The week in travel, TSA edition: Nov. 24, 2010

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Nov 24, 2010

I need to get cracking, folks – Seattle is under a heap of snow, the roads are iced over, and I need to bake about a bazillion pies in anticipation of Turkey Day. So while this week is short one, I feel that a round-up is nevertheless in order, even if it, too, is on the short side. There’s a joke here … something about shortness and genitalia … And speaking of genitals, did you know that the TSA can now legally give you a pap smear without your consent? It may be possible that I am exaggerating a weensy bit. Maybe.

But in honor of the recent prominence the TSA has had in the news as of late, and that today is Opt-Out Day across the nation’s airports, I give you a very special TSA edition of The Week in Travel. Enjoy, and hang on to your pants …

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This article about a TSA agent furiously masturbating as women walked through the backscatter machines is entirely fictional (it’s via The Daily Squib, the U.K.’s equivalent of The Onion). Still I (and countless others) fell for it. Why? Because these days the truth is just as ridiculous as fiction.

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The lovely @SusanMoskwa brought my attention to this: A gift from all the crafty-types, for all us traveler-types.

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The TSA screening system might be intensive, but at least it’s keeping us safe, right? I mean, except for this gun clip that a child found in the seat pocket in front of him on a Southwest Airlines flight. But don’t fret: it was left there by an off-duty law-enforcement officer! I guess he wasn’t selected for the optional screening. (via @dish1380)

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A humorous little clip of Adam Savage (of Mythbusters fame) talking about how he was patted-down as part of the extended security screenings en route to Seattle. Despite becoming intimately knowledgeable about his junk, they neglected to find the TWO 12-INCH RAZOR BLADES HE HAD FORGOTTEN IN HIS CARRY-ON.

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This is almost too cliche: apparently Michael Chertoff, the head of Homeland Security under Bush, and the dude that insisted we need these full-body scanners? Well, he runs a consulting firm whose main clients is the company manufacturing the scanners. Seriously? He didn’t even bother to add a couple degrees of distance between himself and the source of his money? I’m kind of insulted.

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A brilliant essay on why, if we insist on keeping these scanners, we might as well torch the constitution.

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A woman in Orlando claims that she was singled out for additional screening by TSA agents who kept staring at her breasts. While it’s a he said/ she said sort of article, I don’t doubt that this is happening. The screenings are random, and supposedly only a small percentage of the folks are subject to them, but I’m been screened 2 out of 2 times so far. And there were lots of other young women keeping me company. (Edit: I’m not that hot. But the screeners are that desperate).

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I’m totally digging this 4th amendment wear. I might need to buy a few shirts and onesies for the kiddos in my life.

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Reading this list of the 10 worst injustices committed by the TSA just makes my blood pressure spike. And not all of them have to do with the scanners – this stuff has been going on for years.

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While I’ve done my fair share of demonizing the TSA (hell, I’m doing it right now!) it’s important to remember that TSA officers are people, too – and a lot of them are dealing with a great deal of abuse and mistreatment at the hands of frustrated passengers. It doesn’t make what the TSA is currently doing any less wrong, but it does remind us that this situation is bad for everyone.

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And because we all need a little levity this holiday weekend, here’s SNL’s spoof on the new TSA search procedures:

Alright, folks – that’s it for me this week. I have some pies to bake.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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