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Showing posts from November, 2008

Good news for UK winos

Times:

Research has found that it costs less to quench your thirst with alcohol than bottled water at leading supermarkets. Discounted own-brand alcohol is sold for as little as 23p per can, according to the drink and drug charity Addaction.
... Tesco Value lager cost just 23p per can, or 26.1p per unit of alcohol. This was less than the equivalent volume of bottled water. Cider by the three supermarkets cost just 59p per litre, or less than a bottle of coke. The researchers also found that Sainsbury’s and ASDA had two-for-one deals on a well-known brand of 5.2% lager, and that value vodka was being sold for as little as £6.55 per bottle.
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I am sure there are some in the UK who will drink to that. Could it be the environmentalist wackos have driven up the price of a bottle of water? It would not surprise me.

Pakistan blackmail of India and US?

Times of India:

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In what is turning out to be an elaborate chess game in the region, Islamabad on Saturday made its "Afghan move" to counter the US-India pincer, telling Washington that it will have to withdraw some 100,000 Pakistani troops posted on its western borders to fight the al-Qaida-Taliban and move them east to the Indian front if New Delhi makes any aggressive moves.

In Washington, Pakistan's ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani said there is no movement of Pakistani troops right now, but if India makes any aggressive moves, "Pakistan will have no choice but to take appropriate measures."

Stripped of complexities, Pakistan is conveying the following message to the US: If you don't get India to back down, Pakistan will stop cooperating with US in the war against terror. Consequently, this also means Pakistan will use US dependence on its cooperation to wage a low-grade, asymmetric, terrorism-backed war against India.

Pakistan's withdrawal of tro…

Indian citizen being sought for helping terrorist

Haaretz:

Security officials in India believe that an Indian citizen once called 'the most dangerous man in the world' masterminded the well orchestrated string of terror attacks that left at least 174 people dead in India's financial capital of Mumbai last week.

The man, Dawood Ibrahim, is believed to be hiding in Pakistan. Ibrahim is wanted in India for his suspected role in the 1993 bombings in Mumbai, in which more than 250 people died in a string of 13 coordinated bombings.

Ibrahim is a millionaire operating in several countries with connections both in India and Pakistan.

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Reports from India indicate that security officials believe that Ibrahim orchestrated the attacks from the Pakistani city of Karachi, sending his men to enter India illegally to carry out ten coordinated attacks in separate locations in Mumbai.

The connection to Ibrahim was established during the questioning of one of the attackers, Amir Kasab, 21, who told the Indian authorities that he had been sent …

The selection and training of the Mumbai terrorist

Times of India:

"There were 24 of us who took one-year training in camps organised by Laskar-e-Taiba (LeT) at Mansera and Muzzarafabad in Punjab province of Pakistan. Ten of us were later handpicked for the Mumbai operation,'' said Ajmal Amir Kasab during interrogations. According to sources, Kasab, 21, the only terrorist arrested by the Mumbai police, told his interrogators that Abdul Rahman, an ex-soldier popularly called Chacha, had given them training. The sources said Kasab explained that the training was divided into seven phases. "He said the first phase was of ‘very hard physical training’ of three months which included running 10 to 15 km. The next three months were for marine training like swimming, surfing, diving and boating in high seas. The rest included arms and ammunition training,'' said a source. After the training was over, they were sent to Mumbai for a "short internship'', Kasab is believed to have told the cops. This w…

Liberal media still has trouble figuring out Islamic religious bigots

Melanie Phillips:

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Among commentators, moreover, there has been no small amount of confusion.
Were these terrorists motivated by the grievance between Muslims and Hindus over Kashmir, or was this a broader attack by Al Qaeda?
If British and American tourists were singled out over Iraq - which many assume is the motive for such attacks - why were Indians targeted in the Victoria railway station? And why was an obscure Jewish outreach centre marked for slaughter?
Such perceptions and questions suggest that, even now, Western commentators still don't grasp what the free world is facing. This was not merely a distant horror.
We should pay the closest possible attention to what happened in Mumbai because something on this scale could well happen here.

But because we don't understand what we are actually up against, we are not doing nearly enough to prevent this - or something even worse - occurring on British soil; and if it were to happen here, we would be unable to cope.
The M…

Attacks were ploy to wreck Obama strategy?

Times:

Relations between India and Pakistan were on a knife edge last night amid fears that Delhi’s response to the Mumbai attacks could undermine the Pakistani army’s campaign against Islamic militants on the frontier with Afghanistan. Officials and analysts in the region believe that last week’s atrocities were designed to provoke a crisis, or even a war, between the nuclear-armed neighbours, diverting Islamabad’s attention from extremism in tribal areas bordering Afghanistan and thus relieving pressure on al-Qaeda, Taleban and other militants based there. One analyst even described the attacks as a “pre-emptive strike” against Barack Obama’s strategy to put Pakistan and Afghanistan at the centre of US foreign policy.
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Oh come on. The attacks have been planned for over a year. A year ago Obama was not even leading the Democrat primary. It makes more sense that the attacks were meant to relieve pressure against the Taliban and al Qaeda. It is going to be hard for the media to …

India internal politics may drive response

Independent:

Military tensions flared up yesterday between India and Pakistan as the nuclear-armed neighbours engaged in a display of sabre-rattling in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks that have left at least 170 people dead.With bodies still being recovered from the battle-scarred interior of the Taj Mahal hotel and with the Indian authorities saying that most, if not all, of the 10 gunmen responsible came from Pakistan, Delhi announced that it was raising security to a "war level". In response, Pakistan said that any escalation would force it to redeploy troops battling militants in tribal areas to positions along its eastern border with India.Although the dispute shows no signs of reaching the level it was in 2002, when the two countries came perilously close to conflict, the statements reflect the anger and a sense of helplessness in India about the attacks that struck at its soft underbelly.The Indian government, which faces elections within months, will be kee…

Pakistan warns of troops movements away from fight with al Qaeda, Taliban

Guardian:

Senior Pakistani intelligence officials have threatened to end military operations against Islamist militants along the country's Afghan border if India deploys troops on their eastern frontier.In a rare briefing to senior local journalists, intelligence officials said the coming days would be "crucial" and threatened to pull out all the troops committed to the "war on terror" in the event of "an unwanted conflict" with India. "We will not leave a single troop on the western [Afghan] border if we are threatened by India," an official was reported as saying.Pakistan currently has more than 100,000 soldiers engaged in operations in the semi-autonomous tribal zones where senior international militants connected to al-Qaida, local extremists and a significant proportion of the Taliban's leadership are thought to be based.The Pakistani operations, largely funded by the United States, are seen by Nato commanders as vital to keep open …

What is the center's problem with Palin?

Politico:

With his runoff race ending on Tuesday, Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss called in the party's big guns—and Sarah Palin answered the call, stumping across the state today and tomorrow. It's a clear sign of her stature within the party. Palin’s flash emergence on the national stage has left her as well positioned as any Republican to make a serious run for the GOP nomination in 2012, yet waning support from the political center may threaten her presidential ambitions, according to a Politico analysis of public polling.

A Gallup poll of Republican voters released last Friday found Palin atop a field of ten Republicans, including 2008 primary candidates Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, in a hypothetical 2012 matchup.

Fully two thirds of Republicans, including Republican-leaning independents, want Palin to run for president in 2012, twice as many as back Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who has already made one post-election visit to Iowa, and about 20 points ahead of former Speaker…

Pakistan's President tries to avoid war

Financial Times:

Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan’s president, made an urgent appeal to India on Sunday not to punish his country for the terror unleashed on Mumbai last week, warning that militants had the power to precipitate a war in the region.As the government in New Delhi faced mounting domestic recriminations after the three-day terrorist rampage in Mumbai, Mr Zardari urged Manmohan Singh, India’s prime minister, to resist striking out at his government should investigations show that Pakistani militant groups were responsible for the attacks.
Speaking exclusively to the Financial Times, Pakistan’s president warned that provocation by rogue “non-state actors” posed the danger of a return to war between the nuclear-armed neighbours. “Even if the militants are linked to Lashkar-i-tayyaba, [a prominent militant group linked to previous attacks against India] who do you think we are fighting?” asked Mr Zardari, whose country is battling al-Qaeda and Taliban militants on its shared border w…

Anticipatory anxiety?

Strategy Page says that desertion rates are down 24 percent in the military this year but has this interesting data point.

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All of the services see desertion as a failure of someone to adapt to military life. For example, most of those who desert and say it's "because of the war" have never been in combat or been exposed to combat stress. They just don't want to be in the military anymore. It's long been a problem, even after the U.S. went all-volunteer in the 1970s.

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I know from my own experience that the anxiety level was much greater before a mission than during the actual mission. That was the time when I also had to be alert for those troops who might try to get lost before we headed out. It is interesting that those who have never experienced combat are the most anxious.

Mumbai's cowardly cops

Belfast Telegraph:

It is the photograph that has dominated the world's front pages, casting an astonishing light on the fresh-faced killers who brought terror to the heart of India's most vibrant city. Now it can be revealed how the astonishing picture came to be taken by a newspaper photographer who hid inside a train carriage as gunfire erupted all around him. Sebastian D'Souza, a picture editor at the Mumbai Mirror, whose offices are just opposite the city's Chhatrapati Shivaji station, heard the gunfire erupt and ran towards the terminus. "I ran into the first carriage of one of the trains on the platform to try and get a shot but couldn't get a good angle, so I moved to the second carriage and waited for the gunmen to walk by," he said. "They were shooting from waist height and fired at anything that moved. I briefly had time to take a couple of frames using a telephoto lens. I think they saw me taking photograp…

From media bias to government censorship

Alan Nathan:

What chance do arguments have to rise and fall on their merits if they're framed by a seemingly party-owned press? And once that party comes to power, won't its lackey journalists constitute a type of state-owned press? In other words (after Inauguration Day), how can the blushing news media keep from sharing President-elect Barack Obama's political bed - given they have already serviced his electoral needs? The news reporting world must recognize that responsible journalism requires universal standards of neutrality, and that this can only occur when facts are presented in their self-evident form. When they're not, the public naturally becomes more propagandized than informed. Punditry from all political perspectives is wonderfully helpful and perfectly legitimate - until it masquerades as news. On Oct. 22, the Pew Foundation's Project for Excellence in Journalism illustrated that between the conventions and the debates, John McCain received double t…

Iraq showing signs of freedom and maturity

Tom Friedman:

Here’s a story you don’t see very often. Iraq’s highest court told the Iraqi Parliament last Monday that it had no right to strip one of its members of immunity so he could be prosecuted for an alleged crime: visiting Israel for a seminar on counterterrorism. The Iraqi justices said the Sunni lawmaker, Mithal al-Alusi, had committed no crime and told the Parliament to back off.

That’s not all. The Iraqi newspaper Al-Umma al-Iraqiyya carried an open letter signed by 400 Iraqi intellectuals, both Kurdish and Arab, defending Alusi. That takes a lot of courage and a lot of press freedom. I can’t imagine any other Arab country today where independent judges would tell the government it could not prosecute a parliamentarian for visiting Israel — and intellectuals would openly defend him in the press.In the case of Iraq, though, the federal high court, in a unanimous decision, vacated the Parliament’s rescinding of Alusi’s immunity, with the decision delivered personally by Chie…

The 2008 acorn famine?

Washington Post:

The idea seemed too crazy to Rod Simmons, a measured, careful field botanist. Naturalists in Arlington County couldn't find any acorns. None. No hickory nuts, either. Then he went out to look for himself. He came up with nothing. Nothing crunched underfoot. Nothing hit him on the head. Then calls started coming in about crazy squirrels. Starving, skinny squirrels eating garbage, inhaling bird feed, greedily demolishing pumpkins. Squirrels boldly scampering into the road. And a lot more calls about squirrel roadkill. But Simmons really got spooked when he was teaching a class on identifying oak and hickory trees late last month. For 2 1/2 miles, Simmons and other naturalists hiked through Northern Virginia oak and hickory forests. They sifted through leaves on the ground, dug in the dirt and peered into the tree canopies. Nothing. "I'm used to seeing so many acorns around and out in the field, it's something I just didn't believe," he said. &q…

Houston a weapons depot for Mexico criminal insurgency

Houston Chronicle:

Drug cartel gangsters waging a criminal insurgency against Mexican society and government are making the Houston area their marketplace of choice, as they spend millions of dollars statewide buying military-style weapons and ammunition. Gangsters have honed in on this city because of its glut of gun shops, its proximity to the border, and its long-established networks for smuggling narcotics into the United States, federal law-enforcement officials said. The surge in fraudulent purchases comes as more than 4,000 people have died in Mexico's criminal underworld violence this year. Authorities can point to numerous crimes, including the infamous 2007 Acapulco Massacre to illustrate the carnage brought on by Houston-bought guns that have gotten into the hands of ruthless killers. The need for arms is increasing as Mexican drug cartels are battling one another and the government after President Felipe Calderon made restoring the rule of law his priority upon taking …

Mumbai terrorist tied to Taliban, al Qaeda

NY Times:

Apprehensive about potential reprisals by India over the Mumbai terrorist attacks, the Pakistani government insisted Saturday that it had not been involved. It pledged to take action against Pakistan-based militants if they were found to be implicated.

“Our hands are clean,” the Pakistani foreign minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, said at a news conference. “Any entity or group involved in the ghastly act, the Pakistan government will proceed against it.” The government called a crisis cabinet meeting on Saturday, a day after Indian officials suggested that a militant group with Pakistani ties, Lashkar-e-Taiba, was responsible for the attacks. Similar accusations after an attack on the Indian Parliament by another group, Jaish-e-Muhammad, brought the two governments to the brink of war in 2002.But while the civilian leaders, including President Asif Ali Zardari, called for calm on Saturday, Pakistani security officials warned that they were preparing to move troops toward the bo…

Going after Gen. McCaffrey

The NY Times is again going after a retired General criticizing his commentary on the war. They do it not by arguing against the substance of his comments so much as about what they perceive as his motivations for those comments.

It is as if they were reading the commentary in this blog and instead of addressing the arguments head on decided to make the argument about me personally. This seems to be a regular tactic of the left in this country, but I don't recall the Times ever devoting seven internet pages to the motivation of war critics. I guess they are just assumed to be altruistic.

The fact is the critics of the war have their own agendas too, but you rarely see those agendas being used to discount the integrity of their arguments.

I don't recall any exploration of the motivation of those who were so desperate for defeat in Iraq that they would seize on any excuse.

What this type of reporting looks like is an attempt to silence anyone who offers arguments in support of …

The Islamic religious bigots war against civilization

Melanie Phillips:

The atrocities in Mumbai have left reporters and commentators floundering for explanations. Why India? Was this a local terrorist group or al Qaeda? Why single out Americans and Brits if they also targeted Indians in the railway station? Why attack some obscure Jewish organisation? And so on. They are floundering because they still just don’t get it. The atrocities demonstrated with crystal clarity what the Islamist war is all about – and the western commentariat didn’t understand because it simply refuses to acknowledge, even now, what that war actually is. It does not arise from particular grievances. It is not rooted in ‘despair’ over Palestine. It is not a reaction to the war in Iraq. It is a war waged in the name of Islam against America, Britain, Hindus, Jews and all who refuse to submit to Islamic conquest....
It is also against Muslims who do not accept the weird beliefs of the religious bigots. This should not be such a hard concept, but the problem is that m…

Jindal makes good impression in Iowa

Washington Post:

Last weekend, 18 days after Barack Obama decisively defeated their candidate for president, a mostly Republican crowd of self-described conservatives received their first introduction to someone many prominent members of the GOP think could be the party's own version of Obama. Like the president-elect, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana is young (37), accomplished (a Rhodes scholar) and, as the son of Indian immigrants, someone familiar with breaking racial and cultural barriers. He came to Iowa to deliver a pair of speeches, and his mere presence ignited talk that the 2012 presidential campaign has begun here, if coyly. Already, a fierce fight is looming between him and other Republicans -- former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who arrived in Iowa a couple of days before him, and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who is said to be coming at some point -- for the hearts of social conservatives. "The Republicans really have no choice except to look at some people more…

Mumbai terrorist ambitions exceeded their means

Daily Mail on Sunday:

The only terrorist captured alive after the Mumbai massacre has given police the first full account of the extraordinary events that led to it – revealing he was ordered to ‘kill until the last breath’.Azam Amir Kasab, 21, from Pakistan, said the attacks were meticulously planned six months ago and were intended to kill 5,000 people.He revealed that the ten terrorists, who were highly trained in marine assault and crept into the city by boat, had planned to blow up the Taj Mahal Palace hotel after first executing British and American tourists and then taking hostages....
A mission of that scale is beyond any trained special ops unit of that size much less the terrorist sent to Mumbai. It might be possible for a 10 man team to blow up the large hotel, but expecting them to sort out British and American tourist to kill and also take hostages is beyond the ability of any force of 10 men with weapons. It can be seen by the random acts of violence in the hotels while …

Terrorist called Pakistan for instructions during fight

Sunday Times:

THE Indian authorities yesterday claimed to have proof that the Mumbai terrorists were receiving instructions from Pakistan and discussing tactics with their handlers during the three days of attacks in which they killed at least 195 people.

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RR Patil, the deputy chief minister of Mumbai’s state government, said there was “proof” that the terrorists were on the phone to someone in Pakistan during the attack. “All phone calls made by them were tapped. They were being instructed from outside regarding their movement inside the hotel - whether to go upstairs or come down or make a move left or right,” he said. Patil also claimed that the terrorists had intended to kill at least 5,000 people, making for a greater atrocity than 9/11. The Pakistan government denied any involvement in the attacks but backtracked on a decision to send the chief of its spy agency to India to help the investigation. Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan’s president, promised to take the “swiftest of acti…

Saving Moshe Holtzberg

Independent on Sunday:

This is Moshe Holtzberg, the orphan of the Mumbai massacre. He is the son of the rabbi at the city's Jewish centre. Both his parents were murdered by terrorists last week, and he owes his life to his nanny. Last night she told her dramatic story.Moshe, who turned two this week, is in the care of his mother's parents after his nanny, Sandra Samuel, rushed him to safety while militants roamed the Jewish centre where the family lived and worked. "When the baby emerged with the nanny, he had bloodstains on him," said Benjamin Isaac of the Indian Jewish Federation. "Thankfully it wasn't his blood. But we knew someone's blood had already been spilled."On Wednesday, two gunmen had stormed the six-storey Nariman House, which housed the centre in Mumbai's Colaba area, close to the ritzy hotels and railway station that bore the brunt of a string of attacks by heavily armed militants.They took eight people hostage, including the famil…

Ocean current energy

Sunday Telegraph:

The technology can generate electricity in water flowing at a rate of less than one knot - about one mile an hour - meaning it could operate on most waterways and sea beds around the globe.Existing technologies which use water power, relying on the action of waves, tides or faster currents created by dams, are far more limited in where they can be used, and also cause greater obstructions when they are built in rivers or the sea. Turbines and water mills need an average current of five or six knots to operate efficiently, while most of the earth's currents are slower than three knots.The new device, which has been inspired by the way fish swim, consists of a system of cylinders positioned horizontal to the water flow and attached to springs.As water flows past, the cylinder creates vortices, which push and pull the cylinder up and down. The mechanical energy in the vibrations is then converted into electricity.Cylinders arranged over a cubic metre of the sea or ri…

Hyperbole of the day

From the Daily Mail on Sunday:

PETER HITCHENS: Like Haig on the Somme, we'll bleed to death in Afghanistan
The Brit casualties in Afghanistan have been averaging a little over 17 KIA a year in the seven years of the war. At the current rate it would take the British approximately 1131 years in Afghanistan to equal the 19,240 KIAs in the first day of the Battle of the Somme in World War I.

I think Peter Hitchens has lost historical perspective.

Rezko gets antsy on sentencing

Chicago Tribune:

Antoin "Tony" Rezko's frustration over months in solitary confinement came to a boil this week as his attorneys filed a motion for the judge in his corruption case to immediately set a sentencing date for the convicted political fundraiser.

Sentencing had been put off in early October while Rezko's lawyers and prosecutors discussed his potential cooperation in the federal investigation into possible pay-to-play schemes in the administration of Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Despite his possible willingness to aid the government, Rezko has remained in isolation at Chicago's Metropolitan Correctional Center downtown, locked in a cell 23 hours a day.

"Mr. Rezko has remained in solitary confinement at the MCC since June 4, 2008, the day of the jury's verdict, and can no longer agree to delay sentencing," the new motion states, asking U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve to set the earliest possible date to hand down Rezko's punishment.

The motion rai…

Palin continues to dominate Web attention

Which is probably why Politico did this story.

Three weeks after the Republican ticket suffered a sweeping defeat at the polls, Sarah Palin continues to dominate search engine queries, cable news and online video sites.

The only American politician who generates comparable interest is President-elect Barack Obama. No one else is close.

Palin was the most popular Lycos search from the week she joined the ticket continuously through last Sunday, some two weeks after the election, when she was dethroned by Paris Hilton, the celebutante whom John McCain famously compared to Barack Obama.

The Alaska governor now ranks fourth, just one spot below Obama, on the weekly Lycos 50 list.

“People are still searching for her in record numbers,” said Kathy O’Reilly, a spokeswoman for Lycos. “How bizarre is that? Obama is the president-elect after the most historic election of all time and you’d think he would be dominating search activity and he only now is going ahead of her.”

Palin has been the subject …

Poll shows Bush was right on climate change

The Windsor Star:

There is both growing public reluctance to make personal sacrifices and a distinct lack of enthusiasm for the major international efforts now underway to battle climate change, according to findings of a poll of 12,000 citizens in 11 countries, including Canada.Results of the poll were released this week in advance of the start of a major international conference in Poland where delegates are considering steps toward a new international climate-change treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.There already are reports emerging that some countries, such as coal-dependent Poland, are pushing for special treatment to avoid making major commitments to slash carbon emissions during a global economic downturn.Less than half of those surveyed, or 47 per cent, said they were prepared to make personal lifestyle changes to reduce carbon emissions, down from 58 per cent last year.Only 37 per cent said they were willing to spend "extra time" on the eff…

Taliban commander in drag killed with 52 others

I don't think the rest were in drag but the commander was attempting to evade detection by pretending to be a woman. The commander was killed when he left a surrounded house with a group of women and children. When his disguise failed him he fought and was killed.

About 33 of the other Taliban troops were killed after they attacked coalition forces patrolling in southern Helmand province. This was pretty typical of warfare in Afghanistan where the enemy makes a futile attack on our forces and the response is devastating tot he Taliban.

Pakistan vows to go after terrorist who attacked Mumbai

CNN:

As investigators work to unmask the group responsible for the Mumbai terror attacks which have killed at least 183 people, police and soldiers continued to search the Taj Mahal Hotel room by room Saturday to make sure all trapped guests have left and no terrorists remain hidden.

Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zadari pledged his country's full cooperation with the investigation and vowed to take "the strictest action" if it is found the terrorists were based in Pakistan. However, investigators probing the attacks said they found cell phones and a global navigational device on an abandoned boat floating off the coast of Mumbai, CNN's sister station CNN-IBN reported. The television station showed photographs of a phone's log which showed calls had been placed to Jalalabad in Pakistan. The boat, intelligence officials told CNN-IBN, had been hijacked. Four crew members who had been on board were missing. The captain was found dead, lying face down with his han…

Those who need Twitter

Hugh Hewitt:

I had just finished speaking at the annual dinner of the Arizona Policy Council when Jeremy approached me with an appeal that I "Twitter more."For the way behind, Twitter.com is a rapidly expanding tech tool for social networking that limits messages to 140 characters. A beginners' guide is available from David All. (And a conversation with David All, Rob Neppell and Patrick Ruffini on the tech gap between the GOP and the Dems is here.) Like my Townhall.com colleague Matt Lewis, I am a "late adapter" to Twitter, which means a few million people started using it first, but no matter. What matters, especially in politics, is recognizing the truth in the cliche "Better late than never." When it comes to politics and communication, you don't stay off the second bus because you missed the first one, especially if they all arrive in 2010 at the same time.A couple days back I asked people following me at Twitter, where I maintain two acc…

Downsizing in the auto industry

Bob Herbert:

If we were interested in making the best possible decisions with regard to the U.S. auto industry, someone like Rich Breen would be seen as the face of the industry, not the chief executives of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.

Mr. Breen is a 55-year-old member of the Teamsters union, a car hauler who delivers new vehicles for the Big Three automakers. He lives in Clinton Township, a suburb of Detroit, and he is horrified by the steady erosion of the American standard of living that he sees each day as he makes his rounds.“I see the tool and die industry dying in the light industrial areas,” he told me in an interview just before Thanksgiving. “I see the clientele decreasing in the local barbershops, the hardware stores and the restaurants. That’s all happening from the first phase of the downsizing in the auto industry, the cutbacks and layoffs that have already occurred. It’s not from the current crisis.“The community around me is deteriorating before my eyes. I hear peo…

Krugman's recipe for a new depression

Amity Shlaes:

Paul Krugman of the New York Times has been on the attack lately in regard to the New Deal. His new book "The Return of Depression Economics," emphasizes the importance of New Deal-style spending. He has said the trouble with the New Deal was that it didn't spend enough.He's also arguing that some writers and economists have been misrepresenting the 1930s to make the effect of FDR's overall policy look worse than it was. I'm interested in part because Mr. Krugman has mentioned me by name. He recently said that I am the one "whose misleading statistics have been widely disseminated on the right."...What kept the picture so dark so long? Deflation for one, but also the notion that government could engineer economic recovery by favoring the public sector at the expense of the private sector. New Dealers raised taxes again and again to fund spending. The New Dealers also insisted on higher wages when businesses could ill afford them. Roosev…

Anti energy drinks hit Houston market

Houston Chronicle:

First came Red Bull and Monster Energy, giving a high-octane boost to late-night parties and study sessions.Now the anti-energy drinks have arrived, carbonated beverages that promise to help you "slow your roll" or "lean with it."But with their hip-hop-inspired advertising campaigns, Drank and Purple Stuff are generating a buzz that is anything but chill."I am very concerned about the marketing," said Ronald Peters, a University of Texas-Houston School of Public Health professor. Peters has researched the phenomenon of mixing codeine syrup with soft drinks or alcohol, a concoction that is believed to have factored in the deaths of three local rap stars."Sippin' syrup" is believed to have originated in Houston and it remains a common topic for Southern rappers. "Drank," "purple stuff" and "lean" are street terms for the illicit mixture.Peters said he worries the new canned beverages could be a g…

Did terrorist fear settlement of Kashmir dispute

Amir Taheri:

THE world confronted a new face of terror this week - operating with brand new tactics and a host of goals. Earlier this week, for example, Pakistan President Assif Ali Zardari announced his readiness to settle the dispute with India over Kashmir, promising an end to a conflict that has led to four wars and countless terrorist campaigns over the past 50 years. On Wednesday, terror organizations that do not wish the Kashmir problem to be solved offered their opinion of such a shift, in the form of a series of coordinated attacks against sensitive targets in Bombay (Mumbai), India's business capital and the engine of its recent economic takeoff. The message was clear: Even if Pakistan scales back its old policy of backing terrorist groups in the name of liberating the Muslims of Kashmir, radical Islamists are capable of continuing the low-intensity war that has cost India billions of dollars and thousands of lives.
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If true, it suggest the dangers that will be embe…

The Planned Parenthood gift certificates

Washington Times:

Indiana residents in need of a quick stocking stuffer this holiday season have an unusual option: Planned Parenthood gift certificates. The group's Hoosier State chapter on Wednesday began selling gift certificates redeemable at any of its 35 facilities for any service provided -- from basic health screenings to birth control to abortions. Betty Cockrum, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood of Indiana, said the program was initiated in response to the state's ailing economy. "Our patients are principally low-income women, and so, needless to say, those patients are more challenged now than ever," Ms. Cockrum said. "We find that when women are [financially] strapped, they're more worried about putting food on the table and gas in their car, and their health care is often put by the wayside."
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Sounds like a get out of being knocked up free card. It also sounds about as exciting as a set of new tires for the car. Can yo…