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Posted at 12:28 PM ET, 11/24/2010

Majority of Republicans favors racial profiling at airports, while Dems, indys oppose

By Greg Sargent

Republicans are the only group that favors racial profiling at airports, with a majority of them supporting the policy, while Democrats and independents are strongly opposed to it, according to internals of the new Washington Post/ABC News poll that were sent my way.

As I noted yesterday, the new Post poll gauging attitudes towards the TSA pat-downs also tested attitudes towards the possibility of the Transportation Security Administration profiling passengers. While most favor profiling in general, a sizable majority, 59 percent, are opposed to including race in passengers' profiles, while only 40 percent favor it.

I've now obtained the partisan breakdown on this question, and it finds Republicans at odds with the rest of the country:

* Fifty three percent of Republicans think race "should be included in a passenger's security profile," while 45 percent think it shouldn't.

* Only 39 percent of independents think race should be included, while 59 percent think it shouldn't.

* Only 31 percent of Dems think race should be included, while 68 percent think it shouldn't.

This is perhaps not a terribly surprising result. But it's certainly worth noting that with a variety of conservative media figures aggressively pushing racial profiling in recent days, the only people who agree with them are Republicans, while the rest of the country is strongly opposed.

By Greg Sargent  | November 24, 2010; 12:28 PM ET
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security  
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Comments

These times we're witnessing...the old white peoples last hurrah!

Also the last resurgence of the Know Nothing Party.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Know_Nothing

Posted by: mikefromArlington | November 24, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Yea, but what is the best policy for the nation ???


Why in the world does "racial profiling" which everyone is against for blacks - have to become an issue in Security at the Airports


The liberals are taking one idea - and applying it to a completely unrelated thing.

It is wrong.


And security should not be a partisan issue. Iraq should not be a partisan issue. Afghanistan should not be a partisan issue. All that is the wrong approach.


Case closed.


.

Posted by: RedNation | November 24, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Majority of Republicans favor racial profiling?
Who knew?

Posted by: shrink2 | November 24, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, interesting. Throwing race into the mix would weight the profiling. As long as it is done logically it would work. What's the problem Greg?

BTW, I'd get searched more than you Greg...

Posted by: illogicbuster | November 24, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Well, they almost elected Sharron Angle.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | November 24, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

So we are defining racial profiling as taking race into account. Period. If you define it in any other way, then Greg's conclusion is wrong.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | November 24, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

"the only people who agree with them are Republicans"

And 39 percent of independents and 31 percent of Dems.

Posted by: sbj3 | November 24, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

"...we are defining racial profiling as taking race into account."

If you think about it, that makes sense.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 24, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

"These times we're witnessing...the old white peoples last hurrah!"
- mikefromArlington 12;39

--------------


This attitude is one reason why the liberals lost the last election - this is why Obama is not getting re-elected


And it is why the democrats will not be back in power for a generation.

This comment is racist

Posted by: RedNation | November 24, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

"should be included in a passenger's security profile"

What's a "security profile" and what else does it include? Age, height, weight and other identifying features? Or is it travel origin/destination, known associations?.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | November 24, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Out of curiosity, I checked Wikipedia to see how we define "race" in this country.

"White. A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa. It includes people who indicate their race as "White" or report entries such as Irish, German, Italian, Lebanese, Near Easterner, Arab, or Polish."

So, if we are to profile based on race, then Arabs would have the same racial profile as the Irish. I'm not sure I understand the problem...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_and_ethnicity_in_the_United_States_Census

Posted by: sbj3 | November 24, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

"...we are defining racial profiling as taking race into account."

If you think about it, that makes sense.


That's fine, I just think a lot of people would define racial profile to mean only race is taken into account. I think the definition needs to be clear in order to make any sense of the study.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | November 24, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

sbj,

In your world, is 31 and 39 greater than or less than 50?

Posted by: suekzoo1 | November 24, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

All of this because Anne Coulter doesn't want anyone to see her junk on an x-ray? She shouldn't fret so much: no one wants to look at her. No one cares. Get over yourself, you silly prude.

Posted by: wbgonne | November 24, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

sbj3-

And Timothy McVeigh walks right on thru...

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | November 24, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

ashotinthedark: "So we are defining racial profiling as taking race into account. Period. If you define it in any other way, then Greg's conclusion is wrong."

Yup. And what if folks answering that they support racial profiling really mean that they don't support giving certain people a pass to *avoid* the appearance of racial profiling--eg, frisking more 90 year old caucasian grandmothers and Asian music students and less "middle eastern looking men" in order to go to pains to point out how they aren't racial profiling.

I'm perfectly content to have profiling without race being a factor, but that would mean that it wouldn't be a factor. Even if, one day, everybody who met the threat profile on acceptable criteria happened to be middle-eastern in appearance.

Thus, from a certain viewpoint, I support racial profiling, because I don't support excluding people who otherwise match a consistent threat profile based on race, and wanting to avoid the appearance of racial discrimination. Even though I'm perfectly content to assess folks on their flight history, behavior, one-way or round-trip ticket, amount of luggage, departure and destination, answers to a few probing questions, etc.

Also, as has been pointed out, we profile racially now--or, we certainly can. We do not keep track of who is singled out for further inspection, or what their race, age or gender is. So there is no way to assess if the TSA, or individual members, are engaging in transparently discriminatory behavior in regards to airline passengers or not. And certain individuals report getting pulled out of almost every line they are in, so there is clearly profiling going on. Some have argued that profiling takes place, and is directed towards those who look the most compliant and least likely to object or cause trouble. Perhaps not, but . . .

@sbj3: "And 39 percent of independents and 31 percent of Dems."

And only 53% of Republicans support it, while 45% do not. And I expect at least some of those are less supportive of racial profiling than they are supportive of not giving certain folks a pass in order to avoid the appearance of impropriety. Ergo, what they support of objective threat assessment profiling, of which race may be a small or insignificant factor. They just don't want race to be an excuse to simply ignore the power of threat assessment.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 24, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

@wbgonne: "All of this because Anne Coulter doesn't want anyone to see her junk on an x-ray?"

You may see this as a partisan issue, and thus feel compelled to take the contrary position, to assure your membership in good standing of the Good Liberal Club. I have a hard time seeing this as partisan. Who was in charge with the 3 oz, no-toothepaste rule was enacted? And was that or was it not stupid?

I think most of this is because it's (a) formalizing government harassment of the general public. If you think it's a good idea to condition the sheep to take it and keep their mouths shut, well, okee-dokee. I don't like it on that basis alone. But it's also (b) ineffective and (c) even less effective for providing an illusion of security that it doesn't provide. It would be better if they just let us board the plane without harassment, worried that whoever is sitting next to us might ignite his shoe at any moment, than provide us with this elaborate security kabuki that promises a safety that it simply does not provide. And, (d) it's expensive and time consuming, in addition to the invasiveness, and accomplishing nothing for the added expense and hassle. Of, and, (e) it's implemented inconsistently, and there's a lot of evidence that the TSA agents doing the implementation aren't adequately trained in regards to who gets more strenuous inspection and who does not.

There are a few more alphabet letters I could get to. Ann Coulter's junk doesn't even make the list.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 24, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Dogs are somewhat colorblind -- more effective and free of prejudice. They don't care who you are, what your age is, where you are from, or how you pray. they care only about one thing -- do you smell like a bomb? that's the profiling I want.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | November 24, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

chuck: "And Timothy McVeigh walks right on thru..."

As does John Walker Lindh.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | November 24, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

"...they care only about one thing..."

My dog is a perv, no doubt about it.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 24, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

As does Jihad Jane.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8561888.stm

Posted by: mikefromArlington | November 24, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

@sue: In my world - hello BTW - one can't use "the only people" accurately when omitting 31 and 39% of other groups.

What's the weather like in your world? Do you guys celebrate Thanksgiving?

Posted by: sbj3 | November 24, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

@sbj3: "So, if we are to profile based on race, then Arabs would have the same racial profile as the Irish. I'm not sure I understand the problem..."

The problem might be more "country of National origin profiling"--which I'm sure is what a majority of Republicans who want racial profiling are talking about. They want folks with a Yemeni passport given more scrutiny that a grandmother from Poughkeepsie.

BTW, I'm not positive as to the degree, but if I'm not mistaken, Timothy McVeigh fit a profile (a profile that was also assumed to apply to the DC sniper, until he was actually caught and turned out to be neither white nor Christian), and that profile was used to help apprehend and interrogate him.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 24, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I want people to see me naked. If people don't want to be seen the way The Lord made them, then perhaps they should question God's will. An -ostomy bag is God's will, so is that third roll of fat. It is all part of God's plan, ye of little faith. But now that I've thought about it, did you know, many fat people have a bag of fat that hangs down over their junk, a very large thick bag of fat (panniculus). Can the scanner see through that to detect explosive chemicals stored between peoples' slabs of fat? Before I book another flight, I am going to need some answers.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 24, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Republicans love them some racism. There is literally no other explanation.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 24, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

@sue: In my world - hello BTW - one can't use "the only people" accurately when omitting 31 and 39% of other groups.

What's the weather like in your world? Do you guys celebrate Thanksgiving?
-------

It SW Michigan, it was 62 on Monday, and 32 today. Weird.

And yes, Happy Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving, especially the pumpkin pie.

I don't see the inaccuracy of saying that the majority of self-identified Republicans favor A, while a majority of Dems and Indies do not.

If what you are questioning is that the statement doesn't just measure people, rather than people who subscribe to a political viewpoint...well, okay. But that is not what Greg wrote.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | November 24, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Pursuant to yesterday's conversation, and there we have it. Profiling pretty much means "they" get stopped and "we" don't. The true idiocy here is that Hannity et al. seem to think that Al Qaeda doesn't adapt. They're still hitting resistant strep with penicilin and wondering why it hasn't worked.

Looking to stop every young Arab? And then a black guy walks through. Start screening muslims? Sorry, bud, I'm a Buddhist. Jihad Jane walks though while you're checking out all the men.

One way tickets are a flag? Buy the round trip! It'll be cheaper anyways unless you're flying SouthWest.

Traveling alone is a problem? Recruit couples.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | November 24, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

@suekzoo: "As does John Walker Lindh."

In an actual profile of the sort real people actually talk about, John Walker Lindh sets off alarm bells, re: history of international travel, religious affiliation (if known), time spent in countries with known terrorist networks. Lets say he buys a one way ticket or gets on without luggage, then he really gets some scrutiny. And that's assuming his father hadn't already talked about his terrorist sympathies to the CIA (as did the father of the underwear bomber, suggesting that perhaps the lesson to be learned from the underwear bomber was not that we needed the TSA to inspect our undies more closely).

Turns out, the ACLU--those rabid right wingers--don't think much of the TSA screening procedures, either, btw.

http://www.ktvb.com/news/ACLU-claims-TSA-screenings-violate-civil-liberties-108807264.html

Also, the EFF, which is no particularly partisan, but would not be confused with a conservative think tank, also complains about the TSA.

http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/11/stand-against-tsa-invasive-security-procedures

More where that came from.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 24, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

f anythinkevin: "Timothy McVeigh fit a profile."

Sure, maybe a psychological profile. But blonde/blue does not fit a racial profile that's ever used for anything except when searching for one specific individual due to other evidence.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | November 24, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

@Ethan2010: "Republicans love them some racism. There is literally no other explanation."

Finally, some thoughtful nuance introduced into the conservation. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 24, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Tomorrow in when I travel I plan on taking some smokes with me so I can fire one up after I get to 2nd base with the TSA screeners.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | November 24, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

@kevin: "The problem might be more "country of National origin profiling"

Agreed. But I would be astounded - flabbergasted - if most liberals on this board would take issue with country of national origin profiling. I mean, we're not saying lock 'em up in a camp, just pat 'em down based on a sensible profile.

I take that back - I wouldn't be surprised in the least.

It seems so funny to me that the conservatives who supported the TSA procedures during Bush II are now so up in arms about 4th amendment rights, while the liberals who so bitterly complained about the TSA procedures during Bush II now defend the TSA. I think the libertarians (Ron Paul) are the only ones who've been consistent on this.

I personally sympathize with Bush II, Obama, and the TSA - they've got a very difficult mission, they're sort of between a rock and a hard place, and I think they're trying to do a good job. My own solution is that anyone who wants to fly has to strip down and wear a hospital gown (optional) in-flight.

Posted by: sbj3 | November 24, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

@NoVa: "they care only about one thing -- do you smell like a bomb? that's the profiling I want."

So, in other words, NO PROFILING. Good for you. You are brave... a conservative crossing the line into actual thought. Be prepared for a knock on your door in 3... 2... 1...

Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 24, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

@kevin: Upon further reflection, I'm not sure. I wonder if Greg can look into some more internals.

"9. If profiling is done, for each item I name please tell me if you think it should or should not be included in a passenger's security profile.

Nationality, should be included, 55%

Race, should be included, 40%"

So I wonder what percentage of Dems and Indys think that nationality should be included?

Posted by: sbj3 | November 24, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

@BB: "Traveling alone is a problem? Recruit couples."

Is this an argument against threat assessment? If the system is so easily gamed, then explain how El Al maintains it's security record?

Full body scans? Secrete weapons in bodily orifice, under folds of fat, or incorporate them more subtly into clothing. Pat down is tentative directly between the legs, beneath the scrotum? They don't lift and separate the buttocks? Some people have plenty of room for some C4 in there. As I noted several times, Adam Savage recently went through our new enhanced security procedures with two foot long stainless steel razor blades. And onto the plane. And got off at the other end.

A threat profile wouldn't have caught Adam, either. But then, despite was he was carrying, he wasn't actually any threat to the plane. But I can see such an argument against profiling, but it applies equally to full body scans and enhanced patdowns.

Perhaps a better solution would be to give everybody a baseball bat as they got on the plane. "If anybody threatens anybody, or otherwise tries to blow up or take over the plane, you just hit them, really hard, okay?"

Planes would cease to be a useful target for terrorists. Problem solved.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 24, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Kevin,

Read the headline again. The topic is RACIAL profiling. Racial...as in race. And so no, John Walker Lindh, nor Tim McVeigh, nor Terry Nichols, nor Richard Reid would have been profiled based on their race. They simply would not have been.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | November 24, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if anyone has gone through the TSA pat down sporting wood yet. It would take great focus and some intense imaginative capacity, but it could be done. And whose to say what that thing might be made of.

Someone might be dumb enough to have a pipe bomb in their pants. You can never be too careful. Did anyone see those Interpol pictures of the rectum bomber after the fact? AS they used to say in Mad magazine, Yeeeech. I think Osama bin Laden was right, they do want to die as much as we want to live.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 24, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Checking in from Seattle: it's 23 degrees with a couple inches of snow. No power for 48 hours. Schools everywhere are closed, including the mighty Univ of Washington, all three campuses. Looking forward to Thanksgiving and very happy that I don't have to fly anywhere.

Kevin, I have a question: why do some of the comments have text with strike-through?

Posted by: cheles | November 24, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

"Finally, some thoughtful nuance introduced into the conservation."

Am I wrong?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 24, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

"I have a hard time seeing this as partisan."

Ho! Ho! Ho! Where were all your posts of outrage when the Bush-Cheney cabal systematically violated our civil rights? When they tortured? When they destroyed the Fourth Amendment. Where was the Tea Party then? Nowhere. Not a peep from the Right.

But it's all different now that a Dem is president. This is entirely a partisan issue ginned up by the Cons to further undermine Obama's standing. Oh, yeah, and to protect silly prudes like Coulter. It's an x-ray machine to check for weapons and other lethal devices that could be used to commandeer or blow up the plane. I hate security measures but we live in a dangerous world with people trying to blow up our passenger aircraft. When you want to get on a plane you get checked for deadly weapons. I honestly don't think this is a big deal at all. And neither would the Right except for its politics of political destruction. Oh, yeah, and hiding Ann Coulter's junk.

Posted by: wbgonne | November 24, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

"sbj,

In your world, is 31 and 39 greater than or less than 50?

November 24, 2010 12:56 PM"

Knowing SBJ, he'll probably say something like "70% of Dems and Independents support racial profiling"

Posted by: DDAWD | November 24, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

"Perhaps a better solution would be to give everybody a baseball bat as they got on the plane. "If anybody threatens anybody, or otherwise tries to blow up or take over the plane, you just hit them, really hard, okay?" "

Sounds ridiculous, but this is the argument that the NRA makes all the time.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 24, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

@sbj3: "Upon further reflection, I'm not sure. I wonder if Greg can look into some more internals."

Unless there was question that said "should race be the only thing that is considered when profiling", I'm not sure how much good it will do. Apparently, for liberals (at least some of those here), there is no difference between the following positions:

(a) Race is not a reason to ignore someone who otherwise matches a threat profile.
(b) Race is one factor that should be considered when analyzing an overall, multi-factor threat profile.
(c) brown people are scary and I'm stupid so I don't like them and I don't want them on my plane.

:P

To whit, Suekzoo: "Sure, maybe a psychological profile. But blonde/blue does not fit a racial profile that's ever used for anything except when searching for one specific individual due to other evidence."

I'm not sure anyone here is advocating profiling solely on race (certainly, I'm not, I'm perfectly fine with profiling that ignores race entirely and even national origin, if you can at least pay attention to where people are traveling to and from as part of the profile). Even the pole in question says "Race, should be included", not "race should be the only factor".

I can't speak for anyone else, but I don't believe anybody is advocating for profiling that profiles only based on ethnicity, and I'm certainly not. In fact, I think profiling could ignore it completely without losing much if any value.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 24, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

"Where were all your posts of outrage when the Bush-Cheney cabal systematically violated our civil rights? When they tortured? When they destroyed the Fourth Amendment. Where was the Tea Party then? Nowhere. Not a peep from the Right."

Exactly.

I was going to make this point, but honestly what's the use? They simply don't UNDERSTAND civil liberties issues. Right? They don't GET these issues, nor national security for that matter (Iraq, Afghanistan, 9/11, START, etc etc etc).

Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 24, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

@sue: "Read the headline again. The topic is RACIAL profiling. Racial...as in race. And so no, John Walker Lindh, nor Tim McVeigh, nor Terry Nichols, nor Richard Reid would have been profiled based on their race. They simply would not have been."

According to the US Census, the "white" race includes middle easterners.

"White. A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa. It includes people who indicate their race as "White" or report entries such as Irish, German, Italian, Lebanese, Near Easterner, Arab, or Polish."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_and_ethnicity_in_the_United_States_Census

Posted by: sbj3 | November 24, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

@sue: "Read the headline again. The topic is RACIAL profiling. Racial...as in race. And so no, John Walker Lindh, nor Tim McVeigh, nor Terry Nichols, nor Richard Reid would have been profiled based on their race. They simply would not have been."

Oh, sorry. I thought we were talking about real things, like what the actual questions were in the poll. Not debating the relative palliative properties of phoenix feathers and unicorn's blood.

The question itself asks whether people favor including race as one factor, not do the favor profiling based on race and excluding everything else. Which not be a rational position to take, but makes for an excellent strawman, I suppose.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 24, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

First he says, "I'm perfectly fine with profiling that ignores race entirely and even national origin..."

Then he says,

"...Even the pole in question..."

See?

Posted by: shrink2 | November 24, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

"Perhaps a better solution would be to give everybody a baseball bat as they got on the plane. "If anybody threatens anybody, or otherwise tries to blow up or take over the plane, you just hit them, really hard, okay?" "

Sounds ridiculous, but this is the argument that the NRA makes all the time.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 24, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Allow me to reply on behalf of the NRA and Cons generally:

That IS a ridiculous suggestion! Baseball bats are unwieldy and often non-lethal. Here's what we do instead: Everyone boarding a commercial flight gets a handgun, a nice compact one, maybe a Berretta, with one shot in it. Bring it on!

Posted by: wbgonne | November 24, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Since the Washington Post is a Democrat news organization that pushes Democrat talking points through it's headlines and bylines on a daily basis, we must not put too much stock in it's poll numbers.

When Rasmussen cranks out numbers that displease the liberals, the liberals howl and gnash their teeth and claim that Rasmussen is a Republican tool even when Rasmussen turns out to be correct, which is most of the time.

The WaPo polls are surely crafted to push the liberal point of view just as the content of the newspaper does. So let's take all it's poll numbers with a wink and a nod and a few grains of salt.

By the way, Gallup reports that two of the Democrats' favorite bits of legislation, the DREAM ACT and REPEAL of DADT are supported by LESS than a third of the population.

Also, that 31% of Democrats that think racial profiling is OK may be potential, future, Republican voters. Didja ever think about that??

Conservative Democrats are slowly migrating away from the liberal party and towards the Republican party.

There is no traffic in the reverse direction.

That bodes ill for future Democrat gains and I think Democrat honchos know this. It's why they are so eager to franchise illegal "immigrants" through amnesty scams like the DREAM ACT.

What a buncha bananas they are.

Posted by: battleground51 | November 24, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

All, interesting new Adam Serwer post on the reality of Islamophobia:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/11/hate_crimes_and_anti-muslim_bi.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | November 24, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

No, this is ridiculous, "everyone boarding a commercial flight gets a handgun, a nice compact one, maybe a Berretta, with one shot in it. Bring it on!"

If you want to declare Mission Accomplished after they bring it on, you have to give everybody short barreled, semiautomatic shotguns, like a Street Sweeper. You'd have to use a load that wont penetrate the skin of the aircraft though. Another problem is, in flight service could be compromised.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 24, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

"Rasmussen is a Republican tool even when Rasmussen turns out to be correct, which is most of the time."

Actually, that was just recently proven to be incorrect in the mid terms. Their polls were consistently skewed towards Republicans by 4 percentage points.

Do you have proof to back up your claims? Probably not.

Also, Gallup's LV model was also proven to be WAY off. In fact, it's voter model turned out to be the furthest off of all the pollsters when it came to the Generic ballot. Somewhere around 8+ percentage points off for the R's.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | November 24, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

@shrink2: "Then he says, '...Even the pole in question...'"

Dammit! You got me.

Fine, I admit it. I've been a racist ever since someone first told me how many Polish people it takes to screw in a lightbulb. :P

@wbgonne: "Ho! Ho! Ho! Where were all your posts of outrage when the Bush-Cheney cabal systematically violated our civil rights?"

Well, I didn't start posting here until 6 months ago or so, but I've never been a fan of actual violation of civil rights. Although I don't know that this is even an issue of violating civil rights. It's a matter about the wisdom of security theater, versus something that might actually work, versus just skipping the whole thing.

"Where was the Tea Party then? Nowhere. Not a peep from the Right."

I'm not a Tea partier, so I can't speak for them, but I've been complaining about the TSA almost since the beginning. So I don't consider my position re: the TSA to be partisan. Would you like me to share with you my feelings about the color-coded terror-threat-level alerts from the unnecessary Department of Homeland Security?

I don't think the question is where was I then, but where are you now? I can't tell you how stupid I think everybody taking their shoes off in the airport is. Or the no-liquids/3-ounce rule is. I complained about them when they happened . . . under W.

I like Obama. This isn't about Obama. Who I don't think personally authored this plan and told the DHS and TSA to implement it, anyway.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 24, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

in response to this:
==================
Perhaps a better solution would be to give everybody a baseball bat as they got on the plane. "If anybody threatens anybody, or otherwise tries to blow up or take over the plane, you just hit them, really hard, okay?
=======================
Years ago the show "all in the family" featured a scene wherein Archie Bunker was interviewed by a smarmy know it all TV guy. Among the solutions to America's current problems was Archie's version of your baseball bat idea. In those days airplane highjacking was the big scourge. since the highjackers used firearms, Archie suggested that all passengers be given a gun. That way when the highjacker stood to do his thing he would be surrounded by well armed folks who just wanted to get to their destination.

As I recall the christmas day bomber was manhandled by a fellow passenger as he tried to kill all the folks on the plane.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | November 24, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

BTW, if anybody gets harassed by the TSA and wants to complain, the EFF has lots of ways to do it on their website:

http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/11/stand-against-tsa-invasive-security-procedures

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 24, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

@bg51: "Gallup reports that two of the Democrats' favorite bits of legislation, the DREAM ACT and REPEAL of DADT are supported by LESS than a third of the population."

Apparently you cannot read.

32% and 31% respectively think that those issues are VERY important to be passed in lame duck session. 24% and 29% think they are SOMEWHAT important.

56% think DADT repeal is either very or somewhat important to be passed in the lame duck session.

60% think that passing the DREAM Act is very or somewhat important in the lame duck session.

Back to my question, bg, can you read?

Wanna try again with your pathetic lies? Here is the chart at Gallup:

http://sas-origin.onstreammedia.com/origin/gallupinc/GallupSpaces/Production/Cms/POLL/ll73mrguhkcvtvtdpko-pg.gif

Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 24, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

sbj: "According to the US Census, the "white" race includes middle easterners."

Yeah, tell that to the Muslims. They aren't being profiled in this country, at all, ever.

kevin: "Oh, sorry. I thought we were talking about real things, like what the actual questions were in the poll. Not debating the relative palliative properties of phoenix feathers and unicorn's blood."

We are talking reality. Do you know any dark skinned minorities, Kevin? Even light brown ones? Do you know what their reality is? Not supposition on a blog board. Reality, my dear Kevin, is that people who are brown are suspect. Facts.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | November 24, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

If there's one thing I learned from this episode, it's that Democrats and their enablers are just as bad as the Republicans and their enablers when it comes to civil liberties. This shouldn't be surprising, as at their core both parties are authoritarian in nature. They both value power and control above all else.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | November 24, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

@Skip: "That way when the highjacker stood to do his thing he would be surrounded by well armed folks who just wanted to get to their destination."

Even a group of terrorists would have trouble fending off a plane filled with angry, baseball bat wielding fellow passengers. Just the fact of it would make it pointless to even try. Guns might go off accidentally or depressurize the cabin, but . . . the sky marshall plan worked pretty well, back in the day. Because those guys could, and would not hesitate, to kill someone attempting to hijack a plane.

Back in the 60s, there was a rash of liquor store robberies. Lots of copy cats--it became the way for folks who did that sort of thing to make easy money. The answer, because this was Tennessee in the 60s, became to put up a blind in every liquor store behind or near the register. You couldn't see who was behind it, if anybody. But, if there was somebody behind it, they could see you, and they had a gun, and it was understood that they could shoot you dead, if you were attempting to rob the store. Not every store had somebody in them all the time, but they rotated, and there was no way for a random criminal to know where the shooter was.

I believe it took exactly two fatalities (of criminals attempting to rob the stores) to end the liquor store crime spree. And it was years before another liquor store in the area was held up again.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 24, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

@sue: "Reality, my dear Kevin, is that people who are brown are suspect. Facts."

Kevin has a mental block when it comes to racism. He thinks it doesn't exist. And, banish the thought, neoconfederate conservatives couldn't possibly be racist.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 24, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Why am I not surprised. I always suspected that the GOP harbored bigots and racists. I guess it truly is the party of David Duke.

Posted by: hsolares | November 24, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

The real question here is are you going to profile, and if so are you going to include religion and race as a part of the profile.

Keep in mind that this is primarily a discussion about how candidates for TSA secondary security screening are selected, not whether or not to eliminate mandatory screenings that apply to all commercial airline passengers who aren't government officials.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secondary_Security_Screening_Selection

Since the TSA doesn't have enough resources to do the secondary security screening to all airline passengers, they have to use some sort of method to determine who is going to be screened. The two most obvious methods are a: random sample or b: non-random sample aka sample based on some sort of defined criteria, aka sample based on a profile.

Since terrorists don't appear to be randomly distributed throughout the world's population, random sample appears to be a bad use of resources. In constructing a profile, all relevant criteria should be used, including behavior such as travel history, one way ticket purchase, paying cash for the ticket, and I would argue demographic information including, yes, race, religion, age, sex, and country of national origin.

To do otherwise is to ignore the inconvenient facts about the 9/11 hijackers and the other would be hijackers since then, namely, that they were all young muslim men and mostly from the Middle East or Africa. Now, is it possible that a 12 year old Swedish girl or an 85 year old American WW II veteran could become an Al-Queda suicide bomber? Sure. Likely, no. And if you can't search everyone at that level, then every grandmother and little kid who gets selected for a secondary security screening to prove that we aren't "profiling" means that someone else, who is statistically more likely to be a bomber isn't getting searched.

Bottom line, race, religion, age, sex, and country of national origin should not be the only criteria for a profile for secondary security screening, but they should be allowed criteria because the distribution of terrorists is not random but skewed based on these factors.

Posted by: jnc4p | November 24, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

@suekzoo: "We are talking reality. Do you know any dark skinned minorities, Kevin? Even light brown ones?"

Seriously? You really want to go there? I live in Memphis, TN. Not to mention, I work in a county school system . . . sigh.

In case you don't know, here's the racial makeup of Memphis:

White: 31.7% (Non-Hispanic Whites: 29.5%). Black or African American: 62.6%. Hispanic or Latino (of any race): 5.0%

This is as of the 2000 census. I believe the Hispanic population has grown some since the 2000 census. I grew up here. Went to the public schools. Where I not only ran in to the occasionally brown and light brown person, I was actually in the minority.

You ever been the lone white guy driving your friend home to the 'hood? Cuz I've done that. Speaking of being "suspect" . . . well, I'll just say, my presence there was not well received.

Where do you live?

That being said, re: "Reality, my dear Kevin, is that people who are brown are suspect. Facts."

Okay. But you're changing the subject. The reality also is that the question did not ask about profiling solely on race, but whether or not race should be taken into account. These are not the same things. Additionally, I don't know that anybody here is advocating profiling based on race alone.

And I can pretty much guarantee that any serious threat assessment profile that would be put in place (by serious people serious about security, as a caveat, so now I'm talking about unicorns and fairy dust--okay, you have a point, the TSA isn't going to be any more serious about threat assessment profiling than it is about enhanced security screenings) . . . be real profiling would flag Johnny Walker Lindh. It's a frickin' guarantee. Dude was a walking red flag, and if you can't see that, I'm not the one being blinded by skin color. In my admittedly human and therefor inherently flawed opinion (IMAHaTIFO).

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 24, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Kevin:

"I've never been a fan of actual violation of civil rights."

I assume that is humorous understatement.

"Although I don't know that this is even an issue of violating civil rights."

OK. We'll leave Ann Coulter's junk out of it for now.

"It's a matter about the wisdom of security theater, versus something that might actually work, versus just skipping the whole thing."

"It's a matter about the wisdom of security theater, versus something that might actually work, versus just skipping the whole thing."

Um, when, exactly, did you become an expert on aircraft security and anti-terrorism?

"I'm not a Tea partier, so I can't speak for them"

How about Republicans? Or Conservatives? Or Fox News? Or Rush Limbaugh? Or Sarah Palin? Or ... I think you get my drift.

"but I've been complaining about the TSA almost since the beginning."

Anything besides anti-government and anti-union broadsides?

"So I don't consider my position re: the TSA to be partisan."

Maybe yours isn't, personally. But as we humble blog-commenters know all too well, nobody really cares what we think. For the GOP, Fox, and the other scoundrels I named this is pure partisanship. Nothing more.

"Would you like me to share with you my feelings about the color-coded terror-threat-level alerts from the unnecessary Department of Homeland Security?"

Silly and amusing.

"I don't think the question is where was I then, but where are you now?"

I already told you I don't think it's a big deal getting checked for weapons before boarding a commercial flight"

"I can't tell you how stupid I think everybody taking their shoes off in the airport is. Or the no-liquids/3-ounce rule is. Like I said, these are the measures the people I complained about them when they happened . . . under W."

OK.

"I like Obama."

And his policies?

"This isn't about Obama."

Maybe not for you. But for the rest of the scoundrels, not so much.

"Who I don't think personally authored this plan and told the DHS and TSA to implement it, anyway."

Obama's way too busy making the country socialist.


You say the x-rays don't present civil liberty issues. Fine. Then it is merely

Posted by: wbgonne | November 24, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

@Ethan2010: "Kevin has a mental block when it comes to racism. He thinks it doesn't exist. And, banish the thought, neoconfederate conservatives couldn't possibly be racist."

Neoconfederates can probably be racist. I don't actually know any, but it makes a certain kind of sense.

You assume a lot.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 24, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

jnc4p, hey everything you said makes sense and it wasn't funny. I'm not sure you belong here.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 24, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

If there's one thing I learned from this episode, it's that Democrats and their enablers are just as bad as the Republicans and their enablers when it comes to civil liberties. This shouldn't be surprising, as at their core both parties are authoritarian in nature. They both value power and control above all else.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | November 24, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Speaking for myself, I am very committed to civil liberties. But, like Kevin, I don't think the the airport screening as an intrusion on civil rights. And definitely not an unreasonable intrusion.

Posted by: wbgonne | November 24, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

@wbgonne: "Anything besides anti-government and anti-union broadsides?"

Security theater. Same complaint then as now, it's just getting worse.

"And his policies?"

I like some of Obama's policies. More than I thought, actually. I don't have the same problems a lot of conservatives do re: national security. I like that he wants to extend the Bush tax cuts for the middle class, think he should extend the Obama tax cuts, too, etc. He appears to me to be an entirely competent president and, even if I don't agree with him on a number of issues, he's still my president, and the president of the United States. An elected with a clearer majority that George W. Bush, so, there's that.

"Obama's way too busy making the country socialist."

No, he's too busy hiding his real birth certificate. One day, he puts it under the rug in the Oval Office. Next day, he's hiding it in his shoe. He just can't decide!

@wbgonne: "Um, when, exactly, did you become an expert on aircraft security and anti-terrorism?"

If you can pronounce it awesome, I can pronounce it suckage. Unless you have expertise of which I was previously not aware. And, even then, I can still say that, from my admittedly limited perspective, it still looks awfully suck.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 24, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

@Kevin: "You assume a lot."

You willfully ignore a lot. Like rampant racism in the GOP.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 24, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

@sue: "Yeah, tell that to the Muslims."

Now you bring religion into a discussion about race versus nationality! Or are you saying that all Muslims are racial minorities?

Posted by: sbj3 | November 24, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

These Cons are just eager to harass unpopular ethnicities. You can practically see the drool. Gross, as the kids used to say.

Posted by: wbgonne | November 24, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

"Posted by: jnc4p | November 24, 2010 2:17 PM"

Great post!

Posted by: sbj3 | November 24, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Sort of a tangent here, but what are the numbers on terrorist attacks on a plane vs. terrorist attacks elsewhere? Should we just be frisking everyone at all times or requiring everyone walk around naked all the time?

Posted by: ashotinthedark | November 24, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

@Ethan2010: "You willfully ignore a lot. Like rampant racism in the GOP."

Well, hopefully I'll get better over time.

@wbgonne: "And definitely not an unreasonable intrusion."

Actually, I agree it's not unreasonable per se, and would especially agree if I thought it was effective and did not believe it's continuing our journey (begun in 2002, and pursued, under Bush and Chertoff) of going in the wrong direction of chasing phantoms and hunting snipes. Granted, I am not an expert, but the manhandling of certain infirm, elderly, and ill folks needs to be adjusted--there the TSA has, at some times, at least danced around actual violations of, if not civil rights, then common decency.

Fortunately, I rarely have to fly and, with a little creativity, can avoid it almost entirely. Plus, I like to drive anyway. I'd like to take a few trips that will require air travel in my lifetime, so I will probably fly again--but if I never had to do it again, I certainly wouldn't miss it. In the end, it's a choice--I can choose never to fly again. If I do choose to fly again at some point, then I will have made my choice, and that's that. I will cooperate with the security charade as part of the price of flying (not under any false impression that this is somehow enhancing my security) and, hopefully, enjoy my trip.

Although I had an excellent trip to Cancun a few years ago, and the flight there and back was so horrible that it almost sucked away all the good things about the trip. Almost. Not quite, but almost.

But I hate flying, anyway, so any addition to the burden seems onerous to me. So I'm probably not a fair witness.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 24, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

"If you can pronounce it awesome,"

But I didn't. I said it was no big deal and a reasonable intrusion on personal privacy and, it makes sense to check passengers for lethal devices. That doesn't make it awesome. Or infallible. Or even the best security measure. Because, frankly, I don't know what the best security measures are which is why I tend to defer to, you know, security EXPERTS. But this particular practice seems like common sense to me.

And when you combine all that with the Cons' insistence that screening be replaced by profiling, yeah, I sure am suspect of the Cons' motives.

Posted by: wbgonne | November 24, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

"Sort of a tangent here, but what are the numbers on terrorist attacks on a plane vs. terrorist attacks elsewhere? Should we just be frisking everyone at all times or requiring everyone walk around naked all the time?

Posted by: ashotinthedark | November 24, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

That is a reasonable question. My thought is that commercial airlines are exceptionally vulnerable. But there certainly must be lines drawn. This one, to me, clearly falls on the reasonable side. There will, no doubt, be difficult cases where the security tradeoff becomes intolerable. But we'll just have to be honest and openminded --- can the partisanship - and deal with each scenario as it arises. I mean, we're all adults here, aren't we?

Posted by: wbgonne | November 24, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Vigorous discussion.

O&O.

Posted by: wbgonne | November 24, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Kevin,

I grew up in and around the Detroit area. Lived there for 30 years before moving to North Dakota, then to Napa, CA. I now live in sw Michigan in an agricultural area with a high Hispanic population. I lived for 5 years in East Dearborn. Google it. It's the place that Sharron Angle surmised had succumbed to sharia law. I lived there during the First Gulf War.

You said: "You ever been the lone white guy driving your friend home to the 'hood? Cuz I've done that. Speaking of being "suspect" . . . well, I'll just say, my presence there was not well received."

Those minorities who were suspicious of you were the authorities? The police? I highly doubt it. If you are comparing your experience of being in the hood as a minority to what minorities experience from the AUTHORITIES, apples and owls. Not even the same species.

I have been the lone white woman in a management position in a minority owned business. There were a few other white people employed there, but not many. And the clientele was 98% minority. I also worked for a Native American tribe for 3 years doing accounting. So yeah, I have rubbed elbows with a lot of minorities, in all walks of life including living among them. I don't come to my beliefs from no experience.

Have you ever been in a car driven by a minority male who was pulled over for no reason? A guy in a suit and tie, btw, who was not speeding or doing anything that even garnered him a ticket? That happened to me twice when I was with my boss. I dunno...maybe it was something about black man/white woman together?

Have you had a neighbor call the police on your minority friends for simply coming over to your house? I had that happen. The report was "suspicious people" in the neighborhood. It was two classmates coming over to study.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | November 24, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

@KW: "Well, hopefully I'll get better over time."

If you haven't by now, it ain't gonna happen.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 24, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

"Actually, I agree it's not unreasonable per se, and would especially agree if I thought it was effective and did not believe it's continuing our journey (begun in 2002, and pursued, under Bush and Chertoff) of going in the wrong direction of chasing phantoms and hunting snipes. Granted, I am not an expert, but the manhandling of certain infirm, elderly, and ill folks needs to be adjusted--there the TSA has, at some times, at least danced around actual violations of, if not civil rights, then common decency."

I got no problem with any of that. I don't hardly love the TSA. Most of my encounters have been fine but not always. A little power goes to the head for some for sure. It's inevitable. I definitely want the TSA held accountable and I am all for Congressional oversight (unless, as I fear, it will just degenerate into partisan theater).

Posted by: wbgonne | November 24, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

sbj: "Now you bring religion into a discussion about race versus nationality! Or are you saying that all Muslims are racial minorities?"

I'm saying that a lot of Muslims are racial minorities. In the US, the majority of Muslims are, in fact, BLACK. And majority of the rest are dark-skinned or deep olive of Arab origin, which in most peoples' minds equates to the same.

I saw your earlier post that Middle Easterners are considered a part of the white race. They don't generally experience life as whites, though. And that is what matters...experience.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | November 24, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

All, Happy Hour Roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/11/happy_hour_roundup_136.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | November 24, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Ethnic diversity within the Muslim community is the single biggest reason why racial profiling is unacceptable.

This really should be obvious to anyone who doesn't have a prejudice against one of the largest religions on Earth.

This whole issue is yet another race-baiting distraction cast out by the usual suspects on the lunatic right. Next.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 24, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

@sue: "They don't generally experience life as whites, though."

I would never argue that bias and racism don't exist in the US. I do, however, think that it's possible to profile while minimizing civil liberties problems. Personally, I would not include race or religion as part of a profile but I would include nationality.

Posted by: sbj3 | November 24, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

sbj: "Personally, I would not include race or religion as part of a profile but I would include nationality."

Tell me how you envision that being done. Be specific. I ask because my Italian BIL has been mistaken for an Arab quite a few times. He has classic Mediterranean features, deep olive complexion, black hair, and lives in East Dearborn where there are a significant number of Arabs.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | November 24, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

sbj: also, how do you profile nationality with people of mixed heritage?

Posted by: suekzoo1 | November 24, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

You profile persons coming into the USA from certain countries. You could screen by passports, which identify citizenship. You wouldn't screen for nationality based on physical appearance.

Posted by: sbj3 | November 24, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

@suekzoo1 "sbj: "Personally, I would not include race or religion as part of a profile but I would include nationality."

Tell me how you envision that being done. Be specific. I ask because my Italian BIL has been mistaken for an Arab quite a few times. He has classic Mediterranean features, deep olive complexion, black hair, and lives in East Dearborn where there are a significant number of Arabs."

The TSA Secondary Security Screening Selection is done when boarding passes are issued. If information on nationality is in the system, it can filter based on that to flag the boarding pass for the screening.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secondary_Security_Screening_Selection

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_Assisted_Passenger_Prescreening_System

Nationality can be added to the TSA Secure Flight Program requirements, if it isn't already being collected by the airlines.

http://www.tsa.gov/what_we_do/layers/secureflight/

Posted by: jnc4p | November 24, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

sbj,

What about domestic flights?

Posted by: suekzoo1 | November 24, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Domestic flights: See jnc4p above.
Also see the Secondary_Security_Screening_Selection above.

Posted by: sbj3 | November 24, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

"If information on nationality is in the system"

The operative word there is IF.

Also, all this supposes that al Qeda and other terrorist organizations can't and won't recruit Americans to carry out their operations, or other nationalities that are currently above suspicion.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | November 24, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

@sue: "Also, all this supposes that al Qeda and other terrorist organizations can't and won't recruit Americans to carry out their operations, or other nationalities that are currently above suspicion."

No, because you are ignoring all of the other screening factors:

* Passengers with a one-way reservation.
* Passengers who pay cash for their tickets.
* Passengers who book reservations the day of their flight.
* Passengers who "no show" a single leg of their flight.
* Random selection
* Flight to specific final destinations.
* Flying without ID

The idea here is to *also* use nationality (if not already done so).

Posted by: sbj3 | November 24, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

sbj: "Also see the SecondarySecurityScreening_Selection above."

Which includes among other things:

Random selection

Which I assume means anyone for no reason.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | November 24, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

@suekzoo1"Also, all this supposes that al Qeda and other terrorist organizations can't and won't recruit Americans to carry out their operations, or other nationalities that are currently above suspicion. "

This is making the perfect the enemy of the good.

The question isn't whether or not including demographic information in the profile for Secondary Security Screening Selection is 100% foolproof. The question is does it lead to statistically better results in building a likely terrorist profile when combined with behavior information than excluding it?

To justify excluding it you have to argue that either one of two things is true:

1. It's irrelevant. Given the non-random demographics of the 9/11 hijackers and the attempted hijackers, since then this doesn't appear to be based on facts.

2. It's not worth the cost/benefit ratio. This is a more open question, given the benefits to law enforcement from cooperation from minority communities in the U.S. that may not be forthcoming if they feel themselves to be singled out for unfair treatment. However, this is a cost/benefit question, which is different from arguing that everyone who wants to include race as one factor in a computerized profile is automatically Bull Connor.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bull_Connor

Posted by: jnc4p | November 24, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

sbj and jnc4p,

If you two are saying that the Secondary Screening Selection process is a workable solution, then you are also saying that choosing anyone at random is appropriate, because it lists that as an possibility. Anyone can be chosen at any time for any reason or no reason at random.

Agree? or not?

Posted by: suekzoo1 | November 24, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

@sue: "you are also saying that choosing anyone at random is appropriate, because it lists that as an possibility. Anyone can be chosen at any time for any reason or no reason at random. Agree? or not?"

Personally I have no problem with a random hit every now and then. This might be a good way to spot those "American" al qaeda members you seem to be concerned about.

Have you ever gone through a DUI checkpoint? They select cars at random for further evaluation. Supreme Crt says not a 4th amendment violation. When you fly into Mexico they search your luggage based on a random selection. The price we pay for the privilege for driving/flying.

Posted by: sbj3 | November 24, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

crickets.....

Posted by: suekzoo1 | November 24, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

(I take the crickets back.)

sbj, yes, I've been through the DUI check points when I lived in Napa. I don't have an issue with that, either.

Maybe we are arguing the same point? If so, I apologize for misunderstanding.

See, flat out....I don't have a problem with the airport security procedures. I think it's a price we pay for being safe. If I was chosen at random sometime, I would not object to going through the screening. As I understand it, the images are not saved, viewed by fellow travelers, or able to be downloaded or sent on. What's the big yank, then?

Truth told, I've already experienced the pat down. Not the newest one, but it was "invasive" enough. I missed my flight, on a one way domestic ticket, a few years ago. So I was searched as were my bags. I didn't get upset, bothered or offended. I just cooperated and it was over with quickly. And then I went on my way.

Now, having said all that, I do object to warrantless wiretaps. :o)

Posted by: suekzoo1 | November 24, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

As a Black man in America, I have felt the effects of profiling in our cities from New York to California. Unless you have felt the indignity of being stopped while simply walking down a street, stopped while driving, and/or followed in stores all because some one determined that because of the color of my skin that I was in the process of doing something nefarious. It seemed, at times, that many in law enforcement treated me as id I was either about to commit a crime or that I was coming from the commission of a crime. I have to admit, things have gottn somewhat better. Even though “Profiling” still carry a negative connation, when it comes to the safety of myself, my family, friends, and fellow Americans of any color, I say “bring the profiling on!” If Authorities have specific information that a black man, or Indian man was attempting to board a flight with a bomb, I would have absolutely no problem with being pulled over, frisked, scanned—or whatever—if it was al done in safety sake. I think I kind of like living…

Posted by: MalikSkyy | November 24, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Odd - I'm assuming the idea of "racial profiling" is to identify and possibly detain a likely muslim terrorist.

Since Islam is a RELIGION and anyone can convert, just racial information is not enough. You'll have to be like the Israelis and use body language, frequency of suspicious travel, and many small clues to make a judgement call; meaning more training and education for our TSA front-line guys.

Posted by: shadowmagician | November 24, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

"I have to admit, things have gottn somewhat better."

Well I am glad to hear that. When I was much younger, my little brother (blonde/blue) had a best friend, a black kid, from first grade. They grew up together in this way. When they got to driving, it was ridiculous, pulled over constantly. They learned never to make fun of the cop, never pretend they knew what was going on.

That was in the 70s.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 24, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Have we not asked Israel how it protects its' airports? I've heard they do profile with agents interacting with people who fit the profile. Obviously, we have a lot more travelers than they do but we could have profiling performed on a person before they enter the secured area or when they're purchasing a ticket, for example. I don't believe profiling on race is going to work anyways. These terrorists are not dumb. All they have to do is turn on CNN/FOX etc to see what our plans are.

Posted by: DRightOne | November 24, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Political correctness has become
synonymous with STUPID. The department of homeland security has no credibility and clearly the TSA doesn't have the training or expertise to profile even if there were someone in charge smart enough to approve it. The fact that the porn machines were the result of a $5 million lobbying campaign led by a client of Michael Chertoff and with the influence of George Soros, profiling would have
significantly more credibility. In 2 short
years Obama has sealed our fate as the
stupidest country in the universe. Al Qaeda spends $5000 to get a lunatic
Muslim to put a bomb in his pants and
we spend $50 billion in equipment and
man hours to pretend we could prevent
an encore. Frankly, the odds of being killed by drug dealers on the border are
greater, but we can't protect it because
Latinos might get their feelings hurt.
Please stop the insanity!

Posted by: giatny | November 24, 2010 11:46 PM | Report abuse

@Ethan2010: "If you haven't by now, it ain't gonna happen."

Well, that relieves me of any obligation to change. So, thanks!

Makes it much easier on me.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 25, 2010 1:21 AM | Report abuse

@sue: "Have you ever been in a car driven by a minority male who was pulled over for no reason? A guy in a suit and tie, btw, who was not speeding or doing anything that even garnered him a ticket? That happened to me twice when I was with my boss. I dunno...maybe it was something about black man/white woman together?"

Yup, and yup. No suit and tie, however. And probably considerably younger, at the time. And I'm not a woman.

"Have you had a neighbor call the police on your minority friends for simply coming over to your house? I had that happen. The report was 'suspicious people' in the neighborhood. It was two classmates coming over to study."

I've never lived in a neighborhood that wasn't at least 50% minority, really, so that wouldn't have happened to me. It wouldn't have made sense. Anyhoo, I had plenty of minority friends over, and never had a problem. Nobody called the cops on anybody.

Good times. But, not too good, or someone probably would have called the cops for other reasons. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 25, 2010 1:30 AM | Report abuse

And this is supposed to be a surprise? The GOP has become the party of old, rich, white, intolerant racists who are terrorified that they are losing their majority in the country. The tea bagger branch of the GOP is focused on spreading hate and fear. These are actions of a lost and desperate fading party.

Posted by: grf67 | November 25, 2010 6:19 AM | Report abuse

@suekzoo1"sbj and jnc4p,

If you two are saying that the Secondary Screening Selection process is a workable solution, then you are also saying that choosing anyone at random is appropriate, because it lists that as an possibility. Anyone can be chosen at any time for any reason or no reason at random.

Agree? or not?"

My preference would be to build a profile that includes all relevant information rather than do random screening. I consider demographic information to be relevant.

The alternative to profiling is random selection which as I have argued previously is not a good use of limited screening resources because the terrorists aren't randomly distributed throughout the world's population.

It's worth returning to where this started, i.e. the Washington Post poll:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/polls/postpoll_11222010.html

"8. In another approach, would you support or oppose the TSA profiling people, using available information about passengers in order to determine who gets selected for extra security screening at airports?"

"9. If profiling is done, for each item I name please tell me if you think it should or should not be included in a passenger's security profile. How about a passenger's (ITEM)? How about their (NEXT ITEM)?

a. Personal behavior
b. Travel history
c. Nationality
d. Personal appearance
e. Race
f. Religion
g. Sex"

I would include all this information in constructing the profile because I believe it to be relevant.

Posted by: jnc4p | November 25, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Anyone who takes the numbrs of a WaPo poll should beware - the last poll of that paper was of ONLY 514 people regarding the pat-downs and scanners.

How many thousands of people fly - for work, for family gatherings, for vacations? To poll only 514 could not give a real picture of anything.

Profiling? Law enforcement does it every day in our country - leave out the racial description of a suspect (white, black, yellow, brown - Hispanic, Asian, African-American, Caucasian) and they would be checking every single person fitting the rest of the description as to height, weight, age, clothing no matter if he/she were purple with pink stripes!

Posted by: Utahreb | November 25, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I would bet that if the same people were polled and also asked about airport body scanners/pat downs, the republicans would be in favor of the measures and the democrats would not be. So, just what do the democrats want??? It would be nice if we could all live in a threat free world, however, that is unrealistic. If the dems complain about the security measures and don't want profiling, I'm totally confused about how they think this terrorist problem needs to be addressed!

Posted by: mcm_205 | November 25, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Greg Sargent says this: "Republicans are the only group that favors racial profiling at airports,..."
I would ask which "race" he is referring to.
Anyone who doesn't hew to the liberal agenda is racist, bigoted, xenophobic, homophobic, or otherwise flawed creatures.

Does frisking 70 year-old grandmothers or 4 year-old children make the tiniest bit of sense in light of the cold, hard facts we have showing who is more likely to fit into the barbaric class of terrorists?

Posted by: spamsux1 | November 25, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

The attacks (every single one of them)that have been perpetrated on the American aviation system have been committed by muslims of arab descent between the ages of 23 and 40. Of course it makes absolutely no sense to profile these people even though 100% of the attacks on our aviation have come from these pukes. PC is ruining our country and you libs better wake up!

Posted by: steelers01 | November 25, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

More proof Dems are delusional

Posted by: cleancut77 | November 25, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

"Racial Profiling". What "race" should be profiled? Darker skinned with black hair? Let's see, that could include Greeks, Latin Americans, African-Americans, of course, South Asians, including people from India. Maybe some Italians, who else?

It reminds me of Juan William's gaff. He gets nervous if someone in Muslim "garb" is on the same airplane. didn't anyone tell him that the 9-11 hi-jackers weren't wearing "Muslim garb"?

How about anyone with a beard?

Posted by: wildcat1 | November 25, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

you know, only 5-8 years ago, opposition to this sort of policy would have been considered treason by a good number of Americans...

Posted by: j762 | November 25, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Our law enforcement "profiles" regularly.

"....white male, 20-25 years, 5 feet 10 inches, black hair brown eyes, wearing white t-shirt and jeans, wanted for ----, last seen at ------".

"white" - can you imagine the loss of time if there were not a descriptive word used as to color? Stopping and checking every male who fits the description in every other way except color? We would scream our heads off if there were a rapist, murderer or other violent criminal wanted and law enforcement wasted time and energy checking EVERY male no matter what color instead of using one word that would cut the odds.

Posted by: Utahreb | November 26, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

What a suprise - the Republicans are in favor of using illegal and unconstutional "short cuts" to defending the country. As opposed to to the harder right - doing it right - and under the law.

Most Republicans don't understand why we should even bother with following the rule of law when it comes to defense - anything goes with this crowd. The nastier and meaner the better! Why even bother with trials for these "terrorists"! Send them directly to Gitmo...

Funny that the Republicans might have one the mid-term elections but it is evedent to all that the vast majority of American DO NOT support any of their policys or STUPID ideas. What a shock!

In fact the vast majority of voters find most of the Republicans' policys and ideas to be repugnant. Very much so.

Posted by: gooch733 | November 26, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

The solution is simple. Use face reconition software on the folks who attended the Glen Beck rally. Then tap their phones and surveil their email and person correspondence. After all they may be subversives against the Govt.

Posted by: Eric20 | November 26, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: NoVAHockey: they care only about one thing -- do you smell like a bomb? that's the profiling I want.

----------------------------------------
The 9/11 hijackers used bombs? Are you a lib by chance?

Posted by: illogicbuster | November 26, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Goes to prove both parties are bias that if you aint white you aint right . racial profiling is wrong and both parties should back off before vioence becomes a part of life for them .if racial profiling continues then we are hitting for a racial war .republicans and democrats alike should will become the targets of their own hate .

Posted by: raulpompa | November 26, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

gooch733 incoherently babbled: "What a suprise - the Republicans are in favor of using illegal and unconstutional "short cuts" to defending the country."
--------------------------------------
Hate to break it to a lib (mentally unstable & prone to suicide) but, looking for possible suspects from other countries based on race/national origin isn't unconstitutional. ROFLMAO

Posted by: illogicbuster | November 26, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

This isn't news. Tim McVeigh was really black.

Posted by: jckdoors | November 26, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

"Majority of Republicans favors racial profiling"

Fancy that! Not only do the Repugs favor racial profiling, you can also include bigotry and racism. It's dunbfounded why normal people continue to vote for this loser of a party.

Posted by: great81 | November 26, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

So Greg wants this to become a racial issue ?

Who would have guessed ?

Why didn't he publish the results for behavioral profiling ? the same type used by the Israelis ? the FBI ?

70% in favor only 25% opposed.

Greg ? Are you in favor ?

Posted by: pvilso24 | November 26, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Boycott Gropes in the Wall Street Journal

By James Taranto

The government treats Americans like terrorists--and terrorists like Americans.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704693104575638561744486540.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_MIDDLETopOpinion

Posted by: pvilso24 | November 26, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Of course they favor it. The majority who do favor profiling think they will never, ever have to put up with that indignity. Racial profiling or profiling of any type has never been something they could ever understand. Isn't it interesting that we never heard calls for profiling after Timothy McVey blew up the Federal building in Oklahoma City. Or how about profiling when it came to the students who were shooting up schools? Never hear calls for profiling when it has anything to do with white males doing the killing or other deed but always hear for it when it has something to do with people of color.

Posted by: catmomtx | November 26, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Gee, guess that lends some weight to the more or less constant accusations about Republicans being racist.

Posted by: cjhutch51 | November 28, 2010 12:03 AM | Report abuse

@Kevin_Willis...."BTW, I'm not positive as to the degree, but if I'm not mistaken, Timothy McVeigh fit a profile (a profile that was also assumed to apply to the DC sniper, until he was actually caught and turned out to be neither white nor Christian), and that profile was used to help apprehend and interrogate him."....FALSE. McVeigh was stopped on a routine traffic stop for a motor vehicle traffic violation. During the stop, his information was run through the police computer, and he was taken into custody based on information that was entered into the computer after the Murrah building was bombed.........Racial profiling in our airports will not succeed because law enforcement will only stop people who look like Arabs. Who else are they going to stop? White, Christian americans like McVeigh?? People who look like the kids who shot up Columbine?? People who look like the DC sniper?? Or the student who shot up Virginia Tech?? of course not. They will target middle-eastern people.And it doesn't matter what country you come from. They don't have access to your passport information until you're already in the airport and going through security. Racial profiling is easy to thwart. Just don't dress like the people that law enforcement are looking for. This is a terrible idea. Besides the fact that we should not be a country that investigates people based on how they look, this would undoubtedly result in harassing a huge number of innocent people. And it would result in a record number of lawsuits. This is just an excuse for Islamophobes to legally harass Arabs in an airport. Keep the scanners and the pat-downs.

Posted by: peter619 | November 29, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

For the love of god. You cannot site wikipedia as a source.
Any scholar, any school, any university, any educated institution will reject a piece with Wikipedia sources. Why? Because any information from there could be corrupt, incorrect, biased, etcetera.
Just wanted to clear that up.

Racial Profiling is a crime, it is unconstitutional. Look it up, challenge the Supreme Court if you will. Its most closely associated with the Nazi beliefs. Having a select group profiled at the Airport is one step away from having them identify themselves on their clothes to having them segregated to having them exterminated.

Yes, that is an extreme, but it is a very real possibility. Look at the DC Sniper incident. Because they were targeting a White man, a racial specification, the authorities were incapable of apprehending the true murderer.

Even if you want to argue that racial profiling would have saved those lives that passed in 9/11's tragedy, you would be wrong. Those men didn't dress with turbans and flaunt their religion/ethnicity about. They dressed as casual businessmen.

This is solely my own opinion, not meant to start rivalries or more arguments, but to inform others on my position, which i feel compelled to share, given the circumstances.

Btw: Please watch the movie "You don't mess with the Zohan"

Posted by: Jungleftts | November 30, 2010 8:55 PM | Report abuse

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