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Monthly Archives: December 2007

After Action Report

December 10th, 2007 - 12:57 pm

A US Marine corporal talks about Fallujah:

Jon Baliles emailed this story

The list below ranks the cities from most dangerously drunk to least dangerously drunk.

Most Dangerously Drunk

100. Denver, CO F

99. Anchorage, AK F

98. Colorado Springs, CO F

…along with a hearty “keep up the good work!”

Thanks, Jon, I’m tryin’.

Seriously though, how does Denver rank ahead of Colorado Springs? I go up there only every couple of weeks.

Local Gunfire

December 9th, 2007 - 3:38 pm

[Bumped to top]

Very local–one, possibly two, gunmen opened fire at the New Life Church just a couple of miles from here. Police on the scene, and even the local TV news is only repeating what they’ve heard on the police scanners.

Earlier this morning, another gunman wounded four at a youth missionary training center in the Denver suburb of Arvada. That’s just 30 or so minutes north of our home. Spooky.

UPDATE: Two dead, two wounded in that Arvada attack.

UPDATE: Here’s the meat from the first full report filed on the Colorado Springs shooting:

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A gunman opened fire in the parking lot of a Colorado Springs church on Sunday, striking four people, the church’s pastor said.

The conditions of the people shot outside the New Life Church were not known, El Paso County Sheriff’s Lt. Lari Sevene said.

Lance Coles, a pastor at New Life Church, told The Associated Press he received a report that a man was shooting at people in the church parking lot and that the gunman may have entered the church.

UPDATE: KKTV just featured a short on-air report with a witness (or someone who talked to a witness–it was unclear) who claims that “maybe five” people were shot by a man wearing fatigues or maybe camos. Not much in the way of solid info, but I’m still looking.

UPDATE: As of 2:12pm MST, KOAA-TV still doesn’t have the story posted in any form. They might want to rethink that “News First” slogan.

UPDATE: Lots of fire trucks and paramedics on the scene at New Life Church, along with an unconfirmed report that the gunman is dead. All this, according to KKTV. Lots of confusion, lots of police with rifles, both in and out of uniform.

UPDATE: One suspect is “contained” at New Life Church, according to the police, and “several victims” have been taken to local hospitals.

UPDATE: Streaming video here. KOAA also has a live feed on their main page.

UPDATE: Police say the gunman has been detained, but they aren’t saying if he’s dead or alive.

UPDATE: The gunman in the Arvada shooting last night is still at large, and some are speculating there may be some connection between the Youth Mission shooting and the New Life Church attack this afternoon.

UPDATE: KKTV (video here) talked to one victim, who appeared to have a piece of buckshot in his hand. He couldn’t figure out how he got hit by a partial shotgun blast from where the gunman was. A second gunman? Friendly fire? A shocky victim? Who knows.

UPDATE: More from KRDO:

NEWSCHANNEL 13 has talked with a spokesperson at Penrose Hospital who confirms three shooting victims have been brought in. She says one is in critical, one is in fair and one is in good condition. Two were transported by ambulance, while the other was brought in by a private vehicle. It is not know if there are any other victims. Sources tell NEWSCHANNEL 13 two young girls are among the victims of this shooting, which happened just after 1:00 p.m. at New Life Church.

Police also confirm a suspect in the shooting at New Life Church is no longer a threat. It has NOT been confirmed what condition that suspect is in. However, a source tells NEWSCHANNEL 13 this suspect has been shot.

UPDATE: Gov. Bill Ritter says,

Hiding In Plain Sight

December 9th, 2007 - 2:52 pm

Amidst all the chortling over Hollywood’s apparently unending string of anti-Iraq-war flops, there have been a good many commentors asking rhetorically, “Why aren’t there any movies that present U.S. troops in a positive light?”

But, of course, there is such a movie, released this very year.

It non-ironically shows U.S. servicemen and women putting themselves between innocents and vastly destructive forces, and fighting against the latter with grit and conspicuous valor. It openly celebrates their courage and sacrifice, and also portrays their leadership as, for the most part, decent people trying to do the best they can in a crisis with limited resources and information.

You don’t know which movie I’m talking about? Here’s a hint: It’s one of the biggest hits of 2007.

Does the movie’s success owe anything to its portrayal of American soldiers in action? Probably not nearly as much as it does to the freaking cool giant robots… but I’ll bet you that portrayal didn’t hurt the box office any, either.

More than meets the eye, indeed.


December 7th, 2007 - 11:06 am

Don’t watch the live-action Speed Racer trailer if you’ve already dipped into your evening cocktail.

But by all means do watch it at some point.

Michael Yon on CNN

December 6th, 2007 - 3:57 pm

Michael Yon will be on CNN this weekend as part of the ongoing This Week At War series.

Yon is a freelance journalist and photographer, and depends upon folks like you and me for financial support to do his work from Iraq and Afghanistan. We can donate money or purchase one of his amazing photographs via his Web site.

From the Front

December 6th, 2007 - 12:23 pm

Still alive and well and reporting from Fallujah, Michael Totten files this report for the New York Daily New:

FALLUJAH, IRAQ – In August, I wrote in these pages that it was too soon to judge Gen. David Petraeus’ surge of troops in Iraq a success or a failure. It’s not too soon anymore…

Read the whole thing, and don’t forget to hit Mike’s tip jar.

Detroit Blues

December 6th, 2007 - 9:32 am

The housing credit crunch ain’t the only bad news in town. Detroit is stuck in the same trap:

Detroit’s reliance on”zero percent for anyone with a pulse” financing to move moribund metal is coming back to haunt them. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) cites a study by Lehman Brothers that reports that 4.5 percent of ’06 auto loans were at least 30 days delinquent as of the end of September. That up from October’s 2.9 percent, and represents the biggest one-month jump in at least eight years. And here’s the really worrying bit: that’s the stat for “top-rated borrowers.” At the lower end of the food chain, 12 percent of subprime borrowers were delinquent on their 2006 auto loans as of September. That’s up from 11.1 percent the previous month; it’s the highest level since 2002. Seen from another perspective, “In the second quarter, borrowers were at least 30 days behind on 2.77% of all auto loans made by nonbank lenders, the main players in the market, according to the American Bankers Association. That was the highest delinquency rate since 1991.” Although the WSJ has some soothing words for nervous auto execs, we reckon this one’s gonna blow-up good. Tightened credit will remove one of Detroit’s most effective sales devices (low-cost loans) and a flood of repo’ed cars

Internet Law Enforcement: It’s Your Job Now

December 6th, 2007 - 8:35 am

Here’s one Ron Paul got exactly right.

Of course, voting “no” is almost hardly ever wrong.

Martini Supplies

December 6th, 2007 - 7:15 am

Found some great martini supplies the other day, just in time for the upcoming holidaze. Crate and Barrel sells curled bamboo picks that are just right for spearing olives or (gag me) cocktail onions, nice and long but not too long and the curl at the end keeps it from falling down into even the largest martini glass. A little pricey, almost $5 for only 25 picks. Also some very respectable martini glasses, monstrously cheap only $3.95 each, suitable for large gatherings or for throwing into the fireplace at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. (that is what you do, isn’t it, or am i thinking of greek weddings.)

The Nixon Playbook

December 5th, 2007 - 3:38 pm

George W. Bush: Big giant dummy head. You think I exaggerate? Think again:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President George W. Bush is expected to outline on Thursday a plan to freeze mortgage rates for five years for many U.S. homeowners facing sharp increases in their monthly payments, industry sources said on Wednesday.

Final details of the plan are still being worked out after a trade group that represents large mortgage investors presented its framework for implementing a broad rate freeze to the Treasury Department late on Tuesday, the sources said.

What the “sources” didn’t say is that loan-wary banks are going to become even warier, as their expected high-risk rewards vanish in a puff of unintended consequences. Now that‘s how you tank an economy, you big giant dummy head. I haven’t seen a Republican pull an economic move this stupid since Nixon’s wage/price freeze back in ’72. And Bush’s could be every bit as disastrous.

Toys Good, Toxins Bad

December 5th, 2007 - 1:13 pm

Apropos wrapping Christmas gifts, the new-to-me Ecology Center in Michigan provides the results of their testing of 1,200 popular children’s toys for toxic chemicals.

Both of these sites were slow to respond for me, they are likely quite busy. The Healthy Toys site includes a handy search feature that allows you to look for specific toys by name, brand, or type.

A Third Quick Take

December 5th, 2007 - 11:06 am

I’m wrapping gifts and listening to my swingingist Christmas playlist, and it occurs to me–nobody, and I mean nobody, could sing a smile like Lou Rawls.

Paging Dr. Paul

December 5th, 2007 - 8:46 am

Ron Paul: Libertarian enemy number one?

I’ll be making a similar case in next month’s issue of The New Individualist.

Another Quick Take

December 4th, 2007 - 7:40 am

John McCain and Joe Lieberman have gotten pretty cozy the last couple of years. My take? On the off chance McCain wins the Republican nomination, look for him offer–and Lieberman to accept–the Vice Presidential slot as a kind of “national unity” ticket.

They might even go public before the end of the year–or between Iowa and New Hampshire–to give McCain a big boost with New England independent voters.

We’re talking a big Hail Mary play, but exactly the kind of thing McCain needs to try if he expects any chance at winning the nomination.

The Trouble With Tesla

December 3rd, 2007 - 1:38 pm

Don’t count on getting your all-electric roadster any time soon. Or maybe not at all:

We’ve been hearing for some time that the Tesla Motors electric sports car had been delayed. We’ve also known that Michael Marks, the current CEO was stepping down to concentrate on product development. Last week Tesla named Ze’ev Drori as the new CEO.

Now word is that Martin Eberhard, the founder of the company has been fired! In addition a number of other executives have left the company!

Remember that the Tesla is supposed to run on lithium-ion batteries–the same gear General Motor claims will power the Chevy Volt no later than 2010. S’yeah, right.

A Quick Take

December 2nd, 2007 - 6:01 pm

Prediction: It will take a generation for Venezuela to recover from today’s election–two, if it was stolen.

UPDATE: I would be so happy to be wrong, if it turns out that Chavez’s power grab measures have in fact been defeated.

UPDATED AGAIN: Something tells me we haven’t exactly heard the last of Chavez. Anyone want to bet he won’t steal a play from the EU handbook, and keep holding elections until the voters get it right?

Toxic Leak

December 1st, 2007 - 9:07 pm

Free press; free association; free peek at MSNBC’s political bias.

Makes me eager for the next Republican “debate” hosted by MSNBC. Know what I mean?