Another success in Homeland Security's War on Babies

A 14-day-old Samoan infant died in DHS detention at Honolulu airport earlier this week, and American Samoa's delegate to Congress is calling for an investigation:
The baby had been flown to Honolulu for emergency heart surgery. He died while detained inside a customs' room at the Honolulu airport with his mother and a nurse.
Link (thanks Nithya)


  1. Since when do you have to go through customs to travel within the borders of the United States of America? American Samoa to Hawaii? What b.s.

  2. 12 February 2008
    ‘Earth-Shattering’ Events Worry [Homeland Security Chief] Chertoff
    “But in the longer run, in terms of something that would really be earth-shattering, the kinds of things I’m worried about are a nuclear or a dirty bomb attack or a nuclear or biological attack. Now I don’t believe that the capability to do that is around the corner.”

  3. Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?

    Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.

    –60 Minutes (5/12/96)

  4. Wow, I feel so much safer. Thanks DHS, you are really making the world a better place.

    A little advice to the DHS agents involved, when going on your last trip, pack something light, because it’s supposed to be pretty hot in hell.

  5. what an awful title. use the death of a baby to promote whatever pet issue you want, but you don’t have to be so sarcastic about it.

  6. At this point, the story is meaningless in so far as it lacks any context. The story says they were “detained”… but for how long? 20 minutes? If so, the baby would have died waiting for the luggage instead of in a waiting room. Detained as in four days without medical care? THAT, would be meaningful and of great worry. But who knows? The story doesn’t say.

    At this point, there is way too little to go on (unless you have another agenda, if so, then flame away).

  7. and we wonder what could possibly turn someones sympathies against america so much that they’d be out for blood.

  8. They thought his heart was going to explode, and it did. DHS is protecting us!

    “Detained” is a word with a very specific legal meaning.

  9. note: i’m not saying blood for blood is right, but its not a huge leap to see why some people feel the way they do.

  10. According to UPI, the baby (Michael Tony Futi) was held in a locked room for 30 minutes and later died in a medical center. The baby was born with a hole in his heart. Perhaps they thought he was hiding something dangerous in there :(

  11. Holy shit.

    Not that it should matter in a humanitarian situation, but was this baby American Samoan (i.e., a US national) or a citizen of the state of Samoa? Either way I’m glad our all-powerful Delegate is involved, but if the baby was American Samoan this just might actually get some attention in the media.

  12. was this baby American Samoan (i.e., a US national) or a citizen of the state of Samoa?

    According to the Honolulu Advertiser both the baby and the nurse are naturalized US citizens with valid passports and traveled with no luggage. “Fried showed the media documents yesterday, including one from U.S. Customs and Border Protection with the word “APPROVAL” in large type and a handwritten note”

    During the flight, the boy was hooked up to an oxygen tank.

    Later, inside the locked room, Michael’s condition worsened. Futi and Veavea began screaming to call 911, Fried said, “and the people outside are saying, ‘Stay calm, relax.’ ”

    After another five minutes, the door opened and someone helped perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the baby, he said.

    Another 10 minutes passed before paramedics arrived, he said, and eight minutes later they took Michael to the medical center.

    They intend to sue. I wish them luck with that but won’t be holding my breath.

  13. I completely agree that US “security” policy is awful, bt t mks m sd t s y s bltnt snstnlsm fr yr cs, Xn.

    I feel awful for those who love this baby. I also feel awful for those who love all of the 3000 people who died on 9/11, and the 45,000 people who die in car wrecks each year, and the 1,000,000 people who die in Africa each year of malaria.

    That doesn’t mean that a personal story should be used to argue policy decisions. Millions of people die every year. Each one is a personal story. We can’t base policy on each death – we have to turn to (ew) statistics.

    Compassion for your fellow man should be based on each of those personal stories. Arguments for or against policy should be based on the numbers.

  14. Another poster said: ” At this point, the story is meaningless in so far as it lacks any context. The story says they were “detained”… but for how long? 20 minutes?”

    Reading the detail of the story, the paperwork of the travellers was stamped “Approved” – and yet still this child died in a beauraucratic waiting room, with its mother banging on the door crying for help.

    I suppose if they had been asylum seekers without the proper paperwork to enter the US this would have been perfectly acceptable in RRSAFETY’s logic?

    I quoth The Onion: “The last six years have been a golden age of American apprehension and mistrust. Thanks to the events of Sept. 11, 2001, all of America was united, standing shoulder to shoulder in sheer, unrelenting fear. But tragically, that atmosphere of panic and confusion has begun to fade, and without another terrible attack to bond us as a nation, we are dangerously close to entering a post-post-9/11 era.

    We cannot allow that to happen.

    We must all do whatever we can to preserve America by refocusing our priorities back on the contemplation of lethal threats—invisible nightmarish forces plotting to destroy us in a number of horrific ways. It is only through the vigilance and determination of every patriot that we can maintain the sense of total dread vital to the prolonged existence of a thriving, quivering America.

    Our country deserves no less than every citizen living in apprehension.

  15. @ #23.

    Get out. Out. Out out out out.

    WE have the numbers. We’ve shown the numbers. We continue to show links to strong and solid argumentation that DHS/TSA is doing little substantive to help us be more secure and yet is infringing heavily on our freedom to assemble.

    We showed that the war in Iraq was a horrible mistake, terrifying in concept, bungled in reality. We showed that US surveilance of americans illegally affects thousands who have done nothing wrong.

    The problem is we don’t own the debate. We don’t own the figures. We can’t produce a study on how effective liquid bans are on reducing terror attacks authoritatively because we are denied basic information on ‘security’ reasons. We can’t debate intelligently about NSA wiretaps or torture or secret prisons or any of that horrible shit because the people who own the facts are the ones we are fighting against. We need to show that these policies impact lives. We need to show that these policies piss people off, that these policies do not thwart terror, that these policies may kill innocents.

    And don’t give me that crap about using numbers. Numbers don’t win arguments, never have. Stories connect people and win arguments.

    but if you want a fucking number, here’s one. This is one fucking person who FUCKING DIED because our customs/security system is run by autocrats. One person who didn’t have to die. Who did. That’s one too many.

  16. For the most part I agree with you all. I am pissed. I took a few moments to write this to my Reps in DC

    Dear {}
    One of the key issues that I feel needs immediate and vocal attention from the floors of the Senate and the house is the return of our cival rights taken by the fear mongers who are seeking to create what appears to be a police state. The DHS has crossed the boundries at every turn but an incident that I read today on MSNBC was the final straw.
    A 14 week old Samoan baby was enroute to a hospital in Hawaii for emergancy heart surgery was detained by DHS in the Honolulu and as a result died.
    I am outraged and I certainly expect that you are too.
    In what world does a critically ill baby, his mother and a nurse get held up by customs only to die in their hands.
    As my Elected representative I call on you to do the right thing. This nonsense has to end.

    I suggest you all do the same.
    We must get our rights back

  17. this was November

    Dave Battagello , CanWest News Service
    Published: Saturday, November 17, 2007

    WINDSOR, Ont. — An ambulance rushing a heart attack victim to Detroit from aWindsor hospital ill-equipped to perform life-saving surgery was stopped for secondary inspection Monday by United States Customs, despite the fact it carried a man fighting for his life.

    Rick Laporte, 49 -who twice had been brought back to life with defibrillators -was being rushed across the border when a U.S. border guard ignored protocol at the Detroit portion of the tunnel and forced the ambulance – with sirens and lights flashing – to pull over.

    “If I’m that person in the booth and there is an ambulance coming with a critically injured person, I’m not stopping the damn thing,” said Kat Lauzon, Laporte’s girlfriend. “I’m irate. I can’t figure it out. He could have died and I would have blamed that person for murder.”

    the border people promised to fix their procedures

    so what happened

  18. start adding up the numbers. From September 12th 2001 to date,how many people have Al Quaeda killed in America? How many people has Homeland Security killed?

  19. Geezus. If some drunk runs off the road and creams a baby stroller, the guns-n-god crowd would be out for blood.

    But the same degree of lethal incompetence occurs with people in full control of their rational faculties, following a pattern of incompetence that has already resulted in other deaths, and we get whiners complaining about the sarcasm and how anecdotes shouldn’t dictate policy.

    You right-wingers are fucking tools. You’re no better than the drones who killed this baby.



    Yet another example of how the terrorists are winning, continuing to take lives because of terror.

    body count 9/11: about 3000
    body count iraq war (flower of american youth): 4000 and climbing.
    brain injuries and permanent disabilities to u.s. soldiers: 60,000 and climbing.
    percentage returned soldiers with ptsd: 25%
    body count number of government confirmed soldier suicides: 100+
    body count iraqi civilians: 600,000 and climbing.

    who is responsible for more death and destruction?
    all so americans can have the priveledge driving hummers and F150s.

    freedom isn’t free. it costs the lives of the future of our nation – young, fit, educable soldiers. but the freedom to pollute, practice vanity, gluttony, greed, arrogance and waste?

    OIL = WAR.

    Get us OUT OF THE MIDDLE EAST. Until we abandon all interest in the middle east and stop meddling in their internal affairs, we will continue to suffer incidents like this. there is no reform. we must remove the cause – middle east involvement. our only interest there is oil. what, are we importing persian rugs, or humus, or sand. no, it is all about the oil.


  21. #23 said, “Arguments for or against policy should be based on the numbers”.

    I disagree. I think arguments about policy should be based on what’s right and what’s wrong. The numbers thing seems to be a bit cold-hearted and lacking in humanity.

  22. “Arguments for or against policy should be based on the numbers.”

    Arguments for or against policy should be based upon the effectiveness of said policy in determining the policy.

    If I set out to kill a small family of gophers in my front yard and at the end of six months I have 4 dead neighbors, some missing neighborhood children, and my spouse has a gaping head wound while I naively plod forth on crutches to plant more explosive charges while the gophers effectively hold tea parties every Saturday evening I might just reconsider my methods.

    This is NOT war. This is NOT collateral damage. All of these are can be filed under the term avoidable incident, or perhaps wrongful death if you’re in that “actionable mood”.

    I think the issue is one of compassion. I mean true compassion, beyond the television commercial stage of compassion we see.

    Right now I envision video of children playing on swings imposed over a waving flag and smiles, smiles smiles. You know; late-night used car salesman ads. The exact same kind of cheesiness I see from news clips of administration chuckleheads explaining just why we little ignorant citizen types need this kind of policy.

    I believe a simple sense of intellect liberally sprinkled with some native intelligence would go quite a way towards correcting many of the previously mentioned issues. Compassion and empathy are two elements of a healthy and beneficial society that are so very lacking in this regime.

    Stopping ambulances? Killing babies? There’s absolutely no need for sensationalism- this government we all currently suffer under makes its own gravy.

  23. #35:
    gr wth y cmpltly, n ll cnts. ls hppn t thnk tht t s pr snstnlsm t tk n cs tht hppns t f ll th ppl gng thrgh S scrty msrs nd pnt t t sy “s wht hppns!?!”. That kind of argument, that one person somewhere is going to suffer a tragedy, without talking about the other side, is what got us into this mess. That irrational reaction to real tragedy is why Bush et al have been able to make the mockery of American freedom that they have.

    Your logic is a great example of what I’m arguing against. I can tell you a heartbreaking story of how alcohol got someone’s baby killed. Or how automobiles did. Or automatic doors. Should we look at each of those stories, ignoring everything else, and make each of those situations impossible, whatever the cost?

    People won’t let their kids out of the house because they know a heartrending story of someone’s child being kidnapped, raped, and murdered. Others zip at 90 miles an hour through neighborhoods, because it’s fun and they’ve never heard a personal story of tragedy resulting from it.

    My point is that you reach out to people to try to help them through their tragedy, but sensible people make decisions for themselves based on the risk of tragedy versus the likely good effects.

    I agree wholeheartedly that our whole culture of fear and authority worship is wrong, wrong, wrong. And, likely enough, a personal story of tragedy will take some of those other people who couldn’t do the math of deaths from terrorism (out of the vastly larger number of other deaths) versus lost liberty (and, as it turns out, other deaths). But it still turns my stomach to see anyone taking a few stories out of the wide world out there and using them as an argument that policy should change. Even when I agree with the intended change.

  24. why is it that when people make statements, examples are demanded and when examples are given they are criticized as isolated examples? When many examples are given they are dismissed as padding, when few examples are given, they are always the “wrong” examples?

    These are issues of blood and tears. Not “debate”.

  25. I hate to doubletap the post, but does anyone else see the grossest Ultimate Antipodal Irony in this?

    The headline boils down to “Baby dies while protected by TSA”.

    Various news bureaus report various agencies responsible for the detention, or the nebulous policies and their implementation.

    In the end the agency directly responsible has safety in it’s middle name.

    Thank heavens they aren’t suffering from some gross misnomer.

  26. This is very, very sad. And nothing will be done about it, because they’ll say we can’t compromise national security.

    I can imagine Chertoff’s forthcoming statement about this. He’ll blame the terrorists, indirectly.

  27. #20
    When rich white babies start dying, you hope someone finally realizes the need to change.

    Fixed that for you, too

  28. #44 did you actually READ this article?

    “I’m sad, but people with heart disease can’t fly… That is accidental…”

    ummm the BABY was flown there to have SURGERY and was KEPT FROM GOING TO THE HOSPITAL SO IT DIED. IT did not die in flight or because of the flight, it died because it was detained afterward. Jesus.

  29. #34 said “I disagree. I think arguments about policy should be based on what’s right and what’s wrong. The numbers thing seems to be a bit cold-hearted and lacking in humanity.”

    George W. Bush, is that you?

  30. It was bound to happen eventually, and now it’s happened. It was inevitable, with the procedures used.

    So if someone’s fated to die because of negligence, better him than me. Thank god for dead babies. (And thanks for the dead baby joke, cory.)

  31. Crazy horrible evil fuckheads. But inter-island flight has the most tight assed idiot TSA agents I’ve had to deal with. Worse than the friendly ones I’ve dealt with on international flights.

    Poor parents. My heart go out to them.

  32. Someone just died because of a government employee’s incompetence! Rally the troops, because it’s time to go to war! Everyone line up on party lines! White Republicans on one side, everyone else on the other! Ready, aim, solve nothing! (I think dchbg translates well without vowels, don’t you Cory?)

  33. #38

    You’ve never won an argument in your life, I’ll bet on it. You don’t convince people that a policy is bad because it results in X dollars in lost productivity over the course of four financial quarters. You convince people that a policy is bad by showing harmful impacts of that policy and then suggesting an alternative without those impacts.

    Decisions made by the numbers are for public policy analysis where no such gut argument exists. If your treatment plan for diabetes causes a higher number of deaths per thousand while in the testing stage than the null group, you discontinue the test. If your new product costs the company 0.02/lb more than the old product and doesn’t net any savings in the future, you don’t make the switch. Those aren’t arguments. Those are policy decisions where strict cost-benefit analysis determines the outcome.

    Cost-benefit analysis doesn’t win over converts. You don’t convince someone that abortion is a viable medical alternative to unwanted pregnancies by showing aggregate expected social surplus to communities with lax abortion law versus higher rates of depression/suicide/etc in states with more restrictive abortion laws. You don’t do that because you aren’t using the same framework to evaluate the issue.

    The same is true here. The people who support and run the TSA aren’t using strict cost-benefit analysis (and even if they were, they could easily show that even 10-100 accidental deaths per year is worth what they estimate as prevention of possible terrorist attacks). they are arguing for the TSA due to personal belief about the nature of government and its purpose in protecting us. You aren’t going to convince a populace that believes that the governments primary role is to safeguard the lives of its citizens that they should abandon a security programe because of numbers. It won’t work. You will run into the iraq war block.

    Tell supporters of the iraq war that there were no WMD’s (there weren’t), they will reply that there might have been and it is better that we erred on the side of caution. Tell them that we didn’t ‘err’, that we knew the truth and ignored it in order to go to war with a country we didn’t need to and they will tell you that we got rid of saddam who was a blah, blah, blah. Tell them that saddam wasn’t really a threat, and besides, most of his crimes against humanity were committed with the tacit approval of the US and they will tell you that we had to……

    You will get into a loop. Facts don’t beat mindsets. Shock to the concience beats mindsets.

    Statistics about police brutality didn’t change how we viewed the NYPD. Having the nation see that Police officers shot an unarmed man on his own porch 40+ times changed that. Seeing that polic officers tortured a man in custody because he was black changed that. Complaints/1000 households didn’t change that.

    And besides, we aren’t advocating eliminating border security and airline security completely. We just want policies that make sense.

  34. fnd t fnny hw mny ppl r trgd by ths. knw t mks m snd lk th prck bt snc whn d mrcns cr bt bbs? Nt tryng t chng th rl tpc t hnd thr. Jst mks m thnk.
    48,589,993 Ttl brtns snc 1973

  35. #56 You know, even putting the whole abortion != baby murder thing aside, some people might be sorry for the mother that lost a child that she actually wanted.

  36. #56 does that number include ones doe to save that mothers life or where that fetus was not going to survive? If you like those numbers how about the number of children killed by there parents after they were born. How about the number of children killed by strangers. How about the number of children that kill other children.
    I think I agree with #31 heres a tragedy where a mother has lost a child and thats what comes to your mind, you remind me of those fools that protest homosexuals at military funerals .

  37. #57 & #58, I must commend you on your Internet debating techniques.

    #57, you get a prize for implying that HEDONISBOT does not care about the mother who lost her child.

    #58, Pro-life = Westboro Baptist Church. I never would have guessed. Thanks for connecting the dots. Brilliant.

  38. #56

    What a fucking offensively spurious comment that is.

    So: Abortions occur, therefore: All People Hate Babies.


    By your logic, if we approve of a person’s right to choose whether they are in a position to go through with their pregnancy and having a baby (conceived in whatever circumstances) we give tacit approval for murdering children. And by extension, to eventually kill everybody else (as children are no more than tomorrows adults).

    If you can’t see the difference between a breathing, healthy (not in this unfortunate case, obviously) baby – whom both mother and baby have lived through, and survived, the birthing experience – and a fetus (no matter the varied opinion on late term abortions), you are living in a stunted reality of conformist propaganda.

    Way to get your completely-unrelated opinion into a completely-unrelated comment thread.

  39. #56 Hedonisbot btw for a point of reference I had a friend that had to have an abortion because of an ectopic pregnancy she also lost her uterus because of tumors same operation. Lucky she was just over 18 and the state shes was in allowed abortion so she didn’t have to worry about some of the laws they’ve been passing. So not a prick just a fool.

  40. Takuan, where on earth do you dig these obscure news stories up?

    What is scary is how little news coverage this is getting. Most of the stories within the US are in Hawaii, with the only other state showing coverage being Arizona. Neither AP nor Reuters seem to have picked up on it.

  41. #56, I’m afraid I must award you a prize too. Not all Americans are indifferent about abortion. Many of them actually care, a lot. Speaking as an unplanned pregnancy whose parents became volunteers at a crisis pregnancy center, there are a lot of folks out there who are informed about fetal development and are adamantly pro-life. I considered your statistic when I read this article, but I figured this probably wasn’t the place for that debate.

  42. obscure? not to the guy in an ambulance. That particular story was well covered in the victim’s home country; Canada. Google it.

  43. So this turned into a debate about abortion, eh….

    I guess I should just call someone a fascist to end this puppy.

  44. Fer cryin’ out loud, American Samoa votes in presidential elections, serve in the National Guard, and hold US passports. They’re US CITIZENS and American Samoa is US SOIL!! Why do you have to go thru customs and DHS bullshit if you’re travelling from one part of the US to another. Isn’t there something constitutional about freedom of travel and commerce? This smacks of a Soviet-era “show me your papers” mentality. Do I need to start carrying my passport when I drive from Arizona to New Mexico?

  45. If TSA or Customs knuckle-draggers are concerned about someone being transported in an ambulance as a ruse to smuggle something across the border, or that a baby traveling to get a lifesaving procedure might be suspicious, why don’t they assign an agent to accompany the person(s) or vehicle until receiving confirmation that their papers are in order? TSA is a government agency after all, so you know that for every agent you see, there are at least several others sitting around behind the scenes doing nothing, so manpower shouldn’t be an issue.

    They could even search any luggage on the way to the hospital, which I assume would not be very far from the border or airport. That way, at least no time is wasted in getting the patient to the appropriate facility and our borders would remain impenetrable. And no, I did not write that last sentence with a straight face.

    SOMEbody around here has to work for TSA, so how’s about a little inside scoop on the training or policies or just how the hell the agents involved could’ve been brainwas-er, I mean convinced that their course of action in this case was proper?

  46. #69

    Ever wonder why New Mexico license plates say “New Mexico- USA” on them? It is because of the problems/rousts faced by well-tanned drivers from N.M. when they are in other parts of the country, particularly the Northeast, since a lot of people (the police officers who are pulling them over in this case) are apparently not aware that there is a U.S. State called New Mexico. It used to be a bigger problem in the past (big enough to print “USA” on the plate!), back before New Mexico became trendy. This is relevant here because it illustrates the detrimental effects of ignorance on the puppet show that is security.

  47. there is a solution; there are hundreds of thousands of well educated, fluent English speakers willing to work for a pittance. Outsource Homeland Security to India. They at least know American geography.

  48. I feel sorry for the child and family (and for the officers concerned), but if the child was so sick then perhaps he or she could have died at any moment. And who was to know where or when that might have happened. What would have happened if the plane had been delayed by 30 minutes – posts on BB against evil air traffic controllers? What if the child had died if the taxi to the hospital was delayed — posts on BB against inconsiderate taxi drivers? If the car broke down – posts against heartless big-car-company Toyota?

    t s nprprt t s ths trgdy t frthr n nt-gvrnmnt gnd. Stp yr rntng nd lt th chld rst n pc

  49. @ 74/75 It isn’t an “anti-government” agenda. This is simple common sense. Policies should exist that allow the free movement and assembly of people. Policies which impede this in a blanket fashion belong in history books telling tales of Soviet Republics, not in a country that was founded on the notion that government owes a debt to the governed.

    The article is pretty clear. The kid would have been in an ambulance at the very least by about midway through their detention. From the Honolulu airport it is about 6-7 minutes to the ER entry of the nearest hospital, at most. at that point (and even while on the ambulance), the kid would have had access to telemetry, oxygen and porfessional help.

    And let’s not descend into wild accusations and silly reasoning. the plane didn’t get delayed, the cab wasn’t delayed, etc. And even if those did happen, they fall into the category of unavoidable unpleasant outcomes in life. Locking a woman and child in a room who need to get to a hospital and have already been approved for entry is not an unavoidable outcome.

  50. I’ve seen Cory’s rants about airports. I have heard and seen many others. And “some of my best friends … ” erm, work at an airport.

    I have heard everything from horrible deaths of detained people(on CNN) to celebutard treatment of … Oh, let’s say “Nittany Snears” (from my BFF) and have personally witnessed many times the de-shoe-ing and wanding of my Tennessee-born 80+ year old mom.

    This one takes cake.

  51. “but if the child was so sick then perhaps he or she could have died at any moment.”

    You may be right, and he might not have survived even if he had gotten surgery, though some reports said the baby was doing very well on the plane.

    But check this out:

    “It should have only taken 10 to 15 minutes to get Michael from the airport to Kapi’olani Medical Center for Women & Children, where he was scheduled to be hospitalized on Friday and examined for a probable heart operation, Fried said.” link

    And since the baby was sick, the crew sensibly let them debark first, and their travel papers were in order and the nurse and baby had no luggage. It looks like there’s a good chance the baby would have survived had they not been needlessly imprisoned them for 30 minutes. Even if Michael started struggling in the hospital, he’d obviously be much more likely to survive with immediate medical care. The 15-20 minute delay getting paramedics probably didn’t help:

    “During the flight, the boy was hooked up to an oxygen tank.

    Later, inside the locked room, Michael’s condition worsened. Futi and Veavea began screaming to call 911, Fried said, ‘and the people outside are saying, “Stay calm, relax.”‘

    After another five minutes, the door opened and someone helped perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the baby, he said.

    Another 10 minutes passed before paramedics arrived, he said, and eight minutes later they took Michael to the medical center.” link

  52. if a baby in a hospital in New York or LA died because some security guard held him up outside the OR, what do you think would happen?

  53. Ths s th srt f pst ttl tht drvs m ff BngBng fr wks. dn’t knw nythng bt ths spcfc cs bt th ssmptn tht Hmlnd scrty s ntrstd n kllng bbs drvs m nts. Ths d tht ll yr nms r t yr mmdt rght s bnxs. t psns dlg, rthr prmnntly. ‘m tmptd t ssrt t’s th Lft tht hs n ntrst n bby kllng s strght-p ndstry. Th strs bt lt trm brtns nd th ncrdbl strs swrlng bt Fmly Plnnng r trly dsgstng. Ths stry s nfrtnt, bt mr nfrtnt thn yr htrd fr yr wn cmptrts.

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  54. “the assumption that Homeland security is interested in killing babies drives me nuts”

    I can’t speak for the poster, but it seems to me that the title is meant to be sarcastic. I didn’t assume, reading the post, that Homeland Security has actually declared war on babies. I figured the title was a bit of dark humour referring to the fact that US security agencies have a history of detaining or questioning families traveling with kids simply because their child’s name happens to be on some kind of secret list.

    I’m sure Homeland Security isn’t really interested in killing babies – it’s just a side effect of their insane security measures.

  55. #82 its always interesting when people take such issue with the messenger and ignore the message.

    “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”
    -Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790)
    “Security is a kind of death.”
    Tennessee Williams (1911 – 1983)

    Perhaps we all should stick to just relying on Fox news for our information.

  56. #82 I couldn’t be more proud that the house is fighting the administration on telecom immunity. I can only hope that the fight lasts longer.

    As for your ridiculous claim that you are somehow imperiled by this fight…….WOW. You do understand that the only reason this lapsed legislation exists is because the White House got caught spying ILLEGALY on americans and had to come up with a bill rubber stamping it as a compromise, right? You realize that? Please tell me that you do.

  57. This is not funny any more…. :(

    As several posters said, VOTE! It is the responsibility of the minority who actually think to try and influence the behavior of US, a giant that went mad. And protest votes for obscure candidates or abstaining from voting won’t do. Currently, the priority is to remove Bush puppet masters from power, even if the other guys are still not all that desirable; choose the lesser evil. In the long run, it would be very nice if actual political parties emerge in the US, but I don’t see how it could be done.

  58. The death of any child, anywhere, anytime, is a tragic thing. Yet, for all the outraged comments here, it’s still a train wreck. each and everyone of us here stopped to gawk. If you don’t want this sort of thing to get attention by means of sensationalism, then stop paying attention.

  59. It sucks that so many people are fighting over the corpse of a dead child so they can hold it over their heads as a banner for their cause.

    All I know is that this is a huge mess and I wish I could fix it.

    This isn’t the America I love. It’s a monster.

  60. @82-
    Not as proud as you are for all of the Americans who lost their homes, families and LIVES while our president stayed on vacation while the levees broke in New Orleans.

    Nice effort, though.

  61. This isn’t the America I love. It’s a monster.

    America has always been monstrous. We committed genocide on Native Americans, even attempting a crude sort of biological warfare. We have been deposing heads of state and installing brutal dictators for a long time. We teach those dictatorships how to torture, torture is nothing new to us. We send in our very own death squads to destablise the country and terrorise the people.

    The difference is that, for a time now, we are able to bypass the censorship of the media. This story has not been picked up by AP for a very good reason.

  62. @ #65

    Sorry – I meant to convey awe at the speed with which you found a related story from several months back, not derision. (I think it came out wrong.)

  63. shame on all of you who are trying to subvert this horrible news item to serve some other agenda.


    this never should have happened…that the life of a baby should be less important that ANYTHING else is simply absurd and grotesque.

  64. #82

    “how proud are you of Pelosi and the rest of the House for abandoning their responsibilities by leaving FICA to elapse to go on a 10 day recess?”

    I’m not sure if you’re trolling or not, but, at the risk of de-railing the thread even further, may I in the spirit of non-partisanship point you to what actually happened in Congress this week.

    Firstly, it was not FISA (you mean FISA, not FICA) that elapsed, it was the Protect America Act (PAA). This was a recent “updating” of FISA. We can agree to disagree about whether this was a good update, but one thing is pretty clear from the language of the bill — letting it lapse still allows surveillance conducted under its rules for almost a year. Here’s the statute itself (I apologise for using a link that you may doubt because it is partisan in the opposite direction to your own tendencies, but it’s the best quote of the law itself:

    FISA, of course, remains untouched, so all surveillance under the same laws that have been in place for years (including 2001-2007) work fine.

    Perhaps more important to your error is the assertion that the democrats “let this lapse”. Actually (and I’ve been watching the Congressional activity on this bill very carefully, because I work for the EFF, and one version of the bill contains retroactive immunity for telecoms for their warrantless wiretapping, which could affect our court case challenging this activity), the Democratic leadership have been pushing for an *extension* of PAA.

    Initially, they asked for a 30 day extension, to get the bill sorted out. Bush said he would veto that. Mitch McConnell and the leadership agreed to a 15 day extension instead, and Bush signed that into law.

    Then, and I absolutely kid you not, the Republicans in the House started deliberately slowing down the progress of all bills before the discussion on the new bill, so as to let the clock run out on any reasonable debate. In the end, the Democrats put forward *another* extension, so at least the law would be in place while Congress debated the fine points. The Republicans voted against this extension, Bush said he’d veto it, and both the progressive Democrats (who hate PAA) and the right-of-center Democrats (who were worried about being tarred by the “you let PAA lapse” publicity if Bush vetoed it) voted against this extension too, so it failed. Of course, if the Republicans had agreed to the extension, you’d have had the PAA in place now.

    This is a long post, but I wanted to write it because (as someone who generally stands aside in left/right fights), your assertion shows you have been misled by people who are using you for short-term political game. There’s only one group that could argue that it was the Democrats who let PAA run out, *and* that it mattered one jot, and that’s a group who doesn’t want you to read the statute, and doesn’t want you to know what happened in the house.

    I don’t know much about babies in this case. I know *a lot* about the FISA/Protect America Act process. Somebody wants to keep you in the dark about what’s really going on. It could be politicians; I think it’s more likely that it’s your own partisanship, which doesn’t want to see a more complex world than Democrats == Bad, Republicans == Good.

  65. #98, Danny O’Brien: Many thanks for actually providing some information to counter BOUR3’s take on this.

  66. After a point, I’m forced to skim the comment section and just get a feel for what the people are saying, instead of the point by point reading and evaluating each of the issues brought forth.

    That being said, I would like to say that even when I skim, I can’t help but read Takuan’s posts whole. I would like to congratulate you for consistently writing material worthy of reading.

  67. Agent 86, I almost always stop to red Takuan’s post too. It’s weird though, I find him to be too short and too glib at the same time. Maybe that’s his chosen persona. He likes to remain elusive and enigmatic. Always leave them wanting more, or something like that.

  68. The abortion argument will not take root and flourish here.

    Agent, Jake, I figure it’s because the odds that there’s going to be something interesting in one of Takuan’s comments are far higher than the odds that it’s going to be tiring and troublesome to read.

    Sparkzilla, the delay was unnecessary, the room overheated, ditto unequipped to handle the child’s needs, the employees were blandly indifferent to the screams coming out of the room, and you didn’t read up on the story before chiding the rest of the thread for having an “anti-government agenda.”

  69. I’m reading through these comments. Some of these opinions are so out of left field that you wonder how the folks who wrote them manage to get through the day. I’m wondering: Is this why it’s so difficult to exact some kind of change in modern society? Because not only do people have radically different ideas about how things work, they also seem to have radically different ideas about what’s -=relevant to the debate at hand=-?

    Stay on topic, please.

  70. Ian70, no one’s sense of what’s relevant can be untangled from their sense of causality, which grows straight out of their internal map of the world. In free-form emergent arguments, relevance is always going to be strongly configured by personal style.

  71. Takuan, um, a few things, if you would?
    could you please elaborate on the amtrak thing?
    I’m noticing that you don’t sleep, obviously because i seldom do.
    and, thanks for picking up my slak on the heroin mention.
    i’m imagining that you wear smoking jackets, not sure why.
    o.k. that’s it for now…thank you

  72. probably a wise move. those freedom hating terrorist have been gunning for our ironic upper middle class and retirees for some time now.

  73. Takuan @#39:

    My problem is not with bringing this tragic example up as an indicator of the ill health of the US security policy. My problem is the opportunistic, yellow journalism angle on the way the example was brought up.

    Protonk @#54:
    Certainly “cost” doesn’t mean just dollar cost. Certainly anecdotes of bad results are relevant. Certainly policies that give all of the good results of another policy with fewer bad results are always preferable.

    The fact is, though, that virtually every policy will have tragic anecdotes to condemn or aggrandize it. Virtually no policy is clearly better without also being worse in some way than another.

    Unfortunately, the way people are built you have to bring in tragic anecdotes to get them to see the truth of the statistics. But arguing based from the anecdotes without paying heed to the statistics is for priests and politicians, and being swayed by such arguments is for the blundering herd, which I hoped we could transcend.

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