Coming Soon to an Airport Near You: Prison-style Strip Searches?

November 15, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

You’ve heard about the passenger who opted out of a full-body scan (a.k.a. “a virtual strip search”) and was subjected to an intrusive and humiliating pat down. “If you touch my junk, I’ll have you arrested,” passenger John Tyner told Transportation Security Administration workers in San Diego.

Well, rest easy, John—and other passengers offended by both full-body scans and hands-on searches.

TSA won’t touch your junk—or your breasts or buttocks. If they begin to strip search passengers as if they’re prison inmates, they’ll do just what correctional officers do: They’ll make you do all the nasty work.

What follows is an excerpt from a training video for prison guards on how to make sure that inmates aren’t hiding contraband.

The video makes for extremely uncomfortable watching and viewer discretion—and outrage—is advised. After all, this may well be the next step in how the TSA, one of the least effective and efficient government agencies of all time, goes about its daily business.

Approximately 2.43 minutes.

Written and produced by Ted Balaker and Nick Gillespie.

Visit for HD, iPod, and audio versions of this and all our videos and subscribe to’s YouTube channel to receive automatic notification when new content is posted.

Big Government

Bad Timing for Comic Strip

November 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Via Geekosystem:  Garfield Creator Apologizes for “National Stupid Day” Comic Published on Veterans Day.

An innocent mistake, I’m sure.  However, it is a rather unfortunate one, given the date:

Outside the Beltway

TSA: Naked Strip Searches Or Naked Full Body Radiation And Humiliation?

November 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

So, the politically correct solution to terrorism by Middle Eastern radical Muslim men is to invade the private lives of children, mothers, babies, old men and women, pilots, and other average Americans? Can we agree that there is a point beyond which the terrorists implicitly win because we change our behavior to such a freedom-killing extent that the jihadis don’t have to?

Liberty Pundits Blog

Just say no to strip or grope screening

November 10, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Scott Ott on the TSA’s invasive new screening techniques:

It doesn’t improve passenger safety or deter terrorism. It’s just another example of the federal government closing the barn door after the horse gets out, and violating the rights of the innocent to make it look like the government is doing something about security.

Roberts notes the progression of this liberty-leeching invasion:

After the shoe-bomber attempt, we had to remove our shoes. After the underpants bomber, we had to be electronically strip searched and groped.

What will happen, he asks, after the first time a terrorist smuggles a bomb on a plane inside his rectum or in a breast implant?

What can we do about it?

… he hopes more people will refuse the “enhanced” screening and, as often as possible, decline to travel by air, writing to the airlines to let them know why.

I already hate flying, so it’s advice I’m seriously considering. Indeed, if it weren’t for my mom being back East and the 4 times a year I have to travel for the ABA committee on which I serve, I probably would ditch the whole thing.

“The White House opposes any effort to strip ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ from the bill”

November 9, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Post image for “The White House opposes any effort to strip ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ from the bill”

Fueled by a Wall Street Journal report this morning, the Internets today have been chock full of the news that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is all but dead. (Read: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal is 99% Dead.) But today, Metroweekly’s Chris Geidner, with the help of HRC, has been pushing back, even battling the likes of Glenn Greenwald via Twitter.

Geidner reports this tonight:

“Dan Pfeiffer, White House communications director, said in a statement on Monday evening, “The White House opposes any effort to strip ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ from the National Defense Authorization Act.”

Is it possible the Obama Administration has grown a backbone since last Tuesday’s election?

Kerry Eleveld reports,

“Senator Levin has been discussing with the Defense Department when the report relating to the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy – due to the Secretary of Defense on December 1 – will be made available to Congress and the public, and he has also been discussing with Senator McCain how to proceed,” said Tara Andringa, spokesperson for Sen. Levin.”

“While traveling in Australia over the weekend, Secretary Gates urged Congress to pass the bill with the repeal measure before the end of the year.

“Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, called the remarks “extraordinary” since Gates has consistently asked lawmakers to wait until the Defense Department’s study of repeal is issued.

“This is the first time Secretary Gates has been on the record and calling for passage before the Pentagon working group report comes out,” Sarvis said. “I think the secretary is generally aware of the recommendations that are going to be coming from Gen. [Carter] Ham and the working group.”

Some are saying this is all posturing so Senator John McCain does not have to vote against a military spending bill. Others are saying that this is merely a continuation of the GOP’s push to prevent Obama from accomplishing anything.

Congress returns November 15. We shall see.

Related posts:

  1. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal is 99% Dead
  2. BREAKING: Six Gay Vets Chain Themselves To White House In DADT Protest
  3. Lieberman, Levin Introduce Senate Bill To Repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

The New Civil Rights Movement

White House Says It Opposes Attempts To Strip Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell From Defense Bill

November 8, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Moments ago, responding to reports that Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) and Ranking Member Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) were considering slimming down the bill to ensure that it passes in the lame duck period, the White House issued a statement clarifying that it opposes any attempt to strip Don’t Ask Don’t Tell from the Defense Authorization bill. From White House communications director David Pfeiffer:

“The White House opposes any effort to strip ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ from the National Defense Authorization Act.”

Advocates of repeal insist that the Senate stands the best chance of passing the measure if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) introduces the defense bill in the first week of session. Earlier today, Reid’s spokesperson Jim Manley said “Senator Reid strongly supports the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” but stipulated that he “needs Republicans to at least agree to have a debate on this issue — a debate he firmly believes the Senate should have.”

On Sunday, The Advocate’s Kerry Eleveld had reported that “a person close to the process said Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is looking into a deal with Sec. Gates that would cut ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ out of the Defense bill in order to smooth its way to passage.” “Levin is making calls under the premise – we can’t afford to waste time on a controversial provision, so we’ll strip out the controversial provision and be able to get the bill on and off the floor in the available amount of time,” said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Wonk Room

Senate Dems May Strip Don’t Ask From Defense Bill, Despite Obama’s Assurances To Push For Measure

November 8, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Despite assurances from President Obama that the Senate would at least attempt to take-up the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell amendment in the lame duck session of Congress, the Advocate’s Kerry Eleveld and Wall Street Journal’s Laura Meckler are both reporting that Democrats on the Armed Services Committee are now considering stripping the National Defense Authorization Act (in which repeal is housed) of any “controversial” provisions to move forward a bare-bones proposal:

MECKLER: Sens. Carl Levin of Michigan and John McCain of Arizona, the top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, are in talks on stripping the proposed repeal and other controversial provisions from a broader defense bill, leaving the repeal with no legislative vehicle to carry it. With a repeal attached, and amid Republican complaints over the terms of the debate, the defense bill had failed to win the 60 votes needed to overcome a procedural hurdle in the Senate in September. A spokeswoman for Mr. McCain, who opposes the repeal, confirmed he is in talks with Mr. Levin on how to proceed on the defense bill but didn’t provide details.

ELEVELD: A person close to the process said Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is looking into a deal with Sec. Gates that would cut ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ out of the Defense bill in order to smooth its way to passage. “Levin is making calls under the premise – we can’t afford to waste time on a controversial provision, so we’ll strip out the controversial provision and be able to get the bill on and off the floor in the available amount of time,” said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Interestingly, the reports coincide with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ first public endorsement of passing repeal in the lame duck session and Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos’ more cautious comments.

At a press availability en route to Melbourne, Australia, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told reporters that he would like Congress to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in the lame duck session but was “not sure what the prospects for that are,“ while Amos expressed concerns about “a possible loss of unit cohesion and combat readiness if the ban is overturned.“ Amos’ remarks surprised Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen, who was under the impression that “the top brass had agreed to make recommendations privately to Defence Secretary Robert Gates.” “I was surprised by what he said and surprised he said it publicly,” Mullen told reporters in Australia.

The future of repeal is uncertain. However, during an interview with progressive bloggers before the midterm elections, Obama told AmericaBlog’s Joe Sudbay that he had a strategy and would be personally involved in ending the ban once the Senate reconvenes later this month:

Q Is there a strategy for the lame-duck session to –


Q — and you’re going to be involved?


Q Will Secretary Gates be involved?

THE PRESIDENT: I’m not going to tip my hand now. But there is a strategy.

Q Okay.

THE PRESIDENT: And, look, as I said –

Q Can we call it a secret plan? (Laughter.) [Note: this wasn’t me]

THE PRESIDENT: I was very deliberate in working with the Pentagon so that I’ve got the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs being very clear about the need to end this policy.

Obama also reiterated the need to repeal the policy in his post-election press conference, although administration officials have not listed the ban as a priority for the lame-duck session.

Wonk Room

Strip Joe Biden of His Motorcade?

November 5, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Forbes’ Daniel Freedman asks, “Strip Joe Biden of His Motorcade?

Vice-President Joe Biden’s motorcade has been involved in at least five crashes. That’s an unusually high number for such a motorcade.

In August, after Mr. Biden met New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg at Gracie Mansion, two New York City police motorcycles escorting the Vice-President were involved in an accident. That followed a high profile crash in February, in which figure skating Olympic gold medalist Peggy Fleming and former bobsled champion Vonetta Flowers were injured. The two athletes were riding in the Vice-President’s motorcade at the Vancouver Olympics when the rear vehicle of the motorcade hit the back of a second vehicle, knocking it into a third car.

Last November, while Mr. Biden was on his way to appear on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart, a police car escorting him collided with a cab, injuring officers and occupants of the other car. (While the Vice-President didn’t mention the crash during his appearance, he did joke that having roads cleared for him was a big perk. “Hell, I’ve never driven in New York with no traffic before,” he told Mr. Stewart.)

That November, cars from Mr. Biden’s motorcade were also involved in two other reported accidents: A Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputy escorting the motorcade was injured in a collision; and in Maryland two cars that were part of the Vice-President’s security detail hit (and killed) a pedestrian. These five incidents are just the reported ones; it’s possible that there are others as well.

Do I think the vice president should be stripped of his motorcade privileges?  No.  For one thing, I’m pretty sure Joe Biden wasn’t driving any of the cars in question, so it’s unreasonable to blame him. And, despite my general distaste for VIP motorcades and the inconveniences they pose for The Little People, there are legitimate security concerns for someone in Biden’s position.

But there is something odd going on here.  At very least, an investigation ought to be launched to figure out why this is happening.

via Glenn Reynolds

Outside the Beltway

Health Care Industry Will Lobby GOP To Strip Payment Board, Industry Taxes From Health Law

November 2, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Wall Street Journal’s Janet Adamy and Jonathan Weisman offer some specific insights into why health insurers have been so heavily funding Republicans this election cycle and what they’re hoping to buy with the increased contributions:

Insurers want to reverse tax increases and loosen restrictions on insurance premiums, and several groups hope to tack on medical malpractice protections. […]

The insurance industry is working to persuade the next Congress to roll back a roughly $ 70 billion tax on insurance companies that takes effect in 2014, saying it will disproportionately hit small businesses that insure their workers. It also wants lawmakers to allow insurers to widen the rating bands that dictate how much more insurers can charge older customers.

Insurers also want to tackle the growth of health costs by enacting a new measure to give robust protections against medical malpractice lawsuits to doctors who follow certain “best practice” guidelines, said Karen Ignagni, the insurance industry’s top lobbyist.

“We always reach out to both sides of the political aisle and we’ll continue doing that because we have had concerns,” said Ms. Ignagni, president of America’s Health Insurance Plans. She said her group would be most focused on parts of the bill that it believes fail to lower the growth of health costs.

Recently, Ignagni also hinted that she would like to see Congress soften the employer responsibility provisions in the law, since the penalties could some employers to drop their existing employer-based coverage and send their workers into better regulated plans within the exchanges.

Of course, other sectors of the health industry — many of which cooperated with Democrats to pass reform — are also trying to weaken the law’s most important cost containment mechanism: The Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). The American Hospital Association (AHA) and drug makers have their sights set on the board, which will begin recommending cuts to reduce the per-capita rate of growth in Medicare spending.

But some of the groups that cooperated with Democrats may have trouble influencing the expected Republican majority, the Washington Post reports. “Some businesses joined in on the hang-me-last strategy,” said Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill). “I think upon reflection, in moments of candor, they may say they were foolish to do that.” House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), for instance, blasted PhRMA for cooperating with Democrats on reform and the group has been trying to patch up relations ever since.

Wonk Room

DeMint announces bill to strip NPR of federal funding; Update: Cantor adds option to YouCut

October 22, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 


This was inevitable, in more ways than one.  Jim DeMint has announced that he will introduce a bill to strip all funding from NPR and PBS: Conservative Republican Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina today announced plans to introduce legislation stripping federal funding from National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting Service. The move comes […]

Read this post »

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