Thursday Numbers

The dead cannot cry out for justice. It is a duty of the living to do so for them. – Lois McMaster Bujold

Welcome to the first “Thursday Numbers” of December! In case you’re a first-time visitor, this is the weekly column where I take a look at the numbers that are in the news (in descending order) and provide commentary sometimes sprinkled with just a little bit of sarcasm.

This week’s topics include climate change, Instagram winners of 2015, unemployment, livestock, City of Great Falls, Medicaid expansion, San Bernardino, Breaking News, Carolina Panthers, Golden State Warriors, and the 341st Missile Wing commander. There’s a lot more so read on!

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“Loss of Confidence”

The news release from Malmstrom AFB’s 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs Office was carefully crafted and a little over 200 words in length. The first two sentences basically said it all. It also ended a career:

The 341st Security Forces Group commander was relieved of command Aug. 22.

341st Missile Wing commander, Col. Robert Stanley, relieved Col. David Lynch from command of the 341st SFG due to a loss of confidence in Lynch’s ability to lead his group.

Malmstrom officials were quick to point out that “Lynch’s removal is not a result of the recent Nuclear Surety Inspection failure. However, as the 341 MW prepares for a re-inspection, Stanley must have full confidence in the leadership ability of his commanders.”

The Great Falls Tribune also reported, “Lynch’s removal was not related to any misconduct.”

So what caused Colonel Robert Stanley (Malmstrom’s Wing Commander), to send a news release about a colonel being relieved from duty on a Friday afternoon, which led to his photo being pasted on Saturday’s front page of the local newspaper?  Continue reading

The Weakest Link in the Nuclear Triad

It was the Associated Press headline heard around the world, “AIR FORCE NUCLEAR UNIT FAILS KEY SECURITY TEST” and in military terms, it brought discredit to the United States Air Force.

The opening paragraph of the story added more salt to the wound:

An Air Force unit that operates one-third of the nation’s land-based nuclear missiles has failed a safety and security inspection, marking the second major setback this year for a force charged with the military’s most sensitive mission, the general in charge of the nuclear air force told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

It wasn’t until the third paragraph of the AP story that “Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana” was even mentioned. With that mention, Malmstrom and its 341st Missile Wing just became the weakest link in the nuclear triad. That honor will last until the next base fails a nuclear surety test.   Continue reading