Thursday, December 31, 2009

Please let this one be false

According to Chuck Todd, NBC's White House correspondent, Obama really likes Janet Napolitano.

He likes her so much that she was on his short list of Supreme Court nominees.

Say it ain't so, Joe.

link here:

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Slate shoots straight

Even if Washington won't tell us the truth, this Slate article nails it:
Flying High
Why are we so bad at detecting the guilty and so good at collective punishment of the innocent?
By Christopher Hitchens
Slate - Posted Monday, Dec. 28, 2009, at 12:03 PM ET

It's getting to the point where the twin news stories more or less write themselves. No sooner is the fanatical and homicidal Muslim arrested than it turns out that he (it won't be long until it is also she) has been known to the authorities for a long time. But somehow the watch list, the tipoff, the many worried reports from colleagues and relatives, the placing of the name on a "central repository of information" don't prevent the suspect from boarding a plane, changing planes, or bringing whatever he cares to bring onto a plane. This is now a tradition that stretches back to several of the murderers who boarded civilian aircraft on Sept. 11, 2001, having called attention to themselves by either a) being on watch lists already or b) weird behavior at heartland American flight schools. They didn't even bother to change their names.

So that's now more or less the routine for the guilty. (I am not making any presumption of innocence concerning Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.) But flick your eye across the page, or down it, and you will instantly see a different imperative for the innocent. "New Restrictions Quickly Added for Travelers," reads the inevitable headline just below the report on the notoriety of Abdulmutallab, whose own father had been sufficiently alarmed to report his son to the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria, some time ago. (By the way, I make a safe prediction: Nobody in that embassy or anywhere else in our national security system will lose his or her job as a consequence of this most recent disgrace.)

In my boyhood, there were signs on English buses that declared, in bold letters, "No Spitting." At a tender age, I was able to work out that most people don't need to be told this, while those who do feel a desire to expectorate on public transport will require more discouragement than a mere sign. But I'd be wasting my time pointing this out to our majestic and sleepless protectors, who now boldly propose to prevent airline passengers from getting out of their seats for the last hour of any flight. Abdulmutallab made his bid in the last hour of his flight, after all. Yes, that ought to do it. It's also incredibly, nay, almost diabolically clever of our guardians to let it be known what the precise time limit will be. Oh, and by the way, any passenger courageous or resourceful enough to stand up and fight back will also have broken the brave new law.

For some years after 9/11, passengers were forbidden to get up and use the lavatory on the Washington-New York shuttle. Zero tolerance! I suppose it must eventually have occurred to somebody that this ban would not deter a person who was willing to die, so the rule was scrapped. But now the principle has been revisited for international flights. For many years after the explosion of the TWA plane over Long Island (a disaster that was later found to have nothing at all to do with international religious nihilism), you could not board an aircraft without being asked whether you had packed your own bags and had them under your control at all times. These two questions are the very ones to which a would-be hijacker or bomber would honestly and logically have to answer "yes." But answering "yes" to both was a condition of being allowed on the plane! Eventually, that heroic piece of stupidity was dropped as well. But now fresh idiocies are in store. Nothing in your lap during final approach. Do you feel safer? If you were a suicide-killer, would you feel thwarted or deterred?

Why do we fail to detect or defeat the guilty, and why do we do so well at collective punishment of the innocent? The answer to the first question is: Because we can't—or won't. The answer to the second question is: Because we can. The fault here is not just with our endlessly incompetent security services, who give the benefit of the doubt to people who should have been arrested long ago or at least had their visas and travel rights revoked. It is also with a public opinion that sheepishly bleats to be made to "feel safe." The demand to satisfy that sad illusion can be met with relative ease if you pay enough people to stand around and stare significantly at the citizens' toothpaste. My impression as a frequent traveler is that intelligent Americans fail to protest at this inanity in case it is they who attract attention and end up on a no-fly list instead. Perfect.

It was reported over the weekend that in the aftermath of the Detroit fiasco, no official decision was made about whether to raise the designated "threat level" from orange. Orange! Could this possibly be because it would be panicky and ridiculous to change it to red and really, really absurd to lower it to yellow? But isn't it just as preposterous (and revealing), immediately after a known Muslim extremist has waltzed through every flimsy barrier, to leave it just where it was the day before?

What nobody in authority thinks us grown-up enough to be told is this: We had better get used to being the civilians who are under a relentless and planned assault from the pledged supporters of a wicked theocratic ideology. These people will kill themselves to attack hotels, weddings, buses, subways, cinemas, and trains. They consider Jews, Christians, Hindus, women, homosexuals, and dissident Muslims (to give only the main instances) to be divinely mandated slaughter victims. Our civil aviation is only the most psychologically frightening symbol of a plethora of potential targets. The future murderers will generally not be from refugee camps or slums (though they are being indoctrinated every day in our prisons); they will frequently be from educated backgrounds, and they will often not be from overseas at all. They are already in our suburbs and even in our military. We can expect to take casualties. The battle will go on for the rest of our lives. Those who plan our destruction know what they want, and they are prepared to kill and die for it. Those who don't get the point prefer to whine about "endless war," accidentally speaking the truth about something of which the attempted Christmas bombing over Michigan was only a foretaste. While we fumble with bureaucracy and euphemism, they are flying high.

Lawyers, lawyers everywhere...

…and not a thought to think.

Janet Napolitano is in the news again. She was sent to the Sunday news programs to assure Americans who were out of town for Christmas that the planes are safe.

She talked about the crew and passengers on the Detroit flight, as well as law enforcement and other planes in the air and proudly proclaimed, “The system worked.”

When she realized her ploy didn’t work, she was back on the air Monday complaining that she was “taken out of context.”

I thought to myself, for a lawyer she sure is misunderstood a lot. Then I realized that the leadership of Homeland Security is filled with lawyers; mostly former lawyers for the Department of Justice. From the top:

Secretary Janet Napolitano - Lawyer for Anita Hill in the attempt to smear Clarence Thomas. Rewarded for her efforts by Bill Clinton when he made her U S Attorney for Arizona.

Deputy Secretary, Jane Holl Lute – JD from Georgetown, former CEO of United Nations Foundation and the Better World Fund. Headed up the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict.

John T. Morton, ICE - Mr. Morton, who began his federal service in 1994, has held a variety of positions within the Department of Justice, including as a trial attorney and special assistant to the general counsel in the former Immigration and Naturalization Service and as counsel to the Deputy Attorney General.

January Contreras, Citizenship and Immigration - Ms. Contreras previously served as a Senior Advisor to Secretary Napolitano, where she helped lead the Department’s response to the H1N1 flu and oversaw Department initiatives for the White House Council on Women and Girls. Prior to joining the Department, Ms. Contreras led the Arizona Department of Health Services. (An Arizona crony. Hmmm.) JD from University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law.

Moving on to the staff of ICE…
Morton has two lawyers in the org chart as “General Counsel.” (Keep in mind that Morton is a lawyer himself.) They are Beth Gibson and Eric Barnett.

Daniel Ragsdale, ICE Management Department – He has a Juris Doctorate from Fordham University School of Law.

Susan Cullen, ICE Policy Director - J.D. from Valparaiso University School of Law.

Peter Vincent, Principal Legal Advisor (How many lawyers does Morton need?) - He received his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law

Lyn Rahilly, Privacy Officer (I’m not sure how that differs from the Freedom of Information Officer but ICE needs her.) - George Washington University Law School.

Truth be told, Obama has done better than Bush in placing people with law enforcement experience in key spots. Bush actually had more former DOJ lawyers in ICE than Obama does.

That’s a step in the right direction, but there are still too many politicians in high places to really be effective.

The politics of enforcement

The idea behind the creation of Homeland Security was to cut through the politics so government agencies would work together for our safety.

Well, that hasn't ever worked, and Janet Napolitano has guaranteed more of the same.

She made the rounds on Sunday with the old cop message, "There's nothing to see here, folks. Move along."

Surely there was some noodling at the White House about what do to since millions of Americans were on airplanes for the holidays. And J-Nap was sent out to assure us it is safe to fly.

But even Obama's media pals didn't buy her explanation that "the system worked." And as reporters dug for background on the terrorist, it became clear that, once again, Homeland Security was asleep at the switch.

So she backpedaled on her statement the next day and even Obama himself came on the air to assure us that he would take action.

It is all just proof once more that Homeland Security is about making us think we are safe when recent events (like Ft Hood and two flights into Detroit) would indicate that enforcement is more dysfunctional than ever.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The new guy

I've tried to keep up with Obama's gaffes, but it hasn't been easy. I've often compared the new guy to Jimmy Carter and his team from Plains, Georgia.
Well, it seems that Obama has some stiff competition.

The newest member of the U S Senate is that sophisticated, witty, Mr. Al Franken.

Al has a Harvard degree in polisci and a knack for improv, so he's a natural for the senate.

It turns out that Al is as dumb as dirt, as evidenced by his behavior yesterday afternoon.

You'll recall that Joe Lieberman has been moving away from the Democrats on Obamacare. Joe's vote counts double because he is technically an Independent (a group Obama is fast losing) AND because the vote on healthcare reform is really tight.

So, Lieberman is wrapping up his five minutes (correction: 10) of floor time in the Senate and he begs for a little more time to mention his ammendments to the bill.

And the new kid, Al Franken, says, "In my capacity as the senator from Minnesota, I object."

Lieberman could have told him to sit down and shut up, but he simply said, "Really? OK."

You really showed him, didn't you Al?

I couldn't be happier about it. Al's ego trip may have helped defeat Obamacare this year. Thanks, Al.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bad news from Denmark

According to some headline buzz coming out of the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit, the Penguins are on the endangered list.

So are Beluga Whales.

And Arctic Foxes.

And coral reefs, Clownfish, and the Quiver Tree of Africa.

And Atlantic Salmon and Ringed Seals.

And Koalas.

You may have also heard that those e-mails proving that the books on global warming were cooked (as in faked data) were all over ten years old, according to Al Gore.

And it was Gore himself who startled us all by saying the Arctic Circle will melt in the summer months within the next five to seven years.

Well…it turns out that Al Gore was taking some artistic liberties for effect. For example, the e-mails. Some of them were just two months old. Oops!

And reporters pinned down the source of Gore’s scare about the North Pole melting and he replied, “"It's unclear to me how this figure was arrived at," Dr. Maslowski said. "I would never try to estimate likelihood at anything as exact as this." Oops again!

Perhaps "Truth" is too strong a word for the title of Gore's book. How about, "An Inconvenient Collection of Spurious Data and Rumors."

I only mention these since you may never hear about these retreats from the facts. The media still clings to the green agenda and ignores the pesky details.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

They were right

The global warming experts are always telling us that the earth is getting dangerously warm because of man. And I am finally a believer.

Below is a chart of selected temperature samples in December of this year. Note the average (or "normal") high for the day and the actual. Note also that there was a distinct DROP in temperatures.
Those dates correspond to the exact dates when all of our global warming experts were in Denmark for the big summit.

Therefore, high temperatures are caused by the presence of our top advocates of global warming. When they leave the country, temperatures drop dramatically.

I am hoping to determine if the rise is due to their methane emissions or CO2 resulting from all their discussions.

At least we can clearly see that it is a "man made" phenomenon.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Throw money at the problem

Here's an interesting graphic about Obama's experts:


Friday, December 4, 2009

In case you missed it...

...this has been going around the Internet lately: