Worry not about the tens of thousands of Syrians that Barack Obama plans to invite to take up residence here. Secretary of State Kerry assures us that the vetting process to screen out the bad guys will be thorough. Alas, Michael Steinbach, assistant director of counterterrorism of the F.B.I. told a House committee that Syria lacked the systems that would provide us with the information we need to evaluate refugees. Kerry is unworried, for two reasons. First, compared to the Iranian nuke that his deal with Teheran makes possible, the threat of an inbound Syrian terrorist is minor. Second, the government’s dispersion and relocation plan for refugees is unlikely to select the neighbourhoods in which his several houses are located as economically appropriate for the billeting of immigrants.
But at least TSA is on the job to make sure that luggage doesn’t contain stuff that can blow us out of the sky. To avoid having to break locks on locked luggage, the government agency worked with industry to develop a set of keys that the ever-alert screening agents can use to open luggage without breaking and entering our bags. Unfortunately, the Washington Post ran a story about this, complete with pictures of the special keys. Reports The Economist, “Commonly available software can turn any picture of an object into a digital footprint. Now a group of amateur lock-pickers have proudly posted on the internet proof that they had used 3D printers to make perfect copies of the master keys, and published the files so that others could do the same.” That makes some 300 million TSA-approved locks vulnerable to any entrepreneur who might prefer to pick his way to riches rather than smashing the anyhow-flimsy locks.
If the feds can’t protect us, perhaps local pols can. Not in New York City, the new home of experiments in very, very progressive government in the person of Mayor Bill de Blasio. The lowest proportion of New Yorkers ever recorded count the quality of life as “good” or “very good.” Some are concerned about semi-nude, body-painted women who roam Times Square hustling, er, tips for allowing tourists to use them in selfies. Almost half of voters see crime as a very serious problem once again (Rudy Giuliani, where are you now that we need you?), perhaps because Guardian Angel volunteers are once again patrolling Central Park after a 20-year absence, perhaps because of a major increase in the number of homeless, taken by New Yorkers in my day as a sign that ordinary citizens have lost control of the streets.
Worse is in store. City Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and her colleagues plan to de-criminalize public urination, jumping subway turnstiles and other such attacks on public order that progressives do not find unnerving. The New York Post featured a picture of a “urinating vagrant [who] turned a busy stretch of Broadway in his own private bathroom … [and] finished his business at a nearby garbage bin, then strolled back to the front of a Victoria’s Secret store … where he camped out for the rest of the day”. The headline, “20 years of cleaning up NYC pissed away.” There are times when a bit of vulgarity drives home a point, but it will be a point lost on the City’s ruling political class and its liberal supporters.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) confiscated a record 67 firearms located in passengers' carry-on baggage during the week of September 11, 2015. On September 11 alone, ten guns were found. Out of the 67 firearms found during the week, 56 were loaded and 26 actually had a round chambered, ready to fire. (The TSA did not note the position of safety catches on the weapons.)
A new study from the Cato Institute asks the question many travelers have pondered after a pat-down gone awry: Can’t we replace the TSA? The agency’s embarrassing record of waste and mismanagement makes a compelling case.
In more than one instance, the agency has wasted tens of millions on technology that ended up being a flop. It bought hundreds of explosive-detector machines that turned out not to work outside the lab.
Seems the Transportation Security Administration has a problem. In short, many of the people who frisk you, paw through your luggage, and herd you like cattle through the lines at the airport are stealing on the job. Among other derelictions. And the problem, as CNN reports, is growing:
If you’re headed to the airport for the holidays, here are some tips to keep you off the Transportation Security Administration’s “naughty list”: Holiday puddings (even the figgy kind) are considered “gel-like” substances and must be carried in clear plastic containers of no more than 3.4 ounces.
A notional woman named “Julia” recently made her debut on the Obama campaign’s website. Julia, it seems, needs help at every stage in her life, and if the president has his way, the government will be there to assist her in, among other things, getting a college education, finding a job, securing birth control, and providing for her retirement. But it turns out that all this assistance will not be enough for the hapless Julia as she moves through life. It seems she will also need some close air support.
Government, and the party of government, have been through something of a rough patch lately. First, there was the GSA’s Las Vegas blowout. Then, the Secret Service debaucheries. And, two weeks ago, the video of an Environmental Protection Agency bureaucrat preening about his enforcement strategy of “crucifying” five random oil drillers pour encourager les autres.