A Decent Weathervane

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There is usually, but not always, a message buried in numbers if you look closely enough to find the correlations. Dave Pelz, golf’s short-game guru, has made a living at unearthing such messages. Statistically, there is only a very small difference between a 10 foot putt and a 30 foot putt for a professional golfer. From either distance, he needs two putts to hole out. Inside ten feet, on the other hand, the likelihood of holing that putt increases dramatically. Therefore, the goal is to stuff approach shots inside ten feet. If a golfer can’t routinely hit his approach shots inside ten feet, his practice time is best spent elsewhere. Another option is to spend $2,750 on a 3-day Dave Pelz Clinic in Palm Springs.

In baseball, home fans become annoyed when the visiting team’s pitcher throws to the first baseman repeatedly with a runner on first and two outs. The same fans don’t seem to mind when their pitcher is the one executing his pick move over and over. The reason? With two outs, a runner at first has a 14-percent chance of scoring a run. With two outs, a runner at second has a 26-percent chance of scoring a run. He’s trying to steal. If he gets thrown out, little is lost since he was not likely to score anyway. If there is a great hitter at the plate, all the better. He’ll lead off in the next inning.

In that vein, I offer the following statistics.

2013 Aviation Department Head Screen Board (FY14 Selects)

72 Navy FA-18 pilots selected for Department Head

64 Navy FA-18 pilots accepted assignment as a Department Head¹

¹60 pilots were slated for duty in squadrons. Another four were placed in the “bullpen”. Officers in the “bullpen” fill-in for those who fall-out for any reason (medical, etc.), or will slate the following year.

In summary, 89-percent of those selected for DH duty found their way to a squadron, either in the current year or the one immediately following.

2014 Aviation Department Head Screen Board (FY15 Selects)

54 Navy FA-18 pilots selected for Department Head

38 Navy FA-18 pilots accepted assignment as a Department Head²³

²37 pilots were slated for duty in squadrons. One was placed in the “bullpen”.

³Five of the 38 were screened for Department Head the previous year.

Moreover, there were three FA-18 pilots on the DH slate that were not on the DH select list for FY14 or FY15. They are good pilots, I’m sure. But let’s be clear: this is the bullpen for the bullpen.

In summary, of the 54 FA-18 pilots selected for DH, only 30 accepted the offer, which is to say nothing of those who said no up-front. That’s only 56-percent.

Working with Reduced Margins

There are 16 operational FA-18 squadrons at NAS Oceana. There are 15 operational FA-18 squadrons at NAS Lemoore, and another four at NAF Atsugi. That makes 35 operational squadrons in total. With 37 DH pilots available for those squadrons this year, the ratio of available bodies to squadrons is slightly greater than 1:1. Although the demand signal for DHs fluctuates from one year to the next, I am confident that going from 64 available to 38 available in one year is not a garden-variety perturbation orchestrated from the land of pulled pork.

I can’t tell you what the altimeter setting will be tomorrow at 1200. I can’t tell you what the dew point spread will be on Wednesday at 1600. What I can tell you is which direction the wind is blowing. I hope I’m not the only one with a decent weathervane.


A tip of the hat to reader BK for pointing out the data.

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New Blogger / New Blog

When you have the chance, please head over to The Greenie Board. The author has a sharp mind and writes well. He has posted as a guest on a few other blogs previously, so you might recognize some of his work. I can personally attest to how difficult it is to get regular traffic on a new site. Kindly consider it your duty to give him a chance; it’s his duty to keep you coming back.

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Somebody ‘Splain It

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Faaaaaaaaaaaat Albeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrt.

C-130 pilots do three-year tours with the Blue Angels. One in, one out, each year. As they matriculate from M3 to M1, they pick up ground jobs associated with the billet. They picked two new C-130 pilots this year. What gives? Does anyone know?

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Red Storm Rising

A couple hours back, I was going to write about the official Navy press release regarding the Navy adding an XO position to the Blue Angels, and the requirement for both the President and the Dalai Lama to approve each year’s list of selectees. Big hitter, the Lama.

I was excited about this post. I was going to write about the Navy in the 1980s. I was going to write about how my Naval Academy professors used to close the window-shades in our classrooms so the KGB of Annapolis could not spy on us from across the Severn River. I was going to write about crab-cakes so good they could make you cry. I was going to write about Tom Clancy. I was going to write about the beautiful simplicity of a completely polarized world of blue and red (never mind the constant threat of nuclear holocaust). In a remarkable display of creative genius, I was going to tie it all together with the job title of one of Hunt for Red October’s most beloved characters – the Zampolit. And yes, I know Sean Connery does not play that role in this movie.

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Zampolit? Political Officers attached to military commands. They have no job and serve no purpose other than making sure all military activities are carried out in the spirit of “The Party”. They are not necessarily senior to the unit commander, but everyone tiptoes around them, as you get the feeling that they answer to a higher power. I wonder if you could file IG complaints in the Soviet Navy?

Thanks to a ruthlessly efficient move by the Navy, my celebration has been spoiled. Just a few hours after using the Navy Enquirer to explain the changes in the selection process, the names of the 2015 Blue Angel team members were released. Very clever. It’s tough to blame the Navy, though. You can use the press or the press will use you. It just needs to be clear that we’re all not that naive.

So I lost my hook. The Zampolit now has a name, and as ridiculous as I believe the creation of this position is, I don’t want it to be personal. I don’t know the guy. He’s probably a good dude who has been put into an unenviable position. Class of 1992 from the Academy, so he’s fairly senior. By my math, that’s a 22-years senior O5 serving in an O5-level command in a non-flying billet. Jinkies.

The Russkies were fond of saying that there is no truth in the news and no news in the truth. That may well be, but they accomplished something today, even if it was just sending me back to the whiteboard. While I’m here, I’d like to discuss some of the details.

The Blue Angels will get an executive officer for the first time in the squadron’s history and the member selection process will be overhauled to include more oversight from personnel officials, Vice Adm. David Buss, the head of Naval Air Forces, ordered as part of changes announced Tuesday.

The Blues’ XO will be a designated aviator, Buss said, but will not fly as part of the team, instead focusing on travel, training and other administrative programs.

We’re not going to add another plane or position to the flight demonstration,” Buss said in an exclusive phone interview Tuesday with Navy Times. “The XO will oversee the day-to-day management and business of the command, and I think that will be very helpful in strengthening this command triad.”

Tuesday phone interview. Tuesday. That’s today! What a coincidence! Can you believe that the NT reporters, on a hunch, just happened to call him today? So lucky.

The Blues’ officers are trained to see each other as equals, where junior officers are free to critique the flying of more senior team members, including the CO, all of whom are flying at high speed in tight formations. But under X, this democracy extended to situations well beyond flying, the investigation found, and diminished the CO’s charge to enforce Navy regs.

Find me one person from that command who believes that the CO’s charge to enforce Navy regs was diminished. Just one. The only criteria? If you’ve filed an IG complaint, you don’t count.

Some close to the team have recommended against installing an XO and against other changes to the selection process. Retired Rear Adm. David Anderson, president of the Blue Angels association said in a June interview that if the unit “were to select officers for the team the way the Navy selects officers for a squadron, it would be very detrimental.”

If you’re going to use a proxy as a mouthpiece, at least make sure he stays on script. Geez.

Buss also overhauled the selection process. The Blues will still get to pick the next generation of team members, but once those selections are made, Buss said new checks and balances will be used to vet those selections.

Do the Blues pick the team or do they not? If I compile a list, and you change that list, aren’t you really the one picking?

“It’s just having an outside set of eyes look at the selections to be sure you are picking the most talented and diverse team possible,” he said.

Diversity doesn’t have to be a dirty word. In that context, it’s a dirty word. What would be incredibly interesting is seeing the list as it leaves the Blue Angels, then again as it leaves CNATRA, then again as it leaves the Navy Personnel Command, and then again as it leaves CNAF. If what I’ve read is correct, they should all have the same names.

Congratulations to the newest selectees. Sigh.

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Not Throwing Blind Darts

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See? No blindfold. Much better

There is a great white paper posted at the USNI website, written by a Navy CAPTAIN on the OPNAV staff, that proposes a more equitable and fundamentally sound promotion system broken down by community. Facts and logic: the foundation of every strong position.

Not that you asked, but I agree with most everything he had to say.

After more than thirty years of competing as a group, it has become increasingly evident that the combined group of communities in the URL competitive category can no longer compete on an equitable basis to meet the needs of the Navy. Differences in authorizations and retention differ significantly across the URL communities whereas promotion timing and opportunity are the same within this competitive category. Changes in force structure, relative size imbalances of the URL communities, and differing community milestones, career paths and timing have overshadowed reasonable consideration as a group and surpassed the ability of the promotion system to deliver officers from these communities in appropriate ratios to meet their separate requirements and the mission requirements of the Navy. It is past time for a periodic review of the URL competitive promotion category.

All the communities except Aviation have department head or equivalent screening well before eligibility for selection to LCDR. Most of the officers in zone will have completed or are in their department head assignment and have performance marks in those milestone assignments. These milestone achievements have been detailed in the community briefs and provide a clear message to the selection boards of which officers are best and fully qualified based on department head screening and performance from these communities. The Aviation officers at this stage have not screened for or served as department heads. The Aviation community values presented to the board are thus limited to successful initial sea and shore tours, and attainment of warfare qualifications in a wide variety of type, model and series platforms.

Well done, sir.

It is not a short read, but it is well worth your time. The white paper in its entirety is located here. Go there.

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We Hate Business

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We really do. I’ll prove it to you with the aid of two brief examples, neither of which is the fact that the Supreme Court of our esteemed nation had to decide which forms of birth control one particular business is forced to provide its customers.

Enduring, tenacious entrepreneurial spirit is one of the bedrocks of our great nation. Historically, we adapt, innovate and invent as well or better than anyone. Franklin, Edison, Ford and Jobs are but a few that stand out in my mind. It was years before Howard Schultz turned over a dime of profit at Starbucks. Instead, he consistently dumped his money back into the company and leveraged back-breaking debt to help it grow. In doing so, he assumed tremendous risk. The guy had a wife and kids, even in the company’s early years. That’s high stakes poker. It’s not as if he had the luxury of crashing on a buddy’s Seattle couch during the lean times. These people not only had vision, they also had the stones to see it through.

You’re supposed to hate rich people, I think. That’s what I read in the news. Filthy one-percenters, and that. I’m not talking about the Paris Hiltons of the world who were handed the keys to the Bentley. I’m talking about those who earned it through hard work and the assumption of risk, with or without any amount of fortuitous circumstance. I don’t hate rich people. I admire many of them. I want them to make more money. Our system is set up for them to do just that. If you don’t like it, drop the 9-5, put it all on the table, and spin the wheel. The only mystery to me in any of this is why anyone cares what Paris Hilton thinks about the current events in Gaza.

Consider the curious case study of Uber. Have you Uber’d? Although not available in every market, it’s a replacement taxi of sorts. You get an app for your smart phone, from which you can summon a ride. Your phone knows your location, which is transmitted to available drivers, one of whom will fulfill your transportation needs. The app will give you a reasonably precise estimate of the cost of your trip, and then you can watch the car drive to you on a map. Your credit card information is on file with the company, so no money changes hands. You don’t even tip. When your car arrives, you get a text message, or the driver can call you on your cellphone. At the completion of the trip, you get a text message receipt that details the complete breakdown of the fees. The cars are clean. The drivers are courteous. I’ve yet to have a bad experience. There is no manual insertion of random fees on the meter. You don’t have to worry about the driver taking a circuitous route that you can’t negotiate because he is from Azerbaijan. It. Is. Awesome. Which is exactly why we hate it. Uber has been sued and/or issued cease-and-desist letters in at least eight cities and states. Taxi companies and their drivers are losing money. Because they are arguably good people trying to earn a living, I’m sorry for them, but someone found a way to do it better. Much better. We should embrace that. It is, after all, the American way.

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Another thing you are “supposed” to embrace is the alternative energy movement and commitment to reducing the effects of fossil fuels on climate change. I know this because I’ve heard the President speak publicly about it more than once. It’s the kind of thing that gets the tree-huggers all frothy and lathered. I’m a moderate tree-hugger, so don’t judge.

I’ve only ridden in a Tesla vehicle once. With prices that start at $70K, they are out of my price range. To be clear, I could afford to buy one if willing to forsake a number of other amenities, but I very much choose otherwise. I’m more of a pay $15K cash for a nice, used vehicle in decent condition that gets good gas mileage kind of guy. That’s not the right path; it’s just my path.

Elon Musk’s (yeah, the Paypal and SpaceX guy) goal in launching Tesla was to introduce an all-electric vehicle with premium performance ability into the market, eventually at an affordable price. Indeed, the Model 3 is expected to debut in 2017 at only $35K. Make no mistake. These are really nice cars. They are whisper-quiet with rocket-like acceleration. Because the drive-train does not rely on a traditional motor, there is ample trunk-space in the front and back. And the console resembles a fighter-cockpit more than it does the interior of a car.

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Don’t ask me what the guy in the windshield is doing. He probably should move.

To keep costs down, Tesla does not sell its cars in traditional dealerships. Instead, potential customers go to small showrooms to learn more about the company and its vehicles. Why? Because in 22 states, and the District of Columbia, dealership protection laws prevent Tesla from openly conducting test drives or even discussing the price of their vehicles. Customers must either order their vehicle direct from the company website or go to another state. From where I sit, “dealership protection laws” sound like a euphemism for “business-unfriendly”. We have a company that produces a remarkable, environmentally-beneficial vehicle at a fair (albeit high) price, and we’re worried about protecting dealerships with legislation. Maybe, just maybe, dealerships shouldn’t be protected. Cost-savings passed on to the customer free up capital for other purchases. Why is that so awful? Is it really necessary for me to go to a dealership so I can be swarmed by guys with bad comb-overs? If it’s all the same to you, I’ll pass. I’d rather chew on aluminum-foil than sit in the room with “the closer” who is trying to up-sell me on $4K rust-proofing and an extended warranty I don’t need, no matter how hard he tries to make it seem like he is my friend. I’d much rather pour out my cup of bad instant coffee and be on my way.

Tesla supporters accumulated more than the 100,000 signatures required in order to file a petition on the White House administration’s We the People website in an effort to allow the vehicles to be sold in all 50 states without restriction. The petition doesn’t guarantee success, of course, just a response. The response was lukewarm, if not sickening in its hypocrisy.

Thanks for your We the People petition. We’re excited about the next generation of transportation choices, including the kind of electric vehicles that Tesla and others have developed. These companies are taking steps to help spur innovation in the promising area of advanced batteries and electric automobiles. Vehicle electrification and other advanced technologies are vital components of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, and his commitment to addressing climate change and reducing carbon pollution, in addition to reducing our dependence on oil.

But as you know, laws regulating auto sales are issues that have traditionally sat with lawmakers at the state level.

“Traditionally sat with lawmakers at the state level.” I just spat out my gum. No, we certainly have no history of infringing on states’ rights. Not recently, anyway.

The President has taken historic action to spur more consumer choice — saving consumers money at the pump and reducing our dependence on oil. Here are some of the ways we’re helping to encourage the future generation of energy-efficient cars: (yadda, yadda, yadda)

As these initiatives show, the Administration is in favor of fostering competition in the market to help spur the kinds of innovation needed to support ongoing U.S. leadership in vehicle manufacturing and a potential range of new technologies.

Again, thank you for your petition.

In other words, no, but thank you for giving us the opportunity to tell you how awesome we are. Please continue to adapt, innovate and invent, just don’t expect any help from us. We are very selective in our infringements.

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The High Ground

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It’s tough to get there. It’s even tougher to stay there.

One of the Pensacola News Journal writers decided to get into a food fight with those who took issue with his content. Hey, man. If you want to argue with people who read your work, just get a blog. It costs only $9.95 per month. Yeesh.

I’ll offer it (mostly) without comment.

Hey Steve and all you critics of the Blues Whistleblower.

Actually, I have spoken personally with that person on the phone as recently as Saturday 7- 13.

You talked to her on the phone? She hasn’t been publicly named. How did you know who she was? Did she call you or did you call her? I don’t understand why you didn’t release the contents of your conversation. Did she just need a friend in a time of need? I’m having a tough day. Can I ring you?

Cajones Steve?
You calling me out?

Yes, I believe it’s clear that Steve is calling you out. Am I reading that wrong?

Let me ask my boss how I’m permitted to respond.

You already did. Like the bell-bottom, hip-hugging jeans that have been in the bottom of your dresser drawer for four decades…. bad idea. Just leave them be.

Meantime, I won’t be writing an article about the Whistle Blower that quotes that person unless given personal permission by that person to do so.
That person tells me that the day of making it through the Blue Angels selection process was the highlight of the Naval officer’s professional and personal life.
A dream come true.
Then came the reality of the Blue Angels, as documented by admirals–who by the way appointed X.
And then came the disillusionment and disappointment.

You’re not going to write an article about the whistle-blower that quotes that person unless given personal permission by that person to do so? That’s funny. It looks to me like you just did.

You know, the investigation went in other directions besides sexual harassment, such as the inappropriate acceptance of discounted Breitling watches. (The same company that cheapens the Blues image even now with a billboard near the base that capitalizes on them. BTW, Breitling officials won’t return my calls to talk about how they feel regarding their part on compromising the Blues.)

Breitling compromised the Blues? Actually, the investigation said the watch purchases were justified by a 2003 legal memo, although the investigating officer recommended an updated ruling. If you’re going to read, read thoroughly. The toughest aspect of custom Breitling watches is finding a fighter pilot who doesn’t own one. There might be one in my drawer. Don’t worry about it.

There were other non-sexual findings that you might want to take time to read in the investigation results, which are available online.
But the blame for the Blues’ fall from grace is spread much further: to an overly worshipful news media and fan base that simply lost touch with military standards and values.

An overly worshipful news media. Like you? That’s rich.

The military is a service organization, not a club.
Serving in the military, from the lowest Army private to the Boss of the Blue Angels, is a privilege. But it doesn’t bestow privilege.
Cajones Steve?
The Whistle Blower has got ‘em, in my view.

Nope. We’ve talked about this. Lobbing grenades a year and a half after the fact with the protection of human shields is not bold. In fact, it is the complete opposite of bold. Some might call it cowardice. Consider me part of that group.

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MH17 – More Headache in the Ukraine

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Malaysia Airlines, already suffering from a PR nightmare that far surpasses Jet Blue stranding passengers in a jet on the tarmac for eight hours, is back in the news.

Ukraine says rebels shoot down Malaysian airliner, 295 dead.

A Malaysian airliner was shot down over eastern Ukraine by pro-Russian militants on Thursday, killing all 295 people aboard, a Ukrainian interior ministry official said.

The Boeing 777 came down near the city of Donetsk, stronghold of pro-Russian rebels, interior ministry official Anton Gerashchenko said on Facebook, adding it was “shot down with a Buk anti-aircraft system by terrorists” – the term the Kiev government uses for militants seeking to unite eastern Ukraine with Russia. The dead were 280 passengers and 15 crew.

The Buk missile system is fielded by both Ukraine and Russia. It’s an improved version of the old SA-6. Depending upon the variant used, it’s more commonly known in the US military as the SA-11 or SA-17. In unclassified terms, it’s a tough problem for pilots. It is very likely to find its target in the absence of significant countermeasures.

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It is too early to speculate, so I’ll speculate.

  1. Ukrainians shot it down so they could blame it on pro-Russian separatists.
  2. Pro-Russian separatists shot it down so they could blame it on Ukraine.
  3. Someone made a terrible mistake that killed 295 civilians.

None of the three bode well for anyone.

The military commander of the rebels, a Russian named Igor Strelkov, had written on his social media page shortly before the report of the airliner being downed that his forces had brought down an Antonov An-26 in the same area. It is a turboprop transport plane of a type used by Ukraine’s forces.

Unless some new An-26 wreckage shows up on Ukrainian dirt – STAT – Igor is going to have one of those days he would rather soon forget. He apparently didn’t get the memo about slowing down for a deep breath before posting something you will regret on Facebook. How did those strippers get in my photo?!

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Hamas, Can I Have a Minute?

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Another batch of good folks trying to take care of their people. They are simply misunderstood, that’s all. You are just an adorable suicide bomber, aren’t you?

In a previous job, I spent more than my fair share of time studying the central Levant and its various patterns of interconnectedness. Does that make me an expert? Certainly not. I would advise you, however, to view with caution anyone who says they are an expert. They’re usually selling you something. And in this particular part of the world, the lens through which you see the various interest groups in and around Israel has the capacity to severely distort the images that eventually make their way to your brain. The history of this area is recounted so differently that very few people from opposite sides of the fence can even agree on what happened or why. Much of this history is handed down in a web of lies through generations, and lies told long enough eventually become the truth.

I’m going to present some very basic history. For some of you, it will be an all-out assault on your education and intelligence. For others, it will give you just enough context to be dangerous.

In 1917, the UK’s Foreign Secretary signed the Balfour Declaration.

His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

In 1948, the state of Israel was officially formed and recognized on the international stage (by some) as a sovereign nation. Later that year, the countries of Iraq, Syria, Transjordan (now just Jordan), Egypt and Lebanon attacked. It didn’t go well for them. Again in 1967, Syria, Jordan and Egypt attacked. That didn’t go well for them either. The Israelis not only repelled the attack, they picked up new territory in the West Bank, Golan Heights, Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula. A significant outcome of both conflicts, primarily the one in 1948, was a mass exodus of 1M+ Palestinian Arabs who were either coerced or asked to leave, with the promise of abundance upon their return once the Jews had been steamrolled. Since the Jews did not get steamrolled, they became refugees instead. Unrest foments. Many of them, and their descendants, now live in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which are territories the Israelis turned over to Palestinian Authority in 2003.

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Currently, Fatah is the ruling political party in the West Bank. Hamas split from Fatah in 2007, and they now “govern” the Gaza Strip. Fatah and Hamas, not surprisingly, do not see eye-to-eye. So there is the summation of 50,000 books and a few hundred years of history in less than five minutes. My pleasure.

This is a brief excerpt from the Hamas charter.

Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it had eliminated its predecessors.

No surprise, that. I mean, get in line, will ya?

For over 20 years, Hamas has been lobbing unguided rockets into Israeli population centers with mixed success. In the wake of the June abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank, which was blamed on two Hamas operatives, Israel aggressively pursued those responsible. In the process of searching for the bodies and suppressing Hamas operatives, they killed ten Palestinians in violent clashes and arrested several hundred others, to include over 100 of those released during the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange. This effort resulted in another barrage of rockets flying out of the Gaza strip – 140 on the first day alone. I view it largely as “poke the bear” operations. Hamas cannot risk line-on-line military operations with Israel. It would be a bloodbath. Instead, they fire their rockets from dense urban areas so that any direct retaliation will result in civilian casualties and bad press for the Israelis, who could only be described as moderately concerned with world opinion.

Is this propaganda? Maybe. But I’m a fan. The other team is going to tell their story. Why not tell yours? In contrast, Hamas, generally well known for their surgical precision and predilection for inflicting damage only on military infrastructure and personnel, has now claimed that “all Israelis” are targets. I’m sorry. Is that new? I thought that was a key part of the original plan.

This is an aerial view of the Israeli-Gaza border. I will let you guess which side is owned by the people who have been persecuted and chased around the globe as scapegoats for centuries.

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Apparently some people make their own luck.

The irony of all this is that Hamas needs Israel, as does Fatah. When living conditions are sub-standard and progress is non-existent, a common enemy comes in very handy. So you fire the occasional rocket to stoke the fires of conflict. The fire can’t erupt, but neither can it go out. Without Israel, the Palestinians have no one else to blame for their societal ills. That is a problem. If there is no enemy, everything is their responsibility, which is unacceptable. When Israel comes to the table offering 10, they demand 20. If Israel offers 20, they tell them they want Hawaii too.

Israel cares about her people. They traded 1,027 prisoners in order to return an IDF Corporal to his home. Conversely, Hamas does not care about the people of Gaza. If they did, they would not endanger them for the sole purpose of political gain. In time, I hope the people of Gaza figure that out on their own.

Hamas, about that minute I requested. If you stop shooting rockets into Israel, they will stop bombing you. Was that so hard?

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Thank Goodness

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Navy expands command ball cap policy.

At least we have that sorted out.

Starting Sept. 1, U.S. Navy commanding officers will be authorized to allow their sailors to wear command ball caps with Navy Working Uniforms Types I, II, and III. The change was announced Friday by the chief of naval personnel. Officials said feedback from sailors at all hands calls spurred the decision to bring the caps back.

No matter how hard I try, I can’t make myself care about something like this. I know that command ball caps are a very emotional issue for some people. A source of pride, if you will. In some commands, you had to earn your ball cap. Maybe that was achievement of a basic qualification, or maybe that was completion of command indoc, or maybe they just handed you one when you walked through the door. For some, this was a major issue of esprit de corps. Although I don’t fully agree, I do understand and respect the sentiment. I’m not alone.

While bringing the ball caps back has been welcomed by many sailors, the decision also has critics. Concerns range from a sailor’s appearance — the combination of ball a cap with the digital pattern of the working uniform — to the broader impact of camaraderie in the Navy.

“You should be in uniform representing the Navy, not just your individual unit or entity,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Michael Minotto, stationed at Naval Support Activity Bahrain. “We need to understand we’re all serving the same team.”

However you come down on this issue, I would like for us all to agree on this one principle. In the name of all that is holy, we need to make the constant barrage of head-spinning uniform changes stop.

Due to the most recent rule change, you can now wear this23

on top of this.

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Sorry, folks. That’s just dumb.

Do you know what else is dumb? The ridiculous unisex liner that comes in the Navy standard PT shorts. Unisex is code for equally terrible for men and women. It’s like a cross-functional vehicle. Great at nothing. I used to just cut the liner out entirely and wear compression shorts. The removed liner has proven more useful at wiping brake dust off the wheels of my car. In the future, I’d much rather they just call Nike and charge me an extra five dollars. I’ll gladly find something else to clean my wheels.

Don’t forget, we almost went back here.

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Some people think it’s a cool uniform. I’m ambivalent. I mostly feel that it’s just unnecessary.

The Navy’s Uniform Board is run by a civilian, a Master Chief, and an E-6. With the aid of others, they spent $226M during the research, development and roll-out of the Type I Navy Working Uniform (blue camouflage). $226M. Let that sink in.

It looks silly. Very few people like it. It only makes you invisible if you’re in the water, which is exactly when I do not want to be invisible. And now, you can’t even wear it onboard ship unless it’s pier-side or at anchor. This is a Navy uniform! The next thing you know, we’re going to pay billions of dollars for a non-deployable network that is not compatible with ships. Wait a minute.

I’m not advocating for new uniforms, but if I did, I would offer the following checklist for use during the acquisition process.

  1. Determine the environment in which the uniform will be worn.
  2. Sub-contract the development of suitable designs to competitors.
  3. Select finalists.
  4. Appoint someone to make sure the uniforms don’t suck.
  5. Choose a winner.
  6. Thank me later with sideline passes to a Patriots game.

I support updates and modernization in general, but some things need to be left alone. Check out this dude.russhldm

Getting it done in 1929. That’s modern classic. It has neither the need nor the room for improvement. Shouldn’t that be enough? Keep Austin weird, not Navy uniforms.

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