December 11, 2007

Web Reconnaissance for 12/11/2007

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)
Waterboarding Recounted - A former CIA officer who participated in the capture and questioning of the first al-Qaeda terrorist suspect to be waterboarded said yesterday that the harsh technique provided an intelligence breakthrough that "probably saved lives," but that he now regards the tactic as torture. (READ MORE)

Huckabee Talks Tough on Immigration - THE AD Mike Huckabee: It ought to be at least as difficult to get across an international border as it is to get on an airplane in our own home town. Announcer: Mike Huckabee will fight to secure our borders. Huckabee: We need to make it clear that we will say no to amnesty and no to sanctuary cities... (READ MORE)

Ex-Pentagon Aide Says U.S. Abandoned Quick Iraq Transition - A former top Pentagon official blamed the Bush administration's top official in Iraq for abandoning a plan for a quick transition to Iraqi leadership in the summer of 2003 and instead keeping the U.S. government in control of the country for more than a year. (READ MORE)

Putin Anoints Successor To Russian Presidency - MOSCOW, Dec. 10 -- Dmitry Medvedev, a 42-year-old deputy prime minister known as a rare moderate in a hard-line Kremlin, was put on track Monday to become Russia's next president when President Vladimir Putin endorsed him. The surprise announcement, all but guaranteeing Medvedev victory... (READ MORE)

Congress vs. Army - Congress's approval rating keeps sinking, and the Members seem intent on seeing how low it can go. In the latest puzzling exercise, they are driving the Pentagon to the brink of furloughs by denying money for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. (READ MORE)

Waterboarding: Congress Knew - After three days of screaming headlines about the CIA destroying videotapes in 2005 of the "harsh" interrogation of two terrorists, it now comes to light that in 2002 key members of Congress were fully briefed by the CIA about those interrogation techniques, including waterboarding. One member of that Congressional delegation was the future House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi. (READ MORE)

Huckabee Basks in Success - Mike Huckabee jokes that if he's not the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, someone better tell the other campaigns to turn their fire elsewhere. (READ MORE)

'No Deal' on Spending on Hill - Capitol Hill Democrats' plan to pass long-stalled spending bills before the Christmas break by coupling it with emergency war funds unraveled yesterday as the White House and congressional Republicans held firm on budget limits. (READ MORE)

Judges Can Cut Crack Terms - The Supreme Court yesterday ruled that federal judges can issue shorter jail terms than federal guidelines recommend in cocaine cases — addressing a sentencing disparity for crack and powder cocaine convictions that are widely considered to be more punitive for blacks. (READ MORE)

Car Bombs in Algerian Capital Kill 45 - Car bombs exploded minutes apart Tuesday in central Algiers, heavily damaging a U.N. building and ripping the facade off the wing of a government office. Officials said 45 people were killed, and that 12 U.N. employees were missing. Suspicions quickly focused on the North African wing of al-Qaida. The date - the 11th - could point to an Islamic terror link. (READ MORE)

From the Front:
A Battlefield Tourist: A Tour of Mahmudiyah - Just south of Baghdad is an area called, “South Baghdad”, which includes the city of al-Mahmudiyah. Mahmudiyah is a mostly Shia city of 150,000 people, surrounded by a mostly Sunni rural area. Mahmudiyah is also the northern tip of the “Triangle of Death”. When I was there in September 2007, the area was being secured by 2nd Battalion, 15th Artillery Regiment; one of the many units these days doing much more than what their unit’s designation indicates. 2/15 FA has since returned to the United States. (READ MORE)

all expenses paid afghan vacation: tower rants - I’m on a tower guard rotation this week, definitely my most despised duty while I’m here. It is comprised of 12 hours of non stop boredom sitting in a guard tower pulling security from sunset to sunrise. My highlight of each night is when it’s time for our midnight chow meal, the best meal of the day when a different set of cooks come into the kitchen and make the meals from scratch other than just reheating schlop. Being at a smaller FOB compared to the bigger bases like the one at Bagram, we still have a chow hall run by army personnel instead of KBR contractors, which makes a huge difference in the quality of food. (READ MORE)

Desert Dude: 10 December - Today I got up around 7am to get my weapons and gear loaded up—and take the flower outside to get sun for the day…last night, around 8pm, our operations officer came in to my room and asked if the rumor was true that I wanted to roll on more missions…I told him, “yeah, kinda, why??” he said he needed me for a mission…I said I would do it then asked where it was to…I already kinda knew where they were going and I should have asked before I said I would do it…it was up north…up in the mountains…up in the COLD… (READ MORE)

Eighty Deuce On The Loose In Iraq: Making up for lost time... - In the past few months, I can honesty say that I have not been on any raids. It has been quite a while. Now, this is not saying that raids were not happening, it just worked out to where I didn't end up on any for quite some time. It seemed as if for me there was going to be no more kicking in doors, rushing in to homes/businesses and all the craziness and excitment that comes with them. Since it has been so long since the last time I had engaged a known enemy, raids were the last form of a rush and excitment that was left. Well that all changed over this last week. In one of my previous posts I talked about the night time raid with the masked and armed local guards. Apparently that was to be the first in a series of raids for me and the others of my squad. (READ MORE)

ETT PA-C: Camp Georgia Lives - We've had a big week this past week and few days prior so I'm going to post a few different ones at a time. We have officially moved into "Camp Georgia!" Yes the great state of Georgia is now being represented. Well, more like the great University of Georgia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GO DAWGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (READ MORE)

IraqPundit: Shiite Scenarios - The latest is that there will be talks next week among the U.S., Iraqi, and Iranians. SIIC leader Abdul Aziz Al Hakim is in Washington, and Moktada Al Sadr is reportedly rebuilding his Mahdi Army. The Iraqi government is quietly talking with the United Nations to return to Iraq. One hopes these are signs that Iran can be persuaded to stop interfering in Iraq. Although we can never be sure. "If the Iranian militants continue to perceive a US military humiliation as their foremost objective, constructive dialogue will remain impossible." Max Hastings writes in the Guardian. (READ MORE)

Jason's Iraq Vacation: reality check - I've been avoiding my blog lately. Ahh, it feels good to admit it. I think part of the reason I was avoiding it is because that writing again would mean that yes, I am really back here in Iraq. This isn't a bad dream I'm having, and Chester isn't going to wake me up by licking my face. It took me a couple weeks to really come back into the mind-set that I need to be in, but, here I am! This is going to come as a huge surprise to most people, so brace yourselves - but since I left, there has been almost NO change in any of the projects going on here. (READ MORE)

Lt. Nixon Rants: Why "Christmas in Fallujah" is Miserably Inaccurate - Recently, Billy Joel teamed up with hipster Cass Dillon to release a song "Christmas in Fallujah". The Boston Hearld wrote a blurb about it, and you can see the Youtube video here. While I think their heart is in the right place since the proceeds from the song are going to "Homes for our Troops", I can't help but criticize the ridiculous lyrics of the song. “It’s Evening In the Desert, I’m Tired and I’m cold, But I’m just a solder, I do what I am told” Okay, where to begin. First off, if the song was supposed to be about somewhere violent and grief-stricken, I would recommend finding a city in Iraq that has not seen a decline in violence for a consecutive 11 months. (READ MORE)

A Surgeon's Letters Home From Iraq: 10 DEC Enough to eat - There are a few children who are side by side in our hospital ward. I think it is good that they have each other. It must be frightening being in a big hospital with lots of people who are bigger than you and don't speak your language. Add to that the pain and discomfort of recovering from surgery and it must be a terrible experience. It might take away a little of the terror to see that there are some other children around who are going through it too. Maybe if they see someone else getting better, they will be able believe that they can get better too. We are treating one boy who was shot through the heart a few days ago. Kind of reminds you of the Bon Jovi song. (READ MORE)

Matt Sanchez: Has U.S. forgotten Afghanistan? - There was no confusion about the reasons for the invasion of Afghanistan. In 2001, the international community backed the United States military by sending both armed forces and financial aid. Even France boasted of "European unity in international security." In most people's minds, Afghanistan is the opposite of Iraq. It's the "good" war, the "just" war, the authorized war – the forgotten war. The Japanese have donated funds for hospitals in the remotest regions of the country. The spirit of goodwill for the Afghans crosses all levels. Korean missionaries have sent what they feel is spiritual aid. Here, in Operation Enduring Freedom, there is international aid and a robust alliance. (READ MORE)

LTC Jim Crider: Doura Progress Report - DEC 07 Despite the hardships associated with our current deployment there are many things that are personally rewarding. Undoubtedly, when we return to Fort Riley we will do so with an enormous sense of accomplishment as a team and personal satisfaction as individual soldiers. In our area it is indisputable that we have set the conditions for political progress and are working hard to move forward on the local level. The current situation is not irreversible as there are certainly those with designs for power looking for opportunities to return to chaos. I do find that our Iraqi friends enjoy living a closer to normal life with an increased sense of hope and therein lay our own hope that all sacrifice has not been in vain. We know the heavy price that was paid to get us to this point and we must be prepared to follow through. (READ MORE)

On Point: TASK FORCE MARNE Update - To look at the news coming from Iraq these days, it seems that there is either the expected bad news about IED’s and American casualties, or there is no news at all. But this lack of news does not mean that nothing is happening in Iraq any longer, and today OnPoint brings you a slice of a few days in the life of your Soldiers fighting south of Baghdad with Task Force Marne. Both of these stories come from Sgt. Kevin Stabinsky, 2nd BCT, 3rd Inf. Div. (READ MORE)

Those Wacky Iraqis: I go - Time to go. I drop paper tomorrow. Maybe I will get out with Dave from Daves-Not-Here. He DDs the 13th. I'm not sad. I am actually relieved. Time to get some down time and hang out with Household 6, the Little Guy, and the dogs. Time to get to know my family again and have a beer when I want it. Once i get CONUS and out from under GO#1 I will really let loose with what I can. I will tell it like it is without fear of reprisal or big brother kicking my butt. Stay tuned. (READ MORE)

Yellowhammering Afghanistan: Blue women: The many challenges Afghan women face cause unhappiness - GHAZNI, Afghanistan -- Are Afghan women happy? That's probably not a fair question to open with. I sat down with six Afghan women recently to hear directly from them how they felt about everything from arranged marriages to burqas. After three decades of nearly constant war, a young government struggling to exert influence over all the country, an insurgency devoted to disrupting or toppling that government and an economy not growing fast enough, there are very few people of any gender in Afghanistan who are truly happy. But on top of the common problems that affect all Afghans, women here have many more things to be unhappy about. "Obviously, you can see some women who appear happy, but actually they are not," the head of women's legal affairs in Ghazni tells me. "You can find few women who are happy here." (READ MORE)

never as funny the second time…: LTG Qais Hamza Aboud - if you were not paying careful attention, you might have missed it. yesterday, LTG Qais, the Provincial Director of Police for the Iraqi province of Babil (just south and west of Baghdad) was killed in an ambush on his convoy. it was a story that slid immediately to the bottom of the pile of breaking news, but should have been near the top. i had never met the man, but in my function as an Iraqi Police Service regional team lead, his province was one of my areas of responsibility for 6 months. Babil took up an inordinate amount of my time, with their constant requests for resources. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Sally Bedell Smith: Two Presidents in the White House? - For many years, one of Bill and Hillary Clinton's closest friends, TV producer Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, has been fond of saying that when the Clintons "are dead and gone, each of them is going to be buried next to a president of the United States." It is an idea that the Clintons began talking about decades ago. Back in 1974, Bill Clinton told his friend Diane Kincaid that Hillary "could be president someday." During his own presidential campaign in 1992, he said in an interview, "Eight years of Hillary Clinton? Why not?" (READ MORE)

Bret Stephens: The NIE Fantasy - "The USSR could derive considerable military advantage from the establishment of Soviet medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles in Cuba, or from the establishment of a submarine base there. . . . Either development, however, would be incompatible with Soviet practice to date and with Soviet policy as we presently estimate it." --Special National Intelligence Estimate 85-3-62, Sept. 19, 1962 Twenty-five days after this NIE was published, a U-2 spy plane photographed a Soviet ballistic missile site in Cuba, and the Cuban Missile Crisis began. It's possible the latest NIE on Iran's nuclear weapons program will not prove as misjudged or as damaging as the 1962 estimate. But don't bet on it. (READ MORE)

Jason L. Riley: Race and the Presidential Race - Ask a political strategist why Barack Obama is unlikely to become our next president and prepare to hear that he is too liberal. Or too inexperienced. Or too far behind Hillary Clinton in the national polls for the Democratic nomination. But that type of analysis is not what Shelby Steele serves up in his new book, even though it is titled "A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can't Win." For a minute breakdown of the electoral mechanics of an Obama candidacy, look elsewhere. What you'll find in these pages is a deftly argued discourse on the racial aspects of the Illinois senator's presidential quest. Mr. Steele aims to explain what it says about our nation--a place where a single drop of black blood once meant the difference between bondage and freedom--that a man born to a white Kansan and a black Kenyan is now a plausible Oval Office candidate. (READ MORE)

Dennis Prager: In Politics Values Matter, Not Theology - There are some Americans -- presumed usually to be evangelical Christians -- for whom voting for a Mormon for president of the United States is difficult, if not impossible. While I will try to show these voters why that decision is wrong on religious as well as moral grounds, it is important for the rest of us to understand their opposition. Most traditional Christians regard Mormonism not merely as not Christian, but as a falsification of it. It does not matter to the vast majority of evangelicals if a candidate is a Christian. Most are quite prepared to vote for a non-Christian -- a Jew, for example. (READ MORE)

Daniel Pipes: That NIE Makes War against Iran More Likely - With the Dec. 3 publication of a completely unexpected declassified National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), "Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities," a consensus has emerged that war with Iran "now appears to be off the agenda." Indeed, Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, claimed the report dealt a "fatal blow" to the country's enemies, while his foreign ministry spokesman called it a "great victory." disagree with that consensus, believing that military action against Iran is now more likely than before the NIE came out. The NIE's main point, contained in its first line, famously holds: "We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program." (READ MORE)

Lisa De Pasquale: Hugo Chavez Democrats' Systematic Removal of Conservatives - In Godless Ann Coulter wrote, “Liberals are perennially enraged that Republicans are allowed to talk back.” As such, this has spawned “Hugo Chavez Democrats” that make it their life’s work to get conservatives blacklisted from the media. The Left’s perpetual whining is usually funny, but not so much when the spineless surrender to them. Last month Daily Kos turned their attention to columnist Rachel Marsden. Marsden wrote a column for the Toronto Sun and appears frequently on Fox News and CNN. Daily Kos objected to her recent column on waterboarding and this joke Marsden made on CNN: I suppose that those who object to terror suspects getting water up the nose would say that, as a young competitive swimmer, I was also tortured. (READ MORE)

Debra J. Saunders: Tanks Vs. Talks - Because of President Bush, the world hates America. If voters elect a Democrat, the 2008 hopefuls argue, Washington will engage in more diplomacy and the world will love us. They glom onto every news story to bolster that argument -- including the new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that refuted a 2005 NIE that reported "high confidence" that Iran was working on nukes, by assessing with "high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program." For years, Democrats have complained that Bush should have been more skeptical of intelligence that supported his ideology. Now they're doing the same thing, as they embrace the new NIE report as gospel. (READ MORE)

Thomas Sowell: At Last! - People for whom indignation is a way of life -- and there seem to be an increasing number of such people -- repeatedly have outbursts of outrage whenever the police fire a lot of shots at some criminal. People who have never fired a gun in their lives, and have never had a split-second in which to make a decision that could mean life or death for themselves or others, are often nevertheless convinced that the police used excessive force. As someone who once taught pistol shooting in the Marine Corps, it has never seemed strange to me that the police sometimes fire dozens of shots at a criminal. (READ MORE)

Lawrence Kudlow: Bush Boom Continues - Following last week's solid jobs report, The New York Times got back to its Bush-bashing recession mantra with the front-page headline: "Slowing Job Growth Seen as Ominous Sign for Economy." This chant has been going on for quite some time. Doom and gloom from the economic pessimists has been political sport for seven years, even though the Bush boom just celebrated its sixth anniversary. The current expansion is now in its 74th month -- 17 months longer than the average 57-month business cycle since World War II. Jobs are an "ominous sign for the economy"? The latest jobs report says America is still working, with 94,000 new corporate payrolls in November and a rolling average of 103,000 job increases for the past three months. (READ MORE)

Mike S. Adams: Wolf Cries “Boy”: University to Investigate - A friend of mine who is a black professor at UNC-Wilmington was walking down the hall one day when a janitor nodded to him saying “hey bud” in a barely audible voice. His chair, who was walking with him, thought that the janitor who was white (and still is, I presume) said “hey boy.” So he asked my friend whether he wanted to press charges against the janitor. Thinking he may have said “bud” rather than “boy” my black friend who is not my only black friend (I have three and a half black friends, by the way) decided the matter needed further investigation before pulling the trigger (I said “trigger,” not “n****r”). (READ MORE)

Amanda Carpenter: MoveOn Targets Hillary and Obama - claims more than 15,000 veterans and military families have signed their petition that demands Democratic senators running for President filibuster unpassed spending bills until a withdrawal date is set for troops to leave Iraq. "Americans elected a Democratic Congress in 2006 to end the war in Iraq. A blank check for billions in war funding moves us in the wrong direction," said Nita Chaudhary, Campaign Director on Iraq for MoveOn, according to reports from The Hill and Politico. "Majority Leader Reid and the Democratic leadership should hold the line they've drawn: no war funding without a timeline to end the war.” (READ MORE)

Phyllis Schlafly: To Assimilate or not to Assimilate: That is the Question - Are you tired of anonymous voices on the phone telling you to "Press 1 (or sometimes 2) for English"? The ability to speak and communicate in English is the litmus test of whether immigrants are assimilating into U.S. culture. To become a naturalized U.S. citizen, the law states that the immigrant must demonstrate "the ability to read, write and speak ordinary English." All public opinion polls confirm by majorities approaching 90 percent that this is what the American people want. Despite the law, the Pew Hispanic Center just reported that only 52 percent of Hispanic naturalized citizens speak English well or pretty well. Pew also reported that 28 percent of Latino immigrants speak only Spanish on the job. (READ MORE)

John McCaslin: On Second Thought - On Friday morning, the public affairs shop at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) distributed to everybody on its e-mail list an article from The Washington Post from that same day that was critical of the office's most recent National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran. Several conservatives quoted in the story challenged the veracity of the NIE, including Norman Podhoretz, who has advocated air strikes on Iranian sites. The commentator said he does not think the new NIE is "very credible because it is a 180-degree turn in two years" since a previous estimate concluded that Iran was close to building a nuclear weapon. (READ MORE)

Rich Galen: Is the NIE a Lie? - I am, as long-time Mullsters know, a huge fan of the Central Intelligence Agency. More precisely a huge fan of America's intelligence officers who routinely risk their lives, often under dreadful conditions, trying to determine the current state of affairs in states which don't want us to know what their state of affairs might be. Last week the Bush Administration released a portion of a document known as the National Intelligence Estimate - NIE. Note, it contains the word "Estimate." It is not titled "National Intelligence Certainty." (READ MORE)

Carrie Lukas: Time for Another Change: Energy Bill Is Another Failure - When political analysts think back on what happened in the 2006 election, the most common narrative is that the Democrats were swept into power because of the public’s frustration with the lack of progress in Iraq. Yet these anti-war sentiments were only part of the story. The public was also frustrated by Congressional corruption; several Republican Members retired in scandal having been found to have been abusing the public trust. Stories of runaway, wasteful spending were commonplace. The Democrats promised a new direction. Not only did they vow to fight to end the war in Iraq, they also promised transparency, a return to fiscal responsibility, and to help American families struggling to make ends meet. (READ MORE)

A Newt One: SURGED WORKED, WE WERE RIGHT, DEMS ARE SCREWED.....any questions? - Growing numbers of people think the U.S. is making progress in Iraq and will eventually be able to claim some success there, a poll showed Tuesday in a sign the politics of the war could become more complicated for Democrats. With diminishing U.S. and Iraqi casualties and the start of modest troop withdrawals, the public's mood seems to have brightened a bit, the Associated Press-Ipsos poll showed. That is a rarity in what has been a relentlessly unpopular war. "I still have hopes the people in Iraq will appreciate us being there," said Daniel Laird, 30, a firefighter from Yuba City, Calif., who leans Republican and was questioned in the survey. "It just seems like we are making a difference." (READ MORE)

Lawhawk: Israel Moves On Gaza; Hamas Talks Turkey - In a long overdue act of self defense, Israel has sent in tanks and bulldozers into the terrorist-infested Gaza Strip, focusing on Khan Younis and near the Rafeh crossing. The Israelis have killed at least five terrorists and detained more than 60 others. Abbas calls the Israeli actions an impediment to negotiations. So does terrorist attacks against Israel, and yet that's gone unmentioned by both Israel and the media for years. (READ MORE)

Ace of Spades: "The Vanishing War:" As War News Turns Positive, MSM Becomes Suddenly Disinterested - Remember that study about a half year back demonstrating that FoxNews didn't cover Iraq as much as the other TV outlets when news was bad? CNN et al. made a rather big deal about that. Their argument seemed to be that good or bad, the War had to be covered, and only partisanship and bias could explain a drop in coverage. Well, covering the war "good or bad" includes, I see, covering it when it is going rather good. So how come CNN and the nets aren't interested anymore? (READ MORE)

Acute Politics: Frustration - I've been home now for 2 1/2 months. I've spent a lot of that time traveling and visiting friends and family. I think I'm doing pretty well readjusting to living here- it doesn't bother me anymore when I drive at night, and I don't swerve away from objects on or near the road (though I do tend to follow them with my eyes). Crowds and people never bothered me after my return, and sudden noises only did so occasionally. Iraq did change my driving habits, though- I've always been a bit more of an aggressive driver than most, and I'm worse now and more vocal about it. I think living in Idaho makes it particularly bad- drivers here are some of the worst I've seen, and I don't react to them particularly well. (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: NCRI: NIE Half Right - Unfortunately, it's the wrong half. Previous NIEs did not acknowledge a shutdown of the Iranian nuclear weapons program in 2003, but the new one fails to recognize its restart in 2004. The Iranian opposition group that exposed the program in the first place will publicly state that the ODNI's new estimate ignores evidence of the program's continuance at new facilities: “The Iranian opposition group that first exposed Iran's nuclear-fuel program said a U.S. intelligence analysis is correct that Tehran shut down its weaponization program in 2003, but claims that the program was relocated and restarted in 2004” (READ MORE)

Radio Patriot: HILLARY! UNCENSORED - In this vid, Peter Paul exposes how Bill and Hill conspired to hoodwink a million dollar donor and avoid accountability to the government and the American people. It's the story of a $2 million dollar Gala Concert "Salute to president Clinton" that featured Cher, Diana Ross, Paul Anka and many other stars who performed at a concert that was used in court as evidence of various federal crimes. (READ MORE)

Dafydd: Hoodwinkers and Their Codependents: In Search of Intelligent Intelligence on Iran - British intelligence evidently reads Big Lizards; the first paragraph of this Telegraph story says it all: “British spy chiefs have grave doubts that Iran has mothballed its nuclear weapons programme, as a US intelligence report claimed last week, and believe the CIA has been hoodwinked by Teheran.” In our first post (six days ago) on the subject of the New! Revised! National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), Nothing to See Here, Folks... Time to Just Move On!, we suggested the possibilty that the "new evidence" upon which the National Intelligence Council cobbled up its new NIE could have been part of a "disinformation campaign" by the Iranians: (READ MORE)

Confederate Yankee: AP'S Conflict of Interest - There is one current story in Iraq that has attracted the full attention of the Associated Press, and that is the case of Bilal Hussein, an AP photographer and terrorism suspect. The AP report on Hussein's hearing yesterday leaves out the fact that Hussein was arrested with a known al Qaeda terrorist... one of but many troubling aspects of the news organization's decision to forego objective news reporting in favor of self-serving advocacy in a clear and pervasive conflict of interest. The Associated Press, as an involved party in this case, should recuse themselves from reporting on Hussein's trial. According to The Associated Press Statement of News Values and Principles: (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Ted Stevens, ex-senator? - His poll numbers are bad. Was the Bridge To Nowhere a bridge too far? A Kos-commissioned poll shows both Republican Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska and that state’s lone House member, Republican Don Young, are behind Democratic challengers. Alaskans apparently do not like the dishonor they have brought to the state. It is one thing to move, say, the FBI Fingerprint Center to Clarksburg, W.Va. Hey, you have to have an FBI Fingerprint Center somewhere. But a $398 million bridge to connect Ketchikan to Gravina Island? (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: Post-War Election - According to NYT’s David Brooks, who notes in passing that the war isn’t, in fact, over yet: “The 2008 presidential election has fundamentally shifted, but it hasn’t been because of events in Iowa and New Hampshire. It’s because of events everywhere else. In Washington, the National Intelligence Estimate was released, suggesting the next president will not face an imminent nuclear showdown with Iran. In Iraq, the surge and tribal revolts produce increasing stability.” (READ MORE)

Bryan Preston: NYT: CIA lawyers gave written approval to destroy interrogation tapes - Ted Kennedy, once again proven to be dead wrong on a wild, irresponsible accusation against the Bush administration. “Lawyers within the clandestine branch of the Central Intelligence Agency gave written approval in advance to the destruction in 2005 of hundreds of hours of videotapes documenting interrogations of two lieutenants from Al Qaeda, according to a former senior intelligence official with direct knowledge of the episode.” (READ MORE)

McQ: Clinton v. Obama: how it breaks down for Democrats (update) - Very interesting Bloomberg article about the fears of Democrats concerning the party’s two front runners. The comments are from a pro-Democratic focus group consisting of 11 Democrats from Philadelphia who were gathered together by Democratic pollster Peter Hart. The basics:
“The participants were informed and enthusiastic about their party’s prospects, had no interest in the Republicans or third-party candidates, and were about equally balanced between front-runners Clinton and Senator Barack Obama of Illinois.” After a couple of hours with the group, Hart turns to strengths and weaknesses. And it is here where the interesting stuff starts coming out. Concerning Obama: (READ MORE)

Allahpundit: Iranian dissidents: Iran did stop its weapons program in 2003 — and restarted it in 2004 - More NIE dissent. Is there anyone out there in Iran’s orbit who believes, with high confidence, that they really have suspended their weapons program? The crack U.S. intel community seems to be out on a limb with this one. Well, actually, that’s not true. Iran’s stooge thinks we’re right on the money, doesn’t he? “According to the [National Council of Resistance of Iran], Iran’s Supreme National Security Council decided to shut down its most important center for nuclear-weapons research in eastern Tehran, called Lavisan-Shian, in August 2003.” (READ MORE)

William Teach: What’s Happened In Iraq? - It is getting really tough to find stories about Iraq in the MSM as of late. Apparently, they cannot find enough bad news, and they have chilled out on the good news, apparently not wanting to further harm their need for everyone to believe that Vietraq is lost. But, hey, if they actually did want some good news, why not hear it straight from the soldiers mouth, such as U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Brian S. Orban? “The city of Diwaniyah belongs to the people once again - a city where people walk the streets at night without fear or intimidation; a city where children go to the parks to play. It’s a city without ‘them’ - the militants, terrorists, criminals and thugs that surrounded the city and its citizens in a cloak of fear.” (READ MORE)

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