Massive Explosion rocks Tianjin China

Warning, some graphic images.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQwRMGa4jsU?feature=player_embedded]

Flammable goods at a container terminal in northern China’s Tianjin municipality exploded at about 11:30 p.m. local time on Wednesday (11:30 a.m. ET), shattering windows and causing injuries, according to state media reports.

The number of casualties from the blast in the city’s Binhai New Area is unknown, China Central Television reported on its news app, citing the local fire department. Injured people have been hospitalized, it said. One report put the number injured higher than 400. The Daily Mirror reported the injury toll at more than 1,000.

Via National Post.

CBS News Atlanta Can’t grasp that uniforms specifically tailored for women might not be Unisex.

A new combat uniform with special consideration to the female body is now available at Fort Gordon, almost a month after the Army announced plans to open all units and military jobs to women by 2016.

The March debut of the Combat Uniform-Alternate is the first in a series of moves the Army hopes to make in the next three years to help female soldiers feel like more professional members, officials said.

With narrower shoulders, a slightly tapered waist and a more spacious seat, the unisex clothing line has been in the works since 2009 and is being issued to all installations – except Fort Benning in Columbus, Ga. – for men and women with a smaller or more slender body.

via Unisex Uniforms Debut As Army Opens Units To Women « CBS Atlanta.

This is why people don’t trust the news. Because the news is provided by really, really stupid people.

The headline in the article says “Unisex Uniforms Debut As Army Opens Units To Women,”  which is exactly the opposite of what is actually happening.

Since the introduction of the BDU uniform in the early 1980s, the BDU and its replacement the ACU, have been unisex.

But complaints of the poor fit of these combat uniforms for women have finally lead to the introduction of sizes specifically intended to better fit women’s bodies.

http://cbsatlanta.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/size0.jpg

Further, despite the reporter’s effort to link the uniform to the issue, the new uniform sizes have absolutely no correlation to the planned (insane) inclusion of women in the combat arms of the service by 2016. They’re two wholly unrelated matters. The push to include women in combat arms comes from DoD (and the toadies of the JCS who are falling in line).  The development of clothing sizes is an internal matter almost wholly driven by a small program office in the Army alone, and though the Army laboratory system.

I don’t really expect the so-called reporters at an affiliate station in a secondary market to grasp the complexities of the organization and procurement systems of the military, but you’d think they could at least grasp the basic theme of whatever press release Ft. Gordon rolled out.  You’d think that. But you’d be wrong.

Some people should keep their cakeholes shut.

I just spotted this asshat over at Just One Minute and also at Blackfive.

Bryan Fischer, who judging by his bio hasn’t ever witnessed anything more valorous than a state senator giving a speech, seems to think that the Medal of Honor has become feminized. In reference to SSG Guinta’s investment with the Medal of Honor, Fischer has this to say:

This is just the eighth Medal of Honor awarded during our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Sgt. Giunta is the only one who lived long enough to receive his medal in person.
But I have noticed a disturbing trend in the awarding of these medals, which few others seem to have recognized.
We have feminized the Medal of Honor.
According to Bill McGurn of the Wall Street Journal, every Medal of Honor awarded during these two conflicts has been awarded for saving life. Not one has been awarded for inflicting casualties on the enemy. Not one.

First, Fischer (and McGurn of the Wall Street Journal) is factually incorrect in his assertions. Of the eight Medals of Honor bestowed so far in the War on Terror, not all have been simply for saving the lives of fellow soldiers. In fact, the very first one awarded, to SFC Paul Ray Smith, was explicitly for engaging the enemy in desperate straits. That his fight had the effect of saving his fellow soldier’s lives was undoubtedly a factor in the award. But he earned is award by engaging the enemy.

Fischer seems utterly clueless about the circumstances that lead to acts of valor. When everything is going well in a fight (and here, well is a very relative term), there is no need for anyone to engage in heroics. Indeed, it would likely be counterproductive. It is only when things are deep in the shitter that an individual can possibly perform above and beyond the call of duty. Not surprisingly, those desperate moments usually see our soldiers at grave risk. So the aspect of saving a fellow soldier’s life is almost inherent to the award of the Medal of Honor.

Secondly, how is rewarding the bravery of men whose actions define “selfless sacrifice” in any way “feminizing” the Medal of Honor?  Selfless sacrifice is the heart and soul of soldiering. From the minute a man (or woman!) raises his hand and takes the oath of enlistment, he agrees to put the needs of his fellow soldiers, his unit, his service, his entire country, before his own desires. That willingness is at the very core of the warrior ethos, the very set of manly attributes Fischer seems to think we have ceased to honor. There’s a reason we call it the “service” and not the “personal gain.”

I would tell  Fischer to stick to his ministry, but just looking at his writings, I’d say he’s pretty crappy at that, as well. Maybe he should just crawl back under the rock from when he came.

Segway Company Owner saves uncounted lives.

I saw the bit in the news about the owner of the company that currently makes the Segway, James Heselden, fell to his death off a cliff while on his personal Segway. Other than a chuckle about the irony of it. But what I didn’t realize was that Mr. Heselden invented a product has saved untold numbers of American and British soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Hesco barrier is the modern replacement for the sandbag. A simple open box reinforced with wire, the Hesco is versatile, cheap, reusable, and very good at stopping bullets, RPGs, car bombs, fragments and virtually every other direct fire threat to troops.  It is somewhat amazing that no one thought up the Hesco Barrier before, but they are ubiquitous now, and saving lives every day. Their light weight (before you add dirt, of course) and low cost has allowed our outposts to be fortified to a level that was previously unheard of. We’ll never know just how many lives have been saved by Hescos, but it is surely hundreds, and probably thousands.

MRE’s with an international flavor

Big Dick (that’s his name, not a description) twigged me to this juicy bit in the NYT about how other countries deployed to Afghanistan feed their troops.

Each year, among the countries with troops in Afghanistan — the current number is 47 — tens of millions of dollars are spent researching how to fit the most calories, nutrition and either comfort or fun into a small, light package. The menus and accompaniments are intended not just to nourish but also to remind the soldier of home. Some include branded comfort foods — Australians get a dark-brown spreadable yeast-paste treat called Vegemite, for example — while others get national staples like liverwurst (Germany), or lamb curry (Britain’s current culinary obsession).

I was lucky enough during my time to try a few other countries rations. Most of the time, it was a nice change of pace. Most of the time…

Go read the whole thing.