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Enough About Pollution Regulations; Here's a Riff on Amy Winehouse

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Johnson might explain the decision-making rationale by simply paraphrasing Winehouse's hit song about people trying to force her into rehab: "They tried to make me grant a waiver, I said no, no, no."

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TSA's Happy Talk Turns Ugly

Speaking of government blogs -- it appears that most, such as Peacock's, are "moderated." That's a government euphemism for "censored." So they tend to be lame and borderline agency propaganda.

That's how the blog for the Department of Homeland Security's Transportation Security Administration started out on Wednesday. It was mostly happy talk and praise from screeners and officials about how the blog will be very useful.

The five-member team of bloggers introduced themselves. Here's one: "Hi! My name is Ethel and I'm from Wisconsin. I like music, I love ice cream, and I adore weird facts: Did you know that elephants can smell water from as far away as three miles?"

But then the tone changed. By early yesterday morning, with hundreds of comments submitted, things started to get ugly, reflecting the traveling public's fury over rules on shoes and liquids, delays, abusive screeners, and so on.

Such words as "scum" started creeping in. And there were questions about what TSA personnel do with that wine and liquor they confiscate.

"Frankly we've been overwhelmed with the number of responses we've received," a post from the blog czars acknowledged on the site yesterday. "More than 700 comments have been received and comments are still pouring in" including "stream of consciousness diatribes."

A notice popped up on the "welcome" page shortly after 2 p.m., saying, "New comments have been disabled for this post by a blog administrator."

Many people talked about how useless and absurd the TSA is. Airport screeners pleaded for understanding. "We're human too," said one.

One fine entry, by "Anonymous," said: "I appreciate the work that TSA is doing -- helping to prevent another 9/11 incident. However, somehow I've been added to their [secondary screening] list and I find it rather insulting."

"Anonymous" explained that he is "an Air Force pilot (C-5) who flies troops and cargo into the combat zone each month." He said that some of his "missions include pre-positioning and de-positioning the President's motorcade and Secret Service personnel" during President Bush's trips, and that he has a "Secret security clearance."

"So, if our nation and government can trust me to carry the President's vehicles, fly monthly into hostile territories and keep classified information to myself . . . do you think I can STOP getting secondary screening. Please remove me from your list." Sure. After you remove your shoes, all metal, liquids, computers . . .


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