Thursday, March 31, 2011
MSNBC could not be any more tone deaf.
If they truly believe that there is a "black agenda", which differs from the "white agenda" (of the black president?), MSNBC should at least get a black host and moderator.
Instead, they've managed to figure out at way to offend and exclude both blacks AND whites.
The war in Libya increased Clinton's popularity, and devastated Obama's approval rating.
A new Gallup Poll finds Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's favorable rating from Americans is now 66%, up from 61% in July 2010 and her highest rating to date while serving in the Obama administration. The current rating is just one percentage point below her all-time high rating of 67%, from December 1998.
Gov. Rick Scott signed an executive order Tuesday that will require random drug testing of many current state employees as well as pre-hire testing for applicants.
"Floridians deserve to know that those in public service, whose salaries are paid with taxpayer dollars, are part of a drug-free workplace," Scott said. "Just as it is appropriate to screen those seeking taxpayer assistance, it is also appropriate to screen government employees."
The reference to taxpayer assistance referred to a push by Scott and legislative Republicans to require those who apply for state benefits under the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program to submit to a drug test before getting benefits. That proposal (SB 556) was approved unanimously Tuesday by the Senate Criminal Justice Committee. It has another stop before the Senate floor.
Democrats, liberals, "progressives" and the ACLU will all oppose these measures legislatively and in the courts.
Of course, the general public will overwhelmingly support drug testing of government employees and welfare recipients.
Marco Rubio, the tea party darling who had remained offstage despite pleas from the national press, stepped into the spotlight this week with a plethora of appearances: the opinion page of the Wall Street Journal, a friendly interview with Fox News and a profile on ABC’s Nightline.
He also talked policy early Wednesday with Good Morning America’s George Stephanopoulos, had a second bite on Fox Wednesday afternoon – a third appearance is scheduled Thursday – and will hit the national airwaves again Sunday on Fox News Sunday.
Rubio's popularity, and the buzz surrounding his appearances, is a negative reflection on the Republican candidates already in the presidential race.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
President Barack Obama said Monday that students should take fewer standardized tests and school performance should be measured in other ways than just exam results. Too much testing makes education boring for kids, he said.
We don't want to "bore" students?
Then I guess Obama wants us to cut back on boring subjects like math and science and spelling, too.
I'm sure the administration would rather grade our students and schools on such measures as "self esteem" and "pride".
We need to keep this guy away from our kids' education!
P.S. - What Obama doesn't want is objective neutral universal achievement and results oriented tests for schools and teachers. Obama would rather use subjective variable measures that protect the cronies and do nothings with political connections and union contracts.
Don’t worry too much about the hint of radiation reaching U.S. shores from the damaged nuclear reactors in Japan, experts say.
So far, it’s much less than we’d get from a chest X-ray.
But consider this: Every day, all day long, we’re bathed in low levels of radiation — cosmic rays from outer space, radon in our houses, uranium deposits in the soil, radio signals from every AM and FM station in range, airport full-body scanners, dental X-rays, cellphones, even tiny hints lingering from the A-bomb tests of the 1940s and ‘50s.
And remember that radiation is cumulative. Most scientists agree there’s no such thing as a harmless dose. Now relax. It’s less scary than it sounds.
"It’s less scary than it sounds"?
No, it isn't.
But, when government experts start releasing "radiation isn't so bad for you" stories, you can expect to soon be doused with lots of radiation.
Vigorously defending the first war launched on his watch, President Obama declared Monday night that the United States intervened in Libya to prevent a slaughter of civilians that would have stained the world's conscience and "been a betrayal of who we are" as Americans.
Yet the president ruled out targeting Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, warning that trying to oust him militarily would be a mistake as costly as the war in Iraq.
Obama announced that NATO would take command over the entire Libya operation Wednesday, keeping his pledge to get the United States out of the lead fast -- but offering no estimate on when the conflict might end and no details about its costs despite demands for those answers from lawmakers.
He declined to label the U.S.-led military campaign as a "war" but made an expansive case for why he believed it was in the national interest of the United States and allies to use force.
If you omit the obligatory back handed insults of Bush, Obama's Libyan war speech was the exact thing we heard from Bush for 8 years.
Monday, March 28, 2011
The U.S. Hispanic population passed the 50 million mark for the first time and Latinos accounted more than half of U.S. population growth in the last decade, the Census Bureau said on Thursday. The Census Bureau put the Latino count at 50.5 million or 16.3 percent of the U.S. population. In 2000, Hispanics accounted for 12.5 percent of Americans. The new numbers were part of a wealth of data released by the bureau, including ethnicity and geographical figures. Growth in the Hispanic population accounted for more than half of American population growth between 2000 and 2010, the data shows. The Census Bureau said that it had not yet determined if the increases were caused by immigration or births.
One day soon, the Hispanic community will more forcefully assert its right to a greater share of upper level elected and appointed political positions. The over representation of African Americans (based upon their share of the population) and the under representation of Hispanics (based upon their share of the population) will not continue much longer.
Federal aviation officials are reviewing air traffic controller staffing at airports around the country after two airliners landed at Reagan National Airport without clearance from the airport tower because they were unable to raise anyone there. An aviation official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the incident, said an air traffic supervisor — the lone controller on duty around midnight on Tuesday when the incident occurred — had fallen asleep.
Of course, Congress, the bureaucrats and the regulators were too busy dealing with the nonsense non issue of alleged airport security full body scans to deal with the real problem of sleeping air traffic controllers working multiple consecutive overnight shifts.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Florida launched into a historic, high-stakes venture Thursday to see if radical changes to the teaching profession can boost student success.http://www.bradenton.com/2011/03/25/3061251/radical-teacher-overhaul-now-a.html
In the spotlight: Senate Bill 736, a sweeping package signed by Gov. Rick Scott that dramatically alters how teachers are hired, fired, evaluated and paid.
More than two years in the making, the new law is one of the most far-reaching of its kind in the nation and one of the biggest shakeups in the history of Florida public schools. Tenure is gone for new teachers and contracts and pay will be tied to student test scores.
It's truly amazing how quickly those who ran on a platform of "change" in 2008 have morphed into defenders of the status quo, dismissive of all change as "radical".
The Afghan government announced Tuesday that U.S.-led international forces will hand over security responsibility in three provinces to Afghan forces beginning this summer.http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2014572888_afghan23.html
"From this July, Afghanistan will take the responsibility over seven locations including three provinces and four cities," President Hamid Karzai said at a graduation ceremony for new army and police officers in Kabul.
According to the plan, Afghan forces will take charge of security in Kabul, Bamiyan and Panjshir this summer.
Why is it considered good news when Afghanistan starts to take partial responsibility for security in parts of Afghanistan?
After almost ten years of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, it's what they should do.
The U.S. military needs to stop being the cops of the world.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced yesterday an enormous expansion in coal mining that threatens to increase U.S. climate pollution by an amount equivalent to more than half of what the United States currently emits in a year.
Get that? The law will soon forbid incandescent light bulbs.
But, because of the voting power of coal mining states, we're going to more than make up for any positive environmental impact of that decision by massively increasing coal mining and coal usage.
In other words, despite his administration's rhetorical embrace of clean energy, Obama is effectively using modest wind and solar investments as cover for a broader embrace of dirty fuels. It's the same strategy BP, Chevron, and other major polluters use: tout modest environmental investments in multi-million dollar PR campaigns, while putting the real money into fossil fuel development.http://www.grist.org/article/2011-03-23-obama-administration-announces-massive-coal-mining-expansion
Friday, March 25, 2011
Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, was expected to have a difficult 2012 re-election campaign according to the political experts who handicap such things.http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2011/03/21/134742716/sen-mccaskill-hits-political-turbulence-didnt-pay-taxes-for-private-plane
University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato has her listed as "very vulnerable."
So the last thing she could afford was to have a story erupt that will give her Republican opponent ready made negative campaign ads, assuming she doesn't have a primary challenge or survives same.
Unfortunately for her, that has happened. Politico broke the story earlier this month about McCaskill billing the government for the use of a plane she co-owns with her husband.
White there were no indications of illegality or ethics violations in terms of the flights and McCaskill has said she'd repay more than $88,000 to the U.S. Treasury, a realization of how toxic the story is in the current political climate.
But on Monday the story got even more poisonous for her political future. Politico reported that she and her husband failed to pay $287,273 in personal property taxes on the airplane.
Billing the taxpayers for using her own plane, and then not paying taxes on the plane?
No excuse, no defense, nothing but defeat.
Adjusted U.S. figures paint a rosier jobs picture - Another healthy drop in unemployment claims reported last week is the latest clue that job gains might be more robust than the Labor Department's monthly reports show.http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/2011-03-22-1Acountingjobs22_ST_N.htm?loc=interstitialskip
Some economists say jobless claims and other recent data show that employers likely added 200,000 to 300,000 jobs a month this year, rather than the 128,000 average reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The reason for the possible disparity: The government tends to underestimate both job gains in a recovery and job losses in a recession, the economists say. That helps explain why the nation's unemployment rate has fallen more sharply than the modest payroll increases suggest. The jobless rate was 8.9% last month, down from 9.8% in November.
With the acquisition of hundreds of tanks, helicopters and bulletproof vehicles as well as submarines and missile networks, Venezuela is arming itself at a speed unprecedented in the history of the South American country.
Experts consulted by El Nuevo Herald have said that Hugo Chávez’s has created unrest in the region with purchases to expand its military that total more than $15 billion.
. . . Some analysts said that the purchases made so far add up to about $30 billion, a figure Chávez himself has said he wishes to spend to modernize the country’s armed forces.
. . . The [purchases] . . . have generated unrest within the U.S State Dept., which fears that some might end up in the hands of Colombian guerrillas with devastating results against the helicopters their neighbor country uses to fight rebel forces.
"[M]ight end up in the hands of . . . guerrillas"?
How about "definitely" end up in the hands of foreign terrorists.
But, don't expect any U.S. government pressure on the sellers until it's too late.
Arkansas is poised to become one of the first states in the nation to enact a significant tax cut this year, showing the sentiment for scaling back government even in places where state spending is limited and no fiscal crisis exists.
The media simply cannot grasp the simple fact that people demand tax and spending cuts, "even in places where state spending is limited and no fiscal crisis exists", because there is no place where "state spending is limited and no fiscal crisis exists".
A Louisiana fire chief says a substance found floating in the Gulf of Mexico appears to be weathered oil. The Coast Guard is testing the substance to confirm what it is and determine where it came from.
Grand Isle Fire Chief Aubrey Chaisson said he saw the substance up close Sunday aboard a boat and also viewed it from helicopter. He said it looked like "emulsified oil." He said the substance covered about a two to three-mile area.
I know the Gulf oil spill was 3 or 4 crises ago, and everyone's attention has moved on, but is anyone truly surprised that there are still "two to three-mile" oil slicks in the Gulf . . . and that no one is really doing anything about it?
As the "anti war" left now support Obama's wars, the "greens" no longer seem concerned by presidential neglect of the environment. Today's "environmentalists" are more concerned about Sarah Palin's hunting shows than Obama's ecological failures.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Seeing more traffic on the roads, more homes being built, more people on the sidewalks? There may be a good reason.http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2010/06/boston_populati.html
Boston's population has jumped to more than 645,000 people, according to new Census estimates released today.
The July 1, 2009 estimate of 645,169 was up up from 636,748, the estimate the year before. And the number capped a decade of strong growth, with the city's population surging by more than 50,000 -- or 9.5 percent -- from the April 2000 Census estimate of 589,143.
With the increase, the city ranked 20th among the nation's largest cities. New York led with nearly 8.4 million residents, followed by Los Angeles, with 3.8 million, Chicago, with 2.9 million, and Houston, with 2.3 million.
Meanwhile, Detroit's population is down sharply:
There was a time when black Americans jumped at the opportunity to settle in Detroit, but that was almost a century ago. The city, which once boasted a thriving auto industry, is now devastated by its collapse. A census data report Tuesday revealed Detroit’s population has plummeted 25 percent over the past decade.http://atlantapost.com/2011/03/23/detroit-sees-huge-drop-in-population-lower-than-new-orleans-after-hurricane-katrina/#
According to The New York Times, more people have left Detroit (237,500) than New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina (140,000). It is now smaller than Austin, Texas and Charlotte, NC.
At one point, 83 percent of Detroit’s population was black. Brookings Institution demographer William Frey says that the city lost 185,393 black residents in the last decade. He attributes the cause to the large amount of housing foreclosures in the city. Many blacks have moved to neighboring suburbs, but neighboring suburbs have also faced population losses.
Both are post industrial cities with brutally cold winters.
One has good government, an educated citizenry, safe streets and good schools.
The other has a notoriously corrupt government, a citizenry dependent on government handouts, out of control crime and horribly unsafe schools.
Is it any wonder that one city is up and the other is disappearing?
Between a conservative Legislature and a more conservative governor, there’s a concentrated effort this year to tighten Florida’s abortion laws.http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/03/22/2129034/abortion-bills-pile-up-in-florida.html
From reviving a measure to require a woman to receive an ultrasound before undergoing an abortion to a blanket ban that would pose a legal challenge to Roe v. Wade, at least 18 bills are filed.
“It’s an unprecedented year,” said Stephanie Kunkel, executive director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates.
The number puts Florida among the top five states in the country for abortion bills, Kunkel said. West Virginia is first with more than 30.
Where did these people get the idea that the Florida public wants them to spend their time debating 18 separate abortion restriction measures?
Jobs, foreclosures and spending - - that's the public's agenda.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
A British judge has sentenced a former British Airways computer specialist to 30 years in prison for plotting with U.S.-born extremist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki to blow up an airplane in an attack intended to kill hundreds of people.
Rajib Karim, a 31-year-old Bangladeshi man, was convicted last month of four counts of engaging in preparation for terrorist attacks. He already had pleaded guilty to five other terrorism offenses, but denied plotting an attack in Britain.
Justice Calvert-Smith called Karim's offenses "of the utmost gravity" in Friday's sentencing at Woolwich Crown Court.
Prosecutors said Karim used his position at the airline to conspire with al-Awlaki, a notorious U.S.-born radical preacher associated with al-Qaida and thought to be hiding in Yemen.
Of course, it you proactively examine the phenomenon of home grown terror, you're accused of Islamophobia.
The Secretary of the Navy issued censure letters Friday to four high-ranking officers over a series of raunchy videos shown to thousands of sailors aboard the USS Enterprise, including the captain who produced and starred in many of them.
. . . Capt. Owen P. Honors Jr. was the aircraft carrier's No. 2 officer when he helped produce and appeared in the series of videos that aired on the ship's closed-circuit TV station on deployments between October 2005 and December 2007.
The Navy's investigation found that Honors had produced at least 25 videos with inappropriate scenes, including anti-gay slurs, sailors of both genders shown in shower scenes and vulgar language. In one of the videos, Honors acknowledged he had received complaints about "XO Movie Night," but didn't stop the videos.
Any officer who didn't realize that you don't do and say certain things on amateur video in this day and age is too out of touch with reality to be entrusted with the health, safety and welfare of a Navy crew.
Federal and state officials sought Friday to dispel fears of a wider danger from radioactivity spewing from Japan's crippled nuclear reactors, saying testing indicated there were no health threats in California or along the West Coast.http://www.mercurynews.com/california/ci_17648903?nclick_check=1
Driven by winds over the Pacific Ocean, a radioactive plume released from the Fukushima Daiichi reached Southern California on Friday, heightening concerns that Japan's nuclear disaster was assuming international proportions.
However, the results of testing reflected expectations by International Atomic Energy Agency officials that radiation had dissipated so much by the time it reached the U.S. coastline that it posed no health risk whatsoever to residents.
"[A] radioactive plume . . . reached Southern California on Friday . . . [h]owever . . . it posed no health risk whatsoever to residents"?
"[N]o health risk whatsoever to residents"?
I don't believe it.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
The police found the body of a 4-year-old girl in Acapulco on Thursday who had been shot in the chest, the fifth child killed in drug-related violence in the city in less than a week. The child was in a car next to a woman who had been shot three times in the back, the Guerrero State police said in a statement. The police did not release the identities of the victims or discuss a possible motive for their killings. At least five young people have died in drug violence in Acapulco since Sunday, including a 2-year-old boy and a 6-year-old boy killed with an elderly woman who tried to shield them when gunmen opened fire at their home.http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/18/world/americas/18briefs-ART-GIRLIS5THCHI_BRF.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1300791754-+4/46BffPsK+kycJCO1tOA
You have to be crazy to go on vacation in Mexico.
The Obama administration is still deciding where to stage the 9/11 mass murder trials of five alleged co-conspirators now held at Guantánamo, the Defense Department’s top lawyer told Congress on Thursday.http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/03/17/2120062/dod-dont-rule-out-civilian-trials.html
Pentagon General Counsel Jeh Johnson urged the House Armed Services Committee to allow both civilian courts as well as military commissions to prosecute the detainees at the U.S. Navy base in southeast Cuba.
After criticising Bush for keeping terror suspects in limbo in Guantanamo for years . . . Obama continues to keep terror suspects in limbo in Guantanamo for years.
The House overwhelmingly rejected a resolution calling for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan by year's end as Republicans and Democrats joined together in embracing President Barack Obama's long-term war strategy.http://www.military.com/news/article/house-rejects-quick-afghan-drawdown.html
The vote was 321-93 with one member voting present, a show of bipartisanship on national security and a referendum on the president's policy after last year's troop buildup.
"We need to stand with our commander in chief. We need to stand with our troops and complete this task," Republican Rep. Chris Gibson of New York, a freshman who did four Army combat tours in Iraq, said during the forceful debate.
Presidents ignore the constitutional authority of Congress, but Congress fails to exercise its constitutional authority because it is too afraid to appear weak.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Syrian police sealed off a southern city Saturday after security forces killed at least five protesters there in the first sign that the Arab world's pro-democracy push is seeping into one of the region's most repressive places.
Residents of Daraa were being allowed to leave but not enter the city on Saturday, said prominent Syrian rights activist Mazen Darwish. The quick cordon seemed aimed at choking off any spread of unrest after Friday's clashes and emotional funeral processions for the dead on Saturday.
President Bashar Assad, who has boasted that his country is immune to the cries for change that have already toppled leaders in Egypt and Tunisia, sent a delegation to the southern city to offer his condolences to families of the victims, according to a Syrian official.
Of course, we will not intervene in Syria "to save the people from the brutal dictator" - - they don't have any oil.
Japan announced the first signs that contamination from its tsunami-crippled nuclear complex has seeped into the food chain, saying that radiation levels in spinach and milk from farms near the facility exceeded government safety limits.
Japanese officials insisted that the small amounts of radiation — with traces also found in tap water in Tokyo — posed no immediate health threat, and said the situation at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, while still unpredictable, appeared to be coming under control after near-constant dousing of water to prevent spent fuel rods from burning up.
The long term consequences of this nuclear disaster are unimaginable.
Anyone who predicts the outcome is simply guessing.
Haitians are being urged to go to the polls en masse Sunday to decide which of two presidential candidates is best capable of leading a fragile country as it struggles to recover from the hemisphere’s worst natural disaster, a deadly cholera epidemic and massive unemployment.
Also clouding the biggest vote in Haiti in a generation is Friday’s return of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide after seven years of exile in South Africa. He has reminded Haitians that his Fanmi Lavalas political party was barred from the ballot. Still, he remains on the minds of potential voters.
Remember, it is not a democratic election if the most popular politician and the largest political party are banned from the election because foreign donors are afraid they might win.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
More than 100 anti-war protesters, including the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers, were arrested outside the White House in demonstrations marking the eighth anniversary of the U.S.-led war in Iraq.
The protesters, some shouting anti-war slogans and singing "We Shall Not Be Moved," were arrested Saturday after ignoring orders to move away from the gates of the White House. The demonstrators cheered loudly as Daniel Ellsberg, the former military analyst who in 1971 leaked the Pentagon's secret history of the Vietnam War that was later published in major newspapers, was arrested and led away by police.
In New York City, about 80 protesters gathered near the U.S. military recruiting center in Times Square, chanting "No to war" and carrying banners that read, "I am not paying for war" and "Butter not guns."
The "anti war movement" used to mobilize hundreds of thousands of people.
The "movement" jumped behind the Democrats in 2006, fueling the Democratic takeover of congress, and in 2008, fueling Obama's primary and general election victories.
In return, Obama gave the "movement" plans for 50,000 U.S. troops permanently stationed in permanent bases in Iraq forever, a "surge" in Afghanistan (effectively transferring the troops withdrawn from Iraq to Afghanistan), and now a third war in the Muslim world in Libya (another war of choice, not in response to any attack on U.S. soil).
And, "anti war movement"? With their financial backers in bed with Obama, all they can turn out is a few hundred protesters, largely ignored by the media.
And, it's not surprising that we only intervene to "save the citizens from a brutal dictatorship" in nations with major oil reserves.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
The king's announcement of a three-month emergency rule and the crackdown on Pearl Square sent a message that authorities will strike back in the strategic island nation, which hosts the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/03/15/2116916/bahrain-king-clamps-down-3-dead.html
President Barack Obama called King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain to express deep concern over the violence. White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama stressed the need for "maximum restraint."
Obama is talking to "the kings"?
In 2011, there is no way we will ultimately succeed if allied to corrupt medieval-style absolute monarchs.
In Egypt, civic groups have raised fears that the timing of a weekend referendum on constitutional amendments and June parliamentary elections followed by a presidential vote are too rushed to permit a true representative democracy to emerge. Some believe the sequencing won't give secular opposition groups enough time to organize into credible political parties.http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110316/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_us_mideast
The most organized opposition movement in the county is the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist party long banned by Mubarak. The brotherhood took a low-key role in the initial protests against Mubarak but is now seen as moving to take advantage of the space opened by the protesters in Tahrir Square.
You have to wonder what all those in the West celebrating Egypt's "democratic uprising" will say after it's clear the winner was the radical fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood.
Friday, March 18, 2011
A Pakistani court has freed a US CIA contractor after acquitting him of two counts of murder at a hearing held at a prison in Lahore, officials say.
Raymond Davis, 36, was alleged to have shot dead two men in the eastern city of Lahore in January following what he said was an attempted armed robbery.
The acquittal came when relatives of the dead men pardoned him in court.
They confirmed to the judge overseeing the case that they had received compensation - known as "blood money".
Under Pakistani Sharia law, relatives of a murder victim can pardon the killer.
In other words, the U.S. ransomed a government contractor arrested by an ally in violation of international law.
This will only increase the likelihood of further illegal seizures of Americans abroad.
Testifying before skeptical House members, two TSA officials said imaging machines used for passenger screening have software that prevents the full-body images from being retained, stored or transmitted.
The officials, Robin Kane and Lee Kair, also said a single screening from a "backscatter" imaging machine produces radiation similar to a dose from about two minutes of flying at 30,000 feet.
Walking through these airport imaging machines is much safer than getting on an airplane with a terrorist holding a bomb or a weapon.
Coalition forces have halted the Taliban march in parts of Afghanistan, top US commander General David Petraeus said Tuesday, even though he warned their fragile success could still be undone.http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/world/9018313/fight-against-taliban-making-progress-petraeus/
In an upbeat assessment which contrasted with more skeptical comments from the US intelligence services, Petraeus said that four months before US troops begin to withdraw from the country he was optimistic about the course of the fight.
Anyone making "an upbeat assessment" of our mission in Afghanistan, contrary to the "more skeptical comments from the US intelligence services", is either stupid or lying.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Israeli commandos boarded and seized a Liberian-flagged ship that Israel says was carrying "tons" of weapons from Syria to Egypt. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the weapons originated in Iran and were on their way to Gaza, which is ruled by the Islamist Hamas movement.http://www.aolnews.com/2011/03/15/israel-seizes-ship-with-iranian-arms-destined-for-gaza/
"'We are currently collecting information, and the one thing that is certain is that these weapons are from Iran with a relay station in Syria," Netanyahu said. "It is our right and duty to stop the smuggling of these weapons."
Israeli naval officials said they found several anti-ship missiles that could be used to strike Israeli naval or civilian ships.
While everyone's distracted by other news, expect the troublemakers to take advantage of being out of the spotlight.
A deeply divided House agreed Tuesday to provide enough money to keep the government open for three more weeks, but increasingly surly lawmakers made it clear that finding a longer-term budget agreement is going to be tense and tough.http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2011/03/16/20110316congress-spending0316.html
The Senate is the next stop for the short-term plan, approved by a 271-158 House vote, which cuts $6 billion from fiscal 2011 spending and keeps the government running through April 8.
It took years to get us into our budget mess.
If we solve the problem in increments of $6 billion, once every 3 or 4 weeks, that's fine with me, as long as we keep moving in the right direction.
Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2011/03/16/20110316congress-spending0316.html#ixzz1GrLX3utk
With almost all precincts reporting results, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez and Commissioner Natacha Seijas have been ousted from office.http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/03/15/v-fullstory/2115658/polls-open-for-recall-election.html
Results from the recall election, including absentee and early votes, show a vast majority of voters, around 88 percent, want to kick out the two politicians.
The results will be likely be certified by Friday, when Alvarez and Seijas must vacate their offices.
Almost 9 of 10 Miami-Dade County voters cast their ballots to recall the mayor and an 18 year incumbent commissioner for incompetence, increasing taxes, overspending, cronyism and arrogance. Neither were under criminal investigation, they had simply ignored the will of the voters.
We will see more incumbents lose in 2012.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
A Taliban suicide bomber posing as an army recruit blew himself up in the midst of a crowd outside an Afghan military recruiting center on Monday in the northern city of Kunduz, killing 36 people, including five children, the authorities there said.http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/15/world/asia/15afghanistan.html?_r=1
The Pentagon's Cyber Command has shut down Defense Department workers' access to popular streaming video websites including YouTube, Amazon, and Googlevideo.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/14/military-blocks-youtube_n_835708.html
Officials say the tremendous demand to see the Japan earthquake is eating up bandwidth already weakened by Internet problems in that part of the world.
Cyber Command has directed the Defense Information Systems Agency to temporarily restrict access to the websites. Most employees see the message "Website Blocked" in bright red letters when they go to one of the sites.
Cyber Command says the restrictions are no reflection on the websites. The command says the sites have been blocked at the request of U.S. Pacific Command to help meet the needs of the military because its networks and circuits in the region are facing extreme demands.
If so many Pentagon employees are spending so much work time watching youtube videos at work that it usually slows down their systems, and in times of crisis crashes their systems, maybe they can save some money by laying off some of the employees spending all day watching youtube?
Gen. David Petraeus, in his first appearance in Washington since taking over as the top war commander in Afghanistan, gave President Barack Obama a mostly upbeat assessment of military progress that should allow the United States to begin withdrawing forces this summer, despite predictions the wounded Taliban insurgency will mount an especially bloody fight this spring.http://www2.tbo.com/content/2011/mar/15/PT2NEWSO4-petraeus-optimistic-about-afghan-fight/news-nationworld/
No one is calling it the Taliban's last stand, but U.S. officials say this is the year that the insurgency will be tamed on the battlefield and at the bargaining table.
"[T]his is the year that the insurgency will be tamed on the battlefield and at the bargaining table"?
They're either stupid or lying.
By the way, we've been hearing "this is the year" for almost a decade.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Police on rooftops fired live bullets and tear gas at protesters Sunday, wounding at least 100 people camping out near Sanaa University. The day's violence, which also left two dead in a southern province, was evidence that monthlong protests demanding the resignation of Yemen's longtime leader may be spiraling out of control.http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2011/03/14/MNJD1IA99I.DTL
Embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh has resorted to increasingly violent tactics to try to put down the burgeoning uprising against his 32-year rule, deploying dozens of armed supporters on the streets in an attempt to intimidate protesters.
Wielding clubs and knives, police and regime supporters described by protesters as government sponsored thugs attacked activists camped out near Sanaa University, said Mohammed al-Abahi, a doctor in charge of a makeshift hospital near the university.
Among the 100 wounded Sunday in Sanaa, more than 20 suffered gas inhalation, and one was in critical condition after being struck by a bullet, the doctor said.
So, if you're a U.S. ally, the U.S. will withdraw support at the first indication of trouble, and pressure you to resign in response to street protests. See the example of Egypt.
But, if you're an enemy of the U.S., you can fight using any means necessary to retain power. See the examples of Yemen and Libya and Iran.
What lesson are we teaching the rulers of the various North African and Middle Eastern nations?
Thousands of anti-government demonstrators cut off Bahrain's financial center and drove back police trying to push them from the capital's central square - shaking the tiny island kingdom Sunday with the most disruptive protests since calls for more freedom erupted a month ago.
. . . The clashes fueled fears that Bahrain's political crisis could be stumbling toward open sectarian conflict between the ruling minority Sunnis and Shiites, who account for 70 percent of the nation's 525,000 people.
Bahrain's royal family is crazy if they think they can continue to rule their nation as a medieval absolute monarchy with the sole backing of their coreligionists, the minority Sunnis, who make up less than 30% of the population.
The only crazier people are in the U.S. government, which decided to base the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet in Bahrain, on the say so of the government of the unpopular and unrepresentative king.
Let's hope we have somewhere to station the fleet when the eventual new government eventually kicks us out, whether in the next few days or the next few years.
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' chair sits empty as she recovers from a gunshot wound to the head, yet three friends are ensuring she still has a presence in Congress.
At nearly every hearing of the House Armed Services Committee, the panel's top Democrat, Rep. Adam Smith of Washington state, carves out a few precious minutes from his time-limited turn quizzing military officials to ask a question on behalf of Giffords.
. . . This Tuesday night, Smith will join Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., in hosting a fundraiser for Giffords' 2012 campaign at the International Brotherhood of Teamsters building a few blocks from the Capitol. Members of the Democratic leadership also are pitching in.
"I've been protecting her flank politically," said Wasserman Schultz, who is intent on making sure Giffords has a hefty account for her next election.
It's really nice that "[w]hile Giffords will need months of rehabilitation from her traumatic brain injury, her three friends are filling in the gaps of the three-term congresswoman's daily work, striving to keep her politically viable during her extended absence from Washington". But, "when she will be well enough to return to work remains unclear . . . doctors said Friday that her ability to walk and talk has improved", "they had removed her breathing tube" and "[t]hey hope to reattach a piece of her skull in May".
Democrats should remember what happened when everyone filled in, helped out and covered up for the extended absences of the late Senator Edward Kennedy "as he battled a brain tumor until his death in 2009" - - the Republicans won the safest Democratic seat in the U.S. senate in the next election.
The voters are sympathetic, but they are not friends helping out a friend in need. They are citizens entitled to and demanding full time representation and constituent service.
It really is amazing that no politicians will ever admit when one of their own is too old or infirm to continue to do the job. They truly believe they are all irreplaceable.
A cousin of President Hamid Karzai was killed Thursday in southern Afghanistan during a raid by coalition forces, just after the president had said civilian casualties from the war were damaging relations with the United States.http://www.cleveland.com/world/index.ssf/2011/03/coalition_raid_kills_cousin_of.html
2. Don't have allies allied to your enemy.
[Karzai's cousin] Yar Mohammad, 60, was shot in the head inside his home in Karzai's home village, Karz, just outside Kandahar city, Afghan officials said. A statement from U.S.-led coalition forces described him as the father of a Taliban leader and said he'd been shot after he was seen with an AK-47 assault rifle.http://www.cleveland.com/world/index.ssf/2011/03/coalition_raid_kills_cousin_of.html
We're fighting the Taliban to prop up Karzai while Karzai's cousins are working for the Taliban.
Under those circumstances, the mission in Afghanistan is hopeless.
Monday, March 14, 2011
A massive show of force by Saudi Arabia’s government snuffed out a Facebook-based effort to stage unprecedented pro-democracy demonstrations in the capital Friday, but political unrest and sectarian tensions roiled neighboring Yemen and Bahrain.
. . . With uprisings threatening allies on its eastern and southern flanks, the Sunni Saudi monarchy appeared to be taking no chances in its effort to keep the popular push for democracy in the Arab world from spreading to the world’s largest crude-oil exporter.
In the heavily Shiite eastern Saudi province, hundreds of protesters marched in at least four separate locations, calling for the release of political prisoners and demanding reform.
Even if the Saudi royal family survives the current turmoil, a medieval absolute monarchy of corrupt thieves who hide and waste their nation's incredible riches cannot survive in the long term.
What's our contingency plan for the aftermath of the overthrow of the royal family?
Ousted Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide will return within days to his homeland, ending seven years in exile, a South African official said Friday. The former slum priest remains hugely popular and his return could disrupt an election this month in his earthquake-ravaged country.
In Haiti, an official with Aristide's Lavalas Party confirmed that his "return is imminent," but declined to say how or when he's coming back.
. . . The party has been barred from taking part in the vote, and thousands of his supporters marched last month, threatening to disrupt the election if he is not allowed to return. Many said they would boycott the March 20 runoff to a disputed presidential vote because any election excluding Lavalas is not valid.
It's not a democratic election if you forbid the largest party and the most popular politician from participating in the election because you're afraid they'll win.
That's what they discovered in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Friday signed into law the proposal that eliminates most union rights for public employees, saying he had "no doubt" that support for the measure would grow over time.http://www.denverpost.com/nationworld/ci_17597763
The governor's signature on the bill concluded a debate over collective bargaining that provoked three weeks of loud, relentless protests at the Capitol.
The trade off used to be that public employees earn less than they would in the private sector, and forgo the opportunity to ever get rich, in exchange for great benefits and a very comfortable retirement.
Today, many, many public employees make as much or more than they would in the private sector, and their benefits and pensions greatly exceed those obtained in the private sector.
The public sector unions accomplished this not by focusing on collective bargaining but by focusing their efforts on political fund raising and participation designed to elect generous and indebted bosses.
Hogs get slaughtered.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Senate Republicans said Thursday a tougher, more comprehensive military detention policy for terror suspects is necessary to fill the void created by two years of what they call the Obama administration's inconsistent approach.
Just days after President Barack Obama's decision to resume military trials for detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, five GOP lawmakers and Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., proposed legislation that would keep open the military prison by barring money for any alternative, impose restrictions on transferring detainees to foreign countries and push for military commissions, not civilian courts, to decide the fate of detainees.
Upon taking office, Obama said he wanted to close the Guantanamo prison within a year, but fierce congressional opposition has made it impossible. The administration reiterated its desire to close the installation on Monday when it spelled out Obama's executive order on military trials.
Supporters can try to blame Obama's dithering over Guantanamo on "fierce congressional opposition".
But, in fact, Obama took no steps at any time to keep his campaign promise "to close the Guantanamo prison within a year".
It's not that he tried and failed due to "fierce congressional opposition".
He never tried.
Amid tight security, a House of Representatives committee launched a controversial — and at times emotional — probe Thursday into the radicalization of American Muslims, an inquiry that its chairman described as necessary to "put aside political correctness and define who our enemy truly is."http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/03/10/110123/house-muslim-hearing-presents.html
Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King, R-N.Y., struck a largely balanced, civil tone as he opened the hearing. He said he was undeterred by criticism that the inquiry, the first in a series, unfairly characterizes the nation's Muslim community as prone to terrorist indoctrination, but he also offered a pointed concession.
"The overwhelming majority of Muslim Americans are outstanding Americans," King said. "But there are realities we cannot ignore."
The hearing was short of the heated rhetoric used by both sides leading up to the session, and views from all sides were presented.
Maybe one day the self appointed guardians of political correctness will save their protests until after something bad is said or done. But, for now, they always seem to protest in advance, before an event, in an effort to stifle free speech and inquiry.
By the way, holding a Congressional hearing into a threat identified by the Obama administration's African American U.S. attorney general - - the radicalization of American Muslims - - is not the start of a "new era of McCarthyism" or equivalent to the rounding up of Japanese-Americans on the west coast after Pearl Harbour.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
At least 37 people were killed and 52 injured when a suicide bomber detonated explosives strapped to his body during funeral prayers at Adezai village on the outskirts of Peshawar on Wednesday, police and hospital sources said.http://tribune.com.pk/story/129976/blast-in-adezai-near-peshawar/
Locals said that the attack came in the Sheikh Neka Baba graveyard two kilometres north of Adezai, as locals were offering funeral prayers for a woman related to the head of an anti-Taliban lashkar, or militia.
Medics at Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) said that 36 dead and 52 injured had been brought to the facility and 10 of the wounded were in serious condition. Sources later said that the death toll had risen to 37.
Peshawar police chief Liaqat Ali Khan told reporters at the scene that it was a suicide attack targeting the militia. He said that militants had been attacking these villages with conventional forces before. Now, after the militia had managed to beat them away, they were sending suicide bombers.
Pakistan has nuclear weapons.
In fact, it is believed to have one of the the world's half dozen largest nuclear arsenals.
Who gets access to their bombs when the current government falls to Islamic fundamentalist radicals?
Friday, March 11, 2011
More than 8,000 civilians were killed in Afghanistan during the last four years and those numbers aren't improving, a U.N. report on armed conflict found.http://www.upi.com/Top_News/Special/2011/03/10/UN-finds-rise-in-Afghan-civilian-deaths/UPI-93041299783050/?pvn=1
An annual report by the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission stated that 2,777 civilians were killed in conflict-related incidents in 2010. That is a 15 percent increase over the previous year.
. . . There were 8,832 civilians killed in conflict in Afghanistan during the past four years. The report noted that 462 civilians were killed by insurgents last year, up more than 100 percent from the previous year.
If there were 2,777 civilians killed in conflict-related incidents in 2010, and 462 civilians were killed by insurgents last year, then we killed 2,315 civilians in conflict-related incidents in 2010.
Not exactly the way to win hearts and minds, or make friends and influence people.
Sun-kissed and amused by the brouhaha, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin returned from a Caribbean getaway with no apologies for keeping his vacation destination a secret or for going there without his security detail.
The first-term Democrat's whereabouts became the subject of speculation and news reports after staff members said they either didn't know where he was or wouldn't say after he left Thursday.
Adding to the public interest in his whereabouts, Vermont got walloped by its biggest-ever March snowstorm, which dumped more than two feet of snow in places and closed schools and some state government offices.
Remember when the secret vacation of the governor of South Carolina was a career ending national scandal?And when the governor of New Jersey was criticised for not returning from vacation when a snow storm hit?
After 19 years of planning and development — and $51 million from county tourism and other taxes — the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center in Cutler Bay is gearing up to open its doors in April.
. . . The center, the first of its kinds in the area, sits on six acres on Southwest 211th Street, just east of U.S. 1, in Cutler Bay, on land purchased by Miami-Dade County for this purpose in 1994. It features a 966-seat theater, which includes an orchestra pit, front-of-house spaces (box office, lobby, restrooms, and concessions), dressing rooms, storage, work areas, and administrative offices and a multi-purpose rehearsal space.
Adjacent to the main theater sits a separate activities building, which houses an informal performance space and smaller multipurpose areas for lectures, classes, or community gatherings. The county will celebrate the center’s opening with a children’s festival on April 23.
You would think the main cultural facilities, located 15 miles away in downtown Miami, or the even closer arts facilities on the local state university and college campuses, would be sufficient.
Of course, as long as governments keep building neighborhood performing arts theaters with $51 million price tags and open ended unquantified upkeep expenses, governments will be broke.
P.S. - "The county will celebrate the center’s opening . . . ?" The county's leaders should be embarrassed to have spent so much money so foolishly in such hard economic times.
Of course, their voices (along with the voices of all fellow Americans) were heard, approximately four months ago, in national, state and local elections.
And, their side lost.
I can understand them being unhappy with the results.
But, street protests are not how election defeats are reversed in America.
The media, union and political leaders cheering on and / or leading these protesters should know better.
I know that I never want to live in a country where the side that loses an election occupies government buildings and reverses the election results.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
They found a fresh reason to do so in August after Florida was awarded $700 million in the Race to the Top, a competitive federal program earmarked for education reform. One of the program’s tenets: moving states toward performance-based teacher pay.http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/03/08/2104445/teacher-pay-bill-on-fast-track.html
Most of Florida school districts and teachers unions signed on to the state’s Race to the Top application, which committed to using the federal money to revamp teacher pay and tenure. The bill before the Legislature now, supporters say, simply hashes out how the state will carry out its Race to the Top promises.
In other words, what was opposed last year as a radical Republican rape of the teachers' union is supported this year as part of Obama's federally funded educational reform package.
The only principle these people hold dear is the pursuit of power.
A protest by hundreds of Egyptian women demanding equal rights and an end to sexual harassment turned violent Tuesday when crowds of men heckled and shoved the demonstrators, telling them to go home where they belong.http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=13087068
The women — some in headscarves and flowing robes, others in jeans — had marched to Cairo's central Tahrir Square to celebrate International Women's Day. But crowds of men soon outnumbered them and chased them out.
"They said that our role was to stay home and raise presidents, not to run for president," said Farida Helmy, a 24-year old journalist.
. . . At Tuesday's march, men scolded protesters and said their concerns were not urgent in the aftermath of the uprising. When the women argued back, some were verbally abused or groped. Others were beaten and had to be ripped away from the groups of men.
Mostafa Hussein, 30, said many protesters had to flee the area and hide in a park nearby.
"They were running for their lives and the army had to fire a shot in the air to break up the mob chasing them," Hussein said.
Passant Rabie, 23, said she was surprised that the women were abused after the role they played in the uprising. Women were central to the protests, leading chants, spending cold nights in the square and even fighting during the battle of Black Wednesday, when pro-government henchmen attacked the protesters.
The Egyptian women who expected equitable treatment from the Muslim Brotherhood are almost as gullible and naive as the Obama administration officials who believe the Muslim Brotherhood has changed.
The return of Taliban leaders who had been driven from Sangin in southern Afghanistan raises concern that fragile security gains achieved by U.S. Marines could be reversed.http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-afghanistan-gates-20110309,0,3350514.story
Insurgents who were driven out of the Taliban stronghold of Sangin in southern Afghanistan are flowing back in as winter lifts, threatening fragile gains achieved by U.S. Marines over the last five months, according to American commanders.
The return of midlevel Taliban leaders, including some believed to have taken refuge in Pakistan, raises concern that violence is likely to surge in this strategically located district in northeastern Helmand province, long used by the Taliban as a base of operations.
Everyone suspected the Taliban would return after the U.S. left Afghanistan.
I don't think anyone thought they would come back while we were still there.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
This is the real story:
The government borrows almost 40 cents of every dollar it spends. The White House projects a record $1.65 trillion deficit this fiscal year, and $7.2 trillion in deficits over the next 10 years.http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/03/08/1038858/behind-the-scenes-6-senators-work.html
No person, no business, no government can long survive if it borrows almost 40 cents of every dollar it spends.
The suspect in the slaying of two U.S. airmen at Frankfurt airport has confessed to targeting American military members, a German security official said Thursday as investigators probed what they considered a possible act of Islamic terrorism.http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/03/02/2093437/frankfurt-airport-shooting-involving.html
. . . Hesse state Interior Minister Boris Rhein told reporters in Wiesbaden that the suspect, identified as a 21-year-old ethnic Albanian from Kosovo, was apparently radicalized over the last few weeks. The attacker's family in northern Kosovo identified him as Arid Uka, whose family has been living in Germany for 40 years.
. . . Uka's family said he worked at Frankfurt airport and was a devout Muslim.
For some reason, it's considered inappropriate to discuss the connection between anti American terrorism and radical Islamic fundamentalism.
A 20-year-old woman who made international headlines when she accepted the job as police chief in a violent Mexican border town was fired yesterday for apparently abandoning her post after receiving death threats.http://www.nypost.com/p/news/international/yr_old_mex_cop_chief_fired_OusWSbubx8mUpUZ9oFd6kI
Marisol Valles Garcia was granted a leave of absence from Wednesday through yesterday to travel to the United States for personal matters, but she failed to return to Praxedis G. Guerrero as agreed, city officials said.
"In the absence of [Valles Garcia's] presence on the agreed-upon day, and since there was no notification of a need to extend the period of her absence, the mayor has decided to remove her from office," a city statement read.
Local news media have since reported that Valles Garcia was seeking asylum in the United States, but there has been no confirmation of that and her precise whereabouts were not clear.
This is like the scene in "Blazing Saddles", in which everyone's afraid to volunteer to be sheriff. Of course, "Blazing Saddles" is a movie, and a comedy. This is real life, and a tragedy for the Mexican people . . . and the Americans on the other side of the largely unprotected and unsecured border.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
The U.S. government quietly green-lighted a $77 million deal to provide at least 50 refurbished armored troop carriers to Moammar Gadhafi's army, approving a license that signaled growing American business contacts with his regime in the months before Libya imploded in civil war.
Congress balked, concerned the deal would improve Libyan army mobility and questioning the Obama administration's support for the agreement, which would have benefited British defense company BAE. The congressional concerns effectively stalled the deal until the turmoil in the country scuttled the sale.
Remember, before deciding to back the Muslim Brotherhood inspired revolutions in the Arab world, Obama was fully behind rapprochement with the worst of its dictators.
The Obama administration announced Monday that it will resume using military tribunals to try suspected terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but officials said they're not giving up on trials in civilian courts and are still considering their options for trying 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other accused 9/11 plotters.
President Barack Obama also signed an executive order for the U.S. to continue indefinite detentions of suspects without trial, a move strongly opposed by civil rights groups and some congressional Democrats.
Only one year ago, Obama was still describing these Bush policies as "failures", "set backs to our efforts to fight terrorism", "undermining our most basic values" and "making us less safe".
Who's "shredding the Constitution" now?
Friday, March 4, 2011
A suicide bomber detonated Saturday in a crowd in northern Afghanistan gathered for a traditional sporting event, killing three and injuring 40.
Saturday's attack was another in a series across the country in which civilians were targeted, as Afghan forces prepare to take over security responsibilities from U.S.-led international forces.
"Some participants identified the attacker and started fleeing, but still the attacker was able to detonate his vest," said the governor of Faryab province, Abdul Haq Shafaq. Had spectators not fled, "a big catastrophe could have happened," he said.
In a separate incident Saturday, nine civilians were killed in the southeast province of Khost, which borders Pakistan, according to an Interior Ministry statement. Two women and four children were among the dead after their vehicle struck a landmine, the statement said.
We've lost this war.
Mexican police on Friday discovered the bodies of three people related to a human rights activist who was killed last year in the volatile northern border state of Chihuahua.
The bodies of a sister and brother of Josefina Reyes and her sister-in-law were found in the desert outside Guadalupe Distrito Bravos, southeast of Ciudad Juarez, said Carlos Gonzalez, spokesman for the state prosecutor's office.
The three had been missing since Feb. 7, when witnesses reported that armed men forced the trio from a vehicle.
The bodies of Maria Magdalena Reyes Salazar, Elias Reyes Salazar and his wife, Luisa Ornelas, were found with messages alluding to organized crime, according to Gonzalez, who did not immediately release details.
Their bodies appear to have been buried, then dug up again and left on a road, as if someone wanted to call attention to their deaths.
Please note - - this is occurred "in the volatile northern border state of Chihuahua", directly across our largely unguarded, unsecured border with Mexico.
A federal panel investigating the cause of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and the resulting oil spill will not finish its final report by the first anniversary of the disaster as it had hoped.
Delays in testing the blowout preventer that failed to stop the spill forced the panel — a joint effort by the Coast Guard and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement — to seek another deadline extension.
The final report was due in March. Instead, the investigation team said on Friday that the panel now has until July. It will make a preliminary statement by mid-April.
Everyone knows what the report should say - - a greedy and irresponsible oil company cut corners to increase profits, and incompetent federal officials, administrators and regulators let them get away with it, because the president is the all time top recipient of BP campaign donations.
Of course, expect a white wash.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
The man arrested for attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction appeared in federal court Friday.http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/02/25/national/main20036389.shtml
U.S. Marshals escorted a handcuffed Khalid Ali-M ass="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_0">Aldawsai into U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas earlier this morning, two days after the college student from Saudi Arabia was arrested on terror charges.
The Justice Department said Aldawsari bought explosive chemicals online and planned to blow up dams, nuclear plants, or the Dallas home of former President George W. Bush.
When do we start excluding Saudis from foreign exchange programs? I guess it will be after the next 9/11.
Pakistani Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti has been shot dead by gunmen who ambushed his car in broad daylight in the capital, Islamabad.http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-12617562
He was travelling to work through a residential district when his vehicle was sprayed with bullets, police said.
Mr Bhatti, the cabinet's only Christian minister, had received death threats for urging reform to blasphemy laws.
In January, Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, who had also opposed the law, was shot dead by one of his bodyguards.
The blasphemy law carries a death sentence for anyone who insults Islam. Critics say it has been used to persecute minority faiths.
This is what happens to true moderates under Islamic rule.
Electric cars have everything they need to succeed . . . except buyers.
Peruse Chevrolet's February sales release, and you'll notice one number that's blatantly missing: the number of Chevy Volts sold. The number – a very modest 281 – is available in the company's detailed data (PDF), but it certainly isn't something that GM wants to highlight, apparently. Keeping the number quiet is a bit understandable, since it's lower than the 321 that Chevy sold in January.http://green.autoblog.com/2011/03/01/gm-sells-281-chevy-volts-february-nissan-67-leafs/
Nissan doesn't have anything to brag about here, either (and it didn't avoiding any mention of the Leaf sales in its press release). Why? Well, back in January, the company sold 87 Leafs. In February? Just 67. Where does that leave us? Well, here's the big scorecard for all sales of these vehicles thus far:
Ouch. The big questions, of course, revolve around one word: "Why?" Is ramping up production and deliveries still a problem? Is demand weak? Are unscrupulous dealers to blame? When will sales start to climb? And what are these numbers doing to plug-in vehicle work at other automakers? We don't know all the answers . . .
Not 2,810,000, or 281,000, or 28,100, or 2,810 but 281 GM electric cars sold last month.
Another brilliant idea from Washington, D.C.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
A moderate Islamic party outlawed for 15 years was granted official recognition Saturday by an Egyptian court in a sign of increasing political openness after the fall of autocratic President Hosni Mubarak.http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2011-02-18-egypt--protest_N.htm
Al-Wasat Al-Jadid, or the New Center, was founded in 1996 by activists who split off from the conservative Muslim Brotherhood and sought to create a political movement promoting a tolerant version of Islam with liberal tendencies. Its attempts to register as an official party were rejected four times since then, most recently in 2009.
. . . Madi said his party would immediately get to work organizing its membership and opening branches to freely participate in Egypt's political life.
There has never been a "moderate Islamic party" which behaved moderately once in power and / or whose leaders were not assassinated for their moderation by fundamentalist Islamic activists. Look at how "moderate" Islamists are ruling Turkey, and how "moderate" Islamists are being assassinated in Pakistan.
Saying "moderate Islamic" is sort of like saying "jumbo shrimp".
Angry over the treatment of their children by a Caribbean neighbor, they came out by the thousands – young and old, rich and poor, artists and athletes.http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/02/19/2076053/haitians-decry-mistreatment-of.html
For three hours Saturday, they braved the sweltering heat, singing, dancing and walking shoulder-to-shoulder in an unusual display of Haitian solidarity to protest what they are calling Jamaica’s discriminatory and humiliating treatment of Haiti’s Under-17 soccer players during a World Cup qualifying tournament in Montego Bay.
. . . According to Dr. Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, the team was forced to withdraw from the competition after Jamaican authorities were pressured to send them home because several members became ill with a fever that was later determined to be malaria.
Jean-Bart, a medical doctor, said the problems began as soon as the delegation of 28 arrived in Montego Bay on Feb. 3. The players were immediately subjected to medical screenings at the airport. Days later, two of the players came down with malaria. After Bart visited a local pharmacy to get medication, Jamaican authorities showed up in the team’s locker room with a medical brigade and armed security, he said.
After more tests and visits, the Haitian team was told that everyone would have to undergo testing. Bart said team members were later placed in quarantine and armed guards "blocked the exit" preventing team members from leaving.
. . . "It was so urgent for them to get rid of us that they chartered an airplane that had 176 seats, all the way from Washington, D.C., to Montego Bay to come get us," he said. The delegation had 28 members. Bart said he believes Jamaican authorities reacted the way they did because they believed the players had cholera.
Jamaica subjected a group of foreign visitors from Haiti to medical screenings at the airport. After two of the group of foreign visitors developed malaria, the entire group was subjected to medical tests and visits. Thereafter, the entire group was placed in quarantine (under armed guard), and then expelled from Jamaica and deported back to Haiti.
Yet, for some reason, Jamaica went on record as opposed to the Arizona law which might require Jamaicans in the United States to produce their driver's license and passport upon reasonable request.
As the Obama administration and Congress battle on how to reduce the $1.6 trillion U.S. budget deficit, here’s a politically incorrect idea that could save billions of dollars — cut the waste in the government’s spending on immigration enforcement. . . . The U.S. government deported 197,000 immigrants with no criminal records last year, at a cost of $23,000 each, or $4.5 billion a year.http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/02/18/2074648/us-should-cut-waste-in-immigration.html
Expect to see more of this - - we're supposed to give illegal aliens free education, free medical care and free social services, but we should save money by cutting the only thing keeping even more illegals from entering the country.
By the way - - the "197,000 immigrants with no criminal records" deported last year were criminals. They broke our immigration laws. And, $23,000 per deportation is much less than the cost of educating and providing free medical care to their families.
Oil from the BP spill remains stuck on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, according to a top scientist's video and slides that she says demonstrate the oil isn't degrading as hoped and has decimated life on parts of the sea floor.
That report is at odds with a recent report by the BP spill compensation czar that said nearly all will be well by 2012.
At a science conference in Washington Saturday, marine scientist Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia aired early results of her December submarine dives around the BP spill site. She went to places she had visited in the summer and expected the oil and residue from oil-munching microbes would be gone by then. It wasn't.
For some reason, the government, the media and academia are all buying the BP line, "everything's fine in the Gulf".
In fact, large portions of the Gulf bottom are still oily and evidently dead, and BP is getting away with killing it.
Never forget - - Obama is the all time top recipient of campaign donations from BP.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
If your name is Koch, it's pronounced cock. And if your name is Boehner, it's pronounced boner. They can always change their names if they want. Until then ... I'm calling it like it is.http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2011/02/new-rules.html
And the guy who wrote that is a regular panelist on NBC political chat shows.
Four men with their hands and feet tied and heads covered in duct tape were thrown 600 feet to their deaths from a bridge Friday, authorities said as Mexico's increasingly bloody drug battles reached a new level of cruelty and intimidation.http://www.theolympian.com/2011/02/17/1547901/suspect-arrested-in-shootings.html
If this were happening on the other side of the world - - Egypt, Libya, Palestine - - our government would do something about it.
But, for some reason, because this happened across our mostly open border with Mexico, our government does nothing.
Add Sen. Jeff Bingaman to the growing list of Democratic senators retiring after next year rather than run for re-election.http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2011/02/18/bingaman-the-4th-democratic-senator-to-retire-next-year/
The four-term senator from New Mexico will announce later Friday that he will retire after his current term ends next year, a Democratic source confirms to CNN.
Bingaman joins Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia, Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota, and Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut as members of the Democrat's 53 seat majority to announce they are not running for re-election. Lieberman, a former Democrat and current independent, is part of the majority coalition since he caucuses with the Democrats.
Obama is doing a great job getting Obama reelected, and destroying the Democratic party in the process.