Florida Pilot

A compendium of random thoughts from a former Washington Beltway insider who is now having a lot more fun flying small airplanes in Central Florida.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Loss of a fellow aviator

The man involved in this accident was someone I had flown with. He was pleasant and would always exchange a few comments when he came by to pick up the airplane he was renting. He loved to fly and he enjoyed sharing the experience with others, on occasion bringing relatives and friends along.

I went with the owner of the flight school to the crash scene on Wednesday. We were unable to fly in as the weather was still below minimums. I won't ever forget what I saw there and knowing the individual involved added an additional dimension to the sight of twisted and broken metal. Representatives from the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration were on hand to investigate the accident. All of us who fly owe our thanks to these folks as their efforts to understand what goes wrong when an accident occurs are critical to reducing the risk of flying for all of us.

Aviation is unforgiving of errors.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

no more delays -- oh well, maybe just a few

"'Five years have passed since the issuance of the ... order authorizing the removal of Theresa Schiavo's nutrition and hydration and there appears to be no finality in sight to this process,' Greer wrote in a three-page ruling.

'The court is no longer comfortable granting stays simply upon the filing of new motions and petitions since there will always be 'new' issues that can be pled.'"

You be the writer

Don't peek at the reference yet!!

You are an editorial writer at a major liberal Florida daily newspaper. The editorial board has selected you to draft an editorial about the significance of Internet Web logs (blogs) on journalism. You have three actual examples to discuss in your article. Here they are from old to new. You task is to decide the order in which these examples are to be mentioned in your article and assign relative importance in terms of how much information is provided.

(1) Dan Rather, longtime news anchor and "managing editor" of CBS News steps down after it is discovered by bloggers that documents he used in a 60 Minutes Wednesday piece attempting to lead to the defeat of President Bush in his reelection bid are forgeries. Questions about the extent to which the news story was coordinated with the Kerry campaign remain unanswered.

(2) Eason Jordan, the news chief for Cable News Network, a major TV news operation, is forced to resign after bloggers report that he claimed to an anti-U.S. audience that U.S. Armed Forces personnel had targeted a number of journalists to be killed. Although Jordan attempted to back away from his statement, further research revealed he had said the same thing on other occasions.

(3) Jeff Gannon, a reporter for a conservatively-oriented news service was discovered to be writing articles favorable to the administration. He was one of a large number of reporters that were assigned by various organizations to cover the White House. Bloggers looked in to this and discovered that Gannon's real name is James Guckert. Gannon/Gukert resigned his position as a reporter. Bloggers continued to investigate him and discovered that he had registered Internet names that seemed appropriate for use in gay pornography. Additional investigation revealed that Gannon/Guckert himself might be gay.

If you are having a hard time deciding whether number (1) or number (2) above it the most important, you are not going to make it as a liberal journalist. Story (3) is the most important, was mentioned first, and assigned three paragraphs in the editorial. Story 2 was next with a brief paragraph followed by story 1 with one sentence.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Another embarrassment to Florida

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that the family of Terry Schiavo (the Schindlers) are a bunch of certifiable nut cases.

One has to wonder how long it will take before the body of Terry Schiavo is finally liberated from the controlling interests of her parents and other members of her family. How happy she must have been when she married Michael Schiavo to finally get a measure of freedom she must have longed for from her overcontrolling parents.

While the Schindlers are trying to blame Michael Schiavo for the incident that turned her into a living vegetable 15 years ago, the facts are pretty clear that this resulted from an eating disorder that predated her marriage. It is most likely that Terri didn't have enough time and/or distance away from her parents to recover from the neuroses they left her with.

Terri told her husband and others that she did not wish to be kept alive artificially and the courts have again and again determined that this was truly HER wish. But it is not the Schindler's wish and so they fight on.

Could Michael Schiavo have imagined the kind of family he was marrying into? Nevertheless, he has soldiered on to honor his wife's last request. Her parents are willing to raise any allegation no matter how outrageous and are willing to resort to any tactic to include using images of Terri to manipulate the public. Would she have wanted to be manipulated like this? The media have been easily duped -- I guess this stuff sells papers and turns on television sets.

Terri is in a persistent vegetative state and will never be aware of the improper use of her body by her nutty controlling parents. It is Michael Schiavo and the rest of the community who are aware of the ongoing insult to our intelligence by the manipulative Schindlers. Will Terri ever get justice? Not if her family and Jeb Bush can prevent it.

Friday, February 18, 2005

You be the editor

Could you be the editor of a major mainstream media television news operation? Take the test below and find out.

You have been directed to arrange to have a segment on a recent major event in journalism covered. You have two events from which to choose. Each involves an individual in a journalistic capacity who resigned his position.

(1) Individual number one is the head of new operations for a major competing television network. This individual was said to have claimed that American jounalists were targetted for assasination by U.S. forces in Iraq. The claim was made at an international conference widely attended by opponents of the U.S. and the comment drew considerable applause. After the story broke, the individual in question claimed that he was misunderstood. Subsequently, a number of other individuals who heard the speech confirmed the remark and bloggers discovered that this same individual had previously made similar comments to other anti-U.S. audiences. Finally, it turns out that this individual had previously agreed to have his network serve as a virtual "house organ" for the Saddam Hussein government in Iraq. Unable to respond to the criticism, this individual has resigned.

(2) Individual number two was an individual assigned to cover events at the White House. This person attracted attention by asking questions that were not considered to be adequately hostile to the administration. Various bloggers discovered that the indivdual in question was working for an admittedly conservative news reporting organization. In addition, they discovered that the individual had been using a different name that his real name and, furthermore, that he had arranged to have Internet domain names assigned to him that were considered to be potentially usable for gay pornography. The White House was apparently aware of the indivual's real name. This individual has also resigned as a correspondent for the conservative news service.

So which story do you choose? The one involving the head of a major competing news organization or the one that suggests that the White House may have encouraged a "friendly" reporter who had a bit of an unusual background.

While most folks would probably choose number (1) which involved the resignation of Eason Jordan as the head of CNN's news division, the actual editor at NBC choose number (2) which involves James Guckert who was actually using the name Jeff Gannon.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Is this for real?

From NewsMax.com
"Kerry: Bush Still Hiding His Guard Records
Though he has yet to fulfill his promise to 'Meet the Press' host Tim Russert 12 days ago to sign Pentagon Form 180 releasing all his military records, Sen. John Kerry complained this week that President Bush is withholding fitness reports from his days in the National Guard.

'All of my medical records and all of my fitness reports, every fitness report involving each place I served, is public,' he insisted to the Boston Globe in little-noticed comments last Sunday.

'Where are George Bush's still? Where are his military records?' Kerry demanded.
The failed presidential candidate continued to maintain that all his records had been released, telling the Globe, 'Let me make this clear: My full military record has been made public.'
The paper didn't press him on a Washington Post report last year, which revealed that more than 90 pages of his own file can't be released until he signs Form 180. The Globe asked only if he would sign it.
Kerry said that he would, and repeated the promise to radio host Don Imus on Monday.
Four days later, there's still no report that Kerry has signed the release."

What records could Kerry be referring to? Bush signed Standard Form 180 authorizing the release of all of his military records quite some time ago while Kerry has refused to do the same. Maybe Kerry has been hanging around too much with Dan Rather who is also still looking for the "real" guard records.