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Profile Information

Name: chris chick
Gender: Male
Hometown: Between Mt. Rainier and McKenna Wa.
Home country: Hanging in there but just barely
Current location: I am right here! (location subject to change depending on the weather).
Member since: Thu May 19, 2005, 07:43 PM
Number of posts: 9,769

About Me

I am a fulltime chaperone to an aging pit-bull. She loves pigs-ears purchased from Stewerts Meat Market, long walks anywhere, feeding time and tummy rubs. We both enjoy disc golf, (golf with baskets instead of holes and fancy frisbees instead of golf balls), but for entirely different reasons. Fortunately for all she never acquired a taste for frisbees but she is a sucker for thrown rope-toys and balls. Her goal in life is to see an end to the nuisance that causes some toys to squeak when pressed by her chaperone. After the squeak has been eliminated, the toy is safe to be played with by anyone else because regardless of price it holds no further interest for her. Lastly: that is my real last name! I can get away with calling myself a card carrying chick and often get a chuckle out of folks when I do that.

Journal Archives

Questions regarding military aircraft/aircraft manuevers

I live quite near Joint Base Lewis McChord and I am somewhat familiar with what they have flying around us typically. A couple of nights ago I watched something not so typical for over an hour that I am curious about. I looked a bit online and came up with no answers so maybe one of you may know what was going on.

I live in a very rural part of Pierce county Washington, mostly cattle pastures, forests and swamps. April 10th around 10pm I was on the back deck when I noticed four bright red flashing lights very low on my horizon moving from south to north. These red lights were most likely attached to 2 military aircraft. I am used to seeing military aircraft doing their thing all around my home at any given time but this was different.

The first big difference being that instead of the normal night time running lights I always see on all aircraft, (military and civilian) each of these aircraft had only the 2 and they were flashing bright red-no other color, just red. My guess is that the lights were arranged on the lower nose and upper tail areas of each aircraft, not on the wings which seemed pretty odd too.

The second difference was that these two aircraft remained extremely low. If I were to guess, these guys stayed well under 500 feet and more likely only a 100 foot in altitude throughout their maneuver which from my point of view looked to be barely above our treetops. They stayed that low throughout the hour or so that I observed them. I did break out the binoculars to see if I could tell what they were but I saw nothing to add to what I could see with just my eyes. The actual body or silhouette of these aircraft was indiscernible to me because it was a dark night with only the two flashing red 'running lights' being all that I could see.

They flew a somewhat oval course which I estimate to be 10-15 miles in length and 3-4 miles wide repeating that route about every 10 minutes. (No I could not see the entire course because of how low they were but I could see enough to get that estimate). Only when they were close, likely less than a half mile, could I hear them. They sounded sorta like our large cargo/transport jets that are based here but I should have been able to hear them approaching long before I did. I watched them do this for about an hour before going back inside to bed.

Today at a local restaurant I overheard and joined into a conversation with a couple who had also witnessed this. They claimed that the aircraft repeatedly flew low directly over their home. When we compared what we saw they pretty much agreed with everything I reported here but added that the aircraft was silent except when it was overhead, then they could hear and actually feel it rumble by. They are husband and wife, he said that the noise was unusual enough for him to get out of bed to go have a look, she said the rumble was louder than her TV. He claimed they looked like our Stealth Bombers, definitely a flying wing shape, and they flew far lower than anything normally flying over his home.

The Stealth Bomber does not have a rear stabilizer nor a tail section yet the rear red light I saw on both aircraft had to have been mounted atop something about that high. You can visualize the red lights placed about under the nose and atop the rear stabilizer of a C-17 Globemaster, (which ARE based here), to get an idea of how these lights were spaced. Furthermore the Stealth Bomber is not based here so we rarely see them at all.

If I had to hazard a guess I would discount what I heard at the restaurant and say that these were 2 C-17s doing some sort of maneuvers in my area. I can also rationalize that my eyes deceived me somewhat in that they must have been further away than what I estimated. This would explain why they appeared low and why I could not hear them until they drew closer and they DID sound like C-17s at a distance. (Truly my eyes tell me these 2 guys repeatedly came far closer than what my hazarded guess here is).

Soooo... why the 2 red lights per aircraft and why didn't they have any other lights turned on? Was this some kind of new military aircraft or were these two just the aircraft that are normally flying around here but doing some kind of maneuver that we don't regularly see. I guess my real question is: What was THAT all about?

Veterens Health Care ID Card Snafu? Anyone with any info?

(Important on edit update: fellow DUers A-Schwarzenegger and pinboy3niner have the whys and wherefores in their responses, please read their links. I will leave this OP up for our fellow Vets who may not already know about this material.)

Veterans participating in the VA Health Care system are issued ID Cards. I am now on my third card since first starting in the program a couple of decades ago. Last summer I applied for a new card, mine being old and in need of up-dating. Usually we waited only a week before the new cards would arrive by mail but this time there is some sort of snafu. When a month went by I went back to the VA Hospital desk where I applied for the card and was given a number to call and a STRONG suggestion to call it to voice a complaint. I was not told why this needed to be done just that it was what we should do if we had any complaints. When I asked if anyone else was having this problem I was told that ALL of the applicants for those cards were having that problem.

When I called the number given I got a recording instructing me to leave a name and number and that they would get back to me. They got back to me in a day informing me that the problem was a technical glitch that should be cleared up in a week or so. A month more went by and still no card in the mail so I asked at the VA Hospital application desk again. This time the person I spoke to informed me that all of my info was still stored in their data system but NOBODY had received a new card in months. Last week I tried there again and got the same story.

Those cards are highly useful to us vets. They work pretty good as a secondary form of picture ID, one I have put to good use at my bank. If it lists a disability the card is good for discounts at many places, I've used mine at Home Depot/Lowes for a 10% discount often. For those with 100% disabilities it gets the Vet into on-base Commissaries and Base Exchanges. Mostly though it is our primary ID at Veterans Hospitals handed over as ID at the pharmacy and at pretty much every single reception desk we go to.

It's getting on close to 6 months and still nothing. I have looked around online and I found nothing regarding any snafu surrounding the issuance of our VA Health Care ID Cards. So what is up? Does anyone here know what the snafu is?

Bestest song with goats.


Who will be in Super Bowl 49?

Who do you predict will be in the next Super Bowl? If this thread generates enough interest, it is my intention to repost it the week prior to Super Bowl 49.

My prediction: The second ever repeat: Seattle Seahawks vs Denver Broncos.

FWIW, at the end of Super Bowl 47 I predicted Seattle and Denver to be in Super Bowl 48 but that prediction was made only among friends. This time, I want to be scoffed at by more than just my friends.

Is there something odd going on in Colorado?

(The Colorado reading just north of Denver peaked at 85 as I posted this)(second edit, it just went to 90 for a few minutes then dropped down to 75 as I post this edit)


Welcome to RadiationNetwork.com, home of the National Radiation Map, depicting environmental radiation levels across the USA, updated in real time every minute. This is the first web site where the average citizen (or anyone in the world) can see what radiation levels are anywhere in the USA at any time.

W.O.W.!!! Colorised photos from the past

No, not World Of Warcraft, these photos are each handcolored and stunning. if you've yet to see them I strongly urge you to take a looksee for yourself:

London 1945

Nicola Tesla

Baltimore Slums 1938

Walt Whitman 1887

and many more at:


Results: Open Poll, who is your favorite member of Congress?

I ran this informal open poll last week asking you who your favorite member of Congress is:


I did this in order to see if DU has changed overmuch since the last such poll (that I am aware of), which was taken a few years back. An interesting similarity regarding both polls was revealed in that it wasn't a Democrat but the Independent Senator Bernie Sanders who won both polls and did so each time by a substantial margin.

I think polls only deliver a slice of time. How well it reveals that slice of time is dependent upon the amount of participation by those polled. I had only 72 votes, (including nay and rejected votes), out of over a thousand views. I had to reject 12 votes because they chose more than one selection or claimed unable to choose a favorite.

Needless to say, like all pollsters I wished for a higher amount of participation. Personally, I believe that a poll such as this, run through the various high trafficked Democratic or liberal blogs and forums and pushed for high participation, can have an influence on how our members of Congress act. Of course that influence would be dependent upon the polls' turnout. One can only imagine what a result similar to the one we have here but with more than a million polled might have on our members of Congress.

Here then are the results from 60 participating DUers:

Sen. Bernie Sanders: 10

Rep. Alan Greyson: 6
Sen. Elizabeth Warren: 6

Sen. Sherrod Brown: 5
Sen. Al Franken: 5

Sen. Jeff Merkley: 3

Rep. Elijah Cummings: 2
Rep. John Lewis: 2
Sen. Ron Wyden: 2

Rep. Julie Brownley: 1
Sen. Barbara Boxer: 1
Rep. Lois Capps: 1
Rep. John Conyers: 1
Rep: John Dingell: 1
Rep. Lloyd Doggett: 1
Rep. Louis Gohmert: 1
Rep. Rush Holt: 1
Sen. Ted Kennedy: 1
Rep. Barbara Lee: 1
Sen. Carl Levin: 1
Rep. Jim McGovern: 1
Rep. Jerry Nadler: 1
Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton: 1
Rep. Jared Polis: 1

My thanks to all my fellow DUers who participated.

Who is your favorite Congresscritter?

I have placed an open poll over in GD asking our fellow DUers to submit their favorite Congressperson. A few years back a similar poll was run and I found the result quite surprising. Things have changed dramatically since then and I would very much like to see if the DU has changed as well. (I have more motive than that but I wish to not skew the results so I'll keep it to myself for now thank you). I would be quite grateful to any here who could spare a moment to visit the poll and add their selection of a favorite Congressperson. http://www.democraticunderground.com/10024066046

Open Poll: Who is your favorite Member of Congress

A few years back the Big DU was asked this question, I thought it was very revealing. Times have changed since then but I believe this poll could be equally revealing. I will let this soak a day or so then tally it up and post the results. Just one name only, House or Senate, who is your favorite?

Of the three I care the most for, Bernie Sanders has earned my vote in this poll.

Cannabis. Can We Talk Openly DU?

Slowly slowly slowly prohibition is being repealed. Eventually it will be legal to smoke it, to have it, to grow it and to distribute it. The hows, whys, where-fors and regulations of this topic are still up in the air though. I would like to propose that DU start a new forum "All Things Cannabis"

So why would this topic be worthy of its own forum here at DU?

Economics on both a micro and nationwide scale are in play regarding cannabis products. This topic alone would generate an interesting sub-forum that I predict will see a worthy amount of activity here at DU.

The political struggle for legalization will generate its own interest here.

Growers tips and recipes will generate further threads within the forum.

If the notion of DU members discussing doing illegal things makes this forum a non-starter, may I suggest there are ways around this. The Forum would have topic specific rules: No self incriminating admission of law breaking would be the most important rule. If the DUer lives in a state where growing pot is illegal then that DUer would not be allowed to discuss his or her personal grow operation. Instead that DUer would refer to it as 'a friends' grow op-the 'friend' referred to residing in a state where growing is regulated and legal.

Well there is my pitch for the All Things Cannabis forum, what are your thoughts? Has the time arrived yet, can we, should we do this?
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