End of an Era

This morning, an Air France Concorde departed from Kennedy Airport in New York for the last time.

As the first supersonic commerical aircraft, the Concorde has been a symbol of status and technological advancement for over a quarter century. But the high cost associated with maintainting the aging fleet and the reduced demand for seats — costing up to $7000 each way — seem to have signaled the end for 3 1/2 hour intercontinental flights. As the economic downturn continues, companies have increasingly decided to cut their losses on ego boosting but money losing operations (see also: media companies dumping sports franchises).

British Air plans to retire their Concordes later this year, as well. Both airlines have mentioned donating their planes to museums. However, Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Air, would like to purchase ther planes and keep them flying.

I imagine Air France and British Air viewing an upstart airline flying the majestic Concorde as an incredible hit to their corporate egos, but I hope that Branson can keep the Concorde alive.

Is Life just a book deal waiting to happen?

I’m not sure whether it’s a spinoff of the reality TV fad or not, but it seems than any slightly out of the ordinary story suddenly leads to talks of book deals for those involved.

Jason Blair, the now infamous New York Times journalist caught plagiarizing and fabricating facts for stories has hired a literary agent to help sort through book and movie deals.

And those Northbrook, IL teens involved in the Powder Puff hazing incident have been offered a reinstatement deal, provided that they “don’t cut a book or movie deal.” Does that mean that some of them were already shopping their story?

This closely follows Montgomery County, MD police chief Charles Moose’s filing suit to win the right to tell his story in a book. You may remember his as the face of the DC area sniper investigation.

And Stephen Glass, perhaps Blair’s role model, recently received press coverage for the release of his novel, based on his own fabrication scandle that rocked the New Republic and other magazines for which he wrote five years ago.

With the exception of Chief Moose, these individuals brought unto themselves the scandal that lead to the media attention and possible book deals. It’s almost like a new form of lottery ticket, but with higher odds of payout. Commit a crime, tell your story, cash in.

While Blair may not be able to work as a journalist again, he’ll probably earn more with one book deal than he would in 20 years as a reporter.

A book deal would also help cushion the blow financially should any of those expelled from Glenbrook North have their collge acceptances recinded. So what if they end up at Wisconsin – LaCross instead of Illinois, when they’ve got their book deal.

So is that the trick? Do something so horrible you can literally write your own ticket to fame and wealth? Do they figure the infamy will blow over before the cash runs out? Do they hope that the book or movie will propel them to their own reality show, like Monica Lewinsky?

Am I the only one who sees a problem with this?

So Let me get this straight

We are currently wrapping up a war in Iraq that was started because our President felt that their (still unsubstantiated) weapons of mass destruction posed a threat to our national security and that the Iraqi people needed to be liberated from Saddam’s evil regime.

So why is it then, that North Korea admits to having nuclear weapons, after already backing out of nuclear proliferation treaties, testing long range missiles, etc. and we’re calling this a regional issue. North Korea wants to hold talks with the U.S., but the Bush administration keeps trying to pawn N. Korea off on China, S. Korea, Japan et al.

Oh yeah, and North Korea’s leader seems to be insane as he’s currently extracting all triplets from their parents because he fears they will topple his regime.

Blogging and War Coverage

Weblogs are among the new technologies that allow for more in depth coverage of the war in Iraq. In recent days, CNN.com has had stories about how bloggers close the situation have brought the war to our computers, including this story that mentions soldiers’ blogs as well a passing mention to one written by an Iraqi in Baghdad (there was full story on CNN on 3/24 but it seems to have been pulled).

However, the irony regarding CNN’s coverage of bloggers and the war is that CNN forced one of its own correspondents in Iraq to stop writing on his blog!

Getting Scarier all the Time

Looks like one this week’s Onion stories is already out of date.

CNN is reporting that CIA Director George Tenet testified to a congrssional committee that North Korea has ballistic missile capable of hitting U.S.

This news comes only 1 day after Osama bin Laden reminded the U.S. that al Qaeda is still a threat.

And yet the president and military still seems to be singularly focused on Iraq. While I’m sure that Saddam is up to no good and that eventually there does need to be some change in Iraq, I think that it’s becomming increasingly clear that he’s only our third most important enemy at the moment.

So why is it that the Bush administration still seems so intent on pushing for war in Iraq? Why not finish off Osama and deal with North Korea first?

Maybe I do need to go out and get my duct tape and plastic sheeting.