United Air and the Port Authority: Bribe or Blackmail?

Chairman's route

Seating on the “Chairman’s Route” was no better than usual…(Picture: http://www.sausedo.net)

Reported last week, the recent contretemps that resulted in the resignation of United Continental CEO Jeff Smisek raises a question often debated in the sordid aftermath of shameless crony capitalism: Was it a bribe or blackmail?

Back in 2011, United Continental, the largest airline by passenger volume (70% of traffic) at Port Authority-controlled Newark International Airport, sought to renegotiate its lease agreement there (and get approval for a wide-body maintenance hangar) as well as obtain funding from the PA for a $600 million extension of the PATH commuter train from downtown Manhattan to the airport. At a fat-cat dinner in September of that year, PA Chairman David Samson, who was appointed PA potentate by Chris Christie but resigned in March 2014 as US Attorney Paul Fishman’s “Bridgegate” investigation widened (to include topics like United’s dealings with the PA), did what any self-respecting New Jersey autocrat would do:

Halfway through dinner at Novita, an Italian restaurant in Manhattan, Port Authority Chairman David Samson surprised the group with a request of his own. He complained that he and his wife had grown weary of the trip to their weekend home in Aiken, South Carolina, because the best flight out of Newark was to Charlotte, North Carolina, 150 miles away. Until 2009, Continental had run direct service from Newark to Columbia, South Carolina, 100 miles closer. In a tone described by one observer as “playful, but not joking,” Samson asked: Could United revive that route? An awkward silence fell over the table.

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Overconfident or Obtuse? Obama Gets Duped by Derek Jeter

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He couldn’t even negotiate a simple golf wager without giving away the store. (Photo: http://www.telegraph.co.uk)

At a fundraising event on Monday for people who have not yet tired of hearing our president engage in snide ad hominem attacks on those with whom he disagrees, Barack Obama, who has played golf 248 times since taking office, told the audience that Derek Jeter, with the help of Las Vegas Sun newspaper owner Brian Greenspun, swindled him on the golf course back in November. Here’s how the president described the con:

And it was clearly a setup, because as we got — I knew Derek, but I hadn’t played golf with him before, and as we got up to the practice range, he was shanking balls everywhere.  And I said, well, do you play golf, Derek?  He said, I just started two weeks ago.  (Laughter.)  And Brian said, yeah, I’ll be his partner — because Brian is a better golfer than me.  And we gave Derek Jeter like 30 strokes.  And then on the first tee suddenly the ball just went straight and down the middle of the fairway, and we had to take a picture of me handing Derek Jeter money at the end of it. 

Neither side of this transaction (nor its outcome) surprises us at Bud Fox News. Let’s take Jeter first. Despite a carefully cultivated and protected image, the former overrated Yankee shortstop has about as much shame as Kim Kardashian, to wit: In cooperation with Steiner Sports, he will sell you a single game-used sock for $409.99 (game-used boxer shorts and discarded deodorant stick are probably up next). This is a man who was paid $269 million in salary by the Yankees over the course of his career (and earned at least another $100 million in endorsements). So Jeter clearly isn’t in the sock-selling business for the money, but he’s doing it anyway, maybe because he’s an egomaniac and so disdainful of his fans that he thinks he’s doing them a favor by offering them a single dirty sock (not even a lousy pair) for almost half a grand. My God, after Roger Maris hit HR #61, he told fan Sal Durante, who caught the ball, to keep it and try to make some money off it. It is believed that on that record-breaking day Maris threw his used game socks in the washer, where they (and Jeter’s) belonged. In similar fashion, because he’s an egomaniac and probably disdainful of the president, Jeter is perfectly capable of playing the golf grifter to Obama’s dupe. Continue reading

John Edwards Hired by Clinton Campaign as Hair Style Advisor

hillary_edwards

Who is the real Breck Girl? (Picture: http://nypost.com)

Gaffe-machine Hillary Clinton, with each passing day resembling more a poorly programmed robot and beginning to make Joe Biden look as elegant as Fred Astaire, has her newest campaign advisor to thank for her latest birdbrained move. John “Breck Girl” Edwards, a presidential candidate himself in 2004 and 2008 (and the Democrat Party’s VP nominee in 2004), has joined the Clinton campaign as a hair style advisor, and according to sources within Clinton’s camp, it was Edwards’s idea for Clinton “to put part of Bergdorf Goodman on lockdown on Friday to get a $600 haircut at the swanky John Barrett Salon.When asked for comment, Marian Etz, Professor of Political Science at Champale University in Trenton, New Jersey, and Director of the Spiro Agnew Institute for Clean Politics, told Bud Fox News: Continue reading

US Military: Transgenders Are In, But Trans Fats Are Out

fat troop

Transgender? Uncle Sam wants you. Trans fats, on the other hand, will be forced out of the military.  

Back on July 13, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter issued two directives that moved the Pentagon closer to allowing transgender men and women to serve openly in the military. Considering this administration just cut a nuclear deal with Iran that didn’t require “anytime-anywhere” inspections” or the return of four US hostages but, in banana republic fashion, was submitted for UN approval before the US Congress had concluded its own vote on the pact, nothing it does really surprises and Carter’s edict was greeted with a yawn. However, yesterday Carter made additional remarks about the new policy that finally caused the uproar this utterly ridiculous topic deserves and had manipulators of special interest group politics accusing him of “fatism.” Here’s what Carter said:

You’ll be able to serve as a transgender, but there will be no place in the military for trans fats.    

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NYSE Outage Due to Jammed Ticker Tape Machine

ticker tape ladies

Florence and Grace, shown yesterday after the resumption of trading, are the only two NYSE employees allowed in the exchange’s “nerve center.”  (Photo: wikipedia.com)

At 11:32 a.m. yesterday, the New York Stock Exchange suspended trading for almost four hours (it reopened at 3:10 p.m.). Apoplectic Cassandras everywhere were immediately screaming that the US financial markets were under a “cyber-attack,” but at 12:09 p.m, the NYSE, in attempt to quell fears, issued an explanatory press release so incoherently worded that it may have been fed through the Nazi Enigma machine. The Exchange attributed the problem to a “configuration issue,” and here is an excerpt from the NYSE’s atrocious attempt at corporate (mis)communication and damage control:

On Tuesday evening, the NYSE began the rollout of a software release in preparation for the July 11 industry test of the upcoming SIP timestamp requirement. As is standard NYSE practice, the initial release was deployed on one trading unit. As customers began connecting after 7am on Wednesday morning, there were communication issues between customer gateways and the trading unit with the new release. It was determined that the NYSE and NYSE MKT customer gateways were not loaded with the proper configuration compatible with the new release.

In attempt to parse the gobbledygook, yesterday afternoon Bud Fox News‘ Silence Bellows slipped past the NYSE’s security detail and went looking for the real cause of the outage. She quickly reconnoitered the trading floor, full of high powered computers and dazzling technological equipment, and decided the answer wasn’t there. Then down a dark corridor on a mostly unoccupied floor of the NYSE building at 11 Wall Street in lower Manhattan, Silence came upon a door cryptically marked “Ticker Tape Room: Authorized Personnel Only.” Behind that door was a room that time had forgotten, and Silence discovered that like the Wizard of Oz, who’s really just an ordinary old man from Omaha standing behind a flimsy curtain, the US’s best known stock exchange, for decades a symbol of American capitalism, is really just a Potemkin village of CNBC photo ops, behind which two anachronistic ladies, Florence and Grace, armed with a ticker-tape machine and tote board, try their best to prevent the NYSE from losing more market share to NASDAQ. Continue reading

Pope to Play Madison Square Garden, Then Advise Jackson on Knick Player Personnel

Pope

The Pope has described the play of last year’s Knicks as “sinful.”  (Photo: unamsanctamcatholicam.blogspot.com)

On Tuesday, June 30, the Vatican released a detailed schedule of the Pope’s upcoming visit to the United States, which will include a stop in New York City. The Vatican’s press release indicated that the leader of the Catholic Church will celebrate mass at Madison Square Garden on Friday, September 25, a venue that’s a bit of a papal departure since Popes Benedict and John Paul II opted for the larger Yankee Stadium. NYC fans of good music are hoping that the MSG Papal Mass is intended as an exorcism of sorts and will permanently expel from the premises Billy Joel, who has been defiling the arena monthly with his ungodly bad, melodramatic fare with no end in sight (tone deaf local press use the oxymoron “artist in residence” to describe the tympanum-offending arrangement).

Today the Vatican leaked why Pope Francis chose the home court of the New York Knicks for his largest NYC mass: He will meet with Phil Jackson afterward to give the Zen Master advice on how to turn around the ailing franchise, whose play last year the Pope has described as “sinful” and “a disgrace to the 2nd largest Catholic diocese in the US.”

A source within the Vatican told the sports desk at Bud Fox News: Continue reading

Stonie Roasts Chestnut to Win Nathan’s Hot-Dog-Eating Contest; Chris Christie Pulls No-Show

Joey Chestnut, left, and Matt Stonie compete in Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest men's competition Saturday July 4, 2015 in the Coney Island section in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Stonie came in first eating 62 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. Chestnut came in second eating 60 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

Eating a duodenum-affronting 62 dogs in ten minutes, Matt “Megatoad” Stonie edged out 8-time champ Joey Chestnut. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

It is as American as it gets. On this most important of days, our nation’s anniversary…there they were: On stage, four regular-looking guys (think of them as the Four Horsemen of the Esophagus given their dedication to their avocation), from various walks of life, pushing themselves past their limits, giving it everything they have, striving for greatness in front of the adoring crowd, one of them finally reaching the pinnacle of success from relative obscurity, in the process proving that in this country, hard work does indeed pay off. In this fairy tale of the American dream, there was only going to be one winner, and that was the edacious Matt “Megatoad” Stonie, who won the annual Nathan’s Hot-Dog-Eating Contest and defeated defending champion Joey Chestnut by inhaling 62 dogs in ten minutes. Chestnut, who ate 60 wieners, has nothing to be ashamed of: He held the contest’s Mustard Belt, indisputably the Holy Grail of the competitive eating circuit, for eight consecutive years, certainly putting him in the conversation for greatest athlete of all time, regardless of sport (he has been called “the Bill Russell of competitive eating“).

I trained hard for this,” Stonie told ESPN, which televised the contest earlier today, a curious move for the network because the event doesn’t glorify violence and poor sportsmanship, the promotion of which seems to be the network’s raison d’etre.

With great confidence, Bud Fox News had reported that Chris Christie would participate in today’s contest. According to sources close to Nathan’s, Christie decided to withdraw after an explosive training regimen. One of Christie’s campaign advisors, who asked to remain anonymous, told Bud Fox News: Continue reading