TSA De-diapers Old Lady (Update) And German Jokes

Another busy day—but still some things to ponder.


You’ll have heard the TSA forced a 95-year-old woman, on her way home to die among family, was forced to strip and to undergo humiliation far worse than that faced by prisoners at Abu Ghraib. (The lady wanted “to be with family members during the final stages of her battle with leukemia.”)

Sari Koshetz, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration in Miami, and a woman almost certainly in possession of a communications “degree” from some backwater university, said, “she could not comment on specific cases to protect the privacy of those involved.”

But she could manage to croak, “The TSA works with passengers to resolve any security alarms in a respectful and sensitive manner.” By which words we must assume that “respectful” means strip searching dying, wheelchair-bound, frail old ladies, not to mention rifling through their underwear, in this case forcing the old lady to remove and discard her soiled adult diaper, leaving her with nothing to wear as an undergarment.

Koshetz defended the agency that boldly pats down infants, nursing mothers, buxom blonds, and other would-be terrorists—how heroic!—and said, “the procedures are the same for everyone to ensure national security.”

That is false. There is no reason in the world to have searched and humiliated that gentle old lady. National security was not helped in any way. Not only that, security was actually harmed. To my knowledge, there has never been a terrorist meeting the dying lady’s description. By humiliating her in the name of “We were just following orders” is to allow those much more likely to cause harm to slip through security unimpeded.

It is time to disband, de-fund, and delegitimize this ridiculous agency before it is too late. Somehow, the immortal words of Benjamin Franklin can never be recalled by more than a minority.

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

And that means you.

Update The daughter (Jean Webber) of the old lady who was de-diapered is on 710 AM (John Gambling show: 8:45 am, 28 June 2011). She said that as the TSA was giving her mother the third degree, she (the daughter) became distraught and began crying. This sent the noble TSA agents into a tizzy because the crying raised the “suspicious behavior” flag. This triggered a full alert: all of Webber’s materials were swabbed down, she was patted down, fully frisked, and hassled just as her mother was.

Panama Hats

Even more amazing than a frightened public allowing a bureaucracy to grow and fester is that some of you still do not own summer hats. Sure, you can go down to the mall or to some big-box store and buy a short-brimmed hipster hat. Trouble is, that hat is a part of fad. It will look as ridiculous as bell-bottom jeans do now.

Step up and assert your manhood by owning a real hat, like those made by
Panama Hats Direct
. I own two of these: both hand made, shaped to fit my bizarre, long-oval skull. I recommend the Havana style over the fedora. If you’re nervous about buying a finely weaved, soft-as-silk Fine Fino, opt for the Sub Fino as a test hat. It will look almost as good as the best, and can be retired to a stylish mowing-the-lawn hat when you upgrade.

Plus, if you click on the link and buy, I get a whopping 5% of the purchase price. I don’t ordinarily do these sorts of commercials, but I love their hats and I fairly weep thinking of the anti-hat backlash that awaits us when the nation wakes up and discovers hipster hats are ridiculous.

German Jokes

What’s funnier than a German joke? The world may never know. For example, this:

Herr Kallenbrecher: Listen, the patron calls the waiter and complains: This duck is only skin and bones! (Laughter)

Herr Kunz: And what does the waiter say?

Herr Kallenbrecher: He says, no problem, I can also bring you feathers! (Laughter)

Careful readers will have noted the indicators where one is expected to be mirthful, quite necessary, I’m sure you’ll agree, in case the translation to English has gone awry, as it appears to have done here.

This joke was culled from the site German Joke of the Day, whose owners say, “In Germany, we understand that humour is about telling jokes properly and efficiently.” No argument, there. The example joke is surely efficient, if nothing else.

I’d advise you to play along and at least smile. As Herr Kallenbrecher says (bottom of page), “Remember: We have ways to make you laugh!”


  1. Ray

    The TSA is a new career path for perverts and sadists. Previously you had to work for an establishment that specialized in S and M.

  2. Say what you want about TSA and it’s policies, at least it has offered an upward mobility option for folks discharged due to rudeness by many DMV’s.

  3. Ken

    I read somewhere that the under-clothes-imaging thing TSA uses can’t penetrate skin & like substances…some professor noted one can hide a firearm under a pancake, for example…and that (pancake or other material with such effects) could, conceivably, be modified to appear normal within the resolution of the images….

    Sooner or later some terrorist will consume the explosives as drug runners swallow packets of heroin, etc. This will necessarily go undetected, to be detonated at place & time convenient for the terrorist.

    RE Fashion: Bell Bottoms out of style??? NEVER!!! Maybe ridiculous as a style now….but still in style, such as it is…

  4. re: German Jokes.
    Knock! Knock!
    Who’s there?
    Gestapo who?
    Vee vill ask zee Questions!

  5. j ferguson

    On our recent return from UK flying out of Heathrow, we were allowed to leave our shoes on even though the screening device appeared to be the older technology metal detecting arch. Same thing last November at Charles de Gaulle. But in the US, except sometimes with the new imaging equipment, shoe removal is always required.

    Yet, the only employer of a shoe bomb as far as I know boarded overseas, not here.

    It does keep the elephants away. I never see any on the flights i take.

    My mother, 93, has legs full of metal. She is frequently, but not always subjected to the full hands-on pat-down. She mostly finds the TSA folks as bemused by the stupidity of it as she is, but then it is their bowl of rice.

    I keep waiting for the TSA reaction to the first woman who tries an exploding bra.

    I worry a lot about having a government which does so many conspicuously stupid things, especially where the stupidity is so easy to comprehend.

    Your prize for reading this far is a verbatim quote from the little signs posted on the outfield wall you sit behind at Baltimore’s Camden Yards baseball park

    “Please Do Not Interfere With Balls In Play”

    “Failure To Do So Could Result In Ejection From Ball Park”

  6. Rich

    “In Germany, we understand that humour is about telling jokes properly and efficiently.” This is a joke, surely, and based on a stereotype of Germans too.

    I recall with affection a documentary on the BBC children’s series “The Clangers” (which featured small knitted characters who lived on a tiny Moon). All the Clanger dialogue was performed on Swanee whistles. A German gentleman interviewed in a bar (more German stereotyping!) insisted that the Clangers spoke German and that he and his friends could understand them. He did so with a straight face but that’s essential for the joke to work. Right?

    (search for ‘Clangers’ on Youtube if you want to get the joke).

  7. Wayne

    Something to note: “Panama” hats are made in Ecuador. They’re called Panama hats because they were bought in bulk for (US) workers working on the Panama Canal. But they’ve always been made in Ecuador.

    (I already have one of the nice, foldable ones.)

  8. Briggs


    Whois on the domain lists Thomas Fischermann as owner. Herr Fischermann hails from 3rd street in Brooklyn, USA.

  9. JH

    Bad language and then German jokes! All I know is that “Chinese whispers” is one of the worst English idioms.

  10. DAV

    How strange! I thought being employed by TSA meant never having to say “I’m Sari”.

  11. Doug

    Not to beat the Pournelle drum to often, but one of the statements he makes is that the TSA exists to convince us we are subjects, not citizens.

  12. Briggs


    It is a very nice sun hat, for the beach or park. Not as useful for a trip to the market or a stroll down a city street. For that, you want a shorter brim, perhaps also a lower crown.

  13. GoneWithTheWind

    TSA has succeeded where others have failed. A new kind of catch 22. If TSA hassles you so bad it reduces you to tears then the tears are reason enough to double down on the harrassement. Way to go TSA!!!

  14. ad

    When I travel on my own I never get stopped and searched or swabbed. When I travel with my family I always do. Must be something about a middle-aged white married father of young children that fits the profile of a terrorist.

  15. Leg

    The burning question: What did the TSA do with the dirty diaper? Aren’t they required to keep anything they confiscate in some sort of lost and found? Ewww!

    I wonder, upon getting a pat down, if you told the TSA agent in a sultry voice, “Can you pat me down again?” would the TSA go into full terrorist mode? For some (weird) people, the price of an airplane ticket might be worth 437 pat downs.

    On the serious side, I fully agree with you, Briggs, and good ol’ Ben. Our society’s fixation that everything must be “safe” is awry. It is strange that a 0.001 percent risk is considered horrible but the lotto odds are okay.

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