TSA / Amelia followups

Following this item yesterday:

1) Demonstrating the mathematical theorem that TSA+Google Ads = unintended comedy, reader Andrew Hall shows what happened when he clicked on the trailer for the Hilary Swank / Amelia Earhart film:


In case you can't read it, the pop-up ad says: "Homeland Security: Become a TSA Scanner by Earning Your Degree in Homeland Security." I hope it's a joke -- I mean, including the "Degree in Homeland Security." But I fear it is not. FWIW, my pop-up ads on the same trailer were all for the WaWa grocery store chain.

2) I said that the Grace McGuire story had a happy ending. After TSA security-theater threatened to close down her reconstruction of an Amelia Earhart-type plane, the pre-approved crew from a San Diego museum had taken over the task. A reader begs to differ:

"Happy ending..." you say, at the end of today's piece.

But probably not for the "....variety of craftsmen and suppliers who happened to come up with the right part for the plane...." not to mention the likely large number of simple voluntary workers on such a project.

Case in point:  My 76 year old mother, who is the non-flying secretary of her local EAA [Experimental Aircraft Association] chapter, was a volunteer member of a group which recently completed the restoration of a Viet Namese era artillery spotter plane.  She, and the other 60 and 70 something year-olds who restored that Piper took great pleasure and pride in what they did, and the results - in fact, they're planning to do another plane in the not-too distant future.  What a shame it will be if their ability to make some contribution, and derive a sense of satisfaction and worth from the effort, is prevented by the TSA's bureaucratic nonsense.
3) Just because it's both China-related and aviation-themed, here's a YouTube video of China's first all-electric plane, the Yuneec. (Say it out loud. Hardee-har!) Kind of odd video, but looks like fun -- it's at a California airport I know well. And, to bring things back to a TSA theme, never once in my many, many trips through Chinese airports did I have to take off my shoes. I mean, except on flights back to the U.S.  Let us learn from a 5,000-year-old culture to the east. (More here. Thanks to Ted Pearlman.)

4) And speaking of shoes, a final bit of TSA-related mail:
As a conservative, I did not vote for President Obama. Nonetheless, it's my hope that some of the sillier things instituted by the Bush Administration would get thrown out.

Why hasn't the Obama Administration acted to clean up the public image of TSA? Specifically, why hasn't TSA stopped making people take off their shoes? It's the silly tip of the iceberg of silly security theatre.

I'd think that the President would win himself a lot of independent votes by getting rid of this rather ridiculous measure. Have any ideas as to why it hasn't happened?
Ideas in later dispatches.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.


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