Archive for June 21st, 2009

June 21, 2009

Obama’s no Daley, but . . .

Michael Barone in the Examiner:

His first political ambition was to be mayor of Chicago, the boss of all he surveyed; he has had to settle for the broader but less complete hegemony of the presidency. . . .
Chicago-style, he has kept the Republicans out of serious policy negotiations . . . Basking in the adulation of nearly the entire press corps, he whines about his coverage on Fox News. Those who stand in the way, like the Chrysler secured creditors, are told that their reputations will be destroyed; those who expose wrongdoing by political allies, like the AmeriCorps inspector general, are fired.

Speaking of Chicago, John Kass of the Chicago Tribune laughs to scorn the shocked! shocked! reaction over Obama’s move against inspectors general:

The use of political muscle may be prohibited in the mythic transcendental fairyland where much of the Obama spin originates . . . But our president is from Chicago. . . . David Axelrod and chief of staff Rahm Emanuel come right from Chicago Democratic machine boss Mayor Richard Daley. They don’t believe in fairies . . .
It’s the Chicago Way. Now, formally, it’s also the Chicago on the Potomac Way. . . .

You can read the rest, which is also discussed in today’s “300 Words Or Less” editorial at, and linked at Memeorandum. At this point, IG-Gate raises two basic questions:

  1. Does all this suspicious smoke indicate a genuinely scandalous fire? That is to say, is there genuine crime or ethical misconduct involved, or are the inspectors generals just victims of political hardball which, while rudely thuggish in typical Chicago fashion, is not actually criminal?
  2. If there is a real scandal, will the Obama-worshipping press ignore it?

After I filed my Friday report at Pajamas Media, I noticed a lot of comments along the lines of, “Oh, Obama will get away with this because the MSM is in the tank.” This is a presumption — indeed, perhaps, two or three presumptions — too far.

Conservatives can be excused for thinking that rampant Obamaphilia in the press corps will protect The One from any possible consequences for malfeasance or error, if only because this has hitherto been the case. But . . .

Honeymoon kisses ain’t news. An FBI investigation of an alleged cover-up is news. The snobs and sycophants in the White House press corps might be predisposed to ignore or dismiss this story but — believe it or not — there are still a handful of real old-fashioned reporters in America who get excited at the prospect of scoring an exclusive, and who don’t give a damn what the political consequences are.

Not every reporter in America is part of the Washington press elite. But if some reporter at Sacramento Bee aspires to join that elite, what better way than to dig in on this Walpin/St. HOPE/Kevin Johnson/AmeriCorps story and try to turn it into an award-winning investigative series?

It doesn’t matter what the political angle is. The hotshot California reporter who scores scoop after scoop on a story of national consquence can build a stack of clippings demonstrating his investigative chops, get some of his stories linked by Drudge and cited by other news organizations and, next thing you know, somebody’s paying his round-trip plane fare to Washington or New York to interview for a big new job.

Upward mobility in a declining industry? Kinda cool.

There’s another angle to think about, however. Beyond the Walpin/AmeriCorps story, TARP special IG Neil Barofsky has got himself in a tangle with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and notice who’s paying attention to that story. The Obama aura is powerful, but it offers very limited coverage to the ungainly Geithner.

The Geithner/Barofsky feud is going to be covered by lots of New York-based financial reporters who don’t give a damn about the Beltway elite. The Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily, Bloomberg News — reporters for outfits like that usually have an indifference to the attitudes of the politics crowd. Indeed, you’ll occasionally find a financial reporter who thinks capitalism is OK. Just to cite one example, investigative journalist Matthew Vadum first came to D.C. as a financial reporter.

And there’s still the factor of good old-fashioned competition in the press. The editors of the Washington Post aren’t going to sit still and twiddle their thumbs if the Examiner, the Politico and the Washington Times start scoring a string of scoops on this story. And the same is true of the TV networks. Check out this Thursday exchange between ABC’s Jake Tapper and WH press secretary Robert Gibbs:

TAPPER: Earlier this year the special inspector general for TARP Neil Barofsky tried to get documents relating to AIG. The Treasury Department rebuffed that request, and although ultimately I think they did turn over the documents, the Treasury Department sought a ruling from the Justice Department on just how independent Neil Barofsky’s office is supposed to be. Please explain from the administration’s perspective what exactly is going on here and why it appears as though the Treasury Department is pushing back against an independent inspector general.
GIBBS: Well, obviously, Jake, the president believes that inspectors general fulfill a unique and important role in ensuring that programs operate with efficiency. No attorney-client privilege on any of this stuff has been invoked. No documents sought have been or are being withheld. The DOJ review is not related to any particular investigation. It is sorting out legal issues relating to the creation of the office.
TAPPER: Right. But could you explain — could you actually answer my question? I understand the talking points you’ve been given, but . . .

Read the rest of that, and think of how some other reporters in the White House press corps must have been high-fiving Tapper afterwards. (Honestly, not all of them are completely in the tank with Chris Matthews’ leg-thrilling affection for O.)

As with the charmless Geithner, the media’s love for Obama won’t suffice to protect every member of his administration. Norm Eisen has no unicorns-and-rainbows mystique of Hope, and just wait until the D.C. press corps starts sniffing around the unexpected resignation of the AmTrak inspector general. (Gee, what gaffe-prone politician considers AmTrak his personal pet program?)

The fundamental problem the IG investigation presents to the Obama administration is the contradiction to its oft-declared commitment to transparency, as Jimmie Bise Jr. observes at the American Issues Project:

It could very well be that this small scandal becomes the lead domino that begins a chain reaction that could spell unmitigated disaster for the Obama administration. Regardless, the Inspector General firings and the Treasury Department’s unwillingness to cooperate with IG Barofsky are another sign that when they administration claimed to be in favor of greater accountability, it was only blowing smoke.

Despite all the headlines to date, IG-Gate has yet to break through to the status of a major scandal, mostly because the potentially revolutionary developments in Iran have captivated public attention. Yet when the chaos in Iran subsides, the investigations of the IG firings will keep going and, as Jimmie says at Sundries Shack, it looks like this scandal is growing legs. More dominoes may be falling soon . . .

(Thanks to the Blogosphere’s Photoshop Queen, Carol at No Sheeples Here, for the artwork.)

UPDATE: Transparency? We don’t need no stinkin’ transparency!

As a senator, Barack Obama denounced the Bush administration for holding “secret energy meetings” with oil executives at the White House. But last week public-interest groups were dismayed when his own administration rejected a Freedom of Information Act request for Secret Service logs showing the identities of coal executives who had visited the White House to discuss Obama’s “clean coal” policies. One reason: the disclosure of such records might impinge on privileged “presidential communications.” The refusal, approved by White House counsel Greg Craig’s office, is the latest in a series of cases in which Obama officials have opted against public disclosure. . . .
After Obama’s much-publicized Jan. 21 “transparency” memo, administration lawyers crafted a key directive implementing the new policy that contained a major loophole, according to FOIA experts. The directive, signed by Attorney General Eric Holder, instructed federal agencies to adopt a “presumption” of disclosure for FOIA requests. . . . But in a little-noticed passage, the Holder memo also said the new standard applies “if practicable” for cases involving “pending litigation.” . . .

Read the whole thing. Obviously, Michael Isikoff’s legs aren’t tingling. BTW, one of the reasons I’m compiling this round-up is for the benefit of another one of my sources, who has a background in federal law enforcement and knows a thing or two about investigations.

UPDATE II: Little Miss Attila:

I think this is very simple: 1) on a national stage, one cannot fire whistle-blowers willy-nilly. Even lefties don’t like that, because everyone understands what that does to the system: when burglars are encouraged to feed poisoned dog food to the Dobermans that guard the shop, Bad Things are likely to happen.

So far, however, it’s like looking for investigative reporting in the Jonas Brothers fan-club newsletter.

UPDATE III: Red State‘s Moe Lane:

I suggest that any journalist reading this and thinking about pursuing it further might want to start by examining this odd story from last year involving a supposedly fake letter coming from Amtrak Superintendent Joe Deely. Not to mention this OSHA release on a whistleblower . . . Not that Weiderhold is directly linked to either case, but these seem to be to be the most controversial cases recently involving internal problems requiring the attention of an Inspector General.

Read the rest.

UPDATE IV: The Washington Times:

On the very same day that the president fired Mr. Walpin, St. Hope’s executive director, Rick Maya, left his job at St. Hope. He did not go quietly. His resignation letter charged Mr. Johnson and several St. Hope board members with numerous ethical violations. Most explosively, he charged that a board member improperly deleted e-mails of Mr. Johnson’s that already were under a federal subpoena. . . .
On Wednesday, the Sacramento Bee reported that Mr. Maya’s allegations have been deemed serious enough that the FBI is investigating potential obstruction of justice at St. Hope. In that light, the firing of Mr. Walpin, who properly blew the whistle on mismanagement and possible corruption, looks ill-considered. . . .

Read the rest. Strange — the phrase “second-rate burglary” just came to mind, like a 1972 acid flashback . . .

UPDATE V: Ed Driscoll sees Obama doing a reverse-Clausewitz — politics as warfare — while Glenn Reynolds inexplicably links the Hartford Courant, but quotes a commentary by Salena Zito of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, making excuses for the fan-club-newsletter press corps:

The press could help keep things honest but has fewer resources and readers . . .

Whine, whine, whine. Look, lady: How hard could it be for reporters from the Tribune to ask Arlen Specter or Bart Sestak to comment on the IG firings? Hey, I’ve got an idea, Ms. Zito: How about you pick up the freaking phone call them for a comment?

Why is it nowadays, whenever editors hire somebody to write op-ed columns, it’s never anybody who knows how to pick up a telephone? And then the lazy can’t-use-a-phone op-ed idiots wonder why they have fewer readers . . .

UPDATE VI: Pundit & Pundette links with some thoughts on Obama’s Chicago Way. Meanwhile, at 1:30 a.m. Monday, I’ve just made an executive decision to go down to Capitol Hill again today and talk to more sources.

There is no substitute for old-fashioned shoe leather. Just show up unannounced and buttonhole your source. It’s an infallible method. Make a nuisance of yourself until they figure out that they need to start calling you, or else you’ll be back again bugging them tomorrow.


June 21, 2009

Dan Collins is a genius

“He’s just the latest in a raft of wannabe spokespeople for a new, anodyne conservatism, containing a small quantity of witch-hazel as a largely inactive active ingredient meant to soothe the hemorrhoids of the left.”

Damn, that’s good. Told you: The man is a genius.

June 21, 2009

(So Far Away)

by Smitty

Chris Muir’s brilliance on display at Day by Day can’t go unnoticed.
The comic strip’s Sunday title is an allusion to the POTUS reaction on Iran, of course. But what you may not know is that it also functions as an allusion to the college days of Robert Gibbs, when, as the keyboardist of a metrosexual band, he had an encounter with a woman who’d escaped an explosion in a Mary Kay warehouse wearing a trash bag, and he experienced a Friedersdorfian freak-out.

June 21, 2009

Rule 5 Sunday

by Smitty

The situation in Iran is horrible. We should at least begin with a shout out to nobility and grace, and hope that’s interpreted in a positive way. Heaven reign peace on that country.
Closer to home, we have a…situation, of sorts. Conor Friedersdorf has posed a scenario.
“…a blind date, the setting a D.C. coffee shop, where a ‘whip smart, beautiful woman who loves talking politics’ waits at a corner table.”
Let’s run with that. This week’s Rule 5 Challenge is to pick a date for a fellow, who, while obviously not CF (I don’t begin to know him well enough to offer public abuse):

  • Went to school in the Northeast.
  • Makes excessive use of SAT words.
  • Hob-nobs with Important People.
  • Thinks Paul Tillich was a right-wing reactionary theologian.
  • Writes squishy articles and even squishier replies to people online. They, for some mean-spirited reason, continually heap abuse about his head and shoulders.
  • Badly needs sun, fresh air, and a bit of sport.

We’re working least-to-most recent in the Rule 5 folder/label in GMail.

  • The Dailey Gator nominates Angela Basset. Certainly wonderful, but can she discuss William Blake with the appropriate effortlessness? DG’s other suggestion was Vanesa Marcil. Certainly a dish, but how is her chess game?
  • Deuce at the Skepticrates provides three possibilities, on the theme of lovely hair. But is all that hair good for the environment? Should not hair products, too, fall under the measured scrutiny of conservativism, for it to meet some nebulous definition of conservativism?
  • What if, as Three Beers Later suggests, she wears a costume? Would Wonder Woman withstand weeping, whining weeks without end? He also contributes some Latina cheerleaders, but our protagonist, unfortunately knows nothing of sports, or any activity leading to perspiration, for that matter.
  • The Classic Liberal points to Gabrielle Anwar. She’s British, and an actress. Is that good, or bad? Can it be both and neither, at the same time? Hmm…our subject would require some time for abstraction about this. Wait, where is she going?
  • The BlogProf recommends getting the Led out, and “Going to California with an achin’…in my heart.” Probably safer than Megan Fox. His mum said no one more violent and stressful than an Archie comic book, you know. Bad for the complexion.
  • Same goes for Donald Douglas’s Sandra Bullock suggestion: way too many violent movies with her. He needs love, peace and hair grease.

(aside: the reggae version on the new ‘Tap release is more brutal still)

  • Douglas also put forth Stacy Ferguson, who, while admittedly an improvement over Stacy McCain, also has the cleft chin of Sandra Bullock. Is that a sign of inferior mental capacity? Does it bode well for children? Granted, we’re only discussing a date here, but one must think strategy as well as tactics in these important matters.
  • Dustbury’s suggestion of Hayek certainly merits consideration. But our subject can’t laugh at the “Surfdom” pun, because puns are so common, and surfing tends to involve water and sun. Our subject becomes incontinent when his foot no longer touches continent, and has a paranoid fear of melanoma, which took Uncle Bipperton in such an ugly fashion.
  • Fisherville Mike’s Bombshel posting was anything but. Whoever went to Macalester or Juilliard and then played country-western? Far too low-brow for the country club, that one.
  • Oh, and the Pontani sisters appear far too ill-bred a lot to even consider. Motorcycles, water cannons, tattoos: oh, what disarray!
  • The Pirate’s Cove submitted some Hildebrandt, which, while nicely done, fails the pulse check. Even we have standards. Somewhere.
  • Jeffords suggests aspiring writer Jennifer Love Hewitt, but we saw some sample chapters. She split an infinitive. How could she?
  • Paco has come through in high style with screen sirens of the past. Unfortunately, our subject’s recreational nostalgia never overcame the necrophobia. Again, the pulse check.
  • Chris at the WyBlog, while not making a specific date suggestion, does offer a good location for some grooming before the big date.
  • Robert at The Camp of the Saints suggests Julie London, who, sadly, is about a decade out of range, according to Wikipedia.
  • The BlogProf has submitted samples of the Brady Bundchen and her predecessor. Our protagonist is not even sort of capable of competing with an NFL quarterback in anything heavier than combat origami, alas. Should we also consider MeMe Roth? For anything? Look, our client is half again as self-centered, and would “weigh in” at MeMeMe on the MeMe scale. It just wouldn’t work. Not even in an absurd blog post.
  • Carol at No Sheeples Here misses Susan Hayward. It’s too bad she also fails the pulse check. Is it possible that Hollywood has jumped the shark of actual beauty? Discuss in the comments.
  • Track-a-‘Crat insists Megan Fox is “the perfect woman for Conor Friedersdorf”. Unfortunately, Jon, we’re not *ha* talking about *haha* Conor in this post–wouldn’t that be rude? You have to understand that Megan, while lovely in the photo, is obviously sporting a counterfeit 12th Century B.C. Minoan napkin-dress clasp. As you might suspect, such a non-command of even basic archaeology places her in the discard bin.
  • The cosmic winner is, of course, Deuce at Skepticrats. Because the key to success here is the ability to find a woman who ignores argumentation, from the lengthy, well-reasoned variety, all the way down to the hyper-minimalist “No”. Deuce, you win three entire internets and a case of Rice-a-Roni.

Now, based upon the DoubleThink article, our hypothetical smart preppy dude has tastes that run to the traditional. Our subject could, however, seek advice on manliness from any of the following gentlemen:

  • Fausta, still maintaining that “it’s not about the chest hair”, posted a Lee Fisher link.
  • Carol’s Closet featured Mark Steyn, brutally funny as he is, I daresay, handsome.
  • Those needing a crooner fix are directed to Pat, down in Shreveport, who has a relaxing Bobby Darin clip on offer.
  • The BlogProf offered a Shatner moment, which we’ll include down here to buff up the ladies’ section. He also had a thorough discussion on the Ninja POTUS swatting a fly, also with Kristen Powers reporting on Fox.

That’s your Rule 5 Sunday. Mail tasteful cheesecake to Smitty. Gather with your local Tea Party to plot the “We the People” restoration. And hit the tip jar.

The Patriot Room sends an update of Iranian beauties that are inarguably more fortunate than Neda, may the Almighty grant rest to that lady.

June 21, 2009


By Andrew Schaeffer Friedersdorf
Daily Atlantic HuffPo Monthly Beast

No student of Oakeshott or Kirk will be deceived when Rovian neocons engage in Potemkin symbolism to make Joe the Plumber believe that Iranian “reform” candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi wrote this letter to the White House:

From the Office of Mr. Mir Hossein Mousavi
To the President of the USA, Mr. Barack Hussein Obama:
Dear Mr. President,
In the name of the Iranian people, we want you to know that when you recently made the statement “Achmadinejad or Mousavi? Two of a kind,” we consider this as a grave and deep insult, not just to Mr. Mousavi but especially against the judgment of the Iranian people, against our moral conviction and intelligence, especially those of the young generation that comprises a population of 31 million.
It is a specially grave insult for those who are now fighting for democracy and freedom . . .

Ri-iiight. “Democracy and freedom” are well-known neocon code words for U.S. hegemonic imperialism (the Joooooz!) and “moral conviction” means back-alley abortions. We were repeatedly warned last year that only right-wing racists like Ann Coulter call Obama by his middle name. Mousavi soon will be airing video of Ahmadinejad dancing with Britney Spears (nudge, nudge).

This so-called “revolution” in Iran is clearly another Cheney/Halliburton war-for-oil conspiracy scripted by AIPAC. This alleged letter from Mousavi was actually written by Bill Kristol and sent to his buddy Michael Ledeen . . . well, you get the picture. Question the timing.

Of course, the Republican/Zionist-controlled lapdogs in the Corporate Media won’t tell you about this. They want you to believe that Iranians can actually write e-mails.

As if Sarah Palin really gave birth to Trig.

As if fire could melt steel.

But We Know The TRUTH! And the Truth is that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is Karl Rove. The Truth is that the Ayatollah is a Neo-Con. The Truth is that the mullahs are Republican homophobic Christofascist godbags.

Chickenhawk Israel Lobby warmongers like Dan Riehl, Mark Levin and Glenn Reynolds will deny this, before predictably resorting to ad hominems. But as their neocon puppets repressively violate human rights and systematically disenfranchise gay marriage supporters in Iran — a classic Fox News/Prop 8/Patriot Act move — it becomes increasingly obvious that the Riehl/Levin/Reynolds axis has blood on its hands.

They have no credibility, which is why they continue ignoring my substantive arguments.

UPDATE: Memeorandum is impressed by the Truth of my substantive arguments.

June 21, 2009

Thank you, Bush 41!

Oh, sweet mother of ironies:

First Lady Michelle Obama is kicking off a White House push to underscore the importance of volunteerism in San Francisco on Monday — a move that will have political figures here elbowing each other to get in the frame with her.
But step aside, folks, it’s California First Lady Maria Shriver who snags that honor before all. . . .

(Editor’s note: Remember how all those celebrities in California strove to “get in the frame with” Laura Bush? . . . Hello? Is this thing on?)

Then, Michelle Obama delivers the keynote at Moscone Center, before the 2009 National Conference on Volunteering and Service. That meeting, hosted by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Points of Light Institute . . .

Ah, the “thousand points of light” hailed by President George H.W. Bush as he celebrated that “kinder, gentler America” which he handed on a silver platter to Bill Clinton four years later and which his son delivered, gift-wrapped with a festive bow of “compassionate conservatism,” to the Obamas. (Read My Lips: No More Bushes!)

Michelle Malkin links this S.F. Chronicle story to point to an angle that interests me very much:

Guess where the First Lady will be on Monday?
Why, she’ll be delivering the keynote address at the 2009 National Conference on Volunteering and Service in San Francisco.
And who is co-sponsoring the conference?
Why, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS)!
Yes, that’s the same CNCS that is the parent organization of AmeriCorps.
It’s the same CNCS that last year suspended Sacramento mayor/Obama crony Kevin Johnson from receiving federal funds after then-inspector general Gerald Walpin blew the whistle on massive fraud and abuse of AmeriCorps dollars for personal and political gain. . . .

If you haven’t read the whole thing (including The Other Michelle’s California itinerary), then most certainly you should read the whole thing. However . . .

When you come back from reading the whole thing, let’s talk about something very important: The reason Barack Obama is president is because the people in charge of the Republican Party are stupid. And I’m not talking about SAT scores. I’m talking about the kind of stupid that thinks:

  • Republicans can win by trying to beat liberals at the “compassion”/”social justice” schtick;
  • Republicans can create government programs that won’t be taken over and subverted to expand the Democratic Party the next time Democrats win an election; and
  • Republicans who think it’s a good idea to nominate a short, bald, grumpy 72-year-old for president.

Perhaps you fall into one of those three categories, in which case, you should never look into a mirror without seeing a face blushed with shame for having elected Obama president. Had the Republican Party stuck to its knitting, The Other Michelle would not be first lady, but because of “compassion” and Crazy Cousin John . . . On Super Tuesday 2008, somebody wrote this:

McCain is not a conservative, he will lose in November . . .

And the same person wrote this:

John McCain lost the election Sept. 24 and Barack Obama will be the next president of the United States. Nothing that is likely to happen between now and Nov. 4 can change this outcome.

Really, shouldn’t being right count for something?

But it doesn’t count for . . . well, it doesn’t count for much. Why is this? Because the stupid people who run the GOP (are you listening, John Cornyn?) invariably heed the voices of The Republicans Who Really Matter.

Someone recently called attention to the fact that a certain writer is “enthralled with the leftosphere’s ‘association with academia,'” like Professor Glenn Reynolds is chopped liver and Professor William Jacobson is a side order of fries. Attention was called to this backhanded insult to conservative academic bloggers by the pickle on the lunch plate, Professor Donald Douglas, observing that the bearer of insults “argues like a lefty.” Gee, ya think so?

Some of you might have noticed that there was actual news today, while some of us were distracted by other matters. I’m tired of being distracted. Remind me one of these days to write an essay entitled, “Exhaustion Has Consequences.” Think Small.

BTW, I just had to borrow Ed’s troll-hammer and delete a couple of comments on a thread. Use your own bandwidth, Anonymous. You’ve abused my hospitality once too often. Also, sensei Moe Lane points out that he’s got some practical tips on blogging to offer.

There is a saying revered among the sensei: Thou shalt not suffer a troll to waste thy bandwidth. Few are the sensei, and many are their sayings.

Anything else? Yes. Little Miss Attila. More sensei wisdom: When in doubt, link Little Miss Attila.

UPDATE: Daley Gator is praying for me. TrogloPundit is moved to pity. Trog, you know who you should pity? The Wisconsinian with whom you partied in Minneapolis last August.

When I was driving down to D.C. on Thursday, I was so furious I was ready to dismantle that boy. Fortunately, I restrained my wrath, and he bought me a cup of coffee. Then I spotted a sign next to an elevator that directed me to the office to which your friend should have taken me immediately upon my arrival.

The most valuable qualities in journalism are aggression and resourcefulness. When other reporters are eating your lunch and your sources aren’t answering their phones, you get angry. You are being paid to get the story, and if you aren’t getting the story, you’re cheating your employer out of a paycheck.

Faced with the alternative of becoming a worthless laughingstock, you get in your car and start driving with one idea in mind: Finding that son of a bitch who stands between you and your story.

Well, Trog, on Thursday, your buddy was that son of a bitch. Ask Mrs. Other McCain what kind of mad Celtic fury had gripped my soul when I left the house that afternoon. Ask Rick Moran what sort of bloody imprecations I was shouting into my cell-phone as I blazed down the freeway at 90 mph en route to what, for all I knew at the time, was going to be a fruitless run-around by the son of a bitch who wasn’t returning my calls.

Trust me. I was going to leave Washington with the story, or else I was going to become the story. Maybe the story was going to be my obituary, but . . .

Anyway, when I have to drive 70 miles, pay $9 to park and walk three blocks because you didn’t answer your phone, don’t expect me to be in a pleasant mood when I arrive. And I’m prepared to make that trip again, if necessary.