Archive for the ‘HomelandSecurity’ Category

War On Christmas Escalates

Warning: More Satire from Helmut

A sudden spark in hostilities as thrown the world into conflict this week. A Declaration of War was delivered to St. Nicholas by the Foreign Minister of Nunavut laying out the intentions of several hostile Inuet tribes to war against Christmas. Inuet tribes are accusing the jolly elf of over aggressive border movements by reindeer in the area. It is unknown whether or not these movements are tantamount to war by the international community but violence has erupted along a 2,000 mile border between the state of Nunavut and the North Pole.

St. Nicholas, Prime Minister of the North Pole has asked for the United Nations to send in peace keeping forces to the region but it is doubtful that the Security Council will make a decision before the the New Year. Most ambassadors have been implicated in a scandal involving the promises to be good and bribing of cookies and milk for presents from Santa. With the UN in an uneasy situation and most ambassadors already out of New York for the Christmas holiday, it is unlikely they will be able to return before the upcoming deadline for hostilities.

The United States is debating the possibility of unilaterally intervening in the conflict. Members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations met in a closed door meeting on Tuesday to discuss it’s options. Ranking members were rumored to be discussing the use US veterans from the Iraqi war to save Christmas. With continued pressure mounting by business leaders and religious interests in certain swing states, it is likely that a joint resolution to use military force will be announced by the end of the week.

Airport Security

I recently returned from some significant travel, and I have been reflecting on the experience. In doing so, I came across the website and browsed some stories for fun and catharsis.

Here’s a real gem:

She handed me my bag, my hoodie, my boarding pass, my shoes, and id. Have a nice flight Miss, she said. Okay, I said. Thanks. Didn’t give her a dirty look or anything. Given the quality time we had spent without the social aid of trousers, I figured we were a little closer than we had been before, and so I asked her why I had been searched. She paused, clearly uncomfortable. Well, you fit the profile of a student extremist, she said tugging at an earlobe. Okay, I said. Have a nice day, she said. Okay, I said, and walked to my gate.

(emphasis mine)

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate the work that TSA employees do, and I have yet to encounter a rude TSA employee (which is remarkable given the environment in which they work).

However, our policies for airport security should be less reactionary. Right now the design of airport security policy seems to respond to media events. College campus shooting? Profile “student extremists.” Attempted shoe bomber? Take your shoes off and no gels in carry-ons. We need a sensible, top-down, publicly debated airport security policy that is designed with the end result in mind.

And I’m not even covering the many problems with modern airlines, like overbooked flights, canceled flights, anticompetitive practices, and so forth. We need a “passenger bill of rights” to address these kinds of problems.

It’s also worth mentioning that, for the mega-rich, airport security problems and airline hassles simply do not exist. Those that can afford to fly in a private jet encounter no security screening, no waiting, and no grief from the airlines.

Homeland Security for Sale

Brave New Films and director Robert Greenwald have done it again. They have condensed a multifaceted issue — in this case, corruption within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as reported by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) — into a compelling 5-minute video:

The CREW report is a heroic undertaking that highlights some of the worst mismanagement, oversight failures, outrageous contracts, failed programs, crime, and cronyism taking place under the umbrella of DHS. Take a minute to read through it to understand what is at stake for the home front in 2008.

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