Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Light of Other Days

If you have 10 or 15 minutes to spare, go read this story. It's called Light of Other Days, and was written by the late science fiction author Bob Shaw.

As a parent, I was especially struck by this story. Don't worry if you don't like science fiction. There are no rocket ships or aliens, just slow glass. Slow glass is a glass that is so dense that light takes years to pass through it. Anyway, go read the story. Let me know what you think.

Hat tip to Thingamababy.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Cool Timewaster

There's a guy who posts on the rec.crafts.brewing newsgroup who has built a robot that can be controlled via web. Here's a link http://www.swampgas.com/robotics/rover.html
I've been on it twice and both times, the builder was in the room and I was just moving the thing all over. It's pretty neat. Enjoy!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Another Shipmate Crosses the Bar

P 271939Z NOV 06
FM COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC
TO ALLHANDS
BT
UNCLAS //N01000//
SUBJ: COAST GUARD LOSS OF LIFE
1. IT IS WITH GREAT SADNESS THAT I INFORM YOU OF THE TRAGIC LOSS OF ONE OF OUR SHIPMATES IN HAWAII. PORT SECURITY SPECIALIST FIRST CLASS STEVE FAVELA, A DRILLING RESERVIST WITH MSST HONOLULU, PASSED AWAY OVER THANKSGIVING WEEKEND FROM INJURIES SUSTAINED WHILE IN THE LINE OF DUTY AS A POLICE OFFICER WITH THE HONOLULU POLICE DEPARTMENT. HE WAS PARTICIPATING IN A PRESIDENTIAL MOTORCADE WHEN THE MOTORCYCLE HE WAS RIDING WENT OUT OF CONTROL. AT THE TIME OF THE ACCIDENT, HE WAS ESCORTING THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES TO AIR FORCE ONE. HE WAS TAKEN TO QUEEN'S MEDICAL CENTER IN CRITICAL CONDITION, BUT COULD NOT BE SAVED.
2. PS1 FAVELA LIVED AND DIED HONORABLY. HE SERVED HIS COMMUNITY AND HIS NATION NOT ONLY AS A RESERVIST, BUT IN HIS FULLTIME POLICE WORK. THE EXAMPLE HE SET IS AN INSPIRATION TO ALL OF US IN THE COAST GUARD. HE WAS 30 YEARS OLD AND IS SURVIVED BY HIS WIFE, TWO DAUGHTERS AND A SON.
3. THIS LOSS IS A REMINDER TO ALL OF US THAT WE OPERATE IN A HAZARDOUS ENVIRONMENT. IT ALSO REMINDS US THAT COAST GUARD MEN AND WOMEN, ACTIVE DUTY AND RESERVE, SERVE OUR NATION PROUDLY ACROSS THE REACHES OF THE GLOBE TO PRESERVE AND PROTECT OUR NATIONAL INTERESTS. WE ARE PROUD OF PS1 FAVELA'S SELFLESS SERVICE AND HONOR HIM BY OUR CONTINUED DEDICATION TO THE IMPORTANT WORK WE DO FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.
4. PLEASE JOIN THE DIRECTOR OF THE SECRET SERVICE, MARK SULLIVAN, AND ME, IN TAKING A MOMENT TODAY TO REFLECT ON THE LOSS OF THIS BRAVE AND DEDICATED MEMBER OF OUR COAST GUARD FAMILY IN WHATEVER WAY YOU FIND MOST APPROPRIATE. PLEASE KEEP HIS FAMILY, FRIENDS AND SHIPMATES IN YOUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS.
5. ADMIRAL THAD ALLEN SENDS.
6. INTERNET RELEASE AUTHORIZED.
BT
NNNN

Friday, November 10, 2006

Happy Birthday Marines

R 081326Z NOV 06 ZUI ASN-A00312000002 ZYB
FM COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC//G-C//
TO CMC WASHINGTON DC
ALCOAST
BT
UNCLAS //N01000//
ALCOAST 543/06
COMDTNOTE 1000
SUBJ: 231ST BIRTHDAY OF THE UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
1. THE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE COAST GUARD WISH THE UNITED STATES MARINE
CORPS A HAPPY 231ST BIRTHDAY.
2. SINCE NOVEMBER 10, 1775 MARINES HAVE CONTINUED THE PROUD TRADITION
OF DEFENDING AMERICA'S INTEREST WORLD WIDE. FROM YOUR VALIANT BATTLES
AT TRIPOLI, BELLEAU WOOD, IWO JIMA, AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ, TO YOUR
HUMANITARIAN RELIEF AND DISASTER RECOVERY OPERATIONS IN THE AFTERMATH
OF HURRICANES KATRINA AND RITA, YOUR PROUD AND FAITHFUL SERVICE TO
OUR NATION IS IN KEEPING WITH YOUR MOTTO "SEMPER FIDELIS."
3. MARINES, WE WISH YOU CONTINUED SUCCESS AND ARE PROUD TO SERVE WITH
YOU. SEMPER PARATUS.
4. INTERNET RELEASE AUTHORIZED.
5. ADM T.W. ALLEN, COMMANDANT, UNITED STATES COAST GUARD.
BT
NNNN

Saturday, October 28, 2006

New Hobby

The Brown Hound is expanding to homebrewing. Here's a picture of the inagural batch fermenting away. You can't see it, but those little yeasties are going to town to make what is supposed to be a Belgian White Ale (witbier). I'll let you know how it turns out.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Meatball Lasagna

I love Southern Living magazine. This uses egg roll wrappers instead of pasta.

Meatball Lasagna

1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
1 (8-ounce) container onion-and-chive flavored cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon seasoned pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 (3-ounce) package shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
2 (26-ounce) jars tomato basil pasta sauce
1 (16-ounce) package egg roll wrappers
60 to 64 frozen cooked Italian-style meatballs

1. Stir together first 6 ingredients until blended. Stir in 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese; set aside.

2. Spread 1 cup pasta sauce in bottom of a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish.

3. Cut egg roll wrappers in half lengthwise; arrange 10 halves over pasta sauce. (Wrappers will overlap.) Top with meatballs. Spoon 3 cups pasta sauce over meatballs; sprinkle with 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese. Arrange 10 wrappers evenly over mozzarella. Spread ricotta cheese mixture over wrappers; top with remaining wrappers and pasta sauce.

4. Bake at 350*F (175*C) for 50 minutes. Top with remaining 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese and remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Bake 10 more minutes. Let stand 15 minutes.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Happy Birthday Navy!

R 122041Z OCT 06 ZUI ASN-A00285000025 ZYB
FM COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC//G-C//
TO CNO WASHINGTON DC//N-00//
ALCOAST
BT
UNCLAS //N01000//
ALCOAST 501/06
COMDTNOTE 1000
SUBJ: 231ST BIRTHDAY OF THE UNITED STATES NAVY
1. THE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE COAST GUARD WISH THE UNITED STATES NAVY A
HAPPY 231ST BIRTHDAY.
2. SINCE OCTOBER 13, 1775, THE NAVY HAS MAINTAINED, TRAINED, AND
EQUIPPED COMBAT READY NAVAL FORCES CAPABLE OF WINNING WARS, DETERRING
AGGRESSION, AND MAINTAINING FREEDOM OF THE SEAS. FROM DELIVERING
HUMANITARIAN AID TO BANGLADESH, THE PHILIPPINES, INDONESIA AND EAST
TIMOR, TO ENGAGING THREATS IN AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ, ADHERENCE TO YOUR
CORE VALUES: "HONOR, COURAGE, COMMITMENT" IS EVIDENT IN THE ACTIONS
OF YOUR DEDICATED SAILORS.
3. WE ARE COMMITTED PARTNERS IN OPERATIONALIZING THE NATIONAL FLEET
CONCEPT AND DEVELOPING EFFECTIVE STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE MARITIME
SECURITY.
4. SHIPMATES, WE WISH YOU CONTINUED SUCCESS AND ARE PROUD TO SERVE
WITH YOU. SEMPER PARATUS!
5. INTERNET RELEASE AUTHORIZED.
6. ADM T.W. ALLEN, COMMANDANT, UNITED STATES COAST GUARD.
BT
NNNN
This is a great idea.

R 121445Z OCT 06 ZUI ASN-A00285000007 ZYB
FM COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC//G-C//
TO ALCOAST
BT
UNCLAS //N05725//
ALCOAST 500/06
COMDTNOTE 5725
SUBJ: MASTER CHIEF PETTY OFFICER OF THE COAST GUARD RESERVE FORCE
1. I AM PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THAT EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, THE MASTER
CHIEF PETTY OFFICER OF THE COAST GUARD RESERVE FORCE (MCPO-CGRF)
REPORTS DIRECTLY TO ME AS AN ADVISOR ON AND ADVOCATE FOR THE MEN
AND WOMEN OF THE COAST GUARD RESERVE.
2. THIS ACTION IS PART OF THE ONGOING EVOLUTION OF OUR INTEGRATED
RESERVE FORCE, AND RECOGNIZES THE CRITICAL SURGE CAPACITY THE
RESERVE COMPONENT PROVIDES OUR MILITARY, MARITIME, MULTI-MISSION
SERVICE IN THE EXECUTION OF MARITIME HOMELAND SECURITY, DOMESTIC
AND EXPEDITIONARY SUPPORT TO NATIONAL DEFENSE AND RESPONSE TO
DOMESTIC DISASTERS, NATURAL AND MAN-MADE.
3. SINCE THE TERRORIST ATTACKS OF SEPTEMBER 2001, RESERVISTS HAVE
ANSWERED THE CALL REPEATEDLY IN DEFENSE OF FREEDOM AND IN RESPONSE
TO THE NEEDS OF THEIR FELLOW CITIZENS. CUMULATIVELY, OVER 6,800
COAST GUARD RESERVISTS HAVE BEEN MOBILIZED OVER THE LAST FIVE YEARS
UNDER TITLE 10 OF THE UNITED STATES CODE. MANY OF THEM HAVE SERVED
OVERSEAS IN DIRECT SUPPORT OF OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM WHILE MANY
OTHERS HAVE STOOD THE WATCH ALONG 95,000 MILES OF U.S. COASTLINE
AND IN OUR PORTS AND WATERWAYS. MANY HAVE ALSO RESPONDED TO NATURAL
DISASTERS ON OUR OWN SHORES, INCLUDING 700 CALLED TO ACTIVE DUTY
LAST YEAR UNDER TITLE 14 IN SUPPORT OF HURRICANES KATRINA AND RITA
RESPONSE AND RECOVERY OPERATIONS.
4. THESE DEDICATED CITIZEN-COAST GUARDSMEN HAVE BEEN
EXTRAORDINARILY WELL SERVED SINCE DECEMBER 2003 BY MCPO-CGRF
JEFFREY SMITH, WHO WILL CONTINUE IN HIS VITAL ROLE AS MY PRINCIPAL
ADVISOR ON ISSUES AFFECTING OUR ENLISTED RESERVE FORCE. IN
PARTNERSHIP WITH MCPO-CG CHARLES BOWEN, MCPO-CGRF SMITH AND I WILL
CONTINUE TO WORK TO ENSURE OUR MILITARY WORKFORCE, ACTIVE AND
RESERVE, IS A SINGLE TEAM ALWAYS READY TO MEET ALL THREATS AND ALL
HAZARDS IN THE MARITIME DOMAIN.
5. INTERNET RELEASE AUTHORIZED.
6. RELEASED BY ADM THAD W. ALLEN.
BT
NNNN

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Coast Guard and NASCAR

The Coast Guard has had a very successful year sponsoring the Coast Guard Racing Team. The main driver, Kevin Harvick, is running away with the Busch Series Championship. So, I was very disappointed to see the following pop up on the message board.

R 201903Z SEP 06 ZUI ASN-A00263000041
FM COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC//G-C//
TO ALCOAST
BT
UNCLAS //N05700//
ALCOAST 474/06
COMDTNOTE 5700
SUBJ: COAST GUARD "21" RACE TEAM SPONSORSHIP
1. RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING HAS BEEN A GREAT PARTNER TO THE COAST
GUARD. DRIVERS KEVIN HARVICK AND JEFF BURTON HAVE DELIVERED
ASTOUNDING PERFORMANCE, AND HAVE REPRESENTED THE COAST GUARD WELL,
BOTH ON AND OFF THE TRACK. THEY WON SEVEN RACES, AND KEVIN HARVICK
IS ON PATH TO NOT ONLY WIN THE DRIVERS POINT CHAMPIONSHIP, BUT ALSO
TO SET A RECORD FOR THE LARGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY IN THE HISTORY OF
THE BUSCH SERIES. THEY HAVE HELPED RAISE THE AWARENESS OF THE
COAST GUARD, AND MILLIONS OF RACE FANS NOW ASSOCIATE US WITH THEIR
SUCCESS.
2. UNFORTUNATELY, WE CANNOT CONTINUE THIS SPONSORSHIP FOR THE 2007
NASCAR SEASON DUE TO COMPETING FISCAL DEMANDS. THIS WAS A VERY
DIFFICULT DECISION, BUT WE MUST REMAIN READY TO MEET CURRENT AND
FUTURE MISSION EXECUTION REQUIREMENTS. NEW ACQUISITIONS, SHORE
INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS, INCREASED OPERATING COSTS AND EXPANDING
MISSION DEMANDS REQUIRE US TO CONTINUALLY REASSESS ALL FUNDING
PRIORITIES.
3. OUR NASCAR SPONSORSHIP WILL CONTINUE THROUGH THE END OF THE
2006 RACING SEASON, WHICH CONCLUDES NOVEMBER 18TH AT THE MIAMI-
HOMESTEAD SPEEDWAY. I ENCOURAGE ALL MEMBERS OF THE COAST GUARD
FAMILY TO CHEER KEVIN HARVICK ON AS HE CLINCHES THE SERIES
CHAMPIONSHIP. PLEASE JOIN ME IN THANKING RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING
FOR GIVING US SUCH AN EXCITING, SUCCESSFUL, AND REWARDING 2006
SEASON.
4. INTERNET RELEASE IS AUTHORIZED.
5. ADMIRAL THAD W. ALLEN, COMMANDANT, SENDS.
BT
NNNN

Friday, September 15, 2006

Happy Birthday Air Force!

R 152020Z SEP 06 ZUI ASN-A00258000035 ZYB
FM COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC//G-C//
TO HQ USAF WASHINGTON DC
ALCOAST
BT
UNCLAS //N01000//
ALCOAST 470/06
COMDTNOTE 1000
SUBJ: 59TH BIRTHDAY OF THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE
1. ON BEHALF OF ALL COAST GUARD MEMBERS, IT IS MY PRIVILEGE TO WISH
THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE A HAPPY 59TH BIRTHDAY.
2. SINCE SEPTEMBER 18, 1947, THE AIR FORCE HAS WELL FULFILLED ITS
MISSION OF DELIVERING SOVEREIGN OPTIONS FOR THE DEFENSE OF THE UNITED
STATES AND ITS GLOBAL INTERESTS. WHETHER DELIVERING HUMANITARIAN AID
TO VICTIMS OF HURRICANE KATRINA AND THE TSUNAMIS IN ASIA, OR
DESTROYING A BATTLEFIELD THREAT IN AFGHANISTAN OR IRAQ, THE ADHERENCE
TO YOUR CORE VALUES: "INTEGRITY FIRST, SERVICE BEFORE SELF, AND
EXCELLENCE IN ALL YOU DO" IS EVIDENT IN THE ACTIONS OF YOUR DEDICATED
AIRMEN.
3. WE WISH YOU CONTINUED SUCCESS IN YOUR MISSIONS. WE ARE PROUD TO
SERVE WITH YOU. SEMPER PARATUS.
4. INTERNET RELEASE AUTHORIZED.
5. ADM T.W. ALLEN, COMMANDANT, UNITED STATES COAST GUARD.
BT
NNNN

RIP Admiral Kime

FORMER COAST GUARD COMMANDANT DIES

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Coast Guard today announced the death of Adm. J.William Kime, 72, Coast Guard commandant from 1990 to 1994, who succumbed to cancer earlier this morning."

This is a very sad day for the Coast Guard," said Adm. Thad Allen, commandant of the Coast Guard. "The Coast Guard lost a close member ofour family, and America has lost a great leader.

In the wake of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, Adm. Kime pioneered how the Coast Guard now prevents and responds to oil and hazardous chemical spills, significantly minimizing the environmental damage caused by such spills. His legacy can be seen today in how the Coast Guard responds to a broad range of threats and hazards to our maritime, homeland, and national security interests."

"Our heartfelt condolences go out to his wife, Valerie, their children, and the entire Kime family during this very difficult time,"Allen said.

Kime was nominated to become the 19th commandant of the Coast Guard by President George Bush and, following Senate confirmation, he relieved Adm. Paul A Yost, Jr., on May 31, 1990. Kime's official Coast Guardbiography can be found at
http://www.uscg.mil/hq/g-cp/history/JWKimeBio.html

Kime will be buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.


Admiral Kime was the Commandant when I enlisted in the Coast Guard. Fair Winds and Following Seas Admiral.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Two Shipmates Have Crossed the Bar

It is with great sadness that I inform you of the tragic loss of two of our shipmates. LT Jessica Hill of St. Augustine, Florida, and BM2 Steven Duque of Miami, Florida, lost their lives in the line of duty while conducting diving operations from CGC HEALY during an icebreaking mission approximately 600 miles Northwest of Barrow, Alaska. Despite all efforts by the crew of HEALY, they could not be revived after being rescued from the water in distress.

Our highest priority now is to fully support the family, friends and shipmates of LT Hill and BM2 Duque during this difficult time. Both members were single without children, and their respective family members have been notified. I have directed the District and Area commanders to provide whatever support services are necessary for the families and crew of HEALY. HEALY is returning to Barrow where we will be better able to assist them. Two concurrent investigations will be conducted to help determine the circumstances surrounding this accident.

In my conversation with HEALY’s commanding officer, CAPT Doug Russell, this afternoon, I expressed my personal condolences to him and his crew and pledged my support for them while they deal with this loss. CAPT Russell spoke proudly of LT Hill and BM2 Duque. LT Hill was on her second Coast Guard tour serving as the Marine Science Officer aboard HEALY. She was a graduate of University of Western Alabama. BM2 Duque enlisted in the Coast Guard in 2002, and served both afloat and ashore prior to being assigned as one of HEALY’s divers.

This loss is a reminder to all of us that we operate in a hazardous environment and must remain vigilant. It also reminds us that Coast Guard men and women serve our Nation proudly across the reaches of the globe to preserve and protect our national maritime safety, security and stewardship interests. LT Hill and BM2 Duque made the ultimate sacrifice. We are proud of their selfless service and honor them by our continued dedication to the important work we do for the American people.

Please join Secretary Chertoff, me, and all who serve in uniform in taking a moment today to reflect on the loss of these two brave and heroic members of our Coast Guard family in whatever way you find most appropriate. Please keep their families, friends and shipmates in your thoughts and prayers in the days to come. Details on memorial services and how you can express your condolences to the families of LT Hill and BM2 Duque will be provided when available.

Admiral Thad Allen

Friday, August 04, 2006

Happy Birthday Coast Guard!

R 042300Z AUG 06 ZUI ASN-A00217000001
FM COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC
TO ALCOAST
BT
UNCLAS //N01000//
ALCOAST 403/06
SUBJ: COAST GUARD DAY
1. TODAY MARKS THE 216TH BIRTHDAY OF OUR COAST GUARD. THIS
ANNIVERSARY OFFERS US A MOMENT TO CELEBRATE OUR RICH HISTORY,
REFLECT ON OUR PAST AND FOCUS ON OUR FUTURE. THE COAST GUARD'S
UNIQUE LEGACY AS AMERICA'S LIFESAVER AND MARITIME GUARDIAN EVOLVED
FROM THE SELFLESS COURAGE AND UNFLINCHING DETERMINATION OF OUR
PREDECESSORS. IT IS IN THEIR HONOR THAT WE CELEBRATE TODAY.
2. IN 1790, CONGRESS AUTHORIZED SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY
ALEXANDER HAMILTON TO BUILD A FLEET OF TEN CUTTERS TO SECURE OUR
FREEDOM AND PROTECT OUR COAST. FOR THE NEXT EIGHT YEARS, THE
REVENUE MARINE WAS THE NATION'S ONLY NAVAL FORCE. OVER TIME, IT
EVOLVED AND ACQUIRED NEW RESPONSIBILITIES TO MEET THE GROWING NEEDS
OF A DEMOCRACY IN THE EARLY YEARS OF A NEW NATION.
3. THE WORLD HAS CHANGED DRAMATICALLY SINCE 1790 AND CONTINUES TO
CHANGE WITH EVERY DAY. THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERRORISM, THE MARITIME
TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ACT, THE HOMELAND SECURITY ACT, THE
NATIONAL STRATEGY FOR HOMELAND SECURITY, AND THE NATIONAL STRATEGY
FOR MARITIME SECURITY HAVE GIVEN THE COAST GUARD ADDITIONAL AREAS
OF MISSION EMPHASIS. MEETING THOSE NEW MARITIME SECURITY DEMANDS,
WHILE SUSTAINING THE TRUST AND CONFIDENCE OF THE PUBLIC WE SERVE IN
PRESERVING OUR MARITIME SAFETY AND EXERCISING OUR MARITIME
STEWARDSHIP DUTIES, REQUIRES US TO CONTINUALLY CHALLENGE OURSELVES
AND IMPROVE THE WAY WE DO BUSINESS. BY FOCUSING ON SUPERIOR
MISSION EXECUTION IN ALL THAT WE DO, OUR ACTIVE DUTY, RESERVE,
CIVILIAN AND AUXILIARY MEN AND WOMEN ARE MEETING THESE CHALLENGES
HEAD ON, OFTEN TIMES IN UNIQUE AND INNOVATIVE WAYS. I AM PROUD OF
THESE TREMENDOUS EFFORTS AND YOUR HARD WORK.
4. WITH THE ARRIVAL OF OUR 217TH YEAR OF CONTINUOUS SERVICE, WE
CAN LOOK FORWARD TO THE PROMISE OF MORE OPPORTUNITIES TO SERVE
AMERICA, AND EVEN MORE CHALLENGES. I REAFFIRM MY COMMITMENT TO
EACH OF YOU ON THIS SPECIAL DAY TO ENSURE THAT OUR COAST GUARD MEN
AND WOMEN ARE THE MOST VERSATILE WORK FORCE IN GOVERNMENT, EQUIPPED
WITH THE MOST CAPABLE FLEET OF SHIPS, AIRCRAFT AND BOATS, ALONG
WITH THE MOST EFFECTIVE SYSTEMS THAT WILL SUPPORT THEM. WE HAVE AN
EXTRAORDINARY LEGACY OF EXCELLENCE AS AMERICA'S COAST GUARD. WE
WILL BUILD ON THAT LEGACY. WE WILL RISE TO MEET THE CHALLENGES
FACING US. AND WE WILL REMAIN ALWAYS READY.
5. HAPPY BIRTHDAY AND SEMPER PARATUS!
6. INTERNET RELEASE AUTHORIZED.
7. ADM T. W. ALLEN, COMMANDANT, SENDS.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Electoral College

The Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial page has a defense of the Electoral College. Here's a snippet;
Constitutional drafters created the Electoral College as a check on the ability of large states to run roughshod over smaller siblings in presidential elections. They wanted rural interests to receive attention on a par with the much more populous urban centers. Their plan worked. During the 2000 election, for example, voters in a state such as West Virginia proved as critically important as those in Orange County, California. In the midst of a hard-fought election, presidential candidates must understand Appalachian poverty every bit as much as that in inner-city ghettos when putting together a state-by-state coalition that equals 270 electoral votes.
Read the rest here.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Food For Thought

I just started reading His Master's Voice by Stanislaw Lem. I came across an interesting question posed by the narrator;
It turns out, however, that freedom of expression sometimes presents a greater threat to an idea, because forbidden thoughts may circulate in secret, but what can be done when an important fact is lost in a flood of imposters, and the voice of truth becomes drowned out in an ungodly din? When that voice, though freely resounding, cannot be heard, because the technologies of information have led to a situation in which one can receive best the message of him that shouts the loudest, even when the most falsely?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Coast Guard Change of Command

R 251740Z MAY 06 ZUI ASN-A00145000027
FM COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC//G-C//
TO ALCOAST
BT
UNCLAS //N01321//
ALCOAST 299/06
COMDTNOTE 1321
SUBJ: COMMANDANTS CHANGE OF COMMAND
1. TODAY I RELIEVED ADMIRAL THOMAS COLLINS AS COMMANDANT. WE HONOR
HIS 38 YEARS OF EXCEPTIONAL SERVICE TO THE NATION. HE LED THE COAST
GUARD THROUGH TIMES OF SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGE AND CHANGE, INCLUDING
THE TRANSITION FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION TO THE
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, SUPPORTING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF
NORTHCOM, THE SWIFT IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MARITIME TRANSPORTATION
SECURITY ACT, HISTORIC INTERNATIONAL ENGAGEMENT WITH THE PEOPLES
REPUBLIC OF CHINA, AND THE UNPRECEDENTED RESPONSE TO THE 2005
HURRICANES. WE WISH HIM WELL AND THANK HIM FOR A JOB WELL DONE IN
SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY AND HUMANITY. I ALSO EXTEND MY SINCERE
APPRECIATION TO MRS. NANCY COLLINS FOR HER SUPPORT DURING ADMIRAL
COLLINS DISTINGUISHED CAREER.
2. CONCURRENT WITH THIS ALCOAST I AM SENDING AN EMAIL, MY FIRST
SITREP, TO ALL HANDS AND TO OUR MANY PARTNERS, OUTLINING MY INTENT.
A PERSONAL VIDEO MESSAGE FROM ME, ALONG WITH THIS SITREP, CAN BE
ACCESSED ON THE COAST GUARD INTERNET HOME PAGE AT WWW.USCG.MIL IN
THE COMMANDANTS CORNER AND ON THE OURCG TAB OF CGCENTRAL AT
HTTP://CGCENTRAL.USCG.MIL. IN THE FUTURE YOU WILL RECEIVE ALL
HANDS MESSAGES DIRECTLY FROM ME VIA SEVERAL CHANNELS, INCLUDING ALL
HANDS GENERAL MESSAGES AND THESE WEBSITES. MY PERFORMANCE GOAL IS
TO ENSURE RECEIPT BY ALL MEMBERS, O-10 TO E-1, IN TWENTY-FOUR
HOURS.
3. I AM EXTRAORDINARILY PROUD OF YOU AND OUR SERVICE. I AM
GRATEFUL FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO CONTINUE TO SERVE YOU AND THE
NATION.
4. ALL HAZARDS, ALL THREATS, ALWAYS READY...SEMPER PARATUS.
5. INTERNET RELEASE AUTHORIZED.
6. ADMIRAL THAD ALLEN, COMMANDANT, SENDS.
BT
NNNN

Monday, May 22, 2006

How Not To Call For Help

The last case that I had ended up with everyone safe and sound but tired because they spent the whole night on their boat. They didn't have to but they did what so many boaters are doing these days; relying on a cell phone as their only means of communication. Here's a quick synopsis of the case.

Three men ages 19-22 went out on the bay in a 35 year old 18' boat to do some fishing. Some time that night, they ran out of gas. They called 911 on their cell phone and got the Virginia State Police at 9:50 pm. They told the dispatcher that they were broken down near Langley Air Force Base and the call was lost. The call was too short for the phone information to be captured. The VSP called us and we asked Langley Fire Department to send their boat out to investigate. They didn't see anything.

Then Hampton 911 called us around 10:10 pm saying that they had gotten a call from the same guys. They got a little more information from the boat. Now we knew that they were out of gas. Hampton was dispatching their police boat and fire boat. The 911 system was unable to calculate a position of the call though. They did get a phone number and called the carrier, T-Mobile, to find out who the owner was. We got the owner's name and address but he wasn't listed in the phone book so we couldn't call his house. So here's how I found a phone number for him;
1. Looked up the address on the countie's online tax maps.
2. Identified the owner.
3. Called owner, she didn't live there. It was rented and she gave me the tenant's phone number.
4. Called tenant. The boater didn't live there but the tenant was his uncle.
5. Boater lives next door to the uncle with his mother.
6. Uncle has mother call me back.
This took about 45 minutes.

By this time, we were getting concerned that we hadn't found them yet so we launched Station Cape Charles to search. Meanwhile, I called T-Mobile again to get more information about the call. Unfortunately, the technician could only tell me that the phone was currently turned off so he couldn't "ping" it. Since the phone was roaming, he couldn't tell me what tower had picked up the signal.

The mother called back to say that she found out who might be on the boat with her son. She had a cell phone number for one of them. I called the number but got the voice mail. It is now around midnight and the area around Langley has been saturated. We request a helicopter from Elizabeth City, NC to search.

At 1:20, they call 911 again. This time, it's a different phone number that calls. It's the same number the mother gave me. I call Verizon to find out more. This time I am able to get tower information which leads me to expand the search area to part of the bay. As the helo is searching this area, they have a bird strike and have to land at Langley AFB to inspect the airframe. They are able to get back up and resume the search and find the boaters around 5:30 am. The boats are vectored in and tow the boat back to the marina.

OK, so that wasn't a quick synopsis. But it wasn't a quick case. If the guys on the boat had a VHF Marine radio and flares, this would have been a quick case. Here's why cell phones shouldn't replace a radio on a boat;

1. Cell phone companies place towers to get the best coverage over LAND not water. I've been on a boat in sight of a cell phone tower and had no signal.

2. If you call the Coast Guard with a cell phone, no one else can hear you. If you call us with a marine radio, everyone near you with a radio can hear you tell us that you are in trouble. These guys are closer to you than we are.

3. We cannot home in on a cell phone signal. We can use direction finding equipment to home in on any VHF Marine signal though.

Cell phones are a great backup but VHF Marine radio is the best way to get help while you are on the water.

Another great thing to have is towing insurance. The three companies that I know of who offer it are TowBoat US, Sea Tow and Vessel Assist. (I'm not endorsing a company here.)

The other great thing to do is file a float plan. The Coast Guard Auxiliary had a great site where you can download the form.


The Daily Press editorial board wonders if we should seek reimbursement from these guys for the search since they went out unprepared. The only figures that I have is a HH-60 helicopter costs $11,000 per hour. My "billing rate" is around $65/hour. So, we're already up to a hefty chunk of change before we add the boats.


Submitted to the Virginia Blog Carnival.

Monday, April 24, 2006

In Memoriam

242056Z APR 06 ZUI ASN-A02114000022
FM COMLANTAREA COGARD PORTSMOUTH VA//ACS/AO/AOF/AOFP//
TO ALLCOGARD LANT
BT
UNCLAS
SUBJ: REMEMBERING A COAST GUARD HERO - DC3 NATHAN BRUCKENTHAL
1. 24 APRIL 2006 MARKS THE SECOND ANNIVERSARY OF THE LOSS OF DC3
NATHAN BRUCKENTHAL AND TWO USN SAILORS WHO WERE KILLED IN THE LINE
OF DUTY WHILE CONDUCTING MARITIME INTERCEPT OPERATIONS (MIO) IN THE
NORTH ARABIAN GULF.
2. DC3 BRUCKENTHAL WAS A PROUD COAST GUARDSMAN WHO SERVED HIS
COUNTRY AND HIS FELLOW MAN WITH HONOR AND COMPASSION. HE WILLINGLY
ENTERED INTO HARMS WAY TO PROTECT OUR NATION AND HIS FELLOW
SERVICEMEN FROM TERRORISTS AND TO ASSIST THE PEOPLE OF IRAQ AS THEY
PURSUE FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY. AS A MEMBER OF TACLET SOUTH, HE
EXEMPLIFIED HONOR, RESPECT AND MOST ESPECIALLY, DEVOTION TO DUTY.
3. THE ANNIVERSARY OF THIS INCIDENT PROVIDES AN EXCELLENT
OPPORTUNITY FOR US TO REFLECT ON THE DANGEROUS LAW ENFORCEMENT,
HOMELAND SECURITY AND NATIONAL DEFENSE MISSIONS OUR PEOPLE PREPARE
TO PERFORM EACH AND EVERY DAY. WHETHER IT BE MIO IN THE PERSIAN
GULF, AMIO AND COUNTER-DRUG BOARDINGS IN THE ATLANTIC AND CARIBBEAN
OR HOMELAND SECURITY BOARDINGS WITHIN OUR BORDERS, THE THREATS
FACING OUR OPERATIONAL PERSONNEL ARE GREATER NOW THAN EVER BEFORE.
DESPITE THE PERCEIVED ROUTINE NATURE OF THESE MISSIONS, IT IS
CRITICAL FOR US TO REMAIN EVER VIGILANT AND ALERT AS WE CONTINUE TO
PERFORM THESE VITAL NATIONAL SECURITY MISSIONS. OUR ADVERSARIES
ARE CONTINUOUSLY LOOKING FOR OUR WEAKNESSES AND SIGNS OF
COMPLACENCY THAT THEY CAN EXPLOIT FOR THEIR BENEFIT.
4. ON THIS DAY PLEASE TAKE A FEW MOMENTS TO REMEMBER DC3
BRUCKENTHAL, REMIND OUR PEOPLE OF THE POTENTIAL THREATS THAT ARE
ALWAYS LURKING IN THE SHADOWS, AND ENCOURAGE THEM TO CONTINUE TO BE
ATTENTIVE, PROFESSIONAL AND SAFE. OUR NATION DEPENDS ON US.
5. INTERNET RELEASE AUTHORIZED.
BT
NNNN

Monday, April 17, 2006

America's Most Wanted All Star

There is a Coastie in the running for America's Most Wanted All Stars. He is BM2 John Anthony. His wife explains why he was nominated for this award;
We were headed out for ice cream on a Saturday with my then 11 month old son. I saw a plan flying pretty low over Grand Traverse Bay and pointed it out to John. We both shrugged it off until we saw the blast of water. We made a crazy U turn in the middle of the highway. I stayed with my son and John dove into the water.
When he got to the pilot, he was conscious, but was struggling with his harness. John got him free and brought him to the surface.


So, here's the link to vote.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Not Dead Yet

I'm still here. My muse is UA right now. I'll get back in the saddle again soon.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Help Wanted

Want to be a Game Warden? The Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries has announced they are going to hire 20 new Game Wardens this year. Click here to get more information on the job and hiring process.

Stanislaw Lem

I just read that Stanislaw Lem has died. He was a great science fiction writer although he didn't like that title. My first exposure to his works was Star Diaries. I was a collection of short stories following the same intrepid space traveler, Ijon Tichy. My favorite fact about Tichy is that while traveling, he would bake his potatoes in the nuclear pile that powered his rocket.


His most famous book was Solaris which was made into a pretty good movie with George Clooney.


Here are some more picks from his works. For a more complete list, here's a link to Stanislaw Lem's works. Happy reading!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Ensign Delays A Vice Admiral

Senator Ensign (R-NV) has put a hold on VADM Thad Allen's nomination to be the next Commandant. From the Washington Post;

WASHINGTON -- Republican Sen. John Ensign of Nevada, a former veterinarian who criticized pet evacuation efforts after Hurricane Katrina, is blocking the promotion of a Coast Guard vice admiral who headed the hurricane recovery.

So, does the hold have something to do with pets? No. The Senator is mad at FEMA. What does that have to do with the Coast Guard? Tidewater Muse has the inside scoop.
It looks like the Muse beat CNN by half an hour!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Roe Effect

Here in Tidewater, Virginia we had a horrible crime committed a few weeks ago. A woman who was 9 months pregnant was found in a car dealer's parking lot with a gunshot wound to her abdomen. She was rushed to the nearest trauma center but her baby died. She was due to give birth that day.

As police tried to find the shooter, her story started to fall apart. Eventually, she confessed to shooting herself. It was interesting to see local columnist, Tamara Dietrich condemn the act while trying to keep her pro-abortion credentials intact. Her column was called "Justice Cried." I can't get it online anymore. The other newspaper in the area, The Virginian Pilot, doesn't seem to have editorialized on the matter.

Now the Commonwealth's Attorney is having a hard time finding any crime to charge her with. The only thing they've been able to come up with is illegally inducing an abortion, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and filing a false police report. She can't be charged with killing a fetus because the code outlaws killing the "fetus of another." I am just dumbfounded that the Code of Virginia has such a glaring gap and this woman may just get off scott free. That's what she's counting on, when interviewed on TV she said that she's "been punished enough."

I wonder how Chad Dotson would prosecute this case.

Links,
http://home.hamptonroads.com/stories/story.cfm?story=100336&ran=212974
http://www.dailypress.com/news/opinion/dp-87065sy0mar16,0,3705573.story (second letter)
http://home.hamptonroads.com/stories/story.cfm?story=100614&ran=69553
http://www.dailypress.com/news/dp-81182sy0mar12,1,1638004.story?ctrack=1&cset=true
http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&ned=us&q=tammy+skinner&btnG=Search+News



Submitted to the Virginia Blog Carnival

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Oklahoma Suicide Bomber

Did you hear about the suicide bomber whose bomb went off prematurly outside of the University of Oklahoma's football stadium? Neither had I.

The initial report was; "One person was killed in an explosion in a traffic circle about 100 yards from a packed football stadium at the University of Oklahoma on Saturday night."

Michelle Malkin is on it.

UPDATE: Where's the MSM?

UPDATE 2: Michelle Malkin has an update on the case here.

Richmond Follies

I miss the Richmond Times-Dispatch. For years, the antics of the elected officials in the City of Richmond made politics in Southside Virginia seem normal and, yes, refreshingly boring. The hunger strikes, shady business deals and junkets to Jamaica made for wonderfully entertaining reading. Things have quieted down there now that some jail sentences were handed down and the hoi polloi were allowed to elect their mayor. That took care of the City Council.

Now, enter the school board. A few months ago, the school board chairman was discovered to have submited his dating profile on a gay pr0n site. (Link to the newspaper article, not the site.) Now, that same member was found with marijuana while going through security at the Richmond Internation Airport. Don't worry, it was strictly for "medicinal purposes."

It might be time to see if I can get the Richmond paper delivered to Tidewater.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Another Odd Quiz

Time enough for love
You belong in Time Enough For Love.
You are older than you look.
Your wit and wisdom are prized by others.
People throw themselves on you, begging to be with you.


Which Heinlein Book Should You Have Been A Character In?
brought to you by Quizilla
Hat tip Castle Argghhh!!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Coast Guard Guidance on the Purchase of P&O.

Background: It was recently reported that the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a 12-member panel chaired by the Secretary of the Treasury and comprised of members of the departments of State, Defense, Justice, Commerce and Homeland Security approved the $6.8 billion sale of terminal facility operations in at least six major U.S. ports operated by British-owned Peninsular & Oriental Steamship Co. (P&O) to Dubai Ports World, a government-owned company of the United Arab Emirates. P&O currently runs commercial operations in the ports of New York, New Jersey, Norfolk, New Orleans, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Miami, and Houston. As a component agency of DHS, the Coast Guard was asked to provide information and expertise to DHS necessary for its consideration when reviewing the acquisition proposed by DPW. Some lawmakers are considering legislation to either stop or delay the acquisition citing port security concerns. The President indicated he’d veto legislation aimed at delaying or stopping the transaction.


Talking Points:
“The Coast Guard recognizes we live in a global economy and that foreign-owned corporations own and operate businesses within the United States. Laws and international conventions currently in place -- such as the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code and the Maritime Transportation Security Act -- regulate the security measures with which vessel and facility operators must comply. The Coast Guard strictly enforces these federal laws and international conventions to ensure compliance and protect the security of our vital ports and waterways.”

 As the lead federal agency for maritime security, the Coast Guard routinely inspects and assesses the security of 3,000 regulated facilities in more than 360 U.S. ports at least annually in accordance with the Maritime Transportation and Security Act (MTSA) and the Ports and Waterways Security Act (PWSA).

 Every regulated U.S. port facility, regardless of owner/operator, is required to establish and implement a comprehensive Facility Security Plan (FSP) that outlines procedures for controlling access to the facility, verifying credentials of port workers, inspecting cargo for tampering, designating security responsibilities, training, and reporting of all breaches of security or suspicious activity, among other security measures. Working closely with local port authorities and law enforcement agencies, the Coast Guard regularly reviews, approves, assesses and inspects these plans and facilities to ensure compliance.

 In addition to the Coast Guard’s broad authorities for ensuring the security of U.S. port facilities and operations, the Coast Guard works closely with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to ensure foreign port facilities and ships comply with the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code in an effort to push out our borders and create a layered maritime security posture.

 Given the scale of this pending acquisition, the Coast Guard is ordering its Captains of the Port to re-visit and re-examine all existing P&O port facilities and operations to ensure DHS has the most up-to-date information, which includes an audit of the facility security plan. The Coast Guard will conduct a full on-site MTSA compliance exam at each port facility where P&O maintains a substantial interest, including stevedore services.

The Armorer has more.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

SAR Training

Here is how not to respond to a Mayday.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Coast Guard Vice Admiral Nominations

R 170003Z FEB 06 ZUI ASN-A00048000001
FM COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC//G-C//
TO ALCOAST
INFO DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
BT
UNCLAS //N01426//
ALCOAST 090/06
COMDTNOTE 1426
SUBJ: VICE ADMIRAL NOMINATIONS
1. THE SECRETARY HAS APPROVED AND FORWARDED TO THE PRESIDENT THE
NOMINATIONS OF VICE ADMIRAL VIVIEN S. CREA AS VICE COMMANDANT, REAR
ADMIRAL CHARLES D. WURSTER FOR PROMOTION TO VADM AND ASSIGNMENT AS
COMMANDER, PACIFIC AREA, REAR ADMIRAL D. BRIAN PETERMAN FOR
PROMOTION TO VADM AND ASSIGNMENT AS COMMANDER, ATLANTIC AREA, AND
REAR ADMIRAL ROBERT J. PAPP JR. FOR PROMOTION TO VADM AND
ASSIGNMENT AS COAST GUARD CHIEF OF STAFF.
2. THESE NOMINATIONS ARE PART OF THE CONTINUOUS TRANSITION PROCESS
WITHIN THE FLAG CORPS. WE HAVE BEEN FORTUNATE TO HAVE THE SERVICE
OF VADM TERRY M. CROSS, OUR CURRENT VICE COMMANDANT AND VADM HARVEY
E. JOHNSON JR., OUR CURRENT PACIFIC AREA COMMANDER. BOTH HAVE MADE
ENORMOUS CONTRIBUTIONS TO OUR SERVICE AS MEMBERS OF THE LEADERSHIP
COUNCIL SINCE MAY 2002 AND JUN 2004, RESPECTIVELY. THEY HAVE BEEN
INSTRUMENTAL IN BUILDING THE SOUND FOUNDATION FOR CONTINUED
ORGANIZATIONAL SUCCESS IN KEEPING WITH THE READINESS-PEOPLE-
STEWARDSHIP THEMES OF MY COMMANDANT'S DIRECTION.
3. APPOINTMENT TO THESE BILLETS AND PROMOTION AS APPROPRIATE WILL
OCCUR FOLLOWING CONFIRMATION BY THE SENATE.
4. INTERNET RELEASE AUTHORIZED.
5. ADM T. H. COLLINS, COMMANDANT, SENDS.
BT
NNNN

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Leadership Quote

If you want to talk to men, it doesn’t matter whether they are private soldiers or staff officers, if you want to talk to them as a soldier, and not as a politician, there are only two things necessary. The first is to have something to say that is worth saying, to know what you want to say; and the second, and terribly important thing, is to believe it yourself. Don’t go and tell men something that you don’t believe yourself, because they’llspot it and if they don’t spot it at the time, they’ll find out. Then you’re finished.

Field Marshall Sir William Slim
Speech to U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, 8 April 1952

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Terry Mattingly: So a reporter walks into a church (rimshot)

Terry Mattingly has a few things to say about the reporters that cover the "religion beat." Here's the set up;
During this interview, Neuhaus referred to the pope as the "bishop of Rome." The reporter then said, "That raises an interesting point. Is it unusual that this pope is also the bishop of Rome?"

Being an Episcopalian, this is one that gets me;
In a scathing Books & Culture essay entitled "Religiously Ignorant Journalists," sociologist Christian Smith of the University of North Carolina said he is tired of calls from journalists who don't know that Episcopalians are not "Episcopals"

Read the whole thing here.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Here's to the Coast Guard

A friend sent this to me.

*** I liked standing on the bridge wing at sunrise with salt spray in my face and clean ocean winds whipping in from the four quarters of the globe - - the cutter beneath me feeling like a living thing as her engines drove her swiftly through the sea.

*** I liked the sounds of the Coast Guard - the piercing trill of the Boatswains pipe, the syncopated clangor of the ship's bell on the quarterdeck, the harsh squawk of the PA system, and the strong language and laughter of sailors at work.

*** I liked CG vessels -- nervous darting 255s, plodding buoy tenders and light ships, sleek 327s and the steady solid hum of the twin engines on the HH16E

*** I liked the proud names of Coast Guard ships: USS Bayfield, USS Cavalier, USCGC Taney, USCGC Absecon, the Wind class Icebreakers and the USCGC Bibb just to name a few.

*** I liked the lean angular names of CG "shallow water cutters" the 83 footers, Pt Divide, Pt lookout, Cape Trinity and the Cape Higgon. Named for Locations around the states.

*** I liked liberty call and the spicy scent of a foreign port.

*** I even liked the never ending paperwork and all hands working Parties as my ship filled herself with the multitude of supplies, both mundane and to cut ties to the land and carry out her mission anywhere on the globe where there was water to float her.

*** I liked sailors, officers and enlisted men from all parts of the land, farms of the Midwest, small towns of New England, from the cities, the mountains and the prairies, from all walks of life. I trusted and depended on them as they trusted and depended on me - for professional competence, for comradeship, for strength and courage. In a word, they were "shipmates"; then and forever.

*** I liked the surge of adventure in my heart, when the word was passed: "Now set the special sea and anchor detail - all hands to mooring stations for leaving port," and I liked the infectious thrill of sighting home again, with the waving hands of welcome from family and friends waiting pier side.

*** The work was hard and dangerous; the going rough at times; the Parting from loved ones painful, but the companionship of robust CG laughter, the "all for one and one for all" philosophy of the sea was ever present.

*** I liked the serenity of the sea after a day of hard ship's work, as flying fish flitted across the wave tops and sunset gave way to night.

*** I liked the feel of the CG Cutter in darkness - the masthead and Range lights, the red and green navigation lights and stern light, the pulsating phosphorescence of radar repeaters - they cut through the dusk and joined with the mirror of stars overhead. And I liked drifting off to sleep lulled by the myriad noises large and small that told me that my ship was alive and well, and that my shipmates on watch would keep me safe.

*** I liked quiet mid-watches with the aroma of strong coffee and horse Cock sandwiches-- the lifeblood of the CG permeating everywhere.

*** And I liked hectic watches when the exacting minuet of haze-gray shapes
racing at flank speed kept all hands on a razor edge of alertness.

*** I liked the sudden electricity of "General quarters, general quarters, all hands man your battle stations," followed by the hurried clamor of running feet on ladders and the resounding thump of watertight doors as the ship transformed herself in a few brief seconds from a peaceful workplace to a weapon of war -- ready for anything.

*** And I liked the sight of space-age equipment manned by youngsters Clad in dungarees and sound-powered phones that their grandfathers would still recognize.

*** I liked the traditions of the CG and the men and women who served so valiantly. This few gave so much in service to their country. A sailor could find much in the CG: comrades-in-arms, pride in self and country, mastery of the seaman's trade. An adolescent could find adulthood.

*** In years to come, when sailors are home from the sea, they will Still remember with fondness and respect the ocean in all its moods - the impossible shimmering mirror calm and the storm-tossed green water surging over the bow. And then there will come again a faint whiff of stack gas, a faint echo of engine and rudder orders, a vision of the bright bunting of signal flags snapping at the yardarm, a refrain of hearty laughter inthe wardroom and chief's quarters and mess decks.

*** Gone ashore for good they will grow wistful about their CG days,when the seas belonged to them and a new port of call was ever over the horizon.

*** Remembering this, they will stand taller and say, "I WAS A SAILOR ONCE."

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Additions to the Blogroll

I've added two blogs to my roll. The first is the Boating Safety Law and News Blog. Since I deal with boating safety everyday, my interest in this blog is obvious.

The second is Fire and Ice. It is the blog of Marine Michael Fay. He describes himself as;
I am the artist in residence for the United States Marine Corps. I'm currently deployed in Iraq creating a body of artwork reflecting the experience of fellow Marines engaged in the War on Terrorism.
He has put a lot of his artwork on his blog. (Hat Tip to Michelle Malkin.)
Be sure to check them out.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Rep Forbes on Rep Shadegg

I wrote Congressman Forbes (R-VA-4) asking him to support Congressman Shadegg's bid for House Majority Leader. Here is the reply that I just got.

January 23, 2006

Dear Mr. _____:

Thank you for contacting me to express your support for Congressman John Shadegg in the race for House Majority Leader. I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts on this matter with me.

Rep. Shadegg has been a member of Congress since 1994 and represents the3rd Congressional District of Arizona. He previously served as Chairmanof the House Republican Study Committee and is now the Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee. It is important that we have strong leadership in the House that supports limited government and traditional values. Please be assured that I will certainly review Rep. Shadegg's platform and maintain an open mind towards his candidacy.

Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me. As your Representative in Congress, I appreciate your input on this matter. If I can be of any assistance on this or any other issue, please feel free to contact me in my Washington DC office at (202) 225-6365 or online at www.house.gov/forbes.

With kind personal regards, I am

Yours truly,

J. RANDY FORBES
Member of Congress

JRF:ACM
I guess this puts him as a definate maybe.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Next Commandant

R 191954Z JAN 06 ZUI ASN-A00019000033
FM COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC//G-C//
TO ALCOAST
INFO SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION WASHINGTON DC
DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
DEPT OF STATE WASHINGTON DC
WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
WHITE HOUSE HOMELAND SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
SECNAV WASHINGTON DC
CJCS WASHINGTON DC
JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
CNO WASHINGTON DC
CMC WASHINGTON DC
CSA-W WASHINGTON DC//DACS/ZA//
CSAF WASHINGTON DC
CDR USNORTHCOM
CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL
CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
CDR USJFCOM NORFOLK VA
CDR USSTRATCOM OFFUTT AFB NE
CDR USTRANSCOM SCOTT AFB IL
DNI WASHINGTON DC
DIA WASHINGTON DC
CIA WASHINGTON DC
DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC
DIR ONDCP WASHINGTON DC
BT
UNCLAS //N01426//
ALCOAST 032/06
COMDTNOTE 1426
SUBJ: PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION OF COMMANDANT
1. PRESIDENT BUSH HAS APPROVED AND WILL FORWARD TO THE SENATE THE
NOMINATION OF VADM THAD W. ALLEN AS COMMANDANT OF THE UNITED STATES
COAST GUARD TO RELIEVE ADMIRAL THOMAS H. COLLINS EFFECTIVE 25 MAY
2006.
BT
NNNN




STATEMENT BY HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY MICHAEL CHERTOFF ON THE NOMINATION OF VICE ADMIRAL THAD W. ALLEN AS COMMANDANT OF THE UNITED STATES COAST GUARD

President Bush has announced his intention to nominate an exceptional leader and public servant as Commandant of the Coast Guard in Thad Allen. Thad has my complete confidence and full support, and if confirmed, he will play a major role in shaping the future of this department.

Most Americans came to know and respect Thad for his work overseeing the federal government’s recovery efforts following the devastation from Hurricane Katrina. Thad is a highly-accomplished Coast Guard veteran who has served our nation in several key positions since his graduation from the Coast Guard Academy in 1971. His service includes Chief of Staff and Commanding Officer at headquarters; Commander of the Atlantic Area, Fifth Coast Guard District; Commander of the Seventh Coast Guard District; Director of Resources; and Commander of the cutter Citrus. In response to 9/11, Thad led Coast Guard operations to re-position the Atlantic fleet in support of local port commanders and to establish critical command and control capability.

If confirmed, Vice Admiral Allen will follow a distinguished Commandant in Admiral Thomas H. Collins, at a scheduled change of command in May. Admiral Collins has led the Coast Guard during one of the more challenging periods in its history. He helped to ensure a seamless transition into the department and introduced emerging technologies and innovative programs that have enhanced overall mission performance. I thank Admiral Collins for his continued service and commend his dedication to country.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Bloggers on GOP Leadership Race

I've signed my name to this statement from many center-right bloggers about the House Republican leadership race:


We are bloggers with boatloads of opinions, and none of us come close to agreeing with any other one of us all of the time. But we do agree on this: The new leadership in the House of Representatives needs to be thoroughly and transparently free of the taint of the Jack Abramoff scandals, and beyond that, of undue influence of K Street.

We are not naive about lobbying, and we know it can and has in fact advanced crucial issues and has often served to inform rather than simply influence Members.


But we are certain that the public is disgusted with excess and with privilege. We hope the Hastert-Dreier effort leads to sweeping reforms including the end of subsidized travel and other obvious influence operations. Just as importantly, we call for major changes to increase openness, transparency and accountability in Congressional operations and in the appropriations process.


As for the Republican leadership elections, we hope to see more candidates who will support these goals, and we therefore welcome the entry of Congressman John Shadegg to the race for Majority Leader. We hope every Congressman who is committed to ethical and transparent conduct supports a reform agenda and a reform candidate. And we hope all would-be members of the leadership make themselves available to new media to answer questions now and on a regular basis in the future.


Signed,


N.Z. Bear, The Truth Laid Bear
Hugh Hewitt, HughHewitt.com
Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit.com
Kevin Aylward, Wizbang!
La Shawn Barber, La Shawn Barber’s Corner
Beth, MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
Lorie Byrd, Polipundit
Jeff Goldstein, Protein Wisdom
Stephen Green, Vodkapundit
John Hawkins, Right Wing News
John Hinderaker, Power Line
Jon Henke / McQ / Dale Franks, QandO
James Joyner, Outside The Beltway
Mike Krempasky, Redstate.org
Michelle Malkin, MichelleMalkin.com
Ed Morrissey, Captain’s Quarters
Scott Ott, Scrappleface
John Donovan / Bill Tuttle, Castle Argghhh!!!




Check it out and sign on if you agree at N.Z. Bear's.

This is too much

The General Assembly is in town! Huzzah!
I have been using the Legislation Information System to see what bills the GA will be working on this year. I came across HB 187. The short title of the bill is; Prohibition on the provision of certain intervening medical technology to unmarried women. The gist of the bill is;
No individual licensed by a health regulatory board shall assist with or perform any intervening medical technology, whether in vivo or in vitro, for or on an unmarried woman that completely or partially replaces sexual intercourse as the means of conception, including, but not limited to, artificial insemination by donor, cryopreservation of gametes and embryos, invitro fertilization, embryo transfer, gamete intrafallopian tube transfer, and low tubal ovum transfer.

In other words, if this becomes law, unmarried women couldn't be artificially inseminated. It seems that this would prohibit surrogate mothers. Now I too am distressed by the unimportance placed on fathers by the left and decline in the strength of the traditional family. This is none of the government's business.

The bill's patron is Robert G. Marshall (R-Manassas). Tellingly, there are no co-patrons. I see this bill dying a quick death in committee. It won't be a quiet death if the Dems can help it. They will use this bill as a bully pulpit for them to say how mean Republicans are. Just what we need.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Chicken Cobbler Casserole

My wife subscribes to Southern Living Magazine. We love the recipes. As soon as my wife puts it down, my first question is, "any good recipes?" There was a winner in this month's edition. The next time we make it, we are going to add more butter to the bread and add garlic when we saute the veggies.

Chicken Cobbler Casserole

Prep: 10 min., Cook: 25 min., Bake: 15 min.

6 tablespoons melted butter, divided
4 cups cubed sourdough rolls
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 medium-size sweet onions, sliced
1 (8-ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup white wine
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup drained and chopped jarred roasted red bell peppers
2 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken

Toss 4 tablespoons melted butter with next 3 ingredients; set aside.
Sauté onions in remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat 15 minutes or until golden brown. Add mushrooms, and sauté 5 minutes.

Stir in wine and next 3 ingredients; cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until bubbly. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 9-inch square baking dish; top evenly with bread mixture.

Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Yield: Makes 4 servings
Southern Living, JANUARY 2006

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Put Two in the Plus Column

I had a good day today. We received a distress beacon alert 1400 nautical miles south east of Bermuda. It was for the Atlantic Challenge, a 7 meter rowboat taking part in a race across the Atlantic. The boat had two Irishmen on board. We diverted an AMVER vessel to assist. She was 50 nautical miles away. That far out, 50 NM is a mere stone's throw. As the vessel approached the area they saw a flare. When they got on scene, both men were found alive in their liferaft. Instead of rowing to Antigua, they're getting a ride to Spain. Case Closed.
You can read about the case
here, here, here, and here.
I'll post more about it later. Before I go to bed though, I have to ask, why would you row across the Atlantic?
UPDATE: The last article by the Irish Times is here..
There is one error in the story, we didn't have a boat on standby in Clearwater. We launched a second C-130 from there to assist.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

People of the Year

This is kind of cool. ABC News has declared Coasties as their "People of the Year."

Dec. 28, 2005 — Many Americans were unaware of who they were or what they did until this year. But when Hurricane Katrina hit and the waters began to rise, U.S. Coast Guard members moved in by air and by sea, risking their lives to save thousands of others.
[snip]
It was a mission for which they had never trained. Normally, the Coast Guard saves an average of 5,500 people a year. Within two weeks of Katrina, it had rescued or evacuated more than 33,000 people under the most difficult circumstances imaginable.


I've been in the Coast Guard for 14 years. The past few years (since 9/11) the public's awareness of what we do has grown expotentially. I have always been proud to be a part of this organization.

Semper Paratus!


Hat tip to Tidewater Musings

Ominous Start for 2006

New Year's Eve night found me standing Search and Rescue (SAR) watch. By 1900, all reliefs had been made and we were ready for what we hoped would be an uneventful night. Well, at 1930 my phone rang and it was Virginia Beach 911. They had received a report of a truck or van running off of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. I looked at the clock to log the time and it was 0033Z. SAR cases are run in Zulu or Greenwich Mean Time. So this case was starting on January 1, 2006. The first case of the year.

I immediately launched the closest station and got a helicopter from Elizabeth City, NC. Virginia Beach Fire, Portsmouth Fire, Virginia Marine Police all responded. The VA Beach boat located the vehicle and the dive team went down to investigate. They found what we feared, the driver never made it out of the vehicle.


WAVY-TV 10 has this story.
Daily Press too.