Friday, January 11, 2013

Homeland and Other Worries

So here's my problem with Showtime’s Homeland, now that Gilda and I are watching the DVD of the first season. The suspected Al Qaeda plot the CIA and FBI are investigating—a sniper attack against the president as he leaves or boards his Marine One helicopter at Reagan National Airport—is based on erroneous fact. Air Force One, the only plane the president flies in, does not use Reagan. It flies in and out of Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, nowhere near the Virginia house Abu Nasir's terrorist cell bought and planned to use in their assassination attempt because its roof has a direct view of the helicopter landing pad at Reagan. 

There are no doubt other points we could dissect but this one is troubling. You'd think the CIA and FBI would know the president doesn't use Reagan National Airport. Maybe the dilemma is cleared up in the last two episodes of season one which we hope to view this weekend. I hope so, because otherwise I really like this show and can’t wait for the second season DVD to become available.

Fox Hunting: Homeland's plot arc has a former prisoner of war suspected by a CIA agent of being a sleeper terrorist turned by Al Qaeda during his eight years of captivity. Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brady is elected to Congress, where he can wreak havoc from within the political system. My niece in England sent me a link to an article in the Guardian about Rupert Murdoch’s failed attempt to co-opt the American presidential race from within. 

It's by Carl Bernstein who has experience in these matters (for those too young to know, he’s the Bernstein of Woodward and Bernstein of Watergate reporting fame). Here are two links, the first to Bernstein’s article (, the second to the actual voice tape of the conversation between General Petraeus and K.T. McFarland of Fox News referred to by Bernstein that was obtained by Bob Woodward. Keep in mind this conversation happened a year before Petraeus’ downfall from his alleged affair

Signature Moment: Ordinary Americans always strive to identify with their politicians. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Whatever. My point is, the brouhaha over Treasury Secretary nominee Jacob J. Lew’s signature—a series of connected loops looking much like a Slinky on its side—has me identifying directly with the man whose scrawl would appear on all paper currency should he be confirmed by the Senate.

I for one can’t find fault with his illegible writing. Mine is what I call my executive signature, stroked so quickly that only, and just barely at that, can you make out the “M” of my first name. Sometimes when I sign legal documents I slow down, but that causes a problem, as when I go to the bank to gain access to our safety deposit box. I can never remember which signature I am supposed to match. 

My poor penmanship must be in my genes, for Dan as well has a signature where only the “D” is legible. I used to think Ellie’s signature was decipherable, but since she got married and changed her middle and last names, she too has channeled me, and I know what she’s supposed to be writing. 

Blame, or Praise, Me: If you're wondering why there hasn't been any snow this month, I have an explanation. In my quest for the perfect snow shovel I recently bought a wheeled shovel, good for up to six inches of flakes. I eagerly awaited the next snowfall to test out my purchase. 

Naturally the power(s) to be have thwarted my ability to test drive this model by spritzing rain on us versus snow. I hope you all appreciate this gift I have given you, unless, of course, you like shoveling snow and skidding along on snow-covered streets.

Recalls From Hell: Here are headlines over press releases you really don’t want to have to issue if you run a company:

“Columbia Sportswear Reannounces Its Recall of Batteries Sold With Jackets Due To Fire Hazard”

“High-Pressure Scuba Diving Air Hoses Recalled by A-Plus Marine Due to Drowning Hazard”