Tag Archives: National security

Rising Waters

jonflan-surf - 1

I was at a fair a few years ago, to attend a live broadcast, and don’t remember our topic, but, on the way, in somewhat of a rush to find the set on time, I passed by two booths, side by side, one with a realtor, and a contingent of members from the Union of Concerned Scientists at the other.

The realtor had houses for sale on the seashore at North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

The scientists had pamphlets discussing the consequences of global warming including rising seawaters.

I suggested the realtor might want to talk to the next booth about his business plan, and just perhaps consider renting out properties instead of selling them.

According to coastal geologists, storms, development, and sea level rise have caused sections of this 200-mile island chain we know as the Outer Banks to collapse.  Shifting sands, new inlets, newly formed ecosystems are transforming the banks.  More houses on spindly stilts now rest in the surf.  Continue reading

Taking stock of Comstock

Rep. Barbara Comstock has set her sights on the US Congress (photo by J. Flannery)

Rep. Barbara Comstock has set her sights on the US Congress (photo by J. Flannery)

Virginia Delegate Barbara Comstock was a lobbyist for Carnival Cruise Corporation in 2005, and, while at the lobbying firm, Blank Rome, helped Carnival Cruise get a $236 million dollar payout from the U.S. Congress for ferrying evacuees during Hurricane Katrina.

The rub is that Carnival Cruise got a too large payout because Carnival only filled their boats half full while doubling their usual charges — more than twice what Carnival then charged for a regular cruise.

A chorus of chest-beating bi-partisan outrage followed

Delegate Comstock now wants the voters in the 10th Congressional District to promote her to the U.S. Congress.  How to trust Ms. Comstock when it comes to resisting the hoggish corporate handouts that she successfully lobbied congress to give away? Continue reading

YOUR ATTENTION, PLEASE

Today is the last day to comment on new rules the State Department may impose on people seeking new passports.

The U.S. Department of State is proposing a new Biographical Questionnaire for some passport applicants: The proposed new Form DS-5513 asks for all addresses since birth; lifetime employment history including employers’ and supervisors names, addresses, and telephone numbers; personal details of all siblings; mother’s address one year prior to your birth; any “religious ceremony” around the time of birth; and a variety of other information. According to the proposed form, “failure to provide the information requested may result in … the denial of your U.S. passport application.”

Submit your comments to the State Department

(Via Shakesville. No word on WHO those “some people” would be.)

And now for something completely different

In contrast to the insulting misrepresentations of Rep. Peter King and Rep. Frank Wolf during Thursday’s hearing, Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough recognized the tremendous contributions of the American Muslim community to combatting domestic terrorism. From his remarks at the ADAMS Center on March 6:

Imam Magid is among the many Muslim leaders who have been recognized by the Director of the FBI for their efforts to strengthen cooperation between Muslim communities and law enforcement.

To counter the propaganda videos from the likes of al-Awlaki, Imam Magid even joined with other clerics and scholars to make their own videos, which have gone viral, explaining that Islam preaches peace, not violence. Most Americans never hear about these efforts, and, regrettably, they’re rarely covered by the media. But they’re going on every day—and they’re helping to keep our country safe.

Continue reading

Irony alert – can I get a witness?

Back in 2005, a new program designed to remove impediments to cooperation between local Arab, Muslim and Sikh communities and law enforcement agencies was presented to the FBI. The Partnership for Prevention and Community Safety (PfP), “developed with considerable input from law enforcement and local communities, quickly gained the support it needed within the agency and was green-lighted for funding.”

But then a powerful member of Congress stepped in and, with one blow, killed the initiative. According to those with knowledge of the program, the congressman acted at the behest of an influential and strident anti-Muslim propagandist. This week, in an ironic twist, that same congressman is slated to speak at a congressional hearing looking into the allegation that American Muslims are insufficiently cooperative with law enforcement.

The “powerful member of Congress” was Frank Wolf. Continue reading

A better idea for a Homeland Security hearing

Sadly, it appears we have attracted a commenter who would like to have a tiny (in so many respects) Loudoun version of Rep. Peter King’s execrable hearings, hearings that further target a minority community already in the crosshairs of a profoundly ignorant hate movement. The small-minded individual in question has been placed on moderation for using exactly the kind of slurs that are the premise of those hearings, scheduled to begin on Thursday.

Eugene Robinson calls this exactly what it is:

Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, is about to convene hearings whose premise offends our nation’s founding ideals and whose targets are law-abiding members of a religious minority. King has decided to investigate Islam.

Continue reading

Bob Marshall embarrasses himself again

Crossposted at Equality Loudoun

This morning’s Virginia Politics blog brings us tidings of great desperation. In the wake of the historic vote to repeal DADT, Delegate Bob “Virginia’s Chief Homophobe” Marshall claims to be drafting a bill for the 2011 session that would establish a ban on openly gay servicemembers in the Virginia National Guard.

Marshall, who is considering running for U.S. Senate in 2012, is one of the House’s most conservative members. He said Article 1, Section 8, Clause 16 of the Constitution gives Virginia the authority to uphold the ban by “reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.”

{Not to hijack David’s wonderful post, but Mike Kondratick, our candidate against Bob Marshall, has a post up about this issue on Blue Virginia today. Go give him some love! – P13}I’ve helpfully bolded the final clause, as Mr. Marshall appears to have missed it. The “discipline prescribed by Congress” was just corrected on Saturday, such that gay and lesbian patriots can now serve in our military without, as one servicemember put it, “a knife in my back.”

Like the architects of Virginia’s shameful “Massive Resistance” to an earlier era of civil rights, long after the rest of the world has moved on these bitter old men will still be lashing out at their imaginary enemies and wasting everyone’s time. Mr. Marshall’s legislative career needs to join DADT in the dustbin of history.

Bonus: On a lighter note, watch these two videos and tell me you don’t see the uncanny resemblance.