The Christmas Eve Blizzard of 2009

See the photos here.

Posted in Home, Weather | 1 Comment

Kevin Smith v. Southwest Airlines

It appears that Kevin Smith is upset he was removed from a Southwest Airlines flight.  He claims it was because he was too fat.  Read the CNN Story for yourself, but I’d like to point out something he said:

Smith did purchase two seats for the flight to Burbank, but he was allowed to board an earlier flight as a standby passenger, and only one seat was available on that flight.
The extra seat is not a necessity, he said, but a luxury because “Southwest flights are cheap.”

“I’m flying on the welfare airline, food-stamp airline,” he said. “So I think I can indulge myself with two seats, and I can afford to do it.”

So, according to Mr. Smith, anyone can purchase an extra seat as a luxury.  Not according to Southwest Airlines’ Contract of Carriage (PDF).  From Section 15-G (page 12):

 Additional Seat Purchase – The purchase of more than one seat for use by a single passenger is required in the following circumstances:

(1) To accommodate a Customer of size who encroaches on an adjacent seat area and/or is unable to sit in a single seat with the armrests lowered;

(2) To transport a Customer who, because of his or her particular disability, would be unable to travel without the purchase of additional space on the aircraft; or

(3) When necessary to transport large musical instruments or electronic audio/video, medical, or other sensitive equipment unsuitable for carriage as checked baggage, as specified in Article 46.F.

It is the passenger’s responsibility to notify Carrier of a unique seating need. In accordance with Article 10.F., Carrier may refuse to transport individuals who are unable or unwilling to comply with Carrier’s seating requirements. Except as specified above, purchase of more than one seat for use by a single passenger is otherwise prohibited.

Note the emphasized section.  It states that it is prohibited to purchase a seat for “luxury.”  This makes Mr. Smith’s claim of “luxury” dubious at best.

Mr. Smith got pulled because he was mistakenly allowed on an overbooked flight as a standby passenger.  Considering he regularly buys two seats (not for “luxury,” in my educated opinion, but because he’s a “customer of size”), and he was on standby because he tried to get on an earlier flight than he was ticketed for (a change that would cost up to $100 on other airlines), he was pulled for a legitimate reason.  In my opinion, Southwest Airlines is totally in the right, and he’s just “indulging” the “luxury” of being an attention whore.

p.s. – Here’s Southwest Airlines’ FAQ on their Customer of Size policy.

Posted in News | 1 Comment

Yet another viral email

There’s another viral email circulating.  As with any viral email, the information it presents is exaggerated to support a certain political point of view.

Subject: FW: What a Class Act
Bush Asked to Leave Ft.Hood

I sent my cousin in Fayetteville, N.C. (retired from Special Forces) that picture of Geo. W. visiting the wounded at  Ft.   Hood  .. I got this reply:

What is even better is the fact George W. Bush heard about Fort Hood, got in his car without any escort, apparently they did not have time to react, and drove to Fort Hood.  He was stopped at the gate and the guard could not believe who he had just stopped.  Bush only ask for directions to the hospital then drove on.  The gate guard called that “The president Is on  Fort   Hood  and driving to the hospital.”  The base went bananas looking for Obama.  When they found it was Bush they immediately offered escort and Bush simply told them to shut up and let him visit the wounded and the dependents of the dead.  He stayed at Fort Hood for over six hours and was finally asked to leave by a message from the White House.  Obama flew in days later and held a “photo ” session in a gym and did not even go to the hospital.  All this I picked up from two soldiers here who happened to be at Fort Hood when it happened.

Here’s the only mention I found of it from any news source (Fox News from Nov. 7th, 2 days after the incident):

Former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura secretly visited Fort Hood last night and spent “considerable time” consoling those who were wounded in Thursday’s shooting spree, Fox News has learned.

The Bushes entered and departed the sprawling military facility in secret, having told the base commander they did not want press coverage of their visit, a source told Fox News.

What President Bush did is to be commended, but it wasn’t some impulsive, “not having time to react” same day act as the email implies.  And I highly doubt the Obama administration asked him to leave.

Here’s the obligatory Snopes entry on the email.

The claim that when President Obama visited Fort Hood he merely “held a photo session in a gym” is false. President Obama traveled to Fort Hood and spent four hours there on 10 November 2009, attending a memorial service for the victims of the shooting and meeting with the families of the dead and the wounded.

Once again, I ask that any email one receives that smears anyone, be they democrat, republican, or independent, please take the time and effort to verify the information in the message.  We need accurate information, not lies designed to fool the gullible.

Posted in Politics, Stupid emails | 1 Comment

Ron Paul faces hypocrites

From the Dallas Morning News:

Even anti-government icon Ron Paul can’t escape the conservative “Tea Party” fervor stretching across the county.

Paul, the Gulf Coast congressman whose 2008 presidential run excited libertarians nationwide, even though he didn’t get much traction overall, is considered by many to be the “father of the Tea Parties.” But he has three opponents in the March Republican primary – more than he has faced in his past six primary campaigns combined.

But here’s where it gets ludicrous:

“The word I keep hearing is ‘ineffective,’ ” said Gay, a school business administrator. “This district is not really being represented as it could be.”

Tea Party associations aside, many of the challengers’ criticisms echo concerns of Paul’s past opponents: that he is too focused on his national ambitions; that his views are too extreme; that he doesn’t support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; that he votes “no” on everything, including federal aid for his district after Hurricane Ike.

These “Tea Party” candidates are standing up in favor of even more government spending and PORK, therefore claiming it’s a Tea Party principle.

Hypocrites. ohlord

Posted in News, Politics | Leave a comment

The “War on Christmas” chain email strikes again

It’s that time of year again.  The time of year when the airwaves bombard us with commercialized carols and red and green ad displays.  It’s also that time again for the “War on Christmas” emails to begin circulating.

I have not received any such email, but I hear the gist of one of them is this:

President Obama is going to call the National Christmas Tree the “National Holiday Tree,” and that the Obamas are going to have a “White House Holiday Tree” instead of a White House Christmas tree.

Let me say that is complete and utterly false.

First, per the National Parks Service, the nation will still have the traditional National Christmas Tree.  So consider part 1 of the above email debunked.

Second, per the Washington Post, Michelle Obama has specified the type of “Official White House Christmas tree” she wants.  Thus part 2 of the purported e-mail is also proven false.

Finally, my favorite fact-check site, Politifact, has also debunked this false claim, labeling it a “Pants on Fire” lie, complete with sources that refute the email’s claims (including a reference to a similar e-mail about President Bush doing the same thing, which is equally ridiculous).

For those of us in the Christian faith, we understand what the true meaning of Christmas is.  The blessing of the birth of Jesus Christ will never be forgotten, no matter how many jingles, ads, or hyperbolic chain e-mails we receive.

Posted in Computers, News, Politics | 1 Comment

Jon Stewart: For Fox Sake!

Once again, Jon Stewart nails it:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
For Fox Sake!
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Crisis
Posted in News, Politics | Leave a comment

There’s an App for that

I have an iPhone.  It’s the 3G iPhone, because I’m not one of those “first adopters.”  I used to be one of those people that thought a basic cell phone was all I would need, but now I realize I cannot live without my iPhone and it’s connectivity.

Case in point:

Today I was on my way into work.  I had to take a little side trip, and while I was there I decided to check my checking account.  Fortunately, there’s an app for that.

I use my bank’s iPhone application to log in, check my balance, review my history, then pay a few  bills.  This took all of five minutes.

Afterwards, I wiped my butt, pulled up my pants, washed my hands, and walked to my office.

Isn’t technology grand?

Posted in Computers, Home | Leave a comment

Charity Cases

This weekend, the largest free clinic ever in the US was held in Houston’s Reliant Center:

It’s an epidemic here in Texas and Harris County — people without health insurance. On Saturday, the uninsured lined up to get their needs met.

More than 2,000 people came to Reliant Center to see doctors for free. Many of the people we talked to can’t afford health insurance, especially in the rough economy. Some say it shows the need for health care reform.

Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn advocates using charity as the final option for health care.  So does  Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor, as seen in a previous post.

Coburn and Cantor are obviously not people who have had the indignity of having to beg for something (other than more donations to their campaigns), yet they expect the uninsured to rely on just that.  Become indigent, become poor, even sign up for a government-run health care system (Medicaid).  And, if all those fail, “hope” that the goodness of others will keep them well enough to stay healthy and become productive members of society.

In my opinion, begging is not an option.  It’s humiliating and no guarantee of getting health care.  If someone can convince me that it is, I’ll be happy to hear them.

Posted in Health, News, Politics | Leave a comment

Do you support “Cantor-Care?”

Representative Eric Cantor (R-VA) participated in a town hall meeting hosted by the Richmond Times Dispatch.  Democratic Representative Bobby Scott also attended.  Together, they took questions from the audience regarding their position on health care reform.  The discussions were quite civil.

However, one of Rep. Cantor’s responses has me shaking my head.  Here’s the video:

Attendee: “A relative lost her job.  She later finds out she has cancer.  She has no health insurance. What is your proposed solution?”

Cantor: “Sell everything to pay expenses.  Once a certain poverty level is reached, apply for Medicaid (government-run health care for the poor).  After that, look to charity or indigent services for assistance.”

Is this the Republican “solution?”

Posted in News, Politics | Leave a comment

Are you smarter than an OK high school student?

If you remember your social studies and civics courses, you most probably are.

From Oklahoma’s News 9:

A thousand students were given 10 questions drawn from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services item bank. Candidates for U.S. citizenship must answer six questions correctly in order to become citizens.

About 92 percent of the people who take the citizenship test pass on their first try, according to immigration service data. However, Oklahoma students did not fare as well. Only about 3 percent of the students surveyed would have passed the citizenship test.

The news story has the 10 questions, and I was able to answer all 10 off the top of my head.  Can you pass the test?

Posted in News, Politics | Leave a comment