Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Small Bits: Government, Government, Government, Bill Scannell and Christopher Hitchens

  • Kip Esquire has a great roundup in “Linkfest — Special “Hear/See/Speak No Evil” Edition,” guaranteed to boil the blood of anyone who thinks that sometimes government goes too far.
  • Then again, sometimes government doesn’t go far enough. In the case of New York’s MTA, they’ve spent $30m of the $600m they have available for security, as the New York Times reports in “M.T.A. Slow to Spend Money on Transit Security:”

    In December 2002, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced it had completed a lengthy assessment of potential threats to the city’s transportation infrastructure, from subway lines to major bridges. The authority, which had begun the study in the weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, said it was committing nearly $600 million to improve the security of the sprawling transportation network.

    But to date, two and a half years after that announcement and nearly four years after Sept. 11, only a small fraction – about $30 million as of March – has been spent, and nearly all of that on consultants and additional study.

    Study and planning are all good, but there comes a time for action.

  • Of course, careful study is needed when you’re dealing with government programs, as the Times reports an article on American ingenuity versus Kafkaesque bureaucracy, “The Middle Class Struggles in the Medicaid Maze:”

    So Mr. Russo educated Mr. Alberico about Medicaid planning, a series of techniques for disposing of assets in order to meet the standard of poverty required since the program’s creation in 1965 – before anybody anticipated today’s exploding nursing home population. Nationwide spending on long-term care, most of it in nursing homes, has grown to $183 billion annually, nearly half paid by Medicaid, and many techniques for sheltering assets are likely to be restricted within a year.

  • bill-scannell-framed.jpgIf there’s a fellow who understands what the words “government restrictions” means, it’s Bill Scannell, who tirelessly takes the TSA to task for their ineffectiveness, lies, and failure to perform. Bill looked particularly Strangelovian when he visited the Berkman Center, and blogged about it.
  • In a comment, Stu Berman pointed to an essay by Christopher Hitchens in the Mirror, “WE CANNOT SURRENDER.” I thought I’d draw more attention to it:

    Nothing of the sort applies in this case. We know very well what the “grievances” of the jihadists are.

    The grievance of seeing unveiled women. The grievance of the existence, not of the State of Israel, but of the Jewish people. The grievance of the heresy of democracy, which impedes the imposition of sharia law. The grievance of a work of fiction written by an Indian living in London. The grievance of the existence of black African Muslim farmers, who won’t abandon lands in Darfur. The grievance of the existence of homosexuals. The grievance of music, and of most representational art. The grievance of the existence of Hinduism. The grievance of East Timor’s liberation from Indonesian rule. All of these have been proclaimed as a licence to kill infidels or apostates, or anyone who just gets in the way.

    FOR a few moments yesterday, Londoners received a taste of what life is like for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, whose Muslim faith does not protect them from slaughter at the hands of those who think they are not Muslim enough, or are the wrong Muslim.

    It is a big mistake to believe this is an assault on “our” values or “our” way of life. It is, rather, an assault on all civilisation. I know perfectly well there are people thinking, and even saying, that Tony Blair brought this upon us by his alliance with George Bush.

4 comments on "Small Bits: Government, Government, Government, Bill Scannell and Christopher Hitchens"

  • An interesting counterpoint to the lack of MTA spending can be found at:
    Some notable snippets:
    …it’s clear that no one can stop terrorists from killing. Spending billions on airport security has simply diverted them to transit systems, and spending billions on transit systems could at best divert them somewhere else: stores, restaurants, sidewalks. Terrorists don’t even need bombs. They could simply adopt the snipers’ technique for spreading fear.
    President Bush briefly admitted last summer to Matt Lauer that the war on terror couldn’t ever be won, but he got so much criticism that he promptly backtracked. It was a textbook Washington gaffe: perfectly true but terribly inconvenient.

  • mohamed says:

    Hi. Here is a picture from the showing a particularly extreme way “of protest against injustice by a man in Kiev, Ukraine”.
    Although this is far different from suicide bombings, it does give clues on what Man can do (unfortunately) in response to a perception of injustice or frustration.
    The question that we may ask ourselves now is: Has (or will) the human race matured and grown up enough to start living in peace, and make a sense out of this world?
    Do we ever learn our lessons? Do we ever restrain form our frantic, delirious, unbridled pursuit of profit and personal individualistic pleasures?
    or like they say, we’re all doomed to exterminate each others to last breadth…

  • Adam says:

    That’s quite the rhetorical jump, from injustice to “frantic, delirious, unbridled pursuit of profit and personal individualistic pleasures.”

  • John Kelsey says:

    Yeah, I for one wish these suicide bombers would stop with their unbridled pursuit of profit and personal individualistic pleasures, and start thinking about sacrificing themselves for the group. Oh, wait….

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