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ERITAS News Service
Formerly Mr_Blog's Left Turn
A Seattle-based journal of Left-wing musings on local, national and world affairs, as well as baseball, pop culture and technology.
Posted December 29, 2009
Demint has alternative to unionized TSA
Larry Craig may scan male air travelers
Declaring that every alternative security method should be explored before allowing Transportation Security Administration personnel to unionize, Sen. Jim Demint (R-SC) introduced legislation today directing the TSA to use former Sen. Larry Craig to screen air passengers.
The proposal is in response to the Christmas Day incident aboard an Amsterdam-Detroit flight on which a passenger was caught attempting to light an explosive device concealed in his underwear.
Demint's bill creates a pilot program that would station Craig, the former three term Republican senator from Idaho, at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport where he would visually assess and hand-search all male air travelers.
"Airline security will also be President Obama's Waterloo, and Larry Craig is the leading Republican expert on loos in airports," said Demint.
"Craig has the know-how, the eyes and the hands for the job," Demint said.
Reached while vacationing on New York's Fire Island, Craig displayed 'Official Underwear Inspector' business cards he had already had printed. "What do you think about that?" he asked reporters.
An amendment to Demint's bill by Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) would require all female passengers passing through McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas to be screened by Ensign and professional golfer Tiger Woods.
"Only Tiger and I together have the capacity to screen the estimated 9 million women annually passing through McCarran," Ensign said.
Pat MacRauch, a TSA screener since 2006, said a proposal like Demint and Ensign's is the very reason he and fellow screeners should be allowed to join a union. "Friskings require extensive training and are one of the biggest perks of the job. We're not going to let amateur enthusiasts do them for free," MacRauch said.
Posted December 27, 2009
More air travel safeguards
Passengers will now travel in cargo
The Transportation Security Administration today announced new regulations covering international flights to the United States. The additional security measures are in response to a Christmas Day incident, in which Abdul Farouk Umar Abdulmutallab, 23, the London-educated son of the former chairman of the First Bank of Nigeria, is alleged to have set off an incendiary device on board a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.
The new rules require all passengers to travel in the cargo holds of aircraft, said TSA spokesman Gard Frandle. "Palletized loading and transport of air travelers will result in an unprecedented new level of in-flight safety," said Frandle.
Under the plan, each tranquilized passenger will be sealed inside a climate controlled steel box for loading into the lower part of the airplane.
An advantage of the new rules for the airlines is that the passenger compartments are now freed up for baggage. "We're taking the limits off the amount of luggage allowed on flights, and providing a level of service and comfort heretofore unseen for luggage traveling first class," said Bertie McFraundle of British Airways.
However, travelers will be limited to one banker's offspring in their carry-ons.
Posted December 16, 2009
South Carolina wins 2nd production line
"They threw everything at Santa" - Mrs. Claus
The fierce competition to determine the site of a second North Pole production line has been won by South Carolina.
The announcement was made yesterday by Northex, the North Pole's Oslo-based holding company that also owns Kris Kringle Worldwide and Rudolph Organic Compost.
"South Carolina has shown us it offers the best business and labor climate for our expanded operations," said Angelina Claus, Northex CFO and wife of Santa Claus for 371 years. "Also, they threw everything at Santa in terms of tax breaks and other incentives" to build the new toy factory in the Palmetto State, she said.
South Carolina officials, decked out in pointed slippers, velvet breeches, belled hats, and other gay apparel, gathered in the state capitol of Columbia for celebrations that stretched late into the night. "South Carolina puts the SC in 'Santa Claus' -- and 'Christmas,' now that you mention it," said a jubilant Gov. Mark Sanford.
It was Sanford's personal, secret negotiation of a trade pact in Argentina earlier this year that sealed the deal. Now having a physical corporate presence in South Carolina gives Claus an opening into the lucrative Argentinian toy market currently, controlled by competitor Father Christmas.
Other incentives committed by the state include tax exemptions on in-state purchase of reindeer fuel and gift wrap, and a waiver of environmental regulations for Santa's capital projects. In addition to the new assembly plant in Charleston, Santa also has plans for a three-runway sleighport and a new project for his Nat King Coal division, which would be the world's largest open pit mine.
Santa Claus went looking for a new production site earlier this year after negotiations with the elf union, the Arctic Federation of Labor, broke down over the AFL's refusal to agree to a no work stoppages deal. Santa had demanded the provision after stoppages caused expensive delays in the Barbie's Dreamliner program.
State House Speaker Bobby Harrell summed up the state's victory: "Today, South Carolina kicked the asses of a bunch of greedy little elves."
In contrast, the decision has touched off a firestorm north of Canada.
"Christmas is ruined," said Elf spokesman Gruffudd Greenbuckle said, and went on to say that work stoppages were a phony issue.
"Periodically elves have to perform a little dance, while singing merry toybuilding worksongs. It's in our DNA, and it only takes about a minute at the top of every hour, everyone knows this," said Greenbuckle.
"Santa used it as an excuse to betray our centuries of loyalty, and is blatantly cutting costs at the expense of the little guy," said the three foot tall Greenbuckle. "Health insurance reform with a strong public option would do more to lower costs," he said.
Greenbuckle and other elf leaders are calling upon federal lawmakers to intercede. "Keep the North Pole at the North Pole, we say 'let's stay together'," Pole City Mayor Holly Mistletoe wrote in an e-mail to Rep. Al Green (D-Texas), chairman of the House Oversight of Holiday Observances Committee (HOHO Committee). A spokesman for Green said his committee would take up the issue after the holiday recess.
However, elf assistance legislation is a non-starter in the Senate, according to Homeland Security Committee chairman Joe Lieberman (Connecticut for Lieberman-CT).
"Christmas, shmistmas. The North Pole is an axis, with elves whose union supports the public option. Protecting America from this axis of elf evil is my top priority," Lieberman said.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM ERITAS and WISELINE INSTITUTE & CENTER FOR
THE SECULAR HUMORISM!!!
Posted December 15, 2009
Obama won't give up on rephorm
President Barack Obama parted ways with the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party today, dropping attempts to achieve far reaching reform of the U.S. health care system.
The move came hours after former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean appeared on national television and publicly called for rejection of the reform package being debated in the Senate. Dean, the former Democratic chairman, said too much has been stripped from the plan to make it worth supporting.
Gone are the Medicare buy-in compromise, or any public option, due to opposition by Sen. Joe Lieberman (Connecticut for Lieberman-CT). Democratic Democrats also objected to continuation of the insurance industry's antitrust exemption, imposition of annual caps, mandates but no limits on premiums, failure to lift the ban on reimportation of drugs, and a provision changing the name of the capital to 'Insuranceburg, District of Nyahnanana.'
"The choices have been taken away by the pro-insurance company folks in the Senate. You can't call that reform," Dean said on MSNBC's Countdown.
At the White House, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs acknowledged the collapse of reform. "In light of Gov. Dean's comments, the President has decided to stop calling this a health care reform effort. Instead we will rename it health care rephorm, and pass it with the help of Republican Democrats," Gibbs said.
Gibbs went on to say that the collapse of reform was the fault of the 70% of the American people who favored the public option, for not sending the President enough positive energy. "Obviously, somebody forgot their mantra," he said.
The powerful Senate Lieberman For Connecticut Caucus later passed a resolution on a unanimous 1-0 vote declaring that it pwned the White House.
Posted December 14, 2009
Obscure company dumps Tiger Woods
Accenture has severed ties with golfer Tiger Woods, following a deluge of negative publicity surrounding Woods' conducting extramarital affairs with over a dozen women.
"After several years of the endorsement deal, we've decided to end the relationship," said Accenture spokesman Art Andersen.
However, Accenture's reason is not because of Woods' admission of infidelity. In a recent poll, 1,200 persons contacted thought Accenture is a meat tenderizing liquid.
"The average person has no idea what Accenture is or what we do," said Andersen.
"You'd think for all the money we've been paying Woods, that today Accenture would have the same name recognition as Rachel Uchitel. I mean, who do I have to sleep with to get that kind of notoriety?" he wondered.
In other news, Connecticut has severed ties with Senator Joe Lieberman, following a deluge of negative publicity surrounding Lieberman's extramarital affairs with over a dozen insurance companies.
Posted December 10, 2009
Lieberman celebrates green win
Hello, I'm Joe Lieberman, and I want to tell all of you how close America recently came to losing one of its most precious ecosystems -- the health insurance industry.
We all depend on this delicate food web of premiums, co-payments, deductibles, MSAs, and MSA deductibles.
It's a breathtaking example of the wonder of nature at work. There are predators and prey. Some live; some die; some have their claims denied. The lucky ones live to have their claims denied another day.
It's a circle of life, death, and preauthorizations.
Interrupt this cycle and there would be a health care feeding frenzy. And my home state of Connecticut has one our most sensitive habitats, where some barely survive on tenuous 30-40% profit margins.
Thus you can understand why, when President Obama first broached the subject of reform, I was distraught. "You're killing the ecosystem!" I told him.
Luckily a group of concerned Senate conservativationists awoke to the threat of affordable health care. Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, and Blanche Lincoln are among those who joined me in defeating a strong public option. It was a momentous green victory -- meaning millions of pieces of green paper will continue flowing into our campaign treasuries.
It's often said that even stepping on a butterfly can cause major alterations in the environment. Or maybe that was time travel. Whatever. We can celebrate that insurance companies won't be added to the endangered species list any time soon.
We can be grateful our children -- and their children -- won't have to go to a zoo to see a medical bankruptcy.
December 7, 2009
GOP members soften
Fail to erect barrier to health reform progress
Republican hardness against health care reform legislation went soft on Saturday, as GOP senators failed to stop majority Democrats from passing amendments during a rare weekend session.
McConnell said his caucus wilted after the AARP threw cold water on GOP claims that proposed Medicare cuts, intended to reduce overpayments, would instead hurt seniors. A proposal by Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) to restore $400 billion in cuts was defeated, 41-53.
"There was shrinkage due to the AARP's cold water being very cold," said McConnell.
"Our caucus is usually a few votes larger than this," he said.
But the Minority Leader said the setback would not affect his floor strategy. "These things happen sometimes. We'll just try again later," McConnell said.
McConnell went on to say he had moved to pump up Republican confidence. "I have made an online purchase of a vacuum device, and have been assured it will add 2 to 3 votes to our length and girth."
McConnell's assistant, Republican whip John Kyl of Arizona, also said the weekend results would not deter Republican unity in the Senate. "We will not compromise on opposition to government-run insurance," said Kyl.
"My office has been deluged with messages from concerned citizens who are afraid of a pubic option, and the Republican Party is going to make sure they can go on being afraid," he said.
December 4, 2009
Palin backs Swiss vote
Supports ban on "missile-shaped Muslim churches"
America would be wise to emulate Switzerland and ban minarets, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin said today. She gave her views in her first major foreign policy address.
"Switzerland has alerted the entire world to the danger of these missile-shaped Muslim churches, and we should stand shoulder to shoulder with the holey Swiss people to end the minaret threat to world peace," Palin told the barista staff of the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Westmost, North Carolina.
"These minarets of mass destruction, if nuclear-tipped, if launched from Switzerland could have threatened all of Europe, which you can see from the Alps," Palin said, and also ordered a black currant scone.
Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, expressed strong support for his former running mate. "We're facing a serious missile-shaped houses of worship gap," said McCain. McCain went on to demand the Obama administration move to deploy minaret-intercepting Southern Baptist steeples in the Czech Republic.
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice agreed with McCain and Palin. "The mere possibility minarets could have nuclear launch capability means we must take preemptive action against all nations that possess minarets, without waiting for inspections," she said.
"We can't let the smoking gun come in the form of a vaguely mushroom-shaped mosque," Rice said.
In other news, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has announced that Tiger Woods has created or saved 150,000 mistress jobs.
December 1, 2009
Obama wins Funniest President Award
George W. Bush impression called "eerie"
President Obama has received another prestigious honor to add to his Nobel Peace Prize, the White House announced today.
"The President is thrilled at winning the Funniest President Award," press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters this morning.
The Funniest President Award was started by the Order Of The Knights Of The Catskills (OKC). They have bestowed it on American commanders-in-chief on a semi-regular basis since Herbert Hoover in 1929.
Grand Emcee Mortie Zilberstein said that Obama earned the Funniest President Award for his spot-on impression of former President George W. Bush. "It's eerie how much Obama is like Bush," said Zilberstein. He cited such Obama talents as copying Bush on the release of torture photos and opposition to the landmine ban treaty. "And now he's going to do a troop surge. The resemblance is uncanny!"
Zilberstein further explained that Obama doesn't have to closely copy Bush's vocal inflections or mannerisms to be doing an impression. "You don't have to try to be a doppelganger. Look at Fred Armisten," he said.
Gibbs said that Obama had hoped he was in the running for the award, and even practiced new Bush material on his recent world tour. "But no one thought he had a chance at the top prize, not with Stephen Harper still in office," Gibbs said.
In related news, Sarah Palin denied she dropped out early from a Thanksgiving Day charity run. The former Alaska Governor had pledged to run in the 5K "Turkey Trot" while visiting relatives in Richland, Washington. Palin denied reports she left the race early to avoid fans who had gathered at the finish line. "I was doing a Rosie Ruiz impression," Palin told the Tri-Cities Herald-Plutonium.
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