Remember Michael Chertoff, who as homeland security secretary during the Bush Administration said ill-advised things about illegal immigrants (and who, predictably, was later found to employ them)? Since leaving government service, he's kept busy running the Chertoff Group, a security consulting firm; since the Dec. 25 Underpants Bomber episode he's given "dozens of media interviews," according to the Washington Post, about the urgent need for more full-body scanners at airports.
Wouldn't you know, one of Chertoff Group's clients just happens to be a big manufacturer of full-body scanners, Rapiscan Systems. Which would be unfortunate even if it weren't an apparent conflict of interest. Here's how Whatever It Is I'm Against It makes the case:
I assume the first syllable of Rapiscan is pronounced with a soft a1 as in rapid, not a hard a2 as in rape. If I were planning to sell scanners that pictured people naked, I'd have put some more thought into that name.
Rapiscan is yet another of those unfortunate ambiguous portmanteau names that are so easy to dream up and so difficult to pull off. In honor of Lewis Carroll, the first person to use portmanteau to describe such mashups3, here's a cautionary verse:
Beware the awkward portmanteau!
The syllables that clash and grate!
Avoid the sound inapropos
And the sense third-rate.
1 I.e., "short a."
2 I.e., "long a."
3 Carroll was also the coiner of "snark."