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NORAD’s Crazy Santa Cause 

An inside look at the single largest public outreach program for the Department of Defense — and the Pentagon’s most elaborate propaganda operation.

But the number printed in the newspaper in December 1955 had a digit wrong — and was instead the direct line into the secret military nerve center in Colorado Springs, Colo., where the Pentagon was on the lookout to prevent nuclear war. The Air Force officer and World War II fighter pilot who took the first call that day for Father Christmas thought it was a crank — and Col. Harry Shoup sternly said so.

“The little kid started crying,” Shoup’s daughter, Terri Van Keuren, recalled in an interview. “So Dad went into his ‘Ho ho ho’ and got the kid’s list.”

Sixty-two years later, the Continental Air Defense Command is now the North American Aerospace Defense Command, and its interactive NORAD Tracks Santa has become the largest single public outreach program for the Defense Department. It’s also, you might say, the Pentagon’s most elaborate propaganda operation.

Air Force Lt. Col. David Hanson, of Chicago, takes a phone call from a youngster in Florida at the Santa Tracking Operations Center at Peterson Air Force Base near Colorado Springs, Colo., on Friday, Dec. 24, 2010. Volunteers take as many as 80,000 phone calls from youngsters and adults around the world with questions about Santa and his travels. Lots of military secrets are hidden behind the gleaming walls of NORAD’S headquarters building, including this one: Just how do they get Santa’s flight path onto their computer screens every Christmas Eve?Tracking Santa’s travels is a celebrated tradition at the North American Aerospace Command, and it unfolds Friday for the 55th year. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

On Christmas Eve, while monitoring the heavens for North Korean missile launches or Russian military aircraft flying too close to the U.S. or Canada, NORAD will also be reporting the progress of Santa and his reindeer as they travel from the North Pole around the world delivering presents and holiday cheer. It will correlate the jolly elf’s journey with its network of 47 radar stations, spy satellites in “geosynchronous” orbit 22,300 miles above the earth, fighter jets and a suite of special high-tech “SantaCams.” Or so the publicity stunt’s plan goes.

“The moment our radar tells us that Santa has lifted off, we begin to use the same satellites that we use in providing warning of possible missile launches aimed at North America,” says NORAD’s detailed 14-page internal handbook for the operation, which is replete with Santa stats (first flight believed to be Dec. 24, 343 A.D.) and even talking points for that uncomfortable question many parents also confront: “Is there a Santa Claus?”

[Read the full story here, at POLITICO]

It’s all part of the ornamented script that more than 1,500 volunteers — including the four-star general in charge of defending North America — are using to field an anticipated 150,000 calls and an avalanche of emails and social media posts (2 million Facebook followers so far) who are all seeking to locate Ole St. Nick on his starlight odyssey.

“As soon as you’re hanging up there’s another kid wanting to talk to you,” Preston Schlachter, NORAD’s Track Santa program manager and its director of community outreach, said of the 23-hour period leading up to Christmas when volunteers work in two-hour shifts, backed up by dozens of sponsors ranging from Microsoft to the National Defense Industrial Association, Taco Bell and the local Amy’s Donuts in Colorado Springs.

In the past, VIPs like former first lady Michelle Obama have also taken a turn at the phones.

“It is the best two hours you’ll ever experience,” Schlachter added in an interview. “You are getting these calls from all over the world. One of the coolest things I like about the program is the multi-generational aspect of it. We are seeing feedback on social media, people who call in and tell us they tracked Santa when they were kids and they’ve introduced it to their kids and now they’re introducing it to their grandkids.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Uncle Strickland: ‘How to Talk to Your Pansy Marxist Nephew at Thanksgiving’

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“Am I othering you right now? Did I carpet bomb your safe space?”

editor-commen-deskThis is a hilarious sendup of an outbreak of embarrassing left-wing hand-holding “How to talk to your Republican uncle at Thanksgiving” articles like this, and this, and this, that are appearing in advance of the upcoming holiday. This one is more useful, and funnier. Read the whole thing here. Also, don’t miss this, “Thanksgivingmanship: Your Guide to Surviving The Progressive Imbeciles Who Have Spent a Week Cramming on How to Survive You” at AceOfSpadesHQAceOfSpadesHQ.

 writes:

Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for publishing my column. I’m a big fan of this holiday because few things are more American than boozing up and chowing down ’til your ankles swell and your corduroys pop. In between, you get to watch some football and share your thoughts on the trainwreck presidency of Barack Hussein Obama (hint hint). I consider myself a knowledgable debater because I read up on the blogs and I’m typically one
of the most “liked” commenters on the articles. The reason I’m writing this is because my brother’s dumb kid likes to get chatty with me. I’veman-crying1 never seen anyone bring so many printouts to the dinner table.

“I’ll tell you what, why don’t you invite one of your ISIS pals around the house and we’ll see how much he likes it when I slash his guts out with the turkey knife. You think that’s what he wants? They want us to crush them?”

His “talking points,” he says. Reminds me of my last divorce, all those friggin’ printouts. This kid, my nephew, will never admit to being a communist, it’s always this “moderate independent” crap. But his Facebook feed is full of Bernie Sandinista, if you know what I mean, and he recently tweeted some gibberish about riding the bus in Czechoslovakia and identifying as a “human being” instead of what he is, an American.

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“Tell me something, how did you feel when your Little League team got mercy-ruled by those country boys in the district finals? Is that what you wanted? Were you just phoning it in for the “participant” trophy? Is that why you’re too afraid to shave that pathetic beard?”

He’s been a “student” at some Ivy League circlejerk for the better part of a decade. I think he’s 29, who the hell even cares? If he’s the future, this country’s digging its own grave and I’m glad I won’t be there when it finally kicks the bucket. Read the rest of this entry »


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Denmark faces a crisis. Our birthrate is at a 27 year low. At Spies we’re concerned. Fewer Danes mean fewer to support the ageing population – and tragically, fewer holidaying with us. Research shows that Danes have 46% more sex on city holidays and since more sex equals the chance of more kids, we are prescribing a romantic city holiday to save Denmark’s future. Let’s save the future of Denmark with romance!.

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These Watches Are Perfect for Halloween…or Any Other Day

These watches are a bit funky, a little scary, a lot out of the ordinary. In short, they’re perfect for this macabre season. But don’t worry—these are meticulously crafted watches that can be worn all year round (unlike those plastic vampire teeth).

Speake Marin Skull.
Speake Marin Skull.

Speake-Marin Mirror Skull
US $18,900, limited edition of 20 pieces, www.speake-marin.com

Watchmaker Peter Speake-Marin, a Brit living in Switzerland, is known for his attention to detail, fine finishing and high-end watchmaking. The skulls on the dial are etched using chemical engraving.

Artya Werewolf.
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Artya Werewolf with Blood Dial
7,900 CHF, unique piece, www.artya.luxuryartpieces.com

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Trick or Treat! A concise guide to Halloween attractions in Japan

Women clad in special costumes pose for pictures as they walk on the street during the Halloween Parade in Kawasaki, suburb of Tokyo on October 28, 2012. Some 100,000 visitors enjoy the costume parade which about 3,000 people took part in.    AFP PHOTO/Toru YAMANAKA

Women in costumes pose for pictures during the Halloween Parade in Kawasaki. AFP PHOTO/Toru YAMANAKA

Halloween has become one of the three largest Western-influenced events celebrated in Japan following Christmas and Valentines’ Day. Though the spooky festival’s cultural origins are not the reason why the celebrations are observed, the Japanese do enjoy getting decked in themed costumes, thus making it a major commercial celebration for many.

The widespread popularity of the festival has resulted in confectionary makers rolling out Halloween-themed goodies, restaurants preparing Halloween-inspired menus, fashion outlets retailing Halloween-related costumes and accessories, and of course, entertainment facilities going all out with Halloween events.

We’ve put together a concise guide to some of the Halloween festivities taking place this year, so if you’re planning a trip to Japan during this season, here’s what you can expect!

 – RocketNews24