Best and worst airports in US according to new J.D. Power survey

Airports often bring out the worst in people, between the crowds, delays and general stress of traveling — but according to a new survey, customer satisfaction is at an all-time high when flying through U.S. airports, according to J.D. Power’s 2017 North America Airport Satisfaction Study. Traveler satisfaction scored a 749 out of 1,000 points, an 18-point increase from last year’s survey, despite increasingly packed terminals. The improved score comes primarily from higher satisfaction with security checks, check-in/baggage check, and food, beverage, and retail, the survey reports. “Capacity has become a huge challenge for North American airports, with many reporting 100% of available parking spots being filled and large airports, such as Orlando International, setting passenger volume records each month for more than three years straight,” said Michael Taylor, Travel Practice Lead at J.D. Power. But, he says despite these difficulties, airports are responding with both new technology and personal skills to win over travelers. “These range from smartphone apps that tell travelers where to find a parking spot to therapy dogs—and in one case, a therapy pig—mingling with travelers to relieve stress and improve the overall airport experience.” The survey ranked airports across the U.S. based on several key factors: accessibility, check-in and baggage check process, security screening, shopping, terminal facilities and baggage claim. Airports were broken down into three categories based on size. “Mega” airports were defined as those handling more than 32.5 million annual passengers. The “large” category included airports with 10 million to 32.4 million passengers and “medium” airports are those with between 3 million and 9.9 million passengers. So which airports topped the list? Orlando International Airport won the first-place spot for “Mega” airports, John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Calif., won the “Large” category and Sacramento International Airport was ranked number one for “Medium” airports. Orlando International Airport received a score of 778 out of 1,000, beating out the runner up, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, which received a 767 score. Earning a much less coveted spot, Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey received the lowest ranking among “Mega” airports, earning a score of 686. LaGuardia Airport, in New York City, ranked worst among “Large” airports, with a score of 654, and Bradley International Airport in Hartford County, Conn. for “Medium” airports, earning a 742 score.

French: Trump Makes Two Promising Moves in the War on Terror

Donald Trump is making the right moves in America’s long war. Yesterday and today, the New York Times broke news of two important but incremental changes in American policy that will make it more difficult for terrorists to operate in safe havens abroad and infiltrate our communities here at home. Both changes, if properly implemented, will make America safer without placing excessive strain on military resources or diplomatic relationships. In other words, they’ll provide us a sustainable way to fight. The first change, reported last night, is that Trump is preparing to “dismantle key Obama-era limits on drone strikes and commando raids outside conventional battlefields.” The language is a tad overblown, but the essence of the reported change is that Trump intends to delegate strike decisions to lower levels of the command chain and expand the list of potential targets from “high-level” militants to include jihadist “foot soldiers.” Crucially, the administration is not prepared to relax rules of engagement that require a “near certainty” that there will be no civilian casualties. By delegating strike decisions, the administration will be better able to quickly engage targets. By attacking even “foot soldiers,” the administration is taking an important step toward preventing the creation of jihadist safe havens and diminishing jihadist strike capability. As I’ve noted many times, when terrorists are able to create and maintain safe havens, their power to strike abroad increases immensely. That’s the lesson of al-Qaeda’s control over Afghanistan and of ISIS’s control over vast stretches of Syria and Iraq. The second change, reported this morning, is that Trump’s “ban on travelers from six majority-Muslim countries” will soon be replaced “with more targeted restrictions on visits to the United States that would vary by country.” This change is the reported result of the 90-day policy review that was part of Trump’s executive order.

Isn’t that interesting?  To read the rest of this excellent analysis by attorney, and Army Reserve Officer (Major), David French, click on the text above.  David was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in Iraq.  So, he knows a thing or two about what he’s talking about….and has from time to time been very critical of Pres. Trump.  Keep that in mind as you read the rest of this article…

Trump’s financial strategy persuades China to put screws to North Korea

President Trump persuaded China to freeze all financial transactions with North Korea and ordered a new round of U.S. sanctions Thursday, closing out his first U.N. General Assembly with a major diplomatic victory in his efforts to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and missile programs short of war. In a carefully choreographed strategy deployed from the shadow of the United Nations headquarters in New York, Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin called the head of China’s central bank very early Thursday to alert him that Mr. Trump was preparing an executive order to sanction any financial institutions doing business with North Korea. He asked for the cooperation of China, the main source of North Korea’s cash. Hours later, the People’s Bank of China announced it was directing all other banks in China to halt financial transactions with North Korea. Soon afterward, Mr. Trump signed an executive order in a meeting with the presidents of South Korea and Japan, expanding the Treasury Department’s ability to freeze the assets of banks or individuals doing business with Pyongyang. Mr. Trump praised China’s action, saying with uncharacteristic understatement that it was “somewhat unexpected.” “For much too long, North Korea has been allowed to abuse the international financial system to facilitate funding for its nuclear weapons and missile programs,” Mr. Trump said. “Tolerance for this disgraceful practice must end now.” Mr. Trump’s tightening of the screws culminated his weeklong effort to marshal more international pressure on North Korea. The expanded and coordinated sanctions were announced two days after Mr. Trump alarmed many at the General Assembly by warning that the U.S. was prepared to “totally destroy” North Korea if it attacked the U.S. or its allies. South Korean President Moon Jae-in praised Mr. Trump’s handling of the crisis, saying through a translator, “North Korea has continued to make provocations, and this is extremely deplorable and this has angered both me and our people, but the U.S. has responded firmly and in a very good way.” White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said Mr. Trump is taking the steps to try to resolve the crisis “short of war.” A senior administration official said the White House wants China and North Korea to understand that “this is different than anything in the last quarter century.” “We’re not negotiating for the right to negotiate, which is all the ‘strategic patience’ was all about,” the official said. “We’re going to try and have discussions so that we’ll reach a point where we agree to have negotiations. And we’ve made it clear that they need to step forward and be prepared to abandon the ballistic missile program and dismantle the nuclear weapons program. That’s where negotiations and discussions begin.” The official added, “We think China’s going to need to walk with them on that because of the outsized role that China plays in their economy, their long historic relationship, dating all the way back to the Korean War.” North Korean leader Kim Jong-un described Mr. Trump early Friday in Asia as “mentally deranged,” according to Reuters. He said North Korea would consider the “highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history” against the U.S. in response to Mr. Trump’s threat to “totally destroy” the North. Some analysts said Mr. Trump’s thinly veiled threat of sanctions against Chinese banks, his lobbying of Chinese President Xi Jinping and even perhaps his threat of nuclear war appear to be working, at least for now. “U.S. pressure is having an effect,” said Bill Bishop, a China analyst and publisher of the Sinocism newsletter. “If the U.S. decides to ratchet up secondary sanctions another notch, expect sanctions and/or penalties against a large [People’s Republic of China] bank like China Merchants, but not one of the big four.” Michael C. Desch, director of the International Security Center at Notre Dame University, said China was likely responding to the threat of war as much as any other incentive. “My sense is that it is not sanctions and the U.N. but rather China’s fear that the North Korea situation is spiraling out of control that is leading Beijing to take these steps,” he said. “The last thing China wants is a war on its border that, at a minimum, could remove a key buffer between it and an American ally and at a maximum could result in a thermonuclear war right next door.” Sen. Ben Sasse, Nebraska Republican and a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, said the administration’s sanctions “are aimed squarely at North Korea’s despot but also remind China that it has a strong interest in preventing a nuclear arms race in Asia.”

Those are but a few of the things that China is worried about.  They don’t want to see a reunified Korea….under southern rule.  They don’t want an American ally that border’s China.  They also don’t don’t want to deal with the thousands and thousands of North Korean refugees flooding their border if a military (even conventional) war breaks out.  China like order; not chaos.  That would be more chaos than they’d care to deal with.  Those are just a few of the incentives they have to work with Trump.  And it wasn’t that hard, really.  It just took a little leadership from someone who isn’t afraid to upset the apple cart.  Trump isn’t a natural politician.  He is just someone who wants to see result; to see progress.  And, he doesn’t take no for an answer.  Nor does he care whose tender feelings he hurts.  In other words, he’s a business-man, and a leader.  Imagine that!

‘Get Those SOBs Off the Field!’: Trump Slams NFL Anthem Protesters, Hopes Owners Fire Them

During a speech in Alabama Friday night, President Donald Trump took a few minutes to slam NFL players like Colin Kaepernick, who indulge protests during the playing of the national anthem. Trump said that he hopes such players are removed from the field and said he’d “love” to see NFL owners fire them. Trump made his comments at a rally for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Luther Strange in Huntsville, Alabama. What seemed to set the president off against the NFL was when he noted that he, Luther Strange, and his followers respect the U.S. flag. As the crowd cheered, Trump turned his attention to NFL protesters and said that he’d love to see such protesters thrown out of the game for disrespecting the flag. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, say: ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired!’ They don’t know it,” Trump said as the crowd cheered. “They’re friends of mine, many of them. They don’t know it. They’ll be the most popular person in the country.” Chants of “USA! USA!” filled the hall as Trump continued on. Trump next reminded the crowd that the NFL is losing fans by the millions and said that the league’s efforts to lighten the physical contact on the field is “ruining” the game.

We agree wholeheartedly with the President on both points here.  And, its way past time that someone said all that.  Excellent!!    🙂

Doomsday is not on Saturday after all, writer says after predicting end of the world

The end is still nigh — just not as nigh as it was earlier this week, a Doomsday writer says. David Meade, who claimed the world is ending Saturday when a mysterious planet collides with Earth, is now backtracking on the calamitous claim. Meade said the world won’t end on Sept. 23 after all, but instead Saturday will only mark the beginning of a series of catastrophic events to occur over several weeks. “The world is not ending, but the world as we know it is ending,” he told the Washington Post. “A major part of the world will not be the same the beginning of October.” Meade said his prediction is based on verses and numerical codes found in the Bible, specifically in the apocalyptic Book of Revelation. He said recent events, such as the solar eclipse and Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, are omens of the approaching apocalypse. The significant number is 33, according to Meade. “Jesus lived for 33 years. The name Elohim, which is the name of God for the Jews, was mentioned 33 times [in the Bible],” he said. “It’s a very biblically significant, numerologically significant number. I’m talking astronomy. I’m talking the Bible…and merging the two.” Sept. 23 is also 33 days since the Aug. 21 solar eclipse. Meade has also built his theory on the so-called Planet X, which is also known as Nibiru, which he believes will pass Earth on Sept. 23. This will cause volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and earthquakes, he claims. NASA has repeatedly said Planet X does not exist. Meade’s prediction has been dismissed by people of faith including the Roman Catholic and Protestant branches of Christianity. Ed Stetzer, a professor and executive director of Wheaton College’s Billy Graham Center for Evangelism, slammed Meade’s theory on Friday, calling it “fake news” and asked Christians to be critical. “It’s simply fake news that a lot of Christians believe the world will end on September 23,” Stetzer wrote in Christianity Today. “Yet, it is still a reminder that we need to think critically about all the news.”

Agreed..  Well, Mr. Meade’s prediction about today has been a total bust.  And, this hail Mary mea culpa isn’t likely help him any.  Why on Earth would anyone listen to this idiot?

Has asset forfeiture gone too far? Truck seizure case sparks outrage, a call for change

Two years ago, Gerardo Serano – an American citizen, Kentucky farmer and a one-time GOP Kentucky statehouse candidate – was driving his brand new, $60,000 Ford F-250 pick-up truck to visit relatives in Mexico, snapping pictures along the way, when Customs and Border Patrol agents halted him at the border, demanded his cell phone, and asked him why he was taking pictures. “I just wanted the opening of the bridge. I was gonna take the opening of the bridge, the entrance of the bridge. That’s all I wanted to do,” Serano told Fox News. As a self-proclaimed student of the Constitution, Serano said he knew his rights, and protested to Customs and Border Patrol agents vehemently when they asked him to unlock his phone. “You need a warrant for that,” he says he told them. They searched his truck and found five bullets in a magazine clip that Serano, a Kentucky concealed carry permit holder, forgot to remove before leaving his home. “We got you,” he says border agents told him. He was detained, but never arrested, nor charged, nor tried, nor convicted. However, agents did seize his prized new truck. Two years since its seizure, they have yet to give it back. Serano is still making monthly payments of $673 on the truck as well as paying for its insurance and Kentucky license fees. His attorneys at the Institute for Justice say Customs and Border Patrol has told them the truck was subject to the government’s Civil Asset Forfeiture program because it was used to “transport munitions of war.” The Civil Asset Forfeiture program has its roots in English law that American colonists rebelled against. Their rebellion was ultimately codified in the Fourth Amendment, which reads, in part: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…” Despite that unambiguous language, civil asset forfeiture was revived in the 1930s Prohibition era against bootleggers and mobsters. It was revived again in the 1980s war on drugs and continues to this day. “It’s absolutely astonishing that civil forfeiture is a policy that we have in this country,” said Clark Neily of the Cato Institute. “It is totally unjust, unfair, and I think it’s unconstitutional.” Sen. Rand Paul, (R-KY) agrees. “There are instances of people, young people, getting some money and saying, ‘I’m moving to California from Boston.’ They’re stopping in some small town in Nevada, and they have a thousand bucks their dad gave them to get started,” Paul said. “And the police just take it and say: ‘You prove to us that this isn’t drug money.’”

US Navy to use Xbox controllers on highly sophisticated submarines

Virginia-class submarines, equipped with some of the U.S. Navy’s most highly advanced and sophisticated technology, will soon use Microsoft Xbox 360 controllers to operate the periscope. Unlike the traditional rotating tube periscope, these submarines use photonic masts that display the images on screens, so multiple Navy personnel can view at once. But the problem with the photonic masts is that they’re controlled by a complex joystick, which junior officers and sailors described as “clunky” and “real heavy,” Lt. j.g. Kyle Leonard, the USS John Warner’s assistant weapons officer, told the Virginian-Pilot. In addition, the current system used to operate the photonic mast and imaging panels costs about $38,000, the newspaper reported. The idea of using an Xbox controller stemmed from a collaboration effort between Lockheed Martin and Navy officials looking for a less expensive solution, and a way to incorporate everyday technology. “That joystick is by no means cheap, and it is only designed to fit on a Virginia-class submarine,” Senior Chief Mark Eichenlaub, the USS John Warner’s assistant navigator, told the Virginian-Pilot. “I can go to any video game store and procure an Xbox controller anywhere in the world, so it makes a very easy replacement.”

How great is this?!?  To read more, click on the text above.     🙂