Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Airport blogging

We'll have to see when I can get connected to post this, but I figure I can "offline" blog. This post is a compendium of the items I run into during my travel today. First up: airport security.

The security at airports is something I take very, very seriously and I don't generally begrudge the TSA anything. This item of note is not a complaint so much as an observation. In choosing my attire to fly today, I had the opportunity to either go with the jeans and tennis shoe deal or with a more business casual approach. I've had all kinds of issue with my dress shoes, specifically with the metal spars in them. So, I figured, tennis shoes would be just the tickets to come thru with a minimum of trouble. Turns out to be not so. They needed to swab my shoes and run the swabs through an analysis for chemical signatures. So much for trying to avoid anything that might give the TSA heartburn.

I'm flying out of Dulles International this morning. They've got 2 midfield terminals with lots of shops and food joints. As I entered the terminal the 1st shop I saw was called "Americana". These shops sell political merchandise, ranging from posters showing all the Presidents to FBI/CIA labeled attire and political advocacy stuff. At 2 large tables flanking the entrance, there was a huge amount of shirts, buttons, and bumper stickers all lamenting the Presidency of George Bush. Bumper stickers with Van Gogh's "The Scream" hijacked to say, "Bush Again?", shirts proclaiming the wearer wasn't to blame - he voted for Kerry, and the like are all displayed there. Nowhere on either table was there a shirt, button, sticker, or book in any way complimentary to the President. I went into the store and found a table with merchandise with "Hail to the Chief" on it, but no mention of the President's name. Moving further inside, I finally found one section of a shelf, about 3 feet wide or so, with shirts and hats emblazoned "W." On closer examination, however, even this space wasn't set aside. The aforementioned "Scream" bumper stickers were there along with books praising Hillary Clinton and snickering at "Bushisms."

I don't know, frankly, what the meaning is of all this. Could be that more anti-Bush people feel the need to trumpet their position and Bush supporters don't. Perhaps this group has driven sales and, following the way of profit, the store puts the selling stuff out there. Could be that the anti-Bush stuff simply isn't moving and the "W" shirts are. They might have put the anti-Bush stuff out front in an effort to bring a sale that's not been forthcoming otherwise. Could be that the management of this store is showing his partisan roots. Just an item of note.

I note that Tom DeLay's in the news, with the headlines and emphasis being slanted in fairly predictable manners. The Washington Post and Washington Times offer the most visible indicator in this area, with the Post being sure to call the DeLay judge's ruling to dismiss the conspiracy charge against DeLay as a setback for the Congressman. The Times calls it what it is: a victory. This was the only charge that resulted from 6 months of investigation and it looked unbelievably weak the second it surfaced. That's why Ronnie Earle, the prosecutor pursuing this case, ran to a second grand jury to secure additional indictments. And when that failed, he ran to a 3rd grand jury without advising that jury there had already been a second one that failed to indict.

The Post and others are painting this as a setback because the judge let stand the indictment that resulted from that little late-night run, that of money-laundering. But they ignore the precedence of the causality in this situation. The motion to find prosecutorial misconduct on the part of Ronnie Earle is still standing and, if such misconduct is found to exist, will erase any idictment flowing from that 3rd grand jury. That motion is still being decided, so it's dead wrong to say that the money-laundering charges will take DeLay to trial. That's not stopping CNN from saying just that, however, so we'll have to see where this motion goes.

I just caught the report about the suicide bombers killing 36 (at latest count) at an Iraqi police academy. I have nothing further at this point but I'll post whatever I find out.