Dateline Chicago, 1871: Fire Chief Declares 'The System Worked!'

Interview with Chicago Fire Chief Alden Brown two days after the Great Chicago Fire:

ALDEN BROWN: One thing I'd like to point out is that the system worked. Everybody played an important role here: the local citizens took appropriate action.  Within literally an hour to 90 minutes of the incident occurring, all 128 towns and villages in the Chicago area had been notified to take some special measures in light of what had occurred in Chicago.  We instituted new measures on the ground, both in central Chicago and at Mrs. O'Leary's barn, where the fire originated. So the whole process of making sure that we respond properly, correctly and effectively went very smoothly . . . We have no suggestion that Mrs. O'Leary's cow was improperly inspected, but we want to go through and see.

REPORTER: But if Mrs. O'Leary's cow was properly inspected and yet she started the fire anyway, it doesn't feel that safe.

BROWN: Well, it should.  This was one cow of literally thousands of cows in Chicago.  And she was stopped before any more damage could be done.
OK, to be entirely accurate, that was not a statement by the Chicago Fire Chief of 1871. It was a very close paraphrasing of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's interview with Candy Crowley on CNN's State of the Union this morning [see video]. [H/t Jonah Goldberg and Real Clear Politics.]

Now it's true that in contrast with the Chicago Fire, no one died on NWA Flight 253.  But that was surely no thanks to Napolitano or her Homeland Security Department's handling the matter "properly, correctly and effectively."   As to Napolitano's notion that Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab was properly screened even though he was apparently permitted to board with enough explosive to bring down a plane and kill everyone on board . . . It would be laughable were it not so sickening.

To quote Jonah Goldberg: "Fire Napolitano."  Will the MSM pick up the beat?
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.