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The Blanche Report: Mavens, OPM & Falling Concrete

We are weather mavens – tracking storms, monitoring temperatures, checking for thunderstorms etc. Yesterday we learned about a new weather pattern called a derecho.  Loosely translated it means ‘straight ahead’. In physical terms it is an extremely powerful thunderstorm with straight-line winds generally between 58 and 100 mph. The systems span more than 240 miles, and include hail and enough rain to cause flash floods, mini hurricanes and brutally damaging tornadoes.

The current storm is so big that it could affect one in five Americans — about 64 million people in 10 states. Tens of thousands of people will lose power due to high winds.  Some of the states affected are Virginia, Washington, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and to a lesser extent, New York. Just add this to the crazy weather we have had in the past month or so.

Today’s testimony at the Charbonneau construction corruption commission was a classic. Today’s witness, lawyer Pierre Lambert  dumped more than $720,000 cash as evidence at the probe. The money stemmed from what he said were illegal political donations to Laval’s long-ruling municipal party. Yes Blanche, he brought a suitcase full of money and dumped it out on the table.

Lambert was one of the roughly three-dozen people arrested in a massive corruption sweep that ensnared former mayor Gilles Vaillancourt and saw him slapped with charges of fraud and gangsterism. Over the years, Lambert said he received about $2 million from an engineering executive who has already testified that he collected payments from companies involved in collusion.

Lambert said he would get calls from senior party officials when they needed money, in installments of $10,000 or $20,000, and sometimes as much as $100,000. The money was kept in a storage locker and sometimes in his garage. He said he was custodian of the crooked cash until 2012, when the party ceased operations.

Today’s Falling Concrete: Baseball-sized chunks of concrete falling from an overpass in Montreal caused a two-hour road closure on Thursday afternoon. Guess what? After inspecting the overpass, engineers said it was safe. Oh right. Now we feel much better. Especially after what was said at the Charbonneau commission today.

Edward Snowden, the young man who leaked all the NSA information, with apparently more to come, has gone underground. He left his hotel in Hong Kong and is nowhere to be found. Obama best purchase some Mr. Clean, as he is not coming up squeaky clean in this latest scandal to hit his administration. Three weeks ago he said the war on terror is coming to an end. He’s talking from both sides of his mouth. If it’s coming to an end, why listen to American conversations? Cause the war on terror is forever dude. 

In case you forgot, Kate and William are expecting their first child in less than a month. Today was her final solo engagement until way after said baby is born – the next in line to the throne, whether it’s a boy or girl. Just keeping you up to speed on the Royals.

Pamela Wallin, one of the senators being investigated for using your tax money ‘erroneously’ has finally come forward. Doink, we wonder why? Maybe because the auditors are going to dig up the goods on her? Hello!!!!  Auditors are currently going over Wallin’s travel expense claims going back to January 2009, when she was first appointed to the Senate. It has been reported that Wallin has claimed about $350,000 in travel expenses since September 2010. Yes Blanche, she probably used your money.

Again we saved the best for last. President Obama and his lovely wife Michelle are taking a road trip – kind of. They will be going to Africa later this month. Sounds good so far, eh? Hold onto to your hat. This little trip is expected to cost American taxpayers $60 to $100 million. Why you ask?

Hundreds of U.S. Secret Service agents will be dispatched to secure facilities in Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania. A Navy aircraft carrier or amphibious ship, with a fully staffed medical trauma center, will be stationed offshore in case of emergency. Military cargo planes will airlift in 56 support vehicles, including 14 limousines and three trucks loaded with sheets of bullet-proof glass to cover the windows of the hotels where the first family will stay. Fighter jets will fly in shifts giving 24-hour coverage over the president’s airspace so they can intervene quickly if an errant plane gets too close.

What, exactly, is the point of going if they have to go to all of this trouble to keep him safe? We’ll tell you why. Cause it ain’t his money he’s spending. It’s the old OPM trick – other people’s money.

Good Shabbos,

We’ll talk…

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