Sunday, January 31, 2010

Blinking Red on Iran?

As the administration looks to move the KSM somewhere rural, like Mayberry, the Middle East appears to be heating up again. Drudge is splashing a headline about Patriot missile deployments to Arab gulf states, which is always somewhat provocative.

The Iranians have lately been flaunting international law as if they were cats listening to human commands. They were busted late last year trying to receive a shipload of weapons from North Korea and lately they've been hanging 'dissidents' for speaking out about their phony elections.

But perhaps this signal means a little more than the others--in his testimony last week in the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war Tony Blair was steadfast:
His set text remains unchanged, his conviction unshakeable, and his conclusion ominous: not only was it right to invade Iraq, but we may have to do it again in Iran.
And he knows a lot more than the average bear. Matter of fact, what he knows probably dates back to the discussions with Bush over taking out Saddam, which has so many of the Brits (both left and right) in a tizzy.

Andrew Gilligan, the author of the linked piece in the preceding paragraph, was the guy heavily involved with the story about the late Iraqi UN arms inspector Dr. David Kelly. He's a hero to the international left, many of whom believe Kelly was about to relieve his conscience about Iraq but was rubbed out by dark actors while being tangentially involved in the Plame affair via Judy Miller. No doubt those dark actors were Cheney hit-squad goons and certainly not terrorists or members of rogue state intelligence organizations. The lies Mr. Gilligan lists that Blair acted on all center around a report saying the Iraqis could hook the bad stuff off to Scuds and launch within 45 minutes. Not so true.

But for sake of discussion let's say those weren't outright lies but rather exaggerations designed to get people behind the war and it's long-term goals, which could not be explained in full at the time. As we're seeing with Iran now, the threat (axis of evil) was actually real--no way a peacenik like Obama would send Patriots to the Gulf on a lark.

Didn't the IPCC climate folks just admit to 'sexing up' their 2007 dossiers to get people to act using bogus scientific data? How many official inquiries will the British government undertake on that account? Isn't "lying" to get people behind international socialism and wealth-spreading a bad thing, too?

True, people didn't die because the IPCC "lied" and the British people have every right to be angry at Blair if they think he somehow lost his mind and directed UK forces into Iraq for no good reason, thereby committing political suicide, just for oil. But imagine for a moment a Middle East with democratic governments in both Baghdad and Tehran, neither actively pursuing WMDs. Now imagine such a thing in the context of the 9/11 attacks. Wouldn't it make the service of those who died fighting in Iraq a bit more noble in the end?

At any rate, if Iran does have plans for strikes as Obama's move suggests then it's fair to wonder just how far and wide the Hizb'allah network of sleepers stretches. Hopefully the terrorist surveillance net hasn't been de-activated. Oops right, yes, that was one Bush anti-terror program Obama kept in place. Whew.

MORE 2/1/10

Is it any coincidence that A'jad is sabre rattling as the Senate passes another version of the Iran sanctions act? If one looks back over the history of these sanctions, dating back to 1995-96 under Clinton, terror attacks have occurred close to their passage. Maybe nothing, but I applaud Obama for quietly ramping up our defenses.

Times on the O'Keefe Caper

I don't know what James O'Keefe and his mates were up to in Mary Landreiu's Senate office; it hardly seems likely they were there to either "wiretap" or "sabotage" her offices, terms thrown around by various liberals on boards and blogs. But at the same time it was a whole lot amateurish and ignorant of the sensitivities of federal law enforcement.

Jumping to conclusions is only cool for MSNBC hosts and newspapers these days but O'Keefe has already nullified the need for Obama to weigh on by admitting he acted stupidly. Maybe if this goes to trial we'll get to see the hidden camera video, including how the phony phone men got past the front door security checkpoint.

But this NY Times expose on O'Keefe contains a gem just too good to pass up:
Mr. O’Keefe declined several interview requests, and Mr. Wetmore responded to an e-mail message by sending photographs of Jayson Blair, a reporter for The New York Times who resigned after admitting to plagiarism and fabrication.
Those insufferable conservative provocateurs!

On Second Thought..

It's clear from this Gibbs' spin that the administration does not currently have a fall-person for their apparent backtrack off trying KSM and crew in lower Manhattan. Hmmm, who will it be?

Well, it can't be Holder unless they are planning on getting rid of him. Bloomberg? That's a pretty powerful enemy to be creating. New Yorkers themselves? Would they dare? Hey, some of them did run scared during the Air Force One low pass last Spring. But c'mon. Bush? He was trying KSM at Gitmo. But surely they are trying to get there somehow.

Maybe one way is to mention Aafia Siddique. The suspected AQ biological expert trained in American universities is currently on trial in Manhattan to very little fanfare. But the press is always there to help:
By keeping the focus on Ghazni, the trial will avoid becoming, as human-rights groups had hoped, a referendum on the issue of enforced disappearances. Siddiqui has achieved cult status in much of the Muslim world, where she is a symbol of hundreds of individuals believed to have been "disappeared" in connection with the war on terrorism. Groups like the British-based Reprieve have argued that the practice of enforced disappearances begun under George W. Bush has continued apace under the Obama Administration, and that the use of foreign intelligence to detain and interrogate suspects has in the worst instances amounted to nothing less than torture by proxy.

For Siddiqui this means that whether she is found guilty or not, the most serious question raised by her case will not be answered: whether she is, as one of her former attorneys described her, "the ultimate victim of the American dark side."
Imagine how it would be with KSM. Now ahem, some of a cynical nature have postulated that based on Obama's propensity to bash Bush/Cheney at every turn the whole idea of trying KSM in Manhattan instead of a commission (like the Cole bombers) was to gain a never-ending stream of Bush-hate over the air that would help Democrats in the mid-terms. Enter Scott Brown. He ran against trying terrorists in the town square, which proved successful. Maybe that helps to explain Obama's Holder's sudden epiphany.

In the meantime here's a thought--why not hold the trial in DC? The administration has already said they plan to try "Hambali" there and so far there's only a whimper of protest. KSM also bombed the Pentagon and tried to take out the government by hitting the Capitol or White House, so it's fitting. Besides, Washington already has a pretty strong no-fly restricted airspace zone and ample security.

And wouldn't it be just a little bit fun to see the DC politicos trying to justify not trying KSM in Washington for the same reasons New Yorkers are now saying he shouldn't be tried in New York, after saying the Big Apple should steel themselves and not let the terrorists win?

MORE 1/31/10

I missed this from Michelle Malkin last week. Siddique is married to Ammar al-Baluchi, KSM's nephew and Ramzi Yousef's cousin. Small world, eh.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

An Outstretched Hand

Obama famously said he would extend a hand to his enemies and talk about differences. Just the other day in the State of the Union he emphatically stated that he never quits. The public got a taste of the two Friday when he met with the GOP in a candid, frank, televised closed door meeting in Baltimore under the auspices of fostering bi-partisanship (but actually designed by both sides to rip the other for campaign fodder).

Obama insisted on televising the event, which the GOP apparently acceded to thinking they would be accused of hypocrisy since they wanted to bash Obama for not televising the health care debates. That was mistake one. Mistake two was underestimating this man's power to spin:
President Obama met with Republicans at the GOP Issues Conference in Baltimore today and denied that he wanted to impose huge government, denied that he is a ideologue, told them they will be vulnerable with their constitutients for their tone, demonization, and lack of cooperation - and then amazingly, informed them that his health care bill is "centrist." You'll see all that in the first video below. The second video is the entire address.
Only a skilled professional could call the current health care bill 'centrist' then scold the opposition for unilaterally opposing it after admitting the contents violated his own promise and do it convincingly and with a straight face. Only a skilled pseudo-socialist Alinskyite ideologue could throw "Bolshevik plot" back in their faces and leave them speechless. They've forgotten that he took down the Billary machine.

Various GOP pols made some decent marks, such as Wisconsin Rep Paul D. Ryan,
who after a long reply to his original question about spending increases reminded the president he was referring to discretionary spending, not mandatory increases (leading to a quick cut to the next question). And our own Marsha Blackburn pointed to the failure of Congress to study previous failed public option test beds, like Tennessee's "TennCare". But by and large Obama scored points by controlling the room in a hostile environment.

Meanwhile the event took up a lot of press resources on the same day the administration was leaking Titanically about their proposed walk-back of a Manhattan venue for the KSM trials. Score two for Plouffe.

Side Tracks

This was the first Alabama song I heard, somewhere around 1980, and it was obvious a new genre of country music had been born. Here's a version by Alan Jackson (with Randy Owen and the boys in the audience)



Saw them in the early 90s with Diamond Rio, and although they were quite good I think Randy Owen's on-stage antics are a bit over the top for their music. But their talent and innovation are beyond dispute--they changed country music.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Ice

Lots of 32 degree rain and little balls of ice in Left Tennessee today. In this action shot we see Albert has ventured outside to take an observation...



The doll is a rock. Sort of like a weather rock actually. With wild hair.

Roads were bad this morning but got a little better, but it's gonna get worse again this evening. Maybe a few inches of snow on top of this ice. Here's a screenshot from one of our handy traffic cams located on Sam Cooper 'Blvd', the freeway that was supposed to be the through route for I-40 before a bunch of cotton millionaires got it stopped (Sam Cooper ends in midtown Memphis leaving lost drivers wandering around in bad neighborhoods trying to find their way back to 40 and out of town).

It's not a good sign when the cams ice over. Hey, maybe we can get the IPCC to include that picture in the next climate report to scare future drivers into action of some sort. I can personally guarantee it's peer-reviewed.

The radar looks a little better so hopefully we don't lose power like we did in 1994, or God forbid, like western Kentucky and Missouri did last year. If we do I boldly predict this will be the last post ever... until the power comes back on. Assuming we survive the anarchy, etc.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

No Appetite for KSM

That's what John Boehner said before the SOTU... now Obama seems to agree:
The White House ordered the Justice Department to consider other places to try the 9/11 terror suspects after a wave of opposition to holding the trial in lower Manhattan.
That's according to one of Obama's anonymous spokespeople, at least. But if the order was indeed given to move the trial remember one thing-- it was never Obama's idea to hold the trial in New York. It was Holder's. This will be explained to all us simple rubes in due course.

DONE 1/30/10

According to the White House media office, MSNBC division, the move is a done deal (besides, it's a Friday evening):
Though the officials wouldn’t discuss locations under consideration, others have suggested Governors Island, a former military base in New York Harbor that now welcomes summertime picnickers and bike riders; the U.S. Military Academy at West Point or Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, N.Y.
A remote military base? Who'd have thunk? Actually, it's fine so long as it doesn't cost more or threaten picnickers. My main beef all along is the disparity between the classifications of KSM and al-Nashiri or the others at Gitmo who will be tried using commissions. Holder has never offered a rational reason why he's bringing KSM to federal court in New York, so there must be something or other they want out to the press about this whole thing, and they know it might get buried without a media circus.

Medium Speed Rail to Nowhere

On Tuesday July 26, 1966 the president of the New York Central railroad Alfred E. Perlman issued a memo stating the following:
A New York Central jet-powered test car, M-497, established a new United States rail speed record by averaging 183.85 miles per hour during research operations last weekend..
Sixty four years earlier the "20th Century Limited" passenger train was riding those same NYC rails between New York and Chicago in 20 hours, averaging 49 mph. Today, in 2010, Amtrak's "Lakeshore Limited", using the same line, makes the run in 19 hours, an improvement of one hour in almost 100 years.

A year after the NYC set the record in 1966 they were dismantling most of their passenger network; the 727s and the Eisenhower interstates were too much competition. Perlman knew that it would take something like a jet-powered train going over 150 mph to get the riders back but such upgrades could not return their investment and would also compete and hinder the more lucrative (and necessary) freight operations. The government took over everything a few years later.

Today Obama was out peddling a 'high speed rail' initiative in Florida, ironically in the same state where thousands will soon be out of jobs as the Space Shuttle ends and the moon/mars initiative gets the budget axe (not the scalpel). Here's part of a report:
Though the administration bills the program as "high-speed rail," most U.S. projects won't reach the speeds seen in Europe and Asia. California's trains would be by far the fastest, exceeding the 200 mph achieved by some trains overseas.

Some of the money will go toward trains with top speeds of 110 mph, while other funds -- such as the $400 million allotted to Ohio to connect Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati -- will be for trains traveling no faster than 79 mph.
Does every Democrat program have to have a misleading title? Nothing going slower than NASCAR, or motorcycle traffic in Memphis, can be called 'high speed' anything.

In many of these projects the existing tracks are simply being upgraded for faster speeds and cannot be considered HSR in any sense of the term. These trains will be fighting for spots with freights and will tie up highway traffic just as now--albeit for less seconds. Obama might not characterize them as such but think of them as Amtrak on steroids, or in the case of Ohio, think of them as Amtrak itself.

The only project that seems worthwhile is in California. People WILL ride a 200 mph train. They will. Well, maybe not from Little Rock to, er, anywhere, but in California and back east, yes. Right now a 200 mph train would beat any airport or interstate travel for a 200-400 mile trip due to parking and security alone.

The Cal project will require a separate track apart from freight meaning much more bang for the buck in construction stimulus. Also, with potentially more ridership it may act to stimulate online communities and spur growth. Same goes for a proposed HSR line from LA to Las Vegas, which could work. There are some nice scenic views on that route.

But as Perlman and the others knew, HSR will not return it's investment unless people are willing to pay non-competitive fares just for the privilege, and they aren't, so the government has to subsidize. Even with subsidies, if the price is too high ridership will suffer. In the normal business world such an entity would quietly go out of business but in the world of government-run, such an entity will ask for a bigger monetary request in the next budget. And there's no competition from other HSR lines to keep them honest, only from airlines (who run the risk of bankruptcy) and federally-funded highways, which will never be torn out until teleportation comes. And probably not even then.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Speech

Doing this without reading anyone or listening to the talking pinheads, so here we go, unvarnished...

As far as Obama speeches go it was a home run onto Waveland Ave. Nobody does speech like this man. At one point near the end a pin could be heard to drop, which is a feat in that place. We haven't heard rhetoric as sharp or cunning since the campaign. His base will be ecstatic, the congressional Dems renewed, and the GOP re-flustered. At least for awhile.

Trouble is, in between the speeches the real world has seen a slow motion disaster that just words can't fix.

He did not say the state of the union was strong, or anything, at least not that I heard. Maybe a good idea. The tea partiers and the Scott Browns got him to mention a capital gains tax cut and to brag that income taxes had not risen a penny (bravo) this past year, and even to admit that it's business, not government, that creates jobs.

But then he lauded the Stimulus Bill as a raging success; lobbied for the current health care bill; lectured about a cap and trade bill; suggested gays in the military; said nobody was demonized then hammered the banks and proposed a punitive tax on them, even after they've repaid TARP; demonized the Supreme Court decision on campaign finances; and recommended free student loans or something.

IOW, classic mommy party stuff, flowery fluff and marshmallows, the stuff that pipe dreams are made of. There was no getting tough on pulling down the deficit and not much of anything from a discipline standpoint. But that's daddy party stuff.

He wrapped by making it clear he would take on those obstructionists using the sluggish and cumbersome constitutional process to frustrate his change, oh, and the terrorists too. And he'll never quit, not fighting AQ, but until progress starts occurring at the same pace as it does in dictatorships like communist China and parliamentary Germany. All in all, a great speech--mainly about him.

I GUESS THIS IS CHANGE 1/27/10

When the President of the United States verbally smacks down a Supreme Court decision with the justices sitting 20 feet away. Part of the never-ending quest to defeat the conservative enemy..



MY BAD 1/28/10

Looking at the transcript he did say the union was strong. It was more or less buried in a paragraph about the country in general therefore it didn't really stand out like former SOTU messages, so I missed it. Most of the time this kind of statement ends a sentence, but Barack doesn't do black and white.

Aviation Update

Are we seeing a trend of aircraft disasters involving weather where the 'black boxes' are never found? Seems like a trend...

Adam Air 574.
This one crashed in stormy weather in the Far East and although a US Ship located the approximate position of the black boxes via pingers, they were never recovered. The cause has been chalked up to pilot error.

Air France 447.
Most believe this was another product of flying too close to thunderstorms, although it would help to have the boxes. Air France continues to pursue the hunt. Pilot error has to rank high on the list of probable causes.

Yemenia 626.
This seemed like a weather crash at the time. The plane was making a right turn to line up with the runway and disappeared over the ocean. They eventually found the black boxes in about 6500 feet of water, and Yemenia Airlines was hopeful of finding something, but a week later they announced the tapes were damaged and nothing has been heard since. Nobody is saying anything. The fact this airline is based in Yemen is apparently just a coincidence with all the terrorism stories in the news now.

..and now Ethiopian 409. The wreckage is in relatively shallow water and the pingers should make the CVR/FDR quite easy to locate when combined with air traffic radar tapes of the last known position.

Yet speculation is still rampant. The Lebanese officials have gone out of their way to dismiss any possibility of terrorism while stories making the rounds say the pilot ignored ATC commands to change course and made a strange turn before disappearing. These are essentially meaningless without further information, such as weather radar tapes or the FDR. This report on lightning is perhaps the most concrete data so far in explaining the crash--some kind of upset involving lightning has to be high on the list of probable causes based on the facts reported so far. But all things considered it certainly seems the story is beginning to flow in the direction of pilot error at this point, just like the others.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

O'Keefe's Blunder

This has to be the more incredibly short-sighted and foolish capers ever, or there's more to the story. From reports so far, there's not much more to the story:
Activist James O’Keefe, 25, was already in Landrieu’s New Orleans office Monday when Robert Flanagan and Joseph Basel, both 24, showed up claiming to be telephone repairmen, U.S. Attorney Jim Letten’s office said Tuesday. Letten says O’Keefe recorded the two with his cell phone.
Say goodbye to that onus on ACORN and their corrupt ways. At least for awhile.

From the reports it appears O'Keefe was trying to photographically verify the stealth insertion of the bug team into Landrieu's office, probably to prove they were there when the tapes came out later. But that would only amount to providing evidence of a crime.
It's just hard to see this in any way but stupid right now, even if they suspected her of paying off ACORN or other nefarious things regarding the "Louisiana Purchase".

But! And consider this as using bad behavior to point out other curious and probably bad behavior, but it seems important to point out that while this story is getting top billing on CNN.com, Washington Post, Huffington Post, CBS.com, MSNBC.com, and Fox News.com, and even Breitbart as of this writing, most of these same outlets ignored the weekend story on Ellie Light and the other astroturf letter writers discovered in newspapers all over the country employing fraudulent addresses to support Barack Obama. Both are important political stories--only one got top billing. Just sayin'.

MORE 1/26/10

From Maguire:
So one wonders - did they have some other venture in mind, such as an expose of shoddy security practices at Federal offices? Hmm, if so their project took an unexpected turn.
One has to assume that the federal building in question has a security entry point with video, since that's common for most federal buildings. It would be incredibly stupid to tell the GSA person inside the phone office that they left their phone company IDs in their vehicle if such a checkpoint existed, since it would be a dead give-away that they had entered fraudulently.

But surely any planning would have included such a contingency, ie, "what do we say if someone asks for our phone company IDs?" It's hard to imagine "we left them in the truck" as a planned reply unless they were trying to expose shoddy security. And even if, such things are better left to professionals within the government, who they could have contacted on the side if there was a concern. That is, unless there was a political angle they felt would be blown if they made the feds aware of it in advance.

GETTING IN 1/26/10

Here's the Hale Bogg Federal Building in New Orleans. Landreiu's office is on the 10th floor but look who else is there:
This federal building/complex houses, among other agencies, the IRS and the US Marshall, the Coast Guard, as well as federal courthouses.
With such sensitive facilities there's no way the entrance to this facility doesn't have a security checkpoint, where visitors would be expected to pass a metal detector and present ID, and probably get a visitor badge. If not, then the big question is why not? It's hard to believe two phony phone repairmen could pass security without formal company ID.

MORE 1/27/10

Patterico's flag of the recent rally and "phone problems" in Landreiu's office sounds the most promising as an answer to this thing, which explains why the two phony phone guys were calling the office line with their cell phones. The trip to the phone demarc room is puzzling though, unless there's something available to determine phone system stability. Their answer to the custodian still doesn't make sense if there was security at the front door. It's almost as if they wanted to be caught, or were just stupid, which O'Keefe has proved he's not. Has to be more here.

One-Term Wonders

Obama tells Diane Sawyer he'd rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-termer. So much for punting and hiring Dick Morris--sounds like he's willing to gamble it all the stuff currently aggravating so many voters.

Arrogant? Maybe a tad, vaguely similar to his comments about "a good solid B+"; the 180 degree lunatic spin of the recent Brown victory; and saying the difference between 1994 and 2010 is "him". The man does not lack for panache.

But Bush once told Woodward the same thing! Yep, when asked about taking out Saddam (he called it protecting America). From the book "Plan of Attack", page 443:
[Woodward]"And if this decision costs you the election?" [Bush] "The presidency--that's just the way it is," Bush said. "Fully prepared to live with it."
For some reason, though, the same thing sounds different coming from Bush.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Quieter, Cleaner Jet Pack

As opposed to these, NASA is now working on this..



courtesy Avweb.

Ethiopian 409

Early reports from this crash suggest weather might be a factor. There were thunderstorms in the area. Takeoff weather did not appear extreme, however, with strong cells in the area it's possible they flew into one of them.

But it's not as if modern jets are flying around blind. These aircraft have onboard weather-avoidance radar and, if the crash occurred close to shore as if seems, the air traffic controllers should be able to see weather returns on their scopes.

As to eyewitness reports, the time of night would seem to preclude anything significant but there are a few. Here's the London Times:
Residents on the coast were reported to have seen a "ball of fire" crashing off Na'ameh village, a few miles south of the Lebanese capital.
Here's the London Telegraph:
According to one source, residents on the coast saw a plane on fire crashing.
All versions suggest the plane was on fire before it crashed, as opposed to the crash causing the fireball, which is a critical point. A lot depends on the witnesses and their reliability but even if the plane was on fire on impact that doesn't rule out a lightning strike or mechanical fault, although lightning strike-related crashes are extremely rare due to the various arresters in place.

No doubt interest will be higher than normal due to the recent uptick in terrorism threats and related bluster. While Ethiopia might not seem an obvious target, they did help us attack AQ in Somalia a few years back. The wife of the French Ambassador to Lebanon was also onboard. Nothing at the Jerusalem Post as of this writing and Haaretz only had the Reuters story. Also, nothing at this Lebanese newspaper. Al-Jazeera says seven survivors. Any survivors suggests a controlled crash landing. Let's hope for the best.

MORE 1/25/10

From another report..
Witnesses in the area said they heard a loud noise and then saw a plane on fire plunging into the water.
This report said the plane was struck by lightning, but lightning strikes taking out modern airplanes are rare. Last fatal crash in America occurred in 1967.

MORE 1/25/10

Sadly, reports of survivors turned out to be erroneous. The image originally included with this post was also erroneous and was removed, with apologies.

Lebanon's Transport Minister said they lost contact at 2:37AM local time. Not sure whether that means lost it off radar or verbal contact. This report strongly confirms the earlier reports that the plane was on fire, and had perhaps exploded, before hitting the water. The witnesses on this report mentioned nothing about lightning. The CVR/FDR should be able to shine light, but there's no word on whether it's been recovered yet.

Here's a video purported to be from a CCTV camera at Beirut airport, which is clearly bogus--notice the fits and starts in the time on lower right. It has been altered. Why? The flashes could well be lightning, or something else. The officials have been quick to say they do not suspect "sabotage", but what specific factors would rule anything out at this point?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Tone Deaf?

Bleh, maybe it's me, after looking over some of the recent entries on this blog. But hey, it's worth every penny.

No, actually the tone deafness question is aimed at the administration of course. Obama started the midweek pushback to Brown's victory by claiming that Massachusetts voters were actually condemning George W. Bush in their election of Brown, not him. It might be funny if it wasn't so serious.

Then Gibbs doubled down today on Fox News Sunday, saying the same thing to a stunned Wallace. But what actually left Wallace mumbling was Gibbs saying the FBI got all they could possibly get out of terrorist Abdulmuttalob before Mirandizing him. "All that they could", Wallace repeated? "Yes". What more could be said? What do you say to someone who might deny the existence of the sun?

As Gibbs was on Fox "Obama's brain" was on another Sunday show telling them that Obama's bow tour travels around the world have forged better alliances and that we're safer despite several domestic terror attacks they've been busily ignoring:
Obama's travels have established relationships with world leaders that "lay a foundation for keeping America safe and making us a partner around the world," she added.
Evidently that doesn't include the former PM of Malaysia, who in the midst of blaming 9/11 on America didn't spare the One:
Mahathir also criticised US President Barack Obama for failing to fulfil his promises concerning the country's commitment in West Asia, including his promise to resolve the prevailing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

'I am a bit disappointed because so far none of his promises have been kept. He promised to get out from Afghanistan but he ended up sending more troops there instead.

'He promised to close down Guantanamo but he has not closed down Guantanamo.

'It is quite easy to promise during election time but you know there are forces in the United States which prevent the President from doing some things. One of the forces is the Jewish lobby, AIPAC,' he said.
Which is essentially something bin Laden might say minus the conspiracy.

And as all this bizarre denial occurs bloggers are uncovering more and more fake letters to editors at papers all around the country. Whether this is part of the administration's new 'feisty' response to the Brown victory (which don't forget actually favors Obama, according to Obama) or a loosening of rules is not known. It's almost too much to take anymore. Maybe we are near the end. What next, the Cubs winning the World Series? I'm closing this laptop and going back to watching Viking Bret Favre trying to reach the Super Bowl while flipping over to check up with Fred Couples debut on the Senior Tour.

Suddenly it's a Problem

The recent SCOTUS ruling on campaign donations has caused a grass fire on the left centered in the White House. Obama has been fairly animated about how the ruling will destroy democracy as we've known it due to evil corporate influence, calling up quotes from the Rough Rider himself. It's not the first time a prez has used his bully pulpit but the question here is why he's so inflamed.

Nobody wants foreign meddling in our national elections nor do they want large corporations--such as Google, Microsoft, Richard Branson's group and anything owned by George Soros--deciding the outcome of those elections! Oh yes, and of course big oil, big pharma, and big anything else as decided by the elite liberal elites who formulate such outrages.

Anyway, perhaps the most prudent thing for the common conservative to do is to take their cue from the president's own visceral reaction and support the decision. After all, he's no Teddy Roosevelt, and based on his track record of socialist-leaning programs and appointments it's probably a safe bet.

Not only that, but it's funny to see some Democrats blowing a gasket worrying about foreign meddling in our elections after trying to ignore Clinton's Chinagate scandal and more recently Obama's donations (never formally a scandal). Apparently the name Norman Hsu has escaped their memories, although that wouldn't be surprising since it was hardly there in the first place.

Who knows, maybe this change will actually mean less shady Norman Hsus to worry about as the money flows directly from the corporate boardrooms. Maybe disclosure rules will allow a free and robust internet truth community to fact-check every ad and track the donations, which might keep the campaigns honest. And heck, most people ignore those political commercials anyway.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Light Worker

This Ellie Light story is interesting. The Plain Dealer got it started and now Patterico and others are reporting. Oddly, Patterico quotes a story from Glenn Greenwald, the same blogger he once accused of sockpuppetry. The world has definitely turned upside down.

I don't know anything about the Light person but was familiar with the Sunstein paper (about inserting sock puppets or rogues into the communications system to defend government policies and knock down 'conspiracies') so the Greenwald story was going to give me an excuse to post this from Jack Cashill. The Light story is far more interesting at the moment.

Ellie doesn't seem to show up at any mid-south publications, including the Commercial Appeal, Memphis Flyer, Paducah Sun or Jackson Sun. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is now a pay site, so not sure there, but it does seem she's bypassing our red state paradise.

She (may be a he for all we know) could be anyone--your guess is as good as mine. I'm obviously an advocate of anonymity on the web and would never bust anyone for employing it, but sockpuppeting and fraud are entirely different matters (claiming to live in the regions where the letters are being printed, which is fraud). Recall that Congressman Grayson wanted a suit brought against the person that started this web site because they claimed to live in his district but did not. What this does prove is that getting a letter published in the paper doesn't require an actual address. How many other examples exist?

As to theory it's a good bet the person is just a rapid Obama nut doing their part for the Lightworker, maybe taking a cue after the Sunstein story broke. One might think an official would not carry on an email back-and-forth with the Plain Dealer columnist but one thing's for sure, the letter (and it's message) are now getting much wider play based on the mystery. But an official strategy? It just can't be.

Then again, the bizarre stories out of the creepy White House media office, such as Linda Douglass and her flag@whitehouse.gov (fishy); the Anita Dunn war on Fox News; and the reporter on the payroll are all rather Orwellian stories when taken in combination with Obama's socialist-leaning czar cabinet, so who knows.

MORE 1/24/10

I'm sure those interested in this story have already hit Patterico, Reihl, and Hot Air for updates, so I won't bother linking. My comment is on this link to the Baltimore Sun Chronicle page from Patterico, where an Ellie Light letter appeared--the sleuths are on to "Mark Spivey", but the whole page looks weird. The editor's note at tops says that due to volume they can't print them all, but one guy gets about 6 or 7 letters? And "Janet Leigh"? Is there anyone minding the store? Or are the store minders perhaps involved?

Side Tracks

Taking a break from music for awhile to post some favorite clips from Hollywood. Here's Cary Grant in "North by Northwest" trying hard to get arrested..

Friday, January 22, 2010

Those Crazy Bloggers

The conventional wisdom says that bloggers are just people sitting around in their living rooms or basements speculating wildly in their PJs. Well, the Justice Department apparently has a blog, which posted a rebuttal to criticism over the handling of the Underbomber. Said their spokesblogger:
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, every terror suspect apprehended in the United States, including shoe bomber Richard Reid, has been handled the same way, Miller said.
First, a question. If there's virtually no difference between the systems why try al-Nashiri for the Cole bombing in the military commission? He was one of the three who were allegedly waterboarded. So why not federal court in Norfolk, for instance?

Second, a statement (attached to the bold font in the DOJ blog post). The DOJ picked up Jose Padilla at O'Hare airport in 2002 and classified him an enemy combatant. He was sent to a brig. One might think the Times would remember that since they just did a "Times Topics" story on him last March.

Another terrorist, Ali al-Marri, who was a sleeper assigned by KSM to wreak havoc after 9/11, was also detained for years at a brig and deemed an EC.

Only after a successful Supreme Court challenge did both get civilian trials, and due to discovery rules Padilla was not charged with the dirty bomb plot because his lawyer demanded access to KSM, which the Bush people refused. And Al-Marri? He made a deal to plead guilty, avoiding a guilty verdict that would have landed him 30 years. So, the result of Holder upholding our values? Eight years:
"We're pleased with the result," said the attorney, Larry Lustberg. "Mr. al-Marri is also very pleased."
The guy was an admitted soldier for KSM investigating ways to poison innocent Americans. Now he'll be out in just 8 years. Kind of an important distinction for them to leave out, but hey as they say, it IS just a blog.

Cheney was Right

News out of the Mid South is that the jihadist who shot two military recruiters in Little Rock during the summer, killing one, has tried to plead guilty and acknowledge his AQ ties:
"I wasn't insane or post traumatic, nor was I forced to do this act," Muhammad claimed in the handwritten letter, the newspaper reported.
There were reports at the time that the FBI was monitoring him because he had visited Yemen, which ties the act pretty much directly to AQAP and/or Aulaqi, which occurred before Ft. Hood. Yet our Director of National Intelligence just did a headslap 'duh' the other day while trying to explain to Congress how Abdulmuttalob slipped the net--they weren't focused on the domestic threat from AQAP.

Aside from a clear case for firing the entire Obama national security staff or reorganizing the entire system, isn't it also clear that former VP Cheney was correct all along when he said Obama was 'making America less safe'? It's not nice to gloat, especially over serious matters, and Cheney probably won't, but he also took a lot of heat for stepping up. It would seem appropriate for someone in the media to take some note. Stories like this indicate the Bush approach to the problem was actually thoughtful and not as reckless as the current POTUS had assumed. The only thing reckless has been his failure to grasp reality.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Car 54, Where Are You?

Just had to blog the Dennis Blair's admission that he wasn't consulted on the interrogation of the Underbomber according to testimony in Congressional hearings taking place this week. Debbie at Right Truth is following and she's having trouble with the word 'alleged':
Both Michael Leiter, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center and Homeland Security Secretary Jane Napolitano admitted in prepared statements that the alleged bomber "should not have stepped on that plane. The counterterrorism system failed and they were working to make sure this never happens again.

Alleged? Alleged???? Can they not even admit that he is the bomber? His burned sexual organs and legs should testify to the fact that he is the terrorist.
Yes, there does seem to be some rather distinguishable physical evidence but remember, KSM is now also an alleged terrorist along with bin Laden, no matter what many stories they tell. Bush is the only person they've found guilty in any of this. Meanwhile, the irreplaceable Tom Maguire adds this:
If this had broken earlier Coakley would have been toast. Obama's team is so intent on coddling terrorists that they won't even follow their own procedures and get the right people involved? Oh, well, there is always November.
Especially since voters showed a concern over trying terrorists in court after the December debacle. Giuliani went to Boston to stump for Brown, and Brown was in favor of enhanced interrogation. As to their "own procedures", anyone remember the blue ribbon panel Obama formed to study innovative interrogation techniques in his post-enhanced interrogation world? Whatever they decided (HIG?) obviously failed after Christmas and the media has been completely silent on it until now.

MORE 1/21/10

I realize some might be wondering about the title of this post. It's an old TV show from the 50s and 60s, which actually outdates me because I can only vaguely remember my parents watching it. But it seemed appropriate for a keystone cops caper such as this.

Now, this is what has some people in a state of shock, from yesterday's testimony:



Duh. Nice answer. I have an opinion beyond this, but it will take a little set up so please bear with me..

It starts with Obama's Executive Order banning enhanced interrogation on January 22, 2009. Here's the first paragraph establishing the panel to determine future interrogation:
Sec. 5. Special Interagency Task Force on Interrogation and Transfer Policies.

(a) Establishment of Special Interagency Task Force. There shall be established a Special Task Force on Interrogation and Transfer Policies (Special Task Force) to review interrogation and transfer policies.

(b) Membership. The Special Task Force shall consist of the following members, or their designees:

(i) the Attorney General, who shall serve as Chair;

(ii) the Director of National Intelligence, who shall serve as Co-Vice-Chair;

(iii) the Secretary of Defense, who shall serve as Co-Vice-Chair;

(iv) the Secretary of State;

(v) the Secretary of Homeland Security;

(vi) the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency;

(vii) the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff;
As Blair noted, that included him, along with Napolitano and Holder. Here's part of the mission statement:
(e) Mission. The mission of the Special Task Force shall be:

(i) to study and evaluate whether the interrogation practices and techniques in Army Field Manual 2 22.3, when employed by departments or agencies outside the military, provide an appropriate means of acquiring the intelligence necessary to protect the Nation, and, if warranted, to recommend any additional or different guidance for other departments or agencies; and
OK, and here is the 'recommendations' section:
(g) Recommendations. The Special Task Force shall provide a report to the President, through the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and the Counsel to the President, on the matters set forth in subsection (d) within 180 days of the date of this order, unless the Chair determines that an extension is necessary.
That should have been a cue for the media to report on this task force but in looking around on the tubes all I could find was this:
.
Not to say the task force didn't report back in 180 days, it's just not easy to Googlefind. If they didn't report back in 180 days why didn't the press report about it? The NRO says this sounds like a fairly important story should anyone decide to investigate. Perhaps someone can find out how much Christmas vacation played into this failure. I would guess a lot more than is being admitted, but they simply can't admit it because the left spent years harping on Bush for taking vacations.

Blair's Duh moment makes further investigation a must, actually. Are we going to allow people in the top spots to get away with saying they weren't focused on domestic threats after two previous domestic threats related to Yemen this past year, and with the benefit of 9/11 in the rear view mirror?

Good grief, the left spent years asking why Bush didn't connect dots before 9/11 and Condi Rice was blasted when she told the Commission the Bush folks considered the threats as more towards US interests overseas, not domestically. And some of this criticism was even deserved in light of previous intelligence captured from Yousef's notebook computer about crashing planes into buildings. But few remember that Rice also said the following:
Despite the fact that the vast majority of the threat information we received was focused overseas, I was concerned about possible threats inside the United States. On July 5, chief of staff Andy Card and I met with Dick Clarke, and I asked Dick to make sure that domestic agencies were aware of the heightened threat period and were taking appropriate steps to respond, even though we did not have specific threats to the homeland.

Later that same day, Clarke convened a special meeting of his CSG, as well as representatives from the FAA, the INS, Customs, and the Coast Guard. At that meeting, these agencies were asked to take additional measures to increase security and surveillance.
They got non-actionable threats, they asked agencies to beef up security in relation to the non-actionable threats, and the agencies did. We got attacked anyway. Then she got attacked. But before 9/11 the Bush folks were operating from a different mindset. Afterwords, they kicked ass for seven straight years. Now with the changing of guard the new kids revert to a 9/10 mindset and the reality-based community goes into radio silence. Are you shocked? I know I am.

MORE 1/21/10

The crux here is really Blair's admission that despite the 180 day deadline to report back to the White House on the task force's ideas of how to administer interrogation of terrorists sans Bush's enhanced interrogation program, there is no program yet in existence. Here's Stephen Hayes:
With surprising candor, Blair, the nation's top intelligence official, explained that these officials were not deliberately excluded from the decisionmaking process in the immediate aftermath of the attack. Rather, he told the Senate Homeland Security Committee, there was no process at all.

"I've been a part of the discussions which established this high-value interrogation unit, [HIG] which we started as part of the executive order after the decision to close Guantanamo. That unit was created for exactly this purpose -- to make a decision on whether a certain person who's detained should be treated as a case for federal prosecution or for some of the other means. We did not invoke the HIG in this case," he said. "We should have."
Because there is no HIG. This is yet another reason Obama's actions shortly after inauguration have left America less safe, just as Dick Cheney said. We eagerly await the 60 Minutes investigation followed by a Pulitzer Prize winning expose by a Times or Post writer, or Seymour Hersch, whichever comes first.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Say What?

Rush was all over this comment from Obama regarding why Brown blew a hole in the political space-time continuum in Massachusetts:
"The same thing that swept Scott Brown into office swept me into office. People are angry and they're frustrated. Not because what's happened in the last year or two years, but what's happened over the last eight years."
So once again he dumps Bush into the blame stockade. But why eight instead of three, or nine? Is he purposely excluding 2001 and including his own first year? Does he mean the anger began in 2001 when America was attacked, or in 2002 when Bush began ramping up to take out Saddam? Or maybe he's just so used to using that eight figure to blame Bush for everything he just misspoke.

Either way he seems to be saying that voters elected Scott Brown to fill Teddy Kennedy's seat (a man strongly opposed to the Iraq war) partially because they are still mad at Bush's decision to go into Iraq, despite the fact that Brown has been called a neocon by some of his detractors. Or maybe Obama believes 'The Daily Paul'.

But I think in his coy way Obama was trying to say that people are frustrated with change he's yet to deliver mainly because Bush screwed up the country so badly it's undeliverable, which is not his fault but he understands the frustration because he feels it too. (meanwhile, the 43rd moron continues to quietly help with aid to Haiti as requested by the 44th).

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What it Means

What does the Brown victory mean? Well, one thing it means:


..it means this is a rather embarrassing picture. Obama's strategists and Dem spinmeisters might try to say this was a local affair, but the turnout and voter comments suggest otherwise. Notice the Obama grassroots squads were nowhere to be found.

No doubt it's a victory for the right but to me the big winner here is TEA, as in party. Average citizens don't like being called sexual deviants by a bunch of pointy headed elitists for exercising their constitutional rights (take note MSNBC). Subtract the small percentage of far lefties frustrated because Obama hasn't socialized America fast enough and most rational folks just want common sense from their leaders. Cue the WaPo poll on big government as evidence.

Practical, common sense politicians don't sell their children's futures down a river of debt; they don't impose draconian taxes and regulations in hopes of changing the earth's climate; and they don't try dangerous admitted terrorists in the town court house when a firing squad will do.

But, such politicians might vote for a bi-partisan reform of health care as opposed to status quo, or they might vote for some fair-minded restrictions on carbon if such restrictions aren't meant to line the pockets of lobbyists, CEOs, union bosses, hack politicos or go towards propping up environmental whackos or UN globalists. Cue the poll on Palin's faltering presidential hopes--I think voters are looking for something in between both poles, centered on the right (one could argue that's actually where Palin is but she's been painted as an extremist, with which I might agree but the poll is the poll).

This is now a trend--Virginia, New Jersey, Teddy Kennedy's ghost. The peeps knocked down the biggest pillar of conventional political wisdom in America tonight in making their statement--Flutie's pass was indeed caught in the end zone. The establishment politicians, mainly those arrogant few currently in control, best be listening closely in the coming weeks. After all, they oughta know the structural composition of their majority.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Brown/Coakley

Seems to be the big story, so here's a quick gander. The optimist in me says this is a lock because the tea partiers are much more energized as compared to left, who got what they wanted (Obama and the Congress) but can't seem to get what they want (socialist annihilation). Obama's penchant for pragmatism gets the blame. The pumpkin has been defrosted.

But try as I might I cannot ignore the pessimist side, such as illuminated by the king of rightweb pessimism, Allahpundit:
Don’t underestimate the machine, my friends.
Sage advice. Newspapers, TV hacks, and pundits will be reminding voters about the health care ramifications nonstop until the polls close. Some may be swayed. Some GOP voters might think it's a done deal and stay home. If Brown ends up losing after this big build-up the Dem machine will be spinning like Iranian centrifuges, weaving a dramatic tale about how "the people" pulled hopenhealthcarechange out of the fire and what it means as far as a national mandate, etc, etc.

This is wrong. It's NOT the people's seat dammit, it's Kennedy's seat! Mass Dems outnumber conservs 3-1. This is David versus Goliath, no matter what the polls say!

Or to use a football metaphor, Brown right now is like Doug Flutie dropping back to pass. We will all watch tomorrow, transfixed, as time expires and the ball hurls towards the end zone, waiting to see if a miracle happens. It could happen. But if it doesn't they will always talk about the year that little ole Boston College almost beat the mighty New England Patriots, and what that says about the Patriots. Ah yes, much better.

MORE 1/19/10

As we await the exciting results it's prudent to keep in mind how we got here:
When Ted Kennedy died on August 25, 2009, Massachusetts law required the state to hold a special election to fill the opening he left in the US Senate. That law was put in place by the state legislature in 2004 when John Kerry ran for President, and it was championed by Ted Kennedy himself. Why? The governor at the time, Mitt Romney, was a Republican — and Kennedy didn’t want Romney appointing an interim replacement that wasn’t a Democrat.

Fast forward five years, to when Kennedy was days away from death. The Kennedy family released a letter written by the Senator demanding that the law he pushed in 2004 get repealed in 2009 in order to allow Governor Deval Patrick to appoint his successor. Why? Patrick is a Democrat and a reliable liberal who would select someone in Kennedy’s mold. The state legislature responded by acceding to Kennedy’s dying wish and Patrick appointed Paul Kirk to fill Kennedy’s seat temporarily, until the special election could be held.
The Cap'n seems to have it nailed. Had they left the seat vacant over the holidays and not pushed a bill today's vote might have been seen as no big deal. Mass already has public health care and Coakley was up 20 points at the get-go. But after all the wheeling-dealing, the thousands of unread pages in the bill, and Obama's failure to put the debate on C-Span the current vote is more a referendum on broken promises and politics as usual, which was supposed to be change. That's why Obama whined about how slow and frustrating the pace of change has been during his speech supporting Marcia.

Meanwhile another Mass pol, Barney Frank, is out lamenting the unfair filibuster rules in the Senate, providing a perfect example of how some Democrats view societal rules in general--as mere hindrances to outcome. Well, their desired outcome. Playing fast and loose with the rules explains why conservatives are upset with this bunch, such as the Louisiana Purchase and other deals along with liberal views on illegal immigration, but it's likely also a part of the reason why so many independents are upset about today's political situation. We'll soon see how many expressed themselves at the polls today.

The Ties that Bind

So Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal wants to buy more of Murdoch's News Corp:
The Saudi billionaire whose investment firm is one of the biggest stakeholders in Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. said he is looking to expand his alliances with the media giant, in the latest indication that his appetite for growth remains robust even as his company retrenches.
Hang on a sec while I get my tinfoil hat. There. Now, Prince Alwaleed is the same Saudi Prince who offered Rudy Giuliani 10 million after 9/11 for rebuilding along with placing some blame on America, to which Rudy figuratively replied "nuts". He is the same Prince who bailed out Citigroup in the 90s and who benefited secondarily from the recent TARP bailout. It's no wonder he's against Obama's new punishment tax.

He's even on Facebook (Murdoch owns what's left of MySpace, btw).

And he's the same Prince Alwaleed mentioned offhandedly by the late civil rights hero Percy Sutton, as in the letter Sutton said he wrote at the behest of Khalid al-Mansour on behalf of getting Obama accepted into Harvard. Al-Mansour acted as an advisor and attorney to.. the Prince.

Meaning the Prince could have known about Obama as far back as 1990 during the Gulf War. Yes, admittedly a thin conspiracy reed since there's no proof Mansour ever mentioned the young up-and-comer community organizer Barack Hussein Obama to his Saudi client. But couple it to the fact that a man of brilliance such as Obama would steadfastly refuse to release any transcripts/records from his Columbia days and it looks kind of weird. Maybe it really is a small world after all. And just how much viewership and ad revenue did Fox (Alwaleed) gain from Obama's failed war on Fox News? Argg, the tinfoil is getting too tight!

Well, if nothing else it's decent fodder for speculation on the most miserable day of the year (no offense to Dr. King--the Brits don't celebrate). As if this wasn't enough.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Most Wanted List, Again

No sooner than the cyber ink dried on my bin Laden photo post here comes another mention of a Rewards for Justice terrorist:
A U.S. missile strike in Pakistan killed one of the FBI's most-wanted terrorists, a man suspected in a deadly 1986 plane hijacking with a $5 million bounty on his head, three Pakistani intelligence officials said Friday.
That's good, but the dark humor here is the AP story. Notice in the above clip it says "suspected". Later in the story it says:
Rahim had been tried and convicted by Pakistan, but he and three suspected accomplices were apparently released in January 2008. All four were added to the FBI list late last year.
Emphasis to show that even if someone is tried and convicted the AP still considers them an alleged terrorist who was 'apparently' released. As if he could have been like Harrison Ford's character in "Wrongly Accused" or something.

This thug was a worker bee for the Abu Nidal Organization, which was headquartered in Baghdad in it's later years. He took part in a hijacking that killed 20 people, then kicked back in Waziristan after his release. So there are a few questions..

1) The obvious- why was he released by Pakistan?
2) Why was he still loitering in the tribal territories after being set free two years ago?
3) Do old Abu Nidal guys share the same goals with al Qaeda religious warriors and if so, how many dots does that actually connect?

Lest you think these countries are releasing terrorists so we can promptly either shoot or capture them, well, they are still looking for Mohammed Ali Hamadei (TWA 847 hijacking) after Germany released him in a prisoner swap in 2005. His mug shot can be found right there on RFJ.

ONE MORE QUESTION 1/17/10

Who got the reward?

Side Tracks

Yin..



Yang..

Politicizing Crisis

It'll be interesting to see if the reality-based community contingent now ripping Limbaugh for accusing the Obama folks of wanting to profit politically from Haiti will direct their wrath on the former first black president for tying Haiti to a Martha Coakley victory.

Or whether they develop Katrina-like outrage over the fact a Clinton is heading down to Haiti but it's not the UN special envoy to Haiti Clinton, who's instead campaigning in Massachusetts saying that a victory for Coakley is like helping rebuild Haiti.

Or the president remaining at home to use his Saturday address not to outline our response to the Haiti crisis but rather to outline his plan to go after the banks. The address really must be seen to be believed. He blamed Bush for the financial collapse, of course, then praised him for TARP (Obama was in favor as well), then said everyone never expected to see the money repaid but it only happened due to his administration's tough policies. Stunning BS.

He's probably right about one thing--the bankers did find a way to repay TARP once they realized how Marxist-leaning the incoming government was, so in a way it was an incentive. But surely this had to torque the White House since it meant they couldn't use the crisis to properly socialize the financial system and decided to enact punishment taxes as a response. Even some liberals have noted the rank populism while applauding.

Shockingly, while there was subtle mention of how dangerous a Scott Brown election could be (since he opposes the bankers punishment tax) there was no mention whatsoever of the shared blame main street holds for the crisis.

Which explains why there is currently no demand that certain politicians return ALL the money Fannie and Freddie provided them in campaign donations before going bankrupt. Or no calls for punishing those still in power who ensured Americans that both organizations looked good 'going forward' when they knew damn well they didn't. And no mention of punishing executives of those same entities for giving bonuses while their taxpayer-funded organizations remain in default.

Obama told reporters at the G20 summit he was through playing the blame game and just wanted to fix the problem. Apparently that only applies to friendlies.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Problem in Haiti

Frustrations are increasing in Haiti as millions run low on food and water amidst building heat and a relatively slow emergency response.

One of the biggest issues has to be infrastructure. I'm not an expert on the island--never been there--but Google Earth provides a wealth of information as to roads, waterways, rail and airports. There are precious few of any in Haiti. A cursory glance shows there are only two heavy duty runways in the country, and only one close to the damage. Here's a view of the Port-Au-Prince airport:


One east-west and a crummy ramp:


Not much room there, and it's doubtful they could park anything very heavy on what looks like a dirt area between the runway and ramp. Also, since there's only one taxiway from the main runway to the ramp that limits two-way traffic. Landing aircraft may have to do a u-turn at the end of the runway after touchdown, since there is no parallel taxiway beside the runway. This all makes for a very slow operation as traffic increases. They will have to get real creative.

Neighboring Dominican Republic is a stark contrast even though it's also a fairly poor country. There are freeways, a major deep water port and several airports. The roads leading into Haiti appear pretty spartan. They will have to change this going forward.

The military is even using a Global Hawk UAV to assess the damage and most likely the security situation. While everyone feels for the people in need, we should expect nothing less to ensure the safety and efficiency of any mission to take place down there.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

AQ Emissaries

Reading ABC's feature on the faces of bin Laden (would you recognize the guy in the picture to your left?) ended with a visit to the Rewards for Justice site to check their lineup of most-wanted terrorists.

They've added a few lately, such as four of the five who hijacked Pan Am flight 73 in Karachi in 1986, which was one of the deadliest hijackings of an American aircraft up until 9/11. They were recently released by Pakistan after serving about 22 years.

The cast of significant unknowns: Abdul Yasin, Abderraouf Jdey and Adnan Shukrijumah, are still there but they've added master bomb-maker Abu Ibrahim. And no surprise--the men listed by the 9/11 Commission as WMD procurement persons are still not wanted by anyone.

But what's up with this guy:
Atiyah is the al-Qa'ida emissary in Iran as appointed by Usama bin Ladin. He recruits and facilitates talks with other Islamic groups to operate under al-Qa'ida.
"In Iran"? Such as inside Iran, with the blessing of the government? Such as when Bin Laden once asked Saddam for an office in Baghdad? Or something more clandestine not actually ocuring inside Iran, assuming that's even possible?

Hmm, well somehow bin Laden's family ended up in Tehran after 9/11, claiming they just walked up to the Iranian border and were taken hostage. Years later UBL's son Saad either "escaped" or simply "left" house arrest and traveled to Afghanistan where he was promptly roasted by a US drone. Western reports of his death either called him an 'up and comer' or not much threat other than a marquee name. AQ has not reported it yet. One thing's for sure, there's fat little chance he 'escaped' from house arrest in Tehran, so for some reason the Iranians let him go. Was it to placate America or AQ?

Make of it what you will. Just more weird stuff involving Iran and terrorism.

MORE 1/15/10

This seems significant. Why wouldn't the terror threat level be raised?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Heckuva Job, Brown

Sums it up nicely.

Yep, when people start scaremongering, hammering affiliations and sending goons in to rough up journalists then a mark has definitely been made. And just imagine, Democrats complaining about tea parties in Massachusettes.

Haiti

Not much to say except where to send help. Here's my choice,








donate

Socialism is so much better when it's voluntary and from the heart. I have confidence that America, even in the midst of a horrible recession, will come through with millions in aid. And please, somebody make Pat Robertson go away. He is no reflection of decency, much less Christianity.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Do the Amish have IDs?

Nice. It takes the Drudge Report's link to the little-known "Watertown Daily Times" to find out that certain religious groups may get immunity to the health insurance mandate. No wonder Pelosi didn't want any cameras on the debate.

You know, Democrats are weird birds. They love mandates but at the same time they love exemptions. Maybe one day they'll reach nirvana--having only Republicans pay taxes, which is of course self-defeating. Making perfect sense.

The story doesn't explain whether Amish type businesses will be immune from the law or just Amish-type individuals, or whether they'll receive free health coverage. Seems it could be a pandora's box, inviting other religious-based carve outs and special treatment but we'll have to wait until the debate comes on C-span to be sure.

Give Roger his Record Back

So McGwire comes out and verifies what every Cub fan knew in 1998 and what everyone else has known since 2005. Now maybe Corky will do that little heart hand gesture thing and come clean on what no Cub fan would admit in 1998 or even now and to what Bonds has already admitted to, more or less.

Yes, they were all 'roid freaks.

Meanwhile I'll admit to being as jazzed as ever to be a Cardinal fan in 1998 and as disappointed as ever to learn that Bud Selig and MLB had pulled the wool over our eyes all those years.

How about this. How about Selig making amends for those past sins of omission by formally announcing the use of the asterisk and giving Roger Maris his record back in a special ceremony on opening day. It would be a truly diverse gesture as well, penalizing a white, black, and hispanic so nobody could claim racism or favoritism while at the same time showing youngsters that cheating has a penalty other than an embarrassing interview after getting caught.

SOMEONE FOUND A WAY... 1/12/10

To blame Bush. Miss him yet?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Reid his Lips

Current events compel another mention of Harry thiswarislost Reid, who now teeters on the brink of a fate close to Jimmy the Greek or other tragic forked tongue figures of celebrity.

Wondering, is it really worth the effort to determine whether he's a racist or just a political realist when the man is already an unequivocal ignoramus?

Ok, ok, well he's certainly correct in that Obama does shade his delivery depending on the audience. So did George W. Bush. Politicians are chameleons and Obama is perhaps the best to ever come along, so it should be of little shock for a career chameleon to notice greatness when he sees it. It wasn't like Reid announced this in a stump speech.

He was unfortunately correct about skin color, too, as pointed out by Beinart in the Beast. For pete's sake, those factors are probably part of the reason Schumer supposedly groomed Obama to run for president along with Ayers and others before him. They knew neither Jesse nor Al would ever have a prayer. And sorry, if you don't think this kind of talk has been going on in the smoke filled rooms for years--and yes, Democratic smoke filled rooms, please turn around and look both ways because you've just fallen off a turnip truck.

Were the comments bigoted? Of course. Reid is mainly in trouble for choosing his words like a stereotypical 70 year old Republican but he knew when uttering them he'll never be treated the same as one, so no worries. That was solidified by the speed at which Obama accepted his apology.

Truth be told Dingy Harry was calling most all of white America a pack of racists by inferring such a shallow limitation on the viability of any black presidential candidate but he knows this defense won't work because it was mostly white Democrats and Independents who elected Obama, which would make them de facto racists. Hence the apology. Anyone remember Murtha's comments?

And of course the Dems are trying to use Reid's civil rights and voting record to rebut this flap. They might as well waltz up Pennsylvania Avenue with a huge 'absolute moral authority' card. Symbolism over substance is what they've done best for years and the symbolism here is that Democrats like Reid have been champions of the black voting bloc despite that voting bloc enjoying the worst figures nationwide in poverty and unemployment. This is mainly true because the Democrats have convinced them the GOP are evil racists.

Finally, Obama. Geesh. How can he not condemn this, even just a little? Well, the answer is clearly politics--he can't afford a weakened and diminished Reid with health care still teetering, but condemning him even a little is like a kiss on the cheek from Guido. He's stuck, once again having to do what Reverend Wright so eloquently said (while talking in muted tones from under the bus) about the things politicians have to do. And once again, he's managed to tick off just about everyone for it.