Washington State. Governor. Republicans win by 42 votes. But is it over over there? The Seattle Times had this to say:
The truth is, every legitimate vote has been counted, by the most accurate means we possess. In this close a contest — and this is exactly the point of those who want another round — lawyers and judges decide the election, not voters.
Ironically, in the recount just completed, judges granted every Democrat request that sought to gain some advantage. For example, Democrats won the right to change the rules in some counties — but not others — on how to determine a legitimate ballot. And while that undoubtedly created unfairness across the state, it did not, in the end, change the outcome. Dino Rossi won both times.
It is tough to lose a close election. But a 42-vote margin, or even one vote, is not a tie. It's a decision.
As commander of Alpha Company, of the 1st Infantry Division's Task Force 2-2, Sims drew a mission the U.S. military had sought to avoid since the start of the Iraq war: house-to-house fighting in an urban landscape that gave rebels many places to hide, significantly offsetting the superior firepower of U.S. troops while risking civilian casualties and vast property destruction. It would be the most intense urban combat for U.S. troops since the 1968 battle for Hue, in Vietnam.
Sims' men would win the battle, yet no one would feel like celebrating. Killing the enemy, they learned, was sobering. More so was the loss of friends.
By SCHEHEREZADE FARAMARZI, Associated Press Writer (Yes, that's "Scheherezade" Gentle Reader. No, you can't make this stuff up.)
The two teenage friends hardly seemed like Islamic radicals. They smoked marijuana, drank beer, listened to rap and wore jeans. Yet the pair of French Muslims died insurgents in Iraq (news - web sites) — one a suicide car bomber, say relatives who traced the young men's path from the slums of Paris through a religious school in Syria to the fight against the U.S.-led coalition next door. ... surrounded by secular Western culture and by what many Muslims see as a subtle bigotry among Frenchmen against Arabs. ... French officials also confirmed the death of a third French insurgent, identified as Tarek W. In his 20s, he reportedly was killed Sept. 17 after operating for several months in Iraq's Sunni Triangle, where most foreign fighters are based.... Although the number of French-born fighters in Iraq appears small ... anti-terrorism officials worry that some of the young men of mostly Tunisian and Algerian descent will return home with combat skills to wage jihad in France. ...
The uncle is at a loss to explain why Badjoudj was willing to sacrifice his life in Iraq, when he could hardly speak Arabic or identify with that country's culture.
"Abdelhalim drank beer, he smoked hashish a lot," said Hicham, describing his nephew as extremely shy and quiet but "super kind" and "super polite." ... El-Hakim's radicalization was recent, his family said. "He was smoking (marijuana) until six months ago," his sister, Khadija, told Le Parisien. Hicham said Badjoudj and five or six other French Muslim friends — all unemployed — had gone to Syria last year and enrolled in a theology school in the capital, Damascus. All of them ended up in Iraq, he said.
Would it be unfair to say jihadist Islam is a religion for losers?
Now that it's over, there is a lot of things that people back home should know. First of all, every citizen of Fallujah (non-insurgent) is getting $2,500 USD (that's a lot over here) to fix up their house or buy new things that may have been destroyed in the fighting. Insurgents took up positions in resident's houses so we were forced to destroy a lot of buildings.
There is over $100 million dollars ready to be spent to re-build the city. This may seem like a lot of money, but I can assure you that it is a small price to pay for the amount of evil people no longer alive, contemplating how to kill more Americans. The intelligence value alone is already paying huge dividends. Some of the 900 detainees are telling everything they know about other insurgents. And the enemy never expected such a large or powerful attack and they were so overwhelmed that they left behind all kinds of things, including books with names of other foreign fighters, where their money and weapons come from, etc.
I can't even tell you how proud I was to be part of this fight and know these soldiers who were going from building to building to take the fight to the enemy. My Task Force lost 2 more soldiers after the rocket attack at Camp Fallujah, 1 of them that I knew pretty well. It was hard on the unit to deal with these losses, to go along with the 16 soldiers from 2-7 who were wounded. But this was a fight we knew would be dangerous....but worth the risk based on the good that would come out of it.
Anyone back home who thinks the world is a safe place needs to come here for a day and learn real fast that there are an awful lot of people out there who hate Americans so much that they risk their lives to try to kill us. We cannot live peacefully back at home right now unless we continue to stay on the offensive against our enemies and fight them in their backyards. Remember, radical Arabs started this war...and they continue to fight it, proving to America over and over that they need to be fought.
France never reconciled itself to giving up its empire there and, so, it hasn't. Countries such as Ivory Coast and Senegal are independent in name only. The French give them permission to have a flag, an anthem, some postage stamps (printed in France), some funny colored currency (printed in France), perhaps a national airline, a President and membership in the UN. That's about it. The French control the economy through a variety of instruments -- including thousands of expats in key positions -- and reserve the right to intervene militarily at a time of France's choosing.
No blood for chocolate! No blood for chocolate! No blood for chocolate!
Where are the mass protests in the streets of the world's capitals against France's military intervention in the Ivory Coast?
This month, French peacekeepers in the former French colony launched a pre-emptive assault against the Ivorian air force. They also interferred with the internal politics of the troubled nation and sought regime change -- or at least they have been accused of both by President Laurent Gbagbo.
They acted without authorization by the United Nations Security Council.
They violated both the UN Charter and the terms of the peacekeeping resolution that established their specific mission in the West African nation.
Abu Ghraib prompted worldwide attention, press conferences, and televised hearings, all because people arrested for terrorism were abused by a few idiotic American troops lacking the discipline necessary for their assigned roles. In the Congo, the UN has tolerated the forced prostitution and sexual extortion of genocide victims they're supposedly protecting for months now. The media has done nothing to follow up on this story, making them complicit in the ongoing abuses in the Congo. Does abuse only become noteworthy when Americans are accused of it?
Sombody tell me again why it's so important to have the UN with us everywhere we go?
Hummingbird Finally, my first hummingbirds. Saw them on a fire bush in Crystal Beach, FL. My rental's neighbor's yard is all xeriscaped, which is ugly to me but just fine with the little hummers. At first, I thought they were the biggest hornets I'd ever seen.
Flamingo! One of these dudes flew right over my house. I couldn't believe it. And please don't tell me it was a roseated spoonbill because it was a frickin' flamingo, dude! Huge and pink and right there above me. I was like so freaking out, you know?
Falcon! Don't see these guys too often. Wish we did. Bet the morning doves don't.
Black Skimmer These beauties are getting scarce, but one flew by yesterday at low tide on the hunt for minnows.
Dead sea turtle cool, but smelly
Reddish Egret These have been hanging out around the pool quite a bit lately. Must be a new group of adolesent birds -- the youngsters like to hunt where the water is clear, and it takes them a day to figure out there are not now and never will be fish in the swimming pool no matter how clear the water.
Brown Pelican I saw a flock of about 200 of these at Disappearing Island yesterday, just south of Anclote Island on the west coast of FL. Good to see such a large flock.
Wood Pecker They've developed a sudden interest in the orange tree, which just went into bloom.