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Health Care & Environment

07.20 Until Emissions Drop, Nothing Has Been Accomplished: The Climate Resistance Handbook Is Here. [Trump can't be bothered as the world turns into a large cinder. His laser focus is on personal greed.]

07.20 Babies Born Near Oil and Gas Wells Are Up to 70% More Likely to Have Congenital Heart Defects, New Study Shows

07.20 Giving 'Upper Hand to Corporate Polluters,' EPA Drops Surprise Inspections

07.20 With Petition to Congress, 100,000+ People Demand Green New Deal 'That Fixes Our Food System' [Realtime proactive response to reality—now and threatening—doesn't get attention in this greed focused administration]

07.19 Trump administration won't ban pesticide tied to childhood brain damage [There is no truth to the persistent rumor that chlorpyrifos pesticide was heavily used at Trump's childhood home in Queens]

07.19 'Unprecedented' Decline of Plants and Animals as Global 'Red List' Reveals Nearly One-Third of Assessed Species Under Threat

07.17 ‘Off-the-charts’ heat to affect millions in U.S. in coming decades

07.17 Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen forced out by board [Given that states have lost abortion rights on political grounds recently, Wen's philosophical approach to protect abortion rights based on ‘health care’ was smarter – therefore it was that smarter strategy that was killed at the secret meeting.]

07.17 Billions of air pollution particles found in hearts of city dwellers

07.17 What is happening in America's Cancertown is tragic, immoral and evil [Niggardly white government policies could change to produce better students, better jobs and net revenue instead of costs. But it seems they enjoy more cruelty—like Trump.]

07.16 US aid cuts to UN agency will hurt vulnerable women and children, critics say

07.16 Trump abortion restrictions in effect for taxpayer-funded clinics

07.15 The response to DRC’s Ebola crisis isn’t working. Here’s what we need to do

07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]

07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]

07.13 'Climate Despair' Is Making People Give Up on Life [Willfully ignorant governments—having fired many of their best scientists—have made themselves too stupid to despair]

07.13 Trump administration to approve pesticide that may harm bees [The worst government money can buy!]

07.12 These solar panels don’t just generate power—they produce drinking water

07.12 David Attenborough: polluting planet may become as reviled as slavery [1:34 video]

07.11 7,000+ Colleges and Universities Declare Climate Emergency and Unveil Three-Point Plan to Combat It [Fox News and Betsy DeVos never talk about this stuff so it must be Bull Shit, right?]

07.10 Plastic Has A Big Carbon Footprint — But That Isn't The Whole Story [Fixing our world begins by educating your consciousness with the best truth from trustworthy news sources—so you'll then insist truly bad things will get fixed. But if instead you are educated by untrustworthy news sources—then your consciousness could be warped to where you are hating and fighting with your best friends. Clue: untrustworthy news sources never seriously report news about the world's most critical emergency—Global warming.]

07.10 Molly Scott Cato: ‘It’s the wealthy who are causing climate change’

07.09 Judge reinstates Madrid's low emissions zone [Yeh!]

07.07 How Solar Panels Work (And Why They're Taking Over the World) [Hope they leave space between panels for wild flowers to grow so birds and butterflies can flourish!]

07.05 Tree planting 'has mind-blowing potential' to tackle climate crisis

News Media Matters

07.19 Fox News’s star names excuse the inexcusable after Trump's latest racist attack

07.18 In Sinclair's New 'Must-Run' Segment, Former Trump Adviser Tries to Defend Racist Attacks on 'the Squad'

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

07.20 Puerto Rico: top US politicians join chorus calling for governor's resignation

07.20 Fact check: Trump says Puerto Rico got $92 billion. They've seen only a fraction [If he opens his mouth, Trump's lying.]

07.20 "Trump Says Go Home, Ilhan's Community Says Welcome Home": Rep. Omar Greeted With Cheers of Love and Support in Return to Minnesota

07.20 WATCH: Amid Extreme Anti-Refugee Push, Trump Displays Neither Interest Nor Knowledge of Asylum Seekers' Plight in Oval Office Meeting

07.20 Trump Denies Being at North Carolina Rally [Not sure if Trump supporters 'get' satire, but here goes....]

07.19 Are progressives working on a climate plan for 2021? You bet.

07.19 House Democrats demand Hope Hicks clarify testimony after Cohen document dump

07.19 The 51 most outrageous lines from Donald Trump's repugnant North Carolina rally

07.19 The Real Meaning of ‘Send Her Back!’

07.18 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Breaking up Homeland Security

07.18 Deadly Delays in Jail Construction Cost Lives and Dollars Across California

07.18 Inside Trump's DC hotel, where allies and lobbyists flock to peddle their interests [Also, too much ignored by media, the $millions "donated" corrupting moderate Democrats and Republicans every election cycle must stop]

07.18 This Republican's Case for Medicare for All [A well-informed Republican is rare, so let's hold him in the light so others may learn]

07.18 Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after president attacks Ilhan Omar [1:03 video shows Trump pandering to his ignorant idolaters, and together they're making America a greater shit-hole country]

07.18 "Can't Change a Corrupt System by Taking Its Money": Sanders Urges All 2020 Democrats to Reject Insurance, Big Pharma Cash [49:02 video w/ lousy sound]

Justice Matters

07.19 UN urged to act over 'purge' of Turkey's lawyers by Erdogan

07.19 DOJ Releases Strong Evidence of Trump’s Campaign Finance Violations But No Explanation of No Charges [The statement]

High Crimes vs. Human Rights

07.19 Conscientious objectors of first world war – their untold tales [The record proves they were morally right by avoiding violent early deaths of their cousins and themselves]

Economics & Corrupt Capitalism

07.18 Corporate tax cuts blocked at least 15,000 affordable homes in California. Here’s how

07.15 China’s Economic Growth Hits 27-Year Low as Trade War Stings

International & Futurism

07.20 US to deploy troops to Saudi Arabia in face of 'credible' regional threats [Working with Osama bin Laden's godfathers, Trump wants to profit like Erik Prince (for-profit education secretary Betsy DeVos' brother) of Blackwater infamy (hurriedly renamed ‘Academi’), the U.S. taxpayer to pay inflated costs while Trump siphons off long-term emolument largesse]

07.20 Iran on 'dangerous path' with seizure of Stena Impero, says UK [Which is this, a tit or a tat?]

07.20 'Dark satanic mills': Tony Abbott continues his crusade against wind turbines [Too much CO2 air pollution makes you stupid, and turns your country into an “Idiocracy” (1:36 video clip)]

07.20 Bolsonaro declares 'the Amazon is ours' and calls deforestation data 'lies' [Lazy and willfully stupid whenever it serves his purpose, just like Trump. “And the rest of you can all go to hell.” Again, just like Trump. Has your country turned into an “Idiocracy”? (1:36 video clip)]

07.19 U.N.'s Bachelet says Congresswomen opposing Trump are 'fantastic'

07.19 Iran makes 'substantial' nuclear offer in return for US lifting sanctions [Was barbaric Saudi Arabia—whose citizens were more involved in the 9-11 attacks—the wrong ally all along?]

07.19 “The Task Ahead Is Enormous, and There Is Not Much Time” [Read this and learn. Or read Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) | Twitter and/or President Trump (@POTUS) | Twitter. Are you serious? Or are you in hideously criminal denial?]

07.18 Foreign purchases of American homes plunge 36% as Chinese buyers flee the market

07.18 There are 16 million slaves around the world making our stuff

07.18 ‘No rioters, only a tyrannical regime’: Thousands of Hong Kong seniors march in support of young extradition law protesters [Most people around the world have more in common with these Hong Kong Chinese protestors than with the ignorant people at Trump rallies]

07.18 Dozens Arrested as Over 1,000 Jewish Activists and Allies Shut Down Entrances to ICE Headquarters Demanding Closure of Trump Detention Camps [Obviously these are not the immoral and less educated right-wing jews who support Netanyahu, Trump and ICE, and who slowly exterminate Palestinians when no one is looking]

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  Print view: Cheap Air Fares: Just Add Surcharges
COMMENTARY:

Cheap Air Fares: Just Add Surcharges

by Walter Brasch
Sunday, 10 October 2010
"No, sir, I mean you should put you on the scale," said the ticket agent. "It costs more in jet fuel if we have passengers, so we add a weight surcharge."

America's airlines—they're the ones who have told passengers to take a flying leap—have wallpapered the country with ads focusing upon how inexpensive their basic airfares are.

While I don't enjoy flying, I recently had to get from here to there and back. A few of the details are hazy, but I'm sure this is how my conversation went with a ticket agent.

"I’d like a ticket," I said with a smile.

"No problem," said the agent, equally smiling, "that'd be $300."

"But I didn't tell you where I'm going."

"Makes no difference. We're running a special this month. Anywhere for only $300. Now, would you like a seat?"

"Of course I'd like a seat!" I said.

"$75 more," said the agent.

"But you said the ticket was only $300."

"And it is. But if you'd like a seat, that's a surcharge."

"That's outrageous. What if I didn't want a seat?"

"We have a special this month only. No seat is only $25."

"$25 for not getting a seat?"

"No, sir," said the agent. "The $25 is for a strap on the ceiling to hold onto."

"What if I don't want a strap?"

"Sir, the FAA requires it."

"Give me a seat," I said reluctantly.

"Fine. One seat. Now will that be a window seat, an aisle seat, or one of the five pencil-thin narrow seats between them?"

"An aisle seat would be nice," I said.

"$50," said the agent.

"You charge for a seat and another charge for an aisle seat? I asked, incredulous.

"It's a lot cheaper than a window seat."

"Why is it less than a window seat?"

"Everyone knows that in a window seat you can look out at absolutely nothing but clouds, but get the joy of inconveniencing the other passengers as much as you want when you have to go to the bathroom."

"I suppose there's a charge for the bathroom," I said sarcastically.

"$5 a visit," she said matter-of-factly. "Now, would you like lunch on your flight?"

"How much?"

"It's $10, and you get a choice of day-old chicken salad sandwich or recently unfrozen cheese sandwich, each with five potato chips." I selected the ebola chicken salad.

"Something to wash it down? We have a wide variety of almost-cold drinks. $3 for soda, $5 for any micro-mini liquor. But if you buy three or more, you get one free bathroom pass."

"Can I just pass on the drinks right now and decide once I'm in the air?"

"Not a problem," she said just as sweetly, "but there's a surcharge for last-minute decisions. We have to add a buck to each drink. And we take only cash. Clean, unmarked, crisp bills in the exact amount."

I bought two sodas. "Diet or regular?"

"Diet."

"That'd be fifty cents more for each soda."

"That's outrageous. You can go to any soda machine in the country and buy two diet sodas for the same price as regular sodas. And they're only a buck or so apiece."

"Really? That's strange. I'll have to look into that. So, that's $6 for two sodas plus a buck for the surcharge. Now, do you have luggage you're taking?"

"How much?"

"Only $50 a bag. Carry-on bags are only $30. How many bags, sir?"

"One checked bag and one carry-on bag."

"Yes, sir, that'll be $160 more."

Apparently she didn't ace her SAT math test. "You said a checked bag was $50, and a carry-on was $30. That's only $80."

"I'm just assuming you'd want them to return with you. Most passengers do."

"You mean the $80 is for one-way only?"

"That's what the illegible fine print says. Most people prefer to bring their bags back with them."

"Do most people prefer to take trains?" I asked. She let it pass unnoticed.

"Now, sir, if you'll just step on the scale."

"You mean I should put my bags on the scale," I said.

"No, sir, I mean you should put you on the scale. It costs more in jet fuel if we have passengers, so we add a weight surcharge." I complied with her request. "That'll be an extra $15," she said.

"For what?!"

"According to our weight charts, you're 15 pounds overweight. We charge a dollar a pound."

"That's ridiculous," I said. "My physician says I'm within the normal weight range."

"Sir, I don't wish to argue with you, but according to our charts you're overweight. We can't have you slowing down our plane's speed because of your bulk."

"Who prepares these charts? The Society of Anorexic Actuaries?"

"No, sir," said the ticket agent proudly, "we have only professionals. Last month, it was one of the women from 'Friends.' I think next month it'll be Nicole Richie."

"I assume if someone is underweight, you give them a refund?" I asked. It took her two minutes to stop laughing.

"Is there anything else you would like to make your flight more enjoyable?" she asked. "Seat belts, barf bags, headsets for music or an abridged and censored movie?"

I took one of each, and she began calculating the costs. "....And, finally, there's the gas surcharge, state, federal, cloud, and runway taxes—"

"I have to pay for the runway?!"

"You do want to land don't you?" She gave me the total. "Would you like a shot of oxygen with that?" she asked. I gave her two bucks more.


Dr. Brasch's latest book is Sex and the Single Beer Can, a witty look at the mass media and American culture. It's available at amazon.com and other online stores.



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This story was published on October 10, 2010.
 

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