10 U.S. Cities where profanity prevails

Obscenity and profanity in the United StatesHe, we’re all prone to a bit of profanity every now and then – some of us more than others. I’ve had my ass butt handed to me by the Gadling editors over my (finally) occasional use of some foul language, though I’ve taken steps to (as they say) improve myself. Well, I was happy to see when flipping through my RSS feed that I’m not the only person who likes to drop an f-bomb every now and then. In fact, there are entire cities engaging in such behavior, according to a recent article on Business Insider.

So, how am I going to pick my next home? Well, I’ll start by looking at the 10 most obscene cities it the United States. Strangely, New York isn’t on the list, probably because we have a small vocal minority that engages in the sorts of foul phrasing, while the rest of the city tends to be squeaky clean.

So, who’s on the list? These are the 10 cities and towns where you’re most likely to find mouths washed out with soap.1. Ashburn, Virginia
There are only 90,000 people here, but they know how to cuss! The Washington, DC suburb made its first time on the list a big one, coming in at the top spot.

2. Tampa, Florida
Tampa found a way to climb from #8 in 2009 to #2 in 2010, something of an accomplishment, according to a handful of people.

3. Herndon, Virginia
What is it about Virginia? Is there something in the water? A problem with the schools’ vocabulary lessons?

4. Rochester, New York
Who cares?

5. Irvine, California
The fourth-best place to live in the United States has achieved this distinction because you can say whatever the fuck you want.

6. Newark, New Jersey
Duh.

7. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Someone must have brought Miss Manners to the largest city in Pennsylvania – it ranked third the past two years, according to Business Insider.

8. Louisville, Kentucky
It ranked #10 last year and #1 the year before. So, there’s a bit of a backslide here, but it hasn’t been too bad.

9. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Like Virginia (and California), Pennsylvania makes the list twice.

10. Los Angeles, California and Las Vegas, Nevada (tie)
Did you really think these two wouldn’t make it?

Curious about how Business Insider came up with the results? Check out the “methodology”:

To find the most obscene cities in America, we plugged the “seven dirty words you can never say on television” — made popular by George Carlin — into Google Trends. We gave each city a score for each of the seven words, assigning more points to cities ranking higher up on each list.

If there’s a better use for the internet, I have yet to see it!

[photo by DanCentury via Flickr]

Congress to end long flight delays

The business travel community is siding with Congress on a new law that would address flight delays on the tarmac. The Business Travel Coalition, which represents the travel departments of 300 companies, is announcing today that it supports a new law that would give passengers some elbow room when a plane’s stuck on the ground.

If a plane is delayed for three hours or more on the tarmac, according to the bill, airlines would have to let the passengers get off the planes. This would provide welcome relief in among the gloomiest of travel situations. And, it could work to the airlines’ favor – though they wouldn’t admit it – as it would prevent negative public relations situations due to poor judgment. There have been enough delays to warrant at least the introduction of a bill, so there’s obviously a problem.

The Business Travel Coalition made the decision after surveying 649 corporate travel departments, travel agents and business travelers. More than 90 percent of the corporate travel departments and approximately 80 percent of travel agents and business travelers support the proposed rule. The National Business Traveler Association and American Society of Travel Agents have both come out in favor of the bill.

Since January 2007, USA Today reports that in excess of 200,000 passengers have been stranded on more than 3,000 planes for at least three hours after pushing back from or while waiting to approach a gate. There were 278 flights in this situation in June 2009 alone. While this is still a small portion of total passenger traffic, 200,000 people is a statistic that’s hard to ignore.

The issue of long tarmac delays was triggered recently by a Continental Express fight that was stuck on the ground in Rochester, Minnesota. The Senate has approved a version of the bill with the three-hour rule, while the House of Representatives has passed a less specific version, requiring that airlines submit a plan to the Department of Transportation for letting passengers off in the case of a long delay.

The Air Transportation Association is against the bill, though it calls long delays “unacceptable” (not exactly a hard position to take). The vice president of the ATA, David Castelveter, claims that airlines have contingency plans to deal with these situations and can handle the situations themselves.

According to USA Today, he says, “We continue to believe that a hard-and-fast mandatory rule for deplaning passengers will have substantial unintended consequences, leading to even more inconvenience for passengers and, ultimately, more flight cancellations.” He also explains that airlines have spent more money and invested in new technology to improve the service they provide.

Of course, we see how well that’s worked over the past three years for enough people to comprise a small city. I’m not a big fan of Congressional involvement, but it’s clear the airlines can’t handle this one on their own: they’ve proved it too often.

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Rochester tarmac delay: “lack of common sense”

“There was a complete lack of common sense here,” U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood said in a statement released yesterday. “It’s no wonder the flying public is so angry and frustrated.”

When 47 passengers were stranded overnight on the tarmac in Rochester, Minnesota, the pilot repeatedly asked for permission to deplane them. All the pilot wanted was to get the passengers off the plane.

Airline dispatchers refused, because TSA officials had left for the day … and not realizing that the passengers could be released to a “sterile” area. Passengers on the ExpressJet flight (which it operated for Continental) were stuck in the plane for close to six hours with nothing to eat but pretzels.

The pilot clearly advocated for his passengers and deserves the endless respect of anyone who’s been stuck on a plane. LaHood recognizes this fact, saying, “We have determined that the Express Jet crew was not at fault. In fact, the flight crew repeatedly tried to get permission to deplane the passengers at the airport or obtain a bus for them,” Secretary LaHood said.

LaHood continues, “The local representative of Mesaba Airlines improperly refused the requests of the captain to let her passengers off the plane. The representative incorrectly said that the airport was closed to passengers for security reasons, which led to this nightmare for those stuck on the plane.”

The representative of Mesaba, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Delta Airlines and was the only airline on hand to assist Continental at the airport, told the pilot that the airport was closed and that there was nobody from the TSA to screen the passengers. This was incorrect, as passengers can be released as long as they remain in what the Transportation Department calls a “sterile area.”

Interviews with the passengers, flight crew and airport personnel have been conducted by the Transportation Department’s Aviation Enforcement Office, and the team has reviewed the audio recordings of conversations between the plane and the dispatcher. And, Continental’s customer service commitment, contingency plan for flight delays and contract of carriage were reviewed, making this, according to LaHood, “one of the most thorough investigations ever conducted by the Department’s Aviation Enforcement Office.”

Pending the results of the investigation, the Aviation Enforcement Office is considering the appropriate action to take against Mesaba. The group expects the investigation to e finished in a few weeks.

The Transportation Department has proposed regulations requiring contingency plans for airlines to adopt to address lengthy delays on the tarmac. These plans would then be incorporated into their contracts of carriage. The department has also asked for comment on whether it should set a single time standard after which carriers would be required to allow passengers to deplane. The Transportation Department intends to use the results of the Rochester investigation to help formulate a final rule that will provide airline passengers with better protection.

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Few solutions offered for passengers trapped on plane overnight

Even Gilligan used his creative wits better in crisis.

The 47 people on-board a Continental flight last Friday night found themselves on their own “three-hour tour,” a la Gilligan’s Island. Rather than taking three hours to fly from Houston to the Twin Cities, they were stuck on the tarmac in Rochester, Minnesota for nine hours overnight, not even leaving the aircraft. The flight, operated by ExpressJet, had been diverted to Rochester because of thunderstorms in the Twin Cities.

Nine hours is a really long time, don’t you think?

One passenger told the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “This was a sardine can, with a single row of seats on one side of the plane and two rows of seats on the other. And they’ve got about 50 people inside, including babies, for the whole night. It was a nightmare.”

The airline seems to have plenty of excuses, but few answers. Just a few: They couldn’t wait for the storm to pass because the crew had already reached their maximum work hours, and another crew had to be flown in. The passengers couldn’t just go into the airport, because they would have to undergo security screening, but the screeners had already gone home for the night. And the idea of at least letting passengers sleep on chairs in a certain area of the airport “wasn’t provided as an option.”

I’d be curious to know whether the passengers were throwing around the term “anarchy” after a few hours, or whether the original crew deplaned because they were at the end of their shift.

Poor, poor passengers. Rather than arriving in Minneapolis around midnight on Friday night, they eventually landed around 11 a.m. on Saturday morning.

One for the Road: Crying with Cockroaches

South African born Marianne Du Toit had limited equestrian experience, but that did not deter her from embarking on a journey that would take her – and two horses – almost two years to travel from Argentina to New York City. Crying with Cockroaches tells the story of her undertaking, one that many considered downright mad. She titled her trip TATA: Travels Across The Americas, and from her home in Ireland, began planning this trek of personal discovery. But as the project evolved, she realized that she could also use the adventure as a way to raise awareness for the need of therapeutic riding facilities in Ireland.

The book is over 400 pages, and includes over 100 color photographs, mostly from the author’s collection of her trip, which was inspired by the writer, Aimé Tschiffely, who undertook a the most famous equestrian journey of the 20th century. Marianne’s expedition took place from May 2002 through March 2004. This fall, she’s been touring the US, and will appear in Rochester next Saturday, December 1. She’ll give a lecture at the George Eastman House, complete with photos and stories from her amazing solo adventure through the Americas, with two horses by her side.