Spy the Friendly Skies
It seems that every JetBlue passenger you talk to has nothing but good things to say about the Long Beach-based air carrier known for cut-rate fares, TV screens at every seat and a bring-your-own-food policy. Little do these rubes know that their personal data has been collected by the airline and funneled directly to the U.S. Army. Military brass on Sept. 21 confirmed the secret operation to Wired News(www.wired.com), which has bull-doggedly exposed the exploits of defense contractor Torch Concepts, which crunched JetBlue passengers' personal data without their knowledge in an effort to weed out suspected terrorists. Torch actually secured the job with the Army as a subcontractor to Newport Beach-based SRS Technologies, which bills itself as the "prime support contractor" for the Pentagon research division that spearheaded work on the Terrorism Information Awarenessberdatabase program, whose use of information gathered from private companies alarms privacy advocates.
Photo by James Bunoan
ARMY OF ONE Cal State Fullertoncriminal-justice professor (and previous Weekly profile subject, source and contributor) Jarret Lovellwas so successful in his one-man protest against the Army's presence on campus Sept. 24 that military recruiters packed up and left. Toting a sign stating 10 reasons not to join the service, Lovell told those passing the Army's booth at the campus Internship and Job Fair that recruiters lie about the benefits of enlisting and that the government spends too much on the military and not enough on education. "I just want to tell them the truth," Lovell told the Daily Titanstudent newspaper. "But I can't watch students being misled. I am about giving information so students can make a career choice." Army recruiters responded by telling the Titan's Brittany Kuhnthey're all about protecting freedom, including Lovell's right to free speech. Then they closed their booth "to avoid a confrontation." We're guessing the Army men then went off to enter Lovell's name into their anti-terror database. LOVES THE DICK, HATES THE BUSHThe Bush administration's all-out assault on the environment may make some green activists long for the days of Ronald Reaganand James Watt. So it was only a matter of time before the Republicans who brought this nation the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Actand the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chimed in with their own displeasure. In a Sept. 22 column titled "The Environmental Protection Agency Just Isn't Like It Was in the Good Old (Nixon) Days" on the environmental blog Grist Magazine (www.gristmagazine.com), Russell Trainfrets that Dubya and his boys are poised to sap the independence of the EPA—something President Richard Nixonfought to protect. Train knows because he served as the chairman of Dick's Council on Environmental Policy, which recommended the creation of the EPA, and was later named EPA administrator by both Nixon and Jerry Ford. Train laments that, under Bush, the EPA has: been muzzled on global climate change, had its appraisal of airborne threats from the World Trade Centerdisaster altered by White House spin doctors, been pressured to give coal-fired energy plants a deadline of forever to comply with the Clean Air Act, and watched top officials leave the agency for high-paying positions with the industries they'd been in charge of regulating. We'd consider breaking our longtime boycott of the Nixon Library and Mirthplacein Yorba Linda to attend an author luncheon there featuring Train, who recounts the history of the EPA in his new book, Politics, Pollution and Pandas, due out from Island Press in November. IMMINENTLY QUOTABLE"There has to be an open end [of the intestine], where the waste gets squeezed out. But if both ends get through the roller before the middle part, then that part doesn't get squeezed out; it just gets cramped down until finally the casing breaks loose. And that's when it explodes." That's UC Irvine Nobel laureate F. Sherwood Rowland, revealing in the October issue of Popular Sciencehis worst job: collecting worms from cow intestines at a slaughterhouse. Rowland's specimen collecting as a University of Chicago grad student in the early 1950s was actually recounted in a sidebar to the magazine's annual ranking of the worst jobs in science. This year's, um, winner? A researcher who collects and smells human farts. He's trying to determine if health problems can be detected from huffing poots, which brings to mind another quote, this one from comedian George Carlin, who recalled inhaling a particularly nasty blast, then telling the farter, "If you're sick, go to the hospital." SHOOTING HIMSELF IN THE FOOTYou know what we love most about the California Rifle and Pistol Association? The way the Fullerton-based CRPA loves to have it both ways. (Ouch!) In his "President's Message" in the October issue of the CRPA's The Firing Line newsletter, Manny Melendrezuses California's tough gun-control laws as justification to recall Gray Davis, replace him with Tom McClintockand get rid of all the other anti-gun liberals in Sacramento. "These groups of politicians, who claim that control of firearm possession by the citizenry will reduce violent crime, need to be replaced if crime is to be addressed and society protected," writes Melendrez. "In fact, the good news is that in the United States and in California, violent crime seems to be on a steady decline and 2003 is heading to be the lowest in 14 years." So he's saying violent crime dropped dramatically in California amid the passage of all these gun-control laws. Uh, which side's he on again? I HAVE A DREAM TEAMIf the stars haven't exactly lined up for Arnold Schwarzeneggerand his gubernatorial bid, the numbers have. According to a Sept. 26 news nugget on Wireless Flash (www.flashnews.com), Los Angeles numerologist Julian Michaelconsiders Ah-nuld a lock for gov. It has something to do with this being 2003, the Oct. 7 date of the election and the Last Political Action Hero's numerological sign. That's not all Schwarzenegger has going for him: three days before the numerology scoop, Wireless Flash broke the news that he'd won key endorsements from Jesus Christand Martin Luther King Jr.That's the word they've apparently channeled to Fargo, North Dakota, spiritualist Gerald Polley, who explains the Son of God and MLK aren't Republicans; they just back "candidates who support what's best for the kingdom of God." And by that, he means . . . what? Hummers, gangbangs and monosyllabic celluloid killing machines? Keep in mind that in 1999, Polley revealed that Frank Sinatrahad been banned from the same kingdom of God because he died in California, where too many "evil demons" reside for heavenly entrance. So even if Schwarzenegger reaches the governor's mansion, he may not make it through the pearly gates. HASTA LA VISTA, REALITYHaving the polls, numbers, party, deities and slain civil rights leaders on your side is nice, but Davis, Cruz Bustamante and the rest of those chumps really ain't gotta chance if the Aryan Youth Brigade, er, Soldiers for Arnoldcan keep us "undesirables" from the polls. According to Huntington Beach Police, a group of "Arnold for Governor people" created a human shield in front of a business in the 300 block of Pacific Coast Highway on Sept. 20, preventing patrons from entering. We figure they were just honing their Orange County GOP poll guard skills. For more evidence we've entered bizarro world, consider that a Kennedy—Schwarzenegger's wife, Maria Shriver—is speaking at the Conservative Women's Leadership Councilluncheon at the hoity-toity Balboa Bay Clubon Oct. 3. If Nixon ain't spinning in his cedar box, JFK surely is.
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