June 20, 2007

Web Reconnaissance for 06/20/2007

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)
Offensive Targets Al-Qaeda In Iraq - Thousands of U.S. troops waged a new offensive against al-Qaeda in Iraq north of the capital Tuesday, focusing in particular on the extremist group's bombmaking facilities, while at least 60 people were killed and more than 85 wounded in a massive suicide truck blast... (READ MORE)

N.Y. Mayor Bloomberg Leaves GOP - New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg abruptly left the Republican Party yesterday, declaring himself free of a "rigid adherence" to ideology and stoking speculation that he will use his multibillion-dollar fortune to mount an independent bid for the White House. (READ MORE)

6 Detainees Repatriated By Military - Six detainees were transferred this week out of the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, including one detainee who was returned to Tunisian authorities over the objections of his attorneys amid fears that he will be tortured by a government known for human rights violations. (READ MORE)

Bush, Olmert Back Abbas - President Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert yesterday declared that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, a U.S.-backed moderate who ousted the militant Islamic group Hamas from a unity government earlier this week, is the one true leader of "all the Palestinian people." (READ MORE)

Georgia Senators at Center of Battle - The battle for each senator's vote on immigration is at the hand-to-hand combat level now, with business groups that want the bill and grass-roots activists who oppose it fighting it out through phone calls, radio ads and personal visits at offices back home. (READ MORE)

Passport Seekers Inundate Office - Frantic travelers stood outside the District's regional passport office yesterday awaiting passports as a Senate committee took the Bureau of Consular Affairs to task for its slow response to unprecedented demand. (READ MORE)

Sarkozy Government Features Diversity - President Nicolas Sarkozy sent a strong signal to France's disaffected minorities yesterday by appointing an outspoken advocate of Muslim women and a woman of Senegalese origin to his government — among the country's most diverse ever. (READ MORE)

From the Front:
Noah Pollak: Commentary, both good and awful “Robert Satloff is the executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and yesterday he gave a talk about Hamas and Gaza. It has been posted on the Institute's website, and it is sweeping, nuanced, and sober. It would be pointless to try and excerpt it here, so, as they say, read the whole thing -- satisfaction guaranteed. There are a few other pieces worth checking out as well, by Fouad Ajami, Dennis Ross, and a truly jaw-dropping op-ed in the Washington Post by Robert Malley and Aaron David Miller. They argue the following:” (READ MORE)

Badger 6: Is the surge ready? Is it? Huh? Please tell is the surge ready? Plllllleeeaassee?! “One of the emails I receive on a daily basis reports on media inquiries to Coalition Forces, what embeds are doing, and what sort of hits the Coalition Website and YouTube Channel are getting. For maybe the last two weeks or so one of the preliminary lines of inquiry has been whether the ‘surge’ is complete. We learned immediately after the plan was announced that media and pols would denounces the surge as having failed. Of course they had that pesky problem of not having the extra forces in theater as yet, so the ‘serious’ pronouncements the ‘surge’ had failed were . . . uh premature.” (READ MORE)

Duty in the Desert: In Their Own Words “Next week, Mr. Tony Blair departs as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. During his 10 years as Prime Minister, Mr. Blair has displayed steady, determined and resolute leadership. He has acted with remarkable class and always seemed to understand and explain difficult circumstances in very easy-to-understand language. Often he appears to know the United States better than, we Americans, do. His sense of humor is second to none.” (READ MORE)

Michael Fumento: Europe's big wimps protest too much “I just came across a letter to the National Post from the ambassadors of France, Spain, and Germany protesting an article of mine from March 22, 2007, but it repeats a theme I've re-emphasized quite recently. With the sole exception of the UK none of the major NATO nations will fight in Afghanistan. Among the more interesting droppings: ‘Following the NATO Riga Summit, France, Germany and Spain decided to make additional means available (including aircraft and helicopters). They have not turned a blind eye to NATO's call for help in Afghanistan.’” (READ MORE)

Mohammed: Creative chaos; Iran's way “One Arab journalist had this to say in a recent article ‘The Arab media is bewildered now as it's been shocked by multiple incidents and fires that are all important and deserve the front page or the main headline in broadcast; from the bombing in Samarra to the fire in Gaza to the assassination of a Lebanese member of parliament all are news worth covering but where shall we start from!?’ To me I didn't have to jump from one flash spot to another to determine which bit of news is more important or worth becoming a priority in commenting on. The region is connected and no part of it is isolated from the other parts that I think a commentator should look at the Middle Eastern map as a whole instead of one point at a time.” (READ MORE)

Sgt J.P. Borda: Let the Milblogging begin... “I’m here in Kuwait right now. I’m actually doing more training so I’m not sure how often I’ll be able to get to a computer. It’s like 130 degrees right now and it’s only 10 am in the morning. Seriously. As long as I can make it to the Computer Center without catching fire, expect to here from me again.” (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Ken Blackwell: Waging War on Earmarks “Last year, incoming speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, vowed Democrats would ‘bring transparency and openness to the budget process and to the use of earmarks.’ It seems Congressional Democrats’ professed appreciation for fiscal responsibility has had the life expectancy of a firefly.” (READ MORE)

Austin Bay: From Russian Tantrum to Collective Missile Defense “How quickly the "new Cold War" panic has subsided. Recall that a new age of icy conflict between the United States and Russia was the "media action line" for the G-8 conference two weeks ago, with America's proposed European missile defense system the alleged catalyst.” (READ MORE)

Mary Katharine Ham: The Politically Incorrect Americanism of Alba, Pacino, and Arnold “Hablas Espanol? Jessica Alba doesn’t. Is there anything wrong with that? Apparently so.” (READ MORE)

Michelle Malkin: Behead All Those Who Insult Islam “Jihadi's Guide to Etiquette Rule 11: Never leave home without your matches, effigy-hanging sticks and death threat placards. You never know when they'll come in handy.” (READ MORE)

Mike S. Adams: Julio Pino: A Genocidal Racist without Moral Authority “In March of this year I met with an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation who shared my concern that Professor Julio Pino of Kent State University may have ties to Middle Eastern terrorist groups like Al-Quada.” (READ MORE)

Walter E. Williams: The Law Versus Orders “Suppose a person is raped and we arrest the rapist. Should his status, whether he's a senator, professor or an ordinary man, play a role in the adjudication of the crime and subsequent punishment? I'm betting that the average person would answer that the law against rape is general and non-arbitrary and one's status should have nothing to do with the adjudication and punishment for the crime. That's precisely what is meant by ‘rule of law.’ Or, as English jurist A.V. Dicey put it, ‘Every man, whatever be his rank or condition, is subject to the ordinary law of the realm and amenable to the jurisdiction of the ordinary tribunals.’” (READ MORE)

John Stossel: Bill Gates Needs an Econ Course “Maybe the Gates Foundation's private charity will work wonders, but more government-to-government subsidies won't do the trick. The trillions spent in foreign aid have little to show for it.” (READ MORE)

Thomas Sowell: Monopoly and Government “We in America have some of the most magnificent national parks in the world -- Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and many others.” (READ MORE)

Ben Shapiro: The Radical Evil Of The Palestinian Arab Population “The battle over the Palestinian Arab territory in the Gaza Strip is a battle between extremists and more radical extremists.” (READ MORE)

Kathleen Parker: Nifong's Legacy, Feminism's Shame “Mike Nifong, the Durham County, N.C., district attorney made infamous by his own hand, has been shamed, disbarred and let out the back door for his unethical conduct of the so-called Duke University lacrosse team rape case.” (READ MORE)

Kevin McCullough: Why Liberals Loathe 'The People' “It is the prevailing wisdom to allow the people to decide the weightiest matters of our time but not so to the ruling Marxist Democrats of Massachusetts.” (READ MORE)

Fred Thompson: Union Dues and Secret Ballots “One reason unions have alienated potential members is that they often focus on politics instead of supporting their members.” (READ MORE)

John Steele Gordon: Racial Role Reversal “Imagine this: In a Southern town, a woman accuses several men of rape. Despite the woman's limited credibility and ever-shifting story, the community and its legal establishment immediately decide the men are guilty. Their protestations of innocence are dismissed out of hand, exculpatory evidence is ignored. The Duke rape case, right? No, the Scottsboro case that began in 1931, in the darkest days of the Jim Crow South.” (READ MORE)

James Bowman: Getting It Right “‘For those who remember journalism back in a 1970s heyday they can't explain to to [sic] the young, [David] Halberstam's death was not just the death of a hero, it was like the death of the great Hollywood stars--Katharine Hepburn, Clark Gable.’ So wrote Henry Allen in the Washington Post shortly after the car crash which brought about the melancholy event to which he refers. He reminds us of what a paltry thing, in journalism's little kingdom, is ‘just’ the death of a hero--at least in comparison with the apotheosis of a celebrity. Halberstam, Hepburn, Gable. When did this trinity, rather than Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, or Eisenhower, Nimitz, MacArthur, become America's great and paradigmatic figures before the world? The answer is at about the same time, back in the 1960s, when Halberstam was helping to revolutionize journalism. As Richard Holbrooke put it, ‘He made it not only possible but even romantic to write that your own side was misleading the public about how the war was going.’” (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: Al Qaeda Camp struck in North Waziristan, Pakistan “A joint al-Qaeda and Taliban training camp was struck in a missile attack in Pakistan's lawless Northwest Frontier Province. A strike, believed to have been launched by U.S. forces from Afghanistan, hit a train camp in the town of Mami Rogha in the Datta Khel district of North Waziristan. Upwards of 32 Taliban and possibly foreign al Qaeda were killed in the strike on the camp, which is situated about 26 miles west of Miramshah.” (READ MORE)

A Soldier's Mind: Army Considering Even Longer Combat Tours… Say It Ain’t So “While I was NOT happy to see that this might even be a possibility, the news doesn’t surprise me much. I’m realistic and know that in order to maintain the current levels of troops in Iraq, that tours might have to be lengthened even longer than the current 15 months. I know that if this happens, we’ll deal with it. I just hope that they can come up with another viable option. Acting Army Secretary Pete Geren said Tuesday that the Army is reviewing additional options, including the possibility of extending combat tours even longer, if it’s decided that there is a need to maintain the recent buildup of forces in Iraq through spring 2008.” (READ MORE)

Ry @ Castle Argghhh!: IPB - Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield. 20 JUN 2007 “Sy Hersh is at it again. There’s a lot in this piece to consider. Was Taguba given a fair shake? What’s the effect of putting assassination in play? Is it a CYA conspiracy like Hersch et al claim? I dunno. But Abu Ghraib is the stink that just doesn’t wash off our hands. Related: KingDaddy of Arms and Influence on ‘The Authority to Whack’ Cassie’s pre-empted me on this front though. -- Why did Sec. State Powell say that there was an active CBRN program in Iraq, and more importantly who told him it was solid info?” (READ MORE)

Atlas Shrugs: Ethiopia: NY Times Shills for Somalia Islamazis “The NYT did a ‘support piece’ on the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) today portraying them as ‘rebels’ and doing the good fight against the terrible Ethiopian government in Ogaden, a spindle-legged corner of Ethiopia, see map and connections to Somalia. hat tip Bill Warner Regular Atlas readers know Ethiopia has been on the real frontlines in the war against the jihad so it is, of course, most disturbing but hardly surprising that The New York jihad Times would launch it's missiles at Ethiopia and come out strongly for murdering Islamazis. Just recently Ethiopia, with the assistance of the US Military, targeted al-Qaeda based ‘rebels’ in Somalia and killed or captured hundreds of terrorists, see prior stories from..... “ (READ MORE)

Augean Stables: British Confront Muslim Anger over Rushie Honor: Shocked! I am Absolutely Shocked! “Rushdie furore stuns honours committee - The committee that recommended Salman Rushdie for a knighthood did not discuss any possible political ramifications and never imagined that the award would provoke the furious response that it has done in parts of the Muslim world, the Guardian has learnt. It also emerged yesterday that the writers’ organisation that led the lobbying for the author of Midnight’s Children and The Satanic Verses to be knighted had originally hoped that the honour would lead to better relations between Britain and Asia.” (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: Oh Joy “A sad story from Malaysia describes the unsuccessful effort of a woman to officially change her religion. To avoid any mischaracterization of the situation, here are the quotes from the news account describing the attempts of a woman born a Malay Muslim to convert to Christianity. At the heart of the case lies a constitutional question. Wikipedia notes: ‘The status of religious freedom in Malaysia is a controversial issue. Islam is the official state religion and the Constitution of Malaysia provides for limited freedom of religion, notably placing control upon the 'propagation' of religion other than Islam to Muslims, a fundamental part of a number of other religions. However, questions including whether Malays can convert from Islam and whether Malaysia is an Islamic state or secular state remain unresolved.’” (READ MORE)

Dafydd: Why I Won't Call the Iraq Violence a "Civil War" “I noted in the previous post that Michael Yon used the phrase ‘civil war’ to describe what is happening in Iraq; a commenter to that post, BigLeeH, suggests that the definition used (when Democrats hurl the term) is very simplistic: ‘When the American left applies the term "civil war" to a modern conflict the operative definition is "any war that is none of our d**n business and we should just butt out.’ BigLeeH went on to suggest that when conservatives argue that it is too our business, they in essence foment ‘a needless conflict with the plain meaning of the words.’” (READ MORE)

Big Dog: Jimmy Carter is a Terrorist Loving Anti-Semite “Former President Jimmy Carter is up to his old terrorist appeasing ways as he defends his terrorist buddies in Hamas and it is no surprise that he is blaming the US, the EU and Israel for the woes in Palestine. Carter maintains that the US cut off money after the fair and honest elections put Hamas in power because this is not the government the US wanted in place. What Jimmy fails to understand is that Hamas is a terror organization and if the Palestinians want them in power that is fine but it does not mean we should be providing them with money.” (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: A Lesson For Expanding Bureaucracies “For those who support the establishment of new Z- and Y- visa programs to settle the status of illegal immigrants, consider the scope of the management function this requires. The immigration compromise envisions a system that can process and manage a minimum of 12 million people who have never registered for services in the past, and one that can do so successfully almost immediately -- as a matter of national security. However, the government's track record on system management in this field looks decidedly poor, especially if you've been unfortunate enough to travel abroad recently:” (READ MORE)

Crazy Politico: Hooey? “Hooey? Not a very scientific term, but it's how Reid Bryson describes the theory that global warming is a man made problem, not a natural occurrence. So, who is this Reid Bryson character? Another paid by the oil industry doubter, maybe a right wing hack? Actually he's an Emeritus Professor at the University of Wisconsin, and known as "the father of scientific climatology". The Capital Times of Madison has a great article up about Bryson's thoughts, and some folks who are unhappy with them. Money is why Bryson believes that man made global warming all the rage these days.” (READ MORE)

Dadmanly: Sixty Years of Stove-Pipe “Mike McConnell, US Director of National Intelligence (DNI), calls for a dramatic overhaul of the US Intelligence Community (IC) in the July/August edition of Foreign Affairs. On July 26, 1947, President Truman signed the National Security Act. Few Americans seem to have paid attention to ongoing efforts to reform, improve, and redirect the efforts of the US IC, as reflected most recently by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA), which itself created the post of director of national intelligence (DNI), currently inhabited by McConnell. However much change has already been implemented, McConnell advocates for much more.” (READ MORE)

Don Surber: The Vanity Nanny Party “Before he can run for president on a 3rd party ticket, NYC’s Mayor Mike has to have a party. OK, what is it? What is his issue that would connect with the voters? Is there a groundswell among the populace to add an anti-smoking amendment to the Constitution? So far, that’s his only issue that the public has seen. He is famous for taking reasonable restrictions on smoking and making them unreasonable.” (READ MORE)

Fjordman: On the Impact of Christianity “Quite a few individuals among the anti-Western crowd hate Christianity passionately. You have to be an imbecile to believe that Christianity and Islam are ‘almost identical,’ meaning ‘just as bad.’ There’s a world of difference between the religious founders and their followers. Yes, it’s true that the Church has at times suppressed dissenters, including scientists. This is common knowledge. But to present Christianity as exclusively anti-science is factually wrong. Christianity’s concept of a rational Creator whose logic could be uncovered and predicted provided a crucial basis for the Scientific Revolution in Europe, although some would claim to also see the hand of Roman engineering skills combined with Greek logic in the Industrial Revolution. Still, even though most of the criticism dished out against Christianity is wrong, that doesn’t mean that no just criticism can be given.” (READ MORE)

GayPatriotWest: Michael Bloomberg — Opportunist “Except for the people who are deliberately mean and hateful, seeking to harm others — and those who are inconsiderate, indifferent to the feelings of others, I find opportunists to be the most irritating sort of human being. They don’t seem to believe in anything but their own advancement. No wonder I was never a great fan of former President Clinton — or his wife. Each Clinton seems to shift his* position, not because of what he* feels in his heart, but what he believes is most likely to further his election.” (READ MORE)

Quid Nimis: "Defend the faith...uh, what faith?" “I got this from two friends, one of whom an Episcopal priest. She suggested that it was blog-worthy. Her tone was light-hearted, in a weltschmerzich sort of way. If you're an Episcopalian with even the tiniest shred of dignity, these last several decades have been very, very hard indeed. We've had to put up with a lot, but it's hard to top this story about one of our clergy for its sheer faith-vaporizing qualities. The Rev. Ann Holmes Redding says she is both a Christian and a Muslim. She's an Episcopal priest, a position that used to require profession of the Christian faith, to wit:” (READ MORE)

John Noonan: This is how it ends... “Probably somewhat exaggerated, but after Senator Reid declared the surge a ‘failure’ before the surging forces even started major combat operations, I have to admit that this piece by Nibras Kazimi made for a rather pleasant read. ‘I hereby declare victory. I believe the Sunni insurgency in Iraq has collapsed, and all the casualty tallies that the insurgents are desperately trying to ratchet-up won't convince me otherwise. The odor of defeat hangs heavily around the "dead-enders" — a term I'd like to bring back into vogue because it's an apt description for those gangs that remain to be hunted down, and who will be responsible for the baseline violence we will continue to see there, but at levels Iraqis can live with and still prosper.’” (READ MORE)

Right Truth: Rushdie, Muslim rage, and the West “Britain's Queen Elizabeth II bestows the title of Sir to author of ‘The Satanic Verses’, Salman Rushdie and the Muslim world reacts with ... cartoon-like anger. ‘Pakistan's parliament passed a resolution to condemn the action as an affront to Muslim sentiments’ and ‘provided justification for suicide attacks.’ That's Pakistan, our so-called partner in the war against terrorism. They are slipping into the abyss and Washington would be wise to keep a sharp eye on them. Of course Iran isn't happy either.” (READ MORE)

airforcewife: Scenes From the Chapel “The surge has hit our base, and Reservists and National Guard from all over are here for training and awaiting deployment. I notice it most especially on Sundays, because the pews at mass are filled with people in ACUs. There they sit, quiet and well behaved. They pray more than most of us. They are quick to run out and help the elderly retirees with mobility issues down the aisle. They shake my hand and say, ‘Peace be with you,’ with the added undercurrent of a fervent wish. They call my son, ‘Little Man’ and compliment him on his hair. Sometimes they tell me about their sons or daughters at home - they miss them so much.” (READ MORE)

John Hawkins: The Bloomberg Factor: Which Party Would Michael Bloomberg Hurt More In 2008? “Michael Bloomberg, the liberal Mayor of New York, left the Republican party in what seems likely to be a prelude to a run at the presidency as an independent in 2008. Now, can Michael Bloomberg win the presidency? No. I've written about this in detail previously and you can see it here, if you want to read about the difficulties of winning as a third party candidate. So, if Bloomberg gets in and isn't viable, the only real question is: who would his candidacy hurt more? That's a complex question, especially since we don't know what all of his positions would turn out to be. But, here are some early guesses....” (READ MORE)

Tanker Brothers: The End of the Rolling Victory Fast~July 9th! “Since 9 July 2006 the participants of the RVF at Tanker Brothers have volunteered to spend 24 hour periods fasting. They have fasted on four continents. The ‘rules’ of the fast were that the participants could only drink water, tea and coffee – OK, an occasional beer was allowed. The idea of the fast was Master Gunner’s and Cav Tanker’s in response to Cindy Sheehan and the Pinko’s fast called ‘Until the Troops come home from Iraq’ that began on 4 July 2006. Their fast was called off months ago. Cindy Sheehan quit early September 2006.” (READ MORE)

Jay Tea: Be careful what you wish for... “...because you just might get it. Witness this fellow. He, like many Palestinians in Gaza, has long had a series of wishes. First, they wanted the Israelis out of Gaza. He got that wish. Then, when elections were held, they wanted Hamas to represent them. They got that wish. Then, they wanted an end to the Fatah corruption in their midst. They got that wish. So, where are they now?” (READ MORE)

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