Not sure how many of you out there caught the news yesterday, but a CSX train derailed and caught fire yesterday after apparently colliding with a trash truck. A huge column of smoke followed by an explosion shut down an entire zip code north of Baltimore and actually caused a hazmat team to evacuate the area for a while. Fortunately, thanks to early warnings, regular updates due to the continued news coverage, and the general public actually paying attention, major and massive traffic delays were avoided, and (as far as I know) no one lost their life.
And to top it all off, this took place only a few miles north of my house. Sometimes it's cool that the area around where you live makes the national news, but not for something like this. I'm just glad nothing catastrophic happened.
Freedom isn't free... Be sure to thank all those who serve, from the potato-peelers to the drone controllers. The blunt sword of the armed forces swings where it is aimed. If you don't like the result, blame the one who is aiming, not the one taking orders.
On the planet, it also has laws to ban the sale of nudity depicted in magazines as it may be offensive to the clerks selling them.
Whats next? Chocolate milk? Integration with the plain, non-fat and vanilla is a must! Political correctness at all costs!
In his first major speech on counterterrorism of his second term, President Obama on Thursday opened a new phase in the nation’s long struggle with terrorism by announcing that he is restricting the use of unmanned drone strikes, which have been at the heart of his national security strategy.
1) Tracing the Rise and Decline of Drone Strikes
President Obama inherited the drone program, the number of strikes drastically increased in his first term.
2) Polls Show Strong Public Support for Drone Strikes
There is strong public support for drone strikes against suspected terrorists outside the United States
3) More Militants Killed Than Captured
In his speech, President Obama spoke of a “strong preference” for capturing militants rather than killing them.
4) Concern Over Drone Strikes and Response in Arab World
Parts of President Obama’s speech suggest an evolution not only in how the administration views the drone program but also in how the United States views events in the Arab world.
5) The Role of the C.I.A. in Targeted Killings
President Obama spoke of using “remotely piloted aircraft referred to as drones.” He made no mention of the fact that the Central Intelligence Agency is running the bulk of the drone program.
6) Obama Addresses Kill-Versus-Capture Policy
The president said that the United States does not order drone strikes when it has the ability to capture terrorists.
7) Obama Keeps the Door Open to a Drone Court
The United States government has been debating the idea of setting up a court to oversee targeted killings, something akin to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees eavesdropping on American soil.
8) The Debate Over the Use of Force Authorization
There is fierce debate about whether Congress should renew the Authorization for Use of Military Force law that was passed in the days after the Sept. 11 attacks.
9) Obama to Lift Moratorium on Detainee Transfers
The most significant part of President Obama’s remarks about Guantánamo Bay was his announcement that he is lifting the moratorium on detainee transfers to Yemen.
10) What Next for Drone Program?
Now that the speech is over, one of the big outstanding questions is just how transparent the Obama administration will be about drone strikes in the future.
President Obama will give a defining speech today at the National Defense Academy in which he will outline his policy on prosecution of terrorism as well as plans for Guantanamo Bay. Both of these topics are very interesting and may well set policy for the US for the next ten years.
Of the 166 prisoners at Guantanamo, most on hunger strike and being force-fed, 59 of them are Yemenis that could be repatriated to Yemen. The policy on drone strikes may very well determine if the US involves itself in future ground wars when UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) may do just as well.
Hopefully this will be a defining moment for a sea-course change in American policy or at least a long-term normalizing of the rules of engagement for the many agencies tasked with command and control of drones. One thing is for sure, America needs to sort this out, especially the policy on drones overflying American airspace...
8:10 pm 5/22/13
"ORLANDO: A man being questioned in the Boston Marathon bombing case was shot to death at his home by an FBI agent Wednesday after turning violent, officials said.
The agent and two Massachusetts State Police troopers were interviewing 27-year-old Ibragim Todashev, a mixed martial arts fighter, at his townhouse early Wednesday in Orlando. In a statement, the FBI said the agent acted on an imminent threat and opened fire. The agent was taken to a hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.
Khusn Taramiv, who described himself as a friend of Todashev, told Orlando TV station WESH that Todashev had known one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, from mixed martial arts fighting. Public records also show Todashev lived in Watertown, Mass., just outside Boston, last year."
It was over a mile wide and traveled 17 miles on the ground. 24 dead including 9 children in an elementary school. This was one for the record books or a sign of things to come in the global warming arena.
Positive vibes to anybody or animal still alive in the wreckage.
Where the wind comes sweeping down the plains.
2013 may go down as a year of infamy for those attempting to scale the world's highest peak in Nepal. A total of seven people have already died this early in the season, including three sherpas, one of whom was blazing the trail as a "Khumbu Icefall Doctor". This is way too many deaths this early in the season.
All this after a joint military Indo-Nepalese expedition cleared the trash at base camp a few days ago.
Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world and each year lines of up to 200 people can be seen single file going up the mountain in darkness before dawn. The average cost for summiting Everest is somewhere north of $50k. The average life of a climber on Everest and Nepali peasant is unimaginable unless you've been there.
We lost one hell of a musician yesterday. Ray Manzarek, as many of you probably know, was the keyboardist for the Doors, and he lost his long battle with bile duct cancer yesterday afternoon. When I was still in elementary school, my brother introduced me to many of the most legendary bands/artists on the planet--Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, the Doors, etc.--and the Doors have remained among my all-time favorite bands ever since. Few artists have been able to make such an impact on the music world in such a short period of time. The Doors are truly legendary.
R.I.P., Ray. Break on through to the other side, and tell Jim we still miss him. And we miss you, too.