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Showing posts from May, 2011

Weiner roast

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Iowahawk is on the case after the hacker:

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As much as I admire Congressman Weiner's Gandhi-like forgiving attitude toward his assailant - as well as his world class ninja programming skills - I'm afraid this incident doesn't just involve him. For, after all, what Internet user is safe when the person who hacked this unsuspecting Weiner remains at large? Okay, maybe not "large," but still, come on man. Who's to say this same criminal hasn't somehow hacked my last 5 federal income tax returns with fraudulent deductions for alcohol-related blogging expenses?

...There is much more. Iowahawk is looking for justice in this matter. I have no idea who sent the photo in question, but the questions raised are worth someone else looking at them for answers. I hope that if anyone hacks my Twitter account they use more flattering pictures.
Related articlesCongressman Weiner Claims Wiener Pic a Hack Job (tmz.com)Lewd Photo From New York Congressman's Twitter Ac…

Raisin' Cain

It is a good ad, for a candidate who is doing much better than anyone expected.  He maybe one of the top finishers in Iowa.  I would like to see him do well.

Removing a live RPG from soldiers abdoman and pelvis

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It took great courage on the part of the surgeons to remove the RPG and save the life of the soldier.

Retired special ops helping NATO identify targets in Libya

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Image by Getty Images via @daylife Guardian:

Former SAS soldiers and other western employees of private security companies are helping Nato identify targets in the Libyan port city of Misrata, the scene of heavy fighting between Gaddafi's forces and rebels, well-placed sources have told the Guardian.

Special forces veterans are passing details of the locations and movements of Muammar Gaddafi's forces to the Naples headquarters of Lieutenant General Charles Bouchard, Canadian commander of Nato forces, the sources said.

The targets are then verified by spy planes and US Predator drones. "One piece of human intelligence is not enough," a source said.

The former soldiers are there with the blessing of Britain, France and other Nato countries, which have supplied them with communications equipment. They are likely to be providing information for the pilots of British and French attack helicopters, who are expected to start firing at targets in and around Misrata this week.

Karzai kooky about air strikes

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Image via Wikipedia Washington Post:

In demanding that the U.S.-led coalition stop all airstrikes on Afghan homes, President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday drew his government closer than ever to direct opposition to the United States presence in Afghanistan, a position that could complicate President Obama’s looming decision on how quickly to withdraw American troops.

Even for Western officials accustomed to Karzai’s rebukes, his latest remarks were cause for deep concern, as they went further than before in calling for radical change in how NATO fights its war.

...NATO needs to question whether it should continue to protect Karzai, if he thinks bombs are unnecessary to defeat the enemy. His reaction to the unfortunate mistake in bombing civilians shows a deep ignorance of how the enemy is fighting this war. It is because the enemy camouflages himself as a civilian that so many civilians are killed. He should direct his anger toward the Taliban.
Related articlesKarzai's Rift with N…

Reporter who exposed al Qaeda ties to attack on Pakistan naval base murdered

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Image via Wikipedia Washington Times:

A Pakistani journalist who wrote last week about the suspected infiltration of Pakistan's navy by al Qaeda terrorists was found dead Tuesday, two days after he went missing in Islamabad.

Syed Saleem Shahzads body was found almost 100 miles north of the Pakistani capital.His face had been battered, and he had a gunshot wound in his stomach, according to sources.

Mr. Shahzad was Pakistan bureau chief of Hong Kong-based Asia Times Online and author of “Inside al Qaeda and the Taliban: Beyond Bin Laden and 9/11.”

He disappeared on Sunday, two days after he wrote an article claiming that al Qaeda had attacked a naval base in Karachi, Pakistan, on May 22 in retaliation for the arrest of naval officials suspected of links with the terrorist group.

He reported that al Qaeda assaulted the base after the collapse of its talks with the navy over the release of the arrested officers.

Earlier in May, Mr. Shahzad revealed that naval intelligence had traced an…

Obama economy creates more affordable housing

NY Times:

House Prices Fall to New Post-Bubble Low as More Rent
It appears to be the unintended consequences of his failed stimulus and economic policies.

The evils of Shari'a 'law'

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Image via Wikipedia Telegraph:

The body of 19-year-old Katya Koren was found dumped in a forest on the Crimean peninsula a week after she went missing amid suggestions that she had been 'punished' for flouting Sharia law.

Police said that Miss Koren, a former participant in regional heats of the Miss Ukraine beauty pageant, had suffered multiple blows to the head inflicted by one or more stones or rocks.

There were conflicting reports of how and why she was murdered. Some local newspapers claimed she had been stoned to death by hardline Muslims upset by her participation in the beauty contest and that police had three suspects in their sights.

But the police said her killing had nothing to do with sectarian violence and that the girl had been killed by a psychologically troubled classmate who had given her a lift on his moped and then robbed and possibly raped her before battering her to death with a rock.

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Some local media quoted him saying that he killed her to enforce Sha…

Because Assad and his cronies need it most of all

Gov. Perry vetoes bill to collect sales tax on internet purchases

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Image via Wikipedia Houston Business Journal:

Gov. Rick Perry has nixed a bill that would have taxed online retailers doing business in Texas, saying it would have prompted "unintended consequences."

...This is the bill I described as veto bait when it passed. The bill is part of the fiscal agenda for the special session, so they may try again.
Related articlesPerry vetoes bill that would require Amazon to collect tax (chron.com)Bill Kristol: 'I Think Perry Could be Formidable' if He Runs in 2012 (crooksandliars.com)

Cheaper, smaller weapons in the Pentagon pipeline

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Image by Getty Images via @daylife LA Times:

Under mounting pressure to keep its massive budget in check, the Pentagon is looking to cheaper, smaller weapons to wage war in the 21st century.

A new generation of weaponry is being readied in clandestine laboratories across the nation that puts a priority on pintsized technology that would be more precise in warfare and less likely to cause civilian casualties. Increasingly, the Pentagon is being forced to discard expensive, hulking, Cold War-era armaments that exact a heavy toll on property and human lives.

At L-3 Interstate Electronics Corp. in Anaheim, technicians work in secure rooms developing a GPS guidance system for a 13-pound "smart bomb" that would be attached to small, low-flying drone.

Engineers in Simi Valley at AeroVironment Inc. are developing a mini-cruise missile designed to fit into a soldier's rucksack, be fired from a mortar and scour the battlefield for enemy targets.

And in suburban Portland, Ore. Voxtel…

Prepare to retaliate

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Image via Wikipedia AFP:

US 'to view major cyber attacks as acts of war'
The Pentagon is preparing to respond to major cyber attacks.
Related articlesPentagon Will Respond to Cyber Attacks (politicalwire.com)Pentagon: Cyber Attacks Can Qualify as Acts of War (newser.com)Cyber-Attacks on Lockheed Martin (aleksandreia.wordpress.com)

Texas gets loser pays tort reform

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Image via Wikipedia Stephen DeMaura:

Gov. Rick Perry and the Texas state legislature want the rest of the country to hear this message loud and clear: The Lone Star State is open for business.

In a unanimous vote last week, the Texas senate adopted ‘loser pays’ tort-reform legislation, which says that a plaintiff must pay the winning party’s legal fees if their complaint is judged to be groundless. On Wednesday, the Texas house concurred. Governor Perry, who had championed the legislation from its inception, signed it Monday night.

The Wall Street Journal editorialized, “This Texas upgrade will build on reforms in 2003 and 2005 that have vastly improved the legal climate in what has not coincidentally become the country’s best state for job creation. Texas rewrote everything from class-action certification to product liability” — and I would add the state’s medical-malpractice reforms to that list.

No wonder the nation’s CEOs list Texas as the best state for business.

...This is another…

The mess on Mexico's southern border

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Image via Wikipedia Miami Herald/McClatchy:

If the border that separates the United States and Mexico is fairly easy to penetrate, then Mexico's other border - the southern one, abutting Guatemala - is virtually a sieve.

For a few pesos, boatmen along this jade-hued jungle river will take people or cargo across, no questions asked. On one recent day, rustlers could be seen driving long-horned cattle from trucks at river's edge onto waiting boats.

That's just garden-variety smuggling. Of greater concern are the tons of illicit narcotics that move north, and the drug cartel gunmen who move easily in either direction, committing crimes on one side only to escape to refuge on the other.

Two weeks ago, assailants thought to be from Los Zetas, a Mexico-based criminal cartel, stormed a ranch in Guatemala's Peten region and killed 27 people, beheading most of them. Guatemala's army raced to cut them off before they could get back across the border, but failed.

The lack of se…

Palin finally chats with the media

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If you have trouble following the dialog, the NY Times has a story covering the conversation.

Her daughter Piper was urging her to move along.  That is something that she is going to have to deal with if her mom runs for President.

Obama's Israel screw up

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Image via Wikipedia Caroline Glick:

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In his speech, Obama stated: "The United States believes... the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states."

That is, he took "the Palestinian goal" and made it the US's goal. It is hard to imagine a more radically anti-Israel policy shift than that.

And that wasn't Obama's only radically anti-Israel policy shift. Until his May 19 speech, the US agreed with Israel that the issue of borders is only one of many - including the Palestinians' rejection of Israel's right to exist, their demand to inundate Israel with millions of foreign Arab immigrants, their demand for control over Israel's water supply and Jerusalem - that have to be sorted out in negotiations. The joint US-Israeli position was that until all of these issues were resolved, none of them were resolved.

The Palestinians, on …

Bus tour trial run for Palin family

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Image by Getty Images via @daylife Scott Conroy:

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will travel to Iowa next month as part of her nationwide bus tour, two sources with direct knowledge of the plan told RealClearPolitics.

Palin's trip to the nation's first voting state -- where she has not yet set foot this year --will further escalate the already feverish speculation that she is leaning toward a White House run.

Though Palin has insisted that her "One Nation" bus tour -- being kicked off from Washington over the holiday weekend -- is intended merely to "highlight America's foundation," RCP has learned that the road trip was designed as a test run to find out whether she can execute a decidedly unconventional campaign game plan.

Palin -- and especially her husband, Todd -- is said to be leaning toward running. But multiple sources said that their foremost remaining concern was whether it would be logistically feasible for their large family to hit the road tog…

Educating voters on the mess Democrats have made of entitlements

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Image via Wikipedia Richard Viguerie:

As the recent special election in New York’s 26th congressional district shows, Democrats will demagogue entitlement reform for political reasons, and are willing to permanently damage America in the process. This is sad for America. It’s pathetic politics.

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For 80 years or so, Democrats have used seniors issues in most political campaigns to bash Republicans as anti-senior citizen. They painted Republicans as eager to throw Grandma out in the snow, and willing to unplug Grandpa’s oxygen machine.

The GOP therefore has decades of Democratic embedded demagoguery to overcome. Many Americans have a knee-jerk reaction against the motives of the GOP with regard to seniors.

Republicans’ own head-in-the-sand, big-government policies during the Tom DeLay, Dennis Hastert, Bill Frist and George W. Bush years only made it worse.

In other words, Republicans have a credibility problem. Democrats know that, and will take full advantage of it in the 2012 electio…

Egypt under attack by al Qaeda

Jerusalem Post:

Report: Over 400 al-Qaida terrorists now in SinaiThey have already attacked in one Egyptian city and are reported to plan terror attacks elsewhere in Egypt.  They are made up of Palestinians, Bedouins and foreign Arabs.

What Palin is up to

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Image by Getty Images via @daylife Richard Adams, Guardian:

Like many typical American families, Sarah Palin and her family spent the Memorial Day holiday weekend sightseeing – and kicking off a nationwide bus tour that will presumably culminate in the announcement of her 2012 presidential bid.

Although there remains a scintilla of doubt that Palin will actually go for the Republican presidential nomination, so far there are two big clues that she is running: everything she says and everything she does.

...I think there is some doubt. It could depend on the reception she gets with this tour bus. She has been making noise about raising money to support Republicans and has been heavily advertising the trip with a big donate button. The themes of the trip attempt to cut against the media meme that she is a divisive figure. That is why it is called "One Nation." If she gets a warm reception to the trip and too her movie she will probably go for it. If not she will find other…

Qaddafi kidnap strategy around Misrata

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Independent:

The lifting of the siege of the embattled Libyan city of Misrata has revealed the disappearance of hundreds of people with many of them suspected victims of snatch squads loyal to the Gaddafi regime, relatives and rights workers said yesterday.

A desperate search has begun for "the disappeared", many of whom were reported to have been taken away to regime prisons or killed during some of the fiercest fighting of a three-month rebel uprising that has reduced parts of the city to rubble.

Witness accounts gathered by The Independent and rights groups indicate that there was a systematic attempt to kidnap men from parts of the city.

Sixteen members of one family were captured by troops loyal to Muammar Gaddafi when they left their home to inspect a factory that had been destroyed in the fighting, according to their relative Salem, who declined to give his full name for fear of recrimination. "There had been shooting on the road in the morning, it is near the fro…

Terrorist coalition was splintering before bin Laden killed

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Image via Wikipedia Guardian:

Osama bin Laden spent much of his last weeks alive planning a new attempt to bring the disparate factions among insurgents and militants fighting in Pakistan and Afghanistan together under the umbrella of al-Qaida.

The terrorist leader, who had made repeated efforts to unify militant groups, was even considering risking leaving his safe house in Abbottabad, the northern Pakistani garrison town, to try to build a fresh alliance through face-to-face meetings, sources in Pakistan, Afghanistan and America have told the Guardian.

Western intelligence services and Richard Barrett, head of the United Nations al-Qaida and Taliban sanctions committee, told the Guardian the reports that Bin Laden was planning a "grand coalition" were credible.

"Bin Laden found it pretty difficult to be marginalised and was making a huge effort to stay relevant. There was some indication that he was looking at re-energising links with [other local militant groups] to gi…

Major drought hits central China

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Image by ckngai123 via Flickr Telegraph:

The volume of water in Poyang lake in Jiangxi province, normally 100 miles-long and 10 miles-wide, is now a tenth of its normal level, according to Xinhua, the Chinese state news agency.

Fishing boats and house boats have been left stranded on a vast stretch of the lake bed, now a lush grassland.

The drought, which has seen no rainfall for two months, has struck the central Chinese provinces that are known as the country's "home of rice and fish".

Almost half of all the country's rice fields have been affected and four million people do not have access to drinking water.

...Even in China's command economy this kind of shortage has been driving up prices, including those for vegetable. The Chinese may be forced to buy more US grain and protein products like Chicken and fish.
Related articlesThree Gorges Dam Opens Sluices to Refill China's Yangtze, Lakes (businessweek.com)Extreme Fishing, Chinese style: Flying fish …

8 senior leaders defect in Libya

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Image via Wikipedia BBC:

Eight senior officers who defected from Col Muammar Gaddafi's army have appealed to fellow soldiers to join them in backing the rebels.

One of the eight accused pro-Gaddafi forces of "genocide".

The men - who are said to include five generals - appeared at a news conference in Rome.

Meanwhile South African President Jacob Zuma has held talks with Col Gaddafi in Tripoli, in an attempt to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

One of the general who spoke to reporters in Rome, named as Oun Ali Oun, read an appeal to fellow soldiers and security officials to abandon the regime "in the name of the martyrs who have fallen in the defence of freedom".

He also denounced both "genocide" and "violence against women in various Libyan cities".

Another general, Melud Massoud Halasa, told reporters that Col Gaddafi's forces were "only 20% as effective" as they were before the rebellion, as "not more than 10&q…

Proof of rape in Bangledesh

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BBC:

Police in southern Bangladesh say a woman cut off a man's penis during an alleged attempt to rape her and took it to a police station as evidence.

The incident took place in Mirzapur village, Jhalakathi, about 200km (124 miles) south of the capital, Dhaka.

Monju Begum, 40, a married mother of three, told police that neighbour Mozammel Haq Mazi forced his way into her shanty and started assaulting her.

Mr Mazi, who denies the accusation, has been admitted to a nearby hospital.

"We will arrest him once his condition gets better," police spokesman Abul Khaer told the BBC.

"She said she fought back and cut off his penis and brought it to our police station in a polythene bag to prove that Mr Mazi tried to rape her," police spokesman Abul Khaer told the BBC.

"She has registered a case accusing him of attempted rape," he said.

...The man claims they were having an affair and he was attacked when he refused to leave his wife. The defendant will be chall…

Damascus entity torture 13 year old boy to death

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Image via Wikipedia Washington Post:

The boy’s head was swollen, purple and disfigured. His body was a mess of welts, cigarette burns and wounds from bullets fired to injure, not kill. His kneecaps had been smashed, his neck broken, his jaw shattered and his penis cut off.

What finally killed him was not clear, but it appeared painfully, shockingly clear that he had suffered terribly during the month he spent in Syrian custody.

Hamza Ali al-Khateeb was 13 years old.

And since a video portraying the torture inflicted upon him was broadcast on the al-Jazeera television network Friday, he has rapidly emerged as the new symbol of the protest movement in Syria. His childish features have put a face to the largely faceless and leaderless opposition to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime that has roiled the country for nine weeks, reinvigorating a movement that had seemed in danger of drifting.

...This is what real torture looks like. the pretensions of torture raised against the US are just p…

How long can bad economic news be 'unexpected'?

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Image via Wikipedia Michael Barone:

Unexpectedly!

As megablogger Glenn Reynolds, aka Instapundit, has noted with amusement, the word "unexpectedly" or variants thereon keep cropping up in mainstream media stories about the economy.

"New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly climbed," reported cnbc.com May 25.

"Personal consumption fell," Business Insider reported the same day, "when it was expected to rise."

"Durable goods declined 3.6 percent last month," Reuters reported May 25, "worse than economists' expectations."

"Previously owned home sales unexpectedly fall," headlined Bloomberg News May 19.

"U.S. home construction fell unexpectedly in April," wrote The Wall Street Journal May 18.

Those examples are all from the last two weeks. Reynolds has been linking to similar items since October 2009.

Mainstream media may finally be catching up. "The latest economic numbers have not been go…

Syria continues war against the people, crushing protest with tanks

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Image via Wikipedia Reuters:

Tanks stormed the town of Talbiseh on Monday, a day after surrounding it, and at least 10 people were wounded, a resident said, in an expanding military campaign in central Syria to crush dissent against Baathist rule.

...This is what is known as the use of disproportionate force when used by people other than Arab despots.
Related articlesSyrian death toll rises as forces widen military crackdown on protests (guardian.co.uk)Eleven more deaths in Syria on Sunday as troops and tanks roll on (americablog.com)Syrian tanks attack two central towns (sfgate.com)

Yemen bombs al Qaeda held city

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Image via Wikipedia Reuters:

The Yemeni air force bombed an al Qaeda-held southern city on Monday and residents in another city said soldiers had opened fire on a demonstration and run protesters over with bulldozers, killing at least 15. In the latest sign Saudi Arabia's neighbour was moving towards civil war, six soldiers were killed in what appeared to be an ambush near Zinjibar, a coastal city taken over a few days ago by Islamist and al Qaeda militants.

Residents said jet fighters later strafed militant positions with bombs.

...I am not sure what they mean by strafing positions with bombs. Strafing usually means firing machine guns are cannons at an area. Bombing an area has an obvious meaning.

What the story implies is that the government is moving against the al Qaeda operatives in the city of Zinjibar. By concentrating positions within the city, al Qaeda has made it easier for the military to find and destroy them. It will be difficult for al Qaeda to hold the city if th…

Arabs driving up their cost of production of oil

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Image via Wikipedia Market Watch:

A sharp rise in domestic government spending by Saudi Arabia and other key Arab oil exporters threatens to upset the mutually beneficial relationship they’ve kept for decades with energy consumers worldwide.

A wave of popular protests sweeping the Middle East and North Africa has toppled regimes in Tunisia and Egypt and led to civil war in Libya. It has also forced the region’s rulers to launch programs worth tens of billions of dollars in attempts to redress public grievances.

The spending spree is likely to be felt far beyond their borders. To cover the cost, energy producers have to squeeze more money from their oil fields. That means raising their “break-even” price — the amount of money they must make from each barrel of oil — to avoid fiscal deficits.

Failure to fund these new commitments could lead to domestic spending cuts, which could stoke social and political unrest, or jeopardize their fiscal soundness by requiring they take on more national…

I blame Obama and Salazar

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Image via Wikipedia Des Moines Register/USA Today:


Who's to blame when gas costs $1 more than last year?
The article tries to lay it off on speculators and doe snot even mention the real culprits who are working to strangle domestic production of oil and gas.  If they would get out of the way the price would drop significantly.  The recent price drop followed Obama's very modest opening of a few prospects in Alaska.  If he open ANWR, and offshore areas of Alaska, the Pacific and Atlantic coast and the Eastern gulf of Mexico the price would drop significantly as the speculators would be faced with future increased supplies.

The fact is that Salazar and Obama want higher gas prices to make their inefficient alternative energy projects look more competitive.  The media would apparently rather blame speculators for reacting to Obama/Salazar policies than focus on the real problem.

Related articlesObama Opens Alaska Oil Preserve And Maybe The Atlantic Coast To Drilling (alan.com)Se…