Sullied State

The symbol of everything that's wrong with America is its newest hero.
Civil engineer Robert Bea wasn't surprised when he learned the name of the cool-headed pilot who guided his hobbled jetliner over the city and landed it in the Hudson River. The pilot, after all, had been studying crisis management.
Those lives were saved in New York yesterday because a well-trained, highly experienced professional was in the cockpit.
Bea, co-founder of UC Berkeley's Center for Catastrophic Risk Management, said he could think of few pilots as well-situated to bring the plane down safely than Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger III.
It's hard to imagine anyone handling the situation any better.
Sullenberger, 57, of Danville, Calif., is a former fighter pilot who runs a safety consulting firm in addition to flying commercial aircraft. He had been studying the psychology of keeping airline crews functioning even in the face of crisis, Bea said.
Experience, military training, discipline, values... these are the elements that, when mixed with the right DNA, create the Chesley Sullenbergs of the world.
"When a plane is getting ready to crash with a lot of people who trust you, it is a test," he said. "Sulley proved the end of the road for that test. He had studied it, he had rehearsed it, he had taken it to his heart."
In my state of Massachusetts, and in Washington, we have selected chief executives devoid of appropriate experience, seasoning and wisdom. And now our economic plane is in a dangerous tailspin. Do you trust their reactions?
Sullenberger became an instant hero Thursday, earning accolades from those aboard US Airways Flight 1549, from New York's mayor and governor, and from an online fan club.
When Sully put the plane down, his passengers stood on the wings of the plane, appearing to walk on water, as they awaited for rescue. The American people now stand on the wings of our great national aircraft, and there ain't no Chesley Sullenberger at the controls.
A woman who answered the phone at Sullenberger's home in Danville hung up on an Associated Press reporter who asked to speak with the family.