Dashmesh Pictures: Homepage Dashmesh Pictures:  Mission Statement Learn about Team Dashmesh Pictures Dashmesh Pictures:  Newsworthy Items Featured Works Other Works Contact Us Links and Reference Help Wanted Inspiration and Guidance Donations Welcomed

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Air your security gripes on TSA blog

Air your security gripes on TSA blog

Thu Jan 31, 7:40 AM ET
Via Yahoo News

Frustrated by long airport-security lines? Certain those screeners aren't paying attention? Wondering why your grandma always gets frisked? The federal government wants to hear — or at least read — your gripes at the "Evolution of Security" blog the Transportation Security Administration introduced Wednesday. And it promises those complaints and suggestions won't vanish into thin air.

The blog, at http://www.tsa.gov/blog, is getting a rather "blah" response from aviation analysts and passengers advocates who say it will do little to improve process or perception.

"This will just make it easier for them to receive complaints for them to ignore in the name of national security," said David Stempler, president of the Air Travelers Association.

In the blog's initial post, TSA Administrator Kip Hawley said the goal is to provide a forum for the agency to explain why travelers must go through certain steps at checkpoints since interaction at airports is often harried and halted, resulting in "feedback and venting ... circulating among passengers with no real opportunity for us to learn from you or vice versa."

"We will incorporate what we learn in this forum in our checkpoint process evolution," Hawley wrote. "Our postings from the public will be reviewed to remove the destructive, but not touch the critical or cranky."

Terry Trippler, a Minneapolis-based airline expert, applauded the idea but said TSA "was in the right church, just not the right pew yet."

And that church could become anything but sacred. Trippler said he envisions the blog quickly degenerating into an online vacuum where a handful of habitual complainers force TSA officials to respond to them, while other self-appointed security "experts" pontificate on the best ways to improve the process.

Even worse, he said some travelers will avoid the blog for fear of retribution from the government.

The TSA already is fighting an uphill battle in the court of public opinion.

An Associated Press-Ipsos poll conducted last month found that only the Federal Emergency Management Agency, still dealing with its mismanagement of Hurricane Katrina, ranked below the TSA among the least-liked federal agencies. TSA tied with tax collectors in the ranking of a dozen executive branch agencies.

The AP poll found that the more people traveled, the less they liked TSA, but also that 53 percent of air travelers though the agency did a "very" or "somewhat" good job. Their top complaint: the inconvenience of security.

By late Wednesday there were 29 comments on the blog, mostly from TSA employees and moderators. One anonymous poster asked why some airport body scanners stop him due to a hip replacement while others do not.

The response from "Christopher," identified as an "evolution blog team member," said answering those kinds of questions in future posts was why the site was started and added: "Come back on Friday to check out our post on the top three questions security officers get from passengers."

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Bhai Sahib Gurdarshan Singh Rules!!!

Happy New Year… and all that good stuff. =)

The end of 2007 was good to me, as I had some time off from work. With this time off, it allowed me to do something that I had been putting off due to wedding planning. I finally got to update the Inspiration section to RestoringThePride.com, which features kirtan and gurmat recordings of Bhai Gurdarshan Singh of Guru Gobind Singh Foundation.

Lovingly referred to as Bhai Sahib here in the DC area, he is true multi-talented individual with skills rarely seen among Sikh Granthis. As a graduate of the Sikh Missionary College, Bhai Sahib is well versed in Sikh history, gurmat, gurbani , and the ability to sing beautiful kirtan. But his one true skill that sets him apart from others is his ability to fluently talk both in Punjabi and English.

Although I'm born and brought up in the States, I have not met any Sikh Granthi, or traveling kirtan jatha, to be able to clearly communicate in both of these languages when sharing the message of Sikhism. Probably this is the case (and I do hope so) for Sikh Diaspora elements in the United Kingdom and Canada, but I haven’t seen this in America. Throughout being raised in the DC area and spending some "sabbatical" at most of the Gurudwaras here, I haven’t seen no other Giani other than Bhai Sahib who has the ability to connect with the Sangat regardless where they are raised (east or west), let alone share Sikhism clearly and concisely to Non-Sikhs (generally Americans who have no idea of the Sikhs at all).

What's best about Bhai Sahib is that when you listen to his recordings, he easily intertwines both Engligh and Punjabi when discussing passages from the Guru Granth Sahib. This ability allows Western based Sikhs (like me) to capture the same message and scope being offered to their parents.

Furthermore, he has a great sense of expressing both his thoughts and emotions to truly show that he is compassionate about his faith of Sikhism, as well as firm believer that he demonstrates with ease. At my wedding, many of my American friends were struck by Bhai Sahib’s frank discussion on the purpose to marriage. However to my delight, they were "upset" at him through his talk. It appears that just when Bhai Sahib was about to make his point when speaking in English, he would switch over to Punjabi leaving them confused yearning for what he was saying.

Bhai Sahib has a great ability to be a Granthi within the Gurudwara and be your friend outside of his profession. This is a talent that must have been hard for him to master, but he has done so wonderfully. If you are ever up to a game of Volleyball, Table Tennis, or to watch a sporting event, Bhai Sahib is a great companion to have tag along… assuming that he does not have a Granthi duty to do which can happen at the spur of the moment.. He has helped me in many ways when I have ever had questions about Sikhi, but more so as a friend.

A couple years back, I was approached by one of my good friends who was adamantly stating that a MP3 recorder needs to purchased in order to record all of Bhai Sahib's kirtan records or audio lectures. He, along with several other friends and me, decided to pitch in and get a device to do this duty. However we quickly learned how audio editing can be a pain in the butt. So as time passed, I agreed to do this work and I try to get whatever recordings I have online as fast as I can. But you can see how "fast" I work, as I just uploaded all 2007 recordings at the end of the 2007 year.

So in short if you are looking for good discussions on Sikhism or wish to better understand the message when kirtan is performed, check out the work of Bhai Gurdarshan Singh. The data transfer for all these recordings has been extremely high since I posted it online, which is a good positive sign that people are enjoying the content.

Recently Bhai Sahib just returned from Houston Sikh Youth Camp (he goes every year) and the Campers there were so inspired by his talks, that they created a Facebook group called Bhai Gurdarshan Singh Rules!!!!!!

And I'm quite happy to say that yes, I do agree with this thought. Bhai Gurdarshan Singh my friend, you do rule.

Bhai Gurdarshan Singh and I
Bhai Sahib Gurdarshan Singh (right), he's one cool dude.

Labels: , , , , , ,