How many TSA agents does it take to change a light bulb? - East Valley Tribune: Columnists

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How many TSA agents does it take to change a light bulb?

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Michael “Winey” Weinstein can be heard every Sunday evening on The Mike&Winey Show on News Talk 92.3 KTAR from 5-7 PM. (www.mike&

Posted: Friday, April 22, 2011 1:45 am

I really don’t know how many TSA agents it takes to change a light bulb. I have never actually seen a TSA agent change a light bulb, but I do know how many TSA agents it takes to operate a single airport security line … nine.

Last weekend my wife took me to Napa for my 40th birthday — which means serving time at San Francisco International Airport. We waited patiently for almost an hour for our turn to go through security only to learn that the lengthy wait was due to the fact that there was only one security screening machine open.

The wait would not have been that bad if the single line were due to limited staff. It became very frustrating when I counted nine TSA agents working the one line. There were TSA agents milling around, talking and laughing among themselves. What made matters worse was that they decided to open up the second line after I was committed to the first line.

The TSA agents who broke from the first line appeared to be inconvenienced about having the responsibility of operating their own line. They approached the second line in slow motion, appearing more concerned about socializing with one another than expediting the security process for us “common” people.

I have always supported our TSA agents, especially last fall when they were subject to tremendous scrutiny and ridicule over the new screening techniques they were being asked to perform. The new responsibilities came from those higher up and your average TSA agent had no say over them. I defended them on my radio show while others expressed their frustration to them in person. They are just doing their job.

All that I ask is for them to do their job with more efficiency. Pretend to care and demonstrate empathy to those who have been standing in long lines at the ticket counter, those who may be running late to catch their plane and for all of us who have to wait in the long lines to go through security.

It’s a great overall reflection of our federal government. The president, Senate and members of Congress approach their duties with a lack of understanding and empathy for what the average American is going through.

The president displays a lack of concern for what we are paying at the pump. In response, we get lectured for having gas guzzlers and told that we should all be driving alternative vehicles. The problem is that many of use are still looking for employment. We can’t afford new cars much less the gas that we have to put in our archaic vehicles.

The Left wants to blame the Right for the close call of having the federal government shutdown. The truth should be told: The President had control of both houses when the budget was due last fall. It should have never gotten this far. Instead, federal employees and the military had to live in fear that they might not get paid. Prove to us that you represent the people.

Now the president wants to raise taxes on the millionaires and billionaires. In truth, his plan will raise taxes for those couples who make over $250,000. If you make $250,000 a year, you could hardly be classified as a millionaire. Do our politicians understand that we still have to pay outrageous gas prices, plan to send our children to college and consider our own retirement?

That’s right, they don’t pay for their own gas. They are the beneficiaries of great health care and retirement plans — all on our dime. At least pretend to care and demonstrate that our plight is your number one concern.

I wonder how many politicians it takes to change a light bulb. There’s a joke there somewhere … I just can’t think of the punch line.

• Michael Weinstein is co-host of the “The Mike & Winey Show,” heard frequently on KFYI (550 AM) and online at He can be reached at

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