The Transportation Security Administration1 has become the conservative “Bizarro World” media’s latest target, as ‘findings’ from a May 2012 report2 by U.S. Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) come to light. The TSA is the U.S. Department of Homeland Security3 agency charged with airport security, and was created by President George W. Bush’s administration in response to the September 11th attacks4. Entitled, “Not on My Watch: 50 Failures of TSA’s Transportation Security Officers5,” the ‘report’ reads more like a Gawker6 listicle than an official document authored by a U.S. congresswoman, and features a list of the “TSA’s 50 Most Dangerous Officers” complete with mugshots and crimes.
The sensationalist ‘report’ also leads in with a dog-whistling7 photo of an African American woman in a TSA uniform dozing off in a chair with the caption, “A TSA Transportation Security Officer takes a nap at a LaGuardia Airport while on duty.” But what if the woman was on her break taking a power nap8? Did Betty Turco, the photographer, bother to ask? FYI, Blackburn9 is a staunch conservative who scored 100% on American Conservative Union10’s 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009 Ratings of Congress, and is no stranger to shady transactions. In 2008, Congresswoman Blackburn was listed as being amongst the “Most Corrupt Members of Congress” by government watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington11 (CREW).
Over the weekend, conservative rag World Net Daily triumphantly proclaimed, “Proven: TSA Hires Murderers, Rapists, and Thieves,12” and went on to breathlessly opine that the people pat-searching you at the airport “might even be criminals. If recent news reports are any indication, many Americans can’t even trust that TSA’s screeners won’t steal their laptops, money or jewelry.” WND Staff Writer Chelsea Schilling even goes on to provide summary of Blackburn’s report, followed by an anti-TSA screed and a reader poll.
Meanwhile, the New York Post13 — which is owned by the conservative business mogul Rupert Murdoch14 — did a little investigative reporting to warn an unsuspecting public that TSA workers may have a “creepy fascination” with our sex toys. Rori Sweet, a “sex blogger” from Washington D.C. chirped, “My checked bag is searched almost every time I fly. I guess I’m just lucky, or look suspicious!” California-based “sex educator” Kitty Stryker chimed in, “They always go through my bag!” Sex toy vendor Vicki Kriner reports that she once even received a mash note from the guy who searched her luggage. “His name was Jim, and he dotted the ‘i’ with a heart. The note said to have a nice day and had a smiley face scrawled next to it … It seemed unprofessional, and a little creepy.” The reporter, Bill Sanderson, concludes by thoughtfully providing information about what … um … sensual enhancement devices are allowed in your carry-on luggage: “Vibrators and dildos are OK in carry-ons, as long as they’re under 7 inches long.”
Chalk this one up in the You can’t make this shit up column, but it’s apparently true.
In a somewhat controversial move, members of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s volunteer posse are slated to start patrolling some Maricopa County schools.
Some of those posse members reportedly have criminal pasts. That’s where the controversy comes in.
An MCSO spokesman said those people have already faced disciplinary action in connection with their crimes, either avoided felony convictions or petitioned to have their records expunged, and are now moving on
Ok, so that’s just great.
Just a tip for Land Transportation Office (LTO) operatives, and a stern
warning to passenger jeepney drivers.
Along Araneta Highway and intersections, from as early as 5AM, LTO operatives
will surely corner several passenger utility jeepneys (PUJs) who ferry
passengers outside of their designated routes.
LTO can organize a mobile team for the purpose alone of apprehending
out-of-route PUJs there, say from 5 or 6AM.
Most of the out-of-route PUJs are from Punta Taytay, Sum-ag, Tangub and
Alijis with sign boards Shopping-Central Market, Mandalagan/Bata-Libertad, and a
few other routes.
* * *
For other violations, LTO must start operating — flagging down PUJs, from
8:30 AM to spare students and employees from arriving late.
* * *
‘CONG. GOLEZ’ SEX VIDEO’
The lawyer of Bacolod Congressman Anthony Golez, Agnes Maranan, is
collaborating with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in tracing the
source of a photo that shows the congressman kissing the estranged wife of Sen.
Koko Pimentel, Jewel Mae Lobaton.
The bureau on Thursday said it is on the heels of the source of the kissing
They wanted to find out those responsible in the hope of hauling them to
jail, through special laws.
* * *
The photo had been circulating alright.
I even saw it.
Based on my own perception, the photo of the man kissing the woman looks more
like Doc Tony, but the woman I cannot really say it was Jewel Mae although with
The photo looks like it was photoshopped, or tinkered.
* * *
I do not wish to dip my fingers deeper into this matter.
I am more interested on how the NBI will be able to trace the source of the
Considering the improvement the NBI has been claiming in terms of tools and
technologies that can deal with cybercrimes, I am waiting for the bureau to
unmask the culprits behind the circulation of the image.
* * *
What about the highly-rumored sex video of the congressman?
Until now I have not seen a single footage.
If you have, please email me a copy, or MMS it to my mobile phone so we can
watch it together — unless it’s just a rumor.
* * *
A few weeks ago I was with several media colleagues who were invited to Camp
Peralta in Jamindan, Capiz where the headquarters of the 3rd Infantry
(Spearhead) Division of the Philippine Army— headed by Maj. Gen. Jose Mabanta,
* * *
Our arrival after several hours of sea and land trips was timely.
It was a three-day activity that included a mediamen’s forum with the
information officers of the Army from different battalions and companies under
the 3rd ID.
There were lectures conducted by resource persons from ABS-CBN, GMA Kapuso
and The Daily Guardian, all of Iloilo.
The exchange of ideas between military men and mediamen from Iloilo, Capiz,
Antique, Aklan and Negros was more interesting.
It was the first time the 3ID has invited media people from all over Western
* * *
On our second day at the camp, we were, what was it punished, through a
We walked through clearings and forest areas, climbed mountainsides, crossed
rivers, took off our shirts before we finally reached the amazing Manilamun
The river and waterfall area is actually composed of several smaller
waterfalls, with huge flat rocks and clean, clear water— a true eco-tourism
potential which is now actually being discovered by many.
* * *
We were told that if we were not in a hurry to catch our afternoon trip from
Iloilo, there are several other waterfalls and beautiful sights to visit and
behold in the 33,000-hectare area where the 3ID camp is situated.
* * *
Although on our return one of us lost a lot of fluids and energy that he had
to be carried on a stretcher, we still considered it an enjoyable adventure.
* * *
Maj. Gen. Mabanta is right.
It is important that while the military continues to initiate dialogues with
various rebel groups along with the civilian authorities, livelihood and
economic undertakings must be paralleled.
He is calling on the New People’s Army (NPA) to dialogue, and on the public
to support efforts in attaining harmony and peace.* (Email me:
On its face, the Takings Clause of the
Fifth Amendment sounds like a fairly solid barrier against
government overreach. If private property is “taken for public
use,” the clause declares, the government must pay “just
compensation” to the owners. So not only is the state forbidden
from taking property under most circumstances, it must pay its way
in those specific cases where a taking is allowed.
Unfortunately for American property owners, the U.S. Supreme
Court has seen fit to whittle away at those protections. In
Penn Central Transportation Co. v. New York2 (1978),
for example, the Court allowed New York’s Landmarks Preservation
Commission to seize the lucrative air rights above Grand Central
Station without providing any form of compensation to the owner.
Since it was only air, the Court reasoned, no “taking” had actually
occurred. Meanwhile, the public got to reap the aesthetic benefits
of Grand Central’s historically-preserved exterior while the owners
of the building were left holding the bill. Not exactly just
compensation for a public use.
To make matters worse, in Kelo v.
City of New London3 (2005), the Court opted to ignore the
public use requirement entirely. In that case, the Supreme Court
upheld New London, Connecticut’s controversial use of eminent
domain even though the property in question had been seized for the
express purpose of handing it over to a private developer working
in cooperation with the powerful Pfizer Corporation. That wasn’t
public use, it was private gain.
All of which raises the question: Does the Takings Clause still
have any teeth left at all? We may soon learn the answer. On
October 3 the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in the case of
Arkansas Game & Fish Commission v. United States4.
At issue is whether a series of recurring floods sanctioned by the
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers qualifies as a Fifth Amendment
Between 1993 and 2000, the Army Corps of Engineers purposely and
repeatedly allowed floodwaters to escape the Clearwater lake and
dam in southeast Missouri. Among the areas flooded by that water
was the 23,000-acre Dave Donaldson Black River Wildlife Management
Area in northeast Arkansas, which is managed by the Arkansas Game
& Fish Commission.
Charging that its property had been irreparably damaged by the
actions of the federal government, the Arkansas commission filed
suit under the Fifth Amendment. The Court of Federal Claims weighed
the evidence and agreed that a taking had indeed occurred. After
observing that the government’s flooding had “so profoundly
disrupted certain regions of the Management Area that the
Commission could no longer use those regions for their intended
purpose, i.e., providing habitat for wildlife and timber for
harvest,” Judge Charles F. Lettow awarded $5.7 million in
The federal government successfully appealed that ruling to the
United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which
voided Judge Lettow’s ruling. The Arkansas Game & Fish
Commission now turns to the Supreme Court in search of just
compensation for its damaged property.
For its part, the federal government argues that because the
floodwaters ultimately receded the property was never actually
taken in the first place. In fact, under the government’s theory of
the case, “temporary” flooding can never trigger the Fifth
Amendment. As an authority for this claim, the
government’s brief5 cites the Supreme Court’s 1982 decision in
Loretto v. Teleprompter Manhattan CATV Corporation6,
which “distinguished between flooding cases involving a permanent
physical occupation, on the one hand, and cases involving a more
temporary invasion…on the other.” As the Court put it, “A taking
has always been found only in the former situation.”
That certainly sounds bad for the Arkansas Game & Fish
Commission. But consider what else the Court said in
Loretto. In an effort to illustrate the reach of the
Takings Clause, the Court in Loretto pointed to its 1946
United States v. Causby7. In that case, the Supreme
Court held that damage to a farmer’s livestock caused by repeated
military overflights qualified as a taking under the Fifth
Amendment. As the Court explained, “If, by reason of the frequency
and altitude of the flights, respondents could not use this land
for any purpose, their loss would be complete.” Indeed,
Causby continued, “it would be as complete as if the
United States had entered upon the surface of the land and taken
exclusive possession of it.”
In other words, the government need not squat forever on a piece
of land in order for a “permanent physical occupation” to occur.
“It is the character of the invasion,” the Court explained in
Causby, “that determines the question whether it is a
taking.” As the joint
friend of the court brief8 filed in Arkansas Game &
Fish by the Pacific Legal Foundation, Cato Institute, and
Atlantic Legal Foundation puts it, “The fact that the government’s
fly-over of Causby’s property was of limited duration did not deter
this Court from concluding that a compensable taking had
In the present case, repeated flooding over six consecutive
years by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers caused severe injury to
the property of the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, including
the destruction and degradation of 18 million board feet of timber.
That damage did not magically disappear just because the
floodwaters happened to recede.
The Army Corps of Engineers took this property for a public use.
We’ll see if the Supreme Court forces the Corps to pay the
- ^ Damon W. Root (reason.com)
- ^ Penn Central Transportation Co. v. New York (www.law.cornell.edu)
- ^ Kelo v.
City of New London (www.oyez.org)
- ^ Arkansas Game & Fish Commission v. United States (www.supremecourt.gov)
- ^ government’s brief (www.americanbar.org)
- ^ Loretto v. Teleprompter Manhattan CATV Corporation (www.law.cornell.edu)
- ^ United States v. Causby (caselaw.lp.findlaw.com)
- ^ friend of the court brief (www.americanbar.org)
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