Illegal Sale of Arms from Italian Mafia Linked to Corrupt Iraq Interior Ministry

A story today that an anti-Mafia force in Italy stopped a sale 105,00 rifles to Iraq. The sale was organized by someone in the Iraqi Interior Ministry who said it was needed fore the Iraqi police force.  Sources from the US-led coalition said the Iraqi police force have received plenty of arms .All sales have to approved by the US military. This one was not.

The Interior Ministry has been a mess, with competing departments and political factions. There are indications that Moqtada Al Sadr controls aspects of the Ministry and it might be that these weapons were intended for his Mahdi Army. An LA Times story from two weeks ago details the chaos that exists in the Ministry.

This story will give the US coalition the ammunition it needs to prompt Maliki to clean up the Ministry which he is certain to desire to do. One look at the LA Time article and its easy to understand how someone in the Ministry could attempt to make an illegal sale.

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This post was written by bobsikes on August 12, 2007

About those Goose Creek Pipe Bomb Boys

Its been quite for a week. Even the FBI poo-pooed it for awhile. But Michelle Malkin has word today that the investigation has taken an unusual turn.  A Tampa area home has been searched who’s owner has ties to organizations that fund terrorists.

I wonder why AP always has to run to the Council on American- Isalmic Relations (CAIR) to get quotes. They’ve proved time and time again to be a propoganda tool.

Also, I think I figured out that the FBI has learned to downplay things as not to give a heads up to terrorists cells working here. This raid in Tampa in which additional PVC pipe was found has raised more questions not only about the two Muslim students who were arrested in South Carolina, but also about a possible terrorist cell in Tampa.  


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This post was written by bobsikes on August 12, 2007

Hillary Responds Poorly and Becomes Testy When Questioned About Her Healthcare Policy

The National Black Journalist Association held its annual conference in Las Vegas this week. Clinton like Barak Obama made their stump speech and then answered questions from the audience. Kiara Ashanti, a black free-lancer and admitted Republican asked the following:

Senator Clinton, at a time when the world’s two biggest examples of socialized medicine, Britain and Canada, are moving away from the system and the people who are in those countries on the lower economic rung, those systems hurt them most, why are you still insisting upon moving that system in here, particularly when it will hurt African American communities more than anybody else?

Ashanti, a brave fellow, cut to the chase with the comaprisons to the failing policies of Great Britain and Canada and labeling Clinton’s policy as socialized medicine. Nothing in the manner in which Clinton responded will help her with the political center or with undecided.

Here’s Degree of Madness’ cover of Clinton’s response:

Oh, man says Hillary.  That’s a string of “misrepresentations about me and about, ah, ah, the systems in other countries….I have never advocated socialized medicine”.  Hillary asked Ashanti if Medicare is socialized medicine.  His answer, “To a degree, it is”.  Watch the video for Hillary’s response.   Apparently Hillary thinks socialized medicine simply means the government tells you which doctor or hospital you have to go to.  And since, presumably, her plan doesn’t do that then it’s not socialized medicine. See?  It’s an “attack by the right wing” against her, for 15 years!

Hillary ends her comments by telling Ashanti to “come introduce yourself to my staff and we will try to give you come information if you’re interested in being educated instead of being rhetorical”.  How freakin’ arrogant.

Arrogant indeed. But where should we start?

Lets start firsrt with the video. I’m sure Clinton’s handlers are not happy a video exists of the way she handles the question-not only in her responses but in her tone. It indicates that she has not learned to control her temper  and is extremely vulnerable to the tough question. While Ashanti was rude and did interrupt her, she demonstrated she wasn’t prepared. It was a friendly crowd. She blew it.

Now on facts. Her response to Ashanti’s assertion that socialized medicine in other countries were misrepresentations is troubling. All Ashanti said was that those countries are moving away from their sysytems and that the systems in place hurt those in the lower economic rung the worst. As Clinton responded that they were misrepresentations, she either feels that these events are not happening in those countries or more diturbingly, she is advancing a false narrative.  If President Bush or Cheney were accused of similar statements, she would probably say they were lying to the American people.

Now on to Medicare. Ashanti when asked by Clinton said that yes, Medicare was socialized medicine to a certain degree, Clinton disagreed. Medicare itself has little to do with actual care, although it does by law include all Americans over a certain age. Any healthcare provider will tell you its guidelines are burdensome and is a money loser. If a provider provides care to a Medicare patient by law thay have to abide by all Medicare guidelines with all of their non-Medicare patients.  Adminstrative costs are heavy and often overwhelming to many providers. Essentially Medicare is dictatorial in the application of healtcare in the US.

Its hard to see the monster that she and Ira Magaziner designed during the first term of her husband’s presidency as anything other than socialized medicine. She and Magaziner were smart enough not to call it that. Anything program the government totally administrates, controls and pays for is socialized. The great late stateman from New York, Senator Pat Moynihan called it fantasy. When the Congressional Budget Office ran the numbers, it gave congressional dems the cover they needed to let the proposal die.

Finally, Clinton again demonstrated that anytime she gets backed into a corner she’ll  trot out the right-wing conspiracy mantra. Only the most radical of the liberal base-maybe 10% of all voters buys into this. And they were there in force among the NABJ Las Vegas when they cheered Clinton’s arrogant condesending dismissal of Ashanti.

Senator Clinton’s Healthcare policy is a loser for her and she knows it. Here failure in a simple debate with a contrary voice in Las Vegas. She and her handlers will continue to keep this under their hat for as long as they can until even her allies in the MSM will force her hand. The Republican candidate will certainly flush her out during debates on it. But one must remember former Hollywood supporter David Geffen said, “the Clintons lie with such ease, its troubling.”



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This post was written by bobsikes on August 12, 2007

LoDuca Goes on DL with Hamstring

As the Marlins were on, I was unable to see the game. Blackout. So I didn’t see any video of hear of Paul LoDuca’s injury until later last evening. So he makes it to the DL with his hamstring afterall.

Aggravating a hamstring that’s previously been injured is not good and usually increases in severity. More fibers in the muscle itself become torn. It will take the 15 days and probably a little more to get LoDuca well.

I’ve always felt that this one was LoDuca’s fault. He browbeat everyone to keep from going on the DL. Maybe he was even less than candid about the way he felt. His motivations are understandable, but yes, cooler heads should have prevailed the first time. Matt Cerrone’s criticism that the Mets try to float injured guys along with putting them on the DL is a fair one.

Fortunately for the Mets, they play well with Ramon Castro behind the plate and the club has alot of confidence in him.

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This post was written by bobsikes on August 12, 2007

The Continuing Catch-22 that is Pakistan but Keeping a Fair Eye on its Politics

There has been no better source for the most recent and accurate news about the disturbing situation in Pakistan than Bill Roggio’s, The Fourth Rail.

President Musharraf’s been a willing ally of the west in the war against Al Queda, but he has his own problems. His army has demonstrated fecklessness against the well-trained Taliban/AQ forces in the northern provinces in his country. They’ve taken a significant beating over the years and usually deploy defensive postures. And it continues to appear that elements of his own intelligence and military have tipped them off in the past.

They in fact may have done so recently as Taliban/AQ  evacuated their 29 camps in the area, obviously fearful of a US-led strike. Clearly we would have done so, if Musharraf had asked, but his own political situation is tenuous. The recent reappearance of former PM Banazir Bhutto as a possible power sharer with Musharraf has given hope to a significant political positive in Pakistan. He would perfer a power sharing situation with Bhutto, with him holding onto control of the army. Sources have indicated that Bhutto balked at this.

Musharraf said today that he wants Bhutto and another former PM to stay away before parlaimentary elections which are due within the next year. Polls also indicate that Bhutto’s Pakistan’s People’s Party is ahead. Bhutto’s return to power in Pakistan may be ok as according to this ABC/Rueters report she has already signalled that Pakistan needs to work with NATO, the US and Afghanistan to help reign in control of the country’s NW territory.

The political situation is Pakistan is delicate and is certainly being monitored at the highest level by the State Department. Perhaps they are attempting to broker a deal. At any rate, is elections are held in Pakistan its interesting to note that in the last election a few years ago Islamists received only 10% of the vote. One wonders how elections would be monitored in the northern provinces that the Pakistani government has no control. Lets hope Jimmy Carter doesn’t get involved.

Nonetheless, its clear the Islamists fighting in Northern Pakistan are feeling considerable heat as they would never have emptied their camps and transfered operational control to local commanders otherwise. Several of their leaders have been either captured or killed over the last six months. Feckless or not, the Pakistani army’s presence does cause problems for them as they are ceratinly outgunned by Pak artillery and airpower. The fact that US armed forces are just over the border doesn’t help either, as special ops are probably active already against them. Garrisoning in camps just made them too easy a target for anyone.

The largest concern for the region clearly is the Pak’s nuclear weapons. Its one of the reasons why Musharref forcibly routed out the miltant Islamists at the Red Mosque in Islamabad. He could never allow the enemy lodgement that close to the political center of the country. Roggio’s report indicates that the US is believed to have good intelligence as to where Pakistan’s nuclear warhead’s are located.

Its also certain that Musharref has a handle on these as well with those responsible for their security loyal to him. And while there are intelligence and military loyal to the Islamists, there is an equal likelihood that a number of them are loyal to keeping Pakistan a secular society.

Still, as Roggio’s report clearly lays out, Pakistan is a troubling region. Barak Obama’s statement that he would go after AQ in Pakistan without Musharraf’s permission is naive, but he did a service in pointing out that Pakistan and one that bears watching. But it should be watched with the notion that secular politics-whether it be lead by Musharraf or Bhutto-needs to be sustained.

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This post was written by bobsikes on August 11, 2007

One of today’s must reads

comes from my friend, Rick Moran in Pajamas Media. He remembers day game’s at Busch Stadium in St. Louis as I do:

I can recall my days in St. Louis going to Cardinals games this time of year and watching the players on the artificial surface at old Bush Stadium bouncing around uncomfortably on a field that would achieve temperatures of close to 140 degrees. The heat wafting up from the ground was incredible. Between innings, players would wrap ice cold towels around their heads while some would even immerse their fully cleated feet into pails of ice water. In weather like that, pitchers wilt after 5 or 6 innings, and playing the game becomes a test of manhood and endurance.

Moran’s becoming one of the blogosphere’s hardest working. While being PM’s sports columnist, Moran also has his own successful blog, Right Wing Nut House. He also has recentlky agreed to help edit American Thinker.

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This post was written by bobsikes on August 11, 2007

Iowa Republican Straw Poll

C-SPAN is televising the event. Luara Ingraham is the MC. I love laura and am obviously a supporter, but this event is horribly correographed. There seems to be two scripts or an incomplete script. The music is the only thing that seems to be working, but the rest is shabby. Dems are better at this. Hopefully they’ll get their act together.

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This post was written by bobsikes on August 11, 2007

Understanding the Global Warming Debate

Al Gore says, “the debate is over.”

Aside from being dangerous, the statement is patently false. As a science teacher, the debate itself  is what I try to teach students. Naysayers among the science community are starting to object to the rush to create new scientific law. Global warming is essentially a theory. In today’s American Thinker, James Lewis pens a wonderful paragraph that describes science’s reality. Its one I will share with my students:


What most people don’t know is that real science is a giant debating society, filled with skeptics. It is only mature science that is stable and agreed-upon. But mature science comes only after centuries of cumulative evidence, and constant, heated debate. It took 20 centuries after the planets were observed in the night sky, before Newton and Copernicus settled the nature of the solar system. Einstein’s Relativity Theory happened three centuries afterwards, and even in his own lifetime, part of Einstein’s universe was overthrown by Quantum Mechanics, which Einstein fought all his life. (He was wrong on that).
Be skeptical folks whn it comes to science.

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This post was written by bobsikes on August 10, 2007

Steroids, Bonds and the Future

Over a year ago I wrote in my blog that I felt that the amphetamines that baseball players have taken for generations needed to be taken about of the equation that today’s narrative calls performance enhancing drugs. I received several notes taking me to task. I understood the way they felt and aprreciated personal stories that many thoughtful folks shared. Nonetheless, I still feel the same.

But I’ve never felt driven in any way to write of it again. And especially about steroids. I often wondered why I’ve kept my thoughts about this private. Carl Banks provided me some insight.

Bob Raissman-whom I rarely agree with-got it correct this morning in his column when he analyzed New York Giant great Carl Banks take when he refuesd to be dragged into a conversation regarding Jose Canseco’s innuendo about Alex Rodrigues taking steroids. Here’s the excahnge as it comes from Raissman’s piece:

Carlin tried to open the door for some spicy A-Rod yap-flapping, based on the widely held perception that Canseco – because of his first book which outed Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro – is a credible source and Jones’ opinion is worth something.

Banks slammed the door in Carlin’s face.

“I don’t want to participate in that discussion, but you’re more than welcome to create this dialogue and lead people down this road,” said Banks, the former Giants linebacker.

“Everyone is justified in their thought process because this is the culture that’s been created (in Major League Baseball),” Banks said. “If you want to suspect it, go ahead. … I won’t kill you or anyone else for having this conversation. I’m not going to do it because it’s not fair.”

I really feel that Raissman has hit a home run here. His overview of the influence of some talk radio is not positive in its influence in both sports reporting and its public perception. But as Raissman points out, thoughtful voices like that of Banks offer hope.

Raissman’s colleague at the Daily News, TJ Quinn, said in a radio interview earlier this week on Fox Radio that Canseco’s basically floating Rodriguez name to get a book deal. Canseco has no manuscript, nor does he have a proposal. According to Quinn, he doesn’t even have a proposal written. Banks realized this and doesn’t buy into the idea that just because someone floats a name, it doesn’t mean it needs to be reported as and discussed as a factual event.

The “A-Rod took steroids” story is currently an urban legend unless something much more concrete emerges. Barry Bonds is impicated by testimony in a trail, a book by two respected reporters and the fact that his former personal trainer sits in jail in Susan MacDougal fashion  to keep from tesifying against him. Rodriguez is currently being victimized by a guy who may well have just gotten lucky when he fingered Rafael Palmeiro in a book.  If Canseco really had the goods on Rodriguez, he would have put in in his first book as it would allowed his publishers to print a million more copies.

To be quite frank, Banks take on this has awakened my own understanding of how I feel about steroids in baseball. Yes, some have certainly taken steroids and an even greater amount have taken amphetamines. Some of these players have impeccable credentials.

An American  sense of fairness is in order. Endless indignations by those with bully pulpit priveledges cannot continue to condemn an entire generation of baseball players who did not take steroids. Not without the kind of information a reasonable person could draw sensibles conclusions as with as one can with Barry Bonds.

During the late 1980’s, the general consensus among professional athletes and in sports medicine was that steroids were exteremely dangerous. Nothing has happened that changes this. Some sort of seismic shift in personal values occured very quickly in baseball during the early 90’s that I  still find bewildering.

But all major league players did not take steroids and its likely a significant amount of those who tried them gained no advantage or may have done so only briefly.

However, its also becomming more clear that steroids benifit the user even more so than we once imagined. For some, vision is improved. The ability to train and recover is even greater than we believed. And the ability of fast-twitch muscle fibers to fire even more quickly that they would normally is evident as well. Just 20 years ago, we that only muscular power was involved. Only these benefits as these described above could enable the most gifted as is Bonds and possibly Mark McGwire to have shattered such records while well into their 30’s. Gaining muscular power and enabling one to train more would never have been enough.

So what to do and whom to judge? If we are to believe “Game of Shadows”-and I do-Bonds motivation was an exteremly selfish one. He was jealous of the attention that Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire received during the 1998 season where McGwire broke Roger Maris single-season homerun record. This level of narcissism and envy most people easily find despicable. We have seen the results.

But what of McGwire’s motivation? A modest and affable fellow by anyone’s standards, it should be noted that McGwire likely believed his baseball career was in perile during his 1993 and 1994 seasons when he played in only 74 games. Plagued by chronic back and knee problems, McGwire likely turned to serious weight training and fell into the use of steroids (if he indeed did so) in an attempt to overcome his injuries.

The result must have astounded even him. He hit 245 homeruns in four seasons from 1996 through 1999. This was better than half of his lifetime total of 583 he acheived in 15 major league seasons. I really believe that McGwire’s motivation was just to feel better. The results that surprised even him. McGwire’s injuries overcame him by 2001.

Although the long awaited Mitchell report will provide more answers, I don’t think that Mitchell will deal in innuendos and he said-she saids. Sadly the testimony on those who’ve had to deal with the law like former Mets clubbie Kirk Radomski and major leaguer Jason Grimsley will provide names with a supporting paper trails.

The names will be matched with statistics. Many of us find these numbers as the games holy word and it will be terribly hard to deny conclusions.  However we make find that few actually benefitted numbers wise over a period of time as did Bonds and McGwire. Some likely discovered some frightening side effects and quit which may point to the isolated freak season and weight fluctuations.

As the long term effects of steroid use have not changed, what we are likely to witness is what we did 20 years ago when some  NFL’s players were dying at an uncommonly young age. Its rare we learn of the premature death of a former major league player. I’m afraid this is what we may see as some of those who used steroids approach their late 40’s. Here’s where innuendo will understandably come into play again.

Like many of the kind readers of my blog, I accepted with sadness Barry Bonds passing Hank Aaron as yes, its tainted. My late father and I went to Atlanta when I was in 8th grade to experience the great moment that Aaron surpassed Babe Ruth during April of 1974. My mother had the ticket stubs boardered inside a wonderful picture of the event. Its on the wall of my son’s room now. Somehow that moment with my dad will never be the same again.  




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This post was written by bobsikes on August 10, 2007

The Schedules Smiles Upon the Team in Queens

As fate would have it, after an stressful three games against Bobby Cox’ Braves, the Florida Marlins come to town. The Braves jumped on a bus and fought the traffic to Philadelphia. 

The teams that will play in Philadelphia this weekend are both four games back of the Mets in the loss column. As its unlikely the Mets will take a hit to its psyche as a result of the three-day series with the Braves, look for the Mets to win their series with the Marlins.  Only a sweep by one either the Braves or Phillies would cause much of  a gain.

What this all means is that the schedule makers smiled upon the Mets last fall when the schedules came out.

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This post was written by bobsikes on August 10, 2007