Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Beauracracy and the entertainment it brings . . . as long as you're not the one trying to deal with it

Okay, I can't help myself. Sometimes all the levels of committees and officials and such just crack me up completely. Today specifically, it was this article about the trouble that will come your way if you wind up on the government terrorist watch list, especially if you want to fly anywhere.

It's eve worse if you happen to have a common name and someone who unfortuantely shares your name is on the list, because then you are, too. It's even worse if you have a common name and someone who shares your name is on the list and you happen to be an airline pilot, certified to carry loaded weapons on to planes. That's the premise for the article. But sadly, this hassled pilot is not the only person to share the name of this suspicious character. Another innocent man bears the same name. Here I give you my favorite segment of the article:

It turns out that three people named "James Robinson" found their names on the list in early 2005.

Besides the airline pilot, there's the James Robinson who served as U.S. attorney in Detroit, Michigan, and as an assistant attorney general in the Clinton administration; and James Robinson of California, who loves tennis, swimming and flying to the East Coast to see his grandmother.

He's 8.

The third-grader has been on the watch list since he was 5 years old. Asked whether he is a terrorist, he said, "I don't know."

I suppose that there are a great many third-grade boys who are holy terrors, but that hardly seems like enough justification to put them on the terror watch list.

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