August 31, 2007

Tony Snow resigning as White House Press Secretary
— DrewM.

Effective Sept. 14. It doesn’t seem to be health related which is good news, just time to go and he needs to make some more money.

I hope Snow is the new model for White House spokesmen, especially for Republican administrations… an aggressive advocate for the policies of the President and one who isn’t afraid to take on the smug, preening members of the White House Press Corps.

On the upside, his replacement is Dana Perino. I might start watching more press briefings on CSPAN…in my bunk.

Posted by: DrewM. at 07:33 AM | Comments (31)
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Craig to Resign?
— Slublog

We don't really need a flaming skull or sirens for this news. It's the typical anticlimactic end to a sordid Washington tale. See you at the inevitable "where are they now" retrospective a few years from now, Senator.

Several well-placed GOP sources in Washington and Idaho have told CNN that embattled Republican Sen. Larry Craig is likely to resign soon, possibly as early as Friday.

A GOP source with knowledge of the situation told CNN's Dana Bash that the Republican National Committee was poised to take the extraordinary step of calling on Craig to resign.

However, that move was put on hold, the source said, because top party leaders have received indications that Craig himself is preparing to step down.

Sources have confirmed that high-level meetings on the matter were being conducted in Idaho on Thursday.

Allah's got more, including an editorial by the New York Times bemoaning the unfairness of it all.

Posted by: Slublog at 04:47 AM | Comments (227)
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August 30, 2007

Law Lesson: Command Responsibility
— Gabriel Malor

Part of a Continuing Series: The national debate about the War on Terror has led to intense discussion of laws both international and domestic. In my other Law Lessons posts I’ve focused on international law because I believe conservatives too often assume that it is an obstacle to their goals. Leftists and lazy journalists like to rely on ignorance or distaste for international law to get away with shady arguments.

However, law that is wholly domestic is just as contentious as its international variation. Let’s face it, Americans love to argue about the law. So I am expanding my Law Lessons series to include issues of domestic law that have been the subject of debate during the last few years.

It’s been a few weeks since you’ve been bothered at either the coffeepot or the watercooler. Then some coworkers hear the news…

Current Event That Prompts Discussion: The court martial of Army Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan, former director of the “Joint Interrogation Debriefing Center” at Abu Ghraib, ends with Jordan acquitted of: (1) cruelty and maltreatment for subjecting detainees to forced nudity and intimidation by dogs; (2) dereliction of a duty to properly train and supervise soldiers in humane interrogation rules; and (3) failing to obey a lawful general order by ordering dogs used for interrogations without higher approval. He was convicted only of disobeying an order not to discuss the military’s investigation into the Abu Ghraib matter. His punishment is a reprimand. more...

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 07:51 PM | Comments (57)
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Holy Crap! Giant Frickin Spider Webs
— Dave In Texas

Giant. f'n. Spiderwebs!

Uncle Jonathan's corncob pipe! They found a frickin ginormous spiderweb in a state park in Northeast Texas, hoovering up mosquitoes like Michael Moore on a plate of cheesy fries.

Entomologists (bug scientists) scratch their collective heads over how it came to be. "Were they collectivists, building a giant web for the common good"?

That's it. Commie spiders in Texas.

Burn it up. Burn it all up. Or better yet, nuke it from orbit.

It's the only way to be sure.

Giant. f'n. Spiderwebs!


From lauraw, who has spider-eating wrens in her back yard, who could eat like kings if they could find lake Tawakoni.

Posted by: Dave In Texas at 02:37 PM | Comments (99)
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Thinking about Double Standards
— Gabriel Malor

Matt from the Malcontent blog has an excellent piece on the double standards of both the Left and the legacy media, cleverly entitled: Barkeep, Make Mine a Double Standard! He also contrasts the response of Republicans with that of Democrats in various scandals.

Excerpt:

I was in the shower this morning listening to the Larry Craig story stretch into its fourth day — the network happened to be CNN, but that isn’t especially relevant — when anchor Kiran Chetry asked her Democrat and Republican pundit-guests about a “double standard.”

Naturally, I thought she was referring to the recurring fact that Republicans are quick to discipline or expel Republicans enmeshed in scandal, whereas Democrats generally are not. But in the actual context (I’m still waiting for the transcript), the discussion focused on the “other” double-standard: that Republicans seem to deal more harshly with gay-related scandals than with others.

Go read the whole thing.

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 02:04 PM | Comments (49)
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Clinton Still Takes a Hit and Obama is Keeping the Money! (For Now) Update: Obama decides to give it away after all
— Gabriel Malor

Co-blogger Dave in Texas noted that Clinton and Franken are giving their questionable donations from convicted felon Norman Hsu to charity. A Clinton spokesman is reported as saying:

"We regularly review contributions as we receive them," he said, adding that "we will continue our practice of scrutinizing contributions and, should we have a basis to return a contribution, we will do so.

Former (Bill) Clinton campaign strategist Hank Sheinkopf doesn’t sound like such a fan of the senator from New York. He says:

They've taken money from criminals in the past; now we learn that Sen. Clinton took money from people when they don't know where their money came from -- bundled money from a convicted felon. That ain't good.

The same article says that the Obama campaign has no plans to return the money.

Update: According to Friday's NYTimes, Obama will give away $7,000 he received from Hsu.

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 01:32 PM | Comments (13)
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Leaking, Leaking, Leaking: Larry Craig's Police Interview Audio Now Online
— Ace

The odd thing here is that liberal leaking is not necessarily harmful to conservatives, who really need to push Craig out of office.

Still, I have to imagine this would have remained under wraps had a Democrat been involved.

I know this from the conservative Washington Times. Liberals leak to them, too.

Anyway, via the Washington Times' Fishwrap,enjoy the most cringey audio of the year.

"Wide stance" is said here.

So is "I don't call the media," this from the arresting officer. Well, someone in the department sure does.

And also: "I don't want to get into a pissing contest here."

And: "I tend to spread my legs as I take down my pants."

This stuff is going to be in a thousand remixes.

Reason hand went down to the floor: To pick up a piece of toilet paper on the floor.

Ummm... everything on a public restroom floor is radioactive. And he's playing Cleaney McPickerupperson?

Posted by: Ace at 11:58 AM | Comments (130)
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Diamond-Encrusted Skull Sells For Cool $100 Million
— Ace


Connosieurs say the shock piece makes a "powerful statement"
about gluing a lot of gems to objects; the piece is said to be a
"groundbreaking" and "audacious" use of the Bedazzler

The piece is called, quite appropriately, "For the Love of God." Some call it "pretty fucking stupid if you think about it, and even if you don't." Well, that's a paraphrase, but some art-types sort of see through this as the stunt it is, noting it's nothing more than an "outrageous" concept which is fairly easy to actually execute. And the work was actually done by the artist's technicians. He just comes up with the "concept."

Which, in this case, consists of gluing some things to other things.

Hirst slapped a 50 million pound price tag on it. At Crosblog, you'll be annoyed to know he got his asking price yesterday.


This Just In: I just made my debut into the world of avant-garde art by gluing a spatula to an old funked-up copy of Juggs. It's meant to be an ironic commentary on sexuality. And cookware.

I'm asking, oh, let's not get too crazy right out of the gate... six buck.

It's Not Even A Real Skull:

The skull, cast from a 35-year-old 18th century European man but retaining the original teeth...

How ghey.

For $100 mil, you'd at least think you were getting a real skull. How are you going to get ass from sixteen year old Goth whores when it's not even a real skull?

Posted by: Ace at 11:31 AM | Comments (45)
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The Great Beer Heist: Naked Guy Dances The Wiener-Hula As Distraction In Theft of Single Case of Beer
— Ace

"You want some of this?" he sexily offered the clerk.

It's old. I did all this and more back in 2004.

Life imitates the Ace of Spades Lifestyle ™.

Related: Dude arrested for masturbating naked... while driving.

Key detail: "hands covered in vaseline."

Another key detail: "on his way to visit his mother."


Posted by: Ace at 11:10 AM | Comments (14)
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Democrat-Controlled GAO Cooks The Books To Preemptively Rebut Petraeus Report
— Ace

Isn't it funny that whenever Republicans have control over an institution, that institution's reports are presumptively dishonest and skewed by partisanship, but when Democrats or liberals control one, its reports are presumptively the Gospel?

This is part of the reason why obviously-ideological liberal organizations like CREW are called "nonpartisan watchdog groups" whereas Heritage is always branded a "conservative think tank." I've got news for the media: Heritage is nonpartisan too. But nonpartisan does not mean non-ideological, nor does it mean "neutral." And yet the media forever apply the "nonpartisan" label to extremely ideologically driven groups like the Sierra Club, whereas the same term -- "nonpartisan" -- is never applied to nonpartisan but conservative leaning groups.

At any rate, William Kristol discusses the fudged-up GAO report, ordered by its Democratic masters to serve up a gloomy report and of course dutifully complying. The report studiously ignores signs of progress in order to focus like a laser on those areas in which progress is lacking, chiefly the top-down political situation. As Carl Levin, I think, unabashedly announced, it was the Democrats' intent to ignore military and grassroots poltiical progress in order to focus exclusively on the sluggish national political situation. He was so sure the media would make no issue of this intent he felt perfectly comfortable announcing it. And of course he was quite right in his comfort and lack of shame, and needless to say the GAO, under his fellow Democrats' control, reflects his political agenda.

Incidentally, on FoxNews, Shep Smith reported this inaccurately. For example, the report says that there is no progress in fielding additional Iraqi army units capable of acting independently of US forces; as Kristol notes, this is a rather contrived standard, as most coalition troops of all countries in Iraq are incapable of acting "indpendently" of the US. But Shep just said there was "no progress" being made in the Iraqi army, which is flatly, demonstrably untrue.

He then reported the White House had denigrated the report by setting the standards "too high," and smirked as he noted that, indicating his contempt for the explanation.

He's a real cocksucker, all right, and he continues auditioning for another, more respectable, more liberal news outlet on Murdoch's dime. I'll be happy to see him go, delighted to see him finally among his own at CNN or MSNBC.

Posted by: Ace at 11:02 AM | Comments (28)
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Teh Fred Report: September 6th The Big Day
— Ace

That's the advanced word but we won't know until he says so at the conference call. And, technically, even that won't answer whether he's running; he'll merely announce the day he will be announcing. Or not announcing. Though obviously the smart money's on the former.

Hopefully, then, the 27th will be his first debate appearance, and I'll get to be there, blogging it, something I could not possibly do from home, and sharing all sorts of important insights with the world, like that Fred is wearing a bold blue tie while Romney is going with a more corporate subdued red.

I plan to be drunk for most of it.


Posted by: Ace at 10:40 AM | Comments (20)
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An Age of Miracles And Wonders: Elisha Cuthbert Sex Tape Allegedly Being Shopped Around
— Ace

Allegedly, allegedly.

I wish this woman the strength to cope with this horrible invasion of her privacy.

I cannot say, on the other hand, I wish it not to be true.

As they say, your right to privacy ends at my right hand. Or something like that.

Note that this is just a blog saying they've "learned" this. I could say I learned there's a Scarlett Johansenn/Natalie Portman lesbian sex tape being shopped around and get eight billion hits.

I'd have to think that such a tape would beat Captivity's box office all to hell.

Thanks to Judd.

Posted by: Ace at 10:33 AM | Comments (31)
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Abscam Jack Murtha To Be Sued For Haditha Libels
— Ace

No member of Congress shall be questioned for any statement he makes in Congress, but Hardball is not Congress.

I wonder if he'll earmark a couple of hundred million for the newly-created Freedom To Defame Iraq Soldiers Legal Defense Institute.

Posted by: Ace at 10:27 AM | Comments (12)
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"He's A Good Driver:" Pill-Popping High-As-A-Kite Mom Does The Safe Thing And Orders Clear-Headed Five-Year-Old To Take The Wheel
— Ace

She was loaded, the kid was sober as a deacon. So what's the problem?

At the wheel was the toddler and his passengers: his 24-year-old mother and his three-year-old brother. Schnobrich told the woman "He's a good driver," but in a later interview with a sheriff's deputy, the boy said he had a tough time driving because "I can't reach the pedals."

A minor kink in the plan. They could have just put the three-year-old on the floor to work the pedals. Problem solved. Thank you drive through.

Schnobrich, who admitting using Percocet as well as taking 86 sleeping pills in the prior two days, was charged with two counts of felony child endangerment and misdemeanor public intoxication.

Look, kids are going to have to drive some day. I don't see the need to protect them from real-world realities. At some age, we have to stop coddling them and force them to grow up and begin assuming the full responsibilities of adulthood.

That age is five.

Thanks to RobG.


Posted by: Ace at 09:45 AM | Comments (38)
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Mike Nifong in Court
— DrewM.

Discredited and disbarred former Durham, NC DA Mike Nifong is in court today facing criminal contempt charges related to the Lying, Crazy, Drugged Up Stripper Case (aka…the Duke non-rape case).

Disgraced former prosecutor Mike Nifong pleaded not guilty Thursday to criminal contempt charges stemming from his failure to turn over complete DNA testing results during the discredited Duke lacrosse rape case.

As he has at every step of the way in this case, KC Johnson at Durham in Wonderland has all the details.


In the most emotionally charged moment of the morning, Brad Bannon (a member of the players defense team) eviscerated Glover’s claim that the multiple male DNA found by Meehan was “not significantly exculpatory.”

Bannon responded, “That’s absolutely false.” He then paused before adding, “And you know it.”

...
Nifong, said (Jim) Glover (Nifong’s attorney), “simply didn’t pay any attention(!)” to what was in the DNA Security report, since he had “developed a habit of not paying much attention to the details and specifics of what was in these reports.” Glover concluded, “What he did in this case was what he did in other cases.”

This statement was nothing short of astonishing.

I know it’s hard to pierce the immunity of a prosecutor but I really can’t imagine any judge enjoys being lied to in his own courtroom and however indirectly, being a part of such a grave injustice.

Here’s hoping the judge sticks it to this contemptible SOB.

Posted by: DrewM. at 09:37 AM | Comments (15)
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Universal Soldiers: Future Drugs May Reduce Fighters' Nerves, Stress, Pain, Fear, and Even Post-Traumatic Shock
— Ace

Danger Room frets about "slippery slopes" after acknowledging the drugs may be quite welcome in reducing jitters. They worry about soldiers risking their lives when free of normal amounts of fear.

I suppose that's a concern. But I also tend to think that fear is probably responsible for more soldiers' deaths than a drug-induced fearless state would ever be. If the downside of fearlessness is recklessness, the downside of fear is being frozen at crucial moments. And there is a good deal of reason to think that abject fearlessness actually increases one's ability to survive. I've heard that this study has been partly debunked, but a post-WWII analysis found that something like 10% of all combat troops were responsible for inflicting 50% of enemy casualties (or something along those lines).* There's also the Pattonesque doctrine that massive, vicious, high-intensity violence may produce more friendly casualties in a short period of time, but overall actually reduces friendly casualties by overwhelming the enemy quickly.

The plural of "anecdote" is not "data" and all that, but I'm reminded of super-soldier Timothy Haag who went on a berserker frenzy after a jihadi ambush back on, I think, Easter of 2003. He seemed, as sports commentators often say of a guy who's on fire, "unconscious" as he simply ran around killing terrorists without any apparent regard for his life, ultimately killing 15-20 of them and saving his unit. And also -- saving himself.

I'm not a soldier and cannot weigh in on this with even the pretense of authority or study. But it does seem to me that an extraordinarily aggressive posture by soldiers sometimes cows the enemy into taking a more passive and defensive posture, and not always to their benefit.

Timothy Haag, incidentally, re-upped for another tour in Iraq. Godspeed to him and Good Hunting.


* I should note that a major finding of that study was that automatic weapons (specifically the BAR or Browning Automatic Rifle) was one of the most effective weapons, and those doing much of the killing of enemy soldiers tended to be armed with those. It was that finding that eventually spurred the army to depart from its one-shot rifles in favor of automatic weapons. Careful marksmanship, they'd thought, was the best way to kill an enemy; they found instead that spraying bullets tended to have a greater impact. Partly because of the psychological benefit of spraying bullets -- guys with BARs just tended to shoot a lot more than guys armed with bolt-action rifles.

Fear And Audie Murphy: I'm sure he had fear. He just didn't seem to act according to it.

2d Lt. Murphy commanded Company B, which was attacked by 6 tanks and waves of infantry. 2d Lt. Murphy ordered his men to withdraw to prepared positions in a woods, while he remained forward at his command post and continued to give fire directions to the artillery by telephone. Behind him, to his right, 1 of our tank destroyers received a direct hit and began to burn. Its crew withdrew to the woods. 2d Lt. Murphy continued to direct artillery fire which killed large numbers of the advancing enemy infantry. With the enemy tanks abreast of his position, 2d Lt. Murphy climbed on the burning tank destroyer, which was in danger of blowing up at any moment, and employed its .50 caliber machine gun against the enemy. He was alone and exposed to German fire from 3 sides, but his deadly fire killed dozens of Germans and caused their infantry attack to waver. The enemy tanks, losing infantry support, began to fall back. For an hour the Germans tried every available weapon to eliminate 2d Lt. Murphy, but he continued to hold his position and wiped out a squad which was trying to creep up unnoticed on his right flank. Germans reached as close as 10 yards, only to be mowed down by his fire. He received a leg wound, but ignored it and continued the single-handed fight until his ammunition was exhausted. He then made his way to his company, refused medical attention, and organized the company in a counterattack which forced the Germans to withdraw. His directing of artillery fire wiped out many of the enemy; he killed or wounded about 50. 2d Lt. Murphy's indomitable courage and his refusal to give an inch of ground saved his company from possible encirclement and destruction, and enabled it to hold the woods which had been the enemy's objective.

a4g notes this hero, Chris Carr:

By his 1-man attack, heroically and voluntarily undertaken in the face of tremendous risks, Sgt. Karaberis [later changed to Carr] captured 5 enemy machinegun positions, killed 8 Germans, took 22 prisoners, cleared the ridge leading to his company's objective, and drove a deep wedge into the enemy line, making it possible for his battalion to occupy important, commanding ground.

His heroism is a bit tainted by the fact that this occurred in 1988, and we weren't technically at war with Germany at the time, but still, it does show what a highly motivated soldier acting without fear can accomplish.

(Just kidding about the 1988 thing. It was in WWII, of course, in Italy.)

No one's in favor of "recklessness," of course, which by definition is a perjorative. But it does seem that hyperaggressiveness (a less charged term) is often a benefit to an individual soldier. Obviously it's a benefit to his unit and his country, but often it seems that a guy going into berserker mode will tend to kill or cow the enemies who might otherwise be able to fire upon him.

Loose Shit: My "facts" (stupid things those) about these post-war analyses seem just woefully wrong, or at least bits of this mixed with bits of that. I'll just let my "greater narrative" stand in the post but direct everyone to the comments where I'm being corrected on so many points I can't keep up with them.

Came Across This Old Email From Tim Haag Today... while searching for stuff about him to post here. Figured I'd print it.

Don't know if you remember me if you do cool if you don't cooler.

Just wanted to let you know I reup'd for another 6 and am looking at another tour to someplace warm when its cold up here in NY . I got out for awhile thinking I'd just coast for the rest of my life and bang the old lady all damn day but a line from Tim O'Brian's " The Things They Carried" finally summed up how I feel about peace: Peace feels so good it hurts, and I want to hurt it back.

Anyway I get a kick out of actually Googling my name late at night and there it is on your site still , makes me laugh . So, Hopefully my next tour is nothing like the 1st (which is pretty much a guarantee if your a statistics person), but if it is, it is, Take care and fight the good fight.

TH

Great soldier and a good guy. I interviewed him on the old radio show but he did that "I'm not a hero, just a guy doing his job" thing which made his exploits sound kind of boring. They're definitely not boring when other people are telling the tale.

Posted by: Ace at 08:48 AM | Comments (59)
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Can't Fight The Narrative: David Schuster, Nonpartisan Decider, Calls Craig Incident a "Moral Insult" To Recovering New Orleans
— Ace

It's New Orleans Disaster Commemoration Celebration Week, which means that every incompetent partisan reporter is required to somehow link every fresh news story to Hurricane Katrina. The people have to be reminded of the Bush Administration's "incompetent response" as often as possible, even when it makes no sense.

David Schuster offers a tour-de-force here, not only claiming that New Orleans, of all places, finds it a "moral insult" that someone might have cruised a bathroom looking for anonymous gay sex (New Orleans!), but also reads dark malevolence towards New Orleans citizens in the wrapping of Karl Rove's car with plastic wrap.

The Deciders. They have the training and exquisitely-informed news judgment to make these sorts of connections.

Which, I'm almost 100% certain, first appeared on a left wing blog like Media Matters. David Schuster doesn't bother getting his newscopy from the DNC as most reporters do -- he finds the DNC itself too conservative and too easy on Bush. He prefers getting his information from solid gold sources, like internet embarrassments like Truth Out.

While Schuster finds time to link Larry Craig to Hurricane Katrina, he apparently doesn't bother reading stories about suits against Democratic Governor Blanco's alleged negligence in allowing dozens of nursing-home patients to die.

Evacuation was individual responsibility, Blanco tesitfies

Taking the witness stand Tuesday in the St. Rita's nursing home trial, Gov. Kathleen Blanco said she did everything she could to sound the alarm as Hurricane Katrina bore down on southeast Louisiana two years ago today, but that the government must ultimately rely on the "individual responsibility" of its residents to heed those warnings.

In three hours of testimony, the governor defended her response to Katrina in what amounted to a mini-trial within the trial as attorneys for Sal and Mabel Mangano argued that the government was largely responsible for the deaths of 35 elderly residents who drowned at the couple's nursing home in St. Bernard Parish.=

Gov. Kathleen Blanco leaves the West Feliciana Parish Courthouse on Tuesday after testifying in the trial of nursing home owners Sal and Mabel Mangano. The couple each face 35 counts of negligent homicide and 24 counts of cruelty to the infirm.

Blanco said she declared a state of emergency three days before Katrina's landfall and held frequent news conferences to alert the public.

"My message was very, very simple," the governor said. "I wanted people to understand that this is potentially the biggest storm we will ever deal with, and I urged people over and over to protect themselves and their families by evacuating."

Bush's position: Those primarily responsible for ensuring a full evacuation are the Mayor of New Orleans and the Governor of the state, both who have explicit power to order such things

Blanco's position: Those primarily responsible for evacuating themselves were the crippled and frail and semi-conscious residents of nursing homes

We see now that Bush's position was "incompetent" whereas Blanco's was... well, simply having a lot of faith in the Individual Initiative and Gung-Ho Spirit that makes this country great.

It is unclear what, if any, connection Larry Craig's cruising might have with Blanco's astonishing testimony. I'm sure Decider (Junior League) David Schuster will inform me in the days to come.

Posted by: Ace at 08:25 AM | Comments (16)
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Another Day, Another Bomb Threat
— Gabriel Malor

A Hannaford supermarket in Maine (I assume that’s a chain) was shut down following a bomb threat and attempted extortion yesterday. A phone-called threat led the manager to lock 50 or 60 people in the store in what we can only presume to be accordance with the caller’s demands.

The caller claimed that a bomb would be detonated unless they wired money. The same thing occurred at a supermarket in Rhode Island on Tuesday where the store ended up sending $10,000. I don’t know enough about wiring money, but can it be done anonymously?

As several commenters mentioned yesterday, it’s not the ones where the bomb threat is made that we have to worry about. Bomb threats are made to get something from the victim (money, PR, escape from final exams, etc.). When bombers really intend to kill someone they don’t bother to call ahead.

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 08:16 AM | Comments (11)
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Top Taliban Mullah Killed By JDAM; Women, Minorities Hardest Hit
— Ace

Pimpin' ain't easy.

Mullah Berader, a top Taliban commander, was killed early this morning in a U.S. air strike in volatile Helmand province, a senior Afghan general tells ABC News.

A convoy of British troops and Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers was traveling through Salwan Qala district when they came under attack by Taliban forces, said Gen. Ghulam Mohiauddin Ghoori, the commander of ANA ground troops for Helmand.

Amid an intense firefight, the British troops called in air support. American warplanes struck the Taliban positions, causing dozens of casualties, said Gen. Ghoori. Among the dead, his men on the ground confirmed, was Mullah Berader.

Not really related, but I wrote a script which featured a smart bomb which was painted with the words (as bombs are often so painted) "It's not you, it's me."

I'd really like to see some bombs painted with that. There really are few more menacing sentences in the English language.

Via Hot Air's headines. I imagine Allah will soon have more background on the kill.


Posted by: Ace at 08:14 AM | Comments (39)
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Minor Potentially Deadly Gas (Phosgene) Scare At UN; Situation Appears Safe and Unrelated To Terrorism
— Ace

The vials of the choking agent seem to have come from Iraq at some point, but likely well before the 2003 invasion.

United Nations weapons inspectors discovered six to eight vials of a dangerous nerve gas, phosgene, as they were cleaning out offices at a U.N. building in New York this morning, federal authorities tell the Blotter on ABCNews.com.

The federal authorities said the office, in a U.N. building near headquarters, was being evacuated and the White House had been notified at 10 a.m.

New York police and fire officials said federal authorities had not notified them of any problem at the U.N. building, as of 11 a.m.

A U.N. spokesperson said a statement would be issued shortly.

Authorities said the phosgene was believed to have been discovered in Iraq and manufactured prior to 1991.

Former U.N. weapons inspectors told ABCNews.com that vials of phosgene had also been used by inspectors in Iraq to help calibrate air sampling instruments.

The former inspectors said the remaining vials were supposed to have been destroyed.

This Wikipedia article seems to dispute that phosgene is a nerve gas, specifically noting that phosgene is less dangerous than nerve agents, so The Deciders may have that one wrong. There are some nerve agents that work by choking, I imagine, shutting off the passive nerve response that controls breathing, but this article seems to say it's not one of those and just attacks throat and lung tissue by causing the production of hydrochloric acid in the body's tissues.

Update: The vials were brought to the UN from Iraq in 1996, FoxNews just said.

Posted by: Ace at 08:04 AM | Comments (14)
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