.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Born at the Crest of the Empire

Saturday, September 19, 2009


The Denver-New York Al Qaeda case is developing, although I'm not really sure what to make of it yet, however, my moment of curiosity came from this,
law enforcement officials have recorded a number of conversations between Zazi and a known al-Qaida operative in Pakistan....

The operative told Zazi what to say if stopped by police, and there is also a reference to a "wedding," which American agents believe is a code word for an attack.

We think they're still using "wedding" as their codeword four or five years after the US started publishing "wedding" as an Al Qaeda codeword in explanations of our wiretapping system?

Either the US is really wrong or these guys are really stupid.

Pakistan sends us a warnng

With reports of a substantial increase of US non-military presence in Pakistan, I think the Pakistanis felt the need for a little demonstration to both their people and the US that they were still in charge.
Pakistani police raided a local security firm that helps protect the U.S. Embassy on Saturday, seizing dozens of allegedly unlicensed weapons....

Two employees of the Inter-Risk company were arrested during the raids in Islamabad...

And, yes, there is a huge irony in the Pakistanis using "illegal weapons" as cause since their country is swimming in them.

This is a token arrest. They will be released in time.

"Values voters"

Found these two bits interesting in the NYTimes coverage.
Mr. Pawlenty closed his address by invoking both Ronald Reagan and the Bible, repeating a story about the page Reagan’s Bible was opened to when he took the presidential oath of office in 1981.

As Mr. Pawlenty began reading from II Chronicles, his words were soon softly echoed by some members of the crowd, which eventually gave him a standing ovation.

Mr. Pawlenty was preceded on the stage by Bill O’Reilly, the Fox News host. Reporters were turned away from Mr. O’Reilly’s address to the summit. Staff members at the event said that was at Mr. O’Reilly’s request.

Mr. O’Reilly was the only speaker of the day whose speech was closed to the news media.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Come on!

How can you write hundreds of articles on "missile defense" without noting that the technology for shooting down long range missiles is a fantasy at this point?

There are some good projects for short range missiles, and point defense in its various forms is somewhat effective and pretty plausible, but the reality of shooting down a long range missile with a missile has been a dismal failure even in the very "controlled" (ie partially rigged) tests.

There's a decent case that missile defense might work with directed energy weapons, but, thus far, practically generating a powerful enough pulse still seems decades away.

If I got to make up imaginary weapons systems, I could win arguments, too.


I sure am glad all that racism has been settled.

Iran again

Iran's Quds day becomes another day of division. Thousands protest in Tehran with some of the bravest gathering outside Ahmadinejad's speech at the University.

Reports as before are conflicting. There appear to have been incidents around both Moussavi and Khatami, although the level of "attack" seems highly debated. There are also varying reports of clashes with security forces and arressts, but I think we're going to have to wait awhile to sort it all out.

The Guardian is (sort of) liveblogging the day.

Also on Iran, there's a new leaked IAEA "report" on Iran's nuclear program saying that the Iranians did tests on the explosion mechanics of an implosion bomb.

The timing makes me skeptical on this one. Its "leak" seems too well timed to both the missile defense change and the Iran talks which makes me think it's a selectively released work copy or a speculative "worst case" that was never vetted for publishing. This is an anti-Iran somebody playing games.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thought for the Day

I lost the link long ago, but this was real.

Glenn Beck is this week's Time cover

"Mad Man: Is Glenn Beck Bad for America?"


(Reuters) China is locking down ahead of the celebration of the 60th anniversary of communist takeover on Oct 1. (Telling residents to stock up on food.)

(AP) The Obama administration cancels the "missile shield" that was to be based in Poland and the Czech Republic which is sure to gain some Russian help on Iran. (Funny how none of the stories mentions the substantial questions over whether the "to be deployed" system would have worked.)

(NYDailyNews) The recent raids in New York appear to be based on a fear of a "Madrid style" subway attack in New York City. "Sources told The News the quintet was the first suspected Al Qaeda cell they've uncovered in the U.S. since 9/11."

(Newsweek) "The U.S. intelligence community is reporting to the White House that Iran has not restarted its nuclear-weapons development program, two counterproliferation officials tell NEWSWEEK...."

And, (LATimes) Former Interior Secretary Gail Norton's case has been referred to the Justice Department over her giveaway of gov't oil leases to Shell, a company with whom she was negotiating post governmental employment.

Thoughts on healthcare

1) This certainly shows us that committee chairmanships do matter.

2) Max Baucus managed to bargain himself into a worse deal without getting anything back. (Did I say I'd pay $100? I meant $150.)

3) Obama's deference to Congress to allow them to write the health bill has kind of blown up on him. In the House he got something like he wanted, but they lost control of the Senate process which has cost time and significant political damage. If they'd have offered a bill as a starting point, it may have gone smoother.

And, AP Headline: New health proposal is industry's favorite so far. (They'd make hundreds of billions more under the Baucus plan.)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I'd like to see Chuck D. and Bill Kristol debate racism in the Republican party.

Made for mockery

The South Carolina GOP releases a web ad with people of various races and both genders saying, "I am a Republican."

The "big tent" intent of the ad is clear (to deflect the image of redneck racists,) but at the same time, if this ad goes big, they are just asking for a truckload of very scything parodies.


Matt Latimer teasing his new "insider" book in GQ, talks about Bush just an hour before the TARP speech,
In the theater, the president was clearly confused about how the government would buy these securities. He repeated his belief that the government was going to “buy low and sell high,” and he still didn’t understand why we hadn’t put that into the speech like he’d asked us to. When it was explained to him that his concept of the bailout proposal wasn’t correct, the president was momentarily speechless. He threw up his hands in frustration.

“Why did I sign on to this proposal if I don’t understand what it does?” he asked.

The way racism plays out

Thinking about it overnight, I think I was somewhat wrong. I don't think the charges of racism on the right will ever be given hard currency in the media until the allegations of racism trickle directly out of the White House itself, not necessarily from Obama, but from aides speaking "anonomously" who are known by the press to be inside the circle.

However, I think the Obama folks are afraid to head down that road because once they do, there's no turning back, and race then begins to define this Presidency.

Someone from the outside, like a Jimmy Carter, can have some impact, but that will mostly factor to reinforce those already convinced of racism on the right. The only other Dem heavyweight capable of driving this might be Bill Clinton, but his own race stuff around the South Carolina primary would dilute the message.

So, in a sense, we're in a "swiftboat" situation, where the only response that will be respected by the media is from the man himself, but because of the political situation, the man refuses to make the charge.

Probably the best hope is a couple years down the road when the true insiders begin to step out of the administration, and then a "retired" Axelrod or whoever can make these allegations in the administration's name but at the same time allow distance.

So, this coded racism is going to continue apace unless some major Republican figure steps up and destroys himself within his own party or some major Republican figure steps unquestionably across the line.

Until then, I think the debate continues in this state.

Later: On second thought, maybe a Biden "gaffe" could bring this topic out?

They haven't really tried to use Joe Biden, but I would think that with his skill and his history, he could plausibly fake a "gaffe."

The bottom line on allegations of racism

The issues being cited by the "protesters" do not seem to warrant the level of "passion" they're displaying.

25% of Aghan votes fraudulent

The EU election observers in Afghanistan say that approximately 1.5 million votes are "suspicious." That's out of a total of just more than 6 million votes.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Race War

Drudge headline right now:

Later: Limbaugh: "In Obama's America, the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering, 'Yay, right on, right on, right on, right on..." (Complete with stereotyped black accent.)

There's alot more if you listen to the audio.

At least they're out of the closet.


Rep. Pete Stark (R-Ca.) responding to a teabagger at a townhall.
The man, to the hoots and hollers of his compatriots in the crowd, concluded with: "Mr. Congressman, don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining."

"I wouldn't dignify you by peeing on your leg, it wouldn't be worth wasting the urine," said Stark....


Obama is doing all the Sunday shows this week, the three networks, CNN, and even Univision.

Notably and intentionally missing, FoxNews.

The Baucus plan sounds like the insurance companies' dream

If I'm reading this right, the Baucus "bipartisan" plan will require every American to purchase health insurance from a private company.

There will be a supposed limit on preexisting denials, but there also appears to be no cap on what the insurance companies can charge.

So, in the Baucus system, the insurance companies pick up a guaranteed 30-50 million new customers and are allowed to charge anything they want so long as they charge it to everyone. It's a bonanza!

Fortunately, this is very probably dead in committee as even that bill won't be accepted by the politically driven Republicans.

Good thing he wasted all this time to allow the Republicans to damage his party....

Monday, September 14, 2009

Spec Ops

A small spec ops unit flies over the horizon into a deserted part of Somalia to intercept and kill a known Al Qaeda operative.

That's how it's supposed to work.

Unrelated: (AP) The FBI and NYPD raided three apartments and apparently took into custody "a man suspected of being an al-Qaida associate."

Picture of the Day

It's funny how our society works, who gets the attention....

"Norman E. Borlaug saved more lives than any man in human history," said Josette Sheeran, the head of the World Food Program, on Sunday.

"His total devotion to ending famine and hunger revolutionized food security for millions of people and for many nations."


No big thoughts now. Maybe later.

(This post is filler between pictures.)

Thought for the Day

Thinking about it this morning, I'm kinda surprised that there aren't prayers on Fox "News."

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Picture of the Day

(From the "protest.")

When elections don't help....

Karzai's weakness and legitimacy before the election was one of the biggest Afghanistan problems.

Now, after all the fraud and all the delays in releasing the results, he will come out of his "election" even weaker and less influential than he was before.