I can't help but remember how long it took for the agent orange victims or the Gulf I syndrome to be recognized.
A potpourri of education, politics, family matters, and current events.
Friday, November 19, 2004
I can't help but remember how long it took for the agent orange victims or the Gulf I syndrome to be recognized.
Special education kids need help, reasonable people can argue WHERE is the best forum for them to receive services, but there is little argument that help should be given. Gifted children should also receive special attention, though they do so at far less frequent occurrences and do not seem to be quite as attractive a target group for help. There are many reasons given for the lack of concern for the most gifted, though little that they are underserved.
In any case, NCLB does not take into account the expected scores of any of these ‘special children.’ There is no doubt that a child performing at a 1st grade level in 7th grade is going to skew the school results downward; while a child that is ‘gifted’ and performing/testing at 12th grade level, does not really change the norm, by a significant amount. There are many more identified special needs children than gifted. The later are never going to compensate for the former.
I just checked out the Illinois site, focusing on my own children’s school districts. I have 3 children, 2 of whom completed grammar school in parochial school. The youngest attended public school from 3 grade. He was in gifted classes for third and fourth grades in one district.
We moved to another district when he was in 5th, ‘testing’ was over, so he was put into regular classroom, they would not consider previous placement for giftedness without testing, though they would have for special education. His placement continued until 8th grade, when behavior problems brought ‘giftedness’ to the principal’s attention.
In high school he was in honors and advanced placement classes, when appropriate. My oldest child, my daughter, attended one public high school for two years, another when we moved. My middle son attended the same public school for four years. All my kids are now at university level, I no longer have a ‘stake’ other than as a property owner.
Both districts are in DuPage County, Illinois. Overall, DuPage is wealthy, the districts are well funded: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DuPage_County,_Illinois . The first district was Elmhurst 205: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elmhurst,_Illinois info on 205 is here, http://iirc.niu.edu/Scripts/district.asp?districtID=190222050&test=all .
The other district was Glenbard 89 and HS District 87. District 89 is found here, http://iirc.niu.edu/Scripts/district.asp?districtID=190220890&test=all District 87 is found here, http://iirc.niu.edu/Scripts/district.asp?districtID=190220870&test=all check out the salaries at both. My kids went to Glenbard South, the one not on the ‘watch’ list.
So what is going on here? All these schools are well above the national norms and the state norms. Why are some of them on the ‘watch’ list? Because they haven’t ‘improved’ enough from where they were at a certain benchmark. Schools performing at an 85% or better level in 2001 are in serious trouble. This is not a small problem, property values and federal funds are at stake.
Should it be a given that 100% of children of wealthier parents are college bound? Believe it or not, some are Down’s children or have other problems. NCLB is not taking this into account. There is no accounting for children that are focusing on the ‘trades’ rather than the college prep curriculum. Mind you, in general these are schools with an over 85% college freshman send off.
While schools in Chicago, a school district I have more than a passing interest in, have more serious problems, what is going to happen to these more high achieving districts? In a few years, they could be forced to fund ‘alternative placements.’ I KNOW I would have liked my youngest to attend this school: http://averycoonley.il.schoolwebpages.com/education/school/school.php?sectionid=4533 Tuition it over $5k per year. Where are students to go in ‘upper income areas’ if their schools do not meet the requirements? Hey, prep schools out of reach of most are suddenly affordable, if the difference is given.
The ‘idea’ of NCLB is good, as are many laws, though the execution is far from the mark.
Ok, I Think Pay Pal Has Lost IT!
The absence of the above did not stop me from receiving this:
Dear PayPal member,
We regret to inform you that your PayPal account has been suspended due to concerns we have for the safety and integrity of the PayPal community. Per the User Agreement, Section 9, we may immediately issue a warning, temporarily suspend, indefinitely suspend or terminate your membership and refuse to provide our services to you if we believe that your actions may cause financial loss or legal liability for you, our users or us. We may also take these actions if we are unable to verify or authenticate any information you provide to us.Due to the suspension of this account, please be advised you are prohibited from using PayPal in any way. This includes the registering of a new account.
The fastest and the most efficient way of becoming unsuspended is by clicking on the link below, login into your account and provide us additional information.
Please note that any seller fees due to PayPal will immediately become due and payable. PayPal will charge any amounts you have not previously disputed to the billing method currently on file.
Now I do have a Pay Pal account, to send a few sheckles to those deserving. When I tried to access this account, it wanted me to re-enter my credit card info. For some reason, I became suspicious, skeptical me! Yet after sending Pay Pal a missive, which of course is not in my 'saved send' batch, basically saying, " Ummm, no thanks, please tell me what you are addressing. I do not use your service for solicitation, thus blah, blah."
I get back this:
Thank you for contacting PayPal.We appreciate you bringing this spam incident to our attention. We will investigate this incident fully and suspend the account of any PayPaluser who has violated our Anti-Spam policy. PayPal's referral program is meant to encourage people to introduce the benefits of PayPal to their friends and family, and to people they transact with online. It is not intended to encourage spam.
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For some reason, still don't feel comfortable sending them anymore information about me. Does bring to mind this:
I will try to get an answer to what the heck is going on, makes me very nervous that my credit card number is out there, I mean there must be at least $5 left on my credit limit. For some reason, I do not feel comfortable with them having my information. Think it's time to make sure my credit institutions will not accept payments. Sorry all those I was planning on sending a couple hundred to.
On Nov. 14, the United Kingdom, Germany and France announced that Tehran had agreed to temporarily freeze its uranium-enrichment program, which could otherwise quickly give Iran a nuclear bomb. Three days later, the Iranian dissidents who first exposed Tehran's uranium-enrichment program back in 2002 claimed Iran had a detailed, missile-deliverable Chinese nuclear warhead design and was enriching uranium at an undeclared military site. Pressed on these points, Secretary of State Colin Powell lent credence to the report by revealing that he'd seen intelligence that Iran was modifying its missiles to carry nuclear warheads.
Is Iran's deal with the European Three simply a bluff to buy more time to push a covert bomb program? If we want to prevent Iran's nuclear shenanigans from becoming a new international norm, we had better find out--and soon. The best way to do this is to get the European Three to hold off locking themselves into promised open-end talks next month on what to give Iran to maintain the freeze until the International Atomic Energy Agency can certify that Iran has no undeclared enrichment facilities.
Beyond this, the U.S., its partners and the IAEA board of governors need to challenge Iran and other nations' claims that they have a legal right to enrich uranium under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. This claim, unfortunately, is something the European Three deal explicitly concedes in its text. Challenge this and Iran will have to choose between staying in the NPT or bolting. Finally, against this and other proliferation contingencies, the U.S. and its partners need to toughen the nuclear rules in a country-neutral way that will restrain Tehran and other future Irans. A critical part of this effort would be for the U.S. to work with the IAEA to upgrade its outdated nuclear safeguards criteria, authorities and capabilities to cope with the post-9/11 world. Certainly, we've tried or discussed every other idea. All of them seem likely to fail.
Consider the latest idea that's now making the rounds: We should pull out all the stops to find out if Iran actually has a bomb before we act. The IAEA seems to be itching for this job. In his report to the upcoming board of governors meeting on Iran, Director General Mohamed El-Baradei noted that although the agency had no smoking gun, the agency was "not yet in a position to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran." He made it clear why: The agency, he noted, only had the authority to ferret out material discrepancies in declared civilian nuclear facilities; it lacked the authority to snoop for bombs.
Getting the members of the IAEA explicitly to have the agency spy for weapons though, seems an odd way to address nuclear proliferation. The whole idea behind the NPT and the IAEA, after all, was to inspect members' peaceful nuclear activities so that if the agency found discrepancies at declared facilities, appropriate action could be taken well before any bomb might be built. Certainly, if the IAEA board of governors holds off until clear evidence of a bomb project can be found, any hope of stemming the bomb's further spread will be even dimmer than it already is.
Another alternative that should be put aside is trying to bomb our way out of the problem set. Although this option has its proponents, neither we nor the Israelis can do it without making our current Middle East headaches much, much worse. We simply don't know where all of Iran's nuclear activities are. Nor can we target every Iranian nuclear engineer who surely will rebuild whatever might be bombed. With Iraq and the war on terrorism still at issue, waging war now with 69 million Iranians without clear legal cause would risk strategic failure.
If these options don't make sense and waiting on Iran to behave makes even less, what should we do? The simple answer is to start enforcing the rules.
A good place to begin would be to get the IAEA simply to undertake what it's already authorized and obligated to do--certify that Iran is not engaged in any undeclared uranium enrichment. Given that the latest accusations about Iran having a secret nuclear military enrichment facility came from the very group responsible for getting the IAEA into the business of investigating Iran's enrichment program, the lead demands investigation. This certification is one the IAEA board of governors should agree on before the European Three begin negotiations in December with Iran over what inducements the Europeans might give Tehran to restrain its nuclear activities.
Second, the U.S., its partners and the IAEA board of governors need to challenge, as the European Three have not, Iran's outrageous claim that it has an "inalienable right" to come within days of having a large arsenal's worth of nuclear-weapons materials. Certainly, the only right any non-weapons state has to develop nuclear energy under the NPT is if it is for "peaceful purposes" and such nuclear activities must be conducted "in conformity" with the treaty's clear prohibitions against directly or "indirectly" acquiring nuclear weapons. In addition, all such activities must be able to be safeguarded to verify against possible diversions to make nuclear weapons. If the IAEA and the NPT are to have any future in preventing proliferation, these qualifications need to be amplified and explicated starting with Iran.
Third, the U.S. and all other like-mined nations need to start arguing publicly, as several European governments already have, that no country, Iran included, can threaten to leave the NPT--and do so after accumulating the fruits of nuclear peaceful cooperation under false pretenses--without becoming an international outlaw. We let North Korea get away with this; we should not let Iran or any other nation do likewise.
Finally, the U.S. and the IAEA need to work much more closely in upgrading the agency's current safeguards criteria, authorities and capabilities, which are woefully out of date. With the spread of modern uranium-enrichment centrifuges, and highly detailed, tested missile-deliverable warhead designs (from Pakistani proliferator A.Q. Khan's transfers to Libya and beyond), the safeguards assumptions of 30 or more years ago no longer apply. It simply takes less material, time, money and overt activity to use peaceful nuclear activities to help make a bomb. We need to work closely with the IAEA to help it catch up. This will require money, technology and much firmer diplomacy. Clearly, the best place to begin is Iran.
Mr. Sokolski, executive director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center in Washington, is the editor of "Getting MAD: Nuclear Mutual Assured Destruction, Its Origins and Practice" (U.S. Army War College, 2004).
While I have my chores, not to mention finishing up on the institute for Friday, I am making list(s) for the kids. The younger, no fool is he, is working full time next week at Border's beginning Monday. His boss is begging him to come home weekends, but finals are coming up. The older is set for Christmas work, but no luck for this week, (Thank you, God!) Cleaning carpets, putting outdoor lights up, and tree are on the agenda. Daughter will come in Wednesday, filling the house with song.
Going to be a busy time, posting is going to be lighter. Final for grad class due 12/9. First institute next Wednesday. Hmmm, don't think I've gone out the evening before Thanksgiving since I was 24, time to revive that tradition.
The students will begin going batty this coming week, one is already off to FL. Three will be leaving for Europe in the next two and a half weeks. Heck, I just remembered that the second grade 'buddies' for my seventh graders are spending over an hour in my room today making pilgrim and Native American centerpieces out of toilet paper rolls, (don't ask). Egads, got to find the aspirin.
Thursday, November 18, 2004
I think they crossed the line on this one, not on going with the initial story, but taking it far over the line by giving access to all that tape to the world and our enemies in time of war. If that is the way they feel they need to operate, move the damn corporate offices to Syria--tomorrow! To say that I am outraged doesn't begin to communicate the way I feel about these low life SOBs using one of our Marines this way. I for one am going to sizzle their worthless corporate asses with as blistering a message as I can write and to every member of the congressional delegation and rest of the media anyone else who will listen. I urge everyone who share this view to do likewise and with a vengence. And I would go after every corporate advertiser and anyone else that can hit them in the only place they understand--in their bottom line.
[. . .]
As a young Canadian Muslim who has called for reform in Islam, I've been traveling throughout North America and Europe over the past year. Last week, I toured France and Spain. God help me.
I didn't expect a warm reception from fellow Muslims. But now, I'm also not sure that liberal Muslims like me fit comfortably in a secular European crowd. I say this even after the murder of Theo van Gogh, the Dutch filmmaker, who police officials say was shot and stabbed by a Muslim extremist. Mr. van Gogh had exercised his right to criticize Islam - a right that I, as a modern Muslim, defend unequivocally.
What then gives me the sense that even modern Muslims can't be modern enough for Western Europe? It's precisely that, from Amsterdam to Barcelona to Paris to Berlin, people incredulously ask me one type of question that I'm never asked in the United States and Canada: Why does an independent-minded woman care about God? Why do you need religion at all?
I'll answer in a moment. To get there, allow me to observe key differences between the debate over Islam in Western Europe and North America. In Western Europe, the entry point for this debate is the hijab - the headscarf that many Muslim women wear as a signal of modesty. By contrast, the entry point in North America is terrorism.
Some might say that difference is understandable. After all, Sept. 11 happened on American soil. But March 11 happened on European ground, yet the hijab remains the starting point for Europeans. Meanwhile, it makes barely a ripple in North America.
This difference speaks to a larger gulf in attitudes toward religion. To a lot of Europeans, still steeped in memories of the Catholic Church's intellectual repression, religion is an irrational force. So women who cover themselves are foolish at best and dangerous otherwise.
Not so in North America. Because it has long been a society of immigrants seeking religious tolerance, religion itself is not seen as irrational - even if what some people do with it might be, as in the case of terrorism. Which means Muslims in North America tend to be judged less by what we wear than by what we do - or don't do, like speaking out against Islamist violence.
[. . .]
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
The site is said to be in the Lavizan district in north-east Teheran, three miles from a former suspected secret nuclear development facility that the regime razed earlier this year after its existence was revealed by the opposition group.
Colin Powell also has a few things to say about this, again AFTER the EU three demonstrate to the US how well their multi-lateralism works:
SANTIAGO, Chile, Nov. 17 -- The United States has intelligence that Iran is working to adapt missiles to deliver a nuclear weapon, further evidence that the Islamic republic is determined to acquire a nuclear bomb, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said Wednesday.
Too Much To Do
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
These are not freedom fighters or Minutemen, as Michael Moore notoriously proclaimed them earlier; these aren't even animals, as animals kill to eat or defend themselves. I can only describe them as ghouls, living demons who live to smell the blood of others in what appears to be some pseudosexual release. They live without a shred of honor or dignity, and like any other psychopath, only derive pleasure from the torture of others.
I Expect Better
[. . .]
In fact, the panel consisted of Professor Sassen, who spoke on behalf of transnationalism, or principles and forms of government that transcend the nation state; myself, discussing nationalism and how Israel could be both a liberal democracy and Jewish state; Professor Ann Bayefsky (to whom Professor Sassen sneeringly refers) of Columbia University Law School, who analyzed the double standard the U.N. has applied to Israel for decades; and Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh, a Yale University geneticist, who sought to equate Zionism with Nazism, racism and apartheid.
[. . .]
After listening to Professor Bayefsky recount the many and varied ways that the U.N. had singled out Israel among all the nations of the world for special condemnation and Professor Qumsiyeh single out Israel as indistinguishable from one of the most heinous regimes in human history, Professor Sassen knew which opinion needed to be denounced.
Offered the first opportunity to respond to fellow panelists, she could only bring herself to wax indignant about one side of the vast divide on the panel: “We cannot make any headway even in our academic discussion if we talk about the Israeli government as a pure victim the way two of the speakers explicitly or implicitly did,” intoned Professor Sassen. “We need to recognize that the Israeli state has operated with excess power in a situation of extreme asymmetry.” Given the choice, Professor Sassen explicitly upbraided the calm, lucid analyst of U.N. hypocrisy toward Israel (and me implicitly), and sided with the hate-mongering purveyor of the monstrous falsehood that Israel was in principle no different from the regime that murdered six million Jews for no other reason than that they were Jewish. In her interview with the Maroon, Professor Sassen suggests that it was the sterility of the argument on both sides that provoked her departure. Yet those who were there did not hear her express criticism of Professor Qumsiyeh’s obscene comparison of Israel and the Nazi regime, but only of Professor Bayefsky’s defense of Israel from the charges that it was a racist and apartheid state.
Moreover, by walking out on the panel midway through the event “after she had spoken for a second time but before she could be challenged” Professor Sassen showed that she held her own opinions to be beyond criticism and regarded her opponents’ opinions as unworthy of serious debate. Professor Sassen’s performance was more than unprofessional. It was rude to the organizers, to the audience, and to her fellow panelists.
Taking her conduct and comments together, one is led to conclude that Professor Sassen objects to sharing a stage with people who hold views that differ from hers; that she finds offensive the obligation to confront evidence ad arguments put forward on behalf of positions she dislikes; and that she has forgotten or is unaware that the kind of debate that educates is debate with people with who hold the opposite opinion.
[. . .]
What Is Going On In Europe?
Well Maybe I'll Get In Heaven!
A young man dies and goes to Heaven, where he finds he is third inline at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter is taking a much-needed break,so an angel is admitting the newly arrived to Heaven.
The angel tells the three new arrivals that because so many drug dealers andother criminals have managed to sneak into Heaven that St. Peter mustnow be a little stricter with the screening process.
Each person is required to state his former occupation and tell his or her yearly salary.The first man in line says, "I earned $1 million last year. I was an actor."The angel says, "Okay, you may enter."
He turns to the woman in line and asks her about her life. She states, "I earned $250,000 as an attorney." The angel thinks for a moment and then lets her in, too.
He turns to the third one in line and asks, "What have you done with your life?" The man replies, "I earned $18,000 last year...""Oh?" the angel interrupts. "What did you teach?"
Monday, November 15, 2004
Worked for Bush
I worked on Bush/Cheney 20o0 and again in 2004. In both cases I wished that the message was more clear, though in both races the clarity over the opposition was lightyears ahead, demonstrated by the results. I guess the specifics come when called for, Kerry didn't.
This past summer and fall I had parties for the president. Last spring I made phone calls. In the days before, I walked my neighborhood. Election night, I was at the county Board of Elections, running totals. We won, as if you didn't know. ~bleh~ yet now we can welcome back a great voice, that was helping the likes of Peggy Noonan get the message out: http://www.patrickruffini.com/
Ehem, Michael Totten Fans
On the Left
French President Jacques Chirac said in a newspaper interview on Tuesday that Britain has gained nothing from its support for the United States-led invasion of Iraq.
Chirac said he had urged Britain before the invasion to press President Bush revive the Middle East peace process in return for London's support.
"Well, Britain gave its support but I did not see much in return," Chirac was quoted as saying in the Times. "I am not sure that it is in the nature of our American friends at the moment to return favors systematically."
Let’s face it, Chirac is upset that the re-elected Bush may tell him to go f himself. Couldn’t happen to a nicer fellow. He can take Gerhard with him. BTW Grab the new Spanish appeaser too.
After reading the comments, (Michael's readers do have taste), I'm unsure whether or not to break my no movie rule twice in 10 years.http://teachersramblings.blogspot.com/2004/10/team-american.html
Which Way Will Europe Go?
[. . .]
In February, Bush became the first world leader to publicly call for an end to the violence in Darfur. In April, the United States pushed for a strong resolution at the U.N. Commission on Human Rights condemning the vicious fighting in Darfur and demanding it end. During the summer, the United States sent more than $200 million of aid to help the desperate Sudan refugees and pushed for strong U.N. Security Council action.
Unfortunately, the strong language the United States proposed for U.N. resolutions repeatedly has been watered down and, consequently, there has been minimal impact on the ground. The U.N. envoy to Sudan, Jan Pronk, recently reported that the violence and insecurity in Darfur have increased and that "Darfur may easily enter a state of anarchy."
This month, however, the United States serves as president of the U.N. Security Council, and Bush and Danforth, now U.S. ambassador to the U.N., are making a historic diplomatic step to advance peace in Sudan.
For the first time in more than 30 years, the U.N. Security Council will meet outside its headquarters in New York City.
Ambassador Danforth is taking the U.N. Security Council to meet Thursday in Nairobi, Kenya, to address the growing crisis in Sudan. This will focus world attention on the situation. It will increase pressure on other Security Council members to be forward-leaning on this subject. And this heightened pressure, hopefully, can help lead Sudan to a sustainable peace.
[. . .]
Positive Developments? Perhaps
Sunday, November 14, 2004
PARIS, Nov. 14 - The governments of France, Germany and Britain are studying a letter delivered Sunday by Iran in which it pledged to suspend uranium enrichment activities temporarily in exchange for economic and political incentives, European officials said.
The officials said it was unclear whether Iran had agreed to all the conditions set out in marathon talks in Paris last weekend with senior officials from France, Britain, Germany and the European Union or had inserted new conditions that could not be accepted.
[. . .]
However, at the International Atomic Energy Agency, as the watchdog agency is called, the mood was more upbeat. (Aren't they always, UPBEAT about these kind of promises?)
A Western diplomat connected to the agency said: "A letter has been received from Iran confirming that it will implement a full suspension of its uranium enrichment program. It's what the Europeans asked Iran to do."
The agency is prepared to include Iran's new pledge in its comprehensive special report on Iran's nuclear activities, expected to be released Monday.
But the three European governments are particularly cautious about a premature embrace of Iran.
The foreign ministers of the three countries brokered a deal, announced with much fanfare in Tehran 13 months ago. In it, Iran agreed to suspend its production of enriched uranium, which can be used in nuclear energy or nuclear weapons programs, and to submit to more intrusive inspections of its nuclear facilities.
After Iran violated the agreement, officials from the three countries acknowledged that the deal had been made too hastily and that the language of the final accord was too vague and open to misinterpretation. (It's still the 'words' that were wrong, not the actions. Why is this going to be different?)
In Tehran on Sunday, Hassan Rowhani, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, announced that the letter had been given to the three ambassadors. Mr. Rowhani, who conducted the negotiations with the Europeans last year and who reports directly to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said the suspension would not be indefinite. Rather, he said, it would continue "during the period of talks" with the European Union on the entire package deal, which includes a long list of incentives for Iran.
[. . .]
Mr. Mousavian also made clear that Iran's decision was not legally binding. "We have accepted the suspension as a voluntary step, and it does not create any obligations for us," Mr. Mousavian told Iranian state television. . .
I thank him for his service and I hope that the recipients of his anger awake one day. He’s made my list of favorites.
VIENNA, Austria - Iran has agreed to fully suspend uranium enrichment and linked activities that Washington asserts are part of a nuclear weapons program, diplomats said Sunday.
The diplomats told The Associated Press the Iranians apparently dropped earlier demands to modify a tentative deal worked out last weekend with European negotiators and had agreed to the conditions.
"Basically it's a full suspension," one of the diplomats said on condition of anonymity.
However, the diplomat said Iran had not yet fulfilled a key part of the deal — formally informing the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency of its decision and asking for agency inspectors to police adherence to its commitment.
Granted this, is Newsmax, but it points out the problems in time with the UN. Reminds me of Team America's line, "We'll write a really nasty letter."
WASHINGTON — Some of my colleagues in the pundit business have become unhinged by the election results. The always diverting Maureen Dowd of The New York Times wrote the other day that "the forces of darkness" are taking over the country.
The voters' confirmation of Republican-led government brings with it "a scary, paranoid, regressive reality," Dowd said, with "strains of isolationism, nativism, chauvinism, puritanism and religious fanaticism." After a campaign of "blatant distortions and character assassination," Republicans have returned to Washington bent on "messing with our psyches" and punishing "society's most vulnerable: the poor, the sick, the sexually different."
I know that many agree with that view. But before throwing yourself over the cliff, or emigrating to Sweden, consider a couple things. . . .
Then again, Maureen always has to come and my mood. . .
A key al-Qaeda operative seized in Pakistan recently offered an alarming account of the group's potential plans to target the U.S. with weapons of mass destruction, senior U.S. security officials tell TIME. Sharif al-Masri, an Egyptian who was captured in late August near Pakistan's border with Iran and Afghanistan, has told his interrogators of "al-Qaeda's interest in moving nuclear materials from Europe to either the U.S. or Mexico," according to a report circulating among U.S. government officials.
Masri also said al-Qaeda has considered plans to "smuggle nuclear materials to Mexico, then operatives would carry material into the U.S.," according to the report, parts of which were read to TIME. Masri says his family, seeking refuge from al-Qaeda hunters, is now in Iran.
[. . .]
U.S. officials have begun to keep a closer eye on heavy-truck traffic across the border. The Mexicans will also focus on flight schools and aviation facilities on their side of the frontier. And another episode has some senior U.S. officials worried: the theft of a crop-duster aircraft south of San Diego, apparently by three men from southern Mexico who assaulted a watchman and then flew off in a southerly direction. Though the theft's connection to terrorism remains unclear, a senior U.S. law-enforcement official notes that crop dusters can be used to disperse toxic substances. The plane, stolen at night two weeks ago, has not been recovered.
On the crop duster:
Benon Sevan, the official accused of improperly receiving lucrative rights to purchase oil from Saddam Hussein's government while he was running the U.N. oil-for-food program in Iraq, discouraged his staff from probing allegations of corruption and helped block efforts by the U.N. anti-corruption unit to assess where the program was vulnerable to abuse, according to senior U.N. officials.
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China, France, Russia, Syria and other governments, which represented companies competing for billions of dollars' worth of business, stalled measures aimed at ending corruption, U.S. Ambassador Patrick F. Kennedy, who tracked the program for more than three years, told a House subcommittee last month.
The U.N. Security Council established the oil-for-food program to address the humanitarian impact of economic sanctions against Iraq by allowing the country to sell oil so it could purchase food, medications and other essentials. It oversaw the export of $64 billion worth of Iraqi oil between December 1996 and November 2003. Sevan's policy took shape in late 2000, just as Hussein's government stepped up its efforts to siphon money from the program by requiring companies to pay kickbacks for the privilege of purchasing Iraqi oil or selling goods to the government.
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Let us not forget the disasters of even peaceful use accidental incidents, which the innocent are still paying the price for. I’m not arguing against nuclear power, just that countries without the means or unwilling to enforce the necessary precautions, must recognize the dangers to their own people and neighbors.