Thankfully I don’t have to abide by any restrictive guidelines or be careful to step on toes or saying the inappropriate thing. This is MY piece of cyberspace and I do with it, what I want. Now the topic at hand that black hole of a department called the TSA, which literally translates to “Thousands Standing Around” because that is essentially what this “security” (and I use that word loosely) does.

While the U.S. Government will lead you to believe that air travel is safer since 9-11 and the inception of the DHS, of which the TSA are their official mall cops. When I was at the airlines they were contracted to man the security checkpoints and were called, “airport security screeners.” I am sure many of you went through a magnetometer in the “old days” when you didn’t have strip down to your skivvies or worry about being man handed by some TSO if you set off the alarm or being something questionable through the checkpoint.

In the dead of night, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) administratively reclassified airport security screeners as Transportation Security Officers. The TSA then moved to administratively upgrade TSO’s uniforms to resemble those of a federal law enforcement officer. They further completed the makeover with metal law enforcement badges. Not surprisingly, government bureaucrats at the TSA left out one crucial component during the artificial makeover – actual federal law enforcement training as is required of Federal Air Marshalls” (source).

As I have been saying for years, this is nothing by window dressing! Their alleged law enforcement powers are still nil! What happens when there is an issue at a security checkpoint these days. When the TSA supervisor cannot resolve the issue, local law enforcement are called in, while the TSOs go on about their duties of securing air travel for our nation. I feel soooo safe! *sarcasm*

It would only be fitting that a new piece of legislation, H.R. 308: Stop TSA’s Reach In Policy Act or STRIP (who comes up with these acronyms) will, “prohibit certain employees of the Transportation Security Administration from using the title of “officer” and from wearing uniforms and carrying badges resembling those of law enforcement officers” (source). Seriously? We are going to have legislative bodies discuss this, wasting and time money, which they are very good at. But come on there must be a better way to accomplish correcting what is wrong with the TSA.

Unfortunately the DHS continues to expand their scope of powers with their VIPR or Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response teams away from our nation’s airports. These teams conduct unannounced checkpoints. Almost sounds like Nazi Germany. Papers? I need papers? TSOs are among the ranks of VIPR teams as well, still with no more power than a mall cop.

So remember if you are approached y a TSO, wearing their fancy blue uniforming, the gleaming gold badge, you don’t have to show them a damn thing. They have no powers and have not undergone any official “officer” training to use such a title. Unfortunate the government will continue to deny the truth about 9-11 and these random checkpoints are becoming more common in the United States.


Trans Siberian Orchestra

It is becoming tradition around this time of year, the return of the rock opera/band, Trans Siberian Orchestra. This was the fourth year I have seen TSO in concert and they never hesitate to rock my ass off. It is not your traditional rock & roll concert though. So some might not find it entertaining, but I would find that hard to believe.

This year’s show in Sacto was bigger, louder and more impressive than last year’s show. The production value of the show was worth the $47.50 in admission. The artists on stage are all impressive in their own unique way. The voices carry, guitars wail, the pianists are highly impressive but it becomes the violinists who seemingly steal the show every year. It is simply amazing what these artists can do with these instruments.

Unlike last year we attended the matinee, as opposed to the evening show and I it seemed as if the show was a bit shorter than last year’s. That might have been due to the lack of the intermission between the telling of the Lost Christmas Eve and the “rock your ass off” second half of the show that showcases what TSO can do.

Regardless of that minor detail, the show was just under two and a half hours of nonstop art with a light, laser and pyrotechnic show that was one of the most impressive on stage! TSO held nothing back this year. Well, almost. Tommy Farcese, vocalist, gave of the skinny on why Al Pitrelli was sitting down the entire show. Seems he attempt to play Batman and jump off the stage, an act that resulted in a shattered knee and torn ACL. But through that injury, the store continues, he did not miss a note.

If you get the chance to see TSO in your hometown, by all means spend the money and check them out. They are still the most impressive show I have seen. This includes some very good concerts including Boston, Rush, Metallica and others. The music, the production and the feeling you get from the show will have you coming back each year.