Sunday, November 28, 2010

The latest TSA abuse outrage

Well, maybe not the latest because of the age of the incident, but it doesn't seem to have been widely publicized at the time.

Yeah, I know. Everyone's sick of hearing about TSA enhanced pat-downs and such, but this story is a bit different. This seems to have occurred in February of this year so it took place before the junk-touching policy went into effect, and in fact has nothing to do with junk-touching or full body scans. Rather, this is about the mindset of some TSA security screeners who, out of pure spite, wield their petty authority over a citizen with the audacity to challenge them to follow their own published policy.

The video below weighs in at over 11 minutes, so here's the gist of it:

A new mother evidently pumps her breast milk while away so that she can feed it to her son upon her return. Armed with a printed copy of TSA's policy, she asks that her breast milk not be x-rayed and that TSA follow their alternative inspection policy on medical liquids, which applies to baby formula and breast milk.

Thus challenged, the TSA screener sets her belongings aside and confines her to an inspection holding area for nearly an hour, resulting in the young mother missing her flight home.

Here's the clip:

Now, here's what the Transportation Security Administration's own web site has to say about breast milk (emphasis theirs):
When carrying formula, breast milk, or juice through the checkpoint, they will be inspected, however, you or your infant or toddler will not be asked to test or taste breast milk, formula, or juice. Our Security Officers may test liquid exemptions (exempt items more than 3 ounces) for explosives.
Now maybe, just maybe, the TSA screeners here gave her a hard time about it only because she wasn't actually traveling with her baby. Maybe. But that doesn't negate the petty vindictiveness of the TSA employees shown here.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Shiva Obama

According to a piece, Americans of Indian descent are a bit rankled over a recent Newsweek cover depicting Barack Obama as the Hindu god Shiva. (Cue obligatory jokes about media deification of Obama!)

The article to which the cover refers, though, is more of an apologia for Obama, rationalizing his administration's utter ineptitude in terms of the job being too big for any one person - even a deity! - to handle:
Can any single person fully meet the demands of the 21st-century presidency? Obama has looked to many models of leadership, including FDR and Abraham Lincoln, two transformative presidents who governed during times of upheaval. But what’s lost in those historical comparisons is that both men ran slim bureaucracies rooted in relative simplicity. Neither had secretaries of education, transportation, health and human services, veterans’ affairs, energy, or homeland security, nor czars for pollution or drug abuse, nor televisions in the West Wing constantly tuned to yammering pundits. They had bigger issues to grapple with, but far less managing to do.
I guess I must have missed all the sudden changes that must have occurred during Obama's inauguration in January last year, because I don't recall a single Newsweek article laying blame for George W. Bush's supposed failures on the size of the presidency. So I guess Bush must have served during a completely different era when things were so much simpler.

Oh, and I'd be derelict in my duties if I didn't point out that Shiva is known in the Hindu religion as the "destroyer of worlds". Heh.