ADVERTISEMENT

The proposed Transparent Airfares Act of 2014 should more properly be called the Murky Airfares Act. The bill, introduced this month in Congress, would allow airlines to mislead the public by advertising airfares without including the hefty taxes and fees.

Consumer advocates complain that allowing the fees and taxes to be listed separately, later in the ticket selection process, amounts to a bait-and-switch scheme. The airline industry hates the current system, which requires the full fare to be displayed. Airlines have been fined thousands of dollars in the past few years for violating the rule.

For our part, we want to know the cost of a ticket up front, on the first display page of an airline website. Just as airlines are supposed to do. Now, that’s transparency.

“This is a big honor for me. In the U.S., I’m interested in Tupac Shakur, Allen Ginsberg and Jackson Pollock. I don’t need a visa to access their work.”

That was Vladislav Surkov, a longtime adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin, responding with disdain to the American and European sanctions targeting prominent Russian officials. Apparently his artistic interests rest with a trio of America’s deceased icons: rapper Shakur, poet Ginsberg and influential painter Pollock.

The Buffalo connection in all this is more of a disconnection. Surkov is sneering at the pleasure of viewing in person Pollock’s paintings, two of them owned by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. The gallery’s most famous Pollock, “Convergence,” is currently on tour at the Denver Art Museum until June 8.

Surkov can take our word for it: seeing it on a computer screen is not the same.

Meantime, Russia won’t have to worry about entertaining some of our top politicos, who were equally honored to be included on Putin’s list of targets for “reciprocal sanctions.”

The bipartisan reactions included House Speaker John Boehner’s “Proud to be included,” and “Badge of honor,” from Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La.

But the sentiment that really captured the moment came from Sen. John McCain of Arizona: “I guess this means my spring break in Siberia is off, my Gazprom stock is lost and my secret bank account in Moscow is frozen.”

Edwin Edwards is one of those political creatures that only America could produce and, even then, possibly only Louisiana.

The former governor of the Bayou State is a charismatic and fast-talking felon. And he won’t go away. After having served eight years in prison over his role in the nefarious licensing of riverboat casinos during his fourth term as governor, Edwards now hopes to up his game and take his brand of politics to Washington. He is running for Congress and, in so doing, testing his colorful 1983 prophesy: “The only way I can lose this election is if I’m caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy.”

Come to think of it, he could fit right in.