Thursday, May 24, 2007

Antiquer Announces Blog Party Candidacy

It's a proud day in Iowa aviation politics. Thursday. Let that sink in, because pride goeth before the belly flop, which is the sound of Brent Taylor taking the plunge into national politics.
Yes, the Antique Airplane Association's own Brent Taylor (seen at right in Air Force One) has announced his candidacy for President of the United States.
Yeah, who hasn't these days? His complete announcement, including campaign promises and denials, can he accessed at:

For those of you unfamiliar with Iowa politics, it works like this: First, you find a large hog, get a tube of, wait that's how we pick winners at the State Fair. Picking a president, though, ain't far off.

Politically speaking, Iowa is the king maker (note we haven't said queen maker yet as some candidate think she's too good to campaign here--no names mentioned). Iowa chooses who gets to run. The rest of the nation shuffles through the process of voting for whomever we select in caucus, and since no one really knows what a caucus is, we pick some winners, don't we? (That's a quiz question. You have 30 minutes to write a reply and post in the Comments section, where you can also declare your candidacy, challenging Taylor's front-runner status).

Meanwhile, for extra credit go to the nomination link:
There, you'll meet the newest Blog Party candidate for President of these here, and those there, United States of America (except New Jersey. We couldn't afford to buy those votes, but we do have a lease with option should Brent's campaign take off.)

Reality Check:
Now, I can hear the skeptics asking, "Isn't it kinda late to be starting a presidential run, what with only 17 months left to election day?
To which the Blog Party says, "Late? Hell, in 17 months we'll have spent all the campaign money and impeached the rascal!"
So, feel the pain and do the right, delay that--do what's good for the party (which will be held in the Pilot's Pub on 9/29/07). Go to:
to support Brent Taylor's bid to become the next.....blah, blah, blah.... (applause, applause, release the balloons and pumpkins).
Vote early, vote Blog.
Bail bonds available.
Thank you. Bar's open!
--Paul Berge, Blog Party Host
"Party Like It's 2008 and with the Blog Party in the White House, the hangover will be worth it..."

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Next FAA Adminsitrator

Kevin Garrison Launches FAA Trial Balloon

In a little less than a year and a half, we will have a new president leading our country. It's hoped, we'll get all the nonsense of general aviation user fees straightened out way before the next administration takes office. I have been trying to think of a dumber issue that should never have come into being, but I'm having a hard time.
With each new presidential administration comes a new executive team. This sometimes includes a change in who is the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration. When and if this power change happens, I think I should be considered, nominated and confirmed as the new Sheriff in town.

Administrator Kevin?

I have absolutely nothing against the current Administrator, no matter who he or she is. I also don't care if a Republican or Democrat or Independent becomes the next president. I want the job of running the FAA anyway.
I think when you have a look at my new policies and have a chance to think them over that you'll probably start a letter writing campaign to whisk me into office. Heck, we may not even want to wait for the election – let's get me in there today!

Appearance matters

Government officials who appear in flight suits tend to look lame. Just ask Dubya Bush about his flight suited appearance on that aircraft carrier a number of years ago. It is sort of like when Calvin Coolidge when he allowed himself to be photographed wearing an Indian Chief's Headdress. Harry Truman refused to be photographed in a hat and later presidents had mixed feelings on the subject. (Ed: Remember Dukakis in a tank commander's helmet? Remember Dukakis? Point taken.)
Personally, I think for the FAA Administrator, a dark blue flight suit is totally appropriate and in order. Fitting my status as a sworn government official, I would, of course, be carrying side arms. I plan on going to whatever military museum holds them and reclaim General Patton's pearl handled revolvers for this purpose. I've already discussed how dangerous a hat is to a politician so I would limit that part of my FAA uniform to a simple cap with fake seagull poop on the brim that had the letters "Ooops!" prominently on the front.
My flight suit could contain pen and pencil pockets just in case I found a pilot I wanted to issue a violation to and would have a side pocket with a Velcro ® closure on the side to hold my government issued credit cards.

Pimp the Administrator's Ride
I would need these government credit cards because I plan to fly around a lot and survey the aviation system I now run. I would fly around mostly in my modified F-18 or my executive branch pimped out Boeing 777. I would use the F-18 for those "hurry up" trips to places where I wouldn't need much luggage, and would save the 777 for fact finding trips to Monaco and, of course, my monitoring of our environment.
The F-18 would be painted a blue and white scheme to match my flight suit would have no "N" number. I'm the administrator – I don't need no stinking "N" number…
Another great feature of the F-18 would be the paint ball Gatling gun pods on the wings, which along with the big paint ball Hellfire Missiles would make a very big impression on FAR violators.
Let's say I'm cruising along at flight level 490 at mach 1.5 or so. Suddenly, my ATC violation alarm goes off. This alarm is a special pulsating red phone in my cockpit that tells me when an FAR violator is within range of my jet. Maybe it is some guy flying his banged-up spam can around without the proper BFR endorsement in his pilot logbook. Maybe it is an airliner like a Boeing 767 flying along illegally without a charged battery in their number three lav smoke alarm.
Either way, there is a violation of the FARs going on, and it is my duty to enforce the living heck out of them.
Instant justice; Getting a vector from my ATC guys until I get a visual on the target, I arm my Gatling gun. I come in high and in trail of the target, hopefully with the Sun at my six and spray the offender with about 2000 rounds of paint-ball ammo. It doesn't kill anybody, but when they land at the nearest suitable airport my FAR enforcement people won't have any trouble recognizing which aircraft to inspect.
I don't just plan on enforcing the FARs in the air. Let's say that people are illegally lining up their cars at a major airport like LAX. They have been told and told to keep moving but they insist on double and triple parking – jamming up my airport's peaceful flow of traffic.
There is a war going on – If your FAA Administrator is in the area he can roll-in and unleash a couple of those paint-filled Hellfire missiles on the traffic jam. You can bet the next time a police officer tells them to move along, they'll scoot.

Staffing Requirements

In my new role as FAA Administrator, I'll be able to cut costs drastically. My personal staff will consist only of my F-18 crew chief, my ordnance loader and manager, my masseuse, a press secretary and my personal assistant, a very nice female Navy pilot (who will wear a light blue flight suit).
The biggest cost I'll be able to immediately cut will be the expense of too many air traffic controllers. This is nothing against the controllers. They're hard working professionals who will be vectoring me toward worthy targets. I just won't hire that many more controllers as the older ones retire.
How will I do that? After all, the airlines are already screaming about an upcoming controller shortage. Easy – I just make most of the airspace above our country uncontrolled. Less controlled airspace, fewer controllers.

Except for high-density areas and above flight level 180, all airspace in the United States will be uncontrolled. All closed local control towers will be made into eclectic restaurants featuring either a European cuisine or some sort of fried Catfish.
These rule changes mean you should be careful out there and consider taking the family to dinner.

There are Some Restrictions….

I will begin a National Parks of the Air system. Certain areas will be set aside for one particular type of flying. You know – special airspace areas designated only for World War One fighters, another set aside for airplanes without starters, and another reserved only for biplanes. Certain days will also be set aside as National Flying Holidays. Jimmy Doolittle's birthday, Battle of Britain Day and in the summer we can celebrate Wind Sand & Stars day.
The restricted airspace around the president and Congress will have to remain in effect. With so much hot air rising from DCA, it is more of a safety thing to keep you out of turbulence than a security precaution. Your plan to circle the White House while towing a banner stating your political position will have to wait for more peaceful times. Of course, as Administrator, I'll be able to buzz the White House at will.

It is Time…

Don't you think it's time to have an FAA Administrator who has a little flash and élan? Aren't you tired of the same old wrinkled suited mugwumps who make boring speech after boring speech? Aren't you ready for a by-gawd Administrator who enjoys administrating? Aren't you also ready for a little respect around this country of ours?
I don't know about you, but I'm tired of being put down by the government and the public who thinks general aviation is nothing but yahoos crashing into mobile homes. Let's add a little edge and zip to the job of FAA Administrator.
I can see it now. At this year's Oshkosh, people are hanging around the ramp, expectantly waiting for the arrival of their new FAA Administrator. Before they even see me they hear and feel the sonic boom of my F-18. I do a Mach-one flyby, spraying the entire show line with thousands of paint ball rounds. Then I unleash a barrage of paint ball missiles on the ultralight area (damn Hippies!).
After I land, you can see Commander Bambi finishing up the post flight chores in the back seat of the F-18 as I taxi to the line and wave to the crowd.
I exit and am greeted by a smarmy representative of some low-down television cable news network who wants to ask me, the Administrator, about general aviation user fees. I calmly face my interrogator, draw my pearl handled revolvers and empty both weapons into his chest, firing all my paint ball rounds on target.
Then I break out the government credit cards and we all go out for dinner.
How could I not be the best FAA Administrator ever?
(That's the Blogteaser Quiz Question. You have 20 minutes to write your reply and post it in the Comments section below.)

Remember, Vote Blog Party and "Party like it's 2008!"

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Summer Flight

DS Connection 5-20-07 (see Dick Summer link)

"No delay, immediate right turn to three six zero degrees!"
When you’re flying a small plane, and Air Traffic Control says words like "no delay," and "immediate"...that gets your attention. So I flicked the autopilot off... and that control wheel went over hard... and I watched the compass spin up till we were at about 345 degrees...then I eased her the rest of the way till it said 360...just like the man said.
A moment later a big jet flashed by pretty close to where I would have been if the controller hadn’t called the turn. I flicked the mike and said "thanks." And believe me, I meant it. Pilots around here call that a "Linda Rondstadt" because Linda had a big hit called "Blue Bayou" in "that jet just blew by you."
I flicked the auto pilot back on to catch my breath for a moment, and I realized... I was looking at an "N Word." There’s no 360 degrees on an airplane compass. Just the letter N. It means North...

(Click Dick Summer's link at left for the rest of his Summer Flight or go to:

...Maybe there are some lessons here. So... what have we learned ? I’d say it’s time to get real. Say what you mean. Get a grip. Laugh a little. Say "thanks" when it’s due. Take at least one flight in a small plane on a lovely day.
Enjoy living a little before you die.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Who Wants To Ride Air Force One? ©

Who Wants To Ride Air Force One? © 2007, Paul Berge

Forget Iowa and New Hampshire. Why should they choose who’s going be the next presidential candidates? Forget about Super-Duper Tuesday, Mad Monday or bunching all the primary dates into one votefest in early February to mollify whiny Californians. Instead, the next President of the United States, hereafter referred to as POTUS--the one who gets to decide where and when Air Force One flies, the Commander Guy surrounded by a 30-mile aegis of protected airspace--will be selected by (hold onto your campaign hats) popular vote.

Radical, perhaps, but if you’re willing to become a contestant on Who Wants To Ride Air Force One? ©, you may be our candidate to compete against Mitt, Hillary, Rudy, or whatever prepackaged candidate with a TeleTubby name survives the traditional route to the 2008 election. We’re looking for the ultimate democratic (small d) non-partisan, Blog Party Presidential Candidate to be chosen by our viewing audience through a grueling--and often humiliating--TV-like, gladiatorial process not unlike the real thing put on by the Democrats and Republicans. That winner will then be registered as a real candidate on the November 2008 ballot (if we can afford the fee).
Here’s how it works:
Think Reality TV (Yeah, that's an oxymoron, but hang in there). Anyone with half-a-brain, which is considerably more than the usual candidates bring to the contest, can participate.

Step 1: Declare your candidacy here in the Comments link. It costs nothing. Keep it clean, brief and no sniping at the other candidates, unless they deserve it. Instantly, you'll become the front runner, if only for a microsecond in cyberspace. Take advantage of that moment in the spotlight to solicit massive campaign contributions from K Street lobbyists. Turn nothing down. You can always apologize later. Your moment in the lead will be fleeting so be ready for...

Step 2: Issue a Policy Statement that no one understands but includes references to Abortion (without taking a stance), Drugs (without admitting use in college or offending drug firms), Family (be for this, especially if your backer is named Corleone), Gay Marriage (see Abortion), Guns (quick, hit the NRA link to become a retroactive lifetime member), Education (see Family), the Military (espouse strong support here; go really over the top if you’ve never actually served yourself), the Environment (you’re generally for the environment but don’t quote Al Gore) and, finally, Campaign Finance Reform (support any reform measure because it’s like saying you support Mothers Day).

Step 3: Deny. Even though the pack will be crowded at this stage, the long knives will be out, and your past becomes fair game. So, deny everything. Better yet, blame society or cigarette advertising. Cry if you do that. Have your wife/husband at your side. A kid in an iron lung would be good, too.

Step 4: Threaten a Foreign Country. Your choice here. No, everyone can't take France. This begins the stage where candidates show their weltpolitik mettle by rattling sabers and such. You’ll be asked to invade a sovereign nation and explain your choice. Again, pick any little niggling principality that’s been irking you since college when you got caught trying to buy hash there. Now, let loose a barrage. Just be ready to defend your actions or, better yet, blame the press.

Step 5: Cover Up a Lie. Contestants will be given a lie. Each contestant will then be placed under glaring lights in front of cameras and a microphone and asked to deny the obvious. Candidates will be judged on originality, ability to keep a straight face (avoid smirking) and obfuscation. Show undying support for a loyal supporter you're about to dispatch.

Step 6: Speech Skills. Candidates will be asked to prepare and deliver a policy speech (topics to be assigned later). Candidates who mispronounce “obfuscation” probably won’t make it into the final round. Mispronouncing “nuclear”, however, seems to be fine. In fact, may help.

Step 7: Fancy Dress Ball. Each candidate will be asked to plan and prepare for a state dinner. Candidates will be judged on use of silverware, napkins and small talk with visiting dignitaries who smell like mothballs and are about as interesting to talk to as the Jell-O centerpiece.

Step 8: Sudden Death Round. A major world figure dies (Pope, King, your VP, televangelist) and each candidate, without preparation, will have sixty seconds to say something non-offensive about the suddenly departed. Candidates will be judged on stammering, lip licking, pronunciation of the deceased person’s name and ability to end the statement with “our thoughts and prayers go out to his/her family.”

Step 9: Bathing Suit Contest. Eighty percent of your score can be earned--or lost--here. This is where Reality Voting © beats the Hillary/Rudy campaigns every time. So, tone up those abs, wax the naughty bits and ask your advisers what “banana hammock” means before some reporter sticks a microphone in your face demanding that you explain your banana-hammock policy.

Step 10: Stand-Up and Sing. As the name implies, the finalist candidates will be asked to perform in public at The Blog Party Dean Martin-Meets-The-Press gala. You and your fellow Blog Party candidates will make absolute fools of yourselves through song, dance and Garrison Keillor skits as though willing to do anything to become the next POTUS. Saxophone solos optional.

Step 11: Call To Action. Vote early, vote often. Get online and vote for your favorite Who Wants To Ride Air Force One? © candidate. Add your name, the name of a loved or despised one in the Comments link below.

Step 12: To Be Announced (TBA) as candidates stumble. It's a yellow-dog-eat-yellow-dog world as candidates leave bloody political trails in the yellow snow of presidential politicking.

That’s the rough outline for Who Wants To Ride Air Force One? ©. It’s open to any native-born American (if your umbilical cord made it across the border, you’re in), age 35 and willing to live inside a fishbowl for the rest of his-slant-her life. Every waking moment of that life will dissected by blog-fogged pundits who can't get real jobs and secretly wish that they were the Blog Party’s first POTUS.
The best news--anyone can vote. And just like in Bergen County, New Jersey, the more you vote the better you feel.
Mark Your Far Side© Calender: The Blog Party National Convention will be held in the Pilot's Pub at Antique Airfield (IA27), date, time and beer prices to be announced. FAA not allowed unless accompanied by a real pilot.
The Reward: Power. Once in The White House, anytime you want to burn a few thousand gallons of Jet A in your own Boeing 747, simply pick up the hot line to Andrews AFB (don’t confuse it with the hot line to some nuke silo in North Dakota) and say, “POTUS here, I feel like flying to…oh, Des Moines!” You won’t even need to call a cab, because, like Enterprise, they’ll pick you up.
Thank you.
Paul Berge
Blog Party Host
"Party like it's 2008..."