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Audax Australia
This is the umbrella organisation running long distance cycling events in Australia Their website includes a calendar of events.

Bikejournal
A place where cyclist can keep track of their mileage and any number of other statistics, as well as an attached forum.

Bikeforums
A set of discussion forums covering almost every conceivable cycling related topic.

Cycling Adventurer
The Cycling Adventurer has tossed in the structured life of an urbanite to explore the world by bicycle. A well-written site detailing how he came to cycling, and what he learned along the way.

Crazy Guy on a Bike

Bicycle touring journals from all over the world, including a couple of my own.

Johns Cycles

This is my LBS on the Gold Coast. While they cater more to the racing market, their service, advice and workmanship is the best on the coast.

St Kilda Cycles

Importers of all manner of things hard to find in Australia, including the legendary Schmidt hub dynamo & E6 lights.

Blogs

Bicycle-eye
Wonderings and wanderings out and about in Portland, Oregon, US

The Journey
The journey begins in Perth, Western Australia.

Lance Notstrong
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Ms Mittens
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Iron Gambit
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Aussie Writer and Cycletourist
A blog chronicling the writing and cycling of a seaside baby boomer.

Up in Alaska
Jill's subarctic journal about ice, bears and distant dreams of the midnight sun.

The Kin Chronicles
Taking mediocrity to a new level of ordinary.

Allez
Riding and running with a vengeance.

London Cycling Diary
Pedalling across the capital since August 2005.

CouchPilot-2-BikePilot (Zin's cycling blog)
Living an adventurous life with Type-2-Diabetes.

The adventures of Crazy Biker Chick
... Including cycling, adventuring, cooking, knitting and ranting.

Redneck Espanol
The two wheeled Spanish redneck.

Treadly and me
"Work is something I do between riding my bicycle".

Crowlie
Womanist philosophy and theology. Cycling, climbing, art, single-motherhood and fire-twirling.

Adrian Fitch's random rambling.
A bit about cycling, a bit about genealogy, a bit about radio but mostly a lot about nothing at all.

Geo's big adventure
The life and times of Geo.

It's about the bike
Musings on the cycling life.

Spinopsys
Various cycling tidbits.

Industry Outsider
A blog about bikes and stuff.

Tweed Coast Treadly
An old man's bicycle riding diary.

A cyclist's life in Tenerife
(Canary Islands).

Bike to work to live to bike
It's never too late to get back on the bike

Stupid Hurts
Just the random scribblings of a guy with a bicycle

I'm not drunk enough for this
Really, I'm not.

BikeHacks
What can I say? Just read it.

Mozam's cycling adventures
A random collection of the things I like to do most, and mostly that is to ride my bikes, bicycles that is... My musings from competitive riding, long distance endurance to puttering around the neighborhood..

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Saturday, September 25, 2004

Editorial: How did we get to be so paranoid?

Today it's a question I have on my mind. It came with the emergence of a story this morning (http://edition.cnn.com/2004/US/09/22/plane.diverted.stevens/), that the man formerly known as Cat Stevens was denied entry into the US for supposedly being a "terrorist threat", but apparently nobody knows why. It comes just as the "report suspicious activity" television commercials are being aired in Australia (just before an election interestingly, although they may have been on earlier, I don't watch a lot of television). Even on the bikeforums website the other day, someone was reporting the removal of a bicycle lock-up facility from a public building in the US because it was supposedly a "terrorist threat".

First of all, it's interesting that Cat Stevens happens to be a muslim. I wonder how much that had to do with it, I suspect the link is more than coincidental. Don't forget, this is a guy who not only condemned the Sept 11 terrorist attacks publicly, but also gave his own money to help the families of the victims -- hardly the act of a terrorist in waiting. The fact that he was allowed to board the flight in London in the first place indicates that any "suspicion" was not so well known. After all, aren't the UK supposed to be part of the so-called "Coalition of the Willing"? There's more to this than has been released by the security authotiries, but I doubt we'll ever know the real reason for what has happened here.

Then of course, back in Australia, the government plays an election trump card by asking people to report "suspicious activity" just before an election. Tell me this isn't a cynical political stunt? It wouldn't be the first time (remember the "A new tax system" ads back in 1998?). Has the world environment really changed all that much in the last couple of months to warrant a sudden re-airing of these commercials (at tax-payers' expense no less). To steal a quote from Michael Leunig: "Can I ring up and report that the world has lost it's marbles?"

What's really scary is this: the government would have obviously done their market research, just as any other political party with any resources would. They would know the impact this would have on the electorate (don't think they would be aired if they would jeapardise the government's election chances). They clearly feel that these commercials can worry voters enough to make them vote for the coalition, without questioning the timing of this. Not even the opposition seem moved to do that -- are they afraid of a voter backlash here?

So while everyone is running scared, and numerous people will be phoning the hotline to dob in their neighbour or whomever (and like that's going to do anything to stop organised and trained terrorists), nobody is questioning the issue on a fundamental level. I just want one question answered: Does being so paraniod about the rest of the world really serve a purpose? Does excluding people on the basis of their religion or racial appearance really do anything to prevent terrorism? Somehow, I suspect that all it really achieves is to create unnecessary hassles for innocent people trying to go about their business. Seems to me that if the terrorist organisations are at all skilled, they will be sitting back watching this, and simply find another decoy to smuggle into the country -- assuming they need to be there at all (after all, there are plenty of targets outside Australia or the US).

Still, if it wins election support for Bush or Howard, that's all that really matters, isn't it?

2 Comments:

Blogger jens said...

Not only does all this forced on paranoia make life more difficult for people of certain religions and of certain color. But also it makes the gap between parts of the world bigger, walls higher and new enemies are created.
its sad and its scary and its so uneccesary.

and that cat stevens thing is just so absurd.

best regards /jens (ijens.com)

9:52 pm  
Blogger Baltazar said...

Paranoia is a preditory device,being wrong constites
suprise---

9:43 pm  

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