Theft patterns, fate of rights, class actions


Pilots used to say, “If it ain’t Boeing, I’m not going. For decades, no other aviation company has been held in such high esteem for its meticulous perfectionism coupled with visionary innovation. But as Rory Kennedy lucidly explains in his gripping and disturbing investigative documentary “Downfall: The Case Against Boeing”, their reputation took a near fatal blow on October 29, 2018, when Indonesian carrier Lion Air Flight 610 – piloting one of Boeing’s newest fashionable aircraft model 737 MAX – crashed shortly after takeoff in the Java Sea. None of the 189 on board survived.

Boeing had invested heavily in the success of the 737 MAX, seeing it as a counterpoint to the breakthrough made in their market by the European company Airbus. They therefore dismissed any suggestion that a mechanical or design failure caused the crash and instead cited pilot error. After all, they said, Lion Air was a small company of a technologically backward company and its pilot had surely been inferiorly trained (in fact, he had been trained in the United States and had an impeccable record). They therefore continued their activities as usual. Until five months later, when another 737 MAX, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 409, crashed, killing all 157 passengers and crew.

Boeing still remains silent, and Kennedy’s search for answers leads to a trail of incompetence, deceit and greed. To make the new model competitive, engineers had to fit it with larger engines, which required the fitting of a jerry-rigged gimmick to prevent the plane from billowing up and stalling. Unfortunately, if the device failed, it would send the plane downward at increasing speed.

And no one knew about the existence of the new instrument. Acknowledging this addition would require a delay for FAA approval. But Boeing needed the plane in the market right away, so they kept the device a secret from everyone, including the pilots, who even if they knew what was going on would only have seconds to tell. react when their plane began to dive to the ground at 600 miles per hour.

Kennedy shows the results of this cost-cutting decision. The father of one of the Ethiopian flight victims visits the crash site and learns there are no human remains, only a deep crater and scattered items like a child’s shoe and a belt. security.

Kennedy also traces the cause of failure beyond this single flaw to Boeing’s merger with McDonnell Douglas in 1997 and an apparent shift in corporate philosophy from pride in perfectionism to cost and expense reduction. Wall Street profits.

“Downfall: The Case Against Boeing” premieres on Netflix on February 18.

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whale rights

One explanation for the name of the probably apocryphal North Atlantic right whale was that it was the “right” whale to hunt, as once killed it would stay afloat. Whether the claim is true or not, it was the favorite prey of whalers throughout history until numbers dwindled to the point where Canadian and American laws prohibit any vessel from approaching unless a few hundred meters from one. But as seen in Nadine Pequeneza’s suspenseful and sometimes harrowing “The Last of the Right Whales,” the hunters are no longer the problem, rather it’s the lines and nets of fishermen and the propellers of massive freighters that present the most great danger to the survival of the species.

A right whale and her calf in Florida’s calving grounds, in “Last of the Right Whales”HitPlay Productions

Pequeneza has received special dispensation from distancing rules, and the up-close and personal images of these rare cetaceans, often mothers with young, elicit admiration and sympathy. She accompanies a wildlife photographer, a marine biologist and a crab fisherman on her investigation and follows the strenuous efforts of whale rescuers to disentangle already scarred whales from nets and fishing lines. When a dead adult or calf is found at sea or on a beach, mutilated after a collision with a ship or tortured wrapped in ropes, those dedicated to its preservation weep, and you will understand why.

“Last of the Right Whales” can be seen as part of the New England Aquarium Lecture Series at the Simons Theater on February 16 at 6:30 p.m. An in-person panel discussion follows the screening with director Nadine Pequeneza; Heather Pettis, research scientist, Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life, New England Aquarium; and Marc Palumbo, lobster fisherman.

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No more proof needed

Some believe that wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in classrooms is an unnecessary and intrusive precaution. But he has nothing on some of the measures taken to protect children from school shootings. Todd Chandler is detached, non-judgmental and incisive”Armoredobserves some of these practices, beginning with an elaborate shooting practice in a school conducted by adult staff members. People walk down a hallway chatting as gunshots ring out. They rush through doors and inside classrooms, people fall as if shot, others administer CPR and first aid, barricades are stacked, while gunfire outside continue to explode.

It is handled smoothly and with ease. A sign on a blackboard reads, “Let’s end the year on a high!”

Chandler intercuts these incongruous and alarming scenes with shots of normal school activities such as cheerleading and band practice, classroom lessons, and recess. But you never know when an alarm or drill will break through everyday behavior sending kids and teachers into survival mode. A student asks if the exercises themselves could be traumatic.

Employing a non-editorial style, a la Frederick Wiseman, Chandler presents scenes and sets up juxtapositions that make their point more sharply than if he were providing commentary. A young woman appalled by school shootings leaves college to design and manufacture bulletproof hoodies. A security guard opens a safe to show the arsenal of AR-15s stored there due to “the importance of superior firepower”. Another woman practices shooting in a computer simulation and strikes an innocent bystander. “Your goal is to save the children, not kill them,” advises the instructor.

Many measures to combat the threat of school shootings are proposed and demonstrated. The obvious – gun control – is ignored.

“Bulletproof” can be seen February 14 at 10 p.m. as part of the PBS Independent Lens series. It can also be streamed on the PBS Video app.

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Peter Keough can be contacted at


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