FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day October 5th through 7th 2018

FOD Saying of the Day

How can anyone govern a nation that has two hundred and forty six different kinds of cheese?  – Charles de Gaulle 

FOD Trivia Question – It’s A Science Question

A molecule of linked amino acids is a _________________.

Previous FOD Trivia Answer

What vaccine was developed in 1955 while Dwight D. Eisenhower was President of the United States?  Hint – It’s been covered in FOD  Answer:  The Polio Vaccine also known as the Salk Vaccine

 

Leadership of Fear

Air Force Times is reporting Col. David Owens was fired from command of the 317th Airlift Wing at Dyess Air Force Base in Texas after an investigation outlined a repeated pattern of berating and ridiculing airmen under his command and toxic leadershipA commander-directed investigation, dated April 4 and obtained by Air Force Times through the Freedom of Information Act, found that at times, Owens’ anger and intimidation of his airmen rose to the level of inflicting “psychological abuse that degraded or insulted members of his command.”  The investigation also substantiated allegations that Owens had “failed to establish and maintain a healthy command climate” at the 317th by “displaying unreasonable anger of physical aggression … upon receiving unexpected or unwelcome news from subordinates” and “regularly subjecting … commanders and senior enlisted personnel to public ridicule at weekly leadership meetings for perceived shortcomings or failures to perform.”  Owens once even “became visibly angry” after birds defecated on his personal vehicle, the report said.  (Fireball note:  Well that’s totally understandable.)  In a related story President Trump is considering firing U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson after the midterm elections due to her perceived slow-rolling of his order to create a separate Space Force, according to a report from Foreign Policy.

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson testifies before the Senate Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Defense May 17, 2018, in Washington, D.C. (Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Rusty Frank)

In an article posted online Thursday afternoon, Foreign Policy reported that Trump and Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan are “angered … with what is seen as a campaign to undermine the Space Force effort” by Wilson. Citing three unnamed sources, Foreign Policy reported that Trump has not made a final decision on firing Wilson, but that potential replacements, including Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., are being considered.  When asked to comment by Air Force Times, the service referred any questions to the White House.  Wilson was previously a critic of proposals to create a sixth separate branch of the military to handle space operations, and told Congress that taking space operations out of the Air Force would jeopardize its efforts to integrate space with other war-fighting operations.  But at the Defense News Conference last month, Wilson said she was in “complete alignment” with Trump’s order to create a Space Force.  “If we’re going to do this, let’s propose to do it right,” Wilson said. “Let’s have this debate, support the president’s proposal and put it forward — and make sure that we don’t do this with half measures.”  Wilson incurred Trump’s wrath this summer, when the White House deemed the Air Force’s first draft of a plan to stand up a Space Force inadequate and rejected it.  In a Sept. 14 memo signed by Wilson, the Air Force estimated that creating a Space Force would cost $13 billion over five years. Some experts, such as Todd Harrison of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that estimate was grossly inflated. (Fireball note:  This is the Air Force.  They will want to build a golf course and then consider a Space Command, but likely this is a conservative estimate.)  Harrison suggested the Air Force’s estimate may be an effort to “sabotage the idea by making it seem much broader and more expensive than it really would be.”  But skeptical lawmakers, including such Republicans as Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado, felt the projected price tag reinforced their concern that creating a new Space Force would be an expensive, unnecessary boondoggle.  And then there is the current Attorney General of the UnitedStates Jeff Sessions.  Does anyone see a common thread?

 

 

 

 

 

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FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day September 18th through 22nd 2018

FOD Saying of the Day

The secret of Happiness in Freedom, and the secret of Freedom, Courage – Thucydides

FOD Trivia Question

The infamous carnivorous Venus Fly Trap is obliged to devour insects because the surrounding soil is deficient in this chemical.

Previous FOD Trivia Answer

What is the name given to the heat used to turn a liquid into a gas or a liquid into a solid rather than to raise temperature?  Answer: Latent Heat

 

Senate Passes Defense Spending Bill

An important piece of legislation was passed by the Senate this week – the DoD Defense Authorization Bill allowing DoD to complete the upcoming FY planning and lessens the impact of a potential Government shutdown.  Military Times is reporting with the fiscal year winding down, Senate lawmakers on Tuesday advanced a multi-agency appropriations deal that would prevent a government shutdown and give the Defense Department its full-year budget on schedule for the first time in a decade.  The measure, which provides for more than $606 billion in base defense spending and nearly $68 billion more in overseas contingency funds, is in line with White House requests and spending targets outlined in the annual defense authorization bill approved earlier this summer.  The funding total — approved by a 93-7 vote — amounts to an increase of more than 3 percent for military spending in fiscal 2019, but as important as the boost is the timing of the measure.  In recent years, Congress has struggled to pass any appropriations measures before the start of the new fiscal year, relying instead on a series of budget extensions to avoid partial government shutdowns.  That has infuriated Pentagon leaders, who have said the fractured appropriations process prevents them from keeping equipment purchases and new program starts on time.  (Fireball note: And it always costs the taxpayers and DoD more money when there are contract delays, contract changes and both contribute to decreased readiness.)  If the House finalizes the appropriations measure next week and President Donald Trump signs it into law in the following week (all parties involved have already signaled they expect to do so), it will mark the first time since 2008 that Congress and the White House have passed their spending plans on time.  The measure funds a 2.6 percent pay raise for troops starting next January and a boost in military end strength of 16,400 spread across the active-duty and reserve forces.  Operation and maintenance spending totals $243.2 billion of the defense total, and research and development efforts another $96.1 billion. Defense health and military family programs would receive $34.4 billion.  The appropriations fund 13 new Navy ships ― including three DDG-51 guided missile destroyers and two Virginia-class submarines ― 93 F-35 aircraft, 58 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, 66 AH-64 Apache helicopters, 13 V-22 aircraft, and $1.5 billion for the upgrade of 135 Abrams tanks.  The National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account would also see a $1.3 billion boost from the appropriations plan.  In order to avoid political fights over non-defense spending levels, lawmakers agreed to package the military budget bill with the full-year funding for the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Education.  In addition, the legislation contains a budget extension for a handful of agency budgets lawmakers have not yet finished negotiating. The move will prevent a government shutdown at the end of the month, when the fiscal year ends.  Several senators lamented before the vote that all of the appropriations bills have not yet been finalized, but for the first time in years, defense advocates aren’t among those complaining.  In addition to the full Defense Department appropriations plan, lawmakers last week finalized a spending plan for military construction projects and the Department of Veterans Affairs, covering nearly all aspects of national defense and military personnel spending.  President Trump has taken to social media but tweeting “I want to know, where is the money for Border Security and the WALL in this ridiculous Spending Bill, and where will it come from after the Midterms?” the president wrote. “Dems are obstructing Law Enforcement and Border Security. REPUBLICANS MUST FINALLY GET TOUGH!”  So lots of turmoil to follow.

 

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FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day August 16th through 21st 2018

FOD Saying of the Day

I learned years ago, never wrestle with a pig.  You both get dirty and the besides, the pig likes it.  – George Bernard Shaw

 

FOD Trivia Question

The first inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt as the 32nd President of the United States was held on Saturday, March 4, 1933.  After taking the oath of office, Roosevelt proceeded to deliver his 1,883-word, 20 minute-long inaugural address, best known for his famously pointed reference to “fear itself” in one of its first lines:  So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. And I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days. The phrase “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” is actually paraphrased from an earlier adage: “Nothing is so much to be feared as fear.”  This was originally penned in 1841 by what famous nature-loving philosopher and author?

 

Previous FOD Trivia Answer

Who said, “My wife and I were happy for 20 years.  And then we met.”  Answer:  Rodney Dangerfield.

 

 

President and Pentagon Postpone Parade

Maybe smarter heads have prevailed.  Military Times is reporting that on Thursday evening (August 16), the Pentagon announced that President Donald J. Trump’s military parade through the nation’s capital will be postponed until 2019.  Department of Defense spokesman Col. Rob Manning told reporters that both the military and White House “have now agreed to explore opportunities in 2019,” delaying the Nov. 10 parade championed by the president to honor the troops and commemorate the centennial of World War I.  No makeup date for the procession has been scheduled but the Pentagon move came hours after The Associated Press and other media outlets reported that military officials pegged the price tag for Trump’s event at $92 million.  That’s at least three times higher than what White House budget director Mick Mulvaney told lawmakers it would cost during Capitol Hill testimony on Feb. 14.  Citing anonymous Pentagon sources, the AP reported that parade planners needed about $50 million to fund aircraft flyovers, equipment, personnel and other expenses. Other agencies would combine to pay a $42 million tab for other expenditures, mostly security along a parade route winding from the White House to the Capitol.  Secretary of Defense James Mattis, a retired Marine four-star general, had defended the parade by saying it arose from Trump’s genuine affection for the armed forces.  (Fireball note:  What the hell does that mean?  I’m sure we could find a better place to spent $92M.)  But many troops privately grumbled about being dragooned to march during what traditionally has been a four-day weekend away from their military duties.  Critics also lambasted the administration for spending tens of millions of dollars on the November spectacle after Trump canceled military maneuvers with South Korea partly because they would cost “a tremendous amount of money,” a sum the military later estimated at $14 million.  Others had questioned whether the procession would resemble the military marches favored by dictators such as North Korea’s strongman Kim Jong-un, who told Trump during nuclear talks that he considered America’s war games with Seoul to be provocative.  But supporters of Trump’s parade pointed to similar celebrations in democracies such as France’s Bastille Day procession.  (Fireball note:  Hey it’s France – it doesn’t count.)  Eyeing Paris, Trump had said that his administration was “going to have to try and top it” in November.  Military support for events in the capital isn’t unusual. More than 5,000 troops from the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, including reserve and National Guard personnel, supported Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017.  A Department of Defense memo released in March revealed that the president’s November celebration would feature a “heavy air component” but “wheeled vehicles only, no tanks” because of concerns the treads would chew up the capital’s roadways.  That happened in 1991, when Washington officials held a parade to honor troops home from the war in Iraq.  On Thursday, most veterans organizations remained silent about the parade’s postponement, but two groups took to Twitter to praise the decision.  “The American Legion appreciates that our President wants to show in a dramatic fashion our nation’s support for our troops,” National Commander Denise Rohan said. “However, until such time as we can celebrate victory in the War on Terrorism and bring our military home, we think the parade money would be better spent fully funding the Department of Veteran Affairs and giving our troops and their families the best care possible.”  Will C. Fischer, the director of government relations for the left-leaning Vote Vets, added that his group “always felt that blowing millions, and wasting the military’s time, so Trump could feel like a big authoritarian, was a bad idea. We will continue to oppose this parade, if it ever arises again.”  (Fireball note: Thanks for your continued opposition.).

 

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FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day August 12th through 15th 2018

FOD Saying of the Day

The most important thing a man can know is that, as he approaches his own door, someone on the other side is listening for the sound of his footsteps.   – Clark Gable

 

FOD Trivia Question

Who said, “My wife and I were happy for 20 years.  And then we met.”

 

Previous FOD Trivia Answer

Only one state of the United States has never had a foreign flag fly over it.  Which state is this that was never claimed by a foreign country? Answer:  Idaho

 

International Lefthanders Day

International Left Handers Day is observed annually on August 13 to celebrate the uniqueness and differences of the left handers. The day was first observed in the year 1976 by Dean R. Campbell, founder of the Lefthanders International, Inc.  International Left Handers Day was created to celebrate certain people’s sinistrality and raise awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of being left-handed in a predominantly right-handed world.

It celebrates their uniqueness and differences, who are from seven to ten percent of the world’s population.  The day also spread awareness on issues faced by left-handers e.g. the importance of the special needs for left-handed kids, and also the likelihood for left-handers to develop schizophrenia.

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FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day August 10th through 11th 2018

FOD Saying of the Day

When two people meet, there are really six people present.  There is each man as he sees himself, each man as the other person sees him, and each man as he really is.     – William James

 

FOD Trivia Question

Only one state of the United States has never had a foreign flag fly over it.  Which state is this that was never claimed by a foreign country?

 

Previous FOD Trivia Answer

“Kamikaze” became synonymous with the Japanese pilots and submariners who were sent out on suicide missions by crashing their aircraft of submarines into ships or other aircraft.  What is the literal translation of “kamikaze?”  What – nobody offered an answer.  Answer: “Devine wind” or “spirit wind.”

 

Dog Farting Awareness Day

Like humans, all dogs fart. It doesn’t matter their age, size, or breed. Sometimes people blame their own farts on dogs, but sometimes dogs really are to blame. Those who are thinking about adopting a dog must be aware of this.  The main culprit is the swallowing of air, which often happens when dogs eat too quickly. This frequently happens when dogs eat together, as they often are competing for food. A respiratory disease that increases the breathing rate may also cause the swallowing of air, as will feeding a dog directly after exercise, before their breathing rate has slowed down. Other culprits causing dog farts include having a sedentary lifestyle and eating difficult to digest food such as soybeans, beans, spoiled food, high-fat food, high-fiber food, milk products, and spices. The more hydrogen sulfide in a fart, the smellier it is. Thankfully, the smelliness can be combated. A study found that charcoal and zinc acetate, as well as yucca schidigera, may reduce the smell of dog farts, although these things will not decrease the number of farts. Dog farts can also be fought with bismuth subsalicylate, simethicone, and pancreatic enzyme supplements. A veterinarian should be consulted before giving these supplements to a dog.  Visit the Dog Farting Awareness Day Facebook page to learn more about the day. If you don’t have a dog, you can still raise awareness by telling others what you have learned about dog farting and how to lessen it. I’m not sure how this comes up in conversation, but maybe your friend’s dog farts or you want to blame a fart on your friend’s dog.  You also could read Walter and the Farting Dog.  So there ya go.  Far more information than you really need, but after all you can’t beat a good dog fart story.

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day August 10th through 11th 2018”