December 10, 2007

Web Reconnaissance for 12/10/2007

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)
Hoyer Is Proof of Earmarks' Endurance - Even as House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer has joined in steps to clean up pork-barrel spending, the Maryland congressman has tucked $96 million worth of pet projects into next year's federal budget, including $450,000 for a campaign donor's foundation. (READ MORE)

After Guantanamo, 'Reintegration' for Saudis - For five years, Jumah al-Dossari sat in a tiny cell at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, watched day and night by military captors who considered him one of the most dangerous terrorist suspects on the planet. (READ MORE)

Proposal to Let Noncitizens Join Md. Police Under Review - It never made sense to Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger: Immigrants who have green cards can join the U.S. military and fight America's wars but, like other noncitizens, are ineligible to work as police officers in Maryland and most other states. (READ MORE)

Bomb Kills Iraqi Police Chief Praised by U.S. - BAGHDAD, Dec. 9 -- A roadside bomb killed the police chief of a mostly Shiite province south of Baghdad, hours after U.S. commanders praised him for his commitment to bringing stability to Iraq. (READ MORE)

'Our Moment Is Now,' Obama Declares - COLUMBIA, S.C., Dec. 9 -- An overwhelmingly African American audience took center stage in the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination here Sunday, as Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.), joined by television talk-show host Oprah Winfrey, appealed to black voters to set aside their doubts and seize the opportunity to send him to the White House in 2008. (READ MORE)

Death and Whoopi's Taxes - We don't normally look to Tinsel Town liberals for insights on U.S. tax policy, but Whoopi Goldberg's comments on the estate tax last week deserve more attention. (READ MORE)

The Paygo Farce – [A]s Emily Littela, the half-witted Gilder Radner character on Saturday Night Live, would have put it: "Never mind." Last week Congressional Democrats formally renounced their ballyhooed budget pledge to offset any new tax cuts with other tax increases or spending cuts. We're delighted to see this false promise go, but there's a larger lesson in this failure for the tax and spending battles of 2008. (READ MORE)

Pakistan Reclaims Valley - Military authorities claim to have cleared Islamist militants from 98 percent of the Swat Valley, ending the extremists' deepest penetration into settled areas, but a suicide bombing yesterday highlighted the region's continued vulnerability. (READ MORE)

Saudis Give Big to U.S. Colleges - Two years ago this month, a Saudi prince caused a media splash — and raised eyebrows — when he donated $20 million each to Georgetown and Harvard universities to fund Islamic studies. (READ MORE)

Obama, Oprah Team to 'Change the World' - After Oprah Winfrey delivered what could have been a Sunday sermon on her favorite politician, Sen. Barack Obama evoked civil rights leaders to urge nearly 30,000 people to "stand up" and "change the world." (READ MORE)

Two GOP Hopefuls See Some Illegals as Citizens - Sen. John McCain and former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani stood alone among the Republican presidential candidates in last night's Spanish-language debate in calling for some illegal aliens to be granted a path to citizenship. (READ MORE)

Three Killed at Colorado Religious Sites - Three persons were killed and six others were injured yesterday in separate attacks at two Colorado religious sites. A church security guard killed a suspect in one of the shootings. (READ MORE)

From the Front:
Desert Dude: 9 December - Today was ECP day…woke up around 0600 and got cleaned up for the day …it was cold and cloudy and wet—not raining, but moist, foggy-ish…grabbed my gear and weapons and headed up to the gate…we have some building projects going on around the FOB so there are about 43987724 extra workers coming in every day now…there is a list of people allowed on the FOB and it is now about 8 pages of a spreadsheet with all the names and where they work and where they’re from and who they work for and if they need an escort or if they can enter on their own and all kinds of other extraneous info… (READ MORE)

Outlaw 13: Hurry Up and Wait - Some things never change in the Army. I am in an undisclosed location in Kuwait, waiting for my ride home. For the first time in 15 months I have nothing but time on my hands and not much to do. It feels weird...but I can get used to it. (READ MORE)

IraqPundit: Crackerjack Cole - There are many advantages to writing about a country you don't know. For example, you have the benefit of creating the image you want of the Iraq that you've never seen. You can complete it with all the details necessary to support your distorted vision. You don't need facts or other such bothersome matters. Build the image, as Juan Cole can tell you, and the media will come. From his office in Ann Arbor, the professor shares his fantasy today of the troop surge: (READ MORE)

Laughing_Wolf: Christmas In Iraq - In many ways, there is nothing I would rather do than spend Christmas either here at the lair with Jenny, or back down South with family. Yet, there are those who will not have that chance, having volunteered to serve and being deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan (and elsewhere). They will not be with family on that special Day, nor able to visit family and friends during the holiday season. (READ MORE)

Lt. Nixon: As Al-Qaeda in Iraq gets more Desperate, the Atrocities get Worse - Things have been getting a little ugly lately as we've seen a spate of suicide attacks in northern Iraq. The Secretary of Defense was warned about extremists being pushed to the north when he visited last week, and this is due to combined operations in and around Baghdad and the Awakening movement in Anbar province causing terrorists to flee north. Attacks are still down in northern Provinces due to a lot of courageous work by coalition troops and Iraqis, but it's still bearing the brunt of the violence. (READ MORE)

Michael J. Totten: After the Battle of Al-Fajr - FALLUJAH, IRAQ – Fallujah is known as the City of Mosques. It is also a city of walls, and of war. It was a quieter city than most after the initial invasion in 2003. There was less looting than in Baghdad, and the mayor was pro-American. It was tranquil for the most part. But resentment first simmered, then exploded in an orgy of mob violence on March 31, 2004, when four security contractors from the Blackwater corporation were murdered, mutilated, and strung up from a bridge. (READ MORE)

A Surgeon's Letters Home From Iraq: 9 DEC 2007 I'll wait to go home - Well it's evening. We've returned from family dinner. There was such total crap for dinner tonight. I'm sure the troops who are outside the wire would laugh to hear me complain. I expect that a hot dinner in a warm enclosed DFAC is a sight better than an MRE in a tent. But with that frame of reference aside, I am sick of every variety of gray meat and brown stuff on rice they have to offer here in Mortaritaville. The shaved beef raised the spirits with an appearance that deceptively promises the makings of a nice Philly cheese steak. (READ MORE)

Sgt Hook: Now and Then - Every now and then I get a chance to sit under the stars and enjoy a big fat ceegar. Last night was one of those opportunities. The air was crisp, cold, and clear. It seemed as if I could see every star, every constellation hovering in the heavens above. As I listened to the rhythmic sounds of rotary winged aircraft sail through the dark and watched the cobalt smoke from my Montesino Robusto lazily float up to the big dipper, I found myself reflecting, comparing the then and now. Now, I am in Iraq. Then, I was in Afghanistan. Then, as now, we were at war. Then, as now, an enemy lurked in the shadows, planning, waiting, killing. Then, as now, our will was tested. Then, as now, we succeeded more often than they. (READ MORE)

Those Wacky Iraqis: "Should I stay or should I go?" - The seminal band of the late 70s was The Clash. Some of you may remember them from "Rockin the Casbah" but my favorite Clash song was "Should I stay or should I go?" That song has just been drilling through my head the past two days. I'm getting close to my original departure date and I'm getting itchy. Things are not the way they should be here but they never are anyway so it is status quo really. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
John Fund: Giving Tanks - The Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the American Enterprise Institute and other free-market Washington think tanks are known to many Americans. What isn't generally understood is that there has been an explosion of free-market think tanks around the world that are increasingly challenging the conventional view that government is the solution to society's problems. (READ MORE)

Burt Prelutsky: Alice in Wonderland, 2007 - It was 142 years ago that Lewis Carroll, aka mathematician Charles Dodgson, wrote about young Alice following the large rabbit down that famous hole in the ground. When she hit bottom, she discovered a very odd place where strange creatures got together and talked foolishness at tea parties. It’s my hunch that if Mr. Carroll were alive today, he would not set his scene underground, but would, instead, use Washington, D.C. (READ MORE)

Debra J. Saunders: When Big Government Goes Bad - "It does seem to me like the government overreacted here," Judge E. Grady Jolly of the federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals remarked Monday, according to The Associated Press. Grady is on a three-judge panel considering an appeal filed by two Border Patrol agents serving 11- and 12-year sentences for shooting at and wounding a drug smuggler fleeing across the border. The trial judge's decision to bar questions exploring the smuggler's other dealings, Judge Patrick Higginbotham opined, "strikes me as relevant." (READ MORE)

Michael Barone: Year Later, Signs of Progress Around the World - The world looks safer, friendlier, more hopeful than it did as we approached Christmastime last year. Then, we were on the defensive, perhaps on the verge of defeat, in Iraq. The Europeans' attempts to persuade Iran to renounce nuclear weapons seemed to have failed. Hugo Chavez was using his near-dictatorial powers and the oil wealth of Venezuela to secure the election of opponents of the American "empire" in Latin America. (READ MORE)

Mike S. Adams: Fifty Ways To Reave Your Rover - TO: PETA FR: Mike S. Adams CC: Rainbow/Push Coalition - I write to you today with a heavy heart – not over the murder of dogs that were killed then put in dumpsters by N.C. PETA employees – but over another animal cruelty case, which can be blamed solely on your soulless and hypocritical organization. I hope you will give this case more attention than you have until now. (READ MORE)

Dinesh D'Souza: Why Atheists Are So Angry - If you haven't seen my “God v. Atheism” debate with philosopher Daniel Dennett, you can view it at You should read the comments in response to the debate both on my AOL blog as well as on the atheist site From the atheists you hear statements like this: "D'Souza is a goddamned idiot." "Odious little toad." "D'Souza is full of shit." "A smug, joyless twit." "Total moron." "Little turd." "Two-faced liar." Etc, etc. Now admittedly the topic of God v. atheism can be an emotional one, but you will find no comparable invective on the Christian side. Why then are so many atheists so angry? (READ MORE)

Nathan Tabor: Déjà vu All Over Again - When the story of the Duke lacrosse case first broke, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and the NAACP all called for the arrest of the lacrosse players. When the facts came to light (namely, that the students were innocent of rape) neither Sharpton, Jackson, nor the leaders of the NAACP offered an apology or an admission of hasty judgment. Under any circumstances, the rush to wrongfully accuse three students of rape would rightfully be considered slander; when committed by public figures who claim to fight for “racial justice,” it is itself an act of racism. (READ MORE)

Huntress: Striking Writers Send Care Packages to Troops - While the greedy Grinches who run studios continue to financially screw the writers who create the intellectual property that puts big bucks in the bank accounts of the greedy Grinches, the striking writers, who are receiving NO income, are preparing and sending care packages to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. “WE CARE PACKAGES: Paramount Studio Contract Captains & teams will be collecting items to send ‘We care’ packages to ten members of the armed forces stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan.” (READ MORE)

John Hinderaker: A Mass In Baghdad - Earlier today, newly-elevated Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly celebrated a Mass with more than 200 Iraqi Christians at Baghdad's Church of the Virgin Mary: “Delly presided over other services this week in Baghdad and the northern Kurdish city of Irbil, spreading his message of unity and forgiveness among Iraq's Christians. ‘We are of one family, everyone should work for the progress of this country,’ he said during his sermon. ‘We pray today for the sake of each other and to forgive each other, as well to be directed to do good deeds. That is my demand for the Iraqis, moreover I urge the return home for displaced people and immigrants to their ancestral land.’” (READ MORE)

Scott Johnson: The Pulitzer Prize for Felony Murder, part 2 - Two years ago we dubbed the AP's 2005 Pulitzer Prize for spot photography in Iraq the Pulitzer Prize for felony murder. In a column for Pajamas Media, Jim Hanson calls it the Pulitzer Prize in terorism and reviews it in the context of the trial of Bilal Hussein (Hussein was a member of the AP team recognized by the 2005 Pulitzer Prize). Hanson quotes Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell: (READ MORE)

Laughing Wolf: Christmas, Iraq, Random Thoughts - Over at Blackfive, I’ve just announced that I am returning to Iraq for Christmas. This is something that does mean a good bit to me, and I can’t thank those responsible enough. There will be more there and here, so stay tuned. As the photo above shows, we did have snow here. Jenny was actually a bit annoyed when I first put out the straw, but she fairly rapidly decided that she would forgive me. For those concerned, she does have a dry and warm house outside, but she prefers to be outside where she can try to protect her yard from those awful rabbits and that darned cat from across the road. She says to “Send more rabbits” and I say that if you do so, send slower ones. (READ MORE)

A Newt One: Invented Stories Passed On As Fact - A friend of mine often says, "Stupidity cannot go unanswered." Such is the case here. Seeing that the Leftinistra are falling apart and their support wanes into the Abyss of Obscurity they have dug for themselves, they feel they must invent stories. The following fable was written by a someone that evidently knows another someone that said that they knew someone that was able to overhear a conversation. As pathetic as that sounds, is it any wonder why no one of substance or of a sound mind takes these fools seriously? From the KOSmonoff smintheus: (poor thing) Naturally, because it is Bash Bush opportunity, the "he said she said they said" scenario MUST be true. (READ MORE)

A Soldier's Mind: Citizen Soldier by 3 Doors Down - The rock band 3 Doors Down has released a new song titled, “Citizen Soldier”. The song was written for the Army National Guard and is being used by them in their latest ad campaign. It is a pretty good song. Many of you may have already seen this video, as it is being used a movie theater ad block. To be honest, I’m not a big fan of 3 Doors Down’s newer music, however, this is a great song and the video is a must see. I copied a message that Brad Arnold, the band’s front man, released on Memorial Day this year. (READ MORE)

Atlas: Religion of Pieces Blows up Kids Bus, Kills 5 - Deja deja vu: Quoting Pope Benedict who was quoting the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus, one of the last Christian rulers before the Fall of Constantinople to the Muslim Ottoman Empire, on such issues as forced conversion, holy war, and the relationship between faith and reason, "Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached". “Suicide bomb hits bus carrying kids in Pakistan MSNBC - ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - A suicide bomber struck a bus carrying schoolchildren Monday at a military base in northwestern Pakistan, wounding at least five children, an army spokesman said.” (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: Footnote - Michael Goldfarb at the Weekly Standard notes that Major General John Batiste, a general who spoke out against Donald Rumsfeld, and who, until recently, was a Board Member of now thinks the Surge is working. “the counterinsurgency campaign led by Gen. David Petraeus is the correct approach in Iraq. It is showing promise of success and, if continued, will provide the Iraqi government the opportunities it desperately needs to stabilize its country.” It should be natural for a person to change his mind with the passage of time or the emergence of new information. All of us do it all the time. (READ MORE)

Big Dog: Dems Knew About Waterboarding in 2002 - The Democratic Party including now House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were well aware of the technique of waterboarding and expressed no complaints about it when briefed and shown the technique. In late 2002 certain Members in leadership were given virtual demonstrations and none expressed any concerns and in fact, several wanted to know if we were pressing hard enough. That was then and this is now with Democrats saying that waterboarding is torture and demonstrates how evil the Bush administration is. (READ MORE)

The Captain's Journal: 12-10-07: Thoughts on the Counterinsurgency Campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan - Ralph Peters has an interesting analysis in the Armed Forces Journal of the campaign as it is currently being waged in Iraq, entitled Dishonest Doctrine: A Selective Use of History Taints the COIN Manual. “A year after its publication, the Army and Marine Corps counterinsurgency manual remains deeply disturbing, both for the practical dangers it creates and for the dishonest approach employed to craft it.” The entire article is worth the study. Dave Dilegge at the Small Wars Journal has a response to this article by Peters (among other things), which is also well worth the study time. Dave makes several powerful points, among them the lack of understanding Paul Bremer brought to the political scene in Iraq. I will not weigh in with detail concerning these articles, but I will provide several thoughts. (READ MORE)

Flopping Aces: Waterboarding - They Knew All Along - First came the catcalls from the left stating that Bush was torturing al-Qaeda without the knowledge of Congress. Then most recently there were the catcalls from the left that it was Bush who wanted those CIA tapes destroyed. Recently we found out that the White House actually told the CIA that it was a bad idea to destroy them, and now we learn that Pelosi and friends knew full well about the interrogation techniques employed by the CIA: “In September 2002, four members of Congress met in secret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA’s overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.” (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Baby tax - The environmentalists inch toward being the Soylent Green movement. The demonization of babies seems to be the latest tactic by the global cooling/global warming/climate change/climate stagnation crowd. Earlier, Toni Vernelli in England said she aborted a child and had her tubes tied to Save the Earth. I thanked her for leaving the gene pool. Now comes Professor Barry Walters of Australia who wants to impose a $5,000 childbirth tax and an annual baby tax of $800 to pay for the carbon footprint of children. (READ MORE)

Baron Bodissey: Libel Tourism as a Tool of Jihad - One of the preferred methods utilized by Islamic front groups to silence critics of Islam is the lawsuit. The deep pockets of the Saudi regime, along with the successful penetration of the governments and legal systems in most Western nations, make it relatively easy for Islamist lawyers to put the fear of Allah into their opponents. Even if the writers themselves are courageous — and there is no denying the courage of people like Robert Spencer — publishing houses are all too eager to assume the dhimmi position. Since publishers are responsible to their shareholders, and bear the brunt of any legal expenses incurred in a court fight, it’s understandable that they tend to fold in the face of Wahhabi litigation. (READ MORE)

Ian Schwartz: (Video) Hyping Murrow, Schieffer Continues To Undermine Bush - The Andy Rooney of Sunday morning news is attacking *surprise* the Bush administration: In his commentary this week, the liberal curmudgeon channeled Edward R. Murrow when it came to caring what the international community thinks of us. According to Bob Schieffer the Bush administration is sending a bad message to the world, not the liberal media that constantly seeks to undermine everything they do. (READ MORE)

Allahpundit: (Video) Michael Yon on Iraq’s “concerned citizens” - The host makes them sound like nothing more than hired American mercenaries, a notion which Yon is quick to disabuse him of. It’s the other Michael who provides the mind-blowing soundbite, though: Fully one quarter now of the “awakening” citizen militias across Iraq are either Shiite or mixed, suggesting growing popular opposition to the Shiite fundie mega-militias. No wonder Sadr’s going around whacking renegade lieutenants. The more they piss off the locals, the more likely it is that another neighborhood militia will spring up to deal with them. (READ MORE)

Amy Proctor: Retired General Who Opposed Iraq War Has Change of Heart - MAJ GEN (RET) John Batiste was a critic of the war in Iraq and wrote this in May 2007: “‘The President vetoed our troops and the American people. His stubborn commitment to a failed strategy in Iraq is incomprehensible. He committed our great military to a failed strategy in violation of basic principles of war.’ --Maj. Gen. John Batiste, USA, Ret.” Well, yet another change of heart. MGN Batiste co-wrote an op-ed called Getting Beyond Stalemate to Win a War in the Washington Post on 8 DEC with Pete Hegseth, executive director of Vets for Freedom and supporter of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In the op-ed, Batiste, who was previously very critical of the war and said the Bush "administration is using David Petraeus", now says: “It's time to discuss the way forward rather than prosecute the past. Congress must do the same, for our nation and the troops.” (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: Justice for Bilal - Jimbo of Blackfive weighs in at Pajamas with a little more on Bilal Hussein, why and to what extent he was on the U.S. military’s radar before they found him with an al-Qaeda leader at his breakfast table. The AP already has confirmed to its satisfaction that the stringer they picked up off the street in Falluja at the height of the insurgency there is no fauxtographer but a professional journalist of the highest standards. (READ MORE)

Bryan Preston: Torture update: What did Nancy Pelosi know and when did she know it? - My previous torture-related posts seem to have landed me on some lefty enemies lists. Let’s see if I can get on a few more. The big torture question before us today is “What did Nancy Pelosi know and when did she know it?” Turns out, she knew pretty much everything and she knew it right off the bat. “For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA’s overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.” (READ MORE)

Libertarian Leanings: Revisions - Sayyed Imam al-Sherif, mentor to al Qaeda second in command Ayman al Zawahiri, wrote the book on jihad. According to Laura Mansfield, ‘Foundations (Mainstays) of Preparation for Holy War’ is considered the theological cornerstone of modern-day jihadist operations. However, this past summer al-Sherif came out with a new book, ‘Revisions (Revisions) to Jihad in Egypt and the World,’ which is a repudiation of ‘Mainstays.’ “A shockwave began rippling through the jihadist community back in the summer when word began to spread of a new book titled ‘Revisions to Jihad in Egypt and the World’ by Ayman al Zawahiri's mentor Sayyed Imam al-Sherif. It's easy to see why. The book, which has been serialized over the past couple of weeks, is a complete about-face by the author of ‘Foundations (Mainstays) of Preparation for Holy War’, the treatise that is considered the theological cornerstone of modern-day jihadist operations.” (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: The Battle of Musa Qala - The battle for the Taliban stronghold of Musa Qala in the southern Afghan province of Helmand is well underway. Officially launched on December 7, international and Afghan forces have prepped the battlefield for well over a month. A British armored column launched a feint to the outskirts of the town in mid-November and leaflets have been dropped on the town warning civilians to flee the impending attack. The final assault on Musa Qala began after the Afghan government convinced a key Taliban tribal leader to defect. Last month there were reports Mullah Abdul Salaam was seeking to negotiate a deal with the Afghan government. The Times Online reported Salaam has indeed defected to the Afghan government, and "brought with him up to one-third of the fighters who had been defending Musa Qala." (READ MORE)

MountainRunner: Off the cuff: Part 1.5 of What the SecDef Didn't Say - "Today, American public diplomacy wears combat boots." This is how I started the post the Small Wars Journal that intentionally implied more than it stated. In an era when fewer Americans know a soldier, sailor, Marine, or airman, the global audience increasingly shapes their opinion by our armed forces. While this irony is seemingly lost on our chief diplomat, Condoleezza Rice, and our chief public diplomat, Karen Hughes, it fortunately isn't lost on Mr. Gates. Also not lost on Mr. Gates is the importance of information today. As I've written elsewhere, increased information asymmetry decreases the fungibility of force. The recent U.S. Army Counterinsurgency Manual understands that, although it does use my these words to say so. What we need is less of a focus on precision guided munitions and greater attention on precision guided media. (READ MORE)

Right Wing Nut House: Democrats Knew About Torture But Didn’t Object - There is nothing surprising in the fact that the CIA informed Members of Congress about what they were doing to get information from high value al-Qaeda prisoners. Nor is it surprising that Democrats who were briefed would have kept that information from their colleagues as they were bound to do by law. Some Republicans are trying to explore the hypocrisy angle by trying to point out that Democrats are hardly in a position to come down on Republicans for torture when their own leadership was privy to the “severe interrogation techniques” being used. I have yet to see any quotes from those who we know were briefed that they then objected to the torture later and used it in a political context to bash their opponents. (READ MORE)

The Shield of Achilles: Destroying two video tapes = end of democracy? - A short quiz: You are working as a news editor. Two stories pop up on the wire at the same time. Which one would you headline first? a) A female suicide bomber detonates herself and kills 16 people in Muqdadiya, Iraq b) The CIA destroys two videotapes that possibly recorded illegal interrogation on two suspects If you were me, you would choose (a). If you are CNN, the BBC, Fox News (yes the "conservative" Fox News), and virtually every other major media outlet, you pick (b) instead; the CIA videotape story dominated all headlines on Friday, Dec 7, and continued as a major story throughout the weekend. I suppose the reasoning goes: who cares about the deaths of 16 nameless Arabs when you can hint at another Bush scandal? (READ MORE)

Michael Tanji: The Next NIE - Ample ink has been spilled by both ends of the political spectrum on what the latest NIE on Iran’s nuclear capabilities means. Partisans in both camps have reason to love and hate the thing, or more precisely what they think is in the thing, given that we are dealing with just four pages of unclassified and high-level conclusions from 150 pages of narrative and supporting material. The folly of judging important books by their covers notwithstanding, one question remains to be asked: with all that may be wrong with an NIE, what should be done to make them more right? By “right” I do not mean what political slant they should take (ideally, none). To a certain extent I do not even mean how correct they should be. By “right” I mean how accurately they explain what is known and more importantly what is unknown. (READ MORE)

Ron Winter: Global Warming: Is Al Gore's Glass Half Full, Or Just Cracked? - On Monday former US Vice President Al Gore, who served under Bill Clinton and lost the 2000 election because his home state of Tennessee, and Clinton's home state, Arkansas, didn't vote for him, will receive a Nobel Prize for warning the world about Global Warming. Included in his efforts to play a sort of environmental Paul Revere, Gore produced a mocumentary - yes I know I used an 'm' not a 'd' - called An Inconvenient Truth, that to put it nicely has been found to be inconveniently and horribly inaccurate. Gore's effort at using film for propaganda is so flawed, that in Great Britain, High Court Judge Michael Burton ruled, in response to a lawsuit by a parent, that showing the film in schools violates a law that bans promoting partisan political views in the classroom. (READ MORE)

DJ Drummond: Joe Horn - When violence occurs, the debate over events and rights gets really hot really fast. While I like a good debate as much as anyone else, it sometimes seems like the arguments miss the real world. Which brings me to the case of Joe Horn. Around 2 in the afternoon of November 14, 2007, Pasadena resident Joe Horn, age 61, called 911 to report the break-in at his neighbor's house. So far, so good, and no one has a complaint. But as he waited, Mr. Horn became concerned on two points: He mentioned fear for his own safety, and a growing annoyance that the burglars would escape before the police got there. It was at this point where, according to the 911 tape, Mr. Horn threatened to shoot the burglars: (READ MORE)

Jay Tea: God Helps Those Who Help Themselves - I'm not a gun nut. I swear. I've only fired a gun once in my life. I don't own any guns, I don't want to own any guns. But events seem to be conspiring to keep me talking about guns. Last week, a nutjob loser asshole figured he'd go out in a blaze of glory (kind of a "glory-hole") and shot up a mall in Omaha, Nebraska, killing eight people before finally getting around to what he should have done first and killing himself. And yesterday, two churches were attacked in Colorado, leaving three innocents dead. (READ MORE)

Soldier's Angels: Going Home - He has the Look. He’s tall, wiry, and explosive. And he has the Look in his eyes.I see it again later up close when I give him a couple of t-shirts. Like a deer in the headlights, but something else, too. Shocked, surprised, scared, and angry. Very angry. Shocked and surprised at the creeping realization that what he’d experienced was going to be with him forever. Scared about what it could do to him. And angry about it. He’d never considered all this before; he’d believed he was invincible. (READ MORE)

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