Watercooler Stories

By United Press International  |  May 26, 2004 at 6:30 AM
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Air travel delays expected for holiday

CHICAGO, May 25 (UPI) -- Transportation security officials are advising air travelers to allow plenty of time for long security lines if they fly over the Memorial Day weekend.

TSA Director Michael Zunk is giving tips on packing, traveling with children and people with special needs, and tips on the smart-travel wardrobe. He will be at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, the world's busiest, Wednesday to remind passengers about prohibited items and give information on how to navigate security checkpoints like taking off pagers and removing laptop computers from carrying cases.

Chicago Aviation Commissioner John Robertson told the Chicago Tribune the wait at checkpoints could be longer than the 10-minute goal.

The aviation department is predicting the busiest Memorial Day holiday for air travel in four years with about 1.7 million passengers passing through O'Hare and Midway airports Thursday through Tuesday.

Friday is expected to be the heaviest day with nearly 280,000 people passing through the two major airports.

Gas prices, travel both on rise

TAMPA, Fla., May 25 (UPI) -- Gas prices are soaring, but so are Americans' plans for taking a long weekend this Memorial Day, the AAA Auto Clubs reported.

The national survey of 1,300 adults conducted for the AAA by the Travel Industry Association of America indicated travel will be up 3.4 percent this year, the Palm Beach Post reported Tuesday.

The survey indicated 30.9 million travelers will drive 50 miles or more by car this weekend. Another 4.1 million plan to travel by plane, up 5.3 percent from last year.

Gas prices are up to as much as $3 a gallon in some places, but a recovering economy including strong employment reports in March and April have spurred travel.

Those polled also report being less concerned than a year ago about security issues.

Greg Laskowsky of the AAA Auto Club South in Tampa said requests for individualized travel maps increased by 13 percent in the first three months of the year.

"We were astounded by that. During the first quarter, with gas at $1.80 a gallon, people were undaunted," he said.

Viacom launches gay-targeted cable channel

NEW YORK, May 25 (UPI) -- MTV Networks announced Tuesday it is launching LOGO, a channel targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender viewers.

"Creating a network specifically for the LGBT community is something we've wanted to do for a long, long time, and it's an idea we feel is overdue," Tom Freston, chairman and chief executive officer of MTV Networks, said in a statement issued by parent company Viacom Inc.

The new channel is to begin telecasting Feb. 17 in markets in Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, San Francisco, and other areas. It will be carried by national cable operators and will be advertiser-supported, the statement said.

LOGO's programming will be a mix of original and acquired shows that target 25- to 49-year-olds.

Viacom's cable networks include MTV, Comedy Central, BET and Spike TV.

Presidential election ads hitting new lows

WASHINGTON, May 25 (UPI) -- Political analysts say the frequency and extent of distortions in ads for the U.S. presidential election have hit new lows.

Brooks Jackson, director of Factcheck.org, an Annenberg Public Policy Center Web site that analyzes political ads, says this year's ads are crass plays for a gullible public, the New York Times reported Tuesday.

"It's beyond subliminal -- it's something else I haven't come up with a name for," Jackson said.

"Even people who don't think there is much information in these ads and say they don't learn anything from them tell us they believe factoids they could only have gotten from these ads, and they're wrong."

Among the lies Jackson's group found from each campaign:

-- Bush's campaign claiming Kerry would raise taxes by at least $900 billion in his first 100 days in office. Kerry has no such plan.

-- Kerry's campaign claiming Bush said "sending jobs overseas makes sense for America." Bush never said that.

Similar distortions were found in the ads run by independent groups supporting each candidate, Jackson said.

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