Friday, March 30, 2012

Airport Security Debate: Bruce Schneier Kicks Butt!

The Economist has been hosting a debate on airport security for the past 10 days.  The motion:
This house believes that changes made to airport security since 9/11 have done more harm than good.
Defending the motion: Bruce Schneier, who should be well known to readers of this blog.
Opposing the motion: Kip Hawley, former TSA Administrator.

The debate has been lively.  For me, the arguments were familiar; the debate has essentially been held in a much less formal way over the past several years, through the many writings of Schneier, Hawley, and many others.  It's been a real pleasure to see Mr. Schneier make his arguments, though – he's got a real flair for exposition.

The debate is now over, though.  The motion has been carried: 89% of the votes were “aye”.  Mr. Schneier carried the day, rather dramatically.  Adam Barnes was the moderator.  An excerpt from his announcement of the winner:
Voters have roundly declared that the frustrations, the delays, the loss of liberty and the increase in fear that characterise their interactions with airport-security procedures vastly outweigh the good these procedures achieve. For some, indeed, the benefits are essentially non-existent: any sensible terrorist can find a work-around or choose a different point of attack, as Bruce Schneier explains. And so the widely expressed hope is that changes made to security in the (near) future will make the whole regime less reactive, more rational, more flexible and more intelligence-driven. The results of this debate suggest that these changes should be made with some urgency: passengers are angry.
Now if only our (insert your own epithets) Congresscritters would listen up.

The Open Mic...

The always-interesting Martin Peretz on President Obama's recent “open mic” moment with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev:
Additional "give" to Moscow on the nuclear issue was not something he admitted to the relevant senators that he was contemplating when they were weighing and approving the New Start Treaty a bare year ago. Yet it is a matter of deep interest to the Kremlin which, without any moral credit and without much material credit either, seems to be charting the cartography of another Cold War. (Remember, it pursued the last one from an impoverished base.) Mr. Obama's pliancy on the matter will encourage them to think that we are, in this matter, a patsy.
Precisely my own reaction, albeit articulated much more clearly than I could have.

Read the whole thing (in today's WSJ)...

Not That Sad...

Peggy Noonan's column is up in today's WSJ.  She's reflecting on the disappointment he's been to his own supporters.  An excerpt:
If you jumped into a time machine to the day after the election, in November, 2012, and saw a headline saying "Obama Loses," do you imagine that would be followed by widespread sadness, pain and a rending of garments? You do not. Even his own supporters will not be that sad. It's hard to imagine people running around in 2014 saying, "If only Obama were president!"
Go read the whole thing...

Preserving Hope...

I found this satirical take on Obama's performance on, of all places, the Huffington Post.  Four years ago, you could depend on the Huffington Post for completely unadulterated Obama adoration.  These days?  Not so much...

My level of hope is enhanced :-)