September 24, 2007

Web Reconnaissance for 09/24/2007

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)
Giuliani's Rhetoric on Terror Contrasts With His Record - As Rudolph W. Giuliani campaigns for president, he rarely misses a chance to warn about the threat from terrorists. "They hate you," he told a woman at an Atlanta college. They "want to kill us," he told guests at a Virginia luncheon. (READ MORE)

Hitting All the Sunday Talk Shows, Clinton Says a Lot but Reveals Little - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton appeared on all five talk shows yesterday morning and demonstrated a particularly senatorial skill: the art of the filibuster. Asked by ABC's George Stephanopoulos whether she would withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq during a first term as president, Clinton (D-N.Y.) gave a simple answer: She did not know. (READ MORE)

New York Times Says It Violated Policies Over MoveOn Ad - After two weeks of denials, the New York Times acknowledged that it should not have given a discount to for a full-page advertisement assailing Gen. David H. Petraeus. The liberal advocacy group should have paid $142,000 for the ad calling the U.S. commander in Iraq "General Betray Us," not $65,000, the paper's public editor wrote yesterday. (READ MORE)

Germans Drop Bid for Extraditions In CIA Case - German authorities confirmed Sunday that they have dropped their efforts to seek the extradition of 13 CIA operatives charged in the kidnapping of a German citizen in the Balkans four years ago. German Justice Ministry officials said they would not formally press the U.S. government to hand over the agents after U.S. officials made clear in recent weeks that they would not cooperate. The German officials spoke on condition of anonymity, citing ministry policy. (READ MORE)

Hillary Defends War Stance, Health Care Plan - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, in appearances on all five Sunday talk shows yesterday, tried to sell her new universal health care plan by promising to work with Republicans to pass it. (READ MORE)

Al Qaeda Tapes Grow in Number, Expertise - Seemingly untroubled by the worldwide search for Osama bin Laden and his allies, al Qaeda maintains a state-of-the-art multimedia production facility that is pumping out increasingly sophisticated audiotapes and videotapes at a rate of two or three a week. (READ MORE)

U.N. Braces for Historic Diplomacy - Pushed by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his prodigious work ethic, diplomats this week are engaged in what Mr. Ban has called "the most intense" period of diplomacy in U.N. history. (READ MORE)

Gingrich Seeks Donors for GOP Bid - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will begin next week to seek financial commitments from donors for a presidential-nomination bid, the Georgia Republican told The Washington Times yesterday. (READ MORE)

From the Front:
Me Over There: Home at Last - I got home this last Thursday evening, and it is hard to express how wonderful it is to be here. The incoming baby was able to wait for me (probable arrival is by next weekend). It is at this time that I'm going to retire this blog, at least until my next deployment 'over there'. (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. (READ MORE)

IraqPundit: Alliance-building widens - There's little mystery why anti-war Senate Democrats are flailing, having failed most recently to pass a bill ordering most U.S. troops home in nine months. Evidence can be found in the lead story of Friday's USA Today, which describes what's happening northeast of Baghdad. According to the story, “Most of the major tribes in a strategic province northeast of Baghdad have signed agreements to support U.S. and Iraqi forces, a sign the alliance-building initiative that started in Anbar province is spreading.” (READ MORE)

Omar: Al-Qaeda's War of Villages - Apparently this is the latest chapter in al-Qaeda's war manual in their war against the Iraqi people and the coalition; raiding remote peaceful villages, burning down homes and slaughtering both man and beast. This campaign I will call a campaign of self-destruction. For probably a year al-Qaeda was trying to build their so called Islamic State in Iraq and several times they declared parts of Baghdad or other provinces as the capital of that state. But now that they have been losing one base after another their objective changed from adding more towns and villages to the "state" to destroying the very same towns and villages! Obviously it's all about making headlines regardless of the means to do that! (READ MORE)

Outlaw 13: Faces of Valor - I honestly don't go around to news sites and the like looking for things to bitch about. In fact I really wish there wasn't anything to complain about with these places...but it leaps out at you without trying. Case in, I was going through the Military Times site looking for stories I hadn't heard or just general news. I found a story about the Safety Nazis at Fort Rucker winning a unit award and the article I posted about below. I also saw a link for "faces of valor". (READ MORE)

From an Anthropological Perspective: Informed Consent Example - I've been able to interview people as I try to understand a couple of research problems. One problem is the impact poor essential services have on local residents. I thought some people in this city of millions would be experiencing food insecurity so went about talking to people about food. Naturally informed consent was needed for my interviews. When I started interviewing an older man, I asked if I could record the conversation using my digital recorder. He said something about as long as it is nothing illegal. I said no, I just wanted to talk about food sharing and get his thoughts on why no one in Iraq goes hungry as some people had been telling me. (READ MORE)

Eighty Deuce on the Loose in Iraq: I so can't wait to go home! - Alright well it has been a few days since I've last made an entry, but know that is because I haven't really had much to write about. Lately things around here have been, well, completely quiet. Our lives have been completely boring and consist of nothing out side of our routines we do on a daily basis. Its mundane, but at least time seems to be passing fast. That I cannot complain about. So today has been a very exciting day for me. The reason for this is that I have finally found out when I will be heading out on leave!! (READ MORE)

Calvey in Iraq: Incoming - Greetings from Baghdad! Got busy again, so I have not had time to post. A few days ago, I was out in the Red Zone one morning, as usual, when two mortars hit us nearby. I was in an Iraqi building, about 100 feet away, when they hit. I heard and felt them hit, and looked out the heavy-glass window of the building in the direction from which the BOOMs came, just in time to see the dust rising from the points of impact. (READ MORE)

Badger 6: Final Thoughts on our Mission and Command - Team Badger and the rest of Task Force Pathfinder are now safely back in the confines of the United States. Many of the Soldiers have now seen their families at the demobilization station. For those who have not they are merely days away from being reunited with their loved ones. On 3 Jan 2006, I left my home, my dogs, and Mrs. Badger 6 to set out on this adventure. I packed up my Honda Accord and moved 1,600 miles to Boise. I took command of A Company, 321st Engineer Battalion (C) (C) (M) on 12 February 2006 in Boise, Idaho and saw them for the last time as a group on 2 September 2007 at Camp Ramadi, Iraq. (READ MORE)

Michael J. Totten: "Al Qaeda Lost" - I met and interviewed dozens of Army officers in Baghdad and Ramadi, but none who were as admired and respected by the men who serve under them as much as 3rd Infantry Division Lieutenant Colonel Mike Silverman from Midway, Georgia. Junior officers and enlisted men nicknamed him “the forty pound brainer,” and admire him for his guts as well as his head. “He went out and spent 12 hours a day in his hot tank,” during the battle of Ramadi one soldier said. “He risked getting blown up just like everyone else.” “I had served with him before,” said another. “When he told me he needed me in Ramadi, that was all I needed to hear. I mean, I didn’t have any choice because the Army gave me my orders, but that didn’t matter once I knew Colonel Silverman was out here.” “I’d do anything for that man,” said a third, “and I don’t like officers.” (READ MORE)

LTC Phillips: At the Outer Limits of Afghanistan . . . - While LTC Phillips waits for inspiration, Sergeants of FOB Salerno Hospital have taken matters into their own hands . The Sergeants of FOB Salerno Hospital are here: Msg Lisa A. Baker; S Sgt Christiana Webbs; 1 Sgt David Child; SFC Mike Fields: (READ MORE)

Those Wacky Iraqis: Drifting Mind - I am back in the savage north known as Iraq. It has not changed at all except more of the equipment is up armored and there are more T-Walls than ever. I am re-adjusting to my life and role but it is all a very bitter pill at this time. I am trying to get my heart into it as I made a promise but it is not easy. I find my mind drifting in so many directions. (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: An interview with the “Lion of Arab Jabour" - Battle Position Murray, Baghdad Province: While in the Arab Jabour region, The Long War Journal had the opportunity to interview General Mustaffa, the architect of the Concerned Citizens movement. Mustaffa has recruited 537 volunteers, and works closely with the 1st Battalion, 30th Regiment, 2nd Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division to secure the region. His Concerned Citizens turn over weapons caches, find and dismantle IEDs, man checkpoints, provide intelligence for US forces on al Qaeda in Iraq cells, and battle al Qaeda when attacked. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Donald Lambro: Hillary's health-care nightmare - No sooner had Hillary Clinton unveiled her latest plan for universal health-care coverage last week than the Club for Growth was denouncing it as another attempt at socialized medicine. The title over the economic-growth advocacy group's statement said it all: "It's Baaaaack: HillaryCare Redux." (READ MORE)

Michael Barone: Return on Success? - For most of the last year, the dominant narrative in most media, and for most voters, has been that we are getting nowhere in Iraq and that the Democrats, after their victory in last November's elections, are going to get out of Iraq. But events are not playing out that way. Last week, the Senate failed to pass an amendment that would have made it more difficult to rotate troops into Iraq -- and passed, by a 72-to-25 margin, a resolution denouncing the ad that attacked "General Betray Us" for "cooking the books." (READ MORE)

Dinesh D'Souza: Ahmadinejad is in, ROTC is out - President Lee Bollinger of Columbia University is a very open-minded guy, in his own opinion. In inviting the Iranian prime minister Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak at Columbia, he issued this statement. "Columbia, as a community dedicated to learning and scholarship, is committed to confronting ideas...Necessarily on occasion this will bring us into contact with beliefs that many, most of even all of us will find offensive and even odious. We trust our community, including our students, to be fully capable of dealing with these occasions, through the powers of dialog and reason." (READ MORE)

Lisa De Pasquale: Columbia and Ahmadinejad: The New Woodward and Bernstein - This week the once-esteemed Columbia University will host another speaker in its on-going ‘Conversations with Islamo-Fascists’ series. I can hear the speaker’s introduction music now: "You can reach me by caravan, Cross the desert like an Arab man I don't care how you get here, Just get here if you can..." (READ MORE)

Suzanne Fields: Not Much Ado About History - The third president of the United States depended on the educated yeoman farmer to carry the burden of enlightened citizenship in the new country. Civic duty demanded an informed public. Many Americans couldn't aspire to a college education -- anything beyond five or six years in a primitive school was higher education -- or even aspire to vote, but the young country was full of the potential to change all that. And it did. Now most young people aspire to the university, and advanced degrees are commonplace, but a lot of us who are educated are not always enlightened. (READ MORE)

Yossi Klein Halevi: Iran's German Enablers - Business opportunities in Iran were the theme of a German government-sponsored conference last week in Darmstadt, Germany. "Iran is accustomed to crises," the conference invitation delicately noted, "but somehow always keeps going forward." In fact, Iran's resilience is made possible in no small measure by Germany itself, which remains one of Iran's largest trading partners. Now Berlin is balking at international attempts to intensify economic sanctions against the Tehran regime for its nuclear program. (READ MORE)

John Fund: North to the Future - On Friday Alaska's Gov. Sarah Palin ordered the state to prepare a "fiscally responsible" alternative to the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere," which made the state a national laughingstock and shone an unwelcome spotlight on the pork-barrel greed of its all-Republican congressional delegation. The $398 million bridge would have connected Ketchikan (population 7,400) to its airport on a nearby island inhabited by 50 people. (READ MORE)

Andrew Lubin: The Battlefield of the Mind - With the ‘combat arms’ part of Gen Petraeus’s Surge receiveing all the publicity and attention in the past months, the question of changing the mindset of the insurgents is equally important. Despite the obvious need to kill or neutralize as many insurgents as possible, if the local population can be convinced not to be insurgents…then the battlefield is drastically shaped to our advantage. Iraq is a country of 26 million people with a wide variety of ethnic and tribal loyalties, educational levels, job skills, and religious orientations. Much of the violence has been promoted by the local Shia and Sunni Imams, who are often mixing religion with politics. (READ MORE)

Ace of Spades: The Enemies Within - Iranian madman Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has landed in NY and his media offensive is already underway compliments of CBS. Tomorrow it continues with an appearance at Columbia University and a video-conference with the National Press Club. Columbia University President Lee Bollinger has defended his institution’s invitation to Ahmadinejad saying: “Columbia, as a community dedicated to learning and scholarship, is committed to confronting ideas—to understand the world as it is and as it might be.” (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: Iran Applies Pressure To Free Quds Officer - Iran has started to close its border with the Kurdish region of Iraq in response to the arrest of an Iranian official in Sulaimaniyah last week. The US insists that the detainee belongs to the Quds Force, the terrorist elite of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, and had facilitated the smuggling of Iranian weapons to insurgents and terrorists within Iraq. The Iraqis have protested the arrest as well as the border closure: (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: Hitler at Columbia - “To everything there is a season…a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace. And those who can't tell the difference are idiot savants of the worst kind. For some it is only ever a time to prattle. One man who might have held seminars on the combustibility of the human body while ovens at Auschwitz consumed their ghastly fuel is in the video below. What is moral blindness but the inability to tell right from wrong, friend from enemy, love from hate? And what is moral deafness but a man who can hear words and never understand their meaning? (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Florida defies DNC; will Hillary? - For the life of me I cannot understand why Iowa and New Hampshire get to be in the front of the line for presidential primaries. This costs taxpayers billions of dollars a year in farm subsidies and corn ethanol welfare as anyone in the Senate who wants to be president (meaning 100 senators) votes for this junk in a lame effort to suck up to Iowa voters, few of whom are actual farmers. (READ MORE)

Allahpundit: Mahdipalooza: Iranian “expert” touts Protocols of the Elders of Zion on state TV - A little something to help get you in the mood. Ahmadinejad’s not speaking at the UN today, FYI; his turn at the podium doesn’t come until tomorrow. He blew into town a day early for his moment in the sun at Columbia and maybe to do a little sightseeing, which is supposed to happen within the hour if it happens at all. Odds that any Columbia students or faculty will ask him why anti-semitic poison like this is being spilled on the Iranian airwaves: (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: I’m In Nejad For Love - … simply because you’re near me … I’m trying to figure out if this is a spoof. Pretty good one, if it is: “Why I Have a Little Crush on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - I know I’m a Jewish lesbian and he’d probably have me killed. But still, the guy speaks some blunt truths about the Bush Administration that make me swoon… “ Anyway, you really have to read the whole thing, with Ahmadinehad letter excerpts, picture s comparing “cuddly” A’jad to Kermit the Frog. I’m looking at this, the Kermit thing, the Jewish Lesbian thing, the “even though he wants to murder me, even though I abhor every he stands for, Bush lied people died” thing, and I’m thinking this has to be some kind of clever spoof. (READ MORE)

McQ: If the Hsu fits ... - I continue to watch this story about Norman Hsu and the donations to various parties and politicians among the Democrats he's managed over the years, and it appears the story has some legs. As I've noted many times, corrupt politicians aren't anything new or particularly noteworthy, but when it appears that the corruption may be more broadly based, well, its at least worth a mention. Why do I say broadly based? Well Suitably Flip has done a little digging and compiling and put together an interesting spreadsheet. (READ MORE)

John Hawkins: Bush, Bloomberg And Columbia University Team Up To Help Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - First off, Columbia University is being threatened with a cut in state funds for allowing Ahmadinejad to speak -- which is great. State legislatures should be using the power of the purse to threaten universities on a regular basis, all across the country. You want to bring in an anti-American, terrorist supporting, holocaust denying, anti-Semite who's planning a new Holocaust to speak? Fine, you can have less money. You want to keep on radical professors who think the people who died on 9/11 are "Little Eichmans?" Fine, you can have less money. You want to discriminate against conservatives across campus and in your hiring process? Fine, you can have less money. (READ MORE)

Mark Steyn: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places - This year I marked the anniversary of September 11th by driving through Massachusetts. It wasn't exactly planned that way, just the way things panned out. So, heading toward Boston, I tuned to Bay State radio colossus Howie Carr and heard him reading out portions from the official address to the 9/11 commemoration ceremony by Deval Patrick, who is apparently the Governor of Massachusetts. 9/11, said Governor Patrick, "was a mean and nasty and bitter attack on the United States". "Mean and nasty"? He sounds like an over-sensitive waiter complaining that John Kerry's sent back the aubergine coulis again. (READ MORE)

David Bernstein: Is Neoconservatism a "Jewish" Movement? - One thing I've noticed roaming around the blogosphere is that most people who use the term "neoconservative" have no idea what it means (or perhaps this means that the word itself is becoming meaningless). I'm especially sensitive to this because as a college student, I for a while considered myself a neoconservative, and I wrote my senior thesis on neoconservatism. I can't give a whole history of neoconservatism in this blog post, but I can address one issue, whether neoconservatism is a "Jewish" movement. (READ MORE)

Wolf Pangloss: Reasons to be Cynical - One was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1939 for being the leader of the National Socialist German Worker’s Party. One was nominated in 1945 and 1948 for being the most prolific mass murderer of the 20th Century. One won the prize after being the worst American President of the 20th Century. One won the prize for negligence while watching over North Korean and Iranian nuclear weapons development. (READ MORE)

Jay Tea: Exposing A Contextual Deviant - OK, "exposing" is a bit strong here. The deviant in question exposes himself on a fairly regular basis; he's just decided to "call me out" on a few things enough times that he needs a thorough smackdown. Last night, BarneyG2000 worked himself up into a lather and disagreed with my little theory on why TruthOut is having e-mail troubles -- and, at the same time, brought up a few other things I've said that, he suspects, I wish I'd never said. “Jay, what post was it that you said you were glad that 9-11 happened? Why don't you link to it so all your fans can read how I am taking your words out of context? Please include the text follow-up where you wished someone would kill me.” (READ MORE)

Jim Addison: to pay full price for NYT ad - Now that The New York Times has declared the discount rate given for their "General Betray Us" ad attacking the character of General David Petraeus was an "error," MoveOn will pay the full asking price, according to their own statement: “Now that the Times has revealed this mistake for the first time, and while we believe that the $142,083 figure is above the market rate paid by most organizations, out of an abundance of caution we have decided to pay that rate for this ad. We will therefore wire the $77,083 difference to the Times tomorrow.” (READ MORE)

A Soldier's Mind: “I Owe Them My Life….” - I’ll say right from the start that this story deserves a Tissue Alert. After reading this story and watching the accompaning video, I knew it was a story that I had to share with our readers. This is a story of extreme dedication and courage and attests to the brotherhood felt among our Troops. This is a story of Soldiers putting themselves in extreme danger and of Soldiers taking a risk and going against Army protocol, to save the life of a fellow Soldier. If they hadn’t made the choices they made that day, Spc Channing Moss wouldn’t be alive today to tell his story. (READ MORE)

Lawhawk: The Four Stench - Columbia University is now in a no-win situation - they've invited Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak - citing free speech and an attempt to engage in dialogue with a genocidal-inspired thug, so revoking that invitation isn't going to look good. It's going to take a hit because they extended the invite and/or accepted his invitation to speak. Consider that before he is scheduled to arrive in NYC, he attended a military parade in Iran, where his country's latest missiles were displayed - complete with signs calling for death to Israel and death to US. (READ MORE)

Augean Stables: On Seeing the France2 Tapes from September 30, 2000 - In an ongoing series of posts about the France2 tapes, I include this (and two more) about my own experiences: I had the rare privilege to visit Charles Enderlin at France2 studios in Jerusalem in October 2003, and view about 20 minutes of tape from Talal abu Rachmeh’s work of September 30, 2000. Although I had already become acquainted with a tendency to stage scenes of fighting and ambulance evacuations, I was in for quite a surprise. Talal’s work was considerably more obvious in its filming of fakes, many of them quite badly staged for the cameras. (READ MORE)

Blonde Sagacity: Cornyn traps Hillary - Yesterday Texas Senator John Cornyn set a trap that snapped down hard on a pair of Presidential hopefuls. Mr. Cornyn cattle prodded a measure through the Senate that would force each of the elected officials to go on record either condemning or supporting’s add that smeared General Petraeus. 25 Senators in total voted not to condemn them, with 22 of those officials being Democrats. This is no surprise seeing as most elected Democrats have the same icky feelings about the military that most people reserve dust mites or tape worms. What was significant was that it was a carefully constructed snare that was designed to force the Democrat Presidential frontrunners to make a clear choice between support of the military and dollars. (READ MORE)

Dafydd: The Human Touch - This post began life as a comment on Patterico's Pontifications; but as it grew and grew, it hatched into a full-blown post for Big Lizards instead. (Sorry, Patterico!) I was reading a post by PP guest poster DRJ about Colin Powell privileging "diversity" over national security in visa applications: “The State Department under Secretary of State Colin Powell refused to implement a 2003 anti-terror recommendation that would have barred aliens from states that support terrorism from obtaining diversity visas.... America must show compassion for people in need of asylum but, after 9/11, I hoped the American government would show compassion for the home folks, too.” (READ MORE)

Big Dog: M.O.M Knows Best - The Governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley (M.O.M) has been in office for about 9 months and during this period he has been cooking up ways to impose massive tax increases that will affect every person in the state despite his claims that 83 or 95% of wage earners will see the same or lower taxes on their income. In keeping with the tradition of the Democrats, O’Malley is raising taxes to pay for spending that Democrats were and are responsible for. The Maryland political scene is full of Democrats and Republicans have held little or no power for a long time. (READ MORE)

Blue Crab Boulevard: A Perversion Of Academic Freedom - The New York Daily News unloads on Columbia University dean John Coatsworth, the man who infamously has defended inviting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak by saying he'd extend the same courtesy to Adolph Hitler. “Coatsworth's efforts to justify his remarks further showed he is absolutely ill-equipped for his post. He told the Daily News yesterday he meant "in 1939, [when Hitler] had not started the war and the Holocaust hadn't begun." Oh. So six years after Dachau, four years after the anti-Jewish Nuremberg Laws and a year after Kristallnacht, when Hitler's intentions were known to all, he'd be a fine speaker for Columbia?” (READ MORE)

Donald Douglas: Focus on the Iranian Threat - The outrage at Columbia University's speaking invitation to Iran's President Ahmedinejad is fully understandible (see here, here and here). There may be strong grounds for denying the Iranian leader a platform to spew his vile hatred of the West. Yet, Ahmadinejad - for all his derangement - is a major international player, and the world community has an interest in hearing what he has to say, especially at the United Nations, and even at Columbia (whose administration just doesn't get it). Folks should not lose sight of the big picture, though. The Oxford Medievalist reminds us of the nature of the Iranian challenge: (READ MORE)

The Oxford Medievalist: Kos Diarist: Ahmadinejad's Frank Rhetoric "Turns Me On" - Part One of the three-part Madman Takes Manhattan speaking tour occurred last night, when Scott Pelley of 60 Minutes interviewed Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The apocalyptic fanatic managed to check off most of the left's favorite talking points (h/t: LGF): “‘I think Mr. Bush, if he wants his party to win the next election, there are cheaper ways to go about this. I can very well give him a few ideas so that the people vote for him. He should respect the American people. They should not bug the telephone conversations of their citizens,’ the president said.” (READ MORE)

Confederate Yankee: Blackwatered Down - The New York Times has a very informative article up this morning by Sabrina Tavernise and James Glanz about the Blackwater / Nisour Sqaure shooting. The article focuses on the Iraqi government claim that Blackwater security contractors opened fire unprovoked on Iraqi civilians. “Iraq’s Ministry of Interior has concluded that employees of a private American security firm fired an unprovoked barrage in the shooting last Sunday in which at least eight Iraqis were killed and is proposing a radical reshaping of the way American diplomats and contractors here are protected.” The version of events told by Blackwater employees, some Iraqi eyewitnesses, and even the early Interior Ministry accounts, relays an entirely different story: (READ MORE)

Walid Phares: Is Al Qaeda Iraq a Threat to Sweden? - The leader of al Qaeda in Iraq recently offered a bounty encouraging the assassination of a Swedish cartoonist and his editor for having published drawings deemed insulting to the religion of Islam. Omar al Baghdadi, in an audio statement said Lars Vilks, who "dared insult the Prophet", should be killed for a reward of $100,000 and, if "slaughtered like a lamb", the killer will receive another $50,000. In addition, he offered a Jihadi financial reward of $50,000 for the murder of Ulf Johansson, the editor of Nerikes Allehanda, the Swedish paper that printed Vilks' cartoon on August 19. (READ MORE)

Dadmanly: What Kind of Learning? - It’s nice to know that people, even politicians, can learn from their mistakes. Senator Hillary Clinton, her friends and supporters tell us, learned a lot from her previous brush with Universal Health Care. Her new plan, such as its been defined and communicated, certainly reflects Sen. Clinton’s wizening on how to persuade Americans that we want socialized medicine, if not what such a plan should specifically define or how the plan’s features are publicized. The devil is in the details, as they say, which may explain why Sen. Clinton has conspicuously left any such demons out of public descriptions of her new plan. (READ MORE)

The Hatemonger's Quarterly: The Last Refuge of an Idiot - Ah, another day, another vapid bumper sticker slogan. Or so it seems. As if by magic, one of our senior editors here at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly”—let’s just call him “Chip”—manages to spy more dimwitted bumper stickers than you can shake a stick at. Or, if you’re a real grammar stickler, more dimwitted bumper stickers than those at which you can shake a stick. (Yeah: That’s better.) It should come as absolutely no surprise, then, to learn that a recent prowl of a nearby parking garage left “Chip” staring at yet another exemplum of the tired left-wing bumper sticker. For “Chip,” it sort of goes with the territory. (READ MORE)

Quid Nimis: Tawana Brawley, Duke, Jena - Everyone except one AP reporter and Barack Obama has gotten this wrong, apparently. When I hear Al and Jesse in a lather, I know it's all foam and no substance. I heard the allegations: "white only" shade tree, three nooses, minimal suspension for the white kid, "attempted murder charges" for the black kid who was an honor student and as pure as the wind-driven snow until racial tension drove him to kick and stomp a fallen and unconscious white boy. He was convicted by an all white jury, of course. Here's what Todd Lewan of the AP found out, from court testimony and interviews with students and teachers at the Jena High where all of this took place: (READ MORE)

Rep John Campbell: Contributions and Earmarks - A recent report highlighted some interesting information on both earmarks and campaign contributions. Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), who is the chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, directed $114.5 million in earmarks to 26 private entities. All 26 of the entities contributed to Rep. Murtha's campaign totaling $413,250 since the beginning of 2005 with $100,750 of these contributions coming in the 2 weeks before the March 16th deadline to file earmark requests. (READ MORE)

Knee Deep in the Hooah!: At The Right Time, We Remember - I was sent a very wonderful Memorial Day reflection written a few years ago by a reader. He has since updated it and passed it on to me. I know that Memorial Day has come and gone, officially. I am also mindful that everyday is Memorial Day for military families, and for Americans who support our heroes! He sent it to me as a word of encouragement. (READ MORE)

Melanie Phillips: The drowning of common sense - Did you happen to assume, by any strange chance, that the purpose of the emergency services was to rescue people in an emergency from the prospect of death or injury? Indeed. So did we all. Well, more fool us! It turns out that their purpose is to avoid anything that puts themselves at risk - and they’ve got a health and safety rule book that says so. The more we learn about how ten-year-old Jordon Lyon drowned in a pool in Wigan while two police support officers at the scene did nothing to save him, the more surreal and preposterous life in Britain appears to have become. (READ MORE)

Pros and Cons: Pete DuPont and Václav Klaus on Global Warming - Both men are worth reading, and I have pictures with each! DuPont and Klaus. DuPont ran unsuccesfully for President until George H. W. Bush called him “Pierre” on national TV, and before that was a very popular Republican governor of Delaware. He is now an influential think tank man and talking head. Klaus, on the other hand, was Federal Finance Minsiter of Czechoslovakia, Czecho-Slovakia and the Czech and Slovak Federative Republic in short order, was Czech Prime Minister, leader of the opposition and widely discounted as a political force, and now is a popular and powerful President of the Czech Republic and the only leading Euro-skeptic who played a large role in getting his country admitted to the EU. Would that both career paths had been as successful as Klaus’. But wait, there’s more! Our poles are experiencing opposite temperature and ice trends. Guess why I only heard about the North Pole on NPR. (READ MORE)

Patterico's Pontifications: The Return of Deja Vu All Over Again: L.A. Times Yet Yet Yet Again Gives Us The Myth of the Church Whose Tax-Exempt Status Was Threatened Over an Anti-War Sermon - It’s so wonderful to have the L.A. Times treat us once again to the Myth of the Church Threatened with Losing Its Tax Exempt Status Over an Anti-War Sermon. In an article yesterday titled Pasadena Church Wants IRS Apology, the local rag reports: “[Rev. George F.] Regas did not instruct parishioners whom to support in the presidential race, but his suggestion that Jesus would have told Bush that his preemptive war strategy in Iraq “has led to disaster” prompted a letter from the IRS in June 2005 stating that the church’s tax-exempt status was in question.” As I have documented on this site time and time again, there was much more to Regas’s sermon than mere anti-war sentiment. Specifically, in one sermon, Regas managed to communicate that: (READ MORE)

Neptunus Lex: Too clever by half - wunderkind Eli Pariser offers up his services to “resolve” the issue of his “General Betray Us” ad getting a discount from those careless marketing folks at the New York Times. Which, anyone getting paid the big bux by the Gray Lady could be forgiven for leaving nearly $80k on the table. So long as it was for a good cause: (READ MORE)

Monkey Tennis Centre: BBC puts a bad spin on good news - The BBC grudgingly reports General Odierno's 'claims' (because, of course, he might be lying) that violence in Baghdad has fallen by 50% since the beginning of the year. But lest anyone get too optimistic, the announcement is outweighed by enough bad news to suggest that, in the grand scheme of things, it's nothing to get excited about even if it's true. (READ MORE)

Kat in MO: Iran and Syria: Brinkmanship in the Middle East - Iran has lately become an even hotter topic than Iraq and, once again, Afghanistan has fallen off the radar completely. An upcoming push by the United States and France to enforce even greater sanctions against Iran is heating up the rhetoric from all sides of the ocean. Germany continues to struggle with the repercussions of joining the sanctions program. Democrats in Congress have been inordinately quiet since their last political push regarding President Bush's attempts to "escalate" the war by "implicating" Iran in the Shia insurgency in Iraq. (READ MORE)

Dan Riehl: WaPo: America Under Siege By Radical Muslims - They don't quite phrase it that way, instead preferring to spin it into a hit piece on Rudy Giuliani by mostly glossing over statements that his views on terrorism have evolved over the years. But their hit piece exposes a string of attacks by radical Islamists in and around NYC over a number of years. Should we assume the Washington Post is finally on board as regards the global war on terror, that radical Muslims are the likely culprits and that the Clinton preferred legalistic approach isn't what we need? That would appear to be the thrust of their piece. I guess America really wouldn't be safe under a Clinton presidency, according to the WaPo. If they're going to assemble the details of an on going war to take a swipe at a Republican, you'd think the least they could do is actually acknowledge the war exists. (READ MORE)

ROFASix: Green Beret Murder Charge Insanity - I make no secret that I don't like war very much. My war stripped any illusion of what war really was. There is no glory in war. Hot, dirty, and chaotic, war at the individual level is an exercise in insanity. But the real insanity was that few of America's wars mattered very much to our national security. They were fought for altruistic or even less viable rationales. Historically, our nation's leaders viewed our soldiers as serfs of the state instead of the heroic men and women they were. As serfs, we generally got short shifted when we got home by a nation that didn't give a damn we had fought in a war on it's behalf that really didn't matter. That experience firmly rooted my belief that each war results in a loss of more personal liberty in America, most wars don't matter to America, and we have often been too eager to unsheathe the sword. (READ MORE)

Right Wing Nut House: Is Keith Olbermann Really a Journalist? - I have to confess that I’ve always found Keith Olbermann to be a great entertainer. He has a keen sense of timing and an educated eye for the absurdities in life and politics (and in sports as his stint at the anchor desk of ESPN showed) that makes a lot of what he does funny and even provocative at times. In short, he is a first class clown, a talented comedian whose shtick is, unfortunately, too narrowly defined for stand-up and too intelligent for a sitcom. But he seems to have found a comfortable niche in the Howard Beal inspired “news as entertainment” field that Bill O’Reilly and other prime time cable hosts have settled into. (READ MORE)

Theo Spark: Brown has his way this is mine..... - Having heard bits of Brown's speech it is time to repost this. The Theo Spark Manifesto. For to long this country has suffered from the 'inbred' incompetence of the Civil Service and the Self-righteous crap of our 'elected' politicians. What I propose is to half the civil service and to limit MPs to two terms. This will serve two purposes:To reduce the power of unelected assholes who spawn ridiculous legislation purely to give themselves a sense of importance, and to encourage people who have achieved something a route into politics with a get out clause. The House of Commons is full of non-entities who have achieved nothing but kiss party ass! (READ MORE)

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