This is why we go through airport security

From the government TSA blog’s week in review:

Concealed Firearms– Normally when our officers discover firearms, they’re inside carry-on bags. This week, three loaded firearms were discovered on the passenger.

  • A 380. caliber firearm loaded with five rounds and one chambered was discovered strapped to a passenger’s ankle after walking through a metal detector at Cincinnati (CVG).
  • A loaded 380. caliber firearm with a round chambered was discovered in the rear pocket of a San Antonio (SAT) passenger during Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) screening.
  • A 380. caliber firearm loaded with five rounds was discovered after a passenger walked through a metal detector at Dallas – Ft. Worth (DFW).

 

51 Firearms Discovered This Week – Of the 51 firearms, 45 were loaded and 20 had rounds chambered.

“This week” was last week. People know when they go to catch a flight that they’re going to be scanned and their bags are going to be scanned. But we have in one week a bunch of idiots trying to carry 51 guns on planes. And a hell of a lot of them were loaded (the guns, not the idiots).

Here are just a few:

Guns+1Here’s a full list of the types of guns found as people were checking in for their flights:

Guns

Want to know what else miscreants tried to carry on planes last week?

•Two inert artillery shells were discovered in a checked bag at Chicago O’Hare (ORD). Two minors were returning from Europe and had found the shells at a French WWI era artillery range.
•Four inert/replica/novelty grenades were discovered in carry-on bags this week. Two were discovered in Atlanta (ATL), and the others were found at Baltimore (BWI), and Oklahoma City (OKC).
•Two razor blades were detected inside the shoe and wallet of a Cincinnati (CVG) passenger.
•A 6-inch saw blade was detected, concealed inside a bible at Orlando (MCO).
•Three box cutter blades were detected concealed in a shoe inside the carry-on bag of a Baton Rouge passenger.
•A cell phone stun gun was discovered at Omaha (OMA).
•A comb knife was discovered at John Wayne (SNA).
•A lipstick stun gun was discovered at Detroit (DTW).
•A shocking device was detected inside a cane at Billings (BIL).

I could almost understand the razor blades. Until I saw they were hidden in shoes. You know, you might have a razor blade in your carry on because you packed your razor there by mistake. Putting a razor blade in a shoe isn’t a mistake. And what’s with the saw in the Bible? Someone going to visit a friend in prison and planned to “spread the word” for an early release?

And fake grenades? What bothers me here is I often fly through BWI.

I do get annoyed with the check in process, mainly because I’m always behind people who apparently have never been on a plane before and have no concept of keeping the line moving. Last time I flew, I ended up behind a woman who kept going to the scanner and who kept being told … you have to take your coat off … you have to take your shoes off … you have to take the change out of your pocket … you have to remove your jewelry …

And then it turned out her boarding pass said “TSA Pre,” which means she had been already approved to go to the pre-check line, where she just could have walked through. But instead she got in the line with the rest of us and delayed the process.

But again, after seeing what people were trying to carry on planes last week, I’ll put up with the hassle and just get to the airport an hour earlier.

The right to a RIGHT life

The giveaway on why this isn’t a real commercial for pharmaceuticals is because no part of it talks about the side effects. Every pharmaceutical ad on television tells you the side effect of anything you take is death. Listen to one sometime. So the side effect of this ad would be if you want to breed correctly, you’ll die.

Besides, the folks in the above ad aren’t real Republicans. The ones below are:

Just kidding.

But the second ad was made by the Republican National Committee. And it’s hard to determine which of the two is the real fantasy.

See even when the GOP makes an ad, you think it’s a parody.

(Via Jezebel)

More evidence of the mass extinction

There are a number of books out referring to how we’re in the midst of another mass extinction. I’ve recently finished reading “Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction,” and have just picked up “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History.”

As the promotional material for “The Sixth Extinction” explains:

Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs.

(First of all, to the creationists: Yes, the Earth is billions of years old.)

That’s the theme of both books. We regularly see stories about disappearing bees, millions of dying bats and regular mysterious deaths of sea creatures.

But let’s look at what this really means. This is a chart of the total weight of land animals on Earth (via XKCD):

land_mammals

There aren’t that many wild animals left. Human behavior is killing everything. Mass extinctions take thousands of years. None of us will be around when the one we’re currently in is over, but more important, the way things are going, the human species may not exist when this mass extinction runs its course.

This is how cities should promote bicycle commuting

Most of my commuting in D.C. is done on the bicycle. I can get from home to work faster on a bicycle than I can taking the metro. And my bike path for the most part is in dedicated lanes.

But I have ridden a bike in the Netherlands and it is so much safer there than it is in the U.S. And that’s because of the design of the dedicated lanes.

I would much rather ride in Amsterdam than anywhere in America because the Dutch city planners understand bike safety. If you look at the number of bikes on the road there, you see that the Dutch don’t even worry about getting run over by some yahoo in an Escalade who thinks its his “God Given Right” to run a bicyclist off of the road.

I definitely feel that way in D.C…. and New York … and Louisville … and (name your city).

Feeding hungry children in America

This is an amazingly kind thing to do (from USA Today).

After hearing last week that dozens of Utah students had their school lunches taken because their accounts were delinquent, a Texas man decided to help students in similar situations near him.

Kenny Thompson, a 52-year-old mentor and tutor at Valley Oaks Elementary School in Houston, did some research and learned that children at the school where he works were receiving cold cheese sandwiches or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches instead of full trays of food because they had negative balances on their lunch accounts.

These were children whose parents couldn’t afford the 40 cents per day fee, so Thompson took $465 and paid off the delinquent accounts of 60 children, KPRC television reports.

Because the following were amazingly evil things to do:

Up to 40 kids at Uintah Elementary in Salt Lake City picked up their lunches Tuesday, then watched as the meals were taken and thrown away because of outstanding balances on their accounts — a move that shocked and angered parents.

“It was pretty traumatic and humiliating,” said Erica Lukes, whose 11-year-old daughter had her cafeteria lunch taken from her as she stood in line Tuesday at Uintah Elementary School, 1571 E. 1300 South.

And this:

A St. Louis County cafeteria worker is out of a job after giving away free meals to a child in need.

For two years, Dianne Brame worked as a cafeteria manager at Hudson Elementary in Webster Groves, keeping kids’ bellies full for their all-important task of learning.

The lunch lady loved her job: “I knew kids by their names, I knew their likes and dislikes, so it was just fun.”

But recently, she came across a fourth grader who consistently came without money. She says he used to be on the free lunch program, but language barriers got in the way of reapplying: “I sent them paperwork so that they could get back in contact with me, but it didn’t happen,” she says.

For days, Brame snuck the boy lunches. She explains, “I let his account get over $45 which I’m only supposed to let it get over $10, and I started letting him come through my lunch line without putting his number in, and they look at that as stealing. I thought it was just taking care of a kid.”

She was trying to protect him from the bullying: a cruel side dish to the default cheese sandwich given to kids without lunch money.

So, less than $500 will help ensure 60 American children have at least one decent meal a day. Otherwise, they go hungry, and people who attempt to feed them lose their jobs.

There are a lot of poor people in the U.S. and as the middle-class shrinks, it’s not because more middle-income workers are becoming rich. It’s because more of them are becoming poor. And those hardest hit by poverty are children.

So it’s always a good time to understand economic history. And since I haven’t referred to Paul Krugman in a while, maybe it’s time to look into the YouTube vault and hear him talk about income inequality and how we’ve gotten there:

Income inequality, poverty, hungry children. They’re all related. And as the generosity of one man in Texas shows, it really doesn’t take much to help children in need.

Cheerios are good for your heart: The baby and the puppy

Less than nine months ago, Cheerios ran an ad in which a little girl asked her mother “Are Cheerios good for your heart.” Mom said yes, and the girl dumped a box of cereal on her sleeping father’s chest (see that ad here). Pretty innocuous, but Cheerios had to disable comments when the ad showed up on YouTube, because a bunch of people went apoplectic because the ad featured a mixed race family.

So that was it, right? Cheerios runs an ad, racists respond, but Cheerios kept running the ad. And now it’s got this one.

This one’s called “Cheerios 2014 Game Day Ad.” Sounds like it’s going to run during the Super Bowl, the biggest advertising day of the year. Right now, it has almost a million hits on YouTube, and the comments are on. Let’s see how long that lasts.

The ad, though is still pretty innocuous. I’m totally with mom’s “Are you nuts?!?!!” reaction to the puppy deal.

But given the time between the first ad and the presentation of this one, the underlying message is: “See! Cheerios were REALLY good for dad’s heart.”