Thursday, January 6, 2011

TSA Humor

Laughing at them may be the best thing we can do. Here's blogger Gary Gaddy's parody of TSA public relations.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Who watches the watchers?

This came out just before the holidays, but there's actually some good investigative reporting that happened, so it's worth looking over if you haven't already. The TSA lied (shocking, I know) by stating that there were several agencies checking into the safety of the scanners. Well, reporters have contacted all of the named agencies and found that they are not ensuring the safety of the scanners.
"The safety of our scanning systems are routinely and thoroughly tested by the manufacturer, FDA, the U.S. Army, the Health Physics Society, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and others," the [TSA] spokesman said.
... FDA says it doesn't do routine inspections of any nonmedical X-ray unit...
...Two-person teams from the Army unit this year performed surveys of scanners at only three airports — in Boston, Los Angeles and Cincinnati, [an Army Health Command physicist] said...
"[Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory's] role was to measure radiation coming off the body scanners to verify that it fell within [accepted] standards. We were testing equipment and in no way determined its safety to humans," said Helen Worth, the lab's head of public affairs. "Many news articles have said we declared the equipment to be safe, but that was not what we were tasked to do."

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Religious freedom

There are some things that used to be held sacred in this country - laid out most poignantly in the Bill of Rights. It is not a coincidence that free speech and freedom of religion are both in the First Amendment. How many parts of the Constitution can the TSA breach at once? Here's another one to add to the list: Freedom to cover up for religious purposes.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Mica is worse than I thought

Rep John Mica, who picked up on the public backlash over the TSA scan 'n grope policies by recommending that airports "opt out" of security, is (not surprisingly) a typical politician. I opposed his suggestion, since it is only substituting fascism for socialism. The "opting out" means that airports can hire a TSA-approved contractor that follows TSA guidelines (including the scans and gropes). Just what we need - more efficient violations of our rights!

Well, it turns out that Mica's interests are most likely with the special interests:
Covenant, based in Mica's home district in northeastern coastal Florida, has airport screening contracts in Sioux Falls, S.D., Tupelo, Miss., and seven small airports in northern and eastern Montana. Its deal at San Francisco International is by far its largest. Covenant employs nearly 1,100 people in the Bay Area, who make up nearly all of its 1,150 workers. The last four-year contract, from 2006 to 2010, totaled $314 million.
Don't forget - this is the same person who drafted the legislation that created both the TSA and the airport "opt out" rules. We won't be safe until this agency is disbanded and airports/airlines are given full discretion over their security.