No Fly No More


The federal "no fly" list is due for some slimming, said Kip Hawley, head of the Transportation Security Administration, who hopes to cut the list in half by 2008.

Some are still griping:

Even cutting the list in half is "nice but not all that meaningful," said Barry Steinhardt, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union. He noted that various estimates of the list's size, which is classified, have ranged from 50,000 to 350,000 names.

"Cutting a list of 350,000 names is not all that impressive," Steinhardt added.

Presumably the 175,000 people no longer on the list would find it fairly impressive when they tried to board a plan to visit grandma for Christmas. If the list is fixed, though, we will lose the chance for stories of hilarious identity confusion, like this one:

Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska…complained that his wife, Catherine, was being identified as "Cat" Stevens and frequently stopped due to confusion with the former name of the folk singer now known as Yusuf Islam, whose name is on the list. In 2004 he was denied entry into the U.S., but officials declined to explain why.

More on who can fly and who can't here and here.