Archives for 2009
An alleged attempt to blow up a transatlantic flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas would be all-consuming for the administrator of the Transportation Security Administration — if there were one.
Instead, the post remains vacant because Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) has held up President Obama’s nominee in an effort to prevent TSA workers from joining a labor union.[….]
DeMint’s objection creates a procedural hurdle that will probably take at least three days of debate and test votes to overcome.
It would be nice if a few Villagers here and there could take a break from bashing Harry Reid for not being Mike Mansfield and focus on crap like this.
Update. Ben Smith had a very good piece on this yesterday too (when he’s not quoting Bill Cosby and trolling for Drudge links, his blog is really pretty decent).
Update update. My link at the top is to a McClatchy article. Here’s a somewhat extended version.
Cranky is endemic. I suspect this is one reason:
see more Lolcats and funny pictures
Perspective, my people. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, the days are growing longer… which will allow us precious extra minutes to contemplate the black ice that needs to be removed from the sidewalks & driveways. And then we come back in, huddle around the fire, and tell each other scary stories to beguile the hours of darkness.
— Signed, Flight Captain Emopants, W.S.S. Thwartships
Writing for TPM, Ben Frumin reads the drivel so you don’t have to.
In a blog post on her website titled “It might be time now,” birther queen Orly Taitz seemed to suggest today a call to arms against President Obama.
Here’s the problem for Taitz and the rest of her psycho brigade. Rightwing punditry has left behind syndicated folk like George Will and Charles Krauthammer. Honestly, when was the last time that your far-right uncle got worked up about a Krauthammer column in the Post? Rightwing opinion has evolved into something much more like a free market, where professional hawkers like Limbaugh and Glenn Beck compete in a zero-sum game for attention with fly-by-night con artists like Sam Wurzelbacher and Orly Taitz.
Consistent with the free market idea, nobody on the right has “tenure” any more. South Carolina Republicans censured Lindsey Graham basically for talking with Dems about climate change. Teabagger leaders are basically at each other’s throats over who isn’t running right fast enough to keep up with the fringe. Rush Limbaugh knows better than anyone who his mob would turn on next if he told everyone to take a breath and calm down for a minute.
Orly needs to come up with something new and outrageouser just to keep up. Once your camp basically agrees that expanding health insurance coverage is literally worse than Hitler, where do you go? Even in America there are some things that you can’t quite say out loud. Did team teabag paint itself in a corner? Will a few overenthusiastic martyrs to the few speech laws we do have prove good for the cause? We should find out in a month or two.
I remember this one:
I also vividly remember one where he is wearing a Hawaiian shirt.
Umar Farouk “When There’s Nothing Left To Burn, You Must Set Your Crotch On Fire” Abdulmutallab is currently detained in a federal prison in Michigan. For now! In a few days he’ll use his Muslim heat vision to escape and run amok in Ann Arbor, shortly after America is brought to its knees by the force of his oratory in open federal court.
Why haven’t the usual suspects wet their pants at the notion of a terrorist mastermind unleashed on the population… from his jail cell?
Things I’ve learned in the last 48 hours from progressive blogs and Obama supporters:
Janet Napolitano should resign.
The Kaiser Foundation is needlessly shilling for Obama.
Despite what public watchdog groups state, Obama is just like Bush regarding lobbyists.
Peter Orzag getting married is proof the Obama team is nothing but beltway insiders.
Obama is playing 11 dimensional chess with his appointments to appeal to the base only to stab them in the back a year later.
Obama has let us down by failing to wave his magic wand and make Republicans and Ben Nelson confirm his appointees.
Obama is, literally, Judas.
I’m sure I’ve missed some other things, so make sure you too tell us how Obama has failed you today. Also, if any of you try to refute what I have said here or try to state something positive, you are an Obot incapable of critical thinking and unable to see the real truth.
An email from a reader:
First off, I read your blog and like it a lot, though I don’t comment. Second, my grandmother’s looking to get a dog, partly because she’s been kind of lonely since my grandpa died, and I was wondering if you have any suggestions. We’re looking for a small dog, since she lives in an apartment and might want to be able to carry the dog in a bag onto public transportation, but we don’t want anything too yappy. Are there breeds that you’d recommend? If she picks up a mixed-breed puppy at a shelter, would she be able to make sure that it wouldn’t grow up into the Hound of the Baskervilles? If she does decide to go with a purebred I’ll push hard for her to get it from a breed rescue instead of a pet store.
She’s had dogs before, and is perfectly comfortable taking care of my aunt’s Golden now that he’s mellowed with age.
If you feel like it, I’d be fine with having this put up as a thread, since it’d be great to get input from the whole BJ crowd.
When my grandmother died about 15 years ago, my parents inherited her little Pekingese named Brandy, and she was just the sweetest little lapdog ever. I just don’t know that much about dogs to come up with a suggestion, but I would say avoid Jack Russell Terriers at all costs for a new dog owner. I also know that there are a lot of chihuahas that need to be rescued.
This will upset some of the female commentariat here:
Rahm Emanuel once said of Peter R. Orszag, the bespectacled economist who is President Obama budget director, “He’s made nerdy sexy.” So perhaps the White House chief of staff won’t be surprised to learn that Mr. Orszag got engaged over lunch today to the ABC News correspondent he began dating six months ago, Bianna Golodryga.
Looks like “the Calculator” got himself engaged.
Obama has wielded the power of the White House to craft an executive order that limited lobbyist hires in his administration, push federal agencies to share more of their data with the public and begin releasing visitor records for the executive complex on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.[….]
“The greatest surprise is just how extensively these revolving door restrictions apply,” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen. “Obama has ushered in the first-ever policy addressing ‘reverse’ revolving door abuses: screening potential nominees to the federal government and managing conflicts of interest among appointees so as to prevent special interests from ‘capturing’ the agencies that regulate them.”
Unlike past administrations, Obama’s White House has been unusually attentive to ethics and transparency and to the reform advocates who lobby for them. They were consulted during the transition and often talk with White House officials to this day.
It is really hard to not be cynical about our counter-terrorism efforts, especially as new details emerge about the Christmas day attempt emerge. I’ve always been of the mindset that it is going to be impossible to stop every attack- people are ingenious, and if they really want to attack us they will figure out a way. People are still able to escape from prisons, and we have hundreds of years of experience and have spent trillions on corrections over the years. The goal should be to balance our way of life with our attempts to be as safe as possible.
Having said that, I’m really not sure how we can ever expect much out of our security efforts if, eight years after 9/11, a disaffected Muslim from Nigeria whose father warned authorities can buy a one way trip to the United States, pay cash, and then board the plane with explosives sewn into his underwear. Maybe if he was wearing a t-shirt that said “I’m carrying a bomb” we would have had more success.
Shouldn’t the one way ticket purchased in cash be a warning sign alone? Have any of you paid for a one-way overseas plane ticket with cash? Who does that besides drug runners and terrorists? What have we spent all this money on? How does the DHS justify its existence?
It’s not just me, Matt Taibbi doesn’t like Niebuhrian realism either.
I tend to agree with this:
It’s because nebbishly little dorks like Brooks and Paul Wolfowitz and David Frum got their books dumped in high school that we end up dropping daisy cutters on Afghan sheep herds and shipping working class American kids halfway around the world to get their nuts blown off. That sounds like a simplistic explanation, but anyone who doesn’t have a keen ear for the pencil-pusher’s eternal quest for macho cred is going to have a hard time understanding Washington politics.
(title h/t TZ)
This is almost comical (from a pretty good column by E. J. Dionne):
With Pelosi off the hook, the Washington press corps needed a new goat, and along came Harry Reid. The Senate majority leader, it should be said, sometimes makes it easy for his critics. He can be irascible, and has no qualms about yelling at journalists. (It’s happened to me.) He is not always careful with words. Earlier this month, he at least implied that Republicans were slow on the slavery issue, an odd charge since opposition to slavery was the passion that animated the founding of the GOP. (In those days, most Democrats were, as we might put it now, bad on the slavery issue.)
And, yes, Reid criticized my friend and colleague David Broder. It’s true that Reid was hitting back, since David is not wild about Harry. Nonetheless, I dearly love Broder, as does everyone who has ever worked with him.
I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you how absurd this is, that the very worst sin a Senate leader can commit is to insult a lazy, senile newspaper columnist.
Nate Silver puts the numbers in perspective for the Pantswetting Brigades:
Over the past decade, there have been, by my count, six attempted terrorist incidents on board a commercial airliner than landed in or departed from the United States: the four planes that were hijacked on 9/11, the shoe bomber incident in December 2001, and the NWA flight 253 incident on Christmas…
Over the past decade, according to BTS [the Bureau of Transportation Statistics], there have been 99,320,309 commercial airline departures that either originated or landed within the United States. Dividing by six, we get one terrorist incident per 16,553,385 departures.
These departures flew a collective 69,415,786,000 miles. That means there has been one terrorist incident per 11,569,297,667 mles flown. This distance is equivalent to 1,459,664 trips around the diameter of the Earth, 24,218 round trips to the Moon, or two round trips to Neptune…
There were a total of 674 passengers, not counting crew or the terrorists themselves, on the flights on which these incidents occurred. By contrast, there have been 7,015,630,000 passenger enplanements over the past decade. Therefore, the odds of being on given departure which is the subject of a terrorist incident have been 1 in 10,408,947 over the past decade. By contrast, the odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are about 1 in 500,000. This means that you could board 20 flights per year and still be less likely to be the subject of an attempted terrorist attack than to be struck by lightning.
(h/t Balloon Juice commentor BR)
When will Bill Kristol and/or Jonah Goldberg demand that President Obama declare a War on Weather?