Sunday, October 31, 2010

Vintage VW Advertisements...pretty cool stuff

Some Pretty Cool Old VW Advertisements...Hippies would like to get you to believe they were the only ones who used VW Vans but they had pretty wide appeal in their day.....OLD STEEL VW style....gotta love it.

Pulling back the curtain on the arrogance of our Imperial President.....

The conventional wisdom is that we will see an Arse-Kicking of epic proportion this Tuesday...I have been writing about it based on going back to the election of Scott Brown into the Senate from my home state, Massachusetts. The "2nd Shot Heard Round The World" gave us an inkling into how people felt back at the beginning of 2010 regarding POTUS and his Presidency.

NOW, 10 months later, the anger has simmered to a full boil. People are fed up with his arrogance, Obamacare, Pelosi, Gietner, Napolitano, Biden and the attitude that they have all displayed towards the American Public who has rejected their views.

The arrogant smug attitude displayed by POTUS was never more on display than when he came to Boston to support his buddy, Deval "Spend-it-all" Patrick.

The enclosed article highlights what he said while in Boston:

In Boston on Oct. 16, Mr. Obama said, "People out there are still hurting very badly, and they are still scared. And so part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now, and facts and science and argument does not seem to be winning the day all the time, is because we're hard-wired not to always think clearly when we're scared."

No, Mr. President, we are thinking VERY CLEARLY about what you say and how you treat the majority of Americans who want to tell you where to go, and will do so with their votes on Tuesday.

As an aside, the fact that POTUS will be heading overseas for an extended trip immediately after the election to escape the onslaught of "change" that will be arriving at his front door shows the character of an insolent spoiled teenager. When confronted with challenges, he would rather stamp his feet, take a powder and turn tail than stand and take the medicine he richly deserves. What a joke.

Whoever advised him that going overseas right after the mid-term elections would be a good political move is sadly mistaken or maybe it was the decision of a inadequate President deluding himself further.....

You can run, Mr. President, but you cannot hide.

KNIGHT: Pulling back the curtain on Obama's audacity
Americans are witnessing an imperial presidency
By Robert Knight
The Washington Times
6:59 p.m., Friday, October 29, 2010

One of the most memorable scenes in "The Wizard of Oz" is when Toto yanks on the curtain to reveal the bogus wizard faking a larger-than-life image. In 2008, the media played the role of the curtain, shielding Barack Obama. Not enough Americans saw his thin resume, lifelong radical connections, sealed college records or brief U.S. Senate voting record, which the National Journalpegged to the left of socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vermont Democrat.

At the time, the terrier gamely pulling the curtain was the conservative media, including talk radio, websites, magazines and a few editorial pages.

Now, the curtain is nearly open, with President Obama himself pulling the cord. Facing an almost certain king-sized rebuke tomorrow, he has abandoned any pretense of the moderation that fooled so many in 2008.

Proverbs 16:18 says, "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." Judge for yourself whether these recent statements meet the haughtiness test:

In Boston on Oct. 16, Mr. Obama said, "People out there are still hurting very badly, and they are still scared. And so part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now, and facts and science and argument does not seem to be winning the day all the time, is because we're hard-wired not to always think clearly when we're scared."

If he keeps this up, he might get real good at talking down to us, especially those of us "clinging" to our guns and religion.

Speaking on the Spanish-language TV network Univision on Oct. 25, Mr. Obama urged viewers to "punish our enemies."

On Oct. 23, he warned Republicans not to get in his way. Speaking at the University of Minnesota, he blamed the GOP for driving the nation's "car" into a ditch:

"And all the time the Republicans have been standing on the sidelines. They've been looking down, fanning themselves, sipping on a Slurpee [read: mint julep], kicking dirt down into the ditch, kicking dirt in our faces. But we kept pushing. ... And now we get the Republicans tapping us on the shoulder, saying, 'We want the keys back.' You can't have the keys back - you don't know how to drive. You can ride with us if you want, but you've got to sit in the back seat."

Not everyone thinks the car is being fixed, however. The Associated Press reports that Mr. Obama's approval rating even among college students is 44 percent, down from 60 percent a year ago.

When he's not demonizing the opposition, Mr. Obama is working on his imperious image. His trip to India on Nov. 6 should finish that job. His entourage will spend enough to bankrupt a small nation, which might be a nice change from his bankrupting our large nation. Wait - it's all our money.

"[T]he president's team has booked the entire Taj Mahal Hotel, including 570 rooms, all banquets and restaurants," the Economic Times reports. ". . . 125 rooms at the Taj President have also been booked, apart from 80 to 90 rooms each in Grand Hyatt and the Oberoi hotels."

Add to that Air Force One, two more jumbo jets, security jets, 45 cars and several U.S. Navy vessels, and the cost of this vacation, oops, state visit, will soar into the tens of millions. For a president who says he's looking out for the little guy, it must be hard to see him from those mighty heights.

In a wonderful new book by the late constitutional attorney John Armor, "These Are the Times That Try Men's Souls," Thomas Paine's works are uniquely arranged by topic with Mr. Armor's commentaries in the margin. In the "On Tyranny" section, Mr. Armor notes that Paine was well ahead of "The Wizard of Oz" in skewering executive privilege. Writing in free verse, Paine targeted King George III. But listen to his words while imagining the Obama junket:

"What is called monarchy, always appears to me

A Silly, contemptible thing. I compare it to something

Kept behind a curtain, about which there is a great deal of bustle and fuss, and a wonderful air of seeming solemnity;

But when, by any accident, the curtain happens

To be open - and the company see what it is,

They burst into laughter."

If only it were that funny. Paine, who first used the term "the United States of America," could not abide tyrants of any kind, no matter how they came to power. He warned, too, about the possibility of an imperial Congress.

If Paine had been asked what he thought of Nancy Pelosi and company tucking into Obamacare a provision forbidding future Congresses from overturning portions of the law, he might have responded with a quote from his essay "The Rights of Man": "The vanity and presumption of governing beyond the grave is the most ridiculous and insolent of all tyrannies."

Unless tomorrow's election begins a serious rollback, our grandchildren will be paying for Mr. Obama's and Mrs. Pelosi's extravagant spending well beyond the grave. And it could be curtains for our self-governing republic.

Robert Knight is senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and author of the newly updated "Radical Rulers: The White House Elites Who Are Pushing America Toward Socialism" (, 2010).

© Copyright 2010 The Washington Times, LLC.

You realize every time you suit up, every time we go out, it's life or death. You roll the dice, and you deal with it.

The Movie " Hurt Locker " was what we expect to see from Hollywood - part truth, part fiction. Long on showing us what they THINK we want to see and a lot of what a bunch of writers imagine would happen.....and that's why we get crappy movies along with some good ones....sometimes they get it right, sometimes they don't.

I prefer the REAL DEAL...FACT beats FICTION anytime as real life is always stranger....

The Daily Mail rode around Afghanistan along with the real " Hurt Locker" on and ride along with them....pretty gripping stuff.

Good Show Lads.....Jolly Good Show.

The real Hurt Locker: The heroism of British bomb experts clearing the path for troops in Helmand

By Kate Holt Daily Mail
Last updated at 11:30 AM on 31st October 2010

Live asked British journalist Kate Holt to photograph British bomb experts clearing the path for British troops in Helmand. After a year waiting for clearance, this is the result: in words and extraordinary pictures shorn of Hollywood gloss, an account of unquestioning heroism in the face of appalling danger

I am in Helmand Province to see the first Afghan counter-IED (improvised explosive devices) troops being trained by their British counterparts, a crucial milestone on the path to self-sufficiency. I have been posted to an Afghan National Army (ANA) camp called Artillery Hill, overlooking the town of Gereshk.
The Governor of Gereshk has requested about 100 soldiers from 1 Scots and the Royal Engineers to remove IEDs from a 1.5-mile stretch of road running out of town along a canal towards an Afghan National Police checkpoint in insurgent-held territory.

There have been three IED incidents involving civilians along the road, as well as one attack on an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) vehicle. This has made the road impassable and the Afghan police checkpoint unmannable. The plan is for the British unit to clear the road, and use the opportunity to show the Afghans how it’s done.
Arriving at the ‘incident control point’ – a designated spot close to where forces rendezvous – I meet soldiers from 1 Scots coming off ‘stag’ (guard duty) on the road that’s being cleared. They tell me that Afghan troops and police have been involved in several incidents of friendly fire in the night. Casualties have been taken.
I’m introduced to the seven-man Royal Engineer search team and the four-man ATO team (ammunition technical officers), who disarm the explosive devices. Their Mastiff armoured vehicle is parked in the middle of the road, about 50 yards in front of where it was parked the day before. Progress has been slow. Two members of the search team are checking a cordon down either side of the vehicle, in the dusty verges.
This stretch has been designated ‘red’ – the most dangerous – for British troops to clear. Less hazardous ‘amber’ sections at either end of it are being cleared by the newly trained Afghan army searchers. ‘Green’ sections yet further away are being checked by Afghan police.
No one can have a more immediate sense of the dangers of his task than Sgt Hobden. Just two weeks ago acting Corporal David Barnsdale, of 33 Engineer Regiment, a 24-year-old on his second tour, was killed during a similar operation to clear IEDs in Gereshk. He was walking past an armoured personnel carrier in a small patch of safe ground surrounded by a minefield when an IED exploded. Moments later, Hobden had been one of the first into the crater looking for clues.

Confronting this latest alert, Stewie the £250,000 robot (named after the baby in the Family Guy cartoon series) is sent forward; it finds the device’s detonation cord and pulls it out. Yellow plastic oil bottles containing the charges follow it out of the ground. They are laid on top of the Tarmac.
This operation takes nearly an hour. Sgt Hobden then has to make sure the device has been successfully deactivated. He sets off on the lonely walk, with a corporal ten feet behind to provide cover.

‘This is my first time working with Jay,’ says his number two, Tim Latchford – who operates the robot – as Sgt Hobden departs. ‘He passed the High Threat Course the first time round, which is rare for an ATO. The fail rate is very high, about 75 per cent.
Corporal Kevin Bain, leading the search team, confers with Sgt Hobden, who goes down on the ground and confirms the first find, marking the area off with white powder. I see him discussing something with Cpl Bain and pointing to other areas around the find. They come back to the vehicle.
‘I can see that some of the devices have been dug in for a while, but some have definitely been dug in more recently,’ he says.

‘I think the insurgents were aware of this operation and have upped the numbers to make it harder. Someone was telling me the insurgents have an expression, “The Yanks have digital watches but we have time.” Pretty much sums up this place. They have nothing more to do than lay complex IED attacks using things they can find in their back yard, and it can take us days to safely defuse them, despite all the technology we have.

The team take it in turns to climb into the back of the air-conditioned Mastiff to cool off. The Tarmac has become too hot to sit on. Sgt Hobden returns from confirming the huge number of suspected IEDs near the police checkpoint, looking ashen-faced. He vomits alongside the vehicle.
‘I can’t go on today,’ he says. ‘The heat’s too intense. I haven’t acclimatised yet.’ He has been in the country less than two weeks. He has another six months to go.

The team begin to pack up for the day. As Stewie is manoeuvred down the road, gunfire erupts in the air overhead. ‘Inside the vehicle!’ Sgt Hobden orders. Everyone clambers inside the Mastiff, tumbling over guns, Vallons, ration packs and Molly the sniffer dog. Nobody is sure where the firing came from – although it sounds like RPG fire, too close for comfort.

‘Last month one of our guys lost both legs – doesn’t really seem worth it, does it?’

He’s talking about Sapper Ashley Hall, currently being treated at Selly Oak after stepping on a pressure plate that his Vallon failed to detect. The Royal Engineer search team intend to visit him as soon as they get home. (Which, one month later, they do.)

‘When Ash was blown up I was facing the other way,’ the soldier tells me. ‘There was suddenly this big explosion and all this dust and debris and smoke. I looked to where Ash had been and expected him to walk out of the smoke saying, “Hey, close one,” or something like that. But he didn’t. The ATO and Kev (Cpl Bain) were the first to get to him and did his first aid. I ensured a path was clear so the medical team could get to him. I saw his legs. They were just bare bones, with a bit of blood.’
The next day I am up at seven again. There’s some question as to whether Sgt Hobden is fit to work, after being ill the day before. But at 9am we get a radio message saying that he’s ready to go. While I wait for a ride to join the ATO team, I talk to the ANA commander about the new Afghan search teams. He wants the entire Afghan army to have some level of IED training. Because of the indiscriminate carnage they cause, often in markets with no ISAF forces in the vicinity, there has been more intelligence coming from local populations on where they can be found. But at the same time, as the Taliban suffer increasing attrition they are resorting to ever more desperate IED tactics.
A checkpoint is set up at the gate – searching people bringing in the injured. A 1 Scots paramedic team runs down the hill to treat two injured men who have been brought halfway up to the camp in a rickshaw. Suddenly, gunfire rings out. The paramedics are taking incoming fire from insurgents hiding in nearby buildings. Now the camp itself is taking fire. We all have to crouch low as the bullets and dust fly. Moaning victims are being stretchered up the hill, an old man holding his hands to his bleeding eyes and crying in pain, a boy covered in blood, a man missing part of his leg. A helicopter is radioed to evacuate the casualties.

An hour later I get my convoy down the road to rejoin the ATO team, who are already hard at it – searching, clearing, cutting wires. By 4pm an exhausted Sgt Hobden decides that the police checkpoint should be blown up.

‘I doubt there are any more remote controlled devices on this road,’ he says. ‘We’ve been working here for five days and they would have detonated them by now. I suspect there are several more devices inside the ANP checkpoint, and on the roof. I don’t want to risk the search team going in there. It’s safer to blow it up and get rid of it all.’

The following day Molly the sniffer dog searches the road that the ATO has cleared over the last four days, checking for any explosive charges that may have been missed. It takes three hours. After she finishes, the 1 Scots EOD team lay charges in the police checkpoint building, and blow it up. By midday the Royal Engineers are on the road, negotiating the building of the two new ANP checkpoints – hopefully to stop more IEDs being laid.
‘None of these guys will do this job ever again,’ Cpl Bain tells me as we watch. ‘You can only do this job so many times until your luck runs out.’

It has taken one week to clear a little over one mile of road. Afghanistan covers over 250,000 square miles.

Let the games begin.....47 percent of DEMS say Obama should be challenged for the 2012 nomination

The fact that all but HALF of DEMS polled say that POTUS is not the person they want to be the nominee for their party in 2012 is telling.....WOW....The media would try to get you to believe it is only right wing GOP who is opposing POTUS....seems is there is an insurrection among the liberal loonies....and rightly so...he betrayed them as quickly as he betrayed the Middle Class, Veterans and others.

All I can say is that electing a Junior Senator from Chicago President was NOT the right move and now we have a course correction that will be deftly executed through the midterm elections followed by an immediate start to the 2012 Presidential Campaign.....LET THE GAMES BEGIN !!!

Poll: Dems split over handing Obama '12 nomination
October 30, 2010 - 10:51pm

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - Democratic voters are closely divided over whether President Barack Obama should be challenged within the party for a second term in 2012, an Associated Press-Knowledge Networks Poll finds.

That glum assessment carries over into the nation at large, which is similarly divided over whether Obama should be a one-term president.

A real Democratic challenge to Obama seems unlikely at this stage and his re-election bid is a long way off. But the findings underscore how disenchanted his party has grown heading into the congressional elections Tuesday.

The AP-KN poll has tracked a group of people and their views since the beginning of the 2008 presidential campaign. Among all 2008 voters, 51 percent say he deserves to be defeated in November 2012 while 47 percent support his re-election _ essentially a tie.

Among Democrats, 47 percent say Obama should be challenged for the 2012 nomination and 51 percent say he should not be opposed. Those favoring a contest include most who backed Hillary Rodham Clinton's unsuccessful faceoff against Obama for the 2008 nomination. The poll did not ask if Democrats would support particular challengers.

Political operatives and polling experts caution that Obama's poll standings say more about people's frustrations today with the economy and other conditions than they do about his re-election prospects. With the next presidential election two years away _ an eon in politics _ the public's view of Obama could easily improve if the economy revives or if he outmaneuvers Republicans on Capitol Hill or in the presidential campaign.

"Democrats currently disappointed with Obama will likely be less disappointed if he spends the next two years fighting a GOP Congress" should Republicans do well on Election Day, said Charles Franklin, a University of Wisconsin political science professor and polling analyst.

Even so, the poll illustrates how Obama's reputation has frayed since 2008. It suggests lingering bad feelings from Democrats' bitter primary fight, when he and Clinton _ now his secretary of state _ roughly split the popular vote. Political professionals of both parties said the findings are a warning for the president, whose formal re-election effort is expected to begin stirring next year.

"It's an indicator of things he needs to address between now and then," said Kiki McLean, a Democratic strategist who worked in Clinton's 2008 campaign.

The White House declined comment on the results.

The Beauty of Classic Cars started with the Steering Wheel and Dashboards...

A friend recently sent along a picture of a new car from a European manufacturer....the key aspect wasn't the lines or shape of the car, it was that the car didn't have a steering wheel - It was guided using a joystick - Sacrilege !

I am and have been a total gear head all my life and one of the things that hooked me first was the way cars had really cool interiors and the DASHBOARD, which usually had a large, ornate steering wheel....As a kid, I got hooked on the design and ornate beauty of cars for their shape and that there was lotsa CHROME....the dashboards and steering wheels were also ornately designed and had lots of extra there to make it " a work of art " as well as functional.

Center stage on this stage was the Steering Wheel - large wheels made of Bakelite or other resins with ornate horn rings and center caps....ahhhhhhh....this is how it was supposed to be.....

Like many other things, the designers and the Bureaucrats got in there and mucked it all up - they wanted lighter materials and safer materials.....soon the dash of the past was a relic. I have gone to car shows and come over to take a closer look at a Classic car only to find out the owner has removed the original wheel and placed a newer small racing wheel in place. HERESY !!

Cars from the the 30s - 70's were made to be showpieces and works-of-art as well as functional autos. We owe a deep appreciation and a world of thanks to great men like Harley Earl for all they contributed to the beauty of the autos we loved from that era....

As far as the guys who think a car needs a joystick, I feel sorry for your generation as you will never truly appreciate what an automobile is SUPPOSED to look like and you will never truly be on the same level as those who preceded you who were are the pygmies who can only imagine what it was like to set the trend....Joysticks in Autos??? GAME OVER as far as I'm concerned.....I'll take OLD STEEL over the new crap anytime.

“A small segment of our country is bearing the burden of these wars,’’

This is a good example how one person can show extraordinary LEADERSHIP, and by doing so, serve as an example for others on how things SHOULD BE.....

Thanks to Kevin Cullen of the Boston Globe for a great story and thanks to Rabbi Raphael Kanter for putting in place a great idea he saw in practice elsewhere.....If more remembered what was important, like they do, we would be a better nation.

Kevin Cullen
Remembering the fallen of our forgotten wars
By Kevin Cullen
Globe Columnist / October 31, 2010

NEW BEDFORD — The cantor, Nathaniel Schudrich, carried the Torah down the center aisle of the chapel yesterday, and the people stepped from the pews to touch it, gently, like an old friend.

They said “A Prayer for Our Country,’’ the people of Tifereth Israel, and then Charles Gorfinkle, the president of the congregation, stood up.

Sometimes Dr. Daniel Nussbaum reads the names, but yesterday it was Charlie Gorfinkle’s turn. He put the list of names on a lectern and began to read.

“Marine Corporal Kristopher D. Greer, 25, of Ashland City, Tennessee,’’ Charlie Gorfinkle said.

Rabbi Raphael Kanter got the idea a few years ago while attending a service at the Lincoln Square Synagogue in New York.

“In the middle of the service, someone in the congregation stood up and just started reading the names of the servicemen and women who died most recently in Iraq and Afghanistan,’’ Rabbi Kanter was saying.

“Army Private First Class Bradley D. Rappuhn, 24, of Grand Ledge, Michigan,’’ Charlie Gorfinkle said.

Rabbi Kanter sat in the synagogue in New York and was profoundly moved, listening to the names, the ages, the hometowns of young Americans who died so far away, in forgotten wars, wars forgotten even as they still rage.

“Army Sergeant Andrew C. Nicol, 23, of Kensington, New Hampshire,’’ Charlie Gorfinkle said.

“It was simple, it was dignified, and I thought it was so necessary,’’ Rabbi Kanter said.

Rabbi Kanter came back to Tifereth Israel in New Bedford and got up at the Shabbat service and explained what he wanted to do.

“Marine Private First Class Vincent E. Gammone, the third, 19, of Christiana, Tennessee,’’ Charlie Gorfinkle said.

So the rabbi began reading the names of the war dead.

“Marine Lance Corporal Kevin M. Cornelius, 20, of Ashtabula, Ohio,’’ Charlie Gorfinkle said.

Many people in the congregation opposed the wars. But no one opposed honoring and remembering the young people sent to fight them. After a while, the rabbi asked members of the congregation to take turns reading the names of those most recently killed. They do it every week.

“Marine Corporal Max W. Donahue, 23, of Highlands Ranch, Colorado,’’ Charlie Gorfinkle said.

Somebody asked whether it was appropriate to read the names at bar mitzvah and bat mitzvah services, when the young people of the congregation celebrate their coming of age in their faith. Those are joyous occasions.

“Rabbi Kanter said it was important that we read the names, even at bar mitzvahs and bat mitzvahs,’’ Cantor Schudrich said. “Our young people need to hear these names and honor the people whose names are read. So often, I’m struck by the ages of our military people who die in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are so young.’’

“Army Sergeant Faith R. Hinkley, 23, of Colorado Springs, Colorado,’’ Charlie Gorfinkle said.

Rabbi Kanter said his congregation’s simple act of remembrance is born of a conviction that the wars are too invisible. Most Americans don’t have a loved one serving. Most Americans go through every day not giving the wars a passing thought.

“A small segment of our country is bearing the burden of these wars,’’ Rabbi Kanter said. “Why is it when our veterans come home, their care is so poor? If the children of the rich and powerful were fighting these wars, it wouldn’t be the case. In fact, we wouldn’t be fighting these wars. I think the draft should come back. It’s unconscionable that we’re not sharing the burden of war equally. I wonder how quickly we would go to war, and whether we would prosecute wars the same way, if we had a draft, if the burden was shared.’’

So, in this, the most political of seasons, when politicians talk about everything but the wars that are bankrupting the nation and robbing us of so many fine young men and women, a congregation at a synagogue in New Bedford reminds itself every week what honor and sacrifice really mean.

They pause, they listen, they remember.

“Army Master Sergeant Jared N. Van Aalst, 34, of Laconia, New Hampshire,’’ Charlie Gorfinkle said.

Charlie Gorfinkle finished reading but, for a moment, his eyes lingered on the small, thumbnail photos next to each of the names. The faces were young and fresh, and you could see Charlie Gorfinkle looking at them, not so much as if he knew them, but that he wished he had.

Charlie Gorfinkle exhaled, and then he said, “Let us pray for the day when there are no longer any names to read.’’

Kevin Cullen is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at

© Copyright 2010 Globe Newspaper Company

Saturday, October 30, 2010

" It’s not an easy thing to do...”

Please read the short story below and understand what it means...this is the personal and up close part of what our military does that only those who have been there can truly understand. I am glad to share this as all need to know how well these brave warriors perform their duties and how important it is that they are there to serve to our country.

Ultimate sacrifice

AP photographer David Guttenfelder was aboard an Air Force Expeditionary Rescue Squadron helicopter that responded to a call about a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle that had been struck by an IED in Afghanistan's Kandahar province.

Two of the American soldiers aboard the armored vehicle were killed, and three had been seriously injured.

Guttenfelder describes the scene: “We landed in a huge marijuana field, which is growing everywhere in the area, and I could see as we were coming in that the vehicle was completely destroyed; there was nothing left of it and the soldiers were kneeling by the side of the road with their two fallen colleagues, waiting for the helicopter to land.

“On the flight back, they took two flags out of the back of the helicopter and unfolded them and carefully took the bodies of the soldiers and placed them in bags and then wrapped them in American flags in the back of the helicopter. And the helicopter is flying at 150 miles an hour, very low, tactical flying because they’re taking contact often from the enemy.

“When the pararescue guys were covering the bodies in the back of the helicopter, they had only two flags with them. The wind was whipping through the open window … A medic was unfolding one of the flags and handed it to me to free his hands when
the wind caught it and it blew out the window and they lost it. So they only had one flag.

"They were talking to each other on the radios, ‘What are we gonna do?’ One of the pilots had a flag that he kept inside, behind the plate of his flak jacket that he’d kept with him for every deployment he’d ever done – in Iraq, and Afghanistan, he flew over Washington D.C. with it, his children had kissed it and his friends had signed it and he carried it in his flak jacket since he started in the Air Force. He took it out and passed it to the back of the helicopter and that was one of the flags that they used to cover one of the guys.”

When asked how the soldiers reacted to him shooting pictures during such a personal, sensitive moment, Guttenfelder said, “The soldiers were as respectful of me as I was of them.

“I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t think it was important, because it’s not an easy thing to do.”

Guttenfelder has been covering the war in Afghanistan for nine years

Friday, October 29, 2010

Good Question...

No other words needed.

Is the country headed in the right direction?.

Pretty much tells it like it is - IF you like what you went through for the last two years - vote for the office holder - IF NOT, put the new guy much simpler can it be???

When Party Is All That Matters
There's only one question for voters in the midterm congressional elections: Is the country headed in the right direction?.

As the midterm approaches, I am amazed at the number of totally irrelevant arguments in the debates and in the media. This year there is only one issue at play in the Senate and House elections: Is the country headed in the right direction?

Does a candidate have strange views about social issues? How did he or she earn a living? These things don't matter much.

Many Democrats claim they differ from President Obama on this or that. That does not matter either. What matters is which party controls the House and the Senate. If the Democrats have the majority in the Senate, then things will continue pretty much as they are. There will be no new major legislation (a Republican House will stop that), but efforts to roll back what has already passed will not go far. If the Republicans control the Senate, then some rollback might occur and the country might be ready for more change in 2012.

Personality matters in elections for governors because governors have executive authority. This year, governors' party affiliations matter more than normal because this is the year when redistricting will occur, and that will influence the composition of the U.S. House of Representatives until the next census, set for 2020. But this is a secondary issue, and a rational voter might vote for a Democrat for governor because the voter thinks that the Democrat would do a better job of governing.

But members of Congress do not govern. They vote on national issues. If you like the direction of the country in the last two years, then vote Democratic. If you do not, vote Republican.

Mr. Rubin is professor of economics at Emory University

GOOD NEWS - Man searches for and finds Grandfather's World War II Jeep

Too often, I've been commenting on the stories of the day - Politics - Afghanistan - Buffoonery - Greedy Unions, etc., etc.

NOW - here is a feel good story about an OLD JEEP that belonged to David Keckan's Grandad during WW2....I am glad to give you a story to read that doesn't involve all of the usual subjects and suspects.

Search for grandfather's World War II past leads to a ride in his old Jeep
Brian Albrecht

AURORA, Ohio -- David Keckan's odyssey into the past started with 523 letters from the grandfather he never knew.

The letters were written by his grandfather, Walter Neton, to Keckan's great-grandparents when Neton was serving as a paratrooper with the 101st Airborne Division in Europe from 1942-47, during and just after World War II.

Keckan, 24, an Aurora substitute teacher and coach, said these missives were discovered by his mother and aunt five years ago. "I started reading them and realized, wow, this is like a love story," he recalled.

The letters traced his grandfather's service from D-Day through Germany, and Neton's whirlwind romance with a Polish woman, Alena Socha, whom he met and married two weeks after his unit liberated the Nazi labor camp where she was imprisoned. (Neton knew how to speak Polish from his immigrant parents.)

Keckan was intrigued. His grandmother died in 1985 and his grandfather died just after Keckan was born in 1986, so he never heard their wartime story.

He started searching the internet and not only found an account of his grandparents' wedding in an old regimental newsletter, but also located and visited their best man in Virginia.

Keckan learned how his grandparents were married at an old church in Austria, followed by a reception in the company mess hall decorated with colored parachutes. Music was provided by a band of Polish soldiers, and the newlyweds left for their honeymoon in a Jeep donated by Neton's commander, dragging empty clanking gas cans behind it.

But Keckan's search wasn't finished. He found a photo of his grandfather sitting in a Jeep, and just for the heck of it, plugged the vehicle's serial number (painted on the hood) into an Internet search.

No. 20185903 came back a hit, owned by Dennis Burns, 63, of Fremont, Calif.
Burns said he bought the surplus Jeep in 2001 after finding it rusting away in a rural barn. He paid $1,200 for the vehicle and spent more than $12,000 restoring it for use in parades and as a tribute to his parents, who both served in the military during World War II.

He said the Jeep was probably rebuilt in 1945, using parts from other vehicles, and the hood may be the only original part remaining from the Jeep that Keckan's grandfather drove during training in the U.S., before shipping off to Europe.

Burns invited Keckan out for a ride in the Jeep in this year's July 4 parade in Fremont, and later let him drive it.

"It was pretty cool. I didn't know how to drive a stick shift, but somehow I drove perfectly," Keckan recalled. "As I drove, I just knew my grandfather was sitting right next to me, holding my hand."

Burns was equally impressed with Keckan's search. "I think we need more Davids in this world to continue the history and not let it be forgotten," he said. "He's fantastic."

Keckan's mother, Cindy Keckan, 54, of Aurora, also was surprised by how far her son got in researching his grandfather's story.

"Oh my gosh, I have two brothers and a sister and we learned a lot that we never knew, and probably never would've known if David hadn't done this," she said.

Her parents never talked much about the war, she added. Her father concentrated on running a service station in Conneaut while her mother was a dedicated homemaker.

She was surprised by her son's discovery of the best man at her parents' wedding. To further find the Jeep was "amazing," she said; noting that now he'd like to locate more information about his grandmother.

"I don't know what his next find will be," she added, "But there's probably something out there that'll surprise all of us."

USMC Facilities under fire at home

" There are only two kinds of people that understand Marines: Marines and those who have met them in battle. Everyone else has a second-hand opinion." Unknown

Looks like someone in Virginia has an issue with the USMC. All I can say is they best make peace with their Maker because the Marines do not play around and if they continue to use US Marines locations for target practice, they will find out why you don't pick fights with the best.

Having served in a Marine Command, I hope they catch the idjit and prosecute him to the full extent of the law....Bad enough the Marines are under fire in Afghanistan, but it should not happen at home. Semper FI !

Recruiting station shots linked to 2 incidents
Washington Post
Friday, October 29, 2010

An overnight shooting at a vacant Marine Corps recruiting station in Chantilly this week has been definitively linked to two recent attacks on U.S. military buildings in Northern Virginia.

The FBI's Washington Field Office announced Thursday that evidence collected at the recruiting station Tuesday morning matched evidence found at the scenes of similar shootings at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle on Oct. 17 and at the Pentagon in the early hours of Oct. 19. FBI officials said the same weapon was used in all three shootings, but they have not indicated what type of weapon was used or the caliber of ammunition found at the scenes.

Each shooting occurred late at night or early in the morning, when the buildings were either vacant or when it was unlikely that people would be there.

Law enforcement officials said that they have no sense of a motive for the shootings.

"We're following all possible leads at this point,'' a said Andrew Ames, a spokesman for the FBI's Washington Field Office. The office's Joint Terrorism Task Force is leading the investigation.

Anyone with information about the shootings can call Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-8477 - Josh White and Maria Glod

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Buffalo NY Teachers Spent $9M On Cosmetic Surgery in 2009

This type of situtation if encountered elswhere I've been in the world would ellicit one response:

Whiskey - Tango - Foxtrot ???? Followed by a " Are you Kidding me?" - How can this expense be justified in this day & age when we don't have the fudns for school books, computers, facilities BUT we can supply teachers with COSMETIC SURGERY???

Buffalo was Buffaloed.

Teachers Spent $9M On Cosmetic Surgery in 2009
Published : Thursday, 28 Oct 2010, 12:19 PM EDT

BUFFALO, N.Y. - The state-appointed authority overseeing Buffalo public school finances says taxpayer-covered cosmetic surgery rung up by the city's teachers totaled nearly $9 million in 2009.

The Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority reports that last year's costs for such elective procedures as chemical peels and other skin treatments are up $8 million over the 2004 tab for cosmetic surgery provided under the teachers' union contract.

School district officials say teachers or their dependents accounted for 90 percent of the approximately 500 people who received cosmetic surgery last year. About 10,000 district employees are eligible for the benefit.

The president of the teachers' union says the union has agreed to give up the benefit in the next contract.

Copyright Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Putting the news on "Spin Cycle"

Even the Associated Press is not above putting the news into the SPIN CYCLE...The key aspect of the article is the part below. I have highlighted the key parts as it is important to see what REALLY matters in this information.

"The number of people continuing to receive jobless aid also dropped sharply last week, falling by 122,000 to 4.36 million, the department said. But that doesn't include an additional group that is receiving extended benefits under an emergency program approved by Congress during the recession.

The emergency benefit rolls fell by more than 400,000 to about 4.7 million for the week ending Oct. 9, the latest data available. Much of the decline is likely due to people using up all the unemployment aid they are eligible for.

All told, about 8.8 million people received unemployment benefits that week."

HOW could anyone feature this information at the end of the story and not understand that people falling off the end of 99 WEEKS of benefits is what drives the issue with Unemployment....especially for those who find themselves in this terrible outcome.

Unemployment claims drop sharply to 434K

By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER, AP Economics Writer Christopher S. Rugaber, Ap Economics Writer – 1 hr 56 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Fewer people applied for unemployment benefits last week than in any week since July, a hopeful sign that the job market is improving.

Still, economists cautioned that the trend would have to continue for several more weeks before a solid conclusion could be drawn that hiring is picking up.

Applications for jobless benefits dropped by 21,000 to a seasonally adjusted 434,000 in the week that ended Oct. 23, the Labor Department said Thursday.

It was the second-lowest number for first-time claims this year. The only time it was lower was during the July 10 week, and that week was affected by the Independence Day holiday when state unemployment offices were closed.

Unemployment claims have fluctuated around 450,000 for most of this year, and have fallen below that level seven times. But they have always rebounded in subsequent weeks, and haven't remained below 450,000 for longer than two weeks.
"The drop was unexpected and is a move in the right direction, but it will need to be duplicated in the weeks ahead to indicate that the labor market recovery is gathering momentum," Andrew Gledhill, an economist at Moody's Analytics, said in a note to clients.

The decline in claims partly reflects a drop in layoffs in the construction sector, said Julia Coronado, an economist at BNP Paribas. That sector had seen elevated layoffs in August. But if fewer layoffs in construction are a reason that claims are down, it means hiring may not be picking up much elsewhere in the economy, Coronado said.

She expects that the economy generated a net gain of 60,000 jobs in October, while the unemployment rate ticked up to 9.7 percent from 9.6 percent last month. The government will release its October jobs report on Nov. 5.

The four-week average of claims, a less volatile measure, dropped by 5,500 to 453,250, the lowest level since the week of July 24.

Applications for unemployment aid fell steadily last year after the recession ended in June 2009, dropping from 600,000 to about 450,000 by January of this year.

Employers haven't done much hiring in recent months with economic growth so weak. The economy grew 1.7 percent in the April-June period, an anemic pace in normal times and even worse in the aftermath of the Great Recession.

Economists expect that the Commerce Department on Friday will report slightly better growth of 2 percent for the July-September period. But that's still sluggish after a deep recession.

The economy needs to grow by at least 5 percent for a full year to bring down the unemployment rate by a percentage point, economists estimate. The jobless rate is currently 9.6 percent, down only slightly from 9.7 percent in January.

Some companies are adding workers. Pharmaceuticals company Novartis AG said Wednesday that it will add 300 new jobs and invest $600 million over the next five years in its research headquarters in Cambridge, Mass. And engine maker Cummins, Inc. said Tuesday that it will expand its headquarters in Columbus, Ind. and add at least 350 jobs by 2012.

The number of people continuing to receive jobless aid also dropped sharply last week, falling by 122,000 to 4.36 million, the department said. But that doesn't include an additional group that is receiving extended benefits under an emergency program approved by Congress during the recession.

The emergency benefit rolls fell by more than 400,000 to about 4.7 million for the week ending Oct. 9, the latest data available. Much of the decline is likely due to people using up all the unemployment aid they are eligible for.

All told, about 8.8 million people received unemployment benefits that week

Meanwhile back at the World Series...

The National Pastime mirrors the other "contest" of note in our country....interesting. Both seem to share a good hearty sense of competition and willingness to call out your opponent along with his character and lineage...funny stuff....PLAY BALL !

" What is both surprising and delightful is that spectators are allowed, and even expected, to join in the vocal part of the game.... There is no reason why the field should not try to put the batsman off his stroke at the critical moment by neatly timed disparagements of his wife's fidelity and his mother's respectability."

George Bernard Shaw

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

James Bond's 1964 Aston Martin DB5 sells for $4.6 million

Damn....these guys have the car that I would love to own...and I would NOT just leave it in a museum....this baby needs to be driven.

I loved the interchange between 007 and Q, especially when it came to a piece of kit as awesome as the Aston Martin DB5

Q: [Showing Bond a tracking device] Reception on the dashboard, here. Audo-visual

Q: , range a hundred and fifty miles.

James Bond: Ingenious, and useful too. Allow a man to stop off for a quick one en route.

Q: It has not been perfected, out of years of patient research, ENTIRELY for that purpose, 007. And incidentally, we'd appreciate its return, along with all your other equipment, INTACT for once, when you return from the field.

James Bond: Well, you'd be surprised the amount of wear and tear that goes on out there in the field.

Q: Now this one I'm particularly keen about. You see the gear lever here? Now, if you take the top off, you will find a little red button. Whatever you do, don't touch it.

James Bond: Yeah, why not?

Q: Because you'll release this section of the roof, and engage and then fire the passenger ejector seat. Whish!

James Bond: Ejector seat? You're joking!

Q: I never joke about my work, 007

James Bond's Aston Martin car sells for $4.6 million

LONDON (Reuters Life!) – An American businessman bought James Bond's 1964 Aston Martin DB5 for 2.9 million pounds ($4.59 million) at a London auction on Wednesday.

The car driven by Sean Connery in his portrayal of the suave but lethal British secret agent in the "Goldfinger" and "Thunderball" Bond films sold for less than its 3.5 million pound pre-sale estimate to businessman Harry Yeaggy, auctioneers RM Auctions said in a statement after the sale.

"This is a car that I've always wanted, after all it is the most famous car in the world," Yeaggy said in the statement. "My plan is to display it in my private car museum in Ohio just as it is."

Yeaggy is only the second ex-factory owner of the distinctive silver-colored car. Seller Jerry Lee, an American radio broadcaster based in Philadelphia, PA, purchased the car direct from the Aston Martin Lagonda factory for $12,000 in 1969.

The car is one of two, and the sole remaining, of the original "007" DB5s that appeared on screen with Connery behind the wheel in Goldfinger and Thunderball.

The model was sold complete with its "Q-Branch" gadgets including machine guns, bullet-proof shield, revolving number plates, tracking device, removable roof panel, oil slick sprayer, nail spreader and smoke screen.

Several of the gadgets are fully operational, although the machine guns are not real.

Lee plans to use the proceeds from the sale for charity.

In addition to the car, the Yeaggy receives an exclusive seven-night stay for 10 guests at the newly opened GoldenEye Resort in Jamaica -- Bond author Ian Fleming's Caribbean estate -- and a gold thread bespoke suit from Savile Row tailors Gieves & Hawkes.

(Reporting by Paul Casciato, editing by Myra MacDonald


I regret people were dumb enough to elect "Barry from Chicago" he'll regret that he decided to act like a prize winning jack-arse over the last 18 months and wasted his chance to prove the critics wrong....instead, all he did was prove them right...

Look for POTUS to enjoy " Lame Duck " status for the next two year starting on Nov. 3rd followed by lotsa fingerpointing/back-biting/whining on the DEMS side of things...bring it on.

“Elitist” and “out of touch”....No, Mr. President, you just don't get it.

Jeff Jacoby writes up the reason why we have seen POTUS' approval rating dip to an all-time low of 37 % - His article in the Boston Globe echoes what Hillary Clinton knew in April 2008.

Take a look at what was on the record in April 2008 as proof positive that Jeff Jacoby has hit the mark; From the UK Times -

Mrs Clinton was buoyed yesterday by Republican strategists who declared that Mr Obama’s remarks would become a general election “nightmare” for the Illinois senator if he became the Democratic nominee because they made him look like a liberal elitist.

Mrs Clinton activated the entire might of her campaign machine to exploit the remarks, which she called “demeaning”, “elitist” and “out of touch”. Aides handed out “I’m not bitter” stickers and surrogates took to the airwaves to fan the flames.

It emerged on Saturday that Mr Obama had, before an audience in the liberal bastion of San Francisco, tried to explain his trouble winning over white, working-class voters, the fabled “Reagan Democrats” who will be crucial in the general election.

He said: “You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And it’s not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

This is the same Hillary Clinton that is his Secretary of State ! And POTUS wonders why the American Voters are not more in line with his view of things. It is his naivete' that causes Voters to worry and his elitist attitude that makes Voters shake their heads in disgust. Now he thinks we should give support ot those who look down on the average American as "bitter"....You would be bitter if you saw the President caring more about the Unions and his Elite buddies than those who are doing the work that makes America great.

5 days and counting to the reckoning. I'm hopeful that a message will be sent by the voters.

Smug Democrats
By Jeff Jacoby
Globe Columnist / October 27, 2010

THE HILLS are alive with the sound of liberal Democratic contempt for the electorate. So are the valleys, the prairies, and the coasts. For months, voters have been signaling their discontent with the president, his party, and their priorities; in less than a week, they appear poised to deliver a stinging rebuke. Yet rather than address the voters’ concerns with seriousness and respect, too many Democrats and their allies on the left have chosen instead to slur those voters as stupid, extremist, or too scared to think straight.

At a Democratic fundraiser in Newton this month, offering what he called “a little bit of perspective from the Oval Office,’’ President Obama gave this diagnosis of the American political scene:

“Part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now, and facts and science and argument does not seem to be winning the day all the time, is because we’re hard-wired not to always think clearly when we’re scared. And the country is scared.’’

The smug condescension in this — we’re losing because voters are panicky and confused — is matched only by its apparent cluelessness. Does Obama really believe that demeaning ordinary Americans is the way to improve his party’s fortunes? Or that his dwindling job approval is due to the public’s weak grip on “facts and science’’ and not, say, to his own divisive and doctrinaire performance as president?

Perhaps he does. Or perhaps he just says such things when speaking to liberal donors. It was at a San Francisco fundraiser in 2008 that Obama described hard-pressed citizens in the small towns of Pennsylvania as “bitter’’ people who “cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them . . . as a way to explain their frustrations.’’

Obama is far from alone in looking down his nose at the great unwashed. Last month, Senator John Kerry explained that Democrats are facing such headwinds these days because voters are easily swayed dolts: “We have an electorate that doesn’t always pay that much attention to what’s going on, so people are influenced by a simple slogan rather than the facts or the truth.’’

Meanwhile, the rise of the Tea Party movement, one of the most extraordinary waves of civic engagement in modern American politics and a major driver of the 2010 election season, has drawn no end of scorn from Democrats and their cheerleaders in the media.

Massachusetts Senate President Therese Murray calls Tea Party members “nutcases,’’ while ABC’s Christiane Amanpour is aghast that the grassroots movement has “really gone to the extreme’’ and is “not conservatism as we knew it.’’ Rob Reiner even smears the Tea Party as Nazi-esque: “My fear is that the Tea Party gets a charismatic leader,’’ the Hollywood director said last week. “All they’re selling is fear and anger and that’s all Hitler sold.’’ And the crop of citizen-candidates running for Congress this year, many of them with Tea Party backing? A “myriad of wackos,’’ sneers the influential liberal blogger Markos Moulitsas.

Trashing conservatives as “nutcases’’ and “wackos’’ — or worse — is all too common among left-wing pundits and politicos. But the electorate isn’t buying it. “Likely voters in battleground districts,’’ reports The Hill in a recent story on a poll of 10 toss-up congressional districts across the country, “see extremists as having a more dominant influence over the Democratic Party than they do over the GOP.’’ Among likely voters, 44 percent think the Democratic Party is overpowered by its extremes (37 percent say that about the Republicans). Even among registered Democrats, 22 percent think their party is too beholden to its extremists.

Heading into next week’s elections, Americans remain a center-right nation, with solid majorities believing that the federal government is too intrusive and powerful, that it does not spend taxpayer’s money wisely or fairly, and that Americans would be better off having a smaller government with fewer services. Nearly halfway through the most left-wing, high-spending, grow-the-government presidential term most voters can remember, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that so many of them are rebelling. The coming Republican wave is an entirely rational response to two years of Democratic arrogance and overreach. As the president and his party are about to learn, treating voters as stupid, malevolent, or confused is not a strategy for victory.
Jeff Jacoby can be reached at

© Copyright 2010 Globe Newspaper Company

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

" Where’s the nearest carrier? ‘” - A question asked by all Presidents and one that we need to keep in mind going forward into an uncertain future....

The need for a deployed force multiplier is critical in today's uncertain world. The nature of the trouble spots around the world calls for having the ability to respond quickly and with a fully capable response to any issue large or small. The ability to project force from the Sea is essential and the Carrier is the one platform we need. Littoral Ships are essential BUT the Carrier is the Big Dog.

Recently, the CEO of my company stated that when he gets on the plane, he trusts the pilot as he feels that is the way it SHOULD BE. If you plan on going somewhere, you have to TRUST the guy at the helm.

READ the words below - I TRUST the people in charge of the NAVY as they know best when it comes to the Large Ships we need -


Why the Carriers?

The United States has become increasingly entwined in the business and security issues with the rest of the world. Our economy and security depends upon our protecting our overseas interests as well as encouraging peace and stability around the globe. Forward presence by U.S. Navy aircraft carrier battle groups and amphibious ready groups helps us accomplish this. As former Secretary of Defense William Cohen stated: "If you don't have that forward deployed presence, you have less of a voice, less of an influence." The U.S. Navy is engaged. And engaged means being there.

As example, on 11 September 2001, USS Enterprise (CVN 65) had just been relieved from being on station in support of Operation Southern Watch. She was heading south in the Indian Ocean, beginning her trip back to homeport in Norfolk, Va., when, on television, they saw the live coverage of attack on the World Trade Center, then on the Pentagon. Enterprise, without an order from the chain of command, put the rudder over, executed a 180-degree course change and headed back to the waters off Southwest Asia. Enterprise then remained on station in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, launching air attacks against al Qaeda terrorist training camps and Taliban military installations in Afghanistan. For approximately the next three weeks, aircraft from Enterprise flew nearly 700 missions in Afghanistan, dropping hundreds of thousands of pounds of ordnance.

The carrier battle group, operating in international waters, does not need the permission of host countries for landing or overflight rights. Nor does it need to build or maintain bases in countries where our presence may cause political or other strains. Aircraft carriers are sovereign U.S. territory that steam anywhere in international waters — and most of the surface of the globe is water. This characteristic is not lost on our political decision-makers, who use Navy aircraft carriers as a powerful instrument of diplomacy, strengthening alliances or answering the fire bell of crisis. As former President Bill Clinton said during a visit to the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, "When word of crisis breaks out in Washington, it's no accident the first question that comes to everyone's lips is; where is the nearest carrier?"

The carrier battle group can not only operate independently but it presents a unique range of options to the President, Congress and Secretary of Defense. By using the oceans — more than 70% of the earth's surface is ocean — both as a means of access and as a base, forward-deployed Navy and Marine forces are readily available to provide the United States with a rheostat of national response capabilities. These capabilities range from simply showing the flag — just a presence — to insertion of power ashore. The unique contribution of aircraft carriers to our national security was best expressed by Gen. John Shalikashvili, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said during a visit to USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, "I know how relieved I am each time when I turn to my operations officer and say, 'Hey, where's the nearest carrier?' and he can say to me 'It's right there on the spot.' For United States' interests, that means everything."

NOW, follow that up with a bunch of elite idjits at a dinner party in Man-hattan who don't have a frickin' clue as to how many Carriers we REALLY have.....OMG. The protected have no idea how difficult it is to make sure they can go about their small lives while others pay for it in blood, sweat & tears 24/7/365.

Kudos to Mr. Cohen of FORBES for a superior piece of writing that illuminates how clueless some can be and the reason why we DO NEED more Carriers on a friend wrote before,

" All hard, All the time."


Where are the Carriers?
Oct. 25 2010 - 9:12 am By STEVE COHEN - FORBES.COM

“When word of a crisis breaks out in Washington, it’s no accident that

the first question that comes to everyone’s lips is:

‘Where’s the nearest carrier?‘”

President Bill Clinton

March 12, 1993 aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt

At a dinner party on Manhattan’s upper east side recently, I asked my table-mates how many aircraft carriers they thought America had in service. It wasn’t an idle question. It was triggered by comments from two of the guests. Both had just returned from Iran, and one was a senior European Union staffer involved with security issues. Their report was seriously distressing, and the conversation turned to the possibility of U.S. (or Israeli) intervention.

The answers to my question – how many carriers — ranged from 22 to 100. The EU expert weighed in with 40. All were shocked to learn that the United States has a total of just 11 aircraft carriers. And even that number is misleading: two are in dry-dock, one for a four-year refueling; six are various stages of refurbishment, training and certification and can, in theory, be ready to “surge” in 30 to 90 days. But only three are actually deployed.

I knew the number because I had recently been aboard the USS Harry Truman, a nuclear super-carrier with some 70 jets and a crew of 5500. Following my embark, I was determined to investigate the value of these behemoths as objectively as a concerned citizen (without a security clearance) could. I interviewed dozens of defense experts and reviewed thousands of pages of studies and testimony. I was also sensitive to the fact that I had experienced a tailhook landing and catapult launch, which are often referred to as “the most fun you can have with your clothes on.” I appreciate why, and tried not to let that interfere with my assessment.

My questions started with the basics: Are carriers cold war relics as critics charge? Or are they, as supporters profess, cost-effective platforms essential to achieving critical foreign policy and security objectives? Are they too vulnerable to new Chinese anti-ship missiles as Defense Secretary Gates implies? Or is that vulnerability the latest feint by inter-and-intra-service rivals? And is 11 the “right” number to meet current and potential obligations?

The answers I found were not encouraging. And my dinner partners’ surprise quickly turned to concern.

Most experts fear that our carrier capability is stretched way too thin. And they are very concerned about what will happen in 2013 when the 50 year-old nuclear super-carrier Enterprise is retired. Its replacement, the USS Gerald Ford, is not scheduled to be commissioned until late 2015, and won’t join the operational fleet until several years after that.

Moreover, the carriers and their crews are being worked harder and longer. At today’s heightened operational tempo, deployments are more frequent, longer, and leave less time for essential maintenance. As retired Navy captain Dick Costello put it, “We’re driving them hard and putting them away wet.”

Contrary to critics’ rhetoric, aircraft carriers have played an expanded role since the fall of the Berlin Wall. The carrier’s traditional roles of deterrence, sea control, and showing-the-flag have taken advantage of their hard-to-miss presence. Carriers have been front-and-center in numerous conflicts where weapons were never fired. But since the end of the cold war, carriers have taken on the greater demands of kinetic power projection: carrier-based aircraft have flown most of the critical early sorties in almost every “hot” encounter of the last 20 years. Troops are never sent into harm’s way without first securing the airspace and without on-going close air support. Initial air operations are almost always the predominant responsibility of Navy-Marine air, while on-going sustainability is shared with the Air Force.

When special operations forces and CIA operatives went into Afghanistan after 9/11 – some of them memorably on camels – it was carrier-based aircraft that provided the essential cover. In fact, Navy Air was responsible for fully 75% of all strike sorties. This required four carriers on station.

In 2003, in Operation Iraqi Freedom, five Navy carriers again provided essential air-superiority and ground support. More than half of all American sorties were conducted by carrier-based pilots, as Turkey and Saudi Arabia refused American requests to operate Air Force jets from land bases.

Retried Marine General Anthony Zinni explained another benefit of having carriers forward-deployed: the element of surprise. When, in 1999 President Bill Clinton ordered air strikes against Iraq, Zinni was able to draw on carriers undergoing “routine” operations in the area. The Iraqis had no advance notice of night-time strikes by carrier-based pilots and were unable to disperse valuable pieces of equipment. In subsequent strikes by land-based Air Force planes, the Iraqis had enough time to move their machinery.

Carriers are also playing a growing, non-traditional role: disaster relief and delivering humanitarian aid. Following the 2004 Asian tsunami, the USS Abraham Lincoln led relief efforts. Not only did the carrier’s flight deck provide the main staging area for distribution of desperately needed supplies, its medical facilities were literally life-saving for thousands. Moreover, as former Ambassador Douglas Paal noted, its quick response and presence provided Secretary of State Clinton with a formidable platform from which to engage the Indonesian government.

Does the Navy believe 11 carriers are enough to meet the challenges demanded of them by successive presidential administrations? As recently as June of 2000 – before the attacks of 9/11 or our interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq – the Navy told Congress that it needed 15 carrier battle groups. Unfortunately, with only 11 carriers, large areas of the globe are suffering from a “presence deficit.” According to Vice Admiral Barry McCullough, these include the Black sea, the Baltic region, Indian Ocean, and areas off the African coast. In addition, South America, the Caribbean, and the Balkans have not seen a carrier in several years.

The most formidable carrier critic is outgoing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. “I’m not going to cut any aircraft carriers,” Gates told Fred Kaplan in his recent Foreign Affairs interview. “But the reality is, if Chinese highly accurate anti-ship cruise and ballistic missiles can keep our aircraft carriers behind the second island chain in the Pacific, you’ve got to think differently about how you’re going to use aircraft carriers.”

Gates may not have cut the number of carrier groups outright, but he has significantly delayed the start date for building new carriers from every four years to every five. And there is some talk about not refueling the Abraham Lincoln when its reactor core must be replaced in 2014, halfway through the carrier’s 50-year lifespan.

Is this Chinese missile threat sufficient to diminish carrier capabilities? Not according to former Chief of Naval Operations Admiral James L. Holloway III. “The Chinese lack some of the key hardware and software to constitute the ‘system of systems’ required to achieve the kill chain of detection, tracking, guidance and pinpoint accuracy needed.” Holloway also notes that a carrier can move 12 miles between the time a missile is launched and when it arrives at the target. And its flight deck and hull are heavily armored. “The Enterprise experienced a serious fire a number of years ago when nine major caliber bombs (750 – 1,000 pounds) exploded on its flight deck. It was back in operation after four hours.”

Perhaps most tellingly, no nation is pursuing aircraft carriers more assiduously than China. They have purchased three old carriers from the Soviet Union and a fourth from Australia. In addition, they have constituted an air wing that is practicing landings on a carrier-shaped strip, and are reported to be building a new carrier in secret.

The one thing critics and supporters agree upon is that carriers are very expensive. The USS Gerald Ford will cost about $11 billion by the time it enters the fleet. And that doesn’t include the cost of its air wing or its strike group of cruisers, subs, and support ships. (Just as a point of reference, the “cash for clunkers” program cost us $3 billion, and the overall stimulus and bank-bailout have totaled $1.5 trillion. That is 1500 billions.)

Our current spending on carriers and aircraft is a grave concern to former Navy Secretary John Lehman. He notes that we have only 10 airwings and no attrition aircraft. Moreover, he is critical of Secretary Gates’ position that while we may have no back-up aircraft for the carriers, we have plenty of Air Force planes. Lehman notes that, “In any potential conflict with an increasingly truculent and aggressive China, Air Force reserves are largely irrelevant. We have very few land bases in the Pacific.”

As I conducted my investigation, I kept hearing that the Navy has no congressional champion, as it did first with Georgia Congressman Carl Vinson and later with Virginia Senator John Warner. Moreover, the public seems not to know or care what the Navy does. In a recent Gallup poll, the Navy was ranked dead last among the braches of the military services in terms of both prestige and importance.

So, without a champion or broad public support, is there little wonder why our carrier resources continue to erode? I came away from my investigation convinced that the modern super-carrier is our most flexible and proven defense platform. But I was also very troubled by the realization that our initial incursions into Afghanistan and Iraq required four and five carrier battle groups respectively. And that we didn’t have enough ships to support those operations simultaneously.

What my dinner partners worried about was: what would happen if two-or-more conflicts erupt concurrently? We went around the table citing current concerns: Iran is attempting to build a nuclear weapon; North Korea recently sunk a South Korean warship; a Japanese tanker was attacked just last month in the Straits of Hormuz; Venezuela has threatened Colombia; and China is showing increased belligerence towards Taiwan. And all those were cited before appetizers were finished. We’ll just have to hope that no President, faced with a crisis, will ask, “Where are the carriers?” and hear that they’ve been retired in favor of the next politically popular clunkers program

Monday, October 25, 2010

RHODE ISLAND POL TO POTUS - "He can take his endorsement and really shove it as far as I'm concerned "

In my family, we have some family that live in Rhode Island....The smallest state in the land and the home to some whacky politics. We have a saying when you hear something weird come out of Rhode Island...My Dad would just say, " You know those Rhode Island people..."

Well looks like they have taken it over the top today....Not that I can't understand how the guy feels....not sure I would go far as stating so in public.

R.I. Dem: Obama can 'shove it'
By: Jonathan Allen
October 25, 2010 11:23 AM EDT -

Rhode Island's Democratic gubernatorial nominee said President Obama can "shove" his endorsement amid an ugly intraparty squabble that has Democrats buzzing that the commander in chief is showing too little loyalty to his own party.

Obama, showing deference to Republican-turned-independent Lincoln Chafee, is refusing to endorse Democrat Frank Caprio, even as he travels to the smallest state to do a fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

"He can take his endorsement and really shove it as far as I'm concerned," Caprio said on WPRO radio, according to an account on the Providence Journal's Website.

There had been behind-the-scenes activity to try to get the president to endorse Caprio — or at least appear with him while in Rhode Island.

But Obama, who won a cross-party endorsement from Chafee in the 2008 presidential campaign, has made clear he doesn't intend to put his thumb on the scale for Caprio in one of the few states where his endorsement might benefit a Democrat this year.

"This is disappointing. Frank Caprio has spent his career fighting for the values of the Democratic Party, and I think he deserves the full support of our party and its leaders," said Nathan Daschle, executive director of the Democratic Governors Association. "While this might not be what the White House intended, the president’s refusal to endorse a fellow Democrat in the worst environment since 1994 sends a bad message to everyone who’s working to get Democrats elected this year."

Caprio and the DGA asked Obama to move tonight's Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraiser from the home of a Chafee supporter out of concern that it might be read as a blessing of Chafee. But the White House turned down the request and rebuffed subsequent efforts to get Caprio a joint appearance with the president.

Declining to endorse the Democrat — a tacit nod to the independent — is somewhat reminiscent of the White House positioning on the three-way Florida Senate race before Obama made clear that he supports Democrat Kendrick Meek rather than Republican-turned-independent Charlie Crist.

Some Democratic operatives are steaming over the Obama Rhode Island snub — confirmed in a Sunday conference call by White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki, who said Obama would not be making any endorsement Monday.

"If the White House wants to know why Democrats won't come out for them look no farther than the fact that even the president won't come out for Democrats," said a source who is involved in several gubernatorial races. "It's bad enough that the White House failures have dug a hole so big for the Democratic Party that Chilean miners would be envious, now they're choosing not to endorse Democrats. Are they living on this planet?"

Two sources familiar with Rhode Island politics told POLITICO that Chafee is benefiting from his 2008 endorsement of Obama's presidential bid and Caprio's suffering for having been in Hillary Clinton's camp in the primary that year. Caprio hasn't even been invited to join Obama at public events, sources said.

"My understanding is that Obama is not looking to endorse Caprio and by including him in any events would give that indication or force him to actually say where he stands on that issue," one source told POLITICO. "I have also heard that Caprio is upset that the DCCC did it's big Rhode Island event at the home of a family who are very vocal and active supporters of Chafee. In many circles in Rhode Island, Chafee is seen as more of a Dem and a progressive than Caprio, who people often joke is a Republican in Democrats' clothing."

The White House did not have an immediate response to Caprio's comments.

Chafee and Caprio are neck-and-neck for the lead in the three-way race, with both getting about 30 percent of the vote depending on the poll.

© 2010 Capitol News Company, LLC

THE DIFFERENCE......JFK made a difference

This is the difference. READ the enclosed words from THE PRESIDENT, circa April 1962. SEE the difference in what a PRESIDENT should do compared with the light-weight we have now. John F. Kennedy took the message right to the people in a way that laid it out for all to see.

I am not pro-union, and I am not anti-business but the way the Steel Crisis played out, a small group of Steel Executives made decisions that would hurt the rest of America and JFK called them out on it. Today, we have groups of executives doing the same thing in multiple fields and no one is taking them on. They have the government in their pocket.

I support those who look out for the best interest of the country and see that any group, union or executives who believe they can do whatever they want without care for how it effects the citizens of this country needs to be called out.

Too bad we can only look to history to see the example for what a PRESIDENT should do, instead of being able to see one in the White House who can do so today.

Official White House Transcript

Presidential News Conference #30, April 11, 1962
State Department Auditorium, Washington, D.C.
Date: April 11, 1962

THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon. I have several announcements to make.

Simultaneous and identical actions of United States Steel and other leading steel corporations, increasing steel prices by some 6 dollars a ton, constitute a wholly unjustifiable and irresponsible defiance of the public interest.

In this serious hour in our nation's history, when we are confronted with grave crises in Berlin and Southeast Asia, when we are devoting our energies to economic recovery and stability, when we are asking Reservists to leave their homes and families for months on end, and servicemen to risk their lives -- and four were killed in the last two days in Viet Nam -- and asking union members to hold down their wage requests, at a time when restraint and sacrifice are being asked of every citizen, the American people will find it hard, as I do, to accept a situation in which a tiny handful of steel executives whose pursuit of private power and profit exceeds their sense of public responsibility can show such utter contempt for the interests of 185 million Americans.

If this rise in the cost of steel is imitated by the rest of the industry, instead of rescinded, it would increase the cost of homes, autos, appliances, and most other items for every American family. It would increase the cost of machinery and tools to every American businessman and farmer. It would seriously handicap our efforts to prevent an inflationary spiral from eating up the pensions of our older citizens, and our new gains in purchasing power.

It would add, Secretary McNamara informed me this morning, an estimated one billion dollars to the cost of our defenses, at a time when every dollar is needed for national security and other purposes. It would make it more difficult for American goods to compete in foreign markets, more difficult to withstand competition from foreign imports, and thus more difficult to improve our balance of payments position, and stem the flow of gold. And it is necessary to stem it for our national security, if we are going to pay for our security commitments abroad. And it would surely handicap our efforts to induce other industries and unions to adopt responsible price and wage policies.

The facts of the matter are that there is no justification for an increase in the steel prices. The recent settlement between the industry and the union, which does not even take place until July 1st, was widely acknowledged to be non-inflationary, and the whole purpose and effect of this Administration's role, which both parties understood, was to achieve an agreement which would make unnecessary any increase in prices.

Steel output per man is rising so fast that labor costs per ton of steel can actually be expected to decline in the next twelve months. And in fact, the Acting Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics informed me this morning that, and I quote: "Employment costs per unit of steel output in 1961 were essentially the same as they were in 1958. "

The cost of major raw materials, steel scrap and coal, has also been declining, and for an industry which has been generally operating at less than two-thirds of capacity, its profit rate has been normal and can be expected to rise sharply this year in view of the reduction in idle capacity. Their lot has been easier than that of a hundred thousand steel workers thrown out of work in the last three years. The industry's cash dividends have exceeded 600 million dollars in each of the last five years, and earnings in the first quarter of this year were estimated in the February 28th Wall Street Journal to be among the highest in history.

In short, at a time when they could be exploring how more efficiency and better prices could be obtained, reducing prices in this industry in recognition of lower costs, their unusually good labor contract, their foreign competition and their increase in production and profits which are coming this year, a few gigantic corporations have decided to increase prices in ruthless disregard of their public responsibilities....

The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission are examining the significance of this action in a free, competitive economy.

The Department of Defense and other agencies are reviewing its impact on their policies of procurement, and I am informed that steps are underway by those Members of the Congress who plan appropriate inquiries into how these price decisions are so quickly made, and reached, and what legislative safeguards may be needed to protect the public interest.

Price and wage decisions in this country, except for very limited restrictions in the case of monopolies and national emergency strikes, are and ought to be freely and privately made, but the American people have a right to expect in return for that freedom, a higher sense of business responsibility for the welfare of their country than has been shown in the last two days.

Some time ago I asked each American to consider what he would do for his country and I asked the steel companies. In the last 24 hours we had their answer."