Bunny Lady vs. TSA, Deep Throat gets choked up, and a comment about comments


I won’t bury the lede, as they say in journalism: After yesterday’s poll that asked if asking I should continue using polls on this site, I feel as if I have a mandate.

The polls stay.

And now, on with the show. This week’s most ridiculous story is the imprisonment of the Bunny Lady by the TSA. Why, you ask, would the federal agency charged with protecting our transportation systems want to put Val Baul behind bars?

She had what my colleagues call a “bizarre” run-in with an agent over an Easter egg. Specifically, she had the audacity to sprinkle an agent who questioned her about her eggs with a little confetti.

You can’t make this stuff up.

As you read the story, ask yourself: Do we need to be protected from the Bunny Lady? Or is the TSA out of line?

I’m going to refrain from highlighting any other TSA stories in this post, although there are plenty of them out there.

Many of you have asked about the memos I was planning to publish last week. The answer is complicated.

One whistleblower, a TSA agent, got cold feet. I totally understand why someone would stop cooperating, particularly when you could lose your livelihood (and might end up sharing a cell with the Bunny Lady — the horror!). Of course, I’m disappointed that Deep Throat got a little choked up, but I get it.

The other memo was shared with me and several other journalists for a mainstream media organization with which I’m affiliated. I consulted with my editor and we decided that the memo would be best handled by a different department. I’ll be sure to link to the final story when it’s published.

Of course, the memo we all want to see isn’t a memo at all — it’s the Screening Management Standard Operating Procedures like the one accidentally released in 2009. It would reveal exactly how TSA agents are instructed to “pat down” air travelers and tell us precisely how they deal with those scanners.

If there’s anyone with a current copy, you can . I’ll keep your name out of it, of course.

Even if you don’t have access to the TSA manual, you can help me today by giving me your opinion. Some of you may have noticed that for a few hours on Saturday, I tested a new, cloud-based commenting system called Livefyre. It would have been pretty cool if it had worked, allowing us to integrate Facebook and Twitter and do other neat things.

But there were two problems: First, it required that you authenticate yourself by either logging in with a social-networking service or creating a new account, which some of you weren’t comfortable with. And second, it didn’t archive the new comments, so if I ever decided to revert back to the old commenting system, the new comments would be lost.

I still want to try to try something cloud-based and more social. Right now I’m running a hybrid of Facebook comments and homegrown WordPress comments (scroll down to see what they look like). I really like Disqus, which is used by some mainstream media organizations like CNN.com, and am thinking of switching to it.

Should I?

Please help me figure out what to do.

(Photo: Robo bo bobo/Flickr Creative Commons)

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at . Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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