February 3, 2007 (apj.us) — How would you like to know what our crack customs people were up to today?
Here's what they did:
Jodie Foster, probably America's finest film actor, was on her way back from vacation in the Turks and Caicos, She was, as many of us have been, in the huge immigration lines at Los Angeles International Airport. Like any good American, she got on her cell phone and began chatting. A guard marched up to her and snapped at her to "get off the phone," claiming that talking on the phone was not permitted in custom's lines.
Huh? (Yes, I know, maybe the phone could be use to detonate a bomb — which says a lot about U.S. government bomb-sniffing equipment, which should be at every airport.)
Anyway, Ms. Foster — like any good American with a backbone — got right back on the phone when the PD-FBI washout turned his back.
But uh-oh! This was not just any guard. This one was a nut. In fact, when the guard saw Foster back on the phone he began screeching at her and threatened to yank her out of line. Someone in line informed the guard that Ms. Foster was an Oscar winner and a fine American as well. The guard, employing the full cerebral capacity of his amphibian Bush brain — or was it his Rove brain? — decided he must nevertheless stand next to her all the way through immigration to make certain she did not return to her cell phone.
Thank God for U.S. Customs.
An aside: normally, customs folks like to pick on Oriental Americans with money. I've seen them do this more than once — in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s (and therefore not "9/11" related). They start screaming at little old Oriental ladies with several Louis Vuitton trunks filled with this or that. And why? Because the women could not speak English.
This is a fact. I saw it repeatedly.
At one point, I finally lost my temper with one of these security geniuses at LAX, a customs agent who was berating a 90-year-old Chinese-American woman just ahead of me in line. The jerk shouted "Shut your damned mouth!" at her as he simultaneously marched over to the chief of station.
The racist customs agent was ordered off the floor.
That was one for Jodie Foster, in retrospect.