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Author Topic: "Freedom to Travel" Event  (Read 120247 times)

Dreepa

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Re: "Freedom to Travel" Event
« Reply #75 on: December 29, 2005, 10:45 AM NHFT »

I am sure that they are 'well trained'
What did they get 4 hours?

Maybe next time I will 'act' funny and not answer questions.

I am glad that my next two business trips are driving. ;D
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Russell Kanning

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Re: "Freedom to Travel" Event
« Reply #76 on: December 29, 2005, 12:14 PM NHFT »

If I have one of these cars
http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.01/stanley.html
do I need a drivers license? ;)
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GnuAttitude22

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Re: "Freedom to Travel" Event
« Reply #77 on: December 29, 2005, 12:58 PM NHFT »

If I have one of these cars
http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.01/stanley.html
do I need a drivers license? ;)

Would you really want a vehicle that shies like a horse?
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Kat Kanning

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Re: "Freedom to Travel" Event
« Reply #78 on: January 19, 2006, 08:50 AM NHFT »

Amtrak Antics

by Becky Akers

I'm pleased to report that I have safely returned from a trip on Amtrak.

I had my doubts. After all, with the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) No-Fly list kicking an estimated 80,000?100,000 terrorists off American aviation, those folks have to get where they're going somehow. They could drive, of course, but there's a limit to how much carnage one can wreak with a car, even an SUV. And wreaking carnage is what terrorists are dying to do, right? So they're probably opting for trains and busses. Figure half are enduring Greyhound, while the other 40,000?50,000 are hopping Amtrak. Something like 265 trains run daily nationwide. That works out to about 150 terrorists per train, sprinkled among 300 passengers on average. Yep: odds are 50-50 the guy in the next seat wants to kill you.

OK, my figures may be a tad high. The No-Fly List includes many terrorists who won't be riding the rails any time soon. Edward ("Little Eddie") Allen is a case in point. His mother doesn't allow the 4-year-old to leave the house without her, so this terrifying tot probably won't threaten American transportation for a few years yet. And Senator Ted Kennedy, while no stranger to murder and mayhem, is also unlikely to forsake his limo for the pleasures of Amtrak. Ditto for Representative John Lewis.

So let's halve the half of the No-Fly List riding Amtrak. That still leaves 75 terrorists per train. Pretty scary, if you ask me. Which is why I wrote my will a week before my trip and wore clean socks the day of, just in case.

But at least on Amtrak, we can arm ourselves against Eddie and Teddie. The TSA's too busy keeping the friendly skies very, very friendly to bother feeling up Amtrak's passengers. This allows the savvy Amtracker to provide for self-defense. We can carry on board all those lethal items you frequent fliers have to toss in the TSA's bins. Cigarette lighters, knitting needles, pocketknives ? amazingly, no one at Amtrak seems interested in swiping any of these despite their prominence in skyjackings and crime sprees across the country. You don't even have to conceal that you're carrying them, so far as I know. I haven't tried flicking a Bic at a conductor, but I did see several women openly knitting, needles flashing like rapiers. No doubt they're on the No-Fly list, and no wonder, either, deft as they are with those weapons.

Even more amazingly, these armed passengers haven't yet slaughtered one another with their lighters and pocketknives nor hijacked any trains. All Amtrak's rolling stock has so far arrived at its destination ? albeit a day or two late ? without incident. Who says miracles don't happen?

I neither smoke nor knit, and the only pocketknife I own is so dull it wouldn't hurt a baby though it sends grown TSA agents into paroxysms. So my weapon of choice on Amtrak is fingernail scissors. Given the zeal with which airport screeners were ferreting these tiny shears out of cosmetics cases and shaving kits, they must be the most murderous armament since the atom bomb. Though I admit I can't see how. The half-inch blades on my pair won't even cut through those little plastic thingies on new clothes, so how do you kill someone with them? Besides, if nail scissors are so deadly, why aren't mass murderers and our troops in Iraq wielding them? Heck, cops wouldn't need to shoot drug dealers: they could just manicure 'em to death.

But the TSA sees all sorts of things we ordinary folks don't ? why, just last month, two of its air marshals spotted a gun on an American Airlines passenger that no one else did and shot him dead. Talk about visionary! So who am I to argue if these geniuses consider fingernail scissors Weapons of Mass Destruction? Anyway, I kept a tight grip on my pair and an eye out for suspicious behavior when I arrived at the Amtrak station. Easy enough since Amtrak thoughtfully plasters signs everywhere reminding us to rat out our fellow citizens. Try as I might, though, I spied no terrorists. All I saw were cranky kids, stressed parents, and old folks exhausted after waiting 5 hours for the train. Funny how the fascist Mussolini got the train thing down cold, but the fascist Feds can't.

Though they certainly have a sense of humor: Amtrak's "Silver Meteor" finally chugged into the station 6 hours late, and we clambered aboard. "Dining car's that way," the conductor announced, and off I went, still on the lookout for suspicious behavior.

I found plenty of it. There were real butter knives on the tables! With metal blades! Good gracious, a terrorist could butter his dinner roll with one of those! I don't think I'm being alarmist here: given that the TSA's banned metal implements from flights and even airports, shouldn't Amtrak force terrorists to spread their butter with their thumbs, too?

I hesitated at the entrance to the dining car, scissors clutched in my fist. Dare I dine amidst such danger? Chances were good that at least a couple of the other eight or ten diners already chowing down were members of Al Qaeda. Sure, they looked like ordinary grandparents in bifocals and polyester pants, but they weren't fooling me. One of them could leap to his feet at any moment, brandishing his deadly butter knife. I'd be forced to produce my scissors...but alas, doesn't Knife beat Scissors? Or am I thinking of Rock and Paper?

Thank Heaven, I survived this brush with death. Our train rocked peacefully onward, despite knives and knitting needles, until I reached my destination. Unfortunately, the 75 terrorists did, too. That means they are once again on the loose out there, looking for ways to bring down the American way of life. So stay strong, stay vigilant, and keep your fingernail scissors at the ready.

January 19, 2006

Becky Akers [send her mail] writes primarily about the American Revolution.
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Kat Kanning

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Re: "Freedom to Travel" Event
« Reply #79 on: February 01, 2006, 05:55 AM NHFT »

Questioning Qantas

by Becky Akers
 

Undependable though Leviathan may be when delivering the mail or defending skyscrapers from terrorist attacks, it never fails to yield a good laugh. The latest in a ludicrously long line comes from those bumbling buffoons at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Margaret Jackson is the blond, bespectacled, fiftyish chairman of Qantas Airlines. She seems as Australian as kangaroos and koalas: cheerful, plucky, and no-nonsense. Only someone completely bonkers could suspect her of being an Islamic terrorist ? la the 9/11 hijackers.

Which means, of course, that the TSA did. A screener named Bill rifled Maggie's briefcase last year at Los Angeles International Airport. In it he found the sorts of papers you might expect an airline's CEO to carry, specifically, cross-sections and diagrams of an aircraft.

Well. The nitwits who strive to protect us from deadly nail clippers and grandmothers in sandals came out swinging. According to Maggie, our man Bill asked her, "'Why have you got all of this?'"

She told him, "'I'm the chairman of an airline. I'm the chairman of Qantas.' And this black guy, who was, like, eight foot tall, said, 'But you're a woman'."

Boy, nothing gets past the TSA these days.

Maggie was then subjected to one of the agency's infamous, warrantless, and unconstitutional pat-downs. After that, the goons interrogated her for an hour. Airline executives have apparently joined four-year-old children and men named David Nelson as the latest menace to American aviation. Fortunately for the TSA, Maggie proved a cooperative victim, willing to help it over the daunting intellectual hurdle of establishing her identity. First, she produced a sheet of Qantas letterhead with her name on it. Next, she sized up the mental midget with whom she was dealing and wrote a note on the letterhead:

"'Dear Bill, this is from the chairman of Qantas, who is a woman'."

A friend once used a similar ploy in his office building. The rent-a-cop in the lobby refused to let him take home a box of files from his office one evening about 8 PM without a signed note so authorizing him. My friend headed back upstairs, found his secretary's stash of letterhead, typed a note, and signed it. This worked the same magic on the rent-a-cop as Maggie's did on Bill. The difference is that the IRS robs us to pay for Buffaloon Bill's idiocy.

As absurd as Buffaloon's reaction to aircraft diagrams has been the reaction to Maggie's story, which she told a few weeks ago at a news conference in Beijing. Maggie was trying to publicize Qantas' introduction of direct flights between there and Sydney; when a Chinese reporter complained about Australia's airport security, Maggie described her experience with the even more insane American version. In other words, she was speaking off the cuff, without malice aforethought. And yet our poor Aussie made the mistake of mentioning Buffaloon's race. Predictably, Tinker-toy thinkers from across the political spectrum have booed and hissed her as a racist.

But Maggie's own reaction to the incident is as absurd as her critics'. What seems to have resonated with her was Buffaloon's incredulity at a woman's running an airline. And, again predictably, that's impressing everyone else, too, from reporters to bloggers. They thrill with righteous horror while denouncing Buffaloon and Maggie respectively as chauvinist and racist troglodytes. No account or commentary I've seen expresses even the slightest outrage at a woman's being detained, groped, and interrogated merely because she bought an airline ticket. Nor is anyone alarmed by the absence of a search warrant. Constitutional questions scarcely make waves in Oprah's America on a good day; when competing with juicy bits of political incorrectness, they sink without a ripple.

Neither Buffaloon's nor Maggie's comments threaten us any more than did the schematics in her briefcase. That doesn't stop the pinchbeck pundits out there from howling, however.

Meanwhile, Leviathan licks its chops and chortles at the serfs' stupidity...

February 1, 2006

Becky Akers [send her mail] writes primarily about the American Revolution.
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Pat McCotter

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Re: "Freedom to Travel" Event
« Reply #80 on: February 06, 2006, 09:33 PM NHFT »

Well, no surprise here:

Amtrak - Traveling With Amtrak - Tickets, ID, Safety and Security - Passenger Security & ID

Passenger Security and Identification
 
Amtrak has undertaken heightened security measures for the benefit of our customers.

Valid Photo Identification Required

Photo ID Required
Amtrak customers 18 years of age and older must produce valid photo identification when:

  • Obtaining, exchanging, and refunding tickets
  • Storing baggage at stations
  • Checking baggage
  • Sending Amtrak Express shipments
  • Onboard trains, in response to a request by an Amtrak employee

Please note that unaccompanied children 15 and older must also produce valid photo ID when purchasing tickets.

Random Ticket/ID Checks
Following federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) guidelines, we regularly conduct random ticket verification checks onboard trains to ensure that passengers are properly ticketed. Please be prepared to show valid photo identification to a member of the onboard crew upon request.

What is a Valid ID?
To be valid, your identification must be current and in-force. The following forms of identification are acceptable for persons 18 and older:

  • One piece of photo identification issued by a government authority, or
  • Two pieces of identification, at least one of which is a non-photo ID issued by a government authority

Examples of acceptable forms of ID include:

  • State or provincial driver's license
  • Passport
  • Official government-issued identification (federal, state or county government or legitimate foreign government)
  • Canadian provincial health card ID card with photo
  • Military photo ID
  • Student identification (university, college or high school photo ID)
  • Job Corps photo ID

Policy Regarding Ticket Purchase

Passengers purchasing tickets from station ticket agents or on board trains from conductors must provide photo identification and be at least 15 years old.

Passengers boarding at any staffed station or station with a Quik-Trak kiosk should purchase tickets prior to boarding the train.

Tickets purchased on board include a service fee built into the fare. This fee cannot be waived.

Baggage Restrictions

For the safety and comfort of our passengers, we strictly enforce the following baggage limits:

  • Checked bags: three bags maximum
  • Carry-on bags: two bags maximum

We will not accept excess baggage. We appreciate your cooperation in following these guidelines.

If you have any questions regarding baggage, call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245). Be sure that you understand and are prepared to follow all baggage guidelines before arriving at your departure station.

For more information, please see our baggage guidelines page.

US/Canadian Border Crossing

If your trip involves travel across the US/Canadian border, please review our Border Crossing page for important information.
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Russell Kanning

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Re: "Freedom to Travel" Event
« Reply #81 on: February 06, 2006, 10:14 PM NHFT »

Now are they going to be like the airport tsa guys and not actually require ID or will this be even stricter?
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Dreepa

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Re: "Freedom to Travel" Event
« Reply #82 on: February 07, 2006, 03:17 PM NHFT »

I guess I don't get what good a picture id does.

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Kat Kanning

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Re: "Freedom to Travel" Event
« Reply #83 on: February 20, 2006, 03:28 AM NHFT »

'Security' Without Sense
Airport screening may make it seem safer to take to the air, but appearances can be deceiving.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/17/AR2006021701737_pf.html
Sunday, February 19, 2006; B08

It has been almost two months since I resigned from the Department of Homeland Security's Transportation Security Administration (TSA). I had served as a security screener at Dulles International Airport for more than three years.

Even now, I can scarcely believe some of the absurdities I experienced as a screener. Not long before I quit, for example, a teenage girl was flying to Australia for a field hockey tournament. She was stopped at my checkpoint and told that she could not carry her stick onto the aircraft.

I believe in prudent security, but the field hockey stick presented no realistic threat to passengers or crew. It was too late for the stick to be checked, so the girl had to send it Federal Express to Australia and hope for the best.

Ironically, less than an hour later, a rather large man with a cane passed through my checkpoint without a problem. The cane had a heavy brass grip, I remember, because I had to hand it back to the man after he passed through the metal detector.

I'm not saying that the TSA should have confiscated the man's cane; it shouldn't have. What I am saying is that the TSA's policies regarding what is acceptable to carry onto an airplane mock security rather than enhance it.

Cigarette lighters were another issue for screeners. Congress passed legislation banning lighters from aircraft last year, but the TSA uses no common sense in applying the policy. It bans all lighters from aircraft -- even if they are inside checked baggage.

I saw World War II veterans returning from anniversary observances in Europe with commemorative lighters -- in unopened, wrapped packages without lighter fluid -- have their lighters taken away. For the record, matches are allowed on aircraft.

In a memorandum that marked the third anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the federal security director lauded the screening force at Dulles for intercepting 12.4 million "prohibited items" since the TSA's inception. But how many of those items were field hockey sticks, cigarette lighters and cuticle scissors?

The TSA makes passengers who are carrying clear plastic bottles of drinking water place their bottles on the X-ray belt, even though it is easier to eyeball the bottle than to examine it through the machine. The TSA also has been employing something it calls a "spot team"; teams of uniformed screeners stand idle during busy times at the checkpoint, observing from a distance the same passengers who will pass through the checkpoints and be observed up close by other screeners.

The agency's management, in an effort to stop so many screeners from quitting, has embarked on a campaign called "I am TSA." Management changed the screener's job title from Transportation Security Screener to Transportation Security Officer and plans to distribute "I am TSA" pins to screeners, I mean, officers. This initiative, however, seems unlikely to lower attrition rates.

Visitors to Dulles see posters at the checkpoints with the word "WARNING" in large red letters, followed by the information that "passengers are advised that the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security has determined that Bandara Ngurah Rai International Airport, Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, and Port au Prince International Airport, Haiti, do not maintain and administer effective aviation security measures." That's good to know, but what about Washington Dulles International Airport?

At Dulles, an entry point to the "sterile" area, the part of the airport supposedly restricted to those who have gone through a security check, is known as the SIDA door (SIDA stands for Security Identification Display Area). Workers with airport badges can pass through this door with knapsacks, book bags, you name it, without going through the TSA checkpoints upstairs. But pilots, flight attendants and TSA employees -- all of whom have passed background checks before being hired -- are not permitted to access the sterile area through the SIDA door. They must go through the same TSA checkpoints used by passengers.

The Department of Homeland Security might want to address an issue such as the SIDA door at Dulles before warning travelers about Bali and Port au Prince.

At the TSA, truth indeed is stranger than fiction.

-- Scott Wallace
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Russell Kanning

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Re: "Freedom to Travel" Event
« Reply #84 on: February 20, 2006, 07:47 AM NHFT »

one person at a time
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Russell Kanning

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Re: "Freedom to Travel" Event
« Reply #85 on: February 25, 2006, 09:23 PM NHFT »

The TSA has thought about it and decided to assess me the proposed civil penalty of $2,500.
I am not going to pay it.
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TackleTheWorld

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Re: "Freedom to Travel" Event
« Reply #86 on: February 25, 2006, 09:47 PM NHFT »

 :icon_thumright: Just say no to fascism :thumbsup:
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KBCraig

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Re: "Freedom to Travel" Event
« Reply #87 on: February 26, 2006, 02:16 AM NHFT »

The TSA has thought about it and decided to assess me the proposed civil penalty of $2,500.
I am not going to pay it.

If you don't pay it, they'll withold it from your income tax refund.  ;D

If you aren't due a refund, they'll garnishee your wages.  ;D ;D

I suspect they have no idea how to deal with someone who lives outside the normal, "approved" way.

Kevin
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Kat Kanning

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Re: "Freedom to Travel" Event
« Reply #88 on: February 27, 2006, 10:34 AM NHFT »

Yup, that's exactly what they threatened to do.
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Dave Ridley

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Re: "Freedom to Travel" Event
« Reply #89 on: February 27, 2006, 07:54 PM NHFT »

OK for what it's worth I just got on Free Talk Live and asked their listeners to call Manchester PD at the number above to ask about the Free Speech Zone arrest or complain.  Also told them about Russell's TSA fine and his refusal to pay it.
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