The world’s greatest complaint letter

Richard Branson’s got some work to do to mollify this frequent Virgin Airlines flier:

Ironically, by the end of the flight I would have gladly paid over a thousand rupees for a single biscuit following the culinary journey of hell I was subjected to at thehands of your corporation.

Look at this Richard. Just look at it:

I imagine the same questions are racing through your brilliant mind as were racing through mine on that fateful day. What is this? Why have I been given it? What have I done to deserve this? And, which one is the starter, which one is the desert?

The whole thing is available at the Daily Telegraph, misspellings and all, including Virgin Atlantic’s response, and pictures of the lovely food that this gentleman was served on a Mumbai-Heathrow flight in December.

Maybe those tiny AirTran bags of peanuts and warm flat Cokes aren’t so bad after all.

Child labor laws, Chicago PD style

Methinks some heads are going to roll over this one:

A 14-year old boy has been charged with impersonating a Chicago police officer after police say he walked into a station house and ended up partnering with another officer on a traffic assignment for about five hours Saturday before he was found out.

Police spokeswoman Monique Bond said the youth wrote no tickets and did not interact with the public.

The Chicago Tribune, citing a police source, said the youth identified himself as an officer from another district. He was “detailed for the day to Grand Crossing and also was savvy enough to sign out a police radio and a ticket book,” the Tribune says.

No word if the 14-year-old asked if the police car had “cop suspension, cop tires, and a four hundred forty cubic inch Chrysler cop motor.”

Now, that’s the official line from the Chicago PD.  But a blog by an anonymous Chicago officer, Second City Cop, tells a slightly different story:

This is classic. A male/1 in full uniform walks into the 3rd district desk and tells them he is from 005 and was sent there to work a traffic car. They get him a locker to use and call in the traffic car. He signs out a radio and jumps in with the female officer and away they go. They handle a traffic accident and when she realizes he doesn’t have a ticket book they go back into the station and he signs one out.

Away they go again. This time he asks if he can drive and she lets him. They write a few tickets and finish their tour.

So according to somebody that’s actually inside the CPD, not only did the kid write tickets, he actually drove the police car.  Oh, and the kid in question?  He’s been busted twice before for impersonating a police officer and was thrown out of a Police Explorer program in December, 2007.

I think the moral of the story here is, Marty, next time you or Shannon get pulled over, ask to see the officer’s middle school ID before signing the ticket.

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Pay attention, GOP

Attention Republicans.  Should the American people ever let you back into control of Congress and the White House, instead of “reaching across the aisle” and fawning over Democrats so you won’t get bad press from the New York Times or disinvited to K Street cocktail parties, take a note from Barack Obama about how to handle things:

President Obama listened to Republican gripes about his stimulus package during a meeting with congressional leaders Friday morning – but he also left no doubt about who’s in charge of these negotiations. “I won,” Obama noted matter-of-factly, according to sources familiar with the conversation.
The exchange arose as top House and Senate Republicans expressed concern to the president about the amount of spending in the package. They also raised red flags about a refundable tax credit that returns money to those who don’t pay income taxes, the sources said.

“I won.”  He did.  Convincingly.  Therefore, he and his party get to set the tone and move their agenda forward.  And if you Congressional Republicans think for one second that Obama, Pelosi, or Reid give a flying damn about what you want, you’re sorely mistaken.  They’re not in this to be “bipartisan.”  “Bipartisanship” only cuts one way to them.  To them, “reaching across the aisle” means that you come to them, not that you meet each other halfway.

When the wheel turns, as it usually does, and you get back on top?  Remember this.  And learn well.  Have a clear, cogent agenda, articulate it to the American electorate, and if they give you the chance, enact it.  In other words, lead.  Say what you will about Barack Obama, he doesn’t look to be scared of actually leading…unlike most of the Republican leadership since about 1996.

Flight Simulator gets its wings clipped

Horrible news out of Redmond, Washington this morning, if you’re a flight sim geek like I am:

Redmond, Washington-based ACES Studio, the Microsoft-owned internal group behind the venerable Microsoft Flight Simulator series, has been heavily affected by Microsoft’s ongoing job cuts.

Development sources have told Gamasutra that a large portion of the dev house’s staff has been let go – with multiple reports indicating that the entire Flight Simulator team has been axed.

Microsoft Flight Simulator is one of the most long-running and successful entertainment PC software lines of all time.  Since Bruce Artwick first put together SubLogic Flight Simulator sometime back in the Jurassic period (the mid-1980s), there have been ten versions of Flight Simulator put out by SubLogic and then Microsoft, each more successful than the last.  And one thing you can count on with each new release–on the day it comes out, you can take the most powerful computer you can get at that time, and you won’t be able to get good framerates with it.  MSFS has always pushed beyond the boundaries of then-current hardware.

If this turns out to be true, not only will it mean a loss of hundreds of jobs, it’ll be the end of a 25-year era in PC software, and it’ll also be the stake through the heart of high-quality PC flight simulation, except for Laminar Research’s X-Plane.  I remember when flight sims were the hot PC title, back in the days of Dynamix and Lucasarts, EA/Jane’s and iMagic.  Those days are long gone.  Now it looks like ACES Studio will join them.

Wasting no time

Well, our new President wasted no time in getting down to some of the business he promised during the campaign:  Obama issues directive on detainees, interrogation, Guantanamo.

The national security orders mandate that interrogation techniques in the Army Field Manual be used by all intelligence and law enforcement services; call for a task force to look at closing the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, within the year; and order a strategy be developed for handling detainees in the future. The presidential directive also orders a stay in the case of Ali Al-Marri, the only person being held by the military as an enemy combatant on U.S. soil.

(snip)

The executive order says everyone in custody should be questioned under the Army Field Manual, which is intended for honorable combatants, meaning POWs in a military conflict. The rule would prevent trained interrogators at the CIA from using lawful interrogation techniques against terrorists who have been trained to withstand Army Field Manual techniques.

(snip)

According to sources in the law enforcement community, the executive order on interrogation does not declare “enhanced interrogation techniques” to be torture; the order is silent on that.

“This allows for a lot of flexibility, a lot of wiggle room,” said one source.

(snip)

Administration officials indicated they do not want detainees outside of the U.S. to get habeas corpus rights or rights similar to those enjoyed by U.S. citizens. The Obama administration will likely go to Congress for what it wants to accomplish.

This was expected, really.  He’d said he was going to make closing Gitmo a priority.  But that begs the question of what to do with the residents.  That last paragraph above tends to indicate to me that really, not all that much is going to change, and that’s confirmed by the rest of the article (yes, it’s Fox News, go read it anyway, you won’t catch Murdoch cooties if your anti-virus and firewall are up to date).  If they don’t get habeus corpus rights, that sounds like they won’t be tried in US courts.  So what’s different from the military tribunals, and if they’re removed, what replaces them?  They’re still working on that part.  It’s going to take a while to unravel it all.  And it’s made more complicated by the fact that even if Obama wanted Gitmo closed tomorrow and all the detainees released, many of them can’t be.  Nobody will take them back, or they’re very likely to get tortured in their home countries.

As for the interrogation changes…no problems here.  I’m not comfortable with waterboarding or some of the other techniques being used, except in the direst Jack Bauer-esque circumstances.  Again, this was expected.

And finally, for those of us that are pro-life like me and Wife Unit, a taste of what we (and the unborn) can expect from the Obama administration:

Separately, the administration issued a reversal of a ban on federal funding for non-governmental organizations working outside the U.S. that offer abortions or abortion counseling.

Obama signed the executive order on the 36th anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion in all 50 states.

Success versus failure

It’s been a common refrain the past couple of months, and it’s intensified now that Barack Obama has moved into his new digs at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.  People wondering if those of us of the conservative persuasion “want Obama to succeed.”

It’s a loaded question…sort of the 2009 version of Groucho Marx’s old “when did you stop beating your wife?”  If we say “yes, we want him to succeed,” we’re acquiescing to his left-wing socialist-lite agenda.  If we say “no,” we open ourselves up to the old “how dare you, do you want your country to fail?!?!”

As an answer to this, I found a pretty good summation from an odd source–Ann Coulter.  Yes, that Ann Coulter.  Put down the pitchfork, take a Valerian, and just read this little passage from her latest column; if you can get by the usual Coulteresque barbs, I think she sums it up pretty well:

When will the first reporter ask President Obama to admit that he has made mistakes? Try: Never.

No, that question will disappear for the next four years. It will be replaced by the new question for conservatives on every liberal’s lips these days: Do you want Obama to succeed as president?

Answer: Of course we do. We live here, too.

But merely to ask the question is to imply that the 60 million Americans who did not vote for Obama are being unpatriotic if they do not wholeheartedly endorse his liberal agenda.

I guess it depends on the meaning of “succeed.” If Obama “succeeds” in pushing through big-government, terrorist-appeasing policies, he will not have “succeeded” at being a good president. If we didn’t think conservative principles of small government and strong national defense weren’t better for the country, we wouldn’t be conservatives.

As a conservative, basically, I don’t believe in a lot of what Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress have said they want to do.  I don’t buy their arguments about stimulus packages.  I don’t trust what they want to do on many social issues.  I think his public statements on Iran sound squishy.  I believe in free markets and small government, and looking at the people in the Obama administration, I don’t think we’re going to get either of those.  So in that respect, no, I don’t want him to succeed.  I want him to fail spectacularly like Bill and Hillary failed in 1993-1994 when their pseudo-nationalized health care strategy went down in flames.

I want us as a country to succeed–just like 99% of Americans do.  I don’t want Jimmy Carter II:  Electric Boogaloo.  Whatever happens, I want America and Americans to be prosperous, free, strong, and still the beacon that the rest of the world can look up to–Reagan’s “shining city on the hill.”  To some, that means Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid skipping arm-in-arm down the Yellow Brick Road of hopey-changey rainbows, leading us toward a brighter tomorrow.  To me, it means hanging on as best we can until we can convince the people of this country to wake up out of their deluded dream and get back to the conservative principles that made us the greatest nation in the world.

That’s the beauty of opinions.  Even in a new era of Hope and Change, we all still get to have our own.

I couldn’t have said it any better

Andrew Breitbart rightfully slams the Hollywood gliteratti for their eight-year case of Bush Derangement Syndrome…and then turning around and expecting us conservatives to make nice and become good little Obamabots.

This video illustrates that the current celebrity class are not citizens but serfs. They need a leader to put their minds in the right place to do the right thing. They are not heroic individualists seeking to extend America’s promise but conformists who chose to sit out and complain during the tough years in order to ensure their guy got in the next go-around.

The celebrity decadence during the “oppressive” Bush years was world class. The clubs raged. The boutique hotels rocked. The private jet industry at Van Nuys airport flourished. The party never stopped. And only a precious few (Thank you, dearly!!!) stepped up to support the American troops who have been valiantly fighting for Hollywood’s right to do lines off of each others’ buttocks at $10 million Hollywood Hills mansions.

They never spoke up against the movies that demonized our military.

They never made movies to counter the libel.

They took the easy route. And blamed Bush for everything.

Well, as a famous Bush-basher once said…some of us “aren’t ready to make nice.”