Welcome To My World!

We’ve all had fun over the past several years about the zany acronyms that the US military uses in place of real words as an almost foreign language. And yes, it is entirely possible to have an entire conversation, even a lengthy one, solely in military acronym. One of the more interesting portions of US military subculture is really, really bad powerpoint slides and slide decks. This ranges from just whacky topics for briefings, or rather legitimate topics for briefings that become whacky and surreal because of who built the slides, all the way to just slides that make so little sense I’m not sure anyone can explain them. People’s exhibit A of this last type is this jewel from International Security Assistance Force – Afghanistan:

For the record: I did not make that slide. I have no idea who did, but since it was when GEN McChrystal was running ISAF, it most likely came from LTG Flynn’s shop. And I actually understand all of the stuff on the slide and it still makes my head hurt and is an abomination.

Anyhow, the Internet Archive has gone through and created an online archive for all the worst examples of the genre.

The Internet Archive celebrated its 20th anniversary with a variety of special events and collections, including the cleverly named Military Industrial Powerpoint Complex, an archive of US military bureaucratic slide-decks that are as cringey as they are hideous.

You can celebrate these marvels of the military bureaucratic communications system with a special “battledecks” Powerpoint karaoke event at the Internet Archive in San Francisco on March 6: contestants download a random military powerpoint and present it sight unseen, improvising the accompanying explanation.

If you can’t make it to the event, you can peruse the archive yourself from the comfort of your bunker; or follow Motherboard’s Matthew Gault on his guided tour of offensive, outdated, boring, and weird highlights of the collection.

Here’s the link. Once you’re done reviewing them all you can be awarded your tab:

I haven’t found any of mine yet, or any of my colleagues, but if I do, I’ll do a follow on post so you all can point and laugh.

Open thread!

Tuesday Evening Open Thread: Will Their Most Valuable Fan Get A Comp Sub?

Can Trump insist that every WiFi-enabled device in the White House pay for a sub on the government’s dime?


On the other hand, there’s one WH occupant who’s apparently about to have lots of free time to stream:

Given Kushner’s debts, maybe he can set up a YouTube channel with his reactions live from the West Wing — I hear that’s a cutting-edge monetization platform these days…

Say my name, say my name

The troll farms run by Putin in St. Petersburg don’t scare me nearly as much as the troll farm run by James Bennet (new op-ed page editor of the Times) in New York. The trouble is there is a big audience for hot takes about bourgeois bullshit masquerading as thoughtful analysis of important issues. It’s not just the Times — I stopped reading the New Yorker when the writers stopped trying to sound like A. J. Liebling and started trying to sound like Adam Gopnik. But we don’t have to be part of that audience. I check in with K-Thug and Charles Blow, and yes to hate read Bobo from time to time, but even I, glutton for punishment that I am, don’t read the opinion pages at the Times much at all anymore.

Why not give our clicks to someone we respect instead? One young writer I’ve come to like a great deal is Catherine Rampell at WaPo. She’s the opinion writer I read the most after Krugman. Today, she nails it, on naming who it is that is behind the dysfunction in Washington:

Dysfunctional Washington refuses to work out its differences to solve problems that matter to Americans.

So say pundits and policy activists, perhaps hoping that diffuse criticism, rather than finger-pointing, will yield a government willing to govern.

But the problem isn’t “Washington.” It isn’t “Congress,” either. The problem is elected officials from a single political party: the GOP.

Read the whole thing. I recommend reading everything Rampell writes and following her on Twitter etc.

Today In All American Americana

It’s been almost a week since the mass shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. So what is going on with American teenagers planning on taking their 2nd Amendment rights out for some exercise?

(Before anyone grouses about it: yes, that is not an AR pattern rifle in the picture it is a GLOCK handgun. Since it is locked back and lying on its left side, I can neither see the caliber (printed on the barrel) nor the model number (printed on the left side). From the size of the barrel in the picture I’d estimate it is a 9mm parabellum/9X19 caliber. It definitely has had a custom grip/frame job.)

Bethesda Magazine has the details of last Thursday’s incident:

Prosecutors detailed Monday during a bond review hearing in Montgomery County District Court what was found during Thursday’s search of the home of Alwin Chen, 18, of the 11700 block of Gunners Drive in Germantown Court. Chen, who appeared in court over video from the Montgomery County Detention Center in Rockville, was ordered held without bail by Judge John C. Moffett. He faces charges of possession of a handgun, possession of a firearm by a person under 21 and possession of a firearm on school property, according to county police.

When arrested Thursday afternoon at the high school, Chen had a 9mm handgun in his book bag and a knife in his pocket, according to police, The arrest came a day after a former student shot and killed at least 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida.

Officer Michael Chindblom of the county police department’s crisis intervention team testified in court Monday that police found the list and additional weapons at Chen’s home while executing a search warrant. In addition to the AR-15 style rifle, several inert grenades, revolvers, a Glock pistol, landmine detonators and an attack vest were found, he said.

This is clearly an example of the power of the labeling theory of crime. Had he lived on Bakers Drive, I’m sure he’d have just made cupcakes for his classmates.

We can be thankful that Mr. Chen was unsuccessful, but there have been four more mass shootings since Nikolas Cruz shot up Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School last Wednesday. One each in Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kansas, and Texas. There were only 2 killed and 20 wounded across all four incidents.

Stay frosty!

Open thread.

Charity Update

I’m mailing a check to MARC tomorrow, an d I wanted to ask you all- now that MARC is established, do you think it is time to move on and find another struggling pet rescue and get them up and running?

Also, is anyone familiar with the workings of CafePress? I would like to update the store with Steve and Thurston swag.

Also, has anyone who paid NOT received their calendar?

The Countertop Inspections Have Begun

So, let’s see. Either the students from Parkland are too young to have an opinion (says a junior studying journalism at a conservative college). Here’s the best answer I found to that charge:

Or, they are incapable of organizing a rally without help from groups funded by George Soros (that pearl of wisdom was from Jack Kingston on CNN).
Or, one of their fathers is a retired FBI agent and therefore can’t be trusted.
Or, and I’m not linking to this one, David Brooks thinks they need to show more respect to gun owners.
We’ll see how these kids handle this bullshit, but given this amazing account from a reporter who actually talked with them, I think they’ll handle it pretty well, all things considered, and I think March 24th will be an interesting day.

Closing In On Manafort

I see that there is some interest in the latest guilty plea in the Mueller investigation. I’m not sure I can do this justice, because it’s pretty complicated and IANAL. Perhaps some of our lawyers can chime in.

Let’s start with the basics:

Special counsel Robert Mueller has filed a charge against a lawyer for lying to investigators about his interaction with former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates in September 2016.

Alex Van Der Zwaan is expected to plead guilty Tuesday afternoon. The filing is further evidence of Mueller’s investigation of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Gates and their work for Russian-allied clients.

Van Der Zwaan is also accused of lying about the failure to turn over an email communication to the special counsel’s office. He was speaking with investigators about his work with Skadden Arps in 2012, when Manafort arranged for the firm to be hired by the Ukrainian Minister of Justice to prepare a report on the trial of Yulia Tymoshenko.

She is one of the top political rivals of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who hired Manafort and Gates as political consultants for more than a decade.

Now Mueller has one more plea deal from one more person who can tell him about Manafort’s activities. Tick tock, Manafort.

Here’s the New York Times. Skadden Arps says it fired Van Der Zwaan last year and has been cooperating with the investigation.  Van Der Zwaan is the son-in-law of oligarch German Khan, who is connected to Alfa Bank. It was an Alfa Bank computer that was communicating with a Trump computer via a DeVos computer.

That’s all I know. Help me figure it out.

And open thread!