xaminmo: (Josh 2004 Happy)
I wonder what would have happened if, instead of government loans, GM, Chrysler, and a quarter of banks and funds holding peoples' savings were allowed to completely fail.

Also, why does it make any moneyed institution "bad" for making stipulations on how loan money is handled until the loan is paid off?  In this instance, the companies had already failed, and it was just a matter of short time before all of those workers were unemployed, and possibly lost all of their retirement savings.

The reset would have been collapse, and for the other companies to buy the pieces, assets, brands, etc, and re-hire some of the workforce.

The problem is that when the workers lost their jobs, they would stop spending money.  This large of an amount of unemployment would have hit unemployment insurance funds, and the cash-flow of most other corporations.  The loss of cash flow would have dried up surplus cash reserves, as companies struggled to downsize to the lower demand.  This would create more unemployment.  The bottom would have been what, 30% unemployment?

At that point, there would be riots in many many places, much more than we have security/police forces for.  The cost to the government to protect those who were still employed through sheer luck, would be enormous.  This would be "the zombie invasion."  It wouldn't be some biological disease, it would be hunger, resentment, and loss.

42% of US households have guns.  The hungry and the not hungry would be forced to use them to protect their families.  We would have a civil war, based on hunger.  And then there would be disposal of the bodies to deal with.  There would be properties abandoned because the family fled, or was killed.

This is all speculation of course, but it's not "worst case" and it's not overly extreme.  It's entirely possible.  More likely, the federal government would be forced by the populous to deficit spend in order to feed the people.  This would have been a much more socialist policy than what the economic right wants.

There are very few corporations in the country other than the federal government who could fund this sort of "bail out".  You didn't see Ford offering to buy junk bonds of GM and Chrysler.

So really, a few billion in loans to help bankrupt companies restructure was a necessary evil.

Why am I even talking about this now, since it's passed?  I don't know.  The thoughts just came to mind, as I've found a good number of very fiscally right people on my friend's list, and I just don't see how a purely free market would in any way help anyone other than the lucky, uncommonly cautious, and those who have resources already.

I don't think the far left is good either.  Overly taxed leads into an authoritarian structure, but I think some manner of government intervention, just as a power competition against the oligarchies of big business, is a good thing.  This can be had, without giving up too much personal control to the government.  People need to understand that zero corporate regulation is no the same as zero personal regulation.  Corporations will regulate consumers.
xaminmo: (Josh 2004 Happy)
Political Compass 2013-01-20 JDSD
http://www.politicalcompass.org/printablegraph?ec=-3.75&soc=-3.28


The scale is -10 to +10, and I'm I'm economically -3.75 (left vs right), and socially 3.28 (liberal vs authoritarian).

That means I lean towards:
* regional vs government control
* voluntary vs mandatory controls
* collectivism vs libertarianism

Info on privacy: http://www.politicalcompass.org/
The test: http://www.politicalcompass.org/test
Explanations: http://www.politicalcompass.org/analysis2
xaminmo: Josh 2016 (Default)
So, I have a new customer that's a big tobacco company. They are suit and tie, and allow smoking indoors, on-site. I think tobacco is stinky, but I have no other opposition to tobacco use. I'm all about freedom to do to yourself whatever you want.

HOWEVER, I was curious. I hadn't looked up stats recently. What are the absolute risks of smoking?

This was really hard to find out. Almost all of the material is "SMOKING IS BAD, UMKAY!" or "SMOKING KILLS! STOP SMOKING!". When I did find stats, mostly they were a bunch of stats from mixed sources that don't make sense together, and all relative to different things.

It seemed more like a witch hunt than anything else, with cancer.org, WHO, cancer.gov, various medical sites, and infinite quotes and references from PhD and MD sources.


Finally, on cancer.gov, I found a decent stat document. In surveys of healthy people, and a followup 12 years later, for ever 1.0 non-smokers that died, 1.88 smokers died.

Granted, more of the smoker deaths were from oral or lung cancers than for the non-smokers, and the cumulative risk is higher. Overall odds of getting lung cancer sometime in your life is 6.9%. If you smoke for 67 years, by age 85, you will have an 11% chance of dying from lung cancer specifically. You know, if you're still alive at age 85.

However, the overall risk of death from smoking is not even 2x. Flying a plane single-pilot (private pilot license) is 8 times as likely to die per mile than driving. Should we ban flight training because it's risky? What about strawberries? They're pretty risky, as are peanuts.

Supposedly, in the 70s, there was a push by the tobacco companies for legislation to encourage lower risk tobacco products. Without the legislation, the consumers simply chose the higher risk products because they liked them more. This legislation was stopped because the opposition's position was that there should be no tobacco use. This sounds a whole lot like the abstinence and prohibition movements.

Anyway. I don't like witch hunts. I don't like propaganda even though I bitch about things and want people to believe me because I'm the smartest person in the world, or so I think.

What I do like is absolute risk information, and I think everyone should be allowed to make their own informed decision. I'm okay with preventing the advertising and exposure of product to kids, but that's about it. I also think I should have the option of not being exposed to things that I personally don't like.

However, neither I nor anyone else has the right to go into someone else's home and say what they can and cannot do to themselves. Nor do I think there should be a government sponsored machine to push against an entire industry. Shock tactics and propaganda planning are not okay. Absolute risks, and details of those risks are proper. That's it.

As such, I find the anti-smoking propaganda to be just as offensive as stepping in spittle, or being in a smoky room.

Luckily, I don't have to be exposed to either very often, so I guess everything is okay.
This research-based rant has been brought to you by the letter C.

OTHER:
Hispanics, lowest smoking rates, and lowest lung cancer rates at 21.95 out of 100k.
National lung cancer incidence rates are 63.1 out of 100k.
Smoking accounts for roughly 85% of lung cancers.
Second-hand smoke accounts roughly for 20% of non-smoker lung cancers (3400/yr US)
2% of lung cancer is at age 45 or younger
30% is at age 65 or younger
Overall lifetime risk of lung cancer is 1 in 14.5

REFERENCES:
http://cancercontrol.cancer.gov/tcrb/monographs/9/index.html
http://www.lung.org/assets/documents/publications/solddc-chapters/lc.pdf
http://www.cancer.org/cancer/lungcancer-non-smallcell/detailedguide/non-small-cell-lung-cancer-key-statistics
http://www.nosmoke-novote.org/perspective01.htm
http://www.ipcvision.com/page05/health-01.htm

PERSONAL:
I know two people who have had lung cancer but didn't smoke.
I've not known anyone who got lung cancer who also smoked.
I've only known two people who died from smoking related illnesses, and it was emphysema when they were in their 70s and 80s.
About half of the people I have known who smoke heavily have persistent congestion.
When I was a kid my mom smoked, and I suffered bronchitis and allergies more often until she stopped.
xaminmo: Josh 2016 (Default)
Oops, we didn't mean to tell our entire police force and hundreds of major businesses that you're a terrorist organization...

Terrorism/Extremism update for the
City of London Business community
2 December 2011


The threat to the UK from international terrorism is SUBSTANTIAL.
The threat to Great Britain from Irish Republican Terrorism is SUBSTANTIAL.

UK/International

Columbia:
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) killed four of its longest held captives on Saturday during combat with Columbian forces. A fifth hostage allegedly survived after fleeing into the jungle after being held captive for 12 years, in what has been reported as a failed rescue attempt. It is FARC policy to kill prisoners if rescue attempts are made.

Al Qaeda/Pakistan: Al Qaeda has reportedly been holding Warren Weinsten, a 70-year-old American aid worker, hostage in Pakistan for three months. The al Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri has said in a video that Weinstein would be released only if the US ceases its air strikes on Pakistan and Afghanistan and frees prisoners. The video offered no evidence that the aid worker is still alive.

Belarus: Two men have been sentenced to death for bombing the underground railway in the capital, Minsk, earlier this year. The attack on 11 April killed 15 people and wounded hundreds of others. Dmity Konovalov, 25, was found guilty of carrying out the explosion and Vladislav Kovalyov, also 25, of assisting in an act of terrorism. They were also found guilty of involvement in three earlier bomb attacks in 2005 and 2008, which together injured more than 100 people.

Domestic

Occupy London, ongoing

The Occupy London sites at St Paul’s Cathedral and Finsbury Square remain in place with the number of protesters present remaining fairly consistent. The majority of peaceful demonstrators from the St Paul’s camp appear to have moved on to the other camps. Demonstrations originating from the camp have decreased and lacked the support and momentum of earlier actions.

There are now three ‘Occupations’ by activists in or near the City of London. As the worldwide Occupy movement shows no sign of abating, it is likely that activists aspire to identify other locations to occupy, especially those they identify capitalism. City of London Police has received a number of hostile reconnaissance reports concerning individuals who would fit the anti-capitalist profile.

All are asked to be vigilant regarding suspected reconnaissance, particularly around empty buildings. Any signs of access or new markings should also be reported. You may encounter an increase in persons filming for the purpose of national or activist media. All are reminded that any encounters with suspected activists could be recorded and then uploaded or live-streamed to the internet.

All are asked to be vigilant regarding suspected reconnaissance, particularly around empty buildings. Any signs of access or new markings should also be reported. You may encounter an increase in persons filming for the purpose of national or activist media. All are reminded that any encounters with suspected activists could be recorded and then uploaded or live-streamed to the internet.

Intelligence suggests that urban explorers are holding a discussion at the Sun Street squat. This may lead to an increase in urban exploration activity at abandoned or high profile sites in the capital.

Suspected hostile reconnaissance should be reported to the City of London Police immediately.



Climate Justice Collective, 3 December
‘Stand Up for Climate Justice’ is holding a vigil on the bank of the Thames from 11.30pm to 1.00am Friday Night, as well as climate prayers at 11.30am Saturday morning at St. Mary Le Bow church, Cheapside.

Saturday continues with a ‘Walk of Shame’ past alleged environmental and economic justice offenders along with a ‘teach-out’. This meets at St Paul’s at 10.30am, and is followed by a march to Parliament, meeting at Blackfriars Bridge at 12.00pm. Around 2.30pm the march will congregate outside Parliament. The event is planned to finish around 3.30pm.

The Canary Wharf Experience, 6 December
Occupy London will meet at St Paul’s around 4.15opm, from which they will attend and ‘tour’ Canary Wharf.

Electrician’s Strike, 7 December
Electricians will be taking industrial action at Balfour Beatty sites across the country.

SHAC ‘Santa SHAC Supplier Shakedown week of action’, 5-11 December
Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty has advertised a week of action between these dates. It is expected that SHAC protesters will visit the customary targets during the period.

Ensure that your own security arrangements are adequate and robust at all times. Report any suspicious activity to Police immediately.

Confidential Anti Terrorist Hotline: 0800 789 321 or dial 999

"A police source said the letter was authentic but was poorly worded and never meant to imply demonstrators posed a terrorist threat."

Refs:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/police-in-city-see-occupiers-as-terror-risk-6272434.html
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/dec/05/occupy-london-police-terrorism-document
http://occupyhamilton.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/occupy-london-england-declared-a-terrorist-organization/
http://publicintelligence.net/city-of-london-police-occupy-london-domestic-terrorismextremism-warning/
xaminmo: Josh 2016 (Default)
According to a U.S. District Court Judge in Oregon, Honorable Marco A. Hernandez, "press", in context of the First Amendment to the US Constitution, specifically means persons "affiliated with any newspaper, magazine, periodical, book, pamphlet, news service, wire service, news or feature syndicate, broadcast station or network, or cable television system." Online journalism is now legally excluded unless affiliated with an entity of one or more of those types.

As such, be it known that all of my communication via any online forum is formally a media for communication to the public as an agent of the "OmniTech News Service". This service will include fact, fiction, assumptions, satire, and any other form of communication deemed appropriate by the staff.

Ref: Seattle Weekly
Ref: Mashable, Inc. Online News
Ref: Clarity Digital Group LLC dba Examiner
xaminmo: Josh 2016 (Default)
Charlie Chaplain's speech in The Great Dictator with music and video inserts to which add even more power.

The speech is from 1940, and was speaking out against Nazi Facism, but it seems appropriate for most any time of civil discontent.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WibmcsEGLKo
xaminmo: Josh 2016 (Default)
The FAA's reauthorization expired at 2011-07-23 00:01am.

What?

Let's clarify. The reauthorization is their authority to pull money from the "Airport and Airway Trust Frund" that was established in 1970. This funds roughly 60% of the FAA's budget and includes:

A) Facilities & Equipment - just what it says, plus any upgrades, construction, "Next Gen", etc.
B) Research, Engineering & Development - This includes aviation safety, and "NextGen".
C) Airport Improvement Program - This includes airport planning and development for public use airports.
D) Essential Air Service - This funds the gap between revenue and cost for lowest-bidder airlines to continue carrier service to communities that rely on carrier service, but which don't have enough passengers to be profitable.
E) Part of the FAA Operations account, which includes ATC, safety inspections, notices, charting, etc.

The FAA has not been reauthorized in full since 2007. For the last 4 years, political parties have been bickering over what they want to allow, based primarily on party lines. Considering the entire budget for the FAA is one third of that of Education, and a speck compared to "Defense".

Based on this, and the August 2 debt ceiling issue, regardless of what is done to alleviate issues, I think we're lookng at travel, transportation, and communication becoming more expensive, fewer operations, etc.

Basically, the US is slowly sliding into poverty. People are bickering about bits and pieces here and there, BUT WE PURPOSEFULLY DEVALUED OUR ENTIRE CURRENCY BY FIFTY PERCENT AND STILL CANNOT SPEND LESS THAN WE PRODUCE!
xaminmo: Josh 2016 (Default)
A pilot with license to carry in the cockpit was pointing out via YouTube the farce that is TSA protection.

In response, SIX OFFICERS were sent to his house to take his license. No specific charges, other than they are investigating what all they will charge him with.

In other words, they were pissed, and couldn't figure out what laws he actually broke, so they took his credentials out of spite.

REF: http://www.news10.net/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=113529

Remember, the government isn't that asshole who cut you off on the freeway, nor the punk who set fire to the dumpster but never got caught, nor anyone else.

Every single agent and employee is above reproach and 100% honest, direct, trustworthy, and even tempered. As such, the government will keep you safe. They will always treat you fairly, and it's ok to give up rights and privacy, because it's for your safety.
xaminmo: Josh 2016 (Default)
For those in the US, remember to visit the FTC site for your yearly credit report orders. The FTC have web, phone and postal addresses listed at http://ftc.gov/freereports .
xaminmo: Josh 2016 (Default)
"The national budget must be balanced. The public debt must be reduced. The arrogance of the authorities must be moderated and controlled. Payments to foreign governments must be reduced. If the nation doesn't want to go bankrupt, people must learn to work, instead of living on public assistance."
quote source )
xaminmo: Josh 2016 (Default)
"An integral part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology
Directorate’s (S&T) mission is to conduct research, development, testing, and evaluation (RDT&E) on
technologies or topics related to improving homeland security and combating terrorism. Some S&T
RDT&E activities use volunteers to test, evaluate, provide feedback, or otherwise collect data on certain
research topics, technologies, equipment, and capabilities related to S&T’s mission. Volunteer RDT&E
activities require the collection of a range of information from volunteers including work experience,
biographic data and images. RDT&E activities will vary in the types and breadth of data elements and
information collected from volunteers. S&T is conducting this Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) to
establish protections for all volunteer S&T RTD&E activities."

...

"
* The PIED (Person-borne improvised explosive devices) program researches the use of multi-spectral and Millimeter Wave (MMW) imaging and acoustic technologies to aid in the detection of Person-borne improvised explosive devices (PIEDs). Volunteers will be used only in a laboratory setting and the images produced contain no PII.
Project Manager: Thomas Coty, 202-254-5857. July 15, 2010

* Nonlinear Acoustics will research and develop a non-imaging technology that uses acoustics, or sound waves, to detect concealed threats (handguns, IEDs, etc.) on a person. The technology uses the interaction of sound waves with a person, his/her clothing, and any object that may be concealed to determine whether there are any unexpected objects or anomalies present. All volunteers will receive notice and sign informed consent forms prior to any data collection. The images produced contain no PII and S&T will receive a final report and periodic updates regarding the technology and research results.
Project Manager: Thomas Coty, 202-254-5857. September 24, 2010
"

More info at:
http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/privacy/privacy_pia_st_volunteers.pdf

TSA expands

Dec. 1st, 2010 11:26 am
xaminmo: Josh 2016 (Default)
"It's not difficult to envision the day where anyone wishing to take mass transportation in this country will have to first submit to a government checkpoint, show ID, and answer questions about any excess cash, prescription medication, or any other items in his possession the government deems suspicious. If and when that happens, freedom of movement will essentially be dead. But it won't happen overnight. It'll happen incrementally. And each increment will, when taken in isolation, appear to some to be perfectly reasonable."

http://www.boingboing.net/2010/12/01/you-are-no-longer-fr.html

So, after this is ramped up, I think we should expect highway checkpoints as well.

DHS, and by proxy, TSA, is formally the State Police, and they are progressively moving towards BNW or WWII era checkpoints everywhere you go.

You badge into your office building? The check-in would get fed to the local branch of the government. Badge into the mall. Badge into your house. Got to know where you're going and being safe about it.

YOUR PAPERS, PLEASE!
xaminmo: Josh 2016 (Default)
My reply to TSA's form letter was this:
I honestly don't know how that in any way applies to what I wrote.

I was addressing policy concerns as a citizen to you as a government agency, and in response, you sent a form letter that seems to apply to people trying to sell you technology.

Again, your PR needs a lot of work. Your response reinforces my perception that the TSA has far too many Stooges. That is extra scary considering the DHS and TSA's roles as Schutzstaffel and Staatspolizei.

With friendly Regards,
Josh-Daniel S. Davis
xaminmo: Josh 2016 (Default)
They have only one contact reference on their webpage, and it's an email address.

I emailed them about the PR issues and my concerns for privacy, and recommendations for their improvement. That was on Nov 20, and is both on LJ and Facebook.

Here's TSA's reply, which seems to be a form letter related to people trying to sell them technology:
Thank you for your e-mail message.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is composed of several component agencies which handle different types of acquisitions. For future reference, proposals for technology ideas or products may be submitted by following the guidelines available on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website at www.tsa.gov, under the "Join Us" link. Once these requirements have been reviewed and a determination is made that an unsolicited proposal is valid, then the proposal may be submitted to the appropriate point of contact listed on the website.

The offers of help and support from those willing to serve have been gratifying and are an important contribution to ensuring the safety and security on the Nation's transportation system.

We hope this information is helpful.

TSA Contact Center
xaminmo: Josh 2016 (Default)
A little formulaic but it directly addressed my concerns.
Dear Mr. Davis:

Thank you for contacting me to express your concern regarding the security policies of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). I appreciate hearing from you on this important matter.

As you are aware, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently purchased full body scanners that show the outline of the naked human body and allow TSA to detect high-density bomb-making materials. In response to a large number of complaints from both travelers and employees in the airline industry, DHS instituted a new policy that allows travelers to "opt out" of the digital image scanning. This "opt out" procedure allows for the traveler to step aside and receive a full-body pat-down to check for hidden substances or items on the persons. As a result, TSA and DHS implemented a new "pat-down" procedure that serves as an alternative procedure for those travelers who wish to refuse the full-body scan.

Over the past few weeks, I have received hundreds of phone calls from concerned constituents, and seen news reports of people who are outraged by TSA's invasive full-body scans and "pat-down" procedures that are now used in the name of national security. After recently flying myself and witnessing how invasive these procedures are, as well as the potential for abuse, I am outraged that TSA chose to implement the new rules without consulting with Congress. TSA is charged with protecting our airplanes from the kind of terrorism we saw in the terror attacks on 9/11, but this should not result in an abuse of power and the exploitation of Americans.



Further disconcerting is the fact that Congress voted overwhelmingly to prohibit the TSA's use of full-body scanners as a primary screening method. H.R. 2200, the Transportation Security Administration Authorization Act, contained an amendment to prohibit the TSA's use of full-body scanners as a primary screening method. House Amendment 172 passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 310 to 118, but TSA has ignored this, and plans to deploy over 1,000 machines in use at airports across the country by the end of next year. Although this legislation is awaiting further action in the Senate, the sense of Congress is clear – these invasive methods are not the best of TSA resources.

In light of our serious concerns regarding the agency's use of invasive tactics, I joined several of my colleagues in Congress to request that the House Homeland Security Committee conduct a hearing on the new TSA procedures.

It is unfortunate terrorism from abroad has brought us to this point. Rest assured, I am committed to securing our nations' airlines and preventing another terrorist attack, as well as to protecting your Constitutional rights. Representing an area with several major airports, I have tried to help protect, control, and monitor changes made for better security, without infringing on the very freedoms for which we are fighting. I will continue to support legislation that will strengthen our borders, protect our ports, and help prepare the nation in case of a terror attack.

Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me. I appreciate having the opportunity to represent you in the U.S. House of Representatives. Please feel free to visit my website (www.house.gov/burgess) or contact me with any future concerns.

Sincerely,

Michael C. Burgess, M.D.
Member of Congress
xaminmo: Josh 2016 (Default)
David Pimentel, a professor of ecology at Cornell University who has been studying grain alcohol for 20 years, and Tad Patzek, an engineering professor at the University of California, Berkeley, co-wrote a recent report that estimates that making ethanol from corn requires 29 percent more fossil energy than the ethanol fuel itself actually contains.

The two scientists calculated all the fuel inputs for ethanol production—from the diesel fuel for the tractor planting the corn, to the fertilizer put in the field, to the energy needed at the processing plant—and found that ethanol is a net energy-loser. According to their calculations, ethanol contains about 76,000 BTUs per gallon, but producing that ethanol from corn takes about 98,000 BTUs.

For comparison, a gallon of gasoline contains about 116,000 BTUs per gallon. But making that gallon of gas—from drilling the well, to transportation, through refining—requires around 22,000 BTUs.

In addition to their findings on corn, they determined that making ethanol from switch grass requires 50 percent more fossil energy than the ethanol yields, wood biomass 57 percent more, and sunflowers 118 percent more. The best yield comes from soybeans, but they, too, are a net loser, requiring 27 percent more fossil energy than the biodiesel fuel produced.

In other words, more ethanol production will increase America’s total energy consumption, not decrease it.

References:
Apparently, Pimentel was part of a 1978 Federal DoE study that showed big gaps. I've had trouble finding this report, though it might be buried in http://www.osti.gov/bridge

Here's Pimentel's 1998 study showing a much larger gap between input and output energies:
http://hubbert.mines.edu/news/Pimentel_98-2.pdf

Here's Pimentel's study with Patzek that's in Natural Resources Research, V14, #1, March 2005. This seems to take into account more uses for byproducts, etc. and is the source of the info above:
http://www2.grist.org/gristmill/images/user/2988/ethanol.2005.pdf

DoE has a chart which shows the names of other researchers who have various reports showing net-positive. This could be further expanded through research for comparison:
http://www1.eere.energy.gov/vehiclesandfuels/pdfs/program/ethanol_brochure_color.pdf

Here's a 2006 interview discussing the pro-ethanol bias and what's missing from the net-positive research referenced above:
http://www.grist.org/article/philpott2

Grist has further articles about the bias, but appears itself to be very biased the other way, especially in regards to ADM.

Gore says the Ethanol Tax credits weren't a good idea, 2010, a few weeks before the credits expire:
http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFLDE6AL0YT20101122?sp=true
xaminmo: Josh 2016 (Default)
Here's what I wrote to the TSA contact at DHS.
To whom it may concern:
PR is everything, and it is an important part of every job position in an organization or agency as publicly facing as the TSA. Yes, we want to be secure, but the TSA has poor PR when it comes to consistency, choice of procedures, and overall execution of the customer-facing duties. Because the TSA is operating in a very sensitive area, and attempting to expand search effectiveness, traveler (customer) sensitivity needs to be key. I'm sure by now you've notices that a very small number of poorly handled situations at screening checkpoints have bloomed into large public dissatisfaction with TSA as a whole.

Excluding any of the issues in the media, I can still draw upon my own experiences. I've had very inconsistent reactions to carry-on liquids. I've had an agent sneer and yell at me to "not walk like a penguin." When asked for explanation on any of these issues, answers were nor forthcoming. Supervisors did not want to be involved. The situations were easier to just throw acceptable items away (bar of soap under 3 oz, etc). Requests to the TSA office were received, but never followed up on, so I stopped filing requests and just try to "stay out of their way."

I don't like being intimidated at my workplace, and as a travelling businessman, the airport is one of my workplaces. As a private pilot, I see how much of what is presented to the public leans away from accuracy and truth because it's easier. All of this combined comes across as untrustworthy. When people cannot trust the protectors, we are all more unsafe. Further, I would argue that it expands the police-state mentality and could potentially have a negative impact on national commerce.

As a regular business traveler, and a loyal citizen, I do not feel that it's acceptable for public transportation security to offer only the choices of:
A) Be strip searched (even electronically)
B) Be frisked
C) Go away

As the same, I should not be intimidated into changing my gait. I should be politely asked about it, and politely sent through. If an agent is having a bad day, they should not be customer facing. If an agent is having a bad month, then maybe they're not fit.

When I consider the number of flights I've had, vs the incidents, it's 3 or 4 incidents of poor customer service over 400+ flights in the last 5 years. That may seem like a good track record, but it's important to account for how powerful the event is. When someone is made to feel threatened or humiliated just once, that carries more weight than hundreds of uneventful days. It's how memory works. Emotions make memories more powerful.

This can be seen in the media, playing up an equally small number of bad situations, and legislation attempts which would blindly cripple the TSA, all because of the emotional component which is not being properly handled.

I would like to propose:
* More rigorous screening of your screeners on the basis of psychological profile and general personality.
* Better consistency training on a recurrent basis should be structured to ensure no surprises when we get to the airport.
* Regular, external evaluations of performance of public-facing employees, secret-shopper style.
* A better PR team to help limit media exaggerations of negative situations, and publicly address customer satisfaction issues.
* Determine the level of security vs personal privacy that the travelling public and shipping businesses expect, and meet that rather than an ideal standard.
* Ensure that complaints and reports are entered into a tracking system with follow up and resolution metrics.

Thanks for your time, and good luck.

With friendly regards,
Josh-Daniel S. Davis
xaminmo: Josh 2016 (Default)
Gaining profit from the imprisonment of a person is slavery and not justice.

http://www.boingboing.net/2010/10/28/privatized-prisons-i.html
xaminmo: Josh 2016 (Default)
Shooman did some legwork and told me this:
The national debt clock website reports the Outstanding Public Debt as of 26 Oct 2010 at 01:03:09 PM GMT is: $ 13,682,716,591,148.67, The estimated population of the United States is 309,363,683 so each citizen's share of this debt is $44,228.58. The National Debt has continued to increase an average of $4.16 billion per day since September 28, 2007!

Also Wiki lists:
As of October 10, 2010, the "Total Public Debt Outstanding" was approximately 94% of annual GDP, ($13.616 Trillion) with the constituent parts of the debt ("Debt held by the Public") being approximately 66% of GDP ($9.01 Trillion) and "Intergovernmental Debt" standing at 34% of GDP .[2][3] The United States has the 20th highest debt to GDP ratio of all nations, and has the fourth highest of the G8 Nations

This was prompted by an Esquire article about a group who spent 3 days working on a high level budget with the target of balancing the budget and dropping national debt to 60% of GDP by 2020. The article is here:
http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/balance-federal-budget-101310

The Final Numbers:
Total Projected Revenues in 2020: $4.693 trillion (20.8% of GDP)
Total Projected Spending in 2020: $4.681 trillion (20.8% of GDP)
Total Projected Surplus in 2020: $12 billion
Projected Debt-to-GDP Ratio in 2020: 52%

Details: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/federal-budget-statistics-1110

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xaminmo: Josh 2016 (Default)
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