Thursday, December 14, 2017
News Roundup

Q&A: Foreign service, Olympic food

Donor to ambassador

I've seen stories criticizing President Obama's ambassador appointments. Is it true that he's putting more political donors into those jobs than previous presidents?

The American Foreign Service Association has kept track of ambassadorial appointments since the 1970s, judging them to be either political or career diplomat appointments.

Its figures show that Obama has made a higher percentage of political appointments than his three immediate predecessors, but is at about the same rate as Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford.

Of the 327 total appointments Obama has made, 206 (63 percent) have been career diplomats and 121 (36 percent) have been political appointees. In his second term, though, 41 of his 77 appointments have been political — 53 percent.

George W. Bush made 453 appointments, and 70 percent were career diplomats. Bill Clinton made 417, and 72 percent were career diplomats. George H.W. Bush appointed career diplomats 69 percent of the time. Reagan and Ford were at 62 percent career diplomats appointed. Jimmy Carter had the highest percentage of career diplomats appointed, 73 percent.

Carter reversed the previous policy of Richard Nixon, who was not a fan of the foreign service and set a price tag on the donation someone had to make to get a desirable assignment.

"My point is, my point is that anybody who wants to be an ambassador must at least give $250,000," Nixon said to White House chief of staff H.R. Haldeman on June 23, 1971, according to a tape that was transcribed in 1997.

In grand jury testimony in 1975, Nixon denied selling ambassadorships, but defended appointing large donors to the jobs.

Olympic eating

How are Olympic athletes fed? Do they have a communal cafeteria catering to every participating nation's taste and sensibility or does every nation bring its own chef and supplies?

There is the main Olympic Dining Hall with a wide variety of foods, including salad bars and buffets, but there are also dining areas in each of the three Olympic villages — for athletes competing indoors, for cross-country and biathlon athletes, and for athletes competing in all other mountain events.

Many nations bring their own food staff and as many supplies as they can, the United States among them. Eight years ago, at the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, many Americans had such bad food experiences that the U.S. Olympic Committee decided it needed to act to improve nutrition.

This year, for example, the U.S. ski and snowboard teams have their own dietitian and three other chefs to prepare food for the 100 athletes and other staff. There are others who specialize in other groups of U.S. athletes and cater to their specific needs. And for those who need it, there's even a McDonald's.

Compiled from Times and wire reports. To submit a question, email [email protected]

Comments

Crash downs power lines, closes N Florida Avenue in downtown Tampa

TAMPA — A portion of North Florida Avenue is closed in downtown Tampa as TECO crews repair downed power lines after a crash late Wednesday night.The crash occurred around 11:35 p.m. at the intersection of N Florida Avenue and E Fortune Street, accord...
Updated: 1 hour ago
What you need to know for Thursday, Dec. 14

What you need to know for Thursday, Dec. 14

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.• We’ll see temperatures in the low 70s today as highs march toward 80 degrees by Monday, according to 10Weather WTSP.• As you head out for your morning commute, check out our ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
St. Pete ponders building parking garage -- then giving it away

St. Pete ponders building parking garage -- then giving it away

ST. PETERSBURG — For years, Edge District merchants and residents have been united by this grievance: there isn’t enough parking to accommodate visitors to the booming entertainment and retail district.The City Council will consider a plan to fix tha...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Exploring the incredible color, cuisine, culture of India

Exploring the incredible color, cuisine, culture of India

DELHIAs I slid my shoes off and handed the man a five-rupee note before entering the Jama Masjid mosque, I could feel the heat from the red stone against my heels. I could also feel the intense stares of the Delhi locals. I don’t know which made me s...
Published: 12/14/17
Joe Henderson: Recent cold snap brings to mind the Big Chill of Christmas ‘89

Joe Henderson: Recent cold snap brings to mind the Big Chill of Christmas ‘89

You know that little snap of frigid — OK, chilly — weather we just had? In Florida, we call that winter, a season we typically measure in hours.If it’s really savage, the thermometer might not rise above 50 degrees for two or sometimes three whole da...
Published: 12/14/17
Why is eggnog a holiday tradition? Exploring fresh renditions of the classic drink

Why is eggnog a holiday tradition? Exploring fresh renditions of the classic drink

Eggnog dates back to medieval times when the British enjoyed a drink called "posset" that was made with hot milk, ale and spices. Later it became a drink for the wealthy who added expensive brandy or sherry. It was the alcohol that kept the milk from...
Published: 12/14/17
Pinellas sheriff disciplines deputies in arrest, but not for excessive force

Pinellas sheriff disciplines deputies in arrest, but not for excessive force

Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri has suspended two deputies after an internal investigation found they violated agency policies during the arrest of a 25-year-old man that turned violent. The sheriff handed down 15 days to Deputy Alexander Edge, who G...
Updated: 21 minutes ago
St. Petersburg police arrest Bob's Carpet and Flooring heir, several others, in death of 22-year-old woman found in alley

St. Petersburg police arrest Bob's Carpet and Flooring heir, several others, in death of 22-year-old woman found in alley

ST. PETERSBURG — Police have arrested several people, including a son of a prominent flooring store chain’s late founder, as part of an investigation into the death of a 22-year-old woman whose body was found in an alley last year. The w...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, please go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Wed., Dec. 13, midday:53 738 7036e_SRit10321Wed., Dec. 13, evening:57 775 2681e_SRit55890LottoWed., Dec....
Updated: 7 hours ago

Winter meetings journal: Rays trade for money to sign top international free agent

LAKE BUENA VISTA — While most of the business conducted at the meetings impacts the big-league team one way or another, the Rays are working to finalize a move they hope pays off big sometime in the 2020s.In trading Wednesday to acquire $1 million in...
Updated: 7 hours ago