December 14, 2007

Web Reconnaissance for 12/14/2007

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)
Report Cites Decade of Drug Use - A 21-month investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball concluded yesterday that cheating has been rampant in the sport for more than a decade and called initial responses by baseball officials to address the issue "slow and inadequate." (READ MORE)

Hillary Would Raise Taxes on Rich - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday said her plan for fiscal responsibility includes tax increases, during a debate at which the Democratic contenders kept it civil and stressed they will "ask" Americans to sacrifice to achieve their policy goals. (READ MORE)

Living a Comfortable Life on the Third Rail - Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was in a happy mood at a luncheon yesterday at The Washington Times, talking about stereotypes — racial or religious — and how he enjoys defying them in the pursuit of impartiality. (READ MORE)

Bhutto: Fatal Bomb was Rigged to Baby - The bomb that ravaged Benazir Bhutto's homecoming processional in October appears to have been rigged to the clothes of a baby who was held up for the former prime minister to embrace, Mrs. Bhutto said. (READ MORE)

Virginia Panel Urges ICE Training for Police - The Virginia State Crime Commission yesterday approved a measure calling on Gov. Tim Kaine to pursue federal training for Virginia State Police officers that would allow them to enforce immigration laws in some circumstances. (READ MORE)

Steroid Report Names Star Players - An investigation into use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball concludes a culture of secrecy and permissiveness gave rise to a "steroids era" in the game that includes some of its biggest names. (READ MORE)

House Passes Bill to Ban CIA's Use of Harsh Interrogation Tactics - The House approved legislation yesterday that would bar the CIA from using waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics, drawing an immediate veto threat from the White House and setting up another political showdown over what constitutes torture. (READ MORE)

Terrorism Case Ends In Mistrial; 1 Acquitted - MIAMI, Dec. 13 -- A federal judge declared a mistrial for six men from a fringe religious group here after a jury said it was deadlocked on charges that they conspired to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago and instigate a war against the United States. (READ MORE)

Kasparov Ends Bid for Russian Presidency - MOSCOW, Dec. 13 -- Garry Kasparov, the chess grandmaster and relentless critic of President Vladimir Putin, has ended his long-shot presidential bid, citing official harassment he said prevented him from holding a legally required nomination meeting. (READ MORE)

The Delta House Congress - In the movie "Animal House," the fraternity brother known as Otter reacts to the Delta House's closure with the classic line, "I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part." To which Bluto, played by John Belushi, replies, "We're just the guys to do it." The movie ends by noting that Bluto becomes a Senator, so perhaps this explains the meltdown among Democrats on Capitol Hill. (READ MORE)

From the Front:
Yellowhammering Afghanistan: Spirit of Christmas - I don't know how this Christmas season is going for you. The orphanage has nearly 200 children.If the past is any indicator, I recall this time of year being hectic and full of anxiety. The "to do" lists were intimidating and there never seemed to be enough hours in the day to get the "important" things done. Commercialism combined with our own busy lives has really regulated Christmas to a day or two of peace and gift-giving in our own homes rather than a season to be enjoyed. Americans typically invite the Christmas Spirit in for a few hours before forcing it out the door. Here in Afghanistan, I, too, am busy with my own "to do" lists. There are short-term and long-term goals and deadlines I have to meet. (READ MORE)

Iraq Pundit: Class of 2010 - The Associated Press reports that the same dropout Moktada Al Sadr that the media have been calling a cleric, is back in school to become a cleric. Why would he join the class of 2010? Well, some might remember that in Shiite society, he needs his education to gain respect. Certainly the media have been telling us he has a massive following. Never mind that the followers are mostly street thugs. Al Sadr needs mainstream Shiite support. What the media miss is that his handlers wish to repackage Mookie to make him more appealing to that mainstream. (READ MORE)

Fightin' 6th Marines: Face-to-Face with the People - It is not uncommon to find a Marine with more than one tour in Iraq. There are several over here that are on their second, third, fourth, and even fifth trip. Cpl. Bryce Muhlenberg provides us such an example of a Marine that has fought here and will miss the Iraqi people that he has come to know over the past few months. “HABBANIYAH, Iraq – Sgt. John E. Mejia was walking between two mud and brick houses here when he explained the key to counterinsurgency operations in Iraq. Sgt. Mejia “You’ve got to be face-to-face with these people to see if a difference has been made,” said the 37-year-old Monterey Park, Calif., native and section leader with Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 6.” (READ MORE)

ETT PA-C: As Promised - I believe every soldier that operates in the field, especially ones that make daily life or death trips up and down roads or to the bathroom, for that matter, longs to leave some sort of footprint behind to justify the sacrifices he or she makes in the line of duty. Today was one of those days that does just that. SGM and I have racked our brains to develop this camp and with pride today the two of us raised Old Glory over Camp Georgia. Most of our guys were off doing other stuff but the Hajji workers all stopped and watched as the two of us hoisted her up. (READ MORE)

Desert Dude: 11 December - Slept most of the day today…not much going on and I was still a little tired from yesterday’s trip…after the trip I went to sleep around 8pm and then woke up around 1am this morning…sat up watching tv and doing nothing till around 10am then went back to sleep…got up a couple more times during the day—woke up once because I heard a couple of explosions…it turned out to be us launching mortars for practice, but it scared me pretty good while I was sleeping… but most of the day was just laying around doing nothing… (READ MORE)

LT Nixon Rants: The Hypocrisy of our Senior Government Officials - I work in an office mixed with military and civilian contractors out here in Baghdad. A few months back, one of my civilian co-workers got a shipment of travel coffee mugs from their headquarters in DC. They are worth about $5 each and are nothing fancy. I asked for one, but the head of our cell, a Colonel, would not take one since it was a "conflict of interest" and could show favoritism and bias. Obviously, this is because contracts are awarded through a heavily regulated bidding process. Before you start calling LT Nixon a corporate shill, the rules are up to $50/year (I think...) in gifts a year to the military. The Colonel in question did the right thing as a matter of principle, because a lot of sleazy backdoor deals could result when companies vying for defense contracts start buying off those involved in the selection process. It's pretty intuitive logic for all public servants to understand. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Linda Chavez: Hillary: Too Clever by Half - For the past year, Hillary Clinton's Democratic presidential nomination has seemed inevitable. She raised more money than any presidential candidate in history. She performed well in an endless series of debates. She carved out careful positions on difficult issues, protecting her left flank while not alienating moderates. She used her husband to woo crowds and raise money, while never letting him overshadow her on the hustings. (READ MORE)

Victor Davis Hanson: All Mixed-Up Over Iran - Last week’s U.S. National Intelligence Estimate states, with “high confidence,” that Iran quit trying to get a nuclear bomb in late 2003. That’s exactly the opposite of what the NIE reported just two years ago, when it claimed Iran’s ruling mullahs were still developing nuclear weapons. The reaction here at home to the new NIE was a good deal clearer than the often mealy-mouthed wording of the report. By an overwhelming margin, according to a Rasmussen poll conducted after the new NIE report’s findings were made public, Americans don’t buy that Iran has quit trying to go nuclear. (READ MORE)

Burt Prelutsky: Dancing With the Candidates - I believe I could very well be the only person in America with a TV set who has never watched a single so-called reality show. I also believe that many of you are sitting there convinced that if I’m not outright lying, I am certainly stretching the truth to the breaking point. How could anyone, you’re asking yourselves, not have tuned in for 15 minutes of “Survivor” or “The Bachelor” or caught a tango or two on “Dancing With the Stars”? (READ MORE)

Joel Mowbray: Hezbollah’s Girl? - Despite using a sham marriage to fraudulently obtain citizenship and having multiple personal connections to a suspected Hezbollah financier, Nada Nadim Prouty, a 37-year-old illegal alien from Lebanon, rose quickly through the FBI, then later the CIA. While at the FBI, Prouty conducted unauthorized searches to see what law enforcement had on her, her sister (who is now in jail for tax evasion) and her sister's husband, a suspected Hezbollah financier, who is now on the lam. From her plea agreement earlier this month, where she pleaded guilty to three counts, we also know that Prouty illegally accessed top-secret FBI information about an investigation into Hezbollah. (READ MORE)

Thomas Sowell: Say It Ain't So - Shoeless Joe Jackson was the only man to bat .382 in his last season in the major leagues. After that he was banned for life for his role in the "black sox scandal," the deliberate throwing of the 1919 World Series. It was to Jackson that a youngster was supposed to have said, "Say it ain't so, Joe." Maybe we are too sophisticated today to react that way to the news that many major league star players have been taking steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs. But maybe we have gotten too sophisticated for our own good. (READ MORE)

Oliver North: The New Iraq - Part III - HILLAH, Iraq -- The slogan "de oppresso liber" is Latin for "free the oppressed." It's the motto of the U.S. Special Forces, but it also has been adopted by several of the Iraqi military and police units our FOX News "War Stories" team has been covering here in the land between the rivers. These special operations troops -- Americans and their Iraqi counterparts -- have become the tip of the spear in the war against radical Islamic terror. (READ MORE)

Patrick J. Buchanan: Is World War III on Hold? - The White House campaign to stampede this nation into war, to smash Iran's nuclear facilities before she acquires the capability to build an atom bomb, has been derailed, probably for the duration of the Bush presidency. And the Bush policy -- to leave the military option on the table while pressing China, Russia and NATO to back tougher sanctions in the Security Council -- has been torpedoed. (READ MORE)

Amanda Carpenter: No Tough Questions During Dem Debate - No significant exchanges transpired during the last Democratic presidential debate before the Iowa caucus that will likely change the candidates’ chances of victory in the first-in-the-nation primary state. All eyes were on leading candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama as their Iowa poll numbers have become increasingly close in the run-up to the January 3 caucus. But the debate, hosted by the Des Moines Register, offered them few opportunities to draw contrasts between each other’s campaigns. (READ MORE)

Paul Weyrich: A Congressional Tax Package to Raise Costs to Consumers - When oil and gas prices are high, hurting consumers and the economy, what does the Democratic leadership in Congress want to do? Raise taxes on oil and gas companies, of course. Nothing could be more logical than to increase the amount of money the Federal Government demands from oil and gas revenue. Oil and gas companies then would pass these taxes on to consumers in the form of higher prices. The tax package was to be included in the Omnibus spending bill which Congress must pass soon but its future is uncertain. This Thursday morning it fell one vote short of cloture – that is, a motion to end debate. (READ MORE)

John Hawkins: Everything You Need To Know About The Top Tier GOP Candidates In A Single Column - Here's a brutally honest (Oh boy, am I going to get a lot of angry emails) breakdown of all five of the top tier contenders (Full disclosure: I was a consultant for the Duncan Hunter campaign and he's still my favorite candidate). John McCain: Johnny Mac is a fiscal conservative, has a lot of experience, particularly on foreign policy, has a strong pro-life voting record, and he polls very well. This is a man who can win over independent voters and therefore, is capable of beating Hillary Clinton. (READ MORE)

Mario Diaz: Judge Declares Declaration of Independence Unconstitutional - Okay, so the headline is a bit premature, but it’s the logical precursor to the legal philosophy of liberal extremists, isn’t it? Ever since the Supreme Court erroneously elevated Thomas Jefferson’s “wall of separation between church and state” metaphor to a constitutional doctrine in the 1947 landmark decision Everson v. Board of Education, a growing sort of legal fog has been setting in on our constitutional religious freedoms, ending in what can only be described as a requirement of government hostility towards religion. (READ MORE)

Peggy Noonan: The Pulpit and the Potemkin Village - What is happening in Iowa is no longer boring but big, and may prove huge. The Republican race looks--at the moment--to be determined primarily by one thing, the question of religious faith. In my lifetime faith has been a significant issue in presidential politics, but not the sole determinative one. Is that changing? If it is, it is not progress. Mike Huckabee is in the lead due, it appears, to voter approval of the depth and sincerity of his religious beliefs as lived out in his ministry as an ordained Southern Baptist. (READ MORE)

Kimberly A. Strassel: The Gospel of Paul - Ron Paul is no compassionate conservative. His supporters love him for it. If there's been a phenomenon in this Republican presidential race, it's been the strength of a fiery doctor from Texas and his message of limited government. As the GOP front-runners address crowds of dispirited primary voters, Mr. Paul has been tearing across the country, leaving a trail of passionate devotees in his wake. Paul rallies heave with voters waving placards and shouting "Liberty! Liberty!" Money is pouring in from tens of thousands of individual donors--so much cash that the 10-term congressman recently admitted he wasn't sure he could spend it all. (READ MORE)

Military and Afghanistan Blog: Someone pinch me - I mean, this has to be just one continuing dream. What have I done to deserve this awesome year that I have had. Between attending the Army's Birthday Ball this year back in June, Going on a two day book signing tour at Walter Reed, the VA HQ, and the Pentagon in October and now this I have been truly blessed and thankful for the year I have had. Last Thursday, Christine and I were in New York City to attend the Metropolitan of NYC USO’s 46th Annual Armed Forces Gala and Gold Star Banquet. We were invited to be there after the USO selected me to be the recipient of the George Van Cleave Leadership Award for the US Army Branch. (READ MORE)

Pamela Geller: Hamas Miscarriage of Justice in Holy Land Trail - America, we have a problem. “Hamas-sympathizing juror behind terror mistrial - May have misled prosecutors during jury selection A Hamas-sympathizing juror may have misled U.S. prosecutors about his neutrality during jury selection in the nation's largest terror-financing trial, investigators familiar with the case say. The juror's "browbeating" of fellow jurors during deliberations in the Holy Land Foundation trial led to a mistrial, they say. The Dallas-based charity and its leaders are accused of funneling more than $12 million to Hamas suicide bombers and their families.” (READ MORE)

LawHawk: Musing on the Mitchell Report - Well, I've had a bit of time to think on the Mitchell Report and its effect on baseball. I also got to listen to a bit of sports talk radio and that was surely entertaining. Here's my two shekels. The report is anything but a complete document, even at a mind boggling 408 pages. It barely scratches the surface and it omits some very prominent names that have been linked with performance enhancement over the past decade, including Sammy Sosa. The people that were included in the report are those that Mitchell couldn't have gotten unless he caught two very lucky breaks. (READ MORE)

A Newt One: Christmas Grinch Hits Canada - Citing security concerns and a lack of space on transport aircraft, Canadian Military Brass has decided to reject some 1700 'Care Packages' destined for Canadian Troops stationed in war torn Afghanistan over Christmas this year. Judi McLeod, of the Canada Free Press reports, "Christmas miracle needed to get care package to Canadian troops in Afghanistan." Canadian citizens have opened their hearts to brighten the Christmas of the Troops by donating and compiling these packages. Ailing veteran and former vice-president of the Roxboro Legion who spearheaded the project, Richard Shannon said, "I'm not well, and I'm very upset about this. They said all the way along, this project is guaranteed. It was okay, everything was good, and all of a sudden they pulled the plug." (READ MORE)

Ace of Spades: Hundreds of Taliban Killed By Salmonella And Combined Arms, But Mostly Combined Arms - The US Military had a "temper tantrum," I guess ABCNews would say. A wonderful temper tantrum. "Hundreds killed," not the 50 or so reported earlier. “As the only journalist to join NATO forces entering the town, I found it a ghost town abandoned by both the Taliban and its residents at the end of an eight-day coalition operation. The offensive was one of NATO's biggest in the country since Operation Anaconda in 2002. Embedded with a team of British troops and a detachment/’A–team’ of U.S. special forces, I watched the Taliban being pounded these last few days with overwhelming force.” (READ MORE)

America's North Shore Journal: Unfettered ‘citizen journalism’ too risky - Here’s what a journalism educator says about what I do and my response is below the fold. Hardly any foul language. “Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Having just anyone produce widely distributed stories without control can have the reverse effect from what advocates intend. It’s just a matter of time before something like a faked Rodney King beating video appears on the air somewhere. Journalism organizations should head that off. Citizen reports can be a valuable addition to news and information flow with some protections:” (READ MORE)

Sachi: The Men on the Wall - I recently had a conversation with a Japanese-American who calls himself "Asean-Peace." He is a regional director of an NGO on an island in the South Pacific, and I know him through online correspondence. We argued about maritime safety in Japanese waters and the dangers that face Japanese merchant and naval vessels in international waters. When I complained that the United States Navy often has to protect the Japanese because the Japanese ships cannot defend themselves (not even from pirates in Somalian waters), he said something profoundly disturbing. But before I get to that, let me detour to a great work of literature; don't worry, it will all make sense in the end. Trust me. (READ MORE)

Blonde Sagacity: Meeting Maureen Faulkner - Last night I had the honor and pleasure of meeting Maureen Faulkner, the widow of Officer Daniel Faulkner. For those of you living in a box (*ahem*), Daniel was shot in the face while on duty in Philadelphia and killed by Mumia Abu-Jamal (aka Wesley Cook) in 1981. Jamal has since become a Cause-Celeb for all the usual suspects. Local radio talk show host (and guest host for Bill O'Reilly) Michael Smerconish and Maureen Faulkner wrote a book detailing the her struggle for justice over the past 25 years. (READ MORE)

The Captain's Journal: Clarifying Expectations in Afghanistan - In Musa Qala: The Argument for Force Projection, we discussed the Afghan and NATO battle to retake Musa Qala, and expanded into the small footprint characteristic of the counterinsurgency campaign, along with an Australian officer’s call for more forces. The battle is being hailed as a victory, with “hundred’s of Taliban dead while two British soldiers and one U.S. soldier lost were killed. Actually, with seven U.S. soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division wounded, this constitutes a casualty ratio of 10:1 or slightly greater, which is routine in both Afghanistan and Iraq. To be precise, hundreds of Taliban were said to be killed or captured, but many are still reported to have fled prior to the battle. While it is a positive sign to win back Musa Qala, the operation required heavy air power, and the city was deserted of families after the battle. (READ MORE)

Blue Crab Boulevard: The Real Agenda Of Global Warming - All the sound and fury, all the relentless barrage of media hype, all of the wailing and gnashing of teeth from the true believers and sycophants of Al Gore about global warming have been orchestrated for a specific purpose. That purpose was out in the open, in all its global socialistic majesty in the luxurious setting of the UN conference on global warming in Bali. It is about global taxation, with the United Nations as the recipient of the massive windfall of money taken from the “rich” nations. Nothing more elaborate than that. (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: Nancy Overreaches, Part 37B - Pity poor Nancy Pelosi. She and Harry Reid promised to make 2007 an annus horribilis for George Bush in many ways. Instead, the two Congressional leaders have stymied themselves through hardline tactics and divisive rhetoric. They have not been able to deliver on their biggest promise -- an end to the war in Iraq, even with Reid declaring defeat on the floor of the Senate. Yesterday, Pelosi lashed out at Republicans, saying that they "liked" war (via Memeorandum): “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lashed out at Republicans on Thursday, saying they want the Iraq war to drag on and are ignoring the public's priorities. ‘They like this war. They want this war to continue,’ Pelosi, D- Calif., told reporters. She expressed frustration over Republicans' ability to force majority Democrats to yield ground on taxes, spending, energy, war spending and other matters.” (READ MORE)

Jeffrey Imm: Al-Qaeda's Zawahiri Denounces Annapolis Conference - Al-Qaeda's number 2, Dr. Ayman al Zawahiri, was reported to have released an audio message to Jihadist web sites denouncing the Annapolis Conference. This has been reported by Reuters, AP, SITE Institute, and Laura Mansfield. In addition, Laura Mansfield is reporting that Jihadist web sites state that a second message will also be coming out, described as an interview with Zawahiri. SITE Institute has also issued a press release stating that a second message will be released. SITE Institute reports that this Zawahiri audio message is 20 minutes long and is entitled "Annapolis - The Treason"; it was published by Al-Qaeda's media arm, As-Sahab. SITE further reports that Zawahiri called the conference a "betrayal" and was another instance of a "Zionist-Crusade" against Palestine… (READ MORE)

Noah Shachtman: Global Warming = Military Issue? - I think, at this point, we're all extremely concerned about the threat of climate change. But is global warming a military issue? The House of Representatives just passed a Defense Authorization Bill "which includes a requirement for future defense planning to include consideration of the risks posed by global warming to current and future Department of Defense facilities, capabilities, and missions," according to a statement from Rep. Ed Markey's office. “‘Long-term planning for all possible threats is an integral part of our national security preparation. For the Department of Defense to include the impacts of global warming in its regular strategic reviews is a natural and necessary step in light of the broad threats that global warming could pose to our military facilities, capabilities, and missions,’ said Rep. Markey...” (READ MORE)

Flopping Aces: The Democrats Posterchild - You know Nancy, maybe....just maybe, you should try leading with resolve and a bit of a backbone. Instead of putting your finger to the wind and seeing which way the wind blows why don't you lead by doing what you feel is right. Instead you lead the House by following the bidding of MoveOn and the rest of the nutcases. Real leadership means doing what is right for the country, not what the polls tell you. (via Michelle Malkin) “Pelosi Comes Unhinged, Spews Pete Stark-like Vitriol: Republicans ‘Like this War’ Washington – With plummeting approval ratings and no legislative accomplishments to point to, Nancy Pelosi is melting down in the final days of the first session of the 110th Congress. Military success on the ground in Iraq also seems to be agitating the San Francisco Speaker who appears to be despondent over the fact that General Petraeus’ surge is working.” (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Pentagon’s war on Christmas - The military’s real fear is the Hanukkah Guy. Extra guards posted. Last Friday, it was the Chanukah Ham. This week, it’s the Hanukkah Guy. The Pentagon has banned candy canes and other Christmas decorations from its halls without permission (file Form DD 2798: “Application/Permit for Use of Space on the Pentagon Reservation.”) It’s a safety issue. (READ MORE)

The Foxhole: It’s only a ‘hate crime’ when the victim is black (Part II) - Roving gangs of Blacks on Baltimore busses have been engaging in racially motivated crimes. Where in the hell is the NAACP? Jesse Jackson? Al Sharpton? After the recent attack on Sarah Kreager, It looks like another group of thugs have picked up where the others left off: “BALTIMORE — Maryland Transit Administration officials are investigating a second reported assault on a bus in the last week. Meanwhile, surveillance photos have been released and the bus driver has been taken off the road. Patrick Green and Robert Rothe told WBAL TV 11 News that they were antagonized and attacked after boarding the No. 64 bus late Monday night in south Baltimore.” (READ MORE)

Dymphna: Too Little, Too Lame, Too Late - York Region’s Muslim community is in mourning the death of a Mississauga teen allegedly slain over her refusal to wear the hijab. Sixteen-year-old Aqsa Parvez died Tuesday, allegedly strangled to death by her father, after refusing to wear the hijab, a head scarf worn by women in some middle-eastern cultures. Newmarket Mosque spokesperson Ansar Ahmed called Ms Parvez’s death a senseless and tragic incident. “This is the type of tragedy that shakes you to your very core as a person, as a parent and as a Muslim,” he said. “The fact that the wearing of a hijab … appears to have been the catalyst for this violence is what is so disturbing.” (READ MORE)

Gateway Pundit: Iraqi Economy Continues to Surge - Sunnis will provide security for the rebuilding of the Shiite Shrine in Samarra. The Al-Askari shrine in Samarra, Iraq. Iraq's premier has formed a council of Sunni tribesmen from the town of Samarra to provide security so that the damaged Shiite shrine there can be rebuilt. (AFP/Dia Hamid) The following is a translation by Iraqi-American Haider Ajina of an article in Iraq’s Buratha News on December 12, 2007: Iraqi Finance minister refers to positive indicators in the Iraqi economy - “In a joint press conference held by Iraq’s planning and finance ministers, Iraqi Finance minister Bayan Jeber Alzubaidi announced, "The government has decided to exempt from income tax all Government employees who earn a monthly salary of 700 thousand Dinnars or less.” (READ MORE)

IMAO: Send Socialism Back to the Stone Age - France is actually ordering to stop offering free shipping because their crazy socialist policies makes them fear discounts like molemen fear the sun. That's what happens when you have the government set economics: It can't adapt to change and causes the country to be like a bunch of frick'n cavemen. Why don't they just get rid of the internet in France so it stops messing up their miserable structured ways? Why try and improve things in the country anyway when the "youths" will probably just burn everything? This is why I've always said that if you find out someone is a socialist, you kill him immediately. We can't let this sort of thing take root here. If socialists take over, think of how much ammo will cost. Then we'll never be able to fix things. (READ MORE)

Bryan Preston: Two cultures, two women, two fates - In Western culture, we have learned through the past century or two that equality of the sexes is just an immutable fact. That doesn’t mean that men and women are exactly alike. They’re not. Men and women are different, and the differences acknowledged and understood are beautiful things. But men and women in the West are of equal worth in the eyes of the law and in society’s expression of human rights. Islamic culture takes a very different view. Women are not equal with men in the eyes of sharia law and are certainly not free or valued on a par with men. (READ MORE)

Jihad Watch: Death of Aqsa Parvez had nothing to do with Islam, Muslim leaders say - The denial thickens. Think for a minute about what Muslim spokesmen in Canada could be saying. They could acknowledge that the divine sanction given to the beating of disobedient women (Qur'an 4:34) has created a culture in which such abuse is accepted as normal. They could call for a searching reevaluation of the meaning and continued relevance of Qur'an 4:34, and call in no uncertain terms for Muslims to reject definitively its literal meaning, now and for all time to come. (READ MORE)

Mountain Runner: Heritage on Smith-Mundt - I read through Juliana Geran Pilon's Smith-Mundt article and I agree with Kim Andrew Elliott's assessment that it has little to do with Smith-Mundt (for background on Smith-Mundt, see my post at Small Wars Journal... part one and one-half is here, part II is forthcoming). While her intentions are laudable, her examples miss the point and her arguments conflate description of action with the action itself. In the end, she ironically she seems to be making the same arguments that brought about Smith-Mundt in the first place. Most of what Pilon describes as caused by Smith-Mundt simply aren't. She raises the issue of fighting the information war within the U.S., but provides little evidence or argument on how Smith-Mundt has limited the domestic conversation. (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: Aspirational Cognition - Theory misunderstood by someone who actually thinks U.S. intelligence is supposed to be a tool of foreign policy, not domestic politics. Get real(politik)! Kissinger at Washington Post goes to the chalkboard, does long division on the NIE. Talk about old school: Where’s the old guy been for the last seven years? There have been great advances in our understanding of Reality-tivity, primarily as a result of the now widely accepted theory that Bush = greatest threat to world peace. A key to understanding this is to recognize that intelligence estimates will be treated as fact for purposes of domestic political advantage, to the extent that they coincide with underlying assumptions and aspirational cognition. (READ MORE)

Neptunus Lex: The guild - There are a number of important trends in US civil/military relationships these days that many of us wonder about. Among these is the spectre of praetorianism - all of my military peers seem to have their children at the Naval Academy or in NROTC programs. An occasional reader here is a serviceman with all four of his sons in uniform. Ivy League schools continue to block ROTC programs from funding the education of deserving students at our elite universities and only then grudgingly admit military lawyers to recruit on campus. Rather than lose federal funding. (READ MORE)

Adrian Morgan: Britain's Lessons in Cultural Suicide - Imagine, if you will, that you had served your country in the U.S. military for 22 years, and viewed yourself as a patriot. To this end, you have tattooed on your arm a small image of the Stars and Stripes and the words "U.S. Army'. When preparing to retire from the army, you then decide to join the police. How would you feel if you found yourself turned down for the job, because you are told your tattoo of the national flag could be seen as "racist"? Fortunately for Americans, such a scenario could never happen in the near future. Yet for British soldier Sgt. Ivan Ivanovic, his patriotic tattoo prevented him from joining a police force in the north of England. Because Ivanovic has a two-inch Union Jack flag tattooed on his arm with the words "British Army", he was not even considered for employment by Cumbria Constabulary. He said: "I can't see why anyone would think that the flag of the country might be seen as racist." (READ MORE)

Political Pistachio: Lawsuit Filed Against A Teacher For Making Offensive Statements Regarding Christianity! - The War on CHRISTmas, and against Christianity, has now been stepped up. At Capistrano Valley High School in Southern California a student, Chad Farnan, has made the claim that one of his teachers violated his constitutional rights with "highly inappropriate" and offensive statements regarding Christianity in the classroom. The teacher, James Corbett, has a history of making statements against conservatives and Christians in his classroom. The teacher has made it clear, to his students, that he feels a sense of hostility toward religion, and that he was not afraid to vocalize his opinions in the classroom. Christian students in Mr. Corbett's European History class felt ostracized, and felt they were being treated as if they were second class citizens. One day, to help with his note taking, and at the urging of his mother so that they may capture some of the teacher's statements, Chad Farnan decided to record his class discussions, and on that recording the teacher says a number of inappropriate statements. (READ MORE)

Scott Johnson: The Red Cross attacks, the BBC flacks - Surrounded on three sides by terrorist forces, Israel has come under attack by the International Committee of the Red Cross for the measures it has taken to defend itself. According to the Red Cross, Israel is responsible not only for the inconvenience of Arab life on the West Bank, but also for the misery of life in Gaza. The BBC story on the Red Cross's condemnation of Israel -- one of the BBC's leading stories yesterday -- does not mention Hamas, Fatah, or Hezbollah. The BBc simply reports that the ICRC has called for political action -- i.e., pressure on Israel, not reform within territory under the jurisdiction of Hamas or Fatah -- to mitigate conditions in Gaza and the West Bank. According to the BCC, the ICRC "says humanitarian assistance cannot possibly be the solution in Gaza and the West Bank." Indeed. (READ MORE)

Paul Mirengoff: The odor of liberal name-calling, Part Two - Whenever you see the word “nativist” in a discussion of illegal immigration, you can be fairly confident that the author has opted to substitute name-calling for analysis, and that his or her discussion is worthless. That’s certainly the case with today’s lead editorial in the Washington Post, which attacks the stridency of the Republican presidential candidate’s criticism of illegal immigration. As I argued here, nativism is a preference for the interests of long-time inhabitants as opposed to foreigners and those who arrived recently. The Republican candidates are merely expressing a preference for the rights of those who are in the U.S. legally or are trying to get here that way. The Post is mindful of this argument, but attempts to address it in a less than honest way. (READ MORE)

Kim Zigfeld: Russia, an Uncivilized Nation, must be OUT of the G-7 - It's truly amazing how, no matter what level of barbarity Russia reached yesterday, it can always surprise you with something even more repugnant today. Last Sunday, a blog in Finland began circulating an appeal for financial support for a 22-year-old Russian named Yuri Chervochkin, a member of the "Other Russia" opposition group run by Garry Kasparov who had been brutally beaten by Ministry of Interior goons on November 22nd in the town of Serpukhov, about 100 kilometers south of Moscow, in the course of his efforts to support opposition groups in the coming Duma elections. Specifically, he was promoting protest march that was to occur on November 24th. But word did not get out soon enough. (READ MORE)

Reformed Chicks Blabbing: Democrats cave to Bush's demands - But Pelosi is still making this a partisan fight: This is why Pelosi is one of the worst Speaker of the House in recent history. She doesn't get it that she has to compromise to get what she wants. She has to work with the Republicans or it won't pass in the Senate. She better hope that she doesn't lose seats in the House in 2008 or she will really learn what it means to compromise (if the Democrats vote her in as Speaker of the House again, I would be surprised). And then there's this: (READ MORE)

Rhymes with Right: Like This Is A Bad Thing - I don't know about you, but complaints like these from Arizona really don't move me at all. “Advocates for immigrants contend that, at a minimum, hundreds of people unauthorized to work have left the state or been fired. Some school districts have at least partly attributed enrollment drops to the law. Though the housing slump and seasonal economic factors make it difficult to pin down how much is attributable to the new law, illegal workers say employers are checking papers and are less inclined to hire them.” (READ MORE)

ShrinkWrapped: On Compromise and Compromise Formations - There have been many questions raised about Psychoanalytic theory and Psychoanalytic efficacy. Many of the earlier conceptions of the structure and workings of the mind have been superceded by new information and research data and our understanding of the mind is moving ahead rapidly. Newer models of the mind conceptualize it as consisting of multiple modalities which constantly struggle for primacy; out of the competing modes of thought, our mind emerges. This model of the mind was presaged by Freud's description of behavior emerging from the interplay of multiple determinants via compromise formation. I briefly defined these terms in The Writing on the Wall: (READ MORE)

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