Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Our Tax Dollars At Work

Posted by MEC on June 27, 2007

Since I’m traveling by air tomorrow, I dropped by the TSA web site to get the latest changes to the luggage regulations.

The first thing I saw was:

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“Click here for more” led to a press release:

On June 21, TSA’s primary operational hub was re-named the Freedom Center, symbolizing the agency’s commitment to protecting the nation’s transportation systems against terrorist threats. The name was proposed by Todd Fox, security manager at Philadelphia International Airport, through an agency-wide contest asking TSA employees to submit names.

Excuse me? A contest? To rename the building? Don’t these people have more important things to do?

And the winning entry is the trite and obvious “Freedom Center”, which oh by the way coincides exactly with George W. Bush’s message about what the Global War on Terror is all about?

Let’s have a contest to rename the Department of Homeland Security. My entry: “Ministry of Propaganda”.

The irony is that I visited the TSA site for a definitive list of what objects I’m not allowed to have in carry-on luggage … that is, how the TSA is curtailing the freedom of law-abiding air travelers by imposing pointless restrictions that don’t protect anybody from anything.

7 Responses to “Our Tax Dollars At Work”

  1. TSA is a classic “turkey farm” — a place used to park political cronies and otherwise-unemployable doofi.

  2. Charles said

    Well, when this is all over, we can re-name it “French Center,” along with everything else that has gotten the pretentious name “Freedom” under the distinctly un-free Bush regime.

  3. whig said

    Careful with those sippy cups.

  4. MEC said

    About that “sippy cup incident”, from security expert Bruce Schneier (whom I trust to be careful with the facts), “This story portrays the TSA as jack-booted thugs. The story hit the Internet last Thursday, and quickly made the rounds. I saw it on BoingBoing. But, as it turns out, it’s not entirely true. …it’s pretty clear that Monica Emmerson — that’s the female passenger — spills the liquid on the floor on purpose, as a deliberate act of defiance. …In this instance, the TSA is clearly in the right.”

    Bruce makes the point, however, that when we readily believe stories of TSA employees acting like jackbooted thugs, “It’s because everything seems so arbitrary, because there’s no accountability or transparency in the DHS. Rules and regulations change all the time, without any explanation or justification. Of course this kind of thing induces paranoia. It’s the sort of thing you read about in history books about East Germany and other police states. It’s not what we expect out of 21st century America.”

  5. Charles said

    Even if she deliberately spilled the water on the floor, the guards should have either arrested her on the spot or accepted the fact that she was upset and let it go.

    Looking at that film, what came first to my mind was how easy it would be for a genuine terrorist to tie up security with some trivial incident like that while the real operatives did whatever they needed to. You have to keep your eye on the ball.

    The optimal solution would have been if they’d let her drink the water, as is routinely done. If the water happens to be nitric acid, that pretty well solves the terrorist threat.

  6. whig said

    My first thought was the same as Charles’s. Woman with toddler and sippy cup should have been noted as a non-threat, but they focused maximum resources on her while other people streamed past. If the woman had been anything to do with terrorists, she would have been the decoy.

  7. whig said

    Charles I think also there was a case where some kid was returning with water samples from a swamp for a science class, and they only let him on if he drank it…contaminated with who knows what.

    What the heck is it with banning liquids? Are solids safer?

    Like potentially explosive laptop batteries are safe?

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