About eight pages of a 51-page government brief filed in federal court in San Francisco on Wednesday were electronically blacked out to protect what prosecutors said was sensitive material concerning a grand jury’s investigation into steroid use in baseball.
But the secret passages can be viewed by simply pasting the document into a word processing program. The passages open a window onto a particularly aggressive government leak investigation, one that seeks to force two San Francisco Chronicle reporters to reveal the identity of their confidential sources. The passages also help explain why prosecutors are pursuing the matter so vigorously.
An asteroid possibly as large as a half-mile or more in diameter is rapidly approaching the Earth. There is no need for concern, for no collision is in the offing, but the space rock will make an exceptionally close approach to our planet early on Monday, July 3, passing just beyond the Moon’s average distance from Earth.
And on July 4th, we fight back…
Heavy storms that created flooding through the Mid-Atlantic States also impacted the White House.
A tree that has stood in front of the White House came down during heavy storms last night. The large American Elm was not planted by a president or first lady but it shares a piece of history in any case.
The NBC White House Bureau reports that the tree is featured prominently on back of the $20 bill. It can be found in the far right corner of the image on the back of a $20 bill. The tree is believed to date back 140 years to the Andrew Johnson White House.
Didn’t they get the arborist’s briefing two months ago, “Elm Tree Determined to Fall Down in Next Big Storm?”
(Jay Leno is going to have a field day with this….)
Here’s an interesting news story from the New York Times this evening:
In a classified briefing to senior Pentagon officials last month, the top American commander in the Middle East outlined a plan that would gradually reduce American forces in Iraq by perhaps 20,000 to 30,000 troops by next spring if conditions on the ground permitted, three senior military officers and Defense Department officials said this week.
Oh, ooops … sorry, I don’t know how that happened. That story isn’t from tonight’s Times — it’s from August 2005. Here’s the story for this Sunday’s NYT:
The top American commander in Iraq has drafted a plan that projects sharp reductions in the United States military presence there by the end of 2007, with the first cuts coming this September, American officials say.
According to a classified briefing at the Pentagon this week by the commander, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the number of American combat brigades in Iraq is projected to decrease to 5 or 6 from the current level of 14 by December 2007.
. . . A reduction of eight combat brigades would equal about 28,000 troops.
. . . In the general’s briefing, the future American role in Iraq is divided into three phases. The next 12 months was described as a period of stabilization. The period from the summer of 2007 through the summer of 2008 was described as a time when the emphasis would be on the restoration of the Iraqi government’s authority.
We’ll see if the plan works any better this time…
Thousands of U.S. veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are facing a new nightmare – the risk of homelessness. The U.S. government estimates several hundred vets who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan are homeless on any given night across the country, although the exact number is unknown.
The reasons that contribute to the new wave of homelessness are many: some are unable to cope with life after daily encounters with insurgent attacks and roadside bombs; some can’t navigate government red tape; others simply don’t have enough money to afford a house or apartment.
They are living on the edge in towns and cities big and small from Washington state to Florida. But the hardest hit are in New York, because housing costs “can be very tough,” said Peter Dougherty, head of the Homeless Veterans Program at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Former army Pte. 1st Class Herold Noel had nowhere to call home after returning from Iraq last year. He slept in his Jeep, parked anywhere in New York “where I wouldn’t get a ticket.”
“Then the nightmares would start,” said the 26-year-old, who drove a military fuel truck in Iraq – one of the war’s most dangerous jobs.
At one point, he saw a friend’s leg blown off.
“I saw a baby decapitated when it was run over by a truck. I relived that every night,” said Noel, who walks with shrapnel in his knee and suffers from severe post-traumatic stress syndrome.
To help people like Noel, the VA gives grants to non-profit, private housing organizations that offer about 8,000 free beds across the country. The space isn’t always enough to accommodate everyone in desperate need of shelter among the more than 500,000 vets of Iraq and Afghanistan who have been discharged from the military so far.
When Noel returned, the shattered soldier couldn’t immediately find a job to support his wife and children and all the housing programs for vets he knew of “were overbooked,” he said.
The family ended up in a Bronx, N.Y., shelter “with people who were just out of prison and with roaches,” he said.
“I’m a young black man from the ghetto but this was culture shock. This is not what I fought for, what I almost died for.”
“This is not what I was supposed to come home to.”
Rush Limbaugh was detained for more than three hours Monday at Palm Beach International Airport after authorities said they found a bottle of Viagra in his possession without a prescription.
Customs officials found a prescription bottle labeled as Viagra in his luggage that didn’t have Limbaugh’s name on it, but that of two doctors, said Paul Miller, spokesman for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.
A doctor had prescribed the drug, but it was “labeled as being issued to the physician rather than Mr. Limbaugh for privacy purposes,” Roy Black, Limbaugh’s attorney, said in a statement.
Well, Rush, if you wanted to hide you’re using Viagra, you, ehm, failed.
“Drug use, some might say, is destroying this country. And we have laws against selling drugs, pushing drugs, using drugs, importing drugs. And the laws are good because we know what happens to people in societies and neighborhoods which become consumed by them. And so if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be
convicted and they ought to be sent up.”
– Rush Limbaugh. October 5, 1995
“What this says to me is that too many whites are getting away with drug use, too many whites are getting away with drug sales, too many whites are getting away with trafficking in this stuff. The answer to this disparity is not to start letting people out of jail because we’re not putting others in jail who are breaking the law. The answer is to go out and find the ones who are getting away with it, convict them and send them up the river, too.”
– Rush Limbaugh. October 5, 1995
“When you strip it all away, Jerry Garcia destroyed his life on drugs. And yet he’s being honored, like some godlike figure. Our priorities are out of whack, folks.”
–Rush Limbaugh radio show (quoted in the L.A. Times, 8/20/95)
A South Korean soccer fan protests against what he considers to be the referee’s unfair judgment after South Korea’s national soccer team lost to Switzerland in their World Cup Group G match as they watched the match on a screen in Seoul, Saturday, June 24, 2006. Switzerland defeated South Korea 2-0. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)