Tuesday, August 15, 2006

They've Got To Be Kidding Me

While doing my usual morning perusal of blogs and news on the net, I came across an article from the Washington Post that outlines the Transportation Security Administration's new regulations concerning carry-on baggage. The complete story can be found here.

Like most of you, I'm sure, I'm not very concerned about the inconvenience of being unable to bring liquids on a plane, or checking my luggage, even though I've had bags that have ended up in both Newfoundland and Copenhagen. Better safe than sorry, right? But what I am concerned with are the facts and figures that this Post piece presented regarding the TSA's budget. Here are a few excerpts:

"The TSA, which has a budget of $6.2 billion and has seen its number of screeners drop to 43,000 from 55,000 in 2002, is one of the last lines of defense in the country's efforts to battle terrorism, particularly attacks directed at airplanes."

"The TSA should have banned liquids long ago or pushed more aggressively to develop technology to detect them because the threat from such explosives has been well-established for at least a decade, critics argue. They also wonder why the Department of Homeland Security, of which the TSA is a part, has seen its research and development budgets slashed from $110 billion in 2003 to $44 billion this year."

I did a little research of my own, and found that there are a little over 300 of what would be considered "major" airports in the US, of which, a little more than 100 are considered "International." So let's do the basic math here, folks. 43,000 divided by 300 gives us an average of 143.33 screeners per airport. Now, of course, there's probably more security in cities like New York, LA & Chicago, and less in say, Oshkosh. But seriously, ARE THEY KIDDING ME? This doesn't exactly inspire a whole lot of confidence in the TSA's efforts to keep the skies "friendly," not that I had much in them to begin with.

And where did all the other $66 billion in the research and development budget go? Well, I think we all know the answer to that question. So let me see if I understand this correctly. We're fighting a war in Iraq under the guise of "freedom and democracy" for their people, while here in the States, a mother has to take a drink of her own pumped breast milk before boarding an airplane? Something is seriously rotten in the State of the United.

I, for one, can't wait until January 20th, 2009.

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