Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Rising Above It All

Yes, readers, it is time for me to fly once again:

"US to tell certain travelers if on no-fly list" by Adam Goldman Washington Post  April 15, 2015

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department said US citizens and residents can find out whether they are on the ‘‘no-fly’’ list and possibly receive a summary of the reasons for their placement in the secret database, according to documents recently filed in federal court.

As part of a lawsuit filed in Oregon by the American Civil Liberties Union, a federal judge in June ruled that the government’s lack of effective procedures for people to challenge their inclusion on the list was unconstitutional.

Well, Oregon is kind of a weird place anyway.

The judge ordered the United States to revise redress procedures for the plaintiffs directly affected by the no-fly list. Previously, if someone wanted to challenge a decision not to allow them to board a plane, they could appeal to the Department of Homeland Security, but the government would neither confirm nor deny their no-fly status.

The judge in the case called the former process ‘‘wholly ineffective.’’ There are about 47,000 people on the no-fly list, about 800 of whom are Americans. They are barred from boarding a US carrier, a US-bound flight or entering US airspace.

‘‘Under the newly revised procedures, a US person who purchases a ticket, is denied boarding at the airport . . . will now receive a letter providing his or her status on the No Fly List and the option to receive and/or submit additional information,’’ the Justice Department said in documents filed Monday in federal court in Portland.


Luggage all packed?

"Airport worker falls asleep, becomes trapped in cargo hold" Associated Press  April 14, 2015

SEATTLE — A Seattle airport worker started his shift early and ended it with a nap in the wrong place — the cargo hold of a plane taking off for Los Angeles.

When he realized what was happening, he banged on the aircraft for help, a sound the pilots and first-class passengers on the Alaska Airlines flight fortunately heard.

The plane had just left Monday afternoon when the pounding noise from below started, the airline said. The captain immediately returned to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

After Flight 448 landed, the ramp worker walked out of the front cargo hold, which the airline said is pressurized and temperature-controlled.

‘‘He told authorities he had fallen asleep,’’ the airline said.

The man had been part of a four-person team loading baggage onto the flight, working from 5 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday, the airline said.

Before the plane took off at 2:39 p.m., the leader of the man’s team noticed he was missing. Co-workers figured he had gone home.

The plane had just departed when ‘‘the passengers in first class heard banging from underneath us and a person yelling for help,’’ passenger Jesse Sycuro told Seattle television station KING.


And awaaaaaaay we go.... 

"A Marlborough man is facing his fifth drunken-driving charge after crashing into an unmarked police cruiser Monday night, officials said. Joseph Coleman, 55, who had a 14-year-old passenger in his car, was not injured. The teenager and the officer were both taken to a hospital for treatment of injuries that were not considered life-threatening, Detective Scott Deciero said."

Hope you don't need a cab at the airport. 

Whadda ya' mean takeoff is delayed?

"Researcher denied flight after tweet poking United security" Associated Press  April 20, 2015

WASHINGTON — United Airlines stopped a prominent security researcher from boarding a California-bound flight late Saturday, after a social media post by the researcher days earlier suggesting the airline’s onboard systems could be hacked.

The researcher, Chris Roberts, attempted to board a United flight from Colorado to San Francisco to speak at a major security conference there this week, but was stopped by the airline’s corporate security at the gate.

Roberts founded One World Labs, which tries to discover security risks before they are exploited.

Roberts had been removed from an earlier United flight Wednesday by the FBI after landing in Syracuse, N.Y., and was questioned for four hours after jokingly suggesting on Twitter he could get the oxygen masks on the plane to deploy.

Authorities also seized Roberts’s laptop and other electronics.

A lawyer for Roberts said United gave him no detailed explanation Saturday why he wasn’t allowed on the plane.


Maybe a lobbyist could help you board the plane:

"Congressman admits relationship with airline lobbyist" by Joan Lowy Associated Press  April 17, 2015

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the House committee that handles aviation legislation acknowledged Thursday that he has a ‘‘private and personal relationship’’ with an airline industry lobbyist.

Representative Bill Shuster, a Pennsylvania Republican who is chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said Shelley Rubino, a vice president for global government affairs at Airlines for America, a trade association for major US airlines, does not lobby him or his staff.

Shuster the scum.

‘‘Ms. Rubino and I have a private and personal relationship, and out of respect for her and my family that is all I will say about that,’’ Shuster said.

Rubino did not immediately respond to a phone message left with her lobbying firm or messages the Associated Press sent to her private and professional e-mail accounts.

A spokeswoman for the trade association, Jean Medina, also said Rubino does not lobby Shuster. She said that the association’s president and chief executive, Nick Calio, is the primary person who lobbies Shuster for the organization. Calio ‘‘has a longstanding relationship with chairman Shuster, as he did with his father,’’ she said.

Shuster represents the same congressional district that was represented by his father, Bud, who also was the transportation committee chairman. Bud Shuster resigned from the House in early 2001, months after the House ethics committee rebuked him for ‘‘serious official misconduct’’ involving his close relationship with a former top staffer-turned-lobbyist, Ann Eppard.

Like father, well, you know.

The committee found that Bud Shuster engaged in a ‘‘pattern and practice’’ of allowing Eppard to represent clients before his committee within less than one year after leaving the committee’s staff. Shuster reportedly stayed at Eppard’s house when in Washington.

Bill Shuster, who is divorced, was the top House recipient of airline industry contributions last year, receiving $128,350 in donations, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Shuster’s staff is writing a bill of keen interest to airlines dealing with Federal Aviation Administration programs, and he has also supported several industry priorities in Congress.

Damn near ince$tuous, isn't it?

Rubino is listed by the trade association as one of its lobbyists in disclosure forms filed with Congress. The association paid her nearly $460,000 in salary and benefits in 2013, according to tax records.

Shuster recently hired Chris Brown, the trade association’s vice president for legislative and regulatory policy, to be staff director on the subcommittee that is writing the FAA bill. Congress typically reauthorizes FAA programs every four to six years. Among the issues the bill is expected to deal with are the agency’s plans to modernize the nation’s air traffic control system and whether operation of that system should be run by a private company controlled by the airline industry.

They have already wasted more than $40 billion with a B!

So where is all the money going?

Shuster’s aviation agenda has closely matched the priorities of Airlines for America. He is the sponsor of a bill the House passed to roll back a Transportation Department regulation that requires airlines to display the full price of an airline ticket inclusive of taxes and fees in advertising and on websites where tickets are sold.

He also has expressed support for the US airline industry’s position in its battle with Persian Gulf air carriers, which it accuses of exploiting government subsidies. US airlines want the government to restrict the Gulf carriers’ access to the US market. The carriers are big customers of aircraft maker Boeing, the United States’s largest exporter.

Wow, he's an indu$try tool, what a $urprise coming from Congre$$.


Did you find a seat?

NDU: Two hospitalized after airliner hits turbulence