2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,100 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 35 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


Several days ago, the San Diego U-T carried a story of the new Jack Cheevers book, Act of War and the story in the newspaper carries comments by a real hero of that event, Bob Chicca.

Bob was awarded the Bronze Star, but in a rational world it would have been the Navy Cross. Only the internal politics of the Navy denied him his just award.

Jack Cheevers did relentless research for many years to produce this definitive history, and he had access to many originally classified but subsequently declassified documents.

The capture is still controversial among many who were not there, but Bucher’s crew adored him. Bucher was isolated from his crew immediately upon arrival at Balboa Hospital to allow him some sleep, but on Christmas Day as Bucher entered the dining hall among the families and crew, I saw a crew member reaching through the throng with tears in his eyes,trying to touch Bucher’s trousers.

THAT is leadership!

During the Court of Inquiry, Bucher, his attorney (E. Miles Harvey) and I were going up the ladder to the second deck auditorium on the Amphib Base where the Court was being held. Several members of the Crew were being escorted by MPs (because they were witnesses) were coming down the ladder.

I saw a Crew Member flash a white note in his hand and as we passed on the ladder he palmed the note into my hand.

It read: “Skipper, we started this together, and we will end it together.”


“The French don’t care what you do actually…”

“Textopornographie” is the latest French word so that they can avoid an English word — in this case the English word, Sexting.

It reminds me of that great line from My Fair Lady, “The French don’t care what you do actually, so long as you pronounce it properly.”

The French must torture their language to avoid English words, particularly technical terms, because the French don’t invent much in the technological field.

Their aversion to using English words actually banning the official use of English words is so, very French.

Note to Machinist Union Members: Compete or Die (Metaphorically)

January 3 is the scheduled date for Local Machinists in Seattle to vote on the Boeing company final and last offer an offer they turned down but with Boeing shopping the business to a dozen other states, the national union has scheduled a new referendum.

Of course, liberals on Blogs are saying that the threat of moving the 777 line to another state is just Corporate Greed (as if the company is in business to provide local jobs) and if Boeing doesn’t make a profit, it closes and ALL employees lose their jobs. European Air Bus would love for Boeing to be non-competitive because of increased labor wages.

The national union has required a vote on the Boeing offer, a vote which the recalcitrant local union refused to permit its membership . The membership gets the opportunity to save their jobs — if they wish– or see those jobs go away. (The local union tried to block the vote.)

Competition exists in this world, between Boeing and Air Bus, and between the State of Washington and more than a dozen other states.

Compete or die!

I Have Little Sympathy For Low-Wage Earners

Minimum wage does punish low-skill workers, but you know what REALLY punishes low-skill workers?


With K-12 absolutely free, Community College within the reach of almost everyone, and California State Universities dirt-cheap through student loans and Pell Grants, it is hard to find much excuse for “low-skill.

Have you seen what auto-mechanics get today? Plumbers? Electricians? Not everyone is cut out for two, four or more years of hitting the books, but there are many skills available for those of non-scholastic bent.

Low-skill workers need to take some responsibility for BEING low-skilled. In LA there are entire areas where 50% don’t even finish HIGH SCHOOL! Whose fault is That?

There is a price to be paid for electing to be low-skill.

Duck Commander Has the Better Economic Argument

This Duck Dynasty kerfuffle interests me, but as an Atheist…it doesn’t interest me much. I neither take much stock in the Bible, and don’t watch A&E, either.

It’s hard to to tell people who have something invested in this kerfuffle that it just isn’t important. People get to decide what’s important to them, but a guy in Louisiana who makes duck whistles just isn’t really important to me. What did A&E expect from a Louisiana back-woodsman?

The backwoods are not the only place where you find those who believe in the literal translation of the Bible, but it is where you will find the greatest concentration of them. This comes as a surprise to A&E?  Those people need out more often.

Now it looks as if A&E made a really stupid financial decision. Sure A&E is bigger than the Robertson Clan, but the Robertsons are a LOT more mobile. They can make money for ANY network, and just because they are not going to make a dime from me is not the issue.

The Robertsons don’t have “free speech” rights. — the Constitution forbids Congress from denying speech, but no one has a right to free speech at any corporation, or in my living room. Robertson has the right to say anything he wants, but not without consequences. The homosexual lobby has hurt not you, but A&E — a network that has announced their support for the homosexual lobby in the strongest terms, and they must have known that the Robertsons could, and likely would find a more comfortable network.

Everyone gets to choose on which hill they will die. I have respect for a network like A&E making a principled stand, and for Robertson taking a principled stand.

But the Robertsons have the better economic argument.

The Robertsons certainly have the better financial argument. They are too big to fail.

Scammers Working The Elderly

I was phoned again by a known scam, and I failed to catch on for the first few minutes. Having heard of the scam on TV, It didn’t take long, but these scammers are good.

To be successful, they had to be good.

The call was from a young man of about my Grandsons age, emotional:

“Hi, Grandpa, this is your Grandson.”

Here, I made the mistake of asking if it was my grandson by name. Clue, don’t do that because then the scammer knows the name…

Anyway, my supposed Grandson told me this story of his friend who was visiting his family in Mexico, and the friend was killed by a drunk driver. The family had supposedly paid for my bogus Grandson to fly to Mexico and attend the funeral. By bogus grandson was to return this evening…

But, my bogus Grandson, says he was in a car the Mexican police pulled over and marijuana was found in the trunk…

At this point I was certain I was going to be hit for money…but my Granddaughter happened to be at the house, she sees my Grandson often, so I handed the phone to her with my hand over the phone, saying, “This is not (his actual name).”

It took my Granddaughter about a minute to say, in soto voce, “Not him.”

She then told the caller, “Well if you get in trouble, you are an adult and need to solve it yourself.”

The caller said a few profane words and hung up.my Granddaughter called my Grandson — who was not in Mexico, had no friend named David, etc.

These guys are good. Had my Granddaughter not been there I would have dialed my Grandson on a separate phone, but I was pretty sure after the first two minutes — having heard this scam on TV.

Heads up. These guys are good. (Scammers are, or they would starve.)

Removing Religious Symbols

The fight continues regarding the Cross on Mount Soledad.

Off the top of my memory, which admittedly is not what it once was, there were two future presidents who attended the Constitutional Convention, however briefly: Washington, and Madison (Jefferson was a major contributor but did not attend, as I recall he was in Paris.)

Certainly they understood the US Constitution better than anyone alive today including the SCOTUS. None of them removed religious symbols, including Jefferson, who famously penned those famous words “separation of church and state.” (Those words are NOT in the Constitution, they are in a letter Jefferson wrote.)

Even Jefferson never removed religious symbols, and if he wouldn’t, neither should we.

Unwarranted Isolation

As I read the stories about the NSA and its various problems with both disclosures and lawsuits, then read the blogs of paranoid bloggers, who understand that governments are inherently evil but that the governments (and non-governments) that the NSA is targeting are magnitudes worse than ours.

Somehow, these people — have you noticed what happens when you see “man on the street ” interviews of most Americans — live in some bubble where they think OUR government is evil.

O.K. — all governments are inherently evil because they use force, but life is a bit more nuanced that that. Not all governments are created equal — it’s sort of like atomic weapons. The world is a dangerous place, made much more dangerous because North Korea has, and would be if Iran  got such a weapon, but would ANYONE get overly excited if Switzerland announced they had an atomic weapon?

Who would care?

I fear that, much like the 1930s  the nation will retreat to its roots. This nation has always been basically isolationist, a valid philosophy when we had a couple of enormous oceans and a powerful fleet — neither of which can have a salutary impact on a nuclear-tipped missile or even a cargo container with a nuclear weapon.

Secrecy is the coin of the realm of governments — “good” and bad governments alike. I spent a decade “spying” on other governments — what do you think Submarines do? (Many of the missions have NSA personnel aboard, and while they were almost uniformly horses-asses, they knew their job.)

I have read extensively — and written extensively — about spying, particularly in World War II. Make no mistake, the Allies could not have defeated the Axis without spies on our side, and defeating the Axis spy network.

Did the NSA exceed peacetime standards?

Probably — but ONLY if you believe we live in a peaceful world!

We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know!

Perhaps you don’t remember the prediction by AGW Guru (and Nobel Prize Winning), Al Gore, who, just five years ago predicted that there was a 75% chance that the entire Polar region could be “”ice-free” by summer 2013.

Well, it is 2013, and how is Gore doing?

The BBC reports:

“Data from Europe’s Cryosat spacecraft suggests there were almost 9,000 cu km of ice at the end of this year’s melt season.

This is close to 50% more than in the corresponding period in 2012.”