Re: Land Of The Free, Home Of The Brave

1

Yes, fulminating Atticus Finch-style condemnations from the swarthy Persian would have done a great deal of good.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 1:57 PM
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This has been another episode of Americans. Are. Fucking. Insane.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 1:58 PM
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And, coming after these messages, a new episode of "He wouldn'ta been on the list if he hadn'ta done something wrong."


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 1:59 PM
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"When his mother went to pick him up and hug him and comfort him during the proceedings, she was told not to touch him because he was a national security risk."

I cannot even fucking imagine.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 2:16 PM
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4: Yeah, that's the line that had me spitting. Fucking thugs.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 2:25 PM
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The single likeliest time for me to pop a coronary and die is in the metal detector line.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 2:27 PM
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I would instantly bedeck myself in the bumper stickers of any candidate who came out with a common-sensical statement about how fucked up our airport "security" is. Bruce Schneier for TSA chief!


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 2:29 PM
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There's a special circle of hell that's being prepared for the domestic fear-mongers who've helped the terrorists make Americans so very afraid.

See, that's not good enough. What they need is a special circle of prison cells.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 2:30 PM
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when I just stood there crying as they made someone wheelchair-bound with very little motor control take off his shoes in the security line.

You mean instead of laughing?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 2:30 PM
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Land of the free, home of the bedwetters.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 2:32 PM
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Also, "Sam Adams" is on the no-fly list? The fuck?


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 2:36 PM
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My grandmother used to sing "O'er the land of the somewhat free, and the home of the sometimes brave."


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 2:37 PM
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11: Yes, God has a sense of humor.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 2:50 PM
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Some airport security people are just happy for a job, and the Somalis and Ethiopians in Minneapolis are very pleasant. But someone attracted to Homeland Security, the lifer type, probably is a very stupid, authoritarian, rule-following,mean-minded type who would do anything for a secure bureaucratic job. Like prison guards.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 2:50 PM
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I know names are often withheld in situations like this so that people involved aren't harassed, but I would really like see a big public shaming for the TSA official who took a five year old child from his mom because the child had the same name as someone on the no-fly list.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 2:56 PM
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Airport security got a big boost towards the second type when they fired all the immigrants after 9-11. Much more of a prison guard profile now.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 2:58 PM
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Hm, that didn't seem to happen in Minneapolis, unless these wey all naturalized citizens.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 3:02 PM
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I don't know what the deal is with Boing Boing now but every time I read it it crashes my browser.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 3:13 PM
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I've also noticed the very pleasant Somalis at MSP. What I want to know is: who are the hard-asses who are holding TSA's feet to the fire on this stuff?

The flying public? No.
The airlines? No.

For whatever reason, this must be a very high priority for the Bush administration. In that, there is some hope that it will change in 2009.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 3:42 PM
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Frowner lives in or near a Somali neighborhood. When I visited I saw them walking around all bundled up. It has to be a big adjustment for a near-tropical people.

I just looked, and Winnipeg (the coldest city of its size in the world) has about 30,000 Filipino residents. The Philippines are strictly tropical. I'd be interested in hearing what the first Winnipeg Filipinos had to say.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 3:57 PM
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The Filipinos started going to Winnipeg only in 1959, and two of the first immigrants are still there, so it's a possible interview to do.

Filipinos in Manitoba

Not that y'all care.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 4:00 PM
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Have I told the story of shivbunny's co-worker and the TSA? I sing of arms and a man...

A man who works with dynamite for a living, and was returning to Canada after a month in Texas. All was going well until he went through airport security, where there was an explosives detector. The air puffed out and in, and suddenly the man is surrounded by nervous officials with guns.

All the men on the job are licensed, of course, and carry paperwork in case of just this eventuality, as dynamite residue is nearly impossible to keep from contaminating clothing. So the man says, calmly "I have papers for that in my carry-on," and reaches towards the bag. "Don't move!" screech the officials with guns, and the man is escorted away in cuffs to a back room.

After about an hour of phone calls, they discover he's not a terrorist, and they apologize for the delay. "We've never had to do this before," they say, "and we had to check the manual."

But, alas, policy is that as he set off the sniffer, they can't let him go until they're certain he's not hiding any explosives.

That's one cavity search gratis from the TSA.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 4:02 PM
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I'm really surprised that with all the GWOT "true war stories" books that there hasn't been an insider's look at TSA. It is so obviously a clusterfuck at times that you think it must be run by rote morons.

BTW, what happens if you insist on wearing your shoes through the metal detector? I swear there's no metal in my shoes.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 4:19 PM
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Why? Boycotting metal and leather both? A new one on me.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 4:22 PM
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7: I don't know why any of the major candidates of either party (maybe Paul?) haven't made TSA more of an issue. "Smart security, not dumb fear" would make a great slogan.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 4:29 PM
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23- I think they explicitly tell you to take off your shoes now. I flew to Hawaii in 2005, on the return trip I was wearing Merrell slip-ons so I just left them on since they're basically slippers. The signs suggested taking off your shoes but didn't say you had to- the guy who checked my boarding pass saw I was wearing my shoes, put a big red letter on the pass, and I got a 10 minute secondary screening. Of course, if everyone kept their shoes on they couldn't extra-screen all the people- collective action problem.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 4:38 PM
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I'd be interested in hearing what the first Winnipeg Filipinos had to say.

"Holy fucking shit" or the equivalent, I assume. I read once, I think in one of Hugh Brody's books about the Arctic, about an Inuit guy who moved to Edmonton but had to go back north because he found it uncomfortably warm.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 4:39 PM
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I don't know what the deal is with Boing Boing now but every time I read it it crashes my browser.

Cory Doctorow knows what you did. And he's pissed.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 4:40 PM
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On my return from Philadelphia last weekend there was a loud TSA agent repeating, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, REMOVE YOUR SHOES AND PLACE THEM IN ONE OF THE PLASTIC TRAYS at full voice, over and over.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 4:43 PM
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I was told at National in DC that I must remove my shoes, no two ways about it. Not sure if that's the rule elsewhere.


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 4:44 PM
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I'm sure the cavity search was humiliating, but at least they didn't give him a Public Jenkins.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 4:48 PM
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Hi Standpipe!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 4:49 PM
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29: Same at Hartsfield. Ugh.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 4:50 PM
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Hi Cala!


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 5:01 PM
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For awhile (I believe after the shoe bomber thing calmed down a bit) the taking off of shoes was only a "recommendation" or "suggestion," as described in 26. They would say, "Sir, we recommend you take off your shoes!" I always found this phrasing confusing, and at one point asked a screener whether he meant I was not required to take them off. He said, "Yes, but if you leave them on we have to do such-and-such."

It was only after one of the other big scares (I believe London liquid explosive incident) that this "recommendation" became a requirement.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 5:09 PM
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you should have announced: I am Osama Bin Laden and i approve this message.


Posted by: bryan | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 5:11 PM
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My dad has a prosthetic arm containing no small amount of metal. We were going through security for an early flight (at Chicago's Midway maybe? Or BWI. can't remember), and he absent-mindedly went through the metal detector. It didn't go off. They then realized it hadn't yet been turned on for the day.

Ah, competence.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 5:18 PM
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That is, he went through with the prosthetic arm on.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 5:19 PM
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He means, his dad's arm didn't fall off when he went through the machine because his dad had forgotten to turn his arm on that morning.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 5:20 PM
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TSA Approves Scanner That Will Let Fliers Who Pay Keep Their Shoes On

WSJ headline from last December.

The shoe scanner is expected to draw customers to the program because not only will it speed up lines. It will also offer another perk -- remaining shod -- to attract customers willing to pay annual fees of about $100.

I thought the Registered Traveler program had gotten canned after getting bad press, but apparently it is alive at $28/person per year, but with only limited airports/airlines. List here.

'Pathetic' is too weak of a word, we need a new one.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 5:21 PM
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they made someone wheelchair-bound with very little motor control take off his shoes in the security line

God, I witnessed something similar last time I flew: a husband and wife, the husband with something like a palsy, wearing orthopaedic shoes. Extended conferences between them and the guards over the husband's inability to get his shoes on and off himself, the wife would have to help him, they were really going to need a chair, could someone find a chair, and was this really necessary?

The couple were so confused and humiliated by the whole thing.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 5:26 PM
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39: Exactly. My mom turns his arm on every single morning, IYKWIM AITYD.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 5:27 PM
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I must say the guards were quite solicitous and kind. Though.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 5:28 PM
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Actually, the absence of a constituency for this stuff is just another instance of the invulnerability of bureaucracy.

*takes off libertarian hat*


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 5:54 PM
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the guards were quite solicitous and kind

See, this is what gets me. We have created a system that a) punishes individual decisionmaking and judgment, and b) attracts and reinforces authoritarian behavior (per the comments above). If we stipulate that we're stuck with a no-fly list, why can't we at least give individual TSA workers the power to make it a pleasant inconvenient experience, instead of a miserable and frightening one?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 5:56 PM
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SP hinted at this above, but the real problem with airport/airline security isn't the ludicrous regulations from the TSA, it's the compliant acceptance of the traveling public. There are lobbying groups for air travelers, aren't there? What would it take for one of them to skirt up?


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 6:05 PM
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In addition to our new neighbors from the Horn of Africa region that Emerson mentions, one sees quite a few white Merkins in their sporty, sans-serif TSA apparel riding the train to and from the airport everyday. And if there is any semblance of a "type" among these people, I think you will understand when I say that many people of that type work in the Italian convenience food home delivery sector, and that many others have been known to frequent record stores that sell items other than records.

Seriously: It's like somebody from TSA went down to the community college job fair and yelled "Free burritos for the first 100 applicants!"


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 6:15 PM
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I think I'm on the other side of this from everyone else. Absent a requirement that it do the same to infants and invalids, the TSA would require ogged and the rest of the Shi'a to submit a cavity search prior to every flight. Those obscene little scenes are the main thing protecting various "obviously suspect" people from greater intrusions. I suspect FWM would be no fun at all.

It would be, admittedly, funny to the rest of us when ogged blogged about it.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 6:19 PM
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46: Air Travelers for Sanity!

(This will not work if businesspeople can just buy their way out of the humiliation of taking off their shoes etc. for a mere $100 annual fee. Also, what the heck is the TSA going to do with that money? And what in heaven's name is the #%*!%#$!$ Sept. 11 security fee tacked on to EVERY SINGLE TICKET going for. Seriously -- does it go into a black hole at DHS or what? Inquiring minds want to know.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 6:21 PM
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Security lately insists Rilkekind (age: one and a half years) take off his shoes.


Posted by: rilkefan | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 6:22 PM
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Tim, I think you're just wrong. First, even if we have to search the 5-year-olds who are on the no-fly list, we don't have to separate them from their parents. Parsimon points out above that there are kinder ways to make people have to jump through stupid hoops, and there are meaner ways. We're institutionalizing the meaner.

Plus, I dispute that things are all that fair now. Maybe you're right, and this pretense of fairness in the searches is just the finger in the dike, holding back the tidal wave of ethnic profiling that would follow if we changed the system. But I dunno. I think things are plenty unfair now.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 6:25 PM
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one sees quite a few white Merkins in their sporty, sans-serif TSA apparel riding the train to and from the airport everyday.

Do you mean Merkin like I mean Merkin? (little bit NSFW.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 6:26 PM
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Holy smokes, heebie, where did you come across that?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 6:28 PM
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Am I the only one who would participate in the Registered Traveler program if it were free?


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 6:28 PM
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Holy smokes, heebie, where did you come across that?

Heebie was hanging out in apo's back pocket. Platonically, of course.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 6:30 PM
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Holy smokes, heebie, where did you come across that?

I just looked down and thought, "You know, in this light, it does look a little Union Jack-y."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 6:32 PM
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Look at the face on that kid, tho. You know he's done something wrong.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 6:35 PM
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Completely OT, Heebie, but is this of any interest to you?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 6:36 PM
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52: Do you mean Merkin like I mean Merkin?

You'll have to consult the Standpipe-Webster Dictionary for the answer to that one.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 6:42 PM
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58: Yes. That's really interesting. There was a similar one done, which may be what they're referencing in a few spots, where kids were asked to explain the seasons, and the interview and model-driven techniques to uncover how students thought about it sound very similar. (The most common error being that it's winter when we're furthest from the sun. There's a video of Harvard grads being asked to explain the seasons, and almost all give this explanation.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 6:43 PM
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48:

Absent a requirement that it do the same to infants and invalids, the TSA would require ogged and the rest of the Shi'a to submit a cavity search prior to every flight

Tim, I assume you're exaggerating to make the point, but really: screening need not be extreme in either direction. Rational balance, and all that.

Heh, we as a society engage in cost-benefit analysis in everything from approval of pharmaceuticals to food safety to infrastructure: perhaps I'd argue that something similar should be applied with respect to airport security. The chance that a 5-year-old or infirm elder is being used as a mule, as it were, for explosives is slim enough that we might consider taking the risk.

Interesting that I'd hear myself offer that argument. In any event, it would call for counting human dignity as a cost, something we appear to be disinclined to do.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 6:52 PM
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Counting the loss of dignity as a cost, that is.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 6:55 PM
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i thought one have to take off shoes if there is something metallic on the shoes, if there is nothing metallic, could just walk through
i walked through with shoes on twice i think, because it was simple shoes without laces and the inspecting person just waved to go through
detaining 5 yrs olds, disgusting paranoia


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 6:58 PM
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Interesting, also, that you're proposing cost-benefit analysis as a way to salvage human dignity. Usually people oppose that kind of analysis as an affront to it.

It demonstrates that post-9/11 security has failed from every viewpoint, I suppose.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 6:59 PM
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Interesting, also, that you're proposing cost-benefit analysis as a way to salvage human dignity. Usually people oppose that kind of analysis as an affront to it.

Right.

Expand the range of things you count as costs and benefits, however, and it's not a stretch. This kind of reasoning is not unusual in environmentalism.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 7:08 PM
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Heh, we as a society engage in cost-benefit analysis in everything from approval of pharmaceuticals to food safety to infrastructure: perhaps I'd argue that something similar should be applied with respect to airport security.

This is the racial profiling argument.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 7:24 PM
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66:

I realize that. You missed the part where I said the range of things counted as costs and benefits must be expanded.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 7:27 PM
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The chance that a 5-year-old or infirm elder is being used as a mule, as it were, for explosives is slim enough that we might consider taking the risk.

Well, if I was delivering explosives, a 5-year-old would by my courier of choice.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 7:36 PM
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If I WERE delivering explosives, a 5-year-old would BE my courier of choice.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 7:39 PM
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68: My daughters, who are about to turn 5, would either a) mislay the explosives, b) expose the plot or c) blow something up well before we got to the airport. You've met them, so I think you'd agree that c) is the most likely possibility.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 7:42 PM
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you are kidding, right?
i don't get such a dark humor though


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 7:43 PM
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John, you have hair on your head that's five years old, probably.

I do, anyway.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 7:43 PM
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If I WERE delivering explosives, a 5-year-old would BE my courier of choice.

A five-year old infidel, sure. But what about a cute, believer child?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 7:47 PM
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I would not, in fact, entrust Jesus's unreliable daughters with any important task.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 7:48 PM
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However, Jesus, by and large bombers don'treally need to blow up anything specific. Just a big BOOM somewhere or another is OK.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 7:50 PM
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buncha ablists. Gimps can be smugglers too!


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 7:58 PM
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What I don't understand is, if Teh Terrorists are truly out to get us, why none of them has ever bombed the huge crowd of people that inevitably backs up waiting to get through airline security.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 8:05 PM
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...rule-following,mean-minded type who would do anything for a secure bureaucratic job. Like prison guards.

New guy in charge of security at the theatre I sometimes work at is a former prison worker. Every visitor has to wear a chain with a huge numbered tag. He claims he can put the place on "lock down" within 30 seconds. This is what happens when Human Resources gets powerful. Place has gone insane.

My favourite thing about Dr. Strangelove is the character names that get stupider and stupider, up to the U.S. President Merkin Muffly.


Posted by: Penny | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 8:06 PM
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The chance that a 5-year-old or infirm elder is being used as a mule, as it were, for explosives is slim enough that we might consider taking the risk.

We take that risk every day, in malls, movie theaters, grocery stores, elementary schools. In the future, you will have to remove your shoes to step outside your front door.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 8:28 PM
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Indeed. Barefootedness for all!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 8:34 PM
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I worry that my five year old will blow something up on the way to the airport, or any destination really, and we aren't part of a terrorist cell or anything.

We got a Roomba for Christmas, and she loves the damn thing. Carries it around like it is her new pet. I swear she will break it before we've owned it a month.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 8:56 PM
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80 - And nakedness obviously - who knows what's under that coat.

No shoe-removal flying from Toronto to London. Random shoe-removal flying from London to Toronto. My 5 year old got patted down after she'd gone through the metal detector; I thought that was bad enough.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 9:00 PM
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4, 5: I probably would have ended up in handcuffs.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 9:00 PM
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Terrorist beard update: gone (mostly).

I'm prancing around the house singing the lyrics to this song with the word "torn" swapped with "shorn".


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 9:08 PM
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I probably would have ended up in handcuffs.

Word.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 9:12 PM
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mostly

What's left?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 9:17 PM
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84 - oh Stanley, I thought you were going to link to this version of the song. Much funnier.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 9:27 PM
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Land of the free, home of the bedwetters.

Should that be: Land of the freepers... ?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-12-08 10:02 PM
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why can't we at least give individual TSA workers the power to make it a pleasant inconvenient experience, instead of a miserable and frightening one?

At the Austin airport, it usually is a "pleasant inconvenience" at worst, which I suspect is true of many smaller, more out-of-the-way airports that no one thinks teh terrorists care about.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01-13-08 9:20 AM
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Do you mean Merkin like I mean Merkin?

Yak belly!?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01-13-08 9:21 AM
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It's funny, but in the last two years, in Minneapolis, Portland, and NYC I've found the experience to be routine, unintrusive, and not terribly slow. Maybe I've just been lucky.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-13-08 9:25 AM
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I've never been to the US, but my experience of airport security in Europe is that of the places I've been, by far the worst was Amsterdam. Where they were aggressive, bullying pricks.

By contrast, at London airports, the process was slow, but the people running it, mostly cheery.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-13-08 9:30 AM
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I have a big pet peeve with people who want to start putting their stuff in tubs before you're done unloading how many tubs you're going to use. If you've got a winter coat, shoes, a purse, a carry on bag, and a laptop, that's at least three tubs. Wait a goddamn second, okay?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-13-08 9:30 AM
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And I think their 3-1-1 mnemonic for the plastic bag bullshit is at best unmemorable, and at worst a disastrous hassle for parents trying to bring formula and apple juice on their trip.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-13-08 9:32 AM
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I deeply enjoy packing my bags extremely messily, with all sorts of wires and electronics mixed amongst the dirty underwear. You want to search my bag? Work for it, motherfucker.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-13-08 9:36 AM
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I up-end a jar of honey all over my clothes, and then leave it open on the front lawn overnight, before zipping it up and handing it over to them. WHO'S LAUGHING NOW.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-13-08 9:39 AM
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The were bullies in tolerant, rational Amsterdam? I thought they would shower you with tulips and hashish. Maybe have a few oil paintings on the wall to give a feeling of middle class prosperity and security.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 01-13-08 9:42 AM
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I rub Durian fruit all over my pipe bombs before gong through security.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-13-08 9:44 AM
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re: 97

Actually, I've only been in Amsterdam twice. Once for a holiday when I was 18 and once on a connecting flight through Schiphol. My experience of law enforcement/security was bad both times. Could have just been bad luck, though, that I got someone on an off day.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-13-08 9:48 AM
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When we flew out of BWI for Christmas, the screening line was several hundred people long and one of the screeners started permitting people to lay their coats on top of their laptops to speed things up and save bins. A passenger just behind us tattled to the TSA supervisors behind the checkpoint.

Luckily, the guy was walking to a gate near ours so I was able to loudly decry him for the next five minutes with some certainty that he could hear.


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 01-13-08 10:16 AM
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99: If they're dealing day in and day out with the international stoner community, eventually even the most tolerant and professional security personnel will burn out.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-13-08 10:29 AM
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re: 101

Heh, but in this case, no. They were just being pricks.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-13-08 11:15 AM
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fwiw, I've had decent experience with amsterdam airport, but it's a bit out of date.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-13-08 11:22 AM
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I once saw a family (mom, dad, 2 kids) get busted for trying to sneak pot into their luggage at the Amsterdam airport.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 01-13-08 11:43 AM
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re: 103

Probably if I'd flown through regularly, I'd say the same. sampling error, etc. One minor bad experience.

Basically, they were pulling people out of the line to check their shoes [this was a couple of years back and Reid was still fairly fresh in the headlines]. All fine, but they were quite aggressive about it. I got pulled out, and was sitting next to an old lady, and they were talking to her [and me] in a tone of voice and manner that was uncalled for.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-13-08 11:55 AM
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re: 104

Yeah, I saw a bunch of people get busted at Dover when I was coming back on the bus from Amsterdam. They busted two separate groups.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-13-08 11:56 AM
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Customs and security in Amsterdam is notoriously obnoxious. Not simply strict or thorough, but 'tudish.

The only contraband I've ever traveled with is cheese. I wrap all dirty underwear around it.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-13-08 12:15 PM
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104, 106: The French cops always bust a bunch of people on the train back from Amsterdam.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-13-08 12:17 PM
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And then serve it to your dear friends. Nice, Oudemia!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-13-08 1:25 PM
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they were really going to need a chair, could someone find a chair

The thing is, in a civilized society, we'd *all* need chairs. You've got two arms, maybe a kid hanging onto one of them, and you have to somehow take off your shoes, your coat, unload your pockets, get your laptop out of its sleeve, get the plastic bag with the shampoo out of your purse, get your cell phone and ipod or pda out of whatever bag they're in, make sure you've got your boarding pass ready to hand to the guard, and *ideally*, of course, you're supposed to do this all *while you're standing in line* with people yelling at you and everyone in a huge hurry. Schnell, schnell!!

At the Minneapolis airport, they had big flat screen monitors showing you a little video about how you should pack to make it all easier and quicker. With one woman who was Setting a Bad Example by not having her papers ready!! and all the other passengers clearly thought she was being a Bad Citizen. Nothing like trying to brainwash people into turning on the one person who acts like they still have rights, because they're inconveniencing everyone else by making the processing go more slowly...

The boyfriend's reaction to the video was that the ditzy chick was really pretty hot.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-13-08 1:59 PM
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Actually maybe that was at BWI. I don't remember.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-13-08 1:59 PM
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Actually maybe that was at BWI. I don't remember.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-13-08 2:00 PM
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109: Remember, I'm the one that feeds them bits of my fingers, too.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-13-08 2:00 PM
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A passenger just behind us tattled to the TSA supervisors behind the checkpoint.

I once did this, many years ago, when I saw a guy hand a bag that hadn't been scanned to someone who'd just gone through the checkpoint.

The official type people went and asked him about it, then told me that he'd said that that was his brother, who was just helping with his bags. Apparently they didn't even check the bag themselves. I was a little irritated about how slack they were. Ah, the good old days.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-13-08 2:03 PM
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A passenger just behind us tattled to the TSA supervisors behind the checkpoint.

I once did this, many years ago, when I saw a guy hand a bag that hadn't been scanned to someone who'd just gone through the checkpoint.

The official type people went and asked him about it, then told me that he'd said that that was his brother, who was just helping with his bags. Apparently they didn't even check the bag themselves. I was a little irritated about how slack they were. Ah, the good old days.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-13-08 2:03 PM
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Bitches in Stereo!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-13-08 2:04 PM
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94 - formula doesn't count heebs, and the TSA say they don't make you taste it to prove it, whether it's formula or expressed breastmilk. The prudish British don't even mention EBM, the wankers, and are still threatening to make people taste the formula. Apple juice though - yeah, you'd have to buy it on the other side.

My kids are bigger now, and it's so much easier travelling with them, thank god. So much better when they can carry all their own junk.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-13-08 2:38 PM
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Hmm. Okay, I love NNW, but maybe it has some issues.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-13-08 2:44 PM
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I suppose that if it was Limburger or properly aged Muenster, the dirty-underwear taste would not be noticed.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-13-08 2:59 PM
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The cheeses worth smuggling back are very stinky ones. So . . . yeah.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-13-08 3:19 PM
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On the other hand, you might be better off throwing out the underwear, rather than trying to wash it. Otherwise you might end up finding people sniffing inexlicably in intimate situations.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-13-08 3:22 PM
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Never had problems with Schiphol airport security myself, but it helps if you speak the lingo. They do seem to be recruited from that part of the population that thinks everything outside our borders is one barbaric wasteland.

but they're rank amateurs in obnoxiousness compared to the French. If you really have a hankering to experience gestapo like security protocols, take the Eurolines nightbus from Amsterdam to London.



Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 01-14-08 12:57 AM
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The only contraband I've ever traveled with is cheese. I wrap all dirty underwear around it.

Cheese lovers are an odd breed.

What kind of cheese, Oudemia?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 01-14-08 6:49 AM
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77: What I don't understand is, if Teh Terrorists are truly out to get us, why none of them has ever bombed the huge crowd of people that inevitably backs up waiting to get through airline security.

You think people matter more than airplanes? How quaint.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-14-08 7:40 AM
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At the Austin airport, it usually is a "pleasant inconvenience" at worst, which I suspect is true of many smaller, more out-of-the-way airports that no one thinks teh terrorists care about.

Yes. At the Raleigh airport last weekend I was surprised that there was a cursory glance at the boarding pass but otherwise all smiles and waving people forward. The loudest anyone got was to point out that the third metal detector - one more than in Philly - was kind of hard to see down at the very end but was open and had no line.

Then everyone slowed each other down trying to let one another go first out of politeness.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 01-14-08 7:54 AM
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Sometimes the tiny little airports have the most self-important security. About six months after 9/11, I flew out of a tiny little regional airport and was astounded at the security precaution. Not just shoes, but turning down of belts and very suspicious officials. I'm thinking to myself that the tiny plane we're getting on would bounce off of any skyscrapers but suspected that the security dudes wouldn't have been amused.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-14-08 8:03 AM
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When I was flying out of Russia in January 1995, we were the first flight out of the international terminal in St. Petersburg that morning. The terminal, I should note, was tiny and security consisted of a single guy with a metal detector wand standing so that he blocked the doorway into the boarding area. I was wearing heavy winter boots with metal studs and such all over them, jeans with metal divots all over, metal in the frame of the suitcase, so on, so forth. He had me hold out my arms, wanded me up and down with the detector going crazy the whole time, then shrugged and said in his absurdly thick accent, "Have a nice flight."

I figure that as long as I was leaving his country he didn't much give a shit what I had on me.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 01-14-08 8:32 AM
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PLEASE DON'T TIP OFF THE TERRORISTS ABOUT YOUR AIRPORT.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-14-08 8:36 AM
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