Thursday, March 6, 2008

How Will They React?

Apparently, Southwest Airlines knowingly flew 70 airplanes that were very clearly designated as "unsafe" due to missing mandatory safety inspections. By law, these planes are supposed to be grounded until the inspections are complete.

If true, this is absolutely outrageous.

Not only was the conduct of Southwest Airlines reprehensible, but equally intolerable was the failure of the FAA to enforce the law. According to CNN, unspecified managers in the FAA allowed these planes to fly because taking "aircraft out of service would have disrupted Southwest Airlines' flight schedule."

This type of oversight is one of the most important functions our government performs.

Given that, I'll be interested to see if the Congress and the Justice Department demonstrate a level of outrage similar to what they have shown in the recent steroid scandals in Major League Baseball.


Unknown said...

The Congress is composed entirely of invertebrates and will do nothing.

The Justice Department is composed entirely of Bush administration toadies who wouldn't dare deprive a large corporation of a thin red cent. They, too, will do nothing.

Everybody wins. Oh, except the American people. We lose.

Jared said...

A serious question for you: what would have to happen for you to regain even a minimal amount of trust and/or optimism in the potential of the U.S. government again?

I'm curious because I ask myself the same question. We've joked before that I am a lot more optimistic than you are - but I still maintain a healthy level of cynicism - and my trust in government now is almost as low as it has ever been. What would it take to rebuild some of it?

I'm sure that a different President would be on your list - so think about the Congress. Could anything happen there that would make you feel much more hopeful?

Unknown said...

Well, in defense of the Democrats in Congress -- and I hesitate to defend them too much because I do feel great disdain for them -- their hands are somewhat tied. They have to deal with a hostile President who has never had to compromise on anything in his life and who is especially disinclined to now that he sinks into an early lame-duckhood and is grossly unpopular. Yes, the Congress could force his hand and make him veto a bunch of stuff, but at this point, what is that going to do? Make him look bad? The new "filibuster with but a word" system, which you've discussed previously, enables the congressional Republicans to scuttle anything that displeases them. The Democrats in Congress are spineless, but at the same time, it must be frustrating for them, or at least for the few of them who care, since it must be hard to do anything even slightly controversial.

To answer your question, though, yes, a different President is on my list (I hope it's on yours!!!). As for the legislature, I'd like to see term limits. Congress's cowardly languor comes from a system that favors those who work harder to keep their jobs than to do their jobs. The sheer inertia prevents anyone, conservative or liberal, from rocking the boat, displeasing special interests, or breaking free from the centuries of cronyism.

My optimism has increased dramatically since the Democrats took the Congress. To be honest, I am not super-disappointed in their performance. I didn't really expect them to turn the world around or make any enormous strides. I was happy just to put a halt to the insanity of the Republican Congress. I would rather have a Congress that plays tic-tac-toe every day than have that old Republican Congress back.