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NOBODY ASKED ME, BUT ...
By Joe Brancatelli
June 16, 2011 -- Nobody asked me, but

The TSA is firing 36 screeners and supervisors at Honolulu airport. Why? Because they didn't actually screen any bags. So much for the TSA that is violating everyone's rights with those invasive procedures.

In fairness, though, things really are different in Hawaii. Every time I watch the flip-flops go through the metal detectors, I wonder which shoe bomber has invented invisible explosives.

Nobody asked me, but

John Pistole, the martinet in charge of the TSA, has met his match in John Mica, who chairs the House Transportation Committee. After Pistole unilaterally shut down the program that allows airports to "go private" and opt out of the TSA system, Mica gins up a report that says private screening is cheaper than TSA-operated checkpoints.

I'm so glad our TSA administrator thinks he can unilaterally override the law. And I am thrilled Mica advocates the cheapest way to screen passengers. Because, you know, that worked so well when we had the $5-a-hour burger flippers screening us before 9/11.

Nobody asked me, but

Speaking of Mica, he's on a roll. He's now proposing legislation to allow private industry to take over Amtrak's Northeast Corridor service. "After 40 years of highly subsidized, poorly managed Amtrak operations, it's time for Congress to change the direction of America's failed high-speed and intercity passenger rail service," he explained.

Hey, John, you do realize the only part of Amtrak that makes money is the Northeast Corridor, right? So selling off the profitable part will force the taxpayers to shovel even more money into what would be left of Amtrak. You're a Republican. You're supposed to understand this stuff.

Nobody asked me, but

Didja all watch that CNN Republican Presidential debate on CNN on Monday? It was courageous of them to oppose the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Where was the courage when George Bush started those wars?

And, you know, I really want to take my lessons in patriotism from Michele Bachmann, who thinks Lexington and Concord are in New Hampshire.

Nobody asked me, but

The airlines want a six-month delay in the new Transportation Department regulations about fair fare displays and advertising on things like baggage charges. Even though they've already had 60 days to get ready and have 60 more before the rules kick in, they say that they'll need still more time to get their systems in order.

I'd feel sorry for the airlines except for this: When American Airlines became the first carrier to charge for the first checked bag in 2008, they announced the fee less than 30 days before it took effect. So what they're saying is that they can impose a fee in less than 30 days, but disclosing a fee requires almost a year of preparation.

Nobody asked me, but

I want to apologize for being out of sorts since the beginning of spring. But now that the Cleveland Indians have dropped out of first place, the world makes sense again and I'll be just fine.

Of course, the world making sense is relative these days. Oil dropped below $95 a barrel today and I'm thinking, "Wow, prices are really falling "

Nobody asked me, but

The Greek debt crisis may force Greece to leave the EC currency mechanism, abandon the euro and go back to the drachma. I'm sure a debt default would be a nightmare for the Greeks, but, you know, there's something cool about a world where there'd still be a drachma.

So did you read where one of the complaints that Newt Gingrich's ex-presidential campaign staff had was that Newt didn't want to fly commercial. I dunno, I like that my presidential candidates are smart enough not to want to fly commercial.

Nobody asked me, but

I guess it's okay that there are now a zillion brand extensions of the Fig Newtons. But I've never forgiven Nabisco for discontinuing Apple Newtons. I mean, that was one tasty Newton.

I'm not a big novel reader, but I do try to read the ones my friends write. My former feature-writing professor, John Lee, wrote one of my favorites decades ago. It's called The Ninth Man and it's got what I find essential in any novel: spies and Nazis. What more do you need to know? Oh, probably that it's just been published for Kindle.

Nobody asked me, but

The Beijing-Shanghai bullet train line opens before the end of the month and it should cut travel time between the Chinese capital and China's most important business city to just five hours. Much better than battling traffic to and from those two cities' gigantic airports, going through security, waiting out delays and taking a two-hour flight.

It's good that Anthony Weiner resigned today. He's annoying in a way only us Brooklyn kids can be. But if Weiner had to go and go fast because of his nasty tweeted pictures and creepy online messages, how come David Vitter, who admitted going to hookers, gets to keep his seat in the Senate?

Nobody asked me, but

The Vancouver Canucks lost the Stanley Cup last night and people spilled out on the street and started to riot. I didn't know Canadians even knew how to riot.

But the Vancouver police chief says it wasn't really hockey fans who started the riots. He said it was anarchists masquerading as hockey fans. What are they against? The NHL's rules on icing the puck?

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ABOUT JOE BRANCATELLI Joe Brancatelli is a publication consultant, which means that he helps media companies start, fix and reposition newspapers, magazines and Web sites. He's also the former executive editor of Frequent Flyer and has been a consultant to or columnist for more business-travel and leisure-travel publishing operations than he can remember. He started his career as a business journalist and created JoeSentMe in the dark days after 9/11 while he was stranded in a hotel room in San Francisco. He lives on the Hudson River in the tourist town of Cold Spring.

THE FINE PRINT All of the opinions and material in this column are the sole property and responsibility of Joe Brancatelli. This material may not be reproduced in any form without his express written permission.

This column is Copyright 2011 by Joe Brancatelli. JoeSentMe.com is Copyright 2011 by Joe Brancatelli. All rights reserved.