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February 2, 2007

Michael Chertoff responds in less than a week!
Posted by Teresa at 12:39 PM *

From a news story today in Boston.com:

Though some residents complained that law enforcement agencies overreacted, Menino said that Michael Chertoff, US secretary of homeland security, called him yesterday morning and congratulated the city for acting responsibly.
If he can respond that quickly to a trumped-up non-disaster, just think how fast he’ll be in a real emergency!
Comments on Michael Chertoff responds in less than a week!:
#1 ::: Chris Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 01:05 PM:

I would like to announce that I am collecting funds to buy Lite-Brites to be shipped to the Ninth Ward in NOLA.

#2 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 01:10 PM:

The convention security volunteers have taken over.

#3 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 01:20 PM:

I feel like I should be sized for my tin-foil hat when I say this:

Do you suppose he thinks his job is to stir people up into pointless panic?

#4 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 01:23 PM:

Why don't you people realize the difference here? This incident occurred without warning (unlessyoucountthesamethinghappeninginmanyothercitiesforweeks), so Merino gets praise for his response time.

In NOLA, there was lots of advance warning. That means they don't have to respond until much, much later.

Oh, wait...

#5 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 01:26 PM:

JC 3: I've been convinced for a long time that promoting a culture of fear is the primary purpose of Homeland Security. I deeply resent the way this administration makes me feel like a nutbar conspiracy theorist, as a wise person once said.

#6 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 02:20 PM:

I doubt Chertoff thinks it's his job to stir up panic. His job is to create an atmosphere of paranoia and fear and to take proper advantage of every opportunity -- no matter how ludicrous -- that helps consolidate power. Chertoff and the men he lackeys for are going to keep testing the craven stupidity of the news media until they discover the limit. It doesn't seem to be in sight yet, with the establishment media thus far reacting with the same pompous self-righteousness and anger as the politicians involved. It's hard to believe that even this, even this absurdity doesn't expose the security apparatus as laughingstocks, but there you have it: the mass media are cowed, and they're working on the rest of us.

#7 ::: Adam Rice ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 02:28 PM:

There may be an inverse correlation between the situation's gravity and Chertoff's response time.

#8 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 02:45 PM:

Gravity? Time? you don't think Cherthoff has some sort of pendulum, sort of swining in the breeze?

#9 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 03:09 PM:

"swining in the breeze?"

Unintentional, I'm sure, but oh so apt.

#10 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 03:29 PM:

*takes off hat to Chris Clarke @ 1 before falling over in an apoplectic fit borne of conflicting gut-level responses towards both hysterical laughter and inconsolable sobbing*

#11 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 04:42 PM:

That's because Boston checked off all their boxes in the NIMS (National Incident Management System) manual, where as Lousiana hadn't even taken off the shrink wrap. So Boston gets the gold-star on their record. Lollipops all around!

#12 ::: Annalee Flower Horne ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 05:10 PM:

Thank you, Teresa-- funniest comment on this I've seen so far.

Everyone here in NI who's heard of the incident thinks it's ridiculous that it became a big deal. I think a friend of mine from Belfast said it best when she noted that usually, when people blow things up, they hide the explosives instead of covering them with LEDs.

The whole thing's pretty farsical when you look at it from this side of the pond (probably less so when you're getting arrested over it, though). IMO, the best thing for the honorable civil servants of Boston to do would have been to laugh at themselves over it. That was their best chance to save face. I can see why they missed said chance, though: it probably had blinking lights attached to it.

#13 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 05:14 PM:

They're not interested in saving face; they intend to bluster their way through it. It's the Republican response to everything that goes wrong, and it's proved to be a strategy seemingly without practical limit.

#14 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 05:22 PM:

Scraps, Tom Merino is a Democrat, I'm told. Hard to believe, I know. But apparently even Democrats can be fascist assholes from time to time.

#15 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 05:56 PM:

I guess I'll try to reassure myself that it's a good thing Democrats are learning the lesson. Yeah, that's it.

#16 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 06:22 PM:

Sorry if I'm repeating myself--I feel like I may have said this here before, but here I go again!

Here in Southern New England, the usual rules for Republicans and Democrats don't apply, or at least they don't apply in the same ways. That's why Rhode Island had a Republican senator for so long--not because we're dummies, but because Chafey really is (mostly) better than any of his Democratic opponents (including the one I helped vote in over him, sadly). I'm not a huge expert on Massachusetts politics, but I'd imagine it's pretty similar. So I think Scraps's "Republican reaction" comment pretty much applies.

Oh, and Xopher: I deeply resent the way this administration makes me feel like a nutbar conspiracy theorist. A-frickin'-MEN to that.

#17 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 07:50 PM:

ethan (#16), You can even get yourself a t-shirt!

and I'd like to second Nicole's reaction (#10) to Chris Clarke's (frist!) comment.

#18 ::: Craig ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 09:08 PM:

Xopher, I totally missed your calling him "Merino" the first time, but caught it the second time. I wonder if the name will stick?!

Being congratulated by Chertoff? That's gotta be one of the worst endorsements anyone can ever receive on any issue. That's really when a bloke should know he should feel embarrassed.

#19 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 09:16 PM:

Craig, Xopher--why are you insulting my favorite breed of sheep? Their wool makes wonderful socks.

#20 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 09:37 PM:

And the sweater I'm wearing right now! And the two I just got for $14 the other day! Hooray, merino!

#21 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 11:09 PM:

18, 19: *blush* I wish I could claim credit. The fact is, I just misspelled his name.

OTOH, we've been hearing him bleat for days now. Time for him to go home shorn.

#22 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2007, 11:48 PM:

Xopher et al: Boston city politics are even more removed from party divisions than New England politics generally. In mayoral and council elections(*) nobody runs on a party ticket; they just all make a scrum that the primary reduces to 2N candidates for N positions. This is especially significant for city council, which has 4 at-large seats; at least councillor got his seat because he placed 5th of 8 before one of the top 4 resigned.

(*) I'm blanking on what if any labels were used for the Suffolk County DA race, which is parallel because ~90% of Suffolk is Boston.

#23 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2007, 12:14 AM:

Department of Everything Old is New Again:

The Battle of the Kegs
by
Francis Hopkinson

Gallants attend and hear a friend
Trill forth harmonious ditty,
Strange things I'll tell which late befell
In Philadelphia city.


'Twas early day, as poets say,
Just when the sun was rising,
A soldier stood on a log of wood,
And saw a thing surprising.


As in amaze he stood to gaze,
The truth can't be denied, sir,
He spied a score of kegs or more
Come floating down the tide, sir.


A sailor too in jerkin blue,
This strange appearance viewing,
First damned his eyes, in great surprise,
Then said, "Some mischief's brewing.


"These kegs, I'm told, the rebels hold,
Packed up like pickled herring;
And they're come down to attack the town,
In this new way of ferrying."


The soldier flew, the sailor too,
And scared almost to death, sir,
Wore out their shoes, to spread the news,
And ran till out of breath, sir.


Now up and down throughout the town,
Most frantic scenes were acted;
And some ran here, and others there,
Like men almost distracted.


Some fire cried, which some denied,
But said the earth had quaked;
And girls and boys, with hideous noise,
Ran through the streets half naked.


Sir William he, snug as a flea,
Lay all this time a snoring,
Nor dreamed of harm as he lay warm,
In bed with Mrs. Loring.


Now in a fright, he starts upright,
Awaked by such a clatter;
He rubs both eyes, and boldly cries,
"For God's sake, what's the matter?"


At his bedside he then espied,
Sir Erskine at command, sir,
Upon one foot he had one boot,
And th' other in his hand, sir.


"Arise, arise," Sir Erskine cries,
"The rebels--more's the pity,
Without a boat are all afloat,
And ranged before the city.


"The motley crew, in vessels new,
With Satan for their guide, sir,
Packed up in bags, or wooden kegs,
Come driving down the tide, sir.


"Therefore prepare for bloody war;
These kegs must all be routed,
Or surely we despised shall be,
And British courage doubted."


The royal band now ready stand
All ranged in dread array, sir,
With stomach stout to see it out,
And make a bloody day, sir.


The cannons roar from shore to shore.
The small arms make a rattle;
Since wars began I'm sure no man
E'er saw so strange a battle.


The rebel dales, the rebel vales,
With rebel trees surrounded,
The distant woods, the hills and floods,
With rebel echoes sounded.


The fish below swam to and fro,
Attacked from every quarter;
Why sure, thought they, the devil's to pay,
'Mongst folks above the water.


The kegs, 'tis said, though strongly made,
Of rebel staves and hoops, sir,
Could not oppose their powerful foes,
The conquering British troops, sir.


From morn to night these men of might
Displayed amazing courage;
And when the sun was fairly down,
Retired to sup their porridge.


A hundred men with each a pen,
Or more upon my word, sir,
It is most true would be too few,
Their valor to record, sir.


Such feats did they perform that day,
Against these wicked kegs, sir,
That years to come: if they get home,
They'll make their boasts and brags, sir.


#24 ::: Martyn Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2007, 04:22 AM:

#6 - Scraps

What you describe sounds pretty much like a classic terror tactic (remembering when terrorists couldn't actually get their hands on anything dangerous and had to make do with making people afraid they would) Does this mean that members of the Security Industry have read Che Guevara?

No, I didn't think so either.

#25 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2007, 03:02 PM:

Members of the Security Theatre don't read Che. They watch 24, where all the bombs have blinking LEDs.

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