Operator error? The investigation into Saturday’s airline crash at the San Francisco International Airport is zeroing in on the pilot. According to eyewitness accounts, the plane was flying too low and too slow as it made its approach to the runway. And this morning we learned that pilot Lee Gang-guk had little experience flying the Boeing 777 and had never landed one at San Francisco International. Although he had flown more than 10,000 hours in other planes, the pilot had only 43 hours on the 777. The co-pilot had 3,220 hours on the 777 and was helping Lee with the landing. Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will interview all four pilots who were aboard the plane to try to figure out what happened during the landing: “You want to make sure they can do it safely every time, and safely the first time,” NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman told Fox News. Two Chinese middle school students died in the crash, although one may have been run over by an emergency response vehicle after escaping the plane’s smoking wreckage unharmed.
Sleazy politics. Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who resigned in 2008 amid a high-priced call girl scandal, is trying to make a political comeback. Spitzer announced Sunday he would run for New York City controller. The best part? He’ll be running against the madam who supplied him with prostitutes. Kristin Davis is looking forward to the contest: “This is going to be the funnest campaign ever,” she said. Davis went to prison for three months for her role in running a high-end escort service. And, of course, Spitzer and Davis aren’t the only ones with shady backgrounds running for office in New York. Maybe Spitzer figures mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner will make him look good, or at least a little less sleazy.
Identifying a scream. The defense team for Florida neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman began its second day of witness examinations today, hoping to prove to jurors that the defendant was the one heard screaming on a 911 tape. The recording has become the focal point of the murder trial with both sides claiming it supports their case. The prosecution alleges Zimmerman shot unarmed teen Trayvon Martin in cold blood after stalking him through a gated neighborhood. Zimmerman claims he was acting in self-defense. Both prosecution and defense lawyers have called witnesses that have sworn to their certainty about who the voice on the recording belongs to. The trial could go to the jury as early as the end of this week. Defense attorney Mark O’Mara said he only expected his case to last a few days.
Declaring incompetence? The Boston Beer Company, brewers of Samuel Adams, is catching flack for an Independence Day ad it aired over the weekend. The television commercial features a bartender explaining why the company decided to name a beer after one of America’s Founding Fathers: Because he signed the Declaration of Independence, of course. The bartender then goes on to paraphrase from our founding document, only he leaves out what to many is a very important clause: “All men are created equal. They are endowed with certain unalienable rights—life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” he says in an authoritative baritone. Maybe the advertising agency thought that whole “by their Creator” thing wouldn’t help sell beer.