Monday, January 02, 2006

Islamic Financial Resources

Based on facts I gleaned from Michael D. Evans recent book, “American Prophecies”, I have concluded that extraordinary tactics are warranted to ID the sources of financial support to Islamic extremists/terrorist. Although this was not a specific point made by Evans I couldn’t help expanding on the presented fact that there are 1 million Islamic extremists, could be terrorists, which only represents 0.1 % of the approximately 1 billion total Islamic world population.

That equates to 99.9% of Islam that are peaceful and potentially charitable. It would seem a reasonable assumption that at least 10% of these good people could have enough resources to contribute the equivalent of 25 cents (US) each month that surreptitiously finds its way to terrorists’ coffers.

The math:
Each month 100 million contributions of $0.25 is $25 million.
$25M/mo. to 1 million terrorist provides $40K/mo or $480K/yr to each individual.

I do not find this result something to be complacent about. It is a frightening possibility. I certainly support extraordinary effort by the US Government to detect and disrupt the flow of money into the hands of the 0.1% who have dedicated their life to kill as many of us as possible and to disrupt our way of life. It’s even OK with me if the US agencies involved in this activity are so aggressive that they make a few mistakes and disrupt legitimate $ flow every now and then. I’m willing to be taxed enough to compensate any party wrongly injured by this aggressiveness.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Letter to the President

It’s obvious that you are exercising your authority submerged in a sea of deceit. Many power wielding individuals in your administration do not share your commitment to biblical principles and do not know how to advise you when these principles are being breeched. Trusting God is more than praying for wisdom. It includes obedience to what He has already revealed to us. Courage is required. What I intuitively keep thinking is that you are loyal to your political supporters’ first and Christian principles second. (Check the center verse in the bible, Psalms 118:8, for God's previous revelation on this issue.)

You should loudly and clearly direct your administration to always put the justice principles foremost and treat no man inhumanely, even the misguided terrorists. Contain them or kill them if they insist on threatening our citizens or military, but torture is never an acceptable procedure. It will eventually corrupt an honorable pursuit. (I respect Senator McCain's insistences on this issue.)

I am tired of feeling guilty about my lack of involvement when we are at war and men are dying. No one asks me to sacrifice anything. It’s like business as usual. I and my neighbors just continue on our self seeking ways. No wonder there are so many who want to bring the troops home before the job is done. We feel guilty. Tax the socks off of us or brow beat us into buying War Bonds. Do something so we can FEEL proud of our efforts to support this war. This kind of approach may be too late to keep the White House from being overwhelmed with criticism from us hundreds of millions of non-participants, but it would sure feel good anyway. An honest, simple, pay as we go breath of fresh air.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Words....Wm F Buckley....Plenty Too Much....But I Like Em

How many contemporary editorial writers casually use the term, “a fortnight ago” while speaking about current events with the reader hardly noticing? I subscribe to William F’s editorials in my My Yahoo’s news list. Not just because I like what he says, but because I am absolutely fascinated by how he says it. Sometimes I have trouble with knowing the true definition of his words but I love the way they sound and refuse to spoil the effect by looking them up.

Here’s his latest with the “fortnight” entwined in the second paragraph. The subject of this article is also one that troubles me and is a good example regarding the double mindedness of our government in its pursuit of protecting USA interests.

Double mindedness is not a characteristic lauded biblically and generally indicates a lack of trust in God…. Ah then, what is the root of all wars? (See how he affects me.)

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Mt Soledad, A Mockery of Common Sense

While following a link regarding comment on a suicide bombing occurring during a popular football game, I stumbled on an article about the Mt Soledad Cross debacle being acted out in San Diego. I have a special attachment to that spot since I used to view it from my neighborhood when I lived in San Diego. My kids and I even hiked up the steep side over looking I-5 in the early 1980's. For some reason I have always enjoyed seeing and revisiting that special place. Even navigating the twisting steep roads between desirable residences to get to the top has a special allure for me.

This attraction has little to do with religious conviction, although I do feel a certain peace knowing that the cross is a symbol in our society for a set of values centered on being nice to each other and honoring good. I would be willing to object to its destruction just on these personal positions alone.

Now comes along an individual who is obviously on a different wave-length regarding the symbol of the cross and finds it offensive to the extent that he is willing to make it his prime purpose of existence to see that it’s destroyed. Although I might question the sanity of such a pursuit I will argue that he has a right to express his opinion and pursue his hearts desire as long as he doesn't break the law. However, this liberty I grant him is only with the belief that common sense will prevail. By this I include the kind of sense that is held in common by most of the people that would be affected by the results of the action proposed.

Here's where this issue becomes scary. The courts of both the State of California and the Federal Government seem bent on finding reasons to disallow the reasonable attempts of the City of San Diego to resolve this issue even to the extent of disregarding the results of a referendum put before the people where more than 80% want to leave the cross where it has been for decades. The State Judge even managed to manipulate the law to require that a 70% majority be required for the referendum to be valid, and after it was validated found reason to rule against it anyway. The Fed Court shoots down the City for trying to comply with the State Courts mandate to quit maintaining the cross with public funds because the City proposed turning over the property to another entity that the Court thinks is likely to keep the cross just like the people of San Diego say they want.

Is there something wrong with this picture, or could it be that I don't really understand how harmful this cross symbol is to the people of San Diego but the Court does?

My frustration is shared by a fellow blogger, Ninme, who used these expressions regarding some comments challenging the validity of the newly proposed Supreme Court nominee because she was a religious person:

"... I would have said it was unconstitutional ....... to vote against her because of her religion."

"Of course that never occurred to anyone
[the people involved in the validity discussion] so the very strong feeling I have that I'm living in an alternate universe only intensified and I'm quickly being reduced to the state of gibbering idiocy. I wonder if they'd let me blog from the asylum?"

"It's just so insane. It's like you're watching a crowd of people through two-way glass talking about how things have changed since the sky turned green, and you want to but can't scream at them "It's blue! It's blue, you idiots!" But they can't hear you. And all this time you thought they knew what colour the sky is."

Something is terribly wrong with having justice met out by Judges blind to common sense. I don't believe that "Blind Justice" was intended to include "Stupid". It's like that General said about recovering New Orleans from Katrina, "Lets not get stuck on stupid".

May the people of San Diego prevail they won't have to change the name of their baseball team too.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Prehistoric Nuke Training Stories

Bubblehead, over at his blog, The Stupid Shall Be Punished, posted an article for us "Old School" nukes revealing the modern day facilities at Charleston. Looks like it even has some real floating nuclear submarine power plants to train on. I remain impressed with this enlightenment and wonder if they would consider providing a geezernuke tour.

Now for the "gotchya".
Bubblehead also lovingly provided; "For you really, really "old school" nukes, the site also has some pictures of the Nuke Power buildings in Bainbridge and Mare Island". What Bubblehead was apparently not "old" enough to detect was that the first picture was of Cromwell Hall at Subbase New London not just Bainbridge & Mare. Cromwell Hall completed construction abt 1958 - 59 soon enough to allow NP School Class 10 to finish our classroom training there.

If you look closely at this picture you can see that the entrance of the building is through doors which are now bracketed with glass walls. Those glass walls use to go all the way across the foyer and wrap around the corner, you can see where they were later filled in with opaque material.

(And now the stage is set for one of the stories I promised.)

We moved into the new building about a month before they installed the glass walls and doors in the entrance foyer and it was common practice to take a short cut through the empty frames at the corner of the foyer when entering or leaving.
One of our instructors was a college professor, reserve officer, who had been called to temporary active duty and was obviously not enthralled with being there. His uniforms didn't fit, his hair unmilitary, grumbled a lot, and had a pipe in his mouth that he only took out when he wanted to point it at something he wrote on the blackboard. When he was finished teaching what he had prepared he usually just picked up his stuff and rapidly left the classroom. On the day they installed the glass in the foyer he left the classroom at high speed, took the shortcut and ran smack into the newly installed glass. The pipe got shoved into his throat severely enough that the base ambulance was called to take him away. I do not remember if he ever recovered and returned to our classroom. If any of you readers, who might have been there too, can recollect better than me please comment.

(I did use the details of this incident later in life as an aid in teaching accident prevention principles.)

Now here's another about hazards regarding instructors physically unqualified for using prehistoric Nuke School visual aids:

The giant 6 ft slide rule hung on hooks above the blackboard and the slide was manipulated by inserting a finger in one of the several 2 inch holes provided and shifting it horizontally to the desired position. One of our instructors was a short Chief who had difficulty reaching the slide. He would stretch up to put his finger in the hole and then had to jump a little to get enough leverage to make it move. We all used to grunt for him when he did this. As luck would have it, one time he didn't get his finger out in time and wedged it into the hole as it passed under the frame. It actually broke his finger. (It should be noted for accuracy sake that this happened before we moved classes into Cromwell Hall.)

Saftey is obviously the primary reason slide rule class is no longer a required subject.

I'll bet that you modern nukes have never even seen a slide rule let alone tried to use one while picking data off a xenon decay graph in order to calculate an ECP. Us prehistoric ROs all had this state of the art, log log duplex decitrig, K&E six inch pocket slide rule in a leather covered pocket clip case.

Another tidbit about Cromwell Hall:

Evidently the building got constructed in the wrong location and was too close to the rock cliff behind and to the north of the building. This was remedied by issuing a contract to move the cliff back about 4ft. So while we were at class in the building we became familiar with rock blasting techniques. That's right, real explosive demolition. It was the first time I had heard the warning "Fire In the Hole" but by the time we graduated we could have easily gotten a job as experienced workers helping to remove rock cliffs without breaking any windows in the adjacent (1o ft away) building. There were a couple of times that rocks got past the railroad tie mats they used to cover the"Hole" but no calamities happened. There was, of course , a lot of disscussion about this phase of our training not qualifying for hazardous duty pay.

Thank you, Bubblehead, for the brain stimulation that got me remembering this stuff. Although thinking of myself as old enough to be a talking history book is not easy.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Hurricane Katrina

Wow! This is as close as the US has been to experiencing a Hiroshima type destruction. The Bomb may actually have been more merciful since not as many people lived through it to experience the total displacement of their lives as is taking place for the refugees of Katrina. How could our disaster relief infrastructure ever be prepared enough for the loss of use of one of our major cities and a 150 miles of populated coastline. But we are "can-do" Americans, recovery starts immediately and when its all over in a few years it'll be better than before.

I write this with the experience of having my life disrupted by 2 major hurricanes last year. Vero Beach was subjected to the worst that Francis and Jean had to offer but it did not add up to the level of destruction of Katrina because the storm surge was very small in comparison. (A hidden blessing of geography.) However, there are still 2 of what used to be fine homes in my neighborhood that have not yet been restored to a condition that allows someone to live in them. The overall general appearance of the area has improved due to new roofs, new house paint, new street signs, and other elements of renewal caused by necessity and the excess in the $ poured into the area by insurance companies and the federal government.

Yes, I meant excess $$ and here's the explanation of how it comes about:

a. The Insurance pays enough for me to have a contractor reseal and paint my stucco house that the 125 mph winds had ravaged. I decide to do the work myself and use the residual $ to re-landscape around the house. (Landscaping is not covered by homeowners insurance.)

b. FEMA pays for the county to replace all the missing and damaged street signs. The street sign on my corner was bent over by an errant driver several years ago and only partially straightened by the county. This old eyesore is now standing perfectly vertical and sparkling in the sunshine with new format lettering to make it easy to read even at night. And, the intersection down the way now has a stop sign that it always needed.

The appearance and thus the value of this neighborhood has thus been enhanced as a result of a natural disaster. The emotional price the residents paid for this improvement varies depending on the attitude of the individual. Those of us who have a personal relationship with God are always in the group who think we have prospered and can now enjoy. There are also the constant complainers who it seems can never get anyone to cooperate with them and who remain miserable ever-after. It would really be nice if these types could find a new pair of glasses.

Here is something of a surprise. Our US National Federal Government has, albeit reluctantly, actually accepted help from the old arch enemy. Is this a ray of sanity shining out of the Proud?

Sunday, August 28, 2005


Here I am waiting for my wife, Carroll, to surface from her dressing room and announce, ”Are you ready yet, Its time to go to Church”. (The actual time to go has usually already past.) I got to thinking about Sunday on the Boats I was on 40 years ago and wondering how it is now. My interest in those days was not quite on spiritual development but there was always somewhat of a drive to attend church services fostered by memories of my Grandmothers faith in God and my wife’s active involvement.

Usually Sunday was just looked forward to because it was a stand-down day, no drills or field-days. There were only 2 of the 4 Boats I was on that I remember actually had a church service in the Crews Mess. The boomer, Andrew Jackson, had a temporary crew member, a medical Dr who led services on one patrol. On the Snook, SSN 592, we had a Chief IC-man who not only led the church services but was the boat’s couth patrolman, sort of an asst. COB for moral and hygiene issues. He was usually the one to present the XO’s disappointments regarding these categories and spell out the expected remedial action.

The Church service was always succinct: Opening Prayer, Sing Hymns, Read Bible, Sing Hymn, and Closing Prayer. It is interesting to note that the CO attended many of the services but I don’t remember seeing the XO there.

Chief Swiegert, I didn’t take the time to thank you at the time. You had a positive impact in my life, I thank you now.