Pittsburgh International Airport: There Will Come Soft Rains

Pittsburgh has a fantastically nice airport that no one uses. It used to be US Airways’ primary east-coast hub, but US Air has gone from 500 flights a day through there to, like, ten. So now it’s mostly empty. But it’s a great layout, it’s easy to get from one gate to another, it doesn’t require a train to get from the A gates to the D gates, there’s plenty of room to sit, there’s a mall with upscale stores in the terminal, decent food options… Just that there’s no one there.

I like ghost towns and ruins. Except that sometimes the places that are called “ghost towns” are kind of disappointing. All those “buildings” in Death Valley, for instance — I mean, there’s no romance there. You can’t see anything of what used to actually go on since it’s all so dilapidated now. But at some point during the big road trip last year it occurred to me that I didn’t need to seek out “ghost towns”, because they were right in front of me. Every boarded up house in the world is a “ghost house” — there were some impressive examples in Natchez, for instance, and I remember a lot of disappearing Americana in rural Southern Oregon as well. And there was some town I drove through in Texas that looked like it had been abandoned within the last ten years. It wasn’t a wild west ghost town, but it was awesome anyway.

It’s also interesting to me that they keep these parts of the terminal open to the public. The international gates, for instance, have a door on them so they could be shut off, but the door is wide open. The moving sidewalks still move, the announcement tells you to please stand to the right and pass on the left and caution, because the moving walkway is nearing its end. But there’s no one there to hear it.

Two thirty-five.

Bridge tables sprouted from patio walls. Playing cards fluttered onto pads in a shower ofpips. Martinis manifested on an oaken bench with egg-salad sandwiches.

Music played.

But the tables were silent and the cards untouched.

Y’know part of me hopes there’s a big nuclear war some time just so I can see if any of the post-apocalyptic prognostications ended up having any validity. What’s the point of guessing at it if you never even get to see it?!

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TSA: Where Nanny State and Police State Meet

Or maybe those are synonyms — whatever.

Just saw this on Cato-at-Liberty:

(The recording and interview with the guy are the good part, the rest of the clip is usual FoxNews grandstanding and chest-thumping.)

Seriously, though, how can anyone *not* have a problem with a quasi-police force at the airport that’s not responsible enough to inform people of their rights, but feels empowered to harass and detain (and arrest) people that, in one officer’s opinion, are “suspicious”. TSA is a cost without a real benefit. It’s a system set up by the state to make a system less efficient and deprive individuals of privacy and that can provide no actual evidence of preventing any sort of terrorism whatsoever. The only “benefit” of the current TSA is that it makes the soft-brained feel better about traveling on airplanes.

Willingness to exchange privacy and liberty for perceived safety was a great hallmark of the Hitler regime. If what people want is fascism, they should at least have the self awareness to say so rather than misappropriating words like “freedom” and “equality”.

Man. I can’t stand that anyone still thinks that “heightened airport security” is a good thing. Man, but I wish these guys would get on with it and succeed already.

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Last Nail in John Wayne (Airport)’s Coffin

  1. They raised the price of on-site parking, again. This time to $20. In 2001, it was $10.
  2. They’re closing down one of the four on-site parking structures entirely. They already maimed two of the four (read: removed the 25% of the parking spaces that were closest to the terminal) in an effort to undo 9/11 after the fact. Unexpectedly, seven years later, 9/11 still hasn’t been undone. It still happened. Darn.

The previous changes to parking availability (along with an increase in flights out of SNA) has already resulted in insufficient mid-week parking. I’ve experienced not finding any parking in any of the four on-site lots (yes, I ignored the “Lot Full” signs in order to verify that there really wasn’t any parking available), then driving to the off-site lot only to find that it, too, was full. And it’s not like there are private lots set up around SNA to handle overflow parking. (Yet.)

“Fortunately”, they’re opening up a new “Lot C” off-site. Except that they’re going to charge the new $20 rate, despite it being off site.

The upshot is that my decision-making airport-choosing flow has now changed.

  • If there’s a non-stop from SNA to destination, fly out of SNA.
  • If there’s not a non-stop from SNA to destination, but there *is* a non-stop from LGB, LAX, or, heck, even ONT, don’t fly out of SNA. (There’s never a non-stop out of ONT. That was just me being silly.)

And cops who cause traffic jams on the 5 South at 10:45 on Sunday nights in order to park on the shoulder and spend ten minutes verifying that a stalled vehicle on the shoulder is, in fact, a stalled vehicle parked on the shoulder should be [your favorite violent past-tense verb goes here].

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Great Accomplishments in TSA History

The great thing about quick business trips is that you get to go through airport security twice in one day. Makes it all worthwhile. So in honor of our government’s brilliant new mechanisms put in place in order to ensure every passenger feels sufficiently hassled prior to being allowed to enter the boarding area, I’ve assembled this comprehensive list of the TSA’s greatest accomplishments to date.

1.

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