Friday

The best $24 I ever spent


In early September of 1998 the pilots at Northwest Airlines went on strike. At the time I was flying Falcon Jets and so matters involving airlines had about zero impact on me. The one thing that I did take notice of was the fact that the strike caused the airspace above the northcentral states to be really, really quiet. That fact led to my investing the best $24 I ever spent in the aviation business.

Shortly after the strike began, I was called to do a trip from Washington DC to Winnipeg, Manitoba. On the way up there we soon discovered the amazing quiet on the center frequencies. In fact, about as soon as we cleared the DC airspace we got "Direct Winnipeg." All along the way we noticed that it seemed as if we had our own personal controller working only us on every frequency. I even joked to one controller how quite the skies were when those Northwest guys were walkin' around with picket signs. He came back with "Tell me about it- makes the day long."

On the ground at Winnipeg I managed to visit a really terrific hockey shop and generally observe the locals who were enjoying the last remnants of summer. They all had the look of people who knew that the Canadian winter would soon drop on them like an anvil. The weather was currently warm and beyond clear.

As we showed for departure I looked at the weather and we had clear skies all the way to DC. Since the strike was still going on, we would also have clear frequencies with ATC once more. Our clearance was essentially Winnipeg direct IAD, thence. Looking at the route of flight I saw that it took us down Lake Huron, and that gave me an idea. Considering that the MBS VOR, actually located in Freeland, MI- my home town- was just slightly off our route- I came up with a plan. My parents lived less than two miles from the VOR itself, I figured it may be really cool to alter our course and fly right over mom and dad. In doing so I could pick up the flight-phone, call them up and tell them to go outside and look up. I bounced that off of the guy I was flying with and he just lit-up. "Oh, we gotta' do that!" he giggled.

When I picked up our clearance I told ATC that we wanted to alter our route to Direct MBS, Direct IAD. There was a pause on the radio and the confused controller came back asking "Why do ya' wanna do THAT?" I came back and replied "My retired parents live right near the MBS VOR and I wanna fly over, call 'em on the flight phone and tell 'em to go outside and look up." There was another pause then the controller came back snickering and said, "That's too good, okay you're now cleared direct MBS, direct IAD." I read it back and he replied, "Read back correct, have fun!"

One of the most important rules that any pilot should have burned into their soul is that Air Traffic Controllers are people too. Although there are many times when it is absolutely required that you be brief and concise with them, there are times when if you need something, you can just talk to them like people. As long as it is within the reg.s and not out of line with traffic flow and needs, or safety, they're always willing to help you. The best thing to teach a student pilot is if you need help, call ATC and simply ask for it. There is a real person on the other end of your mic and you'll find out they are pretty damned cool... especially when you want to do something neat-O. Another thing that many pilots often forget is that controllers talk to each other- so it was that our departure controller called up the line and told the next person what we were doing and so on.

As we got within about 20 miles of the MBS VOR I picked up the flight-phone and called my folks. Such calls cost, at that time, about $12 per minute- so I had to be brief. Being retired, my mom and dad were almost always home. Mom answered and I asked if she was on the portable phone- she said that she was. I told her to go out side, she did. "Look up." I said, do ya' see a contrail?" "No." she replied puzzled. "Look north, toward the airport- and when you see a contrail, that'll be me. I'll call you back when we're directly overhead- this is costing me a ton." I hung up and then began to wonder if this was a no-contrail day! Since no one else was up near us, it was hard to tell.

As the DME ticked off and our course on the screen came directly over the MBS station I called mom and dad back. Mom sounded like she was jumping up and down with excitement. "Oh my God! Oh my God!" she was shouting, "We see you, we can see you! You're right straight up!" I replied with our altitude and told her we were turning and heading for DC. "We see you! she shouted and laughed, "There ya' go!" I gave a pilot's goodbye and told her I'd call her tonight when I got home.

We were all grins in cockpit knowing that down below us were two thrilled parents. After all of the years of working my way through school, after all of the flight training, check rides, flight instruction, airline flying and career pitfalls that they had watched their kid go through, they finally got to see a contrail and know that I was on the point of it. What I didn't know was that my dad ran and got his camcorder, which, of course, had a dead battery. They also tried to get neighbors to "come and see" but on this rare occasion- no one was home! Dad grabbed his perpetually out of focus binoculars and tried to see what he could see- but I'm sure it was a fuzz. In the end it was just the two of them who stood there together in the back yard where I used to stand and watch the contrails go over the MBS VOR and they watched my contrail until it was out of sight... then my dad stood there alone and watched for what my mom said was "Quite a bit longer."

Shortly after we made the turn toward IAD, center came on the radio and asked "How'd it go? Did they see ya?" I replied back "A-firm. Two very excited old folks down there right now." ATC replied with a very cheerful "Great!" I'm sure there were some grins in the TRACON too at that moment.

After we hangared that evening I left a note in the office telling them that I'd used the flight-phone and to bill me for it. The total for the phone call came to $24. It was indeed one of those rare opportunities when circumstances way beyond your control allows you to do something out of the ordinary that is really cool. My dad passed away six years later and I have often thought of him standing out there all by himself looking up into the sky where I had been and the feelings and thoughts he probably had. From an aviator's point of view, all things considered, that was the best $24 I ever spent in aviation.

Sunday

Goin' to charm school

Commuting out of ORD, I had snagged a jumpseat on a United 757. The captain was a highly friendly fellow who was fairly senior and his FO was just getting ready to go to captain school for the 75 and seemed like a pretty cool guy as well. We blasted out of ORD and as we leveled off at cruise one of the Flight Attendants came into the cockpit. This FA was... well... as they like to say "OG" or openly gay. Now it is a vast misconception that all male FAs are gay. In fact a large portion of them are not. I once had a flight student who was a male FA at American and he liked to say that the way you get laid a lot in life is to be a straight guy working as an FA. Anyhow, the OG-FA politely asked if we'd like anything to drink.

Offering the crew something to drink at cruise was a standard practice in the pre-9/11 era when cockpit doors did not have to be barred and locked and then welded shut from the inside during flight. I said I was okay and didn't need anything, the FO echoed my answer and then put his hand over his mouth as if to conceal a smirk. The captain, however, just looked straight out the front window and stiffly said "Nothing, thank you." The OG-FA then left with a friendly "See ya'." An instant later, the captain reached over and hit the FA intercom button. When the lead FA answered the call he said sternly, "Cone in here please." By now the FO was looking out his window as if to say "I don't wanna see this."

In about a heartbeat later the lead FA came in and the captain directed her to close the door. "I don't care what you do for the rest of this flight," the captain snarled as he looked at her in a hateful manner, "but you keep that f%$&ing faggot out of my cockpit!" The stunned and clearly offended lead FA simply murmured "ok" and left, slamming the cockpit door.

No sooner had the echos from the slammed cockpit door faded than both the captain and the FO burst into laughter. The captain turned to me and saw that I was a bit stunned and began to sing "I'm goin' to charm school, I'm goin' to charm school, I'm goin to charm school..." The FO turned wiping his eyes and said "You sick bastard, I don't believe you just did that." The captain began to dance in his seat "I'm goin' to charm school, I'm goin' to charm school..."



"I'm missin' somethin' here." I mumbled. The FO decided to fill me in. You see, they can't fire United pilots for something like that. Instead, they take them off the schedule and send them to sensitivity training... in Denver... for a week. "He's done this before." the FO explained, "What was it last time?" the FO asked the captain. "Ski season." the captain replied happily. "And before that?" the FO went on. "Prime golf weather, just like now." the captain replied with a large knowing smile. "It works great," the captain explained to me, "You insult some fruity FA that you're probably never gonna see again, they send you to charm school in Denver, you spend the days learning charm and the rest of the time golfing or on the slopes. All ya' have to do is go in acting like Archie Bunker and pretend to slowly turn into Alan Alda by the end of the week. You get a passing grade and go back to work. You still get yer' guarantee, so you don't lose any money and you get an all expense paid vacation in Denver just to attend a bullshit sensitivity class."



"But... three times?" I asked. "Hey, I keep fallin' off the wagon." the captain smirked, "Can't help it, must be a defect in my personality."



A contrail could be seen high up in the eastern Ohio sky and at the very point of it were three pilots snickering like schoolboys over the concept of charm school. You can lead a pilot to charm school, but you can't make him sensitive.

Monday

The face of ObamaSpace-via Klyde Morris




ObamaSpace- NEUTERED!



On the first day of February, 2010 the ever leftward bound Obama administration presented a budget proposal for NASA that was nothing short of an outrage. Apparently, a hand full of the president's bootlickers cooked up a "new direction" that probably sounded real good while sitting on the floor in a semi-circle in some academic pow-wow and then decided that they alone would set a new direction for United States spaceflight. Our leader, who is said by those closest to him to be the "most aware" "most intelligent" and "most engaged" human who ever drew breath on the planet earth, simply rubber stamped the proposal which was then dumped on the nation.

ObamaSpace sought to cancel the entire Constellation program, including the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle, it sought to send the the majority of funding from Constellation to "commercial" and "new space" companies. Instead of continuing in its efforts to explore space and return to the moon, NASA would now focus on completely undefined "game changing" and "path breaking" technologies. It would have also dictated that NASA spend much of its time in the study of "climate change." The result would be that NASA's program of training and flying astronauts would immediately end, the VAB, launch complex 39 and the Launch Control Center at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) would all be shutdown and effectively "Abandoned In Place" immediately following the final shuttle flight. ObamaSpace had no goal, no direction and would accomplish nothing other than downsizing NASA into a small R&D agency that could easily be defunded in a few years. It represented the ripping down of a half century of United States leadership in space- it was a liberal's wet dream.

Reaction the ObamaSpace was instant and extremely negative. Congress was taken completely by surprise and they were beyond unhappy- they were down right insulted. With the exception of a few Obama zealots, space experts came out in droves against ObamaSpace. Some managed to point out a very few good points in the proposal- such as an increase in NASA's overall budget... which just happened to come real close to what the Obama Administration had cut the previous year. There was also added funding for aeronautics and for research and development. Yet the overall picture as quite sinister as it was very clear that this was a death proposal for NASA.

So loud was the reaction to Obama's FY2011 NASA budget proposal that it actually drew the president's attention away from March Madness basketball. In a "meeting" (No one is really sure if anyone who does not totally agree with das leader actually does get to "meet" with him), Sen. Bill Nelson, D FL, said that he had explained to das leader how badly das leader's space proposal was being received. Nelson stated that he was given an assurance by "the administration" that changes would be made and das leader would announce those in a visit to KSC on April 15th. Knowing how the "administration" actually functions, however, the question was put to Nelson "...and what if Obama doesn't change his proposal enough to save the space program?" Nelson replied "Then we (the Congress) will change it for him."

On April 15th Obama's teleprompters were set up at KSC, an audience of hand-picked Obama suck-ups was seated and das leader got up and spoke. With an Orion spacecraft that he had canceled and a Space Shuttle Main Engine, that he considered as non-game changing technology and thus obsolete, as backdrop Obama proceeded to say that we would not be going back to the moon- because we've been there- done that. He said that we would spend the next five years deciding on a heavy lift launch vehicle and he would un-cancel Orion and instead turn one or two of them into escape pods to be hung on the International Space Station. Yep- he changed ObamaSpace... and if you got real close and squinted, you might just see the change. Effectively, he stabbed Bill Nelson in the back... then das leader jetted down to Miami for a high-priced fund raiser.

The Congress, however, joined forces across party lines and, led by Bill Nelson they proceeded to take das leader's budget proposal and "Change it for him." Hearings were held and overall, out of all the member of Congress who were involved, only 5 did not out rightly condemn ObamaSpace- especially for its cancellation of the Constellation program. By mid-summer the United States Senate had come out with S.3729 which passed by unanimous consent and was their new direction for NASA. It contained a fully capable Orion for exploration beyond low earth orbit and directed the immediate development of a new heavy lift launcher to replace the shuttle in both the manned and unmanned configurations. Although the bill contained enough of ObamaSpace to draw the ink from the president's signature pen, it was in fact a sharp rebuke of the administration's FY2011 NASA budget. Meanwhile the House was working on their own rebuke of ObamaSpace. Between recesses and other Congressional business, however, the House was not able to get their bill to the floor before the ending of FY2010. As a result, the House adopted S.3729 and passed it by greater than a 2/3 majority. ObamaSpace had been blown up in the administration's face.

Almost immediately, two of ObamaSpace's biggest hucksters and Obama worshipers- NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden and his deputy administrator Lori Garver began to provide political cover das leader. Their formula is very simple- just act like S.3729 is ObamaSpace and has been what the president wanted all along. Charlie's first public statement said, in part, "...we now can move forward with plans to execute the vision set for us by President Obama..." and later went on to say, "Drawing on the ambitious plan for our agency laid out by President Obama, the Congress approved the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2010." and "Passage of this bill represents an important step forward towards helping us achieve the key goals set by the President." Following S.3729's passage Garver stated, concerning NASA's return to the moon that thanks to Obama, "we will be going back with humans..." even though- ObamaSpace, and Obama himself both direct that NASA should NOT be going back to the moon- only S.3729 and the Congress changes that.

This response to the Congressional rebuke of ObamaSpace ignores the bits and pieces of the administration's proposal that blew up in their collective faces and sounds a lot like Pee-Wee Herman when he drives off of a cliff and simply says "Ha, ha, I meant to do that."


Saturday

Blitzkrieg on fatigue


In the wake of the February 2009 Colgan Air 3407 accident the FAA Administrator made a "Call to Action" and one of the items to be addressed was supposed to be pilot fatigue.


Personally, I was more than highly skeptical. Even though a lot of blood had been spilled, which is normally the traditional motivation for the FAA to actually "do" something, fatigue is normally placed on the back-burner which is then turned off. As a pilot who flew at a number of different airlines and corporate operations and who many times found himself taking out the mask and sucking oxygen in order to stay awake during a late night approach and landing (like everyone else in the pilot groups), I found that the FAA did little more to address fatigue than sending out cartoon posters about the subject. I've seen pilots hosed by weather desperately trying to catch a well needed nap in ops. seated right below a poster warning all about the evils of pilot fatigue.


The problem is highly multifaceted with blame spread across aviation management, FAA weak rule making and pilot lifestyles. Management has had decades to worm through the loopholes in the current duty time reg.s and they are VERY good at it. They also have this fun way of basing pilots at out-stations, forcing people to commute to and from a crash-pad and home. In my day, the folks at screw-scheduling were experts at throwing a pilot right up against the wall of "duty time" because they know that such time ends when your flight is clocked "IN" and begins when they require you to "Report" for the next duty. You must get, by regulation 8 hours of rest in between. Forget that it may be a 40 minute wait for the crew van plus a 20 minute ride to the hotel and another 10 minutes to check in- that's all deducted from your 8 whole hours of required rest... plus the return to report, which takes just as long, also comes off of your end of the same 8 hours. Meals? HA! Who has time? Undress for bed, shower and re-dress... that comes out of the 8 as well and scheduling can still say they're legal. And even if they're not, report 'em to the FAA or even the union and see what happens... ZERO.


My favorite actually happened in corporate flying when I got a call from scheduling at 5 pm, and was informed that I had a report at 2 am for a 3 am departure the next morning. I had an hour drive from home, but forget about that, what about plain old sleep? They told me "Well just go to sleep right now." Ever try that? Just go to bed at 5 pm, simply lay down and try and fall asleep... in the daylight... doesn't work folks. But hey... they were legal under the reg.s. Oh... and by the way, they had those FAA "fatigue is evil" posters slapped up all over the place.


So, when it came to Admin. Babbitt's call to action and the subject of fatigue, I had very low expectations.... I was wrong.


Today the FAA released it's proposed rule changes for the issue of pilot fatigue and they are a real blitzkrieg on fatigue. Quoting Aero-News.net, "The proposal defines “flight duty” as the period of time when a pilot reports for duty with the intention of flying an aircraft, operating a simulator or operating a flight training device. A pilot’s entire duty period can include both “flight duty” and other tasks that do not involve flight time, such as record keeping and ground training. The FAA proposes to set a nine-hour minimum opportunity for rest prior to the duty period, a one-hour increase over the current rules. The proposed rule would establish a new method for measuring a pilot’s rest period, so that the pilot can have the chance to receive at least eight hours of sleep during that rest period. Cumulative fatigue would be addressed by placing weekly and 28-day limits on the amount of time a pilot may be assigned any type of duty. Additionally, 28-day and annual limits would be placed on flight time. Pilots would have to be given at least 30 consecutive hours free from duty on a weekly basis, a 25 percent increase over the current rules."


WOW!


If Randy Babbitt can actually get these changes into the FARs, it will be a major improvement. It will cost the airlines a lot of that extra cash they're grubbing by charging for checked bags and may force companies to actually, heaven forbid,... hire more pilots. Safety may really be enhanced.

Friday

Dig it!

A quote from my brother Craig:

"Obama needs to stop saying that "We're going to dig ourselves out of this hole" -- there are multiple ways to get out of a hole. Digging is not among them."

and Craig did NOT vote for McCain.

Tuesday

Where the flock did July go?

Just who was it that cranked up the time machine and put the entire summer into fast forward? I mean, where the f%$k did July go? Just seems I turned around and it was gone! Anyone seen my old friend June? And today I saw that some sinister forces have taken a huge bite out of August and shoved it into the history book. Summer is screaming past and there's nothing we can do to stop it!!

Quick! Someone throw yourself into the volcano, sacrifice a goat, offer up a virgin (or Richard Branson- just because he makes so much using that word), do the summer dance around a blessed stack of used flip-flops! Do something, anything to turn the time machine back to normal!

Why can't January, February and March act this way?

Monday


Way back in my regional airline days I found myself in and out of assorted airports in assorted cities. For most of my employ at Northwest Airlink, I haunted cities in Iowa. One day while sitting in operations at one of those Iowa stations and waiting for paperwork I was looking at the employee's "whiteboard" where the assorted customer service and ramp agents left messages. Scrolled there was a message asking for the help of anyone willing to trade next Saturday with "Tori." Tori was a tiny little Thai lady who was one of the few agents at that station who still retained most of her sense of humor, and thus was a pal of mine.

Just as I finished pondering the whiteboard, Tori walked in and plopped down in a chair. I pointed at the whiteboard and asked what that was all about. She explained that her and her husband had a big family wedding to attend on that day, but the jerk who was the Northwest Airlines station manager refused to give her the day off and told her the only way to get the day off was if someone would trade with her. So far, every single agent had refused to trade and so she was stuck. With a deflated "hurumph" she left and returned to work leaving me standing there contemplating that whiteboard.


Now, it should be known that when I was in college at Embry-Riddle and working in the student newspaper office, we would do what we called "boards." Where someone would leave a serious message on the whiteboard, the rest of us would write crazy messages spoofing it. For example a simple message stating "Pat, meet me at the library at 2:00" would result in things written around it saying stuff such as "Jim- you and me- the cone of silence at 3" or "Pete, meet me at the adult detention center- bring a file in your underwear" followed by "I don't wear underwear-Pete" and so on. Eventually the entire board would be filled with nonsense that was funny as hell, all done by assorted staff members. Since then, I'm sure none of us Avion alumni can resist a whiteboard with a serious message- and neither can I.


I picked up a blue whiteboard pen and beneath Tori's message I wrote "Don't they know that Saturday is (and I scribbled some Asian looking characters) day, which is an important Holiday to the Thai people. This is just another way that Northwest Airlines discriminates against Asian people." With the though in mind that Northwest does a huge business in Asia. I figured my message would get some attention. No sooner had I capped the pen, than our paperwork came through and I was otta there. I did not get back to that station, or work the same shift with Tori for a few weeks.


When I did work the same shift with Tori again, she came up to me and asked "I didn't know that you spoke Thai." I frowned and answered "I don't." She looked very puzzled and asked "Well, what was that Thai Holiday you wrote on the board?" I told her that I had just made scribbles that looked like Asian writing- there was no Holiday. She clasped her hands over he mouth and gasped "Oh my God! Don't tell anyone!"


It turned out that she got the day off. Another ramp agent sitting nearby burst into laughter and filled us in on what had taken place. What happened was that shortly after I departed the idiot station manager came into the employee's room and read what I had written on the whiteboard. The ramp agent, who was there, said that the station manager pondered it for a long moment and then asked "Who wrote that?" The agent answered "One of the Airlink pilots." The management boob then asked "Is he Thia?" to which the agent replied "No, but I know his wife is Asian, because he showed me her picture." With that the cluck station manager erased my message and left in a hurry- and Tori got her requested day off.


We had a big laugh on that one- Tori told me that at the wedding she had questioned all around both her side of the family and her husband's side of the family and no one could figure out what the holiday was. She giggled and told me "We even asked my grandmother who came here from Thailand and she had no idea."


Anytime you can play on the politically correct in our society, and get a day off is fine with me. For the record, the dolt station manager never said a word to me about anything ever... not even hello. I told Tori that if she ever needed another Thai Holiday- just let me know and hand me a blue pen for the whiteboard.

Something I just couldn't hold


You never know who you're gonna meet while deadheading from one place to another. It was a normally gloomy Minnesota autumn day when I squeezed grudgingly aboard one of Northwest Airlink's Junkstream 31s on my way from Hibbing to "Minnie." I'd have climbed aboard a flying terd to get my ass out of Hibbing that day, so a seat aboard a Junkstream worked for me. Seated next to me was a gaunt old fellow with a friendly face and manner.

When people are seated next to a uniformed pilot they seem to automatically want to strike up a conversation. The man seated next to me asked where I was going? I replied that I was headed home and had managed to escape before crew scheduling could find me in Hibbing. He smiled and I asked him where he was headed. He said he was heading to a Medal of Honor reunion in the Philippines. I asked if he was a Congressional Medal of Honor awardee and he told me that he was. I thanked him for my liberty, but also knew enough to not ask what he had done to earn the award.

After a bit more light conversation I mentioned that I had actually seen a Congressional Medal of Honor in a glass case at one of the museums in Washington DC. With that, the nice old gentleman reached into his shirt pocket and casually pulled out his Congressional Medal of Honor and handed it to me saying "Well here's what mine looks like."

For a moment I looked at it and then was suddenly overcome by the feeling that I could not hold it in my hand. I did not deserve to posses it for even a second- it's meaning was so huge and the lives of so many true heroes were behind it that it simply overpowered me. In haste I handed it back and mumbled something like "I really don't deserve to hold that." The man actually understood that. He smiled knowingly as he tucked it back into his shirt pocket.

We talked about his route of flight as we headed for Minnie. He told me that Northwest Airlines gave Medal of Honor awardees free seats on their way to events such as his reunion and we talked about what a long trip it was. In what seemed like only minutes we were rolling up to the gate and getting ready to deplane. The man reached into his jacket and gave me his card "Donald E. Rudolph" was his name. I said goodbye as he left and I stayed behind... so I could stick my head into the cockpit and tell the crew "Hey, you guys'll never believe who sat next to me!"

When I got home I paid a visit to the Nimitz Library at the Naval Academy and looked up Mr. Rudolph. His official awardee record is attached here. Mr. Rudolph passed away at age 85 on May 25, 2006- just four days before Memorial Day.

As Memorial Day 2010 comes and goes it is important to consider the true heroes in our society. Too often we Americans elevate sports figures, TV personalities, musical stars and even politicians with slick public relations wizards to the undeserved status of "Hero." Yet walking among us every day are those who actually had to fight for our liberty and gone past are millions who died for our liberty. I've been lucky to meet a number of those brave people and hope to meet many more- all of whom I believe should have a medal of honor. I just hope none of them ever hands me one again.



Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company E, 20th Infantry, 6th Infantry Division. Place and date: Munoz, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 5 February 1945. Entered service at: Minneapolis, Minn. Birth: South Haven, Minn. G.O. No.: 77, 10 September 1945. Citation: 2d Lt. Rudolph (then T/Sgt.) was acting as platoon leader at Munoz, Luzon, Philippine Islands. While administering first aid on the battlefield, he observed enemy fire issuing from a nearby culvert. Crawling to the culvert with rifle and grenades, he killed 3 of the enemy concealed there. He then worked his way across open terrain toward a line of enemy pillboxes which had immobilized his company. Nearing the first pillbox, he hurled a grenade through its embrasure and charged the position. With his bare hands he tore away the wood and tin covering, then dropped a grenade through the opening, killing the enemy gunners and destroying their machinegun. Ordering several riflemen to cover his further advance, 2d Lt. Rudolph seized a pick mattock and made his way to the second pillbox. Piercing its top with the mattock, he dropped a grenade through the hole, fired several rounds from his rifle into it and smothered any surviving enemy by sealing the hole and the embrasure with earth. In quick succession he attacked and neutralized 6 more pillboxes. Later, when his platoon was attacked by an enemy tank, he advanced under covering fire, climbed to the top of the tank and dropped a white phosphorus grenade through the turret, destroying the crew. Through his outstanding heroism, superb courage, and leadership, and complete disregard for his own safety, 2d Lt. Rudolph cleared a path for an advance which culminated in one of the most decisive victories of the Philippine campaign.

Wednesday

Pilot's Hat


When you are working your way up to a pilot's career, it is almost impossible to not daydream about having the uniform... especially, the hat. When you finally get there you often find that the airline usually makes you go and buy the uniform. But it comes with a nice, new- perfectly shaped hat with a sparkling brim and a dazzling hat badge. Inside is a styrofoam doughnut to keep the hat in its perfect circle shape. You look in the mirror and say to yourself "Oh yeah"

A few months on the line is all it takes before the hat becomes a pain in the ass. It gives you hat hair, it gets forgotten and has to be recovered, it blows off, it gets sat on and soon you don't want to wear it at all, so you begin to carry it. That's even a bigger pain in the ass. Finally you realize that the best way to carry the damned thing is right up on the top of your head. Then you learn that there are far larger pains in the ass at any airline than the hat... besides, it really impresses little kids- so what the heck. Next you find uses for the hat. Mine was always handy for holding a list of all of the door codes I needed to know as well as other assorted other numbers. Need a number- tip yer' hat... how easy. It's also good for sleeping when you're dead-heading. Pull it down over your eyes and the world, and passengers go away. After a while, the hat gets pretty beat up and that's when it is the best. That styrofoam doughnut is long gone having been pulled out and thrown away the first week you had to wear the thing and you can't even feel the hat on your head anymore.

That all leads me to a story told to me one day in ops. when we were all weathered in. One of the new pilots was poking fun of my well-worn hat saying I looked like a B-17 pilot from World War II when another guy piped up and began to tell us about his first day with his hat. He'd just gotten home from training and his girlfriend, whose dad was a long time airline pilot, called. She asked him to come over and said "Dad says he wants to see you in your uniform." So he gleefully put on his brand new uniform and drove to her house. Once in the living room he modeled for the family- the dad seemed to approve, then said... "There's just one thing wrong..." he reached over and removed the newbee's hat. "...it's this hat." With that the senior airline pilot ripped out the styrofoam doughnut from the hat and ripped the doughnut apart. Then he put the hat on the floor and started stomping on it. Next he started kicking the hat all around the living room and finally out the front door. Then he kicked it around the yard, through the flower bed, into the bushes and stomped it into the yard mulch- all in front of the newbee's horrified eyes. Then the senior pilot picked the hat up, flexed it as to rip it apart, brushed it off and placed it back on the newbee's head. "There..." he said, "...now it looks like an airline pilot's hat."

Today I'm a long way from my airline days but my beat-up hat still serves a use... my kids just love to wear it.

Tuesday

Unexpected Results

As the process goes on in Congress to save the United States from Obama's FY2011 blue-bag NASA budget, and Obama continues to find nearly zero support in either house, some unexpected and good byproducts are coming out.

Back in August I predicted, quite correctly, that our new leftest-in-chief would attempt to kill NASA. After all, that's every left-winger's dream and it has been so since 1966. I was incorrect, however, in thinking that the issue would be evenly split in the Congress- I was incorrect. I also predicted that with the Obama Administration and the Congressional spending sprees going out of control, the next Congress (which will likely be Republican dominated) will have no choice other than to repeal, defund and cut in order to save the nation- and that would include NASA. Both of my predictions were no-win situations for NASA.

On the first day of February, 2010 the Obama Administration dropped their bombshell on NASA and the nation in their FY2011 budget proposal. Congress, almost as a whole, was not impressed- in fact, they were highly insulted. The hand full of poly-sci. brains who came up with the plan were, like all liberals, sure that everyone would love their new plan and as usual- they were dead wrong.

From the on-going rhubarb over the Obama FY2011 NASA budget, some unexpected and positive results now appear to be emerging... that is... if you are not in the Obama camp.

First off- this attack on NASA Human Spaceflight has not only triggered wide spread feeling of disgust, but it has also drawn much needed attention to the lack of proper funding for the Human Spaceflight effort. The Congressional purse holders have universally stated that NASA needs more funding- and they mean beyond the crumb that Obama offered- which does not even keep pace with inflation. The most eye-opening statement came from Senator Mikulski when she made the point that we cannot keep having a new space program every four years with every new president.

Next there was my prediction that the next Congress will have no choice other than to cut, defund and repeal- and that must include NASA. A careful look at what the current members of Congress are thinking as well as what those who are looking to unseat the current members are saying shows that I am wrong- at least where NASA is concerned. The attitude now seems to be cut everything Except NASA. It is something I never thought I'd see in my lifetime. Additionally, Republican candidates running for Congress this year find this fully Obama-owned budget to be a nice handy political issue to be used in the upcoming elections. If they say that they want to cut NASA in any way- they can be linked as agreeing with Obama... a poison pill for any Republican and perhaps for any Democrat as well. Thus it is much more productive to simply disagree with the FY2011 NASA budget and let Obama take the heat.

The bottom line is that some unexpected good things are coming out of the attempt of the Obama Administration to castrate NASA. It is just a real shame that we have to go through so much doubt and agony to get to them.

Wednesday

Tuesday

What will Obama say at KSC?

What will Obama say when he visits KSC on April 15th? That is the question that almost all of the spaceflight community is currently asking itself. Will he stand arrogantly by his budget to kill NASA's human spaceflight program, ignoring the outcry of the American people who oppose it- just as he did his health care takeover? Will he channel JFK and send our nation off on a bold new adventure to a specific place by a specific time? Will he do a verbal tap dance all around the subject while avoiding any commitments and then hop back on his 747 and blow back to the safe and friendly confines of the Washington beltway? Will he talk in billowing terms about vague but exciting sounding projects while actually offering only a few additional crumbs to NASA? Will he promise everything and then turn around and do nothing? What is going to happen? What will Obama do? Indeed, these are the questions.



Put all of the talk of which vehicle, what system, when and where, that is being debated in the spaceflight world aside, you will find my point of view about the whole matter. That is- why the hell should American citizens even have to wonder what is next for NASA or will NASA even exist after this president gets done with it? It is an absolute disgrace that we should be left in doubt at all. NASA is the cornerstone of our leadership in technology and innovation and the fact that it very existence under any sort of threat at all by any president is a national outrage.



So... what do I think Obama will say and do when he "visits" KSC for his space "summit" on April 15th? First off, he will surround himself with bootlickers who will fill the seats, then he will talk in billowing circles for 98% of the summit's allotted time allowing everyone else just enough time to sound-bite agree with whatever he says, he will then stand stubbornly by his toxic NASA budget and toss a crumb or two (such as a single shuttle flight extension) toward NASA and Senator Nelson before he tours the Space-X facilities and then he will smugly hop on Air Force One and fly away still in the firmly held belief that he can never be wrong and nothing that the United States does can ever be right.



This time, he will not win the Congress, however. There is widespread condemnation over his budget in both houses of Congress and among both Republicans and Democrats. Obama will have his NASA budget altered by the Congress in order to save NASA and keep NASA astronauts flying, and he won't even care. You see, NASA and America's manned space program means nothing to him, it is an annoyance to be handled by others- he's only coming to KSC because he was urged by Senator Bill Nelson to do something... anything, in the wake of his disastrous budget's release.



I only hope that I am totally wrong in this and that when it comes to NASA's manned spaceflight efforts, Obama really is "engaged" "enthusiastic" and "only has been ill-advised" as Bill Nelson has stated. And if I am wrong, I'll come here and say so- all four of you reading this will know. But... this is Obama, a president who never fails to let our nation down. On April 15th, I expect him to let us down once again.

Monday

The Emperor's New Budget


So it was that the Obama team that desires to kill NASA's manned spaceflight program brought their blue-bag budget to the United States Congress... there they had high hopes of finding some friends who would see things Lori Garver and John Holdren's way. Ya' know... taking the guts out of the United States space program and then watch with glee as it withers and the propped-up "commercial" operators fail thus taking this nation out of Human Spaceflight operations forever. They packed up their lackey, the supposed NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden to go in, read the script, talk the circle talk and take the point, as well as the flack. My bet is they figured, as I did, that the committees in both houses would be about 50/50 for and against... we were both wrong.

What they got instead was a royal tail flaming by all but one of the Congressional committee members. Holdren went first and not only did the members of the Congress want to drive a stake through his heart, if they could actually find it, but they worked hard at wrecking his fantasy of anthropogenic Global Warming. He held firm to the Global Warming myth but found little cover when it came to NASA and the emperor's new budget. Holdren had brought a squirt gun to a firefight. In short- he got the stew he helped concoct tossed right back into his face. Other than seeing this political goon in a dentist's chair getting a triple root canal, this show was about as entertaining as it could have gotten for me.

Charlie Bolden was next and his afternoon in the Senate was focused strictly on the department that he is standing command over and driving at flank speed toward the Obama iceberg. Charlie read his opening statement containing the reasoning that he and his little group of zealots are trying to sell to us in order to explain their gutting of the United States space program. His reasons were about as thin as the paper they were written on. There were no direction, no objectives and not a thread of inspiration nor a hint of pride in Charlie's opening- there was only circle-talk and a hefty garnish of "possibilities" "somedays" and general vapor.

To say that Charlie was ill-prepared for the coming onslaught of Congressional anger would be something of an understatement. Charlie, in pilot terms, got his six waxed. If his chair had been equipped with an ejection capability, Charlie would have done well to, as John Young said, "Just pull the little handle." At one point I swear I saw him reach down looking for the "D" ring... it was not there. Even I was surprised as one after another the committee members stated the small shreds of the Obama budget that they favored and then turned on Charlie and beat him up with the rest of it that they hate. The process continued in the House hearings the following afternoon. In all some 24 of 25 congresspeople skewered Charlie and he had no good answers to any of their questions.

It is quite clear that the architects of this radical direction that the Obama administration intends to send NASA on are actually making it up as they go along. That is one hell of a way to run the United States space agency. Their appearances in front of the Congress in an attempt to justify this gutting of NASA is a stab in the back to every person who has dedicated their lives to NASA and the efforts of that agency that has given great pride to this nation. The Obama budget and those who have had their hands in its authorship are a disgrace. Charlie got exactly what he deserved- he was ill-prepared, lacking in his ability to communicate, unable to recover from mistakes and easily confused. He failed this checkride.

Charlie's amazing stew


Oh what an amazing stew NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden is making for himself as he rushes to to sell, at all costs, the new Obama NASA budget. Charlie will, it seems, do anything to serve lord Obama. No matter how toxic the paint, he will paint himself into a nice tight corner and then fall upon the brush as if it were a sword just to please the grand Obama.

Get out there Charlie and serve the American people a giant crap sandwich by telling everyone it is peanut butter. Charlie knows that the FY2011 Obama budget is a poison pill for NASA and that will lead to the slow death of something that has held America's greatest pride for 50 years. He knows too that this will spell the end of United States astronauts flying in space, let alone flying beyond low earth orbit- but what the hell, Charlie has already had his rides, so screw the rest of the Americans who may want to fly in space- let 'em ride Soyuz... right?
As I write this, Charlie, Lori and a hand full of other Obama idolizers are busy composing circle talk that they can spout in front of Congress that will make the Obama vacuum in United States human space flight seem like a new and exciting adventure. Charlie's good at circle talking too- he uses the term "there" as if it were a grand new place to which all of us can someday sail thanks to the great Obama. Never mind that he offers no actual definition as to where or what "there" is, or that, under the Obama budget to nowhere we will not have any hardware to get us to "there" for 15 years or longer- nope, just make it sound like a grand adventure Charlie and then Obama will be pleased.

And what of that Congress? Well to listen to and watch Charlie and Lori and their little demolition crew, you'd never know that the Congress has the final say- in fact, you'd think that the Congress has no say what-so-ever in the matter. Obama decreed that NASA's human spaceflight program is finished and Charlie says "Thy will be done." With any luck, Charlie will be in for a rude awakening.
What if... what if... the Congress elects to order the Space Shuttle program extended to cover the gap, the Constellation program reinstated and the Ares I developed in full. What will Charlie do then? You see one of the corners that Charlie has painted himself into is the Shuttle- which Charlie has said, in public, to KSC workers, flying it is like "playing Russian roulette." If the Congress, who actually DOES have the final say instead of Obama, and orders the Shuttle to continue flying, Charlie, who has compared that operation to playing a suicide game will have to oversee putting crews on additional shuttle missions. The word "squirm" comes to mind.

Of course if Charlie does not like his situation he could do the honorable thing and resign his post- but that would leave the amazingly ill-suited Lori Garver, how cannot think her way out of a spaceflight paperbag, in charge of NASA. That would really make Charlie's idol and leader, The Obama, look bad... and we can't have that, can we Charlie.

All in all Charlie has been given quite an amazing toxic stew to serve to the American people. He gets to lead the effort to dismantle a 50 year program of historic success to which hundreds of thousands of Americans have dedicated their lives to and more than a score have actually given their lives for. Demolishing American pride is Obama's on-going quest and right now his chief mechanic is Charlie Bolden. But what does Charlie care... as I said, he had his rides, so to hell with everyone else, Obama is all that matters to Charlie.

Tuesday

Obama trying to kill US human spaceflight




Way back in mid August of last year I wrote a piece called "A Big Ol' Plate Of NASA To Cancel" where I outlined the nightmare scenario of our leftwing radical in chief doing what all liberals since Mondale have been drooling to do- kill NASA. Guess what... as predicted- he just tried to do it- in his latest budget. In fact, from reading the budget, you'd think that Obama's people took it from my blog.

This budget takes 45 years of United States domination in the science and technology of human spaceflight and simply erases it with the stroke of a pen. Now, as Obama wants to see it, we'll have fun robots to go all over and see things. Plus we'll chase the myth of man-made Global Warming for several billion dollars a year- but wait! there's more. Now we will give shovels full of money- billions worth- to "commercial" operators so that NASA can rent seats from them to go up to the International Space Station- yes, boatloads of teachers and scientists and researchers all going to the ISS, there in low earth orbit... ya' know, where we went way back in 1962. You see, our fearfilled leader, Obama, believes that that's just high enough for people to go.

Of course there are no real details in the budget on all of this other than the order to "cancel the Constellation Program" our project for return to the moon. Those so-called "commercial" operators will not even have a fully functional and tested launch escape system ready for the next six or seven years, but we're going to turn our backs on the billions in sunk-costs invested alread in Constellation and shovel as much mone as we can to these "commercial" operators. Yeah...right.

Such courage it took for our fearfilled leader to just take four and half decades of human spaceflight and chuck it. Then go back out to his private basketball court for a bit of hoop.

You see, this is not about technology, or risk, or jobs or even budgets. This IS about United States national pride. The United States manned space efforts as conduced by NASA have been a beacon of national pride since May 5th, 1961 when Alan Shepard launched in a 15 minute sub-orbital hop. Less than 5 years later, the liberals began to peck at that icon. They were never able, however, to knock it down or get it deleted from the Federal budget. They came close in the early 1970s when shuttle funding passed by a single vote. They had high hopes between 1977 and 1980 while Jimmy Carter served as the liberal in chief -screwhead, but he just was not quite sociopathic enough to cancel the shuttle. But 2010 is different... as there are Democrat majorities in both houses of Congress and Obama has managed, with a leg up from W. Bush to spend the nation into near oblivion. Now was the time to strike at the biggest pillar of United States pride, and Obama did just that.

As people who actually can see the importance of manned spaceflight as conducted by NASA, we still have one shred of hope- the Congress. You see, our fearfilled leader and his gang of bootlickers who now reside in DC have actually gone a bit too far in their accelerated race toward national socialism and the American people are rising up. In congress there are now as many as 150 Democrat seats that could be at risk this fall and Obama's latest outlash at or national pride may not sit well in the Congress. We can only hope that the tallest icon of United States pride, our human spaceflight program, will not be dissected and tossed away by Obama. Stay tuned.

Wednesday

Should we do somethin'?

Recently, an overseas airline began profiling lone males on flights as all being potential child molesters. Yep, now there's a profile that I'm sure the current DHS can live with... yet it brings to mind a "There I was" story.

Back in the pre 9/11 days a crew that I was flying as a part of came in direct contact with a situation that fits this. It was one of those end-of-the-day flights as we were headed to our out-station from the hub. In the cockpit things were nice and quiet and boring... just the way airline pilots like them. The passengers were loaded, the paperwork was done and soon the cabin door was closed. I had ground on the horn and we were rolling away into the evening, as cool as can be. We were also on the back side of "the push" so most of the traffic had already departed- it was smooth goin' all the way to our runway. As we rolled across the field toward our runway, ground came on the radio and told me to contact Ops. before departure.

When I called Ops., to my surprise, the Chief Pilot answered. He told us that our flight attendant was under orders that if there as a single peep of any sort of a disturbance in the back, we were to call for ATC Priority Handling and turn immediately back. We asked what was going on, but he simply told us to ask the flight attendant. By then we were set to blast off and there was no time to call to the back until we were otta 10.

Of course nothing drives a flight crew like curiosity and we blasted up through 10,000 feet as fast as we could. I buzzed the back and asked the FA what was goin' on. He said that he did not think it was a big deal, but while the passengers were standing in line waiting to board, an adult male had made a "remark" to a young female who was flying as an unaccompanied minor. Whatever the remark was it frightened the little girl to the point that she reported it to the gate agent. The gate agents had arranged seating so that the idiot guy was seated all the way aft and the UM was seated forward, close to the flight attendant. We decided just to keep the seat belt sign on and that there would be no cabin service... just so we would have less of a chance of having to turn back. The captain made a BS-PA saying that ATC had reported the likely hood of some rough air ahead to cover for our actions. The captain then leaned over to me and thumbed toward the rear... "Lock the door" he said.

Now... Hollywood often portrays airline pilots as brave and heroic... and just like everything else that comes out of Hollywood- that's all bullcrap. In fact, if there were an airline pilot's pocket checklist for what to do when the excrement hits the turbine blades back in the cabin, it would say "Put out the sight that says DO WHAT YOU WANT WITH THE WOMAN AND CHILDREN, BUT LEAVE US ALONE and lock the door." So, of course we followed that procedure.

When I made the in-range call, our destination Ops. came back with a "What the hell's goin' on up there?!" To which we responded, "Why? What the hell's goin' on down there?" They told us that the place was full of cops and they had a guy at the gate acting like a wild man... he was the little girl's father. Apparently he had been contacted by the airline and told that some guy aboard our flight was trying to molest his daughter. He did exactly what I would do in the same situation... race to the airport like batman, burst through the doors, storm through security and try and beat the facts out of the totally uninformed gate agent. Of course the police were not far behind and were currently trying to cool him down. I reported back that all was very quiet aboard and the idiot remark guy as actually sound asleep, according to the flight attendant. Additionally, the little girl was and well protected from the scum of the earth, because the cockpit door was closed.

We taxied up to the gate and through the windows you could see some big, bristled guy surrounded by a half dozen cops. They deplaned the little girl first and she was escorted in by airport police and a gate agent, the other passengers followed and as soon as the last guy went in- all hell broke loose. From the cockpit all that we could see were arms, elbows, feet and fists. It was a lot like being a hockey player watching a brawl break out in the stands.

I murmured to the captain, as we watched, "Should we do... somethin'?" He gave me that are you f$%king nuts smirk and said, "Yeah... make sure that door stays locked and as soon as they're all gone out of that window, we'll go out and walk across the ramp to the other side of the building, go through Ops. and get in our cars and go home.

That's exactly what we did.

Saturday

Explosive Honey


Things are tense in the airport business as the terrorists (or suspected persons of ill intent- as the Obama administration may wish to call them) have once again tried to blow us up. The front line in this war (or overseas contingency operation- as the Obama administration would prefer to have us call it) is in the airports of the United States where the TSA stands ever vigilant... that is, unless they have a cell phone call to answer or it is their lunch break. Yes, they remain nose-to-nose with the enemy... us... the American flying public.

The process of scanning bags, ordering shoes removed, guarding exits and rummaging through checked luggage is one laced with risk. Indeed, no TSA agent knows what resides within the next removed shoe or what awaits in the next bag, this is especially so for the luggage rummage detail. The next bag could contain men's jockey shorts with a brown streak or a boobie-trapped load of C-4 explosive (under 50 pounds, of course, so you won't get charged extra for checking the bag). Every day is like playing Russian roulette with one bullet and 98,728,412 empty chambers... the pressure is enormous... at least until break time.

Fear hung heavily, like a tapestry of doom over the checked baggage area at Bakersfield CA's Meadows Field Airport on the morning of 5 January, 2010. In the shadow of the Christmas Day Crotch Bomber, everyone was on a razor's edge... and then it happened!


A single bag was opened and inside were found several unmarked bottles with a suspicious golden liquid inside. Although Bakersfield is known to many as one of the honey centers of the nation, the TSA was smarter than that... no, THIS was not the yellow product of one of the bazillion bee hives in the local area... THIS WAS A BOMB!


Quicker than you can scream 10-9 over the airport's P.A. system, the TSA sprung into action. Immediately the owner of the bag, a 31-year-old gardener from Milwaukee, who had flown to Bakersfield to spend Christmas with his sister, was arrested like a jihadest fresh from Yemen and tossed into some hostile, isolated room. The local police, FBI, CIA, NSA and perhaps even the NAR (National Association of Rocketry) were alerted. Sirens screamed as SWAT teams were mustered and every person in Bakersfield who carried a badge from police to elementary school safety patrol kids were rushed to the scene. Bomb-sniffing dogs were deployed and indicated that the golden liquid was explosive. The airport was locked down, passengers were all immediately considered to terrorist accomplices- no one was above or below suspicion. Two of the TSA agents who came near the bag were "overcome" and had to be rushed to the E.R. at a local hospital. Surely now the EPA needed to get involved- but, they were far too busy tracking down that dangerous carbon dioxide that we all exhale and were thus under-staffed... so they could not respond until man-made Global Warming is stopped.


Confidential sources report that TSA attempted to put the bag's owner under the ol' "hot lights" for questioning... unfortunately, California no longer allows incandescent lights to be used anywhere in the state for environmental reasons and all they had were LED lamps, which were not hot and are too dim to force the truth out of anyone. So they had to settle for threatening him by saying they would move him to Nevada where they still have hot lights. Yet even under that pressure, the bag's owner refused to confess to packing explosives... so they made him take off his shoes- and keep 'em off.


The national threat level was elevated to a bright orange, almost an apricot, but not quite a tangerine.


Hours passed before a non-dog analysis for the substance showed it to be... honey.


So... what caused the dogs to alert? And what caused the two (not one, but TWO) TSA agents to be "overcome" and have to be rushed away to a local ER?


So, what can we learn from this event? Maybe the bomb-sniffing dogs just like honey. Maybe the owner, a gardener, who works with nitrogen agents a lot contaminated the bottles. Maybe the TSA agents like honey a really, really lot and simply were overcome by yummyness. Maybe they saw something else in the bag (remember those Jockey shorts with the streak). Maybe they knew it was only honey and how much that can mess up a uniform if it leaks and the thought of the dry cleaning involved just knocked them out. Or, maybe they both decided that this stuff was about to blow the entire airport to snot and they would be best off to fake a faint and then get transported away to the hospital and that way when the explosion went off they'd be a safe distance away and could just sit up, remove the oxygen mask and say "Well... I seem to feel much better" (that's what I'd have done).


What matters most is that TSA did its job. With total disregard for any thread of common sense, they shut the system down and held hostage a whole bunch of innocent Americans in an outstanding display of stupidity. We are all now allowed to feel safer... and put our shoes back on.

Friday

01/07/10 klyde morrsi


Monday

Oh yeah, this is leadership.

So- we narrowly avoided another terrorist attack... oh, wait... The new term is "Man-Caused Disaster." Yes that's right, in our new wave of Political Correctness, we must use the new terms so as not to offend anyone... like a slug with a bomb sewn into his underwear looking to blow up an A330. Those of us with working brains know that calling a terrorist attack a man-caused disaster is like calling an Evil Knievel crash a "Boo-boo." Still that does not stop the idiots running the country from driving the NASCAR racer of Political Correctness over the bodies of United States citizens- ( a NASCAR race car turns left, turns left, turns left... get it?)

Yet we ask, prior to the Christmas day crotch bomber, what were our leaders thinking of?

Why it was health care of course! That was the focus... you know- all of those masses of Americans who were on their knees in the streets, hands held to the sky begging "Oh please or mighty government save us! Take over the system of health care before we all DIE! And... by the way we expect to be dead before Christmas 2009." Don't you remember seeing all of those people, dressed in rags, crowded into the streets- it was right out of Soylent Green- waiting for the scoops to come!

Yep- that's what was important prior to the crotch bomber.

If we could see into Obama's mind, what would his priorities be now? Probably be something like this...

*Golf
*My image
*Why the hell did I leave warm weather after the holidays?
*I've got to find more ways to avoid Biden.
*Wow, I really look good sitting at this desk.
*The Chicago Bulls.
*Airline security.
*I really do look good sitting in this office.
*We need a third teleprompter the next time I speak.
*Okay... there's nothing hanging out of my nose, I can go in front of the cameras.
*I have a great profile for being on a coin.
*My toothbrush should have the Presidential seal on the handle.
*Health care

In two months, however, that same list of Obama's priorities will look something like this...

*Golf
*My image
*Why the hell did I leave warm weather after the holidays?
*March madness.
*I've got to find more ways to avoid Biden.
*Wow, I really look good sitting at this desk.
*The Chicago Bulls.
*I really do look good sitting in this office.
*We need a third teleprompter the next time I speak.
*Okay... there's nothing hanging out of my nose, I can go in front of the cameras.
*I have a great profile for being on a coin.
*My toothbrush should have the Presidential seal on the handle.


Meanwhile the TSA is going to come down on us... the enemy in their eyes... with a wave of new, pointless, "security" rules... none of which will be applied to anyone who would fit the profile of someone who would want to actually do "Jihad" upon us. Nope- they'll be real busy checking my 2 year old's taggy blanket.


Soon we'll all have to take off our shoes, dump our liquids and remove and display our underwear because the TSA will be nose to nose with the flying public of the United States. And if their luck holds out they'll soon be unionized to boot! If you think that TSA stands for Thousands Standing Around now... just wait until they have a national seniority list and the ability to strike.


There is, of course, that great protector from the year 2002- the "No-Fly List." This is about as outdated as the Lucy Show and equally useful when it comes to preventing "man-caused disasters." The list is said to currently contain such threatening names as Sadam Hussein and Mohamad Atta along with Snidley Whiplash and Darth Vader. Hey- I feel safe now.


Yesterday (January 3, 2010) a guy walked through the exit at Newark airport. The TSA alerted, locked down the airport and promptly lost him. That's right... they LOST him. After several hours of making everyone- including those who had already passed through screening, go back and take their shoes off again- the TSA was not able to find the guy... so they figured that was enought time to look for him and they reopened operations... Oh well.


Protection against terrorist acts will require aggression against the real enemies, action in the field, human intelligence gathering, common sense and leadership. Since 9/11 we have had none of that and considering the current idiots in charge, we are not likely to get any of that.

klyde morris 01/04/10


Friday

klyde morris 12/31/09