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

Born at the Crest of the Empire

Saturday, October 03, 2009

The battle of Wanat

The NYTimes aims for a larger all war frame which I think sorta misses the mark, but the details of the battle of Wanat are worth reading.

Later: One day later, the WaPo writes the exact same story, Wanat as symbol of US war effort.

Who is selling the papers this idea of Wanat as all of Afghanistan? McChrystal? Somebody sent the draft version of this particular Army College report to both the WaPo and NYTimes with the intent that the conclusions of parallels be priinted....

Stupid Saturday fun

(CNN) Surprising first products of 14 famous companies

Not sour grapes on the Olympics

Don't think this post is "sour grapes" because I don't really care all that much, but with all the talk about how the Olympics had never been to South America, I got curious.

At the 2008 Beijing games, all of South America won a total of 5 gold medals, one of them being for soccer. That puts them about on par with Kenya. Brazil itself only won 15 total medals.

That being said, having been in an (at the time) non-soccer country that hosted a World Cup, it made a tremendous difference in that sport (that I love) in our country.

Oh, and I thought this was good,
Brazil’s leaders have tried to combat the image of the gangs in the hillside favelas, or slums, with da Silva noting that Brazil, at least, is not the target of world terrorism.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Thought for the Day

Why was the second top recipient for contributions from healthcare companies tasked with writing the healthcare bill?

(I'm not counting McCain because that includes his Presidential run.)

And, as I've been saying all along, reconciliation will likely gut Baucus' efforts.

Interesting from Brownstein

Ron Brownstein plays electoral demographics.
From all indications, the face of the electorate will look very different in 2010 from the way it did in 2008. That prospect presents an immediate danger for Democrats. But it also represents a more subtle, long-term threat for Republicans.....

In midterm elections, the electorate tends to be whiter and older than in presidential elections....

But that dynamic also means that Republicans could do very well in 2010 without solving their fundamental demographic challenges. In the 2012 presidential election, the young and minority voters central to Obama's coalition are likely to return in large numbers. The risk to the GOP is that a strong 2010 showing based on a conservative appeal to apprehensive older whites will discourage it from reconsidering whether its message is too narrow to attract those rapidly growing groups. "It can't be the same formula in 2012," Ayres warns.

Also, if you wonder why they're playing race victimhood so hard,
Emory University political scientist Alan Abramowitz says that although minorities next year probably won't equal the one-quarter share of the vote they represented in 2008, they are still likely to account for more than one-fifth of the ballots cast. That figure dwarfs their one-seventh share in 1994. To retake the House, he calculates, Republicans would probably need to win three-fifths of the white vote, slightly more than they did even in 1994.


From the Obama/Chicago Olympic pitch...
An uncomfortable moment came in the question session, when an IOC member from Pakistan, Syed Shahid Ali, noted that going through U.S. customs can be a harrowing experience for foreigners.

Science/Tech break

It's rare we have enough to do a whole post, but here goes....

(NYTimes/BBC) Scientists announce a new 4.4 million year old human ancestor fossil find (from 15 years ago.) They're arguing it's one of the "missing links." (Why would god tempt us so by placing such deceptive fossils to make us doubt the bible?)

(Yahoo) Another large quake in the Pacific, 6.3 near Tonga.

(AP) A second, very large typhoon is heading towards the Philippines.

(AFP) Scientists find a genetic way to mimic the low calorie life extension in mice. Altering the gene gives 20% longer life.

(BBC) An inclusive measure of internet advertising spending in Britain passed television advertising for the first time.

And, (BBC) The Ig Nobel prizes were announced.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

My state's shame, jr,

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has done it again, functionally dissolving a commission looking into an execution that appears to have killed an innocent man.

The questions and doubts were presented to Perry in 2004, and he refused to even stay the execution of what looks like an innocent man.

Later: The NYTimes looks at this, too (and gives some sense of what a pecker Perry really is.)

Oh, and then there's the yet undeveloped story of Rick Perry's 74 year old cousin being shot dead by Sheriff's deputies after he apparently fired at the deputies with a shotgun.

Thought for the Day

The Republican ideology requires its own (multiple) dedicated media to support it and keep it near an electable margin.

Insane, base pleasing amendments on healthcare

As part of his efforts to keep abortion out of the health care bill,
...But Hatch offered an amendment requiring women to purchase a separate policy for abortion coverage under the bill.

It failed, but how crazy is that? "Requiring?" (The Republicans seem dead set on insuring women separately from men. Sen Kyl proposed amendment which would have allowed maternity care to be left out.)

Later: Maybe you'd prefer Grassley,
Late in the afternoon, Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa), the top Republican on the committee, requested consideration of the "Grassley F-1 Modified Amendment." Its goal: eliminate $7 billion a year in fees that the government would charge private health insurance companies, and make up the shortfall by reducing benefits to poor people and legal immigrants.

(And, ABCNews outlines Congress' healthcare, a fully staffed clinic on constant standby with specialists and expert facilities on call for only $503 per year.)


It's funny that we aren't hearing about Presidential basketball anymore, but are getting lots of pictures of Presidential golf.

I'm assuming that the basketball's still going on, but that, politically, they'd rather have us thinking about Presidential golf. Why do you think that is?

Quickhits (Insane Republicans)

I don't want to hear anything about "crazy left wing bloggers" ever again after these two, 1) the column on Newsmax calling for a military "coup" against Obama (.pdf copy because they removed the original.)

2) National Review columnist John Derbyshire advocating "The case against female suffrage" in his book. Not some awful misplaced comment, but an argument he stands behind to repeal women's right to vote. (And you gotta love the word choice "female suffrage" rather than "women's suffrage," because it's about discriminating on physical anatomical differences, not against people.)

(BBC) The "true story" kids' book about the "gay" penguins in the Central Park Zoo was the most requested to be banned in American libraries.

(AP) A protester in Turkey throws a shoe at the IMF chief.

And, (WaPo) the EU finds that the Georgia/Russia "war" was Georgia's fault. (Send troops to assist says Presidential candidate McCain...)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


The EPA is suddenly talking about their possible actions to curb carbon emissions just to break the logjam of Senators negotiating for their large donors.

The EPA is not going to step in. This is just a threat. Large industrial donors don't want anything to do with EPA regulation, and nothing presses obstinate Senators faster than calls from nervous large donors.

(PS. I've always had corruption concerns over cap and trade as a solution. The formula that will be set by the legislation will effectively dole out "trade" advantages to entire industries. I mean, if you get a relatively high "cap" that's just cash in your pocket determined through legislation.)


(WaPo) On the WaPo's front page, they talk about improved tactics against Al Qaeda in Afghan/Pak mentioning spies and informants prominently. (Should insiders be talking about "penetration" on the front pages, and what changed over the last year to give us this "penetration?")

(Guardian) According to the new Latimer book, JK Rowling didn't get a Presidential Medal of Freedom because some Bush officials were worried the Harry Potter books promoted witchcraft. (Probably more worried about Republican base politics than real witches, but what does it say that in the 21st century, so many Americans are concerned about witches?)

(AP) The US is "speeding up" the Iraq withdrawal, from 124,000 to 120,000 by the end of October. (But the US never completely leaves anywhere it fights (except Vietnam.))

(BBC) Richard Holbrooke protege and UN second in command in Afghanistan, Peter Galbraith, is being chased out of office after his support for an election recount.

(Reuters) Beijing is locked down ahead of national day parade. (Nothing says national pride like a police state lockdown.)

And, (NYTimes) Not that you should start listening to him now, but Tom Friedman is getting alot of attention for drawing parallels between the right's treatment of Obama and the Israeli right's treatment of assassinated PM Rabin.

Picture of the Day - Hitler!

(Michelle Obama is shown in this undated publicity photograph as she plants a garden on "Sesame Street" with characters Big Bird and Elmo. "Sesame Street", the worlds largest informal childrens educator, celebrates its 40th birthday on November 10, 2009 with Obama's appearance on the show.)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Not blogging too much. Senators who know better voting against a public option puts a sour taste in my news experience.


There sure is alot of ink being spent about which Republicans might run to lose against Barack Obama in 2012.

Do you remember the intense focus in mid-2001 on which Democrats were going to run against Bush?

Monday, September 28, 2009


Sitting in a country that can more or less end all life on the planet and turn most of the planet's significant surface into glass, am I supposed to be afraid that Iran can launch some non-nuclear medium range missiles?

I mean, yeah, it would be atrocious, tremendously destabilizing, and kill way too many people, but as a deterrent threat, it's a pretty weak argument. The Israelis alone could (and probably would) obliterate Iran on any launch.

I'm just frustrated that the press is buying into Iran's propaganda that it's so powerful heading into this week's dialogue. It's not.


I love the fact that the press has accepted the term "memoir" for Sarah Palin's new book.

Yes, we're all riveted to hear about her heady days on the Wasilla PTA and the massively important moments going to 5 colleges and as governor of one of the country's smallest states.

Memoir. Hah!

Thought for the Day

The Europeans have a different experience of Hitler...

Quote - I'm not sayin' the other guy was stupid, I'm just sayin'

Former Bush Sec Def Robert Gates on working for Obama, on CNN.
"He's very analytical. He's very deliberate about the way he goes through things. He wants to understand everything. He delves very deeply into these issues. I'm not going to get into comparing the different presidents. I very much enjoy working for this one."

Karzai and drift

Yeah. That's what the Afghanistan effort needs. A Karzai, delegitimized by a corrupt election, continuing his exercise in non-power.
The United States and NATO countries fighting in Afghanistan have told President Hamid Karzai's government that they expect him to remain in office for another five-year term and will work with him on an expanded campaign to turn insurgent fighters against the Taliban and other militant groups.

Forget the discussion of troop levels. The issue in Afghanistan is Karzai.

Sometimes, I'm a little more cynical

Obama is pushing very hard to get the 2016 Olympics in Chicago. The latest is that he is traveling to Denmark this week to help support/lead the bid.

The simple analysis is that he's deploying all this leverage to help bring the Olympics to his home city. The more cynical look is that he's working very hard to get an extremely America positive event late in the election year to choose his replacement.

(Get ready. You'll be hearing this from Fox"News" by nightfall.)

Thought this morning

Reading the NYTimes' puff piece n Liz Cheney this morning (nobody talks about the gay daughter, do they?,) I got to wondering what the coverage will be like when Dick Cheney shucks his barely mortal coil.

I figure you'll have the loyalists praising the "national hero" on Fox"News," but how does the rest of the country react?


NY Gov David Patterson on MTP.
"I'm blind but I'm not oblivious," he said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press." "I realize that there are people who don't want me to run."