Category Archives: Military

A couple of things – Fats, MLB, JFK

Fats Domino was unique talent. It was only after I read his obituary that I really figured out how big Fats Domino truly was (no pun intended). This guy ruled the 50s like no one else. He was second only to Elvis Presley in record sales. That’s incredible. Yet, by the time that I came of age and started listening to music and buying music on my own, Fats Domino was not even in the picture. Yes, I knew all the words to Blueberry Hill and I knew the melody to Ain’t that a Shame and I’m Walkin’ but that’s it. Now, if you slow down and pay attention, you can hear Fats Domino in a lot of tunes like Paul McCartney’s, Lady Madonna. Rest in peace Fats. Here are 12 essential Fats tunes.

I know that there are a lot of baseball fans that wanted to see some other team but, I, for one, am happy that the best teams in baseball actually got to the big show. The Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers have been the best team in baseball since the opening pitch. They won more games and probably have the best pitching roster. And, the best part, is that they are truly showcasing great baseball. Tonight, they’re locked in the pitcher’s dual. It is a great thing to watch.

There are lots of things to distract us these days. Like, the fact that Donald Trump and Republicans continue to try to dismantle affordable healthcare for all Americans. Oh, wait, that’s important. Or possibly the fact that four Americans were killed in Niger. Hold on, we have troops in Niger? This is important also. This is not a distraction. We need to pay attention to this. Then there is the fact that Donald Trump really wants all of those JFK files released. Oh, yeah, right that’s the distraction. There probably hasn’t been an event in the last 75 to 80 years which is been more written about then the Kennedy assassination. It’s been written about from almost every angle possible except from outer space. Since the president is being so open and forthcoming, it would be nice to know why we can’t get fresh, clear drinking water in Puerto Rico? Why can’t we get an all-out effort to restore power?

Nuclear Weapons

Today is the 70th anniversary of the dropping of the nuclear bomb on Nagasaki. It is probably a good time to review our own nuclear weapons.

From the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists:

Given this lack of attention to nuclear weapons, it’s not surprising that in August 2007 a B-52 accidentally flew six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles across the country, from North Dakota to Louisiana, or that four nuclear-missile fuses were mistakenly shipped to Taiwan in 2006. Gates was correct to hold Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Moseley and Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne responsible for their lack of attention to nuclear weapons. But the bigger issue is why the Pentagon still needs to keep so many nuclear weapons in its inventory nearly two decades after the Cold War–particularly when just about everyone in the military believes they present minimal strategic utility. General Cartwright, who in 2007 moved from STRATCOM to become Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said as much. In Congressional testimony on March 8, 2007, he declared, “As good as [U.S. conventional weapons] are, we simply cannot be everywhere with our general purpose conventional forces, and use of a nuclear weapon in a prompt response may be no choice at all.”

At the height of the Cold War, the United States possessed more than 30,000 nuclear warheads in its inventory. Today, Washington continues to maintain nearly 10,000 warheads. Reducing that number to no more than 1,000 (600 operational and 400 in reserve) would be more than enough for deterrence; one of the last air force officers to command STRATCOM, Gen. Eugene Habiger, has actually suggested this number. Doing so would allow the air force hierarchy to direct its attention and resources to the challenges of the twenty-first century. According to the recently fired Secretary Wynne, the air force has a budget shortfall of $100 million over the next five years because the baseline defense budget is projected to decline in real terms over this period.

More importantly, reducing our own nuclear arsenal would enable the United States to gain the moral high ground in nonproliferation matters and in our increasingly tense relations with Russia. What better way to enhance our negotiating position with the North Koreans and Iranians than by our living up to Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which obliges us to reduce and eventually eliminate our nuclear stockpile in exchange for others not developing these weapons? And what better way to negotiate a new nuclear reduction treaty with Russia and enhance the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program than by reducing our own nuclear arsenal?