When Pigs Fly, The Sequel

Back in May I posted an account of the time a flyer brought a pig on an American Airlines flight on the pretext that the pig was a “service animal” like a seeing eye dog.  It didn’t end well.  That was back in the year 2000.

It has happened again just a few days ago, this time on US Airline (which is currently in the process of merging with American).  This time the passenger claimed the pig was an “emotional support animal.”  But apparently the pig became, surprise-surprise, “disruptive” before takeoff.  Here’s the story from ABC News:

Jonathan Skolnik, a professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a passenger on the flight, told ABC News today he thought the woman with the pig was carrying a duffel bag when she got on the plane and headed straight for the empty seat next to him.

“But it turns out it wasn’t a duffel bag. We could smell it and it was a pig on a leash,” he said. “She tethered it to the arm rest next to me and started to deal with her stuff, but the pig was walking back and forth.”

“I was terrified, because I was thinking I’m gonna be on the plane with the pig,” Snolnik added, saying he guesses the pig weighed between 50 and 70 pounds.

But the flight didn’t take off with the pig. The woman and the animal eventually deplaned.

American Airlines, the parent company of US Airways, confirmed to ABC News that a passenger brought the pig aboard as an emotional support animal. After the pig became disruptive, she was asked to leave, a spokesperson said.

Deplaning pig.

Deplaning pig.


Protesters Disrupt Christmas Tree Lighting In Seattle

In Seattle, a crowd gathered to watch the lighting of a Christmas tree. A group of children ages seven to 10 were on stage, preparing to sing. But a group of “Ferguson” protesters showed up and commandeered the stage, leaving most of the children in tears. The story was told on Twitter:

This is known technically as a non sequitur.

Here are the (mostly white) protesters, doing their stupid “hands up” gesture, which has nothing at all to do with the facts of the Mike Brown case:


These people adopt a pose of moral superiority, but in reality they’re just jerks. They should be hung good and tight around the necks of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and any other politicians who have endorsed their activities, more or less explicitly.

Do sanctions against Iran matter?

Daniel Pipes argues that the debate over sanctions against Iran, and thus over the P5+1 negotiations, is “peripheral and even diversionary.” He reasons that “the apocalyptically minded Iranian leadership will do everything it can to acquire the Bomb,” and therefore “economic sanctions only serve to slow its course, not to stop” the Iranian nuclear weapons program.

For Pipes, all that really matters is whether some government will use force to reverse the nuclear program. Israel, says Pipes, is the only government that possibly posseses both the means and the will to attack Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Accordingly, the big question is whether Israel will attack. Pipes doesn’t hazard a guess.

I agree that sanctions can’t stop the mullahs from obtaining nuclear weapons. But this doesn’t mean they are irrelevant. We have seen that sanctions can weaken Iran’s economy to the point that the mullahs, as a matter of regime preservation, will try to negotiate their way out of a tough sanctions regime.

The mullahs’ opinion of sanctions is good enough for me. If they believe, as they seem to, that tough sanctions threaten their hold on power, that’s reason enough to end negotiations and try to reimpose the pre-existing sanctions regime.

President Obama, however, has no intention of doing so. So far as I can tell, regime change in Iran has never been his goal.

In this sense Pipes is right — at this time, the debate over sanctions and the P5+1 talks is largely academic.

Erdogan Unbound

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gave a speech in Istanbul yesterday that included a crazed denunciation of the West:

“The only condition to overcome the crisis in the Islamic world is unity, solidarity and alliance,” he said. “Believe me, we can resolve every problem as long as we are united.”

Erdogan says there is no use counting on help from the Western world.

“I speak openly, foreigners love oil, gold, diamonds, and the cheap labor force of the Islamic world,” he said. “They like the conflicts, fights and quarrels of the Middle East. Believe me, they don’t like us.”

“They look like friends, but they want us dead, they like seeing our children die,” the president went on.

This is insane. On Wednesday, according to AFP, Erdoğan insulted the United States, specifically:

“Why is somebody coming to this region from 12,000 kilometers (7,000 miles) away? I want you to know that we are against impertinence, recklessness and endless demands,” he added.

The comment was made shortly after US Vice President Joe Biden visited Turkey. Biden’s negotiations with Erdogan failed to resolve the differences between the two NATO allies.

Left wing demonstrators shout anti-U.S. slogan during a protest against the visit of U.S. Vice President Biden, in central Istanbul

Tempting though it may be to sympathize with critics of Joe Biden, it should be unacceptable for the head of a foreign state to treat a representative of the U.S. in this manner, or generally to whip up hatred against the U.S. and the West as Erdoğan is doing. Turkey is ostensibly our ally, a member of NATO. How can the leader of a nation that belongs to NATO tell his people that Westerners want to see their children dead? This is a contradiction that should be resolved sooner rather than later.

Barack Obama has described Erdoğan as one of the foreign leaders to whom he is personally closest. Perhaps Obama has changed his mind, or maybe he shares Erdoğan’s opinion of America and the West, which closely resembles Jeremiah Wright’s. But the Muslim world is sliding rapidly toward the abyss, and Erdoğan apparently is happy to give it one more push. This is one turkey that the American president shouldn’t pardon.

The Holidays: A Great Time To Spend an Hour With the Power Line Show

If, like most of us, you have a little spare time between now and Monday, consider spending an hour with the Power Line Show. Here is Episode 2, featuring the whole PL crew, together with Senator-elect Tom Cotton and Bill Voegeli, author of The Pity Party. The president’s amnesty order and multiple email mysteries were the main topics of the day.

And, hey, if you have two hours to spare, you can go back and listen to Episode 1, with all four PLers and Michael Barone’s exclusive commentary on the mid-term elections:

You can join Power Line VIP for only $4 per month or $40 per year. Click here to join. Not only will you get the soon-to-be exclusive Power Line show, you can view the site ad-free–a real luxury in today’s era of ever more intrusive internet advertising. We will never charge for this site or limit access to a certain number of articles per month, as so many others have done. But by joining Power Line VIP you can help support our work. We appreciate it!


Why did the New York Times say where Darren Wilson lives?

On Monday, the day when the grand jury declined to indict Darren Wilson and rioting ensued, the New York Times published a story that provided the name of the town and the street where Wilson lives. The Times gave out this information in the context of reporting that Wilson married a fellow police officer Barbara Spradling in a “quiet wedding” last month, and that the two own a home together.

The Times story has been widely criticized. For example, Howard Kurtz called it “reckless.” Kurtz noted that the paper has “endangered Wilson’s life.” He concluded: “Journalism is full of close calls. This is not one of them. The Times should apologize.”

The Times, though, has not apologized. Instead, it defends the story. Philip Corbett, the Times’ associate managing editor for standards, served up this defense to Erik Wemple, who reports on media for the Washington Post:

The Times did not “reveal” anything here. The name of the street was widely reported as far back as August, including in the Washington Post.

Wemple followed up by asking whether whether the standard for publication of a street name is whether others have already revealed it. Corbett responded:

We would have to look at the issue case by case. But if you’re considering whether to withhold information from a story, the question of whether that information is widely available or has been previously reported would certainly be a factor to consider.

But before a news organization considers whether to withhold information from a story, it must first conclude that the information (here the name of Wilson’s street) belongs in the story. Absent that determination, the name of the street isn’t being “withheld,” any more than information about Wilson’s shoe size is.

In his response to Wemple, the Timesman ducks the threshold question: what did Wilson’s street name add to the story of the officer’s recent marriage?

He also downplays, if not ignores, the danger the Times’ disclosure poses to Wilson and his bride. Even if the Times wasn’t the first news organization to disclose Wilson’s street, its disclosure increased the number of people who knew this information at just the moment when rage against Wilson was about to reach its peak.

Wemple wasn’t diverted by the Times’ sophistry. He concluded:

In any story about newlyweds who jointly own a home, it makes sense to describe where that home is located. But the street name? Such detail adds nil news value to a scoop about a man at the center of one of the most contentious news stories of our time. Leave it out.

Because the street name had “nil news value” and because it was disclosed on a day when anti-police violence predictably broke out, it’s difficult to resist the conclusion that the New York Times included the street name as a way of trying to punish Wilson to one degree or another.

Quotations from Chairman Barry

I still have my old copy of Quotations From Chairman LBJ. The book was inspired by Quotations From Chairman Mao Tse-Tung (“the little red book”). Compiled by Jack Shepherd and Christopher Wren and published by Simon and Schuster in the annus horribilis of 1968, the book consisted of supposedly laughable quotes attributable to President Johnson. It was popular enough to go through multiple printings. My copy derives from the third printing. Despite its success as a publishing venture I can’t find much in the book that in the fullness of time has proved laughable or derisory except the attitude it displays toward Johnson as the left turned on him.

The form has been dedicated to documenting the supposed stupidity of Republican presidents such as Ronald Reagan (Reagan Quotes, compiled by Mark Tracy from two books by liberals about Reagan) and George W. Bush (George W. Bushisms, compiled by Jacob Weisberg).

We’re well past the time when the form should be resurrected for President Obama. David Boze took a worthy pass at such a project with The Little Red Book of Obamunism (2012) but earlier posts in this series demonstrate the need for something comprehensive and updated.

The White House has now posted the transcript of President Obama’s remarks on immigration in Chicago this past Tuesday. The speech gives us some truly quotable quotes to be included in Quotations from Chairman Barry.

Here is the chairman warming to his subject:

If you go to — I was just traveling in Asia — you go to Japan, they don’t have problems with certain folks being discriminated against because mostly everybody is Japanese. (Laughter.) You know? But here, part of what’s wonderful about America is also what makes our democracy hard sometimes, because sometimes we get attached to our particular tribe, our particular race, our particular religion, and then we start treating other folks differently.

Now this could (and should) lead to a profound meditation on Americanization and the American idea, but Obama’s promotion of immigration assaults them as well as the sovereignty of the American people. Thus Obama continues with this gem for our anthology:

And that [tribalism], sometimes, has been a bottleneck to how we think about immigration. If you look at the history of immigration in this country, each successive wave, there have been periods where the folks who were already here suddenly say, well, I don’t want those folks. Even though the only people who have the right to say that are some Native Americans. (Applause.)

Don’t bottleneck me, bro!

In this reading, the American people have lost the right to control immigration in their own interests. Bill Voegeli has a timely discussion of the train of thought implicit in Obama’s remarks in his essay “Left, Right and Human” in the current issue of the Claremont Review of Books (currently accessible to subscribers only). Bill writes in part on this point: “From the liberal premise that differences between people are merely superficial, it follows that there are no compelling moral reasons to exclude people from around the world who would prefer to live here, not elsewhere. Who’s to say, after all, that that their ways are worse than our ways? By what right must they change just so we can feel more comfortable? An immigration policy compliant with liberal sensibilities does as little as possible to exclude people who want to come here, and then asks as little as possible of people who want to stay.” To the standard liberal mix described by Voegeli, Obama adds malice toward the American idea and the American people.

Obama’s Chicago speech also gave us his unscripted confirmation of what we have been saying about his royal decree regularizing the status of millions of illegal aliens contrary to the law of the land. Obama had previously asserted some twenty-plus times that he lacked the constitutional authority to alter immigration law unilaterally precisely as he has now done. In response to a heckler chiding him for not doing enough on behalf of the population of illegal aliens, Obama asserted:

[W]hat you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took action to change the law. (Applause.) So that’s point number one.

“That’s point number one,” indeed. Earlier this week David Rivkin and Elizabeth Foley elaborated on the illegality of Obama’s “action to change the law” in “Obama’s immigration enablers” (subscribers only, but accessible via Google here).