The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy: The Beauty of Modern Airline Travel

I am a stand- up comic and I love what I do for a living but I hate traveling to get there. I do between 125 and 150 road dates a year. Fortunately for me I can drive to a lot of my gigs and I would rather be at the mercy of the potholed, drunk driver infested, revenue enhancing state police filled interstate highway system than under the thumb of our crack security force the TSA.

Isn’t it nice that after 9/11 the government, under a supposed small government conservative president, decided to take over a large portion of the airlines business and provide security at all airports? I don’t know why they stopped there. Aren’t Major League Baseball games potential terrorist? Why doesn’t the TSA provide security for MLB and its patrons? In Israel terrorist often target restaurants and shopping centers so why isn’t Homeland Security saving the businesses at the mall a few bucks and having the TSA chase the skateboarders out of the food court.

I have never like the term “Homeland Security Agency” it has a strange ring that falls somewhere between “brown shirts” and “big brother” for me. The TSA was founded under the premise that the security of the nation was too important to trust to minimum wage, undereducated folks in bad blue blazers. It was time to have our security in the hands of unionized, $14 an hour professionals. Alright, it’s the same people but now they have nice uniforms and now we are paying their heath care and retirement. I don’t know about you but I feel much more secure.

If you are of a certain age you can remember when flying was a little nicer than it is today. There was a time, my children, when people didn’t front up to the airport in an Under Armour t-shirt and matching boxer shorts and nothing else. There was also a time when the airline companies had, and I hate to use this word, standards! Before every third person in America was a tort attorney companies had policies which they enforced. That meant your “companion cat” went into baggage and if you didn’t like it they would call Greyhound for you. Now, Miss “My cat is more than a pet and it has rights” will sue the pants off of anyone who wants to try to stop her from taking her cat everywhere she goes. Maybe that’s what happened to Mr. Under Armour?

There was a time when if you were taking a forty minute flight from St. Louis to Chicago you could get to the airport thirty minutes early and be in the Windy City two hours after you left your home. Now you have to be at the airport two hours before the flight and if you are not on the plane 15 minutes before scheduled departure time you can be denied boarding. Your 11:00 A.M. flight is really a 10:45 flight so make yourself comfortable next to Mr. “I was partying pretty heavy last night and didn’t shower or brush my teeth this morning,” for an extra quarter of an hour.

Right now Janet Napolitano or one of her toadies is probably adding my name to the “do not fly list” for doubting the need for the agency she heads up and talking trash about the TSA. I may be driving a lot more next month.

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