Xbox 360 Controllers for Military Robots

Here’s another good reason why I’m not cut out for military service. They use Xbox 360 Controllers to guide bomb sniffing robots:

Military Uses Xbox 360 Controller to Guide Robot – Gaming Today

It seems the U.S. army is using the Xbox 360 controller to pilot a new piece of equipment. The SUGV is essentially a robot used to check the interior of buildings for enemies and explosives.

If it used a Wii controller I may be able to lend a hand, but I have no Xbox 360 skills.

In somewhat related news, I watched the movie, “Iraq for Sale” last night, which profiles examples of corruption and incompetence on the part of some of Dick Cheney’s war profiteering contractors, including Halliburton, KBR, CACI, Titan, and Blackwater. Much of the tragic stories, including the hanging of Blackwater employees in Fallujah, have been reported. What I didn’t realize was how effective companies like this have been at getting senators like John Warner to block investigations into the incidents. It also showed that Senators Chris Dodd and Byron Dorgan are working hard to bring accountability to both the appropriations of contracts and behavior of contractors.

George W Bush’s Anti-Gay Policy Hurts American Security

Yet again, George W Bush’s anti-gay policies are hurting the American public. This time by denying jobs to qualified people who happen to enjoy the company of people of the same gender:

US military kicks out 3 more Arabic linguists for being gay

Sure, we won’t be able to stop the next September 11 from killing perhaps tens of thousands of people because we don’t have enough linguists to translate the terrorist chatter, but at least they stopped the gay linguists.

This comes on the heals of a report that the British have allows gay members of their military for as long as George W Bush has been in office, without the military turning into the Gay 90’s.

Gay Britons Serve in Military With Little Fuss, as Predicted Discord Does Not Occur – New York Times

Far from causing problems, he said, he found that coming out to his troops actually increased the unit’s strength and cohesion. He had felt uneasy keeping the secret “that their boss was a poof,” as he put it, from people he worked with so closely.

Since the British military began allowing homosexuals to serve in the armed forces in 2000, none of its fears — about harassment, discord, blackmail, bullying or an erosion of unit cohesion or military effectiveness — have come to pass, according to the Ministry of Defense, current and former members of the services and academics specializing in the military. The biggest news about the policy, they say, is that there is no news. It has for the most part become a non issue.

John Aravosis from AMERICAblog thinks the NY Times article signals a possibility of a policy change, but I’m not that optimistic. George W. Bush came to power by bashing gays, and maintains much of his power through the same bigoted policies. If he really planned on moving that direction, he could consider placing a moratorium on firing people who are outed in the military, but that hasn’t, and is not going to happen on George W. Bush’s bigoted watch.

The country has come a long way on this issue during George W. Bush’s time in office. We have gay marriage and civil union statues in some states and the world hasn’t come to an end. Mary Cheney gave birth today and life continued as normal for everyone other than the White House who put out a photo of the happy couple with child . . . um, that is, the child without the happy lesbian couple . . . with heterosexual (or is asexual more appropriate?) Dick and Lynne Cheney posing with their grandson.

ThinkProgress breaks down how asinine George W. Bush and Dick Cheney’s anti-gay policies are:

Mary Cheney’s baby is born.

Under Virginia law, Mary’s partner of 15 years, Heather Poe, “will have no legal relationship with her child. She can’t adopt as a second parent. She won’t have her name on the birth certificate.” President Bush will still not say whether or not he supports gay adoption.

The child’s grandfather has stated that his grandson, Samuel Cheney, has no legal relationship with his daughter’s partner of 15 years due to Virginia’s right to discriminate against same-sex couples.

That’s the world we live in today.

I mentioned the other day that if you’re the best at what you do but happen to be gay, don’t work for Tim Pawlenty and the state of Minnesota. Let’s extend that to George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and the rest of the Bush administration.

The Backlash to President Ford Criticizing Bush in Death

Joe at AMERICAblog offers a quote and commentary regarding President Gerald Ford’s criticism of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld’s Iraq policy as confessed to Bob Woodward this past summer:

AMERICAblog: A blog for a great nation that deserves the truth

“Rumsfeld and Cheney and the president made a big mistake in justifying going into the war in Iraq. They put the emphasis on weapons of mass destruction,” Ford said. “And now, I’ve never publicly said I thought they made a mistake, but I felt very strongly it was an error in how they should justify what they were going to do.”

This morning, Bush said Ford was a “man of complete integrity.” Cheney said Ford was the embodiment of “decency, integrity, and devotion to duty.” Certainly a man with those characteristics couldn’t be wrong when he said the Bush and Cheney were mistaken about the war with Iraq. The White House staff has probably already started the attack on Ford’s character now that they know he spoke so candidly about Bush’s biggest failure.
It will be interesting to see how the White House attacks a dead man lying in state. Here’s an early take from gambling “ethicist” William Bennett:

“…just how decent, how courageous, is what Jerry Ford did with Bob Woodward? He slams Bush & Cheney to Woodward in 2004, but asks Woodward not to print the interview until he’s dead. If he felt so strongly about his words having a derogatory affect, how about telling Woodward not to run the interview until after Bush & Cheney are out of office? The effect of what Ford did is to protect himself, ensuring he can’t be asked by others about his critiques, ensuring that there can be no dialogue. The way Ford does it with Woodward, he doesn’t have to defend himself…he simply drops it into Bob Woodward’s tape recorder and let’s the bomb go off when fully out of range, himself. This is not courage, this is not decent.”

For those of you keeping score at home, it’s NOT okay to speak the truth before dying, but it’s okay to attack the dead for speaking the truth. That is some seriously twisted logic, but I suppose that’s what you have to do if you’re trying to defend the president, Rumsfeld, and Cheney on this one. Attack the delivery rather than the content of the message.

Strangely, Bennett’s argument is worth debating once his asinine pussification of a respected ex-president is dismissed. Would President Ford’s speaking out against the war and the trumped up justification for invading Iraq have changed history? Of course, we’ll never know, but the timing of the release now seems important as Bush attempts to escalate the number of troops in harm’s way.

Based on how the administration has treated others who were once trusted advisers who later spoke out against Bush’s policies (Richard Clarke, David Kuo, Anthony Zinni, to name just three), it’s pretty clear why Ford would avoid the unavoidable backlash from the White House. Would you want a nasty battle with the White House to consume the last two years of your life?