June 26, 2007

Web Reconnaissance for 06/26/2007

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)
A Strong Push From Backstage - Air Force Two touched down at the Greenbrier Valley Airport in West Virginia on Feb. 6, 2003, carrying Vice President Cheney to the annual retreat of Republican House and Senate leaders. He had come to sell them on the economic centerpiece of President Bush's first term: a $674 billion tax cut. (READ MORE)

Judge Discusses Details of Work On Secret Court - At 3 a.m. on Aug. 8, 1998, the day after the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the chief judge of a special court that supervises applications under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was awakened at home in order to approve five wiretaps, including one of Osama bin... (READ MORE)

5-4 Supreme Court Weakens Curbs on Pre-Election TV Ads - The Supreme Court yesterday substantially weakened restrictions on the kinds of television ads that corporations and unions can finance in the days before an election, providing special interest groups with the opportunity for a far more expansive role in the 2008 elections. (READ MORE)'Rainmaker' Leaves PAC After Calls for Resignation - The custodian of the Democratic Freshmen political action committee has stepped down after calls for his resignation from a House Democrat concerned about his history as a registered lobbyist. (READ MORE)

Rough Road Ahead for Immigration Bill - The White House says it has the votes to resurrect the immigration bill on the Senate floor today, though enough senators said they may change their minds in other votes later this week to leave the bill's ultimate fate in doubt. (READ MORE)

Court Rules For Funding of Issue Ads - The Supreme Court yesterday ruled that the First Amendment protects the rights of businesses and unions to fund advocacy ads in the closing months of an election, striking a blow to campaign-finance law and drawing praise from free-speech activists. (READ MORE)

Afghan Boy Outsmarts the Taliban - The story of a 6-year-old Afghan boy who says he thwarted an effort by Taliban militants to trick him into being a suicide bomber provoked tears and anger at a meeting of tribal leaders. (READ MORE)

From the Front:
Acute Politics: Tokens of Home “There's a small charm that hangs around my neck. Many soldiers carry some small token or good luck charm- Saint Christopher medallions, coins, crosses, sometimes even hand blown glass hearts. Mine is a stylized fishhook carved and polished out of bone. The Maori call it Hei-Matau; they believe it will bring strength, peace and good health. My sister bought mine for me while in New Zealand this winter, and I've worn it ever since.” (READ MORE)

Desert Flier: Slave to the System “‘Dude, you're not on the nine-line!’ ‘What, your kidding me! I'm going to have to go on this one! Either that, or the patient stays on the deck, and we re-submit another request.’ ‘I already have a monitor.’ The flight medic yells above the roar of the rotors 20 yards away. I shrug my shoulders, as if to say ‘What now?’” (READ MORE)

The Mesopotamian: Hi “It may be that we have left the land of Iraq and moved to the opposite side of the Earth, but Iraq does not seem to be able to quit our hearts and minds. It follows us like some phantom and refuses to leave us in peace to find our way in this new life. Where I am staying at the moment there is a satellite TV that receives Al-Iraqia and many of the other Arabic channels, and most of the time we watch these with sinking hearts as news of new disasters and painful tragedies reach us almost everyday.” (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Fred Thompson: The Queen and Free Speech “Last week, I was fortunate enough to spend some time in London. Being there, I couldn't help but think how much America owes to British culture and traditions.” (READ MORE)

Dennis Prager: The Rape of a Name Is Also Rape “Upon first hearing a comparison of name-rape to body-rape, most people are likely to recoil. But upon reflection, it becomes clear that the two are morally comparable.” (READ MORE)

Sandy Froman: Dismantling Campaign Finance Reform: Restoring Your Free Speech “On the last day of its term, the Supreme Court began dismantling the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA). Anyone who cares about the First Amendment should be cheering.” (READ MORE)

Bill Murchison: Free Speech And The Politicians “Free speech -- which means, to entirely too many self-styled liberals, ‘speech I agree with’ -- won a modest victory this week in the U.S. Supreme Court.” (READ MORE)

Thomas Sowell: Cultural Heritages “Among the interesting people encountered by my wife and me, during some recent vacation travel, were a small group of adolescent boys from a Navajo reservation.” (READ MORE)

Patrick J. Buchanan: Will Bloomberg Swift-Boat Hillary? “The presidential candidacy of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is already a smashing success.” (READ MORE)

Jack Kemp: Keep the Internet Tax-Free “Ronald Reagan said famously, ‘The trouble with those on 'the left': if they see something move, they'll tax it, if it keeps moving, they'll regulate it, and if it stops moving, they'll subsidize it.’ We would add, as longtime ‘tax cutters,’ that unfortunately, all too often, that phenomenon is also occurring on ‘the right.’” (READ MORE)

Rich Lowry: Imbalanced on Talk Radio “Rush Limbaugh, the conservative talk-radio pioneer, has been called many nasty things before, but never a ‘structural imbalance.’ That's the fancy term a liberal think tank uses to characterize his success -- and to dress up its proposal for counteracting that success through new government regulation.” (READ MORE)

Amanda Carpenter: Obama Tries to Strip Illegal Worker Checks “Sen. Barack Obama (D.-Ill.) is sponsoring an amendment to the Senate’s immigration bill to strip language that would require employers to verify the social security numbers of their workers unless there is ‘suspicion of unlawful employment.’” (READ MORE)

Horace Cooper: Whither Personal Responsibility “More and more it seems that celebrities and their families or close associates are unwilling to embrace basic notions of personal responsibility. Whether it’s the hangers on around the tragic life of Anna Nicole Smith or the family of train wreck Paris Hilton, more and more it appears that the families and friends of celebrities are nothing more than serial enablers.” (READ MORE)

John McCaslin: NeW Women “Carrie Lukas, Washington-based author of ‘The Politically Incorrect Guide to Women, Sex and Feminism,’ was keynote speaker when the college-based Network of Enlightened Women (NeW) held its second annual national conference on Saturday.” (READ MORE)

Debra J. Saunders: Hooey Denier Deniers “If you want to convince the world that an overwhelming majority of scientists believes in global warming, then start by ignoring scientists who are not true believers. First, establish lists of scientists with your approved position, then smear dissidents. Soon, up-and-coming scientists will be afraid to cross the rigid green line.” (READ MORE)

Amanda Carpenter: Pelosi’s Green House Costs Cash, Carries Risk “If you hear Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) ask how many staffers it would take to change all the light bulbs in the House of Representatives, be warned it’s not a joke. Replacing all desk lamps within her Capitol jurisdiction with energy efficient bulbs is a part of the slogan-happy Speaker’s agenda to ‘Green the Capitol’ as well as make the country ‘energy independent’ by Independence Day.” (READ MORE)

Rich Galen: A New Yorker in the White House? “Mayor Mike Bloomberg has loudly, continuously, seriously (but not terribly believably) announced that he is not, under any circumstances, can't even understand where this might have come from, running for President of the United States.” (READ MORE)

James Taranto: The Truth About Guantanamo “Was it wishful thinking? On Thursday the Associated Press reported that, according to sources it did not name, ‘the Bush administration is nearing a decision to close the Guantanamo Bay detainee facility and move the terror suspects there to military prisons elsewhere.’ The White House quickly denied the rumor, and, for good measure, on Friday the Pentagon announced that Guantanamo had admitted its first new detainee in months: Haroon al-Afghani, a commander from the al Qaeda-affiliated terror group Hezb-i-Islami.” (READ MORE)

Pete Du Pont: Security First “The immigration bill may be back on the Senate floor this week, and the policies that are adopted will have a significant impact on the sovereignty, security, economic growth and opportunity of America in the coming decades. America's modern immigration trend began in 1986 when President Reagan's bill granted amnesty to some three million illegal immigrants yet failed to improve border security. That amnesty sent a message to people across the border:” (READ MORE)

Bret Stephens: Who Killed Palestine? “Bill Clinton did it. Yasser Arafat did it. So did George W. Bush, Yitzhak Rabin, Hosni Mubarak, Ariel Sharon, Al-Jazeera and the BBC. The list of culprits in the whodunit called ‘Who Killed Palestine?’ is neither short nor mutually exclusive. But since future historians are bound to ask the question, let's get a head start by suggesting some answers. And make no mistake: No matter how much diplomatic, military and financial oxygen is pumped into Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority, it's oxygen flowing to a corpse.” (READ MORE)

Michael J. Totten: The Nut Job Media Circus “If there is any more absurd a group of ‘activists’ in the world than Rage Boy and his Islamist pals throwing tantrums over Salman Rushdie’s novels and knighthood, Korans allegedly flushed down the can, and pencil drawings in Danish and other newspapers, I don’t know about them. I have deliberately avoided writing or even posting about such people because they really ought to be starved of media oxygen. Christopher Hitchens is absolutely correct when he writes the following:” (READ MORE)

Lawhawk: Iran's War Against West Gets Active? “How does Iran spell border with Iraq? Apparently, it's spelled mine. Iranian invasions, catch the wave. ‘Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces have been spotted by British troops crossing the border into southern Iraq, The Sun tabloid reported on Tuesday.’” (READ MORE)

A Soldier's Mind: SFC Adin Salkanovic “The Decision Was Not Up For Debate…” “When I hear stories like this, I am always amazed at the determination and resiliency of the men and women who serve in our Country’s Armed Forces. What amazes me even more, is the men and women who are not born in the United States, yet they come to this country, volunteer for Military service, where they fight, sacrifice and die for this country, as if this was their homeland. Something that some American citizens by birth many times refuse to do. These young men and women are truly inspirational and should serve as an shining example for our children.” (READ MORE)

Dafydd: Free Speech for Me AND for Thee “The realignment continues on the ship of state (that sounds weird somehow, but I'm too lazy to fix it). Today, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS -- which also sounds weird and vaguely salacious) cast out the most offensive provision of the McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002... the signing of which, and continued defense of, is the worst decision ever made by President Bush, a president I otherwise mostly admire.” (READ MORE)

Blue Crab Boulevard: Down The Slippery Slope “Even though the Democratic leadership has declared all-out war on the war in Iraq, they always have insisted that the war in Afghanistan was a ‘good’ war. Even though they have played games with a funding bill that was not just for the Iraq war but for the ‘good’ war as well, they have demanded we refocus on the ‘good’ war. Yeah, right. ‘When they won control of Congress in November, Democrats pressed their case to withdraw troops from Iraq and refocus on Afghanistan, but some are growing impatient with U.S. operations in Afghanistan as well.’” (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: Afghanistan's Turn “The defeat-and-retreat chorus that won control of Congress in last year's midterms told America that we needed to withdraw from Iraq in order to fight ‘real terrorists’ in Afghanistan.. They derided the Bush administration's policy to fight terrorists in Iraq, claiming that the fighting there served as a distraction from the true war on terror being fought against the Taliban. They pledged to focus on the latter and destroy the terrorists that attacked America. Well, that was then. This is now:” (READ MORE)

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross: No Significant Spike in Violence Following Latest Askariya Attack “The day after the al-Askariya Mosque in Samarra, Iraq was bombed for the second time in a year and a half, I wrote that the second bombing was ‘potentially disastrous.’ Analysts feared that, similar to the first attack on the al-Askariya Mosque on February 22, 2006, this provocation could spark sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shias. Fortunately, about two weeks after the event, Iraq has not witnessed a major spike in violence.” (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: Iraq Report: al Qaeda Strikes at the Seams “As Iraqi and Coalition forces press forward with Operation Phantom Thunder in the Baghdad Belts, al Qaeda conducted its first coordinated counter attack. Five separate suicide strikes Baghdad, Babil and in the north resulted in up to 45 deaths. The most effective strike targeted members of the Anbar Salvation Council who were meeting in Baghdad.” (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Prince Charles fights global cooling “Last year, the Prince of Wales produced 3 million pounds of carbon dioxide, the Times of London reported. That is great news in the battle against global cooling. The news comes less than a week after Professor Timothy Patterson of Carleton University announced that global warming has ended and that a period of global cooling lies ahead. Wrote Patterson:” (READ MORE)

Fortress of Solitude: The Fairness Doctrine “I have mentioned the Fairness Doctrine on several occasions. But, I wanted to take the time to elaborate on the topic. The Fairness Doctrine was a Government regulation enacted in 1949 and repealed in 1987. Basically, it gave the FCC the power to ‘balance’ the political viewpoints that are broadcast on the radio. For instance, if a right-wing talk show host such as Rush Limbaugh (the main target of the Fairness Doctrine) has three hours of air time, an opposing left-wing radio host must be given three hours of air time. However, there are two major problems with this. The Fairness Doctrine flies directly in the face of the free market and the First Amendment.” (READ MORE)

Baron Bodissey: “For a Mohammedan-Free Denmark” “I mentioned on Saturday that a group in Denmark was planning to burn an effigy of Mohammed (instead of a witch) at the traditional midsummer festival. Since then the group that burned the Prophet has contacted SIAD, who kindly uploaded the video for us. The Danes made quite a production of the bonfire — the soundtrack has ‘Light My Fire’ on it. The intro is in Danish, and it goes by too fast for me to translate easily. Maybe some of our Danish readers can give us the gist of it. But the last thing you see before the action rolls is this:
‘For a Mohammedan-free Denmark!’” (READ MORE)

GayPatriotWest: Carter Silent on Schalit Kidnapping “After reading the Jerusalem Post article on the recorded message from the kidnapped IDF (Israel Defense Forces) soldier Gilad Schalit, I wondered what former President Jimmy Carter had to say about this violation of international law. Given Mr. Carter’s professed interest in human rights and his book on the Middle East, he must have said something. Mr. Carter recently chastised the Bush Administration for failing to recognize the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas whose military wing al-Kassam crossed into sovereign Israeli territory to abduct the young man.” (READ MORE)

Allahpundit: Olby: If Hugh Hewitt is for it, who can not be against it? “Here’s the most shameless left-wing water carrier on television, a man who once donated to Bill Clinton’s charity on camera, knocking amnesty shill Jon Kyl for taking advice from the dark precincts of right-wing talk radio. Would the Democratic Senate leadership ever stoop so low as to solicit legislative input from its own grassroots movement? Why … yes, they would. But that’s ‘people-powered politics’ at work, quite distinct from the Republican ‘noise machine.’” (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: Equality of Women in Islam “… is very important. You may have thought they were supposed to shut up and stay under the burkha. These things are true. Also, it is important for them to blow themselves up amidst Americans, when not cooking, fetching water and stabbing Jews with poles. In this they are the equal of men. Well, not the cooking and fetching water parts, presumeably, but here’s Hamas MP Yunis al-Astal to explain it, via MEMRI:” (READ MORE)

Jay Tea: Gas Pains “Well, Congress is working on raising the federal gas-mileage standards, and I have to say I'm not surprised. It's a short-sighted, feel-good solution to a problem that doesn't really need fixing -- in other words, it's precisely the sort of thing that we should expect from Congress. The idea is simple -- seductively so. We can decrease our dependency on foreign oil and save people money if cars simply use less gasoline to move about. And the easiest way for the government to influence that is by fiat: to simply order the auto makers to make more fuel efficient cars.” (READ MORE)

Technicalities: I Hope She Wins Big Time! “In August of 2005 Tanya Andersen's life was turned upside down by the RIAA. Just like Nifong (the hanging DA of the Duke rape case) - it didn't matter that she had proof of innocence. They had decided she was ‘guilty’ and they wanted her to pony up their shakedown money. Can you hear it?... ‘Proof? We don't need no stinkin' proof!’ Now she has turned around and is suing them!” (READ MORE)

RedState: Enough is Enough! A Quick Take on Federal Election Commission v Wisconsin Right to Life “Monday's Supreme Court decision in Federal Election Commission v Wisconsin Right to Life is cause for a little celebration. It's not a great day for Free Speech, but it's a pretty darn good one. First some background. Back in 2004, one of the hot political issues was the Democratic filibuster of President Bush's judicial nominees. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc. (WRTL) which had an interest in seeing conservative judges appointed to the federal bench, ran radio ads exhorting Wisconsin citizens to contact their Senators, Feingold and Kohl, and urge them to oppose the filibuster. The ads did not mention the senators' positions on the filibuster, nor did it mention that Senator Feingold was running for reelection.” (READ MORE)

Reformed Chicks Blabbing: Just when you think it can't get any worse... “It does! Bush has sunk to a new low in my estimation. I know that the liberal reader will be thinking that he past that point years ago but since I'm a supporter of the war on terror I don't agree. When you agree with his policy his drive and determination can be viewed in a good light but when you disagree with it he can appear to be stubborn, pig-headed and arrogant. And you just want to yell at him and tell him to wake up and listen.” (READ MORE)

John Hawkins: Can You Believe That Even The WAPO Would Run This Nonsense? “I'm not sure I've ever heard of Sally Quinn before, which is all well and good, because she may be the most clueless person writing for a mainstream media outlet in the whole of the United States -- and that's saying something. I say that based on nothing more than her ludicrous column in the Washington Post that explains how Republicans are obsessed with...immigration? No. The War in Iraq? No. The 2008 elections? Not really. With....aw, you have to read it for yourself,” (READ MORE)

McQ: Operation Phantom Thunder: The spin begins “Remember what I told you to keep foremost in your mind when reading news reports about Operation Phantom Thunder?
If not, let me reiterate it for you: ‘The center of gravity for this operation is Baghdad’ Or said another way, this is all about Baghdad. Today in the NYT, Michael Gordon, who Michael Yon has generally praised for his coverage of Babuqua, talks about ‘failure’ there. When I first saw this mentioned a few days ago, I knew as sure are there are stars in the sky that this would become the dominant MSM meme for the operation there.” (READ MORE)

Richard S. Lowry @ OPFOR: Ramblings From Richard “I just got a telephone call from a reporter at a local talk radio station. He asked me if I wanted to comment on the AP story that there has been a dramatic increase in American casualties in the last few days in Iraq. I said that maybe it had something to do with the fact that General Petraeus had recently launched the largest military operation since the invasion of Iraq in 2003. His response was that he knew that there were some ‘raids’ in progress. I corrected him immediately. Then I went into a twenty-minute dissertation about all the good news that the MSM is ignoring.” (READ MORE)

MountainRunner: Public Diplomacy's Reality Check “One of the most severe problems with ‘public diplomacy’ is the failure by even its proponents to agree on a definition. Sadly, this past week we saw more of the same. Last week I wrote on the release of a new public diplomacy strategy that reflects nearly two years of leadership by Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes. Released without fanfare, it was gently slipped into the wild with nary a comment by the Administration, Karen Hughes, any supporter of either.” (READ MORE)

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