How Does that Make You Feel, Chertoff?


Radley posted earlier today on Chertoff's very public, non-specific fretting about terrorism:

On Tuesday, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told the editorial board of The Chicago Tribune that he had a "gut feeling" about a new period of increased risk….

"Summertime seems to be appealing to them," Chertoff said in his discussion with the newspaper about terrorists. "We worry that they are rebuilding their activities."

A new study from the current issue of Psychological Science[PDF] titled "Putting Feelings Into Words" sheds some light on what Chertoff is up to. He's got a tough job, you know. Emotions can run high. Maybe he's just trying to reduce his own stress:

"The prefrontal cortex seems to be involved in turning off emotional stuff," [psychologist Matthew D. Lieberman of the University of California, Los Angeles] said. So it puts the brakes on the emergency response alarm sent out by the amygdala, thus reducing stress.

It works, he suggests, "when people are explicitly making sense of their own feelings, usually by putting them into words."

The study found that emotional responses were diminished when subjects were asked to use words to identify feelings. Of course, in Chertoff's case, even if this mild form of talk therapy is helping him, there is the small matter of increasing the stress levels of everyone else in America.

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  1. …Osama sits crooning in his cave,

    and the livin is easy
    Fish are jumpin
    and the cotton is high
    Oh your daddys rich
    and your ma is good lookin
    So hush little baby,
    dont you cry”

  2. We live in the wealthiest, most technologically advanced country on earth. Our government has the most intricate and advanced intelligence gathering capabilities of any nation.

    Yet, the man in charge of our security is going with his gut? WTF?

    Can we please get intelligent people to run our country? How do we get intelligent people to run our country? Can someone tell me?

  3. Hmmm. “Gut” is German for “good”.

  4. “Summertime seems to be appealing to them,” Chertoff said in his discussion with the newspaper about terrorists.

    After all, September 11th may be in the meteorological autumn, but it still feels like summer in your gut. And it still is astronomical summer, you know. Terrorists use astronomical calendars.

    And March 11th? Yes. Well, you feel that summer is just around the corner from March. You know… In like a lion, out like a terrorist strike.

    Oh, October 12th? Well, that was in Yemen. It always feels like summer in Yemen.

    July 7th, though. That was summer! Oh, yes… That was summer. I feel it.

  5. Nothing like doing a little prep work for the next Reichstag fire.

  6. Few seem to recall this news from the end of 2005 in which TomRidge implied that many of the 2004 TerrorAlerts were simply fakes designed to reelect our beloved leader. While the current case could simply be a matter of stupidity, perhaps there’s something else involved.

    Another thing for the crack journos at Reason to ignore: Chertoff and Bush have more or less stated that they aren’t going to do the jobs they swore they would do. Of course, since Reason supports the end results of such GovernmentCorruption, expect them to ignore that story. Details at the link.

  7. Hold on just a gol durn minute. I thought that the Voight-Kampff test was meant to provoke an emotional response. Twenty, thirty, cross-referenced.

  8. I plan to follow URKOBOLD’S? advice, once the lorazepam takes effect.

    It’s also sort of funny to watch Mr. “Gut Feeling” be raked over the coals for leaking hot air.

  9. It does not matter if we have intelligent people “running” the government (Chertoff is intelligent, but he is also an apparatchik.) The problem stems from centralizing the security apparatus (apparati?) of the nation. No wonder Chertoff is using his “gut”, he has no experience or training in l.e., intelligence, or counter/anti-terror activities and yet he is in control of a department that has to operate in these areas. At any point when nationalize or centralize (however one wants to describe it) any type of activity the very top of that new department will eventually have to resort to their “gut”, even if they are intelligent. There is just too much information and too many trends for one entity to effectively “run” the security of the nation/world.


  10. SolitaryNut links his blog as “news”…
    National Enquirer wants to hire him…

  11. Hey “lonewacko”,
    How does the link you provided support your claim about the administration, let alone the Reason staff?

  12. LoneWacko

    PLease go eat a bowl of feces and expire forthwith

  13. I think I get where you’re going, TDL, but at some point or another isn’t “centralization” required to oversee all of the individual organizations? Otherwise you could end up with one department totally screwing up the work of another.

  14. Oh, come on… In this post-immigration reform legislation age, it is nice to see Lonewacko diversifying. Lesser bloggers needing to satisfy the nagging emptiness of having no one to harangue might have turned to drink.

  15. Summertime seems to be appealing to them

    Alternate theory – Northern Hemisphere desert climes are ungodly hot in summer. I know I rile most easily when I’m miserably hot; maximum heat – maximum PO’d.

    Put an air-conditioned dome over the Middle East, end jihad.

  16. Another alternate theory…

    Most terrorist attacks occur during the day. Most terrorists currently feared are Muslims. As seen on TV, most Muslims wear white. White can be worn during the day only between Memorial Day and Labor Day.


  17. Why shouldn’t Chertoff go with his gut? His boss does. Pity his gut didn’t tell him about all the people at the Convention Center.

    My gut is telling me there is something else that happens in the summer, think think… happens to Florida and the Gulf Coast a lot… what could it be…

  18. jimmydageek,
    I was actually insinuating privatizing much of the security and intelligence apparatus. A more deeper, systemic solution would be the process of privatizing the major airports throughout the country. Many private airports that cater to hobby pilots and the very wealthy do not have the security problems that the mass, public airports do. This stems from the private airports ability to innovate and experiment with security protocols as opposed to having a set of solutions promulgated by those far away from the issues that confront those on the ground. The nature of bureaucracy (especially very large ones) is that political appointees end up taking control and they typically do not have the requisite skill sets to deal with issues at hand; these appointees are then overwhelmed with the demands of a job they do not fully grasp and may only have a pop culture understanding of (like the belief that all we need is a Jack Bauer or a James Bond, these characters are myths.) Furthermore, political appointees have a political agenda to further and this often interferes with the mandate of the departments they are in control of.


  19. TDL: I actually provided two links; the one involving Bush/Chertoff not doing their job is at my name’s link, and I should have made that clear.

    As for my contention about Reason ignoring more important issues in order to snark, consider this piece from Dave. It’s great that Reason’s crack journos have a PavlovianNeed to support IllegalImmigration, but Weigel might consider prior-to-the-post incident where TedHayes’ FirstAmendment rights were violated.

    I don’t expect the ACLU to get involved (except on the other side), but in cases like that Reason might consider their priorities.

  20. So Chertie has a bad feeling in his gut. Perhaps he just needs to shit. Maybe his mommy needs to take him to the potty and have him sit there a while and try to go.

    Goddamn freakish totalitarian thug “protecting” a nation of effeminate cowards.

  21. As I said in another thread.

    I have a gut feeling it’s election time.

  22. Less than election time, it’s Bush’s summer of discontent – congress and the GOP are going to be bitching about iraq until sept, and they want to go, “hey! remember, we’re protecting you all from the faceless horde of brown people! be alert!”


    Either get a SpaceBar that functions or PleaseGoFuckYourself

  24. de stijl,

    I can tell you from personal experience that the Voight-Kampff test works. At Urkobold, we proved that highnumber is a replicant. I, for one, was not surprised.

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