Birds of a Feather, Slackers, and Unintended Consequences

vultures.jpgIt’s one thing to be a slacker, it’s quite another to carp at someone doing a great job while you are slacking. We’ve been at war now almost five years, and congress has been seriously slacking.

It’s easier for most of them to criticize President Bush and score face-time with the media than to actually do the job their constituents elected them to do. So we have a strange amalgam of Republicans and Democrats, all on the President’s back for failing to do his duty correctly when they haven’t created the legislation needed to protect Americans and to enable federal agencies to protect us.

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Syria Smuggling rockets to Hezbullah, Israel intercepts

Israel has intercepted Syrian Army rockets being smuggled into Lebanon, a clear indication that Syria is directly involved, and in violation of a UN resolution banning giving arms to Hizbullah. Story from Ynet:

Although Hizbullah has suffered a harsh blow from Israeli air force strikes which took out a good percentage of their available weapons, Syria was continuing to smuggle arms into Lebanon to rearm the group, IDF Operations Branch Head Major General Gadi Eisenkot said during a press briefing Tuesday.

Thus far, the IAF managed to intercept a number of trucks transporting rockets from Syria to Hizbullah, including trucks laden with the 20mm-diameter rockets with warheads like the one that hit the Haifa train depot  Monday, claiming eight lives. Maj.-Gen. Eisenkot said he would be very surprised if official elements in Syria were unaware of these transports.

“These are rockets that belong to the Syrian army. You can’t find them in the Damascus market, and the Syrian government is responsible for this smuggling,” Eisenkot said, but stressed, “We are not operating against Syria or the Lebanese army.”

Space Shuttle, STS-121 Returns SAFELY!

UPDATE: The Shuttle Landed Safely STS-121 and our astronauts are safely home! 

From contributor Aknot in Florida:

I had the TV on to watch the Shuttle land and heard that they changed runways. It was arriving from the south over the Yucatan and Cuba. I ran outside in time to hear the double sonic-boom. Pretty impressive living in Tampa and hearing the sonic booms for the first time. Three launches viewed (one night-time), double sonic boom, and I saw the Shuttle/747 combo flying overhead while enjoying a day at Epcot.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Space shuttle Discovery and its crew of six returned to Earth through overcast skies Monday, ending a successful mission that put NASA back in the space station construction business.

Discovery landed at Kennedy Space Center at 9:14 a.m. in only the second shuttle flight since the 2003 Columbia disaster.

“Welcome back Discovery and congratulations on a great mission,” Mission Control told shuttle commander Steven Lindsey after Discovery rolled to a stop.

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Israel-Hizbullah War Updates

Update: Homeland Security advises stepped up vigilance in US:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Department of Homeland Security said on Sunday it was urging stepped-up vigilance for possible spillover from mounting Middle East violence. “We urge vigilance during this heightened state of tension in the Middle East,” although there was no specific or credible information suggesting an imminent threat to the United States, the department said in a joint assessment with the FBI.

As nations scramble to see what they can do to evacuate the war zone, six Canadians are hit by an Israeli attack on Hizbullah. This heightens the urgency, but hopes and means for evacuation are diminishing with harbors in range of indiscriminate Hizbullah rockets, and the Beirut airport unusable. I would wager that sometime soon there will be a short window of cease-fire while evacs happen.

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REPORT: ISRAEL GIVES SYRIA ULTIMATUM

Ynet is reporting that the London-Based Islamic periodical “Al Hayat” states that Israel has given Syria a 72 Hour ultimatum. Continue reading “REPORT: ISRAEL GIVES SYRIA ULTIMATUM”

Breaking: C-802 Missle hit Israeli Ship, not a UAV drone

Final Update: Counter Terrorism Blog has a detailed analysis of the C-802 and its capabilities.  Also they note that Israel has deployed Patriot missles, although it’s not likely that they would be effective against this type of missile launched against a ship across water, as noted below these missles have a 98% hit rate vs. ships.

Israel has deployed three PAC-2 Patriot missile batteries near Haifa, “aimed at intercepting missiles launched at the area.” But it is unlikely the PAC-2 can intercept the smaller rockets, such as the Raad, which are being launched against the city. The Patriot systems are designed to shoot down aircraft, and have been modified to shoot down larger, medium range missiles such as SCUDs. “Patriot Advanced Capability-2 (PAC-2) is a surface-to-air guided missile defense system designed to detect, target, and destroy incoming ballistic missiles flying three to five times the speed of sound,” reports MissileThreat.com.

The PAC-2s are being deployed to intercept longer-range missiles (ballistic missiles fired from deeper in Lebanese territory, or perhaps Syria) and to take down UAVs launched from the Lebanese coast.

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Bush and Putin at G8

I’ve just watched the press conference held by Presidents Bush and Putin in St. Petersburg at the G8 summit. Bush is a bit jet-lagged, you could tell this was not his time of the day, however he clearly came off as the stronger leader. He was clear on the US positions on trade, the Israeli conflict, Iranian nuclear ambitions, and accession of Russia to the WTO.

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Hezzbollah, Assad, and Hamas: Meatpuppets for life

AmadinejadIndo.jpgEnd of passion play, crumbling away
I’m your source of self-destruction
Veins that pump with fear, sucking darkest clear
Leading on your deaths’ construction

Taste me you will see
More is all you need
You’re dedicated to
How I’m killing you

Come crawling faster (faster)
Obey your master (master)
Your life burns faster (faster)
Obey your master
Master Master of puppets I’m pulling your strings
Twisting your mind and smashing your dreams
Blinded by me, you can’t see a thing
Just call my name, ’cause I’ll hear you scream
Master
Master
Just call my name, ’cause I’ll hear you scream
Master
Master

Metallica, Master of Puppets

To those in Israel

To those in Israel:

Mord-ani.jpgI don’t believe in gods or devils, so it would not be true to say my prayers are with you — however my thoughts, my heart, and my support are all with you in full.

Do what you find you must do. Please continue to keep your thoughts ahead of your enemie’s plans, and remember that victory falls to the persistent soul. Keep your anger righteous and do not let it drive you to unreason. Remember the lessons of Yad Mordecai, both the person, and the place.

Photo by Liam Getreu, creative commons license, some rights reserved (attribution: Liam Getreu)

Fire and Ice

A picture and a Poem 

Antarctica.jpgFire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To know that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

— Robert Frost