Hard to swallow

I took a break from the media news last week.

Busy week

It wasn’t a real break for me, I just had a bunch of closer to home events going on. I don’t rise to these occasions like I used to.

Grandma was sick, noro-virus, her nursing home was quarantined. It is good that they are so careful, but a pain in the hindquarters for me: Friday was her 95th birthday and I had plans that involved a party in one of their rooms.

Dad came home from Arizona and when he called his cell phone was dead and his cable TV was being weird. This matter for me only in that he won’t make phone calls so I have to go over and do the calls. It turned out that these problems resolved themselves over night (his phone charged and the cable company finished whatever work they were doing nearby, but we were there before we realized that. The island isn’t far, I live less than 10 miles away as the crow flies, but with ferries a quick trip is both difficult and a bit spendy, besides we hadn’t seen him since the beginning of January, so we hung out for a while.

It gave me a chance to make phone calls. I received the call from the social worker that same morning (Thursday, remember Friday was the birthday). I was on the phone trying to rent a wheel chair van and find a restaurant that I thought I could get her into (“accessible” means dramatically different things to different people). It took a quite a while and a slew of phone calls but I did get it arranged.

KSM-20180324-Fam_damnly-01

We did it! Everything went off well. I can’t say there were no hitches, but in the end that doesn’t really matter.

Back to the real world

Under the big top in the “other Washington”

My first taste of the news was reading A Lot from Lydia’s post: This Week of Trump’s. It made me glad I wasn’t paying attention to national news during the week. My stress level would have been even higher, and watching the crap unfold is a lot like watching a train wreck with a bunch of cars stuck on the track at uneven distances. Bang, bang bang. Pause. Bang. Pause. Bang, bang, bang, bang. Or hearing the firecrackers go off in China on auspicious days for weddings. You never know when you are going to get hit with the “hot noise”, or how far away it’s going to be. It draws attention from other issues.

One such issue: Deregulating airlines

This morning’s paper has a bunch of stuff (much already covered by Lydia). Since my husband reads the front section first, slowly, I grabbed the business section. The big headline on this section “Airlines strive to reverse rules protecting passengers”. My blood boiled. I find this hard to swallow.

The paper also had an article, “Why is it so hard to get the airline seat you want?” You should read it. But, spoiler alert, it doesn’t point to an industry that deserves to be trusted to police itself, or have the extremely minimal consumer protections in existence revoked.

The thing that bugs me most is that, while the article mentions that the US Department of Transportation has to hold hearings about changes, there is no mention of how one can  make a comment for one’s self. Since many people fly that seems like a pretty big gap in information. It is also interesting that the story isn’t listed on the front page briefs of their web site under business. Although Florida’s foray into Atlantic Salmon farming made the cut.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Transportation temporarily froze all pending airline-industry regulations as part of an administration push to cut the burden of red tape on American businesses. And it asked the public and airlines for comments on existing regulations that could be halted, revised or repealed.

There is a DC Industry trade group (lobby) called “Airlines for America”, as well as individual airlines, who, apparently, know how to get their requests in.

Airlines for America, a Washington, D.C.-based industry trade group, called the Transportation Department’s initiative “a much-welcomed shift from a decade’s-long Washington practice of regulatory interference in the market.”

On the “A4A” website:

A4A advocates on behalf of our members to shape crucial policies and measures that promote safety, security and a healthy airline industry.We work collaboratively with airlines, labor, Congress and the Administration to improve air travel for everyone.

Notice that they don’t engage passengers (aka, sardines) in their collaboration? The logic is that passengers should be represented by the government. Does anyone else feel uneasy?

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