FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day September 1st and 2nd 2017

Happy Labor Day

Well here it is Labor Day already.  The long weekend holiday is the unofficial end of summer (hate that thought), the beginning of school (hated that), the time for expansion of the baseball rosters (hate that – 40 man rosters change the game too much going into the playoffs), and it’s time to save 50% or more on your next mattress set with no payments for at least two years (don’t need a new mattress).  But it is also the beginning of college football (Go Navy), the start of professional football (that’s good, but they only play once a week), a great weekend to grill some steaks (love that), International Bacon Day (love that – you can look it up), catch some of those Atlantic salmon that made good their escape and now need to be caught (love that), NASCAR’s  Southern 500 NASCAR auto race has been held on Labor Day weekend at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina from 1950 to 2003 and since 2015 (like it as it’s usually a good short track race), ride your bike (gotta love that), at Indianapolis Raceway Park, the National Hot Rod Association holds their finals of the NHRA U.S. Nationals (some great names and cars show up for this one), and of course it’s the last day it’s considered acceptable to wear white or  seersucker (who knew – OK fashion folk like Friend of FOD Mr. Fuzzy have this marked on their calendars to go along with the opening day of elk season).  Labor Day in the United States is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws and well-being of the country.  Photo below right shows first Labor Day Parade in NYC in 1882.  I was pretty much against labor unions until I joined Northwest Airlines.  There was a snap back clause in the contract under which I was hired providing for a pay raise of the lesser of 3% or the average pay increase of the seven major airlines in business at the time.  The math clearly pointed to the 3% option as all those airlines had received increased wages as airlines were making money.  Imagine then our surprise when our paychecks in mid-September only included a 1.4% pay increase.  When management was queried as to this decision, the reply was, “we think that’s what it should be.”  Eight months later and utilizing binding arbitration, it took less than fifteen minutes for the pilot’s to prevail.  The back pay was returned over a two month period and we each received a note from management in our company mailbox stating, that as the company didn’t have to pay back interest on the monies withheld over that time period, it shouldn’t be taken as a personal matter as it was only a prudent company business decision.  They had an eight month interest free $84M loan paid for by the pilots.  That’s why pilots have unions (but I’m not bitter – well just a little – no a lot – OK, I’ll let it go – someday).

 

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FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day June 1st and 2nd, 2017

‘Summer of Comey’ Gets Underway Next Week

Former FBI Director James Comey will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee next week, the committee announced Thursday.  He will testify first in an open session on Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 8, and a closed session will follow.  Selective leaks will follow the closed session.  During his testimony, Comey is expected to say President Trump pressured him to end the  FBI‘s investigation into ties between Trump’s campaign associates and Russia, it was reported by the Washington Examiner and others last Wednesday.  Comey’s testimony is highly-anticipated, as he led the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election before Trump fired him last month.  Comey (left) was dismissed by President Donald Trump on May 9, 2017, days after Comey reportedly requested increased resources from the DOJ for the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the presidential election, a report which was later denied by the DOJ.  Following Comey’s firing, several news reports revealed details of various interactions the former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation had with the president.  During one such interaction occurring days after his inauguration, Trump reportedly asked Comey to pledge his loyalty to him. Gee, I thought that loyalty oath thing died with Medieval kings.  Comey declined, but promised to always be honest with the president.  In another conversation, Trump reportedly asked Comey to end the FBI’s investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was fired in February.  Comey recorded his interactions with Trump in memos while working at the FBI, and the details of those memos — including his conversations with Trump — are expected to be discussed during his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.  The details of Comey’s memos have caused concern among lawmakers on Capitol Hill, particularly Democrats, who are questioning whether Trump attempted to obstruct the Russia probe.  After Comey was fired, the Justice Department appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to serve as special counsel and oversee the probe.  Though some lawmakers were initially concerned that Mueller’s appointment would prevent Comey from testifying privately, Comey and Mueller met privately to discuss how Comey could testify and avoid “legal entanglements.”

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