The Conversation

Frum: Frum-tastic

The troubled culture of the Secret Service

Sep 25, 2014 11:31 AM PT

I've been scratching my head over the degeneration of the Secret Service, which has been in trouble quite a few times in recent years.  Ronald Kessler, a leading critic of the agency (but generally a supporter of the agents) has a critique of what he calls "a troubled culture" at Time:

As reported in my book The First Family Detail, while agents are brave and dedicated, Secret Service management perpetuates a culture that condones laxness and cutting corners. Under pressure from White House political staffs or presidential campaign staffs, Secret Service management tells agents to let people into events without magnetometer or metal detector screening. Assassins concealing grenades or other weapons could theoretically enter an event and easily assassinate the president or a presidential candidate. When it comes to firearms requalification and physical fitness, the Secret Service either doesn’t allow agents time to fulfill the requirements or asks agents to fill out their own test scores.

All this has led to poor morale and a high turnover rate. Tired agents and officers are forced to work long overtime hours, contributing to the sort of inattention that took place when Gonzalez scaled the White House fence. The Secret Service has refused to update its sensors around the White House with the latest technologically advanced devices for detecting intrusions and weapons of mass destruction. Its arrogance extended to leaving the doors to the White House unlocked on the presumption that its personnel could handle any threat.

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Frum vs. Rand Paul

Mar 8, 2013 10:46 AM PT

I knew I'd end up using the "Frum" category sooner or later, even though the default, and proper, response to David Frum is to ignore him until he goes away.  I'm reminded of Iowahawk's rule about captioning every New Yorker cartoon with "I think I'm going to kill myself."  Frum columns are better appreciated if you append "I wish I was relevant" to the end of each paragraph.

But Frum did a pretty good job of capturing the weakness and dishonesty of Rand Paul's critics in the Daily Beast, including plenty of ad hominem sneering and straw-man bashing.  Like most of the anti-Rand crowd, he makes the basic mistake of forgetting who started the fight.  The filibuster only occurred because Attorney General Eric Holder wouldn't give Paul a simple answer to the question Frum thinks is silly.  Doesn't that make Holder the silly one?  Who should be be exasperated with: the Senator who stood for 13 hours on principle, or the Attorney General who couldn't speak coherently for 13 minutes about the extra-judicial assassination of U.S. citizens on American soil?  

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David Frum, Master of Imagineering

Feb 18, 2013 1:56 PM PT

Transmutation-- now why didn't I think of that? Why did alchemists give up on transmutation so easily? Buncha babies. We coulda had Philosopher's Stones out our wazoos by now if alchemists weren't a bunch of quitters.

Be the change in elemental properties, guys.

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Steve Capus Out as President of NBC News

Feb 1, 2013 9:53 AM PT

Steve Capus first showed up on our radar when a misleading edit of a 911 call broadcast on MSNBC portrayed the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman as racially motivated.

The buck has to stop somewhere, and Capus had been the President of NBC News at the time.  But not any more.  Despite signing a long term deal just last year, Capus announced in a memo today that he will be leaving NBC.

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David Frum's photo...

Jan 30, 2013 10:35 AM PT

...has that frisson of naturalness and reality that the covers of college guidebooks have, you know, where there's four people sitting* on the steps of The Quad, all laughing joyously at something just wonderful in a textbook, and the four people are, in order, in every single college guidebook photo, an Asian Girl, a Nonthreatening Black Guy (possibly in a colorful neo-Cosbian sweater), a Hispanic Guy**, and a Somewhat "Alternative" White Guy With a Unicycle Slung Over His Back.


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I think...

Jan 30, 2013 10:28 AM PT might be useful to simply create a new category called "Frum."

Did You Know That David Frum Has Used a Cell Phone?

Jan 30, 2013 10:10 AM PT

Yesterday, I hopped over to CNN/Newsweek/Daily Beast staffer David Frum's twitter feed when I heard that he was spreading the lie that gun rights advocates had heckled the father of a Newtown massacre victim.  Of course, that claim was quickly debunked and several high profile media outlets and personalities posted appropriate corrections. But not David Frum, who doubled down.  

As far as we know, none of the news organizations that employ Frum have a problem with him spreading false information to smear a group of Americans.

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