Sunday, August 31, 2008

Various and Sundry

Sort of a catch up post here on a few different subjects. Hope all are having a great Labor Day weekend..


Gustav is a monster, heading right for Louisiana. Oddly, it may be the first time in history an event in Minnesota has been canceled due to a hurricane, depending on what McCain does My suggestion--cancel. Even if it peters out to a CAT 1 Hanna is still swirling around off the east coast of Florida. It would be refreshing to see McCain, Palin and families handing out water bottles or filling sand bags--we know Obama and Biden will be doing it.

Meanwhile here in our fair city a sinkhole has been blocking southerly access to the Amtrak depot going on six months now. Instead of the mayor saying "deal with it" he apparently has said "squabble with the railroad so we all look like fools". And lo, it has now come to pass. Amtrak's special evacuation trains from New Orleans will now have to make some kind of convoluted detour, backing into the station from the north. Well played, King.


The maverick selection of Sarah Palin has really separated the liberal wheat from the moonbat chaff. The level of vitriol is mind-numbing--making Sean Hannity's bash of Joe Biden look like Biblical text. This trash festival will only be formally closed when someone invokes Godwin's Law, if it hasn't already happened.

By the way, the left is worried about McCain not being able to fulfill his duties, leaving her the Commander-in-Chief (which hasn't given me any warm fuzzies either) but think about it--if Palin becomes president she can nominate another Vice President (subject to Congressional approval) who would most likely be a seasoned veteran like perhaps Minority Leader John Boehner or a statesman of her choice. Isn't that about the same as having a lightweight on opening day?


The Congress may take the anthrax story up during the next few weeks. Senator Charles Grassley expects it to come up when FBI Director Mueller testifies but it's not a special session. Questions remain, such as why Ivins would incriminate himself by sending his own attack sample to the FBI for testing, even using the wrong format. But he still looks guilty.

One thing's for sure, he couldn't take the intense scrutiny Hatfill endured. Times writer Nic Kristof, who helped make Hatfill's life miserable, wrote an apology piece a few days ago. No word on Hatfill's response--no word from Hatill at all--but perhaps it would be something like, "'ve been had".


Some want it gone. MSNBC is running a poll on whether to remove it or not--I voted no. My view is that the mention of "God" on money does not endorse Christianity or any other religion as most believe in some kind of God-like deity. Even the Indians worshipped a 'Great Spirit'. Wonder if the same people would complain if they changed it to that?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Side Tracks

Old Judge Jones..

Les Dudek was a pretty good guitarist and played with some of the greats. He's still out there playing somewhere.

These guys were a little better known. Here's a pretty good live version of "Fooling Yourself".

Larry King's Misty 9/11 Memories

Think Progress is making note of a strange exchange on the Larry King Live show where guest (and conservative) Larry Elder along with Ben Stein argued with King over the buildup to 9/11:
KING: You know something? You’re better than me. You know when it was planned. All the guys who planned it are dead. They’re dead on a plane, you know when. You interviewed them during the flight.
Here it is:

King has had an outstanding and distinguished career but c'mon--everyone knows 9/11 was planned on Clinton's watch. Certainly any major journalist should know this before going on the air.

That doesn't mean Clinton was to blame anymore than Bush, but King's guests weren't trying to suggest he was solely responsible, only that he shares some culpability for treating terrorism as a law enforcement matter throughout the 90s. According to the 9/11 Commission Report and several major terrorism experts that emboldened AQ and led to larger and larger attacks, culminating in 9/11. Perhaps King should brush up on his history a bit.

Interestingly, Elder was making a point made here a few days ago--the Dems had plenty of chances to call Bush or Cheney liars on the pre-war intelligence but instead took the high road. Maybe it had something to do with Biden? Whatever the case, it's certainly more evidence the n'roots don't hold anywhere near the power they imagine.

Friday, August 29, 2008

And in other News...

It's hard to believe this story hasn't exploded yet. An ABC reporter gets roughed up and detained outside a hotel in Denver during the convention while shooting video of bigwigs coming and going, and only ABC covers it:
Video of the arrest shows a cigar-smoking Denver police sergeant, accompanied by a team of five other officers, first put his hands on Eslocker's neck, then twisting his arm behind him to put on handcuffs.
Never fear, the left blogosphere is up in arms with outrage and will soon be threatening marches and perhaps some civil disobedience of their own. One outraged blogger was outraged beyond words.

Funny, the far left can hold gay pride and freedom marches in San Francisco where people have oral sex in the street and march with placards calling Bush a Nazi and nothing happens. But let just one news reporter attempt to smoke out some lefty hypocrisy at a major high stakes event and he's in cuffs faster than one can say "Patriot Act". At least he wasn't tased.

Unless there's something we've not been told apologies should be fast and profuse. Glad to see the ACLU stepping in on something worthwhile but can't help but wonder where Alex Jones is on this one. Perhaps too busy explaining world politics or exhausted from screaming down a woman?

Suddenly Sarah

I'll without withhold some judgment until after seeing her at the convention but there are a few observations to be made without looking overly silly right now. [moderately silly is always a given-ed]

1. Her resume is weak. It's hard to make the case experience matters after picking her, although admittedly on opening day Obama will be holding the football should his team win, while if McCain wins, she won't.

2. The focus is already off Obama's concert last night. Check your favorite web site, message board, etc--it's wall to wall Palin. By design, and a rather good one.

3. She'll trigger some of the finest pretzel logic ever seen from the left in their attempts to deride her.

4. The email scandal they're already getting lathered up about pales in comparison to Obama's ties with an unrepentant domestic terrorist who bombed the Pentagon along with his campaign's attempt to stifle investigation about his past associations, including muzzling those who speak about it.

5. Palin may not woo as many Hil-gals as predicted once they understand her politics. But they'll play hell putting her down without looking hypocritical.

6. She has some serious challenges and distractions with a son going to Iraq and another child with special needs. It'll be a tough juggling act. Some will accuse her of being selfish, although such charges run the risk of pointing out conservative arguments about the family, motherhood, gay marriage, etc.

If Obama decides to change horses in mid stream (to Hillary) that will only make him seem petty and panderous. And Bill still comes with that package. It almost seems we're at a stalemate. Maybe they'll have to argue about their positions now.

MORE 8/29/08

How about a strategic view of the Palin pick? If team McCain wins she'll be perfectly set up to run in 2012 (assuming McCain's a one-termer). By then all doubts about experience will be erased and her main opponent could be another woman, Hillary, who won't have any real presidential experience. Obama might be in there too unless he gets the Kerry tag, and we're seeing Biden's last stand now.

If team McCain loses she'll return to Alaska and continue being a successful governor, collecting 4 more years of executive experience.

Let's face it, the only issue with Palin is McCain's health.

The Speech

Just for grins let's say the person who blogs here didn't see the speech--maybe they had a previously planned social outing--and came home only to find the AP's report about what happened. The temerity!

But what is, is. Here's the AP's report, followed by reaction:
By contrast, he said, "John McCain has voted with President Bush 90 percent of the time," a scathing indictment of his Republican rival - on health care, education, the economy and more.
Since when did it become scathing to vote with Bush any amount of time? Has the AP done research on this to the point of saying anyone agreeing with Bush deserves to be scathed?
Polls indicate a close race between Obama and McCain, the Arizona senator who stands between him and a place in history.
That's McCain, standing in the way of history.
"I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don't fit the typical pedigree" of a presidential candidate was as close as he came to the long-smoldering issue that may well determine the outcome of the election.
Since these writers had previously said he never mentioned race we must assume the "long-smoldering issue" they were referring to was race, ie, if Obama doesn't win it's because he's black. Hmm, interesting, it seemed more like an admission of being underqualified but yeah, OK, it was about race.
Obama delivered his 44-minute nominating acceptance speech in an unrivaled convention setting, before a crowd of unrivaled size - the filled stadium, the camera flashes in the night, the made-for-television backdrop that suggested the White House
Wow, did he score a touchdown, too? Was there a glowing ball with the word "nuclear" written on it passed to him from Biden, spiked in the end zone followed by a dance move reminiscent of Billy White Shoes Johnson? Curse all those who missed the show.
He did not say precisely what he meant by breaking the country's dependence on Mideast oil, only that Washington has been talking about doing it for 30 years "and John McCain has been there for 26 of them."
And Joe Biden for 30.
His pledge to end the war in Iraq responsibly was straight from his daily campaign speeches.
Uh, isn't refusing to redeploy when things were going bad, then surging more troops in an effort to win the peace (based on McCain's suggestion) then, after decreasing violence, making a deal with Iraqi politicians to pull them out slowly based on ground truth "responsible"? Just how much more responsible can Obama be at this point without being irresponsible?
"I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons," he added.
"Renew?" Is he referring to something that occurred before the Carter administration? Because we've never really had tough diplomacy with Iran unless he means trade restrictions. Does 'tough and direct' mean pointing his finger at A'jad during a non-pre-conditions unilateral meeting? Damning the Mullahs? Or was he actually bashing the current UN multi-lateral approach? Does Obama hate the UN?!

Ah heck, what does it matter? He looked good, the set was flashy, everyone cheered out of their minds then almost passed out. That's something the AP didn't have to mention to know it was true.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

King and Obama

Tonight is an historic night in American history. Win or lose Obama represents the hopes and dreams of many from backgrounds consisting of something other than majority. Some might say he's the epitome of the American Dream--a bi-racial man raised by his grandparents who rose through the ranks to compete for the most powerful office in the world. Not only a kid's dream, but a minority kid's dream.

So perhaps it's fitting Obama accepts the nomination on the anniversary of King's dream speech because he represents at least a partial realization of that dream. Part, but not all.

After the hankies are dry the reality of King's words will remain--that he desired every man be judged on the content of his character, not the color of his skin. Equal opportunity means an opportunity to join the game and compete fairly for the prize, not guaranteed success every time.

It's already been hashed to death but Barack's resume is pathetically thin in comparison to most other major presidential contenders of the past. His background associations are also not supportive of the crafted image of a bridge-builder as evidenced by the story of William Ayers, just now beginning to appear. And it appears to be an apple many don't want to see bobbing to the surface, if judged by the "doth protest too much" reaction.

Perusing a candidate's background is what the public might call their own "vetting" process, just as the candidates do when searching for running mates. Suggesting that race has anything to do with the Ayers question is absurd and dangerous. And suggesting likewise on the experience question is equally absurd. Imagine Colin Powell as the first black presidential nominee, then imagine some of his peers and the Democrats trying to assert that he didn't have the requisite experience. Put another way, questioning Obama's experience isn't a racial issue, it's a skill-set for president issue.

Obama was asked in 2004 whether he might consider running for president and he answered quite rationally at the time, saying he didn't want to do something before he was comfortable. Whether his mind was changed by Party bigwigs or by his own visions of grandeur isn't clear (perhaps Time will do an expose like they did with McCain) but the reality is we have a man on the verge of running the most powerful nation on earth with only marginal credentials, propped up mainly by flowery words, hate for the previous administration and by the fact he's not a white man. And that's just not enough.

Americans should be proud. We've come a long way. White Americans should not be afraid of a possible black president and should take some pause when reading the litany of oft-scandalous and unverified emails flowing into their in-boxes. If they are "too good to check" perhaps there's a reason.

But black Americans and white liberals should remember that getting in the race doesn't mean a guaranteed victory. This isn't an EEO issue nor a popularity contest, well, unless we're to believe King's dream was for men to be judged on mere symbolism, not substance.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Another Clinton to be heard from

Another sexual moment for Olbermann and Matthews with tingles all around. Sorry for that imagery. But McCain's gotta be thinking, "all these years I crafted myself as a maverick and this is what I get?"

A few observations on the cheap...

Pretty good speech as speeches go and he did his best to build up Obama. I've seen better, though.

He said cronyism was responsible for Katrina? Hopefully Nagin's checking the diesel in those buses right now.

Bill reminded us they said he was too inexperienced as well in 1992, leaving the impression that sweetness and light soon followed, which ignores what happened in 1994, and why. Besides, Slick had executive experience as a governor for many years, which is not the same as Obama's bored stint in the Illinois State Senate. But if, as Michael Dukakis strongly stated afterwards, that Obama was great in that role then why did Hillary order the 3 AM commercial? Bill didn't answer that question, either.

The laugher was his definition of when America went down the crapper--2001--when Bush took the White House and the GOP still had Congress (before Jeffords went Indy in May). How many thought he was about to say "then 9/11 happened" but instead, he never mentioned it at all, as if it was just an inconsequential blip.

Vintage closing--Obama will bring back unity and "hope", ahem, reminding everyone who invented hope first (Huckabee will soon appear on cue) but all McCain has to do is keep running those commercials where Hillary and Biden are endorsing him and bashing Obama's experience and force the Dems to confirm what we all know, that words mean nothing.

MORE 8/27/08

Here's some vintage Bill Clinton (well, from several months ago) talking about McCain. Here's another. Clinton was trumping McCain when nobody else was, which raised an eyebrow here at the time (wondering what he was up to). Expect these to surface if they haven't already.

As to Clinton saying that Obama has about as much experience as he did in 1992, well, here's an Obama video that shows otherwise...

And there's this..

So, just where is the 'fairy tale'?

MORE 8/27/08

Matthews and Olbermann are wondering why the Dems didn't go after Cheney harder. Perhaps this explains it..

"This wasn't just some Cheney pipe dream.."

MORE 8/28/08

Another view of the campaign floor:
8:04 - The convention floor erupts as the big TV screen shows . . . OMIGOD . . . JOE BIDEN! He's HERE! The transformation of Joe Biden is one of the best story lines at this convention. A week ago, people would sprint from the room when Joe entered for fear he would start a sentence that might not end until Halloween. Now, suddenly, he is a towering stud muffin of charisma
Gotta love Dave, whatever his politics might be. And with the hurricane season cranking up his preparedness rules are also worth repeating.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hillary Time

Hillary started off by showing obligatory support for Obama. Then she did what strong candidates do--she bashed the current occupant of the White House while cementing the Clinton legacy.

stream of consciousness..

Hillary talking about making government an institution for public good. That's a good one.

A nation of immigrants and laws. Is she saying Dems should go after illegals?

She asks, 'were you in it for..'. But she didn't answer that question herself.

Good times are impossible without a Democrat in the White House.

Can't stop the problem of global warming without going commie on the oil cos.

Workers, workers, workers, workers world.

'We did it before'. Well yeah, if you don't count that Contract with America stuff and all the ignored terrorism. Sure.

Health Care...translation, 'enact my plan, Uhbama".

End the war in Iraq 'responsibly'. Exactly what the hell does that mean?

Greasy Joe.. he's tough. McCain? He's a friend and colleague but he's no longer a maverick with that Bush suit. He hates health care, children and he's a chauvinist pig. But otherwise, a patriot.

OK, the Twin Cities joke was pretty good. Revenge for Janet Reno? Nah, not enough.


She's come a long way. Politically, she's a quick learner and exudes confidence and leadership, even when revising or sugar coating history.

Olbermann says it was a home run way out of the park, but he would. Perhaps he had a sexual experience along the way? Fox was less impressed, as might be expected, saying she didn't go far enough in supporting the One. Me, I'd call it a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth of a game she was trailing 8-6, just clearing the left field wall, only because she's lived to fight another day.

Camp McCain? They are reminding everyone that she once said Barack wasn't ready to lead, and wasn't convincing in overriding that premise. For the record, the McCain commercials showing her and Biden praising McCain when they were facing off with Obama are devastating.

Flight Delay City

Major failure of one of the FAA's two centers for processing flight plans, NADIN/Atlanta. They have a parallel site in Salt Lake City, which is taking the load for both, slowing everything down. No terrorism - the same kind of thing happened last year. They just need better backups.

The FAA's normal flight status website is overwhelmed with web traffic as of this writing, just when people need it the most. NATCA, the FAA's controllers union, also has a delays website, which doesn't seem to be faring much better as to information. Flights can be tracked free online here. Good luck out there.

UPDATE ...from Atlanta..

Monday, August 25, 2008


She's not a gifted public speaker, but she got her points across.. faith, family, God, loves America, average woman, not a shrill monster. As Juan Williams said on Fox, it was also an historic moment from the perspective of minorities in this country, something not possible in any other country but America. And she touched on that.

But she avoided the proud comment. Saying she loves America really doesn't do it--she could love the country but still not be proud of it until Barack started bringing out the voters.

As to Obama, what's he doing in St. Loi, Kansas City hanging out with some family and not at the convention? A Secret Service thing, perhaps?

Man Jumps from Sixth Floor, Survives

Subsequently authorities went to the Cherry Creek Hotel to contact an associate of Gartrell's. But that man, who was wanted on numerous warrants, jumped out of a sixth floor hotel window. Law enforcement sources say the man broke an ankle in the fall and was captured moments later.
Incredible. He must have landed in a trash dumpster or something. Good thing they caught him before he was able to do something horrible to Obama.

Saving the World Better

Sayeth Queen Nancy the I:
"We've got a planet to save. Nothing less is at stake other than civilization as we know it today,"
And they accuse Bush of scaremongering over terrorism! But here's a question for her highness--isn't John McCain a believer in man-made global warming that only man can change?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Changing Change

With Biden onboard it's apparently time for Frank Rich to define the new way forward for the hopeandchange express:
Is a man who is just discovering the Internet qualified to lead a restoration of America’s economic and educational infrastructures? Is the leader of a virtually all-white political party America’s best salesman and moral avatar in the age of globalization? Does a bellicose Vietnam veteran who rushed to hitch his star to the self-immolating overreaches of Ahmad Chalabi, Pervez Musharraf and Mikheil Saakashvili have the judgment to keep America safe?

R.I.P., “Change We Can Believe In.” The fierce urgency of the 21st century demands Change Before It’s Too Late.
Behold, the new problem ahead. There's no reason to fear AQ attacking our soft economic underbelly anymore, no sir, it's China we have to worry about now, made clear by their tally of Olympic medals and the vast numbers of shipboard containers heading our way. Even climate change pales in comparison (especially since China is producing the most CO2 pollution these days) to the plight of American's economic might if we continue our current failed capitalistic leadership. And we need an education system to point our youngsters in that new direction.

How to win? Rich believes it can't be done with the old experienced white guy, rather, we must elect the unqualified black guy because he understands text messages and isn't white, which is key to fooling the global masses into believing once again in the greatness of America, which is key. No surprise, it's symbolism over substance 101, right out of the Howard Dean Democrat Party playbook.

Disregard the fact George Bush appointed more minorities in his cabinet than any former president--none were liberals or internationalists, meaning they were only faux minorities. His argument almost lends credence to that Jack Wheeler opinion piece going around right now in email, although Wheeler's use of race tends to trigger the theme song from Deliverance while Rich's vision of white GOP devils tends to cue 'We Are The World'.

So how is Joe Biden part of this? In one word, Iraq. He was for it before he was against it, but it's becoming more of a moot point daily as casualties don't make the news. But do the Dems really think they get away with calling someone who voted yea on the war resolution an 'expert' who'll bolster the main candidate's resume when the main candidate himself defeated Hillary largely based on his judgment to oppose the war? Apparently they do! It's now the stupid economy, stupid, unless Russia attacks someone else, in which case it'll be George Sidney McSame's fault as explained to us by Joe Biden, foreign policy expert.

Yet as the convention approaches there's a nagging feeling the Dems could be in a much better position. They'll enter the show with an empty suit and loose cannon in the starring role when they could have had her Majesty and the first black VP, a scenario perhaps guaranteeing a 16 year domination of the Lincoln Bedroom if the donations played out right. Alas, it's too late now. We presume.

State of the Sponsorship

Scientists at Sandia National Labs have been freed to discuss their detective work on the anthrax mystery and have elaborated on the lack of a silica coating to the spores, suggesting it tends to rule out state sponsorship. Not really.

Indy researcher Ed Lake has always been a lone nut proponent and tends to bristle at those who don't share his view. The following blockquote is his reaction to an email he received from an expert regards the Sandia silica conclusion:
Unfortunately, this is one of those occasions where general terms and suggestions may be more appropriate than universal truths, since the statement seems to have given license to all the people who were previously arguing that the anthrax was weaponized to now argue that the lack of weaponization means nothing, and they can still argue that there was a "state sponsor" behind the attacks. Or al Qaeda could have done it.
While his reasoning is sound (some want it both ways) the spore coating scenario really only made sense if someone stole American or Russian powder (the bentonite-Iraq story was shot down by the White House early on) or if AQ was advertising they'd figured out the process, which was near-impossible.

It's actually worse to think it wasn't weaponized. We'd have to change 'Axis of Evil' to 'Axis of Idiots' to think one of them would have attacked America a week after 9/11 using their own material fingerprint. As the emailer alludes, the lack of a coating doesn't rule out a state from sponsoring a proxy terrorist group by supplying necessary primary ingredients and know-how, leaving their own mark off the product, which has always left AQ in the picture.

That doesn't take Ivins out of the picture--he still looks pretty darn guilty. But on the same token, why would he leave his own material fingerprint by using the RMR-1029 supply then send the FBI a sample of it? Being the killer he'd have known it could be genetically tied back to his stock, even if sent in the wrong format. We'd have to believe he was either overly arrogant and nearly insane or in the least impulsively stupid, which the FBI has been trying hard to prove of late. But some of those constructs also apply to terrorists.

But back to that pesky state sponsorship thing. We know proxies and even lone wolf terrorists like anniversaries. McVeigh blew up the Murrah Federal building on April 19, 1995 on the one year anniversary of Waco. But how many knew April 19 was also the anniversary of the creation of UNSCOM to enforce UN Resoltion 687 in disarming Saddam Hussein?

Here's a video that discusses anniversaries (via Jack Cashill). Warning, it's somewhat truther-ish in music and overtones--just watch for the dates:

He left a few out. Yousef entered America in 1992 with a fake Iraqi passport. It had a date stamp of September 11, 1990 on it (refer to Mylroie's "The War Against America" page 53). Why use a fake Iraqi passport with 9/11/90 when he knew Iraqi nationals needed a visa to enter the US, which he didn't have? Andy McCarthy believes it because he wasn't very bright, yet he made his way past immigration and later set off the bomb and almost knocked down the towers (where would Clinton have retaliated for that?).

Evidently he favored that date because years later federal prisoner Yousef sued the Bureau of Prisons for what he called "draconian restrictions" at ADX Florence. The lawsuit was filed on 9/11/98.

The lefties might call these coincidences 'neocon fantasies' and OK, perhaps they are. But the folks who are 100 percent invested in Iraq being harmless and inconsequential to the GWoT--like Barack Obama--will never compromise on this issue. They simply can't. On the other hand, Joe Biden was once a major advocate of regime change and voted yea for the use of force before he started blaming Bush for worldwide terrorism. Maybe the verbal volcano will spurt out some kind of inconvenient truth along the way if pressed regards this issue. Could be fun to watch.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Side Tracks

I was never a big fan of the late John Denver but I liked this song and I sure like his mountains. He was an avid golfer as well.

Appropriate for this week, if you think about it.

In the same kind of musical vein, here's the LRB..

I'm certain the opening piano scene is live, or "real", but it appears they spliced in a lip-synch thereafter. There's a true live version on YT with Wayne Nelson singing lead in a later version of the group sans original member Glenn Shorrock.

It's so, Joe

Obama has his Cheney, although a hipper version. Folks will be pulling Biden clips from You Tube and this one will probably get a lot of play:

Yes, who can forget his "colorful cuss word reaction" to Bush's veiled suggestion at the Knesset that Obama might be a terrorist appeaser in the mold of Europeans during the Hitler days?

Of course, if you keep listening to the rest of that diatribe you'll be treated to a nice rasher of boilerplate bullshiite about how Bush increased terrorism through his policy of going after terrorists. So while he's a funny guy and one prone to shooting off his mouth at times, he's still a liberal Democrat.

His quick wit and relaxed style will be a natural for late-night talk show circuit but at the same time, it's also a liability. Wonder if they'll duct tape him after the convention, to some degree? Whatever the case, I kinda like Joe Biden and so do a lot of other bitter clingers. Which is probably the point.

Parting thought--what's left for the Clintons, aside from their roll call hopes? Revenge?

MORE 8/23/08

Will there be at least one non-Senator in the club when all is said and done? McCain might as well pick Graham or Lieberman now and be done with it.

But seriously, what does the Biden pick say about Maverick's decision? Obama had no choice but to pick a more experienced second man similar to Bush 43 in 2000, which ironically makes him now seem even more inexperienced. And unlike Bush's pick of Cheney--a quiet operator who spent at least part of his tenure at a secret location, Biden is hard to duct tape. Impossible might be the better word.

Everyone knew the RNC was going to ram the Biden clips down our throats this fall [debate clips of his bashing the unilateral attack plan for Pakistan and the on the job training comment] but since he's part of the team their effectiveness has been muted--Obama saw the light. More of his superior judgment on display.

Conversely, the conventional wisdom is that McCain needs a younger more vibrant sidekick to fill out the ticket to alleviate any age fears (McCain has the experience thing locked up). Whomever it is, this person will soon be debating with the older, experienced Biden on matters foreign and financial. Obama had an foreign policy experience problem--he fixed it with Biden. McCain has a financial experience problem and hasn't energized the GOP base--Romney is the obvious fix, like it or not.


Obama is running as the outsider bent on fixing a broken Washington, but Romney actually IS an outsider who ran on fixing Washington. Team McCain could then say "we're actually more outsider than Obama", pointing to McCain's willingness to cross the aisle while Obama sat stoically on his own side for 2 years, and Romney's vast experience in the business world while Biden only pontificates about it in the Senate chambers. I can easily see Romney flummoxing Biden in a debate, pointing to his business acumen trumping theory, etc.


Hard to find a better example of Biden's fieriness than this talk to firefighters in 2006, whereupon he predicts--without equivocation--a dirty bomb attack on America, which will be blamed on Republicans because they wanted tax cuts for the rich.

Or how about this one, Biden's position on abortion:
Q: Do you believe that life begins at conception?

A: I am prepared to accept my church's view. I think it's a tough one. I have to accept that on faith. That's why the late-term abortion ban, where there's clearly viability.
That church would the Roman Catholic Church, but in other words his answer was just like McCain's with more nuance. And just when Obama was facing those nasty allegations about his cold-hearted position on the infant protection act thing.

Friday, August 22, 2008

To Veep or not to Veep

Who's it gonna be?

Political oddsmakers are ruling out Hillary, which sorta makes sense--why would they give her a floor vote otherwise? Of course, naming her VP would eliminate the floor vote, wouldn't it? Neither Nader nor Rove are lightweights in the prediction department and have both picked her, so we'll see. Politico describes her as being dissed by Uh-bama's vetting department, so maybe we'll see more of those famous tears. Or maybe this is just more BS diversion, like somebody floating Kerry's name last week. Where is the leftist outrage over all these secretive secrets!?

Drudge is saying Bayh, presumably not Birch, while earlier people were floating the name of Chet Edwards of Texas whom I know very little about. Google and You Tube know plenty, though, and a quick search indicates he was against the surge and once advocated we build schools rather than more jails.

Stock liberal rhetoric perhaps but anytime they mention schools the name of Ayers floats to mind for some reason. A more inquiring mind might take note that the video was sponsored by an outfit called the "first five years fund" who advocates early childhood education and which is run by ex journalist Cornelia Grumman, a Harvard grad and Chicago inhabitant, and soon-to-be writer for HuffPo's new Chicago edition. Education always sounds fine--it's the curriculum ya gotta watch.

But if it's Bayh, which has always made sense due to the Midwestern values he brings to the table, then announcing Friday evening (or Saturday morning) would suggest they are low-keying his running mate. If Google memory serves, Bayh advocated taking out Saddam when Saddam was still our enemy, including this morsel:
It is an honor and privilege for me to join today with my distinguished colleagues, Senator Warner, Senator McCain, and my good friend, Senator Lieberman, in support of this resolution granting the President of the United States the authority to defend our country.
That opens an interesting dichotomy with the One's superior position of judgment on the matter but it does kinda support the low-key thing.

Whatever, it's a sure thing that with the upcoming concert, er, convention and VP announcement the fledgling Ayers Annenberg story will be knocked off the mainstream press's story planning boards once and for all, only to return in September as the racist smearmongering du jour.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

End Game

The New York Times, reporting today on new scientific revelations about the anthrax:
By late 2005 to 2006 it became clear that just eight of the 1,070 samples collected included all four morphs. And one of the samples was the ancestor of the other seven. The seven samples came from Fort Detrick and one other laboratory in the United States, F.B.I. scientists said at the Monday news conference, held at F.B.I. headquarters.
The Washington Post, commenting on the latest updates on the case in September 2006:
"There is no significant signature in the powder that points to a domestic source," said one scientist who has extensively studied the tan, talc-like material that paralyzed much of Washington in the deadliest bioterrorism attack in U.S. history.
Still a little strange, but maybe they were trying to spook Ivins into reacting. Why though, if they were making such good progress in the lab in 2006, was the leader of Amerithrax, Richard Lambert, transferred? Grassley asked some questions then, too.

Anyway, the scientific revelations released today will satisfy some while offering more fodder to others. The slow trickle is cooling off some of the conspiracists and even Greenwald seems to have curtailed the chase based on his last few columns. Maybe that's because it's obvious Ivins had time to make the trip, was skilled enough to not leave traces in his car or home (or kill himself), had emotional issues and was a little weird to boot. 9/11 was a traumatic event for many, and maybe it was enough to snap him. Perhaps he wasn't trying to kill anyone, just scare the nation into a preparedness frenzy based on what he knew of the threat.

Thing is, today's information didn't shine any light on that possible motive nor did it seem to link the attack anthrax to Ivins' Fort Detrick lab. One of Senator Grassley's recent questions was whether it was possible any of the substance fell into the wrong hands--it would seem from today's story that if any RMR-1029 material ever unofficially walked out of that lab it would have displayed the same key mutations (and a former employee has admitted such a thing was possible).

But it's rather amusing that as this story begins to fade away the Times remains vigilant while showing nowhere near the same curiosity about Obams's ties with an unrepentant domestic terrorist, one who gives interviews with socialists sitting in front of Che Guevara flags. Wonder which end game Times staffers like Nic "I'll apologize to Hatfill real soon" Kristof believe in? Doubtful it's the Ross Getman Islamic terrorist version.

After all, their former run-amok expert on germs and Islamic terrorism was a friend of another world-class microbiologist who 'committed suicide', former UNSCOM inspector Dr. David Kelly. Miller was cut adrift about the same time the Times turned on Bush by giving up the terrorist surveillance program. One could assume they might have strong feelings about all this, especially after Miller's starring role in the Plame affair.

Speaking of starring roles, the Miller character will soon be appear on the silver screen portrayed by the lovely Kate Beckinsale in the film "Nothing But the Truth", which debuts in Canada in September. Most of the flick was filmed here in Memphis, and rumor has it a local blogger might even make a cameo.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Somebody Check Cafferty's Kool Aid

Yes, it's CNN. Yes, it's Jack Cafferty. But it looks like fun to push back on this thing:
Russia invades Georgia and President Bush goes on vacation. Our president has spent one-third of his entire two terms in office either at Camp David, Maryland, or at Crawford, Texas, on vacation.
Only fake presidents can take vacations in Hawaii while Russia invades Georgia and get away with it--real ones are always on call as Hillary noted in her 3 AM ad. Cafferty knows this, which can only mean he's fallen so far in the tank for Obama that his mind is gone. Presidents need to occasionally venture out of DC, even if it's to play golf or grab photo ops on a yacht. For Jack's sake, here's a photo of the vacationing president vacationing:

President George W. Bush delivers a statement on the situation in Georgia with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Crawford, Texas, Saturday, Aug. 16, 2008. White House photo by Eric Draper

There's more. Summarizing, Bush should have seen 9/11 coming in August just like everyone else in government, like Richard Clarke. Damn him. After all, he had that August PDB to work with (trutherism?). Too bad he never looked back on past PDBs while he was waiting for the missing W keys to be replaced. Guess he really was intellectually incurious. But Cafferty's target wasn't Dumbya, he built that strawman to tear down McCain:
It occurs to me that John McCain is as intellectually shallow as our current president. When asked what his Christian faith means to him, his answer was a one-liner. "It means I'm saved and forgiven."
True he's no C.S. Lewis but that's basically being saved in a nutshell. Some tend to mistake fancy words for intelligence, going as far as seeing Bush as an incurious moron slacker who caused a hurricane after starting a war over an attack he could have prevented by not going to Crawford, Texas before the attack. And that John McSame is just like same, and a phony Christian to boot!

After reading a column like that it's not hard to imagine Mr. Cafferty at some point chanting 'O bom A' to the master among the European throngs. As if not enough, CNN gave us a two-fer with a same day profile of the man for whom change can't happen fast enough. Sharp contrast to the black hole known as the missing Annenberg Challenge years. Oops, can we use that term anymore?

Ivins update II

The FBI held a technical session at its HQ this afternoon to discuss the anthrax whodunit in more scientific detail. The media was invited, sans cameras, for what that was worth.

The news clarified last Friday's New York Times report that said, seemingly contrary to previous reports and the affidavits themselves, that Ivins's initial sample actually did match the evidence anthrax. Not quite.

According to today's session the first sample indeed did match the evidence but was destroyed by the FBI because it didn't follow the protocol that Ivins himself helped to structure. Since it was not in the same format as the thousands of other samples under subpoena they claimed it wouldn't be admissible. Before destruction they sent a copy to a scientist at Northern Arizona University, then promptly forgot about it.

Ivins claimed to have known a few months after the attack that the evidence had similar qualities to his flask of RMR-1029. The FBI claims he was lying. By now saying they destroyed the first batch it takes away any possibility they could have told him or any other scientists three months after the attacks.

The fact the first batch was a match means he took a great risk by sending what he knew was the culprit anthrax to the FBI, even with incorrect format. We know it was viable because later it came back to bite him through DNA testing--he would have known that was possible. Incredibly risky, but we don't know what was being said around the water cooler at the time. Wonder if that April 2002 sample is still around for some independent testing?

It's interesting the stories say the FBI learned their error (destroying the sample) three years after 2002. Still somewhat confusing. When the Feds went to visit Ivins on March 31 2005 they were grilling him on why his April 2002 submission didn't match his RMR-1029 flask they had seized, not on why his first and second submissions in 2002 didn't match. According to reports they couldn't have known such a thing at the time because the NAU batch wasn't discovered until a year later in 2006, unless I've missed something, a decent bet with this mess.

Ironically, only nine days before the March 31 face-off an anthrax scare occurred at the Pentagon, hardly publicized by any major media:
Harris also said the anthrax in the initial samples was the same strain as the organism used during the first anthrax attack via U.S. Mail facilities in the fall of 2001. This was not surprising, however, he said, because it is the most common strain.
The material was tested at USAMRIID, who found nothing, but showed a positive when tested by a contractor who had never experienced a false positive in thousands of previous tests.

Greenwald and his co-conspiracists will probably claim the destroyed evidence was some kind of ruse after the fact to explain why Ivins had to be lying during the following conversations:
As indicated in previous paragraphs, the RMR- 1029 submission provided by Dr. Ivins in April 2002 did not match genetically or phenotypically. Therefore, neither SA Steele nor any other member of the Task Force could make a comparison between the Ames strain used in the mailing and RMR 1029, until after the June 17,2004 submission and subsequent laboratory analysis.

When interviewed again on May 7,2007, Dr. Ivins told investigators that, within three months after the letter attacks, he was aware that his stock of anthrax, RMR-1029, exhibited unique morphological similarities to the anthrax-used in the attacks, and that he allegedly learned this information from three coworkers at USAMRTID who participated in the forensic analysis of the anthrax in the letters. Each of those three coworkers was interviewed by the Task Force, and deny disclosing such information to Dr. Ivins.
We know someone had the February 2002 sample the entire time and it's not clear whether the botched sample could have been tested before being destroyed. That leaves open the possibility that although perhaps inadmissible, someone still tested it and could have told Ivins as he indicated.

Greenwald might also claim the seizure of RMR-1029 from Ivins's lab in 2004, which was tested off-site by the Navy and determined to be a match to the evidence anthrax, cannot be trusted without independent verification. They may also ask why the Feds would have needed Ivins's 2002 initial botched sample to crack the case when they had control of his entire flask of RMR-1029 (which the 2002 sample was based on) as early as 2004. Overall it seems somewhat odd they wouldn't have indicted him in 2005 based on the severity of the situation (WMDs). So far we've been told they were waiting to end the Hatfill defamation cases. As good an answer as any, I suppose.

MORE 8/19/08

Frankly, after re-reading the convoluted scribblings above I'm reminded of when Obama lost his train of thought on stage one time. This investigation seems to be going around in overlapping circles with bits of evidence being sprung on the public and press in little spurts, sometimes seeming to contradict itself. But frankly that's a drawback of speculating based on media reports. Even some trained microbiologists are falling into this trap, some perhaps because they don't want it to be a lone wolf--or one of their own. Just gotta be Cheney.

Like Spertzel, I thought it was Iraq or AQ. But after digesting this WaPo report and the ones from yesterday Ivins looks a lot worse, and my questions have narrowed:

1. They are saying the silicon was basically an environmental contaminant of the lab when the product was made. Was it in the first batch, and if not, why not? The labs were supposedly the same.

2. Are we going to get a timeline on when they determined RMR-1029 was the suspect source? When did they narrow it down to eight batches and two labs when they supposedly didn't have Ivins sample until seizing it in 2004.

3. Was Ivins really stupid enough to think he could use stock from his own lab, knowing his extra time spent there before the mailings would be highly incriminating as would the substance itself? This is why they've provided the emails, but at the same time he was together enough to be added to the investigation team in 2001 and win an award in 2003.

4. What effect did the Hatfill lawsuits have on whether and when Ivins was targeted for indictment?

5. As to the alleged coming indictment, we were first told it was imminent when the story broke, along with mention of the death penalty. Monday's briefing said they're months to even a year from getting all their forensic techniques accepted via peer review. Were they really that close to an indictment after all?

6. Was the 2005 Pentagon anthrax scare ever confirmed one way or the other?

7. How did he handle the letters during transit? Is it that easy?

8. Why are they protecting the name of the other lab?

9. What happened to Hatfill? Is there a book forthcoming? An interview?

I can easily imagine a scenario where Bruce Ivins could have committed this crime. He had weak motive, an unstable personality, worked for Red Cross (bringing in a preparedness angle), had access to almost everything he needed and the knowledge required to do it. He doesn't have a rock solid alibi for either mailing window, and has no rational explanation for why he was in the lab after hours before each mailing. He liked to mail things from distant post offices to throw people off, and also liked to take long drives for no reason. He messed up his samples after having helped FBI set up their evidence lab. And he spiraled down towards the end under growing pressure and better genetic testing.

Inconsequential items= the franked envelopes (anyone could have purchased); the Florida letter they never found (probably tossed and currently buried in the dump--nobody knew there was an anthrax threat at that point); the threats to the social worker (he was distraught and paranoid, so he could have figured people were trying to frame him if he wasn't guilty).

For what it's worth, Ed Lake still has the most rational coverage of all of this mess, quite a contrast to the sock puppet.

But I think it's important to remember one thing. Even if Ivins settles in as the likely culprit it doesn't mean there is no external threat, or never was. I'm still wondering what happened to Mubarak al-Duri, bin Laden's "WMD procurement" person according to the 9/11 Commission. Interview in 2001, but no rendition, only tracking. Weird.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Obama's Pay Grade

To recap:

Using a tired government cop-out reply to answer this question = not smart. That's why he quickly cut off Warren and rolled into Obamaspeak, distorting and contorting his views then saying he can't really argue with those who believe life begins at conception. Like McCain.

It's a complicated issue indeed but for one to support abortion on demand it would seem morally required to believe that human rights begin at birth. Otherwise...

By the way, who's above a president's pay grade?

Flag on Obama's Plane, Part Deux

This is part of the ongoing silly saga of the American flag being removed from Obama's campaign jet. For some quick background, here's the first post, which pointed out that ALL North American Airlines charter jets have flags on their tails so 'removing' it was a natural part of repainting the plane into official Obama campaign livery. No story there.

But having just checked Obama's 'fightthesmears' website a follow-up post is in order. Obama has completely distorted the controversy, stating the charge as follows:
Barack Obama has been attacked for not having an American Flag on his campaign airplane.
Not exactly. He was attacked for removing the huge US flag waving on the tail fin. Here's the response:
Barack Obama does indeed have an American flag displayed on the outside of this campaign airplane.
Here's their picture proof:

Well OK, he's got a tiny flag next to the N number but this is really a "whoopdee do" moment. Most US commercial aircraft have a small flag somewhere on the fuselage, evidenced by this United 757, this American 757, this Delta 757, and this Northwest 757. That's almost like bragging that it still has a paint job.

The real response was that all North American Airlines planes have large tail flags but they probably didn't want to invite question as to why he felt the need to replace it with the Big O while opting to downsize the flag to a postage stamp, so they're just saying "it's still there." Crafty, these politicians are.

By the way, as to the incident in July where Obama's charted Midwest MD-81 declared an emergency the FAA initially says it didn't, chalk it up as yet another embarrassment for a government agency. But Brian Ross's dramatic description of controllers asking for "souls onboard and fuel" is really nothing unusual, since it's SOP anytime a plane declares an emergency. And the controllers almost certainly knew Obama was one of those souls onboard.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Side Tracks

This photo struck a chord:

I grew up with a father who loved the King and NASCAR, probably favoring Palmer more than Petty as the years passed. As a kid I built model cars of number 43 and his challengers (Cale, Buddy, Bobby). It was only later that I'd come to appreciate the swashbuckling on-course charisma of Arnold Palmer. A lot of golf balls met their demise in trying to emulate the man. Here's an ode to another king of that time, with a stock car theme to boot..

Smoke in the Eyes

One of the more incriminating items from the FBI's original document dump against Dr. Ivins was their contention he submitted erroneous material from his lab in 2002 when they requested samples from his RMR-1029 control flask. This is now down in flames.

The New York Times reported on Friday about a closed-door session the FBI had with selected government officials this past week where the following was announced:
But F.B.I. officials acknowledged at the closed-door briefing, according to people who were there, that the sample Dr. Ivins gave them in 2002 did in fact come from the same strain used in the attacks, but, because of limitations in the bureau’s testing methods and Dr. Ivins’s failure to provide the sample in the format requested, the F.B.I. did not realize that it was a correct match until three years later.
This was a very interesting revelation depending on when the "three years later" actually began. If it was 2002, discovered in 2005, then the evidence provided in this 2007 affidavit appears to be rather outdated:
On March 31, 2005 Dr. Ivins was informed that the slants of RMR-1029 material he provided to the FBIR on April 10, 2002 were found to be genetically distinct from the anthrax contained in the attack letters, and from the anthrax material recovered by the FBI from the RMR-1029 flask seized from Dr. Ivins' lab on April 7, 2004. Dr. Ivins was confronted with this and was asked to explain why he did not submit the genetically positive sample which was clearly responsive. Dr. Ivins was adamant in his response that there had been no omission from his submission, and he insisted that he had provided RMR-1029 to the FBI in his second submission of samples in April 2002.
If "three years later" actually means the discovery was made in 2008 that takes the postal inspector off the hook but still doesn't explain why they would release erroneous information to the public via the document dump.

Either way it certainly makes Ivins look a little better but it doesn't exonerate him. In 2007 he reportedly told the FBI that scientists investigating the case shortly after the attacks had told him the attack anthrax was genetically similar to his own RMR-1029 flask. This was before he was asked to provide a sample. The individuals named later denied telling Ivins but they were probably working under non-disclosure agreements and wouldn't necessarily want to admit a violation.

One can imagine a scenario where the FBI was trying to test Dr. Ivins by requesting a sample only to find it did match, then later trying to trip him up by announcing it didn't. Whatever the case Ivins seemed to know a switch would implicate him and therefore fingered an FBI special agent for giving him the info followed two years later by mentioning the insider scientists. Why wouldn't he have mentioned them in 2005? Maybe he didn't want to get friends in trouble. By 2007 the heat was high and maybe he felt less restrained out of sheer desperation.

The FBI appears to be in a hard spot, now forced to backpeddle probably because they know the scientific evidence being demanded by the press and skeptics will prove the two samples did indeed match in 2003, which was not evident in the affidavits and not explained with their release. They will be providing this scientific evidence in a briefing this week.

A strong scientific presentation might explain why Ivins spiraled downhill these past two years as he realized they were no longer blinded by his science while also explaining the initial confusion between the samples.

But an unpersuasive presentation will only further sully the credibility of the world's premier law enforcement agency, one already tarred by fumbled cases like El Sayyid Nosair, Richard Jewell, Ruby Ridge, and even TWA 800.

It might also open the possibility that Ross Getman might be closer to correct about the letters than Ed Lake. Getman seems to believe the crime was an inside job alright, but the perps were not government scientists, they were jihadi spies who had infiltrated our bio-lab network.

That could rationally explain the FBI's passion to finger lone wolf scientists with restricted access to high-level containment facilities (therefore limiting the field) rather than opening the door for any well-trained microbiologist operating in their basement (here or overseas). Such a move would be completely understandable given the circumstances and stakes involved but the bottom line is that nobody will ever be completely satisfied unless the government can put somebody at those mailboxes.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A strawman named Corsi

Jerome Corsi might be a tad nutty and prone to believing fantastical tales but who can argue with this statement from Joseph Farah, his boss at World Net Daily:
Isn't it interesting how Jerome Corsi has received more scrutiny from the Big Media in the last 24 hours than Barack Obama has received in his entire political career?
About right. Tom Maguire has been asking questions about Obama's early relationship with Bill Flag Stomper Ayers for months now with only an echo in return.

Obama's 40 page rebuttal of Corsi's book seems a little overboard considering how many Americans couldn't care less. It's not hard to imagine a strategy that puffs Corsi into a giant strawman the size of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man with the entire Republican Party stuck on him like glue in an effort to knock the whole thing down once and for all. The answers to any remaining legitimate questions would go down with it in the ball of fire.

We already know the MSM won't dig into the closet of any Democrat until forced at gunpoint or by the National Enquirer, so they'll be there with bells for the One. It may already be occurring with John Freaking Kerry being mentioned as a possible VP candidate the very same week Corsi's book hit the press--there's no way in hell Obama would pick that dude as a running mate, in this life or the next (although it would make for an interesting internecine battle if McCain were to pick Lieberman).

No, Kerry's most likely being trotted out to bring more light to the Swift Boat side of Corsi's resume and will be jammed back in the bottle before the election only to reappear in Barack's cabinet somewhere. If Obama loses he still gets his shot at revenge.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Exit Strategy, Stage Left

It's hard to find a story full of more BS that the "Hillary's name will be placed in nomination at the convention" tale being told today. They put out a joint statement that conveyed the following, minus the PR happy talk:
we're unified as long as Hillary's ego is properly stroked
Never mind that Her supporters have threatened to walk out of the convention after her speech on Tuesday night out of protest. Imagine the MSM trying to spin that, perhaps hiring John Edwards as a commentator to help explain it.

And never mind that such a stunt might give more people a reason to watch til the bitter end. If there's even the tiniest scintilla of a chance the super delegates might turn on Obama during a roll call vote it would be the definition of must-see TV. Of course, there's not one scintilla of a chance that such a thing might happen or Obama wouldn't have agreed to it.

All in all, a face-saving exit deal for Clinton guaranteed to placate her angry supporters and con them and America into watching a rigged vote so they can hammer home more propaganda along the way. But then again, I could be wrong.

That was then..

Back in 2006 the WaPo published an update story about the Amerithrax investigation, which included the following:
Moreover, scientists say, the particular strain of anthrax used in the attacks has turned to out to be a less significant clue than first believed. The highly virulent Ames strain was first isolated in the United States and was the basis for the anthrax weapons formerly created by the United States. The use of the Ames strain in the 2001 attack was initially seen as a strong clue linking the terrorist to the U.S. biodefense network.

But the more the FBI investigated, the more ubiquitous the Ames strain seemed, appearing in labs around the world including nations of the former Soviet Union.

"Ames was available in the Soviet Union," said former Soviet bioweapons scientist Sergei Popov, now a biodefense expert at George Mason University. "It could have come from anywhere in the world."
Reading the article again, especially this quote, "there is no significant signature in the powder that points to a domestic source," said one scientist, after knowing what we know now sounds a little startling and suggests a couple of possibilities.

In 2006 the Feds had just changed the guard and the new chief wanted a fresh look at the case. They had to know Ivins was a leading suspect at that point, so perhaps this story was mild disinformation attempting to shake the trees and see if anything would fall out. The converse would make the current story fingering Ivins as disinformation, but read this affidavit before rendering final judgment on the FBI, which is perhaps the most incriminating circumstantial evidence they had and certainly very interesting to a jury.

MORE 8/15/08

Ed Lake's anthraxinvestigation site is an interesting repository, containing many old MSM stories in their entirety that don't appear on the web anymore. One such article is from June 2002, where Barbara Hatch Rosenberg, Hatfill's leading detractor, mentioned that it had been known in 2002 the anthrax was genetically linked to Fort Detrick's stock.

Why is this important? Because the FBI accused Ivins of lying in 2005 and again in 2007 when he claimed to know the RMR-1029 flask was linked with the attacks. They claimed he couldn't have known since the first sample he sent to FBI for testing in 2002--April 2002 to be exact--did not match the evidence anthrax. Apparently they didn't inform him of this until 2005 at which point he adamantly denied it, claiming several scientists in the investigation told him his flask was close to a match only several months after the event (they denied it). Odd that Hatch-Rosenberg also seemed to be getting the same info in 2002, meaning Ivins could have picked up the same gossip. Actually, if he was one of Ms. Rosenberg's sources that would seem to prove he was telling the FBI the truth.

Another interesting potential loose end is the threatening letter sent to former USAMRIID scientist Dr. Ayaad Assaad accusing him of being capable of launching a bio-terror attack. The typed letter was sent on September 21st and displayed insider information about the Detrick workplace. Many suspected former USAMRIID scientist Phillip Zack because he had harrassed Dr. Assaad when they worked together in the late 80s, early 90s. But the FBI determined the substance had been grown within 2 years of the attack, effectively ruling out Zack. Was the letter perhaps written by Ivins to throw off the dogs?

Whomever wrote the letter had no way of knowing the anthrax was in the pipeline unless they mailed it--as the Assaad letter was sent only three days after the initial anthrax to mailings to Florida and Tom Brokaw and before the first victim was publicly identified. Ironically, it was also a day after someone in St. Petersburg, Florida sent a hoax letter to Tom Brokaw, using the term 'unthinkabel'. The second anthrax letter was mailed October 9 with the word penicillin misspelled. Possibly a coincidence, but an odd one at that.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Brinkmanship 101

Once again George W. Bush proves to be a wild card in games of international brinkmanship:
The US is sending troops to embattled Georgia in the form of a humanitarian aid exercise, President George Bush said.
Wonder if Putey-Poot saw that one coming? Everyone figured Bush's hands were tied but the alternative of allowing Russia to run roughshod in the Caucasus, possibly paving the way for a future reacquisition of Azerbaijan or some of the 'Stans if adequate reasons can be manufactured, not to mention the oil pipelines in those regions, perhaps made up the Decider's mind.

So it's Putin's move. Will he call the bluff? Will he dare fire on US soldiers delivering humanitarian aid in a country being illegally attacked, perhaps jeopardizing their role on the Security Council? They say the Russians are good chess players but Bush has always operated under a Rovian doctrine that says "never underestimate the value of being underestimated". We shall see.

MORE 8/13/08

According to reports the town of Gori is being sacked by the Russians. Gori's claim to fame? Birthplace of the most famous Georgian Joseph Stalin, who must be smiling in the grave about now.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

An Interesting Visitor

As mentioned by LGF and Hot Air, this may be something, or it may be nothing:
Adding to the intrigue is that the dead man, Saleman Abdirahman Dirie, 29, appears to be from outside the U.S. No passport was found on Dirie, who is believed to have entered the country from Canada.

A large container of a white powdery substance was found in the man's room on the fourth floor of The Burnsley hotel at 10th and Grant.
He was from Ottawa, Canada but it'll be interesting to see if there were any Pakistani connections. A cyanide plot was busted in Sindh, Pakistan in January of this year where the perps admitted they were going to put it in the water during the Shiite festival of Ashura.

At the same time ABC News is reporting tonight that al Qaeda's "Mata Hari", Aafia Siddiqui, a relative of Baluchi native KSM, had a "treasure trove" of contact info seized on her thumb drive. Ironically, the article also said this:
Interest in Siddique is in itself not new. On May 26th, 2004 she became the first woman wanted by the federal government in connection with Al Qaeda when then Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller asked the public's help in finding her and six men suspected of links to Al Qaeda. At that same time they warned, in advance of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, that Al Qaeda was preparing to "hit the United States hard" that summer.
She had her bail hearing postponed yesterday, which featured lots of supporters who claim she's being railroaded for some reason. But if she really knows Adnan El Shukrijumah, she's the real deal. Called by John Ashcroft "the next Mohammed Atta" at one point, he's rumored to have lived in Canada in the past, among other places.

Very soft eyes

McCain is touting his new online ad for the "Obama Fan Club", which shows folks in various stages of an Obamacrush. The title of this post was taken from the last utterance in the video, which can be viewed here.

No doubt McCain is trying to reach the net-savvy age bracket by appealing to the celebrity crowd but if Obama is a dreamy star that still leaves Mac filling the Bob Dole role. He needs to focus on finding ways of moving his own brand from "old war hawk" to "new improved peace hawk unless we have to kick Putin's KGB arse".

The GOP will have plenty of fodder coming up. The Dems are announcing their convention rotation for ole softy's coronation:
On Aug. 27, the theme is "Securing America's Future" with an acceptance speech by Obama's still-unannounced vice presidential candidate.
That should be interesting, since to date Obama has hinted he'll secure America's future by saying 'no we can't' to exploration for domestic oil, nuclear power, and victory in the very spot where most of the readily available oil resides. The only thing he's saying 'yes we can' to are new taxes and altering global climate through government hubris, which involves smoke, mirrors and more new taxes. But he says it so well.

That sets up the logical question--who will deliver the "spit ball speech" at this years RNC Convention?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Questions from Grassley and Greenwald

One of Glenn Greenwald's fans thinks they've found a glitch in the Washington Post's article about the anthrax killer's window of opportunity before the first mailing occurred:
If the Post's reporting about Ivins' September 17 activities is accurate -- that he "return[ed to Fort Detrick] for an appointment in the early evening, about 4 or 5 p.m." -- then that would constitute an alibi, not, as the Post breathlessly described it, "a key clue into how he could have pulled off an elaborate crime," since any letter he mailed that way would have a September 17 -- not a September 18 -- postmark.
Wonder if the Post's sources got it wrong? Perhaps they meant Tuesday the 18th? If not, then Greenwald has exposed a major flaw, because any letter mailed in that scenario would indeed be postmarked one day too early.

Looking over the affidavits on the DOJ Amerithrax page the circumstantial evidence looks just as strong as when I last viewed it, especially some of the emails (the one about multiple personalities is especially weird). But loose ends are still dangling, such as all the emails they didn't show. It's hard to get a mosaic based on a series of selected missives.

One of the most compelling arguments for Ivins's guilt was the FBI's contention that he misled them with different spore samples when they initially requested samples from his RMR-1029 sample in 2002. If Ivins was the culprit he might have figured he was home free at that point, thinking his deception had thrown them hopelessly off course. From reading the affidavit they never informed Ivins of the results of these tests, which they claim did not match the evidence anthrax samples.

After taking time out of their pursuit of Hatfill they came back to Ivins in late 2003 to look around some more. An FBI agent accompanying Ivins into the B3 facility then makes a seminal discovery--there were other samples not produced in the 2002 production. It's possible this was a common investigatory technique designed to test Ivins but whatever the case, he subsequently produced more slants for the FBI in April 2004:
On the afternoon of April 7,2004, an FBI Special Agent accompanied Dr. Ivins into Suite B3, and seized the original samples Dr. Ivins had used to prepare the slants submitted to the FBIR earlier that day. Additionally, the Agent seized the RMR-1029 flask itself.
It was sent to a Navy lab, where it tested genetically and phenotypically positive for all four evidence samples. The jig's up, right?

Apparently not. When confronted with the discrepancy Ivins did like any criminal (or wrongfully accused person) might do--he adamantly denied the original submission was not from RMR-1029. I'm assuming he didn't know the results of the 2002 tests until that very day, telling them he was told by a Special Agent some months earlier the evidence anthrax was from RMR-1029. The FBI adamantly denies it.

But we're back to the "new tests" issue, ie, how did they conclusively match the 2002 submission with the evidence anthrax when they admit the most definitive tests didn't arrive until much later? In a 2007 interview Ivins told them he was informed by 3 Fort Detrick scientists only three months after the event that the letter anthrax vaguely matched RMR-1029, which would have been around January 2002. He was then asked for samples in February 2002.

It makes sense that if he knew these scientists had told him it was close to RMR-1029 they had told the FBI as well, meaning they would be expecting his flask to match the letters. With that knowledge he couldn't very well switch the samples and incriminate himself, knowing they'd eventually come back and check at some point. This seems to be a crucial sticking point and most likely the reason the FBI doesn't believe his 2005 or 2007 assertions on the matter.

Something else:
Phenotypic and genotypic analyses demonstrate that the RMR-1029 does not have the Bacillus subtilis contaminant found in the evidentiary spore powders, which suggests that the anthrax used in the letter attacks was grown from the material contained in RMR-1029 and not taken directly from the flask and placed in the envelopes.
Excuse me, but aren't we assuming the material in the letters was brewed then dried in the lab, not poured directly out of the flask into an envelope? This sounds oddly cornball, unless I'm missing something.

By the way, the search warrants never turned up any traces of disease in his cars or property, meaning they had to assume he grew it and dried it at the Fort. Weren't security cameras on that area in 2001 after a major terrorist attack? Most federal offices began to install security cameras en masse after the Oklahoma City bombings of 1995.

Now might be a good time to introduce some questions posed by Republican Senator Charles Grassley on his website. Here's one pertinent to the above:
7. Of the more than 100 people who had access to RMR 1029, how many were provided custody of samples sent outside Ft. Detrick? Of those, how many samples were provided to foreign laboratories?
In other words, just because RMR-1029 was the root doesn't mean it had to come from that lab, right? The FBI would need to conclusively prove no material had ever been sent or stolen from that sample unless the new testing can zero in on which lab made what. This is consistent with Ivins not worrying during the 2002-2005 time frame, being under the impression they knew RMR-1029 was the root of the letters and not knowing (we assume) his first tests had come back negative.

On a tangential note, the affidavit talks of the franked postal envelopes used in the mailings and says the following:
Of the sixteen domestic government, commercial, and university laboratories that had virulent RMR-1029 Ames strain Bacillus anthracis material in their inventory prior to the attacks, only one lab was located in Maryland or Virginia, where the relevant federal eagle envelopes were distributed and sold by the U.S. Postal Service: the USAMRID facility at Fort Detrick, MD.
Seems they are needlessly bringing these other labs in play by mentioning their lack of proximity to the postal facilities of note. If they knew the evidence anthrax had come only from the flask in Ivins's lab then this is a moot point not worth mentioning.

On the other hand, if the evidence anthrax wasn't limited to the Detrick lab then it's possible some quantity of pilfered RMR-1029 could have been grown and dried off-site (it wasn't weaponized) then brought into the DC area, whereupon the perp(s) purchased envelopes locally and mailed them in New Jersey. Admittedly rather far out, but the letters alone hardly condemn Ivins without other evidence.

I'll leave off with one final Grassley question:
14. What role did the FBI play in conducting and updating the background examination of Dr. Ivins in order for him to have clearance and work with deadly pathogens at Ft. Detrick?
Nice observation. Maintaining a top secret clearance requires an FBI background investigation and one would certainly think they updated his clearance in 2001 before allowing him to work on the evidence anthrax. They gave him a lie detector test at the time. One of the emails in evidence is this:
July 7, 2000, in an e-mail, Dr. Ivins offered to be interviewed as a case study, as long as it' remained anonymous. Dr. Ivins indicated that he did not want to see a headline in the National Enquirer that read, "PARANOID MAN WORKS WITH DEADLY ANTHRAX!!!"
So it seems like what wasn't very significant then is highly incriminating now. But hindsight is 20/20. If the psychological problems were as bad as they are now saying the FBI and Army are basically incriminating themselves for not pulling his clearance in 2000, assuming it was reviewed before the attacks. It's possible these insinuations are being trumped up to bolster the relatively weak circumstantial evidence since he seemed to recover pretty well, winning the highest civilian award in 2003. But it's interesting that his mental state was described as "manic" right after 9/11 yet he was tagged to analyze the evidence and passed a lie detector.

He got the award for getting anthrax vaccines back online in the government, which they leave hanging as another possible motive but it's impossible to say the contracts wouldn't have been re-upped anyway after 9/11. The attacks certainly didn't hurt, though. Overall, it's another weak horse argument for committing mass murder and risking everything. Short of that we're left with his psychological problems explaining everything, suggesting some sort of crime of passion, yet it was rather well planned.

Aside from all the loose ends it still seems like he's the best fit. It'd be nice to get the 2002 test results and the September 18th mailing issue cleared up before suspending disbelief.