Tuesday, October 31, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

The new director has decided to fix Hubble after all: NASA says Hubble repair mission is a go

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By Steven L. Taylor

I guess Smutgate didn’t harm Webb after all (not that I expected it to do so): Webb has slight lead in Va. Senate race

Among likely voters, the former Republican was the choice of 50 percent of those surveyed while 46 percent favored Allen and 4 percent were undecided.

Because Webb’s edge is equal to the margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points, it means the Democrat can be considered slightly ahead.

The result is based on telephone interviews conducted for CNN from Oct. 26-29 among 597 registered Virginia voters who identified themselves as likely to vote.

Among the larger sample of 904 registered voters, the results were about even, with 48 percent of the respondents backing Webb, 46 percent for Allen and 5 percent undecided. Independent Gail Parker also is on the ballot.

The incompetence of Allen and his campaign make, in retrospect, the notion that he could be a serious presidential candidate in 2024 a real laugher.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via WaPo comes a frightening tale: Campaign Gone South

Katherine Harris, who is trying to become a U.S. senator, says she is writing a tell-all about the many people who have wronged her. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to: the Republican leaders who didn’t want her to run, the press that has covered her troubled campaign, and the many staffers who have quit her employ, whom she accuses of colluding with her opponent.

So, it would appear that Harris’ goal is to have no professional relationships left when this campaign is said and done. Well, I guess we all need to have goals…

For example:

Ed Rollins, who managed Ronald Reagan’s reelection to the White House in 1984, said working for Harris was like “being in insanity camp.” He likened her staff to dogs that have been kicked.


Several of her former staffers say they would have kept silent about goings-on in the Harris campaign if Harris herself had not publicly criticized them after they left, accusing them of being bad at their jobs, of putting “knives in my back” and of working with the Nelson campaign. They describe her as a micromanager, unable to trust her staff, prone to tears and rages over tiny things. They say she would rewrite speeches and press releases over and over. She would get upset if an aide hadn’t brought her the correct coffee order from Starbucks. Dornan, the former campaign manager, says Harris was so concerned that only the best photographs of her went up on the campaign Web site that she insisted on going through every picture.

And, quite frankly, she sounds a tad on the edge:

“They can make the polls say whatever they want,” Harris says. She says pollsters sometimes call her house and then hang up ” ’cause we’re not answering them the way they like.”

The way Harris sees it, a vast left- and right-wing conspiracy, encompassing both the “liberal media” and the Republican “elite,” is attempting to keep her out of the Senate.

First off: the odds that Harris herself has been polled is quite small, let alone multiple times. And she may have a point about the GOP elite: they wanted someone in that slot who could, you know, have a chance to win.

The piece paints the picture of someone who is borderline unhinged. Its actually quite sad, really–especially considering she is coming apart in public and a hefty personal price tag.

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Monday, October 30, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Via CNN: Poll: Stumping not boosting Bush popularity.

Given that he is likely just saying the same things that already had his numbers low, I can’t say as this is a surprise.

Further, once one hits a certain level of frustration with someone, it starts to set in and is difficult to budge.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via Reuters: Brazil’s Lula gains momentum heading into 2nd term

Lula, as Brazil’s first working-class president is universally known, won 60.8 percent of the votes in Sunday’s election while his opponent, Geraldo Alckmin of the centrist Brazilian Social Democracy Party, took 39.2 percent.

I expected Lula to win, but that is one crushing blow.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via the NYT: U.S. Is Said to Fail in Tracking Arms for Iraqis

The American military has not properly tracked hundreds of thousands of weapons intended for Iraqi security forces and has failed to provide spare parts, maintenance personnel or even repair manuals for most of the weapons given to the Iraqis, a federal report released Sunday has concluded.

Given the security situation over there, the idea that hundreds of thousands of weapons were not properly tracked is disturbing. Further, and in some ways worse, if we aren’t providing spare parts and the ability to maintain the weapons given to the new Iraqi security forces, how can we be saying that we are preparing the Iraqis to defend themselves?


Exactly where untracked weapons could end up — and whether some have been used against American soldiers — were not examined in the report, although black-market arms dealers thrive on the streets of Baghdad, and official Iraq Army and police uniforms can easily be purchased as well, presumably because government shipments are intercepted or otherwise corrupted.

In a written response to the inspector general’s findings, the American military largely conceded the shortcomings. The military said it would assist the Iraqis in determining the spare parts and maintenance requirements for the weapons. The military also said it has now instituted a “process to accurately issue weapons by quantity and serial number listing.”

And it gets even more depressing:

the American military was not able to say how many Iraqi logistics personnel it had trained — in this case because, the military told the inspector general, a computer network crash erased records. Those problems have occurred even though the United States has spent $133 million on the weapons program and $666 million on Iraqi logistics capabilities.

The report said that although the United States planned to scale back its support for logistics and maintenance for Iraqi security forces in 2024, it was unclear whether the Iraqi government had any intention of compensating by allocating sufficient money to the Ministries of Interior and Defense.

It should be noted that the inquiry into this situation was initiated by Senator John Warner (R-VA). It is nice to see someone on Capitol Hill making some effort at fulfilling their oversight duties.

Some numbers on the weapons:

In its assessment of Iraqi weaponry, the inspector general concluded that of the 505,093 weapons that have been given to the Ministries of Interior and Defense over the last several years, serial numbers for only 12,128 were properly recorded. The weapons include rocket-propelled grenade launchers, assault rifles, machine guns, shotguns, semiautomatic pistols and sniper rifles.

Of those weapons, 370,000 were purchased with American taxpayer money under what is called the Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund, or I.R.R.F., and therefore fell within the inspector general’s mandate.

Despite the potential risks from losing track of those weapons — involving 19 different contracts and 142 delivery orders — the United States recorded serial numbers for no more than a few thousand, the inspector general said.


The inspector general’s report also found that money for spare parts was allocated for only 5 of the 12 different kinds of weapons sent to Iraq — and when the inspector general contacted units of the Defense and Interior Ministries, none actually knew how or where to requisition spare parts.

There were also significant discrepancies in the numbers of weapons purchased and those in Iraqi warehouses. While 176,866 semiautomatic pistols were purchased with American money, just 163,386 showed up in warehouses — meaning that more than 13,000 were unaccounted for. All 751 of the M1-F assault rifles sent to Iraq were missing, and nearly 100 MP-5 machine guns.

The story also cites another report which states that reconstruction efforts in parts of Iraq are being hampered due to security issues. That is hardly a surprise, but is noteworthy nevertheless.

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Sunday, October 29, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

It looks like Tony Romo is a bona fide NFL QB.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via the Houston Chronicle we have an illustration of why running as a third party candidate tends to fail (Texas voters likely to re-elect Perry):

A majority of likely Texas voters say they are unhappy with the job Republican Rick Perry has done as governor, but he is likely to win re-election because his opposition remains splintered, according to a new poll conducted for the Houston Chronicle and KHOU-TV.

Perry leads a five-person field with 38 percent support, according to the survey. Democrat Chris Bell has 22 percent support, and independent Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn has 21 percent — a statistical tie. Independent Kinky Friedman trails badly at 10.5 percent, and Libertarian James Werner has just 1 percent support.

If Strayhorn had really wanted to be Governor of the State of Texas, she should have sought the Democratic nomination. For that matter if Bell, Strayhorn and Kinky really want Perry to lose (and not just to serve their own ego), then someone (or someones need to drop out of the race and form an electoral alliance.

This is one of those cases where it would be quite fascinating to see what the results would be if there was a run-off requirement.

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By Steven L. Taylor


Democrats are demanding that George Allen stop stonewalling and immediately release records addressing why multiple warrants were issued for his arrest in 1974 while he was a student at the University of Virginia. The court records of his arrests are missing but one of the few official documents detailing the circumstances surrounding his arrests is Allen’s application to the Virginia Bar Association. Allen has so far refused to release that information.

Via the TimesDispatch.comRichmond Times-Dispatch:

On another matter, reacting to postings by anti-Allen bloggers reporting arrest warrants for Allen in the early 1970s, Allen aide Chris LaCivita said that, while a student at the University of Virginia, Allen was issued an arrest warrant for unpaid parking tickets and another for fishing without a license.

Ok, several things:

1) If that explanation is accurate (parking tickets, etc.) then release the records and take away the issue.

2) Regardless of what the records say, it would have been smarter to have released the information months and months ago, rather than allow it to become an issue late in the campaign.

Do these guys never learn? If there’s known dirt, air it early. If there is nothing to it, being coy always makes your look guilty.

Think how 2024 might have been different if the Bush campaign had handled the DUI issue differently.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Of course, saying that an amendment to the Constitution has to go before the Supreme Court (as he did when Russert mentioned voting for an amendment to ban abortions) doesn’t make one look too swift…

I’ll post the quote when the transcript is up.

Updates: Here ya go (MTP Transcript for Oct. 29):

MR. RUSSERT: Another issue that has emerged in the campaign. Here’s the latest headline. “Religious leaders and abortion foes are pumping more than $140,000 into the final weeks of the Maryland U.S. Senate contest to motivate ‘values voters’ by elevating such issues as abortion and same-sex marriage. … National Right to Life’s political action committee plans to run radio commercials on Steele’s behalf … and has spent more than $72,000 supporting [his] candidacy with ads and mail.” The National Abortion Rights Action League supporting your campaign, Mr. Cardin. The issue is being engaged. And let me ask each of you. Mr. Steele, if you’re United States Senator, would you vote for a constitutional amendment to outlaw abortion?

LT. GOV. STEELE: I don’t — vote for a constitutional amendment to outlaw abortion? I think we’d have to have that get to the Supreme Court, wouldn’t we? I haven’t seen that bill proposed. I don’t think…

Tot be fair, people are going to make mistakes, but still, someone running for the Senate should know the amendment process.

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