God We’re Bored

Our lovely and talented assistant Maru performs an interpretive dance expressing our frustration upon encountering story ideas too small to merit our attention, forcing us to resort to a kitty video to meet our self-imposed deadline.

And yes, we’re fully aware that the celebrated Don’t Touch My Junk incident happened across the freeway from Stinque World Domination Headquarters. Yet somehow, we still can’t feign interest in it. Maybe because we’ve only flown maybe a dozen times in our life.

34 Comments

The Chinese overlords have blocked this video. Is it from YouTube?

@Dodgerblue:
Yes.

I “missed” the whole incident by about 3 hours as that was the day I was leaving Sandy Eggo. The guy went through the same security checkpoint I did. It explains why the guards weren’t in a good mood.

“Don’t touch my junk” is the new “Don’t taze me bro.”

I’ll bet the t-shirts are already all over Cafepress.

Gotta love it.

(UPDATE: sure enough, you can already buy “Don’t Touch My Junk” T-Shirts on eBay.)

Meanwhile, Peter LaBarbera, well-known mad stalker of gays and who still can’t get a date, brings up a very valid point.

I really shouldn’t read the news. It depresses me beyond measure.

But here’s a nice fairy tale:

TSA success story

@Benedick:
the IDF is laughing hysterically at us……
and so am i. i have been unable to focus since hearing these 5 words: Christine O’Donnell got FORTY PERCENT. be afraid. be very afraid.

btw, i would much prefer ellen degeneres patting me down than the 4oo pound mouth breathing straight… um…lady? who feels me up with those gigantic hairy paws.

Sorry folks, but I find this grope-or-scope thing just a whole lot of tiresome shite. I invoke Nojo’s “I’m a fellow traveler” clause, to say that to hell with it, until we’ve spent a few decades fending off insane, asymetrical threats that take our kids, our friends and our unknowns from us through bombs, bullets and blockades, then give the TSA a break until they get the system down.

I just want to board a plane, suffer long flights in silence, and arrive at my destination safely where I can then risk death, disease or dismemberment through reasonably natural causes of my more or less own choosing.

Don’t be the asshole in front of me in the security line trying to make a statement.

/end rant/

@Nabisco:

Actually, part of what bemuses me about this whole issue is the apparent prudishness of the objections. I think we’d be much better off generally if we didn’t throw a hissy fit at the thought of other people seeing us naked. In fact, I think we’d be a much healthier society if we spent a little more time being naked around each other. And I say this as a guy who’s never been to a clothing optional beach or resort.

@Nabisco:
I kinda agree. Can’t have freedums and safe-T in certain things. Airplanes are one of those certain things. Like seat belts. No one likes mandatory laws (I don’t really) but the laws of physics states that one’s freedums ends where the windshield begins so I buckle up because I’d rather suffer a little bit of “tyranny” than, you know, die.

As to the numbnuts who think that people get off on that? After the few patdowns I’ve had. It’s sort of like the aftermath of a prostate exam. Everyone feels rather uncomfortable and no one looks each other in the eye.

Who the fuck wants to touch someone’s sweaty stinky junk in public?

@Nabisco: Word. My first thought was ‘Teabagger’.

Now listen, class, in more serious news, it is about time for us all to be potting up our paperwhites if we want them in bloom for the holidays. I don’t have to tell you all how important that is. But, don’t you hate it when they get too tall and flop over? I know I do. If only the stems wouldn’t get quite so long! Well, just in time, Cornell has come up with the solution: vodka. Mix one part booze with six parts water and that way…

Fuque it. Go look for yourselves. Just don’t say I never do anything for you.

Here’s the thing: How much privacy are you willing to give up for a semblance of safety. Do these scanners really make us safer?

The NSA et al invade our privacy every single day claiming they have to to make us safe, but are we really any safer?

Every time I visit this site, I give up more and more information about myself (not complaining — I turn off Ghostery, NoScript, etc. and don’t privately browse so Nojo can get some duckets). Sure, most of my information is used for targeted marketing and by SEO folks, but eventually all this stuff adds up in databases somewhere. And this info isn’t always secure. Even using anonymous proxy servers isn’t a sure thing. Someone somewhere always knows who you are when you fire up firefox or send an email through gmail. Google keeps your searches and clicks in their databases for about 1.5 years.

To me, the real chore is evaluating threats to determine if they’re real or if they’re some form of mass hysteria. When people are afraid, and when the gov’t uses that fear to gather more information than they really need, well, I have problem with that.

The way I see it, this issue involves more than naked scans and palpation of genitals. Those are just the most recent developments in an effort to make us feel safe because we’re afraid enough to willingly give up privacy.

I’ll take the pat down, not because I don’t want someone to see my nakedish body but because I’d rather not have those images stored in some database with all the other crap about me that’s already on the net and in databases far and wide.

I’m more afraid of the invasion of my privacy than I am of being blown up in a plane.

Don’t get me started on Real ID.

@JNOV sez hit Vick in the head witta battery: Yes. This.

Where’s IanJ? Doesn’t he own a kilt?

And news flash to all who think this absurd performance art in airport security lines somehow makes us safe: It won’t. Even if a terrorist isn’t shoving a stick of C4 in his ass or in her vagina, they can plop it in the cargo hold. And deadly terrorism existed before 9/11, even on airplanes. We just weren’t losing our fucking heads over it.

The chances are infinitely higher that I’ll be killed driving to the airport (while wearing my seat belt) than some asshat with a grudge against who the fuck knows will blow up my plane.

As someone who travels by plane at least twice a month for my job, I shouldn’t be virtually strip-searched and exposed to high levels of x-ray radiation for no other reason than I bought a plane ticket.

Ben Franklin was right.

While we’re talking about the War on Terrah, run, do not walk, to your nearest bookstore or Stinque kickback linque and pick up the new paperback edition of Jon Krakauer’s Where Men Win Glory about Pat Tillman and the Bush Administration’s war propaganda machine.

Holeee fuck.

@ManchuCandidate:
it’s NOT even in public! they take you to a little room.. Big Fucking Deal.
as JNOV says, it’s the other breaches of our security that make me pissy.
and the thing with the scanners? how effective is THAT? bombers are a clever group and will just think of something else. we’ve all read the studies. we aren’t paying these people enough and we aren’t training them properly. make it a good position..like the profilers at ben gurion. they’re trained to profile. but we don’t want to upset anyone in that way.

@Benedick:
vodka…good for sooo many things. bleach works too!
and wtf IS in HM’s handbag. from what what i’ve read, it can only be one thing…the keys to the thermostats?

@baked:
US America (but not limited to) Airlines (and customers who are absolutely addicted to Walmartization aka something for nothing) don’t want to pay for that. Seems they would rather bump up CEO bonuses rather than pay for security, good experienced maintenance workers, excellent pilots etc.

@SanFranLefty:
I’m not going to disagree. JNOV does make valid points. The question is what is that balance?

@ManchuCandidate:
the balance can only be achieved by sanity and intellect.
that was the joke of the day.

/see checking blinded shih tzu for drugs/bombs

@ManchuCandidate: Right now, there is no balance because there is no transparency when it comes to what the gov’t is doing with our information, how they’re collecting our information, etc. The counter argument is that transparency also tells the bad guys what we’re doing to try to thwart them.

To me, the bottom line is informed consent — that should be the right of every person, but FISA really fucked us.

The public needs more information before the public can determine what benefits us. Right now the only way we get that information is through whistleblowers, FOIA (ha!), investigative journalism and civil liberties groups.

I gotta run — but when you have time, check out Frontline’s Spying on the Homefront.

@JNOV sez hit Vick in the head witta battery: TJ/ I understand your avatar is not supportive of that sociopath, but is there any way you might change in to something that doesn’t make me think of this poor dog every time I see your comments? I didn’t know whether to cry or throw up first. I have to watch Maru again.

Team ‘Bisco, FWIW (answer: not much). If the system doesn’t work and is denying our right to privacy, doesn’t it make of whole lot more sense to harrass our congressional representatives about it rather than some low-level, underpaid TSA employee in the airport? Not only is that bound to be more effective, but you can do it on your own time rather than when you’re right in front of me in the security line.

On a happy note, I’m delighted to see not only Maru in this post, but also Nijntje, also known as Miffy, the cute Dutch bunny character beloved in both Netherlands and Japan!

@Mistress Cynica: Sorry about that.

@flippin eck: I’m not saying harass the TSA agents, even when I’ve be profiled and pulled out of line several times pre-9/11 because I look like a drug mule. I now also look like a terrorist. I don’t see opting for a pat down as harassment, and harassing a TSA agent in general is just plain stupid.

I think the disagreement on this thread partly stems from those who are slowing down the process through the security line and people who are like, “I’m not doing anything illegal; I just wanna get through the line.” Many privacy arguments ranging from mandatory public school student drug testing and locker searches to car searches fall under the, “Go ahead and do it, cuz I’m not a criminal.”

I fall into the “I’m not a criminal” category, but that doesn’t mean that my rights are different than anyone else’s, so by protecting their rights, I’m protecting my own.

Again, there’s no proof that these measures make us any more safe. Sure, airport security is a pain in the ass, but I expect it. There’s nothing I can do about how long I’m going to be in line. I really don’t care.

What I do care about is the search itself, why it’s being conducted, what information is gathered, and how that information is used.

@flippin eck: I don’t harass the TSA agents making barely minimum wage, I’m always super polite to them. And it’s not harassing them to assert my 4th Amendment right to be free of unreasonable searches by the government. For example, last night after I pulled my usual Ryan Bingham move in the security line at the airport and had shoes, jacket, laptop, plastic bag of shampoo on the X-ray conveyor belt in less than 10 seconds, I said to the agent who was waving every third person through the back-scatter machine (and I was going to be #3), “I’d rather go through the metal detector, please,” and he said “Okay” and nodded to the metal detector, I sailed through it, and that was it. No pat-down search, no ugliness or rudeness. Frankly it’s a lot faster to go through the metal detector, so I was doing him a favor.

My years of travel have taught me that a little politeness and “gosh I realize you’re doing your jobs and following your higher-up’s instructions” attitude followed with a sympathetic smile — whether directed at a gate agent, flight attendant, TSA agent, or the guy working baggage claim who digs your bag out of the depths of IAH when you get stuck there overnight — gets you pretty damn far, a lot farther than the blowhards who scream things like “Do you know who I am?” to flight attendants. I’ve gotten free upgrades to business class on international flights just by being nice to flight attendants.

That said, my mantra in life is “Don’t mistake kindness for weakness.” Just because I say please or thank you doesn’t mean I’m a push over or willing to let the government strip search me and assume I’m guilty until proven innocent.

@Mistress Cynica, JNOV: I personally used the example of Vick yesterday in talking to Son of RML on the drive to school as an example of someone who fucked up, did his time/paid the price and is now getting back to work. As far as “forgiveness” goes, I’m always shocked when families of murder victims forgive the killer at sentencing hearings here. I don’t think I could.

@SanFranLefty:”Be thou cool wid others.” In addition, I also make it a point to dress up a bit, at least nicer business casual, when flying so as not to trigger the “suspicious non-white person” alarms. BTW, sports radio guy Jim Rome got pulled over in Houston this week because his feet were a little bit off on the scanner. He got the full Monty in public. “I honestly didn’t know there was a new policy in place. I can tell you that I am now very aware there is a new policy. That flight I was on was safe. In fact it was verrrry safe, at least from me.”

@JNOV: Thank you. I appreciate your humoring me.

@redmanlaw: Unfortunately, his fellow players don’t seem to have gotten the same lesson Son of RML did. From the article I linked to:
Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, the lessons learned from Vick’s crimes were on display in a postgame quote from Eagles star receiver DeSean Jackson.
“We were like pit bulls ready to get out of the cage,” he told reporters.

Just because he did his time and is good at football doesn’t mean he isn’t a sociopath completely incapable of empathy for the suffering of the innocent creatures he tortured, IMHO.

How apropos:

Here’s a scenario:

Middle Eastern terrorists hijack a U.S. jetliner bound for Italy. A two-week drama ensues in which the plane’s occupants are split into groups and held hostage in secret locations in Lebanon and Syria.

While this drama is unfolding, another group of terrorists detonates a bomb in the luggage hold of a 747 over the North Atlantic, killing more than 300 people.

Not long afterward, terrorists kill 19 people and wound more than a hundred others in coordinated attacks at European airport ticket counters.

A few months later, a U.S. airliner is bombed over Greece, killing four passengers.

Five months after that, another U.S. airliner is stormed by heavily armed terrorists at the airport in Karachi, Pakistan, killing at least 20 people and wounding 150 more.

Things are quiet for a while, until two years later when a 747 bound for New York is blown up over Europe killing 270 passengers and crew.

Nine months from then, a French airliner en route to Paris is bombed over Africa, killing 170 people from 17 countries.

That’s a pretty macabre fantasy, no? A worst-case war-game scenario for the CIA? A script for the End Times? Except, of course, that everything above actually happened, in a four-year span between 1985 and 1989.

@karen marie wants to know — Fucking integrity, how does it work?: Then there’s this:

“A Russian woman took drastic measures to try to prevent her daughter’s wedding today, calling in a bomb scare to keep her from flying to her beloved. The daughter, 33, planned to fly from Moscow to Morocco for her wedding, CNN explains. But the flight was delayed when her mom, 56, called to say that her daughter intended to blow up the plane.”

That might top Saltine-American shooting the tv.

@Nabisco: I’m already on record calling this Security Theater, so really, I should care more about this particular example. And yet I feel nothing.

It’s all very bizarre. There’s an argument that travelers are enduring the new scanners because — surprise! — the scanner company happens to have some effective lobbyists.

There’s also a Wingnut Uprising over this, which on first glance would suggest that Americans can finally agree on something. On second glance, you notice that they’re taking the opportunity to bash Janet Napolitano, now that Shrub is out and the Kenyan Usurper is in.

And finally, there’s this:

Tyner, 31, was on his way to South Dakota on Saturday to go pheasant hunting.

I know, that shouldn’t make any difference in my evaluation of this story. And yet, it, um, rubs me the wrong way.

This happens every so often: There’s a story I should pay attention to, but I keep bouncing off the atmosphere.

@nojo: The crap you have to go through to put a gun through as baggage is pretty monumental and changes all the time from airline to airline. I looked into it once and said fuck it, I’ll just buy or borrow what I need over on the other side.

@redmanlaw: I also dress nicely when flying.* Given the standard apparel most US ‘Merikens wear when they go flying (apparently they have literally rolled out of bed in their pajamas and sweats and gone straight to the airport) — and that my shirt is buttoned, clean, and unwrinkled, and I’m wearing pants without holes in them — I am already head and shoulders ahead of 90% of the crowd. If I put on a skirt, slacks, or wear a suit, yet am still nice to airline staff, I catapult to a whole other world.

*Add: I also do this because I was raised to do so. When I was a kid, a relative worked for an airline, and in order for family members to use the free or discounted tickets, you had to adhere to a dress code. Once you get used to it, it’s hard to shake the habit.

Late to the party as usual, but I wanted to enter my dual pennies into the conversation.

My gripe with the whole security theater (and I actually just talked to a pleasant young woman at Senator Cantwell’s office about this) is that we’re blowing massive amounts of resources on a useless show. All this money is going into techno-scanners that don’t really help, and hiring thugs to fondle us, and reconstructing airports to make them harder to use, and so on. And all it does is piss people off. I just don’t believe it’s sincerely contributing anything to security. We’re reacting to every new threat, not coming up with new scheme that actually cover as yet undocumented threats. Once we’ve reacted, it’s pretty clear that kind of threat will never work again, but there’s always something new.

I like the Israelification idea presented recently, although I don’t know if it’d scale to the size of our problem. I like the idea of security for airports, I just don’t think we’re going about it right.

We’re putting up a great blustery show of the type that, were I witnessing a bar fight, I would associate with the big scared guy who’s about to get his ass handed to him. This is not how an intelligent reaction works, it’s how you make a big show. (Special simile for RML: we’re the equivalent of the fat sweaty guy in all the mall-ninja tactical gear who shows up to the range with his tricked-out AR, who can barely hit the paper at 35 feet, much less 35 yards.)

I drove through MD yesterday on The I-95. All the Amber Alert signs (I lost count, but there were at least six) read, “Report suspicious activity to 800 blah de blah de blah.” I was like, wow – if this were my daily commute, if I read these warnings as I headed to the tunnel, I’d be slightly wigged for awhile, eventually I’d ignore them, but I’m sure the “we’re not safe” business would sink in on some level. And what exactly is suspicious activity on the highway? I’d rather they spent the money they used on those signs to repair roads, bridges and tunnels that might fall down or spring a leak.

@Mistress Cynica: I wasn’t humoring you-I’m sorry that screen name is upsetting, and it’s been retired.

@IanJ: No mall ninjas here. We get mainly hunters, veterans, target shooters, plinkers and a gangster once in a while.

I was out at the range one day shooting targets with my pistols when some dude rolls up in some shitty little car driven by an older woman. He gets out, puts a 30 round magazine in his AR and empties it at a rock on the berm (never mind that there are people – me – in front and to the side of his lien of fire. He gets in the car and then grandma emerges and picks up all the brass like she knew how to clear a crime scene and they split.

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