Are There Travel Luggage Brands Favored by the TSA?

Posted by Jay Louineaux on
Daily News

If you’re traveling in the United States and if you have come across the TSA, you probably don’t have fond memories. Chances are you really took exception to the way they handled you. For people who are very big on personal independence and autonomy, the worst way you can insult or threaten that person is to put your hand on them.

You will definitely feel your personal space getting invaded. While it may not be as awkward and degrading as your next proctological exam, it can come quite close. The TSA can always justify their actions as necessary for the ‘safety’ of the United States. You know this is true. Most people can agree on this.

It doesn’t matter how seemingly non-threatening or benign it is. It’s still going to be viewed as some sort of threat or unwarranted intrusion. That’s how touchy some people could be and that’s fine. Everybody’s different. Different strokes for different folks.

Other people are very touchy feely. They can’t help but hug total strangers. That’s fine as well. But if you want your next interaction with a TSA to be as smooth and flawless as possible, it’s probably a good idea to lug around luggage that’s very easy to open and close.

In other words, you need to be as compliant with the whole TSA screening procedure system as possible. Unfortunately, a lot of people are clueless regarding this. So they lug around clunky luggage that takes forever to open. What do you think will happen there?

Well, your interaction with the TSA will take longer than necessary. If you thought you were insecure or irritated at a TSA personnel before they even laid a hand on your luggage, wait until you go through that excruciating process.

It’s as if they’re on your face the whole time and it gets really annoying really quickly. So to minimize the likelihood of that situation from happening, do yourself a big favor. Get suitcases that make it easy for you to go through the TSA screening process.

It seems easy but there’s a lot more to this piece of advice. You have to be proactive. You can’t just automatically assume that any luggage you get online would do its job and make your next TSA screening experience a breeze. If only that were the case. It hardly works out that way if you use the wrong luggage.

Please understand that this doesn’t mean that the TSA has it in for some brands over others. Instead, they look at the overall design of your luggage and tie this into the possibility of security issues or other threats. Like it or not and agree with it or not, everything goes back to security.

Please understand that the TSA doesn’t have an approved list of luggage brands or models. Instead, just look for suitcases that are known for durability and also easy use. This way, you don’t have to hassle about long waits at the TSA processing system.

Of course, it’s a necessary evil that they have to pat people down. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be like a long and excruciating ordeal. If you have anything to do with it, you can plan ahead and make sure that you lug around the right kind of baggage that are easy to screen, easy to open, easy to close and easy to move along. That should be your goal.

So with that said, brands that have those qualities include Tumi. The great thing about Tumi is its spinner wheels are so flexible that it doesn’t feel like you’re carrying a bag around. Also, it’s made out of a shell construction that is very easy for x-ray machines to process.

So unless you are carrying cocaine, marijuana or some other contraband, you don’t have anything to worry about from the TSA. This carry on luggage is also very easy to open thanks to its well designed zipper.

It is no surprise that a lot of busy travelers prefer the Tumi brand. They have a long product line. So you’re sure to find a model that is right up your alley.

Another brand you should look into is actually a well known brand. I am, of course, talking about Samsonite. Samsonite made a name for itself when it ran commercials featuring an angry gorilla throwing around a Samsonite luggage.

At the end of this extremely long period of pummeling, thrashing and bashing, the luggage was open. Lo and behold, everything was intact despite all that excruciating punishment. This is what made Samsonite famous.

To its credit, the Samsonite brand has evolved with the times. It knew that TSA screening procedures can be a hassle. It knows that people really don’t want to deal with all the hassles of the TSA. So they made adjustments to their design.

Now, Samsonite luggages, regardless which type and which design, are intended for easy screening. There are no parts that obscure the x-ray image when your luggage is going through the screener. This way, the TSA personnel processing you can quickly scan on the screen, look at you and wave you on.

Pretty straightforward, painless and definitely drama free. So if you’re looking for an uneventful experience with the TSA at your local airport, do yourself a big favor. Get the right luggage.

This is not guaranteed because a lot of people may foolishly pack stuff they shouldn’t be carrying around. But if you are a responsible person and you prepare ahead, you don’t have to worry about TSA issues.

A little bit of advanced preparation can definitely go a long way as far as your piece of mind goes. You might want to get a Samsonite luggage set or look for the many competing brands out there that offer products that look suspiciously similar to Samsonite luggage.

There’s no shortage of these competing brands. In fact, some of them have been around for a very long time. Try these if your budget can’t swing a set of Samsonite luggage. Don’t ever get caught flat footed again with the TSA!

Do Food Stamps Contribute to the Obesity Problem in America?

Posted by Jay Louineaux on
Daily News

Food stamps have always been the boogie man of people looking to cut back the size of the government. That’s the bottom line. At the back of their heads, if you are applying for food stamps, then there’s something fundamentally wrong with you because if you are an able bodied person, you should be out there working.

It is no surprise that a lot of people are asking themselves, “Do food stamps contribute to the obesity problem in America?” The idea is that there’s a lot of people, and I’m talking about millions of Americans, who simply don’t want to get jobs or who have such poor paying jobs that they have to be on food stamps.

The idea is that the vast majority of these people live such sedentary lives that they just flop down in front of a video game or a TV and while away their time. Based on this sedentary lifestyle, it’s no surprise that people’s waistlines get bigger and bigger.

As you probably already know, there’s an obesity epidemic in the United States. More and more people are coming down with obesity related diseases and we are sitting on a ticking demographic health time bomb.

It’s only a matter of time until this massive obesity epidemic translates into an explosion of type 2 diabetes cases, certain types of cancer and, of course, cardiovascular diseases. Indeed, the leading cause of death for Americans for many years now are heart attacks and strokes.

It is in this context that a lot of people are saying that we need to look at different government policies and see what the long term health ramifications are. Unfortunately, given the political hot potato that the welfare state and welfare programs tend to be, it often becomes a moralistic argument.

A lot of people keep saying to themselves and to other people who are willing to listen the basic question. Do food stamps contribute to the obesity problem in America? Well, what they’re really trying to say is that maybe it’s a good idea to cut down on the food stamp program so that more people could go out there and work.

The problem here is there’s an 800 pound gorilla in the room. A significant chunk of all the jobs in the United States pay barely minimum wage. In other words, even if you wanted to work, the best you can do is a minimum wage job.

Now, if you are living with your parents or you’re a young person or you just moved out, maybe you can get by with a job that pays less that $15 an hour. However, if you have a couple of kids and you don’t have a life partner or you’re a single mom or single dad, you’re probably going to have a lot of problems on your hands.

That’s why even working single parents still have supplemental nutritional assistance from the government aka: food stamps. That’s the bottom line.

Any kind of talk regarding just getting lazy people to get off the couch and find work is overly simplistic and ultimately unrealistic.

You can call it cruel. You can call it asinine. You can call it a lot of names. But that sentiment is actually very strong in the United States because as you probably already know, the US is very big on individual responsibility.

It’s very big on freedom. But freedom has a twin. That’s right. That twin is called self responsibility. It is no surprise that the United States is the richest country in the world primarily because of its heavy emphasis on individual freedom.

What people don’t understand about freedom however is that it’s very easy to get excited about the freedom to succeed. It’s very easy to get excited about that person who quits and job and founds a multi-million dollar company. Those are the kinds of stories people love to hear and in fact in many cases, those are the only stories that you do here.

But you don’t hear about the people who try and fail. You don’t hear about the people who fall between the cracks. The reality is that the freedom to succeed also has a twin. The freedom to fail. It really all boils down to the central question of what will society do and is society even obligated to help up or give a hand up to people who have fallen behind?

Please understand that welfare benefits like food stamps might indirectly contribute to the obesity problem. They contribute, indeed, but only indirectly. How come? Well, when a person has a fairly low set budget for their monthly food what do you think they will do?

Are they going to go to their nearest Whole Foods or Trader Joes and buy tons of arugula and kale? Or are they going to go straight to the nearest Dollar General or Dollar Store to load up on a whole lot more heavily processed foods?

Poor people are drawn to cheap food because they get more bang for their buck. Can you really blame them? You probably would make the same decision because, at the end of the day, it’s all about financial and budget efficiency. This is why they are drawn to to cheap food.

The problem is, most of the cheapest foods on the market are cheap precisely because they use highly processed ingredients like super processed flour, corn, and mashed potatoes. Many make up for flavor deficiency by being drenched in saturated fat or gobs of sugar. Not exactly the healthiest of nutritional profiles.

This is going to be a debate that will rage on for many decades to come. After all, it’s been going on for several decades now. Ever since the New Deal, Americans have been debating this issue. But the truth is when you look at the rest of the world, there seems to be some sort of forward march to greater and greater government control. That trend is probably not going to go away anytime soon.

The Main Policy Differences Between the Democrats And Republicans

Posted by Jay Louineaux on
Daily News

Usually, when people think about politics in the United States, 2 parties come to mind. This should not be a surprise. After all, the US system is basically geared to create 2 parties system. Unlike Europe and other parts of the world that generally use a parliamentary system, the US political structure tends to favor a 2 party model.

There are other parties, no doubt. But they don’t do all that well in elections. In fact, the most successful, if you want to use that word to describe their fate, is the libertarian party. The number of seats they hold on the local level is a tiny fraction of the electoral hold of both democrats and republicans.

This 2 party system is not without criticism. A lot of people are saying that there’s really not much difference between the parties. In fact, some of the most vocal critics of the current American political systems say that there is such a thing as a uni party.

In other words, there’s really one party ruling the Unites States. I know it sounds conspiratorial and crazy. But there are actually a lot of people who believe this. They think that the republicans and democrats are essentially just fronts. They’re essentially just masks for a select group of people that really run the show.

It doesn’t really matter who the current and next president is. It doesn’t matter whether they have an R or a D after their name. At the end of the day, the same policies are passed by congress and implemented by the executive.

Unfortunately, this is not true. This is a gross simplification of the democrats and republicans. If you are to look at the details and policy positions of democrat and republican candidates for any office, you can see marked differences.

In fact, depending on which republican and democrat you research, the differences can be like black and white. It can be that extreme. Here are just some of the main policy differences between the democrats and republicans.

Republicans tend to be pro-life

Generally speaking, republicans, in terms of party platform as well as through some sort of “ideological litmus test” tend to be pro-life or anti-abortion. The flip side of this applies to the democrats. If you are not pro-choice, you’re going to have a tough time as a democrat candidate. You might not even make it through the primary.

The same applies to republicans. If you strayed too far to the choice spectrum of the whole abortion debate that’s been raging in the United States for the past 40 years, you might not get elected as a republican.

Republicans favor smaller government

Republicans think that the government that’s closest to the people is the most responsible and is the most worthy form of government. The idea is as you move along the chain and you get closer and closer to Washington, the bureaucrats there and the people who make all sorts of decisions are really so far away from the day to day concerns of people in Main Street, USA.

The whole idea here is to cut the size of government, roll back the scope of the federal governments responsibilities and powers and give more of that power to the people. If this sounds familiar, it should because this is actually enshrined in the US constitution.

However, the constitution was drafted and ratified in the late 18th century. Things have changed dramatically and people’s expectations have changed dramatically. This is why democrats say that the constitution should be interpreted as a living document.

In other words, it has to be in consonance or it must be in touch with people’s needs in the here and now. With that framework, then it follows that government should be large enough to solve problems wherever they appear because the state and local government may seem too small or may not have the proper resources to deal with the problem accordingly.

Republicans favor the second amendment, democrats are more ambivalent about it

The second amendment guarantees Americans the right to bear arms. This is almost unheard of because other governments want guns out of their citizen’s hands. You have to understand that the reason why the second amendment was pushed so heavily by the founding fathers of the United States is because they did not trust a central government.

They just had a revolution. They knew that centralized authority can be a very bad thing. They also believed that an armed society is a polite society. You literally put the power back in the hands of the citizenry.

However, the democrats counter that arms technologies have evolved dramatically since the days of muskets and pistols. Now, people can have automatic or semi-automatic rifles that can kill a lot of people in a very short period of time.

Accordingly, there has to be some sort of rational limit to the right to bear arms. This is a raging debate in the United States which often flares up whenever there’s a mass shooting. As scary as those events may be, when you look at the total number of deaths in the United States in any given year, mass shootings are actually account for a very very small percentage.

Republicans are for less spending and less regulation

Until recently, republicans have been very big on spending cuts. Well, it seems that that has changed under president Trump. But historically speaking, republicans believe that the smaller the government is and the less money it spends, the better off people will be because hey, let’s face it, who is the better judge of how to spend your money?

That’s right. That person is you. So, generally speaking, republicans are for less taxes, less spending and less regulation. The idea is when these policies are pursued, the economy flourishes. And based on the recent results in Trump’s economy, there are actually more jobs than people looking for jobs. A lot could be said about this low regulation, low tax strategy.

Democrats, on the other hand, say that the reason there are so many billionaires in the United States is because the American system is so awesome and it really would be immoral for the government to stand by and let billionaires like Jeff Bezos make so much money while their employees are barely getting by above minimum wage.

The idea is for the government to step in through taxation to redistribute or equalize the wealth so we live in a more equitable society. The idea of inclusive growth is a very democratic idea.

Keep the differences above in mind if you come across somebody who says that there’s really not much difference between the political parties in the United States. There are actually quite a lot of differences. The policy variances I outlined above actually form just the tip of the iceberg.

Some Digital Devices that can be Found in the White House

Posted by Jay Louineaux on
Daily News

If you’ve been paying any attention to the news, you know that mobile phones are more than welcome in the Trump White House. Otherwise, there’s no way Donald Trump can make all those controversial and popular tweets.

Regardless of your politics, please understand that, since mobile devices have become standard devices in today’s White House, all bets are off.

It used to be that all communications from the White House has to go through a rigid hierarchy. This is how you maintain the integrity of the message. This is how you keep people in line. This is how you make sure that dissenting voices never get an audience.

It worked well for quite some time. But unfortunately, thanks to the rise of modern technology like Twitter, all bets are off.

Washington, D.C. at the White House.

Twitter, by its very nature and setup, encourages people to post their ‘hot take’ on anything they are monitoring or tracking. While this is perfectly fine for people tracking a food truck’s route so fans of the food truck can plan ahead, this can be both funny and dangerous when it comes to the President of the United States sharing his thoughts.

With Twitter, you can basically get anonymous tweets from people claiming to be insiders of the Trump White House revealing all sorts of controversies. On top of that, there are all sorts of online forums, message boards, as well as Facebook Pages and Facebook Groups. These create a massive worldwide, borderless, free distribution system for information.

Now, even somebody as lowly as a White House intern or an intern at a White House contractor can get the word out regarding the things they claim to have seen or heard in the White House. This is why the digital devices that can be found in the White House really opens up a new vista in how we are to treat channels of power and how we’re going to process information from those channels.

How exactly can you tell which is official and which is unofficial? How much weight can you give to the word of somebody who claims to have worked in the White House? And just because they had a mobile phone or just because they had some screenshots, is that enough?

It seems that, as technology continues to evolve, it can always be said that human methods of coping with such technology will always remain ten years behind. Remember the Hillary email scandal? Well, this is due to the fact that there are digital devices that can be found in the White House.

Hillary had access to mobile devices. She also had access to laptops. It’s really mind-blowing how certain protocols were not followed. And a lot of this really has to do with the disconnect between what people were used to and how technology has quickly evolved.

The argument could be made that email is not exactly new. After all, email predated the internet by at least a decade. So how can anybody say with a straight face that email technology is still so cutting edge that people using it should be given some sort of pass or at least not be put under such extreme scrutiny?

Well, regardless of where you fall in this controversial issue, the truth is, digital devices that can be found in the White House pose great risks. While it’s easy to see the benefits that they can theoretically bring to the table, we may have a situation where it creates more problems than it solves.

The Issue of Trump Twitter Use

I guess in terms of ideals, what Donald Trump is doing with his Twitter account is the stuff that dreams are made of. For the longest time, there are lots of pundits on TV, radio and elsewhere who are constantly saying, “It would be nice if we get 100% transparency and accountability from the government.” They keep repeating it like it’s some sort of mantra.

Well, how do you think they’re reacting now that we have a president who actually just tweets whatever he’s thinking based on the latest hot button issue on the internet? Well, it’s a mixed reaction. For every person who is glad to see an unprecedented amount of candor and candidness from the most powerful and important person on the planet, there is no shortage of critics.

A lot of people are saying that this is unpresidential. A lot of the stuff that Trump tweets, especially the Charlottesville racial incident, casts the presidency in a bad light. In fact, Trump makes so many off the cuff remarks that a lot of people are saying that his Twitter use has really cheapened the presidency.

They wish he was like Obama. When Obama became president, he didn’t use Twitter as a personal soapbox. Whatever pronouncements came from President Obama had to go through a fixed hierarchy of people.

And even then, people still misspoke. Even then, there was still a need for damage control. Oftentimes, people had to walk back all sorts of statements made by other people that may be loosely connected with the presidency, and it was still a mess.

But then, there was still some sort of semblance of control. Not so with Trump. Accordingly, it’s a very disconcerting. And to many people, desperate times because they think that a madman is running the country.

Well, let’s be clear here. If you were to broadcast everything you thought, I’m sure you would come off as crazy as well. I know I would, and most other people I know.

The truth is, when you’re dealing with something that is as close to unfiltered thought as possible on Twitter, things will not hit the mark from time to time. Things will come off harsh, and things will come off bad. It’s just the way it is because that’s the high price we pay for authenticity, sincerity and candor.

Now, this doesn’t mean that I’m Donald Trump’s number one fan. Far from it. But this does just highlight the intersection of a political discourse and the types of digital devices that can be found in the White House.