A Cubic Buttload Of Submarines

From my old XO's Facebook page, a photo of ten Los Angeles-class submarines in port at Norfolk in the mid-90s:

As the inboard submarine, what's the funniest thing you've ever done to the outboard submarine?

American Politics Seen as a Japanese Monster Movie

(Thomas Jefferson's intended original artwork for the Declaration of Independence.)Marx is the Godzilla of economics – heavy, but not real.- UnknownThe State is... the coldest of cold monsters.- NietzscheAs a teenager, I ran across the two lines above separately, and put together, they made me think of politics as a giant monster movie. Liberty versus equality! Government versus private

Simple Pleasures

I enjoy the simple things in life. I'm happy now because I have a wonderful family. I'm also happy that the local store is finally carrying Grape Crush. I also like finding cool submarine pictures, like this one of USS Pasadena (SSN 752) in Yokosuka, with Mount Fuji in the background:

What makes you happy?

Dido - "Thank You"

A repeat, because it works so well for Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving 2009

Because life is too short to go without muppets.

We Owe It to Americans To Re-Write History

I've been sent this by several people, including Tim of The Tim Channel:Also, John Wilkes Booth never killed a U.S. President... after Lincoln.On the one hand, Perino may have misspoke - since what she said is standard Fox News propaganda, but normally they add the disclaimer "after 9/11," even though that ignores the anthrax attacks. On the other, even with that standard bullshit disclaimer,

Franken Versus the Hudson Institute

This is an old item from late October, but it's great and I never got around to posting it. The short clip is from a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on medical debt. Senator Al Franken is questioning Diana Furchtgott-Roth of the right-wing Hudson Institute. She's claimed that (as Think Progress puts it) "moving towards a European-style system of universal health care would increase

This Doesn't Pass The Smell Test

A standard article about a submarine switching homeports to Portsmouth for an overhaul has one sentence that stands out like a sore thumb:
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard union officials hailed the Navy's decision announced Friday to have the USS Virginia call the shipyard its homeport as a key move that could stave off future threats to close the facility...
... O'Connor said the shipyard will now be the homeport of the Navy's newest Virgina-class submarine, which "could level the playing field for us."...
... New Hampshire Sens. Judd Gregg and Jeanne Shaheen, and Maine's Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins jointly announced Friday the U.S. Department of Navy directed that the USS Virginia (SSN 774) will have its homeport changed to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard effective Oct. 1, 2010. The USS Virginia will undergo a planned maintenance period at the shipyard through April 2012...
... O'Connor said the Navy's announcement could also usher in a new long-term relationship with the shipyard that will not be as tenuous as it has been in the past.
He said the submarine's crew members and their families will be permanently stationed in the Seacoast region instead of just during scheduled overhaul maintenance periods.
Overlooking the problem where they say the Virginia is the "newest" (as opposed to the oldest) Virginia-class submarine, I'm pretty sure that the union official talking in the last quoted paragraph either doesn't really know what's going on, or is being intentionally misleading. He seems to be saying that the submarine would stay homeported at PNSY after the overhaul ends in 2012. Since there's no training infrastructure there, that makes no sense at all, and I really hope the Navy isn't seriously considering such an idiotic move. Since the press release of one of the Senators involved doesn't mention anything about a continuing homeport shift, I'm assuming there's nothing to this at all.

Delurking Week

Blue Gal is spearheading this one, and has more about its origins. The idea is just what the picture above says - bloggers should thank their readers, and readers - particularly lurkers (people who read but don't comment) - are encouraged to leave one. So readers of this blog - thanks again! The format of sporadic, long-form posts ain't for everyone. However, I thought the latest blogiversary

We're Committed to Saying No, But Let's Debate at Length First

Many hurdles still exist, but yesterday, the Senate voted to bring their health bill to the floor for debate. From what I've seen so far, the House bill is better overall (apart from the Stupak amendment), and many progressive measures have been severely watered down, most of all the public option. Still, it's a big step. There's plenty of circus to come, though. As Ezra Klein points out,

Old Boats And Old Shipmates

The Navy website has quite a few new photographs of one of my old boats, USS Connecticut (SSN 22), participating in the U.S. - Japan ANNUALEX a few days ago. Here's one:

Others can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

It's always good to see your old boat. I also enjoy seeing old shipmates and friends do well, so I was happy to see the results of the FY11 Submarine Major Command and Major Program Manager Selection Board. It looks like this would have been the year I would have been up had I made it that far. I was especially happy to see two of my old JO running mates from USS Topeka (SSN 754) on the list. Congratulations to all!

The Heavy - "How You Like Me Now?"

"Sixteen," borrowing from Screamin' Jay Hawkins, is also worth checking out.

Rick Perlstein at The Big Think

Via Digby, who has a partial transcript, here's Rick Perlstein, who's always worth a listen.

USS Hartford JAGMAN Released

Two media outlet -- The New London Day and Navy Times -- both published stories based on obtaining the "heavily redacted" investigation report into the recent USS Hartford (SSN 768) collision in the Straits of Hormuz. Excerpts:
The Hartford's command leadership routinely observed informal behavior by sailors operating the submarine, the report says, but did not immediately correct it. Those driving the ship would often slouch in their seats with one hand on the controls, and sometimes take their shoes off. Sonar operators and radiomen were missing from their stations for extended periods. Stereo speakers were added to the radio room to listen to music during work.
There were five known "sleepers," or sailors who would routinely nod off on watch, but no disciplinary action was taken, the report states. Two of the five sailors were working during the collision, although investigators found no evidence they were asleep.
The hands-off leadership style created a climate that "gave the appearance of tolerating routine inattentiveness and lax professional standards," the report concludes.
On the night of the crash, sonar operators chatted “for the majority of the time [in the hour before] the collision.” An officer of the deck did not look through the periscope prior to the collision after taking over contact management duties.
The navigator, off-watch, was found to have been taking an engineering exam in the wardroom “while listening to his iPod,” despite the hazardous evolution underway.
Brookhart was never in the control room during any time crossing the strait, the investigators found.
Prior to the accident, speakers had been installed in the ultra-sensitive radio room “that allowed music to be played from an iPod while on watch. This was hidden from the Chain of Command.”
Please read both reports; they include some interesting info on how the submarine's crew was able to get onto the bridge after the collision (it took 4 hours using wedges and a portable hydraulic jack).

Here's my take: the report is pretty damning. But honestly, I think that you'd be able to find similar examples on most boats if they had an investigating team crawling up their butts looking at everything. We've seen this before, where Big Sub Force seems to go out of their way to make the crews of boats that have mishaps look like the biggest bunch of shitbags in the Fleet. I think that it's more likely that most Submariners could look at what goes on in their own boats and think, "There but for the grace of God go I". That being said, this particular instance does look pretty bad, considering where they were at.

Hunger on the Rise

It's just another day in the richest country in the world:Just one day after a federal report revealed that 1 in 7 U.S. families struggled to get enough to eat last year, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urged lawmakers to reauthorize school nutrition programs that help feed the nation's schoolchildren.Appearing before the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee on Tuesday, Vilsack

Our Trustworthy Media

The SNL spoof of Fox News election night coverage (from 11/7/09) was actually pretty good:Still, no one can touch The Daily Show. They spoof pretty much every political talk show, in perpetuity, near the end of this sequence (from 11/3/09):The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10cIndecision 2009 - Reindecision 2008 And Beyondwww.thedailyshow.comDaily Show Full EpisodesPolitical

This Is Why Ensigns Shouldn't Have More Than One Ribbon

Check out this newest Navy Nuclear Power propaganda video on the official Navy channel on YouTube. Overall, it's not too bad, except for one epic fail. Check out the ribbon "rack" of the Ensign who shows up about 6 seconds into the video:

I'm pretty sure they haven't put the Pistol and Rifle Marksmanship ribbons ahead of the National Defense Service Medal in precedence. I'm not surprised an Ensign would mess up on something complicated like that, but I am a little bit amazed that no one in the video approval chain picked up on it.

Avatar and "Call Me Joe"?

And now for something mostly different...When I first saw the trailers for James Cameron's upcoming film Avatar, I thought, "That looks like "Call Me Joe."" It's nice to see others had the same thought. Cameron's film is much longer, and more involved, as one would expect. However, the central device and other key details appear to be the same as in Poul Anderson's novella "Call Me Joe," which

More on Armistice Day

Several folks on the old blogroll and around the blogosphere also posted something for Armistice Day, or on related themes.DarkBlack: "In Memory Forever." Canada still does it right. Evil Slutopia: "Veterans Day Roundup." BagNewsNotes: One, two and three.Mahablog: "It's Armistice Day."Crooked Timber: "Armistice Day," by Australian John Quiggin. Newshoggers: "Burial at Sea" (a powerful piece) "

Eric Bogle - "And the Band Played Waltzing Mathilda"

In the spirit of Armistice Day.

Submarining Is Scary

There are lots of scary things you have to put up with in submarining. To me, the scariest involved things like seeing an officer with a tool, a Doc on the Dive, the Nav or Weps heading back aft for their monthly proficiency EOOW watch, or a YN in ERLL for any reason.

What are some of the submarine things that give you the clammy shivers when you think about them?

Your New Requirements

Who knew the problem of providing health care to all Americans was so easy to solve?

Just make a law mandating that everyone buy insurance on pain of imprisonment! Problem solved!

That's what the current Bill proposes -- and if you don't buy it, the penalties are massive fines and up to 5 years in jail.

The audacity and offensiveness of this tactic is incredible!

Health care has gone from an entitlement to a "right" to a requirement!

Rights used to be things government couldn't do to you. Then they became things government had to provide you. Now they are things government forces upon you!

Why not use the same method to eliminate homelessness? Buy a (government approved!) house or go to jail! It would help out Barney Frank's Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac!

Think about the implications. The Federal government is asserting it has the power to force its subjects (because that's what we now are if they can do this: subjects) to purchase and consume particular goods and services.

Mandate everyone buys Obamabonds to help the deficit.

Or everyone has to buy at least one Government General Motors brand car, to help the auto unions.

Why not?

Obama endorses this concept according in an ABC interview:
“What I think is appropriate is that in the same way that everybody has to get auto insurance and if you don't, you're subject to some penalty, that in this situation, if you have the ability to buy insurance, it's affordable and you choose not to do so, forcing you and me and everybody else to subsidize you, you know, there's a thousand dollar hidden tax that families all across America are -- are burdened by because of the fact that people don't have health insurance, you know, there's nothing wrong with a penalty.”
Hold it right there!

The old specious "auto" analogy the anti-gunners liked to use for requiring tests and licenses for gun ownership is even less applicable here! To use that argument, Obama must be either stupid or deliberately lying.

First, not everyone has to buy auto insurance. If you don't buy a car, no insurance!

Second, even if you do own your own car, you don't have to buy collision insurance, which is the analog of health insurance -- the other insurance for the car is liability in case you injure someone or damage their property, which isn't an applicable concept.

And third, the Federal government has no such power to make people buy auto insurance, it's a State issue.

So how in the world do they think they have the ability to force me to buy a particular type of product whether I want it or not?!?

Just like in Star Wars: Liberty dies to thuderous applause.

War and the Denial of Loss

(This post is part of a series on war, and a smaller set of posts for Armistice Day 2009.)Nations wage unnecessary wars because their leaders lack wisdom or conscience, and the checks to force them to act wisely and conscientiously are tragically wanting. However, wars also start – and persist - because of the denial of loss. Scoundrels and fools in positions of power and influence can urge

The Little Mother

(British WWI poster.)One of the most memorable sections of Robert Graves' WWI memoir, Good-Bye to All That, is his reprinting of a newspaper letter written "By a Little Mother" and the reactions it spurred. It might help to know that "Tommy Atkins" or "Tommy" is "a term for a common soldier in the British Army." It's late in the year 1916, and a disillusioned Graves is recovering from injuries

Giddy Minds and Foreign Quarrels

(This is a long post in three parts. It's part of a series on war, and a smaller set of posts for Armistice Day 2009.)Therefore, my Harry,Be it thy course to busy giddy mindsWith foreign quarrels, that action, hence borne out,May waste the memory of the former days.- Henry IV on his deathbed to Prince Henry, Henry IV, Part 2, 4.5, 212-215. There was nothing macho about the war at all. We were a

11/11 Armistice Day 2009

(Click on the comic strip for a larger view)In 1959, Pogo creator Walt Kelly wrote:The eleventh day of the eleventh month has always seemed to me to be special. Even if the reason for it fell apart as the years went on, it was a symbol of something close to the high part of the heart. Perhaps a life that stretches through two or three wars takes its first war rather seriously, but I still think

The War Poetry of Wilfred Owen

I've featured Wilfred Owen's poetry before, but his work relates to several posts this year, and it's always relevant for Armistice Day. The British (specifically English and Welsh) Owen was tragically killed in combat just a week before World War I ended. Owen is widely considered to be one of the greatest of war poets. I first read his work in college in a course on World War I, and I've

Demonizing the Enemy

(British WWI poster, from this helpful site. A few more are scattered throughout this post. Click them for a larger view.)There's an observation I've seen attributed to several different people, that in a democracy, sustaining a war effort over a long time depends on increasingly demonizing of the enemy. The basic idea is that pitching honor, glory and country might be great for initial

√Član in The Guns of August

PRINCE HENRY Why, thou owest God a death.Exit Prince Henry.FALSTAFF 'Tis not due yet; I would be loath to pay him before his day. What need I be so forward with him that calls not on me? Well, 'tis no matter; honour pricksme on. Yea, but how if honour prick me off when Icome on? How then? Can honour set to a leg? No. Oran arm? No. Or take away the grief of a wound? No.Honour hath no skill in

A Day To Honor Veterans

Today, on the 11th day of the 11th month, we take time to honor the Veterans of our Armed Forces.

To all my fellow Veterans, thank you for your service.

Audio of British World War I POWs

Public Radio International's show The World has a short, fascinating piece on audio of British World War I prisoners of war in Germany. The audio was recorded by a German linguist. What's particularly valuable is that he recorded British regional dialects that in some cases don't exist anymore. The last sample is a bit moving (it's from a Scotsman, naturally).

Blogging Light

Blogging has been light lately and will remain so for a while. Why? Happily, I am just too busy with moving into a new house and working with my fiance on our wedding details.

In the meantime, I suggest keeping up with events by reading the excellent essays at Belmont Club, checking the headlines at Drudge, and finding the interesting tidbits at Instapundit.

And tell your Senators to stop ObamaPelosicare in its tracks, it's our only hope!

Lesser Evil

Found via Instapundit. Jerry Pournelle opines:
“Unemployment is over 10%. It wasn’t supposed to get that high. TARP was supposed to fix that. . . . If the health care bill passes, it will fundamentally convert these United States into a different kind of popular democracy, which generally means rule by a unionized bureaucracy organized to vote. Once that much of the economy is run by government, economic recovery as many hope for will simply be impossible. Permanent unemployment at 7% or so; median income perhaps 10% higher than it is now, but not much higher; and a long period of stagflation. Reluctance to take on new employees, and great incentive to export jobs. Is this a picture of the future? We will have to see, as Congress debates the health care and carbon tax bills. . . . With Detroit a ruin and manufacturing industries on the ropes, small business is the only possible engine of recovery from what they don’t call a Depression; so the Congress is going to add an 8% tax on employing people. We already have the longest period of increasing unemployment since the Great Depression; I presume we are going for a really big record setting period of increasing unemployment. . . . The incentives are now to the job black market — hire illegal immigrants who don’t have to have health insurance — or to export the job if that can possibly be done.”
All I can say is,

Preventing People From Dying is Just Like Genocide

These photos from the teabagger rally of Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) have thankfully been getting some exposure:The sign says “National Socialist Healthcare, Dachau Germany – 1945." I first saw this item via Richard Blair of All Spin Zone. Distributorcap also has a brief item on this, and notes, "This was no Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin event - this was an event sponsored and pushed by

Glenn Beck, Stewart Style

This has been all over the blogosphere, but I'm still not tired of it, and it's an instant classic. Stewart plunges into the demagogic truthiness of Glenn Beck:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10cThe 11/3 Projectwww.thedailyshow.comDaily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealth Care Crisis

If you're not familiar with Glenn Beck's shtick, Crooks and Liars has a good collection.

Please Support Project Valour-IT

It's almost Veteran's Day, so you still have time to donate to Project Valour-IT, a wonderful organization that provides adaptive laptops for disabled Servicepeople. The drive is running through November 11th, so if you can, please contribute to this worthy cause through Team Navy. (You can find more information through this post by the Navy team leader.)

Amadou & Mariam - "Sabali"

The very last "bye-bye" is clipped here, and I wish the song was longer, but it's memorable.

Prayers Going Out For Soldiers At Ft. Hood And Their Families

Reports of a shooting incident at Ft. Hood indicate that 11 are dead (plus a shooter) and 31 are injured. Initial reports indicate that the dead shooter is Maj. Malik Nadal Hasan, and that two other soldiers have been detained as suspects. The dead major is reportedly a psychiatrist. My prayers are going out to the victims, their families, and fellow Soldiers.

We all know that initial reports of incidents are often in error, so hopefully this was a case of one guy losing it, and not a coordinated attack -- hopefully the two suspects are found to just have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Obviously, the name of the dead shooter could lead reasonable people to believe that he is of Muslim heritage. I really, really hope that this wasn't a sleeper cell, and if it was, that people will remember that there are a lot of Muslims and people of Muslim heritage serving honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Update 1700 05 Nov: Newer reports are saying the two Soldiers arrested have been released, indicating that it was a lone gunman.

Blue Gal Blogiversary

Champion of small blogs and scourge of the wicked, obtuse and humorless, the indispensable, indefatigable Blue Gal keeps the internet hamsters running. She also celebrates her fifth blogiversary today. Swing by to say hi.

Inadvertently Humorous Submarine Fiction

Anyone remember this blurb from The Hunt For Red October?
"The engineers went about their duties calmly. The noise in the engine room spaces rose noticeably as the systems began to put out more power, and the technicians kept track of this by continuously monitoring the banks of instruments under their hands. The routine was quiet and exact. There was no extraneous conversation, no distraction. Compared to a submarine's reactor spaces, a hospital operating room was a den of libertines."
Discuss. Remember, though, that we have some wives reading, so you should avoid stories that go something like "the throttleman fell asleep so the RO put his junk in the throttleman's ear"... unless they're really, really funny.

The GOP's Non-Existent Health Care Plan

The GOP still doesn't have a health care plan. They never have. This has rarely seemed to bother them, or the media. It's been pointed out again, though, this time by Harry Reid. Maybe it'll get some coverage this time. This comes via John Cole, who has some thoughts on the enduring myth-making around nasty partisan and policy dunce John McCain and his magical kumbaya powers. Remember