Right on schedule, someone writes a “They’re no angel” story about the United Airlines victim [Updated]

Update (April 11, 2017, 6:20 p.m. EDT): That beeping sound you’re hearing? That’s the sound of the Courier-Journal backing up and changing their story to be less of a hit piece. Read this post to the end for the update.

A screenshot of the Courier-Journal’s homepage, taken around 1:00 p.m. EDT today. They’ve since changed the headline.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the news story arc that takes place when people of color are hurt or killed by police or security forces, here’s a quick refresher:

  1. The story breaks,
  2. public outcry ensues, and…
  3. after a little dirt-digging, an often unrelated “victim was no angel” story arises.

We just hit part 3 of the arc thanks to the Louisville, Kentucky newspaper, the Courier-Journal, who published a hit piece titled David Dao, passenger removed from United flight, a doctor with a troubled past [They’ve since updated the story; I’m linking to a PDF of the original version]:

A screenshot of the Courier-Journal’s hit piece, taken around 1:00 p.m. EDT today. They’ve since changed it.

The first third of the article covers the original story: the unnecessary, cruel, and brutal “re-accommodation” of Dr. Dao, who refused to volunteer to leave his seat and take a flight the following afternoon in order to allow airline employees to deadhead to their scheduled work flight at the destination airport.

However, the following two thirds of the article is devoted to drug-related offenses for which the victim was convicted in 2004.

He lost his license to practice medicine in 2005 for being “involved in fraudulent prescriptions for controlled substances and was sexually involved with a patient who used to work for his practice and assisted police in building a case against him”. He was placed on 5 years of supervised probation in 2005, and in 2015, was allowed to resume practicing medicine under certain conditions.

His debt to society has been paid, and for those of you not doing the math, those debts are for a conviction dating back 13 years. Or if you prefer, during Dubya’s first term as president. Or three years before the iPhone was announced, when the Motorola RAZR v3 was the hottest phone on the market. Or the year that Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook from his dorm room. Or when the series finale for Friends aired. That long ago.

His past has nothing to do with the beating, nor does it justify it, nor does it add any useful information to the story about the incident. But since Dao isn’t a Default Human Being, it was inevitable that someone would eventually bring up the “they’re no angel” defense.

The Courier-Journal changes its tune

They’ve revised the headline on their front page…

…and the story has a new title, and a less hit piece-like tone:

…but the Courier-Journal’s editor defended the decision to bring up Dao’s “troubled past”. To quote my friend Becca, “When people plant their flag on Asshole Hill, they seem really intent to die on it too.”


Coming soon to United Airlines’ safety cards

Click the image to see it at full size.


Coming soon to United Airlines’ website

 Click the image to see it at full size.

Click the image to see it at full size.


Need some motivation? Batman’s here to help.

Panels from a Batman comic book, showing a bloodied Batman getting up from the floor: You know how many times I've heard that? 'Rest in peace, Batman!' 'There's no escape, Batman!' 'Time to die, Batman!' Every night. Over and over and over. For so many years. 'This is the end, Batman!' Every damn night. And yet... I'm still here.
Tap to see the bad-assery at full size.

If you’re running into setbacks and need a little inspiration, here’s one from comic book writer Tom King, who says this about the panels above: “Wanted to write this page since I was 9. Hope it inspires a picked-on kid, as the comics of my nerdy youth inspired me.”


The new “Tampa Together” video needs some love!

The city of Tampa’s new Tampa Together video does feature a lot of Mayor Bob Buckhorn tooting his own horn*, but it also sings the praises of a city with a lot going for it, and a lot of potential. As I write this, it has a mere 796 views, and I think we can give it a lot more love.

* When a shameless self-promoter like me says someone’s tooting their own horn, that really means something. But hey, he’s a damn sight better than my last mayor!

The video also presents a lot of factoids about Tampa. I’m going to fact-check them and link to the sources, but in the meantime, here’s the list:


The best circumcision ad ever comes from the Philippines and features Wolverine!

“I’m the best at what I do, and what I do isn’t very nice.”
Click the photo to see the badassery at full size.

Sure, Japan may be known for its wacky TV ads, but when it comes to poster advertising, nobody beats my homeland, the Philippines, where they know that copyright and trademark violation is your best entertainment value!

The marketing genius who designed this poster clearly knows the target audience is the parents, and not the person being circumcised, because that audience says “Wolverine? Cool!” and not “Keep Wolverine away from my ding-ding!”

In case you were wondering:

  • The Dionisio M. Cornel Memorial Medical Center, for whom this ad was made, has a Facebook page. They have terrible reviews, and you may not want to get a circumcision done here.
  • The medical center in question is in Antipolo, which is 26 kilometers (16 miles) east of Manila, and where my great-grandfather, American immigrant to the Philippines James O’Hara, lived.
  • At the time of writing, 1,400 Philippine pesos is equivalent to US$27.90 or CAD$37.38.
  • The bottom of the poster translates as: “Cheap, still with a doctor, still at a hospital…this is where you get painless circumcision!”

I wonder if someone’s sent this pic to Hugh Jackman. He’ll get a laugh out of it.

Thanks to David J. Greenbaum for the find!


I want this: A “mechanical bull” for the pool!

Yeah, it’s not technically a “mechanical bull” since it’s people-powered, but you it’s the term a lot of people use for this kind of ride. I hereby declare the InflataBULL™ as the official pool toy of Florida.

It’s available online through for US$80.

Click the photo to see it at full size.

Thanks to Murray Anne Bowers for the find!