Today is the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on NCY and the Pentagon…which ultimately were the initial reason for the debacle last month in Afghanistan…so a little history is in order.
Before I get into that…our update is pretty much the same as the last couple…we’re mostly staying home. Connie got trained as a volunteer bartender for the Elks Lodge so she can help out when needed. Other than that…it’s pretty much Groundhog Day ‘round here.
As everybody knows…3 airliners were crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on that day with the loss of almost 3,000 innocent folks along with the religious extremists who hijacked the planes. A fourth plane was also taken over and the best guess is that it’s target was the Capitol building in DC but in those days the cockpit doors weren’t reinforced and locked and the passengers voted attempted to retake the plane…they knew they were going to die anyway at that point so decided to stop the last plane. The result was that the pilot rolled the plane onto its back and nose dived into the ground up in PA.
A little known story about that day is that a pair of Air Force pilots from Langley AFB took off to intercept the airliner that eventually crashed in PA…their orders were to bring the plane down…but there was one problem with those orders…their F-16s were unarmed and despite going to battle stations immediately after the first plane impacted up in NYC there was insufficient time to either mount missiles on the aircraft or load the guns with ammunition. Those two pilots were going to suicide into the airliner to prevent it reaching DC…the male flight leader was going to impact the cockpit and the female wingman was going to hit the tail. Their plan…as revealed in an interview Neil read this week…was to deliberately ram the airliner simultaneously to bring it down. Nothing in the article mentioned whether they would try to survive or not…but my guess is that they would have tried to hit the airliner with the bottom of their fighter at a sufficient closing speed to bring it down and then eject from their now unflyable fighters. However…both of them described it as a suicide mission so it might have been a ram straight into them to break the airliner into pieces. Neil’s guess is that hitting the bottom of the fighter into the tail and cockpit would be sufficient to bring the plane down while still allowing the pilots a possibility of an ejection…although whether they would have survived is questionable since the long time survival rate of ejecting from an aircraft is just about 50%. We won’t ever know as the brave folks on the airliner solved the problem though.
We (the US intelligence agencies) knew pretty quickly that it was primarily Saudi citizens in the terrorist group but that they had trained in Iraq and/or Afghanistan…hence our reason for invading to take them out. That part succeeded pretty well…but nation building in that part of the world is pretty much impossible. As I noted a couple blogs ago…countries over there can generally be grouped into -stan countries or -ia countries…the latter consider their loyalty to be to the country while the former consider loyalty to their tribe and clan to be of utmost importance. Add in the government corruption that is endemic in most third world countries (and even a lot of second world countries for that matter) and our likelihood of success in turning Afghanistan into a functioning country with a democratic government was pretty low.
But as I said the other day…although the occupation was initiated by a Republican President…he had almost universal support from the Congress…it passed 98-0 in the Senate which was 50/50 and 420-1 in the Republican (barely) controlled House…and for good reason…the US was attacked and at that point we were justified in responding.
Unfortunately…after the initial goal was accomplished the whole operation went off the rails…and 4 Presidents (2 of each party) presided over the policy for the past 20 years. The honest answer is…it was way, way past time for us to leave and let the Afghan government sink or swim on it’s own merits…even though we knew that the government would not last against the rejuvenated Taliban, that the Taliban would take over and reestablish their repressive government with malice towards women and anybody that assisted the previous government of the United States and NATO forces. Yes…the previous administration signed the deal with the Taliban for us to leave…admit was a stupid deal for many reasons…not the least of which was that it was negotiated without the participation of the existing Afghan government…but it was a deal nonetheless. When the current administration took over…there was no hesitancy to stop the border wall, the suspension of DACA, various pipeline projects, and pretty much every other policy set into motion by the previous administration…mostly for no reason beyond they were set into motion by the previous administration. The sole exception to the “kill everything the Trump administration did” policy was the agreement to leave Afghanistan…this one was left in place purely and simply because President Biden had long opposed us being there going back to his role in the Obama administration…and because he wanted to be the one to “end America’s longest war”…although that’s not really true either…our longest war is Korea which is legally still going on since 1950…but I digress.
So leaving was and is the right idea…and I support the President for making the decision and sticking to his campaign promise despite complaints to the contrary. However…again as I said in previous posts…the conduct of the withdrawal is totally owned by the current administration and not any of the other 3 administrations involved in the whole operation. Depending on who you listen to in the administration…the Trump folks left either no plan, an inadequate plan, or a plan that was already in place and was executed by the Biden administration. No matter which one of those reports is correct…this one is on President Biden. If there was no plan or an inadequate plan…then his administration should have delayed the withdrawal and made a better plan. If they deemed the plan adequate and simply executed it…then they also own it.
Now if President Trump had won reelection…it would still have been the complete Charley Foxtrot as they say in the military that it turned out to be…and we would be reading in all the mainstream media how it was completely President Trump’s fault…but since he lost the media and administration are still blaming it on him. The truth of the matter is that whatever the plan was…it was driven not by military people but by administration policy people who simply don’t have a clue what they’re doing when planning a military operation. We saw this after the fact of Bin Laden’s death…President Obama in the bunker at the White House directing the attack from Washington instead of giving the military a job to do and letting them figure out how to do it and execute the plan.
At the very least…we should have informed the Taliban that we would be doing the following and to screw with us at their peril. Then…get all US citizens, green card holders, and authorized residents out of the country. Get all the Afghan people who helped us out of the country. And we should not have left any operable equipment behind. Tanks, helicopters, personnel carriers, HMMVs…drain the oil out of them, drain the transmission fluid, start the engine and put a brick on the gas pedal and drive them back and forth until the engine and transmission seizes…then set a thermite destruct charge on top of the instrumentation/avionics/whatever. Ammo, missiles, and such…EOD folks know how to blow those things up. Gas and diesel supplies…likewise EOD can handle that as well.
The whole withdrawal was…frankly speaking…an abortion. A riot would have been better organized.
Ok…let’s see what else is going on.
Oh yeah…apparently legal restrictions (at least in the state of VA) don’t apply any longer.
Back in 1889…a group of private citizens built a memorial to Robert E. Lee and placed it on one of the main thoroughfares in Richmond. Now before you go off on the “it’s racist” thing…whether it should or should not be there really isn’t the question here…so bear with me for a minute. The state legislature passed a joint resolution…which essentially makes it a state law…which said that the state would “faithfully guard” and “maintain” the statue if it was turned over to be state property. Then the private citizen owners deeded the statue and the land it sits on over to the state and the deed as signed and registered 150odd years ago contains those provisions.
Now…just like when you buy a house…there are codes, covenants, and restrictions and HoA requirements that you must abide by…because the deed for your property says you have to. For private homeowners…simply saying that you don’t want to be restricted in the color you can paint your house will just get laughed out of court because of the CCRs and HoA restrictions. Unfortunately…at least in the state of VA…if you’re the government the law doesn’t apply to you.
So some 150odd years later our progressives have decided that we need to erase slavery, the Civil War, and the Confederacy from the history books. That’s a really stupid idea…it’s history after all and nothing can change the fact that it happened. However…progressives being what they are…there have been lawsuits for years over this and other Confederacy related statues on the same road in Richmond.
Long story short…a week or so ago the VA Supreme Court declared via unanimous decision that the deed no longer needed to be followed. Their justification was that “democracy is dynamic” and “the government of the commonwealth is entitled to select the views it supports and the values it wants to express”. In other words…since policy today is that anything associated with the Confederacy is evil and must be expunged…that overrides the legal deed requirements that a previous government agreed to. When you really get down to it…fundamentally the states that left the union said the same thing…but unfortunately they lost the Civil War and it’s the winners that get to write the history and make the rules.
This is simply legislating from the bench…it’s a bunch of progressives saying that “it doesn’t matter what the law says…this is what we want”…and that isn’t the foundation this country was built on. I agree that slavery was wrong…and in my view it would have died out anyway as the South transitioned into an industrial economy in the late 1800s and early 1900s and uneducated/unskilled slave labor really doesn’t work in an industrial economy…but the fact is that slavery existed…and it was legal…and it was supported and enabled by ship owners in the Northern states who sailed over to Africa and bought black people from other black people who captured them. All of that was legal back then…and all of that is illegal today. However…you simply cannot reasonably judge the actions and culture of any time period of any country in history by today’s standards. You must judge them by the social, legal, and moral standards that existed at the time. Yes…those standards are different from those in the 2020s…but what happened back before the Civil War was normal and acceptable by the standards of the time.
In other news…up in DC the Democrats are continuing to jam through their human infrastructure $3.5 trillion reconciliation social justice warrior wish list. This naturally includes a complete shift to electric vehicles and renewable electric power sources. They’re conveniently ignoring the fact that the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow…as well as the fact that the places that are best for solar or wind power are all located in the midwest and west and the heavy power demands are on the coasts, along with the fact that the transmission grid to get power from where it’s available to where it’s needed simply doesn’t exist. They’re also ignoring the fact that there is no currently technical feasible means of storing excess solar/wind generated power for when it’s needed at night or when the wind isn’t blowing…the bill says that technical advances will solve that problem…essentially they are legislatively mandating scientific progress…which anybody with 2 functioning brain cells know is impossibly stupid. President Biden announced this week that workers will earn high wages for preparing for climate change…according to the President these wages will be in the $45 to $50 an hour range and not the $7 to $12 range. For those of you keeping score at home…even $45 per hour is $93,600 a year…and this is in a country where the average salary is about $52,000 and the median salary is a bit over $34,000. So all of those jobs he’s promising will be about double the current average salary in the country. Right.
He also says that they (progressives and Democrats) are going to “tax the rich and corporations” to pay for their plans…but we know that won’t be happening because even if you confiscated 100% of the assets of every billionaire in the country it doesn’t add up to $3.5 trillion. According to the IRS data…61% of US households in the US paid zero income tax in 2020…this is up from the 47% when Mitt Romney was running for President and was so roundly ridiculed for stating that correct percentage. That 61% is the largest percentage of zero tax payers since WWII when the income tax was expanded to all earners. The top 1% of earners pay 42% of all the income tax collected and nearly 26% of all federal taxes…that’s twice the share paid by the bottom 60% of earners. Yet the progressives continue to lie and say that the “rich aren’t paying their fair share” and “they need to just pay a little bit more”. As Mark Twain said…”Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.”
We are starting to observe some wildlife again as summer wanes and we get into mid September.
Connie spotted this iguana across the other side of the pond so Neil wandered out and got his picture from out back.
Neil spotted this Red Bellied Woodpecker in the tree just outside our bedroom window…only about 6 feet from the house. He had to take this shot through the window and screen because (a) he didn’t have any clothes on as he just came in from biking and was on the way to the shower and (b) he (the bird) would have flown off by the time he got dressed and out and would have flown off anyway when Neil opened the door.
We saw a Black Racer snake a couple times but they move really fast so we were unable to get a photo…it seems to live in the bushes between our house and the one to the immediate south next door. It is about 3-½ feet long or so and they look like this shot Neil cribbed from the ‘net courtesy of tgonaturecenter.org.
Yeah…it’s a snake, it’s black, and it moves fast…hence the name. It’s a constrictor and will eat anything it can kill…but instead of wrapping around it and crushing the life out of it like a boa constrictor or python does it presses it into the ground until it’s dead and then eats it.
These two aren’t wildlife…but illustrate one of the three really crappy things about being in southern FL in the summer. Yeah…there’s the heat and humidity thing but air conditioning mostly takes care of those. But the pollen is terrible. You can see across by the opposite bank the film laying on the water…and it’s like this every day. We’ll really be happy in another month or so when those three things are a thing of the past until May or so.
Interesting things found on the net.
This was advertised as being either a marriage proposal or a drug deal…but the proposal was discounted as neither is on one knee. OTOH, the best comment on the thread was that one of them was drawing on his paw and saying “you sneak around the front of the camper and I’ll come in from the back”.
Next in line.
Elephant butt slide.
And a couple more math nerd ones Neil ran across.
Researchers from Kent’s School of Biosciences in the UK have discovered the universal mathematical formula that can describe any bird’s egg existing in nature, a feat which has been unsuccessful until now. Here’s the formula.
So…everybody knows about the Pythagorean theorem…it’s the one that says a squared + b squared = c squared where the letters are the lengths of the sides of a right triangle with c being the side opposite the right angle…it’s named that because it was supposedly invented by a Greek guy named…you guessed it…Pythagorus. Except…it’s not. The clay disk below is from the Babylonian period about 3700 years ago was recently decoded by an Aussie math nerd and it contains…you guessed it…the oldest known example of applied geometry using the same theorem…and this clay disk is 1,000 years older than the time of Pythagorus. Much like the light bulb being “invented” by Thomas Edison…this is another piece of history that in the words of Abraham Lincoln as quoted by Bill Lepp on the Man vs. History show on History Channel is “…only history if it’s true”. That’s actually a pretty good show…he takes things that are supposedly history…recreates some of them and investigates others and tries to determine if “it’s true, false, or somewhere in between”. Bill is a storyteller much in the same vein and stye as Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs is…I highly recommend giving it a whirl. He’s recently examined Billy the Kid, Steel Driving John Henry, Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride, the Alamo, and the Hamilton vs Burr duel…and none of them are quite as stellar examples of true history as they seem. Really good show.
This is Viète’s formula is this infinite product of nested radicals representing the mathematical constant π. It is named after François Viète (1540–1603), who published it in 1593 in his work Variorum de Rebus Mathematicis Responsorum, Liber VIII.
Then there’s Euler’s Number…aka e…which again appears everywhere through mathematics, physics, and engineering…it was discovered in 1683 by Jacob Bernoulli (yep, the same guy the Bernoulli Equation for energy is named after…he was a busy guy).
You picked a fine time to leave me loose wheels (paraphrasing the favorite song from Neil’s first submarine).
Our friend Gail sent us this one…and we noted that it’s the spittin’ image of her husband Frank. I wonder if she also sees the resemblance.
And finally…although this one might have been better in the math nerds section…