Tag Archives: Economic Decline

Congressman: Secret Report On TSA Pat Downs, Body Scanner Failures Will “Knock Your Socks Off

Congressman: Secret Report On TSA Pat Downs, Body Scanner Failures Will “Knock Your Socks Off

Steve Watson


“Off the charts”
failure rate “sort of like the record of the Marx Brothers”

The chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which oversees the TSA, has asserted that the release of a classified report on TSA security failures will renew calls for the replacement of the agency with private airport security personnel.

The failure rate (for body scanning equipment) is classified but it would absolutely knock your socks off,” Florida Republican, Rep. John L. Mica told reporters during a briefing Monday.

Mica also asserted that recorded instances of pat downs failing to detect contraband are “off the charts.” This information is also currently still classified, but is due to be released within weeks as part of an upcoming committee report on the TSA’s first decade.

Mica suggested that the TSA’s performance report would read “sort of like the record of the Marx Brothers”.

The TSA has withheld results of its official security tests, despite repeated requests to release the information under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Department of Homeland Security has classified the results of the most recent random, covert “red team tests,” where undercover agents try to see what they can get past airport security. The reason they have done so, according to MIca, is because the results have been so shockingly and consistently bad for the past nine years.

Mica further slammed the TSA Monday, ripping into the agency’s latest experimental security “chat down” procedure.

The chairman referred to the pilot program of “behaviour detection” being tested at Boston Logan airport as an “idiotic mess”.

Describing the program as a poor man’s version of Israeli interrogation security techniques, Mica noted that that the pilot is merely an extension of an already existing program that the Government Accountability Office concluded had little scientific credibility and had cost “a quarter billion” in hiring additional TSA officers.

“This is no joke,” Mica told reporters at the briefing, adding that he had personally visited Logan airport and witnessed first hand the failures of the program.

“I put my ear up and listened to some idiotic questions,” Mica said of the “chat down” procedure, also noting that TSA officers expressed a lack of understanding of the program they had supposedly been trained to engage in.

“I talked to them about their training, which was minimal,” Mica said, adding “It’s almost idiotic… It’s still not a risk-based system. It’s not a thinking system.”

The program is set to be beta tested in Detroit next, before being rolled out nationwide.

Mica repeatedly argued that the TSA’s role at airports could be undertaken in a more efficient and less costly manner by private companies, albeit ultimately still under the supervision of the federal government.

Back in March, the Congressman charged that the TSA intentionally fixed data to ensure that federal workers were employed to screen airport passengers, rather than private contractors.

“TSA cooked the books to try to eliminate the federal-private screening program,” said Mica at the time.

The Congressman was referring to revelations from federal auditors that cost differentials between federal employees and private contractors were overstated by the TSA.

Though the agency contends it was an “error”, The TSA made it appear that it was more cost effective for airports to use federal government workers for security “by increasing the costs for private-contractor screeners relative to federal screeners,” government auditors wrote.

The 2001 Aviation Transportation Security Act, which created the TSA, contained an option written in by Congress allowing airports to choose between using TSA workers and private screeners. It is known as the Security Partnership Program (SPP).

Currently, sixteen airports throughout the country use private contractors under the SPP, however, the TSA has since actively prevented other airports from joining the program, as more and more express an interest in dropping the federal workforce in wake of an epidemic of TSA scandals and failures.

Mica, who helped create the TSA after 9/11, has repeatedly stated that he believes the agency is now completely out of control and believes it should be radically reformed.

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Extreme Couponing: Desperate Economic Times Call For Desperate Measures

Extreme Couponing: Desperate Economic Times Call For Desperate Measures

Even in the midst of a horrific economic decline, there are tools that all of us can use to make the most of our limited resources. This includes doing some things that many of us never imagined that we would do. A couple of months ago I never would have imagined that I would be doing an article on coupons. But in these desperate economic times you have to look for any economic edge that you can get. Did you know that it is possible to get $500 worth of groceries for less than 10 dollars? I didn’t know that either until I started watching a show called “Extreme Couponing” on cable television. I was amazed as I watched person after person get over 95 percent off on their groceries. Personally, I have always thought that clipping coupons was a waste of time. Sure, you might save a few bucks, but I really didn’t think it was worth the time or the effort. Well, my opinion has changed. There are a growing number of people out there that are using coupons to provide all of the groceries that their families need almost for free. In an economic environment where incomes are going down but food prices continue to go up, “extreme couponing” is a financial weapon that virtually anyone can use.

Yes, not everyone can take it to the extent that many of these “extreme couponers” do. There are some women that spend 40, 50 or even 60 hours a week on their couponing. Most people cannot afford to do that.

But even if you just spend a couple of hours a week you can still save significant money. At a time when many family budgets are tighter than ever, saving 50 or 100 bucks at the grocery store can mean a world of difference.

Not only that, but “extreme couponing” is a great way to build up your stockpile of emergency food. Everyone should have enough food in their homes to feed their families for at least a year. Unfortunately, many people don’t have that kind of money. That is where “extreme couponing” comes in.

If you are willing to put a little hard work in, you can build a stockpile of emergency food for pennies on the dollar.

Extreme couponing is not complicated and thanks to the new TLC show it is becoming extremely popular. The following is how a recent article on MSNBC describes these “extreme couponers“….

Hard-core couponers are in it to win it — for free, if at all humanly possible. They plot their grocery-store trips with the precision of military commanders. They load up three or four shopping carts at a time. They test the mettle — and the congeniality — of cashiers by having them tally dozens of discounts on their behalf.

And what do they get in exchange? Hundreds of dollars’ worth of merchandise for as little as $5 to $10, the applause of onlookers — and a surge of adrenaline that can be downright addicting.

If you have never seen the show, you should check it out at least once. The following is a very brief preview of “Extreme Couponing”….

Yes, people are actually doing this. In fact, some of my readers are actually doing this.

On a recent article entitled “Inflation 2011: Honey – They Shrunk Our PayChecks” one of my regular readers named Maria shared that her and her circle of friends have adopted extreme couponing as a way to fight back against the bad economy….

In the last six months, I have seen a complete attitude adjustment in many of our friends and family. As a result, a resource sharing group has formed amongst us. We share work, ideas and tips on everything from budgeting to gardening. All of us have curtailed the “luxuries” like gym memberships, expensive clothing, latte’s and mochas from those expensive little stops on the way to work, dining at restaurants, first run movies at the theater, and a myriad of other little things.

Our latest discovery is the world of couponing. Anyone interested in dramatically cutting their household and grocery expenses should take a serious look at TheKrazyCouponLady.com and read their book, Pick Another Checkout Lane, Honey. I never understood how couponing could make a difference until I read this book. Our group now looks at coupons almost as a tax free source of income, because it is saving us hundreds of dollars a month…no exaggeration.

I admit, I am not as diligent as the others about using coupons, but even with my minimal efforts I saved 60% on my meat purchases last month. That was huge for my family of 6. Our home is out in the country near a rural community, and the only grocery store in town is Safeway. I never shopped there before, because it was too expensive. I drove into the big city once every three months to do our grocery shopping at the “discount” stores. Now, using coupons on sale items, I can shop at the local Safeway and save more money on food and gas.

Sadly, this extreme couponing phenomenon will not be around forever. As thousands more pile on to the bandwagon, it is inevitable that food producers and retailers will start changing the rules. So take advantage of extreme couponing while you can.

Look, I never imagined that I would be recommending that people should start clipping coupons. But when any of us are presented with solid evidence that we are wrong about something, we need to be willing to change.

Personally, I am not an expert on coupons.

Thankfully, there are some people out there that are, and they have shared their knowledge for free on the Internet. The following are some of the best extreme couponing sites around if you are interested in learning more….

*The Krazy Coupon Lady

*Tips From a Mom of 3

*Coupon Geek

*Saving with Shellie

*Couponing 101

*Jill Cataldo

*My Frugal Adventures

*How To Shop For Free With Kathy Spencer

*Clippin\' With Carrie

*Money Saving Mom

People are always urging me to write more about solutions. Well, extreme couponing is a solution. A lot of us men might not like the idea of “extreme couponing” because it may not seem like a very “manly” thing to do, but the truth is that it works. In these desperate economic times, you have got to do what you have got to do. Today, one out of every four American children is on food stamps. An increasing number of children are falling into poverty. If it takes clipping coupons in order to survive, then that is just what we are going to have to do.

As mentioned above, all of this exposure on television is going to mean that “extreme couponing” is not going to be around forever. When too many people start jumping on a boat it is inevitable that it is going to sink.

But while this tool still exists, why not use it?

In particular, this is a great way to build up your emergency food stockpile for a fraction of the cost.

So what do all of you think about extreme couponing? Do you think it is a good tool? Do you have other tools that you would suggest for saving money in this tough economy? Feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts below….

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