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15 April 2011

An Unwise Commitment

I wasn't planning on posting anything here for a couple more days, but I couldn't resist passing this particular gem along. There is a slight chance that this may be the birth of a new "series" on this blog — but then again, series have historically died here faster than they've been created. But in any case, this one might be fairly more sustainable than the others I've tried. (Key word: "Might.")

Welcome to Bad Quotesville. Or whatever you want to call it, really. Often, I read the news and come across a quote that sticks out like a sore thumb in the context of the story. In most cases, including this one, it's not so much a "bad quote" as just "less-than-desirable juxtaposition" — but that's not as catchy a phrase.

So without further ado, the following is excerpted from the front-page story of Thursday's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

A napping air traffic controller who forced a medical flight to land unaided in Nevada brought swift reaction from the Federal Aviation Administration, which on Wednesday added a second overnight controller at 26 airports and a radar facility. The move came after several other recent incidents of controllers sleeping during their shifts.

"This is absolutely unacceptable," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. "The American public trusts us to run a safe system. Safety is our No. 1 priority, and I am committed to working 24/7 until these problems are corrected."

Now I'm all for the principle of what Secretary LaHood is saying, but I truly hope that he fails to uphold that commitment. Because actually working 24/7 just can't be good for one's health. I mean, after a while you'd get tired and have to go to bed, lest you accidentally fall asleep while on the job. ...Oh, wait; that's what we're trying to avoid in the first place!

You're certainly not going to fix the air traffic control system on no sleep, Mr. Secretary. No one can actually work completely tirelessly, much as they may try. Since "[t]he National Air Traffic Controllers Association has warned against... assigning tiring work schedules," perhaps you would be wise to adhere to the same standards.

Get some rest, man!

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