Reason Express

Vol. 9, No. 44


In this issue:

1. One Week Out
2. Madrassa Strike
3. Unfriendly Fire
4. Quick Hits
5. New at Reason Online – Say (None of the Above) to Michigan!
6. News and Events

1. One Week Out

Closer and closer, tighter and tighter. That sums up the final days before next Tuesday's vote. The GOP appears to have clawed back into several House races and control of the Senate has always been basically a toss up. Those races will come down to individual campaigns either closing the deal with voters or choking at the last minute.

The overall turnout picture remains the major meta-issue. The GOP's conservative base now is grappling with the concept that all may not be lost and that staying home might have real consequences. For a time in the depths of the Foley scandal, political nihilism was all the rage on the Right. That seems to have passed, but there is still no guarantee that the turnout whip will work this time around.

Democrats, meanwhile, are slowly starting to do the target thing: Perhaps 20 races in the House and three or four in the Senate after flirting with the idea of throwing money around willy-nilly. Or have they really abandoned that? There are mixed signals coming from the Dem leadership, such that it is, on the front. It all points to a cliffhanger election which just might take days - or weeks - to resolve.

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2. Madrassa Strike

The government of Pakistan appears to have greatly upped the ante in its battle against the Taliban and its support network within Pakistan's tribal territories. The destruction of a religious school near the Afghanistan boarder by Pakistani forces is sure to inflame locals.

The school was believed by Pakistani officials to harbor al Qaeda elements, but in explaining the strike officials said no "high value" targets were present. "High value" usually means al Qaeda or Taliban leaders.

As such, the strike seems to be in direct response to a rally of 3,000 Taliban and al Qaeda supporters a couple days before in the city of Khar, not far from the school. If Pakistan has some threshold for mass civil unrest, 3,000 swarming, potential enemies must surely cross it.

3. Unfriendly Fire

The inspector general for Iraqi reconstruction says that over 14,000 weapons the United States provided to Iraqi forces have gone missing. That is roughly one out of every 25 weapons sent into the country. There is no Ho Chi Minh Trail re-supplying anti-American forces; the United States seems to be doing that quite well all by itself.

That's not all; the Pentagon only kept track of a fraction of the serial numbers from the more than 370,000 weapons sent into the country. This means it will be almost impossible to know exactly where captured weapons came from, or be able to trace weapons as they emerge from the global, black-market arms trade.

The IG report also found the Iraqi logistics system to be a mess, with little ability to track and store weapons and munitions as they enter service and move about the country.

4. Quick Hits

Quote of the Week

"All politics is local." — GOP National Senatorial Campaign Committee Chair Elizabeth Dole (N.C.) copping Tip O'Neill on this year's elections.

Pink Flamingo, RIP

The original maker of the iconic plastic lawn ornament, Union Products of Massachusetts, drops the bird due to high plastic resin costs and an overall bad business climate.

Meet Me In… Bang, Bang!

St. Louis is named America's most dangerous large city, based on an analysis of FBI crime statistics by Morgan Quitno Press.

The Un-Koala

Scientists in Australia have produced three test-tube koala bears. The species is under stress in some parts of its native range and the boost to breeding is expected to strengthen the overall health of the animals.,,70131-1239081,00.html?f=rss

5. New at Reason Online

Say (None of the Above) to Michigan!
How Dick DeVos blew a gimme in the Great Lakes State. Shikha Dalmia

Brewer Patriot
How Sam Adams became a hero of liberty and libations. Nick Gillespie

Lay Off the Fatties
They're not hurting anybody — maybe not even themselves. Jacob Sullum

And much more!

6. News and Events

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