WIRING BUNDLES….Andrew Tobias, normally a mild-mannered sort of fellow, is pissed off about the cancellation of thousands of American Airlines flights last week, which was caused more by the usual cynical Republican attitude toward allowing government to work properly than by any genuine safety concern:

Here was the FAA that, like other federal agencies (e.g., the Justice Department, FEMA), had been turned to the service of the Republican Party or cronyism or the industry it was meant to regulate.

And here it was now determined to fix its dereliction — as it surely should — yet “fixing” it in an almost intentionally dumb way. (The term “malicious obedience” may apply: obediently doing what one is “supposed” to in a way designed to make people sorry they ever criticized you in the first place.)

No? The issue behind all those cancellations was not metal fatigue that could suddenly have affected a plane, but a quarter-inch difference in the spacing of fasteners that could surely have been corrected over 90 days, not “instantly.”

The FAA endangered our safety by firing inspectors who wanted the airlines to follow the rules. And now is goes overboard in the other direction. (“You want regulation? I’ll give you regulation!”)

That just about sums it up. There was simply no reason to ground all those planes over a minor problem with the wiring bundles. The only question left — as usual — is: Was it incompetence or malevolence? Stupidity or evil? Your call.

UPDATE: Check out the comments for some disagreement about the importance of fixing the wiring bundles immediately.