Showing posts from June, 2009

Nazi designed stealth bomber

Long Beach Press Telegram: Could Nazi Germany have altered the course of World War II - or at least withstood the Allied onslaught longer - by deploying a secret aircraft that was technologically decades ahead of its time? That question may never be answered. But engineers and technicians at Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems sector in El Segundo recently were able to shine some light on a Nazi aircraft that never was deployed. At 9p.m. Sunday, the National Geographic Channel will premiere "Hitler's Stealth Fighter," a documentary about the Horten 229, a jet-powered "flying wing" designed by Germany during the war. A flying wing has no fuselage and in many cases no vertical tail, an innovative aircraft design that provides stealth, the ability to at least partially evade radar detection. ... In the early 1940s, the Third Reich started a secret construction project to develop the Horten 229, named for its designers, brothers Walter and Reimar Horten.

Iraq oil 'auction' a bust

NY Times: The Iraqi government stumbled once again on Tuesday in its frequently delayed effort to award development rights to its most valuable oil fields. In a public auction it largely failed to attract the lucrative offers it sought from dozens of international oil firms invited to the bidding. After the day long event, which was broadcast live on national television, the government came away with just a single deal struck from among the six giant oil fields and two gas fields it had put up for bid. The single successful contract went to a pairing of BP and the China National Petroleum Corporation for the largest field on offer: Rumaila, near the southern city of Basra, which has proven reserves of 17 billion barrels. ... “It was successful in the sense that the Oil Ministry set a price and said, ‘You can take it or leave it,’ and did not give oil fields to oil companies at any price,” said Ruba Husari, editor of the Iraqi Forum Web site, which covers the country’s oil industry.

Former president faces arrest if returning to Honduras

Washington Post: The newly appointed president of Honduras, Roberto Micheletti, is warning that if ousted president Manuel Zelaya attempts to return here, he will be immediately arrested and sent to prison. "If he comes back to our country, he would have to face our tribunals and our trials and our laws," Micheletti said in an interview with The Washington Post late Monday night at his residence in the hills overlooking the capital. "He would be sent to jail. For sure, he would go to prison." Micheletti was named the new president of Honduras by the National Congress on Sunday, hours after soldiers burst into the presidential palace, detained Zelaya while he was still in his pajamas and then put him on a plane to Costa Rica. The new Honduran president said he did not see any way to negotiate with the Obama administration and international diplomats seeking a return of Zelaya to power because Micheletti insisted that Zelaya was guilty of crimes against the country

Narcissism alert

Guardian: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today hailed his contested re-election as a victory for the Iranian people and a defeat for the enemies of the Islamic Republic. ... The guy does not get down on himself even after witnessing the largest spontaneous uprising in 30 years against him.

Not too smart

From the Telegraph: Man uses nail clippers in DIY circumcision ... "This is something we would advise men never to attempt," a medic said.... ... Thank goodness for that.

More Americans think Democrats are too liberal

Gallup: A Gallup Poll finds a statistically significant increase since last year in the percentage of Americans who describe the Democratic Party's views as being "too liberal," from 39% to 46%. This is the largest percentage saying so since November 1994, after the party's losses in that year's midterm elections. ... I think that number is going up as the Democrats continue to push the evils of liberalism on the country. It is not helping them that their programs are not working. The Stimulus plan has become a huge embarrassment for Democrats and the energy and heath care programs are also like to be debacles waiting to happen. All those red districts they carried are ripe for switching back to the GOP in 2010.

The death of a Marine hero of three wars

The Oregonian: They came by ones and twos Friday, quietly slipping into the pews at New Hope Community Church. They smiled at the words honoring a man whose faith made him an inspiration and whose exploits in three wars made him a hero. And when the last mournful drone of the bagpipes faded, they said goodbye to Col. Kenneth L. Reusser of Milwaukie, the most decorated U.S. Marine Corps aviator in history. "He was the finest gentleman I've ever met," said Harley Wedel of Fairview, a fellow Korean War veteran. "I'm really going to miss him." Reusser flew an amazing 253 combat missions in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. He was shot down in all three wars -- five times in all. He earned two Navy Crosses, four Purple Hearts and two Legions of Merit among his 59 medals. ... There is much more on this amazing warrior. It is worth reading in full. While we have had a week of obits on celebrities, this guy was a real hero who deserves our respect.

Global elevation map 99 % complete

BBC: The most complete terrain map of the Earth's surface has been published. The data, comprising 1.3 million images, come from a collaboration between the US space agency Nasa and the Japanese trade ministry. The images were taken by Japan's Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (Aster) aboard the Terra satellite. The resulting Global Digital Elevation Map covers 99% of the Earth's surface, and will be free to download and use. ... This will also benefit the military which uses terrain maps along with GPS to help the troops know where they are and where they are going. It has not always been easy to get good maps in some locations. When Lydon Johnson sent the Marines into the Dominican Republic back in the 60s one of their first stops was at gas stations so they could get maps of the area.

India's hot new weapon

BBC: Indian defence scientists are planning to put one of the world's hottest chilli powders into hand grenades. They say the devices will be used to control rioters and in counter-insurgency operations. Researchers say the idea is to replace explosives in small hand grenades with a certain variety of red chilli to immobilise people without killing them. The chilli, known as Bhut Jolokia, is said to be 1,000 times hotter than commonly used kitchen chilli. ... And the powder will also be spread on the fences around army barracks in the hope the strong smell will keep out animals. ... This cannot be described as a "cool" weapon. The use of hot chili sprays to deter animals is fairly common in organic gardening. I have found it not all that effective. Pepper spray to deter attackers has been effective and I presume the grenades that India is developing will create greater dispersion. But, will they be charged with using chemical or biological weapons?

Who decides what is legal in Honduras?

Andrew McCarthy: ... I have a couple of questions. Now that the president has decided it's okay to meddle in Honduras (where they are fighting to keep preserve their democracy against the Chávez-style thug who Obama wants to re-install) but not Iran (where thousands of Iranians who seek democracy are being killed, maimed and jailed by a regime which has been at war with the United States for 30 years), the president's tack is to say that Honduras's action in removing Zelaya is "not legal." What on earth makes Obama think he knows better about what is legal under the law of Honduras than the Supreme Court of Honduras and the law-writing legislature of Honduras? The Honduran military acted after Zelaya defied an order by that nation's highest court which pronounced his coup attempt illegal; he has been replaced under a Honduran legal process by that nation's Congress, which essentially impeached him and democratically voted in a successor. That sounds prett

Brothers at war

William McGurn reviews the movie and like this blogger finds much to recommend.

Cap and trade impact on Texas

Michael Williams: ... Entities as varied as the National Black Chamber of Commerce, The Brookings Institution and the Heritage Foundation agree cap and trade will reduce national GDP, eliminate jobs and lighten family wallets. And Texas Comptroller Susan Combs estimates the typical Texas family (3.4 members) could expect to spend up to an additional $1,136 on medicine, food, clothes and other household goods and services over the next year if cap and trade passes. The price of everything from cell phones, diapers, aspirin and lipstick will rise because of increased production costs. As a regressive tax, this will disproportionately affect single moms, the poor and minorities. As the second most populous state in the union and because of our high energy-intensity, as the energy capital of the country, the comptroller also concludes, “ the current plan to implement mandatory emissions caps will weigh far more on Texas than other regions of the country”. Take for instance agriculture.

Liberals put diversity ahead of fairness

David Paul Kuhn: It took the story of one firefighter to expose the tension between fairness and affirmative action. The nation's four most prominent liberal justices ignored that tension Monday. By consequence, the liberal justices decided that equal outcome should trump equal opportunity, when the two values compete. And in that decision, supported by a chorus of liberal analysts, American liberalism continued decades of thinking that places diversity, not fairness, as its first principle. ... In the end, the Court's conservative majority prevailed in yet another 5 to 4 vote. But it's the minority's dissent, supported by the Obama administration, which stirs up liberalism's ongoing avoidance of affirmative action's negative "real-world" implications. The uniform liberal Court view on affirmative action takes on a heightened resonance today. Democrats hope President Obama marks the beginning of an enduring political majority. A primary aim of either

Left proven wrong on Iraq

Ralph Peters: OUR effort in Iraq passed a major milestone today: Our troops are leaving the cities. Advisers remain in place. Joint patrols will still occur. And our forces will wait nearby to respond to Iraqi calls for support. But the last of the bases and US-only outposts within Iraq's urban centers will be vacated. Terrorists have already begun testing the new security arrangements. Iraqi forces won't always pass with flying colors. Yet this situation seemed a pipe dream not so long ago: Iraq's security forces, serving an elected government, assume primary responsibility for the good order of their own country. We all recall the delighted leftist claims that Iraq had entered a hopeless civil war. Wrong . That Iraqis preferred al Qaeda to us. Wrong . That Shia militias represented the people. Wrong. And that Iran would seize control. Wrong again . Looking back over six years of good intentions, tragic errors, generosity, arrogance, partisan vituperation,

The Ricci attitude

Washington Times Editorial: ... Commentaries on the case almost universally stress that the victors were "white" firefighters, not those who scored highest on the race-neutral test. But skin color should never have been at issue. New Haven went to great lengths to ensure that the test for promotion to captain would not be racially biased. The city was vexed in explaining the outcome, overlooking the obvious conclusion that those who were implicitly promised promotions based on race did not feel the need to compete. Contrast this attitude to that of lead plaintiff Frank Ricci, who is dyslexic and spent thousands of dollars to have test-preparation materials read on tape and studied for months. If the people who had scored poorly on the test had put that much effort into preparation, perhaps they would have done better. Instead, they were going to be given a do-over because they chose not to try. The issue should not be who is the most racially acceptable candidate for promoti

Raising the cost of construction on Guam

Washington Post: Alittle-publicized provision in the fiscal 2010 defense authorization bill approved by the House last week would double the $10 billion cost of construction on Guam as part of the realignment of U.S. military forces in the Pacific. The planned move of 8,000 U.S. Marines and about 3,600 other U.S. military troops and their dependents from Okinawa and mainland Japan to Guam over the next five years was originally expected to cost about $15 billion. Of that total, $10 billion would be in construction of facilities, family housing and public utilities. But a provision in last week's House bill would require that construction companies pay their employees working on Guam's realignment construction projects wages equivalent to rates in Hawaii, which are 250 percent higher than those on Guam, according to the Joint Guam Program Office. The Congressional Budget Office report attached to the House bill estimates the growth in labor costs from this provision alone

Democrats responsible for decline of domestic auto business?

Washington Times: ... The Volvo-driving liberal and the redneck in a Chevy pickup are long-held stereotypes. But a map of car ownership - produced by R.L. Polk & Co. - overlaid on the electoral map reveals the surprising extent to which how we vote corresponds with what we drive. Blue-staters on each coast, from Los Angeles to Seattle and from Boston to the District, are the most likely to drive foreign cars. Domestic brands have their highest levels of market share in the mostly conservative interior of the country. In some blue states - where a Democrat has won at least three of the last four presidential contests - foreign cars have as much as 60 percent of the market, as measured by vehicle registrations. It is mostly in red states - Republican strongholds - where domestic cars have 74 percent of the market or more. This pattern holds in 36 states and the District. ... Its true that liberal Democrats are the least likely group to consider an American car, according to a recen

Sperm training?

Houston Chronicle: For men with fertility problems, some doctors are prescribing a very conventional way to have a baby: more sex. In a study of 118 Australian men with damaged sperm, doctors found that having sex every day for a week significantly reduced the amount of DNA damage in their patients’ sperm. Previous studies have linked better sperm quality to higher pregnancy rates. ... Sperm quality can also be improved if men don’t smoke, drink moderately, exercise, or get more antioxidants. Since concluding the study, Greening says he now instructs all couples seeking fertility advice to start by having more sex. “Some of the older men look a little concerned,” he said. “But the younger ones seem quite happy about it.” ... As Nike used to say, "Just do it." Who knew that if you wanted to make babies it helped to have a lot of sex?

The racist left still wants to discriminate

George Will: Although New Haven's firefighters deservedly won in the Supreme Court, it is deeply depressing that they won narrowly -- 5-4. The egregious behavior by that city's government, in a context of racial rabble-rousing, did not seem legally suspect to even one of the court's four liberals, whose harmony seemed to reflect result-oriented rather than law-driven reasoning. The undisputed facts are that in 2003 the city gave promotion exams to 118 firemen, 27 of them black. The tests were prepared by a firm specializing in employment exams and were validated, as federal law requires, by independent experts. When none of the African-Americans did well enough to qualify for the available promotions, a black minister allied with the seven-term mayor warned of a dire "political ramification" if the city promoted from the list of persons (including one Hispanic) that the exams identified as qualified. The city decided that no one would be promoted, calling this a r

Good riddance to socialist who ignored the law

Ray Walser: ON Sunday, the citizens of Honduras woke up with one president and went to bed with an other. Manuel Zelaya was forced out of the country -- replaced, with full backing from the Congress, the nation's courts, and its military with Interim President Robert Micheletti. Some have denounced this dramatic change as a "coup d'etat" and an assault on democracy. In truth, it was much more of a last-ditch effort to protect Honduras' constitutional order and rule of law from a reckless populist. Honduras and the United States have a long history of friendly relations. We signed a free-trade treaty in 2005; Honduras was an early contributor to Operation Iraqi Freedom. But relations chilled, and chilled hard, after Zelaya won election nearly four years ago. Zelaya sees Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Cuba's Fidel Castro as beacons for the future. As president, he tried to steer Honduras hard left -- but succeeded mainly in boosting corruption and

A reduction in forces for retirees

Washington Times: The U.S. Army is ending a program that has allowed military retirees to volunteer for missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, disappointing many former service members who have embraced a second chance to serve their country. Lt. Col. George Wright, 55, an Army spokesman -- himself a program participant who signed up to return to service in 2007 after nine years of retirement -- said the program is being terminated because the Army had to reduce personnel to reach a congressionally mandated limit on the total number of soldiers. "The end of the program is driven by end-strength concerns," he said, adding that the Army was engaged in a constant process of managing its size by "fine-tuning" its enlistment and retention figures. "There's a balance between the methods we use. We try to use the tools that will impact Army capabilities the least," he said, noting that most of those who had signed up for the program were not serving on the front

Bottom story of day

From the NY Times: Pakistan Militant Group Scraps Truce The Taliban have never really honored a truce with anyone so this is no big surprise. The poor terrorist don't like the UAV attacks. They just hate it when people fight back against them. These guys were already part of an alliance with Mehsud who is under attack by the Pakistan army.

Colorful company

Obama has a strange attitude toward the rule of law. The former President of Honduras was clearly attempting an illegal election and had ignored the rulings of the Supreme Court and the legislature. Somehow Obama interprets his removal as illegal and ignores his illegal conduct. He is going to have to do better than that.

Pakistan to get live feed from UAVs looking for Taliban

NY Times: As Pakistan escalates military operations against a top Taliban leader , the United States has resumed secret military surveillance drone flights over the country’s tribal areas to provide Pakistani commanders with a wide array of videos and other information on militants, according to American and Pakistani officials. The sharing of real-time video feeds, communications intercepts and other information with Pakistan’s military is considered essential in the country’s campaign to help hunt down the Taliban leader, Baitullah Mehsud , and destroy his hideouts and forces in the country’s northwest, the officials said. The increased intelligence cooperation comes as the Obama administration is also speeding the delivery of transport helicopters, body armor and other equipment that Pakistan’s military has requested to help combat Mr. Mehsud and to prepare for a major offensive in the militant leader’s stronghold in South Waziristan, a mountainous region abutting the borde

Michael Jackson's last career move

Richard Littlejohn: When the head of RCA Records was told that Elvis had died, he is said to have remarked: 'Great career move.' His modern counterpart at Sony must have entertained similar sentiments after being informed that Michael Jackson had popped his pumps. Since the news of Wacko Jacko's death Twittered out of Los Angeles, his albums have gone platinum all over again. The megastore shelves have been stripped bare, the Amazons and eBays looted of Jackson memorabilia. People who hadn't bought a Michael Jackson CD for a quarter of a century, some who had never possessed a Michael Jackson record, were suddenly overcome with a compelling urge to fill their boots with his back catalogue. For some unfathomable reason, they felt a primeval need to touch the hem of his garment, to lay their hands on a piece of the legend, to be able to tell their grandchildren that they were there; to give them something to occupy their attention until the next series of Britain's Go

Iran certifies election people think bogus

NY Times: Iran ’s powerful Guardian Council certified the results of the country’s disputed presidential election on Monday, according to state television, an unexpectedly rapid move that set the stage for more clashes in the streets of Tehran. The announcement came even as the government continued its efforts to try to quell public anger over the election, with a parliamentary committee reaching out to religious leaders. The government went to far as to extend a deadline for considering complaints of vote rigging — just hours before confirming the vote. When news of the certification broke, witnesses said, security and militia forces flooded the streets, and protesters who were already out marching down Tehran’s central avenue, Vali Asr, broke into furious chants. Other Iranians, urged on by Web site pleas, went to their rooftops to yell “God is great!” in a show of defiance. The government has barred all independent coverage of events in Iran, jailing hundreds of journalists and r

It could have been life

From CNN: Madoff sentenced to 150 years He deserves everyday of it and it is too bad he want live long enough to complete his sentence.

Sotomayor discrimination case overturned

The Hill: The Supreme Court on Monday narrowly reversed a controversial decision written by President Obama’s nominee to join the body, giving conservative groups a chance to take issue with Judge Sonia Sotomayor even as her confirmation looks increasingly likely. Justices reversed the Second Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Ricci v. DeStefano, a case that has been at the heart of conservative opposition to Sotomayor's nomination. ... Writing for a 5-4 majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy cited a violation of Title VII, which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, gender or religion. The Court's conservative wing, including Justices John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, joined Kennedy, who is often the court’s swing vote. ... However, the fact that the court disagreed with Sotomayor is sure to inflame right-leaning groups that oppose her nomination. The conservative Federalist Society has already scheduled a conference call for repo

Picking and choosing constitutional rights for terrorist

Wall Street Journal: The Justice Department has determined that detainees tried by military commissions in the U.S. can claim at least some constitutional rights, particularly protection against the use of statements taken through coercive interrogations, officials said. The conclusion, explained in a confidential memorandum whose contents were shared with The Wall Street Journal, could alter significantly the way the commissions operate -- and has created new divisions among the agencies responsible for overseeing the commissions. Defense Department officials warn that the Justice Department position could reduce the chance of convicting some defendants. Military prosecutors have said involuntary statements comprise the lion's share of their evidence against dozens of Guantanamo prisoners who could be tried. The Obama Justice Department's view is a sharp turn from that of the Bush administration, which argued detainees have no constitutional rights. It isn't clear how the

The iron fist terrorizing Iran

Dieter Bednarz: Tehran is in a state of emergency as the government continues its increasingly brutal crackdown against protesters. Hardliners and opposition politicians are searching for a compromise behind the scenes, but Iran's supreme leader is refusing to make any concessions. The pressure must be great indeed when someone like Abbas Abdi no longer wants to talk. Whether as a revolutionary or a reformer, Abdi, 51, has never lacked courage and a willingness to take risks. During the 1979 occupation of the US Embassy in Tehran, he was one of the first to scale the embassy walls. With his calls to "fight against global arrogance," he became the most famous of the hostage-takers that held more than 50 US citizens captive for 444 days. But Abdi was also on the front lines when it came to criticizing the Iranian theocracy. A few years after the revolution, he sharply attacked the mullahs, accusing them of corruption and nepotism. He knows the inside of Tehran'

Obama hypocrisy watch

Jim Geraghty: I'm glad that people are noticing that when Obama's chief advisor David Axelrod won't rule out the possibility of taxing employer-based health insurance, that's it's a major reversal of Obama's campaign rhetoric. I just wish more folks noted just how much of Obama's campaign message was based on this — $44 million on 16 different attack-ad commercials ripping McCain for proposing the very same idea. When a man won't even stand by his attack ads, he's really without principles . (Emphasis added) ... I think we will find more of this in Obama. In fact we already have on indefinite detention and military tribunals etc. He is a man willing to change positions without blinking. It just goes to show he is willing to say anything to get elected.

Chavez, Correa threaten Honduras

Reuters: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Sunday put troops on alert after a coup in Honduras and said he would respond militarily if his envoy to the Central American country was kidnapped or killed. Chavez said Honduran soldiers took away the Cuban ambassador and left the Venezuelan ambassador on the side of a road after beating him during the army's coup against his leftist ally, Honduran President Manuel Zelaya. The Honduran army ousted Zelaya and exiled him in Central America's first military coup since the Cold War, after he upset the army by trying to win re-election. Chavez said on state television if his ambassador to Venezuela was killed, or if troops entered the Venezuelan Embassy, "that military junta would be entering a de facto state of war. We would have to act militarily ... I have put the armed forces of Venezuela on alert." Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa, part of a coalition of leftist governments headed by Chavez t

Is California undertaxed?

Carol Platt Liebau: ... ... Of all the problems contributing to the fiscal mess, state under -taxation is the least of them. California’s sales and gas taxes are the highest in the country – and it has the highest vehicle license fees and the second-highest top-bracket income tax, too. Its corporate tax rates are the highest of all western states, and for the fourth year in a row, a survey of 543 CEO’s found that California’s toxic combination of high taxes and intrusive regulations made it the worst place in the nation to do business. In fact, at the real root of California’s fiscal misery is the profligacy of arrogant, big-spending, left-wing legislators, who have treated taxpayers as if they exist only to support the government.... ... Remarkably, even as they have driven California into the fiscal ditch (and demanded ever-higher taxes from its citizens), Evans and her colleagues remain the most highly compensated state legislators in the nation. Along with their six-figure sala

The Obama Middle East freeze

Jackson Diehl: ... This absolutist position is a loser for three reasons. First, it has allowed Palestinian and Arab leaders to withhold the steps they were asked for; they claim to be waiting for the settlement "freeze" even as they quietly savor a rare public battle between Israel and the United States. Second, the administration's objective -- whatever its merits -- is unobtainable. No Israeli government has ever agreed to an unconditional freeze, and no coalition could be assembled from the current parliament to impose one. Finally, the extraction of a freeze from Netanyahu is, as a practical matter, unnecessary. While further settlement expansion needs to be curbed, both the Palestinian Authority and Arab governments have gone along with previous U.S.-Israeli deals by which construction was to be limited to inside the periphery of settlements near Israel -- since everyone knows those areas will be annexed to Israel in a final settlement. Before the 2007 Annapolis p

Iran's paranoid delusional 'intelligence' minister

CNN: Iran's intelligence minister Sunday blamed Western powers for stirring up protests over its disputed presidential election, singling out Britain and saying the British Embassy in Tehran "played a heavy role in the recent disturbances." "The fact that Iran is stable, calm and secure, they're upset with this," Intelligence Minister Gholam-Hosein Mohseni Ejei told Iran's Press TV. Iran intensified its crackdown on the protests that have followed the June 12 election over the weekend, reportedly seizing wounded protesters from their hospital beds and arresting local British Embassy staff in Tehran. British Foreign Secretary David Miliband protested the arrests as "harassment and intimidation of a kind which is quite unacceptable." "About nine" staffers have been affected, he said, adding that some had already been released. "We have protested in strong terms directly to the Iranian authorities about the arrests that took pla

The battle for Waziristan

Washington Post: More than 70 years ago, the British army went to war against tribal forces loyal to a charismatic religious figure in what is now the Pakistani region of Waziristan. The ensuing guerrilla conflict lasted more than a decade. The British troops, though far more numerous and better armed, never captured the renegade leader and finally withdrew from the region. Today, the Pakistani army is preparing to launch a major operation against another warrior in Waziristan, the ruthless Islamist commander Baitullah Mehsud. Taking a lesson from history and its own recent failures, the army is attempting to isolate and weaken Mehsud before sending its troops into battle. Every day for the past two weeks, Pakistani bombers have crisscrossed Mehsud's territory, pounding his suspected hideouts and killing dozens of his fighters, including 16 who officials said died in bombing raids Saturday. Military forces have also surrounded the region to choke off Mehsud's access to weapo

Missile defense terminal velocity leaves Hawaii exposed

Washington Times Editorial: July 4 could be another day that will live in infamy. The Obama administration seized headlines June 18 when the Defense Department stated that the United States would deploy ground- and sea-based missile-defense assets to protect Hawaii. This was a response to North Korea's threat to launch a long-range missile on July 4 toward the islands. However, new information suggests that the administration is bluffing and our defenses are inadequate to get the job done. Missile-defense expert Taylor Dinerman told us that the sea-based SM-3 missiles now deployed to "protect" Hawaii are not equipped with adequate software and communications to intercept a missile traveling from North Korea to Hawaii, which would reach a terminal velocity of Mach 23 to 25. The SM-3s are effective only against targets traveling at up to half that speed. It would take about $50 million to upgrade the software to enable a Mach 25 intercept. The Army's Terminal High Alti

Hillary and Hugo work to undermine Honduras constitution

Mary Anastasia O'Grady: Hugo Chávez's coalition-building efforts suffered a setback yesterday when the Honduran military sent its president packing for abusing the nation's constitution. It seems that President Mel Zelaya miscalculated when he tried to emulate the success of his good friend Hugo in reshaping the Honduran Constitution to his liking. But Honduras is not out of the Venezuelan woods yet. Yesterday the Central American country was being pressured to restore the authoritarian Mr. Zelaya by the likes of Fidel Castro, Daniel Ortega, Hillary Clinton and, of course, Hugo himself. The Organization of American States, having ignored Mr. Zelaya's abuses, also wants him back in power. It will be a miracle if Honduran patriots can hold their ground. That Mr. Zelaya acted as if he were above the law, there is no doubt. While Honduran law allows for a constitutional rewrite, the power to open that door does not lie with the president. A constituent assembly can only b

GE sucks up to Obama while sucking up TARP funds

Washington Post: General Electric , the world's largest industrial company, has quietly become the biggest beneficiary of one of the government's key rescue programs for banks. At the same time, GE has avoided many of the restrictions facing other financial giants getting help from the government. The company did not initially qualify for the program, under which the government sought to unfreeze credit markets by guaranteeing debt sold by banking firms. But regulators soon loosened the eligibility requirements, in part because of behind-the-scenes appeals from GE. As a result, GE has joined major banks collectively saving billions of dollars by raising money for their operations at lower interest rates. Public records show that GE Capital, the company's massive financing arm, has issued nearly a quarter of the $340 billion in debt backed by the program, which is known as the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program, or TLGP. The government's actions have been "po

Fragile Iran regime attacks BBC-Persian channel

NY Times: As Iran ’s ruling ayatollahs tell it, the main strike force plotting to end Islamic rule in their country is not on the streets of Tehran but on the upper floors of a celebrated Art Deco building in central London. The propagators of an “all-out war” against the Islamic republic, as Iran’s semiofficial news agency has called them, are a group of 140 men and women who work at the BBC ’s Broadcasting House, a stone’s throw from the shopping mecca of Oxford Street in London. Mainly expatriate Iranians, they staff the BBC’s Persian-language television service, on air for only six months and reaching a daily audience of six million to eight million Iranians — a powerful fraction of viewers in Iran, with its population of 70 million. The audience estimate, BBC insiders say, came from a leaked document prepared by Iran’s state-run broadcasting service, which warned before the current upheaval of the threat from the new channel. PTV, as those in the London newsroom call it, is at th

Impeachment in Honduras?

NY Times: The Honduran president, Manuel Zelaya, was ousted by the army on Sunday after pressing ahead with plans for a referendum that opponents said could lay the groundwork for his eventual re-election, in the first military coup in Central America since the end of the cold war. Soldiers entered the presidential palace in the capital, Tegucigalpa, and disarmed the presidential guard early Sunday, military officials said. Mr. Zelaya’s private secretary, Eduardo Enrique Reina, confirmed the arrest. Mr. Zelaya flew into exile in Costa Rica, telling a local television station, “They are creating a monster they will not be able to contain.” Much of the capital was without electricity on Sunday and residents stood on long lines to buy kerosene for home generators. Military tanks patrolled the streets and military planes flew overhead. Soldiers were on guard at all the main government buildings and military trucks dropped off police at strategic crossings throughout the city, residents sai

Iran manipulation not as effective this time

NY Times: ... The arrests, detentions and restrictions added to Iran’s growing international isolation, as European Union foreign ministers meeting in Corfu, Greece, warned in a statement that there would be a “strong and collective E.U. response” to any intimidation of its members’ diplomatic staffs. The British Foreign Ministry said some of its personnel had been released, but declined to provide details. In the past, international pressure was enough to rally the nation behind its leaders and silence critics. But this time, that did not seem to be the case. Instead, the government’s actions, coupled with renewed calls for national unity, added to a growing sense of uncertainty over where Iran was headed as its leaders tried to pull out of a crisis that has undermined its legitimacy and divided the political and clerical elite. In spite of all the threats, the overwhelming show of force and the nighttime raids on private homes, protesters still flowed into the streets by the thousan

Carbon phobes seek ever higher energy taxes

Guardian: Consumers will need to pay more for energy if the UK is to have any chance of developing the technologies needed to tackle climate change , according to a group of leading scientists and engineers. In a Royal Society study to be published today, the experts said that the government must put research into alternatives to fossil fuel much higher among its priorities, and argued that current policy in the area was "half-hearted". "We have adapted to an energy price which is unrealistically low if we're going to try and preserve the environment," John Shepherd, a climate scientist at Southampton University and co-author of the report said. "We have to allow the economy to adapt to higher energy prices through carbon prices and that will then make things like renewables and nuclear more economic, as carbon-based alternatives become more expensive." Shepherd admitted higher energy costs would be a hard sell to the public, but said it was not unthi