Happy Halloween!

Yes, I kinda get into the holiday.

Update 1620 04 Nov: I wanted to add this link to an amazing young couple who are trying to adopt. If you know anyone who is looking for a loving home in which to place a baby, you couldn't find a better family than this:

USS California (SSN 781) Joins The Fleet

PCU California (SSN 781) becomes USS California this morning in a commissioning ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk. You can watch the ceremony live at 1100 EDT here; it should also be available after the ceremony for viewing at your convenience. A timelapse video of the boat and crew preparing for commissioning can be found here. Some comments from RADM Breckenridge can be found here. And a message from the Lieutenant Governor of California is here.

Are you a plankowner?

Update 0855 29 Oct: Based on this picture on Facebook, it looks like the weather might have driven the ceremony indoors. Wusses. I stood outside in bitter December Groton cold for the commissioning of Connecticut in 1998. (As Eng, my job was to stand in front of the formation of the crewmembers who didn't have any specific role in the ceremony. That's the job I've seen the Eng do at every commissioning I've attended.)

Update 1407 29 Oct: Here are some pictures from the ceremony. And here's a picture of the crew "manning the ship and bringing her to life":

I'm sorry, but I think a commissioning ceremony is one of those times where it's OK to have the crew wear their dress uniforms topside. It's not like they're actually going to handle lines. Call me old-fashioned...

Update 2000 30 Oct: Either I didn't read the caption correctly the first time, or they've since changed it, but the caption now explains the picture above was taken during rehearsal, so it's perfectly fine that they're not in Dress Blues.

Mariachi El Bronx - "48 Roses"

Mariachi El Bronx is the mariachi version of punk band The Bronx, based out of... Los Angeles. Here's their full KCRW set.

Us Killing You is Really in Your Best Interests

Last month, Ross Douthat wrote an extremely immoral – and not coincidentally, poorly-argued – piece in favor of the death penalty. The occasion was Troy Davis' execution in Georgia. If you're not familiar with the Davis case, this and this cover the main points. (He may have been innocent, and several eyewitnesses who testified against him recanted, raising the issue of reasonable doubt.)

PED Owning SubPac Submariners SOL?

Word on the street is that at least some bases in the COMSUBPAC sphere of influence are looking at banning personally-owned electronic devices from the boats, and that possibly COMSUBPACINST 2075.1 is the instruction that establishes this ban. Any truth to this, or just waterfront rumors running amok?

Another Sub Skipper Fired

CDR Joseph Nosse, Commanding Officer of USS Kentucky (SSBN 737) was relieved of command by the SUBRON 17 Commander today:
“Cmdr. Nosse exhibited inadequate leadership and oversight of the crew in the areas of operations and administration,” Early said. “The determination came after a series of external assessments and observations.” Early did not have details immediately available on the specific shortfalls, who had first observed them or when and whether Nosse’s relief was the result of an investigation.
CDR Nosse began his CO tour with the Gold Crew in February 2010, and accepted the Omaha Trophy on behalf of his crew later that year. He assumed command of the combined crew in August of this year in preparation for the boat's mid-life refueling. Nosse is the 20th Navy CO fired this year. This is getting old. Even if he did used to be an officer detailer, no one wants to see someone's career end like this.

USS Boise Crew On Namesake City Visit

The Commanding Officer of USS Boise (SSN 764) and three crewmembers are in town for a namesake city visit today through Saturday. I was able to meet them at a Rotary Club meeting, and snapped this picture of three of them:

I hope they enjoy their time in Boise, and that the people with whom they interact better understand the sacrifices these men make. For my readers -- did you ever get to be the CO's "liberty buddy"?

Oscar Wilde's Birthday

Oscar Wilde was born today in 1854. Roger Ebert has a nice post up for the occasion, featuring one of the best appreciations of Wilde I've seen, this one by Stephen Fry:Ebert also has the classic Monty Python sketch featuring Wilde and Shaw posted (head over to see it). Wilde's later life was tragic, and the subject of many a biography, play or film itself. His own legacy is formidable. I had


As the Navy prepares for the upcoming commissioning of PCU California (SSN 781) and supports the beginning of the "two submarine starts per year" era, PCU Mississippi (SSN 782) passed an important milestone when she was "floated off" at Electric Boat:

I never liked being in drydock that much, especially after my boat was shaken by two earthquakes while in one in June 1992. Since it's been a couple years since we last discussed it, I'll ask again for the new readers: What are your favorite drydock stories?

Coldplay - "The Scientist"

I know it's fashionable in some circles to slag off on Coldplay, but I like some of their songs, including this one.

The Republican Debate in 100 Seconds (10/11/11)

TPM helpfully recaps it, and summarizes: Repeal everything! Also, jail Barney Frank - but apparently, don't prosecute anyone on Wall Street (and don't investigate any war crimes committed by their buddies in the last administration). Meanwhile, I imagine many folks realize Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan would severely cut revenues and would be a massive giveaway to the wealthiest Americans, but

Deliver Us to (White) Spite

There's another Republican debate looming, and the past ones do not bode well for the Republic. The conservative faithful keeps looking for a savior, finding and then rejecting one candidate after another... and rejecting reality, history and compassion as well. Scott Horton looks at the succession of conservative sweethearts in "A Snapshot from the Age of Distraction":It’s not unusual for a

Steve Jobs (1955-2011)

The outpouring of posts and pieces on Steve Jobs on blogs and Facebook has been overwhelming. I won't link all of them here, but Apple and Pixar are two impressive legacies. Many people have a very warm and personal connection with their Apple devices and even more so with the Pixar films, and it shows in the reaction.NPR ran a snippet of the commencement speech he gave in 2005 at Stanford,

PD Fun!

Here's an old picture of USS Key West (SSN 722) at periscope depth:

What's the most interesting thing you've ever seen out of the 'scope at PD?

Julie Fowlis - "Bothan Àirigh am Bràigh Raithneach"

A wealth of great music has come from the British Isles, including some stunning tunes in Gaelic. I caught this tune on The World. Julie Fowlis' website is here. The lyrics are:Bothan Àirigh am Bràigh Raithneach (A sheiling on the Braes of Rannoch)Gur e m' anam is m' eudailchaidh an-dè do Ghleann Garadh:fear na gruaig' mar an t-òris na pòig air bhlas meala.O hi ò o hu ò, o hi ò o hu ò,Hi rì ri

"Get The Grease!"

At work yesterday, for some reason the conversation between me and one of the other Submariners I work with turned towards some of the pranks we boat types used to pull on each other. Some of the more disturbing ones involve things done to people while they're asleep or otherwise incapacitated. Whether it's a Shellback getting silver nitrate "teardrops" applied to his face as he sleeps during the 'Wog Rebellion or the poor guy who got stuck behind some piece of machinery having unmentionable things done to him, the lesson we Submariners learn early is "don't leave yourself vulnerable".

Confession time: what's the worst thing you've done (or seen done) to a shipmate who was unable to effectively defend themselves?

Support a Robin Hood Tax

Over at Crooked Timber, John Quiggin has written a piece arguing for a "Tobin tax" (or Robin Hood tax) on financial transactions. The idea is to discourage "high volume, short-term financial transactions" and to raise money by doing so. Head over to CT for the details, and a link to an earlier Quiggin piece on the subject. In the meantime, since I'm a fan of Richard Curtis and Bill Nighy,

Longer SSN Deployments?

Check out this AP story; excerpt:
Vice Adm. John Richardson told the AP this week that keeping subs out longer is one of several options the Navy is considering as the number of attack subs is projected to continue dropping in the next decade and beyond. “I think we’re looking at all the options,” he said. “As you try and maintain the same presence with fewer hulls, there are all sorts of variables in that equation. One would be extending deployment lengths. So that’s certainly on the table.”
As usual, the story by the Michael Melia reporter has to get something wrong ("Enlisted crew members on the attack subs sleep six to a room...") but it seems to be fairly accurate overall. Have you ever done a deployment of greater than six months? What do you think of the potential change? (Alternately, what do you think about the increase in sub pay for E-8/E-9s with over 18 years of submarine service?)

Bell-ringer 1550 01 Oct: It turns out that Virginia-class boats do have several 6 man berthing spaces, so I stand corrected. Only one I was ever onboard was the lead ship of the class in the shipyard, and they didn't have the module with the berthings spaces there when I left.