The Orange County Register
The problems at the Transportation Security Administration are legion: the molestation of air travelers, the failure to detect mock explosives or banned weapons 67 out of 70 times in a covert test of security procedures last year, the mishandling of classified or sensitive information, the extremely long lines at security checkpoints, the silly rules about removing our shoes and which toiletries cannot be brought aboard a plane that cow us into submission but do not make us any safer, the theft of passengers’ belongings and the general waste of taxpayers’ money.
But the troubled agency also has serious personnel issues, which several whistleblowers brought to light at a recent House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing. The hearing was called in response to charges of unqualified and vindictive senior managers, wasteful projects, improper bonuses for senior managers, sexual harassment of female employees and retaliation against employees who reported security lapses or misconduct by supervisors. This retaliation included involuntary reassignments to other airports, demotions, bogus misconduct investigations of the whistleblowers and terminations.
“TSA employees are less likely to report operational security or threat-relevant issues out of fear of retaliation from supervisors who fear further retaliation from their chain of command,” testified Mark Livingston, a program manager in the TSA’s Office of the Chief Risk Officer, who was demoted after reporting incidents of employee hazing and sexual harassment. “No one who reports issues is safe at TSA.”
The whistleblowers’ testimony provides yet another reason to abolish the TSA and make airlines responsible for their own security. “Competition among the airlines would help set the proper balance between safety and efficiency, based on passenger preference and demand,” writes Benjamin Powell, economics professor and director of the Free Market Institute at Texas Tech University, in a recent column for the New York Post. “The same competitive process would also weed out unnecessary procedures that add little to safety while increasing delays.”
Unlike the monopolistic TSA, if a private security company is wasteful, ineffective or tolerates widespread abuse of its employees, it can always be fired and replaced with a more competent competitor. Besides, based on what we have seen in the TSA the past 15 years, private companies could hardly do any worse.
Moscow-Pullman Daily News
Can you really call it long-term care if the caregivers just give up when it gets difficult?
It has become common practice for nursing homes to get rid of “trouble residents” by evicting them. A report by the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program in 2014 shows eviction rates have gone up 57 percent since 2000. That same organization recorded 11,331 such cases in 2014, by far the largest grievance against nursing homes across the country.
Doing so allows the typically thinly stretched nursing home staffs to focus more of their time and energy taking care of the “easy residents.”
Federal law is supposed to restrict the ability of nursing homes to evict residents but, as is usually the case, there are ways such protections can be circumvented. The law allows for residents to be transferred for a variety of reasons, among them failure to pay for services, posing a risk to others, if the nursing home can no longer provide the necessary services or in cases where the resident is hospitalized for more than a week.
A Sacramento-based nursing home used two of those reasons to give the boot to 55-year-old Bruce Anderson, who suffers from severe brain injury, according to an NPR story from February.
Anderson was sent to the hospital – by the nursing home – for treatment for pneumonia. Then the nursing home refused to readmit him once he was well again, claiming he was combative and a danger to staff and other residents, this despite never having reported such behavior about him in the past. . .