrie (b. 1912-07-14, d. 1967-10-03), "All You Fascists"

QotD

Aug. 14th, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"From a programmer's point of view, the user is a peripheral that types when you issue a read request." -- P. Williams

QotD

Aug. 13th, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

From the Quotation of the day mailing list, 2016-12-01:

"This generally has been called the "hate election" because everyone professed to hate both candidates. It turned out to be the hate election because, and let's not mince words, of the hatefulness of the electorate. In the years to come, we will brace for the violence, the anger, the racism, the misogyny, the xenophobia, the nativism, the white sense of grievance that will undoubtedly be unleashed now that we have destroyed the values that have bound us. We all knew these hatreds lurked under the thinnest veneer of civility. That civility finally is gone.

"We all knew these hatreds lurked under the thinnest veneer of civility. That civility finally is gone. In its absence, we may realize just how imperative that politesse was. It is the way we managed to coexist.

"If there is a single sentence that characterizes the election, it is this: "He says the things I'm thinking." That may be what is so terrifying. Who knew that so many tens of millions of white Americans were thinking unconscionable things about their fellow Americans? Who knew that tens of millions of white men felt so emasculated by women and challenged by minorities? Who knew that after years of seeming progress on race and gender, tens of millions of white Americans lived in seething resentment, waiting for a demagogue to arrive who would legitimize their worst selves and channel them into political power? Perhaps we had been living in a fool's paradise. Now we aren't."

-- Neal Gabler, in his essay Farewell, America.

[ http://billmoyers.com/story/farewell-america/]

(submitted to the mailing list by Mike Krawchuk)

QotD

Aug. 12th, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"I had been told that the training procedure with cats was difficult. It's not. Mine had me trained in two days." -- Bill Dana

QotD

Aug. 11th, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"Intimacy is that state in which, as Malamud Smith wrote, 'people relax their public front either physically or emotionally or, occasionally, both... [One] comes as close as one is capable of, or as close as one feels permitted, to revealing oneself to another person.'

"Intimacy has to be voluntary. It can't be forced, presumed, or automated, and as such, it runs counter to the logic of conventional surveillance, which enrolls us before and regardless of whether we're aware or consent.

"Surveillance culture, therefore, is fundamentally inhumane: as Dr. Hortense Spillers recently said, losing the ability to choose connection is a paradigmatic sign that one is not free."

-- Keisha E. McKenzie, 2017-03-07

QotD

Aug. 10th, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"It would appear that we have reached the limits of what it is possible to achieve with computer technology, although one should be careful with such statements, as they tend to sound pretty silly in 5 years." -- John Von Neumann, circa 1949

QotD

Aug. 9th, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"In my view, the main reason for the uneven management sex ratio is our inability to discern between confidence and competence. That is, because we (people in general) commonly misinterpret displays of confidence as a sign of competence, we are fooled into believing that men are better leaders than women. In other words, when it comes to leadership, the only advantage that men have over women (e.g., from Argentina to Norway and the USA to Japan) is the fact that manifestations of hubris -- often masked as charisma or charm -- are commonly mistaken for leadership potential, and that these occur much more frequently in men than in women.

[...]

"The paradoxical implication is that the same psychological characteristics that enable male managers to rise to the top of the corporate or political ladder are actually responsible for their downfall. In other words, what it takes to get the job is not just different from, but also the reverse of, what it takes to do the job well. As a result, too many incompetent people are promoted to management jobs, and promoted over more competent people."

-- Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, "Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders?", 2013-08-22

QotD

Aug. 8th, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

Posted by Cato the Elder, Baltimore (I don't see a link directly to the comment this is from, so scroll way down):

Cicero's First Oration Against Trump (a newly discovered fragment)"

How long, Trump, will you try our patience with your presence? How long will you mock us with your egregious narcissism? When is there to be an end to your unbridled audacity, paraded before us as it does now? Do not the nightly broadcasts of the national news networks -- do not the front pages of the morning newspapers throughout the country -- does not the alarm of the people and the opposition of all good men -- does not the rush for the exits, the dramatic increase in the application of our students to schools abroad -- do not the looks and countenances of our most admired and venerable statesmen, have any effect on you? Do you not feel that your hollowness is exposed? Do you not see that your actions reveal not the considered thought of a bright original mind, but of one with small hands trying to appear "like a smart man"? What is there that you tweeted last night and what the night before -- where is it that you were -- who was there that you summoned to meet you in your tower -- what design was there which was adopted by you, that was no more than a temporary move that we all know will be abandoned or flatly contradicted in the next moment?

Shame on the age and on its morals! The Congress is aware of these things; the President sees them for what they are; and yet this man continues. Continues! Yes, he is even elected. He makes public pronouncements before the commencement of his term in office; he is watching and marking down and checking off for isolation every individual among us. I, even if alone, will not attend his inauguration. While other, honorable men that they are, think that they are doing their duty to the Republic, if they merely keep out of the way of his frenzied attacks....

-- Cato the Elder, Baltimore

QotD

Aug. 7th, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"Thomas trills, ecstatic, for finally his thumb-beast is Home." -- Seanan McGuire, 2015-05-18

QotD

Aug. 6th, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

From the Quotation of the day mailing list, 2017-03-25:

"I grew up in New Orleans, where no one did anything. It's an endlessly charming and delightful place, but the idea that your worth was connected to things you did in the world was an alien idea." -- Michael Lewis, author of the bestsellers Moneyball and The Big Short, in praise of laziness.

[ http://www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/why-being-lazy-makes-you-successful-according-to-the-bestselling-author-of-money.html?utm_source=pocket&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=pockethits]

(submitted to the mailing list by Terry Labach)

QotD

Aug. 5th, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

Guy Branum: "I have long maintained that politics is show-business for people without the skillset for the musical theater. It's why so many closeted guys become Republican congressmen. [...]"

Jon Lovett: "This is like Brigadoon, but for privatizing Social Security"

-- from Lovett Or Leave It, 2017-04-22 (recorded 2017-04-21)

QotD

Aug. 4th, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"There are only two ways of telling the complete truth -- anonymously and posthumously." -- Thomas Sowell

QotD

Aug. 3rd, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"For some easily disappointed fans, Shakespeare's Hamlet died forever when Sarah Bernhardt played the title role in 1899. Apparently a similar fate has overtaken Doctor Who, a show now doomed to become as utterly forgotten as Hamlet is today." -- David Langford, Ansible #361, 2017-08-01

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Brent "Chip" Edwars

May 2010

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