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22 Feb 2012 14:06


Politics: Congressman wants to take away TSA’s spare change … literally

  • $409,085 in change left in 2010 source
  • » But where does it all go? Since 2005, Congress has allowed the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to use forgotten money left behind by passengers as part of their operating budget, although the agency says it works hard to return the money left by passengers. But a new proposal in the House of Representatives, introduced by Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL), would change that. Miller’s proposal would send all forgotten monies, collected by the TSA, to the USO instead, and may expand the bill to include higher value items like sunglasses, cameras, and computers. He’s convinced that taxpayers and travelers alike would both prefer it this way. But we’re wondering, what do YOU think of this new plan?

02 Feb 2012 10:48


U.S.: Size of the TSA’s infamous no-fly list doubles in a single year

  • 10,000 people on the U.S. government’s no-fly list roughly a year ago
  • 21,000 people on the no-fly list one year later; only 500 are Americans source
  • » So, what happened? After the Christmas 2009 “Underwear Bomber” incident, the TSA worked on improving the list, expanding it far beyond the initial set of names. Of note: The federal government is adding names beyond al-Qaeda, believing that the terror threat expands beyond the group behind the 2001 attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. “Both U.S. intelligence and law enforcement communities and foreign services continue to identify people who want to cause us harm, particularly in the U.S. and particularly as it relates to aviation,” said TSA head John Pistole, who has had to deal with some backlash against higher security standards in the past year.

04 Aug 2011 10:30


Politics: FAA shutdown: Ray LaHood speaks up for furloughed workers

  • They talk a lot about jobs. They give good speeches about it. I want them to walk the walk. Put hard-working Americans to work so they can get a paycheck just like Congress is receiving on their vacations.
  • Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood • Offering up some harsh words on the situation with the FAA shutdown, which will likely last a more than a month due to Congress’ August recess. LaHood, a former Republican congressman, notes that “safety is not compromised” but this is mostly a labor issue. One reason this has become such a political football is that, behind the scenes, it’s a bit of a proxy battle over unions — see, the National Mediation Board made it easier for these workers to unionize, if they so choose. This was part of the reason a short-term deal got blocked — Sen. Orrin Hatch wasn’t having it. Ultimately, it’s the same thing we said yesterday — a business should pay its employees instead of squabbling over minor issues. source

03 Aug 2011 11:45


U.S.: With Congress in recess, political fight in Senate leaves FAA crippled

  • 4,000 FAA employees off the job due to stalemate source
  • » People are working for free to inspect airports: After financing for the Federal Aviation Administration ran out on July 23, thousands of people were put out of work, and all over a fairly minor issue that has gummed up the Senate — how (or if) to pay for a subsidy program for rural airports. But that issue isn’t going to go anywhere for at least a month, after both chambers took their August recess. We know that the debt ceiling fight was tough and took a lot out of the politicians who solved that issue, but this seems like something that should’ve been dealt with before they hit the gavel and took vacations. This is not a judicial nomination. This is airport safety we’re talking about. Some talk about running the government like a business — well, here’s a secret, guys. Businesses don’t furlough workers over a disagreement that those workers have no control over, then ask them to work for free. Businesses pay workers.

15 Jun 2011 11:32


Tech: Texas Rep. David Simpson gets a high-five over his anti-TSA bill

  • Right now, searches are proceeding under the object of preventing terrorist activities. But we’ve got to draw a line. You’ve got to have reasonable cause to touch people’s private parts.
  • Texas State Rep. David Simpson • Discussing his bill to prevent the TSA from intrusively groping people in the name of national security. (Which, as you might know, is kind of a pet issue for us.) The bill actually went somewhere last month — it passed the state’s legislature. However, it stalled in the senate because the state got pushback from the federal government, who threatened to stop flights into Texas if the bill became law. Simpson (a Republican), however, notes that the law doesn’t prevent these searches, but forces a good reason for them to happen: “But what we’re basically saying is, ‘Show me the law that says you can touch my private parts in order to travel and I’ll let you do it.’” This guy deserves a high-five. source

16 Mar 2011 10:59


World: Airline security: Could the TSA get a “frequent-flyer” program?

  • cause In an effort to improve our country’s air security after the 9/11 attacks, the Transportation Security Administration came to being. They’ve tightened security repeatedly over the years.
  • effect The most recent major tightening they’ve made forces people to either walk through a metal clap trap, get felt up by people with latex gloves, or play civil disobedience like this guy did.
  • solution? A way to prevent this type of annoyingness for frequent flyers — which would require the exchange of personal info — is on the table. The travel industry wants to see this, stat. source

07 Jan 2011 22:09


Politics: TSA: Don’t try to be cute with your underwear choices, terrorists

  • Passengers should be aware that the use of these types of products will likely result in a pat-down. Some might think this is TSA’s way of getting back at clever passengers. That’s not the case at all. It’s just security.
  • The TSA’s ultra-friendly PR blogger, “Blogger Bob” • Telling people that they can’t wear underwear cleverly designed to block nether-regions from full-body scanners without risking a pat-down. Which is a clever idea, but apparently too clever for the TSA. One commenter put it like so: “Bob, how does it feel telling citizens what kind of panties they should wear?” We’d like to buy that commenter a beer. source

01 Jan 2011 20:06


U.S.: Good: Some airports replacing the TSA with private firms

  • If you look at [the TSA’s] performance, have they ever stopped a terrorist? Anyone can get through. We’ve been very lucky, very fortunate. TSA should focus on its mission: setting up the protocol, adapting to the changing threats and gathering intelligence.
  • Rep. John L. Mica • Arguing that the TSA should go away in some of the nation’s largest airports. Some of them have already made the decision on their own – sixteen separate airports have switched to private firms since 2002, some in cities as big as San Francisco and Kansas City. And DC’s two main airports are thinking of getting rid of the TSA, too. Not that we’re going out of the way to agree with GOP members, but we think that Mica is absolutely right that the TSA was “never intended to be an army of 67,000 employees.” The private firms, by the way (so we don’t get too crazy effusive with our praise here), have to provide the same level of security and must use the same tools (including the pat-downs and the full-body scans), and must follow TSA guidelines … so it’s not that different. But they can provide a personal touch that a blob like the TSA might not. source

27 Dec 2010 08:03


U.S.: Will the TSA’s body scans and pat-downs continue after the holidays?

  • YES because it’s “objectively safer” or something source

26 Dec 2010 11:01


U.S.: San Francisco airport: That pilot’s video? That was a lunchroom

  • The video shows a door with a card swipe and suggests that access is gained to the airfield area through this door. In fact, the door shown in the video provides access only to an employee lunchroom.
  • A statement from SFO’s airport • Suggesting that the anonymous pilot who taped some videos showing the airport’s lack of security was being dishonest. The airport defends its security, saying it’s “an innovator and a trendsetter in aviation security.” So, wait … question. Why would a lunch room need security? And why, rather than simply releasing a statement, doesn’t the airport shoot video proving this? Because they could be lying, too. Some people are “truthers,” others are “birthers,” but we’re “lunchers.” source