Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Did suicidal pilot crash Germanwings jet?

It is almost as if Stephen King had written the script. In the past six years a series of commercial airline crashes has raised questions about whether crazy computers had taken over aviation.
Five crashes have occurred that were the result of unexplained circumstances.
In the latest, the almost immediate discovery of the wreckage and black box made it appear likely investigators would quickly be able to explain why 150 people had died on a flight from Barcelona to Dusseldorf.
French prosecutor Brice Robin on Thursday said information from the flight recording equipment indicates co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to “destroy the plane,” according to the BBC. Lubitz maneuvered the plane into a descent and crashed it into the mountains.
The pilot could be heard pounding on the cockpit door and the passengers screaming as the plane hit the mountainside.
Media reports were quick to report that the Germanwings Airbus subsidiary had issued a distress call before crashing into the Alps on Tuesday.
There was no distress call, merely air traffic controllers designating that the plane had left its route.
The New York Times later reported one of the flight data recorders indicated one of the pilots had left the cockpit and had been locked out before the plane began descending into the mountains.
He could be heard trying to force his way back into the cockpit. It wasn’t clear whether it was the pilot or co-pilot.
On Wednesday, the Times reported: “The guy outside is knocking lightly on the door, and there is no answer. And then he hits the door stronger, and no answer. There is never an answer.” Then, the source said, “You can hear he is trying to smash the door down.”
There was no weather condition that would have led to the plane descending, and it did not seek to be looking for a place to land.
“We don’t know yet the reason why one of the guys went out. But what is sure is that at the very end of the flight, the other pilot is alone and does not open the door,” the investigator.
It is possible that after one pilot left the cockpit that the other had some kind of medical emergency. It was not clear whether the pilot who had left the cockpit should have been able to get back inside.

Air crash shows media weaknesses on crash reporting

Viewers were assured from the horrible start that the crash of a Germanwings jet in the Alps was nothing like five mysterious airliner incidents in the past six years. The wreckage was found in a few hours.
However, hopes that the discovery of the two black boxes would quickly explain what happened were dashed.
Investigators have been unable to retrieve any helpful data from the plane’s cockpit voice recorder. When the second black box was opened it was found the memory card had been dislodged and there was severe damage, the New York Times reported.
The Times quoted a senior French investigator as saying the failure of the pilots to communicate with controllers during its descent was disturbing. It could be that the silence was deliberate. “I don’t like it,” said the French official. So far there has been no indication of terrorism or a hijacking, but the incident was quickly becoming as odd as some of the recent crashes.
Hundreds of technicians and investigators were searching the confetti of what had been an Airbus 320 on Wednesday morning.
The media had put out inaccurate reports that the crew of the Airbus issued a distress message.
It also was reported that the plane descended from 38,000 feet to the crash site at about 6,000 feet in eight minutes.
One pundit said that would have been merciful for the 150 passengers and crew.
In fact, there was no distress single, just as there was none in five commercial airliner crashes in six years.
Now it is being reported by some sources that the descent lasted 18 minutes, according to the Independent. It quoted French aviation officials as saying the last communications from the Airbus came while it was still over the Mediterranean. Whether it was eight, ten or 18, it is unexplainable.
The speculation continued Wednesday with so-called experts saying the crash could have been caused by depressurization, possibly even a cargo door opening such as occurred during the Turkish Airlines DC-10 crash in Paris in 1974. That made the plane unable to fly by cutting control cables.
Journalists’ main concern is that they quote their sources correctly, not whether they know what they are talking about.
It is common for reporters to push sources to say things before they are ready.
On Wednesday it was learned the victims were from many countries, including the U.S., not almost entirely Germany and Spain.
In the past six years, five commercial jets have crashed without issuing distress messages. Some say distress messages are not a priority in an emergency situations but they do provide information and can avoid mid-air collisions. They also give pilots of the malfunctioning aircraft priority.
However, the lack of a distress signal does not indicate there was any pilot error, more likely that it was not possible to send one.

Monday, March 23, 2015

California dreaming: Another marijuana delay

A federal judge’s ruling that could remove the underpinnings of marijuana laws has been delayed again.

District Judge Kimberly Mueller, the first federal judge to even hear evidence on whether weed should be a schedule one drug, had promised a ruling by March 20.

Now it has been delayed to April 15, according to the Eastern District of California blog.

<blockquote>Yesterday, in United States v Schweder, et. al., No. 2:11-cr-0449-KJM, Judge Mueller cancelled the March 25 status conference and scheduled a new conference for April 15, at 9:00 a.m. in courtroom 3. </blockquote>

Not only are marijuana users hoping she will rule in their favor, some companies that would see their value rise, are already experiencing a boom.

"Green Technology Solutions Inc (OTCMKTS:GTSO) is making an explosive move up after reversing off $1.29 lows. GTSO exploded in December to a high of $8.91.

GTSO announced on March 23 that the company is close to securing a new permanent location for the Class 5 clean room it acquired earlier this month.

The clean room is a germ- and pest-free environment where GTSO can reliably test cannabis products for contamination, potency and breeding, among other measurable attributes. The multi-million-dollar asset was acquired by the company in order to begin offering scientific testing and quality-control services to the top cannabis cultivators and retailers in the U.S. Accordingly, GTSO is seeking out a new permanent home for the currently disassembled clean room in the state of Colorado, which is home to the most successful cannabis industry in the U.S., " reported Microcap Daily.

There simply is no scientific evidence that marijuana, although it may not be harmless, should be classified with heroin, LSD, mescaline, MDMA, GHB, ecstasy, psilocybin, quaaludes or khat.

Many studies have found alcohol far more dangerous.

Supporters of legalization said marijuana can be a valuable medicine. Some argue that it was dragged into the drug wars to protect manufacturers of synthetic hemp.

Mueller’s decision, along with the legalization of medical marijuana by more than 20 states and recreational marijuana by four states and the District of Columbia, means that  just like same-sex marriage legalization is only a matter of time.

Although the path is far clearer for gay marriage, with the U.S. Supreme Court promising a ruling by June, Mueller’s decision has cleared the way for facts to become part of the decision-making process.

Certainly, drug cartels want it to stay illegal. Marijuana sales are a huge part of their revenue. Cops get bonuses and paramilitary equipment for enforcing the laws. Many government bureaucrats depend on the laws to keep their jobs.

The prison industry also benefits but the nation hasn’t been able to build jails fast enough so their crowded conditions create human rights issues. And it is no secret that blacks suffer vastly more than their proportionate share of drug arrests.

Monday, March 16, 2015

What not to expect from Batman shooting trial in Aurora

Why it happened at all? Like many other mass shootings, including Columbine, cops had plenty of warning.
In the case of the Aurora theater shooting, it occurred in the same metro area as Columbine.
Why wasn’t the admitted killer at the theater, James Holmes, committed to a mental institution after making death threats.
Has government gone too far in trying to make sure defendants are not jailed or hospitalized for making what appear to be death threats?
Perhaps the most outrageous thing people watching on live streaming may not see is a deluge of emotions from surviving victims and family members of the dead and wounded.
The defense has asked Judge Carlos Samour to issue an instruction to witnesses to curb their emotions.
Westword reported: "Holmes's attorneys asked Samour to give victims an instruction before they testify during the penalty phase of the trial, which will take place if jurors find Holmes guilty, about the impact the crime had on them. In part, the instruction says, ‘Your testimony should be factual, not emotional, and should be free of inflammatory comments or references. The Court will not allow you to testify if you are unable to control your emotions.’"
The prosecution is disputing the request to restrain emotions.
If taken to its logical conclusion, such a ruling would allow the defense to ask the judge to remove a juror who cries.
There is no doubt that the University of Colorado psychiatrist treating James Holmes warned police he was dangerous. The doctor got threatening text messages after the warning, court documents said.
Warnings from parents of the Columbine that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold planned to kill fellow students were ignored.
In fact, the teens were in custody part of the time before the massacre for stealing electronics from cars.
Just as the public rarely finds out all the details on police shootings and bizarre court rulings, questions are likely to remain after the trial ends around Labor Day.
Odd, isn’t it, that police are so fast to see themselves in danger when they are often so slow to prevent violence against others.
The judge is seeking a very large panel of potential jurors and jury selection may continue for several more weeks with the trial beginning in May.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Too late for mercenaries in Africa

White mercenaries, either on bicycles or disguised as a rugby team, were never what they were cracked up to be.
Rich mining companies had thought they could save the Katanga region’s copper and other minerals from democratically elected black governments or black dictators.
The idea that they could do more than assassinations of the late Angolan leader Jonas Savimbi, or shoot down the plane of U.N. leader Dag Hammarskjold, was great for tabloids.
Read the histories of Bob Denard or Mike Hoare.
Reporters on the ground knew it was what South Africans would call kak.
The South African Defense Force was fearsome, and fought Russians and Cubans to a standstill in Angola.
But “the boys on order” as they were called in from the late 1970s to 1990, are pretty long in the tooth to be considered capable of putting down Boko Haram in Nigeria.
Despite South African laws banning mercenaries from fighting in other countries, a desperate Lagos brought in some. The first death was a 59-year-old white man.
Odd that the New York Times left out the racial angle when it wrote about the intervention, only hinting at it.
A senior Western diplomat confirmed that the South Africans were playing ‘a major operational role,’ particularly at night. Equipped with night-vision goggles, the mercenaries ‘are whacking them in the evening hours,’” the diplomat said, the Times reported.
A 59-year-old veteran of the Koevoet special unit that fought in Angola was the first to die. He was identified as Leon Lotz, and he was white.
In fact, Lotz died as a result of friendly fire. Some call it WAWA. West Africa Wins Again.
Former colonial governments have had plenty of success sending troops into Africa, but they were soldiers from their regular armies.
No Nigerian government has had much success getting the country of 170 million under control, even with all its oil. How a few hundred or even a few thousand mercs could do it is difficult to imagine.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

American Media, the true story

The box office dominating movie about the American sniper isn’t nearly as interesting as the role of the media in the past 15 years.
Perhaps the story should told by a director who doesn’t talk to an empty chair.
It is a good time to review that role now that the media is trying to crush Hillary Clinton’s presidential aspirations by making it seem to be a crime to use a private email.
Here is a review of some of what these same journalists did in the past 15 years.
Start with the decision to not pursue the theft of the presidential election of 2000 by George Bush. There was no question he got fewer votes.
Jewish Holocaust victims voting for Pat Buchanan? How plausible is that. Blacks were stopped from voting by Florida State Troopers.
The Republican-dominated U.S. Supreme Court intervened and blocked the Florida state supreme court from handling the case.
Then we got warnings of an imminent terror attack. Bush ignored them. An FBI agent warns that one of the pilots told his trainers he did not need to know how to land.
The media trumpeted stories extolling the skill of the killer pilots. Stories about tips that were ignored were given little attention.
Questions were raised by architects about whether the planes crashing into the two towers could bring them down. Some such stories filed by writers were ignored.
Former President Bush then decided to use the attacks as a way to get even with Saddam Hussein for making his presidential father look stupid. He enlisted the New York Times, the same Times pushing the Clinton email stories, to push stories about non-existent weapons of destruction in Iraq.
Stories about Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney avoiding combat in Vietnam were put on back pages, when newspapers were still the main source of news.
More attention was paid to Baghdad than Afghanistan, allowing Osama bin Laden to escape. NFL football star Pat Tillman gave up his high salary to die for his country, the victim of “friendly fire.”
Taxes were reduced at a time when money was needed for two wars, especially to pay the health costs of wounded veterans. It was during this period that the Tea Party appeared.
There were signs everywhere that the country’s economic boom, which resulted from former President Bill Clinton balancing the budget, was headed for a crash.
Bush the second declared victory in Iraq a decade before the war briefly ended.
Long-term allies like France were insulted for refusing to join the war. The media got many laughs out of the U.S. Congress taking “French fries” off its menu.
Don’t forget Katrina. Bush was too busy to pay much attention at first.
It would take a Leo Tolstoy to write the war and peace story of Bush.
The Clinton story stinks. Every email she sent or received was also received or sent by another entity. She couldn’t destroy them even if she wanted to make them disappear.