Patterico's Pontifications


Shouldn’t Everyone, As a Matter of Principle, Be Subjected to TSA Scan and Grope? (Update: Does it Even Work?)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 7:47 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

As I said before, I am myself ambivalent about the TSA’s new scan or grope procedures, but personally I find this really troubling:

Cabinet secretaries, top congressional leaders and an exclusive group of senior U.S. officials are exempt from toughened new airport screening procedures when they fly commercially with government-approved federal security details.

Aviation security officials would not name those who can skip the controversial screening, but other officials said those VIPs range from top officials like Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and FBI Director Robert Mueller to congressional leaders like incoming House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who avoided security before a recent flight from Washington’s Reagan National Airport.

Now on one level I get it.  Geitner, for instance, had his background checked and re-checked.  All his bad deeds came to light, including some that I think disqualify him for the job of Treasury Secretary, but nothing that makes me think he will suddenly bomb a plane.  And the article explains later that even then it’s not like they are traveling alone, indicating that many of these officials will already have security details with them approved by the TSA, to protect us in the unlikely event that they go suicide bomber on us.

But even with all that, and recognizing on some level it makes sense, it is still wrong.

Our leaders should live with the same laws they put on us.  If I have to put up with some dude touching my junk, so should the President.  So should all of them.  And if the President considers himself above that, then what business does he have telling me I am not?

Although I would make one exception.  Nancy Pelosi should be excused from the scan or grope.  Not for her benefit, but to reduce trauma on the TSA agents and any innocent bystanders who happen to be witnesses.  They do not have enough therapists in the world…

Hat tip: Michelle Malkin.

Update: This gets better and better.  First, to those of you who object that they don’t bother run these scan and grope procedures when you board a train or bus, don’t worry!  They will soon be doing it there, too.

Oh, but hey, at least then you feel safe, knowing that if a terrorist is going to try to blow up his Underoos, he will be caught, right?

Well maybe not.  Consider this line in an this interview with Bruce Schneier in Popular Mechanics:

Q: The machines have shown up in the wake of the so-called underwear bomber, who tried to blow up a plane with chemicals stored in his briefs. Would this technology have stopped him?

A: The guys who make the machines have said, “We wouldn’t have caught that.

Or maybe you could just watch this video with one of the mythbusters guys telling us how he accidentally snuck a twelve inch razor onto a plane.

Let me say that the only way I will consider supporting this scan or grope approach is if and only if it actually fraking works.

Update (II): Minor grammatical correction.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Prejudice Towards (Bristol) Palin (Update: We Have a Winner–Not Bristol)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 1:59 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; send your tips here.]

Update: Bristol Palin said, “Going out there and winning…  would be like a big middle finger to all the people out there who hate my mom and hate me.”  Heh.  But let’s not forget, this is a dance competition.

Update (II): And Bristol was third place, out of the top three.  So hopefully no more televisions will have to die.  And the winner was Jennifer Grey.

I’ve pointed out before how often attacks on Sarah Palin were based on prejudice toward her, writing:

To pre-judge a person is to literally “judge before.”  Before what?  Before it is appropriate, before you have all the facts.  Of course normally we think of prejudice as being based on specific traits.  Racial prejudice is to judge a man by his skin color, rather than getting enough facts to judge him as an individual.  But it can be based on anything.

Take for instance, Sarah Palin.  Liberals have convinced themselves that Palin is a moron.  So when Sarah Palin told a crowd of Tea Partiers that it was too soon to “party like its 1773” liberals freaked out.  OMG, she is so stupid.  Doesn’t she know the American Revolution was in 1776? As well documented by Cuffy Meigs, Markos Moulitsas, Gwen Ifil (who moderated Palin’s debate with Joe Biden) and others mocked her in that fashion.

One guy, Steve Paulo showed enough introspection to wonder “WTF happened in 1773?!”  Well, hey, I was a history major, but I couldn’t rattle off every event of any year, 1773 or otherwise.  But I can google.  As of this moment the first link I get is this.  You only have to page down once to discover that in December of that year was the original Boston Tea Party.  You know, the event that the Tea Party is self-consciously invoking with its very name?  Yeah, that one.

And well, it’s really hard to come up with a better example of the seething, prejudicial hatred felt toward the Palins than this little bit involving Bristol Palin.  It turns out that the WaPo/ABC was so worked up over a dancing show (only slightly less lame than the annual Harvard/Yale football game) that they actually commissioned a poll.  And supposedly the results are devastating:

Fifty-four percent of Americans think Bristol is one of the finalists on “Dancing With the Stars” because of large-scale voting by viewers who support her mother, according to a poll conducted by The Washington Post and ABC News.

Just 14 percent of respondents think Bristol is still in the competition because she is one of this season’s best dancers on the show.

An additional 26 percent responded that they had no opinion on the subject. (The remaining respondents cited either “both” reasons or “neither.”)

Only there is one problem as pointed out by NewsBusters’ Tim Graham: “ABC and the Post did not limit the poll to people who told them they had actually ever watched Palin’s daughter on the program. It was a random sample. So the ‘sampling error’ also has a ‘non-viewing error’ in it.”  Indeed, Neilson estimates that around 23 million people watched the show last night, or around 8% of the American population.  So it seems pretty obvious that the majority of those people telling us that Bristol Palin did not get to the finals even partially based on her abilities have not even watched the performance. They just hear the word Palin and they automatically say whatever is the most negative thing about her.

Meanwhile, Ann Althouse has way too much fun mocking Sally Quinn for her hypocrisy about the supposed cheating going on, in the voting.  Really read it all to watch the woman get a shellacking.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Racism Will Find Elie Mystal, Even When Looking in the Mirror

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 11:25 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; send your tips here.]

Over at Above the Law Elie Mystal (who is a man) recounts a story of racism.  It all revolves around the Annual Harvard/Yale Football game, which has to be one of the stupidest rivalries in college sports.  I mean I was born in central Pennsylvania and lived a good chunk of my life in Texas.  I know something of what real football looks like, and the Harvard/Yale matchup is sort of like going to an illegal dog fight and it turns out to be between a Chihuahua and a poodle.  For my part, I avoided that clusterfrak like the plague, although I did appreciate how some of my classmates had friends at Harvard and wanted a chance to say hello to them.  So they had a game and someone won, but I could give a rat’s behind who, and then afterward a number of black alumni and/or students started gathering at a club called the Cure Lounge and there were claims by bouncers that known local gang bangers were mixing in, and I will let the Harvard Crimson take over from there:

According to the e-mail, the club bouncers reported seeing “local gang-bangers” in the crowd of black students. The club attempted to only allow access to students with Harvard and Yale student IDs, but the organizers insisted since alumni made up a bulk of the attendees, the bouncers should adhere to the guest list. At 10:45 p.m., the management decided to close the club to prevent what management called the “wrong crowd” from entering.

Natalia N. Pearson-Farrer, a second-year Harvard Law School student, said she arrived at the club at 10:30 p.m. to see a crowd of predominantly black Harvard and Yale students and alumni dressed in cocktail attire. By the time she got in, she said she was surprised to see the bouncers had let very few people in, and soon after, the club told patrons it was shutting down because of technical difficulties. After the truth was circulated, though, she said she felt frustrated and embarrassed.

Beal said a lengthy conversation with the club owner led him to believe he was not racist, and this only added to his “consternation around what this event says about race relations in our country.”

So this leads Elie (who is a man) to write a post entitled “Racism Will Find You, Even at the Harvard-Yale Game.”  And to the extent that he is denouncing the attitude of the club owners, I agree that this looks pretty bad for them.  I would like to hear their side of the story, but unless the people speaking out so far are out-and-out lying, I would have to conclude that racism played a role.

But here’s the funny thing about all of this.  You see in the original version of the post, Elie (who is a man) thought that Harvard’s Black Law Student Association had organized the official invitations to the party.  That was since corrected, but in the original version of the post, Elie (who is a man) wrote:

Because if I had gone to The [Harvard-Yale] Game, I probably would have gone to the party hosted by the Harvard’s Black Law Student Association (and other affinity [sic] groups) at a new Boston club called Cure Lounge. And had I gone to that, when the club owners shut down the party essentially because too many black people were gathering in one place, I would have had major objections and been thrown in jail for “being an angry black person in Boston” (or whatever the hell they are calling it these days).

So, Elie what would have drawn you to that party in particular?  Why of course because it was by the Harvard Black Law Student Association.  So what you are telling us, Elie, is that you would have segregated yourself, right?

And why, pray tell, would you do that?  I mean I am all for black people forming organizations in self-defense, even potentially excluding white people, such as civil rights organization.  It’s worth noting that the NAACP itself does not literally exclude white people, but I wouldn’t have a problem with them over that if it did.  But why associate specifically with black people following a mere football game?  Because perhaps you feel more comfortable around black people?

And you are free to feel that way and organize according to that preference, Elie (who is a man) but how exactly is that different from a club owner deciding he doesn’t feel comfortable around black people?

All of which doesn’t excuse the club owner.  But if you wanted to eliminate race based discrimination, Elie you might start by addressing your own behavior.  It’s just a thought.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

National Non-Sabotage Brings Ireland to Its Knees

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 7:56 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

The other day Steve Benen stupidly asserted that the idea of reducing the debt, lowering taxes, cutting spending and reducing the size of government was all part of a deliberate conspiracy to destroy America!

So one should pay no attention to this story of what happens if you don’t “sabotage” your country:

Irish Debt Crisis Forces Collapse of Government

The Irish government faced imminent collapse on Monday, only a day after it signed off on a $100 billion bailout, setting the stage for a new election early next year and injecting the threat of political instability into a European financial crisis that already has markets on edge.

Confronted with high-level defections from his governing coalition, Prime Minister Brian Cowen said he would dissolve the government after passage of the country’s crucial 2011 budget early in December.

His announcement capped a grim day for Ireland, as protesters tried to storm the Parliament building in Dublin, and Moody’s Investors Service, the ratings agency, lowered the rating on Irish debt by several notches.

In agreeing to new elections, Mr. Cowen seemed sure to become the first political casualty of the debt crisis in the 16-member euro zone.

The developments sent a chill through financial markets and political circles in the euro zone, where the severe austerity measures imposed to keep the currency union from fracturing have yet to be tested in general elections.

The impending collapse of the Irish government after an expensive bailout seemed only to reconfirm fears that the financial crisis was far from contained.

So remember, debt is patriotic.  And dissent is treason, of course.  And racist.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Open Thread: Korean Fighting (Updated with Video) (Update: S.K. Leader Threatens Enormous Retaliation)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 5:51 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Update: Ace has video, here.

Update (II): Via Hot Air, we learn the South Korean President is saying that if his country is provoked there will be “enormous retaliation.”

I really don’t have a lot to say about this story, but I did find this article in the AP/NYT a little strange.  The headline says “North Korea Reportedly Fires Artillery Near South[.]”  So that headline suggests 1) we are not sure the shots were fired, and 2) they were not shot into South Korea territory.  And then the very first paragraph completely contradicts this:

North Korea shot dozens of rounds of artillery onto a populated South Korean island near their disputed western border Tuesday, military officials said, setting buildings on fire and prompting South Korea to return fire and scramble fighter jets.

So according to this paragraph, the shots were definitely fired, and in fact did land in South Korean territory.  But to be fair, this might be a “breaking story” and they are justified in changing it on the fly, and thus perhaps the headline is an artifact of an earlier version.

Mind you, the story actually has to be breaking news to justify changing it without issuing a correction.  So that time they changed the article on the Coons/O’Donnell debate without issuing a correction doesn’t count.  They owed us a correction.  But my sense is that this story better qualifies as breaking news.

Anyway, I don’t have a great insight into what is happening beyond that, so I figured I would create an open thread.  Let us know what you think of it all, and if you learn of any breaking developments.

I will note that Glenn Reynolds writes this: “If they start anything, I say nuke ‘em. And not with just a few bombs. They’ve caused enough trouble — and it would be a useful lesson for Iran, too. We can’t afford another Korean war, but hey, we’re already dismantling warheads. . . .”

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

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