Sunday, May 29, 2005

Seawolf and Star Trek

Some of you experienced automated "female voice" alarms for dozens of specific hazard conditions day and night. Nothing new others say? Think nuclear submarine back in the early 1960s through the late 1980s. A lady injected just the right element of urgency into her calm, controlled, clearly annunciated voice to wake up any male in an instant. Between real emergencies and the almost constant drilling, it was good to have the reliable system (also redundant) working so well, some of her crew like Geezer's Corner will tell you. You can hear her voice, and see her autographed photo here.

Many years later there was Star Trek with its interactive, female, "computer voice" onboard a starship photo here. So before there were real "star ships" from Earth, or imaginary ones from Star Trek, U.S. submariners on SSN 575 were leaving Earth's atmosphere with a female voice. The NAVY and Gene Roddenberry figured female voice worked well (and Star Trek's crew was about as diversified as the EEOC could ever hope).

Now BBC NEWS reports corporations and institutions are spending gobs of money figuring out what type voice is best for their customer. Much of the research is conducted in a small room - Room 325 in McClatchy Hall at Stanford University in California. Voices of different age, accent and gender are played to test subjects' reactions: "Did you trust that voice?" and "Did this one have authority?" Generally, tests show that people are less persuaded by female than by male voices, although people are more likely to be antagonised by a male voice. In America, female voice works, but not so well in Japan or Germany. Also, retirement age folks take advice more readily from young people than from people their own age. So the research is being conducted in the U.S. on interactive, voice recognition, talking machines.


Wednesday, May 25, 2005

USN Combatant Ships: 2005 A Look Forward & Backward

Remember Reagan's 600 ship Navy? A new low point has been projected during 2005 with 285 ships still in commission. That is 119 more than in 1912 (5 years before WWI). According to the Navy Times, personnel reductions already planned call for 3,200 cuts in fiscal 2006 and 7,400 more in 2007. An unnamed Los Angeles class submarine will be decommissioned (the San Francisco, now?). Submarines will be hard-hit by delays in out-year, new construction as well. Funds for a single Virginia class SSN have been included in next year's ship construction budget.

On a slightly more positive note, project funds are provided over the next 4 years for submarine propulsion improvements such as reducing nuclear plant size and replacing reduction gear with electric drive. The U.S. submarine fleet stands at 54 boats, about twice as many as we had in 1912, when the U.S. was building 13 new ones. But a study by the Navy suggested it needs only 37 - 43 subs!

Taking BRAC’s intention to close sub base Groton at face value and adding what Lt. Raymond Perry USN ret. had already noted regarding the impact of Joint Duty service on submarine admirals, an unbiased observer might suspect an ominous shift in NAVY thinking. The submarine service would embark on a path to less distinction in order to reduce its costs.

Since the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986, Joint Duty has been a requirement for military officers. For Clinton's JAG LAWYERS it assured greater infiltration of the frontline command structure, but for submariner officers it was a distraction they first tried to exempt. An important, but predictable consequence of Joint Duty to the Sub Force ("Senior Submarine Force leaders frequently remarked at that time that if they could not obtain such an exemption then submariners would withdraw from joint duty altogether" -Lt. Perry) was fewer qualified submarine admirals, thus fewer in high places. The latest JCS Vice Chair appointment (Navy Adm. Edmund Giambastiani Jr.) could well be the last submariner in or near a top military post under current NAVY thinking.

What to look for over the next 6 years, if a shift is actually occuring:

1) Pentagon sees need for more submarines than the NAVY; for background,
visit Bubblehead's Connecticut Counterattack and read about Senator Dodd's concern that a Navy study was incomplete and resulted in a projected need for far fewer subs (37-43) than thePentagon study (43-50);

2) Groton SSN squadron transferred to a non-submarine base (surface admiral command) ;

3) Women sailors assigned with men to those submarines ;

4) No more sub pay.

Only surface admirals could think this way.

After the guff taken from the Air Force over the NAVY JAG experience, the world of Navy admirals is collapsing on them, budgetarily at least. Have submarines lost again?


Saturday, May 21, 2005

USS America Probably Sunk Terrorist Plot

CV-66, or USS America was intentionally sunk as planned one week ago as a result of 25 days of explosive studies. The Navy had said in March that explosive testing of her hull would provide valuable data on survivability and damage control systems for the CVN-21 carrier program now in development. It was the largest ship deliberately sunk by the Navy. An AP report picked up by the Las Vegas SUN late yesterday gives the hulks location as 60 miles off the North Carolina coast in more than 6,000 feet of water. Since its decommissioning in 1996, the America had been moored with dozens of other inactive warships at a Navy yard in Philadelphia.

USS America, known to many as CVA-66, was an 84,000-ton, 1,048-foot carrier that had served the Navy for 32 years. This was the largest, retired warship the Navy has ever sunk, and plans to sink the America caused considerable anger and controversy. She had received 5 battle stars during Viet Nam and participated spectacularly at times in the 1986 conflict with Libya, the first Gulf War, and over Bosnia-Herzegovina in the mid-1990s. Her DANFS ships history is here.

"Not a day goes by that I don't think about it," said Lee McNulty, president of the USS America Foundation, which wanted to turn the ship into a museum. "Of all the carriers, that one should have been saved, just for the name America." The Navy Times, which reported the sinking 3 days ago, spoke to Tom Tramantano, president of the USS America Carrier Veterans Association Inc., a group that had been trying to save the carrier and turn it into a museum, called it a “sad day.” Tramantano said the group will now focus its efforts toward getting the next class of carriers named after the America.

Another reason for the sinking: USS America by virtue of her symbolic name alone was a prime terrorist target. The Navy's purposeful sinking of the vessel, in addition to providing invaluable data for carrier design improvements, DENIED A TARGET OF OPPORTUNITY TO THE TERRORIST MENACE. Ongoing US security costs - zilch. Terrorist costs - substantial: what to do with the Philadelphia cell, now breached, and how long to find and plan to attack as suitable a replacement target? To radical islamist exteremists, America sings the "Submariners' hymn."


Friday, May 20, 2005

Submarine Exclusives

Submarine Exclusives
Henceforth, content on this blog will relate only to the submarine community. My other blog, Lawyer Kicker, will contain non-partisan, lawyer-bashing stuff necessary to fortify the founders' intended separation of federal powers abused of late at the peril of our republic. That site has an even more limited audience...but, people are fast awakening to Colonization of the Senate - Definition: Political corruption caused by perpetual, dominance of the legal profession in the U.S. Senate (53%) and the Judiciary (100%).

Now, to submarines: Excellent reporter that he is, Bubblehead noted in his May 3rd blog this discussion that active sonar use may harm marine mammals. It shows the Navy's PR plight whenever there's a beaching of whales or dolphins. French submarine history was captured in a 1903 print, now selling on Ebay "Print French Submariners Murder Dolphins." Ironic, n'est pas? The French, by the way, were the last European nation to eliminate capital punishment (1981). Hamida Djandoubi, a Tunisian immigrant, was the last victim (1977) at Baumetes Prison, in Marsailles. Djandoubi was executed for murder, rape and torture of a girl.

Beheading by guillotine does not cause instantaneous brain death, although experts differ on average survival time. Dr. Séguret conducted experiments during the copious French Revolution on the effects of the guillotine. Some of his experiments: exposing the eyes of two heads to sunlight in which the eyes promptly shut, pricking the exposed tongue of a victim and seeing it withdraw into the mouth, and witnessing the eyes of one victim follow the voice of whomever was talking for more than fifteen minutes. More, grisly tidbits can be found here. Well, if you see no irony, yet, check out that. Dolphins and the guillotined were similarly treated in France. "Living by Chance, Loving by Choice, Killing by Profession" motto of La Lègion Etrangére(French Foreign Legion)


Saturday, May 14, 2005

Tehran's Submarine Gambit: A Modernized Hunley?

Submarines ...always Silent, always Strange:
From tehran: Over the last few days, intriguing news of Iran's latest craft called the Ghadir has been found over at Chapomatic's and Bubblehead's blogs. "Ali’s Ghadir," may be the stealth version of the small, kaiten-type, delivery submersible. Allegedly, fiberglass hull, sound-isolation padding and all-electric propulsion impart added stealth characteristics to this model. This design, and Iran’s fledgling “nuclear industry” are tokens in its competition to become Islam’s center of manufacturing excellence. Sold to terrorists and successful only once in damaging a supertanker, it would send global oil futures higher than anyone has yet dreamed and it would unite "dormant Islamic radicals" behind the banner of world hegemony. We are seeing the modern equivalent of the H. L. Hunley. Lets not forget the desperation behind such “fish-boats.” Iran is to the Muslim world what Alabama was to the Southern states. So, a non-comabtant like India's Seagall could become a modern Housatonic for Iran.


Thursday, May 12, 2005

Submarine Architecture in Lake Washington

In and Under , Lake Washington (Near Seattle)...
Is attracting some interesting architectural planning for a commercial and recreational park. Take a look at the "Neptus 60 Cliff Habitat." It is a cliff-house designed by Naval Architect Giancarlo Zema and has been conceived to create harmony with nature. Occupants enjoy views of the sea and underwater.


Monday, May 09, 2005

Our ancestors did not have to think about many of the issues we are now confronted with

Hillary Rodham Clinton (a LAWYER) is quoted from an interview 12 years ago in Anna Quindlen's current Newsweek article: "Our ancestors did not have to think about many of the issues we are now confronted with. When does life start, when does life end? Who makes those decisions? How do we dare to infringe upon these areas of such delicate, difficult questions? And yet, every day in hospitals and homes and hospices all over this country, people are struggling with those very profound issues."

Yes, our ancestors did not have to think about a litany of legal dilemmas now confronting the American populace. Why, because LAWYERS who now number 6% of our workforce (that's right, we now have over 7 million LAWYERS here) were just ordinary people then. They were workers subject to struggles of life like everyone else. I can remember when there were two many LAW SCHOOL GRADUATES in the early seventies and some were driving taxis.

No more. Now LAWYERS roost in most of the Senate, thrive in tax exempt Not For Profits, ratchet costs upwards in the for profits and threaten our Military effectiveness. Remember our great system of checks and balances? How well do you believe that can still work with LAWYERS who must worship judges, dominating all three branches of government?

So you do not think LAWYERS are self-serving? Well they are more collegial to each other regardless of political party than to voters. They assure as judges and criminal attorneys that the convicted are set free early and often (good for their job security, you know), but bad for our innocent. They increase the complexity of our tax codes and the quantity of laws in general to assure chaos and promote litigation and crime. They are growing their profession geometrically at the expense of the country. Lawyers who are not Supreme Court Justices fear judges.

Want to know what adults will have to think about 50 years from now as the LAWYER population grows, infiltrates and causes even greater self-serving crises and chaos (like their insect equivalent, the termite)? They will have to think about How to stop:
Racketering Influence and Corrupt Organizations in government;
Judicial Tyranny
Confiscatory funding (by Taxpayers) of pools for litigation, security, insurance and regulation

Exterminators are to Termites as Voters are to LAWYERS. Except, how much worse would termites be if the exterminator could only come once every 2, 4 or 6 years?

See my archives for factual examples of corruption by LAWYERS and the lower standards to which their colleagues seem to hold them.


Friday, May 06, 2005

BRAC - Military Base Closing Opinion

What good is it to be openminded, if you are limiting your information inputs to what is usually agreable to you? Do what you've always done and get what you've always got goes the old saw. Is the purpose of expressing opinion only to surprise? Except maybe for the National Enquirer, No, not at all. Consider what the Secretary of the Navy has said (from Scientific American, not the National Enquirer):

"Criticism has been made of my not having recommended the abolishment of any of the Eastern yards; but the reason was that, at present,the drydocks in the Eastern yards are a necessity to the fleet.The Eastern yards are located at Portsmouth, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Norfolk, and it might be well to include Charleston. It has been sometimes stated that no more than three or four of these navy yards will be actually necessary, peserving, however, the use of all the large docks for government purposes." What he said next is the real surprise (at end of my post).

Which brings up the much villified Lt. Raymond Perry, USN (Ret.) of Soldiers For The Truth, who was the first, I think, to say: "In the late 1980s and early 1990s Congress passed legislation requiring officers to be trained for "Joint Duty" assignments. ...The long-term implications were clear: Ultimately, there would be few submarine qualified admirals." The lesson, let's not be so quick to condemn a guy in the know, on our side!

Well, what does all this have to do with BRAC, you might ask? Rumsfeld now says Base Closings May Be Reduced to only 15% instead of 20%-25%. Why, repatriation of European stationed troops. Read the AP story here. Well, hasn't repatriation been discussed for several years now? Yes! So who besides the AP was not thinking critically? (Hint: look inward).

The Base Closure and Realignment Act of 1988 (P.L. 100-526), or BRAC, relied on an independent commission to make closure recommendations, followed by an “all-or-nothing” fast-track vote for approving proposed closures. Under this system, closures were very difficult to stop once they had been initiated.

Now, I mentioned a surprising statement by SECNAV. Here is more of what he said: "The question as to which of these yards should be maintained and which abolished is so important that it should be thoroughly considered by an unbiased board of experts, having in mind not local interests but only those of the fleet..." 1911, - George v. L. Meyer, Secretary of the Navy [1909-13].

Did the SECNAV have LAWYERS in mind as the independent experts? What about you?


Unidentified Captain Remains in Charge of Reactor

The AP reports NJP hearings after a fatal mishap on the Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) not disclosed until this week. Rear Adm. Robert J. Cox summoned the captain in charge of the reactor department, a lieutenant and two sailors for non-judicial punishment hearings in March, Mooney said. Officers were punished for inconsistently enforcing standard operating procedures and leadership failures. The Navy did not release the names of those punished or details or outcomes of hearings, citing privacy laws.

Was the unidentified Captain in charge of CVN-76's reactor department from submarines? Perhaps the award-winning Bubblehead will let us know. What would Admiral Rickover have done? Rickover was noted for his demanding, disciplined, perfectionist leadership style. Rickover's demanding standards of excellence in submarines and the nuclear surface Navy are used in the electric power industry to promote safety. His insistence on submarine safety and quality are reknowned. A thirty-eight year submarine officer, Vice Admiral "Yogi" Kaufman summed up Rickover's influence: "you can argue with his methods, but you can't argue with the results."

In January, a Petty Officer was disassembling a valve when he was hit by scalding water, according to the Navy. He was burned over most of his body and died a short time later. In February, one of the ship's generators was damaged beyond repair by an incorrect lineup of electrical power. Replacing the generator will cost $7.2 million and take nine weeks, according to the Navy. Chief Petty Officer Ray Mooney, a spokesman for the Naval Air Forces, was unable to provide more details about the error. Nuclear industry experts said such damage can occur when the crew brings online a generator that is completely out of sync with the others. What has happened to nuke school screening and training? How many lawyers are attached to the Charleston training command? More than zero is too many! Maybe our friend at A Geezer's Corner can shed light on these questions.


Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Got Milk? Gott al Qaeda (bin Laden)!

CIA agents ordered to deliver bin Laden's head on ice:
NPR: CIA Literally Ordered Bin Laden's Head On Ice After 9/11
From correspondents in WashingtonMay 04, 2005 From: Reuters

J. Cofer Black ordered agents to deliver Osama bin Laden's severed head in a box of dry ice and heads of al-Qaeda lieutenants on pikes, a retired field officer has disclosed. Former CIA officer Gary Schroen was sent to Afghanistan to help the opposition Northern Alliance topple bin Laden's Taliban. He told National Public Radio (NPR) in an interview broadcast yesterday and today that he stopped by the office of then Director of the CIA counter-terrorism centre Cofer Black for final instructions and was told : "Your basic marching orders are to link up with the Northern Alliance and get their cooperation military and they will take on the Taliban."
"When we break the Taliban, your job is to capture bin Laden, kill him and bring his head back in a box full of dry ice."

Who is Cofer Black? The weak-chinned, strong-willed patriot has had an interesting background, if you believe everything the UPI press reports. But look at 12/03/02 Department of State biography. And today, there is this regurgitated bit that quotes this:
'I would like to see the head of bin Laden delivered back to me in a heavy cardboard box filled with dry ice, and I will take that down and show the president. And the rest of the lieutenants, you can put their heads on pikes'," Schroen told Reuters in an interview. Black, incidentally, received the Intelligence Community’s Exceptional Collector Award for 1994 [note: DCI Exceptional Collector National HUMINT Award: This annual award provides recognition and incentives to individuals, teams, or units for improved HUMINT collection and reporting of information that is of significant value to the U.S. IC.]. Right!

Frankly, I have long envisioned the corpse of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi on a 1200 degree barbecue spit. The CIA's display mode will suit hundreds of millions of Americans quite well, however. As to bin Laden...he is already deceased!


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Old Fashioned Safety: Line Handlers Standby

Pound-for-pound, ten times stronger than steel, more durable than polyester and with a specific strength 40 percent greater than aramid fiber. Able to leave tall buildings in a single bound, and low piers in a nuclear minute. Yes, we are speaking of Honeywell Spectra(R) Fiber line.

"The safety of sailors is the Navy's paramount concern," said Sim Whitehill, president of Whitehill Manufacturing Corp. "As a long-time partner of Honeywell, we knew that Spectra® fiber would be the ideal component in creating the new lines. Using Spectra®, we were able to make the ropes lighter, more durable and better suited for use in and around water. This helps streamline operations at the pier, while more securely mooring naval vessels." Can this be a benefit to our sub fleets?

In the past, injuries caused by breaking or recoiling ropes were of critical concern to the Navy. Traditional nylon or polyester lines tethering destroyers, aircraft carriers and other large ships were snapping under strain, injuring or killing sailors as they recoiled. To protect its crews, the Navy selected a custom-designed four-strand rope produced by Whitehill. This rope was engineered with one strand slightly shorter than the others, causing it to break first when the rope was about to fail, dissipating energy and alerting sailors to clear the premises.
Whitehill's new rope incorporates this short-strand technology with the strength of Spectra fiber. The new Spectra-based rope is 20 percent lighter than an aramid rope of equivalent strength. This enables a number of improvements, such as providing a stronger, lighter line that allows for single-part mooring rather than "doubling up"-going ship to shore twice in an effort to improve line strength-and allowing for a thicker jacket for an added layer of protection. In addition, unlike aramid ropes, Spectra® lines float in water.

Light enough to float, it also exhibits high resistance to chemicals, water, and ultraviolet light. It has excellent vibration damping, flex fatigue and internal fiber-friction characteristics, and Spectra® fiber’s low dielectric constant makes it virtually transparent to radar.Spectra® fiber is used in numerous high-performance applications, including police and military ballistic-resistant vests, helmets and armored vehicles, as well as sailcloth, fishing lines, marine cordage, lifting slings, and cut-resistant gloves and apparel.

Spectra® fiber is made from ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene that is used in a patented gel-spinning process. Polyethylene is a remarkably durable plastic, and scientists at Spectra Technologies have captured the tremendous natural strength in the molecular backbone of this everyday plastic to create one of the world’s strongest and lightest fibers. The gel-spinning process and subsequent drawing steps allow Spectra® fiber to have a much higher melting temperature (150°C or 300°F) than standard polyethylene.


Aha! The Hidden Truth Goldmine: About Islam

Irshad Manji is a brave woman...a Muslim scholar who lives her beliefs and has much to say and share with us. Watched her recently on PBS and I was hooked by her in-depth knowledge of her Muslim faith and her outspokeness against mullahs who have subordinated it to Arab tribalism. Muslim, lesbian, feminist, writer-in-residence at the University of Toronto, scholar and TV personality - Manji has written a controversial best-seller, The Trouble with Islam Today. She illuminates the inferior treatment of women in Islam; persistent Jew-bashing, and the continuing slavery in countries under Islamic rule. I will read her book.

In the West, we have been mostly receptive to the "in-your-face" Women's Rights movement and we welcome the equal footing of women as much as we welcome freedom of religion. Yet, I have a very big problem with women who come to the Netherlands, for instance, and work toward the day that it becomes an Islamist state! Their support of "Tribal Islam's" triumph over democracy subverts freedom of religion and renounces the rights of western women. Now that a Muslim woman has spoken out against such hypocrisy, we would hope liberal women would add their familiar choruses where it has been long overdue. That will never happen, because the LAWYER-lead party that counsels female activists is anxious only to protect dissension and foster greater chaos (good for their business, you know).


Monday, May 02, 2005

Submarines: Terrorist Vehicle of Choice

From their earliest conception to their WWI deployment submarines have been despised as weapons of sneaky people with no conscience or remorse. In some actions of state the point has been well-argued indeed. Certainly, it can come as no surprise then when leaders of highly lucrative, international crime rings adopt submarines as an alternative mode for narcotics delivery. Here is a BBC NEWS report of a sophisticated, steel sub (with few photos) dating from September, 2000. The 98-foot sub, raided before deployment would have been capable of easily transporting 200 tons of cocaine or heroine (valued at over $1-billion). More recently, and less expensively, police raided a smaller, 26-foot fiberglass sub with a capacity of 10 tons of drugs (only $200-million).

Besides lawyers (not all of them, though) the sneakiest threat without conscience or remorse is "Islamo Slamo" terrorists. Their U.S. trained engineers have also considered the cost / benefit analysis of the submarine alternative for nuke delivery and major, suicide torpedo attacks. What is worse, their off-brand of Islam permits any tactic, including drug trafficking, to prevail against "satanic" enemies, such as the U.S. and virtually every other non-dictatorial state.

The U.S. Dept. of State had this to say about the terrorist Narco connection: Al-Qaida - Since it transferred its base of operations to Afghanistan, al-Qaida has been sustained by a government that earned a substantial part of its revenue through taxes on opium production and trafficking. Afghanistan's opiate trafficking, which accounts for more than 70 percent of the world's supply, was reportedly advocated by Osama bin Ladin as a way to weaken the West. Tri-Border Islamic Groups -- In Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, and along the loosely controlled region that it borders with Brazil and Argentina, members of radical Islamic groups are reported to be engaged in drug trafficking, money laundering, intellectual property rights piracy, alien smuggling and arms trafficking. One such individual is Said Hassan Ali Mohamed Mukhlis, a suspected member of the Egyptian Islamic Group with possible ties to Osama bin Laden. This group is linked to the murder of 58 tourists in Luxor, Egypt. There often is a nexus between terrorism and organized crime, including drug trafficking. Links between terrorist organizations and drug traffickers take many forms, ranging from facilitation -- protection, transportation, and taxation -- to direct trafficking by the terrorist organization itself in order to finance its activities. Traffickers and terrorists have similar logistical needs in terms of material and the covert movement of goods, people and money. Relationships between drug traffickers and terrorists benefit both. Drug traffickers benefit from the terrorists' military skills, weapons supply, and access to clandestine organizations. Terrorists gain a source of revenue.

Asa Hutchison wrote about the terrorist link to narcotics for the Heritage Foundation. Many, many more credible sources are available for the thinking American. Obviously, secret countermeasures are already in place to combat the deadly threat. For a good page turner, try
The Tiger Cruise by former sailor, Richard Thompson.