Thursday, September 30, 2004

Curious George

Whoever coined the phrase "the puzzled chimp look" deserves a Pulitzer Prize.

Maybe it was as simple as fear?

Click on the title. Golly.

Dubya Does Boston: Acronym Soup -- ARPC-ORS or NARS

The newly-released (where do they keep finding this stuff?) resignation letter is in the news today, bad grammar, misspellings and all. The White House is trying to spin it again:

"The Boston Globe reported earlier this month that he failed to join an Air Force Reserve unit when he moved to Massachusetts from Texas in mid-1973. But the White House said documents show Bush was assigned to an Obligated Ready Reserve unit in Denver, Colorado, and was not required to report to duty in Massachusetts." From here (NY Times).

But, that is completely the opposite of what we know.

The Obligated Reserve Section (ORS) of the Air Reserve Personnel Center (ARPC) in Denver was an administrative holding unit for Air Force Reserve and Air NG officers who still had a remaining Military Service Obligation (MSO). Bush's MSO required him to serve in the Ready Reserve until May 1974 and his five-year post flight school obligation ran until at least November 1974.

Assignment of his file to the APRC-ORS meant unequivocally that he did still have an obligation to find an appropriate unit in Boston to finish his required term of service in the Ready Reserve, as he explicitly acknowledged in writing when he left the books of the Texas ANG.

Bush had tried to get his file assigned to a different ARPC section earlier in 1972, but his request was not allowed. That was the Non-Affiliated Reserve Section (NARS), which maintained the records of officers who had completed their required service but wished to remain in the Reserve.

If Bush had been assigned to ARPC-NARS, then he would not have had a legal requirement to finish his service obligation with an active unit in Boston.

But he wasn't, so he did, but he didn't.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Al Qaeda ver. 4.0.

Click on the title. Crikey, if Phil Carter is worried, so am I! Uh oh. Thanks, Dub. You are the new face on the Al Qaeda version of the "Uncle Sam Wants You!" poster. Except, now its us they want.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Cat Stevens parody: "Ashcroft has spoken,..."

To the tune of "Morning Has Broken," with my deepest apologies to Yusuf Islam.

Ashcroft has spoken, issued a warning.
My beard and skullcap set off his alarm.
They will deport me tomorrow morning,
So that his Homeland stays free from harm.

Tom Ridge is worried, so many names he can't spell.
He has compiled them into a list.
If you are on it, I bid you farewell;
They will arrest you as a terrorist.

My fellow Muslims, here are some traveling rules:
While you are boarding, don't read the Quran,
Don't mention donations to Islamic schools,
They will detain you, the rest will fly on.

Ashcroft has spoken,...

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

1LT Bush vs. The Cat Lady?

Am I beginning to sound like one of those old people with dozens of cats in his or her apartment who get paranoid about their neighbors? I'm going to have to find something besides the checkered record of Lieutenant Bush to write about soon. I may have to go back to eighth century Chinese poetry for a breather. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, another of my unpublished letters to various editors, this time the Wall Street Journal.


Dear Wall Street Journal:

Your "Hangout" editorial dismisses Bill Burkett as a partisan crackpot by quoting his own comment addressed to President Bush: "I know from your files that we have now reassembled, the fact that you did not fulfill your oath...." Does the fact that his statement is incontrovertibly true -- Killian memos or no -- make any difference? Read the file yourself. The genuine records, despite their gaps, amply record orders disobeyed, commitments unmet, oaths ignored, regulations skirted, and long periods of unauthorized absence. The central issue is 1LT Bush's character and forthrightness, not Burkett's, or even Rather's.


Now, where did I put my tinfoil hat....?

Monday, September 20, 2004

William F. Buckley has been hoodwinked. Is this a first?

I wrote a letter to William F. Buckley today.

Since you won't read it at the National Review, I thought I'd post it here, too.

From his piece today on Rathergate:

"The concrete issue had to do with his failure to take a physical examination on the appointed day."

Yes it did, because in return for the expensive privilege of a lengthy pilot training program that more sought than obtained, he signed a legal agreement to remain a pilot on active Flying Status for five years following the end of his flight training (in November 1969). One key requirement to remain on Flying Status was to take and pass an annual flight physical. The issue isn't his decision not to take the May 1972 physical, it was his decision unilaterally to
revoke his agreement with the United States by ceasing to fly for the Guard after only about half his period of obligation.

"It was stressed that he had sought leave, and been given it, to move to the Air Guard unit in Alabama, which would permit him a role in the Senate campaign of Winton Blount."

No and yes. Leave to "move" was summarily denied: In May 1972, he applied to leave the Texas Guard and transfer permanently to an inactive Air Force Reserve unit in Alabama. That request was promptly rejected because he still had an obligation to remain on Flying Status until November 1974, and the unit he chose for his transfer request did not have airplanes. Then, in September, he requested permission only to drill three weekends in Alabama (Sep-Nov 1972) as "equivalent duty," in lieu of doing so at his home unit in Houston. That request was granted, but he had applied too late to meet the Alabama unit's September drill. His pay records show he was paid for drills in October and November 1972, but he was unaccounted for the drills scheduled for May, June, July, August, and September. He neither attended at the time, nor later made up any of those required training dates. The legal definition of Absent Without Leave is instructive here.

"Lt. Bush flew successfully, adroitly, admirably. His inclination to move on after four years to help a Republican candidate is testimony to a lively disposition, in a 25-year old, to move on, to undertake another challenge."

That Buckley can say such a thing with a straight face is more appalling than laughable. With two and a half years of his military service obligation unmet, free spirit Bush waltzed off to seek new challenges that did not involve flying jets or wearing his country's uniform. When I was a young Field Artillery officer around the same time, I can assure you there were many challenges I would rather have undertaken, free spirit that I was, but my oath as an Officer and the laws of the United States did not allow me to. Nor did they him.

Sunday, September 19, 2004


We saw "The Hero" yesterday. It wildly embellishes a true story, one that gets brief mention in the histories of the period (late third century b.c.). It was a beautiful movie, especially in its use of color, a grand story told with only a few characters. In particular I was fascinated to hear them speaking in a mixture of classical Chinese (my academic field) and Mandarin, but more weighted toward the classical. Even so, I don't think my ability to understand the dialogue really added that much. The story was on the screen, a visual feast.

Jet Li, Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung and Donnie Yan are all a bit north of 40, but managed the swordplay and wire work pretty well. I imagine the Bak Fa Yow liniment was flowing freely....

The only wrong note for me was their translation in the subtitles of 天下 tianxia as "our land." Literally "(all) under Heaven," I think a better general translation would have been "this world." But in the film's anachronistic echo of 20th century Chinese nationalism, a modern reading may be more telling, as in 打天下 da tianxia - a euphemism for "to exercise state power."

Anyway, making a nostalgic hero out of the barbarian king who destroyed the Chinese states of the Central Plain must ring false to some students of the period.

The actual assassin was Jing Ke 荊軻, sent by Prince Dan of the state of Yan in 227 b.c. to assassinate the King of Qin. Jing Ke talked himself into striking distance of the King, then pulled a knife from inside a rolled-up map. A guard pinned Jing Ke's sleeve to a pillar with his sword, allowing the King a chance to escape before Jing Ke's blow could land. Jing Ke managed to slice off his sleeve to free his arm, but before he could renew his attack, the King's guards killed him where he stood.

Friday, September 17, 2004

So, let's face it, he failed to meet the standards of the Texas ANG

I don't want to make this about politics all the time - there are plenty more interesting political pundits in BlogWorld - but there is one topic on which I have both opinion and information: "AWOL Bush." Only two years younger than Governor Bush, I faced the draft, I volunteered, I got commissioned (and not by having Daddy arrange it), I served. So, I take his dishonesty personally.

Forget the Killian memos, unless you are a fan of Dan Rather's face - both the Asian "face" and the actual face -- as in "egg on his face." Material the White House has already released is enough to hang Bush. To wit, at least three counts in the indictment:

1) File docs and pay records clearly establish that Bush missed five months of weekend drills (May-Sep 1972), never made them up, and did not attend the mandatory 2-week Active Duty for Training that year required by his training status "A". More than enough time unaccounted for to meet the AWOL test.

2) When he finished flight school in November 1969, he signed an agreement binding him to serve five more years (meaning until November 1974) as a Texas ANG pilot on active Flying Status. Yet he made his last flight in April 1972 (only about half-way through the five years) and chose to miss his annual flight physical in May 1972 and each year after that.

3) Before he left Texas to move to Boston in 1973, he acknowledged in writing a duty to affiliate with an appropriate NG or AF Reserve unit in Massachusetts to finish his six-year obligation. Almost eight months of his obligation remained as of his 1 Oct 73 discharge from the Texas ANG and transfer to the books of the Air Force Reserve. Yet, he did nothing.

To paraphrase our Dear (or is it Great?) Leader: Mission not accomplished.

Not the orange

Everyone seems to have a blog these days, so why not me? Since I have studied Chinese (mostly classical) for most of my life, I picked up the nickname "the Mandarin."