Sunday, November 22, 2009

China Clipper and old flights

Mostly Cajun reminded us that Sunday was the 74th anniversary of Pan Am's China Clipper's first trans pacific flight.

Anything airplane fascinates me and I would have loved to been on the first flight from San Francisco to Honolulu to Midway to Wake to Guam to Manilla. The aircrat crusied around 175 knots with a ceiling of around 19000 feet. Not exactly fast but I bet the food and beverage was first class and those four props could lull you to sleep like nothing else.

My first Pan Am flight was in the late 60's on a 707 from JFK to London's Heathrow where I changed to an Aerflot converted bomber for a flight into Moscow courtesy of the Department of State. I did it several times more and was always fascinated by the fact that the aircraft clearly had bomb bay doors and a bubble navigation port in the top of the cabin for silent navigation by the stars. The Soviets didn't worry about public opinion.

The flights were all without incident and they served some good cheese and better vodka. But the plastic didn't match well around the windows and the seats weren't well secured to the floor. Those were not confidence builders.

Later I made quite a few other flights from JFK into Brussels on Pan Am. Take off at 7:00 PM from JFK and land around 6:00 AM give or take. Supposedly you could make a 9:00 AM meeting to show your vigor and attaboy attitude. I never did and it didn't seem to make any difference. Of course I was dealing mostly with the French and the US Departmnent of State and their work ethic wasn't exactly Americanized.

The flights were never full and you could always eat, drink, flip some arm rests up and sleep until wakened for an orange juice and roll breakfast. No Virginia, in those days the peons did not fly first class.

Pan Am wasn't allowed to fly inside the US. Why I don't know. TWA was.

In any event deregulation let them start doing that but they couldn't compete and finally went out of business. My last flight on them was from LAX to Ohau and was memorable in that the pilot took off and flew right into a thunderstrom about 10 miles off the coast. He could have deviated 10 degrees either way and missed it, but he didn't and the turblence was so bad that the oxygen masks deployed and many of the overhead bins popped open. And this was in a 747.

He never said a word beyond announcing we were returning to LAX. But to paraphrase a Contiental pilot who also did a dummie of the day thing flying from LAX to DIA, "Uh, that was a little worse than I thought it would be."

I had a flight about a month ago on a Delta Northwest or was it a Northwest Delta on a 320 Airbus RT to LAX. First Class all the way and it was worse than those Pan Am flights 40 years ago. But if that was bad, think of flying in this:

The best description I can think of this is, "Looks good but will feel bad." But then I am getting older and my sense of adventure has fled. Along with the good wine and food they once served.
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Limbaugh, Beck, Coulter, Hannity, oh my!

This is funny. Click here for some giggles.
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Anothger Federal Judge orders another GITMO prisoner released

A federal judge Friday ordered the Obama administration to free a long-held Guantánamo captive who fled his native Algeria years ago and kicked around Europe as a construction worker for a decade before his capture in Pakistan.

Judge Gladys Kessler's order to free Farhi Saeed bin Mohammed, 48, raised to 31 the number of detainees who have won their federal unlawful detention suits since the U.S. Supreme Court empowered Guantánamo detainees to file and argue habeas corpus petitions.

Kessler's order was classified Friday, meaning her rationale for ordering his release was not yet made public.

Probably decided that the evidence trail was tainted..... Or else it wouldn't look good on "Law and Order."

And listen to this glowing recommendation from his attorney:

``He's an easy guy to like,'' said Cohen, ``and certainly not the worst of the worst and not even close to it.''

Well, that sure settles it for me. I guess we need to get worse terrorists...

In the meantime, Obamie the Bower doesn't seem to think this could happen to KSM.

What idiots govern us.


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Europe gives up its liberty

So you have never heard of this man? Well, click here to get a look at the new EU President who speaks of global governance and control.

BTW - The Europeans didn't vote for him either. But they gave up their rights years ago.

Herman Van Rompuy. Get used to the name. He is the first President of the European Union, which with the ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon by all the 27 EU member states in early November was transformed into a genuine United States of Europe.
The President of Europe has not been elected; he was appointed in a secret meeting of the heads of government of the 27 EU member states. They chose one of their own. Herman Van Rompuy was the Prime Minister of Belgium.

Brussels Journal

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I remember John Fitzgerald Kennedy

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was killed 46 years ago this morning.

I was at the Naval Air Station near Memphis. I well remember the shock and outrage that someone would dare kill our President. By then he wasn't well liked but he was family. The successful cousin who fought and survived in the war that had killed other cousins, brothers, uncles and fathers and if he had screwed up in Cuba we forgave him for that. What he started in Vietnam was still to come.

He was ours to grouse and complain about but damn anyone's very soul if they should harm as much as a hair on his head. Jack Ruby's actions were perfectly understandable, regretted only by the thought that a slow hanging would have caused the assassin more pain.

We were tired of Eisenhower's patience and stability opting instead for change. If the Soviets had a Sputnik we wanted a Sputnik and if the Soviets had shot down our spy plane then we wanted a bigger faster better spy plane and if they had more missiles... we now know they didn't, Kennedy's campaign lied about that...we wanted more missiles.

Hard to believe in today's world, but we found the Democrats more defense minded than the Republicans. How incredibly stupid of us.

But we believed it then and elected Kennedy instead of "wumpie Jaws," as my father in law called Nixon. The election caused no discomfort. A brief mention was made of "irregularities in Illinois and Texas" but that was buried under the obvious relief of the media that the long night of Eisenhower leadership was over and that our new demi-gods would play touch football on lawns of such sized homes few of us had ever had, or seen, while their perfect marriages produced perfect children and it was our duty to bow before our new leaders.

It was the Camelot motif that started the fall of Kennedy and the press. We were a country that had just fought a war over a challenge to democracy and our Scot Irish heritage would brook no kings and queens in place of the dictators we had defeated. The similarities were just too many to be acceptable.

We didn't know the weakness of the man. We didn't know that he would think he could talk with the Soviets and all would be well. We didn't know that the Soviets would see this and understand they could bluff us out of Turkey and how Kennedy would feel that he must assert himself by opposing them in Vietnam.

No, we didn't know the cost of having a weak President.

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him;
The evil that men do lives after them,
The good is oft interred with their bones,

Or so said Shakespeare's Antony of Caesar. And correctly he did speak.

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