Years of Stupidity

Patrick Smith:

HERE IN BOSTON last week, five airline workers — ground staff at Logan International Airport — were arrested on charges of smuggling nearly half a million dollars of drug money through employee checkpoints, using their credentials to bypass TSA security.

Four of the five were JetBlue employees. One of them, according to the allegations, had agreed to carry a firearm into a secure area of the airport.

I bring this up for no other reason than it so pungently underscores one of airport security’s most ridiculous protocols — namely, the fact that tarmac workers are exempt from TSA screening, while pilots and flight attendants are not.

“Most ridiculous” – that’s a pretty big claim, because there are so many ridiculous rituals that waste person years of time every day. And it will never, ever change. The TSA logo should just be a smiling picture of Osama Bin Laden flipping the bird with the caption “I won, motherfuckers”,

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90 replies
  1. 1
    Poopyman says:

    Well, he did say “one of airport security’s most ridiculous protocols”. There are certainly a fair number vying for “most ridiculous” in airport slapstick comedy security theatre.

  2. 2
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The TSA logo should just be a smiling picture of Osama Bin Laden flipping the bird with the caption “I won, motherfuckers”,

    Well, yeah. When you have partners in crime running the US government from 2001-2009, of course you’re going to win. The deserting coward and the Dark Lord were two of Osama’s top recruiters.

  3. 3
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    I bet if OBL had been a dark ages phenomenon he would now be the patron saint of those who work in security roles, complete with halo and sorrowful expression. Still, give it time and perhaps a couple of hundred years from now Mars Colony will open its first shrine to the Patron Saint of Checkpoints, Pat-downs and Water-bottle Deprivation.

  4. 4
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    The TSA, like so many of the so-called security measures larded on after 9/11, is there to provide the illusion that the gov is effectively protecting us from a bunch of guys with small arms and improvised explosives. If we had an intelligence agency that was capable of actually gathering useful intelligence then we could identify dangerous terrorists and bribe most of them into capitalists for far less money and a shitload less inconvenience. Mel Brooks was prescient:

    We have to protect our phoney baloney jobs here, gentlemen! We must do something about this immediately! Immediately! Immediately! Harrumph! Harrumph!

  5. 5
    Baud says:

    The criticism about different security protocols seems fair. However, I wasn’t aware that the TSA was concerned with ferreting out drug money (I thought that was CIS) and the excerpt says they caught the guy before he could smuggle the gun. Seems like an odd story to criticize the TSA over.

  6. 6
    D58826 says:

    I guess this qualifies as organized stupidity –

    Priebus said Clinton “failed to report for duty” by not appearing personally. “If she’s even thinking about running for president, I think she has been disqualified because of her actions here,” he said.

    . And what duty did Hillary fail to perform? She didn’t appear on the Sunday talks shows after the Benghazi attack. Exactly where is it written that the Sunday talks shows are part of the Sec. of States official duties.?

    It is a great day for the GOP however. The administration has admitted that the President willfully and knowingly broke the law when he failed to notify congress about the release of the 5 Gitmo prisoners. Please GOP file articles of impeachment. Bring the soldier and his family to Washington to testify. Force the three networks to cover it live. Maybe, just maybe the sorry spectacle will make enough voters angry that they will go out and vote these psychopaths out of office in November.

  7. 7
    Elizabelle says:

    Tarmac employees, with access to planes but not as passengers, allowed aboard without screening?

    That makes no damn sense. How could you even justify that?

  8. 8
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @D58826:

    Maybe, just maybe the sorry spectacle will make enough voters angry that they will go out and vote these psychopaths out of office in November.

    Don’t we wish. I’m afraid that, like mass shootings and gun laws, there is nothing sufficiently appalling to make Red State voters change their ways.

  9. 9
    Ol'Froth says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: Exactly right. Airport security is there to provide the illusion of safety. One of the great myths of 9-11 is that the checkpoints “failed.” They did not. Airport security prior to 9-11 was designed to keep handguns off airplanes, and at that, they were very successful with minimal intrusion. Now, because some nitwith tried to blow up his tennis shoes, we have to take off our footwear before getting on a plane. There’s a reason why I don’t fly anymore, that reason is TSA.

  10. 10
    MikeBoyScout says:

    nearly half a M-I-L-L-I-O-N dollars!

    Only the TSA’s security theater can save us from Dr. Evil

  11. 11
    Mike in NC says:

    I used to slam the TSA like everybody else, but last week it took me half an hour to get through freaking security at Heathrow Airport because there was a wet toothbrush in my carry-on bag.

  12. 12
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @MikeBoyScout:

    Unless law enforcement valuation of contraband drugs has significantly changed since my days of being on the other side of the law the smuggled drugs probably amounted to a couple of kilos of cocaine.

  13. 13
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    @D58826:

    It’s hilarious to see Lil Rancid P.enis yapping away about duty when his party has failed miserably to govern and has done nothing but peddle conspiracy theories and push racist voter suppression schemes. The pathetic desperation with which the GOP are trying to preemptively push Clinton out of contention is one of the stronger factors in her favor as far as I am concerned, and I am not even much of a fan of either of the Clintons.

  14. 14
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    @D58826:

    It’s hilarious to see Lil Rancid P.enis yapping away about duty when his party has failed miserably to govern and has done nothing but peddle conspiracy theories and push racist voter suppression schemes. The pathetic desperation with which the GOP are trying to preemptively push Clinton out of contention is one of the stronger factors in her favor as far as I am concerned, and I am not even much of a fan of either of the Clintons.

  15. 15
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    @Ol’Froth: Also remember that before 9-11, airport security was a drab minimum wage job, manned by people who just trying to do some moonlighting. Airlines didn’t give a fip neither did the airports, and hell this happened long after Lockerbie, which should have awaken people about airport security in a big way.

  16. 16
    D58826 says:

    @Ol’Froth: In the past couple of months I have had the pleasure of a TSA screening 4 times. The first time my left leg was patted down – just the left leg.
    Figured the TSA guy had a left leg fetish. The second time my left leg was patted down again. Well so much for the leg fetish theory. The third trip my RIGHT leg was checked. This was after upsetting the system by having my ticket in my pocket. The fourth time I was pre-certified and didn’t ‘t have to get undressed or have my legs groped. I did have to have my hands swabbed for explosive residue. Since I was leaving from a rural airport I wondered what happened to all the local hunters who might want to fly. But not to worry if you can sneak into the wheel well of a plane your good to go no questions asked.

    On a serious note and while I agree it is security theater. Remember the freak out over the underwear bomber. If someone did get on a plane with a bomb, after we shut down TSA, and the president was a democrat, the GOP would file articles of impeachment before the smoke cleared.

  17. 17
    mellowjohn says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:
    “i didn’t get a harrumph out of that man.”

    p.s. was scheduled to leave on vacation on 9/12/01. finally got on one of the first flights out of chicago on 9/16, flying thru miami to jamaica. i’ve always called it “security theater.”

  18. 18
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Mike in NC:
    Everybody knows that all it takes to bring down a plane is a wet toothbrush, a few ounces of PETN, and a detonator. You were lucky not to have been arrested.

  19. 19
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    @D58826: I want to punt John Bolton in the balls with some quality Red Wing Steel Toes myself. “Despicable” should never be in that bastard’s vocabulary.

  20. 20
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: I didn’t get a harrumph out of that guy

    and beaten by mellowjohn

  21. 21
    rikyrah says:

    Drunk Armed Racists Spark Shootout at Waffle House, Kill Black Cop (Video)

    After an exchange of bullets early Saturday morning, off-duty police officer Kevin Jordan was left dead and the man who shot Jordan left in critical condition, shot by Jordan’s brother.

    Jordan was working an overnight shift as security at a Waffle House restaurant in Griffith, Georgia, when two men and a woman caused a disturbance around 2:30 a.m., according to Griffin Police Lt. Mike Richardson. Jordan intervened, but the conflict escalated, and the woman, identified as Chantell Mixon, began a physical altercation. According to Cleveland.com:
    Jordan was attempting to arrest Mixon when one of the men, Michael Bowman, fired at the officer’s back, Richardson said. Police believe Jordan was shot five times. At least one bullet penetrated the bulletproof vest Jordan was wearing, Richardson said.

    Jordan’s brother, Raymond Jordan, had come to the restaurant to visit and fired his weapon, striking Bowman, Richardson said. Raymond Jordan has a valid permit in Georgia, he said. It is not known how many times Bowman was hit or whether he has an attorney.

    Raymond Jordan told Atlanta’s Channel 2 that “the only regret I have is that I didn’t kill him.”

    http://aattp.org/drunk-armed-r.....cop-video/

  22. 22
    rikyrah says:

    Just a reminder:

    Media Alert

    Oprah’s tribute to Dr. Maya Angelou
    Sunday, June 1, 2014
    The OWN Network

    Oprah and Dr. Angelou – Super Soul Sunday, Parts 1 & 2

    Airing 12-2 pm EST
    Repeating 3-5 pm EST
    Repeating 6-8 pm EST

    Conversations with Maya Angelou
    5-6 pm EST

    Oprah Winfrey’s Legends Ball
    8-9 pm EST
    Repeating 11pm-12am EST

    Oprah’s Master Class with Maya Angelou
    9-10 pm EST
    Repeating 12 am – 1 am EST

  23. 23
    Interrobang says:

    I have to wonder if this has something to do with discount carriers paying their employees absolute shit wages. (Some junior pilots, for instance, make so little money they qualify for social assistance — not cool.) I’d like to think you’d be less tempted to supplement your income by doing illegal things if you were well-paid.

  24. 24
    Ron Beasley says:

    What most don’t realize is that airlines make arrangements with TSA to allow certain flyers to participate in something called TSA pre-screen. I usually fly 1st class and as a result my screening is like it was pre 911. To the best of my knowledge I have not actually been pre-screened and I get this simply because I am able and willing to pay 40% more for my airline ticket.

  25. 25
    White Trash Liberal says:

    I’m hoping for an open thread because Ellsberg’s latest piece in the NYT is disingenuous, stupid and mendacious.

  26. 26
    gian says:

    there’s some amnesia here. the rules were coming in before the TSA for extra screenings. the shoe thing came because od th attempted shoe bomber, got on the plane with the bomb that failed to ignite.

    If you remember the events around the creation of the TSA, Bush and the privative/profitize GOP crony crowd hated the TSA as a concept, they didn’t want government jobs to do this period. and boy howdy did they fight making them union jobs.
    at first you had private security firms doing it, and the main test for secondary screening seemed to be “is she hot?”
    and flight attendants unions pushed hard to get the TSA.

    TSA ain’t perfect, but seriously compared to minimum wage private contractors using the job to oogle and occasionally grope women, it’s an improvement over what came before.

    TSA bashing is one of the staples of right wing radio, the goal is to proftize it, not reform it.

  27. 27
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ol’Froth:

    IIRC, the screw-up with the 9/11 hijackers was that several of them were on the terrorism watch list, not that they had contraband.

  28. 28
    Emma says:

    @Ron Beasley: It might have nothing to do with the price of the ticket. I always fly coach. After 9/11, I –overweight Cuban-American librarian in her early 50s — got pulled over every time she flew. (One of my favorite moments was when I, an elderly Hassidic gentleman, and a brassy blonde wearing the absolute minimum to avoid indecency charges were pulled aside for patting down as 5 tall gentlemen in keffiyeh and long robes were ushered through, and the Hassidic gentleman looked at me and we both started to giggle). Then, last year I started getting pre-certified. Out of the blue. Not that I don’t appreciate it.

  29. 29
    jayboat says:

    I fly 12-15 times a year- the pre-screen is nice. Love to walk by the unwashed, temporarily shoeless masses.
    I am only afforded the luxury as an economy flyer because of volume.

    Back in the 70’s I was married to a stewardess (“flight attendant” was just coming into the popular lexicon).
    All tarmac workers were known as ‘ramp rats’.

    Just sayin’

  30. 30
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    @jayboat:

    Love to walk by the unwashed, temporarily shoeless masses.

    I think you might be overdoing the nice guy thing.

  31. 31
    Mandalay says:

    @Emma:

    It might have nothing to do with the price of the ticket.

    It isn’t. You can bypass some of the security checks on international flights just by being a frequent flier with AA. It happened to me two weeks ago on an international AA flight, and I didn’t do anything to request it.

    AA call it “expedited screening“.

  32. 32
    RaflW says:

    tarmac workers are exempt from TSA screening, while pilots and flight attendants are not

    At Minneapolis-St Paul, I’ve watched FA’s just flash their badges to a TSA employee and walk thru the ‘exit’ side of the screening area. Is this not what they do at other airports?

  33. 33
    D58826 says:

    @RaflW: There is a special entrance for crew members in Charlotte NC also.

  34. 34
    Pogonip says:

    @Interrobang: Remember the old Stephen King story about the plane trapped in the past? The pilot muses that he is paid 100K a year to not freeze up when an emergency finally arises. This was in the mid-80s. How far we’ve fallen in less than an average lifetime.

    This is another reason why I don’t fly. I don’t want my pilot’s mind to be dulled with exhaustion from working his other job or two.

  35. 35
    James E. Powell says:

    @Elizabelle:

    Tarmac employees, with access to planes but not as passengers, allowed aboard without screening?

    That makes no damn sense. How could you even justify that?

    I am going to guess it’s about money. Rich people’s money.

  36. 36
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @D58826: Rinse Prebus…another guy whose head would look MUCH better on a pike than on his shoulders.

  37. 37
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/l.....-secretary

    McCain elaborated on why he felt Cobun should lead the VA during a town hall in Mesa, Ariz. on Friday.

    “He (Coburn) is very familiar with the Veteran Affairs issue (and) he is the greatest reformer in the United States Senate,” McCain said, according to KTAR News. “I believe that Dr. Tom Coburn would be the best possible replacement.”

    I suppose we should be grateful that he didn’t suggest the Abominable Snowwoman.

  38. 38
    rikyrah says:

    WHERE are the DEMS (outside the WH), calling bullshyt about the GOP complaining about us getting back a POW?

    They need to shut this shyt down, NOW!

  39. 39
    coin operated says:

    @Ron Beasley: I’ve been between Silver and 100K on United for years, and I’ve had the the TSA PreCheck on my United boarding passes for about a year now.

    Last month, while traveling through Atlanta, I got signed up for the national PreCheck program. You have to have your passport (never leave home without it) and $85 and you can get a Known Traveler Number which will give you PreCheck clearance everywhere. I got my number about 3 weeks after signing up.

  40. 40
    Ruckus says:

    @Interrobang:
    That’s not just an airline problem. Paying shit wages effects everyone. Besides what it does to the economy it saps the life out of everything. Makes one hate work, makes one think that if the boss is stealing from me….. fair play and all of that.

  41. 41
    Hill Dweller says:

    @Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers): Anyone seeking McCain’s counsel on personnel decisions immediately forfeits their right to make the decision.

  42. 42

    The author then goes on to argue for expanding the “no-checks” practices to a larger class: cabin crews and, of course, pilots, because we all know that pilots are above other men.

    The sensible thing is random spot-checks of everyone boarding and airport, or on the field, which would be only modestly intrusive and far more fair.

  43. 43
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    @rikyrah:

    On this one, it might be best to let the GOP have the stage and encourage them to show off just what a vicious rabble of idiots they are. I doubt that most people will take kindly to the idea that we should have left an American in Taliban captivity when we could retrieve him for a fairly low price.

  44. 44

    @D58826: I only flew once after 9/11, out of Charlotte. The amount of absolute nonsense you have to go through to get on a plane now pretty much guarantees I’ll most likely never fly again.

  45. 45
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers): The GOP is raising my enthusiasm for Hilary by degrees. By 2016 I will be a zealot.

    @RaflW: Not unlike Jayboat, I was married to a FA in the oughts. She reported the same thing and true almost everywhere.

  46. 46
    Ruckus says:

    @Ruckus:
    Not to mention people who should be rather refreshed and sharp while working, having to work a second shit job just to make the rent and pay for an econobox crap car to get to those jobs. It sucks and never stops sucking, knowing that you will never be able to purchase a house, or maybe even live in a decent neighborhood, that your entire working live is a complete waste of energy.

  47. 47
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    @Jewish Steel:

    It’s a strangely depressing feeling. I am not sure I want the enemy of my enemy to be such an intimate friend of mine.

    OTOH, watching Cuomo go pouty-faced with rage as the nomination vanishes from his CV forever has a certain appeal.

  48. 48
    Cain says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    You can also randomly qualify for it. That happened to me one time. Oh man, it was wonderful. Sailed right through security. The TSA guy had to tell me twice that I could go through.. I was very confused.

  49. 49
    Ruckus says:

    @Ben Cisco (onboard the Defiant):
    Should have been flying on 9/11. Flying east to west, leaving just before 8am. That’s when you got to see institutional panic, up close.

  50. 50
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee:

    “Despicable” should never be in that bastard’s vocabulary.

    Well, only as a self-descriptor.

  51. 51
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers):

    I for one am grateful that Shadow President McCain is going to appoint Tom “Dr. No” Coburn to his Shadow administration. Coburn’s in-depth knowledge of Southern Baptist theology (If it feels good, don’t do it!) coupled with his intransigence are just what the VA needs in these challenging times.

  52. 52
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Ruckus:

    makes one think that if the boss is stealing from me

    More like “know with metaphysical certitude”

    The parasite overclass is everywhere, and it needs to be eradicated.

  53. 53
    Ben Cisco says:

    @rikyrah: Agreed. Then again, can we really be surprised at this point? They remind me of some kids playing musical chairs – can’t wait to leave someone else hanging.

  54. 54
    Ruckus says:

    @Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers):
    Better than your enemy becoming a “friend”, like it or not.

  55. 55
    cmorenc says:

    @Ol’Froth:

    Now, because some nitwith tried to blow up his tennis shoes, we have to take off our footwear before getting on a plane.

    Well, some nitwit also tried to blow up his underwear, and we don’t have to take off our underwear before getting on a plane. UM, WAIT! Forgot all about those full-body imaging scanners TSA may require passengers to step through, which produce images of what you look like without your underwear on.

  56. 56
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Jewish Steel:

    My enthusiasm for Hillary will go up if she and her old man go out on the stump in a big way for Democratic candidates.

  57. 57
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    @cmorenc:

    TSA may require passengers to step through, which produce images of what you look like without your underwear on.

    How ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm once they seen Karl Hungus?

  58. 58
    Ruckus says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    The parasite overclass is everywhere, and it needs to be eradicated.

    I am reminded by this as to what makes living in the shitty part of town not as bad as it might be, I seldom run into privileged shitheels. Of course I see them on the road all the time. What was that stupid TV show decades ago, with Mr T and an old POS van that they sometimes put a rather large weapon in the back to deal with some miscreant?

  59. 59
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    @Ruckus:

    The A-Team.

    *blushes*

    Of course, I have only seen reruns. Last year’s reruns, in fact.

  60. 60
  61. 61
    Elizabelle says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    Yeah, the Coburn shoutout for VA Secretary was the eye roll for this morning.

    Classic McCain remark, no? Coburn is stepping down from the Senate with health problems he needs to concentrate on, and McCain thinks he’d be great for running an enormous agency with lots of challenges and insufficient funding. And Coburn does not even believe in the agency’s mission?

  62. 62
    Ruckus says:

    @Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers):
    A likely story. One which I’m not purchasing.

    Oh and thanks for the name.

  63. 63

    @rikyrah: You think Andrea Mitchell cares about that? It’s not whether Democrats are fighting back. It’s that the TradMed isn’t laughing the GOP out of the room on this.

  64. 64
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Elizabelle: Republicans don’t give a flying fuck about veterans. This is obvious from their votes on VA funding. Putting a Rethug in charge will only make that more obvious.

  65. 65
    Ruckus says:

    @Elizabelle:
    Give John a break. He was a POW, remember. Have a little respect. Judging by his last 20+ yrs I’d say very, very little respect but still. I mean he is rated pretty high up in the VA health care grouping and because of that, he should know a lot about the VA. Oh wait, it’s loser Johnnie, who knows shit about anything.
    Sorry for bothering you this fine morning.

  66. 66
    D58826 says:

    @Ben Cisco (onboard the Defiant): Living in Charlotte, I don’t have much choice plus I can chose Useless Air or Useless Air for my travel pains

  67. 67
    Ben Cisco says:

    @D58826: I’m here too, but luckily my work doesn’t involve air travel, my wife’s family is in state, and my parents are an 8-hour drive away. That last flight I referenced earlier was to go see them. Took eight hours and a side trip to Chicago to get to West Alabama by air. I’d rather be in the car.

  68. 68
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @rikyrah:

    Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.

    Napoleon was a bright guy.

  69. 69
    James E. Powell says:

    @Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers):

    If only Villagers’ votes counted, McCain would have won the last two elections – maybe the last four. So I guess it makes sense that the Villagers believe McCain should appoint the president’s cabinet.

  70. 70
    James E. Powell says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    My enthusiasm for Hillary will go up if she and her old man go out on the stump in a big way for Democratic candidates.

    Mine too, though I would like to acknowledge the work the Big Dog did for Obama in 2012.

    They really ought to go be where the action is and will be in 2016. North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, and Arkansas in the south, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota in the midwest. If Hilary Clinton runs, she will have the Big Blues locked up.

  71. 71
    tybee says:

    @rikyrah:

    it was Griffin, Georgia. if they ever give Georgia an enema, Griffin is where they’ll stick the hose.

  72. 72
    tybee says:

    @Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers):

    he’s right. i’m often unwashed and shoeless in the line when flying….and generally smelling of booze, too.

    they’ve turned flying from a Grand Adventure into a Great Pain in the Ass.

  73. 73
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Elizabelle:

    Classic McCain remark, no?

    #NominateMcCain

    Let him make excuses for why he can’t do the job.

  74. 74
    phoebes-in-santa fe says:

    @Cain: I HATE it when TSA puts “amateurs” into the pre-check line! That line is fast because as pre-checkers, we know that we don’t have to take our shoes off, take our computers out of our bags, etc, that regular people have to do in the regular lines. When TSA puts amateurs in the line, they completely slow things down, making the pre-check lines slow, slow, slow. This happens regularly at the Albuquerque Airport, but I’ve never noticed it at any other airport I’ve been to in the past couple of years. I’ve actually had the nerve to comment to local TSA supervisors at the airport and they roll their eyes…

    I travel a lot and find that TSA is just part of the trip. The pre-check lines do make it easier but traveling is still traveling. In general, it’s the fastest and safest way to get somewhere, and I take the bad with the good, because the good still outweighs the bad.

    The neatest thing, though, is the new Entry system for international travel. I don’t know if all US international airports have this, but Dallas does. The incoming passenger – as long as they’re carrying a US passport – just goes up to a window and swipes their passport. A picture is taken of the traveler with the passport and the passenger proceeds to baggage claim. There’s no one to talk to in the booths; it’s all done electronically. And you don’t have to sign up before hand like Global Entry. All US passport holders can take advantage of it.

  75. 75
    Nutella says:

    @Interrobang:

    I’d like to think you’d be less tempted to supplement your income by doing illegal things if you were well-paid.

    You’d like to think the poor are less honest than the rich?

  76. 76
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Nutella: Yeah, that’s the interpretation that comes first to everyone’s mind.

  77. 77
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    Well, they do get free under the bridge sleeping slots, Obamaphones, Cadillacs…

  78. 78
    jayboat says:

    guess I shoulda put a snark tag after my comment about the unwashed.

  79. 79
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Nutella:

    I think what Interrobang is saying is that people who feel they’re being treated fairly by their employer (including in matters of pay) are less likely to steal from the company or use company resources to commit crimes. Having worked at a few crappy companies in my day, that’s definitely been my experience.

  80. 80
    Gene108 says:

    @D58826:

    Why bother with impeachment?

    Saying Obama released 5 future Osamas, who immediately butcher thousands of Americans, while adding on Obama broke the law just keeps America’s morale low.

    When was the last time anything positive got reported about Obama? Just keep the low rumbling of negativity going and people will sit home in November.

  81. 81
    Mike G says:

    @Elizabelle:

    McCain thinks he’d be great for running an enormous agency with lots of challenges and insufficient funding.

    McCain means for Coburn to “run” the VA they way Von Rumsfeld ran the Pentagon — do lots of shallow, showboaty political actions that cause deeper longer-term problems, acting as a patronage machine while piratizing as much as possible and ladling out larded-up contracts to cronies.

  82. 82
    BBA says:

    @Mike G:

    do lots of shallow, showboaty political actions that cause deeper longer-term problems, acting as a patronage machine while piratizing as much as possible and ladling out larded-up contracts to cronies.

    You just described Andrew Cuomo’s 2016 platform.

  83. 83
    Kyle says:

    @Interrobang:

    (Some junior pilots, for instance, make so little money they qualify for social assistance — not cool.)

    There is a whole colony of flight crew living in motorhomes in the parking lot at the end of runway 25L at LAX because they cannot afford anyplace else to live. #AmericanDream

  84. 84
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Kyle:

    They can’t afford anything else reasonably close to the airport. Sure, they could move out to Palmdale or Lancaster, but then it’s a minimum 2 hour commute in good traffic. And it’s not like they could take public transportation as an alternative — it would be drive or nothing.

  85. 85
    Shortstop says:

    This weekend I once again enjoyed returning from another land via the flights-to-America-only security line. The nearby people flying to normal countries got to roll their eyes at us as they remained shod and we all took off our footwear. I felt super safe and protected from the ubiquitous threat of evildoers so potent they couldn’t even pull off a small shoe bomb.

  86. 86
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    @BBA:

    And Chris Christie’s and Sarah Palin’s and Scott Walker’s and….

    No, it’s too damn depressing to go on.

  87. 87
    John M. Burt says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: “[W]e could identify dangerous terrorists and bribe most of them into capitalists”
    I dunno about that. One of the things that disturbed me about 9/11 was discovering that there were men who, when you offered them a chance to become airline pilots and enjoy all of the best things Western civilization could offer, would reply, “No thanks, I’d rather die”.
    Then again, reading these comments….

  88. 88
    Long Tooth says:

    What’s wrong with those people? Being busted as a member of a hair-brained criminal conspiracy at a U.S. airport, I mean. At what age should the thought occur to anyone with half a brain, “Bad idea, that. The more people involved, the likelier the odds of my eventually being arrested”. 16 years old sounds about right to me.

  89. 89
    tybee says:

    @jayboat:

    nyet. as i said, you were right. :)

  90. 90

    […] It’s all just smoke and mirrors. […]

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