Special Report

Special Report

True Story of the Old Army

By 11.11.13

Private “Rondi” Rondinoni had been in B Company for a little more than one hitch (three years). He had reached the rank of Private First Class (PFC), but was busted back to buck private for repeated fractures of discipline. It didn’t matter to Rondi. He just enjoyed being a soldier. It drove his platoon sergeant crazy, but his captain -- the company commander--intervened to keep Rondi from being booted out on a Section 8 (mental illness). Back in the late 1930s, before Pearl Harbor and the draft, a U.S. Army company often consisted of less than seventy men; eager EM’s (enlisted men) were not readily available at $21 per month, even during the Great Depression. Rondi could read and write English and loved his apparently always forgiving captain.

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Special Report

Who Will Fact Check the Fact Checkers?

By 11.8.13

I give fact checkers five Pinocchios. They invariably prove more dishonest than the worst political Joe Isuzus that they skewer. In their feigned, above-it-all objectivity, they lie every time they investigate whether the “facts” are factual.

PolitiFact initially rated Barack Obama’s “if you've got a health care plan that you like, you can keep it” campaign promise as a solid “true.” They’ve subsequently “fact checked” five additional iterations of that pledge, never judging it anything worse than “half true.” One would have to judge that a half truth—at least the half about the promise being untrue passes muster.    

The Washington Examiner’s Sean Higgins asked PolitiFact whether it stood by its rosy assessment of Obama’s rosy assessments of his health care plan. In the fashion of BS artists, they responded but not to Higgins’s query. Don’t say they withheld comment! “Apparently,” Higgins concluded, “Politifact thinks accountability is something that only applies to other people.”

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Scrapping the Forrestal

By 11.6.13

Psst. Wanna buy a used aircraft carrier on the cheap? She’s a real beauty, the Navy’s first “supercarrier.” She’s over 1,000 feet long, displaces 60,000 tons, can do 33 knots, and carry 85 aircraft. She boast a number of firsts….first carrier with an angled deck, steam catapults, and optical landing system.

The USS Forrestal (affectionately known in the Navy as USS Forest Fire or USS Zippo due to a tragic flight deck fire that killed 134 sailors) was commissioned in 1955 at a cost of $217 million. With dozens of deployments over the years, she supported combat operations in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, as well as numerous missions as part of the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean.

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A Tale of Two Teds

By 11.5.13

They all laughed. Ted was a newcomer from the south, with limited resources or clout. Yet, he had the audacity to presume that he knew better how to restructure and lead a legacy institution. Didn’t he understand the way things worked?

How could Ted — Ted Turner — possibly leverage his tiny forty million dollar company to acquire media giant CBS with a net worth of more than $1.5 billion?

But this was June 1985, and Ted had an idea. Turner understood — and was happy to tell all who listened — that the terrestrial broadcasting paradigm of the past 50 years was over, and revenues would have to come from new streams. He proposed that, upon acquisition of CBS, he would raise the necessary purchase funds by pre-selling parts of the company and issuing high yield bonds, the newly-popular debt instrument which scoffers called “junk.”

But the big boys would have none of it. Ted had already humiliated them a few years previously by starting a then-revolutionary cable channel called CNN. This Atlanta-based success particularly stung the media barons because they possessed far greater resources to launch an all news channel — but they hadn’t.

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A Bang or a Whimper in Iraq?

By 11.4.13

The New York Times editorial page is in the habit of giving anti-American leaders space to send messages to — but to whom? First it was Vladimir Putin, explaining to us how we were both arrogant in thinking ourselves as exceptional and stupid in regard to the Middle East — Syria in particular. Now it is Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s turn, telling us by way of the same page that notwithstanding his total lack of gratitude for saving his neck and his country, we should give him a few billion dollars in advanced weaponry to fight terrorists who, he generously allows, “aren’t just Iraq’s enemies. They are also America’s enemies.” He goes on to say that he wants a deeper relationship with the U.S., “our security partner of choice,” seeing as how “Iraq today is no longer a protectorate,” but rather, dixit President B. Obama, a country with whom we (Americans) have “a normal relationship based on mutual interests and mutual respect.”

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