Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The B-Daddy Channel

I know it's not the weekend yet but this video is just too heroic to pass up. Pam Stout, as sweet and reasonable a woman as could be put on national television, explains the Tea Party movement to David Letterman. You can tell Dave isn't down with her brand of politics, but she does a great job. Give Dave credit, he let her speak, and boy does she make her case.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The B-Daddy Channel

Today's video is something near and dear to my heart as a former submarine sailor and a bit of a companion piece to the article below. There is a saying in the force that there are two kinds of ships, submarines and targets. Here is some footage explaining why we think that way.

And a little more video from the Aussies:

To quote P.J. O'Rourke, "Now that's the way to waste the taxpayers dollars."

Submarines once, submarines twice....
Ok, we won't go there, this is a family friendly blog.

Sinking of the Cheonan - Who Dunnit?

I think the question on everyone's mind with regards to the sinking of a South Korean navy vessel the Chenoan, is "Was this North Korean (DPRK) action?" Here are some thoughts on pros and cons that this was DPRK action.

  • Reports have been out that the regime is "under stress." It has been Kim Jong Il's classic fascist style to manufacture crises to maintain loyalty and this would be a doozy.
  • The manner in which the sinking occurred, with no witnesses, is classic as well. Now Kim can plausibly claim no responsibility while simultaneously threatening more such violence.
  • The sinking happened near the disputed maritime border between north and south. This gives Kim a back up strategy of claiming self defense, if his first cover story is blown.
  • The link to possible NorK action was quickly played down. At first I thought that would be in the "con" column, but read this from The Guardian, (H/T Information Dissemination (ID)*)
If the sinking of Cheonan was intentional, it creates a serious crisis for the Koreas' neighbours and for the United States. None of the US, Japan, or China desire the threat of major military action on the Korean Peninsula. The US, still embroiled in Iraq and Afghanistan, doesn't want another military confrontation on its plate. At the same time, it will be difficult for the US to restrain South Korea from some form of retaliation. Japan's patience with North Korea has similarly run thin, and it is unlikely that Tokyo could be relied on too heavily as a voice of caution. Beijing has only limited affection for its North Korean client, but certainly does not want war, or even the threat of war.
  • ID also reports that the ship was in an area known for rocky shoal waters.
  • Commenter Marcase on ID had this to say: Interesting titbit: the PCC-772 Cheonan belongs to the ASW-version of the Pohang class, which carry 12 depth charges on the rear-deck. If there was either an accident, or a lucky shot, most of the stern would've been destroyed and the ship would've sunk like a lead pipe.
  • There has been no credible evidence to date that this was a DPRK action.
  • The ship apparently was underway, meaning that action by divers would be unlikely. (Sabotage by a traitor might not be ruled out though.)
  • I am doubtful about the efficacy of the Stalinist technology of the North's submarine fleet. While the sub pictured might be small and hard to find, its ability to score a hit with a worthy torpedo should be questioned.

Sango class DPRK sub floundering South Korean waters.

B-Daddy's professional judgment, based on VERY limited information: I go with an accident, because many things can go wrong at sea, and that's the first way to bet in the absence of other information. But I like Ian Flemings quote:
Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.

*By the way, Information Dissemination and CDR Salamander are the two "go to" blogs for all matters naval.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The B-Daddy Channel

This week's music has a Japanese theme, even if not particularly Japanese, for reasons that are ultimately irrelevant, but started out with my looking for articles from un-PC types blogging about women on submarines (Clue that lack of PC would follow: "Naval leadership casts the last vestige of its manhood down the toilet.") Before I get in more trouble, Here is Alphaville with "Big in Japan."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Wisdom of the "New Class"

Over at The Volokh Conspiracy, a discussion of something called "New Class" was prompted by a series of articles in a philosophical journal that most of us will never read. While the prose is leaden and dense and indeed, invited the scorn of most commenters, the article gave me a something to think about and ways of looking at Obama and his coterie that I had not previously considered. First a taste of what you've been missing:

The paradigm of a "new class" originated in socialist Eastern Europe among dissidents and other regime critics as a way to describe the ensconced stratum of managers, technocrats, and ideologues who controlled the levers of power. The rhetorical irony of the phrase depended on the implied contrast with an "old class" as well as the good old class theory of the orthodox Marxism that once served as the established dogma of half the world. The history of class struggle, which had been history altogether, had culminated in the victory of a proletarian class that in turn had ushered in—or was well on its way to ushering in—a classless society. Or so the grand narrative went. To talk of a "new class," then, conjured up the unquestionable epistemology of class analysis, while simultaneously challenging the notional outcome: instead of the end of the state and classlessness, one was stuck with police states and a new class that, while eminently cooler than the Bolsheviks of yore, still exercised a dictatorship (of the not-proletariat) while skimming off the benefits of unequal power. The phrase turned Marxism against Marxism during those decades when the fall of the Berlin Wall was not even imaginable.

Migrating across the Atlantic, the term took on a new meaning in the last third of the twentieth century as a designator of the rise of a new post-industrial professional class, the cohort of the student movement after 1968 on its trajectory into social, cultural, and political power. At stake was the gradual displacement (if not disappearance) of the old markers of class distinction and the alternative privileging of sets of linguistic and intellectual capacities, combined with the assumption that greater intelligence implied a de facto natural claim on greater power: meritocracy means that the smarter should rule. Yet this trope just reiterated, in a new context, the problem of intellectuals and power, a curious echoing of East European rhetoric. As the best and brightest claimed power in order to rule better and with greater radiance, their critics came to dub them a "new class" in order to draw attention to their sanctimonious aspirations to pursue their own interests by remaking society in their own image. Paradoxically, the conservative critique of the new class could make the "Marxist" move of pointing out how universalist claims masked particularist interests. What ensued was a decades-long conflict between, on the one hand, advocates of more enlightened and ever more expansive administration of society, and, on the other, proponents of reduced state oversight, defenders of society against the state, and the deregulated market against the long reach of political power. The political wrangling of our current moment still takes place within this framework. The complexity of the new class and its culture, however, is that while it sets out to administer society and establish bureaucracies to regulate social and economic life domestically, at the same time it attempts to ratchet down the political and military power that might be projected externally: a strong state toward its subjects, a weak state toward its enemies!

Reading the whole article, and some Volokh commentary, they are saying that pointy headed professors who take over political parties think they know more than the rest of us and should be allowed to tell us what to do.

OK, that was an oversimplification. What astounds me is that cleverness by itself is considered to be superior to experience. In some ways you could say that both liberals and neocons suffer from this same malady, but in different ways. The neocon view of Iraq, was in a word naive. That a defeated people would welcome us with open arms and we therefor did not need "boots on the ground" to secure the victory was shown in hindsight to be a grave error. But liberals suffer their own delusions about foreign policy.

Its signature contribution to foreign policy is "smart power," a term that nobly implies that boots on the ground are dumb and that some—still elusive—strategic rhetorical eloquence will make enemies vanish without ever firing a gun, since language is its ultimate power. The corollary economic policy is negative, defined by discourses of environmentalism that imagine achieving greener national spaces by exporting dirty manufacturing and energy consumption to the developing world: not in our backyard.
Obama's promises to talk to Iran are the epitome of this arrogance. Note also the dichotomy of dispensing with the use of physical power abroad, but the ease to which the whip is applied to one's own citizenry. That is because it is for their own good. But we conservatives note that, and rightly, that the imposition of a greater regulation and entitlements, to be administered by an ever hungrier regime of bureaucracies guided by the professoriat, becomes self perpetuating and devolves power permanently to those who have the hubris to believe they should wield it. It is in fact, the Road to Serfdom.

Which brings me to why Sarah Palin is so hated by the Left. She is the only politician who ever laid a glove on Barack Obama, he of the golden tongue. His soaring rhetoric induced some to forget that he had achieved relatively little in his public life. She did so in a way that in our gut, we knew was true, because it talked to our experience of others like Obama who are "all show, and no dough." She did so with humor and with a reminder of the value of traditional values. Her success and her rhetoric were both an affront to the members of the "New Class" who see themselves as superior because they hold superior opinions and have a large vocabulary.

Tradition and religion, values, and experience born of difficulty are all the enemies of the "New Class" because they stand in direct opposition to their agenda of imposing the "Wholly Administered Society" on the rest of us. Sarah Palin is the walking example of success born of those attributes. Her degree from a small state school, her love of hunting and the fact that she is a good looking woman to boot, presented too much cognitive dissonance for the left to take. Hence the unbridled derangement.

Obamacare is the direct outgrowth of this thinking as well. Decades of experience with the failures of central planning do not deter those who wish power for themselves at our expense. It is an issue of freedom, and not just in the particulars, but in the global sense that it removes from us the responsibility for our own choices, without which freedom cannot exist.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Management and Jesus

Pastor Jim's sermon this morning started with the injunction to learn humbly a message of many scriptures. I find it interesting that this message is also born out in the more serious books on management I have read recently, Good to Great, The Fifth Discipline and 7 Habits. I continue to be amazed that the application of Christian principles are "discovered" by modern research and touted as something "new." Don't get me wrong, those are excellent books, but the application of their principals is made much easier by the discipline that comes from following Christ. The longer I live the more convinced I am that unbelief is as much an act of faith as belief, maybe more so, when so many of the principles of our faith are born out by research.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The B-Daddy Channel

We're doing Elvis Costello songs this weekend on B-Daddy's blogs. This is really on of the great 70s tunes and well ahead of its time. I have a question for the readers, is the irony intentional, accidental or non-existent? I was never sure.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Women on Submarines

I have been called out, to respond to the CNO's recent announcement that women will be taking their place on U.S. submarines, finally getting the glamor assignment that years of male chauvinism has denied them. My initial reaction that I sent 'Dawg requires a little elaboration:
It's a mentally rough, confined life, where the abrasiveness of close quarters is more than the average guy can handle. Don't see how this will go well. Also, the fact that they are only going onto SSBNs is a career killer for the female officers, because you need both SSN and SSBN experience to understand that particular warfare environment. The Navy has no money to modify the SSNs in a way that would be acceptable, the CNO is blowing smoke.
With regards to career path, SSNs are nuclear attack submarines whose primary mission is to search and sink other submarines, often the SSBNs (Nuclear Ballistic missile carrying with nuclear propulsion, I dare Bush to say that fast.) The rhythms of the two types of submarines (ignoring SSGNs for the moment) are very different. The SSBNs operate on a very predictable 112 day patrol cycle, alternating crews. SSNs operate typically in a two year cycle that includes a major 6 month deployment, but their schedules are very unpredictable. Because of the different missions and optempos, service on both platforms is considered necessary for promotion, and more importantly, should be considered for promotion. This will put the women at a disadvantage. I also know that redesign of the already extremely crowded attack subs is not in the cards. The Navy has no spare cash for this, and the Congress isn't going to cough up the bucks.

The other reality of life on a submarine is that it involves living in very close proximity to your shipmates for extended periods of time, with nowhere to go to get away from them. It's hard to explain the toll that a lengthy patrol underwater takes on the psyche. I am ill qualified to know how mixing late teen and early twenty somethings in a pressure cooker environment will turn out. My guess? Usually ok, because of the caliber of our people; but occasionally off the rails, because they are still only human.

Finally, it will make leading submariners, always a challenge, just that much harder. Not a legit argument against, just a fact. But the hypocrisy of this plan is telling me that the Navy is doubling down on political correctness.

In case you were wondering about how this would all look; the image at top is of an actual midshipmen on a submarine, the image at bottom is from a movie.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The B-Daddy Channel

I note I haven't blogged a true article in over a week. I've been very busy with my on line class "Leadership for the Information Age" and my main blog The Liberator Today. We're doing a The Outlaws this weekend for music; here is their biggest hit "Ghost Riders (in the sky)."

The Outlaw - Ghost Riders In The Sky - MyVideo

OK, it doesn't make sense, but how can you not like clips of Clint Eastwoood backed by a classic country tune like that.