Friday, December 24, 2004

Biscuits and Gravy - Dec. 24, 2004

A last round of mocking the usual idiots before the Christmas spirit softens my judgment.

Terrorists! Call early to schedule your photo-op with the Associated Press!

More Shocking Photo-Op News from Lloyd Grove! (Via Henry Hanks)
Even a gossip columnist has limits.

Paris Hilton has finally abused mine.

Over the past five years - without any discernible talent, education, scruples, manners, modesty or underpants - the pretty blond great-granddaughter of hotel magnate Conrad Hilton has waged a terrifying campaign for world domination.
I admit that Paris and I have been snared in an ugly web of mutual addiction: She to all the lurid ink, me to all the pointless drama.

But on the "Today" show this morning, I'm planning to announce my New Year's resolution: going cold turkey. No more Paris Hilton.
Three U.N. officials leave world body
The United Nations says the departures of three of its top officials — Secretary-General Kofi Annan's chief of staff, the undersecretary-general for management and the U.N. controller — is coincidental.
But it looks like some of the United Nations folks have a second career ready - making child porn.
The expert was a Frenchman who worked at Goma airport as part of the UN’s $700 million-a-year effort to rebuild the war-shattered country. When police raided his home they discovered that he had turned his bedroom into a studio for videotaping and photographing sex sessions with young girls.

The bed was surrounded by large mirrors on three sides, according to a senior Congolese police officer. On the fourth side was a camera that he could operate from the bed with a remote control.

When the police arrived the man was allegedly about to rape a 12-year-old girl sent to him in a sting operation. Three home-made porn videos and more than 50 photographs were found.

The case has highlighted the apparently rampant sexual exploitation of Congolese girls and women by the UN’s 11,000 peacekeepers and 1,000 civilians at a time when the UN is facing many problems, including the Iraqi “oil-for-food” scandal and accusations of sexual harassment by senior UN staff in Geneva and New York.

The prospect of the pornographic videos and photographs — now on sale in Congo — becoming public worries senior UN officials, who fear a UN version of the scandal at the American-run Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq. “It would be a pretty big problem for the UN if these pictures come out,” one senior official said.
Aside from the asininity of comparing terrorists wearing panties on their heads to child rape, how come some enterprising reporter hasn't just bought one of the tapes. Hmmm, maybe they failed to schedule their photo-op!

In the old days they used to be called REMF's
Can you imagine if an al Qaeda bureaucrat had ordered the 19 Sept. 11 terrorists to wear "I heart Osama" T-shirts when they embarked on their murderous flights?

No idiot would send his men on a covert mission wearing clothes that would so blatantly give them away, right?

Wrong. Meet Federal Air Marshal Service Director Thomas Quinn. The man in charge of our in-flight cops, who are supposed to be spying secretly on would-be terrorist hijackers, refuses to allow his employees to dress undercover. Quinn insists that air marshals abide by military-style grooming standards and a rigid business dress policy regardless of weather, time of year or seating arrangement. He wants them to look PROFESSIONAL.

That means collared shirts and sports coats -- even if a pair of marshals is traveling in coach from Los Angeles to Orlando.
I'm of sufficient age to recall the halcyon days when folks dressed up for airline flights and I wouldn't mind seeing it again if the planes weren't so much like cattle cars. But my preferences are irrelevant to the objective of having air marshals blend in with the flying public.
The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, which represents over 22,000 federal agents including air marshals, notes that civilian passengers have publicly outed marshals on countless flights since the Sept. 11 attacks. Air marshals have recounted receiving thumbs-ups and thanks from travelers nationwide. No doubt al Qaeda's operatives who are surveilling flights are mumbling thanks under their breath, too.

Indeed, on an infamous American Airlines Flight 1438 from Chicago to Miami, two air marshals, dressed conspicuously in their professionally mandated suits, received the following greeting from a passenger walking down the aisle: "Oh, I see we have air marshals on board!"
Marshals refer darkly to Quinn's dress requirements as the "kill-me-first dress-code policy."
Updates here and here.

Congressman Mocks Parrot Arrests
Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO) issued a statement on Tuesday contrasting the government's zeal in preventing parrots from Mexico from illegally entering the country with their efforts to stop illegal immigration in general.

Under the headline "Apparently There Are No Jobs Available That American Parrots Won't Do," Tancredo said he was surprised to learn of the "incredible success that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers enjoyed in apprehending smugglers attempting to illegally smuggle 150 Lilac Crowned and Mexican Redhead Amazon Parrots into the United States."

The statement points out that ICE, however, has not had the same luck in preventing an estimated 3 million illegal alien human beings from swarming into the U.S. annually unchecked.

"It's nice to see that ICE has their priorities in order," quipped Tancredo, head of the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus. "Now that we appear able to successfully identify and apprehend parrots attempting to enter the U.S. illegally, perhaps doing the same with people is just around the corner."
Ding Dong, the Witch is Gone
Maybe I've been too much of a pessimist lately. Since the disastrous Supreme Court decisions in the University of Michigan cases, I had convinced myself that no good news would ever come out of Washington on civil rights issues. I was wrong.

An important event happened earlier this month: The long reign of Mary Frances Berry as Chairman of the United States Civil Rights Commission finally came to an end. After twenty four years, the Commission will no longer be the personal fiefdom of one very, very strange and combative woman.
PC on earth for Santa: Boy Claus booted out of N.H. school dance
A 12-year-old New Hampshire boy who wanted to jolly up his junior high dance by dressing in a Santa suit instead got a lesson in political correctness when his Scroogelike principal turned the student away, fearing he might offend his classmates.