Writing on the Double Yellow Line

Militant moderate, unwilling to concede any longer the terms of debate to the strident ideologues on the fringe. If you are a Democrat or a Republican, you're an ideologue. If you're a "moderate" who votes a nearly straight party-ticket, you're still an ideologue, but you at least have the decency to be ashamed of your ideology. ...and you're lying in the meantime.

Location: Illinois, United States

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

A Non-Pregnant Pause

A Non-Pregnant Pause
© 2011 Ross Williams

Headline: One Dead, 76 Ill Due to Ground Turkey

Article Synopsis: Salmonella from ground turkey is responsible for these figures between March 7 and June 27 2011 – three and a half months – and over 26 states, according to the CDC. An academic worry-wart is complaining because this outbreak has spawned no USDA recalls when public safety is its primary function. Standard figures given: 3,000 food poisoning deaths a year in the US mostly among those with compromised health, 50 million exposed. CDC recommends cooking turkey completely.

The tempest in a stewpot: Unless the job of our government is to spread needless panic and fear, 76 people with diarrhea and nausea in three months, and only one dying from it, doesn’t even register as background noise in the data. As always, the numbers of those exposed during this “outbreak” undoubtedly number in the tens of thousands. No one knows exactly because people who do not get ill, or those who only have minor tummy troubles, don’t go to the doctor to test for food poisoning – they have better things to do.

Know what it’s called when tens of thousands are exposed to rocks falling from the sky, only 76 get hit and only one dies? I don’t know either, but it’s not a justification for a bunch of bureaucrats to order a recall of outer space.

Conclusion: Cook your damned food, already. Learn to follow a recipe and practice basic hygiene. Take care of yourself and no one will have to pay for some intrusive group of numskulls to do it for you – on everyone else’s dime.

Headline: Passengers Face Israeli-Style Behavior Screening

Article Synopsis: A new type of TSA security is going to be auditioned at Boston’s Logan International Airport, incorporating the behavioral assessment techniques that Israel has used for decades with 100% effectiveness. Basic principles of human psychology are going to be applied in a practical setting: TSA will actually talk with the people they “serve” rather than bossing them around and groping them; how the person responds to conversation will determine which further screening is indicated. This program, with 60 “advance trained officers”, will cost $1 billion.

But... but ... you said...: TSA has eternally resisted Israeli-style security, claiming that it would be unworkable in the US with its hundreds of airports; Israel has only one airport. TSA has claimed Israeli-style security is undignified, unconstitutional and, furthermore, doesn’t work because it employs the elementary law enforcement technique of profiling, which TSA maintains “doesn’t make good security sense”.

If Israel can watch the body language of passengers and determine who is hiding something, then we can do it. Israel didn’t use up the world’s allotment of competent people-persons. To claim that America’s hundreds of airports make this unworkable is to either declare that Israelis are smart and Americans are cretins, or that no one who’s smart would lower themselves to working for TSA – certainly few with any amount of shame work for TSA. Hollywood is full of out-of-work actors who have been trained to know body language. There’s a start.

People who know nothing about profiling will insist that profiling is synonymous with racism. You can only build a “profile” by using skin color, or religion, or some other largely irrelevant trait which is easy to denounce. And that’s ludicrous. You build a profile by knowing the crime you’re attempting to address and the traits of the people who commit them. People who would hijack a plane are nervous and twitchy, probably preoccupied and easily distracted, dry mouth, sweaty palms ... essentially, they have stage fright. They’re about to perform and they’re stressed out.

Passengers who are pissed about having to take off their shoes, offended or traumatized by being given the option to be porno-scanned, or groped, or arrested and held by local police after refusing to do either, or who are simply tired of the whole TSA trained ape charade and simply don’t have anything polite to say to them are not a danger to anyone. But that is about all that TSA ever bothers to see. And it hasn’t worked.

TSA would not have found Reid, because the “thing” he had was not on their list at the time; TSA would not have found Abdulmutalab because the place he stashed his “thing” wasn’t on their list of places to look; TSA didn’t find Noibi either time he went through security because they were so busy looking for “things” they couldn’t tell that he didn’t even have a valid boarding pass or a proper ID.

It’s not rocket science; even dimwits can read body language and there’s no shortage of dimwits at TSA – though they would seem to be confined to management. Those on the front lines are preoccupied with exercising unrestrained power.

Conclusion: 99% of all passengers will be passed merrily through this system with nothing more strenuous than enduring idle and banal chatter with an agent who, until last week, was little more than a government bully. Those ex-bullies in blue shirts should not be surprised to get a face full of residual rancor from passengers due to ten years of being treated worse than criminals by their own country, and they should keep in mind that such ire is indicative of nothing but how TSA operates. In the event that an American is pulled aside by this system to undergo an actual search, though, it should now be a trivially easy matter to send off a request for a search warrant to be rubber stamped by FISA judges – who are all still sitting as idle under Barama as they were under Bush; there is still no excuse for the complete disregard for our Constitutional rights by our own government.

Headline: Insurers Must Pay for Women’s Contraceptives

Article Synopsis: Starting on January 1st 2013, private health insurers must cover contraceptives, breast pumps, routine exams, and counseling for women – with no co-pay permitted. Other unspecified services must be covered as well. Health insurers are expected to recoup these costs by raising health insurance premiums for everyone. Experts predict that more employers will drop group coverage because of this; those which do not expect to downsize.

Piling on is so much fun: The government’s sense of timing is ironic if nothing else.

Just when there’s some sense in the government that Obamacare is a boondoggle based on the faulty notion that more government can fix the problems caused by excessive government, we get another round of excessive government being added to the already overloaded government control of health care: half the population is entitled to free services to be paid for, privately, by everyone else. Contraceptives are the main item in the article, but it’s those “routine exams” and unspecified services which spell trouble.

Since Obamacare is pinioned on the premise that private health insurance companies have come up with their premium basis all by themselves and not in any way due to idiot rules imposed by idiot government bureaucracies like this one, the conclusion that the government is determined to make private health insurance prohibitively expensive is hard to avoid. You don’t even need to be cynical to reach this conclusion anymore.

The demand for well-baby care of the seventies, which blossomed into the routine physicals and doctor visits being covered, which led to the lab tests being covered, has matured into a mandate that the female half of our country get essentially free healthcare. Pricing private health insurance out of the market by saddling it with requirements that fifty percent of its business must be given away can only lead to that single payer scheme where the government demands doctors treat patients and then won’t pay for it.

Conclusion: Be careful what you ask for, you might just get it.

And we’re going to get it ... in the shorts.


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