Saturday, May 28, 2011

Time for Discussion, Don't You Think? ***

It's a holiday week-end here in the US, Memorial Day week-end, the unofficial start of summer.  Up early this morning, I started thinking, "Can I afford to go visiting today"?   I'm to the point of needing other people to interact with for a break in the monotony of my solitude.  Would you believe I have started talking back to myself.  It's true.  The situation is critical and needs a remedy; thus my thoughts for escape.

The $20 last spent for gas bought me enough to make a trip to town and back, then a run to the spring, a 2 mile run downroad for gas for the mower. Today the car gauge is near empty.  Actually, the gauge is always near empty; we all know $20 doesn't go far these days. I've tightened my proverbial belt to the last notch. I'm sure each of you are in the same situation and wondering "what next".  We see the price of everything climbling daily, if not by the moment.

So I resigned myself that I will be going nowhere this weekend.  Instead I began surfing the internet; it is FREE.

Reading a headline of something or other led me to thinking of the Blue Angels, that flying team that brings roars from the crowds somewhere in the US nine months of every year - March through November-year in, year out since 1946.  The Blue Angels have been strutting their stuff/performing for 65 years, this one, 2011, the 66th year.   Today and tomorrow they are performing at Millville, NJ.

Google is a 'right smart' searcher, able to give me the information I want every time.

Keep in mind the article below was written in 2008, Gary Kohls speaking of 2006.  Today is 2011 with gas prices much higher.  I'm just saying....

Some Sobering Thoughts About the Blue Angels Air Show

July 25, 2008
By Gary g. Kohls
Gary g. Kohls's ZSpace Page

In 2006, the last time the US Navy Blue Angel air show was invited to come to Duluth, there was a news report that said that the Blue Angel fighter jets burned 8,000 pounds of jet fuel per hour of flight. 8,000 pounds of jet fuel equals 1,200 gallons. In 2006, the cost to the Navy for that fuel was $2 – 3 dollars per gallon. Today, with the current world-wide scarcity of fuel, the price of jet fuel has risen to $7 per gallon!

The 2006 news report also said that the commanding officer of the Blue Angels team was required to fly a minimum of 3,000 hours just in his training exercises in order to qualify to be commander. The other team members, just to get into the Angels, had to fly 1350 hours to qualify. It was noted that there were 15 pilots that are members, although only 6 perform at a time.

As of 2006, there had been 230 Blue Angel pilots. They perform 70 or so shows per year and have dress rehearsals before each performance. The pilots also practice their routines year-round over and around their Pensacola, Florida base of operations.

Now for an unwelcome reality check. Here’s the math:
The 3000 hours of simply training the single Commanding Officer of the Blue Angels used up 3,600,000 gallons of jet fuel just in the training phase (3,000 hours X 1,200 gallons/hr)!

How about the costs in fuel for the other 15 officer pilots? The 1,350 training hours for the 15 other officer pilots on the team (although only six perform at a time) consumed 1,620,000 gallons for each one's 1350 hours of training (1,350 hours X 1,200gallons/hr X 15). Multiply that by the 15 pilots and you get 24,300,000 gallons of fuel just for the training. At today’s costs of jet fuel, $7/gallon, for every new Navy pilot who aspires to become a Blue Angel, the costs to US taxpayers, just for training, would be $11,340,000 per pilot.

One could multiply the fuel consumption just for the training by the 230 Blue Angel pilots that have performed over the past decades and we would get the figure of 5.6 billion gallons of jet fuel (5,589,000,000 gallons) just for training!

And then if you want to get some really big numbers, one could also try to calculate the fuel costs for the upcoming year of 70 shows/year (not counting the dress rehearsals before each show and not counting the continuous training that probably goes on most days of the year), the flights to and from Pensacola, the support crew's C-130 transport plane.

Then, or course, one could add in the fact that the US Air Force’s Thunderbirds, are doing the same thing. If we could do all that, one would come up with some really astronomical numbers, but I hope the point has been made!

I know that I am probably poking a hornet’s nest of devotees of such air shows, who would rather not think of the real costs of war or the real costs of the machinery of war, but in a world of scarce and dwindling resources, especially fossil fuels, and in a world where young men and women are dying every day, not for freedom and democracy, but for the for-profit oil corporations that obviously care not for the economic suffering of its captive customers. The fallen warriors of virtually every war throughout history have mostly been working, at minimum wage, for the multitude of war profiteers who then abandon the war-wounded to essentially fend for themselves. Our soldiers and Marines are working for a whole host of institutions that make money on their sacrifices, but stop their patriotic flag-waving when the body bags come home. Perhaps acknowledging these painful truths will eventually set us free.

The main purpose of this commentary article is to expose the hidden truths that are intentionally censored out about the costs of war, so that as we Duluthians stare in wonder at the immense and lethal air power that will be exhibited this weekend, we consider all the consequences of such activities.

And when your children and grandchildren ask you in some future decade, “Daddy, what did you do in the wars for oil back in 2008? Did you do your part to conserve fuel? Did you protest the wastage? And why can’t I afford to buy my own car? For that matter why can’t you afford to drive your own car like you did in the good old days?”

Hopefully, you won’t have to say, ”I defended, either overtly or by my silence, the US’s wastage of those depleted resources for my entertainment and for the purpose of recruiting impressionable young boys and girls to think that war is glorious. I’m sorry, but I wasn’t taking the oil crisis seriously back in 2008.”

Such an apology will be regarded by your progeny as inadequate, perhaps even pathetic.

2011 Blue Angels practice schedule:  March
- 23, 24, 30, 31 APRIL - 1, 2, 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 28 MAY - 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19 JUNE - 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23 JULY - 13, 14, 20 AUGUST - 10, 11, 18, 19, 24, 25 SEPTEMBER - 7, 8, 14, 15 OCTOBER - 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, 27 NOVEMBER - 2, 3

According to information I read, the Blue Angels team is all about getting the viewers to think about joining the military, to defend their country.

Seems there is a need to rethink where we stand today - just a bit lopsided it appears.  Keep in mind, this is all on the backs of the citizens of the US, we taxpayers.

I need a break; all this thinking about GAS makes me want to escape and go visit someone; maybe to muse about the weather for a bit or 'how does your garden grow'. I'm just saying....

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