Saturday, January 31, 2009

Johnny Rumble:
America's Military, Buy American?

Especially since the start of the Cold War, and even before then in many cases, America’s military has been hobbled by Congressional oversight, not only in the business of HOW to defend the nation, but also in the ways and means in which to do so.

Congress, and famously many American defense companies, has been trying to direct the American military to buy equipment that, while it may not be the better choice in the long run, and just might hobble deployments immediately, will keep American assembly lines and American business in the business of making poor choice products.

Most recently in the long line of defense contracts, the U.S. Air Force has been trying to replace the venerable KC-135 Stratotanker. The last airframe was built and delivered in 1965. While the Air Force has publicly stated that many of the later model tankers are only through about a third of the projected forty thousand flying hours, the costs of maintaining and re-building the airframes is skyrocketing.

Since 2002, three separate efforts have occurred to replace the tanker. In 2002, the Air Force tried to lease from the Boeing company 100 tankers to be based off of the 767 airframe. This bid failed to corruption stemming around the fact that a former procurement officer that hand hands in the deal moved to Boeing shortly after the deal was struck.

Nearly immediately after that, the USAF opened up a new bidding under the KC-X name. Boeing re-submitted the KC-767 for evaluation, and Northrop Grumman, partnering with European Aeronautic Defense and Space, brought a proposal of using a variant of the Airbus A330, internally designated KC-30.

In February of 2008, the USAF selected the Northrop Grumman/EADS entry as the new tanker. In March, Boeing filed a protest with the Government Accountably Office. During the investigation, many Senators and Representatives shouted at the top their lungs their support for Boeing.

Many claimed that this move would keep tanker jobs in the U.S., never mind the fact that Northrop Grumman/EADS would be building two new manufacturing centers in Mobile, Alabama, and that all of the maintenance would be performed by American workers. The GAO upheld the complaint and the bidding process was canceled.

More recently, the USAF put out a bid for the next VC-25, colloquially known as “Air Force One.” Northrop Grumman/EADS did not even bother putting in a bid, leaving Boeing as the sole bidder. Many have speculated the reasoning behind this is that Northrop Grumman/EADS did not want to have a protracted fight with Congress about the thought of the American President not flying aboard a purely American aircraft.

The biggest question that must be put forth is “must the American Military buy American?” My response is no. The fact that American companies have a monopoly on military contracts only allows for complacency in the marketplace and forgoes the entire thought process of capitalism by not allowing these other companies to submit their bids and force American companies like Boeing to step up their game against the world.

Competition only brings about better products for less money. Right now, the duopoly on Boeing and Northrop Grumman/EADS can only fail for the military and force America’s global influence to wither and die.

Buying The Best,

Johnny Rumble

Friday, January 30, 2009

Johnny Rumble:
Obama and Afghanistan

In the days following President Barack Obama’s inauguration, he has discussed, and implemented, several plans dealing with the current “War on Terrorism.” The ordered closing of Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp, and very vocal support (with many campaign promises) of a pullout from Iraq, one does have to wonder what he intends to do about the “forgotten battlefield,” the original War on Terrorism target of Afghanistan.

An international poll of 24 nations conducted by Pew Global Attitudes project in June of 2008 found that 21 of the nations polled showed a desire for a pullout of Afghanistan, the only three, the United States, Britain, and Australia showed a generally favorable view of keeping troops in place until the situation became fully stabilized.

Speaking only in terms of world strategy, it makes complete sense for United States forces to stay in Afghanistan for the extreme long run, much like South Korea. The United States does not have a stable “home base” to operate from in that region of the world, unlike the Middle East, where the U.S. operates bases in the U.A.E, Qatar, and Bahrain on the Persian Gulf, Turkey to the north, and the island of Cyprus to the west in the Mediterranean Ocean. U.S. Forces also formerly had several bases in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

In that region of Southwest Asia, the U.S. Military has very little presence. Support in fact has to come from the Middle East, from Diego Garcia in the middle of the Indian Ocean, or in extreme instances, Guam in the Pacific. Also, the United States does not have territorial right to Diego Garcia, that being owned by the British, with the (unlikely) possibility of a denial-of-use.

If this happens, that would leave only Guam and bases on the Persian Gulf as staging bases for large aircraft, supplies and equipment. Due to rising tensions between India and Pakistan and India and China, a U.S. presence in the area could be helpful if conflict were to break-out in that region, with fast response time and forward operating areas.

Strategically, Afghanistan is a near-perfect base of operation for the theater, and I can only hope that President Obama, while perhaps ending sustained war operations in Afghanistan, will keep a U.S. boots-on-the-ground presence to protect interests and provide a stabilizing factor to the area.

Ground Pounding,

Johnny Rumble

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Johnny Rumble:
Abecedarian poetry about Spicy McHaggis

Probably the biggest stinking pile of poo I've ever had the pleasure of writing, but it's an assignment, and I completed it.

A story that I’ll weave for you
Bout a man constantly on the prowl, looking for
Chicks over 400 pounds. He is always
Drinking beer, so his vision is always blurred. This is an
Eccentric story you may have already heard.
For Spicy McHaggis is a
Good fella at
Heart
It’s
Just that he sometimes pisses his filthy
Kilt.
Love him or leave him, it
Matters not. The unfortunate thing is, he
Never knows who drank all the rest of his beer
Oh Spicy McHaggis, what were you thinking? You got that girl
Pregnant, just because she played with your unit. What a
Quandary you bring to the boys, telling them you’re a dad. Was her name
Rita or Rice, maybe it was Condie or Carrie. Either way she was yelling your

name,
Spicy! Spicy! Oh Spicy! Yes Spicy! Right there!
To tell the truth, she did ask for a glove, but Spicy didn’t hear when he lifted his
Urine soaked skirt and gave her a quick shove. Many nights he spent in this
Very pool-hall, playing cards, throwing dice, and playing for the girls and
Won them all. In some little black books, Spicy’s name has a little black
X placed to the right. Perhaps not all the girls
Yell Spicy! when he walks in the door. But I’ll tell you one thing, I caught my
Z’s the night Spicy laid me on the floor.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Johnny Rumble:
"...Like Leather on a Duck!"

Tomorrow is a big huge day for me.

Tomorrow, barring some unfortunate disaster, like pregnancy, I will acctually be finishing or be very close to finishing Johnny's Folly. Eventually, I'll break it up and create a whole 'nother blog for it to sit and reside and get hits and comments and love and hate. So look for that in the next couple of weeks to become a reality.

And I know what you're thinking...

"Johnny, you've promised this shit before, and you didn't deliver. You a cracker foo."

To this I say nothing.

Tanning hides,

Johnny Rumble

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Trav:
New Semester.

Hiya all. Sorry I've not been around much I've basically been nowhere really, exept in irc- and even that I'm not chatting nearly as much as I used to. But now that the semester is starting up and ya know back at school hopefully I can get some of my ideas down. So oddly enough I've started to go to mass again. I'm not too sure whats prompted this, but i do sort of get a sense of I don't know lets call it contenment- when I go and afterwords. At least till I get back to the dorm and erveryones running around.

So for Christmas I got clothes, and games. I got some really nice sharp looking clothes. Boots, shirts and a trench coat. From Mom I got the shirts and coat are from JCrew and they look really good. Dad got me games, boots and a sweater from Finegans in Azerbaijan which for strange factor is a nice sweater for wearing around the house. Oh and my ipod is being obsinate so I get to yet again rebuild my music library you'd think by now I'd back it up...Note to self: back up the damn music already :)

Cheers
Trav

Friday, January 16, 2009

Johnny Rumble:
Corners and "The Corkscrew"

Whenever I get in a depressive, dark and down mood, I like to think about corners. Road corners. Finding the proper line through 90 degree bends, off-camber switchbacks, banked ovals and blind sweeping right handers. The kind where you don't what's five feet down the road. All I can usually hope for is that there isn't another enthusiast coming round that same bend, tucked on the inside, tires barely hanging off the side of the pavement and inadvertantly plowing head on into me. On the other hand, I would be a decent way to go.

But regardless of my ultimate fate, I think about corners a lot. There's on particular corner on my usual street raceway that has always plagued me. It's a blind sweeping right hander with six foot tall bushes on the inside and barb wire fencing on the other. I've never been brave enough to put my foot throught the floorboard and tackle the corner at full boil. Never done, and probably never will be able to.

I'd like to think I'd have the exact same problem at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The infamous and terrifying "Corkscrew." Blind entrance to the left, blind apex, and one hell of a hanging-by-the-shoulder-straps drop off into a blackout enducing right bend. I should aim at a tree and hang on. I acctually slam my asshole shut and pray.

Twist and Shout,

Johnny Rumble

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Johnny Rumble:
It's A Retrospective, Introspective, Foward-Thinking Moment

My sanity is fucking gone. Out the window, down the toilet, swirling around the drain gone.

I'm acctually concidering going through POST. Just to say that I have it on my resume. No intention of even being a cop. Just doing it. To say that I did it.

I'd be backing that up with EMT and Firefighting training too.

I've seriously lost my fucking mind.
___________________

Fortunatly, at least some of the grey matter managed to stay between my ears. I sat out in the garage on the cold concrete just staring at my car for about an hour. It was on jack stands, the wheels off, and the inner fender tubs removed. All the little nasty bits and pieces exposed, naked, for all the car geeks to see. TOTO was on the workbench radio, blaring thier little electronic tinny hearts out. They sounded like shit.

I reached out with the toe of my boot and just barely nuzzled the rocker panel, withdrawing it quickly, like I would somehow wake up a fire breathing beast. I was giddy, my heart pumping blood like I'd just run three mile flat-out. She was sexy sitting there, restrained and nude. I played the pervert. "You're such a dirty girl. Maybe I'll wash that dirt off today."
______________

I'm finally learning how to weld this semester. Just basic MIG welding. Something to use in the garage. I'd learn to TIG, but MIG is cheaper in the start up. And I'm broke. Books are fucking expensive.

"Eating words has never given me indigestion",

Johnny Rumble