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”

FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day July 25th through 27th 2018

FOD Saying of the Day

Walk groundly, talk profoundly, drink roundly and sleep soundly. – William Hazlitt.

 

FOD Trivia Question

A new FOD feature!  FOD readers – answer the question.  The answer or at least the one I have will be published in the next edition.

Which Polish Astronomer, in 1543, located the sun as the center of our solar system?

 

There’s a lot going on today – I don’t want to have to have you add me to your weekend reading list – let’s get to it:

 

Remains of US Troops Killed In Korea Returned

The longest journeys must begin with the first steps.  While it’s not a giant step, it is a first step to advancing relations with North Korea, with the goal being the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.  The remains of multiple of U.S. troops killed in the Korean War more than six decades ago are headed back to America now after North Korean officials turned them over to military officials, White House officials announced Thursday night.  The move comes on the 65th anniversary of the armistice that ended hostilities in the conflict and about six weeks after President Donald Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong UnIn a statement, White House officials praised their North Korean counterparts for honoring a promise from that meeting to return the remains. “We are encouraged by North Korea’s actions and the momentum for positive change.”  (Fireball note:  Thank you President Trump making this a priority when dealing with North Korea.)  Military officials said the remains were loaded onto an Air Force C-17 at an air base in Wonsan, North Korea, and taken to Osan Air Base in South Korea. Service members from United Nations Command Korea and technical experts from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency were on hand for the event.  United Nations Command officials confirmed that 55 cases of remains were turned over by the North Koreans. A formal repatriation ceremony will be held on Aug. 1, with plans to return the remains to Hawaii after that for further analysis.  “The United States owes a profound debt of gratitude to those American service members who gave their lives in service to their country and we are working diligently to bring them home,” the White House statement said.  “It is a solemn obligation of the United States Government to ensure that the remains are handled with dignity and properly accounted for so their families receive them in an honorable manner.”  More than 35,000 Americans died on the Korean Peninsula during that war. Of those, 7,700 are still listed as missing in action, with 5,300 believed to be on North Korean soil.  U.S. and North Korean officials had previously worked together on the recovery of those casualties in the past, forging a repatriation agreement that lasted from 1990 to 2005. During that span, 229 fallen troops were identified and returned home.

 

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day July 25th through 27th 2018”

FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day July 18th through 24th 2018

FOD Saying of the Day

I never make the same mistake twice. I make it three four times, you know, just to be sure!

 

USAF Offers New Cockpit Only Career Track

There is a new program out there for USAF officers that would allow them to stay in the cockpit longer and thereby relieve some pressure on the ranks of pilots leaving the Air Force for other career paths.  Air Force Times is reporting eligible mobility pilots  can apply for Air Mobility Command’s new Aviator Technical Track that cuts out non-flying-related duties and lets you stay in the cockpit longer.  “This fulfills a promise to our airmen that we listened to them and wanted to implement their ideas,” Gen. Carlton Everhart, head of AMC, told Air Force Times.  In April 2017, Everhart reached out to airmen via email and social media to solicit ideas on how the Air Force can better retain talent as it deals with pilot shortages. The Air Force is down about 2,000 pilots, with about 1,600 mobility pilots eligible to separate in the next four years.  The four-star received more than 700 responses from airmen, and one of the top suggestions was a flying-only career track.  Everhart said he’s seeking a small cadre of active-duty mobility pilots who are majors or major-selects with 11 to 13 years of commissioned service. Selectees will still be required to maintain all Air Force standards, including health and fitness and readiness requirements, but professional development education and advanced academic degrees will be optional.  “We hope to retain pilots by reducing developmental requirements for officers not interested in command,” Everhart said. “Those things we have traditionally said were the stepping stones to move you into a leadership track to broaden your expertise … are now optional.”  There won’t be any required duties not related to flying, but those in the program still need to go through training, standardization and tactics. Since they’re flying-related billets, selected airmen can still continue to fly as they complete those duties.  Airmen can also decide to leave the program if they’d rather switch back to a leadership role or a leadership track, he said. Then there will still be enough time to catch back up with peers.  “We’re going to try to give the options back to the aviator,” Everhart said.  Pilots chosen for the Aviator Technical Track can remain in one assignment for up to five years if they so choose, which Everhart hopes increases predictability and a better work-life balance.  “We’re trying to guarantee them one specific location for five years,” he said. “We are listening to concerns about quality of life.”  There will also be opportunities for pilots in the program to explore avenues outside of AMC, Everhart said.  “You may not just stay in Air Mobility Command,” he said. “You may go to another [major command].”  The pilots chosen for the initial round can also help shape the future of the program, Everhart said.  After about a year of the program being in place, Everhart said he wants to get feedback from those pilots and see what needs to be tweaked.  “I think [the program] offers more flexibility instead of potentially constricting them into certain avenues,” he said.  Everhart said there’s a possibility of eventually expanding the program to other career fields, such as maintenance, air traffic control and cyber.  “Setting the foundation and seeing what we did right and what we did wrong will allow others to improve upon it,” he said. “This is just the start.”

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day July 18th through 24th 2018”

FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day June 27th through 30th 2018

Fireball Saying of the Day

You can trust your dog to guard your house but never trust your dog to guard your sandwich. 

 

 

 

 

South China Sea:  France and Britain Join US In FON Ops

France and Britain have conducted naval operations in the South China Sea to put pressure on Beijing’s increased militarization of the disputed islands. Chinese authorities maintain they will not give up any territory.  As I mentioned in the previous edition of FOD, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis is in China this week for the first time and at the top of the agenda between the two nations is China’s continued expansion of military installations in the South China Sea (SCS).  After Mattis met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday, China’s state broadcaster CCTV reported that Xi told Mattis China would not “lose one inch” of territory “left behind by our ancestors.”  China frequently refers to islands in the SCS as part of its historical territory, although they are claimed by six other nations.  “Regarding China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, our attitude is firm and clear,” said Xi.  In early June at the Shangri-La Dialogue, a regional security conference in Singapore, Mattis told the audience that there would be “much larger consequences” in response to China’s continued installation of military infrastructure on disputed islands in the SCS.  Joining the revamped US effort to increase pressure on China in the SCS, French Defense Minster Florence Parly said a French maritime task group, together with UK helicopters and ships, would conduct freedom of navigation operations, sailing naval vessels through international waters in the SCS, which China considers as its maritime territory.  Referring to the political differences between France and Britain, Parly said in a speech that when meeting in Asia, the two countries shared deeply significant “vision, strength and values” along with a “willingness to project them.”  Parly added that France supported a rules-based international order on the SCS and that freedom of navigation must be upheld.  “France fully supports a code of conduct in the South China Sea, which should be legally binding, comprehensive, effective and consistent with international law,” said Parly. “We should be very clear that the fait accompli is not a fait accepted.”  By building military installations on islands in the SCS, China claims territorial sovereignty over areas far from the mainland, although this is not officially recognized by any international body. The freedom of navigation operations carried out by the US and other navies are a way to demonstrate the validity of international law.  China remains defiant in claiming international waters and is using its growing navy to enforce its territorial ambition.  Jonas Parello-Plesner, an observer who was aboard a French military vessel during the joint freedom of navigation operation announced at the Singapore conference, gave a firsthand account to the Wall Street Journal of the flotilla’s encounter with the Chinese navy near the Spratly Islands.  Parello-Plesner reported that a Chinese frigate contacted the French vessel by radio as they passed through Mischief, Subi and Fiery Cross Reefs, where China in recent years has built artificial islands and military installations.  “This is China warship calling. The Nansha islands are under Chinese sovereignty. What are your intentions?” After the French captain replied that they were lawfully sailing through international waters, they were tailed by Chinese naval vessels.  It is estimate that in 2014, China began construction of artificial islands on reefs in the Spratly archipelago. This raised alarm in the US and Asia that China would be able to project it’s military around the SCS and potentially exert control over waterways that carried an estimated $3.3 trillion, or one-third of global trade, in 2016.  Despite continued international condemnation led by the US, China’s militarization of the SCS has continued unabated.  In 2017, satellite images released by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (ATMI), part of the Washington-based think tank, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), showed the extent of China’s military buildup on the Spratly Islands and the Paracel Islands further north. According to the ATMI, China has extensive missile systems along with radar jammers on the islands.  The images clearly show completed airstrips and other infrastructure. In April 2018, China conducted its largest-ever naval exercise in the SCS. In May, the Chinese landed a warplane for the first time on an air strip on Woody Island, in the Paracels.  Although China continues to increase its capability, observers do not think that it is too late for international coalitions to maintain the integrity of international waterways passing through the SCS.  “Beijing is certainly winning more peacetime control over activity on and above the South China Sea each day, but it hasn’t completed that control yet,” Gregory Poling, the director of ATMI told DW, adding that increased engagement of the French and British navies send a strong signal to China.  “They make clear that the SCS is not a Sino-US issue,” said Poling. “It’s a matter of China vs. an overwhelming international consensus about international law and norms.”  As for the “consequences” promised by US Secretary of Defense Mattis, there are limitations to what the US military can do, outside of projecting force. Mattis is in China this week on his first visit since becoming Secretary.  In May, the US rescinded China’s invitation to participate in RIMPAC, an international biennial military exercise in the Pacific Ocean. On Tuesday the US aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Regan, anchored in Manila Bay to begin patrolling the South China Sea. It is the third US aircraft carrier sent this year.  “There are a lot of ‘larger consequences’ the US could consider, but most of them don’t come from the Pentagon,” said Poling, adding that while the joint training and deterrence measures were what the US Department of Defense should be doing, political pressure is what’s missing.  “Putting additional pressure on Beijing will require high-level focus and a strategy from the White House, which has been sorely lacking,” said Poling.

 

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day June 27th through 30th 2018”

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

Fireball Saying of the Day

Actual meanings of various terms: TEAM WORK: Having somebody else you can blame it on. HARDWARE: The part of a computer you can kick when there are software problems. IMPATIENT: Somebody who is waiting in a hurry. INFLATION: Paying today’s prices with last year’s salary.

 

Baseball News

I’ve been a bit reticent to comment on individual baseball games, because … well because it could be bad luck.  Having said that I couldn’t help pointing a really nice sweep by the New York Yankees over a very good and very talented Seattle Mariners.

 

 

 

Fireball Book Review

If you’re sitting around in a rehab wondering why the hair on your legs and arms is growing back so unevenly, or you’re working with your favorite goat to perfect your team goat plank, (ah, goat yoga), pick up a book.  I’m recommending Lincoln’s Last Trial, by Dan Abrams and David Fisher.  It’s a great account of Abraham Lincoln, who having participated in the Lincoln-Douglas debates, is just beginning his political career.  But at this moment we are able to glean amazing insight into the Lincoln, the man.    Lincoln is anchoring the defense in what even today would be a high profile murder trial, The State of Illinois v. “Peachy” Quinn Harrison.  He is a most accomplished lawyer taking on a complex murder trial.  Every quotation cited from the trial comes directly from the handwritten pages meticulously recorded by the book’s protagonist, Robert Roberts Hitt. And in fact, Hitt’s original transcript of the of the trial was bound and put aside, only to be discovered in 1989 in a shoebox stored in the Fresno, California garage, home of the Quinn Harrison’s great-great grandson. Thanks Friend of FOD Roger for the book.  It’s a good read.

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day June 16th through 21st 2018”