SF New Mexican/AP:
Contractors in Katrina bilked taxpayers, report says. Sounds just like Iraq’s reconstruction.
Washington Post Op-Ed:
Broder, Another Way for Iraq? Senator Biden suggests a “soft partition.” It makes sense, and it should be seriously boostered by those who wish to see this Iraq debacle wrapped up on a positive note.
wood s lot
with John Rhys-Davies from three years ago. Catch the end, about the cultural changes in Europe.
The Great Conservative Crackup. “... the GOP has prospered, but the result has been a tyranny of born-again bumpkins in the hinterlands.” Quite an interesting article. I have always admired Mr Buckley’s skill in written and spoken language from across the philosophical aisle, but the latest crew on his flagship do little to convince me of their viewpoints. Still, I read NR online, for counterpoint if nothing else, and things such as this.
NY Times Letters to the Editor:
The Day the Immigrants Spoke Up. Read and consider them all.
Report: U.S. bracing for massive flu disruptions. Echoes of Y2K.
A ‘Commitment’ Goes Only So Far. Busted over a photo-op.
America’s parks feel strain of a budget crunch. “Strain”? Understatement for many parks. If you live near one and can volunteer time, do so. They need the help.
“Every American taxpayer would get a $100 rebate check to offset the pain of higher pump prices for gasoline, under an amendment Senate Republicans hope to bring to a vote Thursday.” This is so frivolous as to be frightening. I would hope the American people are not so dim as to be ‘bought’ so cheaply, for the price of two SUV fillups.
NY Times US:
Ex-Environmental Leaders Tout Nuclear Energy. Calling Ms Whitman ‘environmental’ may be a bit of a stretch, but compared to the Republicans of today, I guess so. If nuclear energy is re-approached, my preference would be that the contracts to build the plants should be done with the best, most skilled construction companies available, not on the basis of a lowest-bid situation. Sloppy concrete and steel construction is all too easy to mask, and are the likely the culprit in many leaks. How many outfits will dismantle and then re-create a bad concrete pour? Not many ... if any. Often weaker patching products are used to ‘meet spec’, especially around metal poured-in connections. Seen it too many times. I can visualize a citizen oversight group from the surrounding area of a nuke plant, with a couple of local builders on it, giving the nuke contractors a real challenge.
Seeking a National Voice, 15 Mayors Meet on Gun Violence. “Douglas A. Muzzio, a professor of public affairs at Baruch College, said Mr. Bloomberg’s power may be largely limited to moral suasion, particularly given the continuing declines in crime in New York City.” I understand how that could bias viewpoints, but this is not an argument against, in my view; look at total numbers/frequency, rather than ‘declines.’ Walking the streets of NYC to work in the ‘80’s, I’d encounter a gun homicide on the street about every month or two - something I’d never ever seen growing up in Princeton, NJ; once I passed a corpse riddled with automatic submachine gun fire by the corner of the Post Office and Penn Station first thing in the morning. My danish and coffee went in the nearest trash bin; no stomach for that kind of sight. Concealed-carry wouldn’t have prevented this ... a pistol can’t defy a submachine gun, except in movies.
EU: 1,000 CIA flights since 2001. “Data showed that CIA planes made numerous secret stopovers on European territory, violating an international air treaty that requires airlines to declare the route and stopovers for planes with a police mission, he said.”
A journalist makes a case for not giving antiquities back.
NY Times World:
Iran Says It Is Ready to Share Nuclear Technology. We risk the oil cost increases that will come from Iran’s disgruntlement if we keep trying to impose sanctions, 15% of Middle Eastern production, according to this page. Yet, according to that same page, we in the US do not seem to purchase Iran oil directly. Digging further, check this out. We get more oil from Canada and Mexico than Saudi Arabia; yet almost half of our imports are from Persian Gulf/OPEC.
What I was looking for was a definitive percentage, a way to judge the effect of a blockage of Iranian oil exports on world oil stocks. According to this, taking the top 14 oil producers, and removing Iran, we lose ~7% of world oil production. But they’re a major supplier to China, India, Japan, etc., and one of the few countries to potentially be able to significantly increase production in the future, so the effect is magnified. And if militarily threatened, some suspect they will turn their missiles on their neighbors’ oil fields; like a burglar who defies law enforcement by pointing a gun at a kidnapped hostage. Hence the huge influence on world oil prices.
What a friggin’ mess; we’re getting hung over a barrel (of oil) again. But when Reagan won in ‘80, America was weary of the post-‘73 ‘econobox.’ It’s easy to blame Reagan and subsequent presidents, but we lacked the national will to change. I felt this would happen eventually, with or without OPEC.
I hope Santa Fe reinstalls hitching posts and empties those old horse troughs of flowers so I can water my chosen mount ...
Related: Gas prices drive “moped madness.”
Related: These are available near me. Perhaps near you as well. I need just a little more range and speed, though, to be a perfect solution.
Is dissent during a time of war patriotic? Oh, nonsense. Of course it is. Generals have always had a somewhat adversarial relationship with the Secretaries of Defense/War, and their shifting political impetus. Remember the opposition of some generals to the “New Look” of the military in the Eisenhower Presidency? All nukes, no troops? And what about the media denouncing war crimes during the Philippines War? Patriotic? I should think so.
Carl Bernstein discusses the feasibility of an impeachment case against President Bush clearly and succinctly. No cheap shots, many expensive ones ... and one or two appropriate Orwell references (to the use of modern ‘newspeak’). Congress, particularly the Senate, needs to wake up.
“[The Senate] is a sanctuary; a citadel of law, of order, and of liberty; and it is here — it is here, in this exalted refuge; here, if anywhere, will resistance be made to the storms of political phrenzy and the silent arts of corruption; and if the Constitution be destined ever to perish by the sacrilegious hands of the demagogue or the usurper, which God avert, its expiring agonies will be witnessed on this floor.”
- Vice President Aaron Burr, Jr.
Iran Claims Nuclear Steps in New Worry. Add this: Iran Has Raised Efforts to Obtain U.S. Arms Illegally, Officials Say. And, of course, the threats of terrorism over the weekend. I retract some of my earlier statements. I do not now know how to parse the nuclear ramp-up in Iran. Their actions do not match any of my logic. I will recede to listening and observing, rather than armchair theorizing.
SF New Mexican:
LANL in running to design new nukes. “They might contain ‘use controls’ that would enable the military to disable the weapons by remote control if they are stolen by terrorists.”
Shiite exodus from mixed towns. “Filling the void left by the government, the Mahdi Army, the militia of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, has provided assistance to displaced families in neighborhoods all over Baghdad.” Some on the right have been crowing over a supposed marginalization of al-Sadr; this certainly speaks against that concept. The people will support him for his assistance.
Quoting Orwell. Chris and I had a discussion about this a while ago — during one of the election seasons, I think. Orwell quotes had been so overused in discussion groups and weblogs in political doomsday contexts — often hauled up as last-gasp warning flags against policies when personal opinion runs out of mental resource — we agreed Orwell should be shelved for common usage in political discourse.
Washington’s Museums: Worth the Price of Admission? A buck? C’mon, get real. It’s only one cent more than a song from iTunes.