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Commuting on the Train
Posted by: Dale Franks on Monday, December 11, 2006

I am not actually working today. Or, for the rest of the week for that matter. I am attending a training class, and it's held all the way downtown in San Diego. Rather than driving, and facing all that traffic, I decided to take the train.

The train is interesting, really, because it puts you in contact with lots of people. In my daily life, I really don't deal with many people. I drive to work. I have an office by myself. I do my little job, and go home. To the extent I do deal with people during the day, they are mainly, like me, all ex-career military.

So, I don't hear opinions like I heard on the train today. Across the aisle from me, a group of co-workers were commuting together. The subject of guns came up, and on of them, who seemed like a nice enough lady, declared, "If I had my way, I would disarm everyone in the counrty. Including the army!"

I couldn't help myself. I looked up from my laptop, and commented, "Well, thank God you aren't the one in charge of deciding which of my rights I get to exercise."

Uncomfortable silence.

I looked back down at my laptop as if nothing untoward had happened, and the people across the aisle changed the subject.

It's hard to believe that anyone could actually hold such transparently stupid ideas, but, there you go.

Another thing I noticed, while trying to hook up to the wireless network on the train: A lot of people now have wireless networks, apparently. At any given time, all the way from Carlsbad to San Diego, there were anywhere from five to fifteen networks in range. Equally surprising is how many people's wireless networks are completely unsecured.

The network names are odd, too. Some people just take the default name for the woreless router, "linksys", or "netgear" or what have you. Some people are apparently way too into themselves, and give their own name to the network, such as "SteveNet". Some names are silly, like "5 Banana-Heads".

Some are unintentionally amusing. One unsecured network that popped up was named "Puta los Gringos". Huh. The gringo's will be using your network like a puta if you don't throw a WEP key on that bad boy.

A round trip ticket costs 13.50 in combined train and trolley fares. That seems like a lot, until you see that it costs at least $12 a day just to park downtown. Overall, for the money, it's a lot more relaxing to ride down on the train, even if you do have to listen to morons spouting their outlandish opinions.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

It’s hard to believe that anyone could actually hold such transparently stupid ideas, but, there you go.
No. It isn’t. Unfortunately.

I hear utter nonsense all the time. I’m not talking about opinions I happen to disagree with, such as "Iraq is a complete failure". I mean utter nonsense. "Health care should be free!" "We should stop using fertilizer! It just uses up oil and gives us unhealthy food." "If the US would just {pull out of the Middle East | sign Kyoto | give the UN control of warmaking}, then the rest of the world would stop hating us."

A not-insignificant portion of our citizenry has come unmoored from reality. It’s as if they believe the laws of physics, economics, and human behavior have been repealed. There is zero evidence for their positions, and the only thing those positions have to recommend themselves is that they make the people that hold them feel virtuous and superior to the rest of us.

And here’s the worst part. If you attempt to point out their delusions, they think you’re the one who’s crazy.
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
they think you’re the one who’s crazy.
We see this all the time, two dimensional unchallenged thinking, otherwise known as how a 4 year thinks.

As entertaining as it may be to point out the ridiculously naive and thoughtless comments supporting lefty positions, there are equally ridiculous moronic statements by brainless righties. One recent example I encountered was an individual that supported George Bush and the Iraq war but suggested that we kill everyone in Iraq. Talk about liberation.

Another I heard in the line at the grocery store was a woman who was apoplectic that people were actually compaining about the government listening to their phone calls. "I have nothing to hide and we have to stop the terrorists", she said. I told her that I would rather die in a terrorist attack than give up any of the rights that hundreds of thousands of Americans over 200 years have died defending.

I almost prefer the brainless recitation of talking head soundbites to some of the inane opinions that too many people hold, at with those SOMEONE had thought about it.

In either case, looking at the amount of thought (or lack thereof) that people put into the critical issues of our time, it’s a wonder that we are not all face down with a jackboot on our neck... oh yeah, we kind of are.


Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
"I told her that I would rather die in a terrorist attack than give up any of the rights that hundreds of thousands of Americans over 200 years have died defending."

Nodding head until here. The Fourth Amendment only prohibits "unreasonable" searches and seizures, not "warrantless" searches and seizures. While we can have an interesting discussion about Article II powers, the constitutionality of FISA, and whether the AUMF allowed this type of search (one I’d end up agreeing with you on probably), defending the actual search itself doesn’t quite put one in the "I think we should kill them eye-rak-ees" category.
Written By: Sean
You could have asked "How?"

Getting an unarmed army to take weapons off armed citizens seems slightly impractical.
Written By: unaha-closp
The best part of the information age is the people who are willing to take the soapbox. Better than "American idol". The best two comment I have heard/read lately. (Beside Scott)

First Quote from a web page comment section.
"The saddest part of this is that even as we on the left recount his atrocities, our friends on the right are mourning the loss of their spiritual father. Pinochet was the source for much of the neocon/Bush agenda, including the privatization of Social Security, the usefulness of torture and secret prisons, and the way to "govern" through simple executive fiats. To us, he was a butcher. To the right, he was a hero. Kind of puts the left/right split into a different perspective."

The second was a caller to talk radio.
The caller questions what oil does for an engine? The caller and host agreed oil "cooled the engine". The caller then went on about how global warming was the result of the removal of oil from beneath the earths surface.

You just can’t make this stuff up.
Written By: coaster
URL: http://
What is really frightening is when folks you thought were well informed and somewhat balanced, pop off with moonbat or wingnut opinions.
Written By: bains
URL: http://
Nodding head until here. The Fourth Amendment only prohibits "unreasonable" searches and seizures, not "warrantless" searches and seizures.
And what is the pre-constitutional and Constitutional precedent for establishing when a desired search is "reasonable"?

If you give any single entity of the government the power to determine on their own what is a reasonable search, you have given away your 4th Amendment right.
"The English Colonial/Mercantile System was an attempt to make England a power in the work trade arena. The English attempted to control trade to and from the colonies to assure that English merchants and the English Government would get the maximum benefit. Certain goods from the colonies were required to be shipped to England before they could be placed in world commerce. To prevent smuggling and other infractions of the Navigation Acts, the laws had allowed ’Writs of Assistance,’ general search warrants which were not based on cause, and which allowed a search of any place for contraband goods. These writs were in the law in the mid-1600s. They were not extensively used until after 1750.

"In the 1760s they became a vexation to the New England merchants who were not averse to making money via smuggled goods. The writs were found to be legal by English Courts in 1767. This occurred at about the same time that John Wilkes successfully challenged a general writ used to find certain publications attributable to him. The colonists were galled by the fact that a Writ of Assistance allowed any officer of the government to search their homes, seize any contraband and then send the case to Halifax to be tried before an Admiralty Court without a jury. The use of the writs became a major point of contention between the colonies and the English Government.

"The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees that the people of this country, their papers and residences are to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. In the law of search and seizure, developed in this country, there has been one guiding principle: A search of private property without warrant is, on its face, unreasonable.
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
You should ride the bus; you get a whole different caliber of nutty. One time a guy on a bus told me how we should take all the pennies in the country and melt them down and turn them into wires, which would be used to bring electricity to the poor. The electricity, of course, would be free to the poor, because it would be paid for by the pennies.

I also got accosted once by a batty older woman who kept shrieking "Abu Ghraib!" in the checkout line at Sam’s Club. Why anyone would want to pretend to discuss political issues with a random young woman with children in a line at Sam’s Club is beyond me.
Written By: Wacky Hermit

All well and good, but the Supreme Court has laid down some of its own clearly-delineated exceptions, including (of note here) "border" searches and special needs searches unrelated to law enforcement. At a minimum, I think it has to be acknowledged that a belief that it is perfectly reasonable for the government to listen in on phone calls between a US Citizen and a terrorist overseas isn’t exactly in the same category as "put all the arabs in camps" (another conversation I’ve overheard).
Written By: Sean
At a minimum, I think it has to be acknowledged that a belief that it is perfectly reasonable for the government to listen in on phone calls between a US Citizen and a terrorist overseas isn’t exactly in the same category as "put all the arabs in camps" (another conversation I’ve overheard).
It is perfectly reasonable if a warrant is obtained. I am even willing to acquiesce to the FISA allowed warrants obtained AFTER the eavesdropping has occurred. In NO case am I willing to accept that a single law enforcement body may determine on it’s own the reasonableness of listening to the private communications of an American citizen without a warrant, no matter WHO is on the other side of the conversation.

The point being that the check on government in this case is to insure that for every communication in which a US citizen is involved, some other body must be notified and approve. Without this, a single governmental entity will have the power to listen to any US citizen they want with no other group even being made aware of who they listen to. Too much power, too little accountability.

Fear of terror is simply not a good enough reason for me to ignore my distrust of government.

Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
Well then you’ve got your work cut out for you, because there are (numerous) swatches of constitutional law you’ll have to cut down regarding the circumstances where warrantless searches are perfectly acceptable, even without post hac review.
Written By: Sean
This is going to be an offbeat compliment, but you know what separates you from the other posters and most of the political blogging world, Dale?

These neato little stories you post about how much fun you had sitting on the train! They’re cute as a button!

Sure, I mean Kevin Drum puts up the odd picture of his cat, and Instapundit links to cameras and so on, but they’re very perfunctory about it. Who else gives us this level of depth about moments in their day that struck them as odd? As someone who feels camraderie with the bizzare, I sure do enjoy it.

Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
They’re cute as a button!
Heh ... oh, good.

With characterizations like that (no matter how heartfelt) I’m sure Dale will be straining at the bit to pen even more "cute" stories. ;)
Written By: McQ
Sarcasm is a disease, Q. Don’t let it happen to you. You too will become unable to express how tickled you were by the genuine puzzlement and earnest nature of a story about a woman on a train without sounding like you’re on the Daily Show and only pretending you felt that way.

It’s hard... to climb... out of these walls... we put up all around us... to help us tell other people why they suck so much about tax policy...

Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
glas, your signal-to-noise ratio is starting to degrade.
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://

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