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Tuesday, The Airlines and Us

The holidays are coming, the holidays are coming!! And the traditional stories of sold out flights and amusing anecdotes about going home have been replaced this year with stories about the new “grope” searches by TSA employees:

I think I’ve seen this story referenced by pretty much every news station over the past couple of days.  But, here’s the blog post that started it all:

TSA encounter at SAN

After removing my shoes and making my way toward the metal detector, the person in front of me in line was pulled out to go through the backscatter machine. After asking what it was and being told, he opted out. This left the machine free, and before I could go through the metal detector, I was pulled out of line to go through the backscatter machine. When asked, I half-chuckled and said, “I don’t think so.” At this point, I was informed that I would be subject to a pat down, and I waited for another agent.

A male agent (it was a female who had directed me to the backscatter machine in the first place), came and waited for me to get my bags and then directed me over to the far corner of the area for screening. After setting my things on a table, he turned to me and began to explain that he was going to do a “standard” pat down. (I thought to myself, “great, not one of those gropings like I’ve been reading about”.) After he described, the pat down, I realized that he intended to touch my groin. After he finished his description but before he started the pat down, I looked him straight in the eye and said, “if you touch my junk, I’ll have you arrested.” He, a bit taken aback, informed me that he would have to involve his supervisor because of my comment.

It really seems to have touched a cord — who after all — want’s some stranger touching their junk in an airport.  Or even worse, touching your CHILD in an airport.  Watch this as a TSA agent continues to search an hysterical child:

I’m going to Washington, D.C. in December and I’ve been wondering about what I should do…. full-body x-ray?  Or Invasive Body Search?  I go back and forth.  Susie Madrak has one idea for dealing with it.  And then there’s National Opt Out Day:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010 is NATIONAL OPT-OUT DAY!

It’s the day ordinary citizens stand up for their rights, stand up for liberty, and protest the federal government’s desire to virtually strip us naked or submit to an “enhanced pat down” that touches people’s breasts and genitals in an aggressive manner. You should never have to explain to your children, “Remember that no stranger can touch or see your private area, unless it’s a government employee, then it’s OK.”

The goal of National Opt Out Day is to send a message to our lawmakers that we demand change. We have a right to privacy and buying a plane ticket should not mean that we’re guilty until proven innocent. This day is needed because many people do not understand what they consent to when choosing to fly.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010. We want families to sit around the dinner table, eating turkey, talking about their experience – what constitutes an unreasonable search, how forceful of a pat down will we allow on certain areas of our body, and that of our children, and how much privacy are we will to give up for flying? We hope the experience then propels people to write their Member of Congress and the airlines to demand change.

The government should not have the ability to virtually strip search anyone it wants without cause. The problem has been compounded in that if you do not want to go through the body scanner, the TSA has made the alternative perhaps even worse by instituting “enhanced” pat downs. There are reports from travelers across the country about how the TSA now touches the genitals and private areas of men, women and children in a much more aggressive manner. We do not believe the government has a right to see you naked or aggressively touch you just because you bought an airline ticket.

By saying “I opt out” when told to go through the bodying imaging machines and submitting to a pat down. Also, be sure to have your pat down by TSA in full public – do not go to the back room when asked. Every citizen must see for themselves how the TSA treats law-abiding citizens.

I can’t get that video of the little girl struggling with the search out of my mind.  I imagine her on the plane and her parents trying to calm her down in the contained area.  And how the parents probably can’t take her someplace where they can stretch out together and read a nice book. Their day was probably not going to be a lot of fun before this event and after that assault could only get worse.

How much more degrading can they make air travel?  And just why are we being treated like this.  Is it really the only way?

61 Responses

  1. I’m thinking about flying just so I can have a social life.

  2. I get mail:


    There is a consensus among American “elites” on Social Security. Most CEOs, pundits, and elected officials favor cutting and / or privatizing it, claiming that doing so will reduce the deficit. That claim is a lie, since Social Security is fully funded through 2037, pays for itself 100%, and doesn’t add one dime to the deficit.

    We can’t expect these CEOs, Republicans, pundits and Blue Dogs to stop propagating their lies about Social Security. Instead, if we are going to stop this alliance of elites from cutting Social Security, the first thing we must do is promise ourselves we won’t ever buy into their lies.

    That’s why at Daily Kos we’re asking you to sign a pledge, to yourself, promising you will never support cutting or privatizing Social Security. Click here to sign the pledge.

    With the elite consensus in place, the only reason Social Security hasn’t been cut or privatized already is because the public is overwhelmingly opposed. If, for whatever reason, a significant number of progressives start supporting Social Security cuts, then the elites will have the cover they need and the battle will be lost.

    You are the first and last line of defense for Social Security. No matter what happens in the coming weeks and months, and no matter who ends up supporting cuts in Social Security, we must stand united in our opposition.

    It is imperative that you promise yourself to never support cutting or privatizing Social Security. Take the pledge now.

    Chris Bowers
    Campaign Director, Daily Kos

    Gee Chris, you’re sending this to the wrong guy. You should SEND IT TO THE ASSHAT YOU VOTED FOR!

    • And sending it to THAT asshat would accomplish what?
      At least, when they send it to you, we get a chuckle too, not just Obama’s rich buddies.(assuming anyone reads that mail)

    • Isn’t Cheeto Land where they HELPED take out the REAL DEMOCRAT; Hillary R. Clinton? Didn’t their Jane Crow Stupak Executive Order President Obama start the CAT FOOD COMMISSION and isn’t OBAMA the ONE that is Trying to ‘Eliminate’ Social Security and Medicare, programs that ARE PAID for by the Employees and his/her EMPLOYER!?!

      Hello, should they not be starting a petition to send to the DNC and asking that they want a REAL DEMOCRAT for president???

    • At this point, Chris and the big cheeto are doing more harm than good. THEY’RE the ones that got us into this mess in the first place.

      And who the hell are these “elites” they’re talking about? Don’t they have an elititude when talking about Palin and the tea partiers and anyone who didn’t vote for Obama?

      We need a full discussion on this. It deserves a front page post of its own with a title like. “Haven’t you caused enough trouble, Chris?”

    • I love how the frat boy misogynists have taken to fighting the ‘elitists’ now that the term appears to be a liability for them and their prince in the WH. Guess they weren’t the ones they were waiting for after all. Idiots.

  3. Katiebird:

    If you haven’t decided what to get your husband for Christmas here’s an idea:


  4. SFGate:

    A Richmond police officer choked up in court Monday as he described what he called one of the worst experiences in his career – finding the 16-year-old victim of last year’s gang rape at Richmond High School slung half-naked over a bench, bloodied and vomiting while her alleged attackers ran from the scene.

    “She was wet and clammy,” Officer Todd Kaiser testified, struggling with his words and clenching his jaw. “I thought she was dead. The only thing touching the ground were the tops of her feet and the side of her face.

    “I went up and shook her and she moaned a little bit.”

    • Very upsetting.

    • I saw that that trial was starting. {shudder} That’s horrible.

    • I work in this community. The comments I’ve heard people make about why she deserved this have been shocking. Even young women I know who go out drinking/partying have commented that she should never have gone outside for a beer with her friend. The level of disconnection from this young woman is high, and to me, very discouraging. Few comments about the animalistic behavior of boys and men, many comments about the failings of the victim.

      • That’s not uncommon, unfortunately. It’s based on a desperate need to feel some kind of control over what happens to you. (Generic you, not you personally!) So, if you blame the victim, and you’re way too smart to ever have done whatever-it-was-fill-in-the-blank, then you can maintain a (totally unwarranted) feeling of safety.

        The horrible thing about a lot of psychological coping mechanisms is how they make things worse.

  5. Happier news:

    Buster Posey now has a pretty trophy to display alongside his World Series championship ring. The inscription reads, “2010 National League Rookie of the Year.”

    Posey handily defeated Atlanta right fielder Jason Heyward in balloting by 32 members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, who picked the Giants catcher out of a strong rookie crop even though he did not reach the majors until May 29. Nine rookies received votes.

    “I’m extremely excited, happy and humbled to win this honor with all the talent in the NL this year,” Posey said Monday as he and his wife were traveling to the Florida Keys for a vacation. “That makes it more special.”

    Posey became the sixth Giant and first in 35 years to win the award, which was established in 1947. He joined Willie Mays (1951), Orlando Cepeda (1958), Willie McCovey (1959), Gary Matthews (1973) and John Montefusco (1975).

    “It gives me chills to be mentioned with those guys who have won the same award, to be one of the few Giants to win the award,” Posey said. “Those guys were unbelievable players and great ambassadors to the game and still are.”

    Texas closer Neftali Feliz won the American League award.

  6. My tabloids today are right on the topic – seems most papers are preoccupied with TSA today

    • Hey, cool!!

      Here’s one I missed ::
      TSA Opt-Out Day, Now with a Superfantastic New Twist!

      By the way, it is the official position of Goldblog that everyday is opt-out day. There’s no need to wait until November 24th. But come November 24th, here’s an idea you might try to make the day extra-special. It’s a one-word idea: Kilts. Think about it — if you’re a male, and you want to bollix-up the nonsensical airport security-industrial complex, one way to do so would be to wear a kilt. If nothing else, this will cause TSA employees to throw up their hands in disgust. If you want to go the extra extra mile, I suggest commando-style kilt-wearing. While it is probably illegal to fly without pants, I can’t imagine that it’s illegal to fly without underpants. I If you are Scottish, or part Scottish, or know someone who is Scottish, or eat Scottish salmon, or enjoy Scotch, or have a vestigial affection for “Braveheart” despite Mel Gibson, you can plausibly claim some sort of multicultural diversity privilege — the term “True Scotsman” refers to soldiers who honor their tradition and heritage by wearing kilts without drawers underneath.

      Going Commando

    • I heard on NPR this morning that NJ lawmakers are against the scanners.

      googling gets me this ‘http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/11/nj_lawmakers_civil_liberties_a.html

  7. Wow. CNN article “Congressional Black Caucus Witholds Support for Pelosi:”

    “The CBC has decided to withold its approval for the House Democratic leadership team, denying Speaker Nancy Pelosi full support of the 42-member organization as she campaigns to remain leader.

    After a nearly two hour long meeting on Monday night, chairwoman Barbara Lee of California said the group only will endorse caucus member James Clyburn of South Carolina for a leadership position. The caucus first wants to know what his role will be in the Democratic leadership before backing the full slate.”

    Ruh roh.

    • Per Politico Pelosi (alliteration Tuesday) is also adding “A final amendment would create two new co-chairmanships at Steering and Policy to expand representation at the Democratic leadership table.” She is hanging on to power anyway she can. She wants to still control rules and the agenda through her appointees (close personal friends who agree with her). The caucus is pushing back. This might get interesting.

      • Read politico with caution. They’re a propaganda outlet for the GOP. Their articles are written to make liberals, progressives and other Democrats look petty and incompetent. There’s nothing Politico would like more than to broadcast dissent among the Democrats. It makes them squirm in their trousers.
        I see this as a very good sign. It shows the the CBC has had enough. Their constituents are hurting and the Blue Dogs and status quo establishment Dems have gotten on their last nerve. Go for it. Have some internal earthquakes and shake it up, baby. You can never change direction by sitting quietly with your hands folded in you lap and speaking softly. Fuck Hoyer and the Villagers he rode in on. He’s got to be sent down.

    • Hmmm, that’s interesting. if I were to guess, this sounds like more of an attack on Hoyer than Pelosi. Like an internal schism between the haves and the have nots. Hoyer and the Blue Dogs have been controlling everything for the past couple of years and it’s lead to a humongous loss for the Democrats in the midterms. So, Pelosi offers Clyburn a position at the leadership table to balance Hoyer but does it come with real power?
      I suspect that Hoyer was behind the humiliation of Rangel yesterday and he has overplayed his hand.
      Just my guess. any other theories?

      • I’m really confused now. I thought Clyburn was Obama’s attack dog. (He certainly was in the primaries.) Obama wants Rangel out, of that I’m fairly certain. Now Clyburn is going to turn out to be the (relatively, of course) good guy? Or has Clyburn switched allegiances now that he sees Obama is losing power? Do these folks ever spend any time – in between their bouts of infighting – trying to help us, the voters who put them there in the first place? Jeez. (Though I’d be more than happy to see Hoyer given the boot.)

        • If you watch the political spectacle long enough, you’ll find that there are no purely “good guys” and “bad guys”. Politics doesn’t work that way. They’re all over the map, except for Republicans who are really into evil in the last couple of decades.
          Most politicians fall along an integrity spectrum. That is, their words match their deeds more or less closely regardless of the policy put before them. I think that’s why a lot of us admire Hillary Clinton and despise Barack Obama. With Hillary, you pretty much know what you’re going to get. She has a set of core principles and you can predict how she’s going to vote based on them. You may not always agree with her but she’s not lying about what she believes. With Obama, you can never tell and that’s because the only core principle he seems faithful to is whether the issue is good for Obama. Hmmm, I guess we *can* predict with respect to Obama after all…
          Anyways, I think Clyburn is a classic example of what happened to african americans during the primary of 2008. It was unrealistic for any of us to expect that an african american was going to support a white woman over an african american man, no matter how good Hillary would have been for african americans. Clyburn was once a Clinton ally and to be fair, he remained uncommitted for a very long time. If he were truly an obamabot, he would have leaped onto that train at the outset. He didn’t. But I think we probably simplify too much if we assume that he was in Obama’s pocket. My guess is that he had mixed emotions during the 2008 campaign season and emotional reactions tend to lead to a lot of falling out between former friends.
          But I can definitely see Hoyer and the CBC having a Mexican standoff. Hoyer and the Blue Dogs have really hurt the economy by joining with Republicans on votes that affected the poor and everyday Americans. Time after time, progressives and the CBC were overridden by the dogs. It was Hoyer who was behind the attack on Massa and I suspect Hoyer was behind the derailing of Rangel when he was the most powerful member of Congress on a powerful committee.
          Yesterday may have been the last straw for the CBC who may have been upset to see one of their own dragged through the mud. It’s a bad omen when you’ve lost the majority and the people responsible for that are still not satisfied.
          Hoyer has been a pain in Pelosi’s ass for some time now. He’s been the true power in the House. She’s been trying to dilute his strength by adding people to the leadership team but it looks like this is not sufficient for the CBC. They want Hoyer defanged and they are willing to push the issue.
          Good for them. I say go for it.

        • There’s another aspect of this story that we have to consider and that is that Rangel allowed himself to be pilloried. He knows that his misdeeds are not serious enough for expulsion but that having the ethics committee go into attack mode looks really bad and stirs up an emotional response among the CBC. So, this could be a bit of kabuki theater going on to use the ethics hearing to put the focus on Hoyer.
          You know the old saying about never wasting a crisis, right?

  8. Here’s some beautiful animation that’s right up my alley. It’s Powering the Cell, an animated tour of the mitochondria.

    Here’s the NYTimes article that describes molecular animation (with more cool videos!).
    I’ve never done this myself. You need to learn Renderman of something like it. Besides, I’m not an artist and it’s tricky enough to solve protein structures without having to figure out how they look when they’re playing. Still, it’s pretty cool. Too bad there’s no money in science for the budding animator. Brooke wants to go into animation, seeing as how she’s really good at art. But there’s probably more of a career in special effects and 3D animation in movies than in biology. And that’s really sad. It’s a big loss to the country.

    • That was fun! How much was science and how much imagination?

      • About half and half. The article says that the molecular animators download structures from the RCSB, the protein data bank that is available to the public. All pharmas and biotechs both deposit and retrieve structures from RCSB, aka by the term “Brookhaven” for the name of the synchrotron on Long Island where the first protein databases were created. So, there were structures in that video that I recognized, particularly the large cylindrical structure known as a chaperonin. Chaperonins are proteins that assist in the folding of other proteins. Then there were kinases and phosphotases where ATP and ADP lose or gain a phosphate group. That’s where the small molecules were going into a larger molecule and coming out bigger or smaller and flashing. The imagination part is introduced when trying to put the whole thing together in a coherent story. I guess the imagination is the molecular narrative. Just like any story adapted to film, there are things that get left out or simplified while other things are given more emphasis. The movies will probably get better as more and more proteins are added to Brookhaven.

        • I was hoping that there was something ‘real’ there — that is going to be a great teaching tool as time goes on.

          Remember those primitive sketches of cells that they used in our biology classes? They can go way beyond that now.

          • Oh, hell yeah. The biology I took in college in my freshman year looks nothing like the biology we learn today. Today’s biology is a real fusion of biology and chemistry on the molecular level. We know things today that we didn’t even have a word for 25 years ago. It’s amazingly beautiful. I mean, seriously beautiful. Proteins can form the most complex forms. Ribbons and spirals and propeller like structures. The chaperonin structure is so large and complex. It looks like a big tower of Pisa with lots of windows on the sides. Proteins go in in semi disarray and come out all folded.
            It would be nice to see your pathway all laid out, to see where all of the constituent parts fit and how they all work together, sometimes hitting pathways you had not anticipated. They make nice presentations for upper management. But by the time a movie like this gets made for the boots on the ground, the project already knows what’s going on and have been using static flow charts for months or years. I don’t know how you speed that process up. The molecular animator would have to be strapped to her monitor for days on end to make significant impact at the beginning of a project.

  9. Here’s a good story…. A list of magazine ads that we don’t see anymore:

    If your husband finds out

    • I never knew my parents’ generation was so kinky. There are a couple of those S&M spanky ads, but I didn’t notices any B&D

      The Gillette ad must have been for rednecks, they start shaving young.

      I had one of those M-16 Marauders though.

      • That M-16 Marauder did look familiar but, it must have been a cousin or friend who had it. My parent’s didn’t allow us to have toy guns. So we had to visit friends to play with them.

    • Hey, when that Chase & Sanborn is on sell, I buy.

  10. jsalsman James Salsman
    RT @KagroX: Haha! Fuck you, Andy Harris, straight in the fucking eye! Twice! http://bit.ly/9XHwn8

    A Tea Party freshman finds out he doesn’t get government health care right away! He wants to know where is his Public Option, the one he was so foaming at the mouth to block for the American People.

    I hope the Tea Party notices the hypocrites these people are and how they want Health Care just for them, and not for the working people of America. So, there he is asking about the ‘Socialisticy’ Public Option!

    • It’s that same, “Get your government hands off my Medicare” sort of argument. Republicans in Missouri won their races Trashing “Obama’s Government run health care” AND “cuts to Medicare”



  12. The DUdies are here: The Corleones have no complaints edition

  13. Tangential, except that it also falls under the category of what we allow the MOGW to do to us:

    Yesterday, I ordered three months’ worth of five medications from a Canadian pharmacy. I paid slightly more than I would have co-paid for one month’s supply under my former insurance plan.

    This is absurd.

  14. OT, now I know why myiq doe so many “look-away” warnings on his Palin posts. I seem to have poked a bee’s nest with my show recap on corrente.

  15. Now is the time to stand up against the security gropings. Because A) the prevalence of sexual assault means that thousands of people are being retraumatized by the government in the name of national security every day (and that’s a hell of a lot more than were hurt by terrorist attacks in this country), and B) Because it doesn’t end here. If people are willing to blow themselves up, they’re willing to pack their vaginas full of home-made explosives. As soon as that happens it’ll be body cavity searches for all.

    That’s the trajectory. Defund women’s health- no pap smears, just full pelvics in the airport.

  16. I’m late, but since I’m in San Diego, this dude has been all over the news telling his story…

    I personally call BS.

    1.) The fact that they put in scanners was all over the news. He should have known.

    2.) Only weirdos rush to write an overwrought blog about an incident in the airport.


    Good lord. He’s lucky they refunded his ticket.

    • But the TSA is going to fine him $10,000 for entering and leaving a security area. Apparently, you aren’t allowed to see the champagne room unless you take your medicine.

      Here’s the problem. 1)there are not enough “security” measures to make airplane travel completely safe. 2)as soon as you make it too safe to bomb, terrorists could just do like Iraq and bomb the 200 people waiting to go in the scanner.

  17. […] New GOP Rep. Andy Harris gets …Sharon on New GOP Rep. Andy Harris gets …votermom on Tuesday, The Airlines and…Sharon on Tuesday, The Airlines and…willyjsimmons on New GOP Rep. Andy Harris gets […]

  18. Never forget …


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