Not Just in Dallas

From Making Light I learn that, according to 56 pages (as of right now) of reader comments on the Dallas Star-Telegram story I mentioned the other day, the Secret Service has been similarly failing to do even minimal security checks for Obama rallies all over the country.

The same thing happened at the speech in Virginia Beach, where we had 18,000 people. I was pretty surprised when they stopped screening and opened all the doors, and even if it’s a “friendly” crowd, it only takes one to cause a disaster. :: Posted by: Ben :: 2/22/2008 11:59 AM :: 2595.24
I went to Obama’s rally in St. Louis. We were just allowed into the arena. Our bags weren’t checked nor were metal detectors used. There were over 20,000 at that rally. :: Posted by: Kelly :: 2/22/2008 12:02 PM :: 2595.31

The same thing happened in Green Bay, WI at the Kress Center on February 15. People were just waved through to the auditorium during the last 15-20 minutes – No visual checks whatsoever or passing through a metal detector. The goal was to start on time apparently, which the rally did. :: Posted by: Green Bay reader :: 2/22/2008 12:15 PM :: 2595.58

I attended an Obama rally in Reno, NV and security was very, very tight BUT NOT necessarily visible. However, I imagine after this story, the Secret Service will probably add some visibility to their security protocol. I also understand the sensitivity of the Dallas Police Department but I think Sen. Obama’s security is top notch. :: Posted by: Metro :: 2/22/2008 12:30 PM

This is exactly what happened in NYC last fall when Obama made an appearance in Washington Square Park. They screened people with metal detectors for the first two hours, but when it became apparent that most of the crowd would not make it in for several more hours they just let everybody flood the park with no screening. :: Posted by: ea :: 2/22/2008 12:32 PM :: 2595.90

When Hillary Clinton gave a speech in Salinas, CA the police did not scan either. There was an obvious S/S presence but it was all very casual. A local DNC woman just had the few of us at the door fill out a donation form. Then right in we went. :: Posted by: Bubba :: 2/22/2008 12:37 PM :: 2595.94

Sam thing happened in Houston. A friend and I arrived about 30 minutes before he spoke and walked right through the font doors of the Toyota Center without going through any medal detectors, wands, etc. Rediculous that the security is so weak and that our law enforcement is not taking the necessary steps to protect against anyone wishing to do him harm or wishing to do harm to the thousands that show up at these events to support him. :: Posted by: JDM :: 2/22/2008 12:43 PM :: 2595.107

The same thing happened at the Obama rally that I attended in San Francisco. We waited in line for hours and then suddenly the speed of the line picked way up and we walked right through the metal detectors which had been turned off. I would’ve much rather gotten into the rally late than had the individual who I hope will be the next President of the US endangered by “expediency” efforts. :: Posted by: Kari Chao :: 2/22/2008 1:15 PM :: 2595.158

I was amazed in Seattle at the Key Areana that the security was more lax than for a WNBA Storm game. It was good to feel the trust, but also caught my attention. :: Posted by: :: 2/22/2008 1:21 PM :: 2595.169

The exact same thing happened at the Denver rally. I did not think about it too much at the time, but this is bad. :: Posted by: Tim Tribbett :: 2/22/2008 1:30 PM :: 2595.188

The same thing happened at the outdoor Wilmington, Delaware rally I attended. Over 12,000 folks showed at that one. It appeared the officers were overwhelmed with having to check so many people. What I really found interesting were the snipers and scouts on the roof of the old courthouse. I noticed two of them captivated by Obama’s speech and simply put their binoculars down. I remember praying, please don’t let anything happen. :: Posted by: L. :: 2/22/2008 1:48 PM :: 2595.209

This happened in Kansas City, Missouri, too, but only a few people – perhaps 100 or so – got in without being screened, including me. The few they let in without screening were among the last to be let in after metal detectors had been taken down, when they initially determined that the venue was full. Officials opened about a few more spots and we got in without any check at all. :: Posted by: LM :: 2/22/2008 1:57 PM :: 2595.217

I was told that the same thing happened in Hartfrd,CT :: Posted by: R. Guzman :: 2/22/2008 2:34 PM :: 2595.253

I also attended the rally and was astonished that everyone’s bags and purses etc?.were not checked. It was obvious the lines were extremely long way before the doors officially opened at 10:30. I’m not with Secret Service, but even I had the bright idea of allowing people to enter the arena early so security checks would not impact the start of the program. It seems to me that allowing people inside a facility that could handle the capacity is a LOT SAFER and SMARTER than jeopardizing the safety of our next potential president. They don’t even let people with checking them for a rodeo or music concert. Hmmmm…I wonder if they would have made the same decision if it was Clinton or McCain. :: Posted by: Delilah Tinsaye :: 2/22/2008 3:10 PM :: 2595.298

When I saw Obama in Oakland, CA last summer, it was ridiculous: anybody could have gotten to him. I told the lady next to me that I hoped he would be protected better because of our history. :: Posted by: Juan Quinones :: 2/22/2008 3:30 PM :: 2595.319

I was at the Barack Obama rally in Houston at the Toyota Center. Depending on where you sat, half of the people went through a metal detector and the other half were not checked at all. I crossed from a “non-checked” area into a “checked area” and an usher took me to the Secret Service and through a metal detector. However, my friend who was with me did the exact same thing and no one saw him at all. I never thought about it until I read this article. How could security be so lax? :: Posted by: SCNTEXAS :: 2/22/2008 3:59 PM :: 2595.329

At the Virginia Beach Convention Center rally a few weeks ago, screening was taking a very long time. The line of 18,000 people was taking hours to get in the building. Eventually all screening was stopped for those who didn’t care about being the closest. They opened up the back doors and thousands of people flooded in. He would have started speaking before 1/5 of the people were even in the building had they not done so. 3 TSA personnel just isn’t enough for such large crowds… Haha. :: Posted by: Joe :: 2/22/2008 7:22 PM :: 2595.404

I got to see obama up close and personaI in Iowa several times times and was never checked by anyone. I believe it would be immensely easy to kill any presidential candidate on the campaign trail if you were willing to be caught. This DOES worry me a great deal as my friends and I often found ourselves commenting on how lax security was. :: Posted by: Ron Orf :: 2/22/2008 8:03 PM :: 2595.411

I attended a rally in Oakland and there was no checkin gate there either. A friend in New York said the same thing. :: Posted by: AJ Fish in San Francisco :: 2/23/2008 11:51 AM :: 2595.471

In Omaha, I noticed the exact same thing! I was somewhat alarmed at blatant dismantling of the metal detector, at the entrance to a large side chamber to the Civic Auditorium, while it was beginning to fill up with people just prior to Obama coming out to us. I and others pulled out digital cameras and/or camera phones, and no way that a weapon would have been noticed in time. And this dismantling of metal detectors and zero screening of audience is happening at other campaign stops too???? (Security was much more lax than it had been at the same site when the Vice Presidential debates were held in Omaha, about 20 years ago in the 1980’s, when we were not “in a state of war” as this administration likes to put it. ) :: Will Monif, Omaha, Nebraska 2008 :: Posted by: Will Monif :: 2/24/2008 6:08 AM :: 2595.514

same exact thing happened when he spoke in washington square in new york. :: Posted by: lol :: 2/22/2008 5:32 PM :: 2595.378

I was at the Dallas rally and there was no security – no purse checks and no metal detectors. I was appalled. I couldn’t believe it!! Anyone could have brought a gun into Reunion Arena. There were purse checks and metal detectors for Barry Manilow and he is a threat to no one! We need Sen. Obama as our leader and he needs to be kept safe! :: Posted by: Shirley :: 2/22/2008 6:05 PM :: 2595.388

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I Can Totally Understand the Charm of Collecting Obsolete Technology, But My Little Box of Slide Rules Takes Up a Whole Lot Less Space

An Apple IIc, still in the original packaging, recently sold on eBay for $2553:

“When this auction came along, I knew I had to have it,” [Dan] Budiac said in an interview. “The prospect of unboxing a mint, 20-year-old computer was simply too good to pass up.”

And he did unbox it, even though that undoubtedly sent the value to collectors plummeting:

“Ultimately, I decided that I didn’t buy it as a financial investment. I bought it so I could stay up until 4 o’clock in the morning playing Oregon Trail.”

I had an Apple IIc myself in the mid-1980s, and I gave it away eight or nine years ago, finally convincing myself I really wasn’t ever going to go back and play the old Infocom text adventure games again, which was about the only thing I could think of that I might want to do with it. Never seemed enough of a reason to take precious desk space away from my current equipment.

It was a great computer, though, very elegantly designed, and I got a lot of writing done on it, including the book and lyrics to All’s Fair, my second completed musical and my first real (if very small) production. The IIc was my main personal computer for four or five years, till I scraped together the cash for a Mac SE in ’89.

And Then There Were Two

I’ve been kind of bummed to see first Kucinich and then Edwards drop out of the race. There’s been a debate online among Billy Club members about whether voting for the candidate you like best is tantamount to wasting your vote and opting out of your social obligation to help decide between the two front runners; or whether voting for the lesser of two front-running evils is still supporting evil. (Being proper northern Californian progressives, of course we have to make out like this is about moral imperatives instead of about just trying to make the best guess you can with extremely limited and imperfect information.)

I’ve been siding with those who think that a primary election is a time to vote your conscience, because it’s the best way to try to get your views represented in the party’s platform, but that a general election is a time to get pragmatic and vote for the one of the two major candidates you dislike least even if there’s a third-party candidate who matches your views perfectly but doesn’t have a prayer of winning.

But with Edwards out of the race I’m out of candidates to vote my conscience with. Clinton and Obama both seem like decent enough people and okay choices and I’ll support whoever gets the nomination, but they both seem a little too much about feeling good about the idea of change and not quite enough about the unpleasant realities that will have to be faced in order to make that change come about. Of course, that’s a big part of why they’re the front runners and Edwards is out.

But hey, either one is so much more decent than any of the Republican candidates. Even the one the press calls a maverick because he’s gone so far out on a limb with his party as to take a stand against the use of Nazi torture techniques.