Strategic Miscommunication

There is a long term International Relations concept called the security dilemma, or as I like to think of it, the insecurity spiral. The security dilemma is a Realist concept that arises from the lack of an international sovereign. Basically because there is no overarching international controlling power, the actions of one or more states, usually in regard to military preparations, can/are misinterpreted leading to other states undertaking responses that in turn lead the original actor or actors to respond, leading to more counter responses. All of which causes a crisis of security, an insecurity spiral, which increases the possibility of conflict.

To avoid a security dilemma states, intergovernmental organizations, and a lot of non state actors, try to utilize strategic communication. Joint Publication 5-0 defines strategic communication as:

… efforts to understand and engage key audiences to create, strengthen, or preserve conditions favorable for the advancement of … interests, policies, and objectives through the use of coordinated programs, plans, themes, messages, and products synchronized with the actions of all instruments of national power. Also called SC.

President-elect Trump’s recent, unsecured communications with many foreign heads of state have many concerned that these conversations are creating a type of security dilemma whereby the President-elect unintentionally or intentionally changes decades of American policy and strategic posture. And does so without the benefit of a State Department Protocol Officer, State Department pre-briefing to prepare for these calls, and secured comms to ensure that his conversations cannot be intercepted and used against the US (and our allies and partners) in the future. These communications have heightened tensions between India and Pakistan. And we now have an escalation in regard to the People’s Republic of China, which actually places the ongoing security of Taiwan at risk.

While some of this is a unique combination of the age of social media, 24/7 news media, and the Internet and a President-elect who seems addicted to social media and has a unique talent for capturing 24/7 news media, it is not unknown. To a certain extent the events that led up to World War I were the result of a classic security dilemma leading to a catastrophic insecurity spiral and the outbreak of actual war.

More recently, in the early 1980s, the aggressive attempts by President Reagan to pressure the Soviet Union led to a breakdown that almost led to war over the NATO war game known as Able Archer.

Able Archer was a 1983 NATO war game that was misinterpreted by the Soviet Union. The signals intercepts being made by Soviet Intelligence led them to mistakenly believe that NATO, led by the US and Britain, was preparing a nuclear strike against the Soviet Union. This almost kicked off a classic security dilemma as the Soviets mobilized in response to the war game. This was initially misinterpreted by NATO as the Soviets conducting their own, counter, war game. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed. After Able Archer’s conclusion, British Intelligence provided a complete report on the security dilemma that resulted from the strategic miscommunication to Downing Street, which then communicated to the Reagan Administration in order to prevent something like this from ever happening again. The documentary below details Able Archer, the Soviet Response, and just how closely everyone, on every side, escaped a war caused by misinterpretation from unintended miscommunication.

Overnight Open Thread: Shocking!

Here’s an actual Tesla coil rifle to shock you awake on this early Sunday morning/late Saturday evening. If you want to build your own, the details are here. I’m going to bed, amuse yourselves!

Thinking Security

Several of you have asked in comments or by email if I’d write a little bit (a lot of bit?) about security. Specifically, personal security. I intended to get this up earlier in the week, but things went sideways on Tuesday, then did an inversion on Wednesday, then a triple lindy yesterday, so…

The first thing that I think is important is something I, and several others, have stressed here in posts and comments: freaking out is not a useful activity. I’m not stating that to pooh pooh anyone’s reactions to the elections, whether they be anger, fear, anxiety, stress, depression, or any combination thereof. All of these are normal and understandable responses. And, of course, if you are feeling really overwhelmed and are having trouble finding/regaining your equilibrium please go see a professional counselor or therapist.

The second thing is don’t do this!

CLEVELAND – Police are investigating the theft of seven guns swiped from a Cleveland home sometime early Tuesday morning.

A mom and her two children were asleep upstairs when she said the thief or thieves broke into the home and cleaned out two gun cabinets. “They’re ready for a war, we were ready for a war,” said Teena Brayen

Brayen and her family are doomsday preppers. “We’re preppers, we believe in preparing for what could happen,” said Brayen.

The Brayens are part of the Three Percenters Club, a militia group that ‘exists to… protect and defend the constitution and our way of life’ by helping people ‘execute Military Strategies to defend against foreign and domestic enemies’.

But the items they wanted to use to defend against invasion in Rome made them a target for invasion in Cleveland.

On November 22, burglars – who, Brayen believes, spotted the weapons when she was moving into the home – took seven guns, 12 machetes, body armor, smoke grenades, more than $1,000 in ammo and some of their food.

Two gun cabinets were emptied of their contents: a high-powered, armor-piercing sniper rifle; five shotguns, and a pellet gun.

Leaving aside the Brayens and the Three Percenters Club, which is not the same as the other Three Percenters, what was missing here was a failure to think security.

Thinking security means to proactively consider what the potential threats might be in order to establish effective, reasonable solutions to them. This means to consider what the potential threats and dangers are to oneself, one’s family, and one’s property (home, business, etc) and what reasonable steps should be taken ahead of time to either deter them or, should deterrence fail, respond to them in the most effective and safe manner possible. This is not just for human threats like crime or terrorism, but also for preparing to deal with natural or man made disasters such as a hurricane or blizzard or earthquake or a gas main explosion or a fracking induced sinkhole or earthquake. To do this one needs to consider several questions.

  1. Who or what is the threat? And what kind of threat is it?
  2. Does the location, item, and/or person need to be secured against a potential threat?
  3. What is the extent of the location’s vulnerability?
  4. Does the potential security countermeasure need to be human, animal, technological, or a combination of them?
  5. How far can I, and how would I go about, extending my secure zone away from myself, my family, my home, etc?
  6. What effect will the potential security response have on me, my family, my friends, my neighbors, my employees, coworkers, and/or customers?

Read more

North Carolina Finally Limps Across the Gubernatorial Election Finish Line

As we go to the judges scorecard it is important to remember we are scoring on a 10 point must system. The judges are looking for clean punching, effective aggression, and good ring generalship!

What does this mean?

Now we have to see if Governor McCrory tries some other tactic to maintain power despite the outcome of the North Carolina gubernatorial election.

Here’s the North Carolina State Board of Elections Statement:

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA WAKE COUNTY BEFORE THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS IN THE MATTER OF: CONSIDERATION OF CERTAIN LEGAL QUESTIONS AFFECTING THE AUTHENTICATION OF THE 2016 GENERAL ELECTION ) ) ) ) ORDER THIS MATTER CAME BEFORE THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS (“State Board”) during a public meeting held November 22, 2016, upon the State Board’s own motion to consider certain legal questions affecting procedures and practices in the authentication of the 2016 general election. The State Board received briefing and heard oral argument from the Republican Party of North Carolina and Pat McCrory Committee, represented by Roger Knight, John Branch, and Brian LiVecchi; the North Carolina Democratic Party and Cooper for North Carolina Committee, represented by Kevin Hamilton (appearing pro hac vice); and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, represented by Allison Riggs. After hearing from the parties, reviewing written briefs and public comment, and having reviewed relevant statutes and authorities, the State Board hereby orders the following pursuant to its authority under G.S. §§ 163-22(a) and 182.12:

1. The uniform application of law is necessary to ensure fundamental fairness in the administration of elections and to preserve due process for each voter.

2. Article 8 of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes (“Article 8”) provides the means by which one voter may challenge the eligibility of another voter. No voter challenge may be entered after the deadline or made indiscriminately. A timely challenge properly sustained against a voter who has cast an absentee ballot will result in the exclusion of that ballot from the canvassed results.

3. Article 15A of Chapter 163 of the General Statutes (“Article 15A”) provides the means by which a voter may protest an election. A successful protest must prove the occurrence of an outcome-determinative violation of election law, irregularity, or misconduct. If a county board of elections (“county board”) finds a violation occurred affecting votes sufficient in number to change the outcome of a single-county contest, the county board must retrieve the ballots improperly cast and note the deduction in the abstract. If a county board finds a violation occurred that did not affect enough ballots to change the outcome of any single-county contest, the county board must forward its findings to the State Board. The State Board shall determine whether all ballots improperly cast are sufficient to change the outcome of any multi-county contest. If so, the State Board will order county boards to retrieve and discount affected ballots and revise its canvass.

4. A protest alleging the occurrence of an election law violation that affected votes sufficient in number to change the outcome of a single-county contest concerns the manner in which votes were counted or tabulated, and therefore such protest must be resolved prior to county canvass as required by G.S. § 163-182.10(a)(2). A protest that does not allege an election law violation regarding a sufficient number of votes to change the outcome of a single-county contest shall not delay the county canvass procedures since the county may not retrieve and discount such ballots. In no case shall the county board delay the timely hearing and decision on a protest timely filed.

5. A protest of election brought under Article 15A may not merely dispute the eligibility of a voter. Such a claim must be brought timely as a challenge under Article 8. Rather, a protest of election may include claims regarding the eligibility of certain voters only as evidence that an outcome-determinative violation of election law, irregularity, or misconduct has occurred.

6. The county board of elections shall dismiss a protest of election that merely disputes the eligibility of a voter. The county board shall instead consider the claim as a voter challenge brought under Article 8 after the election.

7. No county board may retrieve and discount a ballot cast by an unqualified voter unless a challenge was timely brought under Article 8, or the State Board or a county board has found that ineligible voters participated in numbers sufficient to change the outcome of the election. The latter finding may be based on a protest timely brought under Article 15A or pursuant to complaint or directive of the State Board under G.S. §§ 163-22(a) and 182.12.

8. County boards of election must preserve the due process rights of all voters, including adequate notice and a meaningful opportunity to be heard. If a protest brought under Article 15A includes claims regarding the eligibility of certain voters, the county board must provide notice of the protest reasonably calculated to apprise such voters of the pendency of the protest and afford them an opportunity to present their objections. Due process in the context of time-sensitive post-election protests may mean that county boards expedite notice mailings or reach out to affected voters by other means not ordinarily required under Article 8. At a minimum, county boards must provide written notice to affected voters by expedited delivery service, such that notice is received at least three days ahead of any such hearing.

9. If any county board of elections has retrieved and discounted any ballot in a manner inconsistent with this Order in its canvass of the 2016 general election, the county board shall amend its canvass to include the vote. No such re-canvass shall reset any statutory deadline otherwise associated with the canvass of votes.

10. Counties shall proceed to the canvassing of the 2016 general election consistent with this Order, which shall govern future elections unless otherwise directed by this Board.

This the twenty-eighth day of November, 2016.


A. Grant Whitney, Jr.,

Chair State Board of Elections

Breaking: Ongoing events at The Ohio State University

An active shooter event and law enforcement response began this morning around 10 AM EST. NBC4 Columbus has reported that local law enforcement has killed the shooter, taken two other men into custody, eight individuals have been injured. They have reported that there was a vehicular incident as well: a driver ran over several people, though it is unclear how that is or may be related. Additionally, at least one of the students interviewed indicated he heard an explosion in addition to three gunshots.

The shelter in place has been lifted as has the active shooter alert, but all OSU classes have been cancelled today.

Here’s the link to NBC4 Columbus’s live feed.

And here’s OSU Campus Police’s twitter’s most recent update.

Thanksgiving Dinner

So the frills on the frilly apron have drooped in all the heat from the oven and the tiara is tarnished with all the sweat, but Thanksgiving Dinner came out perfect!

First up the pictures.

One spatchcocked turkey preparing to rest for 30 minutes:


40 minutes later – 30 for the resting and ten for the slicing – and we are ready!


The meat was tender, flavorful, and juicy and the skin was crisp!

And now for some sides. Cornbread stuffing and roasted root vegetables – red and purple heritage potatoes, celery, and carrots.


And for desert: double chocolate pie:



Here’s the recipes for those that want.


1 14 to 15 lbs turkey

Kosher salt to taste

Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Rubbed sage to taste

Poultry seasoning to taste


Remove the turkey from the wrapping, remove the neck and giblets and set them aside, and pat dry. Then spatchcock the turkey/remove the backbone and set the backbone aside. turn the turkey breast side up and place firm pressure on each turkey breast to break the breast bone. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper. Mix the salt, black pepper, rubbed sage, and poultry seasoning together to make a dry rub (dry brine). Place the turkey inside up on the baking sheet and coat the inside with 1/2 the dry rub. Turn the turkey over and coat the outside (breast side up) with the remaining dry rub. Place the dry rubbed turkey in the refrigerator for two to four days.


Remove the turkey from the refrigerator one hour prior to roasting. Preheat oven to 425. When oven reaches 425 place the turkey on an oiled/cooking sprayed wire rack set over a roasting pan (to catch the juices) and place in the oven. Roast at 425 for 30 minutes and then reduce the heat to 350. Continue to roast until a probe thermometer inserted into the deepest portion of the breast reads 155 degrees. Then remove from the oven, cover with foil and let rest for 30 minutes before slicing.

Cornbread Stuffing


Enough cornbread from scratch to fill a 9X11 baking pan

Kosher salt to taste

Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Crushed sage to taste

One large, sweet onion – chopped fine

Four large stalks of celery – chopped fine

2 Teaspoons of olive oil.

The giblets from a turkey or a large chicken – sauteed and minced fine

Chicken or turkey stock to moisten the stuffing


Bake the cornbread. In a sauté pan sweat off the onions in the olive oil. Add the giblets, sauté them, then remove from heat and mince the giblets. Crumble the cornbread in a big mixing bowl and add the sweated off onions, the finely chopped celery, and the finely minced giblets. Add the kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and sage to taste. Mix thoroughly. Add just enough chicken stock to moisten the stuffing and hold it together. Once everything is combined and seasoned to your taste, stuff the turkey. Or, as in this case because the turkey is spatchcocked, place it in a roasting dish and cook it separately. 

To finish the stuffing: place the roasting dish full of stuffing on the upper rack of the oven above the turkey when you turn the heat down to 350 from 425 degrees.

Roasted Root Vegetables


1 small bag of red heirloom potatoes

1 small bag of purple heirloom potatoes

1 lbs of carrots

4-6 celery stalks (depending on size)

Wash all the vegetables. Cut the potatoes in half and cut the carrots and celery into 1 inch pieces. Toss them in olive oil, kosher salt, and freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Place them in a roasting dish and place the roasting dish on the upper rack of the oven above the turkey and next to the stuffing when you turn the heat down to 350 from 425 degrees.

Turkey Gravy

1 Turkey backbone bisected half way up

1 Turkey neck

3/4 lbs of carrots

4-6 celery stalks (depending on size)

Kosher salt to taste

Freshly cracked black pepper to taste


Place the turkey backbone and neck in a stock pot and add the salt and black pepper. Chop the carrots and celery into 1 inch pieces and add to the stock pot. Place over high heat, bring to a boil, and let it continue to boil for 2 to 3 hours. Skim off the scum, cool, and transfer to the refrigerator.

An hour before serving remove the stock from the refrigerator, place in a sauce pot over medium heat. Once hot transfer the stock, including veggies, to the blender. High pulse the stock and veggies until everything is incorporated. Transfer back to the pot over medium heat, taste, and re-season as necessary. Once the turkey finishes resting, any pan drippings can be added to the gravy. Because of the carrots and celery you will not need to add any thickening agents (roux, corn starch, potato starch) to the gravy.

Double Chocolate Pie

First off, I’m pretty sure this is actually an Emeril Lagasse recipe. I’ve been making it for a while, and have tweaked a few things, but I’m almost certain I first saw the recipe on an episode of Essence of Emeril in the mid 90s. Now that disclosure is full, away we go.

Double Chocolate Pie is a dark chocolate mousse pie with crushed Double Stuff Oreos folded into the mousse on a crushed Double Stuff Oreo base.

Crust Ingredients:

1/2 a family size package of Double Stuff Oreos

1/2 a cup of melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or baking spray the bottom of a 10 inch springform pan. Crush the Oreos and then mix them with the butter. Place the crushed, buttered Oreos into the bottom of the pie pan or springform pan and make sure you’ve covered the entire bottom. Bake for 10 minutes then remove to the refrigerator to chill and set the crust the rest of the way.

Dark Chocolate Mousse

Step 1: Whipped Cream


8 Ounces of Heavy Whipping Cream

1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract


Add 1 Teaspoon of vanilla extract to 8 ounces of heavy whipping cream. Whip until you’ve got stiff peaks. Refrigerate while making the ganache.

Step 2: Dark Chocolate Ganache


8 Ounces of Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Chips (or your preferred dark chocolate)

8 Ounces of Heavy Whipping Cream

1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract


Place the 8 ounces of dark chocolate into a mixing bowl and set aside. Place the 8 ounces of heavy whipping cream and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract in a sauce pot and bring to a boil. Immediately remove from the heat and pour the scalded cream over the dark chocolate. Let sit for five minutes. After five minutes whisk the cream and melted chocolate to combine.

Step 3: Making the Mousse


Freshly Whipped Cream

Fresh Dark Chocolate Ganache

1 family size package of Double Stuff Oreos Crushed


Crush the Oreos and set aside. Remove the whipped cream from the refrigerator and fold it into the dark chocolate ganache a little at a time. Once all of the whipped cream is folded into the ganache, fold in 2/3 of the crushed Oreos. Remove pie crust from the refrigerator. Scoop 1/2 the mousse into the springform pan. Smooth the top and then cover with the remaining 1/3 of the crushed Oreos. Then scoop the remaining mousse into the springform pan, smooth the top, and return the pie to the refrigerator to set up for at least three to four hours.

Optional finish (as seen in the pictures above)

After three to four hours make a second batch of ganache. Remove the pie from the refrigerator and remove the springform ring from the pie and base pan. Pour the dark chocolate ganache over the top of the pie, turning the ganache from the center to the edge and then around the sides to form a smooth, dark chocolate ganache glaze/shell for the pie. Return to the refrigerator until ready to serve (at least one hour).

You all are on your own for antacids and stomach pumping!



Florida Man: Tutu Edition! Updated at 10:15 PM EDT

Another day, another embarrassing act by someone from my home state (Like BettyC, I’m a native. We’re on 6 hour shifts!).

– Two men, one wearing a tutu, broke into Tampa Farmer’s Market to eat fruit and drink soda early Tuesday morning.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office released surveillance footage of the suspects breaking into the Fletcher Avenue store in hopes that the public can help identify them.

According to HCSO, the suspects gained access to the store by breaking out the glass door at approximately 1 a.m. on November 1, and proceeded to consume fruit and soda once inside.

A sheriff’s office spokesperson shared the following descriptions of the two suspects:

#1 – white male, thin build, possibly dressed in a cheerleading costume, wearing a TuTu, possibly wearing a wig.

#2-  male (unknown race), wearing a hoodie with an image of an owl on the front.

Anyone with any information reference these suspects is asked to call the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office at 247-8200 or anyone with any information regarding the identity and whereabouts of these suspects and who wants to be eligible for a cash reward is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477).

There’s video at the link!

Open, night before Thanksgiving open thread!!!

Updated at 10:15 PM EDT

Allow me to regale you with more tales of the nightlife of Tampa!

– Newly released surveillance video could help Tampa Police locate the man who drove his car onto a sidewalk in Ybor City, hitting two people and a bar early Tuesday morning.

Around 3:25 a.m. Tuesday, after businesses had closed, a group of men began fighting outside the Bad Monkey Bar on East 7th Avenue in Tampa.

Surveillance cameras captured the brawl, including one subject involved in the fighting who attempted to leave the scene by driving away in a black Nissan.

“He tries to do a U-turn, and it’s really too tight of a street to do that. He gets hung up on the curb,” said Steve Hegarty, spokesperson for the Tampa Police Department.

The driver jumped the sidewalk and crashed into several men who were still fighting. One of the men was pushed through the window of the Bad Monkey bar when the car made impact, smashing the glass.
After crashing through the building, the driver left the scene.

Detectives are working to determine if the driver intentionally accelerated his car or if the crash was accidental.

“That’s a big question that we have right now. At the very least, it’s a hit and run. There was damage to the building, clearly, someone was injured and he left the scene,” said Hegarty.

Only one of the men on the sidewalk, Michael Silhol, 25, was hurt in the crash. Silhol suffered a minor leg and head injury.

The Bad Monkey bar was left with $15,000 worth of damage. It was closed at the time of the crash.

Video at the link, too, also, again!