OUR DROGUE NAVY:
Re: Jed Babbin's Mad COW and Steve Jobson:
Re the comment: "The Brits carried much of the in-flight refueling burden in the Afghan campaign. It got to the point that our Navy and Marine pilots steered off USAF tankers if the Brits were around because the Brit refueling equipment linked more easily to that used by our carrier aircraft."
And the reason for that is that the Navy still clings to probe/drogue refueling while the rest of U.S. aviation uses a boom/receptacle arrangement. Those using the latter are all USAF and include the "heavies" that need to take on a lot of fuel in a short time. I suppose that USN clings to the old ways because they have no pressing need for passing a lot of fuel quickly; however, the boom/receptacle arrangement is more efficient, reliable, and less prone to damage because of the antics of the receiver (that's the one taking on fuel). I don't know what the flow rates for USAF receivers are nowadays, but when I was doing the air refueling job the max fuel flow from a KC-135 to a nearly empty B-52 was on the order of 8,000 ppm. We could fill a B-52 with 100,000 pounds of fuel in 20 minutes or so in good weather conditions; it took a bit longer in rough weather, but we generally got the fuel transferred. I was also on the receiving end with a probe/drogue arrangement flying the long defunct B-66. It was a real challenge to refuel in rough weather; often times a probe would break off in the drogue or someone would smash the drogue. When that happens the show stops and everyone goes home -- or bails out.
The KC-135, venerable old bus that it is, can be made probe/drogue capable, but doing that removes the preferred capability. That dedicates a tanker to doing nothing but probe/drogue refueling. When the worst happens you essentially remove a tanker full of fuel from the lineup. I know of at least one case where a USAF KC-135 saved several USN aircraft -- including some of their tanker aircraft (modified A3-Ds) over the Gulf of Tonkin. It happened in the summer of 1967, and the KC-135 crew won a trophy for outstanding airmanship.
In a way, I can understand the Navy's reluctance to change to the boom/receptacle arrangement even though it is the more efficient and easier air refueling method. There would be considerable expense -- and someone would have to come up with a boom-equipped tanker that could launch/recover on an aircraft carrier. Maybe because the USN screwed up their stealth fighter project (and a few others) they are all the more reluctant to try making the switch.
Other than that, I thought Babbin's article was spot-on.
-- Gerald P. Hanner
Great article, I always read Jed Babbin first. At the risk of sounding trivial, though, I must say I cringed when I read the reference to "winning" a Bronze Star. I would prefer "awarded," since to "win" such an award implies it was actively sought by the recipient. By the way, there is a distinction between Bronze Star (for service in a zone of combat) and Bronze Star with '"V" device (for valor). Technically, it is possible for someone to be awarded the former for "sitting behind a desk". Condite et Pugnate.
-- J.W. Purcell, 1SG (Ret)
Lovely column! And the French are worse than accordions. My Special Forces buddies say that any time they have the French attached to them, they have to detail one guy just to make sure the French don't get them all killed!
-- Mary McLemore
Pike Road, AL
I am a retired, follically challenged male who lives in New York. Admittedly, not exactly fly-over country, but I am always wearing a cap, preferably with a Yankees logo on the front. You will see me at any time with my pate covered, with the following exceptions: 1. When entering a church or someone's home, 2. When seated in the presence of a lady, 3. At the dinner table, and 4. During the playing of the national anthem. Why these exceptions? Because it is the right, polite thing to do. If you see me at the IHOP in fly-over country I will have my cap on at the counter eating alone. But in a booth in the company of my wife or anyone else, the cap will be hung up or on my knee, because that's the way I was brought up. It wouldn't hurt the younger generations to pick up on these gentlemanly actions.
-- Mike Minahan
Roger Ross from Wisconsin presumed none of us would remember former Oilers coach Bum Phillips and the fact that he wouldn't wear his cowboy hat indoors -- even in the Astrodome. Well, I remember. Bum always said his mama taught him not to wear a hat indoors. I also recall that when his son, Wade Phillips, was named a head coach Bum was asked what Wade learned from "his tutelage." It was reported that Bum replied, "I never tuteled the boy."
-- Terry Sautter
Wood Ranch, CA
Re: Mark Goldblatt's Racism and Rights:
Mark Goldblatt writes that "Intention, the obvious answer, is notoriously difficult to gauge," referring to whether a statement or incident should be judged "racist."
Surely, though, the right to free speech includes the right to insult; if not, what is the point? No one would ever object to speech that compliments, and rarely to speech that is "neutral," assuming that true neutrality could ever be agreed upon.
The Founders, I assume, had primarily in mind political speech when they offered Constitutional protection; and much political speech, then as now, was composed of insults. A proper respect for the Constitution should protect all speech that meets the test of not causing immediate danger. Penalizing people for opinions, however insulting, allows political correctness to trump the First Amendment.
-- Richard Donley
The firefighters and the policeman are charged with protecting the general public. By their actions they have conveyed that they think some people are not as worthy as others. I believe they should have been fired. Also, anyone who would behave that way is too dumb to hold those jobs. I felt the same way about President Nixon.
-- Annette Cwik
The difference between what Mark Goldblatt did, and what those other men did is that Goldblatt is, or should be, protected by tenure, while cops and firefighters are not. Goldblatt ignores the larger issue: The rights extended by the concept freedom of speech are intended to protect unpopular speech. When you think about it, popular speech doesn't need protection.
By your logic Trent Lott should still be Majority Leader. That would not be a good thing. I believe there is no hard and fast rule by which a public servant's private acts can be judged. The circumstances of each case are too varied. I think these incidents have been handled the best way possible with the public that is served weighing in and making a local decision. By all means let those that hold opinions express them in any way they like. But remember, an individual's rights do not exist in a vacuum. Public displays that embarrass and degrade the dignity of others will certainly reap consequences.
-- Ed Callahan
Re: "The Bucs Stop Here" letters in Reader Mail's Bring Back the Dixie Chicks:
I live near the Bay Area and I have to live among the members of the so-called "Raider Nation" on a year-round basis. Take it from me, the "nation" is a 7/24 activity for many of its denizens. During the week those Raiders fans who are out on bail, or who aren't drawing workmen's comp or unemployment actually go to work. This means that they can't don their tacky costumes and paint their faces while working, so they are left to resort to other forms of self-expression, usually while at the wheel of their beat-up Accords or lowered Chevy pickups. In these parts, the chances are really good that the cretin who just cut you off on the freeway or blew through that 4-way stop sign has a Raiders decal plastered on his rear window or a ragged Raiders flag clamped to some part of his car. The very worst of these psychos on wheels will also sport a Dale Earnhardt "#3" on his rear window in memory of the late patron saint of over-aggressive driving. Imagine living in a world where the likes of Al Davis and a deceased NASCAR driver are the most meaningful things in your life!
The true-blue inhabitants of the "Raider Nation" find self-fulfillment by rioting and torching cars and McDonald's restaurants while the others amuse themselves by driving even worse than their beloved Raiders played last Sunday. If nothing else, it makes for an interesting commute. Coming off such an ignominious Super Bowl loss ought to at least dampen their spirits for a month or two.
-- T. Jeffrey
(Too Close to the Raider Nation)
Rather than a tacky production with a bunch of rockers-with-dubious-talent -- why not bring back the Kilgore (Jr.) College "Rangerettes"?
-- Geoff Brandt
Re: The Washington Prowler's Dean of the Democrats:
Interesting piece, especially the little mention of Dean's talk at NARAL, suggesting he wanted to have a child aborted because he was sure it was the product of incest. And just what did he do about his belief besides wanting the unborn child aborted? Did he report the possible incest? Did he do anything to provide counseling for the girl or the family? Is reporting a requirement of the law? Or was "getting rid of the problem (child)" enough?
-- Lynn Holman
Black Mountain, NC
Please forward this question to Vermont Governor Dean. Assuming that the penalty for incest in Vermont is say, 20 years in prison and assuming that in the case mentioned in the above article the perpetrator was eventually caught, tried and punished, doesn't it seem a little odd that the innocent child that resulted from the incest was given a worse punishment than the perpetrator i.e. the death penalty? I bet my bottom dollar that convicted murderers in Vermont don't get a death penalty. This is the ultimate in liberal hypocrisy.
-- Ed Callahan
IN DEFENSE OF GARRY WILLS ET AL.
Re: James Bowman's review of Amen (Der Stellvertreter):
Having not seen Amen, I am in no position to agree or disagree with Mr. Bowman's characterizations concerning the film. I do, however, take issue with his use of the phrase "anti-Catholic mythology." In particular, I'm troubled by Mr. Bowman's attempt to classify Daniel Goldhagen's writings as ones which perpetuate this so-called "myth." No serious historical scholar can argue with the fact that the Catholic Church has a well-documented history of anti-Semitism, going back to its very beginnings. It is also ludicrous to suggest that the Church in general, and Pope Pius XII in particular, did all they could reasonably have been expected to do under the prevailing circumstances, to help Jews during the Holocaust. There are devout Catholics who have attempted to come to terms with the Church's past; intellectually honest ones like Garry Wills and James Cornwell. Their thanks is to be labeled apostates and to be vilified by the likes of Mr. Bowman. Shame on you, Mr. Bowman, for your attempted sleight of hand. We can now add your name to the long list of revisionists who would like nothing better than to rewrite history.
-- Jay Shuman
BOYCOTT IN THE ACT
Re: Reader Mail's Friendly Overtures:
In Reader Mail on Jan. 27, Mr. Don Smith states the following:
"I'll start the charge. Let's boycott Arkansas until it removes that damnable star from it's flag. How would Sharpton put it...oh yeah. How can we be free as long as that star is on the flag? How can we hold our heads up high as long as that star is on the flag, etc.
"This boycott will not be cheap so I humbly ask for donations."
He's kidding, right? A boycott of Arkansas would be very cheap given the fact no one goes there to begin with. As an Arkansas resident from 1970-1983, I saw Little Rock get "renovated" more times I can count. The Dimbulb party there will float taxpayer money over and over and over to "revitalize" downtown or the river area every few years and it never works.
The guilt ridden, rich white people (you'd be shocked how many very rich people live in Arkansas) in Little Rock never back up their ideas of a viable economic city with crime control. Little Rock is a substandard city with horrible gangs, crime and drugs while the left wing white Democrats think if they just ignore it, it will go away. They can't pass zoning that makes sense, can't keep the roads in decent shape and couldn't run a state owned lemonade stand if their lives depended on it.
White flight to the west of the city is huge and destroyed North Little Rock where you have to have global positioning in your car to even figure out how to get anywhere. The construction of a huge interchange from the East to the North Little Rock area looks abandoned the last time I was there. Grass was growing up around what little had been built. Protho Junction going East from NLR has been a road nightmare for over 30 years, the greatest man in history Bill Clinton notwithstanding.
The hotel ole Billy Boy exposed himself to Paula Jones in was, in 1976, called the Excelsior and was considered back then to be the new savior of the downtown/river area. After many renovations and owners, the place is still a dump today....
-- Greg Barnard