Thursday, November 11, 2004

American Thinker #4

Today's American Thinker has another article of mine. This one is Bob Dole, Enigma to the Democrats. It's interesting to see my work after it has been edited by Thomas Lifson. Clearly, it helps to have an objective view. However, my article originally pointed out that Italy is a vital part of what John Kerry called "The coalition of the bribed and coerced". My point is that unlike the French, the Italians, based on their experience, understand the difficulties of setting up a new democracy. They have done the U.S. the honor of imitating our assistance to them in WW II. There can be no better example of the spread of democracy by force of American arms then this.

Update - I knew this was going to appear on Veterans Day, so I checked to see if it was posted at 7 AM C.T. Thomas had added the first post of the day. When I checked again at 8 AM, he had added it. Since he's in the Pacific Time Zone, he was hard at work from 5 to 6 AM local time. It's not exactly like we're sitting in the same room to have a back & forth discussion. So while I think my note above is a useful adendum, it is not meant as a criticism of Thomas.

Veterans Day

Be a leader. Fly your flag to show respect to our veterans. Start a trend in your neighborhood. My flag is proudly waving. Join me!

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Birthday of the Marine Corps

This being the birthday of the Marine Corps, I think it appropriate to greet my former bowling teammate Dan "The Man" Hartnett. He used to tell us how he fed ammo to Barney Ross on Guadalcanal. He thought it a shame that they both didn’t make the cover of Life magazine together. It seems celebrity has its rewards. Semper Fi Dan!!

Armorers to the U S Navy

I want to say thank you to all our veterans on this coming Veterans Day. Careful readers will find I have made several references to the
U S Navy and of course this site is dedicated to the heroes of the first battle by the Navy. So your curiosity might lead you to ask, am I a veteran? The answer is no. I did do a small part in what seems to something of a family tradition, Armorers to the U S Navy.

It began with my fourth great grandfather, Wooden (AKA Woodin) Foster who made those scythes and pitchforks used to capture the Margaretta.

It continued with my father, who worked for over 40 years at Gibbs & Cox. Here is a brief review from their website of what they did while he worked there:

"Since 1933, the firm has designed every class of destroyers for the U.S. Navy, with only one exception.
During World War II, Gibbs & Cox was a leader in the building of our maritime forces. Over 5400 ships were built to Gibbs & Cox, Inc. design during the War. This represents over 70 percent of the tonnage launched in the United States. These included destroyers, destroyer escorts, light cruisers, landing ships and amphibious assault vessels, liberty ships, minesweepers, ice breakers, tankers, tenders. In addition to the design work, Gibbs & Cox, Inc. was also responsible for the central procurement of all materials and equipment. At its peak, the firm issued over 10,000 blueprints and 6,700 (purchase orders) per day."

My little part was a summer spent as an engineering intern working at Grumman on design validation of the HVAC system of the A-6E Intruder. So I’d like to send special greetings to the pilots & B/Ns who flew them. I hope they feel that the draft deferment I got to study engineering was the best thing for all concerned. Being part of a team that brought our forces the all-weather attack air support they needed when they needed it was a privilege. And I got to see three lunar landers under construction in the same room (it was the summer of ‘69, when Apollo 11 landed on the moon). So I guess I’m sort of a “rocket engineer”, the next level up from a rocket scientist since we have to build something that actually works in the real world!

Bravo Zulu to all veterans!

Update 11/12 - There is a good article on MSNBC detailing how attack aviation is used to protect our troops on the ground in Fallujah. The Intruder was the first all-weather attack plane that could deliver even in monsoon conditions. It also played a part in teaching Gadhafi to respect American military might with the recent salutary effect of encouraging him to yield his weapons of mass destruction and his program to make his own nukes.

Update 11/13 - There is another excellent article by Bing West on the current state-of-the art in close air support on Slate.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Post Combat Life Savers (P-CLS)

I find myself wondering why Republicans are wasting so much time refuting Democrats. Why not just start promoting new ideas? I posted one on The Questing Cat. Let’s call it the Veteran Truant Officer. We recruit Purple Heart veterans of the Iraq war to serve as truant officers in inner city schools. Compared to Baghdad, the west side of Chicago is a playground. Have them do in America what they did in Iraq, secure liberty and safe passage to school for children. After checking up on missing students, they could help out around the school. Say give a computer networking demonstration in study hall. Remember that the United States Armed Forces runs the largest post graduate school in the world! (Oh by the way, they would be tough enough to administer an ass-whupping to the typical gangbanger with just their eyelashes!)

The benefit to the kids of having the example of a real life hero daily overcoming his/her limitations would be profound. The benefit to the veteran would be to have an adoring audience of children to validate his personal sacrifice. That’s a win-win situation.

The Republicans have a huge advantage, like our military, they have learned to implement distributed network centric (political) warfare. Let's get inside their decision making cycle and turn the blue states red.

Please Remember our veterans on Veteran's Day November 11!

P.S. Be sure to read Questing Cat's account of Combat Life Savers!

Contract with Black America

The black voter likely is feeling taken for granted by the Democrats. They have traditionally been one of their most loyal voting blocs, but they didn’t seem to have much clout in the Kerry campaign. Can it be that the traditional retail politics so effectively practiced by big city Democratic machine ward healers is losing its allure? Can the Republican message of wholesale politics begin to gain traction? Consider the disconnect between what John Kerry has said about the power of force to change societies versus the power of the law. Contrast what he says with the black experience in America.

It was a Republican president, Dwight Eisenhower, who sent military forces to enforce the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education. The law didn’t integrate the Little Rock schools, the army did. And this power of big government to enforce civil rights was a defining experience in Black America. In 1957 President Eisenhower submitted and had passed the first civil rights act since Reconstruction. But he was unable to get the Senate, under Democratic majority leader Lyndon Johnson, to provide a strong enough enforcement regime. The cost of Democratic acquiescence was to have any dispute brought to trial. In the South, that meant trial by jury with the jury pool drawn from the voter rolls. Since the Democratic politicians fought to disenfranchise black voters through poll taxes etc. it meant blacks were certain to face all white juries and have their pleas for justice denied. That link to justice was denied until passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1964.

The election of John Kennedy combined with the increasing protest of black civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King meant that in combination with the Republican minority in Congress there was ultimately a bi-partisan majority desiring passage of the 1963 Civil Rights Act and the 1964 Voting Rights Act. Lyndon Johnson read the tea leaves and got in front of the parade. So a man who had been an obstructionist in 1957 now became a hero to the black population.. Never mind that the acts were largely due to the efforts of the commission formed under Eisenhower’s guidance, or that the more eloquent supporters were Republicans like Everett Dirksen, or that the Republicans had proportionally higher support in Congress for the acts. The leader of the parade got the credit.

Since that time, blacks have had great faith in the federal government. But the basic Republican tenet of smaller government leaves them nervous. Of course, Republicanism does not mean elimination of the federal government. It means limiting its power to strictly defined tasks as defined in the Constitution. At this point its worthwhile to quote its preamble, “…in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure the domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and to our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America.” These wholesale political rights are at the core of the Republican party. And they are entirely consistent with the desire to full civil rights.

The challenge is to get blacks to reconsider their views. Are they better off trying to curry favor with the local ward healer or will they benefit in the longer run by supporting big picture issues? Will improving the public schools with voucher programs do more good than throwing money at teacher’s unions? Did Newt Gingrich’s Contract With America also apply to Black America? The very day that a Republican majority was elected to Congress was the day interest rates started their decline. Does the availability of a low interest mortgage making first home ownership possible benefit blacks? The answer is obvious. Full rights for all citizens benefit all citizens. Blacks don’t need affirmative action if they can succeed on their own merits.

Back when Machias was formed by sixteen partners in a sawmill in 1763 there was a wilderness. Those men plus two tradesmen (one a blacksmith, my fourth great grandfather) spent the first year building their homes and the mill. At first, they needed credit to do the job and survive. Here's the report on their second year. "During the year 1764 the inhabitants made nearly one million six hundred thousand feet of lumber" (Source: Narrative of the Town of Machias, George w. Drisko, page 14). That’s nearly 20 miles per man. They worked very hard (the Protestant work ethic in action). What allowed them to succeed were hard work, property rights and literacy (they needed to read the Bible). It would be nice if the Republican party made a contract with black Americans to see those blessings are secured for them and their posterity. School vouchers and home ownership are an excellent start.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

American Thinker #3

I had my third article posted by The American Thinker yesterday. It was edited by the publisher, Thomas Lifson. That's a new experience. All the posts here are not given independent review (not too many editors want to make themselves available @ 5 AM!). If I had thought of it, I would have included this link to Mayor Daley's remarks. Today's edition of the Sun-Times has some follow up articles demonstrating how the pressure is on Daley to clean up his act. One on the Hired Truck Scandal the other on the Porch Collapse Scandal . It seems old habits die hard in Chicago. But if he wants to build bridges, Mayor Daley could start planning a welcome home parade for the Iraqi veterans. Chicago earned the respect of Vietnam veterans by being first to hold their (belated) welcome home parade. This could be an international showcase event by combining our tribute to the vets & Millennium Park. Just a suggestion ;-) in case anyone is reading this!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Morality - It's The Golden Rule, Stupid

Watching the MacNeil Lehrer News Hour there was much discussion of how many voters cited morality as their deciding issue in the election. A Democratic source had told the reporter that this was something neither the party nor the media understand. Watching the discussion one can only think, how true! I’ll try to make it simple for them. Rather than portraying John Kerry as a windsurfer, skier or hunter; think of him as a “fisherman” who buys his “catch” at the store. Kerry is a world class teller of fish stories. If you’ve looked at the pictures on PCF45 you’ll see that Swift boats ran on quite narrow and winding rivers, not the wide Hudson River bounding Manhattan where the network anchors live. Kerry’s after-action report in the Rassmann event stated that he had come under “5000 meters” of heavy fire. This is absurd on its face. The boat would have disappeared round the bend well before reaching 1000 meters! And the AK-47 does not have a range of 5000 meters. And the report for the action had no men wounded by gunfire and no bullet holes in the boats! It just did not happen that way. It’s been exaggerated out of proportion. It is a fish story.

Another aspect of morality is best known as “The Golden Rule”. This rule is the simplest expression of our desire for equality and fairness. So why did the media hound Bush on his National Guard service and demand he sign a Form 180, when they did not demand the same of Kerry? Not only did they not make equal demands, CBS used plainly forged documents regarding Bush’s Guard record. CBS does not play by the Golden Rule. Our media talking heads also toss around the concept of immorality. Once more they’ve got it wrong. The term of art is amorality, a reckless disregard for fairness to go with their reckless disregard for the truth.

And of course there is this fear of Christian Fundamentalism. But isn’t the Golden Rule a fundamental tenet of Christianity first delivered by Jesus Christ in the Sermon on the Mount (Luke 6:31 “And as you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.”)? The simple fact is the United States was founded on Christian fundamentals. The Golden Rule is imbued in our founding documents. Therefore, to be American is in some ways to be a fundamental Christian. You don’t have to be Christian to be American, but you must graft Christian tenets into your belief system to be American. Obviously, Christianity owes much to Judaism. It has a form of the Golden Rule stated in the negative.. “Thou shall not do unto others…” Both share the Ten Commandments. Maybe the Democrats and the media might consider the commandment that “thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” when presented with forged documents.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Thank You Swiftvets!!!

Regarding the link in my American Thinker article on military transformation, this month's edition of the U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings has a letter that contains this link . It is a stunning description of the action seen by the Swiftvets with great pictures. DON'T MISS IT!

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Dereliction of Duty

As I went to vote this morning I found that the precinct listed on ny voter registration card was not where I had been directed to go to vote. So I went to another polling place for that precinct. I wasn't listed there. It seems that they had changed the boundaries of the ditricts but had not issued corrected registration cards. So back I went and I did manage to vote in my new district, but confusion was rampant. One couple at the polling place had husband and wife in different precincts! Why? Because David Orr, the Cook County Clerk, had been negligent in his duties. This is the level of incompetence of the Daley political machine. Remember the 2000 election, it was Bill Daley leading the charge for Gore in Florida. Yipes!

Atmospheric Physics Part III

All this discussion of late about explosives has reminded me of another major flaw in the “nuclear winter” scenario. The premise was that using large nuclear weapons would raise firestorms in the targeted cities. This is quite unlikely. Freeman Dyson worked as a mathematical analyst for Sir Arthur “Bomber” Harris of Bomber Command in World War II. In his book, Weapons and Hope , he writes “Nobody understands to this day why or how fire storms begin. In every big raid we tried to raise a fire storm, but we succeeded only twice, once in Hamburg and once two years later in Dresden. Probably the thing only happens when the bombing releases pre-existing instability in the local meteorology.” (page 117). Of the dozens of massive fire raids on Japan, only one caused a fire storm, the raid on Tokyo. Neither atom bomb started a fire storm. So the suggestion that a bigger bomb would automatically start a fire storm should be met with skepticism.

From this historical distance, I cannot give a definitive answer to what causes a fire storm to start, but there are strong hints that Mr. Dyson’s observation was on the mark. Tokyo is the easiest to explain. There was a 50 knot gale blowing when the bombing took place! Mother Nature provided a forced draft system to feed oxygen into the fires. This was more of a massive forest fire than a fire tornado, but the results were similar.

The Hamburg raid took place in late July 1943. The bomb load consisted of 4000 pound block busters and incendiaries. The block busters to create a pile of flammable rubble and the incendiaries to light the pile. An important point is the use of thermite incendiaries. These do not require air to support combustion and burn at much higher flame temperatures than an ordinary flame. If the bomb runs are well aimed and concentrated in time, you can create a very hot column of gas to jump start a vertical circulation in a pre-existing, vertically unstable atmosphere. Once the circulation starts, it brings in oxygen to support combustion. The thermite combustion allows the fire to be sustained even during periods of oxygen depletion. This ability to sustain itself is not present in the aftermath of a nuclear explosion. (see links in previous post regarding explosives for discussion of the necessary structure to support detonation). The raid on Dresden was structurally similar. So there actually is good reason to believe a fire storm is unlikely to be created by a nuclear weapon. Without the fire storms, there would be much less smoke and therefore much less chance of a huge dark cloud blocking out the sun. Further confirmation of this skepticism was provided by the Kuwaiti oil fires. Once again, we find more hype than science in the TTAPS scenario. And since “global warming” is supposed to be caused by a combustion process, it means we should examine this a bit more in a future post.