NRO Slideshows

Super Bowl XLIX Ads

This year’s Super Bowl advertisers have drafted football players, Hollywood celebrities, animated bunnies, huggable puppies, and a “man cave” full of dads to hawk everything from cars to beer to guacamole — and paid millions for the privilege of doing so. Here’s a look.
Uploaded: Jan. 31, 2015


Super Bowl Fun Facts
Jan. 31, 2015
Sports fanatics love their game-day stats, while regular fans might enjoy some more trivial knowledge to throw around at halftime. To wit, here are some fun facts about the Super Bowl.
ON WITH THE SHOW: Between the Seahawks defending their title, the fact that both teams were the top seeds in their conferences, and with “Deflate-gate” still on many people’s minds, this year’s match-up is expected to set a ratings record. Last year’s game averaged 111.5 million viewers, making it the most-watched television program ever.
This year's game will be broadcast in 180 countries — including the ones who play that other “football” — and will also be viewable online.
The first Super Bowl in 1967 between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs drew about 51 million viewers. It was also broadcast on two networks (CBS and NBC) simultaneously.
Super Bowl viewing parties are fast losing their reputation as a boy’s club. Ratings service Nielsen reports that 46.8% of Super Bowl viewers last year were female, a spike from the regular season when about a third of viewers were women.
Super Bowls dominate the ratings among all televised sports, with 23 of the 25 highest-rated sporting events ever being Super Bowls. It took the Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan feud in 1994 to push any other sport into that top tier.
The game’s famous commercials are costing $4.5 million for a 30-second spot this year, which works out to $150,000 per second — the most expensive rate in history. Last year advertisers shelled out a total of $331.8 million to appear. Apple’s “1984” spot remains perhaps the most famous Super Bowl ad ever.
As always, tickets for the big game come at a steep price. With “cheap seats” officially costing $800, tickets have been spotted on eBay for more than $13,000 apiece. Forbes reports the average ticket price will end up at more than $5,000.
TEAM WORK: The Seahawks are the first team to make back-to-back trips to the Super Bowl since … the New England Patriots did it in 2003 and 2004. (The Pats won both of those games, plus a third in 2002.)
Sunday’s game will be the eighth Super Bowl appearance for the Patriots, tieing them with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys for most appearances by any team. So far they have won three times, in 2001, 2003, and 2004.
If the Patriots win their fourth Super Bowl on Sunday, they will still trail the Pittsburgh Steelers (with six wins), San Francisco 49ers (5) and Dallas Cowboys (5) in the overall awards-case race, and be tied with the Green Bay Packers.
Together the two head coaches bring more Super Bowl experience than any previous match-up. This is Patriots head coach Bill Bilichick’s sixth Super Bowl and Seahawks chief Pete Carroll’s second. (Belichick also went to two Super Bowls as an assistant coach for the New York Giants.)
The University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., is 1,400 miles from Seattle and 2,700 miles from New England, with the Seahawks designated the home team.
The Patriots played in the only Super Bowl previously held in Glendale, Ariz., losing to the New York Giants in a 17-14 upset in 2008. The loss thwarted their run at a perfect season, a mark not equalled since the Miami Dolphins did it in 1972.
Winning the Super Bowl is a tidy end-of-season bonus for all involved. Each winning player receives $97,000, while the losers have to make do with just $49,000. (Plus there’s that trip to Disney World..)
CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS: If you’re betting on the Super Bowl, consider this: Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is a perfect 10-0 against opposing quarterbacks with Super Bowl rings.
But Tom Brady is no slouch, either. He owns the record for most Super Bowl completions: 128 over five games.
Both Wilson and Brady still lag behind Kurt Warner, who owns the top spot for Super Bowl passing yards (414 against the Titans in 2000) AND second place (377 yards against the Steelers in 2009). Warner wore a Rams jersey for his No.1 showing and a Cardinals jersey for No. 2.
When he takes his first snap on Sunday, Tom Brady will become the first quarterback ever to start in six Super Bowls. John Elway held the previous record.
Both quarterbacks played on Big Ten teams that went to the Rose Bowl: Brady was a University of Michigan Wolverine, while Russell Wilson was a University of Wisconsin Badger (pictured). Wilson lost to the Oregon Ducks in 2012, 38-45, while Brady sat on the bench as a back-up for his team’s victory over Washington State in 1997.
Speaking of colleges, the University of Wisconsin will have the most alumni on the field of any college, with six: In addition to Wilson, Seattle’s O’Brien Schofield, David Gilreath, and Mike Tayler were Badgers, while New England Patriots James White and Jonathan Casillas also wore the red and white.
According to national sports-merchandise chain Dick’s, Russell Wilson’s jersey is the third best-selling jersey in its stores, while Brady’s is the seventh.
JUST FOR FUN: The NBC sitcom series Frasier starred Kelsey Grammar as a psychiatrist born in Seattle who lived and worked in Boston before moving back home. Where did Frasier’s gridiron loyalties lie? No doubt with whatever team was playing against the city where Lilith lived.
Super Bowl parties are also known for their gastronomic excess. The National Chicken Council predicts some 1.23 billion chicken wings will be consumed this year.
What are your game-day priorities? reports that 20% of Americans say they would skip the wedding of a family member or close friend to root for their favorite team.
Finally, as Cubs fans like to say, “There’s always next season.” Perhaps in part to avoid the moniker “Super Bowl L”, the 2016 game will skip the Roman numerals and be known simply as “Super Bowl 50.”
Super Bowl Predictions
Jan. 31, 2015
With the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks facing off Sunday in Super Bowl XLIV, we gathered National Review Online's sports fans to offer their takes on the battle to come. Here’s a sampling of their prognostications.

“The Super Bowl will be determined by whether the Seahawks’ offense can get much done against a New England defense that may be just a shade less capable than Seattle’s. I don’t think it can. … Prediction: Patriots 27, Seahawks 13.”— Andrew McCarthy, NRI
“I think Seattle will find a way to win. This is a smart, incredibly athletic team in its prime, and New England, while brilliantly coached and formidable on the field, is increasingly doing it with smoke and mirrors. Belichick breaking out gadget formations in the playoffs might have been ingenious, but it is also a warning sign.…. Seahawks in a close one, 23--20.” — Dan Foster
“The Seahawks will feed the ball to Marshawn Lynch, and Beast Mode will have success between the 20s, but the New England defense will stiffen in the red zone, and sixes will be hard to come by. …So: Assuming Tom Brady stays in one piece, and Brandon Browner doesn’t keep Seattle on the field with bad penalties, it’ll be the Patriots winning, 24-16.” — Edward John Craig, NRO
“Prediction: Patriots. The Seahawks’ defense doesn’t have many holes, but the Pats excel at the Hawks’ relative weakness -- using the tight end. And maybe this is just a trust/fear of Bill Belichick, but I think the Pats will be able to shut down Seattle’s run game, leaving the Seahawks limited on offense. Pats 27, Seahawks 17.” — Kevin Glass,
“Will Marshawn speak or let his legs and other body parts do the talking for him? Will Belichick lighten up? Will Sherman shut up? May we have a football game, please? Who will win? Who knows? But it would be nice if Seattle came out on top so that we could have a few years of Russell Wilson as the celebrity face of the NFL.” — Geoffrey Norman, sportswriter
“So far the only quarterback capable of beating Brady and Belichick in one of these things has been Eli Manning. That has to be some kind of cosmic joke. Russell Wilson is no Eli Manning. Which cuts two ways. Can the Patriots keep Wilson from running? Probably. Can the Seahawks contain the Gronk? Doubtful.” — Geoffrey Norman, sportswriter

“This is one transplant who’s hoping that Brady and Belichick do get the ring. I could write that the key to the game will be New England’s offensive line’s protection for No. 12, but who really cares what a D.C. lawyer who never played the game beyond Sunday afternoon pickup games has to say about game planning?” — Shannen W. Coffin, Steptoe & Johnson LLP
“If the two-headed monster of Belichick and Brady win again, not even the lingering stinks of Spygate and Ballghazi will be enough to forestall the conclusion that they are respectively the greatest of all time. But if Pete Carroll wins back-to-back Bowls the dynasty of the mumbler will be succeeded by the dynasty of the gum-smacker.” — Dan Foster
“While watching a blowout is not particularly entertaining (unless it’s your team racking up the points), my hope for this year’s game is that the winning team is the clear winner, and that on Monday we’re all talking about “the play” that won the game, not “the call” that decided the Super Bowl. Go Seahawks!” — Genevieve Wood, Daily Signal
“Seahawks, 21--17, provided the football’s PSI remains within league specifications.” — Jim Geraghty, NRO
“Bottom line: the ’Hawks are not built to come from behind. They are very fortunate to be in this Super Bowl, having played two lackluster playoff games at home. They survived the NFC championship game thanks only to a shocking series of gaffes by the Packers, particularly in the last five minutes. The Patriots are a lot like the Packers.” — Andrew McCarthy, NRI
Belichick should have at least one more trick up his sleeve that doesn't involve a video camera or an airpump (it would be nice if it involves an actual offensive line), but I don't think they'll even need it. Marshawn Lynch is going to be one deflated Skee-Ball aficionado, and the Lombardi trophy returns to Romney country, 35--14.” — Patrick Brennan, NRO
“Marshawn Lynch is a weirdo. Vince Wilfork is an unheralded bulldozer. Rob Gronkowski makes us remember when we played sports for the fun and the lulz. Russell Wilson is an underdog cliché personified. (That last one is a good thing, not a backhanded compliment.)” — Kevin Glass,
“Wily competitors tend to beat lucky ones. Yes, I know that the Seahawks are more than just lucky. They have the Legion of Boom and Marshawn Lynch and all the rest of it. But the Patriots have Vince Wilfork, who needs no Legion, and the Lynch-like LeGarrette Blount.” — Tom Hoopes, Benedictine College
“The Super Bowl? That’s easy: Seahawks 27, Patriots 24, probably in OT. The tougher question is: How will the Mongrels do in the Puppy Bowl? After all, that’s where all the serious money is made.” — Jonah Goldberg, National Review, American Enterprise Institute
Classic Super Bowl Commercials
Jan. 30, 2015
Advertisers pay top dollar to show commercials on the Super Bowl to a worldwide audience of tens of millions, and they’ve come up with some true classics over the years. Here’s a look back at 20 of the Super Bowl’s most memorable spots.
Apple “1984” (1984): Apple Computer set the standard for buzz-creating Super Bowl spots with its preview of the then-upcoming Macintosh computer. Super Bowl audiences had never seen anything like it.
Modeled after George Orwell’s Big Brother by way of MTV, and with peerless timing with the calendar, the spot crystallized the attitude behind the computer maker’s product launch.
Directed by feature filmmaker Ridley Scott for ad agency Chiat/Day, the spot reportedly cost close to a $1 million — an unheard of sum at the time, though it’s peanuts by today’s standards. The spot was widely praised within the advertising industry, winning numerous accolades.
Though the ad seemed to pit Apple against computer giant IBM, it was actually Microsoft that would turn out to be Steve Jobs’s real nemesis (for a while, at least).
English actress and athlete Anya Major played the part of the rebellious woman representing Apple users, the only color in a cold, totalitarian nightmare. Apple updated the ad slightly in 2004, digitally adding an iPod and signature white earbuds.
Coca Cola “Hey Kid, Catch!” (1979): A football player named “Mean” Joe Greene may not have been the first person on a casting director’s mind, but the Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle melted hearts in this encounter between a tired pro player and a young fan.
Noxzema (1973): The facecream maker provided some eye candy for male and female viewers in this paring of Farrah Fawcett and Joe Namath, who had pitched the product in previous spots and was anxious to “get creamed” again. The only mystery would seem to be which one had the busier hairstylist on set.
Xerox “Monks” (1976): The copy-machine company produced an early version of the witty, comic tone that so many spots would use in later years in this tale of an enterprising monk who uses high-technology (by 1976 standards) to accomplish some much-needed transcription.
Budweiser: “Bud Bowl” (1989): How many Super Bowl commercials have other commercials to promote them? It must have worked because Budweiser’s animated gridiron would appear in several more Super Bowls through the 90s to promote new lines such as Bud Ice and Bud Dry.
Pepsi “Cindy Crawford” (1992): In a bit of clever misdirection, two young boys appear to be enamored of supermodel Cindy Crawford, or perhaps the cherry-red Lamborghini she drove, when she stops for a drink. Turns out they were ogling the newly designed can.
Budweiser: “Frogs” (1995): Maybe drinking a few beers during the pre-game helped this strange musical interlude take hold of popular culture, but the slow build-up of the amphibian chorus to “Bud-Weis-ERRRR” was catchy nonetheless.
Monster: When I Grow Up (1999): Though it starred adolescent actors, the takeaway from this ad from the Internet job board was aimed squarely at adults who might have been wondering where their career aspirations ended up — or what fate awaited their own kids.
Nuveen Investments “Invest Well Leave Your Mark” (2000): Christopher Reeve had been paralyzed in a horse-riding accident five years earlier, so is was a pleasant surprise for viewers to see the popular Superman actor appearing to walk in this uplifting futuristic moment.
EDS “Cat Herders” (2000): The digital management firm brought the old adage about a task being as difficult as herding cats to hilarious life with the help of a troop of Marlboro-men cowboys and some computer-generated felines.
Budweiser “Tribute” (2002): In the first Super Bowl following the 9/11 attacks, Budweiser tooks its signature Clydesdale horses all the way to New York City and the Statue of Liberty to pay a silent, moving tribute.
Planters “Perfume” (2008): Who’s that girl with the prominent unibrow and pink boots made for walkin,' and what's the secret of her allure? According to Planters it’s the irresistable scent of cashews that brings all the boys to the yard. That's just nuts.
Tide-to-Go “Talking Stain” (2008) P&G’s laundry brand hit it out of the park with its first Super Bowl ad in this classic vignette involving a highly distracting shirt stain that ruins a job interview with incessant (vaguely Swedish) babbling. Silence the stain.
Coca Cola: “Mean Troy” (2009): Three decades after the original aired, Steeler Troy Polamalu and his hair recreated “Mean” Joe Greene’s classic spot for the new Coke Zero line. (Greene himself parodied the original for Downey opposite Amy Sedaris.)
Snickers “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” (2010): Everyone’s favorite Golden Girl Betty White is seemingly up for any thing to get a laugh, including getting manhandled in a muddy football game as she embodies the transformative effects of hunger. Bonus cameo: the equally immortal Abe Vigoda.
Honda “Matthew’s Day Off” (2012): Actor Matthew Broderick reenacts scenes from his memorable 1986 comedy Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, trading John Hugh’s Windy City for the sunny environs of Los Angeles to hawk CR-Vs. Life moves pretty fast.
Old Spice “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” (2010): There’s an old advertising cliche that beautiful women make women want to be them and men want to meet them. So Old Spice hired Isaiah Mustafa to switch the gender roles, launching an extended run for Mustafa as a cologne pitchman.
Volkswagen “The Force” (2011): Though long out of the cineplexes, Star Wars was still a powerful Force of pop-culture nostalgia capable of fueling this endearing tale of a struggling pint-sized Sith Lord who gets a secret assist from his non-Dark Side dad.
GoDaddy “Perfect Match” (2013): GoDaddy has had a few spots banned from the Super Bowl, including this year, and if you’re wondering just how bad those were look no further than this outing featuring model Bar Refaeli smooching a seriously nerdy teenager. This is the one that got accepted.
SodaStream “Sorry Coke and Pepsi” (2014): Scarlett Johansson’s pitch for the home-carbonation system was sexy if a little obvious. But it got her in hot water with Oxfam, for whom she worked as a spokesperson, since the Israeli-owned company had a factory in the Palestinian territories. To her credit, ScarJo told Oxfam to go pound sand.
Strange Sports Scandals
Jan. 30, 2015
With Super Bowl XLIX just days away, the air seems to have gone out of the great “Deflate-Gate” scandal. How would it have measured up to other great sports controversies? Here’s a look back at some of the biggest and strangest scandals from across the wide world of sports.
Though the NFL has determined that 11 of 12 New England Patriot team footballs were inflated below regulation levels in their 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts, both quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichik have vehemently denied knowledge of why or how it happened.
Despite calls from some irate football fans to bench Brady and Bellichik or even disquality the Pats entirely from the Super Bowl, the league seems to be slow-walking its verdict until after the big game.
Spygate (2007): “Deflate-gate” isn’t the first time the Patriots were accused of cheating. In 2007 the team was found guilty of filming the defense play calls of opposing coaches. The NFL docked coach Bellichick a cool half-million and the team a first-round draft pick.
Mr. Plow (1982): Yup, the Patriots again. At the end of a very snowy and scoreless game against the Miami Dolphins in Foxborough, snowplow operator Mark Henderson drove onto the field to clear a spot for Patriots kicker John Smith, who kicked the winning field goal.
The “Black Sox” (1919): In the mother of all sports scandals, eight players on the Chicago White Sox team allegedly took bribes to throw the World Series played against the Cincinnati Reds, which they lost 3-2. Indicted two years later, all eight were acquitted in court but banned from baseball for life.
Betting on Baseball (1989): Pete Rose broke Ty Cobb’s hit record and helped win four National League pennants and two World Series for the Cincinnati Reds as the player dubbed “Charlie Hustle." But as Reds head coach he was caught betting on sports games, including those played by the Reds. He was banned from baseball for life in 1989.
The Dope Show (1998): Baseball mania was running high as St. Louis Cardinal first-baseman Mark McGwire and Chicago Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa battled to break Roger Maris’s record of 61 home runs. McGwire got their first and ended the season with 70, but later admitted he had used steroids during that season. Similar allegations of steroid use dog Giants hitter Barry Bonds.
The Bicycle Thief (2012): American cyclist Lance Armstrong won a record seven consecutive Tour de France titles from 1999 to 2005 and consistently denied allegations of doping from other cyclists and even former teammates. But a formal investigation finally lowered the hammer on Lance, and stripped him of all his Tour titles.
Inglorious Blades (1994): The icy rivalry between figure skaters Tonya Harding (left) and Nancy Kerrigan turned violent when Kerrigan was struck with a metal baton. The hit was later revealed to be a conspiracy involving Harding’s ex-husband and her bodyguard to ensure Harding’ advancement. Harding pleaded guilty to obstruction and was banned from the sport.
Run, Rosie, "Run" (1980): Rosie Ruiz put in a great time in winning the Boston Marathon, apparently the fastest ever for a female runner. It helped that she didn’t actually run the entire course, with a later investigation revealing she had taken a gigantic short-cut.
Not So Little League (2001): Bronx pitching sensation Danny Almonte threw the first perfect game in Little League World Series history, but his acumen on the mound — not to mention his stature — led to rumors he was older than the stated 12 years, a charge Sports Illustrated reporters later confirmed.
A Sticky Situation (1983): Kansas City Royals hitter George Brett’s two-run homer gave his team a 5-4 lead over the New York Yankees, but when coach Billy Martin protested the amount of pine tar on Brett’s bat, umpires nullified the runs and gave the Yankees the win. After the Royals contested the decision, the game was later restarted from Brett’s homer, with the Royals winning.
Ponygate (1986): The NCAA determined that Southern Methodist University’s football program had violated league rules for 16 years, including operating a large slush-fund for players. The team’s “death penalty” punishment cancelled its entire 1987 season, and made fielding a viable team the following year impossible.
The Three-Second Rule (1972): It would take the act of a maleficent deity, or in this case a wayward referee, to derail a U.S. Men’s Basketball program that had won every Olympic match since 1936. But after a controversial three seconds were added back to the clock at the end of the game, the Russians won the Gold Medal by a single point.
Steve Bartman Incident (2003): While hapless Cubs fan Bartman didn’t cheat precisely, he stands accused by an entire town (and the Cubs nation writ large) of cheating the team out of a league pennant and potential World Series appearance when he interfered with a late-game fly ball catch that seemed to turn the game’s momentum against the Cubs.
Today in History: Tet Offensive
Jan. 30, 2015
JANUARY 30, 1968: Communist forces launch the Test Offensive, taking advantage of the expected calm of the annual holiday to strike at government and military targets across South Vietnam, even assaulting the American embassy in Saigon. Though a military failure, the offensive shakes public confidence in the Johnson administration’s conduct of the war.
1969: The Beatles perform in public for the last time in an impromptu concert held on the roof of the Apple records building in London. Joined by keyboardist Billy Preston, the band surprised business-district passers-by with five songs before police arrive to shut them down. Footage of the concert is seen in the 1970 documentary Let It Be.
1948: Mohandas Gandhi is assassinated in New Delhi by a Hindu fanatic. Educated as a lawyer, Gandhi rose to become the spiritual leader of the nation during his campaign of non-violent resistance to British imperial rule. But h vision of a religiously pluralistic India was dashed in the bloodshed that followed the partition of Muslim-dominated Pakistan.
1933: The Lone Ranger debuts on Detroit radio statin WXYZ. Designed as an American version of popular Zorro films, the show quickly becomes a hit with listeners, eventually reaching a nationwide audience of more than 20 million who embrace the hero’s upright code of conduct. The television version starring Clayton Moore (pictured) becomes one of the new medium’s first hits.
1862: The USS Monitor is launched. The first ironclad ship built for the U.S. Navy, Monitor boasts a range of innovations in ship design led by the revolving gun turret that protruded from its flat hull. Rushed into service, she fights the Confederate vessel CSS Virginia to a standstill in history’s first clash of ironclads.
JANUARY 29, 1944: The USS Missouri is lauched. The last battleship built by the U.S. Navy, Missouri heads to the Pacific where she fights at the pivotal battles of Iowa Jima and Okinawa before hosting the surrender of the Japanese Empire in Tokyo Bay. Decommissioned after the Korean War, Missouri returned to service for Operation Desert Storm, and is now anchored at Pearl Harbor.
1995: The San Francisco 49s become the first football team to win five Super Bowl titles, defeating the San Diego Chargers 49-26 in Super Bowl XXIX. Quarterback Steve Young is 25 for 38 for 316 total passing yards in the win, adding another championship ring for the franchise to the four won by his predecessor Joe Montana.
1964: Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb debuts. A black comedy about nuclear Armageddon, the film lampoons U.S. war-fighting doctrine and Cold War politics. Star Peter Sellers delivers a tour-de-force performance in three roles: President Merkin Muffly, Group Captain Lionel Mandrake, and ex-Nazi scientist Strangelove.
1861: Kansas is admitted to the union as a free state after a bloody period of internal conflict over the issue that gave rise to the phrase “Bleeding Kansas.” Fed by pro-slavery militias from Missouri who agitated against abolitionist settlers, the battle over slavery presaged and continued into the looming Civil War.
JANUARY 28, 1986: The Space Shuttle Challenger explodes 73 seconds after lift-off, killing all seven astronauts including schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe, the first civilian to fly for NASA. A subsequent inquiry places the blame for the loss on pressure to launch under unusually cold weather conditions that affected O-ring seals on the spacecraft’s powerful external boosters.
1980: Six U.S. diplomats caught in the Iranian revolution who had avoided being taken hostage at the embassy with their colleagues are spirited out of the country using false passports by CIA operate Tony Menendez. The 2012 film Argo (pictured), starring Ben Affleck as Menendez, dramatizes the operation but is criticized for downplaying the role of Canadian embassy officials.
1959: The Green Bay Packers hire Vince Lombardi as coach and general manager to turn around its struggling football franchise. Over nine seasons, Lombardi leads the team to five championships and wins in the first two Super Bowls, in the process embodying the ideal of a single-minded focus on victory.
JANUARY 27, 1945: Soviet forces liberate the Auschwitz concentration camp in southern Poland in the waning days of WWII, finding some 7,000 ill and dying prisoners left behind by retreating SS guards. Auschwitz was the largest facility established by Nazi Germany as part of its “Final Solution,” where more than 1.1 million people had been systematically murdered since 1940.
1998: During an interview on The Today Show, First Lady Hillary Clinton blames a “vast right-wing conspiracy” for the continuing scandals engulfing the administration of husband Bill Clinton, including the ongoing Monica Lewinsky investigation and accusations surrounding the Whitewater real-estate venture.
1967: Apollo 1 astronauts Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Edward White, and Roger Chaffee are killed when a fire sweeps through their command capsule during a launch rehearsal at Cape Canaveral. A NASA investigation determines that several design flaws, including a pure-oxygen internal air mixture and difficult escape hatch, contributed to the loss of the crew.
1888: The National Geographic Society is founded in Washington, D.C. to promote “the increase and diffusion of geographic knowledge.” Over more than century the organization has supported some 5,000 major scientific projects and expeditions, helped set cartographic standards with high-quality maps, and funded award-winning photography through its popular journal.
JANUARY 26, 1788: Captain Arthur Phillip raises the British flag on the first European settlement at New South Wales. Phillip’s fleet had come bearing some 700 British convicts bound for a proposed penal colony. Though it struggled mightily in its early years, the colony eventually flourished, and the date of Phillip’s arrival would later celebrate the nation’s founding as Australia Day.
1979: The Dukes of Hazzard debuts on CBS. Following the misadventures of two cousins (John Schneider and Tom Wopat) in the rural South, the show becomes famous for its frequent car chases — featuring the “General Lee,” an orange 1969 Dodge Charger with a large Confederate flag and welded-shut doors that required acrobatic entry — and the tight outfits of co-star Catherine Bach.
1957: The Wham-O company begins manufacturing the flying-disc toy that will evolve into the world-famous Frisbee. Originating with the empty tins thrown by customers of the Frisbie Pie Company in Bridgeport, Conn., inventor Walter Morrison sells an improved plastic version to Wham-O dubbed the “Pluto Platter” (pictured). Wham-O changes the name to Frisbee in 1958.
2005: Longtime Tonight Show host Johnny Carson dies at age 79. Taking the host seat in 1962, Carson’s casual and witty style helps define the late-night talk format for all who came after. His influence only grows when he moved the show to Burbank in 1972, and the network maneuvering after his retirement in 1992 changes the landscape of late-night television.
1983: The action series The A-Team premieres on NBC. The tale of former Army special-forces soldiers turned mercenaries, the show becomes a pop-culture phenomenon with its over-the top, cartoonish action scenes and colorful characters such as team leader Hannibal Smith (George Peppard) and B.A. Baracus (breakout star Mr. T).
1977: The television miniseries Roots debuts on ABC. Based on the novel by Alex Haley and charting a harrowing family saga from 1750 through the Civil War, the show dramatizes the era of black slavery for a mainstream primetime audience for the first time. Across eight episodes, the show draws historic ratings and wins nine Emmy Awards.
1968: North Korean forces capture the intelligence boat USS Pueblo after alleging it was discovered in their territorial waters. Pueblo’s capture markedly increases tensions on the Korea peninsula and resulted in the loss of a large amount of classified materiel. The ship’s crew are sent to prison camps and in some cases tortured, and are finally released nearly a year later.
JANUARY 22, 1973: The Supreme Court hands down the landmark Roe v Wade decision. Finding a right to privacy within the 14th Amendment’s due-process clause, the 7-2 decision strikes down the Texas statutes at issue in the case and clears the way for legalized abortions nationwide. The decision permanently reshapes the national political debate on abortion and other cultural issues.
1973: George Foreman scores an upset win over Joe Frazier to take the heavyweight boxing title. Critics had scoffed at “Big George’s” Olympic career, thinking he had never faced an opponent as strong as Frazier, who had bested Muhammed Ali two years earlier. But Foreman’s second-round punch elicited Howard Cosell’s famous cry: “Down goes Frazier!”
1973: Lyndon Baines Johnson, 36th president of the United States from 1963 to 1968, dies at his Texas ranch. During his tenure in the White House Johnson pushed through the Civil Rights Act and a range of federal programs under his “War on Poverty” campaign. But the conflict in Vietnam weighed on his administration, and he declined to run for reelection in 1968.
1968: The television comedy show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In premieres on NBC. The sketch program featured a rotating cast of current and future comedy luminaries, and was famous for its rapid-fire jokes on politics and sexual mores. Presidential candidate Richard Nixon appeared in an early episode uttering the famous line: “Sock it to me?”
1905: Russian Imperial troops fire on protesting workers at Czar Nicholas II’s Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. Hundreds are killed and wounded in what becomes known as the Bloody Sunday Massacre, and strikes and riots break out across the country in response, planting the seeds of the Bolshevik revolution a decade later.
JANUARY 21, 1954: The USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine, launches at Groton, Conn. Carrying 105 officers and crew, Nautilus goes on to break many speed and endurance records, and in 1958 becomes the first vessel to transit the North Pole submerged, an important achievement for the U.S. in the post-Sputnik era. She was decommissioned in 1980.
1977: On his second day in office, President Jimmy Carter issues a pardon for all Vietnam War draft dodgers, wiping the slate for civilian violators of the controversial conflict — but not those who had deserted from active duty. The move enrages veterans groups as an affront to those who had served honorably.
1968: U.S. Marines at the Khe Sahn Combat Base come under heavy bombardment by North Vietnamese army forces, marking the beginning of a grueling 77-day siege. A massive air operation was marshaled to resupplying the remote base and strike back against enemy forces, allowing the Marines to hold out against relentless attacks until being relieved on April 8.
1959: Carl Dean Switzer, the actor who portrayed the freckled-face, cowlick-coiffed Alfalfa in the Our Gang film-shorts series, dies in a fight in Mission Hills, Calif., at age 31. Switzer appeared in the children’s comedy series from the mid-1930s to the early 1940s, but received no royalties when the shorts were syndicated to television in the mid-1950s as The Little Rascals.
1950: Former state department official Alger Hiss is convicted of perjury. Accused of being a Communist prior to WWII, Hiss appeared before the House Un-American Activities Committee, where his case galvanized supporters and critics of HUAC’s methods. Evading a charge of treason (because of the statute of limitations), Hiss would serve nearly four years.
1793: King Louis XVI is executed at the Place de la Revolution in Paris. Louis had resisted calls to reform the monarchy in the face of revolutionary fervor, and was forced to leave the royal palace in 1789 with his unpopular queen, Marie Antoinette. After the monarchy was abolished in 1792, evidence of his conspiracy with foreign powers sealed his doom.
JANUARY 20, 1981: Iran releases 52 American hostages held in the U.S. embassy in Tehran, ending a 444-day international standoff. The long-running crisis — punctuated by a disastrous attempted rescue mission — crippled President Carter’s reelection bid, and the hostages were released just minutes after President Ronald Reagan was inaugurated.
1987: Anglican Church envoy Terry Waite is taken hostage by Hezbollah militants in Lebanon while on a mission to negotiate the release of other Western hostages. Hezbollah accused Waite of being a CIA spy and kept him imprisoned for nearly five years, where he was beaten and kept in seclusion. Waite was released in November 1991 (pictured).
1942: Top Nazi officials gather in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee to discuss a “final solution” for the Jewish population of occupied Europe. Led by SS General Reinhard Heydrich (pictured) and Adolf Eichmann, the conference attendees planned various relocation and execution methods. Notes of the meeting were later used at the Nuremberg war crimes trials.
1841: China signs the Chuenpi Convention ceding the island of Hong Kong to the British during the First Opium War. The colony flourished under British rule as a commercial gateway to southern China and eventually a world commercial center. In 1898 Britain secured an additional 99-year lease, and finally handed control back to China in 1997.
JANUARY 16, 1991: With the passing of a United Nations deadline for withdrawal from Kuwait, Operation Desert Storm begins with a massive six-week air campaign by allied nations led by the United States that devastates Saddam Hussein’s military from Kuwait to Baghdad. The air war paves the way for a February 24 ground invasion that expels Iraq from Kuwait, and just four days.
1973: The primetime western drama Bonanza signs off after 14 seasons and 430 episodes, second only to Gunsmoke in duration. The saga of the Cartwright family of ranchers in mid-1800s Virginia City, Nev., was a male-heavy affair led by patriarch Ben (Lorne Greene) and his three grown sons that struck a chord with storylines that avoided the classic trope of the wandering gunslinger.
1919: The 18th Amendment prohibiting the manufacture and sale of “intoxicating liquors” is ratified, culminating a decades-long push by anti-alcohol organizers across the country. Nine months later Congress passes the Volstead Act to put prohibition into effect, but a massive law-enforcement effort fails to stop the practice. In 1933 the 21st Amendment repeals prohibition.
JANUARY 15, 1559: Elizabeth Tudor is crowned Queen Elizabeth I at Westminster Abbey. The daughter of Henry VIII, Elizabeth endured imprisonment by her Catholic half-sister Mary, and as queen established a permanent Protestant Church of England. The “Virgin Queen” would guide England to its place as a major world power, and is renowned as one of England’s greatest monarchs.
2009: US Airways pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger lands a stricken Airbus 320 in the Hudson River after a birdstrike incapacitates both the plane’s engines shortly after takeoff from La Guardia Airport. The so-called “Miracle on the Hudson” results in a handful of injuries but no deaths among the 150 passengers and five crew. Sullenberger retired the following year.
1967: The Green Bay Packers face off against the Kansas City Chiefs in the first-ever Super Bowl game at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Pitting the champions of the rival National Football Leage and American Football League, Green Bay quarterback Bart Starr led his team to a 35-10 victory. The leagues merged three years later.
1919: A massive tank of molasses collapses in the heart of Boston, plunging more than two million gallons of fiery hot liquid in an eight-foot wave that kills 12 people and dozens of horses, and damages numerous buildings and structures. The incident leads to more than 100 lawsuits against the United States Industrial Alcohol Company.
JANUARY 14, 1973: The Miami Dolphins cap the first and and so far only undefeated season in NFL history by besting the Washington Redskins 14-7 in Super Bowl VII. Despite their perfect regular-season and playoff record, coach Don Shula’s team was a three-point underdog going in, having lost the previous year, but quarterback Bob Griese prevails in a low-scoring match.
1969: An explosion rips through the the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise on station off the coast of Vietnam. The explosion and resulting fire kills 27 sailors and injures another 314; 15 aircraft are also lost on the heavily-damaged flight deck. The cause was determined to be a MK-32 Zuni rocket on a parked F-4 Phantom fighter which became heated by nearby equipment.
1954: Yankees baseball legend Joe DiMaggio marries movie star Marilyn Monroe in San Francisco, Calif., where, despite their efforts at privacy, they are mobbed by press. The pair seemed to struggle from the start as DiMaggio grew uncomfortable with Monroe’s sexpot image, even enduring the filming of her famous blown skirt scene on the set of The Seven Year Itch. They divorced in October.
JANUARY 13, 1968: Singer Johnny Cash records two performances at Folsom State Prison in California. The resulting album, released in May, becomes a major commercial success led by a live version of one of his first hit singles “Folsom Prison Blues” and revitalizes Cash’s career.
1962: Television producer Ernie Kovacs dies in a car crash in Los Angeles. Kovacs brought an off-beat approach to his eponymous comedy program, staging skits with surreal plots and colorful, at times bizarre characters including the mincing Percy Dovetonsils and the masked Nairobi Trio. The show also featured experiments with the emerging technology of television.
1929: Legendary frontier lawman Wyatt Earp dies in Los Angeles. Born in Illinois, Earp had worn may hats as a lawman and private citizen before arriving in Tombstone, Ariz., where he joined his brothers Virgil and Morgan — and longtime friend John “Doc” Holliday — in the famous shootout at the O.K. Corral in October 1881.
1898: Émile Zola publishes “J’accuse…!” (“I Accuse”) in defense of Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish officer in the French Army convicted of treason. The letter blasted the Army for covering up the details of its illegitimate conviction — known as the “Dreyfus Affair” — and though it brought Zola a libel sentence, it was instrumental in obtaining a new trial that eventually exonerated Dreyfus.
1971: Producer Norman Lear’s All in the Family debuts on CBS. An adaption of the British series Till Death Us Do Part, the show focused on the angry working-class patriarch Archie Bunker and broke new ground in addressing topics including race and women’s liberation. The show ranks as the top-rated show for its first five years and goes on to win numerous Emmy Awards.
1969: The British music group Led Zeppelin releases their self-titled first album, a fusion of blues and rock that receives initially poor reviews but strikes a chord with music fans. Songs such as “Dazed and Confused” and “Communication Breakdown” would become concert staples performed throughout their long run atop the music business.
1879: British forces under Lord Chelmsford cross into Zululand after Zulu King Cetshwayo refuses an ultimatum to dismantle his large army. Within two weeks British forces would stumble into two historic battles against Cetshwayo’s primitive military, losing some 800 soldiers in a surprise attack by Zulu warriors at Islandwana, and killing more than 500 Zulu in a desperate defense at Rorke’s Drift.
JANUARY 9, 2007: Apple Steve Jobs CEO unveils the iPhone, the first device to combine a phone, music player, camera, and Internet access with a touch-screen interface. During his keynote address, considered among his best, Jobs first demonstrated many of the features that would become common on smartphones, and that solidified Apple’s dominance in the sector.
1776: Thomas Paine publishes the influential pamphlet Common Sense, setting out his arguments in favor of independence for the American colonies. Paine’s plain language brought average citizens and politicians together in the idea of independence and an identity apart from England, and helped catalyze the nascent revolution.
JANUARY 8, 1964: President Lyndon Johnson declares a “War on Poverty” during his State of the Union address, and the legislation that followed created the Medicare and Medicaid, established the national food-stamp program and Job Corps, and greatly expanded the federal government’s role in education.
1982: AT&T settles an anti-trust lawsuit with the Justice Department by agreeing to divest itself of the 22 Bell Systems companies, the local exchanges that made up the company’s national phone network, while retaining the long-distance operation. The era of the so-called “Baby Bells” would see a surge in competition in phone services and technology, leading to the wireless revolution.
1918: President Woodrow Wilson delivers his "Fourteen Points" in a speech before Congress, outlining his proposal for a postwar peace settlement involving free trade, freedom of the sea, and an international forum of governments in which to settle disputes. The latter idea would later take the form of the League of Nations, but failed to prevent the outbreak of another world war.
JANUARY 7, 1953: President Harry Truman announces the development of a hydrogen bomb during his final State of the Union address in a move to counter the Soviet nuclear program. With a destructive force measured in megatons, the hydrogen bomb was a far more powerful weapon than the earlier atomic bomb, and was small enough to fit inside a ballistic missile.
1955: Singer Marian Anderson makes her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in a performance of Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera, becoming the first black singer to perform there, one of numerous times she would break the color barrier during her career. Anderson’s contralto voice was widely celebrated, and her 1939 concert at the Lincoln Memorial was heard by millions on radio.
1927: The New York Globetrotters play their first game in Hinckley, Ill. Organized by sports promoter Abe Saperstein (at left), the team was initially named the Savoy Big Five, and in 1930 adopted the hometown of Harlem. The team began adding comedy elements to their game in the late 1930s, and those became a focus of their exhibitions after the NBA became racially integrated in the 1950s.
1911: Silent film actress Mary Pickford marries actor Owen Moore. Known as “America’s Sweetheart,” Pickford rose from an anonymous extra to become one of the cinema’s first true movie stars and one of the richest and most famous women in the country. Pickford later married Douglas Fairbanks, with whom she founded the United Artists studio in 1919 alongside filmmaker Charlie Chaplin.
JANUARY 6, 1941: President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivers his “Four Freedoms” goals during the State of the Union address to rally support for a more interventionist role in international affairs. The four freedoms — freedom of speech and of worship, and freedom from want and fear — were later embraced by Eleanor Roosevelt in the campaign for the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
1994: A soap-opera drama overtakes the world of Olympic figure skating when Nancy Kerrigan (right) is attacked by a man hired by the the ex-husband of Tonya Harding (left), Kerrigan’s chief rival for a spot on the U.S. Figure Skating Team. Both skaters went on the Olympic Games in Lillehammer, where Harding falters badly and Kerrigan won a silver medal.
1759: George Washington, then a young officer in the colonial British Army, resigns his commission to marry Martha Dandridge Custis, and the couple move into Washington’s family estate at Mount Vernon, with the future first President adopting Martha’s two children, Jack and Patsy. They remained married for four decades until his death in 1799.
JANUARY 5, 1972: President Richard Nixon signs a $5.5 million funding plan for the space shuttle, NASA’s proposed reusable low-Earth orbit vehicle. Columbia is the first to fly in 1981, and over the next two decades five shuttles fly 135 missions — suffering two catastrophic losses — and play a vital role for the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station. The fleet is retired in 2011.
1973: Bruce Springsteen’s first album, Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J., is released, drawing strong reviews for the singer-songwriter’s distinctive sound. Columbia Records head Clive Davis thought the album lacked a big single, so Springsteen added “Blinded by the Light” and “Spirit in the Night”; neither song proved a hit, but Manfred Mann’s recording of “Blinded” would top the charts in 1977.
1933: Construction begins on the the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Real-estate speculators had dreamed of connecting the San Francisco peninsula with southern Marin County for decades, but a workable and affordable plan to span the 3,000-foot wide strait with a suspension bridge did not emerge until the 1920s. The completed bridge was opened on May 27, 1937.
JANUARY 2, 1811: Massachusetts’s Timothy Pickering becomes the first U.S. senator to be formally censured after a scandal over the disclosure of secret presidential documents. Pickering had been General George Washington’s adjutant during the Revolutionary War, but was dismissed from his post as secretary of state by President Adams because of his ties to Alexander Hamilton.
1974: President Richard Nixon signs the Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act, setting a uniform national speed limit of 55 miles per hour. Enacted in the aftermath of the Arab oil embargo, the act was intended to enforce more fuel-efficient travel and thus lessen demand for petroleum. Unpopular in Western states with long rural highways, the act was finally repealed in 1995.
1965: University of Alabama quarterback Joe Namath signs with the New York Jets for a three-year contract worth an unprecedented $400,000. A brash new kind of sports celebrity, Namath quickly began racking up impressive passing stats, and in 1969 cemented his legendary status by guaranteeing — and delivering — a Jets victory in the Super Bowl.
1935: Bruno Hauptmann goes on trial for the kidnapping and murder of the the infant son of Charles and Anne Lindberg. Hauptmann, an immigrant German carpenter, was found with part of the large ransom payment, and other circumstantial evidence linked him to what the media had sensationalized into “The Crime of the Century." He was convicted and executed the following year.
1492: King Boabdil of Granada surrenders to the forces of Spanish King Ferdinand V and Queen Isabella, making the fall of the last Arab stronghold in the Iberian peninsula more than 700 years after Muslim armies had first invaded Europe.
Cartoon of the Day
Jan. 30, 2015
Iran Strategy, by Michael Ramirez (January 30, 2015)
Robin Hood, by Michael Ramirez (January 29, 2015)
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Jan. 30, 2015
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Drug-Smuggling Schemes
Jan. 29, 2015
From the days of rum-running during Prohibition, smugglers have used all manner of creative ways to spirit their cargos past law enforcement. Now drug traffickers may be adopting the latest modern marvel: remote-control drones. Here’s a look at some high-tech and far-fetched drug smuggling schemes.
The recent crash of a quadcopter drone on the White House lawn highlighted the growing security threat posed by the new high-tech toys, which are growing in popularity but posing new questions about privacy and airspace safety. Drug-carrying drones would be an alarming new aspect to the debate.
Earlier this month a quadcopter drone carrying more than six pounds of methamphetamine crashed in a supermarket parking lot near San Ysidro, Calif., on the Mexican border. Tijuana officials speculate the drone, a Spreading Wings S9000, crashed because it had been overloaded. It’s cargo was worth an estimated $40,000.
DEA special agent Matthew Barden speculates that, given their small carrying capacity, drones might have other uses for drug cartels, telling Time: “They can be used to spy on agents doing rounds… People can use them to set up an ambush.” Added Barden: “If it’s not happening, it soon will.”
Companies such as Amazon have recently experimented with using drones to delivery small packages to consumers, everything from prescription drugs to pizza and pastries.
The approach is still in its infancy, though, and faces uncertain regulatory oversight, especially in urban areas. Pictured, an experimental delivery drone operated by DHL.
The Domino’s Pizza “Domi-Copter” pizza delivery drone. (It might not ever deliver drugs, but it would be invaluable to cope with the ensuing munchies.)
BORDER BATTLE: Drones are also playing a growing role in border security enforcement. The Los Angeles Daily News reports that nearly half of the U.S.-Mexican border is now patrolled solely by drone aircraft such as MQ-9 Reapers, the same platform used by the Pentagon.
The drones primarily do not provide real-time monitoring but instead are used for “change detection,” sweeping over remote areas of the border over successive days to collect images that are analyzed for tiny changes that could indicate footprints, tire tracks, or other evidence of human activity.
According to the Daily News, the border patrol has flown around 10,000 “change detection” flights since the program began in March 2013, covering some 900 miles of the U.S.-Mexican border, mainly in Texas. Most flights originate at Fort Huachuca in Arizona.
Earlier this month a report from the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general found the drone patrol program ineffective — operating just 22% of its planned patrols — and costing five times as much as was reported. The report recommended requested funding increases be directed elsewhere.
SMUGGLING SCHEMES: Driven by huge profit potential, drug smugglers have resorted to sometimes outlandish schemes to transport their illegal cargoes, from tunnels to submarines capable of carrying millions of dollars worth of drugs.
Drug Subs: When drug agents got too good at spotting and capturing boats, the smugglers went underwater. Colombian authorities captured this submarine owned and operated by drug cartels in Timbiqui. The submersible was capable of carrying eight tons of cocaine from Colombia to distributors in Mexico.
The legendary drug-smuggling submarine dubbed “Bigfoot” is now on display at Naval Air Station Key West in Florida. Captured in 2006, the 49-foot craft carried a four-man crew and three tons of cocaine.
A drug-sub captured in Ecuador in 2010. Costing less than $1 million to build, they can move cargo valued at more than $150 million for each load.
A fiberglass submersible intercepted by the Coast Guard in 2007. According to a New York Times article, some 70 such subs were thought to carry as much as 30% of cocaine exports from Colombia in 2009.
Colombian Navy troopers guard a diesel-powered semi-submersible craft used by drug smugglers in 2012.
Ultralights: Drug enforcement officials first began seeing these small airplanes used by smugglers in 2008 to ferry loads as large as 250 pounds. Pictured, a crashed ultralight discovered near Albuquerque, N.M., in 2011, with it’s load of marijuana bundles still attached.
Because they are easily spotted in daylight, they often to fly at night, using roads or lighted temporary runways to navigate. This ultralight seized by federal agents in 2008 near Tucson, Ariz., carried 253 pounds of marijuana.
Difficult to detect on radar, ultralights have been involved in near collisions with civilian and military aircraft. This drug-smuggling ultralight crashed into a field north of San Luis, Ariz., in 2008. The pilot’s body was found still in the wreckage.
Catapult: In 2011 Mexican troops discovered jury-rigged catapults that had been used to fling parcels of marijuana from the the border city of Agua Prieta over a 21-foot-tall fence into Arizona. Smugglers reportedly drove the catapult on the back of an SUV. Fox News Latino reports the troops seized 1.4 tons of marijuana along with the catapults.
Pot Cannon: This pneumatic cannon carried on the back of a pickup truck used compressed carbon dioxide cartridges to fling packages weighing around two pounds some 500 feet. Border agents became aware of the device after finding more than 30 canisters of marijuana in a field near the Mexican border.
A small hand-held pneumatic “tee-shirt cannon” of the type used during sporting events was also used by smugglers along the Arizona border.
Coffins: In the 1970s, Harlem heroin kingpin Frank Lucas boasted of spiriting his drugs from suppliers in Asia’s Golden Triangle inside the coffins of dead American servicemen arriving from Vietnam. Though this claim is contested, it was dramatized in the 2007 film American Gangster.
Plush Dolls: In 2006 DEA officials busted a drug smuggling operation headquartered in Greeley, Colo., that had used children’s dolls including the Sesame Street character Elmo (pictured) to transport highly purified methamphetamine. During the raid authorities seized more than 50 pounds of meth with a street value of up to $2.4 million.
Tunnels: Drug smugglers have been tunneling under the U.S.-Mexican border for the last several decades, many originating in Tijuana, Mexico and ending up in San Diego, Calif. The tunnels range from Great Escape-style crawlways to hallway-sized corridors complete with lights and air conditioning.
San Diego police carry drug parcels found in a tunnel near Otay Mesa, Calif.
A Mexican soldier inspects the entrance a tunnel hidden under a bathtub in Culiacan.
A two-story electric elevator services this drug tunnel connected warehouses in Tijuana, Mexico and Otay Mesa, Calif.
A motorized rail ferries drugs and drug runners through a tunnel in Tijuana, Mexico.
A portion of a lighted drug tunnel in Culiacan, Mexico.
HIDDEN PRIZES: Smugglers have tried to hide their contraband in every conceivable (and sometimes inconceivable) hiding place to sneak them past customs inspectors at airports and ports of entry. Here’s a look at some of the more outlandish attempts intercepted by authorities.
Drug smuggling through the U.S.-Mexico border often parallels the trafficking of illegal immigrants, where people are hidden inside every possible empty space in a vehicle, from trunks to engine compartments to, in this unsuccessful 2006 attempt, the inside of a chair.
This young woman was found crammed behind the dashboard of a car.
In September 2011 authorities at Dulles International Airport discovered 15 bags of cocaine hidden inside clams carried by a smuggler arriving from Panama. The five ounces of cocaine had a street value of $10,000.
Texas police intercepted a shipment of cocaine in 2006 that was molded to look like the distinctive curved Pringles potato chip.
These bottles of illegal liquid steroids impounded in Australia were hidden inside sexual lubricant packages.
A German customs official holds a soccer ball stuffed with illegal cigarettes.
This Mr. Potato Head doll seized by Australian Customs officials was packed with 293 grams of ecstasy.
Packages of heroin inside the gearbox of a vehicle caught at the Mexican border.
Drug parcels inside the chassis of a motorcycle.
Drugs were hidden in the hollowed-out interior of this surfboard.
More than five tons of marijuana were packed into this furniture confiscated by British authorities in 2005.
This wooden door intercepted in Australia contained 11 pounds of cocaine.
In 2009 Spanish officials in Barcelona arrested a man arriving from Chile with a cast on his leg they determined had been made out of cocaine.
Airport customs officials in New York City discovered packages of cocaine taped inside a pair of underwear worn by an arriving passenger.
NYC officials have also discovered drugs hidden inside wigs…
… and bras.
Packages of drugs extracted from the body of a dog.
A tightly wrapped parcel of drugs designed to be hidden inside a “body cavity.”
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