Definitely Not a Slow News Day

Hamid Mir interviewing Osama bin Laden for Dai...
Image via Wikipedia

The End of Bin Laden
Pretty much the whole world is ablaze with the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death at the hands of a U.S. Special Forces unit.  It turns out that he wasn’t hiding in a dirty cave in the mountains after all, but was in a mansion compound just outside of Islamasbad, Pakistan.  So why did it take ten years to track him down? has a pretty good working theory:

America failed to locate Osama Bin Laden for almost 10 years not because it wasn’t trying hard to find him, or because American intelligence is incompetent. It took so long because the Godfather of Terror was surrounded by many Muslims who would rather protect him with their lives than give him up to America — and no amount of financial reward was going to convince them to give him up.

There is no doubt that many Muslim leaders knew exactly where Osama was hiding — and that it was not in the caves of Pakistan and Afghanistan, but in a huge mansion with very high fences that indicated to the whole neighborhood that someone big was hiding there. . . .  But gradually the love affair of many Muslims with Bin Laden started fading away and other jihadist heroes took his place. That was a signal to the leaders of Pakistan and perhaps other Muslim leaders to go ahead and give him up to the United States since it is now less dangerous for them and perhaps can be used as leverage for some demands from the U.S. government.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which according to the AP “seeks the establishment of a state run according to Islamic principles through peaceful means” and has “a more moderate approach,” naturally condemned the mission as an assassination. 

Another Flotilla of Firearms?
Just a year after a violent confrontation when Israeli security forces stopped a flotilla trying to run the Gaza blockade (which resulted in some Photoshop shenanaginsby the international press), another flotilla is being readied for the same purpose.  Oh, not the purpose of helping Gazans.

Poor, starving Gazan children

It turns out that Gaza is doing just fine as far as the necessities of life go.  No, it’s for the purpose of making Israel into the bad guy again–and maybe getting some weapons into terrorist hands while they’re at it. 

Fukushima Continues to Melt Down
I posted a neat little graph from xkcd some weeks ago showing just how little radiation we’re getting from the plant here in the States.  I wasn’t trying to downplay the crisis; I was trying to show the fallacy of panicking over here.  Japan needs help (though they won’t admit it), not hystrionics.  The sad fact is, however, that things aren’t going good, as the blog post at the title link explains.  The post translates an interview with Michio Ishikawa of the Japan Nuclear Technology Institute, which includes this lovely detail:

“I believe the fuel rods are completely melted. They may already have escaped the pressure vessel. Yes, they say 55% or 30%, but I believe they are all melted down. When the fuel rods melt, they melt from the middle part on down.

(Showing the diagram) “I think the temperature inside the melted core is 2000 degrees to 2000 and several hundred degrees Celsius. A crust has formed on the surface where the water hits. Decay heat is 2000 to 3000 kilowatts, and through the cracks on the crust the radioactive materials (mostly noble gas and iodine) are escaping into the air.

“Volatile gas has almost all escaped from the reactor by now.

Again, no panicking allowed.  As David Brenner reports in the Wall Street Journal:

We know enough to say with some confidence that the radiation-related risks are small immediately outside the 20-kilometer evacuation zone in Fukushima, very small in the rest of Japan, and minuscule in other countries, including the United States. Clearly, the radiation risks are not big enough to change our travel plans (even to Tokyo or Kyoto), and certainly not big enough to stop drinking the water or eating the food even close to the evacuation zone.

Japan needs material and spiritual support right now, not panic.

Pain at the Pump
If you’re like me, you’re facing sticker shock at the gas pump.  As Jack Kelly points out:

Oil prices are rising because (a) the value of the dollar is declining, which makes everything we import more expensive; (b) the Middle East, where most of the world’s oil is produced, is in turmoil; and (c) because the Obama administration has sharply restricted oil drilling at home. Gasoline prices could be cut in half within a few years if those restrictions were lifted, according to Rep. Joe Barton, R-Tex, a former chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The price of gas is a dollar a gallon higher now than it was at this time a year ago. Most of the rise has come since Mr. Obama imposed a partial ban on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

The last oil price spike ended on July 14, 2008, which, noted Will Collier, “was the very same day then President George W. Bush lifted, by executive order, a federal ban on offshore drilling.”

The price of oil began to rise again in January 2009, which, coincidentally, was the month Mr. Obama announced he would reverse Mr. Bush’s order.

There’s another good reason for America to work at increasing our energy independence by any means necessary.  Mexico will soon stop exporting oil, as reported by the New York Times:

An offshore oil drilling platform in the Ku-Maloob-Zaap field in the Gulf of Mexico, the country's biggest oil project.A drilling platform in the Ku-Maloob-Zaap field in the gulf, Mexico’s biggest oil project.

Mexico, the third-largest supplier of foreign oil to the United States, could lose the capacity to export crude altogether within a decade without major new investments in exploration and production, warns a research group report released on Friday.

The country’s shift from exporter to importer would deal a severe blow to Mexico’s federal government, which depends on oil sales for roughly a third of its budget, said the report, a two-year investigation by researchers with the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston.




One Reply to “Definitely Not a Slow News Day”

  1. Perhaps float this theory in regards to Bin Laden. The USA had him on ice for many years. they only brought him out to shoot him in the head twice and quickly bury him at sea. No proof he is dead really but the “fake” picture shown now around the world looks fake; although it could be him? But he looks like he has ice around his dead eyes and he looks as if he were tortured. That couldn’t have happened so quickly late Sunday Night so I’m thinking Uncle Sam is lying again.

    Obama needs a clear victory against anyone daring to run against him in 2012 – he is already claiming he is the hero who arranged Osama’s date with death. It’s so obvious. Why Americans are celebrating instead of asking the real tough questions are beyond me.


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