Make My Day…


A couple of interesting events on what I considered to be a slow news day.  One is encouraging, and it involves the US military so that’s not overly surprising and I’m hoping it’s a turn away from the kinder, gentler, more politically correct military that gave Major Nidal Hasan a pass simply because he was a radical Muslim.  The second says everything you ever needed to know about the quality of government employees, the quality of their management and the culture of non-accountability in which they coexist.  Needless to say, we’re talking about employees of the Transportation Security Administration, your overly friendly airport gropers.

Let’s do TSA and Punks 1, 2 & 3 first so we can end on a high note and we’ll start with some history and a peek at the environment in which the folks in question work.

In terms of history, we’ll travel back in time some nine years and a few months.  To September 2001.  On the eleventh of that month a group of Muslim terrorists boarded passenger aircraft and brought war to our shores killing about 3,000 American citizens.  The weapons they used looked like this…



Simple box cutters.  A tools, not a weapon, and based on a design that is probably 100 years old and wasn’t high tech when it was invented.

In terms of work environment, the TSA is responsible for security at US airports and on US commercial airline flights.  They perform physical searches of passengers and their children that would get you arrested for a sex crime if you tried it on the street.  They require passengers to submit to searches by electronic metal detectors, wands and high tech x-ray equipment that can confirm your sex even with all of your clothes on.

OK.  Groundwork laid.  The short version is that a passenger got on a JetBlue flight today with not one, not even two, but three box cutters.  Three.  And he avoided detection by all the sophisticated electronic stuff and not one, not two, but three highly trained, crack TSA employees.  The Wall St. Journal has the story…

NEW YORK — The Transportation Security Administration said Wednesday it is sending three screeners for remedial training after a passenger carried three box cutters onto a JetBlue plane at New York’s Kennedy airport.

The box cutters fell out of the passenger’s carry-on luggage as he was stowing it in an overhead compartment…

Three screeners will be disciplined and sent for remedial training for failing to spot the box cutters, TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis said.”We do take the matter very seriously, and we will certainly ensure that the officers on duty at the time are remediated and disciplined appropriately,” Davis said. She would not elaborate on the kind of punishment they would face.

Now let’s have some perspective here.  A guy gets on a commercial flight with three box cutters.  There are probably a couple of hundred souls on that flight.  Had he had accomplices on the flight they could have revisited the 911 disaster.  There are three negligent TSA employees who failed at their jobs.  Three.  Plus their management.  And what is the result for them?  Retraining.  Apparently didn’t lose their jobs.  Probably didn’t lose a day’s pay.  Went to “school” for a day or so – likely at full pay – and back to work.

I’ve got a problem with this.  How much training does it take to find a flipping box cutter.  Or three.  These paragons of government employment should have been fired for cause and their management team should have been tossed with them.  It’s not like we couldn’t find someone who could replace them with 19% un/under employment.  Makes me hope Scott Walker takes the unions in Wisconsin to the cleaners, and that John Kasich does the same in Ohio.

OK, put the alcohol down.  It’s time for the good news.  That would be Punk 4.

Remember Bradley Manning the PFC (I purposely left out a group of about five adjectives) who conspired with Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks jerk, to release tens of thousands of pages of classified US documents?  He’s in the news again today.  Now, before I go any farther, let me be really clear about something I think is important.  I don’t give a rip what was in the documents.  I don’t care if the most damaging thing in them was my baking powder biscuit recipe.  They were marked “Classified” and for releasing them, PFC Manning should, at the very least, never see the light of day again.  He should be confined in a very small hole in the basement of a building in Leavenworth, Kansas.  And, guess what, according to our friends who publish the Guardian

Bradley Manning, the US soldier who has spent 10 months in solitary confinement on suspicion of having transmitted a huge trove of state secrets to WikiLeaks,  now faces a possible death penalty.

The intelligence specialist, who is being held in the maximum security jail on Quantico marine base in Virginia, has been handed 22 additional military charges as part of his court martial process.

They come on top of initial charges of having illegally obtained 150,000 secret US government cables and handing more than 50 of them to an unauthorised person that carried a possible sentence of up to 52 years in prison.

Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, said that the most serious of the new charges was the Article 104 offence of “aiding the enemy”. The charge carries a potential death sentence.

If they want to try him for treason, convict him and hang him, I’ve got a new rope I was saving in the long held hope that one day John Kerry would be convicted of treason and I’ll donate it to the PFC’s executioner.  No charge.  Guaranteed to work.  And if some day Kerry does meet his just reward, I’ll be happy to buy a new rope for him.  Oh, and for Julian, I would love to see a 308 solution done in a very public and unmistakable way.

All in all, I call this a pretty good ending to a slowish news day.

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