Islamic Cleric Speaks out against terrorism

Ok old story but I just am getting around to posting it…

Maybe this happens more often than I know of, but I think it’s great that this is happening.

Maybe if more religious people spoke out against people using their religion as an excuse to commit crimes and acts of violence, then we’d have less terrorism, abortion clinic bombings, and general stupid stuff going on.

Update 8/12:

New video produced by moderate Muslims condemning terrorism.  It was covered by CNN.  Another Muslim summit, denouncing terrorism, from the same cleric who issued a fatwah against terrorism.  In addition, this is a good article describing the controversy and the issues around the building of (among other things) a Muslim Center and Mosque near ground zero.  Specifically the point being made about the marginalizing of Islam being the exact wrong thing to do when trying to avoid extremism in that religion.  Worth a read, even if you don’t agree with the placement of the Mosque.


Air Marshals not so effective…

So I’ve posted about the ineffectiveness of anti-terrorism measures before, but this is truly rediculous.  More air marshals are arrested than they have made arrests?  That’s a truly WTF moment if I have ever heard of one.  Of course security isn’t always easy, and even doesn’t always work even if the idea is good, but this is bit over the top.

 Thanks to Bruce Schneier and his blog for the link and comments.  Also a note to say that I do understand the deterrant effect of the program, I just think that the trouble here outweighs the benefit.

UPDATE:  It looks like the No-Fly List is being reviewed for improvements.  This process could be effective, but really isn’t, largely for the same reasons that security is hard, and often doesn’t work.  The bad guys have the advantage of not following rules; like not using their own names, having aliases, identity theft, etc.  Then this situation is compounded by the politics not allowing anyone to be removed easily for fear of “letting one go”.  Rediculous, because the lists become so large and unmanagable that you might not catch the guy until it is nearly too late. If at all.

Once more into the breach…

Ok as if there wasn’t enough to think about when flying on vacation to Mexico with Swine Flu and Drug Cartel Violence, I’m actually categorizing the possible US Customs and TSA experience right up with those things. Why you may ask?

Because I value my personal freedom, and I don’t think these guys get it.  They seem to (knowingly or unknowingly) be supporting the slow slide into a police state, and frankly doing a poor job of it at that.  Stories of outright theft in the TSA ranks and others talk about how the senior TSA officials don’t consider Fingerprints private data lead me to believe that this ungoverned police presence is being abused or at least not directed to support the Constitutional rights we all are supposed to have.  Where is my protection from unreasonable seach and seizure?  Why is information that can be used to identify me not be considered mine, or even private?

These guys have it wrong, and there is little chance of a change in the process.  We all know politicians can’t be seen as weakening anything that might come back to haunt them, even if it’s illegal, unconstitutional, and ethically challenged.  And now to top it all off, the company that was trying to make avoiding TSA possible goes out of business, and there is doubt they can assure that the data they gathered about their clients will be kept safe.

So let’s cut to the chase.  TSA isn’t in the security business, at least not adding much if any airline security.  They are in the job security business for themselves and the politicians that need something to say they are acting against further terrorism (tell that to Dr Tiller).  They do have rules and process, but they are often not doing what they were intended to do.

At least in Norway they have a real threat to worry about and still manage to keep the populace safe.

Fear is unhealthy… well duh!

This is a link to Bruce Schneier’s Blog with comments included because I thought some of them were very insightful as well.  His posting has links to the original article and study.

First, is it news that stress in general is unhealthy?  Back in the “Health food” kicks of the 80s (ok, yeah that starts to put dates to my age, but that’ll be a different post) I used to joke the the stress of worrying about your diet might just kill you faster than the food iteself.  It seems I was unwittingly correct. 🙂

Second, fear (a stress factor) can come from many sources, so pinning the blame on terrorism is a bit of reach.  Ok, it is probably true, but the same can be said for fear of any variety of fear for which you don’t manage the associated stress.  The key is in the management of the stress.

Fight or flight instincts go way back into our history, and it can be argued that some stresses cause performance increases as the body’s response is to pump the system full of adrenaline and prepare for that fight or flight.  However those elevated levels of performance are intended (so it seems) to be short term.  Living under a constant threat wears us out, so our brain and body learn ways to diffuse the stresses and return our body to its normal state.

So while I’m sure someone got a master’s degree, or a publication credit, I wonder if we really needed a study to tell us the being scared and stressed is not a good thing.

Refuse the Terror

For a while I’ve been wondering about the over-hype being pressed by our government on the topic of terrorism.  Yeah, I know, terrorists are bad people, etc.  I would never approach condoning terrirsm nor the actions undertaken by them, however, let’s be realistic.  Are we really at risk? 

So I did some research and the resulting video is posted to at: 

The point being every person has a vote, and through that vote, your wallet, and your participation in the government we can have the government of the people, for the people, by the people again.  It certainly hasn’t been that for a while IMO, but I retain hope and optimism that it can be that again if the people simply rejoin the process.