February 11, 2008

Web Reconnaissance for 02/11/2008

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)
Potomac Primaries in Spotlight - The usual slow pace of a Sunday was on hold yesterday for high-profile politicians across the region, who were called upon to visit churches, shopping malls and anywhere else they could find voters and win support for their presidential candidate in the Virginia, Maryland and D.C. primaries tomorrow. (READ MORE)

Clinton Replaces Campaign Chief - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday replaced her presidential campaign manager just before tomorrow's Potomac primaries, while rival Sen. Barack Obama completed his sweep of the five weekend nominating contests. (READ MORE)

Iraq Aside, Dems Mum on Foreign Policy - The campaign combat on national security issues between Democratic Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama has focused mostly on Iraq, with little public discussion about how each would reshape foreign policy if one of them becomes president. (READ MORE)

Afghan Governor Hailed as Positive Step - The U.S. military thinks it finally has a governor with whom it can work in Kunar province, after a succession of incompetent and corrupt chief executives. (READ MORE)

Britain Hopeful of Type 1 Diabetes 'Cure' - Clinical trials of an injection of insulin-creating cells taken from a donor have been so successful the British government has agreed to fund a $14 million national program to offer it more widely. (READ MORE)

Wiretap Showdown - The Senate takes up wiretapping of foreign terrorists this week, and the stakes couldn't be higher. Not only for the ability of our spooks to eavesdrop on al Qaeda, but also regarding Congressional and judicial intrusion into Presidential war powers. Some damage seems certain, but the issue is how much damage President Bush will accept. (READ MORE)

Head Scarves and Liberty - When Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited us in New York a few years ago, he said his daughters chose to study in the U.S. in part because it was illegal to wear head scarves at Turkish universities. Saturday, Turkey's Parliament voted to lift that ban. (READ MORE)

McCalifornia - Now that John McCain is close to wrapping up the GOP Presidential nod, the same people who endorsed his opponents are saying he needs to become more restrictionist on immigration for the general election. We'd direct readers to last week's California primary exit poll, which offers better advice. (READ MORE)

From the Front:
never as funny the second time...: could’ve been better… - i’m officially back in the office now, and settled back into the soul-crushing routine of life in Baghdad, so i guess it’s time to share the high points of my vacation in Athens, and make snide, sarcastic comments about a culture that is different from mine. but i promise it will be funny… i’ll start with a quick list - Top Ten Things I Learned in Athens: 10) if Rick Astley or The Pet Shop Boys ever put together a comeback tour, it will start in Greece. 9) fanny packs never went out of style, they were all mailed to Greece. (READ MORE)

Sergeant Grumpy: Boom stick - I have had spotty internet for a while now, so even getting e-mail has been a challenge, never mind posting. But it looks like that has been fixed, so I will attempt to get caught up. We finally had birds accompany us on mission this past week, no weather or mechanical problems. Everything went so smooth, I actually have nothing Grumpy to say about it. We also spent time shooting, one of the fringe benefits of the Army if you enjoy it. And being in Iraq, I can go to the range anytime I have time (which is less often than I'd like) and feel like it. (READ MORE)

Iraq: The Purgatorium: Shorter, Shorter Still - I'm out and walking about, back to the same grind, the same routine, the skipping record patrol patrol pa-pa-patrol trol trol trolllllllllll. It's a nice day, perfect weather for suicide vests, they warn. Don't let 'em too close. And there I am, climbing across the ramp while it's still lowering, the big green monster shitting another soldier out onto the streets. We walk along the road, and I start to wonder just what the fuck we're supposed to do if someone IS wearing an S-vest. You can't get the people far enough away. (READ MORE)

IraqPundit: New Age Politics - Gen. David Petraeus indicated in recent weeks that he wants a "period of evaluation" this summer to assess the impact on Iraq security of reducing the U.S. military presence. In the real World, Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Monday endorsed, for the first time, the idea of pausing the drawdown of U.S. forces from Iraq this summer. In the land of the 2008 campaign, the Democratic Party's candidates for president spoke with CBS's 60 Minutes about Iraq in the dreamiest of terms. (READ MORE)

James Aalan Bernsen: Mass - There's a lot of religion in a war zone, but not a whole lot of church. Yes, it's available on base every Sunday, but I work every Sunday, and so does everybody else. This week, however, was Ash Wednesday for Catholics, so I got my boss to give me a precious hour and a half off to go to church. I walked over to mass with our senior enlisted person on our shift, Staff Sgt. M., who is originally from Columbia and speaks English perfectly, but had to resort to Spanish throughout the mass because she couldn't remember the English mass without a book. (READ MORE)

Jason's Iraq Vacation: Reassignment - Is it true? - "Yes, it's true. [slight pause] This man has no dick." Ah, nothing like a quote from Bill Murray in Ghostbusters to lighten the mood. Yes, I am being reassigned with under 40 days left in my deployment. No, I don't know what my new job for 30 days will entail. No, I don't have confirmation that my redeployment wont be delayed. (READ MORE)

Kaboom: A Soldier's War Journal: Picture Us Rollin' - Today is just like any other day except for the ones that are different. A giant alarm clock, appropriately nicknamed Big Ben by SFC Big Country, rings with acrimony, breaking in the day far more brusquely than God intended when He designed the sluggish rising of the sun. I yawn loudly, slap myself in the face, and hop off of the top bunk and saunter towards the TOC for intel updates, while SFC Big Country turns on the coffeemaker and goes to the soldiers’ rooms to wake them up. When I return from the TOC, SFC Big Country hands me a fresh cup of coffee, SSG Boondock is staring at the wall cursing to himself, and SSG Bulldog – a notoriously slow mover in the morning – grunts from somewhere deep inside his sleeping bag. (READ MORE)

Yellowhammering Afghanistan: Too close for comfort - All of us at Camp Vulcan were jostled during our Jumaa. As many of you have probably heard by now if you follow news from here, a suicide bomber in a car packed with explosives attacked an Afghan National Army truck just outside the ANA base in Ghazni yesterday. Any time Ghazni is in the dateline of international news stories, you can bet we're not having a good day here. Camp Vulcan sits inside the Ghazni ANA base. The attack happened less than 300 feet from the corner of the base. Friday, known as Jumaa in the Afghan language of Dari, is the one-day weekend for Afghans, the day the locals take off for prayer and relaxing. (READ MORE)

Yellowhammering Afghanistan: Team Cobra - It was one year ago today that I left my family and friends along with more than a dozen new friends to begin training for this mission. The Alabama embedded training team (ETT) had spent a few months training together on drill weekends, but our formal mobilization began on Feb. 11, 2007. After a ceremony in Montgomery at the 62nd Troop Command headquarters, we hugged and kissed our wives and children and boarded a plane for Fort Riley, Kansas. At Fort Riley, we were formed into an 18-man team with the addition of a lieutenant from Miami and an NCO from Georgia. We took on the name "Team Cobra." Lead by Maj. Weakley and Sgt. Maj. Jones, we were committed to making the most of our training time and I believe we did. (READ MORE)

Michael Yon: Sunday, 10 February 2008 - These words come to you from South Baghdad, where signs of progress are unmistakable. I am with 1-4 CAV in an area that was among the most dangerous in Iraq during early and mid 2007. But a few days ago I walked down a road—wearing no body armor or helmet—where just 7 or 8 months ago tanks and Strykers would have been in great danger. Signs of progress are everywhere and encouraging, but I sense the criticality that we keep funding flowing to commanders here. Money is ammunition in a counterinsurgency, and commanders have learned to use it effectively at local levels. They say it is better to open schools, build sidewalks and clean up soccer fields than buy tanks or lethal weapons. (READ MORE)

ETT PA-C: Panic in the Metropolis - We got the good SGM back from vacation late last night. I felt like I was going pick up a long lost brother. We've been together for the last 14 months and it just seems odd not having him around. So, we went late last night to spare him an extra day at the local "fobbit" hangout as well to get all our ducks back in a row, so to speak. Well, while we were waiting for his plane to arrive, we had a "rocket" attack/drill, who the hell knows, but anyway the sirens went off and everyone went for cover in their respectve shelters. Glenn, Allee and I just looked at each other and watched with amazement as all ran away so, we took off for our Humvee just to be part of the excitement. (READ MORE)

Desert Dude: 8 February - Today just turned out to be an awesome day…nothing really spectacular happened, but everything just went well, and it was kinda cool…I woke up around 0300 and sat around doing nothing…ate some food, took my time getting ready, started up the big truck— which I was scheduled to drive to Jalalabad today…around 0530 I got all my gear loaded in the truck and checked everything out to make sure the truck was ready to roll…went to the convoy briefing and got all the pertinent info for our trip.. (READ MORE)

Doc in the Box: Valentines Day in Iraq - Care Packages have started to arrived and the Soldiers Angels have taken care of me, in the picture below is maybe a quarter of the Valentines Day cards that I’ve received for my unit. It’s a lonely time of year to be away from the family but these folk let us out here know that people still care. Thanks everyone! Here’s a picture of me and the doc. I got tapped for being the squadron photographer and spent most of today following my guys around doing training. Took some great shots that I’ll be posting once I get a thumbs up from the PAO. (READ MORE)

all expenses paid afghan vacation: Afghanistan’s first amendment…or lack thereof - Hearing stories like this makes me question whether or not everything we are doing here is worth it. Is this part of the freedom and democracy mission for the Afghan people we’re supposed to be risking our lives for? A journalism student in Afghanistan has been sentenced to death for insulting Islam by distributing a report from the internet at his university which questioned the oppression of women in some Muslim societies... (READ MORE)

1ROMAD: Home Sweet Home - Just a short note and update: Weather and scheduling cooperated wonderfully and Jon and I arrived at Hurlburt Field, FL, in the wee hours of the morning this past Tuesday. The next day we flew Delta air to our home unit, where we were greeted with friends and family and flags and welcome signs at the airport!! It was a wonderful welcome party, and after a few hours of inprocessing it was back to the hotel to relax with my family. (READ MORE)

Fearless 1st Marines’ blog: And Justice for All - Court is in session. City officials and Marines from 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1 were present for the ribbon cutting ceremony and grand opening of the Karma City Courthouse Feb. 7. The courthouse is another step closer into the direction of stability for the city, providing justice for all its citizens. “It’s a major accomplishment,” said Capt. Quintin Jones, company commander, Co. L., 3rd Bn., 3rd Marines. “We see the completion of a triad… the government, law, and now the judicial system. (READ MORE)

One Marine's View: The Other Bad Guys - Al Qaeda went to war over Iraq , and lost. While the terrorists are trying to put a brave face on it, the defeat has hurt recruiting and fund raising. The number of foreign volunteers entering via Syria or Saudi Arabia are way down. Not just because borders are harder to cross, but because fewer young men are willing to cross them to die in Iraq . Less cash is coming in from wealthy Islamic conservatives. These fellows are very much put off by the widespread slaughter of civilians. Al Qaeda and its pro-Saddam Iraqi Sunni Arab allies never seem to learn. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Theodore B. Olson: Clinton v. Obama: The Lawsuit - What splendid theater the Democratic Party presidential nominating process is shaping up to be. And they are just getting started. The real fun would be a convention deadlock denouement a few months from now, the prospect of which is already quickening the pulses of scores of Democratic lawyers who have been waiting more than seven years for an encore of their 2000 presidential-election performances. (READ MORE)

Bassem Eid & Natan Sharansky: Bush's Mideast U-Turn - On June 24, 2002, President Bush presented his vision for an Israeli-Palestinian peace. That we both would have greeted Mr. Bush's speech with the same enthusiasm may come as a surprise. One of us is a former Soviet dissident who spent nine years in the Gulag and, after joining his people in Jerusalem, spent a decade in Israeli political life, serving as a cabinet minister during most of that time. (READ MORE)

Esther Dyson: The Coming Ad Revolution - While the big news in the online world focuses on Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, a more profound revolution is taking place on the online social networks: The discussion about privacy is changing as users take control over their own online data. While they spread their Web presence, these users are not looking for privacy, but for recognition as individuals -- whether by friends or vendors. This will eventually change the whole world of advertising. (READ MORE)

Mary Anastasia O'Grady: Fallout From the Fed - With Ben Bernanke leaning on the easy button at the Federal Reserve these days, inflationary expectations are rising in the U.S. But the American economy is not the only place where Fed imprudence is inflicting pain. A lax Fed policy and a weak dollar are also undermining pro-market forces in Latin America, thereby conspiring against U.S. geopolitical interests in the region. (READ MORE)

Sgt. Seth Conner: My Choice - Like my Marine brothers who fought alongside me in the Battle of Fallujah, I know a little something about choices. When the nosecones of 767 passenger jets punched into the Twin Towers, my choice was simple to make. My choice was not, as the patchouli-smelling Berkeley hippies would have you believe, the duplicitous work of “salespeople known to lie to and seduce minors and young adults into contracting themselves into military service with false promises.” By that rationale, car salesmen are responsible for the 40,000 Americans who will die this year on the nation’s highways. Nice try. (READ MORE)

Burt Prelutsky: J'Accuse IQs - Some people simply have an affinity for groups. They are those who like attending meetings and serving on committees. They enjoy being addressed as “Ladies and Gentlemen” and can even tolerate sitting through the reading of the minutes of the last meeting. I am not one of those people. For one thing, once you join a group, somebody or other is going to wind up speaking on your behalf. Heck, I don’t even care to have the president of the United States, whichever party he belongs to, presuming to speak on my behalf. That’s why I don’t even identify myself as a Republican. Instead, I call myself a conservative. (READ MORE)

Robert D. Novak: The Bradley Effect? - WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Which Democrat really won Super Tuesday? Thanks to the Democratic Party's proportional representation, it is not easy to say a week later. Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama ran a virtual dead heat for delegates that day in 22 states clearly stacked in Obama's favor. But the way Obama lost California raises the specter of the dreaded Bradley Effect. Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, an African-American Democrat, in 1982 unexpectedly lost his candidacy for governor of California. His defeat followed voters telling pollsters they prefer a black candidate and then voting the other way. (READ MORE)

Mike S. Adams: Wolf Packers - Last week, I wrote about a situation at NC State University involving interference with the dissemination of Christian literature on the grounds that it amounted to “thought solicitation.” I accused a woman by the name of Deb Luckadoo – an NC State administrator – of bending policies in order to discriminate against Christians. Since running that article, I’ve been getting some interesting email that has demonstrated conclusively that poor, tolerant homosexuals are the victims of hate crimes – and possibly thought crimes. At the same time, Christians experiencing no troubles whatsoever. (READ MORE)

Baron Bodissey: Legal Apartheid - The row over the declaration in support of sharia by the Archbishop of Cant has had the salutary effect of uniting British Christians against Dr. Williams and the policies of their own government. One of our commenters suggested that the Archdhimmi was simply a “toe testing the waters” to see how favorable the climate is for the gradual introduction of sharia for Muslims in the UK. If he’s right, and the governing elites sent Dr. Williams on a little reconnaissance mission, surely they must have concluded by now that their idea was a little bit — ahem — premature. Now the Catholics and the Anglicans are ganging up on the poor Archdhimmi. The former Archbishop of Canterbury and the Cardinal responsible for Roman Catholics in England and Wales have weighed in against Dr. Williams and his ill-advised words: (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: Al Qaeda in Iraq under pressure in Balad, Anbar - A document seized by US forces in Balad and a communiqué from al Qaeda in Iraq's leader intercepted by US intelligence paints a bleak picture of the terror groups' ability to conduct operations in former strongholds. Al Qaeda in Iraq is threatened by the rise of the Awakening movements spreading throughout Iraq, and is forced to change its tactics. Al Qaeda takes a hit in Balad: US forces captured a diary of a regional al Qaeda in Iraq commander during a raid on a safe house in Balad in early November. (READ MORE)

Gabriel Malor @ Ace of Spades: New Studies Question So-called Biofuels - This was sent to me over the weekend, describing how the production, transportation, and conversion of land involved in creation of biofuels overwhelms the benefit at the combustion end of the line. I didn't post on it at the time because the discovery that the green movement is damaging the world isn't exactly rocking mine. Still, you may be interested: “Together the two studies offer sweeping conclusions: It does not matter if it is rain forest or scrubland that is cleared, the greenhouse-gas contribution is significant. More important, they discovered that, globally, the production of almost all biofuels resulted — directly or indirectly, intentionally or not — in new lands being cleared for food or fuel.” (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: Looking ahead - The increasingly strident debate over important issues long too sensitive to discuss suggests we are entering into a new period of fundamental, perhaps revolutionary change. How it will end is hard to predict. But it safe to say the old consensus is over. The Archbishop of Canterbury proposes that Sharia law be partly recognized in Britain. There are immediate calls for his resignation. At the DOD Hesher Islam's criticisms that Major Stephen Coughlin is a "Christian zealot with a pen" sparks Coughlin's resignation. But he is reinstated very soon afterward following a counter-reaction. (READ MORE)

Big Dog: Pelosi: Iraq is a Failure - Squeaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, said that Iraq was a failure and that the surge has not produced the desired effects. Pelosi made certain to praise the troops while attempting to disparage a strategy that is working albeit not as quickly as we might like. The ground game is much better, fewer of our troops are dying there than citizens are on American streets and here we are not engaged in a “civil war.” It is amazing to me that Pelosi and her brood insist on telling the Iraqis at what speed they need to move and how they should be progressing when our own Congress is off more days than it works, accomplishes little, and has divided the country. I see Pelosi’s remarks as nothing more than empty rhetoric... (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: Can't Anyone In Washington Handle An Election? - The Republican caucus in Washington only determines the status of 18 delegates, and they can't even get that much right. The state which saw a number of irregularities in the last presidential election produced another whopper of an error over the weekend, when the Republican Party suddenly stopped counting results and declared John McCain the winner. Mike Huckabee, only two percent behind McCain with 13% of precincts left to report, protested: (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Suspend Olbermann? - Further proof that Democrats work to silence a press that Bush leaves alone. OK, so David Shuster was wrong to say the Clintons were “pimping out” Chelsea Clinton, 27, who was raising funds for their latest presidential campaign. He apologized for the off-the-cuff but on-the-air remark and was suspended. Mrs. Clinton refused to accept the apology because she is an even bigger jerk. Oh well. (READ MORE)

Bryan Preston: (Video) The Archbishop of Canterbury’s sharia remarks - Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams is meeting with the Anglican Church’s general synod today, and is expected to face calls for him to quit over his sharia remarks. He’s said to be “horrified” by the reaction to his saying that perhaps it’s time to let sharia become a parallel legal system in Britain. He’s evidently more horrified for being criticized than he is at the prospect of sharia becoming one of the laws of his land. (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: Tears of the Crowned - Amid tearful moments* and primary losses, it’s ”off with her head” for the presumptive monarch’s campaign manager. Boston Herald: "Hillary Rodham Clinton has replaced her campaign consigliere and long-time confidante in a shakeup that came just hours after Illinois Sen. Barack Obama’s weekend sweep - and as the New York senator finds herself staring down the barrel of even more losses." That all sounds so horrible. Amid delegate gridlock, symbolic losses, and real $etback$, the first Latina to head a presidential campaign takes one for the team. (READ MORE)

Neptunus Lex: Culture - We become what we tolerate. There is a kind of language that we use between shipmates which is inappropriate in front of their wives. A kind of informality acceptable in a social gathering of friends that would be inappropriate at more formal occasions - a wedding, say, or a funeral. A speech on a national stage. Broadcast TV. Journalism. This means that we can be ourselves in our self-selected milieus without losing respect for the über-culture. The one is who we individually are, the other who we hope to collectively be. This is not base hypocrisy, but virtuous self-restraint. (READ MORE)

McQ: Bin Laden and Taliban not so popular in Pakistan - Funny how that works, isn't it?
Sympathy for al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden and the Taliban has dropped sharply in Pakistan amid a wave of deadly violence, according to the results of a recent opinion poll. “The survey, conducted last month for the U.S.-based Terror Free Tomorrow organization, also identified the party of assassinated opposition leader Benazir Bhutto as the country's most popular ahead of Feb. 18 elections, and said most Pakistanis want President Pervez Musharraf to quit. The poll suggests Pakistanis are looking to peaceful opposition groups after months of political turmoil and a wave of suicide attacks.” A bit like the experience in Iraq where the people, beginning with the Sunni, turned against al Qaeda. (READ MORE)

Michelle Malkin @ Hot Air: Moonbat Nobel Prize winner: “Obama will be assassinated” - Doris Lessing is the British Nobel Prize winner last heard from pooh-poohing the 9/11 terrorist attacks on American soil as “not that bad.” She’s back, warning that racist America won’t let Barack Obama survive if he wins the White House: "Obama, who is vying to become the first black president in US history, 'would certainly not last long, a black man in the position of president. They would murder him,' Lessing, 88, told the Dagens Nyheter daily." (READ MORE)

Mark Steyn: A McClinton Consensus - President McCain? Or Queen Hillary? Henry Kissinger said about the Iran/Iraq war that it's a shame they both can't lose. Conservatives have a slightly different problem: It's a shame that neither of them will lose - that, regardless of who takes the oath come January '09, the harmonious McCain-Clinton consensus policies on illegal immigration and Big Government solutions to global warming will prevail. Where's Neither-Of-The-Above when you need him? Alas, the only Neither-Of-The-Above in the offing is New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose candidacy would shake things up only insofar as we'd all suddenly be demanding: Okay, where's None-Of-The-Above when you need him? (READ MORE)

Melanie Phillips: Dhimmi — or just dim? - The man doesn’t even have the courage of his lack of convictions. Far from defending what he actually said about sharia law, the Archbishop of Canterbury is fighting to save his job by frantically back-tracking and claiming he has been misunderstood. It was all got up by the tabloids… no-one actually read the lecture… people have jumped to the wrong conclusion from a few misleading headlines. Ye gods. What planet is he living on? Everyone heard what the man actually said on the World at One; by now, many have heroically ploughed through his lecture as well. It is the words that he actually uttered that have caused unprecedented numbers to take to their keyboards in outrage. (READ MORE)

Ron Winter: Berkeley California - Living Proof That Aliens Breed With Humans - Berkeley California, the city that back in the 60s actively marketed the concept of violent protest as a means of destroying public education, now thinks it is hunky-dory to enjoy all the benefits of US citizenship without any of the responsibilities. As I noted at the end of last month, (Leftists In California Bite the Hand That Protects Them) the Berkeley City Council has voted to tell the US Marine Corps that Marine recruiters are unwelcome, uninvited intruders to their fair city. Berkeley officials also voted to give space outside the recruiting office to the radical group Code Pink where they are urged to "impede, passively or actively" the Marine recruiters. (READ MORE)

ThreatsWatch: Dirty Bomb Vulnerability - While admitting that the likelihood of a nuclear attack on a U.S. remains low, officials admit that they are not zero. But, we are finding out that defending cities against dirty bombs is difficult. That’s the conclusion reached by the Department of Homeland Security after an NYPD helicopter fashioned with sensitive radiation detection equipment flew over Lower Manhattan in December. The fly over was actually a block-by-block hunt to find a black SUV in the Wall Street area carrying the components of a homemade radiological dirty bomb. As written by The Washington Post’s Spencer Hsu, the half hour training exercise failed to identify the SUV despite the fact that the vehicle had a purposely planted “sample” of cesium-137. (READ MORE)

Travelers’ Testimony: History Ignored After September 11th Attacks - The few days after the events of September 11th the Bush administration was engaged in the rational actor model where they were reacting to the actions of another actor with a mixture of small-group decision making as well. In a hectic frenzy to grasp the situation, the responses were immediate made to patch holes in national security and deal with domestic issues. Overlooked though was the historical aspect of Islamic extremism. One of the immediate plans was a temporary “domestic consequences” group chaired by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten. (READ MORE)

TigerHawk: The public image of labor unions - Twenty years or so ago, while we were living in Chicago, the city did a lot of work on the LaSalle Street bridge. Every day we would drive to work over the bridge, and every day we passed a van obviously owned by one of the workers. He had painted messages on the two rear doors of the van. The first one said "Union and Proud Of It". The other one said "Same Shit, Different Day." Thousands of drivers passed that same sour message every day, many of them no doubt thinking that a guy with an attitude that bad needs a union to keep his job. But here is what interested me: That van was one horrible advertisement for trade unionism. Every time I read an article about union corruption or absurd work rules I would remember that van. No doubt there are many other people who also do. To this day I am amazed that the boss of his local did not tell the guy to park his van somewhere else. (READ MORE)

Stop the ACLU: Slap of Daily Kos From the Left: 'Hope Trumped Kos for Democrats' - Well, this will send the Daily Kossacks into a tizzy! The Wall Street Journal has an op ed by Dan Gerstein titled, Decline of the Angry Left. Gerstein, a senior adviser for Joe Lieberman's various national campaigns, claims that the Daily Kos is finished as a mover and shaker in Democratic politics. After reading it over I think he is dead on with much of his analysis. The anger of the extremist, left as seen on a daily basis on the Daily Kos site has lost the contest for the hearts and minds of the Democrat Party. As Gerstein notes, he has been the target of the left before and this op ed certainly won't make him their newest American idol! (READ MORE)

The Shield of Achilles: Fire in Ludwigshafen killed 9 turks - guess what happened next? - Last Sunday, there was a fire in an apartment building in Ludwigshafen, Germany. The building was inhabited solely by people of Turkish origin, and nine people died in the tragedy, while 60 were injured. Five of those who died were children. So what happened next? If you guessed an investigation over the cause, you would be half right. If you guessed that charges of "hate crime" would go flying and the Turkish media would go in a frenzy before said investigation even concluded, then you would be absolutely correct. The Turkish Prime minister even paid a visit to the site. His public remarks were moderate, but the Turkish press was not: (READ MORE)

ROFASix: Invasion Iraq - We know Americans are the guys in the white hats. It’s a self-image we have of ourselves. Thank Hollywood, our ethnocentric history books, and a long tradition of believing we operate with a basic sense of fair play in an otherwise evil world for that. A reading of history reveals a more ambiguous picture. Manifest Destiny, "Pax Americana", "Wars to End All Wars" and "Destroying a Village to Save It," all present a less complimentary picture of the political rationales that underpinned America going into past wars. Ask most any American to explain why we fought our Civil War or WWI and you will get some bizarre replies. Ask them about the Mexican or Spanish-American Wars, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Bosnia or Gulf War I and they will be equally so. Inevitably, you will hear some altruistic tripe justifying that war. You never hear that was fought because of our right to self defense. That’s because it was never the reason. (READ MORE)

Rhymes with Right: Al-Qaeda Calls Surge A Success For US, Pelosi Calls It A Failure - I guess it all comes down to how you view the goals. If it was defeating the enemies of the US, it is a success. On the other hands, it is an unmitigated disaster if the goal is providing the Democrats with an issue to beat the Republicans with. “Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, a U.S. military spokesman, said the documents released Sunday offered proof that al-Qaida in Iraq had been severely disrupted by the so-called awakening movement and changing U.S. tactics, but he stressed the terror network was by no means defeated.” (READ MORE)

Knee Deep in the Hooah!: By the company you keep… - The truth is, who we associate ourselves with says a lot about who we are and how much personal responsibility we take by how much we understand about those around us. When those associations reach higher levels of intimacy then it is a definite reflection of our own values and morals. Nearly all public figures are painfully aware of how keeping questionable company can come back to bite them in the long run. All of us hate to hear the answer out of some politicians mouth “I did not know she was a (fill in the blank).” “I did not know (fill in the blank) was involved in that.” Yes, mistakes happen, and good people really can get caught up in some bad things, I acknowledge that. However, when the information about your newest acquaintance is in headlines, is highly public with, and proud about their behavior, then you are left with no excuse. (READ MORE)

Hamilton, Madison, and Jay: Let the "Veepstakes" begin ... - It was sad to see Mitt Romney drop out, but looking at the overall political landscape, he knew the battle that lay ahead. He knew that to take the nomination, he was going to need a miracle and miracles in politics don't seem to come around too often. So, John McCain will be our nominee, and that saddens the GOP base more than watching the memorial service for Ronald Reagan. To many Republicans, they believe the conservative era is over. Take heart because it's not. We hit a pothole in the road, and to keep Hillary or Obama out of the White House, we'll have to choose from the "lesser of two evils" this time around. (Look, I know a lot of people who say they're sick of this, but it wasn't so in 2000 and 2004. President Bush was a good man, and vastly better than Gore or Kerry.) (READ MORE)

Dr. Sanity: Hillary and the Politics of Personal Destruction - With the recent primary wins by Obama, things are looking bad for the Clinton campaign. The internal shake-up has begun; and we have already seen the external shake-up--i.e., Hillary in attack mode on her opponent. Right now, Hill is making nice because she can't decide if it would help or hurt her to escalate things between herself and Obama again. But as things get closer to the wire (and boy are they close!) she will not go down with swinging. We have enough information about Hillary's behavior--particularly her behavior under stress--over the last decade or so to be able to make reasonable predictions about her future behavior. (READ MORE)

Crazy Politico: Protecting the Terrorists and Lawyers - Congress is once again debating the FISA laws this week, and it's clear that two constituencies are in the forefront of the debate. Terrorists and Lawyers. Terrorists, under the pending amendments would have more rights than drug traffickers and child molesters. Lawyers would of course have tons of new clients. In case you've been drinking the kool-aid served up by MSNBC and the rest of the media, let's set a few things straight. Under current FISA law if the CIA were to get a KGB laptop with a dozen agent phone numbers on it there would be NO requirement to get a FISA order to listen in on every conversation to or from that number, regardless of where it originated or ended. (READ MORE)

Democracy Project: Valiant Dozen To Retake Congress - Want to really do something about Congress? Then stop griping and get behind these dozen veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who have banded together in Iraq Veterans For Congress. Their mission: Voters want to restore leadership and honor back to Washington. Who better to accomplish that mission than our generation of warriors? Indeed, picture these men as your representatives in Washington, and picture them confronting wobbly weasles. (READ MORE)

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