About wjjhoge

An expert on nothing with opinions on everything.

You’re Welcome


Last Saturday night, I was sitting in a restaurant with Stacy McCain and his older brother Kirby when a young man walked up and thanked us for our service to the country. How he pegged us as veterans is beyond me.

But to all of you thanking us veterans today—You’re welcome. It was an honor and privilege to serve you.

Note: The young man was only two-thirds correct. Both Kirby and I served in the Army. I was a Signal Officer, and Kirby was a paratrooper in the 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions. Stacy isn’t a veteran, but one of his son is a soldier currently assigned as an instructor at the Army Ranger School.

The Praetorians


During the years of the Roman Republic, the Praetorian Guard was an elite unit of the Roman army responsible for the protection of important public officials. Augustus converted the Guard into a personal protective detail for the emperor, and the unit served in that capacity for about three hundred years. After years of being close to the center of power, the Guard became notable for its intrigue and interference in Roman politics, to the point of overthrowing emperors and proclaiming their successors. In 312, the Guard was disbanded by Constantine.

Mackubin Owens has a post over at American Greatness which draws some interesting comparisons between the Deep State, especially the Intelligence Community, and the Praetorian Guard.

The fact is that the deep state is praetorianism on steroids. It is based on the claim that unelected bureaucrats have a duty to undermine the policy of a duly elected president, simply because they disagree with it. Vindman is a perfect example of this mindset. He complained that “he was deeply troubled by what he interpreted as an attempt by the president to subvert U.S. foreign policy . . . .” Read that again. The problem here is that Article II of the Constitution gives the president sweeping powers to conduct foreign affairs and negotiate with leaders of other nations. It does not grant any such power to unelected bureaucrats to act in ways that demonstrate they approve or disapprove of foreign policy—even when they are “deeply troubled” by it.

No matter what one thinks about Trump, we must ask ourselves: is it a good idea for military officers, members of the Intelligence Community, and even run-of-the-mill bureaucrats to form a phalanx around the duly elected president “for the good of the country”? Do we really want to normalize the view that unelected bureaucrats are the protectors of republican government? If so, we enable the denizens of the deep state, a concept at war with the very idea of republican government.

No, I think not.

Read the whole thing.

A Colorful Bubble


Little gemThis is NGC 6818. It’s a planetary nebula also known as the Little Gem Nebula. It about 6,000 light-years away in the constellation Sagittarius. The cloud is a bit more than half a light-year across, huge compared to its central star  but still a little gem as nebulas go.

When stars like the Sun are ready to “retire,” they shed their outer layers into space which creates glowing clouds of gas called planetary nebulae. The ejection of mass is uneven, and planetary nebulae often have very complex shapes. NGC 6818 has a bright and enclosed central bubble surrounded by a larger, more diffuse cloud. It appears that the stellar wind from the central star propels the outflowing material, shaping NGC 6818. As the fast stellar wind smashes through the slower-moving cloud, it creates particularly bright blowouts in the bubble’s outer layers.

Image Credit: NASA

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day


How about another episode of Blogsmoke. This one is from three years ago today.

* * * * *

BlogsmokeSOUND: MODEM CONNECTING FADES UP TO FULL MIKE—SINGLE SHOT—RICHOCHET

MUSIC: UP AND UNDER—RECORDED—CUT 1

ANNOUNCER: (VOICE OVER MUSIC) Around Twitter Town and in the territory of the net—there’s just one way to handle the harassers and the stalkers—and that’s with an Internet Sheriff and the smell of “BLOGSMOKE”!

MUSIC: THEME HITS: FULL BROAD SWEEP AND UNDER—RECORDED—CUT 2

ANNOUNCER: “BLOGSMOKE” starring W. J. J. Hoge. The story of the trolling that moved into the young Internet—and the story of a man who moved against it. (MUSIC: OUT)

JOHN: I’m that man, John Hoge, Internet Sheriff—the first man they look for and the last they want to meet. It’s a chancy job—and it makes a man watchful … and a little lonely.

MUSIC: MAIN TITLE—RECORDED—CUT 3 Continue reading