Monthly Archives: March 2018

Deeply Stupid

Posted by lex, on February 13, 2009


I have no professional opinion to offer on the suitability of bottlenose dolphins to defend the west coast submarine fleet from terrorist attack. But I do have to say that if this is the quality of thinking that goes into opposing their deployment to Puget Sound, the mammals should be just fine:

Activists at Thursday night’s hearing near Seattle carried large placards saying “Will Knit for Dolphins.”

“It’s just a ridiculous idea. I mean, you know, they’re not cold-water dolphins. And I think a lot of people are opposed to using animals for war,” said Leigh Calvez of Bainbridge Island, Wash., who has been among the most vocal opponents.

Ms. Calvez, who lives in Puget Sound is opposed to the idea of protecting nuclear powered submarines from terrorist attacks in her own back yard. Because that would protect the ecosystem.

Where do these people come from?

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Checked Out!

By Lex, on February 14, 2009


Well, that was easier than I would have thought. Ended up calling a different IP that Mr. I Won’t Go Flying if the Wings are Dirty. Hizzoner was proud of the opportunity, so long as payment was made in cash. I’m quite sure this has nothing to do with an aerial underground economy. The two being ontologically exclusive. Opposites, like.

Never a brief, per se. Just you preflight whilst I go and fetch some paper towels.

It’s always fun when you get checked out in a new airplane, especially if it’s anything like complex. Constant speed props, fuel flow meters for leaning the engine out and cowl flaps turn those boxes red for your host, even if retractable gear are something of a yawn. Pre-start checklist: Cowl Flaps – Open. Jolly good.

How does one open the cowl flaps?

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In a More Nearly Perfect World

Posted by Lex, on February 5, 2009


Got this through the email pipe:

Like a lot of folks in this state, we have jobs. We work, they pay us. I pay my taxes and the government distributes my taxes as it sees fit. In order to get that paycheck, we are required to pass a random urine test with which most of us have no problem. What I do have a problem with is the distribution of my taxes to people who don’t have to pass a urine test. Shouldn’t one have to pass a urine test to get a welfare check because we have to pass one to earn it for them?

Please understand, I have no problem with helping people get back on their feet. I do, on the other hand, have a problem with helping someone sitting on their butts, doing drugs, while we work.

Can you imagine how much money the state would save if people had to pass a urine test to get a public assistance check?

Guess we could title that program, ‘Urine or You’re Out’.

The Navy might call this “perform *  to be served.”

* Link changed 03-30-18 – Ed.

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Taking Chance

By lex, on February 14, 2009

Most of you have probably read Lt. Col. Michael Strobl’s story of bringing Marine Private First Class Chance Phelps home to Dubois, Montana from Dover, Delaware. If you haven’t please set a side a moment to read it here. We learn a little bit about PFC Phelps, how he died returning fire to protect his convoy. But we learn a great deal more about ourselves, who we are, what we honor. How much we all share.

HBO has made a television movie of the story, the trailer is here.

And if you’ve got  a moment on the evening of 21 February 2009, join me wherever you are, and watch Taking Chance.


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Fine Work All the Way Around

Posted by lex, on February 6, 2009


Audio tapes from the Southwest Cactus 1749 tapes are pretty impressive. Captain “Sully” is cool as a cucumber – of course – but the LaGuardia departure controller has to be commended as well.

We could use some of that down at MYF, I can tell you.

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Man’s got a point

Posted by lex, on February 6, 2009


When I was a wee nobbut, I was bounced on the knee of retired Vice Admiral “Red” Ramage, a friend of  my father’s and awardee of the Congressional Medal of Honor. He was a kindly old man, with a charming sense of humor – he told me in tones of mock disappointment at my life choices: Having received an appointment to the Naval Academy, and telling him that I aspired to be an aviator, he allowed as how we’d always need at least one or two airplanes in the Navy. He never spoke much about what he’d done to earn that bit of cloth, but there it was: A wee, blue rosette sprinkled with white stars pinned to his lapel. It led a very young man just embarking on a life in the service to wonder how he might stand when the time came to be tested.

We’ve had people in the fight over seven years now, many of whom have distinguished themselves “conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States.”

Thus far in the war on terror, five US servicemen have been awarded the MOH. Each of them posthumously.

Like John, I have to wonder, “What’s up with that?”

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By lex, on February 6, 2009


My dear ol’ da served in the merchant marines up until the mid-50’s, rising to be the master of a nationally flagged ship. He had a crusty old chief engineer who didn’t like the course made good he was getting on his cruise bell, and suspected that the hull had become fouled with barnacles.

The engineer somehow talked my pops into setting the ship on a well surveyed sandbar when the tide was on the make, arguing that the sand would serve to scrub their bottom clean and add a couple of knots, saving the company both maintence and fuel costs. It worked, and dad proudly reported his success to corporate management. Who, when he returned to New York, congratulated him for his out-of-the-box thinking, and asked him never to do anything like that again.

I somehow suspect that this will not be exactly like that: *

The USS Port Royal, a guided missile cruiser, ran aground about 1030 PM Thursday night a half mile off one of Honolulu International Airport’s main runways. There is no indication of a fuel leak and no injuries were reported.

At high tide Friday morning, Tugboats tried to free the ship but the lines broke. A Navy spokesperson says they a evaluating the situation. It is not known if there is damage to reefs in the area.

Guy had only been in command since October. Damn shame.

** Link added – 03-30-18 – Ed. 

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The coming storm

Posted by lex, on March 15, 2008


In the National Journal, Sydney Freedburg, jr. points out the challenges inherent to balancing wartime operations against future capability in the USAF and naval aviation: An increasingly geriatric (and more costly to maintain) force structure:

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A bit of good news

Seems the F-35 has flown over Iran – undetected. Amid news that the Air Force could not maintain their projected fleet because of projected maintenance costs – and would have to cut back by a third.


And being 7 years behind schedule with a seemingly runaway budget.


It is either going to become a weapons system that will lead the industry, or a boondoggle.

Let’s hope they can rein in those problems.

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Burying the lede

Posted by lex, on March 15, 2008


I was going to write a long, quasi-hysterical rant about the way that a new report(pdf) on Saddam’s terrorist connections were portrayed in the legacy media over the last week. I was going to note that someone inside the intelligence bureaucracy apparently feared the report enough to leak an isolated quote from the executive summary – that there was no “smoking gun” showing a direct, operational linkage between Saddam’s Ba’athist tyranny and al Qaeda – two days prior to the report’s official release as a way of erecting and then immediately demolishing a strawman argument that anyone had actually claimed a direct, operational relationship between Saddam and al Qaeda.

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