DCF: “Who is Jim Spiri?”

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This is from up north, but has a Silver City angle. Jim Spiri, the father of one of my best friends from high school, is apparently running as an independent in the District 1 congressional race. He’s up against Heather Wilson and Patricia Madrid. Check the “Fix” for the scoop:

After Ms. Madrid left, DFNM asked Mr. Spiri to speak. Who the hell is this guy?

He spoke very well and was much more eloquent and prepared than either Heather Wilson or Patricia Madrid. While I have to admit to serious reservations, if this fella is not a delusional con man and can speak well to all issues, I have to say he’s suddenly got my interest. Maybe it’s time for a street scrapper that’s going to get it done for the folks he/she represents rather than the lawyers and Rhodes Scholars who lately are getting it done for everybody but us.

The story of what happened to Jim’s son, Jesse, is a tragic one. He was a good friend of mine, and he and his family were not treated as well as they should have been.

I know nothing of Jim’s campaign, other than what I saw there at the Duke City Fix. Maybe somebody out there can tell us more?

Legends’ Last Stand

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Fresh on the heels of last week’s news that the Navy is reevaluating it’s plans to build a new class of surface ships, we hear from Knight Ridder that our last two battleships, the Iowa and Wisconsin, may be permanently retired as well:

Members of Congress soon will decide whether to decommission the two battleships for good as they work out final decisions in the defense authorization and spending bills.

During the second World War, the aircraft carrier replaced the battleship as the centerpiece of naval combat doctrine, but the Iowa-class ships and other surface combatants were instrumental in winning the Pacific theater of that combat. As evidenced by the article, the ships continued to excel at their role of fire support for more than 50 years:

From World War II until the 1991 Persian Gulf War, support for the Marines was provided mostly by the Iowa-class battleships’ 16-inch guns, which can hurl a 2,000-pound projectile 24 nautical miles.

The DD(X) class of destroyers/cruisers look to be capable platforms on paper, but the first will be not commissioned until 2014. Obviously the Navy anticipates a need for shore bombardment capabilities ? that’s why the DD(X) is designed to deliver multiple artillery warheads on a specific target within several seconds.

If we know we’ll need fire support, and our next available support platform will not be ready for almost 10 years, why not reactivate the ships? Combined, the vessels will cost a meager $1.4 million per year to maintain, and their reactivation might take more than two years. If a crisis develops that requires US Marines to hit the beach, we won’t have that long to call up the venerable behemoths.

Existing cruisers and destroyers could provide a stop-gap solution, but why chance it? If we’ve learned nothing from the Iraq debacle, it should be to plan for the unexpected.