Showing posts from September, 2011

Smart drones

Popular Science: Army Developing Drones That Can Recognize Your Face From a Distance We might have been able to whack Awlaki sooner with this technology. BTW, I have seen reports that the attacks were based on shared intelligence with Yemen.  My money would be on Saudi intelligence.  No one has better intelligence in the area.

US tells Haqqanis no ground troops will be used in attacks

Reuters/Arab News:   A senior US official told Reuters on Friday that Washington would not send ground troops into Pakistan to attack militant positions in North Waziristan. “There will be no boots on the ground,” the official said. “That has been communicated to them (the Pakistanis).” Pakistan and the United States have engaged in a diplomatic fusillade over the last week after outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen said a Taleban faction was a “veritable arm” of the Pakistani spy agency. Anti-American protests broke out in several Pakistani cities on Friday, a day after political leaders joined in rejecting US accusations that Islamabad was supporting militants. ...  I think this was a mistake.  Pakistan and the Haqqanis should both worry about such strikes.  I would consider ordering them the next time the Haqqanis strike in Pakistan.  Even without them, I would order heavy air strikes against the Haqqani sanctuaries in Pakistan.

Navy X-47B stealth drone ready for carrier landing

Daily Mail: The U.S. Navy's latest stealth drone has completed a series of rigorous summer flight tests - taking it one step closer to its first automated carrier landing.   Reaching speeds of 180 knots, two experimental X-47B drones have completed their summer test schedule to evaluate software and other modifications before the first test aircraft carrier landing in 2013. While the X-47B is expected to usher in a new era of unmanned aircraft, critics have raised concerns over the lack of human control in increasingly deadly military hardware.   The fighter-sized aircraft features an innovative, GPS-based navigation and landing system that will enable it to land autonomously, with precision, on the moving deck of a Navy aircraft carrier. In addition to the planned carrier launches and landings in 2013, the program will also demonstrate the ability of the X-47B to conduct autonomous aerial refuelling operations in 2014.   The X-47B is a computer-controlled UAS

Trade secrets

Daily Mail: Battle of the 'breastraunts': Hooters sues ex exec's saucy start-up 'Twin Peaks'   Twin Peaks motto is 'Eats, Drinks, Scenic Views'.  And the food, who noticed?

Palestinian beggars claim entitlement to US aid

Independent: The Palestinian leadership yesterday accused the US Congress of inflicting "collective punishment" upon its people by holding up almost $200m in aid earmarked for the West Bank and Gaza by the Obama administration. The freeze on funds earlier allocated for the financial year which ends today is the first concrete Congressional reprisal against Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to come to light since he angered US legislators by pursuing his application for full UN membership last week. The unpublicised block has been in force since August and was imposed in response to the then planned UN recognition bid and to earlier – so far fruitless – efforts to effect reconciliation between Mr Abbas's own Fatah faction and Hamas. ...  The Palestinians are not entitled to a penny of US aid anymore than any other country.  If you engage in conduct inconsistent with US policy you can expect to see your aid disappear.  This nonsense about collective punishmen

Buyers rejecting hybrid vehicles

CNN/Money : For all the excitement generated by every new hybrid car introduction, there is one little problem. In case you haven't noticed, hardly anyone is buying them.   That's despite the fact that the number of hybrid models on the market has increased each year. In 2009, there were 17. At the start of 2011, there were 30. That's more choices, but fewer takers.   The market share for hybrid cars peaked in 2009 at 2.8% of all new vehicles sold. The year after that, it fell to 2.4% and it's on track to be a little less than that this year, according to data from ...  The higher cost is not made up for by better gas mileage.  Then there is the potential higher cost down teh road to replace teh specialized equipment and batteries.

Yemen Hell Fire strike a twofer for US

NY Times: Yemen’s official news agency  reported  that the young Web-savvy American thought to be behind Inspire, a magazine for Al Qaeda, was killed in the same Friday strike that killed the radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. The report, citing an unnamed defense official, said the man, Samir Khan, was killed in the strike, along with two other people, and identified him as an American citizen and a computer specialist.... ...   This should be a real blow to al Qaeda's most effective  propaganda arm.  If there is a next edition of their Inspire Magazine it will probably have a black border. The Telegraph reports  that Al Qaeda top bomb maker in Yemen was also among the casualties. ...   Reports last night said the bomb maker Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri was also killed in the vehicle. If confirmed, it would mean the foreign operations of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) had been wiped out. ...  It appears to be a real decapitation strike against AQAP.

The horse Obama road in on

Stephen Moore: Harold Hamm, the Oklahoma-based founder and CEO of Continental Resources, the 14th-largest oil company in America, is a man who thinks big. He came to Washington last month to spread a needed message of economic optimism: With the right set of national energy policies, the United States could be "completely energy independent by the end of the decade. We can be the Saudi Arabia of oil and natural gas in the 21st century." "President Obama is riding the wrong horse on energy," he adds. We can't come anywhere near the scale of energy production to achieve energy independence by pouring tax dollars into "green energy" sources like wind and solar, he argues. It has to come from oil and gas. You'd expect an oilman to make the "drill, baby, drill" pitch. But since 2005 America truly has been in the midst of a revolution in oil and natural gas, which is the nation's fastest-growing manufacturing sector. No one is more r

Americans prefer GOP for defense, jobs

Gallup: - Americans see the Republican Party as better able than the Democratic Party to protect the country from terrorism and military threats, and to keep the country prosperous over the next few years. These views come as record numbers of Americans are dissatisfied with the way the nation is being governed and express  highly negative opinions about a number of other dimensions  of the federal government. Next year's elections provide Americans with an opportunity to vent their frustrations in the presidential and the congressional elections. At this point, Republicans, who currently control the House but not the presidency or the Senate, appear to be at least slightly better positioned going into the elections, given Americans' preference for the GOP to handle the nation's domestic and international woes. Democrats held the advantage over the Republican Party on the "prosperous" dimension from 2003 through 2009, a period that included the majority o

More eye surgery today

The doctor is making another attempt to fix my double vision problem, this time by adjusting the muscles that control my good eye.  Working on the problem eye was not effective because the muscles did not respond to the changes.  Hopefully, I can do some more blogging this evening if things go well.

Eagle Ford production causing traffic problems

Houston Chronicle: Along with prosperity, tricky problems come with the Eagle Ford shale boom. Roads in small communities are taking a beating from oil field truck traffic. There's a housing shortage. And billions of dollars in new pipelines will crisscross the oil and gas play, an eminent domain issue that inevitably will make some private landowners unhappy. The issues are nothing new in a state with a long history of oil and natural gas production. But the speed at which drilling activity has ramped up across the Eagle Ford has taken many by surprise. "Y'all have just been inundated so quickly,"  Kenny Jordan , executive director of the  Association of Energy Service Companies , said at a meeting this week of the Eagle Ford Task Force, its third. Brian Schoenemann, area engineer for the  Texas Department of Transportation  in Yoakum, said the oil field trucks are traveling on roads not designed to handle a significant amount of 18-wheeler traffic. And tr

Illegal DWI death in Mass leads to protest

NY Times:  A fatal accident that the police say involved an illegal immigrant driving drunk has stirred outrage in Massachusetts and put Gov.  Deval Patrick  on the defensive for his resistance to a federal program intended to deport criminals.   According to the police, the immigrant, Nicolas Guaman from Ecuador, struck and killed a young motorcyclist in Milford last month while intoxicated, dragging him for a quarter of a mile. Mr. Guaman has a previous criminal record, the police said, and many here have pointed to his case as an example of why the federal program, known as Secure Communities, is necessary.   Under Secure Communities, the fingerprints of anyone booked into jail by the state and local police are sent through the F.B.I. to the  Department of Homeland Security , which tracks  immigration  violations. Immigration agents then decide whether to deport immigrants flagged by such checks.   Mr. Patrick, a Democrat, announced in June that Massachusetts would not parti

Perry paints a contrast with Romney on health care

Houston Chronicle:  In his first domestic policy speech as a presidential candidate, Rick Perry is outlining his record as Texas governor and accusing rival Mitt Romney of governing Massachusetts the same way President Barack Obama governs the country. The address, set for today at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, discusses Perry’s record on health care and the environment. But Perry offers few policy proposals, instead focusing on criticizing Obama, hitting Romney’s health care law and opening a more aggressive line of attack on Romney’s record on climate change. “As Republican voters decide who is best suited to lead this country in a new direction by stopping the spending spree and scrapping Obamacare, I am confident they will choose a nominee who has governed on conservative principles, not one whose health care policies paved the way for Obamacare,” Perry says, according to prepared remarks obtained by The Associated Press. Perry contrasts Romney’s plan with the medi

House could vote to cut Labor influence

Red States: ... If the appropriations bill is passed, with their oxygen supply cut off, both of the unions’ main weapons in their war on job creators—the Department of Labor and the NLRB—would be significantly curtailed. Here are the relevant sections [with  emphasis ]. Reducing Harmful Red Tape and Increasing Oversigh t –  To increase oversight over taxpayer funds and improve the effectiveness of DoL programs , the legislation requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct two studies: 1) an evaluation of the cost-effectiveness of job training programs; and 2) an evaluation of the “skills-mismatch” problem within these programs to ensure that the training provided is adequate to meet the employment needs of local businesses and the demands of the current marketplace. In addition, the legislation includes several provisions that are designed to foster a pro-job growth environment by reducing or eliminating the Administration’s aggressive regulatory overreach

Florida primary move helps Perry

Joel Gehrke: If Florida  moves it's primary  to January, as expected, despite Republican National Committee rules to the contrary, the state will have less of an impact on the Republican nomination process because of the proportional representation and loss of delegates that would ensue according to RNC rules; such a sequence would benefit Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas. With two top-tier candidates in Perry and former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., the current Republican field increasingly recalls the 2008 Democratic primary battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Originally, the Democratic National Committee penalized Florida for holding its primary ahead of schedule, but  granted a compromise  that significantly diminished the sting. Florida Republicans must hope the RNC will also back down. Paul Senft, Florida's National Committeeman to the Republican National Committee, argued against the move  today  in an email, saying  that Florida could "lock up the lead and

Awlaki whacked in Yemen Hell Fire attack

BBC: The US-born radical Islamist cleric and suspected al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki has been killed in Yemen, the country's defence ministry reported. Unnamed US administration officials confirmed the reports. Awlaki, of Yemeni descent, has been on the run in Yemen since December 2007. The US had named him a "specially designated global terrorist" for his alleged role in a number of attacks and US President Barack Obama is said to have personally ordered his killing. The defence ministry statement said only that he died "along with some of his companions". It gave no further details of his death. But tribal sources told AFP news agency Awlaki was killed in an air strike in the eastern Marib province, said to be an al-Qaeda stronghold. It is not clear whether he was killed by Yemeni forces or a US drone strike. The death was also announced on Yemeni TV. ...  There  is more on Awlaki in the Telegraph story .   He is tied to the Fort Hoo

The Solyndra story

Hat tip to Power Line.  It is a nice quick summary of events to date.

Another Big Green failure

AutoblogGreen: World's largest renewable diesel refiner says cost of fuel is way more than anticipated It is cheaper to produce regular diesel.

That is their story and they are sticking to it

The Hill: Onion not backing off spoof hostage’ report They said Congress was hold some kids hostage till they were give several trillion dollars.  The police lacked a sense of humor about the report.

Qaddafi spokesman found in drag

Telegraph: Libya: Gaddafi mouthpiece caught 'fleeing dressed as a woman' What is it about Arab despots and women's clothing?

US fed up with Pakistan

Shashank Joshi: Pakistan’s deposed military dictator, Pervez Musharraf, told The Daily Telegraph yesterday that “the United States must accept the compulsions of Pakistan” in using terrorist groups as instruments of foreign policy. For a decade, the US did just that, even in the face of mounting evidence that Pakistan was responsible for derailing the war in Afghanistan and killing allied forces. But America’s top military officer has now taken the gloves off. Admiral Mike Mullen, regarded as one of the most pro-Pakistan officials in the US government, has informed the Senate that the Haqqani network – a Taliban-linked insurgent group – is a “veritable arm” of the ISI, Pakistan’s intelligence service. “With ISI support,” said Mullen, the Haqqanis had bombed the US embassy in Kabul earlier this month. For the first time in history, an ally – one which has taken $22 billion of American money since 2002 – stands accused of committing an effective act of war against the US.

Defense cuts would hollow out military

Rowan Scarborough: A new congressional report spells out in detail how the military would become “hollow” if  Congress ‘ super committee fails to agree on deficit reductions and $1 trillion in automatic spending cuts kick in. The  Army  and  Marine Corps  would lose 200,000 troops, bringing active strength “well below” pre-Sept. 11, 2001, levels, and the armed forces would not be able to carry out its essential mission, says a 14-page analysis by the Republican majority staff of the  Housed Armed Services Committee . The report also says the cuts would deplete weapon systems, further degrading the fighting capabilities of the armed forces. Defense Secretary  Leon Panetta  has warned repeatedly in recent weeks of a weakened, or hollow, military if a congressional super-committee fails to agree on deficit reductions by Nov. 23. By law, the stalemate would require across-the-board slashing at all federal agencies, including the  Pentagon .  Mr. Panetta  has not offered many detai

You can thank Dodd, Frank and Warren for this

NY Times: Banks Starting to Charge Customers for Debit Card Use Cutting other banking fees led to this.

Perry says Buffet is out of touch

Buffet has become Obama's useful idiot.  Obama is just using him to push for policies that would be bad for the country.  Perry is also right about Dodd-Frank.

Perry makes a coherent argument on immigration policy

I think he is much more persuasive here than he was in the debate when it comes to dealing with the failure of federal immigration policy.

Fast and Furious guns found in El Paso

LA Times: A cache of assault weapons lost in the ATF's gun-trafficking surveillance operation in Phoenix turned up in El Paso, where it was being stored for shipment to  Mexico , according to new internal agency emails and federal court records. Forty firearms along with ammunition magazines and ballistic vests were discovered in Texas in January 2010 during the early stages of the program, meaning the firearms vanished soon after the program began. ... According to an ATF document, Sean Christopher Steward bought the 40 AK-47-type assault rifles on Dec. 24, 2009, from the Lone Wolf Trading Co. gun store in Glendale, a suburb of Phoenix. The cache was part of 290 firearms ultimately acquired by Steward, a convicted drug felon, during the Fast and Furious operation. Last January, he and 19 others were indicted in the only criminal case to arise out of Fast and Furious. According to ATF emails and a federal court affidavit, El Paso police officers tracking alleged drug smuggling fr

Pakistan argument against going after enemy incoherent

Reuters: U.S. military action against insurgents in Pakistan  would be unacceptable and the country's army would be capable of responding, intelligence chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha told a meeting of political leaders in Islamabad, according to media reports. Express News TV cited Pasha as saying an "American attack on Pakistan in the name of (fighting) extremism is not acceptable." However, several television news reports said Pasha had also told an all-party meeting to discuss the crisis in ties between Washington and Islamabad that Pakistan would not allow the situation to get to a "point of no return." Pakistan has long faced U.S. demands to attack militants on its side of the border with Afghanistan. But the pressure has escalated since the top U.S. military officer, Admiral Mike Mullen, accused Pakistan last week of supporting an attack by the militant Haqqani network on the U.S. embassy in Kabul. ... So Pakistan's position is that it forces a

Democrats 2012 depression

Gallup:  In thinking about the 2012 presidential election, 45% of Democrats and independents who lean Democratic say they are more enthusiastic about voting than usual, while nearly as many, 44%, are less enthusiastic. This is in sharp contrast to 2008 and, to a lesser extent, 2004, when the great majority of Democrats expressed heightened enthusiasm about voting.   Democrats' muted response to voting in 2012 also contrasts with Republicans' eagerness. Nearly 6 in 10 Republicans, 58%, describe themselves as more enthusiastic about voting. That is nearly identical to Republicans' average level of enthusiasm in 2004 (59%) and higher than it was at most points in 2008. ...  There is more including several charts. In 2010 the Republicans could not wait to vote and I see the same thing for 2012 at this point.

Drug cartels threaten Texas

This study by two generals lays out the facts. During the past two years the state of Texas has become increasingly threatened by the spread of Mexican cartel organized crime. The threat reflects a change in the strategic intent of the cartels to move their operations into the United States. In effect, the cartels seek to create a “sanitary zone” inside the Texas border -- one county deep -- that will provide sanctuary from Mexican law enforcement and, at the same time, enable the cartels to transform Texas’ border counties into narcotics transshipment points for continued transport and distribution into the continental United States. To achieve their objectives the cartels are relying increasingly on organized gangs to provide expendable and unaccountable manpower to do their dirty work. These gangs are recruited on the streets of Texas cities and inside Texas prisons by top-tier gangs who work in conjunction with the cartels.   ... There is much more.  It is a border security

Romney has not gained from Perry's decline

Nate Silver: There have been three scientific national polls released of Republican voters since the Sept. 22 debate: a  CNN poll  that was conducted over the last weekend, and polls by  Fox News  and  Economist/YouGov  released on Wednesday. The polls suggest that Rick Perry’s struggles in the debate — amplified by a storm of skepticism among influential Republicans — have taken a bite out of his numbers. But the spoils seem to have gone mainly to other conservative candidates in the race, rather than Mr. Romney. I’ve taken an average of the polls, with one slight wrinkle. The YouGov poll included Chris Christie, Sarah Palin and Rudolph W. Giuliani as options, and they collectively received 29 percent of the vote. Since none of those candidates are especially likely to run, I have re-allocated their votes based on the distribution of second-place votes in the poll. (Before this adjustment, Mr. Romney and Mr. Christie shared the lead in the poll at 15 percent, with Mr. Perry a

Obama Justice Depat. cuts out the middlemen in sale of guns to narco terrorist

Michael Walsh: This just might be the smoking gun we’ve been waiting for to break the festering “Fast and Furious” gun-running scandal wide open: the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives apparently ordered one of its own agents to purchase firearms with taxpayer money, and sell them directly to a Mexican drug cartel.   Let that sink in: After months of pretending that “Fast and Furious” was a botched surveillance operation of illegal gun-running spearheaded by the ATF and the US attorney’s office in Phoenix, it turns out that the government itself was selling guns to the bad guys.   Agent John Dodson was ordered to buy four Draco pistols for cash and even got a letter from his supervisor, David Voth, authorizing a federally licensed gun dealer to sell him the guns without bothering about the necessary paperwork.   “Please accept this letter in lieu of completing an ATF Form 4473 for the purchase of four (4) CAI, Model Draco, 7.62x39 mm pistols, by Spec