Monday, May 2, 2011

Last Call

America?  We are better than this.

On Monday in Portland, ME the walls of the largest mosque in town were spray-painted with "Osama today, Islam tomorow [sic]" and other phrases, sometime following morning prayers on the day after American forces killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

The police chief is calling the incident at the Maine Muslims Community Center a hate crime.
The Portland Press-Herald reported "Long live the West" and "Free Cyprus" was also spray-painted on the mosque.

Portland has a relatively sizable Muslim population thanks in part to a large population of immigrants from Somalia and Sudan, Police Chief James Craig told TPM in an interview. The city of about 66,000 has three mosques.

Hate crimes are uncommon in the Portland, Craig said, and crimes targeting Muslims almost unheard of.

"This is the first [hate crime] targeting religion," in 2011, he said. 

C'mon, folks.   Islam and America's Muslims?  Not the enemy.  Osama bin Laden?  Most certainly was, and he got what was coming to him.  This right here?  Unacceptable in every way.

Another Milepost On The Road To Oblivion

Jihadist reaction to last night:  We don't believe you!  Osama's not really dead!  You Americans better be afraid because we want revenge!

Republican reaction to last night:  We don't believe youOsama's not really deadWe Americans better be afraid because they want revenge!

But we should take Republicans seriously on (insert SUBJECT X here).

In Your Base, Killin Your Doodz

The operators that zapped OBL over the weekend?  The famed Navy SEAL Team Six.  National Journal's Marc Ambinder has an impressive profile of them:

From Ghazi Air Base in Pakistan, the modified MH-60 helicopters made their way to the garrison suburb of Abbottabad, about 70 miles from the center of Islamabad. Aboard were Navy SEALs, flown across the border from Afghanistan, along with tactical signals, intelligence collectors, and navigators using highly classified hyperspectral imagers.

After bursts of fire over 40 minutes, 22 people were killed or captured. One of the dead was Osama bin Laden, done in by a double tap -- boom, boom -- to the left side of his face. His body was aboard the choppers that made the trip back. One had experienced mechanical failure and was destroyed by U.S. forces, military and White House officials tell National Journal.

Were it not for this high-value target, it might have been a routine mission for the specially trained and highly mythologized SEAL Team Six, officially called the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, but known even to the locals at their home base Dam Neck in Virginia as just DevGru.

This HVT was special, and the raids required practice, so they replicated the one-acre compound. Trial runs were held in early April.

DevGru belongs to the Joint Special Operations Command, an extraordinary and unusual collection of classified standing task forces and special-missions units. They report to the president and operate worldwide based on the legal (or extra-legal) premises of classified presidential directives. Though the general public knows about the special SEALs and their brothers in Delta Force, most JSOC missions never leak. We only hear about JSOC when something goes bad (a British aid worker is accidentally killed) or when something really big happens (a merchant marine captain is rescued at sea), and even then, the military remains especially sensitive about their existence. Several dozen JSOC operatives have died in Pakistan over the past several years. Their names are released by the Defense Department in the usual manner, but with a cover story -- generally, they were killed in training accidents in eastern Afghanistan. That’s the code.

And they went in and got the job done, professionally and with no US casualties.  My personal feelings are "These guys have earned some rest.  Let's bring them all home."  It's more complex than that...but the President could certainly declare mission accomplished and make those troop withdrawals later this summer both substantial and meaningful.

Still, a group of Navy SEALs got done what an entire nine year plus war and trillions of dollars couldn't accomplish.  There's a lesson there if we choose to heed it.

Down By The Levee

Meanwhile in Missouri and Illinois the swollen Ohio and Mississippi rivers are well above flood stage and watching and waiting on a plan to breach the levees on purpose to flood farmland rather than towns and cities along the banks.

Persistent, heavy rains have helped swell the Mississippi and Ohio rivers to the highest levels ever recorded, said an Army Corps of Engineers official Sunday.

This ominous development prompted Maj. Gen. Michael Walsh, president of the Mississippi River Commission, to order several barges into place at 3 p.m. to begin pumping explosive slurry into a levee near where the two rivers meet. This is all in preparation -- if the decision is made -- to blow up the Birds Point-New Madrid levee and potentially flood 130,000 acres of Missouri farmland, in part to save the town of Cairo, Illinois.

At 8 p.m., the water levels on the Ohio River outside Cairo had reached 60.27 feet -- well above the flood stage of 40 feet -- according to the National Weather Service. And, boosted by more rain, the forecast calls for a continued rise to as high as 61.5 feet by Tuesday afternoon.

"This is the largest flood that we have ever seen in our lifetimes," Walsh said.

This one's going to be ugly, folks.  Hundreds of thousands of acres underwater versus hundreds of thousands of people.  Either way it's going to be bad...but the latter would of course be far worse.  A hundred-year flood is never a good thing.

Trump's Label: Hypocrite

From's Justin Elliott:

Donald Trump has emerged in recent years as the nation's foremost China basher, going after the Asian superpower for undervaluing its currency and for taking American manufacturing and jobs. So it's at least ironic -- and at most an example of gross hypocrisy -- that Trump's own line of men's wear, the Donald J. Trump Signature Collection, is manufactured in China.
I discovered this after walking from Salon's offices to the large Macy's in midtown Manhattan, where an entire section is devoted to the Donald J. Trump Signature Collection of suits and ties. This particular corner of the store is decorated with an oversize portrait of Trump; the line promises to provide "the pinnacle of style and sophistication" and "the necessities to be boardroom ready all of the time."

The link above has a picture of the tag.  I'm more shocked by the price of the shirt than anything else.

Lady Blunt For Sale

The coveted Lady Blunt Stradivarius is for sale.  Of all the remaining fiddles, this one is considered by many to be in the best original condition.  That's pretty major news, especially considering the proceeds will be donated.  Frankly, I'm shocked.  This violin is priceless, and all I can do is marvel and applaud the generosity that is behind this incredible act.  The cause is absolutely deserving, but I could part with the money a thousand times again before I could part with the violin.  I have been in the presence of three in my life, and I hold on to those memories greedily, because they were in terrific hands.  I pray it is played and cherished, and above all protected.

Confronted by the tragic events of the 11 March 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and resulting nuclear crisis, The Nippon Music Foundation has made an extraordinary offer to assist in the recovery efforts of their native Japan.
In a gesture of profound generosity they have decided to sell what is considered the finest violin of their collection, the ‘Lady Blunt’ Stradivarius of 1721, and have pledged the entire proceeds of the sale to The Nippon Foundation’s Northeastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund.

Unbelievable.  Just unbelievable. What an incredible gift.

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

You know, some folks are going to have to eat crow after last night, starting with Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit who went on a tear yesterday with a Moonie Times op-ed bashing Obama's "failed" presidency.  He couldn't have known about the operation to nail OBL.  Well in hindsight, here's your "Sunday Reflection", Instatwit:  If failed Obama the failing failure is a bigger failure than Jimmy Carter, then what does it say about the GOP when Obama continues to beat the entire Republican field for re-election in national polling?

President Obama has gotten no bounce from his reelection campaign announcement, with his job approval rating dropping by 7 percentage points since January, his personal popularity at a career low and 57 percent of Americans disapproving of his handling of the economy. Yet he leads the potential GOP field

Kinda rocky for the President, yes.  But it's still worse for the entire Republican primary mess...a field that last I checked was still being led itself by one Donald Trump...and is still losing to Mister "the tendency of everything he touches to turn to crap" as you call him.

And this was all before the news that we zapped Bin Laden.  Crow.  It's what's for dinner, Glenn.  Eat up.

And speaking of the reactions of the right, as PoliticsUSA reports, out of the GOP field only Pawlenty even mentioned President Obama in their reactions to the news...and that was after crediting President Bush first.  Expect the next several days of winger spew to involve either A) "OBL's death doesn't end the terror threat to our nation" or B) "Let's thank President Bush for keeping his promise to bring him in dead or alive!"

Credit Obama?  Won't happen.  Not from the people running for his job.  Other Republicans will...but not anyone running for the GOP's 2012 nomination.  They know that will come back to haunt them in the GOP primaries.  And to them, politics are more important that national unity right now.  They're chasing the birther vote, after all.

Oh, and this.

Obama gets Osama

A Delayed Endeavour

The launch of the next-to-last space shuttle mission and last flight of the Endeavour, commanded by Rep. Gabrielle Gifford's husband, has been delayed by technical issues until at least May 8th.

NASA on Sunday delayed the final launch of the space shuttle Endeavour until May 8 at the earliest, after technical problems uncovered last week proved more complex than originally thought.

Electrical failures in the power supply to a fuel-line heating unit caused engineers to scrub the what would have been the second-to-last shuttle flight ever just hours before liftoff on Friday.

A plan to try the launch again on Monday was scratched once engineers realized the problem could take more time to fix.

"We still have a lot of work and a lot of offroads that could take us one way or another," Mike Moses, NASA launch integration manager, told reporters on Sunday.

The launch will be "not any earlier than the 8th," and possibly even later, he said.

"Just take that as a target for when we are going to start talking again about another launch date."

Endeavour is poised to carry a potent, multibillion dollar tool for searching the universe in the penultimate flight for NASA's 30-year program.

After Endeavour returns from its 14-day mission and Atlantis launches for a final time in June, the iconic space shuttle program will close for good.

I can understand the extra layer of caution at this point.   It's not like we have a bunch of extra space shuttles sitting around, ready to go...and of course all effort is being made to ensure nothing goes wrong.  I'm hoping the launch will happen soon and happen safely...and that Gabby Giffords gets to watch her husband touch the sky one last time.

Osama Been Gotten, The Morning After

Well.  That was a hell of a last nine hours or so.  More details have emerged overnight of the operation to take out Al Qaeda's shadowy leader.

Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the worst terrorist attacks on American soil, is dead -- almost 10 years after the attacks that killed about 3,000 people.

The founder and leader of al Qaeda was killed by U.S. forces Monday in a mansion in Abbottabad, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, U.S. officials said.

Four others in the compound were also killed. One of them was bin Laden's adult son, and another was a woman being used as a shield by a male combatant, the officials said.

Bin Laden's body was later buried at sea, an official said. Many Muslims adhere to the belief that bodies should be buried within one day.

The official did not release additional details about the burial, but said it was handled in keeping with Muslim customs. 

Spontaneous celebrations outside the White House and in Times Square in New York erupted late last night.  The President's speech last night was somber but forceful.

Over the last 10 years, thanks to the tireless and heroic work of our military and our counterterrorism professionals, we've made great strides in that effort. We've disrupted terrorist attacks and strengthened our homeland defense. In Afghanistan, we removed the Taliban government, which had given bin Laden and al Qaeda safe haven and support. And around the globe, we worked with our friends and allies to capture or kill scores of al Qaeda terrorists, including several who were a part of the 9/11 plot.

Yet Osama bin Laden avoided capture and escaped across the Afghan border into Pakistan. Meanwhile, al Qaeda continued to operate from along that border and operate through its affiliates across the world.

And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda, even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat his network.

Then, last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden. It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground. I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside of Pakistan. And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.

Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.

This is something I honestly thought would never happen.  After years of him taunting us, our guys finally found him and said hello.  In the short term this doesn't change much at all.  We still have troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, and we're still neck deep in Libya.  Where this will go and what this will mean, I can't tell you.  I'm hoping it means we can get extremely serious about bringing home our troops in Afghanistan later this year.

They have earned their rest.  We'll see, but from here out things are going to be a bit different.

New tag:  Osama Been Gotten.  It's going to generate a lot of news, I predict.

[UPDATE] Taegan Goddard has the transcript of the White House conference call with reporters after the President's speech.  It's...very surreal.  Nothing but a spokesman and several "Senior Administration Officials" giving frank details of the operation.  Worth a definite read.

StupidiNews, Involving Stuff Other Than We Got Bin Laden Edition

Related Posts with Thumbnails