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A salute-tion

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Pat Culverhouse

Barack Obama apparently knows (or cares) little about etiquette and respect. His haffast salute to U.S. Marines as he exited presidential helicopter Marine One is the pudding proof, and it keeps him tied with Vice President Joe Biden in doing something dumb each day.

In the past, the president has been known to simply walk past the salutes. That is more correct, etiquettely speaking, than a half-hearted, limpy flick of a Styrofoam cup-restricting wrist. Civilians, even presidents, aren’t expected to return salutes unless they are veterans. Many presidents ago, however, it seemed to be in vogue to return the snappy salute, which greeted the CIC.

It is reported that a manual for Marine Corps officer candidates calls the salute “the most important of all military courtesies.” That manual also says the salute may not always be appropriate, especially if a person is carrying articles with both hands, or being otherwise occupied, making a salute impractical.

Not to worry, Your Hineyness. We hear there’s a Code of Conduct change circulating among all branches of the military concerning the salute. The new code addresses the hand position and configuration of its fingers when saluting politicians, the 44th president, former secretaries of state and current attorney generals.

As the corn pones on Hee Haw were proud of saying when offering up special recognition to hometowns of country celebrities across America, “Saaaaluuute!”

By the way. We hear the president was in New York for the kickoff of a United Nations meeting on climate change. Wouldn’t be a bit surprised if the Commander in Chief found the climate changing between he and his military brethren.

He might consider bringing in Big Al (Gore) to make it all better. Two Nobel Peace Prize winners surely can come up with one peaceful solution.

Beating the barrier

Funny, isn’t it, that some barriers intended to prevent people from entering secure areas are nothing more than speed bumps for those determined enough to get where they want to go.

All these years, we’re told the White House is about as secure as it gets. Omar Jose Gonzalez proved that just ain’t so.

Last week, Gonzalez managed to climb a fence which is allegedly under electronic surveillance, sprint across yards and yards of lawn which is allegedly guarded by Secret Service agents, an attack dog and a SWAT team, then open the front doors, which allegedly are locked and guarded but were not, and stroll into the White House where he finally met a real person really intent of stopping him.

All this excitement occurred on the north side of the president’s residence, and the security faux pas has altered the look of that area of the White House grounds. On Monday, we hear the Secret Service installed a second fence along the north side, and about eight feet inside there are now metal barricades.

The same security experts that designed the five rings of safety around the White House that Gonzalez outsmarted
say they’ve created a temporary “buffer zone” that will remain in place while some really smart experts try to determine what happened. Eric Holder reportedly will conduct hearings.

Conspicuously missing from all this is any concern over security around the southern border of the White House grounds. We’re told the reason is simple: our southern borders are secure. Our friends in government guarantee it.

Let’s conclude with a thought for the day: Why look for intelligent life on other planets when the real challenge is to find it here?

Pat Culverhouse is a journalist and political columnist for the Minden Press-Herald. You may contact him at pat@press-herald.com.

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