11 December 2007

VIRGINIA class weld problems

Wonder what Joel thinks of this?

In a statement Monday, Northrop Grumman said changes have been made in yard welding-control processes and that welders and welding foreme n will undergo an eight-hour specialized briefing to avoid future mistakes.

The company said it is "taking appropriate actions" with individuals involved in the errors, but did not elaborate.

"The quality of our work is something we take very seriously," the shipyard said in a statement.

The Navy said the first indications of a problem surfaced when two failures occurred during routine testing of the piping welds - one in August and another in October. That led to a broader investigation.

The failures, the Navy said, were caused by trace amounts of copper alloy filler material incorrectly welded into corrosion-resistant steel socket-welded joints. Using a copper alloy filler in that type of piping joint can cause the joints to crack, resulting in leaks.

Navy mulling different answer than 313

Navy Times reports that the CNO received a 'think piece' from VADM Morgan. You remember Morgan was the man behind the new Maritime Strategy. Apparently in this point paper, Morgan proposes three options for the Navy - and none of them look like the 313 ship plan of record.

  1. Major combat operations. A force of 263 ships, smaller than the 313-ship fleet that Roughead has said he wants, tailored for battle against a peer competitor. This fleet would be composed of 12 aircraft carriers, 13 big-deck amphibious helicopter carriers, 26 amphibious ships, 81 cruisers and destroyers, 54 corvettes, 21 auxiliaries and 56 submarines including attack, ballistic and cruise missiles boats.
  2. Shaping force. A fleet of 534 ships, mostly corvettes and patrol boats better suited to littoral, maritime security and partnership operations. This force would be composed of six aircraft carriers, 24 big-deck amphibious helicopter carriers, 48 amphibious ships, 48 cruisers and destroyers, 161 corvettes, 200 patrol craft, 30 riverine squadrons, 15 auxiliaries, and 32 submarines of all classes.
  3. Balanced force. A fleet of 474 ships able to conduct operations from high-end battle to low-end counterterrorism and maritime security. This force would be composed of nine aircraft carriers, 23 big-deck amphibious helicopter carriers, 46 amphibious ships, 57 cruisers and destroyers, 132 corvettes, 160 patrol craft, 20 riverine squadrons, 15 auxiliaries and 32 submarines of all classes.
These all assume that the Total Obligation Authority (TOA) for ship construction will be roughly constant. That is a big problem, say most analysts (see Ron O'Rourke). This drives some tough choices that are shown above.

My problem with this is that the VIRGINIA class submarine is one of the few recent capital ships to come down in price in recent history. The submarine force has reduced the cost per hull from $2.5B to $2.0B (CY2005$). Compare and contrast with LCS and projections for DDG-1000. Now, VADM Morgan proposes that we get reduce the numbers of submarines instead of leveraging programs with momentum.

Also, when is the last time we've used amphibious ships, other than is a humanitarian assistance mission? Do we really think we're going to go and execute WWII style landing? Opposed? If we want to do the humanitarian assistance, foreign engagement mission, we should be building six more of these.

27 November 2007

JROTC /= child soldiers

Somebody outta smack the author of this around. Sorry, that was too violent a reaction. Must be the militaristic ethos in me.

"My elementary school was out of control. Everybody just did whatever they wanted," said Mariah Coleman, 14.

"Here there's discipline, but there's freedom as well. Everybody just respects each other and we get respect from the teachers."

Standing with her hands clasped firmly behind her back, Coleman wrinkles her nose at the thought of enlisting and explains that she wants to be a mathematician. She enrolled in the Marine academy because she thought it would help her get into college.

She has four years until graduation.

At least the students have a clue. Read the whole thing.

21 September 2007

Go ask the chief

Congratulations to the US Navy's newest Chief Petty Officers. BZ

Cute babies -aaawwww!

12 September 2007

What are our priorities?

OPNAV N87's Undersea Warfare magazine for Fall 2006 has an article about changing the officer career path. Apparently the submarine force leadership has responded to the numerous problems in operating submarines, such as with the SAN FRANCISCO, MINNEAPOLIS ST. PAUL, AND NEWPORT NEWS, by deciding that we need to make submarine officers more competitive for flag rank.
Both now and in the future, the professional submarine officer must not only be an expert in our submarine core competencies and mission areas, but also be able to effectively lead Navy, fleet, and joint operations.
To enable this we are adjusting the sea tour lengths.
To guarantee submarine officers are competitive for “Big Navy” or joint assignments, major command tours should start at 22 years commissioned service (YCS).

To meet the 16 YCS PCO gate, the prospective executive officer gate will eventually move from July of 13 YCS to April of 12 YCS (for May graduates).
And to accomplish this feat, we're giving the XOs and COs of the future submarine force much less at sea experience than we had before, directing that "JO/DH/XO tour lengths be shortened to 32/32/20 months respectively. This represents approximately a 10 percent reduction in at-sea experience."

The author says that we'll ameliorate the effects of giving up this at sea experience with use of shore trainers (during those same shortened sea tours). Just be sure to take advantage of the resident and non-resident JMPE phase I and II education opportunities. Not that they will do much good if you run into anything because of lack of experience.

05 September 2007

Guess that Hooters Airline didn't fly that route

Southwest Airlines says they don't have a passenger dress code.

Kyla Ebbert, who was escorted off a Southwest Airlines flight two months ago for wearing an outfit far less revealing than a bikini top.

Ebbert, a Mesa College student and Hooters waitress, was allowed to stay on the plane, but only after she put up a fight and, she says, was lectured on how to dress properly.

Let the young lady dress how she wants, these guys haven't taken over yet.

Wasn't Barksdale in Dr. Strangelove?

AF can't keep track of their nuclear cruise missiles. The AF PAO called it an 'isolated incident'

The US Air Force has launched an investigation after a B-52 bomber flew across the US last week mistakenly loaded with nuclear-armed missiles.

It follows reports in the Army Times that five missiles were unaccounted for during the three-hour flight from North Dakota to Louisiana.

The air force said the cruise missiles were safe at all times.

Army Times said the missiles were to be decommissioned but were mistakenly mounted on the bomber's wings.

The W80-1 warhead has a yield of five to 150 kilotons, the paper said.

The flight took place on 30 August, from the Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to the Barksdale Air Force Base, near Bossier City, in Louisiana.

This is a monumental screw-up and an example of why nuclear weapons are best left to the pros: US Navy SSBNs.

31 August 2007

Agence-France Press: Moon Hoax?

This editor needs to go back and review this article again.
Russia plans to send a manned mission to the Moon by 2025 and wants to build a permanent base there shortly after, the head of Russian space agency Roskosmos said Friday.

"According to our estimates we will be ready for a manned flight to the Moon in 2025," Anatoly Perminov told reporters. An "inhabited station" could be built there between 2027 and 2032, he said.
The only moon landing in history is NASA's Apollo expedition in 1968.

23 August 2007

Go to Hell, Rosie!

Courtesy of Purdue University.

22 August 2007

Polite umbrella

A korean designer has designed an umbrella that you can morph to prevent banging into other people. Apparently she hasn't lived in NYC long enough. Video

Smart street lights

Lunar-Resonant Streetlights Only Shine When the Moon Doesn't

10 August 2007

Hamas: Navy without ships

Gaza controlling (terrorist) government Hamas is starting a Navy:

“The requirements to join are that you have to be a good soldier, be fit, and know how to swim,” said the coastal patrol’s only confirmed member and commander, Jamil al-Dahashan, a veteran of the armed wing of Hamas.

Apparently they don't need boats because they're aiming to recruit good swimmers!

The new force is expected to take to the waves — or at least the beaches — in a couple of weeks, where it will battle against prostitution and drug abuse. Eventually, when it has a boat, the navy will venture out to sea

Didn't know there was that much prostitution going on on Gaza beaches - scandalous.

01 August 2007

Russians to claim the bottom of the arctic

Russia is trying to claim the arctic by planting a flag at the bottom of the arctic at the north pole.

Maybe they should learn from people who spend a bit more time up there than just dropping a flag on the bottom.

30 July 2007

Another DA that should be fired

Mark Steyn is onto the DA, up in Oregon, if you can believe it:

Do you know Cory Mashburn and Ryan Cornelison?

If you do, don't approach them. Call 911 and order up a SWAT team. They're believed to be in the vicinity of McMinnville, Ore., where they're a clear and present danger to the community. Mashburn and Cornelison were recently charged with five counts of felony sexual abuse, and District Attorney Bradley Berry has pledged to have them registered for life as sex offenders.

Oh, by the way, the defendants are in the seventh grade.

Messrs Mashburn and Cornelison are pupils at Patton Middle School. They were arrested in February after being observed in the vestibule, swatting girls on the butt. Butt-swatting had apparently become a form of greeting at the school – like "a handshake we do," as one female student put it. On "Slap Butt Fridays," boys and girls would hail each other with a cheery application of manual friction to the posterior, akin to a Masonic greeting.

Seems a bit excessive to make felons and sex offenders of some youthful (if a bit inappropriate) play. When will we allow our kids to make mistakes of judgment and learn from them? Apparently, not in Oregon.

A society that looses the state to criminalize schoolroom horseplay is guilty not only of punishing children as grown-ups but of the infantilization of the entire citizenry.

02 July 2007

Former terrorist pleas to renounce terror

This is not getting the play it should in the US media. Most people don't understand this:

How did this continuing violence come to be the means of promoting this (flawed) utopian goal? How do Islamic radicals justify such terror in the name of their religion? There isn't enough room to outline everything here, but the foundation of extremist reasoning rests upon a dualistic model of the world. Many Muslims may or may not agree with secularism but at the moment, formal Islamic theology, unlike Christian theology, does not allow for the separation of state and religion. There is no 'rendering unto Caesar' in Islamic theology because state and religion are considered to be one and the same. The centuries-old reasoning of Islamic jurists also extends to the world stage where the rules of interaction between Dar ul-Islam (the Land of Islam) and Dar ul-Kufr (the Land of Unbelief) have been set down to cover almost every matter of trade, peace and war.

What radicals and extremists do is to take these premises two steps further. Their first step has been to reason that since there is no Islamic state in existence, the whole world must be Dar ul-Kufr. Step two: since Islam must declare war on unbelief, they have declared war upon the whole world. Many of my former peers, myself included, were taught by Pakistani and British radical preachers that this reclassification of the globe as a Land of War (Dar ul-Harb) allows any Muslim to destroy the sanctity of the five rights that every human is granted under Islam: life, wealth, land, mind and belief. In Dar ul-Harb, anything goes, including the treachery and cowardice of attacking civilians.

Required reading.

19 June 2007

Kaijo Jie Tai FTW!

JMSDF recruitment video:


This one is a lot worse:

Taiwan not interested in defending itself

At least that's one way of looking at this. Another is that they see the value in not provoking their neighbor, who just happens to be the big bully on the street.
Legislators also declined to purchase diesel-electric submarines as suggested by Washington but promised to study the issue further.
President Chen Shui-bian and his pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party battled long and hard to get the arms package funded, calling it vital for Taiwan's defense. But the opposition Nationalist Party, which controls the Legislative Yuan, refused to endorse it, saying the suggested purchases were too expensive, inappropriate for Taiwan's needs and likely to fuel an arms race with the mainland.

18 June 2007

SCORPION sunk by Soviets - new book

In his 482-page book, "Scorpion Down: Sunk by the Soviets, Buried by the Pentagon: The Untold Story of the USS Scorpion," Offley maintains that the USS Scorpion and its crew of 99 submariners were lost May 22, 1968, during an undersea battle in the Atlantic with a Soviet sub.

I've always thought that the conspiracy theories around this loss would only be based on wild speculation. This explains why it is so tough to eliminate the speculation:

Craven, who is now chief scientist for the Common Heritage Corp., said the details behind the sinking and the search for the Scorpion are still classified, which opens the entire operation to speculation.
Oh, and you can get a book deal for some light summer reading.

17 June 2007

What would a Dem presidency mean for GWOT

Victor Davis Hanson again:

We shall see what liberal therapeutics accomplishes in this war that started on September 11 when Hillary & Co. come to power—or rather relearn the lessons of everything from the Khobar Towers and East African embassy bombings to the USS Cole.

After all the lectures about not being safe after 9/11, and taking our eye off bin Laden, we await her revocation of the Patriot Act, wiretaps on terrorists, etc., and planned intrusions and hot pursuit into nuclear Pakistan—and, of course, calls for national unity during time of war, a renunciation of the politics of personal destruction, and a plea to tone down the strident rhetoric.

Imagine, if she were elected, that a Bush emeritus played Jimmy Carter to her presidency, or documentaries came out calling for scenarios about her demise, or Alfred Knopf published a book about shooting the president— or any of the other reprehensible things we have witnessed the past six years, all to the silence of the liberal opposition.

To get to the presidency, the Democrats must demonize the war effort and assume we will lose in Iraq; but to run the country, they would almost immediately have to reverse course, call for unity, and explain why we must continue anti-terrorism at home, and fighting al Qaeda abroad. And if they adopted a truly pacifist stature, a single 9/11 like attack would ruin their fides for a generation. Politics is to be accepted, but in wartime one expects a modicum of national interest first.

05 June 2007

Guess there aren't any good clubs in Taiwan

Deputy navy commander denies wrongdoing

Vice Admiral Shen Po-chih, deputy commander of the navy, denied yesterday he did anything wrong while he was on a visit to Hawaii in 2002.

In a statement, the Navy Command said Admiral Shen, charged with visiting a strip-tease show instead of the USS Santa Fe, does not mind being investigated.

The Liberty Times published an expose yesterday, quoting a retired navy commander as testifying Shen, the then deputy fleet commander, refused to visit the U.S. nuclear submarine in Hawaii in order just to watch the strip-tease show.

The retiree was with Admiral Shen on Hawaii from December 17 through 22.

Earlier on the floor of the legislative Yuan, Lee tien-yu, minister national defense, promised an investigation of the scandal.

"The navy," Lee told lawmakers, "has formed an investigation committee."

According to the Liberty Times, six naval officers, including Shen, were invited to visit the U.S. Pacific Fleet after President George W. Bush approved in 2001 a major arms sale to Taiwan in 2001.

Lee said the navy has taken a serious note toward the case. But he added it is necessary to find out whether the strip-tease show was "an ordinary floor show, which is quite normal in the West or anything erotic."

Any guesses as to where he was?

Don't think it was any Waikiki clubs. He wouldn't likely be expected to tour the SANTA FE at night. That's when those tourist traps are open, I am told.

TB Andy was a mid?

It appears that the Atlanta lawyer, who got in the news recently for (probably not) potentially infecting many people during his honeymoon trip to Europe, was...a Naval Academy midshipman for two years.

He must have chickened out prior to 2 for 7 night.

18 May 2007

Surface navy, where is your imagination

Just learned that DDG 111 will be named...USS SPRUANCE.

Wait, didn't we just have a destroyer with that name?

27 April 2007

Why study economics?

Barry Ritholtz gives us this quote and a good primer on what GDP is:

"The purpose of studying economics is not to acquire a set of ready-made answers to economic questions, but to learn how to avoid being deceived by economists."

-Joan Robinson, Cambridge University

24 April 2007

Decatur, Preble, O'Bannon and Jefferson

Christopher Hitchens gives a brief history of our first battles against Muslim terrorists Musselman pirates.

No leadership training at Duke

Victor Davis Hanson highlights what the President of Duke should now say:
“The university advises strongly against students hiring “exotic dancers” at private parties. Besides the moral issues involved, many of such performers are habitual drug and alcohol users, and engage in dangerous promiscuous sexual activity, as well as having criminal records. Hiring such a performer only increases a student’s own exposure to a host of these obvious dangers, criminal, sexual, and drug-related.”

“As for as matters on campus, this sad travesty should be a reminder that the university especially must be a custodian of civil liberties and a protector of the right of individuals to due process. Instead the Duke community devolved to the rule of the mob, condemning the accused in print, rallies, and flyers in a way that was intended to cast pre-trial guilt upon their innocence. This is reprehensible. To the extent that I either participated in such a rush to judgment or, as your president, let it unfold without rebuke, I am deeply sorry. I failed the entire community. In efforts to appear liberal and unbiased I proved illiberal and prejudiced. At the very moment when the community was looking for a voice of reasoned calm I joined the storm of reckless emotion.”

23 April 2007

Not in the line of duty - but taking responsibility

Appears that the NJ governor was not wearing his seat belt, against his own laws. We used to beat our sailors over the head with the notion that they could be responsible for their own medical costs. Hope that he recovers and speaks to his personal responsibility.

Update: Corzine is taking responsibility for his failure to wear a seatbelt. Good job.

Google knows all

Type in "answer to life the universe and everything" into google, press enter.

20 April 2007

SSN 780 to be named soon?

The seventh submarine of the VIRGINIA class might be named soon (New Mexico was named in December 2004) . Rumor has it that it will be named for a state (big surprise) and probably after a former battleship.

Here are the ones that are off the list:

Alabama - current SSBN
Arizona - historical reasons
Connecticut - current SSN
Florida - current SSGN
Georgia - current SSGN
Iowa - reserve fleet
Kentucky - current SSBN
Louisiana - current SSBN
Maine - current SSBN
Maryland current SSBN
Michigan - current SSBN
Nebraska - current SSBN
Nevada - current SSBN
New Hampshire - new construction SSN
New Mexico - new construction SSN
New York - new construction LPD
North Carolina - new construction SSN
Ohio - current SSGN
Pennsylvania - current SSBN
Rhode Island - current SSBN
Tennessee - current SSBN
Texas - current SSN
Virginia - current SSN
West Virginia - current SSBN
Wyoming - current SSBN

That still leaves a pretty long list of candidates:

New Jersey
New York
North Dakota
South Carolina
South Dakota

Of those, I have my money on California, New York or Washington. Two of these are big states and two have large Navy presence. The overlapping choice - California.

Edit: reliable sources inform that New York is off the list.

18 April 2007

Inmates in charge of URI

Apparently the Student Senate of the University of Rhode Island is trying to compel the College Republicans to apologize for constitutionally recognized free speech.
For months, the Student Senate has demanded that the group publicly apologize for advertising a satirical $100 “scholarship” for white, heterosexual, American males.
They actually got over 40 people (American men, I assume) to submit essays highlighting how racial, gender based and nationality oriented scholarships are a form of reverse discrimination. Politically incorrect - yes. Protected speech - yes.
In a meeting on February 19, the Student Senate’s Student Organizations Advisory and Review Committee (SOARC) prohibited the College Republicans from disbursing the money. The group agreed that it would not give out the $100, but SOARC decided that even advertising the satirical “scholarship” violated URI’s anti-discrimination bylaws and demanded that the group publish an apology in the campus newspaper. Unwilling to apologize, Bilodeau appealed SOARC’s decision. The Senate denied that appeal.
Deny appeals, really nice bit of student democracy, there. URI's President tried to reason with the idiots in the Student Senate. He should have just disbanded them.
in a letter dated April 6, President Carothers did indeed instruct the Senate in no uncertain terms to drop its unconstitutional demand for an apology. Carothers wrote that the mandatory apology “does not meet constitutional standards as laid forth in the First Amendment and in subsequent court decisions interpreting the standard.”
But at a meeting on Monday night, SOARC nonetheless unanimously voted to ignore both its constitutional obligations and Carothers’ directive and derecognize the College Republicans for refusing to issue an apology. SOARC’s decision will be voted on by the entire Student Senate on Wednesday, April 25.

10 April 2007

House Appropriations is on board

U.S. Rep. John Murtha, a powerful congressman with authority over the nation's military spending, came to check out Electric Boat's riverside submarine factory on Monday.

He left promising to use his considerable political weight to persuade Congress to start buying more subs.

This is a piece of the puzzle that the submarine construction delegations could never get together. He seems to be coherent on this, perhaps having just been coached on the right things to say by the GDEB President.

He said Navy budgets have been losing out because of the expense of the ground-based war in Iraq. He wants more subs, not just to keep up with China's rapidly growing naval fleet but to keep an irreplaceable American sub-building industry afloat.

And when Murtha says something is going to find its way into the House's defense budget, people believe him.

The two Connecticut congressmen who took Monday's tour with Murtha - Reps. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, and John Larson, D-1st District - were smiling big and nodding beside their fiscal champion, a Democrat from Pennsylvania. They see his promise as largely locking down the House side of the submarine budget question.

"Jack Murtha's word is his bond," Larson said. "That's why we feel so optimistic."

But can Murtha push it through a conference with the Senate?

He answered that he doesn't like to predict the actions of that other body, but "it'll be up to me to convince the Senate that we can work this out."
Now, we'll have to see if it happens and if it comes with "top line relief":

At a recent congressional hearing on the subject, the commander of the U.S. submarine force, Vice Adm. John J. Donnelly, said he supports the Navy's plan because he wouldn't want an increase in sub construction to jeopardize the rest of the ship-building plan. But he preached about submarine versatility and agreed he'd like to have more of them if more money were available.

The president's 2008 defense budget proposal would pay for one sub. Because decommissioning of the old Los Angeles-class subs is outpacing new construction, the fast-attack fleet will soon fall below the number 48 that the Navy sees as a minimum for full operations.

The sooner two-per-year construction begins, the fewer years the fleet will spend below 48.

07 April 2007

UK newspaper reports US building facilities for SSGN in Diego Garcia

No comment.

Marriage aboard South African sub

The article points out an interesting item that more women should heed: wear pants and sensible shoes! Unreasonably sensationalist headline, though:
Hardcore sub becomes a love boat

03 April 2007

Be Homer Simpson for a day

Now you can operate a nuclear reactor without a license. This game is worth a look. It's a sim of a civilian plant where you try to make a profit without endangering the neighbors. I haven't yet done very well at it. Not as easy to operate as a Navy nuke.
I'm not sure that it teaches the right lessons, however. It is much too easy to create severe core damage, and coolant flows don't seem to match power levels much. But the schematic is educational.

I thought we settled this a while back?

From the Washington Post, suspiciously dated 1st of April.

The winds of secession are blowing in the Green Mountain State.

Vermont was once an independent republic, and it can be one again. We think the time to make that happen is now. Over the past 50 years, the U.S. government has grown too big, too corrupt and too aggressive toward the world, toward its own citizens and toward local democratic institutions. It has abandoned the democratic vision of its founders and eroded Americans' fundamental freedoms.

That ship has sailed, like at Appomatox Courthouse.

Vermont did not join the Union to become part of an empire.
You are not in an empire. We are just about the definition of an anti-empire.

Some of us therefore seek permission to leave.

Individually, or as families or communal maple farms, you may all move to Canada, but you may not fracture this nation.

Today, however, Vermont no longer controls even its own National Guard, a domestic emergency force that is now employed in an imperial war 6,000 miles away. The 9/11 commission report says that "the American homeland is the planet." To defend this "homeland," the United States spends six times as much on its military as China, the next highest-spending nation, funding more than 730 military bases in more than 130 countries, abetted by more than 100 military space satellites and more than 100,000 seaborne battle-ready forces. This is the greatest military colossus ever forged.

It is very simplistic to think that after 9/11 we can turtle up and not be more involved in the world. I'm very proud to be serving in that greatest 'military colossus ever forged'. We only outspend China because they are wannabes and we are defacto guarantors of freedom for the world. They also happen to pay their recruits nearly nothing and don't pay the same wages as General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Boeing or Northrup Grumman. I imagine that many of the 730 military bases in all those countries are Marines guarding our embassies. But, do you need an embassy in a colony?

Vermont seceded from the British Empire in 1777 and stood free for 14 years, until 1791. Its constitution -- which preceded the U.S. Constitution by more than a decade -- was the first to prohibit slavery in the New World and to guarantee universal manhood suffrage. Vermont issued its own currency, ran its own postal service, developed its own foreign relations, grew its own food, made its own roads and paid for its own militia. No other state, not even Texas, governed itself more thoroughly or longer before giving up its nationhood and joining the Union.

Impressive, but largely irrelevant to the situation post 1865.

Nor did Vermont sign on when imperial Washington demanded that the state raise its drinking age from 18 to 21 in 1985. The federal government thereupon resorted to its favored tactic, blackmail. Raise your drinking age, said Ronald Reagan, or we'll take away the money you need to keep the interstates paved. Vermont took its case for state control to the Supreme Court -- and lost.

Hey, if you don't want the strings attached, don't take the money. Or get your Representatives Senators to oppose it in Congress.

It's quite simple. The United States has destroyed the 10th Amendment, which says that "powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

I agree, the abuse of the 10th Amendment is one of the unspoken problems I have with our Republic. The Supreme Court has not ruled against enough Federal legislation on these grounds. We are not a democracy, although we have democratic priciples. The USA is a Federal Republic. I'm not even sure I agree with many states' (California) referendum processes. Another problem with the democratic tinkering with the constitution is the 17th Amendment.

The present movement for secession has been gathering steam for a decade and a half. In preparation for Vermont's bicentennial in 1991, public debates -- moderated by then-Lt. Gov. Howard Dean -- were held in seven towns before crowds that averaged 230 citizens. At the end of each, Dean asked all those in favor of Vermont's seceding from the Union to stand and be counted. In town after town, solid majorities stood. The final count: 999 (62 percent) for secession and 608 opposed.

When Howard Dean is leading your effort...

Her Humps?

Sometimes you can parody fools just by using their own words. As safe for word as a top 40 radio station:

29 March 2007

Not according to Hoyle or the Hague

The Iranian captors of our ally's 15 sailors and marines don't seem to care about abiding by any international norms. If they want to be perceived as a serious nation, even regional power, they need to grow up a bit.

I haven't gone article by article through this, but I found that they haven't understood Art 71:
Immediately upon capture, or not more than one week after arrival at a camp, even if it is a transit camp...every prisoner of war shall be enabled to write direct to his family...informing his relatives of his capture, address and state of health.
And I wouldn't hold my breath about compliance with Art 34:
Prisoners of war shall enjoy complete latitude in the exercise of their religious duties, including attendance at the service of their faith, on condition that they comply with the disciplinary routine prescribed by the military authorities.

Adequate premises shall be provided where religious services may be held.

26 March 2007

Thomas P. M. Barnett

Recently started his book, Blueprint for Action. Also, am listening to his interviews with Hugh Hewitt. Then a quick search at Youtube:

The Onion Video Content

World Tuberculosis Day

Don't know how I missed this one last weekend.

LIKE every dog, every disease now seems to have its day. World Tuberculosis Day is on Saturday March 24th. On the same day in 1882 Robert Koch, a German bacteriologist, presented his discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis to a meeting in Berlin. That announcement helped to establish the germ theory of disease—the idea that contagious illnesses are caused by specific micro-organisms.

Interesting fact:

According to figures released earlier this week by the World Health Organisation, 1.6m died of the disease in 2005, compared with about 3m for AIDS and 1m for malaria. But it receives only a fraction of the research budget devoted to AIDS. America's National Institutes of Health, for example, spends 20 times as much on AIDS as on TB.

23 March 2007

Johnnies vs. Mids (not croquet related)

This article describes a very interesting meeting of minds (undergraduate minds).

The Naval Academy, with 4,200 midshipmen, is famous for its leadership training, where students must apply philosophy and ethics to military situations.

St. John's, a college of only 525 students, is internationally acclaimed for its Great Books curriculum, in which all students spend four years reading the great Western thinkers.

Observers sometimes call the two schools "Athens and Sparta," for the philosophical bent of St. John's, and the warrior culture of the Naval Academy.

The two schools have been having an exchange to discuss philosophy of military action twice a year since 2003. I like the way that Johnnies are being shown that application of ideas is important, too.

"It was similar to our seminars, but it was different in that they (midshipmen) apply the philosophy to current events," said St. John's freshman Caity Swanson, of Clarksville, Tenn. "At St. John's, we just focus on what the readings say."

"We are taught to make decisions. When the mids talk, we all make statements; when the Johnnies talk, they all ask questions," Midshipman Moore said.

Well, Midshipmen Moore, asking questions is often a good way to learn, too.

21 March 2007

Two British submariners dead in accident

My heartfelt sorrow for the families and loved ones left behind.

The US Navy says that apparently an oxygen generator candle blew up?
The Royal Navy submarine HMS Tireless, participating in the Joint U.S. Navy/Royal Navy Ice Exercise 2007 (ICEX-2007) in the Arctic Ocean, experienced an explosion of a self contained oxygen generation candle that killed two crew members and injured one.

A third was injured and flown to Alaska for treatment. The British say he'll be fine. The submarine was up at APLIS (Applied Physics Lab Ice Station) with USS ALEXANDRIA, conducting an ICEX. According to the sub report VADM Donnelly (COMSUBFOR commander) was just up there.

I don't remember any accidents that involved oxygen candle explosions on US subs. However, google shows that Mir had a problem. The British report doesn't say outright that it was a candle,
but the piece of air-purification machinery thought to have failed was fitted as part of an update in 2001.

I find it unlikely that the British waited 16 years after the ship was delivered to install O2 candle furnaces. More likely the offending item is an upgraded Electrolytic Oxygen Generator. Submariners have a nickname for it: the bomb.

Thomas L. Friedman piece in NYT

I can't stand the fact that NYT doesn't open its op-ed page to readers on the web. You must pay. However, via the Early Bird I bring you the best line in his piece on the "Pelosi-Petraeus-Bush troika"

When you’re sitting on a volcano, it is never easy to tell exactly what is happening underneath — or what will happen if you move.

This is legitimate secrecy

The US Navy is claiming "state secrets" to avoid unreasonable disclosure of information on a lawsuit regarding sonar alleged harm to marine mammals.

The Navy action is the latest in a string of Pentagon moves to derail the group's lawsuit. The Natural Resources Defense Council and other environmental groups say sonar used in routine training and testing violates environmental laws.

No, the Navy action is in response to a ridiculous motion for information:

on the latitude, longitude, time and date, duration, and name of the exercise for every non-combat use of military sonar by the U.S. Navy anywhere in the world, according to the court filing.

This is an extraordinarily bad idea. Where, when and with whom we use sonar is a state secret. This could potentially harm our warfare development, engagement with allies and potential allies and would produce a map of US Navy activity that would be an intelligence windfall for any potential adversary. Talk about blown OPSEC. Why don't they alter the motion to reflect areas where they have evidence of harm to marine mammals. Oh, that's not what this is really about, is it?

19 March 2007

New USNA supe, submariner and diversity advocate

Rear Adm. Jeffrey L. Fowler to move from COMSUBGRU 8 to USNA. Described as an advocate for diversity for how he handled some sexual assault problems when he was head of recruiting.

"He created an environment where everybody felt respected," she said. "He made them know that every woman in the Navy is someone's mother, sister or daughter, and he stood up in training and openly talked about the things that were on people's mind, things that people didn't want to talk about."

Sounds like the right kind of diversity leader. A good change of pace from the recent admininistration in Annapolis.

CDR Salamander, comments?

I think I found some volunteers for the next IA

For naval flight officers, who act as navigators or serve other back-seat missions on aircraft, the average time between when they arrive in Pensacola and when they begin flight school was 199 days last year. So far this year, that average wait has been reduced to 164 days, Navy officials said.

NAVAIR has saved a lot of money by eliminating the queues in between segments of aviaition training - reducing retraining time. However, you should be able to find something profitable for them to do. I heard somewhere that there's a war going on.

Coroner, get back in your box

A British soldier who died four years ago after an American pilot opened fire on his convoy in Iraq was killed unlawfully, a coroner ruled Friday.

“I find there was no lawful authority to fire on the convoy,” said Andrew Walker, the assistant deputy coroner of Oxfordshire. He called the attack on the soldier, 25-year-old Lance Cpl. Matthew Hull, an “assault” and added, “There was no lawful reason for it, and in that respect it was criminal.”

What a load of crap. YANAL, certainly not a JAG, therefore, shut up.

26 February 2007

Independent Senator calls for truce in Washington

Independent Senator Joe Lieberman wrote a great piece for the WSJ on Sunday:

Congress thus faces a choice in the weeks and months ahead. Will we allow our actions to be driven by the changing conditions on the ground in Iraq--or by the unchanging political and ideological positions long ago staked out in Washington? What ultimately matters more to us: the real fight over there, or the political fight over here?

Highlighting the political grandstanding on behalf of your former compatriats is not going to earn you high praise from them.

If we stopped the legislative maneuvering and looked to Baghdad, we would see what the new security strategy actually entails and how dramatically it differs from previous efforts. For the first time in the Iraqi capital, the focus of the U.S. military is not just training indigenous forces or chasing down insurgents, but ensuring basic security--meaning an end, at last, to the large-scale sectarian slaughter and ethnic cleansing that has paralyzed Iraq for the past year.

I've heard all along from the Dems that this is the same old strategy. Petraeus stated as much, but just a week later, Hillary misrepresented it in her call for dialog.

But the fact is that we are in a different place in Iraq today from even just a month ago--with a new strategy, a new commander, and more troops on the ground. We are now in a stronger position to ensure basic security--and with that, we are in a stronger position to marginalize the extremists and strengthen the moderates; a stronger position to foster the economic activity that will drain the insurgency and militias of public support; and a stronger position to press the Iraqi government to make the tough decisions that everyone acknowledges are necessary for progress.

But we must not make another terrible mistake now. Many of the worst errors in Iraq arose precisely because the Bush administration best-cased what would happen after Saddam was overthrown. Now many opponents of the war are making the very same best-case mistake--assuming we can pull back in the midst of a critical battle with impunity, even arguing that our retreat will reduce the terrorism and sectarian violence in Iraq.

Yes, at least he can admit that mistakes were made. If only the administration had done so publically earlier than after they lost Congress. The Democrats "we're the cause of the problem" self-blame induced retreat strategy is not likely to work. At least Joe knows it.

LA Times: prints refuted statement as headline

So, what's new?

Sunday the LA fishwrap had this as a headline: "U.S. has an Iran attack plan, report says"

Despite the Bush administration's position that it has no plans to go to war with Iran, a Pentagon panel has been created to plan a bombing attack that could be implemented within 24 hours of getting the go-ahead from the president, the New Yorker magazine reported in its latest issue.

so says an unidentified former U.S. intelligence official to Seymour Hersh. However, the last paragraph contradicts their own headline:

Pentagon officials say they maintain contingency plans for dozens of potential conflicts around the world and that all are subject to regular review.

Journalists fail to understand that planning is an ongoing, important process. Often involving a great deal of self discovery. We've been doing this for decades now. In fact, if we ever decided to not examine our defences from an unconstrained perspective, we'd be doing ourselves a disservice. I'd venture that if we had done extensive planning of the Iraq conflict involving several post-invasion scenarios, we'd have been better off.

22 February 2007

Jim Talent hits a home run

Former Representative, Senator and chairman of the Seapower Subcommittee on the SASC, Jim Talent has got it all right. Long, but worth the read.

20 February 2007

I must have done poorly in nursery school

Iron Shrink does a good job again debunking some bad research science apparently aimed at tagging conservatives as unintelligent. Here's what liberals are:

bright, distinctive, having a wide range of interests, being aesthetically responsive to the world about them.

And here's what conservatives are:

uncomfortable with uncertainty, conventional, traditionally sex-typed, constricted in their behaviors, judging self against conformist standards, and moralistic.
All of this can be predicted by reports on how 3 year olds in Berkeley, CA were perceived by their caretakers.

Appeal for Courage

Appeal for Courage is an active duty sponsored appeal for redress to Congress. They document the DoD directives that authorize it as a means to communicate to elected officials in support of the chain of command and the military mission.

I signed.

19 February 2007

Nurburgring lap videos

BMW has a new ad out that highlights the Nurburgring in an X5 SUV. The 13.1 mile long track is fascinating. The first video is of a Honda S2000 prototype, the second is an Opel Astra touring car but with a nice map with curve names.

18 February 2007

Hillary thinks we've already lost

Why else should she demand that we pull out our troops starting by June. Don't watch on while you're eating.

"The Iraq Troop Protection and Reduction Act" - well I guess "Abandon Iraq to Chaos Act" just doesn't have the same condescending ring to it (too much realism, too).

She's harder on the Iraq government then her husband was on North Korea in '94. "Real benchmarks with real consequences." That would have been nice against KJI, not the language you should use for the leader of a fragile democracy that continues to need our help with security.

Bush is not fighting to escalate the war. He's changing strategy. Her version of ending the war is just quitting.

In their own words

Watched "Flyboys" from our Nexflix account last week. I liked the movie, and as I was looking into the Lafayette Escadrille, I found somewhere that there was a first hand account of US volunteer flying by James R. McConnell at Project Gutenberg. The account it not very long, because his life was cut short. But, at the end are some letters from his squadron-mates about his death and the morale of the pilots after.

Good science in movies

Channel surfing yesterday, I watched a bit of Contact. Jodie Foster's character said that the frequency of the extraterrestrial transmission was "hydrogen times pi." I never noticed this earlier. They claimed that it was about 4Ghz and change. I thought, couldn't be hydrogen mass, which is just over one by our own scale. It had to be some universal scale - so I checked out Contact on Phil Plait's site, and that phrase isn't mentioned.

So, googling around, found that the the 21 cm hydrogen emmisions are also called the hydrogen line at 1,420 Ghz.

1 420.40575 * pi = 4 462.33627

I'm impressed that this was correct although hidden in the dropped word "line" from the statement. Or am I too much of a geek?

16 February 2007

Navy to Bolster Submarine Fleet

I got all excited when I read that headline in a feed. What a let down when I read it wasn't the US. We're still hoping to lower the VIRGINIA cost to afford to build two per year.

14 February 2007

Government taking away choice (liberty)

With a rational government policy, people would save money for routine medical care and buy insurance for solvency-threatening illness. After all, we don't buy auto insurance to pay for oil changes and worn-out windshield-wiper blades.

John Stossel quote about irrational mandates to health insurance.

Is it time to move some money out of equities?

Barry Ritholtz seems to think we won't have the 'goldilocks' recovery. Love to read contrarians. Compare the two graphs of US GDP.

CIA vs. DoD

As bubblehead surmised, I am still active duty. Although I have a TAP scheduled and my termination rad-health coming up soon. I found a letter from former USD(P) Douglas Feith in the Early Bird this morning.

Much earlier in my career, on post-JO shore duty I found out that the "intelligence community" was actually many rival camps. In my case, I was in a location very close to a potential adversary. Many of the estimates of the potential adversary's future intent and capability were in conflict. CIA said one thing, DIA differed, surprisingly ONI differed from DIA (somewhat). That's what makes Hugh Hewitt's recap of the whole Feith-Levin "war against the war against the war" very interesting.

Now, I can understand and appreciate intelligence organizations arriving at different conclusions based on different information available to them. But, when an organization selectively leaves out portions of intel that don't fit the picture, there is a problem. And the executive branch has more than a right to question the info and assumptions leading to conclusions - they have a responsibility to do so.

13 February 2007

I was tortured on the way to work this morning

Listening to the AM morning show on the way to work they played all 7:20 of Richard Harris' MacArthur Park. Last week I found out this is considered torture by the president of the Society of Ethnomusicologists. I thought he was a crackpot at the time, now I'm beginning to reconsider his point. The Hugh Hewitt interview is worth it, and make sure you listen to James Lileks take on it toward the end of the show.

Update: the poet laureate of the Hugh Hewitt show has an ode to ethnomusicologists.

Centcom working with bloggers

Maybe bubblehead can get a part time gig blogging for his old command. Sounds like a wise decision to counter the disinformation put out by AQ and others.

Navy wants dolphins, sea lions to defend us

I just loved this quote:

Sea lions can carry in their mouths special cuffs attached to long ropes. If the animal finds a rogue swimmer, it can clamp the cuff around the person's leg. The individual can then be reeled in for questioning.

12 February 2007

State GDP vs. The World

Was going to go on and on about how immense the US economy is after seeing this graph a few back on BigPicture. However, I saw a better post here and saw his h/t to Chapomatic. Great minds and all that.

William F. Buckley vs. Noam Chomsky

Every once in a while you find something on Youtube that is fascinating and educational. I was thinking this whole time that these two, who were so diametrically opposed could still debate with respect, completely avoiding labels and ad hominem attacks. Compare and contrast with FoxNews.

Guess I should have sold

Florida and Hawaii (where I have my two condos), are among the top ten in housing price risk. I haven't sold yet. I hope that I don't lose all of my capital gains - I'm counting on that to help me into a nice big house upon retirement.

Open Source Maritime Strategy

Looks like the 'Conversation with the Country' just finished in Atlanta. Looks to me like socializing the need to maintain the Navy as a valid fighting force. Briefings most of the day followed by polling the participants (business and academic leaders). Doesn't look like they're going to get rid of Sea Power 21 (bummer). I remember a simpler time when our strategy was 'Power Projection and Sea Control'.

Ben & Jerry's Defense Budget

What qualifies folksy businessman Ben Cohen, the man who gave the world Wavy Gravy ice cream, to critique the $2.9 trillion federal budget unveiled on Monday?

My answer, is not much. He's in the company of Ted Turner, Paul Newman and Lawrence Korb. You remember Korb from the 'Alternative QDR' of last year by the Center for American Progress (wonderful patriotic name, that).

"We won the Cold War. The world changed. But we're still spending ourselves into oblivion" on obsolete weapons.

Well, this is where business differs from the military. Unless you're in transports, you don't have to recapitalize as often as the military does. For example, the F-22 is the first fighter that the Air Force has bought in ~30 years. According to the Air Force Deputy, the average age of their aircraft is 24 years.

Similarly for the Navy; ships last 30-45 years and we curtailed a lot of our spending during the 'peace dividend' years. Remember, those were the in Clinton's first term. We thought the Cold War was the last war. That error has been made in the past (e.g. WWI). Gentlemen, your opinion is noted - and disregarded.

11 February 2007

Chicken Little Global Warming

Well, this little article had me scratching my head. It's about methane introduction into the atmosphere accelerating due to global warming. From the permafrost and undersea methane clathrates.
"Because the methane now emitted in our study region dates to the Pleistocene age, it's clear that the process, described by scientists as 'positive feedback to global warming,' has led to the release of old carbon stocks once stored in the permafrost."

This is from Prof Jeff Chanton, an Oceanographer. Others co-authoring his paper are a biologist and a forest scientist. Not exactly global climatologists. I prefer to listen to Richard Lindzen who is smarter than the science guy. I also listen this guy who happens to use the UN's own data to, shall we say temper their claims. His book is about half footnotes.

This guy is probably polishing his Oscar acceptance speech. Yech.

Fabulous First Post

Thought I'd start off with some humor. I found this linked at hotair.com and was really amused. Perhaps animated bunnies doing Casablanca or Pulp Fiction (language) is more entertaining.

Anyway, welcome and I hope that this blog won't get orphaned too soon and you'll get to know me over time.