We're done with Michael Phelps. You're on, Sully. We're going to hear more about the "Hudson River heroes" this week. CBS' "60 Minutes" is heavily promoting its interview with US Air flight 1545 pilot Chesley Sullenberger, who ditched the plane in the Hudson River a few weeks ago. It also has started promoting a segment on its suffering Early Show on Monday, also featuring Sullenberger. The network goes for the trifecta a night later when he stops by David Letterman's show.
THR.com has a nice behind-the-scenes look today at the pilot's coming-out party. NBC had originally booked Sullenberger, who was also honored at the Super Bowl, for the Today show before he backed out on the advice of his union, prompting this unusually harsh statement from NBC.
"What Captain Sullenberger did in the cockpit on Flight 1549 was heroic and admirable. Unfortunately, people close to him have not acted nearly as admirably over the past few days. They gave us their word and then broke their commitment. We wish Captain Sullenberger the best."
The euphoria over the Hudson River "miracle," ended last week, when passengers started complaining that US Air wasn't giving them enough freebies, according to the New York Post.
"You're going to crash me into the water, and you're going to tell me all I get is an upgrade?" asked Antonio Sales, 20, who was traveling with the University of South Carolina's track team. "That's more of an 'OK, you're not dead, I'll give you something to hold on to.' It's not enough at all."
Susan O'Donnell isn't one of those complaining, however. She was an off-duty pilot for American, riding in first class (a courtesy extended by airlines to other airlines' pilots) in the cockpit, and provided an account of the ditching to her union, which issued a press release about it.
The descent seemed very controlled, and the sink rate reasonably low. I believed the impact would be violent but survivable, although I did consider the alternative. The passengers remained calm and almost completely quiet. As we approached the water, I braced by folding my arms against the seat back in front of me, then putting my head against my arms. There was a brief hard jolt, a rapid decel and we were stopped. It was much milder than I had anticipated. If the jolt had been turbulence, I would have described it as moderate. Thinking about it later on, I realized it was no worse than a carrier landing.
A few years ago, when the economic experts were lamenting Americans' unwillingness to save money, this news today would've been greeting with smiles.
Personal savings surged in December to 3.6 percent of disposable income from 2.8 percent in November, the largest rate since May 2008.
But context is everything:
The Commerce Department said spending decreased by 1.0 percent after falling by a revised 0.8 percent in November.
The report from the Commerce Department also said Americans' personal income is dropping, even as we save more of less of it.
Wall St. opened lower.(3 Comments)
And so have the people of Northfield. The groundhog era is over.
If only there were a way of getting to spring without going through mud season.
(h/t: Doug Bratland)
"I can't get over all the wrong ways I run across. I'm not a big fan of the walk-the-person-out-the-door-practically-in-handcuffs model. Suddenly people who have been entrusted with the company secrets, can't be trusted for another five hours. I would think the right way would be to give people some time to say goodbye," she said.
She said she knows of one person who was told by his landlord he lost his job. It happened when the landlord was doing a reference check. 'They just told me you don't work there anymore,' the landlord said.
I've heard of a similar story of a former classmate who was a disc jockey at a New Hampshire radio station. He was in the shower, getting ready to go to work and listening to his radio station, when he heard the announcer telling people to tune in and hear another announcer on his show.
Here's a few other questions-and-answers from the show:
Q: I was recently laid off and given a three-week severance package. Is there a standard?
A: The common formula is a month for every year of service but there's no standard. There is a standard for mass layoffs in Minnesota.
Q: If you're required to sign something that says you can't speak about the company in order to get your severance pay, should you?
A: Generally, they usually say you can't speak in a negative way. I'd consider bringing the notice to an attorney to get it pared down a bit. (Bob notes: I'm sure the questioner meant "speak negatively," which makes the severance "hush money.")
Q: I was employed for 12 years, and now the searching parameters seem to be online. There, they ask for salary requirements. What should I do?
A: You've lost much of your negotiating power because you've already identified what you will or won't work for. Try filling in all zeros or all ones. But if they're employing a screening program to eliminate all applicants above or below a certain number, that won't work.
Q: I was fired while on vacation. Does that happen often?
A: I'm aware of someone who made the mistake of answering his cellphone while on vacation. A shoe salesman, driving all over North Dakota, got back to his home office and the doors were locked. He had no idea the company had closed. "All I have is a bunch of business cards and a trunkfull of left shoes."
Q: Is there a difference between being fired and laid off?
A: I don't know if people care as much about the distinction. Fired is a word we use when someone causes their own demise. Laid off is the term we use when it's due to an economic situation that isn't framed as the fault of the employee.
The distinction is significant. You'd be hard-pressed to find people who haven't been laid off. Fired is another story.
The Obama administration has turned to its giant database of supporters (and others), which it assembled during the campaign, to garner support for the economic stimulus plan.
In an e-mail this afternoon, the administration is organizing meetings this weekend for people to watch a video from Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, answering questions about what the stimulus plans means for you. You can submit questions here.
MPR's Mark Zdechlik is following the financial reports of Norm Coleman and Al Franken, who have filed their financial statements showing where the money is coming from that's financing their recount operations.
Here are some of the big contributors:
James Booth - Inez, Kentucky. $12,300. Head of a coal mining consortium
Lisa and Philip Falcone - New York. $12,300 each. Falcone operates a hedge fund. He was among the hedge fund operators called to testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in November.
Joseph Fogg - Naples, Fl. $12,300. Owns a private equity fund (Westbury Partners)
Scott Honour, Pacific Palisades, CA. - $12,300. Runs The Gores Group, a private equity firm.
Stanley Hubbard, St. Paul - $10,000. Owns KSTP.
John Menard, Eau Claire - $12,300. Owns Menard's.
Glen Nelson, Minnetonka - $12,300. Chairman of Medtronic (ret.) GDN Holdings. (updated)
Richard Notebaert, Chicago - $12,300. CEO of Qwest.
Ricky Sandler, New York - $12,300. Investment firm executive.
Here's the list of the major donors to Coleman's recount organization.
Mark Dayton, Minneapolis - $12,300. Heir to the Dayton fortune. Former senator.
Fred Eyechaner, Chicago - $12,300. Media mogul.
John Neu, New York - $12,300. Private firm in the recycling business.
Arthur Segel, Brookline, Ma. - $12,300. Harvard Business School professor.
Bruce Wasserstein, New York - $12,300. CEO of Lazard, an investment house.
F. Kenneth Bailey Jr., Houston - $12,300. Personal injury attorney.
Joshua Bekenstein, Wayland Ma. - $12,300. Managing director of Bain Capital, the private equity firm that also included former presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
George Bilicic, Locust Valley, NY - $12,300. Chairman of the power, utilities and infrastructure sector at Lazard.
John Coffey, New York - $12,300. Trial attorney
Timothy J. Disney, Hollywood - $12,300. Screenwriter.
Charles Ledley, NY - $12,300. Money manager.
Dorothy Lichtenstein, NY - $12,300. Wife of the late Roy Lichtenstein.
Michael J. Skloff, Encino, CA. - $12,300. Musician.
Here's the list of the big money for Franken.(5 Comments)
The most interesting bills at the Capitol are the ones that have little chance of passage this year. Here's the Fab Five from today's filings:
Lower drinking age
Rep. Phyllis Kahn, who in the past has proposed lowering the voting age to 16, has filed legislation lowering the drinking age to 18 at bars and restaurants. She would allow 16 years olds to drink in the company of their parents. (See bill)
Property tax discount
Would you pay your entire year's property tax if you got a 2 percent discount? Rep. Paul Kohls' bill would provides such a discount. (See bill)
This could also be called the "Keep the Independence Party from ever Winning an Election Act of 2009." Rep. Kent Eken's bill would require candidates in elections for governor, executive branch, judge, senator or representative get the majority of votes in the election. The stronger a third party becomes in Minnesota, the more a provision like this would be employed. (Read bill)
Is the legislative employee carbon footprint that big?
Rep. Denny McNamara's bill allows legislative employees to work from home for up to 20 percent of the days when the Legislature is not in session or allow them to work four 10-hour days instead. (See bill)
What part of the 2nd Amendment don't you get?
Rep. Larry Howes is proposing an amendment to the Minnesota Constitution:
The right of a citizen to keep and bear arms for the defense and security of the person, family, or home or for lawful hunting, recreation, or marksmanship training is fundamental and shall not be abridged.
Minnesota issues special license plates to drunk drivers. "Whiskey plates" are issued to drivers involved in an alcohol-related violation. They all begin with "W." At one time, police could stop someone with a "W" plate for any reason, until the Supreme Court struck down the law.
Robert McGrath, 49, had a DWI citation dismissed, because he was allegedly pulled over only because he had "whiskey plates," according to the Park Rapids Enterprise.
McGrath is now charged with vehicular homicide in an accident outside Park Rapids late last month that killed a man. Two of the charges say he was drunk at the time.
He no longer had "whiskey plates" on his truck, the newspaper reported.
Question for discussion: Should police be able to pull a driver over with "whiskey plates," just to check if the person is drunk?(22 Comments)