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LAS TSO confiscates Cupcake by claiming its frosting is a "gel"

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Old Dec 24, 11, 12:38 am
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Originally Posted by TheGolfWidow View Post
If they don't confiscate frosted cupcakes, next thing you know, every taro-ist in the world is going to stash his nefarious material in a cupcake and bring it on the plane. So, really, if you think about it, confiscating frosted cupcakes makes sense...and eating them for you keeps them out of the landfills. Win-win.
That's why they need to ban ALL items. Passengers can purchase items at their destination.

Smash someone in the head with a cell phone a few times and I'm sure you can kill them.

Pencil in the eye.

A 1000 paper cuts.

Bobby pin to the groin... you know, use your imagination. Anything can be a weapon.

Suffocation by marshmallows... the threats are endless.
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Old Dec 24, 11, 8:00 am
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Here's the Real reason the cupcake was "confiscated"...

Distressed that only 4 cupcakes had been brought to the TSA breakroom for the day shift's holiday party -- when 5 "officers" were on duty -- Jed promptly returned to the checkpoint to see if there was a "target of opportunity".

His steely eyes and intense gaze spotted his target -- a helpless traveler on a tight connection with a delicious red velvet cake cupcake. Jed swooped in and 'liberated" the potential flight safety risk away from the guilty traveler...grinning broadly as he returned to the breakroom to enjoy his bounty...

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Old Dec 24, 11, 8:23 am
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Originally Posted by candi View Post
Suffocation by marshmallows... the threats are endless.
And, that's without going thru the introductory chapter and 1st. few pages of the Army Rangers, Navy Seals, C I A and K G B operator's manuals about use of deadly forces & improvished tools .... ooops. Ain't gonna give them clowns more imaginative ideas to "secure" the public in the transportation theaters.

Ya gotta keep all that fishing wires, waist belts & even leather shoe strings in the checked luggage (sorry, airline fees applicable except for those with elite status or waivers - to offset revenue lost with fewer folks flying these days) cause who knows what will happen if the passenger(s) decided to stage an uprising - inflight ....

On the other hand, behind the "iron" layered-security curtains of T(ousands)S(tanding)A(around) checkpoints & passed the random selective secondary screenings, things will be permitted, including those giant themal bottles, duty-free alcohol items and food items purchased from airside vendors - (at least that's the "belief" that are preached to the sheepies)

(Holiday 2011 scene: off-duty, uniformed TSA chorus singing in the background .... as the lucky passengers now have the option to "surrender" voluntary any banned items or have it "confiscated" ) So, what's banned next - a half dozen Dunkin Donuts with creamed fillings

Last edited by Letitride3c; Dec 24, 11 at 9:34 am
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Old Dec 24, 11, 8:48 am
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Originally Posted by TheGolfWidow View Post
If they don't confiscate frosted cupcakes, next thing you know, every taro-ist in the world is going to stash his nefarious material in a cupcake and bring it on the plane. So, really, if you think about it, confiscating frosted cupcakes makes sense...and eating them for you keeps them out of the landfills. Win-win.
Love the quote:

"I offered to take it out and put it in a zip-lock bag on the spot and he said 'no I can't let you touch it.'

"So once he had identified it as a security threat it was no longer mine and I couldn't have it back."
I believe that constitutes "confiscation".

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/12/24...vegas-airport/

How long before one of our resident TSA folks comes along and says this screener was following "policy".
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Old Dec 24, 11, 8:56 am
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I'm going to be generous, and not assume that the TSOs in this incident had nefarious intentions and wished to steal the traveler's cupcake.

I'm going to assume for a moment that the TSOs in question genuinely did not know whether cupcake icing constituted a gel - which is banned in quantities over 3.4oz unless medically necessary - and therefore decided to act out of an abundance of caution and prohibit the cupcake in question from entering the sterile area.

But this assumption raises another question - just how laughably stupid are these TSOs?

The use of the term "gel like" is ridiculous. If it's like a gel, then it's obviously not a gel, and not prohibited. If it was a gel, it would not be "like a gel", it would BE A GEL.

If my assumptions are correct, i.e. that they were not acting improperly and simply made a laughably stupid judgment, then I would have to conclude that these particular TSOs are either laughably stupid or laughably poorly trained. Either way, their behavior is laughable when it comes to aviation security.
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Old Dec 24, 11, 10:01 am
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The constitution is supposed to protect us against arbitrary and capricious seizures by the government.

Yet we have the TSA, with inconsistent application of rules. Rules that we aren't allowed to know. And even if the screeners break the rules (those they tell us about), there is no consequences to the screener and no recourse for the passenger.

The only thing a passenger can do is go through the complaint process, which is useless. After I was blocked from seeing my luggage during screening at the Oakland airport, I complained. The result was being held there for five minutes, still out of sight of my luggage, and getting a harsh retaliatory pat-down. I filled out a comment card, then left a voicemail at the phone number, and finally mailed a complaint letter. Only the mailed complaint got a response, a phone call: "That shouldn't happen. Since it shouldn't, there is nothing we will do about it."
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Old Dec 24, 11, 12:52 pm
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Sitting here at home trying to finish unpacking from my move to LAS (while watching NFL ticket), I have received 5 calls from around the country and 3 more from Vegas on this story....

All saying...you cannot be serious!!
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Old Dec 24, 11, 6:58 pm
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Story made ABC news. ABC had the guts to name publicly the TSA supervisor who caused this incident, unlike many websites including the original boingboing.net posting.

Originally Posted by ABC News
“The TSA supervisor, Robert Epps, was using really bad logic – he said it counted as a gel-like substance because it was conforming to the shape of its container.”

“We also had a small pile of hummus sandwiches with creamy fillings, which made it through, but the cupcake with its frosting was apparently a terrorist threat…I just don’t know what world he was living in,” said Hains, speaking of the TSA officer.

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headline...osted-cupcake/

http://abcnews.go.com/meta/search/im...jar_jef_111224

Still no response on from Propaganda Village. Bah Humbug to this guy. If he has kids, I hope they find out that he confiscated a cupcake from an innocent American less than a week before Christmas.
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Old Dec 24, 11, 7:27 pm
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Originally Posted by studentff View Post
Story made ABC news. ABC had the guts to name publicly the TSA supervisor who caused this incident, unlike many websites including the original boingboing.net posting.

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headline...osted-cupcake/

http://abcnews.go.com/meta/search/im...jar_jef_111224

Still no response on from Propaganda Village. Bah Humbug to this guy. If he has kids, I hope they find out that he confiscated a cupcake from an innocent American less than a week before Christmas.
I heard it on the top-of-the-hour ABC radio news several hours ago in the car. Of course it wasn't news to me.

I do enjoy the headline on ABC blog you linked, introducing the expression "security theater" to a wider audience:

‘Security Theater’? TSA Confiscates Woman’s Frosted Cupcake
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Old Dec 24, 11, 11:38 pm
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Originally Posted by studentff View Post
Story made ABC news. ABC had the guts to name publicly the TSA supervisor who caused this incident, unlike many websites including the original boingboing.net posting.




http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headline...osted-cupcake/

http://abcnews.go.com/meta/search/im...jar_jef_111224

Still no response on from Propaganda Village. Bah Humbug to this guy. If he has kids, I hope they find out that he confiscated a cupcake from an innocent American less than a week before Christmas.
Something I like to stay clear on is the difference between a forced disposal and a confiscation.

Confiscation is not permitted under TSA's mandate. They can prevent you from entering the sterile area with a prohibited item, which forces you to either dispose of the item or not fly. Most people choose to dispose of the item, usually by tossing it into a trash can at the checkpoint.

If an item is not only prohibited by also illegal, then TSA calls LEOs, who CAN confiscate the item as they arrest you.

The article in the OP doesn't specify what happened to the cupcake in question. If it was seized by one of the involved TSOs, they are guilty of theft of a traveler's private property, just as much as the iPad-down-his-pants guy and the rings of luggage thieves from MIA and (I think the other one was) BTR.

If, however, the cupcake in question was disposed of by the traveler, then the TSA did not confiscate it. But TSA did force the traveler to dispose of it, under threat of denial of flight, so it was a forced disposal, as opposed to what TSA calls a "voluntary surrender."

I just like to keep things as clear as possible when it comes to terminology and phraseology. Phrasing one's arguments carefully in either a debate or a legal complaint can go a long way toward preventing the opposition from poking holes in your argument, while at the same time increasing your credibility for not resorting to cheap, overly-dramatic hyperbole.
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Old Dec 24, 11, 11:45 pm
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A TSA Christmas

Written in inspiration of the cupcake story.....

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/check...l#post17688118
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Old Dec 25, 11, 8:30 am
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Originally Posted by WillCAD View Post
Something I like to stay clear on is the difference between a forced disposal and a confiscation.

Confiscation is not permitted under TSA's mandate. They can prevent you from entering the sterile area with a prohibited item, which forces you to either dispose of the item or not fly. Most people choose to dispose of the item, usually by tossing it into a trash can at the checkpoint.

If an item is not only prohibited by also illegal, then TSA calls LEOs, who CAN confiscate the item as they arrest you.

The article in the OP doesn't specify what happened to the cupcake in question. If it was seized by one of the involved TSOs, they are guilty of theft of a traveler's private property, just as much as the iPad-down-his-pants guy and the rings of luggage thieves from MIA and (I think the other one was) BTR.

If, however, the cupcake in question was disposed of by the traveler, then the TSA did not confiscate it. But TSA did force the traveler to dispose of it, under threat of denial of flight, so it was a forced disposal, as opposed to what TSA calls a "voluntary surrender."

I just like to keep things as clear as possible when it comes to terminology and phraseology. Phrasing one's arguments carefully in either a debate or a legal complaint can go a long way toward preventing the opposition from poking holes in your argument, while at the same time increasing your credibility for not resorting to cheap, overly-dramatic hyperbole.

If they take something from you - as in, remove it from your physical possession, as occurred in this case - and refuse to allow you to resume possession - as occurred in this case - that qualifies in nearly anyone's book as confiscation.

Unless you work for the Terrorist Support Agency, of course.

The fact that the Terrorist Support Agency's own rules prohibit confiscation has rarely if ever stopped them from actually engaging in it.
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Old Dec 25, 11, 10:37 am
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Originally Posted by erictank View Post
If they take something from you - as in, remove it from your physical possession, as occurred in this case - and refuse to allow you to resume possession - as occurred in this case - that qualifies in nearly anyone's book as confiscation.

Unless you work for the Terrorist Support Agency, of course.

The fact that the Terrorist Support Agency's own rules prohibit confiscation has rarely if ever stopped them from actually engaging in it.
I agree with you, except that the article didn't make it clear whether the TSOs in question did, in fact, remove it from the traveler's possession and refuse to return it, or if they simply forced him to dispose of it before allowing him to transit the checkpoint. The only indication in either direction is the title of the blog entry, TSA confiscates cupcake, calls frosting a "gel". In the body of the entry, no mention is ever made of any TSA actually removing the cupcake from the traveler's possession or refusing to return it.

I completely agree with your definition of confiscation, I simply don't think the blog entry is clear about whether this was a confiscation or a forced disposal.

Don't misunderstand me - I find forced disposal of harmless items at the personal discretion of a TSO who thinks something might be like something that's on the prohibited list, to be asinine in the extreme, and only slightly less egregious than an outright confiscation (which, technically, is theft under color of authority when it happens, since TSA has no legal authority to confiscate prohibited items). I just like to be perfectly clear on which action is taken and which term to use, because using the wrong term pokes all sorts of holes in one's arguments and loses points with those who are still on the fence about any issue.
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Old Dec 25, 11, 2:35 pm
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Originally Posted by WillCAD View Post
I agree with you, except that the article didn't make it clear whether the TSOs in question did, in fact, remove it from the traveler's possession and refuse to return it, or if they simply forced him to dispose of it before allowing him to transit the checkpoint. The only indication in either direction is the title of the blog entry, TSA confiscates cupcake, calls frosting a "gel". In the body of the entry, no mention is ever made of any TSA actually removing the cupcake from the traveler's possession or refusing to return it.

I completely agree with your definition of confiscation, I simply don't think the blog entry is clear about whether this was a confiscation or a forced disposal.

Don't misunderstand me - I find forced disposal of harmless items at the personal discretion of a TSO who thinks something might be like something that's on the prohibited list, to be asinine in the extreme, and only slightly less egregious than an outright confiscation (which, technically, is theft under color of authority when it happens, since TSA has no legal authority to confiscate prohibited items). I just like to be perfectly clear on which action is taken and which term to use, because using the wrong term pokes all sorts of holes in one's arguments and loses points with those who are still on the fence about any issue.
Originally Posted by NY Post
"I offered to take it out and put it in a zip-lock bag on the spot and he said 'no I can't let you touch it.'

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/nationa...#ixzz1ha4E7yRG
The cupcake was seized plain and simple.
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Old Dec 25, 11, 8:15 pm
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Also made NBC's website:

http://overheadbin.msnbc.msn.com/_ne...scates-cupcake

One interesting quote:

Originally Posted by NBC
The TSA, which is entrusted with protecting the nation's transportation system, was reviewing the incident, agency spokesman Nico Melendez said. Passengers are allowed to take cakes and cupcakes through checkpoints, he said.
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