So now we know he did see a UFO. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) in an Oct. 30 presidential debate at Drexel University confirmed the account that has bordered on legend: "I did, it was an unidentified flying object, OK?" But the three top Democratic presidential contenders otherwise stole the limelight as Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) made good on his pledge to be more aggressive in targeting front-runner Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) joined in the fray. "Will she be the person who brings about change in this country?" asked Edwards. "I believe in Santa Claus. I believe in the tooth fairy. But I don't think that's going to happen."
Prospects for retired federal judge Michael Mukasey to be confirmed as U.S. attorney general, all but certain just a few weeks ago, dimmed further Oct. 31 after he again refused to equate waterboarding with torture. Freshman Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee where confirmation is pending, announced he would oppose Mukasey's confirmation: "If we allow the president of the United States to prevent or to forbid a would-be attorney general of the United States . . . from recognizing that bright line, we will have turned down that dark stairway."
The number of violent military and civilian deaths in Iraq has continued to fall, according to multiple sources. Iraqi interior, defense, and health ministry data show 554 Iraqis killed and the bodies of another 333 people who may have been killed in previous months found in October. Those numbers contrast with a record 2,000 Iraqi civilians killed in January. In October 39 U.S. military personnel died in combat-compared with more than 100 a month April-June and 65 killed in September.
Roadside bombs are also trending down, Army Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno announced in Baghdad Nov. 1. In October there were 30 attacks involving what the military calls "explosively formed projectiles" (EFPs) and 23 more were found unexploded for a total of 53. That compares with 99 in July, 78 in August, and 52 in September.
A suicide bomb attack killed at least six people and injured 11 near Pakistan's army headquarters in the city of Rawalpindi Oct. 30. Officials said the blast occurred not far from a high-security compound containing army headquarters and the office of President Pervez Musharraf. Musharraf was in his office at the time of the blast discussing the security situation with senior officials, but wasn't hurt. This is the third bombing in Rawalpindi in the past two months, including a double suicide bombing in September that killed 25 people. In October 139 people were killed when bombers in Karachi attacked the motorcade of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
World crude oil prices rose to record highs of about $95 a barrel, inching toward the inflation-adjusted all-time high of $101.80 in April 1980. Soaring oil prices are hitting China hardest, with scarcity of diesel fuel forcing truckers to line up for supplies. One man was killed by another customer Oct. 30 in Henan Province after jumping in line to buy gasoline, and shortages are reported even in Beijing, where some gas station managers say they are rationing fuel. Oil-producing nations aren't immune from price wars: The Iranian government raised gas prices by 25 percent and continues to ration fuel, with protests in Tehran and several gas stations being torched.
Man Knows Not His Time
Paul Tibbets, who piloted the B-29 bomber Enola Gay that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, died Nov. 1. He was 92. Tibbets' historic mission in the plane named for his mother marked the beginning of the end of World War II but no end of controversy for the 30-year-old colonel. "I'm not proud that I killed 80,000 people, but I'm proud that I was able to start with nothing, plan it, and have it work as perfectly as it did," he said in a 1975 interview. Tibbets had requested no funeral and no headstone, fearing it would provide his detractors with a place to protest.
If there were stock in carrots and sticks, I would direct my broker to buy some because virtually all of the Democratic presidential candidates in Philadelphia on Oct. 30 said these are their weapons of choice in confronting Iran's nuclear threat. Some would use "vigorous diplomacy" (that should strike fear into the heart of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad). Sen. Barack Obama said he would "convene a meeting of Muslim leaders." Which ones? And what carrots could he offer them that would prevent them from using a stick on us? The sellout of Israel, perhaps? The withdrawal of all American troops and presence from all Muslim lands, as many say they want? Allowing more mosques and Islamic schools that teach hatred of America, Jews, and Christians into the United States?
Democrats claim terrorism has nothing to do with Iran and Iraq. Sen. Hillary Clinton said the only reason she would leave a token force in Iraq is to fight al-Qaeda there. But Iraq is about far more than al-Qaeda. How would U.S. forces distinguish between an al-Qaeda fighter and someone else? Maybe they could be given special driver's licenses like New York Governor Eliot Spitzer proposes for the illegal aliens in his state. -© 2007 Tribune Media Services, Inc.