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Does Homeland Security Know How to Twitter?

Okay, so let’s get this straight. When I fly with my two small children, we stand endlessly in the security line, shuffling along in our socks. My little baggie of overpriced haircare products lies exposed for all to see (and mock), and, when he was younger, Caleb was even made to put his pacifier through the x-ray machine. Because, you know, those binkys–a great hiding place for explosives.

And yet Faisal Shahzad was able to plunk down a wad of cash for a ticket he’d booked only an hour or so earlier, for a flight to Pakistan via Dubai, skip through security, and get on the plane. He was probably deep into his Sky Mall magazine by the time the FBI hauled him off the plane. 

Shahzad’s name had apparently been added to the no-fly list by Homeland Security, but apparently the list isn’t just updated zippety-zip. Instead airlines got an email saying that an important name had been added to the list.

An email. Don’t they know that email is so twentieth-century? 

I mean, I can twitter to all my followers (okay, mostly it’s just Husband and a few friends who know how to work their phones, but for the sake of argument let’s pretend I’m dooce and have 85 gazillion followers) about a new pair of shoes and even send a picture of my patent-leather clogs, which they can all see immediately, but Homeland Security has to send an email telling people to check updates on the no-fly list?

Don’t get me wrong – kudoes to all who helped get this would-be bomber into custody – but would someone please gently take Janet Napolitano by the hand and show her how twitter works?

Continue Reading · on May 5, 2010 in Politics, Travel

Take off, plug in

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We all know that air travel ain’t what it used to be, particularly if you’re traveling with kids under the age of about 12.  Back in the day, an airplane trip meant mom requested “kid meals” for us (grill cheese, french fries, chocolate milk, sometimes a soda with a maraschino cherry); we got little pin-on airplane wings…it was all good.

Now, of course, it’s the stocking-foot shuffle, the plastic bag of lotions and unguents, and the sign that says “thank you for participating in security.” I have to say that I think this entire “security” thing might be a shake-down funded by the bottled water companies, who must have seen a significant uptick in profits once passengers had to leave their beverages on the other side of the x-ray machines.

There is, however, a modern addition to flying that does indeed make the skies friendlier: TV. My friends, until there is a liquid heroin drip that can be connected into the arms of small children, plugging them into Jet Blue’s cartoon network is the next best thing.  Okay, so yes, we’re talking about three hours or so of crappy cartoons and even crappier advertisements.  But you know what I did during our flight?

I read a book.

I swear, it was almost civilized.

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Continue Reading · on March 12, 2010 in Travel

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