As the needle bends

A world view thru my hobbit hole door

Read my lips – NO NEW TAXES!

In researching how to vote for a Proposed Montgomery County School Bond proposition, I found the following in the minutes of a special meeting of the Board of Trustees of the North Harris Montgomery Community College District, from August 14, 2006. The language in the minutes of the Board meeting relating to this issue reads as follows:

PROPOSITION

SHALL THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF NORTH HARRIS MONTGOMERY COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT (THE DISTRICT) BE AUTHORIZED TO ISSUE AND SELL AT ANY PRICE OR PRICES THE BONDS OF THE DISTRICT IN THE AMOUNT OF $249,600,000 FOR THE CONSTRUCTION AND EQUIPMENT OF SCHOOL BUILDINGS IN THE DISTRICT AND THE PURCHASE OF THE NECESSARY SITES THEREFORE, WHICH BONDS MAY BE ISSUED IN VARIOUS ISSUES OR SERIES, SHALL MATURE SERIALLY OR OTHERWISE NOT MORE THAN 40 YEARS FROM THEIR DATE, AND SHALL BEAR INTEREST AT SUCH RATE OR RATES, NOT TO EXCEED THE MAXIMUM RATE NOW OR HEREAFTER AUTHORIZED BY LAW, AS SHALL BE DETERMINED BY THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE DISTRICT WITHIN THE DISCRETION OF THE BOARD AT THE TIME OF ISSUANCE; AND SHALL THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES BE AUTHORIZED TO LEVY AND PLEDGE AND CAUSE TO BE ASSESSED AND COLLECTED, ANNUAL AD VALOREM TAXES ON ALL TAXABLE PROPERTY IN THE DISTRICT SUFFICIENT TO PAY THE PRINCIPAL OF AND INTEREST ON SAID BONDS AS THE SAME COME DUE AND THE COSTS OF ANY CREDIT AGREEMENTS EXECUTED IN CONNECTION WITH THE BONDS, PROVIDED THAT THE AGGREGATE BOND TAXES IN THE DISTRICT SHALL NOT EXCEED $0.50 ON THE $100 VALUATION OF TAXABLE PROPERTY AND PROVIDED THAT THE AMOUNT OF BOND TAX TOGETHER WITH THE AMOUNT OF MAINTENANCE TAX SHALL NOT EXCEED $0.80 ON THE $100 VALUATION OF TAXABLE PROPERTY; SAID BONDS TO BE ISSUED AND SAID TAXES TO BE LEVIED, PLEDGED, ASSESSED, AND COLLECTED UNDER THE CONSTITUTION AND LAWS OF THE STATE OF TEXAS INCLUDING THE TEXAS EDUCATION CODE?

The language approved to appear on the ballot is as follows:

PROPOSITION

[ ] FOR

[ ] AGAINST

THE ISSUANCE OF $249,600,000 SCHOOL BUILDING BONDS AND THE LEVYING OF THE TAX IN PAYMENT THEREOF

A friend brought this to my attention while she was researching the matter for her mother who received her absentee ballot today.  My recommendation would be a resounding NO, unless, of course, you wish to have the imaginary property tax relief Governor Goodhair arranged all go away in one stroke at the ballot box.

READ MY LIPS – NO NEW TAXES!!!!!!!

And this definitely sounds like NEW (or additional) taxes to me!

As The Needle Bends

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September 26, 2006 Posted by | Life and Ramblings | 2 Comments

Mullah, May I?

In an article that leaves me virtually speechless, look what our British Cousins are going to try:

Police have agreed to consult a panel of Muslim leaders before mounting counter-terrorist raids or arrests. Members of the panel will offer their assessment of whether information police have on a suspect is too flimsy and will also consider the consequences on community relations of a raid.

Yep. It would appear that they are indeed planning to ask permission of the public or some portion of it, specifically linked to the special interest group which may be the target of said raid before going forward. OK, that’s unbelievable enough but the article continues:

Members will be security vetted and will have to promise not to reveal any intelligence they are shown. They will not have to sign the Official Secrets Act. […] The idea came from the Metropolitan police and the Muslim Safety Forum (MSF), which works for better police-Muslim relations. It has been under discussion for two years and came to the top of the agenda after a police raid in Forest Gate, London, in June, in which a man was shot. Police were acting on a tip-off about a bomb. None was found.

I understand that tensions get heated when law enforcement acts on information which special interest groups do not favor. Either the intel "is not believable" or "doesn’t warrant the actions taken." But to ask permission of the special interest group, and only make them double-dog swear not to tell is beyond me.

Thank God, it seems to be "just" a pilot program:

The first panel, expected to consist of four people, will be set up initially in London. Tomorrow representatives from police forces across England and Wales will decide whether to make the scheme national.

Can we dare hope that the infamous British stiff upper lip will return, along with some sort of sanity?

As The Needle Bends

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September 24, 2006 Posted by | Life and Ramblings | 3 Comments

Reports of Bin Laden Death Likely Exaggerated

It was pretty difficult to read or hear anything else on the news sites and television on Saturday, September 23, besides the report in a regional French newspaper of Bin Laden’s supposed death from “a severe case of typhoid.” My reaction was much like that of Mark Vaile, Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, in the International Herald Tribune:

“It would be a great boost in the war against terror but it wouldn’t mean the war against terror is over,” Vaile told television’s Nine Network.

“The al-Qaida network is well established, we know that, and it’s going to be an ongoing battle,” he said.

The regional French newspaper l’Est Republicain printed a copy of a confidential document from the DGSE intelligence service on Saturday citing an uncorroborated report from a “usually reliable source” who said Saudi secret services were convinced that bin Laden had died.

Viewing the news of Bin Laden’s demise with the same skepticism I detected in Mr. Vaile’s statement, I started checking sources of generally reliable information and found this, at the Northeast Intelligence Network’s site:

You can’t believe all the news that’s originated from Saudi sources, printed in French newspapers, and broadcast on major news outlets throughout the U. S., Canada, and Europe.
That’s the word from Hamid Mir, Osama bin Laden’s official biographer and the only journalist to interview the elusive al Qaeda emir in the wake of 9/11.
[…]

In an exclusive release to the Northeast Intelligence Network and Canada Free Press, Mr. Mir called the report was “rubbish” and said that it represented “old wine in an new bottle,” an apparent allusion to Congressman Curt Weldon’s statement last March to The Philadelphia Inquirer that bin Laden had died in Iran.

Mir maintains that bin Laden is alive, well, and living the lawless frontier of Pakistan. He says that the al Qaeda leader completed his plans for an “American Hiroshima” – – a nuclear attack on major metropolitan areas throughout the U. S. and has gained the approval of some Muslim scholars to kill millions of American civilians.

That’s kinda what I figured. No offense to anyone but if we are unable to locate a live Bin Laden accurately, then how in the world are we to believe that the French equivalent of the Conroe Courier was able to verify a report of his death? Actually, I suppose that we weren’t suppose to believe the report was verified, because while virtually every news outlet in the world hopped on the bandwagon to report the report of his death, none that I read ever said that they had in anyway verified anything.

The article at Northeast Intelligence Network went on to state:

Mir says that Adnan el Shukrijumah, the al Qaeda agent who has been singled out by bin Laden to commandeer the American Hiroshima, has been given orders “to increase the level and the scope” of the attack.

Last week, Abu Dawood, the leader of al Qaeda in Afghanistan, warned U. S. Muslims that they must leave the U. S. without further warning.

As I stated in my last entry, I very likely will NOT start building a fallout shelter. However, this report, in addition to those about which I wrote last week,  was enough to prompt a family review of plans made after September 11, 2001 as to what we would do, and where we would meet, if we were in separate locations if something like a dirty bomb were to be detonated. No reason for panic – but preparedness, in today’s uncertain world, is not only a healthy reaction – it is a logical one.

As The Needle Bends

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September 24, 2006 Posted by | Life and Ramblings | 3 Comments

Nuclear Attack Inside United States Imminent?

Earlier this week, I read this story at the Northeast Intelligence Network reporting:

 13 September 2006: According to a recent news report, Osama bin Laden is planning to carry out new, more destructive attacks inside the United States, and there is someone working on this terror plot currently in the US. This is according to Hamid Mir, the famed Pakistani journalist who obtained the only post-9/11 interviews with Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. It is also the subject of research and analysis by Dr. Paul Williams, author of Osama’s Revenge: The Next 9/11.

I found this report a bit disturbing, especially in light of the recent 5 year anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centers, Pentagon, and Flight 93 which ended in Shanksville, PA instead of God only knows where. Linked from this story is an interview, conducted by Ryan Mauro, with Hamid Mir.

Hamid Mir truly has deep access inside Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. He is best known as the last journalist to interview Osama Bin Laden, and the only one to do so after the attacks of September 11, 2001. He is currently the Bureau Chief of Islamabad for Geo TV and is writing a biography on Osama Bin Laden. He has interviewed countless members of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in many countries over the years.

Mr. Mauro’s whole interview is well worth a read and covers information that Mir has gathered concerning the possibility that Al Qaeda operatives already have nuclear materials inside the United States. Due in large part to my recent viewing of “The Path to 9/11” and remembering a scene where Ahmed Shah Massoud, the Afghani Northern Alliance military leader, tells a CIA agent that OBL has something big planned involving aviation inside the US, and that, should he be killed or over-run, “Kirk” will know that the attack is imminent, the following passage almost literally leapt off the screen at me:

RM: How can you be positive that the information regarding Al-Qaeda’s nuclear capabilities isn’t disinformation meant to frighten their enemies?

HM: That was the argument many U.S. experts presented in 1998 when Osama Bin Laden declared war on the U.S. Don’t underestimate your enemy. You may dislike them but they don’t lie. They may give a deadline to Muslims sometime to leave America and then they will attack. That is what was discussed in one of the Al-Qaeda meetings in Kunar in 2003.

Yes, this passage evoked the memory of a line from a movie, a docudrama, a dramatization which was protested and panned by some and praised by others, none of which changes the fact that Ahmed Shah Massoud was assassinated by an al Qaeda operative on September 9, 2001. Now you know why the hairs on the back of my neck stood up when I read this headline today:

 Nuclear Threats : MUSLIMS ORDERED TO LEAVE THE UNITED STATES, NEXT ATTACK IMMINENT

The story, by Dr. Paul L. Williams & David Dastych, goes on to detail an interview which Hamid Mir conducted on September 12, 2006 with Abu Dawood, the newly appointed commander of the al Qaeda forces in Afghanistan:

Q: But if you attack inside America again, then Muslims living in America will face lot of problems, why would you like to create new problems for your brothers and sisters?A: Muslims should leave America. We cannot stop our attack just because of the American Muslims; they must realize that American forces are killing innocent Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq; we have the right to respond back, in the same manner, in the enemy’s homeland. The American Muslims are like a human shield for our enemy; they must leave New York and Washington.

Does this mean that Americans should start building nuclear fallout shelters?  Maybe not; but as this report at NRO says:

So let’s just keep our eyes open, keep our eyes peeled for this guy, and if you remember running across him, give the FBI a call.

Or you could read the note at the end of the original article:

Note from Doug Hagmann, Director: After speaking with Dr. Williams today, there appeared to be a certain urgency in the information contained in the above information – an exchange between Hamid Mir and Abu Dawood.

and decide that you should at the very share the information so that all your friends will keep their eyes peeled, too!

As The Needle Bends

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September 16, 2006 Posted by | Life and Ramblings | 2 Comments

September 11, 2001

 

Yamel Jager Merino, EMT-P
 age 24 
Yonkers, N.Y.
MetroCare Ambulance

Died September 11, 2001

at the World Trade Center

 

We will never forget.

We must always remember

all the others whose lives were lost, or changed

Read more about Yamel

I never met Yamel. The things we had in common were that we were both female paramedics in an industry that is primarily male (EMS), both got up the morning of September 11, 2001, and went to work for a private EMS provider, and she died while caring for those in need. I came home.

I will always remember. I can never forget.

WE MUST NEVER FORGET.

As The Needle Bends

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September 11, 2006 Posted by | Life and Ramblings | Leave a comment