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United: We'll fly Air Force to play Navy for free

United Airlines has made a free-flight offer it hopes could prevent a big-time college football game from falling victim to the U.S. government shutdown. ( More...

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canuck44 12
The military budget is fully funded...and the revenue from the game and television is no small change...more than enough to pay for a few buses and civilians.

Like fencing off the WWII monuments to the vets, this is just another game.
PhotoFinish 8
It would be foolishly short sighted to forego the game revenue (including TV) because of some temporary unavailable funding.

There is no excuse to not play a game that brings with it piles of money. United's offer is just icing on the cake.

Heads should roll if the game is cancelled. The people should demand the head of the Secretary of Defense and above, if they choose a foolish decision that looses them lots of money (by not showing up at the game) in order to stick it to the people. The people should stick it right back.
Squigish 5
That's a perfect way to describe the entire shutdown: foolishly short sighted. The shutdowns in the 90's were hugely expensive for the government, and this one will be too.

What's happening right now is that Congress is making a foolish decision that costs all of us lots of money, just to make a political point that the vast majority of Americans (including a majority of those opposed to the Affordable Care Act) agree is NOT worth shutting the government over. I'd like nothing better than to see the people stick it back to them at the ballot box.

But in another way, I think the game should be cancelled. This is the same issue as Congress voting to allow the FAA, and only the FAA, flexibility during the sequester. By making the more visible problems go away, without fixing the whole thing, other, less visible, but just as important programs go unfunded for longer. If Congress still had to put up with the security lines and flight delays we saw in the first days of the sequester, don't you think they might be a little more motivated to end it? Congress, and by extension the American people, needs to eat its own dog food.

What's more important, a football game, or a Head Start program? The national parks, or the National Security Agency? Meals on Wheels, or the food service workers at military bases? The Department of State, or the Department of Homeland Security? The point is that you can't choose. It's all important, and it all needs to happen.

If we start applying band-aid fixes to just the problems that are most visible and annoying, that will just delay the public anger needed to get the whole thing going again, which needs to happen not now, not yesterday, but last Monday night.
canuck44 2
The scarey part is that there are people that think all of the programs listed above have relevance...for example, evaluation of the Head Start Program over many years indicates it has virtually no value beyond babysitting service. The Federal government needs to be downsized in a major way and to stop throwing our money at useless programs.

If nothing else, this current situation demonstrates the need to repeal the 17th Amendment and restore the structure of government to that which the framers designed. As this will never come out of Congress, then a conference of State Legislatures will need to restore the Republic.
The more they fight and slow the government down the better chance we have of actually seeing some positive change. As they say "no pain, no gain".
PhotoFinish 1
It's actually a very useful exercise which highlights which things are essential and which a waste of the tax payer's money.

While I wish both sides had more motivation to negotiate in advance to avoid the shutdown. It is the responsibility of Congress to fund or not the programs of the government. If the Congress calls the President to negotiate, he shouldn't act line he's above it all.

Sadly, it seems that with each successive shutdown, it becomes clearer that there are vast beaureucracies
PhotoFinish 1
of limited value.
Heinz Apfl 0
Jason Feldman 0
Government shutdown is a joke. I went to a NASA web page and it said "sorry website is closed due to government shutdown".... There was no need to shut it down, its not like it hakes work to just leave it up there and not make changes or updates.

I hope they don't increase the budget - they cant spend more than we pay in taxes anymore, this is crazy!
Mark Lansdell 0
This is the vindictive nature of this administration. It's actually causing the government to spend more money while bullying the Republicans rather than negotiating with them. They wouldn't be doing this at all if we were closer to an election date.
sparkie624 4
This is fantastic PR for United and Tax Deductible as well... This is a Win Win for United.
Roland Dent 0
Right on Sparkie. Belive you me half of these office guys will not see this. My Weimaraner has more brains. Half of these guys were qualified in psychology and anthropology. I got 5 K9s and all of 'em can out smart these nuggets.
Falconus 4
Fine, Dent, don't hire anybody from the humanities. Then when you can't figure out why people don't want to buy your product, or why your marketing scheme isn't resonating with half the population, or why your employees aren't working together well, ask your lead engineer. I'm sure s/he'll tell you.
Roland Dent 0
They ask me and generally the answer is no. I was lead engineer at the age of 23. I am now retired.
Roland Dent 0
Hang on here I see wht you morale. Well that was easy. You make sure the work is planned and the teams gets a good fat pay packet. I loved my team and they loved me.
Mark Lansdell 4
With each example of what's not going to happen or be serviced, I'm reminded that much of the "shut-down" is for show. In many cases the "government" is spending more money to deny access to areas than they would to just keep the sites open: shutting down bile paths, shutting down open access memorials like the Iwo Jima, memorial, trhe WWll memorial, even the Lincoln memorial. Generally there are no rangers anround these places and now they furnish armed guards. 98% bulls_it and 2% rainwater.
Michael Fuquay 3
Now if only United can transmit that same mindset to the rest of their employees.
They didn't say they would take them back to COS. Lol
shawn white 3
It will depend on who wins!
Scrape 5
They are in the Air Force, have them fly on a C-17 into Andrews. Or send out the executive fleet's 757 to pick them up instead of Obama going to Asia.
PhotoFinish 0
But of course the executive is trying to make this a political hot potato. By not negotiating and going out if there way to make the most people feel pain, they hope to extract political benefit against their opposition.

A smart President would be offering one of his planes, instead of United. But that doesn't fit into their political play book of more pain (for people) more gain (for us).
CyranoSmith 1
Heckuva good point. AF-2 should be plenty roomy enough, if AF-1 is occupied.
Michael Fuquay 0
Heaven forbid they use the executive fleet. They need on hand for his frequent vacations with his entourage.
Gene Nowak 2
Yes. These are the planes we must keep funded and line ready for our Congressional leaders to take "Junkets", sorry, "Fact Finding Missions", for absolutely no known good reason.
Mark Lansdell 2
You mean the Congressional air force?

I remember the daze when congressmen flew coach.
Fritz Steiner 2
First, a hearty WELL DONE to UNITED. They get it!

Second, I'm knowledgeable only about Navy's athletic programs -- I'm an alumnus. Top to bottom, they are NOT federally funded.

The "reasoning" underlying these stoppages and closures is to -- deliberately -- make the federal government shutdown as painful as possible for the American People.

The last shutdown during the mid-1990s lasted for 21 days. To the best of my knowledge no national parks, cemeteries, memorials, monuments, etc., were closed. The Service Academy football teams (and all of their other intercollegiate athletic teams) played their games. The notion that they shouldn't or wouldn't never entered anybody's mind.

You can decide for yourselves who's responsible for the impasse that caused the government shutdown, but there's only one branch of government that determined what would happen once the shutdown took place. That's the Executive Branch.

Think about it. The federal functionaries down at street level had all the acccoutrements for what they've shuttered in place and ready to go at 12:01 AM on 1 October.The signs were already printed. The yellow, "Do Not Cross" tapes were on site everywhere.

You don't think some Pentagon bureaucrat woke up last Tuesday morning and, having found out that overnight the shutdown had indeed happened, yawned and asked himself, "What can we do to make this hurt?" -- do you? Of course not. The Service Academy athletics shutdown order was already drafted and approved. It was waiting for the "SEND" key to be pressed. To borrow an expression from my West Point brothers in arms, some Pentagon DUMBSMACK pressed it.

The practicalities of canceling the Air Force-Navy game rippled far beyond a purported "tightening the Department of Defense's belt a notch or two." The game itself was (IS) a sellout. There wasn't a vacant hotel room between Annapolis and Baltimore. The area's restaurants, shops, etc. were geared up for a big weekend of business. In short, the cancellation would've been a debacle affecting thousands of American citizens in a number of ways.

There!! That's my take. Your results may differ.
PhotoFinish 2
Very well said Fritz!

Which is why I greatly appreciate United's offer. It took away a major argument for those that were planning to cancel the game to crate unnecessary pain for political gain.

While I have nothing against Delta doing their job. All the major airlines fly thousands of flights every day. The gesture from United was appreciated. If the cost of flying the team had been a factor, the offer from United neutralized it. Also put the issue in the spotlight. The game couldn't have been cancelled without someone getting egg on their face and a call for heads to roll in the White House and/or the Pentagon.

There must be an AirForce alum somewhere in the offices at United, who suggested it. Smartly the guys who make the decisions agreed to go along.
max lyons 2
That game is on CBS too, so there will be even more money rolling in then it would have been otherwise if it was on a different channel.
Geo Head 2
Stupid politics, but thank you United!
Gene Nowak 2
MOOT POINT! USAFA flew Delta yesterday afternoon.
PhotoFinish 2
Game will go on!
joel wiley 3
Footbol Si!
NTSB investigation No!

Am I the only thinking this is odd?
Roland Dent 2
Wonderful piece of PR by the MBA set. If they would stick to stuff like this and let engineers get on, the world would be a better place.
The government has grown to become the greatest threat to individual freedom ever to face our citizens. Not the unseen bad guy in the shadows, but the mindless exuberant spendthrifts in DC who couldn't balance a checkbook, much less a budget. Becoming the world's policeman has brought us to the brink of catastrophe. Accountability is a word that is beyond the ken of politicians. They devote much more energy to getting re-elected than they do to governing properly, and some of the responsibility for this falls on the citizens, who have delegated far too much power to the greedy and careless. At some point, someone has to step up and do what's BEST FOR AMERICA, and not what's best for the party or the individual politician. Mark my words, you read it here first. What could kill our country is the Federal deficit. Wars we can't afford, and entitlements on top of more entitlements. No one wants to work, everyone wants to suckle the tit of the government. Who will pay for all this largess? Answer: NO ONE. Our government has grown into King Kong, and is the very definition of "unsustainable". Now, the government is trying to frighten people by showing what can be taken away when DC is "offline" or "closed". Of course no one is terrified of the monumental WASTE that stops when the beast is not functional. Or the unending spending. Of course, the interest on our huge debt continues to run unabated, even though the government isn't. If some other country announces they won't cover our bets (debt) any more... watch out world.
joel wiley 5
You may have overlooked the commoditization of congresspersons and their votes as a threat to our freedom.
Kent Thompson 1
PhotoFinish 1
The game is on TV live now, Saturday from 11:30-3:00 Saturday afternoon on CBS.
Gene Nowak 1
Why isn't Army getting the same perk? Maybe because many commercial pilots are USAF and not Army trained.
Michael Wise 2
Au contraire! Certainly there are not as many commercial airliner pilots who are Army trained as Air Force trained, but I'm surprised, when flying commercial and wearing a Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association hat or polo shirt, a pilot will comment on how he (or some pilot he knows) was an Army trained aviator. Not frequently, but we're out there.
Gene Nowak 1
I don't question either of your credentials and commend your service in the Army. I merely stated a numerical fact since I spent 27 years in the USAF!
Fritz Steiner 1
West Point to Boston is not a very long bus trip.
Mark Lansdell 1
Please explain further. The Air Force Academy isn't in Boston. They are a good two day or maybe three day bus trip apart from Annapolis, Md.
PhotoFinish 1
Besides AirForce at Navy, Army was playing at BC.
Kuddos for UAL!
Jeremy Swanger 1
203 miles (about 3.5 to 4 hrs if stops or delays) is long enough on a bus for me, Fritz
Fritz Steiner 1
Jeremy ... Indeed, that may be the case for you, but you're obviously not a Cadet football player.

A 4-hour bus ride is nothing to these superbly-conditioned, disciplined, highly-motivated young men. The USMA and USNA football teams routinely travel over 200 miles by bus to play each other when their annual game is in Washington, DC (>250 miles for USMA) or East Rutherford , NJ (> 210 miles for USNA).


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