The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The entitlement nation?

If the Republican primaries are any indication, one big debate in the upcoming election will be whether President Obama is pushing the country toward a European-style welfare culture.
Mitt Romney, for example, argues that "over the past three years, Barack Obama has been replacing our merit-based society with an entitlement society."
Newt Gingrich has taken to calling Obama "the best food-stamp president in American history."
Obama, in contrast, says the government must play an increasing role — what he likes to call "shared responsibility" — to ensure a society that is fairer.
So is Obama turning the country into a welfare society and away from one focused on opportunity?
While it's true that the country has been headed in this direction for many years — with the explosion in entitlements since the 1960s and the aging of the population — Obama has, in fact, greatly accelerated the trend. Examples:
Direct payments. The amount of money the federal government hands out in direct payments to individuals steadily increased over the past four decades, but shot up under Obama, climbing by almost $600 billion — a 32% increase — in his first three years. And Obama's last budget called for these payments to climb another $500 billion by 2016, at which point they would account for fully two-thirds of all federal spending.
People getting benefits. According to the Census Bureau 49% now live in homes where at least one person gets a federal benefit — Social Security, workers comp, unemployment, subsidized housing, and the like. That's up from 44% the year before Obama took office, and way up from 1983, when fewer than a third were government beneficiaries.
Food stamps. This year, more than 46 million (15% of all Americans) will get food stamps. That's 45% higher than when Obama took office, and twice as high as the average for the previous 40 years. This surge was driven in part by the recession, but also because Obama boosted the benefit amount as part of his stimulus plan.
Disability. The number of people on Social Security disability has steadily climbed since the 1970s, thanks mainly to easier eligibility rules. But their numbers jumped 10% in Obama's first two years in office, according to the Social Security Administration. That sharp rise was due largely to meager job prospects since the recession ended in 2009. When employment opportunities are scarce, experts note, many who could otherwise work sign up for disability benefits instead.
Health care. The government's role in health care has grown over the past decades, with 45% of all health spending now coming from the federal government, up from 32% in 1990. But this trend will dramatically accelerate should ObamaCare remain the law of the land. In eight years, ObamaCare will add 16 million people to Medicaid, according to the Congressional Budget Office, and another 24 million will be getting coverage through heavily subsidized government-run insurance exchanges, with the cost of those subsidies running $130 billion a year.
Corporate welfare. Prior to Obama, the federal government was already dishing out $92 billion in corporate welfare programs — in the form of subsidized loans, special tax breaks, bailouts and the like — the Cato Institute found. Obama added tremendously to this largesse. Federal grants to the energy sector, for example, quadrupled to over $18 billion in 2009, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts' Subsidyscope.
While each of these and other federal benefit programs may be designed with good intentions, their combined weight is already overwhelming the budget.
In just nine years, entitlement spending is on track to eat up 61% of the federal budget, according to the CBO. And unless these programs are cut back, they will soon consume all federal taxes, one CBO budget scenario predicts.
The problem is that once federal benefits get started, few Americans want to see them cut back, much less eliminated. Even with $1 trillion annual deficits, just 24% would support cutting Social Security and only 16% would back Medicare cuts, according to the November 2011 IBD/TIPP poll.
"Once we thought 'entitlement' meant that Americans were entitled to the privilege of trying to succeed in the greatest country in the world," Romney said in a recent speech. "But today the new entitlement battle is over the size of the check you get from Washington."

Establishment Republicans: Newt vs the Establishment

I am not crazy about Newt, I much preferred Herman Cain.  But sending an establishment republican like Romney against Obungler will give us 4 more years of Obungler and change we cannot afford.  Newt has weaknesses and skeletons but Romney has Romneycare which if he gets elected he will not get rid of Obunglercare.    He says that he will but I have severe doubts.  Obungler will run the class warfare machine on Romney big time...rich white person.versus minority person....can you see the ads now.....?
      Who ever gets the nod for the Republicans I will support, but I will hold my nose when I pull the lever.  There is nobody to really get the base fired up.  We Tea party people have been squeezed out by the establishment GOP interest and they will run an establishment candidate against the Obungler and the establishment is so inept that they will hand Obungler 4 more years.  The GOP will be the tax collector for the welfare state.

    I got this off Politico

The conservative Republican base understands Newt Gingrich better than the GOP establishment thinks.
They are aware of his intermittent apostasies and occasional adventures with crackpot policy. They know Mitt Romney is the one with executive experience and that Gingrich can’t really run things.
And they don’t want Gingrich to run things. They want him to destroy things.
If you are in Washington and you see a member of the Republican establishment, say, walking down K Street, wrap your arms around them. He or she needs a hug, because probably for the first time ever in a Republican presidential primary the establishment is in danger of being completely ignored.
The Republican establishment believes that the birth and rebirth of candidate Gingrich should have ended in the cradle, that he had no right messing up Romney’s coronation in South Carolina and had better be stopped in Florida.
The establishment knows Gingrich. He’s kind of a friend of the Republican establishment. And Gingrich, the establishment says, you’re no president.
The establishment may be right. But it may not get its way. Win or lose Tuesday in Florida, Gingrich is in the game for real, because the Republican base is giving him a chance.
The grass-roots conservatives, tea partiers, evangelicals and the like who compose the base have had it with the establishment. The base is not only angry at President Barack Obama. The base wants to eat its own.
It was nice, polite Republicans, like Romney, who colluded with Democrats in expanding the federal government and who piled up the $15 trillion debt that now threatens to destroy the country. It was upstanding members of the GOP who added a new Medicare entitlement without paying for it, who created new agencies and wove myriad regulations to govern the lives of regular folk.
The base wants someone who is not polite, who is not conventional, who has the potential to grasp the established order in Washington by its cuff links and rip out its entrails.
For the same reason conservatives fell in love with blunt Herman Cain and his cigarette-puffing campaign manager, they now have eyes for Gingrich.
And the establishment is desperately trying to figure out what to do.
Sure, Republican primaries have, on occasion, created some turmoil. But in the end, someone “sensible” with the imprimatur of the establishment has always prevailed.
The nomination has usually been passed like a monarch’s crown — to the runner-up in the previous contest. George H.W. Bush prevailed over Bob Dole in 1988 and then fended off the anti-establishment upstart Pat Buchanan four years later. Dole got the nod in 1996.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0112/72122.html#ixzz1l3GuXNWb

More Debt Stuff

I havn't posted the past few days due to my work schedule, it was brutal this week so I didn't have time to update my blog.
I got this off Boortz

Raining Money photo
Raining Money
Here’s a number for you: $189,000.  That is the amount of money every man, woman and child in the United States owes on our national debt plus the cost of all of our unfunded liabilities.  I hope that your children and grandchildren are prepared to be wardens of state – existing to fund the dreams and schemes of our federal government and entitlement society.
Here’s another number for you: 2.4%.  That is the average quarterly growth rate of under our Dear Ruler.  You can compare that number to 4.6%, which was the average recovery rate ten quarters after WWII.  That is nearly twice as good as Obama’s recovery.  According to the Wall Street Journal, “the economy has grown by a cumulative total of about 6.2%. Considering that the economy shrank by about 5% during the Great Recession, overall U.S. output is barely greater than it was at the end of 2007.”
One more number from Barack Obama’s legacy: $800 billion.  That number is familiar to you because that is the cost of Obama’s great stimulus plan.  Just to put this in perspective, Obama’s stimulus plan was the largest such spending program in history.  “Adjusted for inflation, it was nearly five times more expensive than the Works Progress Administration. It was bigger than the Louisiana Purchase, the Manhattan Project, the moon race and the Marshall Plan.”  That’s Barack Obama: big government at the expense of your children and grand children

Friday, January 27, 2012

"These voices don't speak for the rest of us"

A good video

More information on the Scarebus A380

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Airbus blamed a combination of manufacturing and design flaws as more examples of wing cracks arose during checks on the A380, while analysts said its bare-all strategy of addressing the problems in public should limit any lasting damage.
A top executive at the European planemaker said it had established how to repair the cracks found on a small number of parts inside the superjumbo's wings, which prompted European safety authorities to order inspections last week.
Airbus and one of the leading operators, Singapore Airlines, confirmed a Reuters report that more examples of the cracks had been discovered during compulsory inspections.
Airbus moved to shore up confidence in the world's largest jetliner amid a drip-feed of disclosures about cracking on components used to fix the outside of the wing to its ribcage.
"The A380 is safe to fly," Tom Williams, executive vice president of programmes at Toulouse-based Airbus, said.
Williams flew to Dublin to give an unscheduled address at an industry conference to dampen any concerns about safety.
Crucially, he said engineers had ruled out metal fatigue on the youthful aircraft which first entered service in 2007.
Unusually detailed briefings marked a different response from the blowout of an engine on a Qantas A380 in November 2010 when engine maker Rolls-Royce was criticized by the industry and investors for not giving enough information.
"This is a game-changer in getting out information that in the past we weren't told. You can't dismiss these things, but it is not a serious issue and they have a solution at hand," said Howard Wheeldon, senior strategist and aviation specialist at brokerage BGC Partners.
The cracks have tested morale at EADS subsidiary Airbus just as it recovers from years of production delays, having hit its A380 delivery target for the first time in 2011.
The mammoth double-decker was conceived as a European bid to outdo the Boeing 747, but became mired in development problems that caused a near-riot in the French parliament and a rift between France and Germany.
BGC's Wheeldon said engineering flaws rarely affected the contest between Airbus and Boeing in the $100 billion jet market, which is determined more by fuel economy, performance and delivery timescales.
Developed at an estimated cost of 12 billion euros in Britain, France, Germany and Spain, the A380 has room on its wingspan of 79.8m (261ft 10in) to park 70 cars.
Airbus has sold 253 of the long-range aircraft, listed at $390 million each, and 68 A380s are currently in service.
It blamed the cracks on three errors -- designers' choice of aluminium alloy for some of the 4,000 brackets inside the wings, the use of a type of bolt that strained the metal and a way of closing tiny gaps that put more stress on a handful of parts.
European authorities have ordered inspections on almost a third of the superjumbo fleet, or 20 aircraft, after two types of cracks were discovered within weeks of each other.
Airbus officials said that having understood the problem, they expected most of the aircraft being tested would show similar evidence of cracks and that it had found a simple repair.
Singapore Airlines said it had found cracks on all four aircraft it has inspected so far. One has been repaired and is back in service, spokesman Nicholas Ionides said.
"It seems to me this is part of the growing pains which new aircraft types can experience," said Stephen Furlong, airline analyst at Davy Stockbrokers in Dublin.
"Obviously the negative publicity is not at all helpful. The real problems start when airlines have to ground planes because they are not comfortable with safety issues, which are clearly paramount to an airline's brand. But we're nowhere near that yet with the A380."
Some passengers at European airports earlier this week expressed concern about the cracks while others said they were happy to trust safety inspectors. [ID:nL6E8CK11P] Airlines have not so far reported any falls in bookings.
Airbus last week dismissed calls by an Australian engineering union for A380s to be grounded.
The cracks first came to light during repairs, lasting over a year, on the Qantas A380 involved in an engine blowout. Supersonic shrapnel tore through the wing and left it resembling what an Airbus official has described as anti-aircraft fire.
At first engineers were unsure what had caused the rib cracks but the initial microscopic flaws led to the discovery of a second and potentially more serious type of crack, some of them up to two inches long, in the central part of the wing.
Executives at a Dublin aviation event said the pace of revelations had provided a need for clarification.
"When they had the second round of cracks, that got more people's attention and a few airlines were asking questions," an executive said, asking not to be identified.
The findings caused concern at the European Aviation Safety Agency which turned down Airbus's request for limited extra time to examine the data and ordered mandatory inspections last week.
The wing is made of both aluminium, the metal used to build aircraft for decades, and carbon composites used in new jets.
Airbus is changing a manufacturing processes to ensure smooth operation until at least the next four-year check-up.
Longer term, it plans to switch to a different alloy, restoring the aircraft to its normal lifespan of 25 years-plus.
The wings were designed and built in Britain, which prides itself on state-of-the-art wing assembly. Unions there recently complained about the outsourcing of some work to South Korea

Apollo 1, The fire that shocked NASA,

This article was from Scientific American, Today was the 45 Anniversary of the fire that killed the crew of Apollo 1.  As an aviation junkie and space nut, this was a subject that in my younger years was hard to get information on.  There was scads of information on Apollo 11, a lot of info on Apollo 13 (and a movie) but little was known about Apollo 1.  Apollo 13 the movie with Tom Hanks did mention the crew and it was discussed a bit.  This was the first real mention of the Apollo 1 fire.

The Apollo 1 Command Module after the fire that claimed the lives of Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee. Credit: NASA.
NASA s Apollo program began with one of the worst disasters the organization has ever faced. A routine prelaunch test turned fatal when a fire ripped through the spacecraft s crew cabin killing all three astronauts. Today marks the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 1 fire, a tragic and preventable accident. There were warning signs, similar accidents that had claimed lives both in the United States and abroad. The Apollo 1 crew could have been saved from a gruesome death.
Plugs Out
L-R: Roger Chaffee, Ed White, and Gus Grissom training for their Apollo 1 flight. Credit: NASA.
The commander for Apollo 1 was Gus Grissom, one of the original Mercury astronauts whose first spaceflight was marred by his capsule s sinking after splashdown. He flew again in Gemini in a spacecraft he named Molly Brown. Senior pilot on the Apollo 1 crew was Ed White, a Gemini veteran who made America s first spacewalk in 1965. Rounding out the crew was pilot Roger Chaffee, a talented rookie more than capable of holding his own with his experienced crew mates. He was a notoriously good guy who took pains to thank everyone for their contributions to Apollo right down to the janitors.
By the end of January 1967, the crew was going through their final prelaunch tests; barring some major setback, they would make the first manned Apollo flight on February 21. One routine test NASA had done since Mercury was the plugs out test, a final check of the spacecraft s systems.
The spacecraft - Command Module 12 - arrives at the Kennedy Spaceflight Centre clearly destined for Apollo 1. Credit: NASA.
The spacecraft was fully assembled and stacked on top of its unfuelled Saturn IB launch vehicle on pad 34. The umbilical power cords that usually supplied power were removed the plugs were out and the spacecraft switched over to battery power. The cabin was pressurized with 16.7 pounds per square inch (psi) of 100 percent oxygen, a pressure slightly greater than one atmosphere. With everything just as it would be on February 21, the crew went through a full simulation of countdown and launch.
A full launch-day staff of engineers in mission control also went through the simulation. The White Room, the room through which the astronauts entered the spacecraft, remained pressed next to the vehicle. A crew of engineers monitored the spacecraft and were just feet away from the astronauts.
Grissom, White, and Chaffee suited up and entered the Apollo 1 command module at 1pm and hooked into the spacecraft s oxygen and communications systems. For the next five and a half hours, the test proceeded with only minor interruptions. Grissom s complaint of a smell like sour buttermilk in the oxygen circulating through his suit was resolved after a short hold, and a high oxygen flow through the astronauts suits tripped an alarm. But these were minor problems and didn t raise any red flags in mission control.
The real problem was communication. Static made it impossible for the crew and mission control to hear one another. An increasingly frustrated Grissom began to question how they were expected to get to the Moon if they couldn t talk between a few buildings.
The Apollo 1 official crew portrait. L-R: Ed White, Gus Grissom, Roger Chaffee. Credit: NASA.
Just after 6:31 that evening, the routine test took a turn. Engineers in mission control saw an increase in oxygen flow and pressure inside the cabin. The telemetry was accompanied by a garbled transmission that sounded like fire. The official record reflects the communications problem. The transmission was unclear, but the panic was obvious as an astronaut yelled something like they re fighting a bad fire let s get out. Open er up or we ve got a bad fire let s get out. We re burning up. The static made it impossible to hear the exact words or even distinguish who was speaking.
But flames visible through the command module s small porthole window left no doubt about what the crew had said. Engineers in the White Room tried to get the hatch open but couldn t. It was an inward opening design, and neither engineers outside the spacecraft nor the astronauts inside were strong enough to force it open. The men in mission control watched helplessly as the scene played out on the live video feed.
The Apollo 1 crew in a less formal setting. L-R: Gus Grissom, Ed White, Roger Chaffee. Credit: NASA.
Just three seconds after the crew s garbled report of a fire, the pressure inside the cabin became so great that the hull ruptured. Men wrestling with the hatch were thrown across the room as flames and smoke spilled into the White Room. Many continued to fight their way towards the spacecraft but were forced to retreat as the smoke grew too thick to see through. In mission control, the telemetry and voice communication from Apollo 1 went completely silent.
An hour and a half later, firemen and emergency personnel succeeded in removing the bodies; Ed White was turned around on his couch reaching for the hatch. Over the next two months, the spacecraft was disassembled piece by piece in an attempt to isolate the cause of the fire. The full investigation lasted a year.
Apollo 1 recovery training
The Apollo 1 crew floats around during water egress training. Credit: NASA.
The Apollo 1 accident review board determined that a wire over the piping from the urine collection system had arced. The fire started below the crew s feet, so from their supine positions on their couches they wouldn t have seen it in time to react. Everything in the cabin had been soaking in pure oxygen for hours, and flammable material near the wire caught fire immediately. From there, it took ten seconds for spacecraft to fill with flames.
The crew s official cause of death was asphyxiation from smoke inhalation. Once their oxygen hoses were severed they began breathing in toxic gases. All three astronauts died in less than a minute. Many who had tried to save them were treated for smoke inhalation.
The Chamber of Silence
Astronaut Frank Borman's official Gemini era portrait. Borman was the astronaut's representative on the Apollo 1 accident review board. Credit: NASA.
The fire that claimed the lives of Grissom, White, and Chaffee is eerily similar to one that killed cosmonaut Valentin Bondarenko in 1961. Bondarenko was known to his colleagues as a congenial and giving man with great athletic prowess who worked tirelessly to prove he deserved the honour of flying in space.
Part of the cosmonauts training was done in an isolation chamber designed to mimic the mental stresses spaceflight. The room, which the men called the Chamber of Silence, was spartan to say the least. It was furnished with a steel bed, a wooden table, a seat identical to what they would have in the Vostok capsule, minimal toilet facilities, an open-coil hot plate for warming meals, and a limited amount of water for washing and cooking. The chamber was pressurized to mimic the capsule s environment in space. In this case, the oxygen concentration was 68 percent.
Ed White III touches his father's name on the Apollo 1 panel of the Space Mirror Memorial at the Kennedy Space Centre visitor complex. Credit: NASA.
During the test, cosmonauts would exercise mental agility with memory games using a wall chart with coloured squares. They would keep busy by reading or colouring subjects were supplied with some leisure material. The silence was frequently interrupted by classical music to see how the subjects reacted to a pleasurable shock. Aside from these distractions, sensory deprivation inside the chamber was absolute. The room was mounted on thick rubber shock absorbers that muffled any vibrations from movement outside, and the 16-inch thick walls absorbed any sound. The cosmonauts communicated with doctors by lights. A light told the subject to apply medical sensors to his body, and a light outside the chamber signaled to doctors that they could begin their tests. A different light would signal the end of the isolation test.
The environment was designed to challenge the cosmonauts mental stability and adaptability. But the hardest part was that no subject knew beforehand how long his test would last. It could run anywhere from a few hours to weeks.
The Apollo 1 crew walks across the gantry before entering the spacecraft on January 27. Credit: NASA.
Bondarenko was the 17th cosmonaut to go into the Chamber of Silence and on March 23, his ten day test came to an end. A light signaled that technicians outside had started depressurizing the chamber to match the atmosphere outside. It was a routine part of the test, but this time it was interrupted by a fire alarm.
While he waited to leave the chamber, Bondarenko removed his biomedical sensors and wiped the adhesive off with rubbing alcohol on a cotton pad. In his haste to leave, and exhibiting the lack of concentration expected after ten days of mental testing, he didn t look where he threw the pad. It landed on the hot plate s coil. Cosmonaut Pavel Popovich theorized that he had been standing next to it at the time. Many subjects left the small heater on all the time to warm up the chilly room.
Dummy in Vostok seat Associated PressA dummy rides in a Vostok capsule seat. Credit: Associated Press.
A fire sparked and spread in an instant; everything, including Bondarenko, was saturated with a high concentration of oxygen. Technicians wrenched the door open and exposed the chamber to air, killing the fire instantly, but the damage was done. Doctors pulled a huddled and severely burnt Bondarenko from the room. It s my fault, he whispered when doctors reached him, I m so sorry no one else is to blame. The severity of the fire was immediately obvious. Bondarenko s wool clothes had melted onto his body and the skin underneath had burned away. His hair had caught fire. His eyes were swollen and melted shut.
In Moscow, surgeon and traumatologist Vladimir Julievich Golyakhovsky got a frantic call at his office; the severely burned patient was on his way. Ten minutes later, a team of men in military uniforms arrived carrying the blanket-wrapped cosmonaut. They were accompanied, Golyakhovsky later recalled, by an overwhelming smell of burnt flesh.
The damage to the Apollo 1 crew cabin, after the bodies were removed and before the disassembly began. Credit: NASA.
Bondarenko pleaded for something to kill the pain. Golyakhovsky obliged and gave the patient a shot of morphine in the soles of his feet. It was the one unscathed part of his body thanks to his heavy boots, and the only place the doctor could find a vein. There was nothing he could do to save the man s life. Bondarenko died the next morning. The official cause was shock and severe burns.
Lessons at Home
Parallels between the Apollo 1 crew s and Bondarenko s deaths are obvious, but how each space agency dealt with the deaths was very different. Grissom, White, and Chaffee were each given very public funerals in accordance with their respective military traditions. Bondarenko s death was kept secret, his identity covered by a pseudonym. Not until 1986 did the world hear the true story of his death. This has bred speculation that had the Soviet system been more open, NASA would have know about the dangers of training in a pressurized pure oxygen environment and could have saved the Apollo 1 crew. Former cosmonaut Alexei Leonov even suggested that the CIA knew about Bondarenko since the US had pierced the Iron Curtain before the accident.
But this is unlikely. And besides, NASA wouldn t need to look to the Soviet Union to know the dangers of testing in a pressurized oxygen environment. There were enough incidents in the US to make the danger very clear. Four oxygen fires in the five years before the Apollo 1 accident were proof enough.
The Apollo 1 spacecraft nearing the end of the disassembly. Sometime towards the end of March, 1967. Credit: NASA.
On September 9, 1962, a fire broke out in a simulated spacecraft cabin at Brooks Air Force Base. The cabin was pressurized to 5psi with pure oxygen. Both subjects were protected by pressure suits. Neither sustained burns, but both were treated for smoke inhalation.
Two months later on November 16, four men had been inside the US Navy s Air Crew Equipment Laboratory for 17 days in an environment pressurized to 5psi of 100 percent oxygen when an exposed wire arced and started a fire. It spread rapidly over the men s clothing and hands for 40 seconds before they were rescued. All were treated for severe burns, and this was the only instance in which the source of the fire was identified.
Two Navy divers were killed on February 16, 1965 in a test of the Navy s Experimental Diving Unit, which was pressurized to 55.6psi to mimic conditions at a depth of 92 feet. It was a multi-gas environment: 28 percent oxygen, 36 percent nitrogen, and 36 percent helium. Somehow, the carbon dioxide scrubbers that were designed to remove the toxic gas from the air caught fire. Pressure inside the chamber rose making it impossible for technicians outside to open the door and remove the men.
Gus Grissom's funeral procession. Credit: NASA.
A 1966 oxygen environment fire came frighteningly close to anticipating the Apollo 1 accident. A fire broke out during an unmanned qualification test of the Apollo Environmental Control System on April 28. The cabin was pressurized to 5psi of 100 percent oxygen, just like the spacecraft would be in flight. The fire was blamed on a commercial grade strip heater inside the cabin and the incident was consequently dismissed. The commercial material would not be onboard any manned flights. The board that investigated the accident made no mention of the hazardous environment.
A Lack of Imagination
The Apollo 1 mission patch. Credit: NASA.
These accidents weren t secret. NASA knew the dangers of a pressurized oxygen environment, which has prompted conspiracy theorists to suggest that the space agency intentionally put the Apollo 1 crew in danger. But this was hardly the case. In truth, no one at NASA gave much thought to a fire in the spacecraft.
In the early 1960s when Apollo was in its preliminary stages, a dual gas system (likely oxygen and nitrogen) was proposed for the crew cabin. This would have been safer in the event of fire, but more difficult overall. A mixed gas environment requires more piping and wiring, which in turn adds weight. Pure oxygen was simpler, lighter, and was already familiar to NASA. The dual-gas idea was scratched.
NASA did address the possibility of a fire in the spacecraft, but only developed procedures for an event in space when the nearest fire station was 180 miles away. Apollo, like Mercury and Gemini, had no specific fire fighting system on board. The 5psi of oxygen in space was considered too thin to feed a significant fire. Anything that could spark in that environment could be taken care of with a few well aimed blasts from the astronauts water pistol.
Grissom's, White's, and Chaffee's death are the cover story of Life Magazine's February 10 issue. Credit: Life.
There was no procedure for a fire on the ground. With so many engineers on hand for every test, it was assumed that the astronauts would safe so long as fire extinguishers were nearby. But more importantly in the case of Apollo 1 is the plugs out test s status: it wasn t classified as dangerous.
Frank Borman, a Gemini veteran who would go to the Moon on Apollo 8, served as the astronaut s representative to the Apollo 1 accident investigation board. He made this point about the plugs out test s status abundantly clear. I don t believe that any of us recognized that the test conditions for this test were hazardous, he said on record. Without fuel in the launch vehicle and all the pyrotechnic bolts unarmed, no one imagined a fire could start let alone thrive. Borman himself hadn t thought twice when he went through the plugs out test before his Gemini 7 mission. He was confident in NASA and its engineers and stated on record that he would have gone through the Apollo 1 test had he been on the crew.
The Apollo 1 crew expressed their concerns over the Apollo spacecraft in a joke crew portrait. They said a little prayer, and gave the picture to the manager of the Apollo Spacecraft Program Office Joe Shea in 1966. Credit: NASA.
Borman alluded to the Apollo 1 crew s shared confidence. There had been problems with Apollo w development, and every astronaut had the right to refuse to enter a spacecraft. Although there are sometimes romantic silk-scarf attitudes attributed to this type of business, in the final analysis we are professionals and will accept risk but not undue risks, explained Borman. The Apollo 1 crew felt the dangers were minimal.
With that statement, Borman identified what he considered the crux of the problem and the real reason, however indirect, behind the death of the crew. We did not think, he said, and this is a failing on my part and on everyone associated with us; we did not recognize the fact that we had the three essentials, an ignition source, extensive fuel and, of course, we knew we had oxygen.
LC34plaque2A plaque commemorating the Apollo 1 crew on what's left of launch pad 34. Credit: Christopher K. Davis (via Wikipedia).
Gus Grissom serendipitously wrote his memoirs during the Gemini program. He addresses the inherent risk of spaceflight in the book s final passage. There will be risks, as there are in any experimental program, and sooner or later, inevitably, we re going to run head-on into the law of averages and lose somebody. I hope this never happens but if it does, I hope the American people won t feel it s too high a price to pay for our space program. None of us was ordered into manned spaceflight. We flew with the knowledge that if something really went wrong up there, there wasn t the slightest hope of rescue. We could do it because we had complete confidence in the scientists and engineers who designed and built our spacecraft and operated our Mission Control Centre… Now for the moon.
Though tragic, their deaths were not in vain. The substantial redesigns made to the Apollo command module after the fire yielded a safer and more capable spacecraft that played no small role in NASA reaching the moon before the end of the decade. It is a fitting tribute to the crew that the plaque on the pad where they perished reads ad astra per aspera a rough road to the stars.

"There are not enough Warren Buffett's"

Republican Senator Jim DeMint had a good line in response to Obunglers State of the Union address.campaign speech and class warfare rhetoric. He says that there “are not enough Warren Buffetts in the world that we could take all their money” in order to solve our debt crisis.
     Something to think about,  According to an article by Walter Williams
If Congress imposed a 100 percent tax, taking all earnings above $250,000 per year, it would yield the princely sum of $1.4 trillion. That would keep the government running for 141 days, but there's a problem because there are 224 more days left in the year.
How about corporate profits to fill the gap? Fortune 500 companies earn nearly $400 billion in profits. Since leftists think profits are little less than theft and greed, Congress might confiscate these ill-gotten gains so that they can be returned to their rightful owners. Taking corporate profits would keep the government running for another 40 days, but that along with confiscating all income above $250,000 would only get us to the end of June. Congress must search elsewhere.
According to Forbes 400, America has 400 billionaires with a combined net worth of $1.3 trillion. Congress could confiscate their stocks and bonds, and force them to sell their businesses, yachts, airplanes, mansions and jewelry. The problem is that after fleecing the rich of their income and net worth, and the Fortune 500 corporations of their profits, it would only get us to mid-August. The fact of the matter is there are not enough rich people to come anywhere close to satisfying Congress' voracious spending appetite.
       Rich people didn't get rich by being stupid.  They will move or hide their money.  If the government seizes all their property, it will cause 2 problems, one: if you seize everything in the name of "fairness"  to redistribute to the "less fortunate" you will still have people that will not have anything, the poor with few exceptions are poor for a reason.  Also there will be no rich people, this would be a one time thing, once their money is gone, who pays the taxes?   The poor?  yeah right.  The top 50% pay about 97% of all the taxes.  There will be 2 classes of people, the "hoi patoi" and the political elite.  Kinda like the old Soviet Union.  Maybe that is what Obungler has in mind.   The second problem,  is we still have a spending problem, when taxes go up, there is less revenue collected and there will still be a deficit, now it will be acerbated by the seizures of the rich people assets.   We don't have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem and unless COngress ans the president get a grip on it, it will get worse.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Scarebus blames factory,design flaws for cracks

Airbus said it is developing a repair process for a series of cracked wing brackets on its A380 jumbo jet that appeared during inspections in late December, Reuters reported.
Airbus said the cracks stem from a combination of manufacturing processes and materials used on the world’s biggest airliner, the story said.
The European aircraft manufacturer said short-term repairs will take five days for each plane and require removing the affected wing bracket area and putting in a new piece, said Tom Williams, Airbus head of programs. A longer term solution will include new materials and a different way of assembly, he said. The findings suggest all A380s built so far will eventually need inspections and fixes, he said.
“The A380 is safe to fly,” Williams told reporters at a briefing in Dublin. “We’ve taken short-term steps to address the issue, and we are working on a longer-term solution.”
Singapore Airlines, which was the first airline to fly the A380 in October 2007, said one of its A380s with wing cracks has undergone repairs and is back in service. The carrier will go ahead with repairs on the remaining aircraft before they are returned to service, it said in a statement.

Hillary will not be back in 2013.

I saw this on Yahoo, I wonder if she will challenge Obungler for the nomination.....Obungler is incompetent, Hillery is ruthless.   Her supporters havn't forgotten how she was screwed by the Obungler Chicago machine.

Hillary Clinton talks to President Obama ahead of the State of the Union on Jan. 24, 2012. (Evan Vucci/AP)
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told State Department employees Thursday that she will not stay on in the job if President Obama wins re-election, saying that after two decades, she is ready to step off "the high wire of American politics."
"I think I have made it clear that I will certainly stay on until the President nominates someone and that transition can occur," Clinton said at a "town hall" forum with State Department employees Thursday morning. "But I think after 20 years—and it will be 20 years—of being on the high wire of American politics and all of the challenges that come with that, it would be probably a good idea to just find out how tired I am."
"I don't want to think about what might come next, because I don't want me or any of us to divert our attention," Clinton continued, adding that she plans to "work as hard as I can to the last minute I have the honor of being Secretary ... to support all of you."
A State Department official confirmed Clinton's comment, writing to Yahoo News: "Yes, she did [say that]. She said she would stay on until Obama nominates another Secretary of State."
Clinton was answering a question at a State Department meeting with department employees Thursday morning when she made the statement. The event was ostensibly to mark the anniversary of the Department's issuing of its first "Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review" (QDDR)--a major agency vision/planning document that Clinton sees as a key legacy of her tenure as Obama's top diplomat. But as often happens with Clinton--(see for instance the dozens of reports noting the return of her famous headband when she attended Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night)--her own celebrity news instantly eclipsed the subject at hand.
"Clinton tells State employees she's not staying on if Obama re-elected but will work until last minute," CNN's Elise Labott first posted on Twitter.
Clinton has previously said in numerous interviews that she would serve only one term as Obama's Secretary of State. She has said that she loves the job but has found the constant international travel physically grueling, and has longed to work on promoting women's and children's development, writing and travel, from private life.
"There's so many things I'm interested in, I mean, really going back to private life and spending time reading, and writing, and maybe teaching, doing some personal travel, not the kind of travel where you bring along a couple of hundred people with you," Clinton elaborated to Tavis Smiley last year.
But her soaring popularity numbers and global celebrity status have fueled constant speculation on her future political plans. She and the White House have vehemently denied a persistent rumor that she might be nominated to run as Obama's vice president at the DNC this fall. She has also previously denied that she will pursue another run at the presidency in 2016 (though not all of her aides are convinced).

2 coffee in heaven

Two Coffees in Heaven!
Having arrived at the Gates of Heaven, Barrack Obama meets a man with a beard.

'Are you Mohamed?' he asks.

'No my son, I am St. Peter; Mohamed is higher up.' Peter then points to a ladder that rises into the clouds.

Delighted that Mohamed should be higher than St. Peter, Obama climbs the ladder in great strides, climbs up through the clouds and comes into a room where he meets another bearded man.

He asks again, 'Are you Mohamed?'

'Why no,' he answers, 'I am Moses; Mohamed is higher still.'

Exhausted, but with a heart full of joy he climbs the ladder yet again.

He discovers a larger room where he meets an angelic looking man
with a beard.  Full of hope, he asks again, 'Are you Mohamed?'

'No, I am Jesus, the Christ; you will find Mohamed higher up.'

Mohamed higher than Jesus!
Man, oh man!  Obama can hardly contain his delight and climbs and climbs ever higher.

Once again, he reaches an even larger room where he meets this truly magnificent looking man with a silver white beard and once again repeats his question:

'Are you Mohamed?' he gasps as he is by now, totally out of breath from all his climbing.

'No, my son, I am Almighty God, the Alpha and the Omega, but you look exhausted. Would you like a cup of coffee?'

Obama says, 'Yes please!'

As God looks behind him, he claps his hands and yells out:

'Hey, Mohamed, two coffees!'

Keep your trust in God;
your president is an idiot.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Leadership...the simlarities...


It used to be that you were supposed to win a Super Bowl before celebrating with a trip to Disney World as a public figure, but Obama can't stop doing his touchdown dances even as the country sinks faster. The similarities between Obama and Captain Francesco Schettino are a little too obvious.

The Captain ordering dinner as his ship is sinking and the elected leader of the United States partying on as the debt hits completely unsustainable levels are behaving the same way. Obama sinking the United States economy to do favors for his friends and Captain Schettino sinking a ship to wave to his buddy are the product of the same egotistical mentality.

If someone could just convince Obama that America was going down, then he would be on the first plane to wherever the good life is.

State of the Union address

I am not going to watch the SOTU address, it will be nothing but a campaign speech from Obungler.  I will spend my time playing with my kid and annoying the wife. 

Falling Star, If this nation don't connect with its military, it will lose more than our wars.

I have commented more than once that there seems to be a disconnect between our military and our citizens.  We have the average person on the street that has no idea what it means to serve and what the average person in the service does, except what some TV show or a video game.   There is no rush to serve, the average person is content to let "somebody else do it."  Many years ago, to serve was considered a rite of manhood for our society.  What is the rite of passage now?  I don't know what the new generation considered its rite of accepting the mantle of adulthood and the responsibility thereof?   I also fear that with fewer people serving there will be fewer that really understand what it means to serve.  Now when people find out that I have served and that I have been in combat, they look crosswise at me like they are expecting me to "go postal" or something.  I find more camaraderie with fellow vets, we seem to understand each other but the society at large we find mystifying.  What motivates them and their thought process we cannot fathom.
      What prompted this was this article I read
it is long, but a very good read.

By Paul R. Huard

Sometime in February, I will quietly remove a small pennant that has been a fixture in my classroom for more than six years. It is a Blue Star service flag, the symbol of a son or daughter on active duty in the U.S. military and a tradition dating back to 1942 when the banner allowed mothers to show publicly a child was fighting as a soldier, Marine, sailor or airman. Each star represented one child, and many families had flags with multiple stars. Entire neighborhoods often had these flags in their windows during World War II, and people were proud to display them. No one wanted a Gold Star banner; that indicated that your child was killed in action. Whatever the color of the star, it was a symbol of a nation connected to its military when everyone knew someone who was in uniform or at least possessed a personal understanding of warfare's human element and the soldier's role in American society.

My blue star is my son, U.S. Army Sgt. Matthew Wellington, 62nd Medical Brigade, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington; his unit's nickname is "America's Medics." He will leave a military that may seem as if it is coming home, but it is still tasked with global responsibilities while facing manpower cuts leaving fewer Americans in uniform than at any time in the last 40 years. Matthew was a combat medic who spent 14 months in Iraq, first in Baghdad at the Green Zone's FOB (forward operating base) Prosperity, then in Diyala Province at FOB Warhorse. He is leaving the Army after nearly seven years and two enlistments in the service. During his 2007-2008 tour of duty he treated many casualties, often under fire from the enemy. He also went on countless patrols with his fellow soldiers, engaging in tasks ranging from finding and destroying weapons and munitions meant to kill Americans to handing out candy to Iraqi children. He earned the Combat Medical Badge and a commendation for his service. In 2009 while stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, he treated 12 casualties who were among 42 victims shot by Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the U.S. Army psychiatrist and radical Islamic terrorist responsible for the worst shooting ever to take place at a U.S. military base. Tragically, 13 people were murdered by Hasan, but Matt takes comfort in the fact that all the victims who came into the clinic where he was working that day left there alive. I know of at least three times that he was almost killed in the line duty while in Iraq. For his mother's sake, he speaks very little of those events.

I am a high school social studies teacher who was trained as a historian. In addition, before full-time teaching I was a journalist who covered government and politics including military matters. As a historian and educator, I owe my students the best perspective I can on this nation's past and its current responsibilities. Therefore, experience and education have shown me that for better or for worse the American soldier and America's wars are things that educated people need to understand for the sake of understanding and keeping American democracy. We are now in the longest sustained time of war in the nation's history. Even with the end of combat operations in Iraq, some 84,000 soldiers and Marines are in Afghanistan at least through 2014. The U.S. maintains sizable forces abroad at the invitation of foreign allies because of commitments such as NATO or the protection of South Korea. We even have about 1,300 soldiers in Kosovo as part of the United Nations multi-national taskforce keeping the peace there since the end of the 1999 war. We are a nation that protects the world. Some kind of informed connection to the military and its role is vital to knowing how to assess the president's job as commander-in-chief, whether the U.S. is achieving its war goals, and how the country treats its veterans.

However, that awareness is becoming harder and harder to find in a nation where few choose to serve. About 1 percent of the nation's population is currently in uniform as either active duty or reserve such as the National Guard, and that number will dwindle as factors such as budget cuts and the inevitable drawdown because of the end of the Iraq War take effect. During World War II, about 12 percent of the population was in uniform. True, it was a different time and a different war. But, an entire generation comprising millions of citizens had some personal experience with the duties, sacrifices, opportunities and pride that came with military service. That shaped citizens' outlook on everything from how they voted to what they considered the proper role of the United States in the world. This gap is particularly large among young people. In November, a Pew Charitable Trust poll indicated that while more than two-thirds of Americans over 50 have a family member who served in uniform, only one in three under 30 has. My own experience as a teacher bears this out in even more drastic terms: Out of the more 190 high school students I currently teach, only five have family members in the military. Perhaps a dozen have parents who are veterans.

Polling data consistently shows that the military is one of the most respected institutions in the United States. In a 2011 Gallup poll, 78 percent of Americans expressed "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in the armed forces. (Congress, on the other hand, earns the lowest esteem, polling at just 12 percent.) Yet, it seems that today's respect for the military is often born out of pity or charity or guilt rather than any personal connection. Because of the hatred expressed by the counterculture during the'60s toward returning Vietnam vets or because society today lives like a nearly nine-year war had no impact on the lives of a majority of Americans, we owe the military a free lunch at every Applebee's from coast to coast. Most of the young people I know in the military just wish the average American understood what the military does and why it does it. They are grateful for the meal, but they want their fellow citizens to understand what the military does, how it gets the job done, and what the military should (or should not) be asked to do.

However, I am not writing a recruitment pitch. There is no doubt that despite the risks and hardships, military service is honorable, vital, and often personally fulfilling service. When I placed the banner on the wall behind my desk, I had no hidden agenda to convince my students to enlist – in fact, in the interests of scrupulous objectivity I have never had a military recruiter visit my classroom. (I have, however, when requested talked with students who were considering military service, offering them my perspective and encouragement as the parent of an active duty soldier, and I have written letters of recommendation for students enlisting in the armed forces or entering ROTC while attending college.) First and foremost, I wanted to help my students understand that for what often amounts to at least half of their lives an army of people, American people, people not much older than they, are at war. People fight wars – not a virtual reality game that is the Department of Defense's answer to Angry Birds, not storybook characters, not computer images in Call of Duty. People. Fight. Wars. My students' take on the politics, the necessity, or the futility of the Iraq War is their opinion and I do my best to spur discussion from all sides. But there is one message I give them that is non-negotiable. It is their fellow citizens who fight, and fighting means wounding and being wounded, killing and dying. Unlike their X-box, there are no infinite lives or immunity from the physical and mental toll of warfare on a battlefield.

We are a nation built on many principles, and one of them includes the idea of the citizen-soldier and his or her value. Yet, we see still another cycle of Congress and an administration deciding that more super-technology and fewer soldiers can save us. It's not the first time this has happened. (Remember: Hi-tech "shock and awe" was supposed to secure rapid U.S. victory during the first few weeks of fighting at the beginning of the Iraq War and then we would be greeted as liberators.) John C. McManus, whose brilliant study Grunts: Inside The American Infantry Combat Experience, points out that every time the United States turns to magic-bullet technology as a replacement for the never-ending need for young people with rifles fighting to protect the rest of us, we are heading for trouble because we are ignoring history. Whether youth choose the military remains their choice, but in a nation that frequently believes technology will save us we are on our way to what McManus calls a series of "an unhappy reality checks." If most of us have complaints about our cell phone service, why should we as a people believe that Pentagon super-science will be all it takes to stop, say, a nuclear-armed Iran? Victory through stealthy drones, Hellfire missiles, or death rays is the war we want to fight. It's clean, usually bloodless (for our side), and building all that hardware pumps billions of dollars into lawmakers' states and congressional districts. However, the wars that the United States has been forced to fight or chooses to fight have "been fought on the ground, usually by small groups of fighters, who require considerable logistical, firepower, and popular support." Nothing will change that reality, and we doom our military to additional hardship and death if we let our lawmakers think otherwise.

But, what if you don't want your son or daughter to join the military? Or, what if you decide that the military is not what you want to do? You have my blessing. All I ask is that you ask yourself why you are willing to let someone else's sons or daughters fight and die to protect you, your nation and the nation's interests. When Matt enlisted, a few friends and acquaintances asked me how I felt about sacrificing my son. I replied by stating that I was not sacrificing my son, but that I was supporting his informed decision, a decision that he made as an adult. He had other options in life. He received excellent advice from two veterans: a grandfather who served in the U.S. Army during World War II and a grandfather who served in the U.S. Army during the Cold War. He knew exactly what he was doing. I will not deny the tragedy faced by the families of the more than 4,500 Americans who have died during the Iraq War. But let me be frank: According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2009 (the latest statistics I could find) nearly 11,000 people in the U.S. died from alcohol-related accidents while driving. Nobody ever asks me about sacrificing my son when I loan him the keys to my truck. Americans need to get a better perspective on military service. Somebody else will always make the choice to serve, and in a nation that has no draft I can confidently say that the vast majority of the men and women who do serve are there because of their loyalty to one another and their love of the United States. One of the most admirable and selfless acts I know of us is when my son re-enlisted while in Iraq during a war when a motivated enemy held a dedicated interest in killing him. "I deployed because if I didn't someone else would have to," Matthew once succinctly told me. You see, there is more at stake than losing our wars. Our military is part of us as a vibrant nation that cares enough to defend what it represents. We are part of them, and it takes more than an easily uttered "Thank you for your service" to maintain that connection. That is why the phrase is called "popular support." We cannot continue this disconnect between the small percentage of Americans who wear the uniform and the overwhelming majority who have an adoring cluelessness about those who serve. If we do, we will lose even more of what unifies us as a people and a nation.

The blue star in my classroom is not enough. Nor are free lunches. Like a wish upon a falling star, as I take down that flag I will pray that the people of the United States will reconnect with their fighting men and women. George Washington, a man rightfully called The Father of Our Country, was a soldier most of his life. In his farewell to the nation at the end of his presidency, he called on the American people – a people who still possessed living memories of those who had gone to war so the United States could exist – to remember, "You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts of common dangers, sufferings, and successes." Through either service in uniform or education that teaches why the armed forces matter, we as a nation must be part of our military as vigorously as they are part of us, fully aware or fully experiencing the joint dangers, sufferings, and successes of a real call to duty. That is the only way real way to thank a soldier for his or her service.

Paul R. Huard teaches American Studies, Advanced Placement United States History, Economics, and Politics and Literature at Ashland High School, Ashland, Ore. His (step)son Matthew plans to major in engineering at Pacific Lutheran University after military service, and his daughter-in-law Lauren (also a veteran of the U.S. Army) is a microbiology major. Huard, who won numerous journalism awards for his work, covered politics and government for daily newspapers in California and Oregon before becoming a teacher.

Russia to sell 36 YAK 130 Jets to Syria

Got this from Global Security.org

Russia to Sell 36 YAK-130 Jets to Syria

RIA Novosti
13:04 23/01/2012
MOSCOW, January 23 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and Syria have signed a $550-million contract on the delivery of 36 Yakovlev Yak-130 Mitten combat trainer, the Kommersant daily quoted on Monday a source close to Russia’s state arms exporter Rosoboronexport as saying.
Under the deal struck in late December, the jets are to be supplied to Syria once Damascus makes a prepayment, the source said.
A source in the aircraft production industry told the newspaper the aircraft construction company Irkut is able to produce the jets for Syria in a relatively short time.
Contacted by RIA Novosti, both Rosoboronexport and Irkut declined to comment.
Analysts say the contract is “risky” given the worsening satiation in Syria and the growing international pressure on President Bashar al-Assad over his crackdown on protesters.
Ruslan Pukhov, who heads the Moscow-based Center for Analysis of Stategies and Technologies, said the contract was “certainly a big success of Russia’s leaders and arms traders.” But it’s clear, he said, that “the international community, led by the United States, has made a decision to crush Bashar al-Assad’s regime, and this may lead to the contract being disrupted and Russia suffering image and financial losses.”
The contract was apparently signed when the situation in Syria was “not as dramatic as it is now,” Pukhov said, adding that getting the Russian jets has likely lost its relevance for Damascus.
“The Yak-130 plane is superfluous for attacking insurgents – these goals can be served by cheaper planes,” the analyst said. At the same time, he said, the jet cannot endure air battles with Israeli, Turkish, or Western coalition’s aircraft, should a military conflict erupt in Syria.
Russia has opposed international sanctions, including an arms embargo, against Syria, where the death toll from clashes between protesters and government troops has reached 5,400, according to the United Nations.
Earlier this month, the United States expressed concerns over weapons deliveries to Damascus following media reports about a Russian ship loaded with arms docking in the Syrian port of Tartus.
Without explicitly confirming the report of the arms shipment, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said last week Russia was not going to justify its actions before the West because it was not violating “any international agreements or any [UN] Security Council resolutions.”
“We are only trading items with Syria that are not banned by international law,” he said.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Angry Birds

Peter Vesterbacka of Rovio enertainment is the grand eagle of the "Angry Birds Franchise.  I have played this game a lot, it was one of the reasons I went to a smart phone.  The game is addicting.  My son always wants to play the game on my phone.  Now it is an app feature on "Google Chrome"

Here is a trailer of the game

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The 1970's

This was me in the 1970's,  We didn't have Nerf furniture, DFACS, Helicopter parents.  We would stay out until dark and nothing was said about sex offenders in the neighborhood.  We would careen down hills in bikes with no helmets, find the occasional trees on the way down. The kids today miss out on the fun...and occasional skinned knees.

Something for Lagniappe's Lair

I saw this and thought of Murphy of lagniappe's Lair

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Some computer humor.......

Older post

I changed my settings, and it is giving me problems, Please check my "older post" for more material.  I am making up for being on strike yesterday;)

Early days of Mythbusters

This is an early days picture of Jamie and Adam from the "Mythbusters"   I love that show


Now for some humor;)

Iran and the Straits of Hormuz

By George Friedman
The United States reportedly sent a letter to Iran via multiple intermediaries last week warning Tehran that any attempt to close the Strait of Hormuz constituted a red line for Washington. The same week, a chemist associated with Iran's nuclear program was killed in Tehran. In Ankara, Iranian parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani met with Turkish officials and has been floating hints of flexibility in negotiations over Iran's nuclear program.
This week, a routine rotation of U.S. aircraft carriers is taking place in the Middle East, with the potential for three carrier strike groups to be on station in the U.S. Fifth Fleet's area of operations and a fourth carrier strike group based in Japan about a week's transit from the region. Next week, Gen. Michael Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will travel to Israel to meet with senior Israeli officials. And Iran is scheduling another set of war games in the Persian Gulf for February that will focus on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' irregular tactics for closing the Strait of Hormuz.
While tensions are escalating in the Persian Gulf, the financial crisis in Europe has continued, with downgrades in France's credit rating the latest blow. Meanwhile, China continued its struggle to maintain exports in the face of economic weakness among its major customers while inflation continued to increase the cost of Chinese exports.
Fundamental changes in how Europe and China work and their long-term consequences represent the major systemic shifts in the international system. In the more immediate future, however, the U.S.-Iranian dynamic has the most serious potential consequences for the world.

The U.S.-Iranian Dynamic

The increasing tensions in the region are not unexpected. As we have argued for some time, the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the subsequent decision to withdraw created a massive power vacuum in Iraq that Iran needed -- and was able -- to fill. Iran and Iraq fought a brutal war in the 1980s that caused about 1 million Iranian casualties, and Iran's fundamental national interest is assuring that no Iraqi regime able to threaten Iranian national security re-emerges. The U.S. invasion and withdrawal from Iraq provided Iran an opportunity to secure its western frontier, one it could not pass on.
If Iran does come to have a dominant influence in Iraq -- and I don't mean Iran turning Iraq into a satellite -- several things follow. Most important, the status of the Arabian Peninsula is subject to change. On paper, Iran has the most substantial conventional military force of any nation in the Persian Gulf. Absent outside players, power on paper is not insignificant. While technologically sophisticated, the military strength of the Arabian Peninsula nations on paper is much smaller, and they lack the Iranian military's ideologically committed manpower.

Read Rest here