"What's black and white and read all over?"

Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Posted 5:50 PM by

Pa. fences solen property

You can't get items confiscated from your carryon bags back, unless you buy them from the state of Pennsylvania on eBay.If I stole something from you while you watched, chances are you would probably call the cops and they would charge me with theft.

Say I didn't steal the item, merely obtained it from the person who did and then re-sold it for a profit. I could be accused of fencing a stolen item and possibly criminal conspiracy.

The same, however, does not hold true if I work for the governor of Pennsylvania and the people doing the stealing are employees of the federal Transportation Security Administration.

Instead, I'd get publically praised for running "a business efficient government" as Gov. Ed Rendell did last week during the Democratic State Committee's endorsement meeting.

The purely political session was re-broadcast last night on Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN), which I happened to channel surf to while suffering insomnia. Instead, of putting me to sleep, it got me good and pissed.

Rendell said the TSA had simply been stockpiling the tons of knives, scissors, lighters and other banned objects they confiscated from airline passengers at Philly International and airports around the state.

That is, until somebody in Pennsylvania's Bureau of Supplies and Surplus Operations came up with the idea of taking those confiscated items off the Feds hands and then re-selling them on auction Web site eBay.

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell is boasting the state raised $100,000 last year by selling items confiscated at airports.The idea drew a laugh from the politicos present until Rendell said the brisk business generated $100,000 in new state revenue last year. He also said the program has since started taking confiscated material from as far away as New York City's LaGuardia airport.

"Ladies and gentleman, government is serious business and when it's done right people's lives can be changed forever," Fast Eddie said.

Somewhere Fiorello LaGuardia, the fiery and progressive former mayor who was that airport's namesake, is probably spinning in his grave at the thought of Pennsylvania making a profit from the illegal search and seizure of personal property.
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