Tuesday, November 1, 2011
After a drawn out and painful struggle, my father recently passed away. I'd been very distracted and sort-of dead to the world during much of his illness and was unable/unwilling to post. Now, I really just don't have the heart to wade back into the blogging world, nor do I currently have the patience required for the job. I'm also dreadfully behind in my writing projects, and need to focus much more time and effort there to be able to get myself back to form.
I don't think I'm calling it quits on this blog yet-- though I have considered it-- but I am going to wait for a time (a month or maybe a little longer [yes, I know I've said this before]) before I get back here. It is possible that some dramatic world or national event could compel me to come back sooner.
Recent land grabs by Chavez in Venezuela have grabbed my attention, but Tom Blumer at his BizzyBlog did a great job of covering the AP's (mis)handling of the story, so there's little point in me retreading it.
And a portion of me does want to write about the Occupy Salem movement-- a collection of twenty or so tents (there seriously may be more city provided port-a-potties than tents on the grounds) occupied by handful of people whose grievances seem mysterious at best-- but I can't muster up more than this passing mention right now.
Despite this, the odds are very good that I won't start posting here until December.
Again, thank you for your kind messages and words. And I hope to be posting back here again relatively soon.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
I try not to get too personal on this blog, but my father was taken to the hospital early in June and was listed as being in grave condition. He was in ICU for over three weeks and not expected to live. Thankfully, he is improving although he is still in the hospital (no longer the ICU) and a full recovery is impossible. On the up side he is mentally fully there, and the permanent physical problems that he will face are both manageable and controllable-- if his health continues to improve.
During this time, I really just don't have the heart nor patience to write about politics. I probably will come back to this blog, but I can't really give a time. Maybe in another two or three weeks or so I'll be back. But I don't know...
On the bright side, I've been able to get a good deal of writing done on my newest novel. And it should be shopped around to the publishing houses in a few more months or so.
Anyway, thanks for still visiting. And I'll be posting again relatively soon.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Oops: British Study Reveals Electric Cars Produce Higher Emissions Over their Lifetimes than Gas Equivalents
"Electric cars could produce higher emissions over their lifetimes than petrol equivalents because of the energy consumed in making their batteries, a study has found.
"An electric car owner would have to drive at least 129,000km before producing a net saving in CO2. Many electric cars will not travel that far in their lifetime because they typically have a range of less than 145km on a single charge and are unsuitable for long trips. Even those driven 160,000km would save only about a tonne of CO2 over their lifetimes.
"The British study, which is the first analysis of the full lifetime emissions of electric cars covering manufacturing, driving and disposal, undermines the case for tackling climate change by the rapid introduction of electric cars.
"The study was commissioned by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, which is jointly funded by the British government and the car industry. It found that a mid-size electric car would produce 23.1 tonnes of CO2 over its lifetime, compared with 24 tonnes for a similar petrol car. Emissions from manufacturing electric cars are at least 50 per cent higher because batteries are made from materials such as lithium, copper and refined silicon, which require much energy to be processed.
"Many electric cars are expected to need a replacement battery after a few years. Once the emissions from producing the second battery are added in, the total CO2 from producing an electric car rises to 12.6 tonnes, compared with 5.6 tonnes for a petrol car. Disposal also produces double the emissions because of the energy consumed in recovering and recycling metals in the battery. The study also took into account carbon emitted to generate the grid electricity consumed."
Hmm. So let's see... electric cars are really expensive to produce-- even hybrids have a tough time turning profits-- have a really short range, and ultimately produce more CO2 than gas-powered cars. Ah, the short-sided need to do something. Perfect.
Speaking of battery disposal, what doesn't seem to be taken into account is the battery acid. Isn't battery acid like one of the most destructive things to put into the ground? But hey put hundreds of millions of car batteries out there. We'll just shoot the used up batteries into the sun or something.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Not an uncommon tactic in South and Central America... And it's something to watch for here in the US.
From the Business Insider article by Joe Weisenthal and Gregory White:
"The Irish government plans to institute a tax on private pensions to drive jobs growth, according to its jobs program strategy, delivered today.
"Without the ability sell debt due to soaring interest rates, and with severe spending rules in place due to its EU-IMF bailout, Ireland has few ways of spending to stimulate the economy. Today's jobs program includes specific tax increases, including the tax on pensions, aimed at keeping government jobs spending from adding to the national debt.
"The tax on private pensions will be 0.6%, and last for four years, according to the report."
These temporary taxes have a way of not being so temporary as government spending increases-- which is what usually happens when money is raided-- er, taxed-- from private accounts.
"Ireland's ability to levy further taxes on other parts of the economy is restricted because its economic growth has been inhibited in the wake of a financial crisis that crippled its banking sector and decimated its public finances.
"Unwilling to budge on the country's low corporate tax rate, Enda Kenny's Irish government has chosen to target pensioners for funds to grow the economy. Whether it turns out to be an example to other countries seeking alternative ways to raise revenues with aging populations is yet unknown."
Ah, the wonders of overspending government...
Friday, May 6, 2011
I'll try to post more in May than I did in April, but life is being a little frantic and disorienting for me right now, so it may not happen. Anyway, I'll be back posting regularly eventually (maybe June). And of course, check out the blogs on the Blog List.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Does anybody even remember the "Great Uniter" rhetoric, the "light-bringer" promises?
From The Wall Street Journal:
"The immediate political goal was to inoculate the White House from criticism that it is not serious about the fiscal crisis, after ignoring its own deficit commission last year and tossing off a $3.73 trillion budget in February that increased spending amid a record deficit of $1.65 trillion. Mr. Obama was chased to George Washington University yesterday because Mr. Ryan and the Republicans outflanked him on fiscal discipline and are now setting the national political agenda.
"Mr. Obama did not deign to propose an alternative to rival Mr. Ryan's plan, even as he categorically rejected all its reform ideas, repeatedly vilifying them as essentially un-American. 'Their vision is less about reducing the deficit than it is about changing the basic social compact in America,' he said, supposedly pitting 'children with autism or Down's syndrome' against 'every millionaire and billionaire in our society.' The President was not attempting to join the debate Mr. Ryan has started, but to close it off just as it begins and banish House GOP ideas to political Siberia.
"Mr. Obama then packaged his poison in the rhetoric of bipartisanship—which 'starts,' he said, 'by being honest about what's causing our deficit.' The speech he chose to deliver was dishonest even by modern political standards."
Yup. When the chips are down for a Leftist, then it's time to try to play class against class, driving people apart for political gain. Classic. Absolutely classic.
Jacobson at Legal Insurrection had this to say:
"Barack Obama promised us hand-to-hand combat, and his speech yesterday was the start.
"The nation is facing a debt crisis of historic proportions, but nothing will be done because Obama already has launched his presidential campaign. A compromise must included serious changes to unsustainable entitlements which are swamping the Treasury. Yet Obama took any significant changes off the table yesterday, by channeling Alan Grayson's charge that Republicans want people to die quickly.
"The truth is that Obama doesn't care about the deficit. Obama proposed a budget not long ago which would have increased spending and the deficit. It was only after the recent showdown over last year's budget that Obama decided that politically he needed to appear to be attentive.
"Yesterday's speech was a calculated move by someone who doesn't care about the deficit to pretend to care so that he could use the issue in political hand-to-hand combat.
"If you don't think 2012 is the make-or-break political year for this country, then you haven't been paying attention."
Indeed. Can we imagine the results of four more years of this kind of divisiveness?
I think that Pat Austin at And So it Goes in Shreveport had the best summation of Obama's speech:
"The bottom line of Obama's plan is that we're going to forge ahead with green energy even though it doesn't exist. We're going to buy oil from foreign sources even though we have plenty of resources here and gas is climbing to $5 a gallon. We're going to cut defense while we're engaged in three wars, raise taxes on those who provide jobs and growth, and implement a health care albatross that will saddle the country with inferior care, raise the deficit and expand entitlements, further deepening our economic woes."
It seems that Obama is absolutely determined to impose upon us a centrally controlled economic system. Is this a surprise to anyone based on Obama's background, his rhetoric and speeches, his past associates, his books?
And of course this centralized system that has never worked-- no matter how draconian the implementation. Centralizing a large economy has always resulted in massive inefficiencies, terrible shortages of goods and services, an expansion of poverty, an increased gap between rich and poor, and massive corruption. How many times do these systems have to fail before people stop trying?
From Paul Ryan's response as published in The Washington Post:
"Two months ago, President Obama submitted a budget for fiscal 2012 that did not deal with the major sources of government spending while calling for much higher taxes on American businesses and families. This budget was widely panned as lacking seriousness.
"Now comes a deficit speech that doesn’t even rise to the level of a plan. Missing was a credible way to curb out-of-control spending. Instead, the president called for greater reliance on government price controls, which would strictly limit the health-care options of current seniors while failing to control costs. The president would couple this approach with $1 trillion in tax increases, which would destroy jobs and hurt the economy.
"We cannot accept an approach that starts from the premise that ever-higher levels of spending and taxes represent America’s new normal. We have an obligation to fulfill the mission of health and retirement security for current retirees and future generations. We have a historic commitment to limited government and free enterprise. And we have a duty to leave the next generation with a more prosperous nation than the one we inherited.
"The House Republican budget keeps America’s promises to seniors and those near retirement by making no changes to their current arrangements. It keeps America’s promises of health and retirement security for future generations by saving and strengthening our most important programs. And it keeps a promise that is implicit in our form of government: that a government instituted to secure our rights must be a limited government.
"The president’s proposals are aimed more at empowering government than strengthening the free market. He continues to prove he’s not up to the challenging work of reforming government to meet 21st-century needs. If he gets his way, the nation will endure huge tax hikes, seniors’ access to health care will be reduced — and we will experience an epic collapse of our health and retirement programs that would devastate our nation’s most vulnerable citizens.
"House Republicans are fighting to prevent this. Our budget offers a compassionate and optimistic contrast to a future of health-care rationing and unbearably high taxes. We lift the crushing burden of debt, repair the safety net, make America’s tax system fair and competitive, and ensure that our health and retirement programs have a strong and lasting future. These issues are too important to leave to the politics of the past. If President Obama won’t lead, we will."
The stakes are very high now. Fiscal sanity must be implemented. Failure to do so will be disastrous.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
As CNN continues to circle the drain, it's come to this. From The N.Y. Post:
"CNN brass are scrambling to find a new host for their troubled 7 p.m. timeslot, and trying to win back the African-American and Hispanic viewers sources say they've lost since the 2008 presidential campaign.
"Hoping to accomplish both things at once, insiders said the network is interested in wooing African-American entertainers for the slot, currently held by 'John King USA,' and has mentioned comedian Chris Rock and former 'Talk Soup' host Aisha Tyler as possibilities."
Well that D.L. Hughley show worked out so well for CNN...
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Pelosi: "To My Republican Friends: Take Back Your Party. So That it Doesn’t Matter So Much Who Wins the Election"
Ah yes, if only we all thought the way Nancy Pelosi and the Left does, then there would be no problems in our world. I suppose those pesky other points of view and beliefs just get in the way of running our ungovernable country.
From Mediaite is this little but of the former Speaker's wisdom (video at the link):
"Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi gave a speech at Tufts University in Massachusetts where she shared some 'friendly' advice with the opposing side in Washington. Clearly frustrated with the lengthy and acrimonious budget fight, Pelosi said 'elections shouldn’t matter as much as they do' and warned that it would be problematic for the country if both parties do not have shared values.
"Pelosi challenged Republicans:
"'To my Republican friends: take back your party. So that it doesn’t matter so much who wins the election, because we have shared values about the education of our children, the growth of our economy, how we defend our country, our security and civil liberties, how we respect our seniors.'
"Might the old saying 'elections have consequences' be replaced by Pelosi’s new version of 'it doesn’t matter so much who wins the election?'"
She then goes on to say that "Elections shouldn’t matter as much as they do." Does anyone have a problem with that last line? Anyone?
Of course this is coming from a prominent member of the same political party that declared the Democrats had been given a mandate from the people following the '08 elections. And this is coming from the same party whose presidential candidate declared that his own election marked the moment when healing would start and the ocean levels would begin to recede. Hmm.
I am also curious as to what exactly were the the shared values that caused Pelosi to push ObamaCare through with a parliamentary trick past massive protests. Some mysterious value not shared by the majority of the American people it would seem. It's little wonder that Pelosi should believe that elections shouldn't matter so much in America.
Thursday, March 31, 2011
"Bahrain's Shiite Muslim opposition on Wednesday demanded that the Saudi-led military force helping to put down protests leave the country immediately.
"The demand underscored the sectarian element of the anti-government movement in the tiny, strategic island kingdom, where majority Shiites are demonstrating for more rights and freedom against a Sunni dynasty that has ruled Bahrain for two centuries.
"About 1,500 troops from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other Sunni-led Gulf states entered Bahrain two weeks ago at the invitation of Bahrain's monarch. The king also declared emergency rule and cracked down on protesters, killing at least 20.
"A senior Shiite opposition leader, Ali Salman, said the foreign troops must leave because the opposition rejects 'any military intervening for any party' in Bahrain. Salman also said Iran shouldn't interfere.
"'We don't want Bahrain to turn into a conflict zone between Saudi Arabia and Iran,' which has condemned the deployment, Salman said at a news conference in the capital, Manama. 'That's why we object to the Saudi intervention. We call for immediate withdrawal of the troops, and we reject Iranian interference.'
"The Gulf Cooperation Council force entered Bahrain earlier this month over the causeway that connects it to Saudi Arabia, with the stated mission of helping keep order.
"Shiites around the Middle East protested GCC intervention. Iranian authorities charged the troops were in Bahrain to enforce Sunni monarchy's oppression of Bahrain's Shiite majority."
Hmm. I wouldn't count on a withdrawal from the GCC anytime soon.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
From the The Washington Examiner article by Susan Ferrechio (via Drudge):
"Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., a member of the Democratic Senate leadership, got on a conference call with reporters Tuesday morning without realizing the reporters were already listening in. Schumer thought he was on a private line with four Democratic senators who were to talk with reporters about the current budget stalemate.
"Schumer instructed the group, made up of Sens. Barbara Boxer of California, Tom Carper of Delaware, Ben Cardin of Maryland and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, to tell reporters that the GOP is refusing to negotiate.
"He told the group to make sure they label the GOP spending cuts as 'extreme.'
"'I always use extreme,' Schumer said. 'That is what the caucus instructed me to use.'
"Someone must have finally told Schumer that the media were listening and he stopped talking midsentence.
"Here's a bit more of what he said about House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, according to my notes.
"'The main thrust is basically that we want to negotiate and we want to come up with a compromise but the Tea Party is pulling Boehner too far over to the right and so far over that there is no more fruitful negotiations,' Schumer said on the call. 'The only way we can avoid a shutdown is for Boehner to come up with a reasonable compromise and not just listen to what the Tea Party wants.'"
"Schumer described Boehner as 'in a box,' over the budget negotiations.
"The four senators came on the call after Schumer abruptly went silent and followed Schumer's script closely."
The Democrats have pretty much become the party of identity politics and the party of smearing the opposition. How proud they must be...
Monday, March 21, 2011
"Iran, which supports Shi'ite groups in Iraq and Lebanon, has complained to the United Nations and asked neighbours to join it in urging Saudi Arabia to withdraw forces from Bahrain.
Friday, March 18, 2011
From the AFP (via Gateway Pundit):
"Police fired rubber bullets and used tear gas to break up a demonstration outside the US consulate in Rio de Janeiro on Friday, as US President Barack Obama prepares to visit the country, AFP reports.
Some 300 people had gathered at the site when Brazilian Military Police showed up and tried to break up the demonstration.
"Police cracked down on the crowd after protesters hurled a molotov cocktail at the consulate door, the O Globo newspaper reported on its website. [emphasis mine]
"'I was in the center of the protest when people began to run and I heard shots,' said AFP photographer Vanderlei Almeida. 'I had to get out of there because it was hard to breathe.'
"Almeida was struck by two rubber bullets -- one hit him in the leg, and the other in his stomach.
"Several protesters were detained, Almeida said.
"Obama arrives in Brazil on an official Saturday and will meet President Dilma Rousseff in the capital Brasilia.
"On Sunday, he is scheduled to deliver a speech in Rio's Municipal Theater after cancelling a public speech in the city's town square.
"Brazilian authorities have laid out a heavy security presence for Obama's two-day visit to South America's largest nation, and police in Rio had closed numerous streets from midnight Thursday in preparation."
It's Bush's fault... or something.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Friday, March 11, 2011
Sunday, March 6, 2011
"No police were in sight Saturday as protesters — men and women — held hands to encircle Manama, where Bahrain's Shiite majority has been leading daily demonstrations to end what they say are discriminatory policies and political persecution.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
I'm still going to try to post 10 to 15 posts per month while I'm writing, but that's likely wishful thinking and I'll probably post less. It's sort of an inopportune time right now with the budget battles, fleeing Democrats, Middle Eastern revolutions etc. going on right now, but I can't just wait for things to slow down.
Anyway, check out the blogs on my Blog List. And I will continue to be post here, just more infrequently for a while.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
"Government-controlled mortgage buyer Freddie Mac managed a narrower loss of $1.7 billion for the October-December quarter of last year. But it has asked for an additional $500 million in federal aid - up from the $100 million it sought in the previous quarter.
"Freddie Mac also posted a $19.8 billion loss for all of 2010.
"The government rescued Freddie Mac and sibling company Fannie Mae in September 2008 to cover their losses on soured mortgage loans. It estimates the bailouts will cost taxpayers as much as $259 billion.
"Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac own or guarantee about half of all mortgages in the U.S., or nearly 31 million home loans worth more than $5 trillion. Along with other federal agencies, they played some part in almost 90 percent of new mortgages over the past year.
"Fannie and Freddie buy home loans from banks and other lenders, package them into bonds with a guarantee against default and sell them to investors around the world.
"The government's estimated cost of bailing out the mortgage giants far exceeds the $132.3 billion they have received from taxpayers so far. That would make theirs the costliest bailout of the financial crisis."
I see no problem here. Move on...
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Ore. Dem Wu Says Painkillers were to Blame for Erratic Behavior and Sending Pics of Himself in Tiger Costume
"Earlier Tuesday, Wu said on ABC's 'Good Morning America' that it was 'unprofessional and inappropriate' for him to send pictures of himself wearing a tiger costume to staff members.
Wu said the photos were taken while he was 'joshing around' with his children in October just before Halloween.
"One photo shows Wu wearing an orange and black striped tiger outfit with pointy ears and striped mittens. Portland newspapers reported that campaign staffers pleaded with Wu to seek psychiatric help in the final week before the November election, but he refused.
"'Last October was not a good month. It was very stressful. I did some things, I said some things, which I sincerely regret now,' Wu said.
"'I'm not a fan of the Defense of Marriage Act, but I do have a large problem with the politicization of the role of the Department of Justice. Strip away the gay-rights issue and consider the question: what would Democrats say if, in 2013, President Sarah Palin announced that her Department of Justice would refuse to defend the constitutionality of Obamacare in court? There is no provision in the Constitution for a retroactive veto. Compare and contrast the Bush administration Department of Justice, which steadfastly (and successfully) defended McCain-Feingold and enforced FACEA.'
Saturday, February 19, 2011
"The royal family, which was quick to use force earlier this week against demonstrators in the landmark square that has been the heart of the anti-government demonstrations, appeared to back away from further confrontation following international pressure from the West.
"The demonstrators had emulated successful uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt in attempting to bring political change to Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet — the centerpiece of Washington's efforts to confront Iranian military influence in the region.
Friday, February 18, 2011
"Protesters described a chaotic scene of tear gas clouds, bullets coming from many directions and people slipping in pools of blood as they sought cover. Some claimed the gunfire came from either helicopters or sniper nests, a day after riot police swept through the protest encampment in Pearl Square, killing at least five people and razing the tents and makeshift shelters that were inspired by the demonstrators in Cairo's Tahrir Square.
"Bahrain's king appointed Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa to lead a dialogue 'with all parties,' though it was unclear whether furious protesters would respond to the overture. Speaking on Bahrain's State TV, Salman expressed condolences for 'these painful days' and called for unity.
"'We are at a crossroads,' Salman said. 'Youths are going out on the street believing that they have no future in the country, while others are going out to express their love and loyalty. But this country is for you all, for the Shiites and Sunnis.'"
Are the Wisconsin protests a test for the unions nationwide?
"Bottom line: What happens in Wisconsin could easily have a ripple effect across the nation. If the unions win, watch for them to challenge other governors just as aggressively. If they don’t win, that could embolden state legislators to vote for legislation unions oppose."
Thursday, February 17, 2011
More Leftist civility: Hitler posters and physical threats-- in addition to the name-calling vitriol and walkouts.
"Randy Hopper is a state senator in Wisconsin. A Republican. He is now holed up with his colleagues — his Republican colleagues — in the capitol. The Democratic senators have apparently fled the state. Hopper says, 'None of my colleagues from the minority party decided to come to work today.'
"Hopper says, 'I've always said that they can threaten me all they want, but it’s not going to stop me from doing what the people elected me to do.' And he says more than once, 'We’re still here.' The Republicans have not run anywhere.
"They have been pushed around (literally), screamed at, etc. The capitol is surrounded. The signs carried by the protesters are 'vicious,' says Hopper. There are comparisons of Gov. Scott Walker to Hitler, of course. And there are other signs 'I won’t describe to you.'"
And of course there's the money involved. Michelle Malkin has a very, very long list of Illinois educators making $100,000+ a year in Wisconsin. Check it out. Do you think they're not going to scream "Hitler" to try to save that sort of money? Guess again.
"But the Palestinians rejected the American offer following a meeting late Wednesday of Arab representatives and said it is planning to press for a vote on its resolution on Friday, according to officials familar with the issue. The decision to reject the American offer raised the prospect that the Obama adminstration will cast its first ever veto in the U.N. Security Council.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
"A call spread via Facebook and Twitter urging Yemenis to join a series of 'One Million People' rallies on a so-called 'Friday of Rage' in all Yemeni cities, seeking the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
"Yemeni state TV reported that Saleh has been holding meetings since Sunday with heads of tribes to prevent them from joining the anti-government protests.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
"Security forces have battled demonstrators calling for political reforms and greater freedoms over two days, leading to the deaths of two protesters and the main opposition group vowing to freeze its work in parliament in protest.
"Many in the square waved Bahraini flags and chanted: 'No Sunnis, no Shiites. We are all Bahrainis.' It also appeared they were planning for the long haul. Some groups carried in tents and sought generators to set up under a nearly 300-foot (90-meter) monument cradling a giant white pearl-shaped ball that symbolizes the country's heritage as a pearl diving center.
"Bahrain is one of the most politically volatile nations in the Middle East's wealthiest corner despite having one of the few elected parliaments and some of the most robust civil society groups. A crackdown on perceived dissent last year touched off weeks of riots and clashes in Shiite villages, and an ongoing trial in Bahrain accuses 25 Shiites of plotting against the country's leadership.
Monday, February 14, 2011
Bob McCarty at BigJournalism.com has an article here, coupled with a couple of shaky videos someone filmed while watching the TV news reports. The television news reports themselves are unwarrantably alarmist (especially once the raw footage of the interview is viewed), and the news anchors actively misconstrue what was really said by assistant port director Al Hallor.
The 10news.com article is better and can be found here. It reads:
"10News was granted access to San Diego's seaport for a firsthand look at how Customs and Border Protection officers safeguard against weapons of mass effect.
"'Given the open waterways and the access to the Navy fleet here, I'd say, absolutely, San Diego is a target,' said Al Hallor, who is the assistant port director and an officer with Customs and Border Protection.
"10News investigative reporter Mitch Blacher asked, 'Do you ever find things that are dangerous like a chemical agent or a weaponized device?'
"'At the airport, seaport, at our port of entry we have not this past fiscal year, but our partner agencies have found those things,' said Hallor."
This exchange came a bit later in the article:
"'So, specifically, you're looking for the dirty bomb? You're looking for the nuclear device?' asked Blacher.
"'Correct. Weapons of mass effect,' Hallor said.
"'You ever found one?' asked Blacher.
"'Not at this location,' Hallor said.
"'But they have found them?' asked Blacher.
"Yes,' said Hallor.
"'You never found one in San Diego though?' Blacher asked.
"'I would say at the port of San Diego we have not,' Hallor said.
"'Have you found one in San Diego?' Blacher asked.
"The interview was interrupted [by a public affairs officer] before Hallor was able to answer the question."
Hallor is clearly hesitant and nervous in the interview. He is also clearly not used to being interviewed by the news which could be the reason for his nervousness (it was very obviously at least a partial factor). Did Hallor misspeak? If he did, he did so twice about the same subject, which is possible.
To their great credit, channel 10 has posted the raw video here. It's only about 6 minutes 30 seconds long, but it is very interesting. Check it out.
From the video:
(from about 2:53 in the video)
Blacher: Do you ever catch dangerous stuff, like uh... chemical agents, bombs?
Hallor: (sighs) Um... I don't know how to answer that one.
Hallor then asks a partially off camera woman, almost certainly the public affairs officer, about how to answer the question. Lots of inaudibles follow and not much of an answer is given.
In print this appears far more nefarious then it actually is on the video, but clearly Hallor and the public affairs officer have a list of "do not dos and mentions" in their guidelines regarding interviews. Another example of this, but hardly an alarming one, is at about 4:53 of the video when Hallor asks the likely public affairs officer if he should or should not talk specifically about the RID device, which is simply a part of the procedure to detect radiation in cargo containers.
The exchange about finding weapons of mass effect in San Diego transcribed in the 10 news article occurs at about 5:45 of the raw video. Right after the short largely inaudible exchange between Hallor, the public affairs officer and Blacher, this happens:
Blacher: Okay. You never found one in San Diego?
Hallor: (makes pained face before answering) I would say in the Port of San Diego, we have not.
Blacher: Have you found one in San Diego?
Hallor: (after about a six second pause) Trying to--
Public Affairs Officer (partially inaudible): Yeah, we'll just talk about the Port of San Diego. I'll follow up later because personally [inaudible] ever. So, I just want to double check to make sure we give them accurate information. So I'll follow up later about that.
As the 10 News article says, Customs and Border Protection sent this statement after the interview:
"CBP has not specifically had any incidents with nuclear devices or nuclear materials at our ports of entry. CBP is an all-threats agency. The purpose of many security measures is to prevent threats from ever materializing by being prepared for them. And, we must be prepared to stop threats in whatever form they do materialize at the border, whether it’s an individual or cargo arriving by land, air, or sea. Regardless of what the contraband or threat is, we’re being smart, evaluating, and focusing in on anything or anyone that is potentially high-risk.
"We were able to show you first-hand one example of how we evaluate segment risk, inspect, etc. in the cargo environment by air and sea here in San Diego. This is one portion of the CBP mission, and hopefully gives you some examples of how much has evolved in the past decade, with the new technologies we have at our disposal. This, coupled with document requirements at the border, advanced passenger and cargo information, better information sharing, and many other measures help us to secure the border - and each measure doesn’t work individually or in a vacuum, but rather in the layered security that we were able to demonstrate one facet of."
I don't quite know what to make of all this. Local news in Southern California (as local news does elsewhere, I am sure) often jump on "scoops" and excitedly over-report on subjects that turn out to be nothing-- such as the Southern California "missile" incident (it was an aircraft's contrail).
Was this incident another nothing? Most likely.
Much of Hallor's hesitancy appears to come from wanting to be as accurate and specific as possible to the questions asked, as well as being on guard to some out-of-context "gotcha" moment. Likewise his nervousness could have been entirely from being camera shy. Hallor's manner suggests that he is not often called upon to do television interviews.
That being said, clearly Hallor said something that he should not have. Either he misspoke or let something slip.
The questions are:
When Hallor answered "yes" to the question "Have they found them [weapons of mass effect]?", was he accurate?
Did Hallor misunderstand the question, or did he get a little confused by the line of questioning due to being nervous? Could Hallor have thought that the "they" in the question referred to the devices that detect radioactive materials?
It would seem that if weapons of mass effect had been found and that the knowledge of was well-known enough for Hallor to be privy it, it would be almost impossible to keep it out of the public eye for so long. And the sort of slips that Hallor makes throughout the raw video seem mostly due to stage fright and being very intent about not saying something that could be misconstrued-- a bit of irony there, I suppose.
That said, Hallor does seem to make the same mistake twice, and the statement from Customs and Border Protection addresses only "nuclear devices or nuclear materials at our ports of entry" and not non-nuclear weapons of mass effect. It's a little too specific for my tastes-- but, once again both government agencies and the media must play by the card regarding these sort of issues.
My bet is that this is all much ado but nothing-- but, I don't want to just completely dismiss the other possibility. It would certainly be nice if the media would follow up on this to confirm it one way or the other. I doubt that they will, though.