Tuesday Highlights

Good morning.

  1. Anger management and more.
  2. Well, those statistics mostly make sense if you consider that a grandmother from Iowa is just as big a threat as a foreign national from the Middle East. Of course when “they” figure that out, then they’ll jump to recruiting grandmothers from the heartland so profiling naturally is just stupid. And if you believe that ….
  3. Problems with measuring growth.
  4. Of art and work.
  5. Two against torture (and the right), here and here.
  6. A righteous leper.
  7. Climate and lies.
  8. Krugman skewered.
  9. Nihilism. Yes, the “pressure” is off, but are you finding happiness?
  10. Mortgages and the state.

13 Responses to Tuesday Highlights

  1. Well, those statistics mostly make sense if you consider that a grandmother from Iowa is just as big a threat as a foreign national from the Middle East. Of course when “they” figure that out, then they’ll jump to recruiting grandmothers from the heartland so profiling naturally is just stupid. And if you believe that ….

    Actually a few years ago I recall an elderly Jewish Grandmother being arrested for helping terrorists. She was the lawyer to the ‘blind sheik’ and was accused of passing messages from him to operatives in Egypt.

    Granted that’s a long cry from conducting a suicide mission and she wasn’t from Iowa but if you announce your ‘profile’ will not include Iowa grandmothers from random searches then the most rational response from a type B terrorist organization would be to recruit one….or failing that plant something on one.

    Of course this is just talking about Muslim terrorists. We know nothing about the propensity of Iowa grandma types to be in league with the ‘crazy’ type terrorist such as cults or fringe political movements.

  2. Boonton,

    Of course this is just talking about Muslim terrorists. We know nothing about the propensity of Iowa grandma types to be in league with the ‘crazy’ type terrorist such as cults or fringe political movements.

    Is that a joke?

  3. Well there’s a few dozen people in Japan who are blind (their contact lenses fused to their eyeballs) and a few more who I believe are vegetables because a cult no one ever heard of before decided to set off homemade nerve gas in the subway system. If its a joke they aren’t laughing.

  4. Boonton,
    And that was perpetrated by Midwestern grandmothers?

  5. Ahhh you know fighting the last war is a strategic fallacy, not a virtue. The number of terrorists per million of any type of profile is so small as to be statistically trivial. Your problem is that you’re trying to justify a ‘reverse profile’…..a profile of people known to have a 0% chance of being terrorists.

    Well the terrorism ‘rate’ among a profile with the most amount of terrorism (say Muslim males) is probably around ten per ten million. Sorry you simply cannot produce the sample sizes needed to support a reverse profile hypothesis.

    For the record, it wasn’t too long ago we had an old man (probably a grandfather) begin shooting at the National Holocaust Meuseum….remember that? I don’t recall if he was from Iowa or not but isn’t that enough to demonstrate the folly of a ‘reverse profile’?

    What I think is happening here is that conservatives are falling into a psychological fallacy where they are fixated on Muslim based terrorism tht they simply forget and ignore all non-Muslim based terrorism to support the delusion that the problem is only one type. The more you think about it, the more you realize there’s been plenty of examples of serious non-Muslim terrorism or acts of violence that could have equaled many serious acts of Muslim terrorism if only the nutcase had choosen a different target or different method.

  6. Boonton,
    What figures do you think there are for a demographic comparison over the last 10 years for domestic terror activity? Do you or don’t you think there is a dominant factor coming from Islamic males?

    The delusion is in your own view of “conservatives” and me. Right now Islamic males dominate the terror scene. 10 years from now that picture may change if and when the Islamic population comes to realize that anti-martyr tactics are exactly that, that they move people out of sympathy and away from your cause. They haven’t clued in yet.

    Actually I had a “market/competition” based idea regarding TSA screening. Give bonuses setting competition between TSA and tiger teams (cash rewards for catching or slipping past TSA) … you might even get the public involved, i.e., you get the reward if you catch or key TSA to locating a tiger team member trying to sneak something on board.

  7. Boonton,
    You seem to operate under the assumption that there is no demographic grouping that is any more or less inclined to violence and terror than any other. I think that’s just nonsense.

  8. What figures do you think there are for a demographic comparison over the last 10 years for domestic terror activity? Do you or don’t you think there is a dominant factor coming from Islamic males?

    Rough figures:

    1 Billion Muslims @ 50% male = 500M Muslim males

    How many acts of Muslim terrorism in a year? Discount the ‘regional terrorist’ types and maybe you have ten in an esp. bad year. Even being generous and assuming a support system of ten to twenty terrorists per attack (some like Fort Hood seem to have been only one) your ‘dominant factor’ isn’t very helpful. Adding in the ‘regional terrorist’ stats may help you out a bit but you’re still going to have a hard time getting a number that is beyond a tiny fraction.

    Right now Islamic males dominate the terror scene. 10 years from now that picture may change if and when the Islamic population comes to realize that anti-martyr tactics are exactly that, that they move people out of sympathy and away from your cause. They haven’t clued in yet.

    When you are talking of factors in the neighborhood of one in a million what the ‘population’ thinks is irrelevant. Your logic here is amazingly bad. As if there’s some type of magical ‘terrorism slot’ that can only be filled by one type in any given year! Ohhh Tim McVeigh had it one year but the underwear bomber snatched it for 2010!!! Please.

    Back in 1991 what did the white male population in the US think about Waco? Probably not much and certainly they weren’t rooting for someone to blow up office buildings as revenge. In 2001 what did the white male population think about abortion? Again certainly not thinking the issue needed to be resolved by attacking ABC News and the National Enquiror with anthrax. Yet amazingly enough all it takes is not even one in a million but one in a quarter billion to cause mayham that could have equaled 9/11 (think if McVeigh’s target was selected better….think if the anthrax letter had broken apart in the mail sorting machines and spread to thousands of pieces of mail)

    I was going to say maybe I was being too hard on the right, after all we all think first about Muslim terrorism when the issue of terrorism comes up….we all forget that by its nature asymetrical warfare is choatic and unpredicatble. But then you go and more or less say you’re terrorism policy is to pretend not only that non-Muslim terrorism doesn’t exist but that you won’t even consider the danger of it existing!

  9. You seem to operate under the assumption that there is no demographic grouping that is any more or less inclined to violence and terror than any other. I think that’s just nonsense.

    On the contrary, I fully acknowledge such. What I’m pointing out is that this information does you little good when your goal is ‘zero false negatives’.

  10. Boonton,

    On the contrary, I fully acknowledge such.

    And then how do you reconcile that with the notion that young Islamic middle eastern men should be watched just as carefully as midwestern grandmothers?

    See “attacks by type” on this wiki page. Note dates for the other types and the numbers of events.

    Can you cite where I’ve been touting “zero false negatives?”

  11. And then how do you reconcile…

    See all my previous comments.

  12. Boonton,
    Huh?

    When I brought up “Midwestern grandmothers” the point was that is a demographic likely to be “less inclined” to violence. Your response to me brining that up was to “tell that to the Japanese” victims of Sarin attacks (which were neither by any less inclined demographic but by members of a radical sect).

    It’s quite unclear to me what you are positively recommending.

    It seems to me that we both agree that there is a lot of intelligence data. It’s unclear whether that implies to you that there is so much that it should just be ignored and one should concentrate on improving at point (TSA) security or what?

    You seem to be under the impression (false) that the majority of domestic attacks over the last 10 years have not been connected to Islamic radicalism just because there have been a smaller number of non-Islamic attacks. You reject profiling because “profiles are always backward looking” and seem (it seems) to imply that profiles are necessarily set not by current intelligence estimates and analysis but are only (best?) set from profiles of past events. What am I missing?

  13. The Japanese attacks as well as the Holocaust shooter illustrate terrorist attacks can and do come from unexpected and surprising directions.

    As for profiling, there how many Islamic terrorists have attacked since 9/11 and today not counting regional type A terrorists? Maybe 40-50 at most. From this data set you’re going to build a profile to predict who future terrorists are? Credit card companies try to build profiles of debtors who default by working with millions of cases and still they fail.

    We previously talked about serial killers being dominated by white males. A commentator on McCardle’s blog had a good example of how profiling leads you in the wrong direction. “If serial killers are white males we should be looking for a van driven by a white guy (referring to looking for the DC sniper)”
    I’m not against ‘connecting the dots’, I am realistic about data mining. It is by definition backward looking. Forward looking analysis by listening to chatter, checking web site postings etc. remains labor intensive. Ultimately the best protection is going to come from what you call ‘at point’ TSA.

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