February 15, 2008

Web Reconnaissance for 02/15/2008

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)
House to Let Surveillance Law Lapse - House Democrats yesterday refused to revisit an update of the nation's domestic wiretapping rules before they expire tomorrow at midnight, causing Republicans to storm out of the chamber in protest. (READ MORE)

Romney Backs Ex-rival McCain - Sen. John McCain earned the endorsement of one-time rival Mitt Romney yesterday, further securing his grasp on the Republican nomination, even as the Democratic contest grows more heated and polls show the candidates preparing to split upcoming primaries. (READ MORE)

Haditha Trial Keys on Three Children - Prosecutors trying two Marines next month in the deaths of 24 civilians in the city of Haditha in 2005 will be relying heavily on evidence sought from three children during a recent trip to Iraq to bolster sagging cases that might not otherwise be winnable, according to court records. (READ MORE)

U.S. Will Down Failed Satellite - The Pentagon's plan to shoot down a failed satellite with a missile defense interceptor in the coming days is aimed at preventing toxic fuel from reaching earth. But U.S. officials and experts said yesterday it would also signal that U.S. missile defenses can be used to counter China's strategic anti-satellite weapons. (READ MORE)

Shooter Kills Six at Illinois College - A former student dressed in black opened fire with a shotgun and two handguns from the stage of a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University yesterday, killing six students and injuring 15 others before committing suicide, authorities said. (READ MORE)

House Defies Bush on Wiretaps - The House of Representatives defied the White House yesterday by refusing to make an expiring surveillance law permanent, prompting a harsh exchange between Republicans and Democrats as they prepared for an extended, election-year battle over national security. (READ MORE)

In a First, Ahmadinejad To Visit Iraq Next Month - BAGHDAD, Feb. 14 -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will travel to Iraq next month in the first such visit by a leader of the Islamic Republic, Iraqi officials said Thursday, adding that Iran had postponed a fourth round of talks with the United States to discuss Iraq's security. (READ MORE)

Hezbollah Chief Warns Israel of Wide War - BEIRUT, Feb. 14 -- Hezbollah's leader threatened Thursday to strike Israel anywhere in the world in retaliation for what he said was its role in assassinating Imad Mughniyah, a Hezbollah commander blamed by the United States and Israel for killing hundreds in bombings, kidnappings and hijackings over a quarter-century. (READ MORE)

Defense Official in Chinese Spy Case Freed on Bond - A Defense Department official charged in a Chinese espionage scheme was ordered released yesterday on $100,000 bond, but the brief detention hearing shed no light on the case against the weapons policy analyst. (READ MORE)

The Moody's Blues - Pop quiz: If the government made this page required reading, would you expect our editorials to become more informative or less? For those puzzling over the answer, the government has helpfully run an experiment. (READ MORE)

Virtual Steamroller - New York recently finished 50th in Chief Executive magazine's survey of the best states to do business. Respondents cited high taxes, regulation and Governor Eliot Spitzer's "hostile image toward business." The Governor, for his part, seems to have decided that if he can't convince companies to move to the Empire State, he'll simply have to govern them from a distance. (READ MORE)

San Francisco's Democrat - Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats appear to have decided that November's election is a distraction from their effort to simply pull the plug on a sitting President. How else to explain what is happening in the House this week? (READ MORE)

From the Front:
[Ed Note: Due to lax posting this week I’m bringing you ALL of the front line posts for the week today in a separate post found here. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy.]

On the Web:
Newt Gingrich: Let's Revote in Michigan and Florida - Democrats are headed for a trainwreck in campaign '08 that threatens to produce a tainted Democratic presidential nominee and, worse, a divisive and delegitimized presidential contest. Recall that when Michigan and Florida moved up their primaries in defiance of Democratic Party rules earlier this year, the party bosses decided to punish them by unseating their delegates. The Florida and Michigan primaries were turned into beauty contests. (READ MORE)

Elizabeth Wurtzel: Hillary Agonistes - I've been told that I no longer need to do yoga, take up Pilates, or study Kaballah, and I can even stop listening to Bruce Springsteen. Apparently 45 minutes at a Barack Obama rally -- preceded by two hours and 45 minutes of waiting in the snow outside to get in -- will be all it takes to change my life. Forever. An open mind, a free spirit, a loving heart, a renewed appreciation for democracy -- and possibly even thin thighs -- will be mine for keeps, if I just take in the junior senator from Illinois at a high-school gymnasium in Waukesha or a Nascar track in Pocono or an arena in Dallas. (READ MORE)

Judy Shelton: Security and the Falling Dollar - Every year, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is briefed by the chief of U.S. intelligence on potential threats to the nation. The list is sobering, but usually predictable and typically includes global terrorism, nuclear proliferation and regional conflicts. But this year, there was a surprising potential foe: the falling dollar. In his report to Congress last week, Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell went beyond the conventional world of spycraft. (READ MORE)

Flemming Rose: Free Speech and Radical Islam - At a lunch last year celebrating his 25th anniversary with Jyllands-Posten, Kurt Westergaard told an anecdote. During World War II Pablo Picasso met a German officer in southern France, and they got into a conversation. When the German officer figured out whom he was talking to he said: "Oh, you are the one who created Guernica?" referring to the famous painting of the German bombing of a Basque town by that name in 1937. Picasso paused for a second, and replied, "No, it wasn't me, it was you." (READ MORE)

Peggy Noonan: Confidence or Derangement? - "This is death by a thousand cuts." That's what they keep saying about Hillary Clinton. Think of what this week was for her. She awoke each day having to absorb new sentences in a paragraph of woe: Three more primary losses, not even close. Now it's eight in a row. A slide in the national polls. Staff shakeup: soap-opera-watching campaign manager out, deputy out. Bill's former campaign manager, David Wilhelm, jumps for Barack Obama. (READ MORE)

John Hawkins: Barack Obama: A Human Hallmark Card For President? - "The Obama campaign seems dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality." -- Paul Krugman If even Paul Krugman is willing to publicly admit that Barack Obama is a human featherball -- a slick, smiling, substance-free empty suit who excites gullible dimwits by repeating the words “change,” “unity,” and “hope” over and over -- then who am I, a mere conservative blogger, to disagree? (READ MORE)

Lorie Byrd: Close the Enthusiasm Gap With Straight Talk About Hope - There is definitely an enthusiasm gap in the 2008 presidential election. Obama has moved supporters to tears. John McCain has too, but for different reasons. Hillary moved herself to tears – just when it was needed most. With a string of eight consecutive state primary victories, Barack Obama has strong momentum. The excitement surrounding the candidacy of Obama goes beyond mere momentum though. It is fueled by raw emotion and is going to be a powerful thing to beat. Hope and change, like puppy dogs and sunshine, are hard to oppose. So what are a former First Lady and Vietnam POW to do? How do they capture some of that excitement, or at the very least find a way to dampen that Obamania? (READ MORE)

Michael McBride: Dusting Off My Predictions of Democrat Disharmony - There is a Perfect Storm of epochal proportions on the horizon for the Democrat Party, and there will be no escaping its impact. The forces set in motion by seven years of Bush Derangement Syndrome and this primary season will be impossible to mitigate or deflect. There is a Democrat train wreck coming and even Superman couldn’t stop this locomotive. And I predicted it all back in November of 2006. I am no palm reader or Tarot card master, no crystal ball wrangler, no political clairvoyant, but I am cognizant of historical factors that will continue to influence the primaries for the Democrats and fracture their party into small pieces, and there is little they can do about it. (READ MORE)

Jon Sanders: Declaration in Dependence - The rumor is, an overworked Democrat consultant was e-mailed the Declaration of Independence under the subject line "Don't forget this was written by a top Democrat!" Too tired to recognize it, too recent a graduate of public education, and too busy going through the motions in the primary that wouldn't end, the consultant diligently set to work. Granted, this is a mighty strange occurrence, but it has been a weird winter. It's no stranger that the Republicans and the Fed suddenly returning to old Keynesian notions of economic stimulus. (READ MORE)

Paul Greenberg: On Calling it Wrong Every Time - We the Punditry have had this presidential campaign figured out for some time: Only last summer, John McCain, that stalwart defender of the war in Iraq and on terror in general, was finished. Down and out. Kaput. Another victim of the Bush malaise. His presidential campaign had been sunk by the country's frustrations with an unwinnable war. He was out of money, his chief honchos had quit, and the only question remaining was why he didn't seem to realize it. But some guys just never get the word. (READ MORE)

Suzanne Fields: Perils of Identity Politics: Hillary's Learning Something About Loyalty - A friend dropped by for a cup of coffee the other day after a visit to her mother at Leisure World of Maryland, where the wealthy live in leisurely retirement. "Hillary has the Bubbie Brigade behind her," she said, shaking her head in wonder. Nobody knows this better than Bill Clinton, who went to tea with the Leisure World ladies a day or two before the Potomac primaries. Older women are not necessarily Bill's cup of tea, but the ladies -- many of them "senior feminists" -- were thrilled. They want to see a woman in the White House before they die. (READ MORE)

Kathleen Parker: Canterbury and Other Tales From the Dark Side - Traveling to Europe's Dark Ages, one might expect to find newspaper headlines like these: -- Archbishop of Canterbury says sharia law to be incorporated into British laws. -- A Danish cartoonist is placed under indefinite police protection as three would-be assassins are arrested. -- Renegade Muslim author seeks country to protect her from Islamist fanatics promising to kill her. Alas, these are headlines from the past few weeks in modern-day Europe, where ancient values continue to collide with Western civilization. (READ MORE)

Oliver North: The 2nd Amendment's Day in Court - WASHINGTON -- When the Council of the District of Columbia enacted the toughest gun control law in the nation in 1976, the city fathers -- according to what they said at the time -- believed they were making our nation's capital a safer place. The measure failed miserably. Since passage, the murder rate in the District has skyrocketed by more than 200 percent. Now, the U.S. Supreme Court has a chance both to make our capital safer and to ensure that the Second Amendment to our Constitution is enshrined as an individual right for every law-abiding American. No matter how well-intentioned, the D.C. firearms statute has been unfathomable from the start.(READ MORE)

Charles Krauthammer: Obama, the Platitude Salesman - WASHINGTON -- There's no better path to success than getting people to buy a free commodity. Like the genius who figured out how to get people to pay for water: bottle it (Aquafina was revealed to be nothing more than reprocessed tap water) and charge more than they pay for gasoline. Or consider how Google found a way to sell dictionary nouns -- boat, shoe, clock -- by charging advertisers zillions to be listed whenever the word is searched. And now, in the most amazing trick of all, a silver-tongued freshman senator has found a way to sell hope. To get it, you need only give him your vote. Barack Obama is getting millions. (READ MORE)

Linda Chavez: Politics: The Ultimate Game - You would have thought Congress was about to hear from a top al-Qaida operative or maybe a mafia kingpin, what with all the accusatory statements and self-righteous indignation being flaunted by members of Congress. But no, an august congressional committee was gathered together to waste the taxpayers' time and money interrogating a baseball player, seven-time Cy Young award-winning pitcher Roger Clemens. And for what? For allegedly using hormones to enhance his performance on the field. I'm sorry, I just can't get my dander up on this one. (READ MORE)

Patrick J. Buchanan: The Jena Six -- and Other Scams - "(S)ome Americans do not understand why the sight of a noose causes such a visceral reaction," declared President Bush to the White House gathering for Black History Month. As The Washington Post rushed to remind us, President Bush was "responding to news coverage of such episodes as the 'Jena Six.'"But if history is about truth, not myth, that news coverage deserves another look, before the Jena Six enter the history books alongside Emmett Till and "the Scottsboro Boys." By now, most folks know the media story. White students at Jena High in Louisiana hung nooses on a tree to warn black students not to sit under it. (READ MORE)

Paul Dinger: Media Hiding Big Truth About Elections - The media was apoplectic. I'm not talking about the ad where Hillary Clinton pretended to be Santa Claus with "presents," like free health care, under a Christmas tree. No, I'm talking about Mike Huckabee's Christmas ad with a windowpane above his head that vaguely looked like a cross. The media reacted like Dracula. AAAAAA!! A Cross!!! There's a cross above his head!!! Good Morning America declared Huckabee was starting a "holy war." After telling Americans for a half century that Christians are Nazis, the media now believes the cross is a swastika. This incident is emblematic of the Grand Canyon between the worldview of the media and that of the American voter. (READ MORE)

Marjorie Dannenfelser: History Worth Making - Today we celebrate President’s Day during a tempestuous presidential primary season, when appeals to historic role models are starting to fly. At just the right moment, the subject of personal greatness and fine character will trump race and gender talk. It is a relief. You don’t hear anybody saying, “You know I want to be like Lincoln because he was white,” or “What I find most attractive and compelling about President Roosevelt was that he was a man – and white!” No, this President’s Day, school bulletin boards and local television programming across the nation focus upon the individual characters of individual human beings. Contrast this approach to our current Presidential nomination process where there is non-stop talk about “making history.” (READ MORE)

Michael Reagan: Ronald Reagan Would Back McCain - In 1976 the Ford vs. Reagan campaign for the Republican presidential nomination got so heated it looked as if my father and Jerry Ford would never again talk to one another. When it was over and Ford had won, what did Ronald Reagan do? He simply went all-out to help Ford win his re-election, as did I and as did my sister Maureen. My dad simply followed his rule of backing the Republican candidate no matter who he was. Assuming that John McCain will be the Republican nominee, you can bet my father would be itching to get out on the campaign trail working to elect him even if he disagreed with him on a number of issues. (READ MORE)

Cliff May: Free Iraq! - It’s time Iraq’s leaders began to shoulder more responsibility. So why are those who have been making this case longest and strongest standing in their way? Here’s the situation: American forces in Iraq today operate under the authority of a Chapter 7 U.N. mandate. As long as that mandate is in place, Iraq has “diminished sovereignty,” a status the country’s elected leaders find demeaning -- as well they should. The mandate expires at the end of the year. At that point, Iraq’s leaders want normal relations with the United States: “Bilateral arrangements agreed to by two sovereign nations,” as Iraq’s ambassador to the U.S., Samir Sumaidaie, recently phrased it. (READ MORE)

Hugh Hewitt: A Funny Thing About Revolutions.... - Most modern revolutions have not turned out well for their early enthusiasts. The American experience was different of course, with the original patriots mostly revered in their days and down the decades since. But things miscarried badly in France, Russia, China, Cuba and Cambodia as risings from the left saw the vanguard first kill off the enemies and then each other. Of course American has never seen and will likely never see anything like the revolutions which consumed those unfortunate countries. Even our wildest political actors who gain traction are from with the mainstream of democratic tradition even if some of them sit on the left or right banks of that tradition. (READ MORE)

Basil's Blog: Racists for Obama - Some have accused Bill or Hillary Clinton of interjecting race into this year's presidential primaries. I think that's wrong. Oh, don't misunderstand me. I do not like Bill or Hillary Clinton. But I don't want anybody accused of something they're not guilty of. Now, let's be clear. Racism has been brought into the campaign. But not by William Jefferson Clinton. Or by Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton. By who? Okay, by whom? By racists who support Barack Hussein Obama. (READ MORE)

Augean Stables: Defeatist Reporting on Tet and on Iraq Colors Policy - The war in Iraq is often compared to Vietnam by critics. They see a direct parallel in Iraq to America’s experience in Vietnam. But there is a similarity that they do not realize, argues Arthur Herman in the February 6th issue of The Wall Street Journal. In Vietnam, as in Iraq, the defeatist reporting of the mainstream media ignored the tangible tactical successes, and ultimately had a direct and primary influence on the outcome of the conflict in question. The media sees what it wants to see, and believes what it wants to believe, and those biases shape policy and perception back in America. (READ MORE)

Ace of Spades HQ: FISA: Hey, Congress, There is a War On! - As Ace posted yesterday, the Democrats have decided that there isn't enough time to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the new FISA law. They've already left Washington for a week-long recess, despite Republican offers to stay in town and work as late as necessary to get the law done. August's temporary patch runs out at midnight tonight. At that point, various terrorist surveillance efforts and other necessary foreign intelligence collection will be in violation of outdated laws which require that thousands of warrant requests be brought in secret to the FISA court. (READ MORE)

Lawhawk: Rioting in Denmark Continues - While some may note that the rioting in Denmark may be related to the latest news out of the country that a group of jihadis were caught plotting the assassination of one of the cartoonists responsible for penning the cartoons that in part provoked rioting worldwide that killed more than 100 people and torched several embassies, the riots have actually been going on for nearly a week. Turban Bomb has the details as the rioting progressed and became more violent each successive night. (READ MORE)

Blonde Sagacity: Epiphany... - The past couple months (not here per se, but in real life) arguing with people about the candidates and having my head feel as if it might implode as so-and-so goes on about how excited they are about Obama because he's such an idealist... I've realized that I don't and can't make a bit of difference in the national scheme of things. And here, I'm preaching to the choir --whether we all agree or disagree at least we've read and we have an educated opinion. But last night it hit me...my purpose. My goal. Something that might actually be achievable... Ending the "zero tolerance" policy in schools. (READ MORE)

Dadmanly: Signs of Progress in Iraq - The US military mission in Iraq achieved several critical milestones recently, with a highly significant one imminent, passed on by Real Clear Politics. The Washington Post commented today on the military achievements that have prompted Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to approve announced military draw down in Iraq from surge highs, with a period of “pause,” to consolidate and evaluate prior to further withdrawals. The WaPo characterizes Secretary Gates’s support for his military commanders as a “change of tack”: “After meeting in Baghdad with U.S. commander Gen. David H. Petraeus, Mr. Gates announced a change of tack. He said he agreed with Gen. Petraeus and other U.S. commanders that after the already-announced drawdown to 15 brigades and 130,000 troops by July, there should be ‘a brief period of consolidation and evaluation’ before any further withdrawals are ordered.” (READ MORE)

Don Surber: The walkout - “If Al-Qaeda is talking, we should be able to listen.” — Republican Congressman Eric Cantor. So let’s see, we have the FISA expiring and instead of voting on whether to re-up, the Democratic leadership in the House decides to issue bogus contempt citations against 2 officials who are no longer a part of the Bush administration: Josh Bolten and Harriet Miers. [AP corrected itself. Bolten is still WH chief of staff.] It is unconstitutional as all get out. AP quoted AG Judge Michael Mukasey from last week: “I should say that there is a long line of authority, going back several administrations, back to the Clinton administration and beyond, that says that the enforcement by way of contempt of a congressional subpoena is not permitted when the president directs a direct adviser of his, somebody who directly advises him not to appear or when he directs any member of the executive not to produce document.” (READ MORE)

Dr. Sanity: Islam's Vicious Misogyny - The kiss of death for any leftist politician, whether he be jihadi wanting to implement a universal caliphate under the rule of sharia; or just your average run-of-the-mill socialist running for office in a democracy. But even with their polls shrinking, the jihadi thugs know they have powerful allies in the useful idiots of the political left. Take for example, the Archbishop of Canterbury's recent descent into multiculti sermonizing; paving the way for Allah the messiah. This story is a few days old, but I can't emphasize enough the extent of the betrayal of western values exhibited by this so-called "leader" of the Anglican church. With intellectual and spiritual leaders like Williams, the congregations should just convert en masse to Islam and be done with it. Why waste time? (READ MORE)

Baron Bodissey: The Danish Intifada - An article appeared last night in Jyllands-Posten about the riots that have been going on for the last four or five days in Denmark. Cars and schools have been set ablaze, and barricades — actual barricades — have appeared in the streets. Is this 1968 all over again? The article refers to the autonomer of Ungdomshuset, but I assumed that Muslims must be involved too, since Gellerup (a predominantly Muslim suburb of Århus) is mentioned. The violence is also being billed as a response to the republication of the Motoons over the last few days, but the first cars were burning before the death-plot against Kurt Westergaard was publicly revealed and the plotters were arrested. (READ MORE)

Congressman John Campbell: Berkeley’s Faux Pas - By now, I am sure you are well aware of the outrage that has engulfed the nation regarding Berkeley City Council’s criticism of the Marine Corps and their recruiting station in Berkeley California. Those of you that frequently read my blog know that I have taken the lead in calling for earmark reform. The Semper Fi Act is intended to show the City of Berkeley that their actions have consequences. There is no reason for the rest of us, outside the city of Berkeley, to subsidize their imprudent actions with our taxpayer funds. The City of Berkeley stands to lose $2 million worth of earmarks. The most egregious is $243,000 for the organization Chez Panisse to create gourmet organic school lunches in the Berkeley School District. (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: The Dopiness of Hope - Raasch actually calls it “the audacity of,” but goes on to caution that balloon will need to be pumped up with more than just hot air or the meanspirited Republicans will pop it. Includes the interesting note that at a recent Obamathon, ”There was even cheering from the roped-off press area, where some media members had crossed an unwritten line and brought family.” But here’s the hopeslap: “Beyond hope, nearly nine months of tough politics lay ahead.” (READ MORE)

Amy Proctor: Call From Baghdad: Iraqis Rejecting Al-Qaeda - My husband, MSG Proctor, called me from Baghdad this afternoon. He’s excited about his mission with Multi-National Force-Iraq and they’re accomplishing a lot. I was glad to hear him say that the biggest change he noticed since he was there for a year in 2003-04 was that Iraqis are overwhelmingly rejecting al-Qaeda and the insurgency. Muslim clerics are now preaching against acts of terrorism from the mosques, whereas they used to preach against Coalition Forces. They condemn the recent al-Qaeda suicide attacks using 2 mentally retarded women from their pulpits and openly call al-Qaeda and groups like them “taqfari” or false Muslims, a very important distinction in Islam. Al-Qaeda’s disgusting tactics continue to backfire on them, and backfire BIG. (READ MORE)

Michelle Malkin: Waxman’s four-hour waste-a-thon - The clown Congress strikes again. In case you needed more confirmation that Democrat Rep. Henry Waxman is a phenomenal waste of taxpayers’ time and money, here you go: “A day after a dramatic, nationally televised hearing that pitted Roger Clemens against his former personal trainer and Democrats against Republicans, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform said Thursday that he regretted holding the hearing in the first place.” (READ MORE)

Neptunus Lex: Star crossed - By all accounts, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has been a breath of fresh air at the Pentagon, especially considering the veil of bureaucratic tears left by his predecessor. Compared to Donald Rumsfeld, Gates has proven much more likely to listen to the advice of the service chiefs, and the new Secretary projects an aura of earnest, professional competence. He’s apparently an easy man to work for. Which doesn’t make him a pushover, however. When problems with standards of care at the Army’s Walter Reed Medical Center pointed to leadership failure, he swiftly tubed then Secretary of the Army Francis J. Harvey. And when the four star commander of the Air Force Material Command recently told industry reporters that the USAF would buy twice as many F-22 Raptors as were in the President’s Budget, the Secretary reacted quickly: (READ MORE)

Scott Johnson: Not serious about foreign policy either - Yesterday I noted Eli Lake's New York Sun story on Zbigniew Brzezinski's trip to Damascus. In Damascus Brzezinski met with Assad and senior officials of his regime, whose security he seeks to promote. This at the same time that the world was reminded of the Syrian sancturary of terrorist mass murderer Imad Mugniyeh. On Wednesday Brzezinski issued a statement affirming that both Syria and the United States have a common desire to achieve stability in the region. Zbigniew Brzezinski is the kind of "realist" who can't see what's in front of his nose. Today Lake returns to report that one of Hillary Clinton's national finance chairmen for Ms. Hillary's presidential campaign -- Hassan Nemazee -- left Damascus last night after a visit there as part of the same RAND Corp. delegation that Brzezinski headed. (READ MORE)

Have an interesting post or know of a "must read?" Then send a trackback here and let us all know about it. Or you can send me an email with a link to the post and I'll update the Recon.

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