Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Economic Poetry

What year do you think this quote by Richard Fisher, the CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas came from?
I have since been occasionally reminded of this scene, by those calm sunny seasons in the commercial world, which are known by the name of ``times of unexampled prosperity.'' They are the sure weather-breeders of traffic. Every now and then the world is visited by one of these delusive seasons, when ``the credit system'' as it is called, expands to full luxuriance; everybody trusts everybody; a bad debt is a thing unheard of; the broad way to certain and sudden wealth lies plain and open; and men are tempted to dash forward boldly, from the facility of borrowing.

Promissory notes interchanged between scheming individuals, are liberally discounted at the banks, which become so many mints to coin words into cash; and as the supply of words is inexhaustible, it may readily be supposed what a vast amount of promissory capital is soon in circulation. Every one now talks in thousands; nothing is heard but gigantic operations in trade; great purchases and sales of real property, and immense sums made at every transfer. All, to be sure, as yet exists in promise; but the believer in promises calculates the aggregate as solid capital, and falls back in amazement at the amount of public wealth, the ``unexampled state of public prosperity!''

Now is the time for speculative and dreaming or designing men. They relate their dreams and projects to the ignorant and credulous, dazzle them with golden visions, and set them maddening after shadows. The example of one stimulates another; speculation rises on speculation; bubble rises on bubble; every one helps with his breath to swell the windy superstructure, and admires and wonders at the magnitude of the inflation he has contributed to produce.

Speculation is the romance of trade, and casts contempt upon all its sober realities. It renders the stock-jobber a magician, and the exchange a region of enchantment. It elevates the merchant into a kind of knight-errant, or rather a commercial Quixote. The slow but sure gains of snug percentage become despicable in his eyes: no ``operation'' is thought worthy of attention that does not double or treble the investment. As he sits musing over his ledger, with pen behind his ear, he is like La Mancha's hero in his study, dreaming over his books of chivalry. His dusty counting house fades before his eyes, or changes into a Spanish mine; he gropes after diamonds, or dives after pearls. The subterranean garden of Aladdin is nothing to the realms of wealth that break upon his imagination.

Could this delusion always last, the life of a merchant would indeed be a golden dream; but it is as short as it is brilliant. Let but a doubt enter, and the ``season of unexampled prosperity'' is at an end. The coinage of words is suddenly curtailed; the promissory capital begins to vanish into smoke; a panic succeeds, and the whole superstructure, built upon credit, and reared by speculation, crumbles to the ground, leaving scarce a wreck behind:
What do you think? Last week? 2000 following the .com collapse? Late '80s about the S&L crisis?

No. Washington Irving...well over a century ago in The Great Mississippi Bubble.

You know what I say about the critical role of knowing your history when it comes to warfare - economics is no different.

Hat tip Jason at CounterColumn via Mike.

2008: the year in books

Like every year - the review of what I case you have not been following the updates on the right.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Krauthammer option; now more than ever‏

Time to make you fine, loyal, and wise readers mad at me again.

I never ask that you need to agree with me; just ponder some of what I am pondering.
Americans have a deep and understandable aversion to gasoline taxes. In a culture more single-mindedly devoted to individual freedom than any other, tampering with access to the open road is met with visceral opposition. That's why earnest efforts to alter American driving habits take the form of regulation of the auto companies--the better to hide the hand of government and protect politicians from the inevitable popular backlash.

But it's not just love of the car. America is a nation of continental expanses. Distances between population centers can be vast. The mass-transit mini-car culture of Europe just doesn't work in big sky country.

This combination of geography and romance is the principal reason gas taxes are so astonishingly low in America. The federal tax is 18.4 cents per gallon. In Britain, as in much of Europe, the tax approaches $4 per gallon--more than 20 times the federal levy here.

...the virtues of a gas tax remain what they have always been. A tax that suppresses U.S. gas consumption can have a major effect on reducing world oil prices. And the benefits of low world oil prices are obvious: They put tremendous pressure on OPEC, as evidenced by its disarray during the current collapse; they deal serious economic damage to energy-exporting geopolitical adversaries such as Russia, Venezuela, and Iran; and they reduce the enormous U.S. imbalance of oil trade which last year alone diverted a quarter of $1 trillion abroad. Furthermore, a reduction in U.S. demand alters the balance of power between producer and consumer, making us less dependent on oil exporters. It begins weaning us off foreign oil, and, if combined with nuclear power and renewed U.S. oil and gas drilling, puts us on the road to energy independence.
Today we are experiencing a unique moment. Oil prices are in a historic free fall from a peak of $147 a barrel to $39 today. In July, U.S. gasoline was selling for $4.11 a gallon. It now sells for $1.65. With $4 gas still fresh in our memories, the psychological impact of a tax that boosts the pump price to near $3 would be far less than at any point in decades. Indeed, an immediate $1 tax would still leave the price more than one-third below its July peak.

What to do? Something radically new. A net-zero gas tax. Not a freestanding gas tax but a swap that couples the tax with an equal payroll tax reduction. A two-part solution that yields the government no net increase in revenue and, more importantly--that is why this proposal is different from others--immediately renders the average gasoline consumer financially whole.

Here is how it works. The simultaneous enactment of two measures: A $1 increase in the federal gasoline tax--together with an immediate $14 a week reduction of the FICA tax. Indeed, that reduction in payroll tax should go into effect the preceding week, so that the upside of the swap (the cash from the payroll tax rebate) is in hand even before the downside (the tax) kicks in.

The math is simple. The average American buys roughly 14 gallons of gasoline a week. The $1 gas tax takes $14 out of his pocket. The reduction in payroll tax puts it right back. The average driver comes out even, and the government makes nothing on the transaction. (There are, of course, more drivers than workers--203 million vs. 163 million. The 10 million unemployed would receive the extra $14 in their unemployment insurance checks. And the elderly who drive--there are 30 million licensed drivers over 65--would receive it with their Social Security payments.)

Revenue neutrality is essential. No money is taken out of the economy. Washington doesn't get fatter. Nor does it get leaner. It is simply a transfer agent moving money from one activity (gasoline purchasing) to another (employment) with zero net revenue for the government.
.... and we need to cut diesel tax by a half to help bring our auto diesel usage in line with Europe's ~30-50%. Diesel gets ~25-30% better mileage and is easily mixed with biodiesel where it makes sense, etc. We aren't talking about a 1978 GM diesel either. Modern diesels are outstanding engines. Next time you are in Europe, rent a VW turbo diesel and you will know what I am talking about.

Less money in the pockets of the Saudis and Hugo - and will take a huge chunk out of our crippling trade deficit etc, etc, etc.

Win, win, and win.

The Right I Know

I feel bad that it has taken me this long to find one of the very bright rising stars of the Conservative side of the line. If you would, I would like for you to take some time to meet S.E. Cupp. The co-author along with Brett Joshpe of Why You're Wrong About the Right that you can purchase by clicking here or the picture of it below. You can catch up with her at her blog here, or make her a friend on FaceBook. ...and truth be known - yes, I do like her much better as a Brunette with glasses. Sigh. Brains and brainy beauty ... reminds me of Mrs. Salamander (active defense engaged).

Two videos to round your knowledge base.

Understanding the Obama national security team‏

Wonder why the Obama National Security Team is Center/Center-right in its outlook? Nothing new or magic - what Kaplan wrote in The Atlantic seven years ago still applies - and shows that in many ways Obama isn't the misty-eyed knee-jerk ideologue many thought - at least so far when it strictly comes to national security.

The Cold War was scarcely a decade old. The Soldier and the State constituted a warning: America's liberal society, Huntington argued, required the protection of a professional military establishment steeped in conservative realism. In order to keep the peace, military leaders had to take for granted—and anticipate—the "irrationality, weakness, and evil in human nature." Liberals were good at reform, not at national security. "Magnificently varied and creative when limited to domestic issues," Huntington wrote, "liberalism faltered when applied to foreign policy and defense." Foreign policy, he explained, is not about the relationship among individuals living under the rule of law but about the relationship among states and other groups operating in a largely lawless realm. The Soldier and the State concluded with a rousing defense of West Point, which, Huntington wrote, "embodies the military ideal at its best ... a bit of Sparta in the midst of Babylon."

The subject that Huntington has more recently put on the map is the "The Clash of Civilizations" that is occurring as Western, Islamic, and Asian systems of thought and government collide. His argument is more subtle than it is usually given credit for, but some of the main points can be summarized.

• The fact that the world is modernizing does not mean that it is Westernizing. The impact of urbanization and mass communications, coupled with poverty and ethnic divisions, will not lead to peoples' everywhere thinking as we do.

• Asia, despite its ups and downs, is expanding militarily and economically. Islam is exploding demographically. The West may be declining in relative influence.

• Culture-consciousness is getting stronger, not weaker, and states or peoples may band together because of cultural similarities rather than because of ideological ones, as in the past.

• The Western belief that parliamentary democracy and free markets are suitable for everyone will bring the West into conflict with civilizations—notably, Islam and the Chinese—that think differently.

• In a multi-polar world based loosely on civilizations rather than on ideologies, Americans must reaffirm their Western identity.

The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon highlight the tragic relevance not just of Huntington's ideas about a clash of civilizations but of his entire life's work.
Read it all. True today as it was then ... and I now have another book
to read.

Hat tip Powerline.

Israel ... from the sea!

The Navy doesn't want to miss out - I've got your Littoral Combat right here.

At little more on the Israeli Typhoon gun system here.

Hat tip Jawa.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Mandatory viewing

Sure, the words are one thing.
A single-file line of schoolchildren walked past a military checkpoint Sunday as a bomb-loaded SUV veered toward them and exploded, ending the lives of 14 young Afghans in a heartbreaking flash captured by a U.S. military security camera.

The video shows the SUV slowly weaving through sand-bag barriers at the checkpoint just as the children, most wearing white caps, come into view. They walk along a pathway between the street and a wall, several of them pausing for a few seconds in a group before moving forward again.

The vehicle moves toward the security camera while the children walk in the opposite direction, nearly passing the SUV when the footage ends in a fiery blast.

Photos of the bombing's aftermath showed bloodied textbooks lying on the ground beside small pairs of shoes. Afghan officials said the children were attending a final day of class for the year to find out whether they would move up to the next grade.

Abdul Rahman, a doctor at a hospital near the blast, said the children were 8 to 10 years old.
22 total killed.
...pupils were receiving their exam results and end-of-year education certificates, police said.
But it is the video that you need to see.

CNN is too busy worshiping Palestinians to show it to you though. At least the NYT and AP have it up.

Keeping an Eye on the Long Game: Part XXXII

What is Chinese for "....shores of Tripoli.."
Three Chinese naval

"We have made special preparations to deal with pirates, even though these waters are not familiar to us," it quoted mission commander Rear-Admiral Du Jingcheng as saying.

The crack special forces are expected to give the fleet an edge in seeing off the pirates, with one of the soldiers able to "handle several enemies with (his) bare hands," Xinhua said.

"Our primary target is not striking them but dispelling them," Du said. "If the pirates make direct threats against the warships or the vessels we escort, the fleet will take counter measures."

The destroyers Haikou and Wuhan, which will leave from the southern resort island province of Hainan, were two of China's navy's most sophisticated warships, Xinhua said. The vessels are scheduled to leave for the waters off Somalia on Friday to help tackle rampant piracy in a sign of the country's rising global clout and diplomatic and military ambitions. The fleet -- two destroyers and a supply ship -- would have about 800 crew, including 70 special operations troops, the official Xinhua news agency said.
Chinese hyperbole is always fun to read. They will be traveling with the Supply Ship Weishanhu, at bottom.

I remember a young, small Navy that earned its street cred going after pirates that others tolerated .... remember, we may not study naval history all that much, but the Chinese still do.

This will be interesting to watch. I know what I would do if I were the Chinese ... and it involves very easily having the US Navy lose face at very little cost.

Senator Valley Girl (D-NY)

In a way, this is rather sad. Sad for Mrs. Edwin Schlossberg, New York, The Democrat Party, and the USA - where she was given so much time for a chance to be a US Senator without anyone voting for her.

Behold those who would call themselves your better. If you can't get the feel from the transcript - you can get the audio at the bottom.
"I'm really coming into this as somebody who isn't, you know, part of the system, who obviously, you know, stands for the values of, you know, the Democratic Party," Kennedy told the Daily News Saturday during a wide-ranging interview.

"I know how important it is to, you know, to be my own person. And, you know, and that would be obviously true with my relationship with the mayor."
"Andrew is, you know, highly qualified for this job," she said. "He's doing a, you know, a great job as attorney general, and we've spoken throughout this process."
"You know, I think, you know, we're sort of, uh, sharing some of this experience. And um, as I've said, he was a friend, a family member, and um so, and uh obviously, he's, you know, he's also had an impressive career in public office."
"It's really, you know, it's not about just the Kennedy name," she said. "It's about my own work and what I've done with those values."
Next - but before she leaves the public stage, can we please have her debate Gov. Palin (R-AK) - please... then maybe she can start with local politics, or at least the House of Representatives. Maybe, you know.

The policy in waiting

There is very little daylight between the NYT and the Obama Administration in waiting. In that light, we all should digest the good, the bad, and the ill-informed from this. It should be no shock that this in aligned with much of the Democrat defense think tank work.

Heck, I'll fisk it.
In recent weeks, this page has called for major changes in America’s armed forces: more ground forces, less reliance on the Reserves, new equipment and training to replace cold-war weapons systems and doctrines.
What? The NYT all of a sudden wants to spend more money on defense? They now know what persistent conflict means? Wait for it ...
Money will have to be found to pay for all of this, and the Pentagon can no longer be handed a blank check, as happened throughout the Bush years.
Oh, nevermind.
Since 2001, basic defense spending has risen by 40 percent in real post-inflation dollars. That is not counting the huge supplemental budgets passed — with little serious review or debate — each year to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Such unquestioned largess has shielded the Pentagon from any real pressure to cut unneeded weapons systems and other wasteful expenses.
Largess? Oh, must be the non-MRE food I am eating. As a result, there is plenty of fat in the defense budget. Here is what we think can be cut back or canceled in order to pay for new equipment and other reforms that are truly essential to keep this country safe:Yes, remember the "Who needs F-14 and F-15 when the F-4 is fine? Why a F-16 when the A-7 is fine?" Same idea.
End production of the Air Force’s F-22. The F-22 was designed to ensure victory in air-to-air dogfights with the kind of futuristic fighters that the Soviet Union did not last long enough to build. The Air Force should instead rely on its version of the new high-performance F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which comes into production in 2012 and like the F-22 uses stealth technology to elude enemy radar.
Would it be impolite to mention that the F-35 still isn't in production? Who would is stand up to the latest generation of fighters being produced in Russia and Europe once you join up inside visual range?
Until then, it can use upgraded versions of the F-16, which can outperform anything now flown by any potential foe. The F-35 will provide a still larger margin of superiority. The net annual savings: about $3 billion.
The F-4 argument.
Cancel the DDG-1000 Zumwalt class destroyer. This is a stealthy blue water combat ship designed to fight the kind of midocean battles no other nation is preparing to wage. The Navy can rely on the existing DDG-51 Arleigh Burke class destroyer, a powerful, well-armed ship that incorporates the advanced Aegis combat system for tracking and destroying multiple air, ship and submarine targets. The Navy has sharply cut back the number of Zumwalts on order from 32 to two.
Yikes! How many errors can you get in one paragraph? NYT, drop me an email next time you need a fact checker. Let me help you out a bit...I don't even like the DDG-1000, but you are making me do this...
  • Anything the size of a pocket battleship and emitting all that radar is not stealthy. The PPT and tri-fold may say that - but anyone who has been at sea knows different.
  • You have 180 degree lock-off. DDG-1000 was designed for just the opposite of a blue-water battle - it was designed originally as a land attack destroyer - as it right up next to the shore.
  • China is preparing to engage on blue water warfare - as are the Indians - as are the Russians ....
Classic example why you should worry about anyone who gets their only national security information from the NTY. We will have to rely on DDG-51s now that Zumwalt has been put out of its misery, so that last suggestion they give is meaningless. Horse already out of the barn.
Cutting the last two could save more than $3 billion a year that should be used to buy more of the littoral combat ships that are really needed. Those ships can move quickly in shallow offshore waters and provide helicopter and other close-in support for far more likely ground combat operations.
LCS cannot and will not be able to support troops ashore in but a very limited manner. Including mission modules, $3 billion will buy you no more than 4 LCS max, less if you crash a half-dozen or so FIRESCOUTS along the way.
Halt production of the Virginia class sub. Ten of these unneeded attack submarines — modeled on the cold-war-era Seawolf, whose mission was to counter Soviet attack and nuclear launch submarines — have already been built. The program is little more than a public works project to keep the Newport News, Va., and Groton, Conn., naval shipyards in business.
Gee, email Bubblehead NYT if you need to understand subs. This is just pathetic. VA class is an affordable answer to SEAWOLF and is the one program we have that is ahead of schedule and below budget...and our national security requires the industrial base in Newport News and Groton staying in business. Just stupid paragraph from every angle.
The Navy can extend the operating lives of the existing fleet of Los Angeles class fast-attack nuclear submarines, which can capably perform all needed post-cold-war missions — from launching cruise missiles to countering China’s expanding but technologically inferior submarine fleet. Net savings: $2.5 billion.
How about we build VA and refuel a few LA instead?
Pull the plug on the Marine Corps’s V-22 Osprey. After 25 years of trying, this futuristic and unnecessary vertical takeoff and landing aircraft has yet to prove reliable or safe. The 80 already built are more than enough. Instead of adding 400 more, the Marine Corps should buy more of the proven H-92 and CH-53 helicopters. Net savings: $2 billion to 2.5 billion.
Just when, finally, they are in the Fleet and proving their worth? That argument should have been made 10 years ago. Old argument that just doesn't work. We'll take a few CH-53 for the Navy though - everyone agrees it was stupid to get rid of those we had.
Halt premature deployment of missile defense. The Pentagon wants to spend roughly $9 billion on ballistic missile defense next year. That includes money to deploy additional interceptors in Alaska and build new installations in central Europe. After spending some $150 billion over the past 25 years, the Pentagon has yet to come up with a national missile defense system reliable enough to provide real security. The existing technology can be easily fooled by launching cheap metal decoys along with an incoming warhead.
I would comment more but can't. This is just not accurate - nuff said.
We do not minimize the danger from ballistic missiles. We agree there should be continued testing and research on more feasible approaches. Since the most likely threat would come from Iran or North Korea, there should be serious discussions with the Russians about a possible joint missile defense program. (We know the system poses no threat to Russia, but it is time to take away the excuse.) A research program would cost about $5 billion annually, for a net savings of nearly $5 billion.
Who here can tell my why sharing some of our most sensitive and high-tech research with autocratic Russia might be a bad idea. Anyone?
Negotiate deep cuts in nuclear weapons. Under the 2002 Moscow Treaty, the United States and Russia committed to reduce their strategic nuclear weapons to between 1,700 and 2,200 each by 2012. There has been no discussion of any further cuts. A successor treaty should have significantly lower limits — between 1,000 and 1,400, with a commitment to go lower.
Yawn. OK, but while we are at it, let's build and test modern, more reliable, and safer designs. Sounds like a good plan - if both steps are done.
President-elect Barack Obama should also take all ballistic missiles off hair-trigger alert and commit to reducing the nation’s absurdly large stock of backup warheads. These steps will make the world safer. It will give Mr. Obama a lot more credibility to press others to rein in their nuclear ambitions.
The Strangelovian paranoia at the NYT is kind of funny. Hairtrigger? Silly. Pre-emptive unilateral negotiation? Mindless.
It is hard to say just how much money would be saved with these reductions, but in the long term, the amount would certainly be considerable.

Trim the active-duty Navy and Air Force. The United States enjoys total dominance of the world’s seas and skies and will for many years to come.
Ummmm, not if we follow your plan.
The Army and the Marines have proved too small for the demands of simultaneous ground wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. They are the forces most likely to be called on in future interventions against terrorist groups or to rescue failing states. Reducing the Navy by one carrier group and the Air Force by two air wings would save about $5 billion a year.
Actually, not a bad idea if you needed to find a spare $5 billion ....
Making these cuts will not be politically easy. The services are already talking up remote future threats (most involving a hostile China armed to the teeth with submarines and space-age weapons). Military contractors invoke a different kind of threat: hundreds of thousands of layoffs in a recession-weakened economy. We are all for saving and creating jobs, but not at the cost of diverting finite defense dollars from real and pressing needs — or new programs that will create new jobs.
Such as ..... details ....
The cuts above could save $20 billion to $25 billion a year, which could be better used as follows:

Increase the size of the ground force. The current buildup of the Army and the Marine Corps will cost more than $100 billion over the next six years. Trimming the size of the Navy and Air Force,..
deferring the deployment of unready missile defenses and canceling the Osprey will pay for much of that.

Pay for the Navy’s needed littoral combat ships. These ships, which operate in shallow waters to support ground combat, cost about $600 million each. Canceling the DDG-1000 destroyer (more than $3 billion per ship) and the Virginia class submarine (more than $2 billion each) will help provide that needed money.
Resupply the National Guard and the Reserves. At the present rate for replacing weapons left behind or destroyed in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Guard will still be more than 20 percent short of what it needs in 2013. Canceling the F-22 will provide enough money to do better than that years sooner.
Some of these changes would have been made already if the Pentagon procurement system were more responsive to present needs and less captive to service and industry lobbyists.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates complains about what he calls “next war-itis,” the system’s built-in preference for what might be needed in potential future wars over what is clearly needed now.
Privately, most of the service chiefs concede that their budgets, which have seen little discipline since 9/11, have some margin for cuts.
I don't care who you are, that there is funny.
Congress will need to develop a lot more realism and restraint.
Lobbyists pushing costly and unneeded weapons systems find ready allies in lawmakers looking to create or protect federally financed jobs in their districts. Big contractors like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and General Dynamics have become masters at spreading those jobs around to assemble broad Congressional voting blocs. Work on the F-22 has been parceled out to subcontractors in 44 states.
Has always been that way, won't change.
Mr. Gates, who will stay on, must make reforming the procurement system a priority. The era of unlimited budgets is over, and Mr. Gates needs to make tough calls and stick to them. Congress must give more weight to the nation’s overall needs and less to parochial interests.

Fixing the Pentagon’s procurement process will require the full backing of Mr. Obama. We believe American taxpayers are eager to support changes that would make the country more secure while making more effective use of their money.
Baby & Bathwater. Review CONOPS prior to execution.

A little breath on the neck of Sen. Reid?

Things can't be looking good for a politician from the Western USA when this is in an article about his 2010 re-election campaign.
Sen. Reid traveled to the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico late last month to meet with campaign contributors.
Dude, you are from Nevada!!!!! Then again, the pickings may be a little slim from those who he is supposed to represent.
Sen. Reid, however, faces a potentially tough fight. A recent Research 2000 poll of likely voters put his approval rating at 38% and his disapproval rating at 54%, a possible reflection of voters' displeasure with gridlock and partisanship in Washington. And while Nevada broke for President-elect Barack Obama by 12 percentage points in November, the state voted for President George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004.
Can the Nevada Republican Party find someone, anyone, to pick this low hanging fruit?
Who might square off against Sen. Reid is unclear. Nevada's Republican lieutenant governor, Brian Krolicki, declared his candidacy last month but was subsequently indicted for suspect accounting practices during his time as state treasurer. He has denied the charges.

Another potential GOP candidate is former Rep. Jon Porter, who lost his House seat representing an area outside of Las Vegas in November after serving three terms. The Research 2000 survey showed Sen. Reid beating Mr. Porter 46% to 40% in a potential 2010 race, an uncomfortably narrow margin for an incumbent.
Sigh, can't beat sup'n with nut'n. Losers - are you going to blow this too?

Good luck with that .....

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Washington Redskins to change their name

Change can't wait.
Washington Redskins owner, Daniel Snyder, announced at a press conference today that his football team will be changing its name.

“Let’s face it, the term ‘Redskins’ is offensive to many people and continuing to use it as the name of an NFL franchise is totally inappropriate,” said Snyder. “This is long overdue.”

Snyder went on to say that, since the team had over the past 75 years made millions of dollars off of merchandise featuring images of Native Americans, it only made sense to use some of that money to help improve the lives of Native Americans. He announced that the team would be giving a large percentage of its revenue to Native American community and activist groups.
Actually, you should read the entire Friday edition of the NYT-se today ... it is all good. Here is a shot of the, ahem, front page.

PS: It's satire, in case you didn't get it. Read the whole paper, the links and comments all work. What a riot.

Oh cr@p and double-cr@p

Here is the cr@p,
Pakistan began moving thousands of troops from the Afghan border toward India, officials and witnesses said Friday, raising tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors and possibly undermining the U.S.-backed campaign against al-Qaida and the Taliban.

The country also announced that it was canceling all military leave in the aftermath of last month's terror attack on the Indian financial capital of Mumbai.

India has blamed Pakistani militants for the terrifying three-day siege; Pakistan has demanded that India back this up with better evidence.

Pakistan's latest moves were seen as a warning that it would retaliate if India launches air or missile strikes against militant targets on Pakistani soil - rather than as an indication that a fourth war was imminent between the two countries.

The United States has been trying to ease the burgeoning crisis while also pressing Pakistan to crack down on militants Washington says were likely responsible for the Mumbai attack. The siege left 164 people dead after gunmen targeted 10 sites including two five-star hotels and a Jewish center.

On Friday, U.S. intelligence and military officials were trying to determine if the reported troop movements were true and - if so - what Pakistan's intent might be.
Here is the double-cr@p.
Any significant troop movement would likely dash President-elect Barack Obama's strategy of having Pakistan concentrate on the threat emanating from the lawless tribal regions close to Afghanistan, where Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaida leaders are believed hiding out.

Obama said nothing publicly about the Pakistan situation Friday.

"This is a serious blow to the war on terror in the sense that the whole focus is now shifting toward the eastern border," said Talat Masood, a former general and military analyst. "It will give more leeway to the militants and increased space to operate."
That is exactly what the terrorists in Bombay wanted. Draw the PAK forces from their neck in NWFP and SWAT. Make no mistake, less PAK pressure there means more USA, UK and alliance personnel killed and injured.

PAK has an almost pathological hate and fear of her sister India. Also make no mistake that we have established the international template for striking terrorists wherever they are - especially if the host nation isn't doing enough to go after them itself.

Want to know why President-elect Obama picked a Centrist/Center-Right national security team? Because he knows _________ and _________ - and he knows it is no time for playing around with cute ideas that can't survive outside the hothouse that is academia. And we'll leave that at that.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Fullbore Friday

Time to revisit the first Battle of Narvik. The reason is that I think we need to look at some of the lessons we can glean from the HNoMS Norge and HNoMS Eidsvold. We learned some good things that you must and can do, even with old equipment, from the Norwegians at the Battle of Oslo - but further north at Narvik, the other side of the coin is sadly obvious - to not to try to learn from their mistakes is to ignore their sacrifice.
The destroyers, moving closer to Narvik, were spotted by Norwegian vessels, which promptly reported the sighting and alerted the old coastal defence ships HNoMS Eidsvold and HNoMS Norge. Both Norwegian ships prepared for combat: the guns were loaded and life preservers issued to the crew. Around 04:15am, the Germans spotted Eidsvold, and Eidsvold immediately signalled the leading German destroyer with an aldis lamp. When the Germans failed to respond to the signal, a warning shot was fired across their bow while the Eidsvold flew a two flag signal, ordering the destroyer to halt.

The Germans had orders to occupy Norway peacefully if at all possible, so the German flagship Wilhelm Heidkamp stopped and signalled that it would send an officer to negotiate. From a distance of about 200 metres, a small launch ferried Korvettenkapitän (lieutenant commander) Gerlach over to Eidsvold. Gerlach and a signalman were taken to the bridge to speak to Captain Willoch. At the same time, the gun crews of both the 21 cm guns and the 15 cm guns aboard Eidsvold kept the German destroyer in their sights, at point-blank range.

Gerlach tried to convince Willoch that the Germans had arrived as friends and that Willoch should surrender peacefully. Willoch pointed out that he was bound by duty to resist, but asked for a ten-minute break to consider the matter. He used this time to contact his superiors, including the captain of Norge, further inside the fjord, informing them of his intent to engage the German forces. In the meantime, a second German destroyer crossed behind Eidsvold and took up a position 700 metres from the vessel, ready to fire her torpedoes.

Gerlach tried once again to convince Willoch to surrender, but Willoch refused. As Gerlach left Eidsvold, he fired a red flare, indicating that the Norwegians intended to fight. At this point, Captain Willoch shouted: "På plass ved kanonene. Nå skal vi slåss, gutter!" ("Man the guns. We're going to fight, boys!").[3] Eidsvold turned towards the closest destroyer and accelerated, while the battery commander ordered the port battery (three 15 cm guns) to open fire.

The Germans, afraid that Eidsvold might ram the destroyer, fired two or four torpedoes from Wilhelm Heidkamp at the old ship. Two or three of the torpedoes hit before the port guns could fire, according to Norwegian sources: one under the rear turret, one midship and one in the bow. It is likely that the torpedoes ignited one of the magazines aboard, because Eidsvold was blown in two and sank in seconds around 04:37am, propellers still turning. Only six of the crew were rescued by the Germans, 175 died in the freezing water.

Deeper inside the fjord, the explosions were heard aboard Norge, but nothing could be seen until two German destroyers suddenly appeared out of the darkness and Captain Per Askim of Norge gave orders to open fire at 04:45am. Four rounds were fired from the 21 cm guns (one from the fore gun and three from the aft) as well as seven or eight rounds from the starboard 15 cm guns, against the German destroyer Bernd von Arnim, at a range of about 800 metres. Due to the difficult weather conditions, the guns' optical sights were ineffective: the first salvo fell short of the target and the next ones overshot it.

The German destroyers waited until they were alongside the pier before returning fire. Bernd von Armin opened fire with her 12.7 cm (5 inch) guns as well as with machine guns, but the weather gave the Germans problems as well. The destroyer also fired three salvos of two torpedoes each. The first two salvos missed, but the last struck Norge midships and she sank in less than one minute. 90 of the crew were rescued, but 101 perished in the battle which had lasted less than 20 minutes. The destruction of Norge signaled the end of Norwegian resistance in the port.
What are your ROE? Are you ready to make the call a warfighter is paid to make? You? Do you demand perfect information to defend your nation?

Are your Sailors as trained on their weapons as they need to be? Damage control? Combat readiness? Balls?

To learn and see more, there are good pics of some of the ships from the various Battles of Narvik can be found here, and other of my posts on Narvik here.

Pastor Rick Warren: clarity

In response to a bunch of FOD thrown up as a result of Pastor Rick Warren's selection for his inauguration, President-elect Obama said something that I hope he hoists onboard; as it is the American that 'ole Salamander sees shining on the hill - but that many are trying to kill.
....there are going to be a wide range of viewpoints that are presented. And that's how it should be, because that's what America's about. That's part of the magic of this country ... we are diverse and noisy and opinionated," Obama said.
If he would only let his Navy be noisy and opinionated about Diversity ... then he might even get my vote down the road ... or at least have me think about it.

I know, I was being Dobbsish with the Diversity comment - but I had to listen to a Diversity Bully's pedantic cant again and it is under my craw.

That snide remark of mine aside - I know talk is talk and action is action --- but at this point the PEOTUS is turning out a lot better than I thought he would for the most Leftist Senator .... maybe he is already "growing in office."

Krony Kapitalism

Now that Christmas is past I feel a little more open to being grumpy again. It is also time that I put my Economist's hat on again.

Since my Libertine Libertarian youth I have been a Monetarist. I was there when Keynesian Economics was killed, gibbeted and left on the ramparts as a warning for all to see what happens to those who follow false economic doctrine. I remember the '70 and the stagflation that resulted from Nixon-Ford-Carter Keynesian economics. I remember the painful medicine of the early '80s that we had to go through to fix the foolishness of the previous decade. We should know better - some like the national treasure Thomas Sowell do - most don't it seems.

Those who have caused this crisis; from the Diversity Bully Foolishness that is/was the cause of the sub-prime mortgage mess to those who are leading our economic policy are even older I than I am - they know this story even better than I do. I was just the geeky kid who watched the news after football practice and read every news magazine he got his hands on - and then went on to college to discover the WSJ, The Economist, National Review, and High Times. But I digress.

Most of you should remember the S&L crisis of the late '80s. What brought that on? Greed and crime brought on by those who sold their soul for a few extra percentage points in the short term - they thought history had nothing to teach them - they were smarter and the rules were new.

The dot-com boom and bust in the late '90s even more remember. What brought that on? Greed and a suspension of belief in a balance sheet and the lessons of economics that are easily traced back to renaissance Holland. Remember those who left their jobs to day-trade for a living. Those people thought history had nothing to teach them - they were smarter and the rules were new.

And now the housing bubble. Those who were caught in the housing bubble in SoCal in the early '90s should have seen this coming. Housing prices can never increase exponentially above median income for a long period of time - classic ponzi scheme. Remember those who left their jobs to flip houses for a living? Those people throught history had nothing to teach them, they were smarter and the rules were new.

So, here we are. The US gov'munt is printing money like it is going out of style ... which it is. Massively increasing the supply of money in a desperate attempt to have the public fix private crime. The Treasury Secretary used to run Goldman Sachs. What was ground-zero for the 30-to-1 leveraging off of the Diversity Bullies' sub-prime backed, worthless securities? Goldman Sachs. Who is one of the largest recipients of the TARP funds? Goldman Sachs.

Who was Paulson's predessor at Treasury? Of course, John Snow. What is John Snow doing now? Of course, he is the CEO of Cerberus. What is Cerberus? Well, it is the private equity firm that bought Chrysler. Who is trying to get money out of the gov'munt to protect their stupid investment? Chrysler.

What is the major reason that GM, Chrysler, and Ford have such a hard time making any money? Simple. Over the last few decades, they have made deals with their unions that are simply unsustainable. I remember one of my economics professors in the 80s warning about this. They try to make cars as cheap as they can in order to make room for all the benefits that the unions have demanded. Their cars, especially GM, look, drive, and feel cheap. It isn't the workers either; Mercedes, BMW, Toyota, Nissan, and more have plants in the USA and they make outstanding products - that are even exported to Europe and Asia. What is the difference? No unions. Reasonable business plans, and solid management.

The financial bailout; does it demand change in the leadership that brought about the collapse of their companies? Is there a drive for criminal investigations into the balance sheet shenanigans? No. Who used to work for who. Who have what money to what politician's campaign. Who have the same lobbyists. It is all there.

The auto bailout, does it demand a change in leadership from both the companies and the unions? No. How much money do unions give to politicians. What politicians take it. Who have the same lobbyists. It is all there.

Sometimes in a market economy you have to allow failure. Failure and bankruptcy is how the economic body rids itself of waste. Bad management, bad products, bad business plans are punished by being allowed to die. By dying they clear the field for other, better things to take their place. If they are not removed, they clog up the system and bind it up with inefficiency and stagnation. When companies fail, there are people who get hurt - but I ask you which system is better; the free market of socialism as they had in Eastern Europe? Even in Europe itself, which are the strongest countries? Those with the most free market policies. Which are the worst? the ones with the most guv'munt say in their economic structures.

Let them go bankrupt. In the medium term and long term we will be a better nation for it. We should not be full of fear to do what is right. When you have a skin cancer, you don't just hide it with make-up - no you go to the Doctor and have it cut out before it kills the entire body.
Where are the perp-walks? Where are the investigations? Where are the Grand Jurys? The gov'munt went after Scooter Libby like a bulldog on a pork chop - but for those who have caused trillions of dollars of economic damage through their fraud, we see nothing.

This petty corruption is a cancer on our society and economy. Without accountability, we sink to the level of nations we claim to be the better of.
...and we print money and more money and more money. There is a cost to this. When the guv'munt floods the market with dollars, the law of supply and demand will in time take its course. Inflation will follow, and all that money has to come from somewhere, it comes from public debt. Public debt that you are putting on the back of your children and grandchildren. That dept service will eat up more and more of our budget. We are already at the point where we borrow money just to pay the interest on our existing debt load. How does that work for your personal accounts? It isn't all that different for the guv'munt either.

Are you lost? Well, read this and then come back - it is a good start.

Debt and an inflated money supply will lead to one thing - inflation - it will come. Add to that increasing taxes as the Democrats let the Bush tax cuts expire in 2010. Add to that increasing regulation that will come with the Democrats. Add to that the protectionism they are heading towards. Add to that expanded social programs and their demands on the budget. Add to that the pro-union activity that will feed the cancer we already have in many sectors - especially public service unions. Add that up and more and you have stagnation. Stagflation.
So, what can you do? Simple - first get your own house in order. Review your personal debt load - and get rid of it. Suck it up, down shift and unload debt. Start with your credit-card debt. Do you have $10,000 in credit card debt at 10-30%, yet you have a $10,000 CD only paying you 3.6%? Cash in the CD and get rid of the credit card debt....and then make sure you have a zero balance at the end of each month.

Never lease a car either - and don't take out a car loan. Need a new car - fine, save for it. If your self worth is wrapped up in your car, you need to re-evaluate your life. No car is worth going into debt over. If you can get yourself down to only a mortgage, then you are at a good balance spot. Now, pay down that mortgage and/or refinance to a 15 yr if you can and should.

Now that you have your personal life in order - go after your guv'munt. Democrat, Republican or Independent - if your Rep. or Sen. voted for the bailout of companies that had to do nothing in return, which is all of them from what I can see, then vote against them in the primary and general. I don't care what their views are on the other issues. If we have a guv'munt that feels it can repeat the mistakes of Argentina and not reap the same result, then the other issues will mean nothing as we will lose our Republic within two generations.

Hold your companies accountable. Are you a shareholder? Act like one. Review the companies you own - it is too late if you have not already sold - but what is the best company to own, Wells Fargo or Citi?

Accountability. Demand it. You won't always get it - but you never will unless you start. This isn't a right or Left thing - it really isn't. It is about power, money, status, and greed. Don't forget that our nation was designed to protect the people from those who run guv'munt and their natural desire for more power, more money, more status, and more greed.

If you are still with me, let me leave you with a simple summary of the facts. Back in High School, I guy in the class below me had a bumper sticker that just about established the foundation you need to have to understand what is waiting for us if we don't get control of the Bailout Nation. Everything has its price. In summary;

Thursday, December 25, 2008

No worse than Kwanzaa ....

Michael Tennenhouse, 18, said he was home in Springfield on winter break, taking in impeachment hearings at the Capitol, when he came across a nativity scene, a menorah and an atheist group's display in the rotunda. The exhibits have stirred up controversies, all of which struck Tennenhouse as silly.
So Tennenhouse filled out an application to put up the Festivus pole ("the lady burst out laughing"), which was approved the same day.

Tennenhouse found a blue aluminum pole (Festivus poles are to be "unadorned") that was part of a pool skimmer and stuck it in a Christmas tree holder.
There is, of course, always a bigoted Grinch.
Dan Zanoza, chairman of the Springfield Nativity Scene Committee, said the state's decision to allow the pole was "unfortunate."

"Festivus is nothing—it means nothing, it represents nothing," he said. "At least the atheist sign had a viewpoint."

Hat tip HotAir.

When Christmas really means something

From Sid, a pic that IMAO is simply sublime.

Some background;
August '60 in Sanford when VAH-1 was flying out to the Independence for her first deployment. Eighteen A-3s went aboard.
Christmas '60 was for that kid what it remains today for the children of all deployed servicemembers. Remember them today if you have a chance - all I can do right now is think of mine. Sniff.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sending some Christmas cheer ... down range

I do so love the British military.
It was dusk in Helmand. And as the sun set over the baked earth, commandos wearing Santa hats gathered round the war memorial and began a simple chorus of carols.

Then the Taliban attacked.

There was no time for the troops to think or even to take off their festive hats.

Any hopes of a Christmas truce, when hostilities cease and foes become friends for a few precious hours, were dashed in an instant.

It is a tradition that stretches back to the trenches of the First World War, when British and German soldiers shared drinks, sang carols, exchanged gifts and even enjoyed an impromptu game of football in no-man's-land.

But things are different in Afghanistan. At the first sound of enemy fire the Royal Marines of 40 Commando threw down their hymn sheets and sprinted to the mortar lines 200 yards away. Within a minute, they were returning fire.

For three-quarters of an hour, they battled with the insurgents, ear defenders over their festive headgear - the only reminder of the peace the evening had promised.

Then, as the skirmish ended and darkness fell, the servicemen and women returned to the memorial at Forward Operating Base Inkerman, and resumed the carol service, thankful there had been no British casualties.
One sober note about the British in Afghanistan this Christmas ...
Since Nov 1, 14 British soldiers have died compared with six Canadians, three Americans, five Danes, two Spaniards and one soldier each from Australia, France and the Netherlands.
The full casualty figures for the forgotten war is here. Let them have their fun.

Hat tip Mark and Jules.

Our Christmas is so, well, normal...

Once again ....

The post bailout auto

From IowaHawk - - who else?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Keeping an Eye on the Long Game: Part XXXI

The porcupine wants more and longer quills.
"Aircraft carriers are a symbol of a country's overall national strength as well as the competitiveness of the country's naval force," Chinese Ministry of National Defence spokesman Senior Colonel Huang Xueping told reporters.

"China has a large sea territory. It is the sacred responsibility of our armed forces to protect our sea territory and to maintain our maritime sovereignty and rights and interests. China, taking into account all relevant factors, will earnestly research and consider (building aircraft carriers)."
Her neighbors are ... thrilled ...
"We need to do some research before we can judge whether (the carrier) is directed at Taiwan," said Ministry of National Defence spokeswoman Chih Yu-lan.
I'll take that contract if you are looking at putting it out to bid Chih - I'll come in under budget and ahead of time.

Might be time to review some of our tactics down the road ...

Hat tip Jawa.

We want more s3x crimes!

In the latest annual, anonymous survey at the (Naval) academy, West Point and the Air Force Academy, respondents reported 34 instances of unwanted s3xual contact during the 2007 academic year, down from 40 reported cases in 2006 and 42 cases in 2005.
So, sounds like good news, right? Harumph - you don't understand the grievance industry well, do you? You just can't please some people.
...Cynthia Smith, a Defense Department spokeswoman.

"We want these numbers to go up," she said yesterday. "We want to create environments in which cadets and mids can come forward to get the care they need."
Good googly moogly - you mean we haven't? GMAFB, the MIDN and Cadets are soaked in it. We get good news on s3xual 'contact' (is that the same as assault, or is this another example of watering down seriousness? For arguments sake from here on out I will assume assault, but I smell water...) and we won't celebrate it? We won't tell ourselves, "Now let's reinforce success...."

No; now we are saying that our females are either victims or liars ... or both?

Of course, you understand, the grievance industry cannot have an improved environment - no - that is bad for business, and make no mistake, it is a business that gets a lot of money by keeping a crisis on the front burner even if they have to create the heat themselves.

As the father of daughters, I take real s3xual assault very seriously - and you should hear Momma Salamander on the subject: no, this is not a male vs. female topic. This is right vs. wrong - this is honesty and clear headed accountability.

Another thing I know is that this is the most s3xualized generation we have
ever sent to the Academy, and the Type-A females that we have in our military institutions are if anything over-briefed on this topic. Do some keep quite? Sure - are more keeping quite? No way.

The drop is a good news story - we should nod our head and be glad. I look forward to their next survey on false s3xual assault claims. Maybe those are sharply down as well. That too would be good news.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Iraq at peace

Something to ponder when you think about who was and who was not on the right side of history over the last 18 months.
The number of daily attacks in Iraq has dropped nearly 95 percent since last year, a U.S. military official said yesterday.

Iraq suffered an average of 180 attacks per day this time last year. But over the past week, the average number was 10, Army Brig. Gen. David G. Perkins, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman, said.

“This is a dramatic improvement of safety throughout the country,” Perkins told reporters during a wide-ranging news conference in Baghdad yesterday.

He added that the country’s murder rates have dropped below levels that existed before the start of American operations in Iraq. In November, the ratio was 0.9 per 100,000 people.
Be proud of what we have done, that is a lower rate than before Saddam was thrown out; the 2007 murder rate in the US was 5.9 per 100,000.

Hat tip James S. Robbins in The Corner.

Awwww, isn't she cute?

Prep-n things for LCS, the USS Bert-n-Ernie ... errrr MCINERNEY (FFG-8) did some work with FIRESCOUT a little bit ago. The folks in the pic are the team that did all the structural installs, lot of the wiring, fab’d up all of the foundations. Not much smaller than a SEASPRITE, is she?

Hat tip Byron.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Better than Oprah

And probably weighs less...

Greyhawk's Book Club has a new offer ... I like the sound of it.
In the second decade of the twenty-first century the world is struck by two catastrophes, a new mini-ice age and, nearly simultaneously, a plague to dwarf all previous experiences. Rising out of the disaster is the character known to history as “Bandit Six” an American Army officer caught up in the struggle to rebuild the world and prevent the fall of his homeland—despite the best efforts of politicians both elected and military. The Last Centurion is a memoir of one possible future, a world that is a darkling mirror of our own. Written “blog-style,” it pulls no punches in its descriptions of junk science, bad strategy and organic farming not to mention all three at once.
...though you may want to read the reviews in case you don't like the political bent of THIS blog.....

FRAGO template

When a Staff Weenie loses it; he loses it. One exercise too much methinks.

FRAGO No XXX I DTG: 321225 Z APR 18
TITLE: CJX Division Head

A. OPLAN 01812
B. JCO 001 DTG G+122 2000Z
ACTION: Immediate
INFO: Immediate



SITUATION You are the Staff Officer at desk level and you have been directed to write a FRAGO on very short notice. You are given the Direction and Guidance to write it, "quick and dirty" which you take to mean as quickly and efficiently as possible.

--a. Concept of Operations:
---(1) Commander's Intent:
----(a) Staff Officer writes, or if possible passes off to your colleague the responsibility of writing, this FRAGO in order to maintain the security of leisure time in the coffee bar.
---(2) Scheme of Manoeuvre: The Staff Officer, supported by all other SO's in his branch, is to develop outline CONOPs to meet COM's intent and be prepared to conduct the operation of writing a FRAGO. Don’t spell maneuver like and American.
---(3) Endstate: Superior Officers denied intent to use up all your coffee break time. Write the FRAGO (or better yet, pass it off to your colleague so you don't have to do it) immediately and get it over with!
--b. Tasks:
---(1) SO Tasks: The FRAGO SO is the Supported Component.
---(2) ACC SO Tasks: Confuse FRAGO SO by making zooming noises and wild gestures with your hands.
---(3) LCC SO Tasks: Frustrate FRAGO SO by insisting he become your Operational Reserve.
---(4) POCC SO Tasks: Conduct PYSOPS against FRAGO SO attempting to convince him to stop writing the FRAGO.
---(5) SOCC SO Tasks: Support FRAGO SO by never being around when he needs you and then show up at the last second before DSACEUR makes a visit to your planning team thereby impressing him that SOCC is contributing.
---(6) CBRN Bn: Who? You guys are your own CC??? CBRN= Concerned But Really Not.
---(7) JLSG Tasks: Jolly Lovable Silly Guys. Thanks for feeding us.
---(8) Operational Reserve. How the hell are we going to use this? J5 Plans has spent countless hours on this we still don't know.
--c. Coordinating Instructions: Initial outline plan to be submitted to HQ by ASAP.
3. SERVICE SUPPORT: No change to Reference B.

Hat tip NATO spy.

Friday, December 19, 2008

No one makes me tingle yet ....

So, who for SECNAV? Some funny - seriously, funny - names have been floated out there; from the "this will be fun re-run" of Sen. (nee SECNAV) Webb (D-VA), to the "this would be an unmitigated nightmare and retention issue" of Rep. (nee RADM) Sestak (D-PA), to the "that might be an interesting and almost inspired pick" of Robert Work.

Still, nothing that raises and eyebrow and a "hmmmmm."

Drum-roll please .....
Some top retired military leaders and some Democrats in Congress are backing William White, chief operating officer of the Intrepid Museum Foundation, to be the next secretary of the Navy -
Wait for it.
- a move that would put the first openly gay person at the top of one of the services.
Snerk. I can't stand agenda politics.

Being that I have to do this standard disclaimer because the Radical Pink always leave drive-by trollish comments here without reading the whole post + DADT tag whenever this comes up - CDR Salamander actually has no problem with openly gay people serving. Never have. Repeal DADT - don't care. Now, back to bid'ness.

I am sure that Bill is a great and talented bloke; but seriously - at this stage of the game I don't think we can afford a history-museum guy (BTW, who can tell the best joke about the Obama Administration's plan for the military with the pic that came with the story?).

He does have a lot of support,
"He would be fabulous," said retired Gen. Hugh Shelton, who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1997 to 2001, pointing to Mr. White's extensive background as a fundraiser for veterans' and military causes.
... err that should be phenomenal, not fabulous (sorry, can't help myself - I only kid).

Sounds like a great VA guy perhaps - but in the procurement and strategic mess the Navy is in right now, perhaps not the right guy.
"He's very capable," said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat, whose district includes the Intrepid Museum, a retired aircraft carrier berthed on the Hudson River in New York City.
YIKES! Don't let Rep Nadler write my FITREP!

In summary, White sounds like a great guy, just not who we need for the job. That leaves, of the names floated, Webb or Work. I'd take Webb just for the fireworks and the office pool on how long it will be until he quits. I wonder if he would take it if offered? After all, the whole reason that he ran for the Senate - that Iraq was a lost cause and we need to retreat - has been proven false. He could use the challenge - but once in the Senate, it takes a lot for someone to want to leave. I doubt he wants it unless he is already sick of the Senate.

That leaves Work. You can read his stuff on Sea Basing, LCS, Surface Combatants, Fleet Constitution, Technology, and Strategy at the links - one nit-pic, I don't care much for his constant reference to "naval battle network". Solid pic compared to the others - if he wants the job.
UPDATE: RUMINT, d@mn good RUMINT BTW, has it being none of the above - but one that was in the rumor mill. I will let the Obama administration make the announcement official - but he is a sharp individual with a close relationship with the President-elect. He knows the Navy and has some energy behind him as well. He also seems to be known as an, ahem, @55h0le by many.

Good. We need one of those. If it is him, we should wish him well and give him plenty of running room, and yes - he makes me go "hmmmmmm," in a good way.
UPDATE II - Electric Boogaloo:In comments, Galrahn outs my RUMINT - and did so earlier this week (not my fault - my bandwidth and computer time ain't what it should be - there, excuse of the day). Former Navy Aviator and one term State Senator from Texas, and Friend of Obama (FOO) - Juan Garcia. His WIKI bit is a good enough backgrounder - if you want to get depressed though, read the comments over at Gal's. I will remain an optimist, because I am all Hopey and Changey ... but I will miss SECNAV Winter. If Garcia is a big bud of Wesley Clark though - I am just going to get drunk. Gal, if Garcia is a dog's breakfast this time next year then I will send you a bottle of single malt or something from the Bourbon Trail - your choice.