Thursday, January 14, 2016

R. I. P., Alan Rickman


More sad news to add to the start of this year. First David Bowie, and now Alan Rickman. Both 69, both died of cancer.

Rickman was simply one of the greatest actors of our time. And a great humanist. Marvelous actor, marvelous man. Why do such beautiful people have to go, while monsters like Dick Cheney still walk about? 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

DHS/TSA blink: Real ID is a bust



As I wrote in this post on January 7, 2016, Edward Hasbrouck is a consistently reliable source of information on all things security -- and faux security. His excellent website, PapersPlease, is a breath of fresh air in the hothouse atmosphere of the travel blabbosphere. So it's no surprise that he has been predicting from the beginning that the Department of Homeland Security's attempt to impose yet more stupid regulations would fizzle. He said DHS would blink, and it has. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Satirist Jonathan Pie Skewers the News Media


Watch this hilarious send-up of a supposedly straight news report. The comedian is Tom Walker of the UK; his alter ego is "Jonathan Pie." Absolutely brilliant. No surprise that this video has gone viral.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Trump - Clinton - What's the Difference?



The Clintons at Donald Trump's wedding. If you don't see that the ruling class is the ruling class in this country, regardless of party affiliation, you have your head in the sand.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

TSA to force people through scanners

As many people have discovered from the latest news, the Department of Homeland Security has suddenly decreed publicly what anyone with reasonable observational skills knows they've been planning from the get-go:  that the TSA will, at whim, force passengers through the strip-search scanners.repeat that this has been the plan from the beginning. I said so at a now-defunct group blog where I used to write called Cogitamus, long before TSA News existed. Those who made predictions to the contrary have been proven wrong. 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Retired Col. Lawrence Wilkerson Slams U.S. Empire



If this video doesn't knock you on your ass, I don't know what will. 

Let me rephrase that -- many of the people watching this video already get it. But to see and hear a retired U.S. Army colonel, former National Security Advisor in the Reagan administration, former advisor to Colin Powell, dyed-in-the-wool Republican, saying this stuff, pointing out that the emperor is wearing no clothes, that, as he puts it, "this ship is sinking" -- well, I'd like to say it should make an impression on all the naysayers. But in fact I know it won't. 

They'll find a way to discredit him just as much as they discredit people such as Chris Hedges and Noam Chomsky. I know it won't make a dent. I'm posting it anyway. I hope people will share it.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Baltimore: Mistrial, Hung Jury in First Freddie Gray Case Trial

As everyone knows by now, a hung jury led Judge Barry Williams to declare a mistrial in the case of Officer William Porter, the first police officer of six to be tried in the Freddie Gray case.

Despite the slavering of the mainstream media for violence, there wasn't any. Neither was there a hint of it, anywhere in Baltimore, over this development. That didn't stop so-called reporters and news hosts from implying that violence was ready to break out at any minute. There was a small -- very small -- number of protesters downtown. And an overwhelming police presence. (I wasn't there, as I saw no need to protest. A mistrial is a mistrial. It's a fool's errand to try to read too much into it.) 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Land of Lunatics


I know I keep saying it, but you can't make this shit up. Once upon a time, this story would've been parody. Fodder for Saturday Night Live, The Onion, The Daily Show, any number of comedians. But you can't do parody anymore. Reality has surpassed it.

To wit: 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Yet Another Active Shooter(s) -- the Fuckupedness of the USA Continues


How can we not be simultaneously horrified and bored by yet another active shooter/shooters, this time in San Bernardino, California? I'm writing this on Wednesday, December 2, 2015, at 2:55pm EST, as this thing is unfolding. At least 12 victims so far.

These so-called "active shooter" situations now average 16 a year in the U.S., according to the Secret Service -- that's more than one a month -- though we just had one last week in Colorado Springs and another one only a few weeks before that in the same town.

But hey, gotta have our guns! After all, this is the USA!

The abject fuckupedness of this country continues. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Another court order the TSA will ignore

Everyone keeps sending me links to this story, but I saw it when it first came out last week and decided not to write about it because it isn't news. It's the same old same old. I can't see how it means anything significant in our fight against the TSA.


John Whitehead's Rutherford Institute, which fights for civil liberties, touted the story in an email last week headlined, "Victory!" I'm on their mailing list, so I saw the message as soon as it came in. When I read the text, any initial frisson of triumph immediately fizzled. Victory? Really? 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Another Man on a Rampage, Another Day in the USA

Yawn. Really, how can one greet these events anymore with anything other? They're so common. They're as deeply a part of American culture as baseball, Mom, and apple pie.

This is an image of an actual ad. It has not been Photoshopped. Because Bushmaster, you see, is proud of this. Irony is dead in this country. Satire is dead. Anything you could make up has already been surpassed by reality. Archie Bunker's famous exhortation on the brilliant TV sitcom "All in the Family" over 40 years ago was understood by the audience then for what it was. Today, it's being taken seriously. Archie's illogical, lunatic, yet insuperably sincere sentiments are being posted, in all seriousness, all over the blabbosphere. 

In short, the answer to so many killings and so many guns is -- 

more guns! 

Just ask Bushmaster. Of course, the word "man" should be replaced by the word "dick," but minor quibble:


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

2015 Airport Security Symposium – UPDATED

UPDATE: Open to the public, pay what you can. Doug says he realizes the $199 conference fee is out of reach for a lot of people.
Douglas Kidd of the National Association of Airline Passengers has organized this Airport Security Symposium for Tuesday, October 6, 2015, at Reagan National Airport just outside Washington, D.C. He’s lined up plenty of speakers, including Alaska state rep and TSA critic Sharon Cissna, consumer advocate and friend of the blog Charlie Leocha, one-man investigative research team Jonathan Corbett, security expert extraordinaire Bruce Schneier, and several of us who write for TSA News — Sommer Gentry, Wendy Thomson, and me. 

USA, Land of the Free

USA, Land of the Free. Uh-huh.

Young Black Man Jailed Since April for Alleged $5 Theft Is Found Dead in Cell

http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/young_black_man_jailed_since_april_for_alleged_5_theft_20150829


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Your Cat Delivery Service

Because why should UPS, DHL, FedEx, and the USPS have all the fun?


(H/T to litbrit)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Please sign this fab TSA petition





Come on, folks, let's get this up to at least 150 signatures. If we do, it'll go live on the main White House petition site. It was written by our perennially creative contributor Chris Bray.

You may recall that we've tried petitions in the past, including one that went nowhere thanks in no small part to the fact that the White House's site went down for several hours and they didn't extend the petition-signing time to account for that. In other words, we got shortchanged.

Let's not let that happen again. This time, the petition is a brilliant satire of the TSA's behavior, especially the recent case of TSA supervisor Maxie Oquendo sexually assaulting a young woman at La Guardia Airport under color of authority.

Come on, let's make this happen! I know most people don't give a shit about this issue in general (believe me, I know it), but you can at least have a little fun with it. Sign the petition hereAnd then repost, tweet, disseminate however you like far and wide.

Friday, August 28, 2015

LaGuardia TSA agent arrested for sexual assault


UPDATED BELOW. A TSA agent at LaGuardia Airport in New York has been arrested for sexually assaulting a 22-year-old woman. The only reason he was arrested was because he molested her in a bathroom. If he had followed standard operating procedure, he would've molested her at the checkpoint, where it's usually done. 

Friday, July 31, 2015

Morrissey alleges sexual assault by TSA


British indie rock musician Stephen Patrick Morrissey -- better known simply as Morrissey -- became well known in the 1980s with his band The Smiths. He's now 56 years old. And yesterday he filed a complaint against the TSA for sexual assault.

Welcome to the club, Morrissey. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

TSA: "Careful what you say. You don't like this? You respect this badge right here."

Well, well, well, shock of shocks, we have yet another of our fine, upstanding blue-shirted civil servants who don't know their own rules. Or who pretend not to. 

As we've pointed out, with evidence, dozens of times: yes, you are allowed to videotape, film, photograph, audio-record, or sketch the TSA in action, including while they're doing their "pat-downs." It says so on the TSA's own website:
TSA does not prohibit the public, passengers or press from photographing, videotaping or filming at security checkpoints, as long as the screening process is not interfered with or slowed down.
But 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Another day, another passenger screwed by the TSA


Almost every day I receive emails from people telling me about their TSA experiences. They often wonder if they could have prevented the abuse meted out to them by dressing differently, talking differently, acting differently, flying out of a different airport, you name it. As I always tell them, no. You have no power over how the TSA treats you. The TSA has absolute power. Whether a TSA agent woke up on the wrong side of the bed one morning or is simply being sadistic, it has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with them. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

"Awesome" Idiocy, or A Compendium of Synonyms for the Linguistically Challenged

Enough already with "awesome"! If I hear one more person use this goddamn word, I'm going to kill them (note to NSA/DHS goons: that statement is what's known as hyperbole; it's a perfectly respectable rhetorical device. It doesn't mean I actually want to kill anyone).

Not only millenials, who are the greatest sinners here, but even 50-somethings and 60-somethings are going around frothing at the mouth with "awesome!" I can't take it anymore. I would say I'm going to scream, but I've already been doing that, in spades. Fine people who are otherwise perfectly lovely are, apparently, so bereft of vocabulary that they can't think of any other way to describe something they like other than by saying, "Awesome!" 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

TSA snoops in passenger’s bag, finds money, calls DEA to take it




From the Washington Post comes this story of not only another instance of TSA abuse, but the TSA's bragging about said abuse.

The headline reads: "Why the TSA posted a photo of a passenger's cash-filled luggage on Twitter." And the TSA tweeter in question is none other than PR flack Lisa Farbstein, about whom we've written so many times before. From the Post: 
. . . The photo, from the Richmond airport, shows a passenger's luggage containing $75,000 in cash. Farbstein asks, "Is this how you'd transport it?" Most people would not, but there is nothing illegal about simply checking a bag containing $75,000, or carrying it with you on the plane. Passengers aren't under any obligation to report large sums of cash unless they're traveling internationally, though the TSA recommends that passengers consider asking for a private screening.

Monday, June 29, 2015

TSA Idiocy and Abuse: Too Much To Keep Track Of



Twitter is alive with testimony from people witnessing TSA idiocy and abuse. But then such tweets have been going on for years — there used to be a whole Twitter feed devoted to them, tens of thousands of them — 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Just Another Day in Police State USA!

For those of you who still don't get it (not that you ever will), here are 3 more examples of how this country has morphed into a police state. (Oops -- guess I'd better watch out -- I might be subpoenad and gag-ordered like the poeple in the first story were, especially since I write under my own name all over the blabbosphere and have written publicly, many times, that I wish I believed in Hell so I could hope certain people, such as John Pistole and Dick Cheney, would rot there.) Land of the Free my ass. For your delectation:

How the Feds Asked Me to Rat Out Commenters

Reason.com, the website I edit, was recently commanded by the feds to provide information on a few commenters and not discuss it. Here’s why we’re speaking out.
by Nick Gillespie

Is there anything more likely to make you shit your pants out of a mix of fear and anger than getting a federal subpoena out of the blue?
Well, yes, there is: getting a gag order that prohibits you from speaking publicly about that subpoena and even the gag order itself. Talk about feeling isolated and cast adrift in the home of the free. You can’t even respond honestly when someone asks, “Are you under a court order not to speak?" . . . .
AND:

Pentagon rewrites ‘Law of War’ declaring ‘belligerent’ journalists as legitimate targets


AND:


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

United States of Orwell

We live in an Orwellian, Kafkaesque, Atwoodian police state. Those authors have nothing on us, because you can't make this shit up:
Murder charge for woman who took abortion pill
OK, the charges were suddenly dropped today, but she still spent 3 days in jail for it. AND she still faces charges of "possession of a dangerous drug." Because, dontchya know, the morning-after pill is a "dangerous drug."

This country is so fucked up.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Re TSA, WillCAD from FlyerTalk tells it like it is

I wish I knew this person's real name to give him credit for this comment he posted at the chat forum FlyerTalk (FT). In it, he hits every nail on the head in a discussion with another FT member about the TSA. All I know is that he goes by "WillCAD" and says he hails from Charm City. Here's his FT handle: 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

We Live In A Fucking Police State

We live in a fucking police state. I don't care if you don't get it, I don't care if you're too dense to see what's going on around you, I don't care if you're in denial. Your thickheadedness doesn't change the facts.

I will repeat, for the umpteenth time: A police state doesn't exist only when everyone is arrested; a police state exists when everyone CAN be arrested. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Baltimore, Violence, and the Wages of "Revolution"

Front page story in today's Baltimore Sun: 
A mom, a disabled son, and a home that blazed amid Baltimore's riots
It begins:
Black soot covers the two-story house like a dark shadow. The roof has collapsed, and a bright red sign proclaims the home has been condemned.
Until a few weeks ago, when the riots roiled Baltimore, this house at Hilton Street and Piedmont Avenue was home for Laporsha Lawson and her severely disabled son, Khai'Lee Sampson.