Thursday, October 31, 2002
Wednesday, October 30, 2002
Tuesday, October 29, 2002
Delta offers easy "Elite Status Matching Program"
From a Delta flyer picked up at National airport:
We realize you have a choice of airlines, and want to do all we can to make Delta your first choice. As an elite frequent flyer, you receive preferential benefits and services from another airline. Delta would like to recognize your elite status and provide similar services and benefits when you choose to travel with us. To do so, we are pleased to extend to you equivalent status* in Delta's Medallion Program.
To take advantage of this invitation, please read the terms and conditions on this offer and follow the instructions listed below. We look forward to serving you soon on Delta.
1) Fax a copy of your current membership card for the airline in which you hold elite status to the SkyMiles Service Center at 404-715-9220. Fax must be received by February 28, 2003 in order to be eligible for this offer.
2) Print your name, phone number and Delta SkyMiles number on the top of the fax copy.
3) If you do not have a Delta SkyMiles number, please visit www.delta.com/enroll to enroll and obtain a SkyMiles membership number. Then you may complete the steps above.
4) Please allow up to two weeks for your SkyMiles account to reflect Medallion status. You can check your account status via delta.com. Please be sure to include your Delta SkyMiles number in all reservations so you may receive the appropriate mileage credit for your Medallion status.
*See terms and conditions on opposite side of this card for matching equivalent status.
The back of the card reads as follows:
Terms and Conditions
1) Delta will award equivalent status at the Gold Medallion and Silver Medallion membership tiers only. Platinum Medallion status will not be granted for top tier members of other airline frequent flyer programs. Those with top tier status in other airline frequent flyer program will be granted Gold Medallion Status.
2) Faxed copy of other airline membership card must reflect current elite level for airline frequent flyer program.
3) Medallion membership awarded will be valid through February 28, 2004.
4) All standard SkyMiles Program rules and conditions apply, and are available at delta.com/skymiles. For more information regarding SkyMiles Medallion Program benefits, please go to delta.com/medallion
Saturday, October 26, 2002
A German psychologist has found a cure for paruresis
, the cure for paruresis, fear among men of using urinals. Apparently six percent of men have an irrational fear of urinating next to others..
Glenn Reynolds details Paul Wellstone's legacy
(Sorry to quote you out of context, but your comment is more salient than perhaps even you realized.)
Friday, October 25, 2002
63% of US Implicated In New Stock Scandal
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced Tuesday that more than 63 percent of all U.S. citizens have been implicated in an illegal stock-dumping, the latest scandal to rock the nation's economy.
"It's staggering how far-reaching this is," SEC chairman Harvey Pitt said. "More than 175 million citizens from all walks of life are involved in one criminal imbroglio. Everybody from white-collar workers to grandmothers, boy-scout leaders, and the entire state of Delaware. Point a finger anywhere, and you have a better chance than not of hitting a guilty party."
(From the best source for news
Thursday, October 24, 2002
The PowerPoint Anthology of Literature
distills Great Books to their essence.
"What prize would make your life ideal?"
Omni hotels has a sweepstakes which takes seconds to enter
. Deadline for entries is 11/11/02.
New York City is considering banning toy guns
"Our legislation seeks to remedy the constant deadly results that happen because of toy guns," said Vann, a Brooklyn Democrat. "Whether the gun is real or not, a death is still taking place, and that is unfortunate."
Devaluing American Airlines miles
. For tickets booked on or after May 1, 2003, several awards on American Airlines will be more expensive
. Make your travel plans during the next six months if the award you want is affected.
Register your Delta American Express
to earn double miles on all purchases made on weekends from November 15 through December 31.
Wednesday, October 23, 2002
Politician in Turkey detained for speaking Kurdish
. Abdulmelik Firat, who is running for parliament, greeted voters in Kurdish is the mostly-Kurdisk southeastern part of Turkey. Turkish election law bars candidates from campaigning in languages other than Turkish
Let them eat cake?
A new biography of Marie Antoinette, wife of Louis XVI, suggests that she never spoke the phrase. The phrase was actually spoken by Marie Therese, wife of Louis XIV
explains why Republicans back overhauling the tax code before each election:
[I]s it a reflection of the GOP need to shake contributions out of the business community before the election? It's not just that talk of new tax cuts gets business lobbyists salivating. It also terrifies them, as in, "My God, they're planning to redo the whole tax code. I better protect my company's position by staying on the right side of these people." "Fundamental" tax reform is, as they say in California, a "juice bill." It's highly unlikely to happen -- especially with a one-vote Senate majority -- but in the meantime it lets politicians of both parties extract otherwise unobtainable contributions.
Tuesday, October 22, 2002
It's good to be the king
. King Harald of Norway was caught speeding but won't be fined because of royal immunity
Walk softly and carry a big...
A Russian army officer has admitted beating his soldiers with a dildo
Sunday, October 20, 2002
California woman bites her husband to death after he refused to have sex with her
Serta has a contest where you can win a trip to New Zealand
or assorted sheep stuff.
Saturday, October 19, 2002
The Washington Hilton has rooms available for FREE
. Book now, while supplies last.
Amtrak is discontinuing its satisfaction guarantee
. The reason? Too many dissatisfied customers.
5,000-25,000 bonus miles for an international trip on Delta
: Shorthand for T
Even better -- the iDine offer below for 500 bonus miles
Sign up for American Airlines iDine and eat out 3 times by December 31st to earn 250 bonus miles
19 year old woman in Britain has the longest legs in the world
Friday, October 18, 2002
Why have coffee prices dropped dramatically -- 82% in 4 years -- while lattes remain just as expensive
? (Link via Atlanticblog
- Vietnam entered the coffee trade and Brazil upped production
- Coffee production decisions lag behind price changes because the coffee tree is on a 2+ year cycle
- While the number of specialty coffee shops has grown from about 450 in 1991 to more than 10,000 today, total coffee consumption in the U.S. has actually fallen slightly
- Demand for coffee is relatively inelastic (a 10% price increase reduces consumption by about 2%)
- Actual coffee is a very small component of the cost of a latte (roughly 10 cents on a $2 cup)
Wednesday, October 16, 2002
Earn up to 20,000 bonus miles which count towards elite status
. Keep registering, because a computer glitch appears to double your bonuses by registering here
, and here
Accelerate elite status on USAirways.
Elite status means bonus miles, free first class, priority check-in, priority boarding, priority waitlist, etc. etc. It usually takes 25k, 50k, or 100k to achieve the three levels of status that USAirways offers. However, you can register for fast track status:
Roller coasters aren't dangerous
A dangerous trend
. With the airline industry poised to lose $7 billion dollars this year, their spending to lobby the government is increasing
. The industry spent $27 million on lobbying during the first 8 months of 2002, up from $20 million in the 18 months
FAA Considering Passenger Ban
. Leave it to the Onion
... (Thanks to Damon Chetson
Tuesday, October 15, 2002
Alaska, USAirways, Northwest, Delta, American, and United all give bonus miles for online or kiosk check-ins
. No need for human contact anymore.
Monday, October 14, 2002
You're never too old to make a mistake.
A 110 year-old woman registered to vote in Montenegro
. At age 110, I wouldn't do thing which made no difference
-- but then at that age any effects probably wouldn't be seen in my lifetime anyway.
Sunday, October 13, 2002
With all of the awful changes in airline fare rules in most cases set to go into effect on January 1, 2003, it's worth noting that America West has not crossed over to the dark side
. Combined with an outstanding elite program, they just may earn some of my business next year.
China consolidates its airlines into 3 major carriers
An interesting article
suggests that CAPS, the government's terrorist profiling system used in aviation security, is less effective than random screening.
Since you know if your carry-ons have been manually inspected, you've been questioned, you're asked to stand in a special line, or if you've been frisked, you know your CAPS profile -- or at least you know what you aren't, which makes it very easy to defeat CAPS, even if the profile itself is always kept secret.
New enrollment bonus
2,000 bonus miles for new United Mileage Plus members
Saturday, October 12, 2002
This website is currently 11 on Google for "100 percent free sex stories no bullshit."
Bureaucrat openly defends the practice of payoffs
. At trial, a Philadelphia plumbing inspector describes taking money from plumbers whose work he was checking as "tipping" which is simply "part of the trade."
Angry and unapologetic, a former Philadelphia plumbing inspector yesterday defended accepting cash from plumbers whose work he checked.
Joseph O'Malley told a federal jury that these "tips" never influenced him and, under probing questioning by a prosecutor, gave a candid portrait of a workday that sometimes included hours spent in a local pub or cruising around Roosevelt Park to rack up mileage on his car.
Testifying in his defense in the racketeering and extortion trial of eight former inspectors, O'Malley called "tipping" a "part of the trade" that city plumbers learned as apprentices.
"Is there any question that when you got paid by people, they gave you money because you were a plumbing inspector?" Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen Rice asked O'Malley.
"It probably was," O'Malley replied, his voice edgy with anger. "It's been going like that since 1900, probably. He wasn't tipping the janitor; he was tipping the plumbing inspector. It went on all the time. It was like waking up in the morning."
Since it's been going on for a long time, it's apparently okay.
Bad decision-making at the TSA
The Transportation Security Administration awarded a $28 million contract for a private screening program
at Kansas City airport to a bankrupt firm that was fired by Southwest Airlines
Before the TSA, the airlines contracted for security and when the security firm didn't follow all federal standards, instead of penalizing the security firm or taking away the security firm's license so the airline couldn't use them, the government fined the airline(s) that hired them.
Here, the government awards a $28 million contract to the same firm Southwest fired for incompetence -- and the same firm that Southwest was in essence fined Southwest for hiring. (Thanks to LoneStarMike
Alabama's sex toy ban has been ruled unconstitutional
. (Link via Instapundit
Friday, October 11, 2002
Watch out, US News & World Report
magazine now rates the top 100 "Coolest Colleges"
where "girls can get the best college experience."
Thursday, October 10, 2002
Contest for 1,000,000 American Airlines frequent flyer miles from Cooking.com
. AT&T Wireless also has a million-mile giveaway
but you have to send a card in -- no online entry.
San Diego or Phoenix to London for $198 roundtrip
, today only.
Tony Woodlief hopes
that the DC sniper resists arrest and is shot dead by the police. I understand the sentiment, but I disagree. Remember Richard Jewell, the suspect in the 1996 Olympic bombing who turned out to be innocent
? What if the police have the wrong guy? Who are the police to make the final, life-or-death determination in the first place? The problem is only magnified if it's the DC police
with Nobel prize winning economist Vernon Smith. (RealAudio, 4 minutes)
Tony Blair has ordered a gag on media reporting about British payments to bin Laden and Al-Qaeda
. Files are being removed from media websites, but Google's caching
The Transportation Security Administration wants to hire 22,000 extraneous people
, according to the House Appropriations Committee.
Some positive changes in airport security -- but not enough
James M. Loy, the head of the Transportation Security Administration, is looking to get rid of more stupid rules
. Already gone are the "security questions" that never foiled a terrorist in sixteen years, the ban on nail clippers, and the rule against carrying coffee through security. Others potentially on the chopping block:
- The 30 minutes without peeing rule, which forbids getting up from your seat within half an hour's flying from Washington National airport
- Restricted parking within 300 feet of the airport (making parking lots at many airports useless)
- "Random" searches of passengers at the boarding gate after the same folks have been searched at the security checkpoint (also known as "gate rape")
These are a good start. They are all obvious changes that can be made. Why didn't Mineta see them earlier
? But let's not get too excited
- Air marshalls are carrying guns on planes without completing all of their training and background checks
- Federal screeners are way overpaid and insufficiently trained
- The security tax is too high and may rise
- Airports probably aren't any safer -- because safety will come from our foreign policy (arguably either by making terrorists pay for their actions or by not provoking terror in the first place)
But let's at least revel in the positive changes for a moment. They are a real step forward for those of us who have said we would not stand by while an agency run amok harassed us and brought the airlines to their knees.
Wednesday, October 09, 2002
The funniest joke in the world revealed
My colleague, George Mason University professor of economics and law Vernon Smith
, was just awarded the Nobel Prize in economic sciences
. Smith is a research fellow and director at the Mercatus Center
where I work.
Tuesday, October 08, 2002
- Double miles on all Alaska airlines flights through Oct. 31st. Make sure to register
- Register for two free weekend nights after three separate stays before January 31st with Marriott
- Priority Club is offering 2,000 bonus points or 500 bonus miles for every second stay at Inter-Continental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, or Holiday Inn Express. Naturally, you have to register (and enter promotion code 5700)
- Hyatt is offering "Faster Free Nights" -- a free night after every two stays when paying with MasterCard before Feb. 28, 2003 (redeem from Nov. 1, 2002 through April 30, 2003). Register here and then try a trick -- when using a free night, make sure to charge something to your room (a bottle of water from room service?) -- you may get lucky and have the free night count as one of your two stays towards the next free night.
The cover story in the current Washington City Paper
is a "Best of the Protest" awards piece.
My favorite: Best Obvious Anti-Protester Sign.. "Welcome Rich White Kidds."
Not as good as the 25,000 mile bonus offer I posted at the end of May, but there is a 10,000 mile bonus for signup up with the Northwest Visa
Random notes from my travels
- United airlines needs to mix up its first class meals a bit. In 9 days I at the portabella ravioli three times and the Reuben sandwich twice. Come on!
- Noise reduction headsets are back on United's Boeing 777 aircraft!
- Security is still a joke. United Express stations are still pulling the first person in the boarding line aside for random screening. The major airports wait for the third or fourth person. It's still easy to board without getting gate raped as long as you hang out and make sure to line up when security is already screening someone else.
- Security is still a joke, part two. At Los Angeles, I watched final boarding of a Sacramento-bound flight. A man and woman rush up at the last minute to board. The woman is picked for "random" screening (remember, everyone else had boarded, so the screeners weren't busy). She simply handed her carryon bags to her husband to take on board. No problem, her bags did not receive the secondary screening.
I'm back with a vengeance
. Let's start with some ideas for free miles:
Update: the Starwood promotion I mention above has already been cancelled! :-(