September 27, 2007

Web Reconnaissance for 09/27/2007

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)
Increase In War Funding Sought - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates asked Congress yesterday to approve an additional $42.3 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, bringing the Bush administration's 2008 war funding request to nearly $190 billion -- the largest single-year total for the wars so far. (READ MORE)

Democratic Rivals Press Clinton, Courteously - HANOVER, N.H., Sept. 26 -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton found herself on the defensive here Wednesday night in a debate in which the Democratic presidential candidates clashed over withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq, the financial future of Social Security and Iran's nuclear threat. (READ MORE)

Patriot Act Provisions Voided - A federal judge in Oregon ruled yesterday that two provisions of the USA Patriot Act are unconstitutional, marking the second time in as many weeks that the anti-terrorism law has come under attack in the courts. (READ MORE)

Burma Cracks Down Violently on Anti-Junta Protests - BANGKOK, Sept. 26 -- After nine days of restraint, Burma's military rulers cracked down on protesting Buddhist monks Wednesday, with security forces firing warning shots, shooting tear gas canisters, swinging truncheons and making scores of arrests to suppress anti-government marchers. (READ MORE)

U.N. Envoy Sent to Burma - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last night dispatched his special envoy to urge restraint on the Burmese regime, hours after soldiers fired tear gas at peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators outside a monastery. (READ MORE)

Fined Group Tied to Hillary - Officials of a defunct pro-Democratic group that was hit with a near-record campaign-finance fine last month hold strong ties to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign, documents show. (READ MORE)

Contractors May Fall Under Military Law - Pentagon officials suggested yesterday that U.S. civilian security contractors in Iraq fall under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice and could be prosecuted in military courts for offenses against Iraqis. (READ MORE)

War Funds Request Doubled to $189 Billion - Administration officials yesterday told a Senate panel that the war in Iraq and Afghanistan would cost $189 billion in 2008, a spending request that Democrats eyed for their next challenge to President Bush"s war policy. (READ MORE)

Dems Can't Make Guarantee on Iraq Troops - The leading Democratic White House hopefuls conceded Wednesday night they cannot guarantee to pull all U.S. combat troops from Iraq by the end of the next presidential term in 2013. (READ MORE)

Rather Chokes Up, and Hunkers Down - Former CBS "Evening News" anchor Dan Rather choked back tears on several occasions today when discussing his decision to file a lawsuit against CBS and he left many audience members with a sense that he may call President George W. Bush as a witness should the lawsuit proceed to trial (and Rather said he hoped it would). (READ MORE)

Couric weighs in on Iraq, Rather - Speaking at the National Press Club Tuesday evening, CBS "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric pulled back the curtain on her personal views of both the war in Iraq and former “Evening News” anchor Dan Rather. (READ MORE)

Bush Climate Goals Marked by Bureaucracy - The United States is lining up with China, India and the world's other biggest polluters in opposition to mandatory cuts in Earth-warming greenhouse gases sought by the United Nations and European countries. (READ MORE)

From the Front:
On Point: An Interview with Col. Richard Simcock, Regimental Combat Team 6 - Recently Col Richard Simcock called back to OnPoint in order to talk about RCT-6’s work in Fallujah and we are pleased to present the interview here. Two days after the interview, however, Sheik Sattar Abu Rishi was assassinated in Ramadi, and Col Simcock was able to update the interview in view of that eventful situation: Col Simcock is the commanding officer of Regimental Combat Team-6, operating in Fallujah. Their area of operations in known as “AO Raleigh” and includes the city of Fallujah, as well the surrounding areas to the south and west. The second largest city in Anbar Province, Fallujah is known to the world as where the insurgents killed and hung the four Blackwater contractors from the bridge, as well as the site of two intense Marine – Sunni battles in April and November 2004. (READ MORE)

Matt Sanchez: The Media's Free Ride in Iraq - The New Republic published entries from the "Baghdad Diarist," a soldier who was supposedly reporting on the realities of being in Baghdad. The "diarist" was proven to be a fraud, while the liberal media claimed even if the story was fake, it could have been true and that's what counts. Discerning facts from fiction is an obstacle the media trips over daily. If the media are the eyes, ears and voice of a democracy, our nation is currently deaf, dumb and blind. (READ MORE)

Far From Perfect: I Do Not Have Smallpox… I Swear! - We went out on patrol the other night down in the South of our AO. We went out on a more or less “feel good” mission. The kind of mission where you interact a lot with the people, get to hand out toys to kids, eat Iraqi Chow (which I am eating more of than Army chow these days) and try to show everyone what great fellows the Coalition forces are. The officers spend most of their time shaking hands, kissing cheeks (and other body parts), drinking chai and politicking. Its not a bad thing to do as it tends to bring in leads and helps the people realize we are there to help them. The bad guys spend an awful lot of time in this area terrorizing families, intimidating Sheiks, and putting out anti-coalition propaganda. (READ MORE)

W. Thomas Smith Jr.: My Bodyguards and House Resolution 548 - BEIRUT (an undisclosed neighborhood) – Lebanon is extremely dangerous for Americans right now. In fact, some top officials within the 1559 Committee (essentially the heart and soul of the Cedars Revolution ... for a free Lebanon) believe some sort of dramatic terrorist event is going to take place here in Lebanon between now and mid-October. This is not a gut feeling, but a calculation based on intelligence analysis and chatter from the street. (READ MORE)

Those Wacky Iraqis: What can YOU do to help? - One of my friends is the commander of a unit in Afghanistan and they are winning hearts and minds of the locals by being compassionate and caring. They have identified a group of Afghan children who are in dire need of winter clothing. I am including his info in the hope that some of you might understand that this is how we win. When we help a child they remember and maybe, just maybe, one of these children can make a difference in the future. Please help and while these children are Muslim the clothing is a fine, fine Christmas gift. There are 43 kids lsited here. You may not be able to help them all but i am sure you can help 1. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
John Boehner: Pork Barrell Stonewall - House Republicans have launched a renewed effort to change the way Congress spends taxpayers' money. Our goal: Stop Congress from tucking members' pet spending projects into bills without public scrutiny and debate. Pork-barrel earmarks were an important factor in the loss of the GOP majority last November. Years of irresponsible earmarks, slipped into bills behind closed doors without public debate or scrutiny, eroded Republicans' reputation as the party of fiscal responsibility and trustworthy custodians of taxpayer funds. (READ MORE)

Eugene Volokh: Doubting Thomas - The other day I blogged about some factual errors in Jeffrey Toobin's "The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court" that worried me. I was also troubled by a couple of other things. They are judgment calls, and perhaps you will agree with the author's judgment more than mine, but I thought I'd mention them. In particular, let me start with the book's treatment of Justice Clarence Thomas, which at times strikes me as not entirely fair. Let me offer a few examples: (READ MORE)

WSJ Review & Outlook: Bush and Iran - The traveling Mahmoud Ahmadinejad circus made for great political theater this week, but the comedy shouldn't detract from its brazen underlying message: The Iranian President believes that the world lacks the will to stop Iran from pursuing its nuclear program, and that the U.S. also can't stop his country from killing GIs in Iraq. The question is what President Bush intends to do about this in his remaining 16 months in office. (READ MORE)

Cliff May: Why We Fight: It's not primarily for Iraqis - In the Christian Science Monitor this week, Lt. Col. Chris Brady argues that America should "keep fighting for progress" in Iraq where he is currently serving a tour of duty. "America's forefathers had help from other nations when the United States was born," he writes. "Allow us to continue to help Iraq be re-born." (READ MORE)

Ann Coulter: Tase Him Bro! - Democrats should run Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for president. He's more coherent than Dennis Kucinich, he dresses like their base, he's more macho than John Edwards, and he's willing to show up at a forum where he might get one hostile question -- unlike the current Democratic candidates for president who won't debate on Fox News Channel. (READ MORE)

Austin Byrd: Columbia: Why Are You So Stupid? - During my time at Marine Corps Officer Candidates School this summer, I could not go more than a minute or two without hearing an irate Sergeant Instructor bellow "WHY ARE YOU SO STUPID?" to some unsuspecting Officer Candidate. It usually did not matter whether or not you had done anything wrong, because Officer Candidates School is all about maintaining your composure under pressure, and they do their best to rattle you constantly. (READ MORE)

Kristen Fyfe: Will the Media Cover THIS Story? - On September 30, a Sunday - the Lord's Day in the Christian church - San Francisco will host the Folsom Street Fair, perhaps the most hedonistic event held in public in America. The fair is the San Francisco homosexual community's annual celebration of promiscuity, sadomasochism and debauchery. The ad for this year's fair mocks Da Vinci's The Last Supper, with a half-naked beefcake Christ and disciples bedecked in all manner of leather and chains. The bread and wine of The Last Supper are replaced with sex toys. Many Christian groups have expressed outrage. (READ MORE)

Right Wing Nut House: Speaking Truth to Power Can be a Real Bitch Sometimes - I didn’t think it was possible but I’m beginning to feel sorry for Columbia University President Lee Bollinger. His speech of introduction on Monday for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has created a vicious backlash on the left over his use of some rather colorful metaphors to describe Ahmadinejad’s anti-intellectual, anti-humanist ideas. “A backlash against the president of Columbia University, Lee Bollinger, who on Monday delivered a harsh rebuke to President Ahmadinejad, is coming from faculty members and students who said he struck an ‘insulting tone’ and that his remarks amounted to “schoolyard taunts.” The fierceness of Mr. Bollinger’s critique bought the Iranian some sympathy on campus that he didn’t deserve, the critics said, and amounted to a squandered opportunity to provide a lesson in diplomacy.” What this is really all about is that the left can’t stand it when one of their own is being praised by the right for doing anything. (READ MORE)

Jay Tea: Throw Momma Under The Bus - For all its other sins, I will always be grateful to NPR for introducing me to two things that I still value and cherish today. The first was George Martin's album, "In My Life." (I might do a full posting on that album someday.) The second was the political wit and wisdom of P. J. O'Rourke, when they interviewed him for his book "Parliament Of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts To Explain The Entire U. S. Government." (READ MORE)

Jim Addison: Al Franken gets refund from Strib - The whole flap about's anti-Petraeus ad in The New York Times (for which they were incorrectly charged a low discount rate, and later paid the difference) is rippling throughout the industry. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, a noted source of fiction and leftist propaganda in the Great Lakes region, has now refunded comedian Al Franken some money because they undercharged Senator Norm Coleman. Frederic J. Frommer has the story for the Associated Press: (READ MORE)

The Redhunter: An Anti-Salafist We Need - If we are to win the War on Jihadism we need to enlist and encourage as many moderate Muslims as possible. Right now it seems that the jihadists have the upper hand, but there are some Muslims trying to change all that. One was profiled by the Washington Times today: “Exiled Egyptian cleric Ahmed Subhy Mansour, whose teachings have earned him dozens of death ‘fatwas’ from fellow Muslim clerics, uses the English translation for al Qaeda — meaning "the base" — to describe a plan to defeat Osama bin Laden and other terrorists, who he says have seized control of Islam. ‘Suppose you have here [in the United States] a base to counter al Qaeda in the war of ideas?’ Sheik Mansour asked during a recent luncheon at The Washington Times.” (READ MORE)

McQ: Is Clinton the "One"? - She certainly seems inevitable as the nominee. But can Hillary Clinton actually overcome her negatives and capture the presidency? Some within the Democratic party aren't so sure and a recent internal poll seems to support that position: “A leaked Democratic poll has suggested that Hillary Clinton, the frontrunner in the race for the party's presidential nomination, could lose the 2008 election because of her ‘very polarised image.’” "Electability". I remember John Kerry's resurgence in the 2004 campaign based on the fact that Democrats thought he was more "electable" than Howard Dean and the lot. Amazing how poorly that turned out. (READ MORE)

Protein Wisdom: “The Soros Threat To Democracy” - From Investor’s Business Daily: “[…] George Soros is known for funding groups such as that seek to manipulate public opinion. So why is the billionaire’s backing of what he believes in problematic? In a word: transparency. How many people, for instance, know that James Hansen, a man billed as a lonely ‘NASA whistleblower’ standing up to the mighty U.S. government, was really funded by Soros’ Open Society Institute, which gave him “legal and media advice?” For me, the problem is not with the causes adopted by progressives or civil liberties absolutists — though in nearly every instance I disagree with the agenda being pushed with the aid of Soros’s money. Instead — and as the article intimates — the problem is with transparency. And in fact, it is the push for transparency that animates most of my critiques of the mainstream press, while serving as the lynchpin for many of my arguments concerning the linguistic base of progressivism. (READ MORE)

Scott Johnson: Bankruptcy, Democratic-style - One element (but not the only one) of last night's Democratic talkathon that deserves attention is the candidates' unwillingness to challenge the phenomenon of "sanctuary cities" such as Minneapolis and New Have where local authorities refuse to enforce immigration law. This is one point that supports Bill Kristol's assessment of last night's debate as marking the possible vulnerability of the Democratic nominee in the fall. Today's Yale Daily News reports on New Haven's road show taking the city's municipal identification program for illegal aliens into the 'hood. The consensus of the Democratic candidates' in support of this phenomenon is striking. (READ MORE)

Melanie Phillips: UNspeakable - The indefatigable UN-watcher Ann Bayefsky points out in the New York Sun that it really isn’t so surprising that the UN gave a platform to the terrorist-sponsoring, would-be holocaust promoter Ahmadinejad. The event was merely the latest addition to a persistent record of feting the Iranian regime. Even though a year ago the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency found Iran to have violated its Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty obligations, the IAEA head Mohammed el Baradei has persistently obstructed attempts to call Iran to account. “Then there is the burgeoning rapprochement between the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, and Mr. Ahmadinejad. Ms. Arbour traveled to Tehran at the beginning of September to attend a ‘human rights’ conference.” (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: Dhimmbat - It is with great sadness that I must report that not only has Katie Couric failed to transcend dingbatitude, she has embraced dhimmitude. Katie went to Iraq, listened, and briefly made sense. I even dubbed her, too optimistically, the Anti-Cronkite. For a minute there, maybe one broadcast, I actually thought there was a chance the leggy lightweight might be the one who could see through the defeatist nonsense. Don’t worry. She got over it: (READ MORE)

Monkey Tennis Centre: NYT takes aim at Blackwater; hits self - The New York Times is still obsessing over Blackwater – well at least it gives Halliburton a break. Today the Times reports: "The American security contractor Blackwater USA has been involved in a far higher rate of shootings while guarding American diplomats in Iraq than other security firms providing similar services to the State Department, according to Bush administration officials and industry officials." The Times doesn't have any precise figures for Blackwater, but explains: (READ MORE)

Bryan Preston: Reid pulls the DREAM Act out of DoD bill - The DREAM Act would give in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens, and it had no place in a Defense bill. Though Reid has pulled it out of the war spending bill, it’s not dead yet. “Majority Leader Sen. Reid (D-NV) has apparently decided that the DREAM Act will not be voted on as an amendment to the DoD bill. He hopes, however, to have this measure voted on by some time in November.” (READ MORE)

Ian Schwartz: (Video) Katie Couric Says Bush ‘Misled’ People, Iraq Was a Mistake - If her views about Iraq and President Bush weren’t clear before, this should put any questions to rest: “Everyone in this room would agree that people in this country were misled in terms of the rationale of this war,” said Couric, adding that it is “pretty much accepted” that the war in Iraq was a mistake. “I’ve never understood why [invading Iraq] was so high on the administration’s agenda when terrorism was going on in Afghanistan and Pakistan and that [Iraq] had no true connection with al Qaeda.” (READ MORE)

Kobayashi Maru: This Just In: Al Q'aeda is Motivated by Islamic Fanatacism - I don't know whether to laugh with derision that it took them so long to figure out what has been patently obvious to some of us for six years, or to cry with relief that they finally did so, but some in the academy are finally beginning to discover that (swallow your coffee and hold onto your seat, folks 'cause this is big--really big--news): Islamic terrorists such as Al Q'aeda want to kill, convert and/or subjugate all non-Muslims because of who we are, not what we have done. (READ MORE)

GayPatriotWest: HRC’s Joe Solmonese Joins Jesse Jackson on Jena 6 - Given how busy I’ve been these past few weeks, I haven’t had much time to focus on the case of the “Jena 6.” While it does seem that the District Attorney there was a little overzealous in prosecuting six black teens accused of assaulting a white peer, there’s no doubt these adolescents beat up their caucasian fellow. Standing up for the “Jena 6″ has become the latest cause célèbre for the left, with Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson heading down to Louisiana to lead a protest. It’s no wonder then that Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese has weighed in on the story, joining Jesse in standing up against the unjust treatment of the black teens. Joe does seem more more interested in standing united with various left-wing leaders than in standing tall on gay issues. (READ MORE)

Baron Bodissey: The Muslim Brotherhood in the Old Dominion - Virginians who live in the rest of the state look askance at Northern Virginia, and with good reason: the sprawling suburbs of D.C. are like a piece of Yankeeland dropped into the bosom of our sovereign Commonwealth. I voluntarily exiled myself from NoVa thirty years ago, and whenever I have cause to return, I stand with my son atop Arlington Ridge, sweep my hand in the direction of Pentagon City and Alexandria, and warn him: “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.” Unfortunately, we all have to pay attention to Northern Virginia, because that’s where the people are, and that’s where the money is. The state Senate keeps the old ways of the Commonwealth from being swamped completely, but NoVa pays the piper in Richmond, and it still gets to call much of the tune. (READ MORE)

Dymphna: Being on the Left Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry - I’m a bit behind on the scandal scene. But finally having been released from that clumsy sling and no longer taking pain medication (much), I’m ready to roll. For many of you, this is old by now. Ho-hum, move to the next story. But in the midst of my injury, operation, and slow recovery I lost track of Scott Thomas past the initial brouhaha about his fraudulent stories. Today I spent some time looking around for the follow-up and finale to the story of the soldier/journalist. What a naughty boy he turned out to be. And his former magazine’s publisher seems to have been reduced to catatonia. At least I haven’t been able to find any place where Mr. Foer apologizes for being taken in by this fraud. (READ MORE)

Dr. Sanity: Academic Lunacy - Victor Davis Hanson asks, "Have American academics lost their collective mind?" Having been in academia for much of my professional career, I think I am qualified to answer that question in the affirmative. And let me add, that it is because the "mind" of academia has become a "collective", that it has been lost. Hanson considers some of the more recent examples of academic lunacy and then points out: “In each of the above cases, the general public has had to remind these universities that their campuses should welcome thinkers who have distinguished themselves in their fields, regardless of politics and ideology. The liberal Chemerinsky, the Clinton Democrat Summers and the conservative Rumsfeld have all courted controversy -- and all alike met the criterion of eminent achievement.” (READ MORE)

Dadmanly: United in Defeat - In commentary published in the Christian Science Monitor, former three-star vice admiral and now Congressman, Rep. Joe Sestak (D) of Pennsylvania declares that ending the war in Iraq is necessary, as it has “degraded our security” and pushed the Army “to the breaking point.” I actually have to confess that I retain admiration for the Monitor, despite its soft progressivism and reflexively anti-war prejudices. I am quite sure they know the differences between armed services, and equally certain they recognize partisan flag bearers. I suppose with all the pro-Petraeus press reports of late, war opponents feel the need to trot out the reliably pro-Dem military. (READ MORE)

Douglas Farah: Another Round of Reform for the FBI-Will it Make a Difference? - There is another long-overdue reform brewing in how the FBI handles terrorism cases. This one, six years after 9/11, would finally bring together analysts and field agents in an effort to spot trends and set investigative strategies. This has been a crying need for analysts to be elevated above their traditional second-tier status to be given more say in driving counterterrorism. The career paths available, the status within the agency and other factors mitigated against attracting the best and the brightest there. (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: How Petraeus Moved The Debate, Literally - How far has General David Petraeus moved the debate on Iraq? His testimony on the surge, and the effects of the surge itself, has made it much more difficult for Democrats to argue for withdrawal and defeat. In fact, at last night's debate, the leading contenders for the Democratic nomination couldn't even commit to a withdrawal -- by 2013: “The leading Democratic White House hopefuls conceded Wednesday night they cannot guarantee to pull all U.S. combat troops from Iraq by the end of the next presidential term in 2013.” (READ MORE)

Blonde Sagacity: Negative Opinion of Islam Rising & Majority Thinks Mormons are Christians - Really?! Geez, I can't fathom why that would be... The number of Americans who say Islam has little or nothing in common with their own religion has spiked to 70 percent in the past two years from 59 percent, the poll found. Another significant shift has taken place: In 2005, 36 percent of the public said Islam is more likely than other faiths to encourage violence among its believers. That number has risen to 45 percent. Fifty-three percent of Americans viewed Mormonism positively, while 27 percent viewed Mormons unfavorably. (READ MORE)

Blue Crab Boulevard: Informers And Collaborators - Some of the countries that were formerly under the Iron Curtain have released at least some of the archives of the former state security forces that once enforced communist rule. A few have kept the files secret. Poland, however, has gone into full disclosure mode and has started posting their files onto the internet. "WARSAW (AFP) - Nearly two decades after the fall of communism, Europe's former Moscow-dominated states are using the Internet to make public the files of the security services that helped keep their regimes in power." (READ MORE)

John Donovan: The Bush Interview... - ...wherein the Armorer demonstrates why this place doesn't charge for content. Of course, I don't claim MSM journo credentials. I'm a pamphleteer and proudly Blog Nekkid. During our visit with the President, most of us got to ask a question. In his remarks and in response to questions raised before I posed my question, the President talked about how he firmly and passionately believes that the war in Iraq was necessary, and how the fight won't be over, (though we may not see operations on this scale again, especially if we get it right in Iraq and Afghanistan) for some years yet. He spoke of how it was the President's job to "See over the horizon, beyond the Gallup Poll." (READ MORE)

A Soldier's Mind: It’s Time Their Voices Are Heard… - The media often delights in highlighting stories about veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, that are against the war in Iraq. They don’t have a problem parading around people like Scott Beauchamp and others who falsely accuse our Troops of committing atrocities. They give credence to blatant liars. They don’t have a problem telling us about the ones who participate in the anti-troop groups such as ANSWER or Code Pink. Yet, it’s not often that they let us hear from the many more who are or have served in those countries, who feel it is necessary for us to remain in Iraq and complete the mission. It’s not often that they tell the story of the Wounded Warriors who are fighting to recuperate as quickly as they can, so that they can rejoin their brothers and sisters in arms, who are still in the fight. The other day, I ran across two pieces by Soldiers who explained their views on the war in Iraq and why they feel we should remain there to finish the job we started. I’d like to share them with you. (READ MORE)

Lawhawk: Myanmar Monks Under Siege - For the second straight day, Buddhist monks have come under fire from government forces, and still more casualties have been reported. A Japanese photojournalist was among those killed. “Further casualties were reported today, following at least half a dozen deaths on Wednesday.” (READ MORE)

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