The beauty of bloggers

I can just hear the conversation in the bowels of paper-based reporting regarding what piece to run tomorrow:

Perry White (Editor) – Okay scumbags, what do you have for me today?

Jimmy Olsen (Cub reporter) – I took some pictures of Ben Bernanke in drag while he was celebrating the acceptance of his proposed “quantitative easing”. I just need some copy to go with it to put it in context.

Perry White – Context? What possible context could you put on a picture that was an obvious invasion of privacy?

Clark Kent (Dimwit reporter) – Uh, Chief, I believe that Jimmy is referring to the wisdom of quantitative easing and wants to put the drag pictures in a context that questions such a potentially damaging economic policy.

Perry White – Kent, don’t call me Chief! How the hell do you expect our readers to understand anything that begins with “quantitative”? What the hell does that mean, anyway?

Clark Kent – Well, Chief, I mean, Mr. White. It has to do with printing money to repay debt….

Perry White – Enough! I need something scurrilous from you scumbags. Something that will sell papers!

Lois Lane (Headline reporter) – Mr. White, I know exactly what you’re talking about! I know a guy that knows a girl that swears she has seen Sarah Palin prancing around in her underwear while listening to a parody playing on the Rush Limbaugh show.

Perry White – Do we have pictures?

Lois Lane – I think so, but I’m not sure. What I saw looked like they were taken when Palin was in college.

Perry White – Go for it! I’ll be damned if I let any other newspaper scoop me on this. Put it on the front page!

Clark Kent – …but, but, Mr. White. What about the controversy surrounding quantitative easing?

Perry White – Kent, you need to understand the newspaper business. Nobody cares about something that was created by some dead-beat economist. The public wants to hear about SCANDAL! From my perspective, scandal sells, especially when it pertains to some public figure like Sarah Palin. Send your story to the middle section where nobody cares about.

Jimmy Olsen – So, you’ll let me run the pictures?

Perry White – Hell no! Nobody wants to see some old dude running around in drag. How disgusting is that? Run a two-paragraph story about some unknown government official who allegedly partied in a dress while spouting economic theory. That should suffice.

Clark Kent – Uh Chief, I mean Mr. White, with all due respect, I think there’s a bigger story here.

Perry White – Kent, you’re getting on my nerves! If you think your story is so great, print it on your own dime. I have a newspaper to run!

Clark Kent – So, you don’t care if I post this story on my personal blog?

Perry White – Hell no! Who the hell is going to read a blog. Uh, what’s a blog?

Time for the Wikileaker to meet the Grim Reaper

I am totally amazed that this Wikileaks guy is still walking around in daylight. With all the resources this country has in its arsenal, surely we have some very good James Bond types, no?

Prior to his latest leaks, he released a video that purported to show civilians (and some subversive press members) cavorting around the streets in Iraq with guns. The video surveillance goes up the chain of command and, ultimately, it was determined that these people posed a threat to an approaching American military unit. Consequently, they take them all out in a hail of gunfire from a nearby helicopter. The lesson to press people: don’t pal around with terrorists in a war zone. Simple procedure in wartime, right?

So now this guy threatens to release all these diplomatic cables that will both embarrass and endanger countless State Department personnel and their sources. What does the Whitehouse tell him? Please don’t. What does the Wikileaker do? He releases them anyway. We should have seen it coming and planned accordingly.

We already have the source of the leaks in solitary confinement. We must have known the breadth of the material that was compromised. So why was this guy still walking around the streets?

He went underground, you say? I say bullshit. We’ve had months since his video release to figure out where he was. It should have been a simple matter for our intelligence forces to find him and spirit him off to some appropriate dungeon, complete with a functioning water-board. The guy would have been pleading for his life within minutes and, no doubt, given our intelligence people the means to curtail his efforts regarding Wikileaks.

I believe that the current administration was complicit in the leaks. What other answer is there? It’s not like this guy was a some faceless enemy hiding in a cave in Afghanistan. His picture has been plastered all over the place for the last year or so. We either didn’t want to stop him or were completely inept in our efforts to stop him. I don’t believe for a second that we couldn’t stop him any more than I believe that the Grim Reaper can’t stop him. It’s just a matter of timing and competence.

Obstinate Dissonance

It’s hard to focus on any one thing. There seems to be an awful lot of “things” to focus on. I can’t hope to absorb all of it in a way that I can response. Can you?

Every day there is something new to worry about. Net Neutrality? The START Treaty? What about a billionaire like Warren Buffet telling, well, billionaires that they should pay more taxes? Who the hell is he talking to? Himself? I doubt it.

All these things make me feel very obstinate about EVERYTHING. Something drastic needs to happen, or nothing at all. What harm could come to this country if we just de-fund the EPA, the Department of Education, all unions, thugs and hangers-on? As long as we maintain a strong military, what could possibly go wrong?

We been fed such a line of bullshit about all these needed bureaucracies that it makes your head spin. Weren’t we okay back in, say, 1960? We’d vanquished the enemy in WWII and our economy was beginning to rock and roll. We had a Democrat in office singing the praises of the free enterprise system and yet we ended up morphing into where we are today. What gives?

There’s talk about rolling back the Federal budget to 2008 levels. What the hell is that all about? Why not just roll it back to 1960 levels, adjusted for inflation, of course. I mean, I sure don’t remember feeling like there was anything wrong back in 1960, but what about now? Kids are being brainwashed for political gain to “prove” a point. Why, to prove that they need Big Brother to watch out for them? They don’t know shit, they’re youngsters!

“I’ve got to go, Rock. It’s all right. I’m not afraid. Some time, Rock, when the team is up against it, when things are wrong and the breaks are beating the boys, ask them to go in there with all they’ve got and win just one for the Gipper. I don’t know where I’ll be then, Rock. But I’ll know about it, and I’ll be happy.” George Gipp

We need a little dissonance on Capital Hill. Check that. We need a LOT of dissonance on Capital Hill. That would make both George Gipp and me very happy.

Time for some selective screening

I think all this pat-down controversy is a lot of BS. It seems to me that the terrorists now know that they haven’t a chance to deliver a bomb via a nun’s habit or a 3 year-old girl’s knickers. So what other choices do they now have? In a word or two, fat and ugly.

What TSA screener in his or her right mind wants to frisk a 300 lb man or woman with BO? Moreover, who the hell would want to pat-down someone with goiters or warts? They don’t make surgical gloves thick enough to ward off the creeps. Although they’re required to follow procedures, you just know that TSA screeners are going easy on people that are fat and ugly, right?

It’s way past time to start profiling the obvious targets that increase a terrorist’s chances for sneaking a bomb or weapon on a plane. Start profiling using the “creep” factor. Anyone that gives you the creeps to look at should automatically be targeted for enhanced screening.

Unfortunately, this now lets the cat out of the bag as far as the terrorists are concerned. If the terrorist know that we are going to start profiling with the “creep” factor in mind, they’ll turn their attention elsewhere.

We need to have a discussion about how to perform selective screening. Obviously, profiling Middle-Eastern men needs to be on the table, but what about screening for possible “mules“? This has to be a serious concern.

If we can’t get away from pat-downs, maybe there’s another way to make all this screening palatable to the traveling masses. How about allowing a traveler to choose his or her screener? When you get your ticket, you should also be given a short questionnaire about what your preferences are for selecting a screener, assuming of course that you’re outside of the “creep” factor. As an example, my preferences would be a pretty, young female who is both blond and buxom. Given those preferences, I should be able to select a screener from an appropriate numbers of choices, with pictures to aid me, of course.

There should then be an after-screening questionnaire, sort of a quality-control thing. Was your screening a pleasant experience? Were you afforded a screener of your choice? Will you travel again soon? Personally, I think this could be a win-win. Merit increases could be provided to the screeners with the highest customer satisfaction ratings. Those screeners with chronically low ratings would have work the “creep” line until they get their heads screwed back on correctly. If they fail at that, well, they shouldn’t be screeners anyway, right?

Once the terrorists see that we ginned the system sufficiently to thwart their evil intentions, they’ll quit targeting airlines altogether. They’ll then be forced to look at lesser forms of travel, like train and buses. But even then, it will be just a matter of time before the free-market successes of airline travel start to worm their way into other forms of transportation.

Unfortunately, what we have now is what happens when you let a bunch of bureaucrats run an organization like the TSA. They can’t figure out how to turn a negative into a positive. They really need to hire some market-oriented, entrepreneurial types at the TSA. Good times can be had by all!