You Report, We Decide

News, Media, Politics, Music, Culture, Gossip, In The 215 And The Great Beyond

Archive for December, 2008

WSJ: The WTF On The Mumbai Attacks

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008


WALL STREET JOURNAL: MUMBAI — India has accused a senior leader of the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba of orchestrating last week’s terror attacks that killed at least 172 people here, and demanded the Pakistani government turn him over and take action against the group. Just two days before hitting the city, the group of 10 terrorists who ravaged India’s financial capital communicated with Yusuf Muzammil and four other Lashkar leaders via a satellite phone that they left behind on a fishing trawler they hijacked to get to Mumbai, a senior Mumbai police official told The Wall Street Journal. The entire group also underwent rigorous training in a Lashkar-e-Taiba camp in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, the official said.

lankash.gifIndian investigators — helped in part by the testimony of the one terrorist they captured alive, Mohammed Ajmal Kasab — say they now possess solid proof. “We have made substantial progress in the investigation,” said A.N. Roy, director general of the State Police of Maharashtra, where Mumbai is located. The 10 militants left Pakistan’s port city of Karachi on Nov. 23 aboard a ship called the Al Husseini, which also carried a crew of seven, another senior police official said. Investigators believe that all the 10 gunmen were Pakistani because they spoke Punjabi or Punjabi-accented Urdu.

When they entered Indian waters, the terrorists hijacked a fishing trawler called the Kuber and took its five crew members prisoner. The terrorists transferred four of them to the Al Husseini and they were subsequently killed, police believe. The terrorists kept the Kuber’s lead crewman alive and sailed close to Mumbai. The terrorists abandoned the Kuber in haste, fearing detection by an approaching vessel, the senior police official said. In the process, they forgot their satellite phone on the Kuber. Investigators found in the call log the numbers of five people, including Mr. Muzammil, two of his deputies and his personal aide, the senior police official said. Indian officials had already intercepted phone conversations made while the terrorists were traveling to Mumbai. MORE

PREVIOUSLY: To Live And Die In Mumbai


[Source: Anti-Defamation League]


Mumbai Gunfight Footage

Closed circuit video scenes of gunmen battling police inside a Mumbai train station. Video from NDTV.


RECOUNT: Franken Takes Lead With 22 Votes

al_franken2_1.jpgHUFFINGTON POST: On Tuesday the Secretary of State’s office directed county auditors and election officials to review previously rejected absentee ballots to determine whether or not they should be counted. For weeks, the Franken camp has argued that while many of the absentee ballots had been rejected for legitimate reasons, a portion of them (ranging from 500 to 1,000) could be deemed legitimate votes. With the recount margin measure, potentially, in the dozens, each and every single vote could very well determine the victor. And the Franken campaign left the door open for legal action should improperly rejected ballots not, in the end, be counted. As if on cue, during the press conference on Tuesday a story emerged from Ramsey County in Minnesota — a relatively Democratic locale — that some 200 ballots had not been counted due to an optical scanning error. The Star Tribune reports that Franken actually picked up 37 votes from the discovered ballots, meaning that — if the campaign’s internal numbers are correct — the margin separating him and Coleman is an estimated 13 votes. MORE

UPDATE: Al Franken’s campaign announced on Wednesday that, for the first time since the Minnesota recount began, the Democrat has actually pulled ahead of Republican Sen. Norm Coleman.Speaking on a conference call with reporters, Franken’s chief counsel Marc Elias said the campaign’s own internal count showed them up 22 votes, a jump from the 13 vote deficit that they faced on Tuesday. MORE

oldgeorgiaflag.thumbnail.jpgWALL STREET JOURNAL: ATLANTA — Democratic hopes of gaining a 60-seat, filibuster-proof majority in the U.S. Senate collapsed Tuesday, as Georgia Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss was projected to win re-election in a runoff. Sen. Chambliss was cruising to a comfortable victory, garnering 57.5% of the vote with 96% of precincts reporting. The Associated Press called the race for Sen. Chambliss at 8:55 p.m. EST. MORE

[Slashdot] [Digg] [Reddit] [] [Facebook] [Technorati] [Google] [StumbleUpon]

SHRINKAGE: Newspaper Ad Revenue Down $2 Billion

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008


ASSOCIATED PRESS: U.S. newspaper advertising revenue collapsed by nearly $2 billion, or 18 percent, in the third quarter, according to the Newspaper Association of America, an industry group. Even online ad revenue made a small U-turn for the second quarter in a row. The year-on-year quarterly percentage decline is the worst since since the NAA has been keeping such records and represents an increasingly rapid deceleration that began in the third quarter of 2006, when total ad spending dropped 1.5 percent. The figures, updated on the day before Thanksgiving, show total ad spending at newspapers fell 18.1 percent to $8.94 billion, down from $10.92 billion in the third quarter last year. The last time total quarterly ad spending fell below $9 billion was in the first quarter of 1996. Print ad revenue dropped 19.3 percent to $8.19 billion from $10.15 billion. Online ad revenue fell 3 percent to $749.8 million from $773.0 million a year ago _ a remarkable turnaround since the steady double-digit growth from 2004 to 2007. MORE

NEW YORK TIMES: The talk of newspapers’ demise is older than some of the reporters who write about it, but what is happening now is something new, something more serious than anyone has experienced in generations. Last year started badly and ended worse, with shrinking profits and tumbling stock prices, and 2008 is shaping up as more paperboy3.thumbnail.jpgof the same, prompting louder talk about a dark turning point.

“I’m an optimist, but it is very hard to be positive about what’s going on,” said Brian P. Tierney, publisher of The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Philadelphia Daily News. “The next few years are transitional, and I think some papers aren’t going to make it.” Circulation revenue has declined steadily since 2003, and the number of copies sold has been slipping about 2 percent a year. Some of the largest papers — including The San Francisco Chronicle, The Boston Globe and The Los Angeles Times — have lost 20 to 30 percent of their circulation in just a few years.

The paradox is that more people than ever read newspapers, now that some major papers have several times as many readers online as in print. And papers sell more ads than ever, when online ads are included. But for every dollar advertisers pay to reach a print reader, they pay about 5 cents, on average, to reach an Internet reader. Newspapers need to narrow that gap, but the rise in Internet revenue slowed sharply last year. MORE


ROGUE COLUMNIST: We hear endlessly that the troubles are a result of the Internet, new technology, “people don’t read anymore,” and, my favorite, “people don’t have as much time as they used to.” As if there was once a 36-hour day, or people who once worked 12-hour shifts while raising large families had this abundance of time. These forces are real. And yes, a big swath of the public is distracted by celebrity gossip and gets its “news” from blogs, television and talk radio. What’s less noted is how newspapers themselves contributed to the dumbing down of America. What’s most frustrating is that the discussion fails to focus on the more significant reasons behind the paperboy3.thumbnail.jpgdecline in newspaper journalism. They are…

-Groupthink was a natural outgrowth of monopolies and the demands of Wall Street. This was hastened by the ascendancy of Gannett and its (for a while) superior returns. A startlingly conformist agenda emerged all over: design over content; short, uninteresting (but non-irritating to advertisers) stories, etc. The universe of different tactics, strategies and innovations that a competitive industry would have evolved never happened. The industry became strikingly inwardly focused, insulated from a changing world. When change was noted, it somehow always produced moves that degraded the news product. Years were spent developing “new editorial products” to attract non-readers. This was a questionable use of resources, as surveys and focus groups showed most of these people wouldn’t read anyway, and certainly not subscribe seven days a week to a print edition. But the resources to do them were diverted away from coverage that served existing readers. Industry leaders were singularly cavalier about their loyal customers, while chasing ones they had little chance to attracting.

-Leadership collapsed under the weight of these forces. A generation of managers that would go along with these dictates rose, while those with other ideas were pushed out or aside. These surviving managers – of course with honorable exceptions – were singularly incapable of dealing with the historic turning points facing newspapers. Every day they came in hoping to not make a mistake, to merely preserve the business they had, or to push through artificial, top-down, one-side-fits-all formulas, usually backed by questionable research. At some chains, the jobs of editors became little more than gathering stuff for graphic do-dads and implementing the content rules cooked up at paperboy3.thumbnail.jpgheadquarters. These were once the front-line leaders who made the biggest difference in the quality of a product based, inexorably, on the written word, well told. The simple creed of “get a great story and put it in the newspaper (or online)” went away. For example, experienced police reporters went away — even though it’s clear that well-done cop stories draw readers. In their place was a 21-year-old taking dictation from a police public-affairs announcement. MORE

[Slashdot] [Digg] [Reddit] [] [Facebook] [Technorati] [Google] [StumbleUpon]

OBAMA: ‘Ello Guv’ner!

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008


NEW YORK TIMES: President-elect Barack Obama turned from national security to domestic concerns on Tuesday, telling the country’s governors that his administration would not delay in pushing an economic recovery plan that would bring relief to the states, 41 of which are forecasting budget shortfalls this year or next. Speaking at a conference of the National Governors Association in Philadelphia, Mr. Obama said his background in the Illinois state senate made him particularly sympathetic to the needs of state and local governments. And he declared himself open to good ideas that work, whether they come from Democrats or Republicans. “We are not going to be hampered by ideology in trying to get this country back on track,” he told the governors, many of whom he met for the first time at the conference. “We want to figure out what works.” Vice President-elect Joseph Biden Jr. also attended the meeting. Aides to Mr. Obama have suggested that a recovery plan, which the president-elect hopes to be able to sign not long after taking office on Jan. 20, might carry a price tag of as much as $700 billion. But even as the president-elect spoke on Tuesday, the dimensions of the challenges facing him at home and abroad continued to grow more stark. The three American automakers were due to announce more weak results and detail their revamped requests for federal aid during the day, while overseas, the terror attack in Mumbai, renewed violence in Iraq and difficult conditions in Afghanistan further darkened the picture. MORE

RELATED: Kids In Philly Go Nuts For Obama!


OBEY OBAMA: UBIQ store window display, 1509 Walnut. St. [Photo by ELOHMAN]

[Slashdot] [Digg] [Reddit] [] [Facebook] [Technorati] [Google] [StumbleUpon]

NEWS CLUES: Like A Drunk-Ass Mascot Of The Truth

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

GUNCRAZY: Shooter On The Loose, 4 Schools Locked Down

gunfiring.gifINQUIRER: An argument between a man and his girlfriend at a Kmart store at 8800 Frankford Avenue today left a 35-year-old store worker in critical condition with three gunshot wounds. Police issued an arrest warrant for Anthony Birch, 30. Birch fled the scene after arguing with the unidentified woman, another Kmart employee. The victim was trying to intervene in the argument, which occurred around the store’s loading dock, police said. The argument occurred around 9:45 a.m. at the Kmart in Northeast Philadelphia. Police requested that four schools in the area be placed under a lockdown, including Olney Elementary, where Birch reportedly has a child. The other schools were Father Judge High School, St. Dominic School and Thomas Holme Elementary. The victim, who was not involved in the dispute, was shot in the head, arm and chest, and taken to Frankford Torresdale Hospital. [via INQUIRER]

ALL IN THE FAMILY: Cops Take Down Mother-Daughter Hooker Team

cutieoncallhooker_2.jpgThe two women touted themselves on the Internet as a sexy mother-daughter team, and at their Northeast Philadelphia home they offered themselves up for sex – at a price, authorities said. The ad on the craigslist Web site featured the mother, Traci Young, 38, and the daughter, Tami Smith, 22, sitting on a plush sectional couch in tank tops. It read in big, bold letters: “Make the right choice and call us.” An undercover cop, posing as a john, did just that. In Municipal Court yesterday, that police officer, Donald Paxton, testified that he had made an appointment to go to the women’s home on Ditman Street near Benner, in Wissinoming, in the early afternoon of Oct. 2. In the basement, the two women negotiated to have sex with him, including oral sex, for $200, Paxton, according to Assistant District Attorney Richard Fuschino, who spoke after a preliminary hearing in the case. Paxton testified that Smith told him that he would ” ‘start with mom and finish with me [the daughter],’ ” the prosecutor recounted.  It was not clear yesterday whether Young and Smith are biologically mother and daughter. Young and Smith were known in their neighborhood to have worked as strippers at Dangerous Curves, on Tacony Street near Comly, the Daily News has reported. The club closed over the summer.[via DAILY NEWS]

SHOCKER: Nittany Lion Mascot Popped For DUI

nittanylion_1.jpgThe Penn State senior who plays the Nittany Lion mascot was arrested on a DUI charge and his status for the Rose Bowl is in doubt, police and school officials said. James Sheep was pulled over on campus around 3:15 a.m. on Nov. 22, hours before Penn State’s 49-18 win over Michigan State, University Police Capt. Bill Moerschbacher said yesterday. The officer who made the stop saw that the vehicle was overloaded, with passengers piled onto each other and blocking the driver’s view. After determining that Sheep had been drinking, the officer administered sobriety tests and took him to the hospital for blood tests, Moerschbacher said. He was later charged with DUI and summary traffic violations. [via DAILY NEWS]

[Slashdot] [Digg] [Reddit] [] [Facebook] [Technorati] [Google] [StumbleUpon]

EARLY WORD: Jam The Rail

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008


[Slashdot] [Digg] [Reddit] [] [Facebook] [Technorati] [Google] [StumbleUpon]

PHOTON BAND: Where Did The Love Go?

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008


[Slashdot] [Digg] [Reddit] [] [Facebook] [Technorati] [Google] [StumbleUpon]

SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS: Whatever Happens In Room 315 Stays In Room 315, Whatever Happens…

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008


deeneythumbnail.jpgBY JEFF DEENEY As the morning wears on in room 315 cabin fever sets in. The students don’t leave the classroom at any point during the day except for brief staff-accompanied bathroom visits and for a short lunch break that doesn’t come until 1:30. On some days the group’s restlessness builds to a breaking point right before lunch that results in dangerous outbursts like students throwing furniture across the room out of frustration with their confinement. On other days the boys spirits’ are worn down enough by the slow passage of time that they become briefly willing to listen to a lesson. At the moment Mr.McMonigle’s attempts at teaching are still being rebuffed and the loud conversation that dominates the room is about what you would expect from a group of bored 15 year old boys.

“Man, who farted,” Eric calls out loudly from the back of the room while sneering and wrinkling his nose.

“I did,” Corey replies, giggling.

“Damn, dude,” Tony says thickly, pulling his head up off the desk where he’s been napping most of the morning, “that sound like a phone.”

Diquan voices his frustration with the day’s slow pace; he feels the class would be more interesting if the gender distribution was more even,

“Damn, man, why there ain’t no girls in here,” he asks, turning to Tony and smiling mischievously while rubbing his hands together under his desk. “We need some titties up in this jawn.”

Tony nods in agreement.

At 10am the door opens and a dull eyed, stone faced light skinned kid comes strutting in the room without announcing himself. McMonigle looks up at him quizzically from his desk and asks politely,

“May I help you?”

“Yeah,” the student says in a mean drawl, “this my class.”

Miss Patterson offers the student a pleasant welcome, asking congenially, “Well, what brings you here today?”

“Fuckin’ truant officers,” the student says, like he’s spitting something nasty tasting on the ground.

Miss Patterson blinks, momentarily astonished by the boy’s blunt tone; she puts her hand on her hip and says with a swivel of the neck, “Well, durn them for doin’ their jobs.”

She guides him to an empty desk along the wall where he can sit. Rather than sit down, the boy proceeds to push the desk until it slams into the next desk over, and then the one next to that. After lining up four desks side by side like this he climbs up, lies down across them, pulls his hood over his face, and goes to sleep.


THE NEW DEAL: Obama Announces Nat. Sec. Team

Monday, December 1st, 2008


NY FISHBOWL: Barry Blitt, the cartoonist responsible for the New Yorker‘s controversial terrorist fist-jabbing cover, among others, returns this week to “vet” Barack Obama. Of course this time around “Vetting” refers to the all important decision of picking a “first” puppy — thus far we know they want a mutt, but that it needs to be hypoallergenic and won’t be a girly dog. MORE

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Reporting from Chicago — President-elect Barack Obama unveiled his national security hillarycartoon_1_1.jpgteam today, including formally announcing his intention to nominate his onetime rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, as the next secretary of State.Obama also announced his intention to keep current Defense Secretary Robert Gates in his post, likely for at least a year in the new administration. The president-elect also said he would nominate Susan Rice as ambassador to the United Nations, retired Marine Gen. James Jones as his national security adviser, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano as homeland security director and Eric Holder as attorney general. MORE

BREITBART: “The American people have demanded not just a new direction at home, but a new effort to renew America’s standing in the world as a force for positive change,” Clinton told a Chicago press conference after being nominated to the post of secretary of state by president-elect Barack Obama. Clinton vowed to “reach out to the world again” after eight years of President George W. Bush’s administration and promised to give “this assignment, your administration and my country, my all.” Hillary Clinton on Monday vowed to make the United States a new force for positive change, saying that as secretary of state she would work with the world community to solve global crises. MORE

man-wearing-barrel.thumbnail.jpgALSO: It’s official: for the last year, the United States economy has been in recession. The evidence of a downturn has been widespread for months: slower production, stagnant wages and hundreds of thousands of lost jobs. But the nonpartisan National Bureau of Economic Research, charged with making the call for the history books, waited until now to weigh in. In a statement released Monday, the members of the group’s Business Cycle Dating Committee — made up of seven prominent economists, most from the academic sector — said that the economy entered a recession in December 2007. MORE

NPR FOR THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When You Can’t

muddywaters_1.jpgFRESH AIRlisten.gif

Actor Jeffrey Wright plays Muddy Waters in Darnell Martin’s new film Cadillac Records. The film tells the story of Chicago’s Chess Records, where Waters launched his career alongside Etta James, Chuck Berry and others.Wright’s other roles include American CIA Agent Felix Leiter in the most recent Bond films as well as Colin Powell in Oliver Stone’s biopic W. Earlier, the actor made his name on the stage; he won a Tony for his portrayal of a nurse in Tony Kushner’s epic Angels in America, and later took home an Emmy for the HBO adaptation of the play. ALSO,  The 1950s insult comic Don Rickles made a name for himself — and earned several notable nicknames, including “The Merchant of Venom” and “Mr. Warmth” — by poking fun of audiences and public figures. His new book, Rickles’ Letters, is a collection of imaginary correspondences to a variety of historical and contemporary figures, from Mary Todd Lincoln and Ben Franklin to Santa Claus. In this segment, Rickles talks about the origins of his comedy and how early audiences responded to his act.


PREVIOUSLY: Robert Gordon‘s biography of blues legend Muddy Waters, Can’t Be Statisfied: The Life and Times of Muddy Waters, is now out in paperback. Waters is credited with inventing electric blues and creating the template for the rock ‘n’ roll band. Gordon also produced and directed an accompanying documentary of the same name which was broadcast on PBS in April as part of the American Masters series. Gordon’s other books are It Came From Memphis, and The King on the Road. He also produced the Al Green box set, Anthology. This interview first aired October 3, 2002. [HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

MUDDY WATERS: Hoochie Coochie Man

YouTube Preview Image [Slashdot] [Digg] [Reddit] [] [Facebook] [Technorati] [Google] [StumbleUpon]

All Of This Happened While You Were Sleeping

Monday, December 1st, 2008


MEcropped2.jpgBY JONATHAN VALANIA FOR THE INQUIRER  There are few greater pleasures in this American life than watching a young, gifted rock band in the prime of its youth burn through its set before an adoring hometown crowd with the confidence of five young men who’ve come to realize that — after all the blood, the sweat and the tears that got them to this point — they are making their mark on the world.  It’s even better when the young, gifted band is local. Such was the case Friday night at the way-sold-out Starlight Ballroom, where Dr. Dog staged an auspicious homecoming concert, having just returned from a triumphant European tour in support of Fate, their fifth — and arguably best and brightest —  album.

After the better part of six months on the road, this Dog can hunt, and Friday night they were loaded for bear, tearing through a set that drew largely from the last three albums with a precision and intensity heretofore unimaginable and, frankly, unexpected. The exceptional growth exhibited on Fate – the ambitious arrangements, the crystalline harmonies, the impeccable tone choices – was on full display Friday night at the large converted ballroom just below Ninth and Spring Garden.

At points, bassist-singer-songwriter Toby Leaman, rocking a gray fedora, pushed his lead vocals on “Die, Die, Die” and “100 Years” into soul singer shred territory.And the whole band rumbled so loudly – wailing guitar leads, subsonic bass, crackling drums and pillowy organ fills – it was immediately apparent that this little slacker choo-choo train that could from West Chester had morphed into a mighty locomotive capable of transporting large numbers of people, and fully deserving of their hard-won global rep.

With all three guitarists pirouetting and duckwalking, or leaping off the drum riser, the Dog’s giddiness was infectious. The stage was festooned with all manner of flora and fauna, the ceiling was bejeweled with glittery garlands, and the whole club bathed in an aqua hue, which made you feel like you were standing at the bottom of an aquarium.

For whatever reason, the aquarium vibe lent the proceedings a greater sense of intimacy. The kumbaya moment was undoubtedly during “The Breeze,” Fate’s splendid opening track. Singer-songwriter-guitarist Scott McMicken, rocking a red ski cap and black Ray Bans, barely finished warbling out the opening lines of “The Breeze” before it became a mass singalong, and for that brief and shining moment, one thousand strangers were suddenly old friends.

[Slashdot] [Digg] [Reddit] [] [Facebook] [Technorati] [Google] [StumbleUpon]

BUZZKILL: Twilight Star Caught Roastin’ A Bowl

Monday, December 1st, 2008

TMZ: Tsk, Tsk, Tsk

PHAWKER: This Is A Teachable Moment

NORMAL: The FBI has released its annual report on Crime in the United States 2007. Once again, the number of people in the United States arrested for marijuana has gone up. 872,721 Americans were arrested for mickey_mouse_on_pot.thumbnail.jpgmarijuana in 2007, and of those arrests, 89% or 775,138 were arrests for simple possession – not buying, selling, trafficking, or manufacture (growing).

This represents an increase in marijuana arrests of 5.2% from the previous year and the fifth straight year marijuana arrests have increased from the previous year. Now a marijuana smoker is arrested at the rate of 1 every 37 seconds and almost 100 marijuana arrests per hour.

Perhaps most disturbing is comparing marijuana arrests to violent crime. This year, while 775,138 Americans were arrested for mere marijuana possession, only 597,447 people were arrested for all violent crimes combined, which includes murder, non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. MORE

US Marijuana Arrests

[Slashdot] [Digg] [Reddit] [] [Facebook] [Technorati] [Google] [StumbleUpon]

KILLADELPHIA: Mother Killed In Hit On The Father

Monday, December 1st, 2008

skeleton_running.gifINQUIRER: At a news conference today at Philadelphia Police Headquarters, authorities released new information about a triple shooting this morning on the 3300 block of Mutter Street in Hunting Park that left a 19-year-old woman dead and her husband and young son seriously injured. The injured boy is a 5-year-old who was shot twice, police said. There was another child, 2, inside the house when the gunfire erupted, but that toddler was not injured. Two assailants entered the rowhouse through the basement. They found the four members of the family – a 20-year-old father, 19-year-old mother, and the two young children — asleep in the same bed.  The father was the intended target. The gunmen shot him seven times. He escaped out a window, leaving his family behind. He was ultimately taken to Temple University Hospital. The two assailants escaped in a Crown Victoria. MORE

Man Plunges To Death From Top Of Loews Hotel

skeleton_running.gifINQUIRER: At noon, employees of the Medical Examiner’s Office finally removed from the sidewalk the body of a man who had jumped from the top of Loews Philadelphia Hotel on Market Street in Center City. The man’s body lay on the sidewalk on 12th Street just south of Market for two hours, drawing a crowd of several hundred onlookers. The apparent suicide victim was a heavy set white male, dressed in sweat pants, white socks, sneakers, a blue shirt and a jacket.  Police were called to the Loews Philadelphia Hotel shortly before 10 a.m. after the man plunged from the 33rd floor. A spokesman for Loews did not know if the man was a guest or a hotel worker. Passersby were horrified. Mary Frame, 49, was walking north on 12th Street as the man fell. “I saw something coming down,” said Frame. “And man, he hit the ground. You could hear it a block away.”  MORE

[Slashdot] [Digg] [Reddit] [] [Facebook] [Technorati] [Google] [StumbleUpon]

FORTRESS AMERICA: Pentagon Plans To Station 20,000 Troops Inside The U.S. Homeland

Monday, December 1st, 2008


WASHINGTON POST: The U.S. military expects to have 20,000 uniformed troops inside the United States by 2011 trained to help state and local officials respond to a nuclear terrorist attack or other domestic catastrophe, according to Pentagon officials. There are critics of the change, in the military and among civil liberties groups and libertarians who express concern that the new homeland emphasis threatens to strain the military and possibly undermine the Posse Comitatus Act, a 130-year-old federal law restricting the military’s role in domestic law enforcement.

The Pentagon’s plan calls for three rapid-reaction forces to be ready for emergency response by September 2011. The first 4,700-person unit, built around an active-duty combat brigade based at Fort Stewart, Ga., was available as of Oct. 1, said Gen. Victor E. Renuart Jr., commander of the U.S. Northern Command. If funding continues, two additional teams will join nearly 80 smaller National Guard and reserve units made up of about 6,000 troops in supporting local and state officials nationwide. All would be trained to respond to a domestic chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or high-yield explosive attack, or CBRNE event, as the military calls it.

Military preparations for a domestic weapon-of-mass-destruction attack have been underway since at least 1996. In 2005, a new Pentagon homeland defense strategy emphasized “preparing for multiple, simultaneous mass casualty incidents.” National security threats were not limited to adversaries who seek to grind down U.S. combat forces abroad, McHale said, but also include those who “want to inflict such brutality on our society that we give up the fight,” such as by detonating a nuclear bomb in a U.S. city. In late 2007, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England signed a directive approving more than $556 million over five years to set up the three response teams, known as CBRNE Consequence Management Response Forces. Planners assume an incident could lead to thousands of casualties, more than 1 million evacuees and contamination of as many as 3,000 square miles, about the scope of damage Hurricane Katrina caused in 2005. MORE

[Slashdot] [Digg] [Reddit] [] [Facebook] [Technorati] [Google] [StumbleUpon]

Via BuzzFeed

Cost of the War in Iraq
(JavaScript Error)