February 1, 2008

Web Reconnaissance for 02/01/2008 ACTUAL

[See this post for the meaning behind today's title...]

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)
Romney's Convictions - Mitt Romney has emerged as the last Republican with a chance to stop John McCain, and there's no doubt he's a candidate from central casting: successful in business and politics, a family man, and quicker and more articulate than most. The main doubt about him has been whether he believes in anything enough to stick to it if he did become President. (READ MORE)

NATO's Afghan Failure - We feel Stephen Harper's pique. Maybe France, Germany and other so-called NATO allies will as well and heed the Canadian Prime Minister's call to share the war-fighting burden in Afghanistan. Miracles happen. For the time being, however, the Continentals are in no apparent hurry to break a five-decade habit of enjoying a free ride on security. (READ MORE)

Buried WMD Scoop - Journalists are taught never to "bury the lead." Yet it looks as if that's precisely what CBS's "60 Minutes" did in reporter Scott Pelley's fascinating interview Sunday with George Piro, the FBI agent who debriefed Saddam Hussein following his capture in December 2003. The Lebanese-born Mr. Piro, one of only a handful of agents at the bureau who speaks Arabic... (READ MORE)

Head to Head, Clinton, Obama Shelve Rancor - LOS ANGELES, Jan. 31 -- Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama set aside personal hostilities here Thursday night but sharply disagreed on who has the better combination of leadership and experience to defeat Republicans in November and lead the country as president. (READ MORE)

Al-Qaeda Figure Is Killed in Pakistan - BERLIN, Jan. 31 -- A senior al-Qaeda commander was killed this week in Pakistan, according to Western officials and an Islamic radical Web site, marking a rare success in the flagging U.S. and Pakistani campaign to hunt down members of the network. (READ MORE)

'Appalling Gap' Found in Homeland Defense Readiness - The U.S. military is not prepared to meet catastrophic threats at home, and it is suffering from an "appalling gap" in forces able to respond to chemical, biological and nuclear strikes on U.S. soil, according to a congressional commission report released yesterday. (READ MORE)

Rights Group Faults U.S. for Support of Autocrats - A leading human rights group said Thursday that the United States has lost its moral authority by supporting autocratic governments in strategic countries despite their continuing violations of civil liberties. (READ MORE)

Obama Touts War Opposition - Sen. Barack Obama pushed back against Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's claim of experience by saying he was right about Iraq from "Day One," while she charged that his health care plan would leave out millions of Americans. (READ MORE)

Obama '04 at Odds with Obama '08 - Videotapes of debates and speeches that were obtained by The Washington Times show that Mr. Obama took positions during his Senate campaign on nearly a half-dozen issues ranging from the Cuba embargo to health care for illegal aliens that conflict with statements that he has made during his run for the White House. (READ MORE)

Democrats Court Hispanics with Ads in Spanish - LOS ANGELES — The Democratic White House hopefuls are aggressively courting the growing Hispanic populations in several Super Tuesday states — flooding the Spanish-language airwaves with ads and personally visiting Hispanic enclaves while reaching out to community leaders. (READ MORE)

Maryland Billions Short in Retiree Payouts - ANNAPOLIS — Maryland is $16.2 billion short in payouts for future retiree health care benefits, according to state budget analysts. "That is a ticking time bomb," said Delegate Murray D. Levy, Southern Maryland Democrat. "If we do nothing, we're going to have a huge problem." (READ MORE)

From the Front:
Northern Disclosure: Platoon Operations - I was emailing a classmate and friend back home the other day and was asked a pretty simple question but it was pretty hard to answer. Calee is a young college student that was in several of my Poli Sci classes and has very little contact or knowledge with the military. She asked the simple question of "What do I ussually do during the day?" Of course I gave her a brief duty discription and gave the hardened answer one would expect if they were knowlegable of our lifestyle. I realized that I missed a great oppurtunity to tell someone back home of the not so military things we do. (READ MORE)

Major Pain: Back in the saddle! - Now in Iraq, the Marines are conducting themselves as expected and are full of energy to take on what awaits. From the last time I was here, some things have changed, others have not. The sexy burning trash smells including burning tires, medal and who knows what else is ever present. The area hasn’t changed either; same old neighborhood and I think I even see a few dogs that tried to bite me last time. One big change since last deployment is the people. Did anyone happen to notice that the Iraqi people here are behind us and helping us? (READ MORE)

Sergeant Grumpy: Letter from kids - does the media lie? - So I should write part III, but it is 5:30 am and I am just getting done for the day, so I thought I would share this instead. A couple of California high school students who are studying about journalism, asked The Grump if I thought the media lied about current events. Here is my response. I'll get part III out this weekend unless I get a breakthrough on a few projects I am working here. By projects, I of course mean scumbags we want out of the picture. “Thank you for your letter, and your question. I am no expert on the news business, but I will give you my perspective.” (READ MORE)

This War and Me: Goodbye Iraq - Goodbye Iraq... two words I sometimes thought I would never say soon enough. A couple nights ago, as we lay around the tent watching movies and playing games a large boom echoed across the base. We all whooped and hollered. Shortly after, the alarms went off we heard the Giant Voice proclaim, "Exercise, Exercise... this is only a drill." Relieved that we were completely safe, we went back to our movies and games as a few more booms shook the ground beneath us... I don't think they told Hadji is was just a drill. (READ MORE)

Tragically Famous: 393 days and a wake up... - It’s a frigid morning. The roar of the generators powering the combat outpost recedes into the back of my head as a constant, persistent hum. Flashing intermittent lights from FOB Loyalty’s Aerostat are a constant reminder that big brother is always watching. The moon has perched itself amongst the rooftops in hide; waiting patiently for the sun to break the horizon and assume its duties. The embers glow bright as the smoke slowly escapes from the end of my cigarette. The exhale waits in calm serenity as the slim fog rolls to camouflage the little bit of death exhumed from my lungs. It’s only 2 minutes off my life per smoke, right? That’s much better odds than an IED or 7.62mm sniper round. The “bombs and bullets factor” is what I call it. (READ MORE)

Yellowhammering Afghanistan: My favorites through a Humvee window - Rounding out this week of pictures through a Humvee window are my favorite shots from this little experiment. The Eid Gha Mosque is Kabul's oldest and provided a great photo with the snow-topped mountain. I also liked the linear nature of the lumber yard with all the poles. Then there are the children. There were the kids in the courtyard of the rundown home all standing in the sliver of sunlight trying to get warm. A closeup of a boy's face revealed steely eyes and what may be the early stages of a smile. Another kid canted his head while standing among oranges, apples and pomegranates. The little girl with her burqa-clad mother was also a nice shot. (READ MORE)

Iraq: The Purgatorium: Counterpoint - I reclined in the driver's seat, listening to the occasional boom of a controlled detonation as we were out and about, cleaning bad shit out in some area. Y'know, good shit, throwing a wrench in the Bad Guys' plans and whatnot. Felt pretty damn good about it. I wasn't doing shit, mind you, but I was there, involved in SOMETHING other than a goddamn meeting. And I started thinking. Yeah, I hate Iraq. I hate being here. This place is one big long shit-smear if you ask me. But let's look beyond my simple opinion and look at this whole mess for what it is. "I hate our President." But you elected him. One way or another. (READ MORE)

IraqPundit: Dozy Debate - The Democratic candidates for president really ought to hire new advisers. At Thursday's cringeworthy debate, they discussed Iraq as though nothing had changed since last year. Hillary Clinton still had to defend her 2002 vote to authorize force in Iraq as a "reasoned" decision at the time, while Barack Obama continued to brag about his position as a citizen against the invasion of 2003. Hillary Clinton said, "I've said many times that if I knew then what I know now, I would never have given President Bush the authority" to attack Iraq. Clinton declined to apologize for her vote. (READ MORE)

Kaboom: A Soldier's War Journal: A whYkid's Guide to Enlightenment - Popular culture dominates the whYkids’ realm and souses our minds. This certainly is not a new manifestation for the youth culture – Fitzgerald had his Jazz Age, Kesey had his era of groovy, etc. – but it certainly feels like pop culture has crested. It’s no longer utilized as a narcissistic escape; pop culture now trumps both high culture and arch culture in terms of forcing itself upon the modern youth’s development. Recognizing movie quotes from Adam Sandler movies and rattling off lyrics from Jay-Z’s early albums establishes a whYkid’s au courant credentials, much more so than being able to name a country in South America. (READ MORE)

A Surgeon's Letters Home From Iraq: 31 JAN 2008 Back again - Just got word from one of my bros that he has arrived safely at Balad. The duty has passed to him and his crew, and I'm sure that they will give the troops the finest surgical care anywhere in the world. It feels a little strange because we were on the surgical team together in 2005. After four months working at the hospital in Balad day after day, I began to get the erroneous impression that the place would fall over if I wasn't there to help. But the medical corps is bigger than this one little troop and I know that it will carry on just fine. Tomorrow I head back to work at my hospital in Texas. (READ MORE)

Micheal Yon: RUBS 31-January-2008 - I landed in Baghdad yesterday, 30 January 2008, on a Japanese Air Force flight from Kuwait. I immediately embedded with an American infantry battalion called the 1-4 Cavalry. After 1-4 CAV soldiers picked me up at the airport, I pulled on heavy body armor and we went into a mission that lasted into the early evening. No drama this time. I didn’t even hear about any action over the radio. The 1-4 CAV’s area of operation (AO) in South Baghdad is probably safer than the “Green Zone.” We walked around and talked with Iraqis for hours. I had some interesting conversations about tribal allegiances and other social power structures. (READ MORE)

Eighty Deuce on the Loose in Iraq: March of the Iman... - Well, I'm going back in time a little bit to talk about a few events that happened several patrols ago. The reason for this is the damn internet is down in my building again, and ever since I got internet in my room it is almost like getting the motivation to go to the dentist when it comes to heading down to the MWR computers. But now the internet has been down for a while and I have no clue when it will be getting fixed so I'm finally putting together a post to take down to the computers and upload. From what I hear the computers are running really slow so I may or may not get to put up pictures that I am wanting to include with this. (READ MORE)

ETT PA-C: Huh?!? - I'm struggling for stuff to discuss here. It's been a very busy few weeks and lots of what we've been doing is in the same nature of the prior posting so gosh how do I keep one interested. Well, I've got to purchase a car when I get home and I've been having a tough time trying to find something I want touching base with what I can afford. So, if there are any fairly wealthy people out there that want to sponsor me (BMW 328i or Toyota Tundra, for instance), feel free to leave a message and I'll be back with you in a few seconds. At any rate, I've been looking over some of my pics of our last trip down to the Pakistan border and it put me in perspective of my needs. It could always be worse, you could be the donkey! (READ MORE)

Fearless 1st Marines' Blog: Iraqis receive medical care through CME - Lined up along the walls outside and throughout the hallways of an Iraqi school, Iraqi men, women and children waited for their turn to receive medical care from sailors, soldiers or the head surgeon of the 1st Iraqi Division. During a Combined Medical Engagement Jan. 30, Hospital Corpsmen and doctors from 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1 teamed up with their counterparts from 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team1 to provide free medical attention to the Iraqi community. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Khaled Hosseini: Journalism Is Not a Capital Crime - Ever since the post-9/11 American invasion, the Afghan government has taken great pains to distance itself from the oppressive and unforgiving rule of the Taliban. Afghan leaders have pointed to greater personal freedom and improvements in infrastructure, education and health care as successes of the country's nascent democracy. But last week we learned that Sayed Parwez Kaambakhsh, a young journalism student, has been sentenced to death for distributing an article that, religious clerics in Afghanistan say, violates the tenets of Islam. (READ MORE)

Douglas Holtz-Eakin: Security Is Job One - Americans have always wanted to make a better life for their children than the one they inherited. In the pursuit of this goal, Republicans have always trusted the courage, good sense, resourcefulness and decency of the American people -- who expect in turn a government that respects their values and is committed to enhancing their personal, political and economic freedoms. The first responsibility of the next president will be to keep this country safe from an enemy that so despises us they would unleash any terror to cause us harm. (READ MORE)

Vin Weber: A Call to Conservative Action - In February 2007, Gov. Mitt Romney stood at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich., and announced his candidacy for President of the United States. As he did then and continued to do throughout this campaign, Mr. Romney spoke to a new vision for a stronger America. It is a vision that calls for empowering the American people through conservative change in Washington. From Dearborn to Des Moines to Jacksonville, Mr. Romney has articulated the conservative vision and the conservative policies needed to make America strong again. (READ MORE)

Arlen Spector: Justice Delayed - If the presidential primaries are any indication, Americans of every political stripe are rejecting reflexive partisanship and instead asking Democrats and Republicans alike to reform Washington and deliver a government that works. One of the most important responsibilities granted to the United States Senate by the Constitution is the confirmation of judicial nominees. It is also one of the areas that has been, for too long, infected by precisely the kind of partisan bickering that Americans are so clearly rejecting. (READ MORE)

Peggy Noonan: A Rebellion and an Awkward Embrace - In the most exciting and confounding election cycle of my lifetime, Rudy Giuliani, the Prince of the City, is out because he was about to lose New York, John Edwards is out, the Clintons are fighting for their historical reputations, and the stalwart conservative New York Post has come out strong and stinging for Barack Obama. If you had asked me in December if I would write that sentence in February, I would have said: Um, no. (READ MORE)

John Hawkins: Why You're Going To Vote For John McCain In November And Like It! - Admittedly the title is a wee bit of an exaggeration. Did I say "wee bit?" I really meant a huge exaggeration. Okay, okay, the title is so over-the-top that I would only write it in a column, not say it in front of an audience of conservatives because people might start throwing garbage. And let me tell you, I understand where people are coming from with McCain; I really do. That's why I created such seminal works of art as The Conservative Case Against John McCain In 2008, A Conservative Nightmare: Republican Nominee, John McCain, and John McCain: This guy? Really? (READ MORE)

Paul Greenberg: America In Flux - We're at that lull in the presidential primary season when pundits try to make the most of the least election returns. Iowa and New Hampshire are in, plus Barack Obama's landslide in South Carolina and now Florida's votes. Attempting to judge the mood of the electorate at this early stage of the primary season and ordeal is like trying to get salt out of a clogged shaker and then reading the candidates' fortunes from just the few grains that spill out. But when the top comes off the shaker next week, and the results of Super-Duper Tuesday start pouring in, election returns will be everywhere. (READ MORE)

Burt Prelutsky: The World's Second-Oldest Profession - I have a confession to make. On many occasions, I have been one of those people who have ridiculed people for no other reason than that they’ve been lawyers. I have generalized about them as if they were all a pack of ambulance chasers or, worse yet, politicians -- or, worst of all, ambulance-chasing politicians such as John Edwards. But, it’s just not fair and I apologize. After all, many lawyers serve a useful function as they go about drawing up contracts and wills. However, that being said, I wouldn’t want any of you to assume that this is to be taken as my mea culpa to the entire legal profession. (READ MORE)

Mike S. Adams: The Journal of Genetic Rationalization - The University of North Carolina - Wishful Thinking (UNCW) has announced the establishment of a new journal called The Journal of Genetic Rationalization. Professors in the Department of Genetic and Social Engineering will be responsible for editing the quarterly journal. Spring interns at www.DrAdams.org have obtained a copy of the Table of Contents page listing all research articles for Volume One, Issue One. That page is reproduced below in its entirety: (READ MORE)

Thomas Sowell: McCain's Straight Lies - We have been hearing for years that Senator John McCain gives "straight talk" and his bus has been endlessly referred to as the "straight talk express." But endless repetition does not make something true. The fact that McCain makes short, blunt statements does not make him a straight-talker. There are short, blunt lies -- and he told a big one on the eve of the Florida primary, when he claimed that Mitt Romney had advocated a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. (READ MORE)

Oliver North: The Man Behind the Curtain - WASHINGTON -- In the movie "The Wizard of Oz," Dorothy's little terrier, Toto, pulls aside a curtain to reveal that the awesome wizard is really a little man frantically pulling levers to create an illusion of power. Moscow is not quite the Emerald City, but Vladimir Putin certainly is acting like the wizard, and he seems intent on trying to recreate the Iron Curtain. Worse still, leaders here in the United States and in Europe appear to be as fearful as Dorothy's craven lion in looking at what really is going on behind the curtain. (READ MORE)

Charles Krauthammer: A Legacy of Desperation and Narcissism - WASHINGTON -- Legacy? What legacy? There was general amazement when (the now-muzzled) Bill Clinton did his red-faced, attack-dog, race-baiting performance in South Carolina. Friends, Democrats and longtime media sycophants were variously perplexed, repulsed, enraged, mystified and shocked that this beloved ex-president would so jeopardize his legacy by stooping so low. What they don't understand is that for Clinton, there is no legacy. (READ MORE)

Patrick J. Buchanan: Tapped Out Nation - It was to be the year of change, of new ideas, a new politics. Yet, as of today, it appears the Republican Party will be led into the future by a Beltway favorite of the media and Washington insider who has spent the last quarter of a century on Capitol Hill. And the Democratic Party appears about to build a bridge to the past by nominating the spouse of the last Democratic president who has herself been a Washington insider for almost 20 years. (READ MORE)

Ann Coulter: GOP To Edwards: How Much for that Concession Speech? - The Democrats are trying to give away an election they should win in a walk by nominating someone with real problems -- like, for example, a first-term senator with a 100 percent rating from Americans for Democratic Action and whose middle name is "Hussein." But we won't let them. The bright side of the Florida debacle is that I no longer fear Hillary Clinton. (I mean in terms of her becoming president -- on a personal level, she's still a little creepy.) I'd rather deal with President Hillary than with President McCain. With Hillary, we'll get the same ruinous liberal policies with none of the responsibility. (READ MORE)

Cliff May: Energetic Economics: An Alternative to the Usual Stimulus Packages - It’s become a ritual: The economy grows sluggish and politicians rush to “do something” about it. What they do almost never has a beneficial economic impact, as any reputable economist will tell you. But what if lawmakers could guarantee that the price you pay to fill the tank of your car will go down, not up, in the years ahead? What if they could launch a new industry that creates more jobs for more Americans? What if this would produce environmental benefits, too? Would that not send a message to the markets? And would that not represent the kind of change so many politicians have been promising? (READ MORE)

John McCaslin: Keep Your Mittens - Suffice it to say, the Smithsonian Institution is not buying into the "global warming" hysteria being spread by Al Gore. While in the District in recent days, professor Jeff Bennett of the Crawford School of Economics and Government at Australian National University toured the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, where he snapped photographs, since forwarded to Inside the Beltway, of two displays that caught his eye — both dealing with climate change and "the Future." (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: The Scaled-Down Expectations Of The Retreat Caucus - You have to hand it to the Democrats; they do surrender well. After coming out of their annual retreat last year with an ambitious agenda to force the White House into submission, the Congressional leadership managed to lose every major engagement with the supposedly lame-duck George Bush. This year, the term "annual retreat" took on new meaning: “A year ago, newly empowered House Democrats gathered here at the Kingsmill Resort for their annual retreat brimming with confidence. Before them was an ambitious legislative agenda and a determination to end or curtail the U.S. troop presence in Iraq. This time around, the hotel and golf courses are the same, but the song is markedly different.” (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: Reasoned Argument Needed - Desperately, as Hillary and Obama dicker over who was more clueless five years ago, and who is more clueless today. It’s a race to abandon America’s obligations and vital national security interests, in a race some people think will end up being about national security after all. The best Democratic minds have yet to come up with a reasoned argument or anything resembling a strategy on abandonment, so this should be interesting. (READ MORE)

Ron Winter: "Straight Talk From the Left?" - Swift Boat Vets Still Waiting! - From the moment that the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth (now the Swift Boat Veterans and POWs For Truth) surfaced in the 2004 election, drawing attention to Sen. John Kerry's questionable war record, members of that organization have been subjected to personal attacks. It was obvious from the outset that these attacks were diversions, intended to draw attention away from Kerry, and were essentially the same tactics that Kerry accused the Swifties of using against him. (READ MORE)

Winds of Change: The Blind Left - In light of hypo's claim that 'it's all about the oil' in Iraq, let me offer a quote from Postel's book 'Reading Legitimation Crisis in Tehran' (the book Chris doesn't need to read). “The picture gets further complicated, and the Left gets further flummoxed, over the role of Empire in the Iranian context. The memory of the 1953 coup burns furiously in the minds of many Iranians to this day. Because anti-imperialism is our primary conceptual organizing principle, leftists are of course highly attuned to such sentiments. Particularly in this era of Empire fever and regime-change mania, we reflexively and viscerally oppose US interference in other countries - and understandably so. Anti-imperialist pronouncements coming out of Iran thus have a certain resonance for many leftists.” (READ MORE)

Westhawk: Winograd report is as bad as the war it critiques - This morning the New York Times published the English translation of the Winograd report. The Winograd Commission examined the performance of the Israeli government and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) during the brief punitive war against Hezbollah in the summer of 2006. The Winograd commissioners did as expected. They criticized the performance of the IDF and the decision-making process of the Israeli government. Since almost no one in Israel was happy with the way the war turned out, these conclusions are not surprising. What is disappointing with the report is how useless it is. (READ MORE)

Ilya Somin: John McCain and the Judiciary - Much controversy has centered recently around John McCain's possible judicial nominees should he become president. In my view, a President McCain would face a difficult tradeoff between the goal of appointing conservative jurists and the goal of saving the McCain-Feingold law from invalidation by the Court. John McCain may well be sincere in claiming that he wants to appoint conservative justices. However, he is undoubtedly even more sincere in his support of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, his proudest achievement as a legislator. The narrow conservative majority on the Supreme Court is not fond of McCain-Feingold and has already significantly narrowed its scope in the Wisconsin Right to Life case. (READ MORE)

UrbanGrounds: Barack Hussein Obama Want to “Bridge the Gap” Between Muslims and the West - Barack Hussein Obama said the the very first thing he’ll do after becoming President of the US is to gather all of the Muslim leaders of the world — yes, even the dangerous terroristic ones — to hold a “Muslim Summit“. I imagine he’ll be quite comfortable in which ever mosque they hold their “conference” in. It’ll probably take him back to his childhood… “‘Once I’m elected, I want to organize a summit in the Muslim world, with all the heads of state, to have an honest discussion about ways to bridge the gap that grows every day between Muslims and the West.’” (READ MORE)

Stop the ACLU: Al Franken's Mental Disorder Given a Pass by Media? - Comedian Al Franken is running for the U.S. Senate seat from Minnesota, this the media is happy to report. But, for some unexplainable reason, the media isn't so interested in reporting Franken's odd behavior. It seems that an ungovernable rage is always just under the surface with Franken, a rage that has several times broken free and resulted in assault and other violent or antisocial behavior. Why the media doesn't highlight this man's unstable behavior can only mean that they are lending him as much cover as they can to assist his campaign. (READ MORE)

Mark Tapscott: Here's the problem with McCain (Remember Alcibiades?) - If there is any justice in the world, Sen. John McCain's hopes of winning the 2008 Republican presidential nomination will suffer a body blow when people are reminded of a well-sourced story published last year by The Hill describing in detail how the Arizona "maverick" seriously discussed switching parties with Democratic leaders like Tom Daschle in 2001. McCain was evidently still angry - is he ever not angry over something? - about losing the 2000 race to President Bush and apparently was attracted to the idea of gaining revenge by picking up his marbles and taking them to the other party, as Jim Jeffords did. (READ MORE)

Melanie Phillips: A voice of decency - Such is the scale and ferocity of the British media propaganda onslaught on Israel that the sane and sensible piece by Robin Shepherd in yesterday’s Times was as unexpected as a rose on a dunghill. Writing about the obsessive desire to beat the Jewish state with any stick availablehe noted: “Apologists for extremism had long argued that occupation rather than ideology was the ‘root cause’ of terrorism. Terrorism would therefore cease once occupation ended. That argument has now been conclusively defeated. Since Israel withdrew, Palestinian militants have fired more than 4,000 rockets from Gaza at Israeli civilian targets. Now, there is not a state in the world that could ignore this kind of barrage. So what were the options?” (READ MORE)

ShrinkWrapped: Amoral Morality - Every once in a while the utter bankruptcy of our current cultural elite's infatuation with moral relativism and post-modernism is revealed in some unexpected way. We have all become familiar with the "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" nonsense, but sometimes the vapidity and internal contradictions that underly such malevolent memes becomes unmistakable. I have always loved the movies. I still enjoy a good movie though have less and less time and inclination to go to the theater. This is a function of preferring to watch movies at home and the failure of Hollywood to have much of interest to say. However, I still read movie reviews hoping to find a gem or two amidst the fluff. (READ MORE)

ROFASix: My Banned Image - The original image to my 13 Jan 2008 post was banned by the image hosting service. I assume someone complained that it was offensive to Muslims. The hosting service's terms of service say that 'offensive' images will be banned. Of course, 'offensive' is often like beauty. One may not be able to describe it, but they know it when they see it. That is what makes it so difficult to define. The banned image of a plate of bacon and eggs, contained the comment that "Today at Breakfast, I saw an image of the Prophet in a piece of bacon, but was afraid to say anything." It was a reaction to the continued media reluctance to take on the issue. The fact that it was banned is offensive to those who do not agree that it is acceptable to riot, burn, pillage and murder over depictions and images. (READ MORE)

Right Wing Nut House: FLIRTING WITH OBAMANIA - Watching Barack Obama during the debate last night I was struck by the notion that here indeed, the torch of leadership was being passed to a new generation of Democrats. In many ways, it’s the same coalition of unions, special interest groups, and race and class warriors who have dominated the left since the 60’s that make up the bulk of Obama’s supporters. But there is a decidedly centrist thrust to his candidacy – a welcome rejection of some of the outward manifestations of New Left politics in favor of a more inclusive, less abrasive style of governance. (READ MORE)

The Redhunter: Max Boot: Perspective on Iraq - The title of Max Boot's latest piece in The Weekly Standard says it all: “We Are Winning. We Haven't Won. America has a chance at a historic victory in Iraq, but only if we don't pull out too many forces too soon.” Boot is just back from an 11 day tour across central and northern Iraq. I think his report is pretty honest, as he tells the good, the bad, and the ugly. First, though I think it useful to provide a map so that you can somewhat trace where he went. Multi-National Force Iraq (MNF-Iraq) has divided it's commands into Areas of Responsibility (AORs). I cannot find a map that shows the various AORs, but if you reference the organization page of the MNF-Iraq website you can figure things out. (READ MORE)

Darleen Click @ Protein Wisdom: Election 2008 - the supremacy of feelings - As Karl points out, Republicans are having as many problems with reality as Democrats where it concerns what they feel is their candidate’s positions and what those positions actually are. The willfull suspension of disbelief in what McCain’s historical behavior towards conservatives even after his crude and dishonest performance at the last debate at the Reagan library is jaw dropping. On the other side, the Democrat debate at the Kodac Theater overshadowed an earlier appearance by Obama in East Los Angeles, where this Paragon of Post-Racialist campaigning gave a speech that fairly reeked of race-baiting in timehonored, old-school Demagogueryocrat stumping. (READ MORE)

Scott Johnson: Tom Lipscomb sets the record straight - Thomas Lipscomb is Senior Fellow at the Heartland Institute and an investigative reporter who covered the questions regarding John Kerry's military record for the Chicago Sun-Times and the New York Sun during the 2004 election. Tom has forwarded us a copy of his letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal regarding the Swift Boat Vets in response to the January 31 column cited in the first sentence of his letter: "While outlining what he believed was "Hillary's Smear Campaign" of his candidate for President, Barack Obama, former independent prosecutor Michael Zeldin engaged in a little smear campaign of his own." (READ MORE)

Little Green Footballs: The End of the Waterboarding Controversy? - Andrew McCarthy makes a great point about the absurdly inflated waterboarding controversy. “Let’s take a step back. Credible reporting — which is not addressed in the attorney general’s letter — indicates that waterboarding has been used on no more than three of the thousands of detainees the United States has held, long and short term, since military operations against radical Islam began over six years ago. Assuming (as I do), that it was used on those three (all top-tier al-Qaeda operatives), the same credible reporting also tells us the tactic has not been used in over four years.” (READ MORE)

Knee Deep in the Hooah!: Busy Little Buzzards! - Thank you to “Aubrey” for THIS link to the video I reference in this post, and for the note telling me about it. It was a very timely note for sure. This is not the first rant, nor will it be the last, about our media’s infatuation with dead or whacked out movie stars. I would love to rant about all of the reasons why they seem to love to feed off of the dead in this ghoulish game of gossip, death and sexy stories of drug overdoses, suicide, or other various and sundry ways lives have tragically ended. Surely we must have some incredibly important reason to do this, right? Surely the media is justified in saying that they are only giving the public what they want (I agree with Williams in the clip — who is really the cart and who is really the horse here?) (READ MORE)

Yankeemom: Dishonesty - I’m sitting here in my comfy warm livingroom with the fire in the woodstove burning nicely. As I sit here, I’m thinking of all the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan on guard duty, patrols, convoys and allnighters in CASH. I think of them missing their families and their friends and waiting for their tour to be over so they can come home. Even with all the difficulties and constant threat of deadly attacks, each and every one of them get up, get into their battle rattle (which includes at least an extra 60 lbs of equipment) and do their job every day and every night. (READ MORE)

Noah Shachtman: Big Crackdown in Store for Military Nets? - There may be proponents of soldier blogging in the top brass. But, unfortunately, they appear to be losing the argument. The info security absolutists are beating the sensible like a goat-skin conga. Federal Computer Week recently reported that the Pentagon was leaning towards white-listing -- " policy that would banish all traffic not proven to be purely official DOD business from its networks," -- as a way to shore up its computer security. (Never mind that such site blocks, arbitrary or poorly placed, keep people ignorant.) There is a happy medium to be found between sound information security and the successful information operations we need to compete with global guerrillas. (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: Signal to noise - There's a thread that runs through these articles. Obama's Nation of Islam Staffers, Obama’s Muslim Summit, As Campaign Surges, Obama Working to Quell Jewish Fears. The answer to what the common thread is may appear "obvious". But it only appears so. Many of the answers given will actually be different. For some the articles represent "swiftboating". Still others will think they are indications of a debate between competing voting blocs in the electorate. There will be some who will say the articles are about race, or Islamophobia, or about AIPAC. (READ MORE)

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