Sunday, January 27, 2008

Terrorists sneak around (TSA)

Yesterday I had the pleasure of flying around the US, and I was reminded of why I call the TSA "Terrorists Sneak Around". Since the institution of the new, post-9/11 TSA regulations, the American air traveler has been continually harassed and pick-pocketed of run of the mill household items.

"Get rid of your lighter, put your toothpaste in a zip-lock bag and make sure that your pill bottles contain only the number of pills you need for your trip."

This creates two classes of travelers; the few who follow all these silly regulations to a T, and the rest of us who have figured out how to hide all these items in plain sight and bypass the security mechanisms in place. Putting everything in zip-lock bags, buying small travel-size toothpaste, and ditching lighters is very annoying and cumbersome. But more importantly, failure to do it correctly only results in the loss of a 25-cent lighter, or a $5 tube of toothpaste. This creates a high tolerance for mistakes. It actually makes economic, and common, sense to practice until you can beat all the security mechanisms, so that when you get off the plane your bag still contains your lighter, your toothpaste and your pocket knife.

If you would like to see this in action, your best bet is an airport that still has a smoking lounge behind the security checkpoints. Plant yourself in this lounge, and wait for someone to light up. You'll be surprised to see that 99% of the smokers managed to get their lighters though security.

Ready to try your hand? Go out and get several small pen knifes that cost between $5 to $10, then spend 10 minutes thinking about how an X-Ray machine works, and what its potential limitations might be. Now place the lighters in your bags, and see how many make it though. (random legal disclaimer cause the world is litigious, "I don't encourage or condone this type of activity.")

The real point behind all of this is, if the average air traveler can figure out a plethora of ways to avoid detection at airport security, don't you think the real bad guys, who have money and time at their disposal, can "at will" avoid detection? With that said, what's the point of the TSA ?

If you agree with me I urge you to write your airline of choice, not the TSA or a government official, and simply say the following:

"I want air travel to be fun and hassle-free like it used to be. Please lobby the government for less security, and less regulations from the TSA. If you do this for me, I'll fly your airline more often and to more destinations. I am the majority, I am the average "Joe", this is a democracy, you are a business, and I understand that you think you have to look strong on security. However, your customers are smart enough to understand that all this tough talk about security is nothing more than a facade. Please make my travel experience better by eliminating, or severely restricting, the authority of the TSA. In return, I will give you more of my money."

A few people to petition:


Continental Airlines:



Other airlines

If you find other email address for people please post them as comments. The best way to find valid email addresses for real people is to search google and MSN for "customer relations manager " Then search the results. Most of the time you will find at the very least the name of the person who holds that title. Then send out a test email to "", "", etc etc until you get one that doesn't bounce.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Center Strikes Back

I loved Cranky's last post so much I had to share this link - Huckabee's Proposed Constitutional Amendments

This about sums up my opinion on the 2008 campaign. I am so tired of the polarized rhetoric in politics today. The only take-away is that, no matter which candidate I chose, I am guaranteed to lose some, or most, of my freedoms!

Monday, January 7, 2008

No one for me in 2008

The only thing on the news as of late is the 2008 Presidential race and the round-the-clock coverage of the Primaries and Caucuses. Since I'm a good little American, and I do exactly what the TV tells me to do, I started thinking about who I am going to vote for in the next election. This irresistible urge to comply with the TV forced me to do millions of Google searches, read all the candidate's websites, troll the forums on major media outlets, and write lots of emails to each candidate on the issues at hand. Unfortunately, after tallying all my results, I've come to the conclusion that I'm pretty much FUBAR when it comes to picking a candidate with views and politics that agree with mine.

The reasons for this are pretty clear, I'm too simple. Now this statement might not make sense to many of you, so I'll lay it out for you without any ambiguity.

My politics are the following.

1. I get to keep my guns, and you don't get to mess with them.
2. I get to keep my money. I made it, it's mine.
3. I don't care about universal health care. 50% of doctors still graduated in the bottom half of their class; it doesn't matter who pays an idiot, the government or me, he's still an idiot.
4. I don't have any faith. There is no God, deal with it, you just die. I don't want the church in my government, and I don't want anything to be decided on faith.
5. Women get to choose. If men got pregnant this wouldn't be an issue, it would be part of the Bill of Rights.
6. Stem cells should be played with as much as possible. Since I got no afterlife coming, I would rather just live forever.
7. Don't spy on me, leave me alone, and I'm not a terrorist. TSA stands for "McDonalds wouldn't hire me/Terrorists Sneak Around". Give me back my lighter, don't take my laptop battery, and zip lock bags don't stop explosions. Please let me get back to enjoying air travel.
8. The government needs to be smaller. Keep the government poor, and remain free.
9. I don't care about Social Security. I'm never gonna see a dime anyways. Figure out how to phase it out.
10. If I have to pay taxes only people who pay taxes get to have my taxes. This is a nice way of saying if you aren't a citizen you don't get to enjoy the benefits of my tax dollars.

Now, given the above I normally favor the Republican party, as it is supposed to stand for "I get to keep my money, my guns, and the government stays small". However as of late the Republican party seems to be waffling on all 3 of these issues, so in all fairness, to find the candidate for me I investigated all the people I could find.

This resulted in the following tally. (shorted to 2 for each side)


Hillary Clinton

a. Pro-choice
b. Down with stem cells.
c. Godless

a. Thinks the 1st and 2nd Amendments aren't part of the Constitution.
b. Champion of universal health care.
c. Wants all my money

Barack Obama:

a. Pro-choice
b. Seems to have no real plan for social security. I'll give you a pro on failure to give a crap.

a. Plans to use my money to pay for health care, by eliminating tax cuts on the middle class and upper middle class, and then somehow doing some magic of what he calls middle class tax fairness.
b. Really dislikes guns, the NRA rates this guy as Satan.
c. Into the Bible. Defended that he was a Christian, and a true one at that.


Mitt Romney

1. Guns are ok, they aren't great, but they are ok.
2. Free market health care. This gets a pro, cause he's in my boat. Doctors can be dumb, no matter who pays them.

1. Anti-choice
2. No stem cells, and every time I masturbate I'm killing kids.
3. Loves the God.

Ron Paul

1. Small Government
2. Everyone gets a gun.
3. I get to keep all my money.

1. Anti Choice - hides behind states rights blah blah blah. Overturn Roe v Wade and all legislation around abortions, because it's not the Fed's problem.
2. No stem cells, the federal government shouldn't fund research around things that are potentially "moral" issues.
3. Thinks teaching Creationism is somehow useful in our schools. Believes Creationism has scientific facts backing it.

After this fun tally I went back and reviewed a number of other presidential hopefuls including McCain, Huckabee, Edwards, Guiliani, Hunter, Thompson, Gravel, Kucinich and came to the following simple conclusion.

The Republican candidates are running the agenda that God is on their side, and because of this abortion is evil; but you get to keep your guns, because we are pretty sure we are evil and you might have to use them to get rid of us. Additionally, the Republicans are running on the platform of smaller government because they believe Congress and the Senate are incompetent, so we should leave things to the states. While on the other hand they want to increase funding to our security agencies, and make it easier to spy on us under the illusion that it keeps America strong. They also want to make DHS bigger, because somehow that agency of the government isn't incompetent.

The Democrats are running on the agenda that you, America, are idiots and they are a super-race of social problem-solvers. They plan to fund stem cell research, so the rich can live forever, while getting taxed to death to pay for a broken social security program. Additionally, they want to tax the almost rich, so they never become rich, to pay for social welfare and universal heath care. All the while taking my guns, and making the government the largest employer in America.

Given the above I've decided that I cannot support any of the current presidential candidates. This is why I'm announcing my bid for president, the cornerstone of my campaign agenda will be the following:

1. Everyone woman gets the right to choose whether or not she will carry a child.
2. I get to have all the guns and ammo I want.
3. I will never trade freedom for security.
4. I will close down the DEA and all the money used on the War on Drugs will be funneled into Social Security. I will then pay out all outstanding balances in the Social Security system and disband the program.
5. I will remove Creationism and Intelligent Design from all Federally-funded educational institutions.
6. I will disband the TSA and "ebay" everything they have confiscated over the years. This should generate billions of dollars. I will take this money to improve our education system.
7. I will severely limit the welfare system, and make it harder to get into it and faster to get out of it. I will encourage people with compassion to start non-profit organizations to help people, if that is what they like to do.
8. On immigration I will open our boarders, as immigration is what made this country. There is no such thing as an American. We all immigrated from somewhere. However if you don't pay taxes, you don't get to use public services; and if you want to be an American citizen you must speak and read English. I will pass legislation to make English the official language of the land.
9. I will overturn the Digital Millennium Copyrights Act (DMCA). American companies should innovate, not litigate, to stay competitive in a global market.
10. I will support a free and open Internet. Network providers will not be allowed to filter content, restrict content, or impose regulations of supported vs not supported protocols or services. I pay for bandwidth. If that is what you sell, then that is what I'm buying.
11. I will overhaul the FDA, so drugs can reach sick people quicker. This will come at the price of safety, in some situations. The American people will be informed of this, and can make their own decisions as to whether or not to take a drug or undergo a procedure that has inherent risk.
12. I will stay in Iraq. Just because the previous administration made a terrible mistake, doesn't mean I'm not obligated to clean up the mess.
13. I will remove the federal regulations that mandate states institute 21 as the legal drinking age, .08 as the legal blood alcohol level, and 55 mph as the maximum speed limit in order to receive federal road money.
14. I will do a bong hit in the oval office, and I will inhale.
15. I will encourage states to hold open votes on the issues of gay marriage. If your state wants this, they can pass their own laws based on the majority of the voting population.

Vote CrankyinColumbia in 08