Archive for June, 2008

Have Your Rights Been Violated Lately?

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

Very bad stuff. When your rights are violated by the local or state elected officials, appointed officials, or the police. When that happens without interference by a higher legal authority, the only thing left is something akin to:

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. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

It’s basically what all those riots in the 1960s were all about. Nearly 50 years later, it’s a blur to most of us. Maybe that is because we’ve been lectured that it was about racial issues. Without a doubt race was involved, but the ultimate issue was whether Americans had rights that could not be legally infringed by local, state, or even federal governments. It took the federal government’s might to intervene in state and city laws to stop and prevent unlawful rights-violations on some of its citizens.

It’s not about democracy. It’s about a constitutional republic, where all citizens are guaranteed certain rights by the law of the land. The law of our land is the Constitution of the United States. It affirms many God-given rights.

Rights like freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of petition, the right to legal counsel, the right to keep and bear arms . . .

Did you see that one coming? Either way, here’s the rub.

The Supreme Court recently affirmed that the simple language in the Second Amendment of the US Constitution means what it says.

The part where it says, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” — it took the highest court in the land to decide that it means the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Infringe means to break, limit, or undermine, or to encroach on. This recent ruling means the Second Amendment really applies to the American people. No city, county, parish, borough, district, or state has the legal authority to infringe or deny you the ability to exercise those rights.

Well, it almost means that. The actual ruling was limited to the District of Columbia. So you could say, the Second Amendment is only a right of the people in Washington D.C. — how does that make you feel in San Francisco, Seattle, Shreveport, or South Carolina? I’d guess it might make you a little irritated with this selective ruling stuff.

Imagine if the 1968 Civil Rights Act only applied within the city limits of where demonstrations were held? How silly would that be? If so, discrimination would be legal in most places. But it is not. Because that is not the way we do things in America. Except for with the Second Amendment, it seems.

Even with the limited scope of the ruling, there was much leftist ranting about militia-only applicability, state-rights (hang the 14th amendment), and even questioning if “arms” really meant handguns were protected by the Second Amendment. Their arguments were soulless and without merit. Some even impugned the intelligence of law-makers and citizens who agree with the simple wording in the Constitution. They were grasping at anything that might negate the ruling or the Second Amendment.

It almost could make a fellow wonder what do these people really want? What are they not telling you? Why does the pistol in the nightstand next to where your grandpa sleeps bother the gun-control addicts? What do they want to do once all lawful citizens surrender their means to protect themselves?

What do they really want to do?

I don’t want to find out.

No more than I want the federal, state, or local government deciding what I can write on this website, or deciding which church I may attend on Sunday, or telling me I can’t go to church on Saturday or even a Tuesday if I decide to. And neither do you.

Even if you’re a low-hanging fruit of a leftist, you’ve got to realize that governments are comprised of people. The more power individual people in certain positions in government have, the more likely it is that self-serving power-addicts will seek to obtain those positions only to enrich themselves. You see, it’s not really the Second Amendment those treasure-hunters want to infringe. It’s the Constitution itself.

It just makes sense.

Ponch’s belated 11 Jun BOB posting …

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

All,

Sorry for the late BoB entry.  It’s been pretty busy here with the log jam of aircraft that needed to be fixed and pushed out the gate after the crash standown.   Now that the news is out, Yes it was an pitot tube problem, except the B-2 doesn’t have pitot tubes like a normal jet.  It has a weird collection of flat air data panels with small holes that work something like a pitot tube.  Because the jet is all electric and -robot like- the data from the air data tells the computers which way is up down, left right and (where the mother ship is!-).  Neglecting to remove the water from the holes before a baseline reset is preformed is probably a bad thing, all things considered and 1.3 billion dollars later. But what are ya gonna do…I guess fire the Chief and the Secretary is a start.  Mmmm let me splain…no too long…let me sum up.  Three B-1’s one B-2 and half a B-52 raydome some lost nukes and misdirected nuke parts….ect ect;  yup time for some new leadership. 

On another less happy note…time for the weird and strange in “your’s truly” battle with the fickle finger of fate. God really hates me I guess.  Today I got an e-mail from…not my boss…but my Boss’s Boss, the head of the whole unit out here.  Seems he was laid up in New York city at the airport when he should meet and enjoin in casual conversation with another traveler.  Of course he mentioned he is the director for the B-2 bomber Mx facility at Palmdale CA.  The would be traveler then related that “he” used to fly B-52’s.  Where upon the “Director” stated that he knows a B-52 pilot (former) who works for him.  Names passed back and forth and who do you think was the former B-52 traveler…none other the former Captain Mark Casady!!!!! Yes the same Mark Casady that was blinded and lost his flying career due to a paint-ball shot by…you guessed it!  ME!!!! During Project Warrior 1987 (remember Mike Leffler POC for PW87!!). (For those who were not there, the whole paint ball thing started with Capt Linwood Mason Shooting me in the leg at the same time I tried to shoot back while ducking and covering from Mark, who was on the other side of a bush on the – hill behind the base shopette – about six feet from me—my unlucky shot hit Mark right smack in the eyeball as he had lost his protective eye guard a few minutes before.)  I e-mailed the Boss that I did know Mark and had painful memories of the time ( not as painful as Mark’s but pretty bad!!) Leffler and I got arrested by the skycops for assault on an fellow officer.  We then had to stand before the wing commander as he read a message from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that paintball was banned from all DoD facilities because of the loss of a B-52 pilot.  The last rumor heard about Mark – years ago – was that he had taken the loss of his eyesight and career pretty bad… which resulted in a divorce and drinking allot.  Mark was a lawyer before he earned a pilot training slot—The last e-mail I got from the Boss stated simply:  Mark is looking for me.  I can’t imagine what Mark was telling the Boss about my earlier days in Oscoda MI.  Yes God truly hates me.

Later..maybe;-)

Ponch

Great Balls of Fire

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

Did you hear the one about Mohamed ElBaradei the director general of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)? He wins the Nobel Peace Prize for his “efforts to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes and to to ensure that nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is used in the safest possible way,” then in 2008 he threatens to resign his position if a military strike against Iran happens because “it would turn the Middle East region into a ball of fire.”

Not funny? Come on, don’t you get it?

Here you have an Egyptian lawyer in charge of the IAEA since 1997 being credited with preventing nuclear proliferation. But the Israeli Air Force did more on September 6, 2007 to prevent the military use of nuclear weapons by rogue nations than most any nation or UN affiliate since 1981.

In 1981, Israel took out Hussein’s French-built nuclear reactor in Baghdad. Since no other country had sufficient motivation to stop or deter Hussein, the Israeli’s did the job themselves. And it worked. Secretary of State Alexander Haig told President Reagan, “Before this is over, we’ll be on our knees thanking God Israel did what it did.” Over a decade later, Secretary of Defense Cheney referenced the 1981 attack when he told the Israeli ambassador to the US, “If it weren’t for you, Desert Storm wouldn’t have been a success.”

Now do you remember what happened on September 6, 2007? Yes, that was when Israel took-out Bashar al-Assad’s secret nuclear reactor in Syria. Israel’s motivation was probably similar to what they had in 1981. While we haven’t heard any public statements similar to Haig’s comment, I’d think somebody, somewhere must have said it.

In 2008, ABC news reported that Assad’s terminated Syrian reactor was strikingly similar to North Korea’s nuclear reactor in Yongbyon. North Korea? Do they have nukes?

Yes, their nuclear program dates back to the 1960s. The Clinton administration tried several appeasing techniques starting in 1994 to get Kim Jong-il’s newly-inherited regime to abandon the long-running program. While Kim Jong-il freely took the bribes, ultimately funded by the American taxpayer, he never lived up to his word on the North Korean part of the agreement. In 2003 Kim Jung-il’s regime admitted the North Koreans possessed nuclear weapons and then proved it with a successful test on October 16, 2006. The North Koreans apparently got busy exporting their proven nuclear weapons capability to Syria.

Diplomacy didn’t work. Sanctions didn’t work. Appeasement didn’t work. The UN didn’t work at all.

Lesson learned?

For several years, we’ve been listening to Iranian threats to blow Israel off the map. Meanwhile, plentiful evidence has piled up that Iran has been supplying the terrorists in their illegal war against the democratically-elected government of Iraq and its people.

While Israel is politically prevented from helping fight global terrorists operating within sovereign nations around them, they do have a pretty well proven record for doing something if they believe they are about to be blown off the map.

The charter members of the axis of evil identified in the 2002 State of the Union Address, Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, all made decisions to continue to defy post-911 America and the rest of civilization. Deterrence failed.

Iraq insisted upon forced regime change before it would change its way. North Korea flaunts their nuclear weapons program while their people starve and their cousins to the south prosper greatly. Iran defiantly is clinging to its threat to destroy Israel, supplying the terrorists invaders in Iraq, and desperately trying to get their nukes developed before it is too late.

But “too late” is defined by their nuclear weapons development progress. The sands of the hour-glass fall to obscurity as their program approaches completion. It is much like they are playing Russian roulette with the tactic of squeezing the rounds off as fast as possible in order to get the game over before they lose. It’s suicide.

The facts are simple:

1)  Israel refuses to die.
2) Therefore they can not allow those who wish them dead to acquire the weapons that can kill them.
3) Therefore if the UN, or America, or any other nation or collection of nations does not want Israel to do the job themselves, they have to do or find somebody to do the job instead.
4) Or Iran has to change.

    Iran needs to do a couple to things to rejoin the community of civilized nations. What they chose to do is totally up to them. But if Iran really wants not to be attacked, they need to completely abandon their nuclear weapons development program and then prove it to the world. And if Iran really really wants to end the Global War on Terrorism, they need to join the rest of the civilized nations in the war against global terrorists and then prove they have changed their ways.

    A peace-starved world will not hold their past sins against them. If the Iranian did those two simple things, they would not be attacked. They would improve the life of their people. They would prosper like never before. They would even be considered heroes by many.

    However, if Iran stays-the-course and doesn’t do those two things then ElBaradei’s opinion that “attacking Iran would be worse than anything else,” would be wrong. Not attacking would be much worse.

    It just makes sense.

    Socialism is Anti-Americanism

    Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

    Maxine Waters (D-CA) used a very thin veil to cover her threat to socialize all the American oil companies. Even though she balked at the public use of the s-word, she couldn’t help but finishing her statement once it was started. At least she was honest about saying what she believes in. We should all thank her for that. There’s few things worse than a socialist who lies about being a socialist. What was the public reaction to her statement?

    Except for a little coverage on Fox News and some attention by radio talk-show icon Rush Limbaugh it was allowed to fade away in the background of other news.

    Not that they’re trying, but it might be wiser for the Democrats just to forget about defending Waters and just to distance her opinions from the Democrat Party. After all, Democrats are Americans and America has fought against socialism from the very beginning. Right?

    What is socialism?

    Socialism is a political process where the people who control the central government control the production, distribution, and exchange of property. Advocates of socialism like to argue that it is the community as a whole that is in control, but that would only be in theory. In practice, every time it has been tried, a select group of government officials have the control and the loser has always been the people.

    Socialism comes in many flavors, but it always leaves the same bitter after taste.

    Some of the flavors sound more appetizing than others, but they all drain away the people’s freedom to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to some degree or another. In 2003, the pan-Arab socialist, Baathists Party lost an advocate when Hussein’s regime was vanquished. With the 1991 fall of the Union of the Soviet SOCIALIST Republic, Marxist-flavored socialism lost its most powerful advocate. The 1945 destruction of National-SOCIALIST (Nazi) Germany, another flavor was removed from the menu.

    It is interesting how modern socialist-theory advocates have deceived Americans into thinking of the Nazis along with their fascist partners of Mussolini’s Italy and totalitarian Japan of the 1930s-1940s as “right-wing,” when those governments have always opposed democracy. Many socialist-regimes use the facade of a ballot to fool the masses, but no one who gives it much thought can really be fooled by such a prevarication. Socialist-regimes always take freedom away from the people. Pol Pot’s socialist-regime might have sounded good to him and his fellow freedom-takers, but the average person’s life suffered greatly.

    Despite the appeal of a regal King of 18th century England, George was little more than an oppressive, socialist dictator demanding total control to the average cobblers, merchants, and farmers of early America. Since none of us were alive then, we have to imagine for a moment how bad it must have been for the average men of the day, to put down their tools used to provide food and shelter for their families and pick-up their squirrel guns to go do battle against the most powerful army on Earth.

    That first generation of real Americans pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to give us the foundation of the freedoms we enjoy today.

    One of those freedoms is the right to say what you believe. So it is okay for people who believe in socialist-theory to express their opinions. We don’t want socialist-minded people to think they have to lie about their beliefs.

    Waters’ statement is not the problem, it is merely a symptom. The problem is history-ignorant people believing that a socialist government is the answer to all our problems, then those people voting for people who believe the same. Then the rest of us are affected by those people being in office. Yes, they have the right to believe the way they want to, but they don’t have the right to take the freedoms given to us by God and affirmed in our Constitution.

    Just yesterday, a group of House Democrats are so bold as to be calling to nationalize (that means socialize) America’s oil refineries.

    Can you believe the same type of socialist-minded politicians who oppose the harvesting of American oil reserves also want to seize control of American refineries? You might remember how they tried to socialize the American health-care facilities and professions back in the 1990s, but they were delayed by a group of energetic Americans who saw the danger in that. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be tried again.

    Using socialist-minded logic, why stop with the refineries? Why not go ahead and take the oil companies too? Some people might argue that it would reflect poorly on Wall Street. After all, people might pull their money out of the market resulting in economic collapse. But an even bolder socialist solution to that problem would be to seize or at least freeze the entire market. Wouldn’t that do wonders for your 401K? What would this generation of Americans do if that happened? It’s really not that far-fetched.

    Those socialist-minded resource-grabbers need to take a history lesson from old King George. Don’t make the same mistake he did before trying to deny too many freedoms to the average American. Not that they haven’t been trying, but they’d better collect our squirrel-guns first.

    It just makes sense.

    Just Another Friday

    Friday, June 13th, 2008

    Some people consider Friday the 13th bad luck, but it was more than misfortunate happen-chance that stained this day over 700 years ago.  Blackness flowing from the throne and the alter, seized and killed a band of brothers who had devoted their lives to the service of their God.

    Philip IV, the King of France, was heavily indebted to the Knights of Templar.  The men who ran the order mostly lived a life of deprivation, but the organization amassed considerable wealth as it managed funds from all across Christian Europe.  The men pledged their allegiance to the Pope, thus no king could loot the funds, as was common everywhere else.

    Little did the Knights of Templar know that Philip IV had great influence over Pope Clement V, a man he had sponsored for many years, helping him to become Pope.  The Knights believed the Pope was dedicated to do the work of God.  They were just men who could not see the weakness inside his heart.

    On Friday, 13 October 1307, hundreds of Knights were rounded up all over Europe.  Jacque de Molay was their Grand Master.  Many of them died during the horrible torture they given in attempts to get them to confess to any of many blasphemous crimes.  After two months of torture, some of Philip’s agents reported that de Molay confessed to denying Christ.  This was later denied, much to the anger of his tormentors.  Then he adopted a defense strategy of silence, mimicking Christ before His accusers.

    While Clement did not use his power to rescue his servants, he did secretly absolve the Knights in 1308.  It did not stop the tortures or the imprisonments.  After years of mistreatment, Jacque de Molay broke his silence and proclaimed his innocence  and challenged Clement and Philip before God.

    Philip, even though basking in the riches he had stolen from the vanquished Knights, was so enraged that he ordered de Molay to be burned at the stake.

    Naked, bleeding, battered, and bruised he was tied to a stake in Paris just outside of Notre Dame and a slow fire was set about him on Friday, 13 March 1314.  After more than an hour, Jacque de Molay announced in a bold, strong voice that he would petition the Mighty God to hold a counsel for him, King Philip and Pope Clement before the year was complete.  Then he died.

    Just over a month later, Pope Clement V died a painful death brought on by an inflamed bowel.

    Then a little over eights months later on a Friday in November, King Philip was enjoying his favorite sport of hunting when his horse stumbled, and he fell into a deep culvert.  Before his guards could rescue him he was torn asunder by a pack of wild pigs.  Some of the men who witnessed his screams reported that the king was begging for mercy and had repeatedly shouted the name of Jacque de Molay.

    While the stain of betrayal certainly taints the concept of Friday the 13th, it blemishes the memory of Philip and Clement much more.  We would do well to remember that our lives are as whispers of smoke.  In the short time that we have on God’s Earth, the less we do to hurt other people and the more we do to make life better for others, the brighter the memory of us will be to those that come after us.

    It just makes sense.

    13 June…

    Friday, June 13th, 2008

    Sorry for the ealier Spam on the B-2 crash.  I think I’ll take the led from Chuck and just post it here wtih the link to the video!

     Anyway, on to the Blog…

    BBQ-ed duck – turned out great!  Marinated them overnight in frozen (thawed) apple juice concentrate, put in a crockpot with KC Master Piece Spicy Hot BBQ sauce and slow cook all day.  

    Elwood – gas is $3.84 to $3.95 depending on which station you go too.  Close the interstate the more you pay. 

    James – nothing from the VA on anti-suicide letters 

    Well the dilemma of what unit to make the Dh-4 was settled, the 49th Bombardment Squadron.  As we know from the history books, the 49th began as an Aero Squadron on 6 Aug 1917, and then demobilized on 22 Mar 1919.  She was later reconstituted and consolidated with the 166th Aero Squadron and re-designated 49th Squadron on 14 Mar 1921.  She adopted the Bombardment Squadron designation on 25 Jan 1923.  From 1919 thru 1929 she flew the DH-4, Caproni Bomber and the MB-2 (NBS-1). 

    With the squadron selected, all that remained was how she looked.  This led to another pouring through my reference books for the paint scheme.  You would think that being in the military that everything would be standard, especially the Army!  Although there is a good deal of info from regulations, General Orders, T.O.s, and specs for the time period – it might have taken years for the change to become effective in all the units or for a change that was wide spread practice for months to being legally published.  Unit marking were generated at the unit level are even harder to trace.  Numerous un-official emblems were common along with variations to the basic design. 

    The national marking in the early 1926 were the five star-insignia placed on the wings with three vertical stripes on the rudder.  The star began to replace the red, white and blue WWI style three-circle cockades in May 1919.  However it would take several years to implement this – so by 1926 all three color cockades would be gone.  The rudder would also go through some changes.  Pre-1926: fin color was olive drab (OD) with a blue stripe next to the rudder post, white in the middle and red on the outside.  Post-1926:  Fin color yellow with the rudder post blue with 13 red & white stripes parallel to the longitudinal axis of the aircraft 

    The aircraft would be painted in the Army’s OD – anywhere not covered by the national insignia or unit marking.  When an aircraft was freshly painted, the aircraft dope would actually give off a glossy shine that would dull after exposure to the elements.  In early 1924, the Army allowed station commanders to paint the top surface of the upper wing yellow to increase visibility – especially if the aircraft went down over un-inhabited areas.  I personal think it was to help reduce the number of mid-air collisions.  My reasons: the Air Corps Act of 1926 brought about increase training.  With that and the low visibility of the OD paint scheme there was an increase of mid-airs.  So to help reduce accidents, the Air Corps went with yellow wings and light blue fuselage. 

    So after all that, I took an artist license to create my 49th Bombardment Squadron DH-4.  I settled for overall paint is the OD with yellow top upper wing, fin yellow with the three vertical colors of blue, white & red.  The five star-insignia was placed on top of the upper wing and bottom of the lower wing.  The 49th emblem was placed on the nose.  I had seen a photos of the 11th with their emblem on the nose as well as other aircraft photos with the 49th emblem on the nose.  As for the paint scheme, it also helps to have a photo of a DH-4 flown by the 5th Composite Group, 23rd Bombardment Squadron over
    Hawaii in October 1926!  

    _mg_002b.JPG   _mg_0006.JPG  _mg_0020.jpg

     Next model, the MB-2 in 11th Bomb Squadron marking…one that did participate in the Billy Mitchell’s battleship bombing operations.   

    Well until next time, take care…

    Andy 

    Thursday, June 12th, 2008

    Not a lot going on in SC, including rainfall.  If your getting the deluge like Chuck, please pray a little our way, we could definitely use more, and you could definitely use less.

     James, I chuckled when you mentioned about not knowing things about your father–my father has been deceased 28 years, and I remember reading his performance reports that my sister obtained through the Army retired records section.  Boy, back in the day, they called it like they saw it.  Most were flattering, but I remember one, early in his career, that called him “the laziest bum” he had ever seen.  Now, I might say a lot of things about my Dad, but lazy was never one of them.  What I mostly got out of those reports was the admiration the writers felt–of course, that’s the stuff that a son would pick up on, but none the less, it was there.

    I’m still doing all the usual stuff, remodeling the house, installing a range hood vent system, reseeding the front yard (and yes, paying out the wazoo for watering said grass), and taking care of little old ladies.  Two have been in the hospital lately but are now out and doing much better.

    Just for grins, what is the price of gas where you folks are at?  It’s $3.69 9/10 here in Spartanburg, SC.

    Hope everyone has a great summer.

    11 Jun – James

    Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

    Hi everyone,

    Chuck, I’m sorry to hear about your daughter’s job troubles. At least you are there to help. I often wonder how people without a family support system survive. That must have been some severe weather to flood cars on base. I remember going to a promotion ceremony at the O’Club one summer day during a storm and the road paralleling the flightline was like a river near the T-4 Bldg.

    Lynn and I just returned from a trip to New York City to celebrate our fifth anniversary. We had a great time. We took the Amtrak train up which was fun in itself and stayed three nights in a midtown hotel. We walked everywhere and saw so much of the city. We flew back out of LaGuardia and relearned the lesson that it is good to show up to the airport early. Our original flight was cancelled, but because we were over two hours early, we were able to catch an earlier flight to Atlanta after running to the gate. If we hadn’t made that flight, we would have been spending the night in either Atlanta or NYC at our expense since the plane was cancelled for weather.

    Did everyone else get their anti-suicide letters from the VA? I got two of them and Lynn got one, so they must think we are high risk:)

    I must say I was surprised to see that the USAF Chief of Staff and the Secretary of the USAF were fired. That’s two Chiefs of Staffs in the last 18 years.

    Last month I enjoyed archiving all my father’s papers by scanning them into my computer. After putting them all in order, I got a much better picture of his life in all its phases. It was particularly interesting finding military sponsor letters, travel and PCS orders and general military correspondence with names like Earl Wheeler, Creighton Abrams, George E. Pickett IV and a couple of other famous names on them. There were many surprises. For example I found paperwork showing he successfully completed six credit hours at the University of MD (on post college in Germany). I had no idea he had any formal post high school education.

    I read an article in AARP magazine (it’s very good, don’t laugh!) which talked about the passing of time through the phases of life. It said that the time from 50 to 80 is measured in seconds, not minutes, so enjoy every bit of it. I think the article is correct.

    Enjoy your summer! Hope to hear from everyone soon.

    James

    11 Jun – The Chuck

    Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

    June.

    Spring is mostly behind us and the certainty of another long summer moves closer with each passing sunset.

    We had a few speed bumps on our smooth ride in LA.  Cindy went to Pennsylvania to help her mother recover after a surgery.  We were both glad she was able to do it, but neither of us do well without the other.  Getting back together is always nice.  I guess it evens out.

    LA was pounded with some heavy rain.  We was fortunate to avoid any flooding, but about 125 homes in the area weren’t so lucky.  In addition, a lot of cars were trashed by high water–even on base.  The base eventually closed as waves of rough weather continue to pour down on us.  Weird thing about being a contractor, you still need to make up the hours to get paid.  I was able to make things balance. My daughter wasn’t.

    Amanda, our middle daughter, lives a section of Shreveport which lost water due to a busted main related to the storm.  In addition, her child care center was without water too.  For a few days, a lot of businesses and schools were closed, along with her child care center, but her job location with Century Tel was open.  Since Cindy was out of town, and I was working, she had to keep the twins at home and … well, she missed too many days and was fired.

    Speaking of fired, the Air Force has had quite a shake up.  I wrote the short article, but thats not my last word on the situation, I’m writing another which will be stronger.  Less on people and more on processes.  I’ll post it in a day or so, unless I get lazy or in a funk again.  I hope not.

    Eighth Air Force has been redesignated at “Eight Air Force (Air Forces Strategic)” or AFSTRAT for short.  Aren’t you impressed now?

    Yak retired.  He’s moving over to Texas to a flying job.  He just sold his house.  Good news for him with the job and the house.

    I’m taking a novel writing class at night school.  I probably should have done that before I wrote, then rewrote my novel 22 times, but maybe it is best this way.  Well, it’d better be because this is the way it is.

    My Land Rover is still in the shop.  The motor gave up the ghost back in April, its been so long I’m starting to forget I have it.  Of course, USAA won’t forget, they keep the bills for the insurance coming.  The replacement motor came in three weeks ago, but they’ve been busy.  You know how it is.

    Cindy and I have been enjoying the hot of LA and have celebrated by doing some landscaping.  A few yards of soil and mulch can make the yard look nice, with dozens of new plants.  We’ll see it the rains let us keep them.  I think most of it will survive.

    Wish I could talk about flying.  I can talk about jobs with SAIC if you like, but who wants to hear about that?

    My prayer for each of you is health, wealth, and happiness. And that you’d each post an update on our Band of Brothers’ blog.

    You’re Fired

    Sunday, June 8th, 2008

    While those words have been heard in millions of homes when Donald Trump said them on his television reality show The Apprentice, they’re not the words anyone wants to hear their boss say to them. In The Donald’s show, he fires a competitor each week, based on poor performance, leaving only one final winner at the show’s finale.  The collection of losers go off to find other jobs on their own.  At least television gives us that perspective.

    That they are losers.

    But are they really?  How many people are chosen to be a competitor on a quality reality show?  As each round of elimination progresses, the ones that survive become a member of a smaller, elite minority.  Until there is only one.

    They all want to win, but there can be only one.

    We all know reality shows are edited, directed, and optimized for entertainment value in order to keep audiences interested in them.  So honestly, they’re just entertainment and not reality.

    In reality, all those people who make the sets, run the cameras, provide the meals, edit the film, and basically carry the water for the stars make everything work.  It’s a team effort, but only a few are chosen to be stars and to get the camera focused on them.

    The principle is clear.  The ratio of pretty-faced stars for the camera have to be balanced with the number of water-carriers who do the work that make it all possible. Not everyone is destined for fame, but the ones that are, can’t do it without the ones who do the work.

    Entertainment is big business.  After all, what would the rest of us do in our spare time if we didn’t have entertainers singing, dancing, posing, or pretending to be somebody else for us?

    Entertainment is most interesting when it parallels reality.

    Somewhat like a reality show, the career path of an Air Force officer is an exciting competition that most often ends with something like being fired.  Oh, we don’t call it being fired, we use “retired” as the code word.

    I think Air Force officers come in something like 256 shades of type-A personalities.  Everyone of them has the secret desire to become the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, but there can be only one.   Most will not get their star, but all of them have their story.

    Some of them are told to either take an undesirable assignment or to retire.  Others are told they are too old and they should retire.  Too many are told they aren’t part of the in-crowd, “You’ve done a lot of good things, but I don’t know you and you should retire.”  A few might hear, “I can’t believe you’ve embarrassed me this much–time for you to go.”  It all boils down to, “You don’t fit the mold, you’re fired.”

    It’s about as fair as any system can be.  We can’t promote everyone.  There are not enough stars.  Somebody has to go.  At least that’s the mantra.

    Operating the Air Force is much more complicated than running a television series, but a common principle applies.  You have to keep enough people around to carry the water or the stars will fall from favor.  As the Air Force has down-sized, the number of stars should have reduced also, but that’s a hard idea for some to understand.  They’d rather cut the water-carriers.

    In the process of making room for the clones of themselves, they pushed hundreds of superior officers with great leadership potential out the door to retirement.  They denied them school slots, leadership positions, and commander jobs in order to groom their hand-picked people.  Critical mass was achieved.

    For the last 12 years or so the battle-cry has been, “The only thing you need to know about the nuke mission is, it’s easy.”  Well, that kind of thinking has started an earthquake in the Air Force.

    How many after-shocks will follow is anybody’s guess.

    To use an already over-used Naval metaphor; if an aircraft carrier runs aground, it is certain the captain will be fired, even if it takes a few months to figure out who the captain is.  It is also certain that the replacement captain will not come on-board trusting the crew like the last captain did.  Heads will roll. Planks will be walked.  Keels will be hauled.  DD214s will be signed.

    It just makes sense.

    Blue News

    Thursday, June 5th, 2008

    How about the top taking the first big hit?  I wrote about this on 11 September 2007  and a couple of months later on 11 November when the first report came out.  We all knew that leadership had been given a pass.  It turned out not to be a perpetual pass.

    I don’t see much chance of fixing the problem even with these surprise maneuvers, because the beast has cloned itself for many years.  The Air Force has been shaving away leadership resources while they selected the ones most like them for quite some time.  Of course, you guys are all too familiar with that problem.

    It will take a reorganization  of epic proportions to fix this.  I think national politics will over-shadow the news, I guess that out-come could make the failure so far look mild.  Time will tell.

    You’re Welcome

    Sunday, June 1st, 2008

    The threads of our lives weave together to form a tapestry that is greater than the sum of the parts.  I’ve recently been reminded of that by Steven, a man who was once a lanky kid with a balance problem and bad knees in my California martial arts school back in the early 1990s.

    I had started the school in 1988 to fulfill my passion to regain my martial art skills from a previous decade.  At the same time I was able to help a few people with some of the things they were struggling with.   I remember how Steven often came by my home with a couple of other boys from the class asking me to explain some particular move they had been practicing since the last class.  Any teacher loves enthusiasm in their students.  All three of those boys eventually grew to be young men wearing black belts before I left them to seek more of my own adventures on other assignments around the world.

    I’ve been blessed enough to fill two lifetimes since then.

    If you’re one of my regular readers, you’ve noticed that I’ve been slow to write another political column.

    Sorry, but I was separated from my inspiration for a little while, long story, but I assure you that I intend to start posting them again.  I just needed a reminder about how important the things we do are to other people.  I just got this email, and I had to share it with you:

    Mr. Sutherland:

     I am writing this e-mail on behalf of my late friend and student. Deputy Mike Thomas was a dear friend of mine and student for over 10 years. He passed away Sunday May 25, 2008 at 10:30 am due to injuries he sustained after being hit by a truck while on patrol April 26, 2008.  Many of the conversations that we had were about finding you so he could personally say “Thank You”. Without you taking the time to train me I would not have been able to pass that training and knowledge on to him. Tonight I realized when I stumbled across your website the other night it was not by luck. I now know in my heart it was Mike fulfilling his promise to me that together we would find you. So from the bottom of my heart, and on behalf of Mike, Thank You. Not just for training me, but for being a major part of my life.
     
    Steven

    Humbling.

    As strong and as brave as Mike was, most of us know that none of us are guaranteed another day.  He chose to live not only a life of service but also a life of danger as a motorcycle officer.  At the young age of 26, he left us all too soon.

    Everywhere we tread, we leave footprints.  I missed all opportunities on Earth to talk with Mike.  Mike is with Jesus now.  I’ve asked Jesus to tell Mike “you’re welcome” from me and to thank him both for his service to Bibb County, Georgia and for what he has done for me.  I am blessed that our lives touched each others through Steven.

    My prayers go out to his family, friends and fellow officers during this difficult time.

    It just, makes sense.

    Link to Deputy Sheriff Michael Sean Thomas page at The Officer Down Memorial Page, Inc