Harris Teeter War Zone

Who would’ve thought that going to Harris Teeter would be a war zone. 


But this guy in the respirator mask is showing us how bad things can start to get. 


As an avid fan of the show The Walking Dead, I think we are entering TWD territory with the people walking around with their face’s half covered and some looking sick with fear and worry or perhaps even with symptoms–who knows!


What is amazing is how things can go from boom to bust, and not just for our economy, but for life and civilization itself at the turn of a dime. 


Yesterday, I read how the CFO of Jefferies Group Investment Bank (NYC) died at age 56 from Coronavirus. 


Even as the Navy’s hospital ships Mercy and Comfort enter the ports of Los Angeles and New York City to lend a hand and about 1,000 hospital beds each, it seems like more and more of these deadly cases are hitting the papers and social media every day.


Where does this sickness stop?   


What happens if the virus mutates again and become even more virulent?


How do we ever feel even remotely secure again?


Can we keep taxing our already overwhelmed healthcare system with more and more sick patients?


How long can we keep printing Monopoly bailout money (incredibly, there is talk of yet another multi-trillion Coronavirus stimulus bill even after we just passed this $2.2 trillion one last week)?


Eventually, as we all know circumstances can indeed overwhelm the health and financial systems, and even our governments…thank G-d we aren’t there. 


But what we are all beginning to see in the midst of crisis is that “there” isn’t really all that far away from “here.”


…That life hangs by a truly thin thread. 


And because we can only do so much, this is where we really need to look up to the heavens and ask for G-d’s help and mercy.  😉


(Credit Photo: my wonderful son-in-law, Itzchak)

Navy Under Attack

Collision.JPEG

So there was another collision of a U.S. Navy Destroyer.


The Navy destroyer collided early today with an oil tanker off of Singapore. 


10 sailors are missing and there is significant hull damage. 


This is the 4th known accident just this year of our Navy vessels in Asia waters.


And previously I wrote incredulously about the last Navy collision with a massive container ship in June that resulted in 7 dead. 


How do U.S. Navy ships with the most advanced sensors, navigation, weapons, and command and controls systems in the world–that are supposed to be protecting us–just simply collide with other ships like toys in a bathtub?


These Navy ships are a vital projection of U.S. might, and are supposed to be able to keep the worst foes away and keep our dedicated men and women warfighters safe at sea–whether from bomb-laden terrorist attack speed boats to anti-access/area denial missiles and all threats from on, above, or below. 


Yet, they just keep crashing…


There was supposedly some buzz online about a stealthy new cyber weapon that is attacking our ships and making them useless and helpless pieces of (G-d forbid) floating junk at sea or perhaps enabling them to be hacked and electronically commandeered and controlled in order to crash them.


Either way, how many collisions does it take for this to become a concerning problem with our Navy’s ability to manage the ships under their command and be ever war-ready. 


Our ships are a major element of our national strength and security, and loss of control implies a potentially great risk to our nation. 


We need our Navy and their tremendous people, assets, and expertise to safeguard our people, freedom, and democracy.


A few months ago, there was a hackathon to test the Navy’s systems’ security–and most certainly, this is a crucial type of test that we potentially face every day in real life.


These are challenging times for everything cybersecurity, so let’s make sure we have all the capabilities we need and are fully up to the task to defend ourselves and take out our enemies–it’s not just our Navy in the spotlight and at risk. 😉 


(Source Photo: With attribution to CNN and adapted from here)

Paper Navy Tiger

Damaged Navy Warship.jpeg

We spend $600 billion on defense and this is what we get?


In the middle of the night our U.S. Navy DESTROYER crashes with a ginormous container ship.


The commercial vessel (yes it’s bigger, but it’s a civilian ship) is lightly damaged, but the U.S. Navy BATTLESHIP (after having undergone a recent $21 million upgrade) has 7 dead, the captain injured, and it can barely make it back to its port except with tugboats for extensive repairs. 


WTF!


How does an battleship with the latest sensors and technology collide with a civilian ship–how did such a foreign vessel even get close to our navy ship let alone collide with it–was someone completely “asleep at the wheel?”


This is no joke!–this is our first line of defense in our ability to project force globally. 


What if this had been a terrorist ship laden to the hilt with high explosives or an Axis of Evil Iranian or North Korean fast attack craft or even a Russian or Chinese attack submarine–surprise!


Doesn’t a battleship need to be ever-vigilant and -ready for battle? 


How can we fight sophisticated 21st century militaries with advanced ship-killer cruise missiles, torpedos, and mines, if we can’t even avoid the essential sinking of one our own fighting ships in peacetime. 


Our brave men and women who take up the uniform to serve this great nation–and this country–DESERVE BETTER!


Does this paper navy ship with a punched hole in it represent a larger forgotten or war-weary military in dire need of modernization and genuine readiness to defend the beautiful and free America? 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal via The Guardian)

Congressman Hank Johnson Infested With Hatred

Unfortunately, this is why Congress does not get the respect it deserves


Anti-Semites like Congressman Hank Johnson (Democrat-Georgia) are not only hateful and discriminatory, calling Israelis and Jews “termites.”


But Congressman Johnson actually questions whether Guam, an Island of 209 square miles (and U.S. territory in the Pacific with a strategic U.S. Naval Base), is going to “tip over and capsize” in the Ocean. 


It seems like Johnson has a huge issue with termites in terms of both calling people disgusting and derogatory names and thinking an entire Island–almost twice the size of the city of Atlanta–is going to capsize, as if from a big problem of termites.  


This just demonstrates how being hateful and dumb truly go together!


What a disgrace on our esteemed Congress of this great country of the United States of America. 


No wonder the big problems of this country are not getting appropriately addressed and solved, there are too many people on the Hill infested with horrible hate in their hearts and minds. 😉

Iran Man

Iron Man

Today, Iran warns a U.S. Navy ship and fighter jet to stay away from military exercises they were conducting.


And what did we, the Superpower, do? 


We hightailed it out of there. 


Yet, presumably we were in international waters this time, so it’s curious why the U.S. military would take it’s orders from Iran if we were legitimately there. 


This is just…


– A little more than 2 weeks after Iran seized 2 U.S. Navy ships and 10 sailors and put them execution style on their knees and broadcast this to world.


– And less than a month after Iran fired missiles within 1.3 km of the U.S. aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman.


Wonder why did Iran warn us this time and not last month with the aircraft carrier–should we be “thankful” again to them, this time for warning us.


– And just less than 2 weeks ago, Iraq-based Shiite terror militias (alleged proxies for Iran) abducted 3 more Americans (almost simultaneously with their prisoner swap with us–refilling their human cache).  


– All this, plus the 2 ballistic missile tests (those capable of carrying nukes) that Iran conducted in October and again in December in violation of U.N. resolutions, and what do we have? 


A new “Iran Man” (not Iron Man) in town–with over $100+ billion to spend on global terrorism while chanting “Death To America”–and he most certainly isn’t a superhero. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Bigger Smaller Navy

The Bigger Smaller Navy

So our Navy is shrinking for real, but growing on the books.

Steve Cohen writes in the Wall Street Journal how the “U.S. Navy is stretched too thin.”

And we are down to just 283 ships, but for reporting purposes it’s 293–that is–because we now include hospital ships, small coastal patrol vessels (“lightly armed [with machine guns]…and not true oceangoing”), and a high-speed transport in the calculus.

Moreover, “only 35% of the U.S. Navy’s entire fleet is deployed, fewer than 100 ships, including just 3 aircraft carriers.”

According to the Heritage Foundation, gone is the promise of a mighty U.S. with a formidable 600-ship navy, and instead “U.S. naval leaders are struggling to find ways to meet a new requirement of around 300 ships…with “predictions [that] show current funding levels would reduce the fleet to [just] 263 ships.”

Sure, today’s fleet is comprised of ships more capable than predecessors, but our enemies are also not resting on their laurels.

China is now building its 2nd aircraft carrier, and Russia has formally secured Crimea home to it’s Black Sea fleet.

The function for military readiness includes not only capability of each, but numbers available to fight.

There are times that less is more, but less can also be less. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Jon Olav)

Dance Robot, Dance!

This robot has rhythm and can dance Gangnam Style.

It is called CHARLI-2 (Cognitive Humanoid Autonomous Robot with Learning Intelligence–Version 2).

Charlie was developed by Virginia Tech’s Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory (RoMeLa).

At five feet tall, CHARLI is the United States’ “first full-size humanoid robot.”

Charlie can do things like walk, turn, kick, and gesture–he is agile and coordinated–and as you can see can even dance and also play soccer!

One of the things that makes CHARLI special is his stabilization technology–where it can orient itself using sensors such as gyroscopes.

According to Wired Magazine (19 October 2012), The Office of Naval Research has provided a grant of $3.5M to CHARLI’s creator to develop a nextgen robot called the Autonomous Shipboard Humanoid (ASH) to work aboard Navy ships in the future and interact with humans.

CHARLI won the Time Magazine “2011 Best Invention of the Year” as well as the Louis Vuitton Best Humanoid Award.

While the CHARLI robots still move relatively slowly, are a little awkward, and are almost in a child-like “I dunno state,” we are definitely making exciting progress toward the iRobot of the future–and I can’t wait till we get there.

For me, I see the potential and this robot can certainly dance circles around me, but that’s not saying much. 😉