Thursday, October 14, 2004
At $64 a Pot, That Must Be Some Coffee 
by Lenka Reznicek [permalink] 
It probably wasn't even Jamaican Blue Mountain, which at about $25.00 a pound bulk would be far cheaper than the Chock-Full-O'Nuts these guys probably slurped from their Noritake cups. I am tickled pink to know that my tax dollars are being used so frugally and appropriately, and that all the fine hard-working executives at the TSA are getting joyously féted. After all, what's a half-million bucks in the War on Terror?
Sixty-four dollars for a gallon of coffee? That is how much the Transportation Security Administration paid a Washington hotel to host a November 2003 awards banquet, contributing to a price tag for the party of nearly a half-million dollars, according to the Department of Homeland Security's independent investigator.

The TSA, which is in charge of airport security, also paid $3.75 for each soft drink, $1,850 for seven sheet cakes, $1,500 for three cheese displays, and more than $81,000 for awards plaques, according to the report from the department's Office of Inspector General...according to the AP, Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., said while he had not seen the full report it indicated "a colossal waste of money. There's something terribly wrong with that agency...of all the agencies, that's the one that's supposed to be working full-time against terrorist attacks."

The cost of the event was approximately $461,745, including lodging, transportation and per diem allowances for award recipients.
The TSA's executives may be eating $500.00 cheese trays, but from what I've experienced, their people on the front lines in the airports are just another manifestation of DMV/post office bureaucratic incompetence. The security checkers usually can't even tell the difference between my partner and I from our ID's, even though she's blonde and I'm brunette, and she's about 6 inches taller than I am - hell, they hardly even look at the pictures on the ID's. Maybe I should wear a beard next time I go through a security line? You know, I wouldn't be surprised if much of what we're paying the TSA to do is as useful as buying cans of dragon repellent:

"Wow! A thousand bucks per can? How do I know this dragon repellent really works?"
"Of course it does! When was the last time you saw a dragon in your house?"

Frankly, I'm afraid to ask how much the w[h]ine that accompanied those $500.00 cheese trays cost us.