News

Category Archives for News.

Air France Accident

An Air France plane skidded off the runway after landing in Toronto and caught fire around 4pm Eastern. Early reports are that most passengers are safe, but this is not yet certain. Thoughts and hopes are with the passengers and crew. Update: Everyone made it out alive, with just a few injuries.

Continue Reading »

Man Charged with Exposing Himself on a Flight

The alleged incident occurred on a flight from DC to Syracuse, and the guy denies it. Story contains one of the best lines ever in a news article: When he got off the plane in Syracuse, police took him into custody and checked to see if he was wearing underpants, which he was, Gibeau said. But I don’t think this is actually illegal: Police searched Gibeau and found five Polaroid photos of his penis, according to Bragg’s affidavit. Gibeau said he was bringing the photos to his girlfriend to show her the contrast between the sunburned areas of his body and the areas that weren’t exposed on the beach.

Continue Reading »

I’m shocked! Shocked to find that GAMBLING is going on in here!

A piece in the Seattle Times explains that State Department travel warnings, which harm tourism in the country on the receiving end, are influenced by political considerations. (I’m shocked!) Noting that the State Department’s treatment of London bombings were delayed, contained scant detail and provided warning for just a few hours, when less serious country warnings don’t expire for monthsJim Grace, CEO of InsureMyTrip.com, an online seller of travel insurance, puts it, “if the State Department issues a travel warning, Tony Blair would be on the phone to President Bush pretty quickly, saying ‘Hey, what are you doing to our economy? We’re supposed to be best allies.’ ” Of course the State Department denies this, and simply claims to be incompetent instead “We are a bureaucracy and unfortunately these things don’t always happen as quickly…

Continue Reading »

Cracking down on motel pricing

David Rowell notes in his latest weekly email that Florida has settled with 23 hotels that were accused of price gouging during last year’s hurricane season. At One hotel in particular the daily rate for rooms at the motel increased from $55 per night to $75 and, in some instances, $100 per night. As a result the Airport Inn will provide restitution to guests affected by the price gouging practices, many of whom were over age 60. (I’m not sure why being 60 years old makes paying $75 for a hotel night especially problematic?) I addressed this issue when it came up last year: Via Chris Elliott, Florida’s attorney general filed complaints against two hotels for price gouging in the aftermath of Hurricane Charley. The attorney general has issued a press release to let voters…

Continue Reading »

Air Marshall Mission Creep

Watch what you say. Don’t make fun of the law, or joke that you might be breaking the law. An air marshall might be listening. Apparently an air marshall overhead some men on a plane talking about having crossed into the U.S. illegally so he had the plane met and the men taken into custody. Some might say: great, law enforcement is present and acting against criminal activity. I’m actually frightened by this, on several levels. The expansion of law enforcement in our midst has been accepted as a way of fighting terrorism (though it’s unclear this particular method is effective in that fight). Now, once in under the cover of fear of terrorism, law enforcement has far greater access to our conversations by simple virtue of being closer to those conversations in daily life…

Continue Reading »

Spending so much on hotels, you should own the company

Jameson Inns, which owns 123 economy properties in 13 states, is offering stock as a frequent guest perk. Three million shares have been registered with the SEC for this purpose. Guests who enroll in the program would have 10 percent of their room charges credited toward the purchase of Jameson stock, now trading near $2.50 a share. Shares will be provided through a designated broker or the company, based on the average closing price for the last five trading days of each month. Customers won’t pay commissions on shares they receive, but will pay fees on shares they sell. (Hat tip to the MilesLink newsletter.)

Continue Reading »

Goat show infiltration scenario for terror drill

When distribution of funds for homeland security is done politically, as pork (the system we have now, more or less), you get farces like this one. Kentucky’s large rural population prompted program coordinators to center this exercise around agriculture. Likewise, he said since Kentucky is one of the nation’s top five goat-producing states, setting the attack at a goat show seemed plausible. The goats “have been infected with a bio-agent. … Then, the infected goats are at the show and you have people come and look at the goats and pet the goats and then they go home,” Cline said, summarizing the day’s scenario. “We try to focus on what really matters to Kentucky,” he said, adding, “this is a perfect way to do it.”

Continue Reading »

Heh

Via David Rowell, 280 fully armed soldiers boarded a chartered DC10 to fly from Atlanta to Kuwait. M-16s, pistols, bayonets and knives were everywhere. But, as the soldiers made their way through airport security, they had to surrender nose hair clippers, pocket knives and cigarette lighters.

Continue Reading »

Federal Government Airport Screening Devices Don’t Work

The federal government spent billions of dollars on screening devices that didn’t work when it took over airport security. It didn’t make us any safer, but it made us feel safer “After 9/11, we had to show how committed we were by spending hugely greater amounts of money than ever before, as rapidly as possible,” said Representative Christopher Cox, a California Republican who is the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. “That brought us what we might expect, which is some expensive mistakes. This has been the difficult learning curve of the new discipline known as homeland security.” How bad are the screening systems? Customs officials at Newark have nicknamed the devices “dumb sensors,” because they cannot discern the source of the radiation. That means benign items that naturally emit radioactivity – including cat litter,…

Continue Reading »