Daily Archives: January 21, 2010

It was no joke at security gate

Philly.com

By Daniel Rubin

Inquirer Columnist

In the tense new world of air travel, we’re stripped of shoes, told not to take too much shampoo on board, frowned on if we crack a smile.

The last thing we expect is a joke from a Transportation Security Administration screener – particularly one this stupid.

Rebecca Solomon is 22 and a student at the University of Michigan, and on Jan. 5 she was flying back to school after holiday break. She made sure she arrived at Philadelphia International Airport 90 minutes before takeoff, given the new regulations.

She would be flying into Detroit on Northwest Airlines, the same city and carrier involved in the attempted bombing on Christmas, just 10 days before. She was tense.

What happened to her lasted only 20 seconds, but she says they were the longest 20 seconds of her life.

After pulling her laptop out of her carry-on bag, sliding the items through the scanning machines, and walking through a detector, she went to collect her things.

A TSA worker was staring at her. He motioned her toward him.

Then he pulled a small, clear plastic bag from her carry-on – the sort of baggie that a pair of earrings might come in. Inside the bag was fine, white powder.

She remembers his words: “Where did you get it?”

Two thoughts came to her in a jumble: A terrorist was using her to sneak bomb-detonating materials on the plane. Or a drug dealer had made her an unwitting mule, planting coke or some other trouble in her bag while she wasn’t looking.

She’d left her carry-on by her feet as she handed her license and boarding pass to a security agent at the beginning of the line.

Answer truthfully, the TSA worker informed her, and everything will be OK.

Solomon, 5-foot-3 and traveling alone, looked up at the man in the black shirt and fought back tears.

Put yourself in her place and count out 20 seconds. Her heart pounded. She started to sweat. She panicked at having to explain something she couldn’t.

Now picture her expression as the TSA employee started to smile.

Just kidding, he said. He waved the baggie. It was his.

And so she collected her things, stunned, and the tears began to fall.

Another passenger, a woman traveling to Colorado, consoled her as others who had witnessed the confrontation went about their business. Solomon and the woman walked to their gates, where each called for security and reported what had happened.

A joke? You’re not serious. Was he hitting on her? Was he flexing his muscle? Who at a time of heightened security and rattled nerves would play so cavalierly with a passenger’s emotions?

When someone is trying to blow planes out of the sky, what is a TSA employee doing with his eyes off the ball?

When she complained to airport security, Solomon said, she was told the TSA worker had been training the staff to detect contraband. She was shocked that no one took him off the floor, she said.

“It was such a violation,” the Wynnewood native told me by phone. “I’d come early. I’d done everything right. And they were kidding about it.”

I ran her story past Ann Davis, regional TSA spokeswoman, who said she knew nothing to contradict the young traveler’s account.

Davis said privacy law prevents her from identifying the TSA employee. The law prevents her from disclosing what sort of discipline he might have received.

“The TSA views this employee’s behavior to be highly inappropriate and unprofessional,” she wrote. “We can assure travelers this employee has been disciplined by TSA management at Philadelphia International Airport, and he has expressed remorse for his actions.”

Maybe he’s been punished enough. That Solomon’s father, Jeffrey, is a Center City litigator might mean this story isn’t over.

In the meantime, I think the TSA worker should spend time following passengers through the scanners, handing them their shoes. Maybe he could tie them, too.

Update: Ann Davis, the TSA spokeswoman, said this afternoon that the worker is no longer employed by the agency as of today. She said privacy laws prevented her from saying if he was fired or left on his own.

Source:

The President Needs Another Czar: This One For Haitian Relief and Immigration

Posted
Hugh Hewitt Show
by: Hugh Hewitt

My Townhall.com column points to the connections between America’s massive dispatch of help to Haiti and the vote Tuesday in Massachusetts.  Tens of millions of Americans want a country strong enough to bring order out of chaos, rich enough to fund such avast project, and compassionate enough to do so without a thought,  Hundreds of thousands of Americans voted for Scott Brown on Tuesday because his the sort of common sense confidence in democratic capitalism that support those three deeply interconnected desires.  No vibrant, private sector capitalism, no wealth from which great relief projects can flow.  No wealth, no tax base on which to fund the Navy to carry and the Army and Marines to distribute the aid and establish the order.

Which brings me to the president’s need for another czar –this one to direct Haitian relief, the assistance given to the Haitians to re-establish civilian order, and to oversee and ok when necessary and right the transfer of Haitians to the United States, as in the case of Haitian orphans, especially those in need of urgent medical assistance.  Presidents Bush and Clinton are leading the global effort to raise money, but a day-to-day authority is needed, one often on the island, and one with the courage to take actions like allowing for large numbers of Haitian children to be brought to the U.S. for quick adoption.

It would help if the president reached across the aisle on such an appointment, say to former Florida governor Jeb Bush or former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum.  Without an advocate who demands and receives broad authority to act to alleviate suffering and to assist the re-emergence of Haitian authority, the impact of all of America’s aid will be misdirected and the Haitians who ought to get to the U.S, will not.

This is the sort of role that Peter Uebberoth played in Los Angeles after the Los Angeles riots of 1992, but he never received the authority he needed to fully accomplish the job, which ought to have included czar-like authority with regards to land use and transportation rebuilding.  It is the sort of authority that Paul Bremer had in the first year of the Iraq occupation, but the insurgency destroyed the ability to build on the ruins of Saddam’s tyranny.

A good hearted, thoroughly ethical, charismatic leader with ample authority on aid for rebuilding and over immigration from the island to the U.S. is urgently needed.  The president has been quick to name czars –far too many of them in fact.  This is the opportunity to appoint one with bipartisan support.

I have openeda thread at the Hughniverse for reactions and discussions as well as suggestions on who has the skills set necessary to such a job.

On the subject of Haitian relief, The USNS Comfort has begun to use Twitter to alert the world of its mission.  Just search out @usnscomfort via search.twitter.com or check its thread here.  I will ask the users of #hhrs to publicize the ship’s tweets as well.

Team Rubicon updates here and at Blackfive.net.  Perhaps Blackfive’s Matt could get them to start tweeting from their home base as well.

Source:

The Lost Liberals

The American Spectator

By on 1.21.10

WASHINGTON — With Scott Brown’s election to the senatorial seat held by Edward Kennedy for 47 years, a few things are suddenly clear. Americans in large numbers fear a further government encroachment on our private healthcare system. There are other means of reforming it. Americans do not want to bear higher tax burdens, more profligate government spending, and crushing deficits to be borne by future generations. One other thing is clear. For the most part, the American press is not very informative.

When Bill Clinton went up to Massachusetts to campaign for the Democratic candidate, not one mainstream news organization reported what is a matter of cold fact, to wit, when Bill Clinton campaigns for others they lose. In fact when Clinton was president the Democratic Party mostly lost. In 2004, as I reported in my 2007 book on Clinton in retirement, of the 14 Democrats Clinton campaigned for 12 lost. He was not even able to campaign successfully for his pal, Terry McAuliffe’s gubernatorial bid in Virginia last year. Equally unhelpful is outside campaigning from the Prophet Obama. He was no help for Democratic candidates in the recent midterm elections in New Jersey and Virginia. Right now Obama’s presidency is a failed presidency. Nowhere in the mainstream media is that reported in their one-year assessments of his presidency. Yet it is now thunderously clear.

There are still wisenheimers out there who will say that this very clever president will now recalculate and change course. He will steal to the center. His Democrats will follow. Truth be known, the Democrats led by Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid, are no more likely to change course than the artistes of the Grateful Dead were ever likely to take up aerobics, join Alcoholics Anonymous, and resort to golf before they all died years short of the average longevity for an adult American male. The Democrats vote the way they do because they are captives of a culture, the youth culture of the 1960s, a culture that has endured, aged, but never smartened up.

Complete Story:

Appeals court told Obama ‘security risk’


By Bob Unruh
© 2010 WorldNetDaily

Judges on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals have been told President Obama is a “security risk” and a “usurper” lacking constitutional authority since he admitted a dual citizenship at birth, thus making him ineligible for the office under the U.S. Constitution’s requirement that the president be a “natural born citizen.”

The brief was filed in a case WND previously reported brought by lead plaintiff Charles F. Kerchner Jr. and others against Congress.

Attorney Mario Apuzzo filed the action in January 2009 on behalf of Kerchner, Lowell T. Patterson, Darrell James Lenormand and Donald H. Nelson Jr. Named as defendants were Barack Hussein Obama II, the U.S., Congress, the Senate, House of Representatives, former Vice President Dick Cheney and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The case alleges Congress failed to follow the Constitution, which “provides that Congress must fully qualify the candidate ‘elected’ by the Electoral College Electors.”

The complaint also asserts “when Obama was born his father was a British subject/citizen and Obama himself was the same.” The case contends the framers of the U.S. Constitution, when they adopted the requirement that a president be a “natural born citizen,” excluded dual citizens.

Complete Story:

No mention of Islam in official Fort Hood Report

Canada Free Press

On 15 January, 2009, the U.S. Military released its 86-page report “Protecting the Force, Lessons Learned from Fort Hood,” an independent review by the Department of Defense of the causes behind the November 5, 2009 massacre by Islamic terrorist insider Nidal Malik HASAN. Thirteen were murdered, plus one unborn child and another 43 were injured.

Omitted from the report was any direct reference to Islam, Islamic terrorism, or the motives of HASAN, which were clearly influenced by his beliefs or interpretation of the Muslim ideology.

These obvious omissions were explained by two of the report’s authors, former Army Secretary Togo West and former Navy’s Admiral, Vernon Clark, who spoke to reporters last week when the report was released. According to the investigators, they didn’t “drill down into HASAN’s motives.” Any person of reason would be compelled to ask why motive was not a factor in this investigation, when it must be considered as one of the primary factors in any normal investigation.

The reason is obvious and became abundantly clear from the minute Barack Hussein Obama addressed the nation on the day of the massacre. To address HASAN’s motives would require a level of honesty about the Islamic ideology this administration is unwilling to discuss: true believers in fundamentalist Islam cannot legitimately serve in our armed forces due to a conflict of ideological interest.

The fact that the authors intentionally omitted any doctrinal based assessment of the killings should be an indictment of not only the authors, but of our current administration. To purposely omit the Islamic motivation that was the sole basis of HASAN’s murderous rampage is not only disingenuous, but traitorous as it places our armed forces at risk for future killings, sabotage, and treason. Therefore, the report is either a clear exhibit of our senior leadership’s knowledge deficit pertaining to the ideology of enemy we are fighting, or illustrates just how deeply entrenched the enemy really is within our military infrastructure and political bodies of policy and oversight.

More…

Worse than ‘Sleeping with the Enemy?’

Family Security Matters

Daniel Pipes

The Swiss Islamist Tariq Ramadan was about to take up a position at the University of

Notre Dame in Indiana in 2004 when the U.S. government prevented him from entering the country on the grounds that he had funded two Hamas-related groups. For five years, his exclusion has been debated and tried. Finally, it was reversed today. The Associated Press explains:

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has signed orders enabling the re-entry of professors Tariq Ramadan of Oxford University in England and Adam Habib of the University of Johannesburg in South Africa once they obtain required admittance documents, department spokesman Darby Holladay said.
Clinton “has chosen to exercise her exemption authority for the benefit of Tariq Ramadan and Adam Habib,” Holladay said. “We’ll let that action speak for itself.” In a prepared statement, Holladay noted the change in U.S. posture since both professors, who are frequently invited to the United States to lecture, were denied admittance after making statements counter to U.S. foreign policy. Both the president and the secretary of state have made it clear that the U.S. government is pursuing a new relationship with Muslim communities based on mutual interest and mutual respect.”
Comments: (1) I always expected this outcome, that Ramadan would be allowed in, because so many forces were aligned in his favor. That the exclusion lasted over five years was impressive.
(2) Note that this change was ordered from the very top, specifically invoking Obama.
(3) Note also the sleaziness of the State Department spokesman, ascribing Ramadan’s exclusion to his “making statements counter to U.S. foreign policy.” No, the reason was explicitly his having provided funds to a terrorist-related organization. Why the gratuitous lie, State Department?
(4) The Obama administration puts this case into the context of “pursuing a new relationship with Muslim communities based on mutual interest and mutual respect.” But it’s always been a terrorism case, with no connection to issues of Islam. What amateurs.
(5) Note the term “mutual respect,” the hackneyed phrase repeatedly applied to the U.S. government and Muslims – so much so that I have devoted a whole blog to Obama’s use of these words.
(6) So, fellow Americans, how many of you feel safer with the prospect of Tariq Ramadan present in person to talk to our Islamists?

SC Senate affirms state’s rights, says ‘no’ to health care reforms

GoUpstate.com

COLUMBIA – Memo to Congress: South Carolina affirms its sovereignty under the 9th and 10th amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Ditto for the Second and 14th amendments.

And when it comes to the proposed federal health care reform, thanks, but no thanks.

That’s the message the state Senate delivered on Tuesday, bringing an end to a fight that began last February. The brawl ended with a 31-11 vote – with all of the votes in opposition coming from Democrats.

Sen. Glenn Reese, D-Boiling Springs, broke rank and voted for the measure.

The resolution does not carry the weight of law, but informs Congress of the state’s position.

Sen. Lee Bright, R-Roebuck, one of the original sponsors of the resolution when it included only the 10th amendment, said he was glad to be finished with the protracted battle.

“If at first you don’t secede, try again,” Bright said with a laugh.

Bright said he was pleased with the final product.

“I think all of our rights are under assault, but assault on the 9th and 10th amendments is the most egregious,” he said.

In addition to affirming South Carolina’s Second-, 9th- and 10th-amendment rights, the measure also targets federal health care legislation by saying state residents are not subject to any law that:

– Interferes with the right of a person to choose their health care provider.

– Restricts a person’s freedom to choose a private health care system or plan.

– Interferes with a person’s or an entity’s right to pay directly for medical services

Source: