Patterico's Pontifications

1/2/2004

Safety: Job Number Whatever

Filed under: Government — Patterico @ 3:07 pm

Professor Bainbridge points to a WSJ article that says the recent Air France cancellations reveal that the U.S. still does not have a unified, up-to-date terrorism watch list.

What in the hell is going on here? The failure to get such a watch list together is inexcusable. And don’t tell me that government has insufficient resources — not with all the other crap that is being funded.

This is symptomatic of what is wrong with modern American government, from top to bottom. Public safety is being sacrificed at every level, on the altar of partisan politics. The feds can’t get a terrorism watch list together, but funnel billions into agricultural subsidies, funding for all sorts of spurious research, and the NEA (to take three examples). State legislators in California recently left Sacramento without appropriating funds for local law enforcement, hoping to pin the blame on Arnold (who snookered them with a clever and little-known loophole which allowed him to fund local governments on his own). Bill Quick points out that the same thing is happening at the local level.

This is basic stuff, folks: the safety of the citizenry is Priority One. Obviously, fighting terrorism could not be more crucial to protecting our citizenry in these times. While we fail to finalize a comprehensive, useful terrorism watch list, we are funding things like therapeutic horseback riding, tattoo removal programs, blueberry research, and swine waste management.

Bill Quick puts it quite well:

Here’s the truth: as long as California cities are spending one thin dime on crap like the above, to cut safety services is not just immoral, it is criminal. Get rid of firemen but spend money on “Cultural and Performing Arts?” Leftist insanity, pure and simple.

The same logic applies to the federal government’s efforts to put together a terrorism watch list. Memo to those in federal government: stop wringing your hands about things that don’t really matter. Get this done.

JUST WHO IS THAT AIR MARSHAL?

Filed under: Terrorism — Patterico @ 2:12 pm

Letters to the editor are generally pretty worthless. However, our local Dog Trainer printed one today that I thought made an important point. It is the second letter down at this link. Here it is in its entirety:

Ah, to be lulled into a false sense of security! How perfect for a few Al Qaeda operatives to sign up for air marshal duty for one of these foreign airlines and then use their “required” weapons to take over the plane. These individuals are highly educated, with no criminal background … other than believing in their mission to destroy America. How can you screen for this type of applicant? Ridge had better rethink that idea or we could have a real mess (of our own doing) shortly.

Dave Gunall

Ventura

I don’t know if I agree with the conclusion that we should do away with the air marshal program entirely, but this letter sure gives you something to think about.

Question for Drivers

Filed under: Miscellaneous — Patterico @ 1:25 pm

This is a question for drivers — you know, the people who “too easily stick to their own kind and cling to their prejudices and misconceptions without the threat of contradictory experiences.” (See post immediately below.)

In your opinion, when is pulling in front of someone else considered “cutting in line”?

Obviously, you’re not “cutting in line” every time you pull in front of another car. Unlike when people form a line when they are standing, it’s not always possible to tell whether cars are temporarily backed up, or are truly in a queue. Sometimes cars appear to be in a line, but if you keep driving another half mile or so, it turns out that there really is no “line.”

My personal rule is this: if I can pull in front of another car without causing that car to brake to maintain a safe distance, I am not cutting. My wife says that if it looks like a line, you can’t cut into it, even if you can do so without violating my rule. On the other end of the spectrum, I have spoken to people who freely admit that they simply blatantly cut in line. (I suppress my urge to strangle such people.)

I’m sure there are other possible rules of personal conduct for these situations. What is yours?

NYT Writer: Here’s Why Other People Are Always Wrong: They Drive!

Filed under: Media Bias — Patterico @ 1:00 pm

From the Tim “I’m Better Than You” Rutten school of media snobbery comes this New York Times piece, with this amazingly arrogant quote:

After years of untold subway time — spent watching, listening, reading — I would say that large, active systems of mass transit are the main difference between the red and the blue states of the 2000 electoral map (California excepted). People who travel only by private car — most of America — can too easily stick to their own kind and cling to their prejudices and misconceptions without the threat of contradictory experiences.

I find it especially revealing that the quote is not from a political column, but from a piece about subways in the “Arts” section of the newspaper. The author of the piece probably does not even realize how uppity and dismissive she sounds, because beliefs like this are ingrained in media types.

By the way, the smug, superior attitude displayed by this writer is one of the real differences between the red and blue states. (Link via Crescat Sententia.)

FALLOUT FROM DOG TRAINER CANCELLATIONS

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 7:57 am

Yesterday, about 9000 people visited my year-end review of poor journalism at the Los Angeles Dog Trainer (aka the Los Angeles Times). 9000 is also about the number of people who canceled their subscriptions to the Dog Trainer last year due to the paper’s outrageous recall election coverage.

Coincidence? Karma? Irony? You be the judge.

I am reminded of a letter that a friend of mine recently wrote to the Dog Trainer editors. (The editors didn’t print it, of course.) My friend was complaining that, on a particular day, the paper had published five letters supporting Howard Dean’s criticism of Bush’s Iraq policy, and no letters supporting Bush. Given that President Bush had a 63% approval rating, my friend found it curious that 100% of the letters in a given day would be anti-Bush. Continued my friend:

Then it dawned on me. After the hitpiece against Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and its attendant loss of credibility by the LA Times, along with the mass cancellations by moderates and conservatives, I think the five letters represent all of the five remaining LA Times subscribers.

Nice.

THIS HITS HOME

Filed under: Humor — Patterico @ 6:01 am

We don’t have a dog, and I am lazy, so our newspapers tend to pile up. If we don’t do something about them soon, this is going to happen to us. (Via Reason.)


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