I received this from a friend who didn’t know that Mitch “Taco” Bell is the son of very good friends from my church. He is an airline pilot who was in the USMC reserves and several years ago volunteered to return to active duty and requested service in Iraq. He’s got a great web site, the link to which he provides in his message, that is well worth looking at. I’m not sure who is the original sender of Mitch’s message. Best, Jim
1. Mitch “Taco” Bell, our area Marines For Life Commander, gives his AARep/SitRep of the situation in Afghanistan. This is not some superficial product of a dilitante, but rather an insightful, unvarnished, and candid analysis that shows the military professionalism that exits in our field grade officer Corps.
These are some of my thoughts on Afghanistan. It’s long, but if you think the others would like to read it, please pass it on or send the link www.thesandgram.com
Semper Fi, Taco
“How do you fix a problem like Maria???”
The song from the Sound of Music reverberates in my head as I sit here thinking about the situation in Afghanistan. How do you fix a problem like Afghanistan? When I tell folks that I served in Kabul, I think the number one question asked of me is, “What do you think will happen in Afghanistan?” I hate to say that my reply isn’t always positive. Our job there, and in Iraq, has come at a great price for America and her allies, and I firmly believe there are still lots of bad guys there who need to be given the chance to meet their maker, but maybe we need to change how we do business. These are my personal insights on the war there, good, bad or indifferent. They do not reflect the opinions of the Marine Corps or the administration.
Have economic times gotten so bad that some of the dead are going unburied? Several large counties across the country are experiencing unprecedented increases in the number of unclaimed deceased – not only because the dead people could not be identified, were indigent or were estranged from their family, but also apparently because more people simply cannot afford to bury or cremate their loved ones. The phenomenon has increased costs for local governments, which have to dispose of the bodies.
. . . . . . .
Samuels, a retired police officer who has been with the medical examiner’s office for 13 years, says he’s never seen the situation this bad. “Some people just never had the money, but now we’re getting people who at one time may have had the money to do this and they just can’t. We have people losing their homes. People are finally feeling the economic strain completely. When people don’t have jobs, you have people who can’t eat, so burying someone is not high up on their list of what they have to do.”
+++++++Phi Beta Iota Editorial Comment+++++++
The Obama Administration appears oblivious to the pain and suffering sweeping across America. The grass-roots anger is emergent and we agree with those who anticipate violence as well as non-negotiable demands for free and open elections in 2010.
Whiles costs vary, from $750 for a county burial to $7,500 and up for a formal burial, it costs from zero to $750 for cremation. Some religions forbid cremation and some, such as the Roman Catholic church, demand burial of cremated remains, which we consider a scam to keep the burial end of church revenue alive (pun intended). Click on the grpahic for a link to a first-class review of cremation at Wiki-pedia. In our view, for real estate as well as health reasons, the world is eventually going to have to go toward an end to cemeteries, and cremation or serial burial in reusable land.
5 out of 5 stars Broad but Nuanced, Exudes Intelligence,Absorbing Speaking of Truth, June 17, 2009
Among the observations from the author”
1. U.S. has destabilized the world after 9-11, not made it safer.
2. Pakistan is the key to peace in the region, but the US has been totally taken in by Musharraf and his army and ISI colleagues, all of whom have played the US (easily) for the total fool.
3. “No coherence to US tactics and strategy” combined with a collapsed Cabinet system and “ruinous laws” making torture the norm.
4. Pashtuns lacked leadership on the ground for decades, a major reason why they did not counter the Taliban
5. If Pakistan is the key to peace in the region, Uzbekistan is the key to future war, mixing as it does the worst of dictatorial tyranny (I know, tautologically redundant, enjoy) with deep Islamic fundamentalism.
Core Quote: “Under the condition of double contingency, every self-commitment, however accidentally arisen or however calculated, will acquire information and connective value for the action of others. Precisely because such a system is formed in a closed and self-referential way — namely A is determined by B and B by A — every accident, every impulse, every error is productivec [of the social system]….Without ‘noise,’ no system.” Citing Niklas Luhmann, Social Systems, Writing Science (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1995), p. 116.
ABSTRACT: In his book, Linked: How Everything is Connected to Everything Else and What it Means for Business, Science, and Everyday Life, Albert-Laszlo Barabasi gives us a detailed analysis of the typology of the WWW. In so doing, he makes many errors from which we can derive important lessons about ways not to study the WWW or complex networks in general. These lessons are crucial from the point of view of the philosophy of science, and suggest that more care and reflecivity is called for in pursuing WWW research. This paper is intended to provided imputus for meaningful thought and further discussion.
Introduction: Quality and Quantity
Network Analysis (Analytical Dimensioins of Networks, Robot Typology, Network Density, Assessing the Value of Hubs and Non-Hubs, The Effect of Search Engines on Typology)
Static Quality (Proportional Linkage, Website Design, Valuable Referrers, The Effect of Closeness)
Dynamic Quality (The Myth of Fitness, Competition is Cooperation, Survival of the Fitters, Innovation Changes the Landscape, Limits to Growth, Alternative Norms to Preferential Treatment
ABSTRACT: The Information Revolution combined with connective technologies creates a unique global social network. This network is vulnerable to cascades of information, norms, and coordinated action. The inherent unpredictability of the information society demands new kinds of governance that focus on rapid network-coordinated response over centralized predictive planning.
CORE QUOTE: “Power, as the capacity to impose behavior, lies in the networks of information exchange and symbol manipulation, which relate social actors, institutions, and cultural movements.” Citing M. Castells, End of Millenium (Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers, 2000), p. 379.