Planes, trains and Obamaphiles

Regarding the new airport security measures that have made everyone so upset:

Am I the only person wondering whether the Obama administration, which is very openly pushing high-speed rail as an alternative to airplanes, could really be all that bothered that the new security measures are giving air travel such a bad name?

This doesn’t require any truther- or birther-esque belief in grand conspiracies. Public outrage that translates into public support for high-speed rail could be a wholly unintended consequence of “junk”-gate. Even so, might the Obama administration now see this moment as an opportunity to renew its rail push? Never waste a crisis, you know.

We have, after all, just recently seen that high-level administration officials skewed an official report on the Gulf oil spill in such a way as to lead to a drilling moratorium — you know, all in the president’s effort to “restore science to its rightful place.” You don’t have to believe conspiracy theorists who think the feds actually sabotaged the Deepwater Horizon oil rig to believe they took advantage of the disaster to push a related policy goal — to the detriment of thousands of Gulf Coast residents.

Now, back to the airport security measures, we have Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano essentially telling us just to shut up and take it. Will the Obama administration work to correct this policy even though it serves the interests of another pet policy? We’ll see.

Post-script: As this Boston Herald column points out, Napolitano herself is rarely if ever subjected to the same kind of treatment; a similar case of Rules For Thee But Not For Me is the notion that we should ban all cellphone use in automobiles, pushed by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who probably doesn’t spend much time in cars that don’t have chauffeurs.

81 comments Add your comment


November 16th, 2010
11:09 am

Who invented Homeland Security? What — grow gov’t? Pay for it? Put it on the card !!!!

the security is BS

November 16th, 2010
11:11 am

The airport security is a joke, I travel about 20 times a year ,and don’t have to go thru the scanner, yet there are two places I could easily hide a knife that they have NEVER checked and were I up to no good could easily cause havoc on a plane. I have even pointed it out to a new guy who was nice a trying to do a good job, and he didn’t even care. Do not think you are safe on a plane, if i can do this so easily imagine someone who is trained to do something bad could get away with it!Want security -do what the Israeli’s do.


November 16th, 2010
11:23 am

Kyle: “Am I the only person wondering whether the Obama administration, which is very openly pushing high-speed rail as an alternative to airplanes, could really be all that bothered that the new security measures are giving air travel such a bad name?

For our sake, let’s hope Kyle’s the only person wondering.

Increasing airport security measures to get people to support trains? Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t we under a relatively high alert status? For example, didn’t we just have some attempts to blow up airplanes in or over the United States?

Kyle’s Muslim-bashing posts were and remain a record low for him on the morality scale. This post, on the other hand, is off-the-charts stupid.


November 16th, 2010
11:26 am

The Bush administration created the TSA and Homeland Security,all you are seeing now is a result of that bad decision,and no high speed rail is not a replacement for air travel,in case you have not noticed the chinese have massive new rail projects,that have created thousands of permanent jobs and cottage industries throughout their country,I don’t think it would hurt to at least consider the boost that it would give to our economy.

Time to look towards the positive for all Americans instead of burying your self in anti Obama rhetoric.


November 16th, 2010
11:29 am


Thought you’d be interested in this article on how people game pension systems:

Kyle Wingfield

November 16th, 2010
11:34 am

Once again, CJ sees what CJ wants to see.

I explicitly wrote about this in terms of an unintended consequence, not as “Increasing airport security measures to get people to support trains.”

As for my “Muslim-bashing posts” — presumably about the so-called Ground Zero Mosque — I guess CJ also thinks this Saudi prince, who happens to be a financial backer of the mosque’s imam, also “hates” Muslims since he also favors moving the center:

Or maybe “opposes mosque location = Muslim hater” is a complete non sequitur.


November 16th, 2010
11:35 am

Kyle, if you want to create a discussion, you will need to use a bit of logical thought.


November 16th, 2010
11:38 am

The real problem is the TSA agents themselves. These people have such crummy jobs that they use their only modicum of authority to trample the civil rights of people that unfortunately need planes to travel. Most of these losers barely have a 10th grade education so when they have the chance to make others miserable, they jump on it with an invasive feel-up.

Kyle Wingfield

November 16th, 2010
11:41 am

In other words, it’s about cause and effect. I don’t think this was the cause of the policy. I do think it might be an effect of it.


November 16th, 2010
11:43 am

Here we go again…the evil government. Kyle, what will it take before lunatics calm down over the increase security? Will it take a plane being blown up? We’ve already had one incident where someone had explosives in his underear…which of course, the right criticized Obama for that as well.

I find it strange how we have no problem going into a private doctor’s office or health clinic, get undressed and allow health professionals to prod and poke our naked bodies but then get all hysterical when patted down, open hand over our clothes (in a private area if requested) by a government agent at an airport to protect passengers as well as our homeland.

Kyle Wingfield

November 16th, 2010
11:48 am

John: You cannot be serious about your comparison to a medical checkup. Or at least I hope you’re not serious.

As for the part about protecting our homeland: I have yet to see a convincing argument that these new screening measures would have stopped the underwear bomber. Or the plot to blow up cargo planes. Or any of the other terrorist attempts.


November 16th, 2010
11:57 am

I am being serious with my comparison. Explain why you feel totally ok to be naked, prodded and poked for a medical checkup but it’s not ok for government agents to use these new screening measures?

What argument would it take to convince you these measures could have stopped the underwear bomber? There are pictures out there that show what the new devices could reveal and through a pat down, it could have been felt and detected.


November 16th, 2010
12:25 pm

Public outrage about airport security -> public support for high-speed rail?

Anyone else not buying this bit of casual logic?


November 16th, 2010
12:28 pm

To clarify, not accusing Kyle of mild conspiracy theorizing. I just doubt that anyone concerned about privacy in airports would make the large leap to high speed rail as an alternative.

Recent Grad

November 16th, 2010
12:29 pm

Yes, you are the only one wondering that. By the way, the man on the grassy knoll touched my junk.

get out much?

November 16th, 2010
12:31 pm

maybe we should just adopt the same measures that El Al employs, arrive three hours before departure, interview each passenger, hand search luggage, etc., etc.


November 16th, 2010
12:37 pm

Regarding the new airport security measures that have made everyone so upset:

Everyone, Mr. Wingfield?

A blatant exaggeration, wouldn’t you agree?

And junk-gate? Geezoo. What a non-event and travesty. That nutjob in San Diego just picked the wrong time and place to act like a petulant brat. Those people that are charged with keeping idiots and murderers off of our planes have one helluva job and responsibility.

The last thing they need is some loud mouth putz looking for his 15 minutes of fame.

As for that skewed report on the completely preventable BP debacle, why no mention of the absurdly low “estimates” regarding the amount of oil that was gushing into the water? That seems to fly in the face of some grand theory about the government exploiting any and all crises, no?

Yes, the government was complicit in letting the Titans of Malfeasance and Criminal Negligence “police themselves”. Which is exactly what the faux conservatives have worked relentlessly 30 years to accomplish.

And now that’s it here?

Back to back mega-disasters, one economic and the other environmental.

And to paraphrase our erstwhile Bungler-in-Chief, you’re doing a heckuva job, connies.

BTW, kudos on putting up with the insults that are spewed your way. A few million more and you’ll catch up to Ms. Tucker and Mr. Bookman!


November 16th, 2010
12:39 pm

It’s not the search procedures I object to, it’s the mindless “every tenth passenger” rule or whatever it is that leads to an elderly Christian/Jewish/Hindu/Shinto/Nativist/Atheist person being searched while Islamic people shout “racial profiling, racial profiling!!!” Give me a break.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

November 16th, 2010
12:55 pm

In a rational world the government would not discredit itself by subjecting its innocent citizenry to harsh police techniques, compelling each to prove his innocence. The duty of ensuring safe air travel should be vested with airlines, perhaps coupled with a blanket limited-exemption from all “equal treatment” laws, so to allow each airline to compile a list of travelers whom it would exempt from inspection.


November 16th, 2010
12:57 pm

Depends on WHO touches my junk!! Some male TSA agent…..not happening….


November 16th, 2010
12:58 pm

These are the same morons who took a passenger’s Crest toothpaste but didn’t see a knife in three different airports.


November 16th, 2010
12:58 pm

Ragnar Danneskjöld
November 16th, 2010
12:55 pm

A rational world?? You’re dreaming, right!!

Not So Casual Observer

November 16th, 2010
1:19 pm

All of this is simply more nonsense to remain politically correct, and PC is itself nonsense.

How about the poor pit bulls? Simply due to the fact most all unprovoked attacks on infants, children and the occasional adult are committed by pit bulls we have cities proposing a license, or outright ban, on pit bulls. Of course then the owners of these docile pets claim they are being singled out wrongfully.

When the next dachshund, or elderly Caucasian gentleman or lady, commits an attack on a child or attempts to explode a bomb on a plane, we should start to profile them. Until that time we should ban pit bulls and scan, probe, pat and profile those we know are most likely to attempt an act of terror on one of our planes.

Subject the likely criminals to every step necessary to stop them and leave the rest of us alone.


November 16th, 2010
1:41 pm

Let’s just go back to that color code that seemed to change to Orange whenever an election was around the corner. There was no correlation between that was there?

A Hearty Cheese Sauce

November 16th, 2010
1:43 pm

This is kinda nasty yet, next time I must go thru airport I think I may postpone washing/wiping and allow these TSA LOSERS, most of whom arent qualified to cook french fries, to inspect all they want.



November 16th, 2010
1:47 pm

A little off subject, but Obama has lost his mind. See below:

In an effort to convince the Netanyahu government to impose a three-month moratorium on settlement construction in the West Bank, the Obama administration offered Israel last week a long list of security and diplomatic benefits, including 20 F-35s for free.
Israel signed a contract for 20 F-35s – a fifth-generation stealth fighter jet made by Lockheed Martin – in early October in a deal valued at $2.75 billion. Under the offer made to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during his meeting last week with US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, Israel would receive a second, free squadron of the advanced fighter jet if it agrees to impose a three-month freeze on settlement construction.


November 16th, 2010
1:50 pm

Yes Kyle, you are the only one. Please put the crack-pipe down and push away from the computer. Reading the 2nd paragraph convinces me you are an utter idiot – you hang a paragraph out there as innuenddo, yet don’t really have the balls to say what you really mean. Typical internt tough guy.

The Ghost of Lester Maddox

November 16th, 2010
1:54 pm

I like Archie Bunker’s solution to plane hi-jacking, as he stated it back in the 70’s on “All In The Family”.

Just pass around a basket of guns at the start of every flight – everybody is armed, so if a muslim terrorist wants to make trouble, they quickly discover they are traveling with dozens of armed passengers.


November 16th, 2010
2:03 pm

Not sure I agree with you on this one (concerning Obama lack of concern about the security measures). Seems they would also need to be used if high speed rail travel became the norm. Terrorsts can strike a high speed train just as easily (possibly more-so) than an airliner.

Question Authority

November 16th, 2010
2:07 pm

Some version of this same crap goes on with passenger slow rail today. The minute everyone starts taking the train you can expect the anal probes at the stations too. Certainly I wouldn’t put it past the scum in the administration (this or the last one) to wait until their measures are approved before screwing the american people openly with the same measures.

Becomming an expat is looking more and more appealing.

Remember folks, a wall or fence high enough to keep them out is also high enough to keep you in.


November 16th, 2010
2:08 pm

Aw Jesus Kyle. Go back to East Butt Hump Georgia where U came from and peddle your stupidness elsewhere. I was just at several airports and no one, I mean no one complained 1 bit. Because 1 tool decides to be belligerent and create a cell phone video; that means Obama is liking it because it’ll promote his high speed rail idea? You are young, inexperienced, and naive to say the least. Most people are ok w/ the body scan. Those who complain are most likely afraid it will show what they have…or most likely do NOT have!
They may yell it violates their freedoms, but most likely they just have a small johnson.

Road Scholar

November 16th, 2010
2:17 pm

Tough postings on you today,eh?

“…could really be all that bothered that the new security measures are giving air travel such a bad name?”

And here I thought that it was the airlines, namely Delta, that accomplished pissing off the public. I mean with the ever increasing bag charge, no real snacks, rationing beverages, charging for headphones, late departures/arrivals, rude cabin service, long delays on the tarmac, I thought they had cornered the market. Please Southwest, you can’t get here soon enough!

Oh and by the way Kyle, look at Luckovich’s cartoon. Remember we are at war! Let’s not inconvenience our citizens!


November 16th, 2010
2:22 pm

Too much of a stretch, Kyle. Now you’ve pulled a hammy linking the ramp-up of high-speed rail and new TSA search procedures. Good try, though.

Nice White Guy

November 16th, 2010
2:26 pm

As for those inane posts at 1:43 and that first 12:58, oh yes, PUHLEEZE bring back Argenbright Security!

For you ahem, “forgetful” fake conservatives, they were the disgraced Atlanta-based, privately owned and operated airport screeners who were forced out of the business by a string of security breaches:

– Criminals were found working as screeners

– Gates were left unattended

– Weapons were taken aboard planes even after Sept. 11, the day hijackers passed through security at gates guarded by guess who?

Argenbright in Newark, New Jersey, and Washington.

Yep more proof that the “free market” (LOL!!!) always does everything better than the loathed Uncle Sam…

Question Authority

November 16th, 2010
2:27 pm

Donald – From what I understand there were few complaints from the Jews as they got on the trains.

The fact that the bulk of the american people are too stupid to understand the damaging nature of x-rays or millimeter wave technology or are too gullible to ever question the liars at the FDA or TSA is just par for the course. This is a test of what we will put up with and we as a nation are failing (well, there appears to be hope, but clearly not for you). The fact that folks will just submit to having some high school dropout molest them or their childen because they triggered the metal detector with their hip implant or because they don’t want themselves exposed to deadly radiation is also a problem.

How about you and the other freedom haters just sit on the sidelines while we complain and attempt to get our freedoms back. If you want to freely get on the trains to the camps when the rest of us are free again, go for it. Sounds like you will have a lot of company when you get there.


November 16th, 2010
2:31 pm

These TSA patdowns are moronic and unnecessary, esp. when you consider there are better ways of screening…such as looking for terrorists in the crowds, not guns, knives, liquids, etc. 99.9% of terrorists can be detected based on their actions. mannerisms, discussions on their reasons for traveling and yes, their appearance. Ask Israel for help in getting their system implemented here.

Southern Comfort

November 16th, 2010
2:33 pm


If you and your supporters really knew half of what was out there, you wouldn’t have posted this today. I sincerely hope that these so called “losers” continue their streak on the number of days since an on-board incident that originates inside the US. Have mercy on any of your souls if you’re on the plane that breaks that streak.

Kyle Wingfield

November 16th, 2010
2:47 pm

Yeah, Road, it goes with the territory. Although I do get a chuckle when some anonymous poster calls me a “Typical internt [sic] tough guy.”

Back to John’s earlier comparison about the doctor’s office and airport security. Here are some of the many differences:

1. You can pick your doctors and get to know/trust them.
2. If, in the course of a checkup, your doctor asks you to do something you’re uncomfortable with, you can always say no.
3. Your doctor’s office isn’t equipped with a camera transmitting images of your body to third persons, who may or may not record them.
4. If you decide your doctor has crossed a line, you can start going to a different doctor.

I could go on.

I do find it interesting that some of the same people defending this universally applied practice were the ones complaining about a far more limited program to monitor electronically those people who are actually likely to be, or aid, terrorists.

There may some more measure of equality in this new approach, but that doesn’t make it right or just.


November 16th, 2010
2:58 pm

Keep chuckling – no more cowardly than writing:

“Even so, might the Obama administration now see this moment as an opportunity to renew its rail push? Never waste a crisis, you know.”

If you really believe it, than say it instead of implying it.

JF McNamara

November 16th, 2010
3:01 pm

So if we have a terror attack because someone’s junk wasn’t checked are you going to get on here and bash Obama or are you going to apologize? These are safety measures, and they are there for a reason. If you don’t want to comply, you must be a terrorist. Get a rental car.

Kyle Wingfield

November 16th, 2010
3:04 pm

JF: I assume you felt the same way about wiretapping?

JF McNamara

November 16th, 2010
3:16 pm

No, I’m against both actually as a proponent of personal freedom, but they are now the rules and they are there for a reason. I thought Bush went way too far, but I lived by the Bush’s rules because he knows more about terrorist than I do.

So if we loosen the rules because of your public outcry and we have an attack, where will you land? Will you (A) criticize Obama or will you (B) say you were wrong?

I already know its (A) and you will have a 40 series blog post bashing Obama for not protecting America. He’s in yet another media generated no-win situation.


November 16th, 2010
3:20 pm


“Who invented Homeland Security?”

The Democrats in the Senate as I recall.

Bush opposed it. Then supported it. Then opposed it. And, finally, supported it. All in a 6 week period.

Then went out in the campaign and called John Kerry a flip flopper.

I laughed my tail off at that. I still think it’s funny.


There are a lot of readers here, and on the Tucker and Goodman sites also, who never debate the issue but try to “kill the messenger”.
I often wonder if it is ignorance of the issue or just the “lust” to kill, even if only verbally.

But it suppose it helps the AJC pay the bills.


Kyle, just wait until terrorist hit one of those 150 mph trains and kills several hundred people. Then, what will be done about “high speed rail security”.

I find this obsession with security amusing. Maybe we should just have the government outlaw clothing and all go naked. Nah, never mind, someone would just swallow a bomb, mash his navel, and blow up the train.


November 16th, 2010
3:22 pm

You don’t have to be a genius to realize how many holes are in our security systems and how lucky we are so far to not have another 9/11. When the next 9/11 comes, and it will, today’s airport screening and other current security measures will be primitive compared to what will take it’s place.


November 16th, 2010
3:25 pm

Dick Cheney told us to shut up and take it with regards to his secret meetings on energy policy, the totalitarian approach to homeland security (and it was his Senate that passed the law to enable TSA to do what they do and his companies that profit from those machines)…

Kyle Wingfield

November 16th, 2010
3:35 pm

JF: I think this goes further than the wiretapping did, because it touches — pun intended — everyone (or at least everyone who flies).

But back to your question: I don’t think it’s a) have this particular type of screening or b) get hit by a terrorist attack. Our counter-terrorism failures have tended to be a lot more basic than whether the crotches of all the passengers on the plane were groped (e.g., failing to heed the underwear-bomber’s father’s warnings about his radicalized son). At some point, you accept that we can’t stop everything — as jconservative’s hypothetical navel-bomber @ 3:20 illustrates. I think this measure is beyond that point.

All of which is to say, if we are attacked and the only thing that could have prevented it was a crotch-search, which Obama had at some point discontinued, then no, I won’t criticize him for discontinuing the crotch-searches.

Kyle Wingfield

November 16th, 2010
3:41 pm

jconservative: When I lived in Europe, I was continually stunned that I could board a truly high-speed train (not like the not-so-high-speed trains we’re discussing in this country) from Brussels to Paris, bring whatever package or bag on it that I liked, and not be subjected to any kind of search — *and* that there had been no terrorist attempts on those trains. (The Eurostar, which operates across the Chunnel, is an exception to the low-security norm over there.)

There was the successful 3/11 Madrid commuter-train bombing, the 7/11 London Underground bombing, and a failed attempt or two on German trains. Compared to the number of attempts on airlines, though, the number of train attempts has been pretty small. But I suspect that will change at some point.

JF McNamara

November 16th, 2010
3:49 pm

I’m with you now and I’m pretty much always with jcons. That guy’s just reasonable. Your reply really hits the point about wiretapping, though.

If we know we can’t stop everything, where do we draw the line? Is it crotches, is it waterboarding, is it wiretapping? I say we crossed that line a long time ago. Up until today, you’d always been on the other side of the argument.

I’m well aware that there are consequences to every decision. If we’d had another attack that could’ve been stopped by wiretapping, I would chalk that up as the true “cost of freedom”. I just wanted you to man up ahead of time if this comes back to haunt us.

As far as your conditions, if there was another way to do it, we’d already be doing it. We will be less safe as a result of a change.

Kyle Wingfield

November 16th, 2010
3:54 pm

Just to be clear, JF, I don’t object to a limited, targeted wiretapping program. But of course that, too, is pointless if we don’t connect the dots and act on the information we glean from it.

Rafe Hollister

November 16th, 2010
3:58 pm

Interesting article, maybe we should run the TSA out of the airports.

Simple solution, after going through the metal detectors everyone is handed a pork rind. Those that eat it go directly to the plane, those

who choose not to eat it, get their choice, exspose yourself or be fondeled. Still trying to figure out how to exempt our Jewish brothers, but we eliminate this security charade for the majority of us.