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commentary on Politics and a little bit of everything else

Iraqi drawdown…..Afghan startup……moving the troops and whatever….Logistics…..

The US Army is drawing down in Iraq……and beefing up in Afghanistan……

The process of doing both…at the same timne….is mammoth……

But under orders from the Commander-in-Chief…..the Unites States Military……The US Army, Air Force , Navy and others will be packing up in one theatre …and trucking, railroading , shipping and flying two thousand miles around Iran to another war country…..

This piece gives an idea about what its all about……

In trying to speed 30,000 reinforcements into Afghanistan while reducing American forces in Iraq by 50,000, American commanders are orchestrating one of the largest movements of troops and matériel since World War II. Military officials say that transporting so many people and billions of dollars’ worth of equipment, weapons, housing, fuel and food in and out of both countries between now and an August deadline is as critical and difficult as what is occurring on the battlefield.

Military officials, who called the start of the five-month logistics operation “March Madness,” say it is like trying to squeeze a basketball through a narrow pipe, particularly the supply route through the Khyber Pass linking Pakistan and Afghanistan.

So many convoys loaded with American supplies came under insurgent attack in Pakistan last year that the United States military now tags each truck with a GPS device and keeps 24-hour watch by video feed at a military base in the United States. Last year the Taliban blew up a bridge near the pass, temporarily suspending the convoys.

“Hannibal trying to move over the Alps had a tremendous logistics burden, but it was nothing like the complexity we are dealing with now,” said Lt. Gen. William G. Webster, the commander of the United States Third Army. He spoke at a military base in the Kuwaiti desert before a vast sandscape upon which were armored trucks that had been driven out of Iraq and were waiting to be junked, sent home or taken on to Kabul, Afghanistan.

The general is not moving elephants, but the scale and intricacy of the operation are staggering. The military says there are 3.1 million pieces of equipment in Iraq, from tanks to coffee makers, two-thirds of which are to leave the country. Of that, about half will go on to Afghanistan, where there are already severe strains on the system.

More……..

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March 31, 2010 Posted by | Aircraft, Automobiles, Boats, Breaking News, Counterpoints, Food, Government, Men, Military, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Travel, Updates, Women | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Haiti gets pledge for $5.3 billion for rebuilding……

The world has stepped up to the plate to help this poor country…..Kudo’s to ex-presidents Bush and Clinton for their fundraising efforts…….

The first thing that should be done is better building codes!

The international community pledged $5.3 billion Wednesday for earthquake-shattered Haiti over the next two years, launching an ambitious effort not just to rebuild the hemisphere’s poorest nation but also to transform it into a modern state.

The amount exceeded by more than $1 billion the goal set ahead of a conference co-sponsored by the United Nations and the U.S. government. In all, countries, development banks and nongovernmental groups pledged nearly $10 billion for Haiti in years to come.

“This is the down payment Haiti needs for wholesale national renewal,” said U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. He emphasized, however, that donors must deliver on the promises of cash, something they have sometimes been slow to do.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton noted that nearly 50 countries made pledges, twice as many as contributed to rebuilding the area hit by the 2004 tsunami in South Asia. She announced $1.15 billion in U.S. funds for the nation-building effort in Haiti.

The reconstruction plan calls for building ports and hundreds of miles of new roads, resurrecting Haiti’s withered agricultural sector, relocating people from the crowded capital and establishing an efficient bureaucracy in a country that never had one.

More……..

March 31, 2010 Posted by | Breaking News, Government, Haiti, Health, Media, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Tsunami/Earthquakes, Updates | , , | Leave a comment

Secretary of the Army won't get rid of Gay solider's talking to him 'off the record'……

In a acknowledgement that taking action against gay solider’s talking to him ‘off the record’ would chill the air US Army Secretary John McHugh has made it clear that off the record means that just that….off the record….and that he will not apply the ‘Don’t ask……Don’t Tell’ rules to the gay soldiers who speak to him frankly…….

Under the current law, known as “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” service members who declare that they are gay would have to be discharged, but McHugh indicated he would not pursue any discharges against soldiers who make those statements in private conversations with him.

“I have had men and women in uniform approach me and declare that they were gay and give me their opinion,” McHugh told reporters at a defense writers breakfast. “I don’t consider, under the current way forward, that an open and honest discussion that is required in the secretary’s directive is an outing.”

President Barack Obama wants to see the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” law scrapped, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has tasked military service leaders with assessing the force’s position on implementing a repeal of the Clinton-era law.

More……..

Update……

McHugh must have got beatup a little…..He isses this statement a day later…..

“With regard to the three soldiers who shared their views and thoughts with me on ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,’ I might better have counseled them that statements about their sexual orientation could not be treated as confidential and could result in their separation under the law,” McHugh said.

But will stick to original statement not to go after those who spoke to him off the record…….

Despite the need to clarify those comments, McHugh indicated that no action will be taken against those soldiers who told him that they were gay.

“Because of the informal and random manner in which these engagements occurred, I am unable to identify these soldiers and I am not in a position to formally pursue the matter,” McHugh said.

Good Man!….

More……..

March 31, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Counterpoints, Government, Law, Media, Men, Military, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Updates, Women | , , , | Leave a comment

Secretary of the Army won’t get rid of Gay solider’s talking to him ‘off the record’……

In a acknowledgement that taking action against gay solider’s talking to him ‘off the record’ would chill the air US Army Secretary John McHugh has made it clear that off the record means that just that….off the record….and that he will not apply the ‘Don’t ask……Don’t Tell’ rules to the gay soldiers who speak to him frankly…….

Under the current law, known as “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” service members who declare that they are gay would have to be discharged, but McHugh indicated he would not pursue any discharges against soldiers who make those statements in private conversations with him.

“I have had men and women in uniform approach me and declare that they were gay and give me their opinion,” McHugh told reporters at a defense writers breakfast. “I don’t consider, under the current way forward, that an open and honest discussion that is required in the secretary’s directive is an outing.”

President Barack Obama wants to see the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” law scrapped, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has tasked military service leaders with assessing the force’s position on implementing a repeal of the Clinton-era law.

More……..

Update……

McHugh must have got beatup a little…..He isses this statement a day later…..

“With regard to the three soldiers who shared their views and thoughts with me on ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,’ I might better have counseled them that statements about their sexual orientation could not be treated as confidential and could result in their separation under the law,” McHugh said.

But will stick to original statement not to go after those who spoke to him off the record…….

Despite the need to clarify those comments, McHugh indicated that no action will be taken against those soldiers who told him that they were gay.

“Because of the informal and random manner in which these engagements occurred, I am unable to identify these soldiers and I am not in a position to formally pursue the matter,” McHugh said.

Good Man!….

More……..

March 31, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Counterpoints, Government, Law, Media, Men, Military, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Updates, Women | , , , | Leave a comment

Blackberry cell phone sales level off…….

Aren’t they supposed to be the top seller in the texting cell phone market?

Hummmm???

Research In Motion, the maker of the BlackBerry, reported fourth-quarter sales and shipments on Wednesday that missed analysts’ estimates and said that its profit margin would shrink this period.

Sales in the period ended Feb. 27 rose 18 percent, to $4.08 billion, the company said in a statement. Analysts in a Bloomberg survey projected $4.31 billion on average. Research In Motion said it shipped 10.5 million devices, less than estimates from Citigroup and Goldman Sachs.

The company spent 46 percent more on research last quarter as it develops devices that can replicate the success of the Apple iPhone or Droid fromMotorola.

Research In Motion unveiled a revamped version of its touch-screen Storm in October, after the first version was criticized for awkward typing technology. Gross margin, a profitability measure, will be 44.5 percent in the quarter ending in May, down from 45.7 percent last quarter.

More……..

March 31, 2010 Posted by | Breaking News, Computers, Entertainment, Media, Men, Other Things, The Economy, Updates, Women | , , , , | Leave a comment

Federal Judges finds some Bush era domestic wiretaps illegal……

The ruling by a federal judge….. upholds the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act policy of having the National Security Agency obtain a warrant under a FISA judge’s direction for all domestic ,non-emergency, wiretaps.

The Bush Administration and the Obama Administration both argued that the executive branch did not need to get the warrant……

The judge disagreed…..

The case involved Al Haraamin ….an Islāmic Charity operating in the state of Oregon that the NSA wire taped without authorization from the FISA court…..previous suits against the practice have been thrown out on technical reasons…….

The Obama Administration has advised that in the beginning of their tenure they did the same thing..but has since reverted back to obtaining FISA warrants in domestic wiretapping situations…..

Congress has renewed most of the controversal  Patriot Act……..

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the National Security Agency’s program of surveillance without warrants was illegal, rejecting the Obama administration’s effort to keep shrouded in secrecy one of the most disputed counterterrorism policies of former PresidentGeorge W. Bush.

In a 45-page opinion, Judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled that the government had violated a 1978 federal statute requiring court approval for domestic surveillance when it intercepted phone calls of Al Haramain, a now-defunct Islamic charity in Oregon, and of two lawyers representing it in 2004. Declaring that the plaintiffs had been “subjected to unlawful surveillance,” the judge said the government was liable to pay them damages.

The ruling delivered a blow to the Bush administration’s claims that its surveillance program, which Mr. Bush secretly authorized shortly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was lawful. Under the program, the National Security Agency monitored Americans’ international e-mail messages and phone calls without court approval, even though the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, required warrants.

The Justice Department said it was reviewing the decision and had made no decision about whether to appeal.

The ruling by Judge Walker, the chief judge of the Federal District Court in San Francisco, rejected the Justice Department’s claim — first asserted by the Bush administration and continued under President Obama — that the charity’s lawsuit should be dismissed without a ruling on the merits because allowing it to go forward could reveal state secrets.

More……..

March 31, 2010 Posted by | Breaking News, Computers, Government, Law, Media, Men, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, September 11, Updates | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wanna Know Wednesday: Sacrifice…from Up 4 Discussion…..

From JSin….

Hey!

This Wednesday we would like to focus on sacrifice.  In particular, we are interesting in knowing what characteristics would you be willing to sacrifice in a life-long partner.  You may be inclined to pick your answer quickly, but we would caution against that.  Give it some thought before selecting your answer.  If you prefer, answer these questions as well to assist you in selecting your answer:

Why am I willing to sacrifice that characteristic?

Why do I value other characteristics more than the characteristic I’m willing to sacrifice?

Would I expect or want my life-long partner to sacrifice the same characteristic?

Which characteristic would I never be willing to sacrifice?

After you’ve given it some thought feel free to select your answer and cast it in the poll below.  We hope that you enjoy this topic and we also hope that it allows you to learn something about yourself in the process.

By the way, thank you Mr. TramueL for providing this week’s Wanna Know Wednesday topic…….

There’s More……..

March 31, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Counterpoints, Entertainment, Media, Men, Other Things, Up 4 Discussion, Updates | , , | 1 Comment

From Talkandpolitcs…….Sarkozy goes to Washington…….

The French President rounds of his two-day trip with meeting Obama today Tuesday march 30th at 3:30pm, following a press conference in Rose Garden 4:45 and a private dinner w/Carla Bruni and the Obama’s in the White House at 6:30pm.

The trip has several agendas – mending fences with the White House, discussing Nato, upcoming French leadership of G-20, European participation in the Mideast military and strategic operations, and international market and financial reforms and regulations.

The passage of health care reform in Congress has restrengthened Obama’s position abroad, and Sarkozy is struggling politically at home and could use a foreign policy win.

From the Sarko speech at Columbia University yesterday

“I know people don’t always understand how the EU functions, but you have to realise it’s comprised of 27 countries who fought each other for centuries” he stated. And to complicate matters, “Within the 27, there are 16 of us who decided to use the same currency.”

More……..

This from our friend over @ Talkandpolitics.….

March 31, 2010 Posted by | Breaking News, Entertainment, Family, Government, Media, Men, Other Things, Politics, TalkandPolitcs, Travel, Updates, Women | , | Leave a comment

PolitcalWire Quickies……..GOP, Dodd, Healthcare and Congress isn't popular…..

From PoliticalWire……

Big Republican Donors Bypassing RNC

Since Michael Steele became RNC chairman in January 2009, “a growing number of prominent GOP donors has stopped contributing to the RNC, choosing instead to direct their money to outlets such as the party’s Senatorial Committee,” the Daily Caller reports.

“According to filings with the Federal Election Commission, at least eight of the RNC’s top individual donors have declined to contribute in the past 14 months… Each of the individuals had a record of contributing thousands to the RNC in past years but since 2009 have chosen to direct their money to the NRSC, National Republican Congressional Committee or individual campaign committees.”

Ehrlich Confirms He’ll Challenge O’Malley

Former Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich (R) confirmed rumors that he’ll try to reclaim his former job  and challenge Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), the Baltimore Sun reports.

Ehrlich hopes “to benefit from a national anti-incumbent sentiment that emerged since the last presidential election and has deepened during the health care debate.”

Quote of the Day

“We wrote checks to keep them alive…and then they turn around and we find they aren’t even paying taxes, they are getting rebates back. All the more reason why there is a sense of growing outrage to all this.”

— Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-CT), in an interview on the Fox Business Network, on banks that received bailout funds.

Push for Health Care Repeal Could Backfire

Top Republicans “are increasingly worried that GOP candidates this fall might be burned by a fire that’s roaring through the conservative base: demand for the repeal of President Barack Obama’s new health care law,” the AP reports.

Pushing for outright repeal carries big risks: “Repeal is politically and legally unlikely, and grass-roots activists may feel disillusioned by a failed crusade. More important, say strategists from both parties, a fiercely repeal-the-bill stance might prove far less popular in a general election than in a conservative-dominated GOP primary, especially in states such as Illinois and California.”

Plurality Not Happy with Their Representative

A new Marist Poll finds that 45% of registered voters nationwide are not satisfied with their elected officials in the U.S. Congress and would vote against them in the November election. By contrast, 41% would vote for the incumbent, and 14% are unsure.

Said pollster Lee Miringoff: “There is plenty of grumbling about Congress, and the winds of change are blowing.”


March 31, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Counterpoints, Government, Healthcare, Law, Media, Men, Other Things, Politics, Taxes, The Economy, Updates | , | 3 Comments

PolitcalWire Quickies……..GOP, Dodd, Healthcare and Congress isn’t popular…..

From PoliticalWire……

Big Republican Donors Bypassing RNC

Since Michael Steele became RNC chairman in January 2009, “a growing number of prominent GOP donors has stopped contributing to the RNC, choosing instead to direct their money to outlets such as the party’s Senatorial Committee,” the Daily Caller reports.

“According to filings with the Federal Election Commission, at least eight of the RNC’s top individual donors have declined to contribute in the past 14 months… Each of the individuals had a record of contributing thousands to the RNC in past years but since 2009 have chosen to direct their money to the NRSC, National Republican Congressional Committee or individual campaign committees.”

Ehrlich Confirms He’ll Challenge O’Malley

Former Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich (R) confirmed rumors that he’ll try to reclaim his former job  and challenge Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), the Baltimore Sun reports.

Ehrlich hopes “to benefit from a national anti-incumbent sentiment that emerged since the last presidential election and has deepened during the health care debate.”

Quote of the Day

“We wrote checks to keep them alive…and then they turn around and we find they aren’t even paying taxes, they are getting rebates back. All the more reason why there is a sense of growing outrage to all this.”

— Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-CT), in an interview on the Fox Business Network, on banks that received bailout funds.

Push for Health Care Repeal Could Backfire

Top Republicans “are increasingly worried that GOP candidates this fall might be burned by a fire that’s roaring through the conservative base: demand for the repeal of President Barack Obama’s new health care law,” the AP reports.

Pushing for outright repeal carries big risks: “Repeal is politically and legally unlikely, and grass-roots activists may feel disillusioned by a failed crusade. More important, say strategists from both parties, a fiercely repeal-the-bill stance might prove far less popular in a general election than in a conservative-dominated GOP primary, especially in states such as Illinois and California.”

Plurality Not Happy with Their Representative

A new Marist Poll finds that 45% of registered voters nationwide are not satisfied with their elected officials in the U.S. Congress and would vote against them in the November election. By contrast, 41% would vote for the incumbent, and 14% are unsure.

Said pollster Lee Miringoff: “There is plenty of grumbling about Congress, and the winds of change are blowing.”


March 31, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Counterpoints, Government, Healthcare, Law, Media, Men, Other Things, Politics, Taxes, The Economy, Updates | , | 3 Comments