January 8, 2008

Web Reconnaissance for 01/08/2008

A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

In the News: (Registration may be required to read some stories)
Obama Carries Momentum to N.H. - LEBANON, N.H., Jan. 7 -- A buoyant Sen. Barack Obama, anticipating a victory in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary, told voters Monday that he is "riding a wave, and you're the wave," as presidential candidates in both parties started to look beyond the campaign here to extended nomination fights... (READ MORE)

Even Conservative Media Chorus Sings Obama's Praises - Barack Obama, now the media's odds-on favorite to win the White House, is drawing effusive praise from the chattering classes. (READ MORE)

New Leaders Of Sunnis Make Gains In Influence - MADERIYAH, Iraq -- Saad Mahami wanted more firepower. He didn't trust the Iraqi government to give him support, so inside Patrol Base Whiskey, at the edge of this village south of Baghdad, he told U.S. commanders that his 71 Sunni fighters needed additional weapons to fight the insurgent... (READ MORE)

Sunni Security Unit Leader, Colleagues Killed in Attack Encouraged by Bin Laden - BAGHDAD, Jan. 7 -- A suicide bomber killed the leader of a U.S.-backed neighborhood security force in Baghdad's Adhamiyah district Monday, his aides said, the latest in a string of attacks against such forces. (READ MORE)

Democrats in Denial - Over the past 12 months, U.S. troops in Iraq have risen every day and gone to work, dangerous work, implementing General David Petraeus's counterinsurgency strategy. The surge. Across the political spectrum, observers have announced the surge a success. This achievement must be a source of enormous pride to the U.S. soldiers and Marines who have pulled it off. (READ MORE)

The Anti-Appropriator - We're suckers for lost causes, so we're pleased to report that Jeff Flake of Arizona is making a run for an open GOP slot on the House Appropriations Committee. This is like Carrie Nation hitting fraternity row on toga night, but then a little spending temperance is exactly what Republicans need. (READ MORE)

Georgia Reprieve - More important than Mikheil Saakashvili's personal success in securing a second term as Georgia's president is the manner of it. "Democracy took its triumphant step" with Saturday's vote, said Congressman Alcee Hastings (D., Fla.), who led a group of election observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Now the government and opposition in this strategically important Caucasus nation can take the next step and put an end to their street battles. (READ MORE)
Hopes High, Tears Flow in N.H. - Sen. Barack Obama, enjoying a new status as the Democratic front-runner, excoriated one of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's debate arguments while she tearfully told supporters she is running because "this is very personal for me." (READ MORE)

Huckabee Vows to Defy Birthright Citizenship - Mike Huckabee wants to amend the Constitution to prevent children born in the U.S. to illegal aliens from automatically becoming American citizens, according to his top immigration surrogate — a radical step no other major presidential candidate has embraced. (READ MORE)

Giuliani Sees Victory With Rally in Later States - The first two pieces of Rudolph W. Giuliani's strategic puzzle — survive the first few contests and rally later in delegate-rich states — have fallen into place, and his campaign manager says the other pieces will soon follow. (READ MORE)

O'Malley's Job Approval Lower than President's - Maryland residents say Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, is doing a worse job than President Bush, according to a new poll released yesterday. (READ MORE)

Bush to Veto any Softer No Child Law - President Bush yesterday said schools are improving under his much-debated No Child Left Behind Act, which turns six years old today, and he urged Congress to renew it, pledging to veto any bill that weakens the law's accountability for schools. (READ MORE)

From the Front:
Badger 6: Running with the Devil - 1 January 2008 0510 the alarm goes off. Oh man - another year in Iraq? And what a way to start. A Brigade run to welcome the new year. That's why I did not stay up the night before smoking a cigar and greeting the new year. The Headquarters Company is to be formed at 0530 for the 0630 start time. The uniform Long-sleeve Army PT T-shirt, shorts, black fleece or knit cap, black gloves, running shoes, and socks that cover at least the ankles, no logos please. The temperature 35 degrees Fahrenheit. (READ MORE)

IraqPundit: The Creature from the Iraq Lagoon - The Washington Post gets its readers excited about the Awakening groups, which the reporter characterizes as a sort of one big Iraqi Pervez Musharraf. The writer tells us that the ex-Baathist Awakening guys, who tell WaPo "We feel we are more in control," are okay with the Americans. You know, the same Americans who are goofy enough to arm these thugs. (READ MORE)

Lt Nixon Rants: Veterans: Beware of Political Exploitation - I read an interesting article in 2Dinar entitled "Pimping Troops; Pimping Themselves" which advises veterans to beware of using their societal status to incur free goodies from large corporations. I strongly agree with this sentiment. Primarily, since it cheapens the uniform collectively, and also it encourages a paradigm for the citizens of America to surrender their private property (note: that's why the third amendment is still in effect). But what about in the realm of political discourse? (READ MORE)

A Surgeon's Letters Home From Iraq: 7 JAN 2007 Eager for my American duty - Whoa, is it cold here! It is supposed to get as low as 21 degrees tonight. It is cold enough that some are using the Goretex jacket and heavy gloves. Perhaps because I grew up in Connecticut, I'm getting by with shorts during the day, when the sun really warms up the base, and wearing a long johns top under my uniform and a watch cap at night. Incidentally, I'm wearing the green watch cap, because that is what is available in uniform sales. It matches the new ABU (Airman Battle Uniform) which I do not have, but not the DCU (Desert Camouflage Uniform) which I do have. (READ MORE)

Matt Sanchez: What do Iraqis Think of Us? - Baghdad, Iraq So, what do Iraqis think of us? A lot of Americans ask me this very question and the answer really runs the gamut. Some Iraqis are angry the US military did not or could not protect them from the onslaught of crime and terrorism, others expected more from the "sole superpower on the planet. Many were grateful for new freedoms, but all wanted more security. In the Dora neighborhood in southern Baghdad, I thought this kid gave one of the best answers to the question I asked nearly every Iraqi: What do Iraqis think of the Americans? (READ MORE)

Michael Yon: Moment of Truth in Iraq - In January 2007, growing doubts I had about our ability to stave off an eventual genocide in Iraq were intensified by our failure to competently manage the media battlespace. Within the military I sensed a growing censorship and was myself denied access to the battlefields in 2006. After months of fighting with Army Public Affairs for access, they relented, but only due to public pressure following the publication of an article in the Weekly Standard. An expanded version of the article “On Censorship” was published as the dispatch “Al Sahab—the Cloud” on my website. The article was blunt; by then I’d been fighting for about six months to re-embed with troops. (READ MORE)

BlogIraq: Stuff is Getting Better Everyday - It seems like the sectarian violence is not enough. So, a new war need to be started. During the last 48 hours, six explosive attacks targeted churches in Baghdad and Mosul. These attacks happened in the same time and in different shapes; bombed cars, road side bombs, and mortars. Things just seem to be getting worse no matter how much the media brags about the "improvements" in the security situation. Al-Qaeda maniacs just can't let go. These attacks are aimed to drag Iraqis into the rock bottom of a civil war. With Al-Qaeda on one side, and the Shiite militias on the other, no way violence will come to a closure in Iraq. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Bret Stephens: Great (American) Expectations - Barack Obama, still fresh from his victory in Iowa last week and confident of another in New Hampshire tonight, has as his signature campaign theme the promise to "end the division" in America. Notice the irony: The scale of his Iowa victory, in a state that's 94% white, is perhaps the clearest indication so far that the division Mr. Obama promises to end has largely been put to rest. (READ MORE)

Fouad Ajami: Bush of Arabia - It was fated, or "written," as the Arabs would say, that George W. Bush, reared in Midland, Texas, so far away from the complications of the foreign world, would be the leader to take America so deep into Arab and Islamic affairs. This is not a victory lap that President Bush is embarking upon this week, a journey set to take him to Egypt, Israel, the Palestinian territories, the Saudi Kingdom, Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. Mr. Bush by now knows the heartbreak and guile of that region. After seven years and two big wars in that "Greater Middle East," after a campaign against the terror and the malignancies of the Arab world, there will be no American swagger or stridency. (READ MORE)

Salena Zito: Voters Walk Into The Booth With Turnout Expected To Be Historic - MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Preparing to vote for the first time, Jessica Cole spent days listening to the candidates stumping for today's primary. And she's likely to make a last-minute decision when she enters the booth. "I am going to have to see," said Cole, 18, of Windham. An undeclared voter, she and many others still had not made up their minds about who they would choose one day before the nation's first presidential primary. "I have gone to see five candidates so far," Cole said. "I have listened to what they had to say about the things that concern me, like our deficit, plans for the war (in Iraq) and health care." (READ MORE)

Dennis Prager: Sen. Obama's Calls for Unity Are Not What They Seem - We are repeatedly told by the news media that there is a deep, almost palpable, yearning among Americans for unity. And Sen. Barack Obama's repeated and eloquent claims to being able to unite Americans are a major reason for his present, and very possibly eventual, success in his quest for his party's nomination for president of the United States. I do not doubt Mr. Obama's sincerity. The wish that all people be united is an elemental human desire. But there are two major problems with it. First, it is not truly honest. Second, it is childish. (READ MORE)

David Limbaugh: Observations on the Presidential Races - 1. We expect promises of change from Democratic candidates, but it's disappointing to watch certain Republican candidates yield to that superficially seductive sound bite, too. It's like the global-warming freight train, which few politicians have displayed the guts and character not to board. 2. It's disappointing to watch candidates from both parties accept the premise that criticizing your opponents' records and pointing out their inconsistencies and lies is engaging in dirty politics. (READ MORE)

Mike S. Adams: Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut, Sometimes You Don’t - Sometimes I have a hard time sifting through my email and determining what is real and what is not. I’ve received lots of rebates from the IRS, lots of offers to hold on to the fortunes of rich African widows I’ve never met, and lots of offers from lonely housewives. I just assume all of those are fraudulent. But, for some reason, I decided to investigate a strange claim made by a group of angry citizens from Montgomery County, Maryland. (READ MORE)

Cal Thomas: Segregation: Muslim Style - BELFAST, Northern Ireland -Where there are large concentrations of Muslims in England, "no-go" zones are being established and, according to the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, the Church of England's Bishop of Rochester, non-Muslims who "trespass" in such neighborhoods risk attack. Nazir-Ali, a native of Pakistan and convert to Christianity, writes in The Sunday Telegraph that a spiritual vacuum in Britain, along with its indifference to the rise of Islamic extremism and a growing "multi-faith" society, is robbing the nation of its Christian identity and putting its future in jeopardy. (READ MORE)

Thomas Sowell: What Does It Mean? - It was not that long ago that the big political question was how Rudolph Giuliani would do against Hillary Clinton in the November election. The Iowa caucus votes have made that question sound like ancient history, if not science fiction. The results of the Iowa caucus are only a small part of the story of this election year but their implications are significant. (READ MORE)

Paul Weyrich: Possibly Surging Democratic Presidential Candidates - After the Iowa caucuses on January 3, the pundits are busy trying to determine the lessons learned from the opening contest of the 2008 Presidential election. It is clear that the voters in both the Republican and Democratic Parties want change. But the voters who turned out in record numbers are very different for each party. The Democrats whom Senator Barak Obama (D-IL) attracted in record numbers were mainly young people. The Republicans to whom former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee appealed in record numbers were mainly older Evangelical Christians. (READ MORE)

John McCaslin: Suppress My Vote - Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean already is looking beyond tomorrow's presidential primary in New Hampshire to the meat of the 2008 presidential campaign, charging that Republicans will resort to "every scam they think up to suppress the vote." How so? In the past, Mr. Dean rattled off, Republicans have "jammed" the phones Democrats used for getting out the vote, "purged voters" from precinct rolls and "abused robo-calls." (READ MORE)

Rich Galen: New Hampshire, Old Politics - Tuesday is, as Governor George H.W. Bush famously called it eight years ago, "votin' day here in New Hampshire. Let's take a look at the combinations and permutations of the possible outcomes. First, the Republicans: Governor Mike Huckabee who came out of nowhere to win the Iowa Caucuses is bumping along in distant third place here behind Senator John McCain and Governor Mitt Romney (or vice versa). (READ MORE)

Ron Winter: Thompson Defines "Change" on ABC, FOX; RNC, DNC Must Define "Debate" - In the multi-party quest among presidential candidates for a word or phrase that will mean nothing, imply everything, and be forgotten once the ballots are counted, the word "Change" has emerged as the defining term. The beauty of the word "Change" is that it has so many meanings, it is fluid, it is hard to pin down, it can be everything or it can be nothing. A candidate can get elected on the promise of "change" and fulfill that promise by simply employing a fashion maven and altering wardrobe selections. (READ MORE)

Jay Tea: What's Portuguese For "Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining?" - One of the standard arguments against a staunch enforcement of existing illegal immigration laws has been the canard that "you can't deport 12 million people." We're now seeing a great refutation of that argument -- if you make the environment inhospitable enough for illegal aliens, a lot of them will deport themselves. We see a classic example of that in today's Boston Globe. Their latest lament is for the poor, beleaguered Brazilian population of Massachusetts. It appears that a confluence of factors are encouraging more and more Brazilians who came to the Bay State to improve their lives to reconsider that decision -- and head back home. (READ MORE)

Jim Addison: Designing a better "Exit Poll" - About the time the news outlets stopped hiring professional polling firms to conduct the "exit polls" of voters and formed a "pool" to hire only one to poll for all of them in a cost-cutting measure, the accuracy of exit polling began to decline. Some have theorized that the young, minimum-wage poll-takers at the precincts were avoided by Republican voters, leading to poll results predicting more Democratic success. But Democrats have also been under-predicted in some cases, so the problem is probably that the networks aren't willing to pay enough to field poll-takers anyone wants to talk to. (READ MORE)

Eugene Volokh: More on Anti-Homosexuality Speech in K-12 Schools - I'd blogged extensively on the Ninth Circuit's Harper v. Poway decision, which held that the First Amendment didn't protect a high school student's right to wear a T-shirt saying "Be Ashamed, Our School Embraced What God Has Condemned" and "Homosexuality is Shameful" -- even when there was no showing that the T-shirt posed a reasonable risk of disruption in the Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. School Dist. sense (for instance, of fighting and the like). Now a similar case (Zamecnik v. Indian Priairie School Dist. #204 Bd. of Ed.) is brewing in the Seventh Circuit; at this point, it just led to a district court decision, but that's now being appealed. (READ MORE)

Jay Fraser: Terrorists’ Adaptive Behavior - While advances in technology are being used by intelligence and law enforcement agencies to monitor and track terrorists, al Qaeda and its sympathizers have adapted their behavior to foil these steps by using “low-tech” countermeasures. On the most basic level, al Qaeda operatives and their supporters are avoiding locations that they assume will be watched or bugged like mosques and bookshops. They have also adopted simple codes to avoid detection. “Often, suspects use simple, homemade codes in their exchanges - “Taxi drivers, referred to suicide bombers; explosives were ‘dough.’ Anybody who had to go to ‘the hospital,’ had been taken to jail, while those visiting ‘China’ were really attending training camps in Sudan.” (READ MORE)

TigerHawk: The winds of change - This is not going to win Fouad Ajami many friends on the academic left: "Suffice it for them that George W. Bush was at the helm of the dominant imperial power when the world of Islam and of the Arabs was in the wind, played upon by ruinous temptations, and when the regimes in the saddle were ducking for cover, and the broad middle classes in the Arab world were in the grip of historical denial of what their radical children had wrought. His was the gift of moral and political clarity." (READ MORE)

The Torch: US military/covert policy on Pakistan getting controversial - Here's an earlier post on developing US policy for dealing militarily and covertly with the areas in Pakistan that are providing sanctuary for Taliban insurgents (and their al Qaeda and other associates) and which are increasingly seen as a threat to the Government of Pakistan itself. Now that plans have been made public in the American media, the Paks are reacting; these sorts of media revelations, before decisions have been made, often make it even harder to deal effectively with difficult issues: (READ MORE)

Tel-Chai Nation: Standing firm on Jerusalem is good, but it can't be just that - The Shas party has now announced that they will quit the government if Ehud Olmert agrees to divide Jerusalem for Dubya, but you know something? That's not enough. They have to stand firm on the issue of Judea and Samaria as well. For what if withdrawal from those places led to rockets being fired at Jerusalem as a result? Would they want that? There's also something here about Shas' call for Jonathan Pollard to be released, that tells something interesting: (READ MORE)

The Spirit of Man: Iran Experts - We already know about the so-called Iran experts who appear on the mainstream media on a daily basis and talk about the Iranian regime as if they invented it or lived under it. Today when the news broke that the Iranian boats 'threatened' US navy ships in the Persian Gulf, I saw some of these clueless "Iran Experts" again on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News talk about how the incident was just a mistake or that the higher-ups in the Mullahocracy have nothing to do with it or this confrontation was performed by a rogue unit of the Revolutionary Guards. Apparently, these so-called experts don't know that in any dictatorship where one man rules there are no rogue elements. And the dictator in Iran is the supreme leader Khamenei who is also the commander in chief of the Iranian armed forces. (READ MORE)

Smooth Stone: Are Israeli Settlements Legal? - Facts: Israeli settlements in the West Bank are legal both under international law and the agreements between Israel and the Palestinians. Claims to the contrary are mere attempts to distort the law for political purposes. The various agreements reached between Israel and the Palestinians since 1993 contain no prohibitions on the building or expansion of settlements. As the Israeli claim to these territories is legally valid, it is just as legitimate for Israelis to build their communities as it is for the Palestinians to build theirs. The Palestinians are demanding that every Jew leave the West Bank, a form of ethnic cleansing. (READ MORE)

ShrinkWrapped: The New Age of Anxiety - On of my abiding interests, about which I have written many times, has to do with the interaction between our relatively conservative biology (Homeostasis) and an increasing pace of change caused by our rapidly evolving technology. The human psyche responds to sudden and extreme change with (a reactive) regression. This human tendency, to fear change and regress in the face of change, is being reflected in our political arena. While the emphasis of the coverage of the race has been overwhelmingly on Change, in fact, that is a bit of a mis-characterization. (READ MORE)

The Shield of Achilles: Iraqi soldier kills US troops and rumors fly - The wire services reported this weekend that on 26 December, two US soldiers were killed by an Iraqi army soldier in Mosul. Three other soldiers and an interpreter were wounded when the soldier fired his weapon at the Americans, fled, and was later captured. The motive is unknown, but it is likely he has ties to a terrorist, group, most likely Al-Qaeda (The Shia/Sadr influence in the Iraqi armed forces is so strong that it's unlikely they would want to stir up this kind of trouble). The incident is still under investigation. The soldier's names were Captain Rowdy Inman and Sergeant Benjamin Portell of the 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. (READ MORE)

ROFASix: Promised "Change" - Lets see, there's loose change, sex change, winds of change, clothing change, guard change, climate change, spare change, seasonal change, quick change and finally Barack Obama's "change"! While most of have a clue on what most of those other 'changes' mean, few of us really have a clear handle on "Obama's change.' While nary a voter has an idea what it means, many are darn sure they want some of it! It has been such a popular message that the Democrats and even Republicans have picked up on the promise, "I will bring you change." I guess it resonates more that the threat we heard in the last election that "help was on the way." (READ MORE)

Right Wing Nut House: The Cotton Candy Candidacy - The tradition of the New Hampshire primary used to be yeoman farmers and small shopkeepers trudging through the late March snow and mud to meet in townhalls to discuss the issues of the day. A broken street light needed fixing. A pot hole needed filling. The school could use a new bass drum. And oh, by the way, who do we want our party’s nominee to be for President of the United States? Drop your ballot in the box by the door on your way out, please. It was Estes Kefauver, the mob busting Democratic Senator from Tennessee who first realized that if you were going to beat the establishment, the only way to do it was by going over their heads directly to the people. (READ MORE)

Right Truth: Politicians will promise anything - The presidential candidates have made many promises, most of which will not be kept or even remembered once they are in office. They are going to get more troops into Afghanistan, while others promise to get all troops out of Iraq, while at the same time going into Pakistan. So, commitment to Iraq is wrong, the Democrats won't even admit on TV that the surge is working in spite of some continuing violence, but re-commitment to Afghanistan is right? What kind of logic is that. By the way, it's not covert when it's published on the front page of the New York Times. The biggest flip-flopper of all on the war seems to be Hillary. (READ MORE)

Rhymes with Right: A Thought Worth Considering - There has been a theme running through the coverage of the Barack Obama campaign for some time now. It has disturbed me -- and Christopher Hitchens states clearly why I feel disconcerted by it. "Isn't there something pathetic and embarrassing about this emphasis on shade? And why is a man with a white mother considered to be "black," anyway? Is it for this that we fought so hard to get over Plessy v. Ferguson? Would we accept, if Obama's mother had also been Jewish, that he would therefore be the first Jewish president? The more that people claim Obama's mere identity to be a "breakthrough," the more they demonstrate that they have failed to emancipate themselves from the original categories of identity that acted as a fetter upon clear thought." (READ MORE)

Dale Franks: The Stink of a Loser - Hillary Clinton is slowly unveiling her new strategy against Barack Obama. She’s going back to an old playbook from 1984. That strategy carries with it more than a whiff of desperation. Yes, Walter Mondale did beat Gary Hart, but that had much more to do with the fact that Gary Hart’s 1984 campaign hardly had two dimes to rub together, and was so badly run that they probably couldn’t have organized a successful panty raid on a girl’s dormitory. Although, clearly, Mr. Hart would’ve done his best. Indeed, he did make a fairly successful panty raid a few years later, which is essentially what sunk his 1988 campaign. (READ MORE)

William Kristol: President Mike Huckabee? - Thank you, Senator Obama. You’ve defeated Senator Clinton in Iowa. It looks as if you’re about to beat her in New Hampshire. There will be no Clinton Restoration. A nation turns its grateful eyes to you. But gratitude for sparing us a third Clinton term only goes so far. Who, inquiring minds want to know, is going to spare us a first Obama term? After all, for all his ability and charm, Barack Obama is still a liberal Democrat. Some of us would much prefer a non-liberal and non-Democratic administration. (READ MORE)

Political Vindication: The Burden Of Freedom Takes The Heart Of A Lion - We Americans are sensitive about our liberty - it was won at a high cost and throughout our history good men and women have died far from home to protect it. Some of the liberties we insist on keeping are used by the irresponsible to prey upon the civilized, like the right to bear arms or the first amendment right to express our political thoughts. Some ask why we pay such a high price for the right to enjoy such adult liberties? Our answer is that human history has taught us that no life is “so dear, or life so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains or slavery.” What the European has dismissed we cherish, asking ourselves “what infringement on our freedom are we willing to endure for promises of peace and equality?” (READ MORE)

Neptunus Lex: Making it stick - I find myself surprisingly at peace with the notion that the Obamanon may end up wearing the 44 jersey come next January. Herself seems to be decomposing in front of our very eyes and John Edwards will never live down that YouTube video. Too many people have already seen and said to themselves, “No. I’m very sorry, but no.” What you have left over is that nice young man with imperfect hair, a compelling life story and an electorate seething to Just. Change. Something. We go through it ever so often and often end up with buyer’s remorse, but the Republic will endure. It always has. Sure, he’ll want to raise spending on health care and reduce it on defense, but we do go back and forth on that, always have and anyway he’ll need help from Congress to dispose of whatever he proposes. (READ MORE)

Gribbit's Word: Crocodile Tears, Security Ignorance, and “Change” - Senator Hillary Clinton had a video taped interview today where she nearly shed tears while saying, “I have so many opportunities for this country”. I? She said I. She didn’t say that America has so many opportunities and if I’m elected I can make those happen. She said, “I have so many opportunities for this country.” If anything in this campaign sounded more self serving I haven’t heard it. Her little speech started with, “It is personal.” Of course it is. But what she isn’t saying is that it is personal for her because it has been a life-long ambition for her and her hubby of convenience, Billy Bob Bubba, for him to serve 8 years as President and for her to be elected the first woman President effectively giving him a second bite at the apple without fighting the 22nd Amendment. These have been goals of theirs since college. (READ MORE)

Kit Lange: Face GOE Again? No Way, Say the Anti-America Crowd - Eagles! Do you ever think that we’re spinning our wheels in fighting the America-hating moonbats? Well, consider this: A.N.S.W.E.R., MoveOn.org, and their affiliated purveyors of political puke have canceled their planned March 15th event! They are increasingly intimidated by the prospect of us and our allies confronting them in the streets wherever that might be, in Hometown, USA, or Washington, DC. Accordingly, we will not have the “Americans Standing Up” rally in DC on the weekend of March 15th, as there will be no opposition to confront, and you KNOW we love to intimidate those misguided souls and their anti-American leaders like Cindy Sheehan and George Soros! (READ MORE)

Baron Bodissey: One Reaps What One Sows - On Christmas day Queen Beatrix gave her annual Christmas speech. “Christmas sermon” would be a better description, but that is to be expected. Also a lot of blah-blah talk: peace on earth and people of good will; that sort of thing. Most if not all government leaders feel the urge to say something they absolutely don’t mean in the first place. This forms part of the Christmas decorum. This year, the queen’s speech didn’t go according to plan, however. All thanks to the Internet and bloggers. The Queen made a mistake. She spoke of “certain elements” in society who would not be willing to open their minds, and who harden society. She didn’t quite say “certain element with blond hair and family names beginning with a ‘W’ and ending in ‘ilders’,” but close enough. (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Hit a cop, lose your job - Philly’s KYW fires reporter who struck a plainclothes NYC cop. Sounds about right. The CBS affiliate let reporter Alycia Lane go on Monday after investigating the incident. One of her lawyers said in a statement: “The termination is unfair because Alycia has never had an opportunity to defend against this charge, and tell her side of the story publicly. Obviously, on the advice of counsel, Alycia cannot talk about these matters because of the matter that is pending in New York.” AP called the twice-divorced Lane the Latina Bombshell. She’s a native of Long Island. (READ MORE)

Counterterrorism Blog: IASC Report: Islam in American Courts - 2007 Year in Review - History is important. It gives us perspective into modern problems. We can gain immediate comfort seeing how so many “ new” issues have been considered by courts in the past. As I have written (here) American court opinions explain that the threat of Islamic actions against out nationals is the very reason we have diplomatic assets overseas, and how al Qa’ida targeted the United States in part because of the economic sanctions we promoted against Iraq well before our 2003 military invasion. They also show that FBI wiretaps are hardly a new controversy, nor is the phenomenon of Muslims exploiting charities in hopes of achieving worldwide domination. Legal history is particularly relevant to national security and counterrorism, and not merely because we are a country governed by the rule of law. (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: WaPo, WSJ Agree: Democrats Clueless On Iraq - How often do the editorial boards of the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal not only agree, but coincide on foreign policy? Rarely enough so that today's twin broadsides on the Democratic presidential contenders is worthy of special notice. Both editorial boards scold the Democrats for not only getting Iraq wrong, but also for seriously misrepresenting the progress achieved through the surge. The Post's criticisms get tart indeed: "A reasonable response to these facts might involve an acknowledgment of the remarkable military progress, coupled with a reminder that the final goal of the surge set out by President Bush -- political accords among Iraq's competing factions -- has not been reached. (That happens to be our reaction to a campaign that we greeted with skepticism a year ago.)" (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: The Perfect Storm - What destroyed Hillary Clinton's campaign? The obvious answer would be Barack Obama. But the destruction was accomplished through the agency of an Internet storm. Those who remember the rapidity with which a story produced by 60 Minutes under the baton of Dan Rather was destroyed will know just how powerful an Internet storm can be. In that instance, four documents were presented by 60 Minutes on September 8, 2004 -- less than 2 months before the scheduled Presidential election -- alleging that President Bush, who was standing for re-election had "disobeyed orders while in the Guard, and had undue influence exerted on his behalf to improve his record". (READ MORE)

Augean Stables: Iranian Action in the Persian Gulf Meant as Message for Bush - The timing of the Iranian posturing in the Persian Gulf is crucial to understanding Iran’s intentions. Early Sunday morning, five small Iranian Revolutionary Guards Naval Corps boats approached three American naval vessels, the USS Port Royal, USS Hopper, and USS Ingraham, that were entering the Gulf. The boats approached from the north, and split into two groups to pass on either side of the U.S. formation. Navy Vice Adm. Kevin J. Cosgriff, who also commands U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, said that they received communications from the Iranians saying that they were heading toward the U.S. formation, and that they would explode the American ships. (READ MORE)

America's North Shore Journal: Do Not Count Hillary Clinton Out - Dude! One caucus and a whole lot of press does not a campaign make. Even if tomorrow is bad for Hillary, do not count her out. February 5, when most of the planet holds its primaries, is the day. That’s when you’ll see who makes the cut. And Hillary will make the cut. Satan promised her when she sold her soul. (READ MORE)

Acute Politics: al-Dhari Is At It Again - Sheik Harith al-Dhari. You remember him. He's the bunny of love who said these words in Falluja on March 19th, 2004: "I hope that your resistance will escalate through words, actions, prayers, demonstrations, protests, and other forms. I also hope that all our brothers in the homeland will wake up and rise up to join their brothers in resisting the occupying to expedite its departure, God willing." 11 days later, a Blackwater convoy was ambushed in Falluja. 4 employees were killed, mutilated, burned, and hung from the "New Bridge" across the Euphrates. That incident was the spark that lead to the first and second battles of Falluja. (READ MORE)

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