October 30, 2009



She Said What?

October 29, 2009

Clinton scolds Pakistan over inaction on al-Qaida

“I find it hard to believe that nobody in your government knows where they are and couldn’t get them if they really wanted to,” Clinton said in an interview with Pakistani journalists in Lahore. “Maybe that’s the case. Maybe they’re not gettable. I don’t know.”

Third party dream ticket HR Clinton/Sarah Palin.


Obama considering scaled-down Afghan war plan

October 29, 2009

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is considering a scaled-down version of the war plan advanced by his top Afghanistan commander, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, U.S. officials say…


“Senior White House officials Wednesday stressed, however, that the president has not settled on any new troop numbers and continues to debate other strategic approaches to the 8-year-old Afghanistan war. The officials say Obama has not yet settled on the narrowed option or any other as his final choice for how to overhaul the war effort.”


“…when Obama shook up the war’s management and began a lengthy reconsideration of U.S. objectives earlier this year.”


“Obama meets Friday with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the military leaders who would have the responsibility for carrying out his strategy decisions. White House officials said the president will continue to consider his options with advisers over the next couple of weeks, adding that other broad war-council meetings may still be called during that period.”


“The White House preference is to announce the troop decision after Afghanistan’s run-off presidential election on Nov. 7, but before Obama leaves for an unrelated foreign trip on Nov. 11. That timing is not assured, however, and no announcement plan has been settled upon by Obama and his aides, officials said.”


“Gates has not given a public opinion on McChrystal’s request but has pushed for the commander’s overarching strategy during recent weeks of review by the White House, officials said. “I think that the analytical phase is … coming to an end,” Gates said last week in Europe. “Probably over the next two or three weeks we’re going to be considering specific options and teeing them up for a decision by the president.”

(all bolding mine)



Allow me to put down the chainsaw for a minute and make a prediction here.

No “decision” regarding Afghanistan will be made or announced by President Obama between November 7th and November 11th. A new “metric”, “meme”, or “factor” will be found to delay any decision making process. Dithering will remain the strategy for Afghanistan.

So I will remind the reader once again…

Then President George W Bush made a decision after September 11th 2001, by October 7th 2001 it had been implemented in force, on November 10th, 2001 US Special Forces rolled into Kabul.

There is no place for “dithering” in war. There never has been, there never will be.



Crow Tracks

October 23, 2009

Kill me.

You know I’ll be back.



October 23, 2009

Activision’s Bobby Kotick hates developers, innovation, cheap games, you.”
19 September 2009

“Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has been on fire this week. At the Deutsche Bank Securities Technology Conference in San Francisco he made a number of comments that seem to have been calculated to explode the heads of gamers, developers, and anyone who cares a jot about the industry. In a wide-ranging speech, Kotick – who earned $14m last year – dropped a number of bombs about Activision’s future plans, none of which were designed to make anyone happy apart from Activision shareholders.

Essentially, Kotick is in thrall to the almighty dollar to the expense of all else. Thus: “In the last cycle of videogames you spent $50 on a game, played it and took it back to the shop for credit. Today, we’ll (charge) $100 for a guitar. You might add a microphone or drums; you might buy two or three expansions packs, different types of music. Over the life of your ownership you’ll probably buy around 25 additional song packs in digital downloads. So, what used to be a $50 sale is a $500 sale today.”

This echoes a statement Kotick made last year when he explained the company’s lack of support for some new games, specifically ones that don’t lend themselves to sequels. Activision, Kotick said, has no interest in games that “don’t have the potential to be exploited every year on every platform with clear sequel potential and have the potential to become $100 million franchises.”
Talking of $100m franchises, Kotick likes the way that World of Warcraft is heading. “The best of all margins – the 25 per cent operating margin business – has the potential as we can see with World of Warcraft to be a 50 per cent operating margin business. What used to be a low 20s return on invested capital business is now growing to a plus 40 per cent return on invested capital business.”

And he’s not just setting his sights on Guitar Hero and WoW fans. Talking about upcoming and expensive Activision titles such as Modern Warfare 2, Kotick said: “if it was left to me, I would raise the prices even further.”

Having fired these encouraging salvos at the gaming community, Kotick then switched his targets to console manufacturers, who he seems intent on putting out of business by “untethering” Activision games from other-party hardware. “I think what the untethered Guitar Hero does is equal the playing field a little more and give you some leverage with first parties when it comes to downloadable content and the business model.”

Maybe the choice quotes of the event, though, came when Kotick talked about Activision’s developers; you know, the guys who actually make the stuff he gets so rich from. You’d think he’d have a bit of respect for them, right? Oh no, Kotick’s goal over the past 10 years has been – you couldn’t make this up – “to take all the fun out of making video games.” How? By instilling a culture of “scepticism, pessimism, and fear” amongst the company’s staff based around the economic depression and an incentive program that rewards “profit and nothing else”.

We’re having a hard time coming to terms with all this. While we tend to expect mega rich corporate bosses to be at least a bit evil, this flagrant display of gamer hate has left us dumbfounded. Activision is a mammoth company, with some of the biggest-selling franchises in the world under its umbrella, but at the end of the day its profits come from the pockets of gamers who don’t want to miss out on some great titles. If any other CEO exhibited as much contempt for his or her customers as Kotick has, their company would surely expect to face negative feedback or even a consumer boycott. But you just know that nothing like that will happen here. Apart from running the negligible risk of a few blogs printing pictures of him with devil horns or a Hitler moustache, Kotick knows that he’s invulnerable. The gaming “community” just doesn’t have the will or the organisation to, say, boycott Modern Warfare 2, and that – even more than Kotick’s comments – makes us truly sad.”


In full because it needs to be repeated. Adding my own bit…

Bobby Kotick, your $14 million dollar salary will not see a single penny of my money. Until you are fired Activision will not see another penny of my money. Among other things I despise that kind of thug management technique.


Sonata Arctica – Victoria’s Secret live

October 22, 2009

Run hard, the train’s coming.


Nothing New Under the Sun

October 20, 2009

“…the present question is the relief of Candahar and the defeat of Ayub. I have a fine force ready for the work, and Bobs would go in command of it. I know it would beat Ayub into a cocked hat; but there are objections to sending a force away by itself through a country which is sure to be hostile, and we should rouse animosities, which would bring about further complications, and, perhaps, prevent our withdrawl from Cabul. Still, if the work cannot be done from the Quetta side, our troops must be employed, whatever the risks and inconveniences may be.”

– General Donald Stewart, Gough’s camp, Kabul

“It has been decided by the Government of India that a force shall proceed with all possible despatch from Cabul towards Khelat-i-Ghilzai and Candahar for the relief of the British garrison in those places, now threatened by a large Afghan army under the leadership of Sirdar Mahomed Ayub Khan.”

General (Bobs) Roberts, order of 8 August 1880, Sherpur, Kabul



They left Kabul by foot on August 7th, 1880 with 10,000 British and Indian soldiers. They fought and won at Kandahar on September 1st, 1880.
The roads are better now, but the political leadership is not. Still, if the work cannot be done from the Kandahar side, our troops must be employed, whatever the risks and inconveniences (on the Quetta side) may be…



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