Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

My darlings, it’s time to reach for the biggest bottle in the house: we’ll need a stiff dozen to calm our nerves after this little revelation:

In startling disclosures to Congress, federal inspectors overseeing Southwest Airlines say they were repeatedly thwarted by senior government officials from reporting critical problems that compromised the safety of passengers.

“Thwarted.” Sounds almost benign, don’t it? Well, not so much:

Douglas Peters, one of the two whistle-blowers who first brought allegations forward, choked up during his testimony recounting how a supervisor issued a veiled threat last year while holding Peters’ family photos. Peters at the time was preparing to document his concerns about inspection practices at Southwest.

“You have a good job here, and your wife has a good job (at the FAA),” Peters said the manager told him. “I’d hate to see you jeopardize your and her careers.”

Ladies and gentlemen, could this be Bush’s way of “keeping us safe from the terrorahists” – ensure the planes they might attempt to hijack again aren’t reliable enough to carry out their dastardly plans? Or do we plump for the reality-based explanation and say that having an incompetent dickweed flourishing at the top creates ideal conditions for other dickweeds proliferate?

Oh, and before you get comfy and tell yourself, “Well, hell, I just won’t fly Southwest!” – I have bad news:

Still, the inspectors’ concerns about Southwest, which the FAA first acknowledged a year ago, have since been confirmed, and the agency on Wednesday said it is investigating four airlines for failing to comply with various federal aviation regulations. It did not name the airlines.

In the last week alone, AMR Corp.’s American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and UAL Corp.’s United Airlines have canceled flights to perform unscheduled inspections of certain aircraft, and US Airways Group Inc. found problems on some Boeing 757s after a wing part from another plane fell off during a flight.

Yes, by all means. Do pour yourself another drink, seeing as you’ve just spilled yours. Just don’t fly home after. Psst – it’s not safe.

And just in case you’re tempted to take your life into your own hands, go have a look at the well-deserved vitriol FindLaw’s John Dean has dropped in the airlines’ well-deserving laps. He’s done a wonderful job of spanking them thoroughly for ridiculous “service” and false imprisonment.

Ach. Let’s move on. You know what, Digby has a beautiful post up explaining why the 60s and Martin Luther King Jr. remain relevant.

One of the things I think people may not completely grok about us loathsome and reviled baby boomers is that our politically formative years were a little bit unusual — when we were young our leaders and heroes kept getting assassinated.

How can you resist reading with an opening like that, eh?

And speaking of not being able to resist reading, if you’ve never given yourself the pleasure of perusing Carpetbagger’s “This Week in God” on a Saturday afternoon, it’s time you started. Today, he’s taken on the case of Summum vs. City of Ogden, a case the Supreme Court’s accepted and that’s guaranteed to provide some very comic moments indeed as the religious right tries to wriggle out of their bargain:

It’s a classic case for conservatives who say we need more religion in the public square — and then balk if they don’t like the religions asking for equal treatment.

Local officials in this case want to allow the Ten Commandments (which they like) to be promoted on public property, but want to reject the Seven Aphorisms of Summum” (which they don’t like). When officials say they support more public endorsement of religion, they mean their religion.

Here’s the funny part: Pleasant Grove is getting legal assistance from TV preacher Pat Robertson’s American Center for Law and Justice.

“Separation of church and state” indeed. Gird your loins, my darlings: it’s time to ramp up the ridicule and ensure that the far righties don’t get to define what religion means for us all. They need to be laughed out of the public square.

And yes, I’m sorry, but we do have to defend Summum’s right to display their religion in the public square if Christians do, even though their monument will contain such things as their Principle of Vibration: ” Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates.” It’s just your typical New Agey feel-goody fusion of East and West religions with a sense of having been written by someone who’s mightily stoned, and it has just as much right to be there as the faith started by some goatherders’ sky god.

So let us drink to the Principle of Vibration today, and hope Pat Robertson’s legal monkies get a good jolt.

Happy Hour Discurso