If you are a copyright owner and believe that your copyrighted works have been used in a way that constitutes copyright infringement, here is our DMCA Notice.

« This Program Has Been Transcribed | Main | The Amazing, Odd and Unreleased Larry Taylor Album (Exploring My Reel-to-Reel Catacombs, Volume Ten) (MP3) »

November 28, 2010



Would you rather they screen for behavioral indicators of bad thoughts?

Listener Steve

My note was quickly written while I was at work, and so was somewhat superficial.

I know your show is lighthearted – even flippant, nay...opinionated! – when dealing with (somewhat) serious topics. That’s the pleasure of listening to Thunk Tank! Be opinionated! But if you opine about really serious issues (i.e., airline security), take a more balanced approach.

There are indeed “bad guys” out there trying to highjack and blow up planes and other things. That’s undeniably life as we know it today. Governments, for better or for worse, are doing their best to stop these people. Their job description, after all, includes the defense of their citizens. You know and I know that for every measure the government takes to stop them, the “bad guys” will do their best to out-maneuver or outflank those measures. That’s the nature of criminals, and that’s why laws tend to become more draconian. But still the effort to stop them must be made.

Do you want to fly without any security measures? I fly a lot compared to the average person – 2 or 3 international flights a year. I don’t like the delays, the silly, seemingly pointless measures (shoes off, belt off, everything...every coin...out of pockets), the limitations on liquids carried on board. And I have to go through all this twice – in the US and in Paris even though I’m transferring within the Paris airport. It’s a nuisance. I hate it. Yet...yet...I don’t really want to end up scattered all over the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. I like being one living breathing creature!

The new scanners may or may not be the best or safest – I doubt anyone really knows at this point. I think there is a lot of scare-mongering. But to denigrate the TSA for the scanners without offering any alternatives is naive. Instead of saying nothing more than, “Ya know, these things really suck! And they’ll make you sick!”, why not address the issue in a constructive manner? Like it or not, we have a problem (A). Someone has a solution (B). You don’t like (B) and diss it, but have no alternative (C). So what happens when problem (A) becomes problem (AA), solution (B) no longer works and solution (BB) is rejected out of hand? Then what? Negativity doesn’t help. Think positive! Offer alternatives and solutions!

We are a free country and yes, we are losing some of our freedoms. I don’t like that idea. The greatness of this country is built around our liberty and freedom. But I stop short of saying, “Live free or die!”

For the record, I’m not the crazy conservative the forgoing may imply. I’m a realist, though, when it comes to airline security.

I do love the show! Keep making us laugh! Tell us about Putin – he can handle it! Make fun of him 'til the cows come home, including his favorite Baba Yaga the bio-engineered super-milk cow.

Oh, and everyone loves Italian food. Surely Putin’s favorite is pasta alla puttanesca!

Duncan Walls

I was wondering why not more has been made of how Israel deals with security issues at their airports which surely are far more prone to terrorist threats and have been for a VERY long time seeing how they are RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE of all their enemies. Strange we don't hear of more incidents from that quarter? Do they know something we don't know or are they, as I saw on ONE report (MSNBC or CNN, I don't remember which) secure in their system which every passenger is briefly interviewed by a trained profiler and only those who stand out are pulled aside. They also send sub-rosa internal 'secret flyers' to test their screeners. One mistake and you lose your job. I can't think of ANY Israeli airplanes that have gone down in my memory (I'm 59). What do you think? Should we ask them how they do it?


On my recent visit to the USA on a 3 day business trip, the customs guy, who refused to say hello or how are you, just tried to intimidate me with some macho staring and posturing and demanded I produce paper versions of a paperless ticket. I said to him "but it's on email, that's the point, it's paperless. No other country in the world has ever asked me for a paper version of a paperless ticket, however I can show you the email on my computer if you like". He doubled up his power stare and said "you are not in any other country. you are in the USA. when an officer in this country tells you to produce a document, you WILL produce it. how do I know you are not going to run off in this country?? do you understand the issues we face in this country??" (yes really, because of course in London, we have nothing to worry about, it's just cockneys, the beatles, fish n chips and warm beer).

I explained again that this was a 3 day business trip, that my girlfriend, family, friends and house were all in the UK, and that as a I had a cold I didn't even want to particularly come to the US, so I found myself unsure of why he thought I would run away, why I would turn a paperless ticket into paper (having never needed to before), and that I didn't understand what I had done wrong or why he was so angry. He just told me to do what I was told to do in future and not to cause problems again. With a deep scowl he eventually allowed me to go, making sure I knew how lenient he was being. I had smiled, not been rude, not shouted, said yes sir no sir etc - nothing could stop this guy.

The machines are the least of your worries. You are not safer. All that has changed is that your rights to be treated as a normal human have been eroded.



"Ask yourself: Are you safer today than you were on September 10, 2001?"

What are you, braindead? On Sept 11 any 4 guys could hijack any plane with a $2 boxcutter and crash it. Since then, nobody has hijacked a plane and crashed it.

So yes, I am safer than on Sept 10th, 2001. You are too, though you don't seem to know it.

I object to the TSA screenings also, and would prefer profiling and trusted traveler programs. Let's not waste time feeling up grandmothers in wheelchairs. But it is absurd to claim we are not safer.


To Duncan Walls (November 29, 2010 at 1:41 AM EST): You might find this Washington Post article of interest:

Supreme Imam Hellbound Alleee


Before September 10, 2001, I wasn't felt up and given scabies by a civil servant of ANY uniform. Yes, THAT is what I'm afraid of.

And for your information, I was never on any planes that were hijacked and blown up. I loved to fly. Now I live in fear of EVER having to fly, and I was separated from the person I loved most in the world because of this shit.

So, don't talk to me about feeling fucking safer.

christian louboutin

thank you for this worthwhile information I must post a link on my blog so my associates can benefit from it also.

El Lobo

Well...of course we are safer than we were on September 10, 2001. How many times have we been attacked domestically since? How many attacks have been thwarted? I agree with John--I don't like the screenings, either, and would much prefer profiling (sorry, man, it works) or another method. But ask yourself are flying and have your choice of two flights--one is screened, and one is not. Which plane will you choose to board?

Like it or not, it is a different world now. More of this shit is coming, and when it happens, our nation of whiners will complain that we didn't do enough to stop it.


Government departments? Don't get me going on Big Brother, and I don't mean the band. Apparently this site (info at shutting down due to the Homeland Security folks. I do not see the connection, but check it out.


What makes any of you idiots who think you're "safer" now think that the next attack would have anything whatever to do with airplanes or airports?

If you want to be safer, get working on stopping the US military from killing and terrorizing others abroad. A sane foreign policy (and Obama's is no different than Bush's) would make everyone in the world safer.


Looks like some paid propagandists for the TSA have showed up.

No, I'm not any safer than I was on Sept. 10, 2001, John. It's you who are braindead.

By spending so many billions and billions of dollars on measures that don't work - did metal detectors stop the shoe bomber? - did making everyone take off their shoes stop the underwear bomber? - did strip scanners stop the toner cartridge bombers? - will strip scanners stop the inevitable ass bomber? - and hey, how would scanners in the US have stopped the underwear bomber in Nigeria, exactly? - by wasting our money on yesterday's plot, we aren't doing the one thing that actually does work: going out and finding plotters and stopping them before they get to the airport.

At this point, blowing up a clogged security line would be a lot easier than blowing up the plane.

Are you even thinking about any of this, or are you just demanding someone to "do something" and pat you on the head and tell you not to worry?

I'll tell you this, if I had a choice - no strip scanners, no taking off shoes, just a metal detector and a baggage X-ray, like we used to - and I could either get on that plane, or the one with all the invasive procedures, I'd get on the low-security plane in a minute.

For one thing, all the cowards would be on your plane - the other one - and anyone attempting a hijacking on my plane would get his ass kicked. So my plane would actually be safer.

Water Tunnel #2

The turkey story: A turkey hatches and has a great life. Every day, the farmer comes and feeds the turkey. The turkey is fat and happy and trusts the farmer to come every day to feed him. The turkey is well cared-for, and feels totally safe. Then, one Wednesday in late November, the turkey experiences a sudden and complete revision of his beliefs.
How safe did you feel on Sept. 10, 2010? How safe do you feel today? Do you think how safe you FEEL has anything to do with reality, or events that will occur tomorrow?

The comments to this entry are closed.