Wednesday, June 22, 2011

X-Ray Vision, Tee Hee Hee

Actual job posting from the Transportation Security Administration, which is looking to hire agents to fondle airline travelers at Boston's Logan International Airport:


About the Job


Logan International Airport Is Now Hiring

Transportation Security Officers

See yourself in a vital role for Homeland Security. Be part of a dynamic security team protecting airports and skies as you proudly secure your future.

[Dates, addresses and phone numbers for various hiring fairs listed]


Federal Benefits * Paid, ongoing training

X-ray vision, ha ha ha! Since fondling travelers at Logan is only part-time work that can't possibly pay enough to live on in a hyper-expensive city like Boston, maybe TSA hoped calling attention to the X-rated X-ray fringe benefits would offset that among the sort of people craven enough to consider working for TSA.

In other news, last Sunday the Texas-based site The Statesman ran a puff piece about a government surplus store, discussing the nifty profit the state makes (and the nifty bargains ordinary people can find!) at surplus stores selling items TSA confiscates from travelers. The article specifically talks about all the beautiful snow globes for sale, all confiscated because they contain too much potentially dangerous liquid.

A beaming girl's picture is encased in the snow globe, which is about the size of a grapefruit and rests atop an expensive-looking wooden base proclaiming, "Congratulations, graduate!"

Alas, the graduate never received this gift. It rests amid a sea of San Antonio snow globes — and a few globes from Denver, Chicago and Disney World — on the shelves of the Texas State Surplus Store at 6506 Bolm Road, off U.S. 183.

Because it's filled with liquid, you can't carry a snow globe onto an airplane. But some travelers haven't gotten the message, or maybe it slips their minds during their harried packing for summer vacation. Thus, rows and rows of snow globes sit at the surplus store, which gets its inventory not only from state surplus but also from items that were left behind or confiscated — "We say willfully surrendered," said cashier Roberta Siller — at airport security checkpoints in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas-Fort Worth, Waco, El Paso and other small airports.

In the five years this store has been open, its plane-related inventory has soared because of heightened security, according to director James Barrington. The airport stuff takes up most of one small room at the store. In 2010, the state's general fund was enriched $300,000 by the storefront's sales.

It's never a good sign when the government actively profits from violating people's rights. And I would gladly bet my life's savings that the snow globes, confiscated on the grounds "They might be explosive or poisonous or something" are sold without first being tested to ensure their contents aren't explosive or poisonous or anything.

And there's similar tales, too: back when toiletry confiscations were first introduced, there were feel-good stories about TSA donating confiscated shampoo and soap and the like to homeless shelters. Then, as now, there's only two possible conclusion to draw from TSA's behavior:

Option one: they know damned well the stuff they confiscate on safety grounds is perfectly harmless, yet confiscate it anyway; or,

Option two: they honestly believe the stuff they confiscate might be dangerous, yet have no qualms about foisting potential poisons onto the homeless or bargain-shopping public.

I still haven't decided which option on TSA's part demonstrates the most contempt for the American public it allegedly serves.

(Dubious thanks to Lisa Simeone for letting me know about the job listing. I don't know why I even try affecting a good mood anymore.)


Blogger rhhardin said...

Option three is that if your stuff will be confiscated, there's no point in packing explosives in there.

So the stuff confiscated is known to be safe.

The policy nevertheless works to keep it safe.

Not that they're overestimating the nation's concern about exploding airliners versus the cost of prevention.

It the 50s airplanes were dropping out of the sky all the time and people still flew. A large number of airplanes did not fall out of the sky, was the calculation.

5:18 AM  
Blogger Windypundit said...

I've got to admit, when I read your posts about stuff like this, in my head you're sitting there at your computer in a fit of barely suppressed rage like Alice from the Dilbert comic strip:

"Must...Control...Fist Of Death..."

5:56 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

Windy, I had to take a break from blogging specifically to avoid such scenarios. Making the same complaint over and over and over and seeing no change ... it gets demoralizing after awhile.

12:20 PM  
Anonymous Lisa Simeone said...

The last time a bomb was smuggled aboard an airplane in the USA was December 11, 1967.

-Aviation Safety Network

Over 43 years. Yet for most of those 43 years, the TSA reign of molestation and rank stupidity didn't exist. How is it possible we all haven't been blown out of the sky already?? After all, The Terrorists Are Everywhere!

6:48 AM  
Anonymous Sommer Gentry said...

Please don't get demoralized, Jennifer! We will win. Justice is slow. In the longest view of history, I think I see progress on so many fronts that I believe this disgusting period of hysteria and abuse of innocent people is a blip. It's not right, but we will right it. After all, Joe McCarthy was eventually exposed for the liar and demagogue that he was, but for five years everyone cowered in fear as he ruthlessly destroyed lives. This is the same: evil men are traumatizing the innocent, destroying lives and careers. Evil men are demoralizing the best people of our world, the ones like you and me who are deeply invested in freedom and fair play and honesty and the presumption of innocence and the Bill of Rights. Please don't stop writing about this travesty; your voice is incredibly important.

8:48 AM  
Anonymous Lisa Simeone said...

THIS IS ABUSE. Anyone who doesn't see it is being willfully ignorant, and anyone who defends it is a sick twisted f_ _k:

Elderly woman asked to remove adult diaper during TSA search

June 25, 2011 11:09 AM

A woman has filed a complaint with federal authorities over how her elderly mother was treated at Northwest Florida Regional Airport last weekend.

Jean Weber of Destin filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security after her 95-year-old mother was detained and extensively searched last Saturday while trying to board a plane to fly to Michigan to be with family members during the final stages of her battle with leukemia.

Her mother, who was in a wheelchair, was asked to remove an adult diaper in order to complete a pat-down search.

“It’s something I couldn’t imagine happening on American soil,” Weber said Friday. “Here is my mother, 95 years old, 105 pounds, barely able to stand, and then this.”

. . . Weber said she sat outside the room during the search.

She said security personnel then came out and told her they would need for her mother to remove her Depends diaper because it was soiled and was impeding their search.

Weber wheeled her mother into a bathroom, removed her diaper, and returned. Her mother did not have another clean diaper with her, Weber said . . . .

9:41 AM  
Blogger Zyzle said...

Oh come on Jennifer, the stuff in those bottles is completely safe... just like the full body scanners

oh... (although I will say there's nothing concrete on the cause of this just yet)

2:45 AM  
Anonymous Len said...

Has anyone tried to take them to court for selling poisons or explosives?

9:58 AM  

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