A new announcement from the Food and Drug Administration could bring stringent regulations on caffeine—including age limits. Michael R. Taylor, a deputy commissioner for the FDA released a brief Q+A to address what actions the administration planned to enact.
The “Consumer Health Information” report coincides with the release of Wrigley’s new caffeinated gum, a product that contains the same amount of caffeine as half a cup of coffee. The FDA recently noticed the increased marketing of caffeine towards younger demographics, including decisions by companies to add caffeine to products such as oatmeal, jelly beans, and marshmallows.
“The gum is just one more unfortunate example of the trend to add caffeine to food,” explains Taylor. “Our concern is about caffeine appearing in a range of new products, including ones that may be attractive and readily available without careful consideration of their cumulative impact.”
In response to these growing concerns the FDA will begin to study what the acceptable levels of caffeine are and determine what effects the stimulant has on early development. According to Taylor:
“We’re particularly concerned about children and adolescents and the responsibility FDA and the food industry have to protect public health and respect social norms that suggest we shouldn’t be marketing stimulants, such as caffeine, to our children.”
This isn’t the first time the FDA has imposed regulations on caffeine. Most recently in 2010 the administration banned alcoholic beverages from including caffeine. Studies had shown that the combination often impaired consumer’s ability to determine their level of intoxication.
The FDA’s attempts to control caffeine levels will instantly draw comparisons to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his failed attempts to regulate the consumption of soda. And critics have already begun to pick apart the FDA’s reasoning—as an editorial in The Washington Timesobserves:
“Makers of energy drinks such as Monster and Rockstar appear to be on the government’s radar as well. The FDA is investigating whether these were responsible for the hospitalization and deaths of some teenagers, but did not inquire whether coffee played a role in these tragedies. Coffee-drinking among teenagers has exploded, and a Monster drink has about 50 mg of caffeine — an eighth of the caffeine in an oversized cup of coffee at Starbucks.”
Despite a mounting opposition, the FDA will continue to investigate ways to end the addition of caffeine in foods and beverages. The administration hasn’t ruled out using enforcement as a way to curb production, and could even “go through the regulatory process to establish clear boundaries and conditions on caffeine use”—which would lead to age restrictions, potentially paving the way for “21 and up” coffee laws.
Democrats who were hoping to keep riding the post-electoral support of minority groups may have trouble selling that message after numerous miscues have raised questions over the party’s commitment to diversity.
For three of Obama’s most important Cabinet positions, he selected white males to serve; John Kerry for Secretary of State, Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense, and Jack Lew for Secretary of Treasury. Civil rights groups were quick to slam Obama for failing to nominate U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to replace former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—both of whom came under fire following the 9/11 Benghazi attacks.
The backlash prompted Obama to urge patience leading up to his second inauguration, in which the president stated:
“I would just suggest that everybody kind of wait until they’ve seen all my appointments — who is in the White House staff and who is in my Cabinet — before they rush to judgment,” he said. “Until you’ve seen what my overall team looks like, it’s premature to assume that somehow we’re going backwards. We’re not going backwards, we’re going forward.”
Now that all Cabinet positions have appointments, it’s immediately clear that progress has gone backwards. Asian-American and Latino representation falls from three members to one (Eric Shinseki and Thomas Perez)—provided Department of Labor nominee Perez is confirmed. And amidst the ongoing national debate over gay marriage, an openly gay nominee has yet to be selected for the president’s progressive administration.
The lack of minority support from the administration could prove troublesome for upcoming Democrat elections, as multiple groups released outraged statements criticizing the Cabinet. National Organization for Women’s President, Terry O’Neil, told Politico:
“I at least expected that more than a third of the jobs would go to women. Women should be half the Cabinet. We’re 51 percent of the population, and more than half of us voted for the president’s reelection. Instead, women have been picked for just seven of 23 Cabinet posts.”
Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus voiced her disappointment that there wouldn’t be another Asian-American Cabinet member:
“Seventy-three percent of Asian-American Pacific Islanders voted for the president, they came together to support him and we just want to make sure that his Cabinet reflects that support and is as diverse as possible.”
In addition to issues with the administration’s Cabinet, state-level party leaders have continued to use race as a negative during campaigns. The controversy started in Kentucky when a liberal super PAC Progress Kentucky, attacked Elaine Chao, the wife of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Progress Kentucky questioned the former Secretary of Labor’s citizenship, suggesting she might have allegiances to China.
But that wasn’t the only example of a Democrat leader bringing race into the election equation. Over the weekend, South Carolina Democratic Chairman Dick Harpootlian attempted to rally party activists by guaranteeing that the next Democratic frontrunner would “send [Governor] Nikki Haley back to wherever the hell she came from”. This wasn’t the first time Harpootlian had made controversial comments. During the Democratic National Convention last year, Harpootlian compared Governor Haley to Adolph Hitler’s mistress, saying the governor “was down in the bunker a la Eva Braun.” Harpootlian stepped down from his post on Saturday as apparently planned, but not before the damage was done.
The party’s image concerning race relations continues to suffer in light of these recent gaffes. And while Cabinet position’s and state leader remarks have been shrugged off by Democrats, many minority groups continue to grow skeptical of the party’s placating gestures, which come across as thinly-veiled attempts to support diversity.
Author's Note: Additional reporting and photography by Cortney O'Brien.
A crowd of 100 pro-life supporters gathered in D.C. Wednesday at the clinic of Dr. Cesare Santangelo to protest his controversial abortion practices. Earlier this week Dr. Santangelo told an undercover activist that he would leave a baby to die if it survived an abortion. The news came as a shock following the horrific Kermit Gosnell story, and is one of many videos documenting this unethical practice. Extensive coverage of the videos can be found on Townhall from Guy and Katie.
During the protest, anti-abortion media group Live Action held a press conference featuring key speakers in the fight against Planned Parenthood. Live Action is known for their use of investigative journalism to expose dangerous abortion procedures and shed light on common practices that many Americans are unaware of. The group’s founder Lila Rose introduced speakers and reminded attendants that these events occur every day—“they are not an anomaly”.
Many speakers made personal appeals to end the controversial late-term policy, including abortion survivor Melissa Ohden, who told her story:
“Dr. Santangelo would have left me to die. My mother went to have an abortion and was injected with a saline fluid meant to burn me. When the doctors induced labor I was left on the table presumed to be dead. But when the doctors realized I had survived they could have just abandoned me. I could have been lost thanks to people like Dr. Santangelo. But those doctors didn’t see me as a liability, they gave me medical care and they gave me life.”
President of Students for Life Kristan Hawkins also told the story of her first-born, and questioned the lack of action from the Department of Health.
“This is business as usual for the abortion facility,” said Hawkins. “This is what they do, this is not the exception. When hospital advisors were trying to save my son, Dr. Santangelo would have wanted me to abort him and let him die. Why aren’t you here [Department of Health], inspecting this facility? Why aren’t you shutting it down?”
Despite earlier comments by Dr. Santangelo this week that labeled Live Action as terrorists, the protest went over peacefully, with a few policemen watching over the crowd in case of controversy. The clinic is located on George Washington University’s campus, which brought up additional ethical concerns over how easily college students can have the procedure. Anti-abortion activists also offered prayers and encouragement to those that have survived abortions, and to the families that had lost significant others from malpractice.
Marjorie Dannenfelser of Susan B. Anthony List urged lawmakers not to see this as a plea to overturn Roe v. Wade, but to consider guidelines and laws to prevent these atrocities from ever occurring again.
“This shouldn’t have to be the common ground we find ourselves on,” said Dannenfelser. “We need to establish standard practice—how many inches inside or outside the womb should your rights be protected? If we reach the point where a child feels pain, you should not be allowed to abort that child.”
Live Action promises to continue releasing videos of questionable abortion clinic behavior—in hopes that the news will prompt viewers to take action, regardless of their politics. The message from Lila Rose and the activists gathered at Dr. Santangelo’s clinic wasn’t based off legal precedent or a back and forth between pro-choice or pro-life—but rather, one troubling question:
“How many more women have to die before we begin to question abortion facilities?”
Nationwide panic broke on Monday morning when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rolled out furloughs to a near-15,000 of its air traffic controllers in efforts to comply with mandatory sequester cuts. Almost immediately the AP reported massive delays, traveler discontent, and a grim glimpse of things to come. But when the chaotic day drew to a close, two questions emerged: Were the delays a direct result from FAA spending cuts? And more importantly, were these cuts necessary?
The answer to the first question is a muddled yes and no. Flight delays that occurred yesterday were affected by cuts in some airports, notably Charlotte-Douglas and Los Angeles International, but only during brief periods throughout the day. It’s worth noting that the delays themselves were moderate—anywhere from 16 to 60 minutes. NPR continued to update a live blog as the situation unfolded and concluded that:
“The FAA's furloughs didn't bring the massive cascading delays some analysts had feared as of early evening on the East Coast Monday. But many travelers' plans were hampered by delays and cancellations, as rain and windy conditions around New York City forced delays at airports and the rescheduling of flights.”
Not only were airports dealing with air traffic furloughs, but they had to implement the changes during the busiest day for air travel. Despite these issues the FAA’s real-time flight delay chart shows that a majority of airports experiencing delays can be attributed to high winds.
Even though it’s evident that the flight delays haven’t been nearly as severe as expected, that hasn’t stopped the political left from placing blame on the Republican-controlled House. Rep. Rick Larsen, a Washington Democrat and member of the House aviation panel gave his remarks after the news broke:
"There's a lot finger-pointing going on, but the simple truth is that it is Congress's job to fix this. Flight delays are just the latest example of how the sequester is damaging the economy and hurting families across the country."
Rep. Larsen wasn’t the only one exchanging blows. White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer mused, "What do tours and flight delays have in common? They affect [Congress] members directly."
But were the cuts to air traffic controllers necessary? Following the FAA’s announcement, House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) released a statement criticizing the administration’s furlough plans.
“The FAA’s management of sequestration is quickly going from bad to worse. Given that the FAA’s budget increased more than 100 percent over the last 15 years, finding five percent in savings shouldn’t need to significantly impact our nation’s aviation operations. What’s perhaps most troubling is that the FAA has known about the sequester for almost two years and gave Congress and the airline industry less than a week’s notice about its implementation plans.”
Along with the statement Rep. Shuster included a set of targeted areas that would save airports from delays. The list recommended cuts to the nearly $500 million spent annually on consultants, $325 million in FAA supplies and air travel, and 46 aircrafts owned by the administration that cost $143 million to operate.
In addition to Monday’s furlough announcement, the Department of Transportation announced a $474 million grant program, an ongoing part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (stimulus package). While the grant allocates some money to repair road infrastructures, past projects have included over $120 million in streetcar implementation, greenways, and multiple undefined “revitalizations”.
The Department of Education and Department of Homeland Security have both come under criticism recently for exaggerating the effects sequestration will have on Americans. It seems as if the Department of Transportation is next in line, deliberately forcing air travel delays in order to inflict the most pain on the largest group of citizens.
Airline companies, pilots, and air traffic controllers have come together and created a site to channel all complaints to the FAA. The group urges citizens to send the FAA a message in hopes that the administration will reverse its politically motivated policy. “Don’t Ground America” can be found here.
Update: In response to a recent HuffPo article that claims the FAA is merely following the mandatory sequester guidelines--two things. First, that article is written in response to this report, which was written before Congress postponed the sequester for two months and before they passed a continuing resolution granting more flexibility.
Secondly, the OMB released a follow-up on April 4th, which states:
"As directed by Memorandum 13-03, in allocating reduced budgetary resources due to sequestration, agencies should generally use any available flexibility to reduce operational risks and minimize impacts on the agency's core mission in service of the American people. Agencies should also take into account funding flexibilities, including the availability of reprogramming and transfer authority."
Tensions in Venezuela continued to escalate yesterday as newly elected president Nicolas Maduro took over local broadcasting stations to further demonize his opposition. Despite previous promises to hold a recount prior to the election, Maduro has rejected multiple requests from his challenger, Henrique Capriles. Maduro, a former bus driver known for his steadfast loyalties to former President Hugo Chavez, has been viewed as a direct predecessor to the former dictator and a vigilant understudy of Chavez’s political philosophy.
Maduro won the election with 50.8% of the vote while his opponent, Capriles, garnered 49.0%. Current tallies give Maduro a 270,000 margin of victory, though votes still haven’t come from Venezuelans living in foreign countries—where they overwhelming vote against the socialist regime. Other world leaders have reacted to the news as expected, with communist-friendly countries already extending their well-wishes to the party, including China, Russia and Cuba. The U.S. State Department has refused to recognize the election results, claiming the opposition deserves a recount.
"The result as reported is extremely close," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters. “The opposition candidate and at least one member of the electoral council have called for an audit, which ... in our view, seems like an important and prudent step to take."
Though the U.S. would prefer the centrist-leaning Capriles, neither candidate will have an easy road to recovery. Venezuela’s inflation continues to spiral out of control along with food shortages, a crumbling infrastructure, and widespread blackouts. Chavez’s overabundant social programs are becoming impossible to balance, despite the countries large oil resources.
The election results have forced thousands of Venezuela citizens to streets, where they continue to struggle for a recount. The resulting violence has already claimed the lives of 8 protesters, with 61 injured. In a radio broadcast Wednesday, Maduro didn't shy away from using force, provoking protesters to fight him.
“The march to the center of Caracas will not be permitted,” Maduro said in his first broadcast, from a government-run health clinic. “I will use a hard hand against fascism and intolerance. I declare it. If they want to overthrow me, come and get me. Here I am, with the people and the armed forces.”
During the subsequent broadcast Maduro blasted the United States for financing “all the acts of violence in this country”, and held them accountable for the repeated blackouts that had plagued the country. His third and final transmission of the day came during a scheduled Capriles news conference that led to Maduros cutting off the opposing broadcast and reiterating his own message: “Decide who you are with, with the country and peace and the people, or are you going to go back to be with fascism?”
Maduro’s dystopian tactics didn’t end there when one father, William Bastardo, accused the government of changing the story of his sons passing. The countries Justice Ministry officials propagated that Mr. Bastardo had lost his son to Capriles-backed protesters, when in fact he had been protesting Maduro’s victory when shots were fired. Not only that, new reports surfaced that the Supreme Court of Venezuela made a ruling against a recount without either sides provocation, controversially interjecting themselves into the national debate.
Capriles has repeatedly stated his desire for peaceful protests—though the latest actions by Maduros could squash any hope for an immediate nonviolent resolution.
"If both sides have said that they want to count vote for vote, what is the rush? What are they hiding? Why do we have to accelerate the process?" Capriles said. "What they want is for the truth not to be known."
In a recent op-ed penned by Guantanamo Bay detainee Samil Naji al Hasan Moqbel, the Yemen-born prisoner lists multiple grievances against Gitmo and demands that he be cleared of any wrong-doing. The piece originally ran in the New York Times and has started a firestorm of criticism from human rights activists who were quick to come to Moqbel’s defense.
Moqbel depicts himself as a victim who was promised work in Afghanistan and then left stranded. He fled Afghanistan following the 2001 U.S. invasion into neighboring Pakistan, where he was then arrested.
“I could have been home years ago,” said Moqbel. Years ago the military said I was a “guard” for Osama bin Laden, but this was nonsense, like something out of the American movies I used to watch.”
“A childhood friend told me that in Afghanistan I could do better than the $50 a month I earned in a factory, and support my family. I’d never really traveled, and knew nothing about Afghanistan, but I gave it a try. I was wrong to trust him.”
Moqbel has joined 41 detainees in hunger strikes that started back in February, when guards were forced to search Qurans for contraband. Though Moqbel claims to have been assaulted by “military police in riot gear while sick in the hospital”, it appears that any use of force came when the officers were resisted during a cell search. Gitmo officials explained their reasoning for the search in a letter to the Center for Constitutional Rights.
“There have been incidents of detainees storing contraband in their Qurans; items found have included improvised weapons, unauthorized food and medicine,” wrote William K. Lietzau, deputy assistant secretary of defense for rule of law and detainee policy.
Military officials have confirmed that the strikers have been fed through IVs, but deny claims of unprofessional behavior. Though human rights groups often oppose this process, officials argue it would be more inhumane to let detainees starve.
Moqbel went on to claim that the U.S. doesn’t even consider him a threat, but if that was the case, Obama’s executive ordered review board would have cleared him for release.
Unsurprisingly, it appears Moqbel isn’t who he claims to be. In a leaked Department of Defense assessment of Moqbel, officials labeled him as a high-risk threat, and detailed his capture with the “dirty 30”, a group of Osama Bin Laden’s closest allies and bodyguards. In addition, a Brookings Institute study examined the backgrounds of every Guantanamo prisoner and found that Samil Naji al Hasan Moqbel was in fact a bodyguard for Osama Bin Laden. The report goes on to confirm that Moqbel participated in Taliban attacks and supported the insurgency. Not exactly innocent behavior.
The prisoners that remain in Guantanamo pose a clear threat to the safety of the United States as demonstrated by the current administration’s reluctance to close the facility. It shouldn’t come as a shock that a former bodyguard of Osama Bin Laden’s would lie about his history and prison conditions. It is a shock, however, to find how quickly the world sides with a known threat.
With Republicans and Democrats scrambling to work on a budget that may alleviate part of the $85 billion in sequester cuts, a new report from the Government Accountability Office should elicit debate over program funding and how to the administration can avoid unnecessary overhead. The 283 page annual report highlights 31 areas that the government can cut down on costs, spanning thousands of programs that fit the definition of “fragmentation, overlap, and duplication”.
Departments often have multiple programs that serve similar purposes, or that have been split up—fragmented—into smaller administrations. This leads to hundreds of disorganized programs spending money towards the same group of goals. GAO officials offer suggestions within the report, such as merging auditors and collaborating on information collection to avoid inaccurate data.
Some highlights from the report include 76 programs for drug abuse, in which the Department of Homeland Security uses five separate contracts to detect the same substance, at a $4.5 billion dollar cost. Other sections question the Department of Defense for spending over $5 billion on 7 military camouflage uniforms, instead of the previous standard of 2.
Yet the biggest offender appears to be renewable energy programs, of which the GAO identified 679 initiatives that were either overlapping or unnecessary.
Wind energy tops the renewable resource waste, creating millions of waste on administrative fees and unnecessary subsidies.
“The GAO found that the 82 wind-related initiatives were fragmented across multiple agencies. Additionally, most of the 82 initiatives had overlapping characteristics, and several of them have provided duplicative financial support to deploy wind energy projects. Specifically, regarding fragmentation, nine agencies implemented initiatives that involved the same broad area of national need—promoting or enabling wind energy development.”
Along with the numerous duplicate programs, the GAO discovered that certain wind initiatives didn’t require the support of a department, and worse still, some funding wasn’t even utilized for renewable energy:
“GAO identified three other DOE initiatives that did not actually fund any wind projects in the fiscal year," the report reads,"GAO’s review of a briefing memorandum from White House staff, DOE documents, and other documentation related to two wind projects suggests that agencies’ wind initiatives have, in some cases, supported projects that may have been built without their incremental support.”
In addition, the report includes various cost-saving “enhancements” that can streamline government services and increase savings. Among the suggestions was a need for cloud computing, TSA baggage screening upgrades, and crop insurance adjustments. The Internal Revenue Service also received its own section and was placed on the organizations “high-risk list”, citing a large net-tax gap as cause for concern. The IRS can improve its revenue collecting by allocating more funds towards payment enforcement, contacting taxpayers, and overhauling their information technology sector.
If these departments were able to cut back on spending and follow the guidelines of the GAO, estimated savings would equate to approximately $250 billion a year, nearly three times that of sequestration. White House officials expect these suggestions to be accounted for during the impending budget talks, but many of these programs have existed for years; suggesting a persistent willingness by politicians to avoid upsetting their constituents.
In ongoing efforts to re-brand the Republican Party, several prominent GOP strategists have formed a new conservative research group, “America Rising”. Founding members told the Daily Caller that planning had been in the works for months, but it’s no coincidence that the launch comes days after the RNC released their 97-page diagnostic on conservative outreach.
Matt Rhoades, a former campaign manager for Mitt Romney, and Joe Pounder, a current RNC research director, created the group in response to the party’s disorganization and opposition research.
“We plan to start this enterprise because so many Republicans seem to agree there is a need on our side of the aisle for an entity that is focused solely on holding Democrats accountable for their actions and records using candidate tracking, rapid response and digital tools,” Matt Rhoades said in a release statement.
The group plans to model itself based off the Democrat counterpart, “American Bridge”, a David Brock-founded super PAC that collects video on Republican candidates. American Bridge rose to prominence during the 2012 elections, when controversial comments by Representative’s Todd Akin and Steve King gained significant circulation.
Rhoades plans on dividing America Rising into two separate organizations; a limited liability company with clients, and a super PAC. In addition to ongoing research for potential 2016 Democrat nominees, the group will focus on effective messaging tactics. Campaigns will involve social media, digital advertising and PR coverage. Rhoades has stated his reluctance towards spending money on T.V. advertising.
PAC headquarters will be located in Washington, D.C. and the PAC plans to offer access to their database and consulting for a fee. At a time in which conservative leaders are desperate to stop the recent string of electoral losses, America Rising looks to provide politicians with insight into effective campaigning strategies.
RNC leaders believe the group has the potential to reunite and coalesce a fractured, reeling GOP. Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said the group was “excited about the efforts of groups like America Rising that will further strengthen the future of the Republican Party.”
Republicans had hoped that mandatory sequestration cuts would force Democrats to limit excessive spending; and a 5% reduction across the board would have in theory allowed departments to eliminate programs that had been labeled wasteful. American’s are now three weeks into the sequester and even though Obama’s administration has since withdrawn their apocalyptic government warnings, questionable spending cuts continue to persist.
Earlier this week Fox News reported that the administration had approved $37 million in foreign aid for Pakistan at the expense of a tuition assistance program for veterans. Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, plans to introduce a bill that will stop foreign aid funding until military tuition is restored:
“Why are we funding education programs for [Pakistan] when we can't fund -- or don't fund -- the education for our military? And to Pakistan of all places, where hatred for America is at its highest. Washington should watch its spending and prioritize.”
Poe went on to defend the program, claiming that:
“The cost of the program is .1 percent of the Defense Department's budget, and one that has helped graduate 50,000 individuals. The Marines spent roughly $47 million from the program last year”.
Veteran unemployment already hovers around 9.4%, almost two points above the national average. And despite the president’s assurance last year that “no one who fights for this country overseas should ever have to fight for a job”, the elimination of this program tells a contradicting story. Various departments have already made multiple cuts to make Americans feel the effects of the sequester, though as previously reported, the reasoning is purely political.
The news comes two weeks after Secretary of State John Kerry announced another foreign aid package of $250 million for Egypt. These promises of foreign aid are particularly complexing when factoring in the results of a Pew Research Poll conducted a week before the sequestration deadline, which found that “[f]or 18 of 19 programs tested, majorities want either to increase spending or maintain it at current levels. The only exception is assistance for needy people around the world.”
Unfortunately it appears as if Democrat spending will continue to go unchecked. Money that could be allocated towards supporting troops is being spent on countries that haven’t always had America’s best interest in mind. Yet another example of how far the government is willing to go to fabricate sequester pains.
In what will be viewed as another post-sequestration sacrifice, the Transport Security Administration will begin to permit small pocket knives, baseball bats, and other sports equipment onboard commercial flights starting April 25th. TSA head John Pistole defended the administration’s decision, explaining the need to reduce banned items and decrease wait times.
Proponents argue that there have been significant changes in air travel since 9/11, including reinforced pilot doors and motivated passengers. Douglas Laird, a former security director of Northwest Air, believes the damage that could be inflicted by a small knife is negligible, in a quote from USA Today:
"I don't recall — other than 9/11 — any incident where anybody did anything with a knife on an airplane or a tennis racquet or a golf club," Laird says. "Most of the disturbances on airplanes involved guys having fist fights — not fist-fighting flight attendants, fist-fighting themselves."
Former TSA Chief Kip Hawley applauded the decision, and made his case for lifting the ban on all sharp weapons. Hawley confirmed that he wasn’t exaggerating, and went on to claim:
“They ought to let everything on that is sharp and pointy. Battle axes, machetes ... bring anything you want that is pointy and sharp because while you may be able to commit an act of violence, you will not be able to take over the plane. What are you going to do when you get on board with a battle ax? If you pull out your battle ax and say I'm taking over the airplane. You may be able to cut one or two people, but pretty soon you would be down in the aisle.”
Those that oppose the decision acknowledge that while the inclusion of knives won’t be detrimental to landing the plane, it will affect the well-being of passengers and flight attendants. The Coalition of Flight Attendant Unions called the TSA’s decision “short-sighted” and a threat to undermine aviation security.
TSA officials predict that the measure will save time spent waiting at checkpoints, yet many remain skeptical. A chart created by the administration details the blade sizes that will be allowed on flights, but disputes have arisen in the past between passengers and security over water and gels, knives will be no different. Officials will have to measure blades and conclude that they fall under the 2.36 inch length requirements, negating any positive impact on wait times.
The announcement comes on the heels of Attorney General Eric Holder’s statement this week that the sequester will make America “less safe”, a puzzling admission in light of this report. Wouldn’t allowing knives on flights make American’s less safe? Yet another example of the administration threatening U.S. lives in order to prove they’re in danger.
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