Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Before and after...

In this story by CNN, we learn that some folks are concerned that the TSA -- those wonderful folks watching out for us at the nation's airports -- are now intruding on the privacy of folks traveling by rail.

Apparently, the worrywarts aren't focusing on the big problem: the train protection teams (Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response - VIPR) aren't looking for possible bombs...that is before they can be brought aboard trains.

The CNN story's key quote:

"A high-profile example of VIPR's growing pains, transit officials say, is a VIPR-assisted passenger screening a year ago at Amtrak's station in Savannah, Georgia. Instead of screening passengers as they boarded trains -- which is standard security procedure -- officers were screening passengers as they were getting off trains. Security experts know that makes no sense, because potential terrorists probably would be interested in bringing explosives onto trains, not taking them off."

That's some fine security work there, folks!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Gaffe-inator Strikes Yet Again!

Vice President Joe Biden - the gift (of gaffe) that just keeps on giving.

Listen closely to the clip below as the King of Amtrak does his best politically incorrect version of an Indian accent during his speech in New Hampshire.

You go, Joe!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Do as she says, not as she does...

It's what's expected...

The Daily Show's John Oliver interviews Froma Harrop, the president of the National Conference of Editorial Writers, to find out how to restore civility to America's public discourse.

The results are informative, instructive and hilarious.

Hypocrisy, thy name is Froma...

Late add on the subject: From the Wall Street Journal's "Best of the Web," which is churned-out by the skillful James Taranto -

Remember Froma Harrop, the civility scold and Baroness Catherine Ashton look-alike who called Tea Party congressmen "terrorists" and couldn't understand why anyone found this hypocritical? She provided us with lots of material last summer and now Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" has recycled it into comedy gold, somehow persuading her to sit for an interview in which she looks utterly ridiculous. You have to watch it to believe it.

A colleague who did watch it posed an interesting question: Was she playing the straight man, or is she really that oblivious? There's no way to know for sure, but based on our back-and-forth with her last year, the hypocrisy and cluelessness ring entirely true.

On the other hand, in previewing the show yesterday on her personal blog, she suggested she was in on the joke: "It's a comedy sketch, needless to say, and the joke will be on me." Then a follow-up comment: "Sure, much of my careful reasoning ended up on the cutting-room floor, but it was fun."

There's no doubt that it was a skillful editing job, but in our dealings with Harrop, she has never proved herself capable of careful reasoning. Our interpretation is that she realizes, at least after the fact, that she looked foolish and is rationalizing it by saying it's only comedy. The true explanation is some combination of obliviousness and the desire to get on television. We are not confident that we can accurately estimate the precise balance of those two factors.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Repeat after me...

During coverage of last night's Iowa Caucus, MSNBC talking head Rachel Maddow used the same phrase over and over and over and over and...well, you get the idea.

Maybe her Teleprompter wasn't working. (If she's their "star," it's no wonder MSNBC sucks in the ratings.)