This weekend the Times travel section wrote about frequent flier security programs, including TSA PreCheck—or, as the government likes to call it, TSA Pre✓™. Mostly it was just speculation from the writer: "I’m anticipating an expedited stroll through a special security checkpoint." Oh honey! Well, let me tell you about that expedited stroll, as a bona fide government-approved flying person who has now strolled security more expeditiously than can be believed.
"He said there had been 50 other similar incidents across the country that day." —That's the most striking sentence in this account of being detained by Homeland Security on a plane on Sunday, written by a woman who sat next to two Indian dudes who needed to pee. According to one FBI officer, at least 50 flights had passengers who saw something stupid and said something stupid, so some Americans got handcuffed and detained. We only even hear about a few of them.
I showed up just after the shooting started. I was maybe five minutes behind the gunman at Terminal 3 at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday. I was on my way to Vegas for an early birthday celebration for my brother when, according to the authorities, a 23-year-old named Paul Anthony Ciancia decided to work out a lunatic grudge against the Transportation Security Administration with an assault rifle. One TSA employee, Gerardo Hernandez, was killed, and at least three other people were wounded.
"If you’re taking a special cake knife to cut the cake, please ship it or put it in your checked bag. Wired bouquets are allowed through the checkpoint, along with rice, birdseed, sand and candy coated almonds." —Enjoy your last pat-down as a single lady!
This weekend's rollicking TSA scandal—stemming from this video—has come to a speedy resolution. Why, the TSA has blogged about it, so everything must be fine now! They write: "Their son alarmed the walk through metal detector and needed to undergo secondary screening. The boy's father removed his son's shirt in an effort to expedite the screening. After our TSO completed the screening, he helped the boy put his shirt back on. That's it. No complaints were filed and the father was standing by his son for the entire procedure." So shut up, everyone, and get back in line. Don't make us get the truncheons.
There are those who say that leaving ironic product reviews on Amazon is proof that we have ultimately failed in our haphazard pursuit of a higher purpose, but those people would be wrong. What was Jonathan Swift's famous op-ed about eating dead Irish babies if not a proto-Amazon review done in irony? Is the Book of Revelation anything more than a parody of Roman imperial politics and luxury obsession? Anyway, here's a Playmobil playset that Amazon doesn't even sell, and the Freedom Writers are leaving some very biting fake reviews that are probably really more about their unhappiness with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration.
Not long ago, I got a letter from my airline of choice, explaining that they'd partnered with the fine people in the U.S. government to help prevent terrorism faster. If you've spotted people at airports being whisked into a special line, where they don't have to take off their shoes, don't have to take out their laptops or even remove their belts, you've already spotted this program in action. The rollout of TSA PreCheck—branded as TSA Pre✓™—started just back in October, with seven airports, including Los Angeles and Miami, and just for American and Delta passengers. Then the TSA announced they'd be including JFK airport—which just happened last week—and then [...]