December 19, 2010
December 16, 2010
December 09, 2010
November 21, 2010
November 15, 2010
I’ve been seeing a lot of frustration and anger at the new security measures going into effect in airports (especially from pilots). One issue is the new millimeter ‘backscatter’ x-ray machines. Previously, only your carryon bags were x-rayed, now they are x-raying your entire body. And since these new machines penetrate clothing, but stop at your skin, they show the TSA workers an image of you essentially naked.
If you don’t like the idea of being exposed to dangerous x-rays or being viewed naked, you can opt out, in which case you are given a thorough pat-down, including your genital areas. That goes for children too. Which would you prefer: Having your child subjected to dangerous radiation so they can be viewed naked by a stranger, or having their entire body including genitals felt up by a stranger?
But my real question is, what took everyone so long? I have never understood why people put up with airport security at all. Airport security has never made us any safer.
Airport security checkpoints were originally installed because of airplane hijackings (including quite a few to Cuba). But security never stopped a single hijacking. The main reason hijacking stopped was because we were able to get treaties signed with various countries (including Cuba) that guaranteed they would prosecute hijackers. So hijackers were arrested on landing and typically returned to the US to stand trial. Once that happened, the hijackings stopped, but curiously the checkpoints didn’t. (Interestingly, the other reason hijackings stopped was because we stopped giving so much media attention to them. Unfortunately, we haven’t yet learned the lesson that in order to cause terror, the terrorist wants publicity.)
The problem is, in order for airport security to actually work, it has to be incredibly (almost impossibly) invasive. Even with the new x-ray machines any terrorist wannabe could smuggle weapons at least as dangerous as the ones used during 9/11 onto any airplane. Are we going allow the TSA to perform full body cavity searches of everyone who is going to board a plane? Seriously?
Because the only answer to “how much privacy and rights do you have to give up in order to ensure complete safety” is “every last one of them”. And even that isn’t good enough. In maximum security prisons where people have no rights and full cavity searches are done routinely, criminals manage to smuggle in weapons and other contraband. You think you can stop it at a busy airport?
Even if we could have complete and foolproof airport security (which we cannot), it would not make us any safer. In fact, it would likely make usless safe. Consider the x-ray machines. You might argue that the danger from x-rays is low, but so is the danger from terrorists. So low, in fact, the risk of dying from the x-ray machines is likely greater than the risk from being killed by a terrorist. So at best, we are getting rid of one risk (which we actually are not, since airport security is not foolproof) and substituting an even greater risk. How stupid is that?
And finally, even if we could have completely and foolproof airport security that had absolutely no risks, we would still not be any safer. Because airplanes are not the only place where we are in danger from terrorists. In fact, some people have argued that a terrorist could easily walk into an airport carrying a bomb and detonate it near a crowded airport security checkpoint. This would cause just as much terror, and shut down our air transportation system. And airport security couldn’t stop it.
As we well know, any place where large numbers of people gather could be a potential target for a terrorist bombing. For example, 9/11 killed around 3,000 people, but football stadiums hold tens of thousands of innocent people. There are many cruise ships that hold more people than were killed on 9/11, and those often operate in international waters where they cannot be protected. Even if we made airplanes (and airports) completely terrorist proof, the terrorists aren’t going to just give up. After all, the Oklahoma City bombing was carried out on an entire building, using a bomb hidden in a parked vehicle.
So what am I saying? That we shouldn’t do anything to prevent terrorism? Of course not. Installing reinforced cockpit doors on airplanes already took away the incentive for terrorists to try to pull something like 9/11 again. Not to mention the fact that passengers are now more willing to fight back against terrorists. A group of terrorists could perhaps blow up an airplane, but it would be much more difficult for them to use the airplane like a guided missile to destroy a large building.
What I’m saying is that the money being spent on airport security would be much better spent somewhere else, like investigating terrorists so we can stop them no matter if their plans target airplanes, government buildings, water supplies, or whatever. Even Forbes magazine says that we should abolish the TSA.
Isn’t this something we can all agree on? Right now, the only group benefiting from airport security are the companies who manufacture the x-ray machines, and the only winners in the war on terror are the terrorists, who would have us quaking in our boots, except we had to take those off in order to go through security.
November 07, 2010
October 30, 2010
October 18, 2010
October 12, 2010
October 08, 2010
September 29, 2010
September 07, 2010
Image from bare/not project (http://barenot.wordpress.com/page/4/).
September 02, 2010
August 30, 2010
August 27, 2010
August 19, 2010
Chamber Blames Women For Pay Gap: They Should Choose The Right ‘Place To Work’ And ‘Partner At Home’
Today is the anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which granted the right to vote to women. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has decided to use this day of equal rights for women to argue that women are now to blame for unequal pay in the workplace. On the organization’s official blog, ChamberPost, Senior Director of Communications Brad Peck today makes the argument that the pay gap between men and women in the American workforce — women currently earn roughly 77 cents to every dollar a man earns — is “the result of individual choice rather than discrimination.” He argues that, instead of bold legislative action being taken to help correct this pay gap, women should pick the “obvious, immediate, power-of-the-individual solution: choosing the right place to work and choosing the right partner at home“:
Most of the current “pay gap” is the result of individual choice rather than discrimination. [...]
It is true that culturally speaking women are more likely to have to make the tough choices about work-life balance. But as we all seek to fit our values into a dynamic 24/7 economy, let’s not overlook the obvious, immediate, power-of-the-individual solution: choosing the right place to work and choosing the right partner at home.
Peck’s argument that women could close the pay gap by simply choosing jobs in better paying fields and marrying wealthier men is based on a faulty premise — that the pay gap in the United States between genders exists because women choose to work for less and men choose to work for more.
While it’s true that women sometimes migrate into fields that have lower pay, what Peck ignores is that even within the same occupation, women are paid less. For example, data collected by the Census Bureau in 2007 shows that “female secretaries…earn just 83.4% as much as male ones” and female truck drivers “earn just 76.5% of the weekly pay of their male counterparts.” A report put out this year by the University of Minnesota finds that women in that state are “are paid $11,000 dollars less each year than men with the same jobs.” A 2007 American Association of University Women report compared men and women with similar “hours, occupation, parenthood, and other factors normally associated with pay” and found that “college-educated women still earn less than their male peers earn“; the report concludes that workplace discrimination is the culprit in the wage gap.
It is important to note that this pay inequity is so pervasive that it even affects people who undergo a sex change. In 2008, researchers Kristen Schilt and Matthew Wiswall examinedthe wages over their lifetimes of people before and after a sex change operation. Even “when controlling for factors like education, men who transitioned to women earned, on average, 32% less after the surgery. Women who became men, on the other hand, earned 1.5% more.”
Unfortunately, the Chamber of Commerce has a long history of overlooking women’s struggles in America and of actively opposing movements for gender equality. While opposing the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in 1978, the Chamber argued that pregnancy was a “voluntary” act and thus should not have discrimination protections in the workplace. In 1987 it ominously warned that the Family and Medical Leave Act would set a “dangerous precedent” of employer-sponsored benefits. And last year, the organization lobbied against legislation that would allow rape victims to bring lawsuits against their employers.
August 08, 2010
July 30, 2010
But this branching out into fashion has caused me to run into a dilemma. How do I balance my desire to look cute/sexy/young/hip with the increased, unwanted attention from creepy people? There are certain people I work (indirectly) with that I don't want gawking at me. It gives me the willies. And it certainly isn't polite to flip them off when their eyes linger. I guess the obvious solution is to put on an over-sized sweatshirt when I get to work ... or shut my door.
July 16, 2010
July 07, 2010
June 23, 2010
June 10, 2010
June 07, 2010
May 18, 2010
May 13, 2010
May 03, 2010
April 13, 2010
April 12, 2010
As my birthday approaches, I've been thinking about my life thus far. Am I where I want to be? What will the next few years hold? I can't believe I'm in my late twenties! Where did the time go? And for all the accomplishments I have yet to achieve, here's a list of what I am grateful for.
April 02, 2010
March 27, 2010
March 22, 2010
March 19, 2010
March 17, 2010
March 14, 2010
March 11, 2010
March 08, 2010
March 05, 2010
March 01, 2010
February 26, 2010
February 23, 2010
You see, like me, she can remember a time when facts settled arguments. This is back before everything became a partisan shouting match, back before it was permissible to ignore or deride as "biased" anything that didn't support your worldview.
If you and I had an argument and I produced facts from an authoritative source to back me up, you couldn't just blow that off. You might try to undermine my facts, might counter with facts of your own, but you couldn't just pretend my facts had no weight or meaning.
But that's the intellectual state of the union these days, as evidenced by all the people who still don't believe the president was born in Hawaii or that the planet is warming ...
To listen to talk radio, to watch TV pundits, to read a newspaper's online message board, is to realize that increasingly, we are a people estranged from critical thinking, divorced from logic, alienated from even objective truth. We admit no ideas that do not confirm us, hear no voices that do not echo us, sift out all information that does not validate what we wish to believe ...
But objective reality does not change because you refuse to accept it. The fact that you refuse to acknowledge a wall does not change the fact that it's a wall ....