Monday, November 15, 2010

TSA vs. Holiday Travelers: Radiation Exposure or "Pat-Down"

Pay no attention to the radiation hazard - this is 'for your own good.' Actually, overexposure to X-rays is more of a problem for air crews who have to go through this lunacy every time they re-board a plane.

The Lemming didn't have travel plans for the holidays - and the latest shenanigans from the TSA makes that seem like a good idea. Before getting into today's news, some ideas for how to deal with the "pat down," as the TSA probably wishes people would put it.

Holiday Travel? Drive

This won't be practical for everyone: but overland travel may is an option. The Lemming's son-in-law travels quite a bit for his business: and did the math. Never mind the hassle at each airport. Between airline tickets, motel bills and restaurant eating - he'd save money by buying an RV. Which he did.

Holiday Travel? Webconference

If you're reading this, you're halfway there already. All you need is webcams at both ends, some software, and the willingness to have a 'virtual' visit.

This family's done it already - one of the extended family was in the Middle East and touched base with us via the Internet. Quite satisfactory, actually.

Not that the Lemming is trying to drive the airlines out of business: the TSA's doing a fine job with that already.

Now, What Set the Lemming Off - Again

"TSA: Despite objections, all passengers must be screened"
Travel, CNN (November 15, 2010)

"In response to a video of a California man's dispute with airport security officials, the Transportation Security Administration said Monday it tries to be sensitive to individuals, but everyone getting on a flight must be screened.

"The video, in which software engineer John Tyner refuses an X-ray scan at the San Diego, California, airport, has sparked a debate over screening procedures.

"Tyner told CNN Sunday that he was surprised to see so many people take an interest in his refusal, and the dispute with airport screeners that followed it. But he said he hoped the video will focus attention on what he calls a government invasion of privacy.

" 'Obviously, everybody has their own perspective about their personal screening,' TSA official John Pistole told CNN. 'The question is, how do we best address those issues ... while providing the best possible security?'..."

Equally obviously, it's not all that likely that the TSA is staffed entirely by bureaucratic meddlers and uniformed nitwits with a nipple ring phobia. (I am not making that up. (Another War-on-Terror Blog (March 27, 2008))

The craziest abuses of air travelers don't happen all that often, considering how many folks travel by air in America. Still: Does everybody have to go through this? Maybe so, the way words like "fair" and "equal" are used these days.

The Lemming's said this before, but it bears repeating: I've lost jobs fairly often over the last half-century, for one reason or another. It's not an easy experience. It would be nice if airlines could stay in business. Which may not happen, if the TSA keeps harassing the customers and crews.

This week's craziness reminded the Lemming of this bit of commentary on a really old science fiction magazine cover:

Image courtesy Fabio Feminò, via, used w/o permission"...The Mizarans live far above their world; never going to earth and always able to enjoy the spectacular views of their world and the great fleets of airships that are their sole means of transportation.

This idyllic form of habitation is so original, so picturesque that it is universally regarded as the stupidest idea ever hit upon. Yes, the view is very pretty, but the price is a major pain in the arse, as popping next door means a three-hour wait at airport security both ways. The average Mizaran has had his person searched so many times that they now travel stark naked and without baggage to save time and aggravation....
("Mizar," Tales of Future Past,, also quoted in Another War-on-Terror Blog (November 14, 2010))

Finally, if this post doesn't seem very "apathetic," the Lemming has discussed the matter of apathy and this blog's name before.

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