Saturday, February 09, 2008

Hillary and Obama on guns? Nothing but the sounds of crickets.

I don't know call me crazy, but I think we might have a slight problem with guns in this country. In the past two days, in rapid succession, there have been three mass shootings resulting in the deaths of three police officers, ten civilians with several people seriously wounded in the aftermath.

In LA on Wednesday night/Thursday morning a hostage taker was shot after killing a SWAT officer, wounding another and killing most of his hostages [NYT];

In Kirkwood, Mo. a disgruntled citizen mad about several hundred parking tickets shot-up a city council meeting killing two police officers, two council members and seriously wounding the Mayor before being killed himself by the police [AP];

Hours later, the same day, a nursing student in Baton Rouge killed two fellow students before turning the gun on herself [UPI].

And then there was the everyday, run of the mill type domestic attempted murder where a man first shot at his wife, later stabbed her in front of her fifth grade class and then went home to shot himself in his garage. []

Of course, here in Philly a shooting or two a day is par for the course, but even by Philly standards what’s gone in the last two days is unbelievable. I'm thinking, though, if those city council members in Kirkwood had just been armed or if that teacher in Portsmouth, Ohio, had had a concealed weapons permit like High School English teacher Shirley Katz in Medford Oregon none of this would have happened. [See this blog 10/11/07]

[Note: 1/15/08 "A Medford English teacher has appealed a court decision blocking her from carrying a gun at school. Shirley Katz, who teaches at South Medford High School, is seeking to overturn last year's Circuit Court ruling upholding a school district policy that forbids employees from carrying guns on campus."]

Of course, the police officers were armed and they still got shot, but that must have been because some liberal politician had made them use 22s instead of Glocks like that pistol packing teacher in Medford has.

What I'm wondering is what either Barack Obama or Hillary has to say about all this mayhem?

From On The Issues:

Question for Obama . . .

"When you were in the state senate, you talked about licensing and registering gun owners. Would you do that as president?

A: I don't think that we can get that done. But what we can do is to provide just some common-sense enforcement."

Sounds like the NRA's got another potential friend in the White House.

And Hillary?

"Hillary Rodham Clinton offered her support for a legislative proposal to license hand guns. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Charles Schumer, would require anyone who wants to purchase a gun to obtain a state-issued photo gun license. “I stand in support of this common sense legislation to license everyone who wishes to purchase a gun,” Clinton said. “I also believe that every new handgun sale or transfer should be registered in a national registry, such as Chuck is proposing.

That sounds a little less NRA friendly but I haven't heard anything from her lately about gun control. You'd think after the last two day one of the two leading candidates for the Democratic nomination would address the shooting deaths of three police officers and ten innocent Americans gunned down in cold blood.

I did find a press release at her offical web site expressing her condolences for the victims at Louisiana Technical College, but that was it. I couldn't even get into Obama's website to check out his press releases without first signing up for spam from niow until November.

Way to go you two. That's real change!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Obama can't win, but he can get the nomination if the GOP so chooses.

Here's a real shocker: Mitt Romney has called it quits. He's outa' there! Man, what kind of pictures does John McCain have on this guy? So typically Republican, though, everybody fall in line follow your orders!

I really love this bit here in this AP story, Romney's reason for leaving the race came down to this: "If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror." See, a vote for either of them is a vote for terror. This is going to be a real interesting general election.

I have a theory or two about why Romney pulled out. It was either the Angel Maroni coming to him in a vision, or, the Powers-That-Be laid down the law and told him to get out of the race for the good of the Party.

In conjunction with this theory I make note of this AP story:

"Democrat Barack Obama raised $7.2 million in less than 48 hours post Super Tuesday and rival Hillary Rodham Clinton collected $4 million, giving him a financial edge that's caused consternation within a Clinton campaign clamoring for attention-getting debates."

Romney pulls out and Obama gets a big pay day. Coincidence? I've been thinking for a while that all this mad money Obama has been banking has the smell of something rotten on it. Do we all really believe most Democrats who are really, really into Obama have that kind of money to be throwing around? In this economy? Where's it all coming from? I think the recipiants of W.'s tax cuts, his base, the ultra rich with money to burn are gaming the democratic nomination process in order to assure a win in 2008.

Why not make sure you've got an opponent of your own making to stand up and knock down in November?

According to the AP "Obama has been riding a wave of fundraising from large donors and small Internet contributors," all of whom have somehow provided his campaign with some 70 or million dollars in the past month? I'm not buying it.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

More threats? More Obama, of course.

The WaPo reports:

"Radical elements are now a threat to the survival of Pakistan, prompting Paksiatni military leaders to recognize that more aggressive efforts are needed to get the elements under control, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell said yesterday in testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. 'In the last year, the number of terrorist attacks and deaths were greater than the past six years combined,' McConnell said in an unusually strong warning about Pakistan's political problems. 'What's happened is Pakistan has now recognized that this is an existential threat to their very survival.'"

Great, now he tells us. Not to alarm you or anything, he says, but Pakistan is now facing an existential threat from the very elements they've been cultivating for years even as they took our money to shadow box them. Never fear, though, McConnell tells the Senate that Pakistan's leaders are "starting a process to be more aggressive in getting control of the situation." Whew! Just in a nick of time!

Btw, wasn't there yet another suicide bombing in Rawalpindi yesterday aimed against the military?

New Kerala News reports the death toll from yesterday's bombing attack "Near the army's General Headquarters had initially left four people killed, including army officials, and injured 25 others . But a day after the incident, which was the second in the Royal Artillery (RA) Bazar in three months, the toll rose to eight. Those killed in the attacks included a lieutenant-colonel, a major and six others. The eighth victim remained unidentified."

And in other news, AP reports:

"Iran launched a research rocket and unveiled its first major space center, state television reported Monday, the latest steps in a program many fear may be cover for further development of its military ballistic missiles. . . Iran, which also unveiled its first domestically built satellite Monday, says it wants to put its own satellites into orbit to monitor natural disasters in the earthquake-prone nation and improve its telecommunications. Iranian officials also point to America's use of satellites to monitor Afghanistan and Iraq and say they need similar abilities for their security. Despite concern over Iran's space program, it is not clear how far along it is, or whether the latest launch actually reached the internationally agreed-upon beginning of 'space,' set at 60 miles above the earth."

I really wouldn't push the panic button yet. PRI's The World reports that Ahmadinejad did the countdown and when he got all the way down to 0 he had to count back up to five before the damn thing went off. I think NASA can rest easy about their mastery of the stars for now.

A victorious Bakark Obama last night said if he becomes president (good luck with that) he'll put an end to "The common threats of the 21st century, terrorism and nuclear weapons, climate change and poverty, genocide and disease."

And he's going to tackle once and for all the problem of halitosis! Right, and I have a bridge for sale in Brooklyn.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The war on longevity and youth.

AP reports:

"The deaths of nine civilians, including a child, in a U.S. air strike south of Baghdad have raised fresh concerns about the military's ability to distinguish friend from foe in a campaign to uproot insurgents from Sunni areas on the capital's doorstep. Witnesses and Iraqi police said helicopters strafed a house Saturday after confusing U.S.-allied Sunni fighters for extremists in the deadliest case of mistaken identity since November."

Confusing Sunni fighters for extremists? No wonder the US is having such a problem distinguishing friend from foe; in Iraq alliances change so fast you need a program to keep up. I mean, weren't those Sunni fighters, who we're now calling "concerned citizens," the very same people planting IEDs that were killing our people just a few months ago?

But not to worry, AP reports that: "The U.S. military said only that a child and eight other civilians were killed and that three others, including two children, were wounded as U.S. troops pursued suspected al-Qaeda in Iraq fighters."

Only a child and eight other civilians? I guess that's a pretty small number for collateral damage these days, I guess, nothing like the kill rate in the forgotten war, where AP reports:

"Afghan and foreign troops conducted two raids on the homes of suspected Taliban yesterday, leaving 10 people dead, including women and children, police said. In the Bakwa district of western Farah province, foreign and Afghan ground forces attacked the home of suspected Taliban member Mullah Manan, killing nine people, including two women and two children, district Police Chief Khan Agha said. In southern Helmand province, foreign troops raided the house of another Taliban suspect near the capital of Lashkar Gah, killing him and wounding his 8-year-old daughter, said provincial Police Chief Mohammad Hussein Andiwal. A separate clash in southern Uruzgan province left nine suspected extremists dead."

Suspected extremists? Friends or foe?

No wonder the Germans have no stomach for the fight in southern Afghanistan. With their reputation they don't need the bad press like we're getting over there. Nevertheless, Sec Def Robert Gates asked the Germans to man-up and get into the fight.

David's Medienkritik Online reports:

"Gates specifically asks Germany to drop caveats limiting its troops to the north of Afghanistan and to send helicopter units, infantry and paratroopers that could join the fight against Taliban militants in the south... While all 26 NATO allies have units in Afghanistan, France, Turkey and Italy, as well as Germany, refuse to send significant numbers to the southern combat zone. . . Our American and Canadians friends can be rest assured that Germany will unswervingly stick to its commitment to verbally fight terrorism with all possible means, weekdays from 9 to 5. "

To sure-up the shortfall caused by our NATO friends, the US is sending 3,200 Marines to fill the gap.

Associated Content reports this deployment will bring the number of US troops in Afghanistan to their highest level since the 2001 invasion:

"The deployment also comes amid increasing calls for returning U.S. military forces to the United States in order to relieve some of the strain caused by prolonged conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as continued commitments in the Balkans, the Sinai, South Korea, the Horn of Africa, and the Philippines."

If we were really concerned about collateral damage and the effect it can have on hearts and minds, particularly in Afghanistan where the people there generally like us (unlike Iraq, where the Iraqis have every reason to think we're out to get all of them) probably sending in such a blunt instrument as the Marines isn't the best policy decision. Remember what happened the last time the Marines were in Afghanistan?

WaPo: (March 4 2007)

"At least eight Afghan civilians were killed Sunday in eastern Afghanistan when U.S. Marines traveling in a convoy were hit by a car bomb and responded by firing in a way that some witnesses called reckless. The incident, which the U.S. military said resulted from a 'complex ambush,' was followed by angry demonstrations in which hundreds of Afghans took to the streets, many chanting anti-government and anti-American slogans. . . The Associated Press quoted several wounded Afghans as saying that the Marines fired indiscriminately as they fled the scene. . . The incident is the latest to spark public outrage over the perception that foreign troops are not taking enough precautions to avoid civilian casualties. Last May, for instance, a U.S. military cargo truck lost control and struck 12 vehicles, killing one person and injuring six. A riot ensued in Kabul, the capital, and 20 people died, 160 were injured and dozens of buildings were damaged or destroyed."

Of course, there's no actual visual evidence of this incident because the Marines siezed video equipment from journalists on the scene. Shortly after this the Marines were withdrawn and the incident is still under "investigation."

Longevity costs money!

News item on why some of these casualties might be cost effective, if not so much from a PR stand point.


"Preventing obesity and smoking can save lives, but it doesn't save money for health systems, researchers reported yesterday. It costs more to care for healthy people who live years longer, according to a Dutch study that counters the common perception that preventing obesity would save governments millions of dollars. . . Ultimately, the thin and healthy group cost the most - $417,000, from age 20 on. The cost of care for obese people was $371,000, and for smokers, $326,000. 'This throws a bucket of cold water onto the idea that obesity is going to cost trillions of dollars,' said Patrick Basham, a professor of health politics at Johns Hopkins University who was unconnected to the study. Government projections about obesity costs are frequently based on guesswork, political agendas and changing science,' he said."

So eat all you want America! Smoke to your heart's content while W. is busy smoking out Osama bin Forgotten through the surgical use of Willy Pete and areal bombing with high explosives.

You know, the younger we get these terrorists the better (and more cost effective); they tend to eschew cigarettes and they're always starving. One such skinny kid, Canadian Omar Khadr, has been stuck at Gitmo since he was 15! Now 21, he's to stand trial in one of W.'s kanga-Yoo courts for killing Army Sgt. First Class Christopher Speer during a raging battle in the early days of the Afghan invasion.

AP reports Khadr's lawyers have presented exculpatory evidence that proves he:

"Had already been injured by shrapnel in his chest and was facing away from the fight when he was shot in the back inside an al-Qaeda compound, according to the unidentified U.S. fighter. Defense attorneys said the new details would help their case that Khadr should not be tried before a military tribunal, because his alleged offenses occurred in a combat setting - and therefore should not be considered war crimes committed by an irregular 'enemy combatant.'"

I've always wondered about how the US justifies putting people on trial who are basically engaged in combat. If we're going to start accusing soldiers of murder -- child soldiers at that -- then that sort of puts our people in a bit of a sticky wicket if they ever get caught by our enemies, present and future, doesn't it?

In places like Sierra Leone and Liberia they send their former child soldiers to school or try to find them jobs. The United States, on the other hand -- the great beacon of democracy -- locks them up and puts them on trial! According to there were 9 juveniles being held at Gitmo in 2005.

An article in Adelaide Now related to the Khadr case reports:

"A US Department of Justice attorney, arguing for the prosecution, said that if Congress intended to exclude juveniles from the Guantanamo war court, it would have explicitly written that, because lawmakers knew Mr Khadr could face charges. Instead, Congress wrote the law using the term 'person,' which legally refers to 'anyone born alive,' Justice Department attorney Andy Oldham said."

So Khadr's problem is that he was born alive, he doesn't smoke and he's not fat. Guily on all charges!

. . . "Canadian parliamentarians and law experts, as well as human rights groups, have all supported Mr Khadr's lawyers. 'UNICEF is concerned that such a prosecution, in particular in front of a military commission not equipped to meet the required standards, would set a dangerous precedent for the protection of hundreds of thousands of children who find themselves unwittingly involved in conflict around the world,'' the UN children's fund said."

Now, that's just crazy!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Miami Dolphins remain perfect!

17-0 Still Perfect

The Patriots? Not so much.

All hail the counquring New York Giants for keeping the Miami Dolphin's undefeated season perfect and unsullied by those obnoxiouis New England Patriots and their stranglovian, cheating coach Bill Bilichick.

Now that this notion of Tom Brady's invinicabilty is safely out of the way I look forward to the Dolphins resuming their drubbing of the Patsies in Miami. We've got their number no matter how bad we are:

As USA pointed out, "In September and October, the Patriots are 1-13 in Miami. Since the start of the 1999 season, New England is 2-5 in South Florida and 99-42 everywhere else. The meltdowns in Miami include a 21-0 loss last year and a 29-28 defeat in 2004, when the Patriots came into the game 12-1 and the Dolphins were 2-11."

It's not so much the weather, though, it's the fact that for some strange reason Brady gets a tick when he's up against our defense. Jason Taylor might have a little something to do with it, too.[Congratulations to Jason Taylor on winning the 2007 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award!]

Arlen Specter wants answers!

In any case, now that the corornation is off, Arlen Spector can get after the league for helping the Patsies cover-up by destroying the film Bilichick's spy took at the meadowlands. And there are new allegations about the Patriots filming the Ram's practice before Super Bowl XXXVI. reported on Feb. 2:

"A member of the New England Patriots' video staff taped the St. Louis Rams' last walkthrough before the 2002 Super Bowl, a Boston newspaper reported Saturday . . . Citing an unidentified source, the Boston Herald reported that a Patriots employee recorded the Rams' walkthrough at the Superdome in the New Orleans a day before the Super Bowl. New England beat the heavily favored Rams 20-17 its first NFL title. . . After the Patriots took a team picture, a member of their video department stayed inside the stadium and taped the Rams' session."
Naturally, there's nothing to this at all, right? Just piling on?

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told The Associated Press, "We were aware of the rumor months ago and looked into it. There was no evidence of it on the tapes or in the notes produced by the Patriots, and the Patriots told us it was not true."

Well, the freaking perfect Patriots told them it wasn't true, so that's all you need to know, right? Wrong, Arlen Specter isn't buying that for one second. Specter, a major Eagles fan, thinks maybe the Patriot's surprising "upset" of the St. Louis Rams and the filming of the Jets aren't the only dirty trick the Pats have up their sleve.

Alot of people here in Philly aren't entirely sure Bilichick's vaunted half-time "adjustments" are the result of his football genius. They think, in fact, he's cheated the Eagles too.
Arlen Specter tells the Inquirer, "If they were filming the walk-though in 2002 and they were stealing the signals in 2007, what happened in 2005 with the Eagles?" Good guestion.
Commissoner Goodell? No answer?

The NFL's Bush administration-like intransigence when it comes to stone walling Specter's inquiries is really getting the old man's temprature up. The League's initial reaction to Specter's public comments on the issue of the destruction of the Spygate tapes by implying one of his staffers was just PO'd because he couldn't get Super Bowl tickets was really,really dumb. Calling out a United States Senator like that is the absolute heighth of hubris. Who the hell does Roger Goodell is?

Now comes the invitation to the Senate Judiciary Committee where the Inquirer says:

"[Specter's] concerns about league conduct extend to a variety of matters, from copyright infringement to sticking taxpayers with stadium bills to monopolizing viewership of some games with the league's NFL Network.'It's part of a bigger picture,' he said. '... The league really needs some accountability, and I intend to push for it.'"

Give 'em hell Arlen and get that first round draft pick, too. Something is rotten in Denmark when a team that got caught cheating and went 18-1 gets a first round pick.

Not only are the Patriots never, never, never going to get this close to perfection again, but they've now got that "1" at the end of their season record and that little cheating "*" next to their record to live with, too.

What a crying shame.
hit counter script Top Blog Lists Favourite Blogs Top List
My Zimbio
Top Stories