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Thu, Jan 01, 2009

ANN's 'Heroes 'n Heartbreakers' '08--Heartbreaker #1: Congressional Hypocrisy

...And Here, Darn it, Are The Heartbreakers

Final Compilations by ANN Editor-In-Chief/Dog Walker, Jim Campbell

It is both the most "fun," and most difficult task, facing the ANN staff at the end of every year -- determining who, or what, did the most to promote the cause of aviation in the past 365 days... while also chastising those people or entities that did all they could to undermine the many successes the aerospace community has managed to accomplish.

Alas, 2008 saw more than its fair share of downers, aviation-wise. Sure, "stuff" happens... but a few folks, issues, or entities seemed to go out of their way to create problems for the world of aviation.

So... it is ANN's annual obligation to recognize Ten of our Aero-Heartbreakers for 2008... in something of an informal order, starting from the 1st to the 10th.

Let us know what you think of our selections... whom YOU would have liked be included, or omitted, from such a list. In the meantime, we hope those who had something to do with this year's selections think a little more positively about the welfare of this industry, so that future lists become harder and harder to catalog.

Be it ignorance, arrogance or just plain incompetence, these were the folks or topics that made our lot a whole lot more difficult and immeasurably injured the aviation world in the past year.

Shame on those issues, folks, or groups that made our lot so much tougher in 2008... but our top selection... and all those who populate both Houses of Congress have a reason to be ashamed of themselves (aeronautically-speaking) in 2008.

Their performance/behavior was just 'plane' embarrassing...

Aero-Heartbreaker #1: Congressional Hypocrisy

One of my favorite quotes, of all time, is attributed to the late and oh-so-great Will Rogers.  He was to have said, at some point that, "thank God for not getting all the government we're paying for." 

As 2008 comes to a tumultuous close, I'm here to tell you we should all be on our knees, thanking God, that this is the case. If there was ever a year when the hypocrisy of our elected leaders had reached an all-time high, 2008 threatens to be the watershed.

I can't begin to tell you of all the idiocy that we could enumerate and describe… we'd be here for days if we so much as took a decent stab at it. But, the fact of the matter is that we have elected more than our fair share of posturing idiots. There isn't an industry out there that can't take your breath away with tales of woe about government interference, over-regulation, and just plain bad lawmaking. But aviation, once again, has more than its fair share of sorrowful tales to tell.

From the senatorial and congressional headline seekers who whore themselves for the cheap headline over nebulous airspace issues, to the folks who failed economics 101 and tout the "benefits" of user fees, to the showboating antics of congressional hearings in which business leaders are taken to task for the use of aviation tools (that under critical examination show themselves to save far more than they cost); the aviation world has gotten screwed, in no uncertain terms.

While bad decision-making, poorly thought out rule-making, and the headline oriented rants of lawmakers worry us to no end… it's the hypocrisy of these folks that drives us round the bend.  Ultimately, we have no one but ourselves to blame for those who we have elected, but the aviation industry, in particular, has to take these folks to task in far more public and aggressive terms for their blatantly errant statements, their fraudulent grandstanding, and the damage they do to a constituency that they are ultimately responsible to.

And more to the point, we want these lawmakers to understand that aviation is a critical industry to the future of America and our economic well-being, as it is a particularly crucial pillar on the foundation of our transportation infrastructure.

While some of our nations lawmakers were bad mouthing the same aircraft that they, themselves, covet (and yes, Mrs. Pelosi, our memory does stretch back to the point where the government Gulfstream no longer seemed to be big enough for your ego…), they need to remember that aviation is much of how business in this country gets done… and destroying or damaging that tool can only hinder our future economic recovery. 

ANN, for its part, plans to get far more aggressively involved in correcting some of the hype and nonsense that has been coming out of the Washington puzzle palaces in recent months, but we desperately implore aviation's alphabet groups to be far more aggressive in their oversight and relationships with the Washington power structure.

FMI:  www.senate.gov, www.house.gov

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