Space is a Moral Imperative

Obama and Biden Voted for the Bridge to Nowhere Instead of Katrina Aid

From the Chicago Daily Observer:

Now that Alaska is front and center in the news again, it is a good time to catch up on a favorite story, The Bridge to Nowhere, using the Washington Post US Congress Votes Database.

Though Gov. Palin originally supported the earmark spending on the Ketchikan bridge (“to nowhere), she eventually killed the project, chosing to spend Federal money on other infrasturcture programs.

However, Sen. Biden and Sen. Obama voted for funding the Bridge, even when given a second chance by Sen. Tom Coburn, who proposed shifting earmark funds to Katrina relief.

Sen. McCain did not vote on the Coburn Amendment, though he is on record as opposing the Ketchikan bridge earmark.

Also a reminder: Biden voted for the bridge to nowhere, but he voted against the Trans Alaska Pipeline, which has brought 15 billion barrels of oil to market since it was finished. What would the price of oil be without that pipeline?

For great discussion on this topic, please stop by Little Green Footballs.

McCain and Jobs for America

John McCain has unveiled his economic policy and his focus on the future. His campaign is Jobs for America, and I’m going to dig into it and evaluate it here as events permit.

The first thing to note is that he is attacking the key impediments to the US economy with this policy — if I had to list the areas impacting our economy in order my top three would be:

  1. Energy
  2. Taxes
  3. Free Trade

Today I’m going to look at energy policy to lead off because any economic plan without energy as a key factor is a clear failure to recognize the dynamics at play this century, and possibly for the rest of this millenium. Energy is the fundamental for the US future as well as all of Humanity’s — from energy comes all things.

Without abundant cheap energy, US productivity falls, products and inventories fall, and all transport costs go up. The effects of energy ripple through the economy, and they are not always immediately and readily apparent. One quick example is the mil of plastic used in plastic products. That Starbuck’s cold drink cup you drink out of is thinner mil than it used to be, and plastic bags and product packages are now thinner.

This also heavily affects our ability to export goods, a good example of this is the starvation being seen in Indonesia. The poor of Indonesia are heavily dependent on US soy product, and in the past year transport costs have leapt to new levels, which means many of Indonesia’s indigent poor can’t afford this cheap staple anymore. The effects impact all manufactured goods and most farm goods.

If those effects go on several more years we will not only see hunger and famine stalking many countries, but a real and firm recession here instead of the imagined recession the media has created for political reasons by focusing on a couple of sectors of our economy that are underperforming compared to their past right now (notably housing.)
Continue reading “McCain and Jobs for America”

New Missile Strikes in Pakistan

A new missile strike in Pakistan has killed 16 Taliban at a madrassah complex belonging to a friend of Osama Bin  Laden’s, Jalaluddin Haqqani. Haqqqani and his son, Sirajuddin, are the leaders of the Taliban in Afghanistan post-Daddullah, and they have been behind this year’s campaign of targetted bombings, kidnappings, and ambushes.

The refinement of tactics we’ve seen from him has been from adaptation of Al Qaeda’s new strategies. No longer do you see the Taliban acting as a large army, but instead using classical asymetric or guerrilla warfare techniques, mixed with many more terror attacks against civilian targets.

The strike was at a compound in the small village of Dande Darpa Khel in the tribal area of North Waziristan. One witness says there were two drones and six missiles used in the attack. It’s unknown whether we got any Al Qaeda or Taliban leaders of note, since villagers quickly surrounded the area and removed the bodies. A Pakistani official states that neither Jalal or Sirajuddin were in the buildings at the time of the attacks, but Pakistani officials have been notoriously wrong in reports in the past, most often they tend to claim that a leader was killed when they were not however.

This and the other recent up tempo strikes by the US and Nato forces seems to signal a new doctrine: that Taliban leaders will not be allowed to attack with impugnity and think their property and homes are safe across the border in Pakistan when they attack the property and homes of Afghans and destroy their lives.

More at the Washington Post:

A Pakistani security official in North Waziristan confirmed local villagers’ accounts of the attack, saying that the Taliban commander’s supporters immediately cordoned off the area around the bombsite and barred anyone from entering. He said that Haqqani and his son, Sirajuddin — a leading Taliban fighter — were not in any of the targeted buildings when the missiles struck.

The Pakistani security official, who requested anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly on such incidents, said dozens of the injured were taken by ambulance to local hospitals in the tribal area’s main town of Miranshah. Haqqani’s younger son, Badruddin, told the Reuters news service that his father and brother, Sirajuddin, were unharmed because they were away in Afghanistan at the time of the strike.

UPDATE: 3 Al Qaeda leaders dead from strike per ARY and Rediff: Hamza Arabi, Qasim Hamza and Musa Arabi

Much more on the strike and Haqqani at The Long War Journal
More on Haqqani’s history at Wiki

A Storm Came with the Rising Sun This Morn