Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Morning News: Steering by Gut

Be Very Afraid ....

It's one damn thing after another, evidently forever and ever.

The airports are starting to look like Red Cross emergency camps as delays and cancelations pile up in the peak travel season.

And here comes Michael Chertoff (right), the Homeland Security secretary, telling the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune that he has a "gut feeling" there's terror ahead.

That's a bet you won't lose money on, I guess.

Cue the "Blotter" report. (A couple of days ago, I made note of the Blotter's last exclusive-that-shall-ever-remain-exclusive).

They got another candidate today. The Bad Guys are headed this way! (According to those all-seeing "senior intelligence officials")

Well, as I always remind myself, a stopped clock is exactly accurate twice a day.

[This morning, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee, Rep. Bernie G. Thompson, fired off a letter urging Chertoff to "clarify" that gut feeling. It said in part: "With all the resouces you have at your disposal and all the progress you assure us that you are making, I cannot understand why you are quoted in the Chicago Tribune as saying you have a 'gut feeling' that we are entering a period of heightened risk this summer."

The letter went on: "What sectors should be on alert as a result of your 'gut feeling?' What cities should be asking their law enforcement to work double shifts because of your 'gut feeling?' Are the American people supposed to purchase duct tape and plastic sheeting because of your 'gut feeling'?"]

I mean, Jayzus, how long does this stuff really go on?

So it was with great comic relief today that I turned to the National page of the Times and read (in a deft article by Adam Nossiter) some real insight into Senator David Vitter, the Republican Senator from Louisiana whose phone number turns up on the client list of the so-called "D.C. Madam," Deborah Jeane Palfrey, who has been accused of running a big and very exclusive prostitution ring in Washington, D.C.

Confronted with the goods, Senator Vitter, who has staked out a couple of acres of prime holy land in the "family values" campground, admitted to a "serious sin" and, naturally, dragged poor God Almighty into the mess. Caught red-handed, the senator said he'd begged God for forgiveness and gotten it.

Since God Almighty was not available to confirm his support of the Senator (I believe He summers in Nantucket and nobody gets that cell-phone number), I was pleased to see the besieged senator firmly defended -- this time by a New Orleans madam whose whorehouse was shut down by federal authorities in 2002.

The New Orleans madam, Jeanette Maier, called the senator "one of the nicest and most honorable men I have ever met," according to the Times, quoting an interview with the madam on a New Orleans television station, WDSU. Their acquaintanship evidently was strictly professional -- in that he was, she said, a client in the 1990s.

You can take a tribute like that to the bank, I guess.

Oh, by the way, Senator Vittner is the Southern campaign manager for Rudy Giulianni. Man, this is going to be one fun year. If the Bogeyman don't git us, that us.


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