Friday, February 29, 2008



UPDATED MARCH 1, 2008 - SAT. 8:30 am Central Time

Fires blaze in Ashkelon’s shopping center from direct rocket hit Saturday as Gaza war intensifies

March 1, 2008, 5:16 PM (GMT+02:00)

Chaos In Gaza

45 Palestinians Killed Following Israeli Raid

IDF tank in Gaza, Friday (Photo: Amir Cohen)

Gaza war intensifies Saturday. Five Israeli soldiers wounded, 2 seriously, 32 Palestinians killed. Israel aims to stop missile attacks by destroying Hamas rule

March 1, 2008, 1:55 PM (GMT+02:00)

Ashkelon woman wounded by Palestinian rocket

Ashkelon woman wounded by Palestinian rocket

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that after 21 missiles slammed into Ashkelon and Sderot and their environs overnight, Israeli Givati Brigade troops backed by tanks, F-16 fighters and helicopters went after terrorist targets in Sejaya and Jebalya, N. Gaza Strip early morning Saturday, March 1. Five Israeli soldiers were injured, two very seriously. The Palestinians report 32 dead and dozens of injured casualties.

Two waves of Grad rockets hit the Israeli town of Ashkelon for the third day running. Two crashed into a house, injuring 5 people, two of them children. There were dozens of shock victims. Another 11 Qassam missiles explode at Sderot early Saturday - 33 in all.

Our military sources report the Israeli military command is now targeting Hamas rule of the Gaza Strip as ultimately the only effective way of halting the Palestinian missile offensive against civilian locations. It therefore proposes to systematically destroy Hamas institutions one by one until its rule of Gaza caves in.

This tactic was presented to prime minister Ehud Olmert Friday on his return from Japan. If Hamas alternatively decides it can no longer afford the exorbitant price exacted by the Israeli military for sustaining its missile offensive, so much the better. Meanwhile, the port town of Ashdod north of Ashkelon and 27 km from Gaza is preparing for start of Palestinian rockets attacks. Twelve alert systems are ready.

The IDF has set itself the following targets:

Every Palestinian military and security installation belonging to Hamas, as well as its Al Dawa social welfare branches used as meeting places and the money changers’ places of business.

A series of ground operations on the same lines as the Sejayia raid will be launched to drive Hamas and its allied terrorist groups out of northern Gaza – the sites of most missile launches against Ashkelon and Sderot. Once this part of the territory is purged, Israeli military control can be exercised without reoccupation.

DEBKAfile’s Palestinian sources report that Hamas leaders are well aware of the IDF’s revamped tactics and have employed counter-measures.

1. Their heads of government, armed wings and clerical authorities have gone to ground.

2. Their rank and file have taken over an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 civilian homes around Gaza City active and set up a wall for the town’s defense. Each home is provisioned with sufficient ammo, water and food for three weeks’ combat.

3. All Hamas operatives have dumped their cell phones and all means of communication which could betray their whereabouts. Orders and messages are carried by courier, usually children.

4. Thousands of missiles and rockets of different types are stocked in private homes and schools inside Gaza City and its refugee camps to escape Israeli attacks. This stratagem allows Hamas to calibrate its missile barrages on Israeli civilians according to the intensity of Israeli strikes against them.

Magpul Industries SHOTSHOW 2008 Part 2

.38 Special Expansion Tests (Water)


Aaron Brudenell & Stephen A. Camp

Most agree that 10% ballistic gelatin is the gold standard for bullet performance testing. It replicates human tissue and its 10% formulation is generally accredited to Dr. Martin Fackler, who did ballistic wound research for the US military. People on all sides of the "stopping power" issue use calibrated gelatin at a specific temperature for determining a cartridge's expansion and penetration characteristics. Following their protocol, test results from one individual or group can be duplicated elsewhere by others.

I personally believe that it is probably the best general indicator of what a bullet can be expected to do, but I emphatically do not trust it to be as accurate in penetration expectations as some appear to. If we are shooting pig muscle, which replicates human tissue closely and is what ballistic gelatin's properties are based upon, it should be very close. In other words, if a bullet expands to X-diameter and penetrates Y-distance in 10% ballistic gelatin, we should get approximately the same results in pig or human muscle. The problem is that I don't intend to shoot either animals in the field or human felons in the arms or legs and I'll bet most don't either!

Some opine that where a bullet strikes in the torso really won't make much difference in the handgun bullet's penetration or expansion results. This has emphatically not been my observation on animals in the field that were shot with most of the popular calibers used for self-protection. Bullets that hit bone have reacted very differently from those that passed through shoulders and lungs or a semi-liquid-filled stomach.

Penetration depths have frequently been similar to what occurred when shot into 10% ballistic gelatin, but in my experience there have also been fairly frequent variations. So while it is the most widely accepted testing media, it is not infallible. Still, it does provide interesting results that measured, photographed, and studied by serious students of terminal ballistics.

In any test media we are really comparing the expansion/penetration characteristics of one bullet to another in that medium. If an appropriate substance is used, it might be inferred that similar results could be expected in the "soft targets" that the media is hoped to replicate.

Ballistic gelatin may be the bullet expansion test media of choice, but it is not without problems. It is relatively expensive for the average fellow and it must be used within a narrow temperature range for valid results. Few of us laymen have either the cash or the facilities to do this.

Rather than shying away from "backyard ballistic testing" as "unqualified", some opt to take a look at bullet performance in a medium that is readily available and can be used at all temperatures above its freezing point and below its boiling point: water.

This medium is not without problems. Because it is more fluid than gelatin it tends to cause jacket separation from the lead bullet core in hollow points to an exaggerated degree when compared to either tissue or gelatin and getting precise penetration depths is more difficult. If penetration depths can be accurately measured, penetration depths in ballistic gelatin can be interpolated. Expansion testing in water is often not uniform amongst shooters. Some use plastic jugs while others go with cardboard milk cartons or simply a large container of water.

Does that mean that it cannot be used to learn anything about what we might expect from an expanding bullet? I think not. Results will not be accepted as "valid" by any of the serious researchers, but it has been my observation that bullets fired into water can match actual "soft target" results fairly closely.

These are not .38 Special bullets. They are 9mm 124-gr. Hornady XTP's that I handloaded for use in my 9mm pistols. Each was fired using the same weight charge of powder and from a Browning Hi Power. The one on the left was recovered from a javelina. The one on the right was fired into water. The expanded bullets are fairly close in appearance although the one shot into the denser animal expanded a bit more.

These three 9mm bullets were all fired from a Browning Hi Power. They are Winchester 127-gr. +P+ JHP's fired into different test media. The one on the left was fired into "wet pack" which is simply supersaturated newsprint. The one in the middle was used to cleanly kill a Texas whitetail deer. The one on the right was recovered from water. Are they different? Yes, but in this case they appear more similar than different. I have seen enough similarity to "trust" water expansion testing as a fairly decent indicator of what might be expected in real life. Is it as good as gelatin? Nope! I cannot get predicted wound channel depth and diameter at all nor expected penetration as easily.

These 230-gr. .45 ACP bullets were fired over the same weight charge of powder from the same 5" bbl 1911 pistol into water. Impact velocities are more in line with what we can expect from the .38 Special. The bullet on the left is a Remington Golden Saber. The one on the right is a Hornady XTP. Note that both are beginning to slip their jackets. In real life this is reported to happen more with the Golden Saber than the XTP. I have seen it occur with the Golden Saber in a deer, but as is often the case in gelatin testing, this usually occurs in the last couple or three inches of penetration. For those interested, the results of using a 230-gr. Golden Saber on a deer can be found here:

(I think you will note some real differences in what happened in a non-homogeneous animal and ballistic gelatin (or water) that is of the same density throughout and without bones.)

With all of this in mind, let's take a look at a few .38 Special bullets that were fired into water and see how they perform from different barrel lengths.

Mr. Aaron Brudenell was kind enough to send me several expanded bullets that were fired into a large container of water without passing through any barriers. This was done several years ago and he didn't remember the exact revolver makes used for each barrel length. This is not important in the general approach of this article for not every reader will be using exactly the same .38 Special revolver. If the expanded bullet shown is from a 2" barrel, the reader using a 1 7/8" J-frame can still expect the results to be meaningful to him as can the shooter with a 2 1/2" Model 19. No two revolvers, even the same make an barrel length, will always give the same velocity even with the same load fired from the same box of ammunition. The only way that I've found to know the actual velocities of my handguns has been to chronograph them. Because there will probably be slight…or not so slight velocity variations between the same make/model handguns, I will refer to expected velocity ranges rather than a specific speed.

Let's take a look at three .38 Special loads that are currently available.

Remington 125-gr. Golden Saber +P: This JHP differs from the traditional in that the jacket is not of the usual gilding metal common to most handgun bullets. It is made of brass and expands wider than the lead core. These have proven to be pretty reliable expanders in the calibers I've used to shoot various test media including two deer. (The deer were cleanly killed and were eaten.) Remington offers the Golden Saber in most popular calibers including .380 ACP, 9mm, .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP.

This bullet is said to have a muzzle velocity of 975 ft/sec, but that's for a four-inch barrel. I have found that in the 1 7/8 to 2 1/4" snubs, velocities are around 900 ft/sec.

The .38 Special Remington Golden Saber shown in the foreground shed its jacket when fired into water from a 2" bbl. The lead core expanded to .470"at its widest point and the recovered jacket and bullet weighed 124.5 grains. The expanded Golden Saber on the right was fired from a 4" bbl and expanded to 0.606". Though the petals are folded back in the photograph, at some time during penetration of the media the diameter was larger. It weighed 124.6 grains.

Speer 125-gr. Gold Dot +P: Listed muzzle velocity is 945 ft/sec, but again, this doesn't mean that every 4" bbl will provide this exact speed. From a snub expect speeds under 900 ft/sec in most cases.

The Speer Gold Dot is a well-respected bullet generally held in pretty high esteem among shooters. The jacket is more malleable (higher copper content) than the traditional gilding metal and it is bonded to the lead core so that separation is less likely. In the pictures below we do see some separation and slight fragmentation. Keep in mind that these were shot a good while back and that Speer has continued to "tweak" the Gold Dot for superior performance. Of the three .38 Special loads tried, in this instance the Speer showed the greatest variation in both recovered diameters and bullet weights, but these differences are more visual than what the numbers actually show. Remember also that water has a greater tendency to separate jackets from bullets than either tissue or gelatin.

Here we see the Speer 125-gr. +P .38 Special bullet as fired from different barrel lengths into water. The row of expanded bullets on the top row provides a side profile and the bottom row provides one from the front. From left to right, these bullets were fired from 2, 4, 6, and 8" barrels. The listed velocity of 945 ft/sec is probably most accurate for the one fired from the 4" tube. The 2" speeds will be below and the longer barrels are probably above it. How significant an increase is present depends on the powder being used by the company. From the 2" barrel, the 125-gr. Gold Dot expanded to 0.544" and the recovered bullet weighed 124.2 grains while the 4" yielded 0.673" and 117.4 grains. The 6" tube resulted in a recovered bullet and fragment that weighed 124.1 grains and expanded to 0.742" at the widest point.

Not resting on past accomplishments, Speer recently introduced a .38 Special +P cartridge specifically intended for use in snub revolvers. It weighs 135 grains and those who have already tested it report very encouraging results. I have not yet tried this load or it would be included in this report.

Remington and Winchester 158-gr. LSWCHP +P: Definitely "old technology", these unjacketed lead semi-wadcutter hollow points remain a popular choice for many snub gun carriers including me. This load, whether from Remington, Federal, or Winchester, has been dubbed "The Chicago Load" or the "FBI Load" and more than a few revolver-toting police officers have carried it.

I have had good luck with it and for now, the Remington remains my carry load of choice. I think you'll see why in the picture below.

These two 158-gr. LSWCHP +P bullets were both fired from the same 2" revolver. The one on the left is from Remington. The other is from Winchester. The Remington expanded to 0.629" and weighed 156.9 grains. The Winchester expanded to 0.394" and weighed 156.8 grains. What caused the difference in performance? From snubs, both travel around the 800-ft/sec mark. The difference is that the Winchester bullet has higher antimony content. It is not as "soft" as pure lead. It appears that while these two respected ammo makers provide a very similar load, there is a difference if using a snub revolver.

Here are the same two makers' bullets fired from a 4" revolver. The Remington (left) expanded to 0.647" and weighed 156.6 grains. The Winchester (right) expanded to 0.593" and weighed 156.6 grains, as did its competition from Remington.

The main complaint about this style bullet when fired from a snub seems to be that it routinely fails to expand after passing through the standard 4-layers of denim before entering the 10% ballistic gelatin. For this reason some do not recommend this load. It also has pretty sharp felt recoil in the lightweight snubs and cannot be used at all in the super-light titanium revolvers being offered as the non-jacketed bullet will unseat itself in recoil. (They are fine for use in the aluminum frame snubs such as the S&W Model 637 or super popular 642 and their blue counterparts.) Instead a recommendation for the 148-gr. target full wadcutter is made. I disagree with this unless felt recoil is a major problem for the individual shooter. The velocities are just too low for me to be comfortable with. I've clocked several wadcutter loads from different makers at velocities below 600 ft/sec with some being just over 500 ft/sec from S&W J-frame snubs.

I have not done nearly so much testing with the .38 Special as I have other calibers and don't have as much first-hand data to offer. I have seen one previously wounded deer finished off with a Remington 158-gr. LSWCHP +P. It was struck in the chest under the neck and the expanded bullet was recovered just before passing through the stomach. This was before the digital camera but the bullet closely resembled the expanded ones shown previously. Two law enforcement officers I've spoken with used their "Chicago Loads" to end felonious deadly force scenarios successfully. Each officer was using a snub and a single shot to the chest in each situation settled the matter with the elusive "one shot stop."

Right now, were I looking for an effective .38 Special load for my snub, I'd take a hard look at the Remington 158-gr. LSWCHP +P, the new Speer 135-gr. Gold Dot +P, and Corbon's 110-gr. DPX +P. For those interested, I do have a test report on their now discontinued standard pressure version of the DPX. I have some of the .38 +P DPX but have not yet tested it. Here is the link:


US warships move into E. Mediterranean in case Gaza escalation spills over into Lebanon

February 29, 2008, 1:30 PM (GMT+02:00)

Egyptian Gen. Suleiman cancels Israel visit

Egyptian Gen. Suleiman cancels Israel visit

Friday, Feb. 29, Egypt’s intelligence minister Omar Suleiman canceled his visit to Israel because of estimates in Cairo that hectic preparations current in Israel and the Gaza Strip augur a steep escalation of cross-border violence.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report: Officials in Cairo expect Israel redouble its air bombardment and armored raids against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, and Hamas to intensify and broaden the scope of its missile and rocket attacks on Israeli towns and villages.

Both sides are convinced that a further ratcheting-up of the war will generate indirect truce talks through a third party.

The US has meanwhile posted naval and marine vessels opposite the shores of Israel and Lebanon in case the fighting spreads to a second front. DEBKAfile’s Washington sources quote US and Israeli military sources as skeptical of the chances that prime minister Ehud Olmert and defense minister Ehud Barak will secure a ceasefire. The Gaza conflagration is more likely, they believe, to stir Hizballah to ignite a fresh assault from South Lebanon.

These sources point to four significant developments to watch for:

1. Hizballah is adamant about avenging the death of its military commander Imad Mughniyeh by border strikes against Israel and terrorist attacks inside the country. This Iranian front group is also committed to helping Hamas. The end of the 40 days of mourning for Mughniyeh on March 22-23 is anxiously awaited.

2. Israel is braced for this eventuality and in mid-preparation for its army to turn the tables on a Hizballah assault and carry the war into Lebanon.

US intelligence sources note that last week, the IDF deployed Patriot missile defense batteries around Haifa in case Hizballah unleashes a rocket offensive on the North as in 2005.

Our sources also report that local authorities and private security firms responsible for public safety in northern Israel were instructed to inspect bomb shelters and ascertain they were ready for use by March 10.

3. The quarrel between Saudi King Abdullah and Syrian president Bashar Assad, which is nearing boiling point, threatens to be fought out in Lebanon, their main bone of contention. Both are sending quantities of arms and ammo to the Lebanese militias under their respective wings.

4. This week, Abdullah persuaded Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and Jordan’s Abdullah to boycott the forthcoming Arab League summit in Damascus. Assad is unlikely to take this slap in the face lying down. There are indications he is ready to stir up Palestinian terrorist groups for attacks on Saudi, American and Israeli interests in the region.

Standing close by for immediate action off the troubled Mediterranean shores of Lebanon, Israel and Gaza is the USS Cole guided missile destroyer opposite Lebanon. It was joined Monday by the USS Nassau amphibious warship and its strike group of six vessels carrying 2,800 marines, flight crews and sailors. US naval sources report that a third group will join them shortly.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report the Nassau is accompanied by the amphibious transport dock ship USS Nashville , the guided missile destroyers USS Ross and USS Bulkeley and the fast nuclear strike submarine USS Albany SSN 753.

While cruising off the Lebanese coast, this formidable US naval force is close enough to the shores of Israel and Gaza to respond to developing emergencies.


01:42 PM Mountain Standard Time on Friday, February 29, 2008 3TV PHOTOS: Seized weapons

GILBERT -- High-powered rifles and semi-automatic weapons were part of the hundreds of weapons seized after the ATF served a search warrant at Cavalry Arms, a licensed gun manufacturer in Gilbert.

ATF won't give specifics on why

Authorities have only said that Cavalry Arms is accused of violating federal firearms laws. Reports reveal that Cavalry Arms does most of its business online, and neighbors in the area claim seeing little traffic in or out of the business. But neighbors also said they were surprised by the actions, and described Cavalry Arms as a 'heads-up' business that didn't draw any suspicion in their opinion.

The ATF did not go into any details as to exactly what firearms laws had been broken, only that they were processing and seizing all of the weapons at the Gilbert gun manufacturer.

The ATF directed future inquiries to the US Attorney's office, whom said they wouldn't comment on an on-going investigation.


The A.T.F. has seized hundreds of weapons after serving a search warrant at a Gilbert gun store. Right now it is not known why the ATF served the search warrant or why the guns were seized.


East Texas Bird Dawgs

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Obama in Muslim Dress

Thursday, February 28, 2008





Message to Syria

USS Cole heads toward Lebanon

Move reflects growing concern by Bush administration over Syrian meddling in runup to March 11 election in Lebanon


Some 55 missiles fired at Ashkelon and Sderot on second day of massive Palestinian offensive

February 28, 2008, 7:54 PM (GMT+02:00)


February 28, 2008

McCain’s Canal Zone Birth Prompts Queries About Whether That Rules Him Out

WASHINGTON — The question has nagged at the parents of Americans born outside the continental United States for generations: Dare their children aspire to grow up and become president? In the case of Senator John McCain of Arizona, the issue is becoming more than a matter of parental daydreaming.

Mr. McCain’s likely nomination as the Republican candidate for president and the happenstance of his birth in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936 are reviving a musty debate that has surfaced periodically since the founders first set quill to parchment and declared that only a “natural-born citizen” can hold the nation’s highest office.

Almost since those words were written in 1787 with scant explanation, their precise meaning has been the stuff of confusion, law school review articles, whisper campaigns and civics class debates over whether only those delivered on American soil can be truly natural born. To date, no American to take the presidential oath has had an official birthplace outside the 50 states.

“There are powerful arguments that Senator McCain or anyone else in this position is constitutionally qualified, but there is certainly no precedent,” said Sarah H. Duggin, an associate professor of law at Catholic University who has studied the issue extensively. “It is not a slam-dunk situation.”

Mr. McCain was born on a military installation in the Canal Zone, where his mother and father, a Navy officer, were stationed. His campaign advisers say they are comfortable that Mr. McCain meets the requirement and note that the question was researched for his first presidential bid in 1999 and reviewed again this time around.

But given mounting interest, the campaign recently asked Theodore B. Olson, a former solicitor general now advising Mr. McCain, to prepare a detailed legal analysis. “I don’t have much doubt about it,” said Mr. Olson, who added, though, that he still needed to finish his research.

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and one of Mr. McCain’s closest allies, said it would be incomprehensible to him if the son of a military member born in a military station could not run for president.

“He was posted there on orders from the United States government,” Mr. Graham said of Mr. McCain’s father. “If that becomes a problem, we need to tell every military family that your kid can’t be president if they take an overseas assignment.”

The phrase “natural born” was in early drafts of the Constitution. Scholars say notes of the Constitutional Convention give away little of the intent of the framers. Its origin may be traced to a letter from John Jay to George Washington, with Jay suggesting that to prevent foreigners from becoming commander in chief, the Constitution needed to “declare expressly” that only a natural-born citizen could be president.

Ms. Duggin and others who have explored the arcane subject in depth say legal argument and basic fairness may indeed be on the side of Mr. McCain, a longtime member of Congress from Arizona. But multiple experts and scholarly reviews say the issue has never been definitively resolved by either Congress or the Supreme Court.

Ms. Duggin favors a constitutional amendment to settle the matter. Others have called on Congress to guarantee that Americans born outside the national boundaries can legitimately see themselves as potential contenders for the Oval Office.

“They ought to have the same rights,” said Don Nickles, a former Republican senator from Oklahoma who in 2004 introduced legislation that would have established that children born abroad to American citizens could harbor presidential ambitions without a legal cloud over their hopes. “There is some ambiguity because there has never been a court case on what ‘natural-born citizen’ means.”

Mr. McCain’s situation is different from those of the current governors of California and Michigan, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jennifer M. Granholm, who were born in other countries and were first citizens of those nations, rendering them naturalized Americans ineligible under current interpretations. The conflict that could conceivably ensnare Mr. McCain goes more to the interpretation of “natural born” when weighed against intent and decades of immigration law.

Mr. McCain is not the first person to find himself in these circumstances. The last Arizona Republican to be a presidential nominee, Barry Goldwater, faced the issue. He was born in the Arizona territory in 1909, three years before it became a state. But Goldwater did not win, and the view at the time was that since he was born in a continental territory that later became a state, he probably met the standard.

It also surfaced in the 1968 candidacy of George Romney, who was born in Mexico, but again was not tested. The former Connecticut politician Lowell P. Weicker Jr., born in Paris, sought a legal analysis when considering the presidency, an aide said, and was assured he was eligible. Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr. was once viewed as a potential successor to his father, but was seen by some as ineligible since he had been born on Campobello Island in Canada. The 21st president, Chester A. Arthur, whose birthplace is Vermont, was rumored to have actually been born in Canada, prompting some to question his eligibility.

Quickly recognizing confusion over the evolving nature of citizenship, the First Congress in 1790 passed a measure that did define children of citizens “born beyond the sea, or out of the limits of the United States to be natural born.” But that law is still seen as potentially unconstitutional and was overtaken by subsequent legislation that omitted the “natural-born” phrase.

Mr. McCain’s citizenship was established by statutes covering the offspring of Americans abroad and laws specific to the Canal Zone as Congress realized that Americans would be living and working in the area for extended periods. But whether he qualifies as natural-born has been a topic of Internet buzz for months, with some declaring him ineligible while others assert that he meets all the basic constitutional qualifications — a natural-born citizen at least 35 years of age with 14 years of residence.

“I don’t think he has any problem whatsoever,” said Mr. Nickles, a McCain supporter. “But I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if somebody is going to try to make an issue out of it. If it goes to court, I think he will win.”

Lawyers who have examined the topic say there is not just confusion about the provision itself, but uncertainty about who would have the legal standing to challenge a candidate on such grounds, what form a challenge could take and whether it would have to wait until after the election or could be made at any time.

In a paper written 20 years ago for the Yale Law Journal on the natural-born enigma, Jill Pryor, now a lawyer in Atlanta, said that any legal challenge to a presidential candidate born outside national boundaries would be “unpredictable and unsatisfactory.”

“If I were on the Supreme Court, I would decide for John McCain,” Ms. Pryor said in a recent interview. “But it is certainly not a frivolous issue.”


'Virtual Fence' Along Border To Be Delayed

U.S. Retooling High-Tech Barrier After 28-Mile Pilot Project Fails

Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 28, 2008; Page A01

The Bush administration has scaled back plans to quickly build a "virtual fence" along the U.S.-Mexico border, delaying completion of the first phase of the project by at least three years and shifting away from a network of tower-mounted sensors and surveillance gear, federal officials said yesterday.

Technical problems discovered in a 28-mile pilot project south of Tucson prompted the change in plans, Department of Homeland Security officials and congressional auditors told a House subcommittee.

Though the department took over that initial stretch Friday from Boeing, authorities confirmed that Project 28, the initial deployment of the Secure Border Initiative network, did not work as planned or meet the needs of the U.S. Border Patrol.

The announcement marked a major setback for what President Bush in May 2006 called "the most technologically advanced border security initiative in American history." The virtual fence was to be a key component of his proposed overhaul of U.S. immigration policies, which died last year in the Senate.

Investigators for the Government Accountability Office had earlier warned that the effort was beset by both expected and unplanned difficulties. But yesterday, they disclosed new troubles that will require a redesign and said the first phase will not be completed until near the end of the next president's first term.

Those problems included Boeing's use of inappropriate commercial software, designed for use by police dispatchers, to integrate data related to illicit border-crossings. Boeing has already been paid $20.6 million for the pilot project, and in December, the DHS gave the firm another $65 million to replace the software with military-style, battle management software.

In an interview, Gregory L. Giddens, the department's executive director for the border effort, confirmed that "we . . . have delayed our deployment as we work through the issues on Project 28. While there is clear urgency of the mission, we also want to make sure we do this right."

Boeing has said that the initial effort, while flawed, still has helped Homeland Security apprehend 2,000 illegal immigrants since September. It estimated in 2006 that it would spend $7.6 billion through 2011 to secure the entire 2,000-mile southern border, an ambition that was meant to win support from conservatives for legislation creating a guest-worker program and a path to legalization for 12 million illegal immigrants.

But officials said yesterday that they now expect to complete the first phase of the virtual fence's deployment -- roughly 100 miles near Tucson and Yuma, Ariz., and El Paso, Tex. -- by the end of 2011, instead of by the end of 2008. That target falls outside Boeing's initial contract, which will end in September 2009 but can be extended.

The virtual fence was to complement a physical fence that the administration now says will include 370 miles of pedestrian fencing and 300 miles of vehicle barriers to be completed by the end of this year. The GAO said this portion of the project may also be delayed and that its total cost cannot be determined. The president's 2009 budget does not propose funds to add fencing beyond the 700 or so miles meant to be completed this year.

"The total cost is not yet known," testified Richard M. Stana, the GAO's director of homeland security issues, because DHS officials "do not yet know the type of terrain where the fencing is to be constructed, the materials to be used, or the cost to acquire the land."

The pilot virtual fence included nine mobile towers, radar, cameras, and vehicles retrofitted with laptops and satellite phones or handheld devices. They were to be linked to a near-real-time, maplike projection of the frontier that agents could use to track targets and direct law enforcement resources.



Some 35 missiles fired at Ashkelon and Sderot on second day of massive Palestinian offensive

February 28, 2008, 5:16 PM (GMT+02:00)

An Ashkelon scene shared by quarter of-a-million Israeli civilians February, 2008

An Ashkelon scene shared by quarter of-a-million Israeli civilians February, 2008

Eight extended-range Grad or Katyusha rockets blast several Ashkelon districts leaving 18 people injured, mostly shock victims, reaching the northernmost point in the town reached so far. A house was hit directly, another first. Eight missiles struck Sderot, two exploding in the town’s main square and its banking center.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the Israeli air force continued to pick off armed Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, with no perceptible effect on their blitz against Israeli civilian locations around the territory’s perimeter. Six missile teams were hit Thursday. They fire from Gaza’s school buildings, rooftops, playgrounds and underground pits, using civilians and children as human shields.

Efforts are being made to preserve a semblance of normality in those towns and villages in the face of the constant assaults amid persistent questions as to why the IDF is not summoned to battle.

Schools opened Thursday morning for classes, although children were not permitted to play outside. Studies resumed at the Sapir College along with the registration of students for the next academic year. In the afternoon, students and faculty attended the funeral of the student Ronnie Yihya, who died on campus from a direct missile hit. He was buried at Moshav Bitchah, where he lived with his wife and four children.



Ariel Sharon Dead at 77

World Tribune is reporting that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon died at 1 p.m. Israeli time [6 a.m. EST].

Note: They seem to be alone in reporting this. Scroll down for updates. As of 1243 EST, the best guess is that Sharon is alive but in a coma.

Ariel Sharon dies

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the most powerful Israeli leader in 50 years, has died. He was 77.

Sharon was declared dead by physicians at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital before 1 p.m. Israeli time [6 a.m. EST], Middle East Newsline reported. Authorities have already been notified of the death, and a government announcement was expected to be issued over the next hour.



Temple Mount Wall Collapses

After centuries with no structural problems, suddenly walls in the southern area of the Temple Mount are collapsing. Israeli archaeologist Eilat Mazal, who heads a committee for preventing the destruction of antiquities on the Temple Mount, said that the collapsed wall looks terrible and might cause a series of collapses. View of the collapsed wall on the Temple Mount

It is not the first time that something critical has happened recently on the walls of the Temple Mount. On Tisha B’Av 2001 a huge bulge formed on the southern wall of the Temple Mount. The bulge measured 25 meters [82 feet] high and tens of meters wide running westward from the south-eastern corner (the Pinnacle of the Temple) to an area below the El Aqsa mosque, which is built on the southern wall of the Temple Mount. The ancient Herodian wall bulged as much as 90 centimeters [3 feet]. The archaeologists and engineers who checked the bulge said that there is a great danger that the wall will completely collapse and, together with it, the El Aqsa mosque which stands on it. This could happen when the Moslems are praying in the mosque. They also stated that even if the bulge is repaired it will not hold for long and the wall will collapse in any case. However, Jordanian engineers were finally brought in to repair the southern wall.

It was so special that the bulge happened immediately after the Temple Mount Faithful carried the cornerstone for the Third Temple to the area in front of the southern wall of the Temple Mount. There is no doubt that this was the Hand of G-d. He will no longer permit the foreign pagan Arab Islamic existence on the Temple Mount, their terrible desecration of His holy hill, and their efforts to destroy the holy remains of the First and Second Temples. They are trying in this way convert the holy hill of the G-d and people of Israel to an Islamic site and deny the existence of the Temples on the Temple Mount. For this reason they also changed the so-called Solomon’s Stables and the Hulda hall and entrance from the Second Temple complex into Islamic mosques.

We should mention that not long before the appearance of the bulge on the southern wall, a crack appeared in the eastern wall not far from the original, real Eastern Gate which is also called the Shushan Gate or Golden Gate. In their 2002 diggings from the inner side of the eastern wall, G-d surprised them by revealing the Shushan Gate. The Arabs who were digging there understood the significance of the appearance of this G-dly gate through which they knew so well that Mashiach ben David would enter. As a result they immediately covered it up again.

In recent years water suddenly appeared in the historical area of the Temple. Water again appeared in 2002 on one of the stones of the Western Wall. The Moslems on the Temple Mount who could not stop the water redirected it under the ground. Through this water the prophecy of Ezekiel 47 concerning the water which would come out from the Temple Mount and flow to the Dead Sea area as a sign of redemption in the end-times, started to become a reality:

"And he brought me back to the door of the house; and, behold, waters flowed from under the threshold of the house eastward; for the front of the house faced to the east, and water run out from beneath the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar. ... And by the stream, upon its bank, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for food, whose leaf shall not wither, nor shall its fruit fail; it shall bring forth fresh fruit every month, because the waters for them flow from the sanctuary; and their fruit shall be for food, and their leaves for healing." (Ezekiel 47:1,12)

Since the Arab Islamic foreign occupation of the land of Israel, Jerusalem, and the Temple Mount — after building the mosque and Dome of the Rock, it was a Jewish tradition that in the time of the redemption of Israel when the people of Israel again dwell in the land and the State of Israel is re-established, the G-d of Israel will cause a strong earthquake which will completely remove these foreign houses of pagan worship from the Temple Mount. The Temple Mount will be ready for the rebuilding for the building of the Third Temple. A few days ago, scientists stated that a very strong earthquake will occur in the coming future and the epicenter of the earthquake will be on the Temple Mount and the Old City. The prophet Zechariah prophesied about an earthquake which would take place in the end-times:

"And his feet shall stand on that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in its midst toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall be moved toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And you shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal; yes, you shall flee, like you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah; and the L-rd my G-d shall come, and all the holy ones with you. And it shall come to pass on that day, that there shall not be bright light nor thick darkness; But it shall be one day which shall be known to the L-rd, not day, nor night; but it shall come to pass, that at evening time there shall be light." (Zechariah 14:4-7)

Zechariah also prophesied about the water that would go out from Jerusalem as another sign of redemption and then G-d would be the One G-d of all the universe and all the nations who will accept Him and then strangers will no longer be on the Temple Mount:

"And it shall be on that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the eastern sea, and half of them toward the western sea; in summer and in winter shall it be. And the L-rd shall be king over all the earth; on that day the L-rd shall be one, and his name one. ... and on that day there shall not be Canaanite any more in the house of the L-rd of hosts." (Zechariah 14:8,9,21b)

The collapse of walls on the Temple Mount, and all the other signs that were mentioned above, are very clear signs that the foreign pagan presence on the Temple Mount is about to be removed. G-d has started to prepare His holy hill for Israel to purify it and to build the Temple. The Hand of G-d continues to appear again and again in Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, as well as over all the land of Israel, calling the Israeli Government to do what He expects of them to do: to purify the Temple Mount and immediately rebuild the house of G-d. This will open the Eastern Gate for the coming of Mashiach ben David.

I call on the Israeli Government to fulfill its main endtime task which will bring Israel and all the world to the highest level of their history. Israel and its government cannot run away from their G-dly task. G-d is determined to accomplish all His redemptional endtime plans with Israel and all the world. As in the Biblical history of Israel, when G-d did not allow the people and their leadership to run away from the task which He gave this nation more than 4,000 years when He created them, He will not allow Israel and its governments to run away from their G-dly tasks at this exciting and critical G-dly time in which we are now living. As was prophesied thousands of years ago, the redemption of Israel and all the world will come to pass, the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will return to Jerusalem to dwell there and, from Jerusalem, spread and establish His kingdom all over the world:

"Again the word of the L-rd of hosts came to me, saying, Thus says the L-rd of hosts; I was zealous for Zion with great zeal, and I was zealous for her with great fury. Thus says the L-rd: I have returned to Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem; and Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth; and the mountain of the L-rd of hosts the Holy Mountain. ... Thus says the L-rd of hosts: Behold, I will save my people from the east country, and from the west country; And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem; and they shall be my people, and I will be their G-d, in truth and in righteousness. Thus says the L-rd of hosts: Let your hands be strong, you who hear in these days these words by the mouth of the prophets, who spoke on the day that the foundation of the house of the L-rd of hosts was laid, saying that the temple might be built. ... Thus says the L-rd of hosts: It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities; And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to entreat the favour of the L-rd, and to seek the L-rd of hosts. I will go also. And many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the L-rd of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the L-rd. Thus says the L-rd of hosts: In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men from the nations of every language, shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, We will go with you; for we have heard that G-d is with you." (Zechariah 8;1-3,7-9,20-23)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Hillary Clinton on Gun Control

Democratic Jr Senator (NY)

Against illegal guns, crack down on illegal gun dealers

I am against illegal guns, and illegal guns are the cause of so much death and injury in our country. I also am a political realist and I understand that the political winds are very powerful against doing enough to try to get guns off the street, get them out of the hands of young people. I don't want the federal government preempting states and cities like New York that have very specific problems. We need to have a registry that really works with good information about people who are felons, people who have been committed to mental institutions. We need to make sure that that information is in a timely manner, both collected and presented. We do need to crack down on illegal gun dealers. This is something that I would like to see more of. We need to enforce the laws that we have on the books. I would also work to reinstate the assault weapons ban. We now have, once again, police deaths going up around the country, and in large measure because bad guys now have assault weapons again.
Source: 2008 Democratic debate in Las Vegas Jan 15, 2008

Backed off a national licensing registration plan on guns

I believe in the Second Amendment. People have a right to bear arms. But I also believe that we can common-sensically approach this, and backed off a national licensing registration plan.
Source: 2008 Democratic debate in Las Vegas Jan 15, 2008

Get assault weapons & guns off the street

Q: How would you address gun violence that continues to be the #1 cause of death among African-American men?

A: I think it's important to remember that the crime rate was driven down, & gun violence was driven down in the 1990s because of a combination of policies, like 100,000 police on the street and getting assault weapons off the street, and because of a growing economy. 22 million new jobs gave people who were hopeless a better chance for a future. So I want to get back to what works. This administration has tried to kill the 100,000 police. You've got mayors whose police force is outgunned by the criminals and the gang-bangers. Assault weapons are back on the street. We've got to go and do what works again. In addition to having policies that will get guns off the street, we do have to give young men particularly a better chance of a future that includes educational & economic opportunities & second chances when they get caught up in the criminal justice system.

Source: 2007 NAACP Presidential Primary Forum Jul 12, 2007

Background check system could prevent Virginia Tech massacre

Q: Did any role that federal government plays fail those students at Virginia Tech?

A: Yes. You know, I remember very well when I accompanied Bill to Columbine after that massacre and met with the family members of those who had been killed and talked with the students, and feeling that we had to do more to try to keep guns out of the hands of the criminal and of the mentally unstable. And during the Clinton administration, that was a goal--not to, in any way, violate people's Second Amendment rights, but to try to limit access to people who should not have guns. Unfortunately, we saw the tragedy unfold at Virginia Tech. We now know that the background check system didn't work, because certainly this shooter, as he's called, had been involuntarily committed as a threat to himself and others. And, yet, he could walk in and buy a gun.

Source: 2007 South Carolina Democratic primary debate, on MSNBC Apr 26, 2007

FactCheck: VA Tech shooter not declared a danger to others

Hillary Clinton slipped up in her description of the Virginia Tech killings, overstating what a Virginia court had found about the shooter's mental state in 2005. Clinton said the shooter "had been involuntarily committed as a threat to himself & others. And, yet, he could walk in and buy a gun."

That's only half true. It's correct that Seung-hui Cho had a court-documented history of mental illness that should have precluded his purchase of a firearm. And he was indeed found to present "an imminent danger to himself as a result of mental illness" in a ruling dated December 14, 2005. But the Judge did not check a box that would have declared Cho "an imminent danger to others." Moreover, the judge declined to involuntarily commit Cho and sent him to outpatient counseling. Clinton's confusion on this might stem from bad reporting by some news outlets that said Cho was found to be a danger to himself and others.

Source: on 2007 South Carolina Democratic debate Apr 26, 2007

Congress' failure at Littleton response inspired Senate run

A month after the Columbine shootings, Bill & I went to Littleton Colorado to visit with the families of victims & survivors. The Columbine tragedy was not the first, nor the last, episode involving gun violence at an American high school. But it ignited a call for more federal action to keep guns out of the hands of the violent, troubled and young--a lethal combination. Bill and I announced a proposal to raise the legal age of handgun ownership to 21, and limit purchases of handguns to one per month.
Source: Living History, by Hillary Rodham Clinton, p. 503-4 Nov 1, 2003

Keep guns away from people who shouldn’t have them

We need to stand firm on behalf of sensible gun control legislation. We have to enact laws that will keep guns out of the hand of children and criminals and mentally unbalanced persons. Congress should have acted before our children started going back to school. I realize the NRA is a formidable political group; but I believe the American people are ready to come together as a nation and do whatever it takes to keep guns away from people who shouldn’t have them.
Source:, “Gun Safety” Sep 9, 2000

Limit access to weapons; look for early warning signs

We have to make sure that our schools are safe. Our schools need more help from parents and from communities, and we also need more social workers and counselors who are trained to see the early warning signs. No school security system or metal detector can keep out the culture of violence that dominates the lives of so many of our children. We have to address issues of culture, and we have to ensure that young people do not have easy access to weapons; not only firearms but bomb making material.
Source:, “Safe Schools” Sep 9, 2000

License and register all handgun sales

Hillary Rodham Clinton offered her support for a legislative proposal to license hand guns. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Charles Schumer, would require anyone who wants to purchase a gun to obtain a state-issued photo gun license. “I stand in support of this common sense legislation to license everyone who wishes to purchase a gun,” Clinton said. “I also believe that every new handgun sale or transfer should be registered in a national registry, such as Chuck is proposing.”
Source: Jun 2, 2000

Tough gun control keeps guns out of wrong hands

I think it does once again urge us to think hard about what we can do to make sure that we keep guns out of the hands of children and criminals and mentally unbalanced people. I hope we will come together as a nation and do whatever it takes to keep guns away from people who have no business with them.
Source: Press Release Jul 31, 1999

Gun control protects our children

We will not make progress on a sensible gun control agenda unless the entire American public gets behind it. It is really important for each of you [kids] to make sure you stay away from guns. If you have guns in your home, tell your parents to keep them away from you and your friends and your little brothers and sisters.
Source: Forum at South Side Middle School in Nassau County Jul 15, 1999

Don’t water down sensible gun control legislation

We have to do everything possible to keep guns out of the hands of children, and we need to stand firm on behalf of the sensible gun control legislation that passed the Senate and then was watered down in the House. It does not make sense for us at this point in our history to turn our backs on the reality that there are too many guns and too many children have access to those guns-and we have to act to prevent that.
Source: Remarks to NEA in Orlando, Florida Jul 5, 1999

Lock up guns; store ammo separately

If you own a gun... make sure it’s locked up and stored without the ammunition. In fact, make it stored where the ammunition is stored separately. We’ve made some progress in the last several years with the Brady Bill and some of the bans on assault weapons, but we have a lot of work to do.
Source: ABC’s “Good Morning America” Jun 4, 1999

Ban kids’ unsupervised access to guns

Q: What actions can students take to help gun control further? A: Young people, especially teenagers, [should pledge] to not give any child unsupervised access to a firearm; not to go into homes, or let your younger siblings go into homes where you know guns are and are not safely stored and taken care of. You guys are going to a party, make sure there are no guns around. If you own a gun or you know people who do, make sure it’s locked up and stored without the ammunition.
Source: ABC’s “Good Morning America” Jun 4, 1999

Get weapons off the streets; zero tolerance for weapons

The first step is to take weapons off the streets and to put more police on them. The Brady Bill, which my husband signed into law in 1995, imposes a 5-day waiting period for gun purchases, time enough for authorities to check out a buyer's record and for the buyer to cool down about any conflict he might have intended the gun to resolve. Since it was enacted, more than 40,000 people with criminal records have been prevented from buying guns. The 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act banned 19 types of military-style assault weapons whose only purpose is to kill people.

As part of a "zero tolerance" policy for weapons, drugs, and other threats to the safety of teachers and students, the President signed an executive order decreeing that any student who comes to school with a gun will be expelled and punished as a condition of federal aid.

Source: It Takes A Village, by Hillary Clinton, p.126 Sep 25, 1996

Voted NO on prohibiting lawsuits against gun manufacturers.

A bill to prohibit civil liability actions from being brought or continued against manufacturers, distributors, dealers, or importers of firearms or ammunition for damages, injunctive or other relief resulting from the misuse of their products by others. Voting YES would:
  • Exempt lawsuits brought against individuals who knowingly transfer a firearm that will be used to commit a violent or drug-trafficking crime
  • Exempt lawsuits against actions that result in death, physical injury or property damage due solely to a product defect
  • Call for the dismissal of all qualified civil liability actions pending on the date of enactment by the court in which the action was brought
  • Prohibit the manufacture, import, sale or delivery of armor piercing ammunition, and sets a minimum prison term of 15 years for violations
  • Require all licensed importers, manufacturers and dealers who engage in the transfer of handguns to provide secure gun storage or safety devices
Reference: Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act; Bill S 397 ; vote number 2005-219 on Jul 29, 2005

Voted NO on banning lawsuits against gun manufacturers for gun violence.

Vote to pass a bill that would block certain civil lawsuits against manufacturers, distributors, dealers and importers of firearms and ammunition, mainly those lawsuits aimed at making them liable for gun violence. In this bill, trade groups would also be protected The bill would call for the dismissal of pending lawsuits against the gun industry. The exception would be lawsuits regarding a defect in a weapon or ammunition. It also would provide a 10-year reauthorization of the assault weapons ban which is set to expire in September 2004. The bill would increase the penalties for gun-related violent or drug trafficking crimes which have not resulted in death, to a minimum of 15 years imprisonment. The bill calls for criminal background checks on all firearm transactions at gun shows where at least 75 guns are sold. Exemptions would be made available for dealers selling guns from their homes as well as members-only gun swaps and meets carried out by nonprofit hunting clubs.
Reference: Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act; Bill S.1805/H.R.1036 ; vote number 2004-30 on Mar 2, 2004


RAND Study Finds Substantial Amounts of Ammunition Bought by Felons, Others Prohibited from Buying Bullets

Substantial amounts of bullets and shotgun shells sold in Los Angeles are purchased by felons and others who are prohibited by law from buying ammunition, according to a new RAND Corporation study that is the first to examine the amount of ammunition sold to criminals.

With support from the National Institute of Justice, researchers analyzed records detailing ammunition sales made during April and May of 2004 at 10 of the 13 retail stores in the city of Los Angeles that sell bullets and shotgun shells to the public.

A total of 2,031 people purchased 436,956 rounds of ammunition during the study period. This included 10,050 rounds of ammunition purchased by 52 people with felony convictions or other violations on their records that legally prohibit them from buying ammunition.

While federal and state laws prohibit certain people from buying ammunition, there are no mechanisms to enforce the rules. Los Angeles and a few other cities require ammunition sellers to collect information about the purchasers, but in the past those records were not routinely reviewed.

“Strategies to reduce gun violence in communities thus far have focused intensely on the guns,” said George Tita, a criminologist at the University of California, Irvine, and lead author of the study that appears in the October edition of the journal Injury Prevention. “More effective policies will need to address access to ammunition as well as access to guns.”

While the study examined only a short period of time, researchers say it provides the first reliable information about whether ammunition is routinely purchased by people who are barred from possessing ammunition.

“We found that it's not uncommon for people with criminal records simply to buy ammunition at a retail store,” said Greg Ridgeway, co-author of the study and a researcher at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. “It is particularly risky for communities to have guns and ammunition in the hands of such people.”

Past studies have shown that guns and ammunition possessed by felons and others prohibited from owning weapons are more likely to be used in violent crimes than weapons bought by people with no criminal histories.

People who buy ammunition in the city of Los Angeles must show a driver's license or other photo identification and leave a fingerprint with the seller, who maintains records about the transaction. An unsuccessful bill introduced in the California legislature in 2005 would have required ammunition dealers in California to log all ammunition sales and their purchasers in a state database.

The RAND study says if lawmakers want to prohibit the illegal sale of ammunition they could extend the instant background checks required before guns are sold to also cover the sale of ammunition.

However, unless such a step was taken at the state level, buyers could simply purchase ammunition in a nearby city to get around a local law. In addition, people prohibited from purchasing ammunition could begin buying ammunition from unregulated private sellers in the secondary firearms markets, researchers said.

However, studies conducted by other researchers in different communities with high levels of gun violence found that more careful enforcement of ammunition purchases may not necessarily lead to the creation of a black market in ammunition, according to researchers.

Another alternative is for law enforcement officials to take advantage of ammunition sales records to provide tips about felons who may illegally possess firearms, according to researchers. Ammunition logs have been used by Los Angeles area law enforcement officials to obtain search warrants that have led to the recovery of illegal firearms, according to the study.

Researchers say their study was limited by the small number of ammunition sales outlets involved and the relatively brief study period. Most of the outlets studied are located in the San Fernando Valley in the northern section of Los Angeles.

The study was so geographically limited because there are no ammunition outlets in the high-crime neighborhoods in the south part of Los Angeles. Residents of those areas are likely to buy ammunition at stores in adjacent cities that do not require ammunition sales records to be collected, according to researchers.

Records involved in the RAND study were collected from retailers by the Los Angeles Police Department and analyzed by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to see whether purchasers appeared in federal or state criminal databases.

Other authors of the study are Anthony Braga of Harvard University and Glenn L. Pierce of Northeastern University.

The study was carried out through the Safety and Justice Program within the RAND Infrastructure, Safety and Environment Division.


McCain -- is he eligible to be president?
He does not meet requirements of the Constitution

Tom Kovach
Tom Kovach
February 2, 2008

A lot of naysayers have made light of the strict Constitutionist views of presidential candidates Alan Keyes, Ron Paul, and former candidate Tom Tancredo. Now, those men just might be in a position to have the final say over "mainstream" candidates such as Senator John McCain. Why? It turns out that Republican candidate McCain might need to drop out of the presidential race, despite his recent win in the Florida primary, because he is not eligible to fill the office of president.

John McCain is not a natural born citizen of the United States! He was born in the Panama Canal Zone.

There are only three requirements in the Constitution for the office of president. Article II, Section 1, Paragraph 5 requires that a candidate for president must be: a) a natural born citizen of the United States (emphasis added), b) at least 35 years of age, and c) having been a resident of the United States for at least 14 years. By its language, the Constitution — especially the Fourteenth Amendment — makes a distinction between a "citizen" and a "natural born citizen." A more lenient requirement to be only a "citizen," under Article I, Section 3, Paragraph 3, allows McCain to be a senator.

Senator McCain was a third-generation naval officer. His quick reaction to an intense fire on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal was a product not only of his fighter-pilot training, but also of being the son and the grandson of US Navy admirals. The question of Senator McCain's eligibility for the office of president does not in any way call into question the positive details of his military service record.

That said, however, it should be noted that many Prisoner of War advocates actually criticize ex-POW McCain for blocking efforts to document and release Prisoners of War! On that point alone, many in the military and veteran communities would refuse to support McCain under any circumstances. Sadly, there are also POWs from our recent and current Middle East wars. (Disclosure: this writer, who would definitely not vote for McCain, is a member of Rolling Thunder, which is active in the cause to support and free our POWs.)

A discussion of the McCain candidacy is incomplete without mentioning the Prisoner of War issue, because his ex-POW status is an integral part of both McCain the man and McCain the candidate. However, the key point in this column is not where McCain has been, nor where he wants to go, but whether he is authorized to go there.

Authority is at the heart of the question. The Constitution is the supreme legal authority of the land. Yet, when politically convenient, the Big Two political parties have ignored the Constitution. (Disclosure: this writer is a state official with the Constitution Party.) We are currently in a war (actually, two — not counting the ongoing "security operations" in several other countries) with no Constitutionally-required declaration of war. The Constitution also requires the president to use the military (not police!) to secure our borders. Yet, for years, Senator McCain has been a well-known proponent of amnesty for illegal aliens. That fact, alone, should disqualify him from running for president, because his actions reveal his clear intent not to "support, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

And, the clear and simple language of the previously-cited paragraph of our Constitution makes it clear that Senator John McCain is not eligible to become the president of the United States. Although he is a citizen of the United States, he is not a natural born citizen. That requirement can only be changed by a Constitutional amendment. And, if he is to be true to his oath to "support, protect, and defend" the Constitution as it now stands, then Senator McCain should withdraw from the presidential race immediately. Opinions on this topic are welcome on my talk show, which airs live on Sunday morning at 0800 (that's 8am, for civilians) Central Time.

Tom Kovach lives near Nashville, is a former USAF Blue Beret, and has written for several online publications. In 2006, he published his first book. He is also an inventor, a horse wrangler, a certified paralegal, and a network talk-radio host. He is available to speak to your group. To learn more, visit:

© Copyright 2008 by Tom Kovach


Weapons Arsenal Is Found at Home of Columbia Professor

January 20, 2008

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Police stumbled upon a bomb-making factory Sunday in the home of a Columbia professor who specializes in the spread of infectious disease and are now investigating whether he and his roommate have any connection to terror.

One of the pipe bombs was described as being inserted into a Nerf football. Investigators with the NYPD and FBI were questioning Ivaylo Ivanov, a native of Bulgaria, to determine whether he has any terrorism or Russian Mafia connections, a source told New York’s Daily News.

An arsenal of weapons and explosive devices was found in the Brooklyn Heights apartment of a Columbia University professor yesterday morning after the professor’s roommate accidentally shot himself, police said.

Police said they removed seven homemade pipe bombs, a 9 mm handgun, a rifle, a crossbow and arrows, a machete, ammunition, gun silencers, and several bulletproof vests from a small one-bedroom apartment at 58 Remsen St. that neighbors say is owned by Michael Clatts, an AIDS researcher at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health and the National Development and Research Institutes.

The arsenal was discovered after a man who also lived in the one-bedroom attic apartment, identified by sources as Ivaylo Ivanov, 31, shot himself in the hand.

After telling police officers on patrol on Montague Terrace that someone had shot him at around 1 a.m. on Sunday, he was taken to Long Island College Hospital, where he later admitted to police that he had shot himself.

A downstairs neighbor, Penny Kaufman, said she escorted police to the fourth floor apartment at around 3:30 a.m. yesterday to help them subdue the two men’s dog. Through the door of the apartment, Ms. Kaufman, a legal secretary, said she saw a handgun and several bullets lying on a desk chair near the door. She also saw blood smeared on a wall near the light switch and towels balled up in the sinks and bathtub.

“The apartment was in total disarray,” she said.


Looks like:

A) Cool woodworking project for Boy Scouts or something
B) No fun to reload.