Monday, January 10, 2011

Crew among fatalities in Iran Air Boeing 727 crash in Iran

by B. N. Sullivan

An Iran Air Boeing 727-200 aircraft (registration EP-IRP) has crashed in northwestern Iran, in Azerbaijan province, killing more than 70 of those on board, including all  crew members.  Iran Air Flight IR 277 from Tehran-Mehrabad (THR) reportedly crashed into mountainous terrain following a missed approach at Urmia (Orumiyeh) Airport (OMH).  The accident happened on January 9, 2011 at about 19:45 local time.

The exact number of people on board Flight IR 277 is unclear.   An accident post on the Aviation Safety Network website says, "ISNA quotes the Roads and Transportation Secretary stating there were 94 passengers and eleven crew members on board. Fars News Agency reports 93 passengers and twelve crew members."

A BBC News article about the accident, quoting Iran's Fars news agency, says there were 33 survivors.

The same BBC article quoted a Red Crescent official who said that "the plane had broken into several pieces, but there was no explosion or fire."

The weather at Urmia Airport was said to be poor at the time of the accident.

UPDATE:  The Aviation Herald reports:
Iran's Transport Ministry said, that there was no emergency.  According to tower tapes the pilot aborted the approach when he could not establish visual contact with the runway at decision height and went around indicating they wanted to return to Tehran.  33 people have been taken to hospitals, 73 have perished.
METARS (via the Aviation Herald):

OITR 091800Z 29004KT 0500 +SN SCT015 SCT020 OVC060 00/00 Q1016
OITR 091750Z 29004KT 0500 +SN SCT015 SCT020 OVC060 00/00 Q1016
OITR 091700Z 33004KT 0600 +SN SCT015 SCT020 OVC060 00/00 Q1016
OITR 091650Z 33004KT 0600 +SN SCT015 SCT020 OVC060 00/00 Q1016
OITR 091600Z 26004KT 0800 SN SCT015 SCT020 OVC060 00/00 Q1016

OITR 091550Z 26004KT 0800 SN SCT015 SCT020 OVC060 00/00 Q1016
OITR 091500Z 24006KT 0800 +SN SCT015 SCT020 OVC060 00/00 Q1015

The Associated Press posted this video clip about the Iran Air accident on YouTube.

If the video does not play or display properly above, click here to view it on YouTube.

Clinton: Sanctions Slowing Iran’s Nuclear Efforts

by VOA News on January 10, 2011

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says international sanctions have made it "much more difficult" for Iran to pursue its nuclear ambitions.

Speaking to university students Monday in Abu Dhabi, Clinton said the sanctions have been working, and that technological problems have "slowed down" Iran's program.

The United States and many western nations say Iran is trying to produce a nuclear weapon.  Iran says its nuclear activities are peaceful.

Clinton is scheduled to meet Monday with the president of the United Arab Emirates, as well as officials from Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

She is on a three-nation tour of the Persian Gulf seeking Arab support for the new Iraqi government and tougher penalties against Iran for its nuclear activities.  Clinton also will make stops in Oman and Qatar.

On Sunday, Clinton told reporters that Iran "remains a serious concern" no matter when it might be able to produce a nuclear weapon.  She urged countries in the region that do business with Iran "to do everything within reason" to help ensure that economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic are enforced.

Clinton did not dispute the views of Israel's newly retired intelligence chief Meir Dagan, published on Friday, that Iran may not have nuclear weapons capability before 2015.

State Department officials say she will brief Gulf leaders on U.S. expectations for the next round of nuclear talks with Iran, scheduled for late next week in Istanbul. They said the top U.S. diplomat also will discuss ways to help Gulf nations better adhere to U.N. sanctions against Iran.

On Iraq, State Department officials say she will urge more countries in the area to open embassies in Baghdad.

In Qatar Thursday, Clinton will participate in the Forum of the Future, a civil society initiative joining Arab countries and the Group of Eight industrialized countries. The forum brings together government leaders and members of non-governmental organizations.

Clinton acknowledged Sunday that one reason for her trip is to contain fallout from the release of classified diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks  late last year that revealed deep mistrust of Iran by Sunni Arab leaders who must deal with an increasingly emboldened Shi'ite neighbor.

This is Clinton's second trip to the Gulf in as many months.  She participated in a global security conference in Bahrain in early December.

Jared Loughner Shooting Spree: ‘Left-Wing Pothead’ or Sarah Palin’s Fault!

Posted By Beth Shaw

Jared Loughner
We experienced a horrific tragedy last week when Jared Loughner, an obviously seriously disturbed 22-year-old man, walked into a crowd and began firing at people who had gathered to meet-and-greet U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Predictably, people began politicizing the incident right out of the gate.
Most of the vitriolic rhetoric came from groups like DailyKos, just as soon and they scrubbed their own web site of left-wing threats to Congresswoman Giffords, they began accusing the right-wing of threatening her. The accusations were and are unfounded.

But let’s not let the facts get in the way of an opportunity to politically divide people and lets certainly not let a good tragedy go to waste.

It turns out Loughner had it out for Giffords since he met with her at one of her Congress on Your Corner meetings in 2007 and thought she had responded to his questions in a disrespectful manner.

Naturally, all of the finger-pointing and calls for the heads of Sarah Palin and the Tea Party started before any real facts were in. Loughner’s ideologies apparently leaned to the left. Not that where his ideologies leaned mattered. His problems appear to have more to do with psychosis than with politics. As a former therapist I would hazard a guess that his psychiatric evaluations are likely to come up with a diagnosis that might read something like paranoid schizophrenia. But that’s jut a guess, made from a distant and from just reading some of his writings. I’m not the only one who sees schizophrenia in his behaviors and words.

But as the Obama Administration said, never let a tragedy go to waste. Jump right in and start using it to divide and hopefully conquer your political enemies. That’s been tried, and has worked in the past. The Reichstag fire comes to mind.

In the midst of the politicizing of this tragedy we forget the victims of it. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who are injured and their families as well as the families of those who were killed.

You can watch Jared Loughner burning an American flag in the video he made below. Some more of his seriously disturbed videos can be seen here.

Deion Sanders and Marshall Faulk Lead 15 Finalists for NFL Hall of Fame

If Sanders and Faulk are not 1st ballot Hall of Famers I will simply take my Michael Jackson white glove and slapped every single Hall of Fame voter in the face.

With that out of the way lets take a look at the rest of the candidates.

Tim Brown, Cris Carter, Dermontti Dawson, Richard Dent, Chris Doleman, Charles Haley, Cortez Kennedy, Andre Reed, Ed Sabol and Shannon Sharpe, Jerome Bettis and Curtis Martin.
You can elected up to seven players.

My personal selections would be:
Sanders, Faulk, Dermontti Dawson, Charles Haley, Cris Carter and Shannon Sharpe

Even though he isn’t on ballot I would write in Ray Guy as well.
Who would be your picks?

Nets Still Trying to Trade for Carmelo Anthony..New Deal Includes 15 Players

I will give the Nets this, they are persistent.

They have been trying for months to get this deal done with the Nuggets and have tried to include almost every team in the NBA to get it done.

The current deal in place is about is good as it is going to get, we will see if it will be enough.
A three-team deal involving the Detroit Pistons that would include at least 15 players — with Rip Hamilton and Chauncey Billups winding up in New Jersey with Anthony — could be completed as soon as this week, sources said.
The primary elements of the scenario currently on the table, sources said, call for New Jersey to acquire Anthony, Billups and Hamilton; Denver to land Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, Anthony Morrow and at least two first-round picks; and Detroit to acquire Troy Murphy and Johan Petro.
Just like all the other deals there are problems. Mainly Billups doesn’t want to go to New Jersey and has already said he would want a buyout. Billups can’t block a trade, so he may have to go whether he likes it or not.

Then of course you have Anthony’s willingness to sign an extension.

The Nets seem to believe Anthony desire to have his money locked in before a new CBA is signed (which will restrict salaries) will override his desire to play for the Knicks.

I am not to sure about that, but first the trade has to be agree upon.

I won’t believe it until it is officially announce and neither should you.

US ambassador summoned by Iceland FM over Wikileaks Twitter subpoena

This weekend saw the revelation that a Virginia court has, on behalf of the US government, ordered the communications website Twitter to hand over all personal information about certain individuals linked to Wikileaks; including Icelandic MP Birgitta Jonsdottir.
Iceland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the American ambassador Luis E. Arreaga to a meeting this morning after the American government ordered personal information to be released by Twitter in the run-up to a possible lawsuit against Wikileaks. One of the people affected is Birgitta Jonsdottir, a sitting member of parliament for The Movement and a member of the Foreign Policy Committee.

The ministry undersecretary and an international law specialist sat the meeting on behalf of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, reports.

They called for more information from Washington and expressed their deep concern that a criminal investigation should be directed at a sitting member of the Althingi parliament in such a manner. Birgitta Jonsdottir enjoys parliamentary immunity within Iceland and her colleagues in Althingi are supporting her, for the most part.

According to Urdur Gunnarsdottir, information officer at the Ministry, the Icelandic side also stressed to the US ambassador that there should be no further hindrance to Jonsdottir’s political work; including the freedom to travel and the ability to take full part in international political discussions.

Visir reported earlier that Jonsdottir is on her way to Canada to give a speech on the progress of the Iceland Modern Media Initiative (an idea put forward by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, under which Iceland hopes to become a haven for legally-enshrined free speech). Her plans changed at the last minute and she will now change flights in London instead of in the USA, as had been her original travel itinerary.

In gathering evidence for a possible legal case against Wikileaks, there has so far been no indication that Birgitta Jonsdottir personally did anything illegal — a fact which makes the case particularly strange. It is highly unusual for a government to target a serving parliamentarian in an allied nation in this way. Jonsdottir is in consultation with American lawyers to appeal the court’s decision and the Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs has committed to defending her.

That was fast: Detroit Free Press links Sarah Palin to Arizona Shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ)

Blood was still drying at the scene of the crime in Arizona where US Rep Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head and several other were killed. What's the Detroit Free Press to do? Link Sarah Palin to the shooting of course. Little did they know at 5:35pm when the story posted that the Man who shot AZ Congresswoman in the head is a left-wing lunatic. His favorite book? The communist manifesto. This is what the front page of th efreep looked like yesterday evening:
Featured prominently on the front page: Sarah Palin had Giffords in figurative crosshairs over health care vote
The Web is abuzz this afternoon with the shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and the fact that former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin had once placed the Congresswoman in figurative crosshairs to raise political funds.

...An image posted on Palin's Facebook page showed a U.S. map with 20 crosshairs representing districts for House Democrats who voted for the health care bill last year and faced tough reelection bids in the November midterm elections. One of those crosshairs was in Arizona's 8th district, to which Giffords was reelected in November.

The map, which has been removed from Palin's page, can still be seen in a posting from last March on the Huffington Post.
This was the map that Sarah Palin drew upon (via Verum Serum):
What 'technology columnist' Mark W. Smith of course fails to mention is that the Democrats had a map with bullseyes on them well before the Palin map, a fact I mentioned in a post from last year (theblogprof on "Off The Record" with Tim Skubick, April 9, 2010). Here's one that appears on this page of the Democratic Leadership Committee website (dated 2004 during the Bush years):

Note the bullseyes as I specifically recalled in the discussion and that the liberal blogger immediately deflected/denied. Now for even more via Verum Serum:
When Palin’s map became an issue, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, leader of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), rushed on MSNBC to denounce it, telling Chris Matthews:
I really think that that is crossing a line…In this particular environment I think it’s really dangerous to try and make your point in that particular way because there are people who are taking that kind of thing seriously.
Really, Chris? So what do you think about this map?
Each one of those red targets represents a “Targeted Republican” like this one:
There’s even a helpful legend that makes it clear that’s precisely what the little red targets represent:
You’ll never guess where I found this map. That’s right, it’s on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) website. They launched the site and the map on February 23rd of this last year, making it just over a month year old. And yet Van Hollen was quoted by Politico just today denouncing Republicans for “pouring more and more gasoline on the flames.” Right back at you, pal.

...Paul Krugman used the megaphone of the NY Times to state that Palin’s Facebook map went “far beyond politics as usual.” He further claimed, “you will search in vain for anything comparably menacing…from members of Congress.” Notice he didn’t say it was hard to find or rare. He said, in effect, that it didn’t exist. But since my search was not in vain, the Times should issue a correction noting that Krugman got it wrong.
Addendum: Big Jim at Gateway Pundit has dug up the ladies of the view discussing Palin’s map. Joy Behar says it looks like an “Al Qaeda Christmas card…” Will she have any similar comments for the DCCC?
Will Mark W Smith? The Detroit Free Press owes Sarah Palin an apology.

UPDATE: The liberal Daily Kos put a bullseye on Giffords in 2008 (via HillBuzz):
What say you, Mark W Smith?