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 500NASCAR 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).
Friends of FOD – How did you observe the solar eclipse? All the best photos are on the internet, but I enjoyed seeing the solar eclipse in Boise, ID, thanks to Friends of FOD Roger and Glorie. Thanks to both of you! And I also got to do some fishing on the Boise River. Notice I said fishing and not catching. But a good time was had by all. Good stories appreciated.
Another Collision At Sea
USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) an Arleigh Burke-classdestroyer (below left) suffered “significant damage” to the hull after it was involved in a collision at sea with the Liberian-flaggedAlnic MC (below right) off the coast of Malaysia east of the Strait of Malacca. Ten sailors were missing and five were injured following the collision, which happened at 5:24 a.m. Singapore time (5:24 p.m. ET Sunday), according to the Navy’s latest update issued around nine-and-a-half hours later. And the search continues as of August 21st. After the collision the ship, which sustained damage to her port side aft, was able to return to port under her own power. According to United States Navy press release, the breach “resulted in flooding to nearby compartments, including crew berthing, machinery, and communications rooms. Initial casualty reports indicate ten sailors missing and five sailors injured. Admiral John M. Richardson, the Chief of Naval Operations (below left) has ordered an “operational pause” or safety stand down for a day to “include,
but not be limited to, looking at operational tempo, trends in personnel, materiel, maintenance and equipment.”
The Strait of Malacca is one of the most heavily transited bodies of water in the world, with more than 80,000 vessels moving through it annually, roughly one third of all oceanic transits. US Naval vessels usually have their best bridge team on duty for the transit. I noted in the 11 through 15 August edition of FOD that a military band is standard for that all important change of command. I would venture to say the yet unannounced, change of command for the McCain and perhaps even Commander of Destroyer Squadron 15 will not need a band. As you’ll recall, the destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) was involved in the June 17 with the Philippine-flagged merchant ship ACX Crystal, a container ship, off the coast of Japan resulted in the death of seven sailors. Fitzgerald’s commanding officer, executive officer and command master chief have been relieved of their duties aboard Fitzgerald. I’m thinking the commanding officer of Destroyer Squadron 15, CAPT Jeffrey A. Bennett II might be looking for another job.
Strategic & Policy Forum and Manufacturing Council Disbanded
“You CEOs on my Strategic & Policy Forum and my Manufacturing Council who think you can quit; you can’t quit; you’re fired.” “And you’re all a bunch of grandstanders.” CEOs began announcing their resignations after Trump’s first comments about the violence last Saturday in Charlottesville between white supremacists and counter-protesters. The resignations accelerated after he re-emphasized his earlier remarks and on Tuesday blamed “both sides” for the series of events that led to the death of a 32-year-old Charlottesville woman. These CEOs are not grandstanding, they simply no longer want to be associated with this President who has now revealed what his true values are. Traditionally corporate leaders have been willing to join these apolitical forums so as to ensure their corporations at least have a seat at the table where policy decisions are formulated that effect corporate taxes, employment and trade policies. There were comments that the President went rogue on Wednesday – How can we believe in a President of United States who goes rogue? Your comments appreciated. Someone must have an opinion they’d be willing to express out there in FOD-land.
Steve Bannon – You’re Fired Too
What’s the half life of a White House advisor these days? White House Chief of Staff John Kelly announced today 18 August 2017, Steve Bannon has agreed today would be Steve’s last day,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a brief statement to reporters. “We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.” Bannon’s departure caps a rocky tenure in the West Wing in which he was a central figure in a power struggle to influence the often unpredictable president. He clashed with many of Trump’s other top aides including the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and National Security Adviser, H.R. McMaster, and rumors of his waning influence and imminent departure had been circulating Washington for months. He will walk away from the White House as a key force behind Trump’s impulses to make racially divisive remarks and fan nationalist and ethnic tensions, most recently Trump’s comments on the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. As recently as this week, Bannon gave interviews seeming to embrace the racial turmoil Trump encouraged by comparing white nationalists and the protesters opposing them in Charlottesville. Don’t worry about how Bannon will make his next two dimes. Just hours after his exit became official, the newsroom where he first rose to prominence in far-right political circles, Breitbart News, announced he’d be returning as its executive chairman.
The UN Security Council is credited with imposing ‘tough new’ economic sanctions on North Korea. Good. It’s also important to note the Security Council was unanimous in approving these sanctions including support from both China and Russia. United States Secretary of StateRex Tillerson currently at the ASEAN summit in the Philippines indicated, “The best signal that North Korea could give us that they’re prepared to talk would be to stop these missile launches. Those sanctions; they will take time to have an impact. Secretary Tillerson said the US will be monitoring implementation of the sanctions to ensure they are enforced by all countries. Will they at last bring Pyongyang to the realization that a nuclear ICBM capable will not be tolerated? I doubt it. In the 25 through 27 July edition of FOD, I noted I don’t believe Kim Jong Un will be persuaded, as he is still able to control all aspects of his government’s supply and demand systems.
He allowed his people to suffer widespread famine and all previous attempts to isolate he and his “family business” government have neither deterred nor abated the progress of his nuclear development program. For him, this is just more of the same and he can point to outside nations as responsible for his people’s further hardships. The only way he will discuss any change of direction of his nuclear program is if he is assured regime change and the reunification of the Korean peninsula is somehow not a long term goal. Then of course we would be supporting another dictator with an abysmal record on human rights. What you think Friends of FOD?
“May you live in interesting times.” Well at least that seems to be true when looking at the national and international picture today. I had always heard ‘May you live in interesting times to be a Chinese curse or to have at least originated in China. Despite being widely attributed as a Chinese curse, there is no equivalent expression in Chinese. The nearest related Chinese expression is “寧為太平犬，莫做亂離人” (nìng wéi tàipíng quǎn, mò zuò luàn lí rén), which is usually translated as “Better to be a dog in a peaceful time, than to be a human in a chaotic (warring) period.”The expression originates from Volume 3 of the 1627 short story collection by Feng Menglong, Stories to Awaken the World. Evidence that the phrase was in use as early as 1936 is provided in a memoir written by Hughe Knatchbull-Hugessen, the British Ambassador to China in 1936 and 1937, and published in 1949. He mentions that before he left England for China in 1936, a friend told him of a Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times.”