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National and Global, United States

Sunday, January 31, 2010

My Trip to The Grammy Awards...Not too long ago..


In 1981, New York City. Radio City Music Hall. I was there. Paul Simon was the host.

I was dressed in a tux, and my wife was looking beautiful. Yes, we attended as invitees. I had been booking music talent in New Jersey for over five years. Probably 20 concerts a year. Lots of well-knowns and not-so, at the time.

We had a limo with a sun-roof. Along the way, we put our heads out of that sun-roof, along Broadway...and just yelled a bit. We had dinner in a great restaurant. The Rainbow Room atop Rockefeller Center. What a night!

The limo driver said, 'remember the license plate number so you can find me after the awards'. I said 'gee, it's a black stretch limo. There can't be many of those around'

Coming from the awards, now looking for the limo. Fact was, there were at least 50 of those 'black stretch limos' parked outside of Radio City Music Hall. It took us 30 minutes to find ours. Nevertheless, for once, and for one brief shinning moment, we had a few minutes of positive fame and fun. Riding in a limo to attend the Grammy Awards in New York City. Have not done it since. Probably never will again.

Rationale: Enjoy the moment. It generally comes once. Embrace it. Hug it. Remember it. No one else will.

"And Here's to you Mrs Robinson. Jesus loves you more then you will know."

And...now I know. Thanks to Paul Simon.

Cowboys Debunked ...


I must admit that I grew up in an age of Western heroes: John Wayne, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers. Sitting in my living room on the East Coast and watching these heroes was a good part of my youth. They would always ride off into the sunset with the prettiest woman, and the bad guys never got away with anything. They were iconic. Supermen in a world far beyond my bedroom.

I noticed the environment from John Ford on. Monument Valley and the Desert...long, vast, brown. As I matured I looked further into this geographic setting. After moving to Arizona 15 years ago, I found that there are four deserts out there:
The Mojave -- The California part (Joshua Trees)
The Great Basin -- Everything 'high' like Las Vegas north
The Sonoran -- Arizona into Mexico
The Chihuahuan -- Most of Western Texas

So, why did I see Saguaro cacti in all these movies, even if the location didn't appear to be Arizona? What I found is that aside from John Ford movies most filmed in Monument Valley, Arizona, the films were all made in the Mojave desert, close to Los Angeles. If the Director of the film needed a real Western flair with Saguaro's, they would just use them as props behind a scenery that was most certainly not Sonoran, but Mojave, where Saguaro do not grow. Joshua Trees do not grow in the Sonoran, to begin with. This was Palm Springs, not Tombstone.
No Dodge City here.

That, in turn, gave me thought as to what really was this 'cowboy' stuff all about.
If John Wayne said he was in Tucson or Tombstone, was he really there? Or was he just outside Palm Springs on a 'horse with no name'. Worse yet, on a soundstage in Burbank?

The final dagger came a few years after moving to Arizona: My childhood cowboy heroes, not only did not do many films in the Sonoran desert, they didn't even live there. It was all part of the American mystic. It was Hollywood reaching out to us.

John, Roy, and Gene all lived in Los Angeles. They lived in Newport Beach, California on the ocean. Ocean-front. How can you be a cowboy in Newport Beach?
"Where do I park this horse, pilgrim", John Wayne would often say.

And so, childhood dreams face the reality that Western cowboys, for the most part, are probably mythical characters made up in a writer's mind somewhere in Los Angeles.
Those that took it all at face-value, like me, will just have to suffer through the thought that my childhood heroes were never real, never really there, and never really rode off into the sunset. Unless there was a 'boulevard' attached!

Rather, they played the scene, completed it, and got in a limo to somewhere on Sunset Boulevard. And none of them, I can assure you, died with their boots on.

Most likely patent leather Gucci shoes.

Friday, January 29, 2010

"When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore”


Historically, I attempt to look at myself as a person of many talents. Some would say 'non talents'. Nevertheless, there has been one challenge that I seem never to be able to overcome. That is 'opening a pizza'.

Originally, I had a problem understanding what that term actually meant. So, I decided to find out and conquer the task. Quite simply, 'opening a pizza' means taking the raw pizza dough and getting it to fit into the pizza pan. Sounds easy.

When I first started I would simply roll the dough out with a rolling pin, and presto...I had a pizza. No drama. Lack of flair! No theatrics. Just a plain 'brown wrapper' pizza.

But you know, I went to New York and saw people throwing the dough in the air as they made circular hand motions. They'd toss that dough five feet in the air, and it would magically just roll and roll and roll until they had a perfectly round pizza. It was amazing.

I said to myself,'now that's the way to open a pizza!' Some expertise with lots of drama was needed. Family members and Customers would applaud! They would consider me an expert. They would recognize my talent. I would be famous. I'd have my own tv show. Forget this rolling pin tactic. There's no drama in that. No expertise required.

I was committed to the dramatic effect of throwing the pizza dough five feet in the air, and coming up with a perfectly round 16" pizza when I was done. Everytime. All the time!

As you might imagine this type of 'opening the pizza' takes skill...and time, and a few lost in space pizzas. The first few times I tried it (when no one was around), the dough hit the ceiling and it did not return. It looked somewhat lonesome hanging from the ceiling, bits and pieces dripping on my head. Then, the next few times I would throw it in the air, and catch it right in the middle of the dough. That didn't work very well either. My hand went right through the dough. I was making a pizza, not donuts!

Finally, I got the hang of it so to speak. I would now spin the dough from the circumference (the outside) and when I tossed it, I did not catch it in the middle. I moved off center by a few degrees. Now I also recognized that I need to use TWO hands in the toss, not one. That makes a big difference.

Today, I can spin the dough and open the pizza with the best of them. I can entertain. I can add drama. I have FLAIR! No more rolling pin (how gauche). I can even sing as I toss. I can toss with one hand or both. I'm the "king of pizza" in our house. There is no competition, no proposals, no conference calls, no politics. Just me and the pizza dough.

And the only thing that gets 'fired' is the brick oven. It's a breath of fresh air, when I take that dough and spin it to 'high heaven'.

“Yogi Berra ordered a pizza. The waitress asked How many pieces do you want your pie cut? Yogi responded, Four. I don't think I could eat eight.”

And my friends, That is 'amore'!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I Was Thinking About Retiring...



The word 'retirement' always seems to be so far off in the distance. I never thought about it until recently, when I read that this economic crisis would take five years to recover, or that my home wouldn't see 'black ink' for six years, or that my 401K wouldn't return to 'even' for three years.

I thought that if it takes five years for me to get back to full 'cash flow', I'd be too old to get back in the game. If the home takes six years to get back to even, why go through all the trouble of fixing the water leak or accomplish a kitchen 'redo'. So, the toilet overflows.

Thus, the thought of 'retirement' whatever that means in this 'day and age'. So, I looked at a few celebs who 'retired' and then 'unretired'. I decided that if Frank Sinatra could do it, why not me. So, see you in 2013 when things will hopefully be better, and I can 'unretire' to my 401K, and fix that toilet. The challenge would be what to do between the time I retire and unretire? I have some ideas. And I just might take some hints from the noted people below. I'm thinking about coming back from retirement as a:
Politician
Actor
Singer (crooner,pop, or country)
Prize fighter
Professional Basketball Star


The return of Teddy Roosevelt (1912)
After promising Americans that he would not run again after his second term, which ended in 1909, Roosevelt reemerged from retirement to challenge for the presidency in 1912. Running under the banner of the newly-formed Bull Moose party, Roosevelt placed second in the general election, behind Woodrow Wilson, but ahead of incumbent William Taft. It remains the best showing third-party presidential candidate in U.S. history.

Audrey Hepburn reverts to form (1976)
In 1968, just four years after earning a then-remarkable $1,000,000 for her iconic turn as Eliza Doolittle in "My Fair Lady," Hepburn retired from acting to raise a family. In the mid-70s, she announced a high-profile comeback, as Sean Connery's co-star in the acclaimed "Robin and Marian." Though she retired and "unretired" several more times prior to her death in 1993, none of the subsequent occasions drew as much attention.

Richard Nixon's renewed desire to get "kicked around" (1968)
After serving as VP under Eisenhower, Nixon ran unsuccessfully for president in 1960 and governor of California in 1962. Following the second loss, he retired from politics with the infamous remark, "You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore." But in early 1968, he announced another presidential bid — this one successful.

Frank Sinatra re-ups (1973)
Those disappointed with the Chairman of the Board's decision to call it quits in 1971 didn't have to wait long for his triumphant return—in 1973, Sinatra starred in a comeback television special that was so successful, the singer didn't bother retiring again until the 1990s.

Muhammad Ali, "the greatest" un-retirer (1979)
While still holding the heavyweight belt, 37-year old Ali announced the end of his boxing career in 1979. The next year he developed an itch to fight Larry Holmes (he lost), and in 1981 fought his last bout against a young Trevor Berbick (another loss).

Michael Jordan returns…again (2001)
At the height of his powers on the basketball court, Chicago Bull Michael Jordan announced in 1993 that he was dropping out to pursue a career in professional baseball. But after a mediocre year in the minor leagues, Jordan returned to the Bulls in 1995, leading the team to three more championships. Another retirement followed, as did another 2001 comeback bid — Jordan tried and failed to revive the struggling Washington Wizards at the age of 38.

Barbra Streisand prevaricates (2006)
In 1994, Barbra Streisand said she'd stop touring altogether. Her final, "farewell" concert came in 2000 when she said she was done for good. Yet, in 2006, Streisand embarked on a comeback tour, calling it an effort to raise money for her foundation. Even after the tour ended, Streisand stuck around and has since released her 63rd album which topped British Billboard charts earlier this year.

Garth Brooks gets back into his boots (2009)
After announcing his retirement in 2000, Garth Brooks did stop touring, but has remained a face of country music and a force in merchandising sales. This week he begins a much-hyped series of shows in Las Vegas which led him to profess: "If we ever do tour again, if we ever do make new music again, it's still going to be another five years."

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Southwest Air: A Class Act Event


Now generally, I'm not complimentary of corporate America. They take too much, and give too little. However, Southwest Air was an exception.

Last year, I sent my mother a 'free ticket' (Rapid Rewards) from SWA to visit us in Arizona. She was to fly from Philadelphia to Phoenix non-stop. She arrived at the airport about two hours ahead of time, settled into a wheel-chair and was taken to the departure gate.

My mom doesn't fly often. She's 86. She doesn't need a wheel-chair, but prefers someone take her to the departure gate. Oh, and without her hearing aids she can't hear a thing.

The problem on arriving that early to your departure gate is that there is generally an airplane sitting there. But it's not your flight. Nevertheless, she gets to the gate, and they roll her wheelchair onto the flight that was there. She takes her seat. Normal announcements come on as to where the flight is going, but she can't hear them.

Then Off she goes into the wild blue yonder, sitting there...smiling. Not to Phoenix...but to Tampa! She's never been to Florida. She didn't know about the mixup until 30 minutes into the flight. Not exactly the 'non-stop' we had anticipated, but a 'non-stop' nevertheless. In the wrong direction, to the wrong place!

Obviously, SWA recognized this mistake early on, but there are no parachutes here...just a ride to Tampa. During the course of that flight, my office phone must have rung a dozen times, with updates from the group at SWA.

Subsequently, SWA puts her up in a Marriott hotel, and personally takes her to WalMart for clothing, toothpaste, etc. She gets the run of the menu at the Marriott as well. She phones me and says, "I'd like to stay a little longer here".

Even better, SWA gives her $400. in vouchers for free, and we didn't even pay for the trip to begin with. Nor did we request compensation.

So...here's a compliment to Southwest and their staff. Instead of a potentially nasty situation, they addressed it early-on. No argument, no fanfare...just a pro-active, professional response to an incident that any other airline would have done little about, let alone offer her $400. in free tickets.

Thanks to Southwest Air for being corporately responsible...and responsive without me having to ask. It would have been nice for my mom to stay in Tampa for awhile longer. But no. She's here in Arizona dreaming of the Tampa Marriott.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

WHATDA? Humans That Warm Your Hotel Bed


USA Today:
As England endures an unusually harsh winter, Holiday Inn has cooked up an intriguing way to keep customers comfortable: human bedwarmers.

As a complementary service, select hotel locations will send a staffer dressed in a body-length fleece suit to roll around in your sheets for five minutes.

As hotel spokesperson Jane Bednall tells Sky News, it's like "having a giant hot water bottle in your bed." Agreed, but will watching a stranger writhe about in your bed actually help anyone get a good night's sleep?

The first question I have is "Am I in the room at the time?"
The second question is "What does the human bedwarmer look like?"
And... "Is it male or female"?
Do I need to order dinner?
Can I request a specific person?
Do I still get the chocolate on my pillow?

And whatever happened to the bedwarmer you just plug into the electrical outlet?

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Strange "News" is Out There...

Over the past week, I've found some 'strange news' that is either controversial, silly, or just wrong. I'm sure there is more, but I guess time is better spent on better things. Here's some 'happenings':

1)Controversy raging over Don Lewis' plans to launch all-white basketball league.The promoter claims the NBA has devolved into "street ball"

2) New research finds women out-learning — and out-earning — their husbands. Bring on the 'male gold diggers'?

3) Roll out the (grimy) red carpet: Based on clean rankings by travelers @ TripAdvisor San Francisco's Heritage Marina Hotel crowned as the dirtiest in US

4)Divorce in a recession: Nobody wants the house!

5) Who owns Wall St? A drop in financial shares pounded the stock market after President Obama proposed greater restrictions on big banks. Dow -213!

6) United Nations officials in Haiti and other observers say the foreign media is sensationalizing the earthquake aftermath to boost ratings

7) Director James Cameron is facing multiple charges that he "plagiarized" the plot of his blockbuster "Avatar."

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

That $250. Fed Stimulus check?



Just in Case You are a Senior and Get a Check for $250...
By end of this year, you senior members of the US community will again receive an Economic Stimulus payment. This is a very exciting program.

I'll explain it using the Q and A format:

Q. What is an Economic Stimulus payment?
A. It is money that the federal government will send to taxpayers.
Q. Where will the government get this money?
A. From taxpayers..
Q. So the government is giving me back my own money?
A. Only a smidgen.
Q. What is the purpose of this payment?
A. The plan is for you to use the money to purchase a high-definition TV set, thus stimulating the economy.
Q. But isn't that stimulating the economy of Asia ?
A. Shut up or you don't get your check.


Below is some helpful advice on how to best help the US economy by spending your stimulus check wisely:

1. If you spend the stimulus money at Wal-Mart, your money will go to China .
2. If you spend it on gasoline, your money will go to Saudi Arabia .
3. If you purchase a computer, it will go to India .
4. If you purchase fruit and vegetables, it will go to Mexico, Honduras or Guatemala .
5. If you buy a car, it will go to Japan or Korea .
6. If you purchase useless plastic stuff, it will go to Taiwan .
7. If you pay off your credit cards, or buy stock, it will go to pay management bonuses and be hidden in offshore accounts.

Or, you can keep the money in America by:
1. spending it at yard sales or flea markets, or
2. going to baseball or football games, or
3. hiring prostitutes, or
4. buying cheap beer or
5. getting tattoos.
These are the only wholly-American- owned businesses still operating in the US .


Conclusion:
The best way to stimulate the economy is to go to a ball game with a prostitute that you met at a yard sale and drink beer all day until you're drunk enough to go get tattooed.

Friday, January 8, 2010

New Client: Chequed.com (SaaS)


We have recently taken on a new project in developing markets for Predictive Analytic Software (SaaS). Chequed, based in New York, is at the forefront of this 'software as a service' technology. www.chequed.com

The Market: The market for HR assessment market is estimated to be over $1 billion in annual revenues and is experiencing a 15% year-over-year growth. Today, 70% of companies – large and small – use some assessments to improve hiring and performance of their team. Not until today has there been a solution – the Chequed solution – that combines a world-class behavioral assessment with the power of technology-based competency reference checking supported by intellectual property that is unmatched and created by a leading University.
In addition, interest in finding technologies to streamline, improve and make more effective hiring processes is strong as companies recognize the cost of making a poor hiring decisions – estimated to be 2 to 5 time salary and benefits – or $12,000 to well over $100,000. That cost on a reoccurring basis will put a company out of business for sure.

RCI GLOBAL PARTNERS LLC SELECTED AS AUTHORIZED DEALER FOR CHEQUED.COM

Scottsdale, Arizona and Saratoga Springs, NY – 5 January 2010 – Chequed.com announced the selection of RCI Global Partners LLC today as an Authorized Dealer for the company’s web based behavioral assessment and automated reference checking technology. As an Authorized Dealer for Chequed.com, RCI Global Partners will be delivering Chequed’s Predictive Employee Performance™ web based technology to the Central and Western US markets.

“Our dealer program is a critical component to accelerate Chequed.com into the market. We are very serious about the type of dealers selected into our program and have total confidence that RCI Global Partners will be a terrific addition,” said Greg Moran, President of Chequed.com, Inc.

“As a company that has been in business for 10 years with over 30 client engagements, we rely heavily on new, emerging, cutting-edge technologies to empower our clients to do more… intelligently. We believe that Chequed.com meets that criteria”, stated Robert Carsia, Partner with RCI Global Partners LLC.

About Chequed.com
Founded in 2008 by some of the foremost experts in employee selection and development, Chequed is an emerging leader in the rapidly growing market for Predictive Employee Performance™ technology. Specifically Chequed delivers a software as a service (SaaS) technology used for behavioral assessment and automated reference checking. Chequed’s revolutionary Performance EngineTM delivers rapid, accurate predictions of a new hire’s performance.
Chequed has commercialized innovative research developed in partnership with The Research Foundation of The State University of New York and The University at Albany’s world-class Department of Psychology. Complementing these research innovations is the software’s practical, real-world emphasis. Chequed’s experienced management team, board of directors and advisory committee have helped hundreds of startups and growing companies hire talent that made them industry leaders. Their extensive expertise has fortified the Chequed software to meet the day-to-day challenges of human resource managers facing competitive markets for human capital. Further information can be found at www.chequed.com.
About RCI Global Partners LLC
With Over 10 years experience in helping build 'top line' revenues and pipelines, RCI Global Partners has created the market strategy and tactically developed the business/partners, alliances, and customers for over 30 clients, within an outsourced marketing and sales firm.
RCI Global covers multiple vertical markets and geographies, from technology to 'brick and mortar'. The work includes clients in software, computer hardware, retail, digital media, satellite telecommunications, e-commerce, entertainment and sports.
Clients have included Lockheed, GE, Marconi, Digital Equipment Corp, Disney, Globecomm, EMS Technologies…among others.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Goodbye $5.00 Coffee...and Hello....


Goodbye $5 coffee.So long, gourmet supermarket food, $3,000 handbags and McMansions. Adios, expensive shows and gambling tables in Las Vegas. Downsizing Starbucks, Whole Foods, Big-time Las Vegas Hotels, and Toll Brothers home builders.

Hello to the new frugality. Dinner at McDonalds (and coffee too). The new American reality, that seems to have some 'legs' to it. Job losses, job cuts, hours gone, upside down housing, cars that are way too expensive, electric bills that are out of sight, and the new reality of it all: we are going to definitely pay higher taxes just to keep government running. In Phoenix a tax on ALL food items, for example.

Checked your mortgage payment notice lately? How about that escrow account. Up at least $5.00 per month. Cable TV? Up at least $5.00 per month. Electric? Up at least $5.00 per month. That cheap chicken at .99cents per pound? Gone! Credit card interest rates? And they 'sneak it in on you'. Just add it to your bill. You get the picture.

Just these few additions add up to probably about $60.00+ per month on things you already use.

And don't bet the ranch on stocks either from Starbucks, MGM, Whole Foods, or Toll Brothers. Those stocks are about at their peak. In the $20. range, and will stay that way for a long time to come.

The fact is that everyone is squeezing the consumer, when the consumer can't be squeezed any longer. Something has got to give, if it already hasn't.

Personally, the only 'bill' I have is the house mortgage, and that is difficult to take, since the home is worth less then the mortgage. If I could rid myself of the home, and buy a Class "A" RV, I could forgo all of this. I could cancel all my credit cards, move away from social networking, and finding new clients and opportunities, and just drive off into the sunset. Nay. I'd have to pay for overpriced gasoline, overpriced repairs and overpriced insurance. And I would be forced to visit my mother-in-law.

Have a good one!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Nigerian Bomber repurposed...

I suppose you've all heard about the Slovak airline passenger yesterday:
A failed airport security test ended up with a Slovak man unwittingly carrying hidden explosives in his luggage on a flight to Dublin. It was a test of sniffer dogs, that obviously failed. Irish police arrested the passenger briefly, but it was a political fiasco for the Slovaks.

Then there's the Nigerian 'bomber' who attempted to bring down a Northwest airplane headed for Detroit. He started out by attempting to detonate the explosive in his crotch! Now, that is dedication! I think the 'shoe bomber' was more intelligent. He got life in prison, and only walks with a limp. The Nigerian?

Now, I actually like people from Nigeria. The people I've met are generally smart and accommodating. Nigerians for the most part, have no real racial prejudice. After being there a number of times, I find them warm and friendly in the true West African sense. They don't really see that 'black and white' thing, as we do here in the US. Now I know that a lot of scams come out of Nigeria. It's generally a pretty poor place when compared to other geographies.

I recall that Six Flags theme parks signed a contract to build a theme park in that country. Best of luck to that investment group.

The fact is, in my dealings in Nigeria, nothing ever got finalized. Investors would pour money into a project, move it along...and then just 'crap out'. Millions of dollars gone. I still don't know why.

I had dinner with a Nigerian chief a few years ago in Kaduna, Nigeria. He was one of the most pleasant, unassuming 'chiefs' I have ever met. We sat on the floor of his home for dinner and just talked about his projects, his hopes, his aspirations for him and his family. And guess what? He had the same aspirations and dreams as we all do! Funny. We sat on the floor that night, and ate food with our hands. Chicken, sweet potatoes, and some stuff I didn't recognize. But there it was. An Italian guy from Philadelphia having dinner with a Tribal Chief from Nigeria, with the same aspirations. The same hope and the same dream.

He came to New York the following year in the snow, dressed in traditional Nigerian garb. I held his hand as we walked through the snow on Long Island to dinner, so he wouldn't fall on the ice. He wanted to make a 'snow angel'. I showed him how. He laughed.

In all of this, there has got to be a rationale for 'why' a young, good-looking Nigerian kid, would attempt to blow up an intercontinental flight with explosives placed in his crotch! Something's wrong here. Are we actually part of the problem, or more realistically and altruistically, part and parcel of the solution? For all of our global good, I hope and trust the latter, although I am sure, I will have my detractors.
I don't get it. Do you?

Thomas Gets Tanked...


I can't state emphatically that I watch "Thomas The Tank Engine" on a regular basis. However, I do have my days. I also never thought of Thomas as conformist or sexist. After all, Thomas is a train engine. Nevertheless, only about 18% of the characters presumably are female, and only one is the head of something.

A Canadian professor has been flooded with angry e-mails from parents after publishing a study saying that the popular children's TV show featuring Thomas the Tank Engine teaches children to be conformist -- and sexist. University of Alberta political scientist Shauna Wilton says she recognizes that Thomas—who works on the railway on the fictional island of Sodor—also stresses positive themes, such as trust, honesty, and hard work, but she notes that only eight of the 49 main characters in the current Thomas shows are female. Only one, Emily, is among the core team of steam engines—and she didn't show up until the TV series' seventh season. Is Thomas the Tank Engine sexist?

On a real railroad, the majority of workers are male anyway. I checked with the Southern Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads on this topic. Less then 10% of their workers are female that actually work on the trains. Thomas, on the other hand, has around 18% who are female. You go Thomas!

In the original Railway Series, Thomas is generally depicted with a cheeky and even self-important personality. He believes that he should be more respected by the others, and he gets annoyed when he does not receive this respect. Well, I can surely identify with that, and have no disagreement.

Thomas strikes me as a loner frankly. A myopic sense of 'right and wrong', and if he gets laid off from the job, there's not much else he can do with the expertise. After all, he's a train engine. Life would certainly be lonely.

"I'm afraid that sometimes you'll play lonely games too. Games you can't win 'cause you'll play against you."

So, let's put it all in perspective when raising critical statements about issues that have no resolution. Let's not play games by ourselves. Second guessing our abilities. We'd lose every time.

"So be sure when you step, step with care and great tact and remember that life is a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left."

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The TSA Incompetence Rule...


Though the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) quickly devised more strenuous airport security procedures after the failed terrorist attack on Flight 253,the memo outlining its changes was leaked to two travel bloggers who published it.

Soon after Steven Frischling and Chris Elliott published the memo on their respective websites, TSA officials went to the bloggers' houses, issued them subpoenas, and attempted to confiscate their computers to track the leak back to its source.

Late last week, however, the TSA withdrew both subpoenas, saying that legal action was "no longer necessary".

The TSA's actions are a 'disgrace': Bullying bloggers with threats of imprisonment for informing the public about something we "should have been told [about] immediately" is "asinine and offensive," says Henry Blodget at The Business Insider. Before the TSA engaged in this "bizarre behavior," its claims that it had no clear forewarning of the attack seemed credible. Now, however, it seems that "the cause of this near-tragedy" was more likely "incompetence."

Some Thinkers