Thursday, July 22, 2004

Moron of the day award goes to...

DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe for filing a FOIA for production of materials during an ongoing investigation.  I searched for a bio on McAuliffe to see if he's a lawyer, so I don't know if it's entirely fair to bestow him or some DNC law-monkey with today's laurels. 

By no stretch of the imagination am I a legal whiz, but this request is really a waste of time.  McAuliffe sent a letter to the Justice Department requesting production under 5 U.S.C. 552 but ignores the obvious exemption under (b)(7).  Here's what the exemption states:

records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that the production of such law enforcement records or information...

And then there is a six-pronged elaboration of what conditions under which the exemption stands. 
This is clearly a publicity stunt that is more bluster than substance. 
UPDATE:  Mark Levin over at The Corner (NRO) finds a rich little irony over McAuliffe's ignorance of the exemption from the statute...
The irony with McAuliffe's FOIA request is that one of the most recent federal court decisions upholding the White House exemption from document production under FOIA -- which he now seeks -- was a lawsuit brought by Juanita Broaddrick against Bill Clinton in Broaddrick v. Exec. Office of the President, 139 F. Supp. 2d 55, 58 (D.D.C., 2001). Surely McAuliffe and his DNC lawyers are aware of this, which is why this is a PR stunt and nothing more. ... Ok, don't worry ... I'm moving on ...
Terry?  Keep filming?

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Are those classified documents in your pants...

I'm going to reserve judgment on Trouser gate with the following two caveats:

1.)  If Condoleeza Rice had been caught stuffing classified documents into her blouse, the New York Times would classify this news as "fit to print."  Remember, it's the serioussness of the charge, not the nature of the evidence for these people. 

2.)  I don't know if this is going to blow up into a major scandal, but this type of sloppiness comports perfectly with the mannerisms of the Clinton White House.  All sorts of staff walking around without clearances, pizza boxes and crap strewn all over the place, a former bouncer handling security... it's amazing that Clinton ever got anything done during his Presidency...

oh.  Wait.  Sorry.   

Monday, July 19, 2004

Annie Jacobsen Redux... (and rant)

Here are my thoughts on the second installment of Terror in the Skies, Again.  Actually, let me start out with a couple of the critiques. 
Donald Sensing used a misapprehension  (namely, a TSA "no-congregate" order) to draw the conclusion that Ms. Jaconbsen's story is simply fear-mongering and lacks objectivity.  He dwells over the fact that we learned "nothing new" about NWA flight 327.  That's a little silly: what if she had disclosed something "new" about Flt. 327?  Would Sensing have accused her of sandbagging the story: rendering the same effect of a three-part Dateline NBC shock piece?  Sure, he has criticisms about "objectivity;" but when imputed into the crux of the story, these concerns are irrelevant.  How objective would Walter Cronkite, Matt Lauer, Donald Sensing be on a hi-jacked flight?  But, let's not nitpick. 
As I said, the compelling nature of this story rests on its plausibility.  We are under a serious threat; and it's from a cunning enemy that is crazy but not stupid.  They took their dear time planning September 11th, and it was our ineptitude/naivete that allowed them to succeed.  We need to push the following out of our consciousness:  "Who would do such a thing?"  Go to lower Manhattan and you'll know. 
I don't blame Bill Clinton explicitly for 9/11.  I don't think his years of decadence and indifference helped much.  But, I always believe that if Bill Clinton had known this would happen, he would have done SOMETHING.  However, we can no longer plead ignorance.  That's what's so compelling about Ms. Jacobsen's experience.  No longer are these occurences the fodder of Tom Clancy novels and Bruce Willis movies.   It's quite real.  And, I'm sorry to say, it's not going away any time soon. 
The layman (you and I) couldn't possibly comprehend the depth of the efforts our goverment is devoting to this problem.  The September 11th commissions was convened to discuss our failures: not our successes.  When an FBI agent busts up a terror cell, when a CIA agent steals a CD-ROM, or when a Coast Guard cutter stops illicit weapons coming into our country, Congress doesn't convene a special commission to investigate the success.  If our Syrian musicians were in fact terrorists, Dave Adams isn't going to tell us.  For all intents and purposes, those 14 Syrians could be chilling in a cell in Guantanamo right now; and we are none the wiser. 
Because of Donald Sensing's reasonable skepticism and the blatantly naive ridicule of the World O' Crap crowd/conventional liberalism; we can see perceptions of not only the threat, but our political climate.  I think it takes a little bit of hubris to demand objectivity during such a harrowing moment.  While her fear might undermine the story, the facts (at this point) certainly don't seem to. 
However,  I'll take Donald Sensing's high standards over the condescension of the World O' Crap crowd any day.  It takes a special type of cycicism to gloss over this story and say,  (paraphrase) 'What a racist, emotional, white, WASPY snitch.' 
As far as the nature of the article, it turned out exactly as I thought it would be.  She presents a problem, and then solves it (end political correctness in the Terminal).  I don't think it gets any simpler than that. 
I'm flying to Seattle in August.  I can't wait.  Am I scared?  Nah.  Neither should you.  No one is asking for you to be afraid. 
Vigilance, on the other hand, could go a long way. 

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Tonight's Simpsons episode..

was just a little over the top.  Ahh, the life of a conservative: the majority of your entertainment is coming at you from a quasi-liberal angle.  Nothing wrong with that, really.  It just reminds you of the difference between entertainment and reality. 
UPDATE:  Now Linda Rondstadt.   Damnit.  I was listening to her tribute to the Gershwins just the other night.  Bleh. 
"I've Got a Crush On You..."

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Political correctness is going to hurt us...

A great piece by David Warren.  Remember, one of the major tenets of liberalism is the denial of the manifestly obvious. 
In the course of three years' intense study of the issue, I've become convinced that there is -- well, this is a slight exaggeration -- no such thing as "Al Qaeda". It is, more precisely, only a name applied vaguely to one of several financing and logistical arms of the Wahabi branch of what could more accurately be called the "Islamic Jihad". Not an army, nor a disciplined network of underground cells, but an historical movement -- and thus more comparable to something like "the Enlightenment" in the West, than to any organized militia. Not to say the Jihad shares ideals with the Enlightenment -- far from it -- but rather, it is similar in being a vast idealistic movement, consciously advanced by men who co-operate as and where they think they can be most effective -- but taking their orders, ultimately, not from men but from "the zeitgeist", or "Allah".

This may sound a very abstract analysis, but it has practical consequences for "homeland security". For starters, it means we cannot draw neat, legalistic lines between who's in and who's out of the cabal. For instance, a journalist working for Al-Jazeera may be every bit as committed to the struggle as a man rehearsing the assembly of a mid-flight bomb. Each is advancing the Jihad by the means most available to him. And, exempting the one from prosecution while arresting the other is entirely obtuse.

Read the rest of it here.

posted by Charles @ 9:05 PM 0 comments

The Coalition of the Indifferent

This is my last post on this subject for the night.  I need to get a life and walk down to Adams-Morgan.  Hopefully, I'll buy a drink for Jessica Cutler.  But, wait, my debit card maxes out at $300... I digress.
Per Michelle Malkin, here's what the Salon crowd thinks of Ms. Jacobsen:
So, to summarize: a woman and her hubby are scared because they see a group of Arabic men exchanging glances, and making frequent trips to the rest room.  There are air marshals on board.  The plane lands safely.  The men are questioned, everything checks out, and the men are released -- they were merely musicians.  BUT there was a report in the press saying that terrorists can assemble bombs in restrooms during a flight, and NOBODY DID ANYTHING ABOUT KEEPING THOSE ARABS FROM USING THE TOILET!  She talks to federal officials, who tell her confidential stuff about their policies and procedures for handling terrorists, and give her information about the Arabs' upcoming flight plans.  Thus, we should all be really, really scared, and violate the civil liberties of swarthy men, or just go ahead and start the internment camps.  Just in case.

As usual, some people are too cool for school.  Obviously, there isn't a whole lot of room between "skeptical" and "naive".
Basically, they take a bunch of her passages out of context and explain them away with pithy comments.  It all most makes me long for Wonkette (or at Maureen Dowd, at the very least). 
Skepticism is healthy.  If you're looking for some, Donald Sensing has some reasonable doubts.  However, criticizing the emotional tone of the story rings a bit hollow.  I know this sounds misogynist to some, but women are "emotional."  They observe the experience not only with their eyes, but their feelings.  A caller on the Seattle radio show in which she was interviewed said she wrote in the "omniscient person."  No.  Go back to high school.  There is a tangible difference between observing the sum of your environment and imputing emotions/thoughts into your cast of characters. 
If you read between the lines, the blase' attitude with which World O' Crap treats this is fraught with their political anxiety.  "No, really.  We're returning to normalcy!  Vote John Kerry!  There's no threat, you racist, simplistic ninny."

posted by Charles @ 12:12 AM 6 comments

Friday, July 16, 2004

Northwest Pilot calls into John Carlson...

Hold on, a pilot for Northwest just called in while I was typing the summary.  I'm going to listen to him.
-  "These terrorists preboard to potentially identify Air Mashalls."
-  Not shocked to hear that this sort of thing happened. 
J.C.:  Have you had a flight with this kind of behavior?
Pilot:  Not to this degree.  But, I've had some strange behavior.
J.C.:  What do you think of her story?
Pilot:  It's plausible.  Except for why so many of these people would pre-board.  The only one    eligible for pre-boarding is the one with the orthopaedic leg. 
J.C.:   So based on her article, and this conversation, what do you think?
Pilot:  No surpise.  DTW is near the Canadien border where egress/ingress is easy. 
BTW, the trouble with airlines is that once the exit door is shut and your airborne, it changes the scenario completely.  We need to do more on the ground because of the perilous nature of being in flight. 
J.C.:  Do we need to screen Muslims more.
Pilot:  Absolutely.  Why would you want the pilots to be stripped search but allow these people through with little scrutiny.  I've shut down a flight before b/c of security concerns.  It turned out to be nothing, but better safe than sorry. 

posted by Charles @ 7:38 PM 2 comments


I just looked back at my notes and they look totally unorganized.  Here are my impressions from the interview:
-If she has any suspicions about the FBI/FAM confirmation that the Syrians' story checks out, she isn't throwing them out there.  If she was grandstanding, she would act like the Art Bell crowd: "this is obviously a cover-up, I know what I saw!  The media is stamping this out!  The Rotary Club killed President Kennedy!"
-Clearly, she's very concerned about the security procedure implemented by TSA. 
-She's received lots of feedback about similar incidents while in transit. 
-She's VERY liberal.  What she saw going on was very out of sorts and resonated with her.  Enough so to make her quote Ann Coulter. 
The interview only lasted two segments.  So, nothing much that we already know was made manifest. 
I said earlier that the media would never run with this because it doesn't fit their template.  I'm going to retract that and reserve judgement until Monday night.  I'm interested to see how they spin her story.  The sensationilistic elements are appealing:  "Terrorists in the midst!  More at 11:00!" 
Of course, there are mechanisms at work that we might never know about.  I'll elaborate later.

posted by Charles @ 7:30 PM 0 comments

Part Two...

paraphrase (no Dowdification intended...):
Carlson:  "No one confronted these men until the plane was landed?"
AJ:  "Define confronted."
Carlson:  "None of the sky marshalls?"
AJ:  Marshalls only deploy in the event of a palpable incident.
During her interview with the TSA, she said that she and her husband asked the investigators questions and they didn't answer any. 
One of the Federal Air Marshalls called after the WAPO got wind of the story.  He said FBI and FAM looked into the Syrians' story and that it appears legit. 
Discussion about the Observer (UK) article and congruent incidents on her flight.
John Carlson:  "You're article is blowing up.  You're going to be on ABC News, NBC?  Where have they been in the past?"
AJ:  "My editor at WWS decided to treat this like a story.  The article is meant to inform the public; instead of petty sensationalism."
JC: "Do you know if the plane was searched?"
AJ:  "I don't know."
JC:  "What do you think was happening b/t DTW and LAX?"
AJ:  "I've spoken with many people in the industry, pilots, flight attendants, etc.  The rest is laid out in the article."
JC:  "What should we do to remedy this?"
AJ:  "I don't know.  That's not for me to speculate.  I'm writing a second article on the information that I've received since the publication of the article."
End interview. 

posted by Charles @ 7:15 PM 0 comments

The interview with John Carlson...

So far, the interview comports with her story.  Obviously she was freaked out.  One of my complaints with the skeptics (not that skepticism is totally unresasonable) is that they say her fear is "over the top."  Yeah, I suppose: for someone who was afraid that she was about to die. 
BTW, what a testament to the patience of Barbara Olsen during her final moments on the place that crashed into the Pentagon.
I think one reason for her attention to detail is that as a conventional journalist (liberal?) she is sensitive to issues of race.  She is trying hard to make the case that she isn't biased against these people because of their appearance, but their behavior. 
Hard break... next up, why are we just now hearing about this?  Where is the conventional media?

posted by Charles @ 7:10 PM 0 comments

I'm live blogging...

the interview with Ms. Jacobsen on KVI 560 (Seattle).

posted by Charles @ 7:09 PM 1 comments

From the source...

must give credit where it's due...
The Post owes us an explanation.

posted by Charles @ 3:42 PM 0 comments

Not holding my breath for this one...

Annie Jacobsen's account of her trip from Detroit to LAX on a NWA flight is a pretty compelling story.  Why?  Because you and I know that it's highly plausible.  This is the nature of the threat: a dangerous foe that is crazy, but not stupid. 

Michelle Malkin hopes that her "colleagues in the mainstream media are digging into the story, too."  As much as I would love for that to be the case, they probably aren't. This story doesn't fit the template.

With reckless abandon, everyone from the New York Times to the Charlotte Observer displays the pictures of Abu Ghraib to convey not only the inherent evils of war, but the sinister depravity of theAmerican military.  When 19 Saudis fly planes into buildings, we can't profile their kindreds whom have made their intent quite clear.  When a few MPs harrass insurgents (who are probably in prison because they blew up our troops), the media is more than happy to profile.  Not only do they profile, they assume this is the attitude of the entire military and the Bush Administration as well.  That's their template: we're evil, they're misunderstood.

What does this have to do with media acknowledgment of Ms. Jacobsen's incident?  It reminds us there is, in fact, a threat.  It's a threat that doesn't discriminate between rich/poor, black/white man/woman, etc.  All you have to be is in the wrong place at the wrong time: regardless of your ethnicity.  The terrorists don't care as long as your dead and our country is afraid.  Coincidentally, our President has been trying to tell us the same damn thing for years now. 

Nope, doesn't fit the template.  Vote Kerry for a return to normalcy! Don't notice that gaping hole in the New York skyline.  Don't be concerned when that Arab clarinet player looks a bit pecid.  He probably ate a bad piece of fallafel.  Yeah, normalcy.  That would be nice. 

posted by Charles @ 2:31 PM 3 comments

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Today's Moron Award Goes to...

Corrine Brown (D-FL) for her conniption fit on the floor of the House today.  She called the 2000 election a "coup d'etat" in order to justify the Black Congressional Caucus's appeal to the U.N. to oversee the upcoming elections. 
Let's ignore the obvious irony of asking a body of democracy loathing countries to oversee our elections.  "Hey Fidel, is this chad hanging?"
First of all, anyone who compares the Bush hatred of the far left to the "Clinton-bashing" of the impeachment era Republicans has to put on their blinders to explosions like this on the floor.  And the Michael Moores.  And the Whoopi Goldbergs.  Joe Wilson.  Howard Dean.  Al Franken.  And many more. 
What do these folks have in common?  Explosions.  Irrational, red faced, drunken screaches of outrage.  "We haven't been this upset since impeachment - uh wait, West Palm." 
Now Corrine Brown wants to cede our sovereigty for about 12 hours or so.  That's how much she hates George W. Bush.  In her mind, the threat of terrorism isn't nearly as daunting as the incognito Republicans, cops, and political operatives sneaking around Democrat strongholds in Florida. 
This is just a preview of things to come from Democrats.  Get ready for some hate this October.    

posted by Charles @ 10:39 PM 0 comments