The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Inspired by a friend (and needs an edit)

I just posted this on as a comment to an unfortunate friend's Facebook status. Forgive me; I'm at O'Hare, and kind of punchy:

I left my keys in Boston,
My phone at SFO,
My shoes and belt, I lost 'em too,
But where I just don't know.

I think I saw my keychain last
In Logan's Terminal B.
I only hope the TSA
Will get them back to me.

I'd call them now, those helpful guys
Who kept me from my gate,
But like I said, my phone's long gone,
And now's no time to wait.

At least I know my keys are safe
At Logan's Terminal B.
My belt, my shoes--it starts to chafe
But ain't the skies so free?

(I think the last quatrain needs a little work.)

United Continental to receive first 787 early next year

Chicago-based United Continental Airlines followed this week's ANA publicity with a me too:

Jeff Smisek, head of the parent company for United and Continental airlines, on Thursday said he was last told by Boeing that the first of the 50 aircraft ordered by the company will be delivered to have in service in the second half of 2012.

"We ordered that aircraft in December 2004. So I've been a very patient person," said Smisek, the president and CEO of United Continental Holdings Inc.

I'm writing this from the American Airlines terminal at O'Hare, where I am sad to report American has not yet said when they expect to receive their first Dreamliners.

United Continental plans to use its first 787 for nonstop service between Houston-Bush and Auckland, N.Z., a short 11,930 km and 16 hours apart. Of course, that makes the point of flying a 787 on that route obvious: it's a hugely more fuel-efficient airplane, and more comfortable (which isn't really as important as the fuel savings to any airline, of course).

Data-supported conclusions about jobs

Via Krugman, economist Lawrence Mishel shows that businesses aren't concerned about uncertainty:

An examination of current economic trends, and especially what employers are doing in terms of hiring and investment, debunks this story about regulatory uncertainty as the cause of our dismal job growth. An examination of what employers and their economists are saying again and again in private surveys (cited later in this paper) makes it clear that what businesses actually identify as their challenges does not fit this story either. In other words, what the heavily politicized trade associations in Washington (like the [U.S.] Chamber [of Commerce]) are saying does not correspond to the real challenges facing both large and small businesses, even as they themselves perceive them.

Actually, it’s not really “uncertainty” about these potential rules and regulations that is the complaint: the regulatory process is moving along, and the rules are becoming final and therefore certain. But the House Republicans and various business groups are actually trying to delay the rules, prolonging the sense of uncertainty. The bottom line is an old conservative story: that regulation will raise costs and make future business opportunities to sell goods and services insufficiently profitable. The new twist is that these fears are suppressing current investments and hiring, and are thus a major cause of our unemployment problem.

Except it isn't true:

Instead of uncertainty about regulations, there is strong evidence that the absence of job creation reflects the continued unwinding of the financial collapse and the corresponding lack of demand. Firm investments and hiring are lower because they have ample capacity to produce the goods and services they are selling to a shrunken market, while firms are deleveraging at the same time.

Or, as Krugman says, "the willingness of so many people to completely abandon any intellectual principles here, so that they can play for Team Republican" has contributed to policies that actually hurt employment.

Chicago cutoff low, day 5

A "cutoff low" parked over southern Lake Michigan Saturday night, giving Chicago unseasonably cool temperatures and non-stop rain for days:

Precipitation within the storm has been "convective" at times--in other words, it's been the product of towering cumulus clouds. The overcast breaks at times in such an environment as air sinks on the periphery of such showers and this permits spells of passing sun. Veteran observer Frank Wachowski reports 48 minutes of sunlight occurred in Chicago Tuesday and the appearance of sun amid the showers has led to a flurry of stunning rainbow sightings in recent days.

The preponderance of cloudiness has taken a toll on Chicago area temperatures. September 2011 ranks the area's coolest in 10 years. The failure of daytime highs at O'Hare the past six days to reach 18°C makes the period the first since observations began there in 1959 to produce so many sub-18°C days in September.

The ejection of the stubborn upper air low is finally in sight. A southward plunge of chilly, early-season arctic air is forcing jet stream winds to buckle southward out of Canada the next few days. The powerful steering winds will finally "pick the closed system up" and lift it out of the Midwest Wednesday night.

Oh, goody. The rain will go away over the weekend, replaced by early-November temperatures hovering around 10°C. (I like cool weather. Most of my readers do not. Oh well.)

The Weather Channel posted a NOAA video showing the low forming, and then stalling, right on top of us.

Wish you were here

All Nippon Airlines, which took possession of the world's first 787 Dreamliner today, has announced the first routes for the new airplanes:

The Dreamliner's first regular domestic service will be the Haneda-Okayama route starting on November 1, with a flight on the Haneda-Hiroshima route also departing the same day.

As previously announced, ahead of its regular services, ANA will also operate a special charter flight between Narita and Hong Kong on October 26 and 27. It will be the world's first flight with passengers on board the Dreamliner.

The first intercontinental flight will leave from Haneda to Frankfurt in February.

My airline, American, apparently has no 787 orders as of last week—despite having the largest open order with Boeing of any carrier (for 100 737s). However, reading through the list of current 787 orders I see a few aircraft leasing companies that American uses, so maybe someday I'll see a silver 787 at O'Hare. (United has orders for 25 Dreamliners, so I may have to cross brand-loyalty lines to experience this plane.

A lawsuit I'd love to see

Via Sullivan, Sarah Palin threatened to sue Joe McGinniss over his recent book. (The UPS guy has my copy on his truck. I can't wait.)

Of course, if she sues him, he'll have a field day with her:

If a suit were filed by the Palins alleging slander or libel, the judge would require them to appear and give testimony. They would be REQUIRED to answer questions under oath. You might not have criminal exposure if you bring impermissible pressure on a state employee to fire another, but there are criminal sanctions for lying under oath. It is Joe McGinniss that has the real slander suit against the Palins for calling him a child molester.

Imagine for a minute one simple question: “Is Trig your natural-born son?” “Have you ever used cocaine?” “Did you ever have sex with Shailey Tripp?” “Did you ever give Shailey Tripp cash?” “Did you ever get a massage from Shailey Tripp?” “Did you represent in any written document to Shailey Tripp that you were not pregnant, when you have represented to the entire country that you were pregnant at that time?”

Thus a suit will never be filed. [Palin's lawyer] can threaten all he wants, but we know that Todd and Sarah will never allow themselves to be placed under oath and answer any questions.

So, yeah, I'd love to see the suit as much as the next Democrat, but it'll never happen.

Sharia law, Christianist version

Via TPM, a judge in Alabama plans to sentence non-violent offenders to go to church:

Non-violent offenders in Bay Minette now have a choice some would call simple: do time behind bars or work off the sentence in church.

Operation Restore Our Community or "ROC" begins next week. The city judge will either let misdemenor offenders work off their sentences in jail and pay a fine or go to church every Sunday for a year.

If offenders elect church, they're allowed to pick the place of worship, but must check in weekly with the pastor and the police department. If the one-year church attendance program is completed successfully, the offender's case will be dismissed.

A local Alabama blog, doing the reporting the local TV station skipped, talked with someone who has actually taken a constitutional law class:

"This policy is blatantly unconstitutional," said Olivia Turner, executive director for the ACLU of Alabama. "It violates one basic tenet of the Constitution, namely that government can’t force participation in religious activity."

But the local police chief who is heading up the program starting Tuesday called "Restore Our Community" says no one is being forced to participate. "Operation ROC resulted from meetings with church leaders," Bay Minette Police Chief Mike Rowland said. "It was agreed by all the pastors that at the core of the crime problem was the erosion of family values and morals. We have children raising children and parents not instilling values in young people."

Umm...jail is coercive. And churches don't create family values, as dozens of convicted televangelists demonstrate. And pastors don't set public policy in free societies.

Other than that, I can't see a thing wrong with the policy.