FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day April 2nd through 8th 2018

FOD Saying of the Day

Laughing is one of the best exercises; it’s like running inside your mind. You can do it almost anywhere and it’s even better with a friend.

 

Fireball Opinion: Better the Rule Of Law Than The Rule of Deals

President Trump is the first president in recent memory that has not emerged from the ranks of professional politicians, but rather a professional businessman.  I applaud President Trump’s efforts to “make America great again.”  I never thought we were not great!  Lots can be said regarding the current discussions regarding tariffs against China.  I do believe it’s appropriate to listen to experts or at least economists regarding the benefits of tariffs.  I have not heard from a single economist who favors or even endorses tariffs as an appropriate tool to use against China.  While no one argues the need to curtail China’s theft of intellectual property, it is important to look at each opportunity American’s companies have entered into and evaluate whether that individual company knowingly or unknowingly entered into an agreement that made  their intellectual property vulnerable to being compromised by a totalitarian regime intent on stealing every manufacturing advancement and/or technology advancement for their own benefit.  It has always been the case and has accelerated since the US allowed and supported admitting China to the World Trade Organization.  There is ample evidence to support multiple violations of nearly every rule.  Yet the US and other nations has been the beneficiary of cheaply produced goods that has continued to support the US and other nation’s economies for decades.  I would encourage the President to use the rule of law to counter China’s activities rather than attempting to make another deal.  The Rule of Deals never goes smoothly and is not consistent with our nation’s values.  And while I’m at it, I think in particularly inappropriate for the President to attack a public corporation like Amazon for what appears to be a veiled personally vindictive attack on the Jeff Bezos, who in addition to being the founder and CEO of Amazon also owns the Washington Post.  President Donald Trump lit into Amazon.com Inc. for the second time in three days with a pair of Twitter messages last week that said the online retailer “must pay real costs (and taxes) now!”  The president on Saturday claimed, citing reports he didn’t specify, that the U.S. Postal Service “will lose $1.50 on average for each package it delivers for Amazon” and added that the “Post Office scam must stop.” Amazon has said the postal service, which has financial problems stretching back for years, makes money on its deliveries.  Amazon shed $53 billion in market value on Wednesday after Axios reported that the president is “obsessed” with regulating the e-commerce giant, whose founder and chief executive officer, Jeff Bezos. Those losses were pared on Thursday, the final day of a shortened trading week, even as Trump tweeted that Amazon was using the postal service as its “Delivery Boy.”  The Postal Service is losing money, but its package delivery service is profitable, unlike its letter delivery.  The Postal Service is required by law to cover its costs for delivering competitive products, such as packages for Amazon. The Postal Regulatory Commission, which oversees the service, set the appropriate share of the costs of package delivery at 5.5% a little more than a decade ago.  Since then, the service’s delivery of packages has grown substantially, and the United Parcel Service argued in a submission to the commission in 2015 that a realistic appropriate share of costs for those deliveries should be about 24.6%.  A Citigroup analysis last year found that that difference would amount to about $1.46 per parcel, which might serve as the basis for Trump’s $1.50 figure. An op-ed penned in July by Josh Sandbulte in the Wall Street Journal cited that analysis in arguing the Postal Service’s estimate of costs for delivering packages should be revised. In response, US Postal Service executive Joseph Corbett wrote that the op-ed provided an “inaccurate and unfair account,” and that the Postal Regulatory Commission has determined each year that the service is covering its costs for package deliveries.  Sandbulte is co-president of Greenhaven Associates, a money management firm that owns FedEx common stock.  Corbett asserted the Postal Service’s financial insolvency is the result of its inability to overcome “systemic financial imbalances caused by legal and other constraints,” such as a price cap on revenue-producing products that doesn’t take changes in delivery volumes and costs into account.  The Postal Service’s biggest money problem is that it has billions in retirement obligations to its workers that it can’t afford.  Amazon pays the US Post Office to deliver packages to customers’ doors, including on Sundays, and because Amazon ships so many packages though the post office, it’s charged at a lower rate than most customers.  But Amazon does not receive a special rate; it pays the rate that the post office charges other bulk shippers.  Neither Amazon nor the post office has disclosed the details of its agreement, but the Postal Service says the deal is mutually beneficial.  On Thursday, Trump tweeted another accusation about Amazon not paying “taxes to state & local governments” and “putting many thousands of retailers out of business.”  Amazon collects sales tax in every state that charges one and remits it to the states, which is nearly every state. Amazon also pays local property taxes on its distribution centers as well as on the Whole Foods stores it purchased last year.  Amazon maintains it helps small businesses in a tough retail climate, helping vendors reach a mass audience.  This isn’t the first time Trump has accused The Washington Post of being a lobbying arm of Amazon. While both companies are owned by Jeff Bezos, Amazon does not have a stake in The Washington Post.

 

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day April 2nd through 8th 2018”

FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day September 19 through 22, 2017

New Sanctions for North Korea

I’ve stated before here in FOD, I don’t believe sanctions against North Korea will have the desired effect of divesting their efforts to develop nuclear weapons.  Kim Jong Un has consistently pursued a path of acquiring nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them in spite of the world’s desires for diminish his resolve to the point of allowing millions of his own people to die of starvation.  Lack of cash however, might have the effect of at least slowing North Korea’s efforts. China’s banks in particular have been willing to launder Kim Jong Un’s money for years.  Only recently, the Department of  the Treasury took actions against the Bank of Dandong over concerns that it was participating in illicit financial activities with North Korea — an early signal to Chinese financial institutions of U.S. willingness to increase pressure on entities that do business with Pyongyang.  On 21 September 2017, President Donald Trump announced Thursday that he had signed an executive order authorizing additional sanctions against North Korea by targeting individuals, companies and financial institutions that do business with what he called “this criminal rogue regime.”  Speaking before a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump said his goal is the “complete denuclearization” of North Korea and added that the nation led by Kim Jong Un posed a “grave threat to peace and security in our world.”  Trump noted that he’d signed the executive order just as China’s central bank “has told their other banks … to immediately stop doing business with North Korea.” The president praised Chinese President Xi Jinping for the “very bold move.”  Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (photo right) confirmed that he did call the People’s Bank of China early Thursday morning to alert them to this coming action, but skirted the question when asked if these sanctions were specifically aimed at China.  “This action is directed at everyone,” Mnuchin said, calling the executive order a significant expansion of Treasury’s power to target the Kim regime and those financial entities and individuals who seek to do business with it. The executive order is “forward looking,” meaning Treasury will consider new designations on a “rolling basis” from Thursday on.  So far, the administration has sought to pressure Pyonyang largely through forceful economic steps, including Thursday’s latest action and U.N. Security Council sanctions earlier this month. The President has this right.

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day September 19 through 22, 2017”

FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day March 31 through April 3, 2017

A Lot to cover in this post

Congrats to Friend of FOD Pat on retiring

The reach of FOD is increasing, as demonstrated by a Friend of FOD Kevin running into another a Friend of FOD Pat, drinking wine in Anacortes, WA a couple days ago.  FOD is doing its part to reduce that six degrees of separation concept.  Maybe we can bring back that discussion of “e” from the 07 and 08 Feb edition of FOD,  … or not?  Congrats Pat on your retirement from Boeing and for all you did to keep sanity in Flight Test.  It was always great flying with you.  Semper Fi, my Brother.

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day March 31 through April 3, 2017”

FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day January 23, 2017

22 January 1970: Captain Robert M. Weeks and his crew flew the Pan American World Airways Boeing 747-121, N736PA, Clipper Young America, New York to London on a 6 hour, 43 minute inaugural passenger-carrying flight of the new wide-body jet. Aboard were a crew of 20 and 335 passengers. N736PA had initially been named Clipper Victor, but the name was changed to Clipper Young America for the inaugural New York to London flight when the 747 scheduled to make that flight—Clipper Young America—suffered mechanical problems. The same 747 was hijacked on 2 August 1970 and flown to Cuba. After that incident, N736PA was renamed Clipper Victor — its original name. This aircraft was Pan Am Flight 1736 when it was struck by KLM Flight 4805 and destroyed in a collision at Tenerife, Canary Islands, 27 March, 1977.

 

The Supreme Court, on 22 January 1973, decriminalizes abortion by handing down their decision in the case of Roe v. Wade. Despite opponents’ characterization of the decision, it was not the first time that abortion became a legal procedure in the United States. In fact, for most of the country’s first 100 years, abortion as we know it today was not only not a criminal offense, it was also not considered immoral.  The fight over whether to criminalize abortion has grown increasingly fierce in recent years, but opinion polls suggest that most Americans prefer that women be able to have abortions in the early stages of pregnancy, free of any government interference.  If men were the ones who became pregnant, there would be an abortion clinic open 24/7, next to every AM/PM.

 

On 22 January in 1998, in a Sacramento, California, courtroom, Theodore J. Kaczynski pleads guilty to all federal charges against him, acknowledging his responsibility for a 17-year campaign of package bombings attributed to the “Unabomber.”  Born in 1942, Kaczynski attended Harvard University and received a PhD in mathematics from the University of Michigan. He worked as an assistant mathematics professor at the University of California at Berkeley, but abruptly quit in 1969. In the early 1970’s, Kaczynski began living as a recluse in western Montana (Lincoln, MT), in a 10-by-12 foot cabin without heat, electricity or running water. From this isolated location, he began the bombing campaign that would kill three people and injure more than 20 others.  The Unabomber was the target of one of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s costliest investigations. Before Kaczynski’s identity was known, the FBI used the title “UNABOM” (UNiversity & Airline BOMber) to refer to his case, which resulted in the media calling him the Unabomber. The FBI (as well as Attorney General Janet Reno) pushed for the publication of Kaczynski’s “Manifesto”, which led to his sister-in-law, and then his brother, recognizing Kaczynski’s style of writing and beliefs from the manifesto, and tipping off the FBI.  Kaczynski tried unsuccessfully to dismiss his court-appointed lawyers because they wanted to plead insanity in order to avoid the death penalty, as Kaczynski did not believe he was insane.  When it became clear that his pending trial would entail national television exposure for Kaczynski, the court entered a plea agreement, under which he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole. He has been designated a “domestic terrorist” by the FBI.

 

Trieste is a Swiss-designed, Italian-built deep-diving research bathyscaphe, which with its crew of two reached a record maximum depth of about 10,911 metres (35,797 ft), in the deepest known part of the Earth’s oceans, the Challenger Deep, in the Mariana Trench near Guam in the Pacific. On 23 January 1960, Jacques Piccard (son of the boat’s designer Auguste Piccard) and US Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh achieved the goal of Project NektonThe Trieste design was based on previous experience with the bathyscaphe FNRS-2Trieste was operated by the French Navy. After several years of operation in the Mediterranean Sea, the Trieste was purchased by the United States Navy in 1958 for $250,000.  To withstand the enormous pressure of 1.25 metric tons per cm² (110 MPa) at the bottom of Challenger Deep, the sphere’s walls were 12.7 centimeters (5.0 in) thick (it was overdesigned to withstand considerably more than the rated pressure). The sphere weighed 14.25 metric tons (31,400 pounds) in air and 8 metric tons (18,000 pounds) in water (giving it an average specific gravity of 13/(13-8) = 2.6 times that of sea water). The float was necessary because of the sphere’s density: it was not possible to design a sphere large enough to hold a person that could withstand the necessary pressures, yet also have metal walls thin enough for the sphere to be neutrally buoyant. Gasoline was chosen as the float fluid because it is less dense than water and incompressible even at extreme pressure, thus retaining its buoyant properties and negating the need for thick, heavy walls for the float chamber.  Observation of the sea outside the craft was conducted directly by eye, via a single, very tapered, cone-shaped block of acrylic glass (Plexiglas), the only transparent substance identified which would withstand the external pressure. Outside illumination for the craft was provided by quartz arc-light bulbs, which proved to be able to withstand the over 1,000 standard atmospheres (15,000 pounds per square inch) (100 MPa) of pressure without any modification.  Beginning in April 1963, Trieste was modified and used in the Atlantic Ocean to search for the missing submarine USS Thresher (SSN-593)Trieste was delivered to Boston Harbor by USS Point Defiance (LSD-31). In August 1963, Trieste found the wreck off the coast of New England, 2,600 m (8,400 ft) below the surface. Trieste was changed, improved and redesigned so many times that almost no original parts remain. She was transported to the Washington Navy Yard where she was exhibited along with the Krupp pressure sphere in the National Museum of the U.S. Navy at the Washington Navy Yard in 1980. Her original Terni pressure sphere was incorporated into the Trieste II.  LT Don Walsh has been associated with ocean science, engineering, and marine policy for more than 50 years. In the photo left, Walsh is on the left and Piccard on the right during the Project Nekton dive.  He was commissioned as an Ensign in the United States Navy upon graduation from the United States Naval Academy in 1954. He attained the rank of Captain by the time he retired. He spent 15 years at sea, mostly in submarines, and was a submarine commander.  Walsh was named one of the world’s great explorers by Life magazine. In the MIR submersible, he dived on the RMS Titanic, the German battleship Bismarck, and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. He has spent more than five decades traveling the world conducting research in, on, and around the oceans.  On April 14, 2010, The National Geographic Society bestowed its greatest honor, the Hubbard Medal, on Walsh in a ceremony in Washington, D.C. at the National Geographic headquarters. The U.S. Navy awarded Walsh its Distinguished Public Service Award.

 

23 January 1849:  Elizabeth Blackwell is granted a medical degree from Geneva College in New York, becoming the first female to be officially recognized as a physician in U.S. history.  Blackwell, born in Bristol, England, came to the United States in her youth and attended the medical faculty of Geneva College, now known as Hobart College and is part of the SUNY (State University of New York) system. In 1849, she graduated with the highest grades in her class and was granted an M.D. In 1857, after several years of private practice, she founded the New York Infirmary for Women and Children with her sister, Emily Blackwell, also a doctor. In 1868, the institution was expanded to include a women’s college for the training of nurses and doctors, the first of its kind in America. The next year, Blackwell returned to England, where in 1875 she became professor of gynecology at the London School of Medicine for Women, a medical discipline she had helped to establish.

 

23 January is National Handwriting Day is an opportunity to reintroduce yourself to a pen or pencil and a piece of paper. In this day of computers, more and more information, notes, FOD blogs and letters are sent back and forth via a keyboard and cyberspace.  According to the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association (WIMA) website “The purpose of National Handwriting Day is to alert the public to the importance of handwriting. According to WIMA, National Handwriting Day is a chance for all of us to re-explore the purity and power of handwriting.”  January 23rd was chosen because this is the birthday of John Hancock. John Hancock was the first person to sign the Declaration of Independence.  Several US Navy vessels have used the name Hancock:  the USS Hancock (CV-19) and the USS John Hancock (DD-981) pictured here.

 

 

 

On January 23, 1968, the USS Pueblo, a Navy intelligence vessel, is engaged in a routine surveillance of the North Korean coast when it is intercepted by North Korean patrol boats.  Back on 23 December I mentioned the release of the crew of the USS Pueblo (FOD of 23 Dec 2016).  Since then, I’ve been doing some additional research regarding the Pueblo.  The link enclosed gives an interesting perspective on the lesions learned from this event and is entitled, Lessons from the Capture of the USS Pueblo and the Shootdown of a US Navy EC-121—1968 and 1969 www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/vol-59-no-1/pdfs/Revisiting-Pueblo-and-EC121.pdf

 

If you’re heading east a few miles from Wallace, Idaho on I-90, on your way to ski at Lookout Pass or in the summer where you buy your permit for the Hiawatha Trail, you briefly pass Elmer’s Fountain on your right.  It takes frequent travel on this uphill stretch of I-90 for its folk beauty to penetrate your perception. In the winter the fountain grows mushrooms of ice around it.  The water flume was originally used to create hydro-electric power to run the mining mill that had a small rock crushing operation for gold, silver and lead ore processing.  Elmer Almquist who built these fountains was a silver miner, resident of Mullan (Where MLP Transition begins for landing either KBFI or KSEA). His brother, Harry Almquist (died March 2007)  lived in Murray ID where there is a museum he, Walt, the third brother founded.  Arnold was Elmer’s best friend and the original owner of the land the fountains are on. Elmer was the caretaker for the mine after it closed.  For years it was known as Arnold’s Fountain. Soon after Elmer’s death the name was changed to Elmer’s Fountain.  Check it out.

 

It looks like we’ll be watching the New England Patriots against the Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl.