Aug 01 2014
It is crunch time on my courses right now. Plus. I am playing the popular game, "What will next year's budget be?".
So go read this outstanding article by James Fallows instead.
Aug 01 2014
It is crunch time on my courses right now. Plus. I am playing the popular game, "What will next year's budget be?".
So go read this outstanding article by James Fallows instead.
Jul 26 2014
Sitting in the lounge at Denver International-waiting to make the jump back across the Atlantic.
If you have not seen any of the latest Weird Al videos, you are missing a treat. Here is his send up of Happy:
Funny, isn't it? Have a great weekend. See you on the other side!
Jun 05 2014
Today was a sad day for me. It is probably the first day since I graduated from the Citadel, that I was ashamed to wear my ring. A ring I worked hard to earn-and usually wear with pride.
Why? Because it is disgusting to me, to watch legions of my fellow alumni, throw one of their own, CAPT Greg McWherter under the bus, solely to appease their own, pretty much flawed consciences. The comments have been brutal on the alumni boards I monitor. And in the depths of hypocrisy, many are from the same people who rabidly applauded his ascension to command as the first Citadel graduate to command the blues.
I'll spare you the details-they can be found at Phib's place. He has a good rundown on the case-and a copy of the investigation. He very ably points out much of the hypocrisy in it-and of the fine art, now being perfected, of assassination by IG.
You know I like words. Searching the document about poor performance of a Blue Angels CO and we have homosexual mentioned 18 times, gay 4 times, and the first clue, support officer 13 times. Safety 8 times.
He's been smeared as a sexist homophobe … all they left out was racist, but maybe I missed that.
In some ways, this is just another way to destroy the male oriented, warfighter, TACAIR culture. Tailhook was only the start – this has a similar genesis and is going to be used for the same agenda.
Ironically, the people who will be hurt most will be our female Shipmates – our fellow warfighters of all designators who know what the core of our business is, have a sense of humor, are secure in their womanhood, and as officers, are not going to break in to tears because they miss the drama of Middle School.
It doesn't take long to figure out that this huge frag pattern that, like Tailhook, will destroy the careers of many good people and was started by a female support officer. Which one? Hard to tell … but with googlefu, you can narrow it downto a few possibilities.
Not really important who though – complaining, weak, and entitled administrative burdens have always been with us. It is what the institution does with it that is important.
Is this proportional? Look it over and tell me.
There is so much, that is wrong with this investigation-and The Skipper has done a great job of documenting it. There are so many things that are wrong with this investigation. Lets ask a few questions shall we?
The Navy proactively issued a press release within 24 hours of non-judicial punishment, to include release of the investigation. Was that based on FOIA requests from the press or did they do it so they could control the narrative?
Is it possible the high-castrati discussed how this case was to be handled before it was handled? I’d bet my stock portfolio it was. That’s unlawful command influence, and it’s against the rules. Just ask General Amos.
Do you think it a coincidence that a nuclear submariner was appointed to lead the investigation of an elite squadron? Is that not like asking a pole-vaulter to evaluate a baseball locker room? They are both sports, are they not?
Why is it CNATRA is not doing the investigation? They are the first flag in the chain. And where was TRAWING Six in all this. If these things were as rampant as was said-I GUARANTEE you they would have heard about it. The Commodore was too busy to do some discrete counseling? I know Greg McWherter would have taken it to heart.
Why did the accuser wait fifteen months after the commanding officer left to lower the boom?
If you are flying at 400 knots and pulling 4 Gs in a rolling maneuver with a guy’s wingtip 18 inches from your nugget, do you think it might be helpful to bond with that person and build trust? Would you feel comfortable flying next to him if you knew he would stab you in the back and look after only himself as soon as he deems it warranted?
The investigation says that he twice inherited a broken squadron. What of those who broke it? They’re good, then?
This whole affair stinks, not the least of reason which, I know the final endorser in the chain. The irony of this whole case is rich- because anecdotally , I know he treated his own JO's like shit. But he got a pass for it. Greg McWherter on the other hand got thrown on the ash heap of Navy history.
Don't kid yourself, for all the high handed rhetoric about the Navy doing the right thing, it did not. It f*&ked one of its own for no purpose. This is clearly a case of where the service was spring loaded to f*ck someone at the drive though.
Look hard at the investigation. You will find what you need on page 16, paragraph 45. I should warn you that the investigation as published is incomplete-since it does not include any of the enclosures -and thus lacks context.
But context is not what Harry Harris cares about. He would throw his own mother under the bus if he thought it would improve his interests. As such, he is the typical flag officer in today's Navy.
PS. Here is what a pornkin looks like. It ain't that bad, Which is yet another reason why his accuser can suck a big bag of dicks.
Oh, and for my brothers who wear the ring? Just blow me you chickenshit bastards.
May 17 2014
Still here-just it has been a busy week. out of the hotel at 7:15 and home at 8PM. By the time one eats dinner and gets to bed, there is not time for anything else. Day off today though-then back to the grind tomorrow. (In Israel, Sunday is a work day).
Some Jerusalem pix to follow.
Apr 18 2014
They seem to be going after every one. Officers, civilians, CPO's and now Petty Officers:
SAN DIEGO — A fourth member of the Navy has been charged with conspiracy to commit bribery in a multimillion-dollar scheme involving a Singapore-based defense contractor accused of providing cash, vacations, electronics and prostitutes in exchange for classified information.
“The camera is awesome bro!” Japan-based Petty Officer Dan Layug wrote in an email to the vice president of a military contractor that is included in a complaint unsealed Thursday. “Thanks a lot! Been a while since I had a new gadget!”
In another email, Layug asks, “What are the chances of getting the new iPad 3?” according to the complaint. Layug made his initial court appearance Thursday, a day after he was arrested in San Diego. A judge set bail at $100,000 and ordered GPS monitoring if Layug is released, according to a U.S. attorney’s statement. He hasn’t entered a plea, and messages seeking comment from his attorney were not immediately returned.
"And every time you send me my shipment its just a few cases short!"
"Carrying charges, my boy, carrying charges."
Mar 15 2014
Greetings from the lounge in Chicago. Sitting here waiting for the jump back across the Atlantic.
Should have posted more-but just didn't feel like it. This week was my birthday-so it put in kind of a funk. I still am in a funk-or at the least a bit depressed. This week had me doing a lot of thinking, and being at my old digs in Shopping Mall gave me an acute sense of the one way flow of time. And wondering about decisions made a decisions yet to make.
I hated Shopping Mall-but I did like my house. I liked being able to drive to work with little difficulty. And I liked being paid and valued for my work. Being back was like slipping on comfortable clothes again. Even though I did not do much at night-except watch TV-and maybe shoot out of a beer or two.
I did a lot of thinking-with no conclusions arrived at.
More to follow in the week to come.
Mar 05 2014
Sorry for the lack of postings of late. I am going through a triple whammy of trying to get ready for a trip, dealing with the day to day fun at work, and also starting an online class, which is going to cut into my time even more.
However it is this last item I thought I would pass on. If you are a post 9-11 Veteran, the Syracuse University is running a program paid for by JP Morgan Chase that allows one to get certifications and training-WITHOUT having to use your GI Bill. It is called the Syracuse Veterans Career Transition Program. And what it offers is:
The Veterans Career Transition Program, operated by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University, is delivered at no cost to post-9/11 veterans, their spouses, and spouses of active duty military. Paid for in entirety by a grant from JPMorgan Chase & Co, VCTP offers solutions to the above challenges, as well as connections to specific education and training programs, business/industry coalitions focused on veteran employment and information about national and state-level opportunities and benefits for veterans and their families. The Professional Skills Track and the Tech Track are offered through an advisor-led group admitted quarterly, and the Independent Study Track is available for start at any time. Each track is described below.
Through online courses—accessible from any location, at any time–participants have the opportunity to gain an understanding and insight into the corporate culture of civilian business/industry, government and other civilian sector employment opportunities.
The program has three tracks. A professional skills track, a tech track and an independent study track. The Professional skills track helps you burnish your resume, the Tech track offers IT certifications and the independent study track offers veterans and spouses who are currently employed and need to achieve industry certifications in order to advance or maintain their current employment. That is the one I am pursuing-in the hopes of getting a PMP certification.
So it may bring a hiatus to my blogging-although I hope not-but it will hopefully give me some way to overcome the deficit of attract ability to new employers.
Check out the details here: http://vets.syr.edu/education/employment-programs/
Feb 27 2014
A couple of weekends ago we went to Dresden. I found the trip remarkable for a couple of reasons. 1) I never imagined in my youth, that I would ever be in what was once "East" Germany, and 2) I was surprised at how charming and well developed the city was. They put a lot of thought into rebuilding the center of the city.
Considering, after all, we bombed the living s**t out of it.
And an simple examination of the history shows that Communists did not do very much to fix it up after the war. But man o man-look at the place now:
This is the Frauekirche- which was utterly destroyed during the bombing. The Russians left it in ruins as a way to rub the German's noses in the fact that they lost the war. After reunification, plans were made to rebuild it. It opened again in 2005. If you look to the left you can still see some of the bricks that were "smoke checked".
There is a lot of beauty in the city however:
This the Semperoper, the Dresden state opera house. It was destroyed during the bombing, and was rebuilt in 1985. It opened exactly 40 years after the bombing on 13 February with the same opera that was last performed before its destruction.
We spent the first day just exploring the city. Once you get out of the center of the town-it becomes like many former Soviet territories, row upon row of blocks of apartments. But the river Elbe is glorious:
And so the "Parade of Heroes" , which somehow miraculously survived the bombing:
The mural is made entirely of Meissen porcelain. How the S.O. knows that is beyond me………..
And of course there was a Winter Market:
There is also the Zwinger Palace
The next day the S.O. dragged me over to Bolesweicz Poland for her real objective-shopping for Polish Pottery. We had lunch at a bit of a tourist trap restaurant -but still fun, nonetheless:
Yes it was a tourist place-but Poles gotta make money too, don't they. And besides the food was pretty good. Being from Pittsburgh, there was only one right thing to order-The Pierogi Sampler! Quite tasty!
I was surprised at the big difference in the way Poland looked and Germany did. It was quickly evident when you crossed the border. I did not expect that-especially since Bolesweicz was in what used to be German territory.
All in all though, if you come to Germany-Dresden is worth your time to visit. In the downtown they have put a lot of new and trendy restaurants with all kinds of cuisine. We discovered a really great Vietnamese restaurant. Possibly the best one we have eaten in Germany. Now that's a plus.
Feb 08 2014
Time for this one to go home! Sitting here in the lounge-having visited my father for the last few days, and headed back across the Atlantic and , sadly, back to work. Which I am confident will be unappreciated by our new Zombie masters.
The lounge here is packed, which is more than a little frustrating. Could not get a seat with a view to a TV so I could watch the Olympics.So I am drinking a beer ( or 2) and making up for my feeble lack of posting this week.
One thing about airline lounges in the US is that they highlight well, how shitty service on US air carriers is. Consider:
Lufthansa lounge Z-terminal Frankfurt:
No bar, not required. All the fixings are right there on a long countertop that has been thoughtfully engineered to provide a quick flow through the drinks which you can pour for yourself. Food, readily available and actually of some substance. Soft drinks easily obtainable-and there are plenty of business desks for those who need to work and or print.
United Airlines lounge IAD: One of two lounges in the C&D terminal is closed for some indeterminate reason. Thus EVERYONE is here-making it an ordeal to crawl to the bar and fight your way through to flag down the bar tender for a drink that may or may not cost you money.
Food? What's that? Except for carrots and nuts-there is not a bit of substantial eats. Desks and power outlets to charge phones? Not near enough.
What the US air carriers keep failing to realize is that these perks are part of building customer loyalty. Like also enabling courtesy upgrades and other things. A plane flying with an empty first or business class seat is a crime.
Fortunately I was able to get upgraded-but I had to laugh when I checked in on line. It offered me an upgrade to first class-on an airplane that did not have a First Class, just Business and Cattle Car. All for a mere 1000 dollars.
This reinforces for me why, if I have to be in Economy, it will not be on an American flag carrier.
I still maintain my theory that US air carriers could compete-if they would just bother to try. But, sadly, they don't.
Time to board.
Jan 25 2014
We got back in the middle of last week, but it's been a busy week at work and other items. Preparing to crank up my 2014 travel program next week with a trip back to the land of my birth. So posting has been abysmal and for that, my apologies.
After our two rain soaked days in Venice, which were compensated by the fact we had great dinners each and every night, we got back on the road and headed up to Innsbruck. Along the way we stopped for lunch in Verona ( click to embiggen):
That's the arena the Romans built. It dates from 45 BC as does this gate:
Some more shots of the arena:
To see more pix , look below the fold
Jan 06 2014
Today in 1914:
Stock brokerage firm of Merrill Lynch founded. After almost a 100 years of existence and avoiding the fate of Lehman brothers-the firm was merged into Bank of America in 2013. ( The evil empire wins again!)
Arnold Richardson, composer was born. So too was, Danny Thomas-later of television fame in the 1950's. Also born this day was David Bruce, an actor.
In the Ottoman Empire, Enver Pasha-one of the leaders of the Young Turk movement had become the central leader of the Empire. He " he helped orchestrate a coup d'état, with which he introduced a military triumvirate that came to be called the "Three Pashas" (Enver Pasha, Talaat Pasha, and Djemal Pasha). In 1914, he was again Minister of War in the cabinet of Said Halim Pasha, and married HIH Princess Emine Naciye Sultan (1898–1957), the daughter of Prince Süleyman, thus entering the royal family as a damat ("bridesgroom" to the ruling House of Osman). His power grew steadily while Europe marched towards total war."
The Ottoman Empire, known as the sick man of Europe had LOTS of problems. For one thing, a growing Zionist movement in Palestine was making the Arab residents of the region quite upset and more land fell into their hands. Secondly there were nationalistic movements stirring in Mesopotamia and what is now Syria. Later on during the war -Britain and France would seek to capitalize on these movements. By 1914 the Ottoman Empire had been driven out of nearly all of Europe and North Africa. It still controlled 28 million people, of whom 15.5 million were in modern-day Turkey, 4.5 million in Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan, and 2.5 million in Iraq. Another 5.5 million people were under nominal Ottoman rule in the Arabian peninsula
Dec 05 2013
It has been a busy month for me. I just got back from the 4th of 4 trips in a month.
Lots of observations from my trips. More to follow tomorrow.
Nov 14 2013
Well at least if they are going to fuck me over, they are going to pay for it up front first.
Sitting in the lounge here at Stuttgart airport, enjoy a quiet cup of coffee and preparing to board a flight to Istanbul and then onward to points elsewhere. Great thing about going through Istanbul is the Star Alliance lounge there. I planned a three hour layover so I can stuff my self on their free food and beer. Its an huge spread of kabob, pasta, and soups and salads. And beer. Did I mention beer? After all, if what is left of my so called "career" is going into hibernation, one ought to damn well fatten up for it.
This will be the second of four trips in about as many weeks. My kind of month. Problem is-with the current lunacy that passes for governance these days-its feast or famine, and when I get back the long travel drought will begin. Its even going to be touch and go as to whether I maintain my elite status this year-something that pisses me off to no end.
C'est le guerre.
On the way over to shopping mall, I flew on Lufthansa, which actually was not too bad. If you have to be trapped in economy, its always better to be so on a recognized foreign flag carrier than an American one. As I was nursing my post dinner Warsteiner, I happened to stumble on this movie in the entertainment queue: the English title is Chorus of Angels. Its a recent Japanese movie having come out just last year. The Japanese title is Kita no canaria tachi. ( Canaries of the North). Don't know why they did not translate the title exactly since it is more appropriate to the subject of the film.
The movie is set in a village on an island that is just north of Hokkaido-one of several that are around the Northernmost Island of the Japanese Islands. Its a small village with a small school. The main actress, now living in Tokyo and retired ( I cannot remember her name) is visited by the Tokyo police. The suspect is one of her former students. The boy as a student had been unruly and the teacher had made contact with him through songs-and the group got really good. The teacher revisits the island to find out what has happened to each of her six students from 20 years ago.
The movie's plot is a little off kilter-but it provides an interesting venue for telling the story. Over abut 90 minutes it unfolds the story of each of the students and of the teacher and the events that drove them together and eventually apart. The movie was fascinating for me-and it was a great chance to hear the language I miss so dearly, and I was happy I could understand most of it, without the subtitles to help. The movie is very interesting once you accept the plot improbabilities-but it is also very sad. I found my self tearing up near the end. My next door neighbor in the adjoining seat probably thought I was crazy. But it was a movie that tugged on you heart strings.
Here is a trailer from the movie (sorry about the lack of subtitles):
Its worth the time if you can find it in English-or Japanese for that matter. I liked it.
Time board the plane. Onward!
Nov 07 2013
Personal day today. Taking care of the S.O.'s shopping list-she always has one when I come to the US. Going out to the house and checking on it-especially since I will probably be coming back to it. As a drive around here-I am reminding myself of the fact that every place has good things about it, and I will need to come to terms with that if I do end up moving back here. If I can find a job that will allow me to pay down my bills, and build equity in the house, and give me the benefits I need-then that's a good thing. Life is about compromises.
I've been watching all the political coverage of the last two days. It is kind of scary how Chris Christie is being annointed as the next Ronald Reagan. The guy is a plain speaker and I can see him riding , just like Reagan, on white horse up Pennsylvania Ave. My big fear is that, just like Reagan, Christie will lay the seeds of our own destruction. Its only now in the view of hindsight-we can see what a disaster Reagan's policies were for America. Remember he is the guy who got the GOP to worship at the supply side altar. Go back and carefully read the history of the era-it was not the tax cuts that jump started the economy. It was a technological revolution combined with huge defense spending. But the Reagan era awakened the worst instincts of Americans and 20 years later led to the worthless people who make up teabagger land.
As for the Virginia race, I refer you to Mr. Pierce:
Face facts. In a sane political world. Ken Cuccinelli should have lost by 12 points. Bishop Jackson should have lost by 98. These are two guys who have to dial 1 just to place a call to "extreme." Instead, this morning, Cuccinelli can argue fairly convincingly that he got sold out by his national party, that his ideas were not rejected, and that the destruction of the Affordable Care Act is a winning issue, provided the moneymen get behind it and push. McAuliffe even acknowledged this in his looonnnnnng acceptance speech last night, where he spent a lot of time thanking the Republicans who supported his campaign, as if most of them won't go back to the business of undermining him by, at the latest, Friday afternoon. In all of this, Ken Cuccinelli won.
That it was a close race at all is a testament to the stupidity of both the Virginia voter and the Democratic party. And yes, Virginia, a lot of you are stupid.
And I have been watching the national blame game about the health care law. Just like with the wars-no one ever puts the blame where it belongs. In Iraq the blame lay with the Iraqi people, who proved and continue to prove every stereotype I ever had about Arabs. In the case of the health care law-so many people refuse to blame the people deserve the blame. The insurance companies who created the current mess we have-and by their recent actions-remind us again why they are greedy and way, way, too rich. "You can keep you policy" was based on an expectation that insurance companies would do what the law required, and upgrade the policies to where they should have been. Juan Williams finally had the gumption to point it out:
Time to get moving.
Nov 05 2013
We had a good couple of days of meetings-but here it is 10pm and I am back in my room getting ready for bed. And this with a 1 hour nap I took from 5:30 to 6:30. I am getting old.
I suspect too, being in three cities over the last few days has taken its toll. A lot of traveling this month and I need to conserve my strength for the joys of Tel Aviv.This is shopping mall after all-there is not much to do after 9pm.