February 4, 2008

Web Reconnaissance for 02/04/2008

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)
Equity and Health Care - Democrats, and even a few Republicans, are in a populist mood, and fair enough. But if they really want the tax code to be more "progressive" -- i.e., from each according to his means -- they ought to forget the Bush tax cuts and address the way the government subsidizes health insurance. On the advice of our doctors, we're not holding our breath. (READ MORE)

The Color of Charity - Just when we thought we'd heard everything from the diversity police, here they come trying to prescribe even the color of charity. The California Assembly last week passed a bill sponsored by state Representative Joe Coto to require foundations with assets of more than $250 million to disclose the race, gender and sexual orientation of their trustees, staff, and even grantees. Look for this to arrive in a legislature near you. (READ MORE)

HUD Chief Accused of Retaliation - Housing Secretary Alphonso Jackson demanded that the Philadelphia Housing Authority transfer a $2 million public property to a developer at a substantial discount, then retaliated against the housing authority when it refused to do so, a recent court filing alleges. (READ MORE)

Al-Qaeda Commander Moved Freely in Pakistan - PESHAWAR, Pakistan, Feb. 3 -- A Libyan al-Qaeda commander who was killed last week in northwestern Pakistan had lived there for years and, despite a $200,000 U.S. bounty on his head, felt secure enough to meet officials and visit hospitals, according to officials and residents of this city. (READ MORE)

Egyptians Reseal Border, Cutting Access From Gaza - GAZA CITY, Feb. 3 -- Egyptian construction workers in blue hard hats rolled barbed wire across the last breaches of the Gaza Strip's border wall with Egypt on Sunday, reasserting Egyptian control of the frontier after Palestinian guerrillas used explosives and machinery to knock down the barrier. (READ MORE)

Obama pulls even in California - The Democratic race is in a dead heat in California, the most important and competitive contest on Super Tuesday, an indication the nomination battle will stretch far beyond tomorrow. (READ MORE)

McCain, Romney fight for the right - Sen. John McCain yesterday called for tax cuts for everybody, while his chief rival for the Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, said Mr. McCain has been closer to the Democrats on tax cuts and a host of other issues during his career. (READ MORE)

Lack of right punch could cost McCain - Sen. John McCain might more or less wrap up the Republican presidential nomination tomorrow on Super Tuesday but will come up short in November's general election if he does not quickly convince skeptical conservatives that henceforth he will walk with them, some key Republicans say. (READ MORE)

Teams work to rebuild Afghanistan - With vast swathes of the Afghan countryside slipping under the sway of insurgent groups, the U.S. military is attaching new interest and urgency to the work of the 25 Provincial Reconstruction Teams charged with bringing development to the country. (READ MORE)

From the Front:
Desert Dude: 3 February - SUPERBOWL SUNDAY … well, not for us… the game won’t be on until about 0400 Monday morning here…no missions tomorrow so a lot of people are just staying up all night to catch the game…they will be showing it at the chow hall and the little MWR building…some people went to Jalalabad today and brought back some Pizza Hut… they just opened the Pizza Hut trailer there…literally, a trailer-the kind that’s pulled behind a truck… (READ MORE)

Defiant Compliance: Why? - Two mentally disabled women were strapped with explosives Friday and sent into busy Baghdad markets, where they were blown up by remote control, a top Iraqi government official said. The bombs killed at least 98 people and wounded more than 200 at two popular pet markets on the holiest day of the week for Muslims, authorities said. In both bombings, the attackers were mentally disabled women whose explosive belts were remotely detonated, Gen. Qasim Atta, spokesman for Baghdad's security plan, told state television. (READ MORE)

Bill and Bob's Excellent Afghan Adventure: Nighttime In Shades Of Green - I stand on the metal roof of a district center in a small town in eastern Afghanistan. The sun has just gone down, and the chill in the January air is cutting. I am warm, though. The Army-issue cold weather system components that I am wearing are doing their job. I'm glad that I changed my socks just prior to climbing the 2x4 homemade ladder to the exposed metal roof. (READ MORE)

Bill and Bob's Excellent Afghan Adventure: The Wuliswahl And The Principals - I've posted twice today... things I wrote while I was downrange and brought back on my thumb drive. We brought a few bags of HA (Humanitarian Assistance.) The bags contain small book bags with school supplies, which we have given to the ANP to distribute to the local schools. I have an enormous soft spot in my heart for Afghan children, one that is not wholly shared by the young MP's who accompany us to train the ANP. (READ MORE)

Badger 6: I Don't Understand AAFES - AAFES, the Army Air Force Exchange Service. I don't "get" them. I know their "profits" are supposed to go to help MWR (Morale Welfare and Recreation) activities, but there is a certain sense of unreality in dealing with them at least if you are comparing the organiztaion to a regular for profit store at home. The Badger parents bought me a nice Casio EX-S600 camera for mobilization and deployment. I really like this camera. This camera has been through a rotation at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, mobilization at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, Kuwait, Ar Ramadi and Al Falluja, Iraq and now on its second tour of Iraq. (READ MORE)

Babylon & Beyond: Oil and blood - Marines are convinced that the insurgency in Anbar province is largely funded by profits from oil smuggling. And, to make things more complicated, they say some of the smuggling is done by tribes friendly to the U.S. and hostile to the insurgency. The tribes sell purloined oil to others in a chain of business deals, and the insurgency ends up making a profit, too. One of the problems, Marines say, is that the tribes see this kind of oil trade as natural, and not at all illegal. (READ MORE)

ETT PA-C: Grateful to be in a Box - So, I was minding my own business today, taking care of business around the camp before heading to our local Log base to pick up my new Humvee. More to follow on that! So, nice and sunny until we got ready to leave then it blew in. Holy scheizer! By the time we got back tonight the winds had kicked up to the point that the tin was pulling off the roof of the shelters separating the shipping containers that we live in. The tin was coming off with enough force to cut someone in half....not kidding. So, I'm glad to live in a shipping container and not in the wooden huts like the enlisted guys! I'm not so sure that one of those things couldn't shear the plywood they live in. Now if I could do something about the water leaking all over my friggin room! (READ MORE)

all expenses paid afghan vacation: the CIB - Last week we had our monthly “town hall” meeting for our PRT, where our commander ususally puts out new information, addresses any problems going on, rumors are put to rest (I swear the rumors that fly around here are worse than a group of kids in junior high), and awards are often given out. There were quite a few awards this time, mainly from the events that happened back in November which I wrote about, where we caught and detained a few high value Taliban, and then later about how on another day some faceless cowards tried to blow up one of the trucks in our convoy during a rotation at our outpost. (READ MORE)

LT Nixon: Generation 9/11 vs. Generation Worthless - Well, it's actually Groundhog Day today. The big joke for us staff weenies is that everyday is Groundhog Day, since nothing ever changes. The same powerpoints, the same reports, the same emails, the same food...the same. I frequently hear people humming the Sonny and Bono tune "I got you Babe" in reference to the hilarious Bill Murray movie. I feel comfortable in my T-walled off existence and shouldn't be bitching, since sometimes things staying the same can be good. Converse to this, change can be bad and I would like to voice my complaints about something that has changed for the worse. Recently, there was an article in Time magazine entitled "The Year of the Youth Vote", which discussed the relation of college students to our current political diatribe and ultimately the future of the country. This reminded me of a similar article I read many years ago in Newsweek, which was published shortly after 9/11, called "Generation 9/11". (READ MORE)

Kaboom: A Soldier's War Journal: A Soundtrack to War - After perusing the greater world wide web, and surfing some other war blogs, I’ve come to understand that a blatant contribution to this community that Kaboom lacks is a music playlist that the Gravediggers use to get pumped up for missions. Straight auditory stimulation, Homz. So, in an attempt to rectify this glorious misstep, and to better depict the atmosphere of my platoon before, during, and after mission execution, I bring to you this: Gravediggers Mix Tape, Volume I. Be advised, this is no normal Army sampling of straight death metal rock – my guys are an eclectic mix of killers, clowns, lovers, and good ole’ boys. Hemingway wrote that war brought out the bare spirit of all men, and if their musical tastes are any clue, such a statement resonates with validity, even today, through us. (READ MORE)

Kaboom: A Soldier's War Journal: Mob War - “Gravedigger 1, ‘dis uhh, Gravedigger 2.” SSG Bulldog’s deep Southern drawl crackled over the radio net. My senior scout’s distinctively baritone and oft-imitated twang dripped with perplexity. “Send it 2,” I responded. “’Deres … well … I don’ t really know how to say this, so I’m just gonna say it. Dere’s a dog at the car ‘dat blew up last night. And he’s licking something, all crazy-like. Prolly whatever’s left.” “What?” I knew the answer to my question as I asked it, more shocked than horrified. “Yep. I’d say it’s confirmed. Gravedigger 1, ‘da dog be eatin’ Boss Johnson. Or what’s left of him.” (READ MORE)

Jason's Iraq Vacation: and now, for some news commentary - I was on my front porch, sipping my morning latte and reading my copy of The Washington Post, when I couldn't help but feel some annoying, gnawing uneasiness come over me. I tried to put my finger on it and couldn't; as I skimmed over the article I was reading again, it hit me - everyone has gone insane. Or, quite possibly, I have gone insane, seeing as how there is no front porch, morning latte, or hard copy of the Post. I did, however, read some articles today that are just making me scratch my head in bewilderment. I started with this piece about some mythical debate on a pause in troop cuts. (READ MORE)

IraqPundit: Lost in Characterization - The 2008 presidential campaign started several years ago, right? Yet with Super Tuesday staring U.S. voters in the face, a series of sometimes surprising questions about the remaining candidates’ characters have emerged, complicating the political plot for Americans, Iraqis, Afghans, and everybody else. A prime example comes from Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria, who writes: "This is the problem with Hillary Clinton. She is highly intelligent, has real experience and is an attractive candidate. But she is terrified to act on her beliefs." Hillary's terrified? I swear that's a quote. (READ MORE)

Iraq: The Purgatorium: The Downward Spiral - One year ago, we were nervous and excited and apprehensive. Ready to do this. Green as snot. We jumped through training hoops at Fort Lewis, counting down months. This epic THING looming in front of us, like it was some kind of tidal wave we were waiting to catch. Before we knew it, they stuffed us on buses and into airplanes and flew us to the other side of the planet, jet-lagged and confused as shit, dog-tired and sick of travel, SICK of fucking waiting and stopping and going, sitting on duffel bags. Not knowing what to expect. We spent a few weeks in Kuwait, adjusting to the heat, preparing for our next push into theater, just more waiting, all of it, more headgames. (READ MORE)

LTC Rich Phillips: Update to "The Blizzard of '08" - Yesterday, (was it just yesterday?) 2 Feb 08 was a long day.Late in the evening of 1 Feb the snow started. The wind had been blowing all day, a cold, clear day. As the clouds rolled in and the snow started we all knew it would be a long night, and a long day the next day. All night long I listened to the wind blowing, 30 to 50 miles an hours, according to reports. I could hear the snow driven against the side of my aluminum trailer, but there was nothing to do except wait until the morning to see what damage was done. I was particularly concerned for my Jordanian friends who were living in less than ideal conditions with a generator that has seen better days. I awoke sometime in the middle of the night to hear the wind howling and snow still falling. I decided to peak outside to see how much snow had fallen. I could not open my door! The snow had piled so high outside my door that I could not easily open it. (READ MORE)

Those Wacky Iraqis: Saudi Arabia - Lots of folks have commented that they think I am bored or just can't stand not being part of the big grind and that this is why I am going to Saudi Arabia. Not true. I am thoroughly enjoying being off for the first time in years and really have no desire to go anywhere right now. If I go for 60-90 days I can make enough money to put a really bitchin deck in the back yard with a built in kitchen and teak cover over it. (READ MORE)

Yellowhammering Afghanistan: Recognizing evil - We are told we should not think of the Global War on Terror in moral terms, that this is not a "religious war." And that is certainly the case. The U.S. and its allies are not out to remove or change Islam and replace it with Christianity. But our enemy is evil. Terrorists are evil. That is not a moral judgment on my part. That is a fact that anyone with a basic sense of right and wrong could discern. (READ MORE)

The Angry American: Laid to Rest - Duncan was laid to rest on Febuary 2nd in Denver. The Denver Post covered the service. The Patriot Guard was out in full effect. I have never been to a service in the states, my wife has gone and she said that the support from the Patriot Guard is amazing. These Patriots provide escorts for Soldiers, and Marines coming home to be laid to rest and there show of force from what I understand is awe inspiring. I received a comment in Rest In Peace Crookston from Nightsapper and he said- "Snowed 2 inches overnight - fresh white blanket on the ground. Cleared off for sunny blue sky for the funeral and cemetary. Clouded up afterwards. Just shows that God looks after His own.Patriot Guard Riders, VFW and Legion all there. No protesters.Your bro and his family & friends were well looked after by us Veterans there and along the way. We got your back, here in Colorado.CTM and get home safe as you can.Hooah" (READ MORE)

Michael J. Totten: The Final Mission, Part II - FALLUJAH – The United States military plans to formerly hand over Anbar Province to the Iraqis this spring because the insurgency truly is finished in that part of the country. Most Americans have heard about the success in this province by now, but few seem to be aware that the cities of Anbar were the scenes of the most ferocious fighting: Ramadi, Haditha, and – worst of all – Fallujah. The Americans in Fallujah are focused now on what they expect to be their last mission: the training of the Iraqi Police to replace the Marines. Optimism and cynicism exist side by side. All the Americans I spoke to said the Iraqi Police are improving. Most are cautiously optimistic about their ability to stand on their own – later. Hope comes naturally in Fallujah right now because even this place, of all places, is peaceful and quiet. But a substantial minority has serious reservations after spending some quality time with Iraqis. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Hillary Clinton: My Plan for Shared Prosperity - Throughout my campaign, I have been listening to the voices of people across America. I met one man who told me, "I don't know what I did wrong. I got my education and I worked hard. I've been at the same company for 12 years now, but I've just been asked to train my successor because my job is moving to another country." Another woman said to me, "I just can't make ends meet. My health care premiums have doubled, college tuition is up. How am I supposed to make it as a single mom?" (READ MORE)

Janet Napolitano, Kathleen Sebelius and Claire McCaskill: The Obama Opportunity - Once in a generation, an opportunity comes along -- not just for the Democratic Party, but for the United States of America -- to build a new majority for change. Barack Obama's candidacy offers us that opportunity. As Democrats, and as Americans, we must seize it. This moment in history is marked by the magnitude of our challenges. Our nation is fighting a war in Iraq that has made us less safe. (READ MORE)

Steven G. Calabresi and John O. McGinnis: McCain and the Supreme Court - The conservative movement has made enormous gains over the past three decades in restoring constitutional government. The Roberts Supreme Court shows every sign of building on these gains. Yet the gulf between Democratic and Republican approaches to constitutional law and the role of the federal courts is greater than at any time since the New Deal. (READ MORE)

Mary Anastasia O'Grady: Desperado - In 1981, Argentine inflation topped 130%, and by the early months of 1982 the situation was rapidly deteriorating. A web of price controls designed to compensate for monetary mischief at the central bank only made things worse. Confidence had collapsed and civil unrest was growing. The military government's decision to lay claim to Britain's South Georgia Island on March 19, 1982, and later the Falklands, was dictator Leopoldo Galtieri's last-ditch effort to boost the nation's sense of strength, and to distract it from the reality that it was caught in an economic maelstrom. (READ MORE)

Burt Prelutsky: Come to the Aid of the Party - If he had thrown his hat in the ring, my first choice for president would have been Newt Gingrich, probably the smartest guy in politics. I still hope that whoever gets elected this November will make Gingrich his secretary of state. But we don’t live in a perfect world so, several months ago, I came out in favor of Rudy Giuliani. My main reason for doing so was that I trusted him to deal in a serious way with our Islamic enemies. Unlike, say, George Bush, who couldn’t say enough nice things about Muhammad’s religion, Rudy didn’t seem to think he had to pussyfoot around the subject for fear of being politically incorrect. (READ MORE)

Suzanne Fields: Don't Mess With Mr. In-Between: The Purveyors of Gloom and Doom are Wrong - Life is never as stark and simple as the politicians paint it. Only incumbents can campaign on how great things are going. Change sells as a moving force because it promises something better. Even conservatives, eager to conserve and protect the good things of the past, argue for improving things at home and abroad. But nobody wants to charge headlong into the unknown. Criticisms and predictions carry risks. Silver linings tarnish, and the pot of gold disappears as the rainbow vanishes. The iron law of unintended consequences usually means the cure was at least as bad as the disease, and sometimes worse. (READ MORE)

Star Parker: Hillary's Plantation Politics - Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, in their first one-on-one debate, in Los Angeles, were asked at the outset to distinguish themselves from each other. The question was motivated legitimately by a sense that there is really very little difference between these two liberal Democrats. Both noted a key difference in their approach to health care. Each wants extensive government regulation. But Clinton wants federal government mandates to force individuals to buy her plan and Obama rejects individual mandates. (READ MORE)

Hank Adler: Complete The Mission in Bagdad – Withdraw From Berkeley, California - The Berkeley California City Council has stated that the U.S. Marines recruiting center is not welcome in the city “due to their discriminatory policy against gays and lesbians in the military”. Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, said, "I believe in the Code Pink cause. The Marines don't belong here, they shouldn't have come here, and they should leave." This issue was on the agenda for the Berkeley’s City Council meeting of January 29, 2008 and was accompanied by a unanimously adopted report by Berkeley’s Peace and Justice Commission that included the following “Whereas’s” (without the civil code references): (READ MORE)

Mike S. Adams: My Unsolicited Thoughts on N.C. State - Recently, North Carolina State University celebrated the opening of its new Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) Center. Located on the first floor of the Talley Student Center, it is supposed to focus on “educating” the university community and serving as a “support system” for people of different “sexual orientations” and “gender identities.” This is presumably because GLBT people (whom I refer to as Gilberts) are emotionally fragile and need psychological support and constant affirmation by straight liberals. Dr. Jose Picart, NC State's vice provost for diversity and African-American affairs, recently admitted that diversity is not always “harmonious.” (READ MORE)

W. Thomas Smith, Jr: Hezbollah trying to demoralize the Lebanese Army - Arrest warrants were issued Saturday for 11 Lebanese soldiers over the shooting deaths of several Hezbollah and Amal rioters during last week’s clashes in Beirut (the clashes instigated by Hezbollah, which also spread to other areas around the country). Six civilians were also arrested and charged with, among other things, “bearing unlicensed firearms.” Investigations continue, more arrests will probably follow, and Mahmoud Koumati, the deputy commander of Hezbollah’s political-wing, has called for the execution of anyone found guilty. (READ MORE)

Augean Stables: Pallywood in Two Acts- Last Week in Gaza - Hamas’ manipulation of the international media to score PR points continues, becoming ever more brazen with each successful effort. They are becoming experts in the field, and they know it. This week was a perfect display of the propaganda skills that Hamas has acquired to augment its growing military capacity. Act One was Hamas’ shutting off of power to Gaza City. Israel had reduced Gaza’s fuel supply in response to the tens of rockets Hamas fired daily from the Gaza Strip. Hamas saw an opportunity to embarrass Israel and set up Act Two, the mass exodus into Egypt. The media snatched up the narrative of innocent Gazan civilians sentenced to the dark and cold because of Israel’s ‘collective punishment’. (READ MORE)

The Wolf @ Blackfive: He HAD Options- And Chose the Honorable One... - When I read about the idiots who claim that the only people that join the military "have no other options" and then read about soldiers such as 19-yr old Duncan Crookston, I want to go all postal on them. Crookston was laid to rest today at Ft Logan National Cemetery here in Colorado after succumbing to injuries suffered in an IED explosion in Baghdad. His story is uplifting- how he had the grades and scores to attend Ivy-league schools, but chose the military instead, hoping to become a Ranger. They promoted him to Corporal posthumously. He has joined the Brotherhood above, and I hope that Maj Rogers has taken him under wing... Godspeed, Cpl Crookston- (READ MORE)

Sachi: Japan Looks to the Wrong America - For a long time, I've been wondering about the growing anti-American sentiment among Japanese conservatives. I can understand Japanese liberals not liking the sole remaining world super power; they think even Japan is too militaristic for simply refueling and resupplying American warships. But why Japanese conservatives? Discounting those old (physically or mentally) right-wingers who have still not forgiven us for defeating Japan in the last war, Japanese conservatives are religious (Shinto or Buddhist), patriotic (for Japan), and believe in strong military. They have a lot in common with the American people. So why do they seem to have nothing but contempt for us? (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: "You can't do this to me! I'm an American" - Berkeley has called for ouster of the Marine Corps from "its borders". The council also voted to allow members of Code Pink, the protest group that helped organize Friday's blockade, to park at a designated space in front of the recruiting office every Wednesday afternoon and operate a loudspeaker. The council's action apparently made Berkeley the first city in the nation to call for the ouster of a military recruiting station from its borders. ... Conservative blogs blasted the council and Berkeley in general all day with comments such as one on "Gathering of Eagles": "These cretins disgust me." (READ MORE)

Blonde Sagacity: More Bull In Berkeley & A Senator With Balls - First I wanted to acknowledge Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina and his swiftness in drafting legislation that would "cut $2.1 million in federal funding to Berkeley in a current congressional budget bill and transfer the money to the Marine Corps. The funding would include $750,000 for prospective ferry service, $87,000 for the Berkeley Unified School District nutrition education fund and $243,000 for the Chez Panisse Foundation, which promotes nutritional awareness in school lunch programs. "The First Amendment gives the city of Berkeley the right to be idiotic, but from now on they should do it with their own money," DeMint said in a statement. (READ MORE)

The Captain's Journal: Doctrinal Confusion in COIN: What do you do when your forces no longer want to fight? - FM 3-24 is a fine addition to counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine, and should be studied by all aspiring military leaders and strategists. Two problems become apparent when COIN doctrine is applied in theater. The first problem is the belief that the doctrine outlined in any single text or system is comprehensive. This view can be characterized as the ‘either-or’ belief. Common to this view is the tendency to find a single “center of gravity” in COIN. If the center of gravity is the population, it is said, kinetic operations take second place to non-kinetic operations. The second problem is one that teachers in just about every endeavor know all too well: the student is oftentimes more extreme than the teacher. (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: Jeff Jacoby Plays Name That Conservative - With Super Tuesday less than 24 hours away, expect a great deal of hyperbole and alarmism from secondaries and surrogates in both parties and for all four major frontrunners. The press of over 20 states all conducting their contests simultaneously has increased the pressure for people to make their messages heard over the din, and it has already caused more than a few of them to lose all sense of perspective. Jeff Jacoby brings us back to earth with a simple game of Name That Conservative: (READ MORE)

Discerning Texan: MUST READ: Treason at the State Department. (REAL Treason) - Wow. Just wow. I have been reading several stories which have come out in the last fortnight, and what appears to be hiding behind Door Number Three is one of the biggest--and most damaging--cases of treason in the history of the US. During (you guessed it) the Clinton years. There is an FBI translator named Siebel Edmonds who is apparently telling a very complex tale--with names, dates, and particulars--which implicates senior members of the US State Department, and also DoD and CIAemployees are implicated as well). And what they gave away may be worse than all of the previous US traitors' efforts combined. (READ MORE)

Flopping Aces: Global Warming: Case Closed? - As I have said before, basic science and liberals, apparently the twain shall never meet. Global warming has sadly been the subject of so much hot air (sorry, I can’t resist) and become so politicized that the subject is now close to religious doctrine. My own personal theory was that since it is the sun’s radiation that powers our climate, it would make sense to study the sun and look at other planets to see if there have been any fluctuations with their weather cycle which would provide evidence on why our own is changing. And not surprisingly, there is some useful data out there that the MSM is conveniently ignoring. (READ MORE)

Don Surber: McCain = Bush - That may explain why conservatives are balking. I tried to explain the other day that McCain-Feingold did not become law because of John McCain. A Republican Senate and a Republican Congress and a Republican president made this possible. And that, dear friends, is who conservatives really don’t like. As Bill Quick eloquently put it:“Every time I post something about the problem for liberty-minded conservatives with the direction the Republican Party has been taking since the first George Bush administration, I get a lot of pushback that can generally be divided into two types.” (READ MORE)

Jihad Watch: UK police bug Muslim MP in meeting with jihadist; uproar ensues - The uproar, of course, is over the police bugging the Member of Parliament, not over the fact that a Member of Parliament is making repeated visits to a jailed jihadist. Jihad Watch reader Martin, who sent me this story, notes that a friend of the MP, Sadiq Khan, asks: "If he was not a Muslim MP would they be doing this? If it had been some ordinary white middle-class MP, would they have been bugged?" Martin notes that "one can naturally re-phrase the question: 'If he was not a Muslim MP -- and also not a personal friend of the man wanted extradited by the US for setting up a US-registered website to encourage Muslims to raise funds for Taliban murderers, would that MP have even visited Ahmed in jail?" Good question. (READ MORE)

Raymond Ibrahim: Terrorists die but ideology lives - Will the recent killing in Pakistan of “senior” Al Qaeda leader, Abu Laith al-Libi, have any tangible affects on the “war on terror”? Considering the headline news coverage, one might assume so. In fact, whenever any major Al Qaeda operative or leader is slain, the media is abuzz with it, implying that we are one step closer to eradicating Al Qaeda’s terror. But will the death of al-Libi—or any other Islamist leader—make any difference at all? There was, for instance, all the hubbub surrounding the killing of the head-chopping Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, nearly two years ago. (READ MORE)

neo-neocon: Conservatives jump the shark: party purity über alles - Take a look at the comments responding to Ed Morrissey’s post asking whether Ann Coulter jumped the shark when she said she’d be campaigning for Hillary if McCain is nominated. They prove—as if we needed any proof—that the conservative base can be just as emotional, doctrinaire, rigid, deluded, selfish, and self-immolating as any liberal ever was. Not every comment falls into those categories, of course. There’s a heated back-and forth between those who suffer from McCain Derangement Syndrome and those who are cautioning pragmatism. But there are enough examples of that first group to give one pause. (READ MORE)

Scott Johnson: Speaking of Islam - Modern liberalism emerged out of the religious wars of the sixteenth and seventeenth century. Sectarian religiuos differences had to be removed from the political process. Political philosophers advocated the subordination of religion and recognition of the rights of the individual, including rights of speech and conscience. One can see their handiwork in the Constitution and the thought that led to the debates that led to the adoption of the Constitution. Harry Jaffa provides an extremely abbreviated lesson in the fundamentals here, including this observation: (READ MORE)

John Hinderaker: No Third Term For Bill - The elephant in the room, with respect to Hillary Clinton's candidacy, is the prospect of Bill Clinton returning to the White House for a third term. I've long believed that the more voters focus on the ill-defined role that Bill would play in an ostensible Hillary Presidency, the more uncomfortable they will become with the arrangement. That view gains support from a recent Pew survey, as reported on by the New York Times: Fewer Want Bill Clinton Back in the White House. Bill's visible role in the campaign last month apparently prompted some respondents to consider the reality of what electing Hillary would imply: (READ MORE)

Mark Steyn: First They Came for Piglet - My favorite headline of the year so far comes from The Daily Mail in Britain: "Government Renames Islamic Terrorism As 'Anti-Islamic Activity' To Woo Muslims." Her Majesty's Government is not alone in feeling it's not always helpful to link Islam and the, ah, various unpleasantnesses with suicide bombers and whatnot. Even in his cowboy Crusader heyday, President Bush liked to cool down the crowd with a lot of religion-of-peace stuff. But the British have now decided that kind of mealy-mouthed "respect" is no longer sufficient. So, henceforth, any terrorism perpetrated by persons of an Islamic persuasion will be designated "anti-Islamic activity." (READ MORE)

Ilya Somin: Academics' Political Views and the Impact of Political Ignorance - Various commenters on my posts on political ignorance raise the issue of academics' political views (which, of course, tend to be very left-wing relatively to the general population). Ironically, liberal commenters claim that this proves that increased political knowledge won't make people more libertarian, while some conservative ones claim it proves that political knowledge doesn't actually lead to better judgment on political issues (because the supposedly highly knowledgeable academics hold what these commenters see as foolish views). Both claims are flawed because both implicitly assume that academics are a representative sample of well-informed voters. This is simply not true. If you take the top 5% of the electorate in terms of political knowledge, or even the top 1%, academics will be only a small fraction of the total. (READ MORE)

Words from Warriors: The Rift - I don’t know how widespread it is or how deep and broad, but from my own casual observations I sense a definite rift between the military and the citizens we serve. I was reminded of it yet again the other day during one of my “gym conversations” with an American civilian who has never “served.” The things he said, the resentful unsympathetic feelings he espoused towards veterans remind me of some of the conversations my dad brought home with him from his fellow GM factory workers after he retired from the Air Force in 1971. (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: Suicide bombing in Rawalpindi kills 10 - The Pakistani military garrison city of Rawalpindi has been hit with yet another suicide attack. Ten Pakistanis were killed after a suicide bomber on a motorcycle rammed into a bus carrying military personnel. This is the latest in a series of strikes in the city since the summer of 2007. The blast took place during rush hour on a road passing through a crowded market in Rawalpindi. The bus was carrying personnel from the Army Medical Corps. Six soldiers and four civilians were reported killed and 25 more were wounded. Today's attack was the sixth strike targeting military and political leaders in the garrison city of Rawalpindi since July 2007. (READ MORE)

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