Unsafe at any altitude- A

Unsafe at any altitude
– A man is arrested in the Memphis airport with a loaded gun in his carry-on after he had gone through two other airports — Tampa and Atlanta — without getting caught!

I repeat: I don’t feel safe. I repeat: Homeland security is a damned mess.

This has to be fixed. Ridge has to take action, action, action and I have lots of suggestions. Previous rants below: First, second, third, fourth.

– Now they’ve just decided that airport screeners do not need to be high-school graduates. Did the idiot who decided that even graduate from third grade? What idiocy! [via Drudge]

Me, me, me!
– Hey: Ken Layne is getting credit for my Fly Naked initiative. Now, I’ve come to love Ken like the brother I never had but I’m getting pretty damned jealous of the press he’s getting for this. First Natalie Solent gave him credit — even though he had given it to me. Then Thomas Friedman in the NY Times claimed the idea as his own, ripping off Ken and me. Now Charles Johnson gives me the news that a Mark Steyn column gives Ken credit again — even as Ken generously gives me credit on his blog. I think I’m going to patent this as my idea for the only sure way to fly safely and then I’ll make a lot of money with the lawsuits when American Airlines changes its name to Naked Air (what else could you do if you were the president of that poor, besieged company?). Here are my posts on the topic: First, second, third.

– See also Charles Johnson‘s own coincidental complaint with the same column. We don’t mind being quoted — so long as we’re quoted at all and quoted properly. We have egos, too. Stroke them.

Support Blogger
– Steven Den Beste of USS Clueless bemoans the fate of Blogger, Blogspot, their proprietor Evan Williams, and all their users after a damned hacker/cracker caused a day’s downtime and interrupted our posts and Ev’s vacation this week. Den Beste is quite right that we’re all vulnerable.

But we all don’t have his ability to run his own software on his own machine; he’s a software engineer. I’m not a software engineer; I merely hire them. Here, I’m just a writer, just a blogger, and I do this in my spare time thanks to the fact that Blogger and Blogspot and Ev make it so damned easy.

The answer is not to abandon Blogger; I couldn’t run its alternatives. The answer is to find ways to support Blogger et al. Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit said we should all buy off our ads for a mere $12 a year — a major bargain; I did it and only wish I’d thought of making it into a campaign of support before Reynolds did. We should buy Pyrads when they’re back up; it’s cheap and fun. Ev asked for bandwidth help and apparently he’s getting some. The idea of getting a foundation grant for Blogger is brilliant; who can help? What else can we as a community do to support our community’s infrastructure? (Full disclosure: In my day job, I got my employer to invest in Blogger/Pyra early on but I’m not speaking from that perspective now; I’m just another blogger). See Instapundit today.

Civil discourse
– Will Vehrs of Quasipundit and I have been trading Qs and As regarding homeland security: He challenged me; I answered his good questions (see my posts yesterday and the day before, below); we didn’t end up agreeing but we talked. On his site, Vehr takes this exchange as an example of the kind of true dialogue bloggers engage in — and print pundits usually don’t. Having been both, I have to say he’s right. When I wrote for magazines and newspapers (I was a columnist for TV Guide, People, and the SF Examiner before I became a media suit) I have to say that I often dreaded contact with the audience (especially those among them whose writing implement was a crayon). Don’t get me wrong, I loved the audience; I respected the audience; but I didn’t necessarily want to have lunch with them. But the Web and blogs in particular lead to an entirely new relationship with the audience, in which the audience is the publisher, the owner, the boss and that’s how it should be, really.

God v. god
– In the Times of London, Matthew Parris argues that the exploitation of God on and since Sept. 11 will lead to another field of conflict: those who came closer to God and faith because of that day and those who were repelled farther from God and faith because of how God has been used by fundamentalists and extremists of many flavors; their fear: that ” ‘extreme’ religion is a strong version of the weaker mainstream variety. Reasonableness in religion comes from a lack of total commitment.” He concludes:

Stronger commitments from some, then, and stronger antipathy from others. Could things be coming to a head? Could we be seeing a polarisation of public attitudes to faith? For more than a century now the dominant attitude in the Western world has been an apathy which I would describe as covert agnosticism masquerading as weak observance. Is Osama bin Laden flushing this agnosticism out? If so, we may see an increase both in the religious enthusiasm of the minority, and the avowed scepticism of the majority. When it comes to the relationship between modern man and religious faith, the century now beginning may prove make-up-your-mind time. I hope so.