Photo of the Day: “Double ugly”
Moscow subway attack: Suicide bombers detonate two bombs in Moscow subway – at least 38 killed, 102 wounded. London Times: “Police in Moscow have identified CCTV footage of the two women suicide bombers who blew themselves up on packed underground trains this morning and said that they had been accompanied by other women.” (H/T United States Action)
South Korea’s government asks for help – U.S. ships respond to assist in search, recovery, and salvage efforts. The Cheonan lies in two pieces on the sea floor. 58 sailors – including the ship’s captain – have been rescued.
The Virginia-class attack submarine USS New Mexico (SSN 79) has joined the fleet. The New Mexico is the second so-named ship: the first New Mexico (BB-40) was a battleship that earned six battle stars during World War II.
USAF builds hospital in Chile large enough to serve 110,000 – in just three and a half days. After treating hundreds of patients and performing dozens of surgeries, the U.S. donated the hospital to Chile.
The Obama administration is laying out legal justification for drone attacks.
Albert Chestone – retired FBI special agent, World War II veteran, and author of What America Means To Me – discusses “current security concerns, how the FBI has changed in the last 30 years, what was J. Edgar Hoover like to work under, and why Americans need to realign their ‘compasses of life’ with the pillar of freedom in order to pass on a vital America to the next generation” on Sharon Hughes’ radio program, Changing Worldviews. Listen to the show. Buy the book.
From W. Thomas Smith, Jr.‘s “This Week in American Military History”:
Jan. 31, 1974: The first of three U.S. Army Ranger battalions since World War II is activated.
Yes, there were post-war Rangers and Ranger units of varying sizes, but the modern battalion-organization is launched in 1974 by Gen. Creighton Abrams, who proclaims: “The Ranger battalion is to be an elite, light and [the] most proficient infantry battalion in the world; a battalion that can do things with its hands and weapons better than anyone. The battalion will contain no hoodlums or brigands, and if the battalion is formed of such persons it will be disbanded. Wherever the battalion goes it will be apparent that it is the best.”
Feb. 1, 1800: The frigate USS Constellation (the first of four so-named American warships) under the command of Capt. Thomas Truxtun defeats the French frigate La Vengeance under Capt. F.M. Pitot in a night battle lasting several hours. The engagement, fought during America’s Quasi War with France, is — according to Truxtun — “as sharp an action as ever was fought between two frigates.”
Feb. 1, 1862: Julia Ward Howe’s poem “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” which begins “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord,” is published in the Atlantic Monthly. It will become a Union Army ballad. Today, the ballad is a martial hymn sung in American military chapels worldwide and by descendents of Union and Confederate soldiers alike.
Feb. 1, 1961: The Minuteman I intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) — the first three-staged, solid-fueled ICBM — is launched for the first time in a successful “all systems” test.
Minuteman I is the first missile in the still-operational Minuteman family. Minuteman IIIs are still deployed. The name “Minuteman” comes from the famous “minutemen” of America’s colonial militia.
Recently released government documents show that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s travels cost more than $2.1 million. But why is the bill so high?
Based on my research of the documents, the aircraft most often used by Pelosi was the eight passenger C-37 – the military version of the luxurious Gulfstream V – which costs a whopping $5,594 per hour to operate. While that sounds expensive, it is certainly much more economical than the $20,000 per hour it costs to operate the 54-passenger military version of the Boeing 757 that Pelosi requested shortly after taking office.
The 757 is a vastly larger plane than the small Gulfstream jet that Pelosi’s predecessor Dennis Hastert used: when configured for commercial flight, a civilian 757 can carry almost 300 passengers.
Prior to 9/11, the Speaker actually flew commercial. With today’s heightened airline security risk, however it could be a national security risk for Pelosi to perhaps be seated alongside an al Qaeda suicide bomber. But let’s compare what the Air Force – and ultimately the taxpayer – is paying to fly her versus the costs of flying commercial. According to a search for airfare prices, a first-class ticket from Washington, D.C. to San Francisco only costs about $800. Now compare that to Pelosi’s average bill of $28,210.51 – one could fly 35 times for the price of one of her hops on the Air Force Gulfstream. And that’s without the alcohol, meals, snacks, newspapers, etc. that the Speaker, her family, and other fellow travelers incurred.
Regarding travel expenses, I usually stick to a Dr. Pepper and a maybe a piece of beef jerky if I eat anything at all. But Judicial Watch said Pelosi and her entourage managed to rack up an incredible $101,429.14 bill for in-flight expenses according to the receipts found in the documents. Apparently her Air Force transit seems to have become more of a luxurious party barge rather than the secure mode of transportation it was likely meant to be.
Bearing all that in mind, it seems outrageous for the military to spend that kind of money ferrying a politician and her family from Point A to Point B when there are surely more urgent needs for defense dollars on the battlefield.