Please visit Morris Kight

Please visit Morris Kight @ http://morriskight.blogspot.com/

Friday, January 29, 2010

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

There Goes More Than Just The Neighborhood!

Back in September 2009 I tried my best to alert us all to the dangers of the imminent Supreme Court ruling about overturning all limits on corporate spending on campaigns. Well, they gone done it. They reversed the McCain/Feingold law - one of the few things that McCain has done that I really really like.

This is just wrong. It will lead to no good and we can start to pack the wagons now because there is a new sheriff in town and he's a lot bigger than any of us. Welcome to the Corporations of America.

I am so sorry to see us go down in such a shameful, pathetic, greed-dripped, blind-sighted way. I thought better of us. It was probably the WWII generation that I thought better of. But they're gone. This has been a long time in the making, it took a lot of campaign donations to get this particular Supreme Court in place to hear this particular argument of this issue at this specific time in history. Make no mistake about it, this ruling is historical. Hysterical in a macabre sort of way too.

This pendulum will swing slowly so you'll have to pay close attention to follow the consequences of this ruling. The same way that Ronald Reagan's gift of deregulation, beginning in the early 80s, slowly took hold of America's economy before it strangled the very life from it- you may not notice the changes to our elections. Change will come and not for the betterment or the strengthening of the individual voice or in the interest of justice.

My only solution was prevention and that has failed. So I'm open to hear other ideas how the United States of America can return to the original values of human dignity and the pursuit of individual happiness.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Help Wanted at TSA



The ad said: "TSA screeners wanted." I can do that, I thought. This was way back at the very beginning of the creation of the TSA. I needed a job and they needed a good pair of eyes, or so I thought. The online application for the federal position was easy, straightforward, very short. I received an immediate e-mail response requesting a testing appointment. I accepted the appointment, marked my schedule, and prepared to become a federal employee.


Or so I thought. The testing location was a small, obscure hotel out by the airport. It didn't say as much because the confirmation e-mail only gave an address. There were no courtesy directions, like "immediately look to your right as you're getting off the exit that you’ll be taking at 35 mph or you’ll miss the hotel." That would have helped a lot. I found the location and rushed up to the check-in area about one minute past my appointment time. I already felt like I had failed the test. A young woman sat behind a makeshift desk talking on the telephone, clearly a personal call. I admit I was a bit pushy. I tried to interrupt her conversation to let her know that I was here to take the test. We could both see the test going on in the next room. She waved her finger to indicate that I would have to wait. I waited. I had my confirmation letter on the makeshift desk. She took my paper and tucked her cell phone between her ear and shoulder blade. That move just never makes sense —to turn one's neck at a 90° angle to say "uh-huh, uh-huh." She perused my letter for a good minute, at an angle, and finally said, into the phone said, "Okay, bye." She removed the cell phone from between her ear and shoulder, but she didn't straighten her head until she looked very closely at my letter and at me and then very slowly ran my "credentials" through the time clock. Oh yes, I had already failed the test.


But I had made it this far and I was going to take that test no matter what. I would let them really regret not being able to hire me because I was one minute past the appointed time and I got off on a bad foot with the junior college student behind the folding table. TSA was going to have to think long and hard before not hiring me.

The first thing I noticed when I entered the testing room was that I was the only Caucasian female. This is not the first time this has happened, but I am curious if federal jobs, federal jobs which hold the security of our nation's transportation system in the palm of its hand, have such a dearth of white women. Just curious. And the next thing I noticed was the test had very little to do with language skills, communication abilities, eyesight, nerves, common sense, or integrity. And yet many of the people in the testing room, all who were taking the test, struggled. That really had me wondering.


Oh sure there were some images on a screen to classify, i.e. cylinder shape or square shape or rectangle or flat. That type of thing. There were no big words like octagon or silhouette. It was very easy and straightforward. Maybe every tenth or fifteenth question was a trick ethics question-something like: "If someone offers to give you directions, are you suspicious?" And the question arose again, slightly rephrased: "if you're lost, and someone offers to help, do you accept the help or do you refuse?"


As the test continued, the ethics/principles questions were more frequent and only every tenth or fifteenth question was a test of logic. I found it odd that there were no questions about focus in times of distractions, about making split second decisions. There was no test of nerve. Perhaps that was the next level before being hired. The ethics questions were not so much about character as personality. They were definitely looking for suspicious, non-critical thinkers, who were good at reading directions. At some point, I sat back, away from the test and considered leaving. This is not a job for me. And yet, I worried who it was for.


"If you are stranded in the desert and a stranger comes along with a bucket of water, do you drink it?" I have no idea what this has to do with viewing and quickly assessing hundreds and hundreds of total strangers, strangers who depend upon you for their safety. And any one of whom could possibly blow us all into a new reality. I don't remember any questions about determining an unsafe situation. I did notice there were no questions about people skills and interviewing styles and assessments. "If a blind elderly woman is about to walk into the crosswalk, do you stop her?" was not a question on the TSA test.


And I’m not saying that that question should be on the testing application for the TSA employees. Janet Napolitano’s problems with security breach did not begin in Newark Airport. Napolitano’s problems are more of the bequeathment from the previous administration. More accurately, TSA’s problems are the bequeathment from a mind-set direct right out of Orwell’s “1984,” and some of these genius’ in this testing room were going to be the water bearers for the oligarchy. And TSA’s problems will become our problems.


I have traveled many times since taking that test that far away afternoon, way the heck out in some tiny crevice of the Los Angeles Airport. I have checked out the TSA employees and quite honestly, I think I observe much more about many of them than any of them observe about me. Fair enough, I’m one in a million. I have observed that there are many Caucasian females in the profession (phew, we can rest now) and that most TSA employees stand straight up for long hours, doing some of the most monotonous tasks ascribed to a job description, in full display of the barefoot and cranky public, and rarely do they look you in the eye. I can not say that I blame them I rarely look anyone in the eye when I travel either. But they aren’t traveling, this is their job and it seems that only now are the powers that be, or the powers that have been, realize the delicacy and importance of this gig. I admit, when I took the test I was looking for a part-time gig that might give me some discounted travel opportunities.


Truth is this job is about national freaking security. And the requirements are to not trust anyone, ever. This is not an opportunity to be Donald Trump’s Apprentice. This is national security. The paranoid and dim-witted are scooped up to stand hours upon hours to look at us, to evaluate in one second whether we are safe to be contained on a tin-tank flying in the air for more than a couple of hours. There were problems with the whole approach from the very beginning. The original concept of TSA is flawed. This is not so much about individual security as it is about gathering secured information. And who best to execute such a crime against basic human privacy? That job would belong to the most mistrusting, defeatists, no-hopers available at any moment.

“It's just part of a pattern of we are not vetting these candidates clearly," Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) told Fox News. You’d think he was talking about the general intelligence, people-skills, and qualifications that TSA screeners possess in order to do the job effectively. No. Sen. DeMint has concerns that TSA screeners will unionize. And that would be really bad because it goes against oligarchy. I just don’t see a TSA Union as being anything other than complete compliant with the status quo. TSA has been in existence for less than a decade and they are already status quo. TSA screeners have to know about the long-term affects of over exposure to radiation scanners and they will simply not believe the studies or they value their jobs as being more important than their health. “Would you help a stranger?” TSA screeners are trained to be the new breed of the perfect victim of Stockholm syndrome, wherein hostages or victims have irrational positive feelings towards their captors and feel protective toward them.


It is a scary would in which we live. Let us not forget that we had a hand in creating this world. Let us not forget that we have a hand in creating the future.


I don’t know the answer. Truth be known, I don’t know enough to have a solution. None of us reading this will have enough information to effectively evaluate the situation. So let us begin with what we always begin with- awareness. It worked for Red Dye #5 and seat belts. Be aware that TSA employees can only do what it says to do in the manual. They follow directions without questions, they do not make decisions, and they will never ever utter an original thought. Now could you do that job?


By the time I found my way home from that spec of a hotel on the off-ramp out by the airport, the efficiency of the testing center was startling. I had an email confirming, in their to-the-point manner, the TSA will not be offering me employment. “Good luck with your future opportunities.” Na, it didn’t really say that.