November 16, 2010

OK, That Does It: ICE-Sanctioned TSA Sexual Assaults Must Stop

Filed under: Activism,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:06 pm

This crap (“TSA Now Putting Hands Down Fliers’ Pants”) cannot be allowed to stand.

The incident described here by Erin (WARNING: graphic and extremely disturbing; HT Matt at Weapons of Mass Discussion, and kudos for his activism on this) is a direct result of the TSA’s new actions.

I’m hoping against hope that Matt Drudge picks up on Erin’s post. I encourage others to at least do what I did (I’m doing more) and leave a tip at Drudge’s home page. That’s because I believe the pressure for this not to become a news story, or at least a story outside of Southwest Ohio, will be immense.

I would encourage anyone and everyone, especially in this area of Ohio, to contact their representatives, and ensure that what Erin, the sexual assault victim, actually happens, namely:

I am speaking out against the TSA and share my sexual assault case to ensure that this does not happen to anyone else, anywhere.

I will not be a silent victim of sexual assault by a TSA agent. Total Sexual Assault.

I am calling for immediate change to this new enhanced body patdown search.

I am calling for the TSA agent who sexually assaulted me to be fired.

I am calling for you, a fellow American, to stand up against these new enhanced full body patdown search procedures of the TSA.

The TSA is an out-of-control rogue agency. If they ever had it in the first place, Janet Napolitano and Homeland Security have lost any and all sense of perspective.

Honest to God, I’m not even sure I recognize my own country any more.

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UPDATE: I contend that TSA is committing sexual assault even if it informs you of what it intends to do and gets your “permission” to do it, as the “permission” is clearly obtained under the duress of missing your flight and being singled out for causing a scene and further delaying other airline passengers.

Wilson-Pillich OH Rep District 28 Update (‘New Developments in HD28′)

Filed under: Activism,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:57 am

WilsonPillich110210From Mike Wilson, in a forwarded e-mail, concerning the race which currently has Wilson trailing incumbent Democrat Connie Pillich by 5 votes, as seen at right (bolds are mine):

Dear Fellow Citizens and Taxpayers,

It’s been a few days since sending an update, but we’ve been continuing to work to ensure that our race is counted correctly. In a race this close, both sides usually examine the results to make sure that any irregularities or potential fraud are investigated fully. That tension between the sides helps keep the process clean.

As you probably know, my background is in mathematics. After the unofficial results were released, my team took some time to analyze the race to understand how the election deviated from the lead we saw in our last poll.

What we found was interesting. In Lincoln Heights in particular, we found that support for Republican candidates dropped from 8% to 2% in a year where Obama was not on the ballot. We also saw significantly increased turnout compared to the last midterm election while the population of the village had declined due to the redevelopment of a housing project.

While the statistics were certainly unusual, it didn’t prove anything. However, it did cause us to start digging deeper to see if there was anything unusual. At 11am and 4pm, poll workers are supposed to post lists of who has voted up to that point. We were able to obtain those lists from the board of elections and what we found surprised us. 36 normal (not provisional) voters in Lincoln Heights voted at an address from which they had filed a change of address with the USPS (i.e. moved). 9 more voted from an address that did not exist and in many cases those were empty lots that were in the process of being redeveloped.

With so many normal votes of already questionable validity, we became concerned over the 136 provisional votes cast. We were unable to obtain a list from the Hamilton County Board of Elections, so yesterday we filed suit to give us the ability to analyze the provisional votes before they are accepted (or not) by the Board of Elections. The hearing for this suit will be held today at 9am.

So where does this leave us?

* We are down 5 votes with what was cast by election day.
* 81 unscanned ballots are leftover from election day – these should break our way
* About 150 valid absentee ballots are expected to have made it in before the deadline.
* About 1500 provisional votes are outstanding from the whole district (typically about 60% of these end up counting)
* Once these are counted, we will almost certainly be close enough to force a state mandated recount.

From here, we will work to make sure that all legal and valid votes are counted. We’ll keep you posted as new developments arise.

In Liberty,
Mike Wilson
Republican Candidate for State Representative
Ohio House District 28

Here’s hoping Mr. Wilson prevails.

Lickety-Split Links (111610, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 9:23 am

Of all the offensive, sickening things we’ve had to witness during this administration, the sight of companies, unions, and other providers of health care plans having to run begging like supplicants to Uncle/King Sam to get waivers to continue their health care plan designs is near the top, if not actually there.

Michelle Malkin articulates the outrage:

At this point, the better question is: Who won’t be on the list after the Obamacare central planners fully acknowledge the destructive consequences of their schemes?

… Make no mistake: Team Obama isn’t granting the waivers out of bleeding-heart compassion for the affected workers, but out of a panicked urgency to avoid a public relations disaster.

As I’ve boiled it down before:

Old Democrat promise: Everyone gets to keep their health insurance.

New Democrat promise: You can keep your health insurance…if you BEG hard enough for an Obamacare waiver.

What King Sam giveth, King Sam can whimsically take away. This meets the dictionary definition of tyranny (“arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic abuse of authority”). It must be stopped.

Update, Nov. 18: In a nicely done post, Mark at WoMD links to a complete list of all of the whimsically lucky waiver winners.

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Howler of the morning, in a story by former WaPo guy Howard Kurtz at the Daily Beast (aka where Newsweek went to quietly die):

From the moment (Keith) Olbermann was found to have donated money to three Democratic candidates, there has been a deepening sense of anger and frustration among his colleagues, according to interviews with eight knowledgeable sources. These sources, who declined to be quoted by name because of the sensitivity of the situation, say that several of NBC’s front-line stars, including Tom Brokaw, have expressed concern to management that Olbermann has badly damaged MSNBC’s reputation for independence.

Make that Howler of the Month.

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Subtle but very real bias at KSBW.com:

Many Rally To Support Boy’s Flag Display
Motorcycle Riders Back Denair Teen

How “many”? Answer: Hundreds.

Who were these “motorcycle riders”? Answer: “hundreds of members of the American Legion Riders” — their identity is not in the body of the report.

Further, as reported elsewhere:

Cody Alicea, 13, was accompanied to Denair Middle School by a large group of motorcycle riders and several hundred others, all flying the American flag.

I guess KSBW wanted us to think that only motorcycle gangs support flying the flag. Zheesh.

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Rhymes with Right has a modest proposal for solving the airport-body scan controversy. Make sure to get to the last five paragraphs.

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Timothy Dalrymple has Obama and his current standing pegged perfectly (HT Instapundit):

The stinging rebuke the American electorate delivered in the midterm election has prompted debate among the professional commentariat and apparently also within the administration itself: is the problem with the policies that Obama has delivered or with a failure to promote those policies and their benefits to the American people?

Democrats would prefer to believe the latter. Since their policies are superior, they believe, supporting them is rational.

… The problem is not that Obama has not been selling. He has never stopped selling. The problem is that the American people aren’t buying it — because they are not buying him. The American people are not foolish; the problem is not with the sales pitch. The problem is, in part, the product.

… The Democrats have paid the wages of Obama’s spin. Independents and moderate Republicans who voted for Obama learned that they had been sold a counterfeit. Now the greater portion of Americans will not care what Obama says until they believe that he is genuine.

If there’s a genuine bone in the guy’s body, it has not yet been discovered.

Mystery Drugs: You Don’t Know Where They Were Made, Nor Does the FDA

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:57 am

Remember the Chinese toy recalls in 2007? Here’s a reminder, from the New York Times on August 2 of that year:

Mattel, the maker of Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels cars, is recalling nearly one million toys in the United States today because the products are covered in lead paint.

According to Mattel, all the toys were made by a contract manufacturer in China.

Toys are terrible enough. How about human-ingested pharmaceuticals?

Remember the 2008 heparin contamination? As much as I follow the news, I knew it had occurred, but I had no idea it was as serious as described:

The FDA’s handling of the 2008 heparin contamination saga has been severely criticized by leaders of a Congressional investigation into the matter.

In a letter dated April 30, 2010 to FDA commissioner Dr Margaret Hamburg, Reps Joe Barton (R-TX) and Mike Burgess (R-TX), of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, say they are “very troubled” by how the FDA has handled the investigation to find out who was responsible for the contamination of heparin.

The contaminated heparin, which came from China, was linked to more than 80 deaths and hundreds of allergic reactions. The contaminant was identified as overly sulfated chondroitin sulfate, but who was responsible for the contamination has not been determined.

Why not? Isn’t pharmaceutical manufacturing done using strict, totally traceable batch controls?

Here, yes. Elsewhere, it seems not. In fact, it’s sometimes not even possible to identify the location of the factory where items were made.

What follows from the May 2010 edition of Manufacturing and Technology News is clearly disturbing (HT to an e-mailer). Some snips from the read-the-whole-thing piece (bolds are mine):

You Don’t Know Where Your Drugs Come From And Neither Does The FDA; U.S. Imports 90 Percent Of Its Antibiotics (And Vitamin A) From China

China has surpassed the United States as the world’s largest manufacturer of bulk drugs, vitamins and nutritional supplements and is now exporting a large portion of its production to the United States. Tens of millions of American consumers have no idea that the majority of the over-the-counter drugs they are purchasing now originate in China, where there are “relatively few regulations related to pharmaceutical exports in comparison to industrialized economies,” according to a report commissioned by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. The increasing dependence on China for active pharmaceutical ingredients and nutritional supplements “presents a range of issues for concern.”

… The United States needs two tons of heparin per month. Seventy percent of that is sourced from China, says the study. Tainted Chinese heparin (made from pig intestines and used as a blood thinner) supplied to Baxter International caused the death of 81 Americans in early 2008. After a fall-off of heparin exports in 2008, “the situation has changed in 2009,” says the study. “Heparin exports for the first quarter of 2009 increased 155 percent compared to the first quarter of 2008. The price of heparin also doubled (to $4,354 per kilogram) in the first quarter of 2009.”

China accounted for 61 percent of all ibuprofen sold into the U.S. market in 2008, with its product used in Advil, Aleve and Motrin, among others. More than 90 percent of the tetracycline supplied to the United States and used in most antibiotics is now supplied from China.

… In the United States, virtually all companies manufacturing pharmaceuticals are inspected by the Food and Drug Administration. But not imports, which freely enter the country from factories that will never see an American inspector.

… ‘‘… the FDA does not know the number of establishments subject to inspection …” according to the study.

I’m certainly not a big fan of overzealous, excessively costly regulation, a practice that the FDA has domestically developed into an art form during its nearly 50 years of existence. As a quality systems director at a U.S. pharmaceutical company until the late 1980s, my late father was quite familiar with the agency’s “let’s make any molehill we find into a mountain, even if it has nothing to do with safety” approach to inspections. I’m also not alone in believing that the FDA takes too much time reviewing new drug applications, and all too often bases its decisions on specious, overly cautious, and sometimes politically tainted reasoning.

But no one with an ounce of sense would dispute the need to have all pharmaceuticals manufactured using traceable, batch-controlled protocols accompanied by complete supporting records, or the need to have the relevant information readily available and systematically monitored. (Sadly, the portion of the population with an ounce or more of sense may not include Big Pharma execs who are fine with importing and using the stuff. Someone needs to ask them why they’re okay with the status quo.) The fact that we don’t demand these minimal regimens on imports is a disgrace.

To be clear, this is a failure of congressional oversight and executive branch execution that crosses at least two presidential administrations (probably three). It must stop.

Positivity: Arkansas priest heard the call of God in early childhood

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:57 am

From Little Rock (HT CNA):

Nov 14, 2010 / 01:06 pm (CNA).- Father Donald Murrin, SVD, pastor of St. Peter Church and St. Raphael Church in Pine Bluff, Arkansas never wavered in the childhood choice to become a priest.

“I always wanted to be a priest. I remember raising my hand in the first grade when our pastor asked who wanted to be a priest or sister — that’s when I first remember the call,” Father Murrin said. “I was at church all the time. It was only a half-a-block away. It was just part of us.”

In first grade, multiple hands shot up when their pastor asked the children about vocations. Over the years, he said he watched the number dwindle. But his hand always remained steady.

“I never changed my mind,” he said. “No one was surprised that I became a priest.”

Father Murrin grew up in Greenville, Pa., which is five miles from Ohio. His mother died when he was only two years old, so his aunt helped his father raise him and his brother. His father later remarried, so Father Murrin also has four half-brothers and four half-sisters.

When he wanted to enter the seminary at 13 years old, his father said he was too young. His brother, Nelson, proposed a solution. He too would go to the seminary.

His brother was a year older than Father Murrin but missed a year because of rheumatic fever, which put the two in the same grade.

“At the time, I didn’t give it another thought other than it meant I could go,” Father Murrin said. “He made that sacrifice to go with me even though he did not have the desire to become a priest. Without him, I would not have gone.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.