Bride’s birthday pre-game

It has begun.

Grey Goose dirty (filthy!) martinis for me, $68.00 / bottle glasses of Chianti for her.  I ain’t spending s*** on liquor at an expensive Brazilian steakhouse, and the groupon comes with a bottle of wine and dinner for two.

I’m afraid the steakhouse has made a rather large mistake – They won’t allow more than one groupon to be used per “group”, and we have a 6-person party.   So if they don’t seat us at least adjacently, if not push three tables together, its going to get loud.  Trust.

lrsFLASH

Ah well.  That will be entertaining blog-fodder at the very least.  With video.

RLTW, and out here.

greenred

The “JV Team” is at it again

afghan-bombing

Afghan security personnel stand guard near the site of a suicide bombing at Shash Darak in Kabul on Saturday. (Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images)

Odd this sort of thing is happening when the last administration insisted ISIS was on the run, eh?

Look, I know I have a sour view on this matter given my background and the fact that my son is deploying to that hell hole in a matter of weeks for the second time, but really:  What kind of clown declares a war “ended”?  Wars are won, or they are lost – They are not simply “ended” (see: “Peace with honor” – A fancy way to say “we give up, even though we could win with 45 days focused effort”).

It’s my wife’s birthday celebration dinner at the Brazilian steakhouse tonight, I’m sure this will put a damper on things.  Hell, it’s getting to the point where I’m ashamed to wear any of my old army unit T-shirts, qualification T-Shirts, lapel pins, or baseball hats.  It isn’t the soldiers I’m losing confidence in…It’s their leadership.  I gave the army over 20 years of my life, and now I’m on the sidelines watching force effectiveness wither away and die.  That’s a horrible feeling.

Leaders take longer to train and deploy than soldiers do.  We’re in for some rough times yet to come in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria (not to mention Iran), and politicians and the brass just aren’t talking about it, easier not to mention it and chase pet projects instead.

Disgusting.

A suicide bomber killed at least two and wounded seven in an attack claimed by the group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the diplomatic area of Afghanistan’s capital on Saturday, and at least 18 soldiers died in an attack on a checkpoint by Taliban insurgents in the country’s west, authorities said.

Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said the Kabul attack took place in the Shash Darak area near NATO headquarters and not far from the U.S. Embassy. Danish said the initial casualty count could rise.

ISIS in a statement on its website claimed responsibility.

In western Farah province, at least 18 soldiers were killed when their checkpoint came under attack by Taliban insurgents, said Dawlat Waziri, spokesman for the defence ministry. He said two other soldiers were wounded in the attack in the Bala Buluk district.

All lights green, all systems GO

What the heck happened to February?  Seems just a week ago I was filling out reams of pre-employment paperwork and spending a fortune on marksmanship gear, and as of today, I have four nights left at home before reporting to Eglin AFB for range qualification for a week, then moving my butt up to Cambridge to sit in a corporate apartment for a month while I look for listings my wife might deign to evaluate for purchase.

She, in the meantime, has to select a brokerage to handle the sale of this house we’ve lived in for sixteen years (we have a choice of two, interviewed one yesterday and another is coming on Friday), organize with an “estate sale” firm who will assist her in getting rid of all the stuff we don’t want to take with us, stage the house, and put it on the market, and deal with the movers.  She’s done all of this countless times, of course, with every PCS (Permanent Change of Station) we made while I was in the army, but she’s not looking forward to it.

Luckily her birthday is on Saturday, and I’ve made reservations at a Brazilian steakhouse for the two of us – One last indulgence before being separated for a month with little time to talk to each other.  Good grief, it feels like a deployment, or my staff time as an S-3 (Plans & Operations) when I was a Major – TDY (Temporary Duty) here, there, and anon, keeping me away from home for extended periods.

OK, perhaps not a deployment.  This time no one will be shooting back at me (unless a disgruntled MIT student busts a cap in my a** – Unlikely, since I’m not faculty, just a staff member on the ballistics and trajectory team…I won’t be grading anyone).  But TDY?  Oh yeah.  This is the civilian version of TDY.

Anyhow, I’m all packed, the flu has passed, I’m taking a break from the range today to take eldest daughter clothes shopping, and there’s Portuguese red wine to look forward  to on Saturday evening.  The only fear I have is the fear of how much I’m going to miss my bride for this upcoming month…I really am quite fond of her.

And don’t think the irony of starting a new job where I’ll be firing small arms every day at work in the midst of the latest “ban all the guns” furor escapes me – It amuses me mightily.

Here’s some morning reading for you while I suffer at the mall:

On Monday, as the news of the Virginia Tech shootings was unfolding, I went into my advanced constitutional law seminar to find one of my students upset. My student, Tara Wyllie, has a permit to carry a gun in Tennessee, but she isn’t allowed to have a weapon on campus. That left her feeling unsafe. “Why couldn’t we meet off campus today?” she asked.

Virginia Tech graduate student Bradford Wiles also has a permit to carry a gun, in Virginia. But on the day of the shootings, he would have been unarmed for the same reason: Like the University of Tennessee, where I teach, Virginia Tech bans guns on campus.

In The Roanoke Times last year – after another campus incident, when a dangerous escaped inmate was roaming the campus – Wiles wrote that, when his class was evacuated, “Of all of the emotions and thoughts that were running through my head that morning, the most overwhelming one was of helplessness. That feeling of helplessness has been difficult to reconcile because I knew I would have been safer with a proper means to defend myself.”

More at the link.  Out here,

They’ll play hell allowing you to buy it, but if you do, and perchance make a good investment – They’ll gladly tax your capital gains

And here’s why: If it isn’t fiat, they aren’t making any money from it – And cryptocurrencies are so far from fiat (yet becoming a part of more and more people’s investment portfolios) the banks don’t see a penny from them:

College tuition can be a tough nut to crack.

Students in pursuit of their dreams often rely on hard work and student loans to get them through the lean years, when they have to pay for college and living expenses.

But some New York University students are paying for their tuition while avoiding the drudgery of waiting on tables in Greenwich Village.

Take Konig Chen, for example. The 22-year-old, who was raised in Brazil and went to high school in Taiwan, says he has used the proceeds of his bitcoin investments to pay for a full four-year course of study at the school.

Like many cryptocurrency investors, Chen started out small, betting around $5,000 on the currency in February 2017, when it was fetching around $1,200. Adding $80,000 over the summer to his investment as the currency started to skyrocket, by the end of last year his wallet was worth enough for him to take out $200,000.

Read the whole thing, it describes how some NYU students have created an algorithm to predict cryptocurrency performance and are making a ton of money.

We talked about banks not allowing cryptocurrency purchases yesterday, but here’s another pointer to the bankers and their lobbyists trying to kill these currencies off:

According to the IRS, when a taxpayer successfully mines cryptocurrency and has earnings from that activity, he or she must include it in gross income after determining the fair market dollar value of the virtual currency as of the day it was received.

If you are considering buying or selling cryptocurrency, just follow this rule: How you use it relates to how it is taxed. If you keep good tax records and keep in mind how you are using the currency, understanding the tax implications will be a breeze.

They are taxing it.  Of course they are.  It’s hard out there for a morally corrupt IRS,. (Youtube) (NSFW)

Disgusting.

But…I was assured this would never happen…

Oh, wonderful:

Those of you who were following the efforts of then SECDEF Ash Carter to open up all combat roles to women during the Obama administration probably recall some of his comments at the time. In 2015, when the U.S. Marine Corps was told to integrate women into combat duty, Carter was very clear in stating that standards would not be lowered and the women would have to compete on even footing with the men. The New York Times covered his announcement at the time. (Emphasis added)

There will be no exceptions,” Mr. Carter said at a news conference. He added, “They’ll be allowed to drive tanks, fire mortars and lead infantry soldiers into combat. They’ll be able to serve as Army Rangers and Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Marine Corps infantry, Air Force parajumpers and everything else that was previously open only to men.”

The defense secretary sought to assuage those concerns on Thursday by saying that every service member would have to meet the standards of the jobs they wished to fill, and “there must be no quotas or perception thereof.”

Unfortunately, one of the requirements to become a Marine combat officer is to pass the Combat Endurance Test (CET). One Marine I know who lived through the experience simply described it as “hell.” Many of the details are not made available to the public at large, but the majority of men who attempt the feat fail. The number of women who passed the course can apparently be counted on one hand.

Read the whole thing and feel your blood begin to boil.  Don’t believe it will happen?  The army has female Rangers now – Actual, tabbed Rangers, and we were assured that would never happen either.

Meh.