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What is Galactica, Exactly?

[ 0 ] March 14, 2009 |

Axe, noting that BSG has been lauded by the UN, opines:

In addition to raising all those issues that interest the U.N., BSG is the best “naval” show in years. Yes, it’s set in space, but Galactica in form and function is essentially an aircraft carrier or a large amphibious ship, tasked with escorting the survivors of genocide to a new home.

Interesting. I had never thought of Galactica as an amphib. One of the reasons that I’d never so thought is that it’s absurd; Axe has amphibs on the brain. First, Galactica has more in common with the Russian carrier Admiral Kuznetsov or the old Kiev class carriers than any American vessel. The Soviets included intrinsic surface and anti-submarine warfare capabilities in their carriers, which the US does not. This makes their carriers somewhat less dependent on support vessels, although it tends to reduce their effectiveness as aircraft carriers. Galactica is pretty much a hybrid carrier/battleship along these lines, similar also to the initial configurations of the Akagi and Lexington class aircraft carriers, which included a heavy gun armament.

Second, Galactica really isn’t an amphib. I can imagine, within the logic of the show, the necessity for a warship designed specifically for expeditionary warfare. It would carry lots of Raptors, have weapons specifically designed to attack planetary targets, quarter a large contingent of marines, and maybe have some maneuvering capability within an atmosphere. Galactica has a few Raptors, but they’re most often used for recon or fighter support. Galactica also has some marines, but they seem very much in the mold of the Nelsonian Royal Navy, intended to repel boarding parties and put down mutinies.

This leads to another (even nerdier) question; why do the Cylons and the Colonials only have capital ships? And why do they only, apparently, have one type of capital ship, rather than a specialized selection? To give some context, the navies developed in World War I and World War II included a number of different ship types, each with different specialties. Even in surface warfare, each type of ship had a particular job. This specialization reached its apogee with the USN post-1943, where Iowa class battleships, Baltimore class heavy cruisers, Cleveland class light cruisers, and Sumner class destroyers would each perform a duty in battle, such that a well balanced force of all four types would be superior to a force consisting of any one. Of course, it’s much more common for actual fleets to be cobbled together out of a variety of “legacy” ships, creating situations like the Battle of Jutland, where armored cruisers found themselves going up against dreadnoughts. In addition, it was largely impossible for a single capital ship to replicate the capabilities of both battleship and aircraft carrier in WWII, because no deck could accomodate the heavy guns of the former while allowing enough space for aircraft to operate. It’s easier now with missiles, but even the Russians deploy a wide variety of different warship types.

So I’m wondering; why wouldn’t the Cylon and Colonial fleets differentiate by type? I have to think that a ship that could go toe-to-toe with a base star without wasting space on an airwing would be useful. I also suspect that a vessel, smaller than a battlestar, that could focus on fleet “air” defense would be helpful. And finally, as noted above, I think that a battlestar-sized ship that focused on expeditionary combat would work out very well.

Let this serve as a finale-part one open thread.

… by the way, let’s note that the entire situation is due to the idiocy of Lee Adama; deciding to sacrifice Pegasus to save Galactica was, as has become apparent, a dumbass move.

…also, it’s clear that the timely deployment of the F-22 could have saved the Twelve Colonies…

Bellotti Bumps

[ 0 ] March 13, 2009 |


Mike Bellotti is stepping down as Oregon’s football coach to become the school’s athletic director, and offensive coordinator Chip Kelly will be promoted to head coach.

Bellotti, who has coached the Ducks for the last 14 seasons, takes over his new position July 1, replacing athletic director Pat Kilkenny. Kelly becomes coach on March 30, the opening day of spring practice.

The moves first were announced in December, but no timetable was set for the transition.

Bellotti will serve in the interim as senior counselor to Kilkenny, who will step down June 30.

Oregon’s athletic department scheduled a news conference Saturday to discuss the transition. Bellotti would not comment until then.

Bellotti, 58, has gone 116-55 as coach of the Ducks. This past season Oregon went 10-3 with a 42-31 win over Oklahoma State in the Holiday Bowl. The Ducks finished the season ranked No. 10.

Not really much question that Bellotti was the finest head coach the Ducks have ever had.

Cramer v. Stewart

[ 0 ] March 13, 2009 |

The video of what djw was discussing earlier for those of us who missed it last night:

[Rather than embed all the segments and slow the website to a crawl, you should be able to follow by clicking the relevant link after each one ends…]

An Article That Is — I Swear! — Idiotic Even By Pajamas Media Standards

[ 0 ] March 13, 2009 |

Shorter Jeff Pope: The fact that the new president, subsequent to his crushing election victory, is attempting to enact the agenda he ran on rather that neo-Hooverite nonsense that voters have been consistently rejecting for many decades proves that elections doesn’t matter.

Don’t kid yourself, though, if you charge people five bucks a month to have people engage in this kind of analysis on the Web TeeVee you’re sitting on a goldmine…

[ 0 ] March 13, 2009 |

Friday Cat Blogging… Starbuck and Ripley

…as you can see, Starbuck has reacted to the arrival of Ripley by undertaking a campaign of hissing, growling, swatting, and dive bombing. Nelson believes that any engagement legitimizes Ripley’s presence, thus increasing the chances that Nelson will be eaten.

Things I never would have thought possible….

[ 0 ] March 13, 2009 |

I’m almost starting to feel bad for Jim Cramer.

Eleven this Month

[ 0 ] March 13, 2009 |

This needs to stop, and it looks as if Jim Moran has the right idea about stopping it:

The Army fired 11 soldiers in January for violating the military’s policy that gay service members must keep their sexuality hidden, according to a Virginia congressman. Democratic Rep. Jim Moran said he has requested monthly updates from the Pentagon on the impact of the policy until it is repealed.

In a statement released on Thursday, Moran said the discharged soldiers included an intelligence collector, a military police officer, four infantry personnel, a health care specialist, a motor-transport operator and a water-treatment specialist.

“How many more good soldiers are we willing to lose due to a bad policy that makes us less safe and secure?” asked Moran, a member of the House panel that oversees military spending.

Clever way to approach it; making manifest the damage caused by the policy while at the same time invoking a sense of urgency. I think that the don’t ask don’t tell is dead policy walking anyway, but better to get rid of it as soon as possible.

A Limited Defense of Michael Steele

[ 0 ] March 12, 2009 |

In fairness, by Republican standards, I don’t really see how Steele flip-flopped. After all, the Republican position on abortion seems to be that abortion should be “left to the states,” and this state-centric position is best accomplished by passing a constitutional amendment banning abortion in all 50 states as well as a broad array of other federal abortion regulations. So, by these standards, Steele’s position is perfectly consistent! Admittedly, if you use the standards of basic logic his position makes absolutely no sense, just like the Republican one, but any of the nation’s prominent male op-ed columnists will tell you, this doesn’t change the fact that the abortion criminalization lobby has a commitment to rigorous moral reasoning the rest of us can only envy.


[ 0 ] March 12, 2009 |

You’d think if you were planning to Go Galt, you’d at least bother to get your cultural signifiers straight:

Lyndse Rae Faba is going to go Galt by, first, quitting smoking. What! We thought smoking was a politically incorrect activity enjoyed by all conservative men, women and children. She explains: “If children want free health care they can take up smoking and pay for it themselves, I guess.”

I don’t know what the hell that means, either. But Lyndse Rae clearly isn’t a “Hundred Percenter.”

(Via Roy Edroso)


[ 0 ] March 11, 2009 |

Yeah, I think it’s safe to say that Wells Fargo will be giving back their bailout money on the same day that Mr. and Dr. Instapundit “go Galt.” Coincidentally. this will be the same day that I win “America’s Next Top Model.”

The Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan

[ 0 ] March 11, 2009 |

Alex Harrowell has a couple of interesting posts on the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, one at Fistful of Euros and the other at Yorkshire Ranter. The point is essentially this; the Soviets executed the withdrawal more competently that just about any other aspect of the war, and it worked out really well for them. The government that they left in place survived for another three years, and only collapsed when Soviet support ended in 1992.

In fact, the withdrawal was about the best idea the Soviets had in Afghanistan. Having decided to go, they pursued a policy of building up the Afghan government, changing the military strategy to one based on defending the bulk of the population and leaving the mountain wilds to the enemy, pouring in aid of all kinds, negotiation with those who were willing, and leaving a strong advisory mission in place.

I recall at the time that predictions of the survival of the Soviet-sponsored Afghan government were measured in weeks or in months, but it turned out that the opposition split, foreign support for the rebels vanished, and the regime was able to win several crucial military victories. Nobody talked much about this after 1989, because nobody really cared much about Afghanistan. I’m thinking that the United States and Europe could do much, much worse than what the Soviets managed; Harrowell thinks (perhaps only half-jokingly) that the Soviet general who managed the post-withdrawal advisory mission should be tracked down and consulted on the future of the NATO mission. A Soviet style operation would concede certain facts about Afghanistan; the central government will never have much control over the hinterland, and a liberal democratic regime is unlikely to exist in any thing but name, but it may be past time to think about such concessions.

Cross-posted to TAPPED.

Outsourcing II

[ 0 ] March 11, 2009 |

Edroso on Paglia:

I see Salon is still publishing Camille Paglia. Why, I wonder? It can’t be respect for her prose, which reads like yammerings that a cranked-up MFA candidate might read into a digital recorder for her overdue thesis as she speed-walks around the quad. The only sane reason I can imagine they do it is to throw Republican yahoos some pointy-head bait, as the Times does with David Brooks and John Tierney, to get themselves links from rightwing blogs. Don’t they realize they could get Ann Althouse to do the same thing for much less money?

If I understand correctly, Salon is still asking people for money. Yeah, good luck with that as long as any percentage of a prospective fee might go to the somewhat more pretentious and even dumber Maureen Dowd…

…at least her latest column makes it clear why she likes Sarah Palin so much: they both seem to share the eccentric conviction that being criticized violates your First Amendment rights.