LA Times: JFK plot overhyped, jet fuel damage would have been “limited” (MORE: NYT DOWNPLAYS AS WELL)

Hate to say I ToldjahSo …. but read this, and you’ll see what I mean:

The premise is right out of a disaster movie: Ignite the massive fuel tanks required to keep an international airport up and running each day, stand back, and watch a chain reaction of explosions throughout the labyrinth of pipelines running underneath the tarmac.

But aviation experts cautioned Saturday that the alleged plot targeting John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York would have faced many hurdles, not least of which is the fact that jet fuel does not easily explode.

“The level of catastrophe that may be created is much more limited than most people would expect,” said Rafi Ron, former head of security at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport. “The fuel that we are talking about is mostly jet fuel, which, unlike the gasoline most people put into their cars, is not that susceptible to explosion.”

That difficulty apparently concerned one of the alleged plotters — an engineer who, federal authorities said in their complaint, explained to his associates that the tanks at JFK would probably require two explosions to provide enough oxygen to ignite the fuel.

But even then, aviation security experts said, fire would not have spread through the pressurized pipelines that bring fuel out to airplanes parked at gates.

“The probability that an explosion would travel through the pipeline and destroy targets along the tarmac is almost nil,” said Ron, now president of New Age Security Solutions in Rockville, Md. “The exception would be pipelines that are not in use and contain vapor.”

Jet fuel is similar to kerosene and, unlike gasoline, requires very high temperatures to burn. Unless it is in vapor or mist form — which can occur in a plane crash — jet fuel does not explode. Additives raise the flashpoint of jet fuel, further reducing the likelihood that it will burn, experts said.

Got that? The LAT is essentially saying that the thwarting of this plot really is no big deal, because if the terrorists had had a chance to carry it off, the damage would have been “limited.”

You see, this story is good news for the Bush administration and the war on terror, so the LAT has to spin it as yawn-worthy in response.

Sound familiar?

Heck, why do we even need the feds? I mean, all the plots they’ve thwarted weren’t that big a threat anyway, right?

Move along now, nothing to see.

Mon AM Update: The NYT follows the LAT’s lead: Papers Portray Plot as More Talk Than Action. Check out the links to the leftie blogs listed here amongst a link roundup for their reactions. Predictable.

Tonight’s Democratic candidates presidential debate

It will take place at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire and starts at 7pm ET. I had originally planned on liveblogging it, but am not so sure I will as I really don’t want to ruin what’s left of my weekend ;) The WaPo has a write-up on the debate here:

GOFFSTOWN, N.H., June 3– The Democratic presidential candidates meet here Sunday night for their second debate of the young campaign season, with Iraq and health care likely to dominate much of the discussion.

The two-hour session on the campus of St. Anselm College just outside Manchester will include questions from journalists and from New Hampshire voters — Democrats and independents alike. CNN, which is co-sponsoring the debate along with WMUR-TV and the Manchester Union Leader, will air the debate nationally, beginning at 7 p.m.

[…]

Much of the focus Sunday night will be on the three leading candidates — New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and former North Carolina senator John Edwards, and the organizers made sure that the three will be at standing next to one another when the debate opens.

But if there are any fireworks, they could be sparked by some candidates like Connecticut Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson or Delaware Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., who are seeking to persuade party activists, ere and in other states with early primaries and caucuses, that they deserve a closer look and more support.

Two other Democrats — Ohio Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich and former Alaska senator Mike Gravel — will also participate and in the first debate in April, they staked out the left flank on the major issues, but particularly on ending U.S. involvement in Iraq immediately.

Among the leading candidates, Obama may feel the most pressure. His performance in the South Carolina debate in April had some rocky moments and by his own admission — which he wrote about in his best-selling book, “The Audacity of Hope” — he was never comfortable in his debates against Republican rival Alan Keyes during the 2004 Senate race in Illinois.

New Hampshire is, of course, a big primary state for Democrats – the first one, in fact, after the Iowa and Nevada caucuses – so the candidates are going to go all out this evening in order to try and gain favor with New Hampshire voters. Look for second tier candidates like Bill Richardson and Christopher Dodd to try and start distinguishing themselves from the frontrunners (Clinton, Obama, and Edwards) in an attempt to gain traction in the polls.

Republicans will be debating in the same place Tuesday night.

Update I: ST reader steveegg will be liveblogging the debate. Good luck, steve! :) ST reader William Smith is at St. Anselm and is reporting for liveblogging duty as well – heh. Check his blog for frequent updates.

CNN’s Political Ticker will be monitoring the debate and posting the spin from the campaigns, debate reactions, etc.

Update II: Allah’s got video of the dustup between some of the candidates on Iraq.

Update III: Liberal icon Eric Alterman was arrested in the debate’s spin room. Expect the howls of outrage from the Nutroots to begin soon over allegations that Alterman was “silenced!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

The Goracle: I may not have the spin skills it takes to be elected president

I know, you’re thinking: Wow, after, what – three tries at becoming president he finally realizes that he doesn’t have what it takes to become president. But, of course, that would be too easy. The USA Today reports that The Prophet thinks he can make a change more effectively outside of the presidential office than he could in it:

NASHVILLE — Former vice president Al Gore said Friday that he still hasn’t ruled out a presidential bid in 2008, but he doesn’t expect to run and might not possess the skills necessary to be elected president now.
Gore spoke to The Tennessean today before signing copies of his new book, The Assault on Reason, at Davis-Kidd Booksellers at the Mall in Green Hills, in Nashville.

For months, Gore has said repeatedly that he probably won’t run for office again, but wouldn’t say that he would never run for office again. He reiterated that stance on Friday, but downplayed the possibility of another campaign.

“I don’t want anyone to interpret that answer as throwing a little red meat out for speculation,” Gore said. “I am just being candid. But I don’t expect to get into this race. I have given the reasons why. I strongly prefer to serve in other ways.”

Gore lost the 2000 presidential election to President Bush. Gore, who lost the electoral vote despite winning the popular vote, now views the U.S. political system as flawed.

Flawed because, dangit, he just can’t seem to get elected:

“It may be easier to fix it from the outside,” he said. “Again, I haven’t ruled out for all time thinking about politics again. It’s just that the way it works now, I don’t think that the skills I have are the ones that are most likely to be rewarded within this system. It’s like a washing machine that is permanently set on the spin cycle. It doesn’t stop spinning. That creates real problems for a politics based on reason.”

And Gore, we know, would never ever spin an issue …

This is just more of Gore’s typical arrogance shining through. It’s the system’s fault, not his, that he can’t get elected to the WH. Uh huh.

Via Ann Althouse.

Related: Lawrence Solomon at Canada’s Financial Post questions the popular myth that there is a consensus on ‘man-made’ global warming.

Shocking: Democrats sidestepping their own earmark rules

Rollcall (scroll) first reported on this back on May 23, the WaPo picked it up (scroll) on May 24, and the AP has finally picked up the story:

WASHINGTON – After promising unprecedented openness regarding Congress’ pork barrel practices, House Democrats are moving in the opposite direction as they draw up spending bills for the upcoming budget year.

Democrats are sidestepping rules approved their first day in power in January to clearly identify “earmarks” — lawmakers’ requests for specific projects and contracts for their states.

Rather than including specific pet projects, grants and contracts in legislation as it is being written, Democrats are following an order by the House Appropriations Committee chairman to keep the bills free of such earmarks until it is too late for critics to effectively challenge them.

Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.), says those requests for dams, community grants and research contracts for favored universities or hospitals will be added to spending measures in the fall. That is when House and Senate negotiators assemble final bills.

Such requests total billions of dollars.

As a result, most lawmakers will not get a chance to oppose specific projects as wasteful or questionable when the spending bills for various agencies get their first votes in the full House in June.

The House-Senate compromise bills due for final action in September cannot be amended and are subject to only one hour of debate, precluding challenges to individual projects.

Betsy Newmark writes:

Hmmm, have we heard this before? Yup, remember the Republicans who ran in 1994 about changing how Congress worked and cutting back on pork. Well, that didn’t happen either. And I would make another bet. Republicans will run in 2008 charging the Democrats with not being open and not obeying their own rules. And if the Republicans somehow took over Congress, they too would fall into the same disappointing pattern. Congress can’t discipline itself. They write their own rules and attach no penalty for breaking them.

If voters really cared, we’d vote against any politician who was providing pork for our districts. If getting earmarks and pork was a path to losing election, they wouldn’t do it. But voters might say they don’t like pork, but they seem to enjoy getting it for their hometowns. And so the politicians will keep breaking their own campaign pledges. And we’ll keep seeing headlines like this no matter which party is in control.

Tigerhawk makes a suggestion:

The Congressional system is busted. The “imperial presidency” is not the greatest threat to American democracy, the virtually undefeatable House of Representatives is. The only ways to reform it involve changing the rules by which we draw Congressional districts (so that 90% of the seats are no longer incontestably safe) or imposing term limits. Unfortunately, Congress is not likely to support either of those reforms, so this is what we have to live with. Government of careerists, by careerists, and for careerists, shall not perish from the earth.

What do YOU think?

JFK airport terror plot thwarted

It had been in the planning stages since January 2006. Via CBS:

(CBS) NEW YORK Russell Defreitas, a U.S. citizen native to Guyana and retired airport employee was the mastermind behind a plot to destroy John F. Kennedy International Airport, kill thousands of people and trigger an economic catastrophe by blowing up a jet fuel artery that runs through populous residential neighborhoods, authorities said Saturday.

Defreitas developed his hatred for America a decade ago while working as a cargo handler at JFK airport. While working at the airport, he said he saw military parts being shipped to Israel that he thought would be used to kill Muslims. Last August, he began planning an attack along with three other Muslim men, one of which was an FBI informant.

The FBI says they have recorded several conversations between the two during an 18-month investigation. Sources tell CBS 2 that on Friday, Defreitas told the informant he believed the authorities may be on to him, prompting the feds to move in.

Three of the men were arrested and one was being sought in Trinidad on Saturday. In an indictment charging the four men, one of them is quoted as saying the plot would “cause greater destruction than in the Sept. 11 attacks.”

Authorities said all four were motivated by a pattern of hatred toward the U.S., Israel and the West.

Defreitas said the airport was a symbol that would put “the whole country in mourning.”

“Anytime you hit Kennedy, it is the most hurtful thing to the United States” he said on a recording made by a police informant. “They love John F. Kennedy like he’s the man … It’s like you can kill the man twice.”

The plot, which the men code-named “Chicken Farm” never got past the planning stages, authorities said.

“The devastation that would be caused had this plot succeeded is just unthinkable” U.S. Attorney Roslynn R. Mauskopf said at a news conference, calling it “one of the most chilling plots imaginable.”

Hats off to the feds for busting open this plot before it ever had the chance to get beyond the planning stages. Of course, expect the usual suspects on the left to seize on that little tidbit of information about it never getting past the planning stages in order to pooh pooh this threat (as they have several others that have been thwarted over the last several years, like the NY/NJ path tunnels plot, Miami 7 plot, the British airliner plot, and Ft. Dix) as not being a “big deal.” These are the same type of people who would have said the same thing had the 9-11 plot been thwarted before it had the chance to happen.

Remember: It’s Bush’s “fault” when they don’t happen, and Bush’s “fault” when they do.

Allah’s got a link roundup of stories related to the thwarted plot.

Pajamas Media has links to a few leftie blogs already downplaying this threat. Surprise surprise.