Archive for October, 2009
When I heard about that North West Airlines flight that bypassed the Minneapolis airport and kept on going…for another 150 miles, two thoughts immediately flashed through my mind:
1. What if they didn’t have enough fuel?
2. Pilot Fatigue?
Now those pilots say they were having a “heated discussion” about airline policy. Some people think they were sleeping. Whatever they were doing, that was scary!
I’ve been really afraid of flying since Lockerbie, because I was in London, and had just passed through Frankfurt around that time. Since then, airplane crashes and near misses have only reinforced my fear.
Hearing about that incident where pilots, TWO pilots, just let the plane fly itself to wherever on a straight line is not very reassuring.
I decided to look into Pilot Fatigue…and found a report from NASA (America’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration). The NASA report outlines the findings from a study the agency did on pilot fatigue and its implications for aviation safety.
The Deputy Associate Administrator in the Office of Aero-Space Technology at NASA testified at a Congressional Hearing on Pilot Fatigue in August, 1999. 10 Years ago!
He told the Aviation Subcommittee of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, United States House of Representatives, that Pilot Fatigue is a significant safety issue in aviation.
He testified that: “Rather than simply being a mental state that can be willed away or overcome through motivation or discipline, fatigue is rooted in physiological mechanisms related to sleep, sleep loss, and circadian rhythms. These mechanisms are at work in flight crews no less than others who need to remain vigilant despite long duty days, transmeridien travel, and working at night when the body is programmed for sleep”.
According to the NASA official: “Flight crews routinely respond that fatigue is a concern, often admitting to having nodded off during a flight and/or arranging for one pilot to nap in the cockpit seat”.
• The crewmembers napped one-at-a-time in a three-person cockpit with minimal disruption to normal flight operations and no reported or identified concerns regarding safety. The benefits of the nap were observed throughout the critical descent and landing phases of flight. The planned nap appeared to provide effective and acute relief from significant sleepiness experienced by crews in three-person nonaugmented flight operations.
• He told Congres: The Fatigue Countermeasures Program submitted a draft advisory circular to the FAA in January 1993 on “Controlled Rest on the Flight Deck.” Regulatory provisions that would sanction the appropriate use of planned cockpit rest remain under review. Several non-U.S. air carriers have already implemented the procedure.
Congress apparently asked NASA to conduct the Study. NASA’s Ames Research Center created a program to examine whether “there is a safety problem of uncertain magnitude, due to transmeridian flying and a potential problem due to fatigue in association with various factors found in air transport operations.”
Researchers came up with a number of recommendations and countermeasures to address Pilot Fatigue in the cockpit.
Is anyone (Sixty Minutes, Oprah?) asking if the FAA implemented those measures and how many US CARRIERS HAVE SIGNED ON?
Do I have to stop blogging and go do some investigative journalism (which I was trained to do)? I’m sleeping – blogging is much easier! Just like Networks/Media Outlets are sleeping – because it’s also much easier to hire bloviates who promulgate spin, opinion and bull – instead of dealing with FACTS – which by the way are inconvenient things!
If they were indeed arguing, or “heatedly discussing” – maybe those two should NOT work together anymore? Please argue while having a drink (preferably orange juice) at a club – NOT up in the air where it causes you to go 150 miles off course.
I also found this article that appeared in USA TODAY in JUNE. 2009.
Airlines, pilot unions and federal officials have until September first to develop new rules to limit fatigue among pilots, the Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday in an unusually aggressive move to reach agreement on one of the industry’s most contentious safety issues.
The National Transportation Safety Board has cited fatigue as a factor in several recent crashes, including a February crash near Buffalo that killed 50 people.
The board revealed last month that both pilots on that flight had not gotten a full night’s sleep before the accident.
The NTSB lists combating fatigue as one of its “Most Wanted” safety improvements.
FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt called on airlines and pilot unions to begin meeting with federal officials by July 15 to come up with recommendations on how long pilots can work each day.
The committee will have until September to present their findings, Babbitt said in a news release. “Now is the time to push these initiatives forward,” he said.
An effort to get unions and airlines to reach a compromise in the 1990s failed, leaving 50-year-old rules that scientists who study fatigue say do little to promote safety.
Under current rules, pilots generally can fly up to eight hours a day. Their workday, which includes time on the ground between flights, can extend up to 16 hours. There are no restrictions on flying during the middle of the night or making numerous takeoffs and landings.
Curtis Graeber, a scientist who has studied pilot fatigue for nearly 30 years, said that research can better predict how long pilots should work than simple hourly limits.
Factors such as how many days in a row a pilot has worked and whether rest periods allow for a good night’s sleep should be used to limit flying time, Graeber said.
Airlines in Europe, Australia and New Zealand have begun adopting such rules. Graeber said he is not hopeful that the groups can reach agreement in this country.
“Getting that kind of consensus has proved challenging in the past,” he said.
Pilots have rejected attempts to extend the amount of time they can fly and airlines oppose changes that would restrict scheduling.
Airlines and the Air Line Pilots Association say they support the government’s effort.
DO YOU NOTE THE SENTENCE BEFORE THE LAST? > Pilots have rejected attempts to extend the amount of time they can fly and airlines oppose changes that would restrict scheduling.
Why not just put a squadron of fighter jets on standby – to escort runaway planes…and bill the airlines/Pilots Union?!
That would get somebody’s attention!
(Please remember: I’m ONLY posting on SUNDAY’S now, due to other commitments).
I always thought that I would not be a good parent because I have a Type A plus personality – quick temper, no patience (notice how many media types have this similar type of personality, with a super big ego?).
However, I struggled along. I have dreams of becoming a Top Model or winning Survivor (TV reality show) and writing that winning screenplay. But although none of these have happened (yet!) I have managed to not live vicariously through my son.
Well, confession: I used a mixture of threats, cajoling and bribes to get him to take an instrument at school. I wanted piano, he’s going for drums. But so far, I have not paraded him on national T.V…and there’s been no vomiting. Again, not yet!
I’m not one of those people who think that parents should not profit off their kids. The little buggers profit off us for decades, sometimes forever! Go ahead, profit off them. Raising a kid is not easy and if that kid has a particular talent or skill that can help take that family off difficult times into the good life. I say, GO for it.
However, please parents, DO NOT USE THESE KIDS AS YOUR MEAL TICKET, even if he/she/they…is/are that meal ticket.
I cannot stand to see parents parade their little girls on stage pushing them to do things the kids don’t want to do. Some do like it, some do have a natural bent for it and for them it’s OK. But many kids don’t, yet these parents push these kids into the limelight or on stage, because they are blinded by dollar signs.
I used to take my son to auditions and I would overhear the coaching, the handling, and the managing – the prodding and the bullying and the cautioning: Say this. (You can tell from the parent’s tone/attitude and the child’s reaction which ones are being coerced.) Do this. Don’t do that it will ruin your hair/costume, whatever…and I’d feel sorry for those kids.
Yes, sorry for those kids. We see what happens to child stars when they are not grounded, and even to some that are grounded.
We forget that Einstein was not an actor or a basketball player. But he’s more famous and respected and honored than any sports star or Hollywood celebrity will ever be.
(Please let me know if I am wrong, but:) Bill Gates was not a child star.
Mother Theresa was not a child star.
Jay Leno was not a child star.
Marie Curie was not a child star.
Do you remember the name of that cute little girl who played Bill Cosby’s youngest daughter on the Cosby show?
Do you know who Bill Clinton is? HE was not a child star, but she (Keshia Knight Pulliam) was. Which person (not character) do you remember offhand? Would you recognize her in the street today? Would you recognize Clinton? Does she have Secret Service protection?
I’m just throwing out names at random to show that our kids DO NOT NEED TO BECOME YOUNG CELEBRITIES AND OVERACHIEVERS to leave their mark on the world.
However, in the race for fame, celebrity, money and book deals (which is apparently ALL that counts these days) some of us, parents, seem to be seeing our kids as cash cows that we reckon we should milk every few hours!
What set me off? The balloon story out of Colorado!
I came home Thursday afternoon (Oct. 15, 2009) and there was this hot air balloon (home made) drifting in the sky. According to news reports, there is/was a 6-year-old inside and now he’s not, and maybe the kid fell out!
What! A 6-year-old in a hot air balloon! What was he doing in the balloon, I’m asking my son? Why was he in the balloon in the first place? Was an adult with him? Did he fall out? What if he did fall out?
I have visions of a broken body in a tree somewhere…
And then…and then…we learn the kid was safe, hiding in his attic all along.
Wow! Ok, that’s good. But…?
Then I listen to the emergency calls and I learn the dad calls a local TV station and the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) first, before calling 911. BEFORE calling 911?
Your 6-year-old son is drifting off in a hot air balloon and 911 is your third call?
Did he want to ensure that the government did NOT blast the balloon out of the air? Then the best thing would be to call 911, wouldn’t it?
If my son doesn’t get home from the school bus within minutes I’m calling him – where are you? And if for some reason I can’t reach him, I’m already thinking of what to tell the police to convince them that no, he didn’t run away and has never done this sort of thing before.
So am I going to say it’s a hoax? Nope, can’t say that because for one, I’m afraid of lawsuits. This family seems to have a lot more money than I do. (Plus I make cookies; they make hot-air balloons!) They have an attic atop their garage – I don’t even have a garage! Or a parking spot!
Police plan an announcement…I’m waiting to hear it.
In the meantime, please parents, (I think) it is better to have an emotionally secure, stable, well-adjusted kid who is not a celebrity, but doing well at school and has friends etc…than one who is getting chased by paparazzi or is paraded on live T.V. and has their embarrassing bodily malfunctions televised worldwide.
And (in an unrelated incident) would I have let my kid sit on the floor at an awards show just to hold Pamela Anderson’s train? According to news reports, the 9-year-old girl did not have her own seat – she had to sit at Pamela’s feet all night!
Too much to say about this one…but WE are the sanctimonious finger-waggers who criticize child labor in India and other developing countries, where these kids work TO SURVIVE…AND SUPPORT ENTIRE FAMILIES.
See Why I Rave About Hypocrisy!
What do you think?
I just launched an online endeavor.
I’ve wanted to do it for more than a year, but I was dragging my feet. I got the paperwork, set things up and was afraid to take the plunge.
I finally launched this week and it’s looking promising. But it takes a lot of my time. And I won’t be able to blog every day like I used to.
So I’ve decided to bcome a Sunday Blogger.
I got the idea from a report I saw on TV about a woman who only blogs on Sundays. I thought – perfect! I don’t have to give up blogging – and I can use my weekdays to focus on my enterprise!
I will have a new post on Sunday.
Please come back. I still have lots of opinions…on everything, and I’m still NOT afraid to say them – well, most of them!
Say I commission a group of army families to conduct a study on the impact it will have on them, their families and that area… if their base is closed:
Their Study would probably conclude that if the government closed that base, it would be gloom and doom:
People would lose their jobs and livelihoods.
That area and its economy would be devastated.
The nation’s security will be compromised.
Contracts would be lost, etc.
Accusations that the base is polluting groundwater are unfounded – so far, only one case has been actually linked to groundwater contamination, and it’s yet to be proved that the base is the source.
Ask the affluent neighboring community that’s been agitating to close the base for years, and the results are likely to be completely different:
Only a few people would lose their jobs and livelihoods, most will be transferred elsewhere.
That area and its economy would be NOT devastated, other industries will move in.
The nation’s security won’t be compromised – there is another base in the area.
The army should not be conducting tests in that area – and they will have statistics to prove how the base is harming the groundwater.
So which poll do you believe?
Now I’ve used a rather silly example to make my point, but studies, like polls, can be manipulated and sometimes are. It all depends on who is doing it…why they’re doing it.
So when the insurance industry comes out with its “Poll” about how expensive health Care reform will be to the nation…I take that with a grain of salt, or in this modern age, a dose of aspirin!
The last thing we need is an insurance company trying to convince us that when we are sick, don’t worry, they will BE there!
They just refused to cover that really huge, 17-pound baby in Colorado.
They looked ahead and saw a possible lifetime of complaints and complications and told that bay and its family: Oh no – you’re very likely to be sick, you’re on your own, sorry!
Rocky Mountain Health Plans caved in after the public outcry. The company CEO says that policy is appropriate for adults who may be overweight, not for that baby!
So the rest of us are screwed! I’m not overweight, but I’m sure they’d find something to hold over me!
He also says they fixed the situation “without getting all emotional about it…and Washington could take a page out of their book.” Don’t even head to that library!
Yet insurance companies are trying to convince the rest of us that they will hold our hand all the way to the grave. Yep, Mr. nice, caring, sympathetic insurance company…I’m sure you can’t even spell “pre-existing condition!”
The Insurance Study found that: If the legislation the Senate Finance Committee voted (14-9) on yesterday (October 13, 2009) became law, health insurance premiums for the average family (which is what?) would increase by approximately 4-thousand-dollars a year.
They claim that premiums for a single person would go up by another 600 dollars.
Now the accounting firm (PricewaterhouseCoopers) that conducted the study says there are deficiencies in the data it prepared for America’s Health Insurance Plans.
Montana Democrat, Max Baucus, chairs the Senate Finance Committee. It cobbled together the latest Health Care Reform version.
(Baucus’s involvement in efforts to reform health care amuse me. HE’s number four on the list of Washington congressmen getting donations from the health care industry and the top democrat.)
He called the report “a health insurance company hatchet job.” Guess he was keeping his toes crossed – we’d see his fingers, or would we?
The Finance Committee’s version seeks to expand insurance coverage to 29 million people who wouldn’t otherwise be covered. Under that plan, nearly everyone would have to buy a policy and low- and moderate-income families will get subsidies to help them afford premiums.
The full Senate is slated to begin debate on the Bill the week of October 26.
Look for more studies … coming soon from self-interested parties around the country!
There are many issues to blog about.
War, Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize, the Economy – to stimulate or not to stimulate? Health Care…Boston Red Sox out of the playoffs (Angels?) and Boston fans’ new chapter of “Keeping Hope Alive” (which reminds me of Jesse Jackson – why is he so quiet? What’s HE is up to, I wonder!?
I’ll probably touch those topics at some point….
However, to me, the story that slipped under the radar occurred in California.
Does the name: Tom Ammiano ring a bell? Probably won’t to most people.
Does the name: Joe Wilson ring a bell? Probably does.
U.S. Congressman Wilson, (Republican from South Carolina) became a household name after he shouted “You lie” to President Obama during a nationally televised joint session of Congress in September, 2009.
Ammiano is a Democrat, a state assemblyman from California. He shouted “You lie!” to California governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who dropped in on a Democratic fundraiser in San Francisco Wednesday night, (Oct. 07, 2009).
Schwarzenegger who can be gracious (when he’s NOT castigating gays or immigrants, he’d probably want me to say illegal immigrants, which is more convenient) laughed it off by saying that: He got an even rougher ride when he decided to marry his wife, a member of the Kennedy clan. (His wife’s mom was sister to U.S. President John F. Kennedy).
What has happened to graciousness, politeness and courtesy? Here you have a moderate republican like Arnold Schwarzenegger, (don’t we all have our flaws?) who was brave enough (he’s the Terminator, after all) to drop in at a Democratic fundraiser and speak…
And instead of listening to what HE has to say and engaging him in discourse and dialog, the morons there were booing and disrespectful.
So if George Bush comes to a function here in Boston, do we shout: The English are coming back!? Is that it?
I thought it was extremely rude of Mr. Ammiano (and I use the Mister with reserve) to shout “you lie” to the California governor. You dummy!
And that’s NOT all. According to published reports (I’ve never heard of Ammiano and know nothing about him) Ammiano is a veteran gay rights campaigner. Schwarzenegger’s stance that marriage is between a man and a woman is unacceptable to gays.
However, instead of cornering the governor after the function and talking to him, which would be too much of a polite thing to do in today’s America, Ammiano reportedly walked out, shouting as he left: “Kiss my gay ass.”
I doubt governor Schwarzenegger wants to kiss your gay ass, Ammiano. For that you may need to see another republican…the one who was hiding in the airport bathroom stall…
The event’s host, former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown, invited Schwarzenegger, INVITED him, to the event.
So why is nobody outraged?
• Is it because it was NOT president Obama, whom I admire and adore?
• Is it because Schwarzenegger is just a governor, and too low down the Totem Pole – he’s NOT president or a U.S Representative or Senator?
• Is it because Schwarzenegger is a Republican? They’re dissing everybody so let’s diss them too?
• Or do we not care anymore?
Hypocrisy at work!
How clearly can we see through the thick haze of “enclave politics” (have I just coined a term?) that’s now permeating this country?
Ammiano’s reasons for disagreeing with the governor may be sound and valid. Apart from their sexual preferences, there’s also the legislative feuding between California’s republican governor and its legislature.
Schwarzenegger wants lawmakers to agree on a plan to upgrade the state’s aging water system and was threatening to veto everything. (He lifted his veto threat today, Oct. 12, 2009.)
Ammiano is a stand-up comedian. But while many of us will agree that politics and politicians these days are becoming a joke, this is NOT funny!
This “New Rudeness Deal” started with the republicans (well, rudeness didn’t start WITH them) but they do propagate it and nurture it to suit their ends.
Hillary Clinton was a bitch? Remember? A former first lady…of the country – but because they don’t like her, they feel no compunction to be respectful?
Just as now they see Obama as a little black boy…and they’ll be damned if they will respect him.
Democrats, people of good sense, Americans…don’t go down that path…tempting as it may seem.
Remember, what you sow…as the Bible they supposedly read says…is what you reap. (Supposedly read, in between having their adulterous flings … and corrupt dealings … and planning new strategies to screw working people and poor people so their rich friends can buy another yacht).
U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson’s infamous “You lie!” outburst has reportedly paid off for him, big time.
And he’s poised to have the most lucrative fundraising quarter of any member of Congress.
Hey, rudeness pays. Don’t you dare tell your kids NOT to tell that person who could use that shower that junior won’t kiss him/her because said person doesn’t smell good. Don’t you dare!!
Encourage them, urge them to go on…say it! Then give the kid a treat! Good job!!!
Shortly before news broke about the sexual shenanigans of one David Letterman, CBS’s resident Don Juan (forgive me, I studied Keats); I came across this article about a “bad lovers” poll.
Seems some countries have good lovers, others have great lovers and some, like America, have bad lovers!
You heard right. Americans are bad lovers. Nothing was said about the number of lovers that one has – just the quality of the loving.
Here’s how it breaks down:
Latin lovers are the best. Seems those hot-blooded Spaniards take the cake, literally.
U.K. marketing firm, OnePoll, put Spanish lovers on top – followed by Brazil, Italy and France.
Remember gentle peoples, 20 million Frenchmen cannot be wrong! And for the cartoon lovers, think Pepe Le Phew! The love-struck, over-aggressive skunk that’s into white stripes! Perpetually chasing Le pussy ferocious! La belle femme skunk fatale!!
Ireland, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark and Canada round out the Top Ten BEST Lovers List.
I wonder if there’s something in olive oil, virgin olive oil that people are missing out on here in America?
In the bad lover category, Germans are number one. They’re described as unhygienic – too smelly; and the worst in bed.
Ironic, I guess, that the perfume style called Cologne or Eau de Cologne originated from the great German city of: Cologne! An Italian perfumer launched the fragrance there in 1709.
The poll of 15-hundred women from 20 countries rate English men second on the Worst Lovers List. Seems English chaps are too prim and proper…and lazy. Hey Simon Cowell – how about that?
Swedes are criticized for being too quick. My aunt is married to a Swede. Have you ever been to Sweden – in the winter? It is cold! Who wants to be uncovered that long?
Number four on the bad lovers list is Holland: Too dominating. Maybe they’re gotten too used to conquering…dams-els?
Which takes us to number five: Americans. Now usually when referring to Americans, I say us and we. Not this time. Sorry. In this instance I’m from the Caribbean.
According to the poll, Americans, YOU – are uncomfortably rough. Please guys; you have already conquered the West! OK.
Greeks – too annoyingly lovey-dovey! Aristotle…lovey- dovey?
The Welsh are too selfish. Now we understand why Princess Diana…never mind! We’ll keep that low down to ourselves!
Scots too loud – MY OH MY!
Turks are too sweaty…
And Russians are too hairy. Hey I’ve seen Putin in shorts (only on TV – Russian secrets are safe) and he looks grrreat!
I notice they didn’t poll in black countries. (I bet South Africa was white South Africa). They didn’t go to Soweto! Come on!
(The saying about black men – and women: Once you go black, no looking back!)
Having bitten the good lovin’ bug, I wanted to know more. So I…Googled, of course…and this came up.
When it comes to sex, seems sports are a game stopper. According to website areyouromantic.com: (Well, are you?)
One in four men would give up sex for at least a month to ensure that his favorite team wins the Super Bowl!
15-percent would give it up for the entire season. 11 percent would give it up for however long it takes.
17-percent of men think their team’s performance on the field affects their performance in bed.
Nearly 30-percent of men think they have better sex after their team wins!
And about one in five sports fans delay sex until after the game is over!
I don’t know the nationality of these men. But based on the previous poll, I’d say they are not Spanish!
The Germans (Visigoths) invaded and occupied Spain in the 5th to 8th centuries. However: as History tells us, they did NOT leave much of a permanent mark on Hispanic culture. Otherwise, Spanish men would probably be up there with Germans on the Worst Lovers List.
Coming soon: “The Art of Seduction” by David Letterman.
Oops, I forgot. He’s American. Sorry Dave…