February 2009 Archives

U.S. Navy Must Innovate

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"Report: U.S. Navy Must Innovate", by Philip Ewing. Defense News. February 23, 2009, p. 32

There are some interesting facts in this article.

The US has almost as many warships as Russia and China together.
The US fleet is as large as the next 13 navies when measured by displacement.
It takes adding the naval airpower of the next nine navies to equal the naval airpower of the US.
The US Navy carries as much firepower on its 75 cruisers and destroyers as the next 20 largest navies carry on their combined 367 ships.

Work does call for building more hospital ships to increase the soft power of the US and that does indeed seem to be a good idea.

What concerns me is the call for innovation but Work's discussion does not include the DDG 1000 or the CGX. Sure, these ships have been costing a little more than initially planned but they are innovative. I maintain it is hard to innovate on the cheap.

Sara and I attended the American Council of Engineering Companies of Mississippi 2009 Engineering Excellence Awards program in Jackson, MS tonight. I was a judge for the projects entered into the competition and was invited and recognized for my service. The judging was fun and the program was good. The food was great and I did get to see many of my friends, some whom I have not seen in a while.

The guest speaker was Andy Taggart, former Chief of Staff for Governor Kirk Fordice and author of Mississippi Fried Politics: Tall Tales from the Back Rooms and Mississippi Politics: The Struggle for Power, 1976-2006, who delivered a moving talk entitled "Rebuilding An Economy When the Politics are Cracked."

He began by pointing out how he learned as a supervisor that it was common for local elected officials to fill potholes and overlay bad roads near election time. The problem is that if the road base has failed, there is no amount of work that can be done on the surface that will last. Any repairs are short-lived. The real fix has to be a repair of the base.

He then went on to say that Americans have been moving from crisis to crisis for the last several years. In 2006 it was terrorism and the government limited what we could carry onboard a plane. In 2007 it was the Iraq war. In the summer of 2008 it was gas prices and then in September 2008 it was the economy that had everyone concerned. He argued that we need to ensure our base is in good shape.

Years ago Taggart pointed out, I was common for people to have heated debates and arguments but still be friends. Now if someone disagrees with you it is because you are a bad person. We have lost some civility in our daily discourse. Taggart says our base is really summed in what he calls one of the most elegant passages in the English language: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." This, the second sentence from the Declaration of Independence, sums up what our base is. Taggart says we need to keep this in mind as we go through the next few years and remember what it is that makes us Americans and what has ensured our success as a nation in the past.

PC(USA) Ammendment B Update

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The Presbyterian Outlook is reporting that the voting on the fidelity/chasity rule may come down to the wire in the article It's up for grabs: A status update on the voting for the New Ammendment B. In addition to the article, some of the comments are prett good too.

Disconcerting to me are the comments that people are voting for the ammendment becasue they are tire of fighting. I also would like to look deeper at the presbyteries voting and see how many them who are voting differently from they way they did in the past have lost churches.

What concerns me most is that as the fight over ordination standards continues, membership losses continue. In the end, the ordination standards may well change but who will be left in the chruch?

I attended the installation banquet of the latest six students inducted into the Bagley College of Engineering Student Hall of Fame. All six of these students are truly exceptional students. They have good grades, have been active in the college, and have served others. The nuce hing about this award is that it recognizes studens for what they have contributed to the college. One of the things we look for in our selection process is whether the service was done to enhance their resuem or the college and university.

The sad part of the process is that there were some very good students who are deserving of recognition but were not inducted simply becaause we limit the numbers to six each year.

Taking Chance

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I, along with the family, watched Taking Chance on HBO. This is one of the best movies I have seen in a very long time, and is, in my opinion, what movies should be. It was very moving and relied on nothing but sheer acting skills, especially by Kevin Bacon. I have no doubt that it will many awards this year. When it makes it to DVD I will certainly buy a couple of copies for friends and family.

One interesting thing about this is that I know a Marine Colonel who knows Lt. Col Mike Strobl. In fact, while I was at the CWID MPC a week ago, he was invited to Washington, DC to see the premiere. That means that I know someone who knows someone who knows Kevin Bacon.

Update: Taking Chance is now available for pre-order at Amazon for $17.99 with a release date of 19 May 2009. The movie soundtrack is available now.

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This page is an archive of entries from February 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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