Tuesday, January 30, 2007

State Ethics Commission Fines Boston City Councilor Michael P. Ross $2,000 for Abusing his Parking Ticket Privilege

The Massachusetts State Ethics Commission today fined Boston City Councilor Michael P. Ross $2,000 for violating the state’s conflict of interest law, M.G.L. c. 268A, by using his right to have parking tickets “administratively dismissed” if the violations occurred when the councilor was performing official city business to have approximately 35 tickets he received when he was conducting personal business dismissed.

According to the Disposition Agreement, between January 2002 and February 2006, Ross had approximately 105 tickets dismissed. Most of the tickets involved parking violations resulting from a failure to pay parking meter fees ($25 per ticket) and/or parking without a permit in resident-only parking spots ($40 per ticket).

Although Ross is a resident of Boston and eligible for a resident parking permit, he did not obtain such a permit. Approximately 35 of the tickets, with an estimated value of $1,000, were issued while he was engaged in personal rather than City business.

After the Commission initiated its investigation, Ross reimbursed the City $1,000 for these tickets. Section 23(b)(2) of the conflict law prohibits a public employee from using or attempting to use his position to secure for himself or others an unwarranted privilege of substantial value not properly available to similarly situated individuals.

By using his City Council position to obtain dismissal of approximately $1,000 worth of personal parking tickets, Ross violated.

“Elected officials are in office to serve the public, not themselves,” said Executive Director Peter Sturges. “The privileges that they receive because of their duties and responsibilities may not be used for personal benefit.”

- 30 -

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Link Dump
Alright, it's been a few days. Here are some articles you may or may not have seen. Have at 'em. Later this week, when I get a free minute, I will answer the question asked by Suzy and Janice earlier this week.

Boston cable access: Yeah, I know, I don't live in Boston anymore, I live in New Hampshire. But that doesn't mean I shouldn't post some articles from south of the border which might be worth a read. Here's one of those articles: ["The Cable Guys"]
. This article, by Dan Kennedy, highlights the great work being put into Boston's cable access station. I can tell you that the two shows featured - Talk of the Neighborhoods and NNN - are really good since I watched them all the time when I lived in Boston.

The biting, vicious, and sometime hilarious Howie Carr really gives it to John Kerry ... really hard ... while he is down: ["Latest Iraq casualty: No more Kerry to kick around"]. Hey, all I said was, Thank God. The Herald also has this - a bunch of potential wannabes: ["GOP ready to pounce on vulnerable pol"]. And then there is this foolishness: [Capitol idea: Senator Schilling? Curt's not sure but fans think he is the ticket]. And Howie Carr is losing New England affiliates: ["Howie Carr's replacement"]. And there is this piece in the Phoenix about the shake up going on at WRKO: ["The WRKO shuffle"].

One last thing on Boston. My old acquaintance, Bob Bittner, may have to drop his beautiful music format ... due to high ratings: ["Music fee hikes could scuttle local WJIB"].

A new documentary is being released about Ralph Nader: ["An Unreasonable Man"]. It begins touring the larger cities on Jan. 31.

The Air Force says mysterious lights in the sky which were recently spotted are actually a new weapons test: ["Lights 'not of this earth' mystery finally solved"]. While other lights are seen in South Carolina: ["911 callers report lights in the sky"].

Hillary not so hot in online polls: ["2008: January straw poll results"]. Official polling data may say people like her but the activist, blogger, online crowd doesn't think too much of her.

Looking for cheap gas in New Hampshire? Go here: ["New Hampshire Gas Prices"].

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

2008 Round Up
Probably the worst news that anyone could hear is that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton plans to run for Democratic nomination. A few days into the race, and here are some of the media reports.
First, it is getting to be a bit of a crowded field: ["Clinton's still the one to beat in crowded field of Democrats"]. Next, there is the issue of public funds: ["Clinton declines public funds; others may follow"]. Where do they think all this money is going to come from? If there are eight to 10 serious Democrats running, will they all be able to raise $100 million? I think not. Here is some interaction from Media Nation about the announcement: [Comments].

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is also in: ["Democrat Richardson Announces 2008 Presidential Bid"]. I have three words for Richardson supporters: Wen Ho Lee ...

Another article about the importance of Florida in the primary process this year: ["Earlier primary could give state more of a role"]. And here is a bit about modern technology in the primaries: ["'Macaca' Moments Will Define 2008 Presidential Campaign"].

WSJ poll issued Monday night suggests that only 22 percent of the nation want President Bush to set public policy while 57 percent want the Congress to do it.

Newsweek released this polling data:
  • Edwards 48%, McCain 43%
  • Clinton 48%, McCain 47%
  • Obama 46%, McCain 44%
  • Edwards 48%, Giuliani 45%
  • Giuliani 48%, Clinton 47%
  • Giuliani 47%, Obama 45%
Washington Post/ABC News released this data: Clinton 41, Obama 17, Edwards 11, and Kerry 8; Giuliani 34, McCain 27, Romney and Gingrich at 9, and Brownback at 1. Of course, these national polls are meaningless because the candidates have to win state races - and get delegates - in order to get the nomination.

Granny 9 turns 97: Doris Granny D Haddock will be honored on her 97th birthday during an open house from 1-3 p.m. in the Governor’s Executive Council Chambers at the State House in Concord, NH on January 24, 2007. The governor, executive council members, and numerous state legislators are expected to attend.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Noise Top 30 Chart


Reporting stations: WAAF, WFNX, WMBR, WMFO, WTCC, WZBC

1. Tanya Donnelly – This Hungry Life

2. Campaign for Real-Time – Let It Rise

3. The Artificial Hearts – Heavy Rock

4. Mission of Burma – The Oblerati

5. Feathers – Synchromy EP

6. Atlantics – Atlantics

7. Various Artists – Ace of Hearts: 12 Classic 45s

8. Ho-Ag – The Word From Pluto

9. Brendan Murray – Wonders Never Cease

10. Pernice Brothers – Live a Little

11. The Slip – Eisenhower

12. The Snowleopards – Debut

13. Christians and Lions – More Songs For Dream Sleepers and Very Awake

14. External World – II and III: Spider

15. Mittens – Fools on a Holiday

16. Spitzz – Touche Pussycats

17. Appletown Gun Shop – “The Future is a Dirty Word”

18. Hands and Knees – Hands and Knees

19. Monique Ortiz – Reclining Female

20. Piebald – All Ears, All Eyes, All the Time

21. Frank Smith – Red on White

22. The Big Disappointments – Live at Studio Eight

23. Bon Savants – Post Rock Defends the Nation

24. Exultation of Larks – Exultation of Larks

25. Matt and Shannon Heaton – Blue Skies Above

26. Helms – Secret Doors

27. Kamikaze Hearts – Oneida Road

28. The Motion Sick – Her Brilliant Fifteen

29. Sister Suvi – Leaf Demo

30. U.V. Protection - Consumer Material

Sunday, January 21, 2007

A Reason Why
Guest Perspective: Roy Morrison

My son Sam's Kearsarge Middle School basketball team is full of all stars. OK. They don't pass well. It just must be bad luck that they don't win often.

The U.S. Iraq misadventure must be under a similar unlucky star. But still, we must do something to help the Iraqi people. Blockading their country, bombing their country, invading their country, imposing U.S. designs upon their country leading to the death of many tens of thousands of innocents wasn't enough. We must do more. More war. It's our moral responsibility.

Is George W. Bush simply a moron tilting at windmills? Is Richard Cheney just a bumbling Rasputin? Or is U.S. policy toward Iraq, and now Iran, a logical and hardheaded expression of U.S. interest and purpose?

Central to an understanding of U.S. policy is not terrorism, not weapons of mass destruction, but the control of cheap oil. At stake is the combined oil reserves of Kuwait, remember Gulf War I, Iraq, third largest proven reserves, Iran, second largest - and by implication neighboring Saudi Arabia, the biggest prize of all.

Together, if kept under U.S. influence, these oil fields represent the maintenance of U.S. influence and control not only of Europe, but also of China and India, the emerging industrial challengers to the U.S.

If the United States was concerned about terrorism, why invade a country that had no role in 9/11? If terror was the game, why ignore the involvement of Saudis in 9/11 as participants, organizers and financiers? Why ignore the Pakistani madrassas that are spawning grounds for the Taliban, and the use of western Pakistani tribal territories as jihadist redoubt? If the United States was concerned about weapons of mass destruction in Islamic hands, why did the United States ignore the Pakistani nuclear arsenal and the behavior of Pakistan's A.Q. Khan as leader of a nuclear proliferation gang? Why?

United Stares policy implemented by Bush and Cheney makes perfect sense if the goal is control of oil. The Iraq war has proven to be a spectacular failure. But the game is not over. The response by the gamblers, playing with the lives of millions, is to double down and to press on with urban war in Baghdad and to move against Iran.

The reason why? A productive Iraq and Iran under U.S. influence, vouchsafed by U.S. military bases, will keep not only China and India in line, but also undermine OPEC. Victory will prolong the suzerainty of the U.S. and the dollar. America in the saddle with the whip hand can open the production spigots, drop prices, potentiate economic boom and revitalize Republican rule. These are not the only reasons. But they are central to understanding what seems to be foolish U.S. behavior.

An alternative to oil madness, is U.S. global leadership in development of renewable energy resources and renewable fuels. The sun rising will lead both to a collapse of oil prices and a chance to escape catastrophic climatic change. We can pursue a foreign policy based on peace and justice, sustainability and prosperity, enterprise and full employment, not resource wars without end.

Denuclearization and disarmament must begin at home. We don't need to kiss our love ones good bye as they fly off to fight to keep control of cheap oil in a Bush's hands. Our military's mission should be to defend the Unites States and not the empire of oil.

Energy policy is not an esoteric subject. It is central in the 21st century to questions of war and peace, ecological survival and sustainability. It's time to pay attention.

Roy Morrison's latest book is "Markets, Democracy & Survival," forthcoming from the Writers Publishing cooperative. He is an energy consultant living in Warner, N.H.

Fact check:

1. Oil reserves by country. Source: Oil & Gas Journal, Vol. 103, No. 47 (Dec. 19, 2005). From: U.S. Energy Information Administration. http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/international/petroleu.html

Country, 2006
Rank Country Proved reserves (billion barrels)
1. Saudi Arabia 264.3
2. Canada 178.8
3. Iran 132.5
4. Iraq 115.0
5. Kuwait 101.5
6. United Arab Emirates 97.8
7. Venezuela 79.7
8. Russia 60.0
9. Libya 39.1
10. Nigeria 35.9
11. United States 21.4
12. China 18.3
13. Qatar 15.2
14. Mexico 12.9
15. Algeria 11.4
16. Brazil 11.2
17. Kazakhstan 9.0
18. Norway 7.7
19. Azerbaijan 7.0
20. India 5.8

World total: 1,292.5

NOTE: Proved reserves are estimated with reasonable certainty to be recoverable with present technology and prices.

2. Madrassas, Issue Brief No. 11, Madrassas in Pakistan, Suba Chandran Assistant Director, IPCS


"There are an approximate 28,000 madrassas in Pakistan with only 8000 of them registered. According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) 2002 report, by March 2002, there were around 600,000 students in 6,000 registered madrassas with more than 250,000 students in Punjab alone. The proliferation of madrassas began in the 1980s and continued in the 1990s. Compared to their number in 1979, when there were less than 2000 madrassas, their growth has been tremendous. They are now seen and portrayed as fundamentalist institutions and breeding grounds for militants to wage a jihad all over the world. From being established centers of learning in the middle-ages, they have traveled a long way. How did this change come about and what can Pakistan do about it?"

3. Jihadists in Pakistan's western Tribal areas http://www.fes.org.af/AlQaeda'swestern.pdf

4. Pakistan Nuclear Weapons, http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/pakistan/nuke/

Pakistan Nuclear Weapons:
A Brief History of Pakistan's Nuclear Program

Pakistan's nuclear weapons program was established in 1972 by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who founded the program while he was Minister for Fuel, Power and Natural Resources, and later became President and Prime Minister. Shortly after the loss of East Pakistan in the 1971 war with India, Bhutto initiated the program with a meeting of physicists and engineers at Multan in January 1972.

India's 1974 testing of a nuclear "device" gave Pakistan's nuclear program new momentum. Through the late 1970s, Pakistan's program acquired sensitive uranium enrichment technology and expertise. The 1975 arrival of Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan considerably advanced these efforts. Dr. Khan is a German-trained metallurgist who brought with him knowledge of gas centrifuge technologies that he had acquired through his position at the classified URENCO uranium enrichment plant in the Netherlands. Dr. Khan also reportedly brought with him stolen uranium enrichment technologies from Europe. He was put in charge of building, equipping and operating Pakistan's Kahuta facility, which was established in 1976. Under Khan's direction, Pakistan employed an extensive clandestine network in order to obtain the necessary materials and technology for its developing uranium enrichment capabilities.

In 1985, Pakistan crossed the threshold of weapons-grade uranium production, and by 1986 it is thought to have produced enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon. Pakistan continued advancing its uranium enrichment program, and according to Pakistani sources, the nation acquired the ability to carry out a nuclear explosion in 1987.

* Pakistan Nuclear Weapons - A Chronology
Nuclear Tests
On May 28, 1998 Pakistan announced that it had successfully conducted five nuclear tests. The Pakistani Atomic Energy Commission reported that the five nuclear tests conducted on May 28 generated a seismic signal of 5.0 on the Richter scale, with a total yield of up to 40 KT (equivalent TNT). Dr. A.Q. Khan claimed that one device was a boosted fission device and that the other four were sub-kiloton nuclear devices.

On May 30, 1998 Pakistan tested one more nuclear warhead with a reported yield of 12 kilotons. The tests were conducted at Balochistan, bringing the total number of claimed tests to six. It has also been claimed by Pakistani sources that at least one additional device, initially planned for detonation on 30 May 1998, remained emplaced underground ready for detonation.

Pakistani claims concerning the number and yields of their underground tests cannot be independently confirmed by seismic means, and several sources, such as the Southern Arizona Seismic Observatory have reported lower yields than those claimed by Pakistan. Indian sources have also suggested that as few as two weapons were actually detonated, each with yields considerably lower than claimed by Pakistan. However, seismic data showed at least two and possibly a third, much smaller, test in the initial round of tests at the Ras Koh range. The single test on 30 May provided a clear seismic signal.

[announced] YIELD
[boosted device?] 28 May 1998 25-36 kiloton total
9-12 kiloton
Fission device 28 May 1998 12 kiloton
Low-yield device 28 May 1998 sub-kiloton --
Low-yield device 28 May 1998 sub-kiloton --
Low-yield device 28 May 1998 sub-kiloton --
Fission device 30 May 1998 12 kiloton 4-6 kiloton
Fission device not detonated 12 kiloton --
This table lists the nuclear tests that Pakistan claims to have carried out in May 1998 as well as the announced yields. Other sources have reported lower yields than those claimed by Pakistan. The Southern Arizona Seismic Observatory reports that the total seismic yield for the May 28th tests was 9-12 kilotons and that the yield for the May 30th tests was 4-6 kilotons.

According to a preliminary analysis conducted at Los Alamos National Laboratory, material released into the atmosphere during an underground nuclear test by Pakistan in May 1998 contained low levels of weapons-grade plutonium. The significance of the Los Alamos finding was that Pakistan had either imported or produced plutonium undetected by the US intelligence community. But Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and other agencies later contested the accuracy of this finding.

These tests came slightly more than two weeks after India carried out five nuclear tests of its own on May 11 and 13 and after many warnings by Pakistani officials that they would respond to India.

Pakistan's nuclear tests were followed by the February 1999 Lahore Agreements between Prime Ministers Vajpayee and Sharif. The agreements included confidence building measures such as advance notice of ballistic missile testing and a continuation of their unilateral moratoria on nuclear testing. But diplomatic advances made that year were undermined by Pakistan's incursion into Kargil. Under US diplomatic pressure, Prime Minister Sharif withdrew his troops, but lost power in October 1999 due to a military coup in which Gen. Pervez Musharraf took over.

* Satellite Imagery of Pakistan's May 28 and May 30 nuclear testing sites

Nuclear Infrastructure

Pakistan's nuclear program is based primarily on highly enriched uranium (HEU), which is produced at the A. Q. Khan research laboratory at Kahuta, a gas centrifuge uranium enrichment facility. The Kahuta facility has been in operation since the early 1980s. By the early 1990s, Kahuta had an estimated 3,000 centrifuges in operation, and Pakistan continued its pursuit of expanded uranium enrichment capabilities.

In the 1990s Pakistan began to pursue plutonium production capabilities. With Chinese assistance, Pakistan built the 40 MWt (megawatt thermal) Khusab research reactor at Joharabad, and in April 1998, Pakistan announced that the reactor was operational. According to public statements made by US officials, this unsafeguarded heavy water reactor generates an estimated 8-10 kilotons of weapons grade plutonium per year, which is enough for one to two nuclear weapons. The reactor could also produce tritium if it were loaded with lithium-6. According to J. Cirincione of Carnegie, Khusab's plutonium production capacity could allow Pakistan to develop lighter nuclear warheads that would be easier to deliver with a ballistic missile.

Plutonium separation reportedly takes place at the New Labs reprocessing plant next to Pakistan's Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (Pinstech) in Rawalpindi and at the larger Chasma nuclear power plant, neither of which are subject to IAEA inspection.

Nuclear Arsenal

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) estimates that Pakistan has built 24-48 HEU-based nuclear warheads, and Carnegie reports that they have produced 585-800 kg of HEU, enough for 30-55 weapons. Pakistan's nuclear warheads are based on an implosion design that uses a solid core of highly enriched uranium and requires an estimated 15-20 kg of material per warhead. According to Carnegie, Pakistan has also produced a small but unknown quantity of weapons grade plutonium, which is sufficient for an estimated 3-5 nuclear weapons.

Pakistani authorities claim that their nuclear weapons are not assembled. They maintain that the fissile cores are stored separately from the non-nuclear explosives packages, and that the warheads are stored separately from the delivery systems. In a 2001 report, the Defense Department contends that "Islamabad's nuclear weapons are probably stored in component form" and that "Pakistan probably could assemble the weapons fairly quickly." However, no one has been able to ascertain the validity of Pakistan's assurances about their nuclear weapons security.

Pakistan's reliance primarily on HEU makes its fissile materials particularly vulnerable to diversion. HEU can be used in a relatively simple gun-barrel-type design, which could be within the means of non-state actors that intend to assemble a crude nuclear weapon.

The terrorist attacks on September 11th raised concerns about the security of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. According to press reports, within two days of the attacks, Pakistan's military began relocating nuclear weapons components to six new secret locations. Shortly thereafter, Gen. Pervez Musharraf fired his intelligence chief and other officers and detained several suspected retired nuclear weapons scientists, in an attempt to root out extremist elements that posed a potential threat to Pakistan's nuclear arsenal.

Concerns have also been raised about Pakistan as a proliferant of nuclear materials and expertise. In November, 2002, shortly after North Korea admitted to pursuing a nuclear weapons program, the press reported allegations that Pakistan had provided assistance in the development of its uranium enrichment program in exchange for North Korean missile technologies.

Foreign Assistance

In the past, China played a major role in the development of Pakistan's nuclear infrastructure, especially when increasingly stringent export controls in western countries made it difficult for Pakistan to acquire materials and technology elsewhere. According to a 2001 Department of Defense report, China has supplied Pakistan with nuclear materials and expertise and has provided critical assistance in the construction of Pakistan's nuclear facilities.

In the 1990s, China designed and supplied the heavy water Khusab reactor, which plays a key role in Pakistan's production of plutonium. A subsidiary of the China National Nuclear Corporation also contributed to Pakistan's efforts to expand its uranium enrichment capabilities by providing 5,000 custom made ring magnets, which are a key component of the bearings that facilitate the high-speed rotation of centrifuges.

According to Anthony Cordesman of CSIS, China is also reported to have provided Pakistan with the design of one of its warheads, which is relatively sophisticated in design and lighter than U.S. and Soviet designed first generation warheads.

China also provided technical and material support in the completion of the Chasma nuclear power reactor and plutonium reprocessing facility, which was built in the mid 1990s. The project had been initiated as a cooperative program with France, but Pakistan's failure to sign the NPT and unwillingness to accept IAEA safeguards on its entire nuclear program caused France to terminate assistance.

According to the Defense Department report cited above, Pakistan has also acquired nuclear related and dual-use and equipment and materials from the Former Soviet Union and Western Europe.

Intermittent US Sanctions

On several occasions, under the authority of amendments to the Foreign Assistance Act, the U.S. has imposed sanctions on Pakistan, cutting off economic and military aid as a result of its pursuit of nuclear weapons. However, the U.S. suspended sanctions each time developments in Afghanistan made Pakistan a strategically important "frontline state," such as the 1981 Soviet occupation and in the war on terrorism.

Pakistan's Nuclear Doctrine

Several sources, such as Jane's Intelligence Review and Defense Department reports maintain that Pakistan's motive for pursuing a nuclear weapons program is to counter the threat posed by its principal rival, India, which has superior conventional forces and nuclear weapons.

Pakistan has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) or the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

According to the Defense Department report cited above, "Pakistan remains steadfast in its refusal to sign the NPT, stating that it would do so only after India joined the Treaty. Consequently, not all of Pakistan's nuclear facilities are under IAEA safeguards. Pakistani officials have stated that signature of the CTBT is in Pakistan's best interest, but that Pakistan will do so only after developing a domestic consensus on the issue, and have disavowed any connection with India's decision."

Pakistan does not abide by a no-first-use doctrine, as evidenced by President Pervez Musharraf's statements in May, 2002. Musharraf said that Pakistan did not want a conflict with India but that if it came to war between the nuclear-armed rivals, he would "respond with full might." These statements were interpreted to mean that if pressed by an overwhelming conventional attack from India, which has superior conventional forces, Pakistan might use its nuclear weapons.

Sources and Resources
* UN Nuclear Chief Warns of Global Black Market, Mohammed ElBaradei commenting on questions raised by the Khan confession, February 6, 2004.
* Abdul Qadeer Khan "Apologizes" for Transferring Nuclear Secrets Abroad, broadcast on Pakistani television, February 4, 2004.

* Documents Indicate A.Q. Khan Offered Nuclear, Weapon Designs to Iraq in 1990: Did He Approach Other Countries? By David Albright and Corey Hinderstein, February 4, 2004

* Deadly Arsenals, chapter on Paksitan - by Joseph Cirincione, John B.Wolfsthal and Miriam Rajkumar (Carnegie, June 2002). The chapter discusses Pakistan's WMD, missile and aircraft capabilities. It also presents the strategic context of the nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan and the history of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, touching on foreign assistance from China and on-and-off US economic assistance.

* Proliferation: Threat and Response, Jan. 2001 - A Defense Department report on the status of nuclear proliferation in South Asia. It includes a brief historical background on the conflict between India and Pakistan as well as an assessment of their nuclear capabilities, chem/bio programs, ballistic missile programs and other means of delivery.

ENHANCING NUCLEAR SECURITY IN THE COUNTER-TERRORISM STRUGGLE: India and Pakistan as a New Region for Cooperation - by Rose Gottemoeller, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, August 2002. This working paper explores possible cooperative programs that could enhance the security of Pakistan and India's nuclear arsenals, in order to prevent the diversion of dangerous materials into the hands of terrorists or rogue state leaders.

* "Pakistan's Nuclear Forces, 2001" from NRDC Nuclear Notebook, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Jan/Feb 2002. A Two-page update on the state of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. It makes rough estimates of the number of nuclear weapons and the amount of fissile material in Pakistan's possession and touches on fissile material production capabilities. Also included is a brief discussion of delivery mechanisms such as aircraft and missiles.

* Monterey Institute Resource Page on India and Pakistan - last updated July 7, 2000. This page has many useful links to relevant maps, news articles and analytical pieces on India and Pakistan's nuclear programs.

* Carnegie Endowment for International Peace - Pakistan resources

* Pakistan Nuclear Weapons - A Chronology - a timeline of the Pakistan's Nuclear Development program since 1965.

"The Threat of Pakistani Nuclear Weapons" - a CSIS report by Anthony H. Cordesman (Last updated Nov.
2001). - This report tells the history of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program and discusses China role in its development. It also lists recent US intelligence reports on Pakistan's activities.

* From Testing to Deploying Nuclear Forces: The Hard Choices Facing India and Pakistan - Gregory S. Jones.
(Rand, 2000). "This issue paper describes the requirements for a nuclear deterrent force in general terms, discusses how the Indian-Pakistani nuclear relationship is affected by China, and then considers the specific decisions that still must be made in India and Pakistan."

* Pakistan Nuclear Update, 2001 - Wisconsin Project. This three-page document provides a brief summary of Pakistan's main nuclear sites and an update on developments in Pakistan's nuclear program.

* Securing Pakistan's Nuclear Arsenal: Principles for Assistance - by David Albright, Kevin O'Neill and Corey Hinderstein, Oct. 4, 2001. An ISIS issue brief on the potential threats to the security of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal.

* The May 1998 India and Pakistan Nuclear Tests - by Terry C. Wallace, Southern Arizona Seismic Observatory (SASO), 1998. This technical paper provides a seismic analysis of India and Pakistan's 1998 nuclear tests. It concludes that Pakistan's May 28 tests had a seismic yield of 9-12 kt, and the May 30 test had a yield of 4-6 kt. An updated web page on this report can be found here

* Satellite Imagery of Pakistan's May 28 and May 30 nuclear testing sites, hosted on the Center for Monitoring Research Commercial Satellite Imagery Page

* "Pakistan's Nuclear Dilemma" - September 23 2001, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Transcripts from a Carnegie panel on developments in Pakistan in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. The panel included three speakers -- Shirin Tahir-Kheli, George Perkovich and Rose Gottemoeller-- and was moderated by Joseph Cirincione.

* Chapter on Pakistan, from Tracking Nuclear Proliferation: A Guide in Maps and Charts, 1998 by Rodney W. Jones, Mark G. McDonough, with Toby F. Dalton and Gregory D. Koblentz (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment, July 1998). This chapter documents the history of Pakistan's nuclear program and tracks the development of its nuclear infrastructure. It also covers in detail the sanctions the US imposed on Pakistan in light of these developments, as well Pakistan's missile program.

* "U.S. Appears to be Losing Track of Pakistan's Nuclear Program" and "U.S. Now Believes Pakistan to use Khushab Plutonium in Bomb Program" By Mark Hibbs July, 1998. Two brief articles written in the aftermath of Paksistan's 1998 nuclear tests -- they discuss Pakistan's weapons grade uranium and plutonium production capacities and the implications for its nuclear arsenal.

* "U.S. Labs at Odds on Whether Pakistani Blast Used Plutonium," by Dana Priest Washington Post Sunday, January 17, 1999; Page A02. This article discusses the controversy over the preliminary analysis carried out by Los Alamos National Laboratory, which found that plutonium traces had been released into the atomosphere during Pakistan's May 30th underground nuclear test. Scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Labs contested the accuracy of this finding and alleged that Los Alamos had contaminated and then lost the air sample. At the time, Los Alamos' findings were highly controversial because they implied that Pakistan had obtained plutonium either though imports or indigenous production, and there was uncertainty about Pakistan's plutonium production capabilities. It is now public knowledge that Pakistan can produce and isolate plutonium at its Khusbab reactor and at the New Labs and Chasma separation facilities.


Saturday, January 20, 2007

Even before escalation ...
This democracyfornewhampshire.com post was sent to me yesterday. Instead of linking the post, I'm going to publish the entire thing:

Even before escalation, NH will pay $1.5 billion for Iraq this year

As President Bush proposes to send an additional 20,000 troops to fight in Iraq, it is worth noting what the war is currently costing New Hampshire taxpayers.

Via various federal taxes, New Hampshire citizens and businesses will pay approximately $1.5 billion for Iraq operations during this fiscal year.

For the same amount of money, New Hampshire could provide:

• 349,783 people with health care or
• 27,624 elementary school teachers or
• 188,936 children with slots in Head Start or
• 381,397 children with health care or
• 8,071 affordable housing units or
• 116 new elementary schools or
• 158,065 scholarships for university students or
• 27,264 music and arts teachers or
• 35,196 public safety officers or
• 2,156,510 homes with renewable electricity.

“It’s amazing what we could accomplish in America if the President, Congress and the Pentagon stopped throwing money at dead-end military exercises like Iraq and obsolete Cold War weapons systems,” PrioritiesNH director Steve Varnum said today.

PrioritiesNH is working to change America's budget priorities to reflect a national commitment to education, healthcare, energy independence, job training and deficit reduction -- at no additional taxpayer expense -- by shifting funding from obsolete Cold War and nuclear weapons. A panel of military experts says the Pentagon wastes $60 billion each year on obsolete Cold War weapons and excessive nuclear weapons. The Common Sense Budget Act would redistribute that $60 billion to domestic and international human needs.

Tradeoff facts from National Priorities Project: http://database.nationalpriorities.org/tradeoff

Facts on $60 billion Pentagon waste: http://www.prioritiesnh.org/documents/Korb_revised_06.pdf
R.I.P.: Denny Dorherty

Boy, they just keep dropping like flies: ["Denny Dorherty, 66: singer songwriter made his name in the Mamas and the Papas"]. I loved this band. Their harmonies gave me chills and they have so many hits. Most people talk about "California Dreaming'" and "Monday Monday," but I like some of the more obscure stuff. Although, those songs are pretty hard to find, since almost everything the Mamas and the Papas did was a single. "Creeque Alley," is probably my favorite song.
I have their greatest hits double album set - Remember albums? Remember double albums? - and I must admit that I haven't listened to it in years.
About a year after moving to a new house, I disconnected my record player from the rest of the stereo. I promised myself that I would transfer all my albums to CDs but I never got around to it. This is not unlike a lot of other things I've promised myself I'd do over the last three-plus years but haven't gotten around to it. Oh well.
While I am an album and CD person, I've become pretty comfortable with downloads and mp3s, mostly through use of the inexpensive emusic.com service. Emusic.com has a lot of indie stuff and the downloads are reasonable. The plan I had previously worked out to about 25 cents a download. They have since rolled the downloads back just a bit. But even with that action, they are the least expensive place to get music from. They don't have a lot of hits, but I don't usually want those anyway so ...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

'... not of this world.'

An Air Force Colonel took pictures of these lights in the sky.
Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow ... More lights in the sky, this time, with pictures and right after the Chicago situation: ["Air Force colonel lights 'not of this world'"]. Interestingly, the colonel pointed to Biblical text with similar revelations.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

First debate will be here
Well, unless something changes in the next few weeks, the first presidential debates of the 2008 cycle will be held in New Hampshire after all: ["President hopefuls to debate in NH 1st"]. I wonder if that headline should have been "Presidential hopefuls ..." not President. It sounds odd to me. Another strange headline in the UL this morning is this one: "NH Guardsmen on duty along U.S.-Mexican border to curtain illegal crossings" ... I wonder if that should have been "curtail" or "contain." I've never heard anyone call it "curtain illegal crossings" before.

There are a couple of folks on the Web who are keeping track of those people who've been banned from the Daily Kos. The latest is Alan Smithee here: ["Blogroll of the Banned"]. I find it strange that there is this whole anti-Kos cult building on the Web. At least once a day, someone visits Politizine after Googling "Banned from Daily Kos ..."

Bisson Barcelona, a Seacoast PR firm, is holding a monthly author seminar series for those people interested in writing books or getting past the stage of thinking about writing books. The details are here: ["Author Seminar Series"]. The BB folks are good people, as the saying goes. This program should be an exciting one for all involved.

2008 quickies
John Edwards will be in Harlem today to celebrate MLK Day early: ["The Riverside Church"]. There is supposed to be a Webcast from the church too. Yet in this very early poll, 61 percent of his home state voters would pick another Democratic candidate: ["N.C. Dems prefer Edwards to Clinton, Obama"]. Did you catch that spin? The headline reads that Edwards beats Clinton and Obama. But add the numbers the opposite way: 40 percent would pick another Dem other than those three. Edwards only gets 29 points which means that 61 would go another way. The glass is half full OR half empty.

Rep. Tom Tancredo is still looking at running in 2008: ["Tancredo for President?"]. When I interviewed him in 2005, he stated that if no one would pick up the border security issue and run with it, he would jump in. I countered with, 'Sen. Hillary Clinton is raising the issue. Would you support her if a wall along the border was a major plank of her candidacy?' Not surprisingly, he said No. Frankly, politics needs to stay interesting and relevant and not wussy and wimpy. So the more firebrands the better.

Obama is reportedly lining up support: ["Obama, Running"]. Since this is 'just a blog entry,' it probably shouldn't be taken that seriously. However, Novak also has it: ["EXPLORER OBAMA"]. Since Novak is just a blogger with more cred because he was a columnist before becoming a blogger and columnists are essentially glorified bloggers anyway, it is probably a legit post.

Speaking of firebrands, here is one to keep a watchful eye on, no pun intended: ["TX 14: The First Open '08 House Seat?"]. On issues of liberty and freedom, Rep. Ron Paul is one of the strongest protectors of the Constitution. I don't agree with everything, but given the choice between him and some of the other Republicans, I would take him in a heartbeat. He knows in his core what freedom means.

Sen. Dodd stumps in Iowa, dismissing the 'long-shot' factor: ["Dodd Presses Presidential Bid in Iowa"] while Giuliani goes to Delaware: ["Giuliani test Del. primary waters"].

Lastly, here is an overview from a Michigan business paper about Right-to-Work laws: ["Presidential candidates and right-to-work laws"].

Off the subject of presidential politics for a moment, here in New Hampshire, Sen. John Sununu gets his first challenger: ["Marchand says he'll run for Senate"]. While it is early, there is nothing in the article which talks about why Marchand is running or what he plans on elevating for issues in a race against Sununu.

Update: The Monitor's Capital Beat column has more on other candidates potentially facing off against Sununu: ["Race to take on Sununu getting off to a fast start"].

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Midweek stuff
Here are a few things I've seen over the past few days. No, I'm not going to comment on the president, his prime time speech which is coming up, or his proposed "troop surge" which most normal folks realize isn't going to work. Ugh.

The felon, "King" Tom Finneran, gets a drive-time radio show: ["Finneran closes in on WRKO radio host job"]. This is outrageous. That guy no more deserves a radio program than any other felon. Pathetic.

Newspapers continue to try and survive. This time, with a joint agreement to attempt to sell national Web ads together, according to the WSJ: ["Newspapers Set To Jointly Sell Ads on Web Sites"]. As I've said previously, I really like the physical newspaper. So, if this is what it takes for newspapers to survive, so bet it.

This group had a full-page in the WSJ today: ["U.S. Preventive Medicine"]. I've always been an advocate of preventive medicine so this group is a great find. I still think we need to find ways of creating a single-payer system. It is expensive but it will be less expensive than the current health care system which has a dozen problems. It would also cut out the middle man and save money in the long run. I just signed up for their newsletter.

WBZ's Jon Keller spanks "Big Red" Bill Weld: ["UnWeldcome Visitor"]. Ouch! Keller is such a biting commentator. Remember when Weld was floated as a presidential candidate? And then he thought he would run for guv of New York? I saw him on television and I must admit, he looked like sh*t. Too much of the drink, fer sure.

Oh boy, this doesn't look good: ["Global Markets Face 'Severe Correction,' Faber Says"]. The Gloom, Boom, & Doom Report. Wow. Better to stay out of all this stuff.

MSNBC wins ... the first debate, that is: ["MSNBC wins first presidential debate"]. April 26, in South Carolina. Three months and three weeks away. I can hardly wait. But how come South Carolina gets the first one again? Didn't they get the first one in 2003? Oh, alright, we can't have everything first here in New Hampshire.

Think blogging is useless or a waste of time? How about this: ["Blog wields enormous power in New York City restaurant world"].

I forgot to post this last month: ["NASA Plans Lunar Outpost"]. I'm glad they are starting this project. We need a Mars mission and the only way to get there is to launch from the Moon. Some much of the fuel on a rocket is burned to get out of the Earth's atmosphere. There isn't any fuel left to get any further, for the most part. But by launching from the Moon, astronauts should be able to get to Mars in a reasonable amount of time, look around, and get back. While we are spending hundreds of billions on these foolish wars, it is about time we started thinking about space, the final frontier.

Speaking of space, this has gotten a lot of play, even on local television: ["In the sky! A bird? A plane? A... UFO?"]. The great thing about this is that it was real life airline employees who saw it ... not some Lone Gunman or something. I also like this new definition:
Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. Hahahaha. It's a UFO, OK? And, it's OK to call it a UFO.

And lastly, a local man wins that silly Super Bowl commercial contest: ["N.H. man wins Super Bowl-ad pitch"].

2008 News
Here are some headlines from the 2008 campaign:

Where to run from? Hillary's thinking: ["Hillary's 2008 Launch Pad: N.Y. or D.C.?"]. I don't know if either location is such a good one for her. I'm still hoping she sits it out.

Brownback eyes the tax issue: ["Sen. Brownback embraces a flat tax in his 2008 presidential bid"].

Jim Gilmore, another conservative Southerner, contemplates an '08 race: ["Former Virginia governor files presidential papers"].

Guy Smiley Romney phones it in: ["Update: Romney Dials for $6.5 Million Dollars"].

Kucinich releases plan to withdraw from Iraq: ["Exit Plan"].

Coy Gore: ["Gore: Will he or won't he enter presidential race?"].

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Quiet days

Sorry it has been so quiet out here. I've been busy. However, I did want to post some round ups and some other quick things and then get back to life.
The last week has been a quiet few days for political news, in the wake of John Edwards' announcement and the death of President Gerald Ford. But that probably won't last long. The 2008 presidential race is becoming very interesting to watch with all kinds of candidates sticking their toes in, wondering, What about me?
On the WSJ redesign, I must say that it is really great. While it lopped off an entire column, the color is crisp and the reporting is in-depth and worth reading. It is almost like reading the Sunday New York Times every day. It is that good. I've always been impressed with the articles - that's the reason I started a subscription - but now it is better than ever. Here is what Yahoo! Finance says about it: ["Wall Street Journal Unveils New Design"].

The Internet
A few days ago, Janice - and I believe this is Janice from Area603 but I'm not sure - asked me the following:
What role do you think the internet (especially blogging) will make in the upcoming presidential elections, if anything. Will it be a greater/lesser/same factor as the last election and why?
Good questions. Thank you for them and thank you for reading.

First, the Internet has become a major force in everything we do in our lives, not just elections. From personal communication, to advertising, to how we get news and entertainment, almost everyone and everything is affected by the Internet. The Web will probably continue to be a force to be dealt with on many different levels.
Campaigns need Web sites to communicate with voters. Voters need Web sites to actually find out stuff about candidates since much of the broadcast media doesn't really cover campaigns in-depth anymore. The newspapers continue to do a pretty good job and there are some pretty good political television reporters, like Andy Hiller of WHDH, Jon Keller of WBZ, Joe Battenfeld, a print reporter who I think still works for Fox25, all in Boston, and Scott Spradling of WMUR here in New Hampshire. But everything else is spotty at best. Radio talk shows tend to only have hosts blathering on and on. There are even fewer doing real news in most markets. So the voters have become more reliant on the Web for information.
Whether the Internet will have a greater role than usual, I don't honestly know. There is a burnout factor which I don't think we are all taking into consideration. The Internet could eventually reach a point where it maxes out. In some ways, it already has. Like television, there are too many choices. Our lives are getting busier and busier which means that there is less time for surfing the Web or doing anything else. I think people could get so bombarded by it that they will turn away from it, similar to the way they have turned away from network television. Why watch when you can do? I know that personally, I have turned back to physical newspapers and away from the Web. I like smelling the ink and looking at the way in which ads are laid out on pages and things like that. Reading the new WSJ in hand, for example, and then going to the Web site to link a story I've seen are two different experiences entirely. One is clinical and mechanical, the other is fun, for lack of a better way of saying it.
Second, I think blogging will be influential as elections continue but not because of the reasons which some people might think. Blogging, which is considered a new medium, isn't much different from the leafleting and print sheets posted during the days of Thomas Paine. The only difference is the technology. Instead of a printing press, I have a laptop. Instead of posting my prints on the marquee outside the local tavern, I use the Web. It has become easier to share thoughts and ideas. It is think, point, click, and you're done. Since the beginning of time, humankind has wanted - and needed - to be heard and blogging provides this outlet for people. Take it from someone who was a notorious letter to the editor writer who almost never writes anything to the papers anymore. The recent UL piece is the first thing I've had in the paper for almost a year. But, I don't need to write to the paper. I can write here and other places, like Area603. A letter writer may not get as much traffic or readership but who cares. That isn't really the idea of the process.
My roundabout point is that blogging will have influence over politics and elections because it is a broad way of communicating thoughts and ideas with others. Voters will be able to find more information than they ever were able to find before and campaigns will be able to communicate with voters better than they were able to do before. Some people will be left behind - especially those folks on the bottom end who can't afford a computer or Internet. But you can get Internet at the library for free in most cities and towns. In addition, the more people put ideas and thoughts out there, the more they share with others. It isn't much different than the old days of communicating political information at Elk's Lodges and Bingo Halls ... it is just more widespread than it ever was before.
I do worry about the civility of debate and discourse in the process of blogging and the use of the Internet. You can get into some pretty rabid arguments out here in cyberspace. The art of the argument is part of the fun. The key is to remember that we are all Americans and we need to respect the opinions of everyone because of that. It can be hard to do but it is the only way.

Of course, as we've all seen, Saddam was executed. I'm not a death penalty advocate at all but I must admit that if anyone should have been executed, it was probably Saddam. But, all the other people who have blood on their hands because they helped Saddam kill thousands, should also face some sort of punishment. Don'tcha think? Here are a couple of columns which make some good points. Andrew Cockburn has this piece: ["So Long to 'Our' Tyrant"]. And some pretty good media commentary here, about the spotty coverage: ["The Low Profile: CNN and the New York Times Execute a Denial of History"].

2008 Roundup
Here are some of the articles over the last few days:

This Gannett columnist has a look at 2007: ["In politics, '07 could be fast, furious, transformational"]. The six questions are good ones to ask.

This article looks at going after the MySpace crowd: ["Campaigns head to MySpace"].

Over at the Statesman, this columnist is looking at a field of firsts: ["Diverse presidential campaign could produce some historic 'firsts'"].

While this column looks at conservatives: ["Breaking Down the 2008 Presidential Race"].

And this article outlines organizing in Florida: ["2008 race heating up here"].

John Cox gets a light crowd in Nashua: ["Five people show up for presidential candidate's fundraiser"]. Hey, at least he got five! Cox was also in Concord, being interviewed by Karen Testerman for her show on WDER and also made the news on WKXL 1450.

Giuliani, lost: ["Revealed: Rudy's '08 battle plans"]. Well, his play book, at least. He also hosted some New Hampshire bigwigs recently: ["N.H. bigs see Rudy Prez run"].

The AP looks at Sen. Chris Dodd's ability to raise money here: ["Dodd well-positioned to raise money for 2008 presidential bid"].

Sen. Sam Brownback will announce in two weeks: ["Brownback to move on presidential bid"]. With Tommy Thompson also sniffing around: ["Thompson Says Core Supporters Pledge $1 Million to His Campaign"]. News from both of these guys is kind of a no-brainer. With Sen. George Allen and Sen. Rick Santorum out of the race, there is a conservative vacuum which can't be filled by Newt, The Adulterer, or "Guy Smiley" Romney. And there are people who don't really like Sen. John McCain. There is room for a dark horse. Keep an eye out for the press to start looking into some of Thompson's cushy corporate welfare deals he lined up for friends when he was governor. It is bound to get more tread if he runs.

Lastly, who is Lanakila Washington? Well, you can find out here: ["An Official Presidential Announcement"].

Monday, January 1, 2007

WSJ Tomorrow
The newly revamped WSJ debuts tomorrow. If I have time, I will post about how it looks. However, there will be free copies distributed around the nation. So look for yours if you're interested. 'Nite.
Happy New Year!