The TSA critic’s guide to America’s 2012 election

Now that the Democrats have wrapped up their political convention in Charlotte, it’s time to take a hard look at both major parties and their official positions on America’s cherished travel freedoms.
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TSA watch: A crazy agency finally gets an official diagnosis

You probably already suspected that the idea of a Department of Homeland Security in general, and the Transportation Security Administration, specifically, was a little crazy.

Last week, all doubts were removed.

I mean, nothing says “nuts” like the plans for Janet Napolitano’s new office, which will be in the very same room used by the director of the nation’s first major federally run psychiatric institution. I’m not making this up.

DHS Secretary Napolitano and the rest of the Homeland Security team, including parts of the TSA, will soon move to a renovated castle-like structure opened in 1855 as the Government Hospital for the Insane.

Ironic? Perhaps.
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Can things get any worse for the TSA?

To say the TSA just had a bad week would be a lot like saying Muammar Gaddafi is dealing with a little opposition in Libya.

And how.

This week’s TSA shenanigans are almost too bad to be true. I take absolutely no pleasure in reporting them, because after all, this agency is supposed to be protecting us when we travel.
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“Everything is objectively better than it was two years ago, particularly in the aviation environment”

The transcript from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” isn’t available yet, but here’s what we know: There was a lot of hemming and hawing — here’s a sample — and one keeper quote that could define her tenure.

“Everything is objectively better than it was two years ago, particularly in the aviation environment,” she told Candy Crowley this morning.

Excuse me?

Look, I don’t have a problem with letting Napolitano put a little spin on her accomplishments, but let’s be realistic about it. The last two years have been awful for air travelers, with new restrictions, security procedures and invasive, unconstitutional searches being performed in the name of homeland security.

The Secretary is blowing smoke.

And what’s worse is, we’re inhaling.
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“We don’t like the idea that Metro riders are being treated as if they are potential terrorists”

Sue Udry is the executive director the Defending Dissent Foundation, a 50-year-old organization whose mission is to protect and advance the right of dissent. Her organization has teamed up with two other civil rights groups to protest the Washington Metro Transit Police’s decision to begin searching subway passengers in the nation’s capital. They’ll be at Union Station between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. today, collecting signatures. I asked Udry to explain why her group objects to the new searches.

What are you protesting?

We don’t like the idea that Metro riders are being treated as if they are potential terrorists.

We believe the Fourth Amendment, which protects us against unreasonable searches, is being violated. We have collected the names of nearly 500 metro riders, many of whom have indicated their inclination to reduce their use of the transit system rather than resign their rights.
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