Judge Grants Bail For JetBlue Flight Attendant

Allegedly Flips Out, Grabs Beers & Slides Down Emergency Slide

CBS New York

A Queens judge has granted bail for a flight attendant accused of cursing out a passenger on an airplane public-address system, grabbing some beer from the galley and exiting on an emergency slide.

Steven Slater is charged with criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and trespassing.

Defense attorney Howard Turman asked a judge in Queens on Tuesday to release him without bail. The judge instead set bail at $2,500. Slater smiled slightly as he was escorted into the courtroom.

Slater may be shipped back to Riker’s Island until someone posts the bail for him.

In arguing against bail, Turman said Slater’s mother has lung cancer.

Authorities said Slater dropped several f-bombs on a JetBlue flight’s loud speaker Monday night, grabbed two beers, deployed the plane’s emergency slide at Kennedy Airport, and then took off.

From all accounts, the 38-year old Slater simply had had enough.

Sporting a cut on his forehead from fallen overhead baggage, Slater walked out of Port Authority Police Headquarters after the incident, handcuffed with a smirk on his face and absolutely nothing to say.

But passenger Philip Catelinet said Slater had plenty to say over the plane’s public announcement system while he was on board JetBlue Flight 1052 out of Pittsburgh on Monday afternoon.

“He said, ‘to the passenger who called me a (expletive expletive, expletive) you. I’ve been in this business 28 years. And that’s it, I’m done’,” Catelinet said.

Catelinet said Slater spouted the obscenities after his flight landed at JFK from Pittsburgh International Airport. Airport authorities said Slater snapped after he argued with a passenger attempting to get overhead baggage before the plane was parked at the gate.

“You know, you don’t want to see a flight attendant lose their cool like that. I’m glad it happened on the ground and not anywhere in the air,” Catelinet said.

JetBlue officials released a statement saying: “There were no injuries and all customers deplaned the aircraft safely through the jetway.  At no time was the security or safety of our customers or crewmembers at risk.”

However, the airline never acknowledged it was one of their crew members who deployed the emergency slide.

Catelinet said he ran into Slater on the Airtran and overheard him talking to another passenger about his breakdown.

“He said he had a bad day, that this passenger had set him off,” Catelinet said. “I thought it was a crazy way to quit your job. And I thought if only we could all quit our jobs so spectacularly, but not get arrested in the process.”

Several Facebook pages have been set up in tribute to Slater, with many users of the social networking site expressing support for his grand exit from his job.

Slater was arrested later at his Belle Harbor home, and chances are he won’t be checking overhead baggage anytime soon.

Rep. Rangel dares House to expel him

Saudi hopes giant clock will establish ‘Mecca Time’

World’s largest clock to enter service in Mecca with three-month trial period from Ramadan.

MECCA – Muslims around the world could be setting their watches to a new time soon when the world’s largest clock begins ticking atop a soaring skyscraper in Islam’s holiest city of Mecca.

Saudi Arabia hopes the four faces of the new clock, which will loom over Mecca’s Grand Mosque from what is expected to be the world’s second tallest building, will establish Mecca as an alternate time standard to the Greenwich median.

The clock is targeted to enter service with a three-month trial period in the first week of the holy month of Ramadan on or about August 12, according to the Saudi state news agency SPA.

It boasts four glimmering 46 metre-across (151 feet) faces of high-tech composite tiles, some laced with gold, sitting more than 400 metres (1,320 feet) over the Holy Haram compound.

The tower’s height will reach 601 metres (1,983 feet), SPA said. On its website, Premiere Composite, which is responsible for cladding the top section, including a shimmering spire topped by a golden crescent moon, puts the planned height at 590 metres (1,947 feet).

That would make it the world’s second tallest building — ahead of Taiwan’s 509 metre (1,670 feet) Taipei 101, but well behind the Burj Khalifa, the 828 metre (2,717 feet) skyscraper inaugurated in Dubai in January.

Some 250 “highly qualified Muslim workers” were completing welding work on the clock’s frame, SPA said.

More than six times larger in diameter than London’s famed Big Ben, the clock faces, with the Arabic words “In the Name of God” in huge lettering underneath and will be lit with two million LED lights.

Some 21,000 white and green coloured lights, fitted at the top of the clock, will flash to as far as 30 kilometres (18.7 miles) to signal Islam’s mandatory five-times daily prayers.

On special Muslim occasions, 16 bands of vertical lights will shoot some 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) up into the sky.

“Everyone is interested to see the clock, despite the lack of sufficient information about it, and its mechanism,” said Mecca resident Hani al-Wajeeh.

“We in Mecca hope to be the world’s central time zone, and not just have a clock to look at, to show off,” he said.

The developer of the massive seven-tower Abraj al-Bait complex had kept the details of the clock a secret, but it is visibly in place now, adorned with the green crossed sword and palm symbol of the Saudi state.

Mohammed al-Arkubi, the manager of the Royal Mecca Clock Tower Hotel in the building below, said the installation of the clock, its faces made by the German-owned Dubai company, Premiere Composite Technologies, has been “a huge operation.”

The clock reflects a goal by some Muslims to replace the 126-year-old Universal Time standard — originally called Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) — with Mecca mean time.

At a conference in Doha in 2008, Muslim clerics and scholars presented “scientific” arguments that Mecca time is the true global meridian. They said that Mecca is the centre of the world and that the Greenwich standard was imposed by the west in 1884.

Big does not begin to describe the Abraj al-Bait complex just across the street from the south gate of the Grand Mosque, the Muslim world’s most sacred site.

Built by a government-controlled fund, the complex sits seven huge towers atop a massive podium. Six are between 42 and 48 stories, and in the middle is the clock tower, appearing nearly twice as tall as the others.

Moreover, the entire complex, with 3,000 hotel rooms and apartments, a five-story shopping centre and gigantic prayer and conference halls, will give it 1.5 million square metres (16.1 million square feet) of floor space, according to architects and construction industry reports.

At that it will tie Dubai International Airport’s newest terminal three for the world’s largest building by floor space.

The complex will sport three top-class hotels, the Fairmont, Raffles and Swiss Hotel. It will also have hundreds of luxury apartments, most of them designed to have a direct view of the Grand Mosque.

The project is part of the Saudi government’s plan to develop Mecca to be able to receive as many as 10 million hajj Pilgrims every year, up from the current three million capacity.

That is necessary to accommodate a rapidly growing global population of Muslims, who have a duty to make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lifetimes, if possible.

At the peak of the hajj, according to architect Dar al-Handasah, the complex should accommodate 65,000 people.

The clock will be the focus. Elevators will take visitors up to a huge viewing balcony just underneath the faces, and also a four-story astronomical observatory and Islamic museum.

“The construction of the biggest clock in the world in the purest spot on the earth is a dream-come-true for Muslims,” said Atif Felmban, who lives in the city.

“Before, we heard and saw famous clocks in the West. But today we can as Muslims be proud of this giant project,” said Ahmed Haleem, an Egyptian living in the Muslim holy city.

“I might leave Mecca before the opening ceremony for the clock. But I will be keen to follow it and set my watch to it as soon as it is working,” Haleem said.

“It means an honour for a place, and time for me,” he said.

House Dem swipes at Obama and Pelosi in campaign ad

Putin puts out two wildfires in central Russia

RIA Novosti

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Tuesday took part in extinguishing forest fires in Ryazan Province on board an amphibious firefighting airplane.

The Russian head of government was the co-pilot for half an hour aboard a Be-200 plane scooping up water from the nearby Oka River and dumping it on raging forest fires some 200 kilometers southeast of Moscow.

He dumped approximately 12 tons of water on each of two fires, extinguishing both completely.

Putin initially sat in the cabin in front of a thermal imaging monitor together with Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu and Ryazan Governor Oleg Kovalev.

However, shortly after takeoff Putin suddenly entered the cockpit and sat in the co-pilot’s seat.

He received a quick briefing from Emergency Situations Ministry aviation chief Rafail Zakirov.

It took the Be-200 a mere 11 seconds to fill up its water tanks.

During the flight, Putin observed the operation of another Be-200 that was also dousing fires from a minimum height.

He also spotted a fresh steppe fire in dangerous proximity to two villages.

Governor Kovalev, still airborne, immediately issued instructions to the local authorities to take measures to extinguish it.

Putin’s stunt comes as polls show waning public support for Russia’s president and prime minister.

Respected Russian sociologist Leonty Byzov told Vedomosti business daily Putin and Medvedev’s ratings could drop to 40% in the next six months. He said there was a growing fatigue surrounding Putin’s popularity and that if the government’s poor response to the wildfire crisis is taken into account, the two leaders’ ratings would decrease dramatically.

Wildfires, sparked by weeks of abnormally high temperatures in central Russia, have severely damaged the Russian economy, with the estimated short-term loss of $15 billion.

Rogers named CEO of Johnson Publishing, parent of Ebony magazine

Chicago Sun-Times – BY SANDRA GUY

Desiree Rogers, former White House social secretary and Illinois Lottery director, has been named chief executive officer of Johnson Publishing Company, the Chicago-based publisher of Ebony and JET magazines, the company announced today.

Rogers, who left the White House early this year after two uninvited guests crashed a state dinner in November, had been working as a consultant to the company since June 5.

Linda Johnson Rice, daughter of the company’s founder who held the CEO title, will remain as chairman.

The two women are known to be good friends.

“Desiree has a proven track record of successful business leadership,” Rice said in a statement.

Rogers will oversee day-to-day operations and be responsible for aligning core business strategies for all of the company’s brands.

Rogers said in a statement, “I consider it an honor to help continue the 68-year legacy of such a phenomenal company and its iconic brands.”

Johnson Publishing, beset by falling advertising revenues, recently started a management reshuffling, beginning with the June 3 announcement that the company is no longer for sale and the hiring that same day of Amy DuBois Barnett as the new editor in chief of Ebony magazine.

On July 13, the company announced that its president and chief operating officer, Anne Sempowski Ward, had resigned.

Johnson Publishing also announced today that it has named Rodrigo A. Sierra, who worked for eight years with Rogers in public affairs at Peoples Gas and is a former WGN Radio reporter, as chief marketing officer of Johnson Publishing. Rogers served as the first female and African-American president of Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas.

Sierra, who also holds the title of senior vice president, most recently ran his own consulting firm, Sierra Public Affairs Consulting, and talked with Rogers about helping her in her consulting role at Johnson Publishing.

Sierra said when Rogers asked him about serving as marketing chief at Johnson Publishing Co., he appreciated the “history and legacy” of the Ebony and JET magazines and the Fashion Fair cosmetics line.

“Johnson Publishing is at a very important time in its history,” Sierra said in an interview. “The vision is to continue the legacy and to grow the brands.”

The September issue of Ebony will be the first to reflect the voice of its new editor-in-chief, Amy DuBois Barnett, who was hired in June. Barnett had previously transformed Teen People and Honey magazines.

The September issue of Ebony, on newsstands today, focuses on education, and coincides with Ebony’s hosting of its third roundtable to discuss issues of importance to the African-American community.

Said Sierra, “Through Ebony and JET, we want to create a dialogue with readers and give them a voice.”

US State Dept Sends Mosque Imam to Mideast

Fox News – By: Jake Gibson

WASHINGTON– State Department officials on Monday confirmed Feisal Abdul Rauf, the Imam of the so-called Ground Zero Mosque, will soon be going on a trip of the Middle East and the U.S. government will be picking up the tab.

The planned construction of a mosque near Ground Zero in New York City has set off a contentious national debate over religious freedom in the U.S., drawing impassioned opposition from some families of 9/11 victims.

Rauf has emerged as a controversial figure because of his refusal to acknowledge Hamas as a terrorist organization, which is how the U.S. government classifies the group. The imam also has been quoted as saying U.S. foreign policy was in part responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

“He is a distinguished Muslim cleric,” said State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley. “We do have a program whereby, through our Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau here at the State Department, we send people from Muslim communities here in this country around the world to help people overseas understand our society and the role of religion within our society.”

Rauf and his partners are preparing to build a $100 million Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero, where on September 11, 2001 two airliners hijacked by al-Qaeda terrorists, slammed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, killing nearly 3,000 innocents.

The project, known as Park 51, cleared a final hurdle on August 3rd, when decision by New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission cleared the way for construction. The tower could span up to 15 stories and will house a mosque, a 500-seat auditorium and a pool.

The State Department has not yet divulged a detailed itinerary of Rauf’s trip, although Arab media is reporting he will visit the oil rich states of Saudi Arabia, The United Arab Emirates and Abu Dhabi.

“It is to foster greater understanding and outreach around the world, among… Muslim- majority communities,” said Crowley. “We’ve done this many, many times, with many leading figures… over the past few years.”

The project has also drawn outspoken criticism from Sarah Palin who famously tweeted, “Peace-seeking Muslims, pls understand, Ground Zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation. It stabs hearts.”

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has forcefully defended the project as a symbol of America’s religious tolerance.

Related:  Investigative Report: Exposing the Cordoba Islamic Center of Manhattan

NRO: Rauf’s Dawa from the World Trade Center Rubble

Not In 25 Years, Social Security Is Bankrupt Now

Real Clear Markets – By Bill Frezza

This just in from the trustees that issue the annual report on the health of those two pillars of the modern entitlement state: Medicare and Social Security. For the first time in its history the Social Security program will pay out more money than it takes in. This watershed event will occur this year, to the tune of $41 Billion dollars. Under any rational accounting standards this makes the Social Security program bankrupt. And that’s right now, not in 25 years when the so-called Trust Fund becomes insolvent.

You see, most pension programs hold income producing assets in their Trust Funds. Stocks, bonds, real estate, oil and gas partnerships, that sort of thing. A fully funded pension program owns enough of those assets to pay its liabilities even if the company closes its doors and not a penny more of new money comes in from current employees.

Social Security plays by a different set of rules enshrined under the New Deal and Great Society programs. These are the same rules that landed Bernie Madoff in jail. Although the Social Security system has been regularly taking in billions for decades and socking it into its Trust Fund just like a normal pension plan, Congress has just as regularly been draining the money out for current spending. All of the money collected from every American’s paycheck throughout all of our careers is now gone. In its place are not stocks, bonds, real estate, and oil and gas partnership. In its place are IOUs from Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Charlie Rangel, and Barney Frank. $2.5 Trillion dollars worth of IOUs.


Now, imagine if a private company had a pension plan that its executives had completely drained wining and dining Congressmen in return for IOUs. What do you think would become of those executives when word got out that the only way they could make pension payments was to beg a flat-broke Congress for money?

Tar and feathers come to mind.

So after years of telling us this problem is decades away the fateful day has finally arrived when Congress has to make good on that giant pile of IOUs. The same Congress that just massively expanded “access” to healthcare for all Americans regardless of their ability to pay. The same Congress that bailed out Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, General Motors, and AIG. The same Congress that can’t resist festooning every spending bill with earmarks for essential programs like butterfly gardens. And all of this right in the middle of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression

Wake up you little princess and princesses. It’s time to face the music.

And where are these trusted paragons of fiduciary responsibility going to get all that dough? The same place they get the rest of the money they spend that they don’t have. First, they grab what they can from current taxpayers. But, oops, income tax payments are way down thanks to the jobless recovery served up by the geniuses who believe we can spend our way back to prosperity. So the next stop is to borrow the money, again, mostly from the Chinese. For reasons known only to Confucius, Chinese Communists think it’s a good idea to keep lending our Congressmen money. These people deserve each other, don’t you think?

The Social Security commissioner, Michael J. Astrue, sanguine about his awesome responsibilities, was quoted as saying this is “not a cause for panic.” The man would have made a perfect captain of the Titanic.

With the confidence of a cardsharp that thinks he has his rube flummoxed, the liberal pundisphere received this annual report with brassy spin. “Medicare Stronger, Social Security Worse in the Short Run,” blares the New York Times. The short run? Ah yes, the Obama recovery is right around the corner. Just close your eyes, spend, spend, spend and sing Happy Days are Here Again.

This story gets worse if you look at Medicare, which has taken the crown from Social Security as our largest runaway entitlement program. The trustees’ report predicts that thanks to payment cuts included in the new healthcare bill, Medicare won’t go broke until 2029. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner claims this shows “some very positive developments.” But these are the same cuts that have been eliminated every year in the so called Doc Fix required to keep doctors from refusing to see Medicare patients. Medicare’s chief actuary, Richard Foster, doesn’t believe for a minute that those cuts are going to stand. You see, a Congress that has to borrow money from China to keep Granny from being thrown into the street doesn’t want to have to explain why her doctor won’t see her anymore.

How much longer the American people are going to let the lunatics run the asylum remains to be seen. But the longer it takes to throw the bums out the tighter we are going to have to cinch our belts to dig out of this hole. At least for those of us that don’t depart for better climes.