TSA wants you to feel safer – even if you’re not

I don’t like to write about the TSA controversy two weeks in a row, but the furor isn’t dying down. If anything, it’s only gotten greater as there have been stories of breast cancer survivors being asked to show their breast prosthetics, scans being leaked, and the TSA’s refusal to modify their screening procedures.

I have already come to terms with the fact that when I fly next, the agents will have to grope me. As a man, I guess it doesn’t have the same stigma. I have never been sexually assaulted; I don’t know the feeling of being leered at; I don’t have a disfiguring disease that makes me self-conscious – so I will give away the right that bars unreasonable search and seizure, not because I want to, but because it’s the best of two evils.

But let’s be clear – what the TSA is attempting to do is substitute technology for a lack of intelligence (in all senses of the word). Their agents are overworked, underpaid, and trained to follow written rules to find terrorists (as opposed to teaching them how to spot a terrorist). How about spending some of the hundreds of millions that we are spending on these machines, towards better pay and better training?

But all of this will make some people feel better about travelling, and I think that’s the real point, because the appearance of doing something is often better than doing something.

The touching of junk: How far will the TSA go?

As the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) moves to more invasive forms of screening, they’re getting some push back from pilots, attendants, civil rights activists, and citizens. Some people are saying enough is enough, but once you’ve given away freedom for the promise of security, it’s hard to know where to stop.

I read a novel that described how a prostitute was “turned out”. A woman meets a great guy, until one day he gets into trouble and owes someone a great deal of money. In exchange for the money, that person is willing to accept sex. The great guy tells his girlfriend his predicament and she bails him out – just that one time. Once she has slept with one guy for money, she’s damaged goods, and she does it over and over again.

We’re that prostitute; the first time a traveller took off their Nikes so that they could be checked for a bomb, we proved that we were willing to sell ourselves for safety – and the government, like a pimp, keeps coming back to us for more. The day that a terrorist smuggles a bomb aboard by hiding it in his anus, we’ll be grabbing our ankles and they’ll be grabbing the lube. All in the name of safety.

There’s a great quote from Benjamin Franklin (actually there are  a lot of great quotes from Benjamin Franklin):

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

So how far are you willing to go?

Cool cover songs

My iTunes collection is full of unique, weird covers, so I’ve been working on a playlist of cool cover songs. It’s difficult, because often I didn’t realize a song I liked was a cover (growing up, I didn’t realize “Pretty Woman” wasn’t an Al Green song. There are also covers like Toxic by Mark Ronson or “Common People” by William Shatner which surpass the original.)

So here are fifty some songs that I know are covers. I may be wrong about the original artist – let me know if I am. Share your favorite covers in the comments section. Click here to see the full list.

On another note – don’t forget to tune into my friend Joey’s show every Monday at 3 PM on Y Rock on XPN .

Name Artist Original Artist (I think)
No Surprises Easy Star All-Stars Radiohead
Reason to Believe Michael Penn & Aimee Mann Bruce Springsteen
Heroes Peter Gabriel David Bowie Continue reading

Run the bums in

Tomorrow we get our chance to voice our displeasure with bad leadership. The expectation is that we will “run the bums out” it record numbers; it’s deserved. The performance of our leaders has been abysmal. But it’s not enough to just run the bastards out. We need to be careful about who we run in.

I cannot believe the candidates that have been run out there as serious candidates. And people are so anxious for change, they don’t even seem to care what the change to.

On the way home today I saw a Jon Runyan around the corner from my house. I live in Pennsylvania. Runyan is running in New Jersey. People aren’t even paying attention.

For all of the reasons there are to bring in some fresh blood, there are just as many reasons to be careful. There are some dangerous candidates out there. This Congress is the worse that we’ve ever seen – only to be surpassed by the next Congress.

Don’t run out the bums, only to replace them with newer bums.

Don’t vote based on your affinity for witches, football players, or attack ads, because you’re bound to be disappointed. Do your research; get out and vote on Tuesday, and only vote for the other guy if he’s in fact better.