Thursday, November 25, 2004

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Gaynier and Her Security Cake

Why do you feel safe to get on an airplane in the U.S.?

Rhonda Gaynier and the ALCU may make it a little easier for their terrorist enemies to board planes if this problem grows larger roots.

Gaynier would like to have her cake and eat it too. She does not want her privacy to be violated. She does want to board the airplane. She claims she was searched like she was a convict. Guilty until proven innocent...isn't that the way the investigation must be conducted?

Okay, people should absolutely NOT be groped in any way that is inconsistent with what is necessary to prove that they are not hiding weapons on their body. Personally, as a male, I do not appreciate the wand or anyone's hands checking me out at the airport, and for women it must be even more humiliating. But let's keep our focus here. Gaynier's planned class action lawsuit is not going to make matters better. In fact, I'm immediately reminded of the line from A Few Good Men from Colonel Jessep: "You just weakened a country today."

Solution? There are no easy ones. As long as screenings are going to be required, there are going to be problems and frustrations. Were Gaynier and everyone else who are now claiming that they were touched inappropriately right to make accusations? I am certain that a percentage of them are legitimate.

Maybe we should allow physicians to perform the checks. Maybe they could do a mini check-up as we went through screening and we could get a health report along with a clearance to board. Wouldn't this also fit with the x-ray machines that are being tested for body screenings? Couldn't a good radiologist get a quick glance at our bodies along with a view of possible hidden weapons? We don't argue that our family doctor goes too far when he/she investigates into highly personal areas because we know it is necessary. 'Necessary' may also be the word we have to accept when it comes to being screened at the airport as well.

Gaynier's accusations should be taken seriously, as should others. But the issue of so-called "freedoms" is not at stake here. The ACLU has no business in this argument (but then, wha'ts new.) America will only be free as long as we are a safe nation. If our terrorist enemies were smart, they would not only be training fighters to carry bombs and guns, but also lawyers to fight in the U.S. courts for the freedom to harm Americans.

Maybe in the future we can have two systems: flights for people who wish to be screened and flights for those who do not.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Bread Ties

In Seinfeldesque terms I must ask, "So what's up with bread?"

While all of the other products that are packaged and sold at the grocery have come to be enveloped with unpenetrable layers of safety features, bread is sold in a bag with an inviting twist tie on the end/top. I only became aware of this problem this week when the bread I purchased had a somewhat defective twist tie on the end, alerting me to the possibility that someone, anyone, could have opened this package of bread and harmed the bread in countless and unimaginable ways. Are we really this naive? When is the bread industry going to catch up with the rest of the world of safety seals? Are we going to hold them accountable or are we going to continue to buy bread in these ancient packages?

Join with me as I march in front of the department of bread to make sure that our voices are heard and the future is going to be a better place. (Or, write you congressman.)

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Casual Casualties

Quick, how many British casualties have there been in Iraq? Italian? Poles?

If you're like me and somewhat of a current affairs addict, you at least know the ballpark figure for how many U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq. The most recent official count is 1,140 for American men and women, and 1,286 for the coalition (not including the new Iraqi army, I presume.) Britian has lost 74, Italy, 19, Poland, 13.

Certainly one of the horrible things about continued fighting is the numbness that we develop as a society to the casualties that are reported. This morning on the radio news they reported how many U.S. soldiers had been killed and wounded in the last two days in Fallujah. The report was so dry and matter-of-fact that it reminded me of Stalin's statement: "A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic." First, it is interesting that such words came from a man who was responsible for so many deaths. Second, it is even more interesting how right he was.

During peaceful times, any member of the U.S. military who is killed makes the headlines in the news, usually with a detailed story. Not so in war times. To their credit, though, there does seem to be an effort by the media to give significance to each U.S. soldier who is killed in action, and obviously to our regret it would be impossible to explain the complete story in each and every case.

Another observation is the significance for Americans solely concerning American lives. Yes, our national media is going to cater to that in which we are most interested, but you rarely hear the statistics for how many troops were killed for any of the other countries involved. We are very ethnocentric people to the degree that other lives don't seem to carry the same weight as Americans.

It is interesting that the term "casualty" derives from the same root as "casual" due to the meaning of "accident" or "chance." Today we certainly don't relate the words nor do we think there is anything casual about being killed. Sadly, though, casualties become increasingly casual in our news as the numbers continue to increase.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Blogging the Vote

Standing in line to vote today I began to pick out the Kerry voters and the Bush voters. It was easy, actually.

The nervous ones are voting for Bush; they have everything to lose and they care. The carefree ones are voting for Kerry; their cares are fewer because they have little to lose, and so they think, much to gain. The Kerry voters are wearing wind-surfing gear, Red Sox hats, and playing air guitar. The Bush voters are wearing business suits and are anxious to get to their banking jobs.

The SUV drivers are voting Bush, too. I know they're SUV drivers because they keep anxiously looking to the parking lot to see if their SUV's are performing malicious acts while unattended in the parking lot. The Kerry voters are taking off their leather driving gloves as we stand together in line.

I make a joke about voter intimidation to test the waters. The Bush voters laugh. The Kerry voters try to ignore me as they look through their Democrat handbooks for anything that might actually be voter intimidation. The rain was certainly intimidating, but accusing God of voter intimidation is going to be difficult even for liberals.

The couple ahead in line who are speaking French must be voting Kerry. The guy in the cowboy hat is voting Bush, and he speaks Texan. The soccer moms are driven to madness - "Do I vote for national security or for government healthcare?" they ask themselves. The woman behind us with the unshaven legs is obviously voting Kerry. Oh, wait, Nader. The priest in the other line must be voting for Bush.

The elderly seem to be happy just to be voting. There are plenty of comments about the big turnout. Of course, this is Alabama. Senior citizens are voting for Bush whether or not they've been Democrats or Republicans for the past 90 years. The South is still a century away from voting for a liberal.

I see Kurt Cobain, Mary Poppins, and John Wayne ahead of me in line. They must have responded to Sean Combs' efforts to get people to "vote or die." I wonder if they have valid ID's.
The entire process took only 75 minutes. That's 15 minutes faster than a failed attempt to renew my tags the previous day. Success!