Daily Archives: March 12, 2007

What do you call a permanent surge?

The total of troops in the surge apparently is a fluid number. On top of the 21,500 that President Bush ordered in January, he now has approved 8,200 more for deployment in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The White House said Saturday that the 4,700 additional troops going to Iraq will be in support roles rather than combat. But the news raises new questions about the surge’s true size and duration. It’s beginning to look like the surge will continue "well beyond the summer," in the words of Gen. David Petraeus, the commander in Iraq.
Posted by Rhonda Holman

Gonzales under fire for attorney firings, FBI abuses

"For the sake of the nation, Attorney General (Alberto) Gonzales should step down," Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Sunday on CBS’ "Face the Nation." He added that Gonzales "doesn’t accept or doesn’t understand that he is no longer just the president’s lawyer, but has a higher obligation to the rule of law and the Constitution."
Gonzales is under fire for the firing of eight U.S. attorneys and for an inspector general’s audit released last week that said the FBI improperly and illegally used the USA Patriot Act to obtain information.
Two fellow Senate Judiciary Committee members joined Schumer in criticizing Gonzales but stopped short of calling for his resignation or firing. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said on "Face the Nation" that "I do think there have been lots of problems." And Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., claimed on CNN’s "Late Edition" that Gonzales "has lost the confidence of the vast majority of the American people" and of Congress.
Meanwhile, when asked Sunday in Uruguay about the inspector general’s report, President Bush said that he has "confidence in" Gonzales.
Posted by Phillip Brownlee

Mayoral Menus

Wichita’s Amy Godsey gets the winner’s prize for her caption this week.We thought it was short and sweet and still managed to convey an opinion about our culinary choices in the upcoming mayoral election. Here are some of the other contenders. Evelyn Tarpy of Wichita said, "Let’s just wait for the consultant’s review." Bruce Cole, also of Wichita, had a couple of good ones: "Say, this IS different…food joints with no road construction around ‘em!" and "Those aren’t the real guys. They’re mannequins on loan from Wichita Police." Nancy Mueller sent in "Which one do you suppose will be the easiest to stomach?" Kelly VanDegrift of Wichita submitted "Taste like chicken." Mike Crabtree of Wichita said "Man, they never stop trying to feed us a bunch of bull!" Belle Plaine’s Richard Julius wanted to know "Where’s the beef?" Karen Wallace got a bit puny with "Who said Havana backup plan wouldn’t work?" She also came up with "Dine in, takeout and catered, but who’ll deliver?" Good question.

Open thread

Exactly who is a terrorist?

Marwan Jabour, a Palestinian, spent more than two years in CIA custody, mostly in Afghanistan, during which time he said he was stripped naked, chained to walls, bound into painful “stress positions,” sleep deprived and relentlessly interrogated. He told his story to reporters at the Washington Post, relating his arrest and incarceration in “black sites,” a system of secret CIA detainment centers in countries around the world.
Upon Jabour’s arrest, a U.S. official described him as “a committed jihadist and a hard-core terrorist who was intent on doing harm to innocent people, including Americans.”
The CIA released Jabour on June 30, 2006, just after the Supreme Court rejected the U.S. government’s assertion that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to prisoners such as Jabour. The article states that there is no U.S. government record available that shows Jabour was ever detained.
Congress must take a stand for human rights to ensure that American operatives don’t add more terror to the war on terror.
Posted by Patrice Hein

Public officials should fly AirTran

Nearly five years into the Fair Fares initiative, this should go without saying: Whenever possible, leaders of the city of Wichita and Sedgwick County should fly AirTran Airways, the airline that’s being supported by public dollars and has been responsible for keeping eastbound airfares affordable at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport. So it was troubling to see, as reported recently by KWCH, Channel 12, that Mayor Carlos Mayans had flown AirTran only twice since 2004, both times for trips regarding contract talks with the airline. Even going east, Mayans mostly has flown American Airlines, sometimes earning frequent-flier miles for his business trips. He told KWCH: “Frequent-flier miles are not a factor on my travel. The main factor is price because the taxpayers are paying.” But taxpayers also are paying to keep AirTran here. If Wichita is to hang onto both AirTran and the low fares it leverages on other carriers, people must favor AirTran when they fly.
Posted by Rhonda Holman

Will Tiahrt draw a serious challenger?

According to Topeka-based Hawver’s Capitol Report, the most-discussed names of possible Democratic challengers to Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard, are state Sen. Donald Betts and Reps. Jim Ward and Raj Goyle, all of Wichita. Any of them would be more of a re-election challenge than Tiahrt has had in years.
Posted by Rhonda Holman

Brownback walked tall in little Parker

An Associated Press story about Sen. Sam Brownback’s Linn County hometown of Parker, population 281, further fills out the wannabe president’s overachieving youth. Besides being vice president of the national Future Farmers of America and student council president, Sam was so big into parliamentary procedure and speechmaking that he earned the nickname “governor.” He also played quarterback, ran the mile and had a keen interest in entomology. Check out the 1974 yearbook picture of Brownback from Prairie View High School, plaid jacket and all.
Posted by Rhonda Holman