Let's not mince words: the guy had enough PETN strapped to his legs to blow the side out of the airplane. (PETN, or the stuff to make it.) The people aboard that plane are lucky the device failed--otherwise they would all be dead.
...my sister would probably still be here right now, instead of comfortably sleeping in her own bed, because you can bet air travel would be shut down. (Or not? More on that in a moment.)
Depending on where the islamic psychopath was sitting on the aircraft, the damage caused by the explosives would have led to rapid instant disintegration of the aircraft: flying at 5,000 feet, descending at a safe speed (which is probably not less than something like 200 MPH), even a moderately-sized hole in the fuselage would have let the wind rip the thing apart; if the psycho were sitting over a major structural component (such as the freakin' wing spar) it would only hasten the speed at which the plane broke up.
80 grams of PETN comes to around 45 cc's, or about 1.5 fluid ounces--less than 1/4 cup--but the stuff is powerful. It's about 167% the strength of TNT, which is itself no slouch as an explosive. And a civilian airplane--even a jet airliner--is a surprisingly fragile machine. They're not designed to withstand armed attack; that's why governments are so keen to keep weapons and explosives off the things in the first place.
The islamo-psycho's bones would have provided shrapnel enough to perforate the thin aluminum skin which comprises the airplane's pressure vessel--though at 5,000 feet there would not be much pressure differential across the skin compared to the load it sees at crusing altitude--and the slipstream would do the rest. In the best possible case, a portion of fuselage would tear away (a la Aloha Airlines Flight 243) without a catastrophic loss of the aircraft--but "best possible case" is never very likely.
The moron in charge of Homeland Security is trying to tell us that the system worked. No! No, it didn't! The system let a terrorist with a bomb aboard an aircraft and HE SET IT OFF! The only thing that saved those people was the incompetence of the guy who build the frickin' bomb!
The ONLY thing!
THE SYSTEM DID NOT WORK!
How the hell stupid does the Obama administration think we are?
...well, they're in power. I guess I see their point.
* * *
Mark Steyn also weighs in on socialized medicine, again, brilliantly.
* * *
Does it come as a surprise to anyone here that states with the highest taxes and biggest impending bankrupcies are hemhorraging people?
When I clicked the link, I thought, "Okay, let me guess...." and sure enough, I was right: California, New York, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio--the order of the states wasn't even remotely surprising, either. Yeah, California's the biggest mess, and NY is #2, and Michigan being #3 sounds right, Illinois--yeah, c'mon, who's surprised by that?
All of these states are Democrat strongholds. This is not a coincidence.
* * *
On shutting down air travel:
...the Obama administration likely would rationalize that "the attack was aboard an flight which originated outside the US." So international travel would probably be shut down for a couple days, but domestic travel would be allowed to continue.
If, that is to say, Obama gave a rat's ass. In this case, apparently he got the call, shrugged it off, and went back to sleep. (Imagine what the press would do to a Republican who did that: "THERE WAS A TERROR ATTACK AND HE WENT BACK TO SLEEP!" But it's Obama, and no one cares.)
Since Obama's Homeland Security douchebag is prattling about how the system worked just fine I can guess there's not going to be a changing of the guard there. I don't know. WTF.
* * *
My holiday was quite pleasant and agreeable.
Mom and I went to the Christmas Eve service at church. Other than a couple of needlessly jazzed-up carols sung by the "worship team", it was an excellent service. (More on that in a moment.)
I feel sorry for my sister: up at 5 AM on Christmas Eve to get to the airport on time, traveling to Chicago, renting a car, driving here...and then having about four hours of down time before she has to get into the Jeep and travel two hours up to my brother's place.
We didn't get home until 3 AM on Christmas Day.
...as it was, though, it kind of worked out, because on Christmas the weather was worse than on Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve it just rained; but it turned cold and the weather got crappy, and I'm so very very glad I didn't have to drive a total of four hours in that slop.
The rain was bad enough; I don't normally have trouble driving in rain but when it's closing on 3 AM and it's that peculiar sort of utter dark that accompanies some storms, where your headlights just disappear into the murk, and you have to pass a semi which is throwing up such an enormous amount of spray that putting the wipers on high speed can't cope with it--blech. There were some white-knuckle moments driving home. At the posted speed limit.
Christmas was mainly light snow, but there was enough of it that none of us felt like going and my brother put the kibosh on his wife and kids driving down here. Mom opined that it was a good thing we'd planned to visit my brother and his family on Christmas Eve, because we sure as hell wouldn't have done it on Christmas Day.
Christmas dinner was delicious. I carved the turkey for the first time in my life, but I didn't do it gladly. Damn it, that's Dad's job, not mine; and his not being here to do it hurt more than I would have expected. *sigh*
The mall in Schererville had a functioning Cinnabon store, so I have had three Cinnabons in the last three days. There's one left.
Then on Saturday, the 26th, it snowed. It pretty much snowed all day. We got in the neighborhod of four or five inches of the stuff, light fluffy powdery snow. Mom, my sister, and I went to visit my aunt and uncle; then ran a couple errands. We'd intended on having Marnell's italian beef sandwiches for dinner, but Marnell's was closed by the time we got there. The Jeep had no trouble with the snow whatsoever.
Today my sister left around noonish, and we got a call this evening informing us that she had arrived in New Orleans safe and sound.
* * *
I've been pounding Butcher's Dresden Files books over the past week or so, though I took a brief break from them for Christmas. Now I'm down to the last one in my possession, the one paperback I haven't read: Small Favor. (There is another one out but only in hardcover.)
* * *
"Excessively jazzed-up carols":
I have never liked this. They take a song and change it, giving it a snappy beat, and it ruins the song. The first song in the service wasn't one I recognized, so it was fine; but the next song was "Come, O Come, Emmanuel" and they flat-out murdered it.
I know the melody of the song well enough to sing it if I have a libretto; but I could not sing along with it they way they did it.
It reminded me, though, of being in elementary school. This kind of thing was really popular back then. (I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that I can't escape it.) I'm guessing that this was done in order to make the old songs more "hip" and "accessible" to a new generation, but in fact the only thing it manages is to strip the song of all solemnity and meaning.
It makes a sort of sense when it's part of a school pageant or something. But not during a worship service; thankfully that was the only classic tune they murdered. I might have walked out otherwise.
Oh, and "Silver Bells" as part of a worship service? Uh, no. No no no. It's a nice tune but it's not about religion.
"Do You Hear What I Hear", sung straight up as part of a worship service? Yes! (That song is one of my favorites. I was glad they included it.)
"Silent Night" by candlelight--you have to take part in it to believe it.
* * *
Mom seems to think I expended a lot of effor this holiday season, and I don't feel that way. I drove for four hours on Thursday, in shitty weather; on Friday I slept and ate. Saturday was more sleeping and reading and eating, with some driving. And Sunday was just sleeping and eating and reading again. I didn't do any long-distance travel; I didn't cook a multi-course dinner from scratch; I didn't deliver any babies (my brother had at least two to take care of).
Still, I'm worn out; and so I'm going back to bed.