“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Playing checkers with Obama

Why has Colin Powell jumped into the Gates controversy? Simple, he sees the damage done by the shrinking stature of the deflating Barack Obama. He is carrying the Obama water in an increasingly leaky bucket. In short the Obama phenomenon is diminishing before our political eyes.

As stated before, the only thing that will save the Obama Presidency is the Republicans.


The Shrinking President
by Jed Babbin
Human Events

Just as small men can be great, the important can be small. Barack Obama, who strode the political world last year as a new Colossus, is shrinking before our eyes. His proclamation that the Cambridge, Mass., police “acted stupidly” in arresting his personal friend, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., was one of those “teachable moments” the president is so fond of creating.

But the lesson of that moment is not the one the president apprehended. It is a lesson that proved how little the president appreciates the office he holds.

I use that term precisely: not in the sense that Obama doesn’t like the power he holds. He, more than any president in memory, takes personal enjoyment from exercising it. His lack of appreciation is a lack of understanding of that power and the limits on how it should be exercised.

Obama’s team orchestrates press conferences at an unprecedented level. They talk to reporters about questions to be asked, prepare Obama for his answers (displayed on a huge off-camera teleprompter behind the reporters where Obama can read from it) and only then does the president face his amen chorus of the media.

In the July 22 presser, Obama was asked about the disorderly conduct arrest of Harvard Professor Gates. Obama said:
Well, I should say at the outset that Skip Gates is a friend, so I may be a little biased here… Now, I don’t know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that. But I think it’s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home; and, number three, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there’s a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. That’s just a fact.

The official police report of the arrest says that Gates was loud, abusive and uncooperative with the investigating officer who was responding to a call about a possible break-in at the house. Gates reportedly shouted continuously at Crowley, accusing him of being a racist and telling him that he had no idea “who he was messing with” and that Crowley “…had not heard the last of it.” Apparently, Obama delivered on that threat. He spoke as if he were Jesse Jackson, not the President of the United States.

The arresting officer, Sgt. James Crowley, has a better and deeper understanding of the office of president than the man who holds it. He told a radio interviewer that Obama, “…was way off base wading into a local issue without knowing all the facts."

The American presidency is a national office, not that of a Chicago ward-heeler. A president’s words carry the weight and power of the nation. His constitutional charter makes him the chief administrator of law and policy as well as commander in chief. His charter does not extend to interfering in matters that are not within that charter.

There is no precedent for Obama’s intervention in the Gates arrest. Presidents do not interfere in law enforcement matters. That Gates is Obama’s friend makes it even worse. It’s perfectly right for a president to express confidence in an embattled cabinet member, though that’s usually done right before the guy resigns. It’s an abuse of power for a president to try to influence a law enforcement matter.

In short, Obama’s intervention was more than inappropriate: it was a wrongful exercise of the power of the office he holds. According to the latest Rasmussen poll, only 26% of Americans approve of the way Obama responded to the question about Gates’ arrest. It was a “teachable moment,” but the president didn’t learn from it.

Two days after the July 22 presser, Obama defended his intervention. He said, “There are some who say that as President I shouldn't have stepped into this at all because it's a local issue. I have to tell you that that part of it I disagree with. The fact that this has become such a big issue I think is indicative of the fact that race is still a troubling aspect of our society. Whether I were black or white, I think that me commenting on this and hopefully contributing to constructive -- as opposed to negative -- understandings about the issue, is part of my portfolio.”

Barack Obama’s political power shrank as he spoke, doubly so as he compounded the offense. Obama is a small man, as deeply shallow as Paris Hilton. But unlike the Euro pop-tart, Obama is shrinking in influence and stature at an accelerating rate.

Obama suffers from many things, not the least of which were the enormous expectations for his success. It’s not that long ago when Newsweek’s Evan Thomas said that he was, “above the country, above the world: he’s a sort of God.” As The Economist points out this week in a column entitled, “The Obama Cult”, at one time people were wearing t-shirts proclaiming Obama as “The One” and “Jesus was a community organizer.”

Underneath the glitter, there is no greatness. Barack Obama is a small man in a large and important job. He and his adulators have created a cult of personality that is already falling apart.

Obama speaks in broad terms, as presidents must, at first, before the details are managed. But Obama’s broad terms -- from the stimulus package to health care to “cap and trade” -- were never articulated, just outsourced to the liberals in Congress who have run riot. Even the House “Blue Dog” Democrats are walking away from the president’s signature initiative on health care.

Negotiations between the Blue Dogs and Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) broke down on Friday with the seven Blue Dog negotiators reportedly storming out of the session saying they’d been “lied to” and that Waxman wasn’t negotiating in good faith.

Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.), the leader of the Blue Dogs, said on Friday. “We are trying to save this bill and trying to save this party.” From whom?

Ross’s mission is to save the Democrats from Obama. He won’t succeed. The Democrats’ disarray -- in the House as well as in the Senate -- betrays Obama’s diminishing influence. But the hyperliberals such as Waxman and Pelosi won’t moderate the way Congress pursues Obama’s goals because those goals were theirs long before Obama was elected president. And he will sign any health care bill they send to him, no matter how radical or costly.

As Obama shrinks, so does his ability to affect events both domestically and internationally. His agenda -- especially health care nationalization and “cap and tax” -- is in real trouble. And so are our nation and our allies abroad.

On the July 26 edition of “Meet the Press,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton proclaimed Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons “futile” and said to Iran, “…we're going to do everything we can to prevent you from ever getting a nuclear weapon.” Which contradicted directly Obama’s June 4 Cairo speech. In it, he said, “I understand those who protest that some countries have weapons that others do not. No single nation should pick and choose which nation holds nuclear weapons.” Obama green-lighted Iran’s nuclear weapons program, so no one in Iran will -- or should -- take Clinton’s words seriously.

As I write, a parade of top-ranking U.S. officials -- including Middle East Envoy George Mitchell, Defense Secretary Bob Gates and possibly National Security Advisor James Jones -- are flocking to Israel to try heal the breach between us and the Israelis over Obama’s demands to end West Bank Settlements and to stave off an Israeli attack on Iran. They will not succeed because Obama -- in his Cairo speech and in his demands of Israel -- threw away what little leverage he had.

Great presidents are like chess players: they see three or four moves ahead, sacrificing occasionally but moving only to better our nation’s internal strength and position in the world. Barack Obama is playing checkers.


  1. Powell was compelled to add the obligatory
    "he should not been arrested"
    which, like BHO's doubletalk, negates the assertion.

    Just as Flimsy Graham was compelled to approve a racist jurist, by whatever sickness it is that motivates "him."

  2. Kelly King exibits more courage than the entire Obambi Administration.

  3. Arrests in Terror Case Bewilder Associates

    Agents kept track of Daniel Patrick Boyd as he stockpiled weapons and trained accomplices, then moved in when their activities intensified.
    Text of the Indictment

    Israel stopped NC jihad suspect's family in 2007

  4. BHO will be in NC Tommorrow:
    No doubt he will praise the FBI and condemn Jihadists.

  5. FARC guerillas armed with Swedish weapons »

    The Colombian rebel group the FARC is in possession of advanced weaponry manufactured by the Swedish firm Saab Bofors Dynamics, according to a report in the Colombian weekly newspaper Semana.

    Sweden demands answers on FARC arms (27 Jul 09)

    The anti-tank AT-4 weapons have been sold to countries such as the USA and a raft of NATO member states, as well Colombian neighbour Venezuela.

    It was in connection with Colombian army raids on the FARC guerilla bases in July and October 2008 that the Swedish-made weapons were discovered, the newspaper reports.
    The Colombian government then contacted Saab Bofors who could confirm that the weapons had originally been sold to the Venezuelan army.

    Swedes kill three in Afghanistan fire fight

  6. A 55-year-old man died on Sunday night after crashing his motorbike into an elk that had strayed onto the road near Tingsryd in southern Sweden.

    A female passenger, also in her fifties, was injured and is being cared for at Växjö hospital.

    "They got the elk on top of them," said Robert Mattebo at Kronoberg police.

    The accident occurred late on Sunday evening.

    A witness called the emergency services shortly after 10pm after noticing the motorbike in a ditch near the Rävemåla roundabout.

    On closer inspection the witness then found the injured couple, who were unconscious and buried under the now deceased elk.

  7. The American President has been a checkers player, ever since Nixon had a dog by that name.

    Obama has slipped about 8 ponts in 8 months, the majority still think he is doing well.
    Better at least than the previous President, who was polling at half of Obama's approval rating, when he left.

    RCP Average 7/15 - 7/27
    Approve = 54.1%
    Disapprove = 40.9%
    Spread +13.2%

    Checkers being a cultural American icon of a game.
    Chess, being Indian or Persian, not so much.

  8. As was often noted, during the Bush Administration, George being a premier checker player, while his advesaries were playing chess.

    Clinton could not keep a move ahead of the opposition.

    George the First was out played on Taxes and lip reading.

    The last President that stayed a couple of moves ahead, was JFK. And that only because of historical revisionism.

  9. So that breaking news, doug, is that Hugo supports the FARC?
    Supplies them with guns and stuff?

    Or that Sweden has an arms industry?

  10. Reagan fell behind, in his second term. Iran-Contra being the stand out series of poor moves, there.

    Mr Carter? Needn't even list the particulars.

    Mr Nixon, he had his dog, Checkers.

  11. Comparing Obama's first 8 months in office, to that of Bush43, there is ample reason for Obama to have taken a hit in his approval rating.

    That it has remain as high as it has, an interesting development.

    Considering his agenda.

    There has been a fundemental societal shift, in the United States.

  12. Poor Sgt. Crowley. Has to waste a perfectly good Thursday Evening "having a beer" with two of the premier racists in the world.

    And then, say nice things to the press.

    Sometimes your day just "sucks."

  13. In so far as being a chess player, it occurs to me that LBJ was the premier President, of the modern era, in that regard. He could play the power politics game, above all others.

    He wouldn't even run for reelection, leaving the office tormented.

  14. WASHINGTON, July 29 (Reuters) - Republican and Democratic senators negotiating financial details of healthcare reform have made great progress and are on the verge of a deal, a key Republican senator said on Wednesday.

  15. "We have made great progress. Every day we make some progress," Senator Charles Grassley, one of the three Republicans from Senate Finance Committee involved in the talks to overhaul the healthcare system, told NPR radio.

    "Will we get it done so we can get a bill to the other members by this weekend because there is a certain time you've got to give people to study it? We're on the edge, and almost there," he said in the interview

    The Republicans say:
    "We're almost there!"

    We'll be falling over the edge, before you know it.

  16. Senate Finance negotiations have focused on a plan that would use nonprofit cooperatives to compete with private insurers to drive down costs, not the public plan favored by Obama and many other Democrats.

    Shares of U.S. health insurers rose broadly on Tuesday on hopes that negotiators were moving away from the public plan idea, which has drawn strong opposition from insurers who fear it would destroy the private marketplace.

    The Senate panel also is likely to back a tax on high-cost insurance policies to raise revenue and keep costs down

    Key Republican says on "edge" of US healthcare deal

  17. ACORN's moving into the HealthCare Industry.

    That's the GOP solution?

  18. 'Br'er Rabbit' lives on, in DC.

    Since we're talkin' chess, the GOP is about to trade away it's Queen.

    Then get triple jumped on the checker board.

  19. Voice of America - ‎1 hour ago‎.
    By VOA News US Defense Secretary Robert Gates says there is a chance the United States may speed up the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq.

  20. BEIJING, July 29 (Reuters) - Rich nations must agree to large, measurable cuts in their greenhouse gas emissions, if the world is to set a framework to tackle global warming at UN-led talks in December, a senior Chinese official ...

  21. The Senators from the "Corn" States are the decision-makers, here.

    Look at Iowa (Dem Harkin, Rep Grassley,) Indiana (Dem Bayh, Repub Lugar,) Missouri (Dem McCaskill, Repub Bond,) etc.

  22. As with Fannie and Fraudie, along with the Federal Reserve, it seems clear that the GOP are on course to duplicate those successes, in the Health Care industry.

    Using Federally Chartered corporations to carry out Federal policies.

    With control of the "Programs" removed from direct election.

    Which is how one Democrat or another described his 'Final Vision' a "Federal Reserve of Health Care".

    One of them used that analogy, as a definition of success, months ago.

  23. Ohio (Dem Brown, Repub Voinovich)

    S Dakota (Dem Johnson, Repub Thune)

    Minnesota - Lost its Repub, but perennial battleground

    Ditto - Pa.

    Il - Pubs have hopes of picking up Obama's seat

    Get the Picture?

  24. Oh yeah, they're gonna screw it up, big time. It's just the Public Plan with another name.

  25. The tone-deaf Pubs did it to, themselves. And, Us.

  26. Yes, last March.

    Sen. Tom Daschle: Progressive Solutions to America's Health-Care ...

    Mar 3, 2008 ... Just as the Federal Reserve ensures certain standards, ..... and waste brought on by the excesses of the free market model to health care. ...

    Based upon a book he authored, so the idea is not new.
    Federally chartered corporations to provide competition to private insurers, rather than the Federals, themselves.

    The camel will be in the tent.

  27. Again, the theme is for expertise, the smartest people, to be in charge.
    Not those elected by the People.

    June 3, 2009, 4:54 PM ET MedPAC Is Primed for Bigger Role in Health-Care Overhaul.

    “Under this approach, MedPAC’s recommendations on cost reductions would be adopted unless opposed by a joint resolution of the Congress,” Obama said in a letter.

    As it stands now, MedPAC can only give Congress advice on Medicare matters, but can’t implement its recommendations. Sen. Jay Rockefeller last month introduced legislation to turn MedPAC into an independent executive agency, one that would be for the health-care system what the Federal Reserve Board is to the banking system.

    “Congress has proven itself to be inefficient and inconsistent in making decisions about provider reimbursement under Medicare,” Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, told the Charleston Gazette in introducing the bill. “Congress should leave the reimbursement rules to independent health care experts.

  28. All we had to do was set up an SR-22 type program, and mandate participation, and it would have worked, with very little expense to the taxpayers.

    But, no, the dumb-ass Pubs "wailed," and "railed" against the Evuuul "Mandates."

    Now, let's see how they like "These" Mandates.

  29. Independent Czars sounds like a Weiner.
    Long as they're experts.
    And Crooks.
    Like Timmy.

  30. Bush II got out ahead of the curve on Medicare Part D, got a free-market type solution passed, and the whole thing dropped right off the radar.

    And, the Party of Stupids "Howled."

    Now, they're going to have a reason to "Howl."

  31. Miller's Idea was Health Care Stamps, like foodstamps, for the 15% that are less than satisfied with their healthcare situation.

    Better to reshuffle the entire deck.
    Being the Titanic, and all.

  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

  33. That's what we do for those that would otherwise starve, provide Stamps. A special script.

    Those with assets and income, but refuse to eat. Their decisions put them beyond the bounds of charity.

  34. The Late Great State
    Calif is off the charts!
    ...not sure who had the link.

  35. This comment has been removed by the author.

  36. The Dems are starting their politcal campaign, against the good ole boys of the Grand Old Party!

    My own Senator Kyl leads off in their first ad. Followed by those that claim the stimulous a failure, while in DC, but standfast for the continued spending of those Federal dollars, at home.

    The lede of the Democrats theme:
    Republicans broke economy, won't fix it. Playing the hypocrisy storyline as hard as they can.

  37. With the number of vacant homes being 2/3 the number of free and clear owner occupied.

    1.1 million to 1.7 million respectedly.

    With the majority of the balance mortgaged at values not to be seen again, soon.

    All of the homes taking huge write offs, regardless.

  38. With, I think it was, 7 million mortgaged owner occupied homes and 5 million rentals.

    With no breakout of unmortgaged rental homes there were.

    So the ownership society still is in the majority, in California, barely.

    There being owners to those 5 million rentals, too.

    The 1.1 million vacant, that really is an astounding number.

    Thanks for the California data sets, doug the slug.

  39. Under the most recent legislative proposal, the state would seek a series of lease arrangements spanning as much as 20 years. Deals that would generate the targeted $735 million in revenue would mean state lease payments totaling $60 million to $70 million a year, according to budget analysts.

    Over two decades, that would equate to at least $1.2 billion in lease payments. Once the leases had expired, the state would again take ownership of the properties.

    House Majority Leader John McComish called the payments preferable to a tax increase, as proposed by Brewer, or alternative fiscal schemes such as selling future income from state Lottery sales in exchange for a lump-sum payment.

    "What are our choices?" asked McComish, a Phoenix Republican. "We could cut more, or we could raise taxes more. Borrowing over the long term, we think, is better for the people, better for the economy.

    The Republican Way.

  40. This comment has been removed by the author.

  41. Senate now trying to finish a bill before recess!
    Thank you Chuck Grassley!!!

  42. re: Arizona:
    sunshine119 -

    In other words, you'll sell me your house for 200,000 today,
    you'll pay me 2,000 a month rent for the next five years,
    you'll pay all of the utilities,
    then buy it back from me in 5 years for 300,000, and you'll save money???????

  43. There are a lot of State Properties that could be sold, and not leased back.

    In conjunction with cutting back of State services, next round.

  44. The politicos recieve $750 million, today. Which they spend, today.

    They pay $60 million to leaseback the buildings, annualy. In 12.5 years the principle is paid, then 7.5 years of interest.

    On the next fellas' watch.

    These are the Republicans, doug.

    So why do I think the future is somewhat bleak?
    When the GOP is riding high, in AZ?

  45. Scenes and songs we've all heard before.

    This time the singoer of the song:
    Bing West - How We’ll Win in Afghanistan.

    More coalition soldiers have died in July than in any previous month in the nine-year war in Afghanistan. Last week, the soldier who slept on the cot next to me was killed. A rocket-propelled grenade fired from a snow-capped mountain in remote Nuristan Province killed Staff Sgt. Eric Lindstrom, a father of twin baby girls and the best squad leader in the platoon.

    Strangely, our military leaders rarely talk about the battles here. They urge shooting less and drinking more cups of tea with village elders. This is the new face of war—counterinsurgency defined as nation-building, an idealistic blend of development aid and John Locke philosophy. Our generals say that the war is “80% non-kinetic.”

    Although they welcome the largess provided by coalition forces, the village elders with whom our soldiers drink tea are intimidated by an enemy that prowls at night when our forces return to their bases.

    The Taliban is a highly mobile, amorphous force, with little popular support. But it is very willing to fight.

    Firefights are infrequent during the harvest seasons for poppy, corn and wheat, indicating that most local guerrillas are poor kids raised in a culture of tribal feuds, brigandage and AK rifles. The enemy leaders, more sinister and gangster-like, slip back and forth across the 1,500-mile border with Pakistan

  46. Al Qaeda, dominated by Arabs, is finished inside Afghanistan. The Taliban are Afghans, to be dealt with by Afghans. As he did in Iraq, Gen. Petraeus wants to recruit local forces to protect their own villages. That will expand the Afghan forces to 300,000 and stabilize the situation. On patrols, Afghan soldiers spot the enemy 10 times more frequently than do coalition solders. Afghan soldiers are brave, hardy, ill-disciplined, individualistic, temperamental and trustworthy.

    A year from now, coalition forces should be able to gradually withdraw, replaced by robust support and adviser units embedded in Afghan security forces. We shouldn’t make this a NATO war, allowing the Afghans to stand back. We’re outsiders, no matter how many schools we build or cups of tea we drink

    Just like in Kenya, back in Obama's daddy's day. There is what works, and then all the other stuff.

  47. ... the village elders with whom our soldiers drink tea are intimidated by an enemy that prowls at night when our forces return to their bases. ...

    Who owns the night,
    controls the day.

  48. From Small Wars Journal

    Odierno Says Iraq Won’t be Able to Defend Own Airspace by End of 2011 - Kevin Baron, Stars and Stripes. The top US commander in Iraq said on Tuesday that the country would not be able to fully defend its airspace by the end of 2011, when all U.S. forces must leave, according to the standing security agreement. Gen. Raymond Odierno said a US Air Force team would soon begin a full assessment of Iraq’s air patrol and defense needs. “In order to protect your airspace, you’ve got to have radars, you’ve got to have some sort of an aircraft if someone penetrates your airspace - you have some way to protect it,” he said. “I mean, we’re going to have to come up with some solution to this over time.” Earlier in the day, Iraqi Defense Minister Abd al-Qadir al-Mufriji said at a joint press conference with US Defense Secretary Robert Gates that he wanted a multi-functional fighter jet for the Iraqi armed forces, but was “looking at several options.” “It’s going to take a long time to include those capabilities,” he said. “We have to have the right airplane to protect our skies at the end of 2011.” Most observers have taken that to mean F-16s, but it won’t be so simple.

  49. Iraqi Troops Raid Iranian Dissident Camp, in Nod to Tehran -
    Charles Levinson and Yochi J. Dreazen,
    Wall Street Journal

    Iraqi forces stormed a camp of more than 3,000 members of an Iranian dissident group that until recently had been protected by the US military, in the biggest unilateral operation since American forces withdrew from Iraq's cities a month ago. Iran has long demanded that Iraq take action against the group, the Mujahedin e-Khalq, or MEK, but the US had stood in its way. The willingness to go ahead with the raid appears to point to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's balancing act between his two most important allies, as the US gradually pulls out of the country and neighboring Iran seeks to expand its influence. Iraqi forces seized control of the camp by force after the camp's leaders refused requests by Iraqi police to enter the camp peacefully to establish a police station there, according to the top US commander in Iraq, Gen. Ray Odierno, and a spokesman for Prime Minister Maliki. The raid was within Iraq's rights, the US State Department said Tuesday, and the Iraqi government has assured it that no member of the group in Iraq will be forcibly transferred to a country where he or she fears persecution.

  50. This comment has been removed by the author.

  51. Cordesman Unloads
    US officials warned Pakistan on Taliban spillover

    Also Wednesday, a longtime observer of the fighting in Afghanistan, Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, offered a scathing review of the war effort.

    Cordesman spent the past month in Afghanistan as part of a team of outsiders helping McChrystal assess the state of the war.

    "This is a war shaped not by strategy but by years of neglect and systematic under-resourcing," he told reporters. "More than any other set of problems, what becomes clear in Afghanistan is that for half a decade, we failed to react, failed to provide the troops, failed to provide the money."

    Among the biggest problems is an inadequate effort by U.S. and other civilian agencies, he said. Cordesman said he saw little evidence that the civilian "surge" promised by the Obama administration is taking place.

    "The way that they are trickling in—and trickling is the operative term—they can't possibly meet the needs in a place like Helmand," he said, referring to the southern province that is the focal point of the latest U.S. military offensive.

    "Much of the job will have to continue to be done by the military working with far too few civilians and that will be true at least through the end of 2010," he said.

  52. Woman allegedly runs over husband after argument

    You can disable her vehicle,
    You can run,
    But you cannot hide from the Wrath of a Woman!
    NAPLES, Fla. (AP) - Authorities said a 25-year-old woman ran over her husband with her truck after an argument on Monday.

    The sheriff's office reported that the woman's husband eventually disabled her truck and walked to a nearby restaurant.
    Two people helped her fix the truck, and she drove to the restaurant to meet her husband.

    The man left the restaurant on foot, and the woman followed him in the truck.

    Witnesses told deputies they saw the husband rolling from the truck as the vehicle sped away. When they approached him, they reported seeing track marks on him.

    Deputies arrested the woman and charged her with aggravated battery while using a deadly weapon.

  53. NASA denies new space program is too risky, pricey

    Other managers told the panel they were working through technical challenges with Ares, including a slim possibility that powerful energy waves created during a launch could injure astronauts or make it impossible for them to perform basic tasks, like looking at monitors.

    Read more:
    Ares I Thrust Oscillation meetings conclude with encouraging data, changes

    OK Linear, wherever you are, explain this to the kiddies in plain English!

  54. Poll Shows Obama’s Clout on Health Care Is Eroding

    President Obama’s ability to shape the debate on health care appears to be waning as opponents portray the effort as a government takeover, according to a Times/CBS News poll.

  55. The Basque separatist group's No. 1 leader was nabbed in France as he slept late last year. His replacement lasted only a matter of weeks.


    The explosion came just days after Spain's El Mundo newspaper reported that Spanish authorities had received intelligence reports that three vans had been prepared as car bombs and were expected to cross into Spain from France. One of the vehicles mentioned was a Mercedes Vito, the same model that was used in the Burgos attack.


    ETA's top leader, Mikel de Garikoitz Aspiazu, was arrested in the French town of Cauterets on Nov. 17, along with a female ETA member. A few weeks later, his replacement, Aitzol Iriondo, was arrested in the French village of Gerde.

    ETA's Resilience

  56. By Matt Collette,
    Globe Correspondent

    An officer in the Boston Police Department was suspended yesterday for allegedly writing a racially charged e-mail about Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. to colleagues at the National Guard, a law enforcement official said. Mayor Thomas M. Menino compared the officer to a cancer and said he is "gone, g-o-n-e'' from the force.

    The law enforcement official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Officer Justin Barrett referred to the black scholar as a " jungle monkey" in the letter, written in reaction to media coverage of Gates's arrest July 16.

    Barrett, a 36-year-old who has been on the job for two years, was stripped of his gun and badge yesterday and faces a termination hearing in the next week, said police spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll. He has no previous disciplinary record, she said

  57. Car arson spree claims 4 more

    Parked Porsche, Infiniti and Honda torched on S.F. streets, making at least a dozen cars burned since the weekend.
    We've had some of those right here in River City.

  58. Desert Rat is a Poop Butt.

    (Testing EB's Ejection Policies)

  59. Lower case, doug. lower case

    Never expected anything more, than lower case

  60. Gallup Daily Obama Job Approval

    Poll Obama loses ground on health care - White House-

    Dick Morris Explains:
    The more BHO associates himself with "Healthcare Reform" the less popular he becomes.
    The less popular he becomes, the less ability he has to promote Healthcare, or anything else.

  61. desert rat is a poop butt,


    desert rat is a Poop Butt ?

  62. According to Mr. Arias’s proposal, Mr. Zelaya would be allowed back into Honduras to finish his term, which ends in January, although elections would be moved up by one month. Mr. Zelaya would also be exempt from prosecution until after leaving office.

    None of those points seemed acceptable to members of the Honduran Congress who were huddled all Wednesday in closed-door meetings to consider the Arias proposal.

    “Impunity should not exist in this country,” said Congressman Antonio C. Rivera. “No one is above the law.”

    Backing Return of President

  63. desert rat is a poop butt

    Seems appropriate

  64. The Dems will promise most anything to get a mark-up before the recess.

    This is the time of Grassley's greatest leverage. He wants to use it.

    Don't be surprised if they get something out.

  65. nah, not a poop butt but, rather, a


    heh heh

  66. Rufus,
    Grassley to the Rescue!

    Wouldn't want to let John Q. Public have a shot at influencing DC.

  67. Nothing like having a glass jaw in the rough and tumble world of political debate, but yeah, he was the architect of his own destruction (just mildly dissin' Palin would set him a howlin'). Still, the BOOBIE KILLER moniker ain't too bad for a rat on the prowl...

  68. BTW, is that some sort of little gremlin hangliding over the fine posterior on your avatar? Ya' need a higher resolution pic when riding that kinda image.

  69. It ain't al-Bob's fault:
    He's Swedish!
    Man dies in motorbike crash with elk »
    "They got the elk on top of them," said Robert Mattebo at Kronoberg police.

    The accident occurred late on Sunday evening.

    A witness called the emergency services shortly after 10pm after noticing the motorbike in a ditch near the Rävemåla roundabout.

    On closer inspection the witness then found the injured couple, who were unconscious and buried under the now deceased elk.

    Scientologists reported for harassing Swedish family »

    GPS mix up sends Swedish couple on impromptu Italian odessy »

    Taliban commander: 'Swedes will be killed'
    A regional Taliban commander has warned that Swedes serving in Afghanistan will be the target of reprisals following the killing of three of the guerrilla group’s fighters by Swedish troops last week

  70. Stockholm's jumbo jet hostel put up for sale

    The world's first jumbo jet hostel at Stockholm Arlanda Airport has been put up for sale just seven months after its opening under the attendant gaze of the world's media.

  71. They got Cooties, too!
    Karolinska slammed over newborn deaths

    Sweden’s prestigious Karolinska University hospital has been criticized by health authorities after three newborns died from infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria

  72. U2’s world tour was brought to a standstill by protesters angry about noise from their last concert in Ireland.

    The band may now miss their next performance in Gothenburg, Sweden, after angry residents blockaded a convoy of equipment leaving Croke Park Stadium, in Dublin.


    U2 played to around 240,000 people at their three shows in Croke Park on July 24, 25 and 27.

    World Tour

  73. ...OK Linear, wherever you are, explain this to the kiddies in plain English!

    "...Contract all of your muscles when the concussion comes..."

  74. Rush had a caller that is a health insurance expert.
    All kinds of impossible crap on order.

    One detail that caught my ear is all the stuff included, like sex change etc.

    But also Chiopracters, which they tried here back in 93, but even in the Socialist Gulag of Poi it was just too much cost and fraud to bear.

    Full speed ahead!
    Iceburg in sight.

  75. That control stick would make a hell of a dildo.

  76. (probly why I'm 'sposed to contract everything)

  77. ...OK Linear, wherever you are, explain this to the kiddies in plain English!

    Condensed from the notes delivered at my CalTech Lecture Series:

    ..."And so we end an age!"

    "There's nothing wrong with suffering if you suffer for a purpose..."

    "...We must go now!"

    "...Contract all of your muscles when the concussion comes..."

    "...Destroy the Gun..............."

    Cabal addressing the unwashed masses: "Beware of the Concussion..."


    A more rigorous discussion requires a lot of math.

  78. The index of industrial shipments gained 3.5 percent to 81.7 due partly to robustness of carmakers, which recorded rises in exports to North America and Europe, the ministry said.

    The index of industrial inventories was down 1.0 percent to 95.4 as Japanese manufacturers have made further progress in their inventory cuts, a sign for them to gear up production.

    For the three months through June, the shipment index gained 6.4 percent to 78.6. Meanwhile, the inventory index slid 4.4 percent to 95.4.

    Longest Winning Streak in 2 Years

  79. Responding to questions, Holbrooke said there is no difference with India on the issue of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    "You know, India was the first country in the world I was ever aware of. I have a very special feeling for it.

    And if there's a rift, you have to ask the Indians. I didn't see any rift," the US envoy said.

    Role in Balochistan

  80. Rat

    Well, you finally did it. One avatar too many I would say.

    You don't fool me with your Freudian symbolism. It is easily (ahem) analysed. The glider above that sensuous derriere can only mean one thing:
    Rat's own special WD-40

    PS: After minimal research I know more, way more, than I need to know about the subject that none dare speak its name.

  81. The ass that launched a thousand ships.

  82. "Was this the face that launch'd a thousand ships
    And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?
    Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss.'

    No face could launch a thousand ships or keep a man awake at 3:00 AM, but...