Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Can the G.O.P. Survive?

This is a rather long, and probably somewhat rambling and disjointed post, so please bear with me and share your opinions when you are finished.

I am beginning to wonder if the Republican Party will survive this election season. There are reports now of splits on a few issues, such as gay marriage, that are creating a growing rift between McCain and Palin. In addition, Palin feels she is being mishandled by the McCain campaign. Today, she said she definitely wants to remain a figure in national politics.

I would characterize myself as a left-leaning independent. A lot of people would probably say that I am a Democrat. I have voted for Republicans in the past, but some of the reasons that I would have voted for a Republican are just no longer there.

For example, the Republicans have always said that they are a party of fiscal conservatives. I can't see how they can claim that any longer, at least not with a straight face.

They also claim to be more ethical and to place more value on family values than the Democrats. Just look back at the last several years, and you will find that there are a lot of Republican names on the list of unethical or unfaithful congressmen, right alongside the Democrats.

They also try to pass themselves off as the party that takes care of the military, but I don't necessarily agree with that. In fact, the biggest jump in my quality of life in the military came due to changes made by Admiral Boorda during the Clinton administration.

McCain refused to endorse the new G.I. bill that Webb sponsored. He said that he had come up with a superior bill, but his initial reason not to support it was that it was too generous and would induce people to leave the military early. There was no push by the Republicans to improve care for the war veterans until the media started to show the inadequate conditions that prevailed at many of the VA hospitals. Bush last year gave the military a pay raise that was 1/2% lower than the one approved by congress, because that extra 1/2% was unnecessary. The rationale was that it would take money away from other programs that benefited the military. He also supported raising Tricare fees for retirees. Rationale for that was essentially the same, saving Tricare money so that it could be used for other military programs. Kind of a redistribution of the troop's money, in my opinion. Take it out of the pockets of military members, because the government can spend it better. This is decidedly not a conservative view point.

McCain has never really looked all the comfortable to me while he is trying to appeal to the far right members of the Republican party. Palin definitely appeals to this group. There is a far right component in the Republican party that seems to push a lot of people away from that party. I think as long as this group charts the course for the Republican party, they will remain out of power in Washington.

There seems to be a lot of difference in the party based on the region of the country that they are from. Here in Washington state, some of the Republicans are really distancing themselves from the national party. In 15 partisan offices up for grabs, 4 of the Republicans, including our Republican candidate for governor, refused to use the word Republican to describe themselves, opting to state their party preference as G.O.P. on the ballot.

I think there is a real possibility of the Republican party splitting into two parties. President Bush still has about a 25% job approval rating. Palin is extraordinarily popular with the far right wing. On the other hand, I think that politicians like Bush and Palin alienate a lot of moderate Republicans and scare off independent voters as well.

I also think that there are a lot of moderate Democrats that do not fully support their own party, because a lot of senior Democrats are too far left for comfort. Unfortunately, the alternative is to vote for McCain/Palin, and they would rather support their own party.

The only way a third party could ever form is to have viable candidates that are already well established in the political arena. Right now, a vote for anyone other than a Democrat and Republican is considered to be a wasted vote by most voters. Do you think that moderate Republicans might split off from the rest of the Republican party? If they do, do you think that some moderate Democrats would be willing to join them and form a true third party?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Disturbing News Item

I wish I could say that this kind of report surprised me, but I have been expecting that some white supremacist group or individual would eventually get it in their head to take a shot at Barack Obama. Apparently, a couple of nuts decided they were going to make themselves famous by killing 102 people at a predominantly African-American high school, and then go on a killing spree culminating with an assassination attempt on Obama. Luckily, the ATF was on the ball here, and put a stop to it before they went ahead with the attempt.

"Jim Cavanaugh, special agent in charge of ATF's Nashville field office, said the two men planned to shoot 88 black people and decapitate another 14. The numbers 88 and 14 are symbolic in the white supremacist community.

The men also sought to go on a national killing spree after the Tennessee murders, with Obama as its final target, Cavanaugh told The Associated Press."

Link to the Associated Press Story

I had a discussion with my dad and my uncle several months ago, about whether this sort of thing would happen or not. My dad felt that we were far enough along as a nation that Obama would not be a target because of his race. My uncle and I thought there might be a chance of something like this happening. Of course, we were talking of a more immediate threat, so I don't know if this really fits in with the discussion that we had.

I wonder if this is the first serious threat, or just the first one we have been told about. I guess for now, I will just say Bravo Zulu to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Keep up the good work, boys.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Say Something Stupid

I caught this video on The Daily Show or Colbert Report last night, can't quite remember which one. I just remembered that it made me laugh. I am not the smoothest speaker in the world, so it makes me feel a little bit better about myself when I hear this kind of stuff.

McCain says something stupid:

In the interest of fairness, I dug up an older video of Obama saying something stupid.

Obama says something stupid:

Politicians, gotta love 'em. They only lie when their mouths are open.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hazing Kills Japanese Sailor

I reported on board the USS Los Angeles in 1996, about a year after a young sailor committed suicide following a hazing incident. This is my understanding what happened, although it is all second hand information and may not be entirely accurate.

The sailor had just received his dolphins and the ritual of "tacking on dolphins" went way too far, and when the command found out about it, they started an investigation. The crew was confined to the submarine until the command found out who was responsible. Naturally, everyone that was not involved put a lot of pressure on the kid to tell the investigators who had been involved, because they didn't want to be locked on the boat. The guys that were involved were pressuring him to keep his mouth shut.

The sailor was under a lot of pressure from both sides. He was then assigned a midwatch as the Petty Officer of the Deck and was left topside alone with a gun and bullets. Apparently, he felt it would be better to end his own life then to tell on the people that had assaulted him in the name of ritual and tradition.

As I said earlier, this happened about a year before I reported on board. When I arrived, there was an incredible level of sensitivity to anything that could be construed as hazing. Even the lightest tap on someones new crow or dolphins was strictly forbidden. I have heard of other hazing incidents, and some of them have really turned my stomach.

I just read an article about a Japanese submarine sailor that was dropping out of an elite navy training program in Japan, and in the name of tradition, had to engage in a 15 round kickboxing fight with his classmates.
"The 25-year-old petty officer died of internal injuries on Sept. 25, nearly two weeks after being knocked unconscious in the 15-round kick boxing-style fight, the ministry said in an interim report from the investigation."
Story from the Washington Times

The supervisors even signed off on this before it happened. I noticed in the report that the Japanese Navy did not even classify this as hazing, just a ritual that went too far. Well, they can call it what they want, I guess, but it doesn't change the fact that a young sailor died at the hands of his fellow sailors, and that their naval officials have to explain to the parents why this happened.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

USS San Francisco is Afloat

I just found an article in Military Times about the USS San Francisco. I had not realized that they had left dry dock, yet, but they were afloat about 11 days ago, following a bow-transplant from the USS Honolulu. There are a couple of pictures posted with this article, a before and an after. Nice to see the San Fran looking like a whole submarine again, although all of the equipment topside on the boat shows that she is still deeply entrenched in the shipyard.

Monday, October 20, 2008

From Russia, With (no) Love

Apparently, John McCain is getting pretty desperate for funding. He sent a letter to the Russian Ambassador to the United Nations asking for a donation to help him defeat Obama in the upcoming election.

This might indicate a softening of McCain's feelings towards Russia. It seems he considers the Russian Ambassador to be a friend, as stated in the letter:
"Dear Friend," begins the 6-page letter to Churkin, asking for up to $5,000 to defeat Sen. Barack Obama and help McCain "promote freedom and democracy throughout the world,"

Even an appeal to always put America first failed to win over the good ambassador.
"If I have the honor of continuing to serve you, I make you this promise: We will always put America — her strength, her ideals, her future — before every other consideration,” McCain assured Churkin. "
I guess this argument didn't sway Vitaly Churkin, as the Russian Ambassador declined to donate money.

Obviously, McCain had no intention of soliciting Russia for a campaign donation, but I got a pretty good laugh out of this article.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Cougars vs. Trojans: About what I expected.

The football game yesterday between USC and WSU went about how I expected.

Here is a picture of Coach Carroll from USC right before the game saying hello to some fans.

Seems like a pretty friendly fellow. I suppose he probably had a bigger smile on his face after the game.

I decided to get a picture of the scoreboard while the score was still tied. I was hoping to get a picture showing the Cougars leading USC, but it never happened. The Cougars never got the ball into USC territory all day. The furthest down the field they got was the 40 yard line, once, where the running back promptly fumbled the ball..USC recovered of course.

When all was said and done....the scoreboard tells the story, I guess. 69-0. Bright spots? Well, we blocked one out of their ten point-after-touchdown attempts, just barely avoiding a 70-0 loss. Now that would have been embarrassing!!!

Oh, well. At least I got to go see a college football game. That's always a good time, as long as you don't live and die based on how well your team performs. Fun day for me, anyhow.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Ready for some FOOTBALL!!!

Tomorrow, I will be attending a college football game. The mighty Trojans of USC will be here in Pullman to take on the WSU Cougars at Martin Stadium. Part of me is thrilled that I will be going to a college football game, because I think college football is one of the best sporting events that there is. Another part of me is dreading what is likely to be one of the worst blowouts in college football history, with my Cougars being on the losing side.

USC hasn't forgotten the bloody nose that was delivered to them by Oregon State and they are still looking for redemption.
"Southern California coach Pete Carroll vowed that his team wouldn’t take any game for granted after the Trojans fell out of the No. 1 spot in the country following a loss to an unranked opponent. He hopes to live up to his word during this week’s meeting with woeful Washington State."

I have been looking at some stats, and things aren't looking good for the Cougars. WSU has scored a total of 111 points this season while giving up 316 points. They have been outscored nearly 3 to 1. USC, on the other hand has scored 180 points while giving up only 47 points, outscoring opponents nearly 4 to 1. If these sort of statistics exhibit synergy, the Cougars could very well be outscored 12 to 1 tomorrow.

I am afraid tomorrow will be a bloodbath, and that it will all be Crimson and Gray blood being let on the field of battle.

Still, this is college football, and anything can happen. But it reminds me of an old Las Vegas saw comparing the odds of the typical honest gambler vs. the casinos:
"When a lamb is taken to slaughter, it is possible that the lamb could kill the butcher. But my money is on the butcher every time."
Still, things could be worse. At least I will be in the fresh air and sunshine watching football, instead of breathing recycled air and soaking in fluorescent light in a submerged tube. Life is grand.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

This last week has been pretty busy for me. The pace has been running pretty hard at school lately, between exams and presentations and reports. I have even had a few job interviews thrown in here and there. When I was in the Navy, I used to be able to function pretty well on just a few hours of sleep when it was necessary, but that is apparently a skill that has deteriorated for me. I am sure that I am not working as hard as I did when I was on a boat, but this last week has kind of worn me down.

I will be graduating in May, and I plan on sending out resumes next month. Our school has just had a job fair last week and I have had a couple of interviews already. It is pretty nice to be in demand. The job fair that I attended this year was targeted at people with technical degrees, mostly looking for engineers. They seem to be pretty enthusiastic about hiring people. Apparently, there are still more jobs out there than there are qualified people, and that is good for me.

The job fair I went to last year was more of a general one, than a technical one. I thought it was kind of depressing. There were a lot of retail stores, like Macy's and Sears. They were looking for business students, of course, but they were hiring for retail sales positions. I have to say that if I had just graduated with a degree, I would have been pretty disappointed to be offered a retail sales position. I guess you have to start somewhere. Better than a few journalism students that I overheard last year. They were going back home to live with their parents, because they weren't able to find anyone looking to take on a new journalist.

Anyway, I hope that things get back to a more sedate pace for a few weeks. I would still like to get a few more resumes out there and hopefully get a few more job interviews lined up. All in all, the job market looks pretty good for ex-nukes with a degree in chemical engineering. Hopefully, I will have a good job lined up in the next few months. It is a pretty novel concept that I may actually get to consider geographic location when deciding what job to take. It seems that my last ten years in the navy was a choice between Groton and Pearl Harbor.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Struggle to secure old sub's sail

A local veterans group in Phoenix, AZ is trying to get the sail from the USS Phoenix (SSN-702) for use in a cold war memorial. I really hope they succeed.

"This would be just one way to credit not only the people who rode that particular ship, but for the rest us who spent our careers under the umbrellas of the Cold War," said Jim Denzien, vice commander of the Phoenix chapter of Perch Base, a submarine veterans group that could soon take up the fight to build a USS Phoenix monument.

I don't know if it is something about Arizona in particular, but I do know that the city of Tucson was extremely supportive of the crew of the USS Tucson while I was aboard.

Unfortunately, that just is not the case here in Washington. Over the last several years, whenever the USS Olympia has wanted to do a namesake city visit, it is loudly protested by local whack-jobs in Olympia. The city council in Olympia has gone so far as to declare itself a "Nuclear Free Zone" with one former councilman, TJ Johnson, having gone so far as to call the USS Olympia a "public-financed killing machine."

I remember from my time on the USS Tucson, that there were many people in Tucson that considered it a matter of pride to have a nuclear submarine named after the city. They would frequently visit the submarine and maintain correspondence with the crew. When we moored in San Diego, you could be sure that members of their support organization would be there to visit the crew. They donated money to our Rec Fund so that we could have wonderful Christmas Parties. One restaurant in Tucson, El Charro, would regularly send us salsa, and I remember them going so far as to arrange a shipment of tamales to our boat.

Every year, some sailors from the USS Tucson get to visit Tucson. Even though they spend a lot of time walking around Tucson in dress whites, I have never heard anything but glowing reviews of the treatment they received in Tucson. They get to meet many people from the community and are given VIP treatment during their visit. There is no doubt that the people of Tucson are top-notch at maintaining a great relationship with the submarine that bears the name of their city. The organization that spearheads this support is the 770 club. Here is a link to the 770 Club website.

To the people in Phoenix, I wish you the best of luck in your attempt to maintain the history of the USS Phoenix and to honor the memory of those that protected the nation during the Cold War .

For those of you that have served on subs, what kind of relationship did your boat have with it's namesake city or state?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thievery Run Amok-Another Loan to AIG

It would appear that our leaders in Washington D.C. have decided that it will be necessary to transfer even more of our wealth upwards to AIG executives.

Last month, an $85 billion loan was extended to allow AIG to continue operations in order to prevent global financial chaos.

Immediately after receiving the bailout, these irresponsible, incompetent executives decided to use this money that was ripped out taxpayer hands to host a $400,000 retreat for it's top performers. The retreat included more than $200,000 in hotel rooms and over $20,000 in spa treatments. It seems pretty incredible that these executives have no qualms using taxpayer money to take care of their people after this massive redistribution of American wealth.

Luckily, our congressman learned a valuable lesson. They learned that these companies will not be good stewards of our tax dollars. This will prevent them from making the same mistake of putting tax payers on the hook for any more money to companies such as AIG.

At least, that was what I thought.

"The Federal Reserve on Wednesday agreed to provide insurance giant American International Group Inc. with a loan of up to $37.8 billion, on top of one made to the troubled company last month."

My only guess is that congress is intentionally trying to get run out of town. What other reason can their possibly be to actively help with this continued raping of the American tax payers that these large companies are engaging in?

The only bright spot that I can see is that we have prevented global financial chaos. If they hadn't taken away our money and given it to these soulless executive thieves, things could be really bad. Could you imagine how things would look if the Dow fell below 9000? Oh wait, never mind...maybe there is no upside to this thievery that congress is engaging in.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Reservist Under Attack

One of the first pieces of news that I came across today really got my blood boiling.

Burke Jensen is a reservist living in Kennewick, Washington. He bought a house in a new housing development. Shortly after, he was called to active duty. His pregnant wife went back east to stay with family while he is deployed to Kuwait.

Now, when he moved in to this house, the rules of the Homeowners Association stated that within a year of occupying the house, he was to have the yard landscaped. He apparently paid a landscaper thousands of dollars to get this done, but that landscaper abandoned the project.

Just about every person that I know would be sympathetic to Jensen's situation and cut the guy a little slack. The owner of the subdivision is not. This is his response to Jensen's situation:

"I really don't give a [expletive] where he is or what his problem is," said Chick Edwards, owner and developer of the 47-lot subdivision at the south end of Oak Street in Kennewick.

"It doesn't matter to me," said Edwards, who insists Jensen has violated terms of the homeowners-association covenants requiring that landscaping be completed within one year after an occupancy permit is issued for a home.

"[Jensen] doesn't have the right to walk away from his obligation," said Edwards, who as the developer is the only member of the homeowners association. "I have most of the property still, so I am the homeowners association," he said.

He is attempting to bring legal action against Jensen, even though the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act prevents any civil legal action from being taken against someone on active military duty overseas.

Chick Edwards sounds like a real jerk to me. I hope that he isn't able to sell another house in his sub-division and has to eat the property taxes on the empty houses forever. Why in the world would someone be such a jackass? I just don't understand this clowns attitude at all. He just seems like a pretty terrible person.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Presidential Debate

I am watching a repeat of the debate on television now. Unfortunately, this week has been jam-packed for me, between exams, reports, and job interviews, so I wasn't able to watch the debate live.

My impressions so far:

Obama: I think you are a fantastic candidate, but when the moderator tells you that you are out of time, wrap it up. I agree with your positions on health care (I mean that I think it should be a right) and I like the fact that you are thoughtful and avoid making rash statements.

McCain: I am glad that, for the most part, you avoided the smear and attacks tonight. I have regained a large measure of respect for you personally. Please reign in your campaign managers. You have served your country with honor and dignity in the past and hope that you will continue to do so in the future.

This debate did not change my mind. I supported Obama before and I continue to support him now.

I certainly hope that Obama wins the election. I hope that McCain continues to serve his country. It may just be a pipe dream on my part, but I would love to see Obama win and would love to see McCain retire from the senate and take up a role such as Secretary of Defense or National Security Adviser. Well, thinking on it a little more, I know that it is a pipe dream, but after years of sleeping in big pipes far under the ocean, I guess I have had a lot of pipe dreams.

I believe that in most areas, the Democrats have better ideas, but I can't recall ever voting a straight party ticket. I usually vote for some Democrats and some Republicans. They both have a lot to offer the nation, but I think a mix and a balance of both are appropriate.

Monday, October 6, 2008

It's Good to be Rich

A Russian billionaire, Roman Abramovich, is having a $400 million dollar yacht built. Now, in and of itself, this is probably not particularly interesting news unless you happen to be the salesman taking home a commission for this purchase.

What I find interesting about this yacht is that it has some features that I would not have considered putting on board a yacht. For example, it includes armor plating and bulletproof windows on the bridge and around Abromovich's cabin. I guess the poor schmucks that run the yacht don't rate that kind of protection. In addition, it will come equipped with a radar system designed to give them early warning of a missile attack, a helipad, and even a mini-submarine capable of diving to 160 feet which can be used to escape from the yacht in the event of an attack.

I know that pirate attacks are a very real concern these days, but where the heck does the guy plan on sailing this thing. The Straits of Malaka or maybe off the coast of Somalia? Well, to each his own, I guess.

Here is a link to an article that includes a conceptual drawing of the yacht. Looks pretty cool.

And I would also like to send out a belated Happy Birthday to Hooters. Hooters is celebrating 25 years of being "delightfully tacky, yet unrefined." Congratulations.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The New iArmy?

I remember from my first decade of service how slow and cautious the Navy is when it comes to incorporating new technology into it's ships. The differences between my first boat, the USS Shark, and the later submarines that I served on, culminating with duty aboard the USS Tucson, are like night and day. The Navy eventually embraced the idea of bringing it's ships into the 21st century and the results have made the Navy a more capable fighting force. Incorporation of modern computers into many ship's systems has enabled sailors to more efficiently perform the duties that are necessary to make a ship a deadly instrument of war.

The Army is looking at ways to utilize the latest civilian technology to help complete it's missions. The iPhone is receiving some pretty serious attention based on it's ability to incorporate so many useful functions in one small package. The idea of a hand-held communication device, GPS system, camera, photo storage, and a host of other applications has piqued the interest of the Army's technology geeks. One innovative idea is the use of an application that allows the iPhone to control a tactical mobile robot for EOD purposes and for missions on the battlefield.

“The iPhone has tremendous potential as a mobile device for the Army because it really is a computer platform that happens to have a phone in it,” Wallington said.

One Army vendor, iRobot, has seen an application developed for the iPhone to control its PackBot, a lightweight tactical mobile robot capable of performing such dangerous battlefield missions as explosive ordnance reconnaissance, identification and disposal.

Wallington said the same iPhone capability that serves as a control device for digital games can be used to steer and drive the robot."

Obviously, the Army will have to do a lot of work to ensure the security of the iPhone is sufficient to allow it to be used for sensitive information. Technology is becoming so sophisticated and they would have to be very certain that there are no "backdoors" that would compromise mission security. I am sure that the Army is well aware of the threat posed by a potential cyber warfare campaign. Widespread use of iPhones in mission planning and execution would provide one more potential opening to that threat.

There are also a few more practical considerations. For example, what if a soldier drops their iPhone in the toilet just moments before a big battle is to take place? He could potentially compromise the mission by dropping out of the communications loop. Even worse, he could become trapped in his zeal to retrieve this vital piece of equipment, similar to the poor fellow in this article.

It gets even worse. The soldiers may find themselves using pit latrines. Dropping an cell phone in a place like that can create a potentially deadly situation!!!

Think I'm exaggerating? Read this article to learn just how deadly this situation can be.

I am sure that the iPhone or an iPhone-like device will be incorporated at some point. They are a virtual gold-mine of applications wrapped up into one tiny little package and that is too valuable to pass up.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

My Concerns About the Bailout

The House of Representatives will be voting on a "sweeter" bailout plan later today. I still have mixed feelings about this piece of legislation. Our elected officials, in their zeal to do something, do anything, are still running around like chickens with their heads cut off to get something done.

I still haven't heard anything specific about what bad things are going to happen. We are being fed vague threats about "millions of jobs lost" and "a severe economic downturn" and "YOUR bank could fail." One of the ones that I have heard in the last few days is that consumers may not be able to get car loans. Are we really being threatened by the economy, or just being held hostage by financial powerhouses on Wall Street? The banks are telling us that they can't extend us credit unless we give them huge amounts of money.

The underlying cause of this whole mess is that too-easy credit was being extended to people that can't pay it back. Now we propose pumping billions of dollars into the banking system so that the credit market can again start offering credit to businesses and people. It seems that we are just going to be perpetuating the problem. If lax credit terms were what got us into this mess, then maybe tightening credit is a necessary outcome of this crisis.

The recent plunges and rebounds of the stock market are making people jittery. Everyone seems to agree that this is because of the collapse of the housing bubble. Now that credit is being withheld, people can't buy houses and house prices are falling. Housing prices have been rising at an artificially high rate due to the amount of money that has been made available to borrowers. The market is readjusting to more realistic housing prices.

The painful reality of peoples houses becoming worth less than they were purchased for is also being used against the American people. President Bush, in an address to the nation yesterday, threatened Americans that they would lose equity in their homes. Again, the proposal is to pump billions of dollars into the credit market to allow easing of lending standards which will artificially prop up housing prices, perpetuating the housing bubble.

This is a painful time and comparisons have been made to Japans "stagflation" that lasted several years. We may be heading towards that. Is the answer really to let our government spend billions or maybe even in excess of a trillion dollars to support a bubble? All we are going to do is devalue the American dollar further and delay the inevitable market adjustments.

Banks will get back in the business of lending money. That's what banks do. Will their standards for lending be higher? Yes. Is that a bad thing? I don't think so, especially since easy credit is what got us here in the first place.

In any case, our politicians are proposing a huge bailout without doing any real homework and without studying the problem and without truly informing the public how our money is being used. They think the American people are too stupid to really understand the problem, so we are again being fed the line "Trust us...we know whats best for you." Too bad they have abused that trust so many times in the past and Americans no longer feel confidence in our elected officials. Does anybody else think that our elected officials are being overly hasty in their rush to force the Americans taxpayers to bail out big business?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Has MacGyver Turned to a Life Of Crime?

This is a pretty creative armored-car heist. Craigslist and an innertube? Apparently, our brave robber used Craigslist to bring several similarly dressed men to act as decoys, and with only pepper-spray and an innertube, pulled off his crime. Sounds like MacGyver building a truck out of a paperclip and a piece of bubblegum!

"According to witnesses, the man grabbed the money and ran about 100 yards to Woods Creek, Willis said. Police believe the man jumped into an inner tube and floated westbound in the direction of the nearby Skykomish River."

I wonder if they are going to catch the guy. In fact, I wonder why he got away in the first place. A river gives you pretty limited options to the path that you will follow in your getaway.