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THE PAT-DOWN PRESS

The ballyhoo over airport pat-downs will be over as soon as we “maximize protection and security and minimize inconvenience and invasiveness,” says White House press secretary Robert Gibbs. Sounds good. Until then, please be entertained by the national press corps, which has patted itself down and come up with an entire carry-on bag’s worth of headlines. Among them:

“Pat down or perish?” (Boston Globe). “TSA Uproar: That’s the power of Drudge” (Hotair.com). “Invasion of the body scanners” (Boston Herald). “The Revolt Against TSA: It’s the Election, Part 2” (Commentary Magazine). “TSA has met the enemy — and they are us” (ABC News). “We just don’t want to get naked for you, TSA” (Fox News). “The Gate Rape of America” (Canada Free Press). “Torches and pitchforks at airport security” (CBS News). “Keep your hands off my Constitution” (Jewish World Review). “Tell the TSA: ‘Don’t touch my junk’, Here’s how” (MSNBC).

“If you’re asked to remove your clothing, you should ask for a supervisor or manager.” (Advice to passengers from “Blogger Bob,” nom de plume of a TSA staff blogger, offering an official response Monday to a cell-phone video of a boy “strip-searched by the TSA” at the Salt Lake City International Airport on Nov. 19

And now a word from the American Federation of Government Employees, the union for TSA workers, which is vexed that members are getting hollered at by irate passengers. “Like all Americans, transportation safety officers deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. These men and women are the first line of defense against those who seek to harm this country,” says union President John Gage. “It is unacceptable for any passenger to verbally or physically assault any security officers, and TSA must act now — before the Thanksgiving rush — to ensure that the officers are not being left to fend for themselves.”

CRANBERRY-FREE ZONE

“Cranberry sauce, cologne, creamy dips and spreads (cheeses, peanut butter, etc.); gift baskets with food items (salsa, jams and salad dressings); gravy, jams, jellies, lotions, maple syrup, oils and vinegars, perfume, salad dressing, salsa, sauces, snowglobes, soups, wine, liquor and beer.”

List of food or gift items “that you should put in your checked bag, ship ahead, or leave at home,” according to the TSA. And an addendum: “You can bring pies and cakes through the security checkpoint, but please be advised that they are subject to additional screening.”

AND ELSEWHERE …

What? No pat-downs? No pet-downs? Customs officials seized eight endangered falcons at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport on Monday after a female passenger tried to smuggle the birds to Syria. The rare gyrfalcons — worth $50,000 each on the black market — were swaddled in cloth, hooded and packed in two boxes. They “passed undetected through two security checkpoints and a customs inspection,” according to the International Fund for Animal Welfare, which sent the falcons to its “raptor rehabilitation center” in Moscow.

CHECK-UP

“Americans’ evaluations of the quality of their own health care are among the most positive Gallup has found over the past decade, with 40 percent rating their health care as excellent, slightly higher than the previous high of 38 percent as well as the average of 34 percent over the past decade,” says Gallup analyst Lydia Saad. “A combined 82 percent rate their health care as either excellent or good, which is on par with previous years.”

She continues, “The national debate over health care reform in the past two years focused mainly on improving access to health insurance as well as on lowering costs. As Congress considers further changes to U.S. health care policy, or possibly scaling back the new law, it is important to bear in mind that the vast majority of Americans, overall, believe they are getting at least good quality health care under the current system.”

THE GIPPER GAP

“We’re approaching the 100th anniversary of the birthday of Ronald Reagan: February 6, 2011. It’s time to begin thinking seriously about an appropriate national commemoration of this good man and great president,” says David Frum, former George W. Bush appointee and now a CNN contributor. “To date, the main attempts to honor Reagan in the nation’s capital have gone askew. A government office building second in size only to the Pentagon? An airport from which Washingtonians cannot fly to California? These do not seem very appropriate monuments to a president who fought bureaucracy and yearned for home.”

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