Thursday, June 30, 2011

What exactly does the TSA do?

Attention, please...



Thank goodness for the Transportation Safety Administration.


I mean, who else will pat-down suspicious-looking, terminally ill grandmothers wearing adult diapers? Who else will pat-down kids and infants? Who else can make you feel good about a nice pre-flight grope?


And, of course, doing all that takes time. And human resource allocation. And money.


Maybe that's why they're too busy to really go after people like the "interesting" guy from Nigeria (story below, via the Los Angeles Times):

A Nigerian man flew from New York to Los Angeles using an expired boarding pass that belonged to someone else, media outlets reported Thursday morning. Olajide Oluwaseun Noibi reportedly boarded Virgin American Flight 415 at New York's JFK International Airport bound for Los Angeles on Friday.

At this time, investigators are suggesting that Noibi is a tourist rather than a terrorist. Noibi apparently went through and cleared the physical screening process, but no one caught the invalid travel documents.

It wasn't until after the flight took off that attendants realized an extra passenger was on board, officials said. During the flight, crew members asked Noibi for his boarding pass and, after hesitating, he handed over a boarding pass from the day before, KTLA quotes FBI officials as confirming. That boarding pass had another person's name on it.

Noibi allegedly told the crew that the pass was outdated because he had missed that flight a day earlier.

The man whose name was on the boarding pass later told FBI officials that the document had disappeared from his back pocket when he arrived at JFK International Airport on June 23.

On arrival in Los Angeles, Noibi left the airport without being detained.

He was arrested after he returned to LAX on Wednesday and attempted to board a Delta flight bound for Atlanta, again using an expired boarding pass, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller told KTLA.

Noibi allegedly told authorities he was traveling to Los Angeles to recruit people for his software business.

A search of Noibi's bags at LAX turned up more than 10 boarding passes with various individuals' names, none of which were his own, FBI officials said.

Noibi is being held at the Los Angeles County Men's Detention Center, according to reports.


So let's get this straight: This guy travels from NY to LA, gets called out for using an expired boarding pass -- that wasn't his own -- and yet he's able to move freely about the country until he returns to LAX?

Funny (not funny)...it seems like the people in question -- whether it's the heroes of United 93 on 9/11, or passengers dealing with the infamous "underwear bomber," or the flight crew identifying our Nigerian friend here -- are being dealt with by "civilians" -- not TSA pros. Perhaps the TSA is nabbing suspects and bad guys left and right. If they are, kudos (and let us know). If they aren't, we should know that, too.

After all, TSA, us civilians can't be everywhere...


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"Oh, Oh big ol' jet airliner"...

President goes after tax break created (as part of his Stimulus package) to promote private jet sales



During President Obama's press conference today, he scolded Republicans for demanding tax cuts for corporate jets.


Maybe he should have thought about that a little more...

From the Associated Press in 2009:

“Just a few months after lawmakers scolded auto executives for flying to Washington in private jets, Congress approved a tax break in the stimulus package to help businesses buy their own planes. The incentive -- first used to help plane makers recover from the 2001 terror attacks -- sharply reduces the up front tax bill for companies who buy assets like business planes.” (h/t: Charlie Spiering at The Washington Examiner)


Here are a couple tips for the prez:
  1. Before you criticize a government program, you might want to make sure you haven't had a hand in it.
  2. People who fly around in their own jets, shouldn't throw stones at other people who do, too.


Some "Jet Airliner" by Paul Pena (made famous by Steve Miller) seems appropriate about now...

Goodbye to all my friends at home
Goodbye to people I've trusted
I've got to go out and make my way
I might get rich you know I might get busted
But my heart keeps calling me backwards
As I get on the 707
Ridin' high I got tears in my eyes
You know you got to go through hell
Before you get to heaven
Big ol' jet airliner
Don't carry me too far away
Oh, Oh big ol' jet airliner
Cause it's here that I've got to stay...

Paul Pena - the original author of the song Steve Miller made famous: "Jet Airliner"


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Insert boot in mouth...

Addressing the troops...

The President addressing the 10th Mountain Division Thursday at Fort Drum:

"First time I saw 10th Mountain Division, you guys were in southern Iraq. When I went back to visit Afghanistan, you guys were the first ones there. I had the great honor of seeing some of you because a comrade of yours, Jared Monti, was the first person who I was able to award the Medal of Honor to who actually came back and wasn’t receiving it posthumously."

As we all know, SSG Sal Giunta, of the 173rd Airborne, was the first living recipient (2011) of the MOH who fought in Iraq/Afganistan. SFC Jared Monti, 10th Mountain Division, was KIA in Afghanistan in 2006. He was posthumously awarded the MOH by Obama in 2009. (See accompanying photos...)



How does the Commander-in-Chief mix these heroes up? He put that medal around Giunta's neck and he stood with Monti's parents as they grieved. These fallen heroes leave such a great legacy, and we should know all their names. The ironic part of the speech, and this comes after the announcement of the politically pressured drawdown of troops in Afghanistan, was Obama's closing remark, "Know that your Commander-in-Chief has your back."

(h/t: "Blackfive")





Varying shades...

The numbers (and colors) tell the true story...


"On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its monthly state employment and unemployment summary. The graphic below summarizes the results. Bottom line: lots of red, a little green and quite a bit unchanged."



"Two observations: The only green states have GOP governors and the only bright red states have Democrat governors. But I'm sure that's all coincidental, what with the Democrats' exceptional track record of success..."


(Borrowed "liberally" from Doug Ross @ Journal)


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Cashing in...



Hollywood is abuzz today with news that some of its biggest male stars have been involved in poker games with very, very "high-stakes" -- think "millions."

According to an article the web site, Radaronline (by Dylan Howard, Senior Executive Editor, Star magazine), "Spider-Man star Tobey Maguire is among more than a dozen high-profile Hollywood people being sued in connection with a mega-millions illegal gambling ring that ran high-stakes underground poker games, Star magazine is reporting exclusively. Maguire, 35, won more than $300,000 from a Beverly Hills hedge fund manager who embezzled investor funds and orchestrated a Ponzi scheme in a desperate bid to pay off his monster debt to the star and others, it's alleged."

Tobey Maguire - Mr. Chips...

Howard also reports that "an FBI investigation into Brad Ruderman, the CEO of Ruderman Capital Partners, uncovered how he lost $25 million of investor money in clandestine poker games held on a twice weekly basis in suites at the luxury Beverly Hills hotel, Four Seasons, and the Viper Room on Sunset Boulevard. Tinsel town A-listers Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon also played in the no-limit Texas Hold 'em games which had a buy-in of $100,000, multiple members of the ring told Star. DiCaprio, Affleck and Damon are not being sued."

(The legal filing can be viewed here...)

High-stakes poker games aren't unusual in Hollywood or anywhere else there's a lot of money lying around. The history of Tinsel Town is replete with stories of movie stars holding regular card games to discuss business, women and money. Frankly, it's their money and they're really not hurting anyone, right? So let them have their fun.

But what's interesting about this group that's throwing the big bills around is that every name listed is an Obama-supporting liberal Democrat.

So, who cares?

Let's not forget that Damon, Maguire, Affleck and DiCaprio were all big, big Obama backers. They contributed time, money and their faces to his election and political efforts.

So, who cares?

Weren't the Dems - the president included - supposed to represent "the Little Guy?" Last I heard, the Little Guy ain't throwing around millions in poker games. Again, I don't begrudge people using their money as they see fit, but these are all guys who regularly get up on their soapboxes to berate the rest of us schmucks for wanting to hold on to more of our own money... and they harangue us for cash to support all sorts of special interests.

Here's an idea, boys: how about instead of asking for more of our money to help your causes, you take some of that disposable income (i.e.: stakes and winnings) and put it toward the things that are near-and-dear to you?

Matt Damon (in "Rounders")...

Furthermore, let's not forget that not long ago, Damon and some of his other Hollywood chums were on the bandwagon against tax cuts. My question to the Dem/liberal guys in this underground card game is this: have you been paying taxes on your winnings? If you were playing for a couple bucks here and there, what would anyone say? But let's face it, the money flowing in and out of your little casino there is way, way, way more than the average annual salary of those "average" people you say you're standing up for with your politics, policies and pronouncements. If you're not paying taxes on these winnings, why not?

If you "talk the talk," then it's time to "walk the walk." Let's see your record of winnings and your income tax filings.

C'mon superstars -- do it for the Little Guy...



Late add: From the website, Dealbreaker.com, more on the poker-lawsuit story...
  • An FBI investigation into Brad Ruderman, the CEO of Ruderman Capital Partners, uncovered how he lost $25 million of investor money in clandestine poker games held on a twice weekly basis in suites at the luxury Beverly Hills hotel, Four Seasons, and the Viper Room on Sunset Boulevard. Tinsel town A-listers Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon also played in the no-limit Texas Hold ‘em games which had a buy-in of $100,000, multiple members of the ring told Star. DiCaprio, Affleck and Damon are not being sued. Others who were part of the secret society and are facing hefty lawsuits include billionaire businessman Alex Gores, The Notebook director Nick Cassavetes, "Welcome Back, Kotter" star Gabe Kaplan, Paris Hilton’s infamous sex tape partner, Rick Salomon, record label owner Cody Leibel and Las Vegas nightlife entrepreneur and real-estate developer Andrew Sasson, among others.
  • The games were “exclusive events, by invitation only, and that there was a regular roster of players consisting of wealthy celebrities, entrepreneurs, attorneys and businessmen,” according to the lawsuit filed against Maguire in the United States Bankruptcy Court, in Los Angeles. Ruderman lost $311,300 to Maguire, including one losing hand of $110,000, on July 30, 2007, it’s claimed. The Ponzi mastermind used clients’ money to “pay for gambling losses at clandestine, high stakes poker games that were operated without any licenses or permits,” the suit said.
  • In their attempt to win back Ruderman’s losses, the trustee has claimed Maguire is “not entitled to receive the transfers from the Debtor, which transfers were compromised of improperly-diverted investor funds.” In a deposition of the alleged ringleader of the operation, which took in tens of millions of dollars beginning in 2006 through 2009, Maguire is described as a “very, very frequent player,” in the games, which ended in 2009. Maguire won as much as $1 million a month over a period of three years, one source told Star… “That means he could have made up to $30 to $40 million from these games,” the whistle-blowing card shark predicted.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

"Barbara Boxer thinks U.S. mission in Libya is working"

She might want to consult with the Libyans buried under that pile of rubble...


A photo of yesterday's NATO bomb damage to civilian areas in Tripoli (taken on a Qaddafi government-sponsored tour)...

The 90-day mandate calling for Congressional support of U.S. hostilities (aka: The War Powers Act) came and went this past weekend...and as if to signal the ongoing futility, waste and inefficiency that is our war in Libya, a NATO strike on Tripoli resulted in the deaths of almost a dozen civilians.

Now, as America and Congress -- on both sides of the aisle -- begins to tire of this third war, the voices against the conflict are growing louder.

Except for left-wing, anti-war and uber-Obama supporter U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)...

In a video report filed by San Francisco Chronicle political reporter (and John Batchelor Show radio colleague) Joe Garofoli, Boxer extols the virtues of this third of four wars we're now embroiled in (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Yemen).

The story (with video below):

The NATO airstrike that killed 15 people -- including three children -- early Monday is sure to add fuel to a burning question in Washington: What is the U.S. doing in Libya and why isn't President Obama seeking Congressional approval?

Sen. Barbara Boxer told us the other day that she is OK with the U.S. mission in Libya. But last week, seven Republicans and three Democrats filed suit against President Obama for violating the War Powers Act in the Libyan War.

Boxer was not one of them. She just does not want to see U.S. soldiers "boots on the ground."

"I think what they're doing is working," Boxer told The Chronicle/SFGate.com's Shaky Hand Productions. "I think that we have to make sure taht we stay close to these rebels, so that they understand what democracy is."

Here's what Boxer told The Shaky Hand shortly after she urged President Obama to withdraw 30,000 troops from Afghanistan.


So much for remaining true to the values she ran on as recently as her last election in November of 2010.

Way to stay consistent, Senator Boxer. Way to stay consistent...


Friday, June 17, 2011

Tell it, sister!



Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois), a key Obama Administration ally, admits that the jobs Democrats created are "low income." (See video clip below.)

You tell 'em, Jan.



John Edwards...

Mugged.



Earlier this week, former North Carolina senator and Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards' mug shot was released. A two-time presidential hopeful, Edwards pleaded not guilty earlier this month to federal charges that he solicited and used campaign contributions to hide his mistress and their baby. Among the charges for which he has been indicted include four counts of illegal campaign contributions, conspiracy and making false statements in connection with a cover-up of his extramarital affair.

The shots above, however, are nowhere near as interesting as the "John Edwards Mug Shot Outtakes" (below).

John Edwards Mug Shot Outtakes from Jerry O'Connell (this clip, btw, is a parody)


Thursday, June 16, 2011

"We own the economy"...

You sure do, Debbie. You sure do...



From The Washington Examiner: "We own the economy. We own the beginning of the turnaround and we want to make sure that we continue that pace of recovery, not go back to the policies of the past under the Bush administration that put us in the ditch in the first place,” DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz told this morning's Politico Playbook Breakfast.

Was that a promise?



President Barack Obama on the economy: "I will be held accountable. I have four years. A year from now, I think people will see we're starting to make some progress. If I don't have this done in three years, then it's going to be a one-term proposition." (interview with NBC's Matt Lauer; February, 2009)

(h/t: Hot Air)


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Video clip of the day..

Spot-on...



From an old friend comes this clip. It's not new but it doesn't seem to have been all that widely shared: "Two Democrats on an Escalator"...

(h/t: Gary F.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

When hipsters collide...



A hilarious send-up (below) of some of the left's favorite icons...



And they call that other network "unfair and biased"

So someone with a different opinion is now a "wingnut?"



According to CNN Money’s headline -- above an analysis of GOP positions on debt-ceiling increases by reporter Jeanne Sahadi -- is the term, "wingnuts."

As we all know, that's purely objective, unbiased reporting/terminology.

You stay professional, CNN...



Monday, June 13, 2011

He's not laughing at you...

...he's laughing with you. (Right?)



“President Obama's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness met today in Durham, NC, at Cree Inc., a company that manufactures energy-efficient LED lighting,” according to a Fox News story. “One of the Council's recommendations to President Obama was to streamline the federal permit process for construction and infrastructure projects. It was explained to Obama that the permitting process can delay projects for ‘months to years ... and in many cases even cause projects to be abandoned ... I'm sure that when you implemented the Recovery Act your staff briefed you on many of these challenges.’

“At this point, Obama smiled and interjected, according to the report (see video clip below), “‘Shovel-ready was not as ... uh .. shovel-ready as we expected.’ The Council, led by GE's Jeffrey Immelt, erupted in laughter. The Obama administration promised the Recovery Act (‘the stimulus’) would prevent the jobless rate from going over 8 percent.”

The report points out that the national unemployment figure “now stands at 9.1 percent.”

Hilarious, right?

(h/t: original video - Fox News)


Thursday, June 9, 2011

On the next episode of "The Al Qaeda Office"

Chock full of nuts (and petty politics)...


"Worldwide terror network Al Qaeda is riddled with petty office politics, files taken from Osama Bin Laden's Pakistan compound reveal," according to an article in The Daily Mail. "A trove of material recovered from the terror lair shows senior Al Qaeda figures were caught up in back stabbing and one-upmanship akin to the erratic behaviour seen in an average episode of 'The Office.'"


Al Qaeda's cast of characters...

Just great -- all this time we were worried about an attack hatched by Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute...



Weiner's whiners...


As Andrew Breitbart says, "When Ed Shultz sounds like the most reasonable person in your group, you have a problem."

No kiddin'...

Bonus: Gotta love Shultz telling Bill Press and Joan Walsh that they're "in denial."

Gee, ya think?



Saturday, June 4, 2011

Dr. Death...dead

Now for the real story...

News item: "Dr. Jack Kevorkian dies at 83; 'Dr. Death' was advocate, practitioner of physician-assisted suicide -- Former Michigan pathologist Dr. Jack Kevorkian claimed to have assisted in the suicides of more than 130 terminally ill people between 1990 and 1998. He served eight years in prison for second-degree murder after he administered a lethal injection himself."


Noted writer/ethicist Wesley J. Smith has earned a reputation as a staunch defender of those who are often defenseless -- the sick, the disabled, those who have no voice in the courts of law or public opinion. In short, he champions life. A Senior Fellow in Human Rights and Bioethics at the Discovery Institute, a consultant to the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, and a special consultant for the Center for Bioethics and Culture, he has written and spoken extensively on the "phenomenon" of assisted suicide...and its now-late poster boy, Jack Kevorkian.

In the following piece (which he posted at National Review's blog, "The Corner"), he gives us the real backstory of "Dr. Death" that most people will be surprised to learn about -- particularly those who have been sucked in by puff pieces and falsehoods spread by the popular media.

June 3, 2011 12:07 P.M.
By Wesley J. Smith

The death of Jack Kevorkian by natural causes has a certain irony, but it is not surprising. His driving motive was always obsession with death. Indeed, as he described in his book Prescription Medicide, Kevorkian’soverriding purpose in his assisted-suicide campaign was pure quackery, e.g., to obtain a societal license to engage in what he called “obitiatry,” that is, the right to experiment on the brains and spinal cords of “living human bodies” being euthanized to “pinpoint the exact onset of extinction of an unknown cognitive mechanism that energizes life.”

So, now that he is gone, what is Kevorkian’s legacy? He assisted the suicides of 130 or so people and lethally injected at least two by his own admission (his first and his last); as a consequence of the latter, he served nearly ten years in prison for murder. But I think his more important place in contemporary history was as a dark mirror that reflected how powerful the avoidance of suffering has become as a driving force in society, and indeed, how that excuse seems to justify nearly any excess.

Thus, while the media continually described him as the “retired” doctor who helped “the terminally ill” to commit suicide, at least 70 percent of his assisted suicides were not dying, and five weren’t ill at all according to their autopsies. It. Didn’t. Matter. Kevorkian advocated tying assisted suicide in with organ harvesting, and even stripped the kidneys from the body of one of his cases, offering them at a press conference, “first come, first served.” It. Didn’t. Matter. And as noted above, he wanted to engage in ghoulish experiments. It. Didn’t. Matter. He was fawned over by the media (Time invited him as an honored guest to its 75th anniversary gala, and he had carte blanche on 60 Minutes), enjoyed high opinion polls, and after his release from prison was transformed by sheer revisionism into an eccentric Muppet. He was even played by Al Pacino in an HBO hagiography.


Kevorkian and his killing machine...

Kevorkian was disturbingly prophetic. He called for the creation of euthanasia clinics where people could go who didn’t want to live anymore. They now exist in Switzerland and were recently overwhelmingly supported by the voters of Zurich in an initiative intended to stop what is called “suicide tourism.” Belgian doctors have now explicitly tied euthanasia and organ harvesting. In the U.S., mobile suicide clinics run by Final Exit Network zealots continue unabated despite two prosecutions, as voters in two states legalized Kevorkianism as a medical treatment.

Time will tell whether Kevorkian will be remembered merely as a kook who captured the temporary zeitgeist of the times, or whether he was a harbinger of a society that, in the words of Canadian journalist Andrew Coyne,“believes in nothing [and] can offer no argument even against death.“


Friday, June 3, 2011

Looks like he picked the wrong week...


Treasury Sec. Tim Geithner (left) and "Steve McCroskey" -- both suffering from delusions...

David Freddoso (over at the Washington Examiner) points out that the Administration's decision to tout its meddling in/with the auto industry is a bit ill-timed: "President Obama and his union allies have decided that the 2012 reelection will prominently feature a defense/justification of the General Motors and Chrysler bailouts. This nascent effort included Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's op ed in the Washington Post this week, which was both inaccurate and ill-timed."


Freddoso adds: "Geithner's op-ed was also noteworthy because it came the day before GM's stock price plummeted on disappointing May sales numbers. Year-to-date, GM is selling more cars than last year, but its sales were down year-over-year for May. [see chart] And it is selling all those cars only by offering incentives more than 50 percent more generous than the industry average. The company has now lost more than 10 percent of its value since its IPO just seven months ago, and its stock is off about 25 percent from its peak in February. So way to go, taxpayer. And keep your wallet handy, because you're probably going to have to bail them out again eventually."

Maybe the timing will be better...next time?



Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What are they worth to you?




According to a Congressional Research Service report, "more than 77,000 federal government employees throughout the country — including computer operators, more than 5,000 air traffic controllers, 22 librarians and one interior designer — earned more than the governors of the states in which they work."

The Washington Times notes the report was "released at a time when public workers’ salaries and benefits are under scrutiny across the country as governments try to streamline.were released at a time when public workers’ salaries and benefits are under scrutiny across the country as governments try to streamline."

In the report, according to the WT, "CRS reviewed 2009 salary figures, the most recent available, and found 77,057 employees who earned more in annual pay than their respective governors. Of those workers, 18,351 were doctors — the highest percentage. The second-highest total was for 5,170 air traffic controllers — likely both front-line controllers and their supervisors."


These folks? I hope they're well-paid...

The story goes on to say that, "CRS said nationwide there were 122 park rangers, 271 environmental protection specialists, 14 chaplains and one prison guard who earned more than their governors. There were also 21 archaeologists, three sociologists, 48 social workers, four food service workers and five civil rights analysts who made more than their governors. CRS said some locales are likely to have a higher concentration of well-paid employees. For example, 942 of the medical and public health workers who made more than their governors were from Georgia, the location of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Air traffic controllers, who were the second-biggest group to get salaries higher than their governors also generally have high salaries," the story notes. "That category likely includes both front-line controllers and their supervisors. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said the median salary for an air traffic controller in May 2008 was $111,870, while the top 10 percent earned $161,010 or more a year."


No offense to interior designers, but should a government-employed one make more money than - say - a governor?

It's difficult to argue with certain "life-or-death" positions being paid at high levels (particularly for those requiring a great deal of training/education or having so much responsibility...the doctors and air traffic controllers come to mind), but what's with an interior designer making more than a governor? Or a food service worker? Or a...? Well, you get the picture.

Interesting to see where your taxes go, isn't it?