you have to live with it

Ponder if you will, this simple scenario.  It takes one hour for a normal cardiologist test to check your heart for the detrimental presence of alien spores.  But your particular cardiologist (we’ll call him Gil) says it’ll take him at least three hours to test you.  And his error rate for the test is north of 90%.  So you’ll just have to take his word for it.  You of course reject all of this, and decide to go to another cardiologist.  Until Gil starts cracking up and delightfully informs you that he’s the only cardiology practice on the planet.  You have no choice.  You have to live with it.

We’re regular TSA haters on this degenerate blog.  Partially because I fly a minimum of a dozen times a year, usually nearly double that.  In that time I’ve seen some real, real anger inducing stuff.  I’ve seen the TSA aggressively frisk a well dressed grandmother, scream at a small child, allow a person without an actual passport past the international checkpoint, and on and on and on.

For what?  Kindly take a moment to gaze upon the latest saga in a 15 year journey of incompetence.   If you’re flying out of Chicago, the TSA needs you there three hours early to do something that traditionally only took one hour.

There are the usual troubling nuggets in this article:

– Apparently after all this time they still can’t process the concept of peak season travel numbers.  This is their business.  This is what they do for a living.  But nobody seemed to bother to write on a napkin the number of booked tickets verses the number of screen personnel and do some simple math.  After all, it’s just your life, so whatever.

– The TSA continues to pound TSA Pre as the solution to all of your problems.  As before though, you’ll still have to pay $85, get fingerprinted, and conduct a formal interview with a TSA bureaucrat who’s undoubtedly fully qualified for the job of determining whether or not you’re a vicious terrorist.  So TSA Pre is the answer to the problem of the TSA’s removal of your time and money.  And thus the solution is for them to take more of your time and money (and your privacy).  So you can get back what they already took from you.  In any other construct not government, that’d be called theft or blackmail.

– All of this might be worth it if the TSA actually did the task assigned to them.  But as the article reminds us, the TSA fails at its mission well over 90% of the time.  In fact, the article actually mentions the raw numbers which I’ve never seen before:

undercover security operatives managed to smuggle 67 illegal weapons or simulated bombs past TSA security on 70 tries last year, that TSA officials were unable to properly vet 73 aviation employees who had links to terrorism, thereby allowing them access to secure areas,  and that senior managers have a long history of bullying whistleblowers who identify potential problems.

In 15 years the TSA has never successfully stopped a single terrorist act.  They’ve never caught a guy at the checkpoint.  But if you play devil’s advocate to try and make the argument about deterrence, all I can say is with a failure rate of 90%, if an actual terrorist had actually tried, he’d probably have succeeded.

So what’s all this been?  For 15 years?  Smoke and mirrors.  Power, money, and the bureaucratic inertia survival of an organization, no matter how incompetent or rude or unfair to you, the citizen.

But don’t worry, Congress is all over this, solving the problem like they typically do:

On Tuesday, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) called on TSA Administrator Peter V. Neffenger to resign if the long wait times at airports such as O’Hare and Midway are not resolved by Memorial Day.

Senator Kirk seems to think wait times are the reason to clean house.  Senator Kirk is thus burning his day sitting under one tree, surrounded by flies, scratching his head, completely unaware that he’s in the middle of a whole forest.  Bravo.

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