Comair Flight 5191: Media is Swinging at Air

08/31/2006: If Comair Flight 5191 had been involved in a midair collision, then the fact that the air traffic controller was operating on two hours of sleep–and was operating alone–would be pertinent. Those are matters that should be investigated in order to prevent midair collisions and related mishaps that air traffic controllers are supposed to prevent.

That said, those have no relevance to the cause of the Flight 5191 disaster. That was pilot error: failure to execute pre-takeoff checklist.

It is that simple.

I am not trying to demean the pilots or their families; they are not monsters.

This should, however, serve as a warning to pilots–from students to private pilots to airline pilots–to stick to their checklists (and NOTAMs), irrespective of how comfortable they are with their aircraft, and irrespective of how many flight hours they may have.

In most professions, those types of errors are embarassing, at worst resulting in loss of job.

But aviation is far less forgiving.

Riverside Presbyterian Church Votes to Join PCA; Westbrook Accepted to Iowa PCA Presbytery

08/30/2006: Riverside Presbyterian Church–which voted unanimously to separate from the Presbyterrorist Church (USA)–has voted 83-0 to unite with the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA).

Topping it off, Russ Westbrook, that heretic pastor who dared to :::HORROR OF HORRORS!!!::: preach the Scriptures, was accepted into the Iowa Presbytery of the PCA.

Hats off to the faithful of Riverside, and to Russ for having the spiritual stones to face down the Prospect Hill Hezbollah, the lackeys for the Presbyterrorists.

Vox Day on the Evils of Trusting in Men

08/30/2006: Today, Vox Day nails another humdinger:

NRO quotes Lee Edwards’ biography of Barry Goldwater:

When [Goldwater’s] daughter Joanne, not yet twenty and still in school, became pregnant with the child of her intended husband and told her father that she did not want to have the child, Goldwater said, “I’ll take care of it.” He arranged for Joanne to fly back to Washington and have a then-illegal abortion (it was 1955) in the converted dining room or a large three-story house in the suburbs. “I just want to prevent anyone from going through that,” says Joanne Goldwater, who admits that all three of her daughters have had abortions.

Is it any wonder that the conservative movement is so hapless when it comes to ending the atrocity of abortion? Even its iconic one-time leaders are hopelessly compromised… as is all too often the case, whatever their public protestations might be, they act as if they regard themselves beyond good and evil.

Don’t ever put your trust in men. Not Barry Goldwater, not Arnold Schwarzenegger, not George Bush or anyone else. The distance between a Winston Churchill and an Adolf Hitler is rather less than it appears. The whole point of libertarianism is to reduce the ability of flawed and evil men to exert control over the lives of other individuals.

I only would add this: don’t put your trust in a movement either. I don’t care if it’s a religious movement, a political movement, or even a bowel movement.

Truth be told, I’m a traditional values conservative who wants the size of government to be only as large as is necessary. But political leaders–and the movements and parties that they command–are human institutions with human frailties and human failings.

Even my favorite President–Reagan–had plenty of faults. (Many conservatives forget that it was Reagan who signed into law the legalization of abortion in California, a move that–according to Michael Reagan–he would go on to regret.)

And trusting in movements to effect changes that only the Body of Christ can effect is tantamount to planting your feet in quicksand.

I would defy any pro-life activist or anti-pornography activist to point to their blistering successes, in spite of having their allies in the White House for 18 of the last 26 years, and in control of both houses of Congress for the last 12 years.

Technology Should Complement–not Substitute–a Real Professional

David Warner of Prospect, Kentucky, raises some good points in today’s Louisville Courier-Journal:

Isn’t it interesting that I can buy a $400 gizmo for my dashboard that will bark at me if I miss my turn in the dark but a pilot can’t find the right runway on a foggy morning?

The answer to that question is even more unsettling: The pilot’s union has fought more technology in the cockpit because their members want to be “jet jockeys” and not play second fiddle to a jet that can easily take off and land by itself.

The joke is that the typical passenger with a laptop has more computer horsepower than you’ll find in the cockpit. Since the vast majority of plane crashes are “pilot error,” isn’t it time for an upgrade … that doesn’t have to look out the window to see if the jet is on the correct runway?

While the case is strong for more in-cockpit technology, it should serve as a complement–and not a substitute–for a pilot who is meticulous with his or her checklists. Airlines will not be safer if pilots begin relying on technology to maintain safety.

After all, when–not if–such technology fails or malfunctions, the checklist–with all its mundanities–is the difference between a safe flight and a disaster.

Some have made comparable arguments with respect to medicine, as very impressive decision support technology–using Artificial Intelligence (AI)–exists that allows computers to perform medical diagnoses. Many financial companies use this technology to augment their management of client portfolios.

Anyone who doubts the capacities of AI needs to take it up with Garry Kasparov.

However, in the real world, batteries die at the darndest times; circuit components break down; power surges destroy electronic components; hard-drives crash; databases get corrupted; programs crash when memory runs out (and the amount of available memory is often inversely proportional to the immediacy of the situation). Automated systems do fail.

Engineers, pilots, physicians, database administrators, network analysts, and application developers are well-acquainted with Murphy’s Law: when those systems fail, they will fail at the worst possible times .

With pilots–as with physicians–technology can be very effective as a redundancy: a fail-safe, if you will.

However, there remains no substitute for a pilot performing pre-flight and pre-takeoff check, or a physician who researches, speaks with the patient, interprets verbal and non-verbal communication, runs tests, researches topics, and arrives at a conclusion that can withstand the scrutiny of peer (or even judicial) review.

FAA: Tower Should have Had Two Controllers

08/29/2006: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is admitting that–by having only one controller in the tower on Sunday morning at Bluegrass Airport–they violated their own rule. Apparently, the controller on duty turned away to perform administrative duties as flight 5191 commenced its takeoff roll.

(In every profession, “administrative duties” are tasks that impede important work from being done.)

While I–and others–insist that the ultimate responsibility rests with the pilot-in-command (as compass headings are a fundamental part of the pre-takeoff checklist), the lack of multiple controllers serves as an aggravating factor, as this made a small margin of error even smaller.

So far, a number of things have combined to cause this disaster to happen:

(1) There were substantial renovations to the runway system, which would make things a bit confusing for a crew. (However, note of this would have been provided to the crew in the NOTAMS, or Notices to Airmen.)

(2) There was only one controller on duty in the tower. Given that there was other air traffic in the area, such multi-tasking would have complicated the job of a lone controller.

(3) The crew apparently began their preflight check on the wrong aircraft. This would have knocked them behind schedule, as they had to do this check with the correct aircraft. (Being behind schedule is cause for many a pilot to cut corners on pre-takeoff checklists.)

(4) The controller turned around after providing takeoff instructions to the crew.

(5) The crew taxied onto the wrong runway (runway 26), in spite of receiving the correct instructions (runway 22). This would have provided a compass heading of 260 degrees instead of 220 degrees.

(6) The crew failed to note the discrepancy in the heading, almost certainly due to skipping over that part of the pre-takeoff checklist.

(7) They rolled straight from taxi to takeoff, without stopping. (This is also evidence that the crew did not perform the heading check.)

Due to the fact that they were on a shortened runway, this might have made it difficult to prevent the accident even if there was a second controller in the tower. This is because the time for the controller to warn the crew, and the time required for the crew to respond to the warning–applying brakes and/or spoilers and/or thrust reversers, would have made for a very short margin of time for decision to abort takeoff.

At this point, the decisionmaker at the FAA who provided only one controller on staff needs to be grilled. Big-time. They broke their own rules.

While a second controller may not have been able to prevent this tragedy, the presence of one would certainly have been a mitigating factor, and perhaps aan abort command–when the crew began their turn onto runway 26–could have kept the crew from initiating takeoff roll.

Pilots have checklists because–among other reasons–as few aspects of flight safety should be left to those outside the aircraft as possible. If a controller misses an error, a pilot can catch it with the checklist. Those checklists include systems checks (fuel, control surfaces, hydraulics, etc.), confirmations of takeoff instructions, headings checks, and even flap settings.

But controllers are a fail-safe in cases like these. With only one controller on duty, this drastically reduced the margin of error.

Terry Meiners: It was Pilot Error

08/28/2006: Louisville radio personality Terry Meiners of WHAS–who has been a private pilot for 20 years–is reflecting exactly what I was suggesting: it was pilot error, calling it “a horrible mistake”.

When pilots are given takeoff runway instructions, Meiners makes note of:

(1) the “heading bug” that the pilot places on the compass; this allows the pilots a reference point to ensure that they are on the proper heading when they take off.

(2) the checklists that the crew perform at each point of the takeoff process. From before taxiing, during taxiing, and before takeoff roll.

(3) That the controller didn’t catch the error may be irrelevant. Sometimes, a pilot will go into takeoff roll–without stopping–as soon as the plane is on the runway. In the case of flight 5191, had the crew done this there would have been no chance for the controller to warn the crew due to the shortened runway, as the window for aborting the takeoff was probably less than five seconds.

These are standard items on which everyone from private pilots to experienced commercial pilots are drilled. And the ComAir crew had plenty of experience and skill; they were flying a twin-engine jet aircraft. Only the best pilots get a chance to fly jet airplanes.

“[How both pilot and co-pilot failed to see their errant heading] is mind-boggling.”

Sadly, lots of experience–coupled with fatigue at early-morning hours–can lead even the best pilots to cut corners with checklists. These pilots were probably very good professionals who just plain screwed up.

In my job–as an information technology professional–even a very bad mistake is relatively harmless: no one goes to the hospital; no one dies; the worst that can happen is professional embarassment (loss of job), and even then I’d have to do something egregiously wrong.

In the case of aviation, however, Newtonian physics puts you behind the 8-ball. As Warwick at 3NailsMinistries said, “the Law of Gravity has not been repealed.” Neither have Newton’s First or Second Laws of motion for that matter. Aviation can be unforgiving of otherwise innocuous mistakes.

That’s why pilots have checklists.

Ultimately, I’d say we will see three things happen as a result of this:

(1) Bluegrass Airport will ensure that at least two controllers are in the tower at all times
(2) There will be a push for electronic warning systems, in the event of improper runway selection.
(3) There will be a renewed push on pilots to execute their checklists.

Airline Crash in Lexington: ComAir Flight 5191 Took Off From Wrong Runway

08/27/2006: Airline disasters in Kentucky are rare; today’s crash of ComAir Flight 5191 is in fact the worst such crash in Kentucky history. The total death toll is 49. The first officer–James M. Polehinke–is the only survivor. He is in critical condition at University of Kentucky Hospital.

According to WHAS in Lexington, it has been confirmed that the plane–which crashed just after takeoff–took off from the wrong runway, and that there was one contoller in the tower at the time.

This could either be controller error–in which the contoller provided the wrong instruction to the pilot–or the pilot failing to follow directions according to the takeoff checklist. A serious issue will be whether takeoff clearance from that runway was requested and/or granted.

Unforunately, the runway used for takeoff was 3,500 feet; however, according to the most immediate information I am finding, the CRJ-200 needs 5,800 feet to take off when fully-loaded. (WHAS is saying 5,009 feet, but I’m seeing 5,800. However, that difference is moot, as–either way–there is a catastrophic variance between takeoff distance required and runway length.)

The plane was at almost full capacity–it seats 50. At this point, there has been no indication that there was an engine failure which, on takeoff, would have been a double whammy.

UPDATE: It is also being reported–by WHAS in Lexington–that there was a small amount of rain at the time, and that there was some downdraft. Whether or not the strength of this would have been sufficient to bring down an aircraft has not been confirmed. However, combined with a short runway, the flight may not have had sufficient airspeed to withstand even a mild wind disturbance.

UPDATE 2: According to CNN, the flight was cleared for takeoff on runway 4-22, which was 7,000 feet long. Instead, the crew used runway 8-26. The latter was for general aviation–small craft–and only 3,500 feet in length.

Possible factors: crew fatigue, failure by crew to relay takeoff instructions in the checklist, failure by controller to alert aircraft that wrong runway is being used (this is possible if that lone controller was directing incoming aircraft).

UPDATE 3: That report of rain may have been inaccurate, as–according to the National Weather Service in Louisville–winds were only about 10 mph and the rain had cleared out at 6 am, the approximate time of takeoff. There were no visibility restrictions and no clouds.

This is looking more and more like pilot error due to failure to follow portions of the checklist. Takeoff instructions to the crew from the controller would have been detailed down to the turn directions, and the pilot is responsible for confirming to ensure that the proper runway is being used before taking off. In this case, the ultimate buck stops with the pilot-in-command.
The crew had ample flight experience, including with the CJ-200. Then again, a pilot with lots of experience flying early in the morning could easily be tempted not to use the checklist. Failure to do that is a very common cause for accidents on takeoff and landing. One of the worst of which was Northwest Airlines Flight 255 from Detroit (August 16, 1987). This killed 148 passengers, 6 crew, and two motorists on I-94. A 4-year-old girl, shielded from the flames by her mother, survived.

Correction: Cecilia Cichan–the lone survivor of Northwest Airlines Flight 255–was not shielded by her mother (as was reported at the time…I remember those like it happened yesterday!). What makes her survival all the more miraculous is that her mom was found several feet from where Cecilia was found.

UPDATE 4: WHAS in Lexington is reporting that Doppler images from this morning are in fact indicating that there was a small storm that quickly dissipated, which happened to be right at the spot where the crash occurred. (This would contradict the initial reports out of the National Weather Service in Louisville.) Winds were estimated at about 20 mph at the time. The role–if any–that may have played in the accident is only ascertainable from the flight data recorders. We await the official word from the NTSB.

A 20 mph wind may not seem like much, but if an airplane is struggling to gain altitude after taking off from a runway that was too short, even such an otherwise innocuous shift of wind could have dropped that plane right into the trees.

So far, the confirmed dead include:

(1) Horse trainer Jeff Williams

(2) Jonathan Walton Hooker–a former UK baseball player–and his wife, Scarlet Catherine Parsley. They were just married last night.

(3) Patrick Smith, a member of the International Board of Habitat for Humanity. He was heading for Gulfport, Mississippi for the anniversary of the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

(4) Jeffrey Clay, the Captain. A Vineland, New Jersey native, he was not far from my former stomping grounds (the ‘burbs of Philadelphia).

(5) Kelly Heyer, the flight attendant.

The really good news: Hats off to the first responders–who included a Lexington Police Officer–who were on the scene almost immediately, who pulled First Officer James M. Polehinke from the wreckage. Hopefully, he will make it.

The really bad news (and there will be lots of it as the cases unfold): A 16-year-old girl was killed on the flight. Her mom–who was supposed to be on that flight as well–was bumped at the last minute. I’ll be praying for that poor mom who now must bury her 16-year-old child.

UPDATE 5: The NTSB is saying that this was a CRJ-100, not a CRJ-200. The former is the older version of the same aircraft. However, the takeoff distance seems to be the same. Converting the given distance–1,768 meters–to feet gives about 5,800 feet. Ergo, the smaller runway still would have been equally problematic.

UPDATE 6: The NTSB (and WHAS Lexington) are reporting that the aircraft crashed through the perimeter fence. This is significant in that it would have been at least as contributory to the accident as any speculative wind gust. This is because the fence could have caused structural damage to the wings, control surfaces, and also the engine that would have hindered the flight from gaining altitude.

One respondent asked if the crew could have tried to abort the takeoff once they realized they were on the wrong runway. While that is possible, that would have been an extremely high-risk maneuver, as given the shorter runway–the “decision speed”; i.e., the speed past which aborting the takeoff is not possible–would be lower than for the longer runway.

I would suggest that–more than likely–they attempted to take off because aborting would have been more certain disaster given the shorter reaction time required for aborting. Aborting a takeoff on such a short runway–with a jet aircraft–would have been very difficult even if the crew had recognized their error early. Short runway=RAZOR THIN margin of error.

UPDATE 7: Another factor that has not been mentioned as a contributor is the possibility that the plane could have been overloaded. The CRJ-100 seats 50, and there were 47 passengers and three crew (50 people). Depending on the total weight of the luggage–and the total weight of the passengers–it is possible that the plane may have been overloaded.

Coupled with the takeoff on a short runway, if this were the case it would have been an aggravating factor.

In aerospace terms, overloading causes the center of gravity to fall behind the “aerodynamic center”, which makes the aircraft “statically unstable”.

In layman’s terms, it means you will be absolutely unable to fly the plane safely.

Ultimately, the loading of the aircraft is the responsibility of the pilot-in-command, but even he or she is at the mercy of the available instrumentation and/or their estimation skills. Depending on the instrumentation, that part is not always an exact science.

It’s easy to make all those hypothetical weight and balance calculations at a desk; it’s another matter when you have real loading situations at 6 in the morning on a Sunday.

UPDATE 8: In a briefing currently in progress, the NTSB indicated that when the aircraft began acceleration, “it continued accelerating until it crashed”. That would indicate that there was no attempt to abort the takeoff. (I expected that because–given that the runway was too short–such an evasive move would have carried even more risk than attempting to complete the takeoff once any error might have been recognized. Once the takeoff roll had commenced, the crew probably had three seconds or less to decide to abort the takeoff.)

UPDATE 9: According to radio station WVLK in Lexington, the crew had arrived in Lexington at about 12:30 am on Sunday. If this account is confirmed as fact, then crew fatigue is going to be a huge contributory factor.

Given that Flight 5191 crashed at 6:07 am, the crew likely had less than 4 hours of sleep. Such fatigue has been known to cause flight crews to get lax with their checklists, and this case is almost clearly a failure to execute the checklist. (The runway number includes the heading; the controller had provided the correct heading; and the crew failed to confirm before takeoff that the plane was pointed at the correct heading– that is a checklist issue.)

American Airlines Flight 1420 (Little Rock, AR, 01 June 1999) is a prominent example of this, as crew fatigue was listed as a contributory factor as to why the pilots failed to ensure that the spoilers were extended after the aircraft had touched down. (That was a failure to execute the checklist.)

Congregation Defects from PCUSA, Gets to Keep Property

08/25/2006: While the Church is not about buildings but rather about The Body, the building–as a place of assembly–is a practical matter.

Ergo, when congregations within the Presbyterian Church (USA) decide to jump ship–because the PCUSA has long abandoned any semblance of Biblical Christianity–the PCUSA (also called the Presbyterrorists, to borrow a term from Jon Thomasson) has has been playing serious hardball to hold onto those buildings, even filing suit in secular court against the congregants in order to keep that property.

Well, congregtions wishing to bolt the PCUSA have made some legal headway in combating the legal roughhouse tactics of the Presbyterrorists. A state judge in New York has ruled in favor of The Church of Ridgebury. While this does not establish a binding legal precedent nationally–some parts of the ruling are specific to New York law–it does provide a glimmer of hope for congregants involved in litigation in other states.

Besides, it’s nice to see the Presbyterrorists lose one. The Church is about the Body–something the Presbyterrorists don’t quite grasp–but it doesn’t hurt when congregants get to keep the place of assembly.

My $0.02 on Jacqueline Passey

08/25/2006: Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey has certainly set off a firestorm of comments across the blogosphere with her Dating Tip: Quality Dates Quality post. I’ll provide her words, and add some thoughts of my own.

Over the past month (since I left Terrence) I’ve received several offers of dates and relationships from various men who read this blog. I’m not looking for a new boyfriend right now but it seems I should clarify what it is I look for in a man when I am, which will hopefully stem the flow of offers from guys who really don’t have it.

I am a very high-quality woman. I know that sounds arrogant, but let’s consider the facts:

* I’m slim (whereas 62% of American women age 20 to 74 are overweight)
* I’m attractive (my new picture has been rated more attractive than 86% of the women on Hot or Not — and the women who upload their pictures are a self-selected sample that is probably already biased towards being more attractive than the general female population)
* I’m relatively young (whereas 82% of American adult women are over 30 years old)
* I’m intelligent (IQ tested at 145 when I was a child, which is 3 standard deviations above the mean — higher than 99.85% of the population. Even if I’ve gotten dumber as I’ve aged I’m probably still at least a 130, which is higher than 97.5% of the population.)
* I’m educated (whereas 77% of American women do not have bachelor’s degrees)
* I have my financial shit together (no debt, perfect credit history, 6+ months living expenses saved, adequate insurance, self employed)
* I have a strong libido and love having sex (my lover *never* has to beg, unless it’s for me to let him get some sleep!)
* Most of my interests tend to be more popular with men than women: science fiction, libertarianism, blogging, politics, economics, guns, gambling, etc.

Given that self-improvement is an ongoing project of mine this list will continue to grow (I’m currently working on adding bilingual, very physically fit, well-traveled, higher income, and fantastic cook to the list). So even when “relatively young” (an important criteria for most men) drops off that list, I should have added enough other things that my overall dating market value should remain the same or even improve.

The above list explains why I typically receive 50-100 (sometimes more) responses whenever I post personal ads. This is in addition to getting hit on almost every time I go out alone (and all that those men know about me is that they like the way I look, they don’t even know about all the other qualities I have that make me more appealing than most other women).

So, I have a *lot* of choices of men who want to date me. Given that, of course I choose to date only the highest quality men — men who are also fit, attractive, intelligent, educated, financially successful, etc. I’m attracted to men from any race and a wide age range (21 to 50 or so) so the pool of men who meet those requirements is quite large, which allows me to add all sorts of additional restrictions if I want — must be atheist, must be libertarian, must not want (more) children, must be financially independent or self-employed and available for frequent world travel, etc.

Some people scoffed at the long list of requirements in my personal ad last year. Yet in less than two weeks I found five men who met my listed requirements and wanted a relationship with me. If I were to put more time and effort into looking I could probably find hundreds of high-quality men who both met my standards and were interested in dating me too. I can be picky.

So, although I am not looking for a new boyfriend right now — I am waiting until October, after I’ve decided where I want to live — those are the factors that I (and many other women) keep in mind when assessing potential romantic relationships. Just having some interests in common is *far* from enough.

I realize that some of you will find this post depressing because you’ll realize that you don’t qualify as a high quality man and thus won’t be able to get a high quality woman. You have a few options:

1. Lower your standards and stop pursuing women who are out of your league. There are lots of fat single mothers out there who can’t find dates either.
2. Look in the developing world. If you’re literate with a home computer and an internet connection you are very wealthy compared to the rest of the world. Citizenship or legal permanent residency in a rich country makes you more attractive to women in poorer countries. Your value on the dating market is thus much higher there.
3. Self-improvement! I used to be a fat unattractive college dropout who couldn’t get her life together. Now I’m thin, attractive, and successfully self-employed after graduating. You can make yourself over into a higher-quality man capable of winning a higher-quality woman too.

Thanks to everyone who e-mailed or commented their offers, it’s nice to feel wanted. Although I’m not looking for a new relationship right now (don’t worry, I’ll blog about it when I am), hopefully this post gave those of you who are interested a better idea of your chances in the future.

Update: Some people seem to think that this post is a bit harsh and/or arrogant. I’m sorry if I’ve offended you, but I’m also really sick of getting e-mailed several times a week by delusionally hopeful men who read my blog and think because I am *their* dream girl that I’ll therefore want them too. Too often they act crushed when I reject them, which I feel bad about, but if they had stopped to consider whether they had as much to offer me as I have to offer them then they might have had more realistic expectations.

Since becoming single again the amount of time I’ve had to spend on hopeful fanboy/stalker management has been steadily increasing. It’s uncomfortable, a little creepy, somewhat overwhelming, and I want it to stop. I’m hoping this post will serve as a reality check for the guys involved (as well as any who were thinking about joining their ranks) because I don’t want to have to stop being friends or friendly with the single geeky guys I meet via this blog.

Also, before anyone feels bad that I felt harassed by their attention, I want to clarify that it wasn’t any one person’s behavior that has made me this uncomfortable, rather it’s the cumulative effect of being simultaneously aggressively pursued by several men who I don’t have reciprocal feelings for. Most of you probably didn’t realize that you weren’t the only one hitting on me over the past few weeks. But now you do, and I need you all to cool it.

I do still want to spend time with *friends* as *friends* over the next few weeks, but I am *not* in the market for a new boyfriend right now.

Update II: I’m the most “self righteous bitch” in the blogosphere now! Cool.

Update III: The “fallout”.

My first thought: Let’s give Jacqueline credit where credit is due: she’s honest about herself. She may be narcissistic. So what? Many of her detractors are too; they are just too busy griping about Jacqueline. The difference: she is honest and many of them are not.

My second thought: Bravo that she would have high expectations of her men! Let’s be fair: there is nothing wrong with insisting that a potential mate take care of one’s self. That includes–but is not restricted to–stability, maturity, and financial responsibility.

Given that she is making a case from a secular framework, I would challenge that some of her criteria are shallow (atheism), but others are matters of good common sense. Could it be that many of her detractors simply don’t measure up?

My third thought: She is far more open-minded than her detractors would suggest. Given that she is open to men of wide age variance–and even races–she is more open-minded in many areas than many men would be.

My fourth thought: Given that she is an atheist, how could anyone consider her self-righteous? Righteousness is a theological attribute, and–while Jacqueline seems otherwise quite intelligent and informed–theological matters are not among her area of expertise.

And that brings me to my final thought: Given that she is atheist and clearly secular, I contend that she is setting her eyes on some of the wrong criteria; however, that is purely due to my theological differences with her as I am arguing from a Christian framework and she is closer to Ayn Rand.

As a Christian, I personally find her far more hedonistic than I would prefer–I would not want someone who wears her libido on her sleeve, as I consider that a private matter–but, like I said, at least she is honest about what she wants and expects.

I may disagree with her on many things, but that honesty is laudable.

Kentucky AG Stumbo Does About Face, Drops Charges against Gov. Fletcher

08/25/2006: While I have ripped Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher for his lousy performance and political pettiness, I have even more ire to burn with Attorney General Greg “Who’s Your Daddy?” Stumbo?

Over the past 15 months, Stumbo has spent $5 million in Kentucky taxpayer dollars pursuing a governor for things that amounted to pure politics. At the center of the “scandal”: the Fletcher Administration subverted state hiring laws to place GOP workers in merit positions.

(As a former contractor for a merit agency, I can attest firsthand that such practice is nothing new, and was in fact widespread throughout every Democrat administration preceding Fletcher, the first Republican governor in 34 years. This does not excuse Fletcher–as we conservatives expected Fletcher to run things more above-board than his predecessors–but it is petty politics.)

For the last 15 months, Stumbo was headstrong about vigorously prosecuting these cases, and even secured misdemeanor indictments against Fletcher. Up until last week, Stumbo was insistent on prosecuting Fletcher this year, and some in the General Assembly raised the specter of impeachment.

Yesterday, Stumbo had the charges dismissed with prejudice. In legalese, that means the charges cannot be brought against Fletcher again. Contrary to talk-show host Francene’s bloviation, this was not a plea agreement, as there was no arraignment nor was there any plea entered.

The charges were dropped, for good.

So Stumbo spent $5 million pursuing misdemeanor charges that he ultimately agreed to drop without prejudice?

He went from being headstrong in favor of prosecuting Fletcher, and then effectively ran with his tail between his legs?

How much do you want to bet that the GOP has the goods on Stumbo?

What was it? Some political hiring snafus of his own? Another mistress? Another child in need of support? Another salty sex scandal that would make Paul Patton blush?

Attorneys General do not spend $5 million to secure indictments to charges that they intend to drop–with prejudice–with minimal concessions.

Someone nailed Stumbo to the wall, and you can bet mucho buckos that Stumbo is finished politically.