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Showing posts from September, 2005
Bad news for Dems on judicial nominations

ABA Journal:

More than half of Americans are angry and disappointed with the nation’s judiciary, a new survey done for the ABA Journal eReport shows. A majority of the survey respondents agreed with statements that "judicial activism" has reached the crisis stage, and that judges who ignore voters’ values should be impeached. Nearly half agreed with a congressman who said judges are "arrogant, out-of-control and unaccountable."The survey results surprised some legal experts with the extent of dissatisfaction shown toward the judiciary. "These are surprisingly large numbers," says Mark V. Tushnet, a constitutional law professor at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C."These results are simply scary," adds Charles G. Geyh, a constitutional law professor at Indiana University School of Law in Bloo…
Al Qaeda's dilemma in western Iraq

Bill Roggio:

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If the Qaim region is successfully taken and held, al Qaeda and the insurgency’s vital connection to support across the Syrian border will be in jeopardy. As noted by many commentors of this site, the act of clearing the towns of potential informants indicates a level of desperation by al Qaeda. By clearing the towns, they may be able to reduce the intelligence assets of the Coalition, making precision airstrikes difficult to execute. But there is propaganda value in keeping the residents in place. Those who have left cannot be used as human shields or hostages, and fewer civilians will mean fewer non-combatant casualties. Al Qaeda has few good options. If they clear the town to reduce the Coalition’s intelligence capabilities, they lose the propaganda value of high numbers of dead Iraqis killed at the infidel (although it should be noted that the latest large scale engagement in Tal Afar yielded few civilian casualties, and Tal Afa…
Dowdifying Bill Bennett

James Tarranto takes on the "can you believe he said..." story. Jeff Goldstein also puts the matter in context.
Saddam's lawyers having tough time coming up with rational defense

LA Times:

Three weeks before he is due to stand trial for murder, Saddam Hussein's defense is in turmoil.

The attorney for the deposed Iraqi president says he is only beginning to study the prosecution's evidence of a 1982 massacre and has asked for a delay in the proceedings. Hussein's defense team has been impaired by differences over strategy, limited access to its client, and an internal shake-up that recently stripped four of the five members of their authority to represent him before the Iraqi High Criminal Court.

This week, Hussein's sole designated attorney petitioned the tribunal to postpone the first of the former leader's many expected trials on charges of crimes against humanity. The trial of Hussein and seven former aides is scheduled to open Oct. 19 in a Baghdad courtroom.

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Iraqi officials say the worst crimes committed during the 24 years of Hussein's Sunni Muslim-dominated regim…
Roberts greets "legal amigos"

Scrappleface parody:

Chief Justice John Roberts, who won appointment to the Supreme Court and took the oath of office yesterday, reached out to his new colleagues today in a letter to the eight associate justices which began "Dear Legal Amigos." Judge Roberts, who endured criticism from Democrats during his Senate confirmation hearings for having once referred to illegal aliens as "illegal amigos," told the members of the court that he used the term of friendship "in full expectation that we'll enjoy a collegial atmosphere even as we dispassionately and objectively consider contentious issues like the constitutional right to life versus the so-called right to privacy."Now about those black "judical ponchos."
Give FEMA job to Jeb Bush

Don Surber:

Following Hurricane Katrina, people said they wished New Orleans had a Rudy Giuliani. By now the Big Easy would settle for Dennis Kucinich. But Giuliani faced a tragedy on a much smaller scale. He did not face a town 80 percent underwater with 1 million evacuees. Far different.

Today's Washington Post carries an op-ed from the man who handled Katrina and a dozen other hurricanes with aplomb. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is an expert on hurricanes. Why not tap into his expertise?...

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Instead of looking at the bad, the nation should look at the good. Florida learned its lessons from past mistakes. Gov. Bush's piece said:
Our year-round planning anticipates Florida's needs and challenges -- well before a storm makes landfall. To encourage our residents to prepare for hurricane season this year, for 12 days Florida suspended the state sales tax on disaster supplies, such as flashlights, batteries and generators. Shelters that provide medical care fo…
Fires still choking southern California

CNN:

Although cooler temperatures and calming winds on Friday are expected to help fight the wildfire raging in Southern California, more than 2,100 residential and commercial buildings are still in danger.Fueled by dry conditions, the blaze has scorched 20,655 acres northwest of downtown Los Angeles, authorities said. Firefighters, who have contained about 20 percent of the fire, may get a break Friday. Temperatures dropped overnight and the wind that whipped the flames Thursday was forecast to calm.Mandatory evacuations remain in effect. About 1,500 people have been evacuated from the path of the Chatsworth/Topanga fire, according to a statement posted on Ventura County's Web site. Several shelters have been opened, and at least one district closed its schools Friday....
My daughter in LA reports the smoke is making things uncomfortable. She and her husband and pets retreated to their bedroom running two air filters to deal with the thick sm…
So what is the excuse for Islamist attacks on France who is not in Iraq?

AFP:

Plans for various attacks in Paris, from the French intelligence headquarters to the metro and Orly airport, have been confirmed by one of the suspected Islamist militants detained this week in an anti-terror raid, a source close to the investigation said Thursday. The proposed attacks first surfaced during the questioning by Algerian authorities of an 34-year-old man, M'Hamed Benyamina, in Algeria earlier this month. The cell could have carried out the attacks "very quickly," the source said.The information passed on to the French authorities led to the round-up of nine people on Monday in the Paris suburbs and in Normandy, authorized by France's anti-terror judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere.Six of the suspects remained in detention Thursday and three have been released, including Benyamina's wife, the source said.At least one of the people detained has confirmed to investigators that the group…
I guess some of us will have to change our travel plans

Reuters via Washington Post:

The United States has warned American travellers to be vigilant against a terrorist attack in China's restive northwestern region of Xinjiang after Beijing told police there to be prepared for danger.The call came ahead of the 50th anniversary on Saturday of the establishment of Xinjiang as an autonomous region.Muslim Uighur militants, whom Beijing calls terrorists or separatists, have been struggling for decades to make the remote region, formally established on October 1, 1955, an independent state called East Turkestan."Americans considering travel to the region and those already there should review their plans carefully, remain vigilant with regard to their personal security and exercise caution," a message e-mailed from the U.S. embassy in China said.Those whose plans will be changed please post a comment.
The retribution begins against Able Danger whistle blower

Captain's Quarters:

Col. Tony Shaffer has had his security clearances revoked by the DoD and have officially notified his attorney of the circumstances surrounding the revocation. Although it does not technically affect his membership in the Army reserve, the action effectively ends the career of the former DIA liaison to the Able Danger project. Shaffer cannot pursue his specialties within the Army or DoD without security clearances.

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Stealing pens? Getting drunk sixteen years ago? Twenty-year-old incidents, all of which should have been reviewed and considered long ago by the DoD when selecting Shaffer for his various cleared positions, do not suddenly rise to a crisis level that requires his clearances to get revoked. This list looks like a transparent attempt to rationalize stripping Shaffer of his career. In fact, this list insults the intelligence to such a degree that it almost appears as if the DoD wanted everyone to…
Defeating insurgencies

Charles Tannock and Francisco Santos Calderón:

Chaos and violence in Iraq has strengthened the notion that insurgencies cannot be defeated and so must be appeased. Colombia’s experience shows that this is not the case. A combination of military force, political incentives, and economic growth that benefits the wider population can begin to bring an insurgency to heel.Despite a democratic tradition dating to 1830, Colombia has suffered a bloody 40-year insurgency by the narco-terrorists of the so-called Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and the National Liberation Army (ELN). Over the last eight years, these narco-terrorists have murdered thousands of persons and kidnapped more than 6,000 hostages, including 140 foreigners. These innocents are often ke…
Al Qaeda's objectives

Rowan Scarborough:

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Gen. Abizaid raised the stakes for Iraq by presenting a chilling assessment of al Qaeda's worldwide goals. He said leader Osama bin Laden's sights are set on Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and then the entire region, as well as Asia.
Although the Bush administration describes the conflict as the "war on terror," Gen. Abizaid made clear the enemy is al Qaeda.
"Their objectives are very clear," Gen. Abizaid said. "They believe in a jihad, a jihad, first and foremost, to overthrow the legitimate regimes in the region. But in order to do that, they have to first drive us from the region. This is what they believe. They believe, ultimately, that the greatest prize of all is Saudi Arabia and the holy shrines there."
He said the war against Zarqawi's al Qaeda in Iraq, and al Qaeda worldwide, presents "a rare opportunity to get in front of these extremists and focus on them now before al Qaeda an…
The Klueless Kalb report

Powerline:

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Mr. Kalb: I was stunned to receive a copy of your email response to Mr. Charles Thomas...With all due respect, your answer betrays an astonishing lack of awareness of many facts that have been publicly available for a long time. How do we know the documents are fakes? Here are a few of the most basic reasons:1) Read the summary of the report of Mr. Peter Tytell, document expert, which is Appendix 4 to the Thornburgh Report. You can find it here. Mr. Tytell "concluded that the Killian documents were generated on a computer. He does not believe that any manual or electric typewriter of the early 1970s could have produced the typeface used in the Killian documents."2) Read the analysis of Dr. Joseph Newcomer, one of the founders of modern electric typesetting, which you can find here. Dr. Newcomer's conclusion: "These documents are modern forgeries."3) The "Killian documents" are in Times New Roman font. Times New Rom…
Trends in Iraq

Strategy Page:

Some interesting trends in the battle for Iraq. The government offensive throughout central (Sunni Arab) Iraq is largely being fought by Iraqi troops. American forces are almost always nearby, and American advisors go in with the Iraqis, to advise, not supervise. But it's mainly an Iraqi show. This offensive has had three effects on the battle with Sunni Arab diehards. First, it has killed hundreds of Sunni Arab gunmen, including dozens of al Qaeda foreigners. This included the capture of tons of weapons, bomb making material, other equipment and documents (paper or electronic on laptop hard drives). Prisoners and documents are quickly squeezed for additional information by an intelligence organization that has evolved into a highly effective "lead (to the next raid targets) generating machine." This American intel effort doesn't get the credit it deserves, but that's the nature of intel work, and the way the intel people prefer it.
Prosecutorial discretion

Michael Barone:

I have written in the past that Republicans have certain structural advantages in our nearly equally divided American politics. George W. Bush carried 31 states that elect 62 of 100 senators, and he carried 255 of 435 congressional districts while winning the popular vote by only 51 to 48 percent. But the indictment yesterday of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay points to a structural advantage for the Democrats: They have majorities in most of the counties containing the state capitals of our largest states. That means that political corruption cases are likely to be handled by prosecutors, judges, and juries that are largely Democratic.

Thus District Attorney Ronnie Earle, whose indictment of Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison was thrown out of court in 1994, is reliably re-elected in heavily Democratic Travis County in Texas. And as we saw in the 2000 Florida controversy, the judges in Tallahassee's heavily Democratic Leon County tend to be…
Real money laundering
Ronnie Earle's movie deal

Byron York:

For the last two years, as he pursued the investigation that led to Wednesday's indictment of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Travis County, Texas prosecutor Ronnie Earle has given a film crew "extraordinary access" to make a motion picture about his work on the case.

The resulting film is called The Big Buy, made by Texas filmmakers Mark Birnbaum and Jim Schermbeck. "Raymond Chandler meets Willie Nelson on the corner of Wall Street and Pennsylvania Avenue in The Big Buy, a Texas noir political detective story that chronicles what some are calling a 'bloodless coup with corporate cash,'" reads a description of the picture on Birnbaum's website, markbirnbaum.com. The film, according to the description, "follows maverick Austin DA Ronnie Earle's investigation into what really happened when corporate money joined forces with relentless political ambitions to help swing the pivotal 2002 Texas elections, c…
Five towns in Western Iraq in sights of US

Paul Martin, Washington Times:

Iraqi and U.S. forces are preparing to seize five towns along the Euphrates River near the Syrian border that have fallen under the control of terrorists, an Iraqi official said yesterday.

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In the five towns now under insurgent control, a ruthless Taliban-style regime has been imposed, a U.S. Marine commander told an embedded American reporter.

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The towns are Ubaydi, Qaim, Sada, Karabila and Dulaym al-Husayba.
The area comprises desert broken by lush riverside fields. It is populated by about 100,000 Sunni Arabs with a long tradition of cross-border smuggling activities.
Marines just outside Ubaydi told the Chronicle reporter that they come under attack every time they approach it and that U.S. troops do not enter the town, where the insurgents appear to have free rein.
The highway leading into it is marked with anti-American and anti-Iraqi government billboards signed by "al Qaeda organiza…
The flawed "logic" of the antiwar "leaders"

Charles Krauthammer:

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The antiwar movement has found itself ill served by endowing absolute moral authority on a political radical who demanded that American troops leave not just Iraq but "occupied New Orleans." Who blames Israel for her son's death. Who complained that the news media went "100 percent rita" -- "a little wind and a little rain" -- rather than covering other things in the world, meaning her.Most tellingly, Sheehan demands withdrawal not just from Iraq but also from Afghanistan, a war that is not only just by every possible measure but also remarkably successful. The mainstream opposition view of Iraq is that, while deposing the murderous Saddam Hussein was a moral and even worthy cause, the enterprise was misconceived and/or bungled, too ambitious and unwinnable, and therefore not worth expending more American lives. That is not Sheehan's view. Like the hard left in t…
Democrats have made no poll gains from driving down Bush's numbers

Donald Lambro:

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But independent and Democratic pollsters have been saying all summer that while job approval polls for Mr. Bush and the Republican Congress have fallen sharply, the Democrats haven't made any voter approval gains, either.
A recent Democracy Corps poll, conducted by Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg, found voter "feelings about Democrats are at a 2.5-year low." Only 48 percent of voters said they would vote Democratic in 2006, virtually identical to voters' preferences in 2004, he said.
Mr. Greenberg and other Democratic campaign strategists have complained for months that their party's leaders, Mrs. Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, and their leading presidential contenders have been unable to reach a unifying party consensus on a campaign agenda.
After crunching exhaustive voter preference numbers, Mr. Greenberg is telling party leaders that the presen…
Blown over trees do most of the damage to homes in Orange, Texas

Houston Chronicle:

Residents of this small city on the Texas-Louisiana border began trickling back into their neighborhoods Thursday and many found that homes otherwise unscathed by hurricane winds had been crushed by toppled trees. "A lot of the damage that I saw was mostly from trees falling on houses," said Cpl. James P. Lucia, of the Orange County Sheriff's Department....Randy Elkins and his family rode out the storm with relatives in Marshall and came home Thursday to find an uprooted tree had crushed his garage in the community of Orangefield."The tree knocked the garage into the house and pushed in the kitchen wall. It is not as bad as we expected," he said.Paula Bland was another area resident who left before the hurricane hit and returned to find that trees that once shaded her house had fallen on her roof."We had a couple of trees on the house and the barn. Working together we got the…
Tom Friedman's latest column--if you care
Liberal media thinks that because they have been mad dogging the President that he is down for count

David Limbaugh:

From everything we read from the mainstream media, President Bush is a man on the ropes, beaten, discouraged and out of gas in the middle rounds of his presidency. Already reeling from his problems in Iraq, Katrina nearly delivered the knockout blow.

Liberals have hated him from the beginning, even when he's given them reason to rejoice, such as lavishing federal money on public education. They have been saying that Katrina exposed him as the emperor with no clothes. We can now see, they say, that his aura of resoluteness and leadership following 9-11 was an illusion.According to them, he never was a real leader, but a man who opportunistically capitalized on the nation's wartime unity and delivered a few good speeches acting tough and decisive.

But in one fell swoop (or onrushing flood), say his critics, his mask was removed. Left exposed is the true face of a man …
Some police suspects in New Orleans looting

CNN:

The New Orleans Police Department is investigating allegations some of its officers went on a looting spree while the city plunged into chaos after Hurricane Katrina.The probe will focus on at least 12 police officers, said acting Superintendent Warren Riley. Four officers have been suspended, and one officer has been reassigned so far, he said."There is zero tolerance for misconduct or unprofessionalism by any member of this department," said Riley, promising "swift and decisive action" against violators....Earlier, Capt. Marlon DeFillo acknowledged the investigation after officials reviewed a video showing an officer reaching for a gun as he blocked the door of hotel room. The hotel's owner, Osman Khan, and an employee told CNN eight New Orleans officers had used the room to stage a four-day drinking and looting binge.(See the video behind the investigation -- 3:50)...
Ramadi--who is in charge

Roggio has an answer.

But it is clear the city not fully secured. Local groups of insurgents are operating in the city, intimidating neighborhoods at times, employing IEDs, setting up ambushes and sniping at Marine and Iraqi police forces. This does not constitute control of the city. Al Qaeda does not have a secure foothold in Ramadi; this is the city where al Qaeda was attacked by the predominantly Sunni Dulaimi tribe when they threatened to murder Shiites who did not leave the city. The organization is stalked by Coalition forces, as the recent arrests of four key members of the Nu'man Brigade, including the leader, demonstrates. Al Qaeda and the insurgency certainly are not in control of Ramadi.
Palestinian terrorist group says truce is off

BBC:

An al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades leader says the Palestinian militant group will no longer respect a six-month truce after Israeli raids killed three militants."There will be no limits to our responses... We need to protect our people," said Zakaria Zubeidi. Mr Zubeidi speaks for the group only in Jenin, where one of its commanders was killed during an overnight raid.
...Samer Saadi, a local leader of the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, was shot dead during what Israeli forces called an arrest raid in Jenin. The other two men, both members of the Islamic Jihad, were killed in an exchange of fire in the nearby town of Birqin. "This Zionist enemy only understands the language of bullets. We in the al-Aqsa Brigades have committed ourselves to the truce but this enemy is not committing to the truce," Mr Zubeidi told reporters. The religious bigots of Hamas broke the truce and it appears that now the other Palestinian re…
They shoot teachers, don't they?

Clifford D. May:

To The Washington Post they were simply “gunmen.” The New York Times non-judgmentally called them “armed men.” The elite media fastidiously avoid such harsh words as "terrorist" – even to describe those who, last week, rounded up five Iraqi teachers from outside their school, dragged them into a classroom, lined them up against a wall and shot them to death. The Post was quick to inform readers that “no children were hurt in the attack.” Are we to regard that as restraint on the part of these “gunmen”? The Times noted that “the killings appeared to have been motivated more by sectarian hatred than any animosity toward the [teaching] profession.” Is that meant to be reassuring? In a bygone era, reporters would have let readers know in no uncertain terms how thoroughly they despise and condemn those who massacre teachers in a schoolroom. Nor would they have minced words in regard to those who blow up civilians or ritually d…
The $100 laptop with a hand crank
Roberts confirmed 78-22
Katrina evacuees in all 50 states

USA Today:

Hurricane Katrina has dispersed 1.3 million Gulf Coast households to communities in every state from Maine to Hawaii, according to the first official accounting of the disaster's unprecedented ripple effect. (Map: Evacuees spread across U.S.)

Some evacuees had no choice in where they were relocated. But the pattern of resettlement also reflects how mobile Americans are and shows long-standing connections among regions of the nation that are often driven by jobs and family ties.

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About three-fourths of the households went to Baton Rouge and other communities within 250 miles of New Orleans, the largest city hit by Katrina last month, according to a USA TODAY analysis of records from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Roughly 240,000 went to Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Atlanta and other cities within about 500 miles of the battered coast. About 26,000 went to cities such as Chicago, Detroit and Baltimore, 750 to 1,000 miles away. A…
Chester looks at China's strategy for defeating the US
Iranians throw tantrum over referel of nuke case to UN

Reuters:

Scores of protesters incensed by European Union moves to send Iran's nuclear case to the U.N. Security Council hurled stones and smoke bombs over the walls of the British embassy compound in Tehran on Wednesday.The violence, easily contained by riot police, coincided with a vote by lawmakers to speed discussion of a bill that would force the government to scale back its cooperation with the U.N. atomic watchdog, state media reported....
Those Iranians really have the art of diplomacy down.
Israelis persist in attacks

VOA:

Israel is widening its five-day-old offensive in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, aimed at halting Palestinian rocket attacks. The violence is harming efforts to revive the peace process. Israeli aircraft fired a barrage of missiles into Gaza, damaging several buildings, destroying a bridge, and knocking out electricity to thousands of Palestinians. The army also fired artillery shells for the first time, despite a pledge by Islamic militants to halt rocket attacks on Israeli towns. In a new phase of the campaign, Israeli troops closed down 15 Islamic charities in the West Bank linked to local mosques. The military said the offices distributed money to the families of suicide bombers from two militant groups, Hamas and Islamic Jihad...."If Abu Mazen wants to continue to survive and to continue to rule his people, he first has to rule the Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. He has to dismantle the terrorist organizations," he (Ra'anan Gissin) sai…
Paks get al Qaeda linked leader

AP via Washington Post:

Pakistani security agents raided a home near the capital of Islamabad and arrested the head of an al-Qaida-linked militant group accused of killing hundreds of minority Shiites, a security official said Wednesday.Asif Chotto, the reputed head of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, was captured with other suspects in Rawalpindi, a garrison city near Islamabad, the official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media...."He is a major catch. We were looking for him for the past three years," said the official, who also did not want to be named because he was not authorized to discuss cases with reporters."He (Chotto) is the person who trained a group of suicide bombers and attacked Shiites," the official said.The bigotry of al Qaeda is not limited to non Muslims. It also includes Muslims who are not followers of the Salfist/Whabbi sects.
The changing face of intel in the war on terror

Strategy Page:

As a result of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, American military intelligence units have had to change the way they do business. In the 1990s, intel depended on aerial reconnaissance and electronic eavesdropping for 80 percent of their information. Now, information from people on the ground supply about two-thirds of the useful data. HUMINT (human intelligence) is the key source when you are fighting terrorists and irregulars. The old system worked well when you were fighting an army. But to nail individuals, it’s more like police work. You need tips. While the U.S. Army has trained, and put to work, several thousand new HUMINT intelligence operators, they still depend more on the hundreds of patrols conducted each day by the infantry and armored units, and action caught by the growing number of digital security cameras.

After spending decades developing tools to more efficiently handle increasing quantities of aerial ph…
Questioning the media

Hugh Hewitt:

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Everything that American media could throw at a story, it threw at New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina. No expense was spared. All hands were on deck. And yet not one news organization produced anything like complete coverage of the events unfolding inside the city's convention center or the Superdome. Horrific stories of murders and rapes spread like wildfire, reports of little girls with their throats slashed stunned Americans, and hysteria gripped many in the MSM. Weeks later the Los Angeles Times and others began to examine the collapse of the media's own levees that traditionally hold back rumor and urban myth.
Given this failure to capture the true story in New Orleans even with all of the combined resources of all the MSM working around the clock, why would anyone believe that American media is accurately reporting on the events in Iraq from the Green Zone, in the course of a bloody insurgency fought in a language they don't un…
Check out the Aggie hurricane prep photo at Neal Boortz

This is too funny, and Boortz is an Aggie.
California on fire

AP via Fox News:

A wind-whipped brush fire quickly tripled in size early Thursday to more than 9,300 acres, destroying at least one home and prompting evacuations as a ridge of flames was visible for miles.The blaze burned to the edge of a number of multimillion-dollar homes that abut rural, picturesque hillsides in the San Fernando Valley (search).Homes in several communities in Los Angeles and Ventura counties were evacuated, but officials did not release an exact number."Our house is still OK, but oh, God, it's not a good feeling," said Phil Goldenberg, 53, who was at an evacuation shelter atCanoga Park High School (search) with his wife and son.No word yet on how George Bush started the fire or his efforts to join the lines fighting the fire. Nor has there been any word on why aid has been slow to reach the wealthy homeowners in the effected area. So far though, none of them have been shooting at those trying to put out the fire. Will this fire ha…
An international effort to pump New Orleans

News2:

The hurricane-riddled lower 9th Ward of New Orleans will be completely drained of flood waters for a second time in four to five days, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers official said Wednesday, and residents will have crews from Germany, Luxembourg and Holland to thank for helping to pump their community dry. Some of the roughly 100 volunteer technicians first helped pump the lower 9th Ward dry after Hurricane Katrina ravaged a section of levee on the Industrial Canal in late August, then watched as Hurricane Rita's storm surge topped the repaired levee Friday and submerged the area again. Oliver Braun from Germany, Alex Petitnicolas from Luxembourg, Jaap Van Wissen from Holland and the other volunteers have been working alongside the Corps of Engineers, the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board, the Orleans Levee Board and National Guard soldiers in the heat, humidity and stench. "It's been a total team effort, a team of tea…
The New Orleans jail break after the storm

Cleveland Plain Dealer:

New Orleans- When New Orleans plunged into darkness and spiraling chaos in the days after Katrina passed, Orleans Parish Prison, a 6,400-inmate city-within-a-city, plunged even deeper, bringing the complex of concrete lockups perilously close to a security and humanitarian meltdown. Interviews with more than a dozen deputies and employees, many of whom didn't want to reveal their names for fear of losing their jobs, depict a five-day struggle in the aftermath of the Aug. 29 hurricane and subsequent flooding to keep destructive and desperate inmates at bay. The ordeal was marked by escapes by inmates and wholesale job walk-offs by deputies. But when officers in charge finally went over the head of Criminal Sheriff Marlin Gusman and called Attorney General Charles Foti for state reinforcements, the ensuing rescue operation was nothing short of heroic. Everyone escaped by boat, as nearly every Sheriff's Office ve…
The hudspah of the Sunnis in Iraq

Roman Martinez:

Last week, leaders of Iraq's Sunni Arab minority publicly announced their opposition to the final draft of Iraq's new constitution, which will face the voters in a nationwide referendum on October 15. Weeks of prolonged negotiations beyond the August 15 drafting deadline were not enough to placate the Sunnis, who are concerned that federalism — a bottom-line demand of Shia and Kurdish leaders — may weaken Iraq's unity over the long term.Are they suggesting that the Sunni war is all about unity? The only kind of unity these guys are interested in is domination of the majority by minority Sunnis. That is one reason why they have bees so unpersuasive in the negotiations on a new constitution.
One of the first casualties of Katrina was the truth

Pittsburg Post-Gazette:

The first casualty of Hurricane Katrina appears to have been the truth. Many of the other casualties were products not of armed gangs but of overheated imaginations. The reality of the devastation and misery in New Orleans was bad enough, or should have been. But when the rumors started to fly, we were all taken in. Now that the deluge of water and journalists have both receded, reporters at the New Orleans Times-Picayune have been separating the tall tales from the true stories. Their findings are startling and instructive. At the Superdome, for example, there were not hundreds of corpses but six. One person had overdosed, four had died of natural causes, and the one suspicious death, a fall, may have been an accident or suicide. One shooting has been confirmed: A Louisiana Guardsman was attacked by someone with a metal rod, and he accidentally shot himself in the leg with his own gun during the struggle. Th…
Dems in depression

Howard Fineman:

With George W. Bush’s presidency mired in the muck of hurricanes and doubts about the war, you’d think Democrats would be bursting with energy, eagerly expecting to regain power. But, in a roomful of well-connected Democrats the other night, I was struck by how gloomy they were. They can’t stand Bush, but didn’t have much faith in their own party’s prospects.

Why? Well, some of the reasons they articulated are short-term and tactical; some are purely personal; others more philosophical; and I have a few myself:Supreme divisions
The president’s nomination of John Roberts was a ten strike, knocking apart whatever united front the Dems might have been able to muster on judicial issues. However genial and cerebral he may be, Roberts also is a board-certified conservative, blessed by the James Dobsons of the world....Lack of star power
These things go in cycles, I guess, and it’s hard to be glamorous when you are in the minority in both houses of Congress. Tha…
Turkish women show ignorance on war in Iraq in discussion with Hughes

Washington Times:

Karen Hughes, the Bush administration's top public diplomacy official, scuffled verbally with Turkish women over the Iraq war yesterday as she waged an effort to persuade one of the most important Muslim countries of Washington's good intentions.
During a discussion with members of women's nongovernmental organizations in Turkey's capital, Ankara, Mrs. Hughes was challenged with accusations that the U.S.-led war that ousted Saddam Hussein has erased women's rights and made their lives miserable. I guess they thought it was better for women when Saddam and his boys had their rape rooms, and brides could be taken an raped by Saddam's thugs. It appears religious and ethnic bigotry has blinded the women of Turkey to reality. Whatever the problems of women in Iraq now, they at least have hope for justice, which they did not have under Saddam.
The ICE man has no ice

John McCaslin:

A high-ranking U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent, assigned to the Gulf Coast to assist with recovery from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, says he and his fellow agents were forced to remove their uniforms with "ICE" branded on the back (similar to "FBI" and "POLICE") because storm victims were chasing them down in hopes of receiving bags of ice.
To end the confusion, several ICE agents changed into legacy uniforms — gear that reads "U.S. Customs" and "INS" (the old Immigration and Naturalization Service) — they had worn before the two agencies merged under the fledgling Department of Homeland Security.
Experts say DA has weak case against DeLay, unless he is hiding evidence

Houston Chronicle:

Most legal experts looking at the conspiracy indictment of U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay said Wednesday that either an insider has turned against DeLay or the prosecutor may have gone too far. "I can't imagine indicting a majority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives without having a smoking gun, and that means someone who flipped on DeLay," said Buck Wood, an Austin lawyer who filed a related civil lawsuit on behalf of Democratic congressional candidates. "He's got to have corroborating evidence, too, bills and things proving where DeLay was at key times."Several lawyers and law professors said Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle could have talked the grand jury into a questionable indictment if he hasn't secured key witnesses who were "in the room" with DeLay. Otherwise, this conspiracy case could be too hard to prove with just circumstantial ev…
Chicoms have most active spies in US

Bill Gertz:

China's intelligence services are mounting wide-ranging efforts to acquire U.S. technology and are among the most active of nearly 100 nations whose spying has undermined U.S. military advantages, according to a senior U.S. counterintelligence official.
China's "national-level intelligence services employ a full range of collection methodologies, from the targeting of well-placed foreign government officials, senior scientists and businessmen to the exploitation of academic activities, student populations and private businesses," Michelle Van Cleave, the national counterintelligence executive, said at a recent congressional hearing on foreign spying.
Miss Van Cleave said spies from nearly 100 nations are working to obtain sensitive U.S. technology, and "two countries that always rank near the top of the list are, of course, Russia and China."
Although private-sector spies are a problem, "state-dir…
Racial mix in new New Orleans to be less black

Houston Chronicle:

It will be years before New Orleans regains the half-million population it had before Hurricane Katrina, and the population might never again be predominantly black, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson said Wednesday during a visit to Houston. "Whether we like it or not, New Orleans is not going to be 500,000 people for a long time," he said. "New Orleans is not going to be as black as it was for a long time, if ever again."He said he isn't sure that the Ninth Ward, a predominantly black and poor neighborhood devastated by flooding, should be rebuilt at all. If it is, the new construction should be designed to withstand disaster, he said.In a meeting with the Houston Chronicle editorial board, the housing secretary, who is black, also criticized the Rev. Jesse Jackson and other black leaders, saying they were stirring up racial animosity in their comments about Katrina."I …
Immigration prosecutions more than double in last four years

NY Times:

Federal prosecutions for immigration violations more than doubled in the last four years, surpassing drugs as the most frequently pursued federal crime, according to new data released Wednesday by a private research group. The change reflects a major shift in priorities since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Immigration prosecutions surged to 38,000 last year from 16,300 in 2001, as federal authorities mounted a crackdown on illegal immigration as a way of deterring terrorism, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a research group connected to Syracuse University that compiled the data.

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The study, analyzing half a million federal prosecutions, offers perhaps the firmest evidence to date of the refocusing of federal law enforcement priorities since the Sept. 11 attacks toward illegal immigration, terrorism-related offenses and gun crimes and away from drugs and white-collar crime. Prosecutions f…
Typhon platform toppled by Rita

Houston Chronicle:

Chevron's Typhoon platform was no match for Hurricane Rita.The oil and gas natural platform capsized in the storm, drifting 70 miles.Tugboats have secured the upside-down platform, and Chevron is investigating what caused Typhoon to topple, according to spokesman Mickey Driver. The Financial Times incorrectly reported the structure was rammed by a Noble drilling ship, he said.Chevron would not comment on whether it could salvage Typhoon, but some energy analysts have already written it off.Typhoon, which was owned in conjunction with BHP Billiton, started pumping oil and gas in 2001 and was expected to have a life span of five to eight years. It had the capacity to pump 40,000 barrels of oil and 60 million cubic feet of gas a day, but with its fields in decline, it was producing only half that amount....
Making the list for remaking New Orleans

NY Times:

Many of the business elite of New Orleans seem preoccupied these days by what some here simply call The List - the chosen few Mayor C. Ray Nagin is expected to name on Friday to a commission to advise him on the rebuilding of the stricken city. Almost certain to make the grade is the real estate mogul Joseph C. Canizaro, the man best known for bringing high-rises to the New Orleans skyline.

Mr. Canizaro has emerged as perhaps the single most influential business executive from New Orleans. One fellow business leader calls him the local Donald Trump. But Mr. Canizaro derives his influence far less from a flamboyant style than from his close ties to President Bush as well as to Mr. Nagin, and that combination could make him a pivotal figure in deciding how and where New Orleans will be resurrected. Mr. Canizaro has not only secured a coveted spot on the commission, those who have seen the list said, but he has played a critical role in sha…
Progress report in Iraq

Washington Post:

President Bush today claimed progress in the war in Iraq, citing the killing Sunday of a top insurgent leader in Baghdad and growing capabilities of Iraqi troops. But he repeated a warning that upcoming votes in Iraq may be accompanied by a surge of violence.Speaking in the White House Rose Garden after a briefing from two top military commanders, Bush said, "The support of Congress for our troops and our mission is important, and Americans need to know about the gains we've made in recent weeks and months. They need to know the way we're [adapting] our tactics and the way we're changing our strategy to meet the needs on the ground."Bush urged Congress to listen carefully to the two Army generals -- Gen. John P. Abizaid, the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, and Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the top U.S. commander in Iraq -- who jointly briefed him this morning on the war.He said they updated him on a raid in Baghdad …
Pataki stops "International Freedom Center"
Bin Laden looked into asylum in the UK in 95 when he was being kicked out of Sudan

Times:

HE CLAIMS to hate everything the West stands for. But yesterday it emerged that Osama bin Laden sought asylum in Britain even as he was planning the September 11 attacks on the US. The al-Qaeda leader wanted to abandon his base in Sudan at the end of 1995 and asked some of his followers in London to sound out whether he would be able to move to Britain. Michael Howard, who was then Home Secretary, recalls how his aides told him of the asylum request from the Saudi-born militant of whom the world knew little of ten years ago. A number of his brothers and other relatives, all members of the wealthy bin Laden construction empire, owned properties in London by the mid-1990s. The teenage bin Laden had reportedly toured Europe with his family and became an Arsenal fan, though there is no record of his ever having been to a match at Highbury.
The astonishing approach to the British authorities happened onl…
The fabled "northwest passage" which has been blocked by ice for centuries may finally open soon

Telegraph:

The Arctic ice cap is on track to disappear within a century, according to a study published yesterday.

The satellite survey by the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC), and the space agency Nasa reveals that for the fourth consecutive year there has been "a stunning reduction" in Arctic sea ice at the end of the northern summer, placing species such as polar bears at risk. The survey recorded the lowest sea-ice extent yet seen - 2.06 million square miles on Sept 19 - 20 per cent below the mean average September sea-ice extent from 1978 to 2001. That is the equivalent of 500,000 square miles - an area about twice the size of Texas.
...This is bad news for Panama and its canal, if trade between the US east coast, Japan and China can be achieved through the northwest passage instead of a trip around to Panama. While the Chicken Littles of the religion of g…
Bucknell objects to student's discussing "hunting terrorist" in Afghanistan--really

Evan Coyne Maloney:

Two words. At Bucknell University, that's all it takes to get dragged into the President's Office for a half-hour discussion of word choice. And these aren't offensive words, at least not out here in the real world. But Bucknell apparently has a different definition of what is and is not acceptable. On August 29th, the Bucknell University Conservatives Club sent out a campus-wide e-mail announcing an upcoming speaker: Major John Krenson, who had been in Afghanistan "hunting terrorists." Those two words--"hunting terrorists"--resulted in three students being called to Bucknell's Office of the President by Kathy Owens, the Executive Assistant to the President. According to the students, when they arrived at the President's Office for the meeting, Ms. Owens held up a print-out of the offending e-mail and said "we have a problem …
DeLay indictment

It appears that the indictment alleges that the political action committee set up to help get Republicans elected in Texas legislative races raised corporate fund. That is not illegal under Texas law. It can use the corporate funds for administrative purposes, which it did. These corporate funds were then donated to the Republican National Committee for use in its administrative expenses. The Republican National Committe also had hard money that it had raised seperately. That hard money was donated to some candidates for the Texas legislature. Tom DeLay says that he was not aware of the transaction until after it occurred. He also says that the practice is common for both Republicans and Democrats and that it is not a violation of the law. DeLay further says that a grand jury in Austin had no jurisdiction over his conduct and the matter should have been sent to the District Attorney in Harris County to determine if prosecution was warranted.

One of the weakness…
The wild west of Iraq

Bill Roggio:

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Whether or not al Qaeda controls the small towns in the region is irrelevant. What does matter is the Coalition, and particularly the Iraqi Army, is prepared to move into Qaim in force. LTC Julian states the operations along the eastern end of the Euphrates River has driven the insurgents and al Qaeda westward. He estimates that upward to 400 fighters are in the region, and the majority are foreign. There are 3,000 Iraqi soldiers prepared to move into the region “soon”.

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Today, Fallujah, Ramadi, Hit and other towns along the eastern branch of the Euphrates River are under Coalition control [with the exception of Haditha, whose status is unclear]. al Qaeda and the insurgency now claim they control the towns of Husaybah, Karabila, Sada, Qaim, and Ubaydi. These are towns with small populations on the outer edge of Iraq, far from the core of power in Iraq. The insurgency is being driven westward, and the Coalition is in pursuit.This does not mean that …
Ronnie Earle strikes again, gets DeLay indictment

AP:

A Texas grand jury on Wednesday charged Rep. Tom DeLay and two political associates with conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme, forcing the House majority leader to temporarily relinquish his post.DeLay attorney Steve Brittain said DeLay was accused of a criminal conspiracy along with two associates, John Colyandro, former executive director of a Texas political action committee formed by DeLay, and Jim Ellis, who heads DeLay's national political committee."I have notified the speaker that I will temporarily step aside from my position as majority leader pursuant to rules of the House Republican Conference and the actions of the Travis County district attorney today," DeLay said.GOP congressional officials said Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., will recommend that Rep. David Dreier of California step into those duties. Some of the duties may go to the GOP whip, Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri. The Republican rank and file ma…