How a Rusty Monkey Wrench took down a U.S. Fleet

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Any individual, business, or government can throw money at initiatives, but when the real test comes, only smart creative thinking will make true breakthroughs.


Remember when you played soldiers as a kid? Sometimes the kids down the street would have better toy guns than you. Maybe they had those fancy Nerf guns and all you had were simple rubber band guns. And when things weren’t going so well for one of the teams, they’d call time out and try to change the rules.

Now although I don’t play soldiers anymore because I’ve grown up, although I still eat Fruity Pebbles cereal, the military does and they call these ‘War Games’. The biggest war game was called the Millennium Challenge. It happened in 2002 and over 13,000 troops participated. These troops along with real and virtual military planes and warships were spread out across the Middle East. There were two teams – the blue team was the United States of course and the red team was the bad guys.

The blue team had new technology at their disposal. They had precision guided missiles, overhead surveillance systems, several warships including an aircraft carrier, and thousands of marines. The red team, which was led by retired marine, Lt General Paul Van Riper, appreciated that new technology, but unfortunately was not allowed to use it at his disposal. Instead, General Paul Riper was given a fleet of small and inexpensive boats and planes – most of them civilian, along with some machine guns, rockets, and small army. One could have said this was like Germany taking on the Vatican Army. Surely General Paul Riper and his army are going to get crushed. But General Riper was not frightened by the overwhelming force. He put his mind to the problem: how can I adapt and avoid this overwhelming force and yet do damage against the United States?

So after two years of planning, the Generals and Admirals who were commanding the blue team were excited to begin the Millennium Challenge. As the war game began, the U.S. fleet entered the make believe Persian Gulf determined to overwhelm General Riper’s forces. Assessing the situation, General Riper reacted and began to give orders. But he did not give orders using radio transmission – those orders might have been intercepted. Instead, he sent coded messages delivered by motorcycle messengers. He also announced these codes messages from mosques throughout the area. After the orders were received, wave after wave of those small civilian boats headed out into the Persian Gulf and began swarming the naval convoy from all directions. They fired at the U.S. fleet with rockets and machine guns. Bratatatatatat. Some boats were loaded with explosives and they crashed into the U.S. boats damaging them severely. The sheer numbers of the civilian boats and speedboats overloaded the blue team’s ability, both mentally and electronically, to handle the attack.


Within 30 minutes, 16 U.S. war ships including thousands of marines were sunk. Within half an hour, General Van Riper, who did not have the latest military weapons or technology, who was only given a fleet of small and inexpensive civilian boats and airplanes, sunk 16 U.S. Navy warships and thousands of marines. If this war really had happened, it would have been the worst naval disaster since Pearl Harbor.


Any individual, business, or government can throw money at problems, but when the real test comes, only smart creative thinking will make true breakthroughs. General Paul Riper illustrated a very cheap way to beat a very expensive fleet. The blue team considered themselves invincible and thought they were going to dominate the battlefield. Imagine the look on the blue team’s Generals and Admirals faces after they got their butt kicked. I bet it was Priceless.

General Paul Riper, despite having limited resources, put his mind to the problem – let’s think of a way we can adapt to the situation, avoid the overwhelming U.S forces, and yet still do damage against the opposition. When it comes to smart creative thinking, I think Robert Hughes said it best – “a determined soul will do more with a rusty monkey wrench than a loafer will accomplish with all the tools in a machine shop.”

Some people might think that this would never happen. For me, the story of General Van Riper and the Millennium Challenge reminds me of the American Revolutionary War. When the war began, the 13 colonies lacked a professional army or navy. Instead, each colony sponsored a local militia. Militiamen were lightly armed and had little training. In fact, most of them did not even have uniforms. Their units served for only a few weeks or months at a time, and they were reluctant to travel far from home and thus were unavailable for extended operations. They lacked the training and discipline of soldiers with more experience. However, if properly used, their numbers could overwhelm British forces. And guess who won that war.

13 colonies

I bet at the battle of Yorktown, the last major battle during the American Revolutionary war, the British General, Lord Cornwallis, who was commanding the British army, as he saw his enemy being defeated by these militiamen, probably wanted to call ‘time-out’ – you know, like what we used to do as kids when things weren’t going our way.


How many People per Electoral Vote?

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How many people are required per electoral vote? Well the answer depends on which state you are referring to. As you can see above, 660,000 people in Texas make up one electoral vote. In Vermont however, 208,000 people make up one electoral vote. So in essence, a Texan’s vote is equal to one-third (actually less) that of a Vermont resident’s vote.


Psychologically, Republicans and Democrats are different

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Original article by Emily Laber-Warren, “Calling a Truce in the Political Wars”. Featured in Scientific American Mind, Sept. 2012.

Psychologically, Republicans and Democrats are different. This isn’t just my opinion, but there are actual studies that show how liberals and conservatives are different in their personalities and even their unconscious reactions to the world around them.

Conservatives are self-disciplined while Liberals are novelty-seeking

In a 2008 study, examining the contents of 76 college students’ bedrooms, it was revealed that conservatives possessed more cleaning and organizational items such as ironing boards and calendars, confirming that they are orderly and self-disciplined. Liberals owned more books and travel-related memorabilia, which conforms with previous research suggesting that they are open and novelty-seeking.

Liberals are reluctant to harm a living thing, yet are willing to disrespect authority

In a 2009 study, 8,000 people with a series of hypothetical actions. Among them: kick a dog in the head; discard a box of ballots to help your candidate win; publicly bet against a favorite sports team; and receive a blood transfusion from a child molester. Participants had to say whether they would do these deeds for money and, if so, for how much – $10? $1,000? $100,000? More?

Liberals were reluctant to harm a living thing or act unfairly, even for $1 million, but they were willing to betray group loyalty and disrespect authority. Conservatives said they were less willing to compromise on any of the moral categories.

Conservatives are more attuned to assessing potential threats

In a 2009 study, when viewing a collage of photographs, conservatives’ eyes unconsciously lingered 15 percent longer on repellent images, such as car wrecks – suggesting that conservatives are more attuned than liberals to assessing potential threats.

Well this is all very interesting, but is there a point?

According to psychologist Jonathan Haidt, liberals and conservatives are equally grounded in ethics. Liberals should acknowledge that the Right’s emphasis on laws, institutions, customs and religion is valuable. Conservatives recognize that democracy is a huge achievement and that maintaining the social order requires imposing constraints on people.

Liberal values, on the other hand, also serve important roles: ensuring that the rights of weaker members of society are respected; limiting the harmful effects, such as pollution, that corporations sometimes pass on to others; and fostering innovation by supporting diverse ideas and ways of life.

Congress is in a perpetual stalemate because of the parties’ inability to find middle ground on practically anything.

Although conservatives and liberals are fundamentally different, hints are emerging about how to help them coexist. Even if their views clash, they are equally grounded in ethics. Haidt is not out to change people’s deepest moral beliefs. Yet he thinks that if people could see that those they disagree with are not immoral but simply emphasizing different moral principles, some of the antagonism would subside. To learn more, check out Haidt’s The Righteous Mind – Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religions.

What is the total debt per US Citizen?

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Ever wonder what the total debt per US Citizen is? Do you know what the US budget is for Medicare, Social Security, and Defense? Or how about our trade deficit with China?

I stumbled across this real-time clock that shows a wealth of information regarding our national debt, but most of all, just how deep our country has dug itself. Feel free to take a look and get depressed. Visit

How Texas Firearms Laws Aid Mexican Cartels

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If the Federal law banning sales of assault weapons had not expire in 2004, the blood shed between Mexican cartels over the past several years might not have risen so dramatically. Such assault weapons cannot be bought legally in Mexico. Thus, the cartels rely on gun traffickers to supply them with high power guns such as M-16s and AR-15s that are bought in the States, particularly in Texas.

Since President Calderon began a military offensive aimed at topping cartels, 40,000 lives have been claimed and about 90% of guns submitted for tracing by Mexican authorities that were used in the killings are from the US. These guns aren’t being used as ‘modern sports rifles’ – a name Firearms industry trade groups like to use when labeling rifles such as AK-47s. So how are Texas Firearms laws help contributing to this chaos more so than other states?

In California for instance, there is a low total to strict state firearms laws that severely limit sales of  military style weaponry. In other words, you cannot go into a gun shop and purchase 20 AK-47s at a time like you can in a Houston gun shop. That’s right. You can walk into a gun shop in Texas and purchase 5, 10, 20 .223 caliber AR-15s at a time in cash. Who the hell needs 5 M-16 like guns much less one?

After purchase, Texas gun brokers make a deal with gun traffickers who sell the guns to cartels at 3-4 times the price. Gun advocates insists that the laws are sufficient to control such trafficking – a hell of a statement given that bloodshed, decapitated heads, and innocent killings are now part of the daily life in Mexico.

Original story ‘Drug Gangs Match Police Power’, Houston Chronicle, Sunday, May 29, 2011, A18.

Cities in Harris County

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Help spread the word about SeeClickFix to your local Government officials! Find your city below along with the department you’d like to contact. Shoot them an email or give them a call. Feel free to use this general letter and edit it as you like. 10 people will make more noise than 1,000 who are quiet!

City / Dept.                             Email                                                  Phone


Mayor                                                   713-837-0311

Chief of Police                     713-308-1600

Citizens Assistance Office            832-393-0955


Mayor & City Council                        281-422-8281

Baytown City Manager                 281-420-6500

Baytown Police                                        281-422-8371


Mayor  & City Council                   713-662-8222

City Manager                             713-662-8222

Chief of Police                                713-668-0487


Mayor                                            936-522-3010

City Administrator                  Email                                                   936-522-3001

Chief of Police                        Email                                                   936-522-3885


Mayor & City Council                       281-478-7241

City Manager                                      281-478-7246

Public Works Director                   281-478-7243


City Manager                                    281-996-3250

Chief of Police                                                                                    281-996-3313

Parks & Recreation                              281-996-3220

Hedwig Village

Mayor and Police Dept.                                                                      713-465-6009

City Secretary                 713-465-6009

Hilshire Village

Mayor                                    713-410-6914

Chief of Police                                                                                    713-465-8323


Police Department                                                                              281-446-7127

Public Works Department                                                                   281-446-2327

City Manager                


Police Department                                       281-391-4848

Public Works Department                                                                   281-391-4820

Streets Department                                                                             281-391-4820


Police Department                             281-334-5414

City Administrator                                                                              281-334-1611

La Porte

Mayor                                 281-471-5020

Police Department                              281-471-3811

Citizen’s Hotline               866-642-4153

League City

Mayor                                        281-554-1024

City Manager                            281-554-1020

Police Department                                                                              281-332-2566

Missouri City

City Manager                            281-403-8500

Police Chief                            281-403-8700

Public Works                 

Morgan’s Point

City Administrator        

Police Chief                  

Nassau Bay

Mayor                                                  281-333-4211

Police Chief                      281-333-2212

Public Works                                 281-333-4211


Mayor                             713-475-5501

Police Chief                      713-477-1221

Emergency Management                713-475-5588


Mayor                                          281-652-1654

Police Chief                                         281-997-4100

Public Works                                 281-652-1900


Mayor                                                   281-291-5600

City Manager                                         281-291-5688

Police Chief                                 281-291-5610


City Administrator                    281-471-2244

Mayor                                               281-470-6451

Police Department                               281-326-5900

Southside Place

City Manager                                   713-668-2341

Spring Valley

Mayor                                                     713-465-8308

City Administrator  

Police Chief                  713-465-8323


Mayor                                                 281-261-3900

Police Department                                                                                 281-261-3950

Sugar Land

Mayor                                              281-275-2714

Police Department                              281-275-2500

City Manager                                    281-275-2714


Mayor                                                      281-351-5484

City Manager                           281-290-1006

Police Chief                                           281-351-5451



City Manager                                    281-332-1826

Police Chief                                    281-332-2426


West University

Mayor                                                            713-662-5801

Police Chief                                              713-662-5862

City Manager                                              713-662-5810