New TSA Slogans:
- If We Don’t Get Off, You Don’t Get On
- We Love Your Fly, And It Shows
Alex Tabarrok reminds us that we tell children that their body is their own, they have the right to say NO, and that there are parts of their body that are private.
Authority figures, for example, may also use threats of violence to engage in abuse against adults, for example, “you will be blown up unless you let me touch your genitals and take naked pictures of you.”
Boing Boing brings us a children’s book, My First Cavity Search: Helping Your Child Understand Why He May Pose a Threat to National Security. Illustrated cover is priceless.
Tyler Cowen thinks an arbitrary and punitive TSA is good for consumers who remain willing to fly because it’ll cause other passengers not to fly, thus reducing congestion and improving the overall travel experience. I assume he’s being facetious. And of course this would be a very short-term view, as fewer passengers would ultimately mean fewer flights, fewer flight options, and equalized crowding on the flights themselves (airports would remain uncongested in the medium-term until airports began shuttering terminals as has happened in St. Louis as airlines have pulled back service there).
He also points to this musing on the sociology of the TSA:
Throughout my career — both as a prosecutor and as a defense attorney — I’ve observed a consistent inverse relationship: the more petty a government officer’s authority, the more that officer will feel a need to swagger and demand that you RESPECT HIS AUTHORITAH. Your average FBI agent might search your house based on a crappy perjured warrant, invade your attorney-client emails, and flush your life down the toilet by lying on the stand at your mail fraud trial. But he doesn’t feel a need to vogue and posture to prove anything in the process. He’s the FBI. But God above help you when you run into the guy with a badge from some obscure and puny government agency with a narrow fiefdom. He and his Napoleon syndrome have got something to prove. And he’s terrified that you’ll not take him very, very seriously. When I call FBI agents on behalf of my clients, they’re cool but professional and nonchalant. When I call a small agency — say, state Fish & Game, or one of the minor agency Inspector Generals — they’re hostile, belligerent, and so comically suspicious that you’d think I was asking for their permission to let my client smuggle heroin into the country in the anuses of handicapped Christian missionary orphans. They are infuriated, OUTRAGED, when a client asserts rights, when a client fails to genuflect and display unquestioning obedience. They are, in short, the TSA.
On the other hand, the Los Angeles Times editorializes: “Shut Up and Be Scanned” .. anyone actually still subscribe to the LA Times, wanna cancel?
Of course, it’s unclear that the TSA has ever caught a terrorist.
Megan McArdle recommends writing your airline when you choose Amtrak over flying because of the TSA. But that only works when the TSA isn’t scoping out the railways. Still, sound advice because the airlines are in a much better position to press the government for change than are individual passengers. But there’s a long way to go, airline executives show way too much genuflection towards government that is imposing undue costs on its business. Glenn Tilton, Chairman of United-Continental — whose sole accomplishment in nearly a decade was getting someone else to take over running the airline — has nothing but contempt for complaining passengers.
Glenn Tilton.. said it’s obvious passengers are upset but their security “is really the predominant interest.”
“I am personally aware of customer frustration because I’m getting e-mails to that effect,” Tilton told reporters at an Aero Club luncheon in Washington. “Clearly a number of people have put together an effort to make sure that we are aware of how they feel about it.”
Still, he said airline operations had not been affected by passenger cancellations to date and he praised the TSA’s screeners. “We know how difficult their job is,” he said.
Congressional leadership are apparently exempt from standard security procedures when flying commercial.
In the grand tradition of song as a form of protest, one suggestion I’ve seen is to sing during enhanced pat downs:
Chorus from Men at Work’s “Down Under”
Chorus from Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”
You might also want to consider singing “Back in the USSR” as well.
Or consider “I Know What Boys Like”
I haven’t given much credence to concerns about radiation, I’m not convinced there’s been sufficient testing but I also know that ‘the dose makes the poison’. Still, Bruce Schneier points out that even though backscatter x-ray machines are expected to increase change of death by only 16 ten millionths of one percent, that’s still more than the risk of death from terrorism. And he points to Nate Silver on inconveniences of air travel pushing people to driving which is far more dangerous, and statistically attributes the equivalent of four full 737s a year in additional traffic deaths.