Maxing Out Our Airports

Nov 26 2014 @ 5:19pm

Traveling for thanksgiving

Adam Minter predicts Thanksgiving-type travel days year-round in coming years:

[E]ven with billions worth of improvements in the pipeline, the picture for travelers remains bleak. Of the 30 busiest U.S. airports (accounting for 70 percent of total U.S. passenger flow), 13 already feel like the day before Thanksgiving one day a week on average. Three airports — Midway, Las Vegas McCarran, and Orlando International — suffer those levels of congestion twice a week. Worse yet, the capacity improvements that are currently slated won’t help much. Within six years, the study notes, 27 of the 30 busiest airports will be Thanksgiving-busy at least once a week.

That this state of affairs is unnatural should be apparent to anyone who flies outside the U.S. even occasionally. In 2011, the World Economic Forum ranked U.S. aviation infrastructure 32nd in the world — behind Malaysia (an assessment that, in my personal experience, remains accurate). This is both embarrassing and somewhat predictable. Developing countries such as Malaysia strongly subsidize airports and airlines, viewing them as important marketing opportunities and first-impression makers.

Clive Irving hates how airlines jam so many seats into coach:

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Face Of The Day

Nov 26 2014 @ 5:00pm

Pope Francis Attends His Weekly Audience In St Peter's Square

Pope Francis attends his weekly audience in St. Peter’s Square on November 26, 2014. During today’s General Audience, Francis told pilgrims the Church is on a continuing journey towards heaven. By Franco Origlia/Getty Images.

Yglesias Award Nominee

Nov 26 2014 @ 4:42pm

“I cannot shake the image of “Jackie” being serially raped on a broken glass table by a fraternity gang a few hundred yards from my office at UVA, perhaps by men who have taken a class by me, especially knowing that her rapists have paid no legal or educational price for their heinous deeds. My own sense of horror and outrage is only deepened by what I found out yesterday: In my Sociology of the Family class, in an anonymous survey, seven of the 103 female students that I am teaching reported that they had been “forced into a sexual act against [their] will,” and an additional 33 of these students reported that a “UVA friend” has experienced such a violation. So, in one large class at the University of Virginia, fully 39 percent of the female students report having been directly affected by forcible sexual assault. To be sure, there are important debates about the prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses, but UVA’s experience indicates that there are more cases of campus rape than many might expect,” – W. Bradford Wilcox, NRO, in a piece called “The Right And Campus Rape”.

Mental Health Break

Nov 26 2014 @ 4:20pm

We’ll be seeing a lot more reporter bloopers after Cato descends today:

The Damage Control Is Done, Ctd

Nov 26 2014 @ 4:00pm

A few readers offer their perspective on the awful situation at the University of Virginia:

I’m a former federal prosecutor and an alum of UVA. I think those who advocate for the criminal justice system being used instead of having colleges investigate sexual assault are asking too much of the criminal justice system. While the gang rape at the center of the Rolling Stone article would be a good case for full prosecutorial investigation, most sexual assaults occurring on most campuses would not. Most “date rape” scenarios would never be prosecuted. Without third-party witnesses or evidence of a “roofie” in the girl’s blood, prosecutors would generally not find enough evidence to indict. The beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard is simply too high in those kinds of cases, and if we left them for the criminal justice system to handle, it would likely end up being an excuse for inaction.

Another goes out on a shaky limb:

As a 2005 UVA grad and fraternity member, I am having a lot of trouble formulating any sort of reaction to this situation without coming off as some sort of rape-supporting monster, but I am very uncomfortable with the rush to judgement and the urge to punish the “bad guys” as quickly and severely as possible.

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They Ink, Therefore They Are

Nov 26 2014 @ 3:32pm

Chris Weller muses on body art, young adults, and identity:

Each inked-up person on the train appeared to be in the same age group—Millennials, to use the much-maligned descriptor. Being of the same generation, presumably we all post to social Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 3.37.19 PMmedia on a regular basis, through profiles and accounts that compel us to confront the question, Who are you? For some, that choice is liberating: It’s a chance to start from scratch. For others, the sheer volume of options can be paralyzing. In either case, modernity compels us to declare our identity with conviction, whether we’ve found it yet or not. Growing up in a rapidly changing and challenging world, most young people have struggled at some point or another with figuring out who they might be.

Tattoos, recent research suggests, don’t just express identity: They help define it. …

We define who we are by the elements that stick with us—people, stories, places, memories—and we measure ourselves in relation to them, patching the highlights together into what sociologists call a “personal myth.” These myths make sense of often-turbulent lives, integrating our “remembered past, perceived present, and anticipated future,” as [Anne] Velliquette wrote in her 2006 report. Some people use institutions such as religion, work, and family to create this myth. Others use material objects like houses and cars to define it. But Millennials are something of a breed apart. Without access to many of the anchors their parents had to create their personal myths, that sense of stability and permanence is often harder to find.

(Photo from Instagram user ane_a)

How Misconceptions Can Kill

Nov 26 2014 @ 3:03pm

Adam Waytz connects his research on the superhumanization of blacks to the Michael Brown shooting:

Wilson seemed to justify his infliction of lethal pain on to Brown precisely because he perceived Brown to be a superhuman threat. It is easy to feel good or indifferent about superhumanization because it seems to “elevate” black people, celebrating their strength and resilience. Some might even argue that superhumanization of black people is our earnest attempt to counteract sub-humanization of black people. But as the case of Michael Brown demonstrates there is a thin line between superhumanization and subhumanization. Both deny black people’s humanity. Therein lies the problem.

A Dish reader made a similar point yesterday. Bouie is troubled by how Darren Wilson described his encounter with Michael Brown:

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Michéle Flournoy, the leading candidate to replace Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense, has bowed out:

Flournoy, the co-founder and CEO of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a think tank that has served as a farm league for future Obama administration officials, would have been the first female secretary of defense had she risen to the position. The news of her decision to withdraw was first reported by Foreign Policy. But in a letter Tuesday to members of the CNAS board of directors, Flournoy said she would remain in her post at the think tank and asked Obama to take her out of consideration to be the next secretary of defense. Flournoy told the board members that family health considerations helped drive her decision and the fact that two of her children are leaving for college in the next two years.

“Last night I spoke with President Obama and removed myself from consideration due to family concerns,” reads the letter, first obtained by FP. “After much agonizing, we decided that now was not the right time for me to reenter government.”

Senator Jack Reed, another contender, has also said he has no interest in a new job. Austin Wright and Michael Hirsh aren’t surprised that nobody seems to want to run the Pentagon these days:

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Illiberalism In The Art World, Ctd

Nov 26 2014 @ 2:14pm

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A reader senses a double standard:

Reading your excerpt of Jerry Saltz’s piece and reflecting on your recent writing on the stifling of debate with cries of racism, sexism, etc., I’m struck by a thought. You say there’s a certain amount of homophobia gays must learn to tolerate because the alternative (i.e., silencing those with politically incorrect views) is even worse. Ditto sexism, ditto (presumably) racism and anti-semitism. Homos, blacks, Jews, women: Toughen up. People will say things that hurt your feelings, but too bad. The world cares not. Free speech is more important than your bruised emotions.

And yet. Saltz seems quite to have had his feelings hurt by being called a racist, a perv, a hater of women. Should he not toughen up as well? It would appear to me there is a quite a debate going on – about whether Saltz’s views are out of bounds. Is that not a debate worth having as well? And if it is, then Saltz and his hurt feelings can get in line with all the gays who are tired of homophobia, all the black folks who are tired of racism, all the women who are tired of catcalling, and just realize that the debate is more important.

Yes, I think the targets of the left’s various public shamings – shamings now put on rhetorical growth hormone by the Twitter and Facebook mobs – should take it on the chin, unless their very existence as a writer is under threat. I’m fine with my being hauled out and shamed, even by Dish readers – but that’s because I have real freedom here to write what I think and take whatever lumps come my way. That’s the beauty of an independent site and the free speech zone here at the Dish. I am not directly threatened by these new puritans in the discourse. But so many others are – in academia, especially, but also in journalism. And when the point of the shaming is to shut down a person’s job or livelihood, to stigmatize so as to punish views that are violations of left-wing church doctrine, then I think the victims have every right to point out the threat to free discourse. That’s different than whining about having one’s feelings hurt.

Because the real troubling part of Saltz’s piece was the pressure to have him fired:

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Reflecting on the Michael Brown case, Friedersdorf insists that, “when it comes to the problem of police officers using excessive force, including lethal force, against people they encounter, there are scores of cases that better illustrate the problem”:

[E]ven protesters who want to highlight the specific problem of white police officers shooting black men—even those who want to do so by saying “don’t shoot” while raising their arms in the air—needn’t rely on a murky incident with conflicting eyewitness testimony where there’s a chance that the unknowable truth would exonerate the officer. Instead, they can show skeptics this video from Columbia, South Carolina:

When I want to persuade a skeptic that police can misbehave so badly that it’s hard to believe until one sees it, that is the incident I thrust before them. Given an hour of their time, I could fill it with other incidents on YouTube, almost all of which were totally ignored by most of the commentators who are now flaunting their outrage at anyone evaluating evidence in Ferguson differently than they do. This alienates potential allies and converts on the larger issue of police abuse … for what?

Some of the reforms Conor advocates for:

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