Archive for November, 2010

on threats to airplanes

November 24, 2010

I’ve just returned from a trip to Atlanta. The reason for the trip was an annual conference, and my plans were made in July. Naturally, then, TSA’s new enhanced procedures were not in my thinking when made arrangements, and though several people seem to quickly fall back on the claim that if you don’t like it you don’t have to fly, in my case that would have meant writing off over $600.  I don’t like what I’ve seen reported, and I would have put up with it if need be b/c of my commitments, but it would have been the last time.

My experience in security wasn’t any different from earlier this year, however, which surprised me a bit, especially flying out of an airport as busy as Atlanta’s. So it’s hard for me to comment on the new policies, since I didn’t experience them in action. However, the overall approach seems futile to me. The notion that time and expense needs to be increased to give enhanced screening to every single individual flying domestically in the U.S. is misguided. Common sense threat assessment could streamline travel for the vast majority of passengers without violating civil rights of any demographic group, and at the same time maintain the sense of assurance people need that flying will be free from terrorist activity.

Charles Krauthammer sums it up well when he writes that “everyone knows that the entire apparatus of the security line is a national homage to political correctness. Nowhere do more people meekly acquiesce to more useless inconvenience and needless indignity for less purpose. Wizened seniors strain to untie their shoes; beltless salesmen struggle comically to hold up their pants; three-year-olds scream while being searched insanely for explosives, when everyone — everyone — knows that none of these people is a threat.” My sense of security is not bolstered at all from knowing that toddlers are being given extra scrutiny. In fact, that worries me, since that means resources are being diverted that could be devoted to useful security. I’d feel better if I had the sense that the bulk of time and attention was going to activities likely to catch terrorists rather than activities that obviously have no real benefit.

More on California

November 9, 2010

California as the Lindsey Lohan of the states? That’s clever, if a bit harsh toward Ms. Lohan. How long until the state takes the next step and becomes the Charlie Sheen of the states?

Rhetoric and violence

November 9, 2010

<sarc>I eagerly anticipate the thoughtful discussion by the main organs of journalism in this country about the dangers inherent in this type of rhetoric.</sarc>

Why deficits matter

November 8, 2010

California owes the federal government over 8 and a half billion dollars that it has borrowed to pay unemployment benefits? Yeah, I’m sure that’s going to end well. Not to mention the total of $41b owed by all the states that have borrowed for that purpose (32 of them).

This is among the many reasons the leviathan of a welfare state we have is going to destroy us if we don’t get it under control. I really wonder if Nancy Pelosi, she of the belief that unemployment benefits serve to stimulate the economy, has a clue about the effects the policies she’s fought for are having on her home state and her home country.

How to handle bad people

November 7, 2010

Phelps and co. are bullies, and the last thing they’re going to deal with is a firm response. Oh, yeah, this makes me smile. Creative, not aggressive, and effective. I would give a lot to convince Phelps and co. that their time in the spotlight is over. I could wish media outlets realized it’s not news anymore, it’s free publicity for those losers.

The 2012 race Starts in Nebraska

November 7, 2010

The newly re-elected State Attorney General, Jon Bruning, announced his plans to challenge Ben Nelson for the Senate in 2012. I can’t say I’m that familiar with the political landscape in Nebraska, but he seems likely to be a strong challenger. With Ben Nelson having been central in pushing the health care bill over the line in the Senate, he’s going to be very vulnerable. Bruning joined the group of states challenging the constitutionality of the individual mandate, which will likely keep both him and the health care bill in the news.

If you are in this region of the country, my advice is to keep “Cornhusker Kickback” off your list of election drinking games. It will be the end of your liver.

on Olbermann’s demise

November 5, 2010

The funniest line comes from the Other McCain:

“What truly shocked me? Finding out that NBC has an “ethics policy”!”

House indicators

November 3, 2010

In all the analysis of how things went yesterday, I’m pretty pleased that some very noxious men will no longer roam the halls of Congress after their current terms end. Let’s hear it for Ellmers over Etheridge in NC and Webster over Grayson in FL. Good riddance.

Managing expectations

November 3, 2010

What is the most important point about not seeing a wave in the Senate? Expectations for the GOP in the next two years are very different than they would have been had the Senate flipped as well. Most observers already seem to think Obama will be less willing than Clinton to move to the center, frome where he might try to co-opt moderate Republicans and demonize the rest as do-nothings. Harry Reid and a Democrat-controlled Senate will make that even more difficult.

Here’s a good summary of the idea from one of Ace’s co-bloggers: http://ace.mu.nu/archives/307820.php

Expectations

November 3, 2010

It’s intriguing to read reactions about yesterday’s midterm election, particularly regarding the Senate results. It looks as if the GOP will have six or seven more Senators in the 112th Congress. That’s a significant shift. However, the wave in the House seems to have raised expectations of bigger gains, and symbolic gains such as Nevada and perhaps California. That they were held by the Democrat incumbants seems to be a source of dismay.

It highlights, perhaps, the different dynamics of statewide Senate races and races in House districts. It seems like a lot of candidates associated with the Tea Party won in the House but not in the Senate. There are several factors in each state, I’m sure, but this might be a useful lesson for Tea Party minded activists going into 2012. To overcome a powerful incumbant, even in a state as distressed as Nevada, is going to require a rather personally appealing candidate as well as a candidate articulating a positive conservative agenda.