November 25, 2008

The Decline of the American Military

Download the book here.

The authors go into the history of the US Military, as well as what is wrong now and how to fix it.

I thought this was a great quote from chapter 1:

"By the end of the Thirty Years’ War in 1648 Europe had had enough. The Thirty Years’ War began as a Central European religious struggle between Protestants and Catholics but ended as a purely political contest. Germany in particular was devastated. Europeans wanted order, stability and security, and the Treaty of Westphalia gave it to them. It defined the nation-state as the new governing entity, and decreed that it alone would have the power to make war. All other war-making entities were illegitimate and those who fought for them would be treated not as soldiers but as outlaws. The confinement of lawful violence to states would bring the stability needed for commerce and industry to flourish, learning and science to advance, and for people to feel secure for themselves and their property."

Good article about XOM in the NYTimes

Exxon Mobil Corporation News - The New York Times

November 23, 2008

Great map showing an interesting correlation

330 - From Pickin’ Cotton to Pickin’ Presidents « Strange Maps

I enjoy this website that often has interesting map based insights on current events

That is NOT me on the right


This is Doreen and the detail inside the British Mueseum of Natural Science. It is an amazing building with plenty of details such as this one.

We went there to see an exhibit of Darwin's effermeria. Animals he actually collected, the notebooks in which he actually wrote. Amazingly moving.
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November 22, 2008

Heading home

Doreen mocks me because I like to get to the gate early. Honestly, I like to get on the plane as early as I can. It makes me think that the jouney has started and we are one step closer to our destination. She indulges me, and we have never missed a flight.

There is an odd change in Continental's preflight drinks - they are now serving those little champagne 'pops' rather than opening a whole bottle. I think they are only 6 or 8 oz, which means we barely get a sip, as they split one between the two of us. Maybe I will write a letter.

This was a good trip, and I am looking forward to getting home.

CO 05 to Houston


November 20, 2008

on the train to London

Heading back to London

meat pie detritus

meat pie

in a Canterbury pub

Doreen is lamenting the fact that she is drinking a half pint of Spitfire Ale, while I get a full pint

Canterbury Cathedral

Chalk cliffs at Rockchester

English Countryside

whan that aprile with its showres soote

On the train to Canterbury

We are (we hope) on the train to Canterbury. Two people have asked us where the train is going, AND THEY ARE ON IT!

We took a bus to Victoria Station, and the station master told us to get on the train on track #6. We jumped on, and it left.

Now it appears that we have to move to a different car, as they divide the train at Faversham, and we are on the wrong side.

November 15, 2008

on the plane

middle seats on the 777.

life is good!

boeing 777

you can barely see the plane on the left

in the airport

Review of a local restaurant

Money quote:

"Brunch at Beaver’s can be a ton of fun too. I am the worlds most pathetic drinker, but even I couldn’t refuse the Squealing Mary made with bacon infused vodka, rimmed with bacon salt and finished with… a slice of bacon."

chefy bits at Beaver’s at Tasty Bits

November 14, 2008

FastTech 50

I am remiss in not mentioning that OpenSpirit has made the Fast Tech 50 again:

click here

This is our fourth time. I may not apply next year, though. We are getting to the size where the confidentiality of the numbers may matter.

On our way to London

Doreen and I are heading to London tomorrow for a week. I will be attending (and oddly enough, hosting) the Oil & Gas Exchange London 2008.

After that, we will be taking a few days to see The Changing of the Guard and enjoy London.

We will be seeing our friend Keith, who will be moving back to the US next summer.

Then we are back next weekend, just in time for Thanksgiving.

November 5, 2008

My Niece in Thailand's Blog

Abbie’s Blog » Yes we can. (And Thai Dance)

It is over

The election is over. What has been a two year interview process has culminated with us, the American People giving the job to Barak Obama. Whether you voted for him or voted against him, he will soon be your President. That is the way Democracy works. You may not like it, but I would defy you to find a better system.

And now we all have a choice. We can sit on our hands, cry in our beds, complain and threaten to leave the country, or we can fight for what we believe. It does not matter if you believe that Obama will be a great President or an awful failure. If you do not fight for your country, you have no right to call yourself patriotic.

The US faces some horrible challenges. Some are a result of the current administration; some are the result of outside forces. When BHO started his campaign, he engaged people down to the very grass roots to make a change. If you disagree with him, and what he is hoping to accomplish, you can help put forward your own agenda the same way. Vote for local officials, Donate money to the party of your choice. Get active in party politics.

If you support him and want him to succeed, it does not end here, either. There are plenty of opportunities to become part of the process, and more frequently than once every four years. He will need help, all of our elected officials will need help, to pull us out of this mess.

He has my support. But as with all elected officials he needs to prove himself worthy of that support. I will help where and when I can. And I will continually be measuring him against the ideals that I have set.

November 3, 2008

Vote for Obama

For the first time in my voting career - and that would be 1976 when Carter ran against Ford, I am voting for a major party candidate whom I think will win.

Historically I have voted for the Libertarian candidate, as that is the party with whom I generally share the most ideals. But I think that in this election it is too important to throw away your vote. Even in as red a state as Texas, I want people to know that I have voted for a candidate I think will make a difference, both to the United States domestically and to our standing in the world.

Call me naive or call me foolish, but there is only one candidate in this election who stand for individual freedoms as well as international sanity, and that candidate is Barack Obama. I know that I am voting for higher taxes on me and my family, but that is inevitable. McCain is simply lying to us if he thinks he can do all he claims and not raise taxes.

And Barack is a vote against the US Taliban, AKA the Christian Coalition. Republicans are all for Federalism until it touches Gay Marriage, Abortion, Gun Control, Assisted Suicide, Marijuana Laws, or Education. Then they want the big daddy US government to step in. Does anyone care that "Under God" was added to the Pledge in the 1950s? I do. Does anyone care that the Founding Fathers purposefully eliminated a state religion from the constitution? I do. I do not want our government acting like the Stasi in cold war East Germany. We are better than that. Even in Hogans Hero's we abided by the Geneva convention.

Most libertarians I know are voting for Obama. Because we are sick of an elected dictator. One who believes that the Executive branch of government trumps all others. And and Executive who signs legislation "with his fingers crossed" and institutes what he believes to be a line item veto. We have three co-equal branches of Government, and I am ready to have them restored.

I am ready for a federal government of whom I can be proud, both domestically and internationally. I work in an international business, and am I sick and tired of having to apologize for our President and our actions.

I am proud to be an American. I am ready, for the first time in my life, to be proud to be an American under a Democratic President that I voted for.


The Economist's endorsement

Barack Obama should be the next president of America | It's time | The Economist

It's time.

Andrew Sullivan (November 03, 2008) - Barack Obama For President

Measured and rational support for BHO:

The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan (November 03, 2008) - Barack Obama For President


November 1, 2008

Flatlanders and Jerry Jeff Walker

This evening we went to hear The Flatlanders and Jerry Jeff Walker perform at Miller Outdoor Theater in Houston.

It was a blast.

The Flatlanders is sort of a Texas "Super Group" with Joe Ely, Butch Hancock, and Jimmy Dale Gilmore. If you like Texas music, you should buy at least one of their discs. You will recognize all three voices.'

Jerry Jeff Walker was as good as every. AND he was sober (!) He did a nice mix of old stuff (Redneck Mother, LA Freeway) and some new songs he had written.

This was part of a birthday party for one of Doreen's friends. The party part was OK. The music made it all worthwhile.

Panel in Paris

From Moderating a panel in Paris, at the SIS Forum

From Moderating a panel in Paris, at the SIS Forum

From Moderating a panel in Paris, at the SIS Forum