Feb 28, 2010
Old Jarhead's View of a Nuclear Iran
A Nuclear Iran
Below is my response to two articles sent to me by the Republican National Committee. Check out the articles forwarded to me below.
[The China / Russia / Iran connections Iran and the Elephant in the Room
The true nature of the threat is explained in this essay- The Unconsidered Enemy]
The articles are very interesting. I think the Reuters article is on target and the James Traub article is more intellectual and requires more thought to put it all in perspective. My thought is the Obama Administration keeps kicking the can down the road concerning a nuclear Iran while Russia, China and Iran plays the US like a fiddle. I don't agree that we have achieved any significant gains from Russia.
Here is my take on the seriousness of the current nuclear issue with Iran:
Neither China nor Russia will approve sanctions that will have any impact on Iran's nuclear program...sanctions will not work. Both China and Russia like to see the US tied down in the Middle East militarily and economically, while they develop their own high tech deployable military and further develop their economies. Considering our national debt and need for China to buy our treasury bonds, this Administration will not put much pressure on them. China is really in the drivers seat and will dictate their foreign policy objectives to the US, and sanctions are not in their interest.
I have a different perspective about Russia. Russia does not want Iran to develop nuclear weapons, but they very well may want Israel or perhaps the US to bomb Iranian nuclear sites. If this happens, the price of oil will sky rocket (maybe $400 a barrel) and Russia will benefit as an oil producing Nation. Iran has been trying to get Russia to provide their new surface to air missile technology, but they have resisted so far...there is a limit to their support. As indicated in the Reuters article, over a year ago Israel attacked facilities in Syria (potential nuclear facility being developed by North Korea) and was able to get in and out of Syria undetected. Iran has the same missile defense system and they know they are vulnerable.
I agree with the Reuters article that the reported additional nuclear facilities in Iran probably will not happen anytime soon, but you should never underestimate clandestine support and their ability to construct them.
Ahmadinejad often talks about the 13th Mahdi, and the Mahdi will return to earth when there is absolute chaos. When this occurs, infidels will be killed and Muslims will rule the world. A logical thinking person would find this to be an absurd concept, but we are dealing with a sociopath and religious cult who believes this can happen. I believe he thinks the only way to create total chaos is from nuclear weapons. This is why a nuclear Iran is so dangerous not only to Israel, but to the world. There are many ways they could employ nuclear weapons: man packed carried across borders; surface detonation via missiles, and electronic magnetic pulse (EMP) from atmospheric nuclear detonation. Iran recently launched a satellite into orbit with a missile so we now know they have the capability to strike the US, but I don't think this would be their option, as it would be detected. A man packed nuclear weapon is the easiest way to deploy nuclear weapons and it would be very difficult to determine if Iran provided such weapons to terrorists. The most devastating would be through EMP. This can be done with just a simple SCUD missile fired from a cargo ship off the coast of the US or any Nation. The ship would then be destroyed and it would be hard to determine who was responsible. Nuclear weapons exploded in the atmosphere would destroy all electronics...nothing would work. Electronic grids, cars, trucks, phones, hospital equipment would no longer work. Food could not be delivered, and those on medications and life saving equipment would perish very quickly. Perhaps only a small percentage of the population would survive. You don't hear much about EMP in the news, but it is for real and many other countries have this capability. Iran is the real threat though.
The issue is what is the Obama Administration doing about this potential devastating threat? Essentially, they are pursuing diplomatic efforts to obtain sanctions. They are playing nice with rogue countries and hoping this will all go away. I think Obama, Clinton and his extremist Czars are both naïve and stupid about foreign affairs and overall implications of having a nuclear Iran. Should Iran finally develop nuclear weapons, this will impact the balance of power in the Middle East and will likely result in nuclear proliferation by other Middle Eastern countries.
This Administration is trying to appease Israel by establishing deadlines for Iran to stop their nuclear program, but Iran just keeps marching on. Israel probably feels they have no choice but to attack Iran's nuclear facilities. This will be a very difficult task for them if they use conventional weapons and the Iranian nuclear facilities are deep underground. It would take a specific type of MOPP bomb to penetrate these sites, and it is unknown if the US ever gave them any. If so, it was done during the Bush Presidency. Israel just announced their new very large drone aircraft, which could provide many operational advantages. If Israel decides to bomb these facilities, then the US must give flight rights over Iraq, so we will have knowledge and will be blamed along with the Israelis. Since this is the case, the US should take out the surface to air missile sites and boats that will likely mine the Straits of Hormuz (this would impact the flow of oil out of the Middle East). I doubt we will provide such assistance as Obama's left wing base will raise hell. Should Israel attack Iran, there will be a global economic impact, but I believe that is preferable to a nuclear Iran. A conventional attack would probably only set the program back a few years, but that may allow enough time for a potential coup to occur as the Iranian people might overthrowing the existing government...that is a big if! Israel should also bomb their refineries as Iran is the 3rd largest importer in the world of gasoline. You can probably count on the Russians providing them gasoline, but it would not be sufficient to meet all needs. Such an attack could bring Iran to their knees.
The other and more devastating attack would be for Israel to conduct an EMP attack on Iran, but this is not likely as the world would demonize them. It would; however, send a strong message to the Nations sponsoring terrorism.
This is just a quick take on my perspective about the Iranian nuclear program and the Obama Administration's failed diplomatic approach. When it comes to foreign policy, I can't think of one thing they have accomplished. They are causing the US to lose National prestige.
Geoffrey B Higginbotham
Major General, USMC (Ret.)
The Week In Review/Sunday Comics
Despite yielding a few points of agreement, Thursday's health care summit primarily served to highlight major — unbridgeable — differences between the two parties' agendas for the CSPAN viewing audience. If the summit was collegial, underlying tension spilled over at times into silly slap fights involving President Obama and the Republicans. Accusations of budgetary "gimmicks" to claims of partisan timekeeping, here's a look back at the defining clashes of the big showy Blair House pow-wow.
1. Retro 2008
When John McCain charged the Democratic bill was the product of "unsavory deal making," Obama shot back: "We're not campaigning anymore. The election's over." A flustered McCain responded, "Well, I'm reminded of that every day." A bit later though, he got revenge. Cornered by a question from McCain about why some Florida seniors got special treatment on Medicare, Obama conceded, "I think you make a legitimate point." McCain, looking as surprised as anyone in the room, didn't reply.
2. Paul Ryan's smackdown
In a feisty speech, Rep. Paul Ryan (R, WI) described the Democratic bill as a "ponzi scheme" full of accounting "gimmicks and smoke and mirrors" and sought to discredit official projections showing it would reduce the deficit. Critics jumped on the moment as if it were some major GOP victory. "The expression on the president's face as Ryan made his case was absolutely priceless," says Matthew Continetti in the Weekly Standard. "Simply put, he looked like someone who realizes he's met his match." Or maybe someone just told him that he isn't wearing any clothes?
Throughout the summit, Republicans pushed the Dems not to pass health care reform using reconciliation, which would allow a sidestep a GOP filibuster in the Senate. Lamar Alexander asked Obama to "renounce this idea" of "jamming" the bill through Congress "using reconciliation." After all, he said, the process has "never been used for anything like this." But Obama kept the option open: "I think most Americans think that a majority vote makes sense." Except that according to polling data, a majority of Americans are against THIS bill. They're for change in Healthcare, just not THIS change.
4. Any one bother to fact-check that?
While making the GOP's opening remarks, Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee claimed that insurance premiums "will rise as a result of the Senate bill." Obama countered that this was "not factually accurate. The cost for families for the same type of coverage as they're currently receiving would go down 14 to 20 percent." Bloggers immediately scrambled to pick a winner, with most seeming to settle on Obama. "The record is tricky," says Brian Beutler in Talking Points Memo. But overall "Obama is correct."
In addition to serving as moderator and head debater for the Democrats, Obama was also the official timekeeper, which is to say, Wink Martindale. Which pissed off the GOP. Ninety minutes into the summit, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) noted that Democrats had spent 52 minutes talking compared to only 24 for Republicans. Obama shot back: "I don't count my time, because I'm the president." Lovely.
It snowed again. There was also another earthquake. I'm sure the earthquake will be all we talk about this coming week.
And Mr. Toyota went to Congress this week...
There's been a lot of talk about how to 'fix' the country lately. That the government is broken. The government isn't broken, it's the government that reflects the country. Just as we had an oil man running things the last 8 years. Now we have a squabbling mess where no one takes responsibility for the problems or issues they created. That is a perfect mirror reflecting the population in my eye.
But to be fair, the Federal Government wants to expand their reach and influence into the average American's life [more taxes, services for others] while the States and local governments are raising fees and taxes while screaming poor and cutting services. I can't understand how you can raise taxes more than 50%, cut the program you're raising the taxes for - and then still cry poor. If anyone can explain that to me, I'm all ears. You may also want to explain that to the electorate, before they start hoarding guns and ammunition - what, they already are?
That's this week, see you next.
Feb 27, 2010
The Senate Armed Services Committee hearings into Blackwater security contractors' alleged misdeeds in Afghanistan have uncovered the news that hundreds of weapons intended for the Afghan national police were illegally obtained by Blackwater contractors, who checked them out under the name "Eric Cartman," The Atlantic reports.
Saturday Morning Cartoons
Feb 26, 2010
Oakland Police Department Making A List of Gun Owners
And here I was sitting around thinking, wow, I haven't done a gun story in a while.... I got a link to a story where the Oakland Police Department is reating a list of Oakland gun owners. The best part is how sneaky they're going about it. Oakland recently passed an ordinance that REQUIRES anyone with a burglar alarm to register that alarm with the Oakland Police Department. Okay, I'm sure - but wait - there's more!
That would not be a problem, except that they REQUIRE you to tell them if you have any "weapons" (i.e., guns). Here is a screen shot from the actual form.
gun control laws, and this is the same department this is bragging that they want to take guns off the street.
When asked during the peace conference if the city’s ammunition ordinance could create a significant crime reduction, Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts said that the Oakland Police Department is supportive of anything that takes guns off the street.But my question would be, if you're a law abiding gun owner in any state, you're supposed to have your gun registered anyway. So what's the problem? My guess it's not so secret?
"We're going to drain the swamp!" ~Nancy Pelosi. I guess the bilge pump failed?
The House Ethics panel has found that of New York broke Congressional rules by failing to properly disclose financial details of a trip to the Caribbean, a House official said.
, the most powerful tax-writing lawmaker in Congress and a 40-year veteran of Capitol Hill, acknowledged Thursday that an ethics panel has accused him of accepting corporate money for Caribbean trips in violation of House rules.
The findings are certain to raise questions of whether Rangel, a New York Democrat, can continue as Ways and Means Committee chairman in an election year. Democrats took over the House in 2006 on a campaign promise to "end a culture of corruption" in Congress that they blamed on 12 years of Republican rule.
The ethics panel also ended another widespread investigation Thursday, saying it found no violations of House rules by seven lawmakers who steered government money and projects and contracts to favored companies that donated to their re-election campaigns.
A copy of the letters and an accompanying report on them were obtained by The Associated Press. All seven — five Democrats and two Republicans — are or were senior members of the House Appropriations Committee.
The most prominent of the them was the late Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., the former chairman of the defense appropriations subcommittee who died earlier this month. Convenient? The other six lawmakers exonerated in that probe are Reps. , D-Wash.; Jim Moran, D-Va.; Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio; , D-Ind.; Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan.; and C.W. "Bill" Young, R-Fla.
The appropriations went to companies represented by a now-defunct lobbying firm known as PMA Group — formerly Paul Magliocchetti Associates.
The Justice Department was conducting an investigation of its own into PMA. It is unclear whether that inquiry is still alive. At one point, a federal grand jury subpoenaed documents from Visclosky's office, campaign committees and some of his employees. The chief of staff for the Indiana Democrat resigned after the subpoenas were delivered.
When a politician says they are going to "clean house" it really means boot out the other guy's corrupt members and install my own.
Feb 25, 2010
And God Liked It
No, you HAD the right to remain silent
In a 9-0 decision in a Maryland child-abuse case, the high court overturned a strict rule set in 1981 that barred police from questioning a suspect once he had asked to remain silent and to speak with a lawyer. Known as the "Edwards rule," it was intended to prevent investigators from "badgering" a suspect who was held in jail after he had invoked his Miranda rights. In some cases, police had awakened a suspect in the middle of the night and asked him again to waive his rights and to admit to a crime.
Although that rule makes sense for suspects who are held in jail, it does not make sense for suspects who have gone free, the justices said Wednesday. In recent years, it has been understood to prevent police from ever re-questioning a freed suspect, even for other crimes in other places.
"In a country that harbors a large number of repeat offenders, the consequence" of the no-further-questioning rule "is disastrous," said Justice Antonin Scalia.
If there has been a "break in custody" and the suspect has gone free, Scalia said the police should be allowed to speak with him after some period of time. "It seems to us that period is 14 days," he said. "That provides plenty of time for the suspect to get re-acclimated to his normal life (and) to consult with friends and counsel."
Then, if the suspect waives his rights and agrees to talk, any statement he makes can be used against him, the court said.
The ruling in Maryland vs. Shatzer reinstates a child-abuse conviction against a Maryland man who made incriminatory statements to a state investigator 2 1/2 years after he had first been questioned by police. At that time, Michael Statzer refused to talk without first consulting a lawyer. Later, however, he had been sent to state prison on another, unrelated charge.
When a new investigator asked him about the original allegation, he agreed to speak and admitted abusing his son. However, he later won a ruling from the Maryland courts that said his statements could not be used against him because he had been questioned without his lawyer.
The high court overturned the Maryland court's decision and ruled that Shatzer's incriminatory statements could be used to convict him of child abuse.
Feb 24, 2010
Voodooists Attacked by Nutjob Evangelicals
Evangelical crowd attacks Voodoo practitioners in Haiti, as religious tensions rise
Voodooists attacked at ceremony for Haiti victims... because there's not enough problems there.
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Angry crowds in a seaside slum attacked a group of Voodoo practitioners, pelting them with rocks and halting a ceremony meant to honor victims of last month’s deadly earthquake. How Christ-like. At least throwing rocks is a time honored tradition from the Bible.
The victim Voodooists gathered in Cite Soleil where thousands of quake survivors live in tents and depend on food aid. Praying and singing, the group was trying to conjure spirits to guide lost souls when a crowd of Evangelicals started shouting. Some threw rocks while others urinated on Voodoo symbols. When police left, the crowd destroyed the altars and Voodoo offerings of food and rum. They ruined the food and Rum!? You bastards!
“We were here preparing for prayer when these others came and took over,” said Sante Joseph, an Evangelical worshipper in Cite Soleil, near the capital’s port, who joined the angry crowd in a concrete outdoor civic center.
Tensions have been running high since the Jan. 12 earthquake killed an estimated 200,000 people and left more than 1 million homeless. More than 150 machete-wielding men attacked a World Food Program convoy Monday on the road between Haiti’s second-largest city of Cap-Haitien and Port-au-Prince. There were no injuries but Chilean peacekeepers could not prevent the men from stealing the food, UN spokesman Michel Bonnardeaux said.
Religious tension has also increased: Baptists, Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Scientologists, Mormons and other missionaries have flocked to Haiti in droves since the earthquake to feed the homeless, treat the injured and jockey for souls. Some Voodoo practitioners have said they’ve converted to Christianity for fear they will lose out on aid or a belief that the earthquake was a warning from God. For crying out loud, who's been showing the 700 Club to the Haitians?
“Much of this has to do with the aid coming in,” said Max Beauvoir, a Voodoo priest and head of a Voodoo association. “Many missionaries oppose Voodoo. I hope this does not start a war of religions because many of our practitioners are being harassed now unlike any other time that I remember.”
Voodoo, or Vodou as preferred by Haitians, evolved in the 17th century when the French brought slaves to Haiti from West Africa. Slaves forced to practice Catholicism remained loyal to their African spirits in secret by adopting Catholic saints to coincide with African spirits, and today many Haitians consider themselves followers of both religions. Voodoo’s followers believe in reincarnation, one God and a pantheon of spirits. Voodoo leaders say that although they do not believe in evil spirits, some followers pray for the spirits to do evil.
“There’s absolutely a heightened spiritual conflict between Christianity and Voodoo since the quake,” said Pastor Frank Amedia of the Miami-based Touch Heaven Ministries who has been distributing food in Haiti and proselytizing.
“We would give food to the needy in the short term but if they refused to give up Voodoo, I’m not sure we would continue to support them in the long term because we wouldn’t want to perpetuate that practice. We equate it with witchcraft, which is contrary to the Gospel.”
Thanks to reader Milo for sending this in. Here's his source, which was heavily cutn'pasted here.
My question is, who in their right mind would eff with a Voodoo leader?
Feb 23, 2010
All the Angles
Peace in Darfur?
CAIRO -- A truce between Darfur's most powerful rebel group and the government of Sudan could pave the way for finally bringing peace to the war-ravaged region weeks ahead of the first national elections in decades.
Numerous cease-fires and peace deals in this seven-year-old conflict have been short-lived, but this time around increased international pressure and impending elections give this latest initiative a better chance for survival.
Read more ....
Now that THAT's solved, let's teach Johnny to read - okay George Clooney?
A Taste of Her Own Biblical Literalism.
Feb 22, 2010
Pop. The new Tobacco
After successfully quashing discussion of a federal tax on soft drinks last year, Coke, Pepsi and the fast-food industries may have killed the snake, but 50 new heads just popped out. [pun intended] The States are strapped for cash and see an easy revenue in taxing your soda pop.
In California, they were falling all over each other to pass a tax in light of new study linking soft drink consumption to obesity in children and adults. One study suggests that obesity and related problems cost California alone $41 billion a year in medical expenses and reduced productivity. One can imagine the huffing and puffing behind closed doors? That should have been ours!
So far new taxes on soft drinks have bubbled up in 12 states, including a bill that recently passed the Colorado Legislature. The city of Chicago currently taxes soft drink sales. And the glass. And the Ice....
In Washington, D.C., the Pop industry spent at least $18 million on lobbying and millions more in
Their strategy has begun to go flat. One of the most prominent organizations, the National Hispanic Medical Assn., has dropped its alliance with the industry, and the California affiliates of two other groups have split from their parent organizations and are considering support for taxes on sweetened soft drinks. Oh oh, they must have seen the bubbles on the wall, or the fat kid in the hall.
Kevin Keane, a senior vice president for the American Beverage Assn., called the tax idea a "money grab" that would hurt working families. "Congress understood that a consumer tax would only add to their pain, not help it," he said. The statement 'duh' echos in my head.
When California Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez (D-Shafter) introduced his soda tax bill, he said one penny of tax per teaspoon of added sugar in any sweetened beverage would generate as much as $1.5 billion each year. That money would pay for parks, recreation and school health programs, Florez said. And, to support that idea, that's 19 cents per can of Coke. He should double it for High Fructose Corn Syrup - and that way we can have the Federal government subsidize the corn production and the States can get it back through their taxes. America... the beautiful... for amber waves of corn...
"The Legislature is primed for this bill," Florez said, adding that he expects bipartisan support. Because, how can you be for fat kids?
Industry officials say they are voluntarily taking steps to discourage soda overconsumption. For example, the American Beverage Assn. worked closely with First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign and pledged to prominently display nutrition information on drink containers and vending machines. Foo' American kids can't read!?
"There is no industry in America that has stepped up to do its share to address a complex societal problem like childhood obesity more than the beverage industry," Keane said. Most likely because a tax is the first step before criminal damages and lawsuits start flying. I'm guessing someone around the Pop Association was watching the Big Tobacco cases?
That argument angers public health advocates such as Harold Goldstein, head of the nonpartisan California Center for Public Health Advocacy, which helped Florez craft his bill.
Goldstein sees the beverage industry's voluntary measures as part of "a concerted effort to undermine discussions across the country" about taxing soda. And he was highly critical of the industry outreach to minority groups that suffer most from obesity.
The hard work by Kim Geiger and Tom Hamburger
Now here's the fun part: On one hand, I have to say congratulations to American Legislatures on this one. They've found a product that they don't like: Soda, have found that while it doesn't cause violence, it does strain their budgets in the long term because of obesity and increased wear and tear on their roads. I was going to say sidewalks, but come on. So they've learned to TAX it rather than ban it. Nevermind, as I mentioned earlier that the farmers are getting federal subsidies to grow the stuff in the first place, making soda pop cheaper than water in some places. And if you consider that a Diet Soft Drink has no actual benefit in terms of calories or thirst quenching ability - it's just chemical laden bubble water - and how much energy goes into producing this elixir...
Now in the olden' days, the good ole' days the government would just prohibition the stuff. But they learned with big tobacco, you can still take their money, and publicly shame them at the same time. I really can't believe this didn't happen with Crystal Pepsi. But they're catching up, and they're learning.
Now don't cry too hard for Coke or Pepsi, they've been gearing up for this battle for years. Coke and Pepsi have both been buying and building bottled water, orange juice, sports drinks - and more importantly Energy Drinks to divest their portfolios. And by the time there's a dime tax on your Coke, it'll be about the same time Red Bull is available out of the tap at the McDonald's.
Feb 21, 2010
The Week In Review/Sunday Comics
Dirty Cheater Olympics.
Mrs. Obama is tackling the obesity problem. Part of that 'freedom' take-away they're instituting. Free to be a fat ass. The best part is, the cost of food has fallen, but the price of medical care is skyrocketing? Correlating evidence? You bet.
Epic Beard Man took on some dude on a bus. Seth MacFarlane Responds to Sarah Palin's Attacks after having a down syndrome character on Family Guy.
Meanwhile, the Marines are taking Afghanistan, one mile at a time - (no one seems to have noticed) and the CIA is striking the Taliban senior leadership one #2 at a time. (no one seems to have noticed this either).
There's a Blaspheme's Convention, and I've disappointed the host by not attending. I can give excuses and real reasons why I was unable to attend, but no matter what I say - it's nothing more than a lousy excuse.
So instead I'll complain that humanity isn't reaching for the stars anymore.
Feb 20, 2010
Saturday Morning Cartoons
[If you can't see it, or want a better version, here's the link]
Episode 1: The Long Fall
The new defense satellite aides the StarCom vehicles in repulsing an attack by General Vondar, Unfortunately it malfunctions and fires on its own men. Crowbar goes against regulations and shuts down the system for repairs.
Feb 19, 2010
Feb 18, 2010
Last Act of a Desperate Man
The online posting is titled "Well Mr. Big Brother IRS man... take my pound of flesh and sleep well." Cached versions of Stack's web site, which described his software development consulting business, noted that he founded the firm in southern California in 1983, and eventually relocated to the Austin area to "lend a hand to the growing high technology industry in South-Central Texas." Alex Melen, whose firm hosts Stack's site, told TSG that Stack last changed his web site this morning at 10:12 AM (Eastern).
His Piper Cherokee crashed into the Austin building at around 11:00 AM (Eastern). Until Stack uploaded his suicide note, his site consisted of a handful of pages describing his business, Embedded Art, and its history. His hosting company said that they had been contacted by FBI agents in Austin and New Jersey, where his hosting business is located. At 2:40 PM today, Melen deleted Stack's web site at embeddedart.com. He replaced it with a statement noting that, "This web site has been taken offline due to the sensitive nature of the events that transpired in Texas this morning and in compliance with a request from the FBI."
Stack will be investigated and his political affiliations will be speculated upon and somehow surface. Commentators will make gross assumptions and politicize with their so-called expertise.
Stack targeted the IRS out of problems in his personal life that shaped his ideology, where he attacks taxation among other things. He expresses an anger, anxiety, and general distrust of government and big business that is not unusual in these times.
However, what is unusual and absolutely intolerable is how he addressed these views.
He could have martyred himself through civil protest and probably would have received similar media coverage, but instead this guy decided to plan and execute his own small-scale rendition of 9/11 in order to gain attention and have his views be recognized, possibly killing innocents while doing so.
The lesson that is hopefully learned and agreed upon by everyone from this episode is that terrorism should not be defined in the national consciousness as limited to one belief, nationality, or ethnicity. Terrorism can be perpetrated by loners and groups, individuals both foreign and domestic.
Yes, it's a shame that Stack wasn't listened to nor do hundreds or thousands like him aren't being listened to. Few even bother to grasp issues that many like Stack are facing, and don't dare call the actions he resorted to as anything but domestic terrorism. I am not going to value the life of a man who sees no value in the people he tried to hurt. I will point out, that this will not be the last incident like this until people start listening and acting on the growing discontent. It's growing and getting more desperate.
I'd Watch This
Tomax and Xamot Captured!
Two senior Taliban leaders have been arrested in recent days inside Pakistan, officials said Thursday, as American and Pakistani intelligence agents continued to press their
offensive against the group's leadership after the capture of the insurgency's military commander last month.
Afghan officials said the Taliban's "shadow governors" for two provinces in northern Afghanistan had been detained in recent days hiding inside Pakistan. Mullah Abdul Salam, the
Taliban's leader in Kunduz, was detained in the Pakistani city of Faisalabad, and Mullah Mohammed of Baghlan Province was also captured in an undisclosed Pakistani city, they said.
That's awesome! A three front war. A major offensive in Afghanistan with the Marines, CIA action in Pakistan, and garrison in Iraq.
Feb 17, 2010
Amy Gets a Free Pass
The death was ultimately ruled an accident. 25 years later, the shooter, Amy Bishop is "accused" in another shooting — an attack that killed three fellow biology professors at the.
In the days since Friday's shooting, revelations about Amy Bishop's past have raised questions about whether much of the violence could have been prevented.
But maybe her story doesn't seem to be anywhere near the screeching volume that would be played if Mrs. Bishop wasn't a far-left fringe, Obama supporter? Where's the outrage? Where's the blood on the blackboard special? And where's the demand for more gun control? All just another free pass for Amy. It seems she's had many free passes written for her...
The story starts when police were called to the Braintree, Mass., home Bishop shared with her parents. Authorities found her 18-year-old brother, Seth, dead of a shotgun wound to the chest.
Bishop's father later told police he and his daughter had a disagreement and she went to her room. She said she had wanted to learn to load a shotgun her parents had bought after a recent break-in.
Bishop said she accidentally fired the gun in her bedroom as she tried to unload it, then went downstairs to ask her brother to help, according to a.
She said the gun went off again as Seth, a Northeastern University freshman and a virtuoso violinist, walked across the kitchen.
She told police she thought she had ruined the kitchen, but did not realize she had hit her brother. She said she ran away and thought she dropped the gun, which went off a third time. She did not remember anything else until she was taken to a police station. Isn't that a felony crime?
But police and witnesses say she fled with the gun to a car dealership, where she pointed it at employees and demanded a getaway car. She told them her husband was going to come after her and she needed to flee.
She was caught but never charged. Police said it took 11 days before they could interview family members because they were so distraught. When they finally did, authorities decided to let her go, declaring the whole thing an accident. If that's not a free pass - 11 days before homicide even interviewed anyone?
John Polio, who headed the Braintree police force at the time, at first defended the handling of the case. The 87-year-old said Tuesday that he recently read a 1987 report on the investigation written by a state trooper. At the time, he had not seen the document. But now, he says, "I would have wanted a lot more questions answered." Oh well, it's not like she also tried to kill other people outside her family right? Oh... hang on.
That same year, she and her husband were questioned in part two: Two mail bombs were sent to a Harvard professor she worked with at Children's Hospital Boston. The explosives did not go off.
told The Associated Press he and his wife were among a number of innocent people questioned by investigators who cast a wide net. He said the case "had a dozen people swept up in this, and everybody was a subject, not a suspect."
"There was never any indictment, arrest, nothing, and then everyone was cleared after five years," he said.
Anderson also said his wife had been writing a novel at the time that was reviewed by law enforcement. The Boston Globe, citing a law enforcement source it did not identify, reported that it was about a woman who had killed her brother and was hoping to make amends by becoming a great scientist.
But Anderson said the novel was not autobiographical.
"It was just a novel. A medical thriller is the best way to describe it," he said. Sure.
In 2003, Bishop and Anderson moved to Huntsville, where they were raising their four children. Bishop appeared to be a rising star at the university — she developed a new type of portable cell incubator and won $25,000 in a statewide business competition in 2007. She appeared, smiling, on the cover of a local tech magazine that touted her advances.
But she was denied tenure by the university, and she was vocally pissed off that she had to find a new job.
Bishop also filed a complaint last year alleging gender discrimination by the university. The university denied the allegations, which are in a complaint pending before the . The complaint itself, filed Sept. 15, was not available to the AP where this story was cut'n'pasted from.
Joseph Ng, an associate professor who worked with Bishop in the biology department, was in the cramped faculty conference room when gunfire erupted Friday afternoon during a monthly meeting.
About a dozen teachers and staff members were sitting elbow-to-elbow at a long table when Ng heard the "pop-pop-pop" of a 9 mm handgun.
He watched several of his colleagues go down, starting with the ones close to Bishop. He and the rest of the survivors dived under the table for cover. Three people were wounded.
Within seconds, the shooting stopped. During the lull, Debra Moriarity, a biochemistry professor, scrambled toward Bishop and urged her to stop, he said.
Bishop aimed at Moriarity and attempted to fire but the gun did not go off. Those professors should thank their makers that a 9 has a tendency to jam up if not properly maintained.
Moriarity then led the charge that forced Bishop out the door into a hallway. Her colleagues barricaded themselves in the room, and Bishop was arrested moments later outside the building. "Moriarity was probably the one that saved our lives. She was the one that initiated the rush," Ng said. "It took a lot of guts to just go up to her."
Guts, or survival instinct. I wish more folks would report this aspect of the story.
Bishop was under extra guard at an Alabama jail. Students and victims' relatives want to know how someone with such a tortured past could ever have been hired at a state university. As I'm sure the rest of the country would be asking... but I haven't heard much about this story.
"Do they not do background checks on teachers? How did all this slip through the cracks?" nursing student Caitlin Phillips asked.
University President David B. Williams defended the decision to hire Bishop. He said a review of her personnel file and her hiring file raised no red flags. She has no criminal record because she was never convicted of a crime.
Police ran a criminal background check Monday, after she was charged with one count of capital murder and three counts of.
"Even now, nothing came up," Williams said.
This story will be filled in Human Resources as another workplace violence statistic. According to OSHA, Violence in the workplace is a serious safety and health issue. Its most extreme form, homicide, is the fourth-leading cause of fatal occupational injury in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), there were 564 workplace homicides in 2005 in the United States, out of a total of 5,702 fatal work injuries.
She'll probably plead 'insanity.' Three dead professors, and she'll get another free pass.
Associated Press writers Desiree Hunter in Huntsville, Bob Johnson in Montgomery, Mark Pratt in Boston and Devlin Barrett in Washington contributed to this report.
Vandalized Atheist Billboards
That's the message the Center for Inquiry of Southern Arizona hopes to convey on a midtown billboard: "Are you good without God? Millions are."
The message was put up on Monday and will remain on the sign near East Speedway and North Van Buren Avenue - just east of Craycroft Road - for four weeks. A similar message was displayed in Phoenix last year.
"Many people think you can't behave ethically unless you believe in God, but thousands of nonbelieving Arizonans are living proof that this claim is untrue," said Jim Gressinger, a spokesman for the center.
He pointed out that up to 17 percent of Arizona's adult population are nonbelievers, according to the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey.
The center's Web site quotes Gressinger as defining group members as "skeptics, secular humanists, atheists, agnostics, freethinkers and other nonbelievers." He said members are becoming increasingly political because religious values are increasingly being imposed on others through political means.
"In general, we work to uphold the Jeffersonian principle of separation of church and state," Gressinger said. "We put up the billboard because we want people to know about (the Center for Inquiry), to discover what we have to offer, and to work with us to promote science, reason and secular values."
The center is an international, nonprofit group that presents public educational programs and lectures. It has given to local charities for several years. (source)
And Vandalized Atheist Billboard, you're not alone, either. Another atheist billboard near Sacramento promoting atheism was vandalized by someone depicting atheists as lost, one of the billboard's sponsor said.
The billboard -- one of several posted in the Sacramento area -- originally read: "Are you good without God? Millions are." Someone spray-painted the words "also lost?" beneath "millions are."
Rachael Harrington of the Sacramento Area Coalition of Reason -- which paid to have the billboards put up -- said the ads are intended to let atheists and agnostics know they are not alone, the TV station said.
"This shows loud and clear just how necessary our message is, because prejudice against people who don't believe in a god remains very real in America," Harrington said.
The organization has asked Clear Channel, the company that owns the billboard, to file a police report. The company offered to replace the sign free of charge. (source)
I don't know, if I were a godfearing Christian, I would just pray to the almighty the GPS location of the blasphemous sign and have the lord hit it with lightning or brimstone. It'd make a less hypocritical statement about love and understanding and would also make the point a lot louder and flashier than what these unoriginal idiots have done.
Just Happy Being Yourself
Presenting ... Tallulah, the "sweet tale of a young girl who really just wants to be herself," is being pushed out her thought hole in September. Spelling, star of the reality series Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood, also has written the memoirs Mommywood and sTORI Telling.
I'm shocked that she's verbal, let alone could hold the crayon long enough to be called a 'writer' in any sense of the word.
Oh, and yeah, she's in the running for BLASPHEME'S HYPOCRITE of THE WEEK!
...and to be clear, when I say 'fixed' I mean spent a fortune on plastic surgeons to disfigure her so that she looked less, eh, ethnic? Maybe just less like her father? Before rhinoplasty Tori Spelling had wider nostrils and wider tip. Now her nose looks more defined both in the tip and in the bridge, but suprisingly it looks more twisted than before. Why isn't she going for a revision rhinoplasty to correct the deviation? Honestly, she looked better before.
Feb 16, 2010
This isn't really all that interesting; the Democrats have been dropping like flies lately. What's worth noting, though, is the predictably self-defeating response of many on the left to the news that an admittedly centrist Democrat is quitting Congress.
The left is jumping for joy -- tweeting unmitigated crap like "Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out, Evan!" If there's a better example of how the left has been running to self extinction, I can't find it. Bayh may have been a gutless little dog mess and occasionally an obstructionist of the highest order, but he was a Democrat, which means that he was ostensibly on the same side as those who are now gleefully jumping on his political grave. Who does the left think is going to replace Bayh in Indiana? A more liberal Democrat? Not likely.
This all-or-nothing, Utopia-or-bust stance that my friends on the left continue to adhere to will be the death of the progressive agenda. Hell, it probably already is. The funniest part is, they're completely oblivious to it.
Also of note, Bayh was considered top of the list for Kerry and Obama as a running mate. What is it with Democrats and their VP choices? A couple years later they're treated worse than Republicans?
GI Joe Captures Destro
The 's top military commander was captured several days ago in Karachi, Pakistan, in a secret joint operation by Pakistani and American intelligence forces, according to American government officials.
The commander, (Click on that for a three page deep dive on what an evil prick he is) is an Afghan described by American officials as the most significant Taliban figure to be detained since the American-led Abdul Ghani Baradar,war in Afghanistan started more than eight years ago. He ranks second in influence only to Mullah Muhammad Omar, the Taliban's founder, and was a close associate of Osama bin Laden before the Sept. 11 attacks.
Mullah Baradar has been in Pakistani custody for several days, with American and Pakistani intelligence officials both taking part in interrogations, according to the officials.
Now I'm going to have to pull a Kanye West here and say, "I'm really happy for you and i'mma let you finish, but...." what are we going to do with this guy now? Have his trial in New York? In that little prison in Illinois? Seriously? It's like an episode of the GI Joe cartoon where they 'arrest' Cobra Commander, and about three minutes later Zartan and the Dredknocks are busting him out. They might have even done that in the movie too...
Seriously though, the desire of the political leadership of America doesn't want this guy alive. They don't want him to be questioned or interrogated. If he's alive, they can't store him any where. They can't take him to Gitmo. Did the US military commanders keep Mullah Baradar just to piss off the Secretary? Way to go Team America!
Feb 15, 2010
You see, 25 years ago, aspartame was first introduced into the European food supply. Today, it has found itself in most diet beverages, sugar-free desserts, and chewing gums - worldwide. But thanks to Food Inc., Eric Schlosher, The China Study, and Blasphemes.com the general public is slowly waking up to the truth about artificial sweeteners like aspartame and the harm they [may] cause to human health. This new aspartame marketing scheme seems aimed at indoctrinating the public into accepting the chemical sweetener as natural and safe, despite all those dead rat.
Aspartame is around 200 times sweeter than sugar and is used in more than 4,000 products, including diet drinks, cereal bars, yogurt and chewing gum.
A quick tour in the history bus, Aspartame was an accidental discovery by James Schlatter, a chemist who had been trying to produce an anti-ulcer pharmaceutical drug for G.D. Searle & Company in 1965. Upon mixing aspartic acid and phenylalanine, two naturally-occurring amino acids, he discovered that the new compound had a sweet taste. The company changed its FDA approval application from drug to food additive: aspartame and TAB were born.
G.D. Searle & Company first patented aspartame in 1970. An internal memo released in the same year urged company executives to work on getting the FDA into the "habit of saying yes" and of encouraging a "subconscious spirit of participation" in getting the chemical approved.
G.D. Searle & Company submitted its first petition to the FDA in 1973 and fought for years to gain FDA approval, submitting its own safety studies. Many folks believed, even at the time, that their studies were inadequate and deceptive. Despite numerous objections, including one from its own scientists, the company was able to convince the FDA to approve aspartame for commercial use in a few products in 1974.
In 1976, then FDA Commissioner Alexander Schmidt wrote a letter to Sen. Ted Kennedy expressing concern over the "questionable integrity of the basic safety data submitted for aspartame safety". FDA Chief Counsel Richard Merrill believed that a grand jury should investigate G.D. Searle & Company for lying about the safety of aspartame in its reports and for concealing evidence proving the chemical is unsafe for consumption.
Despite all that evidence showing that aspartame is a dangerous toxin, it has remained on the global market with the exception of a few countries that have banned it. In fact, it continued to gain approval for use in new types of food despite evidence showing that it causes neurological brain damage, cancerous tumors, and endocrine disruption, among other things. Oh, is that all?
Previous reviews by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the European Food Safety Authority have concluded that aspartame is safe, but some people complain they develop headaches, dizziness, vomiting, diarrhoea and fatigue after eating food containing the chemical. I would assume these would be benificial side effects if you were trying to lose weight... but everyone's a critic.
My guess would be that a fairly concentrated lobby effort helped the FDA make it's decisions. But, like I said, there's new sweetners on the block and aspertame's got that bad dead rat cancer aftertaste.
So if they simply change aspartame's name to something that is "appealing and memorable", in Ajinomoto's own words.
Ajinomoto brands aspartame 'AminoSweet' - FoodBev.com
Aspartame History Highlights - Janet Starr Hull
FDA's approval of aspartame under scrutiny - The Globe and Mail (Canada)
An Overdue Ban On A Dangerous Sweetener - Huffington Post
The Food Standards Agency is launching an investigation into the artificial sweetener aspartame amid claims that some people experience side-effects after consuming the substance.
Scientists funded by the agency will test whether certain people develop a range of illnesses after eating food prepared with the sweetener.
Researchers led by Professor Stephen Atkin, head of endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism at the Hull York Medical School, will look for signs of illness in volunteers after they consume cereal bars made with or without aspartame.
Atkin's group is recruiting 50 people who believe they are sensitive to aspartame. The volunteers will be matched by age and sex to 50 volunteers who are happy to eat the sweetener.
In the study, individuals will be randomly assigned an aspartame or aspartame-free cereal bar and given psychological and medical checks up to four hours after consuming it. The following week, the experiment will be repeated with each volunteer receiving the other type of cereal bar. The scientists will take blood and urine samples before and after each test.
Aspartame breaks down in the digestive system into aspartic acid, methanol and phenylalanine. Some individuals believe it is these chemicals that cause their symptoms. The tests will allow scientists to link any ill effects to levels of the chemicals in the volunteers' blood and urine.
"This is a fundamental study for the people who believe they are sensitive to aspartame, because it will hopefully prove or disprove whether or not aspartame can cause problems," Prof Atkin said.
The study is expected to be completed next year and will be published as a report to the FSA.
A spokesman for the agency said: "We know that aspartame can be consumed safely but some people consider that they react badly to it. We've commissioned this research because it's important to increase our knowledge about what is happening. The study will address consumer concerns, including these anecdotal reports."
Food safety officials are expected to fund a larger investigation if the study finds evidence that people can be sensitive to the sweetener.
A spokeswoman for the Aspartame Information Service, an industry body, said: "Aspartame has been on the market for more than 25 years and studies have been done on it from every angle. We get more of these breakdown products from the rest of our diets than we get from aspartame.
"The whole anecdotal area [of sensitivity] has been looked at before, so why start another round of research? Our concern is that people might be attributing to aspartame something that might have a more serious cause."
Patience Purdy, honorary vice president of the National Council of Women of Great Britain, which campaigns for aspartame to be banned on health grounds, said: "It's good the FSA are taking this seriously, but our concern is that the study is inadequate. We all react differently to aspartame."
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/ ... de-effects