It’s not enough that the federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) gropes us at checkpoints in airports, photographs passengers naked, steals from them, and even killed one. Now it’s recruiting the nation’s truck- and bus-drivers as snitches against us in a scheme it calls First Observer.
The logic is diabolical, totalitarian, and simple even if the jargon cloaking it isn’t: commercial drivers are already cruising the country — “The average truck spends 100,000 miles on the highway a year — 10 times more than an average car,” the Vallejo [CA] Times-Herald tells us —, so who better to spy on us and report what they see? Or, as the TSA’s propaganda puts it, "First Observer engages surface transportation professionals — truck drivers, school bus operators, mass transit workers, port workers and others — in maintaining the safety and security of America's bridges, tunnels and roads."
There’s a wonderful German word, “schadenfreude,” which translates roughly as “taking pleasure in the misfortune of others.” Normally that would be a pretty petty thing to feel. But I’ve got to admit, I’ve been enjoying a lot of schadenfreude lately, as I witness the problems the Association for Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) has created for itself.
Following the OPEC Summit in November of 2007, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shook things up when he said the U.S. dollar was “a worthless piece of paper.” He had expressed concern over the dollar’s decreasing value and wondered aloud if the global marketplace should use another currency in the trading of oil. At the time, the world scoffed at the concept and looked at Ahmadinejad as a mad man.
I thought we were supposed to think that Sarah Palin was nuts for bringing up "death panels." Now a few weeks later the cover of Newsweek has a giant plug on unplugging the elderly, accompanied by a super-sized headline: "The Case for Killing Granny: Curbing Excessive End-Of-Life Care Is Good for America." The article is by Evan Thomas, a Newsweek editor-at-large.