Saturday, August 30, 2008

Add to the Salamander Maxims the "Women to Avoid" section right after,
Never contemplate a long-term relationship with a woman who subscribes to Cosmopolitan.
... you can add,
Never contemplate any relationship long or short with a woman who has on her bookmark list.
When I think of the females I know who have talked with me about their aching loss of a boyfriend or husband, or their inability to find someone who will commit to marriage; or I listen as they tell another story of a bad, abusive, or dawgish-player man --- I can only think about what a narcissistic, ungrateful, and selfishly narrow minded woman this person is who has what many women would love to have - someone to share a life with.
I contemplate divorce every day. It tugs on my sleeve each morning when my husband, Will, greets me in his chipper, smug morning-person voice, because after 16 years of waking up together, he still hasn't quite pieced out that I'm not viable before 10 a.m.
It puts two hands on my forehead and mercilessly presses when he blurts out the exact wrong thing ("Are you excited for your surprise party next Tuesday?"); when he lies to avoid the fight ("What do you mean I left our apartment door open? I never even knew our apartment had a door!"); when he buttons his shirt and jacket into the wrong buttonholes, collars and seams unaligned like a vertical game of dominoes, with possibly a scrap of shirttail zippered into his fly.

It flicks me, hard, just under the eye when, during a parent-teacher conference, he raises his arm high in the air, scratches his armpit, and then --then! -- absently smells his fingers.
To be sure, there will be throngs of angry women who will decry me for plunging a stake into the heart of holy matrimony. "My husband is my lifeline," I've heard said (and that's bad news for the aorta). "My husband and I never fight" is another marital chestnut -- again, bad news (not to mention a big fat lie), since according to the experts, the strongest relationships are the ones in which people can continually agree to disagree. "My husband is my best friend," others will aver.

No. Your husband is not your best friend. Your best friend is your best friend. If your husband were your best friend, what would that make your best friend -- the dog? When a woman tells me that her husband is her best friend, what I hear is: I don't really have any friends.
Maybe one day, marriage -- like the human appendix, male nipples, or your pinky toes -- will become a vestigial structure that will, in a millennium or two, be obsolete. Our great-great-great-grandchildren's grandchildren will ask each other in passing, "Remember marriage? What was its function again? Was it that maladaptive organ that intermittently produced gastrointestinal antigens and sometimes got so inflamed that it painfully erupted?"

Yes. Yes it was.

Until that day of obsolescence, we can confront the dilemma and consider the choice a privilege. Once upon a time is the stuff of fairy tales. As for happily ever after -- see appendix.
16 years of marriage -- and to think if she would walk away from a divorce with half of someone's retirement pay ..... well ..... Skippy knows this type of woman, methinks, her name is Ellen Tien.

Let me help Ellen's world view a bit as I approach my 17th year of marriage; Mrs. Salamander thinks you are pathetic and comments,
"What were you doing walking in front of the car? Safety rule #1 .... Who is she hanging out with? No one I know talks like that... What does she mean ' I would not, could not disparage my marriage' when that is all she does? .... What she is missing is that nothing in life is perfect; gee woman, get over yourself."
--- and we both think you need to get laid.

Blocking 'The Path to 911'

There is a lot the world doesn't know about the Clintons and how they operation. My guess, most don't want to know. Website for the movie here, and a nice summary from Politico.
Over the past few years, perhaps no film controversy has inspired more outrage from conservatives than the Walt Disney Company’s handling of the ambitious 2006 miniseries “The Path to 9/11.” In the wake of Michael Moore’s 2004 anti-Bush documentary “Fahrenheit 9/11” and the 2003 CBS biopic “The Reagans,” the Disney censorship fiasco has been a frequent bone of contention on right-wing blogs, AM talk radio and other media outlets. In addition to making cuts in its ABC-TV telefilm after complaints from political forces, the company also shelved plans for a subsequent DVD release.

The miniseries, a $40 million dramatization of events leading up to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was set for its network debut when several members of President Bill Clinton’s administration, including former National Ssecurity Adviser Sandy Berger and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, insisted that several scenes were inaccurate or fictitious, and Clinton himself demanded the program be corrected or pulled. Five Democratic senators even sent a letter to Disney CEO Bob Iger that appeared to threaten the company’s broadcast license over the issue. Edits were made, a disclaimer was added and the two-parter ran as originally scheduled, but there has never been a repeat showing and a DVD has never been released.

Friday, August 29, 2008

I'll roll the bones --- its Palin

You know I am a big fan of her -- but I am going to let the Economist in me do the talking. Note the DTG in case I am ultimately right or wrong, but let's look at the Intrade charts as they are as of last night -- nothing they are showing since midnight.




No one else is showing upward strength. If I was buying a stock this AM, it would be Palin.

Remember, the markets are smarter than all of us. If I'm right, you heard it here first months ago - if I am wrong, then, well, Economics is a dismal science. We'll see.

A great day for America

Seriously - you don't have to agree with the most Leftist Senator to agree that he puts the lie to what many of the grievance mongers and Diversity Bullies say about our country. Even though he doesn't come from American slaves - it does put a lie to the fact that we as a people can't go further than skin deep.

So, let's grin a bit -- and then start bashing him on the issues. But until then, ONN said it quite well.

Fullbore Friday

The Falklands Island War. 1982. HMS COVENTRY (D118) from peacetime to sinking.

First things first; don't let the fact this was 25 years ago fool you. From a technology standpoint, the fundamentals are the same and the challenge is greater. You want to get in the Littorals? It ain't going to be just LCS.

From the outstanding Sea of Fire, this story should be see by anyone who goes to sea. I want you to focus on two things though. Two things, IMAO, that get fairy-dusted, happy talked, best-cased, and downright ignored when it comes to warfighting.

First is the well known and proven need for redundancy and defense in depth in AAW. We just don't have it. Missiles and multi-purpose main guns can not do it alone. CWIS and RAM are great - but good googlymoogly it doesn't take long to go Winchester, and you are always one CASREP away from having your pants down (see what happened to the HMS BROADSWORD; start at the 07:00 mark of part 4 of 6).

Do not downplay "off-line" crew served weapons. If you have an eyeball and a finger, they work. More talk in a small boat scenario post-9/11 has plus'd-up topside with mounts from 30mm to 7.62 - but simply not enough. When you are close in and the enemy is numerous, motivated and many -- you will do what you have to do to make up for the bean counter shortfalls. You will line the decks with every weapon on the ship in the drive to keep your ship afloat. When you get to part 4 of 6 below, look at the 07:45 mark and on to see what you get a little hint of in the intro. Like I have said before. See what you have and double it -- then add more --- that is what you need.

Second is damage control. Just watch parts 4, 5, and 6. Nuff said.

I offer you Captain David Hart-Dyke and the crew of the HMS COVENTRY. Get a cup of coffee and watch it all. I'll let them take it from here.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

McCain heading to Georgia

Cindy McCain that is.
It's not every aspiring First Lady whose comfort zone is a war zone, but such is the case for Cindy McCain, who left today on a mission to Georgia to assess the civilian casualties of the Russian invasion.

McCain is traveling with the U.N.'s World Food Programme, whose work she monitored in Southeast Asia and Africa this spring and summer. McCain plans to meet with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and to visit wounded Georgian soldiers. She would also visit representatives of the HALO Trust, which works to remove land mines and on whose board she serves.

Cindy and John McCain visited Georgia together last year; in an interview with TIME at her Sedona, Ariz., ranch before she left, she emphasized that her years of work on overseas missions was an "important part of what I'm about, what makes me tick."

Cindy McCain said she has been trying to get into Georgia since the conflict started, but it took time to arrange the logistics. Her husband, she said, is "very supportive. As soon as he saw what was happening — he and I, we connect on many levels. I mean, he knew immediately [that I would want to go]. I've been to Georgia with him; I know the country."

Her aides say that the timing of the trip, during the Democratic National Convention in Denver, was never a consideration. But that doesn't mean they're ignoring the subtext. "She's on the phone with the World Food Programme; he's on the phone with Saakashvili," McCain adviser Nicolle Wallace told me. "It was a great picture of what they'll be like in the White House."
Just saying.

I think this will be about as talked about as the fact that she has two sons on Active Duty. Just saying.

Live blog'n Obama?

Naw ... I just can't do that. Some of have to work early tomorrow AM, and I can't drink that much tonight and still make it in the gate sober.

Instead, maybe I can offer you this to watch.

...because come on - if you are anything like me, that stage with the columns and such just makes you think of this.

MSNBC's 1120s

Salamander quote of the week. See the bold.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me ask you Mike: are we to, to place the credibility of you as a pundit on your belief, that you've just asserted, that the Clintons will vote for John McCain?

MURPHY: Absolutely. I really believe Hillary Clinton will vote for McCain. Look, they're friends. [Crowd boos]. Ah, come on, don't shout me down: let me talk. I mean come on, this is,
you guys are so in the tank we ought to be filming this on a submarine. The fact is, Barack Obama, to his credit, has moved closer to Hillary Clinton and John McCain on foreign policy, Hillary and John McCain have worked --
Read it all over at NewsBusters, or just watch the zoo below.

Having your credibility called into question by "tingle leg" Chris Matthews. At least, as usual, Harold Ford has class.

Iraq - a parade of lost opportunities

At last, in open media.

Just read this all - and tell me what catches your eye.
As part of Iraq Navy Day celebrations, USS Firebolt made a port visit to Umm Qasr, Iraq, Aug. 13, marking the first visit by a U.S. ship to Iraq in more than 15 months.
Are we a nation at war? Is the Navy at war?

Some slave Army we have ....

Let's roll this up and stick this as often as possible for those who spread the lies about the military.

We know this - most of you know this - but the left still has that bass-akwards Hollywierd Vietnam smear movie view of the military.
Based on an understanding of the limitations of any objective definition of quality, this report com­pares military volunteers to the civilian population on four demographic characteristics: household income, education level, racial and ethnic back­ground, and regional origin. This report finds that:

1. U.S. military service disproportionately attracts enlisted personnel and officerswho do not come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Previous Her­itage Foundation research demonstrated that the quality of enlisted troops has increased since the start of the Iraq war. This report demon­strates that the same is true of the officer corps.

2. Members of the all-volunteer military are sig­nificantly more likely to come from high-income neighborhoods than from low-income neighborhoods. Only 11 percent of enlisted recruits in 2007 came from the poorest one-fifth (quintile) of neighborhoods, while 25 per­cent came from the wealthiest quintile. These trends are even more pronounced in the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) pro­gram, in which 40 percent of enrollees come from the wealthiest neighborhoods—a number that has increased substantially over the past four years.

3. American soldiers are more educated than their peers. A little more than 1 percent of enlisted per­sonnel lack a high school degree, compared to 21 percent of men 18–24 years old, and 95 percent of officer accessions have at least a bachelor’s degree.

4. Contrary to conventional wisdom, minorities are not overrepresented in military service. Enlisted troops are somewhat more likely to be white or black than their non-military peers. Whites are proportionately represented in the officer corps, and blacks are overrepresented, but their rate of overrepresentation has declined each year from 2004 to 2007. New recruits are also disproportionately likely to come from the South, which is in line with the history of South­ern military tradition.

The facts do not support the belief that many American soldiers volunteer because society offers them few other opportunities.
Afterall, we all bleed red.

Hat tip John at Argghhh!!!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Greek temple? .... naw ... Stonehenge

YMBFKM. When I read this -- I thought it had to be an Onionish spoof.
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's big speech on Thursday night will be delivered from an elaborate columned stage resembling a miniature Greek temple.

The stage, similar to structures used for rock concerts, has been set up at the 50-yard-line, the midpoint of Invesco Field, the stadium where the Denver Broncos' National Football League team plays.

Some 80,000 supporters will see Obama appear from between plywood columns painted off-white, reminiscent of Washington's Capitol building or even the White House, to accept the party's nomination for president.

He will stride out to a raised platform to a podium that can be raised from beneath the floor...

Once Obama speaks, confetti will rain down on him and fireworks will be fired off from locations around the stadium wall.
All I could think of was that it would most likely come off like the below.

UPDATE and Bump: Here it is folks, via Drudge - The Obamathenon!!

UPDATE II: Electric Boogaloo - from SeeSwann with the inside look. Go to about the 3:50 point. Powerline is on the hunt. This is fun.

What is a PUMA?

Gee, in college I knew what a POOMA was, - but this just seems to be a gaggle of gals the likes of which give Skippy migraines. More here and here. ..... and of course, they are raaacissst.

The sober view from AFG

The US cavalry is coming; faster please.
“We're seeing history repeat itself,” said Haroun Mir, co-founder of the Afghanistan Centre for Research and Policy Studies and a former aide to Ahmad Shah Massoud, the assassinated Mujahidin commander. “The Taleban's trying to cut the main roads to Kabul to target supplies for foreign forces, just like the Mujahidin did with the Soviets. If the highways are cut even for two days, it could also create riots in the city.”

Kabul is vulnerable to blockades because it is surrounded by mountains and has to ship in supplies on three roads leading north, east and southwest. The British learnt this the hard way during the siege of Kabul in 1841, documented by Lady Florentia Sale in A Journal of the Disasters in Afghanistan. “Khojeh Meer says that he has no more grain,” she wrote on December 3, 1841. “He also says that the moolahs have been to all the villages and laid the people under ban not to assist the English and that consequently the Mussulman population are as one man against us.” A month later, the British began their retreat from Kabul.

In the 1980s it was Soviet forces encircled in Kabul by the Mujahidin. They withrew in 1989. In 1996 the Taleban took Kabul after capturing Wardak and Jalalabad and blockading the capital. Isaf, the International Security Assistance Force, says that circumstances are different today: it has superior air support and logistics to the Soviets and the Taleban. The militants, though, have experience on their side, thanks to former Mujahidin commanders who have blockaded Kabul before.


Here is what is going on around Kabul, not unrelated to what the French ran into last week.
Ismatullah stood at the crossroads in the dusty Afghan town of Maidan Shah, squinted in the blinding noon sun and stroked his long, grey beard. 'What the governor said in our meeting was very good,' he said diplomatically. 'He quoted the Koran very correctly. But I am not sure how much power he has. Now I am going home - and the Taliban control my district, not him.'

The tribal elder lives only a few miles from Maidan Shah, in a part of Afghanistan which, until a few months ago, was considered under the authority of President Hamid Karzai's central government.
Both articles are well worth your read. We have a lot of work still to do in AFG. NATO, sadly, politically and therefor militarily culminated last winter ... this will be up to the USA to win with help from the Brits and other auxilliaries where they can.

COTS, MILSPEC, and the ILS trainwreck

This is WAY inside baseball, but a reader sent this along that I thought speaks a little truth to the Navy blogosphere from and enthusiastic, knowledgeable professional who read frustrated and a bit angry. A little public vent now and then is good for the soul ---- and may prompt some conversation.
I have worked at 5 major shipyards over the last 25 years. Most of my area of expertise in ILS and I am now on the industry side of the equation. What makes me go nuts is the term COTS material. COTS a less expensive road not taken. If the military truly wanted COT, than do not cloud the SDRLs with MIL-SPEC requirements.

When LCS and DDG-1000 specs call for COTS, the subordinate SDRLs add references to MIL-SPECs. Once the MIL-SPEC is added to an SDRL, it is no longer COTS. Everything from provisioning R, M & A, Technical Manuals and Spares analysis cost go back to MIL-SPEC pricing.

Industry cannot do this work for free. Shipyards are losing ILS department personnel as they usually are the oldest (in physical years) and retire without replacement. The shipyards are now putting the ILS burden on Industry to complete. The ILS departments also the last line of Q.A. for engineering as they review BOMs and drawings for ILS products after they are issued. This particular field of work is not taught in colleges. I was a bubble head A ganger who fell into this line of work in the late 70's. My mantra was what would I want in Technical Manuals on the boat if I had to repair or maintain this equipment. Then I developed the materials right down to spare parts requirements. Now the Navy wants JIT inventory management, contracted maintenance from OEMs and 24/7 tech support at little or no cost.

MM's are now rushed through A schools taught by contractors, C schools are disappearing, and shipboard technicians are in short supply. Destroyers with 185 people is mandated. Maintenance suffers, INSURV inspections reflect this trend. Everyone on board not actually on watch are now "Deck Apes" doing cleaning and painting and waiting for the first fire drill. "Reaction Forces" do little for major battle damage and total automation does little on a dark ship.

The USS Cole came home to be reborn, not through automation but with a "Complete, fully trained group of sailors." Doing more with less is not what the military should be considering with $5,000,000,000 weapons platforms. That's my humble opinion on this matter. Now I must get back to work identifying INCO spares for our customer. Fair winds and following seas.

When Salamanders dream

It often turns out like this,
CTMV-FairWindWine load 22 pallets of South Of France Wines onboard Kathleen&May Schooner. Destination : Dublin. Unloading for Gilbey’s and Obriens importators the 25th July. 25, 26, 27th July, wine tasting onboard the ship in the center of Dublin.
Check out photos of her loading and unloading here.

Back to wind power? Sounds like a dream --- but the Economist in me wants to see their business plan and accounting data.

Forget that buzz kill, and forget that you don't know French ----- watch the below video to see their plans for new construction. More on that here.

Hat tip gCaptain.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

LPD-17: snake bit

After all the effort the Sailors of the USS SAN ANTONIO (LPD-17) to turn this Tiffany sow's ear into a deployable silk purse -- they deserve much better than this.
The amphibious transport dock San Antonio was scheduled to leave this morning on its maiden deployment but its departure has been postponed a day or two due to a mechanical problem with the stern gate, the Navy said.

The $1.8 billion ship – the namesake of a new class -- has been plagued by design and construction flaws since the beginning.

At 684 feet and nearly 25,000 tons, the San Antonio is the first ship designed to accommodate the Marines’ new tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey transport aircraft, a new amphibious assault vehicle, the AAAV; and the landing craft air cushion, or LCAC.

The ship – also known by its hull number of LPD 17 – carries a crew of 360, along with about 700 Marines.

While its keel was laid in December 2000 and delivery was scheduled for September 2003, funding delays and cost overruns pushed the price tag up significantly from the original cost of just over $800 million.

Initial inspections in 2005 revealed bad wiring, inadequate ventilation, corrosion and numerous other problems. After being unable to leave port for a sea trial in March 2007 due to a steering failure caused by an electronic malfunction, the ship underwent a $39 million overhaul of its computer network and electronics systems. The ship passed a second-chance trial last Thanksgiving and prepared to deploy this year.
So much hay could be made politically from this fraud, waste and abuse ... but ....

Chairman Obama

For most of the month I have just said, "Feh" to all the over the top Obamanations out there. I have grown to be used to the Democrats' Icon-of-the-Quadrennial worship.

I also have gotten used to Sen. Obama's "'s America's faultl..." and ""...ain't the Commies grand..." babble --- but this bit just sent me over the top. See the full pic and the context at the link, but why have we degenerated into 1930's Socialist Realism with the Obamatons? It lessens the seriousness of the candidate, demeans his supporters, and feeds into the stereotype that today's Leftists are just the same as the old Leftists. The Obama campaign seems to have embraced the suck through their posters and such offered here, here and here.

I all reminds me of the MaoCult and other such manifestations of secular personality cults. Why fight it? Here is my contribution.

Real NSFS for all my friends

From DefenseNews, as we stand blinking at the new 3-ship run of the ship that was supposed to give us the fire support needed ashore, the ZUMWALTS, BAE looks like they have the "evolutionary" path to getting a real gun back on our ships -- and theirs.
LONDON - The possibility of British warships firing 155mm artillery is a step closer after BAE Systems announced it has signed a deal with the U.K. Ministry of Defence to build a gun to undertake land-based firing trials next year.

CORDA, BAE's consulting arm, together with the company's Land Systems business in Britain ... hope to start live-firing trials in fall 2009 with a 155mm naval gun based on the British Army's AS90 self-propelled howitzer system.

BAE said it also is exploiting the capabilities of other company business units such as Armament Systems in the United States and Bofors in Sweden.

... a similar system for the U.S. Navy - the 155mm Advanced Gun System (AGS) destined for the DDG 1000 destroyer program. No more than two DDG 1000s are likely to be built rather than the seven planned. But the AGS could find its way onto uprated Arleigh Burke DDG-51 destroyers likely to be built in their place. If the 4 million pound ($7.55 million) British contract goes according to plan, BAE hopes to move to a full technology demonstrator program ahead of possible retrofitting of the gun to existing Type 23 frigates and Type 45 destroyers, as well as an upcoming generation of warships know as the Future Surface Combatant. From Land to Sea: BAE's 155mm naval gun would be based on the British Army's AS90 self-propelled howitzer.
"In addition to providing the Royal Navy with a potential low-cost route to a significant enhancement in capability, this program will help to sustain the U.K. industrial capacity to design, upgrade and manufacture artillery and gunnery sytsems," BAE Land System executive John Kelly said.
Sure, it isn't an 8" MK-71, but at 6.1" (I know, 155mm, but grant me this little bit of Navy old school) it gives us a chance to give the Arleigh Burke what it needs to be the better gunned Light Cruiser that it really is.

More teeth; less tongue

That is Max Boot's prescription for what ails Eastern Europe. It has always been true, you get what you pay for, and this world still has a place for those who understand that those who do not know how to use the sword are slain by it.
Poland's foreign minister, Radek Sikorski, says, "Parchments and treaties are all very well, but we have a history in Poland of fighting alone and being left to our own devices by our allies."
In spades in as far as Poland goes. Georgia has been a wake-up call to most who want to hear it, but it is best to remember that the USA helps those who help themselves.
The only thing that the frontline states can count on is their own willingness to fight for independence. But willingness alone is not enough. They also need the means to fight, and at the moment they don't have them. We have already seen how the tiny Georgian armed forces -- with fewer than 30,000 men -- were routed by the Russian invaders.

What gets ignored is that Georgia, although a small country (population: 4.6 million), has the potential to do far more for its defense. According to the CIA's World Factbook, Georgia has over 900,000 men between the ages of 16 and 49. It could easily create a larger military force than it has, but that would require spending more on defense. By the CIA's estimate, its defense budget was just 0.59% of GDP in 2005.

Georgia's military spending has grown in recent years, but not Eastern Europe's. According to the International Institute of Strategic Studies, only one country in Eastern Europe spends more than 2% of GDP on defense. That would be Bulgaria at 2.2%. Romania is in second place at 1.9%, followed by Poland at 1..8%. Nor do these countries maintain large standing forces. Poland has 7.9 million males of military age but only 127,266 active-duty personnel in its armed forces. Hungary could mobilize 1.9 million men but has only 32,300 in uniform. Bulgaria has 1.3 million potential soldiers but only 40,747 actual soldiers. And so on.

Is is not a suicide mission - it deters well like with the Swiss, and pays dividends in the worst case scenario. While we are on the subject -- let's beat that history drum!
Small states have often shown the ability to humble great powers. In 1920, under the inspired leadership of Marshal Josef Pilsudski, the Poles staged a brilliant counterattack to save Warsaw and drive the Red Army off their soil. In the winter war of 1939-1940 the plucky Finns held off Soviet invaders, forcing the Kremlin to settle for a slice of its territory rather than all of it. More recently, the Afghan mujahedeen drove the Red Army out of their country altogether, thereby helping to bring down the Soviet Union.
Will and desire can do much if given the right tools. When this started, all I could think of was, "An AT-4 in every pot!" Max sees that too.
That means having large reserves ready for fast call-up and plenty of
defensive weapons -- in particular portable missile systems such as the Stinger and Javelin capable of inflicting great damage on Russia's lumbering air and armor forces. That's more important than fielding their own tanks or fighter aircraft. We should offer to sell them these relatively inexpensive defensive systems, and to provide the advisory services to make the best use of them. But the first step has to be for the Eastern Europeans to make a larger commitment to their own defense.
History favors the prepared. Time to wake up and get to work Eastern Europe. Remember, you live in a very rough neighborhood.

Along those lines, Ukraine leans into the wind. Secondary Effects.
Mr Yushchenko condemned the "forceful intervention and "aggression" waged against Georgia but vowed his country would not be Russia's next target.

"Ukraine will do everything to prevent any military escalation in our region."
Ukraine, which has a large ethnic Russian minority, has sided with Georgia in its confrontation with Russia over the breakaway republic of South Ossetia, whose rebel leadership is backed by Moscow.

Ukraine has sided with the West in condemning Russia for sending tanks and troops into Georgian territory in response to a Georgian offensive on August 7 to retake South Ossetia, where residents have been given Russian passports.

Addressing several thousand people gathered on Kiev's independence square, Mr Yushchenko said "the events in Georgia did not leave Ukraine indifferent.

"I share a deep empathy with all the suffering people of the indivisible Georgian land. Your pain is in our hearts."

Ukrainians watched a military parade on Kiev's main Kreshchatyk street, cheering tanks, armoured personnel carriers and missiles mounted on vehicles as they rolled by.

There was also a fly-past of some 22 fighter jets and other warplanes in the parade, the first military display since 2001 to mark the anniversary of Ukraine's secession from Moscow.

Would never happen in the South

When I first saw this at HotAir, my first instinct was, "Awww, h311 - this nation is lost." But, then I I realized that we were talking from the heart of YankeeLand, Connecticut for goodness sake.

These people soak in a culture that bans dodgeball, hunting, all things good and normal, and hugs about every mindless weak-a55 PC project you can think of. They then tax and regulate themselves into oblivion, move down South and spread their vile lameness.
Typical Kerry voters.
Nine-year-old Jericho Scott is a good baseball player — too good, it turns out.

The right-hander has a fastball that tops out at about 40 mph. He throws so hard that the Youth Baseball League of New Haven told his coach that the boy could not pitch any more. When Jericho took the mound anyway last week, the opposing team forfeited the game, packed its gear and left, his coach said.

Officials for the three-year-old league, which has eight teams and about 100 players, said they will disband Jericho's team, redistributing its players among other squads, and offered to refund $50 sign-up fees to anyone who asks for it. They say Jericho's coach, Wilfred Vidro, has resigned.

But Vidro says he didn't quit and the team refuses to disband. Players and parents held a protest at the league's field on Saturday urging the league to let Jericho pitch.

"He's never hurt any one," Vidro said. "He's on target all the time. How can you punish a kid for being too good?"
Sure, we have a little of that imported YankeeThink down South, but a kid who can throw at 40mph at age 9 WITH control!! Heck, we'd build a league around him.

Jerico - get your parents together, pack up the U-haul, and move on down to Dixie. We've got a league waiting for 'ya. Coach Vidro, you too. Leave those backstabbing, envy filled, weak-a55 Yankee wannabee whiners behind. You will never have to say this again.
The controversy bothers Jericho, who says he misses pitching.

"I feel sad," he said. "I feel like it's all my fault nobody could play."
Adults ruining another kid because he makes theirs look bad. Pathetic.

INSURV: now it is LPD-18

Woe is us. Two years --- good thing we aren't fighting a war or anything.
Just under two years after the amphibious transport dock New Orleans was delivered incomplete, the amphib still can’t perform the central mission for which it was designed: Carrying Marines, their gear and their vehicles into battle, according to a recent report by the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey, or InSurv.

The San Diego-based New Orleans was “degraded” in its “ability to conduct sustained combat operations,” and has a slew of other problems, according to the inspection, conducted Aug. 11-15. The report, obtained by Navy Times, paints the picture of a ship not only troubled by the same technical problems as its older sibling, the first-in-class gator San Antonio, but also with many of its own.
The New Orleans InSurv arrived just as the Norfolk, Va.-based San Antonio is preparing to make its maiden deployment this week. That ship was delivered three years ago, also incomplete. Like the San Antonio, the New Orleans’ electrical system had ship-wide problems, according to Navy inspectors: “Significant electrical and electronic cable plant installation deficiencies exist,” Navy inspectors wrote, including “dead-ended cables, cables improperly bundled and banded, cables exceeding nesting capacity, inadequate packing of cables at watertight penetrations.”

The findings make for a total of three ships with widespread electrical problems that were built at Northrop Grumman’s shipyards along the Gulf Coast: the first two San Antonios and the amphibious assault ship Makin Island. Northrop Grumman announced earlier this year that it had to delay the delivery of the Makin Island by six months to fix its wiring problems. The company agreed to bear the roughly $360 million cost.
Heads on pikes? No, didn't think so.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Did VA invade MD?

Should DE be concerned? From the VA Governor and almost VP....

Oh, for those who went to guv'munt skools, here is Ref. A.

Hat tip Hot Air.

Dude, when is the wetting down?

Someone got promoted and I have yet to get an invite that involves beer I don't have to pay for.

I am not pleased.

Oh hai Ivan!

That is where the phrase "Showing the Flag" comes from.
A Georgian flag flies in front of the guided-missile destroyer USS McFaul anchored in the harbor of Batumi, western Georgia, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2008. The USS McFaul is the first of three U.S. Navy ships that will carry supplies such as blankets, hygiene kits and baby food to Georgia via the Turkish Straits to help the country following its war with Russia over the breakaway republic of South Ossetia.
(AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky)

I have not come to praise EBO ....

...but to bury it. Thanks to the good folks over at SmallWarsJournal, we have Gen. Mattis's fully JFCOM memo on EBO. You can and should read the full document available here, but to get you started here is the full intro. If nothing, it should remind you that we live in a time of giants - Gen. Mattis is one of them.
14 August 2008


Subject: Assessment of Effects Based Operations

1. Attached are my thoughts and Commander’s guidance regarding Effects Based Operations (EBO). The paper is designed to provide the JFCOM staff with clear guidance and a new direction on how EBO will be addressed in joint doctrine and used in joint training, concept development, and experimentation. I am convinced that the various interpretations of EBO have caused confusion throughout the joint force and amongst our multinational partners that we must correct. It is my view that EBO has been misapplied and overextended to the point that it actually hinders rather than helps joint operations.

2. Therefore, we must return to time honored principles and terminology that our forces have tested in the crucible of battle and are well grounded in the theory and nature of war. At the same time, we must retain and adopt those aspects of effect based thinking that are useful. We must stress the importance of mission type orders that contain clear Commander’s Intent, unambiguous tasks and purpose, and most importantly, links ways and means with achievable ends. To augment these tenets, we must leverage non-military capabilities and strive to better understand the different operating variables that make up today’s more complex operating environments.

3. My assessment is shaped by my own personal experiences and the experience of others in a variety of operational situations. I’m convinced we must keep the following in mind: First, operations in the future will require a balance of regular and irregular competencies. Second, the enemy is smart, and adaptive. Third, all operating environments are dynamic with an infinite number of variables; therefore, it is not scientifically possible to accurately predict the outcome of an action. To suggest otherwise runs contrary to historical experience and the nature of war. Fourth, we are in error when we think that what works (or does not work) in one theater is universally applicable to all theaters. Finally, to quote Sherman, “Every attempt to make war easy and safe will result in humiliation and disaster.” History is replete with such examples and further denies us any confidence that the acute predictability promised by EBO’s long assessment cycle can strengthen our doctrine.

4. The joint force must act in uncertainty and thrive in chaos, sensing opportunity therein and not retreating into a need for more information. JFCOM’s purpose is to ensure that joint doctrine smoothes and simplifies joint operations while reducing friendly friction. My goal is to return clarity to our planning processes and operational concepts. Ultimately, my aim is to ensure leaders convey their intent in clearly understood terms and empower their subordinates to act decisively.

5. While NATO and many Partner Nations have adopted the EBO nomenclature, NATO’s policy focuses on the whole of government/Comprehensive Approach. In short, NATO’s Effects Based Approach to Operations (EBAO) does not fully mirror U.S. EBO. NATO’s use of EBAO is left unaddressed in this USJFCOM Commander’s Guidance.

6. A pre-decisional working draft of this document was prematurely circulated and should be discarded. I regret any confusion resulting from the unintended early release of this draft document.

General, U.S. Marine Corps

Mile High Chi-town!

Hey fellas; remember what it was like to be a smug Lefty? Well, in case you forgot -- the Dems are back!

Geezzzzz - not only is Senator Obama's policies warmed over Socialism; the "protesters" are as equally retrograde that they can't even find a way to protest in an original manner.

Check the schedule here. Recreate 68! What an embarrassment. Teh lame.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

In Iraq that will get you a Hellfire

...An unmanned drone being built by an engineer ... was being designed to carry more than 600 pounds of explosives. ... surveillance video obtained by News 4 New York shows a white van rolling onto the tarmac, a small group of men jumping out and ground testing the unmanned flight vehicle.
"It could be in the air for 8-10 hours and there's potential harm if it is carrying a large amount of toxic material,"... the man behind the project was an
Egyptian national who had entered the U.S. on a Sudanese passport.
Now ponder; this took place in Long Island --- and no one is in jail.

See the video here. Ponder.

Yep, that is the Democrat Party

A "Community Organizer" and a colorful professional politician. Depending on who McCain picks as a running mate - wow what an opening for a "life's experience" run they can make against these two.

I guess no one will be making fun of McCain's hair anymore.

Now, a message from our sponsor.

Hat tip to ExUrbanLeague for the pic.

Rewarding racism

In a zero sum game - if you dedicate your efforts for one ethnic group (of highly questionable construct as a 6th generation Tejano is not a Spaniard is not a Mexican is not a Cuban is not a ... well ... you get it ... ), the other's suffer. Contracts are a zero sum game.

Shame on our Navy. Shame on our leadership. Adopting the best practices of the Balkans is just asinine. From a NAVSEA email:
RDML Pat Brady - Hispanic Engineering National Achievement Award Conference (HENAAC) Award for Executive Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Congratulations to RDML Brady as the recipient of this prestigious award recognizing his important efforts in building a culture that values diversity. He spearheaded an initiative that opened doors to Hispanic-owned businesses interested in dealing with NUWC and championed a Memorandum of Understanding that will increase awareness of NAVSEA employment opportunities within the Hispanic community. RDML Brady will receive his award in mid-October at a ceremony in Houston. Congratulations!
I am sure that RDML Brady does not have a racist bone in his body. I don't blame him. A lot of us are pimped out by the Diversity Bullies.

All these programs make a full out of all of us. I don't come from a Navy family - I come from a family of entrepreneurs. As such, I am the Blacksheep of the family in a way. Any businessman worth his salt does not need to be patronizingly hand-held to find a market for his services. He looks for it. Another result of my family background, I also know the "unique" advantage we had by having one of our companies under my Mother's name when doing business with the gov'munt. Yes, I do bite that hand that fed me.

UPDATE: Hey, the things you find out when you start digging. Perhaps RDML Brady has some issues I am not fully versed in.

He is a classic example of the problem we have with labels. A shock to me, but a man named "Patrick H. Brady" self-identifies himself as a Hispanic? Why? Well, it seems his father was,
...a former United States Army soldier of Irish-American and Hispanic descent.
He grew up in the, I guess, the Hispanic enclave of Camp Springs, MD to maintain his Hispanic cultural bonofides.

Oops, wrong again.
As of the census of 2000, there were 17,968 people, 6,210 households, and 4,831 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 2,475.9 people per square mile (955.6/km²). There were 6,494 housing units at an average density of 894.8/sq mi (345.4/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 20.07% White, 74.28% African American, 0.40% Native American, 2.33% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 1.07% from other races, and 1.79% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.44% of the population.
So what pray tell, does the fact a guy his civilian friends called "Pat" have with that background that allows him to call himself "Hispanic" or to provide a role model to other Hispanics?

Sir, I don't know you from Adam - but you have no clothes. Turn away from false ethnocentrism. You moved away from San Antonio to Maryland when you were 7. Objectively, this just makes you look silly, and like you have issues.
According to Brady, one of his passions with his involvement with Hispanic organizations, such as HENAAC and MAES, is to ensure that other Hispanics know the great opportunities that are available through education; and to ensure that no one has to change who they are (like his father did) in order to fit in and achieve the "American Dream." In 2006, HENAAC (Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference) convened an Executive Roundtable in Anaheim, California. Brady, who was a Roundtable Participant, emphasized in his speech the importance of recognizing and accepting ones Hispanic heritage.
Sir, let me be blunt in a respectful way - yet blunt. What Irish-American groups do you belong to? Using your logic, Sen. Obama (D-IL) is unquestionably White (not that there is anything wrong with that, I guess). At sea and ashore - "recognizing ones ethnicity" has absolutely no place. Zip, zero, nada. Wear green on St. Patrick's day or breading out the Tequilla on the 5th of May - sure, but that is about it. You have taken it to a whole other level. I would have a huge issue working with you if anyone I was being ranked against had a Hispanic name. I would defiantly have worries if I had a Hispanic background of some kind and had no desire to join any of these ethocentrin organizations - and you knew about it. There is plausible doubt in your objectivity.

This is the 21st Century, no one should be that obsessed with such a small portion of their DNA -- and it shouldn't matter with a person in a position of authority in a multi-ethnic environment - and bringing it into the workplace in spades. If it was me, we would all just be Sailors, but leadership seems to want to go down the path of failure of ethnocentrism for some reason. Being genetically all mixed up, like I am, you should be at the front of progressive unity, not retrograde ethnic tribalism like we see in Rwanda, Belgium, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Please excuse me sir if I don't congratulate you on your award. Do I seem a bit too direct? Perhaps, but it is your wrong ideas I have issues with, not you. I am sure you are a wonderful and loving husband and father and an outstanding Acquisition Professional doing great things for our Navy.

What I won't give ground on is my opinion of the cancerous stance you take WRT ethnocentrism - Hispanic ethnocentrism especially which as I mentioned at the top of the post is about as much of an artificial construct as there can be. You are no more part of an unique "ethnic" group in this nation than I am - than the Chilean of English extraction is "Hispanic." The Argentinean of German extraction is "Hispanic." The Mexican of 100% (as he insists on telling me) Castellian blood is "Hispanic." The Peruvian of 100% (as he insists on telling me) Inca blood is "Hispanic." The Cuban Jew is "Hispanic." Cultural? Well, then Americans from the Southeast should have the same treatment as you - as should anyone who decends from the Southerns who migrated to the Western USA in the 19th Century. .... see where this leads?

Your ethno-cultocentric view is part of the fetid backwash from '70 social theory and its grevience industry festering in our culture. Mine is based on historical fact about what does and does not work when it comes to national solidarity. Ethnocentrism, in its logical progression, leads to one thing; this.

Hat tip NAVSEA spy.


Byron -- I'll bet you four rounds of beer at Pete's Bar this new comedy show on the St. John's river is related to the issue we talked about Thursday.

If you can't take 60mph gusts -- you don't belong in FL. Background here.
Speaking of goofy engineering. Check this jewel of an extract from a very funny email thread that was forwarded on to me from one of my spies.
Attached is a proposal to eliminate hydrostatic testing of tanks on the LPD 17 class. Enclosed is the proposal along with a spreadsheet (last page) of test completed on hulls 18 through 21. All tests were successful (passed).

The expectation is that further testing on later hulls will not provide different results (pass) and, therefore, should not be performed.
Ok, how about this?
Dear IRS,

Attached is a proposal to eliminate any possible future audit of the tax returns for the Phibian Salamander family. Enclosed is the proposal along with a spreadsheet (last page) of tax returns from 2002 to 2007. All tax returns were successful (not audited).

The expectation is that future review of my tax returns for possible audit will not provide different results (no need for audit) and, therefore, should not be performed.

Very respectfully,
Phibian Salamander
Yep, that will work just fine.

Friday, August 22, 2008

China is "...vastly superior to us..."

Okey, dokey. I would make some throw away comment about Communist lov'n, American hate'n Leftists ... but that would be redundant perhaps. I don't know how Sen. Obama's fans can spin this.

Life of Barak

I just can't help myself.

Hat tip PowerLine.

What does it all mean?

Fairly solid outline by by Anthony Cordesman via Arnaud de Borchgrave In the WashTimes.
Anthony Cordesman, one of the most astute geopolitical experts in the United States, wrote: "The fighting in Georgia [was] not a warning about some new drift into great power confrontation or a new Cold War. It is a reminder that the world is not shaped by democratic values, international law, good intentions, globalism, rational bargains, or the search for dialogue."

The Center for Strategic and International Studies' senior strategic scholar, Mr. Cordesman added: "All of these elements do play an important role, but the classic power politics are just as real as ever. Nation-states still have the guns and missiles. More powerful states will bend or break the rules when they feel it is in their interest to do so and when there is no opposing power bloc that can pose a convincing threat."

Yep - because it is time for a reminder.

Now THAT is a love me wall!

Speaking of Sen. McCain (R-AZ) and houses ...

I all of a sudden feel very small ....

Fullbore Friday

196 years ago this Tuesday last ....
“Ay, tear her tattered ensign down!
Long has it waved on high,
And many an eye has danced to see
That banner in the sky;
Beneath it rung the battle shout,
And burst the cannon's roar;
The meteor of the ocean air
Shall sweep the clouds no more.

Her deck, once red with heroes' blood,
Where knelt the vanquished foe,
When winds were hurrying o'er the flood,
And waves were white below,
No more shall feel the victor's tread,
Or know the conquered knee;
The harpies of the shore shall pluck
The eagle of the sea!

Oh, better that her shattered bulk
Should sink beneath the wave;
Her thunders shook the mighty deep,
And there should be her grave;
Nail to the mast her holy flag,
Set every threadbare sail,
And give her to the god of storms,
The lightning and the gale!”

- - Oliver Wendell Holmes
("Old Ironsides")
Today is the 196th anniversary of the defeat of the British frigate, HMS Guerriere, by her American counterpart, USS Constitution, "Old Ironsides" - on 19 August 1812, perhaps the most famous naval encounter of the War of 1812. What a battle it was.
The U.S. Frigate Constitution left Boston, Massachusetts, on 2 August 1812, bound for a raiding cruise off Nova Scotia, the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Newfoundland. Her Commanding Officer, Isaac Hull, was eager to find and fight one of the several Royal Navy frigates then active off North America, and on 18 August an American privateer informed him that one might be found further south. The next afternoon, some 400 miles southeast of the British base at Halifax, a sail was sighted that turned out to be HMS Guerriere, one of the frigates that had fruitlessly pursued Constitution off New York a month earlier.

Guerriere's Captain, James R. Dacres, was also spoiling for a fight. Despite his ship's disadvantages in number and size of guns, and number of crewmen, the long British tradition of victory in ship-to-ship combat against European enemies provided reasonable grounds for Dacres' aggressive optimism. As Constitution approached on this windy, cloudy day, Guerriere began firing alternating broadsides that produced few hits and little damage. Constitution's return fire, limited to a few guns mounted forward, was also ineffective, but this changed markedly as the two ships drew alongside at about six in the evening of 19 August 1812.

A quarter-hour of intense gunnery by Constitution, delivered with much superior accuracy, battered Guerriere in the hull and masts. The British frigate's mizzenmast fell over the side, crippling her ability to maneuver. Constitution then moved ahead to rake Guerriere, whose bowsprit caught in the American's mizzen rigging. Firing continued while the two ships were thus tangled, and both sides prepared boarding parties. Marksmen in the mast tops blazed away at exposed personnel, with deadly effect. Many officers and men were thus killed, including Constitution's Marine lieutenant. Others, Captain Dacres among them, were wounded. As the ships separated, Guerriere's foremast collapsed, pulling down the mainmast with it. She was now a "defenseless hulk", and surrendered at 7 PM, when Constitution approached to renew the action after making brief repairs to her modest damages. British casualties were more than five times those of the Americans, and Guerriere was beyond saving. Her surviving crewmen were taken off the next day, she was set afire and soon blew up. Constitition then returned to Boston with her prisoners, arriving on 30 August.

This battle, the first of several U.S. Navy victories in ship-to-ship contests, encouraged Americans and chagrined the British. Despite the rational excuse that Royal Navy frigates were not as large and powerful as their American counterparts, the real causes of these outcomes were inspired seamanship and vastly better gunnery. For the rest of the 19th Century, long after the War of 1812 was over, America's Navy was credited with an effectiveness that went well beyond its usually modest size.
The below summary is going around, I'll copy it in whole.
Designed by naval architect Joshua Humphreys and laid down in Boston in 1794, Constitution was one of six frigates authorized by Congress during the presidency of George Washington to meet the threat of both "Barbary pirates" and British belligerence. Launched in 1797, she saw earlier service in the West Indies and the Mediterranean and subsequently continued sporadically on active duty until 1855, when she was converted to a training ship. Still considered a commissioned warship of the U.S. Navy, Constitution is maintained today as a historic vessel in the city where she was built.

American poet Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894) wrote "Old Ironsides" in 1830, when the Navy considered scrapping the ship - then laid up in Boston - as an economy measure. Holmes' verse stirred up such a public outcry that the Navy soon agreed to refurbish Constitution in 1833, and as noted, she's still with us today.
And she is still with us. Thanks Oliver!

Hat tip Byron.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A man and his dogs ...

Do you own dogs? Do you love dogs - even the ones that don't quite "cowboy-up?"

Required reading over at Argghhh!!!

What clown did this weld?

Folks, you get what you pay for.
Facing a shrinking work force and lower employee retention, local shipbuilders are joining others in Louisiana and Alabama to support the Gulf States Shipbuilders Consortium in launching a job campaign.

The new work force initiative, which focuses on getting coast residents to rethink their perceptions of the shipbuilding industry, looks beyond filling openings temporarily and urges residents to make careers within the sector, program participants say.
There are about 4,000 shipbuilding positions that need to be filled in the tri-state coastal area, according to Dennis Fanguy, chairman of the board of the Gulf States Shipbuilders Consortium.
Next year, Northrop Grumman will need 300 to 400 more structural welders as ships enter stages of construction that demand the increase, Amis said, and by August he will need to increase the Gulfport yard's composite work force by 130.
"We could take to the tune of 75 to 100 of those right now," he said. "Pipe welders are a huge struggle for us."

Amis said the company is usually ready to hire any talented applicant, so it's hard for him to pin down an exact number of vacant positions.

He did note, however, that he could currently take 30 to 50 machinists, a group that employs mostly "older, seasoned employees who could retire in the next couple of years." Finding new blood to fill those vacancies will be vital to operations.
Northrop Grumman, which employs about 17,000 in its Gulf Coast operations in Louisiana and Mississippi, is in severe need of pipe welders, said Kevin Amis, vice president of operations.
This is pathetic.
Entry pay for these jobs is about $11 per hour, he said, and positions top out at about $19 per hour.
For the price they pay to have people like former CNO Clark absorb oxygen at Board Meetings, they could train, retain, and pay right craftsmen. That is what we need.

How much in the last decade plus have we heard of "outsourcing" or "we will have industry do it" or "contract that work out." Well, many of those guys were former Sailors who were trained and gained experience as Sailors. We don't train Sailors to do that work - time moves on -- and -- poof. No more machiniest, no more technicians, no one welding, or welding well.

Time to up your game folks. Cut out the Beltway Bandits and invest in the people that build quality to go in harm's way. You have been living off the excess of a decaying industrial base for 15 years now and you have to play catch-up.

Byron, over to you.

Hat tip Mike.

RECC quiz

John, help a sailor out. The below pic of of some Georgian POWs on a Russian APC.

What is that short, fat barreled AK? Some M-16 is to AK-74, as M-4 is to _____?

Another little detail; note the Georgian BDU. Over the last year they have been moving from the old woodland BDU to the Canadian woodland like digi-cammies. Shame - if I were them I would have picked multi-cam - not that it would have helped these poor guys any.

I hope, somewhere, there is a Georgian who is capturing all these pictures of their POWs and building a catalog of faces to names so they can account for everyone. Russian history being what it is and all.....
UPDATE: JCS spy sends the gouge.
Caliber: 9x39mm SP-5 and SP-6 subsonic cartridges
Action: auto, selective fire, gas-operated, striker-fired.
Length: 894mm
Barrel length: 200 mm
Weight: empty: 2.6 kg, loaded w. scope PSO-1: 3.41 kg
Magazine: 10 or 20 rounds detachable box

VSS (Vinovka Snaiperskaja Spetsialnaya = Special Sniper Rifle) was designed for special operations. Designed at TSNIITochMash (Central Institute for Precision Machine Building) by team lead by Petr Serdjukov, the new rifle was intended to replace some AK-47/AKM rifles, fitted with silencers, in the hands of various Special Operations (SpetsNaz) troops of Soviet Army, KGB and MVD. To achieve desired lethality against targets, protected with body armor, TSNIITochMash had to develop a new subsonic cartridge, based on the 7.62x39 case, necked out for 9mm bullet. The bullets used in new cartridges are long and heavy (about 16 gram), and of ball (SP-5) and AP (SP-6) type. The latter bullet features a hardened steel penetrator as the core, and can defeat most military issue body armors at ranges up to 300-400 meters. VSS is in use since late 1980s, and is widely used in Chechnya against separatists. VSS is quite popular among its users for its stealthy capabilities and great lethality of heavy 9mm bullets. The effective range of VSS is limited to 300-400 meters.

The VSS is a gas operated, selective fire weapon. The long stroke gas piston is located above the barrel. The rotating bolt has 6 lugs and locks into the receiver, which is machined from solid steel for greater strength. The trigger unit differs significantly from AK-47 type firearms, being striker-fired. The safety switch and charging handle are AK-style, but the fire selector is a cross-bolt button, located inside the triggerguard, behind the trigger.

The barrel at the front has a set of tiny holes, drilled in the rifling grooves, which lead into the integral silencer. The silencer is the integral part of the weapon, and while it could be easily removed for storage or maintenance, the VSS should not be fired wit silencer removed.

Standard sighting equipment consists of side rail on the receiver, which usually accommodates the 4X PSO-1 scope, graduated for 9x39 ammo. Any other scope or night vision sight can be mounted on appropriate mount. backup iron sights consist of tangent rear and blade front. Rear sight is graduated up to 400 meters.

The wooden, skeletonized buttstock is fitted with rubber buttplate and can be removed for compact storage and transportation, the compact forend is made from polymer.

Feeding is achieved from 10 or 20 round box magazines, made from polymer.

I think I have to get a TomTom

I have been a Garmin guy for a decade (early adopter once I got hooked on MILSPEC Trimble goodies) - but I just might have to get a TomTom GPS.
Motorists bored by the monotonous tones of their sat navs are turning to A Team star Mr T, Sex in the City actress Kim Cattrall and comedian John Cleese to brighten up their journeys.
..., which offers a range of voices, lists its top five downloads in Britain as Mr T, Miss Cattrall, and the American actors Dennis Hopper, Gary Busey and Burt Reynolds.

TomTom, the leading satnav manufacturer, said its most popular voices were John Cleese, Mr T, Dennis Hopper, Burt Reynolds and a Victor Meldrew impersonation.
Eddie Izzard, the comedian, offers his own set of directions for £4.99, which includes phrases such as "For God's sake turn left", "Bear left, monkey right" and "You turn ahead, I'll stay here".

Where is Gunny Hartman though - a natural if you ask me.