mm437: Life’s a bitch, and then you fly

July 12, 2008
© Kathy Wynn |

MUDGE’S Musings

Among the most popular posts here in this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere© are the occasions when we call attention to Patrick Smith, the airline pilot who writes the Ask the Pilot column for

In fact, one such column was especially popular with Salon’s lawyers, as this then newbie was called to account for exceeding the amount of quoted text allowed by their copyright. Oh, well, live and learn.

But that hasn’t stopped me from reading and appreciating Patrick Smith. His was the first writing to explain specifically why the air travel system in the U.S. is the frenetic mess that it is: more people flying in smaller and smaller aircraft. MSM picked up on the story only after his eye-opening analysis.

Since he’s back flying regularly for one of the big airlines (he keeps which one to himself), his weekly columns have become generally biweekly, but they’re always worth waiting for. He writes like a writer who happens to fly airplanes for a living, rather than the other way around.

This week, he tells of his travails dealing with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Yes, even pilots are subject to carry-on luggage search and body scanning.

Read the rest of this entry »


mm253: Water – casus belli for a new war between the states?

January 13, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

The extended drought in the southern reaches of the U.S. have public officials there casting covetous eyes on the Great Lakes.

Not so fast!


How to solve America’s water problems

Hey, Sun Belters, move to the Great Lake states. You can have all the water you want and stop worrying about droughts. Besides, we’re not piping our water south.
By Edward McClelland

Jan. 7, 2008 | As his state endures its worst drought in a century, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue is praying for rain. Lake Lanier, the reservoir that waters the endlessly growing colossus of metro Atlanta, is receding from its banks, shriveling to a shiny puddle. Georgia has restricted car washing and lawn watering. It has shut off its outdoor fountains.

In San Diego, which just experienced its driest summer in recorded history, the hills are charred from October’s wildfires. The state of California is so tapped out that the pumps that carry water from the Sacramento River to San Diego were tightened in December. Water authorities are urging San Diegans to tear up their grass and replace it with cactus and succulent.

Bill Richardson, governor of arid New Mexico, had his region’s plight in mind when he told the Las Vegas Sun that Northern states need to start sharing their water: “I want a national water policy. We need a dialogue between states to deal with issues like water conservation, water reuse technology, water delivery and water production. States like Wisconsin are awash in water.”

Yr (justifiably) humble svt has long been aware that his lifetime residence within a couple of miles of Lake Michigan has meant trouble-free access to water for drinking, cleanliness and even lawn hydration.

While the sunny South always tempted, especially during our region’s extended DecemberApril winter season; especially as deserted factories were converted to trendy loft condominia; especially as tent pole corporate headquarters disappeared with numbing regularity as national and international new owners gutted them; proximate family and, let’s face it, inertia have combined to keep us in the same neighborhood, actually, as our family moved to 50 years ago. Two miles from a Great Lake.

In spite of those especiallies,” in the light of the current water shortages crippling the good life all over the seductive Sunbelt, standing pat in the Midwest looks like a good call.

Salon’s extended story is worth your time:

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

How to solve America’s water problems | Salon News

All you refugees from winter: maybe it’s time to rethink your great escape.

Why are you surprised that when you move to a desert (you sun-baked denizens of Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Scottsdale, San Diego and Los Angeles, I’m talking to you) water is a bit scarce?

Be proud, Atlantans, of your fast-growing status (a couple of years ago your Hartsfield airport passed Chicago-O’Hare as the nation’s busiest an honor we have cheerfully ceded), but guess what? You’ve outgrown your region’s fresh water supply, and you, and Florida and Alabama are suffering.

Sorry, no way are we going to share. In fact, we’ve a bone to pick with our Michigan neighbors who’ve let Nestlé start sucking up industrial quantities of bottled water for sale outside our region.

And Salon quotes an expert who asserts that Bill Richardson’s presidential ambitions were drought-stricken after those covetous remarks:

“Water diversion is the third rail of Great Lakes politics,” says Peter Annin, author of “The Great Lakes Water Wars.” “It’s the one issue that unites Democrats and Republicans. Bill Richardson’s candidacy is over because of his comments. You throw Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York out of the mix, it’s really hard to win an election.”

Salon author Edward McClelland even goes so far as to invite you thirsty refugees back home to the Great Lakes.

Come on in, the water’s fine!

It’s it for now. Thanks,


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