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Freeing Data for the Birds:

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will not allow the Federal Aviation Administration to keep data on airplane bird strikes secret. From the Washington Post:

"I think all of this information ought to be made public. . . . We're going to, you know, make this information as public as anybody wants it," LaHood said in an interview for The Washington Post's "New Voices of Power" video series. "The people should have access to this kind of information," he said.

LaHood said that FAA efforts to keep information about bird strikes secret "doesn't really comport with the president's idea of transparency."

"I mean, here they just released all of these CIA files regarding interrogation, and . . . the optic of us trying to tell people they can't have information about birds flying around airports, I don't think that really quite comports with the policies of the administration," he said. "It's something that somebody wanted to put out there to get a reaction. We got the reaction, and now we're going to bring it to conclusion."

I am sure there's a really awful (bird-brained?) pun I could make at this point, but I'll leave that to the commenters.

Soronel Haetir (mail):
Am I the only one who wishes people who use variants of "optic" in that manner would choke and die?
4.23.2009 9:15am
Houston Lawyer:
And even the Secretary's comment about the CIA files is misleading. They only released the files that the administration wanted us to see. Transparency: You keep saying that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
4.23.2009 9:28am
The River Temoc (mail):
This proposal just won't fly?
4.23.2009 9:29am
Anderson (mail):
I mean, here they just released all of these CIA files regarding interrogation, and . . . the optic of us trying to tell people they can't have information about birds flying around airports

New grist for Prof. Volokh's next "slippery slope" paper.
4.23.2009 9:30am
Seamus (mail):
I think it's very imprudent to release this information. It will just be giving the birds a roadmap on how to paralyze our air transportation system
4.23.2009 9:34am
Just an Observer:
You could have been forgiven a pun. But I'm surprised you wrote a whole blog post on this subject without working into a sentence the delicious word snarge.
4.23.2009 9:38am
krs:
Seamus, PETA has a lot of money. They will get that information for the birds, and there isn't much that anyone can do about it.
4.23.2009 9:40am
Soronel Haetir (mail):
Now our enemies will be able to release new birds at low bird traffic airports and create more havok.
4.23.2009 9:49am
RAJ:
Anyone trying to fly in a pun here is working on a wing and a prayer.

Seriously, why would providing public data about near collisions with birds make people reticent about providing that data in the first place. I would think that pilots would rather work on improving collision avoidance rather than risking a landing in the Hudson river.
4.23.2009 9:49am
alkali, working hard to keep this meme alive (mail):
Am I the only one who wishes people who use variants of "optic" in that manner would choke and die?

I don't mind that usage of "optic," but in any event I believe the proper imprecation around here is to wish that such persons be punchilated in the gonads.
4.23.2009 10:03am
rosetta's stones:
And those were canada geese, and as that DHS woman warned us, they probably came in from Canada. Oh the treachery.
4.23.2009 10:07am
Ex-Clerk:
I see that the Cheney-Rove talking points on the OLC memos are filtering thorough loud and clear. What a false equivalence--that releasing the shoddy legal opinions authorizing torture is "incomplete" because (potentially non-existent) documents show that waterboarding "worked."

I know that, despite the fact that the United States *executed* Japanese soldiers who waterboarded GIs, it's become fashionable for Bushies to claim that waterboarding isn't torture.

But I wonder, had the memos authorized thumbscrews, hot pokers in the eye, and all that fun stuff, would the same crowd would still try to justify it because it "worked," and would excoriate Obama for releasing the memos just the same?
4.23.2009 10:15am
geokstr (mail):
See, this proves beyond a doubt that there was absolutely no partisan political motivation whatsoever behind the selectively partial release of the "torture" memos like all the neo-nazi satanic type creatures of the right have been claiming.

Next up for release in keeping with the non-partisan transformative "transparency" of the new administration - all relevant emails and memos relating to both the obvious need for, and the totally coincidental timing of the release of, a report proving, again beyond a shadow of a doubt, that shady characters like those opposing abortion or supporting this treasonous concept of federalism must be secretly survielled and if necessary, subjected to advanced interrogation techniques before they can organize a palace coup.
4.23.2009 10:28am
Downfall:
This is a bit hard to swallow.
4.23.2009 10:28am
Pine_Tree:
There's a reason it's called goose-stepping. Bravo to LaHood for his efforts to bring this to light, but it's going to ruffle some feathers, and I'm afraid he's ducked.
4.23.2009 10:34am
Preferred Customer:
Oy, all of the people who fancy themselves punsters are flocking to this one.
4.23.2009 10:37am
RainerK:
No longer puzzled about the FAA's motivation:

The FAA had proposed keeping the collision data private out of concern that airlines and airports would be reluctant to voluntarily report the strikes for fear of hurting business.
.
.
"If everyone stops giving us information, then we have to decide where to go next."


Now why would business be scared to reveal the facts? Perhaps it has to do with the fear of expensive lawsuits or the inevitable expensive knee-jerk reactions by politicians via regulating agencies?
Could the legal minds on this blog weigh in on the likely great direct and collateral cost of our expansive tort system? What must happen before that system gets reformed?
4.23.2009 10:43am
Pine_Tree:
Well, it is what Mr. Adler (no coincidence there, huh?) asked for.
4.23.2009 10:43am
Downfall:
Oy, all of the people who fancy themselves punsters are flocking to this one.

Imagine how bad things would be if we had nested comments.
4.23.2009 10:44am
Bama 1L:
4.23.2009 10:45am
Steve:
Now why would business be scared to reveal the facts? Perhaps it has to do with the fear of expensive lawsuits or the inevitable expensive knee-jerk reactions by politicians via regulating agencies?

You appear to have a reading comprehension problem. They said explicitly that airlines and airports might not want to report the data because it could hurt their business. In other words, if it's publicly known that LaGuardia has twice as many bird strikes as JFK, maybe travelers all start using JFK and LaGuardia loses their business. Your rant about the tort system is a non sequitur.
4.23.2009 10:54am
Downfall:
In other words, if it's publicly known that LaGuardia has twice as many bird strikes as JFK, maybe travelers all start using JFK and LaGuardia loses their business.

And it won't take long for such a loss in business to cut into their nest egg.
4.23.2009 11:25am
Kirk:
Bama 1L wins this thread!
4.23.2009 11:46am
Vo Nguyen Giap:
Not to thread derail, but what is the point of posting blogs that don't allow comments? If the academics on Volokh post blogs and don't allow comments, they are having an internal monologue that is no better than anything found on Facebook or Twitter. Seriously, what's the point of reading Volokh?!
4.23.2009 11:46am
A.:

Not to thread derail, but what is the point of posting blogs that don't allow comments? If the academics on Volokh post blogs and don't allow comments, they are having an internal monologue that is no better than anything found on Facebook or Twitter. Seriously, what's the point of reading Volokh?!


The point of reading the blog is presumably the same as the point of reading a book or article: shut up and learn something. The feedback you offer might add something, or might not, but in any case, the blog isn't about you. It's just a short-form forum for profs. to put their ideas out there. Even you, however, shouldn't have issues with reading Volokh, that is, Eugene, since he always leaves comments open.
4.23.2009 11:56am
Preferred Customer:
A.:

Agreed, though truth be told I generally learn as much from the (informed) commenters engaging in a dialogue as I do from the initial post.

I am always disappointed when I see a post with comments disabled, especially if it is a post on a provocative or controversial topic. While those posts can degenerate into a bird-brained squawking of rote talking points, they can also spur some of the most interesting and informed discussion, especially if the inital poster laid an egg with respect to some important aspect of the issue. It just seems cheep to disable comments.
4.23.2009 12:17pm
Vo Nguyen Giap:
"Shut up and learn something"

May I thank you for your oh-so-positive contribution to this thread.

I was merely pointing out that this blog is rapidly devolving into Facebook or Twitter. As it is, I don't think the ramblings and musings (or even, ranting) of various posters qualifies as a forum for scholarly discussion of the libertarian perspective.

Instead, in the last few months, I find a lot of defensiveness and intellectual sleight of hand as well as puerile intellectual masturbation here. Also, the number of cranks has gone up while the legal quality of the postings has gone downhill.

IMHO.
4.23.2009 12:24pm
NickM (mail) (www):
The Administration is concerned about profiling of Avian-Americans.

Nick
4.23.2009 12:34pm
rosetta's stones:

"It just seems cheep to disable comments."


Did you think that typo was gonna just fly right by us, PC?
4.23.2009 12:55pm
Preferred Customer:
Did you think that typo was gonna just fly right by us, PC?




Only those of you with your heads in the sand.
4.23.2009 1:14pm
Anderson (mail):
Perhaps it has to do with the fear of expensive lawsuits

I'm pretty sure the birds are judgment-proof.

Or were you thinking the other way around, that the birds' estates -- or PETA -- might sue?
4.23.2009 2:50pm
U.Va. Grad:
Or were you thinking the other way around, that the birds' estates -- or PETA -- might sue?

That would be a fun caption. Parakeet's Executor v. Delta Airlines.
4.23.2009 3:05pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
"You took off with an aircraft full of innocent passengers, KNOWING that a bird strike was likely to occur."
One clown--I believe he's a lawyer--is suing for emotional damage due to the Hudson landing. "I'm a world-class wimp! Pay me!"
No, I don't see that discussing torts is off thread here.
Might give somebody ideas, though.
4.24.2009 2:02pm

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