On taking full responsibility
Julia Pierson, the director of what's laughably known as the Secret Service, says she takes "full responsibility" for what happened at the White House the other day, when a nutter hopped a fence, opened a door, overpowered a "female guard" (it would be nice to know something about the woman's physique and martial-arts training), and roamed about before he was finally tackled and brought down.
Well, taking full responsibility is a refreshing advance for an official of this administration, but it seems to me that Ms Pierson could best serve her country if she simply wrote a brief, non-exculpatory letter of resignation.
In the great tradition of government employees, from my home town of Durham to the seat of American power, the Secret Service at first blamed -- are you ready? -- the fence! Yes, an armed intruder (okay, it was only a knife, but it might as easily have been an explosive vest) broke into the White House because the fence is forty-nine years old.
Here in Durham, we recently turned our two-lane Main Street into a single lane plus a green bike lane. Within days, the inevitable happened: a biker pedaled happily along the green lane, a parked driver opened his door, and the biker died. Our town administrator explained -- of course! -- that it wasn't his fault, or that of our public works department, because a consultant had advised them on the project. Furthermore, they'd been prevented by budgetary constraints from hiring a more expensive consultant.
Nothing is ever government's fault. Everything is always the taxpayer's fault, for not giving government more money, whether for White House fences or for Durham consultants.