Archive for the 'Economics' Category

Piracy’s Impact on International commerce, Law and Diplomacy Panel

October 20th, 2010 by xformed

Lesson learned: Sit near a power plug, and once logged into the conference Wi-Fi, don’t drop the connection, lest the others load it to capacity, and you have to scribble notes the rest of the day.

LCDR Claude Berube, USNR, USNA Professor in the Political Science Department was the moderator.

Robert Gauivin, executive director, Piracy Policy, USCG HQ began the comments:

It is the US’ responsibility to fight piracy. Also noted, it is the requirment of the US merchant vessels to have a defensive plan in place – a Vessel security Plan. They need to have a security detail, which can or may not be armed, and may or may not be contracted.

Outside the lifelines of the US flagged vessels, then units like Task Force 151 and other nations provide assistance. His work involves inter-agency coordination/cooperation: State, DoD, DOT, USCG, etc.

Ships install a Ship Security Alert System (SSAS), which, when activated brings the US Federal resources to bear in the situation.

His group works with shipping company security officers. and also works issues with where captured pirates would be prosecuted (more in later commentary).

CAPT Mark Tempest, USNR (Ret) and maritime lawyer: It’s all about sovereign rights. Privateers operate in the name of a body of people who are recognized in International Law as being able to grant the authority for these people to raid commerce, specifically in history, to fund this designating body, be they local rulers, or a nation state.

Pirates, on the other hand, are functionally “sea robbers” and there has been a long history of “low grade sea robbery” for a very long time. coupling this with the lunch speaker’s comments, that has applicability to yhe current conditions in the area off Somalia.

mark went on to discuss the model of “Prize courts,” where captured vessels were assessed for value. The side note is the “judge” also got a percentage, so this method became less used as pirates figured they could sell the goods and the vessel and get the money for themselves, with out the middle man fees of the court. More margin (follow the money). “It’s all about the money in Somalia. Money is power in Somalia.”

Prosecuting “pirates:” Just where do you do this? With a variety of laws and human rights concerns in the many nation states involved in the law enforcement look at this situation you have to consider the nationality of:

  • Vessels Flag of registry
  • Master
  • Crew
  • Cargo’s owner(s)
  • Insurer
  • Union (if involved)

That’s a long list of choices, and then how to make them fit each circumstance for the best response in the prosecution.

More later on this panel….gotta head to the gate for the flight.

Category: Economics, History, INternational Relations, Leadership, Maritime Matters, Military History, Political | Comments Off on Piracy’s Impact on International commerce, Law and Diplomacy Panel

RIP: Benoit Mandelbrot – Discoverer of Chaos

October 16th, 2010 by xformed

From the New York Times:

Benoit Mandelbrot, Mathematician, Dies at 85

Benoît B. Mandelbrot, a maverick mathematician who developed an innovative theory of roughness and applied it to physics, biology, finance and many other fields, died on Thursday in Cambridge, Mass. He was 85.

His death was caused by pancreatic cancer, his wife, Aliette, said. He had lived in Cambridge.

Why is this important to this blog? His work was the inspiration for the title.

I first bumped into his work, not having a clue about him in 1988. I was at Naval War College and had bought a Mac II, equipped with a graphics card which would provide 256 color displays.

I’m not sure exactly where I found it, I’m guessing on GEnie (yep, before the ‘Net), but I got a program to draw fractals, the Mandelbrot set, and later the Julia set. I’d set a bunch of parameters in the computer when I was heading to bed, then get up in the morning to see some way down inside the Mandelbrot fractal scene. They’d take 2-4 hours to draw, depending on the “magnification” factors (the power to) I had set. Then I had working material to slice up in PixelPaint.

I was fascinated by the detail, and it was not the “chaos” or disorder, but the very subtle silightly offset order.

My worldview shifted as a result, somewhat then, but moreso later. In 1996, I was sent to attend two courses in Software/Systems Safety at the University of Southern California. Wandering through the University’s book store and picked up “Chaos: The Making of a New Science”.

In reading that book, and seeing the development of this body of science, my views of life shifted quite a bit. When I hear “chaos,” I usually consider the topic and think about if it’s just order too subtle that has escaped the examination, or it’s really something out of control. Usually, it’s related to the subtle organization. Beyond that, how his formulas have affected the computer graphics world. The scenery in the background of the big screen, like the “Lord of the Rings,” and many, many others, is generated using fractal formulas.

So, in 2004, when I began blogging, the moniker of the blog, Chaotic Synaptic Activity, came from a subtle reference to the far beyond the decimal point changes, normally allocated as disorder, in those things I think about. Before I read the James Gleick book, to me, chaos was chaos. After? It just means you have to consider things further.

In addition, about a year ago, the scientists figured out what I did in 2004: The brain runs on chaos!

For years, I’ve told myself I needed to write this piece to explain my naming convention, and I haven’t. Today, on hearing of Dr. Benoit Mandelbrot’s passing, I could delay no longer.

He was a pioneer in his field, and changed mathematics forever. In mapping, in fluid dynamics, in population growth and an offshoot into market economies and how they preform.

In the 1950s, Dr. Mandelbrot proposed a simple but radical way to quantify the crookedness of such an object by assigning it a “fractal dimension,” an insight that has proved useful well beyond the field of cartography.

Over nearly seven decades, working with dozens of scientists, Dr. Mandelbrot contributed to the fields of geology, medicine, cosmology and engineering. He used the geometry of fractals to explain how galaxies cluster, how wheat prices change over time and how mammalian brains fold as they grow, among other phenomena.

His influence has also been felt within the field of geometry, where he was one of the first to use computer graphics to study mathematical objects like the Mandelbrot set, which was named in his honor.

“I decided to go into fields where mathematicians would never go because the problems were badly stated,” Dr. Mandelbrot said. “I have played a strange role that none of my students dare to take.”

We need more minds like this.

RIP, Dr Mandelbrot.

Update: This YouTube bideo gives you a 10 minute view of the Mandelbrot math, hosted by Arthur C Clark

Now, hear from 2008 on how this math gave insights to the then coming economic collapse:

Category: Economics, Education, History, Leadership, Mathematics, Public Service, Science | Comments Off on RIP: Benoit Mandelbrot – Discoverer of Chaos

Cash for clunkers: two crimes, justified by a lie: Guest Author Alex Rawls

August 18th, 2009 by xformed

A guest post from Alec Rawls.

Crime 1: Another multi-billion dollar subsidy for Government Motors.

When Obama stole Chrysler from its stockholders and gave it to his union cronies, we knew he would take every opportunity to waste taxpayer dollars trying to keep this lead balloon afloat. The Cash for Clunkers subsidy is just particularly egregious, since it works by subsidizing the last people in the world who need a subsidy: those who are well off enough to be buying new cars in the midst of a deep recession. Talk about a middle class welfare program!

Crime 2: Eliminating Government Motors’ competition by gratuitously slagging an expected 750,000 perfectly good used cars in the sub-$4500 price range.

The Obamacrats aren’t just subsidizing cars for the well-to-do. They are destroying the cars that the less well-off are in the market for, driving up used car prices as part of their effort to make new cars more attractive:

Some parts may be kept but the engine and drive-train must be destroyed. Specifically the engine will be injected with a liquid glass solution to permanently disable the engine and it will be the responsibility of the dealer to make sure this is done to the engine.

Injected with liquid glass? Sounds like a Quentin Tarentino murder fantasy, and the reality isn’t any prettier. Witness Obama’s procedure for destroying the would-be cars of the non-wealthy:

Here is another one, a spiffy-looking Volvo that holds out for 4-plus minutes. Some clunker, and check out the row of semi-new cars lined up to go next:

Take THAT all you graduate students, newlyweds, store clerks, aspiring actors, single moms, non-deadbeat dads, warehouse workers, journalists, hippies, and other assorted poor relations. You want a car, you can scrape together your savings for a down payment on the privilege of paying hundreds of dollars a month to Government Motors for FIVE YEARS, just like everybody else.

How big is this crime?

A very substantial portion of the population NEVER buys a new car. I, for instance, have never bought a new car, and I never expect to. Why would I, when California has the best used car market in the world? In the last 10 years I have bought two 1984 Toyota Vans, one with 45,000 miles, one with 115,000 miles, each for $1500. Both still run great. One is set up as a work vehicle. One converts from passenger van to camper. No new vehicles would serve as well, or look as sharp.

My two uber-vans, one extra-dirty from its recent 2000 mile trek to Seattle and back. (Shasta, Crater Lake, Boeing Museum of Flight, Blue Angels, Olympic Peninsula, Fort Stevens, Oregon Dunes, North Coast, and back across the Golden Gate. Ain’t that America?)

The vehicles that are being gratuitously destroyed are newer than my two vans (which are just outside the 25 year age limit) and they are up to three times the price. For instance, the immensely popular Toyota Previa vans (1990-96) all qualify.

A good California Previa with a hundred thousand miles left on it sells for two to three thousand dollars. The government’s offer of 35-45 hundred is outbidding the market even on these top quality used vehicles. Cash for Clunkers is a misnomer. Some bottom-of-the-barrel cars will be turned in, but the rules insure that most will not be these “clunkers.”

To qualify, a car must have been registered the name of the new car buyer for the last 12 months and it must have been insured for the last 12 months. These actively-used cars of people who buy new cars are the quality core of the used car market. Most “clunkers” will be perfectly good cars that would be prize possessions for a half million less well-off Americans, wantonly destroyed only because the Obamacrats prefer that they be destroyed. Dollar for dollar, this is the equivalent of trying to solve the glut of housing foreclosures by purchasing the houses with taxpayer money then burning them down.

Any Obama supporter who claims to be motivated by distributional justice, go soak your head. You want to subsidize the better off? Be as stupid as you want. But don’t go destroying en masse what the less well-off need to survive.

All justified by a lie

Obama’s excuse for decimating the last two generations of used vans, SUV’s, pick-up trucks and full size cars is the global warming hoax. The ascendancy of Obama is, in his own narcissistic vision:

…the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.

Energy consumption must be curtailed in the extreme:

…under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.

It is all about CO2 and the phony global warming industry that Vice President Al Gore created with $10b of seed money when he pioneered and administered the executive branch’s global warming portfolio (now called “climate change,” since the earth stopped warming 10 years ago). Gore’s appointees have directed almost all of the full $79b that the U.S. has spent on climate science since 1989, and they don’t care at all whether CO2 is actually warming the planet. Their real motivation is an eco-religious belief that economic activity is gobbling up the natural world, so that for the natural world to survive, economic activity must contract.

To these high priests of green religion, CO2 is the perfect fall guy, no matter how insignificant its actual impact on climate. If the CO2 released by fossil fuel burning can be framed as a threat to the planet, that provides a rationale for drastically curtailing human economic activity, thereby stopping economic activity from gobbling up the natural world, whether or not CO2 itself actually has any harmful effects.

CO2 alarmists reject the scientific method

We can say with nearly complete certainty that the bulk of 20th century warming was NOT caused by CO2. This is because we know what DID cause the warming: the “grand maximum” levels of solar-magnetic activity that obtained for most solar cycles between 1930 and 2003.

Numerous studies have found a high degree of correlation (.6 to .8) between solar-magnetic activity and global temperature. That is, solar-magnetic activity “explains” statistically 60-80% of global temperature change on all time scales. That degree of correlation, observed over thousands and millions of years, HAS to be causal, and the causation can only go one way. It is not the temperature of the earth that is causing sunspots.

What is not well understood is HOW solar-magnetic activity drives global temperature. We just know that it does, just as before Einstein we did not know what mechanism causes massive objects to fall towards each other, we just knew that they do.

We actually have some pretty good theories of how solar-magnetic activity drives global temperature but set that aside. The eco-religionists, who thanks to Al Gore control ALL of the research funds for the “climate change” industry, use uncertainty about HOW solar-magnetic activity drives global temperature as an excuse for completely omitting the solar-magnetic variable from their models. They explicitly put theory over data, exactly the opposite of the scientific method, which says that data is always supposed to trump theory.

This anti-scientific method misattributes to CO2 the warming caused by high 20th century levels of solar-magnetic activity. Put solar-magnetic activity back into the equation, attributing to it what warming has historically been correlated with high levels of solar-magnetic activity, and the levels of warming that could possibly be attributable to CO2 become small. In particular, they become benign.

Warming in general is good. When Greenland was green, civilization prospered, as did plants and other living things. Nothing gobbles up the natural world like ice. It is only by claiming that CO2 could cause some unprecedented “runaway warming” that the alarmists have been able to present CO2 as dangerous. Stop misattributing solar-magnetic warming to CO2 and that possibility is off the table.

The dominant driver of global climate is solar-magnetic activity and any modicum of warming we can get out CO2 is all to the good. If our fossil fuel burning has the side effect of making our warm times a little warmer and our cold times a little less cold, that is a happy bit of luck for a world that ALWAYS seems to be colder than the optimum, with the next glacial period due any Millennia.

Proof that the IPCC completely omits the solar-magnetic variable

Just look at any of the IPCC assessment reports. They all include the following graphic (slightly updated over the years):

From the 4th Assessment Report (figure 2.4 on page 39 of the Synthesis Report).

The only “natural” climate influence accounted by the IPCC is “solar irradiance,” which means visible light and other electro-magnetic radiation. It does in any way include the solar-magnetic flux, which is completely omitted from all IPCC models, even though every climate scientists knows full well that, according to the raw data, magnetic effects are the primary driver of global temperature.

EVERY educated person who accepts CO2 alarmism on the authority of the global warming anti-scientists is failing the most basic due diligence.

Technically, the alarmists’ anti-scientific inversion of theory and evidence takes the form of what is called “omitted variable fraud,” where the omission of any important explanatory variable causes its explanatory effect to be misattributed to whatever correlated variables are included (in this case CO2 which, like solar activity, also went up in the 20th century). This is the most basic, the most common, the most familiar form of statistical fraud. Everyone who has ever studied not just any physical science but any social science at any moderately high level is fully competent recognize for themselves the statistical fraud that is being committed by the CO2 alarmists.

The educated Democrat-voting elites who are pushing to unplug industrial capitalism on the authority of alarmist anti-scientists have an obligation of due diligence to check for themselves whether the facts of the matter are beyond their own competence, and they are ALL failing this basic obligation. They are just assuming that they have to accept on authority that the survival of the planet requires the radical curtailment of CO2, when even a quick look at the facts reveals that the statistically most important variable is omitted from the alarmist models.

Why this willingness uncritically enlist as foot-soldiers for the destruction of modernity? Because like the CO2 anti-scientists themselves, these Democrat elites also don’t care whether CO2 is actually a threat. They too are eco-religionists who are glad for any excuse to curtail the economic growth that according to their presumptions is gobbling up the natural world.

Wrong about economics too

Of course the eco-religionists are also wrong about economic growth being bad for the environment. Economic growth creates and is created by technological advance, and it is technological advance that is allowing mankind and the natural world to both thrive at once. Economic activity is not the enemy of the natural world. It is the salvation of the natural world.

Having dedicated their intellectual resources to maintaining their religious presumptions instead of following reason and evidence, our Democrat elites have become pure political animals in the lowest sense, driven entirely by their lust for power. Every excuse, be it phony concern for distributive justice or phony concern for the environment, is wielded with complete dishonesty, utterly heedless of how distributive justice or the environment are actually affected, until all that is left is their ultimate presumption: that the one thing most necessary is that THEY have power.

This pathology finds its epitome in President Obama. Cash for Clunkers is just one paltry multi-billion dollar program, but the same coming-and-going perversity is manifest in Obama’s larger jihad against CO2—his push for cap and trade legislation. If we would uncork energy, the economy would rebound tomorrow, but Obama is determined to close the energy spigot down, not open it up.

Anybody who thinks this recession is ending is out of their minds. Obama is draining the oil and pouring in the silica slurry. If you want to hear where the economy is headed, listen to the “squirk” from the end of the Obama-car-death video, when the engine jerks at the end of the hangman’s rope.

This is the sound of a valuable helper being sacrificed by government to the false idols of green religion. It isn’t just barbarous. It is a clear violation of the establishment clause. Execute the worst human criminals, yes, but Mission Solano has it right: “No Death Penalty for Cars!”

Category: Economics, Political | Comments Off on Cash for clunkers: two crimes, justified by a lie: Guest Author Alex Rawls

Monday Maritime Matters

January 14th, 2008 by xformed

Extra reading: And what is a skyhook?” From Eagle1 and Fred Fry International Maritime Monday 93!
Here is the new course of Monday Maritime Matters I promised, brought on by non-coincidental coincidence. That led me to a story about sea going vessels that, like the well done “Six Frigates” by Ian Toll, is far more than a story of the Navy; It’s a story of business, shipbuilding, pre-WWII political and economic history, with seamanship on linland waterways tossed in.

Fresh Water Submarines Cover
“Fresh Water Submarines” by RADM William T. Nelson. It came to me when the widow of Capt William J Godfrey, USNR (Ret) (Plankowner on USS POGY (SS-266)), loaned me some of his files to look through for some first person history for the blog. The book was in the first set of papers she left for me.First off, having now finished the book, it is a story that begins in 1836 with the establishment of shipbuilding on the shores of Lake Michigan by Captain J.V. Edwards, tracing the lineage of the establishment of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company in 1902 (originally named the Manitowoc Drydock Company). From there, the history describes the business strategies of the owners, primarily Mr. Charles West and his continual work to look to the future and keep the business viable.The result? The company remained alive through the Depression, with a skilled workforce, and, when President Roosevelt decided to begin building the Navy up (in FY 1937) from the post-Washington Treaty demise, Mr. West lobbied to build destroyer escorts, figuring they would be small enough to get from the Great Lakes to sea. Recall, at the time, the St Lawrence Seaway was not developed. He kept connected to the Department of the Navy, letting them know he was ready to work and his staff had been busy making the initial plans.So what do you do, when the Navy summons you to DC in early 1941 to give you a contract for building 10 GATO Class submarines? The book tells you.Besides the fact you have never considered building a combat submersible hull, how do you get a vessel that draws more than 9′ of draft from Lake Michigan to the Gulf of Mexico with 21 locks to transit? Oh, yes: You have always launched hulls sideways and no one is sure if a sub hull will be able to be put in the water that way successfully in the narrow water ways around the shipyard.Well, you build it, commission it, train the crew in Lake Michigan, decommission it, load it on a drydock, hook up the tug and send it on it’s way south, around bends, under bridges, stopping on the river banks when necessary (sometimes not intentionally), deliver the boat to New Orleans, reinstall the periscopes and their shears, recommission it, load food, fuel and torpedoes and send the sub to war. That’s the executive summary.

The book is a study in the men, machinery and families who made this happen, covering the excellent foresight of the shipyard owners, who not only built ferries and ore ships, but cranes and specialized shipbuilding machinery to keep the skilled workforce in place, so when this requirement arose, they were up to the challenge, and, as it turned out, were able to deliver the boats faster than Electric Boat! Bonus information includes details of the operations of the river pilots and tow skippers, along with the issues of navigating rivers.

The Navy was so impressed with the early performance, a second contract, for more subs was ordered, before the first sub was built. Toss in the complication that the war had now begun and the strategic imperative took on a entirely new meaning. The story proceeds to tell of the complications of building up a work force, getting skilled labor in place to augment the generational workers already there. Building special jigs to rotate the 9 hull sections to allow welders to work in the best position for the best quality of their beads. Later, a third contract was given to the Manitowoc company, too.

The Navy then tasked, in February 1942, out of the blue, the construction of 450 LCT-5 craft to support amphibious landings. Later, the added requirement came to design and build the LCT-6s. Toss in a contract to build 6000 cranes for the Navy and Army for forward deployment, all as a result of keeping a company positioned and ready to aggressively take on new tasks with great efficiency.

A total of 28 submarines were built, short of the 41 tasked in original contracts, because it became apparent the war was coming to a close. The 28th submarine, the USS MERO (SS-378) wasn’t commissioned in time to reach the war zone and was tasked with conducting a public affairs cruise around the Great Lakes so the people could get a good look at what they had helped to build.

The book discusses, in depth, the specifications of the contracts, the interactions with Electric Boat, the costs and profits, equipment provided, special items and arrangements, and the transit of the USS PETO (SS-265) (the first Manitowoc boat) to the Gulf of Mexico and Panama for combat training. Interaction with the on site SUPSHIP reps and descriptions of the commissioning parties are there, too (complete with commentary reminiscent of my own experience in Pascagoula, MS).

The boats earned a reputation among the crews who took them into combat, and the maintenance units who serviced them as well built hulls, constructed with the understanding sailors lives were at risk.

RADM Nelson completes the story with some excellent analysis of the contract performance, showing specifics of costs, profits and the associated issues in the financial realm.

I highly recommend this book, not because it is a book on submarines, but because it is a wonderful case study of a business that grew and thrived in bad times and good, and when they had to perform, they successfully adapted and exceeded expectations. In the early part of the book, the story of the national mood and decisions regarding the size of the Navy, puts the history of the Navy in context for the time between WWI and II. Some details of the difficulties facing our submariners in the combat theater are also discussed, in the context of how the shipyard managed to re-engineer the dive planes and some other system to allow faster diving times and periscope vibration problems.

The company lives on today, still with it’s hand in the shipbuilding/repair business and building cranes, among other diversified operations, such as a major operation in food service machines. Checking this page, the Manitowoc Company currently has it’s hand in the LCS project, building improved lighterage barges for the Navy and the construction of USCG Great Lakes Icebreakers.

Not only is this book available from Amazon, I also found this site, Submarine Books, that has a lengthy list of books on submarines, old and new!

Category: Economics, History, Leadership, Maritime Matters, Military, Military History, Navy, Political, Technology | Comments Off on Monday Maritime Matters

Monday Maritime Matters

September 17th, 2007 by xformed

Captain Gustavas Conyngham

From Wikipedia:

A privateer was a private warship authorized by a country’s government by letters of marque to attack foreign shipping. Strictly, a privateer was only entitled to attack enemy vessels during wartime. However, states often encouraged attacks on opposing powers while at peace, or on neutral vessels during time of war, blurring the line between privateering and piracy.

Privateers were an accepted part of naval warfare from the 16th to the 19th centuries, authorised by all significant naval powers. The costs of commissioning privateers was borne by investors hoping to gain a significant return from prize money earned from enemy merchants.

Captain Gustavas Conyngham was born in Ireland in 1744. He came to America with his father and settled in Philadelphia, PA before the Revolutionary War. He became a successful privateer captain. From the CONYNGHAM Association page:

In 1777, the merchant ship he commanded, CHARMING PEGGY, was seized and interned in Europe. He then sought and obtained a Captain’s Commission in the Continental Navy. Operating primarily in British waters, Captain Conyngham proved to be one of the most successful and audacious naval officers in the American Revolution.

His first naval command was the 100-ton cutter SURPRISE whose mission was attacking British shipping in the English Channel. After taking numerous prizes, he was given command of the cutter REVENGE which was larger and faster than SURPRISE. He continued to harass British shipping, taking more than 60 prizes in 18 months. Each ship captured was sent into a friendly port and the cargo disposed of in the interest of the revolutionary cause. Historians indicate that the proceeds from these prizes contributed materially to the operations of Benjamin Franklin and his American mission in France.

British influence finally forced the closure of French and Spanish ports to him, so he set sail for the West Indies where he convoyed American shipping in addition to continuing his task of capturing enemy merchant ships.

In 1779, Captain Conyngham returned to Philadelphia, but on his next cruise he was captured and taken prisoner as a privateer. He was interned first in New York and then in London, from where he escaped only to be recaptured while returning to America in 1780. Again, he escaped and was in France, preparing to cruise against the British, when the war ended.

Captain Conyngham returned to the merchant service and commanded the armed brig MARIA during the Quasi-War with France. Later, as a member of the common council of Philadelphia, he assisted in the defense of the city during the War of 1812. Captain Conyngham died on 27 March, 1819 and is buried in St. Peter’s Churchyard in Philadelphia.

Showing how the logistical needs of your enemy can handsomely fund your resistance obviously became a specialty for Captain Conyngham. Consider his first voyage on a 100 ton vessel, harassing British shipping right under the noses of His Royal Majesty’s finest ships and crews. Guts. Lots of them. Oh, and “Prize crews” come from your own hands on deck and ship’s officers…leaving you and the prize ships underhanded. Yet, it appears he made due somehow, probably had frequent port call credits built up in France and our eastern seaboard….

For his daring exploits and contribution to our Nation’s first war, three ships have been named for Gustavas Conyngham:


A Tucker Class Destroyer, the first USS CONYNGHAM was commissioned in January, 1916 and saw action in WWI, protecting shipping and conducting anti-submarine duties. Decommissioned in 1922.


The second USS CONYNGHAM was also a destroyer, this time of the Mahan Class. Commissioned 4 November, 1936, patrolled in the Atlantic and Med, then was sent to the Pacific Fleet. She was in Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. She became a veteran of many famous battles, being assigned aircraft carrier screening duties. Present at Midway, the Battle of Santa Cruz and Gadalcanal. Later in WWII, CONYNGHAM escorted battleships during the invasions in the Marina Islands and was also in the action in the Philippines off Leyte Gulf.She was used as a test target for “Operation Crossroads” at Bikini Atoll in 1946 and was later sunk in 1948.


The third USS CONYNGHAM was a guided missile destroyer of the Charles F. Adams Class. Commissioned 13 June, 1963. Making 15 Med deployments, she spent her career in the Atlantic Fleet. Present to help evacuated Americans from Cypress in 1964 and 1974, she also was present in the Med for the Yom-Kippur War in 1973 and helped evacuate Beruit in 1976. She was at Grenada in 1983, and later did numerous drug interdiction patrols.In 1987, USS CONYNGHAM was the second ship to arrive after the USS STARK (FFG-31) was hit by two Iraqi Exocet missiles. CONYNGHAM remained nearby, providing men and supplies to help the damage control efforts to save STARK. I discussed some of my remembrances of that day in this post, which, was found by the then Executive Officer of CONYNGHAM, who left a comment.USS CONYNGHAM (DDG-17) was decommissioned 20 October, 1990, and later sold for scrap.

I sailed in company with USS CONYNGHAM (DDG-17), and my neighbor across the hall at my first apartment, ENS Tom Brubaker, was an officer aboard her. They certainly were a can do ship, with a hard charging captain. From my vantage point on the “fat ship,” I recalled them departing our starbaord side, having just taken three rigs (two fuel, one stores) and within 20 minutes announcing they were ready to take the VERTREP (helicopter delivered vertical replenishment) deliveries. It looked like an ant’s nest of frenzied activity over there, but they had the “git ‘er done” mentality working for them, long before we had heard of Larry the Cable Guy. We often commiserated together about the cost of such a reputation on the crew, but he lived and went on to a career as a civil engineer for the Navy, and I believe he ended up with the SEABEEs. We sailed on a deployment to the Med in 1978, which had both our ships in the Med when the Shah of Iran was overthrown. The USS CONYNGHAM (DDG-17) was also discussed in my post about breakaway music last year.

Category: Economics, Geo-Political, History, Maritime Matters, Military, Military History, Navy, Political | 3 Comments »

Universal Health Care = Universal Deep Pockets

September 6th, 2007 by xformed

Some of the pitfalls of John Edwards mandated universal health care have been discussed in DJ’s post yesterday. DJ does point out this plan has been tried in England, and it’s a disaster…

I suggest the overall discussions on this topic of forced probing by doctors, or it’s off to the Gulag with you! hasn’t hit on one of the most critical points…following the money. My “angle?” John Edwards is a lawyer, Hillary Clinton is a lawyer. So are about every other person in the top level of elected government. A “healthy” (pun intended, why, yes!) sum of money is made by the legal profession in suing people. They also do not collect a portion of the money awarded in judgments, either. Bill Bennett’s brother, when hosting Morning in America one day, when asked how much he charged an hour commented that it was a lot, but you should see the ratio of collected to uncollected fees.

Puzzle piece #2: Lawyers, when given a case, do what? They chase the “deep pockets.”

Puzzle piece #3: The Federal Government self-insures. We don’t pay Lloyd’s of London to protect against risk…we hope we’ll find the money “somewhere” when we need to pay off a successful award against faulty/negligent/criminal behavior by those employed by the Government.

See where I’m going? I hope so.

If all doctors and medical professionals become civil servants, you won’t be able to sue them, just as you cannot sue a Government official, who was acting in the capacity of a Government employee now. If the wrong mangled limb is amputated in the operating room after an accident, sue the Government. If you are given a prescription that causes you to have an allergic reaction, one noted in your medical history, sue the Government. If your baby is delivered wrong, sue the Government.

Unlike doctors, who can give all their assets, exhaust all their medical malpractice insurance, and still come up wanting in the money they owe you, the Government has the deepest pockets of all of us, and…it’s not like they will take off to Hong Kong if they don’t feel like paying. There will always be a physical address, and a civil servant you can harass until you get your claim paid, with the added benefit of being able to call your Congress critter to ask them to sick their staffers on the unlucky civil servant, overworked and underpaid, to make sure you get front of the line privileged treatment…

Oh, just forget that not only will we pay for each other’s health care, we will pay for every and all claims against the “universal Health Care” system, regardless of how unfounded and/or frivolous they may be. Sort of a bigger version of when you take your car into the shop with a mangled fender “Are you paying for it, or is this an insurance claim?” philosophy, except it will be the millions of smaller wallets that will suffer…after all, who could deny a compassionate response from the Government, when one of it’s citizens has been wronged?

Think about it. Lawyers will love it…sue crazy America will love it. Judges will be even more overworked, along with the entire court system…and all of that will be a very, very big boost to the legal profession. WhatI ask you not to think about is how the cost, astronomical as it will become, will be buried deep within the Federal Budget’s pages…a mere “drop in the bucket” we will be told, of the over all trillions we need to run the country…so open your checkbook, IRS will be coming to you soon.

Better take up the local diploma mill’s offer to get your degree in paralegal services now!

Next idea: Universal Legal Service. Yeah, like we’d have a snowball’s chance of getting that passed into law by a bunch of lawyers…

Category: Economics, Political, Public Service, Stream of Consciousness | 1 Comment »

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