Wow! That was quite the storm this afternoon. A supercell parked itself over Sugarhouse and dumped 19mm of rain in 45 minutes along with very large, very damaging hail. Our poor cat had managed to get as far as under the deck before the heavy stuff so I had to go out with an umbrella and look for her. She was crying really loudly and totally waterlogged. I managed to convince her to come out and run the last couple of steps to jump up to the porch and run inside. She hid under the bed for the rest of the afternoon, and frankly having seen the storm, heard the thunder and watching the hail, I'm not surprised.
A clarification was issued today - videocameras, digital cameras, laptops, portable video games and MP3 players and cellphones must now all be in checked luggage. Better still, all the insurance companies have rapidly issues ammendments to their policies saying they won't cover anything lost or damaged in hold luggage now. Better yet, the airlines are forcing passengers to pay excess baggage for all the extra stuff put in the hold AND they're not guaranteeing it will get there on the same flight as you.
I'm sorry but this is absolute bollocks. This is clearly not about a terror threat or anything like it. This is a scheme for someone to make money. Either by forcing passengers to pay excess for hold luggage, or to attempt to speedup turnaround on the ground by preventing any carryons. The more I read about this, the less I'm convinced that this is anything other than a device to strip travellers of the few remaining dignities and rights that they had. I believe the TSA and the UK and US governments have only one agenda here, and that is to kill the airlines at any cost.
I mean what are we expected to do on a 10 hour transatlantic flight to England? Pick our arses? If we can't have carryon luggage, are we expected to carry our books, magazines, passports, tickets, baby formula, nappies, kids clothes, mints, packets of crisps and everything else by hand? Nobody is going to do that - they're just going to stop flying. People don't like being treated like Nazi prisoners of war.
Why does the TSA hate America? They've done exactly what these goons wanted - they've caused terror and panic and put in place such retardedly draconian measures that all air transport in the US is disrupted.
AND NOTHING HAPPENED!
How any American can look at this and still believe that Bush is any way a decent human being? The man is an insane criminal! Bush, the republicans, the TSA and the Department of Homeland Insecurity have beaten everyone into submission so much that the average American is now afraid of their own shadow.
The news stations keep interviewing people at the airports and we keep seeing responses like "Oh I feel much safer and I don't mind the hassle if it makes me safe in the air."
Brainwashed. The lot of them. Panicky little sheep who can't think for themselves any more. Is this the future of America? Waves of brain-dead zombies being controlled by the media and ultimately the government. Yeah. Land of the free.
I call bullshit on this whole terror plot thing. When you read the news stories carefully, they all say "potential" terror plot.
More interesting is the chemistry involved in what was supposedly going to happen.
The bombs were supposedly going to be made using a mixture of acetone and hydrogen peroxide. Hmm. That isn't going to do anything unless you add a third chemical - some sort of acid. And even then, it needs to be mixed with precise measures of water, and the whole thing would need to be kept chilled - really chilled - to stop any chemical reaction until necessary. So basically, a full-blown chemistry set would need to have been broken out on board, with chemicals removed from refridgerated bags or coolers, then mixed carefully and in precise amounts.
As for the Al Qaeda link - everyone's reporting it, but nobody has the evidence.
So in a word : bollocks. There's no way this could have happened.
This smells more and more like fear tactics. It's frightening how much news coverage and panic there has been over something that didn't happen. I wonder what the real story here is going to turn out to be.
There's another part of yesterday's saga which is worth recounting.
So the security screeners are taking everyone's drinks off them coming through security. Inside the "secure area", there are shops and stalls, so I went and bought a new bottle of water.
At the gate, as we entered the jetbridge, there was another TSA pinhead taking people's drinks off them again.
So let me get this straight : if he's taking people's drinks off them, that by default they must have bought after coming through security, the implication is that either:
(a) the "secure area" is a total waste of time
(b) the security check is a total waste of time
(c) the vendors in the "secure area" are all supplying us with bomb-making materials
This is totally out of control. And I don't think it's any coincidence that this has happened as we're getting closer to the mid-term elections here in America. Keep people scared.
Omaha was a blast - we did pretty well I think. The real story, of course, was today's terrorism of America by the American media. You all know the story so far - homegrown idiots in England wanted to use incendiary devices on flights to America.
So on CNN this morning, we had the story evolving from "21 people pulled off flights with bombs" to "4 people arrested at home with bombs" to "21 people arrested at home on suspicion of wanting to bomb aircraft." Despite having no story at the time, and no evidence, CNN were quick to blame Al Qaeda - I think it took them all of 20 seconds to get that in.
But on to the meat and bones of this blog entry : flying back home. Well America has gone fucking crazy. The TSA have wigged out completely and banned all "liquids" from carryons. I get to the security checkpoint and the guy hand-searches my only bag, and pulls out my toothpaste, shaving gel and aerosol deodorant. The conversation then went pretty much like this:
Me "Why are you confiscating the deodorant? It's not on your list"
TSA1 "Let me check" (walks off, comes back) "Yes it is, even though it's not on the printed notice we've put up."
Me "Oh great"
And this is where it got interesting:
TSA1 "Don't blame us, you started it."
Me "Excuse me?"
TSA1 "If it wasn't for your countrymen we would have to be doing this."
Me "What? So because I have an English accent you're lumping me in with those people arrested in England and blaming me?"
TSA1 "That's not what I said...."
Me "Yes it is - you said 'you started it'. You know whay? At least our police caught them before they got on to aeroplanes. That's a whole lot better than your so-called security services who screwed up so badly before 9/11 that you ended up with planes flown into the trade centre towers!"
At this point, his supervisor who had been within earshot, came over, pursued by a security guard (with a gun).
TSA2 "Is there a problem here?"
Me "Too bloody right - your agent here just said 'Don't blame us, your countrymen started it'. I'd hate to think what he'd be doing if I had dark skin!"
TSA2 "That's not the point here."
Me "It wasn't the point, no, but it very much is now. He confiscated something that wasn't on your published list of items, then basically accused me of being to blame for all the delays because I was English!"
Security Guard "Sir don't turn this into a them and us situation."
Me "What? I didn't - your security screener is the one who turned it into a them and us situation with his racist comment!"
At this point I'd drawn quite a crowd. I wouldn't have had any problem with the confiscations (as stupid and knee-jerk as they are) if that stupid idiot hadn't got mouthy with me.
TSA1 "It wasn't racist"
Me "Really? So singling me out because I had an English accent and telling me my countrymen were to blame for this mess doesn't count as racist to you? Do you even know who was responsible for this? Muslim extremists that's who. Do I look like a Muslim to you? Does my name on my drivers license look even vaguely middle-eastern?"
TSA2 "Sir - lower your voice"
Me "Why? Because you've got a bloody idiot working on your security line who's racially profiling people?"
TSA2 "If you want to keep these items you can go back to checkin and check your bag in the hold."
At this point I was just getting fed up.
Me "You know what? Forget it - I'm not going to give you the pleasure of making me go back and checking my bag - just throw them away."
And I walked off.
I sat down at my gate and the supervisor followed me over after a minute or two and apologised for the screener's actions and said he would be reprimanded because his comments were "entirely out of place". A few minutes later I saw another security guard come down from the other side of security and talk to the supervisor and then they both escorted TSA1 away. I hope the little shit loses his fucking job.
The best part of the story is that because of the panicking Americans, the airports are full of news crews, and the local Fox crew had heard the "ruckus" I was causing. The newsgirl came over to ask what had happened and then asked if I'd mind being interviewed for their evening segment. So I recalled the yarn on camera to here and I can presume they might have aired some of it in Omaha tonight.
They've just gone fucking bonkers. Not only do they confiscate things like bottles of water now, if you buy more after the checkpoint, from screened vendors inside the secure area, they now have a TSA guy at the gate who will confiscate it AGAIN! So in England - where the attacks would have come from should they have not been caught, the draconian security measures have wound down a little at the end of the day - people are being allowed to carry on gels, creams etc and bottles of water as long as they are in transparent bags. Here, thousands of miles away from High Wycombe, where there's been no threats, no plots, no arrests, fucking TSA are basically behaving like Nazis. This has got to stop. Fear and oppression are the hallmarks of a dictatorship, and the TSA's actions in airports across America today are nothing short of criminal.
It's amazing. These guys were arrested at home in the "final stages of planning". ie. they were nowhere near any aircraft or even the airports. But the media frenzy has created exactly the effect those "terrorists" would have wanted - panic, hysteria and global travel disruption. The media have done a far better job of panicking Americans and disrupting air travel than the 21 people arrested could have ever done.
Nicely done CNN. Now could you please stop telling people "the answer is not to fly".
Why does American media hate America?
Be still my beating heart. I'm off to Nebraska tomorrow with a work colleague to once again bail out one of our so-called salesmen. Fortunately it's only a short trip.
A brief list of my day:
- had to use internet exploder today on a site that didn't like Firefox. Because of that piece of shit software, the laptop got infected with a ton of spyware that took me three hours to clean off.
- was backing up both PCs on to an external hard drive when the power went out - had to start again.
- was nearly killed by some Asian woman on her cellphone, driving her SUV. Apparently red lights didn't mean anything to her.
- wasted nearly 2 hours of my life watching Dukes of Hazzard. Oh. My. God. I was glued to it because I didn't believe it could be that bad - it HAD to get better. Eventually it did - things improved when the screen went black and the credits rolled.
- finally got to backing up my PC and the power supply failed, had to buy a new one and pay the "late night idiot" price.
Someone tell me why I got out of bed this morning....