Friday, September 30, 2011

President Obama admits he didn't like ethics as a subject in school...

It appears that President Obama is like someone who can't help himself and who wants to tell the world that even HE thinks he is not capable of doing the job of being President.

Ethics and ethical leadership are two absolute requisites for leaders. There can be no compromise in this area and to not embrace as a foundation of knowing why you you need it is a failure to understand what is required of a leader.

This comes as no surprise to those who have witnessed Obama's utter failure in Leadership...This guy is a world class elitist putz.

The concept of " self identification " is based on the principle that people will at some point display by actions or words who their " true self " really is....POTUS has done this handily on several occasions and this is just one more....or maybe he'll blame it on someone else....After all, that is his normal MO (modus operandi)

You really didn't like ethics during your formative years ?? Shocker.

Obama: 'I Don't Think Ethics' Was My Favorite Subject
By Terence P. Jeffrey
September 29, 2011

- President Barack Obama told an audience of high school students in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday that he was “not always the very best student” and that ethics “would not have made it on the list” of his favorite subjects.

“I was not always the very best student that I could be when I was in high school, and certainly not when I was in middle school,” Obama said, speaking at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School.

“I did not love every class I took. I wasn’t always paying attention the way I should have,” Obama said. “I remember when I was in 8th grade I had to take a class called ethics. Now, ethics is about right and wrong, but if you’d ask me what my favorite subject was back in 8th grade, it was basketball. I don’t think ethics would have made it on the list.”

Here's hoping they got'em....

Like much of anything coming from Yemen, you need to take it with a grain of salt...News from there is sketchy at best but here's hoping this story is spot on.

Getting rid of this fool and his companions will mean one less source of terrorism in that troubled part of the world...Arab Spring has shown that the people in the Middle East want to be able to establish a systems of self governing like anyone else.....they have proven that trading one set of tyrants for another set is not what they want or what is best.....Freedom is universal.

YEMEN: Airstrike kills terrorist Awlaki, military says
September 30, 2011 3:27 am - LA TIMES

-- The Yemen military has announced that an airstrike has killed Anwar Awlaki, a radical U.S.-born cleric and prominent voice in an Al Qaeda affiliate that spread Islamic extremism across the Arabian Peninsula and was behind failed attempts to blow up American airplanes.

Details of the attack on Awlaki were sparse, but news of his death came as Washington was providing intelligence and predator drones to the Yemeni army to defeat Al Qaeda operatives in the country’s rugged mountains. Yemen media reported that Awlaki was targeted in an airstrike in the Marib region of northern Yemen.

Yemen authorities in the past have falsely announced the killing of top members in the country’s Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. If the reports on Awlaki are true, his death would be a significant setback to Islamic militant networks that in recent months have exploited Yemen’s political chaos to take over villages and towns.

“The terrorist Anwar Awlaki has been killed along with some of his companions,” read a text message released to journalists by the Defense Ministry.

Awlaki, who was born in New Mexico and spoke fluent English, became an Internet phenomenon by producing video and audio recordings to lure Westerners into extremist ideologies. Awlaki was implicated in attempts to blow up U.S. airliners, including the botched plot by a Nigerian man to detonate explosives in his underwear in 2009. That same year the cleric was blamed for inspiring U.S. Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan to allegedly kill 13 people at Ft. Hood, Texas.

The White House had placed Awlaki on the CIA’s assassination list. Michael Leiter, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, told a congressional hearing this year: "I actually consider Al Qaeda in the Arab peninsula with Awlaki as a leader within that organization as probably the most significant threat to the U.S."

Washington and Western countries have grown fearful that Yemen, which is engulfed in massive anti-government protests and tribal fighting, would allow Al Qaeda to strengthen its hold at the intersection of the Middle East and the Horn of Africa. Awlaki’s death would likely improve Yemen President Ali Abdullah’s standing as an American ally and help him gain international support to hang onto power.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Born to RUN...New Jersey's GOV looks like the man for the job...

Never say never......Looking at the GOP line-up, it is no wonder that Americans are looking closely at NJ Governor Chris Christie.... Born to Run is not just a line for Bruce Springsteen...

Slick Mitt and Gov. Perry look like fumbling idjits next to the straight talker from New Jersey.

We need to knock out the Fool who presently resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, (to quote Top Gear), " How hard can it be ??"

We need the BEST person, not the one who has raised the most $$$.

Christie: Face 'difficult truths'

Here's Juana Summers' story on Chris Christie's Reagan Library speech, with a theme of "real American exceptionalism" that rapped political leaders adrift and singled out President Obama for criticism:

American exceptionalism, as Christie defined it, is a “vision followed by a set of principled actions that made us the envy of the world,” not a political punch-line.

Not a re-election strategy, but an American revitalization strategy,” he called it.

During his remarks – interrupted numerous times by applause – Christie delivered several characteristically tough lines, including saying America must not become “a country that places comfortable lies ahead of difficult truths,” that showed the kind of swagger that’s defined his persona and won the hearts of the people who are desperate to see him come off the sidelines of the campaign.

Obama, Christie said comparing his approach now to the then-Illinois state Senator’s address to the 2004 Democratic National Convention, is willing to divide the country to win re-election.

“This is not a leadership style, this is a reelection strategy,” Christie said of Obama’s actions in the Oval Office. “Telling those who are scared and struggling that the only way their lives can get better is to diminish the success of others….That may turn out to be a good re-election strategy for President Obama, but is a demoralizing message for America. What happened to state Sen. Obama? When did he decide to become one of the ‘dividers’ he spoke of so eloquently in 2004?”

Christie decried a Washington that isn’t working, saying Congress is “at war with itself because they are unwilling to leave campaign-style politics at the Capitol’s door” and said the nation’s capitol drifts from “conflict to conflict with little resolution.”

And if domestic issues suffer, the world’s opinion of America is damaged, Christie said.

“Without strong leadership at home, without our domestic house in order, we are taking ourselves out of the equation,” he said. “Over and over, we are allowing the rest of the world to set the tone without American influence because of our failings.”

To some extent, it was a version his American Enterprise Institute speech from March writ global. But it was also not ideologically specific.

He seemed to laud Bowles-Simpson, for instance, in terms of fiscal issues. But in the portion of his speech that dealt with foreign policy, he moved away from the neocon hawkish position and sounded closer to the one espoused most loudly in the GOP field by Jon Huntsman, in terms of not fighting the world's fights.

It highlights why Christie appeals to conservative elites and some major donors. But it is also a reminder that he would face some of the same challenges as any other candidate in this hard-right moment in the Republican party in a national race.

At the same time, it underscores what those who want Christie to run find appealing - a straight message, and one that's not ideologically based.


Hull, MA plans to become the preeminent institute for sustainable energy and wind energy

Wind Power is one of the best resources that we can harness to provide clean energy. It will not work for all places but those who have sufficient wind should look towards harvesting this unlimited source of energy.

The town of HULL, MA is looking to do just that as they have had active windmills for 10 years and they have reached the ROI (Return on Investment) point, which means the energy they get from this point forward is free as equipment has generated enough energy to have paid for itself.

Brilliant....and to the NIMBYs of the world who don't want this in their backyards, get over it. Wind Power on large scale and small home scale is the future of self sufficient energy.

Town seeks to become hub for wind energy research
Former congressman hired to find partner
The Hull 1 wind turbine began operating in 2001.

By Johanna Seltz
Globe Correspondent / September 29, 2011

The town of Hull has hired former congressman William Delahunt to help find a company interested in testing wind turbines off Nantasket Beach.

The goal is to create a research institute in Hull that focuses on wind-generated energy - similar in scope to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod and with a similar positive effect on the local economy, said Hull Town Manager Philip Lemnios.

“The mantra we have here is that ‘Woods Hole wasn’t always Woods Hole,’ ’’ Lemnios said. “That part of Falmouth hosts one of the [country’s] preeminent maritime research facilities, and there’s no reason why the South Shore and Hull can’t be home to one of the preeminent institutes for sustainable energy and wind energy.

“Yes, it’s a lofty goal, but if they’re not lofty, they’re not very good goals. If we can pull it off, for Hull it would mean an expansion of our commercial and educational base, and it also would have some significant ramifications for the South Shore in general.’’

Under the agreement, The Delahunt Group will receive $15,000 a month for the next six months, with 80 percent of the money coming from a federal Department of Energy grant, Lemnios said. The town-owned Hull Light Plant will pay the remaining 20 percent, he said.

Hull, population about 11,000, already has two land-based wind turbines that provide about 11 percent of the town’s electricity, and originally had planned to build an offshore wind farm itself - four turbines about 2 miles off Nantasket Beach. The town scrapped the plan last spring, though, because it was too expensive.

Initial cost estimates ranged from $40 million to $80 million, far more than anticipated and far more than the land-based turbines in town. Hull 1, which started operating in 2001, cost $802,000; Hull 2, which came on line in 2006, cost $3.2 million.

“We’ve come to realize it’s too big a project and we couldn’t put that on the back of our rate-payers,’’ said Patrick Cannon, chairman of the town light board.

Cannon said the focus shifted toward finding a company or academic group that could use the Hull site for research and development, with some built-in benefit for the town’s electrical customers.

“The devil is in the details, but whether we get payment or electricity, we have to make it worth our while,’’ Cannon said.

Hull’s sales pitch was that its offshore turbines would be easily accessible - just 1.8 miles from land - and that the Greater Boston area’s heady pool of brainpower in universities and labs is accessible by boat or train.

Plus, “you’ve got a community that’s already proven it’s welcoming to turbines and alternative energy,’’ Cannon said. “There is pride in town, for a little town like us doing it on our own.’’

Hull’s turbines have won regional and national awards, including a Wind Power Pioneer Award from the US Department of Energy, which praised the town for its “outstanding leadership in advancing the use of wind power in a coastal community.’’ In fact, the far tip of the Hull peninsula is called Windmill Point, named for the Dutch-style windmill built there in the early 1800s to pump saltwater into vats where the salt was harvested.

But town officials quickly realized they needed help getting in the door to make their case for becoming a research-and-development center, and they contacted Delahunt.

“Hopefully, having someone of his profile will help; he’s been around, he’s got a lot of contacts,’’ Cannon said.

Delahunt, a former district attorney, left Congress in January 2011 after 14 years representing the 10th District, which includes much of the South Shore, Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket. His new company, The Delahunt Group, has offices in Boston, Quincy, and Hyannis and describes itself as “a public policy and government affairs consulting firm.’’

Executive director Mark Forest, Delahunt’s chief of staff on Capitol Hill, said Delahunt had a strong interest in renewable energy and particularly energy generated by the ocean. Forest said Delahunt was very involved in helping the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth establish the Marine Renewable Energy Center in New Bedford, which is working on tidal energy.

A research institute focused on offshore wind would be a good complement to the UMass program, he said. Scientists from University of Massachusetts Amherst have worked with Hull on its past wind projects.

“Industry and the [federal] Department of Energy are looking for test sites and development centers,’’ Forest said. “Hull is very well positioned. They’ve made a name for themselves and are considered pioneers [in wind power]. It’s clear the community wants to be in the offshore wind area. They could be one of the first communities in the East Coast that gets most of its energy from renewables.’’

Hull Selectman Domenico Sestito said he’s cautiously optimistic that the town can bring in a research-and-development facility.

“It could be a game changer for the long-term future of the town,’’ he said. “It could bring jobs, change the demographics, and help our schools. We could ideally build the local economy around the institute.

“A lot of our businesses now are seasonal, destination oriented. We need something like this. There’s not much land to expand, not like Hingham with the [Hingham] Shipyard and Derby Street Shoppes. So we have to be creative. I really believe this is our future - to be like the Woods Hole of the [wind energy] industry.’’

For more info -

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Iranian Admiral says Iran could deploy navy near U.S. coast

We in the US have a message for the Mullahs and Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari of the Iranian Navy -

" Hey, you got some real nice ships there.....It would be shame if something was to happen to them...It's a big ocean and terrible things happen to ships out there all the time..."

Translation - C'mon over to our side of the pond....The US Navy would love some live fire practice.

Iran says could deploy navy near U.S. coast
September 27, 2011

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran raised the prospect on Tuesday of sending military ships close to the United States' Atlantic coast, in what would be a major escalation of tensions between the long-standing adversaries.

"Like the arrogant powers that are present near our marine borders, we will also have a powerful presence close to American marine borders," the head of the Navy, Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said, according to the official IRNA news agency.

Speaking at a ceremony marking the 31st anniversary of the start of the 1980-1988 war with Iraq, Sayyari gave no details of when such a deployment could happen or the number or type of vessels to be used.

The declaration comes just weeks after Turkey said it would host a NATO early warning radar system which will help spot missile threats from outside Europe, including potentially from Iran. The decision has angered Tehran which had enjoyed close relations with Ankara.

And it comes a few months after Iran sent warships through the Suez canal, after the fall of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the first time the Islamic Republic had deployed navy vessels in the Mediterranean.

The United States and Israel have not ruled out military action against Iran if diplomacy fails to stop it getting nuclear weapons. Tehran denies it is developing nuclear arms saying its atomic program is for purely peaceful purposes.

Iran has dismissed the threats, warning that it will respond by hitting U.S. interests in the Gulf and Israel if any such attack happened.

Analysts say Tehran could retaliate by launching hit-and-run strikes in the Gulf and by closing the Strait of Hormuz, the waterway where about 40 percent of all traded oil passes.

The Islamic state often launches military drills in the country to display its military capabilities amid persistent speculation about a possible U.S. or Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities

It's about as UGLY as it can get for the Red Sox

It is about as UGLY as it can get for the RED SOX right now....a dismal start of the season was followed by a robust summer, which in turn was followed up by the worst September slump in club history.....

There are two games left and the RED SOX will live or die by their own abilities or lack matter what the outcome, this is NOT how we in Boston expected to finish a year that held so much promise.....

Red Sox Fall to the Back of the Pack With 6-3 Loss to Orioles
Published September 27, 2011
Associated Press

BALTIMORE – The Boston Red Sox have finally fallen all the way back to pack, and now they've got only two games left to make it right.

The Red Sox found another way to lose, this time on a broken-bat single and an inside-the-park homer, and their 6-3 defeat against the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night dropped them into a tie in the AL wild-card race.

Boston's 17th loss in 22 games enabled Tampa Bay to pull even in the duel for the league's final playoff spot. The Rays, who beat the New York Yankees 5-2, trailed by nine games after play on Sept. 3.

The Red Sox had either stood atop the AL East or led the wild-card race every day since before play on May 24.

In spite of the epic collapse, Boston can squeeze into the playoffs by winning its last two games. Then, at worst, the Red Sox will face the Rays in a one-game playoff.

"We win every game, we're in the playoffs," right fielder Adrian Gonzalez said. "It's definitely in our hands."

Problem is, the Red Sox haven't won two in a row since August.

"We've backed ourselves about as far as we can go," manager Terry Francona said.

With the score 2-all in the sixth inning, Boston starter Josh Beckett (13-7) allowed four runs in an uprising that began with Vladimir Guerrero becoming the career hits leader among Dominican-born players.

Guerrero broke a tie with Julio Franco by bouncing a single up the middle, his 2,587th career hit. The 36-year-old Guerrero then stole second base, and after a two-out walk to Mark Reynolds, Chris Davis broke his bat hitting a soft liner to right that brought home the go-ahead run.

"I didn't make pitches when I needed to," Beckett said. "I tried to bounce a changeup to Davis there and I leave it up and he serves it to right field."

Robert Andino followed with a deep fly to center that Jacoby Ellsbury had in his glove before crashing into the wall. Andino sprinted around the bases and made it home as the relay throw bounced past catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Boston loaded the bases with one out in the eighth, but Pedro Strop struck out Saltalamacchia and retired Marco Scutaro on a grounder.

Although Dustin Pedroia hit an RBI single in the ninth, the Red Sox stranded two runners and fell to 6-19 in September, the second-worst record in the majors behind the Minnesota Twins. It's also Boston's second worst September, behind a 4-18 mark in 1926, according to STATS LLC.

Jed Lowrie homered for the Red Sox, whose September swoon includes four losses in five games against Baltimore.

Beckett allowed six runs and seven hits in six innings. The right-hander won four straight decisions before losing to the Orioles twice in six days.

"We've got to win games, and we're not going to do it when your starting pitcher gives up six runs," Beckett said.

Troy Patton (2-1) retired all five batters he faced after entering for starter Tommy Hunter, who gave up one earned run in five innings.

"It's a relentless lineup, and that's why I'm so proud of our pitchers," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Tommy gave us what he had today. He was barking pretty good there the last inning or so with the groin (injury)."

Boston placed runners on second and third with two outs in the first before Hunter issued an intentional walk to Gonzalez and retired Lowrie on a fly ball. The Red Sox bounced back with an unearned run in the second on a two-out throwing error by rookie left fielder Matt Angle.

Matt Wieters tied it in the bottom half with an opposite-field drive into the left-field seats. Wieters has 21 homers this year after totaling 20 in his first two big league seasons.

Lowrie led off the fourth with his sixth home run, the third against Baltimore. Boston then got runners on the corners with two outs before Nick Markakis made a sliding catch of Carl Crawford's sinking liner to right.

The Orioles drew even at 2 in the fifth on an RBI single by Davis. But with the bases loaded and one out, Beckett retired J.J. Hardy on a popup and struck out Markakis.

NOTES: Boston C Jason Varitek was a late scratch. He took a ball off his left knee in Sunday's second game against New York. He was replaced by Saltalamacchia, who left in the eighth when struck near the throat by a foul ball. ... Showalter received in-house treatment for an ankle injury early in the game but was back by the second inning. ... Ellsbury's second-inning double extended his hitting streak against Baltimore to 34 games, longest by a Red Sox player against another team in the history of the franchise. ... Francona said he hasn't decided who will start Wednesday's game. It could be 15-game winner Jon Lester on three days rest. ... Former Oriole Erik Bedard (5-9) will pitch for the Red Sox on Tuesday against rookie Zach Britton (11-10).

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pink Floyd's pigs fly again

I have been a rock n' roll fan for many years and one of my favorite groups has always been Pink Floyd. They have always been on the cutting edge and made some awesome albums.

I worked security detail back when Pink Floyd toured in the 1990's and got to see their show twice in one weekend at the old Foxboro Stadium....quite a sight with the laser show and sound effects. The first show was on a foggy night which made things spooky and the 2nd show was on a crystal clear night...the lasers went up into the sky and were spectacular....The music was awesome and even saw the Police detail getting into the show....

Sad to see that like most of us, they are all getting a little "long in the tooth" but the music endures as it is "brilliant" as the Brits would say.

Shine on you crazy diamond.

Pigs do fly! Iconic porker floats above Battersea power station again to celebrate 35 years of Pink Floyd album
By Daily Mail Reporter
26th September 2011

Pink Floyd's iconic flying pig has made a comeback - 35 years after it caused chaos by escaping into the skies over London.

A new 30-foot, helium-filled balloon floated high above Battersea Power Station to mark the reissue of the band's 14 studio albums.

But unlike its famous predecessor, this pig remained firmly tethered to the ground.

The original balloon, Algie - designed by band founder Roger Waters - broke free from its moorings during a photo shoot for the cover of the hit album Animals in 1976.

Plans had been made to fly Algie over Battersea on the first day of the three-day shoot, with a marksman ready to blast it out of the sky if things went wrong, but the pig was not launched.

On the second day, organisers had forgotten to book the marksman - and Algie made its bid for freedom. A strong gust of wind snapped the tether and the pig shot skywards, drifting off south over London.

The pig disappeared from sight within five minutes and was soon spotted by startled airline pilots at 30,000 feet.

Flights to and from Heathrow Airport were cancelled as Algie flew through the path of passenger aircraft. The balloon headed out towards the coast before crash-landing at a farm in Kent that night.

The pig was recovered and repaired so the photo-shoot could resume. but by the time he was brought back to Battersea, the cloudless, blue sky was deemed too 'boring'. So what Floyd fans eventually got was a composite picture.

Record bosses had to commission a new version of Algie for today's shoot. The original - which had been kept in a workshop in Halesworth, Suffolk - was found to be leaky.
The new pig was created by inflatables specialist Air Artists, which has worked with members of the band for many years. It needed 12 gas canisters to fill it and, this time, was tied firmly to the ground.

A Pink Floyd spokeswoman said: 'Sadly, two weeks prior to the event, the original neoprene-glued pig was officially declared not airworthy and a brand new high-frequency welded PVC replica Pink Floyd pig has been made for the occasion.'

The band's 14 albums have been remastered and are now available on CD.

There will also be new versions of Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here and The Wall. Fans can expect them within weeks.

The album Animals was inspired by Orwell's book Animal Farm, in which humans are characterised as pigs, sheep and dogs.

After its release in 1977 it became a massive hit, reaching Number Two in the UK album charts and Number Three in America's Billboard charts. It has since gone platinum four times.

Inflatable pigs were one of the staple props of Pink Floyd's live shows. The first was a sow, but a very obviously male pig appeared in the 1980s.

Pakistan - They've gone " a shade too far "

The " Whacky Pakis" have been playing a shell game/three-card-monty with us for years...It is only recently that we have decided to call them out in public. What happens when the day comes were the fools in charge in Pakistan can no longer control the "rabid dogs" they allow to live there and the terrorists get their hands on a few Nukes ? You want to talk about a real shite-storm.....

I have been and remain convinced that we need to keep up all due pressure on these feckless idjits as they are in league with terrorist and expose themselves and others to a large threat because of their stupidity...As long as they feel they can act out w/o consequence, we'll keep sending in the drones to eliminate the threats we can identify.

Pakistan Is the Enemy
We know that Pakistan's intelligence service is aiding terrorists. What are we going to do about it?
By Christopher Hitchens - Salon
Monday, Sept. 26, 2011

In Joseph Heller's Catch-22, Lt. Milo Minderbinder transforms the mess accounts of the American airbase under his care into a "syndicate" under whose terms all servicemen are potential stakeholders. But this prince of entrepreneurs and middlemen eventually becomes overexposed, especially after some incautious forays into Egyptian cotton futures, and is forced to resort to some amoral subterfuges. The climactic one of these is his plan to arrange for himself to bomb the American base at Pianosa (for cost plus 6 percent, if my memory serves) with the contract going to the highest bidder. It's only at this point that he is deemed to have gone a shade too far.

In his electrifying testimony before Congress last week, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has openly admitted to becoming the victim of a syndicate scheme that makes Minderbinder's betrayal look like the action of a small-time operative. In return for subventions of millions of American dollars, it now turns out, the Pakistani Inter-Service Intelligence agency (the ISI) can "outsource" the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, and several other NATO and Afghan targets, to a related crime family known as the Haqqani network. Coming, as it does, on the heels of the disclosure about the official hospitality afforded to Osama Bin Laden, this reveals the Pakistani military-intelligence elite as the most adroit double-dealing profiteer from terrorism in the entire region.

Annoyed even so by the loss of "deniability" that Mullen's testimony entails, the Pakistani officer class has resorted to pretending that its direct relationships with al-Qaida and the Haqqani syndicate do not exist, and that in any case any action or protest resulting would constitute a violation of its much-vaunted "sovereignty." Both of these claims are paper-thin, or worse. If we employ Bertrand Russell's argument of "evidence against interest," for example, we can find absolutely no motive for Mullen— flanked as he was by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta—to have been making such an allegation falsely. To the contrary, they had every reason to wish to avoid the conclusion they have been forced to draw. It makes utter and abject nonsense of the long-standing official claim that Washington's collusion with the ISI has been conducted in good faith and directed for a common cause. It shows American prestige and resources being used, not to diminish the power of "rogue" elements in the Pakistani system, but to enhance and empower them. It makes us look like fools and suckers, which is what we have become, unable to defend even our own troops, let alone civilian staff and facilities, from deadly assaults not just from the back but—flagrantly, unashamedly—from the front.

As for Pakistan's arrogant and insufferable riposte, to the effect that this is all part of its tender concept of its own "internal affairs," it barely adds insult to injury. On Sept. 12 , 2001, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1368, condemning the attacks on American soil and asserting the universal right of self-defense. The terms of the resolution explicitly state that those found to be "supporting or harboring the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of these acts will be held equally accountable." This unambiguous language, which secured the votes of Muslim countries like Bangladesh and Tunisia as well as those of the five permanent members of the Security Council and many other nations, deserves to get more repeated exposure than it has been receiving. Pakistan's provision of a military safe-house for the leader of al-Qaida is as comprehensive a breach of the spirit and letter of Resolution 1368 as could be imagined. Meanwhile the Haqqani gang, operating in open collaboration with the Taliban of Mullah Omar as well as other insanitary forces, easily meets the definition of an organization that helps sponsor and succor the original perpetrators.

Mullen's evidence, then, is one of those revelations that appears to necessitate action. Either the Pakistanis must permit an unobstructed run at the Haqqani bases that are used for the subversion of Pakistan as well as the re-Talibanization of Afghanistan, or they must at the very least lose their claim on the U.S. Treasury. At the most, they must take the risk of being identified as allies and patrons of those who deliberately murder coalition forces as well as Afghan and Pakistani civilians. This indictment would easily stretch to cover another gross violation of international law and diplomatic immunity, in that the ISI was also found culpable in the destruction of the Indian Embassy in Kabul in July 2008.

There was a time, when he was a presidential candidate, that Barack Obama was "clear" (as he so much likes to put it) about the way in which Pakistani actions might have real consequences for Pakistan. In early debates with Hillary Clinton and John McCain, he expressed a willingness to undertake some version of hot pursuit, if necessary into lawless regions of Pakistan, in order to deter and punish cross-border aggression. The raid on Bin Laden's home in Abbottabad, conducted in May under the radar of Bin Laden's overt protectors, gave expression to this determination. So what will President Obama do, now that the Pakistani political leadership has openly declared its whole state to be lawless, and outside the jurisdiction of U.N. resolutions, and available as a base for terrorist operations against our Afghan and Indian friends?

In this context, the murder last week of Burhanuddin Rabbani, the former Afghan warlord-president who headed the country's so-called "High Peace Council," may not necessarily be the "blow" to any "peace process" that truly merits the phrase. We allow ourselves to forget that many Afghans are deeply suspicious of a negotiation that refers to the Taliban—in President Hamid Karzai's euphemistic words—as lost or alienated "brothers." In this skeptical camp belong many of the Hazara and Tajik populations, many independent women's groups, and some unsuccessful contestants, such as Abdullah Abdullah, of the scandalously bought and rigged elections of a few months ago.

These people see no reason why Pakistan's vicious proxies should be allowed, by surreptitious back channels, to gain what they have so far failed to get on the battlefield. But they do not feel that the United States is sympathetic to them, and they naturally wince when they see our embrace of their enemies. That is why the overdue decision to call these enemies by their right names is so potentially significant, and will, one hopes, soon be followed by a complete breach with those we have been so humiliatingly subsidizing to sabotage us.

Christopher Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair and the author, most recently, of Arguably, a collection of essays.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

An unbreakable bond

In this Sept. 14, 2011 photo, a U.S. Marine dog handler plays with military working dog Fuli, at Camp Leatherneck, Helmand province, Afghanistan. Handlers and their dogs, that sniff for explosives or narcotics or track down wanted persons, patrol together, day after day. Sometimes, they sleep side by side in military cots. They face the same dangers together. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Our K-9 companions prove again and again why they are " Man's best friend " - No one who has spent time on the field of battle will ever challenge how much dogs make a difference in the lives of our soldiers. I know that in my time overseas in Iraq & Afghanistan, it was easy to see that the pups made a big difference for those who are at the " tip of the spear"

Military dogs and handlers patrol in Afghanistan
By CHRISTOPHER TORCHIA, Associated Press – 1 day ago

— After the suicide bombing, the U.S. Marine dog handler lay on a stretcher, his bloodied legs laced with shrapnel. They brought in his wounded dog, too. Blood dripped from the haunches of the Belgian Malinois.

Seven Afghans died in the insurgent attack on Sept. 8 near a Marine battalion headquarters in southern Afghanistan. Sgt. Kenneth Fischer and his dog, Drak, were flown by helicopter to a bigger base for emergency treatment, then out of the country for surgery. Both will head to Texas for rehabilitation, and eventually, in line with military custom, Fischer will adopt Drak and take him home.

"I have literally spent more time with Drak than I have my own daughter," Fischer, 27, said by telephone earlier this week from his hospital bed at a military medical center in Bethesda, Maryland. The Marine had worked with 4-year-old Drak for two years and spent a total of nine months in Afghanistan. His daughter, Cheyenne, is 19 months old.

Much is made of the bond among men at arms, but the union between man and dog in a combat zone seems just as tight. Handlers and canines that sniff for explosives or narcotics patrol together, day after day, linked by a leash and an innate understanding of each other. Sometimes, they sleep side by side in military cots. They face the same dangers together.

A unit of handlers and dogs operates out of Camp Leatherneck, the main Marine base in southern Afghanistan, home to insurgent strongholds. The teams fan out in Helmand province and beyond, working with Marines and other branches of the U.S. military, as well as Afghan forces and, at times, British troops.

Eight of the 30 handlers have been wounded this year, but Drak was the only dog to be wounded, said Staff Sgt. Morris Earnest, supervisor of the unit, which is part of the III Marine Headquarters Group. Half went home because of the severity of their injuries. Three of those lost limbs to homemade bombs, but their dogs emerged "without a scratch."

Tucked inside the Leatherneck compound, a memorial pays tribute to Marine Cpl. Max William Donahue, a dog handler killed last year, and dogs that have died in attacks or from heat exhaustion and other causes in past years. A simple white cross, erect in a bed of pebbles, lists their names on wooden plaques hanging from the crossbar: Frida, Grief, Murdock, Torry, Chico, Dixie, Patrick, Marko.

"From a few of the finest. To the finest of the few," the memorial reads.

On Aug. 6, 30 American troops and eight Afghans died in a helicopter crash in eastern Afghanistan, and a U.S. military dog on board was also killed.

Dogs serve a small but valued role for the U.S.-led coalition that seeks to quell Taliban groups and transfer security responsibilities to Afghan forces in time for the withdrawal of foreign combat troops by the end of 2014.

Ideally, the dogs, which include labradors and German and Dutch Shepherds, give an edge in unearthing boobytraps laden with explosives or detecting drugs in a region where the Taliban reaps profits from poppy harvests used in opium production. A handler and his dog usually follow behind a sweeper with a metal detector at the front of a single-file patrol.

An Associated Press team at Forward Operating Base Jackson, headquarters for the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, witnessed the early treatment of casualties after the Sept. 8 suicide bombing in the district center of Sangin. While Fischer and other wounded were cared for, a trio of dog handlers tended to Drak, muzzling and hoisting him onto a stretcher before rushing him to a helicopter.

"He should be OK," Fischer said 10 days later by telephone, his voice raspy after having tubes inserted down his throat during treatment. "At first, there was some talk about him losing one of his legs, but not so much anymore. Knowing Drak, he should be fine."

Drak, trained to find narcotics, is being treated at Dog Center Europe, a U.S. military facility in Germany. He will be transferred for more care at Lackland Air Force Base, a training site for military dogs in San Antonio, Texas.

Fischer plans to head there, too. His wife has family there, and he wants to be with Drak, whose name is a variation of Drac, or "devil" in Romanian.

"When he meets people, he can be calm and relaxed," the Marine said. "When we go outside, he's excited and rambunctious and likes to play, and I'm the same way."

What Drak doesn't like is shooting. During gunfire training, he lay down beside Fischer, calm and meek, until it was over. He did the same during a Taliban mortar attack.

"He is a very obedient dog," Fischer said. "He will only listen to me. Somebody else will be around and give him commands and he'll just look at them like they're stupid."

Fischer wants to resume his Marine Corps career. But, he said, Drak can spend his days lying around at Fischer's home at his duty station in Twentynine Palms, California, or playing frisbee, one of the dog's favorite activities. He acknowledged it will be "some time" before they get there because of their injuries.

Sgt. Mark Behl, a dog handler who helped Drak the day he was injured, said it helps to fit a calm handler with a "high drive" dog, or an "excited person with a bored dog."

Placid and amiable, Behl said his dog, a German Shepherd named Fuli, is "a handful."

Dog handling under the stress of danger is a subtle, pinpoint profession. Behl said he knows Fuli so well after two and a half years together that he can tell whether he is sniffing idly, perhaps on the trail of another animal's scent, or has detected something serious, such as the ingredients of crudely made explosives.

"There's a lot more to the job than just holding the leash," said Behl of Cottage Grove, Wisconsin. "I know to keep him moving or to let him work."

At the same time, he must know when to pull Fuli away from a threat, aware of the hidden bombs that have killed or maimed many troops in Afghanistan.

Fuli has a vexing habit during patrols in cornfields of running into adjacent rows of corn and getting his leash tangled around the stalks. But he plays ball with Marines back on base, boosting their morale.

"At the end of the day, the dog is going to come up and lick me in the face," said Behl, who grew up around dogs. "It's a little taste of home, just having an animal."

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The reason....

One of the main reasons why the cost of a new car is almost $20000...$5K signing bonuses for UAW members when most workers would be glad to get the same basic wages they get w/o any incentives...The Auto industry wonders why more people aren't buying new's your answer.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Television scrapes the bottom of the barrel....

Recently, the Emmys were held in Los Angeles and the industry fawned all over itself and slapped itself on the back for alleged " excellence" in programming....America's reaction to this display of mediocrity ? It yawned as more Americans tuned in Sunday Night Football than watch the "dreck" that was being lauded on the Emmys....small wonder.

The key issue is that the current state of what is offered presently as programming on TV is terrible. As the Brits would say, it is

Reality TV is the most unreality you can imagine - Shows that highlight the worst in human behavior and glamorize those who should be shamed for their actions. Shows like "Jersey Shore" and " Survivor " have only highlighted the worst of human interaction and how low morals have sunk in this country.

The Sit-Coms shown are mainly rehashed toilet humor and pale in comparison to some of the great shows from the past when a Sit-Com was something that made people think not just sit there and be disgusted.

Drama's still hold some degree of what made TV great but the hype for the next big series is overdone and all the shows produced are not worthy of praise but they still get hyped as if the show is on the same level with Gone With the Wind, Casablanca, etc. Too much of what is shown is unwatchable.

The bottom line is that the "product" produced by Hollywood is sub-par on many fronts. The studios put it out and the consumers buy it but there are many other venues and TV viewing is on the decline. Too bad that the decline doesn't spur the producers to make better could hardly get much worse.

The writer for the LA Times gives her overview of why the TV writers are focusing on the past with shows like MAD MEN, PAN AM, etc. The viewers (mainly females according to the author) are looking for something that doesn't exist in American society and wonders if we have made any real progress or were things better back then ? All that is left up to the viewer to decide.

Daum: Chick flick TV
Sure, the shows glamorize jobs that sexually exploited women in the early 1960s. But for many women, they may be entertaining as well.
By Meghan Daum / OPED LA TIMES

September 22, 2011

Perhaps it's been brought to your attention that this is a big week for retrograde representations of women on television. Monday marked the premiere of NBC's "The Playboy Club," a noir-ish look at Hugh Hefner's flagship Chicago club in 1963, and Sunday will see the launch of ABC's "Pan Am," a stylish, soapy paean to those proto-feminist archetypes known as stewardesses. With their curling cigarette smoke and hourglass-shaped, not-necessarily-Pilates-toned actresses, these shows suggest we're in a moment not just of "Mad Men" withdrawal (it won't be back until March) but out-and-out fetishization of the 1960s (make that the early 1960s, before things got complicated).

It's feminist backlash, right? How else to explain why, in an era where real-life women are running for president and running men off the road of life by any number of measures, women in serious dramatic television roles are still wearing girdles and gloves? Why else would producers set two much-hyped shows with female-driven ensemble casts in places where mile-high ass grabs are company-sanctioned and bunny tails are company policy?

Whatever the reason, don't blame men. For starters, men make up only 40% of TV viewers, according to recent figures. And lest you think that story lines rife with antiquated gender roles are a network ploy to appeal to that 40%, think again. According to Nielsen data, the No. 1 television show watched by men is "American Idol."

In other words, unlike the movie business, where the conventional wisdom is that male audiences call the shots (hence our current period of film history, which, thanks to auteurs like Judd Apatow, we might call la cinema de fart joke), television programmers have long paid close attention to female viewing habits.

Depending on your tastes, that could be a damning accusation because it suggests that women are responsible for, well, most of what's on TV. But it also raises some interesting questions about how women — perhaps especially those who've come of age since the women's movement — view their place in the world.

Can any situation depicting some kind of all-women institution automatically have feminist undertones, no matter how retrograde? Is it possible to glamorize oppressive, exploitative work while also offering a critique of it?

What are we to make of "Pan Am" star Christina Ricci's comment that the show will "send a message of how these women were free and in charge of their lives"? Moreover, how reliable a narrator is Hugh Hefner (yes, the one and only) supposed to be when, in a voice-over at the end of the first episode of "The Playboy Club," he declares that "the bunnies were some of the only women in the world who could be anyone they wanted to be"?

Plenty of evidence has accrued to suggest that Ricci and Hefner's views may be more than a little revisionist. Sociologist Arlie Hochschild famously studied the workplace of flight attendants and noted the demands of "emotional labor" as well as physical labor. Even more famously, Gloria Steinem went undercover as a Playboy bunny and revealed in a 1963 magazine article that the pay was lousy, the work physically grueling and the opportunities for advancement negligible. Last month Steinem called for a boycott of the NBC show, claiming that "it's just not telling the truth about the era."

That's undoubtedly true. But in fairness, these programs aren't claiming to tell the truth. They're telling stories — fairy tales, even. And just because they're set in a particular historical period doesn't mean they should be held to any higher standard of accuracy than any other ridiculous thing on television. After all, who complained that "Little House on the Prairie" minimized the hardships of 19th century pioneers?

Pioneers, of course, aren't a big market segment these days. On the other hand, women and their many roles, their sexual agency, their dollars and their votes matter. Or at least we're asked to evaluate TV shows in that light. But, let's face it, not every show is capable of being a cultural touchstone. Some are just entertainment — the sort that women, for better or worse, can be counted on to watch.

Sisterhood is powerful, sure. But sometimes only in terms of ratings.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bugatti resurrected from the bottom of a Swiss lake after 73 years

It is amazing that the old girl survived this long in the muck at the bottom of the lake...and that they can pull her out in one piece.

I am sure that most of what is there is a loss but I bet that there are parts which will be salvaged and made useful again, especially those made of brass and other non-rustable metals.

Vintage Bugatti to be auctioned off after spending 73 years on bottom of lake

Bugatti is one of the most prestigious carmakers in the world, enjoying a fantastic history filled with bold models, which continue even today, with the Veyron hypercar and the possible upcoming Galibier model. That is why vintage cars made by the company fetch for such high amounts of money.

But the love of Bugatti collectors from around the world will seriously be tested, as auction house Bonhams has announced that it will selling a Bugatti Brescia Type 13. That’s all fine and dandy, but the odd part is the fact that the car has spent 73 years on the bottom of a lake in Switzerland.

How it got there is even more interesting, as it belonged to a young Italian architect, Marco Schmuklerski, from Nancy, France, on April 11, 1925. He then took it to Switzerland, but decided not to pay the taxes at the customs office, and relied on the speed of the car to escape. But seeing as how the customs officers were still searching for his car, and that Swiss law allowed for the cars involved in crimes to be destroyed, he decided to hide his car. A perfectly simple plan, but he decided that the best hiding place, as you might have guessed, would be in a lake. He wrapped the Bugatti in chains and dunked it in the lake, but due to the weight of the car, the chains snapped, and the car was stuck in the thick mud on the bottom of the lake.

And the car remained stuck there until the summer of this year, attracting many tourists. The mud also helped preserve some of the original paint, and even the air in the tires. Of course it isn’t in the best shapes, as you can see in the pics, but I’m sure many people will bid for such a model. Be warned that the starting price is €500,000, but the money will all go to a children’s charity in Italy

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Southwest Jets - Vandalism or a much more serious issue?

Not sure what to make of this but this goes beyond the basic vandalism or something a fed-up employee does. I am glad they are investigating and until they are sure what to make of it, not sure I would want to be getting on a Southwest jet.

Feds Probe Possible Arabic-Type Markings On Southwest Jets
September 21, 2011 - KNX 1070 EXCLUSIVE

— Federal agencies were working with Southwest Airlines on Thursday to determine who has been vandalizing their aircraft with mysterious markings.

KNX 1070 investigative reporter Charles Feldman has learned that since February, several Southwest jets have been vandalized with mysterious writings that show up on the underbelly of their 737 passenger aircraft.

The writings — which some have interpreted as being either Arabic or Arabic-type symbols — appeared to have been done with a chemical process that reveals the text once an auxiliary power unit is turned on and heats up the outside skin of the aircraft, according to Feldman.

While it remains unclear how many aircraft are involved, the trend has reportedly increased in recent weeks.

Southwest Airlines has ordered its employees not to discuss the matter with the media, Feldman said.

In a statement to KNX 1070, Southwest said it is working with authorities to find those responsible for what the company called “vandalism”, but it’s not clear how many people are involved.

Both the Transportation Security Administration and Federal Bureau of Investigations is working with Southwest, but the airline denied this is a safety issue and would not provide any more details

Big Dog

Now that's one big dog !! Marmaduke's sister maybe ?

Take a bow-wow-wow: Nova the Great Dane is recognised as world's tallest female dog

'Super' Nova munches on 30lb of food a week
By Wil Longbottom - 20th September 2011 - UK Mail

This Great Dane is a real canine super star after officially being recognised as the world's tallest female dog - standing 5ft 11in on her hind legs.

Weighing more than 11 stone 'Super' Nova, who lives with owner Ann Suplee in Addison, Illinois, was only recently given the title by the Guinness Book of Records.

Taking her place in the record books after the previous record holder died, Nova still sleeps in Mrs Suplee's queen-sized bed like a young puppy.

Four inches taller than her father and eight inches taller than her mother, Nova eats up to 30lbs of food a week.

Mrs Suplee said: 'It took a lot of paperwork and a lot of footwork to secure the record, but it was all totally worth it and great fun.

'I wanted to get Nova this recognition, because she's such a good dog and she deserves it.
'Now when people comment on her height, I get to reply, "Yes, you're right, she's the world's tallest female dog!'

Inspired to go for the record after the number of comments the dog received in the park from fellow pet owners, she said she was proud of her prized pooch.

'I call her Super-Nova and I even dressed her up in a Superman cape during the last pet parade in Addison.

'Nova knows her own size, but with a simple "excuse me" she will move out of the way, and is very careful around my three-year-old grandson who's now at eye-level with her tail.'
Mrs Suplee feeds her dog watermelon as a treat. The gentle giant often gets scared by smaller dogs barking at her in fright.

'We don't know whether it was the good food we fed Nova when she was a puppy, or some throwback genes, but I think it's all the love and affection we've given her through the years that made her so big.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Spending " The little people's money "....easy for the Justice Department

Once again, we have those inside government acting as if there is an endless supply of $$$. To them, there is your hard earned money and it is easy for them to spend as after all, it is "The little people's money" and that makes it sweeter for them.

The Justice Department personnel who are responsible for this should face the "justice" of being fired.

What Recession? Justice Department Spent Nearly Half a Million on Refreshments
Published September 20, 2011

If the 2008 financial crisis caused the nation to tighten its belt, the Justice Department didn’t get the memo.

The federal agency spent about $490,000 on food and beverages at 10 conferences, including $16 apiece for muffins, more than a dollar an ounce for coffee and $32 per person on snacks, according to a new report from the Justice Department’s inspector general.

The half-a-million-dollar tab represented more than 10 percent of the $4.4 million total cost of the events that were held between October 2007 and September 2009.

“Some conferences featured costly meals, refreshments, and themed breaks that we believe were indicative of wasteful or extravagant spending – especially when service charges, taxes, and indirect costs are factored into the actual price paid for food and beverages,” the report reads, citing a $76-per-person lunch at one workshop.

The inspector general made 10 recommendations to improve oversight and minimize conference costs, all of which were accepted by the Justice Department.

Republicans shook their head in disbelief.

"$16 muffins and $600,000 for event planning services are what make Americans cynical about government and why they are demanding change," said Sen. Chuck Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"The Justice Department appears to be blind to the economic realities our country is facing," he said. "People are outraged, and rightly so. The Inspector General's office just gave a blueprint for the first cuts that should be made by the (deficit-cutting) supercommittee."

The Justice Department implemented a new conference policy in April 2008 after a previous audit found wasteful spending at events held between October 2004 and September 2006. Among the examples were $53-per-person lunches and a $60,000 reception that served Swedish meatballs at $5 a piece.

In the September 2007 report, the inspector general said the agency had “few internal controls to limit the expense of conference planning and food and beverage costs at DOJ conferences.”

The latest report aimed to determine whether the new policy was working.

“Our assessment of food and beverage charges revealed that some DOJ components did not minimize conference costs as required by federal and DOJ guidelines,” the report reads.

In 2008 and 2009, the department hosted or participated in 1,832 conferences costing $121 million.

At a Washington, D.C., legal conference, the department spent $4,200 on 250 muffins -- or more than $16 apiece, the report said.

At another conference, the department's Office on Violence Against Women spent $65 per person at a lunch for 65 people. Coffee cost more than $1 an ounce. A snack break at the same conference cost $32 per person for Cracker Jack, popcorn and candy bars

Monday, September 19, 2011

Massachusetts Governor shows once again that he is a Hypocrite

Massachusetts Governor Deval " Spend it All" Patrick proves again that he is a member of the " Do as I say, not as I do" crowd..This is par for the course for our hypocritical Governor as he feels that things like a Car Free Week is for the little people, a.k.a. The Taxpayers.

Gov. Patrick Seen Riding In SUV During “Car-Free Week”
By Ken MacLeod, WBZ-TV
September 19, 2011

(CBS) – Governor Deval Patrick did walk to a morning event on Beacon Hill — a stone’s throw from the Statehouse — but was quick to sheepishly admit that he probably hadn’t set the best example earlier in the day.

“You got me!” grinned the Governor.

He’s talking about video shot by WBZ of Mr. Patrick leaving his Milton home this morning with his assigned state trooper at the wheel for the routine drive into work in his SUV.

One problem.

The Governor himself recently declared this “Car-Free Week,” urging people to ditch their autos in favor of public transportation, biking, walking, or at the very least carpooling — espousing the environmental and health benefits of that switch.

“It’s a little bit of hypocrisy,” observed one commuter.

We asked some regular folks if the Governor was ‘talking the talk’ instead of ‘walking the walk.’

“If he’s going to tell people to do something,” says another man, “he should try to do it himself. That’s the way I see it.”

“I carpooled this morning with my trooper,” says the Governor with a chuckle, “We both had to come together.”

He’s joking — and he’s not.

Of course, the Governor does have legitimate security, time, and logistics concerns.

He makes lots of stops on and off the beaten path — with a small entourage in tow — and some folks were willing to cut him some slack on that account.

“Going without a car has issues,” one woman told us. “It depends on where you’re going — where you have to be. It’s not always practical. I think you can still sell a message even if you’re not able to do it yourself that day.”

Indeed, the Governor was quick to urge people not to follow his lead.

“Look, it’s a great initiative for people who can make the most of it,” Patrick told reporters. “I hope they will and I hope during the course of the week to make the most of it, too.”

“Car-Free Week” in Massachusetts is actually an expansion of “World Car-Free Day” — which is Thursday.

A thousand cities in 40 countries are taking part.

The Governor says he’s got a crazy schedule this week, but will make good on his pledge to follow the spirit of the initiative — when he can.

The Red Line, by the way, is within walking distance of his house — one of three “T” stations within a half mile of home.

“He should be a role model for everyone,” one man told us.

“I got the gotcha question,” the governor admitted. “Believe me, I’m going to do my best.”

The US Navy's newest ship is akin to a sea-going P/U Truck

" Leaner,meaner, cheaper, better."

This was the strategy NASA put in place in the recent past to get things in line with where they needed to be. Let's hope that the Bureaucrats don't kill NASA off entirely.

The US NAVY has decided that the "hot rod" ships are nice, but what they really need is a "Pick up Truck". A utility vehicle that can take on whatever mission they can put into it....sounds like a winner to me.

Navy’s Newest Ship is the Pick-Up Truck of the Sea
By David Axe September 19, 2011

There’s not much inside the Navy’s newest ship, and that’s exactly how they like it.

338 feet long, 93 feet wide, low and blocky, USNS Spearhead is basically a thin aluminum shell wrapped around four diesel engines, rudimentary control facilities for its 40 crew plus 312 airline-style passenger seats. The rest of the $250-million, twin-hull catamaran vessel, christened this weekend, is empty space … with an expansive flight deck on top.

“The vessel is in essence a large and fast maritime ‘truck,’” Eric Wertheim, author of the definitive Combat Fleets of the World, tells Danger Room. What she carries, and where, is left to the imagination of the Pentagon’s regional commanders. “Flexibility may the best attribute of this ship,” says Capt. Douglas D. Casavant, Jr., Spearhead’s first skipper.

Spearhead and the other 22 planned Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSV), built by Austal USA in a brand-new shipyard on Alabama’s Mobile River, are a product of the Pentagon’s recent obsession with “modular” vehicles. The idea is to build basic machines, fast and cheap, and quickly modify them with new weapons, sensors and other payloads. “Our 20,000-square-foot mission bay area be reconfigured to quickly adapt to whatever mission we are tasked with,” Cassavant says.

As a design philosophy, modularity doesn’t always work. The Littoral Combat Ship, a version of which is also built by Austal, ended up being built faster than its swappable weapons and sensors, leaving the $600-million warships mostly useless empty shells, for now. But empty could work for the JHSV; it’s focused on non-combat, logistics-style missions. In fact, the swift catamarans — with a top speed of 45 knots, compared to just 30 knots for most warships — will be crewed by civilian mariners from the Navy’s Military Sealift Command instead of combat-trained sailors.

Which non-combat missions the JHSV handles could vary widely. “It could be for getting U.S. assets into a disaster relief zone quickly, or it could be for getting friendly forces evacuated out of a war zone in an emergency, or for unloading Marines and soldiers into an austere port once it’s been secured by an initial assault,” Wertheim says. “It can also play an important role moving stuff from a remote staging base at sea to wherever it’s most needed ashore.”

And that’s not all. Special Forces could use the JHSVs as a fast, low-profile staging bases for secret raids into enemy territory, though the vessels’ civilian crews and light, strictly defensive armament means they can’t get too close to a hostile shore.

And retired Rear Adm. Robert Reilly, back when he headed Military Sealift Command, talked about replacing today’s gargantuan hospital ships Comfort and Mercy, both converted from oil tankers, with JHSVs carrying portable medical equipment. Switching to smaller hospital ships would allow the Navy to bring humanitarian assistance to shallow, remote ports too small for Comfort and Mercy.

That is, if the Navy’s new pick-up truck ship can withstand the elements. Spearhead builder Austal recently caught flack for omitting a standard corrosion-protection system from a Littoral Combat Ship it built. That ship, USS Independence, began disintegrating after just a few months in the water. “The dirty little secret is that the Navy fully expects to have the same problems with the JHSV,” naval analyst Raymond Pritchett claims. Austal spokesman Craig Hooper declined to comment for this story.

Pritchett adds that the corrosion problem “is well understood, so a solution can be found.” Let’s hope so. It’d be a shame for the Navy’s new pick-up truck of the sea to rust away for lack of Tru-Kote.

Photo: Navy

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cars & Copters 2011 at the Plymouth, MA Airport

A great day despite the cool Canadian air that has leaked into SE Massachusetts. Proceeds from the show benefit the Jimmy Fund. Since its founding in 1948, the Jimmy Fund has supported the fight against cancer in children and adults at Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, helping to raise the chances of survival for cancer patients around the world.

An eclectic mix of old cars, new cars and some stuff in between....Well worth the time spent on a Sunday morning.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Boss in Barcelona - My City of Ruins

After the 10 year anniversary of 09/11 earlier this week, listening to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band sing " My City in Ruins" sounded like a perfect way to end the week. Enjoy and remember all those who we lost on 09/11/01.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Semper FI to Medal of Honor recipient USMC Cpl. Dakota Meyer

SEMPER FI Cpl. Dakota Meyer

The editors of the Kansas City Lexington Herald-Leader hit the nail on the head with a commentary on what all Americans should understand about what the Medal of Honor means to a Marine who did his best under the harshest of circumstances.

Thursday, Sep 15, 2011
Commentary: Dakota Meyer's plea to respect military service members should be heeded

Kansas City Lexington Herald-Leader

Today, President Barack Obama will give Dakota Meyer an award the former Marine would rather not have.

Meyer, of Adair County Kentucky, will receive the nation's highest military honor, the Medal of Honor, for his heroic efforts in Afghanistan on Sept. 8, 2009, when he made several trips in a Humvee into a valley trying to save his fellow service members who had been ambushed there.

Despite his efforts, several people died that day, including four members of his embedded training team. Meyer, later promoted to the rank of sergeant, retrieved their bodies.

"I went in there to get those guys out alive and I failed. So I think it's more fitting to call me a failure than a hero," he told the Herald-Leader's Bill Estep.

He's meeting the president and getting the big award but it's not what he really wants. "That would be the most amazing (thing) out of all this ... if they could bring my guys back."

Although he's the first living Marine to receive the medal in almost 40 years Meyer, 23, has been a reluctant public figure. He's said repeatedly that he's only interested in honoring the heroic men who died that day.

The events of that day have stirred controversy because calls for air support from Meyer and others went unanswered. Following an investigation Army officers were reprimanded for negligent leadership. Meyer himself disobeyed orders by going in at all.

Meyer, who is now a civilian, says that men and women in the armed services don't get enough recognition or support from the public. "I don't think they understand the sacrifices that people are giving."

Anyone who goes into combat comes back with problems, he said.

Meyer is doing his part by raising money for scholarships for the children of wounded Marines.

We should listen to Meyer.

We owe it to him to heed his message that there are many heroes who give so much without receiving the same full measure in support from the country they serve.

And the Bride wore a PORSCHE.....

Diamonds maybe a girl's best friend but one savvy lass in England decided that she would rather have a she built herself from an old VW....

Where are girls like this stateside??? She sounds like a real catch.

A bride's welded bliss: How she built Porsche from wrecked VW for her big day
By Sadie Whitelocks - UK MAIL
15th September 2011

For Megan Ashton, it was her childhood dream to arrive at her wedding in a classic Porsche.
Now the 26-year-old has done exactly that – not by hiring one, as any bride might, but by building her own from a clapped-out Volkswagen Beetle.

She spent six years painstakingly transforming the 40-year-old VW into a Porsche 356, the company’s first production model.

The Royal Navy engineering officer paid £200 for the wreck before stripping it down to the chassis and meticulously rebuilding it virtually from scratch, donning blue overalls, getting covered in grime and grease, and spending £4,000 in the process.

The stunning vehicle now features a white leather interior with a mahogany finish, has a 356 body shell, and includes an authentic steering wheel and speedometer. It also boasts an impressive top speed of more than 100mph – and is valued at £25,000.

The proud owner was driven in it by her father to her wedding to Rob Ashton, also 26, a captain in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.

After the ceremony at Sandhurst military academy in Surrey, her new husband took the wheel to drive them to their reception.

‘I loved every minute of it and it was such a special moment to be able to pull up on my wedding day in it,’ said the new Mrs Ashton, from Amesbury, near Salisbury in Wiltshire. ‘It was a close-run thing getting the car finished in the end, but after six years it was well worth it.

‘There were times when I didn’t think we’d get it done in time as it was such a huge project, but it meant so much. I dreamed of driving the car but got carried away buying my wedding dress, which meant it was quite difficult to fit in.’

The 356 was created by Ferdinand Porsche, son of the company founder who had designed the Volkswagen Beetle.

It was manufactured between 1948 and 1956 and shared many parts with the Beetle to save money – making the two cars easier for Mrs Ashton to fuse together.

She bought the battered 1969 VW when she was a student, then stripped it down to the bare chassis before fitting larger cylinders and pistons to the engine, increasing it from 1285cc to 1776cc.

Only the chassis, which had to be shortened, wheels and engine remain of the original car, which was also given a new registration plate.

Mrs Ashton, whose father Viv Beal, 54, runs a garage in Barnstaple, Devon, said: ‘I know people might think it is quite unusual for a girl to be interested in cars but I have always grown up surrounded by it.

‘My Mum and Dad have been buying various parts for the car for birthday and Christmas presents for the past six years – so I am looking forward to getting some girly treats now.’

Her father added: ‘We’re all into classic cars and it was a very proud day for all of us. Megan’s Porsche replica is her pride and joy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cheap Gas ??? We should ask a few of our allies on the list to help the US out.....

Take a look at this list of Countries that have cheap gas prices, many due to their access to their own supply of Oil. We have helped most and except for one, we are on friendly terms with these countries...Libya is now (hopefully) going to be a better supplier of oil to the world.

Cheap gas would spur our our economy much quicker than the President's " Jobs" plan which amounts to more Stimulus (which failed before and will fail again). Higher wages and lower prices will spur spending, which in turn will get things moving. " Inshalla" as they say in the Middle East which translates to English as " If it is God's will".

World's cheapest gas: Top 5 countries - CS Monitor

While Americans bemoan the cost of gasoline at the pumps, people in other parts of the world enjoy filling up their tanks cheaply at the expense of subsidies provided by wealthy, oil-rich governments. British insurance firm Staveley Head has released a list of the world’s gas prices. Here are the five places it’s cheapest to fill up

5. Bahrain – $0.78 per gallon ($0.21 per liter)
Bahrain has relatively little oil compared to its neighbors and is working hard to diversify its economy – unlike many others on the list whose entire economy is dependent on oil reserves. Bahrain has emerged as a banking hub for the Persian Gulf and has expanded into retail and tourism. It even signed a free trade agreement with the United States in 2005, bringing it under the wing of the US and allowing the UN to cite the country as the Arab world’s fastest growing economy. With that news, it’s unlikely that gas prices will stay so low for long.

4. Turkmenistan – $0.72 per gallon ($0.19 per liter)
Car drivers in Turkmenistan are entitled to 120 liters of free gas a month, rendering the $0.19 cost of a liter meaningless. The government has promised subsidies on an array of fuels, lasting until at least 2030. However, resources are relatively low, so it is unclear if things can carry on that long. Russia, Ukraine, and Turkmenistan are in a constant battle for cheaper and cheaper gas in the region.

3. Libya – $0.54 per gallon ($0.14 per liter)
With NATO in the air above Libya and anti-Qaddafi forces still vying for a complete victory, gas prices may not stay low for much longer. Costs in Tripoli, although not nationwide, have risen nearly 300 percent since fighting began, shutting down key oil refineries. Restarting them once the country stabilizes should pull prices back down.

2. Saudi Arabia – $0.48 per gallon ($0.13 per liter)
OPEC recently announced that Saudi Arabia’s proven oil reserves were surpassed only by Venezuela. However, that Latin American nation is much less attractive to big business, leaving the path clear for Saudi Arabia to be the world’s largest exporter of oil. There may be problems, however. A cable released by Wikileaks from Riyadh, written in 2008, revealed that senior Saudi officials expressed worry that the country’s reserves may have been massively overstated – by 40 percent.

1. Venezuela – $0.18 per gallon ($0.047 per liter)
With elections looming next year, President Hugo Ch├ívez knows that raising gas prices would be a risky move politically – his presidency is already threatened by his cancer diagnosis and the opposition’s unification ahead of primaries in February. Last time a government attempted to raise prices in 1989, fatal riots ensued, killing hundreds. Venezuelans are likely to continue paying less for fuel than bottled water in many parts of the country for years to come.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Boston Radio Station WAAF 107.3 supports Task Force Yankee in Afghanistan

WAAF 107.3 is one of the radio mainstays in Boston. They used to be classic rock but have leaned more towards the metal/new rock edge. Times change and musical tastes change but Rock & Roll is here to stay...

WAAF has sent one of their DJs, "Mistress Carrie" to Afghanistan to support the troops. WAAF's homepage is here -

Here is a few of here observations as she spends time at FOB PHOENIX in Kabul, one of my old stomping grounds. Pretty funny as some of her observations are spot on.

Things I've learned in Afghanistan so far
By Mistress Carrie

I’ve been spending a lot of time over the last few days, just hanging with the guys here in Afghanistan… It’s amazing the conversations that you can have, while you are sitting at a picnic table praying to the internet gods! It takes so long to load pics, audio, and video that you have nothing better to do, than ask questions of anyone that comes your way. There is such a cross section of people here, it’s amazing. There are over 15 countries involved in the allied forces in Afghanistan. The number of private contractors is amazing, and I cannot believe the number of locals that are walking around on base. Local Afghan civilians cook on base, they clean on base, and the build everything on base. Obviously they are supervised, but I NEVER had this kind of access to the local Iraqi’s 5 years ago. It’s culture shock times 10! Here are some of my observations so far.

1. Burning tires and poop is bad for your sense of smell, and your lungs.

2. The sound of a Blackhawk hovering over your bedroom is something that you get used to, and amazingly makes you feel relaxed.

3. People with purple hair (especially women) in Afghanistan get stared at constantly. It’s actually quite funny now!

4. There is such a thing as a ‘brass magnet’ and I am that person! It’s UNREAL! The guys in my unit think it’s out of control. They can never relax, you never know when a General is going to pop out and surprise us!

5. There is no other place that a dedicated soldier wants to be, than with ‘his guys’. No matter the injury or illness, they just want to get back to work. I’ve never seen dedication like I have seen here.

6. Bureaucracy is everywhere, even in a war zone.

7. There are certain things that our troops cannot live without… video games, movies, music, and Skype. Skype is the greatest for these guys. I’m watching a few soldiers Skype with their kids right now, and it makes me want to cry.

8. If you are tired enough, you can fall asleep anywhere!

9. DO NOT leave your Facebook page open in a room full of soldiers! BAD things can happen!

10. Ball busting is he same in any language!

11. You could make a fortune selling frozen margaritas here. I would pay $1000 for one right now!

12. Army coffee and hot chocolate is a great way to start the day… waking up at 0500 to drink it is NOT a great way to start the day.

13. It is possible that the biggest and toughest looking guy in Kabul, is an accountant. I’m not kidding, his name is Donald, and he is HUGE!!!

14. Anything can become normal, even people carrying automatic weapons into the cafeteria to eat breakfast!

15. Having a private security detail and up armored vehicles drive you everywhere makes you feel like the President!

16. Jello is awesome

17. It’s a small world. We keep bumping into people that we grew up with! My producer Mike is going to run from Mayor of Camp Phoenix soon, he knows everyone!

18. Grown men, no matter how tough, LOVE to make ice cream sundaes!

Vermont pulls it self up by the bootstraps after Irene raises havoc

Being from New England, you understand that there are subtle differences in the region. I'm from SE Massachusetts where life is focused on Sports, Cape Cod and Boston. RI & CT have distinct different outlooks on things and have separate but equally interesting outlooks on life in general. RI has always lived in Massachusetts' shadow and CT is the state that is 1/2 New England and 1/2 NY.

Then there is NH, VT & Maine. This section of New England is made of hardy folk who love the majestic beauty of living in a rural setting and where life is what it used to be....Things are quieter up north. I served with a Master Chief who lived at the foot of the White Mountains. He called it " God's Country " and it is something to see. Take a ride up there in the Fall and you won't be disappointed.

Here's a prime example of what I mean....VT took a massive hit from Irene and many communities are facing a long fight to get back to in point is Chittenden, VT. This will set you straight on why the people in the "upland" in northern New England claim they are a hardy bunch.

Just Try Topping This ‘When I Was Your Age’ Tale
NY Times

CHITTENDEN, Vt. — Karen Prescott, the principal of Barstow Memorial, never expected that her 33 elementary and middle school students who live on the other side of the mountain would make it in that first day.

Hurricane Irene had washed away large stretches of the road down from Killington, Route 4. Huge craters left Route 100 impassable. Brandon House of Pizza was sitting in the middle of Route 7.

But on Wednesday, Aug. 31, at 7:55 a.m., three days after the storm closed down much of the state, the four school buses pulled up right on time, and off hopped 18 children from the dark side of the mountain (their electricity was still out).

“They were so proud,” Ms. Prescott said.

They had reason to be. Their families had discovered a half-mile-long forest path that they could walk, from Route 4 across the mountain to their school bus. At first, the woods were still and unsettling. “My hands shaked a little bit,” said Jillian Bradley, a second grader.

But as Sophia Hussack, another second grader said, “Since Vermont got hit by the storm, people think we couldn’t, but we do.” And what townspeople do and have done is a thing to behold: they have taken that quiet trail and in two weeks’ time turned it into the I-95 of wooded paths. More than a 1,000 people a day now walk it to get to their jobs and go food shopping on the other side. So many cars line Helvi Hill, the dirt road leading to the path on this side, that handwritten no parking signs have been posted to make sure the road stays passable.

There are also signs that say the path is open only from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Porta-Pottys donated by A1 Sewer and Drain have been placed at each end of the forest trail. Volunteers sit under tent canopies supplied by Celebration Rentals, giving out sandwiches, beverages, doughnuts, gummy bears and red licorice. Six golf carts from Green Mountain National Golf Course transport the elderly and infirm. All-terrain vehicles from Central Vermont Motorcycles and the Hendy Brothers John Deere dealership are used for safety patrols.

John King, owner of the Gramps Shuttle, has volunteered his vans to take the students up and down the mountain, along with adults who don’t have rides from the end of the paths.

Last week a Gramps van picked up seven people at Rutland Airport who needed to make connections at Logan Airport in Boston. “We told them we could do it, but they’d have a short walk,” he said. “We didn’t tell them where they’d be walking until they got here.”

A Gramps van dropped them off at one end of the path. Their luggage was loaded onto all-terrain vehicles. Then they trooped through the woods to another Gramps van, which drove them to Boston. “Made it in three and a half hours,” Mr. King said.

The roads are still so bad that the final three students who live farthest away didn’t make it to school until last Wednesday. Town officials hope to have the roads passable in the next few weeks, before the first snow, but until then the children are walking through the woods.

It’s not a simple commute. Crawford Jones’s mother drives him from Mendon to a pickup area on Route 4, where the Gramps Shuttle van meets him and takes him down to the start of the path. There, a parent volunteer walks him and the others through the woods. A small school bus that can turn around in a tight space picks up the children and takes them to Sherwood Drive, where the big bus is waiting to take them to school.

One day after school last week, the bus arrived at the forest path and the students made a beeline to the refreshment tent. There were fruits and peanuts, but most favored the doughnuts, gummy bears and licorice. By the time they headed into the woods, sugar was oozing from their pores. Michelle Ericksen, a school board member who was accompanying them, caught Riley Bates, a second grader whose favorite classes are gym and recess, with an entire bag of gummy bears and confiscated them before he could rocket to the moon.

It was raining and muddy. Several of the girls, including Charlotte Tyler, a kindergartner, wore pretty boots, but not Riley, who said all he needed was sneakers. “If you walk around the house, the mud just wears off,” he said.

Along the way, they passed Darren Snitker, a contractor who has coordinated donations from the local businesspeople. He was spreading 12 truckloads of pine bark mulch along the trail, which made it less slippery but also explained why this wooded path smelled like the garden department at Home Depot.

Whatever children are doing seems normal to them, and for most, hiking through the woods has become routine. Asked how she does it, Charlotte, the kindergartner, said, “I just walk straight ahead.”

Ms. Prescott, the principal, believes their adventure stands for something a little more. Last week, when all 33 had finally made it to school, she held a special assembly to officially welcome them for the new year. As assemblies go, there wasn’t a lot of dazzle, no special effects, not one PowerPoint. She simply stood in the middle of the gym, and one by one called them down from the bleachers to be recognized for making it to school under difficult circumstances.

“Charlotte Tyler,” she called out. “Ben Tyler. Mollie Porcaro. Gage Porcaro.” When they heard their names, they bounded down from the bleachers and formed a line on the gym floor facing their classmates, who cheered them and let out loud, high-pitched “woo-woo”s.

After Ms. Prescott was done with the children, she called down teachers who’d overcome sizable odds, including Bob Myers, the middle school social studies teacher. Mr. Myers left his house at 4 a.m. and managed to get to school the first day by 8:07, even though his GPS said “Recalculating” so many times he finally turned it off and guessed the best way.

That afternoon, Ms. Prescott gave out no trophies, plaques or certificates of appreciation. When asked why she’d held an assembly, she said, “It makes people feel good.” And it was true — as they headed back to class, they did look a little puffed up