Fitting “The Cold War” and “The Good Ole Days” Into the Same Mental Space…

Takes a bit of doing. Those “Things”.

Juvat, over at Chant du Départ, also gets extra points for a Monty Python’s Flying Circus reference.

So, There I was….*

Fairy Tales start with “Once upon a time…” War stories start with “So There I was…” At least according to Juvat.

(And yes, it is a Cold War post about “special” weapons. Do you know what went on during the Cold War?)


If They Delete the Record, Then It Never Happened

The main character in Orwell’s Nineteen Eight-four was in charge of altering historic records. Obama White House Deleted Online Speeches About The Immigration Crisis Hours Before Trump Entered Office: Report.

The Obama administration deleted hundreds of speeches and statements on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) website just hours before President Donald Trump officially entered office, according to research released Tuesday.

A collection of 190 transcripts of speeches on ICE’s website was deleted on Jan. 18 and late in the evening on Jan. 19, 2017, according to research conducted by the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan organization that advocates for government transparency. Statements made by high-ranking ICE officials regarding controversial immigration topics such as sanctuary cities, E-Verify, treatment of detainees, and other issues were included in the reported deletions.

Because history is only important if it servers The Party. Of the Left.

Pictures From Chernobyl

Moxie Malinspike, the man most responsible for Signal, took a trip through the exclusion zone. Stories >> Scene report from the Chernobyl Zone.

Surreptitiously crossing the Uzh river at 2am, with the full moon starting to set low on the horizon, the first thing that strikes you about the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is the sound of it. Just two hours outside of Kiev, all the sounds of civilization disappear, and only our radiation dosimeters are left ticking softly with the wind.

Two things. First, this is an interesting article and not too long. Second, you should be using secure communications, and WhatsApp doesn’t really fit the bill. Try Signal.

The Surrender of General Kirby Smith: May 26, 1865

Confederate General Kirby SmithMost people consider that the surrender of Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House was the end of the Civil War, but sporadic fighting went on after that. The forces in the western part of the Confederacy (Trans-Mississippi Department in the vernacular of the day, which means beyond the Mississippi) was the last organized military force of the Confederacy. The Surrender of Gen. E. Kirby Smith.

With the surrender of these forces, the war was effectively over. (The portrait of Gen. Kirby is from the Library of Congress. Click the image for a larger view.)

The Battle for Appomattox Court House was April 9th of 1865, and Lee surrendered that afternoon. But in the west, the Confederacy fought on. Part of the reason was the difficulty in communications. The final surrender was probably the CSS Shenandoah (a commerce raider) which learned of the end of the war in August, but decided to sail to Liverpool to surrender to the British. They lowered their colors on November 6, 1865. The last Confederate General to surrender was Cherokee Brigadier General Stand Watie commanding the Confederate Indians. (He surrendered on June 23rd.)

The war’s last land fight occurred on May 12-13th at Palmitto Ranch, where 350 Confederates, under Col. John S. Ford, scored a victory over 800 overconfident Federals under Col. Theodore H. Barrett. But afterward the Confederates learned that Richmond had fallen and Gen. Robert E. Lee had surrendered more than a month earlier. The news devastated their morale, and they abandoned their lines.

The surrender was formalized on May 26th, under similar terms to those that Grant gave to the Army of Northern Virginia. Officers and troops were offered parole, given they would not take up arms against the US government again. Officers could keep their sidearms, horses and personal belongings. Horses belonging to the enlisted could also go home with their owners. Small arms, artillery, gunboats, etc. were all to be surrendered. Major General Edward Canby commanding the Military Division of Western Mississippi accepted the surrender in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Not all of the Trans-Mississippi Confederates went home. Some 2,000 fled into Mexico; most of them went alone or in squad-sized groups, but 1 body numbered 300. With them, mounted on a mule, wearing a calico shirt and silk kerchief, sporting a revolver strapped to his hip and a shotgun on his saddle, was Smith.

The article from the New York Times that carried the news can be found at the following link. The Surrender of Kirby Smith.; IMPORTANT ORDER BY GEN. CANBY. HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION WEST MISSISSIPI,

A Sad Anniversary

Not everyone believes Robert Rayford died of AIDS… A mystery illness killed a boy in 1969. Years later, doctors learned what it was: AIDS.

Researchers were skeptical. But as the testing grew more refined, Garry did further analysis that more conclusively pegged Rayford’s infection as an early strain of HIV that was distinct from the strain that led to the epidemic in the early 1980s.

Those tests haven’t erased all doubts, Fauci said. For him, “nailed-down proof” would require more testing on Rayford’s tissue samples. But that’s no longer possible. The last known tissue samples to survive were in Garry’s lab in New Orleans. They were wiped out by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

People make a big deal over the movie And The Band Played On, but I think a much better movie that covers that time is Longtime Companion. It is probably streaming somewhere. I haven’t seen it in a couple of decades. If you don’t remember that time, and somehow, a lot of people don’t, even if they lived through it. It was easy to ignore, I guess, if you didn’t know anyone who was dying.

The Original “OMG!!! Radiation!!!” Moment

Three Mile Island is closing, and so people are remembering what happened. Remembering a nuclear moment of presidential leadership. Too bad that they don’t remember what actually happened.

Jimmy Carter presented an image of an “Aw-shucks” peanut farmer from Georgia. In reality he was a nuclear engineer, but Americans don’t elect “eggheads.” When the incident at Three Mile Island occurred, he managed to pull off what is probably the best thing he did in those 4 years. He stopped the panic.

“I felt perfectly safe last Sunday when I was in the control room just a hundred feet away from the reactor core itself,” he told journalists later. “The level of radiation was carefully monitored even before they found out the president was coming.”

What do you really know about radiation? What did you know in 1979? How much panic was the media spreading?

After the Great East Japan Tsunami and the resultant emergency at Fukushima Daiichi, NPR – during a news segment on the tragedy – was actually talking about Godzilla movies, because they had nothing intelligent to say. With my last post on radiation pointing out how the linear, no-threshold-dose theory of radiation exposure is insane, someone left a comment saying (basically) that LNT was CORRECT! Of course if you believe that, you will never fly in an airplane, get a dental X-ray, eat a banana, sleep next to someone, have granite in your kitchen, live in a brick house, live in Denver, etc. ALL of those things expose you to measurable, but not hazardous, amounts of radiation.

The linked article says that Three Mile Island killed nuclear power, but it was always too expensive. Still people who want to fight against global warming should be all over nuclear, and thorium reactors in particular, but they aren’t because OMG!!! RADIATION!!!