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Thursday, September 7, 2006

Morning News

Posted by on September 7 at 8:13 AM

Tony Blair announces he’s going to resign within a year in response to a “growing revolt” within his party.

U.S. hands over control of the Iraqi Army and Navy to Iraqi authorities… well, at least ceremonially.

Only in California: UCLA decides to take a “holistic approach” to admissions, hoping to increase its black student population by viewing achievments “in context of life experiences.”

The link between aging and cancer: Scientists discover a gene that supresses stem cells as people age - trying to reduce the risk of cancer.

The Energy Department is building a supercomputer to guard the nuclear cache at Los Alamos — and they’re using technology created for the Playstation 3.

Pot Kills!!: No, seriously. Thirty Berkeley students eat pot brownies at a party and call the police describing a “feeling of doom.”

The Building Industry Association of Washington released campaign ads in the Gerry Alexander vs. John Groen state Supreme Court race that attribute Alexander’s rulings to his age, saying “When it’s your time, you know it. You’re tired, you get sloppy, you make mistakes.” During the Stranger’s interview with Alexander in July, the justice said he didn’t think Groen was attacking him for being old. Now, he says it’s “insulting.” Groen, being a weasel, said he couldn’t comment.

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That "holistic approach" to admissions is most decidedly *not* limited to California, Sarah. Many universities have struggled with the identical issue and have come up with fairly similar plans, including the University of Washington, just this last year. The problem is, if you focus on raw grades and SAT scores, you might cut out minority students who can do college level-work, but show their readiness in less-objective ways. The new plans give the admissions officers a way to look at more than numbers.

It's Berkeley. Three e's.

No, it's "Berzerkeley." With a z.

Pot Kills!?! Sounds like the way to go when I get tired of my sober "feeling of doom" (which probably won't be ever). Sadness keeps it real!

This has been the Brrrklee Report.

Ohh if we're going to start guarding our nukes with play stations I am SO applying for the job.

Freshmen college students drinking and eating pot brownies... a feeling of doom... classes start next week... butterflies in the stomach... sounds kind of normal... except now they need to figure out to explain that stomach pumping bill to mom and dad.

Too bad for them they just didn't drink some water and go to sleep.Aren't Berkeley students supposed to be smart or something?

Weasel? Hey, watch it buddy. Some of my best friends are weasels.

Eh? Come again?

No, once was enough, Gerry.

When I saw the pot brownie story I was hoping it happened at my former co-op, and yay! it was! The central co-op organization tried to clean the drugs out shortly after I graduated, but Cloyne Court will always be druggy! I'm so proud of us.

Berkeley w/three "e"s, no "z"s, damn it.

Bullies Update: The Stranger & other atavistic goons from the Clinton-Flynt insurgency are in full censorious suppression mode against ABC. Two count-'em 2 threads in yesterday's Slog whimper & whine about the unfairness of placing 9/11 on the continuum that continued from al Qaeda's attack on America in 1993, and through bin Laden's 1996 declaration of war on America.

ABC's movie goes easy on Clinton/Flynt's terror weasels, Clarke & Berger, here's the rest of the story from the WSJ:

Berger on the 'Wall'
The election debate behind the documents-in-pants caper.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004 12:01 a.m.

We'll grant that visions of a former National Security Adviser stuffing classified documents down his trousers or socks makes for good copy. But count us more interested in learning what's in the documents themselves than in where on his person Sandy Berger may have put them when he was sneaking them out of the National Archives.
For the evidence suggests that the missing material cuts to the heart of the choice offered in this election: Whether America treats terrorism as a problem of law enforcement or an act of war.

Mr. Berger admits to having deliberately taken handwritten notes he'd made out of the Archives reading room. On the more serious charges involving the removal (and subsequent discarding) of highly classified documents--including drafts of a key, after-action memo Mr. Berger had himself ordered on the U.S. response to al Qaeda threats in the run-up to the Millennium--he maintains he did so "inadvertently."

There's only one way to clear away the political smoke: Release all the drafts of the review Mr. Berger took from the room.

If it's all as innocent as Mr. Berger's friends are saying, there's no reason not to make them public. But there are good reasons for questioning Mr. Berger's dog-ate-my-homework explanation. To begin with, he was not simply preparing for his testimony before the 9/11 Commission. He was the point man for the Clinton Administration, reviewing and selecting the documents to be turned over to the Commission.

Written by Richard Clarke for the NSC, the key document was called the Millennium After-Action Review because it dealt with al Qaeda attacks timed for the eve of the Millennium celebrations. In his own 9/11 testimony, Mr. Berger described these al Qaeda plans as "the most serious threat spike of our time in government." He went on to say that they provoked "sustained attention and rigorous actions" from the Administration that ended up saving lives.

But Attorney General John Ashcroft, who has the advantage of having read the document in question, had a different take. In his own 9/11 testimony in April, Mr. Ashcroft recommended that the Commission "study carefully" the after-action memo. He described it as laying out vulnerabilities and calling for aggressive remedies of the type he and the Bush Administration have been criticized for. Mr. Ashcroft further noted that when he took office, this "highly classified review" was "not among" the items he was briefed on during the transition.

Maybe that is because of the potential for embarrassment at the mentality the memo reveals. Mr. Ashcroft testified that the Justice Department's "surveillance and FISA operations were specifically criticized for their glaring weaknesses." The most glaring, of course, were the restrictions on the sharing of critical information between intelligence and law enforcement--even within the FBI itself. This was the infamous "wall of separation" that Clinton Deputy AG Jamie Gorelick instructed the FBI director should "go beyond what is legally required."

From today's vantage we can see the consequences. Ahmed Ressam was one of the would-be Millennium bombers whom the French had identified to U.S. intelligence agencies as an al Qaeda operative planning to attack America. But the "wall of separation" meant that when an alert U.S. customs officer stopped Ressam as he tried to enter the country from Vancouver, the Justice Department had no idea who he was. This helps illuminate the claim made in the missing memo, according to Mr. Ashcroft's testimony, that our success in stopping these 1999 attacks was a result of sheer "luck."
Assuming Mr. Ashcroft's characterizations under oath are true, it would explain why Mr. Berger's "inadvertent" actions seemed to zero in on the various drafts of this review. Sources tell us that Archives staff noticed documents missing after one of Mr. Berger's visits. After gently raising the issue with him, they were shocked to have him return other documents they hadn't even noticed missing. The result was that the next time Mr. Berger went to the Archives, the documents he was given were all marked.

Mr. Berger attributes the disappearance of this classified information to the kind of "sloppiness" that comes from reviewing "thousands of pages of documents." But it strikes us as amazing that mere sloppiness could account for how Mr. Berger seized on the same memo during two different visits.

We're not interested in rehashing what the Clinton Administration or even Mr. Berger did or didn't do vis-a-vis the al Qaeda threat pre-9/11. Nor are we much interested about Mr. Berger's troubles with the law. What does interest us is what this memo might tell us about how America should respond to terror.
Given Mr. Berger's role (until he resigned yesterday) as a Kerry adviser, surely this is something worth debating. And if the missing memos say what Mr. Ashcroft has hinted they do, we can well understand why Mr. Berger would want to keep them in his trousers during a crucial election year.

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