Saturday, January 31, 2009

Side Tracks

This was from 2005:



I must say, the flutist was a little better looking than when I saw them in the early 80s.

The Forgotten Ice Storm of 2009

While everyone argues about recoveries and bailouts there's a great human tragedy occurring in the nation's mid-section that is receiving neither on a national scale.

The impact of this year's great ice storm stretches far and wide, see here and here for maps of the impact zones in this region; but since it largely hit areas devoid of major population centers there is no attendant media circus.

Anecdotally speaking, I saw a convoy of utility trucks heading north through Memphis yesterday, a good sight. It doesn't take a government program. Refugees have come down here telling stories of no heat, limited food and gas. The pumps are powered by electricity.

Politically speaking there hasn't been much from the White House. It's hard to say whether spokesman Robert Gibbs was asked about it during the daily press briefings since unlike the Bush years they are not providing transcripts.(here). We haven't seen Geraldo crying on TV or black leaders criticizing the head of FEMA for inaction. But there have been some grumblings on a smaller scale:
In hard-hit Kentucky, local officials were growing angry with what they said was a lack of help from the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

In Grayson County, Ky., about 80 miles southwest of Louisville, Emergency Management director Randell Smith said road conditions are such that they have not been able to reach people in some areas. "We don't even know that they're alive."

Smith said FEMA has been a no-show so far. "I'm not saying we can't handle it; we'll handle it," Smith said. "But it would have made life a lot easier" if FEMA had reached the county sooner.
But there won't be a massive outcry--and there should not be. Disasters of this scope cannot be effectively handled by the Federal Government right off the bat. It will take days if not weeks to respond, which is why citizens need to be prepared to the greatest extent possible to survive a week or so on their own until help arrives. That includes local communities setting up shelters, which many have, and families and friends helping friends and strangers wherever possible.

MORE 1/31/09

Here's a roundup of others who've noticed Obama's curious lack of response. For a guy on top of things, he certainly seems to be taking the Bush approach on this one.

MORE 2/1/09

Paducah Kentucky is now under a curfew:
At 4 p.m. Friday, the city of Paducah declared an 11 p.m. curfew in the city during the course of the "weather-based civil emergency."

  • 1. A curfew is declared from 11:00 p.m. throughout the night and during the early morning hours when safe driving requires the use of vehicle headlights. Exempted from the curfew are emergency workers, medical staff, businesses providing or persons traveling for food or supplies, employees traveling to and from work, and individuals traveling to shelter.
  • 2. Alcohol sales will cease at 10:30 p.m.
  • 3. The Chief of Police is authorized to enforce the curfew.
  • 4. This declaration will remain in effect until rescinded.
  • 5. This declaration rescinds all previous declarations.
From the Evansville Courier-Press:
"It's like a war zone,"
From the Henderson, Kentucky "Gleaner":
The thaw out they were expecting isn’t happening,” he said.
The same thing happened to us here in Memphis after the 1994 ice storm. They predicted an immediate warmup into the 40s then 50s right afterward but with everything coated in an inch of ice it took all the sun's energy to melt it first and temperature barely cracked freezing. Things will get better today but certainly the Super Bowl will be the last thing on the minds of most who are struggling to tough things out at home with no power.

UPDATE 2/2/09

The death toll in Kentucky alone is up to 24 with over 50 from the entire storm. As to Obama, he still hasn't made much mention of the catastrophe but looking back, he did once mention the tornado in Greensberg, KS while on the campaign trail:
"In case you missed it, this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died - an entire town destroyed," the Democratic presidential candidate said in a speech to 500 people packed into a sweltering Richmond art studio for a fundraiser.

Obama mentioned the disaster in Greensburg, Kan., in saying he had been told by the office of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius that the state's National Guard had been depleted by its commitment to the Iraq War.

"Turns out that the National Guard in Kansas only had 40 percent of its equipment and they are having to slow down the recovery process in Kansas," Obama said, his shirt sleeves rolled up and his head glistening with sweat.
Turns out he was off by about 9980 or so and was wrong about the KS Guard. But apparently there's no political upside in mentioning disasters anymore what with Iraq stabilizing and FEMA under his control.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Getting Theirs

I agree with this, strongly:
Go ahead and wallow, Wall Street creeps, that’s capitalism and I’m with Churchill in saying “it’s the worst system in the world–except for all the others.” There’s no law against it and I’m not advocating confiscatory socialism. But don’t expect us to applaud your billion dollar bonuses and your swinelike consumption when people all over the world — a billion live on less than a dollar a day — are starving and dying.

And close to home people are losing their jobs, homes, and health insurance while you manipulate the financial system for your selfish enrichment and its ultimate self-destruction. No, there’s no law against it, but there is moral contempt. No we shouldn’t socialize or nationalize, but when your shamelessness brings misery to others and you display no evident self awareness of your destructive behavior, it’s great to have a president who will speak for all of us and call you out with the contempt you so richly — so to speak — deserve.
Said John Adams once:
Banks have done more injury to the religion, morality, tranquility, prosperity, and even wealth of the nation than they can have done or ever will do good.
He also said our constitution was for a moral people and that ruin would follow if we ever lost our way, as most democracies were known to do throughout history. But as Rosenbaum says, the tyranny of socialism is no solution, especially when self-serving politcal opportunists try to shove it down our throats under the guise of a crisis while ensuring us they will police themselves.

Apologizing to Iran

Allahpundit has a story out of the memory hole about a United States apology to Iran in 2000 during the waning days of the last first black president. He suggests it might tone down any kind of blathering formal apology A'jad wants thrown into the 'conciliatory letter' the State Dept is currently drafting up to send to the Mullahs. We can hope.

Obama said 'no preconditions' and we know he's going to apologize, but is his boot lickin' street one way? How about asking Iran to simultaneously apologize for all the things they've done, including keeping members of bin Laden's family under 'house arrest', for example.

And perhaps Hillary Clinton could deliver the letter personally.

USA 1549 con't

Email has produced some stunning pictures of of the aircraft that made up US Air flight 1549 after being lifted out of the Hudson River. Here's one:

It's doubtful the water landing would have pockedmarked the nose like that but a flock of large birds colliding at hundreds of miles an hour surely could have.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

CIA Trouble in Algeria

Maguire has some additional info on the alleged rapist at CIA (station chief in Algiers). Commenters wonder who leaked the story, which seems the most glaring question.

The man was supposedly a convert to Islam who had written a book about Islam and Algeria to...well here, let's let him describe it:
"I wrote the book to explore my love of literature and to write a suspenseful thriller, that portrayed the Middle East in a more accurate light. Through this book, I hope to teach people about the true meaning of Islam."
But he wasn't a writer, and he wasn't just a CIA officer, he was a CIA Station Chief. What are the chances that the book, the conversion or any of this is above board?

Perhaps he was set up to be taken down after he turned too far towards the enemy, and the two women were CIA assets. Or perhaps he was taken down by Islamist agents after they verified he had indeed retained too many wicked western ways to be taken seriously as one of them. What was a recent convert doing having cocktail parties and inviting women to his private residence anyway? Such a public scandal might also prove quite useful to the jihadi cause.

Or, he could just be a self-serving screwup that took his position too far.

One thing's for sure, any story containing the letters C I A should always be taken with a full hopper of salt--as with the Plame affair. The taxpayers fund schools to train these people in lies and subterfuge, for crying out loud.

The Good Sheriff

They called Bush a cowboy when he did manly things like this.

MORE 1/29/09

In context to the above, this sounds weird:
The capital flew into a bit of a tizzy when, on his first full day in the White House, President Obama was photographed in the Oval Office without his suit jacket. There was, however, a logical explanation: Mr. Obama, who hates the cold, had cranked up the thermostat. “He’s from Hawaii, O.K.?” said Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, David Axelrod, who occupies the small but strategically located office next door to his boss. “He likes it warm. You could grow orchids in there.”
No disconnect there at all (rolling eyes icon thingy). Just trying to figure if he shunned the coat to make a statement about this flintiness or to make a statement about Gore.

The Puzzler

There's nothing overtly wrong with Obama giving an interview to al-Arabia TV in an effort to outreach to the Muslim world. Winning the GWoT calls for whatever sneaky strategies we can think of to win hearts and minds, therefore it's not a given that Barack is sucking up or selling out:



What is problematic is his tendency to leave an impression he's cleaning up after the previous president. Bush never suggested we were at war with anyone but the 'evildoers', and basically coined the term 'religion of peace' (an object of scorn from some of his own supporters). Here's one of many proofs:



Obviously the target audience didn't buy it. Yet Obama believes he can go say the same thing while throwing in a few "ah shucks, sometimes we ARE the Great Satan, gosh darnit" quips and it's magically transformative. Maybe--it's harder to get away with calling a guy who used to live in Indonesia an "infidel crusader". As long as Obama follows up with strength in the right areas he may have a winner.

One bothersome thing is how he always seem to include a subtle jab at the Bush by suggesting he has to fix what W broke. We've seen it in speeches and even on the government White House web site. It seems so unnecessary--childish perhaps, since "he won".

Or maybe not childish. Maybe part of an overall subtle political strategy to bleed the conservative opposition right out of existence by throwing in a Bush bash whenever possible and jabbing and isolating Limbaugh (he knows how much influence Rush had on Bill Clinton's legacy) while charming the Republican caucus, sometimes even at the expense of Speaker Pelosi.

Er, or maybe not. As with everything else about this guy, figuring whether this subterfuge is part of a diabolical plan to move the country towards Sweden or simply get him reelected by moderates in 2012 is a head-scratcher. One may decide to look at his cabinet for clues but one will find just as many right leaning moderates as Democratic Socialists. Imagine what the terrorists are thinking. Obama even admitted they were probably confused, too.

Well, they called Bush the Decider, just call Obama the Puzzler. Whether the Puzzler can make any headway by running a line to the Arab street while trying to isolate the cave freaks remains to be seen, but it appears to be the same strategy he's using on his conservative enemies. The question is whether they'll buy it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Next Legacy

It shouldn't be a surprise that CNN would plant a skewed opinion piece in their headlines section disguised as news, especially when it asks the rather controversial question:
Will Obama have to be better because he's black?
Typical stuff, but the choice cuts actually come from the 'expert' used in the story, one Andrew Rojecki, author of a book on race (here's a review). Interestingly, the preface of his book acknowledges Spike Lee as the originator of the term 'magic negro' (the book was written in 2001), now considered a racial insult.

Not surprisingly CNN failed to mention the expert is also a professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Surely that small omission was inadvertent and not related to their employ of washed-up domestic terrorist and distinguished perfessor Bill Ayers. A coincidence, probably.

The expert goes on to discuss various racial themes such as the disparity between Reverend Wright versus Reverend Hagee (and gets 100 points for making the stock lefty disconnect) then says Obama had to be "perfect" to win. Well, yes, aside from all the gaffes and people thrown under the bus he was darn near perfect.

But what would any piece be without a sensational Bush-bashing endcap:
White candidates for office don't have to have an uninterrupted life of achievement to be considered for the Oval Office, Rojecki says. "If George W. Bush were black, do you think he would be president?" Rojecki asked.
Apparently Bush's "interruption" was somewhere between flying jets, graduating from Yale and Harvard, becoming president of a Major League Baseball team and a two-term governor of Texas. Hey, that 'president's son' angle might have had just a tiny bit to do with it. Meanwhile, Mr. Perfect admitted to hanging with leftist radicals, doing cocaine, marijuana and cigarettes, and yet still got elected by the same white electorate this man so easily criticizes. He couldn't even bowl for crying out loud!

Tripe, but maybe CNN is taking Will.i.am seriously by upholding their responsibility (the CNN link has now been changed).

Davos 09

The Davos Conference starts Tuesday. For those who've forgotten (and how could anyone) it's the get-together held in the Swiss Alps report where big wigs get together to hob nob, drink champagne, dine on caviar, play a few rounds and this year, save the western economy. No doubt the corporate jets are already enroute.

Recent events might make this a consequential event, with the buzz being about one-world solutions. Here in America the bailouts are already causing problems, for instance, how dare Citigroup buy a Falcon Jet with our money, and how dare BoA use bailout cash to pay Merrill Lynch employees their bonuses, etc.

Outrageous--it's our money! Yes, but nobody told us how to spend 'our money' when we received bailout stimulus checks last year. That slope is slippery.

With that in mind here's a preview of coming attractions:
"The capitalist myth is lovely and youthful. It kicked off the industrial revolution, but maybe we need a new one," says Richard Olivier, son of the late British actor Sir Laurence Olivier. Mr. Olivier, who owns a company that gives seminars, will give a dinner talk on business leadership at Davos, based on Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth. The tale shows a heroic soldier turned bad, led to self-delusion by his own ambition and greed -- think Lehman Brothers, says Mr. Olivier.
We're all down with the greed thing. Even the Founders warned that unbridled capitalism without a moral/ethical anchor would lead to tyranny. Thing is, most people assume the anchor comes from within the individual, whether through personal values, religious grounding, etc, not from international elitist pointy heads. An international Borg of sorts.

Fearing the one-world pointy-heads requires some level of tinfoil adornment--the internet is currently a fantastic safety valve of dissent. Then again, the internet depends on corporations to keep it going, entities that could one day get a bailout.

MORE 1/26/09

If they take the internets there's always the streets.

Obamicons

Here's one..



The site allows one to make their own Obamicon using a personal photo. Not surprisingly, the gallery on the front page has one derogatory picture of Bush and another of Cheney, which is slightly ironic since the concept itself is a dig at Obama's face on iconic artsy signs.

Anyway, as one might expect it's overwhelmingly popular to the point of server meltdown. Tried to log in and register when the meltdown happened. Here's the link for later use.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Yes They Can

CNN ran an interview with singer 'Will.i.am" in this morning's headlines. It was somewhat illuminating--not about Will.i.am--but about CNN:
CNN asked the 33-year-old front man for the Black-Eyed Peas to premiere the film he calls "New Day" for January 25. That gave him less than a week.
Wonder if CNN ever gave Garth Brooks a deadline to produce an inspirational film about Bush? Probably not, but OK, Barack is an historic figure so we'll give them a pass. Continuing:
CNN: When CNN came to you and said, "We want to have an impressionistic sort of a film about your experience at the inauguration," what were your first thoughts?

Will.i.am: Oh, my first thoughts were, damn, CNN, it's like, it's my little second home or something.
Hmm.. what was that about Fox News again? More:
CNN: If you could describe what your best hope for this short film, how might you put that into words?

Will.i.am: What I would like this short film to be is another seed of inspiration to remind people of the task we have ahead of us. I'm glad CNN is realizing their responsibility and still coming up with content to inspire the youth, adults, male, female, black, white, rich and poor these next four years that we have ahead of us. Coverage, content, it's all important.
Emphasis added to point out his misguided impression that CNN has the responsibility to do anything other than maintain journalistic integrity by impartially reporting the news. Of course, that's just his misguided impression. CNN's reporter replied by saying....nothing.

The problem isn't Will.i.am. His guy won and he thinks the victory will be good for his boyhood community and others like it due to 'spread wealth'. Fine, people usually vote their wallets. And yes, Will.i.am and others refused to support the previous occupant of 1600, also a Christian who wanted to change the world (freedom, defeating terrorism, AIDS in Africa), largely because he was an uncool white Republican; yet now they think everybody should just fall in line behind the new guy because it's their guy. That's expected.

The problem is CNN for thinking they should facilitate that notion.

Donner Party Politics

The smorgasbord at GOP central continues with various degrees of flesh-eating taking place even at the most solid of righty blogs (read the comments). Today's version is an opinion piece by conservative Mickey Edwards, condemning modern conservatism:
The Republican Party that is in such disrepute today is not the party of Reagan. It is the party of Rush Limbaugh, of Ann Coulter, of Newt Gingrich, of George W. Bush, of Karl Rove. It is not a conservative party, it is a party built on the blind and narrow pursuit of power.
It's odd for someone who supposedly knew Reagan so well (as to use him as a hammer on modern conservatives) to so flagrantly break his 11th Commandment.

Hey, we lost. It's natural to pass around some blame after the agony of defeat but some perspective is always helpful. George W. Bush didn't 'blindly pursue power', au contraire, he lost the GOP an election because he held firm on an important national security matter that had no business being politicized. Reagan was a man of passion, patriotism and principle--he might not have gone into Iraq but I think he might have been impressed by not surrendering just to score cheap media points.

This incessant focus on blaming Rush Limbaugh is obscene. The man has been a conservative stalwart for years, which is the very reason he is being attacked now. The Dems smell blood and think they can completely snuff out the two party system and one sure way is to divide the GOP base. Rush has now been singled out by both Harry Reid and President Obama, which means they must consider him consequential.

Obama is probably trying to use his vast political capital to quickly get rid of dissent without resorting to the dangerous option of a Fairness Doctrine--give him credit for his cunning. He knows there is a big divide between country club conservs, religious conservs, and libertarian conservs and the divide is ripe for the picking. Thing is, Reagan had all three factions as well and still succeeded. To suggest there was no religious "moral majority" back then is revisionist history.

History also says many "Reagan Democrats" were actually just anti-liberals, common Americans disgusted with a party who'd abandoned them to the special interests and quasi-socialists. They're still around, but economic circumstances worked in reverse this time despite Obama's political background suggesting he was Carter 2.0 in better packaging. It didn't help that instead of wearing peanut farmer overalls Obama was wrapped in a silk suit of transformational cool, packing gifted oratory and a winning smile, something that goes over well on TV.

That said, the subterfuge potential is very high right now as evidenced by the rubbery ethics rule he just broke to almost no media fanfare.

So there appears to be two choices--either roll over and take part in the dissolution of the party or stand up when it counts. Standing up doesn't mean personal attacks, it means principled attacks, and Limbaugh does pretty well in that department. His points need to be defended and explained, not attacked. Who else can speak with as much humor and candor, reminding the Reagan Democrats of their mistake (and how they can fix it), George Will? Fred Barnes? Please. They don't reach the masses anyway.

Actually, if there's anyone who needs a gentle pullback right now it's Sean Hannity and his ostentatious new show, which was much more effective with Colmes (wonder if that's why he left). His heart's in the right place but his head is only half of Limbaugh's with brain tied behind back. The right doesn't need an Olbermann, but Hannity comes as close to being pigeonholed in that role as anyone right now. Once there he'll be forever marginalized, too.

Does that mean the party can't work with Obama when it suits the best interests of Americans? Of course not, but principles are worth nothing if they can't be defended. If all the defenders are muzzled in the frantic name of going along to get along then the next sound heard could be the rush of an approaching waterfall.

MORE 1/25/09

Guess I'm just a "poop scooper" and a clown for defending Limbaugh. But I wonder, has Mr. Pitts really listened to more than a few shows? If so he'd have heard the mantra that Limbaugh has preached throughout the years--aside from the 'entertainment' that sometimes comes off as crude--that mirrors the principles of Ronald Reagan.

The "I hope he fails" bit might be a shock-jock tactic to some degree but it was clearly designed to make a point about the definition of "success". When conservatives join the "we hope Obama succeeds" chorus a thoughtful person might want to ask "exactly how?" If by success they mean stopping al-Qaeda, not losing in Iraq, and fending off a coming depression without bankrupting our children's future or changing America into France-lite then yeah, I'm onboard the success train.

Problem is, Obama didn't run on any of those things. He ran on getting out of Iraq win or lose; going after AQ primarily in Afghanistan only; closing down detention facilities and telegraphing our interrogation methods to everyone in the world; and 'spreading the wealth around' to make life more fair and to stem economic ruin. I don't necessarily want any of those outcomes, and in a representative government I have that right. In the same vein the left did not want Bush to succeed if it meant stopping abortion, preventing gay marriage and banning embryonic stem cell research, and one of the ways to do it was opposing him vigorously on Iraq and hoping for disaster. So please.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Side Tracks

This week's theme is driving songs. Highly subjective, of course, but I'll throw in some of my favorites (by no means all-inclusive). First, a rather obscure crossover:



Lee Roy Parnell's bottle neck slide sound was heavily influenced by Duane Allman, whose band had a few good driving songs such as Jessica and Blue Sky. But this one by Marshall Tucker is better in my opinion, appropriately titled "Take the Highway":



A few more favs: Molly Hatchet, REO Speedwagon, Bad Company, Bob Seger, Alabama and lastly Focus, which could substitute for a strong cup of coffee mixed with one of those energy drinks.

Just Another Pretty Face?

She's being described as a 'centrist' Democrat by some. Kirsten Gillibrand, that is, a member of the Blue Dogs and New York Gov Patterson's pick to replace Caroline Kennedy and Hillary Clinton (must be a quota seat). She has a 100 percent rating from the NRA and has come out against drivers licenses for illegal aliens.

But a quick perusal of her background suggests some fairly strong liberal beliefs. She worked at HUD during the Clinton administration. She was strongly against the surge, which can be verified on video. Forward all the way to the last few seconds and you can hear her say, "it was Thomas Jefferson who once said that dissent is the highest form of patriism (sic)."

Oh, and almost forgot the matriarch aspect:
Jonathan Gillibrand, husband of U.S. Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand, finds that odd.

"So it does seem strange that people would be interested in the fact we're going to have a baby," he said. "Which, you know, is great news, and that's what life's all about -- right? But that is a little strange."

The Democratic congresswoman from Greenport announced recently that she and her husband are expecting a child in May, their second.
Mr. Gillibrand, a wealthy venture capitalist, shares at least some of Todd Palin's responsibilities, it would seem.

OK, she seems like an accomplished mom who has strong opinions and a lot of energy and ambition. So let the Sarah Palin treatment begin, right Dems?!

MORE 1/24/09

Here's a roundup from the Times, which includes this scuttlebutt:
Gillibrand . . . won her congressional seat in 2006 due in large part to the Democratic wave and a last-minute news report alleging that the wife of her Republican opponent (the incumbent Rep. John Sweeney) had called police to complain that he was “knocking her around.”
They go on to speculate about the special election to fill her seat being a test for Obama and the Dems, which oddly points out the disparity between filling open House and Senate seats. But the bottom line is that looks and charm go a long way in this world and always have, and always will.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Polling Terror

Tom Maguire has a new post up about polls and global warming, comparing a Washington Post poll with a Pew Research version to suggest a lukewarm public concern for the carbon problem. He points out how the polls have remained relatively consistent for several years.

That tripped a light bulb (incandescent). Before the election I suggested that Bush must have won the GWoT because polls showed it ranked in the single digits in public importance. That of course is absurd--Bush did not win the GWoT--but the point was to illustrate how either 1) the media downplayed the terrorism question to favor Obama or 2) the public has become spoiled due to Bush's success and therefore has forgotten about terrorism, which means we haven't been attacked.

Rummaging back to the post in question and perusing through the numbers it would seem that Gallup, Pew and other more independent polling groups had terrorism ranking similar to what Maguire's post showed at that time, while the Networks and NY Times put terrorism's importance much lower, many times in the single digits. The public voted accordingly.

Proving the numbers were cooked to favor Democrats is beyond my pay grade (stats were never my favorite subject anyway) but maybe one day somebody with knowledge of stats and polling will explain this.

Hopeful Interrogations

The other day Major Garrett of Fox News asked Obama's sunshine spinmeister Robert Gibbs whether the new Executive Order preventing enhanced interrogation means they would have to treat Osama bin Laden or Zawahiri by the Army Field Manual if captured.

We know it happened, but good luck finding a decent video, and good luck finding a decent transcript of the historic event. Oh, there's a CNN video (which doesn't include Garrett) and this peculiar CNN "rush" transcript, which conveniently clips off Garrett's question.

Well, maybe they've been sucking on the same sigh of relief as has Anderson Cooper. By the way, searching for the transcript at Sunshine Central turned up a big goose egg, too. Apparently it's so transparent it's completely invisible.

But we don't need no stinkin' transcript, the answer to the question of whether bin Laden should be treated with the Field Manual should have been a no-brainer--yes! That's what Obama ran on--no torture--which diminishes our world image. And by crackies, he won, so there's no reason for some namby pamby 'I'll get some confirmation' response.

On second thought, the question was answered long ago:



See? Not so hard. If only Joe had been there.

NOTHING TO ASK 1/23/09

According to the Pulitzer Prize winning traitor patriot who leaked top secret intelligence about methods used to stop terrorism, Bush's GWoT is now over, put to sleep by the stroke of Obama's pen.

That can only mean Bush won it. Consider--terrorism ranked only 2 percent of importance as an issue before the election. Most people are more worried about their job than about attacks.

So, perhaps we really don't need to worry about sending anyone to "hell" or Gitmo or Alcatraz or East Redneck Pennsylvania. It's over. Wonder where the ticker tape parade wlil be held?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Reaching Out to the Enemy

Let's cut to the chase--that's what Obama is doing with the new EO on GTMO and the other anti-terror stuff. That's why Obama made Abu Mazen the first call on his international rota on day one. And that's what Obama will do when he orders the withdrawal from Iraq.

Nothing unusual here, just classic liberalism at work ala Jimmy Carter, ie--be nice to the enemy and they'll be nice to us. Part of this strategy requires transforming the Tiger back into the Paper Tiger, or at least making it appear as such, which is good news for AQ based on their past glib predictions about our resolve in long wars.

Obama did address resolve during his inaugural speech but in reality he's abandoning every battlefield except Afghanistan, where we can't directly confront the main enemy due to their protected pilgrimage in Pakistan. If Petraeus can't work his magic the Afghan theater will be nearly impossible to 'win' and an eventual retreat wouldn' t be surprising at some point.

So what we have here is mainly symbolism. Liberals love it and believe it works, even though history proves it doesn't especially in regards to bloodthirsty Islamic terrorists. The only wildcard this time is the president himself; whether his color and Arabic-sounding name can make any difference remains to be seen but it certainly seems a part of the strategy.

In that vein here's the quote of the day from Congressman Young:
Young said he suggested reopening Alcatraz, the closed federal prison on an island outside San Francisco, California -- in Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's district. "Put them in Alcatraz, where supposedly they can't escape from," Young said, but added the suggestion "didn't go over well."
Today's example of "do as I say"--there'll be another one tomorrow. Speaking of which, the "wiggle room" mentioned by Young in the torture EOs is the "Special Task Force" on renditions/interrogation, which will report back in July after everyone has forgotten. Fortunately both Hillary and Panetta will be on the panel to impart their valuable knowledge about the Clinton administration's experience starting renditions back in the 90s.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Day One of Change

Obama was active with the pen today, making a big deal out of his senior executive pay freeze:
From AP: President Barack Obama's first public act in office Wednesday was to institute new limits on lobbyists in his White House and to freeze the salaries of high-paid aides, in a nod to the country's economic turmoil.
Guess autocratic governance is in the eye of the beholder. But here's the rub--if these senior members of his administration fall under normal government pay rules then this might be a big puff of air.

The pay year for normal government employees began in mid January and normally no raises would occur for a year anyway--for both new hires and those re-entering the service--so more details are needed on this one before it passes for substance.

Speaking of frozen, he also iced the GTMO proceedings, prolonging KSM's date with the virgins. Word is he was going to send the inaugural poet down there to serenade the prisoners but was stopped by Human Rights Watch for attempting cruel and unusual punishment. That's the word at least.

As to openness in government:
Just because a government agency has the legal power to keep information private does not mean that it should, Obama said.
Get ready for a barrage of UFO FOIAs on the Air Force, CIA, FBI, NSA, NASA and even NOAA for years to come. And surely some will use it to go after Bush/Cheney, but others might use it to go after events that occurred in the 90s. Could be interesting.

But his lobbying rule looks like a good thing. Now, what about the White House smoking rule? Maybe Michelle will install a lamp.

Oh, one more item regards Treasury nominee Timothy Geithner. Mistakes happen, but there's no way a man who can't correctly use Turbo Tax be placed in charge of the IRS. Besides, doesn't everyone have a keen idea of the money they make? Forgetting to include income is the oldest dodge in the book and yet he's going to be handed the levers of the IRS? Hmm, on second thought...

MORE ON THE PAY 1/22/09

World Net Daily is snarking it up over Obama and Biden's reluctance to take a pay cut, even though the law says they can't order it via EO. The story mentions that Obama has cut his top staff salary and frozen them at 100K per annum, but the memorandum linked above does not specify that, it only talks about a freeze. That would imply existing starting pay (whatever it was) and states no sunset date, meaning we'll need to wait for the EO to arrive before determining if this has any concrete meaning.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New White House Website

Dan Rhehl was browsing the new White House dot gov site today and found some typical things. I decided to check it out and get the update on our Iraq policy and was left with the impression that the Change.gov transition site was simply morphed into Whitehouse.gov with only minor consultation between policy and IT folks. Here's a screen cap from around 6 PM central time Tuesday regards the Status of Forces Agreement in Iraq:


Wasn't the Status of Forces Agreement hammered out, signed and ratified by the dysfunctional Iraqi government back in November? If so, our policy looks a bit out of place proclaiming:
Obama and Biden believe it is vital that a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) be reached so our troops have the legal protections and immunities they need. Any SOFA should be subject to Congressional review to ensure it has bipartisan support here at home.
Are they suggesting they'll reverse the agreement or let Congress step in and re-decide a treaty, or is it something else? Here's a possible answer--a cached version of Change dot gov/iraq:


It's the same.

Nit-picky? Yeah, but the problem is Whitehouse dot gov is the official website of the executive branch of the US Government, not some transition or campaign site. They had plenty of time to tweak the Change dot gov site before the real one came online so it appears they might want this content--which reads like petty campaign sloganeering--on the site.

And some might call this pre-partisan:
Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe we must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in. Immediately upon taking office, Obama will give his Secretary of Defense and military commanders a new mission in Iraq: ending the war.
I can't help but wonder if this could put the USG in jeopardy of being sued, or perhaps former employees thereof. It also appears to be demeaning the new Vice President and Secretary of State nominee, both of whom voted for the use of force in Iraq. Obama maintained the blip about him being one of the few in 2002 to oppose the war, which even if true is not good management practice (boss tooting own horn never goes over well with staff).

But that's not the only admission of implied negligence. Politico points to another one. Surely this will be cleaned up soon.

MORE BROWSING 1/21/09

From the site:
Faith

In June of 2006, then-Senator Obama delivered what was called the most important speech on religion and politics in 40 years. Speaking before an evangelical audience, then-Senator Obama candidly discussed his own religious conversion and doubts, and the need for a deeper, more substantive discussion about the role of faith in American life.

Senator Obama also laid down principles for how to discuss faith in a pluralistic society, including the need for religious people to translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values during public debate. In December 2006, President Obama discussed the importance of faith in the global battle against AIDS.
Well there you go, Christians, the master has spaketh. Go forth and heed, now.

How about the Global War on Terra (which ranked about 2 percent in importance this past election):
Win the Battle of Ideas: Defeat al Qaeda in the battle of ideas by returning to an American foreign policy consistent with America's traditional values, and work with moderates within the Islamic world to counter al Qaeda propaganda. Establish a $2 billion Global Education Fund to work to eliminate the global education deficit and offer an alternative to extremist schools.
Apparently Obama sees room for improvement in Bush's horrible record of no attacks since 9/11 and AQ's defeat in Iraq--through education grants, as if nothing of this nature has ever been done before, even by the previous first black president. Remarkable hubris. Speaking of returning to past values, we're about to unleash a Secretary of State on the world whose husband was in charge when bin Laden first declared war on America.

And hey, where is the space program stuff?

If It's Tuesday This Must be ...

The inauguration.



Here's to hope...for calm under pressure, rationality in judgment, an appreciation of the past, a tendency towards moderation in the future, a Dick Cheney moment with Harry Reid one day, and for that concrete scribbling to have been an ironic joke.

MORE 1/20/09

A bit low on the inspiration and heavy on the reality with the normal dose of oratory. Not that some of both aren't needed right now. Matter of fact that was Bush's main problem in my view--he could barely inspire Barney much less the nation. Of course, what he lacked in oratory he made up for in steadfastness, principle, humanity and nerve, so we'll see where Obama matches in those departments soon.

For starters perhaps he could provide some of that promised sunshine and ask the LA Times to release the Rashid Khalidi farewell dinner tape.

BTW, as to Rev Lowery's "when white will embrace what is right" chastisement I'm down with it, brother! And I'll continue to fight, fight, fight and embrace what's "right" until my very last breath.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Pardon Watch Over?

Could this be Bush's final "Bring it on" to the Democrats?
Bush technically has until noon on Tuesday when President-elect Barack Obama is sworn into office to exercise his executive pardon authority, but presidential advisers said no more were forthcoming.
Emphasis added. If the pardons and commutations are over that means his administration--and some career officials who served it--will officially be unprotected from the likes of John Conyers and Nancy Pelosi as of 1 PM Tuesday.

Well then, how about some new speculation--will Obama now issue a blanket pardon of Bush officials and those involved with interrogation, whether they want one or not? It might be tempting in this liberally euphoric climate since there may be no better way to taint Bush's legacy than with a magnanimous (but glaringly shallow) post-partisan expression, leaving the impression of guilt forever without a trial to prove it.

The next question is whether the Bushies could formally reject pardons and if so, would they immediately become targets for prosecution after doing so?

No more than idle speculation at this point. Bush could be throwing us a curve and change his mind before leaving tomorrow (although it's doubtful he'll pull a Clinton). The question is whether Obama would risk such a political stunt? He's already made it clear his instincts are to look forward not backward, however a pardon could be worded and spun to fit that narrative quite nicely.

Chances are he'll do nothing while allowing Pelosi and crew to focus on the US Attorney firings, which brings Karl Rove back into the picture, a man who'll no doubt be a pivotal figure in the upcoming 2010 mid terms. There's less blowback (and self-incrimination) and more downline upside to having Rove frogmarched out of his house or in the least, forced to squabble over executive priviledge for months or years on end.

The Last Day of W

The moonbat count-down clocks have wound down to one. There are a few sugar plums dancing about as their second coming approaches tomorrow (and coming might be an operative word for some). Let's hope the change fulfills lives and provides better sleep as it has for J Lo.

As for me, this is a thank you note. Bush wasn't the perfect conservative president by any means--his mistakes would fill a lengthy post. But he fought a good fight at a dark time. Days after 9/11 he spoke these words:
Freedom and fear are at war. The advance of human freedom -- the great achievement of our time, and the great hope of every time -- now depends on us. Our nation -- this generation -- will lift a dark threat of violence from our people and our future. We will rally the world to this cause by our efforts, by our courage. We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail.

It is my hope that in the months and years ahead, life will return almost to normal. We'll go back to our lives and routines, and that is good. Even grief recedes with time and grace. But our resolve must not pass. Each of us will remember what happened that day, and to whom it happened. We'll remember the moment the news came -- where we were and what we were doing. Some will remember an image of a fire, or a story of rescue. Some will carry memories of a face and a voice gone forever.

And I will carry this: It is the police shield of a man named George Howard, who died at the World Trade Center trying to save others. It was given to me by his mom, Arlene, as a proud memorial to her son. This is my reminder of lives that ended, and a task that does not end. I will not forget this wound to our country or those who inflicted it. I will not yield; I will not rest; I will not relent in waging this struggle for freedom and security for the American people.
Just words? Apparently not for him. His follow through made many enemies both foreign and domestic. By fulfilling Congress' 1998 wish he enranged the peaceniks, producing a few strange bedfellows in the process. His own party sometimes resisted for good reason. Perhaps even his own dad.

But as Obama enters the White House tomorrow any bin Laden pronouncement will fall on deaf ears, as they have these past few years. And though he'll try to make hay about withdrawing from Iraq the reduction of forces agreement is already in place, something not possible without the troop surge he opposed. A president may end a war but cannot prevent winners and losers. The economy is job one now, which means things have indeed returned to normal since 9/11.

And in that regard it's hard to imagine Al Gore up there on that pile of rubble with the bullhorn, arm around the fire commander, without seeing him reminding everyone that global warming is the real enemy. Ironically global warming is back on the front burner having replaced terrorism, which polls showed ranked about 2 percent in importance during the presidential election. It didn't happen by magic.

As we celebrate the dream of a man who wished for a country where men aren't judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character we should be able to see the Obama election as a positive step regardless of political ideology. But no doubt Dr. King would have also been gracious in thanking President Bush for putting more people of color into high-ranking cabinet positions than had any previous president.

With that I say Godspeed, Mr. and Mrs. Bush. Thanks for serving. And God bless America as we go forward into the new era.

Barack America is in the House

During the campaign the prez-elect's running mate, the old white guy who always seems to be hanging around, once referred to Obama as "Barack America". That slip might be closer to reality than anyone could have dreamed.

Here's part of HuffPo's photo tribute to Obamastock:



Notice the flags. It's doubtful Betsy Ross, or even Obama himself, would approve of someone's face adorning Old Glory. That's not America--the original intention of America, at least.

Obama seems cognizant to that fact, giving speeches reminding everyone of our Colonial past and how that courage should translate to America's future. But looking into some of the faces it ain't about George Washington right now.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Chief of the Department of Irrational Fear at NASA has now warned Obama that he's only got his first presidential term to save the world. So much for reduced expectations.

But more hangs in the balance. Taxpayers recently gave GM a 13 billion dollar Christmas present because they were on the verge of a disorderly bankruptcy (and the resulting deleterious trickle down effect, one which the left believes in wholeheartedly). The automotive world was indeed at stake.

And just what stands between utter failure and hope? Howie Long.

It's almost as if GM has placed their entire future on the shoulders of Long's ability to scare beta males away from gimmicky Ford or Dodge pickups and into manly Chevys. Watch any amount of playoff football and you'll see Howie dress down five to ten guys.

Oddly enough, the next financial crunch time for GM comes in March, right after the Super Bowl and March Madness. It's 4th and goal for Howie and America.

As to the playoffs, my private prediction earlier this week (not published here) was for Arizona versus Baltimore just because it would tick off the networks. Kurt Warner is now there, a well-known God guy, and soon we'll see whether he faces off against Modell's devils from Baltimore or that team from western PA, whatstheirfaces. Whichever, I'm going with the God guy in the big one and a last laugh for McCain.

MORE 1/18/09

This post has no title because I forgot it. Probably just as well.

Speaker of the Grandstand

As we go forth into the age of Obama this kind of stuff will undoubtedly get more airplay:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is receptive to the idea of prosecuting some Bush administration officials, while letting others who are accused of misdeeds leave office without prosecution, she told Chris Wallace in an interview on "FOX News Sunday."
First off, the Congress doesn't prosecute anybody, it's the Justice Department that would have that role and Obama has already strongly hinted he wants to be forward-looking.

But this coming from Nancy Pelosi, especially saying her hands might be tied, is priceless. She was the Speaker of the House, fer crying out loud. Impeachments and special prosecutors were things she could have pushed. She didn't, obviously knowing that the mere notion of criminal wrongdoing would advance her political agenda much more than actual trials.

Not only that, but she knows there are paper trials, especially with Cheney, who after 40 years in Washington knows how to create one:



Besides, Nancy's got a little splainin' to do herownself.

UPDATE 1/18/09

I got my videos mixed up. The one above was classic Cheney, but this is the one that gives hint of a paper trail.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Side Tracks

America has turned blue and so have I..



Yes, indeed...but let's hope the price is not too steep:



Actually, there is:



Finally, I had just had to include this one, although my musical blogger friend LA has already posted it once upon a time. An exquisite live performance of "Games People Play", complete with Hendrix licks in the guitar solo and a theatrical bow at the end..



Until next week...and remember, all may be blue for some of us but the sky is also blue, as is the background of the flag.

All Aboard?

Obama began his presidential journey this morning by hopping a vintage private rail car not generally available to the public (and once in service on the Southern Railway during Jim Crow), embarking from Philly on his way to the promised land in DC. There was much symbolism--even the two Amtrak locos pulling the train, numbers 44 and 120, were symbolic (do the math).

At a stop in Delaware the president-elect spoke about health care, the ailing economy, and ending the Iraq war:
"We recognize that such enormous challenges will not be solved quickly," he said. "There will be false starts and setbacks, frustrations and disappointments. And we will be called to show patience even as we act with fierce urgency."
Diminished expectations should not be a surprise coming from a man who was elected based on stratospheric expectations based in part on tearing down his predecessor. So while "yes we can" is still in play, "maybe we can't" is beginning to emerge. Such is the nature of government.

Obama's Lincoln theme is interesting considering the fact that Honest Abe once suspended Habeas Corpus during the Civil War and routinely squelched free speech by incarcerating journalists if their opinions were anti-Union, all in the name of saving the Republic. Obama has chastised Bush for much less.

As to Abe's journey, well he had little choice, being in Illinois and needing to get to Washington to start his term whereas Obama was already there. Lincoln chose the rails because they represented the pinnacle of technological advancement at the time and indeed, history would show that he championed the great transcontinental railroad, one of the largest infrastructure projects in American history and a giant leap in bringing the Union together (which is why most Confederates were opposed).

History also shows that the project became mired in scandal (Credit Mobilier) and featured the misuse of both immigrant Chinese and Mormon labor. It's doubtful such reality-based symbolism was intended for today but it may come into play down the line.

Still, presidents are supposed to inspire and Obama's theme is generally inspiring. Perhaps it will take a man of color to bring America together now when we need it the most. The challenges ahead are tough. Though it might be cliche, "united we stand, divided we fall", certainly fits.

In that vein it would be nice to hear Obama say--just once--that he wants to "bring the troops home from Iraq victorious, leaving behind a stable and more democratic Middle East" rather than boilerplate statements about "ending the war responsibly" or referring to himself as the one to reverse the "biggest foreign policy mistake". Alas, we can always dream.

MORE 1/17/09

Obama's speech in Baltimore was without a doubt marvelous. His tying of historical patriotism of that city with the challenges of today just about inspired me (not quite to tears). Sometimes I wonder if the problem the right has with this man isn't more his cheerleaders, both press and the mindless fainting fans, who have elevated him to messianic status while mindlessly bashing the one who came before.

What to Make of Saad bin Laden

Today came another story about Saad bin Laden, son of Osama, fleeing house arrest in Iran to presumably light in Pakistan with pops. This same story was released back in September but apparently it didn't sink in with all the campaign spin whirling around, such as Obama and Biden vowing to kill certain members of the bin Laden harem and send them to a roasted eternity.

CNN's story mentioned that his move might allow us a better opportunity to catch him in Pakistan rather than Iran. True perhaps, but at the same time we haven't been able to catch either Osama or Zawahiri in Pakistan (assuming they are there). We did capture relatives Ramzi Yousef and KSM along with Abu Zubaydah there, so there's hope. No doubt he'd make a interesting and useful capture, treated of course by Army Field Manual guidelines unless Barack decides to exercise the exception. Is 20 hours a day of Slim Whitman still considered torture?

Speculation time. First wild stab...assuming he didn't really escape (does anyone believe that?) then he was purposely expelled. Why? Were they keeping him as protection against a US or Israeli strike? If so, does that mean the chance of a strike has now shrunk considerably towards zero? That could explain why Israel decided to go after Hamas and not Natanz.

Or, was Saad actually an emissary for AQ to Persia? Both Zawahiri and bin Laden have lately called for increased jihad over Gaza and we know Iran has funded and equipped both Hamas and Hizballah. But why the expulsion now? Something big coming, perhaps?

At the same time, if they were holding Saad as a chip to prevent attack does that mean the chance of an AQ hit against Iran has become unlikely? Or was this just a humanitarian gesture to allow son to see a possible ailing father?

Or was he ever even there?

Heck, I don't know. Maybe Scott Ritter knows.

Friday, January 16, 2009

In the Eye of Holder

I know this has already been beaten to death, or soon will be, but it simply deserves to be preserved for its sheer mendacity:
For Obama, who repeatedly insisted during the 2008 presidential campaign and the transition period that “America doesn’t torture,” a classified loophole would allow him to back up his vow to end harsh interrogations while retaining a full range of presidential options in conducting the war against terrorism.

The proposed loophole, which could come in the form of a classified annex to the manual, would satisfy intelligence experts who fear that an outright ban of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques would limit the government in obtaining threat information that could save American lives. It would also preserve Obama’s flexibility to authorize any interrogation tactics he might deem necessary for national security.
A rose by any other name...it's simply not illegal when the Dems do it, nor is it newsworthy. Speaking of Eric Holder, here's what he said in confirmation hearings regards rendition:



Priceless, since he was number two at Justice in the 90s when we began the full scale rendering of terrorists, outsourcing our enhanced interrogation to the Arabs:
"President Clinton, his national security advisor Sandy Berger and his terrorism advisor Richard Clark ordered the CIA in the autumn of 1995 to destroy Al-Qaeda," Scheuer said, in comments published in German.

"We asked the president what we should do with the people we capture. Clinton said 'That's up to you'."
And with that Scheuer and company commenced rendition forthwith. Well before 9/11. Think that would make the agenda of any Truth Commission? It really doesn't matter because Obama has given every possible hint he will not pursue divisive prosecutions against Bush/Cheney. He'll leave the grandstanding to Congress, of course.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

US Airways 1549

What can be said other than "miraculous"? The crew should get medals, then promotions. But it's part and parcel of the professionalism common in an industry that hasn't seen a major crash since 2001.

As usual the media are doing their fine job of saturation coverage, including the normal goofy mistakes. Here's one:
NEW YORK (AP) - A US Airways plane crashed into the frigid Hudson River on Thursday afternoon after striking a bird that disabled two engines,
We can only deduce this was one stout bird, ripping out the turbine in one engine, ejecting out the exhaust wounded, then circling around faster than the speed of the plane only to take out the other engine. Only a specially trained al-Qaeda goose could do that. But regular geese can certainly do it--birds have long been the bane of jet aircraft on takeoff. They even put out messages on it.

La Guardia airport was departing north today, not sure whether on runway 04 or 31, but this tracking page suggests it was 31, meaning he would have gained some small modicum of altitude after takeoff to clear the buildings of Harlem before turning left down the Hudson. It'll be interesting to find out exactly where the bird strike occurred. Most probably it was shortly after takeoff over the water.

Some may wonder why he didn't try to make Newark, very close and just to the west, but if both engines were gone there would have been no choice but to immediately shoot for the biggest flat spot available, even if wet. And a fine job they did. We can certainly use a few more heroes these days.

AMAZING 1/17/09

This Coast Guard video is grainy, but not too grainy to see a miraculous splashdown followed by a miraculous rescue effort. It shows several things--the rapid deceleration once the aircraft hit water; the speed of the current and how that required skill from the harbor pilots in getting people to safety; and the amazing speed on which those passengers exited the airplane.

Ironically, the plane and rescue boats floated far enough downstream in this video to pass a static display of the Concorde in the background.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The bin Laden Effect

Bin Laden is back on the air calling for jihad over Palestine, which has stirred some rather interesting comments from the man who campaigned on killing him:
COURIC: How important do you think it is, Mr. President-elect, to apprehend Osama bin Laden?

OBAMA: I think that we have to so weaken his infrastructure that, whether he is technically alive or not, he is so pinned down that he cannot function. My preference obviously would be to capture or kill him. But if we have so tightened the noose that he’s in a cave somewhere and can’t even communicate with his operatives then we will meet our goal of protecting America.
Is this the new definition of "Hell"? The Allahpundit reminds us of other past meaty Obama tough talk but everyone already knows about the powerful effect this one single bearded cave freak seems to have on our politicians, and even on old washed up journalists. And soon to be ex-presidents. To wit..



His point about it taking 10 years to bring the African Embassy bombers to justice was a good one--you can add Abdul Yasin in that mix, still wanted for mixing the bomb for WTC 1 in 1993. By the way, we can now forget about bin Laden tapes being engineered in Rove's basement as all are now instantly legitimate and irrelevant (just like in 1998). Until God forbid another attack, which will be blamed on Rove.

But hey--Bush was the guy who said "dead or alive" then later claimed bin Laden really didn't matter that much. Can a rational person really be expected to believe any of this? After all, media reports said we were close to getting him at Tora Bora.

Everyone knew Obama would walk back his cat and perhaps Bush was just being Bush--not knowing exactly how many minutes or miles separated us from Dr. Evil because he'd delegated out everything. But dangit, a president should know more than that, meaning there's still a lot we don't know. Forthcoming books might shine some light on this mystery, or not, but we can be certain of one thing--the age of "inside jobs" is over--case in point.

It's Already Working!

All Madison, Wisconsin had to do was propose draconian global warming measures, like mandating the number of trees on private property and curtailing fast food joints, and their plan is having immediate impact!



Brrr!

Monday, January 12, 2009

In the Spirit of D.B. Cooper?

For those too young or memory challenged the story of D.B. Cooper can be found here. Last night Marcus Schrenker of Indiana seemingly tried to reprise the Cooper saga but with a twist--he evidently parachuted out of his own plane over Birmingham, Alabama. Some believe he was running from an investment fraud investigation.

It certainly seems like a well thought-out plan, if that's indeed what it was, although I'd love to hear an innocent explanation since it would be far more bizarre than what we know now. The whole thing seems more appropriate for a Ridley Pearson novel, mixed with a dab of John Nance.

MORE 1/13/09

Don't take this post as any kind of weird admiration for Schrenker--if he broke the law he should face up to it like a man and do the right thing by his family, employees, friends, and customers. That doesn't appear to be happening right now, as the man seems to think he's a real-life made for TV movie character.

But a couple of observations. It's likely he figured his aircraft would make the Gulf, where crash response and body recovery would be much more complicated. Perhaps the hope was an eventual declaration of death after the body failed to show up. Since he had enough fuel to get to Destin it's likely he miscalculated fuel burn at low altitudes and with the cockpit door flung open. Missing the Gulf was his major mistake, which begs the question as to why he bailed over Birmingham? Perhaps the cops should consider that a major clue.

He also made communications via email last evening, which they've probably traced--but was it him? If not then perhaps he has an accomplice trying to throw the hounds off the scent. His declaration of innocence in the email seems to suggest he hasn't been keeping up with the news that closely, otherwise he'd have known they didn't find any blood in the cockpit, which kinda torpedoes his emergency story.

MORE 1/13/09

Tom Britt, the man Mr. Schrenker sent the emails to, is currently on Greta's show and made reference to the fact that Schrenker was an Air Force pilot and was in "special ops". That means he's been through survival training.

NOT D.B. 1/13/09

Captured in FL. So much for survival training, which was BS according to another guest on the show. The email went to the guy who apparently bought the story about spec ops, suggesting he was still carrying on a con job to the bitter end.

Obama Now In a Hurry to Close GTMO

He backtracks works fast:
President-elect Barack Obama plans to order the closing of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay as early as his first week in office to show a break from the Bush administration's approach to the war on terror, according to two officials close to the transition.
Of course for all we know the order will state "no later than January 19th, 2013". And really, how shallow is closing a detention facility holding dangerous thugs like the planner of 9/11 just to show some kind of political division between parties? Pretty damn.

How about a comprehensive leak about where these terrorists are gonna go next? My first thought was any facility near Berkeley but the pink people would probably just let them go. After hugs and thank yous. So maybe Chicago. Nobody would notice with the circus perpetually in town.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Obama Closes Door on Bush Prosecutions

This is in response to George Snuffelophegous's question to Obama on his show today:



Paraphrasing, "nobody is above the law, on the other hand, I believe we should look forward not backward.." Sounds like a "no" to me. It wouldn't be a complicated answer if he didn't want it to be.

Obama probably knows pursuing charges against Bush could hurt him on two fronts--1) on his ability to bring the country together and get reelected and 2) complicating his own efforts to break free from Chicago machine slimeballs. He also has to know that people like Nancy Pelosi, Jay Rockefeller and Jane Harmon are in up to their elbows in propagating the policies in question and any investigation would bring that out, along with some historical revelations about his own Secretary of State nominee.

By the way, is THIS the same "Bob Fertik" that helped to found Democrats.com? One can see why Obama needs to be careful in moving forward on this front in the next few months. One way might be to appoint a party loyalist who's on record against 'torture' to head the CIA. For awhile, at least.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Side Tracks

We could say this to our politicians....

The Beat Goes On

The virtual beating of George W. Bush, that is. Today's WaPo contains a story about the volunteer efforts to take place around the country on MLK day and leaves a strong whiff of inference that Bush 43 had no stomach for such compassionate nonsense. From page one of the story:
The call is similar to that given by other presidents, from John F. Kennedy with the Peace Corps, to George H.W. Bush with the Points of Light, to Bill Clinton with AmeriCorps.
Hmm, no mention yet of Bush's Freedom Corps, whose website states:
President Bush created USA Freedom Corps (USAFC) to build on the countless acts of service, sacrifice, and generosity that followed September 11th. When he announced USAFC in his 2002 State of the Union Address, President Bush called on all Americans to serve a cause greater than themselves. Since then, USAFC has helped Americans answer that call, and the American people are responding.
The story continues to page two, where we also find no mention of Bush's initiative. We DO find a Waco, TX mother of three, who volunteered for Obama's volunteer corps:
A Democrat in the heart of Red America -- the event is the closest service day project to George W. Bush's Crawford ranch -- Petree said she thinks the Web site is a good way to help people get involved.
And finally, the coup de grace:
"It's great that we have someone in the White House who is actually promoting that," Dicker said of community service. "He's going out of his way to promote giving back to the community."
From Bush's 2002 State of the Union Message:
My call tonight is for every American to commit at least two years, 4,000 hours over the rest of your lifetime, to the service of your neighbors and your nation.

Many are already serving and I thank you. If you aren't sure how to help, I've got a good place to start. To sustain and extend the best that has emerged in America, I invite you to join the new USA Freedom Corps.

The Freedom Corps will focus on three areas of need: responding in case of crisis at home, rebuilding our communities, and extending American compassion throughout the world. One purpose of the USA Freedom Corps will be homeland security. America needs retired doctors and nurses who can be mobilized in major emergencies ... volunteers to help police and fire departments, transportation and utility workers well-trained in spotting danger.

Our country also needs citizens working to rebuild our communities. We need mentors to love children, especially children whose parents are in prison, and we need more talented teachers in troubled schools. USA Freedom Corps will expand and improve the good efforts of AmeriCorps and Senior Corps to recruit more than 200,000 new volunteers.
Maybe the WaPo and General Powell can work a little harder to make sure Obama's service plan is more successful. Sounds like they're off to a good start.