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What Are My Rights At The TSA Checkpoint?

Professional Troublemaker

tsacheckpointGoing through airport security manned by the TSA is an unpleasant at best, panic-inducing at worst experience, and it definitely helps to know what to expect and what you can do to ensure that you are harassed as little as possible.  The TSA is absolutely horrible at informing travelers as to the procedures they will face (often times declaring that they are “sensitive security information” and therefore cannot be published) and those working the checkpoints often misrepresent the rights and responsibilities of travelers (sometimes to be intentionally difficult, but generally because they were poorly trained).

So, here’s what every traveler should know before they collect their boarding pass at a U.S. airport:

  1. You have the right to opt-out of the body scanners and request a pat-down.  Unless your boarding pass indicates that you are subject to heightened security, which will be denoted by four S’s in big bold letters, you…

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Detained, Removed From Airplane By Feds @ LAX

Professional Troublemaker

In the history of my advocacy, I’ve been kicked out of airportsthreetimes (for refusing to allow the TSA to “touch my junk”).  I’ve had airport police called at least a couple times. But having the feds come down the jetway just for me?  That was a new experience I had last Wednesday at Los Angeles International Airport.

Grumpy Cat with SSI An artist’s rendition of the TSM upon finding my documents

I went through the security line as usual, opting out of the nude body scanners, but one of my bags was flagged for extra screening.  Upon opening it, they were shocked to find… TSA documents, bound into several books, labeled “Sensitive Security Information” (“SSI”).  “These are our documents,” a sassy Supervisory Transportation Security Officer exclaimed at me before fetching the highest-ranking traveler molester TSA staff member at the checkpoint, a suited Transportation Security Manager (“TSM”) who wanted to know how I got those documents and why I…

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poems, Uncategorized

Dr. Seuss for Cops

Dr. Seuss for cops:

You shall not kill the people’s dogs

You shall not kill them like they’re hogs

You shall not kill them with a gun

You shall not kill them one by one.

You shall not kill them on patrol

You shall not kill them in their homes

You shall not kill them when they roam.

 

You shall not kill them, do you hear?

Or should we grab you by the ear

And drag you squalling down the hall

And make you watch them as they fall?

We’ll make you watch the children cry

As they scream in horror while it dies.

 

We’ll make you listen all the time

To the ruined lives you leave behind

We’ll make you watch their agony

And loop their screams endlessly

We’ll make them echo in your head

All day, all night when you’re in bed

Until you learn your lesson well

You shall not put citizens through hell.

 

Do you hear us, coward cops?

Do you know the screaming never stops?

The parents hear it every night

As the children struggle with their plight

Your selfish actions ruin lives

Sorrow and fury all that survives

Obey the law, uphold your oath

Courage and compassion, you need both.

 

Stop killing dogs! Stop, we say

You shall not kill them every day

You shall not kill them out of fright

You shall not kill them every night

You shall not kill the people’s pets

You shall not silence us with your threats.

 

You shall not kill the people’s dogs

You shall not kill them like they’re hogs

You shall not kill them with a gun

You shall not kill them one by one.

You shall not kill them on patrol

You shall not kill them in their homes

You shall not kill them when they roam.

Written by Jean Strong

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Cool Stuff, poems

The Cremation of Sam McGee

The Cremation of Sam McGee

BY ROBERT W. SERVICE
There are strange things done in the midnight sun
      By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
      That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
      But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
      I cremated Sam McGee.
Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows.
Why he left his home in the South to roam ’round the Pole, God only knows.
He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell;
Though he’d often say in his homely way that “he’d sooner live in hell.”
On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.
Talk of your cold! through the parka’s fold it stabbed like a driven nail.
If our eyes we’d close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn’t see;
It wasn’t much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.
And that very night, as we lay packed tight in our robes beneath the snow,
And the dogs were fed, and the stars o’erhead were dancing heel and toe,
He turned to me, and “Cap,” says he, “I’ll cash in this trip, I guess;
And if I do, I’m asking that you won’t refuse my last request.”
Well, he seemed so low that I couldn’t say no; then he says with a sort of moan:
“It’s the cursèd cold, and it’s got right hold till I’m chilled clean through to the bone.
Yet ’tain’t being dead—it’s my awful dread of the icy grave that pains;
So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you’ll cremate my last remains.”
A pal’s last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail;
And we started on at the streak of dawn; but God! he looked ghastly pale.
He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee;
And before nightfall a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee.
There wasn’t a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror-driven,
With a corpse half hid that I couldn’t get rid, because of a promise given;
It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say: “You may tax your brawn and brains,
But you promised true, and it’s up to you to cremate those last remains.”
Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code.
In the days to come, though my lips were dumb, in my heart how I cursed that load.
In the long, long night, by the lone firelight, while the huskies, round in a ring,
Howled out their woes to the homeless snows— O God! how I loathed the thing.
And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow;
And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub was getting low;
The trail was bad, and I felt half mad, but I swore I would not give in;
And I’d often sing to the hateful thing, and it hearkened with a grin.
Till I came to the marge of Lake Lebarge, and a derelict there lay;
It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the “Alice May.”
And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I looked at my frozen chum;
Then “Here,” said I, with a sudden cry, “is my cre-ma-tor-eum.”
Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler fire;
Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher;
The flames just soared, and the furnace roared—such a blaze you seldom see;
And I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee.
Then I made a hike, for I didn’t like to hear him sizzle so;
And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled, and the wind began to blow.
It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled down my cheeks, and I don’t know why;
And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down the sky.
I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear;
But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near;
I was sick with dread, but I bravely said: “I’ll just take a peep inside.
I guess he’s cooked, and it’s time I looked”; … then the door I opened wide.
And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar;
And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and he said: “Please close that door.
It’s fine in here, but I greatly fear you’ll let in the cold and storm—
Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it’s the first time I’ve been warm.”
There are strange things done in the midnight sun
      By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
      That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
      But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
      I cremated Sam McGee.
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Murdered Dogs: Among the Consequences of False Reports to the Police

Falsely Accused

surveillance-video On July 30, Kansas City’s finest invaded Brandee Buschmann’s property unannounced and fatally shot her dog, Sierra, while Sierra tried to reach the safety of her house. According to Ms. Buschmann, the report that “authorized” the trespass (at close to midnight) was false. One minute she was watching TV in the security of her living room; the next, cradling her dying companion.

I signed a petition recently in support of Brandee Buschmann, a 43-year-old mother of two, whose dog, Sierra, was shot by the Kansas City police when she ran out to see who was in her yard at 11:30 at night. When Sierra was fired upon, she tried to run back inside to the safety of her family and was gunned down. Ms. Buschmann had shrieked, “Don’t shoot, don’t shoot!” One of the officers sarcastically answered, “Too late.” Then they asked if she…

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