Wednesday

Should we do somethin'?

Recently, an overseas airline began profiling lone males on flights as all being potential child molesters. Yep, now there's a profile that I'm sure the current DHS can live with... yet it brings to mind a "There I was" story.

Back in the pre 9/11 days a crew that I was flying as a part of came in direct contact with a situation that fits this. It was one of those end-of-the-day flights as we were headed to our out-station from the hub. In the cockpit things were nice and quiet and boring... just the way airline pilots like them. The passengers were loaded, the paperwork was done and soon the cabin door was closed. I had ground on the horn and we were rolling away into the evening, as cool as can be. We were also on the back side of "the push" so most of the traffic had already departed- it was smooth goin' all the way to our runway. As we rolled across the field toward our runway, ground came on the radio and told me to contact Ops. before departure.

When I called Ops., to my surprise, the Chief Pilot answered. He told us that our flight attendant was under orders that if there as a single peep of any sort of a disturbance in the back, we were to call for ATC Priority Handling and turn immediately back. We asked what was going on, but he simply told us to ask the flight attendant. By then we were set to blast off and there was no time to call to the back until we were otta 10.

Of course nothing drives a flight crew like curiosity and we blasted up through 10,000 feet as fast as we could. I buzzed the back and asked the FA what was goin' on. He said that he did not think it was a big deal, but while the passengers were standing in line waiting to board, an adult male had made a "remark" to a young female who was flying as an unaccompanied minor. Whatever the remark was it frightened the little girl to the point that she reported it to the gate agent. The gate agents had arranged seating so that the idiot guy was seated all the way aft and the UM was seated forward, close to the flight attendant. We decided just to keep the seat belt sign on and that there would be no cabin service... just so we would have less of a chance of having to turn back. The captain made a BS-PA saying that ATC had reported the likely hood of some rough air ahead to cover for our actions. The captain then leaned over to me and thumbed toward the rear... "Lock the door" he said.

Now... Hollywood often portrays airline pilots as brave and heroic... and just like everything else that comes out of Hollywood- that's all bullcrap. In fact, if there were an airline pilot's pocket checklist for what to do when the excrement hits the turbine blades back in the cabin, it would say "Put out the sight that says DO WHAT YOU WANT WITH THE WOMAN AND CHILDREN, BUT LEAVE US ALONE and lock the door." So, of course we followed that procedure.

When I made the in-range call, our destination Ops. came back with a "What the hell's goin' on up there?!" To which we responded, "Why? What the hell's goin' on down there?" They told us that the place was full of cops and they had a guy at the gate acting like a wild man... he was the little girl's father. Apparently he had been contacted by the airline and told that some guy aboard our flight was trying to molest his daughter. He did exactly what I would do in the same situation... race to the airport like batman, burst through the doors, storm through security and try and beat the facts out of the totally uninformed gate agent. Of course the police were not far behind and were currently trying to cool him down. I reported back that all was very quiet aboard and the idiot remark guy as actually sound asleep, according to the flight attendant. Additionally, the little girl was and well protected from the scum of the earth, because the cockpit door was closed.

We taxied up to the gate and through the windows you could see some big, bristled guy surrounded by a half dozen cops. They deplaned the little girl first and she was escorted in by airport police and a gate agent, the other passengers followed and as soon as the last guy went in- all hell broke loose. From the cockpit all that we could see were arms, elbows, feet and fists. It was a lot like being a hockey player watching a brawl break out in the stands.

I murmured to the captain, as we watched, "Should we do... somethin'?" He gave me that are you f$%king nuts smirk and said, "Yeah... make sure that door stays locked and as soon as they're all gone out of that window, we'll go out and walk across the ramp to the other side of the building, go through Ops. and get in our cars and go home.

That's exactly what we did.

Saturday

Explosive Honey


Things are tense in the airport business as the terrorists (or suspected persons of ill intent- as the Obama administration may wish to call them) have once again tried to blow us up. The front line in this war (or overseas contingency operation- as the Obama administration would prefer to have us call it) is in the airports of the United States where the TSA stands ever vigilant... that is, unless they have a cell phone call to answer or it is their lunch break. Yes, they remain nose-to-nose with the enemy... us... the American flying public.

The process of scanning bags, ordering shoes removed, guarding exits and rummaging through checked luggage is one laced with risk. Indeed, no TSA agent knows what resides within the next removed shoe or what awaits in the next bag, this is especially so for the luggage rummage detail. The next bag could contain men's jockey shorts with a brown streak or a boobie-trapped load of C-4 explosive (under 50 pounds, of course, so you won't get charged extra for checking the bag). Every day is like playing Russian roulette with one bullet and 98,728,412 empty chambers... the pressure is enormous... at least until break time.

Fear hung heavily, like a tapestry of doom over the checked baggage area at Bakersfield CA's Meadows Field Airport on the morning of 5 January, 2010. In the shadow of the Christmas Day Crotch Bomber, everyone was on a razor's edge... and then it happened!


A single bag was opened and inside were found several unmarked bottles with a suspicious golden liquid inside. Although Bakersfield is known to many as one of the honey centers of the nation, the TSA was smarter than that... no, THIS was not the yellow product of one of the bazillion bee hives in the local area... THIS WAS A BOMB!


Quicker than you can scream 10-9 over the airport's P.A. system, the TSA sprung into action. Immediately the owner of the bag, a 31-year-old gardener from Milwaukee, who had flown to Bakersfield to spend Christmas with his sister, was arrested like a jihadest fresh from Yemen and tossed into some hostile, isolated room. The local police, FBI, CIA, NSA and perhaps even the NAR (National Association of Rocketry) were alerted. Sirens screamed as SWAT teams were mustered and every person in Bakersfield who carried a badge from police to elementary school safety patrol kids were rushed to the scene. Bomb-sniffing dogs were deployed and indicated that the golden liquid was explosive. The airport was locked down, passengers were all immediately considered to terrorist accomplices- no one was above or below suspicion. Two of the TSA agents who came near the bag were "overcome" and had to be rushed to the E.R. at a local hospital. Surely now the EPA needed to get involved- but, they were far too busy tracking down that dangerous carbon dioxide that we all exhale and were thus under-staffed... so they could not respond until man-made Global Warming is stopped.


Confidential sources report that TSA attempted to put the bag's owner under the ol' "hot lights" for questioning... unfortunately, California no longer allows incandescent lights to be used anywhere in the state for environmental reasons and all they had were LED lamps, which were not hot and are too dim to force the truth out of anyone. So they had to settle for threatening him by saying they would move him to Nevada where they still have hot lights. Yet even under that pressure, the bag's owner refused to confess to packing explosives... so they made him take off his shoes- and keep 'em off.


The national threat level was elevated to a bright orange, almost an apricot, but not quite a tangerine.


Hours passed before a non-dog analysis for the substance showed it to be... honey.


So... what caused the dogs to alert? And what caused the two (not one, but TWO) TSA agents to be "overcome" and have to be rushed away to a local ER?


So, what can we learn from this event? Maybe the bomb-sniffing dogs just like honey. Maybe the owner, a gardener, who works with nitrogen agents a lot contaminated the bottles. Maybe the TSA agents like honey a really, really lot and simply were overcome by yummyness. Maybe they saw something else in the bag (remember those Jockey shorts with the streak). Maybe they knew it was only honey and how much that can mess up a uniform if it leaks and the thought of the dry cleaning involved just knocked them out. Or, maybe they both decided that this stuff was about to blow the entire airport to snot and they would be best off to fake a faint and then get transported away to the hospital and that way when the explosion went off they'd be a safe distance away and could just sit up, remove the oxygen mask and say "Well... I seem to feel much better" (that's what I'd have done).


What matters most is that TSA did its job. With total disregard for any thread of common sense, they shut the system down and held hostage a whole bunch of innocent Americans in an outstanding display of stupidity. We are all now allowed to feel safer... and put our shoes back on.

Friday

01/07/10 klyde morrsi


Monday

Oh yeah, this is leadership.

So- we narrowly avoided another terrorist attack... oh, wait... The new term is "Man-Caused Disaster." Yes that's right, in our new wave of Political Correctness, we must use the new terms so as not to offend anyone... like a slug with a bomb sewn into his underwear looking to blow up an A330. Those of us with working brains know that calling a terrorist attack a man-caused disaster is like calling an Evil Knievel crash a "Boo-boo." Still that does not stop the idiots running the country from driving the NASCAR racer of Political Correctness over the bodies of United States citizens- ( a NASCAR race car turns left, turns left, turns left... get it?)

Yet we ask, prior to the Christmas day crotch bomber, what were our leaders thinking of?

Why it was health care of course! That was the focus... you know- all of those masses of Americans who were on their knees in the streets, hands held to the sky begging "Oh please or mighty government save us! Take over the system of health care before we all DIE! And... by the way we expect to be dead before Christmas 2009." Don't you remember seeing all of those people, dressed in rags, crowded into the streets- it was right out of Soylent Green- waiting for the scoops to come!

Yep- that's what was important prior to the crotch bomber.

If we could see into Obama's mind, what would his priorities be now? Probably be something like this...

*Golf
*My image
*Why the hell did I leave warm weather after the holidays?
*I've got to find more ways to avoid Biden.
*Wow, I really look good sitting at this desk.
*The Chicago Bulls.
*Airline security.
*I really do look good sitting in this office.
*We need a third teleprompter the next time I speak.
*Okay... there's nothing hanging out of my nose, I can go in front of the cameras.
*I have a great profile for being on a coin.
*My toothbrush should have the Presidential seal on the handle.
*Health care

In two months, however, that same list of Obama's priorities will look something like this...

*Golf
*My image
*Why the hell did I leave warm weather after the holidays?
*March madness.
*I've got to find more ways to avoid Biden.
*Wow, I really look good sitting at this desk.
*The Chicago Bulls.
*I really do look good sitting in this office.
*We need a third teleprompter the next time I speak.
*Okay... there's nothing hanging out of my nose, I can go in front of the cameras.
*I have a great profile for being on a coin.
*My toothbrush should have the Presidential seal on the handle.


Meanwhile the TSA is going to come down on us... the enemy in their eyes... with a wave of new, pointless, "security" rules... none of which will be applied to anyone who would fit the profile of someone who would want to actually do "Jihad" upon us. Nope- they'll be real busy checking my 2 year old's taggy blanket.


Soon we'll all have to take off our shoes, dump our liquids and remove and display our underwear because the TSA will be nose to nose with the flying public of the United States. And if their luck holds out they'll soon be unionized to boot! If you think that TSA stands for Thousands Standing Around now... just wait until they have a national seniority list and the ability to strike.


There is, of course, that great protector from the year 2002- the "No-Fly List." This is about as outdated as the Lucy Show and equally useful when it comes to preventing "man-caused disasters." The list is said to currently contain such threatening names as Sadam Hussein and Mohamad Atta along with Snidley Whiplash and Darth Vader. Hey- I feel safe now.


Yesterday (January 3, 2010) a guy walked through the exit at Newark airport. The TSA alerted, locked down the airport and promptly lost him. That's right... they LOST him. After several hours of making everyone- including those who had already passed through screening, go back and take their shoes off again- the TSA was not able to find the guy... so they figured that was enought time to look for him and they reopened operations... Oh well.


Protection against terrorist acts will require aggression against the real enemies, action in the field, human intelligence gathering, common sense and leadership. Since 9/11 we have had none of that and considering the current idiots in charge, we are not likely to get any of that.

klyde morris 01/04/10


Friday

klyde morris 12/31/09