18 January 2007

9 yr old is able to defeat TSA.

Okay so I laughed hard when I heard this story , about a 9 yr who stowed away on board a plane after only stealing a car to drive himself to the airport, during the throw-away minute near the top of the hour by my local all news radio station. However, as I heard more about this and how this kid was able to defeat the security measures that are in place is when I got very, very angry. Let us take this incident apart (at least from what is being reported) and look at the Swiss cheese effect that has occurred here. Think about these points and how dangerous this event actually was to our security.

1.He was able to con the ticket agents into issuing him a new boarding pass to supposedly catch up with his mom on board the plane.
Now, I don't know about the rest of you loyal readers, but for myself I would look to confirm that his mother was on board the plane or was ticketed to ride on board. Instead the ticket rep, just hands over a boarding pass to this little kid on the belief that he was just separated from his mother. Think about this idea and then tell me that I am over-reacting. What if this kid was instead a indoctrinated terrorist? Some terror groups through out the world have used children as the major parts of thier army in wars of aggression against the government. From what I have read on the media they have been using kids to do everything from be observers of thier enemies up to and including actually being part of raids and attacks.

2.How in the world was he able to get past the security screen?
Last time I flew last year just to go from coast to coast. I had to stand in line and even with my two forms of picture ID was still randomly selected for additional screening. Which is totally cool, because I am totally use to it now. Let alone they always seem to pick me for additional screening when I go to work. I think it is because the couple of the women MA's that work the gate I come through think I am cute, or at least that is what my ego tells me.
Back to the question at hand though. If I can't get by without being harassed by the rent-a-cops belonging to the TSA, then how in the bloody hell did a 9 yr old get pass the central screening prior to heading to the gate. I would think that they would have stopped the kid, because they are supposed to screen the boarding passes before letting the passangers on to the gate area. It looks like this didn't happen. If it did happen then the port police would of been called aand the kid detained until his real parents showed up. Yet another flaw in the TSA and most airport security screenings profiling. Yet another hole in the system which bad things could happen to airline travelers. If the security personnel fail to notice a child does not match hs boarding pass let alone the adults he is walking with. Then would they notice an unusually acting married couple? What about an adult with a child and the adult (or child) seems distant? This seems to just prove again that we are not completely safe with the new measures put in since Sept '01

3. Boarding Gate agents and Flight Attendents failing to notice an extra passenger on board.
Come on folks. A passanger airplane even the Boeing 747 series is pretty small after a while and at the boarding situation if there is an extra passanger they usually don't let the board. Let alone an unaccompany minor, how could this kid con two (or more adults) that he blonged on that flight? Let alone being noticable to the flight attendents if he did try to keep moving between the toliets and some seat. I would think maybe even hope that flight attendents are paying more attention to things now post Sept '01. Don't give me that he was just a kid and not noticable, that is total BS. Even when I have flow as a kid, the flight attendents were noticing me as I bounced around in my seat. A few times they would come and complain to my parents chragrin that I was making too much noise. My point though was that I was noticed. Again I ask how was a 9 year old kid who got on in Seattle able to make it to Phoneix and then to San Antonio before being busted by a boarding agent in San Antonio trying to stoaway onboard another plane and head to Dallas. This is where the last hole was stopped an a potentinal event was stopped. Although in other times and places in travel to the US and although some were over-reactions and others were not. However, both times there was some one acting on thier suspisicions which caused police to act and stop a potential event.

So these 274 (figuring 137 people total on each flight based on typical Southwest aircraft) people put at risk by security personnel, Southwest Airlines personnel, and finally some one in general not acting on thier "this is odd" intution. They were probably afraid of catching heck from supervisors or someone else for rasing the alarm. I would rather live with a few more moments of intestigation and over reaction to possible securtiy issue then read or experience a terrorist event.



17 January 2007

This is why Naval Aviators are the best and have the pelotas de latón.

We have all seen plenty of shots like this of US Naval Aviation aircraft landing and taking off from the US Carriers.

Personally in the second video the DV's are a little too close to the wire for my comfort. I have see those wires do some funky things on retraction on top of that coming back as fast as they do are fully capable of taking out ankles or breaking legs.

We have all seen things like this. I know, but what about large cargo bird like a C-130 taking off and landing on a carrier?

Oh, the Lt. Flatley mentioned is now RADM James H. Flatley III (USN Ret.) the son of VADM James H. Flatley. Lt. Flatley rose to prominence himself inside the Navy, before retiring as a RADM.

The Herky Bird wasn't the only thing strange to land on a carrier.

As far as I know about this was a test by the CIA to see if a U-2 could take off and land from a carrier a variant of the U-2 called the U-2G was manufactured and it had a tail hook, jet assisted take off (JATO) hook ups, and strengthen gear. This was also only used operationally once, at least according to unclassified documents, of one on board the USS Ranger CV-61 when they carried one near Tahiti and launched it to take photos of the French nuclear tests in the 60's near there. After that the project was considered to unwieldy, again according to unclass'd documents, so the CIA scrapped the project.

Just some interesting shots to share to you all.


12 January 2007

Missed the Iraqization Speech

I was busy helping a friend out so I completely missed what the POTUS has to say about his plan of action for Iraq. So being completely interested I bounced over to the White House's website and read the transcript. I am glad that he is willing to admit that the mistakes lay with him. That is something big. Why you ask? Well that to me is what makes up a good leader, one that is willing to step up and say "I flubbed it" and take the heat for it. That is something they try and teach us at leadership schools to have people be willing to follow you.
Reading through it some more I will also accept the point that we can't let Iraq descend into radical extremist control. That isn't to say we need to install an pro-western puppet. I would rather let the people decide after this nation has become stabilized what they want to do. I will also say this that if extremists gain control then who knows what could happen. There has been plenty of time in the past when America or American people have been hurt by extremists gaining control of a nation or a group. We can't let this happen again. Even though I don't like to use this idea, no matter how true it is, but especially since Iraq and the rest of those nations around the Persian Gulf are capable of holding most of the world's economy hostage because they control a large amount of oil. Think about it for just one second people, most of Asia which are currently the largest producers of high value consumer products for the US and Europe. Also the two of the three biggest economies in Asia do not have ready access to oil, those two are Japan and South Korea. The People's Republic China does have some limited access to oil in the South China sea but those deposits are currently being argued about between the PRC, Vietnam, Philippines, and some of the other nations around the South China Sea.
Don't go all "Ah, so it is about the oil" on me please. I don't believe it is about the oil but if you don't believe that oil doesn't help run this nation's economy along with about 96% of the rest of the world's economy then you are sorely lacking in an education. Just think about how much people saved and scrimp to keep extra cash in their pockets from this past year as oil prices, and in turn other fuel prices, went up to some of the highest levels seen in a while. So to a point this conflict is about oil, but it is also about trying to prevent the collapse of economies and another possible major depression world wide.
I feel really so-so about the comment regarding the Iraqi's and the Iraqi government need to take charge of the security situation. From everything that I have read in the military blogs out there and on the external US media (i.e. the media from outside the US), the Iraqis want to take charge but it is to much like the Balkans or parts of Northern Ireland over there. In that because of some insult going years and possibly even centuries back between the three major ethnic/religious groups is just causing all sorts of hate and discontent. President Bush's plan just sounds too much like Nixon's plan of "Vietnamization" during the Vietnam war. That was turning over more and more of the actual combat to South Vietnamese troops. Meanwhile American troops would slowly be withdrawn and go back to training cadres. I know, gentle readers, if the President is pushing 21K plus troops into Iraq he really isn't withdrawing now. No, but it could very well be the start. I would also remind you ,dear reader, what happened to South Vietnam shortly after the Vietnamization process started. That was an serious increase in actions not by the Viet Cong but by the North Vietnamese Army in South Vietnam that ultimately lead to the Easter Offensive by North Vietnam into South Vietnam. Who is to say what might happen to an obviously weakened internal government and a military that is wrought with problems as well.
If we do pull out like the Democrats and Liberals want us to do, then we could very well have a country like Taliban control Afghanistan or even the Ayatollah control Iran on hand. If the extremists on the other hand gain control then we could very well have another Syria, Libya, Sudan, or dictatorship that could be outright hostile to the west. What might be really nasty is Iraq would become like Lebanon was in the 70's and early 80's. After the start of the Lebanese civil war , a beautiful country saw itself overrun by three major forces all jockeying for control of the nation. Israel from the south supporting a group in the civil war, Syria from the east supporting the Hezbollah and another group, and internal the PLO trying to create a home base for their movement. That could very well happen to Iraq if we fail to try and secure a major peace for the country. There are a number of Iraq's neighbors that are honestly looking for payback for some of Saddam's aggressive tendencies. Do you honestly want to believe that people would stand by as that country would be torn apart by its various neighbors as it really did descend into a civil war? I do believe that some of the more rabid liberals and bush haters would love to see that happen.
I seriously believe that the "CNN Factor" has been in play since late in 2003. With those groups that are seriously opposed to the West in trying to establish a democracy in the region. They have been playing up to both the local media and the international media trying to paint a very bleak picture at home. All of this has been in an attempt to turn the West's civilian population against the objective of building a better nation out of what is there. What is the "CNN effect" you ask it is a term that I heard a friend use to explain how the American political will and civilian will can falter if CNN (or any 24hr cable news network) shows American soldiers losing. This will in turn lead to the president at the time to pull the troops out. For example Panama in 1989 after the press pool got shots of looting and lawlessness in certain neighborhoods, the success of the American forces took a back burner to the shots of troops blasting hard rock at the Vatican Embassy and rioter and looters taking everything not nailed down in some of the major cities. Another famous example was would be Somalia in 1993, after CNN and a number of other news agencies showed the bodies of the dead Delta Force and Rangers being drugged through the street and the report of CWO3 Durant as a prisoner. In turn the US military withdrew from Somalia and it has now been generally believed that this emboldened Osama Bin Laden that the US was a paper tiger. The anti-US forces have been very effective in trying to portray Iraq as a cess-pool and they have been using the media as their unknowing pawns in this portrayal.

Overall, I think that the President is right. This is going to be a very long fight and we a nation need to accept that it it not a Nintendo war. Where we will be treated to wonderful shots on the evening news of night-vision cameras and enough laser light bouncing around to put on an awesome rock concert. Rather this will be a war of hard fought actions over a few pieces of ground and the achievements won't be measured in historic battles like Tripoli, Midway, Bastogne, Chosin, Hue. Rather it will be measured on the ability of the people of the Iraqi nation to create a government of their choosing and a nation built in their own ideals.

10 January 2007

A country for sale.

No not lobbiest buying political favors but the actual country called the Principality of Sealand is for sale. This would be something to own, though I just wonder how I could finance the upkeep of the country. Maybe I could have either the UK or the US invade and then lose and have a Marshall plan brought on line ala like the movie, "The Mouse that Roared". What do you folks think?

04 January 2007

Hummer folks are way too bored making holes in the sky.

I had gotten an email yesterday asking me to show this infamous Sun King video that I was talking about in my previous post. Digging around on Time Magazines favorite Internet toy for the last year, You tube dot com. I found not one, but two different videos that were upload by the fine folks of VAW-116. So for your viewing pleasure or discomfort here are the fine folks of VAW-116 The Sun Kings singing and being just silly as part of their mid-cruise blahs for last year.

Oh and why do I call the E-2 the "hummer" instead of its proper name of Hawkeye. Well you stand near those limb separators ,that they call turbo props, long enough while running round on the flight deck and after a while the thing sounds like it is humming. Especially so after it takes the cat shot.

03 January 2007

Good Music?

I got sent a copy of the now classic VAW-116 "Sun Kings" own take on the Black Eye Peas song "Pump It" it took me a while of having to listening to this around the workcenter before I finally realized what song the B.E.P's sampled from. Well actually, in my opinion, they took the whole dang song and just laid thier own words on top it of it. That song was "Misirlou" as re-arranged for a guitar by one of the greatest guitar players in the last 40yrs, Dick Dale. I don't know you compare the two as I have dug around both the Black Eye Pea's verison and Dick Dale's original.

Dick Dale playing at a live Concert this past year in Amsterdam

Now the Black Eye Peas

I like Dick Dale better myself, he puts on a better concert.

02 January 2007

Vacation? What Vacation?

So at O dark 30 today I called in to the duty desk and finally checked out on my well earned holiday leave period for two weeks. Don't fret faithful readers I will not try to completely slack off on my attempts to entertain you all with really bad jokes and really bad stories about being a blue shirt in the Navy. So back to the story, I rolled back over after making my phone call and officially checking out on vacation. Woke up about 7hrs later and after fixing breakfast and shower, I took a hard look around and realized that since coming back from the land of the Rising sun I had let my living arrangements fall completely apart.
How bad was it you ask? let me put it this way I actually had 4 piles of clothes going scattered in the 3 rooms of my apartment. The pile of "Just out of the wash cycle", a pile of needs to be washed, and finally the pile of "I don't know exactly which pile this one fits in but it smells clean". On top of that I have stacks of boxes that I had used to move from the USS Oldboat to the parents and then to my apartment still stacked up in one of my closets. Finally about 2 months of old bills and bank statements gathered up sitting on my counters. Finally all the other simple crap that needs to be taken care of like dusting and vacuuming. Gathered all of my wash up and started to beat that down all the while I also turned around and started to clean my simple apartment today. I figure that if I take one room at a time a day I should at least get my apartment cleaned up before the weekend comes again. So it is going to be a busy week for me even though it is supposed to be my vacation.

01 January 2007

Where did I fail?

So it is now the first day of the New Year (07001 to use the Julian calendar system) and my first problem popped up. I had checked out on leave at 2359 last night and rolled over and went to sleep. At about 0300 I get a phone call from a friend of mine at the local police telling me that they had arrested a guy from my command and my shop specifically for DUI. He had been pulled over just as the street he was on went from the county to city jurisdiction. What caused him to be pulled over was that a headlight was out, and when the officer walked up he noticed an open container in the back seat with a couple of his passengers and smelled alcohol coming off the breath. Needless to say I get a phone call at crack of morning asking if I wanted to come out and bounce him out of jail. I had thought about it for about 30secs and told my friend to let the joker rot in the holding cell until it was the end of his shift, which was going to be about 0800. I rolled back over and went to sleep till about 0715 when I got the call the shift was going to be over and I could get my moron. I turn got up threw on a some clothes and grabbed my check book.

I should say this before going on, that in the Navy and US military in general getting arrested because you are drunk is a bad thing. Those of us in leadership positions constantly harp about not to commit a DUI/DWI. Some skippers or OIC's have used public Captains Masts (NJP for you non-Navy military folks) to get the point across about not to do a DUI . A Mast is where we can take a military member to an administrative punishment with out going completely to a trial situtation. The most that can happen is they will be sent to the Brig for 30 days, lose pay, and lose rank and possibly process to be sent out of the service. That is the hardest we can apply under these situtations. Otherwise they have to be taken to a court martial and harsher punshiments are pushed. One of the more interesting things that we can do is try and help the person by ordering them to attend to counseling at a military hospital. Sort of like the militaries own version of AA.
Now back to the story.
I roll into the front desk at the police station and ask how much to bounce my moron out. Talking to my friend he says it is on the house since this is his first crime and had nothing else outstanding against him. Not even a parking ticket. This kid (he just turned 21 on Thanksgiving) came up to me and said he was sorry. He had that sort of sheepish, "ah dad I screwed up" look on him as he came out of the hall way leading to lock up with his head hung low. On the way over to the hangar I went through the riot act with him.
I pulled up to the hangar with him and after talking to the ASDO we contacted the SDO. In turned went through the process of reporting that he had been arrested. The Skipper, Department Head, Division Officer, and the Chief and just about everyone else in the chain of command. Since he lived in the barracks I turned around and walked him to his room and told him that if the BPO even catches him bringing any more booze to his room well there would be hell to pay on top of the hell that will be paid for waking me up from a good sleep to get his sorry butt out of jail.

What really bothers me is the fact that I had mentored this kid for a while until the commands mentorship program had been revised by our new CMC. One of the things that I had constantly harped on him that if he didn't feel up to driving give me a call. I would rather come get him from BFE at the O dark 30, then come and bounce him out of jail or roll up to the M.E.'s office and try to ID a body. I have explained time and time again as well if you look at myself when we have been on detachments that I only take a couple of drinks and either walk home or not drink at all if I had to drive. I guess the idea of "It won't happen to me" goes so well with being young and dum. I also have to wonder if everytime that we were sitting back some place enjoying the day BSing about nothing if this kid was blowing me off and just giving me an answer that I was looking for about not doing dum things. It is a shame too, because now he will have to at least repeat a rank and be subjected again to going TAD during the up coming workup cycles. Maybe I should try and take him under my wing again and turn him around from going down the path of the dark side. Be a Yoda to his Luke?