Reason Morning Links: Government Officials Exempt From Pat-Downs, Big Quarter for U.S. Corporations, No Fancy Cameras in Kuwait

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  • MNG||

    "Vatican expands conditions under which it would support the use of condoms."

    Because who knows where some of them altar boys have been!

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

  • Warty||

    I know it's a commie song, but it's still catchy. The Preacher and the Slave

  • Trespassers W||

    You got any zingers about airline food for us, Minge?

  • MNG||

    "Congressional leaders, senior government officials exempt from security pat-downs."

    "Sir, we've almost completed the Tower of PR Stupid. Verily it rises almost unto the heavens! We only need one more extension, what now?"

  • Brett L||

    I know! We'll start a "Friends of Pistole" program that people can buy their way into, and it will allow anyone who puts up the cash to purchase an indulgance.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Some flying pigs are more equal than others.

  • Rhywun||

    Wait, cops are exempt too now?

  • Almanian||

    "professional courtesy"

  • MNG||

    No, see it is a brilliant plan to protect the nation. When Congresscritters are on planes they are not enacting legislation, so we want to faciliate their flying. What we need are strict pat-downs for their entering the chambers of Congress.

  • ||

    [MontyBurns] Eeeexcellent. [/MontyBurns]

  • Almanian||

    This is an EXCELLENT idea

  • kinnath||

    From an efficiency point of view, it makes sense. Why waste resources checking a public figure travelling with a government vetted security detail.

    From a PR point of view, it's one more disaster for the TSA.

  • ||

    Screening 14,998 people and exempting 2 doesn't increase efficiency at all compared to screening all 15,000.

    The only reasons I can think of for them being exempt are

    (a) Congressional leaders and cabinet officials are assassination targets, so they can't be standing in line for long periods of time; or

    (b) Because they can.

  • kinnath||

    The referenced article says they already skip traditional screening because they are accompanied by government-vetted security personal.

    So the TSA is expanding that existing exemptiont include the new enhanced screening.

    To be honest, I don't see how putting highly-visible government employees (i.e., targets) in the line with the cattle makes the world safer for the cattle.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    It would makes us safer from government arrogance.

    If the screening are good enough for me then they are damn well good enough for the likes of Tim Geithner.

    End of story.

    Note also, that they are not being exempted from the lines, they are being exempted from the indignity. Which is to say that they are being treated as more equal than the rest of us animals.

    Tell me again about all men being created equal before the law.

  • ||

    Telling the public these assholes are better than us in EVERY way doesn't make them less likely to be assassinated.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I predict that Opt-Out Day comes to naught, with nearly every flier, except a few crazy libertarians, choosing expedience over protest.
    Tomorrow, the nudie scanner/pat-down controversy will begin to ebb, and by New Years Day, it will be the new normal, with no one, save those few crazy libertarians, to question its wisdom, efficacy and justice.
    And I hope I'm wrong.

  • MNG||

    I don't support opt-out day. It's just going to create a royal pain for people who just want to get from point a to b. What is the point of it? To raise awareness? Surely there is a better way to do so without antagonizing people we want to win over on this issue. This is the mistake leftist marchers who tie up traffic for their causes make. People end up hating the marchers.

  • ||

    And that selfish bitch Rosa Parks so rudely inconvenienced those nice people on that bus too!

  • Citizen Nothing||

    So how to protest it MNG?
    Letters to the editor?

    I don't think the point is to raise awareness. It's to prove the system is just too unwieldy to work. Again, if they had to pat down just 3 percent of all airline passengers, i believe it would collapse under its own weight.
    The TSA would issue some kind of face-saving press release.
    "Uh, the new scanners have proven to be, ah, let's say "redundant", the threat that forces us to use them has been, ah, let's say "resolved" and the scanners will be, ah, let's say "retired."

  • Pat Downs||

    Plus, being an asshole is your right as an American.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    You don't even have to be an asshole (although that makes it more fun). When you're directed to a nudie scanner just say "I opt out."
    "But sir, blah, blah, blah"
    "I opt out."
    "Do you know what we're gonna fuckin' do to you now?"
    "I opt out."
    It's not like my purpose in being there is to fuck up the system (a la MNG's leftist marchers).

  • ||

    MNG, do you think they hold up the scanner line when someone gets patted down?

    The people who are OK with the scans won't be affected at all. In fact, they'll probably get through faster the more people opt out of the scan. The people who get screwed are the TSA agents, and you know what? Fuck them.

  • -||

    It's news that government officials get special perks? I'd alert the media, but they already know.

  • JoshINHB||

    "Sir, we've almost completed the Tower of PR Stupid. Verily it rises almost unto the heavens! We only need one more extension, what now?"

    Exempt everyone in a Burk-ha so show our cultural sensitivity.

  • DanD||

    TSA: Congressional leaders, senior government officials exempt from security pat-downs.

    Well, they would never do anything to harm this country or its people, right?

  • ||

    Dudeliness is Next To Godliness

    I've been told I'm like a guy by coworkers, by male friends, by boyfriends, and by random dudes who were trying to flirt. They all seem to mean for it to be complimentary, but when I hear "you're like a guy," from a man, I hear a subtext of "Women are not as good as men and you are not like women, so congratulations! Here is my admiration!"
  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Maybe it's her Adam's apple, five o'clock shadow and basso rumbling voice.

  • ||

    She totally undermines her dudeness by whining like a little bitch.

  • Brett L||

    Damn your quick fingers.

  • Brett L||

    Going on jezebel and posting that does prove all of those men were both wrong and stupid.

  • Joe M||

    Haha, why do you torment us with such nonsense?

  • Warty||

    Why can't men relax around most women? What makes women so intolerable?

    I have no fucking idea, you shrill harpy.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    For the same reason mice and canaries become anxious when a cat enters the room.

  • Fluffy||

    No one who could possibly sit down to write this has EVER been told by any non-gay male that they're like a dude. EVER.

    The ability to write this means you're not like a dude. Sorry.

    What a surprise, a woman who lies about what men tell her.

  • waffles||

    Funny, I don't think telling a girl that she's dude-like or one-of-the-boys really helps get you laid. I like girls who are girls. Girls who want to be one of the boys are decidedly unsexy to me. But penis envy and all that. Makes total sense.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Funny, I don't think telling a girl that she's dude-like or one-of-the-boys really helps get you laid. I like girls who are girls. Girls who want to be one of the boys are decidedly unsexy to me.

    Well put. Tomboys never did a thing for me.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    It depends on how "boy" the tomboy is. I have known a couple who I found incredibly, irresistibly sexy. The question is whether they are so tomboyish that they are playing for the other team.

  • Kristen||

    Men who don't find tomboys sexy are profoundly unsexy to me (they're usually the types to wear hair gel and Axe body spray)

  • Banjos Kick Ass!||

    +1

  • Shorter Jezebel||

    Men suck.

  • Addendum||

    So do self-confident, attractive women who enjoy life.

  • Abdul||

    You mean dudes?

  • Almanian||

    SugarFree wins, right out of the gate!

  • moob||

    I was going to say that perhaps one solution to the security pat-downs would be the start of an airlines called "Nekkid Air." But then it would probably just mean security would be giving out public blow jobs.

  • Name Nomad||

    Once again, Penn Jillette solved this problem years ago. Just have an airline/airport where the only screening is you have to eat a small piece of bacon and then kiss someone of the same sex. Ta-da! No more religious fundamentalists will get through without screening, it'll be 10x faster for 99.9% of passengers, and no one will be groping you (unless you want them to).

  • ||

    and no one will be groping you (unless you want them to)

    Let's see how the kiss goes 1st....

  • Johnny Longtorso||

    Paulie Krugnuts: Death to the Kulak Wreckers!!
    ...So what’s really motivating the G.O.P. attack on the Fed? Mr. Bernanke and his colleagues were clearly caught by surprise, but the budget expert Stan Collender predicted it all. Back in August, he warned Mr. Bernanke that “with Republican policy makers seeing economic hardship as the path to election glory,” they would be “opposed to any actions taken by the Federal Reserve that would make the economy better.” In short, their real fear is not that Fed actions will be harmful, it is that they might succeed.

    Hence the axis of depression. No doubt some of Mr. Bernanke’s critics are motivated by sincere intellectual conviction, but the core reason for the attack on the Fed is self-interest, pure and simple. China and Germany want America to stay uncompetitive; Republicans want the economy to stay weak as long as there’s a Democrat in the White House. ...

  • MNG||

    One way to test that theory would be to see if they advocate something very different than when a GOPer is in office.

  • Joe M||

    Never work. You're talking about a time at least two years into the future. Everything about today will have gone down the memory hole by then.

  • Joe M||

    When you have no intellectual ammunition and no arguments, just cast aspersions on the motives of those with whom you disagree.

  • MNG||

    This sentence is hilarious, I guess he's not aware of the contradiction therein:

    "No doubt some of Mr. Bernanke’s critics are motivated by sincere intellectual conviction, but the core reason for the attack on the Fed is self-interest, pure and simple."

    No doubt they have an honest intellectual disagreement, but they are disagreeing purely out of self interest!

  • Fluffy||

    China and Germany hold lots of dollars and don't want them devalued.

    Upper class Americans hold lots of dollars and don't want them devalued.

    What the fuck is so hard to understand, Krugman?

    Krugman now believes in conspiracy theories. People who don't want the dollar devalued are part of a shadowy cabal that wants to bring about economic collapse. The douchebag just wrote that in the New York Motherfucking Times.

    It is entirely appropriate at this point to describe Krugman and every other defender of the Obama Administration's economic policies as Leninists, at least in the way they deal with failure and criticism.

    First they told us that all their statist economic policies would have worked if it wasn't for those damn speculators.

    Now they're telling us that the reason their statist economic policies are failing is because of a conspiracy of counter-revolutionaries.

  • MNG||

    I think the correct spelling is "Mothafucking"

  • Citizen Nothing||

    MNG, You're thinking of The Los Angeles Mothafuckin Times. I think the New York spelling is cq.

  • waffles||

    Fluffy, before you dropped fuck this and that in your posts I used to imagine you as an anthropomorphic bunny rabbit. Now you're a badger or something.

    I think there are also lots of people that do want to see the dollar devalued. People who export goods and services. I know a decent bunch of European buyers of engineering services that LOVE our devalued dollar. Would you rather have the money you have now be worth more or the opportunity to make oodles more?

    I guess it's not fair for those not positioned to take advantage. But that's par for the course and the Fed will tell old penny-pinching savers to pound sand each and every time.

  • Brett L||

    Now I'm gonna see him as the rabbit bodyguard from Singularity Sky forever.

    Can't stop, clowns will upload me!

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    You bastard. Now, you've got me doing it.

    Peter Motherfucking Fluffy Rabbit.

    Arghh!

  • Stretchy||

    Let's not forget, people who owe lots of money want the dollar devalued.

  • mr simple||

    Would you rather have the money you have now be worth more or the opportunity to make oodles more?

    That depends on if the oodles more I make at the devalued rate is a tuly worth more than what I would make at the current value in real terms.

    Also, the angry badger is overdone. The angry bunny is funnier because you don't expect it.

  • Lancelot||

    He has many large pointy teeth and a bad mothafuckin' attitude, that one!

  • BakedPenguin||

    It is entirely appropriate at this point to describe Krugman and every other defender of the Obama Administration's economic policies as Leninists, at least in the way they deal with failure and criticism.

    Wreckers!

  • BakedPenguin||

    Crap, Johnny Longtorso was ahead of me. Too slow this AM.

  • ||

    "Kuwait bans cameras."
    Kuwait cares about officer safety.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I'm so glad we went over there to protect their freedom in 1990.

    Have they paid us back for that yet? Oh, and they can fucking pay for this war, too, just for the hell of it.

  • Brett L||

    In fairness, they only banned DSLRs for non-journalists. Cameras with fixed lenses are still allowed. Which makes no fucking sense to me, but...

  • JD the elder||

    How likely do you think it is that the average Kuwaiti cop is going to know or care about the difference between an SLR, a rangefinder, an "EVIL" camera, or any other type or for that matter whether the camera is digital or not? All they're going to care about is "big professional-looking camera = forbidden".

  • Brett L||

    None at all. Nor do I think that you'll be able to argue with them, but facts matter.

  • ||

    They let us use their territory for the invasion of Iraq, so that's a bit of repayment.

  • Zeb||

    Because SLRs are uniquely threatening to security. Or something. The article seems to indicate that small digital cameras and phone cameras are still OK.

  • ||

    George Will can still get it right, once in a while.

    The theory — perhaps by now it seems like a quaint anachronism — on which the nation was founded is, or was: Government is instituted to protect pre-existing natural rights essential to the pursuit of happiness. Today, that pursuit often requires flying, which sometimes involves the wanding of 3-year-olds and their equally suspect teddy bears.

    Government is instituted to protect pre-existing natural rights essential to the pursuit of happiness.

    Sing it, George.

  • MNG||

    What is the big deal about whether the rights are "pre-existing" or not? Does anyone say "oh, I agree with you that it would be right to allow you to do x, but we have to prevent you anyway." The debates are really about what is and isn't right, or "a right", not whether they "pre-exist" government.

  • Fluffy||

    Mainly, MNG, it has to do with the range of actions one is entitled to take in response to denial of a right.

    If the only place rights can arise from is democratic consensus, then your rights are what the majority says via the government and if you don't like it you can shut the fuck up.

    If rights pre-exist government, then if a government acts in a way contrary to your rights, whether the government is a democracy or not you're morally entitled to blow the fucking place up.

  • MNG||

    But even majorities don't think they are violating what is right when they enact policy that you might think violates yours. The real debate is over what is a right or not.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "The real debate is over what is a right or not."

    *cough* health care *ahem*

  • T||

    Bullshit. The proper formulation is the majority doesn't care when they enact policy that violates your rights. To say they don't think they're violating your rights gives them far too much credit.

  • asdf||

    The fact they are natural rights is what is suppose to protect us from the tyranny of the majority.

  • Rhywun||

    Right - and it is often in their interest to spread that confusion among the voters. They act as if the "rights" they create are natural and anyone who points out they're making shit up is a crazy ratbagger.

  • ||

    Say hello to my Lockean friend!

  • ||

    In re: Fluffy's last sentence.

  • ||

    A utilitarian who doesn't think humans have inherent rights. It's like going to Central Park and managing to find a pigeon.

  • MNG||

    What do you mean by "inherent?" Like inside my body, beside my gallbladder?

    Or do you mean objective, apart from what people might think? I do think that what is right and what is wrong is as objective as 2+2=4. The right act is always that which maximizes welfare regardless of what people think, customs dictate, or majorities decide.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    No "inherent" means that the right exists as a function of being human, as a principle of natural law. I.e., it is not a right that the government has decided to allow you to have; rather, you have it because you are (presumably) human, and the laws of nature demand it.

    E.g., the most fundamental right you have is the right to life and thus to defend yourself from threats to your life. You don't rely on a positive right granted by the government for that - i.e., you don't need the government to pass a law saying you have the right to defend youself from attack. It's a fundamental, inherent right, derived from natural law.

  • MNG||

    I don't see how this differs than saying that some things are right and their rightness is apart from what governments (or customs or whatever) say. Anyone who believes in objective morality thinks this.

  • Warty||

    Why do you people bother with MNG?

  • Joe M||

    I was just about to post that.

  • waffles||

    he seems like a nice guy

  • ||

    I agree it's a element of human nature, but it's not of the natural world. Pretty much any nature show reveals life is not a right, but a responsibility. Animals have a responsiblity to stay alive.

    Rights are made up by humans, as a function of humanity. That doesn't prevent government for deciding which ones they will protect or usurp. It's easier to call government out for violating them when they are written within the legal framework of government. Wasn't that the so called victory in Heller? The highest court in the US calling government out for violating the written right to arms.

  • ||

    you have it because you are (presumably) human, and the laws of nature demand it.

    For the vast majority of human history nature was just fine with slavery, murder, rape, and all the other violations of what we now recognize as human rights. Indeed, nature encouraged these behaviors. So you need to appeal to some non-material plane of existence if you're going to justify "inherent rights" that predate human governments but have only been discovered in the past few centuries.

    Natural rights theory is as infested with question-begging as the doctrine of transsubstantiation, but for some reason proud atheists feel free to spout it nonetheless.

  • ||

    Inherent rights are things humans just do.

    You will defend yourself--you have to force yourself not to do so.

    You will pursue 'happiness'--i.e. you will try to do the things you like to do(oddly, these things may not be those things that are best for you).

    You will say what you think. Not doing so requires effort.

    These are inherent rights. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are a nice shorthand of the idea that demonstrates an understanding of the meaning.

    Things like property rights are not inherent--they are societal constructions designed to minimise strife.

  • ||

    Either you own yourself or you don't. If I don't own myself, then all we are arguing about is who exactly it is that owns me. Your "right actions" are not objective fact, they are predicated that the individual exist to maximize happiness. The individual is an end, not a means.

    You have been here long enough to know this, whether or not you accept it. So acting like you don't know this means you are arguing in bad faith by exhibiting false ignorance.

  • MNG||

    Yes, yes, I'm familiar with what you think is a right and where these rights "come from". Of course that is not my point. My point is that everyone thinks that way, they just disagree with you about what the various rights are.

  • ||

    You also know the difference between negative rights and positive "rights." And you know where most libertarians stand on the issue. You understand it by now, or you never will. In either case, it's not worth rehashing the same arguments with you.. It's a waste of time and effort.

  • ||

    Let us vote on whether, or not, to cut minge's balls off and sell them to a Chinese apothecary. We'll use the money to buy a case of beer.

    If a majority agree, then I am sure minge will agree that that is the right thing to do.

  • ||

    Either you own yourself or you don't.

    Ownership (and property in general) is an artificial concept, however useful it is for the functioning of human society. You can't base natural rights theory on it.

  • ||

    Supernatural explanations are just as easily obviated, Tulpa. Personally, I don't think there is any sort of metaphysical basis to rights or an external morality. Those are matters of faith that hold little weight in an increasingly secular world. All that matters is how we treat each other and that starts with recognizing that everyone owns themselves on the most basic of levels. That is where consent is made possible and meaningful. That is where negative rights begin.

  • ||

    You're assuming some concept of "ownership" that predates human society (already unjustified). There is no ownership in the animal world.

    What you ask for is not recognizing but pretending. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but let's not pretend we're not pretending.

  • ||

    Yes, interpersonal ethics is just pretending. I don't believe in your God, so I'm just pretending.

  • Chinny Chin Chin||

    There is no ownership in the animal world.

    Try explaining this to an alpha-male dog as you remove food from his mouth

    ... or to an alpha mountain gorilla when you mount one of the troop females

    ... or to a hive of bees when you remove honey from the comb

    The concept of "mine" is present all over the animal world.

  • Joe M||

    Indeed. It's one of the first concepts infants understand once they realize they have an independent identity.

  • ||

    ""Either you own yourself or you don't.""

    That's tricky. If I buy a house, it can be aruged that I don't own that house, I rent it from the county. Which derives from the fact that your property can be taken because you didn't pay taxes. Under that concept, you do not own yourself because you can be seized if you don't pay your taxes.

    I don't necessarily believe in that concept, just saying since I've seen it tossed around.

  • ||

    TV, there are two different concepts at play in your example, morality (such as it is) and the law. The law, in this respect, is immoral based on the ethic of the right of self-ownership.

    But I see what you are saying used a lot in these arguments. Rights aren't supernaturally enforced, they are not a metaphysical restraint on action. The fact that you can be murdered doesn't obviated the right to defend yourself from being murdered (the negative rights construction of "the right to life.") The fact that something can be stolen from you doesn't mean that you can't own something and have the right to keep it from being stolen from you.

  • ||

    I generally look at rights this way. Any right created by God can be usurped by man. I think it's important to understand that, because men in government often do just that, so says history. To claim man can not is just silly. It's important to know that they can be taken away at the whim of government so we know where we stand and realize the need to protect and defend them.

    In the above post I was having a little fun, but it's not all false. Don't pay your taxes and your liberty will be removed.

  • ||

    God is pretty weak if he can't protect and defend your rights from some assholes in DC.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    If a right comes from government, then it depends on that government for its existence, and the government can change it, limit it or eliminate it at will.

    A fundamental right derived from natural law pre-exists the government, and therefore the government is bound by it and has no power to eliminate it.

    This is the theory - in actual practice, of course, might makes right and the golden rule is "he who has the gold makes the rules."

  • MNG||

    But who thinks the government should be doing things they think are morally wrong? I really think this is one of those libertarian aphorisms that is totally uselsess like "it is wrong to initiate force" with force defined (as we learned in debate a few days ago) as "things that are wrong ("violate rights").

  • MNG||

    "Governments should not do things I think are wrong."

    Wow, profound! This reaaally sets you guys apart from the Godless...

  • T||

    All kinds of people think government should do things they think are morally wrong. Lots of people think groping random strangers, torturing Arabs, and kicking in the doors of their neighbors are "wrong" in the abstract, but are perfectly fine with the government doing these things. They don't have the responsibility for the shitty actions because they've offloaded it on the .gov. This lets people feel better about the horrible crap they want the .gov to do but don't have the guts to do themselves.

  • Cyto||

    I've seen this conflation of "morally right" with "rights" a few times. They are not remotely the same thing. Inherent rights are not necessarily moral in nature at all, although violating them normally carries a moral question.

    Example: Everyone has the inherent right to free thought and free speech. That is not a moral construct, it is a statement of condition. You might use your right to free thought to build a racist construct along the lines of "Mein Kampf". You might use those rights of free speech to publish "Mein Kampf". Now the right of free thought is being used for evil. That does not change the "right" into a "wrong".

    People's behavior is "right" or "wrong" or "moral" or "immoral". Natural rights are just statements about the human condition and the boundaries of the individual.

  • ||

    ""A fundamental right derived from natural law pre-exists the government, and therefore the government is bound by it and has no power to eliminate it.""

    Well government has the ability to eliminate your right to life as a form of punishment because you committed a capitol offense. So much for the no power thing.

  • ||

    A fundamental right derived from natural law pre-exists the government, and therefore the government is bound by it and has no power to eliminate it.

    This is the theory - in actual practice, of course, might makes right and the golden rule is "he who has the gold makes the rules."

    ...which proves that natural rights theory is poppycock that has no relation to the real world.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tulpa,

    This is the theory - in actual practice, of course, might makes right and the golden rule is "he who has the gold makes the rules."

    ...which proves that natural rights theory is poppycock that has no relation to the real world.



    You mean, you DO by someone else's volition? You do not act?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: MNG,

    Does anyone say "oh, I agree with you that it would be right to allow you to do x, but we have to prevent you anyway."

    As a matter of fact, yes. Government types, eleutherophobes and statist fucks DO say that. Just read about what the city council of SF CA just approved.

    The debates are really about what is and isn't right, or "a right", not whether they "pre-exist" government.

    No, the debate is about what is good and what is evil, not what is a "right."

    A "right" is simply your ability to act in any way that does not impede others to act. That's a self-evident truth. What "debate" you can have regarding that is beyond me, except in the case where eleutherophobes and statist fucks try to find novel ways to justify enslavement.

  • Cuddly Soft Balls of Death||

    I've been working on a theory:

    When one person's right appears to be in conflict with another person's right, at least one of them isn't really a right.

    I've haven't been able to think of an example that contradicts this.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Cuddly Soft Balls of Death,

    When one person's right appears to be in conflict with another person's right, at least one of them isn't really a right.

    That's already IMPLIED in the concept of rights: If what you think is your right conflicts with someone else's (like his property or life), then it is NOT a right.

    For instance, you do not have a right to rape a woman just because you feel you have the right to screw her. By the same token, you do not have a right to someone else's property, be it loot or a welfare transfer.

  • Xenocles||

    In other news, I've heard that the first rule of tautology club is the first rule of tautology club.

    The real trick, which your formulation does not address, is "which one is which?"

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    It's a libertarian thing man. My rights come bundled with the whole existence as a sentient being deal. They aren't granted by the govmt. It's that simple. If you don't get that or buy that by now, I doubt you ever will.

  • Trespassers W||

    Shut up, Meg.

  • Joe M||

    He used the term security theater. Hooray!

    Which reminds me, I found this yesterday. It's from May, but still totally pertinent.


    TSA Breast Milk Screening

    This woman was held in their little detainment chamber for a fucking HOUR. Her crime? Not wanting to put her breast milk through the x-ray machine, which is allowed by the TSA's own rules.

  • ||

    Government is trying to protect your right to life with the advance screening.

    Government pretty much sucks at everything. I'm starting to think that their attempts to protect our rights is more harmful than good.

  • MNG||

    "Kuwait bans cameras."

    Thank God we fought a war to keep that nation free from tyranny!

  • BakedPenguin||

    Crap. Beat me to it.

  • MNG||

    It's called Preemption.

  • Rich||

    What often happens is that a big black camera tends to worry people.

    When I see a big black camera coming down the street I usually cross to the other side.

  • MNG||

    Only when it is a group of big black cameras.

  • Rich||

    Especially if they're new models.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    The ones with their lens caps on sideways?

  • Rich||

    And the baggy bags.

  • Almanian||

    That's straight up racist

  • ||

    Did anybody else see the CNN story about the "unidentified law enforcement agent" who left a loaded (presumably second) semi-auto pistol magazine in the seat back pouch on an airplane?

    Total Security Assurance rulez!

  • robc||

    So he just left the magazine?

    Ooh, the person that finds that might throw the bullets at me!!!

    Actually throwing the entire magazine would do more damage.

  • SIV||

    Just a magazine?Better than leaving the whole service pistol on the toilet paper dispenser in the crapper. That's happened too.

  • Rich||

    officials can opt out if they fly accompanied by government security guards approved by the TSA.

    So, can I opt out if I fly with a friend who is a government employee licensed to carry?

  • Janet Napolitano||

    No.

  • Warty||

  • BakedPenguin||

    So have the Chinese stopped pegging their currency to the dollar?

  • BakedPenguin||

    I mean, if they tried to peg their currency to the dollar when dealing with us, but let it float against other currencies, wouldn't there be some huge arbitrage opportunities?

  • Brett L||

    Presumably, they've thought of this and either aren't worried, or have a plan to jointly manage re-education camps for persons attempting it.

  • Chase||

    The general consensus seems to be that they peg it to a basket of currencies to avoid this. The basket is probably dollar heavy, but no one outside the country knows the weightings.

  • Warty||

    Presumably the weighting is a simple linear equation, so all it would take is n data points to determine W1...Wn.

  • slippy||

    I pegged your mom's basket last night. She only asked for a dollar.

  • InsultComic||

    I pegged your mom's basket last night and she paid me fifty bucks!

  • Rich||

    Shitty shit indeed. 8-( And no metal makes it even shittier.

  • Kolohe||

    Can't seem to get to the site, but "renouncing" the US Dollar is not really the right characterization of what they are doing*. Previously, there was no yuan to rubble exchange in the chinese forex system, so they used the dollar as an economic lingua franca. (Like if a Chinese businessmen spoke no Russian, and a Russian no Madarin, but if both spoke English, they'd use that to communicate. And then would likely cease if either learned the other's language directly)

    *otoh, this is the english language version of the official newspaper, so it's the message they want to transmit

  • Mike M.||

    How the heck can this possibly be happening? The media told me that once we got rid of the swaggering cowboy and elected our magic Aqua Buddha, he would lift up his healing arms, unite the planet, and cause everyone on earth to love us like never before!

  • ||

    Because the GOP isn't passing START. Duh.

  • hmm||

    # TSA: Congressional leaders, senior government officials exempt from security pat-downs.

    I'd swear they are working as hard as possible to make it us v. them. I'm waiting for a line about cake.

  • ||

    ""I'd swear they are working as hard as possible to make it us v. them.""

    I think that battle was lost long ago, and us didn't win.

  • hmm||

    A battle isn't a war.

  • ||

    True. But to win a war you must win some battles. When was the last time we won a us vs them battle?

  • robc||

    27th amendment.

    More of a skirmish than a battle. They them outflanked us anyway.

  • creech||

    Good. Now all we need is a home-grown Count von Stauffenberg.

  • ||

    What is the big deal about whether the rights are "pre-existing" or not?

    Rights are not "granted" by the government, dumbass.

  • MNG||

    Er, duh. Does anyone think rights are actually granted by the government, that governments cannot violate what is right and wrong via their legal process? That if our government via the appropriate process tomorrow enacted provisions barring freedom of worship and speech that would make it morally correct? I don't know such people.

    I know some people differentiate between moral and legal rights, but I would think everyone uses the former to measure the latter.

  • db||

    You'd be wrong. I actually argued two weeks ago with a colleague who asserted that "society," in the person of government, was right to do whatever the majority determined. I specifically asked whether it was objectively right to stone people for adultery if the majority accepted that as a punishment. He confirmed that his position was that there is no objective right and wrong, but that whatever the majority imposes on the individual is right.

  • ||

    Usually people aren't honest enough to admit the logical, if absurd, conclusion that majoritarian/utilitarian thinking leads to.

  • ||

    Any attempt at a philosophy other than hedonism or suicide is going to lead to absurd conclusions. Human life is an exercise in self-delusion, a three billion year old joke played on us by the DNA molecule.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tulpa,

    Human life is an exercise in self-delusion, a three billion year old joke played on us by the DNA molecule.

    And thinking that DNA is playing a joke on you, that's NOT self-delusion?

  • ||

    Of course it is. I'm not claiming freedom from delusion myself. Considering that I continue to obey a moral code and don't kill myself, I'm ipso facto deluded.

  • Warty||

    Wait, are you telling us that you're a nihilist, Tulpa?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tulpa,

    Of course it is. I'm not claiming freedom from delusion myself.

    But how would YOU know if your knowledge of the delusion is NOT a delusion itself? You would be deluding yourself into believing everything is a delusion.

    It's like when Picard and Kirk thought themselves out of the Nexus and into "reality" to save the Enterprise crew - except, how did they know they were not still inside the Nexus?

  • Chris||

    This misses the point. It can be logically reasoned out that it is likely the case that we are incapable of any sort of knowledge that can give us an exact account of reality,and therefore all knowledge is to an extent a delusion. To argue against this by saying that this statement is also a delusion is a mute point. Of course it is also a delusion. But this doesn't make everything else suddenly not a delusion.

  • Brett L||

    Cogito ergo sum

    Whatever I might think about reality, I cannot disprove the fact that there is a thinking entity capable of doubt.

  • db||

    Your use of the phrases "exact account" and "to an extent" are merely weasel words to allow you wiggle room when someone presents you with the facts that we can know, with great certainty, some very fundamental things about the universe and how it behaves.

    You may assert that "logical reason[ing]" leads to the conclusion of delusion, but greater logicians and empiricists than you have determined that:

    E = h*nu

    and that there are certain measurable fundamentals and that they can be used with great precision to predict the behavior of the universe around us. To say that everything is a delusion and therefore that there is no testable, objective truth is willful ignorance.

  • ||

    OK, let's drop you in the middle of Pirate Cove in Mogadishu and see how much your rights are worth there.

  • db||

    "...to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men..."

    The proper scope and limitation of government power, succinctly defined.

    One reason why "minarchist" != "anarchist."

  • Rich||

    Serious question: How does one prove "insider trading" has been committed? "Hey, I just felt like making that transaction. Are you calling me a liar?"

  • MNG||

    The way you prove mens rea in any other case. The actions taken in context, what people have said, etc.

  • Rich||

    So, at some point the prosecution pushes "circumstantial evidence" past the point of "reasonable doubt"?

  • Almanian||

    "We'll know it when we see it. The SEC always gets its man. And never makes mistakes."

    I think that's how they do it...

  • ||

    Usually they demonstrate (a) the transaction was different than your past pattern of transactions (which is especially how small-fry insiders are noticed) and (b) you had access to "inside" information relating to the securities you were trading in. A jury can draw a reasonable inference that you used the inside information as the basis for your transaction no matter how much you deny it on the stand.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Just Dropping By,

    A jury can draw a reasonable inference that you used the inside information as the basis for your transaction no matter how much you deny it on the stand.

    You mean they convict a person for selling his property.

    Yes, putting it like that, it SOUNDS silly, because IT IS. "Insider Trading" is nothing more than a made-up "crime."

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Rich,

    How does one prove "insider trading" has been committed?

    This is how the Feds prove it: They get a few people they suspect committed "insider trading" (a purposefully vague term), threaten them with jail time and confiscation of their property if they do not give false testimony against others, then they get a clueless jury and a sympathetic Fed judge to hear the case, and voila! You have "proved" insider trading.

    Now, if what you're asking is if "insider trading" is an actual crime, the answer is obvious: It's the Feds, man! Who cares if it is a real crime or not?

  • Bill||

    “How does one prove "insider trading" has been committed?”

    They don’t prove insider trading. They try to get you on procedural crime Martha Strewart style.

  • Warty||

  • Rich||

    Thanks, Warty. I feel better now.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    What a piece-of-shit NYT article. Thanks shitloads, Warty.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Though this bit - despite being uttered by Huckabee - does deserve merit:

    Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas and a Republican presidential hopeful, called the scanners and the pat-downs a “humiliating and degrading, totally unconstitutional intrusion,” in an interview on Fox News. If the president thinks such searches are appropriate, Mr. Huckabee said, he should subject his wife, two daughters and mother-in-law to them.

    Yes, that is exactly what should happen. While we're at it, search every elected and/or appointed official, and their family members.

    Not gonna happen, but it would be soooo fuckin' sweet.

  • Joe M||

    What. The. Fuck.

    It is bad enough that many of these politicians seem happy to trade away a long and proud history of civil liberties over a few moments of inconvenience in the airport.

    The entire TSA screening process is already a violation of civil liberties. Talk about "a remarkable spectacle of contortion", as they put it.

  • Mike M.||

    Yeah, it's pretty amusing to see some of these liberals who once were shrieking about the PATRIOT Act, library books, and wiretapping are now suddenly in love with Big Sister.

  • not necessary||

    If terrorists learn that elderly white women from Iowa are exempt from screening, that’s exactly whom they will recruit.

    This is the dumbest thing I've ever read in the NYT, and that's saying a lot.

  • Nice band name||

    elderly white women from Iowa

  • Joe M||

    Wow, I didn't get that far into the article before I had to bail on it. That is profoundly retarded.

  • Rhywun||

    "Seeing conservative Republicans accuse the Obama administration of trying too hard to protect America from terrorists is a remarkable spectacle of contortion. "

    Seeing liberal Democrats enthusiastically advocating for the State to stick its hands down my pants because We're At War™ is a pretty remarkable spectacle too. It really is just Team Red/Team Blue, isn't it.

  • ||

    The alternative that looks best now is risk acceptance. The small risk of domestic undergarment bomb smuggling, suggested by a decade without any such attack, is something the public can tolerate — if prison-style searching of innocent American travelers is the alternative.

    This is apostasy in Washington — where the political imperative is zero risk. But risk is a reality of life. We take risks when we drive, when we walk across a street and when we go to the fridge for that two-day-old slice of pizza.

    This illusory quest for zero risk helps terrorism achieve its goals. As news of “Operation Hemorrhage” — smaller, low-cost attacks aimed to disrupt commerce and stoke fears — demonstrates clearly, terrorism works by inducing target states to overreact. That’s the only mode terrorists have for affecting major powers like the United States.

    We’ve been nothing if not a patsy to their strategy. The element of surprise, central to terrorism, forces us to defend everything against every mode of attack — a logic that naturally bleeds us.

    Jim Harper, at Politico.

    The thing which probably pisses me off more than anything is the unquestioning acceptance, on the part of the overwhelming majority of "news professionals" of the assertion by government functionaries (whose livelihood depends on shaking the hobgoblin of terrorism in our faces) of immediate and undeniable certainty that a terrorist will blow up a plane tomorrow! if we don't treat everybody like the dregs of society.

  • Brett L||

    Maybe it has something to do with the way they see themselves as "professionals" whose deep training allows them and only them to be objective correct arbiters of information.

  • NoVAHockey||

    "Speak softly and carry a big stick" has changed to "Cry wolf and club everyone to cover our asses"

  • Joe M||

    There's a strong tie in here to things like the War on Drugs, wherein there are risks to drug use, but the damage caused by the WoD is worse than the drugs themselves. Much like how skydiving, while dangerous, is still legal. People make a decision about how much risk they can tolerate.

    If we had a marketplace coming up with lots of different security options, we might make some progress. The infinite capacity for just trusting the government to get it right and take care of us is scary.

  • ||

    This illusory quest for zero risk helps terrorism achieve its goals.

    Quite. It's also unfortunate that few people seem to believe anymore that one's dignity is something worth defending.

    Unfortunate and bizarre, given that the people who are fussing that we should "just shut up and get in the scanner" are the same ones who like to talk about human dignity. The only thing that I can figure is that they don't value individual dignity, just the collective "dignity" that trickles down via membership in special groups.

  • ||

    It is bad enough that many of these politicians seem happy to trade away a long and proud history of civil liberties over a few moments of inconvenience in the airport.

    *head falls off, rolls under desk*

  • Old Mexican||

    Feds expand insider trading inquiry.

    "Feds also continuously reinvent the meaning of 'insider trading' as they go along."

  • hmm||

    and apply it retroactively

  • H man||

    Someone with more talent than I needs to take one of those videos of the TSA agents searching children and morph the images from a person in plain clothes to a priest to a TSA agent and have the caption "When is this o.k.?"

  • Almanian||

    Nice visual - that would indeed be awesome!

  • ||

    I would like to see someone do that.

  • ||

    Tomboys never did a thing for me.

    Ur doin it rong.

  • دردشه عراقية||

    Thanks

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