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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Picture of the Day - 2

I think this pretty much encapsulates the mood today.

(Democratic presidential hopefuls, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama listen during a debate at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2007. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong))

Later Still: If you're watching all this, the WaPo has a piece on how the Clinton campaign is playing it. "It's telling that the Obama campaign would rather spend the day throwing mud in Bob Novak's sandbox than talking about the issues...."

Musharraf plays Bush

Two big articles in the two big dailies (WaPo, NYTimes) discussing how Bush has misplayed (has been outplayed by) Musharraf in their relationship.

The most damning bit is from the NYTimes.
Experts in United States-Pakistan relations said General Musharraf has played the union masterfully, by convincing Mr. Bush that he alone can keep Pakistan stable. Kamran Bokhari, an analyst for Stratfor, a private intelligence company, who met with General Musharraf in January, said the general views Mr. Bush with some condescension.

“Musharraf thinks that Bush has certain weaknesses that can be manipulated,” Mr. Bokhari said, adding, “I would say that President Musharraf doesn’t think highly of President Bush, but his interests force him to do business with the U.S. president.”

Giuliani lays it on the Iowa table

After spending months trying to downplay Iowa, the Giuliani campaign is quickly trying to catch up.

I think this tells us that the whole "expectations" push, that Giuliani could ride unscathed losing Iowa, NH, and SC, has not been well received.

(It does make me wonder again about those anti-Mormon calls which appear to have begun right when Giuliani decided he needed to compete in Iowa and NH.

Or you might take the theory that the Romney campaign is behind the calls in an effort to inoculate themselves against a later attack.)

And, another source says McCain is writing off Iowa.

Picture of the Day

John Negroponte is meeting with Musharraf right now to deliver the US message. He also has a meeting scheduled with top military figures.

He spoke with Bhutto by phone yesterday.

(A combination photo shows Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf wiping his face and neck during a news conference in Islamabad November 11, 2007. (Faisal Mahmood/Reuters))

Promoting generals who agree with the Iraq plan

To my limited knowledge, this is unprecedented.

Petraeus is being brought back from Iraq to preside over the promotions board.

You would figure this would drastically lopside this next class of generals and officers to those who support Petraeus' policies and to those who served under him, guaranteeing a stronger institutional support for Petraeus and the Iraq war.

Just a little mint on the pillow for the next president.

Novak Gossip - Clinton has the goods on Obama

The Clinton team leaks to Robert Novak, knowing that he'll print anything.
Agents of Sen. Hillary Clinton are spreading the word in Democratic circles that she has scandalous information about her principal opponent for the party's presidential nomination, Sen. Barack Obama, but has decided not to use it. The nature of the alleged scandal was not disclosed.

Brilliant, if you think about it. The insider conversation now turns to negative Obama speculation and makes Clinton appear above everyone else, even if there's nothing there.

It also puts Obama in a spot because now he has to keep making attacks (which may be damaging him as well) or tacitly admit to this dark secret so horrible that it cannot even be mentioned.

The Clinton team is really good.

(Also in the Novak gossip is a claim that McCain may be considering dropping out of Iowa out of fear of a poor finish. Even "considering" that would likely tank him. So the question is, who wants the McCain voters?)

LATER: The Politico piece on all this has reaction from Obama and Clinton's Wolfson, as well as Mike Allen looking at the strategy of it all.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Do I believe the "mic left on" story?

Yeah, our currency is now relying on Saudi goodwill as well.....
The dollar could collapse if Opec officially admits considering changing the pricing of oil into alternative currencies such as the euro, the Saudi Arabian foreign minister has warned....

In an embarrassing blunder at the meeting in Riyadh, ministers' microphones were not cut off during a key closed meeting, and Prince Al-Faisal was heard saying: "My feeling is that the mere mention that the Opec countries are studying the issue of the dollar is itself going to have an impact that endangers the interests of the countries. "There will be journalists who will seize on this point and we don't want the dollar to collapse instead of doing something good for Opec."

Picture of the Day - 2

(A man reads verses from the Koran near unidentified bodies before their burial in Najaf November 16, 2007. About 80 unidentified bodies found from different areas of Baghdad for the past months were buried in a cemetery in Najaf on Friday, police said. (REUTERS/Ali Abu Shish))

Desertion rates up

Now, these numbers are small in absolute terms, but 1 in 100 deserting in the "all volunteer army" is significant.
According to the Army, about nine in every 1,000 soldiers deserted in fiscal year 2007, which ended Sept. 30, compared to nearly seven per 1,000 a year earlier. Overall, 4,698 soldiers deserted this year, compared to 3,301 last year.

Is this a headline the Dems want or don't want?

Top AP story right now: Democrats unable to bring troops home

Is this a headline the Dems want in that it shows they want to end the war but can't without more Dem power, or does it just reinforce the sense of ineffectiveness?

Picture of the Day

(President George W. Bush greets Salva Kiir Mayardit, First Vice President of the Government of National Unity of the Republic of the Sudan at the White House November 15, 2007. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque))

General says Turkey implementing Iraq operation

(Reuters) A senior Turkish general said on Thursday Turkey was in the process of implementing a cross-border operation against Kurdish guerrillas who use northern Iraq as a base to launch attacks.

But there were no immediate signs of increased military activity along Turkey's mountainous border with Iraq on Thursday evening...

On Tuesday security sources said Turkey had sent hundreds of special forces to the border to bolster its forces there.

(I still think it'll be "snatch and grab" if anything.)

This is very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very wrong

You knew it was coming, but still, this is beyond condemnation.
In an apparent push poll, a research firm has called Iowa Republicans this week praising John McCain and critcizing Mitt Romney and his Mormon faith.

An individual in Manchester, Iowa, contacted me on Wednesday night saying he received a call with information about McCain's military service and anti-spending record.

Then there were "lots of negatives on Romney," said the recepient of the call in an e-mail, including mentions of his "flip-flops," hiring illegal immigrants as landscapers and extensive discussion of Mormonism.

"Statements were on baptizing the dead, the Book of Mormon being on the level of the Bible, and one about equating it to a cult," said the Iowan, deeming them "common criticisms of Mormonism."

"I think they asked twice if being a Mormon would be an issue," this person added.

The McCain campaign claims no knowledge. The Giuliani campaign claims no knowledge. The AP tracked this call to Western Wats.
Last year, Western Wats conducted polling that was intended to spread negative messages about Democratic candidates in a House race in New York and the Senate race in Florida. The Tampa Tribune and the Albany Times Union reported that Western Wats conducted the calls on behalf of the Tarrance Group.

Tarrance Group now works for the Giuliani campaign, but it denies any involvement. The best guess seems to be that it's coming from a 527 (likely the pro-McCain one) who used Western Wats to try and tie it to Giuliani.

This is wrong. This is unAmerican.

And, unsurprisingly, it's once again coming from Republicans.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Picture of the Day - 2

Running for VP.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico laugh together during a debate at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2007. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The leftovers

One little note to add to the primary coverage. There seems to be very little discussion of what I call "the leftovers."

"The leftovers" are voters who find themselves with their candidate out of the race by the time the primaries reach their state.

For example, there are currently five candidates showing up in the GOP polling for Florida, but by the time Florida comes around several of the candidates will not be around in any appreciable sense.

What happens to these numbers if, for example, McCain and Thompson are judged to be dead in the water by Florida's primary?
A new Strategic Vision poll in Florida that shows Rudy Giuliani leading with 31%, followed by a four way statistical tie for second place with Fred Thompson at 13%, Sen. John McCain at 13%, Mitt Romney at 12% and Mike Huckabee at 10%.

Since the Giuliani campaign strategy assumes a start in Florida after losing the first three states, the reallocation of those "leftovers" will be key. More than likely, a good part of that 26-36% of the vote will try and find somewhere else to go.

I would love to see some second choice polling on McCain, Thompson, and Huckabee. Which ones break where?

(On the Dem side, I'm guessing it's alot more clear with Obama and Edwards sharing voters if either one of them pulls out.)

Didn't see that comin'....

Here's a an out there third party challenge....
John Fund reports that friends of CNN anchor Lou Dobbs "say he is seriously contemplating" a presidential bid, "although it's still unlikely."

(Here's the John Fund piece.)

Game time

Guess which candidate's wife said this?
"I have fired a grenade launcher and hit the target two out of three times, so I think that's pretty good odds for me," she said, noting that she had a special interest in military matters and has also jumped out of an airplane, flown in an F-16 and shot an MP5 submachine gun.

(Click the link for the answer.)

Picture of the Day

If someone shouts racial epithets into an empty room, does it make a sound?

(Tom Tancredo introduces a new television campaign advertisement on illegal immigration to the press at the Marriot Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, November 12, 2007. (REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton))

So it was written, so it has come to pass....

Now we come to the core question of "the surge." With the violence lowered and the Shia dominated security forces being granted control, why should the Shia compromise now?
The lack of political progress calls into question the core rationale behind the troop buildup President Bush announced in January, which was premised on the notion that improved security would create space for Iraqis to arrive at new power-sharing arrangements. And what if there is no such breakthrough by next summer? "If that doesn't happen," Odierno said, "we're going to have to review our strategy."

Right now they're winning, so why should they cede anything?

Related: (Reuters) On the Shia politics: "The U.S. has fully backed (SIIC) in this rivalry. This is a risky gambit," the Belgium-based think tank said.

It warned that U.S. reliance on fighters from SIIC's Badr Organization as a counterweight to Sadr's Mehdi Army militia is "bound to backfire, polarizing the Shi'ite community and creating the foundations for endemic intra-Shi'ite strife."

And, (AP) Iraqi authorities seized the headquarters of the country's most influential Sunni clerical group Wednesday, sealing off its west Baghdad compound and accusing the organization of supporting al-Qaida in Iraq.


I've stayed away from it, but this is too good.
"If I have any disappointment it's that I wish a jury was here," OJ Simpson told The Associated Press before he left the courtroom. "As always, I rely on the jury system."


As Mitt Romney tries to downplay his Mormonism, the Osmonds go on Larry King to endorse him and call him a great Mormon.

And, I'm sure the Ron Paul campaign is pleased that their efforts to remove the "crazy fringe" label have been reinforced by the endorsement of Holocaust denying Mel Gibson's father.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Doing the Musharraf shift.

The Bush administration begins to lay the groundwork for a shift away from Musharraf.

The Asia Times piece below talks about a shift to Bhutto.

This NYTimes is carrying the line that the US might be "reaching out to Pakistan’s generals."

Later: Bhutto is, at least, receiving the message of the US.
Bhutto said she tried to allay Washington's concern about what would happen to this nuclear-armed nation if Musharraf were forced out, saying she shared the Americans misgivings and that a strategy for an orderly transition was a must.

The Americans "worry about what would happen if there was not a smooth transition, and they worry about what would happen if Musharraf left and there would be a vacuum. So that is a concern, and a valid concern," she said. "I share that thought, too. In fact, once Gen. Musharraf agrees to go, we need to have an exit strategy. I think an exit strategy is very important."


Picture of the Day - 2

(A man tries to move divisional president of opposition People's Party Tauqeer Fatima who fainted after a teargas shell hit her in the back during a protest against her detention in her home town of Larkana, November 14, 2007. (REUTERS/Nadeem Soomro))

I really should read the Asia Times more often.

Treat this as a working theory, but an interesting possibility.
Contacts close to the power circles in Pakistan told Asia Times Online that there is a feeling that the US is prepared to take "hurricane" measures to ensure the safety of the country's nuclear arsenal. The thinking goes that by changing horses and supporting Bhutto, the US could exploit the current unrest by dictating new terms to Pakistan in the "war on terror" and coerce it into allowing the US to safeguard its nuclear stockpile.

US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte is due to travel to Pakistan this week to meet with senior officials and call for free and fair elections, echoing Bhutto's stance. ....

Indeed, the US belief that it could in some way get its hands on Pakistan's "red" nuclear buttons, by exploiting unrest for which it is partly responsible, sends alarm bells ringing in Islamabad.

Enter, therefore, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, whom Musharraf is expected to meet "soon" in Riyadh for what the official Pakistani media describe as "important discussions".

Would Bhutto have called for Musharraf's resignation without the US?

I guess we watch Negroponte and King Abdullah's visits.

Picture of the Day

(A child watches as U.S. soldiers search a house during a patrol in the neighbourhood of Muhalla 834 in Baghdad November 13, 2007. (REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini))

Sadr to extend militia freeze?

From Juan Cole:
Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is preparing to extend for another 6 months his freeze on the activities of the paramilitary Mahdi Army.

Politically and geographically, Sadr's group has been doing about as well without the large scale militia violence as they were doing before the militia freeze.

(Oh, and this is by no means a complete ceasefire. I read yesterday that the mayor of Basra has faced seven assassination attempts in the last four months. What Sadr has done is pull back the "unauthorized" Mahdi street violence.)

The Germans love David Hasselhoff....

We'll have to wait and see if these numbers are borne out with further polling, but the latest NYTimes/CBS poll shows Huckabee jumping into a strong second in Iowa.

Romney: 27
Huckabee: 21
Giuliani: 15
Thompson: 9
Paul: 4


Romney: 34
McCain: 16
Giuliani: 16
Paul: 8
Huckabee: 6

I think we can also see why the Giuliani campaign is trying to downplay the early states, although in all their efforts at spin, they're yet to explain why their candidate is unloved in Iowa, NH, and SC.

(Oh, and because it's almost a non-story at this point, notice where Fred Thompson is.)

Quotes of the Day

Several choices in the weird quote field this morning.
"Fred will never rush us into war because Fred never rushes into anything."
-- Thompson staffer Karen Hanretty

Or maybe Musharraf operating in the impossible tense,
"The day when there is no turmoil in Pakistan, I will step down,"

Or, from a very bizarre and unsettling article on selling terrorism preparedness to children.
"Let's shelter in place!" their teacher says brightly, grabbing her duct tape and plastic sheeting.....

Children are invited to design a flag for their evacuation shelter.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

It looks like Giuliani's troubles are just beginning.

Not that Judith Regan is the epitomy of virtue, but, according to Drudge, she has hours and hours of audiotapes.
Judith Regan, the former book publisher, says in a lawsuit filed yesterday protesting her dismissal by the News Corporation, the media conglomerate, that a senior executive there encouraged her to lie to federal investigators about her past affair with Bernard B. Kerik after he had been nominated to become homeland security secretary in late 2004.

Giuliani may have nothing whatsoever to do with this, but it keeps he and Kerik, cronyism and scandal, right in the spotlight.
(Not to mention associating the image of the spurned woman.)

Picture of the Day - 2

The Giuliani campaign very publicly outlined its strategy yesterday (Ambinder, Politico, WSJ.)

They expect to lose all the early states where face to face meetings with the candidates predominate (Iowa, NH, SC,) but they then expect to win the Feb. 5th tsunami where the only candidate exposure will be through television ads.

You can claim that's strategy, but I think it says alot about their candidate.

Also: Take few minutes to watch this video. A Republican PR firm has produced a new "Giuliani girl" style video with high production values and some pretty disgusting lyrics.

"He is tough, knows how to lead,
in New York, he's seen them bleed,
global warming it won't matter,
if we get bombed and all get splattered."

It's the face of the new election.

(Rudy Giuliani ponders a question during a Town Hall meeting, Monday, Nov. 12, 2007, in St. Charles, Mo. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam))


(Reuters) "Bush says U.S. deaths in Iraq were not in vain." (He felt he had to say this on Veteran's Day.)

(AP) "Turkish helicopter gunships attacked abandoned villages inside Iraq on Tuesday, Iraqi officials said." (The US is publicly providing intelligence, so we will take some of the blame.)

(CBS) "The government of Iraq has notified private security firms their immunity from Iraqi law is about to end."

(WSJ) "The U.S. Navy is building a military installation atop this petroleum-export platform.... American officials are girding for an open-ended commitment to protect the country's oil industry."

(JuanCole) "Khalaf said that the British had turned 4,000 vehicles over to the Basra police, but that he did not know the fate of most of them, since the Basra police only had 1335 vehicles left."

(UPI) "A former employee of a Tennessee defense company is accused of sleeping with an Air Force contracting officer to secure Iraq contracts." (So it wasn't all bribery.)

(AP) Chertoff "reiterated U.S. intelligence information disclosed this summer that al-Qaida now had "operatives in the pipeline" to "carry out attacks in Europe or the U.S."

And, What to make of this?
Turkish troops taken hostage by Kurdish rebels three weeks ago were sent to prison by a military court days after they were released by Kurdish rebels, an attorney said Sunday.

The charges brought against the soldiers included disobedience and escaping abroad, said the attorney, who is involved in the case but declined to be identified by name.


Picture of the Day

(AFP) "The leaders of veteran allies Russia and India agreed Monday to launch a joint unmanned mission to the moon....

Russia accounts for 70 percent of Indian military hardware while India currently accounts for 30 percent of Russian arms sales."

Also: (AP) "President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that a convincing victory for the party he is leading in Dec. 2 parliamentary elections would give him the "moral right" to maintain strong influence in Russia after he steps down next year."

(Vladimir Putin greets Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Monday, Nov. 12, 2007. (AP Photo/Natalia Kolesnnikova, Pool))

Bhutto turns against Musharraf

Benazir Bhutto switches sides saying that she could never powershare with Musharraf and will now work with exiled former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who has the support and contacts in the military to represent a direct overthrow threat.

Also, the US plans to send a "special envoy," as yet unnamed, to tell Musharraf to lift the "state of emergency" before the elections.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Political bits

(Ambinder) Giuliani's camp tries to play down Iowa and N.H., reiterating their Feb. 5 tsunami strategy. (In other words, likely to lose the early states where people actually meet the candidates, but we can advertise our boy to people who don't know him.)

(Politico) National Right to Life will endorse Thompson.

(Politicalwire) The Dems (Udall) look extremely likely to pick up retiring Republican Senator Domenici's seat in New Mexico. (Bill Richardson had better get that VP post.)

Picture of the Day - 3

Putting on weight?

(Fred Thompson speaks to local residents during a stop at the Smokey Row coffee house, Monday, Nov. 12, 2007, in Oskaloosa, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall))

Well...., here goes nothin'......

There's been no Iraqi reconciliation at all. The Iraqi Parliament stands divided passing only objections to US contractors. The Maliki government still represents only the SIIC and the Kurds, but "the surge" is ending.
The military has started to reverse the 30,000-strong troop increase and commanders are hoping the drop in insurgent and sectarian violence in recent months — achieved at the cost of hundreds of lives — won't prove fleeting.

If the Iraqis want to fight, they should be ready. They've had six months to reequip, reorganize, and reposition.

(Thus far, it's rarely been wrong to bet the "under" on Iraq.)

Picture of the Day - 2

Apparently, "Ed," the giant kid in the background, has some kind of landmark resonance in South Carolina, but for the rest of us, that's a pretty weird photo.

(Mitt Romney is introduced to a crowd gathered for a morning campaign stop at EdVenture Children's Museum, in Columbia, S.C., Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2007. (AP Photo/Brett Flashnick))

Israel wants it known that they're ready for a Syrian airstrike

This is a weird article that I'm assuming is aimed at deterrence.
THE defensive missile shield around Israel’s Dimona nuclear reactor was placed on red alert 30 times last week amid fears of an airstrike by Syria....

In a highly unusual move, the officers in charge of the missiles were permitted to talk to Israeli state television about their preparations....

Or maybe it's just an old fashioned "red scare" article designed to bring the populous to the government.

Musharraf's claims of fighting terrorism

There's no debate that Musharraf's "state of emergency" is targeting his democratic opponents and not the Taleban, but how the Taleban are benefitting from Musharraf's moves is getting very little coverage.
Taliban fighters are tightening their grip in areas in the north-west of Pakistan as a result of the country's state of emergency, officials in the Swat valley have said.

Pro-Taliban fighters have advanced in recent days and government officials say they now control as much as 70 per cent of the valley, just a few hours' drive from Islamabad.

And this isn't even the tribal areas further west.

If the Taleban/Al Qaeda needed to move people, supplies, or communications for a terror attack, "our ally" Musharraf has granted them all the time and space they need.

Related: (AFP) "The United States reportedly has secret contingency plans to safeguard Pakistani nuclear weapons if they risk falling into the wrong hands.....

"We can't say with absolute certainty that we know where they all are," one unidentified former US official told the newspaper, adding that any US effort to secure Pakistan's nuclear arsenal "could be very messy.""

Picture of the Day

(Soldiers in the 10th Mountain Division kissed the tarmac when they landedin Fort Drum, N.Y., after a 15-month tour in Iraq. (Chang W. Lee/The New York Times))

Maliki balancing on a burning fence

Several stories regarding "reconciliation" and balance this morning.

First, Maliki has offered "amnesty" and prison release to some Sunnis who were "misguided", but not those who engaged in violent acts. (In other words, he's looking to possibly release some of those who were arrested for nothing.)

Second, Maliki has stalled the integration of the US's 50,000 organized Sunni "tribal fighters" into the security forces.

Third, Juan Cole: "Al-Zaman reports in Arabic that PM al-Maliki has taken the controversial decision to recruit 18,000 members of Shiite militias into the Iraqi government security forces."

Also Juan Cole: Some of the US backed Sunni leaders are lobbying Maliki to take the place of the Sunni IAF members who resigned their ministerial posts.

(The US is trying very hard to give Maliki the appearance of reconciliation through these US backed Sunni groups, but Maliki still is trying to maintain Shia domination.)

A broken narrative

Frequently, the recent fall in violence in Iraq is being accredited to a lessened flow of Iranian arms and personnel. Major General Rick Lynch (whose statements I've had problems with in the past) says the Iranians are still everywhere.
The quantity of Iranian bomb-making components being found in Iraq is increasing despite a fall in attacks and 20 Iranian-trained agents are still operating south of Baghdad, a top U.S. general said on Sunday.

But perhaps a more interesting fold in the Lynch view of Iraq is the idea that the Quds force is now represented by Iraqis,
Lynch said his troops were chasing 20 "targets" he identified as Iraqi Shi'ites who were agents for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps's (IRGC) elite Qods Force.

"They were trained in Iran and they're conducting operations in our battle space," Lynch told reporters. "They're Iraqis but they're IRGC surrogates and they're still out there."

Lynch has been the most anti-Iran voices coming out of Iraq.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Picture of the Day - 2

(WW II veteran Irving Ziffer, 89, of New York salutes during the Veterans Day Parade in New York, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2007. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle))

Wanna see something really scary?

We don't have the actual text of the comments, but the Bush administration may want to take one last big chop at the Constitution before they go.
A top intelligence official says it is time people in the United States changed their definition of privacy.

Privacy no longer can mean anonymity, says Donald Kerr, a deputy director of national intelligence. Instead, it should mean that government and businesses properly safeguards people's private communications and financial information.

Picture of the Day


Yesterday I found myself in a discussion on the tennis courts with a seemingly rational guy who suddenly went off that Mormonism is (capital E) Evil because they claim to add a book to the bible.

This whole religion thing is hoodoo to me, but the explosion of this guy's passion (bigotry) was eyeopening.

Doing a quiet little survey the rest of the day, I found a number of other people who felt the same way. Very wealthy, successful, seemingly normal people.

And, perhaps as troubling to me, several of them also claimed the earth was 10,000 years old.

What hope would you have to erase bigotry when even science can be discarded?

They listen to their Baptist mullahs at a local megachurch.

I'm sure this is all what Jesus had in mind.

(This photo provided by Romney for President, Inc., shows the extended Romney family at their vacation home on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee in Wolfeboro, N.H. in July 2007. (AP Photo/Jon Moe))

UPDATE: (AP) "In a Pew Research Center poll in September, a quarter of all Republicans - including 36 percent of white evangelical Protestants - said they would be less likely to vote for a Mormon."

China sends a little message

Right now, the Taiwan plans are undergoing a panicked revision.
American military chiefs have been left dumbstruck by an undetected Chinese submarine popping up at the heart of a recent Pacific exercise and close to the vast U.S.S. Kitty Hawk - a 1,000ft supercarrier with 4,500 personnel on board.

Pakistan's nukes

For some reason, questions over the security of Pakistan's nukes make both the NYTimes and WaPo today.
Americans might feel better about the arsenal if they knew how big it was — or even where the weapons were stored. Pakistan has done its best to keep that information secret....

On paper, the relatively new system he described looks impressive: weapons are kept separate from delivery systems, nuclear cores from their detonators. The people who run the system are screened, presumably for both mental stability and latent sympathies with Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Other Pakistani officials have described ways they protect nuclear material as it is trucked around the country or tinkered with in the laboratory still named for Dr. Khan.

Also: (LATimes) Pakistanis' anger at Musharraf extends to U.S.