January 30, 2008

Web Reconnaissance for 01/30/2008

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)
McCain Beats Romney in Florida - ORLANDO, Jan. 29 -- Sen. John McCain of Arizona pulled out a hard-fought victory over former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in Florida's contentious Republican primary Tuesday, making him the clear front-runner in a two-man presidential race that could be decided as soon as next week. (READ MORE)

Energy Dept. Might Drop Support for FutureGen Power Plant - Energy Secretary Samuel P. Bodman told lawmakers yesterday that the Bush administration might drop its support for a $1.5 billion coal-fired power plant designed to store greenhouse gases underground, citing mounting cost estimates and other possible technologies. (READ MORE)

U.S. to Expand Outposts Across Baghdad by 30% - BAGHDAD, Jan. 29 -- The U.S. military plans to boost the number of neighborhood outposts across the capital by more than 30 percent this year even as American forces begin to withdraw, the new commander of U.S. forces in Baghdad said Tuesday. (READ MORE)

Opposition Legislator Slain In Kenya, Sparking Clashes - NAIROBI, Jan. 29 -- Just hours after an opposition lawmaker was gunned down in his driveway here, the fury that has swept over this country since last month's disputed presidential election arrived in his middle-class neighborhood. (READ MORE)

Eminent Reality - Does restricting "eminent domain" -- the power of government to seize private property -- harm economic growth? A new report from the Institute for Justice looks at the evidence and concludes the answer is no. (READ MORE)

French Reflex - Anytime a business scandal erupts, politicians can't help but stick their noses in it. Think Enron, WorldCom and its regulatory offspring, Sarbanes-Oxley. This temptation is double dosed for French mandarins predisposed by long tradition to meddle in private affairs. (READ MORE)

McCain Wins Big in Florida - Sen. John McCain last night became the man to beat for the Republican presidential nomination, edging out Mitt Romney to win the Florida primary and ending the bid of one-time front-runner Rudolph W. Giuliani. (READ MORE)

Iraq Not Using Oil Cash to Rebuild - Increased Iraqi oil revenues stemming from high prices and improved security are piling up in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York rather than being spent on needed reconstruction projects, a Washington Times study of Iraq's spending and revenue figures has shown. (READ MORE)

FBI Subprime Investigation Targets 14 Firms - The FBI yesterday said its investigation into the subprime mortgage crisis is focusing on 14 companies suspected of accounting fraud, improperly securing loans and insider trading. (READ MORE)

House Approves Rebates for Most - The House yesterday overwhelmingly passed a $146 billion economic-stimulus bill with rebates of $600 to $1,200 for most people, but the celebration was clouded by fears that Senate Democrats will spoil the bipartisan plan by tinkering with it. (READ MORE)

Palestinian Factions to Lobby Cairo - Gaza's rulers today will urge Egypt to let the Rafah crossing point remain open under the control of Hamas and Palestinian Authority security forces, a Hamas official told The Washington Times. (READ MORE)

From the Front:
Defiant Compliance: (VIDEO) Bet You Won't See This On CNN - Dear Reader, I traveled to Forward Operating Base Scania yesterday for work. I took a Blackhawk helicopter there and a Chinook chopper on the way back the next day. I had a fantastic time (as usual... I love my job), and I even managed to squeeze out an interview with a couple of the fine folks who run the volunteer-manned burn clinic for Iraqis. Apparently the local hospitals have been dropping people off right at the base's gate for treatment, since they either don't have the resources to take care of them or they're indigent. Health insurance is virtually non-existent in Iraq - You either pay for it out of your own pocket or you don't get it. (READ MORE)

Tina Susman: Iraqi political impasse a lifesaver for some - Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's feuding with President Jalal Talabani and others in the Iraqi leadership is considered a hindrance to national reconciliation, but at least three men are benefitting from it. In fact, it is keeping them alive. The men are former associates of Saddam Hussein, and they were sentenced to hang for taking part in military atrocities that killed as many as 180,000 Kurds in northern Iraq in the 1980s. They include Sultan Hashim Ahmad Jabburi Tai, who was an Iraqi military officer during the campaign; Ali Hassan Majid, AKA Chemical Ali for his use of poisonous gas on the Kurds; and Hussein Rashid Mohammed, who was Hussein's deputy head of army operations.(READ MORE)

Andrew Lubin: Clearing Out the Belts: With 1–30 Infantry South of Baghdad - Patrol Base Al-Mizan: We were awakened our first night at this forward base by the sound of the machine guns pounding from the Apaches flying overhead. This is Patrol Base Al-Mizan, opened two days ago by the 1-30 Infantry, LTC Ken Adgie commanding. Out of Fort Stewart, Ga., Bravo Company and HAC Company started building this forward base, the latest in a series, just two days ago. Taking over an abandoned house, the Soldiers have been filling Hesco barriers, putting electricity and lights into their new FOB, pushing out into the countryside, and working on expanding their very aggressive and very competent Concerned Local Citizens group in the opening days of Operation Coliseum. But up on the roof, talking to the Soldiers manning the sandbagged watch-points, they made the point that 1-30 is the new government in the area. (READ MORE)

Doc in the Box: Nighttime mayhem - Yesterday, while cleaning our room after KBR spread dust all over the place replacing our heater (thanks!). We fried our power cord, I guess the shop vacuum pulls to much wattage for the Iraqi brand cord that I had purchased from the local hajji mart and all of the smoke came out of the wires and it wouldn't work anymore. So I wasn't able to plug my super loud alarm clock into the wall and we were forced to use a dinky travel alarm clock that my roommate brought with him. We went to bed and I woke suddenly and glanced out the window and saw light shining through the sandbags. Eek! (READ MORE)

IraqPundit: The Funny Files - Those who believe fearful Iraqis have locked themselves in, and are barely surviving a civil war might be surprised to learn that my fellow countrymen have managed to blend the newest technology with dark-edge humour. They are using the novelty of YouTube as a vehicle for expression and entertainment, mocking Iraq's firebrand buffoons and having a little fun at the expense of Western soldiers. Iraqis have been posting clips on the popular Internet video site showing male U.S. soldiers dancing good-naturedly if clumsily with their Iraqi counterparts or with people in the streets. (READ MORE)

Omar: Al-Qaeda's in Iraq New Sponsor: Libya - After Iran, Syria and others it's now Libya's turn to sponsor terrorism in Iraq. The news popped up for a second then it vanished; Gaddafi's son is accused by senior awakening officials in Anbar of funding and sending a group of foreign terrorists to Iraq. This particular group, awakening leaders believe, was responsible for the explosives cache that caused the devastating explosion in Mosul last week. “Col. Jubair Rashid Naief, who also is a police official in Anbar province, said those attacks were carried out by the Seifaddin Regiment, made up of about 150 foreign and Iraqi fighters who slipped into the country several months ago from Syria.” (READ MORE)

Jason's Iraq Vacation: Quality problems - As I drove up to the "new" building with the fading paint, I tried to rationalize what I was seeing. A week earlier, the building had new paint applied to the outside, just prior to the new roof being installed. To see that same building with half a good paint job and half no paint, I went through every scenario I could think to justify why. Maybe they found a new color they like better. Maybe they need to re-seal the walls and take the paint off before hand. Or maybe, just maybe, they lined the freakin' roof up flush with the wall face so that when it rained, the water cascaded down the face of the wall and washed away all the paint. (READ MORE)

Matt Sanchez: Not So Fast - Associated Press piece complaining troop reductions may not happen this summer as they predicted. This is an unfortunate delusion of a press that issues an opinion and then treats that opinion as if it were a fact. We all want troops to be safe, and many believe the safest place for them is back home, but the truth is that the "surge" has actually saved lives in Iraq. I applaud the Commander-in-Chief for following for following his time-table and not the artificial schedules of those who have all of the criticism in the world and absolutely none of the responsibility. (READ MORE)

Yellowhammering Afghanistan: Afghanistan countryside through a Humvee window - It still amazes me how the snow has changed the vast patches of beige to glorious visions of white. The terrain of Afghanistan is part of what has made it a rugged country difficult to tame. The weather is another factor. But the two taken together can create majestic scenes even if they remain dangerous and unruly. There are entire districts that we can't travel to this time of year because the weather and terrain make it impossible to get there unless we fly. But the mountain passes where we can travel give us a glimpse at real beauty from the seat of our Humvees. (READ MORE)

James Aalan Bernsen: Just an ordinary day - It's been a while since I just gave folks an idea of what an ordinary day in my life is like. For those new to the blog, I mentioned earlier that my job is not the kind of thing I can talk about in a lot of detail. I'll simply say that I'm an intelligence officer working for the Multi-National Corps - Iraq. The corps, for those not knowledgeable about army organization, is the big-picture guys. So I can say I've got a pretty good idea of what's going on here. (READ MORE)

Army of Dude: Overlooked Heroes of the War on Terror - They've seen the horrors of war up front and personal. They've slept under the stars and in abandoned buildings under constant threat from insurgents wishing to do them harm. But you won't hear their tales of courage under fire or how vital they are to coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. They're interpreters, and more than seven thousand of them have not only broken the language barrier between Americans and Iraqis, they've provided priceless insight into the nuances of Arab culture important for a counter-insurgency to be successful. Bullets and bombs take a back seat to providing security for neighborhoods harassed by extremists. (READ MORE)

Badger 6: We Remember - Corporal Stephen Shannon - It was a year ago today that Task Force Pathfinder had its first Killed in Action. Corporal Stephen D. Shannon was wounded on the night of 30 January 2007 in Ar Ramadi, Iraq; he died the next morning in a hospital in Balad. Here is the story of that night. When one considers that most of these events around us would have played out in some manner, regardless of our own presence, if they were going to happen anyway - I must say I was honored to be there. Cobra 6, my good friend and fellow Commander, demonstrated a great deal of steel, backbone, and compassion that day. I was honored to be with him. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Judea Pearl: The Daniel Pearl Standard - This week marks the sixth anniversary of the murder of my son Daniel Pearl, a reporter for this newspaper. It is a fitting occasion to step back and reflect on what this tragedy has taught us. I am often asked why Danny's death has touched so many people and why he, of all victims of terror, is so often singled out as an icon of the troubled journey of the 21st century. (READ MORE)

Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.: Future Farmer - History records that previous commodity booms were not followed by mass starvation, resource wars and the end of civilization. John Atkin is out to make sure it doesn't happen again. An agricultural zoologist by training, he serves as chief operating officer for crop protection at Switzerland's Syngenta, a competitor to the U.S. giant Monsanto in the controversial business of agricultural technology. (READ MORE)

Austin Bay: Halting Kenya's Chaotic Spiral - Late last month, allegations of vote fraud in Kenya's closely fought presidential election sparked riots and demonstrations throughout the country. Kenya's crisis, however, "has mutated from an electoral dispute into much deeper problems with a high potential for recurrence," former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan told a reporter with Nairobi's East African Standard. Annan went to Kenya to try to mediate the political dispute and calm violent tribal passions. All too often in the developing world tribes and ethnic groups form the core of political parties. With ethnicity for tinder, minor political squabbles... (READ MORE)

Mike S. Adams: Fred Phelps Goes Down Under - Fred Phelps, the pastor and head lunatic of Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) of Topeka, Kansas (call 785-273-0325 or visit godhatesfags.com) has written an open letter to the family of Heath Ledger. In the short letter is a demand that the Ledger family divulge the time, date, and place of the late actor’s burial in Perth, Australia, so WBC can go - in respectful proximity - and conduct a “religious service.” Fred Phelps has already caused untold suffering and pain to the families of dead American soldiers by protesting their funerals with signs proclaiming that “God Hates America” because “Gad Hates Fags” and America tolerates them. (READ MORE)

Walter E. Williams: Stimulus Package Nonsense - Some Democratic and Republican presidential hopefuls are preaching economic doom and gloom, disappearing middle class, and failing health care industry. What's their solution? The short answer is give them more control over our lives. Baltimore's political satirist, the late H.L. Mencken, explained this strategy, saying, "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." The imaginary hobgoblin this time is the threat of an oncoming recession, even though it is by no means clear that the U.S. economy is in a recession. (READ MORE)

Thomas Sowell: A "Stimulus Package"? - Both political parties seem determined that the federal government should create a "stimulus package" of things designed to cushion a downturn in the economy. That alone should be enough to make us remember that "the devil is always in the details," because things that are bipartisan are often twice as bad as things that are partisan. A bipartisan intervention is virtually guaranteed to be a grab bag of inconsistent policies thrown together in order to get the votes of people with contradictory ideas of what ought to be done. The idea of a stimulus package is based on the general notion that there are things the government could do to make things better in the economy. (READ MORE)

Brent Bozell III: McCain vs. Limbaugh - You can tell a lot about how the news media feel about conservatives by watching how they talk about Rush Limbaugh. They want his influence curbed. They pine for the day his career hits the skids. They're constantly looking for a moment where they can declare that conservatives no longer have -- that Rush Limbaugh no longer has -- the Grand Old Party in a menacing trance. They don't want Republican candidates seeking a Limbaugh endorsement. They think they found that moment on Jan. 19. (READ MORE)

Michael Medved: Are Senators Doomed To Lose? - During the last century, the American people have shown a notable reluctance to elect sitting U.S. Senators to the nation’s highest office. In 120 years, only two members of the Senate have succeeded in their campaigns to the White House. In 1920, the voters chose Warren Harding of Ohio, and in 1960 they selected John Kennedy of Massachusetts: both of them handsome charmers with a notorious eye for the ladies, both of them dead before their time in the midst of their first terms, and both of them mourned as fallen heroes in lavish displays of national grief. Today, we remember Harding far more contemptuously than he deserves and we recall Kennedy far more reverently than he deserves... (READ MORE)

Sen. Jim DeMint: Real Change Requires Principled Conservative Leadership - Since 1966, the opposition party has delivered a response to the State of the Union Address. This year, I am delivering a Conservative Response not to oppose the President, but to compliment what the President has proposed. The President last night took some bold positions and we will work to support his principled stands. But more must be done. As a Senate conservative, I will work with my colleagues to put forth principled conservative ideas for action in Congress. (READ MORE)

Chuck Colson: Exploiting America's Veterans - Have you received one of those letters in the mail—asking you to send money to help wounded veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan? If so, I hope you ignored it—not because I do not care about our troops, but because I do. It turns out that at least two of these charities are run by people who would rather line their own pockets than help veterans. One charity is called Help Hospitalized Veterans. The Washington Post reports that this outfit spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on personal expenses for Roger Chapin, who manages the charity. Richard Viguerie, “to whom the charity has awarded millions in fundraising-consulting contracts,” also reportedly used contributions to pay for personal expenses. (READ MORE)

Jonah Goldberg: We Were Warned - At a briefing for conservative journalists before the State of the Union address, White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten said President Bush isn't wistful about the close of his presidency and doesn't foresee a day when he will pine to be back in the Oval Office. Chuckles broke out in the room at the perhaps unintentional comparison to Hillary Clinton's surrogate in chief, who - as with everything else in his life - has decided to make this election year all about him. This got me thinking. Bush came into office promising to be the un-Clinton. And in many ways - good and bad - he stayed true to that promise. (READ MORE)

Westhawk: What will the Surge teach us? - On Saturday, the Weekly Standard published Fred Barnes’s piece that described how President Bush decided on the “surge” strategy for Iraq, and how he sold that strategy to a skeptical Pentagon bureaucracy. The received wisdom today is that by sending 30,000 more combat troops to Iraq, in the form of five additional Army brigade combat teams and two additional Marine infantry battalions, the U.S. military in Iraq would then have enough manpower to protect the Iraqi population by being able, for the first time, to staff small combat outposts throughout Iraq’s urban neighborhoods. Protecting the population is thought to be an essential counterinsurgency tactic. Once the population sees that the government forces are protecting them against the insurgents, the population will then feel safe enough to give up the rebels hiding in their neighborhoods. (READ MORE)

The Tygrrr Express: The Dub–Fighting to the Finish - President Bush gave his final State of the Union. While some Americans honestly disagree with him out of convictions that are deeply held, many of his opponents despise him for being alive and existing. This is not because of the War in Iraq. It is because of the 2000 election that his opponent failed to steal. As expected, President Bush was gracious to the end, and those that disagreed with him ranged from dour and beaten to downright rude and scowling. The scowler wants the job next year, and she will be in for a rude awakening of her own if she thins her lack of decorum will be forgotten. (READ MORE)

Jay Fraser: DHS - The Presidential Transition Plan - With the 2008 Presidential election upon us, the Nation also faces the first ever transition of the Department of Homeland Security from one Administration to another. Staying totally apolitical, that this is the first election in over 50 years where there is no incumbent Vice President running for the higher office presents an even greater challenge. A few weeks ago, I noted that Congressman Bennie Thompson, Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security had sent a memo to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff. The memo contained a “to-do” list that included developing a plan to deal with the “mass exodus” that would occur with the change in Administration. (READ MORE)

ThunderRun: All European Culture Died in Auschwitz – “We have exchanged the pursuit of peace of the Jews of Europe and their talent for hoping for a better future for their children, their determined clinging to life because life is holy, for those who pursue death, for people consumed by the desire for death for themselves and others, for our children and theirs. What a terrible mistake was made by miserable Europe.” I haven’t attempted to verify its authenticity but was simply asked: “What do you think of this? Do you agree?” At first glance I can agree with a whole lot of it, not that all muslims are crazed death cult members - current operations in Iraq can attest to that fact, but before you think of me as a xenophobe allow me to explain. (READ MORE)

Mark Tapscott: Is Romney the 'real' winner in Florida GOP primary? - Joshua Trevino says yes and he makes a strong case for the proposition that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is becoming THE conservative choice. Not sure I quite agree but it's definitely an interesting take on an otherwise dispiriting outcome. PREDICTION: McCain is now established as the clear front runner and that means he will now experience a depth of analysis and critique from the mainstream media and the Right side of the Blogosphere that he has never before had to endure. (READ MORE)

Stop the ACLU: Lucky me! - Within the last couple of days, I have been attacked by TWO Leftist bloggers! And note that they attacked ME, not any of the facts and arguments that I have put forward. What they have written is, in short, a confession of complete intellectual failure. They hate the truths that I have highlighted but they were so unable to refute those truths that all they could manage was an attempt to shoot the messenger. Their arguments were what logicians call ad hominem arguments — arguments of no scholarly repute whatever. There are a few variations of ad hominem argumentation but a typical one would be of the following form: (READ MORE)

Mark Steyn: Nice is Easy - I used to support the "candidate of change", but then I changed to the candidate of "change you can believe in", and then I changed back to the "candidate of change" after the candidate changed to being an "agent of change", which sounds very top-secret and groovy. There used to be a British rock band called Status Quo (one would like to think there still is), and, endearingly enough, all their records sounded exactly the same. But no-one's using them for a campaign theme this season. Instead, it's one beguiling chorus after another of "Changers In The Night". As the bumper stickers say, "I'm Pro-Change And I Vote". Even my colleague John O'Sullivan penned a column for the Telegraph in London headlined "Barack And Huckabee Ride On Wish For Change". (READ MORE)

Melanie Phillips: Hamastan-on-the-Nile? - The breaching by Hamas of the barrier between Gaza and Egypt has created a new situation of considerable complexity on the ground. For Israel, the danger from the free flow of terrorist men and materiel in and out of Egypt, and able to penetrate the porous border between Sinai and Israel, is obvious. On the other hand, several commentators are speculating that along with the danger comes an opportunity — that Egypt, which fears Hamas, will no longer be able to rely on Israel to control the violence in Gaza but will now be forced to do the job itself. Some are even suggesting that Gaza should be annexed to Egypt, which makes a certain amount of sense given the close cultural, family and historic ties between Egypt and the Arabs of Gaza. (READ MORE)

ShrinkWrapped: Splitting and the Presidential Election - It is clear from even a brief scan of the blogosphere this morning that we, in fact and with apologies to John Edwards, are living in two different countries though we share the same physical space. One country is involved in a struggle against totalitarian terror with one front in Iraq where we are succeeding, though more slowly than desired. The other country is involved in a misguided and lost war which distracted us from the war against criminal terrorists; we must retreat as quickly as possible and refocus on the real enemies. One country sees a near existential threat from an impending new nuclear power and a subsequent nuclear arms race in the most unstable part of the world. (READ MORE)

Elaine Donnelly: Political Consequences: Gays in the Military - How did voters react when President Clinton tried to keep his campaign promise to lift the ban on gays in the military? A 1994 survey done for the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) by Stanley Greenberg indicated the second most important factor that shifted control of Congress to the Republicans in the 1994 mid-term election was President Clinton’s 1993 push for gays in the military. (READ MORE)

Dan Riehl: Why I Am Endorsing Romney Now - Obama A Strong Second Choice - My mention of Obama as an alternate in the title is not a joke, or an anti-McCain vote. My rationale for both that and for endorsing Romney now are below. Before pundits crown John McCain inevitable, or the primary season ends, the Republican Party would be smart to engage in some internal straight talk of its own. Perhaps only they, as a combined force, can alter this race. Already it has begun telling ardent supporters like me, the problem is us, not the party itself. Yet, in a rare year with a wide open race - no likely heir to assume the crown - the Republican Party's defined process has so far failed to produce a viable candidate who can speak from the heart to convince the base he deserves their support. Without that support, they cannot win in the Fall. (READ MORE)

Rhymes with Right: This Should Have Been Front Page News - But it does not fit the approved narrative, so the media has not played it up. After all, to do so would show that the only lie in "Bush lied us into war" is coming from the mouth of those defaming the President. The folks at Washington Hotlist make the case. “[U]nfortunately, many liberals have either ignored the story or have simply refused to put a legitimate portion of thought into what it alleges. ‘Saddam Hussein let the world think he had weapons of mass destruction to intimidate Iran and prevent the country from attacking Iraq, according to an FBI agent who interviewed the dictator after his 2003 capture.’” (READ MORE)

Erick: Electile Dysfunction - I want my party back. I really do. My party, if you will remember, is the one that fights the Democrats on spending, instead of pushing them aside to get a place at the trough. My party is the one that is conservative without Michael Gerson. My party is the one where we can disagree politely on matters without calling each other traitor. Now, personally, I blame George W. Bush for all of this. You can blame Romney or McCain or Giulilani if you want. But George W. Bush left us with a political power vacuum. He knew Cheney wouldn't run. Cheney would be the heir apparent. (READ MORE)

Ben Domenech: The Last Action Hero - So here we are, at the turn of the tide: one vote from winning the court; two-to-three good years from winning the largest stage of the war; the pressures of the Oval Office at their dramatic peak. A critical moment in our nation’s history, time for an individual with the strength and courage to do what the moment demands. In 2008, I support John McCain. “But…but…” my friends say incredulously, “But John McCain is crazy!” “Perhaps,” I answer. “But you say this as if it’s a bad thing?” Grab a drink, and read on. (READ MORE)

Political Vindication: China’s Last Preparations For Olympics: Jail Dissidents - It’s a little over seven months before the Olympics start in China, and reminiscent of the police sweeping up all the homeless before a Democratic convention, the Chinese are jailing anyone who might embarrass them. Now is the time for every one of those BDS suffering, 9/11 troofer-mongering, Patriot Act fearing moonbats that have been protesting our military and our president to be sent - in orange jumpsuits no less - to China, where they can get a taste of what a real dictatorship thinks of their free speech rights! (READ MORE)

Paul Mirengoff: The Washington Post rubs it in - McCain may not be gloating about his Florida victory (and least not personally and in public), but the Washington Post is. This front-page story by Jonathan Weisman and Paul Kane called "After Romney's Barrage, McCain Still Standing," is styled "Analysis," but would better be described as "Shilling." The authors accuse Romney of launching "a negative onslaught" and, as early as the 12th line of the story, they turn the floor over to John Weaver, the "longtime political adviser to McCain" who was fired last summer by McCain for incompetence. Weaver adds, rather incoherently, the following: (READ MORE)

Neptunus Lex: An alternative theory emerges… - Yesterday, Op-For John mentioned in comments that these our humble digs had been blocked from view on at least one Air Force base because of - wait for it: Racism. The charge seemed more than a little overblown to me as race qua race is simply not an issue I’ve spent much if any time writing about, not to mention the fact that I consider myself to be at least as enlightened on the topic as any Shelby Steele enthusiast of my age, race and gender. Probably more than most. Turning it over in my head, I pondered whether my occasional tendency to treat violent religious extremists roughly on these pages could be considered a form of “racism,” but unless an ideology that transcends race can itself be classified as a race, the connection seemed far fetched. (READ MORE)

In From the Cold: Banned in Boston? - Not quite, but we have been blocked at the Air Staff, at Langley AFB, and at MacDill, Hickam, and every other Air Force installation. After posting our special report on last year's nuclear accident at Minot AFB, In From the Cold (apparently) became blog non grata for the Air Force. We received a flurry of e-mails Monday morning, notifying us that our blog could no longer be accessed from office computers at various Air Force bases. Fine by us--the service invested a lot of dough in its IT network, and they can block whatever they want. I suppose there's a certain badge of infamy in joining the ranks of various porn sites, on-line casinos and various other outlets deemed inappropriate for our boys and girls in blue. (READ MORE)

Knee Deep in the Hooah!: He teacheth mine hands to fight … Part 5 (the final episode) - … otherwise titled, “Illegitimis non carborundum.” …. or “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.” — General George J. Stilwell It has been my experience that all of the “best” soldiers I have ever met have also been strong men of God, full of vim and vigor for our Lord. While the worst soldiers have been haters of God. The worst ones do not take instruction well. They hate the authority over them. And doesn’t the Bible say, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction?” Of course the majority of soldiers occupy that grey area in between “best” and “worst.”For example … the honor graduate from my former OCS class was an incredibly dedicated and studious Christian. The member of my class that was kicked out for drunk driving among other things … a bold heathen. Most everyone else fell in between. Ninety eight percent of them graduated. Honor code violations were actually pretty rare. (READ MORE)

Gribbit's Word: A Vote for Huckster is as Good as a Vote for MexiCain - Mike “The Huckster” Huckabee’s obstinate obsession with staying in a race for a nomination that he cannot win could hand the nomination to someone that would damage our party beyond repair. Every vote for The Huckster is a vote for MexiCain. The media is discounting The Huckster just as they have discounted Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich from the beginning. He is a non-entity at this point with no real chance at winning the nomination but yet he still hangs on. This is fueling speculation among the Conservative base that he may be a shill for MexiCain. He knows that he cannot win and he knows that he is drawing some voters from Romney who he hates. This all being the truth, he is willing to hand the nomination to an individual who has made a career out of thumbing his nose at the very party he claims to be a member of. What other explanation is there for The Hucksters actions? (READ MORE)

Baron Bodissey: Asylum in the USA for Lionheart? - Now that the information is publicly available, I can reveal what Dymphna and I have known for a while: Lionheart is currently here in the USA. He’s in good hands. People are looking after him, and he’s considering the possibility of asking for asylum in this country, since he faces arrest for political reasons (i.e. for “stirring up racial hatred”) if he returns to England. It’s possible that a legal fund will be set up to help him, but I don’t have any definite word on that yet. There’s an article today about Lionheart, and an interview with him, in Savannah Now: (READ MORE)

Discerning Texan: A Moment of Truth for the Conservative movement - The news about Giuliani's endorsement is worse news for Conservatives than is McCain's razor-thin Florida win. There are lots of other states left, but unless Romney can somehow get some big wins in high-delegate states like Texas, carry most of the rest of the staunchly conservative South, and also garner some wins in the West (and it certainly is hard to see him winning in California...), we may be faced with a Clinton or Obama Presidency this fall. I am very disillusioned tonight; I am disgusted with our tricked up, crossover State Primary process which allows Democrats and Big Media to choose our nominees in the "early states". I am disillusioned that so many so-called Republicans have bought into McCain's sudden conversion to conservative principles, when he has spent his entire career stabbing the National Party in the back. (READ MORE)

Don Surber: D’oh!-onomics - That darned economy is rebounding before Washington has a chance to save us. Preliminary 4th quarter economic figures won’t be out until Thursday, but the durable goods report showed a 5.2% jump in December. That’s the best showing in 5 months. “The December orders increase was more than double what had been expected. Analysts were looking for a much weaker performance, given that a key gauge of manufacturing activity had fallen to the weakest reading since April 2003. The Institute for Supply Management manufacturing index dipped to 47.7 for December. Any reading below 50 is considered recession territory for manufacturing,” the AP glumly reported. (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: What Romney Has To Do At Tonight's Debate - In the wake of the loss in Florida yesterday, Mitt Romney needs to focus on tonight's debate to break out as the conservative choice for the nomination. John McCain has taken leads in significant Super Tuesday states, and tonight will be the last national audience for all of the remaining candidates before 21 states go to the polls or the caucuses. Romney has to ignite conservatives and make this a binary race across a clear ideological line. Some feel that the moment has already passed. Writers at The Corner and Dick Morris have resigned themselves to a Romney loss before more than 10% of the necessary delegates have been won. Others, like my friend and indefatigable Romney supporter Hugh Hewitt, argue that the numbers show that no one can win next week. (READ MORE)

The Captain's Journal: U.S. Intelligence Failures: Dual Taliban Campaigns - In Taliban Campaigns in Afghanistan and Pakistan, we analyzed the Asia Times report that “Mullah Omar has sacked his own appointed leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud, the main architect of the fight against Pakistani security forces, and urged all Taliban commanders to turn their venom against North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces.” Mullah Omar hasn’t forgotten about Afghanistan, and his ultimate aim is to govern her again. The focus on Pakistan internal struggles by Baitullah Mehsud is to Mullah Omar a distraction from what the real aim of the Taliban should be. Our brief analysis of the data concluded that “both Mullah Omar and Baitullah Mehsud will likely continue operations, even if Omar intends to focus on Afghanistan and Mehsud intends to carry out operations first in Pakistan. (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: Spoken - One of the persons following the Belmont Club discussion over whether it is necessary to confront political Islam as an anti-Western ideology is a Marine in Anbar province. His email to me has been reproduced in toto below. It is clear and eloquent. I am grateful for it, not in the least because it lends some substance to my hope that "because of the size of the stakes this whole question will be resolved, not by some politician but by the 'decision of crowds'." Here's his email in toto. (READ MORE)

Kat in MO: Saving Afghanistan From Itself: Food and Opium - Several reports have been issued of late regarding the status of Afghanistan and the fears that the country might still be lost to the Taliban. Karzai recently stated his fear that extremists could still take over Afghanistan, though he blamed it largely on the rise of the Taliban and other extremists in Pakistan. The United States will be sending more Marines, but Nato allies have all rejected sending additional troops and many refuse to allow their troops into combat. (READ MORE)

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