Sunday, December 03, 2006

Losing the battle for Iraq, but winning the invasion on privacy

But if crying and holding on
And flying on the ground is wrong
Then I'm sorry to let you down
"Flying on the Ground is Wrong" B.S. (buffalo springfield)

As our knowledge of privacy rights grow, we learn how much our privacy rights have shrunk. (I'll forgo the strong temptation to paraphrase something here Ben Franklin said about liberty vs. security a few years back.) But I was amused by news of the government's database of airline passengers it keeps.

Based on a number of factors like your flying habits and preferences, Uncle Sam creates a kind of report card on each flying member of the public. So if you normally sit in a window seat but book a flight one day with a sudden change of habit and decide to sit on the aisle, tsk, tsk. This could negatively impact your flying "grade".

But the great advantage to this that I can see is, it's like being back in school except you don't have to take a test. You don't even have to study for the test you don't have to take. The government simply issues you a report card without those things! (I'm not sure what happens if you get an "F" or decide to sit on the aisle sometime. At the very least, you'll probably miss your flight to Akron.)

The other thing we learned about flying late last week is the incredible X-raying of every flying person! It's a program just beginning. Initially offered to those lucky enough to fly out of Phoenix (in more ways than one), but be patient. Other airports you frequent will also offer these as soon as next year.

Here, in the above example, an innocuous enough looking passenger is voluntarily handing over her Glock G17 9 millimeter handgun. Simple enough, problem solved, right? Well, not exactly. The new X-ray technology reveals at least 8 or 9 other concealments of possible weapons or places weapons could be concealed.

Of course, we all know that radiation exposure isn't real good for the body. It has a cummulative effect that can be harmful over the course of one's lifetime. (Pity the poor frequent flyers?) That we should limit our exposures to X-rays to cases where it's absolutely necessary. Like when you have cancer and radiation treatment is indicated to combat the cancer from over-exposure to X-rays and radiation that might have caused your cancer.

But what I found particularly unamusing about this unfolding story was a Jack Cafferty segment on CNN's The Situation Room coverage of it Friday. Reading viewers feedback on this plan, Cafferty chose to feature only those who responded positively to showing us their "naughty bits". (Negative reactions to the X-rays were up on the website, but CNN chose to go with the "funny side" on air, making this nothing more than a snickering moment.)

Like I said, I'll forgo the temptation to quote Ben Franklin here. I'll quote someone equally famous instead.

I got your picture, I got your picture
I'd like a million of you over myself
I want a doctor to take a picture
So I can look at you from inside as well
"Turning Japanese" The Vapors

7 comments:

enigma4ever said...

Great songs...I love Buffalo Springfield...and yup....I love that we are being xrayed- that is just great ( just ignore the noise of Enigma's teeth grinding)....What about people who already have immune damage ? what about pregnent women? What about people that have metal in their bodies- aren't they recieving higher doses ( yes)....But then again I on a NO FLY list- so what do I care- I can't fly until I am 80....

D.K. Raed said...

If I had any intention of flying, this puts the nail in that subject. It was bad enough before 911: the indignity of long lines, close seating arrangements, poor ventilation & screaming babies (not limited to infants). I don't need the added humiliation of a bored 18-yr old hardbody staring at my "bits".

It doesn't make any sense to go to this kind of effort for airline passengers, but not cargo, or other modes of transport. What's next, a "smart" car that will scan me as I drive to get a gallon of milk? I'm waiting for the mind-reading x-ray (cuz I'd really like to know what they're thinking).

You know, I gotta give this adm credit for following the goebbels plan: if they'd come right out of the box with all this invasive stuff, we'd be up in arms. But somehow, when losing freedoms little by little, people get inured.

dada, I was unfamiliar with your final quote, but it rang a bell for Steely Dan:

"I've seen your picture,
Your name in lights above it.
This is your big debut;
It's like a dream come true.
And when you smile for the camera,
I know they're gonna love it!"

ps, I see enigma just commented ... yeah, that 40-yr tail ... that's some tail, that 40-yr tail ... it's the best there is!

~~ D.K.

meldonna said...

Deke makes a damn good point -- aparently violating one's body is okay, but don't even bother to scan the checked luggage.

These thugs running our government have got to go. We might have won the election, but we still got to take the keys away from Bush. I not only wouldn't BUY a used car from him, I wouldn't let him drive one, either.

He's way past his third strike, too.

dada said...

e4e - last time I flew was Aug 2001. Haven't flown since. Many in my family believe it's because I'm afraid to despite it being the safest yet most fascist form of travel. It's because of the increasing invasiveness of it all that I refuse to fly. (Plus the fear of finding out I'm on the "no-fly" list, thus missing my flight to Akron. Boy, I'd be REALLY p*ssed then!)

And don't you think, e4e, before you reach 80 you'll be able to tele-transport to wherever you want to go w/o a flippin' aeroplane ... or--the other possibility--man will be living back in the stone age as a result of Bush policies?

And DK...good point. My wife is always reminding me all these cumulative airport inconveniences and privacy invasions against individuals who might blow up the aircraft with their skin creams and mouthwash is hogwash so long as most luggage has more rights than people and is allowed to board flights unharrassed, unviolated.

Mel: If there's one sticking point that really grabs me and chokes me more and anything, it's the unchallenged power given the sociopaths running this government, yet they remain validated in that nobody has the power to do any fuckin' thing to stop it. Bush and Cheney are treated as they're lucid, rational people when they're obviously not.

Just yesterday, Frank Rich in the NYTs and Paul Craig Roberts at Information Clearing House wrote articles seriously questioning Bush's sanity. But no problem, because Bush, the delusional megalomaniac frat boy, fart boy, leading us down the path of societal annihilation can't be stopped.

(Ahm, that's okay though, I guess, because more and more we have less and less to lose, but if we do lose it, we deserve to I suppose, e.g., getting X-rayed to board a plane is nothing more than a big fucking giggle point to CNN.)

meldonna said...

That giggling media thing is giving me the assrash, too. Example? I recently saw on one of the national morning shows coverage of the row in Mexico's congressional house over the inauguration, and they played it off to "oh, look at those crazy foriegners!" Then ran a series of videos of fisticuffs in several other countries' legislatures, mostly Asian. The point being, of course, how civilized Washington is in comparison. Came back to the studio to the laughing commentators who actually said as much, in case it was too subtle for the folks who live in trailers.

I for one was not amused.

D.K. Raed said...

Re: Tele-Trans ... just don't get into the 'porter with ... (take your pick, I'll say Barbara Bush just to scare you) ... remember "The Fly".

mel! I saw that same coverage & thought how sad that we did NOT do this Jan 2001. I mean perhaps if it had come to blows between Schummer and McCain, or between Rangel and DeLay, we might've ended up with a more bipartisan president. oh wait (slap my head), I forgot, 911 changed all that. ~~ D.K.

azgoddess said...

yea - sigh...it's the sirport of choice here in arizona but i fear i may be driving just a bit in order to avoid this mess...sigh

my thought was that they will get sued by an unsuspecting mother-to-be (x-rays bad bad abd for babies) and have to shut down the program...i can dream!