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Author: TriSec    Date: 02/07/2023 01:46:29

Good Morning.

Well, we had a wee little kerfuffle with a balloon over the weekend. Our differently-winged friends are pretty mad about the President's response to the violation of our sovereign airspace. I presume they wanted it shot down over a major population center, so they could blame any deaths on the ground to the "Irresponsible actions of the President". So instead, the balloon was safely downed after it passed the coast, out at sea where it could do no harm. Which was also apparently "Irresponsible actions of the President". This is certainly another no-win scenario, hmm?

Ah, but I digress. At least with that balloon down in US territorial waters, we're doing our darndest to recover the wreckage. It's a "weather balloon" until we say it isn't, right?

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — A weeklong saga that had much of the country watching the skies for the small white speck — that federal officials believe was a Chinese spy balloon — ended with a “bang” delivered by a fighter jet stationed at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton.

The F-22 from Langley’s 1st Fighter Wing fired one AIM-9X Sidewinder missile at the balloon. The large white orb — with what looked like a satellite-esque structure on the bottom — was destroyed about six miles off the South Carolina coast Saturday afternoon, according to the Department of Defense.

No one was injured in the operation and the balloon never posed a military or physical threat, defense officials said. Navy and Coast Guard vessels are engaged in a recovery effort, which is expected to be “fairly easy” because the water where the balloon was shot down was only about 47 feet deep, according to the DOD.

Three Hampton Roads-based ships are involved: the USS Oscar Austin and USS Philippine Sea from Norfolk, and the USS Carter Hall from Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story in Virginia Beach.

“Today’s deliberate and lawful action demonstrates that President Biden and his national security team will always put the safety and security of the American people first while responding effectively to the (People’s Republic of China’s) unacceptable violation of our sovereignty,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said in a news release Saturday.

Chinese officials over the last week described it as a “weather balloon” that entered U.S. airspace by accident, but military officials said that it changed course during its time over the center of the country undermines that claim, Reuters reported.

Ah, where's Howard Hughes and the Glomar Explorer when we need him?

So let's shift gears drastically as we often do, and consider healthcare for a moment. I have a long background in this industry - at one point in time, I was one of the "bad guys", taking great delight in finding ways to leverage minutiae to deny a claim or otherwise be that guy. I eventually came to the Light Side of the Force, but for a while I was really good at what I did. Which is why I cringe now at stories like this one.

Hundreds of soldiers in the Army might need to re-enroll in Tricare after yet another technical blunder caused them to be removed from the service's health care system.

Some 600 active-duty officers and warrant officers were booted from Tricare, Lt. Col. Joseph Payton, a service spokesperson, told Military.com, adding the service noticed the problem Thursday. The disruption was likely caused by an error while work was being conducted on the Army's internal tools that track health care.

It's unclear when the issue will be resolved, but Payton said those impacted would likely need to re-enroll. Any out-of-pocket costs accrued during the care blackout could possibly be reimbursed. Those affected should have been notified by an email from the Army, according to Payton.

It's the latest in a series of information technology blunders after the service launched its new $600 million human resources platform, the Integrated Personnel and Pay System-Army, or IPPS-A. When the platform went live servicewide last month, 25,000 Tricare beneficiaries were accidentally removed from the health insurance system.

It's one thing to leverage policy and loopholes to deny something; but technical glitches should be resolved far faster than they are. As we used to say back in the day, there is little in claims processing that can't be fixed by writing some code. It is literally that easy. Something happened to terminate thousands of servicemembers from what is rightfully theirs, and we can't seem to reinstate them as quickly and easily as they were terminated?

Ah, we all know that the military is only props for the right - they will undoubtedly scream outrage about all this, and completely ignore the actual problem with the system.

Let's finish up with a little farce. Did you hear about this bizarre incident from the Pacific Northwest? I suppose the takeaway is, if you're going to leave dead fish at a house, don't capsize the boat.

SEATTLE — A stolen yacht. A dramatic Coast Guard rescue. A dead fish. And the famed home featured in the classic 1985 film “The Goonies.”

Combined, Oregon police called it a series of “really odd” events along the Pacific Northwest coast spanning 48 hours that concluded Friday night with the arrest of a Canadian man.

Jericho Wolf Labonte, 35, of Victoria, British Columbia, was taken into custody in the northwestern Oregon resort town of Seaside, police said in a news release.

He'd been pulled from the ocean hours earlier by a Coast Guard swimmer, just after the yacht he was piloting capsized amid high waves. He was briefly hospitalized for mild hypothermia.

Labonte was discharged before authorities in nearby Astoria, Oregon, saw the rescue video and said they recognized him as the same person who covered over security cameras at the “Goonies” house and left the fish on the porch.

Police in Seaside, about 17 miles south of Astoria, said they found Labonte on Friday evening at a homeless shelter where he was staying “under an alias,” and arrested him on charges of theft, criminal mischief, endangering another person and unauthorized use of a vehicle.

He's also wanted in Canada for “other cases,” Seaside police said.

It wasn’t immediately clear Sunday whether Labonte had an attorney who could comment on his behalf.

“It’s been a really odd 48 hours,” Astoria Police Chief Stacy Kelly said Friday.

Tonight is the State of the Union. I will be watching some or all of it; maybe even with an adult beverage. We'll be open; do come on back and share your thougts.

5 comments (Latest Comment: 02/08/2023 02:36:44 by TriSec)
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