Thursday, September 30, 2004
I found a blog a few weeks ago written by an active duty Navy Captain, and posted a comment to one of his remarks about refueling at sea. He posted it out for the general readership! My first ship was a fleet replenishment oiler and our job was to drive along, all 40,000 tons of steel, 6 million gallons of diesel fuel and 600 tons of ammunition and spare parts, at about 12 kts on a steady course and have ships from aircraft carriers to small combatants to come up beside us, at about 120 to 160 feet (yes, feet!), at which point, we'd send over fueling hoses and hydraulically tensioned span wires for passing cargo. A short "alongside time" was about 20 minutes, which was more to keep proficient at maneuvering alongside, but we had some ships alongside for hours. For the ship coming alongside, they had to match our course and speed precisely for the entire time. It is a real exercise in relative motion. Not only did we do it with one ship, but we had the manpower to have a ship on each side at one time. Oh, throw in that we carried two cargo helicopters, which would take off, then hover over the deck (while we went thru the ocean) to pick up pallet loads of cargo or ammunition/bombs on a hook under the "bird." So, rigs "flying" to ships port and starboard, plus helos swooping in over the fight deck aft was just another day at the office for the 450 of us aboard the USS MILWAUKEE (AOR-2). You wouldn't have know it be how smoothly the operation is executed, but death lurked all around. Between the incredible power of nature, and the frail nature of human engineering, mixed with moments of inattention, and it's a recipe for disaster, but I never saw a serious accident on either side of that eveolution in 9 years of sea assignments, only two of which I was on the ship that just sat in the middle, with everyone else having the hard ship handling work. For 7 years of sea assignments, I was on the other side. If you're mildly curious about what I told Chap, then it's at My post on Chapomatic. I'll warn you, it's sort of full of Navy language, but it should be understandable. If you need it clarified, just ask.....
If you would like to make a statement to CBS about firing Dan Rather, here's a link to an online petition: Fire Dan Rather. I'd like to see him go. For many years, I have skipped over his news, as it long ago was proven to me that he was grinding many axes and not reporting. This whole issue of the forged documents and his reaction show he lacks integrity, morals and wants grace for himself, yet he offers no quarter to those he is attempting to discredit or malign. I learned something very powerful in 9 months of Naval War College: It's always dangerous to set a precedent. The catch is you never know when you may have to live by the rule you put in place. Dan Rather was all over blaming the President of the United Sates for the acts of those who pulled some pretty stupid stunts in the prison in Iraq. The crys of how it went all the way to the top, and how the President was responsible were all over the media, including CBS Evening News for weeks. Stop a minute and take off your partisan hats (or tin foil ones) and consider real life. Is it reasonable in your world to blame any president for the acts of someone in the lower and middle grade ranks of the govenrment? Nope, it's not and we all know it. The US Military alone is larger than the largest corporation on the planet, let alone consider the President is "responsible" (under the Rather and Democratic party model mentioned above) for all the rest of the people who are employed or contracted to the US Government. That's an extremely huge number of people and we all should be amazed at how smoothly the machinery of our Federal Government works most all the time. Here's the final connection to Dan Rather using the foreged documents, then trying to cover it up, and the President and Abu Gharib: If George Bush is responsible for Lindey and her friends, all that way down the chain of command, then Dan Rather is responsible for the work of his supporting staff. Hey, fair's fair! Dan Rather set the precedent, and now it's time for him to be a man and stand up, as he expected the President to do. Oh, that's right, he didn't. He blamed his employees, so it's too late for him to regain any minute portion of my respect. Go with these words carefully stored in your memory: It's always dangerous to set a precedent!
I'm hopeful, but there's this feeling I have that we are on the verge of seeing a change in how we have elected officials seated. There was a foreshadowing of it in Oct/Nov 2000, but this time, we'll have it in spades. The reason I believe there is a realistic opportunity for this to happen is because we have become a pretty sue crazy society. If it's not how we like it, forget about sitting down and discussing it and don't even consider looking at the bigger picture outside ourselves, to possibly find out it is beeter for all for us to take a second place, or even back seat, in order that a greater good be fulfilled. With the introduction of electronic voting systems, there is a possibility they can be tampered with, and there are already indications some analysts/consultants have shown it can happen. Picture this: In a tight race, there are no hanging chads to joke about, and that, my readers makes it no joking matter. There will be no reliable way to reconstruct the actual "will of the people." What then? If we settle for the "recorded" and for the sake of this discussion, and contested contest? That would certainly suit the winner of the moment, but, I submit, here's where we get into trouble. The "loser" has a legal right to challenge it, due to the known vulnerabilites of electronic voting. Now, how will anyone possibly be able to pull togehter the program code and be able to replicate the voting to a degree that is reasonable, without redoing the actual election over again? Trust me, it will be so close to impossible that our puny little heads would explode from either 1) the massive technical issues involved in re-creating the votes, or 2) the millions of dollars someone would have to spend to do this properly. Ok, so the bad news is electronic voting might provide such results that we need a judge to be the arbitrator. Actually, if that wasn't bad enough, pitting humans (who aren't taught real math any more, let alone digital logic and related topics, required to not be completely cluless - another topic to be discussed later on how we have failed to teach real life things in our schools) against computers, how about the extreme hatred that will pit humans against humans? I can see it now, accusation and counter accusation about this and that group being "disenfranchised" in the process, so off to court we go. That's going to be the downfall, when "we the people" have our votes questioned in court. "Activist" judges. Yep, they exists. Not all judges are appointed for life. Some are elected. Since they are elected, they will try to model the behavior of the people that elected them, and that can go either way in party affiliation, to be fair about it. How will we feel when a judge rules a few thousand votes should have been this instead of that? If that tips the scale, and now its advantage to the moments before loser of the election, how will we react/ That's a rhetorical question, of course, but think about that. I'll pray we won't have to deal with this, but with all the slimy maneuvering in the election, I think we will.
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Black Five continues to ferret out stories that rejuvenate the soul. Check out this link to a story of a 7 year old with luekemia that became a Command Sargent Major for a day in The Corps. CSM Phillip Shriver, USMC
Thanks to the overly active imagination of Frank J. at IMAO: "This is Dan Rather with continuing coverage of Hurricane Jeanne which has surprisingly skipped right over Florida and landed in Minnesota. Yes, I know some ankle-biting pajama wearing fanatics known as 'bloggers' are disputing this, some claiming to be from Minnesota and showing pictures that everything is fine, but we still have this evidence." Rather held up a photo of hurricane damage with the word "Minnesota" on it. "See, this photo, sent to us by an anonymous, unimpeachable source, shows hurricane damage and is clearly labeled 'Minnesota.' And listen to this expert." An expert walked up to Rather. "That is clearly a label." He then walked away. "So, you snot-nosed punks, stop doubting me!" Rather then jumped up on his desk. "I am newscaster Rather! Fear my power, or I shall report your obituary!"
This link leads you to an interesting posting regarding the before and after action of CBS in the recent "RatherGate" issue that discusses what constitutes criminal behavior. It's pretty well laid out. Settle in for a 10 minute concentrated read. All in all, it's one thing to mis-report, it's entirely another to "modify" the truth with conscious effort.
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
On the ride home the night of 9/20/2004, the local talk fill in host talked about how he was for George Bush, but he didn’t think he was being aggressive enough prosecuting the war in Iraq. Most of his callers agreed. He’s the skinny: Step back and look at the proper long term strategy. If President Bush had gone full tilt boogie on the bad guys, it’s still like trying to get rid of the cockroaches in your southeast low country home. You can go after them and beat them back, while you consider your options, or just burn the house down. Option two helps you make it through the day, with only sometimes seeing the bugs at night when you turn on the light. You keep them from overrunning the place, and it’s pretty livable, given other more aggressive options. If you burn the house down, you’ll probably have the cockroaches around, and you’ll get really, really wet when it rains. So here George is, standing at the threshold of getting rid of many of the cockroaches, while his “family” pleads with him to quit gassing the house and spreading chemicals all over, because it hurts the environment. He’s within striking distance, but the gate he must pass through to do more is the one labeled “Re-Election.” If George leaves office now, we will slip in our resolve, and many of the hard fought gains will be lost. Because the “family” of the American public is teetering on the fence right now, it’s good that he takes a generally moderate, strategic holding battle into the war. It will cost some lives, but here’s the advantage: It will keep the squeamish conservatives on his side that may sway the vote. Since the President has a term limit, once he’s back in, then he can roll up his figurative sleeves, take off his gloves and stand and fight hard for us. It will repel some, yet in the long run, think what four more years of fighting terrorists would do for World peace? If we have come this far since 9/11/2001, and we have had a military that has been transmogrified into a flexible, well trained organization, capable of fighting in asymmetric environments, and conducting joint operations, augmented by OGAs as well as drawing on the significant expertise of the citizen-soldiers of this modern time. In Vietnam, the book On Strategy argued we took a European heavy armor mentality to the triple canopy jungle. The author was right, it didn't fit the battle field strategically. Since Vietnam, we have evolved somewhat in our war fighting orientations, but it was still focused on building a better self-contained military. We have been pretty successful at that. What we didn’t seem to learn very well, until we somewhat got it in GWI, is that war is a multi-faceted thing, to include the press, economics, and many other things, and not all of those arenas have people in camouflage in them. We did better this time. Anyhow, back to may main thesis: George Bush needs to grit his teeth until he is re-elected, before he goes to the “and I’m not joking” bare knuckles approach needed to get rid of the terrorists. Once in office for the four more years, then he can get busy prosecuting war as he should, for the betterment of the entire human race. Short of impeachment, and it has been demonstrated how hard that is, he will be able to run it well, provided he has a Republican Congress in his bag of tricks. So, for those who are frustrated with George Bush, help put him back in and see where this goes. Don’t put him in and see what happens in our back yard.
This is maybe somewhat brutal, but then again, maybe not. I think we call the end of the http address the domain, .com, .gov, .net, .us, .biz, edu, .info. I propose a new domain (if that’s the right name for them): .joke. I mean, it would warn people before they went there about the mirth ready to befall them. I we could start with http://www.johnkerry.joke. How does that sound? From there, consider the possibilities. We could have MCM (mainstream comedy media) such as www.billcosby.joke, www.adamsnadler.joke, www.stevemartin.joke, and www.rosannebarr.joke (oops…these are supposed to be funny!). Then again, maybe it’s a bad thing to decide we need more domains. What will come next? Maybe .satire, followed by .news (which may be good, but how will you know if CBS belongs in the .joke or .news domain?). Pretty soon, there might be .bucanneers for the somehow still loyal in Tampa, which would be like .saints for the New Orleans crowd. Anyhow, this is a planted thread, to see where it goes from here. The options are pretty endless, unless we ru n out of English words, at which point, we could do a survey for the next most popular language (Spanish?) and begin lifting those words to populate the net with new domains. The down side is our little heads will explode, trying to keep track of the explosion of addresses we have to keep track of. We’d have to demand wall sized screens, just so we had a hope of scrolling through our lists of favorite addresses. Now, that would drive the display market to feed our need. Oh, but what about if someone opposite your view registers the domain name first> For instance, as a staunch Democrat, you could go to www.johnkerry.com and think he’s some commercially related site, you know, someplace that wants your money! Hey! Wait…that’s it, HE DOES! Not only will he take your donations, he’ll tax you and get what you used to have left over for yourself, and spend it how he sees fit. I digress. But, as a good Democrat, your fingers may slip and you’d end up on www.johnkerry.joke. You may be terribly confused if the jokes there are not household humor of the incredibly wealthy, but those from his opponents. If you went to www.johnkerry.biz, you’d find nothing, as he’s never run a business. At www.johnkerry.mil, there may be a single entry, in large purple heart ribbon color letters that says (no emphasis added): “I SERVED IN VIETNAM!” at www.johnkerry.info, I’m not sure what you’d find, certainly no federal bills bearing his name. How about taking a peek at www.johnkerry.us. Hmmm….just what could be said there? Maybe a list of Heinz plants that have moved out of the country and “outsourced” the work to foreign nationals. So it would carry the connotation of really more like www.johnkerryswifesaysscrewyou.us. That’s our “Momma T!”
Monday, September 27, 2004
“We don’t have an election, we have an auction” – Bumper sticker in the parking lot at Borders. You know, they have that right, but I think they haven’t figured out how right they are. I suspect, and it may be wrong for me to assume this, as I have not spoken to the owner of the vehicle, that they think it’s about how the Presidency may be bought by special interests. If they truly believed this in this, then it would seem it would apply to this president, and his predecessor, and the one before them. At what point did they begin being bought, and was it the first dollar we count from, or is there some “threshold” we should use as a guideline? How far back in our 228 year history does this sham of elections go? Is it limited to one person, one party? Is it universal? If universal, why not some bumper sticker reminiscent of a jeer from the stands at a baseball game: “Throw the bums out!”? Ah, ha! You see, the view seems to revolve around a victimized state of mind, a “my vote doesn’t count” desperation mental frame. Two points are important to discuss here, one directly related, but the important one, with the real insight from the truth behind the bumper sticker will be discussed secondly. Firstly, yes, every vote counts. In fact, it is in getting out and standing in line, suffering thru the “process” to poke holes in a paper, or to check blocks, or touch a screen, is worth the effort. The Nov, 2000 election is still a matter of heated debate, and it showed how a little over 300 votes in a single state, have caused a lot of dissention. If the special interest groups, with lots of money were truly in control of the election, oops, I meant “auction,” wouldn’t the margin have been wider? Now, if almost 400 people, with a leaning towards Al Gore had gone to work early, or just got out and voted, would there still be the bumper sticker on that vehicle? Generally, the sentiment on the bumper sticker indicates that the driver didn’t like the outcome of the election, so therefore it was easier to blame it on some grand conspiracy of the moneyed elite. There may be gounds for that influence, but I don’t believe that will be as big an issue while we still refrain from an electronic method of voting. Once we have gone to electronic votes, all bets are off. If you look at how we have progressed from simple viruses on our PCs to very complex ones, and ones that do no more damage, than to get into your machine to gather information and then send it out. Who’s to stop a similar evolution in the electronic voting machines, particularly if they are based on currently well used operating systems, with a widely available list of flaws, and also openly published capabilities and interfaces. Second major point. Yes, we do have an auction. The auction is not who buys the politicians, but which politician buys our votes. We look to our representatives, at all levels, not to operate for the good of the system, but for the good of the entity that they represent, at the expense of the larger, or just simply, the other entities. If these elected officials go off to their appointed positions, and haul back truckloads of cash and benefits for our community, then we are happy to re-elect them, as they proudly trumpet how much they have “done for us,” and not how they have had to make some hard decisions, which at times resulted in our betterment, but sometimes, took what we perceived as “ours” and made sure it was used more wisely, and provided us long term benefits, but denied us the pleasure at the moment. There you go – inappropriate analysis from the mere sighting of a bumper sticker on the way got get a cup of coffee.
Sunday, September 26, 2004
I've been avidly reading blogs for about 5 months now and decided today was the day to join the fray. I happily join the other pajamamujahadien in the cyber world. As a way of introducing the reading I have been doing, which from which you can conclude my leanings to some degree, here are some of the many that I make a special effort to read daily, if not more depending on how fast the news is breaking. I will shamelessly promote the blogs with my thoughts on them as well: Little Green Footballs I was reading this well before RatherGate. Charles was the one who overlayed a MS Word document on the Texas ANG memos and got the entire ball rolling on the forgery issue. Even before that, his blog has a lot of links to news that is published overseas, or downplayed stateside. Great discussions from many thinking readers makes it even better thatn the basic posts alone! The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiller Misha has a lot of insightful commentary, with "edgy" adjectives. Again, as with LGF, the discussions are lively and well populated. Black Five Matt is ex-military, with many connections to the real men, women and family members doing the hard work for the sake of freedom. His perspective is well founded when he adds to the material he links. Great place to find great reading and links to the real warriors, so you can see it through their eyes, not the filtering of the MSM. International Monkey Assasination Organization Frank isn't really an assassin, but he doesn't like monkeys. The man has a view of life of his very own and manages stick figure cartoons to get his point across. It's a hoot! That's a few to start with. Surf on over and spend a few minutes reading.
This post is will be "the one that started it" for me. I've been reading blogs for about 6 months now and have decided to join the ranks of the pajamahadeen. More on the logic behind that to come with time, but it has at it's core the desire to let the main stream media (herinafter referered to as "MSM") and their blind supporters know there are plenty of thinking, knowledgeable people out here, who did not choose to wear a press pass for their chosen career. Not all of these people had to go through a higher education institution to get their smarts, either. "They" employ "experts" all the time, and, while I'm thinking of it, they actually pay them for their commentary. Look at all the talking heads they had who used to wear a uniform for the Gulf War and the War on Terror? In the land of the cyber-expert, it seems plenty of people did some tremendously detailed research. all free of charge for the MSM, and their idea of "thanks" was to tell the world that people who sit at home and type in their pajamas can't be taken seriously. If I had the free money, I'd sure pay plenty for some not-photshopped pictures of the major luminaries of the press corps typing at home on their laptops...in their PJs! Comments? I feel like I'm running out the back of a Super Casa at 15,000 ft. I'm now falling into the cyber-atmosphere, but I packed a 'chute, it will be OK....