Fowler “apologizes” for offending anyone who watched the video of him taken by “some right-wing nutcase”
Early Sunday I posted an entry with a YouTube video embedded showing former DNC chairman Don Fowler yukking it up about Gustav getting ready to rip some folks’ lives to shreds on the opening day of the GOP Convention in Minnesota. Over at ABC’s site we get to see what Fowler’s excuse for an apology looks like:
“If this offended anybody, I personally apologize,” Fowler told ABC News. “It was a mistake, and it was a satirical statement made in jest. And one that I clearly don’t believe.”
If this offended anybody, eh? Great use of the weasel words, Mr. Fowler. And, excuse me, there’s nothing at all clear about whether you actually believe it. All that’s clear is that you actually said it. Which brings us to the fact that the conversation was taped:
Fowler was secretly recorded by the person sitting behind him while flying from Denver, Colo., to Charlotte, N.C., following the Democratic National Convention. His conversation with Rep. John Spratt, D-S.C., was anonymously posted to YouTube and highlighted by RedState.com, a conservative blog.
Watch it HERE.
“One doesn’t anticipate that one’s private conversation will be surreptitiously taped by some right-wing nutcase,” said Fowler. “But that’s the nature of what we’re dealing with.”
Hang on a second, bud. You had a conversation across the aisle of a commercial aircraft performing a scheduled flight with paying customers and you consider yourself owed privacy in that setting? It would have been 1 thing if you had leaned over and spoken at a volume such that your words couldn’t have been made out over the engine noise at anything over 6 inches, but you didn’t do that. You sat upright in your seat and made a comment loud enough to be heard in that environment at a range of over 5 feet, a circumference that might have included as many as 15 people in the coach section of a 737.
Later in the report, he says that his statement was facetious and that he doesn’t, “think anybody in America wishes for something bad to happen to New Orleans. I certainly don’t.” Nice to know but I think Mr. Fowler should consider the example of Micheal Moore, one of the left’s patron saints and a talking head Fowler just so happened to copy almost verbatim in this matter. I do, definitely, believe Moore would love Gustav to flood all of New Orleans again. I think he’d pull up a chair to watch the whole thing if he could.
Fowler talks about his comments with far more of an air of being sorry he got caught and he paints himself as the victim in all of this, having his freely made comments reported to the world. One might ask him how his laughter on the possibility of Gustav’s damage to New Orleans would be somehow better if only someone hadn’t have taped it. To us all, I mean, not for his self-serving purposes.
Gustav still on course to N.O.; Bush/Cheney will skip GOP convention to be on ready alert; Obama says ‘hopefully we’ve learned’
Hurricane Gustav is just about mid-way between Cuba and the Louisiana coastline, projected to make landfall Monday. It looks like a pretty straight line between where he is and New Orleans but there’s still time. As DHS Secretary Chertoff says, the window of opportunity to get the heck outta there is closing fast. If you’re still there and reading this, I would urge you to drop what you’re doing and leave.
President Bush and Vice President Cheney have announced that they will skip their anticipated appearances at the GOP convention this week in order to be on ready alert should Gustav hit heavily populated areas with killing force. I think that’s a prudent decision.
Democratic nominee and Senator Obama is calling for prayer that the levees hold this time and hopes that the lessons of Katrina are remembered for this emergency. I agree with him, there. I would appreciate our media making as sure to mention the party of the Mayor of New Orleans and former Governor of Louisiana when they reference the people who didn’t follow through last time, but that’s going to be too much to hope for. Whatever party is involved, we’ve got to do this right for this event.
My company is marshalling our not-inconsiderable resources and talents in the fields of telecommunications and disaster recovery and making all of that available to both federal and state agencies who need them. We’ve learned a lot in the last 3 years, too.
Heavenly Father, grant us your protection and keep safe those who cannot avoid this storm. We pray…
Via Power Line this morning, here’s a lovely example of what highly-placed Democrats are saying about Gustav and the potential to hit New Orleans when they think no one’s listening:
John Hinderaker sums it up perfectly:
This is what Hurricane Katrina was all about. Mainstream reporters committed malpractice, repeatedly reporting things that weren’t true. They did this to try to help their party at a time when the Democrats needed help badly, and they succeeded. The Democrats are desperately hoping for another New Orleans hurricane that will kill thousands of people and thus distract attention from the Republican Convention. You can draw your own conclusion about the moral stature of these people.
Precisely. Obama and his team draw on the worried looks and sound the heartfelt concern when the MSM’s cameras are on but this is very, very much what they’re thinking in the background. Republicans, on the other hand, are setting up options to actually help people affected. Not that they’ll get any credit for doing it but that’s the way the left in this country works. Unless it’s a massive, inefficient government program paid for by 55% taxation on anyone making over $70K/year and confiscation of any business profits over some Dem-defined figure, it’s just not worthy.
And I note how fast they’re all saying that it’s proof of God that something bad’s going to happen to someone else. Nice. That’ll really help, lefties, thanks a bunch.
Years ago I was following a very different career path than I do today: I worked in commercial aviation. I started out as a ramp agent (endearingly termed “ramp rat” or “bag ape”) for Presidential Airways based out of Washington Dulles International Airport. When a spot opened in the customer service (CS) group, I took the chance and moved out here to the DC area. That was over 20 years ago.
Moving up in the ranks, I became one of the CS supervisors and spent several months running back and forth between our several gates wearing a radio under my uniform jacket, a jacketed weighing about 25 pounds due to all the gear I had stuffed into the various pockets. I made sure agents were at the gates in time to meet the incoming aircraft, that the gate podiums were properly equipped, that security procedures (such as they were, at the time) were being followed, and a myriad of other little items that the traveling public would never notice unless they weren’t done. Of all the duties I had, however, there were 2 that were absolutely critical in terms of customer service.
I made 100% certain that there were attendants with wheelchairs present before the aircraft with people who needed them pulled into the gate.
I allowed no deviation from our procedures to handle unaccompanied minors to occur, ever. It was absolutely the top priority and nothing – nothing – superseded that responsibility.
An unaccompanied minor (called a “UM” by some airlines and “UNAM’ by Presidential) was any minor traveling without an adult parent or guardian. With a parental or guardian waiver, we would permit a minor 16 or older to travel alone without these procedures in place, but under no circumstances whatsoever would we allow that with anyone younger. The prime directive of handling a UNAM boiled down to this: never, never, never allow the UNAM to be unsupervised. Period. Ever. The chain of custody was to be maintained at each and every juncture in the child’s travel, going from ticket agent to gate agent to flight attendant back to gate agent and so on until the child’s destination was reached and they were reunited with their family. (With a clear and absolute ID check of the person picking the child up, no exceptions.)
That’s why this story about United Airline losing a 10-year-old girl at Dulles was simultaneously astonishing and enraging. Jenna Boyer, 10, was traveling from Boston to Dulles after a visit to her grandparents’ place up noth and was flying alone. However…
When her parents went to pick her up, they were told she was nowhere to be found.
“Only one parent is allowed to go to the gate with a security pass to pick up an unaccompanied minor,” Judy Boyer said Aug. 21. “When I got there, they were closing the gate like everyone had been let off the plane — and Jenna was not there.”
Boyer said she asked the United flight’s ground crew where her daughter was and received only blank stares in return.
When a UNAM is checked in, there’s specific information in the reservation and the flight manifest saying that she’s a UNAM. She’s given a specially-colored ticket jacket and usually a very visible button to wear. The flight check-in system is accessible to the passenger load planners who are supposed to be communicating with the destination airport to notify the airport ground crew. “Blank stares” should be the very last reaction to a UNAM on a flight. Adding insult to the injury, however, apparently wasn’t a concern to the Dulles crew:
“I was going ballistic,” Boyer said. “The ground crew said, ‘You might want to check the bathrooms,’ and I was like, ‘Me? My child was put under your responsibility, and I should check the bathrooms?’ It was unbelievable.”
Boyer said, “The crew showed no concern. They were oblivious to the fact that they had lost a child, and I saw very little action in front of my eyes that they took any urgency to rectify the situation. It was pure luck that this man wasn’t someone who wanted to take advantage of a helpless 10-year-old girl.”
Luck should never have been a factor in this story, not even for a moment. As UAL spokeperson Robin Urbanski admitted, the clear-cut procedure that should have been followed simply wasn’t. It’s all well and good that they’ve issued an apology but what are they actually saying, here? “Gee, we’re really sorry we completely ignored our own procedures, to say nothing of common sense, resulting in your 10-year-old being released into an environment that routinely confuses the hell out of hundreds of thousands of adults per year?”
The Boyers’ situation was considered so important by United that no follow-up phone call had been received days after the incident occured. I’ve been in that industry, folks, and I know what they’re dealing with. It doesn’t take days to perform this investigation and it sure doesn’t take days to make a phone call to keep the family affected informed. Although, thinking about that for a second, is anyone surprised that an airline appears incompetent at keeping their customers informed?
UAL’s management needs to get serious about not only finding out what happened, here, but also about communicating what happened to the traveling public and doing something tangible to correct this clearly-avoidable foul-up. By now, they should be aware that ignoring it and hoping it’ll go away doesn’t work in the information age. You may rest assured that my kid won’t be depending on their attentiveness in any of our travel plans until they show some clear progress in this regard.
I was in a client meeting when the news hit the streets so I’m sure everyone knows this by now but Sarah Palin is the VP nominee on the GOP ticket! Outstanding!
More to come later but I wanted to pop off a quick post on it.
Say what you like about the picking process, the McCain campaign is certainly keeping a better lid on things than Obama’s flop of an announcement. Fox News is reporting that they’re hearing Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty – an early favorite – and former prez candidate Mitt Romney are both out of the running. That’s focused laser-like attention on the dark horse possibility of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Everyone’s talking but no one’s got this massive heads-up like the Biden pick being telegraphed by the MSM hours before Obama’s supposed “be the first to know” text message disaster. McCain’s people know how to keep their cards close to the chest.
Palin would be a wonderful choice, in my opinion. She’s smart, she’s successful, she’s got good leadership instincts. It shouldn’t matter when making a decision on who to vote for, but the fact that she’s a woman will both sway some folks and offer a supreme balance to the GOP ticket. There are lots and lots of worse choices out there and, frankly, not many better ones. I’d approve, mightily.
Details are coming at a noon presser in Dayton, OH so stay tuned, folks. It’s gonna be a good one, I can feel it.
Update: ABC News is reporting that Palin’s people in Anchorage are saying she’ll be in Alaska today attending a state fair. Ed Morrissey at Hot Air is reporting the same but I’d like to point out the the flight time between Dayton, OH and Anchorage, AK is about 6 hours. If the state fairs up there are like the ones down here, they last into the evening, sometimes to 10:00pm. Plenty of time to be in Dayton for an announcement at noon and still attend the fair in Alaska, eh?
John McCain shows real class:
Well done, Senator McCain. And allow me, please, to join in with him to offer congrats to Senator Obama. It’s no secret I disagree with Obama on many, many things and I firmly believe he’s not the right man for the presidency. But that ought not to distract from a truly historic event happening right here before us. A wall that has existed in our culture has been challenged and brought down. From this night on, it cannot be said that you have to be such-and-such color to be nominated for the presidential race. Had it gone the other way in Denver, an equally historic moment would have seen the first woman nominee. Perhaps in the near future we’ll see that, too.
As with Senator McCain, I’ll be back in fighting stance tomorrow and, as has always been here at HoodaThunk?, the issue of race will be immaterial in the determination of fitness for this nation’s highest office. But for tonight I offer my congratulations to Senator Obama and I applaud us all for where we’ve been able to go.
If you were doing the same work as a fellow employee and you found out that you had to do 20% more work than they did to avoid a “non-performing” rating on your annual review, would you think that was fair? I think it’s pretty obvious most of us wouldn’t. Yet that’s the situation faced by students in Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) and a local organization is working to get that fixed.
The issue is pretty basic. LCPS’s grading system is based on a 7-point scale, meaning that out of 100%, you need to score a 93% or higher to get an “A”. You drop a grade letter every 7 points below that. According to FairGrade Loudoun, a majority of school districts across the country use a 10-point scale, meaning that to get an “A”, you only need a 90% – a solid “B” in Loudoun. Their scale goes down every 10 points, leading to an increasing disparity between LCPS and the other school districts the lower the score goes. Here’s the detail:
As you can see, a student in LCPS must score 20% more points on a given assignment just to avoid failing. Two students taking the exact same class and scoring the exact same grades on all the tests, quizes, and assignments, will see different grades appear on their report cards depending on where they went to school. That wouldn’t be a big deal except that grade-point average is a critical discriminator for applying to college and being recognized for certain awards. An LCPS student with a class average of 91% would rate a “B” on her report card which would be counted as a “3″ in her grade-point average calculation. A student at a neighboring school district taking the same class and scoring the same 91% would be rated an “A” student, giving her a “4″ in her calculation. If all other classes in their high-school careers were to come in at the same grade letter, the LCPS student will then have a lower GPA which would absolutely affect the colleges she will qualify to enter.
To add insult to that injury, in order for her to achieve the same letter grades as her colleague in the other shcool, she’ll almost certainly have to work harder, as shown in the table above.
I don’t know if the 10-point system is, in fact, used by a majority of school districts in the US. It’s worth looking at, however, and if we find out that’s the case then we’re putting an unfair burden on our students. They have to compete with the students from other districts for college seats (and for jobs, for those who don’t go on to college). At my age, no one who looks at my resume could care less about where I went to school or what my GPA was. With no work experience to put on there, however, newly-graduated students don’t have much else with which to show their competence. We owe them a level playing field. It’s up to them to perform on it, but it shouldn’t be slanted against them.
The LCPS should certainly form that committee they’re discussing and look into the claim that more districts use the 10-point scale than the 7-point one. If they do, we should change ours to match.
(Whoops, forgot the FairGrade Loudoun link. Fixed!)
No publicity is bad publicity, so the old marketing saw goes. I’m sure the marketing folks at Microsoft are having mixed feelings about that with regard to the latest feature to surface in their Internet Explorer 8 product. IE8 is still in beta but there’s a hum about it already with regard to it’s “InPrivate” feature that allows a user to hide where he’s been on the internet. That’s because the new feature’s unofficial name is “porn mode.”
Microsoft’s latest Internet browser includes a piece of software that allows Internet users to hide the audit trail of websites they have visited.
The InPrivate feature on Internet Explorer 8, nicknamed “porn mode”, allows users to conceal the sites they have viewed at the click of a button.
Once the setting is chosen, others using the same computer will not be able to see which sites have been accessed. Other browsers have similar functions, but this one is far more prominent. Although casual users cannot see the previous user’s search history, authorities such as the police will be able to access it if necessary.
This description seems to be saying that it will stop the browser from monitoring the browsing history of the user, a feature already available in many browsers. To that degree, this almost seems to me like Microsoft is making a statement equivalent to a restaurant boldly proclaiming, “Dine here! We now have forks!”
The rest of the article, however, seems to imply much more. With every request you make via your browser, you actually send quite a bit of data to the server handling the web page you’re trying to reach. The obvious ones are your IP address and your browser type (Firefox, IE, Safari, etc.). What’s not so obvious is your operating system, what your screen resolution and color depth settings are, and – most importantly to internet marketing firms – what web page you were on before you came to the page you’re currently viewing. With a wide enough net, your browsing patterns can be discerned and that means advertisers can determine what’s most likely to interest you. The ads will change based upon that analysis.
If, on the other hand, you can click a button and keep that data to yourself, the entire notion of directed advertising becomes threatened. That’s where the angst in the last half of the article is coming from. While the article didn’t explicitly say this was what the feature was for, I would imagine the industry is nervous for a reason.
So, dear readers, tell me this: if you had such a feature on your browser, would you turn it on?
Well, it sure didn’t take long for the “yeah, well, what about him” response to arise from my previous post on Obama’s relationship with terrorist Bill Ayers. Commenter Ben Hoffman has this to say:
Yeah, so why didn’t you have a problem with Bush’s ties to the bin-Laden family?
Comment by Ben Hoffman | 27 August, 2008
Let’s address the obvious and logical issue with this: any problem I may or may not have with anyone else does nothing to refute the issue upon which I wrote: Obama counts as one of his friends and advisors an unrepentant terrorist who, by his own admission, is guilty of setting off bombs in public places with the intent to kill randomly and achieve by terrorist acts that which he clearly lacks the intellect and rational argument to convince his fellow Americans is the proper course of action. This reflects questionable judgement on Obama’s part and nothing Mr. Hoffman has said has even addressed this, let alone provides refutation for.
But, hey, let’s go ahead and compare this ludicrous statement with Obama’s situation. “Bush’s ties” to the bin Laden family are subject to debate but here’s what’s not subject to debate: the members of the bin Laden family are not, to a person, terrorists. Osama bin Laden, the son of Mohammed bin Laden, is one of 18 sons by at least 10 wives to his father. Bill Ayers is absolutely a terrorist, an unapologetic terrorist, guilty of his acts by his own admission. Were Obama friends with Ayers’ father rather than Ayers himself, this would likely not be an issue. But he is and it’s pertinent to the discussion of whether or not Obama’s judgement is up to the task of being President.
“Bush’s ties” to the bin Laden family don’t include listing any of them as political advisors or mentors and Bush’s political career was not launched with their explicit assistance and advice. He most certainly didn’t launch it in one of their homes. But, even if he had, it wouldn’t have been Osama’s home and, therefore, not the home of the aforementioned unrepentant terrorist. Obama has done all of these things and his response to anyone bringing it up is that they should just shut up and (ahem) move on.
While I suspect Ben Hoffman is an Obama supporter he doesn’t say, explicitly. His response is just as bad, however. Rather than actually address why such a relationship shouldn’t matter (which I suspect he avoids because he can’t justify such a notion) he points as quickly as he can to some subject to muddy the waters of this debate. I’ve listened to plenty of this kind of stuff over the past several months and it’s not going unremarked by me any more.
I’ve had my issues with President Bush and all you need to do to see what they are is read what I’ve written here. He is not, however, the worst President ever and he’s not even close. I agree with a large part of what he’s done during his administration and I feel the nation is far, far better off having had him as President than we would have been with either of the 2 men who ran against him. But here’s a newsflash to folks who keep bringing him up during this election season: Bush isn’t running this year. Whatever problems you may have had with him, they’re a moot point as regards this race because he isn’t running again. Bringing President Bush up during this discussion is a distraction and distraction isn’t rational debate. Do it if you like but be prepared to be dismissed out of hand. The issue before us is which man would be best to lead us for the next four years, McCain or Obama. Misdirection does not provide illumination on that question.