Mukasey’s take on 2nd Amendment rights: it’s individual

Via Instapundit we have this post over at The War on Guns talking about Mukasey’s stance on the Second Amendment. David Codrea quotes an NYT piece where Senator Dick “The Weasel” Durbin sputters on about how Muskasey agrees with the Bush Administration “when it comes to retroactive immunity and the Second Amendment” because of what Mukasey told him in an interview. Mukasey reportedly believes the Second Amendment protects an individual right.

Good for him.

Go have a look over at The War on Guns if you’re interested in all things firearm. Looks like a nice place.

Clinton campaign admits to a planted question at Iowa town hall meeting

Well, at least this time it wasn’t an agency of Homeland Security that planted a staff member in the crowd of questioners to toss a scripted question at the podium. Hillary Clinton’s campaign has admitted to planting a global warming question at a town hall meeting in Iowa this past Tuesday.

According to a report on the Grinnell University Web site, the Clinton campaign arranged for some of the questions for the candidate to be asked by college students:

“On Tuesday Nov. 6, the Clinton campaign stopped at a biodiesel plant in Newton as part of a weeklong series of events to introduce her new energy plan. The event was clearly intended to be as much about the press as the Iowa voters in attendance, as a large press core helped fill the small venue….

“After her speech, Clinton accepted questions. But according to Grinnell College student Muriel Gallo-Chasanoff ’10, some of the questions from the audience were planned in advance. ‘They were canned,’ she said. Before the event began, a Clinton staff member approached Gallo-Chasanoff to ask a specific question after Clinton’s speech. ‘One of the senior staffers told me what [to ask],’ she said.

“Clinton called on Gallo-Chasanoff after her speech to ask a question: what Clinton would do to stop the effects of global warming. Clinton began her response by noting that young people often pose this question to her before delving into the benefits of her plan.

“But the source of the question was no coincidence — at this event ‘they wanted a question from a college student,’ Gallo-Chasanoff said.”

So, it wasn’t enough to just get the softball question up to Clinton, they had to cast the right speaker as well. Given Clinton’s answer, specifically the reference to “young people,” I find it incredibly difficult to believe that she didn’t know to expect that kind of question from that specific kind of person. It shows Clinton’s lack of confidence in her ability to deal with events that she’s not completely coached for and it also shows her contempt for the concerns of the locals. Iowans were asking her what Iowans are concerned with. That’s just not good enough for the Clinton campaign. They want to dictate the issues we’re all going to be concerned about and, it appears, they’ll resort to subterfuge to get that done, if need be.

How can we trust that a person who’ll do this will be straight with us once elected? Would such a person actually deal with the problems we all see or just try to push her own perception on us, faking the questions so she can give us the answers she wants to give?

And this is going to be the Democrat nominee for the Presidency next year. Think about that.

Army discovers critical flaw with new UH-72A Lakota helicopter

The US Army’s new light helicopter, the UH-72A Lakota, is just starting to come on-line but they’ve discovered a rather critical flaw. The ship shows problems with overheating in environments that are considered warm but well below the average temperatures of the areas the Army is currently deployed.

During flight tests in Southern California in mild, 80-degree weather, cockpit temperatures in the UH-72A Lakota soared above 104, the point at which the Army says the communication, navigation and flight control systems can overheat and shut down.

No cockpit equipment failed during the nearly 23 hours of testing, according to the Pentagon report, prepared in July. But the report concluded that the aircraft “is not effective for use in hot environments.”

The Army told the AP that to fix the cockpit overheating problem, it will take the highly unusual step of adding air conditioners to many of the 322 helicopters ordered.

The retrofitting will cost at least $10 million and will come out of the Army’s budget, according to the Army.

The military doesn’t like to put air conditioners in tactical aircraft for a few simple reasons. First, they increase maintenance requirements. Second, they add weight to the ship. Third, because of that second reason, ships so equipped have a lower usable payload than ships that don’t have to have them.

The overheating is a serious issue when you consider the most likely deployment locations of our military over the next phases of this war we’re in. The ship was designed by and is built by EADS North America. (EADS is the European Aeronautic Defence And Space Company.) I have to wonder if their Euro-inspired design process didn’t consider such hotter climates due to their experience with European weather patterns.

Congressman Duncan Hunter is calling for the termination of the purchase – the contract was for 322 of the light choppers – and for the Army to just buy Blackhawks instead. While the Blackhawk is obviously a capable aircraft, there was a reason the Army put out the call for a light helicopter instead of simply thinking of the Blackhawk instead. They were looking for a lighter, smaller ship and I can’t see that the flaw in the Lakota’s systems has erased the requirements they were thinking of. I’m not against canceling the purchase contract if the ship can’t do what the Army needs it to do but they need to have something to buy instead of Blackhawks.

Bridge over Anacostia River in DC collapses under freight train.

Perhaps they should have given maintenance some of the budget after all.

An old railroad bridge collapsed Friday and several cars of a freight train dumped coal and small amounts chemicals into the Anacostia River.

No one was injured, and the oil and hydraulic fluid that spilled into the water were quickly contained, said Allan Etter, a D.C. Fire Department spokesman.

Investigators were not sure whether the derailment of ten cars or the collapse came first, said Bob Sullivan, a spokesman for CSX Transportation Inc.

The bridge is owned by the National Park Service and leased to CSX, which also owns the train and the tracks, Etter said. It had not been used in about a year, Sullivan said.

The Federal Rail Administration was investigating the cause of the accident, Etter said. Fire inspectors found the bridge to be in serious disrepair and not structurally sound, he said.

I’m afraid this is a story we’re going to be seeing more and more of as time goes on and Congress remains unserious about our public infrastructure. We’ve got a lot of bridges that are decades old and, unlike toasters, it’s cheaper to maintain them than to buy a new one.