Any news?

November 6, 2008

So, I’ve been busy for the last few days, has there been anything going on in the world?


At least he was driving a Prius…

July 4, 2007

We all make mistakes. That said, I found this hilarious.

Al Gore’s son was arrested early Wednesday on suspicion of possessing marijuana and prescription drugs after deputies pulled him over for speeding, authorities said.

Al Gore III, 24, was driving a blue Toyota Prius about 100 mph on the San Diego Freeway when he was pulled over at about 2:15 a.m., Sheriff’s Department spokesman Jim Amormino said.

Well, this is one way to help his dad get more publicity for hybrid cars…

A Racially Charged Version of Laci Peterson

June 24, 2007

CNN’s obsession with missing white women has been well documented, but this latest missing woman-turned-murder story is really the perfect storm. Laci Peterson already proved the durability of the “murdered pregnant woman” narrative. That’s a tacit nod to the pro-lifers who celebrate the notion of talking about an unborn baby by name on the TV. I think there’s also another unspoken element to this story, though, as the images of tonight’s coverage have made clear. Here is what the victim looks like.


pregnant lady who was killed

And here is what her alleged killer and the father of her child looks like.


alleged killer of pregnant lady

As they say, two pictures worth many more words. In case you were wondering why this particular missing person case, of the many that occur in the United States on an ongoing basis, has received so much media attention, that’s my theory.

The Meaning of “Ismail Ax”

April 18, 2007

These words reportedly were written on the arm of Cho Seung-Hui when he was found dead, and the blogs are full of speculation about their meaning. One popular theory links this to a story in the Koran but others caution against being so quick to leap to a terrorism connection.

Here’s the Koran bit, as written up by the Chicago Tribune.

In Islam, Ibrahim is the father of the prophets and, upset that people in his hometown still worshiped idols and not Allah, he smashed all but one statue in a local temple with an ax. Ibrahim’s son is Ismail, who also became a prophet. Ibrahim is Arabic for Abraham, who plays a significant role in Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

This seems to fit in substantively with other things we know about Cho. He wrote a note found in his dorm room about how he hated rich kids and debauchery, things akin to the idolatry that Ibrahim lashed out at. The letter also discussed religion:

A law enforcement official says the letter written by 23-year-old Cho Seung-Hui was a typed, eight-page rant against rich kids and religion. …

The official said Cho indicated in his letter that the end was near and that there was a deed to be done. He also expressed disappointment in his own religion, and made several references to Christianity.

Violent clashes between the young and old also figure prominently in Cho’s two plays.

The plays, though, are very poorly written and indicate this guy was pretty bonkers, rather than intelligent. Maybe the words are just the random scribbling of a madman and everyone is over-analyzing this. It’s natural to want to find out that this had some meaning and that Cho didn’t just go out and kill tons of people without a coherent idea in his head of why he was acting as he did.

Defending John Derbyshire

April 17, 2007

NRO’s “The Derb” is getting blasted in the liberal blogosphere for allegedly insensitive remarks about the Virginia Tech shooting. Granted, Derbyshire makes some dumb comments in his post, such as the 9/11 reference and the suggestion that people could’ve counted the bullets, but I don’t think the general wondering about why no one rushed the shooter is out of bounds. Indeed, I wondered the same thing in my post last night.

It seems like simple math to me that if one guy is shooting 60+ people in one building, there’s a good chance a few people could’ve rushed him and stopped the carnage earlier. Perhaps they were too dispersed in separate classrooms for this to happen, who knows. I don’t intend to demean anyone’s bravery, as it was obviously a horrible situation. If you’re trapped and being lined up to be killed execution-style though, as some reports suggest was going on, why not fight the guy when you are going to get shot anyway?

On one of the cable networks yesterday, a guest mentioned Colin Ferguson’s 1993 spree shooting on the Long Island commuter train. This is what happened, via Wikipedia.

As the train pulled into the Merillon Avenue Station, Ferguson pulled out his gun and started firing at passengers. He killed six and wounded nineteen before being stopped by three of the passengers: Kevin Blum, Mark McEntee, and Mike O’Connor.

There you go, three men on the train rushed Ferguson and stopped the shooting rampage. Again, maybe because the passenger cars were open and people were more bunched together this was easier to do, I don’t know. I just don’t think wondering about this sort of thing should be taboo.

The Worst Shooting in American History

April 17, 2007


Condolences to the victims’ friends and families.

There are tons of questions. The one I keep coming back to is how one guy could kill so many people. How is it that no one stopped him until he had shot 60+ victims? We’ll learn more details over time, obviously, but if people are being lined up for execution, as supposedly they were, and it’s one guy doing the shooting, why not try to overpower him as a group?

The New York Times is already calling for tighter gun control.

Sympathy was not enough at the time of Columbine, and eight years later it is not enough. What is needed, urgently, is stronger controls over the lethal weapons that cause such wasteful carnage and such unbearable loss.

If this event doesn’t bring about stricter gun laws, it’s hard to imagine what will. The NRA is very powerful, though, and these will be interesting days and weeks ahead.

An Apology from JetBlue Airways

February 23, 2007

This arrived in my email today.

Dear JetBlue Customers,

We are sorry and embarrassed. But most of all, we are deeply sorry.

Last week was the worst operational week in JetBlue’s seven year history. Following the severe winter ice storm in the Northeast, we subjected our customers to unacceptable delays, flight cancellations, lost baggage, and other major inconveniences. The storm disrupted the movement of aircraft, and, more importantly, disrupted the movement of JetBlue’s pilot and inflight crewmembers who were depending on those planes to get them to the airports where they were scheduled to serve you. With the busy President’s Day weekend upon us, rebooking opportunities were scarce and hold times at 1-800-JETBLUE were unacceptably long or not even available, further hindering our recovery efforts.

Words cannot express how truly sorry we are for the anxiety, frustration and inconvenience that we caused. This is especially saddening because JetBlue was founded on the promise of bringing humanity back to air travel and making the experience of flying happier and easier for everyone who chooses to fly with us. We know we failed to deliver on this promise last week.

We are committed to you, our valued customers, and are taking immediate corrective steps to regain your confidence in us. We have begun putting a comprehensive plan in place to provide better and more timely information to you, more tools and resources for our crewmembers and improved procedures for handling operational difficulties in the future. We are confident, as a result of these actions, that JetBlue will emerge as a more reliable and even more customer responsive airline than ever before.

Most importantly, we have published the JetBlue Airways Customer Bill of Rights—our official commitment to you of how we will handle operational interruptions going forward—including details of compensation. I have a video message to share with you about this industry leading action.

You deserved better—a lot better—from us last week. Nothing is more important than regaining your trust and all of us here hope you will give us the opportunity to welcome you onboard again soon and provide you the positive JetBlue Experience you have come to expect from us.


David Neeleman
Founder and CEO
JetBlue Airways

There’s probably plenty of precedent for corporate mea culpas, but I can’t remember an airline apologizing quite so widely and profusely for a period of bad service. After all, I was not flying JetBlue last weekend at all. I received the email because I have bought tickets from them online in the past, which means they presumably sent the apology to their entire email list of previous customers.

Does this all really make a difference, though, and is it a good idea to fly JetBlue again? Perhaps you could do so on the theory that they will be damn sure not to mess up in similar fashion any time soon because that could be the end of the company. On the other hand, cynics may doubt the company’s total sincerity considering such an extreme apology was possibly the only viable business decision they could’ve made.