Monday, July 31

Maritime Monday 20

Welcome to the 20th edition of Maritime Monday.

This Weeks Photo:
There appears to be something broken with the Blogger photo upload tool this morning, so no photo this week.

This weeks items:

Auto Blog has coverage of the abandoned and listing car carrier COUGAR ACE. (My first vessel was the infamous car carrier NOSAC RANGER.) See additional COUGAR ACE info below.

Diesel Duck at The Monitor has comments upon finding out that Panama-Flag shipowners can promove their operational level offcers to a management-level position without actually taking an exam and upgrading their license. I have to say, this is news to me. Even stranger is that back in 2001-2002 Panama got rid of their old exam system and had refused to provide many officers holding only Panama licenses (obtained through 'exam') with a new STCW 95 License.

Wind Farmer's Almanac has a case for offshore wind and a case for changes on offshore oil rigs. (For the birds) has news of Princess Cruise's announcement that the dramatic listing incident on the CROWN PRINCESS was the result of human error.

EagleSpeak has a summary of supply and demand in the world of containerized shipping. If you are not already a regular reader of his blog, take a look as he has full coverage of pirates, mishaps, Somalia an all things happening on the high seas.

MarEx Newsletter has news that the US Coast Guard has added Portugal, Russia and Sweden to the Black/grey lists.

Sailors, Mariners & Warriors League has news of the death of the US Navy's first black diver, Carl Brashear, whose story was told in the movie "Men of Honor."

US Navy Newsstand has news of the last carrier launch of the F-14 Tomcat as the jet heads for retirement in September. has a story covering the new Commandant of Cadets at the US Coast Guard Academy; Captain Judith Keene, who happens to be one of the first female graduates from the Academy.

Business Wire has the Christening of Matson Line's newest container vessel, the MV MAUNALEI, at Aker Philadelphia Shipyard.

VOA News has coverage of the agreement between the European Union and Mauritania which will permit up to 200 EU fishing vessels in their waters, in exchange for payments to help upgrade the country's fishing and maritime infrastructure.

Little Green Footballs has a West Coast Tanker picture. (Note: Can't really tell if they are double-hulled tankers)

The Stupid Shall Be Punished (Sub Blog) has word of Navy Day in Russia.

CNEWS Canada reports Canada's plans to establish a deep-water Arctic port.

Inkycircus has news of coral growth on oil rigs in the North Sea. This is news because coral is not something commonly found in the North Sea.

From Haight's Maritime Items:

USCG – updates re COUGAR ACE - The US Coast Guard issued a Press Release reporting on the COUGAR ACE, which is disabled and unmanned in the North Pacific Ocean. The release includes video of the helicopter rescue of the crew. A second Press Release states that the ship is listing 60 degrees to port, but is stable and does not appear to be sinking. A third Press Release provides a summary of events and states that a salvage company is expected to arrive on scene on August 2. The US Coast Guard will not be conducting an investigation as the incident occurred in international waters. It will, though, continue to monitor the salvage operation. (7/26/06).


Cougar Ace - update - The Unified Command for the COUGAR ACE incident (comprised of the US Coast Guard, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation [ADEC], and Mitsui OSK Lines) issued a press release stating that three salvage tugs are en route to the scene of the disabled vessel, approximately 130 miles south of Amlia Island in the Aleutian Chain. ADEC established a Web site for this incident. A second press release states that the Coast Guard cutter Morgenthau and the tug Emma Foss are on scene. A detailed survey of the Cougar Ace is being conducted to document the ship’s condition and access points. (7/29/06).


Remembrance – Andrea Doria-Stockholm collision - Fifty years ago today, on July 25, 1956, the passenger ships Andrea Doria and Stockholm collided in the approach to New York harbor. The Andria Doria, a luxurious Italian ocean liner, was en route from Italy to New York, while the Swedish liner was traveling from New York to Gothenburg. The Andria Dora was proceeding at about 20 knots in heavy fog. The Stockholm had yet to enter the fog bank and was unaware of its presence. Both ships observed the other on radar, but the deck officer on the Andrea Doria made no attempt to plot the contact. Neither vessel attempted to contact the other by radio or other means of communication. The Andrea Doria attempted a starboard-to-starboard passing, while the Stockholm attempted a more conventional port-to-port passing. As a result, the ships ended up on a radar-assisted collision course, with the Stockholm ramming the other ship in the starboard side. The Andrea Doria sank eleven hours after the collision. The Stockholm suffered severe damage to its bows, but was able to return to New York on its own power. Five crewmembers of the Stockholm died, as did 46 passengers on the Andrea Doria. Various commercial ships (included the damaged Stockholm) and several Coast Guard cutters participated in rescue of passengers and crew of the Andrea Doria. The collision was a classic screw-up, while the rescue of 1660 persons from the sinking Andrea Doria was in the highest traditions of the sea. Websites of interest include: Andrea Doria; Wikipedia; and Thinkquest. (7/25/06). - Dennis Bryant


August 4th is the 216th birthday of the US Coast Guard.

Previous Editions:

Maritime Monday 1 - 19

Submission Guidelines:
Look here for more details: Submission Guidelines

You do not have to be the author to submit a blog post or news story. Feel free to suggest something that you think is worth sharing.

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Feedback Welcomed!


Wednesday, July 26

Hamas: Child Abuse - Staged?

This is an updated post from the original post here published on July 19th.

There is a good deal of conversation about Hamas and Hezbollah using human shields, including children.

Take a look at this photo that shows the true nature of terrorists who have no regard for not only their lives, but for the lives of others, including children. (Probably even their own.)

Spotted first at Jawa Report.

Conservative Thinking has more on the photo. The circle in the photo notes that there are two additional terrorists hiding under the children gathered around them. I added the red lines for clearer illustration, not that those three are in more danger than the others as a missile or grenade tossed that way will take care of all in the photo, including the photographer.

At first my comment/question was:
I don't get it, where are the parents. Even if these guys are their dads, where's mom? Where for that matter are the snipers. I am not saying to strike the kids. I just think that they would not be too eager to hang out with these guys once a couple get their heads blown off.
Well an anonymous commenter on the original post made the following comment:
Who says this is an actual situation? It could as well be a training/show/ live-propaganda event by Hamas or some other group.

In real situation that cameraman was either very brave or very stupid.

Mighty brave accusations based on one photo. Even terrorists aren't that stupid.
Now I gave the commenter a hard time, after all, I was assuming rational thinking and that no parent would let their children participate even in acting out a violent demonstration. Thanks to this post on Jawa Report, and this video, it appears that I am mistaken. Seems that the Palestinians are big on faking demonstrations:

Seems that the photographers are complicit in this charade and are colluding with those creating this propaganda for distribution around the world.

Makes me wonder, if Israel is really killing off men and children, why on earth do they need to fake the events?

This also makes me wonder, Are the people they claim are being killed by the Israelis, really being killed, and if so, is it the Israelis who are really to blame?

If they are willing to do this, then why would they not shoot their own and blame the Israelis for the corpses? Now before you call me crazy, just think, these are the same people who are willing to strap on explosives and blow themselves and everyone around them to pieces. Is it possible that before suicide bombing attacks, others go off and kill some of their own in order to have some act to use as an excuse for the revenge attack?

The people who are doing this are probably capable of killing children too.


Update: 6 August 2006

A Reuters Photographer has been caught red-handed doctoring a photo from the Lebanon fighting. More Here.

UPDATE: 10 August 2006
Check out this photo:

Old Caption:

A Palestinian militant fires toward Israeli troops during an arrest raid in the West Bank village of Qabatiyeh near Jenin, Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2006. Four Palestinians were wounded when the army arrested an Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades militant, Palestinians sources said. The army said two Islamic Jihad militants were arrested during the operation. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas) - Yahoo News

New Photo:

New Caption:

RETRANSMITTING ORIGINAL FULL FRAME FOR CONTEXT TO SHOW THAT PEOPLE IN BACKGROUND ARE NOT DIRECTLY IN THE LINE OF FIRE -- A Palestinian militant fires toward Israeli troops during an arrest raid in the West Bank village of Qabatiyeh near Jenin, Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2006. Four Palestinians were wounded when the army arrested an Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades militant, Palestinians sources said. The army said two Islamic Jihad militants were arrested during the operation. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas) - Yahoo News

Of course AP is assuming that there is no Israeli military behind the photographer, or getting ready to come up the alley behind the gunman, or getting ready to toss a grenade. Then there is the possibility of ricochet and nobody can predict where the children will run to when the Israelis start shooting back.

Lets just call this what it is, children playing around terrorists. As I said before, the children standing there should not be a reason not to shoot back.

At the media is so quick to point out, Israel is killing children. Either the children are being used as human shields and some are paying the price for that stupidity, or these children are not in any danger at all (as AP would like us to believe) and Israel is targeting some other ‘innocent’ children.

Also discussed at Little Green Footballs.

Then we now have this video documenting that the Lebanese "Green Helmet" rescue worker directed the staging of photographs from Qana Lebanon:

As discussed at Hot Air. (as well other places)

HAMAS: Child Abuse - 19 July 06 (Including reader comments)
Hooray For Pallywood - Jawa Report

Tuesday, July 25

Lebanon was a Catastrophe before Israel Attacked

The global community seems to be concerned about the damage that Israel is doing to Lebanon in response to the kidnapping of two of it's soldiers. Prime Minister Tony Blair is the latest to comment, calling the resulting damage on the ground a catastrophe.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Monday afternoon defined what is taking place in Lebanon as a "catastrophe." According to Blair, the situation is harming the state and weakening democracy.

He said he hoped a peace plan for Lebanon can emerge within days that could lead to a cessation of hostilities, but said details need to be worked out for an international force before a ceasefire could be declared that would hold on both sides.

"I don't want the killing to go on. I want the killing to stop. Now. It's got to stop on both sides and it's not going to stop on both sides without a plan to make it stop," Blair said. - ynet

The first thought that comes to my mind is that Lebanon was a catastrophe well before this latest violence. After all the whole lower third of the country was controlled by a terrorist organization. It was not the Lebanese military that was manning the border with Israel, it was the terrorist group Hezbollah that was there. Hezbollah's 'soldiers' are not being paid by the Lebanese Government nor is it the Lebanese Government that is supplying them with weapons. Hezbollah also has no accountability back to the Government for it's actions.

They however can cause a great deal of trouble for the country that they occupy as we can all see. If these recent events are anything, they are a clear confirmation that 'CONTAINMENT' is a strategy that just does not work. At it's best, it only serves to reduce the level of violence between two parties. At it's worse, you get the situation we have now. Hezbollah was arming itself and conducting operations against Israel while under the protection of 'containment'. Along with Iraq, we have two clear cases where other Governments are more than willing to help regimes circumvent containment. After all, just how does a terrorist organization obtain heavy weapons? The missiles that Hezbollah is firing against Israel are not 'small arms and light weapons' as defined by the UN. They are military weapons that never should have gotten into the hands of those using them now.

In a story that ran on the front page of, Cal Perry writes about child victims as part of the cost of war. Of course it is terrible to have ANY children suffer for war or for any reason, but why the sudden concern?

At least this reporter took the time to comment that there are children on the Israeli side suffering as well.
Today, as I finish I am sitting in the same spot and the shells are still falling. Hezbollah rockets are firing toward northern Israel. I can imagine another reporter, in another flak jacket, standing over an 8-year old Israeli boy. - CNN
We have CNN, other reporters, the UN, the EU, and others (Like France and Russia) shedding tears and yelling (mostly in one direction) over relatively few casualties. Sure there are the two soldiers who were captured, but how often do you hear the press mention the eight other soldiers of their unit who were killed in the process of kidnapping the two? So this is not any 'ordinary' kidnapping since the kidnappers are also murderers. In this conflict we are talking about a couple hundred victims, with one side attempting to target their strikes to limit civilian casualties and the other side targeting to maximize them.

All this over a couple hundred casualties. Have these people heard of the crises in The Sudan, Zimbabwe, and North Korea? In these other conflicts we are talking about tens of thousands of children suffering and dying without a care from all these talking heads. Take this horrific and graphic story out of North Korea of how they treat babies there:
Today the Soviet Union is gone, but the communist system lives on in a few places. The glimpse we have into North Korea's delivery rooms is into those at detention centers for political prisoners, as described to Marie Claire magazine in 2002 by Lee Young Suk, a 65-year-old grandmother who was deported back to North Korea after she defected to China. At a detention center in South Sinuiju province, Lee Young was assigned to help deliver babies of other prisoners.

When she delivered the baby of the first woman under her care and reached for a blanket, a guard stopped her: "You crazy hag, are you out of your mind? What are you doing with the baby? Just put it in the box!" He grabbed the baby by a leg and dumped him into a wooden box that was sitting on the floor. He hit Lee Young's arm with a leather strap.

"North Korea is short of food already," the chief medical officer explained. "Why do we have to feed the offspring of foreign fathers? Since China is an open country, they could even be babies of American sperm, so then we'd be feeding Americans."

The procedure was as follows: Once the box was filled with infants, it would be taken to the mountains and buried. Most of the babies would die within four days, but Lee Young recalled two particularly healthy ones who took longer, moving their heads left to right, opening and closing their eyes and making froglike croaks. Their skin turned yellow and their lips blue until the medical officer finally stabbed them through the skull. Lee Young was reassigned when her heart weakened from what she was witnessing. She eventually bribed her way out of prison and into South Korea. - Opinion Journal

Sorry I have no pictures to go with the story as the MSM (mainstream media) does not consider these human rights crimes as newsworthy. At least not yet. You see, at some point, North Korea will collapse and then the talking heads will gain access to this 'catastrophe' that until that day was ignored by CNN, other reporters, the UN, the EU, and others (Like France and Russia). Most likely because it is North Korea killing it's own and not President Bush. As Rightwing Nuthouse points out, "BDS GOES GLOBAL".

Just imagine the horror and global outcry if a US airstrike took out a couple hundred North Koreans at a secret nuclear site. The US would probably need to nuke North Korea to get anywhere near the body count that North Korea's own Government has amassed. Oh hell, take Nobel Peace Prize winner talking head Betty Williams:

Campaigning on the rights of young people at the Earth Dialogues forum, being held in Brisbane, Ms Williams spoke passionately about the deaths of innocent children during wartime, particularly in the Middle East, and lambasted Mr Bush.

"I have a very hard time with this word 'non-violence', because I don't believe that I am non-violent," said Ms Williams, 64.

"Right now, I would love to kill George Bush." Her young audience at the Brisbane City Hall clapped and cheered.

"I don't know how I ever got a Nobel Peace Prize, because when I see children die the anger in me is just beyond belief. It's our duty as human beings, whatever age we are, to become the protectors of human life." - The Australian

Gee, that's a pretty strong opinion and President Bush hasn't yet killed any North Korean children. Come to think of it, neither he nor the US is behind the attacks in Lebanon, it's Israel. And it was not Israel who started this latest conflict; it was terrorists who were operating under the safety of the Government of Lebanon. (Not entirely the Government's choice, but that is a different issue.)

Funny thing is, the only people in the US news for even threatening children are child molesters and and at least one liberal blogger. (But that's OK because they the kid's father is a Bush supporter.)

Just how do these people manage to live with themselves?

Update: 04 August 2006
Daled Amos has a post of Israel's murdered children.

Blair: Situation in Lebanon a catastrophe -
Four children and the cost of war - CNN
Born in the USSR - Opinion Journal
BDS GOES GLOBAL - Right Wing Nuthouse

Monday, July 24

Maritime Monday 19

Welcome to this week's edition of Maritime Monday.

This Weeks Photo:
Someone had forwarded these photos to me while I was on active duty (in Washington, DC) during operation Iraqi Freedom. I do not know who took them, so apologies to the photographer who clearly was in the helicopter during unrep / vertrep (vertical replenishment) operations. More vertrep photos at Google Images. The supply vessel is the SS CAPE JOHN. It is my understanding that the Navy made fun of this 'ancient' vessel, after all it was built in 1963. But it did prove its worth during the Gulf War.


This weeks items:

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has video taken of the QUEEN OF THE NORTH on the bottom as they go into the bridge to retrieve equipment such as the bridge computer, etc.

Diesel Duck at The Monitor has the news of the fire on the Ferry COLUMBIA which runs between Washington State and Alaska.

Rhode Island News has coverage of the fire at a Providence, RI terminal in which the gasoline tanker NORD EUROPA made a narrow escape.

Dean's World has word of what might be the cause of the sinking of the Confederate submarine HUNLEY during the US Civil War.

EagleSpeak is following the evacuation of Americans from Lebanon:

More evacuation vessels - 20 July
Moving Americans out of Lebanon - 20 July
Iwo Jima Strike Group to Lebanon for NEO - 19 July has a global oil rig summary.

The Travel Bloggers has news of the CROWN PRINCESS listing accident which resulted in something like 10% of the passengers receiving injuries.

Sailors, Mariners & Warriors League has coverage of the theft of the containership M/V UMFALOZI.

My Sea Journey has posted a summary of the rest of his trip. (note for navy people, merchant vessel watches are normally 00-04, 04-08, 08-12 with the same crew standing both morning and afternoon watches with no rotation from day to day.)

Dowbrigade News wonders why don't ships deploy sonar warning signals to warn whales of their approach at the news that the Coast Guard is proposing speed limits for cargo vessels.

Cruise Ship Law Blog has "Lawyers turn cruise lawsuits into industry."

Canadian Sailings has the news of Dutch shipping company Nirint Shipping starting a new cargo service from Halifax to Cuba. (They are not the first.)

The World Bank's Private Sector Development Blog discusses some UN findings that warn third-world nations from looking at pipelines and land bridges as ways to improve their own nation as the positive effects may be limited. The report uses the Panama Canal as a guide, where it notes that the US benefited most from it's construction. (That's Your tax money at work.)

Speaking of the Panama Canal, PMFORUM has news of the approval of the Panama Canal Expansion Project.

The Torch is concerned about the deterioration of the Canadian Coast Guard.

The Providence Journal has news of home brewing of beer at the US Coast Guard Academy using Government funds.

From Haight's Maritime Items:

IMO – situation in eastern Mediterranean - The IMO issued a News Release expressing concern for the safe evacuation by sea of persons affected by the escalation of hostilities in the eastern Mediterranean and for the safety of commercial shipping in the area. Ships in the vicinity have been advised to raise their security level. (7/18/06). - Dennis Bryant


Take a look inside the bridge of the MS CLASEN RICKMERS.

Previous Editions:

Maritime Monday 1 - 18

Submission Guidelines:
Look here for more details: Submission Guidelines

You do not have to be the author to submit a blog post or news story. Feel free to suggest something that you think is worth sharing.

No sponsors for this week. You can sponsor this week's post retroactively. Then again, if you are interested in doing that, then you might consider sponsoring an upcoming post. Check the submission guidelines for more details.

Feedback Welcomed!


Wednesday, July 19

Dear Senator Clinton: Soldiers Need a better Rifle

Earlier this year Senator Hillary Clinton with a couple of other Democrat Congressmen took up the issue of inadequate protection for our troops in Iraq:
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton claims that hundreds of U.S. soldiers may have died "needlessly" in Iraq because of inadequate body armor and wants the Senate Armed Services Committee to hold hearings into the safety of the standard armored vests issued to troops.

Clinton's request comes days after Soldiers for Truth, a defense watchdog group, obtained a secret Armed Forces Medical Examiner's report suggesting that 74 of 93 U.S. Marines killed by torso wounds since the 2003 invasion might have lived if their vests better protected their sides and arms.

"The number of lives lost to inadequate armor could reach the hundreds if Army deaths attributable to inadequate armor not included in this survey are counted as well," Clinton wrote yesterday in a letter to Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner (R-Va.).

"Lives may have been needlessly lost because of inadequate equipment." - Newsday
As we can see, Senator Clinton is very concerned about whether equipment issued to troops is adequate for the job they are asked to do, at least as far as protective gear. But what about the weapons issued to the troops? Weapons are as important as the protective gear as it is the weapons that stop enemy fire and there are claims (and some evidence) that the M-16 rifle is not powerful enough at killing the enemy and soldiers want a weapon that kills better.
"(CBS) As American troop casualties in Iraq continue to mount, concern is growing they may be outgunned. That includes new questions about the stopping power of the ammunition that is used by the standard-issue M-16 rifle.

Shortly after the U.N. headquarters was bombed in Baghdad in August 2003, a Special Forces unit went to Ramadi to capture those responsible.

In a fierce exchange of gunfire, one insurgent was hit seven times by 5.56 mm bullets, reports CBS News chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian. It took a shot to the head with a pistol to finally bring him down. But before he died, he killed two U.S. soldiers and wounded seven more. "

The lack of the lethality of that bullet has caused United States soldiers to die," says Maj. Anthony Milavic. Milavic is a retired Marine major who saw three tours of duty in Vietnam.

He says the small-caliber 5.56, essentially a .22-caliber civilian bullet, is far better suited for shooting squirrels than the enemy, and contends that urban warfare in Iraq demands a bigger bullet. "A bullet that knocks the man down with one shot," he says. "And keeps him down." - Minstrel Boy
This sounds like an issue that Senator Clinton should be pursuing. After all, the enemy can't test the effectiveness of your bulletproof vest if he's dead. But can Senator Clinton's Presidential hopes survive her demanding that the military investigate the need for American Soldiers to be equipped with deadlier weapons?

So how did the military get in this predicament? Here is one take from the Free Patriot:
Many in the U.S. Army are in favor of using a larger caliber bullet (7.62mm, as used in sniper rifles like the M-14), or a 6.8mm round. The problem with the 5.56mm round was that it was not designed to take down man sized targets (or animal equivalents like white tailed deer, or black bears), and is less effective in blasting through walls and vehicles during urban fighting. When first introduced, it was intended for use by draftees, who were often in need of automatic fire capability (because so few were marksmen). This meant troops had to be able to carry more ammo, thus the utility of the 5.56mm round. The 5.56mm bullet could wound, or kill with a head or torso shot. But a determined enemy was often not stopped by 5.56mm fire. Today, all the infantry are volunteers, much better trained to hit targets with single shots, and increasingly demanding a bigger bullet for doing that - Free Patriot
Yes, you can carry more ammo if the size of each one is smaller. Then again, how useful would a BB gun be in Iraq even if you could carry 50,000 BBs because they are so light. If the soldier carrying the rounds is better at hitting targets, then perhaps he does not need to carry so many. If carrying ammo is such an issue, then why do we still have the heavier Caliber weapons around? Those suckers burn through ammo like there is no tomorrow. They are still around because they are so effective, but then why don't they use the lightest rounds in order to fill the air with bullets?

Here is an extract of a summary I found of our weapons used in Iraq:

Jordan spent 7 months at “Camp Blue Diamond” in Ramadi. Aka: Fort Apache. He saw and did a lot and the following is what he told me about weapons, equipment, tactics and other miscellaneous info which may be of interest to you. Nothing is by any means classified. No politics here, just a Marine with a bird’s eye view’s opinions:

1) The M-16 rifle: Thumbs down. Chronic jamming problems with the talcum-powder-like sand over there. The sand is everywhere. Jordan says you feel filthy 2 minutes after coming out of the shower. The M-4 carbine version is more popular because it’s lighter and shorter, but it has jamming problems also. They like the ability to mount the various optical gunsights and weapons lights on the picattiny rails, but the weapon itself is not great in a desert environment. They all hate the 5.56mm (.223) round. Poor penetration on the cinderblock structure common over there and even torso hits cant be reliably counted on to put the enemy down. Fun fact: Random autopsies on dead insurgents shows a high level of opiate use.

2) The M243 SAW (squad assault weapon): .223 cal. Drum fed light machine gun. Big thumbs down. Universally considered a piece of shit. Chronic jamming problems, most of which require partial disassembly. (that’s fun in the middle of a firefight).

3) The M9 Beretta 9mm: Mixed bag. Good gun, performs well in desert environment; but they all hate the 9mm cartridge. The use of handguns for self-defense is actually fairly common. Same old story on the 9mm: Bad guys hit multiple times and still in the fight.

4) Mossberg 12ga. Military shotgun: Works well, used frequently for clearing houses to good effect.

5) The M240 Machine Gun: 7.62 Nato (.308) cal. belt fed machine gun, developed to replace the old M-60 (what a beautiful weapon that was!!). Thumbs up. Accurate, reliable, and the 7.62 round puts ‘em down. Originally developed as a vehicle mounted weapon, more and more are being dismounted and taken into the field by infantry. The 7.62 round chews up the structure over there.

6) The M2 .50 cal heavy machine gun: Thumbs way, way up. “Ma deuce” is still worth her considerable weight in gold. The ultimate fight stopper, puts their dicks in the dirt every time. The most coveted weapon in-theater.

7) The .45 pistol: Thumbs up. Still the best pistol round out there. Everybody authorized to carry a sidearm is trying to get their hands on one. With few exceptions, can reliably be expected to put ‘em down with a torso hit. The special ops guys (who are doing most of the pistol work) use the HK military model and supposedly love it. The old government model 45’s are being re-issued en masse.

8) The M-14: Thumbs up. They are being re-issued in bulk, mostly in a modified version to special ops guys. Modifications include lightweight Kevlar stocks and low power red dot or ACOG sights. Very reliable in the sandy environment, and they love the 7.62 round.

9) The Barrett .50 cal sniper rifle: Thumbs way up. Spectacular range and accuracy and hits like a freight train. Used frequently to take out vehicle suicide bombers ( we actually stop a lot of them) and barricaded enemy. Definitely here to stay.

You can read the whole article here at Instapinch which includes a summary of the weapons used by the enemy. Their main weapon is the world-famous AK-47, and there are reports that some Americans are using captured AK-47s. Surely, the US can come up with a better weapon. The Barrett sniper rifle (mentioned above) is a perfect example of that.

So Senator, can you come out to help the troops a little more. the other Senators can feel free to investigate this as well. I am sure Senator Clinton is busy as it is and would appreciate the assistance.

Clinton: Vests not protecting troops in Iraq - Newsday
Guns that Work in Iraq -
US Troops Want a Better Bullet - The Free Patriot
Is Faulty Ammo Failing Troops - Minstrel Boy

HAMAS: Child Abuse

Updated post here:

Hamas: Child Abuse - Staged? 26 July 2006

Hopefully, your kid is not being used as a human shield. Take a look at this photo which shows the true nature of terrorists who have no regard for not only their lives, but for the lives of others, including children. (Possibly even their own.)

Spotted first at Jawa Report.

Conservative Thinking has more on the photo. The circle in the photo notes that there are two additional terrorists hiding under the children gathered around them. I added the red lines for clearer illustration, not that those three are in more danger than the others as a missile or grenade tossed that way will take care of all in the photo, including the photographer.

I don't get it, where are the parents. Even if these guys are their dads, where's mom? Where for that matter are the snipers. I am not saying to strike the kids. I just think that they would not be too eager to hang out with these guys once a couple get their heads blown off. (Before you post on that last comment, keep in mind that the guys they are standing behind are SHOOTING PEOPLE!)

Monday, July 17

Maritime Monday 18

Welcome to this week's edition of Maritime Monday.

This Weeks Photo:
Here is a photo of one consequence of pirate-proofing a ship. You have to place the lifeboat up higher out of reach of the pirates. This is not exactly to protect the lifeboat, but more so to limit the number of opening on deck that pirates could use to gain entry into the vessel. On this ship there were only six places to get into the house and no way to climb the house externally.

I took the ride all the way down in this lifeboat once. It was a terrifying experience, and that was on a calm day like this one. Imagine trying to lower the lifeboats if the vessel was rolling. After all, you almost never abandon ship in good weather. The lifeboat is pictured at the main deck. There is still a long way to the water's edge. (Points if you can guess the vessel class!)

(Long, Long, Lifeboat Falls)

This weeks items:

A Town Called Podunk explores the ongoing effects to the region that was served by the QUEEN OF THE NORTH ferry up in Canada.

Kevin Benedict on PDA Solutions for the Mobile Workforce has a post titled "Asset Management, PDA Handhelds & Oil Rigs." Very interesting.

Jealous Again becomes an Oil Rig Worker.

EagleSpeak has a summary of what Iran 'tools' Iran has to close off the Strait of Hormuz.

Mathy has a story and a series of pictures on rogue waves.

Roots by the River explores "Are we Seaworthy" (with God).

Check out the Google Image page results for "Suez Canal".

Navy News (Royal Navy) has the story of the little ship that could, namely the survey ship HMS SCOTT winning the best chow contest at this year's Fleet Week in New York City.

Sailors, Mariners & Warriors League reports another death related to the wreck of the ANDRIA DORIA.

My Sea Journey has the story of taking a cruise on a containership.

LAFD News & Information has their story on reporting to the tanker PROBO ELK which was deemed unsafe by the USCG during an inspection in Los Angeles Harbor.

Dannie ChoOng has coverage of the 'newest' largest containership, the XIN LOS ANGELES.

A Girl's Guide to Managing Projects has her take on the grounding of the sailboat GYPSY MOTH IV.

From Haight's Maritime Items:

Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2006 - The White House issued a News Release stating that President Bush has signed into law the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2006 (H.R. 889).

Among the more interesting provisions in the long-delayed legislation are the following: (1) Developers of LNG import facilities will get a higher priority if they agree to be supplied by US-flag LNG vessels;

(2) Only US-flag vessels will be allowed to engage in any activity performed in connection with the mooring or unmooring of a mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU) located over the US outer continental shelf or the transportation of personnel or merchandise to or from a point in the United States from or to such MODU;

(3) Use of foreign citizens as riding gangs would be allowed under certain conditions on US-flag vessels when US citizens or residents are unavailable to complete the work, but for not more than 60 days each calendar year;

(4) Monies are authorized for development of an alternative AIS transponder/wireless maritime data device and the FCC is encouraged to finalize its rulemaking on licensee use of AIS frequency bands;

(5) Persons who release into a waterway an object that creates an obstruction to navigation would be required to promptly notify the Coast Guard;

(6) Limits of liability for oil spills from vessels would be increased – for single-hull tankers to the greater of $3,000 per gross ton or $22 million – for double-hull tankers to the greater of $1,900 per gross ton or $16 million – for other vessels to the greater of $950 per gross ton or $800,000; and

(7) Application of the oil spill response plan requirement to nontank vessels has been clarified.

Note: Ship owners and operators and insurers should pay particular attention to the increase in the limits of liability. While the requirements relating to US Certificates of Financial Responsibility (COFRs) will not change until the regulations are amended, the maximum potential liability for an oil spill (even if the limits of liability are not broken) have been increased, effective immediately. Those owners and operators who were only minimally insured should consider seeking increases in coverage. (7/11/06). - Dennis Bryant

Also from Haight's Maritime Items is word that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has launched an online Chart Viewer. It's cool. Click on the image below to open one of the charts.

There seems to be pirates everywhere, in the movies and on TV. One thing to keep in mind when watching any of these programs:

Pirates Kill Merchant Seamen
Previous Editions:

Maritime Monday 1 - 17

Submission Guidelines:
Look here for more details: Submission Guidelines

You do not have to be the author to submit a blog post or news story. Feel free to suggest something that you think is worth sharing.

No sponsors for this week. You can sponsor this week's post retroactively. Then again, if you are interested in doing that, then you might consider sponsoring an upcoming post. Check the submission guidelines for more details.

Feedback Welcomed!


Sunday, July 16

Washington Post Can't Give their Paper Away

Occasionlly when entering a Giant grocery store around Washington, DC, the Washington Post in just inside offering a free copy of the paper. Just this Friday they were there, and out of the three people in front of me and myself, none of us were interested in taking the copy let alone even slow down to listen to the full sales pitch.

I don't know the reasons why the others would blow by the man, but I knew why I was not interested. I have no interest in reading a paper so eager to expose our country's secrets to our enemies as well as bash the President and publish the lies of the left, while embargoing any good news.

Most of the times I was offered the paper in Northwest Washington, DC where you would expect the views of the Post to be popular, but there the free offer appeared as popular. This must be troubling to the Post for their have either pissed off potential readers, or their target market is not one to read a newspaper. Either way, this has to be a troubling position for the paper.

There is another issue, there are two free papers circulating in DC. One paper is printed by the Washington Post and the other is the DC Examiner. I have to say, the Examiner is a pretty good paper. I try to grab a copy on the way to work. Than again, I read most of my news on the net, for free.

Tuesday, July 11

Be Careful What You Ask For: HAMAS UPDATE

I had written that at some point Hamas was sure to be sorry that they won the Palestinian Elections. I would not be too surprised if Israel and the US are are not really disappointed that they won, since it now forces Hamas officials to step into the daylight and experience all of the headaches that modern governments face, including dealing with terror promoters as well as disaffected followers.

In any normal country, the kidnapping of a citizen from another country would put the country where the kidnapping happened responsible to resolve the problem.

However in Palestine, the Hamas-Led Government is pushing for negotiations with Israel to resolve the kidnapping. (Lets forget that he was in Israel when he was kidnapped and taken to Gaza.) That simply is the wrong way to run your government and the wrong way to carry out negotiations with Israel or ANY other nation, especially when the kidnappers claim to be from Hamas.

This is the basis of the problem with the current Palestinian leadership. They want to be in control, but they also want to play the same old games as before when they were simply a militant organization. That just won't fly. The actions of Hamas are the actions of the Palestinian Government. Ismail Haniyeh, the Prime Minister of the Palestine Authority, has an editorial in the Washington Post today. (publicized by Little Green Footballs) Here is how he described the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier:

The current Gaza invasion is only the latest effort to destroy the results of fair and free elections held early this year. It is the explosive follow-up to a five-month campaign of economic and diplomatic warfare directed by the United States and Israel. The stated intention of that strategy was to force the average Palestinian to "reconsider" her vote when faced with deepening hardship; its failure was predictable, and the new overt military aggression and collective punishment are its logical fulfillment. The "kidnapped" Israeli Cpl. Gilad Shalit is only a pretext for a job scheduled months ago.

"kidnapped" what's the deal with the quotes? Is he not really kidnapped? I guess we should ask Corporal Shalit if he thinks he has been kidnapped, but that is not an option at the moment. We can only takes Hamas's word on that.

Lets just say for a minute that Prime Minister Haniyeh is right, that the kidnapping of Cpl. Shalit is just an excuse to flatten parts of Gaza with tanks. So what. It was Hamas that handed the Israelis the excuse to do it. Even better the Israeli Government has already warned Prime Minister Haniyeh that they will use the Cpl.'s death as an excuse to eliminate him. Maybe this will be incentive enough for him to convince his followers not to give Israel another excuse. (Then again, if the Prime Minister's theory is correct, than his elimination has been planned month's ago and nothing he does will stop that.)

The Palestinian Authority called for a truce a couple days back which was promptly rejected by Israel, and rightly so. The simple way to a truce would be to hand over the soldier. Instead, they are using the soldier as a sort of human shield. Not for anything, but the kidnapping seems to be to be such a petty and short-sighted action. Kind of hard to build sympathy when there is no shortage of misbehavior on the part of the "victims."

Now take these other comments:

However, we do not want to live on international welfare and American handouts. We want what Americans enjoy -- democratic rights, economic sovereignty and justice. We thought our pride in conducting the fairest elections in the Arab world might resonate with the United States and its citizens. Instead, our new government was met from the very beginning by acts of explicit, declared sabotage by the White House. Now this aggression continues against 3.9 million civilians living in the world's largest prison camps. America's complacency in the face of these war crimes is, as usual, embedded in the coded rhetorical green light: "Israel has a right to defend itself." Was Israel defending itself when it killed eight family members on a Gaza beach last month or three members of the Hajjaj family on Saturday, among them 6-year-old Rawan? I refuse to believe that such inhumanity sits well with the American public.

Yes, the stop picking on us because we are a Government now. The US has not sabotaged the Palestinian Government, it is Hamas, which knew full well that they were labeled as a terrorist organization. That designation does not go away just because you have been elected. The US congratulated the results of the election and left it to the Hamas-led Government to figure out how to get by without foreign wire payments. Here is a thought, how about use that money you can't wire back home and buy some aid with it. There is no restriction to shipping home food, medicine, and supplies. Why the need to bring only the money back? sure you need money too, but your problem would not be a great if you used the money where it is currently at. That would surely bolster your support at home, while denying anyone an excuse to act militarily.

He also mentions the beach attack on Gaza. Even the UN has backed away from claiming that it was Israel that was the cause of the explosion. Now it might be that Israel was really responsible, but unlikely considering how thorough the Palestinian doctors were at making sure all the shrapnel was removed from the victims. Too bad for Hams that they have to earned a reputation that everyone is willing to believe that they would use victims of their own stupidity for politian gain. The question now is whather or not they can learn how to act responsibly as a Government before their actions get them killed off as terrorists?

Update: 13 July 06

Well this story keeps going downhill all the time doesn't it. So now we have militants in Lebanon kidnapping two more soldiers and the Israeli military taking on Lebanon itself. Kind of serves them right for letting Hezbollah operate in their country as a base for their operations against Israel. It is also kind of sad because Lebanon appears to have been on the path to the first-world, but that is no excuse to let violent people roam around free. It would be like letting al-qaeda operate in Canada.

Then we have the revelation that the Hamas, which is in control of the Palestinian Government is being controlled from Damascus, Syria and that Khaled Meshal in Syria is the "voice" of the Palestinain People:

The first speech yesterday by Khaled Meshal, the Damascus-based head of Hamas' political bureau, since the abduction of Corporal Gilad Shalit was intended mainly to reinforce his leadership position vis-a-vis both Palestinians and Israel. His statements contained little real news. He reiterated the Hamas promise not to hurt Shalit and the position that he would be released only in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israel.

What Meshal did do was to declare that he and not the chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, in Ramallah, or Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza, is the sole spokesman for the Palestinian people in the territories and beyond.

The message was also intended for the ears of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert: Whether you want it or not, I am the only partner you can speak to about the release of prisoners and suspending the Qassam rocket attacks. - Haaretz

This makes it pretty easy to take the charges that Syria is meddling in Palestine's affairs as fact. Khaled Meshal already has a target on him. the question is, will targets now be placed on Syria for their lack of doing anything about the militants running around their country.

It is too easy to tell Israel to back off in order to calm the situation down. Perhaps this should be sorted out now, once and for all. Backing down now will just encourage the terrorists and continue to prolong the conflict.

Aggression Under False Pretenses - Washington Post
Be Careful What You Ask For: HAMAS - FFI - 28 January 2006

Note: I tend to avoid commenting on the Israel/Palestine issue simply because I think both sides are wrong, in many areas. If I had to place the blame on who is more wrong, then that is easy, it is the side that is blowing up busses and civilians and in general acting like terrorists.

Monday, July 10

Likely Unintended Effect of Fighting for Rights for Terrorists: UPDATE

Late last year I suggested that the result of all of the Human Rights groups fighting for rights for captured terrorists will likely result in more killed and less captured terrorists.

This suggestion was proved correct with the elimination of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. US and Iraqi Troops were positioned in the palm grove outside Zarqawi's hideout, but they made no attempt to capture him. Instead, they were stationed there solely to secure the site after the strike or deal with whoever ran out of the building if the strike did not go as intended. Cleary, if any terrorist was worth catching alive, it was him. It the US is not interested in catching him alive, the others should expect anything other than the same treatment.

Today, Ralph Peters of the NY Post comes out and takes the position that terrorists should be taken care of on the battlefield, not permitting them the opportunity to take advantage of our legal system and human rights concerns.

July 10, 2006 -- THE British military defines experience as the ability to recognize a mistake the second time you make it. By that standard, we should be very experienced in dealing with captured terrorists, since we've made the same mistake again and again.

Violent Islamist extremists must be killed on the battlefield. Only in the rarest cases should they be taken prisoner. Few have serious intelligence value. And, once captured, there's no way to dispose of them.

Killing terrorists during a conflict isn't barbaric or immoral - or even illegal. We've imposed rules upon ourselves that have no historical or judicial precedent. We haven't been stymied by others, but by ourselves.

The oft-cited, seldom-read Geneva and Hague Conventions define legal combatants as those who visibly identify themselves by wearing uniforms or distinguishing insignia (the latter provision covers honorable partisans - but no badges or armbands, no protection). Those who wear civilian clothes to ambush soldiers or collect intelligence are assassins and spies - beyond the pale of law.

Traditionally, those who masquerade as civilians in order to kill legal combatants have been executed promptly, without trial. Severity, not sloppy leftist pandering, kept warfare within some decent bounds at least part of the time. But we have reached a point at which the rules apply only to us, while our enemies are permitted unrestricted freedom.

The present situation encourages our enemies to behave wantonly, while crippling our attempts to deal with terror. - NY Post (Read the whole thing)

This is the type of fight that we are in now. Those who we are fighting spend their time plotting and preparing while at the same time hiding amongst us. Just imagine is Mohammad Atta was arrested on September 10th. How many Americans (not to mention the international community) would be lining up to stand behind that monster in his defense. (Look at all those defending 'Tookie' williams and he was a convicted multi-murderer!)

Take the story coming out today of a Middle Eastern man who was allowed to board a Delta flight despite being discovered as a security threat. OK, I am calling him a security threat, even though the authorities claim that he was not. You be the judge:

The report states that a man with a Middle Eastern name and a ticket for a Delta Airlines flight to Atlanta shook his head when screeners asked if he had a laptop computer in his baggage, but an X-ray machine operator detected a laptop.

A search of the man's baggage revealed a clock with a 9-volt battery taped to it and a copy of the Quran, the report said. A screener examined the man's shoes and determined that the "entire soles of both shoes were gutted out."

No explosive material was detected, the report states. A police officer was summoned and questioned the man, examined his identification, shoes and the clock, then cleared him for travel, according to the report.

A TSA screener disagreed with the officer, saying "the shoes had been tampered with and there were all the components of (a bomb) except the explosive itself," the report says.

The officer retorted, "I thought y'all were trained in this stuff," TSA officials reported.

The report says the TSA screener notified Delta Airlines and talked again with the officer, who said he had been unable to check the passenger's criminal background because of computer problems. -

This could only be a 1) Dry run, 2) TSA security test, 3) an attempt for attention by a crazy person. Right now we don't know, and that is exactly what our enemy is counting on.

It was from Powerline where I saw the Post opinion first. As for mentioning the Geneva Conventions, the UN's own Commission on Human Rights issued a report a while back where the press reported that it called for the closure of Guantanamo However, you might not be aware that it also stated that Guantanamo inmates are not covered under the Geneva Conventions:

24. The Chairperson of the Working Group and the Special Rapporteur note that, while United States Armed Forces continue to be engaged in combat operations in Afghanistan as well as in other countries, they are not currently engaged in an international armed conflict between two Parties to the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions. In the ongoing non-international armed conflicts involving United States forces, the lex specialis authorizing detention without respect for the guarantees set forth in article 9 of ICCPR therefore can no longer serve as basis for that detention.

So even if these guys did meet the requirements (wearing uniform, etc.) it would not matter because the group/cause they are fighting for is not a Geneva Conventions Member.

Don't wait to hear that in the press.

Update: (11 July)
Willisms has a summary of the legalese of the Geneva Conventions and how this is acceptable under the rules:
Dealing With Captured Terrorists - Willisms

Kill, Don't Capture - NY Post
Likely Unintended Effect of Fighting for Rights for Terrorists - FFI - 26 Nov 05
Human Rights Groups Kill Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
- FFI - 08 June 06
HPD, airport security at odds over incident -

Maritime Monday 17

Welcome to this week's edition of Maritime Monday.

This Weeks Photos:

Here is a picture of chickens on their way from the US to Puerto Rico. I was told that the 'flat-rack' container had approximately 8,000 chickens on it. At least when we left port in Jacksonville it did.

These are pictures from the afternoon after leaving port. That morning I was awoken by the Chief Mate with the question "Are You seasick?" The ship was rolling badly, but I had already been on the ship for two months so I was somewhat confused by the question as he knew that I did not get sick. I answered no and was told to see the Captain. When I got up to the bridge the Captain asks "Are you seasick?" "No Captain." I replied. "Good. Go forward and help with the chickens."

When I got on deck, I could see that some of the chicken coops on the bottom of the flatrack were crushed. Those stacks were now hanging over the side of the ship. There was chicken poop and eggs everywhere. Chickens were loose on deck. And many chickens were crying (for lack of a better description.) Then there was the smell which defies description. We next spent the next couple hours sorting the mess out. Stacking cages on deck and throwing dead chickens over the side. When we got to Puerto Rico, the crane positioned another flatrack alongside the ship by the chickens. The longshoremen came to unload the chickens would grab a cage and then instead of placing them on the flatrack would drop the cages to their buddies 40 feet down on the dock who quickly emptied the cages and placed the chickens in their cars in a blantant act of pilferage. Once their cars were full, they unloaded the rest. Of 8,000 chickens, we were told that only 5,000 were received.

A month later the bosun gave up trying to scrub the smell off the hatch cover and had the whole thing painted over.

(Chickens at sea - 1992)

This weeks items:

Opinion Journal makes a visit to the aircraft carrier USS INTREPID in New York.

Gates of Vienna has a two-part post. First there is coverage of some recent pirate activity in the Straits of Malacca, which so happened to target UN relief supplies. The second post highlights a reader's comments to the suggestion that the UN could solve the pirate problem by simply declaring them NGOs.

Speaking of pirates, EagleSpeak has news of the UK's determination that they have underestimated the threat of piracy.

Confederate Yankee covers Operation Enduring Service and their plan to preserve historic vessels as well as use others as 'First Responders' for future disasters.

Hello Estonia has word that the EU will be taking Finland, France, Italy, Greece and Portugal to court over not meeting EU port waste requirements.

The Gray Monk has photos of the SA AGULHAS aground off East London, South Africa.

MarEx Newsletter has coverage of a $1 million fine against Pacific-Gulf Marine (located in US) for illegal discharges of oily-waste at sea. Picture of the vessel here from 1999. The recent 'history' of US-Flag Car Carriers covered under the Maritime Security Program is summarized by Global Security dot Org.

Sailors, Mariners & Warriors League has coverage of the protests on the STOLT AUSTRALIA over (well-founded) fears that the vessel will be reflagged from Australia to the Cayman Islands. (Note: The crew has returned to work, for now.)

Benjamin has coverage of the fire on the offshore 'nation' of Sealand. The post is aptly titled "The Whole Country is on Fire."

Mainichi Daily News has the news of Japan banning vessel traffic from North Korea for the next six months as part of sanctions for NK's missile program.

MarEx Newsletter has an opinion covering Senator Kennedy's commencement address at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy graduation.

Florida Maritime Lawyer notes that he has 'adopted' the Wikipedia article on Admiralty Law as his own in order to clean it up.

Ocra Worldwide has a story on the Cyprus Maritime Conference where speakers discussed the Flag's recent decline from 5th to 9th largest.

From Haight's Maritime Items:

UK – text-messaging leads to vessel grounding - The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) released the report of its investigation into the grounding of a container vessel on Trindelen Bank in the Baltic Sea on 5 January 2006. The ship grounded at night in good weather on a charted shoal. It appears that the Officer of the Watch (who had sent the lookout below) became engrossed in text-messaging on his cellular telephone and missed a planned alteration of course. Report No. 17/2006 (7/6/06).. - Dennis Bryant

Previous Editions:
Maritime Monday 1 - 16

Submission Guidelines:
Look here for more details: Submission Guidelines

You do not have to be the author to submit a blog post or news story. Feel free to suggest something that you think is worth sharing.

No sponsors for this week. You can sponsor this week's post retroactively. Then again, if you are interested in doing that, then you might consider sponsoring an upcoming post. Check the submission guidelines for more details.

Feedback Welcomed!


Friday, July 7

Ugly Americans a Myth?

We have all heard the term "Ugly American" and for the most part most everyone accepts the ugly American as a fact, including me. Only recently have I questioned the very existence of ugly Americans as anything more than a very rare creature.

Of course there are Ugly Americans, after all we have them right here at home. (Picture the a-hole in the SUV cutting people off on the highway at reckless speeds.) Then there are those like Cindy Sheehan, PETA and the like who make an ugly scene wherever they are. Then again every country has their own examples of people like them. I have been to over 30 countries and have spent an extended amount of time in a number of them for work and vacation. From my experience I want to say that 90%+ of the "Ugly American" in foreign countries is pure myth.

One thing I had noticed while living overseas was how often American were amazed with how similar life in foreign countries is to home. This contrasts with how British citizens are often disappointed at how things are not as they are in the UK. But for the most part, those American were so interested in how things work in the country they were in that it is pretty hard to be ugly when you are listening to others explain.

Surely there are "Ugly Americans" in many countries. In Estonia, the 'Ugly Americans' are the Finns. In Finland, the 'Ugly Americans' are the Finns too. In Germany, the 'Ugly Americans' are the English football fans. I have no clue who the 'Ugly Americans' are in the UK. I suspect that they could possibly well be Americans as that is a common destination for Americans. Then again, how bad can 'Ugly Americans' be when compared to a couple hundred fellow citizens who also happen to be radical Muslims trying to kill you? (Might they be 'ugly Brits' or even 'Ugly muslims?')

There is no shortage of Ugly Foreigners. These are the people who hear Americans speaking English and are attracted to them like a moth to a flame. They listen for a while, some of them even stare. At some point, they cannot control themselves any longer and just have to butt into the conversation to unload all of their anti-Americanism on some poor unsuspecting American.

My friend who happens to be a newly sworn-in American Citizen, commented on how odd it is that people somehow think that it is ok to basically ambush Americans, attacking them about whatever is on their mind without being invited into the conversation nor even bothering to spend a minute to investigate whether the person they are harassing is one of many Americans who would probably agree with their position, if in a normal conversation. However, the American's opinion does not matter (if you are pro or anti Bush/war, etc.) we are all the same in the eyes of these people.

The first time I was confronted for being an American was in 1992 in Antwerp, Belgium, well before any Europeans were aware that President Bush had a son. I was talking with a lovely school teacher in a bar when a young Dutch woman my age interrupted the conversation, asked if I was an American, and upon my confirmation told me that she hated Americans. I told her to "Get in line." and returned to my conversation. She had surely done this as an opening act to unload on what she probably saw as an easy target. The fact that her opinion of Americans meant nothing to me probably pisses her off to this day.

This behavior makes me wonder, if Americans are such violent, gun-crazy, death penalty fanatics, do all these Europeans have some sort of death wish? Really, I could have just whacked any of these people with a fist or even a bar glass. And yes, this phenomenon is limited to Europeans. It is the only place I have ever encountered this blatant hostility and rudeness.

The behavior of some of these Europeans is sad. For starters most Americans that end up in their countries are there because they want to be. It is a once in a lifetime vacation, or big business trip. In most cases the Americans are interested in the local culture, how society works, and even their language, at least as far as the words for 'beer' and 'thank you.'

That last time I was ambushed was just last week in Amsterdam. It was in a bar and he moved seats clear across the bar to get within striking distance. He took the chicken's way of entering the conversation by talking to my wife as I went to check the beer list. I returned and the subject quickly turned to Iraq and then to Israel, as it too often does. However, instead of asking the typical "why does America protect Israel?" question he instead stated that "Europe is prepared to sacrifice Israel for World Peace" and that "Muslims respect Europe for what they did to the jews."

Now his first comment is actually the answer to the Israel question:
America Protects Israel because Europe is not prepared to.
As for respect, I value self-respect above all else. With self-respect comes the respect of those whose opinion you value. Of course you have to earn respect. According to this guy, Europe earned the respect of Muslims by killing millions of Jews. And they are supposed to be the sophisticated ones....

Other "Ugly American" readings:
Ugly American - Wikipedia
World Citizens Guide
Behavior guide takes aim at ‘the ugly American’ - MSNBC
Worse than "Ugly American - Math Geek Rocks!

Tuesday, July 4

Happy American Independence Day!

Whether you are Left, Right, Center or even upside down, I hope you have a Happy Independence Day!

Today's schedule includes a swim in the pool as well as a barbeque. At some point we will open up a bottle of American Champaign (from NY) and make toast to President Washington and all the others who worked and fought to make America the country it is today. It is even OK to thank the French for without their assistance the US probably would not have won independence. (They had selfish reasons to help us, but their plan didn't work in the end.) At least you can give thanks to Lafayette whose participation during the Revolutionary War was vital to our victory, although he rarely receives proper credit for his contributions.

Happy Fourth!


(The flag on the right is the first commonly used flag of the US. The Grand Union Flag)

A special toast to Rusty and the other Jawas at the Jawa Report!

America, F*ck Yeah! A Jawa 4th of July *Updated, Bumped* - Jawa Report

Monday, July 3

Maritime Monday 16

Welcome to this week's American Independence Day edition of Maritime Monday.

This Weeks Photo:
Where do old lifeboats go to die? Not to Amsterdam. If they make it there they seem to be reborn and given a new lease on life as private canal boats to take friends and family out on. Of course they are renovated to provide more room 'on deck' (mainly by removing most everything inside) and the fading orange is covered over with a paint scheme of the new owner's choosing. Seems like the cool thing to do there is to go cruising the canals, especially on Friday evenings:

(Lifeboats in Amsterdam.)

This weeks items:

Virginia Virtucon
has coverage of the nomination of Sean Connaughton for Maritime Administrator.

Maldives Shipping Today has information on the grounding of the SAFMARINE AGULHAS off London, England.

The Business of America is Business 'opines' about what labor unions mean when they claim to be against deals that compromise the safety of port workers.

News you Can Abuse has coverage of stowaways found dead inside a container in Miami.

Sailors, Mariners & Warriors League has news of a US Navy port call in Vietnam. Yes, in Vietnam.

EagleSpeak has news of the Indian Navy's efforts to keep an eye on the Chinese Navy and their new naval acquisitions.

The Black Kettle points out the threat from the sea.

'Kings Pointer' has news of her upcoming entry into the US Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point as part of the class of 2010 which just happens to report on this Thursday, 6 July. (Little eager with her ID me thinks.)

In other USMMA-related News, Astronaut Mark Kelly (Kings Point class of 1986) will pilot the Space Shuttle DISCOVERY on this week's mission (STS-121) weather and foam-issues permitting.

From Haight's Maritime Items:

IMO – piracy report – April 2006 - The IMO issued a Circular forwarding summaries of reports it received concerning acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships during April 2006. The IMO received 29 such reports for the month. MSC.4/Circ.86 (PDF) (5/31/06). - Dennis Bryant

Previous Editions:
Maritime Monday 1 - 15

Submission Guidelines:
Look here for more details: Submission Guidelines

You do not have to be the author to submit a blog post or news story. Feel free to suggest something that you think is worth sharing.

No sponsors for this week. You can sponsor this week's post retroactively. Then again, if you are interested in doing that, then you might consider sponsoring an upcoming post. Check the submission guidelines for more details.

Feedback Welcomed!