FlyClear

UPDATE: I have written several followup posts detailing my Clear experience.  http://snurl.com/2282y

I coughed up $99 and joined Clear… retinal scanning…. cool. Clear security lanes will be available at SFO in September, already operating at San Jose Mineta.

Travelers who join the Clear Registered Traveler program are pre-screened for security and provided with a biometric card which allows them to pass through security faster, with more predictability and less hassle. Take the first step toward stress free travel and get your fast pass today.

UPDATE: I did the second half of the process today, getting my identification verified and my fingerprints and retinal scan done. All-in-all a pretty painless process but I did have to go to SFO and that’s always a PITA. The kiosk this is done with is pretty slick, it scanned in my passport and drivers license, then did my fingerprints and scored each one for, I guess, thoroughness of the scan, and then did two retinal scans (both eyes). It was a 10 minute process from start to finish. BTW, the SFO Clear lanes are opening on Sept. 6.

BTW, I saw on the list of upcoming airports that LGA is included.

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Blue Angels Still Welcome in SF

A silly measure by SF Supervisor Chris Daly to call for an end to the Blue Angels appearance at Fleet Week (a San Francisco tradition bigger than rice-a-roni) was rejected by a committee.

The committee voted 2-1 to table the measure, authored by Supervisor Chris Daly, effectively killing it. But Daly, who cited public safety and noise concerns as his reasons for proposing the ban, promised to continue pushing it.

Here’s the flaw in Daly’s argument:

Since 2000 there have been 1,200 injuries and 7 deaths in San Francisco bus accidents (deaths and injuries in San Francisco due to the Blue Angels over the same period, zero)… does that mean we should ban buses from San Francisco streets? If Daly is concerned about public safety then surely he would consider the merits of such a measure.

Why can’t Daly just come out and admit his true motives, he doesn’t want anything related to the U.S. military in San Francisco? This is the same Board of Supervisors that passed a measure rejecting the permanent berthing of the decommissioned battleship USS Iowa in San Francisco, banned ROTC in public schools, and wanted to ban military recruiters (through a non-binding voter proposition sponsored by activist groups on the last ballot) only to back down when they learned the Federal government really could, and would, shut off federal funding for SF’s public schools as a result.

In Chris Daly’s own words:

"I am sad to say I am not proud of the history of the United States of America since the 1940′s."

You mean things like defeating the spread of totalitarian communism and fascism, creating an economy that outperforms the rest of the world and creates jobs, wealth and security for Americans, and a country that remains a beacon of hope and opportunity for millions of people who don’t have it in their own country? Chris, 60+ years is a lot of history to write off in one sentence. The only thing Chris Daly should not be proud of is his own conduct on the Board, which has resulted in official censure and criticism from his fellow supervisors and increasingly, national embarrassment.

San Francisco’s city government hates the military, Supervisor Geraldo Sandoval is on record for suggesting that it should be eliminated altogether. Through every action the Board of Dupes takes they make their position clear, that this Blue Angels measure was defeated is what is surprising, not that it was presented in the first place. Of course, the Board also demonstrates time and again that ideology only really wins when it doesn’t get in the way of dollars being spent in the City, and the fact remains that the Blue Angels are a big draw during Fleet Week and that means money being spent in shops, hotels, and restaurants.

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Dollar Rising

The U.S. dollar is surging against foreign currencies, a consequence of the spreading credit crisis that started in U.S. subprime fixed income securities. As this article points out, the irony is that when times are good the dollar weakens and when seas get rough foreign investors come back in to the safe harbor that U.S. markets are.

But the main reason why investors are renewing their relationship with the dollar has more to do with a lack of places to hide during the volatility that has given financial markets their worst shakeup in about five years. That’s right: For all their concern about the U.S. dollar when times are good, investors adopt a far different view when times get tough and risk-taking no longer looks like a moneymaking activity.