OT: TSA (again)


busterkeaton wrote on 5/29/2006, 1:46 PM
Anyone planning to run for public office? I'm convinced this slogan would get you elected anywhere in America near a major airport.

How many times have you gone through through the TSA screening and had this happen? You take off your coat, your shoes, take your laptop out of its bag, collect your keys and change and go through the metal detector. On the other side you have to collect your carry on bags, keys, change, coat, laptop, laptop bag and your shoes. Then when you get through to the other side, there's not place to get yourself together. The only tables available are there for FURTHER EXTRA SCREENING not for law-abiding citizens to get all their stuff together and put their shoes back on. You're standing their in your socks with a mound of possessions. It's like you're some white-collar hobo, a bag-lady with a boarding pass.

How about a bench? How about we give the millions of non-terrorist air-travellers a place to sit and get their act together that's not the bare floor.

Flying out of Vegas for NAB, I encountered this. Right after the metal detectors you were in a giant empty hallway with plenty of space, but no seating.

VOGuy wrote on 5/29/2006, 1:59 PM
When Bush II got elected, I told my more liberal friends that they should consider this, in terms of the long range picture, a good thing. The right wing now has everything it wants - and the country will be able to determine whether that is a good path for this country based on the results.

I also predicted that the Bush administration would do something in the second year of his second term that was so stupid, even the Republicans wouldn't be able to forgive the President. Don't know if that's happened yet....
johnmeyer wrote on 5/29/2006, 2:09 PM
The new $2 trillion (per the GAO, includes VA, etc. long term costs for U.S. taxpayers) assault on Iraq though was strictly for his dad, to get even for the way Saddam insulted him in 1991 ...

I think you might be right. Even if it wasn't the clincher, I bet it played role in blinding him to the incredible downsides of invasion.

As to diplomas, I agree with you there too. I have often found that people from "modest" universities do better in the business world than those from "top drawer" schools. Having attended some schools in the latter group, I can tell you that one reason for this is most of them do NOT expose their students to anything practical. I graduated with an EE degree and if I hadn't been predisposed to want to build and repair everything in sight, I would not have had the slightest idea of how a TV worked, or how to repair my stereo.

Finally, one observation about Bush's degrees not proving whether he is smart or stupid. I happened to have attended one of Bush's alma maters just two years after he left. I didn't meet any people there who were stupid -- even those who came from privileged backgrounds. More to the point, that school had a policy where they threw out 20% of the bottom of the class after the first year. They really did it. I know because I was terrified of wasting a year's tuition (which I had paid for out of my own pocket). If Bush was really stupid, he would have "hit the screen" which was what the process was called (because the "academic screening" committee made the decisions). Nobody survived that process, no matter who "daddy" was.
VOGuy wrote on 5/29/2006, 2:14 PM
Just to clarify, I didn't mean to suggest that President Bush is stupid - I don't know the man. However many really stupid things are done by really smart people.
farss wrote on 5/29/2006, 2:23 PM
Couldn't agree more. And after going through screening at LAX you have to walk along a sloping tiled floor, with no shoes on. Said floor is extremely slippery and quite a few people were coming to grief. This situation has existed for over a year.

I just don't get it. I've witnessed Americans have a complete dummy spit if their fries were cold and yet now, you put up with this.
johnmeyer wrote on 5/29/2006, 2:30 PM
"dummy spit"


[Edit] Never mind, I think I get it ...
GlennChan wrote on 5/29/2006, 3:36 PM
As to diplomas, I agree with you there too. I have often found that people from "modest" universities do better in the business world than those from "top drawer" schools. Having attended some schools in the latter group, I can tell you that one reason for this is most of them do NOT expose their students to anything practical. I graduated with an EE degree and if I hadn't been predisposed to want to build and repair everything in sight, I would not have had the slightest idea of how a TV worked, or how to repair my stereo.

The TSA theft problem might really have to do with the inefficiencies of large institutions/organizations. If you want to do anything, you're going to have to go through meeting after meeting after meeting. Similarly in universities, changing the curriculum might take an average of two years (I'm not kidding!).

TSA might have problems dealing with theft because:
A- Implementing a plan may take them years to start, after they get through all their meetings and get funding (which might take an election cycle).
B- Their first try may not work (nothing to do with large institutions). In which case, they go back to A again.
C- They might just try to hide the problem instead of dealing with it. An organization will usually try to make itself look good. The politicians might downplay the problem to make themselves look good.
D- The people working there probably weren't hired because they were good at dealing with theft.
E- Sometimes in large institutions, the talentless aren't going to get fired (i.e. unions, they are their own boss, they don't want to admit there's a problem, etc.).

It could be these reasons why TSA has a problem dealing with theft.
Coursedesign wrote on 5/29/2006, 3:40 PM

I'm an EE from a good school too, and couldn't agree more. Fortunately we students weren't inclined to accept the disconnect from reality, so we set up our own really top flight electronics lab, an enormously powerful HF/VHF/UHF amateur radio station in a penthouse on the roof of the largest EE building (how powerful? holding up an unconnected fluorescent tube 50 feet from the VHF antenna, the light from it would blind you...), and our own mainframe room with a double floor (begged an RCA Spectra 70 4-bit (!) mainframe, and refrigerator size IBM 2307 7MB diskdrives...).

[How did we finance this? We had a Begging Committee of dedicated beggars who called electronics and computer companies and asked them to donate any slow moving goodies for goodwill. Once a year we auctioned off what had come in, and typically pulled in about 40 grand with bidding support from offering strong beer (malt liquor) for a dime a bottle. No difference from Las Vegas... :O).]

Interesting about the 20% rinse cycle. I have heard of this at a few companies, but not in a school. In the end it may save students money, by weeding out those less motivated who would just fail later anyway, at greater expense.

But it would be interesting to see a follow-up study if this assumption is true.

I really don't think Bush is stupid. Among those who know him more closely, the consensus seems to be that he is a bit lazy but not stupid. It is conceivable that some people misjudged him because of some lasting minor damage from his heavy kegger days.

I suspect that his moderate laziness made it easier for ambitious White House underlings to get him to accept many very bold proposals as long as they did the work.

He is certainly a likeable guy. It's the characters he (or perhaps his dad) picked for his cabinet that gives me the creeps.

They seem to have become drunk with power, with the motto "Why the torture and assault on sovereign countries? Because we can!" and a deep desire to make the citizens of this country feel as closely as possible what it was like behind the Iron Curtain in the good old days.

busterkeaton wrote on 5/29/2006, 3:44 PM
I definitely think Bush's relationship with his father is a major, major factor in his psychology.

Bush by his own admission had a serious drinking problem until the day after his 40th birthday party in 1986. He was the grandson of a senator and the son of a man who was a Congressman, the head of the CIA, then vice-president and he was 40 years old and still not amounting to much. His business ventures were not successful. He was kind of floundering and not living up to the standards of his very presitigous, high-achieving family. I think the father didn't respect him and there was a long history of father-son tension including when Bush was 26 he went out drinking with 16-year-old brother Marvin, and came home, noisily dragging a garbage can under his car. When his father confronted him, he wanted to have a fistfight with George H.W. Jeb intervened before that happened. Before the son hooked up with Karl Rove, everyone assumed Jeb Bush would be the next star in the Bush family. In fact Karl Rove, was fired from the Bush I re-election campaign for leaking negative stories about another member of the campaign.

Politically there are many, many instances where Bush II repudiated the policies of Bush the elder. When deficits got out hand, Bush I raised taxes. With deficits getting out of hand again, Bush II is pushing for making the "temporary tax cuts during a time of surplus" permanent. Bush I represented the old somewhat moderate, New England Republican establishment. Bush II has full embraced the religious right even employing religious "code words" in his major speeches. Bush I was a realist in foreign-policy and wrote a book about the many reasons, he did not invade Baghdad and the problems that invading Bagdahd could cause. Bush II, well..... Bush I understood that when you worked with Allies and international organizations you ENHANCED American power. Bush II has been gleeful about dissing NATO and the UN, not understanding that if things didn't go the way he wished in Iraq, he would DIMISH America power and that our allies wouldn't not be rushing to help us out.

Rove is not the only person that George W. Bush sided with who represented a shot at his father. The adminstration is filled with people who thought themselves tougher than the "realist wimps" of the first Bush administration. Wolfowitz is a prime example. Bush has allowed his people to describe him as the rightful inheritor of Ronald Reagan's mantle which is way of saying his father is not a real Republican. Bush has even brought back such disgraced figures from the Reagan administration as Eliot Abrams, John Negroponte and Otto Reich The neocons of this administration have talked about occupying Iraq not in terms of "is this the right choice for American" but in terms of "who has the cojones to take out Saddam." Right after Baghdad fell, Richard Perle said this would send a two word message to other countries, "You're Next." Other neocons starting saying things like "Everyone wants to go to Baghdad. Real men want to go to Tehran." Sometimes it was quoted as "Real men go to Damascus." As we speak the disinformation campaign is gearing up against Iran. Last week a false story of Iran making Jews wear special marks on the clothing appeared on the front page of one of my local papers.

A defining feature of neoconservativism is its blinding ideology. Lots of folks at staff levels of government came up through the conservative movement where "message discipline" and ideological principles are more important than reality. Particularly in economics and foreign policy. I am not talking about ordinary conservative citizens/voters. I'm talking about Movement Conservatives who learn very early on, that critical discussion can cost them their jobs. Blinding themselves to the facts is part of the methodology of neoconservatives. It's not just a danger in their method, it's part of their very method itself.

If you think 2002 was spent in actually trying to determine if Iraq was a threat, then the intelligence debate and the decision to invade makes no sense. However if the decsion to invade was already made waaaaaaaay before March 2003, then it does make sense. It was not an evaluation of a threat, it was a search for a casus belli. Each month brings out a new example of cherry picking some intelligence and suppressing other intelligence.

risce1 wrote on 5/29/2006, 3:46 PM
.......................and a deep desire to make the citizens of this country feel as closely as possible what it was like behind the Iron Curtain in the good old days...............
Logan5 wrote on 5/29/2006, 3:51 PM
Short read - http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/000602

Under the surface: Home Land Security is more then just low under trained people.

In a way, the movie “They Live” seems less like fiction now days.

John_Cline wrote on 5/29/2006, 3:58 PM
I remember when flying was FUN. Now, it is a monumental pain in the butt. With the exception of a suitcase full of clothes (which I will reluctantly check), if I can't carry it on, it isn't going.

johnmeyer wrote on 5/29/2006, 4:27 PM
so we set up our own really top flight electronics lab, an enormously powerful HF/VHF/UHF amateur radio station in a penthouse on the roof of the largest EE building

Sounds like MIT. We never had that much fun at my school. I did go to work, however, at the microwave test equipment division at Hewlett-Packard, and I can tell you that light bulbs aren't the only thing that will glow when put near that much power. There are other very valuable bulb-shaped objects that you generally want to protect at all times that might also begin to radiate ...

Each month brings out a new example of cherry picking some intelligence and suppressing other intelligence.

Pretty interesting stuff in your post that I'd never heard before. A lot of it assumes some pretty intimate knowledge of the Bush family and what is inside the two Bush brains (such as they are). Your final quote is the thing that resonates with me. Regardless of what Oedipus stuff might be going on, I've seen a lot of corporate decisions get made by selective filtering of information in order to fit preconceived notions. When lives aren't at stake, the motives obviously appear considerably less sinister. This is not in any way to excuse what may or may not have happened in the White House leading up to the decision to invade, but merely to point out that the problem is not uncommon.

As to all the cowboy "tough talk," I am not sure that is as bad a thing as some have come to believe. I don't pretend to know much about the people in the Middle East, or the "nuances" of how they think, but I actually do believe that the ambiguity, which has for years been a central, deliberate part of our dealings with China, is probably a very bad idea in this instance. Tough talk certainly seems to have had the desired effect with Libya, and I think with all other countries in the region, with the exception of Iran. What's going on there? I don't know. Their leader is either insane or very clever: both extremes would lead to the same actions. Both require a pretty clear, consistent, hard line. Neville Chamberlain need not apply for the job of negotiating with these folks.

rmack350 wrote on 5/29/2006, 5:02 PM

I've had a hard time accepting the idea that this was just about oil, but it's all about oil. Would we be in the middle east at all without oil? Would we even care? Would anyone?

Okay, granted that fundamentalists care very much about the holy land and our western fundamentalists are hell-bent to bring on the end of the world but I still don't think we'd "be there" financially or militarily without oil.

But let's look at it from another angle. Our current administration's associates are largely big oil and big fundamentalism. It's human nature to spend your time with the people you like or have things in common with. This is why I don't know any red conservatives or fundamentalists (eastern or western). When the people in this administration do anything at all with their friends, those friends are going to be big oil or big fundamentalism and their attentions are going to be turned to the middle east - because the middle east is the focus of their lives. If their friends had been bicycle nuts then they'd talk about bicycles, but oil and fundamentalism are their lives so they pay more attention to the middle east than they do to other parts of the world. You focus on the things that you spend your life on.

So, is it "all about oil"? Maybe not in a concrete sense, but for a lot of these people their lives are all about oil.

Rob Mack

Rob Mack
rmack350 wrote on 5/29/2006, 5:24 PM
For casual flying, I have slip-on shoes and I but everything metal into a ziplock back in my shoulderbag. Everything goes really quick and I can take off my shoes on the plane.

The problem here is work gear in the checked baggage. You can't take everything in as a carry-on.

Rob Mack
kdm wrote on 5/29/2006, 6:36 PM
DSE - sorry to hear of your experience, and good word to the wise. Maybe I'll use Fedex next trip rather than carrying gear.

I agree with Sherman - it isn't one agency, group or business. It is a larger societal decline we are experiencing. I've run into more companies that would rather back their incompetence as the customer's fault or responsibility (e.g. cover up), rather than attempt to keep the customer. My bank (US Bank) recently charged me interest for transferring out money that was listed as "available" in all account listings. However, that isn't the case apparently, and no one has access to that info, including the bankers (per a call to corporate...except the computer that knows when you tap into that hidden "unavailable balance" to figure out the interest to charge of course). Their reasoning? Business account balances are provided as a courtesy to customers, and apparently, balances are not guaranteed to be in any way accurate. This only cost me $5.78, but it and other blatant errors on their part will cost this bank my business permanently.

This isn't the only case - I can recount more and more companies that when approached about false information, gross errors on their part, etc. will simply place the responsibility on the customer.

We are now paying the price for a decline in moral upbringing over the last 40 years, and failure of our society to stand for anything ethical. We've traded our pride and integrity for relativistic "anything goes" amorality and selfcentered individualism. Hence, TSA agents steal. Customer service reps and managers couldn't care less if a customer walks. CFOs and CEOs "cook the books". Corporations view customers as assets to be peddled freely, rather than people to be valued.

It isn't the government - it's the people. Imho, you are right on target Sherman, and it is sad. Very sad. One day this will be the destruction of our once fine country.
johnmeyer wrote on 5/29/2006, 6:39 PM
I've had a hard time accepting the idea that this was just about oil, but it's all about oil.

Yes, at the level you describe it, I agree. Put another way, I don't think we are going to invade Darfur, not matter how bad the human rights violations, and even if they have the few odd terrorists lurking around. So yes, the oil in that region -- and in Iraq in particular -- means that we have a "strategic interest" in that region.

However, that interest has little or nothing to do with profits, at least not those that directly flow into the bulging coffers of Exxon, et. al. Instead, it has to do with the fact that, absent oil, we as a nation wll very quickly find ourselves in deep do-do (technical term). Now there are some people that seem to take an almost perverse pleasure in hoping that this (massive oil shortages) will happen, and we hear them egging on our leaders and the general populace to enact policies that will hasten that day. However, I think virtually all of those people -- and I mean 99.99% -- will change their tune almost instantly when confronted with the reality of not being able to heat or cool their house or refrigerate their food, much less get around in their cars. Many of us had a brief, diluted taste of this during the oil embargoes of the early 1970s, when many gas stations didn't have gas at any price, and for the first time you wondered each day if you were going to be able to fill up or not.

High prices are one thing, but lack of adequate supply, followed by widespread outages, are a completely different thing. Life fundamentally changes at that point. When that happens, people no longer grumble: they shoot.

Those blocking new energy policy remind me a little of the kid that hopes for a huge snow so he doesn't have to go to school but then complains when he has to shovel it, and when the ice from the storm turns off the heat for two days, and he has to go to bed cold for the first time in his life.

I give Bush extremely high marks for trying to do something about this, going back to when he was running for his first term. He has tried to enact policies that will provide more supply and greater independence from unstable, unfriendly foreign countries. The environmental lobby doesn't like that policy, of course, and have been 100% successful in blocking any exploration, drilling, and refining, thus making the problem worse.

Drilling for more oil is, of course, a lousy long-term (50 year horizon) policy, but it sure makes sense in the short term. Long-term there is only one technically feasible solution to oil and global warming, and that is nuclear. Ethanol (much has been made of what Brazil has done) does nothing for global warming (if it exists, and if it is man-made, and if it can be reversed); windmills don't supply enough power, and even Ted Kennedy won't let them be built in his backyard 'cause they're ugly (he just shut down a proposed project on Cape Cod); solar is a joke on almost every level, except for direct heating of hot water (I just priced out electric solar panels a few days ago and they are $700 for a panel that will light one light bulb -- and only a 75W bulb at that). And the panel is 1 x 1.5 meters. Think of the area required to supply a few thousand watts to the average home.

So, yes oil is definitely a major part of the equation. I also think, as long as we're analyzing the inner workings of the Bush mind, that having had one experience where the planes were coming into multiple cities and hitting buildings, and more appeared to be on the way, and with no knowledge whether this was just the beginning of something bigger, but with the knowledge -- which all of us have had for over a decade -- that these people's goal is to obtain a very large destructive force, preferably nuclear, can you imagine being in a position of leadership and wondering what the heck you'd do when the word comes in that the terrorists have just blown up most of a major city?

What do you do then? Invade Albania? ("Wag the Dog" reference, for those that don't see every movie -- BTW that movie works even better as a metaphor for things most of you don't like about Bush than it ever did for the things people didn't like about Clinton).

We've now shown that you can't successfully retaliate by invading Afghanistan or Iraq. And, you can't stop them by doing nothing -- we tried that for the last fifteen years and what did that get us? 9/11.

So what do you do?

That's why -- despite my strong objections to Iraq -- I refuse to reduce my criticism's of Bush's decision to invade Iraq (and now, to stay the course in Iraq) to simply a question of "helping the oil industry" or some other similar self-centered goal. The "Bush Doctrine" was declared and described in detail immediately after 9/11, and what has unfolded is all a direct consequence of that policy.

Logan5 wrote on 5/29/2006, 7:26 PM
John – I agree with most of your points and have modified some of my opinions’ from your well written view.

You are right Bush went for the oil in his first term. Now 2nd term “we’re addicted to oil”
I find that humorous. Will we become addicted to corn next? Perhaps merge the EPA with the DEA?

And last I’m for global warming. Too slow -melt faster!
If we need to lower the earth’s temps – remember the term: nuclear winter.
Bob Greaves wrote on 5/29/2006, 8:23 PM
Spot, I resonate with your frustration. I registered as a Republican in 1970 and have been fairly conservative in philosophy since. But this administration turned me sour. I had the opportunity to meet Bush when he visited Binghamton, NY when running for office the first time. He was arrogant and surrounded by fearful "yes" men. I balked and have refused to particiapte in any party functions ever since.

I feel like a person who agrees with the general concept but feels that the specific implementations adopted are dangerous and narrow minded. I've often poo poo'd conspiracy theories but I find it difficult to believe Bush is really this stupid. I cannot escape the feeling that he is actually up to something very very wrong. I can only hope the problem is with my gut and not that my beloved country is going down the drain.
Coursedesign wrote on 5/29/2006, 8:41 PM
I give Bush extremely high marks for trying to do something about this

We would have been in a better position if he had done something to reduce oil consumption, such as by updating fuel economy standards that were last touched in 1974.

He did put in a weasel change that allows car manufacturers to reduce the gas mileage of their cars even further by making them heavier, putting them in a different class.

This weasel move could be the final nail in GM's coffin, and it could be the end of the US auto industry.

How? Have you noticed GM's current desperate moves after being caught with their pants down, selling only gas hogs?

For a long time they made great great profits from very cheap-to-manufacture primitive truck frames pimped up with a flashy SUV outside, with gross margins that were astonishing.

Now they are within months of bankruptcy, if not weeks.

Some people believe that higer fuel economy standards would mean that we'd all have to drive around in tiny econoboxes with paperbodies.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

I'm driving a true midsize car that seats 5 people comfortably, can take a 9-foot surfboard inside the car, or six 6-foot tables + course materials for 18 people, or a dozen C-stands + a dozen medium and large (OK, 1K) spots and scoops, an assortment of folding reflectors, + a large broadcast camera.

With this car, I have gotten 55 mpg in town over a 45 minute roundtrip, and 52 mpg over a 2-hour roundtrip at full freeway speeds with 2 people and baggage.

Even at supersonic speeds it is really quiet, and the driving is as comfortable as a Mercedes E-class in most respects.

It is also Consumer Reports rated #1 for real-life reliability in all areas: engine, electrical, transmission, suspension, etc., etc.

Very safe too thanks to good crumple zones and air bags all around, even for rear seat passengers.

This car could have been made by GM, but in the absence of any guidance from Bush or previous administrations, they took the easy road. Unfortunately it looks like the road they took will end in a ditch.

I have owned two GM cars before, and I was very very happy with both of them. I'll be sorry to see the company go, but of course there could be a miracle of some kind.
Coursedesign wrote on 5/29/2006, 8:48 PM
I can only hope the problem is with my gut and not that my beloved country is going down the drain.

Your gut is OK, but these things come and go pretty quickly.

The nastiness was started by Newt Gingrich, according to one long term political analyst (who just came out with a book, Fight Club something).

Before Newt, freshman congress critters, regardless of party, were jointly introduced by Dems and Reps working together. Generally, major bills were always agree with bipartisan support.

Newt stopped all this, and next he set up the GOP to value only obeisance to the party line. Anybody who didn't agree with the party was frozen out, and this lives on still today.

Still, it will change. There will be a new conservative revolution, from inside the party, but it will take some hurting this fall to give fuel to the fire.
Spot|DSE wrote on 5/29/2006, 8:54 PM
As many of you know, I fly a LOT. Prior to 9/11, I was a member of the Delta Million Mile club. That's a LOT of flying.
NEVER, ever, not once was anything stolen. We did have lost luggage, and luggage that had been gone thru. We're not talking small numbers, either. My tour flew with more than 100 pieces of baggage for 31 people including dancers and stage crew. This tour flew around the world twice, not to mention all the tour dates in the US, Canada, and South America. Have had things stolen from hotel rooms, backstage, etc, but never in flight. We also could lock our bags, remember? Today, even with the BS TSA locks (you can figure out the combo yourself very quickly, anyone can open these placebos, and we've suffered several losses. Just on the 2005 VASST tour alone, we had a laptop damaged, a camera damaged, missing accessories, and destroyed bag (TSA couldn't figure out how to open their own lock at the start of the tour, but rather than cutting it off, they sliced the bag).
Sorry, but as a person who is an exceptionally well traveled person, I know *exactly* who I'm pointing the finger at, why it's pointed at them, and why they deserve the finger (pun intended)
Baggage handlers have no reason to be opening a bag. This is well known, and is a videotaped activity. Yes, baggage handlers still steal. But no where NEAR as often as TSA employees are caught stealing. TSA has a LEGAL RIGHT to search your baggage without you present. They are not videotaped in all airports. In fact, very few airports that have BTS searches, such as LAX where the screeners are at least visible, but in ATL where the bags are searched underground, there is no camera.
Are there hard working TSA employees that are honest? Sure. Lots of em. Probably the biggest majority of the. On the other hand, they have a badge, which is a license to steal. Are they intelligent? Very few, I'd wager. It's estimated that at least 500 million dollars in goods have been stolen since 2002. By TSA employees.
TSA employees may not be deposed in a court of law for their actions. They know this. The reason they may not be deposed is that they are protected due to SSI, or Sensitive Security Information protections. The government has so far, set free more than 2 dozen TSA people against whom private citizens have attempted to file criminal charges.
On the subject of removing shoes (doesn't it make you cringe to be walking barefoot in a dry, non-washed area where thousands of others have been walking barefoot?) some airports like PHX offer you slip-booties to put over your bare or stocking'd feets. It is asinine that the TSA doesn't provide you a place to put your belt, watch, etc back on your waist or arm, and doesn't provide a place to sit after they've had you remove your shoes. They do this deliberately, to prevent a backup. However, they also have a huge lost and found, where all unclaimed items eventually become 'bonuses' for their staff. Lots of things get left behind due to the concern of picking up shoes, belts, whatevers. Airport TSA managers also have discretion as to whether they'll have you remove your shoes or not. It's not mandated by the Homeland Security.
So, while some folks may think my angst towards the Terrorist's Safety Assurance organization, I'd submit that you don't fly much if this is your position. I would *much* rather fly in Singapore (death penalty there for flight misdeeds) or Israel (basically the same) or any Euro country. Even Canada is significantly better, and they were initially trained by Homeland Stupidity. The security in all those countries have more intelligent, better paid, more intimidating, more aware people than any 10 of our TSA people combined. In Norway for example, they loosely go thru your bags, period. They Xray your bags. No big thing. But they also are trained in being aware of passengers with stress, or any "abnormal" behavior or appearance. They'll stare you straight in the eye and ask if you have explosives, guns, weapons of any sort, drugs, etc. They're very, very well trained. Not like our short time maybe high school graduates that make double minimum wage.
Finally, when we tour or travel with expensive gear, we demand the gear is inspected in our presense by TSA (whether they want to or not) and then demand a seal placed by TSA. They cannot refuse. They can make your day miserable, but they may not refuse. You have the right to demand to be present for the search, and to have your bag sealed in front of you. Be sure to note the name of the person searching so they know that you are aware that they are personally responsible.
Bear in mind, this was a personal trip, personal camera, and thank heaven I decided to pack the cam with a case that I had searched and sealed. I rarely pack anything of value inside my suitcase with my toiletries and clothing. The box itself was not valuable. The cables missing are more of a PITA to replace than anything else. The issue is that it's missing, and that had the camera been in there, it too, would have gone missing.
As Bob and others who have traveled internationally have pointed out, there is no excuse for this ridiculousness in the airports of America. Obviously you're entitled to your opinion, but if you are of the opinion that these clowns do ANYTHING to benefit US citizens, you apparently don't travel much. As John Cline said, travel used to be exciting and fun. Now, it's an exercise in Pavlovian response.
FrigidNDEditing wrote on 5/29/2006, 9:14 PM
This anti-bush thread is one that I'm staying out of, except to say, I'm sorry to hear some lowlife stole your cables Spot. Better luck next time.

riredale wrote on 5/29/2006, 10:26 PM
I think 90% of the airport absurdity gauntlet is due to touchy-feely Political Correctness that is still pervasive in the USA. Never mind that the 9/11 perpetrators were young Saudi/Egyptian males; lets make sure we force Grandma through the security screening process too. After all, we don't want to give the appearance of DISCRIMINATION, do we? Heaven Forbid.

Lets make sure nobody can have any sharp objects with them--why, they could be used as weapons! Oh, really? Ever since 9/11, everyone knows that "hijack" means "death." A potential hijacker, armed with a pocket knifes or not, must surely realize that nearly everyone on that plane is going to try to kill him once he declares his intentions. Oh, and just how the heck is he going to get into the cockpit?

...And don't buy a one-way ticket--why, that implies that you don't plan to ever come back! Extra screening for you! Does anyone truly believe that a hijacker is so stupid that he wouldn't buy a round-trip ticket to avoid this extra inspection?

Trained as an engineer, there's something inside me that just rebels against illogical processes, and my wife tells me my utter contempt for the screening gaultlet at airports is obvious to her, even though I shut up and do what they say.

Perhaps what will save us is some sort of "Trusted Traveler" program, where you get checked out in advance and then avoid all the BS at the airport. But I doubt the PC crowd and the ACLU will allow anything so logical.

BTW I like the idea of using soiled underwear--I'll have to try that on the next trip.