In one of the hardest-hitting Government Accountability Office reports I've ever read, Congress's auditing organization has, in effect, said that the TSA's Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques (SPOT) program does not work and should be defunded. Members of Congress asked GAO to answer two questions:
1. To what extent does available evidence support use of behavioral indicators to identify aviation security threats?
2. To what extent does TSA have data necessary to assess the effectiveness of the SPOT program in identifying threats to aviation security?
The answer to the first question is that there is no such evidence, and to the second is that TSA does not have such data. This is laid out in 55 pages of text plus seven appendices. ("TSA Should Limit Future Funding for Behavior Detection Activities," GAO-14-159, November 2013).
TSA says the purpose of the program is to identify high-risk passengers based on behavioral indicators that indicate "mal-intent." Accordingly,...
Illinois lawmakers on Tuesday approved a bill they and Gov. Pat Quinn (D) say will fix the state’s worst-in-the-nation pension system and which many analysts say will do no such thing.
Illinois has the lowest credit ratings among the 50 states. The state's huge unfunded pension obligations are the main reason.
The bill in the Democrat-dominated General Assembly enjoyed bipartisan support, as many Republicans jumped on board. Among other things, the law aims to reduce the state’s $100 billion...
There’s immense pressure on Illinois legislators to pass a pension bill. Legislators are scheduled to be back in session December 3. With the state pension system nearing insolvency and credit agencies warning of further downgrades, the perceived wisdom is that any pension fix, no matter how small, is a “step forward” that must be passed.
But when it comes to pension reform in Illinois, that logic has driven the state into a fiscal death spiral. Illinois’ history is full of pension fixes that...