You are here


Error message

  • Deprecated function: Optional parameter $decorators_applied declared before required parameter $app is implicitly treated as a required parameter in include_once() (line 3532 of /home/ethepmkq/public_html/drupal7core/includes/
  • Deprecated function: Optional parameter $relations declared before required parameter $app is implicitly treated as a required parameter in include_once() (line 3532 of /home/ethepmkq/public_html/drupal7core/includes/

Security Theater—Now with more Audience Participation!

Cartoon of TSA agents preparing to grope little boy

Borepatch argues that the TSA has not just an impossible job, but also has incentives that lead them to do the worst possible job:

Consider their metrics.  How would you measure success?  Quite frankly, there's no plausible metric here - to my knowledge, TSA has never caught a terrorist in the act. Sure, terrorists have been caught in the act (the shoe bomber, the Christmas bomber), but none of these were caught by TSA. The Christmas bomber was caught by an alert airline checkin employee; the show bomber was caught by passengers on the plane.


I’m Not the Only One

Dr. Sanity writes new lyrics for John Lennon’s hippie anthem:

Imagine no Progressives
It's easy if you try
No victimhood or nannies
No truth you can deny
Imagine people taking

Imagine no Obama
It isn't hard to do
No Harry or Pelosi
Just people with a clue
Imagine life without them
To tell us what to do

You may say that I'm a "racist"
'Cause I disagree with you;
But there's this thing they call projection
And it sticks to you like glue


It Doesn’t Add Up

Stopping along the intertracks in the days since the big election, I’ve noticed a spreading meme. Progressives, Democrats and lefties are being described as innumerate:

marked by an ignorance of mathematics and the scientific approach

This is not a new development decay in Prog theory. They’ve never been able to do math. Arithmetic dispels unicorns. But now more people seem to be recognizing that the era of make-believe budgeting will be brought to an ugly conclusion by the new righty majority:



I’ve been listening to lefty radio semi-regularly for a couple of months. It’s quite a paranoid party they have going on. And the election this week has them really off the rails. I find the endless carping about corporations [shiver!] kind of amusing. And god bless them, I know their hearts are even in the right place sometimes.

But this afternoon I heard a couple of assertions that put the joke to the claim that they’re the reality-based community.

  • Barack Obama is not a Progressive. He’s a moderate, centrist Democrat.
  • In the 1950s, Obama would have been a Republican.

Wow. Just wow.


Segregationist Colleges

Embracing MLK’s dream would require putting character and achievement above subculture and skin color. But those most opposed to adjusting their value hierarchy tend to look a lot like the folks Dr. King was dreaming for. Freed from legal segregation, they cling to voluntary segregation. We’re a half-century from Little Rock, but Historically Black Colleges and Universities are given protected and revered status. It doesn’t make sense:


Pickett’s Vote

From what I hear, the righties are giddy and frothing about their predicted victories tomorrow. I understand that this is the moment for enthusiasm to peak, riding the emotion to help carry all the voters to their polling places. But it strikes me as a perfect example of a flawed political system.

We’re rooting for teams, not ideas. And certainly not policy. Sure, there is value in doing something—anything—to inhibit the lefty steamroller. I think many of the people going to vote righty or TEA Party tomorrow genuinely believe they can stop the national collapse.

I say the battle is already lost. The righties are gearing up for their version of Pickett’s Charge:


Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition

There’s been some chatter about the separation of church and state. Christine O’Donnell was correct; the doctrine does not appear in the Constitution. And perhaps the best evidence against those who argue it’s there but you can’t see it is the fact that Congress still opens its sessions with a prayer.

But let’s pretend the students at the Widener Law School and the revisionists who preach that the separation is one of the highest the laws of the land are correct. Assume church and state are distinct spheres which must not overlap.

Then the simplest answer to contain and control expansive government is to expand the territory of religion. When church and state both claim to control some area of our culture and activities, the Constitution says religion wins. It says, “Congress shall make no law…”


All Aboard Amtrak

Setting aside the politics and much of the economic silliness that comes with politics, does rail service offer anything to compete with air travel? This guy took a train and liked it:

Everyone we met, from trainmen, conductors, and attendants to counter clerks, security personnel, and our fellow passengers were, if not downright happy, at minimum in a good mood. Unlike the aggravated, anxious, aggressively rude misanthropes at the airport, from packed waiting rooms to the exclusive waiting rooms to the sightseeing car, people were polite, relaxed, and smiling. The security matched that of the airport—without the striptease: the ticket clerk asked for a photo ID.


A Matter of Character

I came across a couple of leftoid videos today. Separately, they were kind of funny. Together, it suggests there will be trouble after the election.

In the first, a parade of clichés establishes that anyone resistant to the progressive agenda is heartless or stupid:

And in the second, we see how our enlightened guardians would prefer to handle dissent:


The Root of the Crime Problem

This reflection on the crime problem in New Orleans is relevant to Minneapolis. At least some parts, anyway. And probably to a neighborhood near you.

A terrible, horrible crime occurs. The city gets up in arms. March on City Hall. Demand change. We're mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore! Editorials bray against the madness. Politicians bloviate. Time passes. Nothing changes.

When — and how — do we really change? When do we stop frantically looking for answers under the same sofa cushions we've looked under hundreds of times before? Schools. Playgrounds. Jobs.


A Brown Man in a Black Box

Cobb makes a general cultural distinction that I’ve been applying to Obama for several years:

I know my kids ain't black. And when it comes to their adulthood, they won't need to be. They're brown - like the zillions in Africa, India and South and Central America. That's a good enough sample, and it's only skin color. They can't be black like me because my blackness was born of the times, not an essential, inescapable box, but a response to a condition. But so much of who I am is locked into that alternatively golden and grim experience.

The times and conditions Cobb refers to I think are well-illustrated in the beginning pages of Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets. The author—who looks brown due to South Asian heritage—meets a gang leader in the stairwell of a Chicago housing project:


Not for Enormous Destruction — But for Enormous Pleasure

It’s 1946, the Krauts and the Nips have surrendered, and you’re out enjoying civilian life with your best gal. You stop into the arcade to play a few games. First a little pinball, and then maybe nuke a few cities:

Player view of Atomic Bomber arcade game


Jeanne d’Alaska

If Progressives want to know what Sarah Palin feels like to the Right, the answer is Erin Brockovich.

Quoted from: Cobb

Post Style: 

Veto Power for the States

I was taught that the U.S. Consitution provides a system of checks and balances for the three branches of government. Congress can have its laws repealed by the Judiciary, and the Executive can be denied funding by the Congress, just for a couple of top-of-my-head examples.

The system may still be in the text, but the branches of government have decided they can interpret the Constitution as they desire. The system depends on a somewhat adversarial relationship between the branches. If all three are in basic agreement, Federal power is not checked and the whole structure goes out of balance.

And it really doesn’t matter that different political parties and factions have more weight in different branches. They’ll surely find things to argue about, but in a broader view all the big factions have a vested interest in bigger government. Constitutional limits are not vigorously enforced.


More Turbulence for Air Travelers

I could blame bin Laden for this, but really it is the government’s failure to craft a better system:

From the American Airlines Web page:

As a result of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) mandate, beginning November 1, all passengers will be required to have Secure Flight Passenger Data (SFPD) in their reservation at least 72 hours prior to departure. This is the next phase in a program that was initiated by the TSA in 2009. 


Everything’s Coming Up Milhous

Tam’s watching reruns:

So the gaffe-prone alpha male Texan with a controversial service record, view of the government as benevolent rescuer at home, and an aggressive foreign policy is out, and has been replaced with the skinny, cigarette-smoking, paranoid political apparatchik who promised us peace with honor and is obsessed with the enemies out to destroy him.

Next time we recast this series, the writers will probably eliminate the cigarettes. And that is the only part I like.


Attacking Ourselves Instead of Defending Each Other

Last week’s peaking hullabaloo over the Koranflagration and the Hamasque prompted Maxed Out Mama to step outside of her usual economic territory:

[B]y making, quite literally, a federal case of it, they have all conveyed the global message that rioting, burning, stabbing and any other type of barbaric Islamic behavior justify the suspension of the US Constitution when it comes to Muslims. In short, very prominent members of our executive are attempting to, de facto, suspend the constitution in such a way that it must inevitably have given the greatest surge of joy to violent Islamic factions since 9/11.

In 2003, Osama bin Laden wrote:


Michigan Cancelled Their State Fair

The failure is bigger than Detroit:

Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm canceled the fair, saying debt-ridden Michigan could no longer afford to subsidize it. Granholm's decision makes Michigan the only Midwestern state and one of few nationwide without a state fair.

The Michigan State Fair had been a state tradition for 160 years and held at Eight Mile and Woodward, within Detroit city limits, since 1905. But the fair had been running deficits and needed $360,000 from the state in 2008 to cover losses. Fewer than 220,000 people passed through last year. At its peak in 1966, the fair drew 1 million.

Parks for Pensions

The Federal government is broke. Minnesota government and the City of Minneapolis can’t be broke in the same way because they lack the ability to run perpetual deficits. But I say they’re functionally broke because of their inability to set spending priorities. There’s always enough for fun projects. $30 million here, $7.7 million there, and yet there’s not enough money to keep up the roads or pay firefighters.

Anyone who works to provide a core government service is always first on the budget chopping block.


Who’s Side Are You On?

Cobb reflects:

The collapse of the WTC helped remind us how deeply we can suffer and still stand. Anybody that consumes drama, especially the vulgar and petty drama of our pop entertainment culture, needs a kick in the teeth every blue moon. That's what we got, and how. And when we got it, a lot of us were reminded - I know that I was - that war is always with us. War is always with us.

Over the past weeks I have been arguing that we are at war. Not the war that this date brings to mind, but between the factions in the United States. I am surprised by the resistance I found to my use of that word: “war”.



Subscribe to RSS - U.S.A.