Flying the brutal skies.

It’s 76 degrees outside as I write this, which strikes me as the perfect outside temperature. You can go for a nice walk without sweating. Shorts are comfortable, but if your legs are still Michigan-winter white and dotted with yellowing bruises from that unfortunate business with the pedal clips last weekend, jeans are fine, too. You can open the windows and listen to the birdies tweeting outside, lie on your bed and catch up on the news without needing a blanket. You can wear flip-flops. You can make your dinner hearty or light, and both will work.

Tonight will be perfect for sleeping. It’s a good day.

Back to the pool this morning, which was closed last week while the schools were on spring break. They didn’t leave the heater on, and the water was? Yes, 76 degrees. Which is a bit chilly, gotta tell ya. It’s fine once you get moving, even refreshing — nothing worse than an overheated pool when you’re working hard — but oh my was there bitching from the peanut gallery as the dawn patrol got wet again.

I posted this story in our — the swimmers’ — Facebook group to cheer us all up. So far, zero comments, zero likes. I thought it was hilarious:

An Australian rapper called 2pec racked up a large bill in a seafood restaurant, before running into the sea to avoid paying, a Queensland court has heard.

Police set off in hot pursuit on jetskis for the man, who later claimed he ran to help a friend give birth on the beach, according to local media.

His bill was over A$600 (£360, $450).

Terry Peck, who has been charged with theft and assault, later said the lobsters were overcooked.

It actually continues to improve from there.

Not everyone had a good day, of course. There was that poor man dragged, literally, off a United flight for the crime of refusing to accept a later flight, a travel voucher plus $800. Yes, fresh off Leggingsgate, United chooses to send goons on board to treat a 69-year-old doctor — who said he had to get back to see patients — like a criminal. One of my social-media network observed that the airline’s explanation, which used the Orwellian phrase “re-accommodate these customers,” might have passed muster if only a dozen passengers hadn’t been recording the whole disgraceful incident on their phones. White people are learning what black people learned a while ago: This communication device is a weapon in the right hands. Use it wisely.

Speaking of flying, my friend Dave Jones had a different experience, on Southwest, the airline where you expect to be uncomfortable. If you’re feeling grim about humanity after United’s disgraceful conduct, read that.

And then the Pulitzers. Fahrenthold! Well-deserved! Noonan! Um, no. But that’s always how it is. I’m glad that left-wing blog, ProPublica, scooped one, too.

Because take it from us, guys: The pursuit of truth had never been harder, or more important. (That’s a scary-ass story to read, folks.)

And now we’re having a nice, gentle thunderstorm. What a day. Let’s hope the rest of the week continues in this vein.

Posted at 6:29 pm in Current events |

80 responses to “Flying the brutal skies.”

  1. Deborah said on April 10, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    Nancy, the link to your friend’s SW experience was delightful. I was primed for it to be depressing and then it completely surprised me. I had a similar experience recently on the shuttle bus between Santa Fe and ABQ, it is usually dismal but this last time I had a lively discussion with a young man who was a political operative for a progressive effort, he had recently met with the New Mexico state legislature and it was fascinating to hear him talk about it. It made the hour+ trip go so much faster. I’m usually not communicative with my fellow passengers on flights or shuttles but I’m so glad that it turned out that way.

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  2. Deborah said on April 10, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    Oh and I think I said this here before, but that asshole Cernovich guy is a distant shirt tail relation to my husband, unfortunately. My husband’s first cousin’s ex is Cernovich’s uncle. How’s that for anti-name dropping?

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  3. Deborah said on April 10, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    One more thing before I retire for the evening martini. Julie, I second Heather’s suggestion of Nebbiolo, it has become my favorite red wine type, but I haven’t seen any for around $20. If you find one let me know. We are fans of Barolo from Montalcino. I really like Sicilian wines like, Nero D’avola, they have a distinct pruney taste which I love. My favorite brand of Nero D’avola is Corvo, it’s very (very) inexpensive too. My husband is fond of Pinot Noir and TJ’s has a good one for less than $9 (!!!! seriously) but it’s not available that often there and I can’t remember the name of it. Most Pinot’s from Willamette Valley, Oregon can be good but they’re also pricey. I like a wine from Sardegna called Cannonau (spelling?) which you can get for a bit less than$20. We are partial to Italian reds. My husband knows French wines more than I do, I know French from nothing. One time for my husband’s birthday, I think it was his 60th, he said he wanted an excellent bottle of wine. I went to a chi chi wine shop in Chicago expecting to spend $300 if necessary. The best I could do was $140 something and it was meh. When you buy extremely expensive wine you have to let it settle and then there are very specific ways you need to pour it to get the most out of it. Not worth it in my book.

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  4. Sherri said on April 10, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    Cernovich is a disgusting internet troll.

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  5. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 10, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    Deborah mentioned my “tax prep rant” yesterday, and in pieces, here it is, starting with the following initial post:

    Rant alert (and it’s not even original, this is an annual tantrum): it is simply appalling that between two mature, intelligent adults with more than basic math skills, various foreign languages, and a master’s and doctorate between them, the process of completing and submitting tax returns should be so incredibly complex and almost* willfully baffling. “On line 19, put the total from line 7, unless you have checked the box in Part IV (see instructions) or have exceeded the minimal maximum amount for line 11 (see instructions), having already subtracted line 9 for line 6 providing your total on line 8 is less than $250,000 or is disqualified on Schedule Q, line 27 (see instructions).” Then the state and local forms take the 1040 starting point and add obtuseness in new and startling forms: “from your federal 1040, put your AGI from line 36 in the box, and subtract either $38,000 or the sum of your lines 17, 19, and 24, whichever is less, unless the total is over $250,000.”

    *re: “almost willfully baffling” — I’m being kind. It seems reasonable to assume it serves someone’s interests that these tax return forms are so difficult that even a family with one piece of real estate in which they live year round and no other real complications fiscally finds this process seemingly intentionally confusing and discouraging.

    . . . after I posted this, I got lots of affirmation for my pain, including this from a wise and fiscally astute friend:

    “The complexity serves the cumulative interests of all those who benefit from all the considerations, advantages, and concessions built into the tax code over time. Every one of those elements has a constituency. Not saying at ll that it’s good, but it is — for better or worse — rational.”

    Which I agree is the case. Except it started a braided series of comments, one strand on the need for a “flat tax” which I won’t even begin to pick up on here (I love the concept, but the execution is almost invariably oppressive, so no, I guess), the other on the joys of hiring a person to do it for us, such as:

    “I started using a CPA three years ago. The best money we spend. No more tax arguments, no more tax frustrations.”

    To which I replied: We don’t argue, and it’s not that frustrating, it’s just ridiculously difficult to figure out what they’re asking us to do — and doesn’t have to be, IMHO. We could hire a CPA, but it makes no sense that a couple like us, of fairly rudimentary income and assets, should have to even consider doing that just to fulfill a basic civic duty.

    In conclusion, I think much of the obtuseness of the tax code is rooted in servicing of special, usually wealthy interests, but where that should leave me on tax reform I have no idea . . . except I think it’s become an area ripe for demagoguery.

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  6. Joe K said on April 10, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    Finding my self at good old Detroit City Airport Tuesday,
    not 100% I can get a crew car, but if you want to pick me up, I’ll buy your lunch.
    Pilot Joe

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  7. Sherri said on April 10, 2017 at 8:53 pm

    The tax prep industry is the main force behind keeping your tax return complicated. For the majority of tax payers, the government could send you a form with most everything filled in, and you’d just add anything different. After all, almost all that information has already been reported to the IRS.

    There was talk about an attempt to move to this model, but Intuit et al jumped all over that.

    We do our own taxes with TurboTax, though they make it harder and harder each year to find the product you can download rather than the online version. Now, they even charge more for it. All but one of the financial institutions we use can export data to TurboTax, so that makes things less tedious and makes dealing with stock sales simpler.

    When we still owned our house in California and were renting it out, we paid a CPA in California to do our taxes, because I spent an hour reading instructions about rental income and expenses and depreciation and threw up my hands. Washington doesn’t have any income tax (there’s a rant for another time about how regressive the tax system is here).

    Not a fan of a flat tax. My first job out of grad school was in Pittsburgh, which had a city wage tax of 4%. I’m a “taxes are the price of civilization” type, but that was a tough one.

    I’m usually just fine with writing a big check for taxes, but trump in the White House had me scowling over it yesterday.

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  8. basset said on April 10, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    Joe, give me a little notice when you’re coming to BNA or JWN and we’ll find a lunch you wouldn’t think is possible in Nashville.

    Groceries… forgot to mention the Sprouts that’s coming to our under-construction new mall. we also have two Publixes, a Kroger, and a soon to open Aldi within three miles of the house.

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  9. devtob said on April 10, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    From the WaPo Pulitzer article, “His work documenting the future president’s charitable practices won the award for national reporting” is unduly charitable to Trump.

    Better would be: “His work documenting the future president’s persistent and habitual deceptions about his charitable practices won the award for national reporting.”

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  10. Julie Robinson said on April 10, 2017 at 9:19 pm

    Jefftmmo, I am actually going to disagree with you. I just followed through what you wrote, and it doesn’t seem unclear to me at all. You just have to take it step by step, writing things out on a separate piece of paper. Most people let themselves get overwhelmed, but you just have to stay calm and go line by line. Of course, I agree the system needs to be simplified but given reality I don’t see it happening.

    How many customers did United lose today? I will think very hard about booking another flight with them. If it had happened to me when I was on my way to NYC I would have missed the Broadway show that I had tickets for. I would have been out the cost of the tickets, over $400, and likely wouldn’t have been able to rebook since the show has a limited run and has been wildly popular. I also had to pay a ridiculous $388 for the plane ticket, because I was flying out of Fort Wayne. My daughter’s ticket from Orlando was $128. Oh man, would I have been pissed. I hope he sues.

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  11. Sherri said on April 10, 2017 at 9:46 pm

    United already demonstrated that its employees are not empowered to deviate from rules, with the leggings fiasco. The procedure seems to be, these employees must fly or our system breaks down, the algorithm says, if nobody volunteers, start removing people randomly, and assumes that people will meekly comply. When a passenger who has paid for a ticket and is seated on a plane thinks that’s unreasonable and doesn’t want to comply, the system goes tilt.

    United doesn’t seem to care, though, since they haven’t even come close to acknowledging that there was anything wrong. Hey, it’s our plane, we’ll kick you off if we feel like it, and if you don’t go quietly, then we’ll have the cops drag you off. They’ll keep doing shit like this as long as we put up with it. What if other people on the plane had stood up and blocked the aisle, rather than let an old Asian man get dragged off?

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  12. adrianne said on April 10, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    Well, I enjoyed the tale of rapper 2pec’s restaurant rage in Australia. The deadpan details! “Police set off in hot pursuit on jetskis” and the kicker: “Terry Peck…later said the lobsters were overcooked.”

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  13. Joe K said on April 10, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    Just a little FYI, about the United incident, while I do agree that this makes United look bad, what they did wasn’t illegal, if you read the fine print of your ticket and this goes for any airline, they have the right to remove you from the plane if it’s overbooked if they can’t get enough people to volunteer which is what happened in Chicago, they start looking at who payed the least for their ticket and also who checked in first, the crew had already explained to the passenger what the rules were, only after refusing to get up,did they inform security, the passenger then refused the officers, what other choice did they have? Should have this been resolved before boarding? Absolutely, it sucks for the pax it sucks for the airline, but it’s on the ticket, if he goes to court over this I really think he will lose.
    Pilot Joe

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  14. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 10, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    If you let them on the plane, airlines, you deserve to lose and lose big. Don’t tell me about the fine print at that point. He was ON the plane, in a seat, and you tried to move him for your crew allocation needs. Maybe you need to reconsider how you deploy and schedule crew, not look at how you “re-accomodate” passengers.

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  15. alex said on April 10, 2017 at 10:11 pm

    Cernovich, for those who might have missed it, was on 60 Minutes a couple of weeks ago as the man who broke the Pizzagate story. And he still stands behind it. One of the creepiest and most soulless interviewees I have ever witnessed, and the most disconcerting part of it is that he looks and sounds relatively normal.

    The 60 Minutes segment was dedicated to the subject of “fake news,” and it was a very compromised piece of reporting in my opinion, a shining example of the kind of false balance that a show like 60 Minutes should be exposing rather than espousing. “Both sides do it” was the tiresome refrain throughout, yet I didn’t see one single example of a left-wing canard with the same kind of legs as Pizzagate. Or Unmasking-ghazi. The LA Times didn’t pull any punches with that headline and it’s a sucky Tribune property fer Chrissake.

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  16. Heather said on April 10, 2017 at 10:18 pm

    “It isn’t illegal” is weak sauce in the face of that video.

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  17. Deborah said on April 10, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    Who cares what the fine print on the ticket says, it’s a shitty thing to do. I never fly United and I sure as heck never, ever will in the future. I hope they suffer big time for their bad judgement.

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  18. Jolene said on April 10, 2017 at 11:40 pm

    More wisdom from Jeff Sessions: In keeping with his penchant for bad ideas (relaunching the war on drugs, undermining consent agreements re the reform of police departments), he is terminating a commission devoted to reviewing various aspects of forensic science and setting standards for the use of forensic evidence.

    It’s worth noting that this commission was established for a reason: Several commonly used techniques have been found to be unreliable. But, hey, who really cares about the accuracy of physical evidence that could send a person to prison for decades?

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  19. Bitter Scribe said on April 10, 2017 at 11:47 pm

    When he’s not concocting scandals, Cernovich writes a lot about how women will be forever unfulfilled unless they service men like him. He’s one of those assholes who’s always going on about “alpha males” and “cucks.”

    Punchline: The reason he can do that shit instead of working for a living is because his first wife made a lot of money in an Internet startup, and he got a huge settlement in the divorce.

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  20. LAMary said on April 11, 2017 at 12:15 am

    Danny, there was a beloved columnist here in LA named Jack Smith. He wrote a book called, “How to Win a Pullet Surprise.”

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  21. Sherri said on April 11, 2017 at 12:20 am

    What other choice did they have? Really?

    Well, they could have treated the man like a human being, with dignity and restraint, rather than a criminal. They could have found another way to get the crew to Louisville. They could have offered more money for volunteers. Apparently, the choice of who to pick to kick off was done randomly. They could have recognized that maybe, that’s not really a good way of dealing with real people rather than computer simulations.

    United Airlines’ desire to maximize shareholder return and hit their quarterly numbers does not give them carte blanche to treat their customers as pesky nuisances.

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  22. Suzanne said on April 11, 2017 at 6:12 am

    I have flown United but will certainly avoid them in the future if possible. Why even buy a ticket if it means you may not actually have a seat on the plane? It’s like going to pick up the new car you paid for only to find out the head mechanic needed some new tires, so he took yours. Not to worry. You’ll get your tires when we decide you can have them.

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  23. David C. said on April 11, 2017 at 6:24 am

    According to “Ask the Pilot”, the problem is that airline employees are actively discouraged from thinking creatively. That sounds about right to me.

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  24. Joe K said on April 11, 2017 at 7:22 am

    David C,
    That’s a pretty good explanation, thru the aviation grape vine it was a United gate agent that called security.
    This is one of the reason my job flying charter keeps growing, the airlines are nothing but mid 1970 Greyhound busses with wings.
    Pilot Joe

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  25. Julie Robinson said on April 11, 2017 at 7:55 am

    The BBC got a private email sent to employees by the United CEO. He has one message for the public and another in private, namely that the passenger was “disruptive and belligerent”. Also, that employees followed established procedures and he emphatically stands behind them.

    If I was already seated on a plane but dragged off I guarantee I would also be disruptive and belligerent. In what mindset is this considered okay? Why did they let the passengers board? It doesn’t matter if the contract says it’s allowable; this is just wrong.

    The story also has a couple of good tweets under the hashtag NewUnitedAirlinesMottos. “Board as a doctor, leave as a patient”. “We’ll seat you, then we’ll beat you”. What a cluster.

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  26. Danny said on April 11, 2017 at 9:23 am

    Mary, was that by any chance circa 1977? I might be conflating or mis-remembering. I distinctly remember hearing about the Pulitzer gaffe when I was participating in this eight-grade speech contest. Perhaps it wasn’t the other contestant who thought that, but he/she was repeating it.

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  27. Deborah said on April 11, 2017 at 9:43 am

    The former guv of AL is a wretched looking man. How can anyone be attracted to him? I suppose power is a compelling aphrodisiac. I listened to the recording of him telling his staffer how much he enjoyed standing behind her and fondling her breasts. Ewwwwwww.

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  28. Joe Kobiela said on April 11, 2017 at 9:43 am

    I plan on eating lunch at the side street dinner around noon,if your available would be happy to buy you lunch.
    Pilot Joe

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    • nancy said on April 11, 2017 at 9:49 am

      Nutty-busy day, but I’ll see what I can move around. I’ll look for the guy in the MAGA hat, then?

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  29. Julie Robinson said on April 11, 2017 at 9:49 am

    Southwest. We beat the competition, not you.

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  30. Danny said on April 11, 2017 at 9:55 am

    Nancy, as often is the case, a few years back you had a delicious observation about people who fly first class that stuck with me. It was something along the lines of one of the demographics you find in first class being the alpha-executive who looks imperious… like they belong in first class. Seeing the news about the United flight and another news story about Rex Tillerson, it struck me that he fits the archetype of that description.

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  31. Icarus said on April 11, 2017 at 10:04 am

    +1 to what Sherri said at 7

    Whenever someone suggests that government could do your taxes for you, someone always chimes in “would you trust the government to be honest?”

    Tax preparers charge you for preparing your forms AND for filing electronically, as if that cost is such a burden on them. We have been at the mercy of a tax prep person for the last few years because wifey and I each owned a condo and our current house. We finally sold the last condo last fall so next year we should be able to do our taxes ourselves and not pay the outrageous fees they charge. I gotta think of a lot of it is import data from previous and fill in the blanks over determining the best way to go for maximum tax relief, though they obviously sell the latter point.

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  32. Icarus said on April 11, 2017 at 10:13 am

    apparently there is a $1350 cap on how much an airline can offer a person for their seat.

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  33. coozledad said on April 11, 2017 at 10:34 am

    if you’re a white private equity whore, you can shit yourself, shit on the servier, cover a whole plane with shit, and still get to stay on the flight.

    Finneran was 56 years old and making bank on the Argentine debt crisis, probably under the auspices of the IMF. He died of Alzheimers later. Bet that was pretty.

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  34. Deborah said on April 11, 2017 at 10:39 am

    Danny, I agree Tillerson definitely has that look. Now try to imagine him wearing a red MAGA hat and a dirty Tshirt hiked up showing his bare belly, clutching a styrofoam cup while spitting a load of chaw into it. Hard to do.

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  35. Julie Robinson said on April 11, 2017 at 10:41 am

    “Next time my kids refuse to get out of bed, I’m calling United Airlines.”

    “United Airlines. Putting the hospital in hospitality.”

    “Maybe @united CEO Munoz should be re-accomodated to the unemployment line.”

    “Look on the bright side, United Airlines. After this incident, you’ll never have to worry about overbooking again.”

    Twitter is on fire.

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  36. Joe K said on April 11, 2017 at 10:43 am

    Gray avflight hat, maroon sweatshirt.
    Pilot Joe

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  37. brian stouder said on April 11, 2017 at 10:57 am

    Joe – here’s hoping the lunch-plan works out!

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  38. brian stouder said on April 11, 2017 at 11:12 am

    A non-sequitur:

    Yesterday evening, right around dinner time, Pam’s phone began to chime away. It was the news hour, and an Indianapolis station ran a follow-up story on the terrible crash I was going on about, a few days ago. They played audio of the 9-1-1 calls that preceded the wreck, and several of Pam’s friends recognized her voice

    She sounds very, very much calmer than I ever would have!!

    Completely aside (or astern?) from that, let me hasten to agree with Deborah at 27.

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  39. LAMary said on April 11, 2017 at 11:59 am

    1982, Danny.

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  40. Heather said on April 11, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    Deborah, I like Cannonau too. I’ve enjoyed Brachetto too. It’s a grape from the Piedmont area of Italy. It’s sort of unusual–almost herbal–so probably not to everyone’s taste.

    Verdicchio is my white wine of choice lately–a nice option when you get bored with Sauv Blanc.

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  41. Deborah said on April 11, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    Heather, I like Prosecco in the summer and Vino Verde (spelling?) we don’t drink much white. I’ll have to try Brachetto some time, I don’t think I’ve ever had it.

    Nancy, we’re going to want to see photos of your lunch with Joe, it’s always interesting to put a face with a name.

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  42. Sherri said on April 11, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    The United story has evidently gone viral in China. Big international market for United. Maybe their procedures need to be a little more forward-thinking than “must get these employees to Louisville, no matter what?”

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  43. Charlotte said on April 11, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    Deborah — you can’t go much wrong with a nice Bandol (French) — Domaine Tempier is lovely, run by the marvelous Lulu Peyraud (see also the marvelous cookbook, Lulu’s Provencal Table by Richard Olney). A bottle should run about 35 bucks? last time I checked — it was one of Jim Harrison’s favorites …

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  44. Suzanne said on April 11, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    I heard about the United/China connection this morning. What a PR nightmare for United, one that I don’t think is undeserved, but a nightmare nonetheless. Their stock is dropping like a rock. There’s some Twitter thing going around that the Pentagon is hiring United to forcibly remove Assad.

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  45. Julie Robinson said on April 11, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    In China it’s being reported that the doctor is Chinese. Elsewhere I read he’s Vietnamese, and an immigrant. If true, imagine the terror.

    Our daughter was helping a man last week who has to fly from Orlando back to Tucson for an immigration hearing. He didn’t know if he had the proper documents to fly and reached out to his former pastor in Tuscon, who reached out to Sarah.

    The whole thing ended up being most of a day, as first she had to find an interpreter. Fortunately my sister is fluent, and even lived in Guatemala many years ago, so knew his particular idioms. It was important to him to have an interpreter he could trust, not just the official person at the TSA.

    So she grabbed the church’s wheelchair (since my sister just got out of the hospital), picked her up, picked up the guy and drove to the airport. After a couple of hours they decided all his docs were in order to fly, but recommended he bring an interpreter when he’s ready to fly. So they’ll repeat it all, if he shows up.

    Because they told him there’s a chance he’ll be arrested and deported at the Tuscon airport. The other pastor will meet him there and try to help, as well as pick up the pieces for his wife if he’s deported.

    This family is living a nightmare, and yes I know he’s not here legally. But he has a job and he’s paying taxes he’ll never get back, and somehow I feel like our country is taking advantage of him instead of vice versa.

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  46. brian stouder said on April 11, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    Today I gave Oxy-Rush 3 whole minutes – before hitting the button and catching Megan Traynor’s ‘Lips are Moving’ – which was a fitting transition.

    Ol’ Oxy was busy talking about the United fiasco, and his attack was directed at the…. not-white-guy doctor! (of course!!!)

    He questioned whether he even really WAS a doctor; and he accused him of being in trouble with the law… over DRUGS!…and speculated whether he still was! And THIS – even if it was true – matters because….uhhhh…errrr…let’s go to break!

    It was then time for me to change it, and the lovely Ms Traynor redirected my brain from contemplating that Oxy-Contin-laced, Viagra-smuggling pundit’s fat-ass

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  47. Little Bird said on April 11, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    Perhaps the airline could pick a traveler who wasn’t a doctor to remove from the plane. And, obviously, do so without bloodying anyone up. United is not having a very good time these days. It’s interesting that both recent incidents had a lot to do with their own employees and the policies that apply to them.

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  48. Deborah said on April 11, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    Julie, that story is heartbreaking and good for your daughter and sister helping him out.

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  49. Icarus said on April 11, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    On the other hand, Pepsi Co. is probably expelling some sighs of relief right now

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  50. Little Bird said on April 11, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    Nivea had a serious case of badvertising recently too.

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  51. LAMary said on April 11, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    I think there’s a tin ear epidemic. First the Donald announces from the oval office that O’Reilly did nothing wrong; then Pepsi tries to sell soda with a sub-Kardashian and white people protesting nothing accompanied by an ethnic cello player and a woman in a hijab. Then United throws a guy off a plane and does nothing to make it less awful. Can’t weight to see what’s next.

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  52. Jolene said on April 11, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    On the other hand, Pepsi Co. is probably expelling some sighs of relief right now

    Also Delta, which seems to have had an inordinately difficult time getting moving after many weather-induced cancellations of flights through Atlanta.

    Interesting discussion of challenges that airlines face on TV this AM. Steve Rattner, a smart finance guy, noted that most people make decisions about flights entirely based on price. In auto merchandising, for instance, there is something to buy at every price point, and customers have multiple criteria–price, fuel efficiency, carrying capacity, and style–with additional choices on specific features. And, in selling apparel, a garment not sold on Tuesday can be sold on Wednesday, but if a plane leaves with an empty seat, the opportunity to sell it is gone. And, of course, the airlines are vulnerable to constraints induced by the weather that can dramatically affect service.

    Not saying United handled this situation well, but it was interesting to think about the specific circumstances the airlines face.

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  53. Joe Kobiela said on April 11, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    Had a great lunch with Nancy today,what a enjoyable hour, highly recommend if you ever have the chance.
    Thanks again for the company Nancy.
    Pilot Joe

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  54. alex said on April 11, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    LA Mary, speaking of the tin ear epidemic, Sean Spicer just compared Hitler favorably to Assad — I’m not fuckin’ shittin’ — because Hitler didn’t gas people.

    The press isn’t sure whether this was a sop to the alt right or if Spicer is just that fucking moronic.

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  55. Heather said on April 11, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    As a friend pointed out, Spicer is a feature, not a bug.

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  56. Deborah said on April 11, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    I just heard about Spicer’s faux pas, it got even worse every time he tried to clarify what he supposedly meant. This is similar to the United situation in that when a glaring error is made someone tries to make it ok, but completely screws it up even more, like when the CEO of United said what he said. Really, they should keep their mouths shut until they’ve thought it through carefully and then they should come clean articulately and compassionately.

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  57. Jolene said on April 11, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    To be fair, Spicer was talking about the use of chemical weapons in combat when he referred to Hitler, and he did correct (awkwardly) himself to acknowledge the use of poison gas in the death camps. But he’s a klutz, there’s no doubt.

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  58. brian stouder said on April 11, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    Jolene, indeed.

    And the people who were surrounded and murdered in the ghettos of Warsaw might well contest whether murder by gun or bomb is any more humane than by gas

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  59. alex said on April 11, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    To be fair, Spicer didn’t have to go there.

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  60. coozledad said on April 11, 2017 at 5:01 pm

    Spicer engaged in a whitewashing of the Shoa. If the press secretary doesn’t understand any phrase beginning with “Even Hitler didn’t” is a setup for for denial, especially in relation to THE USE OF GODDAMN CHEMICAL WEAPONS, it demonstrates an ignorance of history that is incompatible with governance. This from an administration that employs a Hungarian Nazi, a fucking Breitbart editor as chief of staff, and who relied on the Neo Nazi vote. There is no decontextualization within this framework. Zero.

    They’re just David Irving in Brooks Brothers, and the Anne Frank Center is correct calling for him to step down.

    What we can’t expect is an acknowledgement of the source materials that prompted him to let that shit fly out of his fucking face- because it’s the blueprint of his fascist ass party.

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  61. coozledad said on April 11, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    Dear fucking god. Midwesterner mayonnaise idiots are going to mayosplain the holocaust.
    In-fucking-deed my ass.

    Sean Spicer just said Hitler didn’t gas his own people. He said that. SAID IT. There is no question that he fucking said it.

    The only question remaining is what neo nazi shit he’s been reading.

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  62. Little Bird said on April 11, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    Spicers comment is even more of a faux pas as it was said on the day of Passover.

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  63. Sherri said on April 11, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    The airlines are in a predicament of their own making. Yes, all the challenges Jolene points out are true, but by trying to maximize every cent of profit out of every seat, they have built a system that has no resiliency. As long as nothing goes wrong, money! The instant anything goes wrong, catastrophic failure. It’s not exactly nes that air travel is subject to weather conditions, but before airlines had the ability to programmatically handle the logistics of filling every seat on every flight, there was more slack in the system, and more accommodations to weather and other failures could be made. Now it can take a week to recover from a storm in a major hub, rather than a day.

    There are also external pressures that the airline industry faces, like an old ATC system and (more importantly) a lack of new airports and runways to handle the increase in passenger miles, so there are some limits in how much slack the airlines could build back in. There are more creative ways of managing logistics other than hub and spoke, but such a change would face political pressure around concern of losing access some places.

    Nevertheless, United earned $2.3 billion last year in profit. That’s a lot of money that could have been invested in better logistical planning for serving customers, rather than only shareholders.

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  64. Sherri said on April 11, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    Don Benton, the former WA state senator and chair of trump’s campaign in WA, was too nutty even for Scott Pruitt at EPA. We could have told you that.

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  65. Jolene said on April 11, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    Spicer is hapless, not evil. Bannon, Miller, and Gorky are evil.

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  66. coozledad said on April 11, 2017 at 5:53 pm

    There’s a reason the US Army marched hundreds of ‘hapless’ German civilians around the heaps of corpses at Dachau.

    Hitler and the Nazi regime seized on vom Rath’s death two days later as the pretext for a vicious collective assault on the German Jewish population, once more billed as an act of self-defense against Jewish hostility. this was the so-called Kristallnacht pogrom, a wave of destruction and plundering that swept over most remaining Jewish-owned homes and businesses and nearly all of the nation’s synagogues.
    The storm troopers disguised as civilians who spearheaded this operation found a good many fellow citizens, especially teenagers, willing to join in the violence. By the time the mayhem stopped, the perpetrators had killed at least 91 Jews but perhaps many more, driven at least 300 people to, and commit suicide and rounded up some 36,000 Jewish men across the country. About 26,00 of them were exposed the following day to public humiliation as they were marched to trains and buses bound forthe concentration camps at Buchenwald,Dachau, and Sachsenhausen…

    Das Schwarze Korps, the publication of the Nazi party’s elite SS formation, which now controlled all German police, editorialized as follows; “The German people are not in the least inclined to tolerate in their country hundreds of thousands of impoverished Jews… in such a situation we would be faced with the hard necessity of exterminating the Jewish underworld…by fire and sword. The result would be the actual and final end of Jewry in Germany, its complete annihilation.’

    Why: Explaining the Holocaust. Peter Hayes.

    This is prior to the Wannsee conference, which effectively began the liquidation of Jews in the east. It is the logical end of employing law enforcement in a political program of racial and ethnic animus.

    Spicer knows his audience and he knows how the reaction will play out. Press secretary is to high a position to play stupid while telegraphing the administration’s antisemitism. It also occurs on a day when Jeff Sessions has called for a “war on filth” at the US- Mexico border:

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  67. Jolene said on April 11, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    Gorka, not Gorky. Sorry.

    Cooz, you can harangue me all you want. Spicer is just some guy talking on TV. His job requires that he be able to think on his feet, and he’s simply not very good at it. His inadequacy is magnified by the amount of lying his boss does that he has to cover for and the general incoherence of Trumpian policy and the lack of justification for the actions of the Trump administration.

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  68. coozledad said on April 11, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    -Spicer is just some guy talking on TV

    And Paul Manafort was just some campaign manager guy, and Michael Flynn was just some guy hanging out at the NSC.

    Once Spicer gets to his “clarification” it becomes obvious he believes, like all Republicans believe, that the Shoa resulted from the culpability of the group against which it was unleashed. This is a core right wing belief, usually coupled absurdly with “But of course it didn’t happen.”

    When a group to which the holocaust happened calls out *the* spokesperson for the administration, they’re clearly hearing more than a semiotic error. They’re the go to people for decoding these things. I’ll go with their interpretation.

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  69. Scout said on April 11, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    Spicer SHOULD be fired for this, and under almost any other administration it would probably happen. But honestly, I would rather deal with a bumbling, transparently terrible liar than someone who is good at it. Especially given the circus of craptastic he has to lie and spin for every day.

    As seen on Twitter: Pepsi is grateful for United. United is grateful to Sean Spicer.

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  70. Scout said on April 11, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    Oh yeah… and “Holocaust Centers?” That’s almost as creative as “Alternative Facts.”

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  71. Sherri said on April 11, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    I don’t think Spicer is so stupid he can’t recognize he’s working in service of evil. At some point, stupid vs. malicious becomes a worthless distinction.

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  72. Deborah said on April 11, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    Wait Jolene, Spicer had a choice when he took that job, he didn’t have to become a mouthpiece for a bunch of lying sacks of shit. He. Didn’t. Have .To. Instead he decided to stand there and spin more lies and be arrogant and intimidating because he could with those guys as his bosses. I have no sympathy for him, and yes he’s also incompetent at doing his shitty job.

    We are going to watch Being There this evening, my husband ordered it and it came today. Here’s a blurb from the liner notes of the DVD: “… We invest people with unspeakable power by reinventing them as reflections of our hopes and our vanities, and it is thus terrifyingly possible for us to endow a complete imbecile who watches TV all day with qualities he has never possessed…” The movie came out in 1980 (a prescient take on the rise of Ronald Reagan) but it could be 2017 about guess who?

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  73. Sherri said on April 11, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    Not even a full-fare, first class ticket spares you the threat of handcuffs if United wants your seat:

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  74. Bitter Scribe said on April 11, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    I’m beginning to think Spicer deliberately says dumb things as a way of rodeo-clowning attention away from his boss.

    Or else they keep him there because they know that’s what he’ll do anyway.

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  75. Joe K said on April 11, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    Absolutely best concert I think I ever saw in Fort Wayne,
    Rip-JGeils-death stinks-yea -yea.
    Pilot Joe

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  76. Suzanne said on April 11, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    Or Spicer’s comments could well be a thinly disguised dog whistle for the neo-Nazi sorts that seem to gravitate toward Trump. “Even Hitler didn’t gas his own people” (wink wink, nudge nudge). “Oh, sorry I misspoke” (but you get my drift. Wink wink, nudge nudge.)

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  77. Sherri said on April 11, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    Matt Taibbi makes an important point re Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III and his plan to stop involving the DOJ in investigating police departments: in the past, it was easy to not see the events triggering the riots, and the riots themselves. Not so much now. A significant fraction of the country is just fine with that.

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  78. Deggjr said on April 11, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    Having been a United Premier Executive flier for a few years in the past, I am really intrigued by the passenger story. Was the the United flight crew scheduled on the flight? If not, why not? If so, I don’t see how the flight could be ‘overbooked’.

    Once upon a time, if tickets were not used for the initial flight, they could be used for a subsequent flight. The market demanded (all markets have two parties) that the tickets not retain any value after the scheduled flight times. With that change, the ‘legality’ of taking paying customers off of flights seems very one sided. From ‘I might show up/you might fly me’ to ‘I must show up/you might fly me’.

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  79. Sherri said on April 11, 2017 at 9:36 pm

    Sixteen paragraphs in before any mention that this “deeply religious Navy veteran” had a history of domestic violence before going to his estranged wife’s school and killing her and a 8 year old boy.

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