I Smell a RAT….

DOD, State Department Present Budgets to Senate
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 10, 2011 – Concepts of security are changing, and it is just as important to invest in diplomacy and development as it is to invest in service members and their equipment, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III told the Senate Budget Committee today.

Lynn and Deputy Secretary of State for Management Tom Nides testified together before the committee. It marked the first time the two departments had testified about their budgets together, and it underscored the strong partnership that exists between them, Lynn said.

“We at DOD view the security assistance activity as a vital instrument that can prevent or attenuate instabilities that otherwise might draw the United States into conflicts,” Lynn said. “If properly applied in a timely manner, security assistance is likely to be more decisive and less costly than direct military intervention after a problem has become a crisis. Our cooperation with the State Department is, therefore, an important component of our national defense.”

Lynn called on the senators to fully fund the State Department’s fiscal 2012 budget request of $59.5 billion. The request includes funding for the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Um…. WHY is Deputy SECDEF defending State’s budget? And what about the DOD budget???

The two men testifying together mirrored what happens daily around the world, as soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines often work side by side with State Department and USAID personnel.

Say WHAT??? USAID is almost NEVER found in the front lines…

“We at the Department of Defense strongly believe that a full and robust funding of our foreign policy operations is an effective means of meeting our national security,” Lynn said. “Indeed, if we promote security and responsible governance as crises are brewing, we will be able to avoid later in the crisis the deployment of U.S. military forces.”

The Defense and State departments have complementary skills, Lynn said.

Yeah, the State Dept goes in and pisses them off, and DOD has to go in and kill them… complementary my ass… how about 180 degrees out???

“We want to support the partnership,” he said. “We believe the mix of competencies between the State Department, the Department of Defense, as well as USAID, is what is needed to address the kinds of security crises, the kinds of instabilities, the kinds of conflicts that spark up around the world, and to do those at the earliest possible warning.”

The deputy defense secretary said the Defense and State departments and USAID are working together on counternarcotics programs and in training of Afghan law enforcement officers.

“We propose, with congressional concurrence, an Afghan infrastructure program that will meld the DOD responsibilities for counterinsurgency with [USAID] and State responsibilities for development [in a way] that is more integrated than in the past,” Lynn said.

Um… Don’t y’all remember Iraq? State pushed to ‘limit’ military interaction and didn’t want DOD to retain the Iraqi Army intact, so we lost control of a LOT OF AREAS IN IRAQ!!! And then State blamed DOD for screwing up the rebuilding…

The plan, he said, integrates the long-term development efforts in Afghanistan with dealing with immediate threats via the military campaign in the country.

State and Defense work together in other areas of the world, Lynn said, noting DOD works with State on delivering security assistance wherever American interests are at stake.

Only if we have assets somewhere close (and as reduced as DOD is, the odds are not good)…

“We’ve developed over the past several years some joint authorities, some dual-key cooperative authorities, such as the Pakistan counterinsurgency capability fund,” Lynn said. The agencies work closely on authorities to train and equip partner nations in the counterterrorism fight, he noted.

“This year, we’re requesting funding for an Office of Security Cooperation in Iraq,” Lynn said. “This would be a remaining DOD presence as we transition to a State Department lead in Iraq.”

To be marginalized by State as usual, until something goes wrong, then it will be DOD’s fault…

In Mexico, the two departments jointly address surveillance, interdiction, air and maritime operations and planning through a variety of initiatives, Lynn said. The departments also work to train partner militaries in more than 100 countries through programs such as the International Military Education and Training program, and the newly proposed Global Peace Operations initiative.

“For fiscal 2012, we’re also requesting a new, path-breaking program which would involve pooled funding — where State and DOD would contribute to a fund where we would seek to anticipate security issues wherever they are in Africa, Latin America [or] Asia, and to jointly target assistance for development funding for economic assistance and security assistance in an integrated way in an effort to anticipate growing crises and reduce them before they get started,” Lynn said.

Um… like anticipating Egypt? Tunisia? Libya???

The deputy secretary also spoke strongly in favor of the State Department’s plan to switch to receiving its funding via the Overseas Contingency Operations fund.

In other words, State wants to be able to raid DOD war funding to get more $$ for thier games, at the expense of DOD and the Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen that need beans/bullets/upgraded/repaired equipment…

This just sounds like an administration ‘directed’ operation to effectively cut DOD funding without it being obvious… And Hillary has made it pretty clear she HATES military operations…

Folks, please keep your eyes peeled, and keep checking the various news sources, and call your congresscritters to let them know our troops on the ground NEED funding to continue to do their jobs! I’ve seen this only on the security sites, and nowhere in the MSM…

h/t GlobalSecurity.org

Where are our Carriers???

This is an EXCELLENT article by James G. Wiles at American Thinker

March 08, 2011

‘Where are My Carriers?’

It was Bill Clinton who famously said that, when an international crisis breaks in some rough corner of the world, the first thing an American President does is ask where his aircraft carriers are.

Did President Obama do that when things came to a boil in Libya two weeks ago? We don’t know. But, if you’d like to play President-for-a-Day, you can see what Barack Obama would have seen in the White House Situation Room — and also how it probably looks today.

I think you’ll be very surprised. It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the U.S. is not in the game because the present Administration has chosen not to be. But it’s also true that the steady shrinking of the U.S. Navy since 1992 has handed President Obama and the anti-war Democrats a perfect excuse for inaction. This explains Defense Secretary Robert Gates and senior military officers’ controversial remarks last week about the difficulty of the U.S. intervening against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in Libya.

At gonavy.jp, there’s a handy little webpage, occasionally updated, which purports to give the status and location of every American supercarrier. Let’s begin by asking: how many supercarriers does the United States Navy have? Not helicopter carriers, but the big, nuclear-powered flattops which starred in Top Gun, each with its own embarked air wing of 60 or more planes?


Surprised? I was. But it gets even more interesting.

Guess how many supercarriers are not available for action because they’re in dry dock for extended repair or preparing to be de-commissioned?


Out of the eight available to go in harm’s way, one, the Abraham Lincoln, is returning home to rest and refit after an extended tour in the North Arabian Sea supporting operations in Iraq and AfPak. So, really, there are only seven American supercarriers available

Now, how many were reported to be on active sea duty on March 2?

Only two.

The Carl Vinson is on station in the North Arabian Sea and the USS Enterprise, has just arrived from Norfolk. Although she only transited the Suez Canal three weeks ago, she’s now Johnny-on-the-Spot for Libyan and Aden. Press reports suggest she’s somewhere in the Red Sea or off the Horn of Africa.

So, what do we see?

Contrary to doctrine, the U.S. Navy is not, in fact, forward-deployed. It is hard to believe this is an accident.

There are no American supercarriers in the Mediterranean. None. A helicopter carrier and a support ship from the Fifth Fleet in Bahrain were deployed there last week. An Aegis cruiser and a guided missile destroyer arrived in the Eastern Med around March 1.

The UK just retired its carriers because of budget austerity. So, unless our EU allies allow American planes to attack Libya from their territory, a no-fly zone or other action is not an option.

Nor is the Med (and the Suez Canal) the only strategic choke-point which the Obama Administration has uncovered. So are Taiwan, the South China Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Straits of Malacca. If you’re an American adversary (say, China) what do you make of this? What may the Peoples Republic discern as to the objectives and beliefs of the current occupant of the White House from the present deployment of the U.S. Navy?

The fact that six of America’s available supercarriers are sitting out the instant crisis, literally on the other side of the world, says it all. This President has no options because, a month into the Arab Spring, he has decided against moving American naval assets to give himself options.

There’s presently only one aircraft carrier, the George Washington, in the Far East, docked in Yokosuka. There’s none between the West Coast and Japan (except for the home-bound Lincoln). They’re either in port or training, maybe, off California. And, as of the March 2nd posting on gonavy.jp, there were no American supercarriers in the Atlantic Ocean either. They’re all in Norfolk.

Finally, our supercarrier fleet continues to shrink. Three carriers have been retired from the Fleet since September 11, 2001. Two new supercarriers have joined the Fleet in that time.

There’s new construction; but the next new supercarrier won’t be ready until 2015. Two years before that, the Navy will retire another supercarrier. That means there’ll only be nine left in the U.S. Fleet from 2013 until 2015.

Remember the famous 2008 Stimulus Bill? It included no money to re-build the U.S. Fleet and make it a seven-ocean navy once again. None.

It’s as simple as that. The Obama Administration’s work of dismantling America’s status as the world’s sole superpower continues apace.


The information in this piece is as accurate as the 3/2 update on the gonavy.jp website. I did an Internet, English language search and also checked the websites and Facebook pages of each of the carriers. A press release from 5th Fleet/Bahrain says the Enterprise is still in their operational zone (this was in connection with a capture of some Somali pirates by part of her flotilla, in which she was mentioned). The Norfolk Virginian-Pilot doesn’t mention any of their carriers leaving; the Lincoln, according to some commander’s post to facebook.com Sunday, just crossed into the fourth time zone west of Hawaii. So, she’s still steaming East from Singapore, her last port of call since the Arabian Sea.

If the Reagan or the Stennis have sallied from the West Coast, I can’t find it. The Washington has to stay in or near Japan.

Suffice to say, NONE of this stuff is getting into the MSM… I will just say this gent hit one out of the park with this article…

And it’s only going to get worse…

Not in Japan…

Thanks for the calls and emails and texts, but I was scheduled to leave for Japan today, so I’m still Stateside and okay.

I’ll be heading out next weekend now.

Talked to some folks over there, all US personnel appear to be accounted for, and minimal damage to US military facilities. I’m sure the folks will be helping the Japanese recovery effort any way they can. I know the USAF is giving support to the Japanese at the nuke power plant that is having issues.

Keep the Japanese in your thoughts and prayers, it’s pretty ugly and there will be a significant death toll off this one. Seems like the Ring of Fire (Pacific Rim Volcanoes) are particularly active this year…

Hawaii had a small Tsunami, as did Alaska and apparently Oregon (and moving South to California), but adequate warning was received…


Gotta love it when they have TOO MUCH time on their hands… sigh…

“Conditional Optimism: Whether the container is “half-full” or “half-empty” at 1/2 Vmax is dependent upon the sign of the change in volume with the change in time (dV/dt). If you are filling the container dV/dt>0 with V=Vmax at t=∞ it is “half-full”. If you are emptying the container dV/dt less than 0 v=”0″ t=”∞” style=”mso-spacerun:yes”> If you are neither filling nor emptying the container, dV/dt is negative because of evaporation (V=0 at t=∞). Unless you are actively filling the container, it is always on the way to empty. Note that if the goal is to empty the container, then “half-empty” is actually an optimistic statement and “half-full” is actually a pessimistic statement. Therefore, the only time you could consider yourself an optimist is the case of V=1/2 Vmax, dV/dt less than 0, with V=0 at t=∞ and declaring “half-full”. In that case, you may be an optimist, but the preceding proof shows that you are just plain wrong.”

In Other News…

Built in the early 80s, NASA’s oldest surviving space shuttle rolled to a halt; wrapping up a career spanning some 5,750 orbits, 148 million miles and 365 days in space during 39 missions since its maiden launch in August 1984.

Note: I believe this is more time in space than any other space vehicle using ‘standard’ launch and recovery procedures…

Photo- NASA TV

NASA, y’all done good; you’ve made at least SOME of us proud to be Americans!!!

Now THIS just pisses me off…

From Red State:

The Speaker’s Office and the Senate Majority Leader are blocking a request that Frank Buckles be allowed to lie in state (or in honor as the case may be) in the rotunda of the United States Capitol.

Frank Buckles is not just anybody. I agree that we should not let just anybody lie in state in the rotunda. I totally understand Harry Reid and John Boehner’s reasoning. The right should be reserved for a very special few. While I understand his reasoning, I think the last of the WWI and the last of the WWII servicemen should be given the honor.

Frank Buckles is not just a special few. He is the last of his kind. The very last.

Precisely 4,734,991 Americans served in World War I. Frank Buckles was the last of them to die. He lied to get into the Army at age 16 so he could fight the Kaiser. He is the last of a generation of Americans who heard the calling for freedom in a way other did not and rose up to fight.

He is the last of those men and boys who fought under an American flag across an ocean in a land most had never been who did so not because we were attacked or brought into a war, as we were in World War II, but because they heard the call of freedom in the first great war.

He, as the last of the embodiment of the men and boys who heard that first call for freedom across the seas, deserves to lie in the Rotunda.

The Speaker may be reached at (202) 225-0600. Harry Reid may be reached at (202) 224-3542.

In her statement, Mrs. Buckles Flanagan (his daughter) laid out her case why that is not enough:

“My father was a humble and soft-spoken gentleman who did not seek honor or recognition for himself, but in the last few years of his life others began to seek his support to the cause of honoring the military veterans of World War I, which he was glad to do. He was invited to testify before Congress on this subject in 2009, and he was honored to do so. When he became the last living American veteran of World War I, he recognized his role as representative of all the service members who served, fought, and died in the Great War and felt that it was his duty to do so, just as strongly as he felt the call to enlist and help fight that war, with all the other American doughboys.

In recent years, various Members of Congress have proposed to honor all the military veterans of World War I by honoring the last of those veterans to die. As fate would have it, that turned out to be my father. While Papa was still living, it was suggested that he lie in honor in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol as a final, formal tribute to all the veterans of World War I. Papa consented to this because he understood that, as the last living World War I veteran, he was expected to represent all of the World War I veterans. He looked upon this as his final duty, which he took very seriously.

My father’s friends, family and acquaintances will acknowledge his character and accomplishments, remember him and mourn his loss regardless of any formal honors bestowed upon him. The issue is how do we as Americans come together over this loss, by providing a befitting venue to do so? How do we demonstrate to our own people and people all over the world how the United States of America honors its citizens of distinction?

We need a time for reflection, and the recognition of the end of an era and the passing of a generation, especially for those men and women who made the Supreme Sacrifice for their country, and my father serves as a symbol for all those who served in World War I.

The Unknown Soldier from World War I and others have been recognized by lying in honor in the Rotunda of the Capitol. If the last American soldier surviving is not suitable to serve as a symbol around which we can rally to honor those who served their country in the Great War, then who can serve that purpose? There is no one left. If we lose the opportunity to bestow this highest of honors on the person who was the last surviving representative, there can be no making it up later.

There is no extraordinary precedent being made here. The next similar request will come for the last survivor of World War II in 25 or 30 years time, and it will be appropriate to honor that person, as well. It is absolutely appropriate to, and there is widespread public support for, allowing Frank Woodruff Buckles to lie in honor in the Rotunda. Let it be so.

We thank everyone for their prayers and support during this solemn time for our family and our country.”

Granted that Cpl Buckles never saw action, and was never decorated, but he SERVED, and is the LAST SURVIVOR…

Even more interesting to me, DOD and the Military have said absolutely NOTHING… And if fact are not even planning to provide military honors (assuming Mr. Buckles is allowed to buried in Arlington)…

What we have here, in my opinion is a direct slam against not only the military veterans, but a political ‘game’ being played out inside the administration and Congress…

This IS NOT the place or time to play these games, Cpl Buckles and the memory of our WWI Veterans deserve better than this!!!

Please call t

he Speaker may be reached at (202) 225-0600 and Harry Reid may be reached at (202) 224-3542 and voice your displeasure.

h/t Redstate.com

Edit 8 Mar…

Honoring Frank Buckles

John Boehner and Harry Reid are working to ensure that he is properly — highly — honored at Arlington. In a letter to Robert Gates, they ask:

[W]e respectfully request, in addition to his interment in Arlington Cemetery, that the remains of Corporal Frank Buckles, U.S. Army, August 1917-January 1920, be allowed to lie in honor for a period of time in the cemetery’s Memorial Amphitheater. . . .

Frank Buckles answered the call of duty to defend his country. He loved America and was assured of its ultimate victory. His contributions and sacrifice on behalf of the republic mark him as true patriot worthy of the hallowed grounds of Arlington.

Guess He’s NOT GOOD ENOUGH for the Capitol… Sigh…

Random Humor…

When a male can’t stand it anymore! Priceless shot!

Little Known Facts About MINNESOTA

Minnesota became the 32nd state on May 11, 1858 and was originally settled by a lost tribe of Norwegians seeking refuge from the searing
heat of Wisconsin ‘s winters.

The state flag of Minnesota consists of a blue background upon which sits a design best described as “how a 7-year-old city girl would
draw a picture titled ‘life on the farm'”.

Minnesota gets its name from the Sioux Indian word “mah-nee-soo-tah”, meaning, “No,
really… they eat fish soaked in lye”.

The state song of Minnesota is “Someday the Vikings will… Aw, never mind”.

The Mall of America in Bloomington , Minnesota covers 9.5 million square feet and has enough space to hold 185,000 idiot teenagers yapping away on cell phones.

Madison, Minnesota is known as “the lutefisk capital of the world”. Avoid this city at all costs.

“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” was set in Minneapolis, Minnesota , and was Mary’s first real acting job since leaving the “Dick Van Dyke Show”. The show is about a single woman’s struggle to find happiness in the big city.

The state motto of Minnesota at one time was “Where even a man who wears a feather boa can be governor.” Now it’s “Where even Stuart
Smalley can be Senator.”

Downtown Minneapolis has an enclosed skyway system covering 52 blocks, allowing people to live, work, eat, and sleep without ever going outside. The only downside to this is that a Norwegian occasionally turns up missing.

Cartoonist Charles M. Schulz was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota and grew up in St. Paul . He was the only artist to accurately depict the perfectly circular heads of Minnesota natives.

The Hormel Company of Austin Minnesota produces 6 million cans of Spam a year, even though no one actually eats it. Spam is a prized food in Japan .

Water skis were invented in 1922 in Lake City ,Minnesota by Ralph Samuelson. Sadly, he drowned shortly afterwards,
as the motorboat hadn’t been invented yet.

St. Paul , Minnesota was originally named “Pig’s Eye”, after French Canadian whiskey trader Pierre “pig’s eye” Parrant. Its “twin city”, Minneapolis , was known as “Pig’s Colon “

Pelican Rapids is home to a 16-foot-tall concrete pelican which subsists on a diet of 4-foot-long
concrete fish.

In 1973, Olivia , Minnesota , erected a 25-foot tall fiberglass corn cob to celebrate its rich, agricultural heritage. Then in 1974, it was eaten by a 50-foot statue of Babe the blue ox. Yes, Minnesota has a lot of problems with statue cannibalism.

Minnesota license plates are blue & white and contain the phrase “Blizzards on Independence Day – you get used to it.”

Frank C. Mars, founder of the Mars Candy Co. was born in Hancock, Minnesota. His 3 Musketeers candy bar originally contained three bars in one wrapper, each filled with a different flavor of nougat – chocolate, spam, and lutefisk.

The first fully automatic pop-up toaster was invented in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1926. Minnesota ‘s stringent bread-control laws currently only allow residents to own semi-automatic toasters.

Tonka trucks continue to be manufactured in Minnetonka, Minnesota, despite the thousands of GI Joe dolls killed by them annually in rollover accidents. No airbags, no seat belts. These things are deathtraps, I tell ya!

Author Laura Ingalls Wilder was raised at Walnut Grove, Minnesota , and was famous for writing the “Little House” series of books, as well as inventing the “spam diet” which consists of looking at a plate of spam until you lose your appetite. Much like the “lutefisk diet”.

The snowmobile was invented in Roseau , Minnesota so as to allow families a means of attending Independence Day picnics.

Minnesotans are almost indistinguishable from Wisconsinites. The only way to tell them apart is to ask if they voted for Mondale in ’84.
Once upon a time the government had a vast scrap yard in the middle of a desert. Congress said, “Someone may steal from it at night.” So they created a night watchman position and hired a person for the job.

Then Congress said, “How does the watchman do his job without instruction?” So they created a planning department and hired two people, one person to write the instructions and one person to do time studies.

Then Congress said, “How will we know the night watchman is doing the tasks correctly?” So they created a Quality Control department and hired two people, one to do the studies and one to write the reports.

Then Congress said, “How are these people going to get paid?” So they created two positions, a time keeper and a payroll officer, then hired two people.

Then Congress said, “Who will be accountable for all of these people?”

So they created an administrative section and hired three people, an Administrative Officer, an Assistant Administrative Officer, and a Legal Secretary.

Then Congress said, “We have had this command in operation for one year, and we are $918,000 over budget. We must cut back.” So they laid off the night watchman.

NOW slowly, let that sink in.

Quietly, we go like sheep to slaughter.

Does anybody remember the reason given for the establishment of the DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY….. during the Carter Administration?




Didn’t think so!

Bottom line: We’ve spent several hundred billion dollars in support of an agency…the reason for which not one person who reads this can remember!

Ready?? It was very simple . . . and, at the time, everybody thought it very appropriate.

The Department of Energy was instituted on 8/04/1977 TO LESSEN OUR DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN OIL.

Hey, pretty efficient, huh???


Crash and Dash…

I got a chance to watch the Navy test pilots flying the new F-35 JSF this week, and they were doing crashes and dashes…

That’s what the Navy calls touch and go landings, when they are practicing Field Carrier Landing Practice (better known as FCLPs)

Basically what you do is simulate landing on a carrier deck painted on a runway…

Below is one of those painted ‘decks’, the objects in the green circle are the Improved Fresnel Lens Optical Landing System (height increased from 4 feet to 6 feet for Datum lights), better known as the Ball, and an LSO platform

The green line is the center line of the FCLP carrier deck. As you can see, ‘most’ of the landings occur in the same place, and the run out is rather short. This is because they land and immediately go to max power and yank the bird back in the air (assuming nothing fell off)…

This is what the “Ball” looks like…

The cut lights are used for no comms clearance for landing, and the LSO uses them for power applications if they are not talking to the pilot (the longer the green, the more power they want to see…

The line of green lights in the middle are the datum lights, which is what the pilot is seeing and ‘hopefully’ the orange ‘ball’ in the center stays right at the datum level. The red lights are wave off (mandatory) lights also controlled by the LSO if they think the pilot is about to make a serious error in judgement…

This is an actual system installed on a carrier, it is fully stabilized and allows a stable point of reference regardless of ship movement. It is ‘focused’ 2500 feet behind the carrier as the stability point.

So anyhoo… I was standing with a Brit pilot who is over for the evaluation, and he was telling me the Air Force pilot had just left because he couldn’t stand to watch…

Now you’ve got to remember, the Air Force penalizes pilots if they bruise the tires on landing. The Navy, well if the tires and wheels LAST 10 landings they’re happy…

It was a nice break, and I’ll have to say, the JSF IS the sound (and a loud one) of FREEDOM 🙂

Enjoy your weekend folks!



Seeing it next to the Arizona Memorial really puts its size into perspective… BIG!!!

When the Bridge pipes ‘ Man the Rail’ there is a lot of rail to man on this monster: shoulder to shoulder, around 4.5 acres. Her displacement is about 100,000 tons with full complement.


Top speed exceeds 30 knots, powered by two nuclear reactors that can operate for more than 20 years without refueling

1. Expected to operate in the fleet for about 50 years
2. Carries over 80 combat aircraft
3. Four arresting cables can stop a 28-ton aircraft going 150 miles per hour in less than 400 feet


1. Towers 20 stories above the waterline

2. 1092 feet long; nearly as long as the Empire State Building is tall (The USS Arizona by comparison, was 608 Ft long)

3. Flight deck covers 4.5 acres
4. 4 bronze propellers, each 21 feet across, weighing 66,200 pounds
5. 2 rudders, each 29 by 22 feet and weighing 50 tons
6. 4 high speed aircraft elevators, each over 4,000 square feet


1. Home to about 6,000 Navy personnel (that’s 6,000 sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters of AMERICANS)
2. Carries enough food and supplies to operate for 90 days

3. 18,150 meals served daily 4. Distillation plants provide 400,000 gallons of fresh water from sea water daily, enough for 2,000 homes
5. Nearly 30,000 light fixtures and 1,325 miles of cable and wiring ; 1,400 telephones
6. 14,000 pillowcases and 28,000 sheets

Last Man Standing…

Frank Buckles, the last American Doughboy from WWI is dead. He died Sunday in Charles Town, WV at 110 years old. Mr. Buckles was instrumental the last few years in promoting/speaking about the need for a TRUE WWI Memorial, and was a national treasure…

You can read the article in the NYT HERE. And Borepatch has a nice tribute up HERE with video…

Rest in Peace Corporal, your work is done… And God Bless you…

Singing the National Anthem…

With all the kindness I can muster, I give this one piece of advice to the next pop star who is asked to sing the national anthem at a sporting event: save the vocal gymnastics and the physical gyrations for your concerts. Just sing this song the way you were taught to sing it in kindergarten — straight up, no styling.

Sing it with the constant awareness that there are soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines watching you from bases and outposts all over the world. Don’t make them cringe with your self-centered ego gratification.

Sing it as if you are standing before a row of 86-year-old WWII vets wearing their Purple Hearts, Silver Stars and flag pins on their cardigans and you want them to be proud of you for honoring them and the country they love — not because you want them to think you are a superstar musician. They could see that from the costumes, the makeup and the entourages.

Sing “The Star Spangled Banner” with the courtesy and humility that tells the audience that it is about America, not you.

If you can’t or won’t, then don’t do it again…