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DagTSB Report: Flight 214, Quebec Train Disaster

As Director (acting) of the Dag Transportation Safety Blog, reports on each of two recent transportation disasters are below. For the Asiana flight 214, they say the official NTSB report will be over 900 pages long and take 18 months. DTSB works on a swifter less verbally expansive, 'in your face' manner in issuing reports.

DTSB Flight 214 crash in SF:

Report: Pilots were under speed, low in altitude and not anywhere near the glide path, or the descent rate to land safely. Two dead, plane totaled, scores injured.  [Read more]

No, NSA's General Alexander was Not Making Stuff Up

WASHINGTON — Gen. Keith B. Alexander, the head of the National Security Agency, said on Tuesday that American surveillance had helped prevent “potential terrorist events over 50 times since 9/11,” including at least 10 “homeland-based threats.” But he said that a vast majority must remain secret to avoid disclosing sources and methods...... [Read more]

Hero in Cowboy Hat, Lost a Son, Saved a Life

His name is Carlos Arredondo, and he lost two sons in the war in Iraq. He came to the US as an 'illegal' in the early 80's. He has since gained citizenship.

After he lost his son Alex to the war, he participated in anti-war protests, and was beaten to the ground and assaulted in Washington, DC during one demonstration in 2007. Link [Read more]

The Peculiar Mind of Rand Paul

From McClatchy:

-Less government means more 'economic liberty', so why are rich tycoons spending billions on electing these guys? If government is drown in a bathtub, does Senator Rand Paul get the Golden Ducky? Why not start with liberating Kentucky?


-Only guns can stop killing with guns, unless you have as many guns as Nancy Lanza, you won't be safe. [Read more]

Obama Loses Game of Chicken with GOP

In 2011, Obama played the fight the deficit game with the GOP, by signing the 'Budget Control Act of 2011". It mandated across the board spending reductions of 5% or so for non-entitlement spending of the government, not evaluating or specifying where or how the cuts were to be made. Just an ax to every discretionary program.

Nothing like this had ever been done before. Obama gambled it wouldn't happen. Doing so may have helped him win the election. Or maybe not.

Obama now calls the sequester "Just Dumb". Maybe his making this deal with the GOP in 2011 was dumb, and thinking they would back out of it now was also dumb. The GOP is the Party of dumb. Obama should know that by now. [Read more]

Problem Solved! Bulletproof Backpacks Sales Soar!

American exceptionalism, the wisdom of an entrepreneurial  free market, and job creation wrapped into one. The marketplace, not the government or the law, is always ready and able with a solution for any problem, for a price, so that a given American can 'save' themselves while others.....well for others, who aren't packin' and whose kids don't have $300 armored backpacks.....things may not turn out too good. [Read more]

Wade Page Quintessential Member, GOP Base?

The Sikh Temple shooter, essentially a member of the quintessential core of the Republican Base, at least before he went on his deadly rampage? Ignorance, stupidity, violence, guns and hate, he had it all. The same day, a mosque is burned, for the second time, in Joplin, Missouri, also supposedly 'heartland values' territory like Wisconsin. [Read more]

FactCheck.org Adds to Their Greatest Hits

tmmcarthy recently did a nice blog on FactCheck and facts.

Here, I present the FactCheck.org Greatest Hits, then and now:

(1) FactCheck September 23, 2004: "Kerry Exaggerates Cost of Iraq War" in pre-election ad. FactCheck says the war cost 'is still under $120 billion' whereas Kerry said it was $200 billion. Important information for the public from FactCheck....? By 2008 the cost of the war was extimated to exceed $3,000 billion ($3 trillion) and beyond by Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize winning economist. Thanks for that fact check, FactCheck, it helped us a lot. [Read more]

Police to SCOTUS: Need Blank Check to Tase Anyone

NYT:

The case involves Malaika Brooks, who was seven months pregnant and driving her 11-year-old son to school in Seattle when she was pulled over for speeding. The police say she was going 32 miles per hour in a school zone; the speed limit was 20.

Ms. Brooks said she would accept a ticket but drew the line at signing it, which state law required at the time. Ms. Brooks thought, wrongly, that signing was an acknowledgment of guilt.

Refusing to sign was a crime, and the two officers on the scene summoned a sergeant, who instructed them to arrest Ms. Brooks. She would not get out of her car....

Then came the multiple taser shocks, and dragging her from her vehicle. The 'use of force' case is now on appeal at the Supreme Court of the United States, over legal use of tasers by police.  As to whether there are any limits on taser use, a painful police action and compared by some to torture.  The Ninth Circuit federal court has implied there are limits, enraging the police community. The cops are appealing that part of the ruling to the Supreme Court,  they want a blank check to use tasers on just about anybody, for any minor offense, or any small lack of cooperation. [Read more]

Endgame in Afghanistan?

Forget election year politics and polls for a moment, will the apparent negligent disposal by burning of Korans at Bagram signal the final conclusion of not only our 'fragile and reversible gains' there, (Gen. Petraeus, 2011) - but our entire mission? Perhaps speed an end to the whole campaign and occupation, and hasten our exit?

Should Obama have apologized for the Koran disposal? Should he have waited for the investigation to be concluded, as the Korans in question may have already been defaced with messages written by prisoners, and as such were a security risk. On the other hand, did Karzai apologize for the deaths of 4 Americans by Afghan personnel this week? Should we be apologizing or leaving?

Should Obama be quietly or loudly telling the Pentagon to speed plans for departure, leaving Afghans on their own sooner rather than later, while also withdrawing the billions in financing they get from the presence of US and NATO troops? Does Obama have the moxie to exit faster, or will he stick to the ridiculous plan to stay until 2014 or beyond? Would the Republicans pounce on an Afghan exit and say 'Obama lost the war'? Would voters say 'we left too early', or just 'we should never have gone in to start'? Are there enough non-fanatical Afghans, and do they care enough, to stay and stop a Taliban return, or will they just try to get out while they can? [Read more]

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