Happy Birthday, US Army

Today marks two important occasions: the birthdate of the United States Army and Flag Day.

From the Miami Herald:

There will be no fireworks and no time off from work. In fact, there may not be any celebration at all. But the calendar shows that Thursday is the designated holiday to honor the stars and stripes: Flag Day.

Officially recognized for nearly a century — President Woodrow Wilson first established June 14 as Flag Day in 1916 — but long overlooked in terms of significance to most Americans, Flag Day marks the anniversary of the adoption of the U.S. flag in 1777.

Bill James, manager of the American Legion post in Palmetto Bay, said he believes the holiday provides an opportunity to honor the nation’s most recognizable symbol.

“The flag is a symbol of our country and our history,” said James, 67, a U.S. Air Force veteran who served in Vietnam.

“It’s what soldiers die for — protecting the country, the owner of our flag. It’s to be respected, cared for and honored. The flag is a symbol of who we are.”

Indeed. One part of our nation’s brave military force protecting this symbol is the US Army. Happy birthday, soldiers.

Guess Who Gets To Go Through Airport Security Again Tomorrow?

This girl! (Backstory)

I plan on asking every cab driver in whose cab I ride whether they did any of these things in the backseat:

- Changed a diaper
– Used hand lotion/body cream/anti-fungal cream
– Sat in the back after playing golf
– Got mud in their floorboards
– Ate bacon/hot dog/cured meat
Drank water

See, “nitrates” in all these things will trigger the TSA’s Official Terrorist Alarm whilst I undergo their security screening and I don’t want to be held responsible for some terrorist cab driver’s water-swilling, hand-lotioning ways. I once accidentally took a bullet in my carry-on for a cross-country trip but look out, hand lotion.

This guy got a finger wagging from the TSA for showing the insipid weakness of their Backscatter machines. I thought the machines were perfect? To hear the TSA explain it, they don’t douse your body with a questionable amount of radiation, they pelt your body with cupcakes and sugar. Who doesn’t love cupcakes and sugar? Terrorists, that’s who. I kid you not, in Dallas I had a TSA agent shout at me that “radio waves aren’t radiation.”

Scientists spoke out against the Backscatters, but luckily the CEO knows the President well enough to fly around with him. I’m sure that helps in bypassing pesky health certifications.

“But, but you’re already exposed to radiation while flying!” Well then by all means, SIGN ME UP FOR MORE. Why stop at body scanners? Do you have any uranium I can handle?

I forgot to tell you the reason for the fun: I’m headed to Las Vegas to speak at Right Online. I’m looking forward to the event and it will mark the second time I’ve heard Sarah Palin speak in person.

The Missouri GOP Primary Senatorial Debate

Last night I was on the question panel for the Missouri GOP Primary Senatorial Debate between Congressman Todd Akin, John Brunner, and Sarah Steelman. It’s a hotly contested primary for what will become a brutal general election against Democrat incumbent Claire McCaskill. You can watch a re-webcast of the debate here.

Questions from the panel seemed to focus most on Obamacare; some of mine in particular focused on foreign policy and border issues, such as Fast and Furious.

I asked the candidates what the United States’s response should be to the uprising and massacres in Syria; both Akin and Brunner wanted to keep out of Syrian affairs whereas Steelman seemed to suggest military action. Akin quoted the Founders; Brunner employed his military background and explained that any military action must involve a clear vision of victory as well as well-defined objectives to minimize the term of engagement and amount of resources.

On Fast and Furious — arguably the biggest scandal of the Obama administration — I asked the candidates whether they would have supported this program under a Republican president (it began as a gun walking program under Bush and was expanded and its oversight eroded under Obama) and what they would do to bring justice to the families of the slain border agents in the tragedy. All three echoed that they would push to bring Holder up on charges; Akin declared he would push for Holder to take the stand, highlighting the fissure between Boehner and others in the House and giving more weight to claims that Boehner is the obstacle to getting Holder on the stand. Brunner said he would not have supported any such program under any president regardless the party affiliation, as did Steelman.

I asked the candidates about the Politico piece which reported that certain members of the House GOP were planning their move after the Supreme Court ruled on the health care law. Depending on whether the high court was to throw out the law in total or partial, some GOP members were considering leaving in place “popular and consumer friendly” portions of the law. I asked the candidates, if presented with this legislation in the Senate, would they stand with grassroots and the majority of Americans who opposed this law when it was forced upon us or would they stand with House and/or Senate leadership? All three said the entire law must go, no exceptions. I noted to a colleague afterwards that it was a slightly different answer than I expected from Rep. Akin, who I asked on my show about the Politico piece they day it ran. He was cautious with his answer then and said that there may be certain pieces that some might consider keeping. I was glad to hear his resounding “no” last night.

Photo by Robert Brenner

Having been part of a number of presidential debates, I used the same judgment evaluating this debate as I have those: ignoring the candidates’s records or any past statements and specifically judging them on their answers and delivery at the debate. The ability to articulate conservatism well is supremely important in our sound bite era. It’s a reason why Chris Christie is so popular: he’s a moderate east coast Republican who, if running in the southern states, would be eaten alive with his record on energy, but his ability to speak to what angers us about government (coupled with New Jersey reforms) has helped propel him to the national stage.

I thought Todd Akin won last night’s debate based on his answers and delivery, with John Brunner second and Sarah Steelman third. It was the first time I’ve ever seen Akin aggressive. It’s one of the complaints I hear about him most often, that lack of fire in the belly needed to carry one through November. Steelman got the most jabs in, mostly directed at Akin, and at one point from my vantage onstage, Brunner looked visibly agitated at Steelman’s answer and no doubt wished he had longer than a 30 seconds for a response.

I’ll be playing soundbites from the debate on today’s show, beginning 12 central. Akin was scheduled for today’s show not to discuss the campaign or debate, but because he’s one of the major players in bringing the possibility of contempt charges against Eric Holder next week, a story which broke yesterday.

Michigan Drops Recall Effort After Wisconsin Victory

Another reason why Wisconsin was so important:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s victory in Tuesday’s recall vote is yielding dividends for another Midwestern Republican governor.

A group that sought to force a recall of Michigan’s Republican Gov. Rick Snyder said Thursday it’s calling it quits, citing a lack of support and the chilly political climate in the wake of the Wisconsin vote.

Michigan Rising, an independent group that had set a goal of gathering 1 million signatures on petitions to force a recall vote on Mr. Snyder, said Thursday it will stop its recall campaign immediately. The organization’s leaders said in a web post that as of June 4 it had collected only 2,079 names on 655 petitions, well short of a target of 200,000 signatures by June 1.

“It has become abundantly clear that Michigan Rising was not going accomplish its goal of recalling Governor Snyder,” Michigan Rising’s communications director Bruce Fealk said in a statement. “The results in Wisconsin crystallized how difficult a task it is to recall a sitting governor, even when the unions and the Democratic Party play a significant role in the effort.”

A Date With The TSA *UPDATED: TSA’s Own Rules

While leaving the Providence, Rhode Island gathering for the Franklin Center where the first annual Breitbart Awards were held, we were detained by the TSA and my husband was subjected to intrusive screenings based on the claim that he was covered in “nitrates.”

We fly frequently and when told to walk through the hotly debate Backscatter machines, we opt out for patdowns. I walked through the metal detector but Chris was directed to the bodyscanner, at which point he opted out.

He was subjected to the standard pat-down: back of the hands, check your waistband, run hands up and down the inside of the leg stopping at the groin. When the agent went to check his gloves he claimed that something on his gloves “set off the alarm” at which point informed us that Chris would be subjected to another pat-down and his luggage searched.

They directed us over to the side of the security area and searched his luggage; they also swabbed everything in it. It was at this point they began talking about “nitrates,” a reason often in the news because of the propensity for false-positive results in such tests. They asked him if he fired a gun or handled gas today. We explained to them that we had not been to a range in a few weeks and did not go in the clothes he was wearing or take with us our carry-on luggage. They zipped up his luggage and directed us to a private room.

He was not given the choice as to whether or not he wanted a private or public screening for the second, more invasive pat-down.

At this point we were becoming annoyed as we’d been detained for around 25 minutes minutes already (the entire screening process took about 45 minutes) and were concerned that we would miss our flight. I flipped on my camera after we had been escorted into the private room and kept it vertical, rather than horizontal, to look less confrontational.

The TSA agent informed us, as he snapped on his blue latex gloves, that he would be performing another pat-down, this time using the front of his hands, and he would be touching Chris’s “groin.” It was at this point I began asking questions. He became aggravated and asked for me to turn off my camera. I asked once more about photos and video for clarification, and he stated that the reason I could not film them touching my husband’s genitals through his shorts was due to “security reasons.” The other agent in the room spoke into his shoulder walkie about security. I complied and turned off my phone. When I asked for the agent’s name a second time, he informed me that if I would like, he would call security. The agent demanded that I put my phone away entirely and get it out of my hands and would not start the intrusive screening procedure until I had done so.

He performed the pat-down which began as routine, except that he used the front of his hands. He then bent down and specifically targeted Chris’s crotch. Using the front of his hands, he pressed against his genitals and swept his hands across the crotch three times across, and then pressed at the top of his genitals and wiped his hands down three times.

Make no mistake: outside of the airport this would be considered molestation.

They claimed that the alarm went off again after this second intrusive pat-down and that it was, again, due to “nitrates.” They were going to have to hold us further and were not sure whether we would make our flight. I informed them that I planned to speak out publicly about it, which aggravated them, but I wanted them to know that this process was unacceptable.

They called over a supervisor and huddled together to discuss the situation. They were considering not allowing him to board, from the muted discussion I heard. It was at this point, per the supervisor from my understanding, that they agreed to release him, having found nothing on his person and no reason to suspect him. As mentioned before, the entire screening process took around 45 minutes.

We ran to our gate and fortunately made it as the last group boarded.

One of the agents suggested that perhaps he got whatever tipped off the alarm from the cab — but I was also in the cab, I reminded them. For the sake of the argument, had we been terrorists, their screening would have failed as their metal detectors would not have detected any explosive materials on me, and their bodyscanners do not detect such materials; if either of us had ill intent one of us would have been allowed on the flight. The TSA’s policy of nonsensical random screenings, which look for items rather than behavior, can be easily exploited, which is why our country has a bloodier history with sky-terror than, say, Israel, which focuses on behavior in their security protocol.

The citizenry should not have to put up with such a violation of their civil rights, airline customers should not suffer the harassment of being felt up or molested to fly the skies, and the government should not forces private airline companies to subject their customers such intrusions. Airlines should have the right to privatize their security and the federal government needs more intelligent means of thwarting sky-terrorism than fondling citizens.

More from Twitchy here.

*UPDATE: Jimi971 notes this:

TSA does not prohibit the public, passengers or press from photographing, videotaping or filming at security checkpoints, as long as the screening process is not interfered with or slowed down. We do ask you to not film or take pictures of the monitors. While the TSA does not prohibit photographs at screening locations, local laws, state statutes, or local ordinances might.

 

Taking photographs may also prompt airport police or a TSA official to ask what your purpose is. It is recommended that you use the Talk To TSA program on tsa.gov to contact the Customer Support Manager at the airport to determine its specific policy. Or, if you are a member of the press, you should contact the TSA Office of Public Affairs.

I’m curious to know what Rhode Island’s regulations are concerning the taping of TSA agents performing intrusive screenings.

Day Two of Netroots: Is the Tea Party Racist, Van Jones?

A full day of making friends.

I had admitted Marxist Van Jones sign his Occupy-heavy book at which time I also asked him if he thought the tea party was still racist.

“I’m not sure that I ever said the tea party was racist,” he explained.

He’s called libertarians, conservatives, and others as much before:

“They say they’re Patriots but they hate everybody in America who looks like us.  They say they love America but they hate the people, the brown folk, the gays, the lesbians, the people with piercings, ya know ya’ll.”

After his short book signing, he showed me several parts of his book wherein he discussed the tea party and proceeded to tell me that he never said that the tea party was racist except that they are racist.

“I never said they they were racist, but I do think they have racial anxiety,” he said. In his book he writes:

Tea Partiers were media savvy and found support with the media; they focused on scaring the bejeebers out of elected officials; they had the ability to pivot from protest to electoral politics; they capitalized on the racial anxiety surrounding the election of the first African American president …”

Jones writes that the tea party was:

“not particularly big or new, but they were newly presented and newly branded. They punk’d the world, Ashton Kutcher-style.

Not particularly big? Is Jones unaware that well over a million tea partiers marched in Washington DC in 2009? Is he unaware of how many congressional seats the tea party has flipped, how the movement is to credit for the GOP majority in the House? There is no measure of equal, or close-to-equal success from the Occupy movement — this much he begrudgingly admitted. There is, however, a massive rap sheet from the Occupy movement. They don’t have legislative or any successes otherwise, but they have defecated on cop cars, spray painted landmarks, and were caught on camera trying to cover up rapes which happened at their encampments. No “anxiety” about anything there that bears mentioning?

Gateway Pundit finally got to meet his hero.

Occupiers … occupied outside while the one-percenters conferenced inside. A one day pass to Netroots was around $100, weekend pass ran about $450. Why not spread the wealth and let all attend for free? Occupy Netroots! This poor, oppressed Occupier had a $6,000+ Segway.

We marched with the Occupiers as they led us down one of the main streets where we could find a good spot for lunch. With Tabitha Hale of the Franklin Center:

Manwich: The two factions of the Democrat party: the Former “first black” President and the current “first gay” President.

Andrew Marcus of “Hating Breitbart” and a recipient of one of the first Breitbart Awards, a.k.a. Brandon Darby according to some kooky Kossacks, in front of the Democrat Socialists’ table.

From my Netroots swag bag: a made in China iPhone case (look for the union label!) in front of the plethora of labor sponsors listed in their literature. Also interesting the manufacturing country on a product for an abortion advocacy group.

Gateway Pundit notes the empty room to which panelist Paul Krugman spoke.

The conference had all the energy of a tomb, when participants weren’t discussing their dismay over the way in which Obama and Democrats abandoned them in Wisconsin. The attendance seemed anemic. I’m not sure how it compared to attendance at past Netroots conferences, but you would think in an election year when their embattled incumbent needs as much defense as possible that they would see greater numbers.