Thursday, July 30, 2015

This is What the TSA Has In Mind For You




Unfortunate timing, to say the least:

If the new head of the Transportation Security Administration gets his way, all airport screeners will be retrained within 60 days to better detect explosives and spot weapons and more passengers will enroll in the agency's expedited security checkpoint program.

And one day travelers will be able to use fingerprints or some other biometric identifiers instead of paper or electronic boarding passes.

Peter Neffenger, who has been on the job as TSA administrator for four weeks, went before the House Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday and said it was a "huge concern" that the agency's officers failed to identify bombs, weapons and other security threats 96 percent of the time during recent undercover testing.

"It greatly disturbs me to know that we had that failure rate at the checkpoint," he said.

The nature of those failures have been carefully studied, Neffenger told the panel, underscoring an immediate need to "train out those failures."

International traveler Stephen Morrissey has a story to tell:

On leaving the US on 27 July I flew from San Francisco International Airport to London on flight BA 284.

At 2:30 in the afternoon I went through the usual airport security procedure including the stand-up 'scanner', and all was well - no bleeps and nothing unusual.

Before I could gather my belongings from the usual array of trays I was approached by an "airport security officer" who stopped me, crouched before me and groped my penis and testicles. He quickly moved away as an older "airport security officer" approached.

The officer who sexually assaulted me was identified as the General Manager On Duty. Luckily I was accompanied by two members of British Airways Special Services, who were horrified at the sexual attack and suggested that I lodge a complaint. I asked if there would be any point in lodging a complaint since, as with any complaint against a figure in "authority", the complaints are simply collected in order to protect the guilty officer should the matter go further. The British Airways Special Services employees assured me that a complaint was worthwhile, and so I filed the appropriate information.

Here's what the TSA is doing wrong--Morrissey is not a threat to you or anyone else. Leave Morrissey alone and focus on the people who are actually breaking the rules.

It's like we're stuck on stupid or something.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Combat Gum




I found this old piece on the New Yorker website:

Hale predicts that combat gum could save the military a hundred million dollars annually. Dental emergencies account for ten per cent of all injuries that cause soldiers to be evacuated from the battlefield (not counting battle itself, of course). There are forty-seven types of dental emergencies, ranging from the mildly uncomfortable (gingivitis, say), moderately painful (pericoronitis), and severe (totally avulsed tooth). When it gets that bad, a soldier might need to be helicoptered into a dental theatre on another continent. The cost of transportation, plus that of the treatment itself, on top of the unit’s lost manpower, adds up to tens of millions of dollars each year. According to Hale, forty per cent of recruits have at least three cavities. “They have developed a decay pattern,” he said. “We diagnose, pull their teeth, and fill them. This is a constant thing for us, because we have tremendous turnover.”

This is the sort of thing that would have automatically prompted me to write a post, had I seen it back in March of 2014. I had occasion to see dentists in the Army, and I can't remember any bad experiences. I even had my wisdom teeth taken out while stationed in San Antonio, Texas. I was regular Army, and I was referred to the Air Force hospital for removal.

It took a week for me to feel normal after that because I had waited until I was about 30 to do the wisdom tooth extractions. I had all four of them out at once. No fun.

What is referenced in the article gets to the heart of a problem for deploying soldiers. We had categories for everyone, and I seem to recall that they ran from Cat I to Cat IV. If you were a one or a two, you could be deployed. That meant that you had seen a dentist and didn't have any issues. If you were a Cat III or IV, you couldn't deploy. Typically that meant that you hadn't been to the dentist in a while or that you had outstanding issues, like root canal work that needed to be done.

I always went to the dentist. It was free and it wasn't that bad. If they can give you a gum that will keep your teeth in your head, sell it to the civilian world and make money. Precious few innovations come to soldiers nowadays. The last big innovation was the Camelback drinking system. Gum that kills bacteria and prevents tooth loss? We should give that to everyone.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Andrea Peyser is Still Insane




Holy crap:

Bill Cosby is a lousy husband and a possible sex addict. But is he a rapist?

I have my doubts.

Is Cosby, 78, so diabolically creepy that he secretly slipped Quaaludes into the mouths of his alleged victims, as even President Obama suggests? Perhaps.

But I’m starting to think that Cosby’s “crimes’’ were not rapes, but high-pressure seductions.

This may be female heresy.

Still, I wonder if some, if not most (or maybe all?), of the dozens of women who claim Cosby attempted or completed sexual assaults against them, dating back as far as the 1960s, swallowed drugs willingly before the encounters.

That kind of contrarian bullshit could only have been written by a crazy person working at the New York Post. In other words, Andrea Peyser. Someone is paying this bag of nuts to write things in public?

In case you missed it, a high-pressure seduction is rape when the man admits to giving the woman drugs to shut down her central nervous system.

Jeeeee-zus.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Prurient Purposes Thwarted




How far does freedom really go?

The man with shoulder-length red hair stood by the sidewalk just north of Island Park Pool. In the muggy heat, he wore gray slacks and a silky, blue, long-sleeve shirt.

From his perch along First Avenue South, the man, who appeared to be in his 20s or 30s, could peer down on swimmers by the pool’s diving boards. He would look around, act like he was smoking and then snap a photo using a camera with a zoom lens.

Jed Felix said he witnessed all this on Monday afternoon. After watching the man surreptitiously take photos for a while, Felix confronted him and asked what he was doing. “He said he was just taking pictures and that he was an artist,” said Felix, 26, of Fargo. “He said it’s completely legal.”

Now, imagine the impending freakout--they're violating his rights.

Well, yes, but no. They've made this an issue of trespassing, which means he went somewhere that he wasn't welcome and he did something specific that violates the use of public property for personal or prurient reasons. This is not the sort of thing that would stand up in every court, but it does make sense when considering the safety of the public.

This is because the man in question, regardless of what he's wearing, is using technology (a camera) to violate the privacy of others. Should they get a search warrant and see what's on the camera? Would a judge sign off on that? Who knows? Your right to be a weirdo is guaranteed up and until the moment when you start taking telephoto lens photos of kids and women (which should be good enough to ban paparazzi, but oh well).

The  kicker in this whole article will appear briefly before your eyes:

One of the comments was from a woman who said she saw the same man taking photos of women in bikinis on Friday in Island Park.

“We watched as he set his camera on his lap and aim it at women in the park and then moments later look through the shots he just took,” she said in a post on her own Facebook site, which included a photo of the alleged photographer, a man with long red hair who looked like the man Felix encountered.

Felix said the man he approached would not tell him his name or show him the photos he’d taken.

“He was very calm during the entire thing like he knew that he was in the right,” Felix said. “He said that until it’s illegal, he’s going to keep doing it.”

Why didn't the man want to show a perfect stranger, a common citizen, what was on his camera? Because he doesn't have to. That's a matter for the courts. Short of that, using trespass laws to keep him out of public places is about the only recourse left to the community, which has rights as well. He's made up his mind to be an asshole. That's his right! Nobody else has to put up with that, though.

Don't be an asshole. You're ruining freedom for everyone else.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Heh, Indeed, Mr. Alinsky




I was hoping to see something of substance when I checked out the crazies at Powerline, and all I saw was a rehash of what most emphatically did not keep America from electing and then re-electing President Barack Hussein Alinsky Benghazi Obama of rural Kenya. Darn the luck.

You can wade through the Saul Alinsky material if you want, but it's just going to give you a headache. Instead of seething nutters gnawing at the insides of their own mouths, we get practiced outrage and guilt by association.

These people are bonkers and there are no more attendants with butterfly nets to chase them down and put them in the padded cells. Such a pity, such wasted lives, but the ads are super!

I don't know how they still live in Minnesota, these crazies from the Powerline blog. Minnesota is booming, it has a liberal governor who refuses to burnish a national profile, and it sits next to the slapdash clapboard monument to conservative policy ideas, Wisconsin. Every time someone compares Minnesota to Wisconsin, you can hear Packers fans howling about how they've won Superbowls and things like that. What you can't hear are people walking out of a Wisconsin unemployment office with anything but fear and a kick in the ass for their troubles.

It must be impossible to contemplate the idea that Saul Alinsky was on to something, and that his minions now govern us, using his thoughts and words and deeds to give people jobs, health care, safety, and unheralded progress in the face of a multi-decade conservative freakout over nothing. 

Wait, were the first three words in that Powerline article really The David Horowitz? And no one thought to hide that fact? Sonofabitch...