Floriduh! Man: The Early Bird Gets Drunk, Naked, and Commits Chocolate Chip Arson… Wait, What?

And a good time was sort of, maybe, had by someone!

Sarasota Herald-Tribune take it away!

NICEVILLE, Fla. — Responding to a house fire last week, Niceville police officers and firefighters encountered an odd sight.

When firefighters got to the home around 5:30 p.m., they could see smoke coming from inside. A naked man opened the front door, said, “I’m sorry,” and closed the door.

Police officers arrived shortly after to assist.

The man came to the door again, left it open and went back into the house.

According to the offense report from the police department, the man showed no signs of understanding the danger he was in. There were several things on fire inside the home, including some towels.

Based on the fire department’s investigation, the man allegedly tried baking cookies on a George Foreman grill, which he left unattended. The grill and cookies caught fire, so he put dry towels on top of the grill. Those caught fire, too, causing the fire to spread.

An officer detained the man and removed him from the house for his own safety. Firefighters said that if he had stayed in the home much longer, he could have possibly died from smoke inhalation.

In the report, an officer said he and another officer were in the house for about five minutes and had a hard time breathing. Firefighters went inside with oxygen masks to remove the burning items.

The man admitted to drinking two liters of vodka and smoking marijuana starting around 9 that morning. He was examined at the scene and had no life-threatening injuries, the report said. He refused further medical treatment.

This guy puts the baked in baked good!

Open thread.



Soviet Days Of August

There is a cluster of days, starting with today, in 1991 and before which were fateful for the Soviet Union.

August 23, 1939: Foreign Ministers Vyacheslav Molotov (Soviet Union) and Joachim von Ribbentrop (Germany) signed an agreement not to go to war against each other. It included a secret protocol in which the two countries divided up the territories between them: Finland, Poland, the Baltic States, Romania, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia. Germany invaded Poland in September, and the Soviet Union invaded Finland in November. That was the start of World War II. The Soviet Union took the Baltic states in June 1940, but a year later, Germany invaded them. In 1944, the Soviets returned to drive the Germans out.

August 23, 1989: People in the Baltic states, now republics of the Soviet Union, formed a chain, holding hands from Tallinn to Vilnius to protest the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. At that time, the Soviet Union refused to recognize that the secret protocol to the pact existed. Although the Baltic states were under Soviet rule, most other nations did not recognize this and dealt with Baltic governments in exile. This is the situation now with the Russian occupation of Crimea. Mikhail Gorbachev was First Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party, and there was unrest across the Soviet Union and its satellites. In October, Gorbachev gave the satellite countries (Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and East Germany) autonomy from Soviet Communist rule.

August 19, 1991: Soviet military personnel stage a coup against Gorbachev. Lithuania had declared independence in March 1990, and several other Soviet republics were moving toward independence. Gorbachev was considering liberalizing the Soviet constitution to allow more freedom to the republics. The coup plotters felt that Gorbachev was betraying the Soviet Union. Gorbachev was weakened, and Boris Yeltsin, the president of the Russian Republic, strengthened himself politically by standing against the plotters. The coup failed, but it assured the end of the Soviet Union. Over the next several days, Latvia, Estonia, and most of the other republics declared independence. (New York Times, BBC, Association for Diplomatic Studies) Through the next months, other republics declared independence, and finally, on December 25, the Soviet Union was formally dissolved.

 

 

Cross-posted to Nuclear Diner.








The Naval Special Warfare Development Group Moves to Contact: Admiral (ret) William McRaven Calls Out the President

Admiral (ret) William McRaven, former member of SEAL Team 6, the former Commander of Joint Special Operations Command who planned and oversaw Operation Neptune Spear, and the former Commanding Admiral of US Special Operations Command, has publicly responded to the President’s revoking DCI (ret) Brennan’s and threat to revoke the clearances of DNI and Gen (ret) Clapper, former FBI Director Comey, DCI and Gen (ret) Hayden, former Acting Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, APNSA and AMB (ret) Susan Rice, former FBI staff lawyer Lisa Page, former FBI Director of National Security and Supervisory Special Agent in Charge Peter Strzok, and Bruce Ohr who is still serving in a senior executive position at the DOJ. Admiral McRaven, most recently the Chancellor of the University of Texas system until his retirement last May, dared the President to revoke his clearance too. (emphasis mine)

Dear Mr. President:

Former CIA director John Brennan, whose security clearance you revoked on Wednesday, is one of the finest public servants I have ever known. Few Americans have done more to protect this country than John. He is a man of unparalleled integrity, whose honesty and character have never been in question, except by those who don’t know him.

Therefore, I would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well, so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency.

Like most Americans, I had hoped that when you became president, you would rise to the occasion and become the leader this great nation needs.

A good leader tries to embody the best qualities of his or her organization. A good leader sets the example for others to follow. A good leader always puts the welfare of others before himself or herself.

Your leadership, however, has shown little of these qualities. Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation.

If you think for a moment that your McCarthy-era tactics will suppress the voices of criticism, you are sadly mistaken. The criticism will continue until you become the leader we prayed you would be.

Before anyone starts in on “the generals won’t save us” in the comments, what Admiral McRaven has done here is almost unprecedented. The only general officer/flag officer with equivalent rank (4 stars) who has called the President out in these types of clear terms is GEN (ret) McCaffrey, who has done so on cable news (MSNBC) and twitter.

While a number of other general officers and flag officers have spoken out against the President in no uncertain terms, Admiral McRaven’s challenge this morning is especially important. What he, GEN McCaffrey, LTG (ret) Hertling (who went on CNN this evening and, following ADM McRaven’s lead, challenged the President to revoke his clearance as well), MG (ret) Eaton, and a number of other now retired senior leaders – civilian and military – are doing is the very definition of leadership. They are speaking truth to power, standing up for the ideals they both believe in and have spent their lives serving, and showing others that it is not only okay to publicly dissent, but that no one should give in to intimidation. Even intimidation from the current President.

What the President did yesterday in revoking DCI (ret) Brennan’s clearance, and threatening those of the other former senior leaders whose criticism has upset his most fragile of egos, is really only about eligibility for access to classified materials in the short term. Rather, the real issue here is the President’s direct violation of the 1st Amendment to punish a critic. This is the current President of the United States directing the power of the state to punish a critic – DCI (ret) Brennan –  for engaging in political speech, which is protected from governmental retaliation under the 1st Amendment of the Bill of Rights. This is as clear a violation of the oath of office as one could ask for.

Open thread!



Space Force: Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution Edition

(Because most of our readers don’t speak Japanese*!)

I just want to quickly follow up on BettyC’s earlier post about the Vice President’s speech at the Pentagon today. Other than making some nice powerpoint slides and writing staff estimates that include projected budgetary costs, there is nothing the Department of Defense can actually do to fulfill the President’s request to create a Space Force. Article 8, Section 1 of the Constitution states:

The Congress shall have Power To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions; provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

The Department of Defense cannot, just as the President cannot, will a new military Service into existence. In order for a Space Force to be created, Congress will have to pass the legislation to make it happen, just as Congress did way back in 1789, after a lot of prodding by President Washington (who is an example of somebody who’s done an excellent job and is being recognized more and more), to formally create the US Army. As such, the Department of Defense is taking this as seriously as all the other good ideas that people pitch to it. They’re being polite and making sure that they appear to be doing everything they are legally allowed to do in response to what they’re being asked to do.

Basically ordering people to show up to the Vice President’s speech and not laugh out loud.

And should a Space Force be required, well my tribe’s got us covered!

Lot of wasted space in those ship designs…

Open thread!

* Original Japanese version for the purists! ETA: From the remake.

Update at 3:51 PM EDT:

Thanks to SSDD in the comments, we’ve got a clip of the original title sequence in Japanese. Also, why is the “Chef de Project” named MILFY?

Finally, on a more historical note, back in 2015 a team financed by Paul Allen of Microsoft fame found the Yamato’s sister ship the IJN Musashi. So, technically, this premise is workable…

 



The Strawberries That’s… That’s Where I Had Them

According to Vanity Fair, working at the White House is increasingly like serving on a certain destroyer-minesweeper careening through increasingly violent storms while its captain chases wisps round the wardroom.

Exhibit A:

“The Manafort trial is spinning him into a frenzy,” one Republican in frequent contact with the president told me. Another Republican told me Trump thinks “the only thing the trial shows is that Manafort is a sleaze.”

That’s one way of looking at it. Paranoid narcissism has a way of producing erratic (he said politely) behavior under stress:

Sources say Trump is increasingly taking his legal defense into his own hands—very much at his own peril. The Sessions tweet crossed a line into what many interpreted to be outright obstruction of justice. Trump also is arguing that he wants to sit for an interview with Mueller, against his lawyers’ advice, The New York Times reported. [links in the original]

It doesn’t help that Only The Best People ™ enable such well crafted plans:

Trump’s latest attacks on Mueller are partly being enabled by conversations with his attorney Emmet Flood, one source told me. “Emmet feels there’s nothing there with collusion, so it’s fine for Trump to comment and tweet…”

Steam, increasingly pressurized, seeks escape. Absent a valve, get ready for shrapnel:

Trump appears to be in earnest about his desire for Sessions to end the Mueller probe, and spoke of a timeline of a couple of weeks. Otherwise, Trump has threatened to fire Rosenstein himself.

Enjoy the ride. (I’m not…)

Open thread.

Image: J. W. M. Turner, Shipwreck of the Minotaur, c. 1810…and yes, this, like many of my posts, was prompted by a desire to showcase this painting.



On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

Mega post fail.

I’ll have it right tomorrow and then all next week, lots of good stuff from email and more old form submissions, assuming they’re working again.

Have a great day!

Open thread!

 








The Human Geography Trap: War with Iran

Last week The Modern War Institute at the US Military Academy West Point (West Point/The Point) published an article about the need to plan for an occupation of Iran. That article got a lot of buzz, especially so because a lot of the buzz had to do with the title, not with the actual substance of the article. The author, Joe Karle, argued that even though occupying Iran would be a very, very bad idea, given the recent political rhetoric, the President’s withdrawal of the US from the JCPOA, and the possibilities of events occurring that simply override the ability to prevent what would be an unfortunate event – an escalation to military engagement with Iran – that the Department of Defense needs to plan for a post conflict occupation. Even though such an occupation would be a very, very, very bad idea. I initially thought about doing a response to the article here, but instead decided to reach out to the appropriate folks at The Modern War Institute. And look what happened!

Right now the US military does not have personnel with deep specialization in conducting or overseeing the type of occupation that Karle argues is an unfortunate necessity of being prepared for all possibilities. It is also not clear who the United States would seek to empower as a legitimate alternative to the current Iranian government—both the popularly elected facade and the largely opaque theocracy that runs in the background. Or how the United States would go about doing so successfully. Karle is arguing that, no matter how inconceivable it might be, the Department of Defense must begin to plan now for how to not just achieve battlefield success, but also properly manage the post war termination transition in order to secure the peace. And while he is right to argue that having a plan and a strategy is always better than not having either, if the United States’ policy is to eliminate Iran’s nuclear weapons development program and remove the theocratic Iranian government, then United States policy is asking of strategy that which the strategy cannot provide: an achievable end state.

You can click across for the rest if you like. Including the nifty map I put together.

Open thread!