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    Wednesday, November 28, 2007

    The GOP You Tube Debate - Impressions

    I admit, I am only now starting to follow the 2008 race closely and examine the candidate's positions.

    I think the BGen and the gay questions were a gimmick put on by CNN. Was this just done because Anderson Cooper is gay?

    Tonight's You Tube debate is the first one I have watched this season, and my impressions so far are (in no particular order):

    McCain - My personal favorite because of his service to this country and his honesty. I think his age sort of shows through in these debates, but even my 12 year old daughter noticed something special about McCain and said "I like him." He was wrong on immigration, and he was wrong (initially) on the Bush tax cuts, but he's got the right stuff on the War, Life, and government spending. Tonight, I think he's been generally good, just not getting enough air time, and I liked him taking on Paul.

    Rudy! - I like Rudy as a leader and think he would kick butt leading the US on the world stage. His social positions are problematic, but, I can live with his promise on judges - as I think Rudy has no problem with Roe being overturned, even if he is pro-choice, and, that's all I ask of a president. Tonight, he gets a lot of air time, but, I don't find him that compelling a speaker to the masses, more of a policy wonkish type.

    Romney - After spending some time on the web this weekend, I found Romney to be a compelling candidate. He speaks well, he has all the right positions on my issues, and he's a polished and intelligent speaker. I don't have an issue with his Mormonism, does anyone else? Tonight, I think he's the best speaker and I found his answer on the abortion flip flop great. He needs to stick with it.

    Huckabee - I like Huckabee, I have to admit it. And, I think, after researching some of his positions more in depth, people have taken bits and pieces of his record and provided just enough to make him look protectionist, stupid, or naive. It's not so. He's not getting enough air time tonight, but his answer on WWJD is absolutely correct.

    Tancredo - Just not interested, although he seems a good guy. But, get out of the race already.

    Hunter - Actually haven't spent time on his positions because he has so little traction, but he's a well spoken guy. Too bad he's not going anywhere. His answer on the gays in the military was pretty rotten.

    Thompson - I hated his ad and he shouldn't have used an attack ad in this debate. I like Thompson, and he has some detailed plans on his web site (go check them out, www.fredo8.com), but, he just does not excite me. Is he too old?

    Ron Paul - The guy is just a fruitcake, especially on the GWOT. Glad that Tancredo spanked him. But, he does have some sensible positions, mainly on fiscal issues. And, I agree with him on departments that need to be cut.

    I would be happy with all of these as the nominee (except Ron Paul, who's war position I find scary), but my personal preference today is:

    1. McCain

    2. Huckabee

    3. Romney

    4. Fred

    5. Rudy


    7. Tancredo

    Monday, November 26, 2007

    Unscientific Poll Results

    In my completely unscientific presidential poll (GOP Only), Fred Thompson is your favorite in a landslide. Fred finished with 10 votes out of 23 cast, with Huckabee and McCain getting four. GOP frontrunner Romney got 3 and Rudy only got 2. You guys are clearly out of step with early state primary voters.

    Iran to launch homemade submarine

    By Yaakov Katz The Jerusalem Post November 25, 2007

    Full article here

    Days ahead of the Annapolis peace conference, Iran flexed its military muscles on Saturday, announcing plans to unveil a new homemade submarine and navy destroyer later this week.

    Iranian Naval Commander Admiral Habib Sayyari said Saturday that the navy would launch a homemade destroyer called Jamaran and a submarine called Ghadir on November 28.

    Ghadir is a religious holiday which marks the day Shi'ite Muslims believe the prophet Muhammad gave his last sermon and confirmed Ali ibn Abi Talib's appointment as his successor.

    Sayyari told the Iranian Fars News Agency that Iran's military capabilities served as a deterrent, but: "If the enemy makes a mistake, he will receive such a powerful second strike that he won't be able to stand up."

    Iran has boasted in the past that its new Ghadir-class submarine could not be detected and was capable of firing missiles and torpedoes simultaneously. According to Globalsecurity.org, Iran's Navy has at least three Russian-built SSK Kilo-class submarines.

    In August, Iran test-fired a new submarine-to-surface missile during war games in the Persian Gulf. Iran's current arsenal includes several types of torpedoes, including the Hoot, Farsi for "whale," which was tested for the first time in April and is capable of moving at some 357 kph, up to four times faster than a normal torpedo.

    Sayyari told the news agency that his troops were closely monitoring US maneuvers in the region. "No move in the Sea of Oman, the Persian Gulf or the Strait of Hormoz could remain hidden from our eyes. The naval force is in full control over the region and monitors all the military moves of the enemies in the region," he said.

    Thursday, November 22, 2007

    DARPA Attempts to Reinvent the Submarine

    You'll need a subscription to Janes International Defence Review to read the full text, but, DARPA is working to redefine the submarine to shave 30% off the cost of a Virginia class submarine...some highlights...

    "Submarines are still characterised by an aft propeller; a rear compartment for machinery space and a propeller shaft; a central reactor compartment; and a forward compartment with sonar rooms, torpedo rooms and crew berthing.

    However, Tango Bravo – for Technology Breakthrough – identified five key technology barriers that could be conquered in order to slash construction and maintenance costs. These included stripping away hydraulics and developing propulsion unconstrained by a centreline shaft; stowing and launching weapons outside the hull; alternatives to spherical sonar arrays; simplifying the hull, mechanical and electrical systems (HM&E); and reducing the size of the crew through automation.

    With the latter largely considered an evolutionary process, serious money has so far only been thrown at shaftless propulsion, electrical actuation and external weapons.

    In May 2005, General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) and DRS Technologies were granted 12-month contracts to develop shaftless propulsion technologies, while GDEB and Northrop Grumman Newport News were awarded 18-month contracts to develop and demonstrate firing an encapsulated Mk 48 heavyweight torpedo from outside the pressure hull.

    The first part of the GDEB contract encompassed 18 months' work to develop a reduced ship infrastructure using electric actuation instead of hydraulic, and mechanical actuation of ship control surfaces, including the ship's rudder, stern and bow planes.

    Phase 2 includes the development of the actuator's motor drive and energy storage systems, and packages the actuator for an external sea water environment, then cycles the immersed actuator under full-scale dynamic loads.

    The main advantage of electrical X-planes actuation is the elimination of hydraulic system infrastructure and hydraulic-mechanical drive pressure hull penetrations.

    Challenges include demonstrating high electric motor torque density to reduce size and weight, as well as ensuring control surface system reliability and emergency performance by developing an alternative to stored hydraulic accumulator energy.

    Says DARPA's Jan Walker. "The challenges of having the propulsor's prime mover in the ocean environment vice inside the submarine pressure hull are a significant focus of the project."

    In existing US submarines, there are two turbines for propulsion and two for power generation, but shaftless propulsion would necessitate only turbines for producing electricity, freeing up the rear compartment for other uses.

    Electric motors would be placed on pods external to the hull, eliminating steam-propulsion turbines, reduction gears and propulsion shafts and providing design flexibility in the stern.

    With an integrated power system - just two turbines of the propulsion scheme allowing power to be diverted to other uses - it is possible to have propulsion turbine generators and maintain the existing ship service turbine generators.

    GDEB is planning to devise an integrated power system to free up energy for other uses such as futuristic weapons or recharging a large set of underwater vehicle batteries. "It is a shared resource, so there are areas where you would have to reduce the propulsion bell," explains Pete Schilke, programme manager for GDEB.

    To mitigate this, the power could also be used to charge up a capacitor bank, which would discharge in a fraction of a second, reducing perturbation on the power system.

    Even if an enormous amount of power was diverted for seconds to power a futuristic weapon, the amount of time power is diverted from the propulsor would not lead to a significant reduction in speed.

    One concern about shaftless propulsion and external weapons is that appendages cause additional drag, so pods must be carefully designed to hydrodynamically encapsulate the machinery.

    So far, breadboard testing of the motor/controller drive components and system have been completed, with water tunnel testing of the model-scale rotor assembly completed in April and the final design of the Integrated Motor Propulsor and Drive (IMPaD) signed off in June.

    Actuator testing

    The actuator is immersed and pressurised in the test-stand to simulate submarine test depth to see if there are any wear characteristics, and there will be some contamination in the sea water, as the actuator would experience as water quality degrades near port.

    This constitutes the biggest hydraulic load on the submarine, so Schilke says "with the goal of eliminating hydraulics, we have done a nice job at addressing the holy grail and gone a long way to prove we can do this and it is within our grasp".

    GDEB has addressed the external electrical actuators on the control surface and motors to retrieve different arrays, so once internal actuators have been addressed, the team is confident it will be able to eliminate hydraulics. "It just depends on how large the actuators are, how much they weigh and how expensive they are to maintain," says Schilke.

    Weapons carriage

    Another target of the Tango Bravo programme is to develop an external weapon launch system to stow, communicate with and deliver an unencapsulated Mk 48 Advanced Capability torpedo from outside the pressure hull at speed and depth.

    Phase 1 involved concept development, a shallow water full-scale test, and modeling that validated hydrodynamic performance and concept design requirements.

    Phase 2 aims to refine this concept and manufacture a full-scale launcher test unit to demonstrate launch dynamics, signature and operational requirements.

    For its part, DARPA considers the principal advantage of externally stowed weapons to be the elimination of the largest driver of internal pressure hull volume - the torpedo room.

    Additionally, putting weapons into external weapon 'clips' means there would be no need to carefully align the angled torpedo tubes, noisy torpedo tube doors would disappear, and complex underwater firing techniques would no longer be necessary.

    The launch of full-size weapons at maximum operating depth sets the company the challenge of addressing integration problems, such as overcoming the lack of access to the weapon when it is on the outside of the pressure hull, and the logistics of loading and servicing the weapons.

    Budget pressures

    Bob Work from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments tells Jane's that "while I do not want to say Tango Bravo is unimportant, it is not as big as it used to be. The current priority is getting Virginia costs down".

    Work believes that budget pressures and the high non-recurring engineering and design costs involved in developing a 70 per cent cheaper submarine have worked against Tango Bravo being transitioned to a full-blown design effort for a new, cheaper SSN. Instead, he believes that those holding the purse strings will be inclined to quit while they are ahead, and take lessons learned from Tango Bravo and plough them into ensuring a more flexible payload for a cheaper Virginia class.

    Redesigning submarines demands a high premium up front, but giving the Virginia class more capability could be an attractive cheaper alternative, especially once shipbuilders have got to grips with the modifications. For example, GDEB has managed to cut one million man hours from the production cycle of the second Virginia-class submarine compared to the first.

    "This translates into real savings, which can be taken and ploughed into making the Virginia even more capable with new modifications. They will be getting either a cheaper submarine or a much more capable submarine for the same amount of money," Work tells Jane's.

    Walker stresses that Tango Bravo's focus is to facilitate the design of a reduced-size, reduced-cost submarine that would cut acquisition and life cycle costs of any future platform, without sacrificing capability.

    She explains that DARPA never planned Tango Bravo to develop an overall submarine concept, but rather to fund industry to "give design options for consideration in future submarine designs".

    For example, Work notes that the USN will soon replace the Virginia's spherical array with a conformal bow array, which was one of Tango Bravo's original goals. This and other improvements will bring the price of each boat down to USD2 billion and help the USN to afford to increase the production rate from one boat per year to two.

    From a shipbuilding point of view, it seems that changing a Virginia class to accommodate external weapons or shaftless propulsion would require such major modifications that "it would probably be better to develop a whole new ship design", according to Schilke. "

    How does all this tie into the earlier-released RAND study on the need to begin designing the next, post Virginia, SSN? I don't know, but check out the RAND study for yourself.

    What do you think?

    Monday, November 19, 2007

    Local News Visits USS Albany

    See the video, here.

    How DO they do it?

    Brazil Eyes Nuclear Sub to Defend Oil

    From the , AP November 16, 2007 comes this story (also on Drudge today). I say to the Brazilians, welcome aboard! But, instead of building it themselves, why don't we just refit one of our LA class boats for them, and subcontract the nuclear plant operations to American subcontractors....

    "SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) — This month's discovery of a monster offshore oil reserve justifies Brazil's plan to build a nuclear submarine because it would be used to protect the find, the defense minister said.

    "When you have a large natural source of wealth discovered in the Atlantic, it's obvious you need the means to protect it," Nelson Jobim said Thursday at a defense conference in Rio de Janeiro.

    Jobim said Brazil must safeguard the Tupi field and its 5 billion to 8 billion barrels of oil reserves from other nations and from "actions that could come from the area of terror," the government's Agencia Brasil news service reported.

    Brazil has been talking about building a nuclear submarine for decades, but the project got a boost in July when President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva announced $540 million in funding for uranium enrichment and the sub program.

    Jobim said earlier this month that he wants to come up with an outline within three months to build a submarine for about $1.2 billion, the Agencia Estado news service reported.

    Brazil has no South American enemies and has not experienced terrorist attacks, although U.S. government reports have sporadically raised suspicions that the nation's Triple Border region near Argentina and Paraguay is a fundraising source for radical Islamic groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas.

    The Brazilian navy's nuclear program, begun in 1979, has already mastered part of the uranium enrichment process. But it lags in developing and constructing a submarine reactor entirely from Brazilian technology.

    Silva has frequently touted nuclear power as a way to diversify energy sources and meet growing demand in South America's largest nation and economy.

    His government moved in June to restart work on a long-planned third nuclear power plant that has been stalled since the 1980s by lack of funds.

    Jobim on Thursday ridiculed the idea that Brazil's uranium enrichment program would ever be used to make a nuclear bomb.

    "That's total nonsense," he said."

    USS Hawaii completes first evaluation phase

    By Gregg K. Kakesako Star-Bulletin (Hawaii) November 18, 2007

    The Virginia-class nuclear submarine USS Hawaii (SSN 776) successfully completed its first phase of evaluation off the Florida coast this month.

    "Over the next 12 months, each of the Virginia class' mission areas will be thoroughly exercised to validate the submarine's design and performance," said Capt. Michael Jabaley, the Virginia program's assistant program manager for test and evaluation. "In this case, the ship, crew, Sea Air Land (SEAL) special operations team and support personnel performed extremely well in what turned out to be a challenging environment created by Tropical Storm Noel."

    The fast-attack submarine is the Navy's first major warship designed for the post-Cold War era involving special operations. The Hawaii has a torpedo room that can be transformed to carry Navy SEALs, and its deck can be equipped with a dry-deck shelter used by SEAL teams.

    The Hawaii is commanded by Cmdr. Ed Herrington. Three Virginia-class submarines will be stationed at Pearl Harbor. The 377-foot Hawaii was commissioned in May, and the USS Texas was commissioned last year. They will arrive in the islands in 2009, followed by the USS North Carolina, which is undergoing sea trials.

    Kind of fun to see some of the guys I went to SUBSCHOOL with getting high visibility commands! Congrats Ed!

    Wednesday, November 14, 2007

    Praying for Rain

    Yesterday, our governor here in Georgia, Sonny Perdue, held a prayer session for rain. For those of you uninitiated in what is going on in the Southeast, we are in the midst of an historic drought (as I write this, we have gone since Oct 24th since the last measurable rainfall), brought on undoubtably due to global warming, but, I like to think it's due to lack of global warming, since, if the global warmists were correct, the last 2 hurricane seasons would have been severe and we would have probably had at least 2 decent hurricane-induced rain events that could have easily made up our 18 inch deficit. Regardless, some here in Georgia feel that Sonny is mixing politics and religion inappropriately.

    Personally, I don't see any harm, but I don't know why we need a public prayer session led by politicians, when they really should be sending the National Guard to seize the water supply and stop the Army Corps of Engineers from sending our water to power Alabama's coal plants and save Florida's mussels. Of course, it doesn't help that we have single homes that use 400,000 gallons of water per month (the average home uses 6000).

    UPDATE: Sonny's rain dance may have worked. It's raining harder now than it has in months!

    Monday, November 12, 2007

    HMS Astute Launched

    While Virginia building continues unabated (in fact, faster now that the Connecticut and Virginia congressional delegations have had their way), the HMS Astute has completed an important milestone of her own. Check out the Royal Navy’s official site. I continue to be impressed particularly by the fact that we have developed nuclear fuels that last 25 years.

    “Astute A-sub completes first test dive
    United Press International, 8 November 2007

    The prototype British Astute class A-sub has carried out its first successful test dive.

    ‘The first of class Astute, the most advanced and capable class of submarines ever built for the Royal Navy, has dived beneath the waves for the first time, at BAE Systems’ shipyard in Barrow, North West England," the company said in a statement last week.

    ‘Astute is crammed with some of the world’s most sophisticated technologies, including advanced nuclear reactor, sonar, optical mast, combat management and weapons systems," BAE Systems said.

    ‘The workforce at Barrow continues to demonstrate that although the production of nuclear powered submarines requires a specialist subset of skills, in line with the government’s Defense Industrial Strategy, we have the ability to deliver the intellectual resource and technologies required,” said Murray Easton, managing director, BAE Systems Submarine Solutions.

    ‘Astute class submarines will play a key role in the defense of the United Kingdom for decades to come. The boats demonstrate a step change in capability when compared to those they will replace,” Easton said.

    BAE Systems said the submarine faced two days of tests involving a joint BAE Systems and Royal Navy crew of 60 to check its dive characteristics, along with safety critical systems including escape hatches, hydraulics and electrics.

    The submarine is due to undergo further engineering and commissioning work at the Devonshire Dry-dock in Barrow before being delivered to the Royal Navy in fall 2008. It is scheduled to begin its operational duty in 2009.

    ‘Once deployed, Astute is designed not to require refueling throughout her full service life – in excess of 25 years – and has the ability to patrol for 90 days while remaining undetected, thousands of miles from home and hundreds of meters underwater," BAE Systems said.

    BAE Systems said that, as Britain's only manufacturer of submarines, it was "responsible for the design, build and initial in-service support of the four 7,400 ton Astute class boats currently under various stages of construction and commissioning at its Barrow facility.’”

    Sunday, November 11, 2007

    Unmanned Aerial Vehicle to be tested this month

    According to an article in Defense Daily, the Navy is to begin testing a submarine launched UAV this month (article by Geoff Fine):

    "When the USS Montpelier (SSN-765) deploys later this month it will include a new Internet system to improve communications as well as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) the crew will test to see if this type of capability can be used on submarines, according to a Navy official.

    The Montpelier will also be testing a new UAV during its deployment, Vice Adm. John Donnelly, commander, Submarine Force said.

    The submarine will deploy with "Buster," a bungee cord-launched system that can reach an altitude of 1,000 feet. Buster will be equipped with an infrared (IR) camera and has a range of at least 20 miles. During his video briefing, Donnelly played a clip of an IR feed from "Buster" as it flew over the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC).

    "We hope to prove this capability for use on a SSGN," he added.

    The Navy has converted four ballistic missile, SSBN, submarines to the guided missile, or SSGN, configuration. The first of those, the USS Ohio (SSGN-726), has begun her maiden deployment, Donnelly said.

    The USS Florida (SSGN-728) and USS Michigan (SSGN-727) will deploy in '08, followed by the USS Georgia (SSGN-729), Donnelly said.

    The Navy's newest submarine class, the Virginia, has gone through a redesign of its entire bow area, Donnelly noted. This will give the boat a reduced sonar sphere.

    The Virginia is also equipped with a large diameter tube that will enable all SSGN payloads to be incorporated into future Virginia-class submarines, he said. "

    Abolish the Air Force?

    Robert Farley, over at The American Prospect, has an interesting idea - Disband the Air Force. H/T to Military.com. Actually, the most interesting thing in both places are the comments. We really have some people that just respond viscerally to these kinds of suggestions. It's nuts.

    Saturday, November 10, 2007

    New Submarines Approved!

    This week Congress approved, by veto-proof majorities, the defense authorization bills that will lead to 2 Virginia-class submarines being built per year, rather than the one the Navy had requested.

    From the Connecticut Day:

    Washington, D.C. – The House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved funding today to ramp up Virginia-class submarine production to two boats per year.

    The final vote was a veto-proof 400-15.

    "I am proud to announce that we have won the battle in the House to ramp up Virginia-class production," said U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, who made the funding request. "This is a historic victory for the men and women of Electric Boat and the people of southeastern Connecticut, who have waited a long time for this day."

    The $588 million will be used to procure items needed to begin building an additional submarine prior to 2012, as well as to support advanced work at EB on the boat scheduled to begin construction in 2009.

    The Senate is expected to take action on the funding request within the next week.

    Wednesday, November 7, 2007

    Harvard: Talk Radio More Fair than MSM!

    Harvard has completed a study showing extensively that the MSM is biased and that even Conservative Talk Radio is more fair than the MSM. The whole study is available here in pdf.

    h/t to Boortz.

    I Thought You Guys Were All Proud Killers???

    Well, you might hear some submariners boast of being "steely-eyed killers of the deep." Our Commanding Officer, being an attack boat sailor, liked to use this phrase to describe those submariners who stealthily sought their prey, usually after hours spent tracking and trailing it, then pumped a MK48 torpedo into the victim, who was oblivious to his fate until the torpedo exploded beneath them, breaking their keel and taking the ship down.

    Unfortunately, that didn't really describe us.

    Not that we didn't love every moment we served on my boat (we didn't), but, life on a fleet ballistic missile submarine (aka a "boomer") wasn't exactly the most exciting. We didn't spend a lot of time seeking prey, instead, we avoided being preyed upon. Since the act of hiding requires little speed, no interaction with other ships, and lots of boredom, and since sailors are, generally, complainers by nature, we adopted the "sleepy-eyed whiners of the deep" moniker.

    Actually, we used to take "sleepy" a little further than just this mocking phrase. I don't know if other ships held sleeping contests. Certainly none of my friends on attack boats could ever fully appreciate being in a 1 in 5 watch rotation, the slow pace of SSBN life, the lack of a fire control tracking party for 6 hours after their scheduled watch, being away from the boat with no duty days for 3 months in port, or going home at for lunch during off-crew and staying there, so this probably really would anger them (hey, look, they made the decision to go to sea in a boat that operated at high tempo's and required their devotion 365 days of the year, I knew better!)but, in the slow days of patrol life, those junior officers senior enough to have completed shipboard qualifications (and knew we weren't making a career out of the Navy, and didn't feel a need to show our devotion by doing meaningless work 24/7) would hold sleeping contests and see who could stay in the rack the longest. We had some enlisted guys, too, who would participate in our impromptu, and unofficial contests. I knew a couple of ELT's who could sleep 24 hours - pretty impressive, I think 18 hours was the longest I ever went in my rack, but, I did get up once to go to the head, so it invalidated the record.

    Of course, when we weren't asleep, we were usually complaining about submarine life, making us, thus, the whiner part.

    Tuesday, November 6, 2007

    Evolving on the death penalty

    Driving home this afternoon, I heard a short snippet from the SCLC about the ballooning costs of the trial of the death penalty trial of Brian Nichols (you may remember him, he was the Courthouse Shooter here in Atlanta who gave Ashley Smith her 15 minutes of fame).

    Seems the defense team claims they need an astronomical amount of money due to the high-profile nature of this case and Fulton County is having a fit, since they are always broke and don't want to fork it over. Plus, the DA in the case is convinced the trial judge is dragging his feet to assist the defense team.

    Be that as it may, Joseph Lowery and the SCLC has decided that the financial mismanagement that is going on is one more reason to abandon death penalty trials and capital punishment in general. To their credit, Lowery points out that they also opposed the death penalty in the case of Martin Luther King's killer. So, at least they are consistent.

    Anyway, this got me thinking, are there really rational arguments for the death penalty anymore that would justify it?

    The classical pro arguments are that it:
    1. Has a deterrent effect - certainly this is true on the one it is imposed upon. But, if we were assured that the recipient would instead never be released from jail for any reason, is there really a deterrent effect on others?
    2. Has a measure of morality - the old eye for an eye idea. I guess this is where I have the most issues with the death penalty. As one who is pro-life in the case of the most innocent, is it morally consistent to be pro-death for the least innocent? Is it acceptable for me, or society to extract our vengeance on the murderer? I have to admit, I find this somewhat disturbing that we would use this for a reason to justify society taking a life (innocent or not).

    I actually think some of the anti-capital punishment ideas have some merit:

    1. It is not a deterrent - I am open to arguments on this either way. But, I have to agree philosophically with some of the anti crowd that the death penalty would seem to do little to deter. Does the rational murderer actually consider that he might be put to death after a trial when he commits his crime? I have to think he worries more about the cops killing him while trying to aprehend him, if he thinks about the consequences to himself at all. The only people rational enough to consider this would, IMO, choose not to do the crime in the first place. And, wouldn't the killer who knew he was faced with death, just become a more determined killer? What would stop him? Little. Something to consider.
    2. It is morally wrong - I think this is their strongest argument - the New Testament clearly teaches us all about forgiveness, and, don't we need to show that we can do what God has already done, and offered his forgiveness to worst sinners amongst us? Don't we owe the killer the time to repent and seek God's grace? Who are we to short circuit that by ending the life now? I don't know, but I'm evolving.
    3. The risk of sending innocent people to the death chamber - Now, I have seen it before that no anti capital punishment proponent can point to a specific case where a demonstrably innocent man was sent to his death - proving that the appeals process works. Maybe this is so, but is it in keeping with the highest principles of our judicial system?
    4. It's too expensive - I can see merit in this one, too, although I don't think the Brian Nichols case is the best example. But, let's face it, after the death row inmate exhausts all his appeals, it's usually many years later, at a tremendous cost to taxpayers, thus denying us the benefits of speedy application of this form of justice (and the expense of housing these killers), and tying up our courts unnecessarily, and, frequently, giving Liberals icons to praise and use as props (like cop-killer Mumia Abu Jamal). I say, let's deny them that. If guys like Mumia weren't poster boys for the anti-death penalty Left, they would be rotting away silently in prisons with no friends, and would be no cause celebre.

    So, I'm torn on this issue. is it wrong that I lean towards the moral argument against, yet, if I thought we could apply justice quickly (saving money), and perhaps, publicly (which I think would provide a good dose of deterrence), I could be persuaded back the other way.

    Anyway, I am on the fence.

    Your thoughts?

    Monday, November 5, 2007

    Amazing Race 12

    I am both happy and sad today. Happy that The Amazing Race is back on TV and sad that it is only going to have one run this year. Maybe with the writer's strike, CBS will decide they'll need to run 2 Race's this season. Be that as it may, what's up with all the couples from Southern California? Could they not find anyone other than aspiring actors to run this race? Go find out more here.

    I'll provide updates in the comments! Careful, there may be spoilers on the comments. I'll try to let you know if it contains one!