A Southwest Airlines flight flying from Phoenix to Sacramento made an emergency landing in Yuma after the roof ripped open. Luckily only a flight attendant received minor injuries. The FAA reported pilot made a controlled descent from 34,400 feet to 11,000 feet after the hole opened. Here's what's scary, the 15-year-old plane underwent a routine safety inspection on Tuesday. Reports say a tear along a riveted "lap joint" shows evidence of extensive cracking that hadn't been discovered during routine maintenance — and probably wouldn't have been unless mechanics had specifically looked for it. Call me cynical, but it seems like this is the kind of thing inspectors should be specifically looking for, especially on older planes. Southwest is in the process of retiring the Boeing 737-300's and have halted flying the other 79 until further more detailed inspections have taken place. But there are over 1000 still in service world-wide with many carriers.
Meanwhile, the Republicans have vowed to cut $4 Billion from the FAA budget. These cuts would force the layoff of hundreds of workers, including safety inspectors, and would delay modernization of the nation's air traffic system, which is needed to accommodate forecasted increases passengers and flight without nightmarish congestion. Much of the rest of the world is either using satellite-based air navigation and air traffic control or planning to upgrade to GPS technology. Not us, not when the rich don't give a damn about anything except their wallet.
This isn't new territory of stupidity for the GOP. Don't forget, they also voted to cut a reported $126 million from the National Weather Service, about 30 percent of agencies total budget. In all, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration would have its budget cut by $454 million. In the context of the disastrous earthquake northern Japan and the resulting tsunami, it's not hard to see what effect those cuts might have had on our ability to monitor the tsunami heading towards our shores. But the Republicans just don't care! They said the disaster in Japan changes nothing in their budget plans. All they want is tax cuts for the rich! All they care about is money and power. The people who listen to their lies are fools. Democrats scared to make a stand are cowards. Reaganomics and the military industrial complex are the reasons we're being dragged down. The fact that they've masterfully turned every argument in this country into left vs. right is the reason we will not overcome. The oligarchy has won with brilliant strategy.