The federal government is getting more progressive.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced that same sex couples will receive the same courtesies as heterosexual couples at airports, ports and border crossings starting next month. Specifically, CBP is becoming much more liberal about what constitutes a “household.” Under the new definition, a household includes:
Two adults who are in a committed relationship including, but not limited to, long-term companions and couples in civil unions or domestic partnerships where the partners are financially interdependent, and are not married to, or a partner of, anyone else.
Interestingly, this is being spun in part as a cost saving move. “CBP expects this process streamlining to save up to $2.8 million annually in personnel time while maintaining the highest standards of security.“
As you might expect, it’s not easy to coordinate that many flights, especially when many of the dignitaries arrived in New York on private planes and required a police escort to get to Manhattan. According to the story, “…Secret Service and the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service provided varying levels of protection depending on the ‘threat perception.’” Some world leaders got the so-called “heavy weapons package.”
You might be surprised to know the airfield only shuts down for two people — the President and Vice President of the United States. And even then, it only shuts down for 15 minutes or less, according to the Times.
I think my favorite part of the story is this gem:
Some years can be more complicated than others. When Iran’s former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attended the General Assembly, he would have the pilots turn off their plane’s transponder as it approached the airport, causing it to disappear from the screen used in the command center to track aircraft, Lieutenant Lomonaco said. Or his plane would veer north away from the city “trying to be a little evasive” before landing, he added.
The dating website MeetAtTheAirport.com – yes, such a thing exists – is seeking a national spokesman. You must be a single male between the age of 25 and 35. And you must be willing to do lots of travel, according to the ad.
Auditions are Friday at 11 a.m. in Woodland Hills, Calif.
Watch the video above carefully. Do you notice anything usual?
Believe it or not, the airport is fake. It’s one of the prime exhibits at Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg, Germany. Yes, it’s a museum dedicated to very cool mini models built with perfect German precision.
I visited a couple of years ago, and the airfield is more or less as perfect as it is in the video. Planes land, taxi and take off while a crowd of patrons – sometimes a few people deep – watch intently. If you’re pressed for time, I recommend fast forwarding to the 4 minutes 20 second mark, where you can watch an Emirates plane (I believe a Boeing 777) land and taxi to its miniature gate.
Another cool thing about the model: The airport can switch from day to night.
According to the museum’s website, the project took about four and a half years to build and cost approximately 4 million euros, or roughly $5.3 million using today’s exchange rate. Officials say it took about 150,000 man hours to build the exhibit, which features 15,000 figures and 6,000 trees. It “handles” about 180 flights a day.