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04/17/2003 Archived Entry: "Dyanne's Memorial"

Tom Tomorrow's latest cartoon on the SAPS epidemic -- Strenuously Assertive Patriotism Syndrome -- is worth a gander.

On the political Front:

Veteran war-journalist Michel Guerrin of Le Monde, who was embedded in the 3rd battalion, 4th regiment of marines, offers a fascinating and disturbing account of the experience, including soldier shooting civilians. Equally interesting is the economic analysis of Iraq's foreign debt offered by Plawg. An excerpt: "One way or another, the debt needs to be handled: as I said in the April 8 piece, the small proportion that is actually traded was changing hands at around 20 cents on the dollar before all this forgiveness talk arose! Creditors know they'll never be paid in full - with a great deal of patience and skill, deals can be worked out that give something to all parties."

Northwest Airlines is trying to cut 1,000 union jobs and lower the base pay of its mechnanics. United Airlines "will reduce its flight schedule by 12 percent next month in response to the worldwide travel slump brought on by the war in Iraq and the spread of a deadly virus from Asia." American Airlines has avoided bankruptcy only by having flight attendants join two other unions in approving sweeping wage concessions. Continental Airlines reported a loss of $221 million, or $3.38 a share, and "cited everything" as a causal factor: terrorism, high fuel costs, the poor economy, war in Iraq, a high tax burden, SARS.... but there is no mention, there is never any mention of one of the largest factors in the decline in passengers: the intolerable manner in which the airlines now treat customers. We are herded like sheep, made to wait for hours, our civil liberties suspended, constitutional rights ignored...and all for the great privilege of dealing with officious, rude "handlers" who permit you to assume an over-priced, undersized seat in which you may or may not be able to get a glass of water on request. And that's the best outcome to be expected. Other people will have their luggage ransacked and their goods ripped off. ("Four baggage handlers at Miami International Airport accused of rummaging through passengers' bags and stealing perfume, jewelry, laptops and other valuables" have been sentenced.) Some will have their names entered into a permanent government list that identifies them as security risks and refuses to allow them to fly: even those who are demonstrably innocent have been refused any process by which to correct the mistake...tho' this appears to be changing somewhat. If you are the wrong skin color, you are liable to be detained and humiliated. ("A doctor of Indian descent who was taken off a plane in handcuffs then detained several hours by air marshals filed a civil rights lawsuit against the government.") Nothing is ever mentioned about the unofficial boycott of air travel in which a large percentage of the people I know are engaging. Unless we *have* to fly somewhere -- e.g. an illness in the family -- we are refusing to be groped, robbed, humiliated, and threatened by government blacklisting in order to receive the great "privilege" of an overpriced service. One of the reasons the airlines are in trouble is called BOYCOTT!

On the Personal Front:

Dyanne Petersen's Memorial will be held at the Radisson Miyako Hotel, 1625 Post Street, San Francisco, CA on Saturday, May 10, 2:00pm to 6:00pm. Being unable to attend, I have sent my regrets.

It should be a good work day With the chilly weather returning, my inclination to wander about the farm has fled and warming my hands over a hot computer sounds attractive.

Best to all,

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