anyone that refuses a pat-down is free to leave. Our rights haven't been eroded quite that far yet.
You are incorrect. The law says once you enter the security screening area you may not leave without completing the security screening process. Google around there is a bunch of blogs and articles about people being slapped with fines and what I consider to be unreasonable periods of detention if they refuse to "complete the security screening process" as they are ordered to. They are certainly not free to leave.
"Once a person submits to the screening process, they can not just decide to leave that process," says Sari Koshetz, regional TSA spokesperson, based in Miami. - http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2010-11-20/business/sfl-airport-scans-pat-downs-refual-20101121_1_tsa-airport-checkpoint-sari-koshetz
There are a lot of examples the above link is just the first one Google ponied up.
If your browser has trouble running it, here's a screencast.
Link to Original Source
Link to Original Source
I was car shopping last year and I wanted to test drive a Ford Fusion hybrid. Besides the speedometer, all other gauges on the dash are LCD. The salesman was trying to show me some of the features and kept getting lost in the menu system and at one point the dash became completely unresponsive. The salesman looked at me kind of sheepishly and then said occasionally when this happens you just have to turn the car off and let it sit for 10 seconds then turn it back on. At that point I had pretty much made up my mind to NOT buy this car but I kind of felt obligated at that point to finish the test drive so after the "reboot" it worked like he expected it to so he showed me all these neato features. In the car's defense there are some pretty cool display options on that vehicle when it is working correctly. Then he let me get behind the wheel for the driving portion. I went to put the car into reverse to back out of the stall it was in and there was a good sized stainless steel plaque at the base of the shifter on the center console that said "Powered by Microsoft" I just sort of sat there for a second staring at it, and the salesguy asked me if everything was OK. I then just put the car back into park and thanked him for his time and left...true story.
All because people are scared of offending muslims.
"But sir, no one worries about upsetting a droid"
"That's because droids don't pull peoples arms out of their sockets when they lose, wookies are known to do that."
I pretty much agree with every point you make here except this "Then it bought Suse, and screwed that up too." I don't understand why so many people repeat this. If I recall correctly SuSE was failing as a commercial Linux company when Novell acquired them. They were on their way to Mandrake-ville. Where I work we have hundreds of SLES servers in production today and they are rock solid. Fast, reliable, super easy to manage. I would put my SLES datacenters up against a Red Hat shop any day of the week. And Novell licensing is so much cheaper than Red Hat we basically have a site license for the cost it would take to license half our servers for support to Red Hat. Not to mention the fact that Red Hat basically abandoned the Desktop a while ago and SLED is a great windows replacement for a significant portion of our end users who don't require the few remaining windows client-servers apps we have left.
The stupid MS agreement and not ending support for these crap legacy apps is what is killing them. If you look at the numbers, the Linux division of Novell is profitable. The problem is the boat-anchor of closed source legacy BS they are still supporting is dragging down the whole company. Instead Novell has too many old timer bean counters at the helm who don't understand that the word Free does not mean free.
How do I protect myself from a skimmer inside a gas pump?
I only use gas cards to buy gas at the pump and I pay the balance in full each month. These aren't cards with Visa logos on them or whatever they are just credit cards usable only at whatever station honors them. I have 3 of them that cover pretty much every major brand gas station in the US...as they are pretty much all merging nowadays anyway. I once lost my wallet and before I canceled my Union76/Conoco/Phillips/whatever card someone had already filled up like 2 cars and bought a bunch of stuff at the shop and rob at the gas station. A few weeks later when I got the statement I made one phone call and disputed the charges and they were removed from my balance immediately. Took all of ~5 mins, zero hassle.