My government is retarded

Anyone who travels internationally since 9/11 will soon conclude that the US has the worst travel security on the planet. No liquids. No nail clippers. Remove shoes and belt. Be bossed around by the rudest security guards around. Arrive three hours before departure. Luggage searched and contents stolen. The list goes on and on.

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The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has now taken a tactic unfortunatly typical of government under the Bush administration — instead of improving their shitty services, they’ve started a blog, Evolution of Security at tsa.gov, to tell you about the great job they’re doing. Say hello to bloggers Bob, Ethel, Jay, Chance and Jim as they write with leg-humping enthusiasm about how great the TSA is in maintaining safety and security, and be comforted at how “you play a part” in improving security.

Part of this is just as sad as sending Karen Hughes to run US public diplomacy in Saudi Arabia, but it has at least led to some amusing posts at the poorly titled “Gripes and Grins” post. At 400+ comments in just 48 hours you can see there are lots of pissed off travelers. The entire post is worth reading, but I’ve just got to point out my top three favorite comments:

I just flew from WI to St Kitts via Chicago and my luggage was lost. When it arrived a day later than I, I opened it and found one of the TSA inspection notices inside. Then I noticed that you folks took out 1/3 of my shampoo and 3/4 of my hair conditioner. Before leaving, I got leaki proof bottles of about 8 oz each and put these hair products in them. I did this so that they would not leak. They didn’t leak but you poured out most of my products. You have nerve! This was mine and not yours to dispose of as you saw fit. If you need to inspect fotr a bomb or whatever, you could have taken a few spoonsful. I am so ticked! I don’t have enough for my trip. This is an abuse of power and totally not necessary! On my last trip, I had 102ml. of shampoo in my carry on which you abusive people took and threw away. 2 mls over the limit is stupidily silly totake away. That is why on this trip I packed the stuff in my luggage and put it in those bottles which were not the original and I suspect that you thought they were suspicious and needed to dump my stuff out. Shame on you.

Sorry, but most of the TSA people I’ve run into are self-involved, arrogant jerks. They have an open contempt for the public, and seem to delight in being rude. This is especially true at O’Hare where you’ve managed to cobble together a truly stunning group of incompetents. Worse part is, despite the regular horror stories we see in the press about TSA idiots, you do nothing to improve. And I bet you do nothing with all the complaints posted here.

Thanks for starting a blog. We used to fly to Michigan twice a year to visit my in-laws. Thanks to the TSA, I no longer have to do that because flying has become too much of a scary hassle. I figure you guys have saved me over $3000 in travel costs over the last couple years. Better still, I don’t have to hear from my father-in-law about how I should go to church more often. Relatedly, I should give thanks to the TSA for allowing me to rediscover my home state of Oregon as all of my vacations are spent within driving distance. Turns out, I live in a beautiful state with a rich cultural heritage. I’ll see you all at the old-time fiddler’s contest in Sumpter, Oregon this September!

Read more here! The response by bloggers has been, “Wow! What a Response.” Thank you federal government for making me want to put my head in an oven.

About Curzon

Lord George Nathaniel Curzon (1859 - 1925) entered the British House of Commons as a Conservative MP in 1886, where he served as undersecretary of India and Foreign Affairs. He was appointed Viceroy of India at the turn of the 20th century where he delineated the North West Frontier Province, ordered a military expedition to Tibet, and unsuccessfully tried to partition the province of Bengal during his six-year tenure. Curzon served as Leader of the House of Lords in Prime Minister Lloyd George's War Cabinet and became Foreign Secretary in January 1919, where his most famous act was the drawing of the Curzon Line between a new Polish state and Russia. His publications include Russia in Central Asia (1889) and Persia and the Persian Question (1892). In real life, "Curzon" is a US citizen from the East Coast who has been a financial analyst, freelance translator, and university professor; he is currently on assignment in Tokyo.
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19 Responses to My government is retarded

  1. The Bin Laden tax on our lives is unnecessarily high because of the stupidity of government. For that matter, I wasn’t allowed entrance to the Metropolitan museum of art because I had a half empty bag with some clothing in it. Reminds me of people voluntarily having their bags checked after 9/11 in the NY metro.

    Instead of all this nonsense there should be guns in the hands of every free citizen.

  2. von Kaufman-Turkestansky says:

    Sorry, here’s another good one from that same blog, I can’t resist sharing it:

    _You guys are incredibly ineffective. My PEPPER SPRAY gets through on my key chain each and every single time but I’ve lost several hundred dollars worth of skincare items over the years since this government mandate began.

    Don’t you think if someone wanted to blow something up the trash can right in front of everyone, where you toss my lip cream, would be ‘ideal’?

    Innane…_

  3. Arcane says:

    The TSA is such a joke. Two months ago when I was at the Reagan National Airport I was turning in my bags to security after I had checked in, and there was a huge pile of bags with nobody guarding them. I stood there for a second and a TSA guy walked out and said, “Just set your bags next to all the rest.” Somebody could have stolen or gotten into my bag, as it was sitting there right next to the door. I nearly got onto the guy, but I knew that if I did, they would harass me and make me miss my flight. As I was passing through the entry control point for the terminal at LaGuardia in December, the guy checking the scanner was not paying attention and I had to get onto him and tell him to pay attention. After I got through, I sat down at the food court and watched them… it was pathetic. There were so many security issues I could hardly control myself, and half the equal opportunity employees that make up the TSA were playing around with their cell phones! And when I got back to my home, I noticed that my jacket was gone! They had opened up my bag, searched it, put a search tag in there, and didn’t even put my jacket back in! TSA is a joke… a complete and utter joke.

  4. Richardson says:

    We all know TSA sucks, the question is; how to actually fly securely? That is, what’s the better way to do so (aside from saying “better service,” “smarter workers,” or something along those lines)?

  5. dj says:

    I don’t think this is an indictment of the Bush Admin as much as it is of Government in General. They don’t have to bend or try and makes things better for the customer.

    That is why security should be done by private firms hired by the air port. They can stand a chance to lose their contracts if they

    #1 fail to keep security
    #2 piss off a lot of passengers

    Some of the shoes they make people take off are ridiculous but they cannot discriminate or they will face a lawsuit or something. I also don’t think this day and age anyone will be able to hijack a plane with box cutters.

    Aside from my rant above what will probably happen is that Technology will come to the rescue. Those full body scanners will remove the need to take everything off.

  6. kotare says:

    The TSA blog and the comments are hilarious – I loved this comment: “You thought my banana was a bomb. It was not a bomb. It was a delicious and nutritious fruit”. Thanks Curzon for your post.

  7. dj says:

    After reading arcane’s post this reminded me of what happened at Oakland airport.

    I printed off my boarding pass at one of the electronic kiosks. Went through security and looked at my boarding pass,it was not mine. It was someone else’s and it was a different flight. Someone who used the kiosk before me left their pass the printing tray and I took it by mistake before mine printed out.

    I went to the desk by the gate and the agent could not believe I got through with that pass. The person checked my ID and boarding pass and let me through. EVEN though they had different names.

  8. Want to travel without problems? Send you bags two days in advance by FedEx, UPS, DSL, mail, whatever, and travel only with hand baggage without shampoos, creams, conditioners, all the stuff that scares TSA. Yours things will be there when you arrive…

  9. Tor says:

    I once brought a combat knife on an international flight out of LAX. TSA personnel were too busy arguing with each other in languages other than English even to notice. Hehe.

  10. Curzon says:

    Richardson: all mockery of the TSA aside, you raise a good point. I appreciate the need for security — however, there are a issues in dire need of address. To list the top three ways where I think rapid improvement could be made with little extra cost:
    1. Manners: Although there are occasional exceptions, the conduct by TSA personnel is legendarily awful. Being rude does nothing to increase security. Passengers hate waiting and being subject to intrusive searches. The least the TSA could do would be to make security polite.
    2. Oversight: who manages these people? An independent supervisor should be making sure that TSA personnel are on their best behavior, and monitoring inspection, for which the complaints are numerous.
    3. Liquids: When I fly domestically in Japan I can arrive 15 minutes before the flight leaves and can bring on bottles of water. This is accomplished by (1) having sufficient and professional staff to ensure security, and (2) all liquids are subject to a scan of several seconds which examines their contents (it is placed on a scanning machine; if it flashes green, you can bring the liquids with you on the flight). No, you still can’t bring nail clippers on board, but the madness stops there.
    I’d comment this, but even logging into blogger there is no comment box on the Gripes and Grins post at present, although I note there is a trackback to this post. Maybe this comment will get through somehow.

  11. Leonard says:

    I travel by air almost weekly. I have a tool box, almost 70lbs. which I carry as checked baggage. TSA constantly goes through this box. Leaves flashlight battery end caps loose or off. Breaks measuring devices. These are simple hand tools. Of course I have no recourse as no one is responsible in the TSA. Typical government employees.

  12. archangel says:

    Not only do passengers get treated unfairly but so do the TSA employees!! The Government has really put this newly created dept together without much thought.
    I worker fot the TSA for about six months back in 2002 and was terminated for getting injured and still have not had the chance to talk to anyone about why I was fired!!!
    The people in charge don’t care about anyone or thing and that attitude flows to the screeners who in turn screw the passengers. More that 50% of the time, the screeners missed weapons or explosives when tested! Which makes this security process a flip of the coin!!
    I really am very unhappy with what they did to me and the direction homeland security has gone!!

  13. Arcane says:

    We all know TSA sucks, the question is; how to actually fly securely? That is, what’s the better way to do so (aside from saying “better service,” “smarter workers,” or something along those lines)?

    Why is the government providing the security in the first place? Our government doesn’t own the airlines anymore. If anything, airlines should provide their own security, alike El Al. Do you really think you’re secure once you pass through the entry control point and are free to do as you please as you shop and dine? For security to work, people should be checked as they are boarding the airplane, not as they are entering a terminal.

  14. Arcane says:

    The people in charge don’t care about anyone or thing and that attitude flows to the screeners who in turn screw the passengers. More that 50% of the time, the screeners missed weapons or explosives when tested!

    “TSA is an equal opportunity employer.”

  15. bobsmom says:

    Not to mention all those who have attempted to post questions to the blog regarding blatant violations of the Privacy Act and pointing out that travelers with medical issues do NOT have to remove their shoes. I know that for a fact because I have asked those questions and made those points but none of my comments have been posted.

    And then there is “Chance”, the TSAer, whose spelling and grammar only serve to reinforce the believe that screeners are not well educated.

    I would venture a guess that the TSA never in a million years thought this blog would display the amount of negativity that it has.

  16. Curzon says:

    To get an idea of just how clueless they are, they called the post “Gripes and Grins.” Of the 500 comments, I think there were 6 positive comments.

  17. Jake Stevenson says:

    After 5 years of abuse from passengers to pilots, the news media etc…do you really think we care anymore. Security sucks and most of us are here for a paycheck and nothing else. I work for TSA and I won’t even fly now what does that tell you.

  18. Alice says:

    The TSA blog is ridiculous. They deleted my question on the “liquidity” of cheese! It had no foul language or content whatsoever. I just wanted to know if cheese is a liquid. For example, until how many days of aging is brie acceptable? This is a very important question in these food-deprived flight days…

  19. Dave says:

    TSA is a waste of time and money. We are NOT SAFER today than we were 20 years ago when we didnt have all the additional “security.” The terrorists have won because we are changing the way we live and living in fear of another attack. All of today’s security policies are simply to provide the masses a FALSE sense of security when it is really just an inconvenience to us all. TSA is actually causing more of a danger by having THOUSANDS of people stuck in long lines at the airport for 2 hours prior to flight departures. The acts of 9/11 will never occur again because the people of america NOW KNOW what terrorists are capable of and will not allow anyone to take over a plane like they did. The reason the 4th plane did not hit its intended target is because the heros on that plane realized the intentions of their attackers when they heard about what happened to the other 3 planes (R.I.P.) and they took matter into their own hands and stopped them. The best thing that has happened in the Airline industry since 9/11 is the reinforced cockpit doors. Other than that, the rest is just an inconvenience to us all. Lets get back to the days when we truely lived in freedom and without fear!