Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Not For One More Mineta

As long as we're purging most of President Bush's cabinet, would at least be possible to include the least competent member in that mass exodus? Norman Mineta is the most dangerous member of this cabinet, and I'm not even hearing a whisper of finally canning him so that we can bring some sanity into protecting airline passengers.

According to a fascinating article (linked above) by the Manhattan Institute's Heather Mac Donald:
The government antidiscrimination hammer has hit the airline industry most severely. Department of Transportation lawyers have extracted millions in settlements from four major carriers for alleged discrimination after 9/11, and they have undermined one of the most crucial elements of air safety: a pilot's responsibility for his flight. Since the charges against the airlines were specious but successful, every pilot must worry that his good-faith effort to protect his passengers will trigger federal retaliation.

Transportation's action against American Airlines was typical. In the last four months of 2001, American carried 23 million passengers and asked 10 of them not to board because they raised security concerns that could not be resolved in time for departure. For those 10 interventions (and an 11th in 2002), DOT declared American Airlines a civil-rights pariah, whose discriminatory conduct would "result in irreparable harm to the public" if not stopped.
This is nothing but sheer idiocy, and it's the reason why "increased safety" on the post-9/11 airlines is merely a mirage. Airline security, under threat of federal government lawsuits, is mandated to ignore the single most reliable predictive factor for hijacking.

This is what happens when you include Democrats in anything. If the president's cabinet is going to be entirely reconfigured, why not replace Mineta (who, when asked on 60 Minutes whether a 70-year-old white woman from Vero Beach should receive the same airport scrutiny as a Muslim young man from Jersey City, famously replied "I would hope so") with someone who's actually competent and cares more about airline safety than applying affirmative action to strip-searches?

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