Thursday, July 22, 2004

Random Thoughts...

Have you all seen the article “Terror in the Skies…Again”? If you haven’t- you should, here’s the link (long but worth the read) http://womenswallstreet.com/WWS/article_landing.aspx?titleid=1&articleid=711
I think that I will never fly again. I have bungee-jumped, rock-repelled, went white water rafting…but I don’t think I will be on a plane in the foreseeable future. Call me immature or paranoid—I don’t care. I had a very similar experience to the one in the article in 1996 on a plane from London to Philly. I was crying and paralyzed with fear (and that was pre-9/11). Looking back I wonder if I should have notified authorities. Michelle Malkin has been investigating this story. She is linked on my site.

I heard today that news organizations ‘calling’ the election in 2000 before other states had voted cost Bush 1,400 votes on the western side of Florida alone. Someone called Hannity today to encourage people to go vote regardless of what the news is saying the day of the election…do people really need to be told that?

The mayor in Philadelphia is the worst ever in the history of the United States of America…ok, ok after Marion Barry he is the worst ever. I heard on CNN that Philly is one of the last cities in the country that still votes purely based on race. The GOP dropped the ball and ran a white dude against this incumbent who ALWAYS plays the race card…”Don’t let them take us out of power”. He defaulted on his student loans, didn’t pay taxes, had his gas and electric turned off and is running the 5th largest city in the country. NOW he wants to add money ($20-$30) to everyone’s gas and electric bills to cover the people that don’t pay! (Aside from trying to close 8 firestations). Are you kidding me? If you were the other person out there that watched the short-lived HBO K Street then you saw James Carville shamelessly using the show to campaign for him…

Moby hasn’t posted in days…he must know I am watching his every move…


I think 91Ghost IS Michael Savage….


It’s really starting to piss me off that every guy I know is making excuses for Scott Peterson…


I wish Jack Ryan hadn’t pulled out of the race in Illinois. He is a better-looking (and Republican) John-John and he could have gone far in the GOP. He is pro-life, pro-tax cuts, pro-Israel, pro-tough on crime and going after terrorists. If the ‘public sex’ story is true, I am OK with that. After Clinton I find it quite refreshing to see a man dig his own wife that much. I say he should embrace it and campaign on it. What a change that would be….I want to have sex with my own wife…how uplifting.


15 comments:

this we'll defend said...

Terrifying article. I think she was wrong about some of her concerns though. Not that she was wrong to be concerned - these guys sound suspicuous. It is just that some of her criticisms of the security system don't wash upon further reflection. But this was scary. I imagined my family on the flight, with my 3-year old son sitting next to me. I don't call you immature or paranoid at all.

Here are some points as to some of her criticisms:

1) no news on any arrests - well, no arrests were made. However, just days later a security warning to airlines addressed congregating near the lavatories and required airline attendants to check them. Also, even if there were arrests it might not be the best thing to publicize them. If you get Abdul to talk about his plans and where his fellow terrorist Mohammed is located you don't want Mohammed to know you have Abdul in custody. Smart terrorists (and the ones we are facing are very smart) will take precautionary measures, such as skipping out or canceling more dry runs whenever any of them are taken into custody. They will assume that Abdul will talk. Therefore you want them to be able to predict their behavior and catch them and turn them and then catch more and on and on. Thus it might make sense to not publicly announce your counter-terrorism actions.

2) Nobody took any action during the flight. What did she want? For the sky marshals to rush them only to find out that they were coordinating a big band number at Harrah's? The sky marshals are trained to respond appropriately, and responding inappropriately will make it even harder to respond properly the next time (imagine the headlines). For all she knows the sky marshals might have known a dry run was in progress and wanted to watch the rehearsal before they moved. It seems like the sky marshals were waiting to pounce, and that makes me feel better that they did NOT because they probably got more information by being restrained. Had the threat turned more immediate my guess is there would have been an immediate response. She was not placed in more danger through their inaction - and we all are probably a little safer because they didn't jump the gun. Kudos to them. Remember, the people that decided not to rush the guys weren't sitting in an office giving directions by phone - they were sitting on that flight too, and my guess is they wanted to make it home to their families. They made a decision based on experience and she should give them the benefit of the doubt rather than assuming they did the wrong thing.

3) Her concern about eating utensils is misplaced. In the hands of a trained individual a ballpoint pen can be deadlier than a dull butterknife. It is possible to kill a man with a rolled-up magazine - honestly, it can be a very deadly weapon. When the security people take your fingernail clippers away they are not making the flight any safer. That is why nothing has been done about eating utensils in airport restuarants. Notice that nobody has ever taken a plane using a fork - terrorists use box cutters, broken glass, and in one case acid in a bottle. Or shoe bombs. But they don't seem to be relying on butter knives or plastic sporks because they aren't stupid (I wish they would try and take a plane with a butter knife because that would be one less terrorist we would have to deal with).

4) her charge that no more than 2 Arab men can be inspected at any one time is unsubstantiated. No Arab men should be subjected to more scrutiny than the rest of us without cause - and if there is cause then they should be searched regardless of how many there are to be searched. Duh. But I didn't see any support for her claims after I did some research. BTW - who says Al Queda are all middle-eastern men? They can be Filipino, or Indonesian, or Chechnyen. In other words - they can be white guys or Oriental. There are black muslims from Africa, some pretty scary ones too. They cooperated with Al Queda in the embassy bombings. I'm not talking John Walker Lindh, I'm talking Chechnyens, Bosnians, or Kurds that might be islamic fundamentalists. They could have blonde hair and blue eyes or black skin and an afro. Focusing attention on race rather than on behavior would result in innocents being subjected to harassment while the terrorists would find it easier than before to sneak on - if they are white they get a pass? Our security and military professionals should focus on the real threat, not what uninformed people think the threat is with no background in the subject. The real threat comes in many colors. Thus her concern that 14 middle-eastern men weren't screened suggests that if they were we would be safer. Perhaps, but probably not. Especially if this was expected to be a dry run and screening would tip them off that they were being watched. And especially if they were in fact screened and nothing was found, but she didn't see it because most people breeze through security without realizing all of the screening that takes place (perhaps there was an explosive sniffer, the men had to go through normal security, and if they were already profiled there was probably eyes on them prior to boarding). I think her concerns about screening are misplaced. Screening should be better, that is for sure, but a solution that makes people feel better but doesn't increase security is worse than nothing because then fixes won't be made. Remember all the national guardsman hanging out at airports after 9/11? With unloaded weapons? That EVERYBODY, especially terrorists who do their research, KNEW were unloaded? What purpose did that serve? Well, it meant reservists who were later called on for Iraq had already had extended tours (which cost them dearly), it cost lots and lots of money, and it didn't improve security at all in any way. Given the money spent and the stress it put on training and recruiting in the reserves my guess is it made us less safe. We shouldn't make the same mistakes with screening procedures. We should improve it for real, and not care for appearances.

5) She says nobody did anything. I see that there was suspicious behavior, that the flight crew noticed it, the pilots were informed, sky marshals were on board and in communication with the crew, and everybody paid close attention. Nothing happened that caused an on-board arrest (always better to corner a bad guy when civilians are out of harms way, btw) and the plane was met by LAPD, FBI, etc. Interviews were conducted with passengers. The incident was not publicized. It sounds like the system worked pretty good. That the men weren't kept based on the lack of evidence sounds correct also - or do we throw out our Constitution because we are afraid? As a soldier who put his life on the line to defend that document, I say no it is better to keep it and take a risk here and there rather than to be safe. As Franklin said, those who would trade liberty for security will have neither.

Finally - any male who makes "excuses" for Scott Peterson is beyond my understanding. What kind of males are you hanging out with that defend a guy accused of murdering his wife and baby? I don't get it.

As a lefty I agree with your post on late voting - do it people. I believe in the will of the people even when it doesn't go my way (of course those who don't aren't supporters of democracy). I believe in the two-party system - an organized opposition helps defend us from tryanny and leads to new ideas. So vote or don't consider yourself patriotic, and I don't care what time it is when you vote, and I don't care if you think your candidate is already winning or losing. Vote, dammit. People gave their lives so you could do that.

ALa said...

this we'll defend_I have been watching this case closely and appreciated your insights. If you are interested you can look up a similar experience that James Woods (actor) had on 8/1/01. He later identified 2 or the men on his 'dry-run' as 9/11 highjackers. I know that nothing will make up 100% safe (as Condeleeza said -"we have to be right 100% of the time and they only have to be right once"), but I don't know if I could bear the pain of 9/11 again...it took me so long to run out of tears.

~Jen~ said...

Alicia, I completely agree with your take on Jack Ryan. Gorgeous, smart, REPUBLICAN, and in to his former wife big time. You're right. It's refreshing.

Such a shame he had the class to bow out. *sigh* I wonder how the press would have spun it if he had been a democrat. I bet he'd still be in the race, and ahead in the polls after their spin machine painted him sympathetically.

Vadergrrrl said...

This is a great blog and post. you are as smart as hell. We can never forget...thank you for the reminder.

it is anoying that anyone would defend scott p. but im not surprised with the world today. i stop trying to figure idiots out.

anyway, found your link off My war- an amazing site. feel bad about demon queens post..... sigh...

ALa said...

I should say that the men in my life are not saying that Scott should be let off for killing Lacey...(I don't want you all to think they are total cads)...They, I guess, are trying to assume he is innocent before being proven guilty. They say there is no evidence. I say there is no doubt in my mind. Anyone that has a dog (let alone a big dog) knows that there is NO way in hell a dog is letting 'crazed wierdos in a brown van' pull it's 8 month pregnant master into the van without even a bark (let alone an attack)!

Vadergrrrl said...

yeah, i understand that someone should not be convicted in the press. that is not right. let the guy have a fair trial.

cheers!

justrose said...

Back to ALa71's obsession with Moby ("he must know I'm watching his every move") I can personally attest to the fact that I have had the privilege of speaking to the wise and wonderful ALa71 on the phone every day for the past . . . God, how many years is it now? Since we had kids, anyway. But we've known each other for 29 years -- no, we're not old biddies, we went to kindergarten together and grew up literally next door to each other -- and Moby has been a shadowy personage in our daily conversations for some months now. Why do you read it? I ask. She says it's like a train wreck -- she can't stop looking. I think it's great. She's fair enough to want to hear the counterpoints, but they just make me defensive. I think this blog is a wonderful forum for all her really informed opinions -- I can't talk politics anywhere -- I just tell everyone to call HER. She rocks! xx jr

Jenn said...

Wow great blog! I want your not Fonda Kerry banner! I love that! I will be back to have a serious look at all the stuff you have here. This is a great blog.

tescosuicide said...

I would like to thank 'This We'll Defend' for his insight on the "Terror in the Skies...Again?" portion of RANDOM THOUGHTS. You really opened my eyes to the problem with racial profiling. Up to now, no one has been able to change my view on this.

Kat said...

Quick rant here..."This We'll Defend" is right. Racial profiling doesn't work because Islam has just as many diverse ethinicities as Christianity. The Chechnyan guys are some very white russians that speak Russian and not Arabic. How is "profiling" someone going to stop that guy?

Also, Al-Qaeda is actively trying to recruit "non-Arab" looking people, particularly converted American citizens, to carry out their plans because they know we are scrutizining every dark skinned guy with a slight accent. Profiling will not work.

In regards to effective security, any measure that we put in place must be applied to everyone because of the probability that the next set of attacks will be done by someone that does not fit the profile we have in our little minds as "terrorist". Therefore, if we think extra screening is needed, it must be applied to everyone. And believe me, I am a frequent traveler and will be cursing that day, but I would rather do it than let it go.

Also, the government stinks at educating people. Those stupid posters they put outside of the security gates about what is allowed or not do not work! We need some serious overhaul of the government education/documentary program. We need an hour long show that completely educates people on what to expect when they are traveling.

I can't tell you how many times I've stood behind some body who was running late and carried some "contraband" item in their bag and then got pissed because the guard pulled them aside and then causes a scene at the gate where more guards come and now, not only is the asshole going to miss his plane, but you are late because they will not let your through the gate while they are escorting number one asshole from the area and you will now have to pray that you don't "buzz" the machine, take off your dress shoes and run through the airport to catch your plane.

Uh, oh...I feel a rant coming on. I think I will pop over to my own blog and continue that discussion.

In regards to Jack Ryan...Can you believe it? He wanted to have sex with his wife in a public place? The bastard! Why couldn't he do it with a prostitute or an intern like the rest of guys? (tongue in cheek). I think you are right about him embracing it and using it has a running point. If he had said, "Yes, I thought my wife was sexy and wanted her right then." He would have gotten half the women's vote immediately. The rest would have came around eventually. You did notice that his ex wife tried to speak up and save his ass, but it was a day late and a dollar short.

Of course, I think this is a huge hypocracy coming from a group who's last president categorically denied under oath, having sexual relations with "THAT woman" and then I had to see his lying cheating face, crying like Jimmy Swaggert, begging our forgiveness for his little slip and everyone was protecting him saying they were trying to impeach him for his extra marital affairs when really he was a freaking criminal lying under oath.

Ooopsss...feel another rant coming on.

Great blog! Glad I stopped by.

91ghost said...

Being called Michael Savage is one of the highest honors ever bestowed upon me! I am humbled.

In regards to the upcoming election: Rep. Bernice Johnson, a Texas democrat has sent a letter to Kofi Annan (the U.N. overlord) formally requesting U.N. election monitors on our soil--I don't think I need to comment much on the absurdity and the treachery of such a request. I have a lot of faith that this idea will not see the light of day, not now atleast. What is scary though, is just the fact alone that a member of Congress would even conceive of such an idea. What is even scarier however, is what her request portends for the future...again, like a cancer unchecked, the perview and power of the U.N. will continue to gradually and incrementally, yet steadily, grow...unless it ever is checked...but the chances of that happening are very slim, for the fiber and backbone of today's public is like a bowl of mush compared to those who bled in the snows of Valley Forge.

ALa said...

91Ghost_I meant it s a compliment...M.S. is always welcome in our house!

91ghost said...

I indeed took it as a compliment...there was no sarcasm intended in my reply. Sometimes the lines can get blurred and jumbled when communicating electronically. Again, I certainly took it as a high compliment! I have now linked you and the other "Philly gal"...actually my wife did it for me as I am too dumb and impatient to figure out all this internet/computer shit. I miss Pac-Man. I miss Atari...even though my brother and I were the only kids on the block without one. I miss rotary fucking phones.

Kat said...

Ok...UN involved in our elections would be the end of our power in the world. We would effectively have aborted our position as any moral authority on fair elections and democratic free countries. Not even the democrats (the real ones) would support these idiots, becuase that would negate their power as well.

Frankly, had it succeeded in even coming up in congress as an actually viable plan, I would have dropped everything, gathered up all my friends (right or left) and marched on the capital. Frankly, and I may be feeling this a little too strong, I think they should be impeached for even suggesting anything so ridiculous.

91ghost said...

Kat-Missouri: Amen.