Thursday night, I was watching NBC Nightly News:
- Federal regulators are contemplating changing the rules to enable passengers on airlines to use their cell phones during the flight. The practical answer is that as long as cell phone use doesn’t affect the safety of the flight, and doesn’t interfere with the operation of the cell networks on the ground, it should be OK. But the news report was full of angst over the possibility of having to listen to one’s seat mate yakking nonstop from coast to coast. Get over it: Amtrak and the commuter railroads have successfully dealt with this for years. We used to have smoking and non-smoking sections on planes; it shouldn’t be terribly difficult to have yakking and non-yakking sections. It’s a problem for the airlines to solve, not the government.
- A 747 Dreamlifter landed at the wrong airport in Kansas. The Dreamlifter is an oversized aircraft used to transport components of the Boeing Dreamliner 787 and other large airplanes. You’d think that the pilots of the Dreamliner would be able to tell which airport is which.
- The Senate Democrats changed the rules to allow nominations for most judges and other Presidential nominees to pass on a simple majority vote: the Republicans were denied the ability to filibuster the nomination. While this may not be a big deal in itself, it upsets the balance of the Senate, and opens the door to bolder rule changes in the future.
- The Administration was pushing back against reports that American troops could remain in Afghanistan for another ten years. The Afghan government held debates on this arrangement. The Afghan President assured the assembly that the Americans wouldn’t be involved in combat missions anymore. (How would he know that?) OK, we had bases in Europe after World War II (and indeed still do). But is a presence in Afghanistan, the graveyard of empires, really necessary? And then our President promised that the Americans would:
…make every effort to respect the sanctity and dignity of Afghans in their homes… just as we do for our own citizens.
You mean like the NSA?
- An elderly veteran of the Korean War fulfilled his lifelong dream of revisiting North Korea. He went there for a 9-day tour, and was arrested on the plane that would have taken him homeward. The last time I checked, the Korean War had not yet ended. For a Korean War soldier to go back to North Korea would seem most unwise.
- The Dow Jones Industrials closed over 16,000 for the first time ever, an all-time high. The pluffing of the stock market continues, without any real productivity underneath.
- The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce ran a full page ad encouraging Washington state legislators to pass a transportation package (presumably more tax breaks) to that Boeing would build their latest aircraft in Washington state. Unfortunately, the ad featured a picture of an Airbus jetliner, made by Boeing’s strongest competitor.