September 18, 2007

Web Reconnaissance for 09/18/2007

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

In the News: (Registration may be required to read some stories)
Clinton Delivers Long-Awaited Health Care Proposal - DES MOINES, Sept. 17 - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) unveiled her long-awaited proposal for health care coverage here on Monday, describing a plan that would pair government resources with private insurance plans to help insure all Americans. (READ MORE)

Security Took 'Turn for Worse' In Southern Iraq, Report Says - Security is deteriorating in southern Iraq as rival Shiite militias vying for power have stepped up their attacks after moving out of Baghdad to avoid U.S.-led military operations, according to the latest quarterly Pentagon report on Iraq released yesterday. (READ MORE)

Bush Enlists Cabinet Officials In Fight Against New Spending - The White House in recent days told nearly a dozen Cabinet secretaries to send letters to Capitol Hill rejecting Democrats' proposed new funds for their agencies, escalating a confrontation between lawmakers and President Bush over domestic spending priorities. (READ MORE)

Candidates Invite Questions About Their Faith - Sen. John McCain's announcement that he's been a Baptist rather than an Episcopalian for years may not garner any votes, but it's certain to win his campaign plenty of scrutiny. (READ MORE)

French Remarks Outrage Iranians - France's foreign minister has sparked international furor with a warning that the West should prepare for war as a last resort to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb. (READ MORE)

Hillary Revisits Health Care - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday announced a $110 billion plan to provide all Americans with health insurance, saying she learned lessons during her attempt to do the same as first lady. (READ MORE)

From the Front:
Badger 6: Badgers Forward . . . Onward . . . but still in Iraq - I am working on a couple of posts to wrap up this deployment. In the mean time though, Mrs. Badger 6 would like me to remind you that although the rest of Team Badger is winging their way home, I am still in Iraq. I have volunteered for another 10 months. I hope to use what I learned to help another unit. I am in a completely different part of Iraq and least for the time being my Internet and thus blogging capability is a little more limited. (READ MORE)

Mike at War: September 16 E-mail from Mike - Hi everyone, Not much happening. I just returned from a mission up to Baghdad that was cut short because my truck tire blew a seal and bearings half way up. They say it's a manufacturer error (hey Billy, you need to get on your bosses for me on that one.) We were traveling on 9/11 and thought we might get attacked but nothing happened. (READ MORE)

Michael Totten: Anbar Awakens Part II: Hell is Over - RAMADI, IRAQ – In early 2007 Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s Anbar Province, was one of the most violent war-torn cities on Earth. By late spring it was the safest major city in Iraq outside Kurdistan. Abu Musab Al Zarqawi’s Al Qaeda in Iraq had seized control with the tacit blessing of many local civilians and leaders because they promised to fight the Americans. But Al Qaeda’s rule of Ramadi was vicious and cruel. They turned out not to be liberators at all, but the Taliban of Mesopotamia. (READ MORE)

Matt Sanchez: 'Awakening' musters Iraqi courage against al-Qaida - Taking a stand is not an easy thing to do for most, especially when the cost of standing out may be your life. Last week, I had the honor of meeting and interviewing Sheik Sattar. This young, vibrant leader was a rising star behind a movement that has brought peace to the area, and hope to a people. I've spoken to many Iraqis here in Ramadi; they all have a similar tale to tell, but it usually boils down to a few basic details. For about two years, al-Qaida did everything in its power to murder and intimidate the men, women and children of Ramadi and Anbar. Al-Qaida's occupation was at a peak last year when they declared Ramadi the capital of the Islamic state of Iraq. (READ MORE)

Jack Army: Back - Had to go to FOB Warrior to meet the replacements and get them set up to come here. Back now, ready to get them set up for success. Good bunch of guys, I think they'll do well. The flight up to Warrior was fantastic. Just me and one other guy as passengers and it was an early evening flight. Not real hot, and a straight shot. It was enjoyable to watch the scenery trail along below us. (READ MORE)

Omar: An Iraqi Alliance Breaks Apart - On Saturday, exactly six months after the Fadheela Party announced its defection from the United Iraqi Alliance (UIA), the Sadr bloc made a similar decision and withdrew from the alliance as well. Abdul Kareem Inizi, the chief of Dawa Party-The Iraqi Organization (this is the other half of the Dawa, has 10 seats in the parliament) was the first to comment on the news: “The first spark that marked the beginning of the UIA collapse was the announcement of the coalition of four, which is considered a bad move because [it implies that] the SIIC and the supporters of Prime Minister Maliki within the Dawa Party consider themselves to be the main powers…” (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Letters From The Other Side of the World: Do I Want To Be An Iraqi Girl Today? - Adam, The idea that if the U.S. were to leave Iraq, then the violence would end comes up a lot, but I have to wonder what would happen if the cameras were to leave. It can’t be a coincidence that more things seem to blow up when the newsies are around. But I don’t see CBS or AP doing an expose on themselves about how thinking they’re just flies on the wall in all this is a big crock, and how their presence is playing a big role in this war. (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: Next They Came For The Schools - Hugo Chavez has progressed onto the next agenda item in his bid to create a new Cuba out of Venezuela. He has threatened private schools with closure if they do not teach their students to adopt his socialist vision, ending the independence of educators and taking another step towards indoctrinating children: "Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has threatened the country's private schools with closure unless they adopt the government's socialist ideology." (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Running out the clock - Mark Tapscott has a wonderful piece today, “Congress giving democracy a bad name.” He points out how earmark reform has become hot-lining so that Democrats can funnel more tax dollars to orgs headed by friends, donors and ex-staffers. That ain’t the worst of it. (READ MORE)

Allahpundit: (Video) Cops tase moonbat at Kerry speech just to watch him squirm - Well, not exactly. Via Jay Stephenson, the video shows the cops moving in after just one question although the article Dan Riehl found suggests the guy had been at it for a bit longer than that. I wonder what, if anything, he said or did to alarm them before the clip picks up; they’re awfully quick to grab at him after he finishes speaking and for no discernible reason. (READ MORE)

Bryan Preston: Germany’s Defense Minister gets in trouble for having common sense - Who says that the war to save the West is overlawyered? “Germany’s Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung has sparked fury by saying he would order a hijacked passenger jet to be shot down if necessary — even though the country’s highest court ruled last year that such a move would be illegal.” If the court was meeting as the hijacked plane was zooming toward it, would the court change its no shoot down ruling? (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: He Writes the Songs the Deranged People Sing - Barry Manilow refuses to share stage with View’s Elisabeth Hasselbeck because of her “dangerous” views. I’ve never watched the show, though in daily news meetings I’ve enjoyed accounts of Rosie O’Donnell and Hasselbeck butting heads, and O’Donnell ultimately being bounced. The accounts I’ve heard suggest Hasselbeck is polite and well-spoken but represents a view that drives people insane. (READ MORE)

Bryan Pick: Looking to Madison - One of our commenters, Tito, recently said, "I think the vast majorities of voters actually vote against the other guy far more than they vote for their candidate. Most of the people I talk to who voted for Bush in 04 really voted against Kerry... and the same on the other side. I think it [is] just a matter of which wing-nuts you are more scared of having power." Incidentally, I was already writing an expansive post starting on that very subject. I recently read, from the Claremont Institute, this review of Our Undemocratic Constitution (read the whole thing for a nice complement to the recent discussion here at QandO of democracy and majoritarianism). (READ MORE)

McQ: Chavez: "Society cannot allow the private sector to do whatever it wants!" - Our boy Hugo has a new sector of his country in his sights: “Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez threatened Monday to close or take over any private school that refuses to submit to the oversight of his socialist government as it develops a new curriculum and textbooks. ‘Society cannot allow the private sector to do whatever it wants,’ said Chavez, speaking on the first day of classes.” Yup, can't allow the private sector to do that. That's called "democracy". In fact, it borders on freedom and liberty and we can't have that in the new Venezuela. (READ MORE)

John Hawkins: Why I'm Not As Pessimistic About 2008 As A Lot Of People - Although it's far too early to say for sure, I tend to think that the GOP will probably lose a few Senate seats in 2008, gain a few House seats, and I think the presidential race will probably be a toss-up or lean towards the Dems by a slight margin, maybe 60-40. Granted, that's not exactly a rosy forecast, but it's a lot more optimistic than that of most political junkies. Why is that? Well, poll numbers like these make me think that the environment is going to be much more even-steven in 2008 than it was in 2006: (READ MORE)

Jay Tea: Maybe The Biggest "Well, Duh" Moment Ever On The Interwebs - Everyone on the left's all aflutter about Alan Greenspan's book, and the revelation that he said, at its crux, the Iraqi invasion and overthrow of Saddam Hussein was about oil. When the anti-war folks saw ""the Iraq War is largely about oil," they practically wet themselves. Here was a hugely-respected former public figure, a hero of the Right, giving them fresh ammunition for their "no blood for oil!" anti-battle cries. (READ MORE)

Paul: Maybe Dumbest Thing Ever Written on the Interwebs - Idris Leppla breaks the news story of the year that the Naval Academy is ... wait for it... part of the Navy. Leppla managed to finish high school, and get all the way to her senior year at Barnard (which is the woman's wing of Columbia) and never figure this out; until her bother went there and it took her family by surprise. (READ MORE)

DJ Drummond: Two Packs of Yammering Canardists, Heavy on the Ego - I still remember my first elected office. I was out sick from Junior High, and when I returned to school the next day I discovered that I had been elected to Student Council, without my knowledge and against my will. In those days and at Lake Highlands Junior High, Student Council meant having to come early to school and do extra work for no visible benefit or reward. Consequently, Council members were usually elected against their will. (READ MORE)

LawHawk: Just What's Needed - This is just what "Dr." Clinton prescribes. It's yet another huge entitlement program that will cost billions more than anyone ever envisioned that will redistribute wealth on a huge scale to tackle a problem that doesn't exist. “In her plan, Clinton said families would receive tax credits to help pay for coverage. The tax credit would be designed to limit the premiums to a percentage of a family's income.” (READ MORE)

The Armorer: Time for a little fisking. - ...of a firearms-related story from the AP. First up - I honor the service of Officer Somohano, who was killed by Labeet, and pray for a speedy recovery of the three other officers wounded in the attack that eventually resulted in Labeet's unlamented death at the hands of other law enforcement personnel. That said, this story is annoying for the unconnected assertions and innacurate information attributed to Federal law enforcers - who have either been edited to idiocy, or are deliberately mis-stating things for effect, or, don't know what they're talking about... Point the first and foremost - Laws already existed that technically should have caused this young man to not have that weapon. Gee, laws exist that should have caused Labeet to not have that weapon. (READ MORE)

Richard Landes: Background on the Rushes: Interview with Jeambar and Leconte - The petition that I’ve posted for signing concerns the “rushes” — the raw, unedited, footage — that Talal abu Rahmah took the day he claimed Israelis shot Muhammad al Durah “in cold blood.” Few people have seen them. I’ll be posting testimony from people who have seen them here over the next couple of days, to give people an idea of what they contain and how France2 officials respond to outside viewers pointing out the less than professional aspects of the work. I begin with a radio interview with a French radio station with two (non-Jewish, non-Zionist) French journalists who saw the rushes with Luc Rosenzweig and members of the top brass at the studios of France2 in Paris. (READ MORE)

Evan Kohlmann: Operation Niche: The Conviction of Mohammed Atif Siddique - Yesterday, a Scottish jury at the High Court in Glasgow returned a verdict convicting Mohammed Atif Siddique--a 21-year old homegrown extremist thought intent on becoming a suicide bomber--of a series of terrorist offenses, including the possession and distribution of terrorist propaganda material via websites and providing instructional material about guns and explosives over the Internet. In reaction to the verdict, the sitting justice Lord Carloway made several brief remarks, directly addressing the defendant Siddique: "You have been convicted of significant contraventions of the Terrorism Act, in particular on charge one of having articles in your possession for the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism. The court must take these offenses extremely seriously." (READ MORE)

Blue Star Chronicles: Iran’s Ahmadinejad is Coming to the United Nations - Iran’s President Ahmadinejad is coming to the United Nations. Remember when he was there last year? He spoke openly to those there about his apocalyptic vision. He told the West to convert to islam or be killed. He calls for the purge of liberals and still the liberals defend him. Just a couple of months ago Ahmadinejad declared that destruction of Israel is near. The Jews are fighting for their lives. Does that have a familiar ring to it? (READ MORE)

Crazy Politico: Health Care Everywhere - Health care is popping up everywhere, it seems. The UAW and GM's biggest issue in contract negotiations is getting the union to take over management of retiree health care. Hillary wants us all to buy insurance, and Wal-Mart is opening clinics in it's stores. GM is the "lead company" in the UAW contract negotiations. One of GM, Ford and Chrysler's goals is to move retiree health care from the companies to the unions. Contrary to the belief of some in the UAW, this isn't "unprecedented". Most smaller unions have run their health care systems for retirees for years. (READ MORE)

Flopping Aces: Murtha: Time for Surrender - I came across this brief article from… Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha, one of the primary architects of the Leftist defeatism rhetoric will be offering his take on General David Petraeus’ Iraqi report. “JOHNSTOWN, Pa. -- Rep. John Murtha will talk to the national press this week on his take on the Iraq report card. Talking to Channel Six, Murtha is still holding firm in his belief that we cannot win this war in Iraq. Again, Murtha is calling for troop redeployment. He said he will use facts to combat what the administration is saying. Murtha will also continue to push for Iraq to make a move. He said they need to take responsibility for themselves.” (READ MORE)

Fortress of Solitude: What is your child being taught in school? - I have railed against Government schools before, so it probably won’t come as any shock that I have yet another story to share with you. Mike Brooks, a history teacher at Bidwell Junior High School in Chico, California, recently sent his eighth grade students home with letters asking their parents to do something very…odd. Wait…“odd” really isn’t the right word. The word I’m looking for is…DISGRACEFUL! The letter, written by Mike Brooks, asked the parents to renounce their U.S. citizenship and declare themselves independent members of the “global community.” I…kid…you…not. (READ MORE)

Dymphna: What?? No Dialogue?? - Former Governor Mitt Romney laid it on the line today: the UN should withdraw its invitation to Iran’s insane leader to speechify to the folks at Oyster Bay or...the US should consider withdrawing its support of the UN. You can find his letter [pdf] to the UN Secretary General here. Yahoo has excerpted the juicy parts: “‘I call on the United Nations to revoke any invitation to President Ahmadinejad to address the General Assembly,’ Romney wrote in a letter to Ban. ‘If President Ahmadinejad sets foot in the United States, he should be handed an indictment under the Genocide Convention,’ Romney wrote.” (READ MORE)

Baron Bodissey: Join the Art Project! - Inspired by Knute at Every Kinda People, Conservative Swede conceived the idea of the Öland Modoggie Free Speech Flag, and asked for my help in executing it. As CS explains below, by doing this we become part of Lars Vilks’ grand art project. This all came about because an angry Pakistani mob, thinking they were burning a Swedish flag, burned a green and yellow flag by mistake. Conservative Swede wrote to me about it the other day: The green/yellow flag “meme” is already spreading somewhat. The green/yellow flag is a real Scandinavian flag, but for the tiny island Öland. Kurt Lundgren (a great Swedish blogger) is from Öland and made fun of how the diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Öland now are worse than ever. (READ MORE)

The Gunslinger: Mother Instinct = Peace? - I don't watch the Emmys. Can't stand that lot. But I couldn't help hearing about some of the nonsense that took place. The one remark that stands out is Sally Fields' gem: "If mothers ran the world, there wouldn't be any more f**king war." That is such a breathtakingly stupid remark on so many levels, I've been worrying it like a broken tooth all day. And though I've heard several Conservative commentators' views on it, none of them plumbed the true depth of its absurdity. (READ MORE)

Amy Proctor: Helen Thomas Awarded Badge of Courage at Code Pink Fundraiser - I knew White House press corps lady Helen Thomas was liberal, but I didn’t know she was this liberal. Thomas was awared the CodePink Badge of Courage at a CodePink fundraiser she attended October 28, 2006. This certainly clarifies a few things...... (READ MORE)

Melanie Phillips: Flying schnitzel - Good grief — Israel has finally woken from its seven-year trance and asked France 2 to provide it with the entire unedited 27-minute film that was shot by France 2’s Palestinian cameraman Talal Abu Rahma, from which a 55-second excerpt was broadcast round the world that convinced people a Palestinian child, Mohammed al Durah, had been shot dead by Israeli forces as he cowered with his father behind a barrel to avoid the cross fire in a gun battle raging between Israel and the Palestinians in 2000. That iconic image, which triggered untold terrorist acts of violence and murder, is at the centre of a court case (about which I wrote here) in which a French media watchdog, Philippe Karsenty, was successfully sued for libel in a highly suspect French court case after he claimed that France 2 had connived in a sensational (and murderous) fraud since Mohammed al Dura had participated in a staged atrocity and had not been killed at all. (READ MORE)

Michelle Malkin: Democrats will hold war funding hostage - Who’s playing politics with the war? You tell me: “Democrats are not expected to take up President Bush’s war spending request until November, giving them time to calculate their next move and see if Republican support for his policies deteriorates. The delay in passing the bill, which Bush says is needed by Oct. 1, is likely to intensify the standoff between the Democratic-controlled Congress and Bush, who says at least 130,000 troops are needed in Iraq through next summer.” The Democrat White Flag strategy is to punish the troops just when the counterinsurgency/surge measures are showing signs of success: (READ MORE)

Missiles and Stilettos: A Baghdad Book Mart Tries To Turn The Page. - "Deployment is part of a Marine's life." -These heroes really blow my mind away. If only the rest of the world had their courage and determination, we wouldn't be living in such a turbulent time. God bless them! U.S. Military expands Anbar model to Iraqi Shiites! - See? The surge is working. First, the Sunnis! Next, the Shiites! “BAGHDAD, Sept. 14 — Mukdad Ismail rearranged his books, stacking paperbacks beside an exposé of Saddam Hussein’s sexual exploits and the autobiography of H. Norman Schwarzkopf, titled, in Arabic, ‘It Doesn’t Take a Hero.’” (READ MORE)

MountainRunner: Karen P. Hughes: I don't need no dots - Quite simply, Ms. Hughes op-ed in today's Washington Post is very revealing. After throwing out stats of falling support of AQ, she has this one money paragraph: “Al-Qaeda's growing Internet propaganda activities glorify violence and seek to exploit local grievances, from political oppression to a lack of economic opportunities. In contrast, America's public diplomacy programs are engaging young people constructively, through English-language teaching, educational exchanges, music and sports diplomacy.” Ordinarily the "money" paragraph would be where the writer nails the opposition. Here, she's showing her cards. She doesn't feel a need to attack AQ's "glorification of violence" or counter the local grievances that OBL is effectively exploiting. No, she believes young people are the only answer. (READ MORE)

Noah Shachtman: Blackwater Ban "Inevitable" - "It was inevitable," That's P.W. Singer's reaction to the Iraqi government " banning" military contractor Blackwater from the country. For years, no one has followed the rise of these privatized soldiers more closely than Singer, a Brookings Institution Senior Fellow and author of the ground-breaking Corporate Warriors . Companies like Blackwater have been roaming Iraq without oversight or management for years. Of course the Iraqi government was going to lose patience. Here is Singer’s take: “Details are still fuzzy on the incident that led the Iraqi government to act against Blackwater. But it may be almost irrelevant to the results. Initial reports from the U.S. embassy are that a Blackwater USA convoy that was guarding State Department employees came under fire in the Mansour district in Baghdad.” (READ MORE)

Monkey Tennis Centre: Greenspan: The smoking gun that didn’t - Opponents of the war in Iraq thought their moment had finally come yesterday. This was it: the culmination of all their hopes and dreams of the last five years. This was their Adlai Stevenson moment. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan had apparently confirmed what they’d known all along: that the Iraq war was all about oil. And this wasn’t some disgruntled junior flunky blowing the whistle on the administration – this was a man who’d been at the heart of government for the past 18 years. (READ MORE)

Jim Lindgren: Roth on Guns and Why Historians Struggle Determining "which quantitative studies are wrong and which are right."- In Reviews in American History the country’s leading historian of homicide, Randolph Roth (OSU) has an article that deals with two recent disputes in American history: how many guns were listed in early American probate records and whether the Old West was violent (I dealt with the latter issue in an earlier post). On these two related issues, revisionist historians had suggested that there were few guns and relatively little violence. Roth first indirectly addresses a question that puzzled me. How could historians be so easily misled about the quality of Michael Bellesiles’s fall 2000 book, Arming America? (READ MORE)

WSJ Review & Outlook: The Mukasey Nomination - If the legal issues that have most preoccupied Washington the past six years are suggestive, then President Bush has found the right man to be Attorney General in Michael Mukasey. From the moment the White House proposed and Congress passed the Patriot Act after September 11, Washington has struggled to create a set of policies for the war on terror that weighs the role of civil liberties with the need to fight a determined and mortal enemy. Mr. Mukasey's professional life stood at the center of these tough legal issues six years before September 11. (READ MORE)

Bret Stephens: Osirak II? - In the late spring of 2002 the American press reported that Israel had armed its German-made submarines with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. In Israel, this was old news. It was also headline news. "Washington Post: Israeli subs have nuclear cruise missiles," was how the Jerusalem Post, of which I was then the editor, titled its story of June 16. It wasn't as if we didn't previously know that Israel had purchased and modified the German subs for purposes of strategic deterrence. Nor did we delight in circumlocutions. We simply needed the imprimatur of a foreign source to publish items that Israel's military censors (who operate as if the Internet doesn't exist) forbade us from reporting forthrightly. (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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