Pork vs. Privacy

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Thanks to a grant from the Department of Homeland Security, the tiny town of Dillingham, Alaska, now has one surveillance camera for every 30 residents.

[Via Sam Smith.]

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  1. “I thought we were doing what government officials are supposed to do.”

    res ipsa loquitur

  2. “Says high school wrestling coach Johnny Johnson: “If you’re not doing anything wrong, what does it matter?””

    Wow. Actual people really say this shit?

    I, for one, welcome our Arctic overlords.

  3. You have nothing to fear but…

  4. I am really suprised that those cameras have not been shot out already. I love my state, but sometimes the stoopid people here make me want to scream. Makes me glad I am in ‘The Big City’ and not in Dillingham.

    What I find exceptionally scary is that the DHS gave $100 per capita ($202,000/2000ppl) to the town for those cameras. Translated to the rest of the nation that would be $26b ($100*260m) which is just over half of the 2006 DHS budget ($41b). So the DHS could afford with one year’s budget to place one camera for every 20-30 people in the entire country. Every main street, every alleyway, every skyscraper could have a 360 degree view of it’s surroundings.

    If you aren’t doing anything wrong there isn’t anything to worry about is there?

  5. In a rational bureaucracy, (non sequitur noted) some moron(s) would be fired over this. Having spent 20 years in a federal department (US Navy) I had concluded tha wasting citizens money was unprofessional as well as immoral. As you can imagine, I spent a lot of time tilting at windmills.

  6. This should not be call pork because it defames pigs. Does fraud, malfeasance or gross incompetence sound more accurate?

  7. How appropriate on this 136th anniversary of our agreement to purchase Alaska that we get yet another story of money wasted on Andrew Johnson’s “polar bear garden.” Granted, this pittance pales in comparison to the “Bridge to Nowhere” and other more egregious examples but it is indicative of the overall problem. So I’ll ask once again – can we please sell that frozen wasteland of a money pit back to Russia and be done with it? Not only will it save us money but it might be fun to see how Johnny Johnson likes it when it’s Putin looking over his shoulder.

    Seward’s Folly, indeed!

  8. Brian,
    I’ll take your troll bait and raise you 3.3 billion barrels of oil a year with a current market value of $215 billon. We won’t even mention the commercial fishery values(approx $230m/year) , mineral deposit extraction(approx $1.9b/year) or other commercial values. I agree that the ‘bridges to nowhere’ are a BS pork spending issue but to say that Alaska is a money pit is far from genuine. Granted, we don’t have quite the level of high-falutin’ sophistication that you do in Oregon, but at least we put our legislators where they belong, on a God-forsaken spit of land you can only fly or take a boat to.

    Seward’s Folly Indeed.

    Sources (http://www removed due to link catcher):

    ead.anl.gov/new/dsp_news.cfm?id=77

    bloomberg.com/markets/commodities/energyprices.html

    cf.adfg.state.ak.us/geninfo/finfish/salmon/catchval/blusheet/salmon_00-04table.php

    dnr.state.ak.us/standard/dsp_media_release.cfm?id=592&title=
    Alaska”s%20Mining%20Industry%20Posts%20New%20Record%20Value%20for%202005

  9. Because if I were Osama Bin Ladin, THAT’S where I would strike to bring down the imperialistic, Zionist, pig-dog infidels: A tiny town in the middle of nowhere.

  10. If Alaska had still belong to Russia after the Communist revolution, it would have been damned scary to think of how many Soviet nuclear bases would have been in North America.

  11. Because if I were Osama Bin Ladin, THAT’S where I would strike to bring down the imperialistic, Zionist, pig-dog infidels: A tiny town in the middle of nowhere.

    Connect the dots, man, it’s all there, don’t you see? Phooom!

    Question: if one is labeled a tin-foiler or conspiracy nut for questioning the actions of the federal govt leading up to 911; then what do you call somebody who installs one camera for every 30 people in an isloated Alaskan fishing village on the theory that Islamic terrorists might infiltrate the port of said village and plant friendly employees there to help them get items through customs, then purchase an old Soviet nuclear bomb, put it on a ship, sail over hundreds of miles of rough, open seas with it on board, deliver it to said fishing village, use their planted operatives to give the shipment the all-clear, then send the nuke on its way across more rough, open seas to Seattle by ship, where it would then be detonated?

  12. If you think Dillingham is tiny, check out where I lived.

  13. what do you call somebody who installs one camera for every 30 people in an isloated Alaskan fishing village on the theory that Islamic terrorists might infiltrate the port of said village and plant friendly employees there to help them get items through customs, then purchase an old Soviet nuclear bomb, put it on a ship, sail over hundreds of miles of rough, open seas with it on board, deliver it to said fishing village, use their planted operatives to give the shipment the all-clear, then send the nuke on its way across more rough, open seas to Seattle by ship, where it would then be detonated?

    That’s a strawman argument. What we’re afraid of is that Islamic terrorists might infiltrate the port of said village and plant friendly employees there to help them get items through customs, then purchase an old Soviet nuclear bomb, put it on a ship, and go directly to Seattle, where it would then be detonated.

    You see how strategically and tactically important Dillingham is in this scenario.

  14. Brian,
    I’ll take your troll bait

    Troll-bait?? Oh please, don’t be silly. I’ve posted here many times over the last couple years and stand behind what I say with my real name – yeah that sounds like a troll… Anyway, don’t get your undies in a bunch, I was being a bit (just a bit) facetious.

    But, as to your argument about oil etc. I will say that it hardly makes up for the federal largesse that goes to Alaska. It’s not like we pay for that oil with pork so it’s a good deal for us. If I or anyone else wants that oil we have to buy it on the open market. So unless you think paying twice for the oil is a privilege we should be grateful for, the oil argument (or any other product we have to buy) doesn’t wash. Until you all start sending me a tank of gas and a salmon dinner now and then I’m not persuaded. Besides, I strongly suspect we’d get even more oil out of Alaska and onto the world market if Russia owned it – Putin wouldn’t be reluctant to drill in ANWR.

    As for Oregon and your “high-falutin’ sophistication” remark – I don’t know what that has to do with anything. I might live there but the state is certainly no more a part of my identity than Alaska for that matter and I am not going to take it personally if you think it should be given back to the Brits or Native Americans either. I will say, however, that at least Oregon pays more to DC than it gets back in pork so they’re a net supporter of the likes of Alaska which rakes in nearly $1.87 for each dollar it pays in taxes (second only to New Mexico… hmmm dare I suggest that we give them back to Mexico? 😉 ) Worse, Alaska’s raiding of the rest of our pockets has been on a steady increase over the last 25 years. If this keeps up in another decade they’ll taking us for 3:1. Oil or no oil, it’s a pretty sweet deal for Alaska and a pretty big shaft for those states carrying their own weight.

    So yeah, I don’t think we’d miss it that much if it went back to Russia. I figure we could still buy the oil and fish, visiting might be even more fun because it would be a foreign country (you know, kind of makes it more exotic!) and we’d get a net gain to the treasury almost equal to all the taxes paid by Alaskan’s today. Now that would be a sweet deal for the rest of us! 🙂

  15. This surveillance camera thing is an overreaction Brokeback Mountian. That movie really made them jittery out west.

  16. Or excited. Are those cameras high def? I just imagine some guy in an ill fitting polyester rentacop uniform poring over the monitors muttering “Where’s Heath Ledger when you need him?”

  17. Barney Fife is definitely going to catch those schemin’ A-Rabs if he gets a couple of them fancy camera doohickies.

  18. I’ve posted here many times over the last couple years and stand behind what I say with my real name
    Good for you. While we are comparing names, mine’s Kenton Henry. Sorry about the ‘troll’ bit but when you insult my home state as a “frozen wasteland of a money pit” it tends to rile me up. I didn’t just spend a shitload of money to move back here after 15 years away to have anybody insult it.

    But, as to your argument about oil etc. I will say that it hardly makes up for the federal largesse that goes to Alaska.
    Aah, yes, that’s right, the oil that comes out of the ground here does nothing to contribute to the Federal Budget. People seem to forget all the federal income taxes on the oil (35%), all the income taxes on the oil industry workers (in the field and in the office). Granted, the oil doesn’t stay in Alaska but it still makes money for the Federal government.

    Putin wouldn’t be reluctant to drill in ANWR.
    I agree because there would be no Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The problem with this state is that only 1% is privately owned. The Federal and State Govnernments own the rest. If the state owned ANWR, that sucker would have been tapped 2 decades ago but alas, Washington has control of it. Legislators in this state have been trying to open ANWR to drilling for 25 years and every time it makes it to a vote it fails thanks to legislators from the Lower 48.

    As for Oregon and your “high-falutin’ sophistication” remark – I don’t know what that has to do with anything.
    Sorry, this was to have been humourous (as well as the description of our state Capitol). Perhaps next time I will follow it with a 😉 for clarification.

    I will say, however, that at least Oregon pays more to DC than it gets back in pork so they’re a net supporter of the likes of Alaska which rakes in nearly $1.87 for each dollar it pays in taxes (second only to New Mexico… hmmm dare I suggest that we give them back to Mexico?
    Again, like New Mexico, the damn state is owned by Washington. When the Feds give control of the state up, then they can bitch about having to pay for it.

    Worse, Alaska’s raiding of the rest of our pockets has been on a steady increase over the last 25 years.
    So bitch to your god-damned Senators and Representatives and get them to stop sending pork our way. Tell them to stop being such chickenshits when it comes to allowing it. Hell, we only have 1 Representative, even Hawaii has more clout than we do.
    Of course that won’t happen because your legislators are just as enamoured with thier pork as our legislators are with ours. Quid Pro Quo and nobody wants to face thier constituents and tell them they couldn’t bring the bacon home do they?

    For the record, I am all for cutting Federal spending in this, and any other, state. Let the state’s survive on thier own money, it will make them more responsive to the needs of the state’s populace.

  19. put it on a ship, and go directly to Seattle, where it would then be detonated.

    If I have my math right… that means we’ll need another 18,779 surveillance cameras for Seattle alone!

  20. Putin wouldn’t be reluctant to drill in ANWR.
    I agree because there would be no Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The problem with this state is that only 1% is privately owned. The Federal and State Govnernments own the rest. If the state owned ANWR, that sucker would have been tapped 2 decades ago but alas, Washington has control of it. Legislators in this state have been trying to open ANWR to drilling for 25 years and every time it makes it to a vote it fails thanks to legislators from the Lower 48.

    This is kind of unrelated, but isn’t keeping the ANWR oil in the ground a good thing strategically. I mean if the Peak Oil stuf is true and oil starts getting scarce wouldn’t having the ANWR oil in those future scenarios a lot better than tapping it all now, during a time when a world war (should any arise) would hinge less on oil reserves? Isn’t this sort of like the strategic reserves the US already has writ large?

    I often come on here to rag on military spending, on more / better nukes and stuf like that, but this oil seems like it could prove a lot more important than what it is that the military actually spends its budget on.

  21. This is truly baffling to me. I spent 2 summers on a salmon boat based out of Dillingham. What possible threat could DHS believe is there that would warrant monitoring? The U.S. fishermen? The Russian fisherman (who are more abundant down in Homer, incidentally)? The support industries for the fishermen?

    What moron of a terrorist would try to infiltrate a small community of fishermen who are constantly keeping one eye on each other out of pure competition in the first place? Sure, the population increases in the summer as fishermen come from various and sundry places, but everyone is known by someone. There are no secrets in a small town, even if the small town floats on the bay most of the time.

    Inconceivable.

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