November 9, 2007

Web Reconnaissance for 11/09/2007

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)
Bhutto Detained, Election Date Set - Pakistani police placed opposition leader Benazir Bhutto under house arrest today, uncoiling barbed wire in front of her Islamabad villa. President Musharraf appears to not be letting up on his political rivals, despite saying a day earlier that elections would go ahead by mid-February. (READ MORE)

Democrats Hit Licenses for Illegals - Democratic House members can't understand why their party's national leaders are embracing driver's licenses for illegal aliens, and say their constituents see it as a "de facto amnesty." (READ MORE)

Bernanke Affirms Dollar Role - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said yesterday the dollar remains the world's reserve currency and while its decline is raising oil prices and a threat of inflation, he doesn't expect it to seriously crimp the economy or consumer spending power. (READ MORE)

Reagan21 to Focus on Spending, Ethics - Capitol Hill Republicans are invoking former President Ronald Reagan in their latest effort to strengthen their party's conservative credentials, forming a new caucus whose members must pledge to support limited government and to restore ethics in Washington. (READ MORE)

Day-Labor Center in NE on Hold - A D.C. Council member's plans to place a day-laborer center in Northeast appear to be at a halt as officials struggle to find a property to house the site and community opposition to the center grows. (READ MORE)

Bibles OK at Beijing Games - Beijing Olympic organizers angrily disputed reports of religious intolerance yesterday, saying Bibles and other religious items for personal use will be welcome at next summer's games — except for the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement.(READ MORE)

Senate Confirms Mukasey By 53-40 - A divided Senate narrowly confirmed former federal judge Michael B. Mukasey last night as the 81st attorney general, giving the nominee the lowest level of congressional support of any Justice Department leader in the past half-century. (READ MORE)

Pakistan Strife Threatens Anti-Insurgent Plan - The political turmoil in Pakistan is threatening to undermine a new long-term counterinsurgency plan by the U.S. military aimed at strengthening Pakistani forces fighting Islamic extremists in the country's tribal areas, according to senior military officials. (READ MORE)

A Bush Veto Is Overridden for the 1st Time - A year after Democrats won control of Capitol Hill, Congress delivered its clearest victory yet over President Bush yesterday, resoundingly overturning his veto of a $23 billion water resources measure -- the first veto override of Bush's presidency. (READ MORE)

Waterboarding Is Torture, Says Ex-Navy Instructor - A former Navy survival instructor subjected to waterboarding as part of his military training told Congress yesterday that the controversial tactic should plainly be considered torture and that such a method was never intended for use by U.S. interrogators because it is a relic of abusive totalitarian governments. (READ MORE)

Georgia's President Moves Up Election Date - In a surprise announcement after a day of violent suppression of opposition demonstrators, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili announced Thursday night that he would move the next presidential election up to Jan. 5, nearly a year earlier than scheduled. (READ MORE)

From the Front:
Bill and Bob's Excellent Adventure: A Marathon: The Wounded Warrior Program - I ran into a team member of my original team from Ft Riley today. As you may have figured out from reading this blog, I do not use anyone's name, not even my own. It's my way of keeping OPSEC for my family and myself and for my cohorts. Now, I'm going to break OPSEC. *GASP* With his permission, I would like to reveal to you CPT Mike Kielty. CPT Kielty is a West Pointer, a veteran of Iraq, who did his initial active commitment and was transferred to the IRR (Inactive Ready Reserve.) He began law school last fall. He is a Bronze Star recipient. Scant months before his time in the IRR ran out, CPT Kielty was notified that he was being activated to fill out a team to go to Afghanistan. You can imagine his joy at this new opportunity to interrupt his life and serve his country. Many who receive the same news avoid their responsibility, but CPT Kielty heeded the call without question. (READ MORE)

Bill and Bob's Excellent Adventure: Day One: Part Two - With no further adieu, part two... Part Two We emerged from the riverbed into classic Afghan farmland; fields surrounded by low walls like paddy dikes with sandy dirt trails on top from five inches to a foot wide. Generally, they separated a field from an irrigation ditch that may or may not have water in it. These low walls have sandy patches in them where the farmer will open or close them to the irrigation ditch, either flooding the field or keeping it drier. The walls themselves keep the water in quite well when they flood a field. The Afghan soldiers will not usually walk through the middle of a field. They walk on the paddy walls. This keeps the crop damage down, but it also canalizes their forces into single file; a potentially disastrous habit. (READ MORE)

Eighty Deuce On The Loose In Iraq: Welcome back to Iraq! - So yup, here I am, back in Iraq. Exciting times! My trip back was not too bad. Although on the plane ride from Dallas all the way until Kuwait I had an isle seat. Let me tell you, I HATE isle seats. To make matters worse, this plane had even less room than the normal coach seating so it was pretty awful, but I just slept most of the time and before I knew it I was in Kuwait. It was pretty sobering to be back and I had a good bit of time to reflect on how my life was going to be sucking again very soon. Well, so far it hasn't been too bad. As a welcoming home present, the Iraqi insurgents decided to launch a rocket at our base the night I got back. Thanks guys! I've already got used to hearing the occassional gun shot or burst, and in fact as I type this some rockets are flying overhead and impacting somewhere. (READ MORE)

IraqPundit: Withdrawal as a Goal - The NYT tells me that the Democrats want to tie money for U.S. troops to a withdrawal date. They might vote in the House today on the $50 billion interim fund. Why? The story says: "By demanding the start of a withdrawal without fixing a number of troops and then setting December 2008 as a goal only, Democrats hoped to strike a balance that could attract both ardent critics of the war and those who are uneasy about conflict but not willing to set a withdrawal deadline." So the Democrats still don't understand that announcing withdrawal would be a victory for the killers in Iraq? Creatures who murder civilians at funerals or children getting candy don't understand "as a goal only." They will only hear "withdrawal" and "December 2008." (READ MORE)

Jason's Iraq Vacation: Page Unavailable - We're sorry, the page you requested is currently unavailable. The author is currently home on R&R and will be spending every waking second with his beautiful wife and family! I do want to thank everyone for all your support so far throughout this deployment - the overwhelming encouragement I have received has been far and away the biggest motivator getting me to this point. Look for some more posts sometime around the beginning of December! (READ MORE)

Yellowhammering Afghanistan: Passing Along Generosity - We didn't leave the refugees after our initial visit without a good-faith showing that we are indeed willing to help. I had boxes of goodie bags with snacks, juice, pencils and paper for the children. We had candy, Beanie Babies and other toys. The Afghan National Police gave it all away, many of them not able to contain their smiles as they did so. I also saw smiles among the refugees. I saw hope as well. (READ MORE)

Matt Sanchez: Effete pencil pushers need not apply - How many times have you heard the contention there's no military solution to the war in Iraq? Once critics of the war placed that line in their talking points, every pseudo-expert on conflict resolution repeated it. Understanding the benefits of the politics of peace, presidential poseur Barrack Obama called for a "diplomatic surge," because you can never have too many people talking when the other side is using suicide bombers. Responding to reports that State Department officials are refusing to serve in Iraq because it's too dangerous, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., realized the government already has access to those who have courage on their resume. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Colin Levy: Funeral Rights - At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, an inscription is carved into the marble: "Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God." Twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year, an honor guard keeps vigil there for those who fought for their country and died anonymously. Among the acres of individual headstones, the Tomb of the Unknown draws visitors from across the country, as it will this Sunday, Veterans Day. Without name, rank or serial number, the soldiers buried there stand for all soldiers. (READ MORE)

Stephen Moore: The Supply-Side Solution - I recently spoke with Mart Laar, the former prime minister of Estonia and the godfather of that nation's flat tax. The major opposition to his tax reform, he explained, was not the citizenry; rather it came from the economists and the other Wise Men of government. "I was told, 'We cannot do a flat tax. It is untested. It will not work. It will cause budget deficits," Mr. Laar recalls. However, he believed it would work because of what he'd read about it in Milton Friedman's classic, "Free to Choose." And so, in 1994, Mr. Laar ignored the economic pundits and snapped into place a 23% flat tax. Estonia has since experienced one of the most rapid growth spurts of any nation in the world. (READ MORE)

Peggy Noonan: Things Are Tough All Over - The story as I was told it is that in the early years of her prime ministership, Margaret Thatcher held a meeting with her aides and staff, all of whom were dominated by her, even awed. When it was over she invited her cabinet chiefs to join her at dinner in a nearby restaurant. They went, arrayed themselves around the table, jockeyed for her attention. A young waiter came and asked if they'd like to hear the specials. Mrs. Thatcher said, "I will have beef." (READ MORE)

Karl Rove: A Failure to Lead - This week is the one-year anniversary of Democrats winning Congress. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid probably aren't in a celebrating mood. The goodwill they enjoyed after their victory is gone. Their bright campaign promises are unfulfilled. Democratic leadership is in disarray. And Congress's approval rating has fallen to its lowest point in history. (READ MORE)

John Hawkins: The 25 Most Influential People On The Right - Last week, the Daily Telegraph put out an attention-grabbing list of the 100 most influential conservatives in America. Lists of that sort, by their very nature, tend to be quite arbitrary and debatable, but the Telegraph's list struck me as being particularly far off the mark. With that in mind, I decided to put together a list of my own and although people will undoubtedly disagree with some of my selections, it's hard to imagine that I could do any worse than the Daily Telegraph, which seems to think that Christopher Hitchens, Andrew Sullivan, Jack Abramoff, Drew Carey, & Joe Lieberman are amongst the 50 most influential conservatives in America. (READ MORE)

Dinesh D'Souza: Why the Berlin Wall Fell - In October 1987 Ronald Reagan stood at the Brandenburg Gate and said, “General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization…tear down this wall.” Two years later, in what may be the most spectacular political event of our lifetimes, the Berlin Wall came tumbling down, the Soviet empire collapsed, and the world entered a new period of relative peace and prosperity. But how and why did the wall come tumbling down? I want to argue that it was Reagan’s statesmanship that made possible this epochal event. Reagan didn’t, of course, do it alone. (READ MORE)

Paul Greenberg: Out of It - It's time I faced it. There some things that are just beyond my limited understanding. Like the latest hubbub over the concentration of wealth in American society. It happens every time the economy has a growth spurt. Naturally those at the top, often enough the entrepreneurs and investors who made the growth possible, reap the benefits. As in the 1920s, aka the Roaring Twenties. Or throughout the late 19th century as the country underwent perhaps its most intense period of economic development. The more wealth is created, the more envy. (READ MORE)

Oliver North: A Tale of Two Coups - WASHINGTON -- It's been a tough week for democracy and American diplomacy. In Pakistan, President Pervez Musharraf pulled a coup against himself, and U.S. diplomats apparently were stunned. In Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez pulled a coup against his countrymen, and U.S. diplomats once again, well were stunned. The difference in political attention and media coverage accorded these two affairs has been -- for lack of a better word -- stunning. (READ MORE)

Charles Krauthammer: The Struggle for Pakistan's Future - WASHINGTON -- Islamist barbarians are at the gates. The president declares de facto martial law. The country's democratic forces of the center and left, led by well-dressed lawyers and a former prime minister, take to the streets. What is America to do about Pakistan? Opposition leader Benazir Bhutto knows just how to appeal to America. In a New York Times op-ed, she quotes President Bush back to himself: "All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you." (READ MORE)

Mona Charen: Junior Scholastic: PC Indoctrination for the Middle School Set - If you want to keep up with what's happening in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Michael Rubin performs a public service in National Review Online's Corner by offering periodic updates. This morning's post contains, among others, these items: -- Ahmadinejad tells war veterans and families of martyrs of the Iran-Iraq war: "Development of this country is dependent on us showing the ethos and principles of the martyrs." . . . "Pressing need for martyrdom culture." (READ MORE)

Ken Connor: Danger! Judicial Activists at Work! - There they go again! Like termites gnawing away at the foundation of a building, judicial activists are eating away at the foundations of representative government in America. The damage they cause threatens our ability to govern ourselves through our elected representatives and reallocates the delicate balance of powers which our forefathers were careful to distribute among separate branches of government. The most recent example of judges usurping legislative authority comes from Alaska where that state's Supreme Court, by a narrow 3-2 vote, struck down the 10 year old Parental Consent Act. (READ MORE)

Ross Mackenzie: Rallying Boys to a 'Dangerous' Standard of Normalcy - After two generations of concern scrupulously focused on girls — their education in all its many manifestations, their alleged victimization by male dominance, their brain development, their sorrows and strengths and even the word employed to describe them (are they not, after all, young women?) — boys are coming in for new attention. Applause, please. Yet at this late hour, with masculinity so politically incorrect, the task at hand is Augean. (READ MORE)

Phil Harris: The Liberal Conscience - What exactly is a Liberal anyway? He is the bleeding heart; the champion for the underdog, who is ever concerned about “the man” having too much authority over individuals. That definition must then contrast with the fat cat, money grubbing, and (nose always in my business) definition for the Conservative… right? Nature has been the unwitting recipient of liberal, smothering-mother instincts. Global warming may be the equivalent of a child who is running a fever of 98.9 degrees. Doctor Gore’s advice to all of the fretting mother hens is that an ambulance must be called immediately. (READ MORE)

Jay Tea: Why Not? - With the recent discussions of waterboarding and torture, it occurs to me that there are considerable disagreements about the subject. Some fundamental questions need to be asked -- and answered -- before we can have a really productive discussion on these matters. The first is, "why shouldn't the United States engage in interrogation techniques that some might define as torture?" I've heard a few arguments about that, and the problem is they don't hold up very well. "It weakens the protection US troops have against being tortured." This is based on the Geneva Conventions, I believe, which are a set of treaties that govern the conduct of war and the treatment of prisoners. The prinicple behind this is "we won't do this if you won't either" -- kind of like the agreements over chemical and biological weapons. (READ MORE)

Wonkoblog: How is Iowa spinning Iowa? - There is almost universal agreement that the opinions that matter most right now are the opinions out of Iowa. A Clinton win, especially a big one, might close the whole deal then and there. A Clinton third place finish would really create openings for Obama and Edwards, and a surprise third place (or very close fourth place) finish for Richardson, Dodd, or Biden legitimizes them. We expect Romney to win, but the bigger question is: who will come in second and how close will they be? I am going to be discussing opinion out of Iowa for the next 2 months. Today, let’s look at two blogs: Iowa Democratic Party chairman Gordon Fischer’s blog, Iowa True Blue, and GOP Polk County Chairman Ted Sporer’s blog, The Real Sporer. (READ MORE)

Stop the ACLU: Obama Campaign Placed Anti-Hillary Stories in Press - Where is MSM Outrage at Being Used? - On Thursday, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Lynn Sweet picked up on a story related by the Atlantic Monthly’s Marc Ambinder that claims that a few months ago the Barack Obama campaign sought to place the Norman Hsu scandal in the press in an effort to create anti-Hillary buzz in the MSM. Such a political “dirty trick” would seem to be a juice story for members of the MSM, wouldn’t it? So, why is Lynn Sweet the only one focusing on this one, anyway? With the sneaky actions of the Obama campaign, one would think that the MSM would be in an uproar for having been used so badly by a political candidate. And, were this a GOP “dirty trick,” it would be sure that news creators the nation over would be wagging their fingers and clucking their tongues at this violation of their purported integrity and independence for being used so by a mere political campaign. (READ MORE)

Meryl Yourish: The changing Road Map narrative - The Road Map has been awakened from its moribund state and bandied about a lot lately, particularly in the wire service reports about the upcoming mideast peace conference in Annapolis. For instance, the AP writes: “Israel continues to expand many of the 122 settlements in the West Bank, where 267,500 Israelis lived as of last month, according to government statistics...The plan’s initial stage called for Israel to freeze West Bank settlement construction and dismantle dozens of settlement outposts scattered across the territory. But the road map foundered after its introduction four years ago, with each side accusing the other of not meeting obligations.” And that is all you get about Palestinian obligations until you get to this paragraph: (READ MORE)

TigerHawk: Progress - It is a great tragedy that the jihadis feel the need to remind the world how demonic they really are: “Afghanistan's deadliest suicide attack since the Taliban regime's ouster killed 59 schoolchildren, while 96 other students were wounded in the blast, the Education Ministry spokesman said Friday. The attack in the northern province of Baghlan on Tuesday killed at least 75 people. The dead children were ages eight to 18, said Zahoor Afghan, an Education Ministry spokesman.” Fortunately, the bad guys are ending up on the short end of the stick. The A.P. article tries to push along the narrative that Afghanistan is unraveling, but does manage to put some good news in the bad news paragraph at the end: (READ MORE)

Tel-Chai Nation: More on the rise of anti-semitism in Britain - Melanie Phillips has a new article in City Journal about the scary rise of anti-semitism in Britain and where its roots could date back to. Regarding the beginning description of an anti-semitic assault, on a 12-year-old girl on a London bus, here's the original report, via Greetings from the French Hill. Ugh, these are clearly not people I'd want to be around. The main attacker wore a chain? That suggests punk subculture was involved here, something Britain's had way too much of since the late 1970s. But have their been any arrests made in any of these incidents? If the following report from the Telegraph (via Tim Blair) is any indication, the short answer is no: (READ MORE)

Smooth Stone: Hollywood's adoration of evil - I don't know when society collapsed but I believe it happened soon after William "BJ" Clinton became president. I was just reading my email when I came across this article and read the following: “Gunmen opened fire on students returning from a march Wednesday in which 80,000 people denounced President Hugo Chavez's attempts to expand his power. At least eight people were injured, including one by gunfire, officials said.” Danny Glover, Naomi Campbell, Oliver Stone and Sean Penn are just some of the Hollywood freaks who have publically pronounced their adoration of the dictator Hugo Chavez. (READ MORE)

Sister Toldjah: Miserable failures: The Democratic Congress - Karl Rove, as sharp as ever, reflects back on the last year of failures from the Democratic Congress, proving that even though he’s no longer a part of the administration, he’s not going to leave the Democats alone: “This week is the one-year anniversary of Democrats winning Congress. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid probably aren’t in a celebrating mood. The goodwill they enjoyed after their victory is gone. Their bright campaign promises are unfulfilled. Democratic leadership is in disarray. And Congress’s approval rating has fallen to its lowest point in history.”Of course, some of their failures we’ve been glad to see… (READ MORE)

ShrinkWrapped: Its the End of the World as We Know It: A Series of Observations - Since the first homo sapiens sharpened a stick and set a fire, the tension between our ability to build and our ability to destroy has ratcheted ever upward. For millenia, people have looked for a Messiah and feared the Apocalypse; some merge the two into a desire for the Apocalypse as a way, or a sign, of the impending triumph of Paradise on Earth. Others take grim pleasure in imagining the triumph of a final dystopia. Many wonder if, since August 6, 1945, we have finally achieved the ability to cause the Apocalypse without the need or hope of divine intervention. In the April, 2000 issue of Wired magazine, Bill Joy offered his assessment of the most likely emerging existential threats facing humanity. (READ MORE)

Reverse Spin: Dem AGs take $50K from investigated firm - There are 31 Democratic state Attorneys General and more than a few of them, like Andrew Cuomo of New York, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Marc Dann of Ohio, and Lisa Madigan of Illinois, fashion themselves as activist crusaders for consumers and small businesses. Last May, the New York Times gave them a front page hot tip (”Rubbing Shoulders with Trouble, Presidents“) about a controversial Illinois company whose business consulting services are the subject of hundreds of complaints from small businesses across the land. Surely, the sultans of scam-busting would pounce. What did the Democratic AGs do? They waited a few weeks and, instead of investigating, took a huge campaign donation from the company, International Profit Associates, through their 527 political action committee. (READ MORE)

Rhymes with Right: A Slur On Reagan Rebutted - In 1980, Ronald Reagan spoke to a county fair near Philadelphia, Mississippi. It has often been claimed that the event was an appeal to racism by the Republican candidate, given a civil rights atrocity committed by members of the Democrat Party's paramilitary terrorist wing, the KKK, sixteen years earlier. Often overlooked was the fact that in the same week he gave a speech to the National Urban League which was a specific outreach to black Americans by pomising an agenda for economic opportunity. New York Times columnist David Brooks sorts out the history of the speech and how it came to be given. (READ MORE)

Blackhedd: Eliminate All Taxation on Business Income - I've been hesitant to post anything since I proved the "Blackhedd Effect" once again the other day (when my story on the weak dollar preceded a 360-plus drop in the stock market). I will point out that dollar weakness has continued. Surprising and worrisome strength in the Japanese yen (which is not the same effect) has also appeared in the last two days. The European Central Bank have left their benchmark interest rate untouched and the euro will be strengthening further. Meanwhile, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke tried to sound measured and reasonable about the inflation threat in remarks to Congress yesterday, and the markets have rewarded him with a big Bronx cheer. (READ MORE)

McQ: Hillary Clinton: Moving to "fiscal responsiblilty" - You probably didn’t watch the last Democratic debate, but in a discussion of Social Security, Hillary Clinton told one and all that before she’d commit to any sort of fix on the program, she wanted to move the government toward "fiscal responsibility". One might assume that means cuts in spending along with other measures such as eliminating waste, fraud and abuse. Given the recent bills passed by Congress, I’d say she was certainly less enthused about spending cuts and "fiscal responsibility" than she might let on: "Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) has won tens of millions of dollars more in federal earmarks this year than her rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, even though two of them have significantly more Senate seniority." (READ MORE)

Kim Zigfeld: Bhutto, Under Arrest - Writing in the New York Times on Wednesday, Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto spoke for the world of democracy when she stated: "The United States, Britain and much of the West have always said the right things about democracy in Pakistan and around the world. I recall the words of President Bush in his second inaugural address when he said: "All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you." It is dangerous to stand up to a military dictatorship, but more dangerous not to. The moment has come for the Western democracies to show us in their actions, and not just in their rhetoric, which side they are on." Today, she's under arrest just like Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma. (READ MORE)

Pursuing Holiness: The Meme That Will Not Die: Poor Kids Fighting the War - Rep. James Clyburn defended an earmark by saying, “We know who is fighting this war. Rural, low-income families are carrying the burden of this war.” If that’s what he “knows” then he doesn’t know much. It’s so aggravating I’m reposting A Mandatory Opportunity from last May. Why are people so invested in pretending that our troops are victims? And what does it say about the people who perpetuate these lies? Nothing good…“We have people from all walks of life in America who are serving, including Reservists and National Guard,” he said. “What we want to do is to have all Americans to have a chance to serve their country.” This is from John Edwards, who evidently has some kind of degree in Orwell Studies. After all, he’s the guy that just charged $55,000 for a lecture on poverty. (READ MORE)

Scott Johnson: Senator Lieberman reflects on the Democratic Party - Watching the Democratic presidential candidates' forum on MSNBC last week, I was most struck by the candidates' apparent belief that the Bush administration is the principal threat to the United States. According to a speech he gave yesterday at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, Senator Lieberman has observed by the same phenomenon among his Senate Democratic colleagues. Eli Lake reports in today's New York Sun: "Since retaking Congress in November 2006, the top foreign policy priority of the Democratic Party has not been to expand the size of our military for the war on terror or to strengthen our democracy promotion efforts in the Middle East or to prevail in Afghanistan. It has been to pull our troops out of Iraq, to abandon the democratically elected government there, and to hand a defeat to President Bush." (READ MORE)

DRJ: Blogger Mom Takes on Galveston ISD - The Instapundit recently linked to this Galveston County (Texas) Daily News article that reported Galveston ISD’s effort to silence a mother whose blog has been critical of the school district and its leaders: “The public school district has officially demanded that parent Sandra Tetley remove what it says is libelous material from her Web site or face a lawsuit for defamation. Tetley received a letter Monday from the district’s law firm demanding she remove what it termed libelous statements and other ‘legally offensive’ statements posted by her or anonymous users, and refrain from allowing such postings in the future. If she refuses, the district plans to sue her, the demand letter states.” The school district claimed Tetley’s blog contained at least 16 libelous postings, half of which were posted by anonymous users: (READ MORE)

Bill Ardolino: Why the violence has declined in Iraq - As violence in Iraq has decreased significantly over the last two months, analysts attempt to identify the forces behind the trend. Some attribute the reduction to a reinvigorated US strategy of counterinsurgency and the “surge” of combat troops which commenced in February, while critics of US strategy cite the exodus of Iraqi refugees and successful sectarian partition and cleansing as primary factors. The drop began in September, as civilian deaths (884) fell 52 percent from August and 77 percent year-over-year, while military deaths (65) fell 23 percent and 10 percent over the same periods. October’s declines made it a trend: Civilian deaths (758) dropped an additional 12 percent from the previous month and 38 percent year-over-year, while US military deaths (38) dropped 42 percent and 64 percent during the same periods. (READ MORE)

LeatherPenquin: An Inconvenient Truth - “ Sen. Joe Biden said in an interview at the New Hampshire Union Leader this afternoon that too many Democrats, including the frontrunners for the presidential nomination, do not have faith in the American people. 'We’ve got to trust the American people more,' Biden said. 'I think they’ve really lost faith in the American people in terms of leveling with them,' he said of his leading rivals.” You gotta give Biden credit; though the same could be said about some of the upper tier Republicans (I’m looking at you, Trent “Pork Whore” Lott, and your asshole pals from Alaska), the guy is basically burning any chance of a Cabinet position if a Democrat wins the ‘08 Presidential race by being this blunt: (READ MORE)

Quid Nimis: What is it about the feminist world view? - Everywhere you turn folks are "piling on,'' having their fun with Hillary's whining about the politics of "pile on" and "six men against one woman." This reminded me of several encounters, real life and in the blogosphere, with women of the feminist persuasion. At my alma mater, a bastion of all-female education (you never hear that do you? a bastion of female education?), all knickers are in a twist as the powers-that-be try to think of ways to define the mission of educating women in an all female environment when, for all intents and purposes, there isn't any appreciable or substantive discrimination against women before the law or in society generally. That's the problem with defining a mission as one of redress. If the problem goes away, what are you left with? (READ MORE)

Fitzgerald: Winning in Iraq (for the Americans) - Winning in Iraq for the Americans (the "Iraqis" are quite another matter) should be defined as a result, or a situation, that weakens the Camp of Jihad. Bringing "freedom" to "ordinary moms and dads" in Iraq, hopeless as that effort necessarily is, if that "freedom" is defined as anything like what the advanced Western democracies offer their citizens, and what was created over the centuries by successive generations of the progressively enlightened (their achievements largely under-appreciated, or even ignored, by the current inheritors of that political legacy), is an unattainable and pointless goal -- unless it can be demonstrated that such "democracy" necessarily weakens the hold of Islam, politically and socially, on those in thrall to it. (READ MORE)

Jihad Watch: Is it "Un-American" to question suspicious airline passengers? - With a new airline profiling suit upon us, it is important to bear in mind who would stand to gain the most if such suits succeed: jihad terrorists, who would have free reign in airports with passengers too afraid of being sued to report suspicious behavior. "Is It 'UnAmerican' To Question Suspicious Airline Passengers? The New Racial Profiling Lawsuits," by Annie Jacobsen for Pajamas Media: (READ MORE)

Bryan Preston: Friday stupid: Open mic catches Lou Dobbs yucking it up with Charlie Rangel - Sometimes you just have to wonder what’s going through Lou Dobbs’ mind. At the close of a segment yesterday, Dobbs called Rep. Charlie Rangel “partner,” then quickly made light of it. Rangel laughs it off. Then they go to break, but the commercial doesn’t roll and the control room leaves their mics on. Dobbs again mocks himself for calling Rangel “partner” with an unevangelical phrase, and Rangel congratulates Dobbs on his primetime show. The two sound like the play softball together. Which, in the interview, they just had. (READ MORE)

GayPatriotWest: MSM’s Disinterest in Anti-Conservative Attitudes of Gays? - In my post yesterday, I expressed my reluctance at taking a stand I know to be controversial in the gay community. We gay conservatives are all too familiar with the hostility we experience when we come out to our supposedly tolerant fellows. I was once introduced to a guy who, after hearing me express my passion for mythology and my love for movies, was proposing to me before we even met. And while he acknowledged finding me attractive when we did meet in person, he e-mailed me to say he couldn’t “get past” my politics, describing the current administration as evil and refusing to understand how “anyone with any intelligence or compassion” could support even an iota of support for “its ideology.” (READ MORE)

Kit Lange: A Tale of Two Heroes Betrayed - It has come to my attention that two of our brothers need a little numerical support. Both live in states where the Congressional delegation mouths the party line that they support the troops, but the opposite is truly the situation. One lives in Pennsylvania and the other in New York. Both were responsible for acts of valor so audacious as to be worthy of a John Wayne movie. Both performed acts of heroism in combat that are so extraordinary that they deserve, in my estimation, the Medal of Honor. At the very least they deserve the consideration involved with the MOH. Neither is getting even that because politics have, once again, trumped sacrifice and selflessness. Neither man asked for help. Both have suffered with the stoicism so common to our most heroic brothers. (READ MORE)

Baron Bodissey: Arab Muslim Trafficking in African Slaves - The United States is the main focus of world opprobrium for its historical involvement in the enslavement of black Africans. However, neither the Americans nor the Europeans were the primary traders of black African slaves. Most slaves in Africa were either taken by Arab Muslims directly, or sold to the Arabs by the victors in African intertribal warfare. According to some sources, more than 140 million black African slaves may have been trafficked by the Arabs in the centuries since the founding of Islam. These slaves lived in brutal conditions, and the majority died in transit across Africa, Arabia, or the Indian Ocean. Only a tiny fraction crossed the Atlantic to end up in what is now the United States. The Arab traffic in African slaves has not ended. Even though slavery is officially outlawed in all Muslim countries, the practice continues to this day. (READ MORE)

Don Surber: 33% of us got it right - President Bush was right. Deal with it - Douglass Birch of the AP reported that life returned to a normal not seen in 30+ years to Amariyah. Women shop. Men sip tea. American soldiers receive smiles. His report makes Page 4C of this morning’s Charleston Gazette. On 4A its editors rail against an “unnecessary war” as if it is still 2002 and we are still debating whether to go in. The New York Times has an upbeat report of its own — “Militant Group Is Out of Baghdad, U.S. Says” — page A19. Damien Cave in Baghdad wrote, “American forces have routed Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, the Iraqi militant network, from every neighborhood of Baghdad, a top American general said today, allowing American troops involved in the ‘surge’ to depart as planned.” Victory, man, it is spelled V-I-C-T-O-R-Y. (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: One Bullet Away - Attended the annual Lt. William S. Bush Breakfast at the USS Constitution yesterday morning with Ia Drang vet Larry Gwin, a lot of old Marines, and speaker Nate Fick. Lt. Bush has the unfortunate distinction of being the first United States Marine Corps officer killed in combat on Aug. 19, 1812, as he prepared to board HMS Guerriere. From USMC Lt. John Contee’s letter to his brother Lewis: "In the heat of the action the Marines were called aft; led by the illustrious Bush, who, mounting the tadffrail, sword in hand, and as he exclaimed “Shall I board her” received the fatal on his left cheekbone, which passed through to the back of his head, thus fell that Great and Good officer, who, when living was beloved& and now gone is lamented by all. His loss is deeply regretted by his country and friends, but he died as he lived, with honor to both.” Former Marine captain Nathaniel Fick was the speaker and offered some quick thoughts on the media, Iraq and Afghanistan. He served in both places in 2002-03, in Iraq with Rolling Stone’s Evan White of “Generation Kill” fame embedded in his platoon, and while pursing an MBA at Harvard spent last summer teaching at the coalition’s counter-insurgency academy in Kabul. (READ MORE)

Matthew Levitt: Hezbollah Financing Through Criminal Activity - A two-year counterterrorism and drug investigation culminated earlier this week with the arrest of a dozen individuals in Los Angeles. Authorities reportedly seized 30 kilograms of cocaine and counterfeit merchandise valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars. According to the LA Times, at least one of the suspects is tied to Hezbollah and was referenced - though not by name - in 2005 congressional testimony by an official with the LA County Sheriff’s Department. I testified at that hearing as well. As I noted then, Hezbollah depends on a wide variety of criminal enterprises, ranging from smuggling to fraud to drug trade to diamond trade in regions across the world, including North America, South America, and the Middle East, to raise money to support Hezbollah activities. (READ MORE)

Chickenhawk Express: How One IVAW Member Really Feels About the Troops - I read an article today that just took my breath away - and not in a good way. It is vile and hateful but oh so indicative of just how some members of IVAW (Iraq Veterans Against the War) really feel about the Military. For all the bloviating and blog comments about how much they support the troops, the truth is the support is only for those that toe the IVAW Winter Soldier Wannabes line. I am not even going to fire back at Clifton Hicks "Letter to Vets for Freedom". My buddy, Thus Spake Ortner over at The Sniper, has done a fine job at smacking Hicks down. But there is a history with Hicks and his denigrating of the Military that must be exposed. (READ MORE)

Dafydd: Iraq in the Balance: Will the Shia Prosecute Their Own? - A surprisingly balanced article from the New York Times on a surprisingly vital question that hasn't gotten anywhere near enough coverage: “An Iraqi judge has ruled that there is enough evidence to try two former Health Ministry officials, both Shiites, in the killing and kidnapping of hundreds of Sunnis, many of them snatched from hospitals by militias, according to American officials who are advising the Iraqi judicial system.” By a quirk of Iraqi law, ministries are allowed to block prosecution of their officials if they decree -- truthfully or not -- that those officials were "carrying out their official duties." Naturally, mass-murdering Iraqi Sunni is not one of the official duties of the Iraqi Health Ministry; but the Interior Ministry (the most powerful ministry in Iraq) has used this dodge in the past to prevent prosecution of rampaging police officials. (READ MORE)

A Soldier's Mind: 58,256 Names - 58,256… that’s a large number, one that probably doesn’t mean a whole lot to many people. For some though, that number has special meaning. That is the number of names that are etched into the shining black granite walls of the Vietnam Memorial. The names of men and women who lost their lives or who are missing from the Vietnam conflict. Each name is a precious reminder of the sacrifices that these men and women made for our country, the ultimate sacrifice. This year, marking the 25th Anniversary, of the dedication of the Vietnam Memorial, every name that is listed on The Wall, will be read by a group of Volunteers, over a 4 day period, for approximately 65 total hours. Throughout the history of The Wall, there have only been 3 other occasions that the names inscribed on The Wall, have been read outloud. (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: The World of September 11 - The Federation of American Scientists has acquired documents which imply that the national nuclear targeting plan was altered to include regional targets after the September 11 attacks. “Rumors about such options have existed for years, but the document is the first authoritative evidence that fear of weapons of mass destruction attacks from outside Russia and China caused the Bush administration to broaden U.S. nuclear targeting policy by ordering the military to prepare a series of new options for nuclear strikes against regional proliferators. ...” These documents hint at what may have been the dominant thinking of the time, influenced by the idea that terrorism was always at heart going to be "state sponsored terrorism". That the list has shrunk is good news, though it is an indirect indictment of how good intelligence on the subject was at the time. (READ MORE)

Lawhawk: Flashpoint In Pakistan - The situation in Pakistan is at a flashpoint as police have intervened and attempted to stop Benazir Bhutto's supporters from rallying and have barricaded Bhutto in her home in Islamabad. I'd call it house arrest. I'd also call it Musharraf's desperate gambit, and while he tries to call the emergency rule a way to crack down against the Islamists, going after Bhutto and her supporters gives lie to that stated purpose. Has he gone too far this time? I'd say so, and the consequences could be dire. Bhutto might not be an ideal candidate, and can count on the Islamists among her supporters, but Musharraf is using an iron fist at a time when such use might shatter what remaining power he has left. (READ MORE)

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