HEADLINE: TAC Air: Chattanooga Airport neglecting maintenance
THE RECAP: Pam McAllister, the general manager of TAC Air's Chattanooga operations, charged that airport officials are so concerned about challenging her company's business that they are neglecting maintenance at their facility. At a Monday meeting of the Airport Authority, she said grass hasn't been cut, airport aprons aren't being swept and public bathroom doors and fixtures are broken.
DREW'S VIEW: After years of seeing TAC Air, a privately-owned private plane service and storage company, get the shaft from the Airport Authority, who used taxpayer funds to build a government-owned private plane service and storage company to compete against her company, McAllister delivered airport officials a well-deserved tongue lashing.
McAllister claims that because the Airport Authority is so busy shifting funds around to cover the huge operating loss incurred by the government-owned private plane spa -- $1.2 million in less than two years -- cutbacks on basic janitorial and maintenance functions have been necessary to make ends meet.
It would be difficult for anyone who has flown out of the airport in recent months to disagree. Broken faucets, dirty bathrooms, filthy carpets and neglected landscaping is par for the course at the Chattanooga Airport.
Apparently, that same poor customer experience extends to the private plane facility owned by the Airport Authority. Despite spending more than $10 million in tax money building the unneeded facility, few customers use it. According to McAllister, more than 90 percent of private plane customers using Lovell Field chose to use TAC Air over the government-owned facility.
It's time for the Airport Authority to sell off its money-draining private plane service facility so it can turn its focus back to what it should be doing, but hasn't been: ensuring that airport customers have a safe, clean, modern and pleasant experience.
HEADLINE: President Obama is Time's 'Person of the Year'
THE RECAP: President Barack Obama has been named Time magazine's "Person of the Year" for 2012.
In explaining the choice, Time Editor Rick Stengel told NBC's "Today" show, "We are in the midst of historic cultural and demographic changes, and Obama is both the symbol and in some ways the architect of this new America." Obama also received the honor in 2008, when he was President-elect.
DREW'S VIEW: Let me get this straight. The economy remains firmly in the toilet, tens of millions of Americans are still struggling to find jobs and the only promise the president has managed to keep -- Obamacare -- stands ready to wreak havoc on the economy and on the quality of health care in America, and Obama was still named person of the year? Who came in second? Lindsay Lohan? Derek Dooley? Rep. Scott DesJarlais? Lance Armstrong? The Elmo puppeteer?
HEADLINE: Connecticut school shootings focal point for gun debate
THE RECAP: Friday's slaying of 20 first-graders and six teachers and staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School struck horror and fear into the hearts of parents everywhere, rallied gun-control advocates and shook even some staunch gun-rights advocates.
DREW'S VIEW: Was there any doubt that gun control advocates would exploit this tragic story to try to push their impossible goal of eliminating guns in America? The bodies of those poor children were still being counted when the hysterical and illogical rants of the gun rights adversaries began.
It does little good to state obvious truths -- such as many more people would be robbed, raped and killed if would-be criminals weren't deterred by the fear that the would-be victim might have a gun -- to unreasonable people.
Instead, I'll bring up a less recognized fact. Only 88 people died in mass shootings in America this year -- and those numbers come courtesy of The Nation, one of America's most antigun publications. Yes, it's heartbreaking that 88 people died. But that's out of 315 million Americans. That means one in every 3.6 million Americans died in a mass shooting this year -- about the same portion as the number of Americans that died each year from lightning strikes.
Four times more Americans die in shower and bathtub accidents every year than die in mass shootings, according to the National Safety Council.
A 2010 study published in the academic journal Thymos revealed that 117 baby boys die every year in the U.S. from circumcision complications. Even though more Americans die from botched unnecessary penis surgeries than mass shootings, talking heads don't rush to the nearest TV studio to condemn circumcisions.
When mass shootings occur, rather than trying to stoke hysteria and strip rights, maybe anti-gun nuts (not to mention the media) should grieve the victims and then celebrate how rare such events truly are in the United States.
"Drew's views" is a weekly roundup of Free Press opinions about topics that appeared in the Times Free Press over the past week. Send Drew's Christmas presents to: 400 E. 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403.