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The Hammer: January 2024 Worst Month O’ the Year Edition

Smoothin' over some cracks in our (digital) face

By Ron Judd Executive Editor

Our Face, It’s Had Some Work Done: Please tell B. Hammer you noticed. Please. It’s been a lot of work for people he hired to … do a lot of work.

Seriously, Though: The new, which we have been calling CDN 2.0, is a step up, we hope, in terms of aesthetics, organization, and that ever-present task: effective distribution of information. And yes, we realize how old-fashioned that is. So it goes.

We Also Hope That: Our new site might be indexed correctly by Google, which our old site, a product of Acme Web ‘n Stuff Warehouse of Moline, Illinois, apparently never really was.

Lots of Info About the New Site: Will be scattered about the site, and via other communications by better communicators. But the thing that’s most worth remembering right off the bat should be clear: The site is now gluten-free.

This Just In: Approximately 90% of CDN News staffers, according to unverified internal CDN self-polling, chose the same answer when asked about the merits of replacing a live news website with a new, improved live news website, with some degree of seamlessness: “Don’t!”

And Yet Each of Them Might Also Say: “Glad we did it.” Right, people? Anyone? Bueller?

More Seriously: We hope you find it useful and a pleasure, and if not, we know you will let us know. Someone always does!

Last Week’s Inbox Highlight: “U.S. Rep Kim Schrier to Donate Blood Thursday.” Her parents may well be proud. But yeah, hard pass.

Jan. 25, 2024

Meta News You Can Use: One of our sharp-eyed reporters couldn’t help notice on Wednesday when a handful of us were sitting in a room chatting with U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen about the struggle for public agencies to cope with the state’s burgeoning opioid addiction crisis, some folks could be seen just down from our third-story window, in an alley off State Street, visibly consuming same. A lasting memory, and not a pleasant one.  

You Might Wanna Sit Down For This: (And if you do, we hope you are not seated in the exit row of a 737 Max9): Sounds like investigators already have the receipts proving that the faulty exit door panel that blew out of a 737, forcing an emergency landing at PDX was last “installed” (we use the word loosely, in the spirit of said “installation”) by workers at Boeing, formerly of Seattle, not one of its subcontractors, reports aerospace reporter extraordinaire Dominic Gates in The Seattle Times.

Hammer Is No Stock Analyst, But: It seems safe to say this is going to do little to maximize shareholder satisfaction.

Contract Cleanup, Aisle Four: Sounds like 170 workers at Bellingham Community Food Co-ops have succeeded in unit recognition by the National Labor Relations Board. Representation is by Teamsters Local 231. Hammer’s sources indicate this was an organic movement.

Take A Deep Breath, Northside ’Hamsters: CDN has checked this out and it appears there is not truth to the dueling rumors that construction work at the Meridian Haggen means the place is closing down — nor that the locally known “Dark Haggen” is getting bright lights, which actually would be a shame. You just have to leave some stuff alone.

Weather Update: Comfortably back to 43 and rain. Yeah, baby.

Jan. 10, 2024

Pro Tips for Aircraft Manufacturers’ PR Flacks, Part I: Two words you’d probably rather not see in mass-media references to your airliners: “Gaping hole.”

And Then This Happened: Days after the unfortunate 737 MAX self-destruct act, which wound up with an emergency and, thank the gods safe, landing in Portland, another Alaska Airlines flight from Paine Field to Honolulu was diverted to Portland Intergalactic on Tuesday. It’s not what you think — or, if sitting in a certain row on a Boeing-assembled 737 — probably feared. Just a radio problem.

Word at PDX is That: It was far more serious than reception problems for the Deadhead Channel on SiriusXM. It’s been rumored that the radio mic overheated from the crew re-re-re-confirming that they were not, in fact, assigned a 737 MAX, with the optional Optimal Fresh Air feature.

As Has Long Been Established: “MAX” is short for “maximum liability.”

Just Throwing This Out Into the (500 MPH) Wind: One way to improve chances that a structural feature produced by a sketchy subcontractor is less prone to blowing out midflight would be to test it out in first class, where your stockholder types might sit, rather than steerage, home to the rest of us.

Speaking of Tarmac Psychology: If you’re PDX, with almost daily arrivals of disintegrating aircraft, how soon do you get a complex for being unofficially known in the Northwest aviation world as the designated bailout spot for both shoddily constructed Boeing planes and smoke-in-cockpit emergencies from Allegiant Air flights headed south from Bham? 

It Makes One Wonder: Remember the days when most of the planes on which we flew came out of the barns at Boeing, formerly of Seattle, ready for long, long lifespans because they were largely constructed by local machinists who paid attention to detail?

Our View: Hammer does. Little did we know that was a golden age of U.S. manufacturing, when safety at least slightly nudged out the maximizing of stockholder satisfaction. At least to the degree that company principals could pass the straight-face test.

For That Matter: Does anyone even remember straight faces?

On the Other Hand: Hammer distinctly remembers, during years as a columnist at The Seattle Times, when the New Boeing first conceived ramping up the production of 737s to the current insane levels of 30, 40, 50 — hell, why not 100? — per month. At the time, countless machinists, engineers and other worker bees at the Lazy B frequently reached out to us and others, warning about this very sort of outcome.

Guess What Happened Next: Hammer, passing some of this along publicly, was admonished by a superior for making angst and anger over lax procedures at the local airframe manufacturer sound … personal. Which it is/was/should have been, given the lives of selves and loved ones at stake, and other such trivial matters. Hammer takes all of that personally. Acceptable character flaw?

The Upshot: All of those people, of course, were shushed, stripped of pensions and reminded how lucky they were to have a job.

And … Here We Are! Read it and weep. Couldn’t have seen this coming? Nonsense; don’t even say it. Lots of folks did. They spoke and were not heard.

Meantime, Thus Spake Jay: Washington Governor for Half-Life Jay Inslee, delivering his 11th “State of the State” address this week, reportedly said this: “I’m happy to report we have been, we are and we will always be the strongest state in the nation.”

Sorry, But: This raises many questions, including: Has the guv ever driven on Washington state roads? Ridden on its rust bucket ferries? Tried to take a leak at a state rest area? Please do so and get back to us. (If you’re really feeling frisky, take a Bellingham DOT freeway offramp — pick one — at anything above the designed Model-T speed of 25 mph).

The Hammer, a somewhat-less-studious alter ego of CDN’s executive editor and various other pointed-barb influencers, publishes online monthly and is updated somewhat regularly;; @roncjudd.

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