The best, first:
I flew on a plane without going through security. It was amazing and no one died.
AKA: Abolish the TSA.
By Dylan Matthews
December 30 at 12:49 pm
(Washington Post) – On Friday morning, I flew on an airplane, and it was amazing. And there’s no reason Congress can’t make every flight exactly that amazing, as well.
“Amazing” is not how you’re supposed to feel about flying on airplanes. Flights are supposed to be day-long humiliations, preceded by a tedious and intrusive two-hour prologue of TSA scans and killing time at the gate, often followed by sundry delays and missed connections, and culminating in a physically and emotionally wrenching voyage featuring a screaming, virus-ridden infant, not-completely-unfrozen ravioli and “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole.” Business Insider’s Henry Blodget is probably the master of the airplane-memoir-as-survivalist-tract genre, if you’re into that kind of thing.
A lot of that could be solved by people just getting over it and developing a sense of perspective, but one part of the process really is horrible and unnecessary: the TSA scans. Let us count the indignities:
• The wait to get to the metal detector itself can take anywhere from five minutes to an hour. You have basically no idea how long.
• If you’re silly enough to have brought along more than 3 ounces of toothpaste, shampoo, liquor, water or some other liquid on your flight, you’re going to have to either toss it or start the whole process over again. If, say, a friend or family member gives you a bottle of bourbon that consequently has sentimental value, you’re going to have to pay $29 or whatever to check your bag or else watch a TSA inspector pour out the memories before your very eyes.
• At the end of the security line wait, you have to take off your shoes, jacket and belt, empty your pockets, pull your laptop and/or liquids (3 ounces or less!) out of your carry-on bag, and arrange all those into separate bins (one for the laptop alone, of course!). I usually expedite this process while waiting in line — taking off my belt and emptying my pockets and putting the contents into my carry-on bag, taking out my laptop and holding it separately, and unlacing my shoes, though on at least one occasion this has ended with me tripping on my shoelaces, with hijinks ensuing.
• Once you’ve managed all that, you get to go through a metal detector or, better yet, a body scanner — for looking under your clothes. While the infamously invasive Rapiscan scanner was phased out over inadequate privacy protections, body scanners generally aren’t going anywhere.
• Usually that’s it, but sometimes you’re randomly selected for a pat-down. And if they find something they don’t like in your luggage or on your person, you could get even more than that. Hooray!
• Once that’s all done and you’ve stumbled from the end of security to the nearest bench, you get to put your belt, shoes and jacket back on, refill your pockets, and put your laptop and liquids back in your carry-on. Now you just have to wait because you, like a responsible traveler, allotted a fair amount of time in case security took a while.
Zero Tolerance Stupidity
by Glenn Reynolds
(USA Today) – …At South Eastern Middle School in Fawn Grove, Pa., for example, 10-year-old Johnny Jones was suspended for using an imaginary bow and arrow. That’s right – – not a real bow and arrow, but an imaginary bow and arrow. A female classmate saw this infraction, tattled to a teacher, and the principal gave Jones a one-day suspension for making a “threat” in class.
To be fair, it probably takes a lot of imagination to turn what sounds like a bit of old-fashioned cowboys-and-Indians play into a “threat.” But while the principal, John Horton, gets an “A” for imagination, he deserves an “F” for distinguishing between imagination and reality. Sadly, he’s not alone.
You’ve probably also heard about the 7-year-old Maryland boy who was suspended for gnawing a Pop Tart into the shape of a gun. And then there’s the case of the 8-year-old Arizona boy whose drawings of ninjas and Star Wars characters — and interest in, gasp, zombies — led to threats of expulsion. And, of course, there’s the six-year-old boy charged with “sexual harassment” for kissing a girl. So much for Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher.
So is this steady stream of incidents an indication of widespread mental deficiency among America’s K-12 educators? In a word, yes.
It’s already well-established that education majors have the lowest test scores of any college major, but nonetheless tend to graduate with high grades. That certainly suggests a lack of critical faculties. But the constant stream of stories of zero-tolerance stupidity suggests that there’s something more lacking here than just academic smarts: There seems to be a severe deficit of the very sort of critical thinking that the education industry purports to be instilling in kids. One might dismiss any one of these events as an isolated incident, but when you have — as we clearly do — a never ending supply of such incidents, they’re no longer isolated: They’re a pattern.
Read the whole thing…
Mainstream media malpractice
Remember these stories?
Brought to us by PJ Media
As the year ends, I see that others have already conscientiously compiled lists of the most underreported and misreported stories of the year, with some even breaking matters down between foreign and domestic.
With that task addressed, I thought it would be worthwhile to compile a far from comprehensive list of ten of the more noteworthy techniques which those who pretend to be loyal to the tenets of journalism employed during 2013 to deceive, misinform, misdirect and smear.
1. Pretend that “no one” is saying something, when they really are.
Carol Costello of CNN claimed in January that “no one is talking about overturning the Second Amendment or confiscating guns in America.”
In the three preceding weeks, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo had said that “confiscation could be an option”; an Iowa state representative had “said governments should start confiscating semi-automatic rifles and other firearms”; and Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California had suggested a gun-buyback program which “could be compulsory.”
In early December, New York City’s police department sent out “letters telling gun owners to turn over their rifles and shotguns — or else face the consequences,” i.e., confiscation.
…5. Put on the moral blinders for leftists and horrible criminals.
While treating George Zimmerman as evil personified for defending himself against Trayvon Martin, the press was incredibly indulgent towards multiple baby-killer Kermit Gosnell, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, and China’s Mao Zedong.
AP reporter Maryclaire Dale described Gosnell as “an elegant man” who “smiled softly” in court as witnesses described his late-term abortion and infanticide house of horrors. The wire service rarely applied the “abortion” tag to its Gosnell stories, but frequently used “reproductive rights.”
The AP’s Paul Haven depicted the deceased Chavez’s funeral procession as “an epic farewell to a larger-than-life leader,” during which the authoritarian looter’s “flag-draped coffin floated over hundreds of thousands of supporters.”
Earlier this month, both CNBC and the New York Times ran headlines wishing the long-deceased “Chairman Mao,” who is responsible for the deaths of as many as 70 million during his multi-decade reign of terror, a “happy” 120th birthday.
…7. Act as if you’ve done your job when when you’re years late covering an important story.
If complete, this list would be exhaustive, and exhausting. Here are just a few examples:
- The New York Timesdevoted a 5,000-word piece to the Pigford “black farmers” scandal in April, over five months after the November 2012 elections when doing so would have mattered.
- The Associated Press suddenly discovered years-long trends involving employers’ heavier use of part-time and temporary workers.
- The 2013 trophy for deferred disclosure surely goes to the AP. On September 30, the day before HealthCare.gov was set to go live, it finally determined that President Obama’s five-year “you can keep your health insurance plan” guarantee to the American people “was an empty promise, made repeatedly.”
- Just before Christmas, the New York Timesastonishingly found that “the cost of premiums for people who just miss qualifying for (Obamacare) subsidies varies widely across the country and rises rapidly for people in their 50s and 60s … (and) can quickly approach 20 percent of a person’s income.” Imagine that. Anyone who studied Obamacare during the runup to its passage knew that almost four years ago.
The author forgot to mention Fast and Furious, but then again, most of the media hasn’t really covered that story.
8. Don’t believe our early reporting — and if you go looking for it, you won’t find it.
Though many news outlets irresponsibly send early news reports to the memory hole, the Times has become particular adept at the practice:
- In May, it “cleaned up” an early online report on the IRS conservative and tea-party group targeting scandal, completely changing the focus from Treasury Department admissions that it knew what the IRS was doing in 2012 to a tired “Republicans attack” exercise.
- In June, before it went to print, it scrubbed an Obama adviser’s inflammatory “a war on coal is exactly what’s needed” remark which had briefly appeared online.
- In September, it watered down the headline and content of an earlier report on Obama’s failure to form any kind of meaningful coalition for action on Syria.
9. Ignore or make excuses for inconvenient remarks by leftists and Democrats.
Here’s another list which could go on for miles. A few of the worst offenders in 2013 include the following:
- Only the relatively minor wire service AFP reported Ben Bernanke’s bombshell remark at a July congressional hearing that “the economy would tank” if the Federal Reserve were to significantly reduce the $1 trillion a year in funny money (since reduced to “only” $900 billion) it has been creating.
- Almost no one in the establishment press acknowledged the existence of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s August remark that the U.S. has to “work our way past” insurance-based health care towards a single-payer system.
- The Associated Press also took 2013′s prize in this category. In August, when Obama identified Savannah, Jacksonville, and Charleston as “along the Gulf (of Mexico)” reporter Russ Bynum parenthetically added words to what Obama had said to remove any appearance of a presidential misstatement. AP then issued a weaselly correction which still would not directly acknowledge that Obama misspoke.
10. Sit on important information if doing so helps the administration.
In November, the AP’s Julie Pace reveled in the fact that she and her employer knew of secret negotiations between the U.S. and Iran a full eight months before they were publicly disclosed. The wire service’s claim that doing so involved doing the Obama administration no favors blew up in its face when another news organization acknowledged that it and AP “were asked to not publish til end of Iran talks.”