Friday, January 30, 2015

Play Ball; Enough of Deflategate America; The Rest of the News

America, or at least the media, has been obsessed with ball deflation for almost two weeks. Nothing else has happened in the world. Brian Williams leads off the NBC Nightly News with Deflategate. 12½ ounces becomes the new Algebra. Is Tom Brady obsessed wit a few ounces. Did Spygate Belichick do it? The real issue of Super Bowl XLIX has been missed: Which cheating coach will win? Bill Belichick of Spygate or Pete Carroll, who knows nothing of Reggie Bush Here’s what we’ve been missing. Homeland Security, Secret Service and NFL are providing immaculate security to the 108 Super Bowl game balls made in Ada, Ohio. Forget Super Bowl Sunday. Wednesday, February 4 is the big day – National Signing Day. Michael Moore and Seth Rogen took potshots at American Sniper. Rogen should avoid Interviews. Mitt Romney dropped in and then out of the 2016 Presidential race. The media ignored the Kardashians and Lindsay Lohan The Bibs apologized for his past arrogant behavior. Hershey’s has seen the future. It’s beef jerky – not chocolate kisses. President Obama showed his support for the middle class by attempting to tax 529 College Savings Plans. Even Nancy Pelosi balked at that. President Obama enjoys chewing gum in front of foreign leaders, removing it, and then placing it back in his mandibles. The peripatetic, millionaire Secretary of State John Kerry was fined $50 for not shoveling the snow off his sidewalk while he was in Saudi Arabia. Sheldon Silver, the Speaker of the New York Assembly, was indicted on federal corruption charges. The NCAA lifted many of its sanctions against Penn State, but is still sticking it to USC. Will Gadd climbed the frozen Niagara Falls. Tiger Woods golfed a 44 on the front nine. The homicide trial of New England Patriots tight end is underway. Suge Knight was arrested for murder and unable to raise bail. Target is pulling out of Canada, leaving it to WalMart, while Radio Shack is winning the retailer race into Chapter II. The IRS has granted a contract to the Canadian owned CGI Federal, which blew the ObamaCare rollout, to manage the IRS ObamaCare Program. Disneyland, whose tickets are almost as expensive as the Super Bowl’s, is giving away Measles for free.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Warning: Eating While Driving in Cobb County, Georgia is a Ticketable Offense

Madison Turner was cruising down I-75 January 10, minding his own business at 3:40 in the afternoon, indulging in a great American pastime: dashboard dining. He was savoring the delectable McDonald’s double quarter pounder, when flashing lights appeared behind his 2009 BMW. Madison was driving his 2009 BMW within the speed limit and was not swerving lanes. Yet there was the trooper: “Hands up; drop the food; don’t eat the corpus delicti.” Or was it: “Put the burger down or I’ll shoot.” The unidentified officer of the Marietta, Georgia Police issued a ticket which says “Eating While Driving,” the new offense of EWD, or is it DWE? The officer told Madison “You can’t just go down the road eating a hamburger,” after allegedly following him for 2 miles. Eating while driving is not in the Motor Vehicle Code. Will Madison pay the fine, or contest it? He has time to chew it over. Distraction is the problem, but Madison was driving safely. Which have you indulged in: Dashboard Dining Drinking coffee Changing stations, DVD’s, volume levels Applying lipstick or makeup Shaving Petting a pet Pets on life Sightseeing Texting Cell Phoning Checking directions or a map Glancing at the GPS Kissing or more Talking Singing Taking medicine Smoking Day dreaming Gawking or rubber-necking Looking at billboards Forget the classic speed trap. This is so much easier. Cops will now stake out the fast food restaurants on freeway exits and chase those who drive off with a morsel in their mouth. The signs will say “Easy Off; Easy On; Easy Ticket.”

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

President Johnson, Selma and Voting Rights Act: The Problem with the Movie Selma

Selma is a great movie. It accurately portrays both the historical sequence of events leading up to the historic Voting Rights Act of 1965, with a little poetic license except for President Johnson, and The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.’s personal torments. Ava DuVernay should have received an Oscar nomination for best director and David Oyelovo for Outstanding Actor. The movie is living history, just like Lincoln a few years ago. It paints the narrative of Selma and the Civil Rights Movement. However, it paints a dramatically false narrative of President Lyndon Baines Johnson, a narrative that will stick with this generation of movie goers and African Americans, just as the narrative of the innocent gentle giant Michael Brown being murdered by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Ava DuVernay portrayed LBJ as a foil to Martin Luther King, as a hostile politician who had to be led kicking and screaming into supporting the Voting Rights Act. Why not? LBJ is anathema to liberals. He gave us Vietnam. He also gave us the Civil Rights Act of 1957 during the Eisenhower Administration, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The 1957 act was weak, but it broke the Civil Rights dam in Congress. More significant legislation would follow. Robert Caro describes LBJ as “The Master of the Senate,” a consummate politician who could get laws passed as no other Senate Majority Leader or President at least in our lifetimes. Ava portrays LBJ as both hostile to the Voting Rights Act and authorizing FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to send the King “sex tape” to his wife, Coretta Scott King. The opposite is true on both. President Johnson won a landslide election in 1964 sweeping overwhelming Democratic majorities into Congress. He instructed Nicholas Katzenbach, the Attorney General, to draft “the Goddamdest, toughest voting rights act that you can.” The issue for the shrewd politician was one of timing. He did not believe he could get the act through a Senate filibuster so soon after the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The brutality on Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965, on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma gave him the opportunity. He presented Congress with a voting rights act in a joint presentation before Congress on March 15, 1995. His highly emotional speech closed with “And we shall overcome.” The President and the Reverend were essentially partners in the struggle to obtain passage of the Voting Rights Act. The movie includes a scene with a heated argument between the two. Those who would know, including MLK’s assistant, Andrew Young, said it never happened. He was there. A taped phone call between President Johnson and reverend King on January 15, 1965 shows the President advising the Civil Rights leaders to find a place where the denial of voting rights was egregious and make it known to the world. Selma won the “Civil Rights lottery” because only 156 Blacks were registered to vote out of 10,000 voters while over half of the population. In addition, Sheriff Jim Clark had a well earned reputation for brutality. No evidence exists that the President authorized Hoover to send the MLK tape. We know that the wiretaps were authorized by JFK’s Attorney General and brother, Robert F. Kennedy. LBJ was supposedly livid when he found out the tape was sent. Ava DuVernay has the right to tell the Selma story any way she wants. It’s unfortunate she fictionalized President Johnson, also a great leader in integrating the South.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Is Hollywood Racist? No, But Maybe the Directors Guild is Sexist

Is Hollywood Racist? The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced this year’s Academy Awards, the Oscars, nominations last Thursday on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday. Selma is a historical movie about the pivotal 1964 Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights marches. The movie focuses on the leadership role of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the roles of his wife, and the major civil rights leaders of the time, in the historical context of half a century ago. David Oyelowo is outstanding as Reverend King and the supporting cast was also exceptional. The script was well-written and the directing by Ana DuVernay superb. However, the movie was essentially snubbed, winning nominations only for Best Picture and Original Song, “Glory” by John Legend. The 20 nominees for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress were all whites, unleashing a flood of condemnation. The five nominated directors were all males. The hope was that David would receive a best actor nomination and Ava for best director, making her the first African American director nominee. The response is that the Academy lacks diversity. The Reverend Al Sharpton joined the critics, demanding an emergency meeting with the Hollywood leaders. The Academy has over 6,000 voting members. A Los Angeles Times study three years ago showed the median age of the members was 62 with 94% white and 77% male. Hollywood cannot blame the nominations on Republicans, Conservatives, the Tea Party, or George W. Bush. Hollywood is one of the most liberal bastions in America. Conservatives are an endangered species in Hollywood. The Academy’s members have proven in recent years that they are not racist in their awards. These “old white men” of the Academy awarded the Best Picture award last year to “12 Years a Slave” and Lupita Nyong’O as the outstanding actress from the movie. Oscars have been awarded, starting with Hattie McDaniel in 1940 (Gone With the Wind) to Sidney Portier, Denzel Washington (Outstanding Actor and Outstanding Best Supporting Actor). Jamie Foxx, Forest Whittaker, Halle Barre, Lou Gossett, Jr., Cuba Gooding, Jr., Morgan Freeman, Whoopi Goldberg, Jennifer Hudson, Mo’Nique, and Octavia Spencer. Oscars for music have been awarded to Isaac Hayes, Irene Cara, Stevie Wonder, and Lionel Ritchie. The fault this year traces back to Paramount Studios, which committed “studio malpractice.” Studios pick the movies they wish nominated for an Oscar and then routinely send DVDs to the Academy members. Paramount missed the deadline for the screener DVDs. Paramount needs to take lessons from Harvey Weinstein on Oscar promotions. The Weinstein Company produced “The Imitation Game,” nominated for Best Picture. Selma may also have been hurt by the controversy over its treatment of President Johnson. That will be my next blog. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is not the day to address this issue. Suffice to say, the two leaders worked together as partners in pursuing equal rights for the African Americans. Not as significant as the Selma omissions, but the Lego Movie was not nominated for the outstanding Animation Movie. Nor was Amy Adams nominated eventhough she is on her way of becoming the next Meryl Streep, who received her 19th nomination. Angelina Jolie and Unbroken were not nominated. The Oscars have historically been unkind to women directors. Only four have been nominated: Lina Wertmuller, Jane Campion, Sofia Coppola, and Kathryn Bigelow, who won in 2009 for The Hurt Locker. None, much less the African American Ava, have been nominated since then. Even Angelina Jolie and Unbroken were ignored by the Oscars. The Director’s Oscar appears to be a Good Ole Boy Network – definitely sexist, but perhaps not racist. . We don’t regularly go to the movies, but have managed in the past few years to see many of the nominated movies. My view is that David Oyelovo is definitely more deserving than Benedict Cumberbatch, who always seems to be the same regardless of the movie. One final comment: Cheryl Boone Isaac, an African American woman, has been President of the Academy since 2013.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

James Taylor: Our Nouveau Foreign Policy

James Taylor: Our New Foreign Policy has been unleashed on the world. A million marched in Paris; 40 world leaders But not President Obama! He was in the White House, apparently doing nothing: no golf, no fund raising, no campaigning. Maybe he was secretly smoking or searching the internet for a anti-Islam video to explain the Paris attacks. Vice President Biden was in his Wilmington, Delaware residence, apparently doing nothing except charging rent to the Secret Service. The Secretary of State, John Kerrey, was occupied elsewhere. Attorney general Eric Holder was in Paris, but he apparently chose to return to the United States. Forty world leaders: England, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Turkey, Poland, Ukraine, Kosovo, Latvia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Croatia, Georgia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Israel, PLO. Denmark, Finland, Norway, Belgium, Netherlands, Ireland, Albania, Luxembourg, Algeria, Benin, Mali, Malta, and the King of Jordan. No President Obama. We sent the Ambassador to France to Paris. Foreign ministers from Algeria, Austria, Egypt and Russia, No Secretary of State Kerry. Secretary Kerry is making amends. He returned to France yesterday with a friend, James Taylor, to sing “You’ve Got a Friend” slightly out of tune. James Taylor is a great singer, a magnificent troubadour, who has given us incredible songs. I did not know until now that he was our secret foreign policy weapon, held in reserve until the time arose. The brilliance of John Kerry! None of us could have thought of that international coup. The Obama Administration gave the Ukrainians MRE’s, the Brits the Churchill Bust, the Israelis the back of the hand, a teachable moment to the Cambridge Police, and now James Taylor to the French. As Isis, Isil, Is executes and beheads the infidels and heathen, the victims can be comforted by “You got a friend.” President Obama is not a good negotiator. Now he sends James Taylor as our roaming ambassador for FUBAR Redemption. If the aging FUBAR Ambassador tires out, he could always sing “Carolina in my Mind.” President Vladimir Putin is the Rodney Dangerfield of international leaders. He believes he gets no respect. James Taylor could sing “You got a friend” slightly out of tune. As for the ayatollahs in Iran, Ambassador Taylor’s message is “You got a friend with the Bomb” followed by “Fire and Rain.” My own preference would be Barry McGuire’s Eve of Destruction.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Please Governor Romney, Don't Run for President Again

Governor Romney Please Don’t Run Mitt, say it’s not so, no go. Just say No. Say you are not running for President again. You want it; you could taste it two years ago, but it's not happening. The GOP won't nominate you a second time, and the American public won't elect you. You’ve achieved great success in the Mormon Church, the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, and in business. America should be proud of a distinguished entrepreneur like you. You should be an exemplar to us. You are not though a politician. We all have limitations. Politics is yours. You’re 1-3 in elections. It would have been 1-4 if you had run for reelection as Governor of Massachusetts, but you wisely chose not to seek reelection. You’re a good person. You would have been a better President than President Obama, but you lost. You lost to Ted Kennedy; you lost to John McCain, and you lost to Barack Obama. You run the risk of becoming this generation’s Harold Stassen. You have several problems. First, you don’t connect with the public or voters. I saw you at a campaign speech at Chapman during the 2008 Republican primaries. I said to my friend: “You looked like a preppie, you talked like a preppie, you walked like a preppie.” You are a preppie, and that’s how the public perceives you. You don’t connect. You’re too stiff. You possess no empathy. It’s your persona. Second, You run awful campaigns, and still want to go with the same staffers. You were excoriated during the pre-convention months in 2012. You were painted as a rich, ruthless, unlikable non-taxing paying corporate parasite. Stephanie Cutter of President Obama’s campaign staff even clamed you may have committed a felony. Your Response: Nothing. You let them paint you without a response. Third, your views aren’t understood by the voters because you are tagged with changing with the winds. Are your positions an expression of deep beliefs, or of political expediency? Fourth, You let a reporter, Candy Crowley, take you down in the second Presidential Debate. That was your chance to decisively score with the Republican base and independents. You whiffed. You're a numbers guy who wants to throughly think a problem through before acting. Leadership requires instinctive responses and risk taking. Your response to Candy Crowley was neither a display of competence nor leadership. Fifth: RomneyCare. You can’t escape it. Sixth: You take too much time during the campaign to make decisions. That does not bode well for the Presidency. You won the nomination in 2012 because he raised sufficient funds to outlast your fellow contestants. The money will not be there this round. It’s unfortunate for America, but the Presidency is not for you.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Reflections on the Bowl Games

It’s over. The engorged bowl season is over. The Ohio State University won; the Buckeyes are the undisputed national champions, led by a backup, backup quarterback, who famously tweeted upon arriving on campus last year: “Why should we have to go to class if we came here to play FOOTBALL, we ain’t come to play SCHOOL, classes are POINTLESS.’ Ah, the innocence of youth! We can only wonder at the miracles Cardale Jones’ academic tutors must be performing in keeping him academically eligible. At least he understands the priorities in Columbus. He was also honest. There are no illusions in Columbus about the gladiators of the gridiron being scholar athletes. The football gods are fickle. Alabama, for the second year in a row, did not win the national championship. The SEC did not even make the championship game this year. America was once again denied an Oregon-Alabama title game, but we have the consolation of knowing Ohio State defeated both of them. The football supremacy of the SEC, seven straight national championships, is history, defeated by a former SEC coach from Ohio, Urban Meyer. Urban defeated Ohio State with an SEC team, and now has defeated an SEC team with Ohio State. He must be good. His predecessor Jim Tressel, in football exile as President of Youngstown State, was there to bless the Buckeyes. Florida State was playing on the edge all season. Oregon popped their bubble. Oregon showed it is for real. It also showed the nation that it has a great defense. Until the Ducks played the Buckeyes. Oregon against Ohio State. The Pac 12 against the Big (Ten) Conference for the mythical national title. The top two academic conferences in big time sports played for the coveted title. Math is a problem for the Big Ten now that it has 14 teams, but still officially calls itself the Big Ten. Hence it sometimes, perhaps with a touch of hubris, labels itself the “Big.’ The Big won with Ohio State. The Pac 12 lost even with Phil Knight’s money at Oregon. The Big won big with Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin defeating Alabama, Baylor and Auburn. The state of Alabama lost big (Alabama, Auburn and Southern Alabama defeated). The state of Mississippi’s football revival suffered a relapse with both Mississippi and Ole Miss losing. The Big (Ten) Conference had a revival on New Year’s Day. Ohio State, Michigan State, and Wisconsin, all proponents of smash mouth football, won, as did the presumed weak newcomer Rutgers and beleaguered Penn State. The best part of the bowl games is that they were decided by the players on the field – not by the referees on the field, as in the NFL

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

While French Slept, Europe Slept, and America is Sleeping

Winston Churchill in his Parliamentary back bench years delivered several speeches warning of the rise of Hitler and the Nazis. He compiled and published them as “Why England Slept” in 1938. A Harvard student in 1939 titled his senior thesis “While England Slept.” The book became a best seller in1940. Slightly over two decades later the author, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, was inaugurated President of the United States. Someone should pen a similar book today, While France Slept, or why America, or at least President Obama, is Sleeping. Radical Islamic terrorism has gone global. Europe alone has witnessed scores of attacks, many deadly. Russia is under periodic attack. Turkey has experienced Islamic terrorist attacks. Theodore Van Gogh was murdered on November 2, 2004. The Madrid train bombing killed 191 and injured over 1,800 on March22, 2004. Theodore Van Gogh was murdered on November 2, 2004. 53 were killed and over 700 injured on July 7, 2005 in e London subway and bus bombings. 40 died and 102 injured in the Moscow Metro on March 29, 2010. Stockholm witnessed a bomber dying and 21 injuries on December 10, 2010. A Frankfort airport shooting on March 2, 2011 resulted in two dead and two injured. France is a country which has blinded itself to Islamic fanaticism eventhough it has been the subject of terrorist attacks, including one the firebombing of Charlie Hebdo’s headquarters in 2011 and the killing of three Jewish schoolchildren rabbi, and three French paratroopers in Toulouse and Montauban on March20, 2012. IT has allowed the creation of 751 “no go” zones in which the police, fire, and other government authorities are barred from entering Muslin communities, which often practice Sharia law and will be a festering nest for future terrorist attacks. The French Government has exerted tremendous effort in recent years in destroying Roma camps and deporting the Roma, who do not pose the threat of Radical Islam. New York City has created an effective counter terrorism unit in the NYPD to prevent terrorist attacks. The City is under pressure to restrict the unit. Edward Snowden was celebrated by many for disclosing the NSA was collecting metadata on phone calls, which would allow it to quickly identify phone links and contacts in case of an attack on the United States. The attack on Charlie Hebdo and the kosher Hyper Cacher was not just an attack on France. The enemy is not France. Nor is it even the United States. It’s certainly not Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo. The enemy of radical Islam is Western Civilization. And yet, Western leaders, especially President Obama and even today President Hollande of France deny the threat of radical Islam. You cannot form a strategy to defeat an enemy if you cannot recognize the existence of the enemy. President Hollande said “These fanatic terrorists have nothing to do with the Muslim faith.” President Obama Said “ISIL is not Islamic,” as vapid an inane a statement as any he has uttered. Radical Islam is attacking Western Civilization. Islam may be a religion of peace, but a virulent strain is metastasizing globally. The longer the core is left alone, the more severe the cancer will be. The threat is increasing daily: Lone wolf, sleeper cells, state sponsored terrorism, it's not going away while countries sleep. President Obama asserts “core Al Qaeda” is destroyed. He is either blithely na├»ve or disingenuous. Recent attacks have occurred in Australia and Canada. Political leaders do not understand that one can be anti-radical Islam without being an Islamaphobe. Yet Muslims in Europe will pay a high political price for the radical Islam terrorist attacks. President Hollande visited the family of the Muslin police officer killed by the terrorists. France is also recognizing the Muslim employee who saved 15 hostages at the kosher market targeted by the third terrorist. Muslims will face a backlash. Manuel Valis, Prime Minister of France, now calls it Radical Islam: “It is a war against terrorism, against jihadism, against radical Islam ….” Forty world leaders marched arm in arm Sunday in Paris leading a parade of over a million protesting the terrorist attacks in Paris. Francois Hollande of France, Matteo Renzi of Italy, David Cameron of England, Angela Merkel of Germany. A photo shows in a line Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, Ibrahim Boucacar Keita of Mali, Francois Hollande of France, Angela Merkel of Germany, Poland’s former Prime Minister Donald Tusk, and Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority. President Hollande and Prime Minister Netanyahu visited the Grand Synagogue in Paris. President Obama was apparently in the White House with nothing on his formal agenda. Vice President Biden was apparently home in Wilmington, Delaware, with nothing on his agenda. Attorney General Eric Holder was in Paris, but didn’t go to the march, instead deciding to fly home. The President sent a message to the world. Where is the Churchill or Kennedy in western leadership? Not in the White House!

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Blue Flu Has Struck New york City During a Cold Winter

The Blue Flu Has Struck New York City. Mayor de Blasio doubles and triples down on his contempt for the NYPD. He reacted to the tragic killing of Eric Brown by feeding the Left’s contempt for the police. The Mayor is like the classic tale of the scorpion and the frog. The scorpion asked the frog to carry him across the river. The frog initially refused: I don’t trust you. You will sting me to death.” The scorpion replied: “No way. If I sting you I will die too for I can’t swim. You can trust me.” The frog gave in, relying on the assurances of the scorpion. The scorpion stung halfway across the river. The frog cried out “why?” The scorpion replied “It is my nature.” It’s a force of habit for the scorpion. Also for the Mayor. He despises the NYPD through force of habit. The far left progressive believes the police are the problem. They oppress minorities. They shoot young blacks for no reason except racism. They routinely practice police brutality. He pals with the Reverend Al Sharpton and looks to him for advice on Civil Rights. That is his base. Mayor de Blasio is of that base. He believes the police are the problem. Attorney General John Mitchell said at the onset of the Nixon Administration: “Watch what we do, not what we say.” The Mayor met with Patrick Lynch, President of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, ostensibly to mend fences. Nothing was accomplished in the meeting. However, as they were meeting the Mayor’s aides were coaching the media to criticize the police and Lynch for showing contempt for the Mayor by turning their backs on him. Paint them disrespectful for their conduct at the funeral of the assassinated police officer. De Blasio was Janus faced in the talks. Judge Mayor de Blasio by his actions – not his words. Then came the fear of copycat killings of police officers after the cold blooded assassinations of Officers Raphael Ramos and Wenjian Liu. The NYPD has received several threats. 18 year old Devon Covey posted death threats against the NYPD. He already has a major rap sheet. He was arrested. Judge Laura Johnson promptly released him without bail. The next day, December 23, Judge Johnson released a second suspect without bail. Travis Maye, 26 with a rap sheet, had struck an officer and threatened others. Merry Christmas, NYPD. Mayor de Blasio showed his contempt for the police on December 31 by reappointing Judge Johnson to an additional year as an interim judge. Actions! – Not words! Judge the Mayor by what he does – not by what he says. Force of habit. It is the Mayor’s nature – his base and core beliefs. Contempt and disdain for the Police! His latest affront is after the funeral for Officer Wenjian Liu. Once again he showed up for the funeral, and officers outside the church turned their back on him. The officers were exercising their freedom of speech through silence. The petulant Mayor held a press conference Monday at which he accused the police of “being disrespectful to the families involved.” He also called them disrespectful to the people of New York City. Mayor de Blasio mistakes respect for the office versus respect for the person. The NYPD respects the Office of the Mayor. They do not respect the current Mayor. Personal respect must be earned. He has earned disrespect. The officers showed respect by the thousands for their fallen comrade. The irony is that most officers, fulfilling their sense of duty, will risk their lives to save the Mayor and his family in an attack. One form of response against despised authority figures is passive resistance. The CDC reports a virulent flu is spreading through America. The NYPD has caught the Blue Flu. The Blue Flu decades ago was manifested by scores of officers calling in sick with the flu during contract negotiations. The NYPD has caught a milder form of the flu. Their hands are paralyzed, unable to write out tickets, summons, and infractions. Traffic tickets plunged 92% a week ago compared to last year, from 9,319 to 749. The New York City budget is $77 billion. Traffic tickets account for roughly $546 million. The City will soon feel the pinch of reclining revenues. Double parked vehicles are not ticketed. Nor are vehicles parked on the wrong side of alternate side parking. Citations and summons dropped a similar 93% from 16,018 to 1,191. Arrests also plunged 56% to 2,401 from 5,448. New York City is suffering through a self-inflicted case of the Blue Flu. Police Commissioner William Bratton calls it a work stoppage. The people of New York City will pay the cost. Patrick Lynch stated the PBA had not engaged in a collective action to slow down. However, he explained “Statistics sometimes have to take a back seat to safety.” The New York City Police are justifiably concerned about their safety, public castigation, and being sued. Two cars respond to a crime, and officers don’t arrest unless “absolutely necessary.” Mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg had the police’s backs. The police turn their backs on the Mayor.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Delta Flight 619, January 6, 2015: An Exercise in Stationary Flying

“Leaving on a jet plane” should not be an adventure today. It’s simple: 1) Get to the airport early; 2) check in; 3) Sail through TSA; 4) Board early; 5) Stow your overhead luggage; 6) Find your seat; 7) Watch the cabin door shut and the ramp push back; 8) take off and 9) Land, avoiding chop, thunder, and lightning en route. The adventure and excitement should be at the departure or arriving destination. Think of Disneyland or Knott’s Berry Farm in Orange County. There should thereby be even less excitement on a stationary plane at the terminal. Here I am on a six hour layover at Salt Lake City Airport looking out at the beautiful snow covered Wasatch Mountains. “Delta is ready when you are,” but Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C. is not. Delta was great today, but not National Airport (I’m sure President Reagan would be ashamed to have his name associated with the airport on a day like today.) Flight 619 was scheduled to depart at 7:30AM, eastern time with a one hour layover for the connecting flight. We boarded, the door was armed, the gangway drawn back, and watched a humorous video while waiting to taxi off. While waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting – 4 ½ hours of waiting. 619 lifted off at noon. Winter flying can be a challenge. Global Winter arrived a few hours early. The roads were icy, the ice sticking to the plane, and snow covering the tarmac. Clearly chemical deicing (external liquid antifreeze) was in order. Too many people, especially pilots, remember the 27 fatalities on US Air 405, leaving La Guardia on March 22, 1992, which experienced inadequate deicing. Take your time deicing; you only have one chance at a time to do it right. It’ll just be a short wait until the plane was deiced. No problem. We’re on an early flight out. I left the Frost Belt in 1996, but I remember how deicing worked. The plane taxis out to the deicing equipment just prior to take off. The plane upon deicing proceeds directly to the departure runway and take off. Not at National! Two deicing trucks came to the plane for the spraying process. However, by the time they deiced several planes, the runways had to be replowed. Deiced planes had to be re-deiced, sometimes for a total of three deicings. The trucks never made it to our 7:30 flight until after ten o’clock. Yes, they’re working in pairs. I will still be able to make the 3:03 connection. Nope; one of the trucks ran out of fluid. It didn’t return until about 11:30 to complete the process. Wheels down on 619 ten minutes before the connecting 3:03 departure. It’ll be tight, but it was only two gates away. Three minutes too late. The door was closed three minutes before I reached it. And now I’m enjoying the view, scheduled to arrive in Orange County 20½ hours after the early wakeup to get to the airport. Why is Delta commendable? First, Delta doesn’t control these operations. The airport does. Second, the pilot kept us fully informed of the situation. Twice he reported that he was told it would be only a few minutes for the trucks to come to 619. Indeed, they were working one plane away. Nope. At one point he was so frustrated he left the plane to talk firsthand with operations. So, were we stuck in an aluminum cigar tube on the tarmac, reliving the horror stories of the past? No, the captain had the gangway reattached to the plane and the door opened. We were “free to move about, “ to leave the plane, rebook, purchase food, or just walk around. Many did. We may have been frustrated, but there was no claustrophobic feeling. The flight crew was very understanding. Delta’s computers did the rebooking while I was in flight. Today’s odyssey in stationary travels reminds me why I like to get to the airport early, especially in winter. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Posted on January 7