US Navy: 2 deadly summer collisions were ‘avoidable’ – CNNPolitics

US Navy: 2 deadly summer collisions were ‘avoidable’ – CNNPolitics

Thursday, November 2, 2017

11:49 AM

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Washington (CNN)The US Navy has released a report concluding that two fatal collisions that resulted in the deaths of 17 sailors during the summer were "avoidable."

Schuster said long and oftentimes solo deployments by US Navy ships in familiar waters may be part of the problem.

"Ships no longer operate in close proximity to each other. You lose that instinct and concern to ships passing close to you," he said.

In the cases of the Fitzgerald and McCain, "the guys were relaxed and complacent and it burned them," said Schuster, now a Hawaii Pacific University professor.

The crews may have also been fatigued, he said. A US Government Accountability Office report from September warned lengthy deployments of US ships based in Japan, as both the Fitzgerald and McCain were, was a problem as training was being curtailed.

"A ship that spends too much time at sea tends to get an exhausted crew," Schuster said.

And without training time, "perishable skills atrophy," said Schuster. "Ships’ crews get a tendency to be good only at steaming from point A to point B. The things that are most dangerous to you are things you’re only going to do one percent of the time," he added.

USS Fitzgerald collision

Seven sailors died aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald when it collided with a cargo ship off the east coast of Japan on June 17.

In Wednesday’s report, the Navy found "numerous failures occurred on the part of leadership" and those assigned to stand watch on the ship. There were failures to: plan for safety; adhere to sound navigation practice; execute basic watch-standing practices; properly use available navigation tools; and respond deliberately and effectively to an emergency.

"Many of the decisions made that led to this incident were the result of poor judgment and decision-making of the commanding officer. That said, no single person bears full responsibility for this incident. The crew was unprepared for the situation in which they found themselves through a lack of preparation, ineffective command and control, and deficiencies in training and preparations for navigation," the report said.

The report details the heroism of several crew members risking their lives to help others to safety as water flooded in after a massive hole was ripped into the ship by the collision. One sailor was nearly drowned in the water, losing consciousness when he made his way to safety.

The report detailed the extraordinary efforts to save the trapped commanding officer from his crushed cabin: "A junior officer and two chief petty officers removed debris from in front of the door and crawled into the cabin. The skin of the ship and outer bulkhead were gone and the night sky could be seen through the hanging wires and ripped steel. The rescue team tied themselves together with a belt in order to create a makeshift harness as they retrieved the CO, who was hanging from the side of the ship."

Those actions stand in sharp contrast to some of the initial failures by key crew members in the moments before the ship collided with the commercial ship MV Crystal. Investigators wrote they found, "Initially, the officer of the deck intended to take no action, mistaking Crystal to be another of the two vessels with a greater closest point of approach. Eventually, the officer of the deck realized that Fitzgerald was on a collision course with Crystal, but this recognition was too late."

The Crystal also failed to take action, the Navy said, but the military still holds itself at fault for failing to avoid the collision.

"The officer of the deck, the person responsible for safe navigation of the ship, exhibited poor seamanship by failing to maneuver as required, failing to sound the danger signal and failing to attempt to contact Crystal on bridge-to-bridge radio. In addition, the officer of the deck did not call the commanding officer as appropriate and prescribed by Navy procedures to allow him to exercise more senior oversight and judgment of the situation." The report details similar failures by other crew members.

USS John S McCain collision

The events on the USS John S McCain, which claimed the lives of 10 sailors on August 21 near Singapore when it collided with a merchant vessel, were equally harrowing.

Key causes of the collision outlined in the report included: a failure of situational awareness in response to mistakes in the ship’s operation; a failure to follow international maritime rules that apply to maneuvering of vessels in the face of a possible collision; and the fact some of the sailors were insufficiently proficient with the ship’s systems.

The ship, with approximately 300 sailors aboard, was 50 nautical miles east of Singapore in the predawn hours of August 21 when the commanding officer ordered the watch team on duty to divide the duties of steering and the speed control of the ship after noticing one of the sailors on deck was having some difficulty at the controls.

According to the report, this shift created confusion among the team, and after steering control of the ship was transferred to a different control station, members of the crew failed to recognize the change in configuration.

While the McCain was now in a heavily congested maritime environment, it was soon on a course to collide with the Alnic MC, an approximately 30,000-ton and 600-foot-long oil and chemical tanker.

The report says the commanding officer and others on the ship’s bridge "lost situational awareness" and did not register the course and speed of the approaching tanker the McCain collided with after crossing in front of the tanker’s bow.

The impact created a 28-foot in diameter hole both above and below the waterline. All 10 of the fallen sailors aboard the McCain were in the same berthing compartment at the time of impact, the report said, and eight were likely sleeping in their beds at the time of the collision.

Based on the size of the hole, the report concluded the space "likely fully flooded in less than a minute after the collision."

In another berthing compartment impacted by the collision, one sailor resting in his bed shouted for help as he became pinned between his sleeping rack and another as water began to rush all around him, and he was only extracted after fellow sailors were able to use a "jaws of life" cutting device to separate the racks and pull him to safety.

The collision was felt throughout the ship, according to the report, with sailors on the bridge jolted from their stations while others were thrown off their feet.

The communications systems on the bridge stopped working after the collision, with the bridge reduced to using handheld radios and phones, which do not require electricity to transmit. The loss of communications was due to the quick flooding of the berthing compartment that housed much of the ship’s communications control equipment.

The McCain was able to request tugboats and pilots from Singapore Harbor to assist in getting the ship to Changi Naval Base.

While the process of accounting for all crew members began immediately after the collision, the damage to the ship made confirming the location of some personnel exceedingly difficult. Varying reports of missing sailors were made in the minutes after the collision.

Medical teams aboard the McCain established a triage center in the mess area, where crews would normally eat their meals, to tend to injuries that ranged from chemical burns to broken bones and open wounds.

Five sailors who were eventually evacuated to hospitals in Singapore suffered severe injuries, including a sailor who was pinned to his sleeping rack after the collision.

"Many of the decisions that led to this incident were the result of poor judgment and decision-making of the commanding officer," the report said. "That said, no single person bears full responsibility for this incident."

Among the lapses, the report said leadership aboard the ship failed to assign sufficiently experienced officers to certain duties and also faulted other senior officers for not attending a security briefing the afternoon before the collision designed to provide awareness of the risks involved in upcoming operations.


Following the collisions, a total of eight senior leaders were relieved of duty: the commander of the 7th Fleet; the commander of Task Force 70/Carrier Strike Group 5; the commander of Destroyer Squadron 15; the commanding officer of the USS Fitzgerald; the executive officer of the USS Fitzgerald; the command master chief of the USS Fitzgerald; the commanding officer of the USS John S. McCain; and the executive officer of the USS John S. McCain.

Additionally, various members of the both ships’ bridge and Combat Information Center watch teams also received administrative actions. The Navy does not make these public, but the actions could include letters of reprimand that could effectively end their careers. If continuing investigations uncover other information that requires additional punishments, further actions may still be taken, according to the Navy.

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska, reacted to the report. "We are dangerously underinvesting in our military," he said. "Training, readiness and maintenance are hit the earliest — and tragic errors like this are the canary-in-the-mine warning bells."

North Korea working on advanced version missile that could reach US, source says – CNNPolitics

North Korea working on advanced version missile that could reach US, source says – CNNPolitics

Thursday, November 2, 2017

11:41 AM

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(CNN)North Korea is working on an advanced version of its existing KN-20 intercontinental ballistic missile that could potentially reach the United States, less than six months after it launched its first ICBM, a US official tells CNN.

The US continues to believe it may be possible that during 2018, North Korea will be able to take the critical step of putting a miniaturized warhead on top of an intercontinental missile, officials say.

With the new year just less than eight weeks away, the administration continues to look at fine-tuning military response options. While at the same time by the end of 2017, the Pentagon is expected to finish both a so-called Nuclear Posture Review and a Ballistic Missile Defense Review that will set the stage for billions of dollars and decades of new spending on modernized US weaponry to counter the type of threat North Korea poses.

The officials say the accelerated North Korean program is a major reason why so many senior Trump administration officials are publicly talking about a more worrisome threat even as they continue to pin hope on a diplomatic solution with the North. "In terms of a sense of urgency, today, North Korea certainly poses the greatest threat," Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently testified to Congress.

Defense Secretary James Mattis has also been sounding the alarm, noting recently, "North Korea has accelerated the threat that it poses to its neighbors and the world through its illegal and unnecessary missile and nuclear weapons programs," he added, emphasizing that the US "does not accept a nuclear North Korea."

But all the officials CNN spoke with acknowledge that the US is already confronting a nuclear North Korea, because they have carried out a number of nuclear and missile tests. Officials say the dilemma for US intelligence is to know if a North Korean missile is on a launcher and whether it is armed with a nuclear warhead, and is ready to fire.

Despite rhetoric from the White House, inside military and intelligence circles there is little appetite for a pre-emptive strike against North Korean weapons sites, although the US clearly retains that option. But there is a firm view that a nuclear-tipped missile launch would not be allowed to proceed. There will be likely be intelligence indicators from a launch site if that were about to happen, but the indicators may not be foolproof, officials say.

The improvements that North Korea is making that indicate the threat is more urgent include: improved solid rocket fuel with more stability that burns hotter and more evenly to help the missile achieve greater distances; improved rocket motors and engine components, and improved targeting and guidance systems.

North Korea also appears to have made critical progress in developing warheads that will be capable of re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere and reaching a target at intercontinental ranges. At least two recent ballistic missile tests demonstrated a dummy warhead successfully re-entering the atmosphere at least in a limited fashion, by not shattering.

This means the dummy test warhead separated successfully from the body of the missile and largely survived the massive heat and friction stress of re-entering the atmosphere after being fired into high altitudes.

North Korea is also assumed by US intelligence to have a functioning warhead they have never tested. Any such test could be perceived as a threat.

One area where North Korea may be running into serious problems is at its underground nuclear test site at Punggye-ri. US officials are for now dismissing regional press reports that one tunnel completely collapsed, killing hundreds of North Korean workers.

But one US official said that US intelligence is watching the site closely to try to assess what damage may have recently occurred. North Korea conducted a massive underground nuclear test at the site in September and since then there have been several seismic events that geological experts have publicly said make further underground collapse likely due to the shock waves of the test.

Trump’s post-attack talk doesn’t change terror response – CNNPolitics

Trump’s post-attack talk doesn’t change terror response – CNNPolitics

Thursday, November 2, 2017

11:32 AM

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Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

Updated 0522 GMT (1322 HKT) November 2, 2017

Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what’s happening in the world as it unfolds.

(CNN)Donald Trump just changed the way Presidents talk about terror attacks.

He also politicized the attack, all but accusing his top Democratic foe, Sen. Chuck Schumer, of enabling it by nurturing the visa program which benefited the alleged attacker Uzbek immigrant Sayfullo Saipov.

"Diversity lottery. Sounds nice. It’s not nice. It’s not good," Trump said at a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

Trump rejects politicizing attacks — unless it’s Islamist terrorism

"That was a horrible event, and we have to stop it, and we have to stop it cold," said the President, who rarely misses a chance to incite the fight against Islamic radicalism.

His approach contrasted sharply with the measured response to terrorism adopted by his predecessor Barack Obama, who was often criticized for insufficiently appreciating public anxiety after attacks.

Obama reasoned that reacting viscerally to such horror helped terrorists who want to divide Americans and spread indiscriminate fear.

Trump also did not offer assurances that the alleged attacker, who yelled "God is Great" in Arabic during the assault, was not a representative of Islam itself, as a whole, as another President, George W. Bush, often did.


Fmr. Intel Chair: President Trump ‘mixed up’ on Gitmo


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Fmr. Intel Chair: President Trump ‘mixed up’ on Gitmo 05:38

Guantanamo Bay?

But the practice of fighting terrorism is more complicated than talking about it as Trump quickly discovered on Wednesday.

The President argued that accused terrorists do not deserve legal protections granted to others — but there were signs the White House was acting off the cuff without deep forethought.

In a staggering moment, the President of the United States branded his own nation’s justice system as a "joke."

"We need punishment that’s far quicker and far greater than the punishment these animals are getting right now," he said, before saying he might send Saipov to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, which holds suspects caught abroad.

Trump’s spokesman Sarah Sanders told reporters later that the White House considered Saipov an "enemy combatant" — a designation that would deprive him of legal representation and the right to remain silent and would not necessarily apply to his case from a legal perspective.

Despite the tough words, Trump soon came up against a familiar impediment: the legal and constitutional constraints that sometimes frustrate his desire for a strongman presidency.

"Our criminal justice system is based on the Constitution," said Republican Rep. Mike McCaul on "The Situation Room" with Wolf Blitzer.

"Under due process, this individual, like it or not, came into the US legally, is a lawful permanent resident and has rights under the Constitution," said McCaul, the chairman of the House Homeland Security committee.

Shortly after McCaul spoke, New York justice officials announced federal criminal charges against Saipov, including providing material support to ISIS.

Susan Hennessey, a former National Security Agency attorney, said on CNN that the afternoon of "sound and fury" raised questions about the administration’s approach.

"It is not clear whether the President legitimately did plan on making this novel or really quite dramatic legal argument if he did not understand what the words enemy combatant meant and what the ramifications of that kind of designation would mean here," Hennessey said.

Trump’s new favorite golf partner, South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, was not happy, accusing the President of following Obama’s example in viewing the war on terror as a domestic criminal issue, rather than looking at using the enemy combatant tag.

"The Trump administration missed an important opportunity to send a strong message to terrorists and make America safer. This is a huge mistake. Very sad," Graham said in a statement.

While Trump’s contempt for the record of the justice system in terrorist cases might satisfy his sense of frontier justice, it also doesn’t reflect reality.

Most perpetrators of attacks on US soil have been handled in civilian courts since 9/11. Many of them, like shoe bomber Richard Reid and September 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, are serving life in draconian Supermax prisons where inmates are locked in spartan cells for up to 23 hours a day.


How the diversity visa lottery came to be


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How the diversity visa lottery came to be 01:50

Immigration changes stalled, too

The President also announced on Wednesday that he had started the process of "terminating" the diversity lottery program. But his next sentence reflected limits of his personal power to act.

"I’m going to ask Congress to immediately initiate work to get rid of this program," he said.

While the federal government has a say in how it implements the law, the President has repeatedly discovered that getting Congress to change it, can be futile.

A previous push to change the diversity visa lottery and to move towards a more merit-based system — that was supported by Schumer — foundered in the last comprehensive immigration reform push four years ago.

The President may be on firmer ground in his vow to enhance "extreme vetting" for immigrants — a pledge he first made in his campaign.

At the White House, Sanders called for improvements in biometric and biographical data for immigrants, to require more documentation and verification and better sharing of intelligence with foreign law enforcement and intelligence services.

But there are no guarantees that an enhanced vetting system may be ineffective in predicting whether an immigrant will be radicalized and embrace terror years hence. The courts have also repeatedly curtailed Trump’s plans for strict restrictions on entry by citizens of states with a history of terrorism.

Uzbekistan, meanwhile, was not on the list of nations covered by the plan’s latest iteration.

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What is the day after Halloween called?

What is the day after Halloween called?
Boxer Day
All Saints Day
Arbor Day

Answer: The day after Halloween is called All Saints Day. Celebrated on Nov. 1 each year, it is a Christian day of solemnity that is also referred to as Solemnity of All Saints, or All Hallow. In Western Christian religions, the day is dedicated to the saints of the Church, that is, all those who have attained heaven. It should not be confused with All Souls’ Day, which is observed on November 2, and is dedicated to those who have died and not yet reached heaven. The Roman Catholic religion views All Saints Day as a Holy Day of Obligation, which means that attendance at mass is required.

All Saints Day

All Saints’ Day, also known as All Hallows’ Day, Hallowmas, Feast of All Saints, or Solemnity of All Saints, is a Christian festival celebrated in honour of all the saints, known and unknown. Wikipedia
Observed by: Roman Catholicism; Eastern Orthodoxy; Anglicanism; various Protestant denominations;
Also called: All Hallows Day, Solemnity/Feast of All Saints
Liturgical Color: White (Western Christianity); Green (Eastern Christianity)
Observances: Church services, praying for the dead, visiting cemeteries, eating soul cakes
Date: November 1 (Western Christianity); Sunday after Pentecost (Eastern Christianity)

Answer: Who inspired the phrase “has a bug in it” when referencing a malfunction?

Who inspired the phrase “has a bug in it” when referencing a malfunction?

– Charles Babbage
– Howard Aiken
– Grace Hopper
– John P. Eckert

Grace Hopper

32.5% correct
When a computer malfunctioned at Harvard in 1945, Grace Hopper was there to investigate. Inspection of the computer’s inner workings revealed a moth in one of the circuits. Grace removed the intruder and the computer’s malfunction corrected. This was the genesis of the phrase, “��_a bug in it” whenever something goes awry with a computer. Grace would go on to develop the IBM automatic sequence-controlled calculator and helped to develop computing rocket trajectories and calibrating minesweepers. Source:
Whether or not Hopper coined the term “computer bug” is a source of some controversy. The Navy promotes the idea that it was Hopper that squashed the first computer bug; there is an actual photo of the offending insect on Hopper’s US Navy webpage: … Somehow, “computer moth” just doesn’t have the same resonance.

What member of the rock band Led Zeppelin shares his name with a naval hero of the Revolutionary War?

What member of the rock band Led Zeppelin shares his name with a naval hero of the Revolutionary War?

– Patrick Henry
– Nathan Hale
– John Paul Jones
– Ethan Allen

Answer: Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones’ real name is not John Paul Jones. His birth name is John Baldwin but in 1964 before his Led Zeppelin fame, he took his stage name after the American naval hero John Paul Jones. John Paul Jones (July 6, 1747 – July 18, 1792) was a Scottish sailor and the United States’ first well-known naval fighter in the American Revolutionary War. During his engagement with HMS Serapis, Jones uttered the legendary reply to a taunt about surrender from the British captain: “I have not yet begun to fight!”

Famed naval officer John Paul Jones was born in Scotland in 1742. His career at sea began at age 13, and by 21 he was the captain of a ship sailing between the West Indies and British ports. Jones joined the Continental navy during the American Revolution, enjoying his greatest successes in international waters.

What are the whiskers on the side of a catfish’s mouth called?

What are the whiskers on the side of a catfish’s mouth called?

– barbells
– whiskers
– mouth straws
– tasters


49.8% – correct
The average human has about 10,000 taste buds covering the tongue, but the catfish typically has more than 100,000 taste buds. In fact, large catfish can have upward of 175,000. These tiny taste buds are all over the catfish’s body, with the most concentrated on the four pairs of barbells, or whiskers, found around its mouth. These barbells act as antennae with taste buds, allowing the catfish to taste when a meal is nearby. Source:
A barbel on a fish is a slender, whiskerlike sensory organ near the mouth. Fish that have barbels include the catfish, the carp, the goatfish, hagfish, sturgeon, the zebrafish (Danio rerio) and some species of shark such as the sawshark. Barbels house the taste buds of such fish and are used to search for food in murky water. Barbels are often erroneously referred to as barbs, which are found in bird feathers for flight. Barbels may be located in a variety of locations on the head of a fish. “Maxillary barbels” refers to barbels on either side of the mouth. Barbels may also be nasal, extending from the nostrils. Also, barbels are often mandibular or mental, being located on the chin.

Which folktale inspired the Halloween Jack-o-Lantern?

Which folktale inspired the Halloween Jack-o-Lantern?

  • Stingy Jack
  • Rip Van Winkle
  • Jack and the Beanstalk
  • The Pied Piper

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

12:41 AM

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Answer: Irish legend has it that the jack-o’-lantern was named after a folktale and a man named “Stingy Jack.” Stingy Jack thought he had tricked the devil, but the devil had the last laugh, condemning Jack to an eternity of wandering the planet with only an ember of hellfire for light. The original jack-o’-lanterns were carved from turnips, potatoes or beets. Immigrants brought the jack-o’-lantern custom to North America, which is where pumpkins were first used to make the Halloween decorations, and eventually became the gourd of choice.

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From the base to point, what is the order of colors on a piece of candy corn?

From the base to point, what is the order of colors on a piece of candy corn?

  • White, Orange, Yellow
  • Yellow, Orange, White
  • Orange, Yellow, White
  • Yellow, White, Orange

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

5:53 PM

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· White, Orange, Yellow18.2%

· Yellow, Orange, White39.3%

Candy corn is a Halloween favorite made to replicate dried corn kernels. Candy corn was invented by a Wunderlee Candy Company employee named George Renninger. In 1900, the Goelitz Candy Company began making the tri-color treat, which they still produces today, although the company has changed it’s name to Jelly Belly Candy Company. Since candy corn is made from corn syrup and sugar with a marshmallow- like flavor it is considered a "mellow cream candy". Source: HowStuffWorks

· Orange, Yellow, White29.7%

· Yellow, White, Orange12.8%

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Whose face was used to make the mask in the movie “Halloween”?

Whose face was used to make the mask in the movie “Halloween”?

  • Norman Bates
  • Jack Nicholson
  • Vincent Price
  • William Shatner

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

5:20 PM

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Answer: Because the movie Halloween was made on such a tight budget, they had to use the cheapest mask they could find for the character Michael Meyers, which turned out to be a William Shatner Star Trek mask. The production crew removed the eyebrows and sideburns, the face was painted flat white, the hair was teased out, and the eyes were opened up and reshaped with scissors. It became one of the most iconic masks of all time. Shatner initially didn’t know the mask was in his likeness, but when he found out years later, he said he was honored.

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