Saturday, August 20, 2011

Time to move to New Zealand

My cousin married a Kiwi and she is a nice woman, I've heard it's beautiful, and they treat airline passengers like, well, paying customers with someplace to go.

Security theater is expensive!

Because many airports were "built at a time when security was much less of a concern," many airports have been getting expensive renovations. Portland's airport just got a $75 million addition. Colorado Springs is starting a $4.7 million renovation, including:
The airport also has plans to expand its security area to make room for larger required security equipment, such as full body scanners.
Don't you just feel warm and fuzzy that your paycheck goes to pay for a bunch of politically-connected contractors to build what should be unnecessary additions? Me too.

Sexual assault courtesy of TSA

And the BBC picks up the story.

H/T for video: Bill Fisher

Friday, August 19, 2011


Jaunted covers the new cartoon-image software upgrade news with a nice, sarcastic bite:
But why dwell on the past, when we could be focusing on the positives? Some day, right here in America, people will be able to walk through airports without having to suffer intrusive and potentially humiliating security checks. Sure that seems like a dream today, because who could possibly imagine a country where average citizens aren't searched like criminals just because they want to get on an airplane? But some day it just might happen.

Akers: 'Passengers aren't free...'

Another excellent commentary from the brave Becky Akers:

Terms so antithetical one never expects to encounter them in the same article -- "common sense," "intelligence" and "Transportation Security Administration (TSA)" – have been popping up together in the corporate media the last few weeks. Its propagandists praise the TSA’s chief pervert, John Pistole, for "introduc[ing] just the slightest bit of intelligence and flexibility into his agency's system."

Several scams at the TSA inspired this allegation.... Read the rest.

Wolanyk won't stand down to the TSA

Individual rights activist (and hero), Sam Wolanyk, was arrested for wearing his skivvies to the airport. What is telling is that since he refused the scanner, he should have gotten a pat-down by the TSA. According to the TSA's own policies, there are no minimum standards for dress at a checkpoint. But the TSA at SAN refused to give him a pat-down. Instead, they made him miss his flight and had him arrested. It is pretty clear because the TSA agents didn't like dealing with a non-submissive passenger.

Why did the TSA treat Mommy like a criminal?

A brave young girl recorded her mom's pat-down:

H/T Bill Fisher

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Latest 6-year-old pat-down

H/T Bill Fisher

Sometimes, sorta, kinda, trusted traveler

In a write-up about the Trusted Traveler trial, CBS news reports:
However, the "pre-clearance" will not be always mean a quick pass through the checkpoints. To keep potential terrorists from exploiting the expedited screening as a loophole, sometimes the pre-screened passengers will still go through a full check.

Lesson not learned

A journalist, Doni Luckutt, writes of a recent invasive experience with the TSA:
Even with these new and "unpredictable" procedures, I assume none of them would include actions like what I experienced: Virtual crotch-grabs, comments about physical features, and leaning forward so the security agent could "look down" a tank top. By the time we were finished (based on my personal experience, it was an exceptionally long pat-down), I was partially clothed and felt as if I was publicly fondled as men in other lines gawked in amazement. Of course I flashed them the evil-eye I wanted to give my "handler," but for fear of changing a fourth flight in two days and extending my trip home, I didn't dare. Upon conclusion, I was surprised the agent wanted to have a conversation about it — a move that, at that point, felt like pillow talk. I walked away feeling like I was in one of those 1970s movies — with scenes that end with a cigarette and intense cuddling.
But remains convinced that things like the software upgrade on scanners show that we still have our freedom.

When you get molested and can't do anything about it, you don't have your freedom. When the alternative is to be viewed naked (whether by a person or a machine, I care not which), you don't have your freedom. The entire concept of federalized aviation security needs to be thrown in the dumpster. Sadly, nothing will change until people stop believing in the fairy tale of benevolent government.

Feeling safe

In yet another article about the cartoon-image scanners, there is this quote from one of the submissive masses:
"It makes me feel a lot better now that it's just a generic outline," said Whitney Bryant, a passenger. "I don't feel like someone is invading my privacy."
Of course, this is what the TSA is all about. As long as you feel safe and feel like your privacy is not violated, then all is well. It's not just security theater, it's a security blanket over the eyes. It's keeping you from noticing that you have no clothes. And it's keeping you from understanding the Constitution and natural rights.

In the meantime, I'm not doing enough to publicize the cartoon-image-hoax. My sister emailed me because she was shocked that the TSA had a fake image of what the scanner sees on its front page. I told her this is the new software upgrade, to which she responded: "really?  it looks like a total joke.  interesting."

The joke is on the American public, I guess.

UPDATE: Another of the masses speaks out (meekly):
"They're not seeing my body parts. They're seeing a stick figure that's a lot better. I'm more conformable with the stick figure," McGee said.
UPDATE #2: Here's a howler from an airport rep at BWI:
"Most customers understand why TSA is doing what they're doing, but it does bother people," said Paul Wiedefeld, the airport's executive director. "This gets at that core issue."
This woman clearly doesn't understand what the "core issue" is.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Airport video of Andrea Abbott's arrest

I was unable to get this video to play when it first came out and I thought it was just a newscast covering Andrea Abbott's arrest last month. It is amazing to watch in retrospect after seeing commenters across the blogosphere say how this woman deserved it for losing her cool. But, she looks very calm during the entire video and it is unclear why she was even arrested after it was all over.

Monday, August 15, 2011

As long as pilots are taken care of, I guess all is well

I am not hopeful that the pilots will continue to work towards freeing the skies now that they have Known Crewmember. At least, the pilots' union prefers solutions that come "when government, industry and labor work cooperatively." Uh... what has been going on for the last decade? What about the passengers that don't have a powerful union to work cooperatively with the government and industry?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Decent reporting on SPOT (aka the Israeli method)

This reporter interviews a number of passengers, and also has some helpful info. For example, she points out that people get to the airport 3 hours early in Israel so they don't miss their flight. Passenger see this as a gateway for racial profiling - a concern that I suspect is fairly widespread in the US, regardless of whether it turns out that way (and I think that there can be no doubt that at least some TSA agents are bigoted). The author also gives us the price-tag for the SPOT training: $600 per agent.

Don't forget that in this country we supposedly have a right to remain silent. Try exercising that right with a TSA agent and see if you make your flight!

Just to refresh your memory...

National Review has compiled a list of "Ten TSA Outrages." (In case you've forgotten some of these.)