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Thursday, November 18, 2010

About that airport peep-or-grope

The new U.S. airport security procedures -- whereby travelers get either an intrusive manual probing or X-rays that essentially give the security guards the subject's naked photo -- are sure provoking a lot of discussion. Here's one interesting suggestion; here's another.

We're not sure what all the sudden controversy is about. Issues of this kind are not new:

Comments (28)

Aww, he didn't get a "love pat"... poor guy.

But it could have been a deadly Cuke Nuke.

Goes to 11?

I'm hoping for a wave of freakouts in which the disgruntled traveler strips naked in front of everyone and makes a big scene....

There is an upside. (And a backside, and a frontside, and an underside, you get my drift).

But back to the upside. This will be a real wake-up call to those carrying a lot of extra extra extra poundage. The thought of a stranger poring over images of overflowing love-handles has a lot of power in the motivating department. In fact, airline travel has already been changing things, as the seats have become narrower, the passengers have become thinner. At least that's been my observation.

So....a new minimum requirement to fly on an airplane...when a person can parade around naked and not make people shriek, gag, cover their eyes, leave the house, etc, they'll fly again. This will require quite an investment of time in the exercise department....

Or, you could take the old Chinese philosopher's advice. Sitting at a window at home is just as powerful a way to see the world as going out in it.

Perhaps it is the fact that I suffer (?) from a complete lack of personal modesty [despite a Catholic upbringing] but I couldn't care less if they pat me or x ray me. I find all the sturm und drang over this to be pretty excessive.

All of this made me wonder if the TSA has jurisdiction over the spaceport Richard Branson built in New Mexico. I have this image of the TSA inspector contingent consisting of Daleks, all screaming "You will squeal like a pig! Squeal! SQUEAL!"

Happened to me last weekend. Not that big a deal, although I felt like I was being arrested for a moment - "stand over here, hands over your head". I would worry about the radiation exposure if I were a frequent traveler. I guess I am not that invested in my physique, and it's not one that is especially pleasant to look at, but it's no worse than the group locker rooms of school days and less intrusive than the annual check up.

Seems to me that most of the complaints about this new intrusion into our lives are missing an important point. To me, it's the passiveness-training that Americans are unwittingly undergoing that is the most frightening part of this process the TSA has been developing over the past few years.

Doesn't anyone think of Schindler's List when they see the videos of people being scanned, prodded, groped and patted? Doesn't the stunned patience the rounded-up victims exhibited as they obediently stood in whatever line they were assigned to after they got off the trains look like those airport videos?

Those earlier victims had been prepared. Authorities had promised them "safety" from the brown-shirted gangs that were smashing windows and terrorizing them in their neighborhoods.

They had been put into smaller and smaller areas of cities, deprived of food, crowded into smaller and smaller apartments. Many died before they even got on the trains, whose tracks had been laid right to the edge of those special neighborhoods. Today, people ask, "Why didn't they resist?"

And I ask, "Why don't airport passengers resist now?" Oh, right. They think this will make them safe.

I will try to contain myself from the outrage when I read your comment as we are all entitled to our opinion.
This is so much more than just a personal modesty issue. If that is all you see here, I weep for all of those who gave their lives for our country, for our freedom and liberty.

When they violated unreasonable search and seizure protections for who they accused without evidence of being terrorists, then objections seemed excessive to you since you weren't a terrorist.

When they outcast the obese and foreign-speaking, then objections seemed excessive to you since you weren't obese or a foreign tourist.

When they molested children and rough-handled infants, then objections seemed excessive to you since you weren't a child or infant.

When they incarcerated incommunicado selected activists and dissenters, denied appearance to face their accusers, and sealed public records as classified Top Secret, then objections seemed excessive to you since you weren't of a mind for brokering political power and hardly think to accuse any of it.

When they opened mail, wiretapped all phones, red-flagged key-worded email and hacked bloggers and seized servers, then objections seemed excessive to you since you weren't pen-palling, phone-calling, composing emails or maintaining a blog assembly. (psst!, apropos of this, Homeland Insecurity announced today that social networking -- such as tweeting and friending, is a threatening danger of revealing secret locations of troops and security mercenaries and mall rent-a-cops stationed throughout all 50 States and (if you peek through the blinds to see) right next door on your neighbor's front porch, the one with the surveillance cam pointed back at you.)

When they radar-detected vehicle speed, and red-light camera'ed moving violations, and checkpoint barricaded and inspected freedom of travel, then objections seemed excessive to you since you were not speeding, not violating or intoxicated, not texting or cell-phoning while driving, and not with urgency or contraband in your travel.

When they corrrupted and kangarooed courts of Justice with cronys, partisans, and frauds, then emphatic objections seemed fair to make but no judge would give a hearing and disbarred whoever filed one.

Getting along going along without having to stand up and be counted -- holding on principle -- is so much easier simply by not holding any.

JoWriter.. you are spot on. Bin Laden won. Not that anyone is so fearful of terrorism, but if you are gonna ride the plane, you gotta play the game.
That game must cost billions daily. Some of it justified, some of it pure theater. The body scan/grope fits in the latter category. Israel has been a 'terrorist target' for decades, but they don't make you strip at the counter, remove your shoes and stand in line to get groped.
They TALK to you.. who are you and where are you going? stuff like that.
We either have been sold, or forced to accept a technological 'solution' to a human problem.
I have flown my last flight.

Flying Pasties for those who do not want to be flying patsies!

Grumpy ol Joe,

You raise an excellent point about Israel. At the risk of going on and on, various branches of my family were in concentration camps, some died. we visited the camp in Czechoslovakia last summer, horrible, horrible...

From the ashes of a ghastly reality, the group of people known as the Jews established a state, a not-to-be-trifled-with sort of state, organized, militant, patriotic, slightly on the obsessed side, for obvious reasons.

Unfortunately, the real estate involved/donated/allowed for the project of securing a state for Jews, has some pretty severe religious baggage, called Islam, which just so happens to have a lot of anti-Jewish homicidal screeds in its holy books. Surprise!

Many wars later, Israel has mastered the art of security, after a fashion, but yet, somehow, the world has a lot of criticism of its tactics. Not because the rest of the world has any underlying mistrust or problem with Jews, you understand. Just sympathy for the downtrodden, of course.

How does this all relate to airline security? Well, our constitution puts individual liberties before national security, while Israelis, because of their agonizing history, understand that security is a PRECONDITION for freedom.

I dearly hope that Americans start to understand that the government's role in the preservation of individual freedom lies in taking national security seriously, which means dumping these stupid scanners, and taking a page out of Israel's book, at airports, at least.

What Gaye said.

Don't invent something that already exists, just steal it and make it better (see Japanese cars, MSFT software, anything created by Jobs). Thus, we should steal the best that Israel does and then make it even better. Hint: the definition of "make it even better" is make it more secure, not more politically correct.

Tenskwatawa -- I think we might actually be on the same side on this one. I'm willing let that little matter in Indiana with you and your brother and myself sit by the wayside. Lets shake hands for now and bring out the calumet.

Well, all three religious beliefs have some insane homicidal screeds in their history, Jews, Jericho, Christianity well, which one should I point to? And so on. The same, cruel,dark and hateful place that exists in the human heart, giving rise to these atrocities,exists in the whole of the human race.

Jesus told the answer in the two great commandments; Love thy God and love thy neighbor as thyself.

So far as that second commandment, we haven't learned to love ourselves yet. We allow hate to dam the river of love, and when love does break through, why we just build the dam a little higher.

Love thy neighbor as thyself. I submit we do. The fix? Tear down that wall!

To solve the airport security problems, we need to solve the "root cause." The root cause is that we have stumbled into a war with some Muslim terrorists. Why are we in that war? I can't think of any reason that is worth it. We should get out of the Middlle East and our wars there. Let those people solve their own problems. There is nothing there worth American lives. Then we can go back to almost no airport security.

Not any more, Joel. The die is cast. And it's got nothing to do with security, yet everything to do with security.

Lawrence hudetz,

The new testament contains no homicidal screeds, correct me if I'm wrong, and please cite the page number.

The rare homicidal screeds in the old testament are embedded in historical context, as in, "if they don't comply, go kill the canaanites, the whachamites, the bedmites, etc, that are currently our enemies."

Koranic verses that incite to violence are many, (109, to be exact), and are open-ended, with no specific long-forgetten tribe targeted. Except the "disbelievers",(ie Christians and Jews, noone had heard of Buddha or Vishnu on the Arabian peninsula in 667, or whenever), atheists and idolators.

And the picture painted of how to handle the disbelievers, etc, is a living invitation to atrocity. Have fun reading about it, I'm sure you are just aching to dive in to that whole mess of angry flesh wounds.

Joshua Chapter 6, verse 21.

"And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword."

From the King James Version

Counts as an atrocity to me, but then, I wasn't there, nor in Iran or even at the Christian atrocities like the Inquisition.

Maybe it's all wrong, and only valid as allegory. But at least Jesus' message is the simplest, the most profound...and the most ignored.

The video is funny yet it shows reality. The airport security measures have become intrusive especially with the plan to use X-ray scanners to ensure that suicide bombers won't be able to get into a plane and kill passengers. But this would be expensive and risky to the travelers' health.

Starbuck said it well, to which I would add that we at least need an even playing field when readings are subject to interpretation.

What is historical about Islam vs the Koran?

The Joshua stuff was an ACCOUNT of some fable in the old testament.

Accounts, stories of violence are not quite the same as direct exhortations to commit violence. One can argue, of course, that all religious fundamentalism (and related atrocity writing) predisposes to violence because all religions are potential weapons of political control, and a lot of people who take all that stuff too seriously, well, they're touched, period.

So when the Catholic guy with the creepy shine to his eyes, tasked with running the auto da fe in sixteenth century Spain read about gory stuff in his holy book, well, it didn't portend well for his victims.

Still, I have yet to find any DIRECT exhortations in the old testament, and the new testament seems totally benign.

Contrast with:

Quran (8:12) - "I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them"

Quran (8:59-60) - "And let not those who disbelieve suppose that they can outstrip (Allah's Purpose). Lo! they cannot escape. Make ready for them all thou canst of (armed) force and of horses tethered, that thereby ye may dismay the enemy of Allah and your enemy."

And here's the killer verse, in the context of all modern day terrorism, religious or otherwise;

Quran (8:57) - "If thou comest on them in the war, deal with them so as to strike fear in those who are behind them, that haply they may remember."


Who is the "I" in Quran (8-12)

Haply: by chance, luck, or accident.

Just so some don't make the mistake of thinking it's happily misspelled!

Striking fear to those behind them is implicit in the story of the flight from Egypt, or the taking of the first born male (horrible! I am the fist born male in my family)

Where can I find an authoritative recitation of what in the bible (OT) is fable, and what is not? Is the Song of Songs a fable? The columns of smoke and fire? Parting of the Red Sea? What is the basis? In Catholicism, it's called "ex cathedra" (infallibility) something that does not give me any comfort as to the validity of the edict.

Then there is the language problem as well as the context of the times in which stories and parables are cast.

The bottom line to all this is the molding of the ordinary individual into a pliable entity, told to do this, don't argue. I even get this retort in technical discussions ostensibly open to criticism and driven by skepticism, as all science is.


"felicitously; aptly; appropriately...."

"used to express the possibility or hope that something is or will be the case
( archaic)".

I always thought it meant "easily". I guess it probably means "hopefully', in this context. Even worse.

Regarding the "I" question, who on earth knows. Mohammed convinced people that he received all the words of the Koran directly communicated to him by God. All sorts of amusing things happened in relation to the revelations claim.

The best story is about the revelation regarding adoption. The story goes that the prophet had a married adopted son. One day Mo accidentally walked into the son's house and saw his daughter-in-law in flagrante delicto, or in any event, nude. There took place a flying of sparks and some days later Mo's son offered his wife to his Dad for him to marry because, you know, Dad was such a straight-up guy with a direct line to God, etc. But there was a big problem with going forward with such an idea, because it was strictly taboo on the Arabian peninsula at that time for a man to marry his son's wife/ves.

What did Mo do? He went to his favorite place to receive revelations and God told him that no true believer should ever adopt a child. Tada! He could (and did) marry the girl, because the adoption bond was thenceforth dissolved by divine revelation.

Which is why, today, there are is no formal tradition of adoption in the Muslim world.

Hey, you asked.

Interesting story!

History is rife with stories about revelations from God. Utah is the home of one that has big following. Neale Donald Walsch wrote "Conversations with God" to which I respond I have an equivalent book, but I would call it "Conversations with my Inner Voice" which is about as close to God as I can seem to get! Yet, every single word I can say is wrong, because it is limiting. If I say God is this than God cannot be that and so on.

So the book shall remain unwritten. (Big sigh of relief from the dear readers here)

Your definition of haply doesn't agree with mine. I googled it and the first several posts, comes down to "chance" whereas "felicitously" means admirably suited.

Oh well, haply is a rather old word.

I would enjoy (and learn from) conversations like this. Maybe a conversation salon which examines the subject without flamethrowers on hand! (I'll leave mine home!)

Google "haply definition" as your search term (without quotes), and the expanded list of meanings comes up.

I think that as long as Jack runs his blog, there is a salon of sorts going in Portland, and he keeps his flamethrowers in line...

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