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dballance's Journal
dballance's Journal
March 30, 2013

Why The Hell Would Ashley Judd Want to Run?

First of all, she lives in TN so she'd have to move back to KY. Since I'm from TN and have close relatives in KY I don't see much difference in the two states as far as politics are concerned.

The most important question is "Why the hell would you open yourself up to the current political process when you can continue to be an actor and offer opinions that will get covered by the media?"

Ms. Judd must have reasoned, properly, that she can stay out of direct politics and still have a great influence on the political discussion. In fact, if she has roles in high-profile endeavors that raise her stature she will have a far broader audience than she could command as a senator from KY.

I think she's made a wise decision from a strategic point of view.

March 28, 2013

Why Is Lockheed Martin Still a Government Contractor?

Why is our government still giving billions of dollars to Lockheed Martin? Lately I've noticed a trend here when reading about defense project screw-ups. It seems they are more than likely to be run by Lockheed Martin.

Three recent stories come to mind. All of them use words like "technical problems, mismanagement, over budget, behind schedule." All of them seem to tie back to Lockheed Martin.


First, and foremost, is the F-35 project. Already in it's 12th year the GAO recently said “Overall, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is now moving in the right direction after a long, expensive and arduous learning process.” Sure, give me 12 years and billions of dollars and I'll finally get something right too. By the way, the GAO said we're really only one-third of the way through flight testing so any number of new issues that arise in the latter two-thirds could be costly and bump the cost of the project even worse than it is now. Which is just about at $400 billion now.

From Stripes: "The Defense Department began the F-35 program in 2001, but made revisions in 2003, 2007, 2010 and 2012 after performance problems, delays and cost overruns. The original 2001 estimates of 2,852 planes at a cost of $233 million have turned into about 400 fewer planes for 70 percent more money, and over a longer period of time." What a bargain. We get to pay 70 percent more and get 14% less. Who the hell agreed to that? I won't be taking them car shopping with me anytime soon.

GAO Report: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-309


Next comes the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS). According to Mother Jones: "Congress is spending $380 million on a missile program that has no funding authorization, doesn't work, and the Department of Defense doesn't plan on buying." This of course, is another Lockheed Martin project. http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/products/meads.html And, "Unfortunately, according to the Office of Secretary of Defense, MEADS has had serious technical, management, schedule, and cost problems since it was introduced in the mid-1990's" and has been unable to 'meet schedule and cost targets.'" There's that recurring theme with Lockheed Martin projects.

Link to Mother Jones article: http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/03/pentagon-paying-380-million-useless-missile-everyone-hates

Littoral Combat Ship

Finally, for this post anyway, is the Littoral Combat Ship. According to Bloomberg: "The U.S. Navy’s troubled Littoral Combat Ship, a vessel intended to be small and speedy for use in shallow waters close to shore, lacks the firepower it needs, a top U.S. navy commander said in a classified memo." Further: "...the Navy may be starting to re-examine the $37 billion program. The ship has been beset by troubles, including cracks and corrosion, its price has doubled since 2005 to $440 million per vessel..."

How's production going on these $400 to $500 million each vessels? Well, again from Bloomberg: "The two versions of the Littoral Combat Ship -- derided by critics inside the Navy as the “Little Crappy Ship”-- are being built simultaneously.
A steel-hulled vessel is being made in Marinette, Wisconsin, by a team led by Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) (LMT), and an aluminum trimaran is being built in Mobile, Alabama, by a group led by Austal Ltd. (ASB) Lockheed’s first ship developed a crack in the hull, and Austal’s vessel had corrosion problems."

Link to Bloomberg article: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-28/ships-costing-u-s-37-billion-lack-firepower-navy-told.html

When I played softball and baseball in school after three strikes you were out. Seems to me Lockheed Martin has had three strikes but keeps bellying-up to the defense trough without being pushed away. I think it's time for a Senate and House investigation of contracts between the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin. Who, on the inside at the Pentagon, keeps on sending business their way?

March 8, 2013

Poor Rick Scott - The Legislators in Flori-DUH? are Worse Than Him.

So it turns out Florida's legislature is even more extremist than Gov. Rick Scott. He gets a deal with the federal government to use the Obamacare Medicaid expansion funds to essentially privatize Medicaid, which should be a key goal for any Republican, but the legislature just hates Obamacare so much, they are rejecting the deal.

More at link:

Anyone else he looks a little like some sort of Skeletor type?

March 1, 2013

Please Take the Time to Make Comments When You're on a Jury

This is a cross-post from Meta where it might have been more appropriate as commentary on DU and its processes. However, I don't feel it got the review of enough people there so I'm posting it here as a plea to DU members. As my plea to help us all make DU a great place. One of the great places I visit every day.


I know it takes time to make comments when you volunteer to serve on a jury and you've already given of your time by participating on a jury. Thank you for your service.

What people may not realize is that taking time to comment on your thoughts for why you voted to Hide or Leave a post is very helpful to people upstream of that jury service. The admins and the MIRT team get sent alerts on hidden posts with the TOS violation box checked. They take your comments into account when evaluating whether or not to revoke posting privileges for a member.

Your comments could be important to cause the admins or MIRT to see things from a different angle than they might otherwise and, as a result, allow a member to continue to have posting privileges because that member may have simply inelegantly stated a post but is still a good DU member. Conversely, your comments might help confirm their suspicions that the member is a troll, racist, misogynist, bigot, spammer, or other type of member who should have their posting privileges revoked.

Finally, your comments serve to inform the alerter and the member whose post was alerted on about how other DU members perceive their alerts and posts. This is true for all posts including ones that don't have the TOS box checked. So it serves as a means to help educate other members and to guide newer members on what is considered appropriate at DU.

Profile Information

Name: Dave
Gender: Male
Hometown: Gallatin, TN
Home country: USA
Current location: Portland, OR
Member since: Mon Nov 6, 2006, 03:59 PM
Number of posts: 5,756
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