June 11, 2007

Web Reconnaissance for 06/11/2007

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

In the News: (Registration may be required to read some stories)
Immigration Judges Often Picked Based On GOP Ties - The Bush administration increasingly emphasized partisan political ties over expertise in recent years in selecting the judges who decide the fate of hundreds of thousands of immigrants, despite laws that preclude such considerations, according to an analysis by The Washington Post. (READ MORE)

The Sole Survivor - The blood in his eyes almost blinded him, but the Navy Seal could hear, clattering above the trees in northeast Afghanistan, rescue helicopters. (READ MORE)

Breach Shows Borders Still Vulnerable - U.S. authorities last week blamed tuberculosis carrier Andrew Speaker's illicit reentry to America on a single point of human error, faulting a Champlain, N.Y., inspector who failed to detain him as instructed by a computer alert. (READ MORE)

Sarkozy allies head for landslide - French President Nicolas Sarkozy's center-right allies were headed for a parliamentary landslide after a first-round legislative election yesterday, bolstering his chances of implementing wide-ranging reforms. (READ MORE)

Electricity not cut off for Communists:yet - The swing to the right in last month's presidential election and yesterday's parliamentary balloting have brought the French Communist Party -- once France's biggest political organization -- to the brink of bankruptcy. (READ MORE)

U.N. sees failings in probe of graft - U.N. officials acknowledge their internal investigation failed to produce evidence against a U.N. procurement officer who was convicted of taking kickbacks in federal court last week, and say U.N. oversight procedures still must be improved. (READ MORE)

Anti-tax faction aims to reclaim Virginia GOP - Anti-tax champions say Virginia Republicans can get their party back on track by replacing "tax-and-spend" incumbents with true conservatives in tomorrow's primary election. (READ MORE)

Suit to decide workplace 'hate speech' - The words "natural family," "marriage" and "union of a man and a woman" can be punished as "hate speech" in government workplaces, according to a lawsuit that is being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. (READ MORE)

From the Front:
Omar: Baghdad Summer Politics “The hysterical verbal threats and accusations among Iraq’s politicians and leaders have moved up several notches since the coup panic was first felt in Baghdad. Now the hysteria has reached the top of the government pyramid.
Iraqis often say that when the summer heat goes up people lose their minds. Frankly I’ve seen this happen to some people I know and sometimes the damage is temporary, sometimes not. We’re already having days as hot as 45 degrees Celsius [113 degrees Fahrenheit] and our politicians are evidently not immune to the heat driven insanity.” (READ MORE)

Michael Yon: Death or Glory Part II of IV “The intended target in an ambush never knows when it’s over. Yesterday’s ambush, which killed two soldiers and wounded three others, is a case in point. Once the Brits had dealt with the immediate aftermath of the ambush—setting up security, calling in air support, tending to the wounded and getting EOD in to deal with the remaining dozens of bombs—our convoy still had its mission objective. So we put the disabled vehicles in tow and continued our journey deeper into the desert.” (READ MORE)

LTC Rich Phillips: Week 20--Groundhog Day, Again. “I guess I'm not the most consistent blogger, and that must be frustrating for some of you. Around here every day is Groundhog Day; the days all run together with nothing to break up the monotony. It makes it hard to find things to write about. Even with all the trauma we have seen lately, it all runs together. After nearly five months it all runs together; the patients, the traumas, the wounds, the surgeries, the days, the weeks, the months... So, to mark the passage of time I've been documenting the progress on the new hospital and the new "brick and mortar" building being constructed near my TOC (Tactical Operation Center).” (READ MORE)

JD Johannes: Dropping The Pack "My hand has been on the quick release for a few days now and as I pack up my cameras I'm ready to get out of Iraq and start working on my tapes and start planning my next trip to Iraq. Dropping your pack is the term for letting up your guard, intentionally losing your edge. When you are in Iraq you keep your pack on. You are always ready to go." (READ MORE)

On the Web:
W. Thomas Smith, Jr: Advice to my nephew on becoming a man “The advice I am about to give you is the same as I’ve always given in the sense that it is freely given from an uncle and a godfather who truly loves you like a son.” (READ MORE)

La Shawn Barber: Interracial Marriage: Slippery Slope? “Tomorrow marks the 40th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, the landmark Supreme Court case that declared Virginia’s law against interracial marriage unconstitutional.” (READ MORE)

Star Parker: War, lies and Hillary Clinton “I assume that Senator Clinton's campaign hopes that most folks will not read ‘Her Way,’ by New York Times reporters Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta, Jr., or the New York Times Magazine article adapted from the book, ‘Hillary's War.’” (READ MORE)

Paul Greenberg: Greetings from the Bear State “In a sign of the effete times, the Bear State is now the Natural State - a more respectable, acceptable and promotable way of referring to Arkansas' natural bounty. Like the bears, we've been tamed. To resurrect a nickname like the Bear State could prove more a deterrent than an incentive to tourists, investors, and others with cash to spare.” (READ MORE)

Michael Fumento: Afghanistan: 'The Winnable War' “'This war is winnable.' I can't say how often during my recent embed in the southern Afghanistan Province of Zabul, just north and east of Kandahar, I heard officers and noncoms say that. Implicit is that it's also losable; but what they really mean is winnable in comparison to Iraq.” (READ MORE)

Michael Barone: Red Nation, Blue Nation “Listening to the recent debates among the candidates, monitoring their Websites and reading the poll numbers, one gets the impression that the Republican and Democratic primary electorates are living in two different nations -- or the same nation that faces two very different threats.” (READ MORE)

Carol Platt Liebau: Why the immigration bill failed “Before they try to resurrect this or any other immigration bill, President Bush and the senators who supported this failed effort would be well-advised to heed the opinion of the people who have elected them.” (READ MORE)

WSJ Review & Outlook: General Retreat “There's a rumor going around that Robert Gates is the Secretary of Defense. We'd like to request official confirmation, because based on recent evidence the man running the Pentagon is Democratic Senator Carl Levin of Michigan. For that matter, is George W. Bush still President?” (READ MORE)

John Fund: Hitting the Wall “Rip Van Winkle has nothing on Jan Grzebski, a Polish railway worker who just emerged from a coma that began 19 years ago--just prior to the collapse of communism in his country. His take on how the world around him has changed beyond recognition comes at an appropriate time. It was 20 years ago tomorrow that Ronald Reagan electrified millions behind the Iron Curtain by standing in front of the Berlin Wall demanding: ‘Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!’” (READ MORE)

Fred Barnes: Who Killed the Immigration Bill? “For a seasoned politician, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is unusually transparent. Politicians, as a rule, try to mask their political motives -- but upon yanking the bipartisan immigration reform bill from the Senate floor last Thursday, Mr. Reid declared its demise to be the fault of President Bush. He said the headline would be: Democrats voted for the bill, Republicans didn't, and ‘the president fails again.’” (READ MORE)

Michael J. Totten: Back to Iraq Soon “As soon as the Iraqi Embassy issues my journalist visa, which is supposed to be any day now, I’ll be heading back to Iraq – this time to Baghdad and Anbar Province with the United States military. I had plans to visit Iraq twice already with the military. They were planning to take me and a handful of other bloggers on a free trip from Washington.” (READ MORE)

Jay Tea: False flags “A while ago, the British National Union of Journalists announced a boycott of Israel, along with calling for sanctions against the Jewish state by both Great Britain and the United Nations. Oddly enough, last week Palestinians affiliated with Islamic Jihad and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades (which, I thought, had changed their name to the "Yassir Arafat Martyrs Brigades" after that malignant tumor of a human being finally took the big dirt nap), affiliated with the "moderate" Fatah party, conducted yet another attempted invasion and kidnapping of Israeli soldiers. This time, though, they were sneaky: they approached the border in a van with big "TV" markings, impersonating journalists.” (READ MORE)

Allahpundit: (Video) Dennis Miller goes nuclear on Harry Reid “The e-mails are flooding in. You want it? You got it. If Rasmussen’s right, this should resonate broadly.” (READ MORE)

Age of Hooper: Lamest Protest Rally ... Ever. “There's a line from Woody Allen's ‘Annie Hall’ where Woody and Annie are sharing their first glass of wine together on a rooftop in New York City, and Annie complains that she meets a lot of ...’jerks’.” (READ MORE)

American Soldier: So it goes forward “I sat in the terminal waiting for my flight to be called. My wife and I enjoying our last moments together. I remember them clearly and all the emotions involved. It was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Across from us was a couple the same age as us. Holding each others hands and enjoying the moment. For me it was getting ready to leave my life forever.” (READ MORE)

A Soldier's Mind: “Just Saying…” “On January 2, 1968 myself and 35 other Special Forces soldiers - three complete A-Teams or Detachments (A-team is made up of 12 men, every one a specialist), arrive in Viet Nam. We arrived at night, and drove the next morning to Nha Trang, which is the home for the 5th Special Forces. We were called to formation and roll was taken. While the Group Sergeant Major is calling out our names, a corporal runs out of the orderly room and hands a piece of paper to the Sergeant Major. Now, there are three A-Detachments standing there. He wants to know who the weapons specialists are. I raised my hand; then I looked around and saw my arm was the only one raised. I knew then I had just screwed up.” (READ MORE)

Augean Stables: Barghouti Plays the Demopath Card: “If only Israel would be meet us half way…” “The International Herald Tribune ran an op-ed by Mustafa Barghouti in what it will take to bring peace in the Arab-Israeli conflict. I think they included it because they needed to balance a pro-Israeli op-ed on the Six-Day War by Jerold Auerbach, A Biblical Victory. In any case, they serve up to their readers the typical Palestinian narrative, filled with memory failures about past Palestinian deeds (including the work of Mustafa’s brother Marwan, who led the more violent aspects of the “Al Aqsa Intifada”), and demopathic pitches to just the kind of uninformed (or dogmatic) liberalism of someone like Roger Cohen, or Stanley Greenway, or Nicholas Kristof, or…” (READ MORE)

Austin Bay: UPDATED: An Albanian’s view of recent history/Bush calls for Kosovo Independence “I occasionally contribute short analyses of military-related events in the Balkans to StrategyPage. Kosovo remains the ‘center ring’ — the UN supports Kosovar independence, Serbia adamantly opposes it. But there is some encouraging news from the Balkans — most of it ‘slow news’, meaning non-sensational, developmental news. Bombs and bullets make headlines, bricks turning into hospitals and business districts don’t. Albania, long the most backward nation in Europe, is trying to modernize. It has come a long way but the road ahead is still rough.” (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: The Monzer's Ball “He was called the 'Prince of Marbella'. The arms dealer spared no expense on the sprawling, gated property that overlooks Puerto Banus and boasts a lavish. 15-suite Renaissance-style palace and swimming pool shaped like a four-leaf clover. But the grandee had a darker side to him -- or a brighter side -- depending on your political point of view. ‘In one photo, he is shaking hands with the late Uday Hussein, the ruthless eldest son of dictator Saddam Hussein. Uday was killed by U.S. troops in July 2003. Another photo shows al Kassar holding hands with Hassan Aideed, son of a now-dead Somali warlord depicted in the movie "Black Hawk Down."’” (READ MORE)

Blue Crab Boulevard: Why Pacifism - While Laudable - Doesn’t Actually Work “Let's just leave theology out of this at the moment shall we? Oh, pacifism is a great ideal. The problem with it is that the rest of the world seldom cooperates with one's ideas of how the world should work. Case in point: the Palestinians have discovered a new and creative way of whacking one another. This one conserves ammunition.” (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: Is Colin Powell An Obama Advisor? “The New York Sun offers a tantalizing headline that makes it appear that Colin Powell has changed his political affiliation from Republican to Democrat. In an Eli Lake article titled "GOP's Powell Is Now Advising Obama", the Sun appears to report that Powell has joined Obama's team: ‘Colin Powell, who only a decade ago was being discussed as a possible Republican presidential nominee and who more recently served as President Bush's first secretary of state, is advising a Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Obama of Illinois.’” (READ MORE)

Counterterrorism Blog: Al-Qaeda’s Shadowy Presence in India? “Once again, suspected Al Qaeda commanders claimed its presence in India, declaring jihad (Holy War) against the country and Kashmir as the gateway of Jihad against India’ for the first time ever. In a video message, [received by a Jammu and Kashmir based local news agency Current News Service (CNS) on June 08], a masked man identified himself as Abu Abrahim Al Asim voiced the statement (in Urdu) on behalf of Abu Abdul Rehman Al Ansari, the suspected chief of the Al-Qaeda for India (Al-Qaeda-fill-Hind-AQH). Similar CDs were reportedly distributed by an unidentified man during Friday prayers at a Mosque at Gaw Kadal in Srinagar.” (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: U.S. finds Karbala PJCC mockup inside Iran “The January 20 attack on the Karbala Provincial Joint Coordination Center by the Iranian backed Qazali Network, which resulted in the kidnapping and murder of five U.S. soldiers, has been long known to be an Iranian planned and sponsored strike. While Iran has insulated itself with its cutouts in the Qazali Network, Multinational Forces Iraq has captured members of the network as well as found documentation which proved Iran's complicity in the attack. And now the U.S. has satellite imagery to prove Iran's part in the attack. In the June 4 edition of Aviation Week and Space Technology, the magazine reported that Iran build a mockup of the Karbala Provincial Joint Coordination Center inside its borders, which was used to train the attackers. The "training center" was discovered by a U.S. spy satellite surveying Iran.” (READ MORE)

Dymphna: Born Too Soon “All this time I thought I was an autocrat - or maybe an authoritarian fascist, according to various former relatives - and here it turns out I really am a conservative after all. Who’da thunk? Obviously not certain of my friends, who will never wring the truth out of me with their lily-white liberal hands. Read Russell Kirk’s Ten Signs You Might Be a Conservative. Moses knew what he was doing: all good lists need ten items. Thus, Kirk’s decalogue.” (READ MORE)

Neptunus Lex: Lost opportunities, IV “When the no-fly zones were first instituted following Saddam’s brutal suppression of the Shia in the south, Navy and Air Force fighters filled the counter-air lanes more or less continuously - a needlessly wearing pace of operations, especially after 1992 when the Iraqi Air Force stopped tempting fate by trolling around below the 32nd parallel. By the late 90’s, operations had become routinized, almost to a fault, with large force packages of anywhere between 8 and 20 aircraft assembling for fixed lengths known and “vul windows” and then returning either to airbases in Saudi or back to the aircraft carrier(s) at sea in the Arabian Gulf.” (READ MORE)

Kobayashi Maru: Denver, Draconian Legislation and "Global Warming" “The typically trade-off-free, authoritarian leftist worldview wouldn't necessarily accomodate this concern, but among the biggest objections I see to efforts to do something, anything about global warming are the unintended negative consequences and all-too-inevitable (if unpredictable) economic casualties of those efforts. (In a closely related vein, I blog-ranted a few weeks ago about the danger warming hysteria poses in distracting us from more pressing risks). Today's Rocky Mountain News notes:” (READ MORE)

John Hinderaker: What Did the CIA Tell President Bush About Iraq? “Earlier today, Scott discussed a recent article by Paul Pillar, in which Pillar defended the CIA's performance on Iraq. Pillar, who was largely responsible for Iraq intelligence, wrote about the Senate Intelligence Committee's release of two reports that were authored by the National Intelligence Council, under Pillar's direction, in January 2003: Principal Challenges in Post-Saddam Iraq and Regional Consequences of Regime Change in Iraq. Pillar begins with an admission that the intelligence community was wrong about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. The thrust of his argument, however, is that the existence of WMDs did not mandate the overthrow of Saddam, and that, if the administration had paid proper heed to the intelligence community's other reports, it would not have invaded Iraq.” (READ MORE)

Right Truth: Shifting sands in Iraq “Nothing is written in stone when it comes to Iraq. The last few weeks I've been talking about the United States backing the Shia and now the New York Times thinks it's the Sunni we are arming. If you count supporting the Iraqi military units and police, "allied with the Americans, with arms, ammunition, cash, fuel and supplies", then yes, we are arming the Sunni and Shia. ‘American commanders are turning to another strategy that they acknowledge is fraught with risk: arming Sunni Arab groups that have promised to fight militants linked with Al Qaeda who have been their allies in the past.’” (READ MORE)

John Hawkins: The Problem with The Republican Party Today In Less Than 100 Words “The GOP seems to be under the impression that conservatives have a duty to support their policies and decisions in office. This is exactly backwards and is the sort of thinking you'd expect from Feudal lords, not from American politicians. Conservatives put these Republicans into office to represent our views and the reason they're not getting a lot of support from the base is because they're doing a very poor job of showing us that they're listening and responding to what we want them to do.” (READ MORE)

ShrinkWrapped: The Beginning of the End for "Global Warming" “While I have not seen one in a very many years, back in the days when New York's Times Square was a den of iniquity, it was not uncommon to see religiously inspired people pacing the sidewalks wearing sandwich boards proclaiming, "The End is Near." Some Apocalyptic groups went so far as to find specific dates by which the world would end. The New Yorker magazine would have great fun with such types, occasionally printing a cartoon in which a character is seen crossing out a date that just passed and replacing it with a date set off in the near future. The humor was in the recognition that once the date of a catastrophe passed without the catastrophe occurring, the proponents became discredited and subject to ridicule.” (READ MORE)

Cassandra: "Nude Victory Is Ephemeral", Says Ginsburg “Early this morning, the Blog Princess sprang from betwixt the Marital Sheets and greeted the dawn with her customary joie de vivre (a thing not to be confused with coup de gras, [sic] a tiresome business we assiduously avoid before we've had our first cup of coffee). But as we rustled the virtual pages of the digital fishwrap, it wasn't long before our happy mood was replaced by the grim realization that the Chill Wind of the Fascist Oppressors blows no one any good:” (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.

Trckbacked by:
Bush promises to work against American citizens, "I'll see you at the bill signing" from Right Truth

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