This story has been updated to reflect regulations as of October 2022.
It’s easy to let the mind wander while waiting in line to pass through security at the airport. From people-watching to micromanaging logistics for improving the flow of the line, there is a lot to consider while in the queue.
Sometimes questions arise: Why can’t I pet the TSA dog? Why don’t I show both my boarding pass and ID to the gate agent anymore? Will I have to remove my liquids to scan my bag?
TSA has made several adjustments to its process since the start of the pandemic, and this is an easy guide to answering all of those questions.
Here’s a fun fact that no one asked for: At San Francisco International Airport, the folks screening you and your luggage at the security lines are not technically TSA. The blue-shirted officers at SFO feature the acronym "CAS" on their shoulders as opposed to "TSA."
The Transportation Security Administration manages the checkpoint staff and they follow all the same rules as instructed by the TSA, but these folks are actually employed by Covenant Aviation Security.
CAS has a contract with SFO to supply ID checkers and bag handlers. CAS has consistently won the contract to work with SFO since the formation of TSA in 2001 following the Sept. 11 attacks. Other airports across the country, include the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa, also contract with a third-party providers instead of working directly with TSA.
When the Department of Homeland Security rolled out screening at airports following 9/11, there was provision that permitted contract screeners like CAS to conduct duties with the oversight of TSA. Some airports tested it out — such as SFO — and have decided to keep the system in place.
The Covenant Aviation Security staff are hired and trained just like TSA, and they share the same oversight. The biggest difference is that staff from CAS are not paid through TSA. And that their shoulder stripes say "CAS."
TSA calls its new Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) “a security game changer.”
The machine is an ID authenticator that eliminates the need to present your boarding pass and ID cards to TSA before processing your luggage.
Prior to the pandemic, these TSA officers had to cross-reference names and information between boarding passes and IDs, which could lead to errors. Over the past couple of years, TSA has evolved its technology, and the CAT machine simplifies the entire process.
All you need to do now is present your photo ID or passport for the officer to scan. CAT is linked to the Secure Flight database, which confirms a traveler’s flight information within a 24-hour period to ensure that the traveler is ticketed to travel that day.
The vetting takes a few seconds. In the event there’s a fake ID or issue with the traveler, a high-pitched noise alerts the officer.
Another technological upgrade the TSA instituted is the computed tomography (CT) used to scan luggage.
Historically, the machines created a 2-D X-ray image of the contents of the carry-on bag. These machines are still active, but TSA has begun rolling out 300 Smiths Detection machines — which appear like large Apple iPhone wall chargers — that are able to 3-D X-ray images. Both SFO and Oakland International Airport are using the technology.
The new computed tomography machines allow TSA officers to generate a 3-D image of the luggage and contents. This allows them to manipulate the image and enhance their readings of the content. In essence, the 2-D machines offer visibility, whereas the 3-D machines offer an enhanced visibility.
“It’s not about speed but what they can see,” said Lorie Dankers, spokesperson for the TSA.
The most exciting feature of these new machines is that when a carry-on bag is screened through the CT scanner, travelers are permitted to leave everything in their carry-on bag. That means keeping your electronics larger than a cellphone and travel-size liquids inside your bag instead of removing them.
The Smiths Detection machines are connected to Automated Screening Lanes, which streamline the process of placing your bags on the belt for scanning. The roles of TSA are slowly automating.
As seen in European airports such as Amsterdam, these lanes remove the need for a TSA officer to return bins after they’ve rolled through to the other side. The machine is self-sufficient and automatically returns them to new travelers.
Travelers walk up to one of six individual areas where they’re provided with large white bins to hold all of their belongings. Bags and luggage cannot roll on the conveyor belt and have to be inside a bin. The bins are coded so that if a TSA officer detects anything, another officer can easily pull the bin and find the precise section in the bag that spurred the alert.
TSA echoes a sentiment heard from businesses across the country: hiring new workers is a challenge.
“People don’t want to work,” said Kevin Sprouse, the assistant federal security director of screening for TSA. “We’re struggling a little bit to meet the operational needs.”
At a national level, TSA is actively working to attract new hires. Dankers said they’ve increased the salary between $1,000 to $5,000 to lure new employees. At Denver International Airport, which is struggling to find workers, that salary bump equates to making about $55,000 a year.
At Oakland International Airport on the Thursday night a week before Thanksgiving, the security line moved at a snail’s pace while a TSA officer learned the ropes for scanning baggage. One bag at a time.
Curiously, the trainee was learning how to operate the 2-D computed tomography, which would one day become obsolete as the 3-D technology continues to roll out.
Disgruntled passengers bemoaned the wait at OAK, and another TSA officer explained to SFGATE that he believed the issue was due to a lack of filled management positions.
Mala the dog finds evidence of explosives every day on the job at SFO — though rarely from bad actors.
The hound is the first line of defense at the airport, and to keep her snout sharp, her handlers plant a piece of explosive materials on themselves for her to find.
When Mala detects the materials, she’s trained not to accost or jump on the person, rather, intentionally follow them so that her handler knows to pull that person aside without making a scene.
TSA says this routine is often so flawless that the average passenger may never realize that a bomb threat was just neutralized right in front of them.
For her treat after successfully detecting the decoy, Mala gets to chew on a lime green tennis ball. She’s rewarded with affection — which is why TSA asks travelers to avoid petting the dogs, so as not to distract them or confuse their reward system.
The TSA’s canine unit has 350 dogs that are frequently passed around from airports to major events like the Super Bowl or San Francisco’s Pride Parade. Whenever an airport expects to see an increase of travelers, TSA sends in canine reinforcement. There were three dogs sent to SFO ahead of the Thanksgiving rush this year.
GK Questions and Answers for Class 12: Here we are providing Questions and Answers covering various sections of general knowledge, including science, polity, history, geography, current affairs, etc., which not only help them increase their IQ level but also help them grow on a personal and academic level. Take the quiz below!
GK Questions and Answers for Class 12: The 12th class is the most crucial phase of education where students are asked to make several decisions, like which course to choose after 12, stream, which competitive examinations they will face, etc. General Knowledge or General Awareness is an important section for most competitive examinations. Here we have compiled some important Questions and Answers covering various courses so that students will gain knowledge and also help them prepare for competitive examinations. The quiz will definitely help you in preparing for future competitive examinations and also in cracking entrance tests for colleges and universities.
Therefore, general knowledge is a significant aspect of a student's life that can't be ignored. Though it is not always prescribed in the syllabus, it also forms an important foundation for intellectual building. Take the quiz!
1. Where is Chota Char Dham, a famous Hindi pilgrimage circuit, located?
Ans. It is located in the Indian Himalayas, in the Garhwal region of the state of Uttarakhand. The Hindu pilgrimage circuit consists of four sites, namely Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath.
2. The SVAMITVA scheme is implemented by which ministry?
Ans. It is a Central Sector Scheme of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj. On April 24, 2021, that is on National Panchayati Raj Day, the scheme was launched by PM Narendra Modi after the successful completion of the pilot phase of the scheme (2020–2021) in 9 states. The SVAMITVA Scheme is a reformative step towards the establishment of clear ownership of property in rural inhabited areas by mapping land parcels using drone technology and providing a "Record of Rights" to village household owners along with the issuance of legal ownership cards (Property cards/Title deeds) to the property owners.
3. What is the theme of Earth Day 2022?
Ans. Earth Day is observed on April 22nd annually to protect the planet from things like pollution and deforestation. The Day was founded by American senator Gaylord Nelson for environmental education. The theme of World Earth Day 2022 is "Invest In Our Planet".
4. What is Aurorae?
Ans. They are produced by the collision of charged particles from the magnetosphere of Earth which arise due to solar winds.
5. Which scheme has been selected for the Prime Minister's Award for Excellence in Public Administration 2020 under the category "Innovation (General)-Central"?
Ans. The UDAN (UdeDeshkaAamNagrik) Scheme has been selected for Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration 2020 under the category “Innovation (General) – Central”.
6. The atomic theory of matter was first proposed by whom?
Ans. John Dalton's most influential work in chemistry is his atomic theory. His theory is based on the law of conservation of mass and the law of constant composition.
7. Who propounded the law of segregation?
Ans. Gregor Mendel proposed a model where pairs of "heritable elements," or genes, specify traits. He studied the inheritance of traits in pea plants. He defined the law of segregation. When gametes are made by an organism, each gamete receives just one copy of a gene that is randomly selected and is known as the law of segregation.
8. What is the Doctrine of Lapse?
Ans. The Doctrine of Lapse was introduced by Dalhousie who was the Governor-General. It was the pro-imperialist approach to expand the realm of the British Kingdom in India. It was used by him to annex the independent Indian States. Basically, it was an idea to annex those states which have no heir means states have no heir they get lapsed the right of ruling and it will not be reverted by adoption.
9. Who is the writer of Neel Darpan, the Bengali play?
Ans. Dinabandhu Mitra wrote the Bengali play named Neel Darpan.
10. Where is Shirui National Park (SNP) located?
Ans. It is located in the state of Manipur in India. It was established in 1982.
11. Who is popularly known as the father of modern medicine?
Ans. Hippocrates is considered to be the father of modern medicine.
12. Who was the first chairman of the National Commission for Women?
Ans. Jayanti Patnaik was the first chairman of the National Commission for Women.
13. What is Manganin?
Ans. Manganin is an alloy of copper, manganese, and nickel. It has virtually zero temperature coefficient of resistance.
14. Nokrek Biosphere Reserve is located in which state of India?
Ans. Nokrek Biosphere Reserve is located in Meghalaya.
15. Name the sport that is associated with the Ryder Cup?
Ans. Ryder Cup is related to Men's Golf.
16. Who discovered Nickel?
Baron Axel Fredrik Cronstedt, a Swedish chemist and mineralogist, prepared an impure demo from an ore containing niccolite (nickel arsenide).
17. What is the RoDTEP Scheme?
Ans. RoDTEP stands for the Remission of Duties and Taxes on Export Products (RoDTEP) scheme. The scheme would refund to exporters the embedded central, state, and local duties or taxes that were so far not been rebated or refunded. Therefore, placing India's exports at a disadvantage. Under the scheme, the rebate would not be available in respect of duties and taxes already exempted, or remitted, or credited.
18. What do you mean by Etchplain?
Ans. It is a plain that is formed in a place where the bedrock undergoes a considerable amount of subsurface weathering, corrosion, and decomposition deep underneath in a process commonly referred to as etching.
19. When was the Indian National Congress (INC) founded?
Ans. INC was founded on December 28, 1885, on the premises of the Gokuldas Tejpal Sanskrit School in Bombay. It was presided over by W.C. Banerjee and attended by 72 delegates. A.O. Hume played an instrumental role in the foundation of INC.
20. What is the difference between White Gold and Yellow Gold?
Ans. White Gold is more durable than Yellow Gold.
21. The disease "Karnal bunt" is found in which cereals?
22. Who was the last Mughal Emperor of India?
Ans. Bahadur Shah II, also known as Bahadur Shah Zafar, was the last Mughal emperor of India. He was a poet, a musician, and a calligrapher. He was more of an aesthete than a political leader. He was born on October 24, 1775, in Delhi and died on November 7, 1862, in Rangoon [now Yangon], Myanmar.
23. In which Indian state is the Harauti language spoken?
Ans. Harauti also known as Hadauti or Hadoti is a Rajasthani language.
24. What do you understand by Freight on Board?
Ans. It is also known as Free on Board (FOB) which is a term used to indicate who is liable for goods damaged or destroyed during shipping. This term affects the buyer's inventory cost adding liability for shipped goods and increasing inventory costs and reducing net income.
25. What is the theme of World Haemophilia Day 2022?
Ans. The theme of World Haemophilia Day 2022 is "Access for All: Partnership. Policy. Progress. Engaging your government, integrating inherited bleeding disorders into national policy". World Haemophilia Day is observed on April 17 to spread awareness about haemophilia and other inherited bleeding disorders. The day is celebrated in honour of Frank Schnabel, who was the founder of the World Federation of Haemophilia.
26. Who first proposed the atomic theory of matter?
Ans. John Dalton
27. The book titled “1283” illustrates the career of which Football legend?
28. What does ”Global Dimming” mean?
Answer: Gradual reduction in the amount of global direct irradiance at the Earth’s Surface.
29. Which viceroy of India withdrew the Doctrine of Lapse?
Ans. Lord Canning
30. Harauti Language is spoken in which Indian State?
1. Which of the following were the Moderate leaders?
A. W. C Banerjee
B. Gopal Krishna Gokhale
C. R.C. Dutt
D. All the above
Explanation: The first or early phase of Indian Nationalism is also termed as Moderate Phase (1885-1905). Moderate leaders were W.C Banerjee, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, R.C Dutt, Ferozeshah Mehta, George Yule, etc.
2. Which of the following are the symptoms of Haemophilia?
A. Big bruises
B. Bleeding into muscles and joints
C. Both A and B
D. Neither A nor B
Explanation: Haemophilia is a medical condition that is mostly inherited. In this, the ability of the blood to clot is severely reduced. Therefore, a minor injury can cause severe bleeding. Symptoms are big bruises, bleeding into muscles and joints, spontaneous bleeding, etc.
3. In which of the following states Hornbill festival is celebrated?
C. Himachal Pradesh
Explanation: Hornbill festival is celebrated in Nagaland.
4. Consider the following statements.
1. 1905 – Congress session in Banaras. Presided over by Gopal Krishan Gokhale.
2. 1906 – Congress Session in Calcutta. Presided over by Dadabhai Naroji.
3. 1907 – Congress Session in Surat on the bank of the river Tapti. Presided over by Pherozeshah Mehta
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
A. Only 1
B. 1 and 2
C. 2 and 3
D. All the above
1905 – Congress session in Banaras. Presided over by Gopal Krishan Gokhale.
1906 – Congress Session in Calcutta. Presided over by Dadabhai Naroji.
1907 – Congress Session in Surat on the bank of the river Tapti. Presided over by Pherozeshah Mehta
5. Consider the following statements regarding ICOMOS.
1. It is a global non-governmental organization associated with UNESCO.
2. It is located in the United States.
Which of the following statements is/are correct?
A. Only 1
B. Only 2
C. Both 1 and 2
D. Neither 1 nor 2
Explanation: ICOMOS stands for the International Council on Monuments and Sites. It is a global non-governmental organization associated with UNESCO. It is located in Paris, France.
6. Who of the following is the chairman of the Parliamentary Affairs Committee?
B. Prime Minister
C. Home Minister
D. None of the above
Explanation: Home Minister is the chairman of the Parliamentary Affairs Committee.
7. On which of the following principles electron microscope work?
A. Faraday's law of Electromagnetic induction
B. Quantum phenomena
C. Wave Nature of electrons
D. None of the above
Explanation: Electron microscope works on the principle of the wave nature of electrons.
8. Low clouds are also known as .......
D. All the above
Explanation: Low-level clouds (cumulus, stratus, stratocumulus) that lie below 6,500 feet.
9. Which of the following statements is/are correct?
1. On 12 November 1930, First Round Table Conference was held.
2. On 5th March 1931, Gandhi Irwin Pact was signed.
3. On 23rd March 1931, the Trial of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, and Sukhdev.
A. 1 and 2
B. 2 and 3
C. 1 and 3
D. All the above
On 12 November 1930, First Round Table Conference was held.
On 5th March 1931, Gandhi Irwin Pact was signed.
On 23rd March 1931, the Trial of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, and Sukhdev
10. Consider the following statements regarding the India Meteorological Department (IMD)?
1. It was established in 1890.
2. It is an agency of the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
Which of the following statements is/are correct?
A. Only 1
B. Only 2
C. Both 1 and 2
D. Neither 1 nor 2
Explanation: IMD was established in 1875. It is an agency of the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
11. With which of the following enzymes do cows digest cellulose?
Explanation: Cows digest cellulose with the help of beta-amylase.
12. In which of the following state, Mekadatu Dam is located?
A. Tamil Nadu
Explanation: Mekadatu Dam is located in Karnataka.
13. Consider the following statements regarding the structure of cells.
1. Plasma Membrane is the outer covering of each cell. It is present in cells of plants, animals, and microorganisms.
2. Cell Wall occurs in animals and is present outside the plasma membrane.
Which of the following statements is/are correct?
A. Only 1
B. Only 2
C. Both 1 and 2
D. Neither 1 nor 2
Explanation: Plasma Membrane is the outer covering of each cell. It is present in cells of plants, animals, and microorganisms. Cell Wall occurs in plants and is present outside the plasma membrane.
14. What is Puthandu?
A. It is also known as Puthuvarudam or Tamil New Year.
B. The date of the festival is set with the solar cycle of the lunisolar Hindu calendar, as the first day of the Tamil month Chithirai.
Select the correct answer
A. Only 1
B. Only 2
C. Both 1 and 2
D. Neither 1 nor 2
Explanation: Puthandu is also known as Puthuvarudam or Tamil New Year. The date of the festival is set with the solar cycle of the lunisolar Hindu calendar, as the first day of the Tamil month Chithirai.
15. Name a Prime Minister of India who did not face the Parliament?
A. Morarji Desai
B. Charan Singh
C. Gulzari Lal Nanda
D. None of the above
Explanation: Charan Singh was the only PM who did not face the Parliament.
16. Which of the following books is/are written by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar?
A. The Problem of the Rupee: Its origin and its solution
B. Castes in India: Their Mechanism, Genesis and Development
C. The Annihilation of Caste
D. All the above
Explanation: All the above-mentioned books are written by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.
17. Consider the following statements.
1. In 1945 – Shimla Conference or Wavell Plan was proposed by Lord Wavell to solve the political deadlock.
2. In 1946, Cabinet Mission Plan was announced by PM Clement Attlee.
Which of the following statements is/are correct?
A. Only 1
B. Only 2
C. Both 1 and 2
D. Neither 1 nor 2
Explanation: In 1945 – Shimla Conference or Wavell Plan was proposed by Lord Wavell to solve the political deadlock. In 1946, Cabinet Mission Plan was announced by PM Clement Attlee.
18. In which of the following year Prevention of Money Laundering Act was passed?
Explanation: Prevention of Money Laundering Act was passed in 2002.
19. Consider the following statements regarding Naba Barsha.
1. It is the celebration of the new year in West Bengal as per the Bengali Calendar.
2. It is also popularly known as the PoilaBaisakh.
Which of the following statements is/are correct?
A. Only 1
B. Only 2
C. Both 1 and 2
D. Neither 1 nor 2
Explanation: Naba Barsha is the celebration of the new year in West Bengal as per the Bengali Calendar. It is also popularly known as the PoilaBaisakh.
20. What is Neptune?
1. It is a coastal anti-ship cruise missile.
2. It is capable of the destruction of naval vessels in a range of 300 km.
Which of the following statements is/are correct?
A. Only 1
B. Only 2
C. Both 1 and 2
D. Neither 1 nor 2
Explanation: Neptune is a coastal anti-ship cruise missile. It is capable of the destruction of naval vessels in a range of 300 km.
Similar to any government website, ssa.gov, the official site of the Social Security Administration, is full of helpful information. Finding what you need in the long list of publications, forms, and other web resources, however, is not always easy. Here is a guide to help you navigate the site based on some of the most common questions people have.
The links included in each answer will take you to the applicable pages and forms on the Social Security website.
A Social Security number (SSN) is a nine-digit number that the U.S. government issues to all U.S. citizens and eligible U.S. residents who apply for one. The number allows the government to keep track of your lifetime earnings and the number of years worked. You must apply for a number and a card in person because the Social Security office has to verify certain documents. You can, however, go online to complete and print the application to take to your local office.
If you need a replacement card, you may be able to apply online if you are 18 or older, have a driver’s license or state-issued identification card, are not requesting any change in your Social Security card, have a U.S. mailing address, and have created an online “my Social Security account.”
The following five states do not yet participate in the online renewal program:
Before you visit an office, check the website to see if you can complete all or some of the paperwork online. You are also likely to need supporting documents when you arrive, such as a birth certificate or passport for identification.
First, determine if you’re eligible for Social Security (not everyone is). If you are, you can apply for Social Security and Medicare.
Yes, but your Social Security benefits may be reduced. This page provides an overview of working and receiving benefits, including benefit calculations and changes that might take place once you reach full retirement age.
The average monthly benefit for retired workers as of October 2022 was $1,676.53, but the benefit you will receive is based on various factors. You can use the retirement estimator to calculate your benefits, but read the information before you begin. For example, to use the calculator, you need to have earned 40 credits.
As of 2022, you receive one credit for each $1,510 ($1,640 in 2023) you earn in a year. You need 40 credits to qualify for full retirement benefits. You can receive a maximum of four credits per year.
Whether your benefits are affected by a pension depends on where the pension is from. Pensions from government jobs in which you did not pay Social Security taxes can be affected. Also, read about the windfall elimination provision. This provision may apply to you as well.
Probably, but the rules are complicated. Read about spousal benefits and check out the survivor planning information. Your children can receive benefits too. Read about the eligibility requirements. Social Security has numerous FAQs about benefits for spouses, children, and others who might be eligible to receive payments.
Spouses who do not qualify for Social Security benefits may nevertheless receive spousal benefits of their own if their husbands or wives qualify for Social Security.
Social Security provides disability benefits for people of all ages, with rules enumerated in a 15-page document. You can apply for disability benefits online. Before completing the application, you should read this five-page publication that includes instructions and frequently asked questions.
Yes, you can. Social Security may allow you a nine-month trial period to see if you’re able to work.
No. Once you reach full retirement age, you will lose disability benefits and gain retirement benefits. Assistance for children includes children whose parents are receiving disability benefits and children who are themselves disabled.
Some people’s disabilities clearly meet Social Security’s definition of disabled. Those people may be eligible to receive benefits more rapidly. The website has an extensive section on compassionate allowance.
These initials stand for supplemental security income, which provides cash assistance to the aged, the blind, and the disabled to meet basic living needs. It is not paid for by Social Security taxes. First, verify that you are eligible. Then, learn about the application procedure.
You can do this online. Log in to your online account or contact your bank. You can also complete a direct deposit form, print it, and take it to your local Social Security office.
If you owe child support, alimony, taxes, or restitution, Social Security may garnish your wages to meet those obligations.
Some people have to pay taxes on their wages but never on more than 85% of their benefits. You can find basic information along with information about voluntarily withholding.
For October 2022, the average Social Security benefit amount for a retired worker was $1,676.53. When including the benefits of spouses and children of retired workers, the average benefit was $1,630.93.
To account for inflation, the increase in Social Security benefits for 2023 will be 8.7%, known as the cost-of-living adjustment. This is one of the largest increases due to the soaring inflation that occurred in 2022.
The maximum Social Security benefit you can receive will depend on the age that you retire. For example, in 2023, if you retire at 62, your maximum benefit would be $2,572. If you retire at 70, the maximum benefit would be $4,555.
This article attempts to answer the most common questions, but you can find more answers by going to the frequently asked questions page. If you do not find the answer there, search the publications section. If you still have questions, call your local Social Security office.
On Oct. 6, President Biden announced mass pardons for anyone convicted of a federal crime for simple possession and directed his administration to review whether marijuana should still be a Schedule I substance.
As of the 2022 midterm elections, 21 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands have legalized recreational pot, and 37 states, the District of Columbia and four permanently inhabited U.S. territories have legalized pot’s medical use. Other states have moved to decriminalize pot, but not legalize it altogether.
Illinois is a more recent state to legalize recreational use. As a result, its most prominent airports, O’Hare International and Midway, are now equipped with so-called pot amnesty boxes at the end of every security checkpoint. The boxes are in place for travelers who may arrive with cannabis products and don’t want to break the law by flying with them.
“The amnesty boxes are owned by the Department of Aviation here in Chicago and serviced by us at the police department,” says Maggie Huynh, public relations coordinator at the Chicago Police Department. “The boxes are where travelers can safely dispose of cannabis and cannabis products before travel.”
The placement may seem counterintuitive to those who want to avoid running into legal trouble, so we spoke with experts to find out exactly what you need to know about flying domestically with pot.
According to Larry Mishkin, a Northbrook, Ill., lawyer at the Hoban Law Group, which provides legal services for the clients in the marijuana industry in the United States and internationally, carrying pot onto a plane is a federal crime.
“Marijuana is illegal under federal law, and federal law governs airplane travel in this country,” he says.
The airspace you’ll be traveling through is considered federal territory; hence, why it can’t come on your flight. That includes flying within states where pot use is legal, or flying between states — even if both allow it for recreation. If you leave a state with marijuana, “you’ve broken the law of the state that you purchased it in, you’ve broken the law of the state that you’re going into, and you’ve broken federal law,” Mishkin says.
That depends on a few factors, like where you’re flying out of and how much pot you have in your possession, says Mishkin.
Despite pot being illegal on the federal level, “certain airports, like LAX and O’Hare, have publicly announced that they will not stop any outbound passenger in possession of an ounce or less of marijuana,” Mishkin says. “If, however, you arrive at the airport and realize you have marijuana in your possession and do not want to travel with it, you can deposit it in the amnesty boxes if there are any present, or you can throw it in the trash.”
Todd Maybrown, a partner at Allen, Hansen, Maybrown and Offenbecher in Seattle, has similar suggestions for passengers who show up to the airport with pot in tow.
“In a perfect world, I would recommend that people return to their vehicle and place any marijuana in a secure compartment, such as the trunk or a locked glove box,” Maybrown says. “In an imperfect world, where the passenger does not have a vehicle at the airport, a trip to the bathroom may be the best solution. There are no cameras in the bathroom, and toilet bowls can be flushed.”
You can check where marijuana is legal on websites such as the National Conference of State Legislatures and Leafly. The laws governing it in the United States are ever-changing and confusing to follow. What applies one day might not the next.
“We try to deliver people advice, and then sometimes the laws change on us literally overnight,” Mishkin says. “This is not an industry to take chances.”
States have different rules around usage. In California, for example, a person 21 and older can carry up to an ounce of marijuana, or eight grams of it (a third of the weight) in concentrated form. In Illinois, your limit is also about an ounce, but with a smaller amount of concentrated marijuana — a maximum of five grams — and no more than 500 mg of THC in the form of edibles. Users need to familiarize themselves with the existing laws in the places they intend on consuming marijuana.
TSA’s primary concern is passenger safety and detecting potential threats to aviation. In fact, the TSA website states: “TSA security officers do not search for marijuana or other illegal drugs.”
“The TSA has gone out of its way to say that its focus is not on marijuana,” Mishkin says.
Because TSA is a federal agency, its officers must enforce federal laws. If an illegal substance is found in a traveler’s luggage, the passenger will not be allowed to bring it beyond the checkpoint.
With states passing new legislation on the issue or changing existing laws, a pot-carrier’s fate is hard to predict.
If marijuana is legal in the state, TSA spokeswoman Alexa Lopez said a passenger found with a small amount will typically be allowed to dispose of it. The discovery of larger amounts or if a small amount is found in a state where it is illegal might result in local law enforcement being called.
“You really run the risk of becoming a guinea pig if you decide to go on a plane with marijuana, even if it’s legal in the place where you started, or in a place where you get to finish the trip,” says Maybrown. “There’s so much confusion and uncertainty about what new rules could, or would, apply.”
Lawyers say it is unclear what exactly TSA would do if you had weed in your bag. If you’re caught with pot at an airport in Chicago, or another place in America where pot use is allowed, you may be waived on or simply asked to get rid of it before you board. “It’s up to the officers to make those sorts of decisions,” TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein said.
“TSA will encourage [amnesty boxes] to travelers if they have cannabis on them,” adds Huynh, of the Chicago Police Department. “They don’t call us unless it appears to be clearly illegal amounts, like a suitcase-full.”
Mishkin says that there’s a distinction for medical use of marijuana in the eyes of the law.
“People who have their state medical card that shows they are patients are typically treated a little more leniently than somebody else,” he says.
But having a medical marijuana card may only help you sometimes. At the airport, TSA doesn’t have the jurisdiction or ability to check the validity of those cards. The agent could still pass you off to the local police, who will assess the situation. The state you’re in is also important. If there’s no medical-marijuana program there, a card will mean “absolutely nothing,” Mishkin says.
As long as your CBD product contains no more than 0.3 percent THC, or is approved by the Food and Drug Administration, you can bring it on a flight. If the product is a liquid or food, it must comply with the usual TSA carry-on policy (3.4 ounces or less per liquid item, for example).
Ian Duncan contributed to this report.
Q. I’m considering buying a truck from a small used car dealership several states away and towing my camper so important to be safe. How can I find a mechanic that’s certified? I’m not just concerned about the general condition of the truck, but that the trailer hitch was installed correctly and can tow my camping trailer. Does AAA have mechanics that I can book for this?
A. Most good repair shops can perform a used car inspection. This should include an inspection of all normal wear items, such as brakes, steering, suspension, belts, hoses, fluids, cooling and climate control systems and a thorough road test to evaluate the drivetrain performance. You can find AAA Approved Auto Repair shops at aaa.com/repair. If the selling dealer does not want to let you take the vehicle to a third-party shop for inspection, personally I would not buy the vehicle. Once you find a shop talk with them about your trailer and the trailer hitch as well as hitch wiring and trailer brakes.
Q. My son-in-law just purchased a 2021 Dodge Ram. We are confused why it comes standard with a generator instead of an alternator. Would you know why it comes with a generator and what are the advantages instead of an alternator.
A. Alternators produce alternating current and old-fashioned generators produced direct current. Generators are not very efficient at keeping the battery charged when idling, where an alternator will (mostly) charge a battery at idle. I think in this case it is just terminology, the 2021 RAM truck, even the mild hybrid use an alternator.
Q. I’m interested in this battery that has to be ordered at a local auto parts store. I like the price but have some questions. Would they likely send an old one and does age really matter? Typically, when I buy a battery from an auto-parts store or Walmart, I check the sticker. They don’t check age at my local Goodyear store, they just take one from the display. Am I over thinking this?
A. As a general rule batteries start to degrade as soon as they are manufactured. At AAA we typically rotate batteries out of stock every six months to keep the inventory as fresh as possible. I have seen other retailers keep batteries on the shelf for a year. I like you try to buy the freshest battery possible to ensure the longest life. If the specialty battery you are ordering is more than one year old I would ask for a newer battery.
Q. I read your column weekly and recently there were several reader inquiries regarding headlight restoration. My local car wash company provides several services in addition to a car wash. One is headlight restoration. They use a product from Gliptone which Gliptone advertises as “Guaranteed To Stay Clear For One Full Year”. The cost for the service is approximately $50.00. Also, Griot’s Garage advertises a Ceramic Headlight Restoration Kit which they state is “Guaranteed To Last For Life”. There are two versions, one is advertised to clean up moderate degradation at $20.99 and the other can clear up severe degradation $29.99. I have not personally used either product so I cannot state they live up to what is advertised but these alternatives may be helpful to your readers.
A. As cars get older, headlights can deteriorate and AAA’s testing has shown in some cases this deterioration can block 90-percent of available light output, so it is important to have properly operating headlights. Gliptone looks like a New York based company that sells to the car wash industry. Griot products can be a little pricey but I have found the chemicals that I have used work as advertised.
Q. I follow your Car Doctor column in my newspaper and thank you for keeping us informed. Has anyone mentioned a sub frame issue with 2012 Mercedes Benz C300? I recently took my pristine 2012, C300 to my Mercedes Benz dealer for its scheduled maintenance service. I have only 50,000 miles on this 10-year-old car. The technician stopped when he found the driver’s side subframe to have rusted and cracked. The part is on backorder– six to nine months. If the part is ordered to repair my car, I would need to pay for the part when ordered. We were told the dealer would not take it as a trade. It is not drivable for safety reasons. I researched this ssue online and found others facing the same challenge. Could this be why the part is backordered? Shouldn’t this subframe issue be a recall or reported to an agency?
A. I have seen this issue in limited cases usually in Northeast states with a combination of road salt and salt air. As far as I know (looking at the databases that I have access to) Mercedes Benz hasn’t issued any technical bulletins and there are no recalls. I would still file a safety complaint with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The part could be backorder for a combination of reasons-In Europe these cars have a much longer warranty up to 30 years. So, it could be the parts are covering the European warranty repairs. The other issue is general parts availability, with almost any car when they get 10 years old, parts are harder to get. To report the issue, go to https://www.nhtsa.gov/report-a-safety-problem#vehicle
Got a car question, email the Car Doctor for a personal reply. firstname.lastname@example.org
WALTHAM, Mass., Dec. 05, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Checkpoint Therapeutics, Inc. ("Checkpoint") CKPT, a clinical-stage immunotherapy and targeted oncology company, today announced that it will effect a 1-for-10 reverse stock split of its issued and outstanding common stock. Checkpoint expects its common stock to begin trading on a split-adjusted basis on the Nasdaq Capital Market as of the commencement of trading on December 6, 2022.
The reverse stock split was approved on November 3, 2022 by Checkpoint's Board of Directors and stockholders representing approximately 58% of the voting power of Checkpoint's outstanding capital stock. The reverse stock split is intended to Strengthen the marketability and liquidity of Checkpoint's common stock and to remain in compliance with Nasdaq's continued listing requirements.
Checkpoint's common stock will continue to trade on the Nasdaq Capital Market under the symbol "CKPT" following the reverse stock split, with a new CUSIP number of 162828206. The reverse stock split will affect all stockholders uniformly and will not alter any stockholder's percentage interest in Checkpoint's equity, except to the extent that the reverse stock split would result in a stockholder owning a fractional share. No fractional shares will be issued in connection with the reverse stock split and stockholders who would otherwise be entitled to a fractional share will receive a proportional cash payment. After the effectiveness of the reverse stock split, the number of outstanding shares of common stock will be reduced from approximately 93 million to approximately 9.3 million.
Checkpoint's transfer agent, VStock Transfer, LLC, is also acting as the exchange and paying agent for the reverse stock split. VStock Transfer, LLC will provide instructions to stockholders regarding the process for exchanging physical share certificates. Checkpoint does not expect that stockholders holding their shares in book-entry form or through a bank, broker or other nominee need to take any action in connection with the reverse stock split. Beneficial holders are encouraged to contact their bank, broker or other nominee with any procedural questions. Additional information concerning the reverse stock split can be found in Checkpoint's definitive Information Statement on Schedule 14C filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on November 14, 2022.
About Checkpoint Therapeutics
Checkpoint is a clinical-stage immunotherapy and targeted oncology company focused on the acquisition, development and commercialization of novel treatments for patients with solid tumor cancers. Checkpoint is evaluating its lead antibody product candidate, cosibelimab, a potential best-in-class anti-PD-L1 antibody licensed from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, in an ongoing global, open-label, multicohort Phase 1 clinical trial in checkpoint therapy-naïve patients with selected recurrent or metastatic cancers, including ongoing cohorts in locally advanced and metastatic cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma ("cSCC") intended to support one or more applications for marketing approval. Following positive topline and interim results in metastatic and locally advanced cSCC, respectively, Checkpoint intends to submit a Biologics License Application for these indications later this year. Checkpoint is evaluating its lead small-molecule, targeted anti-cancer agent, olafertinib (formerly CK-101), a third-generation epidermal growth factor receptor ("EGFR") inhibitor, as a potential new treatment for patients with EGFR mutation-positive non-small cell lung cancer. Checkpoint is headquartered in Waltham, MA and was founded by Fortress Biotech, Inc. FBIO. For more information, visit www.checkpointtx.com.
This press release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, each as amended, that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. For those statements, we claim the protection of the safe harbor for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements include, but are not limited to, statements relating to the reverse stock split improving the marketability and liquidity of our common stock and to remain in compliance with Nasdaq's continued listing requirements, statements relating to the potential differentiation of cosibelimab, including a potentially favorable safety profile as compared to the currently available anti-PD-1 therapies, the two-fold mechanism of action of cosibelimab translating into potential enhanced efficacy, projections of publication and regulatory submission timelines, and our planned price disruptive strategy generating substantial market share for cosibelimab in the U.S. Factors that could cause our real results to differ materially include the following: our ability to successfully deliver the complete dataset from the clinical trial and complete a BLA submission on schedule as planned; the risk that topline and interim data remains subject to audit and verification procedures that may result in the final data being materially different from the topline or interim data we previously published; the risk that safety issues or trends will be observed in the clinical trial when the full safety dataset is available and analyzed; the risk that a positive primary endpoint does not translate to all, or any, secondary endpoints being met; risks that regulatory authorities will not accept an application for approval of cosibelimab based on data from the Phase 1 clinical trial; the risk that the clinical results from the Phase 1 clinical trial will not support regulatory approval of cosibelimab to treat cSCC or, if approved, that cosibelimab will not be commercially successful; risks related to our chemistry, manufacturing and controls and contract manufacturing relationships; risks related to our ability to obtain, perform under and maintain financing and strategic agreements and relationships; risks related to our need for substantial additional funds; other uncertainties inherent in research and development; our dependence on third-party suppliers; government regulation; patent and intellectual property matters; competition; and our ability to achieve the milestones we project, including the risk that the evolving and unpredictable Russia/Ukraine conflict and COVID-19 pandemic delay achievement of those milestones. Further discussion about these and other risks and uncertainties can be found in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021, and in our other filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Any forward-looking statements set forth in this press release speak only as of the date of this press release. We expressly disclaim any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in our expectations or any changes in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based, except as required by law. This press release and prior releases are available at www.checkpointtx.com.
Checkpoint Therapeutics, Inc.
Investor Relations Contact:
Ashley R. Robinson
Managing Director, LifeSci Advisors, LLC
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© 2022 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
What is the purpose of the American nuclear arsenal? Every American president since the end of the Cold War has tried to answer this question in a formal report called the Nuclear Posture Review. And every American president has fudged their answer—now including President Joe Biden, who released his NPR last week even as Russia wages war in Europe and the Russian president makes barely veiled nuclear threats against Ukraine, NATO, and the United States itself.
The first NPR, in 1994, was the result of an initiative by President Bill Clinton’s secretary of defense Les Aspin to ask what we should do after the Cold War with a nuclear arsenal that was designed to defeat a Soviet adversary that no longer existed. The process, unfortunately, turned into a kind of bureaucratic free-for-all, in which the Pentagon—better organized, more powerful, and more committed to the status quo than other agencies—outflanked Aspin and his staff (including a talented young assistant secretary of defense named Ashton Carter, later to become secretary himself). Unsurprisingly, the document effectively said that our nuclear establishment, including the triad of bombers, land-based missiles, and submarines, was just fine. Its authors conceded that a new force could be smaller and cheaper, a kind of Mini-Me of the old one.
And that’s pretty much what subsequent NPRs have said ever since. Over the years, other administrations have differed in their emphasis but not their conclusions. The 2002 NPR, for example, reflected both the priorities of the George W. Bush administration and the trauma of 9/11. It was, apparently, a mess of a document. I say “apparently” because most of it was classified; the parts that were released—or leaked—to the public looked very much like the result of lazy outsourcing to defense contractors once everyone in the national-security establishment had stampeded over to counterterrorism and insurgency issues. It was soon buried and forgotten.
When Barack Obama released an NPR, his administration hired communications consultants to try to avoid his predecessor’s stumble, but this precaution didn’t matter. I was among many who hoped that the 2010 release would contain serious changes to U.S. nuclear doctrine, especially because a year earlier, Obama had committed the United States to a nuclear-free world. But again, interagency struggles produced a compromise document that kept previous policies and structures intact.
When Donald Trump became president, many in the national-security community held their breath to see what would come from a man so staggeringly ignorant about nuclear issues. But in the end, the 2018 review, while somewhat harder-edged in its rhetoric, didn’t make major changes to U.S. policy. One significant addition was the idea that the United States could respond to “non-nuclear strategic attacks” with nuclear weapons, but Washington has always implicitly reserved the right to such a response; the Trump administration just decided to say it a little louder.
And now here we are with the fifth NPR. Biden’s report does make some changes. Trump, for example, proposed a new sea-launched nuclear cruise missile. This was a bad idea, and as a result of deliberations over the NPR, Biden zeroed out the budget for it. Biden’s NPR also jettisons much of Trump’s language about responding to nonnuclear attacks.
But we’re keeping the same kinds of forces and the same strategies we used during our long struggle with the Soviet Union. The NPR says, yet again, that the triad is a good idea, that it should be modernized at great expense, and that nuclear deterrence is the ultimate guarantee of American national security.
And yet the big questions remain unanswered. Does the strategic arsenal exist only to deter the use of similar weapons against us? Or does it exist to fight and prevail in a nuclear war? Biden’s solution is the same compromise found in the four other posture reviews: America hopes for a world in which nuclear arms only deter nuclear arms, but that world isn’t here yet.
The Biden NPR is woven into something the administration calls “integrated deterrence,” and as a symbolic point, it was released not as a stand-alone report, but along with both the National Defense Strategy and the Missile Defense Review. “Integrated deterrence” sounds very sensible, but what is it, and what role do nuclear weapons play in it? Here’s the 2022 National Defense Strategy:
Integrated deterrence entails working seamlessly across warfighting domains, theaters, the spectrum of conflict, all instruments of U.S. national power, and our network of Alliances and partnerships. Tailored to specific circumstances, it applies a coordinated, multifaceted approach to reducing competitors’ perceptions of the net benefits of aggression relative to restraint. Integrated deterrence is enabled by combat-credible forces prepared to fight and win, as needed, and backstopped by a safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent.
If you found all that verbiage hard to parse, so did I. Meanwhile, the Nuclear Posture Review adds this refinement—such that it is:
A key goal of integrated deterrence is to develop tailored options that shape adversary perceptions of benefits and costs. The role of nuclear weapons is well established and embedded in strategic deterrence policy and plans. Non-nuclear capabilities may be able to complement nuclear forces in strategic deterrence plans and operations in ways that are suited to their attributes and consistent with policy on how they are to be employed.
As the writer Fred Kaplan noted, this is just “a slog of cliches.” But what it all boils down to is that we’re going to keep doing what we’ve done for some 60 years or so: The United States will deter its enemies by having very good military forces capable of fighting in various environments, with the ultimate security of America and its allies guaranteed by many hundreds of strategic nuclear warheads deliverable in hours by manned bombers—or in a matter of minutes by sea- and land-based missiles.
There is one part of the NPR that minces no words. It says:
Any nuclear attack by North Korea against the United States or its Allies and partners is unacceptable and will result in the end of that regime. There is no scenario in which the Kim regime could employ nuclear weapons and survive.
This is a remarkably stark warning to North Korea. Notice, however, that this passage does not guarantee nuclear retaliation, which is wise. Presidents as far back as Richard Nixon have sought nuclear options against North Korea, a difficult business that carries great risk of escalation as well as damage to other nations. Still, the clarity of this one line raises the question of what might be happening behind the scenes that Biden felt the need to say it.
The report, however, is overall a disappointment for arms-control advocates, especially because Biden, like Obama and Trump before him, remains committed to spending a huge amount of money—more than $600 billion over the next decade—on nuclear weapons. Kaplan, rightly, argued that the 2022 NPR is “a sign that another casualty of the war in Ukraine and various other messes in the world is the suspension of creative thinking about nuclear strategy.” Hans Kristensen and Matt Korda at the Federation of American Scientists said that “efforts to reduce nuclear arsenals and the role that nuclear weapons play have been subdued by renewed strategic competition abroad and opposition from defense hawks at home.” And the arms-control expert Joe Cirincione believes that the whole review process itself is so flawed that Biden’s NPR should be the last ever issued, because it removes too much power from the White House and gives the nuclear establishment too much control over its own interests.
How could this NPR have been different? I am a reformed nuclear hawk—early in my career, I worked in a defense firm that assisted the Strategic Defense Initiative—but since the early 1990s, I have been advocating for reducing our nuclear inventory and decreasing our reliance on nuclear threats. And so I would have liked to have seen a declaration that the sole purpose of nuclear weapons is to deter the use of similar nuclear weapons, along with a “no first use” pledge, in which the United States vowed never to be the first to employ nuclear arms. Sole-purpose and no-first-use declarations cause anxiety among our allies, and understandably so, but it is not 1968 and we are not facing two dozen Soviet divisions along the NATO border.
The huge cost of nuclear modernization also shifts resources away from necessary conventional-force improvements, which are important to countering potential Chinese aggression at sea. Nuclear weapons are not a replacement for naval, air, and ground forces that can deter—and if need be, fight and win—a war in the first place. Look no farther than Ukraine, where Vladimir Putin is learning that painful lesson right now: The Kremlin’s mighty nuclear arsenal has not saved tens of thousands of Russian men from being killed or wounded in a losing battle against a nation one-third the size of Russia.
Realistically, the Biden NPR probably said all that could be said in the current circumstances. A drawn-out crisis with Russia is not the time to invite a debate over the role of the American nuclear deterrent; as former U.S. Ambassador Steven Pifer told me earlier this week: “I had hoped for more ambition in the NPR, but given Russia’s actions and nuclear threats, the final product is no surprise.” The military and the nuclear establishment are resistant to change, but if the current NPR looks a lot like a status quo Cold War document rather than a blueprint for reform, we largely have Putin—and the Chinese, who may be ramping up their threats against Taiwan—to thank for it.
The Biden administration is facing questions and backlash after its $500 billion student debt transfer was blocked in court two days following the midterm elections.
President Joe Biden announced the program on Aug. 24, and it was always seen as a way to drive turnout among younger, educated voters, but with the program on ice, perhaps permanently, some cynicism has developed among those who stood to benefit.
BIDEN ADMINISTRATION'S STUDENT LOAN FORGIVENESS PORTAL STOPS ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS
“They used the promise of student debt cancellation to induce young voter turn out — knowing it wasn’t going anywhere bc they relied on faulty legal authority,” former Bernie Sanders spokeswoman Briahna Joy Gray wrote in a tweet . “Hard to convince me the Biden admin didn’t do this intentionally.”
Biden spoke about student loan "forgiveness" during his 2020 presidential campaign but insisted for his first 18 months in office that Congress needed to act first. That began to change in mid-2022, and by the fall, the White House had announced $10,000 of student debt per borrower would be transferred to taxpayers for anyone earning less than $125,000, and $20,000 for those who received Pell Grants.
The total cost of the program was estimated to run between $400 billion and $1 trillion , depending on a range of variables. Because the Constitution says that only Congress has power of the purse, a flurry of lawsuits soon materialized.
The Education Department made changes to the program on the fly in an attempt to prevent plaintiffs from having standing and continued accepting millions of applications even after the program was paused.
It was finally blocked last Thursday by a Texas judge in response to a lawsuit from the conservative advocacy group Job Creators Network. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also blocked the program on Monday in response to a different lawsuit led by six GOP-led states.
The White House has appealed the Texas ruling and released the following statement in response to the second.
“We are confident in our legal authority for the student debt relief program and believe it is necessary to help borrowers most in need as they recover from the pandemic," read the statement from press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. "The administration will continue to fight these baseless lawsuits by Republican officials and special interests and will never stop fighting to support working and middle class Americans.”
But the move follows a pattern that has become familiar in the Biden White House — implementing progressive policies via executive order only to see them struck down in court.
The first time this occurred was with Biden's extending the eviction moratorium, which the president openly admitted was probably illegal. The same thing happened with the employer vaccine mandate, federal mask mandate, Title 42 southern border expulsion policy, and now Biden's student loan policy.
"At some point, he needs to stay in his lane," said Karen Harned, chief legal officer of the Job Creators Network Foundation Legal Action Fund. "Biden took an oath to uphold the Constitution, so trying to find creative ways to shoehorn his policies by going around Congress is not the answer. The Supreme Court has been very clear on that, and I feel that they'll continue to reject these attempts. I just wish he'd stop trying to do it."
Some legal observers have raised questions about Biden's strategy with student loan forgiveness. Specifically, the president could have used the Higher Education Act of 1965, which empowers the secretary of education to "enforce, pay, compromise, waive, or release any right, title, claim, lien, or demand, however acquired, including any equity or any right of redemption."
Instead, the White House used the HEROES Act of 2003, a 9/11-era bill designed to prevent military service members from suffering financial hardship if they went to war.
Fordham University law professor Jed Shugerman made this argument recently, predicting the Biden administration could lose 9-0 if the HEROES Act-based program reaches the Supreme Court.
Biden aggressively promoted student loan forgiveness in the final weeks of the midterm elections, releasing a " by the numbers " sheet lashing out at the GOP and delivering a speech on the Topic in New Mexico.
"It's temporarily on hold — why?" Biden said at the time. "Because Republican members of the Congress and Republican governors are doing everything they can, including taking us to court, to deny relief even to their own constituents."
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER
As some voters worry that they've been betrayed by the White House with faulty promises, Shugerman argues it's not too late to try a different tactic.
"How about trying one more time while there is still a Dem Congress to fix this legal mess with a Student Debt Relief Act," he tweeted , "instead of executive orders that will lose?
The Worcester Regional Transit Authority will soon open up its quarterly “Talking Transit” webinar sessions to the community beginning on Dec. 12.
Announced by WRTA Advisory Board chairperson Gary Rosen, the sessions will “answer questions of our ridership, local advocates, business owners and organizations, as well as elected and appointed officials,” a digital flyer read.
WRTA Administrator Dennis Lipka will also join the advisory board and WRTA staff members during the webinar.
“While not an advisory board meeting, it will be a fine and welcome opportunity for members of the public across the WRTA’s 37 communities to ask questions about fixed route and paratransit service,” a statement announcing the webinars said.
The first webinar will be held at 5 p.m. over Zoom via the link here. The passcode is 874484. If those interested in participating are listening by phone, call 646-931-3860. The webinar ID is 879 5951 8699.
To request participation while in the Zoom meeting please use the “raised hand” icon in your settings.
Participants are asked that when they speak, they will be entered into panelist mode on Zoom. Phone users who want to raise their hand are to press * (star) and nine so moderators see the “raised hand” icon. WRTA asks questions and comments to be limited to five minutes “so that all attending will have time to speak,” the statement read.
The first webinar comes between a Nov. 25 to Dec. 31 timeframe where no fares or passes are needed across the state for fixed route bus and paratransit services. Called “Try Transit,” all 15 non-Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority agencies are free for riders through the end of 2022.
Since the onset of pandemic lockdowns March 2020, WRTA has remained fare-free since initially pausing its fare policy. In September, the WRTA board unanimously voted to extend fare-free bus service until June 30, 2023.
“The suspension of our fare policy has been popular amongst our riders and we hope that individuals throughout the Commonwealth will take advantage of this no-cost program and deliver transit a try this holiday season,” Lipka said in a Nov. 15 statement.
If you purchase a product or register for an account through one of the links on our site, we may receive compensation.
Florida’s mission to fly migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard in September has spawned a criminal investigation, civil lawsuits and criticism that the nearly 50 migrants were used by Gov. Ron DeSantis as pawns in a political stunt.
Now an NBC 6 investigation raises questions about whether state money has been spent properly – questions the state has refused to answer.
For example, one of three companies the state said submitted quotes for the project denied to NBC 6 it ever submitted a quote.
And the NBC 6 Investigators have obtained a document the state has withheld from the public – a “request for quotes” for “an air transportation company to provide chartered flight services” that was sent to the eventual winning contractor just 28 hours before the company’s response was due.
That contractor, Vertol Systems Company of Destin, has close connections to the DeSantis administration official who oversaw the missions for the state, Larry Keefe, a lawyer who represented the company over several years.
The 2022-23 state budget allowed the Florida Department of Transportation to spend up to $12 million on contracts to transport “unauthorized aliens from this state” after receiving “at least two quotes.”
But records reveal many of the migrants had documentation showing they had been released on recognizance after presenting themselves to immigration authorities at the US-Mexico border in Texas. Their lawyers say they were in fact authorized to be in the United States.
And they didn’t embark on their journey “from this state,” as the budget language stated, but rather boarded two leased jets in Texas, where they were recruited by people working with Vertol.
It has been paid $1.56 million by the state in advance to conduct three migrant relocations, according to state records, but only the Martha’s Vineyard operation went forward. The two others – to Delaware and Illinois --- have not occurred.
It’s unclear from the records released so far whether two companies responded to either of the two “requests for quote” – or RFQs – created by FDOT: the one they have not released publicly that was sent to Vertol on August 1 with an August 2 deadline; and an earlier one with a July 20 deadline for quotes to be submitted.
One company directly responded to the earlier RFQ – seeking “a transportation management company” to “implement and manage” the relocation program – and the state did release that RFQ to the public. It was responded to at some point by Gun Girls Inc., of Palm Beach Gardens, but records released so far do not include a response to that RFQ by Vertol.
Emails show FDOT’s general counsel first discussed the operation and how charter flights are priced with Vertol CEO James Montgomerie on July 26, nearly a week after the first deadline for quotes had passed.
When FDOT and the governor’s office released records on October 7, titled “FDOT RELOCATION PROGRAM,” it listed three companies as having provided quotes: Vertol, Gun Girls and Wheels Up, a New York company that caters to business and luxury class travelers seeking private air travel.
But a representative of Wheels Up, which the state claimed submitted an “air quote” in response to a request for quotes, tells NBC 6 Investigators it never submitted a response.
The records reveal it did send the state a brochure describing its services. But that is it.
And, NBC 6 has learned, Wheels Up was not sent a request for quotes until Aug. 5, three days after the deadline had passed for it to respond – and it did not respond, according to a source with knowledge of the state’s interactions with the company.
While it is unclear, based on the patchwork of incomplete records the state has released so far, whether it got two quotes for either of the RFQs it sent out, it is clear three companies did not submit quotes, as the state claimed.
FDOT would not answer detailed questions on the timing and nature of the quotes it did receive, saying only there were “multiple” quotes; the governor’s office has not responded to several questions about the quotes and the relocation program.
FDOT and Vertol are being sued by the Florida Center for Government Accountability (FCGA), a nonprofit that promotes government accountability and transparency. The lawsuit claims both are unlawfully withholding public records involving the Sept. 14 flights from Texas, through Crestview near Vertol’s offices, and eventually to Massachusetts.
One document it is seeking is the RFQ with the August 2 deadline, which was referenced as an attachment to an email sent by FDOT to Vertol on August 1. But the document itself – obtained by NBC 6 Investigators -- had not been released by either Vertol or the state.
Given a description of the document by NBC 6, Michael Barfield, the FCGA director of public access, said it should have been released under his and others’ public records requests.
“That is the document they were responding to,” Barfield said, referring to Vertol’s August 2 response to FDOT's August 1 RFQ. “I noted that (during testimony in a court hearing on the lawsuit last week) because I don’t have that document, even to this date.”
It’s not clear from what has been released that anyone other than Vertol responded to it. Nor has any contract between Vertol and the state been released, so it is unknown to the public whether it is more consistent with the first or second RFQ.
Unlike the first RFQ, the second one does not contain language stating the program is to “relocate out of the State of Florida …. unauthorized aliens.”
Asked if, based on what has been released, it appears FDOT got more than one quote in response to that RFQ, Barfield said, “No, it doesn’t sound like it to me. And I knew something was odd here but I did not know exactly what it was.”
Knowing what he knows now, he said, “It sounds like there was no bidding process. It sounds like there was a preordained award on this contract for services to Larry Keefe’s former client, Vertol.”
Keefe, a Trump-appointed former U.S. Attorney for Northern Florida, joined the DeSantis administration as “public safety czar” last year. In the 2010s, he represented Vertol in several cases, both as defense and plaintiff’s counsel.
And in the lead-up to Vertol receiving its $615,000 check in advance a week before the Sept. 14 flights, he and Vertol’s CEO Montgomerie exchanged dozens of texts released by the state involving Vertol’s on-going negotiations with FDOT. Some were sent as both men and Vertol’s lead recruiter, Perla Huerta, were scouting San Antonio for locations to solicit migrants to take the flights to Massachusetts.
On Monday August 22, Vertol obtained a $153,500 quote from a charter jet company to lease two planes for the flights from Texas to Massachusetts, according to records Vertol released in response to the FCGA’s public records lawsuit. That same day Keefe texted Montgomerie: “Told my group we should receive your proposal Wednesday. Will that timeframe work for you?” Montgomerie replied: “Yes sir,” according to text logs released by the state and Vertol.
They make eight phones calls to each other over the next three days and on Friday August 26, after Keefe called Montgomery three times, Keefe texted Montgomerie at 4:16 p.m.: “Do you think it will be today or Monday what we discussed? … My colleagues asked me to inquire so they can remain at the office if today.”
Montgomerie replied, “Monday,” apparently relieving state employees from staying late on a Friday night.
The records show the two talk and text more that weekend and on the afternoon of Monday August 29, Keefe asked Montgomerie: “When may I call re suggested revisions.”
The banter between Keefe and his former client about FDOT’s contract negotiations with Vertol increases as a crucial date nears: Sept. 2, when FDOT and Vertol exchange three proposals, and several emails. At one point, Keefe asked Montgomerie to “keep me apprised of what occurs … so I can stay ahead of things.”
Keefe and Montgomerie sent or received 18 texts and made seven calls to each other that day as the deal was being negotiated – the most communication they had with each other on any one day during the month for which Keefe’s texts and phone records were released.
Barfield, of FCGA, said the communications suggest "Mr. Keefe running interference for Vertol in any difficulties they encountered with FDOT."
NBC 6 Investigators asked the state if Keefe’s level of involvement with his former client in this process presented the appearance of or an real conflict of interest. Or if anything that took place could be evidence of a violation of state procurement policies or laws. We received no response.
Montgomerie and Keefe have also not answered emails and phone messages requesting comment.
After a long day of negotiation on Sept. 2, the main points appeared to have been settled and the deal appears sealed on Sept. 6 for $615,000.
Having received a quote of $153,000 to lease the planes, Vertol could have spent $462,000 on hotel rooms, transportation, food, salaries, legal services, other expenses and overhead before it risked losing money on the $615,000 deal.
And while the records released so far show only Vertol responding directly and in detail to the August 1 RFQ -- the one the state has withheld from the public but was obtained by NBC 6 Investigators – the Gun Girls’ response to the first RFQ has enough detail to estimate how much Gun Girls may have charged to transport 50 migrants on the same route Vertol used to send them from Texas through Florida to Martha’s Vineyard: $446,500.
FDOT wound up paying Vertol 38% more than that, $615,000 up front.
The state also released a document from Gun Girls dated Aug. 1 that says it could transport five people from Florida to Massachusetts for $26,000 – which would be $260,000 for 50 people. It’s not clear whether that document is a response to the first or second RFQ. Because it only quotes a trip from Florida, it cannot be compared directly to what Vertol was paid to begin the migrants' journey in Texas.
Gun Girls declined to comment, except to say they had nothing to do with the flights.
Less than a week before Keefe and Montgomerie landed in Crestview on the morning of Sept. 14 on one of the planes with migrants on their way to Martha's Vineyard, the two men had a Delaware mission on their minds. On Sept. 9, Montgomerie texted Keefe Vertol "could certainly do Delaware."
On Sept. 15, Keefe, who lives near Montgomerie and the Vertol offices in Okaloosa County, was early for a meeting with Montgomerie, the texts indicate.
"May I enter your building now even though I'm early?" Keefe texted Montgomerie at 10:22 that Thursday morning.
Less than six hours later, Montgomerie sent FDOT an email proposing two more migrant relocations, to Delaware and Illinois, at a cost of $950,000.
By the following Monday, Sept. 19, state records indicate, the state issued a $950,000 advance payment to Vertol for those missions -- neither of which have occurred.