Powered by TypePad

« If You're Losing Frank Rich... | Main | The BP Oil Cap Is Actually Working - Imagine Their Surprise! »

June 06, 2010



Inuits, Bush--Who is Hamas Helen Thomas blaming? Inquiring minds yada yada...


I wonder if Willie, Kayne, and Carlos are gonna make a song for this -

Si se puede matar las bellenas!
Yes we can kill whales!

They're my go to guys for opinions.


For how many years have we heard the HOWLING of the eviro nuts how EVIL we are for everything that is produced! In CA they're passing dumb ass laws to ban plastic bags, aren't they the ones that banned paper?! Now he wants to go after the whales??? What did the whales do to him? Really where is Peta? haven't heard a peep from them about anything. So, that just proves all this enviro crap is well just CRAP! Oh I know we need to not be waistful or dump wherever but OCDers PUHLEEEZ SHUT UP! And now some of these people need to be locked for fraud don't you think...


And now some of these people need to be locked for fraud don't you think...

Yes, yes I do Jann. Beginning with the whale algore.

hit and run

But can we blame Bush? Yes we can!

NO! NO! NO! Forget blaming Bush...

It is notable that the US, which used to have to negotiate its Inuit bowhead quota every five years, will get a 10-year quota if the new deal goes ahead.

I Blame Charlie!!!!


You know who first pushed the ban on whaling? Ronald Reagan.

So the left has found itself in the awkward situation where Reagan was a better steward of the environment than Obama is today.


Not having a whale in this fight, I have two questions. What is the economic reason for harvesting whales these days? And why would anyone in the Obama administration even take this on?

But it sure is interesting, and revealing, that the zealots "out there" can't point their finger of blame at Oh Supreme Won.


no one thinks Obama has a little mind?

Some have said Obama is the smartest guy to ever hold the office. Others have said his 40+ year cocaine habit will leave him institutionalized before the end of this term. I decry this false choice. I'd say we're looking at a 115 IQ plus some long-term damage from childhood drug use on top of psychological problems from his weirdo family. Oh, and the invincible ignorance of a mediocre mind that had neither an interest in learning for its own sake nor any experience of pressure to learn in order to achieve success.

And I may be no one to TM, but I at least know that Stevens' conviction was voided due to the shocking misconduct of the appallingly politicized Justice Department.

hit and run

Beginning with the whale algore.

True enough,and for the record I most emphatically did not think of Michelle in this context,and anyone who says otherwise is a lying son of a beached whale.

Now,I do want to go on record:

Obama is failing his duties as POTUS if he is unwilling to emote about poor defenseless whales.

hit and run

To paraphrase TM:

One of Obama's few job-related bgates's many skills is his ability to run a meeting post a comment in which a wide variety of viewpoints are aired and a consensus is forged.


"So the left has found itself in the awkward situation..."

Not a problem for the left. They don't make the mistake of trying to be consistent or logical. It's called situational ethics.

Kevin B

Here's a simple solution to the whale problem.

Sell all the Pacific whales to Japan. Sell all the Atlantic whales to Norway. Ok, sell a few bowheads to the Inuits.

The new owners will have an economic interest in maintaining their herds in a viable status and in policing the hunting of them. Rustlers will be harshly treated.

Of course one problem will be who gets the money. My solution would be to give it to the UN as they're going to steal it anyway and it mught keep a few of the kleptocrats out of our pockets for a while. As long as they set it up as a one off sale and not some licensing deal then I can just shrug my shoulders and carry on.

Of course, if we get really smart, we'll do the same for fish stocks and solve some real enviromental problems for a change.

Prince of Whales

I protest!


Posted by: bgates | June 06, 2010 at 04:02 PM

I get the droll humor. Funny & excellent, bgates!


Jane says obamasucks

"Prince of Whales"


Barry Dauphin

Let's send Sir Paul McCartney after the whales, since he thinks the Prez is so peachy.


Crew schedule.

Refineries sell, it's New Orleans.

Jim Rhoads a/k/a vjnjagvet

I thought the Prince of Whales was Algore. Or is that too easy.


What is the economic reason for harvesting whales these days? And why would anyone in the Obama administration even take this on?

LouP, the answers to your questions are obvious.
Whale oil was used in lamps until the evil Standard Oil came out with the petroleum-derived kerosene. Now The One is about to ban petroleum (or make it so expensive that it essentially come to the same thing) and all its by-products, so we will have to find an energy source that comes from sustainable, ecologically sound, green sources such as whales.
I do admire the administration for a very forward thinking. It is all logical and consistent if you simply open your mind to the Truth.
There is no spoon....


Whale oil for our lamps? Good Lord we are going backwards in time. Someone needs to tell the old buggy whip manufacture not to give up. Orders might start rolling in any day now!


Whale oil for our lamps would be nice, sustainable solution.
And what was wrong with horse carriages, precisely? I say, bring them back. Then we can use horse manure to fertilize our fields. Everything was so much better before the industrial revolution. So, food costs were higher, but then there was no obesity epidermic. Little starvation didn't do anybody any harm.

Jim Rhoads a/k/a vjnjagvet

Better yet, Katherine, that fertilization system is natural and organic. In addition politicians will have an unlimited supply of the stuff to throw around.


Good idea Katherine. Heck, bring back some of the old diseases. Keeps the population down so more worthy species can thrive. Ah the black death and polio...good times.


Neo Neocon who bills herself as a former Democrat gets out the decoder ring and translates Helen Thomas' nonapology apology:

I wish I hadn’t said it, and I especially wish I hadn’t gotten caught on camera saying it.

But I don’t take it back, I won’t apologize to those evil Israelis/Jews. Instead, I’ll put out some cover words that indicate I want peace to come to the Middle East. Of course, my idea of “peace” in the Middle East is for the illegitimate Israelis to leave the area and make it Judenrein, as I made crystal clear in my previous, more spontaneous, statement.

And then I’ll speak in some general moral equivalency terms about respect and tolerance on both sides—a respect and tolerance I completely failed to show towards the Israelis. That sort of non-apology ought to do the trick and get me off the hook with the idiots who don’t think too deeply.


Good thing Helen did not say something offensive and derogatory about, say, muslims or blacks. That would have required ever so much more handwringing. Judenrein is the official policy of the left, including many "reform" Jews!


Jim and Janet: right on. We don't need no stinking vaccinations but we do need plies of (organic) manure.
I say, Pasteur, though French, was anti-progressive as hell.

Melinda Romanoff

Watch out Katherine, you'll be sowing the seeds for another Great Nantucket Fire.

If they had a fleet anymore...


115? doubt it--not in the standard notions of intelligence.

He has a middling to high ability to read people emotionally in a social context measured against his goals. Those goals are acquiring his "Narcissistic feed". This is the "false empathy" of the hustler and manipulator. Decent people generally cannot conceive of this sort of thing on their own, and it certainly cannot be captured in something such as IQ tests. It is a wholly different capability. It is difficult to understand how it could in fact be "tested". It only shows up on psychological batteries where there is betraying sociopathic behavior.

A mediocre mind? That too is generous. Less than mediocre is actually the case. In a certain sense, the sense of an civilized, cultivated internal mental and spiritual life with a uniquie identity and unique analytic and synthetic capacities, he hardly can be said to have a mind at all. His "mind" is prepubescent. To even have a mediocre mind means that one acknowledges that there is something else quite real on the outside of one's skin.

Again, Obama is a front. His eradicate and bizarre behavior is a feature, not a bug, to his masters, a fact I keep trying to get through to you.

It distracts from the real game: The destruction of America.

Obama is a sociopath, with various narcissistic personality disorders. Yes he probably had an intense drug period (this is possibly why we can find out nothing about his years at Columbia), and yes, he had a bizarre family and upbringing. But he would be more or less the same no matter what had occurred.

What is exceedingly strange--and bizarrely tragic--is that he has somehow been elected POTUS. This speaks very poorly of the state of our nation, culture, society and civilization.

He is not Hitler. He is not his own creation nor has he masterminded his ascent. He has be selected and hustled onto us by forces that understand us better than we do ourselves.

Ultimately we all share the shame--and the humiliation--for his position over us.

On some profoundly meaningful level we will never recover from it. It will mark and blight us henceforward just as 911 has forever marked and blighted the spirit of NYC.

Rob Crawford

Good Lord. Made the mistake of stumbling into a den of lefties discussing Helen "Judenhass" Thomas. "Oh, she's such an accomplished person, so good-hearted, so important... can't we let this one slip go by?!"

Anyone remember Marge Schott? She said some stupid things -- but she had an actual history of doing good things. Here in Cincinnati, it's easy to find people who actually dealt with her one-on-one -- and who will tell you how nice she was. She gave millions to charities -- real charities, not the bomb-belts and burka charities of the Middle East.

But her comments were enough to get her forced into re-education program (sorry, "tolerance classes"), and then forced out of the business of baseball. She loved the game -- you have to, to put the money into it to become an owner -- but people demanded she be punished.

But Thomas? She's lost her association with a speakers bureau -- there will be another. She'll likely get a round of applause when she slithers back into the White House press room -- we'll be told it's for "standing up to the mob", but it'll really be for saying what they all think.


there is an utter deliriousness to the Left these days. They are a cheap parody of themselves. Defending Thomas and Obama and Hillary for their utter incompetence and evil intentions is inexcusable whatever one's politics.

The Japanese predilection for whale and porpoise is akin to their predilection for the most disgusting pornography, and the other violaters, the Norwegians, have no excuse either.At least in Norway it is an atavistic appetite.


Their having another party tonight:

US President Barack Obama speaks alongside First Lady Michelle Obama and adjacent to the box where former US President Abraham Lincoln was shot, during the taping of 'America Celebrates July 4th at Ford's Theatre,' a gala honoring South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and South African Constitutional Court Justice Albie Sachs,' at Ford's Theatre in Washington, DC, June 6, 2010


June 14 Thomas is the scheduled graduation speaker at Montgomery County's most prestigious public high school. Walt Whitman/ It will be interesting to see if that speaking gig is cancelled.


That was fast, the WaPo reports she's been disinvited.


I haven't found any pictures of them honoring D-day. Will keep looking.

(Honestly, I despise them both.)


Wot does Michelle have hanging around her neck, dead pigeons? Scalps? Organic Vegetables? Who styles this woman? Egads, she freaks me out.


When they do this, on D Day, and then say such things as 'security doesn't come from the
barrel of a gun' they fully earn our contempt
Ann. Like that line, war never solved anything, except slavery, fascism and communism


Thanks narciso.

Wonder what Israel thinks of the Desmond TuTu honors?

Looks like Colin Powell got a Lincoln award for his slobbering too.


Sadly guess who is left to pick up the slack, although I'm sure she doesn't mind, in the LUN



Well, at least, I can still laugh at her large arse and her remarkably bad taste for being a fashion icon and all.

Stephanie says Obama sux

and for the record I most emphatically did not think of Michelle in this context,and anyone who says otherwise is a lying son of a beached whale.

No problem...Moochelle is being successfully contained thanks to the EPAs new methane mandates - whaling treaties weren't required.

Jim Rhoads a/k/a vjnjagvet

The Duchess of Whales, perhaps?


Ann @ 10:59;
When is Sasha and Malia's little sibling due?


--That was fast, the WaPo reports she's been disinvited.--

Somebody get anduril on the horn and see if he needs a commencement speaker.


I just returned to the US after spending several weeks in Italy. Our return flight home from Rome was delayed for over an hour waiting for some VIP passengers whose flight to Washington DC had been cancelled.

My daughter ran into Richard Gere at the Spanish Steps. What great celebrity did I have the immense good fortune of running into? Henry Waxman.

It took us in excess of two hours to clear customs in Chicago. Waxman cut through the huge lines and was processed through a section for "Government workers, diplomats and military." Naturally, the rules our fine congressmen create for us in Washington do not apply to them.

Man, was I steamed.

I must say, given Mr. Waxman's short stature, he could have been processed in a special line for members of the Lollipop League.


Tease your hair and throw on the plastic bangles the crackies are back in the house!


According to world-wide statistics of whale-ship collisions (which represents more than 90% of whales killed by humans) most of whale species in the world oceans already reached state of dangerous overpopulation. Carefully managed and controlled whale hunting is a must.

“…fertilization system is natural and organic…”

Root system of common plants does not adsorb any organic matter. Only inorganic components like ammonia, and ions of potassium, sodium, phosphorous, etc. That’s why it is no difference whatsoever what the source of root nutrients is: hydroponics with artificial ammonia synthesized from natural gas and mined potash and phosphorous, or same inorganic salts resulted from decomposition of freshly defecated shit, otherwise known as “organic fertilizer”.

The only difference between organic and mineral fertilizers is rate of fertilizer discharge (thought controlled discharge mineral fertilizers, almost universally used today for lawn management, already alleviate the problem), and moisture retention properties of organic matter.

For the final result – the fruit we eat – there is no difference what was the source of minerals their root system adsorbed to produce said fruit.


I am not holding my breath, but I would love some pool reporter to ask this question of Gibbs or the Prez:

Because of his anti Homosexual views, The White House fired ">http://www.ksdk.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=202393&catid=3"> this Physics Professor from a special science panel convened to stop the Gulf Oil Leak.
Helen Thomas, who harbors and expresses much more abhorrent, racist views, continues to report from the White House Press Room. Why did you ban the Physics Professor but not ban Helen Thomas?


Exciting proof from the BBC that humans have been around on Planet Earth at least 8.5 million years longer than previously thought.

">http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science_and_environment/10209492.stm"> Climate change made apes vanish in ancient Europe:

"Great apes were wiped out in ancient Europe when their environment changed drastically some nine million years ago, scientists say."

Story doesn't say exactly what caused the Climate Change, but naturally I assumed...


The print WaPo finally mentions Helen Thomas.
Style section - Howard Kurtz - Media Notes.

He covers the Newsweek sale, Helen Thomas, and the Gore split up...
This is funny about Gore -
"After coming within a few chads of the presidency, Al Gore has been in the public eye only intermittently --"

Where the hell has HE been?! My eyes are bleeding from seeing so much of algore!


I've seen so much of algore that I was beginning to wish I was a European Great Ape!

Put me out of my misery....

Old Lurker

Happy Monday.

A good Arthur Laffer in the WSJ today.

LUN if the link works.

Rick Ballard


IMO, Laffer has the result worked out correctly but the timing off by one quarter. Q4 '10 is going to be very weak as people sock away a bit more in anticipation of the heavier tax bite in '11. I wouldn't count on any improvement until the Kendonesian stops stinking up the WH in January '13.


Just his 'he played on our fears' line, the various times the Incomprehensible truth or whatever it's called was brought to attention, the way he became rich by sponsoring this extortion upon us,

Old Lurker

Rick I think you are correct. Based on an anectdote of one, I have altered my spending/investment patterns away from domestic investment and back into hard assets. And unfortunately I have had to set aside more cash for higher future tax payments, and that has had an impact on my mood swings, trust me.

It has been surprising how quickly the meltdown in Europe has occurred, and how universally the aversion to soverign debt has caught on in all but political circles. Flight from the Euro will muddy our own reality here some.

Like Mel, I am sorting through old boxes looking for pre-Euro coins and bills.


Maybe they might have to buy out Foreign Policy, that was the journal that Holbrooke
really used to make a name for himself, in the LUN


WEll I heard somewhere this morning that our debt will exceed GDP in less than 2 years.

WE are toast.


Helen Thomas has been losing it for years. Respect for the aged is the only thing that has kept her from being barred from the "establishment" press. Her "Jews" comment is of course unacceptable and a sad last straw to end a career with.
There seems to be an ugliness with her inside and out.
For once I find myself in agreement with the howling pack of paranoid wingnuts. The sooner she's gone from any public media role, the better.
I do wish, though, there were a little more opprobrium for people who utter anti-Muslim slurs...


So if Obama's irresponsible for blaming Bush for the state of the world, can we at last agree that, the extent that any American is culpable, Bush is the one most responsible for 9/11?
And if Obama's ruined the economy in two quick years, do we blame Reagan for the state of the economy in his first two years in office?


DFTT day 4

Rick Ballard


Debt to GDP will exceed 100% within one year. We're at $13T today with $1.3T deficit spending already planned. Currently GDP is running at $14.6 but it will be down to $14.2 by year end. If we're lucky. It's not the first time it's happened and the fix isn't really that tough - get rid of the socialist Dems, take an ax to spending and set tax policies to reward productivity rather than parasitism.

It's rather interesting that the socialists are running out of other people's money on a world wide basis at the same time. Europe and Japan are toast due to demographics, the US is in vastly better shape in that regard.


I must confess, I responded to the trolls, because he spammed more than the "lace wigs"
person on AoS, can we just ban the site he comes from,

Old Lurker

"...get rid of the socialist Dems, take an ax to spending and set tax policies to reward productivity rather than parasitism."

It really is that simple. Throw out the socialist Reps too, though, or else steps 2 & 3 will be difficult.


Illuminating article from Haaretz on the British experience in stopping blockade runners--those bringing Jewish refugees into Palestine: What the IDF could learn from the Royal Navy: Operational success must never be taken for granted and can only be achieved by persistent efforts to improve combat performance.

The conclusion:

But the British achievements were only tactical ones. At the political and strategic levels, which are the ones that really count, Britain was defeated.

Although successful, the blockade did not salvage the Mandate; neither did it save the British government from accusations of inhumanity.

The lessons are obvious. Operational success must never be taken for granted and can only be achieved by persistent efforts to improve combat performance. By the same token, however, tactical victories are no guarantee of strategic triumph. The latter depends on the formulation of sound and realistic policies.


Ross Douthat compares Israel to the Crusader States: Israel and Outremer.

Danube of Thought

Wonderful news about the Peruvian prison system:

"The conditions of incarceration at best will be overcrowded and uncomfortable, and more likely can be described as deplorable and intolerable," said Philadelphia-based defense attorney Theodore Simon, whose clients have included Ira Einhorn, who was extradited from France to face murder charges; Alain Robert , the "French Spiderman" known for climbing skyscrapers; fight promoter Don King and Robert Durst, the heir to the New York real estate fortune.

"The most basic requirements will be in question -- and the basic services," he said. "So I think it's going to be an incredible shock to his system, the circumstances of his incarceration."

Danube of Thought

Minus 17 at Raz today.

Obama held hostage, Day 49.


"pobrecito" the smallest violin in the world for Herr Vandersloot, or whatever you address
someone in Dutch


They caught the weasel behind the Wikileaks scam, in the LUN



Can we amend your "held hostage" tagline to include another count?

"America held hostage, Day 502."


Uri Avnery on Exodus 2010, previously published in Israel's second largest newspaper, Ma'ariv. Avnery draws parallels between the flotilla and the famous Exodus 1947 incident:

The ship was called Exodus 1947. It left France in the hope of breaking the British blockade, which was imposed to prevent ships loaded with Holocaust survivors from reaching the shores of Palestine. If it had been allowed to reach the country, the illegal immigrants would have come ashore and the British would have sent them to detention camps in Cyprus, as they had done before. Nobody would have taken any notice of the episode for more than two days.

But the person in charge was Ernest Bevin, a Labor Party leader, an arrogant, rude, and power-loving British minister. He was not about to let a bunch of Jews dictate to him. He decided to teach them a lesson the entire world would witness. “This is a provocation!” he exclaimed, and of course he was right. The main aim was indeed to create a provocation, in order to draw the eyes of the world to the British blockade.

What followed is well known: the episode dragged on and on, one stupidity led to another, the whole world sympathized with the passengers. But the British did not give in and paid the price. A heavy price.


Perfidious Albion indeed, so "MI-5" wasn't engaging in too much dramatic license, in the LUN


DoT Imagine--All that partying and ignoring D Day and his numbers didn't go up,,,Who knew?


They should have Thad Allen, he's the only one
in their crew, who conveys any sense of competence, having Chu or Napolitano or Salazar out there is a gaffe waiting to happen. Of course, it's going to be bad, more likely than not the Ixtoc spill will have been
handled better by the time it's all through


Michael Chabon has a really rather clever article in the NYT today: Chosen, but Not Special.

For obvious reasons I only quote the first few paragraphs which refer to the Gaza flotilla:

“GAZA Flotilla Drives Israel Into a Sea of Stupidity” declared the Israeli daily Haaretz on Monday, as though announcing the discovery of some hitherto unknown body of water. Citizens of other nations have long since resigned themselves, of course, to sailing those crowded waters, but for Israelis — and, indeed, for Jews everywhere — this felt like headline news.

Regardless of whether we chose in the end to condemn or to defend the botched raid on the Mavi Marmara, for Jews the first reaction was shock, confusion, as we tried to get our heads around what appeared to be an unprecedented display of blockheadedness. Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic cast his startled regard back along the length of Jewish history looking for a parallel example of arrant stupidity and found, instead, what Jews around the world have long been accustomed to find in contemplating ourselves and that history: an inborn, half-legendary agility of intellect, amounting almost to a magical power.

“There is a word in Yiddish, seichel, which means wisdom, but it also means more than that: It connotes ingenuity, creativity, subtlety, nuance,” Mr. Goldberg wrote. “Jews have always needed seichel to survive in this world; a person in possession of a yiddishe kop, a ‘Jewish head,’ is someone who has seichel, someone who looks for a clever way out of problems, someone who understands that the most direct way — blunt force, for instance — often represents the least elegant solution, a person who can foresee consequences of his actions.”


Per bunkerbuster:

"I do wish, though, there were a little more opprobrium for people who utter anti-Muslim slurs..."

Well, have at anti-Muslim Bill Maher!

”Cooper asked Maher if he believed it when people say majority of American Muslims frown upon terrorism and violence and that Islam is a religion of peace.

“Yes, they blow you up. There's a piece of you over there. There's a piece of you over there. There's a piece of you over there,” Maher said. Adding that he doesn’t know if it’s a religion of peace because he has not read the Koran in its original format but said when you read the translation there are “many, many, many passages that are not peaceful at all.”

Or do you have double standards?


An interesting take on the incident in Smolensk


My, what a detailed report, narciso/


Isn't it, we may not know for a long time, the
actual cause of the incident, but one is rightfully suspicious of so many coincidences


Theres's actually a follow up report, in the LUN


Reuters photocrops for jihadi blockade busters.
http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/36489_Another_Cropped_Reuters_Photo_Deletes_Another_Knife_-_And_a_Pool_of_Blood>More green helmet b.s.


It's all very interesting, but there are problems with it all.

One thing that needs to be borne in mind is that the cockpit recordings indicate that 1) the Polish crew was fully aware of dismal weather conditions once they were in the vicinity, 2) that the pilots of the Tupolev considered the conditions to be so bad that landing at Smolensk was highly unlikely, 3) that the Polish crew that was on the ground told their compatriots in the air that conditions were "a bitch," (with additional more technical details) 4) that the pilots on the Tupolev were made aware that a Russian flight had just aborted after two approaches, and 5) that the Russian ATC had stated that landing conditions were "nonexistent." Nor does anyone have an explanation for why the pilots failed to react to the TAWS warning--although there's an explanation in the comments for why the Russian ATC warning to abort was too late.

None of these known details are discussed in this blog--why not?


Is CJ coming back from the dark side, or was it just so obvious


Beats me, narciso.


Reading Russian history, the two Polish partitions in the 18th century, the failed uprising in the 1860s even under the 'enlightened' czar Alexander 11, makes one
suspicious of their designs on the country


Heck, narciso, we don't have to go that far into Russian history to be suspicious.

All we have to know is how Putin has already knocked off certain people that he deemed as threats, and how he wanted to neutralize a pro-US and pro-NATO Poland so that he could exert his own influence in the region.


Right from Litvenenko to Politskayava, among many many names, but like Kennan noted Russian
Nationalism is constant, in the Long Telegram

JM Hanes

"None of these known details are discussed in this blog--why not?"

Because it's not your blog?

Cecil Turner

Isn't it, we may not know for a long time, the
actual cause of the incident, but one is rightfully suspicious of so many coincidences

I think the anonymous guy in the comments had it mostly right, this looks like the typical (for a mishap) comedy of errors. The QFE/QNH mixup is unlikely, though the commenter is mistaken that Russians always use QFE; they normally provide QNH on request. But it doesn't matter; nobody familiar with Russia is likely to mess that one up. I don't know about TAWS warnings. Assuming they're like GPWS, they are normally inhibited (turned off by pilots) for airports not in the database. But in this case the CVR appears to record them, which means they were ignoring them (bad practice).

If the CVR can be trusted, the controllers obviously allowed the approach (clearing the plane to the final approach altitude and fix), and the Poles shot it fully aware of conditions. There's nothing really dangerous with doing that, except it is normally not allowed (precisely because it encourages aggressive pilots to do something stupid). The previous Russian claim of warning off the pilots was self-contradictory, because the guy said it happened after the plane descended below glidepath less than a mile from touchdown (and hence less than 100 meters before the descent) . . . way too late. Nor was the previous story of the Poles shooting multiple approaches convincing. The non-standard terminology is exactly what you'd expect when guys are blowing off their own procedures, and that causes confusion even when everyone speaks English.

The last few seconds is all pilot error. Regardless of the TAWS and terrain warnings, the PM tells the pilot-at-controls to go around and he continues the approach, which is the cardinal sin. Dunno if he was fixated on something he saw on the ground, or what, but it's inexcusable. That's not something anybody else had any control over, or could predict, so the conspiracy theory doesn't mesh with the CVR.

Jim Miller

Some years ago, I saw the following bumper sticker: "Nuke the gay whales for Jesus". As recall, there was a follow-up in smaller print about the bumper sticker being intended to offend everyone.

I can't say I approve, because I don't go out of my way to offend most people -- but I did laugh when I saw it.

The car had no apparent damage, though I should add that it was parked in my mostly peaceful suburb, Kirkland, not in Seattle.

Old Lurker

Thanks Cecil.


the PM tells the pilot-at-controls to go around and he continues the approach, which is the cardinal sin.

What's the "PM?" That's the co-pilot, second in command, whatever, right?

2P: Go around. (call to abort)

Signal at F=400 Hz. (Decision height). (The plane is closing in on the up slope of the ridge and the descent looks as it is increasing. )

That's the last time 2P speaks--before they hit the tree.

FWIW, I think the conspiracy theory is unlikely for many reasons, all having to do with the fact that the Russians never have had total control of the flight records.

Cecil Turner

For those unfamiliar: the command structure of an aircraft is separated into Pilot-in-command (variously: PIC, P, etc.) and copilot (variously: CP, P2, 2P, FO). But the actual functions are separated into "pilot-at-controls" (PAC, who actually flies the plane) and "pilot monitoring" (PM, who monitors instruments and calls out critical information), which roles generally shift on alternating flights. Functions are independent of command, hence a "go around" from an FO is just as much an order if it were from the PIC.

BTW, the term "abort" is used for rejected takeoffs, "go around" or "execute missed approach" is standard for rejected landings. One of the very few standard calls in that transcript was the critical one, and it was ignored.


Thanks again, cecil.


OK, then, Cecil--it's your call. In your opinion, given what you can glean from the transcripts, the info that's fed in, do you think that flight could have been saved at the point that 2P spoke? Could it have been brought up enough to get over the tree tops and miss the slope it was headed for? I believe the tree it hit was 30m high, although where it hit along that height I don't know. That's probably a pretty tall tree there.


Jim, many years ago my real analysis prof wore a "nuke the gay baby whales for Jesus" t-shirt, and I believe that is the canonical phrasing. (The teacher's name? Roger Schlafly)


"I do wish, though, there were a little more opprobrium for people who utter anti-Muslim slurs... "

I wish there were a great deal more opprobium for people who treat women as second-class citizens.

But I'd settle for more opprobium just for people who behead unbelievers.


I don't know who Jan Cienski is (haven't even googled him), but he has a decent article: Polish Plane Crash Mystery Deepens.

I won't quote most of it. Cienski makes clear that the immediate cause of the crash was pilot error:

Although the Russian controller may have been a little slow to react, the recording shows the Polish air force pilots making decisions that have aviation experts perplexed - namely the decision to land at an airport where the weather conditions were so poor.

For my purposes, however, this is the important part:

Although the recording does not give proof of direct pressure being exerted on the crew, it does show that the president and his people were aware of and concerned about the possibility of not landing on time.

Protasiuk informed the delegation that there may not be a landing about 15 minutes before the crash. "Well, we have a problem," responded Mariusz Kazana, a foreign ministry official. Ten minutes before the crash, Kazana came back into the cockpit to say: "For the moment there is no decision from the president on what to do."

As the plane circled above the airport, with the crew straining unsuccessfully to see anything on the ground and visibility down to 200 meters, an unidentified voice says: "He'll be really upset if ..." with the rest of the sentence garbled. Gen. Andrzej Blasik, the commander in chief of the Polish air force, was also in the cabin, although the only decipherable comments from him are of a technical nature.

Cienski's summary of the last few moments is also worth quoting:

The Severny airfield, rarely used by the Russians, is not equipped with modern equipment allowing airplanes to land in poor conditions, and minimum requirements for a safe landing call for horizontal visibility of 1,000 meters and vertical visibility of 100 meters.

...the plane circled above the airport, with the crew straining unsuccessfully to see anything on the ground and visibility down to 200 meters...

Just one minute later, with the plane dropping to 400 meters, the airliner's terrain awareness and warning system (TAWS) gives its first alert, with a recorded voice saying: "Terrain Ahead!"

The crew continues to prepare for landing as the Tu-154 drops below the 120 meter altitude that air traffic control set as the height at which a decision to land should be made based on whether the runway below is visible.

As the navigator continues to read down the meters, "100," "90," "80," "70," "60," warnings fill the cockpit with alarms and cautions. Every few seconds the TAWS says: "Pull up! Pull Up!" but the crew does not react.

At 50 meters the air traffic controller says: "Horizon!" calling on the airliner to level out its flight, but the rapid descent continues.

At 20 meters, with the TAWS again calling on the airplane to pull up, there is a sound of the Tu-154 hitting a tree followed by a curse from co-pilot Robert Grzywna. The last sound is a drawn out curse before the recording cuts off at 10:41.05 local time, the time of the crash.


Of course, if the plane had leveled out, at that point I think it would have still flown right into the hillside.

Cecil Turner

One problem with quoting articles written by non-experts is that you get an opinion . . . but it's probably not an informed one. "Decision to land" is nonsensical in that context, the vertical visibility is not a criteria, the crew didn't expect to see much while they "circled," ATC doesn't set the decision height, "horizon" is not a standard call, and nobody called out "70" meters (because something else important happened around then).

And if the criteria for article selection is to reinforce a bias already present, it shouldn't surprise if it does. For balance we have the BBC:

They said there was no evidence that Gen Blasik had pressured the pilots to land in bad weather.
A bit more knowledgeable source says:
However, it’s important to note that nothing in the CVR seems to point out the pilots felt pressure. Rather they seemed to be attempting the approach just to see if it worked out. There is really nothing wrong with this, the mistakes came later when the pilots ignored the repeated warnings from the ground proximity warning system (GPWS) and failed to make a proper missed approach.
Moreover, if the complaint is with attempting the approach, at least half the blame goes to the Russians who failed to follow their own procedures. There are various rules for shooting "practice" or "look-see" approaches when a field is under minimums, and often it's whether the locals will allow it. The Poles on the ground and in the air all agreed it couldn't hurt, which is typical of those types. I still don't know if the Poles had a regulation forbidding it or not, but if so you'd think some of the coverage would've mentioned it by now. And obviously if the Russians had followed their own procedures, the mishap wouldn't have happened.

Cecil Turner

But even if the visibility was zero, shooting an approach under minima should not cause a mishap. If the crew followed procedures, it'd be a non-event as they executed a missed approach in the clouds and fog, well above the airport. It's hard to tell what they actually did, but somehow they manage to get on glideslope and on course at about a mile. That's hard to do with an NDB, but they're also getting marker information, so at least some aircraft systems must be compatible with the Russian ground equipment. They are also following precision procedures (e.g., DH vs MDA) which is unexplained by the articles so far.

At about a mile, everything goes South. They get three "100m" calls and possibly the pilot thinks they're levelling off. He shouldn't be referencing the RadAlt at all, and in fact they're going over a little knoll. But he does increase rate of descent, which gets the controller excited when he finally notices. PM called for a missed approach somewhere between 260 and 230 feet (80 and 70 meters . . . it appears the 70m callout was overridden by the DH tone annunciation). US standard is 200 feet, and that leaves plenty of slop if executed correctly. (But some approaches use 100 or even 50 feet, and often involve a touch-and-go.) I'd guess their margin at somewhere around 150'. Shouldn't have been a problem. Even if they clipped the (relatively thinner) top of a tree or two, that should've been survivable (especially if the flight vector was upward at the time).

But the PAC continues the descent, and the PM doesn't challenge him. At that point, only blind luck would prevent a mishap, and they didn't have any.

The comments to this entry are closed.