May 14, 2007

Web Reconnaissance for 05/14/2007

A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention.

In the News: (Registration may be required to read some stories)
Federal Loans for Coal Plants Clash With Carbon Cuts - A Depression-era program to bring electricity to rural areas is using taxpayer money to provide billions of dollars in low-interest loans to build coal plants even as Congress seeks ways to limit greenhouse gas emissions. (READ MORE)

Defense Skirts State in Reviving Iraqi Industry - Paul Brinkley, a deputy undersecretary of defense, has been called a Stalinist by U.S. diplomats in Iraq. One has accused him of helping insurgents build better bombs. The State Department has even taken the unusual step of enlisting the CIA to dispute the validity of Brinkley's work. (READ MORE)

Taliban Military Leader Is Killed - Mullah Dadullah was the face of the Taliban movement in Afghanistan as it used suicide bombings, videotaped beheadings and targeted assassinations to escalate its insurgent campaign over the past two years. (READ MORE)

Search for missing troops - An al Qaeda front group said yesterday it had captured American soldiers in a deadly attack the day before, as thousands of U.S. troops searched insurgent areas south of Baghdad for their three missing comrades. (READ MORE)

Kurds restoring ancient citadel to showcase culture - Kurdish authorities have removed hundreds of families, cleaned up their trash and have begun development in an ancient citadel, which they say is the site of the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in the world. (READ MORE)

Border Patrol conflict widens - The National Border Patrol Council has filed an unfair labor practices complaint against U.S. Border Patrol Chief David V. Aguilar. (READ MORE)

From the Front:
Patrick S Lasswell: More Attacks on Kurdish Political Control “The second attack in four days on Kurdish political control occurred in the town of Makhmoor near Mosul at the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) offices, killing at least 32 and wounding more than 115. The city of Makhmoor is not under formal Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) control, but the area is almost entirely composed of racial Kurds. According to CNN, political meetings were taking place at the KDP offices when a suicide truck bomber struck. Although firmly in the red zone of active conflict, Makhmoor and other ethnically Kurdish areas have mostly been spared this kind of violence. It appears that Al Qaeda cannot accept any peace in Iraq.” (READ MORE)

Acute Politics: Captured! Acute Politics is back, after some long missions and another communication blackout. The news is all abuzz with reports of killed and captured soldiers near Mahmudiyah. To be more precise, the attack occurred between Mahmudiyah and Amiriya. The area is mostly open desert, and the Sunni insurgency is strong there.” (READ MORE)

Afghanistan JAG: Afghan School Children “During a recent village recon I had the chance to see an elementary school and visit with the kids. Like all kids, they were a bit shy. I guess I would be too if a couple of fully armed soldiers walked into my classroom. That can't be helped because we're required to stay in our body armor.” (READ MORE)

Michael J. Totten: Assad Getting Desperate, Belligerent “First Assad threatened to burn Lebanon. Now he's threatening to burn the whole Middle East. Assad truly believes a conviction against his regime in a United Nations tribunal will be the first step toward a UN-approved American-led regime-change in Syria. He has no idea that the American appetite for such an adventure is somewhere near zero, but he really is scared to death of it.” (READ MORE)

Desert Flier: Iraqi SWAT training “‘These guys are funny that way. Sometimes they act like 15 year olds in a 30 year body.’ ‘How do you mean?’ ‘Well, take for instance yesterday on the range. I was walking down the line looking at groupings and commenting 'tight group, or good job on that one' you know, that sort of thing.’” (READ MORE)

Jack Army: Memorial Day Enlistments to Skyrocket “As I did a quick spin through the blogosphere this morning, my eye caught on this: ‘This Memorial Day weekend, we will all take responsibility for the country we love and the men and women who protect it. We will volunteer, we will pray, and we will speak out. Each of us has a responsibility to act, a duty to our troops and to each other. Support the troops. End the war.’” (READ MORE)

Michael Yon: Values Message “One of the reasons I trust General Petraeus is he just comes right out and says what needs to be said. The letter which he sent to our forces serving in Iraq (posted below) is a case in point. The letter is more important than it might appear on first glance. There is great stress in combat, and this particular type of combat can be very frustrating. Stress in combat increases the potential for something bad to happen. Strong commanders are the only thing standing between us and another Abu Grahaib or Haditha.” (READ MORE)

The Calm Before the Sand: The Road "Past the 45,/Up where the bridge/Slices the sky/ aboveThe Straits of Mackinac,/The soil grows rocky,/And the maples give way/To tamarack and jack pine." (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Suzanne Fields: A Manly Politics “A professor of government, even a professor from Harvard, who comes to Washington to lecture on the ‘nature of politics’ is asking for it. After all, Washingtonians think they invented politics. So when he arrives, dropping names like Aristotle and Plato, suggesting that we might learn more from great philosophical literature than from the front page, C-SPAN or the shout-and-insult cable-TV shows, we have to admire his willingness to shoot from the lip in a town where the practitioners of politics are more accustomed to shooting from the hip.” (READ MORE)

Kathryn Jean Lopez: Defeatist democrats boost enemy's morale “Supposed leaders -- such as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid -- declare that the war is lost. Thus, we have a video from Al Qaeda's No. 2 nut, Ayman al-Zawahiri, rejoicing.” (READ MORE)

Dinesh D'Souza: Islam's reformation “Faced with the specter of Islamic radicalism and the terrorism it has spawned, many in the West have come to the conclusion that Islam needs a Reformation.” (READ MORE)

Harry R. Jackson, Jr.: Sanctuary Movement: Personal Compassion VS National Security “Based on a movement that challenged United States policy in Central America in the 1980s, several religious congregations in New York and other cities announced a campaign last Wednesday to provide sanctuary to illegal immigrants who face deportation.” (READ MORE)

WSJ Review & Outlook: Illinois Tax Implosion “‘Universal’ government health care has once again returned as a political cause, with many Democrats believing it's the key to White House victory in 2008. They might want to study last week's news from Illinois, where Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich's tax increase to finance health care became the political rout of the year.” (READ MORE)

John Fund: Cutting the Grass “A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows 6 in 10 Americans think the Democratic Congress ‘hasn't brought much change.’ Eager to change this impression, the Democrats are frantically trying to pass legislation before Memorial Day. First on the agenda is a bill restricting lobbying, which is heading for the House floor with lightning speed. The House Judiciary Committee is expected to pass it tomorrow, sending it to the full House for a final vote next Tuesday or Wednesday.” (READ MORE)

Bambang Harymurti: Corruption Fighter “Fighting corruption is a hazardous mission. In poor and developing countries you can be assassinated, which happened to journalists Georgy Gongadze in Ukraine and Carlos Alberto Cardozo in Mozambique in 2000. Even in France there is danger, as magistrate Eva Joly discovered.” (READ MORE) *reg req*

Mary Anastasia O'Grady: Canada's Cut-and-Run Crowd “The vote on a nonbinding resolution to bring the troops home had serious implications for Americans. But it didn't take place on Capitol Hill and it wasn't about Iraq. This vote, taken last month, was held in Canada's House of Commons. Sponsored by the Liberal Party, the resolution called for the country to pull its soldiers out of Afghanistan in May 2009, when its NATO commitment expires. Though the ayes fell short of victory (134-150), it was only because the hard-left New Democratic Party, which wants the troops out now, refused to support it.” (READ MORE) *reg req*

A_C: America Loves Iraqi's “Often, when the Left, the Anti Everything Crowds and the Terrorists Supporters start trying to dazzle the rest of us with their BS we lose sight of the progress being made in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. This is sad and very, very wrong. It is an obvious ploy on their part, just another cog in a well oiled propaganda machine. So when I come across people like Daniel, it reminds me of what the Soldiers are fighting for. Here is some of Daniels story...” (READ MORE)

Kat in GA: Welcoming Home a Hero..... “I'm not quite sure exactly where to begin this post. For weeks, I've been plagued by (apparently stress-induced) writer's block or something... I look at a piece of paper or a computer screen and can't come up with a single thing to put down. But, I've got to give it a try this time... after a Patriot Guard Rider mission, blogging about it is my main coping mechanism for dealing with the very intense grief I've witnessed and felt. So... here goes.” (READ MORE)

Jay Tea: Living in the Middle, Between the Two Extremes “Back after the Republican debate ‘moderated’ by Chris Matthews, I started thinking about the whole stupid ‘do you believe in evolution’ question. That single moment of dumbness started a line of thought in me that kept growing. It seems appropriate, considering that ‘bullshit’ is both a rhetorical term of meaninglessness and a potent fertilizer. I've often described myself as an agnostic. I clearly distinguish my status as a ‘doubter,’ not a ‘disbeliever.’ I hold no great hostility for religion; it simply ‘doesn't work’ for me.” (READ MORE)

The Sundries Shack: Because Government Isn’t Big Enough? “Does Ezra Klein live on the same planet as the rest of us? ‘As the old adage goes, when the gods want to punish you, they give you what you want. Conservatives talk a lot about government failure, but over the last few years, it’s really we who have failed government, depriving it of the revenue, the conscientious management and the attention needed for it to succeed.’ Deprived the government of revenue, have we? Klein says the Bush tax cuts (cue crashing minor chord and thunderclap) have cost the government $200 billion. On the other hand, the Treasury Department says that the government has collected 11.4 percent more tax revenue than it took in at this point last year. Thus far this fiscal year, the federal government has raked in $1.5 trillion.” (READ MORE)

Army Wife Toddler Mom: Colors “I was lucky enough to have the best seat in the house for SpouseBuzz Live in San Diego. And as I stood at the front of the room, and I watched the young Marines, march in with the colors raised. I looked out into the crowd, primarily wives- and they were all standing silently. And I saw right hands placed over hearts proudly. It was a very amazing site I am not privy to often, as a National Guard wife.” (READ MORE)

Some Soldier's Mom: (Still) Hard to Be A Soldier's Mom “Almost two years ago when my son was deployed I wrote that it was Hard to Be a Soldier's Mom. It's still hard. The news of the soldiers killed and missing this weekend had me running to the reference sources looking at Our Guys' FOB and outpost info and the location of the attack as reported by the media. They're geographically close and our worry is intensified. Last night my soldier called to wish me Happy Mother's Day (it was Mother's Day where he was...) and we talked about the incident. We talked again of the code soldiers have in such cases. It made me shudder... as a mom... that we ask our young men (and women) to even consider their mortality in such terms, and knowing the love and guts it takes to promise each other those things.” (READ MORE)

ROFASix: A Soldier's View - On the Ground in Iraq “This was written by an Army officer who is now in Iraq. He describes what he is doing in the first paragraph, and then provides a fresh look at operations on the ground, and our wonderful soldiers who are doing it. It is again, one more of those insights you can't find in the media, and given the current restrictions on soldiers publishing things, they won't be saying it either, except quietly among themselves. One of the unintended consequences of the Army's recent crack down on military bloggers, the good news is not getting out anymore to counter the negativity one sees in the ‘if it bleeds - it leads’ mentality of the media.” (READ MORE)

Right Wing Nut House: Latest Civil Liberties Outrage: Spying on Global Warming “If you thought it was bad enough that the Federal government uses the terrorist spying program to listen in on your Auntie Midge talking to her neighbor about the upcoming church social, think again. has learned that the United States Federal government will now use its massive intelligence capabilities to spy on global warming.” (READ MORE)

Dan Riehl: Fort Dix Hero: Am I A Racist? “If anyone thinks there is any validity to claims that Muslims need special protections against so-called whistle blowers based upon the Fort Dix incident and revelations around a video tape that brought the group to the attention of the FBI - read this Post exclusive. It wasn't the first time the group of ten bearded men had been seen lingering outside the store. What's frightening is his hesitation and that someone in the teen's position might need protection by legislation against being sued.” (READ MORE)

Rhymes With Right: Obama -- "I'll Decide Who Needs Their Money" “Yeah, that's right -- Barack Obama is going to decide who needs the cash they earn, and confiscate anything over and above what he feels they deserve to keep. ‘If elected president, Senator Barack Obama said Sunday, he would seek to repeal President Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and use the money to pay for health care, but he did not suggest he would raise other taxes to pay for expanded services.’” (READ MORE)

Tom The Redhunter: When What "Everyone Knows" Is Wrong “Today's Washington Post brings us "What We Got Right In Iraq" by L Paul Bremer, the man who led the Coalition Provisional Authority from May 2003 to June 2004. The Post will also host an online chat with Bremer tomorrow at 3pm, where he will answer reader's questions. Details here. In today's piece Bremer defends two key programs of his tenure as administrator of Iraq; De-Baathification, and the decision to rebuild the Iraqi army from scratch.” (READ MORE)

Jeff Emanuel: The true meaning of Heroism, part IV “Jason Dean Cunningham of Carlsbad, New Mexico, joined the US Navy at the age of 19, but he didn't stay long. While he always knew that he was destined for something better, the blond-haired, blue-eyed Cunningham did benefit in one major way from his stint in the Navy: while stationed in Naples, Italy, he met a Navy enlisted woman named Theresa de Castro, who would shortly thereafter become Theresa Cunningham.” (READ MORE)

Kim Zigfeld: In Neo-Soviet Russia, Being a Protest Babe Will get you Blown Up “That's Yelena Tregubova, Russian author and former reporter for Kommersant, holding a copy of her book Tales of a Kremlin Digger. Here's what the Britain's Independent says about her: ‘She is a vivacious blonde who narrowly escaped death from a bomb which exploded outside her flat, thanks to a last-minute decision to give her hairstyle a final crimping before running out to a waiting cab. Now she sits in an anonymous hotel lobby in central London having fled Russia to seek political asylum in Britain because she is in “mortal danger”.’” (READ MORE)

Scott Johnson: An uncivil war? “In the Democratic war on the war, a key talking point is the war's status as a civil war. The sectarian fighting between Shiites and Sunnis gives the point substance, but the war also goes well beyond a civil war. In that respect the war indeed resembles the Vietnam War. As I recall, the Democrats also characterized the Vietnam War as a ‘civil war’ up until the final North Vietnamese offensive that featured tanks from the north rolling into Saigon. Having tied President Ford's hands to keep him from responding, the Democrats didn't much care that their long-standing antiwar argument had been revealed as a joke, or as enemy propaganda.” (READ MORE)

William Teach: Troops Missing In Iraq: HuffPo Chimes In “By now, most of you know about the troops missing, and presumably taken, by the Islamic State in Iraq, and Al Qaeda front group But, what about our liberal friends? What are their thoughts on the subject? Will they stand up for our brave soldiers, or act as normal? Do you really want to know? Do you really want to read more? Are you sure?” (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: Dadullah “… won’t be down for breakfastullah. One-legged Taliban popstar gets popped. So what does it mean. Probably not so much. Killing off someone’s top allegedly invincible Hollywood commander could have some propaganda value, though when you’re dealing with a suicidal death cult, that’s questionable. It’ll be interesting to see what happens to Dadullah DVD sales, and if someone has the good sense to produce a good inspirational martyrdom vid.” (READ MORE)

Bryan Preston: Imam who threatened Ayaan Hirsi Ali resigns “Backfire: The leader of the Islamic Center of Johnstown has stepped down, two weeks after calling for the death penalty for a speaker critical of the Muslim faith.” (READ MORE)

Counterterrorism Blog: Kurdish network behind Germany threat warning? “Last night Reuters reported that the recent threat warning issued by the United States in Germany could, according to some US officials, involve attack plans by an al Qaeda-affiliated group of Kurdish militants. Information on the threat have been very limited (interestingly, German newspapers barely mention it) and officials, while stepping up security around American diplomatic, military and tourist facilities in Germany, have said they are not aware of the details of the alleged plot.” (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: Should Candidates Release Their Tax Returns? ‘Ever since Watergate, presidential candidates have released their tax records in order to show that they have nothing to hide. Only one major candidate refused to do so in the last twenty years, and Bill Clinton changed his mind for his re-election bid in 1996. This year, however, it looks like anyone releasing that information will be the exception rather than the rule (via Instapundit):” (READ MORE)

Blue Crab Boulevard: Universal Health Care Implosion “Those busily touting universal health care (read socialized medicine) in this country would do well to look at the horror stories that are reported almost daily in Britain at the moment. And at studies like this one that show that access to the newest cancer fighting drugs is ten times better in the US than in all of Europe put together.” (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: Iraq Report: The search, Kurds attacked, SCIRI, Sunni moves “The search is on for the 3 missing soldiers who are believed to have been captured after a complex assualt on a U.S. Army patrol on the outskirts of Mahmudiyah Saturday morning. Over 4,000 troops, along with aerial and satellite surveillance, and elements of the Anbar Salvation Council, are involved. Al Qaeda in Iraq's political front the Islamic State of Iraq has claimed it has captured the 3 soldiers, but has not offered any evidence.” (READ MORE)

Fjordman: On Bureaucracy, Liberty and the Rule of Law "Dr. Daniel Pipes read one of my essays about the situation in Sweden, and asked my to explain exactly why Swedish authorities are behaving the way they are doing. First of all, maybe I’m demonizing Sweden too much. I write so much about Sweden mainly because I’m emotionally attached to the country since I’m Scandinavian myself. Still, although the Islamic situation is arguably worse in some other countries such as France, Britain and the Netherlands, I think it is accurate to say that there is less real debate in Sweden than in any other country I know of." (READ MORE)

Iraq War Today: Et tu? "Senator Mitch McConnell, the ranking Republican in the Senate, earned himself an armchair general award over the weekend....speaking with CNN (aptly enough), he was harshly critical of Iraq's progress to date: '"The Iraqi government is a huge disappointment," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told CNN'S Late Edition on Sunday. "So far, they've not been able do anything they promised on the political side," the Kentucky Republican said, citing the Iraqis' failure to pass a new oil revenue bill, hold local elections and dismantle the former Baath Party of Saddam Hussein. "It's a growing frustration." "Republicans overwhelmingly feel disappointed about the Iraqi government,' he added.' If it wasn't so irritating, it would be hilarious." (READ MORE)

Have an interesting post or know of a "must read?" Then send a trackback here and let us all know about it. Or you can send me an email with a link to the post and I'll update the Recon.

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