My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Perhaps He'll Get The Message This Way 

Last week, at the height of the Health Care Reform Firesale, I tried on many occasions to call Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska. My basic message was this: Once I've done some work for the Republican trying to end Michael Bennett's Senate career, I'm going to spend weekends in the car driving to Nebraska to work to defeat Nebraska Democrats and ultimately you, Senator. Unfortunately, nobody was answering phones at any of his three offices on three different days, and (shockingly!) the voice mail boxes were all full.

But maybe he'll get the same message from this poll. Sure, his reelection campaign is three years off, but for the incumbent who was reelected in 2006 to be down to a hypothetical opponent by two to one is stunning.

And uplifting!


Return of Amateur Hour 

My first take when I heard about a terrorist who failed in his attempt to light his underwear on fire was that this guy must just be a low-level flunkie of al-Qaeda who was sent off as almost a practical joke.

Turns out the joke was American security, and by extension, the Obama administration (who has NOT been helped by Janet Napolitano!)

This guy had enough explosives to do serious damage to the plane. Thank God al-Qaeda has yet to learn how to send one of these guys onto a plane with a functioning detonator (see Reid, Richard). However, one has to wonder what the Hell this guy was doing over American airspace. He's on a watch list, his father warns one of our embassies about his activities, he's already banned from entry into England, he pays for his plane ticket in cash, and he gets on without any luggage. What does a guy have to do to get stopped by security?

It will be very interesting over the next few weeks to follow the stories backtracking his travels. How many airport and airline personnel were worried about this guy at some point but felt like the political/cultural environment in which they work was too toxic for them to do their jobs properly? Or, I suppose even worse: how many of them watched this guy go through without a second thought while they dutifully made grandma take off her shoes?

Somehow, it would comfort me more if it were an issue of correctness rather than incompetence. Not much more, mind you--but more.

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