Wednesday, November 22, 2017
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Rogue Stafford County Registrar Goes “Into Hiding,” Takes Down Twitter and...

Earlier today, DPVA Vice Chair for Rules Marc Broklawski posted: "If anyone knows the whereabouts of Greg Riddlemoser, Stafford County Registrar, let me know....

Virginia Democrats Condemn Trump’s Military Transgender Ban; Republicans Predictably, Pathetically Silent

The following is just a small sampling of Virginia Democrats' condemnation of Donald Trump's announcement this morning that he would ban transgender people from...

Thoughts from My Encounters with the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces)

This was written as my wife and I are making our first trip to Israel. It is one of a series of pieces I've been...

Protecting Troops with Clean Energy “Most Foolish Thing in the World,”...

RDECOM solar panels, Djibouti, May 2011Denial isn't just about ignoring real-life impacts of global warming - it's also about ignoring real-life impacts of our dependence on fossil fuels. One prominent professional denier is even willing to ignore the safety of American soldiers, calling the military's efforts to cut its need for risky fuel convoys "the most foolish thing in the world."

Fuel supply convoys are a frequent target for insurgent attacks, with attacks on fuel convoys being responsible for over 3,000 American soldier or contractor deaths between 2003 and 2007 in Iraq and Afghanistan. Considering over 10,000 U.S. soldiers and contractors have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, fuel convoy deaths make up a sizable percentage of total casualties.

The military has responded with a furious effort to cut its need for fuel convoys increase fuel efficiency and deploy clean energy. To cut its dependence on fossil fuel-powered generators and slash fuel costs, the military is developing everything from large solar tents to provide both power & shade to small, foldable solar panels that troops in the field can use to recharge their laptops and other electronic devices.

I joined CCTV's The Heat this weekend to talk about the impacts of global warming and what to do about it. Alongside me was longtime science denier Steve Milloy, who's moved from taking money from Phillip Morris and denying the link between cigarettes and cancer to taking money from Exxon and denying the link between man-made carbon pollution and global warming. Milloy dismissed the military's clean energy efforts and called for the fuel convoy status quo to continue.  

The WaPo Hypes Romney’s “Muscular” BS

Reporting means more than just uncritically repeating a candidate's talking points and calling it a day.   It requires judging what politicians say by the only appropriate standard of journalism, the truth.

By this standard, the Washington Post's coverage of Romney's trite militaristic speech the other day fell miserably short.

First of all, can someone please tell me exactly what a "muscular" foreign policy is? Does it mean we invade other countries at will, even say, when it costs us a trillion dollars with no benefit?

Was Hitler "muscular"?  Is it a good thing to be?  I guess it must be, since its apparent opposite, a "flaccid" policy, doesn't sound too great.

"Muscular", in this context, is an utterly meaningless adjective used simply to make warmongers like Romney sound cooler and sexier. It is in short, a marketing term -- not a journalistic one.

Beyond such phony packaging, the Post story failed to challenge Romney's muscular manhandling of the facts on at least 4 key points.  

Navy Testing Cool New Compact Solar Energy System at Virginia’s Fort...

061029-N-4515N-006It's a story we're hearing more and more often - the military is increasingly turning to renewable energy solutions because they simply work better than dirty energy sources. Testing is underway on the latest innovation at Virginia's Fort Story:
The Navy's Explosive Ordnance Disposal Training and Evaluation Unit 2 in Virginia has been testing five prototype lightweight field power kits that include solar cells as a key component. The kits replace fifty pounds of equipment with a compact system that weighs only about nine pounds.

The heart of the kit is a one-pound device called a Soldier Power Manager. The Power Manager functions like a smart micro-mini-grid. In contrast to a portable generator that runs only on diesel fuel, the Power Manager can receive energy from various sources including solar panels and fuel cells. It recharges other devices by cable attachments, eliminating the need for individual battery chargers.

The idea is just one of several developed thanks to suggestions given to the Office of Naval Research's TechSolutions program:
Though the concept is basically the same as an old fashioned employee suggestion box, a single request can have a profound effect on operations. In one recent example, TechSolutions has been testing high efficiency LED bunk lights in response to a sailor's complaint about noisy, outdated fluorescent fixtures. Aside from improving readiness and health the new lighting system has already yielded significant savings in energy, maintenance, storage and disposal logistics, and it may soon go fleetwide.
For the military, clean energy isn't about politics - it's about saving lives with fewer fuel convoys & more mobile soldiers. And as nice added benefits, clean energy also saves money and cuts the oil dependence & carbon pollution that threaten our national security.

Renewable Energy Lets Marines Go Lean, Mean & Green

Local Afghan community gets clean water I'd already heard the military's push for renewable energy was saving lives by reducing the need for fuel convoys vulnerable to attack & roadside bombs. But the U.S. Marine Corps has discovered another benefit:
A company of U.S. Marines recently conducted a remarkable three-week patrol through southern Afghanistan, replacing hundreds of pounds of spare batteries in their packs with roll-up solar panels the size of placemats to power their battle gear.

By allowing the troops to recharge their radios, GPS devices and other equipment, the green technology freed the Marines of India Company from constant resupply by road and air. And by carrying fewer batteries, they carried more bullets.

In addition to making the Marines safer, the solar panels cut the need for having to buy oil from countries that don't like us and cut down on global warming pollution. What's not to like?

Weekly Address: The Military Mission in Libya


The full transcript is here. A few key points:

*"the United States should not-and cannot-intervene every time there's a crisis somewhere in the world."
*"Our military mission in Libya is clear and focused.  Along with our allies and partners, we're enforcing the mandate of the United Nations Security Council.  We're protecting the Libyan people from Qaddafi's forces.  And we've put in place a no fly zone and other measures to prevent further atrocities."
*"This military effort is part of our larger strategy to support the Libyan people and hold the Qaddafi regime accountable."
*"...people in Libya and around the world are seeing that the United States of America stands with those who hope for a future where they can determine their own destiny."

Sen. Webb, It’s Time to End “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”

It looks like it's time to call Sen. Webb's office.
The Senate is planning to vote Tuesday on whether to end debate on a $725.7 billion annual defense policy bill, a measure that includes a repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" law, which bans gays from serving openly in the armed forces.

The vote is expected to be close but is almost certain to pass if Democrats can break a Republican-led filibuster...

[...]

...Attention is focused on a handful of moderate senators, including Susan Collins (R-Maine), George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio) and James Webb (D-Va.).

Look, this policy was a bad idea even when it was first put in place, in 1994. At least back then, there was a semi-plausible excuse, that the public wasn't ready to go any further. Well, that's not true today, not in the least bit. To the contrary, a recent CBS/New York Times poll found that 75% of Americans favor "permitting gay men and lesbians to serve in the military," with just 19% opposed to doing so.  That's a huge, overwhelming majority of Americans for doing the morally correct, military smart, and progressive thing on this one. If you're one of those 75%, call Sen. Webb's office (202-224-4024 or 1-866-507-1570), tell him you want an end to this policy, and tell him you want it now! Thanks.

BREAKING: Huffington Post Reports McChrystal Tendered Resignation

Read more here.

Update: McChrystal has told NBC News that he did not tender his resignation.  You can find the reference here.