Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sen. Blanche Lincoln loses to Lt. Gov Halter --not so fast

Tuesday, May 18, 2010, Arkansas voters turned out blue dog Sen. Blanche Lincoln for labor-friendly Lt. Governor Bill Halter --almost. No one got a majority in the Democratic primary race, so there will be a June 8 run-off.
Earlier reports gave Halter a lead. Now Lincoln is leading, 44.3 to 42.5 percent.
Here's the analysis from the AP.

Primary race news in Kentucky:
Tea-bagger (or Tea-partier) Rand Paul, son of Ron Paul, trounced (59 percent) his opposition (Trey Grayson, establishment GOP man, secretary of state, receiving a sad 35 percent) in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate.
In the Louisville race J. Fischer led 45 percent over nearest competitor J. King (19 percent) in the Democratic primary for mayor.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Elena Kagan and superlatives

President Barack Obama has nominated former Harvard Law School dean and current solicitor general Elena Kagan to replace John Paul Stevens as an associate justice on the Supreme Court.

The Internet is spreading around superlatives and other adjectives about her. Yes, she would be the fourth woman to sit on the high court. Yes, she would bring the court to a record number of three women serving simultaneously on the court.

However, there is one description that is not quite accurate. Writers on the Internet have asserted that she would be the youngest justice. This is not true. Clarence Thomas started on the court, at the age of 42 years. This compares to Kagan, who would start on the court at the age of 50.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Times Square car bomb, possible South Park Muhammad cartoon link

Last night, Saturday, May 1, 2010 police discovered a gas tanks in the back seat of a sports utility vehicle (SUV).
Overnight, the New York City Police Department have investigated whether there were a link between Muslim outrage over "South Park"'s Muhammad-in-a-bear-suit cartoon.

This seems to be credible, as the van was parked outside Viacom offices. Viacom broadcasts "South Park."

(Video on the CNN "Breaking News" of the car bomb-as gas tanks news story, in video box at right.)

Nick Allen and Gordon Rayner, in the UK "Telegraph" reported today on the NYPD consideration of the revenge on South Park link:
The device, which failed to detonate, was left near the offices of Viacom, which owns the irreverent cartoon series.

Last month postings on an Islamic website warned the creators of South Park - Matt Stone and Trey Parker - that they could face violent reprisals after an episode of the show featured Muhammad in a bear suit.
A posting on the website of a US-based group called Revolution Muslim warned Stone and Parker that they would “probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh”, the Dutch film-maker who was murdered in 2004 by a Muslim angered by his film about Muslim women.

Images of the Prophet are strictly forbidden in Islam, and Comedy Central, which broadcasts South Park, has banned Stone and Parker from depicting Muhammad in the past. In 2006 the network stopped them from featuring Muhammad in an episode which followed worldwide protests over a caricature of the Prophet by a Danish cartoonist.
This follows on a number of episodes depicting or alluding to Muhammad, beginning with episode 68, "Super Best Friends," a 2001 episode, depicting Muhammad along with other religious iconic figures.
Detectives are also understood to be investigating striking similarities between the New York bomb and two car bombs planted by Islamic terrorists outside the Tiger Tiger nightclub in London in 2007.

In both cases, the devices comprised cylinders of propane gas and cans full of petrol intended to be ignited by electronic detonators.
No direct clues to individuals have been floated, but the forensics procedure should be straight-forward. The police have noticed that the van's license plates are at discrepancy with the vehicle. The plates are for a Ford vehicle. The van is a Nissan Pathfinder. While the plate switch is temporary, each vehicle carries specific Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) stamps. These numbers can ultimately be traced to the actual car ownership.
UPDATE, 12:38:
CNN reports that the VIN on the dashboard had been removed.
The issue of tinted windows is a domestic security issue. The tinting of windows obscures materials in rear seats of cars and vans. In this vehicle the gas tanks were in the back seat. It appears that the tanks were visible, in this case, because the tanks were visible enough through the windows. We are fortunate that the windows were visible enough to see the gas tanks.
In regular driving situations, drivers that are doing objectional things, whether involvement in possible terrorism, sideswiping a vehicle or nearly striking a pedestrian can elude identification, due to tinted windows. The tinting of windows is intense, the windows are nearly blackened.
We must stop being libertarian on this issue. People's right to be private behind windows, when bombs or irresponsible drivers hidden behind tinted / darkened / blackened windows can threaten citizens.
What are the priorities of the television networks. This morning the terrorism story has been only mentioned in passing.