January 17

The terrorists have won

23  comments

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Looking out our hotel window at the Boulder Flatirons this morning.
MD and I flew out of Denver late this morning for Santa Barbara. We debated whether to grab a bite at the hotel before we left or to get on the road, get to the airport a little early, and grab some coffee and a quickie breakfast there. We opted for the latter and headed out early. We left even earlier than we normally have left because there was still some snow on the roads–at least in Boulder–and we wanted to make sure we got to the Denver airport in plenty of time.
We got on the road and discovered that since we had moved from Boulder a new toll road had been built running between a little town just east of Boulder and the airport. We decided to take it and made it to the airport even earlier than planned. We ditched the rental car and took the shuttle to the terminal. We got in, checked our bags, and made our way to security.
For those of you who have never been there, the Denver airport is enormous and is not the easiest airport to deal with. You check your bags at the curb or at the inside check-in, then take an escalator down a floor to security. You go through security, then head down another escalator to the train. You wait for a train, which takes you to one of three concourses where you actually board the plane.
When we lived in Boulder we flew a lot and went into and out of the Denver airport many, many times. It typically took us a few minutes to get through security, then another 10 minutes or so to wait for the train and end up at our concourse. Of course, that was all pre 9-11.
When we got there today, there was a huge mob at security wending its way through the serpentine lines waiting to go through the metal detectors. It took is forever to make it through, and by the time we did, took the train, and got to our concourse, our flight was starting to board (no coffee and breakfast for us), and our seats together had been given away. (This after we had left way early and had even gained time thanks to the new toll road.) Fortunately, out of kindness, the United agent found a person traveling alone and arranged a swap so that MD and I could sit together. Which we did in the very last row of the plane across from the door to the only restroom. You can imagine how peaceful our flight was.
The whole experience got me to thinking. All this security rigamarole is a lot like shutting the barn door after the horse is out. It ain’t pre 9-11 anymore. All the rules have changed. Pre 9-11 the rule was that if you were on a plane that was hijacked, you were to remain calm and not do anything that might upset the hijackers. Other than the guys on United 93 who had found out what happened to the other three planes and took action, the rest of the people sat there as the terrorists flew the planes into the buildings. No one is going to do that again.
I seriously doubt that any plane could be hijacked by a bunch of people with box cutters. They would be swarmed and probably beaten half to death (or fully to death) by the passengers and any air marshals that might be on the plane. The rules have changed, but the security process is still pre 9-11, but now on steroids.
I thought about all the man hours I saw wasted by people snaking back and forth in the security line in Denver and tried to imagine what it would calculate to over the course of a day. Just the difference in the time spent in security lines now compared to pre 9-11 multiplied times the number of people flying all over the country computes to a monumentally huge loss of productivity. Multiply this number times the average hourly wage of all these people and you get an eye popping number that defies imagination. (When I did my back of the envelop calculation based on the number of people I guesstimated were there I came up with about $80,000,000 for Denver alone) That is the cost saddled on us by the terrorists. Whether they ever strike again, they have won big time because we as a nation pay that price.
And that price doesn’t even include the vast army of TSA agents who all draw salaries. The entire TSA was formed in response to 9-11, so whatever its budget is, add that to the astronomical price we pay in lost productivity. And then we can’t forget the officious idiots who roam around the arrival areas of the airport telling people to move their cars. Remember in the old days how you could pull up to the airport, grab a spot along the curb, and wait for someone to arrive? No longer. Now there are these Bozos who walk along keeping all the cars moving unless they’re actively loading passengers. Why? So that these cars can’t blow up the airport? Are they crazy?
If you were a terrorist bent on blowing up an airport by putting a bomb in your car, pulling up to the curb, and blowing the airport and yourself to smithereens, would you be put off by these security dorks? Of course not. You would drive by and set the bomb off with the car moving. As I see it the only reason these rentacops exist is to hassle people and make a trip to the airport more stressful than it already is.
And that is another expense. The last time I had to pick someone up at the Reno airport I had to circle three times before my party came out and I could park and load. Multiply all the gasoline burned by all the cars circling airports all across the country. Cars that pre 9-11 would have been parked with engines off.
The hassle and the expense are immense. And in my opinion unnecessary. No wonder so many more people are driving and the airlines are in trouble. And it all because of the terrorist threat and the war on terror. We may have run them into the hills of Afghanistan and Pakistan, but they have won the war.
Arriving at the dinky airport in warm, sunny Santa Barbara after all the hassles.
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  1. I agree! (yes, I hope you were sitting down! ;))
    But (yes, of course there’s a ‘but’!) the real question is who else is ‘winning’ by exploiting, and in many cases exacerbating the fear of terrorism, for their own ends.
    Governments of all persuasions are not averse to fueling fear as a means of retaining office (‘we are the only ones who can protect you’) and as a means to gain more power (the current erosion of civil liberties might conceivably seem appropriate, even trivial, at least in the short term – but sadly we will never get them back … well not short of some form of revolution). But of course none of this is new – religions have always used fear of wrathful gods to serve their function as crowd control, just as parents invent monsters to get the attention of potentially rebellious children.
    The point is we have to be able to draw a line in what is a reasonable and practical response to a realistic risk, and what (as you say) is either a pointless interference in our day to day lives for the sake officials of appearing to do something – or a more sinister attempt to gain power (and powers) on the back of government fanned hysteria. And we have to be able to have a rational debate about these issues without being accused of being ‘soft’ on terrorists – after all, at the moment the terrorists succeed by damaging our freedoms – just as those who are always the most strident in anti terrorist rhetoric ‘win’ by doing the same thing.
    We had a government department evacuated last year when a parcel containing some white powder was opened with the other mail. A reasonable precaution in this day and age? Sure. It now transpires that the government knew the white powder was white flour within 24 hours … but was referring to it as a ‘biological agent’ for months afterwards to further its hard line ‘war on terror’ agenda.
    Well, either that or they have suddenly seen the low carb light.
    Hi Malcolm–
    I doubt that they’ve seen the low-carb light, so I suspect they’re trying to stir up fear among the unwashed masses so that they can continue their war on terror.
    I agree with you down the line on this one.  Despite our (and your) government exploiting fears of terrorism to aid in their grab for power, the terrorists put those fears in place.   If the goal of the terrorist was to disrupt and hassle our lives, they (with the help of our own governments) have succeeded beyond their wildest expectations.
    I put the War on Terror in the same category as the War on Drugs.  Both are mechanisms for governmental power grabs that offer the average citizen very little in terms of protection and a whole lot in terms of rights deprivation.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  2. You are so correct Mike! These ridiculous knee-jerk reactions, after the event, do nothing for safety.
    Recently here in the Britain, intelligence discovered a plot to smuggle a liquid explosive onto planes flying to the US. Consequently for many months no passengers boarding flights in the UK could take liquids on board of any kind. This caused massive delays, all after the news of this attempt had broke.
    Then of course we had the bizarre situation of an ex-Russian, Alexander Litvinenko, been poisoned with a radioactive substance while living in London. It turns out the radioactive substance was carried on flights from Moscow, and subsequently traces of radioactivity have been found on planes.
    So the summary is you’re not allowed a bottle of water on a plane, but radioactive substances are fine. And then they expect us to trust that they know best when it comes to our security.
    Hi John–
    Yeah, it makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?  At least in the UK (or so it was the last time I was there, which was before the latest liquid explosive saga) I didn’t have to take my laptop out to go through security.  Here in the US, that’s one of the major pains.  On this last trip, we were running late getting to our flight out of Santa Barbara and I took my laptop out of my carry on, put it in the plastic tub, put all my other stuff through the scanner, but left the laptop.  Fortunately, someone saved me by turning it in while I was frantically waiting for it to come through.
    A real pain.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  3. Sir Hola..two things not at all connected..me aside.
    Did you ever see The Power of Nightmares..the rise of the politics of fear by Adam Curtis i think ?
    A 3 parter BBC docu.
    If not go to Godle video enter the title and up it’ll come.
    I will wager you will find it most wonderful..don’t be put off by the title.
    So if a person was taking meds for a high insulin condition tarted a low carb regime, exercise as well and dropped 13 pounds in a month etc could the meds give an even greater insulin leel when a test was administered ? Any suggestions as to where to look.
    thanks Sir
    Hi Simon–
    Maybe you need to up the dose of your Alzheimer’s meds.  You put me onto the Power of Nightmares a couple of months ago, and I did watch it.  And responded.  Excellent stuff, it was.  Explains a lot.
    Your second question is a little more difficult to answer since I don’t know the insulin related condition, the medicine involved, or the insulin levels involved.  Given what I do know, I can say that it’s possible for a couple of reasons.  First, certain meds can stimulate an insulin release.  Second, it depends on how and when the first and second tests were taken.  And, third, there is always the possibility (much more common than you might imagine) of a lab error.
    In practice I rely on the lab to confirm what I’m seeing clinically.  If I see a patient who is losing weight, having symptomatic improvement, and all in all doing better, but has a follow up lab that doesn’t quite jibe, I pay more  attention to the patient than I do the lab.  Usually the lab will fall into step the next time I check it.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  4. Only problem with the argument is that air traffic numbers have surpassed those of pre9-11. If they had continued to decrease we would quite possibly see a change to the current Nazi-security practices. Other than that, I would agree with your diatribe and had come to the same conclusion some time back. I will actually take my “security” time into account when considering whether to fly or drive.
    Hi Javier–
    At the same time that passenger numbers have increased, the airlines (for financial reasons) have discontinued many, many flights and have gone to smaller planes to save fuel.  This means more crowded planes with less leg room combined with less flight availability.
    And it’s all because of a terrorist attack and the government’s response.  It’s just another way the terrorists have won.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  5. I have a funny Denver airport story from years ago. This was when they were still building the new one but flights were still out of the old one (pre 9/11). I lived in Fort Collins but had flown home to Boston for the holidays. While returning to Colorado I accepted a “bump” for $300 in vouchers and 2 hour wait until the next flight. Of course weather leaving Boston was horrible and I got delayed. I Finally got to Denver very late and there was no longer any ground transportation heading to Fort Collins for the night. So after debating the cost of a taxi I decided to nap on a comfy padded bench with my feet up on my luggage. As soon as I start to nod off 2 guys from the construction crew kick me off the bench because they were moving all the furniture to the new airport, THAT HAD NO TRAVELERS! So there I slept on the cold hard tile floor until the first shuttle went to Fort Collins at 7am-ish. Oh what fun!
    Hi David–
    What fun indeed!  Many years ago I spent a night on a bench in Gare du Nord, one of the 4 main train stations in Paris.  I missed a connection in the evening and couldn’t get out until the next morning.  Being broke, I couldn’t afford a hotel room so I decided to sleep on one of the benches.  I crashed and after I had been asleep for a short time, I was awakened by a God awful blast of some kind of buzzer.  I went back to sleep and the same thing happened again.  It went on all night.  I found out later that that’s how they kept people from sleeping in the train station.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  6. We flew out of DEN on Sunday – same mob-scene at security, same waste of time…but there is a secret to getting through DEN security faster – don’t get in the security line that takes you to the main area for the train – take the escalator up to terminal A, go through security there (the line is always very short since few know there is a security checkpoint up there too) and then proceed into terminal A, or head for the train to your terminal!
    I had the joy of having one too many bottles of drink (protein shake – they’re great for travel with a toddler) for Hunter this time, thus having it confiscated because it was more than I needed for my flight time with him! Can you imagine? I asked, quite benignly, what if my flight is delayed? I was told, buy something in the terminal then! I added, what about the delay de-icing? Again, buy something in the terminal before boarding!…as the bottle was taken away!
    It’s quite a profitable scheme for the merchants in the terminal if you ask me!
    Hi Regina–
    Thanks for the tip; I wish I had known it yesterday. We might have had time for our coffee.

    I saw an entire table at the security area filled with drinks of one kind or another that had been confiscated.  A sad state of affairs.
    Best–
    MRE 

  7. The time wasted has really put the airlines in a bad position. It used to be convenient to hop a plane to Dallas to avoid a 4-5 hour drive. Now, if you add up time to drive to the airport and park (30 minutes), check-in and security (30 minutes minimum), buffer time in case security is busy (30-60 minutes), board and take-off (15-30 minutes best case scenario), 45 – 60 minutes in the air, deplane (15 minutes), pick-up luggage if necessary (20-30 minutes), and rent a car or catch a cab (?). Let’s see…looks like we’re easily at 4 hours. Now add to that the fact that even with high gas prices I can drive that same distance for less money (on average) than flying? It’s not too hard to make that decision. We only go to the airlines if the drive is in excess of 8-12 hours depending on our tolerance for the “process” when we make the decision.
    Hi hap–
    We’ve made that same analysis and always drive unless the drive time is greater than about 8 hours.  Another advantage to driving is that you can start and leave whenever you want instead of being tied to an airline’s schedule.
    Best–
    MRE 

  8. Nice discussion.
    Few things.
    1- Airline Industry (as we knew it) was dying/dead before 9/11. A number of the companies were in/heading to bankruptcy before, and a few others were already getting federal subsidies to stay in business. The few that weren’t in trouble were newer business models, like Southwest, Jet Blue and America West. 9/11 probably accelerated some of the changes we’ve seen, but it didn’t create them. This was an industry that had been screaming for massive changes since it was Deregulated. There are inherent flaws in the hub and spoke model, just as there are inherent flaws in other aspects of the business model. This is/was an industry that views itself as the only game in town and therefore not terribly concerned with customer satisfaction. My estimation (as a business scholar) is that we would be seeing a lot of the nonsense with dropped routes, consolidation (TWA to AA), and smaller regional jets by now, without a 9/11.
    2- I sympathize with you on the Denver Airport and a particular airline’s nasty habits (Picture implies you flew United). In February, 2005, I visited Boulder for a case competition, flying out on an 8 or 9AM flight from Denver back to St. Louis. Due to extended security lines (30+ minutes), the train ride, and a flight departing from the very end of the concourse, my friend and I got bumped and would not be admitted to the plane, despite it sitting connected to the gate due to some weird ten minute rule. My friend made it out on a 1PM flight. I was there until 9PM. I was bumped from 6 successive flights and vowed to never fly United or any subsidiary ever again. In my book, they are the worst and have no interest in doing better.
    3- The interests of certain parties are very well served by the current rules. Federal Civil Servants (who now have a new agency to work for, that pays more competitive wages… I speak from the inside here). Oil companies (although smaller planes pollute less and use less fuel per passenger mile) benefit from more flights, more taxi-ing, more circling, etc. Concourse business owners (these seem to generally be national franchise businesses, like Starbucks, Chili’s, etc) clearly profit. The companies that make those retractable ersatz velvet ropes clearly hit the jackpot. And the defense contractors that make “dangerous material detection” machines (the thing they put the swab of your laptop into, the wand makers, latex glove manufacturers, etc). Some of these industries have fairly large lobby budgets and fairly tight ties with people in power. Clearly, the culture of fear benefits some.
    4- I work in a federal building in Wash DC. We have a fairly extensive set of security guards for what is clearly a pretty low level target. These guys will do nothing to stop a plane from coming in, and all the metal detectors and badge checking will not stop a terrorist or nutjob with a gun and no respect for human life who comes in through the door. I get on the train into the city about 3 blocks from the Pentagon, one of the two places in this country where an actual foreign terrorist strike actually succeeded. In fact, as I understand it, the plane would have come roaring in right over the exit where my shuttle bus drives, on it’s way towards one of two man made structures you could see from space when technology was junky. Anyrate, despite the fear drugs they pump into the air, the constant reminders to watch my fellow citizen and his baggage on the metro, the lightly armed troops who patrol my workplace, and a twice daily look at an actual foreign terrorist attack site, I am more afraid of my own employer (the US Government) than of any foreign national who bears me ill will. I feel that the bosses of my bosses’ bosses have real interest in keeping me the emotional equivalent of barefoot, pregnant, black eyed, and ignorant. The terrorists merely wish us dead.
    5- Last thing. I read a book called the Looming Tower, which is about our goofy government and the dinky folks they have made into mythological figures who planned 9/11. I didn’t have a lot of fear of Osama bin-Laden before I read this book, but I have none now. I have a lot of fear about the idiotic culture wars that prevented our government from protecting us on 9/11 (and before and since) and, as a remote insider, I see that not much has changed. I hope, that in my time as a federal civil servant, that I can both serve the public in specific, short term ways, but also do something to stop the petty squabbles over whose fiefdom is the most important, which is the number 1 inefficiency I see in your federal government. The terrorists were not any smarter than anyone at CIA, State or FBI. Except for one thing. On the margin, and in some small ways, they cooperated with each other across their fiefdoms (if you think that Mullah Omar, Bin Laden and Al Zawahiri have anything resembling common goals, you MUST read The Looming Tower), and with that, beat the FBI, CIA and the entire US government. If you are not afraid of the loss of civil liberties, privacies, time (spent in security lines, bag checks, etc), or anything else about your government, be VERY afraid that not only does the right hand and the left hand not know what the other is up to, but that every finger is on it’s own mission and hates every other finger. And with that cacophony, progress is impossible and further terror, inevitable.
    Hi Max–
    What a great comment! 
    I did read The Looming Tower a few months ago and thought it was one of the best books of 2006.  As it did with you, it greatly decreased my fears of bin Laden and the rest and made me realize just how screwed up our entire security apparatus is.  And while I don’t fear bin Laden, al Zawahiri, Mullah Omar and the rest the current al Quada leadership, I do fear the writings of Sayyid Qutb, which inspired  all these guys and are sure to continue to inspire more in the future.
    Like you, the people I fear the most are your bosses who have the power to raid, confiscate, imprison and destroy on a whim.  And while they set up the rules to protect us against other people, there are no rules to protect us against them.  As I see it, the problem is that most people think of the government as this benign giant who protects them from others and is in place for their protection.  I had a discussion once with my father and told him of my fears–he responded that he just didn’t believe that the US government would ever set out intentionally to harm anyone.  I suspect that there are many of his generation who feel the same.  As long as a majority feel this way, I don’t think things will ever change.
    Best–
    MRE   

  9. Regina’s right about the terminal A security set up. You may want to give it a try the next time you pass through Denver. Actually, your post pretty much explains the reason why we never take morning flights anymore but rather leave in the late afternoon or evening whenever possible. By then DIA is much less busy and going through the main security area is a breeze. The only drawback to leaving late is that most of the merchants in the terminals are closed by then (DIA pretty much rolls up the sidewalks by 10 pm.) I’ve found this pretty much works for just about any airport with the exception of McCarren in Las Vegas. That place is a zoo no matter what time of the day or night you go through it. At least DIA has a pretty big security area. When I went through McCarren last year, the line for security wound through-out the airport and that was just for one terminal as each one has its own security area.
    The security line has become so much a part of our lives now that it’s hard to remember that at one time it pretty much didn’t exist. The first one I ever went through was at the Frankfurt airport in 1979 where I was actually patted down. There were soldiers standing around with some pretty serious looking guns, too. The most efficient ones that I’ve been through were in China (no doubt helped along by the fact that the majority of its citizens can’t afford to get on a plane.) Flying around in China was a trip in itself as the runways were generally very short and the pilots would slam on the brakes as soon as the wheels touched ground. Yee haw! The military jets that were landing close by were using parachutes to stop.
    Your picture of the “dinky” Santa Barbara airport reminds me a lot of the equally dinky airport in Tucson. I’m sure that you and MD are glad to be back where it’s warm and sunny after the freezing Colorado weather.
    Hi Esther–
    We are indeed glad to be back where it’s warm.  I have flown into the Tuscon airport.  Santa Barbara’s makes it look huge.
    Best security experience I’ve had was a couple of months ago when I want to an event in Las Vegas via private jet.  I showed up, gave my bags to the flight attendant, got on, and got off in Las Vegas.  My bags were waiting for me as I got off the plane.  Same coming back.  No metal detectors, no hassles–it was great.  I wish it weren’t so expensive.
    Best–
    MRE 

  10. Sir thankyou yr time ref the insulin..shall send orf to pal..very kindly of you and very helpful
    Now theres no need to be be snippy ref the power of nightmares..i actually thought i’d sent it to you (though i would say that of course !)…..kindness for one so frail as i is surely what the Hippocratic Oath is all about,,,man ?!
    Anyways glad you liked it.
    BTW you might also like a documentary about Rad Islam and the hardcore right..its called The Power of Nightmares !!! argh argh argh
    Hi Simon–
    I did like it.  If you haven’t seen the latest expose from the UK, take a look here.  You can find the other installments on Google.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  11. Hi again Mike,
    This is totally off topic so there is no need to publish it, (and your ‘contact’ link above requires me to have a US address) but I’d be really interested in your take on this article (and the paper it reports);
    It would appear the mechanism by which the drug works (if it does) is very much the same as can be achieved by carb restriction – and is further evidence for the sugar/cancer link. As I understand it, not all cancer cells are vulnerable to glucose ‘starvation’ and perhaps this explains why this drug is not being touted as a universal cure? I should probably reread PPLP as I’m sure you covered elements of this there.
    Regards,
    Malcolm
    Hi Malcolm- 
    The paper is lengthy and quite technical, but at first blush it does appear that some of the mechanisms are the same.
    Best–
    MRE 

  12. My daughter was a security screener in Raleigh when the 9/11 attacks occurred. Even tho all flights were grounded, she had to go to work, then were told to sit and wait, then eventually sent home….this went on for several days.
    At one point, while the screeners were all sitting around chatting, they started talking about things that were “legal” that could be used as weapons. Golf clubs, baseball bats and the like were allowed, these could be used as weapons. Hair spray was also allowed, (and still is I believe?) and could be used with a lighter (or matches) as a blow torch!
    At the time of the attacks knives were allowed as long as the blades were under 3″ and they were only a single edge (In MA double edge knives of all kinds are illegal). Box cutters were NOT allowed, and were even something that was included in training to make sure they knew what they looked like.
    Also, any open containers of liquid drinks were supposed to be opened and the passenger required to take a drink prior to allowing them thru security.
    Personally, I’m totally disgusted with the whole thing. It’s not bad enough that the government is taking away our rights, but the people don’t even care!!! I strongly urge all to read “The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions” by David Ray Griffin. It certainly raises questions.
    Cindy
    Hi Cindy–
    Thanks for the interesting comment.  Did your daughter lose her job when the TSA took over?
    Best–
    MRE 

  13. Oh yea, just wanted to add that I haven’t flown since 9/11, and have no intentions of flying unless I have no choice. I go from NC to MA by car and it’s a nice drive (yea right).
    My daughter? She says she will never step foot on another commercial plane.
    Cindy
    Hi Cindy–
    Most of the time I have no choice, so I fly.  Unless I can drive in a reasonable amount of time.  I’m not all that worried about security, I just hate the hassle.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  14. You’re lucky they didn’t take up a bit more of your time grilling you about why you were taking pictures of planes in the dinky Santa Barbara airport!
    Hi Deridra–
    I thought of that after I had turned to snap the photo as I was heading to the baggage check area, which is outside at the Santa Barbara airport.  But a security guy was right there watching and he didn’t say a word.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  15. There’s a word for what’s being done at airports now–overcompensation. My husband and I went to the Canadian Rockies for our summer vacation last year, right after the liquids ban (this was when you couldn’t bring liquids of ANY kind on a plane). But on each flight, we saw at least one person saunter on with a bottle of water or a cup of coffee. Were the drinks taken away? NOOOO. Way to enforce your own restrictions, dummies.
    I’ve found that everything I need for a week-long trip can be contained in my carry-on suitcase and/or my backpack. At least I always know where my luggage is and security is reasonably quick that way.
    Hi Patricia–
    I try to do the same.  Now with everyone checking because they can’t take their shaving cream, toothpaste, etc. the mob at the baggage claim area is a nightmare.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  16. Sir thanks the linky but it’d been removed apparently due to copyright infringement.
    What can ye do eh ?
    Thanks much.
    Big winds in the UK today.. and i don’t mean my arse..really. Back home in 11 days
    Hi Simon–
    Here’s one that hasn’t been removed yet.  Hope you can get it.
    Best–
    MRE 

  17. Anyone watch the British TV series MI-5? It’s thrilling in a rather scary sort of way, and not always because of the “bad guys”. It sometimes airs on the cable channel A & E or BBC America, but we rented the series on DVD through Netflix; we were so hooked. The first series was being filmed when 9/11 occurred.
    My husband was British and he lived in London during the IRA bombings when he was a student. Even he was taken aback at how much is videoed all over the UK in the name of security.
    Anna
    Hi Anna–
    Sounds like a great show.  I have BBC America, but I generally watch it only for their news coverage.  I’ll see if I can find MI-5 (which, for those who don’t know, is the British equivalent to the FBI).
    Thanks for the tip.
    MRE 

  18. Maybe the business of a Government is not so much government of the country, more the exercise and increase of power and control, AND remaining in office.
    Hi Neil–
    Precisely.  Especially the latter.  The unemployment elected officials worry about the most is their own.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  19. I don’t think this is the right place for this comment, but I think you will be impressed with this commentator on MSNBC discussing the President’s revised plan for Iraq. It takes about 10 minutes. He also mentions the execution you blogged on earlier this month.
    Hi Marilyn–
    I clicked on the link but was taken to the home page of  the site, which I looked through, but couldn’t find the video you recommended.
    Best–
    MRE 

  20. The MI-5 series is available to rent on DVD through Netflix (& without commercials), if it is not currently airing on TV channels.
    I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said something to the effect of:
    “I’m a patriot who defends his country against his government.”
    But I think I’ll look for a “It’s the sugar, stupid” sticker :-).
    Anna
    Hi Anna–
    We have Netflix, so I’ll get MD to put MI-5 on the list.  We have three movies right now that have been sitting by the DVD player for so long that I’ve forgotten what they are.  We watch so few movies that it probably costs us $50 apiece.
    We’ll probably watch even fewer now because MD got me the complete Inspector Morse for Christmas.  I’ve already seen them all at one time or another, but now that I have them all in pristine condition (I watched some of them on VHS), I plan on working my way through the whole shebang.
    If there are no It’s the sugar, stupid bumper stickers, perhaps we should print them.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  21. Hmmm, short of making up my own sticker order, this is a sampling of what I have found with a quick Cafe Press “sugar” search, in case anyone really wants to profess to all his/her antipathy toward sugar. Cafe Press seems to be a good option for ready-made or custom individual orders of stickers (shirts, magnets, hats & more, too–no affiliation, etc.).
    How about a Protein Power Lifeplan design for our bumpers/windows?
    A sampling:
    No High Fructose Corn Syrup (red circle with banned slash)
    (The next one’s not for the faint of heart….)
    I said NO SUGAR you, f*****g idiot! (illustrated with retro man & coffee cup)
    Sugar is a white powder (illustrated with spoon)
    Sugar is Evil
    Sugar Free
    Pixy Stiks are good until your pancreas explodes.
    No Carbs, Sugar Sucks!
    And this one that blew my mind …
    I have room for another small sticker or two on my Suburu wagon mom-mobile, but hubby has a new little Fit (that’s a car, not a tantrum) so no stickers for him until he gets it scratched or dented probably (Cafe Press had no caspase or apoptosis stickers, darn).
    Cheers,
    Anna (whose behind driving statements already say Powered by Raw Milk & Buy Local, Know Your Farmer)
    Hi Anna–
    Thanks for all the effort.
    My favorite is the Sugar is Evil one.  I may order several.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

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