Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Report: Over a third of students entering college need remedial help - Chicago Sun-Times

Report: Over a third of students entering college need remedial help - Chicago Sun-Times

Ages ago my first intro to college was a placement test that taken twice to see where I would be placed at the City Colleges of Chicago. As it turned out the first time around wasn't a charm, I had qualified for some remedial classes. Took it again and well I did much better but not enough to avoid taking some remedial course that wouldn't count towards either college credit or graduation.

Back then I didn't take that very seriously. The first time around was when I was still in high school and my expectation by the time of my graduation wasn't to attend a city college. So my score sat at another city college (Kennedy-King) until it was time to enroll at a different city college (Harold Washington). Then my task was to transfer it to the other school except that well it was below what I expected it to be and at that had little idea as to how to interpret the placement test.

With all that said and done at the time I took intermediate algebra which wouldn't count for graduation at the city colleges, however, once I got passed that hurdle then college level mathematics was straight ahead. English well I could take college level English, however, there was a component with that course that I had to register for. So it was like a "hand-holding" English course.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The "fried chicken rebellion" at the state house???

Apparently state house Speaker Michael Madigan doesn't want people to eat at their desks on the floor in the House of Representatives chamber and there are some members who wants to change that rule according to Ward Room:
On Saturday, though, one hungry politician rose to condemn that rule. Every year, Rep. Raymond Poe, R-Springfield, caters a fried chicken lunch for the entire Capitol. Rep. Jim Sacia, R-Pecatonica, wanted some of that chicken. But the House was in session, and being a conscientious legislator, he didn’t want to leave the floor for the designated chicken-eating room behind the chamber. So instead, he rose to make what is known as a “point of personal privilege” to criticize Madigan’s “Hey, this isn’t a diner” policy. The Speaker instituted the no-eating rule six years ago, after the House chamber was renovated.

“In the Illinois Senate, if you’re hungry and someone provides chicken, you bring it into your place and you sit down and you eat it like the grown adults each and every one of us is,” Sacia shouted, to the applause of his colleagues. “This is not a partisan issue. We all worked hard to get here. We go into the finest restaurants, and they don’t stuff us into a little room in the back and tell us, ‘Sit down and eat.' This is a shame, Mr. Speaker, when one non-elected person makes the rest of us act like children who can’t even handle a spork and dribble out of both sides of our mouth. This is a beautiful chamber. We should be allowed to eat in here.”

Sacia is correct. Senators are allowed to eat at their desks. I have personally witnessed Sen. Emil Jones III stuffing his face with something out of a white paper bag. I think it was popcorn.

Madigan’s spokesman, Steve Brown, says the Speaker is only trying to enforce the same standards as the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate, which also ban eating.

“There’s no reason to turn this into a mess hall,” sniffed Madigan spokesman Steve Brown to The Dome Blog.
Hard to argue with having the same standards at the federal counterparts in Washington. It shouldn't be that much of a problem to allow legislators during the course of a session to eat at least once at their desks in their respective chambers.

Happy Memorial Day...

2011, is the 150th anniversary of the US Civil War so in honor of that conflict a painting of the 54 Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment. This army unit was portrayed in the film Glory starring Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, and Cary Elwes.

Well the weekend is already off to a wet start. Hopefully this day will allow you to take part in any outdoor plans on Memorial Day!

Crossposted @ The Sixth Ward

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The year 1999 as shown in the year 1966!

[VIDEO] How about a little fun today?

This video was made in 1966. It seems there were a lot of films made back then to depict the future. And surely those who made such films saw the year 2011 as a different world. Of course if some of those film makers were put into our current year it probably would be the same world as theirs. Of course I can only image how the year 2111 would look. That just has to be a different world right.

Of course, this video strikes me as not very liberating towards women. It still assumes that the man pays all the bills. Although for some out there passing the bills off to someone else would be very liberating now would it?

So the wife does her shopping on a PC (well the 1966 version) and in addition to that she checks the monitors around the house in keeping with her domestic duties. The husband is more of a geek here as he has three screens to look at. Also it appears he uses a stylus to write an "e-mail" to be sent to anyone around the world.

Of those three screens the husband uses he uses one of them to check his account information. So he's looking at his wife's bills as she went shopping "online". I'm not sure the husband was happy as he printed off his information.

Well some aspects of this video was off, but in concept, it was dead on!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

So Blago really is human?

I'm reading this article from the Sun-Times. Blago took the stand in his own corruption retrial and it comes off showing that he's aware of what he's doing. A long way from my own thoughts of how he views himself:
Rod Blagojevich called himself a “narcissist” and an “effing jerk,” admitted he was on academic probation in college and didn’t learn anything in law school, and acknowledged he flunked the bar exam.

Then, on his first morning on the witness stand at his trial on federal corruption charges, the former governor of Illinois grew emotional when asked to talk about the woman he met when he was in his 20s and struggling with a fledgling legal career.

He looked across the room at the woman, who is now his wife, and pointed to her — but choked up and apparently became too emotional to say her name.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel quickly called a lunch recess.

Across the room, wife Patti Blagojevich burst into tears, lowering her head, her brother passing his hand over her back.

The exchange capped a morning that largely featured a personal history lesson on Rod Blagojevich, who, in intimate detail, described what he believed to be landmark moments in his life.

Blagojevich took a moment to apologize for the profanity on the now infamous secretly recordings of him while in office, saying his teenage daughter told him this morning to watch his language when she wished him good luck on the stand.

“When I hear myself saying that on tape, I’m an effin’ jerk, and I apologize,” he said.

Throughout his narrative, Blagojevich kept to key themes: that he dreamed big, like his father, and often strayed from reality.
That last line is believable for certain. It may have often showed during his time in public life.

This testimony as reported is interesting especially for someone like myself who largely hasn't been paying much attention. Especially since on this blog I went after him because I thought of him as a terrible politician. Hence how he found himself where he is today.

For some reason my own expectations wasn't that he displays this self-awareness on the stand. Never thought he would display that. It could be a good defense ploy who knows.

BTW, yesterday Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was on the stand in his trial and really didn't spend a lot of time as a witness. Indeed he said nothing earth shattering. Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. however spent more time on the stand and did mock Blago on the fact that he wouldn't appoint Jackson's wife, a Chicago Alderman, to a position within state government.

I had to find an article on this...

About Obama's state dinner hosted by British Queen Elizabeth. He was attempting to toast her and continued to do so while the British anthem was playing. I can certainly believe no one briefed him on protocol at this event. It was certainly painful. Here's an article from CBS:
But the president's most awkward moment was at the state dinner hosted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday.

As Mr. Obama toasted the Queen and palace guests, the orchestra mistook a poignant pause for the end of his speech, striking up "God Save the Queen" early. The president continued over the music and lifted his glass, a gesture ignored by the Queen until the end of the song.

Mr. Obama president later joked with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg that the mishap was "out of the movies," a phrase that could be used to described much of the president's European adventures.
Yeah it was noted here that Obama's limo was stuck in a driveway in Ireland at the start of his European trip. I also heard about his attempts to mimic an Irish accent. Here's the state dinner moment that was quite painful to watch [VIDEO]
BTW, I can trust this was an honest mistake. I'm not an Obama supporter and there are plenty who are making big hay of this and pointing fingers at the President and his team. This only because they may not like the man for whatever reason. I won't make a big deal about it that much, but to be sure this doesn't look like a trip to be proud of!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

It's OK to reminisce about 2008

Entirely another issue if you still think the year is 2008...

President Obama is in "jolly old" England today and wrote this note above in a guestbook at Westminster Abbey in London:
It is a great privilege to commemorate our common heritage, and common sacrifice.

Barack Obama

24 May 2008
The link above is to NY Mag which further confirmed inspite of the more European dating used in that written note that this was in fact written by the President.Via PJ Tattler

Monday, May 23, 2011

Mary Shmich on The Chicago Code...

Watching The Chicago Code right now, found this column via Sloopin. She noted a couple of fans who have started their own campaigns to save the show. But the excerpt are Shmich's comments:
When "The Chicago Code" premiered in February, I was not an instant fan. The writing was better than average, the plots were ambitious, and Chicago, even in the broken neighborhoods, looked as gorgeous as a tourist brochure. Still, something was slightly off in the pace, the dialogue, the tone.

But week by week, like a stiff new shoe that loosens up, the show has gotten better.

The story, centered on a corrupt alderman played by the riveting Delroy Lindo, tightens like a blood pressure cuff. The annoyances — constant references to the Irish mob, some bad Chicago accents — have either diminished or I've gotten used to them. I've turned into a big fan and think there's an untapped audience for the show.

When word got around Tuesday that I was writing this column, I started hearing from fans from all over.

Several Chicagoans said the show has introduced them to parts of the city they didn't know existed. Out-of-towners said it made them want to visit. Some noted the jobs it brought to the city and the exposure it gave Chicago talent.

And all of them raved about the good acting and uncommonly intelligent, adult plots. Sadly, those credentials don't rival the allure of the show's usual 8 p.m. time-slot competitor, "Dancing with the Stars" on ABC.

Yet Ford and her fellow fans reach for crumbs of hope. Monday's ratings were up 12 percent among viewers 18 to 49. And was it a happy omen that the come-on for next week's show referred to the "season finale," not the "series finale?"

Next week's finale, by the way, is called "Mike Royko's Revenge." I knew Mike, the late, great Tribune columnist, well enough to believe he would have liked "The Chicago Code."

And he'd have let the genius TV executives know just how dumb it was to let such a good show die.
I mistakenly referred to this week's episode as the "season finale" on my Twitter page. As noted in the quote that episode will in fact premiere next week.

Hmmm, another book to add to the book list in the sidebar, Boss: Richard J. Daley of Chicago by Mike Royko. I need to find it and read it however

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A comment in an old post...

Well "The reality of war" post where I posted a picture from Andrew Sullivan's blog - The Daily Dish, formerly at the Atlantic and now at The Daily Beast. It's a disturbing picture as we see a dead little girl buried in rubble and it almost looks like her head was dismembered.
may Allah swt take revenge on those Jews
That post is a little over two years old and the issues that this little girl is caught up are still out there.

As for whoever posted that comment, it's very hateful. Rarely, thank goodness, does this blog run into such comments. If it got more readers it could get worse but once in a blue moon is easy to deal with.

I just make note of them as I come to them and you won't see it in the comment feed. Of course some comments because blog post in and of themselves.

BTW, what's with this talk of Israel going back to their 1967 boundaries. Speaking of issues their still fighting over in the Mideast about a two state solution and whether or not Israel should give back some territory that they've grab during the various wars they have fought. It seems like there will be some unresolved issues over there no matter how much Israel would even want to concede. It strikes me as well there are those who are against Israel for as long as it exists.

Perhaps, that might be where this comment comes from.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Survey: Recent college grads wising up about Obama

Hot Air provides something of an answer as to whether or not Obama can capture those same voters who voted for him in 2008. That is the college student especially the ones who had graduated some time after he became President:
A recent informal survey of 500 post-grads primarily between the ages of 22 and 28 — 83 percent of whom voted for President Barack Obama in 2008 — found just 27 percent of Obama’s previous youth supporters plan to vote for him again, The Daily Caller reports. That’s a drop of almost 60 points.

In contrast, of those who voted for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2008, a vast majority — 80 percent — said they would vote GOP again. An 80 percent majority of those newly disillusioned by Obama said they would consider voting for a Republican in 2012, too.
Well the reasoning in the Hot Air post ranges from the more real world to the philosophical. The philosophical being that being more "conservative" is noncomformist to being "progressive". That is currently it could be argued that progressive thought dominates the culture.

Let's stick to the real world however. It should resonate as the hope & change college students voted for in 2008 have only given way to disillusionment when you had to get out here and find a real job. Unfortunately it's difficult to find a job to pay off the debts incurred in college. Not that President Obama can be blamed for that.

Besides it was once theorized that angry baseball fans came out to vote because Bill Clinton was unwilling to intervene in a baseball strike that cost fans a World Series in 1994. Thus those fans came out to vote and ushered in a first Republican majority US Congress in forty years. Then President Clinton couldn't be blamed for that either. :-/

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

United sorry for reviving Sept. 11 flight numbers

Noted in this AP article, Flight 93 had crashed in Pennsylvania & Flight 175 has crashed into one of the twin towers on 9/11. United Airlines attempts to explain what they call a technical error:
Spokesman Rahsaan Johnson blamed the reuse of flight numbers 93 and 175 on a "technical error." He said the airline has taken steps to have the numbers removed from its computers.

"We apologize for the error," Johnson said in an interview. "The numbers were inadvertently reinstated."
Johnson said he didn't know when the flight numbers went back into use, but it was probably just in the past few days. The airline stopped using the flight numbers shortly after Sept. 11.

A notice posted Tuesday on the airline schedule website Airlineroute.net said United planned to reactive the two flight numbers Saturday, but that Continental Airlines would operate the flights in a code-sharing arrangement. A code share allows one airline to book seats on a flight operated by a second airline. Often the flights operate with the name of the airline that did the booking rather than the airline operating flight.

United and Continental recently merged and become United Continental Holdings Inc., but are in the process of combining their operations. Under the merger agreement, the combined airline will fly under the United name.

The notice on Airlineroute.net said the new flight 93 would fly from Houston to San Jose, Calif., and that flight 175 would operate from Boston to Newark.
The original flight 93 flew from Newark, NJ to San Francisco and the original 175 flew from Boston, MA to Los Angeles.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Meaning of Socialism: Q&A with National Review's Kevin Williamson

[VIDEO] This Q&A is courtesy of reason:
What's the real definition of socialism? How is it distinct from regulation and a social welfare state? Why are intellectuals still enamored of a system that brought us Stalin, Hitler, and more recently Hugo Chavez and Kim Jong-Il? And what can the United States learn from Sweden about free enterprise and capitalism?

Reason.tv's Nick Gillespie sat down with Kevin Williamson, who is deputy managing editor of National Review and author of a new book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism, to discuss the meaning of socialism in history and the current moment.

About 5.30 minutes.

Camera by Jim Epstein and Anthony Fisher; edited by Epstein.
At least I have a better idea of "socialism" namely centralized planning of the economy.

Monday, May 16, 2011

VIDEO: Common In Da Wizzy Hizzy

[VIDEO] Alonzo Rachel talks a lot about messaging between Conservatives & Liberals. He especially takes aim at this controversy about Common who appeared at a White House event last week. Mainly about some lyrics he has used in some of his songs.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ron Paul would not have voted fort he 1964 Civil Rights Act

[VIDEO] So last year Texas Congressman Ron Paul had a son - US Senator Rand Paul - who successfully ran for US Senator from Kentucky. Now Sen. Paul during last year's Senate race made it known that he wouldn't have supported the 1964 Civil Rights act. Sen. Paul was forced to retract his comments.

In any cast father and son Paul as you see in the video argued against the Civil Rights Act not merely on supporting discrimination, but on the grounds of respect for property rights. Basically should a business be able to discriminate against potential customers and say I don't want no blacks or Mexicans or women here?

What Ron Paul points out in his interview with Chris Matthews (recorded by Talking Points Memo) is that Jim Crow was discrimination not by private business owners but by law. So the fact that there had to be Black only washrooms, Blacks had to move to the back of the bus, or even Blacks had separate entrances from Whites at restaurants or theaters was mandated by law.

I wouldn't be opposed to some business putting up a sign that kept me from entering their establishment. It would be one less place for me to want to do business with them. If my money is no good for them then they lost out and perhaps lost out on more than I could ever provide that particular establishment.

I know however, that there are many who wouldn't see it that way and would actually for that business to not discriminate. And there are people who would seek publicity to change that policy, private property rights be damned!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

FOX cancels "The Chicago Code"

I was just starting to get into the show. Read a comment at the Entertainment Weekly article that this show should go to FX. There should be a campaign to get this show a second season somewhere on the TV dial. This really is a good show that should've been renewed. Especially since it was a bit of a midseason replacement.

Besides FX was the home of another creation of Shawn Ryan, a little known show that ended it run within the last two years called The Shield. There's got to be room on FX for another cop drama!

Immigration Program Pits U.S. Against Illinois - Chicago News Cooperative

Immigration Program Pits U.S. Against Illinois - Chicago News Cooperative

I have some basic ideas on the issue of immigration, but generally haven't entirely thought a whole lot about this issue. Except to say that I don't think it's unreasonable to document those people who are not citizens, to also expect some documention to say that this person is here legally, and especially send a person who has trouble with the law here in this country back to their own where ever they came from.

Of course I recognize that it isn't this simple. Hence the arguments back and forth:
Though Gov. Patrick Quinn last week made significant efforts to publicize Illinois’ withdrawal from the controversial Secure Communities program, federal immigration officials are continuing to recruit local law enforcement agencies to participate and insisting the program is mandatory even for states such as Illinois that do not want to participate.

Quinn’s defiance of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency is being seen as a bellwether for other states and municipalities nationwide that oppose how ICE is carrying out the program. The federal Secure Communities program is meant to deport undocumented immigrants convicted of serious crimes but has in reality targeted mostly people with misdemeanor convictions or no criminal record, according to ICE statistics. Critics nationwide have said the program makes immigrants distrustful of law enforcement.

Even so, Quinn’s move may be largely symbolic since state officials have little power to force ICE to deactivate the program in Illinois, and Secure Communities basically expedites ICE obtaining information that the FBI can share regardless of whether Illinois approves.

The Chicago News Cooperative reported in March that ICE officials conducted a campaign to try to force Chicago and Cook County to participate in Secure Communities, despite city and county ordinances that prohibit local officers from enforcing the immigration law.

After Quinn formally declared Wednesday that Illinois will no longer participate, ICE director John Morton on Friday called at least one Illinois county sheriff seeking his continued participation. Lake County sheriff Mark Curran, who had spoken out against Secure Communities, said he told Morton he would consider continuing if ICE officials ensure only people convicted of serious crimes are deported.

“We will see if it can accomplish its intended goal which is to remove a dangerous element from society, not just out-of-status offenders,” Curran told the Chicago News Cooperative.
Like I said not that simple. They quoted a state legislator who just so happens to be related to a current powerful Chicago Alderman:
A bill passed by the state House on Friday would mandate that Secure Communities only target people convicted of serious crimes, and would give counties permission to opt out of the program. Southwest Side Rep. Daniel Burke (D-Chicago), the lead sponsor, called it “outrageous” that counties are not allowed to withdraw from the program even after local, elected officials conclude they disapprove of it.

Local police officers object to the program, Burke said. “They made it perfectly clear this is counter to their ability to engage with their community, do their job, enforce the law, conduct investigations,” he said.
OK that makes sense to me.

Well we do need to enforce immigration laws that I can agree. What about the ones who are here to work in this country and aren't documented? I would say we need to cut them a degree of "slack". The ones who are always in trouble with the law well we definitely need to so something about them.

The main thing is doing what we can to insure that people aren't able to sneak into this nation. Whether or not they jump the border or they merely just are able to sneak into the nation in a cargo container.

One thing is for certain, I have a lot to learn about this immigration issue. I hope I wasn't proposing amnesty which certainly will cause belly aching amongst those who want to get tough on immigration.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Shriver announce separation

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Shriver announce separation

Well this was a bit surprising to be honest:
Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver, have separated, with Shriver moving out of their Brentwood mansion while the two determine the next step in their 25-year marriage.

Shriver has been residing apart from the actor-turned-politician for the last few weeks. The former first couple confirmed the separation in a joint statement released Monday after questions from The Times.

"This has been a time of great personal and professional transition for each of us," the statement read. "After a great deal of thought, reflection, discussion and prayer, we came to this decision together. At this time, we are living apart while we work on the future of our relationship.

"We are continuing to parent our four children together. They are the light and the center of both of our lives. We consider this a private matter and neither we nor any of our friends or family will have further comment. We ask for compassion and respect from the media and the public."
If you don't know much about the background Schwarzenegger is a Republican. Shriver on the other hand is a member of the Kennedy family her mother is the sister of President John F. Kennedy and his other brothers Bobby and Ted Kennedy.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Reason magazine remembers Lanny Friedlander...

Who actually died this past March, however, Reason magazine remembers the founder of the libertarian leaning publication. He left the publication during its earliest years in the 1970s, but Reason recognizes his vision starting in the early days of it's publication. You know apparently they used a "ditto-machine" to produce editions of Reason. I can only imagine what today's publication entrepreneurs could use to publish a magazine.

Now back to regularly scheduled programming

There are other things I had wanted to post on other subjects but chose not to. I remained focused on the capture of OBL and all details related to it. Didn't want to focus on all the fallout and opinion on this subject. However, my thoughts about this story is coming in the near future. Perhaps even before the weekend is out.

For now enjoy this graphic provided by 2nd City Cop. If you don't get the caption provided in the pic it's a reference to whoever in his family (or any other thug who was caught by the police) may choose to deny his role in any criminal activities. Sometimes 2nd City Cop will just remark sarcastically that said thug was an honor student who would've cured cancer or something to that effect.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Osama bin Laden's first defeat: 'Fortress America' never really materialized

Osama bin Laden's first defeat: 'Fortress America' never really materialized

Lee Bey makes comments on the immediate changes in the wake of 9/11/2001. Mainly that step were taken to secure buildings that could potentially be considered terrorist targets. How plans for even taller buildings were changed where buildings were even smaller than they otherwise would've been. To be sure there were changes security wise as a result of this horrific event here in Chicago however:
Bin Laden, the 9/11 mastermind who was killed Sunday by U.S. forces in Pakistan, caused American cities to make security adjustments after 9/11. Folks are monitored and tracked through technology now more than ever, and that is unnerving. But Fortress America--the wholesale change and devaluing of America's built environment in response to the terrorist attacks--never materialized. We are not a country behind bunkers. Nor are we a city behind barricades, despite Chicago having a number of potential high-value terrorist targets. Maintaining cities with acessible architecture and open public spaces are the best expressions of a democratic society...and an early sign of Bin Laden's eventual defeat.
Yes! We are not behind bunkers while OBL continued to live in his own fear. Enough to want to buy a compound in a suburban area without internet or phone service so he won't be easy to find. It just shows who really lived in fear - the American people or OBL.

OBL mission included a dog...

More details, a dog had been part of the mission to find Bin Laden successfully.
The explosive-sniffing dog was strapped to an assault team member as they took on one of their greatest challenges to date.

He was part of the operation in which the elite US Navy Seals lowered themselves down ropes from three Black Hawk helicopters into the terrorist supremo's hideout in the town of Abbottabad, Pakistan, on Sunday.

The world's most wanted man, 54, was shot dead by a Special Forces marksman during the raid.

Heavily armoured hounds — equipped with infrared night-sight cameras — have been used in the past by the top-secret unit.

The war dogs wear ballistic body armour that is said to withstand damage from single and double-edged knives, as well as protective gear which shields them from shrapnel and gunfire.

German Shepherds have been leading the way in SAS raids in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Wearing oxygen masks, the pooches have been trained to jump from aircraft at 25,000ft, before seeking out insurgents in hostile environments.
So much secrecy and yet so much interest and curiousity about all aspects of this mission.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

No Photo: Why Obama Won't Release Osama bin Laden Death Image

Old news really but must be noted. I know there are many who want to see a photo, but last year I said I'll avoid watching any footage from that dreadful day. If it was ever released I do not plan to even lay eyes on OBL's shot up corpse.

A desire for catharsis, or perhaps just gruesome curiosity, has further stirred the photo frenzy. But in an interview with 60 Minutes that was recorded on Wednesday, Obama said the image was not going to be released. White House press secretary Jay Carney, who shared Obama's comments at Wednesday's press briefing, told reporters that the decision had not been finalized until the morning of the interview.  

According to Carney, Obama reasoned that the photo might cause "incitement to additional violence" or become fodder for martyrdom among those already outraged by bin Laden's death. But Obama also made the case that, if released, the image would be an unnecessary war trophy that changes neither the implications of bin Laden's death nor the widespread conspiracy theories about the conditions under which it took place. "We don't trot out this stuff as trophies," Obama said. "There are going to be some folks who deny it. The fact of the matter is, you will not see bin Laden walking on this earth again."

Not releasing the image will surely agitate conspiracy mongers like talk-radio hyperventilator Alex Jones, but evidence, photographic or otherwise, has never been much of an obstacle for Jones' black-helicopter fantasies. "Conspiracy theorists around the world will just claim the photos are doctored anyway, and there is a real risk that releasing the photos will only serve to inflame public opinion in the Middle East," Republican House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers said on Wednesday.

About that chopper that they destroyed during the course of the raid...

And more details. The unit that killed Bin Laden had at some point destroyed one of their own helicopters:
A picture of the tail rotor of the chopper that the Navy Seals' Team Six detonated revealed unfamiliar features. Reports say it could be a new, secret helicopter.

When the Team Six members reached Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad one of the choppers made a "controlled but hard landing," according to reports, probably due to higher than expected temperatures.

Temperatures affects the density of the air, and low density makes it harder for the rotor to sustain the weight of the chopper, especially if it was near its maximum weight (being packed with soldiers and fuel to fly in from Afghanistan). Abbottabad is about 1200 meters above the sea level, and altitude also affects air density.

So what machine exactly experienced the hard landing described above? Short answer: we don't know for sure. Long answer: It seems that the tail rotor visible in the picture belongs to a highly modified version of the H-60, the chopper of choice of the special forces for more than 30 years. Aviation Week doesn't beat around the bush, claiming: "A previously undisclosed, classified stealth helicopter apparently was part of the U.S. task force that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan on May 1."

Stealth technology on helicopters is not itself new, but the fact that a previously unknown machine was used in this raid is yet another proof of the degree of importance that this mission had for U.S. commanders.
And there are more details to come yet. For example I need to do a post about President Obama's decision to not release any photos of OBL.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Osama bin Laden's surrender wasn't a likely outcome in raid, officials say

More and more details come out about this OBL raid:
U.S. commandos who attacked Osama bin Laden's compound were operating under rules of engagement that all but assured the Al Qaeda leader would be killed, officials acknowledged as they backed away from their initial account that Bin Laden had been armed and used a woman as a shield.

After saying Monday that the American operatives who raided the compound in Pakistan had orders to capture Bin Laden if he gave himself up, U.S. officials on Tuesday disclosed an important qualifier: The assault force was told to accept a surrender only if it could be sure he didn't have a bomb hidden under his clothing and posed no other danger.

Bin Laden could have surrendered only "if he did not pose any type of threat whatsoever," White House counter-terrorism chief John Brennan said on Fox television, and if U.S. troops "were confident of that in terms of his not having an IED [improvised explosives device] on his body, his not having some type of hidden weapon or whatever."

Added a senior congressional aide briefed on the rules of engagement: "He would have had to have been naked for them to allow him to surrender."

Once troops exchanged fire with Bin Laden allies living in the compound — three men were killed in addition to the Al Qaeda leader — the chances of a surrender were almost nil, experts say.

Interesting research regarding the OBL raid...

Presented by one of my former Morehouse professor in the Political Science Deptartment. Something I found on FB:
Dr. Tobe Johnson is conducting preliminary research on African-American responses to the Osama bin Laden capture. If you're a current Man of Morehouse, please help him out by answering three short questions in this survey. All answers are completely confidential and we have no way of knowing who you are or what you said:

Well alas I would like to know more about this survey, but I'm a Morehouse alum unfortunately. If you do know any current Morehouse students feel free to share this link.

Also, I look forward to whatever the research would conclude. It should be interesting.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

About Bin Laden's burial...

First from the LA Times:
Bin Laden's body was taken to the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson in the northern part of the Arabian Sea and buried at sea Monday at around 1 a.m. EDT.

Pentagon officials said the decision to bury Bin Laden at sea was made because no country was willing to take the body for burial. But it also seems clear that the United States wanted to avoid him being buried on land for fear that the location could become a shrine for Bin Laden's supporters.

The funeral was conducted using what a Pentagon official said were "traditional procedures for Islamic burials."

The body was washed and placed in a white sheet on a flat board as a U.S. military chaplain read remarks that were translated into Arabic. Then the board was lifted up, the official said, and the "deceased body eased into the sea." The funeral was conducted on the ship's hangar deck, not the flight deck, which is at the waterline.
That is a long article and surely you're more than interested in reading all that is said about this daring and decisive mission. I suggest you read the whole thing.

As I've started, if something could've been gained by taking him alive then I would prefer that option. It does bother me that we can order our forces to kill a specific target such as this former infamous terrorist leader. In fact I'm watching the FOX Business program, Freedom Watch with Judge Napolitano as I type this.

A former CIA operative noted that for him this would've been a kill mission. I almost wonder what could justify that although I may understand the risks in possibly keeping him alive after capturing him.

AP: Phone call by Kuwaiti courier led to bin Laden

What a lucky break to finding the man who was once the "world's most wanted terrorist":
When one of Osama bin Laden's most trusted aides picked up the phone last year, he unknowingly led U.S. pursuers to the doorstep of his boss, the world's most wanted terrorist.

That monitored phone call, recounted Monday by a U.S. official, ended a years-long search for bin Laden's personal courier, the key break in a worldwide manhunt. The courier, in turn, led U.S. intelligence to a walled compound in northeast Pakistan, where a team of Navy SEALs shot bin Laden to death.

The violent final minutes were the culmination of years of intelligence work. Inside the CIA team hunting bin Laden, it always was clear that bin Laden's vulnerability was his couriers. He was too smart to let al-Qaida foot soldiers, or even his senior commanders, know his hideout. But if he wanted to get his messages out, somebody had to carry them, someone bin Laden trusted with his life.

Shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, detainees in the CIA's secret prison network told interrogators about an important courier with the nom de guerre Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti who was close to bin Laden. After the CIA captured al-Qaida's No. 3 leader, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, he confirmed knowing al-Kuwaiti but denied he had anything to do with al-Qaida.

Then in 2004, top al-Qaida operative Hassan Ghul was captured in Iraq. Ghul told the CIA that al-Kuwaiti was a courier, someone crucial to the terrorist organization. In particular, Ghul said, the courier was close to Faraj al-Libi, who replaced Mohammed as al-Qaida's operational commander. It was a key break in the hunt for in bin Laden's personal courier.
Sorry about the image but it seems appropriate considering the story.

Also, I just know we're going to hear about number of things that lead to his eventual discovery and death. This victory will be played over and over for quite a while.

I watched Raw last night and they played clips from that Smackdown show after 9/11. They had to celebrate the discovery and death of Bin Laden. And they had to take us back to a decade ago.

Unbelievable turn of events for sure!

Monday, May 02, 2011

AP: U.S. Was Prepared to Take bin Laden Alive

[VIDEO] So there was some forces that wanted take Osama Bin Laden alive:
White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan said Monday that the U.S. forces who killed Osama bin Laden would have taken him alive if they had the opportunity

REUTERS: U.S. team's mission was to kill bin Laden, not capture

I do wonder why the emphasis on killing the Al-Qaida founder and mastermind instead of capturing him. Looking forward to the paper trail that lead to the "kill" mission directive. Via Instapundit!
The U.S. special forces team that hunted down Osama bin Laden was under orders to kill the al Qaeda mastermind, not capture him, a U.S. national security official told Reuters.

"This was a kill operation," the official said, making clear there was no desire to try to capture bin Laden alive in Pakistan.
Here's another article via that same Instapundit link above:
No terrorist deserves diplomatic immunity or legitimacy’s embrace. All terrorists deserve death. Perhaps it is time for Americans, Europeans, and their media elite to reexamine their most glaring double standards: If Americans can kill a master terrorist targeting civilians then Israel too should be able to target Hamas leaders in Gaza, Damascus, Oslo, or Dubai, wherever they may be.
Well I'm glad that after almost a decade since the 9/11/2001 attacks that we have finally found this man. Yeah we killed him, but we never gave up until we found him. I accepted that we may have bombed him out of his cave and possibly was buried in a cave, but this outcome I never expected.

Here's an image from Botch Fawstin it's now on a t-shirt too:

Sunday, May 01, 2011

UPDATED - Sources: Al-Qaida head bin Laden dead

This is probably blowing up the news wires this evening and it was a long time in coming. Although to be sure, I'd rather see him caught than killed. This write-up by the AP:
Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks against the United States, is dead, and the U.S. is in possession of his body, a person familiar with the situation said late Sunday.

President Barack Obama was expected to address the nation on the developments Sunday night.

A senior U.S. counterterrorism official said bin Laden was killed in a ground operation in Pakistan, not by a Predator drone. The official said it happened last week.

Officials have long believed bin Laden, the most wanted man in the world, was hiding a mountainous region along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
UPDATE 11:13 PM This AP [VIDEO] of President Obama's remarks tonight on the death of Osama Bin Laden