thoughtful. entertaining. random.

Day: August 10, 2006

mountain mama: the press write-up

Look for some quotes from me (last name letters a bit awry, but that’s academic) about the wonderful ride – they’re near the end of the article.

“Cyclists Rave About Mountain Mama” (The Recorder, Highland County, Virginia)

two approaches to anti-terrorist intelligence

DailyKos author “Hunter” gets a tip ‘o the hat for this insightful, brief analysis of how the UK is much more effective at countering terrorism without relying on extreme changes in law enforcement:

Although we do not yet know the scope or details of today’s announced counterterrorism bust, it’s generally worth noting that the British are a hell of a lot more competent in wrapping potential terrorism up than we seem to be, and that the British have accomplished this via normal law enforcement techniques coupled with apparently excellent human and signals intelligence….

That seems to be one big difference between U.S. and U.K. efforts in the War on Terror. Despite the obvious political and strategic bungles of the Blair government, the U.K. is beginning to show a history of wrapping up terror plots and arresting those involved, and seems even to have managed to have done so within the context of law.

The rather less serious and competent U.S. response, on the other hand, seems to be to reduced to making sure that from now on, nobody can take bottled water onto airplanes.

A worthwhile read!

more on code red

Y’know, if BushCo had actually followed through in Afghanistan, rather than launch military action against a country that was no threat to us (or to its own region), perhaps we wouldn’t be asked to fly without beverages, books, iPods, etc.

As Cory Doctorow points out, what’s happening now with so-called aviation security could easily be extended indefinitely – after all, BushCo’s only way to try and keep power is to continue playing on fear.

Frankly, it’s never worked on me, but it works on middle America, the area least likely to see any immediate effects from terrorism. However, what credibility do Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Chertoff and the like have these days?

Has the U.S. finished its mission in Afghanistan? No.

Has the U.S. created a “free and stable” Iraq? No.

Have they worked on eliminating our dependence on petroleum? No.

Have they worked on eliminating reasons for other nations, states and cultures to hate us? No.

The only things they have done: they’ve ruined the economy, weakened security both at home and abroad, have pandered to a small segment of the voting population, and have refused to listen to anybody with a dissenting or contrasting view time and time again.

It’s time for this madness to end. We need to move away from the politics of fear and look toward hope, progress, and fixing what’s wrong with our own country, rather than try and bully our way around the world.

And in terms of travel, it’s time to get real and let folks travel with dignity, rather than treat all passengers like suspects. Sure, in the immediate wake of the terror plot bust, be cautious. But don’t drag it out – there’s just no need.

terror alert red = get sick on planes

So the terror alert level is red for international travel (orange for domestic travel) after a major terror cell arrest in London. It was a major operation that targeted airplanes flying from the UK to the USA (specifically three airlines: American, Continental and United).

The result? Travelers can’t carry any liquids with them on flights: no water, no juice, no hand sanitizer, nothing (other than baby formula and prescription medicine, likely with a doctor’s note).

And what’s one of the easiest ways to catch a cold? In-flight dehydration.

Furthermore, what’s one of the things that airlines tend to be fairly skimpy in offering? Decent-sized beverages.

As a side note: I can only imagine the level of hassle trying to fly back to the USA from England – especially from a small airport, like Bristol Airport, our point of entry and departure when we went to England last year. BRS is a small airport that doesn’t have the same scale of security checks as Heathrow, Gatwick or Manchester (though, admittedly, their security measures are many, many times better than any seen here in the USA).

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