February 5, 2008

Web Reconnaissance for 02/05/2008

A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

In the News: (Registration may be required to read some stories)
Trudging to a Super Finish - Both Democratic presidential campaigns said yesterday they won't score any knockout punches in today's slate of 22 primaries and caucuses, and are now raising the possibility the contest won't end until the August nominating convention. (READ MORE)

The End Possible for GOP Candidates - Republican Mitt Romney yesterday dashed back to California, where he hoped to make one last stand against Sen. John McCain, poised to lock down the nomination by capturing hundreds of delegates in a slew of winner-take-all states. (READ MORE)

Bush Outlines Record Budget - President Bush's record $3.1 trillion budget request yesterday for fiscal 2009 would add $407 billion to the federal debt behind continued increases in military spending and an economic-stimulus package, further complicating Republican Party efforts to assure voters they are fiscally responsible. (READ MORE)

Suicide Bomber Hits Inside Israel - A Palestinian suicide bomber yesterday killed one Israeli and wounded 12 in this dusty desert town just a few miles from Israel's secretive nuclear reactor, marking the first such attack inside Israel in a year. (READ MORE)

Kennedy Delivers Little to Obama - Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's endorsement might have won a lot of press attention for fellow senator and presidential hopeful Barack Obama, but it probably didn't net him many new voters, a Fox 5/The Washington Times/ Rasmussen Reports poll says. (READ MORE)

88 Journalists Killed in '07, Group Says - The Committee to Protect Journalists yesterday declared that 2007 was the deadliest year for the press in more than a decade, with a total of 88 reporters and editors killed worldwide. (READ MORE)

The 'Stimulus' Deficit - If you want to know the real cost of Washington's economic stimulus, look no further than yesterday's Fiscal 2009 White House budget. The federal deficit is taking a giant leap backward, thanks in substantial part to the $150 billion in "temporary" tax cuts. (READ MORE)

The Israeli Lesson - The news about yesterday's suicide bombing in the Israeli town of Dimona is that it's news. In 2002, at the height of the second intifada, 451 Israelis were killed in terrorist attacks, including 14 suicide bombings. By contrast, yesterday's attack, which killed one and injured 11, was the first of its kind in more than a year. (READ MORE)

Fixing Family Leave - Few laws are so universally acclaimed as the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act, which is based on the assumption that allowing employees unpaid leave is cost free. It isn't, and we're glad to see the Labor Department is finally taking steps to end some abusive practices. (READ MORE)

Two Races, One Big Day - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton made a raspy appeal for support yesterday in her race against Sen. Barack Obama, even as her aides warned that the Democratic presidential contest will probably drag on for months after today's Super Tuesday voting. (READ MORE)

Democrats Seek GOP Support For Stimulus Bill - Senate Democrats yesterday scrambled to find Republican votes to support their $157 billion economic stimulus measure and delayed a vote until later this week so that their presidential candidates can return to the chamber and support the measure. (READ MORE)

Bush's Budget Projects Deficits - President Bush yesterday unveiled a $3.1 trillion budget plan for fiscal 2009 that will leave deficits of more than $400 billion this year and next, forcing his successor to grapple with a range of unpalatable choices to close the gap, according to lawmakers and budget experts. (READ MORE)

Reprieve in Chad Gives Thousands a Chance to Flee - Thousands of residents poured out of N'Djamena, the capital of Chad, on Monday as clashes between rebel and government forces cooled after two days of combat, according to reports from the besieged city. (READ MORE)

From the Front:
Andrew Lubin: “Meet the Needs of the People” - With Task Force Marne & Maj.Gen. Rick Lynch - In today’s irregular war, it takes a commander who thinks out of the box to motivate his troops to do the same. The lessons learned in officer training at Fort Sill or Fort Benning ten years ago bear little resemblance to the situation on the ground in Iraq, and it’s the successful commanding officer who recognizes this today. Today we accompanied Maj.Gen. Rick Lynch, CG of Task Force Marne (and the 3rd ID ) on a battlefield circulation tour of al-Musayyid, a small town south and west of Iskandariyah. Located in the southern part of Babil Province, MG Lynch was visiting his 4th Div., 3rd ID troops fighting under Col Tom James and LTC Tim Newsome, as well as the local IP leader and the town’s mayor. (READ MORE)

This War and Me: Kicking it in Kuwait - We got the the terminal and I had checked all my bags (including my jackets). It was a quick 2 or 3 hours until I would be in Kuwait and the weather wasn't that bad. Well, as I have learned many times in the military, expect the unexpected! My 3 hour wait ended up being an all-nighter! The weather got worse and we were all corraled in the holding tent. It was dusty, loud and cold. The hours ticked by and we were manifested for a different plane. Since we had already been checked and our bags were already palletized, I was unable to get to my jacket. (READ MORE)

Yellowhammering Afghanistan: Ghazni through a Humvee window - Based on the e-mails and comments I received from last week's "through a Humvee window" series, I figured you wouldn't mind a few more. Here are some shots as we headed into Ghazni from Kabul. Remember that the protests of the killing of some Afghan National Police by Americans forced us to bypass going through downtown Ghazni until the middle of the night. For that reason, these shots are of the archway that marks the entrance into the city and a small village on the edge of town. We didn't get close enough to the protesters for any photos of the burning tires and demonstrators. (READ MORE)

Kaboom: A Soldier's War Journal: Movement to Contact - I was literally boots up in the back of my Stryker when LT Virginia Slim’s breezy accent sizzled over the net. “X-Ray, this is Steel 1! We got contact with enemy rifle fire on Route Sabers, to the north, from dismounted personnel. We’re developing the situation! Steel 1 out!” Located on the complete opposite side of town from LT Virginia Slim and his Red Legs, the Gravediggers had spent a quiet day in OP overwatch. Half of the platoon was on duty, the other half was racked out in our vehicles, trying not to drool on one another. After Steel’s radio call though, I had the platoon wake up and mount up for the call I knew was to follow, as we were the only other combat arms platoon in sector: “Gravedigger 1.” It was CPT Whiteback. “Move to far end of Route Sabers to support Steel. Cordon off the northern section of the route.” I responded just as rapidly. “This is Gravedigger 1, will comply.” (READ MORE)

Jason's Iraq Vacation: unwanted feelings - I turned the radio up so that I couldn't possibly hear anything else and notched the speedometer to just a tick under 100 mph. I was on my way to work at around 9pm and upset about something; nothing calms me down quite like deafeningly loud music and driving fast. It was about 9 months or so after I originally got out of the Army, and I still had these uneasy feelings of guilt that came crashing down over me. They were usually triggered by a news report or hearing from one of my buddies still deployed. It would start as a little pang of guilt and quickly work itself into a full storm of anger on top of guilt. (READ MORE)

Michael Yon: 04 February 2008 - [South Baghdad with the 1-4Cav] “Sons of Iraq” After the meeting in South Baghdad neighborhood (Mulhallah 840) described in my previous RUBS dispatch, there was some drama between National Police (NP) and the Concerned Local Citizens (CLCs). But, names are always changing in Iraq, and as of about a week ago, the CLCs are now the “Sons of Iraq.” Technically, the Sons of Iraq (CLCs) work for the National Police, but they are paid by the Coalition. This is a temporary and politically expedient compromise, but for now it appears to be a smart choice, given the ground situation. (READ MORE)

From an Anthropological Perspective: Improvised Electricity - Since my other post was about trash and sewage, I decided to make a comment on electricity. It is vital to industry as well as quality of life in Baghdad. In some areas, residents get at best an hour or two of electricity a day. That is not enough to do all the things that must be done, not to mention light a room at night. So many residents purchase small generators or purchase electricity from a large generator run by a businessman in the neighborhood. This leads to improvised wiring along the streets. (READ MORE)

Army of Dude: Photo Story Monday - Wires, Skulls And Switches - It always comes back to those fucking palm groves. A week in that thick, tangled, humid mess of trees, bushes and huts, and it was without a doubt the worst week of my life. We set up on a road along the Diyala River to conduct a huge search and clear of the groves. Nearly every man who could walk was taking part, and from my earlier account, you can tell it was becoming a custom to overload myself with superfluous equipment (though carrying both bolt cutters and a shotgun to use on the three total locks we found was a wise move). In ten minutes my neck was already burning with all the weight on my back. After half a mile down the road, the whines of the Stryker engines were overcome with the ambiance of the wind blowing around the leaves and trash on the side of the road. We found our entrance point. (READ MORE)

Acute Politics: On the Road Again - I learned some things the last time I was in Iraq- I learned of courage, and brotherhood. I learned that there is no glory in war- there are few heroes, and many decent, ordinary men too stubborn to realize that their actions are irrational, dangerous, and, well… heroic. I learned of emotional agony and of empathy; I also learned how to be callous. I learned how to tell someone with your eyes that you would kill him if he didn’t cave. I lost some timidity, and gained self-respect. The war did not make me a man- rather; I learned through the war some essential elements of manhood. There must be a name for this sickness, for this consuming malady that compels some few of us back into the conflict, back into the desert. (READ MORE)

Badger6: A Message from Frontier 6 - Frontier 6, Lieutenant General William Caldwell, is the Commander of the Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Although famous for the US Disciplinary Barracks located there, it is really the heart of Army Officer Professional Education. After Officers have completed their service at Company level and leave direct tactical missions for operational-level war they will attend one or more schools at Fort Leavenworth such as Command & General Staff College (CGSC) and the School for Advance Military Studies (SAMS) as well as the Center for Army Lessons Learned. (CALL) Army doctrine is developed, refined, approved and published. The previous Commander was General David Petraeus. (READ MORE)

James Aalan Bernsen: Superbowl Monday - Yesterday was a rather normal day in most respects. Of course, being on live T.V. in front of 84 million viewers isn't all that normal. But everything else was. It was Superbowl Monday. Sunday for y'all, perhaps, but we're 9 hours ahead of Texas time. I got up a bit early and walked over for my very important assignment. The Lt. Colonel had given me a task worthy of only the best and brightest 1st Lieutennant - picking up the food for the Superbowl party at Pizza Hut. Yes, we do have a Pizza Hut here. It's in a little 10-foot trailer with a little phone-booth sized cachier's box a few feet away. (READ MORE)

Michael Yon: Men of Valor: Part VIII of VIII - On 29 September, Major General Roberson arrived with his staff at the border crossing. I was permitted to attend a briefing delivered by LTC Sanders to the general and his staff. Sanders used a knife to point out places of interest on the map. During the briefing, local treats were passed around: tasty dates filled with a walnut and some sort of cream. Roberson mentioned that Basra has the potential to provide over 50% of Iraq’s GNP, a fact of which Iraqis are keenly aware. I would see Iranian trucks stream in with lumber, tiles, bricks and other building materials over a period of several days. It seemed that most of what was coming from Iran were construction materials and refrigerated trucks with various sorts of foods. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
John R. Bolton: Our Politicized Intelligence Services - Today, Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee (and Thursday on the House side) to give the intelligence community's annual global threat analysis. These hearings are always significant, but the stakes are especially high now because of the recent National Intelligence Estimate on Iran. (READ MORE)

Michael S. Malone: Microsoft's Yahoo Gambit - Yahoo, be coy, but take the Microsoft deal. Microsoft's interest in buying Yahoo had been rumored for so long that when the bid -- $44.6 billion -- was finally made last week, it managed to surprise just about everyone in the high-tech world. With merger rumors fading and Yahoo slumping, it was generally assumed that cofounder and CEO Jerry Yang and his team were hunkering down to cut their losses with layoffs and then embark on a major re-organization. (READ MORE)

Rosa Rosales: Immigration Misfire - Political pundits used to maintain that the American electorate was galvanized around the issue of illegal immigration. Voters, they claimed, would punish any candidate who failed to take a tough stance on immigrants and did not adamantly oppose the "A" word -- Amnesty -- in all its tortured definitions. Yet a funny thing happened in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida. (READ MORE)

Bret Stephens: Marinating in 'Decline' - In 1788, Massachusetts playwright Mercy Otis Warren took one look at the (unratified) U.S. Constitution and declared that "we shall soon see this country rushing into the extremes of confusion and violence." This, roughly, is the origin of American declinism -- and it's been downhill ever since. A couple centuries later, an international relations theorist at Yale named Paul Kennedy sought to explain the decline of great powers in terms of a ratio between military commitments and economic resources. (READ MORE)

Dennis Prager: Memo to Both Parties: Vote for Who's Best, not for Who's "Electable" - Many, perhaps even most, Democrats and Republicans are conflicted as to whom to vote for in the primaries. Among Democrats, Barack Obama has enormous appeal -- even to most erstwhile Hillary Clinton supporters. He seems to evoke the John F. Kennedy enthusiasm that Democrats have been seeking for over a generation. He is young, vibrant, charismatic and very smart. And he is on the Left, where most Democratic Party activists are; the National Journal rated him the most liberal Democrat in the U.S. Senate. But he wears his leftism lightly, and by basing his campaign on "unity" and "change," he has alienated few Democrats, while apparently appealing to many independents. (READ MORE)

Cal Thomas: The Obama Infatuation - In human relationships, there is the flirtation stage, followed by what my grandparents called "courting" and, if that works out, marriage. For those who are co-habiting, that was once the order of things, before disorderly social conduct took over. In presidential politics, the analogy also works. We have passed the flirtation stage with Barack Obama and now it is time for a serious background check before too many of us follow our hearts instead of our heads and enter into a bad "marriage." (READ MORE)

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.: A Teaching Moment - Lost amid the national distractions of a Super Bowl and Super Tuesday, the clock is running down on an immense sale of precision-guided munitions and other advanced weapons to Saudi Arabia and several of the smaller oil-rich Gulf States the Saudis dominate. Unless two-thirds majorities in both houses of Congress adopt resolutions of disapproval by the 14th of February, these transactions will proceed. All other things being equal, it is a safe bet the Saudis will augment their already vast arsenal with these new American arms. After all, many in official Washington recognize that the growing aggressiveness of Iran is a threat to U.S. interests in the region... (READ MORE)

Mike S. Adams: Why More Feminists Should Convert to Christianity - Author’s Note: The following column is based on a new book, The Faith: Given Once, For All, by Charles Colson and Harold Fickett. There was a time when the important question of “when life begins” was in dispute. Now that films like “In the Womb” have become widely available to the public, visual evidence forces reasonable people to answer that question by moving further and further back towards the moment of conception. I believe that since conception is the moment when one’s genetic endowment is established, that is when one’s life begins. But, of course, for feminists, the debate on abortion involves more than just the question of when life begins. (READ MORE)

Thomas Sowell: What Kind of "Experience"? - The front-runners in both political parties -- that is, Hillary Clinton and John McCain -- are making "experience" their big talking point. But what kind of "experience"? Both have been around in politics for decades. But just what did they accomplish -- and how did it benefit the country? Whether in Arkansas or in Washington, Hillary Clinton has spent decades parlaying her husband's political clout into both money and power. How did that benefit anybody but the Clintons? (READ MORE)

David Limbaugh: Republican Party Can't Afford More Liberal Leaders - I suppose I could be accused of over-dramatizing, but I truly worry about the direction this nation is headed when contemplating a presidential race where the choices are liberal and liberal-light. If John McCain is the GOP nominee, that's what we'll be faced with, despite the Herculean efforts of some to spin it otherwise. In that case, the presidential candidates of both parties would be willing to use the bully pulpit and governing power of the presidency to suppress political speech, punish producers, oil companies and drug companies, open wider our borders, cater to the whacko environmental movement and its junk-science-driven pseudo-consensus on global warming, nominate judges who don't "wear their conservatism on their sleeve," close Gitmo, confer constitutional civil liberties on enemy combatants, end life-saving interrogation techniques, demonize evangelical conservatives, and obstruct efforts of conservative Republican legislators. (READ MORE)

Chuck Norris: Will Romney Buy the White House? - Mitt Romney might go down in history as the presidential candidate who spent more of his personal income than any other in his pursuit to win the White House. It is estimated that he already has used $35 million of his roughly $250 million personal fortune. And if Mitt makes the cut to be the Republican nominee, during the next 10 months, he surely will surpass Ross Perot's $60 million infusion into his own 1992 candidacy. To me, such excessive self-financing of one's campaign is not only a competitive injustice that rivals the use of steroids by athletes but also a fundamental flaw in the general race for president, which requires better campaign finance reform. (READ MORE)

Stuart Epperson: The Law of Unintended Consequences: Well meaning efforts to target indecency could come back to haunt us - On January 19, 2006, Salem Communication's Chairman of the Board, Stuart Epperson presented testimony to the Senate Commerce committee on the FCC's involvement in regulating decency. It is as relevant today as it was then. On behalf of Salem Communications Corporation, I want to thank Chairman Stevens, Inouye, and the other Members of the Committee for conducting this hearing on the very important issue of Decency in the broadcast and cable industries. My partner Ed Atsinger and I founded Salem Communications Corporation, which owns and operates commercial radio stations in virtually all the major markets in this country. (READ MORE)

William Perry Pendley: The West, Washington, D.C., and Weapons - In 1989, John Shuler of rural Dupuyer, Montana, heard grizzly bears outside his house; fearing they would kill his sheep, he grabbed his rifle and ran into the night. The good news is he survived his encounter with four grizzly bears, as did his sheep. The bad news is his lawyers spent eight years and a quarter of a million dollars to get him acquitted of charges that he violated the Endangered Species Act by killing one of those bears. Early on in that legal battle, the federal government ruled that, although Shuler justifiably feared “death or serious bodily injury”—the test for a self-defense claim—he had no right to arm himself and enter into what the government called “the zone of imminent danger.” (READ MORE)

John McCaslin: Gipper and Dubya - We're told John McCain, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul — "we're still working on Mike Huckabee," says an organizer — are confirmed for this week's annual conservative powwow CPAC 2008, which kicks off Thursday at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington. Meanwhile, how's this for one of the featured CPAC book-signings that same day — father-and-son journalists Lou and Carl Cannon, co-authors of the just-released book "Reagan's Disciple: George W. Bush's Troubled Quest for a Presidential Legacy." As Ronald Reagan's former White House Chief of Staff Kenneth M. Duberstein put it in his review: "Lou and Carl, as usual, get it right ... why one president soared — and one didn't. They tell it like it was, and like it is." (READ MORE)

A Soldier's Mind: They’re Not Getting The Respect They Deserve - Over the course of time, we’ve highlighted the actions of many of our Troops for the brave acts they’ve committed in the Global War on Terror. Their heroism and bravery is not any different from those who have served before them. Why then, are they not receiving the honor that they deserve? Recently in Newsweek, that very question was explored. Many men and women before them have fought, bled and died in combat in far off places of the earth. Many of the predecessors have been given the ultimate recognition of their actions, the Congressional Medal of Honor. But for some reason, the men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, who have been awarded this prestigious honor, have been few and far between. (READ MORE)

Lawhawk: The Rocket War Resumes - After what amounted to a pregnant pause in the rocket war by the Palestinian terrorists against Israel punctuated by the suicide bombing yesterday that killed one Israeli and seriously injured several others, along with the Hamas breach of the Gaza-Egypt border and invasion of Egypt, the terrorists have resumed their attacks. Israel, for its part, is continuing its targeted attacks against Hamas and other terrorist groups involved in the ongoing war against Israel. (READ MORE)

Donald Douglas: The Decline of the Polarizing Left? - There's been some recent commentary suggesting one of the biggest losers in primary season '08 is the angry left. With top hard-left candidates John Edwards and Dennis Kucinich already out of the race, have the radical netroots Democratic Party activists sunk to irrelevancy? Dan Gerstein made an interesting observation on this over the weekend, at the Wall Street Journal. He argues that while the Clinton-Obama South Carolina results appeared to resolve tensions over race and politics, the underlying significance of Obama's victory was to relegate the Daily Kos angry hordes to the sidelines of the party: (READ MORE)

Army Girl: Guest Post by Clara Hart - "Will you PLEASE stop kicking me!!" I harped at the soldier standing next to me. "I'm going to report you for nurse abuse if you don't!" I sharply chided him. He simply stood there and with a look of "who me?" on his face responded, "they'd never believe you, they'd take one look at me and cart YOU off". "Yeah, you're right" I said, “but, really now, QUIT KICKING ME!” then giving up, shared a laugh with this particular man. A bilateral leg amputee, he was kicking me with his prosthetic legs and having quite a jolly time. In frustration I kicked him back, which only served to make him laugh harder and tell me "that didn't hurt a bit". The sad part is that he does hurt. (READ MORE)

Augean Stables: Pentagon-Fired Expert’s Thesis on Jihad, Terrorism and Islamic Law - The following is a close look at the thesis of Major Stephen Coughlin prepared by LB with comments by RL The fact that he is being fired for pressing this approach to Islam — take it seriously in its own terms — illustrates what’s wrong with Western policy circles, even those whose primary role is our defense. Major Stephen Coughlin is one of the Pentagon’s premier experts on Islamic law and Islamism. In March, he will become the Pentagon’s former expert. Reports coming from the Pentagon in the past month have indicated that after submitting his Master’s thesis, Coughlin was fired from the Joint Staff after he fell into the bad graces of Hasham Islam, a key aide to Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England. (READ MORE)

Basil's Blog: Why I'm voting for Barack Obama - I was supporting Fred Thompson in the race for President. But Fred dropped out. And we're left with four on the GOP side: John McCain, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, and Ron Paul. We can strike my voting for Ron Paul because … well … he's an idiot. As are many of his supporters. Not all, but the lion's share. Them folks is nuts. So, that leaves McCain, Romney, and Huckabee. Which to vote for? Quite honestly, it really doesn't matter. I'm not a huge fan of any of them. One's about as good as the other, in my book. On the Democratic side, though, there is a difference. (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: The seven feelers of wisdom - Optional reading: Counterinsurgency and Irregular Warfare in a Tribal Society, by William McAllister from the Small Wars Journal. The title itself brings up a subtle but important possibility. The US alliance with the tribes has been not only about counterinsurgency but also about irregular warfare -- against al-Qaeda. It was not only a shield but a sword. In fact it might be argued that an authentic understanding of tribal culture implied how al-Qaeda might be routed under its unstated rules. The great strategic weakness of radical Islam is that it must rule. (READ MORE)

Big Dog: Berkeley to Reconsider Position on Marines - The pressure from pro military groups and the right wing blogosphere has caused the folks in Berkeley California to reconsider the actions they took last week. in that action they said the Marines were not welcome there and then they gave preference to Code Pink with regard to parking and protests. Some in Berkeley think that the city should not change what it has done while others feel it was wrong and should be corrected. no doubt, the backlash has caused them some problems and the threat to take away federal money must be looming large. (READ MORE)

Blonde Sagacity: The Left Worse in England Than in the US - What is it with liberals being so intent on proving they're not biased against Islam and that they believe Muslims are no threat that they would appease and endanger everyone else? I really don't get it. Any 'moral relativist' I've ever met has been someone with poor self-esteem and low self worth...therefore they must be people pleasers and can't take a stand.... I digress. Take heart my friends, I believe the Left in England are WAY worse than our loony libs... (READ MORE)

Blue Crab Boulevard: Between The Rock And A Dumb Place - San Francisco voters will have an initiative on the ballot today that calls for demolishing the second most popular tourist attraction in the city. The initiative calls for flattening Alcatraz and replacing it with - not making this up, folks - a "medicine wheel, a labyrinth and a conference centre for non-violent conflict resolution ." No, really. "SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - San Francisco voters will decide on Tuesday whether to remove the famous Alcatraz Prison visited by thousands of tourists a day and instead create a 'global peace centre.'" (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: Beijing's Gold Medal Firewall Coming Down? - China knows that the Olympic Games will bring great scrutiny this summer, and no more so than when the athletes of the world arrive. Thousands of Westerners will expect to have the same level of communications available to them, and the Beijing government will have to decide whether to suspend its tight control over Internet access. Unlike their citizens, these Western athletes, reporters, and tourists will leave China and tell their stories: “China is debating whether to relax control of the Internet during the Olympics, allowing access to banned websites such as the BBC, a spokeswoman for the organising committee said Tuesday.” (READ MORE)

James Gordon Meek: A Fallen Soldier Whose Aim Was True - Every time a young man or woman falls in battle, it is a searing loss to their unit, their loved ones and their nation. Since the start of the war in Iraq, some 3,941 American men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice. Today, I want to remember just one young hero who died with honor this year. At a time when those who bleed and mourn are all too often separated from the rest of us, his death is, for me, a deeply personal reminder of the cost of the wars America is fighting against Islamic extremism. Army Pfc. David H. Sharrett 2nd was the 3,925th member of the U.S. armed forces to die in Iraq. He was laid to rest last week at Arlington National Cemetery. But he is hardly a statistic to me. (READ MORE)

Confederate Yankee: AFP: Something Old is New Again - Agence France-Presse (AFP) the oldest news agency in the world and the largest French news agency, has been caught recycling two-year-old Congressional subcommittee testimony as current news. On Sunday, AFP released an article, "US Qaeda strategy fatally flawed; analysts," which opened: “In its ideological struggle against Al-Qaeda, American anti-terrorist strategy too often overlooks the basic tenets of the infamous Chinese warlord Sun Tzu, namely: know your enemy. That is the fixed view of leading analysts, who conclude that through ignorance of the enemy it faces, ignorance of its nature, its goals, its strengths and its weaknesses, the United States is condemned to failure.” (READ MORE)

Democracy Project: Political Correctness: A Definition - I recently read Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam (2006), by then-Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI, and the Italian philosopher and politician Marcello Pera. The book consists of lectures delivered at different venues by Ratzinger and Pera in 2004, and an exchange of letters between the men. Pera is a secularist and Ratzinger, much to the chagrin of liberals worldwide, is in fact Catholic. Pera's lecture, "Relativism, Christianity, and the West," contains as concise and accurate a definition of the intellectually paralyzing, self-censoring phenomenon of political correctness (PC) that I've come across. (READ MORE)

Don Surber: $3.1 trillion - Entitlements eat half of it. Thank you, FDR and LBJ. And George Walker Bush. The president’s proposed budget does not balance, making him 0-fer-8 as a fiscal conservative. The executive summary shows a record $3.1 trillion will be spent with receipts at record $2.7 trillion. (So much for blaming tax cuts.) The $407 billion deficit is unacceptable. Bush proposes overspending a record in revenues by 15%. If he had an unlimited budget, he would find a way to overspend it. (READ MORE)

Fjordman: The West, Japan, and Cultural Secondarity - Dymphna of Gates of Vienna recommended to me a book called “Eccentric Culture: A Theory of Western Civilization,” by Rémi Brague. The Romans admired the earlier culture of the Greeks. Christians had a love/hate relationship with Judaism, but they did recognize that the Jews had an older religious tradition than they did themselves, and that they were greatly indebted to it. Christian Europeans thus inherited a twin “cultural secondarity” in relations to their Greek and Hebrew parent cultures. Brague sees this phenomenon of secondarity as the very essence of the Latin West, and dubs it “Romanity.” According to him, “All that the most severe judges are willing to concede to Romanity is that Rome spread the riches of Hellenism and transmitted them down to us. (READ MORE)

Knee Deep in the Hooah!: Do you feel what I feel? - So many military parents that I have talked with about deployment stress, either online or in person, say the same thing “It feels like a part of me went over with him…” I have heard military spouses speak similar sentiments as well, but I am better equipped to talk about this from a parent’s perspective. I know that feeling. It really does feel like a huge part of you leaves for a while. You become disconnected from the world around you for a period of time. You want nothing more than to talk about it, but you don’t want to talk about it. You want to cry about it, and you usually do not have a choice in the matter. The suppressed tears demand a trail from your eye, down your cheek and into the pool you have created. The grief strikes us. The fears strike us, and the more I think of all of this I begin to realize that we truly do live parallel to our soldiers when they are deployed. (READ MORE)

Pros and Cons: The latest polling and related political gambits - Gothamite knows me well - “Have you seen this latest Zogby poll, btw? It has Obama up all over the place, which I like, and Mittens up in CA, which I thought you’d like.” Go Teflon Rom, winner of the mighty Maine caucuses, which got no ply because it doesn’t fit the latest script, but I’ll be OK with McCain and give not a chance to the charming, if flawed, Governor Huckabee, whose campaign sechedule NPR was good naturedly comparing to the typical concert tour from these guys - “Huntsville, Nashville, Tuscaloosa” … [Ahh, the depth of reportage when it comes to the religious right remains as impressive as ever. Hey, at least they weren’t dripping venom, so I suppose that’s a significant improvement.] (READ MORE)

Kim Zigfeld: Battle Kosovo - Just as Russia "liberated" Poland from the Nazis only to subject it to another and even longer period of brutal abuse, including the seminal outrage of the Katyn massacre, one of the single most barbaric events in all of human history, so Russia is is now exploiting Serbia, seeking to seize control of the country's energy industry by fomenting its paranoia over independence for Kosovo by promising to obstruct progress on that issue in exchange for Serbia signing over its energy soul. But does Russia understand what it is getting itself into? (READ MORE)

Right Wing Nut House: Who Has The Power - If, as expected, John McCain pulls away from Mitt Romney in tomorrow’s Super Tuesday primaries making his nomination inevitable, a legitimate question will arise as to who really wields power in the Republican party? That’s because the movers and shakers we would ordinarily think control the party (or are able to influence it heavily) would have failed utterly and completely in derailing McCain’s Straight Talk Express. Most of the rightosphere on the internet as well as talk radio giants lined up behind Romney while the establishment politicians have swallowed whatever misgivings they have about McCain and sided with him. Guess who wins that war? (READ MORE)

ShrinkWrapped: Liberals and Strategy - The best outcome of the Presidential election this year would be a Republican President. This is not only because I do not agree with the policy prescriptions of the two Democratic candidates, though the idea that a larger more activist government is in our best long term interests is problematic. Nor is it only because, if nothing else, the last 20 years of Washington governance has shown us that whenever a single party controls the executive and legislative branches, spending goes out of control in almost inverse proportion to accountability. The most serious concern I have with a potential Democratic administration is the failure of either candidate to articulate a coherent strategic vision. This is worrisome. At the moment there are good reasons to expect that our next President will be a proud, anti-war liberal. (READ MORE)

Texas Rainmaker: Clinton Admits She’s Not Pro-Choice - At least when it comes to choosing whether you want to buy insurance. Hillary is now proposing that all Americans be forced to enter into contracts, even if they don’t want to, or face having their wages garnished by the federal government. “WASHINGTON - Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton said Sunday she might be willing to garnish the wages of workers who refuse to buy health insurance to achieve coverage for all Americans.” (READ MORE)

Tel-Chai Nation: More signs of deterioration in England - So what have we here next? Well, as told by Hot Air, female medical students are violating health standards because Islamic practice is always a priority. And Dr. Nazir Ali, the Christian bishop who warned that no-go zones for non-Muslims had been formed in England is now under police protection because of death threats that were unsurprisingly issued against him. If only we still had great monarchs like King Arthur around. He would have shown true grit and leadership with the help of the Excalibur. (READ MORE)

Ilya Somin: Assessing McCain - In two insightful posts, University of San Diego law professor Michael Rappaport argues that John McCain is very bad on a wide range of policy issues and that pro-limited government conservatives might well be better off with a Democratic candidate winning this fall than with a President McCain. I agree with most of the points Michael makes in his first post. On two of the issues he raises (immigration and torture/interrogation) my position is much closer to McCain's than Michael's is. I also give McCain great credit for opposing Bush's 2003 Medicare prescription drug plan - the biggest of all the Bush Administration's domestic policy boondoggles. He was one of only nine GOP senators to buck the administration on that issue. (READ MORE)

Westhawk: Afghanistan, what’s your problem? - With the level of stability in Iraq steadily increasing, many analysts, government officials, and media observers are now focusing their attention on Afghanistan. The conventional wisdom is that Afghanistan is slipping from grasp. Critics will point out that 2007 was the deadliest year for the U.S. military in Afghanistan. Poppy and opium production continue their vertical ascent. The program to rebuild Afghanistan’s police forces is thought to be in deep trouble. And there is a feeling that President Hamid Karzai and his government are losing legitimacy. (READ MORE)

Ron Winter: Did Anyone Notice Romney Won Iraq? I Mean Maine? - Former Massachusetts Governor and current GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney is now sitting at the right hand of the Armed Forces in terms of media treatment. Our military is beating the daylights out of the terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan, so of course we never hear a word about it. Once it became clear that we were beating the terrorists in Iraq, Congressional Democrats, and some Republicans who agree with them, immediately left the battlefield, claimed victory even though they were dead wrong all along, and shifted the discussion to political improvements in Iraq. Word on military successes is virtually non-existent. We still hear about the occasional suicide bomber, but that is only because the media is following the "if it bleeds it leads" adage. (READ MORE)

DJ Drummond: The Stakes - It is well-known from my posts, that I do not support the candidacy of Senator John McCain for President of the United States. Other people have equally strong reasons for their dislike of Governor Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, or Congressman Ron Paul. Still others hope against hope that their chosen leader will yet join or rejoin the contest, such as those who say they will write in former Senator Fred Thompson's name in their primary. Opinions, and emotions, have been strong among Republicans. To a point, this is all to the good, as such debate sharpens understanding of what our party stands for, and why. We will not choose a Republican version of John Kerry, just because someone has declared that he is the 'most electable'. But that virtue only works to a point. (READ MORE)

Kevin Aylward: Congressional candidate lawyers up and threatens Wizbang, poorly... - John Kerry's former girlfriend, and current candidate for a Congress, Lee Whitnum, really, really wants to erase her 15 minutes of Internet fame. We did one story on her because in 2004 she was news (for a day) since she was John Kerry's ex-girlfriend and was "promoting" a novel based (you guessed it) on a Northeastern Senator's love life. Lots of other sites, including Drudge, reported on Whitnum's Kerry scrapbook. Last year Whitnum tried to get Wizbang and MediaBistro to remove their 2004 stories. We both declined. (READ MORE)

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