Sunday, January 23, 2011
*HAWAII'S MOST GENEROUS FREQUENT TRAVELER
The Star Advertiser this morning gloated over a most generous and frequent visitor, the Sea-Based X-Band Radar (seen here first entering Pearl Harbor). Looking like a 280 foot tall golf ball, the article by William Cole boasted of this facility becoming a tourist attraction, and, most importantly, in eleven visits since 2006, according to the Department of Defense, of adding $59 million to our economy. Yes, our economy depends on tourism, and yes, if not for defense funds, our State would be in even worse jeopardy. But is an obsolete golf ball needed today? Worse, our next nuclear aircraft carrier will cost $14 billion.
An irony is that the above floating radar was designed in Norway and built in Russia, at an original cost of just under a billion dollars. Let me repeat, a billion dollars, more than the George W. Bush provided each year for all the renewable energy R&D funds given to the U. S. Department of Energy.
What has this mega golf ball accomplished in nearly five years of dedicated service? Remember that joke about that kook banging a cymbal throughout the streets of Chicago and asked why, to which he responded, I'm scaring away stampeding elephants? Well, score one for the golf ball, for, like that idiot, our highest tech radar has managed to bat 100% in preventing a missile attack. Actually, this cutting edge observational facility was sailed back from Alaska to Hawaii when North Korea last launched a rocket, as at least one previous shot appeared to be headed straight to Hawaii, but dropped harmlessly into the sea (as planned). In any case, score two for the golf ball.
If this posting appears to be making fun of the military, that is only because I am. There was a time during the Cold War when the world was, indeed, close to total annihilation. I was as patriotic as they came in those days. But that was two decades ago. I think I've matured, but our war contractors have not. Our defense budget is the largest it has ever been, and there is no mortal enemy visible into the foreseeable future. My blog of only two days ago noted that the USA spends nine times more annually on defense than China. Russia is continuing to lose it. Iran and North Korea might crazily someday actually fire of a nuclear warhead, then they'll toast.
The Military-Industrial Complex, however, is too powerful to just brush-off, and articles like this are regularly planted to maintain public support. It works, for national security remains, with the economy, as the determining factor in getting Congressional members elected. How to get out of this rut will determine how our nation and world will solve the double hammer of Peak Oil and Global Warming. Otherwise, Humanity could become toast, especially if The Venus Syndrome results.
The final paragraph of that above posting provides a simple solution:
President Eisenhower was absolutely right. In 2012, President Obama can join the ranks of our greatest presidents just with one simple 10% solution. If he misses this opportunity, I'm still working on Xi Jinping for 2013, the next Mikhail Gorbachev, who brought an end to the Cold War.
But I can't end a glorious Sunday on this note, so here are some happy plants on my roof garden:
In addition to those tomatoes above, there are other edibles--arugula, basil and chives:
Total visitors to Planet Earth and Humanity: 67044
Visitors this week: 1155
Total number of countries: 163
I might finally add that although the U.S. is in the northern hemisphere and, of course, is not currently threatened by hurricanes, there are several storms in the southern half of our oceans, where it is now the middle of Summer. Stick with me, for news reports confuse me, but chances are that there are only two hurricane-force storms north of Australia. One is either Cyclone Zelia, Wilma or Vania, and it could be all three, because these storms are being tracked by different jurisdictions, thus the different names. Anyway, it was reported that Cyclone Vania last week caused $11 million of damages to New Caledonia. KHON 2 said Cyclone Wilma was threatening American Samoa. Then, Cyclone Zelia is currently scaring New Zealand. All these locations are relatively close enough to each other that the same storm is affecting their weather.
But there is for sure Tropical Cyclone Anthony, now with hurricane-force winds, which first went East, then suddenly West, and is now heading for the Northern tip of Australia.