Consider today. First we heard that a plane heading for Dallas from London was being diverted because a woman on board had matches, Vaseline, a screwdriver and a note referring to al-Qaida. Take away the latter and it sounds as if somebody may have found Tommy Lee’s carry-on.

Now officials are saying none of that happened, and the woman, from Vermont, was suffering from claustrophobia and freaked a little bit. Hey, spend enough time around Howard Dean, and something like that is bound to occur.

But oh how rumors can spread. Let’s keep this in mind the next time there’s a freakout. So many stories get started simply by somebody misunderstanding their police or airport scanner, especially reporters who are pushing deadlines and eyeing a network anchor chair while mumbling, “someday…”

Not today. 

Let me in the cockpit or everybody gets lubed!


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