☕️ MIX UPS ☙ Tuesday, January 30, 2024 ☙ C&C NEWS 🦠
Diverse Airline hard landing; secret base attack stirs more war talk; epidemic of Alzheimer's and Mad Cow baffles scientists; electric buses running out of juice; Florida pitches Amendments; and more.
Good morning, C&C, it’s Tuesday! As we race towards February, your roundup today includes: diverse American Airlines lands passengers in the hospital instead of the terminal; Pentagon dribbles out some more information about the outpost attack and raises more questions; new epidemic of early-onset Alzheimer’s baffles scientists; electric bus fleets are quietly running out of juice; Florida leads again and you’re going to love it.
🗞💬 WORLD NEWS AND COMMENTARY 💬🗞
✈️ It looks like I picked a bad week to quit sniffing glue. From the Distractions, Errors and Incompetence (D.E.I.) files, CNN Travel ran a story Sunday headlined, “American Airlines flight’s hard landing leaves six injured.” While it’s true six passengers landed in the hospital thanks to the bobbled touchdown, the good news was the seven-person flight crew included a part-time, Inuit drag queen pilot, two gay stewards, a black one and a non-binary asian with a popular Tik Tok channel featuring the world’s best anonymous hookup destinations, and most important: there were no straight guys on the crew.
Haha, just kidding. There might have been a white guy on the crew, who knows. There are still a few left at American, or so I’ve heard.
Fasten your seatbelts. It's gonna be a bumpy ride. Kind of understating the excitement of a landing so hard it heaved half a dozen people into the hospital, American blandly reported Sunday that flight 271 from LA to Maui “experienced an issue upon landing.” An issue! After collecting itself, the plane taxied normally to the gate and people either walked or — depending — were carried off.
The FAA said it will investigate the “hard landing”, so that’s the last we will ever hear about it.
According to a Daily Caller article last week, American has been bragging about how many more diverse pilots and executives and has hired over the last few years. It even advertised on its website in 2022 that it had “increased black representation at the director and above level by 50%” and increased its “L5 and L6 (pilot) black representation by 20%.”
American might be too good at diversity hiring, bless their hearts, but they’re not so good at the landing part, which is really a very important part of flying, if you think about it.
You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few landing wheels. With all this succeeding at diversity hiring, American’s passengers should expect a little turbulence.
And don’t call me Shirley.
🚀 Perhaps recognizing that a narrative predicate to burn the Middle East more fiercely than an over-microwaved hot pocket required just a dab more data than it gave us yesterday, the Pentagon dribbled out a few more details about the 161st drone attack on an American base since October 7th, after having said nothing at all about the 160 previous ones. And the war drums beat on, as Reuters’ paywalled evening story yesterday illustrated, which ran under the simple, straightforward headline, “Biden faces pressure to strike Iran after US troops killed.”
Pressure from whom?
The article interviewed a dozen politicians, both for and against attacking Iran, all apparently assuming Iran attacked our super-secret desert star fort. But the new information released by the Pentagon yesterday did not in fact link the attack to Iran, it only raised more questions and contradictions to its earlier report from the day before.
Yesterday the Pentagon identified the three U.S. Army Reserve soldiers killed in the remote desert outpost in what is being called an accidental drone attack: Sergeant William Rivers, 46, Specialist Kennedy Sanders, 24, and Specialist Breonna Moffett, 23.
Army Reservists typically train one weekend a month and two weeks each year. Why are reservists manning stealthy Middle East basis?
A BBC article yesterday tried to resolve some of the outstanding mysteries under the headline, “US drone attack: What is Tower 22 and why are US troops in Jordan?” Those are excellent questions, which sadly were not well answered apart from military hand-waving. According to the BBC, citing Pentagon sources, the base is part of an effort to “prevent a resurgence of ISIS,” whatever that means.
ISIS is affiliated with Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
So … these Army Reservists were over there fighting … who? Resurging ISIS terrorists? And, the drone was launched by a different group? Do the ISIS resurgents use drones?
Anyway, the point was our soldiers were there in harm’s way. So … what exactly happened that led to the deaths of three soldiers and over 30 others injured? The BBC said the Pentagon explained it was a mixup, a case of mistaken identity:
A defence official (said) that the enemy drone came in "very low and very slow" at the same time that an American drone was returning to the base from a mission. The auto-response features of the base's air defence system were turned off so as not to shoot down the US drone, the official said.
As a result, there was little to no warning for troops stationed at Tower 22, who were reportedly still in their sleeping quarters when the drone arrived.
So … it was like they put the garage door up because Dad was coming home from work, and the burglars got inside before Dad did. That makes sense for garage doors but I’m not sure about anti-aircraft defenses. I need a little help from our military C&Cers. Is this really how it works? Are air defenses all or nothing? Is the base a sitting duck whenever friendly aircraft fly in and out?
But the explanation is really that simple. None of the media questioned it. From the New York Times, yesterday:
Just a mix-up. Has air defense always been like this? What stops the bad guys from just waiting to attack the base whenever our drones to fly in and out? Nobody seems to have the slightest bit of curiosity. From the Wall Street Journal:
It was just mistaken identity! You know how it is. All these drones look alike. It could happen to anyone. There’s nothing you can do whenever you have friendly aircraft up. So — and most important — it was nobody’s fault.
Last, the Pentagon finally said how it knows who was responsible. It was an anonymous Telegram post:
The Islamic Resistance in Iraq said it was responsible for the attack in a statement posted to Telegram on Sunday. It said it targeted three US bases in Syria and Jordan - Shaddadi, Rukban and Tanf - as well as an Israeli oil facility in the Mediterranean.
"Islamic Resistance in Iraq" is believed to be an umbrella term for various Shia militia groups such as Kataib Hezbollah, Nujaba and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada, that have a long history of targeting US bases in Iraq and Syria.
But the announcement still didn’t tie the attack to the Iranians, as the Wall Street Journal flatly admitted in its article yesterday:
An American defense official said on Monday that the U.S. has yet to find evidence that Iran directed the Sunday attack, which killed three U.S. troops and wounded more than 40 more.
Now, I’m not saying the muddle-headed Mohammedans running Iran didn’t do it. I’m just saying we don’t know. You have to cut me a little slack for being skeptical since, last time, I fell for the whole “weapons of mass destruction in Iraq” thing hook, line, and sinker. At that time, I and a lot of other folks didn’t ask any critical questions or need to see any evidence. We just believed them. And look where it got us.
So maybe we should have a little evidence before we go starting a war with a country that has a million-man army. I’m just saying.
💉 The Financial Times ran a widely-reported and very alarming story yesterday headlined, “Alzheimer’s was passed between humans in now-banned procedure, study finds.” Headlines about the study generated a lot of overheated social media chatter yesterday.
A new study published in Nature Medicine yesterday, reporting that scientists studied patients who, when they were kids, received cadaver-extracted human growth hormone. They found two clusters of disease: a few kids who got Mad Cow (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease), and a different handful who later suffered from early-onset dementia.
The researchers concluded that the human growth hormone administered to the kids had been contaminated with misfolded proteins called amyloids or prions, and that under the right circumstances it could potentially spread. But the article rapidly reassured readers that they no longer give kids any human growth hormone extracted from cadavers, so there’s nothing to worry about.
Or, is there?
Alert readers noted a quiet trend in recent headlines. Here’s one example, from Canadian Global News, published just last week:
Predictably, the experts are baffled about this alarming new problem. Maybe they should get checked for Mad Cow. Anyway, the Global News article explained that, based on a new study from the Canadian Alzheimers’ Association, “a growing number of Canadians are developing dementia in their 60s, 50s, 40s and even earlier, and experts are not sure exactly what is behind the worrisome rise.”
Last year, absent-minded scientists held an entire symposium on childhood dementia, which urgently called for accelerating treatment options:
Medical News Today announced a remarkable discovery last month, a previously-overlooked protein causing early onset dementia:
Last summer, U.S. News and World Reports warned folks that even kids can get dementia, a surprising fact most of us went our whole lives never having to worry about at all:
If you search for them — assuming you can remember long enough — you’ll find lots of anecdotal examples. One New York Post article, for example, reported doctors found a 19-year-old girl had no right-brain electrical activity in 2022, and they diagnosed her with early dementia, since they had no better explanation:
It’s complicated! The New York Post article explained that “childhood dementia … has been linked to over 70 rare genetic disorders.” So.
But the baffling increase in early-onset dementia was not as mysterious to some folks. For example, we’ve seen case reports linking the jabs to Mad Cow:
And not just one case report:
And, of course, based on Luc Montagnier’s work just before his death, they’ve been ringing the alarm about the problem since as early as 2021:
Remember “nonsense proteins?” A number of independent researchers are alarmed about the mRNA’s recently-discovered tendency to produce random misfolded proteins, which they worry is a recipe for dementia.
Early-onset dementia remains rare. Most people who took the shots are not having early dementia, so if you took a couple jabs, don’t start worrying that every time you forget where you left your cell phone it means it will all be over soon. That same exact thing happens to me all the time even without any jabs, just ask Michelle.
🔥 Bad news for the narrative. Fox News ran a long-expected story yesterday headlined, Electric buses are sitting unused in cities across the US; here's why. It’s a defective-bus pandemic! They are running out of juice, but for good. The article’s sub-headline explained, “Cities coast-to-coast grappling with broken-down e-buses that cannot be fixed.”
Whoops. Even in the liberal Mecca of Asheville, North Carolina, three out of five million-dollar 2018 e-buses are gathering pollen sitting around unplugged, unused, and unwanted. The city’s transportation director blamed the idle equipment on a broken door, software issues, and mechanical problems.
In 2020, the Philadelphia Tribune reported the city’s entire $24 million fleet of Proterra E-Buses were out of commission, all done, dead as doornails. A transit agency spokesperson “declined” to specify exactly why the 25 buses – the third-largest fleet of all-electric buses in the U.S. at the time – had been iced, but suggested the issues might be covered under the manufacturer's warranty.
You never know. But doesn’t it always seem like, when it’s the expensive stuff, it’s never covered by the warranty, or the warranty period has expired?
Complicating things, popular e-bus manufacturer Proterra went bankrupt in August last year, after which a small California e-shuttle maker bought Proterra’s bus division and hopes to revive the brand. They might need some luck. Given the headlines, one suspects that excessive warranty issues drove the original maker out of business.
It’s not a good look for the “green industry.” Maybe it’s just growing pains.
But in September 2021, the California Daily Bulletin reported that "As of August, Foothill Transit had 13 idled battery-electric buses out of 32 in its fleet. At one point, the agency indicated up to 67% of its electric buses were not operating during 2019 and 2020." That’s two-thirds, for people who live in Portland.
And in November 2022, WDRB-TV reported that Louisville’s entire $9 million dollar fleet of electric buses had not operated in over two years.
My goodness. The electric bus industry seems to be experiencing an American Airlines-style landing. Sorry, an “issue on landing.”
🔥 Florida Governor DeSantis, having recently dropped out of the Presidential race, is apparently not planning on coasting home. He published an exciting announcement video yesterday, describing four Amendments that Florida will propose to the U.S. Constitution: Congressional term limits, a balanced budget requirement, a presidential line-item veto, and a requirement that all laws — like vaccine mandates and insider trading bans — must also apply to members of Congress without any exemptions.
I like this direct, unscripted version of Governor DeSantis a lot. Honestly, Constitutional Amendments are always a long shot, but it’s not impossible. Obviously it has happened seventeen times before, with the last time being 1992, which banned Congress from voting themselves a pay raise during their current term.
It’s also great that Florida is leading again and taking the big swings. We’ll keep watching this story with great interest.
Have a terrific Tuesday! I’ll see you back here tomorrow for more Coffee & Covid.
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