Justice Department Threatens To Ban Flights Out Of Texas If Texas Makes TSA Groping Illegal

from the showdown dept

We've already covered the proposal in Texas to make TSA airport gropings illegal, and we've already noted that the TSA insists that it can safely ignore such a law (an argument that some dispute). However, now the Justice Department is apparently telling the Texas legislature that if it passes the law, flights out of Texas could be banned:
If HR 1937 were enacted, the federal government would likely seek an emergency stay of the statute. Unless or until such a stay were granted, TSA would likely be required to cancel any flight or series of flights for which it could not ensure the safety of passengers and crew.
That's a mighty big stick the feds are pulling out there. The sponsor of the bill says the whole thing is ridiculous. He notes (quite craftily) that the bill clearly exempts TSA officials from being liable for criminal prosecution under the bill, if they can show the Constitutional reasons that allow them to grope anyone's private parts:
"The bill clearly states that an agent is exempt from prosecution as long as a constitutionally sanctioned federal law directs them to perform the invasive, indecent groping searches-including touching breasts, sexual organs and buttocks," noted State Representative David Simpson (R-Longview), the bill's author.

"Instead of threatening to shut down flights in Texas, why doesn't the TSA just show us their statutory authority to grope or ogle our private parts?" asked Simpson.

"All that HB 1937 does is require that the TSA abide by the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution," Simpson continued. "We aren't even prohibiting the pat-downs, per se. We're just saying you can't go straight to third base. You have to have a reason-you have to have probable cause-before groping someone's sexual organs."
Things certainly could get interesting. In the meantime, perhaps don't plan too many trips that involve flying out of Texas in the near future.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 9:40am

    Better headline:

    Federal Government Messes With Texas

     

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  2.  
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    Gwiz (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 9:43am

    In the meantime, perhaps don't plan too many trips that involve flying out of Texas in the near future.

    There may be a positive side to this if it keeps some of the patent lawyers away from East Texas.

     

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  3.  
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    Jay (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 9:43am

    Subheadline

    Second Amendment used in vigorous Defense from Feds

     

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  4.  
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    HothMonster, May 26th, 2011 @ 9:48am

    Re:

    On one hand I support Rep. Simpson on this.

    On the other hand keeping Texans from leaving Texas isn't really a law I can be against.

    also ""We aren't even prohibiting the pat-downs, per se. We're just saying you can't go straight to third base."
    Hilarious

     

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  5.  
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    A non-mouse, May 26th, 2011 @ 9:48am

    What about other countries?

    So, are they also banning all flights out of foreign countries that don't grope their passengers? Didn't think so...

     

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  6.  
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    Donnicton, May 26th, 2011 @ 9:48am

    Re: Better headline:

    Texas secessionist movement fringe groups rejoice at being cut off from U.S., news at 11.

     

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  7.  
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    xebikr (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 9:50am

    High school flashback

    you can't go straight to third base

    How many times did you hear that one?

     

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  8.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 9:53am

    Re: High school flashback

    Almost never, but that's because I dated the right kind of girls in high school :)

     

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  9.  
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    John Doe, May 26th, 2011 @ 9:54am

    The naked scanners and groping is a farce

    The naked scanners and groping are obviously not needed for secure flights. Atlanta is the busiest airport in the country and somewhere near the top if not at the top for the world. They have over two dozen security lines and only 2 naked scanners. The only people who get groped are the people who refuse the naked scanners. So all those thousands of people going through Atlanta each day, only a few hundred get scanned or groped. Plus, the little airport I fly out of doesn't have the naked scanner and they don't grope.

    BTW, avoid lines 12 and 14 and you will avoid the naked scanners/groping. So far I have gone through those lines twice. Once I was groped when I refused the naked scanner. The other time I got lucky and the naked scanner was backed up with sheeple so they sent me through the metal detector.

    So just how necessary are they if only a small percentage of flyers go through them and with a little planning you can avoid them?

     

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  10.  
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    DogBreath, May 26th, 2011 @ 9:55am

    Nothing to worry about here...

    "Instead of threatening to shut down flights in Texas, why doesn't the TSA just show us their statutory authority to grope or ogle our private parts?" asked Simpson.

    I'm sure it's all clearly explained in the renewed PATRIOT Act, under the Feds "classified" secretly reinterpreted definitions. It's for our own good, of course. /sarc

     

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  11.  
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    Your Friendly Neighborhood Librarian, May 26th, 2011 @ 9:56am

    "We're just saying you can't go straight to third base"

    For some reason, After reading that sentence I started singing ...

    "Stop right there!
    I gotta know right now!
    Before we go any further--!
    Do you love me?
    Will you love me forever?
    Do you need me?
    Will you never leave me?
    Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life?
    Will you take me away and will you make me your wife?
    Do you love me!?
    Will you love me forever!?
    Do you need me!?
    Will you never leave me!?
    Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life!?
    Will you take me away and will you make me your wife!?
    I gotta know right now
    Before we go any further
    Do you love me!!!?
    Will you love me forever!!!?"

    Thank you, Meat Loaf, for those words of wisdom :)

     

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  12.  
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    Security Theater, May 26th, 2011 @ 9:58am

    ... quick, stop all flights!

    ".... Unless or until such a stay were granted, TSA would likely be required to cancel any flight or series of flights for which it could not ensure the safety of passengers and crew."

    Wait ... wouldn't that imply that they have to cancel all flights immediately? They already cannot ensure the safety of passengers and crew, because all the TSA currently does is pretend they make flights more secure, while consuming lots of tax dollars.

     

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  13.  
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    Steven (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 9:58am

    Re: What about other countries?

    That was my thought. To my understanding no incoming international flights put their passengers through such a screening.

     

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  14.  
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    DogBreath, May 26th, 2011 @ 9:58am

    Re: Re: High school flashback

    Gives a totally new meaning to: "all your base are belong to us"

     

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  15.  
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    gradient (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 9:59am

    "TSA would likely be required to cancel any flight or series of flights for which it could not ensure the safety of passengers and crew."

    Well, I guess we need to cancel all flights in the TSA does the screening for.

     

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  16.  
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    Lord Binky, May 26th, 2011 @ 10:04am

    Houston and Dallas are pretty big hubs for flights. I'm pretty sure airlines would not be able to handle that well. So you can be sure that lobby money will prevent the justice department from actually following through with their threat. Other than that, the present pat downs and scanners do not qualify as ensuring the safety of passengers, and donít even have evidence that they have prevented any safety threats, only evidence that they have a high likelihood of MISSING the safety threat. Removing passengers with (explosives/weapons/items) does not equal a plane without (explosives/weapons/items). Are the guys handling bags, fueling, maintenance being guarded and watched and scanned the entire time? Otherwise safety is far from ensured from any view.

     

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  17.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 10:05am

    Re: Re: Re: High school flashback

    Oooh, trust me, mixing videogame references and your sexlife is not a good idea....

     

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  18.  
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    Lord Binky, May 26th, 2011 @ 10:11am

    I'm sure my boss would not be happy about it, but I could always grab my TLD and find out how much ionizing radiation I was exposed to when I went through the scanner at the end of the quarter. After two years at a class 2 nuclear facility, I've haven't received any measurable dose, but the TSA decides it's ok for them to dose me for no benefit. I should get a discount on my tickets for being a guinea pig.

     

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  19.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 10:12am

    Re: Re: What about other countries?

    To my understanding no incoming international flights put their passengers through such a screening.

    I was on a flight from Japan to San Francisco, where at the gate to enter the plane, several Delta employees wearing surgical gloves "patted-down" certain passengers. However, I was not subject to it, and from what I saw, they weren't as invasive as the TSA pat-downs.

    Of course, when I stepped off the plane in San Francisco, I was subject to two separate pat-downs. Once upon leaving the plane, and then again when entering the domestic terminal. Of course, I also had a customs agent go through my wallet for every bit of identifying information she could get. As I walked away from the customs office (but still in range so she could hear me,) I told my co-worker, "Damn, its good to be home." Nowhere else in the world where I have travelled, have I been subjected to the crap that occurs in our airports. And the funny thing is, I feel a hell of a lot safer travelling in/through foreign countries because, a) their security folks give a damn, and b) they attack the problem, not hide the symptoms behind theatre.

    I'd love to see more states get the cahones to stand-up to the TSA.

     

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  20.  
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    Nom du Clavier (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 10:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: High school flashback

    Nom: "xyzzy"
    Wife: "Come again?"
    Nom: "Well, if you insist."

     

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  21.  
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    D. Hope-Ross (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 10:22am

    Re: "We're just saying you can't go straight to third base"

    I'm praying for the end of time.....

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2011 @ 10:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: High school flashback

    given the reference can we assume - no sexlife?

     

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  23.  
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    DH's Love Child (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 10:24am

    Re: Re:

    also ""We aren't even prohibiting the pat-downs, per se. We're just saying you can't go straight to third base."
    Hilarious


    Yeah, I got a good laugh from that one too.

     

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  24.  
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    Phillip Vector (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 10:25am

    Re: "We're just saying you can't go straight to third base"

    Let me sleep on it.. Baby baby.. Let me sleep on it...
    Let me sleep on it.. I'll give you an answer in the morning..

    Let me sleep on it.. Baby baby.. Let me sleep on it...
    Let me sleep on it.. I'll give you an answer in the morning..

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2011 @ 10:26am

    Good, shutdown the airports in Texas. I live here and hate flying. Maybe it'll finally motivate us to get some high speed rail up in this piece, ya heard me?

     

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  26.  
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    hegemon13, May 26th, 2011 @ 10:33am

    Re: Re: Re: What about other countries?

    They also don't create vicious enemies by occupying other countries all over the world with their military.

     

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  27.  
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    DogBreath, May 26th, 2011 @ 10:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: High school flashback

    Only if you use "xyzzy" in the wrong place. If you do, "Nothing happens".

     

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  28.  
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    crade (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 10:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: What about other countries?

    umm.. I think you are either mistaking Japan for someplace else or you have never been to Asia.

     

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  29.  
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    STJ, May 26th, 2011 @ 10:43am

    "TSA would likely be required to cancel any flight or series of flights for which it could not ensure the safety of passengers and crew. "

    They can't ensure the safety now, so does that mean they have to cancel all flights throughout the US?

     

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  30.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 10:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: High school flashback

    Bwhahahhaha!

    Also, a bit of advice, if you're going to surprise your girl by bursting in on her while she's in the shower, never do so while simultaenously shouting in an over-the-top italian accent, "Hey, it'sa me, a-Mario!"

     

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  31.  
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    Gracey (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 10:50am

    [TSA would likely be required to cancel any flight or series of flights for which it could not ensure the safety of passengers and crew.]

    So in other words, all flights in the US should be cancelled?

    From what I understanding, the groping doesn't appear to make flights any safer than not groping...otherwise, why not do the touchy-feely on every traveler?

     

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  32.  
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    pixelpusher220 (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 10:52am

    Re: Re: Better headline:

    11:01 - Rest of America rejoices at same thing...

     

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  33.  
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    Beta (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 11:03am

    Re: The naked scanners and groping is a farce

    Theory: the only purpose of the groping is to get people to submit to the scans, and the only reason to have the scans is because the government made a deal to buy the scanners. The feds now have three choices: fight to keep the groping, fight harder to force people to go through the scanner, or mothball the scanners and admit they were an expensive and pointless indignity (and deal with the bleating of the people who want to be protected from all dangers, real or imagined).

    I'll bet that right now, someone sitting in a large and impressive office in a federal building is wishing with all his might that people would just stop paying attention long enough for him to quietly implement option #3.

     

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  34.  
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    Beta (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 11:12am

    Re: ... quick, stop all flights!

    Unless or until such a stay were granted, TSA would likely be required to cancel any flight or series of flights for which it could not ensure [that it could make itself seem necessary to] the safety of passengers and crew.

    (More likely it would simply redirect the "opt out" people through a velvet rope maze and a metal detector, out of sight of the scanner line, then quietly send them to the gate.)

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2011 @ 11:22am

    Seems to have worked, the Texas Senate version of the bill has been pulled due to "influences" by the Lt. Gov of Texas

     

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  36.  
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    Daemon_ZOGG (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 11:32am

    "Justice Department Threatens To Ban Flights Out Of Texas"

    So, first they bail out the airlines and now they're going to deny them tons of revenue in Texas because potential passengers don't want to be raped by the TSA? My response is.. After the airlines charge you all those extra "convenience fees", and the TSA gets their jollies.. it might actually be more convenient to charter your own small plane (no TSA rape squads). As an alternative, the freedom to choose other means of travel: Train, bus, personal/company vehicle, etc. We really don't need the TSA, DOJ, or the airlines for that matter. ;P

     

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  37.  
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    el_segfaulto (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 11:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: High school flashback

    Now I have to try this...

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2011 @ 11:40am

    "Things certainly could get interesting. In the meantime, perhaps don't plan too many trips that involve flying out of Texas in the near future."

    I haven't flown since the TSA started groping, and have no intention to start.

    The United States is becoming a country I no longer have an interest in occupying, regardless.

     

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  39.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 11:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: High school flashback

    Just make sure she doesn't laugh so hard she slips and falls, doinking her head off of the soap dish. You have any idea how hard it is to help up a laughing, bleeding, soaped up slippery woman?

     

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  40.  
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    theangryintern (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 11:51am

    The scanning machine is just a way for the TSA agents to get their rocks off. A friend of mine at work was flying through the Las Vegas airport and at the time they were picking "random" people to go through the scanner. He sat there and watched while the TSA agents "randomly" pulled every attractive woman from the line to go through the scanner.

     

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  41.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 12:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What about other countries?

    umm.. I think you are either mistaking Japan for someplace else or you have never been to Asia.

    Heh. Yeah, Japan was like that at one time. Now they just export armies of tireless workers. PvP by economic action...

    Japan doesn't really like our marines either, but as much as they don't like them, I get the feeling that they are between a rock and a hard place because they want them there to protect them from North Korea.

    I love the Japanese too...but then again, I love the people in just about every country I've been to. Call it wide-eyed idealism, but with exception of one country I've been to (which I won't name,) people are just a hell of a lot nicer everywhere you go except here (there are nice people here, just not a lot because we are all so damn self-centered.) Even when they don't speak your language, and you don't speak theirs, they try to help you out. Here (and in one other country I've been to,) not so much (and I spoke their language there, though not my birth language.) Been to Africa, Europe, and Asia, and it is pretty much the same world over...even in Canada...people are a hell of a lot nicer there.

     

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  42.  
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    Infowars, May 26th, 2011 @ 12:03pm

    Too Bad

    The stools in Texas didn't have the (GROPE AREA 2) to just move forward with the bill. Dam the FED. Lets pop this shit off! We are ready and willing to stand for our rights. Hopefully it won't come to the guns but....

    The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
    Thomas Jefferson

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2011 @ 12:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: What about other countries?

    You might want to look up nanking, when in regards to Japan...

     

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  44.  
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    crade (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 12:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What about other countries?

    I love japanese people / culture too, but I certainly wouldn't say they don't have enemies abroad. Asia seems a lot slower to forgive them than the west is with germany.

     

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  45.  
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    candide08 (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 12:21pm

    Who cares?

    So ban flights to and from Texas, the rest of the country would be better off anyway.

     

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  46.  
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    Christopher (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 12:45pm

    Re: Re: The naked scanners and groping is a farce

    Beta, I believe you hit the nail on the head about the reasoning behind the groping/scanners.

     

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  47.  
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    Christopher (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 12:46pm

    Re: Re: The naked scanners and groping is a farce

    Beta, I believe you hit the nail on the head about the reasoning behind the groping/scanners.

     

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  48.  
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    chuck, May 26th, 2011 @ 12:48pm

    Old News

    PA had done the same thing without all the "hoopla"
    http://www.abc27.com/story/14357574/pa-legislator-seeks-to-criminalize-tsa-airport-searche s?redirected=true
    Nobody threatened to stop flights here at the time.

     

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  49.  
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    Christopher (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 12:49pm

    Re: "Justice Department Threatens To Ban Flights Out Of Texas"

    With all due respect, we do need the DOJ and the airlines, unless you like hopping on a boat and being absent from work for a month for your trip to France for that latter one.

    The TSA? That we do not need.

     

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  50.  
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    Christopher (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 12:51pm

    Re:

    Agreed.... if it wasn't for the fact that I have never lived anywhere else and wouldn't be able to learn a new language, I would have moved somewhere else in the world already.

    The United States is losing it's rights slowly but surely based on the fear of terrorism and fear of pedosexuality.

     

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  51.  
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    Jay (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 12:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What about other countries?

    Uhm... The US is their defense.

    Yes, Japan has a Self Defense force, but the reason we are on Okinawa and 3/4 of the main islands is to act as a buffer between Japan and N. Korea. The citizens may not like us, but believe me, some of those people are truly ignorant when it comes to foreign issues.

    Talking to some of them and all they want to do is say is 外人 は バカ! (Foreigners are stupid)

    The xenophobia continues to run rampant in Japan, and that's especially a problem with them. Yes, they tolerate Americans, but you have to understand that this is also the same country that seems to benefit courting Americans for their money and using the talents of other industries.

    I recall that there was an article in the Economist that they treat Chinese workers pretty badly, who come over with work visas.

     

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  52.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2011 @ 1:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What about other countries?

    Well yeah... and the chinese would treat the japanese worse if any actually went there.

     

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  53.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 2:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What about other countries?

    Talking to some of them and all they want to do is say is 外人 は バカ! (Foreigners are stupid)

    Oh, I am not naive enough to think that doesn't happen. It happens here too. I have friends who are Asian, some of them Japanese, and hear the same from them about how there isn't anyone who can properly eat with chopsticks except the Japanese and the like. However, like other countries I've been to, they may think foreigners are stupid, and may say it, but they don't say it to someone's face like they do here (or if they do, they certainly say it with a smile.)

    But back on topic, when they have a problem with your luggage, they pull you aside and go through your luggage with you present, unlike TSA, which wants to loot your luggage in secret. And when they have issue with you, like if you set off the metal detector, they don't take naked pictures of you or give you the same examination in public your doctor gives you alone in an examination room.

     

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  54.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2011 @ 2:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: High school flashback

    "You have any idea how hard it is to help up a laughing, bleeding, soaped up slippery woman?"

    Lord knows I do...
    http://i4.ytimg.com/vi/W3BcIm5d6Pk/1.jpg

    god I wish i could post pictures right in here.

     

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  55.  
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    btr1701 (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 2:50pm

    Re:

    > the Texas Senate version of the bill has been
    > pulled due to "influences" by the Lt. Gov

    Yep. Lt. Governor Dewhurst has already killed the bill and blamed it on others after an immediate public outcry occurred. Bluff by the the government successful.

    Incidentally, for those who don't know, in Texas the Lt. Governor is the real power center of the executive branch. The Governor is really just a figurehead and is the weakest governor of all 50 states.

     

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  56.  
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    FuzzyDuck, May 26th, 2011 @ 3:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: What about other countries?

    "They also don't create vicious enemies by occupying other countries all over the world with their military."

    The US isn't alone and is in good company with these other shining democracies:

    China still occupies Tibet.

    Russia still occupies parts of Georgia, Moldova and Chechnya.

    Morocco still occupies the Western Sahara.

    ...

     

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  57.  
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    Daemon_ZOGG (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 9:12pm

    Re: Re: "Justice Department Threatens To Ban Flights Out Of Texas"

    No. I don't mind hopping on a boat for a couple of weeks. The longer I'm away from these corrupt politions, the better. And work? What work? You must have the US confused with India or China. I'm pretty sure that's where my job went, anyway. ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    icon
    Chargone (profile), May 27th, 2011 @ 8:04am

    Re:

    the rest of the world agrees.

    this is why the USA is in absolutely no danger of ever getting invaded :P

    nuked maybe, but not invaded.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    identicon
    john f. palmer, May 27th, 2011 @ 11:53am

    TSA

    I am not a large fan of Texas politics but this bill is right on point.

    As a retired law enforcement officer from California, TSA is out of control. Trained Law enforcement officers do not have the authority that these marginal security guards at best do.

    Other states should pass similar laws and take on the TSA!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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