It’s almost 2013, so perhaps no one should be surprised that a reality show in the works would mimic the 1996 dystopian flick “Escape From L.A.” What’s chilling is that the show is not fiction and may in the end say more about the post-Sept. 11 surveillance state than anything else so far.
Two everyday Americans will be awarded $1 million if they can successfully sneak out of Los Angeles without being detected by digital video cameras, pilotless drones, GPS monitoring devices and facial recognition technology.
Blackberry phones can be geo-located even if the battery has been removed. That’s one of many realities about privacy in the 21st century, and it’s one of the many tools a team of professional human trackers will have at their disposal for catching the two men. The trackers will reportedly work from an operations center in downtown L.A. “constructed specifically for this project.”
The highly trained team of professional pursuers is led by host and master tracker, Kevin Reeve, whose company, onPoint Tactical LLC, offers a scouting, tracking and wilderness survival skills course, which has been taken by SEALs, Rangers, FBI, Secret Service, U.S. Marshals Service and other law enforcement agents.
My only question: If the two men actually succeed, would it undermine the hundreds of millions of dollars L.A. has spent securing the city since 9/11?
The Times has a new series of occasional reports on money laundering practices and the drug war.
Mexico seeks to fill drug war gap with focus on dirty money: The evolving anti-laundering campaign could change the tone of the Mexican government’s battle by striking at the heart of the cartels’ financial empire, analysts say.
International banks have aided Mexican drug gangs: Despite strict rules, some banks have failed to ‘know their customer’ or ask about the source of large amounts of cash, allowing billions in dirty money from Mexico to be laundered.
U.S. blacklisting seems to have little consequence in Mexico: Washington employs sanctions in an effort to deter money launderers and others who serve drug traffickers, but evidence shows that being put on the ‘kingpin designation list’ doesn’t cause hardship.
Opinion: Patt Morrison calls for a return of the draft, not just of the “citizen soldier” but the “citizen citizen”:
How about a return of the ”citizen citizen”? And rather than make the military the only destination of a “draft,” a one- or two-year national service requirement that gives young people other choices — working in classrooms, working with hospice patients, working in libraries to help people with computer skills, working on infrastructure building projects, all alongside with and learning from professionals — could go a long way toward renewing a sense of national spirit and national purpose in a country that has been cynically manipulated into pointlessly poisonous divisions.
This is a compelling idea (with, obviously, benefits and drawbacks). What do you think?
At Thanksgiving, it’s the simple things that matter. A fun read from the opinion section.
"What about a turducken?" my husband asked the other day, looking up from a fancy grocery’s website. "I’ve always liked the idea of stuffing myself with a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken."
"At $7.59 a pound?" I asked. "In this economy?"
Like many Americans, we aren’t feeling reflexively thankful this year, what with all the bad economic news. “We’re Dumpies,” I added. “Downwardly mobile urban professionals.”
"You mean d-muppies," my husducken said. "To be Dumpies, we’d have to be downwardly urban mobile professionals."
Feeling too pressured, Stephanie Bryson nearly quit high school. Then she found her passion at Cal State Long Beach, and the sky appears to be the limit.
As a 10th-grader in San Diego, Stephanie Bryson said, she was disenchanted with school, receiving poor grades and contemplating dropping out to become a professional surfer. But she eventually came to see the value of a higher education and entered Cal State Long Beach. In May she graduated summa cum laude and was class valedictorian.