Wednesday, May 11, 2005

A Safer America

The Transportation Safety Administration has been in the forefront of making America safe. The TSA is responsible to make sure that potential terrorists do not earn any frequent flyer miles. Unfortunately they are not responsible to make sure that people who shower irregularly, the incredibly obese, or the Golden Age First Time Flyers Club of West Palm Beach, Florida are screened out. But even within their very limited charter, it costs a fortune to protect and serve whilst amassing the largest collection of sharp objects, dead batteries and, now, cigarette lighters in the history of the world. It’s a good thing that other threats to national security are not as pressing.

Protecting America’s land borders is not expensive. A terrorist arriving from Mexico is easy to handle. America does not negotiate with terrorists. Skip the negotiation and go immediately to a driver’s licence, free medical treatment, free schooling, and a gardener’s job in Phoenix. Forget Jihad and go for a Blockbuster’s membership. If Abdul is told to sneak across the Canadian border, he’ll either die of boredom in Montana or realise he might have to enter through Detroit or Buffalo. There are some things even a suicide bomber is not prepared to do. Protecting America’s ports from a ‘dirty bomb’ is also relatively inexpensive. Just ask people to report any shipping container that glows in the dark. So the budget can be put where it’s needed most: the TSA.

The new nerve centre of the TSA’s war on terror is in a super-secret location known only to a handful of agents and the publishers of the local phone book in Herndon, Virginia. The new $19 million command base is equipped with the latest weapons to defend the USA. There is cable TV in 45 of the offices to alert the ever vigilant agents of an attack as soon as CNN announces it. There is a 4,500 sq. ft. fitness centre, 2 watch floors, 55 offices, 12 conference rooms and 7 kitchens to hone valuable map reading skills. The fitness centre has contracted a towel service – no doubt so operatives can practice putting on turbans in Taliban Infiltration 101. $30,085 was spent on silk plants in case of attack by fanatical terrorists. Apparently the plan is to beat them into submission with faux forsythia. The list of contents of the 7 $3,000 sub-zero refrigerators is kept in the basement of the Pentagon (it is rumoured that Chef Emeril Lagasse also has a copy.)

The Secret Herndon Interdiction of Terror centre (known within the agency as the SHIT house) is the latest in a series of agency initiatives to protect America. In 2002, the TSA built a $410,000 office for its senior executive. A suicide bomber would die of exhaustion before he could run from the office door to the Director’s desk. In 2004, the TSA had an office party, perhaps to celebrate the fact that Tennessee was still there. 1,200 honourees and guests enjoyed a $461,745 event at the Washington Grand Hyatt. $81,000 went for award plaques, including a lifetime achievement award. Although the agency was only two years old, two years seems like a lifetime if you watch enough people take off their shoes. But the $1,850 worth of cakes and the three $500 cheese displays made up for the pressure of the job.

Of course some nit-pickers are upset about all this spending. The US Congress has announced that hearings will begin as soon as they determine the meaning of life. In the meantime, to control costs, perhaps the TSA could auction off the Zippo collection on E-bay to cover the hors d’oeuvres at the next hand-to-hand combat training session at the new Wynn Las Vegas Resort Casino.


Blogger Abby Taylor said...

You demonstrate great... uh...courage, yeah, that's it... courage... in posting a column about the TSA as you prepare to fly. I watched a Seinfeld episode last night (yes, a snapshot into my life) where the pilot asked him to leave the plane after he ended up inadvertantly insulting the pilot at one of his previous shows. Just IMAGINE what insulting the TSA could do... I can hardly wait for the next installment. Perhaps from Guantanamo? I hear it's not bad there if you get an ocean view.

10:19 AM  
Blogger birdwoman said...

"4,500 sq. ft. fitness centre... and 7 kitchens"

this is circular logic. eating in all those kitchens will cause you to need to execrise, then you exercise and get hungry.

how do they expect these guys to get anything done?

As for you, have a nice, computer free trip.


7:44 AM  

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