Patterico's Pontifications


FAA Releases Northwest Cockpit ATC Recordings

Filed under: Air Security — DRJ @ 11:30 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Remember the Northwest Airlines jet traveling from San Diego to Minneapolis that overshot its destination and did not respond to radio contacts for over an hour? Today the FAA released the cockpit ATC recording and transcript:

“The Oct. 21 flight had been out of contact for 77 minutes before the pilots responded. The pilots told controllers right away that they had been distracted, but didn’t give details, according to the transcript of their radio conversations released by the Federal Aviation Administration.

After almost 90 seconds of conversation about the route they should take to Minneapolis, the controllers said, “I just have to verify that the cockpit is secure.”

“It is secure, we got distracted,” one of the pilots responded. The transcript says the pilot then said that they never heard a call from the ground.

A different controller took over and, after five more minutes of directions about routes and altitudes, asked, “Do you have time to give a brief explanation on what happened?”

“Cockpit distractions that’s all I can say,” was the response from Northwest Flight 188.

About 12 minutes after contact had been re-established, the same controller asked, “is there any way you can elaborate on the distraction?”

The pilot said that they were dealing with some company issues, and that’s “all I can tell you right now at this time,” according to the transcript.”

Fox News has audio here, including a suspicious pause before the pilot responded to an FAA request that they elaborate on what happened:

The good news is the FAA had the crew perform several turns to verify they were in control of the aircraft. The bad news is the air controllers did not notify the military of a problem aircraft for 69 minutes, a possible violation of post-9/11 regulations. Unfortunately, the FAA also delayed releasing this information until Black Friday when it may not get the attention it deserves.


NCAA Football, Week 13

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 10:29 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

NOTE: All rankings are from the BCS.

Week 13 started early with the traditional Thanksgiving Day matchup between the #3 Texas Longhorns and the Texas A&M Aggies. The Horns won 49-39.

In Friday’s games, the #2 Alabama Crimson Tide came from behind to beat Auburn 26-21; #5 Cincinnati beat Illinois 49-36; West Virginia upset #9 Pitt 19-16; and #6 Boise State leads Nevada 44-26 with 3 minutes left in the 4th Quarter. [UPDATE: Boise State won 44-33.]

Saturday’s games continue rivalry week with several regional matchups:

  • #1 Florida vs Florida State
  • #4 TCU vs New Mexico
  • #7 Georgia Tech vs Georgia
  • #12 Oklahoma State vs Oklahoma
  • #14 Virginia Tech vs Virginia
  • #15 LSU vs Arkansas
  • #17 Miami vs South Florida
  • #18 Clemson vs South Carolina
  • #19 BYU vs #21 Utah
  • #20 USC vs UCLA
  • #23 Houston vs Rice
  • #24 North Carolina vs NC State
  • #25 Mississippi vs Mississippi State
  • #10 Ohio State, #11 Iowa, and #13 Penn State have no more scheduled games while #8 Oregon, #16 Oregon State, and #22 California are idle this week.

    — DRJ

    Air Force One and 9/11

    Filed under: Terrorism — DRJ @ 8:00 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    There’s nothing like old news on a Friday after Thanksgiving.

    Americans were stunned by the attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania on 9/11, but some were also troubled by President George W. Bush’s response. There was criticism of Bush for staying in a Florida classroom for several minutes as the students finished reading The Pet Goat and also for diverting Air Force One to Barksdale AFB and Offutt AFB instead of immediately returning to Washington, D.C.

    Some even claimed there was proof Bush lied about a threat against Air Force One after CBS Evening News reporter Jim Stewart was quoted on 9/25/01 saying:

    “Finally, there is this postscript to the puzzle of how someone presumed to be a terrorist was able to call in a threat against Air Force One using a secret code name for the president’s plane. Well, as it turns out, that simply never happened. Sources say White House staffers apparently misunderstood comments made by their security detail.”

    Thus, it’s ironic that last week’s CBS News’ report regarding the recently released 9/11 pager messages (I posted on it here) confirms: There was a basis to believe Air Force One had been threatened on 9/11, and it caused authorities to change Air Force One’s course in-flight instead of returning to Washington, D.C.:

    A Secret Service page at 10:32 a.m. warned: “ANONYMOUS CALL TO JOC REPORTING ANGEL IS TARGET.” Angel is the Secret Service codeword for Air Force One; JOC means Joint Operations Center. When the president’s plane had departed Florida about half an hour earlier, it was en route to D.C. That anonymous threat seems to be what diverted President Bush on a high-speed flight across the country, first to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, and then to an underground command center in Nebraska.”

    I wonder if anyone at CBS even gave this a second thought?

    — DRJ

    Justice Department: OK to Pay ACORN

    Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 5:14 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    On Oct. 1, President Obama signed a spending bill with a provision that no taxpayer funds — “including funds authorized by previous legislation” — could be “provided to” the ACORN or its affiliates. However, the New York Times reports David Barron, the acting assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice, issued an October 23rd memorandum that the Obama Administration can lawfully pay ACORN “for services provided under contracts signed before Congress banned the government from providing funds to the group:”

    “A Housing and Urban Development lawyer asked the Justice Department whether the new law meant that pre-existing contracts with Acorn should be broken. But in a memorandum signed Oct. 23 and posted online this week, Mr. Barron said the government should continue to make payments to Acorn as required by such contracts.

    The new law “should not be read as directing or authorizing HUD to breach a pre-existing binding contractual obligation to make payments to Acorn or its affiliates, subsidiaries or allied organizations where doing so would give rise to contractual liability,” Mr. Barron wrote.”

    Barron based his opinion on the use of the phrase “provided to” and general rules of statutory construction:

    “Mr. Barron said he had based his conclusion on the statute’s phrase “provided to.” This phrase, he said, has no clearly defined meaning in the realm of government spending — unlike words like “obligate” and “expend.”

    Citing dictionary and thesaurus entries, he said “provided to” could be interpreted as meaning only instances in which an official was making “discretionary choices” about whether to give the group money, rather than instances in which the transfer of funds to Acorn was required to satisfy contractual obligations.

    Since there are two possible ways to construe the term “provided to,” Mr. Barron wrote, it makes sense to pick the interpretation that allows the government to avoid breaching contracts.”

    [EDIT: The Memorandum Opinion is available here.]

    Thus, this DOJ directive authorizes payments to ACORN under past federal contracts but it’s unclear if it also applies to ACORN’s future contracts. ACORN’s pending lawsuit seeks an injunction to prevent its defunding. It will be interesting to see if the government elects not to oppose ACORN’s request for an injunction.

    So will Congress try again to cut off ACORN’s funding or do the Democrats believe they can safely treat the ACORN story as old news?

    — DRJ

    Gatecrashers Met Obama

    Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 4:27 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    The White House acknowledged that “the Virginia couple who attended a state dinner without an invitation met President Obama in the receiving line.”

    An earlier post is here and Yahoo has a photo of the Virginia couple meeting Obama in the receiving line. (As does Hot Air, which notes they were also announced.)

    I’m sure this is not the story the Obama Administration wanted its first state dinner to be remembered for, but it will be now.

    — DRJ

    “Appalling” Health Care at British NHS Hospitals

    Filed under: Health Care — DRJ @ 4:21 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    John H. Hinderaker at Powerline has a British government health care headline ObamaCare advocates should think long and hard about:

    “Hundreds of patients died needlessly at NHS hospital due to appalling care.”

    The headline is from The Telegraph while the Sun’s headline is even more disturbing: “71 dead at filthy hospital.” Hinderaker adds the “third world” conditions at two of the British government hospitals were reported as early as 2001 but never corrected.

    — DRJ

    Breaking: Tiger Woods Seriously Injured in Car Crash; UPDATE: Released from Hospital with Facial Lacerations

    Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:20 pm

    Reuters reports:

    World number one golfer Tiger Woods was seriously injured in a car accident on Friday, a Florida newspaper reported.

    He’s in serious condition. Best wishes to him and his family.

    UPDATE 12:50 p.m. Pacific: Apparently he has been released from the hospital with facial lacerations. Seemingly it’s not as bad as it first appeared, which is wonderful news.

    Despite the late-night time of the accident, the linked article quotes authorities as saying alcohol was not involved.

    James Rainey Digs Himself an Even Deeper Hole

    Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 11:57 am

    The first rule of holes is: stop digging. Today, James Rainey, the egg still fresh on his face, is digging furiously, with a column titled Guerrilla stings of ACORN don’t meet standards of journalism.

    Where to start? How about with the part Rainey apparently made up:

    So what sort of creature does this make O’Keefe? I don’t disagree with his observation in a previous interview with The Times that he follows the mold of filmmaker Michael Moore, using confrontation to get at his version of the truth.

    In an e-mail, O’Keefe told me that Rainey’s statement is a “complete fabrication” that “borders on defamation as Moore uses apparent fancy cutting and pasting to make subjects look bad.” O’Keefe says Rainey’s statement “warrants a correction.”

    And indeed, a search of the L.A. Times‘s archives reveals exactly one piece that uses the terms “Michael Moore” and “O’Keefe.” That would be Rainey’s column from today:

    Rainey Lie Documented

    I have written Rainey to ask for a link to the source of this alleged quote, but as far as I can tell, the source is Rainey’s nether hind region. If he documents otherwise, I will let you know.

    In the same column where he has seemingly made up a quote from O’Keefe, Rainey insults O’Keefe, haughtily proclaiming of Giles’s and O’Keefe’s stings: “sorry folks, please don’t call this journalism.” Rainey then whitewashes the nature of Lavelle Stewart’s statements of her willingness to aid and abet Giles’s and O’Keefe’s purported underage prostitution ring. Here it’s worth quoting Rainey at length. Note how he begins by portraying himself as the victim:

    Alinsky recommended, among other things, relentless and persistent attacks on an enemy, giving no quarter, with the “conviction that all the angels are on one side and all the devils on the other.”

    I’ve managed to get caught up in such a drumbeat myself in recent days by suggesting in that September column that the video stings couldn’t be fully understood without more context.

    Poor baby. No, you embarrassed yourself by uncritically reporting an ACORN worker’s assertions without checking with Breitbart, Giles, or O’Keefe.

    I provoked particular wrath by writing about the videographers’ visit to another ACORN office in L.A., quoting Lavelle Stewart, a fair housing coordinator there who told me she had not offered any direct assistance to the “prostitute.”

    Stewart said back then that she tried to redirect the young woman — who described being abused by her pimp — to a neighboring agency that helps the victims of violence.

    The latest video, taken during an August visit to the ACORN office on South Grand Avenue, shows Stewart guiding Giles toward a door down the hall from ACORN, labeled Program for Torture Victims, an agency that focuses on aiding the victims of state-sponsored terror but that maintains a referral list for other abuse victims.

    But that’s not all the video shows. It also shows an apparently untroubled Stewart listening to the undercover duo’s unsavory and inappropriate schemes. At one point, the ACORN worker suggests that Giles might seek a business arrangement with porn magnate Larry Flynt. At another, responding to O’Keefe’s query, Stewart seems to puzzle over how he might hide the source of his “girlfriend’s” prostitution income.

    “Seems to puzzle over”? Mr. Rainey, it goes much further than that, as you well know. As O’Keefe said to me: “her willingness to do independent research to help us get our underage prostitution business started was not mentioned in Jim’s column.”

    Watch the video. Giles and O’Keefe tell Stewart that they are trafficking in 14- and 15-year-old girls as prostitutes, and that O’Keefe might want to use the profits to find a political campaign — but he doesn’t want to have a paper trail. Stewart specifically offers to do “research” for the couple on that issue: “That’s the research that I would have to do, to find out how we could do that, without it being so in the open. There are ways, people do it all the time.” This active offer to help goes beyond Rainey’s watered-down portrayal — and contradicts her assertion to Rainey that she offered no assistance.

    Rainey continues:

    When I called Stewart to ask why she would offer such suggestions, she said that the duo kept persisting and that she had groped for a way to satisfy them enough to get them to leave.

    Viewers of the video will doubtless reach varying conclusions about Stewart’s credibility and the dynamics in the office that day. But, clearly, the new video helped reinvigorate the campaign of embarrassment.

    Ah, but Mr. Rainey. You asked Lavelle Stewart in September if Giles and O’Keefe had declared that they were running an underage prostitution ring — and if she had offered to help them. She told you she had not — but in fact, she had. And you would have learned that if you had simply contacted Giles, O’Keefe, or Breitbart. Speaking of which:

    I regret that I didn’t get through in September when I tried to obtain O’Keefe’s response to Stewart’s comments. He said he didn’t receive the e-mail I sent via the website that posts his videos.

    This is laughable, and Rainey’s claim that he tried to contact O’Keefe is suspect. Nobody at can find any evidence of the alleged attempted contact. Rainey didn’t say in his column that he tried to contact O’Keefe, which is what journalists usually do when they try to contact someone. And when he did a hatchet job on Jill Stewart, Rainey didn’t try to contact her. These facts cast doubt on Rainey’s claim to have contacted O’Keefe.

    But even if we were to accept at face value his claim to have tried, his method of attempting to contact O’Keefe was pathetic. Rainey is on Twitter (@LATimesRainey) and so is O’Keefe (@JamesOKeefeIII). You want to know how hard it is to find O’Keefe on Twitter? Put in “James O’Keefe” into the search box and he is the top result. And yes, O’Keefe was on Twitter back in mid-September, when Rainey wrote his column. O’Keefe also forwarded me an e-mail from L.A. Times writer Robin Abcarian back in March 2009. She reached him on Facebook!

    Amazing, the ways there are to contact people . . . when you really want to.

    Either Rainey is lying, he is incompetent, or he didn’t really want to get O’Keefe’s side.

    Rainey owes us a link to O’Keefe’s comparison of himself to Michael Moore — or he owes O’Keefe a correction. He owes his readers a column that doesn’t whine and whitewash the facts.

    And Big Media owes the public an investigation of ACORN. But if Rainey’s column sets the standards for “journalism” in Big Media, then don’t hold your breath.

    UPDATE: This is rich. Rainey is apparently claiming that O’Keefe made the statement to an L.A. Times reporter — it just wasn’t published. Here is his Twitter message to O’Keefe sent moments ago:

    I’m sure you recall telling that to robin abcarian in your interview w her. She has a record of it.

    Well, Abcarian’s story has no trace of it — so Rainey must be talking about something she didn’t publish. Since Rainey is demanding O’Keefe’s unedited video, I think we need to see Abcarian’s unedited notes. I have sent Rainey a Twitter message requesting that, and will be contacting Abcarian as well.

    UPDATE x2: More on Rainey’s defense in this post.

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