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Author Topic: Do I have the right to refuse this search?
philnotfil
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hlswatch
Fascinating article by a former police officer (24 years of service, retired as assistant chief of police Montgomery County, Maryland)

You really have to read the whole thing, I can't quote enough to give you a meaningful idea of what the article has to say without just pasting the article.

Some highlights:
TSA doesn't randomly screen at random.(they randomly screen people who look like they will comply)
TSA uses technology that doesn't work.
TSA doesn't have procedures set up to guide employees. (or supervisors)
TSA doesn't conduct effective searches.
TSA employees don't get proper training.
The importance of data collection.
The lack of data collection by TSA.
The significant issues that TSA can't do anything about because they aren't collecting the data.

The conclusion:
quote:
I believe what we have here is the beginning of the end of complacency. It is now apparent to me that in the haste to ensure compliance with procedures that are inconsistent if not inarticulable, TSA has hastened the likelihood of failure. If we do not insist that TSA work to create articulable policies that make sense, procedures that are explicit and consistent and training that supports both, then we are complicit in what will inevitably be an ultimate compromise of TSA.

That compromise may come in the form of terrorist attack, or it may come in the form of a collapse of public support. Either or both are inevitable. Either or both are preventable.

Aside from the interesting information the article provided, I also enjoyed the tone and writing style of the author. Very accessible without being dumb. Lot's of information without being dry.

[ December 17, 2009, 05:34 PM: Message edited by: philnotfil ]

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Daruma28
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TSA's sole purpose is to get the masses used to totalitarian police state procedures.

Show your paperwork.
Submit to an invasion of your personal privacy.
Submit to intrusive mechanical examination.
Do as your told.
Keep your mouth shut.
Don't even JOKE about certain things.

Keep your B-A-A-A-ing down to a minimum.

Move along Sheeple. [Exploding]

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Funean
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QFT:

quote:
You simply cannot solve problems that you do not want to identify.
and I would include "or cannot articulate."

Any procedure that is both routine, without clear objectives and parameters, and left to the discretion of underpaid, undertrained entry-level workers will quickly become corrupted and worthless.

This phenomenon alone will go a long way in preventing effective totalitarian police procedures. And nowhere in preventing actual terrorists from getting on planes. Sigh. More window-dressing from HLS.

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Dave at Work
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Interesting article.

I haven't traveled by air very much since 9-11 because of the problems with the "random extra screening" they did back then. I used to fly to Richmond and Huston to visit family but now I drive because it seemed that I was always singled out for the random extra screening. On 4 different trips following 9-11 I was pulled aside for the random extra screening on 3 of them. And I don't just mean once. It was at the security checkpoint and again as I boarded each leg of my flight in both directions for 3 out of 4 trips that I took over the first 2 years following 9-11. On the second of those trips I noticed that another passenger was also singled out in a similar way. We compared notes and found that there was a discrete code on both of our boarding passes and when we checked with a few other passengers who hadn't been singled out for the random extra screening they had nothing at that location on their boarding pass. The next trip I was not singled out and the boarding pass had nothing in that location. The on my 4th flight after 9-11 I saw that my boarding pass was marked in the same way, and sure enough I was randomly selected for extra screening. For the next 5 or 6 years I drove cross country to visit family rather that subject myself to that crap. I've flown a few times in the last couple of years and haven't been "selected" for extra screening, so they have apparently changed their methodology at some point.

At first I thought that maybe my name was similar to someone on the do not fly list, but I have the 7th most common first name and the 54th most common last name in America. I thought about appearance, but I am of just below average height and was slightly overweight at the time and my personal grooming and appearance were maddeningly centered in socially accepted norms at the time except for the close cropped haircut that I maintained the same way I had in the Marine Corps.
I think that back then then were so desperate to avoid the image of profiling that they let a computer do the picking and mark the boarding passes of the selected.

Sorry about the rant, the subject just causes me to want to vent.

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JWatts
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TSA was setup to guarantee a lot more Federal employees.

Personally, I've been waved through security when two TSA guards were chatting about TV and subjected to full pat down searches when I've left my belt buckle on. Though generally, they just let you take it off. The procedures are inconsistent at best.

The last trip I took with my Grandfather, we we're accompanied by his 86 year old girl friend. She has a metal-hip. So obviously they made her wait 10 minutes for an extra agent, who then did a full 3 minute pat down, wanded her, inspected her shoes and her luggage. While this was on-going someone else also tripped the scanner, but the agent was busy checking out Grandma Terrorist, so he was given a 30 second wanding and waved through.

The original Bush plan was to use private contractors to upgrade airport security. Private contractors can be fired and are aware of this. They have a vested interest in good customer relations and at least looking like they're doing their job.

Instead, the top Democrats in Congress decided not to miss an opportunity to expand the Federal payroll. Voila. We have a huge expansion of unionized Federal employees that can very rarely be fired, don't care about their customers and can use draconian force to get their way. Bullying seems to be the standard mode of operation. However, they are assumably, reliable democratic votes

The whole program should be abolished. It's just one step away from the NKVD.

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TommySama
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Heavy duty locks on the cockpit. Dogs trained to smell explosives.

Can someone explain to me why this is not enough?

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PSRT
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Because almost anything can be an explosive in the hands of people who know how to use it?
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TommySama
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Like what? Dogs can smell pretty good
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PSRT
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They can. The point isn't that they can't smell things, but that they'd be stopping almost everyone in the airport.
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Greg Davidson
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quote:
Private contractors can be fired and are aware of this. They have a vested interest in good customer relations and at least looking like they're doing their job.
That's why you always get good customer service whenever you call the 800 number of any private company...
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FiredrakeRAGE
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Have you been to the DMV?
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threads
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I honestly wouldn't mind having less security in general. One of the nice things about our train system is that there is almost no security whatsoever. If I want to catch a train then I can plan to arrive 5-10 minutes ahead of time whereas if I want to catch a plane I have to plan to arrive over an hour ahead of time (for large airports). It would be interesting to see an economic calculation of how much money we lose by spending extra time in airports.

On the other hand, an attack on our train system would be easy to pull off and could cause a lot of destruction if executed on, say, certain parts of the northeast corridor. Unfortunately, implementing airport-like security on the train system would probably not be an effective way to curb that risk as airport security is easily foiled (as demonstrated through repeated undercover security tests).

Semi-random question: Is it possible to bomb-proof the cargo hold of an airplane? I suspect that the cost would be prohibitively high but a bomb-proof cargo hold+secured cabin door should provide a high level of security. It would be nice if security were integrated into the design of our mass transit vehicles rather than tacked on as a filter as it is now. We could potentially eliminate security lines altogether.

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Greg Davidson
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FiredrakeRAGE,

Have you ever called your cable company for customer support?

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Viking_Longship
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threads

Trains are also vulnerable to bombs on the tracks, which happened here a couple months ago.

I saw an old indian (dots not feathers) getting patted down in DC. Really dangerous looking terrorist. She was dressed in tradtional Indian clothing which both meant she looked foriegn, but also that she was showing way too much skin to be a fundamentalist muslim.

Such good PR for our country.

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jasonr
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quote:
The next trip I was not singled out and the boarding pass had nothing in that location. The on my 4th flight after 9-11 I saw that my boarding pass was marked in the same way, and sure enough I was randomly selected for extra screening. For the next 5 or 6 years I drove cross country to visit family rather that subject myself to that crap. I've flown a few times in the last couple of years and haven't been "selected" for extra screening, so they have apparently changed their methodology at some point.
That's pretty disturbing that they'd rely on such an obvious and easily beaten system. If the terrorists figure out the game (and I'm sure they have) then this kind of system is not only ineffective at preventing an attack, but makes one even easier to pull off.
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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by TommySama:
Heavy duty locks on the cockpit. Dogs trained to smell explosives.

Can someone explain to me why this is not enough?

I'd also make sure the doors are stout enough to be kick-proof.
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Dave at Work
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quote:
That's pretty disturbing that they'd rely on such an obvious and easily beaten system. If the terrorists figure out the game (and I'm sure they have) then this kind of system is not only ineffective at preventing an attack, but makes one even easier to pull off.
I agree, but I don't think they still use that system. I think they needed a way to randomly choose people for extra screening that would avoid the biases of individuals in making the choices.

As I think back, the time frame that I took those flights in was Thanksgiving 2001 through Christmas 2002, rather than over a two year period like I stated in my earlier post. I flew a few times in 2007 and 2008 and saw no signs that such a system was still in use. I suspect that they have at least changed the methods used, though the blog post linked in the first post suggests that they haven't actually changed their underlying thought processes much, just how they apply them.

I remember that there was a lot of talk of profiling in the screening procedures that sprang up immediately after 9-11. I also remember all the National Guard soldiers patrolling the airport concourses in Chicago, Richmond and Huston with loaded M-16's back then. The government was desperate to calm the traveling public and at the same time trying to avoid giving the impression that they were singling out people by ethnicity. I can certainly understand a short period of security theater while they try to get their act together, but I question whether they ever got their act together at all.

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The Drake
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quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
I'd also make sure the doors are stout enough to be kick-proof.

Surely you're not suggesting that we can build doors strong enough to withstand a Chuck Norris kick?
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by jasonr:
That's pretty disturbing that they'd rely on such an obvious and easily beaten system. If the terrorists figure out the game (and I'm sure they have) then this kind of system is not only ineffective at preventing an attack, but makes one even easier to pull off.

You'd be right, if this was any serious attempt to filter out terrorists. But since this is more about giving the appearance of doing something to give people confidence that something is being done, it's not such a big deal.

Really, if there was anything that actually needed to be changed, it would pretty much all have been tweaks that were behind the scenes rather than such flashy and generally useless methods.

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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by The Drake:
quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
I'd also make sure the doors are stout enough to be kick-proof.

Surely you're not suggesting that we can build doors strong enough to withstand a Chuck Norris kick?
Maybe we could settle for kick-resistant?
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vulture
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quote:
Originally posted by The Drake:
quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:
I'd also make sure the doors are stout enough to be kick-proof.

Surely you're not suggesting that we can build doors strong enough to withstand a Chuck Norris kick?
Why on earth would you need a door that strong? Chuck Norris is a good guy - no plane hijacker he. If he was on a plane, it would be safe even if it didn't have a cockpit door at all.

I feel dirty now for having colluded in a Chuck Norris joke.

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scifibum
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If Chuck Norris hijacked a plane, he'd steer it by kicking the wings directly.
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TommySama
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"Why on earth would you need a door that strong? Chuck Norris is a good guy - no plane hijacker he. If he was on a plane, it would be safe even if it didn't have a cockpit door at all."

I donno, he's pretty pissed at America right now. He said that Congress "Put a knife through the abdomen of unborn fetuses this year."

(Not a joke, actually said it).


Chuck Norris couldn't even fit inside a cockpit.


(That was a joke).

[ December 19, 2009, 04:22 PM: Message edited by: TommySama ]

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G2
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I fly a lot. In fact, just finished a 6 day 5 city run yesterday. I logged well over 100,000 miles this year and have dealt with the TSA quite a bit. Saying they're amateurish is a compliment. They're downright cartoonish. O'hare in particular makes me laugh every time I go through; more than once I thought the TSA agents were actually putting me on with some skit they devised. I went through Tampa (mentioned in the article) no less than 8 times this year and never once did I even notice "puffer machine" - they must have them in storage closets somewhere.
quote:
I am routinely screened because I look like someone who will readily comply.
And there's why most people are selected for extra screening. I have seen mother screened while their pre-elementary children wait alone on the other side of the screening area. I have seen little old ladies stutter in confusion during their pat down. I rarely get extra screening because I look like I won't appreciate the inconvenience. The one time I got picked to have my luggage opened, it truly was a comedy skit as I made comments, laughed and rolled my eyes at the agent. Not one attempt to do that since then.

It's all bull**** and everyone knows it and once enough people decide to stop complying with the security theater it's going to get pretty unpleasant for those front line screeners.

Next time you're in an airport, check out how many of them are there! Holy crap. It looks like they're going for a 1-1 agent/passenger ratio. If it comes down to these buffoons keeping us safe in the air, we are royally screwed.

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G2
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It's related so let's talk about it here rather than start a new thread. By now we've all heard about the Christmas day attempt to bring down the Northwest flight 253 - it almost worked, only a malfunctioning detonator prevented it. On Dec 27th:
quote:
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Sunday that the thwarting of the attempt to blow up an Amsterdam-Detroit airline flight Christmas Day demonstrated that “the system worked.”

Asked by CNN’s Candy Crowley on “State of the Union” how that could be possible when the young Nigerian who has been charged with trying to set off the bomb was able to smuggle explosive liquid onto the jet, Napolitano responded: “We’re asking the same questions.”

Napolitano added that there was “no suggestion that [the suspect] was improperly screened.”

So Janet, our Big Sister, says the guy was properly screened and everything worked as planned. A crappy detonator it seems was part of the plan according to Janet. I don't know what's worse, she tries such mindless bull**** on us or that she may actually believe it herself. But, with another 24 hours to think about just how insanely stupid that comment was, Janet tries again:
quote:
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano conceded Monday that the aviation security system failed when a young man on a watchlist with a U.S. visa in his pocket and a powerful explosive hidden on his body was allowed to board a fight from Amsterdam to Detroit.
Gee Janet, ya think? One year into the Obama administration and it's still amateur hour every day. Here's the new plan:
quote:
Among other steps being imposed, passengers on international flights coming to the United States will apparently have to remain in their seats for the last hour of a flight without any personal items on their laps. Overseas passengers will be restricted to only one carry-on item aboard the plane, and domestic passengers will probably face longer security lines.
OMG, that's so freaking brilliant! [Roll Eyes] Just when G2 thought they couldn't get any dumber. This new reactionary measure would have done nothing to prevent the most recent attempt. Janet's and Barry O's plan is still to rely on faulty detonators. Maybe sometime within the next day or two someone will pull Barry O and Janet aside and explain this thing to them using small words even they can understand.
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threads
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The TSA has been mind-bogglingly incompetent for longer than Obama's been in office.

The Things He Carried

I agree wholeheartedly with Schneier's view:
quote:
Schneier and I walked to the security checkpoint. "Counterterrorism in the airport is a show designed to make people feel better," he said. "Only two things have made flying safer: the reinforcement of cockpit doors, and the fact that passengers know now to resist hijackers." This assumes, of course, that al-Qaeda will target airplanes for hijacking, or target aviation at all. "We defend against what the terrorists did last week," Schneier said. He believes that the country would be just as safe as it is today if airport security were rolled back to pre-9/11 levels. "Spend the rest of your money on intelligence, investigations, and emergency response."
I think our money would be better spent on trying to secure our aircraft rather than trying to sanitize each and every person and item that makes it on to an aircraft. Security-wise (ideally), this would lead to more security as the security of an aircraft would be mostly independent of the passengers. Money-wise, a secure aircraft requires less comprehensive preflight screening. This would be good for the economy as people would need to spend less time waiting around in airports.
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kenmeer livermaile
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It's mostly a waste of money, period. We still lose more than a 911's worth in traffic fatalities annually.

We are easily motivated to address what seems urgent rather than necessary.

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threads
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While this wouldn't be a large issue in the first place if the average American were better at judging risks, I think that, given people's tendencies to respond absurdly to threat of terrorism, it is worthwhile to spend our time enhancing security.
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cherrypoptart
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Here's a terrible idea. I mean it's really, really bad. I shouldn't even bring it up. It's not even funny. Seriously.

But if we're talking about anti-terrorism shows just to make people feel better, I'm just going to throw this out there as something that would never, ever be a good idea, like the guy at the brainstorming session that always gets the eye roll.

Muslim-free flights.

That's all.

Again, this is something that should never even be considered. I hope I don't get a fatwah on my head.

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TommySama
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An even better place to start would be to not let known terrorists get on airplanes. But what do I know, I'm not in the intelligence community.
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Dave at Work
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That is what they are trying to do with the no-fly lists TommySama. The idea sounds great, but apparently the execution of the idea results in problems.

For example:

* Names not on the list that should be there. Poor communication between intelligence agencies?

* Common names on the list that mean lots of non-terrorists get flagged. Anyone ever heard of using a white-list?

* Once a name is on the list it never ever comes off even if later evidence removes the individual in question as a suspected terrorist. The headaches for those affected by the false positive matches will never go away.

I like the idea of preventing known/suspected terrorists from air travel, but they need to fix the execution of it. The current execution of the system clearly does not work

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Greg Davidson
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Why don't we hold the head of TSA accountable for this? Oh yeah, there isn't a head of TSA. Republicans are still blocking his appointment over the fear that he might allow TSA workers to unionize.
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Aris Katsaris
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Cherry, I might think you really disagreed with what you suggested, if it wasn't your modus operandi to constantly not mean what you say, and never say what you mean.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
Why don't we hold the head of TSA accountable for this? Oh yeah, there isn't a head of TSA. Republicans are still blocking his appointment

Really you could have stopped there. The unionization issue may as well have been pulled out of a hat. They're blocking for the sake of bogging down the process and trying to undermine the administration.

They filibustered a bill that passed with 97 voted in its favor, just for the sake of dragging out the process. This is all about obstruction and little more.

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cherrypoptart
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> Aris Katsaris

> Cherry, I might think you really disagreed with what you suggested, if it wasn't your modus operandi to constantly not mean what you say, and never say what you mean.


In a world of deadly fatwahs, it's a valid survival tactic.

I don't know why the idea tickles me so much, though I suppose it must be simple racism (tickling myself even more with that one as I pretend to be so ignorant that I don't even know Muslim is not a race).

I could see a comedy skit on it though already:

Reservation specialist: "Yes, ma'am, window or aisle seat?"

Customer: "Window please."

Reservation specialist: "Would you prefer the veal, the steak, the chicken, or the vegetarian dinner ma'am?"

Customer: "I'm a strict vegan I'll have you know. Club sandwiches, not seals. So I'll have the vegetarian meal please."

Reservation specialist: "Yes, ma'am, of course. Now would you prefer a Muslim tolerant flight or non-Muslim flight ma'am."

Customer: "I truly need to make this protest in Copenhagen. We're going to Seattleize the place and really show them what-for, so I can't afford any delays, and I can't afford not to show up on account of getting blown up, so I'm going to have to ask for a Muslim-free flight this time. A Muslims allowed flight on my return trip will be fine though. After all, I'm no bigot."

-----------------------------------------

Yes, it's just being silly I know. Maybe even mean. If so, I apologize. Just don't chop off my head please.

But the point is that the political correctness surrounding the elephant in the room is getting pretty ridiculous. Yes, I understand his father turned him in. Yes, I know there are Muslims who wouldn't even hurt a fly. Yes, I understand the reference I just made to the end of the movie psycho.

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TommySama
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"Yes, it's just being silly I know. Maybe even mean. If so, I apologize. Just don't chop off my head please. "

Then don't grab a gun and start spraying it all over someone else's family, don't drop bombs on them, and hope that your enemy isn't America, which will come kill you in your home.

[ December 30, 2009, 02:58 AM: Message edited by: TommySama ]

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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
In a world of deadly fatwahs, it's a valid survival tactic.
I can tolerate cowardice as long as its quiet or at least ashamed of itself. Passive-aggressive cowardice irks me though.

quote:
I don't know why the idea tickles me so much,
Because you hate Muslims, duh, and you love finding ways to insult a billion people or two -- especially with methods that do absolutely nothing to combat terrorism.

A terrorist can kill as many people with a bomb in a subway station as with a bomb in an airplane. Would you also forbid Muslims from using the subway? Which means that you'd stop every single subway passenger and ask them to identify their religion? And take them on their word?

In the end you'd just have to ban darkies from entering, as the majority of Muslim terrorists are from the Middle-east or Africa. Your non-racism (because "muslims aren't a race") would become racism in actual implementation -- banning not Muslims but Middle-easterners and Africans instead.

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cherrypoptart
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> Aris Katsaris

> Because you hate Muslims, duh, and you love finding ways to insult a billion people or two

I'd prefer to think the reason that the idea tickles me so much is because it's funny, but to each their own I guess.

I was going to write the first thing that came to mind about how fascinating it is that some of the same people who leap to the defense of Islam are the very ones to trash talk all over Christians, but I realized how silly that would make me look if you weren't one of those people.

So, I just searched "Aris Christian" to see what would pop up, and this was one of the first things:

"Aris Katsaris

posted October 06, 2009 05:12 PM

Let's see - most of Christianity believes that Jesus went to the cross, so that mankind's sins be forgiven.

So, obviously the one phrase of him on the cross that specifically mentions forgiveness, is the one that indicates "liberal bias".

Rather than, you know, indicating the core message of Christianity.

These people know well what they're doing. They're fashioning god to their image; same as has always been done. But since Christianity no longer the religion of slaves and the downtrodden but of corporatists instead, it must be remade so as to remove all the talk of compassion and forgiveness and laborers and charity so as to transform it into the proper picture of a boot crushing a human face forever."

------------------------------------------

So it does seem like you are one of "those people" who will bust the balls of anyone who has anything but complimentary things to say about Islam but then you'll turn around and bash Christians.

Instead of speculating about why this is so, maybe first I'll just come right out and ask if there is a good explanation for this type of behavior. Is there?

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TomDavidson
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*blink* You think Aris is, in that passage, bashing Christians?
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cherrypoptart
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Certainly some of them at least, the ones who don't conform to the proper interpretation of Christianity as determined by ... whomever. Did I miss something?

Getting back closer to the original subject of these hyper-intrusive searches including the full body scans, one of my points is that we are increasingly having our sensitivities violated because of the actions of a pretty determinable group of people. Is it so wrong to ask if they share more of our consternation?

Am I really suggesting that we're going to have Muslim-free flights? No, I'm suggesting that if I'm going to be forced to show every beautiful bold centimeter of my glorious naked body to some undeserving TSA screener, then I've earned the right to joke about the religion most responsible for it. Let's face it. They've ruined things. Big time.

It's almost like Salman Rushdie had it exactly right with "The Satanic Verses". Let me put it this way, and this goes for Christianity as well. If it's so easy to misinterpret the message, then there is something seriously flawed with it.

Just looking up Salman Rushdie. I like this little tidbit:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Satanic_Verses

"Following the fatwa, Rushdie was put under police protection by the British government. Despite a conciliatory statement by Iran in 1998, and Rushdie's declaration that he would stop living in hiding, the Iranian state news agency reported in 2006 that the fatwa would remain in place permanently since fatwas can only be rescinded by the person who first issued them and Ayatollah Khomeini was no longer alive."

I mean we could go on and on, but defending this is pretty laughable. And not being able to laugh at it is even more ridiculous. It's almost like the liberals are putting us under some part of Sharia law where now it's verboten to criticize the "religion of peace". And it's further interesting that that religion is filled with the Orwellian type obfuspeak that liberals are pouring into our lexicon the way the Exxon Valdez poured oil into Prince William Sound. Anyway, I hope that's all I have to say on the subject as going on about it further probably risks a banning for some reason or other, like Rushdie was banned. Or a fatwah.

From wiki: "As of late 2009 Rushdie has not been physically harmed, but others connected with the book have suffered violent attacks. Hitoshi Igarashi, the Japanese language translator of the book, was stabbed to death on 11 July 1991; Ettore Capriolo, the Italian language translator, was seriously injured in a stabbing the same month; William Nygaard, the publisher in Norway, barely survived an attempted assassination in Oslo in October 1993, and Aziz Nesin, the Turkish language translator, was the intended target in the events that led to the Sivas massacre on 2 July 1993 in Sivas, Turkey which resulted in the deaths of 37 people."

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