There Will Be Blood

If this is true, there will be serious rioting:

Before I begin, let me just state that TSA has yet to confirm any of this on its website, so the details aren’t entirely clear at the moment. That said, there are several indications that orders have been issued to cease the use of electronics during international flights. Yes, that means no laptops, no iPods, no Kindles, no CD players, no portable DVD players, no Nintendo DSes — nothing that requires any sort of power on these flights. If this is true, it’s absolutely awful news.

Obviously, this is all in reaction to the Nigerian man who attempted to bring down a plane coming into the U.S. And the TSA is going to do whatever it thinks is necessary to prevent further attacks of a similar nature. But the simple fact is that if the TSA was really this seriously worried about electronic devices, they could have banned them anytime since the attacks on September 11, 2001. Instead, they’re doing it more than 8 years later after a man apparently lit some sort of mixture of powder and liquid in his lap. How that relates to electronics, I’m not sure. This just reeks of a “well, we have to do something” move.

Some nut blows up his nuts with an explosive sewn into his knickers, and the TSA might ban electronics devices. I’m kind of hoping it happens, so the public can see how how hysterical we as a nation have become.






143 replies
  1. 1
    Bruuuuce says:

    I’m glad I don’t fly for a living, or even, unless utterly without choice, for pleasure. Security Theatre is about to get big ratings boosts, and there will be no changing the channel.

    At least I still don’t have to show a passport when driving between states.

    Yet. :-(

  2. 2
    GregB says:

    I believe that the new regulations will only permit geldings on international flights.

    -G

  3. 3
    MattF says:

    It’s what Bruce Schneier calls ‘security theater’. Trouble is that we’ve been done long ago with acts 1,2, and 3– it’s up to about act 367 now– and there’s no evidence that anyone’s clapping.

  4. 4
    NobodySpecial says:

    So, I take it Obama never authorized issuing brains to TSA?

  5. 5
    eastriver says:

    Shit! Does this include digital cameras?

    How will I take pictures of my pets???

    Or view pictures of other people’s pets???

    How?

    (sobbing)

  6. 6
    beltane says:

    If everyone were made to fly nude, bound and handcuffed there would be no more security breaches.

  7. 7
    Martin says:

    Since the guy was sitting in seat 19A, it seems all we need to do is eliminate seat 19A from all planes and this could never happen again.

  8. 8
    Ash says:

    I’m pretty sure that that whole ban is only supposed to be for the last hour of the flight. Still stupid, but not AS bad.

    I’ve never really had a problem with security measures at airports/in planes. That could just be because I always down some benadryl and just sleep the whole time anyway….

  9. 9
    john b says:

    from this title i thought this was going to be about the rumors (likely fact) that republicans are going to run on a platform of repealing the health care reform in 2010/12.

    but yeah i can’t see this electronics ban going through. it would KILL international travel to and from the USA with no real obvious security gains. especially when someone could just turn on their electronic terrorist device before they ever get onto the plane.

  10. 10
    CalD says:

    @Martin:

    Since the guy was sitting in seat 19A, it seems all we need to do is eliminate seat 19A from all planes and this could never happen again.

    Brilliant!

  11. 11
    beltane says:

    @john b: Plus, the terrorists all have teeth. Teeth can be a lethal weapon in the mouths of our enemies. Humans were allegedly very good at killing each other in the days before ipods.

  12. 12
    srv says:

    serious rioting:

    Right.

    If we can bomb US citizens because of their emails, I’m sure this new atrocity will result in big protests at the airport.

  13. 13
    Desert Rat says:

    High Speed Passenger Rail just keeps looking better and better, doesn’t it.

  14. 14
    bystander says:

    Only one carry on? No electronics for the first hour of flight? I wish that, just once, some terrorist would try something that you can only foil by upgrading the passengers to first glass and giving them free drinks. Bruce Schneier

  15. 15
    Corner Stone says:

    @beltane:

    If everyone were made to fly nude, bound and handcuffed there would be no more security breaches.

    The movie The Fifth Element really was a harbinger of what’s to come.
    Mmmmm…Milla….

  16. 16
  17. 17
    Corner Stone says:

    @srv:

    If we can bomb US citizens because of their emails, I’m sure this new atrocity will result in big protests at the airport.

    You’re discounting the fact that this will inconvenience avg Joe Business Traveler.
    Fuck the DFH contingent, when business is inconvenienced all Hell will soon break loose.

  18. 18
    Corner Stone says:

    @john b:

    electronic terrorist device before they ever get onto the plane.

    That sounds like one hell of a video game for the PS3 or Xbox.
    I’m sure it exists but I just am unaware of it.

  19. 19
    asdf says:

    There should be one airline for the devil-may-care passenger. No security checks, no nothing. Just show up and get on the plane.

    Smoking and drinking would be mandatory and the bouncer would just throw you out the window if you farked up.

  20. 20
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @srv:

    Right.
    __
    If we can bomb US citizens because of their emails, I’m sure this new atrocity will result in big protests at the airport.

    I think you could make a fine argument that people in this country would more readily be up in arms because they couldn’t use their iPod or laptop while flying, as opposed to Big Brother peeking into their e-mails every now and then.

    @Corner Stone:

    You’re discounting the fact that this will inconvenience avg Joe Business Traveler.

    Bingo.

  21. 21
    aimai says:

    Christ we have to go to florida to see the elder in laws in a month–can I tell you how much I’m not looking forward to this shit? We used to travel with little dvds for the kids, or taped books. They can switch to books but this goes on top of the restrictions on things like my kids asthma inhaler–no restriction but the fucking incompetents at the elaborate screening procedure station always make a huge play out of pulling that stuff out and then losing it. Security theater? its bombing.

    aimai

  22. 22
    licensed to kill time says:

    Most excellent title, John.

  23. 23
    BubbaDave says:

    Again, I find myself pointing to the genius of Wondermark:
    http://wondermark.com/220/

  24. 24
    burnspbesq says:

    @aimai:

    Simple solution to all of the problems you describe in your comment.

    It’s called Amtrak.

  25. 25
    John Cole says:

    @Ash: So it is ok to blow up the plane with your laptop at the beginning or in the middle of the flight, but not during the last hour?

    Oh, AND NO ONE TRIED TO BLOW UP A PLANE WITH A LAPTOP.

  26. 26
    john b says:

    having moved to dayton, oh from durham, nc this fall, i can’t take a train. there are literally no reasonable ways to take a train from ohio to NC.

  27. 27
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @John Cole:

    Oh, AND NO ONE TRIED TO BLOW UP A PLANE WITH A LAPTOP.

    yet.

    /Sheeple

  28. 28
    Punchy says:

    That said, there are several indications that orders have been issued to cease the use of electronics during international flights

    This will soon become domestic flights as well. After all, peeps will not accept the different “safety” rules for different destinations. Only a matter of days before this becomes a domestic rule.

  29. 29
    Martin says:

    @asdf:

    There are: charters. The rules only apply to commercial flights. Book a seat on a charter, bring a stogie and a bottle of whatever, your dog, your ipod, and have a grand time.

  30. 30
  31. 31
    smiley says:

    My watch runs on a battery. Does this mean I’ll have to leave behind?

  32. 32
    Corner Stone says:

    @asdf: I want to fly that airline. Not because I don’t care about safety but I’m 100% interested in seeing who the stewardesses would be.
    I’m thinking Vince McMahon may be sniffing around these edges.

  33. 33
    john b says:

    @smiley:
    you just have to check it.

  34. 34
    mellowjohn says:

    shoe bomber = we take off our shoes before boarding
    other clowns mixing liquids = we turn in all bottles > 3 oz.
    umar w/ a bomb in his jockey shorts = ??????

  35. 35
    NobodySpecial says:

    I can just see it now.

    Dick Cheney will never fly again. After all, he has an electronic device hidden in his body.

    Or will they make him shut it off that last hour?

  36. 36
    eemom says:

    but if everyone stops taking planes and starts taking trains, so too will the terr’ists, eh? And they’ll get to start on a clean slate — no security, no metal detectors, no prohibited items, no nuthin. What’s really needed is a return to the horse and buggy.

  37. 37
    licensed to kill time says:

    I used to take a lot of long flights to Asia and my method was to grab a whole row in the back, load up on blankets and pillows, down a few double Johnnie Walkers and a couple Vals and sleep all the way there.

    Looks like that will be the new method from here on out as well. Only maybe the airline will supply the sleeping substances now as a courtesy to their passengers. Pass ’em out instead of peanuts.

  38. 38
    Malron says:

    LOL@the author complaining that its a bad idea because it happened 8 years after 9/11.

    I always thought it strange that they allow electronic devices during flight but not during takeoff or landing. It seems to me that if they still feel these devices can interfere with the landing gear they would have forbidden them whether 9/11 happened or not.

    But I gotta admit, having a cd player stocked with Sade tunes did help me get through my jitters about being on a plane.

  39. 39
    MikeJ says:

    Anybody know what it costs to print 10,000 “F the TSA” stickers to hand out at airports?

  40. 40
    Mike P says:

    BNO is now reporting another incident with another Nigerian man at the Detroit airport. WTF?

  41. 41
    You Don't Say says:

    NYT reporting another incident on another Amsterdam-Detroit flight.

  42. 42
    Joe Lisboa says:

    Brace yourselves, everyone. Local Detroit TV is reporting here that another Nigerian national was taken into custody after “disrupting the flight.” Let the pants-wetting commence.

  43. 43
    Ash says:

    It’s the exact same flight.

    No real details though.

  44. 44
    licensed to kill time says:

    They’re saying some Nigerian guy has locked himself in the bathroom…of the airplane?

  45. 45
    Ash says:

    @licensed to kill time: He was in the bathroom for an hour then apparently got belligerent when the crew tried to question him about it.

  46. 46
    Martin says:

    @licensed to kill time:

    I vote for NO2 in the emergency oxygen masks. Put a little switch on the side to select ‘Asleep’ or ‘Alive’.

  47. 47
    Leelee for Obama says:

    Flight 253 called ahead for emergency security on landing because of a verbally disruptive passenger. Of course, Oh Noes commenced at teh CNN and we now know, the passenger was up and down several times, went to the head at the wrong time and took too long, and when confronted, got verbally disruptive. Here we go, Kittens! This will be an everyday occurrence soon.

    I would like to reference the Onion, to the guy with the flaming crotch: Thanks a lot, asshole!

  48. 48
    Martin says:

    @licensed to kill time:

    Probably got sick of everyone on the plane whispering about him as all african guys are terrorist, as everyone knows.

  49. 49
    Jay in Oregon says:

    @NobodySpecial:

    I didn’t think he flew commercial airlines; I always assumed that he used the portal to the Dreamlands that he keeps in his man-sized safe.

  50. 50
    licensed to kill time says:

    @Martin:

    I vote for NO2 in the emergency oxygen masks. Put a little switch on the side to select ‘Asleep’ or ‘Alive’.

    Make it N2O and the airplanes… will… be…laughing….

  51. 51
    MattR says:

    @Martin: heh. I thought he was trying to find a place he was could use his iPod.

  52. 52
    bago says:

    @NobodySpecial: Dick Cheney would know irrational fear. An argument could be made that it led him to kill other people. Kidnap and torture them too. Today we all know how well that plan worked.

  53. 53
    MikeJ says:

    I always tell people who are going to the US not to drink there water there, but oh no, they ignore me, wind up with the squirts on the plane over, which makes you a terrorist.

    Pepto Bismol: The Terror Fighter!

  54. 54
    Rosali says:

    Pretty soon they’re going to start banning all bathroom trips.

  55. 55
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @Rosali: Well, then, surely, the terrorists will have won!

  56. 56
    Tomlinson says:

    Oh, AND NO ONE TRIED TO BLOW UP A PLANE WITH A LAPTOP.

    In all seriousness, a laptop battery with the current limiter electronics removed would work perfectly but would make one hell of a bang if shorted out. There is a farkload of energy in those things.

    Of all the restrictions so far discussed, this one makes the most sense. Ban the batteries, provide fused power supplies at every seat.

  57. 57
    beltane says:

    @Rosali: All airline passengers will henceforth be equipped with diapers.

  58. 58
    Will C says:

    I can confirm extra long lines at international airports as I am sitting in Terminal 3 in Cancun. I had waited almost an hour and was only halfway before I engaged in some friendly capitalism and paid a security guy $50 to take me to the front. There has been no announcement about no electronics though and I am flying Delta/Northwest.

  59. 59
    Ash says:

    @Will C: No one coming from Cancun could be sober enough to blow anything up.

  60. 60
    licensed to kill time says:

    I would be hatin’ life right about now if I was Nigerian and flying anywhere.

  61. 61
    Rosali says:

    Wait til the kids start getting unruly because they can’t watch DVDs or play computer games. We will all become like Ivana Trump.

  62. 62
    eastriver says:

    Christ, if there’s this kind of shit-flippery over some guy lighting his biscuits on fire, can you imagine the cluster-fuckery that will erupt when some gets killed? Or a bunch of people get killed?

    The image is getting dark, darker…

  63. 63
    Punchy says:

    They’re saying some Nigerian guy has locked himself in the bathroom…of the airplane?

    Wait….now you’re not allowed to lock the door to the bathroom? Must you shit with the door open nowadays?

    Huh?

  64. 64
    Existenz says:

    There will be blood…and piss and shit as people crap their pants in their seats, unable to get up and use the bathroom because of the new restrictions.

    What about people who have to pee every 30 minutes because of health conditions? If these rules went into effect, I would be on the phone with my Congressman every day until they were changed.

    I half expect the TSA to require all passengers to wear adult diapers, as use of the bathrooms will be completely banned on all flights going forward.

  65. 65
    Existenz says:

    I think the TSA should allow airlines to have two flight options: SafeCertified and Regular.

    The SafeCertified Flights would ban electronic devices, you couldn’t get up to use the bathroom, all passengers would be patted down by security before boarding the flight.

    Regular flights would be just like they are now. Laptops, iPods, bathrooms available, etc.

    Let the customers decide how much risk they are willing to take, and how much comfort they will sacrifice because of fear.

  66. 66
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @licensed to kill time:

    I would be hatin’ life right about now if I was Nigerian and flying anywhere.

    Fixed.

  67. 67
    Shell says:

    They’re saying some Nigerian guy has locked himself in the bathroom…of the airplane?

    Jesus, starting to sound more like an episode of “Monk.”

  68. 68
    harlana peppper says:

    @eastriver: see Iraq/Afghanistan

  69. 69
    Martin says:

    @Tomlinson:

    The chemical reaction is too slow. Smoke and some fire it’ll make, but not enough to take down a plane. There’s lots of easier ways to make smoke and fire on a plane.

    If you want to take down a plane, you either need to do something to directly impact the pilots (hard) or punch a non-trivial hole in the plane disabling it (also hard). You really need a high-speed explosive and a proper way of directing the blast. They’re afraid of something like this being hidden inside of something, or being semi-assembled on the plane, having the device pass through xray with no electronics connected, but hiding the electronics inside an existing device like an iPod.

    The rules are stupid, because there’s nothing stopping you from assembling the device in the airport bathroom, past security but before the plane, and putting it on a timer.

  70. 70
    Keith G says:

    @Tomlinson:

    Of all the restrictions so far discussed, this one makes the most sense. Ban the batteries, provide fused power supplies at every seat.

    For an extra $25.00 charge, of course.

  71. 71
    Existenz says:

    If somebody can get on a plane with an incendiary device or explosive device strapped to their leg, none of these in-flight restrictions would do a damn thing. By then you just have to hope that A.) the bomb doesn’t work or B.) another passenger is alert enough to stop the bomber.

    Banning iPods and laptops and bathroom visits wouldn’t do jack to stop such a scenario. It’s all about better screening before people get on the plane.

    Why don’t we start doing pat-downs at airports? I get patted down at rock concerts all the time, never once at an airport (well, except for Tel Aviv).

  72. 72
    J. says:

    I think Obama should make all TSA officials ride on a flight more than one hour long with nothing but kids under 12 who are not allowed to get up or use electronics and see if they still think this is a great idea.

  73. 73
    licensed to kill time says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    True. Then there’s the “any black guy could be Nigerian” aspect….

  74. 74
    Corner Stone says:

    @Will C:

    as I am sitting in Terminal 3 in Cancun.

    No one here is going to feel sorry for you.

  75. 75
    J. says:

    @John Cole, if what you wrote/quoted is true then the terrorists will have won. Seems like they have already. :-(

  76. 76
    Leelee for Obama says:

    half expect the TSA to require all passengers to wear adult diapers, as use of the bathrooms will be completely banned on all flights going forward.

    Can’t resist. What if the flights are going backward. Sorry, I’ll go now.

  77. 77
    mcd410x says:

    @Martin: Top notch.

  78. 78
    demkat620 says:

    Okay, is CNN re running their coverage from the other day or is this another freakout?

  79. 79
    Steeplejack says:

    @eemom:

    What’s really needed is a return to the horse and buggy.

    I don’t like the way that horse is lookin’. Just sayin’.

  80. 80
    Ruemara says:

    This would kill travel for fun. Thusly, no one will do it. The whole security thing has been dumbassed since the beginning. I had to dump a quart of water when fricking litmus paper would have confirmed it’s completely inert. People get their flipflps scanned, like they have an exploding pedicure. Absolute moron theatre. Maybe we need this to come to a head so that we can have honest, adult debate and establishment of sensible security precautions. Let’s not even bring up that this would be terrorist and castrato didn’t get on in the contiguous US. That’s too darn sensible.

  81. 81
    Leelee for Obama says:

    You know, my daughter said, after 911 that they should have a sleeping gas default in case of in flight attempts to take over a plane, a la Goldfinger. Perhaps that’s the ticket, only people willing to be put to sleep for their flight will be allowed to fly? Diapers, of course, will be necessary for long flights.

    Thoughts?

  82. 82
    demimondian says:

    @Martin: Umm…no. First, yes, there are ways to trigger rapid release of a great deal of energy from a fully charged laptop battery. Whether that would be enough to bring a plane down in and of itself seems a hard question to me, although I doubt it. However, it would certainly be enough to start a significant fire inside the cabin, at least with the help of Mr. Smirnoff or his friends, available for a nominal charge of five dollars from the flight attendant present there for your safety.

    And cabin fires are things that strike fear in the hearts of every airline security person. They’re nasty.

  83. 83
    Ash says:

    @Ruemara:

    This would kill travel for fun. Thusly, no one will do it.

    Wait, are you saying people fly for fun? Generally, you go through all the pains of flying simply to get to where the fun will be had.

    Also, just listening to Ed Henry babble on and on about nothing just infuriates me. For no reason. I just hate his stupid face.

  84. 84
    mcd410x says:

    Been sitting here trying to come up with something serious to say about this, and I just can’t. It’s just all too stoopid.

  85. 85
    BR says:

    Nate Silver did the math:

    http://www.fivethirtyeight.com.....error.html

    There were a total of 674 passengers, not counting crew or the terrorists themselves, on the flights on which these incidents occurred. By contrast, there have been 7,015,630,000 passenger enplanements over the past decade. Therefore, the odds of being on given departure which is the subject of a terrorist incident have been 1 in 10,408,947 over the past decade. By contrast, the odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are about 1 in 500,000. This means that you could board 20 flights per year and still be less likely to be the subject of an attempted terrorist attack than to be struck by lightning.

  86. 86
    Martin says:

    Here’s video of the device I linked to. It’s a bit bigger than a coke can, but not much. More noticeably, it’s being assembled in a field. A plastic body, two pieces of copper, powdered explosive, and a detonator. Puts a good sized hole in inch steel at 25 yards. This is pretty low-tech stuff.

    I can’t imagine it would be too hard to get any of that past security with some creativity, short of the chemical sniffers.

  87. 87
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    They’re saying some Nigerian guy has locked himself in the bathroom…of the airplane?

    All the more urgent that Jane and her divisions of true progressives Team America with the Tea Baggers and jerk a knot in the ass of our Muslim Kenyan presnit corporatist.

    Thank gawd, they will protect us.

  88. 88
    calipgyian says:

    @Leelee for Obama:

    f course, Oh Noes commenced at teh CNN and we now know, the passenger was up and down several times, went to the head at the wrong time and took too long, and when confronted, got verbally disruptive. Here we go, Kittens! This will be an everyday occurrence soon.

    The obvious solution isn’t to ban electronics on planes, its to ban bathrooms on planes.

    Let everyone shit right in their seats.

  89. 89
    tisalaska says:

    Why dont they just insist we strip and board in white hospital gowns and get it over…geez

  90. 90
    NobodySpecial says:

    If I was a terrorist, I would fly on the plane all nice and inconspicuous, and rent a room at the local hooker heaven. Then I’d take a trip to the nearest grocery store and/or Home Depot, and have plenty of stuff with which to kill innocent civilians. So what’s TSA gonna do about that?

  91. 91
    Martin says:

    @demimondian: I’ve seen laptop batteries intentionally discharged. It’s an explosion only in the most minor sense. There’s very little force behind them and they are relatively slow to get going. Fire and smoke, sure, but less than setting some rubber on fire using a match and a bit of accelerant (which you can still get on the plane just fine).

    I agree that cabin fires are a problem, but discharging a laptop battery is a relatively complicated way of making one. Why ban the complicated method when the simple/easy/reliable one is still present? That’s my point.

  92. 92
    Leelee for Obama says:

    Looks like this was a “non-serious” incident. That’s an interesting title, hmm? No device found; we can only conjecture where they might have looked, right? I blame C-Span for my even knowing about this. Most of this weekend’s BookTV is re-runs, so CNN is on my idiot box. And, of course, I blame Obama, cause it’s just the what the cool kids do.

  93. 93
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    @GregB:

    I believe that the new regulations will only permit geldings on international flights.

    Nice to know Republicans will still be able to fly anywhere they want…

  94. 94
    mcd410x says:

    A “non serious incident” — welcome to the occupation!

    $10 says he had an iPod!

    Do they still sail ships across the Atlantic? Oops, wait, they’re may be u-boats lurking out there …

  95. 95
    Bruuuuce says:

    Hm. Has anyone looked to see if GM, Ford, and Carnival Cruises have entered into any joint ventures recently? :-) [/sarcasm]

  96. 96
    Mari says:

    Shortly after 9/11, there was a rumor going around that the TSA planned to ban laptops entirely but backed down in the face of airline push-back. The TSA has never liked electronics and has been very sensitive to airline needs from day one.

    Don’t be surprised if the airlines respond to the TSA electronics ban by charging for seat-back video. Consider it mutual back-scratching between the TSA and the airlines.

  97. 97
    Zach says:

    I fly more than the average American. I’d gladly trade one successful terrorist attack or hijacking per year to go back to pre-9/11 airport security: metal detectors & x-rays at the gate.

    It’s not like it’s impossible or difficult to kill hundred or thousands of people in the States if you want to… how do you protect against something like the 96 olympic bombing? I have no clue why there aren’t more domestic attacks w/ explosives… I guess al Qaeda’s obsessed with airplanes or something. Anyway, I favor the stiff upper lip approach to combating terrorism; note that attacks are tragic, don’t let it affect your way of life, and work to stop attacks behind the scenes.

    Also, hope you’re appreciating the Christmas presents you’re getting from the Ravens today!

  98. 98
    Leelee for Obama says:

    Fred Whitfield just asked some former DHS guy if people might be too hyped up and blew this out of proportion. Gee, why would that happen, Fred? It’s not like you guys have been HYPING the Christmas incident at all, right? I’m almost proud of MSNBC’s continuing the traditional holiday lock-up and violent crime programming. Or maybe nobody would come in to work?

  99. 99

    Just browsed the thread, not spending much time on it since I am hungry and it’s kind of boring, but ….

    1. Will this kill international air travel to/from US? I doubt that somehow, since a pretty good deal of that travel isn’t really casual and unnecessary. Lots of business travel and necessary international travel that is not really feasable any other way. Air travel is already miserable, so a little more misery …. meh. I guess we will see.

    2. Yes, security types will always do “something” to show that they are doing something. That’s what they do. In fact, we said on the tubes years ago that the whole homeland security model was badly flawed. Idiot airport security is right up there with border fences. We’d be smarter to harden our larger vulnerabilities. Food supply, power grids, seaports … the list is long. The idea that safety is derived from asking ordinary Americans to take their shoes off before boarding a plane is so ludicrous that it enters the realm of being infuriating. Meanwhile luggage and air cargo goes largely without intensive, or maybe any, inspection. WTF? How stupid do they think we are? The highways are filled with huge trucks, almost all of whose cargoes are pretty much uninspected. WTF?

    3. Lockerbie was an explosion of a portable radio or small boombox, right? Electronic devices are more than large enough to arrange an explosion sufficient to breach the hull of an airliner, and once you do that, you have a pretty good chance of bringing the thing down. So I don’t know how you can avoid banning electronic devices unless you can scan them with 100% confidence that you are going to detect all the threats that they can contain.

    4. With thousands of millions of airplane boardings and the certainty that a small percentage of people doing any activity are going to be fuhknutts crazy in some way or other, how can security be assured for the flying public? It can’t, as near as I can tell. Not since the days of the plane bombers of half a century ago or the first air mass murderers, such as this, have we been truly traveling in a risk free environment. This problem is not exactly new. My cited story is 45 years old, which is older than most of the commenters here.

    This ain’t a new problem.

  100. 100
    And Another Thing... says:

    So what’s the point of picking an hour before landing as the threshold for no standing, lap articles, etc?

    Our perceptions of risk are really screwed up.

    About 100,000 people die every year from hospital acquired infections.

    And Rep Peter King is an hysterical idiot.

  101. 101
    Martin says:

    I have no clue why there aren’t more domestic attacks w/ explosives

    The only real explanation is that there just aren’t that many people willing to go through the act.

    There’s a huge difference between shooting at US soldiers that are 50 yards from your house in Iraq or Afghanistan and going after some random people 5000 miles away. There just aren’t many people willing to martyr themselves for something like this. It’s too easy to pull off for it not to have been happening more often.

  102. 102
    Comrade Luke says:

    It seems like there’s an obvious solution to this: a two-tiered flying model.

    Premium: You pay extra and you get a SEVERE security check, orders of magnitude more than we already have today. And the result is that you can do anything you want when you’re on the plane.

    Standard: Security checks as you see today, slightly cheaper tickets, but you might get blowed up by someone’s underpants.

    Result: Business travelers get special consideration and bypass most of the Premium security checks, and you get a Premium flights full of white people and Standard flights full of minorities and people who can’t afford Premium, who get no carryons, have to sit in their seat during the entire flight with nothing to do, and who get escorted to and from the bathroom by flight attendants.

  103. 103
    Martin says:

    About 100,000 people die every year from hospital acquired infections.

    War against hospitals? Sounds like something the GOP could seriously get behind.

  104. 104

    @Comrade Luke:

    I like your plan with two caveats.

    One, the flight attendants who accompany me to the rest room must be female, and they have to come into the restroom with me.

    Two, I get to carry a gun on board and shoot any other passenger who sets off my Really Scary Dark Person alarm. No questions asked.

    If we can agree on those two points, please sign me up.

  105. 105
    Nutella says:

    We have to ban wheelchairs in post offices, too.

    OT, but surrendering to a robot would be humiliating, don’t you think?

  106. 106
    Mari says:

    @DonBelacquaDelPurgatorio:

    I agree, the latest TSA absurdity isn’t likely to effect business travel into the US too much. Business travel to the US with electronics is already risky enough that corporate travelers are opting to come without any electronics.

    Electronics-free travel is being driven by concerns over customs abuses ranging from simple confiscation of laptops to confiscation of laptops for the purposes of industrial espionage. Business travelers with money are arriving without electronics, buying or renting whatever they need on site, and then bringing corporate data over by VPN.

    The TSA anti-electronics absurdity will accelerate this shift but won’t reduce business travel that much.

  107. 107
    demimondian says:

    @Martin: I’m not sure about that; the standard method — detonating one cell and letting the others catch fire is certainly slow; I was thinking about the object-through-several-cells-simultaneously vulnerability. (Hey, TSA — ban knitting needles! They’re a THE-REAT!)

    No matter, though — I agree with your main point: as long as flight attendants (to say nothing of duty-free stores) sell an incendiary substance in bulk, this is a rather silly regulation.

  108. 108
    Mike in NC says:

    TSA has never liked electronics passengers and has been very sensitive to airline needs greed from day one.

    Fixed. Since they can charge you $25 for a checked suitcase, why not impose a $50 surcharge for carry-on (even a purse, laptop, book or briefcase). $10 for each shoe, $5 per sock, $20 for a bra or boxer shorts, etc. The airlines will clean up. And just remove the doors from the damn restrooms to encourage people not to dither.

  109. 109
    Will C says:

    I can confirm electronics. We are boarding and they just told us no electronics are allowed out or on during the flight, or basically as soon cabin door shuts.

  110. 110
    Demo Woman says:

    @Will C: hmm have a good flight.

  111. 111
    Emma says:

    I have been planning a major vacation to Spain and Portugal for the spring of 2011. Let us pray the crazyness has eased up by then. Otherwise… Canada here I come. Some of the VIA train packages look interesting.

  112. 112
    Brachiator says:

    @Desert Rat:

    High Speed Passenger Rail just keeps looking better and better, doesn’t it.

    Oh, hell, no. If we get more dumbass high speed rail projects, then the terrorists will truly have won.

  113. 113
    HeartlandLiberal says:

    I am so glad we did AmTrak on our recent 6,500 mile round trip vacation across the country and back. Met a lot of nice people. Saw a lot of scenery. A lot of the country.

    Shot nearly a 1,000 photos. Not once did someone threaten my camera. I had my Blackberry, but since this was a vacation, refused to carry my laptop. I actually enjoy sleeping on the train. Of course after the 4 day trip back, my brain kept on insisting it could hear the engine horn floating through the night, even after I was at home snugged back in our bed the first night. Not to mention my inner ear still thought we were rolling with the train. Fun, actually.

    The Blackberry worked fine in Vancouver, B.C., for the four days we were there. AmTrak Cascades from Seattle is just a four hour trip. Had to pay roaming charges to Sprint, but what the heck, we had phone and email if needed, and we did need it. I had to contact my credit card company and assure them it was I, not some crook, running up a tab across the country and into Canada.

    In fact, I have not flown since 9/11. And do not plan to do so any time soon, unless we make a trip to Europe after I retire, which is odds on. I wish I could say I looked forward to flying again. I don’t.

  114. 114
    Corner Stone says:

    @Comrade Luke:

    It seems like there’s an obvious solution to this: a two-tiered flying model.

    Agreed.
    Tier 1: White people.
    Tier 2: Other ummm… people.

  115. 115
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Agreed.
    Tier 1: White people.
    Tier 2: Other ummm… people.

    You are obviously missing a few tiers.

    Tier 3: Muslims.
    Tier 4: Nigerians/Black people who look like Nigerians.

  116. 116
    Obvious says:

    If you don’t wet yourself, the terrorists win.

  117. 117
    Corner Stone says:

    @Midnight Marauder: Listen, I loosely called them “people”. That’s as fucking far as I am going!
    It’s me, everyone else I recognize as like me, and then all the rest. Done.

  118. 118
    Brachiator says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    You are obviously missing a few tiers.

    Socialites.

    From a recent Yahoo news story:

    Police say Ivana Trump has been escorted off a plane in Florida after she became belligerent when children were running and screaming in the aisles….

  119. 119
    TruthOfAngels says:

    @eemom:

    What’s really needed is a return to the horse and buggy.

    Which is all very well, until we discover the TERRORIST HORSE RING!

    At which point we’ll be reduced to wading through mud. TERRORIST MUD!

    So now, okay, we’re not allowed to move. But we can breathe.
    With our lungs. TERRORIST LUNGS!

    So no breathing.

    And victory will be ours! Because you can’t take away freedom from a corpse. It’s Win Central with a heaping helping of F- This Shit, I’ll Stay Home Then on the side.

  120. 120
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Listen, I loosely called them “people”. That’s as fucking far as I am going!
    It’s me, everyone else I recognize as like me, and then all the rest. Done.

    I actually thought the revisions were pretty beneficial to you and your ilk.

  121. 121
    Corner Stone says:

    @Midnight Marauder: Mmmm…chocolate ilk…tasty indeed.

  122. 122
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @TruthOfAngels:

    And victory will be ours! Because you can’t take away freedom from a corpse. It’s Win Central with a heaping helping of F- This Shit, I’ll Stay Home Then on the side.

    This FTW! It’s pure Gold! I’m still chuckling….

  123. 123
    Robertdsc-iphone says:

    I’ve never flown before. Not sure I want to at this point.

  124. 124
    gbear says:

    You know, this is all a plot by the companies that sell goods via the in-flight magazines. Think how sales will spike when those magazines are the ONLY form of entertainment on the plane!!

    I’m glad I don’t have to go anywhere that I can’t reach by driving.

  125. 125
  126. 126
    Ole says:

    @eastriver:

    Never mind the pets. Think about the the eels, goddammit. A hovercraft is some sort of aircraft too, inn’it?

    No documenting that, then.

  127. 127
    Elie says:

    @Brachiator:

    LMAO!!!

    (I can sympathize with Ivana. Have had a few bad plane trips with unruly children)

  128. 128
    Carol says:

    It takes at least a minimum of cultural comfort to make one’s way through a western airline terminal, for starters, and another is that the pool of terrorists are far more limited than people want to admit. Most folks have ethical objections, a sense of self-preservation, and a general desire not to follow fanatic leaders.

    Amtrak looks better and better these days.

  129. 129
    Comrade Luke says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Yes, that’s the obvious end result: one tier for rich white people, one tier for minorities and poor white people.

    Just like real life!

  130. 130
    Corner Stone says:

    @Comrade Luke:

    Yes, that’s the obvious end result: one tier for rich white people, one tier for minorities and poor white people.

    I prefer to think of them as “cattle”, or in some cases “chattel”.

  131. 131
    Mark says:

    Of all of the aspects of security theater, one thing does make sense: removing your shoes. Your feet move fastest through the metal detector, which reduces the likelihood of detecting contraband. Additionally, when people have done things like smuggle radioactive material out of a nuclear power plant, they’ve put it in their shoes.

    Pretty much everything else is a total joke, but removing your shoes is an intelligent response to known methods of getting explosives through a metal detector.

    I just wish they’d clean the floor in security.

  132. 132
    Will C says:

    Update after landing in Atlanta. 50 mins prior to landing you may no longer use the bathroom. You also must not have any objects in your lap such as books or blankets. There was a LOT of grumbling on the fight, even from, and I shit you not, the 60+ year oldcouple next to me who were BOTH reading Palin’s ‘Going Rogue’. They felt this was absolutely ridiculous!

  133. 133

    National Security Theater.

  134. 134
    Mayken says:

    @Rosali: Speaking of kids, what is one supposed to do about an infant in the last hour of flight? Nothing in the lap… no bottle or other way to calm the baby? Yeah, that’s gonna go over well with the rest of the passengers!

  135. 135

    Forget airplanes, just ride the dog.

  136. 136
    Eric U. says:

    A rich guy from Nigeria started this, let’s just ban rich people. They should be able to afford a private jet anyway. You want first class seats? Automatic 3 hour interrogation.

    I heard you couldn’t have anything on your lap for the last hour, not just electronics.

  137. 137
    Mnemosyne says:

    We flew from Phoenix (AZ) to Burbank (CA) today and breezed right through security. We were pleasantly surprised because the last time we were “lucky” enough to fly right after an attempt at a terrorist attack, it was total fucking chaos at LAX as they made everyone dump any liquids in their carry-ons. I even managed to forget my plastic baggie of toiletries (in my case, my asthma inhaler, Dayquil, Excedrin and two tea bags — yes, I have the flu) and had to go back for it half an hour later and it was no big deal. The only electronics restriction was the usual 10 or so minutes after takeoff and before landing.

    Phoenix takes security Very Seriously — they once stopped me and searched my bag because I had a 2 oz. tube of hand cream in my backpack that was not inside a 1 quart plastic baggie — so I was expecting them to be in full-scale freakout mode.

  138. 138
    amk says:

    @beltane: You missed the cavity searches for all.

  139. 139
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    they made everyone dump any liquids in their carry-ons.

    That had to make for some very wet carry-ons!

  140. 140
    Corner Stone says:

    @Will C:

    the 60+ year oldcouple next to me who were BOTH reading Palin’s ‘Going Rogue’. They felt this was absolutely ridiculous!

    Because it is. I would’ve looooved to see them be like, “WTF are you talking about, nothing for the last hour? Fuuuck you, and good luck.”

  141. 141
    Boston Yankee says:

    Face it we are screwed. Our bankers can’t make change. Our medical system is a Ponzi scheme. You pay more for deductibles and co-pays then you can get back from the insurance company. We have been at war for nine years with ‘terror.’ Only problem, we can’t find terrors home base. Wall Street has invented an infinite number of ways to swindle an investor out of his money. Now we have Nigerian blow-up passengers trying to bring down aircraft. We can’t stop them from boarding even though Europe’s data base knows they are bad guys. But with our 550,000 no fly’s, and search everyone policy, all of which makes it impossible to identify the individual threat when encountered.

    Face it, we are not very good at this. Iraq is still a mess. Afghanistan is a mess in progress. TSA apparently is only very good at creating long lines. Government reglulation of banks and investment companies is still elusive. And the medical, leave that for another time.

  142. 142
    Michael Keyes says:

    Here is the official memo. Note that most of the restrictions occur an hour before landing:

    U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
    Transportation Security Administration
    Aviation Security Directive
    Subject: Security Directive
    Number: SD 1544-09-06
    Date: December 25, 2009
    EXPIRATION: 0200Z on December 30, 2009
    This Security Directive (SD) must be implemented immediately. The measures contained in this SD are in addition to all other SDs currently in effect for your operations.
    INFORMATION: On December 25, 2009, a terrorist attack was attempted against a flight traveling to the United States. TSA has identified security measures to be implemented by airports, aircraft operators, and foreign air carriers to mitigate potential threats to flights.
    APPLICABILITY: THIS SD APPLIES TO AIRCRAFT OPERATORS THAT CARRY OUT A SECURITY PROGRAM REGULATED UNDER 49 CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS (CFR)1544.101(a).
    ACTIONS REQUIRED: If you conduct scheduled and/or public charter flight operations under a Full Program under 49 CFR 1544.101(a) departing from any foreign location to the United States (including its territories and possessions), you must immediately implement all measures in this SD for each such flight.

    1. BOARDING GATE

    1. The aircraft operator or authorized air carrier representative must ensure all passengers are screened at the boarding gate during the boarding process using the following procedures. These procedures are in addition to the screening of all passengers at the screening checkpoint.
    1. Perform thorough pat-down of all passengers at boarding gate prior to boarding, concentrating on upper legs and torso.
    2. Physically inspect 100 percent of all passenger accessible property at the boarding gate prior to boarding, with focus on syringes being transported along with powders and/or liquids.
    3. Ensure the liquids, aerosols, and gels restrictions are strictly adhered to in accordance with SD 1544–06-02E.
    2. During the boarding process, the air carrier may exempt passengers who are Heads of State or Heads of Government from the measures outlined in Section I.A. of this SD, including the following who are traveling with the Head of State or Head of Government:

    1. Spouse and children, or
    2. One other individual (chosen by the Head of State or Head of Government)
    3. For the purposes of Section I.B., the following definitions apply:
    1. Head of State: An individual serving as the chief public representative of a monarchic or republican nation-state, federation, commonwealth, or any other political state (for example, King, Queen, and President).
    2. Head of Government: The chief officer of the executive branch of a government presiding over a cabinet (for example, Prime Minister, Premier, President, and Monarch).

    2. IN FLIGHT

    1. During flight, the aircraft operator must ensure that the following procedures are followed:
    1. Passengers must remain in seats beginning 1 hour prior to arrival at destination.
    2. Passenger access to carry-on baggage is prohibited beginning 1 hour prior to arrival at destination.
    3. Disable aircraft-integrated passenger communications systems and services (phone, internet access services, live television programming, global positioning systems) prior to boarding and during all phases of flight.
    4. While over U.S. airspace, flight crew may not make any announcement to passengers concerning flight path or position over cities or landmarks.
    5. Passengers may not have any blankets, pillows, or personal belongings on the lap beginning 1 hour prior to arrival at destination.

    AIRCRAFT OPERATOR ACKNOWLEDGMENT: The aircraft operator must immediately provide written confirmation to its assigned PSI indicating receipt of this SD.
    AIRCRAFT OPERATOR dissemination required: The aircraft operator must immediately pass the information and directives set forth in this SD to all stations affected, and provide written confirmation to its PSI, indicating that all stations affected have acknowledged receipt of the information and directives set forth in this SD. The aircraft operator must disseminate this information to its senior management personnel, ground security coordinators, and supervisory security personnel at all affected locations. All aircraft operator personnel implementing this SD must be briefed by the aircraft operator on its content and the restrictions governing dissemination. No other dissemination may be made without prior approval of the Assistant Secretary for the Transportation Security Administration. Unauthorized dissemination of this document or information contained herein is prohibited by 49 CFR Part 1520 (see 69 Fed. Reg. 28066 (May 18, 2004).
    APPROVAL OF ALTERNATIVE MEASURES: With respect to the provisions of this SD, as stated in 49 CFR 1544.305(d), the aircraft operator may submit in writing to its PSI proposed alternative measures and the basis for submitting the alternative measures for approval by the Assistant Administrator for Transportation Sector Network Management. The aircraft operator must immediately notify its PSI whenever any procedure in this SD cannot be carried out by a government authority charged with performing security procedures.
    FOR TSA ACTION ONLY: The TSA must issue this SD immediately to the corporate security element of all affected U.S. aircraft operators.
    FOR STATE DEPARTMENT: Retransmittal to appropriate foreign posts is authorized. Post must refer to STATE 162917, 201826Z Sep 01, Subject: FAA Security Directives and Information Circulars: Definitions and Handling, for specific guidance and dissemination.

    Gale Rossides
    Acting Administrator

  143. 143
    lol says:

    @Michael Keyes:

    “Acting Administrator” = “Bush holdover because we haven’t been able to staff all of the positions yet”

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