Saturday, September 09, 2006

 

Oops, Our Bad

Now, about that connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda:

A declassified report released yesterday by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence revealed that U.S. intelligence analysts were strongly disputing the alleged links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda while senior Bush administration officials were publicly asserting those links to justify invading Iraq.

Far from aligning himself with al-Qaeda and Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Hussein repeatedly rebuffed al-Qaeda's overtures and tried to capture Zarqawi, the report said. Tariq Aziz, the detained former deputy prime minister, has told the FBI that Hussein "only expressed negative sentiments about [Osama] bin Laden."
Oh well, mistakes were made. It's not as if any major action was initiated based on the assumption that Saddam and al Qaeda were working in tandem.

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Friday, September 08, 2006

 

Misguided "Path"

I haven't seen the movie.

My colleague, John Podhoretz, has. To say the least, he is not one to concede points to the Clintonistas.

But this film
rubbed him the wrong way.

Make of that what you will.

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Open Thread

9/11 anniversary, NFL opening weekend, so many things about which to chat!

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Um, Actually, This Had Occurred To Me...

OBL's weird tape-release schedule.

And isn't it about time he switched to DVD? Or YouTube or something?


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Bloomin' Hypocrisy

My Post colleague Steve Dunleavy nails Mayor Bloomberg for his hypocritical views over scientific studies:

Let's go back to Dec. 30, 2002, when Bloomberg said of the bar-smoking ban, "We will save literally tens of thousands of lives."

He was talking about secondhand smoke in bars and restaurants and said we would all be healthier, if not wealthier, after the city curtailed it.

So smoking became the first legal product sold in New York that was partly banned in the city, based on Bloomberg's medical expertise, or access to pristine statistics about the effects of secondhand smoke in bars.

..............................................

In fact, there has been absolutely no scientific, completely scientific study that links secondhand smoke to cancer. The city has never come up with one credible statistic.

But there has been a complete scientific study - from Mount Sinai research that shows that at least 70 percent of the thousands who labored at Ground Zero as first responders reported, and proved, that they had awful trouble breathing or worse.

Some are dead.

Bloomberg thinks these highly respected doctors are so crazy that they're barbecuing with the leprechauns.

"I don't believe that you can say specifically a particular problem came from this particular effect. There is no way to tell for sure and you've got to be very careful . . . If I say, 'I've got something because of this,' that's not just the way it works," said Dr. Bloomberg.

So now I have it perfectly clear: You ban smoking in bars with no statistics on secondhand smoke, but you are telling Mount Sinai, one of the best facilities in the world, they don't know their ear from their elbow when it comes to poison attacking the lungs like a spear.

Yep, Steve, you've got it exactly right!

Funny how selective politicians become in their moral certainty and outrage.



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JAG-ged Edge

I wonder what Harm and Mac would say about this?

If the Bush administration's strategy on getting approval on detainee trials was to put the Democrats in a difficult position politically by forcing them to approve of the Bush policy,
that strategy seems to be backfiring.

The military lawyers -- the judge advocate corps -- are already protesting.

The right to a full and fair hearing requires the accused have access to the evidence used to convict them, even if it is classified information, the military advisors told the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee.
"I'm not aware of any situation in the world where there is a system of jurisprudence that is recognized by civilized people where an individual can be tried and convicted without seeing the evidence against him," said Brig. Gen. James Walker, U.S. Marine Corps staff judge advocate.

"I don't think the United States needs to become the first in that scenario," he said.

(Perhaps that might have something to do with the fact that one of their own, Navy lawyer Charles Swift, successfully represented detainee Salim Ahmed Hamdan in the case where the Supreme Court deemed the Bush policy unconstitutional.)

More significantly, Senate Republicans
are revolting (insert joke here):
One of those is John McCain (R-Ariz.), a former Vietnam War prisoner and a 2008 presidential hopeful who faces a political dilemma. He has won acclaim for standing up to Bush on issues such as humane treatment of detainees, but he also is eager to build conservative support for the GOP primaries. Several colleagues cautioned McCain and the others to stick with Bush on the tribunals question, and House leaders scheduled a vote in two weeks on legislation likely to mirror the White House's proposal.
The day's events suggest that Republicans may spend a good portion of the 109th Congress's final weeks trying to resolve an issue that could factor heavily in the Nov. 7 elections. Earlier divisions among Senate Republicans on issues such as immigration have contributed to legislative stalemates, and party leaders are eager to avoid a similar impasse over detainee trials.
Not surprisingly, the Democrats are more than happy to let the Republicans take the lead in crticizing the administration policy.

So, to keep track: Bush and (key) Senate Republicans on opposite sides of a controversial issue that was supposed to put Democrats on the spot! And the military lawyers are also opposed to the administration.

Lovely!



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The Gilbride of Frankenstein

I just read something disturbing. Kevin Gilbride is the Quarterbacks Coach for the New York Giants.

This man still has a job in professional football? The only offensive coach to ever be slugged by a defensive coach (Buddy Ryan) on the same team? Because his offense was so wretched?

Worse yet, you are going to entrust young quarterback Eli Manning to him?

For you Giant fans who think Eli is going to be the second coming of Peyton, forget it.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

 

The Pataki Campaign Begins Here

...perfectly captured by The Onion:

Days before the fifth anniversary of the destruction of New York's World Trade Center by terrorists, city officials gathered on the site where the Twin Towers once stood to dedicate the newly completed 9/11 Memorial Hole.

"From the wreckage and ashes of the World Trade Center, we have created a recess in the ground befitting the American spirit," said New York Governor George Pataki from a cinderblock-and-plastic-bucket-supported plywood platform near the Hole's precipice. "This vast chasm, dug at the very spot where the gleaming Twin Towers once rose to the sky, is a symbol of what we can accomplish if we work together."
......................
Begun only days after the 2001 attacks, the Hole covers almost the entire footprint of the original World Trade Center, contains over 16 acres of empty space, and is visible as far away as Hoboken, NJ. Over $175 million has been spent on the Hole's development, and thousands of pages of proposals and designs concerning the site in which the Hole was excavated were reviewed in over 2,800 hours of meetings. Work crews comprising more than 7,500 welders, equipment operators, excavators, and other construction specialists spent long, often unpaid shifts in its depths.

"These five years have been admittedly difficult," Pataki said. "Inevitably, we heard from the naysayers who said we would never accomplish anything on this site. To those people, I invite them to gaze down at this magnificent pit if they want proof of New Yorkers' dedication to this project."
Read the whole thing. Truly a masterpiece in precise investigative journalism.

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9/11: How High the Count & Cost?

A few years back, the official death toll of New Yorkers killed in the 9/11 attacks was set at 2,752.

That number will likely climb as the years go by, given this
remarkably broad study conducted by Mount Sinai Medical Center:

Roughly 70 percent of nearly 10,000 workers tested at Mount Sinai from 2002 to 2004 reported that they had new or substantially worsened respiratory problems while or after working at ground zero.

The rate is similar to that found among a smaller sample of 1,100 such workers released by Mount Sinai in 2004, but the scale of the current study gives it far more weight; it also indicates significant problems not reflected in the original study.

For example, one-third of the patients in the new study showed diminished lung capacity in tests designed to measure the amount of air a person can exhale. Among nonsmokers, 28 percent were found to have some breathing impairment, more than double the rate for nonsmokers in the general population.

The study is among the first to show that many of the respiratory ailments — like sinusitis and asthma, and gastrointestinal problems related to them — initially reported by ground zero workers persisted or grew worse in the years after 9/11.
This report gives a scientific-research context to what previously had been anecdotal evidence, such as the death of NYPD detective James Zadroga. The question being asked now is how many lives will be cut short because of exposure to Ground Zero toxicity? And how many years will it take before th final toll is known?

Of course, if there is a health issue, the political component is not too far behind:
Members of the New York Congressional delegation, who have been fighting to get the federal government to recognize the scope of the health problem created by toxic materials at ground zero, saw the Mount Sinai study as proof that the federal government has been too slow to address the issue.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, who participated in the news conference at Mount Sinai yesterday morning, along with Representatives Jerrold Nadler and Carolyn B. Maloney, said that the results made the need for federal assistance for treatment more critical than ever.

“This study, I hope, puts to rest any doubt about what is happening to those who were exposed,” said Mrs. Clinton, who was among those who pushed for $52 million in federal funding for health treatment for the ground zero workers, the first treatment money provided by the Bush administration. “This report underscores the need for continued long-term monitoring and treatment options — they go hand in hand,” she said.

Several members of the delegation are scheduled to meet in Washington tomorrow morning with Michael O. Levitt, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, to press for more aid.
Sen. Clinton managed to schedule both a press conference and a brand new campaign ad at the same time:
In that respect, Sen. Hillary Clinton danced an unseemly two-step yesterday, charging at the Mount Sinai press conference that "our government was not telling us the truth" about Ground Zero - then releasing a campaign ad . . . in which she alleges that "the government didn't tell the truth" about Ground Zero.
This does raise an interesting question though: Should the federal government -- or any government, for that matter, be responsible for a health condition that developed because of an act of war on the country?

Emotionally, the easy answer is "yes." But, it is not exactly the case that the government was responsible for the act -- and there was hardly any way to know what the conditions were when thousands of volunteers came down to Ground Zero.

Of course, those people suffering will be taken care of -- in the name of compassion. But, is a government actually obligated to do so?

It's a question that at least deserves pondering.

Five years later, 9/11 haunts New York in ways that many could not have begun to imagine.


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Fantasy football plays of the week

For you fantasy footballers out there, here are my recommended plays for the first week of the NFL season.

QB: Gotta love Kurt Warner of the Cardinals going up against last years worst pass defense, the 49ers. Opposing teams averaged 276 passing yards per game against the lowly 49ers last year.

Another good option is Chad Pennington of the Jets going up against the Titans, who gave up 33 passing touchdowns last year.

RB: The two Bells of Denver should toll for the Rams this week. Considering Mike Shanahan won't name a clear starter for the Broncos, this is a high-risk/high reward play. However, as bad as the Rams are against the run (giving up 136 yards per game last year, plus 22 touchdowns), it is possible both Mike and Tatum could have a big day against the lowly Rams.

If I have to tell you to start LaDainian Tomlinson against the Raiders this week (or against whomever the Chargers play against ANY week), you need some major fantasy football therapy. The same goes for Shaun Alexander against the Lions.

If you are looking for hidden gold, how about Frank Gore of the 49ers against the Cardinals? The Cards gave up 22 rushing touchdowns last year.

WR: Look for the Cardinals wideouts, Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald, to have big days against the 49ers.

Of course, Laveranues Coles of the Jets should have a big day against the Titans, but watch what Jerricho Cotchery does. Cotchery may surprise a few people this week.

No one should ever ignore the two Bengals wide receivers, Chad Johnson and T.J. "Who's your mama" Houshmandzadeh, but they are particularly nice this week against the Chiefs, who gave up 229 passing yards per game and 25 touchdowns last year. Considering Herm Edwards is installing a new Cover Two defense in K.C., expect some growing pains for the Chiefs defense.

TE: Antonio Gates starts EVERY week. Over any other tight end in the NFL. Period. Do not question this, and you will enjoy a prosperous fantasy football season.

For the best of the rest, try Dallas Clark of the Colts against the Giants. The Giants will be blitzing to stop Peyton Manning, which will leave their underbelly exposed for Clark.

K: For kickers, always look for a team which will move the ball between the 20's, but get stopped in or near the red zone. For that, I like Jason Hanson of the Lions this week. The Seahawks should be able to keep the Lions from the endzone.

On the other hand, Phil Dawson of the Browns is a solid choice against the Saints, who give up all kinds of points in bunches.

DEFENSES: For defenses, the best barometer is how often the opposing offense turns the ball over. Most leagues give you points for turnovers, but turnovers also create oppurtunities for defensive touchdowns.

The best defense this week? Da Bears. As the first stop on Brett Favre's Farewell Tour, they should benefit richly from a quarterback who has not realized he has gotten too old.

Denver's defense is not a bad play against the Rams this week either. While I cannot be sure whether the Rams offense will play as sloppy as they did last year, the Broncos defense should cause a few turnovers regardless.

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

 

The Other "Party of Lincoln"

E.J. Dionne argues that a different regional realignment is occurring in contrast to the Southernization of the GOP:

[A] quiet counter-realignment has been under way in the Northeast and Midwest. Post political writer Dan Balz was one of the first to notice after Bill Clinton's 1996 reelection that longtime Republican suburban bastions in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, New York and New Jersey were moving the Democrats' way.

If Democrats take the House this fall, it will be the culmination of this trend. To put it in historical terms, if Democrats have suffered in the states of the Old Confederacy, many of their best opportunities in November are in states carried by the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, in the 1860 election.

..............

The realignment of the South has been more important than any other factor in the rise of the Republican Party to majority status in Congress. It would be one of history's ironies if that majority were imperiled by the reassertion of the Lincoln states.
The other irony, of course, is that this counter-realignment was initially triggered by Bill Clinton -- whom many party leaders supported because of a belief in his built-in appeal to the South.


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Monday, September 04, 2006

 

WIAD Parade '06, IV



Gubernatorial candidate Tom Suozzi may be far behind in the polls to Eliot Spitzer, but he remains an exuberant campaign.





Gubernatorial candidate Tom Suozzi may be far behind, etc. etc.





Speaking of exuberance, Jeanine Pirro is a fiery ball of energy. Her campaign gets extra bonus points for coming up with the Napoleon Dynamite homage "Vote FOR PIRRO" T-shirts.







Pirro charges ahead!







These are the Vulcans, the FDNY's black firefighters association.







While a police office, Eric Adams headed the organization 100 Blacks In Law Enforcement Who Care -- a position that some felt was too critical of the institution of which he was a member and actually paid him. In any event, he recently retired from the NYPD in order to run for state senate.





The least, ahem, "West Indian" union represented!









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WIAD Parade '06, III


Somewhat far from home, California Congresswoman Maxine Waters visits Brooklyn with embattled Rep. Ed Towns.





State Sen. David Paterson, businesswoman and West Indian community leader Hazra Ali, Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Queens)




The placing of this photo is not meant to be an endorsement of the T-shirt's message.





Supporters of Eliot Spitzer present an optimistic message.





Left to right: TWU President Roger Toussaint (a native Trinidadian), Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, state Sen. Carl Andrews, state Sen. David Paterson, City Comptroller Bill Thompson.




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More WIAD '06 Parade



Yeah, I don't know why they decided to start filming "The Transporter 3" in the middle of the parade! (joke!)





Diane Taylor, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Speaker Christine Quinn -- with the NYPD steel band right behind.









A young early Carnival participant.






Rev. Al Sharpton, Attorney General -- and leading gubernatorial candidate -- Eliot Spitzer, and Transport Workers Union Roger Touissaint (with hand over mouth).






Sharpton, state Sen. Carl Andrews -- a participant in a very contentious congressional primary -- attorney general candidate Andrew Cuomo and his three daughters.





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West Indian-American Day Parade

First come the politicos!

The day begings with a breakfast which draws a wide cross-section of the political establishment -- particularly those running for (re)-election.




Hillary Clinton, Charles Rangel and others at breakfast.




Mayor Bloomberg helps open the West Indian-American Day (WIAD) festivities (while taking credit for the good weather).





Sen. Clinton thanks the Caribbean-American community for welcoming her back in 2000.




State Sen. David Paterson is the lieutenant governor running mate of Eliot Spitzer.





Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, underdog candidate for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, manages to entertain the WIADC breakfast audience with a rendition of the soca ditty, "Tiny Winey."




Sen. Clinton marches with Charles Hamilton, head of the "Zulu Krewe" veteran Mardi Gras marching band. New Orleans' rebirth is the theme of the'06 WIAD Parade.

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Open Thread

Hmm...yeah, missed most of the weekend, but fire away anyway!

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Sunday, September 03, 2006

 

Ramblin' Wreck runs into the Fightin' Irish

Not often will you see the top two individual college prospects meeting each other this early in the college football season. So I could not resist watching QB Brady Quinn and Notre Dame going up against WR Calvin Johnson and Georgia Tech.

It was a great game to watch, even though Notre Dame won 14-10 (sorry, I am NOT a Notre Dame fan). Georgia Tech came out on fire, going up 10-0, before Notre Dame came back to win. Tech made a run at the end, but it came up short.

Notre Dame is number 2 in the country? That must be a joke. If Notre Dame is the second best team in the nation, this must be a bad year for college football.

Even with Georgia Tech playing above their heads, the number two team should beat these guys easily. Georgia Tech is too small to play with a great team. Tech also doesn't have much endurance, as they started looking burned out by the second quarter. The fact that Notre Dame could only muster two touchdowns against Tech is a testament to just how overrated Notre Dame is.

SCOUTING REPORT:

QB Brady Quinn, Notre Dame: For all of Quinn's hype, I was not impressed. When Georgia Tech got pressure on him, he looked bad. When they didn't get pressure on him, he looked good. Even when he looked good, there were too many times his receivers made him look bad. The jury is still out on Quinn.

I must give one kudo to Quinn though: The play where he ran it in for a touchdown at the end of the first half. If the Irish ran the ball from the five yard line and didn't score, the clock would have run out in the half. Notre Dame came out in a spread offense, and Tech took the bait with four linemen in the box. My first thought was, if there is a hole, Quinn should run. He did, and scored.

I don't know if that was a called play, or Quinn's improvisation, but it was gutsy and brilliant at the same time.

WR Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech: I can imagine how NFL teams must be salivating over Johnson. Picture Terrell Owens playing at the college level NOW. That is how dominant Johnson is.

At 6'4", 230 pounds, he looks like a man among boys.

During the game, the idiot announcers suggested Georgia Tech should throw to him in double coverage. Unfortunately, Johnson's quarterback is not anywhere near Johnson's talent level.

QB Reggie Ball, Georgia Tech: When I watch Reggie Ball, I think "running back". I know a lot of college quarterbacks end up playing wide receiver in the pros, but I can more easily picture Ball playing as a third down running back. At 5'11", 195 pounds, he is a good size for it.

Ball was why Tech was not throwing to Johnson in double coverage. Sure, Johnson is extremely talented at going after the ball. The problem is Reggie Ball has a scattershot arm.

LB Philip Wheeler, Georgia Tech: Wheeler was the main reason Quinn had so much trouble last night. Wheeler was making plays all over the place, including in Quinn's face.

Wheeler is a little too small to play linebacker in the NFL (6'2", 225 pounds). Unless he adds some bulk to stay at linebacker, he might make an outstanding safety. He is still a little raw now, as I saw him over-pursue on quite a few plays. But Wheeler has a good motor and a pretty good nose for the ball.

NFL DRAFT PROJECTION: At this point, I would call Calvin Johnson the first pick in the draft. This kid could play in the NFL now. He may be the best wide receiver I have EVER seen in a college game.

Brady Quinn's draft stock has fallen. For now, call him the second pick in the first round, although the rest of the season will be more telling.

If Philip Wheeler keeps playing like this, he could easily be a first round pick. At worst, I see him as a third round pick.

Reggie Ball will probably drop to the end of the draft, if he gets drafted at all.

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