On Second Thought . . .

Published: Monday, June 10 2013 10:30 a.m. MDT

Customers walk into a Verizon Wireless store in Dallas.

LM Otero, AP

The Transportation Security Administration made a compromise of sorts last week. It won’t allow people to carry pocketknives aboard planes, but it also won’t stop frisking 100-year-old women.

Also, kids will still have to give up the plastic bats they got while at a baseball game on vacation. All it takes is one toddler who learned to play ball at a terrorist camp in Pakistan.

Of course, most other people on a plane with a toddler wish he would be part of a sleeper cell, at least for the duration of the flight.

So now it turns out that guy wandering through television commercials with a Verizon phone repeating, “Can you hear me now?” was really a government agent.

The National Security Agency has records of every Verizon call. That’s sort of creepy. How can you tell the spies from the regular folks that are a part of the network following you around?

Remember the good old days when spies actually gathered intelligence on people outside the nation’s borders? Now it appears the Chinese who are spying on us probably knew we were spying on us before we did.

As the NSA scandal unfolds, it’s apparent that Americans will have to rewrite some of their historic and cultural references. Here are some suggested updates:

• “Ask not what your country can do for you; we won’t give back your phone records.”

• “Speak softly and carry a big case that won’t let you accidentally pocket dial Pakistan.”

• “Some men see things as they are and say why; I dream things that never were and say, ‘I hope Washington can’t wiretap my thoughts!’ ”

• “We have nothing to fear but fear itself. But, just to be safe, we’ll send a letter rather than call.”

• “From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, if you’re visiting these countries, do not place a call to me.”

The administration said it is necessary to spy on Americans in order to protect national security. That’s different from how the Soviets used to operate because we get to vote now and then; also, we have the Super Bowl.

Jay Evensen is associate editor of the Deseret News editorial page. E-mail him at even@desnews.com. For more content, visit his web site, www.jayevensen.com. Follow him on Twitter @jayevensen

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