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So Much For The Polls

Canada VotesThe results at 10:30PM CDT lead me to believe that Canada is about to be a two-party country, and the Liberals and Bloc Québécois have lost their relevance. It also looks like the Conservatives will get a majority for the first time under Harper.

Confirmed wins: [Update at Midnight CDT seats and percentage of total vote]

Conservative party of Canada Conservatives :
162 [39.59%]

New Democratic party of Canada New Democratic Party :
98 [30.71%]

Liberal party of Canada Liberals :
31 [18.85%]

Bloc Québécois party of Canada Bloc Québécois :
3 [6.14%]

Green party of Canada Greens :
1 [3.84%]

It takes 155 seats for a majority.

May 2, 2011   3 Comments

The Levee Will Be Breached

From CNN, Army Corps opts to blow up levee, flood 130,000 acres in Missouri

(CNN) — Starting Monday night, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will blow up a levee at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers due to record-high water levels in both rivers, said Maj. Gen. Michael Walsh.

“(The system) continues to be under enormous and unprecedented pressure,” said Walsh, the president of the Mississippi River Commission. “Because of that … I’ve ordered the district commander to operate the project.”

The first phase of the explosive operation at the Birds Point-New Madrid levee should occur between 9 p.m. and midnight Monday. Walsh said that historic and still rising flood waters made it imperative to begin the operation as soon as possible. The multistage process is expected to continue through Tuesday.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster’s office tried to block the move, challenging the Corps’ authority to breach the levee. But the U.S. Supreme Court, in a ruling from Justice Samuel Alito, denied Missouri’s bid.

The rivers at Cairo, Illinois are already more than 20 feet above flood level and climbing with more rain expected. The levee system is going to fail somewhere, the Corps of Engineers is hoping to minimize damage by picking the spot and reducing the water level.

I’m a bit mystified that the Missouri officials don’t seem to understand that the reason that the farmland that will be flooded is fertile because it was a flood plain before the levee was built, and the top soil is river silt.

As a bit of background on the situation you should read the short Wikipedia version of the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. A lot of good information in there about the major political changes that occurred because of this event, beyond the passage of the Flood Control Act of 1928 that allows the Corps to breach the levees.

The musical versions are When the Levee Breaks based on an old Blues song, and Louisiana 1927.

May 2, 2011   Comments Off on The Levee Will Be Breached

Misquote Of The Day

The actual quote, as Ellroon of Rants from the Rookery notes, is:

“I have never killed any one, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction.”

and it is from Clarence Darrow’s autobiography, The Story of My Life, in Chapter 10 “Child Training”.

May 2, 2011   Comments Off on Misquote Of The Day

Good Camouflage

After looking at the maps, and checking some facts to be sure my memory was correct, bin Laden’s hide-out was a superb choice, with or without ISI assistance.

Abbottabad is a resort area where the elites from Islamabad and Rawalpindi go to escape the heat during the summer. Foreign embassies no doubt have compounds in the area for their staff, so the local people would be accustomed to having “tourists” in their midst.

The area is only about 100 miles East of Peshawar, but the local official interest is directed towards Indian border and Kashmir, not what is happening in Afghanistan. The area is patrolled by the Frontier Corps, not the Pakistani Army, which is concentrated on the Indian border.

It has been mentioned that the compound was less than a mile away from the Pakistan Military Academy, but that just improves the camouflage. Who checks the motel next to the police station for wanted criminals?

Abbottabad is just north of the Grand Trunk Road that runs all the way to Kabul, so communications and supplies can flow freely. Couriers were used, and I assume there were blind mail drops involved, so tracing messages would be a major problem for intel. The resort nature of the town would make most of the traffic blend with the churn in the local area as people would be making short trips to look at the scenery.

It has been reported that the compound was targeted because of a lack of telephone or Internet connections, which would be quite unusual in an expensive house in the area, so he may have been turned in by The Phone Company, or The Cable Company for failing to become a customer.

May 2, 2011   21 Comments