Accidents happen. And in a military setting, accidents can be especially dangerous. So the Naval Safety Center, trying to get the word to everyone to be careful out there, has a Web site recounting mistakes others have made.
The safety folks thought a dry listing of mishaps wouldn't make the point. So they went graphic in mid- 2001, posting a "Photo of the Week" to illustrate the consequences of carelessness. The idea, they said, was "to amuse and provoke thought in safety issues."
Last week's photo showed what happened at a Navy facility in Rota, Spain, in January. Seems two maintenance workers were on a flight line and a generator attached to a plane they were servicing conked out. They figured it was out of gas, so they checked the fuel level.
"Since we all know the little needle indicating fuel level is never right," the safety center's Web site account said, "they opened the cap to check the tank itself. But alas, they had no flashlight handy." What to do?
Finally one worker asked the other for his lighter. The other man handed it over but warned of "the dangers of mixing fire and vapor." So the worker "leeeaned over the opening and flick, flick, flicked his Bic. The sound effects of 'Woosh!' 'Foon!' and 'Aaaagh!' filled the night air, followed by the rotor blades of a medevac helo on its way to the burn unit."
The safety lesson? "First, use common sense. Think! Second, if someone warns you about the dangers of what you're about to do . . . listen to them. They're probably a lot smarter than you are."
The caption on the photo? "A Little Red in the Face."
The Navy assures us that the worker, who was wearing goggles and a helmet, is going to be fine. Hard to say that from the photograph, which is a bit gross for those reading this at breakfast.
(You can see it at www.safetycenter.navy.mil /photo/default.htm)
Our favorite "Photo of the Week" from the safety center is this one posted in May after an accident a year ago at a Navy storage facility in Japan. Seems a sailor was driving a forklift around, "it was an older model and the gas and the brake are very close," a Navy spokeswoman said, and. . . .
The caption? "Ain't This Da Bomb?"
The extraordinary amount of pork in the latest appropriations bill got so big that even those lawmakers who protested appear to have become a bit overwhelmed.
A few weeks ago, while the big swine were snortin' and snufflin' at the endless trough, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) issued a press release including some 160 pages listing "objectionable" provisions.
One included "Language providing an increase of $600,000 above fiscal year 2002 level for increased investigation of the nutritional needs of pregnant and nursing women, and children from contraception to adolescence, at the Children's Nutritional Research Center, Houston, TX."
Double the Pressure
There was something odd about the recent White House announcement about Eduardo Aguirre Jr., who worked for the Bank of America for 24 years and is vice chairman and first vice president of the Export-Import Bank. According to the release, Aguirre was to be designated acting director of the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Service at the Department of Homeland Security.
Seems Aguirre is going to be holding both jobs at the same time. This is a most unusual, though not unprecedented, situation.
Aguirre will be traveling back and forth between his downtown bank job and his new office at Ward Circle. But he won't be paid for both.
He apparently can't leave the Ex-Im Bank until a Republican is nominated to replace him. If Aguirre were to leave now, then the Democrats would have a majority on the bank board, though the Ex-Im Bank hasn't usually been seen as a hotbed of partisan politics.