Pentagon project makes beef jerky into pork

| Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012, 8:58 p.m.

This information probably will leave a bad taste in your mouth.

The Pentagon has spent $1.5 million to develop beef jerky in roll-up form, according to a report on dubious Defense Department spending from U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.

“Beef jerky so good it will shock and awe your taste buds. That is the goal of an ongoing Pentagon project, which is attempting to develop its own brand of jerky treats that are the bomb,” the report stated. “Only, the money is coming from a program specially created to equip soldiers with the weapons they need.”

We'd rather arm our soldiers with rifles than roll-up jerky. Besides, we don't see how the military can improve on Slim Jim or Jack Link's Beef Jerky — especially Link's delectable teriyaki flavor.

KERRY LINKED TO PETRAEUS SCANDAL.John Kerry can't be pleased.

As President Barack Obama mulls the possible appointment of the Massachusetts Democrat U.S. senator to his Cabinet, Kerry's name has surfaced in the scandal engulfing David Petraeus, former CIA director.

Court records recently revealed that Natalie Khawam once asked her ex-husband if she could take their son to a Washington reception hosted by Kerry, the husband of Pittsburgh pickle queen Teresa Heinz. Khawam is the twin sister of Florida socialite Jill Kelley, who allegedly received threatening emails from Petraeus paramour Paula Broadwell. Kelley also has gained notoriety for a lengthy and flirtatious email exchange with Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan.

Kerry was introduced to Khawam by her boyfriend, Rhode Island lobbyist and Democrat fundraiser Gerry Harrington, who was vice chairman of finance for Kerry's failed 2004 presidential bid. A Kerry spokesperson told The Huffington Post that Kerry met Khawam “a couple of times.”

Being dragged into this quagmire on any level probably doesn't boost Kerry's chances of snagging a Cabinet appointment.

KETCHUP HEIRESS HAS KETCHUM HEADACHE. Meanwhile, the manager of a property that Teresa Heinz owns in Ketchum, Idaho, is ignoring that city's laws in order to keep things looking nice for her employer.

The Ketchum Planning & Zoning Commission discovered that manager Kathy Noble is violating the city code by trimming grass and pruning trees on a portion of the property adjacent to the Big Wood River, the Idaho Mountain Express reported. The code states that vegetation in the river's riparian zone must not be disturbed.

Noble told the board that she only trims the grass about once a year and trimmed the tree branches out of safety concerns. Rather than obey the law, she urged the commissioners to “take another look” at the ordinance.

Instead, they decided to take another look at Heinz's request to restore a 60-foot section of the riverbank property. Her application for that project was tabled indefinitely.

HANGER HAS HANKERING TO BE GOVERNOR. The jockeying among Democrats hoping to challenge Republican Gov. Tom Corbett in 2014 has begun.

John Hanger, former state Department of Environmental Protection secretary,will hold a fundraiser — er, sorry, reception — during the annual Pennsylvania Society weekend festivities next month in New York City.

Other Dems mentioned as potential gubernatorial candidates include U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, state Treasurer Rob McCord, former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro and former Philadelphia mayoral candidate Tom Knox.

We presume Corbett hopes as many Dems as possible enter the race — and that they will have a brutal, bloody and expensive primary battle.

BLESSED IS THE PEACEMAKER. Latrobe attorney Ned Nakles Jr., who typically provides legal advice to the Greater Latrobe School Board as its solicitor, went well beyond his job description at a volatile board meeting on Monday when audience members interrupted school directors before they could vote on a controversial plan to award contracts worth more than $9 million for an athletic complex at the high school.

Paul Upson of Unity repeatedly said he wanted to speak and Unity Township Zoning Hearing Board member Tim Thomas shouted that the school board was “gutless.” Nakles walked over to Thomas and asked him politely to refrain from interrupting the meeting. When Thomas gave no sign of relenting, Nakles firmly but politely reminded him that he and school officials acted professionally when they appeared before the Unity zoning board.

Thomas eventually relented when Nakles said he could speak during the designated time for public comment.

ON THE JOB. If you were worried that Tom Balya, former Westmoreland County commissioner, was having trouble finding a job, worry no more.

Balya last January formed Balya Group LLC, a consulting firm that lists his Greensburg home as its business address, according to the state Corporation Bureau. Since leaving office, Balya has gone back to blogging and hosting a weekly radio show on Latrobe station WCNS.

— compiled by Tribune-Review staff

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