25 March 2009

But baby it's cold outside...

When I was a kid, the image of a nuclear submarine popping up through the arctic ice was what inspired me to want to be a submarine commander.  Although it was a path I never pursued, the idea of this operation still excites me.  Cracking through that ice must feel like landing on an uncharted world.  Operations in the Arctic Ocean are critical, especially if global climate change results in a long term reduction in ice cover.  The exposure of this area of our planet will allow for increased trade, mining and fishery operations. 

American Forces Press Service

Navy Submariners Participate in Arctic Ocean Exercise

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 25, 2009 - A group of Navy submariners are practicing wartime operations off the coast of northern Alaska as part of Ice Exercise 2009, the commander of the exercise said today.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Personnel from the University of Washington's Applied Physics Laboratory Ice Station watch the aurora borealis light up the night sky over the Ice Exercise 2009 base camp in the Arctic Ocean, March 21, 2009. Two Los Angeles-class submarines, the USS Helena and USS Annapolis, are participating in the exercise. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Tiffini M. Jones

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Two Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarines, the USS Helena and the USS Annapolis, are participating in this year's ICEX, said Navy Captain Greg Ott, a submariner who is also the deputy operations director for Submarine Force Command, based in Norfolk, Va.

The USS Helena is home-based in San Diego, while the USS Annapolis is home-ported in Groton, Conn.

"We're maintaining our proficiency in arctic operations," Ott said today during a telephone interview with American Forces Press Service.

The submariners, Ott said, are testing torpedo and sonar systems, while practicing wartime operations in an arctic environment. The exercise, he said, is slated to end in early April.

The undersea sailors are working alongside a group of technicians and civilian scientists housed at a temporary base camp set up on the Arctic Ocean ice near Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. The scientists are collecting environmental data.

"It's going great, so far," Ott said of the exercise. "In fact, we got a nice, warm day today; it's only about minus 10 [degrees Fahrenheit]."

Different skills are required when operating submarines in Arctic water conditions, Ott said, noting the frigid water temperatures and tricky currents affect a submarine's buoyancy characteristics and sonar capabilities.

Additionally, he said, submariners also must take care to avoid ice when traveling in Arctic regions.

U.S. nuclear submarines have operated under the polar ice since 1958, Ott said, when the USS Nautilus became the first submarine to complete a submerged trip to reach the North Pole.

Arctic submarine operations are important to U.S. national defense, according to Navy documents. Accordingly, the Navy's submarine force must be highly trained in arctic-water operations to provide and ensure access to strategic areas worldwide.

Continents of the Northern Hemisphere -- Europe, Asia and North America -- all share the Arctic Ocean.

Related Sites:
ICEX Web site/photos
Commander, Submarine Force
U.S. Navy

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13 March 2009

Where's your messiah now...

Make no mistake, I admire and respect our new Commander-in-Chief. I disagree with many of his social policies and am shocked at his inability to rein in a wanton Congress. But he clearly has a grasp of international necessities. So far, his actions seem to be aligned with the continuing ideology of the United States as the sole super power with a moral obligation to act decisively in support of international freedoms and rights.

Most recently, President Obama dispatched United States Navy warships to the South China Sea to escort the unarmed USNS IMPECCABLE. That ship is being harassed while conducting legitimate surveillance near the main Chinese ballistic missile submarine base. The United States has always been a staunch supported of the law of the sea and spends a great deal of time and energy protecting its use an avenue for commerce and trade.

The latest moves by China are classic cold war brinksmanship. This national bravado, much like the launch of the “peaceful” satellite by North Korea, is par for the course for opponents to US policy. Anyone who fails to see the North Korean effort for what it is, a test launch of an ICBM, is likely living in a vegan commune in Oregon. This is now, ironically, in range of North Korean weapons systems.

President Obama has found that the harsh realities of the post Cold War world are complex, extremely volatile and can not be handled with verbal diplomacy alone. Iranian drones have been shot down by US aircraft over Iraq. Detainees released from Guantanamo have shown up in Afghan battlefields, Russian forces are illegally consolidating their holdings in South Ossetia and Haiti continues to be fertile ground for backyard instability. And this is simply the open source list of possible threats to global and US security.

This picture paints a precarious one for the United States and the world. As the present economic uncertainty continues, the globe is more vulnerable to shocks from natural and manmade calamities. A capable organization or nation which seeks to further destabilize the world would have any number of choice options to act. It is imperative that free world forces are deployed to counter these threats and that the United States takes the lead in action against individuals, groups and nations that seek to undermine law and order.

President Obama has continued the necessary work. I am optimistic that my new boss will maintain a healthy pragmatism when deciding on national security issues. He certainly has abandoned that in the financial realm.

11 March 2009

Political will...

Congress has a lot of ideas, some of them are even their own and a couple are good ones. The following is neither. At the behest of large unions, notably Andy Stern's SEICU, Congress is proposing the worst labor legislation ever. The most notable aspect is the elimination of the secret ballot for determining representation. What is more disturbing is the shortening of the time for decisions about organizing, which hamstrings business' ability to offer a counter campaign.

There are many reasons in some industries to organize. However, union organization rarely results in improved flexibility or innovation. Most of the very troubled industries in the United States (auto makers, transportation, textiles and heavy manufacturing) were clobbered by burdensome union demands and a lack of flexibility. As a consequence we have seen a mass exodus of these industries form the United States and those that remain are (in some cases) barely functional.

Unions have had a profound and positive effect on the nation's workforce. There is no doubt that they played a critical role in the development of strong worker safety rules and the elimination of child labor. However, like many institutions, they have stagnated and become political elements unto themselves. They are less concerned about the welfare of their constituents and more focused on amassing political power and setting agendas in line with their worldview.

I work daily in a unionized setting. My relationship with the union leadership is good and I respect their commitment to the coworkers. However, I know that their non-union counterparts enjoy more opportunity and benefits along with the same protections and security. Unionizing will not stop a plant form closing or a business from leaving the country. It may, in fact, accelerate the decline of that business in the global arena. If you are so inclined, I urge you to comment on this issue to your elected representatives.
The Employee Free Choice Act was introduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate today.

Despite Senate Democrats' failure to secure 60 votes in favor of the bill, the battle over EFCA has begun. And as we have heard from so many of you, our economy can not afford a defeat.

As you know, union leaders want to change the rules of how unions are recognized by encouraging legislators to do away with the proven practice of holding free and fair secret ballot elections. H.R. 1409 was introduced in the House moments ago and will drop in the Senate soon.

Our efforts have been successful so far, causing the bill's delay. In addition, this weekend Sen. McCaskill acknowleged that support in the Senate for EFCA is diminishing.

Tell your Senators to vote against cloture on the bill. A vote for cloture--to limit the amount of time to consider the bill--is a vote in favor of EFCA.

It's apparent that our opposition to this bill is gaining traction, and your input is more important than ever.

02 March 2009

Please send me all your money...

Ah yes, the never-ending stream of junk sent via the internet. One could
infer that my blog also qualifies. Nevertheless, this new e-mail reflects
yet another attempt to capture what cash you have on hand. The message is
honest in regards to "random" selection of your e-mail address. Not unlike
the perpetual random requests for lists, collages and other trivia from
Facebookers; this message seems to be randomly compiled from real
information on the internet.

If anyone actually believes that a random firm, government or person would
be willing to fork over cash in exchange for a nominal fee, I will be happy
to conduct a deprogramming seminar for only half of whatever amount you are
being asked to surrender.

-----Original Message-----
From: Cnooc Corporation Company [mailto:cnooc1982@cnooc.com.cn]
Sent: Monday, March 02, 2009 3:00 PM
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: Good Day

Human Resources Service Co.
Cnooc Oil Base Group Ltd.
Address:6 Dongzhimenwai Xiaojie,
Dongcheng District, Beijing, China 100027 Telephone:010-8452101, 010-8453198
Fax:010-6460250 EMail:cnooccorporations1982@yahoo.cn

DESK OF: Mr. Wu Mengfei (Chief Financial Officer)

Good Day,

This is a letter from CNOOC Oil Base Group Ltd, visit our corporate website
for more info: www.cnooc.com.cn

We know that you may be surprise on how we got your email address,your email
was picked at random by our Gmek System use to randomly select the right
candidate for this position.We want to make you our payment agent there in
your location and your reward is 5% please contact us for more
information.We hereby assure you that you will not regret working with us.

Our company (CNOOC) was established in 1982. We are interested in employing
your services, to work with us as our payment agent our north America
customers will make payment to you on our behalf for goods and raw
materials we supplied to our customers in North America.

We deal on Oilexploitation, technical service, chemicals, fertilizar
production, refining,natural gas, power generation, financial services,
logistic services and new energies development.

Most payment ranges from $20,000.00 to $3.3 Million US Dollars please if you
are interested forward the following info to us:

1. Your Full Name:
2. Payment should be made to: Company?s Name:
3. Your Full Contact Address(Postal Address):
4. Phone/Fax Number:
5. Occupation:

Thanks for your understanding, we are expecting your reply as soon as

Yours Sincerely,
Mr. Wu Mengfei
Chief Financial Officer.