Monday, January 21, 2008

As opposed to the old one

Katie's latest, A new witch in the I-35W bridge collapse witch hunt, is just her plaintive cry to Make the Whole Thing Go Away! She trumpets a presser by Mark Rosenker, the head of the NTSB who said, boy, it was a design flaw! Nobody couldda seen that coming:

Last week, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued interim findings that should prompt the witch-hunt crowd to pack it in. (A final report is due within six months.) The "critical factor" in the collapse was a "serious design error" that dates from the bridge's construction in the mid-1960s, said NTSB chairman Mark Rosenker at a news conference.

"It is important to understand that bridge inspections would not have identified the error," Rosenker said. In fact, he said, the National Bridge Inspection Standards don't include procedures that would detect such a design flaw.

Who is this god, Rosenker, Spotty?

Funny you should ask, grasshopper! He is—how can Spot put this diplomatically?—a Republican politico of many years standing. Katie's own newspaper, not that she always reads it, says so:

Rosenker, 61, brought a lifetime of experience in the military, electronics, communications and politics when President Bush appointed him to the safety board in 2003. By then, he had worked on most of the Republican presidential campaigns since Richard Nixon's 1972 reelection.

When he was sworn in as board chairman in 2006, Vice President Dick Cheney credited him with overseeing some of "those secure, undisclosed locations where I've been known to spend some of my time."

Wow, I wonder how that got past Doug Tice?

It is surprising, grasshopper. Maybe Mr. Tice had the day off! Anyway, Katie is shocked that some people won't let her friend Mr. Rosenker have the last word.

Who dares to question this Rosenker, Spotty?

Well, Jim Oberstar, the chairman of the US House committee that oversees the NTSB, for one:

What some Minnesota Democrats -- particularly Rep. Jim Oberstar, chairman of the U.S. House Transportation Committee -- have alleged is that Rosenker overstepped his mandate Tuesday by ruling out the role of rust and corrosion while announcing a preliminary finding of a design flaw in the bridge.

Oberstar called it "an inappropriate, unfortunate and uncharacteristic statement by a board chairman," though the congressman stopped short of ascribing an explicit political motive to Rosenker.

Do you suppose the congressman could haul Rosenker's, er, backside, in front of the Transportation Committee?

I suppose he could, grasshopper.

Anyway, who's the witch?

Isn't that obvious? It's the NTSB itself. Katie is especially put out that the Minnesota Legislature - controlled by those evil DFLers - hired a local law firm to do an independent investigation. Katie concludes her column, shaking her head in sadness:

You can expect that the Legislature's law firm will find some heads to hand to the villain-hungry crowd. But someday the howls will die down, as lawyers and legislators turn their attention to another supposed scandal. Then the men and women who care for our bridges will finally be left to work in peace.

Why yes, of course, Carol Molnau deserves her repose! Katie's suggestion that we just leave the poor state bridge inspectors and maintenance workers alone is a red herring. As has been chronicled over and over, MnDOT knew that bridge was sorely "deficient" but passed on efforts to fix it. And money was clearly the most important reason. That wasn't the fault of the workers; it was the fault of the Administration.

Somehow, Spot finds Katie's concern about a bunch of AFSCME workers rather incongruous. Don't you?

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