Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

December 23, 2009

2009: Time to Laugh It Off

Filed under: Events,Humor — by Mark Chubb on December 23, 2009

I am sure you have noticed a decided departure from the usual gloom and doom in this week’s contributions to HLSwatch.com. Even when they seem otherwise inappropriate in the circumstances, laughter and humor serve as powerful analgesics. If only they could inoculate us from pain altogether!

As we prepare to close the books on a spectacularly dour year, it’s worth noting that plenty of things have happened, which in retrospect, should have made us laugh if only to keep us from crying. Here’s my Top 10 list, with apologies to David Letterman:

10. Tareq and Michaele Salahi tested the White House policy of openness by inviting themselves to a state dinner in honor of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, which once again proved it’s not what you know that’s important, it’s how desperate you are to get your own reality television show.

9.  In a spectacular demonstration of democracy-in-action, the Afghan people held an election the likes of which made people in Chicago and Florida proud of our country’s efforts there. Meanwhile, in a display of grassroots activism reminiscent of Tiananmen Square, the people of the Islamic Republic of Iran displayed the kind of technological savvy usually reserved for voting for American Idol finalists or regaling friends with news about what you’re having for dinner to muster a succession of impressive flashmobs that displayed their general displeasure with the outcome of the election that returned Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power there.

8.  Delegates from more than 190 nations met in Copenhagen to forge a global agreement curbing human activities that contribute to climate change; in the end, their success was marked by a communiqué outlining their commitments to offset the carbon emissions from their lengthy discussions by producing a succinct and largely unimpressive agreement the printing of which will produce virtually no impact on the world’s forests.

7.  In an act of irony (absent the taint of cynicism, but nevertheless displaying a deep sense of humility), the likes of which would have made Gen. Curtis “Peace Is Our Profession” LeMay either immensely proud or insanely jealous, Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway just days after committing tens of thousands more American troops to the war in Afghanistan.

6.  American forces, largely through the successful deployment of Predator and Reaper drones, managed to kill several top al Qaeda and Afghan Taliban operatives despite a startling security deficiency that broadcast unencrypted footage of their surveillance and targeting activities along with hundreds of Three’s Company, Baywatch, and Knight Rider reruns to anyone on the ground with a YouTube or Hulu account.

5.  Amidst speculation about a potential succession crisis and rising tensions surrounding his hermitic country’s nuclear ambitions, North Korea’s Dear Leader Kim Jong-il dispelled any lingering concern that poor health would keep him from rattling nuclear sabers and unsettling western nerves for another year by engaging in frenetic whirlwind of activity that led some observers to wonder aloud whether he was maneuvering to replace Paula Abdul as the third judge on American Idol.

4.  As the world looked on with a mixture of apprehension and apathy, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of H1N1 influenza first detected in Mexico in March a worldwide pandemic; as millions fell ill and thousands died, the United Nations demonstrated once again its profound ability to reflect a sense of urgency by drawing attention to a problem without really solving it, which called to mind both its past efforts to stop the spread of other deadly illnesses such as malaria and polio and seemed to indicate the sort of success its sister UN agencies would produce during the Copenhagen climate summit.

3.  The arrests of three people in Denver, Colorado and New York on charges of plotting attacks against targets in New York City; seven men in North Carolina said to have sought training at terrorist camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan; the unsealing of indictments against eight people in Minneapolis, Minnesota linked to the disappearances of Somali youth thought to have been recruited to fight in the civil war there and the attack at Fort Hood’s soldier readiness center attributed to Major Malik Nadal Hasan that left 13 soldiers dead stoked fears of homegrown terrorism. However, with the Obama Administration working feverishly to close the detention facility at the Guantanamo Bay naval station, it’s more likely that these budding reality show superstars will play feature roles in a new television drama just entering pre-production called Survivor: Thomson, Illinois (aka Guantanamo North).

2.  President Obama with the help of Congress and the Federal Reserve mounted a seemingly successful last-ditch effort to stave off a Chernobyl-like meltdown of the world economy by pumping more $1.6 trillion dollars into the economy; the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 saved or added an estimated 600-700,000 jobs to the economy this year alone while leaving more than 15 million Americans unemployed, another 9 million underemployed, and upwards of 2 million marginally employed.  As the official unemployment rate leveled off at 10 percent and the economy started growing again at a rate of 2.2 percent per annum, people opened their wallets and handed over what little cash or credit they had; what had in other years had been described as an orgy of spending ended up looking more like a sordid ménage à trois in some seedy motel that rents rooms by the hour.


1.  In a test of our ability to look closely and deeply at ourselves, warts and all, the nation’s gaze remained firmly focused as the year came to a close on the actions of an infidel and his self-professed but as yet unconfirmed infidel-ities. In what some reports have described as an impressive use of long irons, Mr. Woods’ estranged wife Elin Nordegren made short work of Tiger as he beat a hasty retreat from the family home in a gated Florida community after being confronted about his alleged nocturnal wanderings while on tour. After witnessing her impressive use of both soft and (mostly) hard power, administration officials have started making discrete inquiries into whether Ms. Nordegren is available to advise special forces operators hunting Osama bin Laden and his compatriots in the lawless Af-Pak border region.

Here’s hoping 2010 gives us more to laugh at. If not, we have no one to blame but ourselves. While we’re waiting, please take a moment to share something that made you laugh this past year or tell us what would make you particularly happy in the year ahead.

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Comment by Claire Rubin

December 23, 2009 @ 6:39 am

Thanks for the good humor treat.

Comment by William R. Cumming

December 23, 2009 @ 10:53 am

Not a bad list but it looks like back door guarantees of defunct FIRE sector of over $12 Trillion rather than the number stated. Highly recommend Vanity Fair this month covering Goldman-Sachs by the author of the “Smartest Boys In The Room” about the Enron meltdown.

Predicting here that Jeff Skilling gets off on appeal. Ken Lay of course is answering to a higher or lower power. So far his wife has been able to keep all the stolen goodies he “earned”!

Comment by William R. Cumming

December 24, 2009 @ 12:53 am

New Issue of Mother Jones is documenting $14.5 Trillion pumped directly or indirectly into economy and FIRE sector. Well we (US) are still the oldest and the richest democracy.

Comment by christopher tingus

December 24, 2009 @ 10:02 am

As the yet to be filled pages of 2010 quickly appear, the humor is that mankind’s hopes and aspirations rely on people who choose a career in “leadership roles” only to dupe the majority by empty words preferring to fulfill their own self agenda and fill their own coffers.

As an individual with over three decades of int’l new business development involved now in waste water project dev’l and bringing a clean glass of water to so, so many African villages who have no other choice or to India where children must drink from the “Ganges River” and so on and so forth —

I find that the humor lies with the void in leadership for the most part who with so many individuals dedicated and brilliant in their work bringing us such wonderful advancements in technology and scientific possibility with God, our creator, witness to all, such wonderful creativity, such compassion by some is overshadowed by men like Obama and Gore who derive the Nobel Peace Prize unworthy of any such recognition, lacking the wisdom necessary and the courage to defend mankind from itself, while so many wonderful people do so much and clasp hands to bring a better world through unselfish commitment, yet go unnoticed….

The real humor rests in the “experts” that seem so genuine and only seek to their own ambition, experts touting their Phd’s and their impressive CV’s leaving us a world riddled with strife surely to become more apparent early on in the New Year and a world so impoverished and more enslaved to governments here and yonder portraying the same as every government since mankind’s first, Babylon, only promising that mankind’s greed and lack in repenting and caring for fellow human being leads to the same, suffering and failure….

In a world which prefers to be so engrossed in a young man who before 30 years of age owns a mega yacht – Privacy – worth $22m and a $38m Jupitar Island, Fl waterfront compound by playing with a stick and ball and the media calls his actions a mere addiction rather than what it is – another portrayal of selfishness and irresponsibilty towards his children as mentor and the value of family knowing exactly what pleasure he derived versus the pain he will cause – well, the list goes on and on with Madoff knowing full well in taking the monies from those who needed it most reaching out to children who have been deprived – however as Wall Street again derives its billions in fiat dollar bailouts and bonuses for stealing and tells me it cannot find a billion or two from the ongoing printing presses of fiat dollars of the Federal Reserve and the central bankers of Europe to enable me to reach out to fund – profitable – waste water and water projects to bring a clean glass of water to children who have none, I am told that all are far too busy…busy I ask, pls fellas, your lack of transparency and your arrogance have tricked you as well, for the melting pot has become enlightened to your devious ways and unfortunately — there is no humor whatsoever, rather disdain as whispers in the pews grow louder and louder deepicting the majority who have little value for the “KGB Putinites and the Brutes of Tehran” as I refer to them and to so many who prefer dastardly deeds and kill innocents or blow others up who have nothing to do with the evil deeds of those who seek a dark world rather than what our Creator offered us in choice….

I find no humor in the struggles of mankind in the 21st century when so many of the lessons of history are disregarded and the words of the Bible in this Judeao-Christian nation are so blatently disregarded as are the premises put forth by our enlightened forefathers prepared for us in the Constitution, a document well known by you, Mr. President, so willing to change its words and intent….

God Bless America for this wonderful nation and most charitable people has been the beacon of hope to those in despair, now only to see its very own coffers and people bankrupt and quickly evolving as a thrid world nation unable to extend its hand to offer its youth like no other nation before to thwart the evil doers…

My New Year’s shout, “Oust those that shower accolades upon one another and prove the worthiness of Democracy by “entrusting” only those that are worthy of our precious vote willing to engage transparency and truthfulness!

We are at peril and the hour of decision as Churchill recognized is now upon our watch! Engage all who dare challenge the goodness of mankind….

Christopher Tingus
Harwich (Cape Cod), MA 02645

google: christopher tingus
email: chris.tingus@gmail.com

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