Shorter Question Everything
• Really?! Latest attack on Rice: She wants Americans to learn black history. Conservatives are digging deep to cook up new creative excuses to disqualify U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice–so deep they are pulling at straws with a book the diplomat wrote in 1986 on black history education, drawing to the somewhat obvious conclusion that Rice is in fact an African-American woman who believes it’s important for other Americans to understand black history.
• Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera criticized a claim made by Republicans that U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice is partly responsible for the attacks that killed four Americans at a U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11 this year because of her experience with the terror bombings at the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania 14 years ago. RIVERA: I think though to blame Susan Rice is kind of like blaming FEMA for 9/11. There is an undersecretary of state who is in charge of facilities and that is the group that deemed the terrorist threat there to be medium: it really wasn’t Susan Rice. It’s like scapegoating Susan is the affliction that’s sweeping Washington right now.
• Republicans aimed criticism at U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice Thursday for having modest stakes in companies that did business with Iran. And while the revelation has driven new questions and fodder for those opposing her nomination as secretary of state, one of Rice’s most vocal critics, Senator John McCain, maintains investments in two of the same companies — ENI and Royal Dutch Shell –through funds revealed in his financial disclosures.
• AP’s dangerous Iran hoax demands an accounting and explanation. It’s important to return to the story about AP’s nuclear Iran “exclusive” which I wrote about yesterday. Although it was intuitively obvious that the graph trumpeted by AP as scary and incriminating of Iran’s nuclear program was actually a farce, there is now new, overwhelming, very compelling scientific evidence that is the case. Whether as victim or recklessly culpable participant, AP helped perpetrate a dangerous hoax, and owes an explanation and accounting for what took place, including identifying the “officials from a country critical of Iran’s atomic program” who made false claims about what this is. UPDATE: Here, in its entirety, is the response sent by AP to all of the objections raised to its story: “We continue to report this story.”
• 180,000 Pounds Of Toxic Chemicals Are Spilling Into A New Jersey Creek After A Train Derailed: At least sixty-six people were taken, or went on their own to a nearby hospital and that all were stable. Four of the 86 Conrail cars contained vinyl chloride, a carcinogen used in the making of plastics that can cause dizziness, drowsiness, headaches and even loss of consciousness in the short term. A Coast Guard spokeswoman told Philly.com that a half-mile area around the bridge over Mantua Creek – which empties into the Delaware River just across from Philadelphia International Airport – has been evacuated.
• The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently began demolishing a vacant Washington, D.C., home believed to have been built on a chemical weapons disposal pit. The house, which was built in the 1990s, is located in one of the capital’s most affluent neighborhoods of Spring Valley. The project is expected to cost approximately $240 million, which will be paid for by the federal government, according to the New York Times. The house was supposed to be destroyed and the area decontaminated last spring, but there were a series of delays over permits and an objection from a neighbor, who asked to be temporarily relocated.
In other news
• Israel Approves 3,000 New Settler Homes After U.N. Vote: Israel announced plans to build 3,000 new homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem one day after the United Nations approved updating Palestine’s status to a nonmember observer state, a move Israel and the U.S. opposed. Palestinians claim the area where the new houses will be built, known as E1, cuts the West Bank in half and complicates the two-state solution, as the Israeli newspaper Haaretz notes, “making it difficult for a future Palestinian state to function.” The United States government opposes Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank. “We do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity and we oppose any effort to legalize outposts,” a State Department spokesperson said in July. Update According to Haaretz, “In the beginning of his term, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave the Obama administration a commitment that Israel would not build in the area.”
• A dilapidated Dallas apartment complex where Lee Harvey Oswald briefly lived before the assassination of President John F. Kennedy is being demolished. After a four-year battle over code violations at the uninhabited 10-unit, two-story apartment complex built in 1925, owner Jane Bryant is in the process of taking the building down per a court order. She’s been salvaging building materials and selling off items from Oswald’s three-room apartment. The toilet already has a new owner. Bryant was never able to realize her plans to renovate the building in the Oak Cliff area of Dallas after buying it in 2007, and the next year got caught up in litigation with the city over the state of the building at 600 Elsbeth St.
• Some 170 boxes of top secret files on Britain’s former colonial administrations have gone missing, while those relating to Singapore may have been destroyed in the 1990s, the government said Friday. In a statement to parliament, Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister David Lidington said the department knew the files had been returned to Britain from former colonies but did not know what had happened to them subsequently. “It remains the case that the FCO is still unable to confirm the existence or destruction of 170 boxes of top secret colonial administration files known to have been returned to the UK,” Lidington said. “There is some evidence that the Singapore top secret colonial administration files were destroyed as part of a review of FCO post files in the 1990s. “The FCO continues to search for these files or for further evidence of their destruction.”