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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Zombie Reagan from The Onion

Pretty Damn Funny.

Zombie Reagan Raised From Grave To Lead GOP

Thought for the Day

Primetime FoxNews viewers, Beck, O'Reilly, etc. are prime targets for TV's overpriced "collectible coins" advertisers.

Says a whole lot about the credulity of the viewers, doesn't it?

Melting away

The US meets little Taleban resistance in its first groundlaying mission for new troops. If history is a guide, the Taleban will conduct a few profile attacks to maintain their sense of presence, but will largely melt into the mountains until they see how the new US troops are deployed.

Group C

If anyone cares, here's the World Cup draw. The US has a pretty decent shot of getting through as a second place team. England, US, Algeria, Slovenia. (Although I think second place would likely get Germany (or maybe Ghana) in the next round.) Not too bad, though, as it goes.

Friday, December 04, 2009

To answer the inevitable question

Yes. It is snowing in Houston.

(Perhaps that augurs well for Dem Bill White's gubernatorial bid. Hell freezes over and all that....)

Long, but the end is great

NY-State Sen. Dianne Savino speaks for gay marriage in New York.

Iran presses

The Iranians notify the IAEA of ten new nuclear sites at the minimum window, six months from operational. They also claim that they will be enriching to 20%. far past power plant needs, but far below weapons grade.

Seems like they're trying to crank up the pressure.

A survey of drones

The NYTimes has a "pro-drone" overview of the drone strike program targeting Pakistan's tribal regions.

This is about the most positive spin you can put on the CIA firing missile into a foreign nation without a declaration of war.

Too broke to cover up

In these tough times, the UK's military cuts its UFO hotline and investigation team.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Murkier and dirtier - Erik Prince and the CIA assassinations program

In a new Vamity Fair piece Blackwater founder and CEO Erik Prince claims he was a CIA "asset" for the last six years. That would certainly put a different spin on some things, and it would mean that the CIA was doing far dirtier than reported.

On the other hand, Prince may be overstating the relationship as some sort of defense for his actions which now face civil recriminations. Certainly, the CIA had worked with him, but Prince would have us believe he "just followed orders" which seems somewhat alien to the defiant way he ran his business.

Some sort of relationship would, however, explain Blackwater's rapid rise, endless funding and their apparent advantages in gaining contracts. The CIA making Prince rich as he did their bidding.

Oh, and there's also this about the CIA's assassinations program that certainly deserves a mention,
Among the team’s targets, according to a source familiar with the program, was Mamoun Darkazanli, an al-Qaeda financier living in Hamburg who had been on the agency’s radar for years because of his ties to three of the 9/11 hijackers and to operatives convicted of the 1998 bombings of U.S. Embassies in East Africa. The C.I.A. team supposedly went in “dark,” meaning they did not notify their own station—much less the German government—of their presence; they then followed Darkazanli for weeks and worked through the logistics of how and where they would take him down. Another target, the source says, was A. Q. Khan, the rogue Pakistani scientist who shared nuclear know-how with Iran, Libya, and North Korea. The C.I.A. team supposedly tracked him in Dubai. In both cases, the source insists, the authorities in Washington chose not to pull the trigger. Khan’s inclusion on the target list, however, would suggest that the assassination effort was broader than has previously been acknowledged.

The key points would be that the CIA was preparing an assassination inside Germany, and AQ Khan made the target list.

(As always, Vanity Fair pieces are really too long to read on the internet. Here're a few excerpts.)

Thought for the Day

We're trying to win a war in the Pakistani tribal regions by fighting in Afghanistan and hoping the subsequent "order" bleeds across the border.

(...that said, I don't have any better ideas....)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

This would be that "change" thing.

The Obama administration has begun approving new lines of human embryonic stem cells that are eligible for federally funded experiments, opening the way for millions of taxpayer dollars to be used to conduct research that was put off-limits by President George W. Bush.

What the hell? (You can take the Governor out of Arkansas, but you can't take the Arkansas...)

Huckabee tries to further his defense of his clemency for the Washington police shooter, but this jumped out at me on first reading.
....no objections from officials in a case that involved a 16 year old sentenced to a term that was exponentially longer than similar cases and certainly longer than had he been white, upper middle class, and represented by effective counsel who would have clearly objected to the sentencing. (His race, economic status, or education level are not excuses for his behavior because many people of color who are uneducated and living in abject poverty are civil, trustworthy, and honest to a fault and many well-educated, wealthy, white people are dirtbags -- think Bernie Madoff).

In a written piece, did Mike Huckabee really just feel he had to say "many black people aren't criminals?" Huckabee thought he needed to define that "exception?"

Related: Huckabee's PAC director stepped down over the clemency. (Guess he figured he'd better find another 2012 horse to ride to Washington power.)

Rubber Chicken Circuit

The Bowling Proprietors' Association of America (BPAA), the bowling industry's leading trade association, announced today that the bowling industry rolled a strike, securing Sarah Palin as the keynote speaker at this summer's International Bowl Expo 2010.

(I know it's target audience and all, but wasn't she supposed to be burnishing her "qualified to be president" credentials? Foreign policy, energy policy, something?)

Thought for the Day

I'm so glad we elected John McCain foreign policy President.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


Still no primary internet, but had to throw this up.
In addition, the Secret Service has been bowing to pressure by some protectees such as Mary Cheney, Dick Cheney's daughter, who insisted that agents take her friends to restaurants. That is not the job of the Secret Service, and when agents refused she got her detail leader removed by Secret Service management.


Internet's still down. Hardware problem. Probably running tomorrow 10AM or so.

I'll get back to you.

All kinds of internet trouble....

Somehow my wireless internet hookup got completely f***ed. I'm not really too sure what's going on. After messing with it for an hour, I've got to walk away for awhile. I'll try again later.

Later: Hardware problem. Borrowed the girlfriend's really old laptop. Looks like at least a day.

Back when I'm back.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Political bits

(ThePage) Huckabee issues a statement on the killings in Washington, blaming everyone (and I mean everyone) but himself.

(RollCall) 34 Members of the House report personal assets of $0 or less on their House disclosure forms.

And, (WaPo) No real surprise, but Limbaugh and Beck fans love Sarah Palin more than anyone else.

Afghanistan pre-spin in the NYTimes

If you believe the media conventional wisdom, the Afghanistan "surge" is most likely to meet resistance from folks on the left.

So, imagine my surprise this morning to see the NYTimes top headline emphasizing that the Obama speech will not only call for a troop increase, but will also "envision exit" from Afghanistan.

They're pre-spinning the speech in the most prominent space possible, the most public space likely to be read by the Obama supporter, playing on residual goodwill and asking for more patience.

...and once again the NYTimes prints the "scoop," blindly sourced to "senior administration officials," complicit in the war selling spin....

(I'm pro-surge, but the games get a little old.)

Huckabee plays coy

It's hard to tell whether Mike Huckabee is playing coy or being serious, but he tells Chris Wallace "it's less likely than more likely" that he'll run for President in 2012.

If you read the whole thing, it sounds like he's fishing for a nod from the GOP establishment against Palin.

Later: Of course I could be misreading the whole damn thing. Huckabee might now be seeing his chances evaporate as a guy he pardoned as governor is suspected of killing four police officers.

Thought for the Day

Dear right wing crazies..... Just for a minute, I'll indulge your fantasy that global warming is all some sort of great hoax and massive conspiracy....

But you'll have to answer me the question why? Why would all these thousands of scientists collude in this giant fraud? What's the motive? Some strange leftist fantasy that smokestacks are bad? That's supposed to be enough to get thousands of scientists to throw away their careers without one of them breaking the wall of silence?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Picture of the Day

(Aides brief President Barack Obama aboard Air Force One en route to Tokyo, Japan, Nov. 12, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza))

Missed Bin Laden at Tora Bora

My guess is that this Senate report saying that the Bush administration missed a chance to capture Bin Laden at Tora Bora is mostly going to be discussed literally.

Although it may be word for word true, don't forget that this is a Senate Democrat run committee document, managed by John Kerry. Example,
"Removing the al-Qaeda leader from the battlefield eight years ago would not have eliminated the worldwide extremist threat," the report says. "But the decisions that opened the door for his escape to Pakistan allowed bin Laden to emerge as a potent symbolic figure who continues to attract a steady flow of money and inspire fanatics worldwide. The failure to finish the job represents a lost opportunity that forever altered the course of the conflict in Afghanistan and the future of international terrorism."

"Failure to finish the job" comes straight from the Kerry 04 campaign talking points.... and it's a damn shame, because the point is valid.

This will certainly generate the headlines they're seeking (to offer Dems' political cover? to undermine Republican critics?) before the Afghan surge politics begin in earnest tomorrow, but the very political nature of the report taints the usefulness of the conclusion.

...because they did let Bin Laden get away.

The worst possible interpretation for Tiger Woods

I usually stay out of this stuff, but TMZ claims that during an argument over an alleged affair with another woman, Woods' wife injured his face, and then chased him out to the car, smashing in the back window as he drove away. They further claim he was on painkillers at the time of the crash.