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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Saturday, October 10, 2009

It's all fun and games until somebody loses an eye

For some reason this morning, reading the headline, Gunmen attack Pakistani army headquarters; 10 dead, I was struck by just how ridiculous and child like the crazy right in the United States really is.

Remember in the heat of the August townhalls, all the over-the-top demagoguery about "armed resistance" to the government?

Now, I believe there are folks out there crazy enough to want to do things like that, but the notion that a Michelle Bachmann or Glenn Beck, or whoever has the stomach for armed revolution is pretty patently ridiculous. They wouldn't give up their jobs or families, or positions to go underground. They wouldn't be willing to risk county jail time, not to mention terrorist treatment in a supermax...

...which really makes the language of the summer all the more unforgivable.

...because there are people out there who are crazy enough to bomb and kill people, and Beck and Bachmann, and the rest were just egging them on.

The Swiss negotiate a Turkey-Armenia normalization

Good for all of them.

(And the Israel-Palestine talks are lining up.)

The border fence back in the news

The Dems have stripped funding from the Homeland Security bill for the supposed next 300 miles of the "Mexican border fence."

Good for them.

(As a resident in a large city sorta near the border, I'm always fascinated that the most vehement anti-Mexican immigration folks are all way, way far away, South Carolina, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas.....

Most of the passion of this round of the issue is coming from areas where illegal communities are relatively small and new, so it tends to be more racist and ugly. The border fence is a political symbol for them. It's a political tool to symbolize keeping "those people" out (of their neighborhoods, of their towns, etc.)

It's just viewed very differently down here.)

Two dying franchises looking for attention

This is the real cover for November.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Thought for the Day - 3

Oh yeah? Well, where's your Nobel prize?


Pat Buchanon says that Michael Steele is Kanye West screaming Beyonce should have gotten the Nobel.

Really bad

(AP) At a weekly Republican gun range meeting (A weird phrase in itself,) "The GOP candidate to replace U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz fired at a full-body silhouette with "DWS" written next to its head."

Thought for the Day

The Germans love David Hasselhoff.

Thought for the Day - 2

They don't hate Americans. They hate Republicans.

Barack Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize.

Oh my God. So shocking I think I'm just going to throw some stream of consciousness bits as they occur to me throughout the morning.

1) It's gonna be a fun media day, eh?

2) Maybe he is the anti-Christ (although you'd think he'd have more luck getting things through Congress.)

3) How pissed is George Bush this morning?

4) Let's remember that both Jimmy Carter in 2002 and Mohamed El Baradei both won the Peace Prize as a slap to Bush. (And Al Gore was sort of a slap in 2007.)

5) It's so shocking that the White House doesn't even have an official statement two and a half hours later. Robert Gibbs punted. Rahm Emanuel gave an empty, nothing quote.
When told in an email from Reuters that many people around the world were stunned by the announcement, Obama's senior adviser, David Axelrod, responded: "As are we."

6) I think you have to go back and say, "Best Presidential campaign ever."

7) On the other hand, closing Guantanamo, ending torture and renditions...... How often does that happen in a country?

8) How long until someone mentions Hitler's Time magazine "man of the year?"


(AP) A big car bomb in a market in Peshawar, Pakistan kills 50, wounds at least 100.

(Reuters) The father of Najibullah Zazi, the Denver-NY terror suspect is indicted for lying to the FBI.

And, (CNN) On a percentage basis, women are far more likely to be thrown out of the military for being gay than men are.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Thought for the Day

No one was ever punished for pushing known false intel to the American public. Aluminum tubes, "sixteen words," Niger forgeries, the "Iran laptop," fantastic Al Qaeda plots.....


(AP/BBC) A Taleban car bomb at India's Afghanistan embassy kills 17 and wounds 68. (India's involvement in Afghanistan is a favorite "target" for those tied to Pakistani Islamic nationalism.)

(AP) They can't find Denver-New York terrorist Zazi's bomb. (They don't know if they hid it, never made it, or what, but you would think the cases would be harder without a weapon.)

(BBC) A British organization predicts "peak oil" by 2020.

(Independent) Berlusconi's legal immunity is stripped by the Italian courts.

(Politico) The GOP eats itself over a upstate NY Congressional seat with "conservative leaders" rejecting a moderate NRCC supported candidate and pushing to support a third party guy. (“I was flabbergasted that he (NRCC chair Pete Sessions) could come into a meeting of conservatives and be as defiant as he was." After all, who runs the party, right?)

And, (BBC) The Obamas decorate their part of the White House with abstract modern.

Three more big quakes in the South Pacific

I don't know if we've ever seen an earthquake cluster like the one over the last week. Sumatra twice, Samoa, and now three 7.0+ off Vanuatu.
Thousands evacuated from coastal areas, emptying schools and offices and jamming roads as shallow 7.8, 7.7 and 7.3 quakes struck in quick succession off Vanuatu, followed by a series of aftershocks.

Experts say there is no connection.

(However, researchers at Berkely are saying that the 2004 "Christmas" Sumatra earthquake has led to changes on San Andreas.)

I'm certainly not enough of an expert, but six 7.0+ in eight days feels connected, doesn't it?


(AP, Reuters) Special Envoy George Mitchell says he wants to get the Israelis and Palestinians to the table soon, but far right Israeli FM Avigdor Lieberman comes out with a statement, "no chance of a comprehensive peace deal with the Palestinians for many years."

"Abbas has said repeatedly that he wouldn't go back to the negotiating table without a freeze. He also demands that talks begin where they broke off, with a promise from Israel that all issues will be on the table."

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Check Demint's records

The NYTimes has an interesting piece on the tremendous lobbying by the Honduran coup leaders which might explain Sen. Jim DeMint's trip there last week.
In addition to the support of such cold war veterans — and partly because of it — the de facto government has mobilized the support of a determined group of Republican legislators, led by Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina. They are holding up two State Department appointments as a way of pressing the Obama administration to lift sanctions against the country.

“We have made a wrong call here,” Mr. DeMint said in an interview with Fox News after returning from a trip to Honduras last Friday. Referring to the de facto government, he said, “This is probably our best friend in the hemisphere, the most pro-American country, but we are trying to strangle them.”

Don't you want to know what DeMint's payoff was?

An Al Qaeda "rectum bomb"

An interesting brief article about a falsely reformed Al Qaeda figure who blew himself up just feet from a Saudi prince in a failed attempt to kill him, and the ripples that is making about the Saudi methods of "rehabilitating" Al Qaeda figures.

(If the airports made us take off our shoes after the shoe bomber, and banned liquids after the peroxide bomb scare, I shudder to think what a "rectum bomb" means for us all.)

Thought for the Day

In six years, did Drudge ever show photos of dead or wounded soldiers in Iraq?

This morning, he's running five, clustered in that super font top spot with the teaser, 8 years, 800 heroes killed.

I'm just fascinated by the way the kneejerk anti-Obama has become anti-Afghan war on the right, especially after watching them defend the much bloodier Iraq mistake for so many years.

(Related: Howard Kurtz looks at the lack of electoral influence of pundits (despite their volume.))

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

No blogging tonight

I watched the baseball... and I don't regret it.

(PS. Always watch baseball on your DVR. Take the commercials out, and the meaningless deadspots, and it's a pretty good game.)


In particular, the Pakistani military and the intelligence agencies are concerned that DynCorp is being used by Washington to develop a parallel network of security and intelligence personnel within Pakistan, officials and politicians close to the army said.

The concerns are serious enough that last month a local company hired by DynCorp to provide Pakistani men to be trained as security guards for American diplomats was raided by the Islamabad police. The owner of the company, the Inter-Risk Security Company, Capt. Syed Ali Ja Zaidi, was later arrested.

The action against Inter-Risk, apparently intended to cripple the DynCorp program, was taken on orders from the senior levels of the Pakistani government, said an official familiar with the raid, who was not authorized to speak on the record.


"We are not leaving Afghanistan."


The Brits

Prime Minister Gordon Brown refused a major Afghanistan troop reinforcement against the military's advice, the former head of the Army has said.

Monday, October 05, 2009

This is Pakistan

Between 2002 and 2008, while al-Qaida regrouped, only $500 million of the $6.6 billion in American aid actually made it to the Pakistani military, two army generals tell The Associated Press.

Thought for the Day - 2

How different would it have been if a healthcare bill had rolled out of the Senate Finance Committee in late June?

1) Committee chairmanships matter. 2) There was no administration supplied "bones" as a startpoint for negotiations.

Shifting discrimination

There was a time not too long ago when "god fearing Americans" would have thrown a conspiracy fit about 6 Catholic Supreme Court Justices.

Sunday, October 04, 2009


US diplomats press to put off the Obama-Dalai Lama meeting.

The important thing here is the timing of the meeting. To the protocol heavy Chinese, it would be significant to meet with the Tibetan leader before the first formal bilateral meeting with Chinese PM Hu.

So, they give a nod of "respect" to Hu and hope to take the pressure off the debt issues and to get a little flexibility on Iran.

Thought for the Day

The average lifespan grew by three decades during the 20th century in the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan and Canada, among others.

A repeat of Wanat

On the day after the NYTimes retells the story of the battle of Wanat (see next,) the Taleban conduct the same sort of complex operation in the same area with the same awful result, killing 8 US soldiers, 7 Afghan soldiers, and capturing up to 15 Afghans.

Also in Afghanistan,
An Afghan soldier on guard at a joint base with U.S. troops shot dead two American servicemen and wounded two others as they slept...