Friday, June 22, 2018
Editorials

Airport security gets sensible update

For more than a decade since the horror of Sept. 11, commerical air travel in America has meant passengers — young to old — must endure an onerous, and sometimes far too personal, encounter with the Transportation Security Administration. Now an experimental program at Tampa International Airport seems to finally acknowledge the folly of those expensive and universal screenings in favor of smarter, targeted security efforts. This is a welcome example of government pragmatism.

The improvement builds on an earlier foray into common sense by TSA that allows fliers to qualify for expedited screening for up to five years if they pass a background check, an interview and pay a $100 fee. In Tampa, that system has been available only for Delta passengers embarking from Airside E.

But since November in Tampa and Indianapolis — the only two airports involved in the pilot project — individual TSA agents trained in "behavioral detection" have had the discretion to select other passengers who pose no sign of risk or suspicious behavior for expedited screening. That means fewer people having to remove their shoes, open their laptop computers for inspection or remove liquids from their bags. But they still have to pass through metal detectors or advanced imaging scanners, and their bags are still screened by X-ray machines.

This new method is not without controversy, which is why a pilot program is also wise. Behavioral detection remains disputed, and TSA needs to keep vigilant in avoiding racial/cultural profiling in determining who qualifies for expedited screening. Nonetheless, the pilot program remains a welcome innovation given the extraordinary time and treasure that has propped up a wasteful system that now treats all passengers — from the elderly in wheelchairs to rambunctious toddlers — as if they are terror suspects. There has to be a better way, and it now appears TSA is open to finding it.

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Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

It turns out the U.S. Supreme Court has a better grasp of the economic realities of the 21st century than Congress or the Florida Legislature. The court ruled Thursday that states can require online retailers to collect sales taxes even if the retail...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

The shocking scenes of immigrant children crying after being taken from their parents at the border exposed a new level of cruelty by the Trump administration, and though the president reversed course Wednesday, Congress needs to end the shameful pra...
Published: 06/21/18
Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Good job, Jeff Sessions! It seems the attorney generalís misguided attempts to revive the unpopular and unjust federal war on marijuana may be having the exact opposite effect ó prompting a new bipartisan effort in Congress to allow states to legaliz...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

A Tallahassee judge has affirmed the overwhelming intent of Florida voters by ruling that state lawmakers have failed to comply with a constitutional amendment that is supposed to provide a specific pot of money to buy and preserve endangered lands. ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18
Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Forty years ago today, Nelson Poynter died. He was the last individual to own this newspaper, and to keep the Times connected to this community, he did something remarkable. He gave it away.In his last years, Mr. Poynter recognized that sooner or lat...
Published: 06/15/18

There was no FBI anti-Trump conspiracy

The Justice Department released Thursday the highly anticipated report on the FBIís handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe and other sensitive issues in the 2016 election. It is not the report President Donald Trump wanted. But there is enough i...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Voter purge may be legal, but itís also suppression

The Supreme Courtís ruling last Monday to allow Ohioís purging of its voter rolls is difficult to dispute legally. While federal law prohibits removing citizens from voter rolls simply because they havenít voted, Ohioís purge is slightly different. T...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18