Monday, July 6, 2015

Light reading

I just finished Military Improvisations During the Russian Campaign (DA Pamphlet 20-201, August 1951) and have begun Small Unit Actions During the German Campaign in Russia (DA Pamphlet 20-269, July 1953. Of the two, the latter is a better read. Improvisations is from staff level, while Small Unit Actions is as its title suggests.

I have read Improvisations once before and Small Unit Actions twice or three times. Both were written following interviews of German officers by the Army’s Special Studies Division.

History nuts are a strange species, in that we care about knowing what happened. People who are not interested in history have no idea how we got where we are, and even more upsetting, they do not care. I wish they did not vote.

Casey, my youngest, is an infantry squad leader. He has a Combat Infantryman Badge and an Expert Infantry Badge, and a few rows of ribbons.

In conversation Sunday, he mentioned he and his platoon leader were discussing the Battle of the Somme. Casey has read quite a bit about that battle, as well as the not-as-bloody battle for Stalingrad. It is good that an infantry sergeant read and learn from monstrous battles that involved thousands of infantry soldiers.

Casey said he asked his LT if the Somme was part of Infantry Officer Basic Course. The LT said the course included a little American Army history, but not of other armies.

More than likely, any Army lieutenant would have, on his own and as part of his college or ROTC studies, been graced with studies of bloody battles. At least I hope so.

You will drink the liquor the government wants you to drink

On Friday, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf “vetoed a bill that would have privatized the sale of wine and liquor while liberalizing the rules for selling beer in the Keystone State.”

Wolf’s reasons for the veto defy common and marketing sense, but fall well within Democratic Party reasoning. Allowing private businesses to compete with government stores “would result in higher prices for consumers” and “less selection for consumers.”

Remember, everything Democrats do or propose is for consumers. And, one might logically assume, against producers.

As Jacob Sullum points out at, “Other things being equal, more competition leads to lower prices, so it is hard to see why Pennsylvanians would have to pay more for a bottle of whiskey if the state monopoly were replaced by profit-driven businesses competing against each other.”

I wondered about liquor prices in nearby, private-business stores. Sullum provides comparison.

“If you compare the prices charged by the PLCB to the prices charged by, say, Total Wine & More across the border in New Jersey, you'll find that customers generally pay more for liquor in Pennsylvania: for example, just picking three products I often buy, $30 vs. $25 for Bulleit rye whiskey, $52 vs. $44 for 10-year-old Ardbeg Scotch, and $44 vs. $37 for Herradura reposado tequila (all in 750-milliliter bottles). Total Wine also has a bigger selection: 354 varieties of Scotch, for instance, compared to fewer than 100 at the PLCB.”

State governments have been in the tax business for as long as the nation has existed. But isn’t it anti-American for a taxing entity to also have monopoly on sale of the taxed item?

Link to story at

Friday, July 3, 2015

Can police just take your tank?

Well, they did in Heikendorf. And a torpedo. And “several other weapons of war.”

Panther in the cellar, 88mm AA/AT gun … Probably waiting for a T-34 to show up.

Also at

So much for Chinese education

A man in Yunnan recently discovered that he'd been raising two Asian black bears for the past two years under the impression that they were dogs. Asian black bears, mind, are listed as a class II protected species and are most certainly not dogs.

The man, Wang Kaiyu, owns a banana farm in Jinchang Town, near the boarder of Vietnam, China News reports. Two years ago, a Vietnamese man was passing by the area with two 'good looking' pups, and Wang decided to buy them off the man, he told reporters.

For two years, he lovingly raised the 'dogs', bathing and pampering them every day. Wang said the animals were well-behaved but that their appetites were rapidly growing. He recalled a few times when his beloved pets caught and ate chickens on the farm.

As fate would have it, Wang saw a poster about wildlife protection at an exhibition hosted by the forest police, and the bells started ringing. Wang realised he had been accidentally raising two protected species.

After mulling it over, he decided he probably ought to send the bears away to the forest police in Maguan county in the hopes that they could be relocated to an appropriate habitat.

On June 30, the forest police contacted the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre of Yunnan province and the two bears were sent there for protection. A spokesperson from the centre, surnamed Feng, confirmed that the two animals are Asian black bears of different gender, and that they are currently in good health.

By Crystal Lau

Another at

Life on a submarine

Forget Hunt for Red October. See Down Periscope.

This one: “The worst thing on a submarine is a thief. You need to be able to trust everyone with your life. How can you do that if there’s someone onboard who can’t even respect what little personal space and what few belongings you have? We found a thief. He was off the boat and sent home at the next port call, reduced in rank and out of the sub force. They returned all the shit he stole to the rightful owners, and in the middle of the night a bunch of guys kicked the shit out of him and took all his shit. He left the boat with little more than one set of uniforms, his wallet without cash, and his orders.

“Don’t steal on a submarine.”

Link at

Did you know Russian police may not shoot women?

Hang on a minute, Bubba. A new law would extend gender equality into the receiving lead category.

“Federal lawmakers are considering amending a law that prohibits police officers from firing into crowds or at women, newspaper Kommersant reported Thursday.

“A bill introduced to the State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, stipulates that police officers would be granted a ‘presumption of trust and support,’ meaning they would not face prosecution for any action taken while on duty, so long as the action was taken for a valid purpose and in accordance with existing laws.”

(What about the women terrorists killed in the Moscow theater siege?)

Story at

(Not shooting women or into crowds might be a reaction by USSR legislators to Czarist police actions. Or not.)

The dumbest thing ever on TV

And that takes in a lot of dumb.

After World War II, SS Col. Otto Skorzeny brought Adolph Hitler to the United States, specifically to Glacier National Park. There, the two Nazis worked with U.S. military and naval officers and civilian scientists in developing super weapons for use against the Soviet Union.

So said Hangar 1: The UFO Files.

Hitler’s alien scientists also were in Montana, furthering designs on weapons somehow not used against Allied forces during the war.

Skorzeny chose Glacier National Park because the area reminded him of the Bavarian mountains, and where better for Hitler to spend his final decades?

Why were space aliens so taken with Nazis? Were they Grays or Greens? Do we need to be on guard for either? Or both?

Why were alien super weapons not effective against American and British bombers? Why did space aliens not show Hitler how to build an atomic bomb?

Did the Russians also capture aliens at the end of the war?

Inquiring minds want to know.

The really sad thing is, some people believe that stuff.