March 10, 2008

Web Reconnaissance for 03/10/2008

A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.

In the News: (Registration may be required to read some stories)
Carbon Output Must Near Zero To Avert Danger, New Studies Say - The task of cutting greenhouse gas emissions enough to avert a dangerous rise in global temperatures may be far more difficult than previous research suggested, say scientists who have just published studies indicating that it would require the world to cease carbon emissions altogether... (READ MORE)

McCain Sees Pork Where Scientists See Success - WEST GLACIER, Mont. -- If you've heard Sen. John McCain's stump speech, you've surely heard him talk about grizzly bears. The federal government, he declares with horror and astonishment, has spent $3 million to study grizzly bear DNA. "I don't know if it was a paternity issue or criminal," (READ MORE)

Pentagon Report Plays Down Chinese Military Threat - A recent Defense Department report titled "Military Power of the People's Republic of China" highlights some of Beijing's potential weaknesses and some positive steps the Chinese are taking in their relationship with the United States. (READ MORE)

The Chávez Democrats - What is it about Democrats and Hugo Chávez? Even as the Venezuelan strongman was threatening war last week against Colombia, Congress was threatening to hand him a huge strategic victory by spurning Colombia's free trade overtures to the U.S. (READ MORE)

The Muni Play - The Presidential election is still eight months away, but it is already affecting investment decisions. That's the import of a Journal story last week noting that heavyweight investors Wilbur Ross and Bill Gross are making a big bet on bargain-priced municipal bonds that have been dumped by hedge funds facing margin calls. (READ MORE)

World Bank Confidential - In January, we reported on a $569 million corruption scandal involving five World Bank health projects in India. Bank President Robert Zoellick called the corruption "unacceptable" and said "the Government of India and the World Bank are committed to getting to the bottom of this." We're now getting a clearer picture of whether the bank is serious, and the early evidence isn't encouraging. (READ MORE)

Musharraf: Stability top priority - A relaxed and confident President Pervez Musharraf said in an interview that political stability is his top priority and that a war between the presidency and the newly elected parliament would be catastrophic. (READ MORE)

Africa's potential seen lost on U.S. - The rate of Chinese trade and investment in Africa is exploding, but business and government leaders say U.S. investors and businesses have not yet caught on to the continent's growing potential. (READ MORE)

Sarkozy party looks to regroup - The ruling party of conservative French President Nicolas Sarkozy begins a week of damage control today, attempting to avoid even bigger setbacks in a second round of voting this Sunday after heavy losses in local elections. (READ MORE)

Venezuela reopens embassy in Colombia - Talk of war in the Andes has faded almost as quickly as it flared — showing that for all their bluster, none of the three leaders involved could afford a protracted confrontation. (READ MORE)

Infighting threatens to divide Democrats - The Democrats once again are fighting over their presidential nominating procedures — from Florida and Michigan to superdelegates — in an escalating war that some leaders say threatens to divide the party and has prompted calls for rule changes. (READ MORE)

D.C. retail center renews '68 riot blot - Last weekend's grand opening of the DC USA shopping complex in Columbia Heights represents the renaissance of a neighborhood that was left decimated by the 1968 riots and largely written off by retailers and politicians alike. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Laughing_Wolf @ Blackfive: Notice, Ignoring, and Impact - Yesterday, Carl Prine, writing as Action Hero Sock Puppet, made a number of comments regarding MSM carrying the torture room story in an effort to once again attack Blackfive. I've generally stopped responding to much of anything Carl writes, both because I believe it to be futile and because I find his fixation/mancrush/whatever-it-is on Blackfive (with splash on the rest of us) to be genuinely disturbing. Futile, as the tactics used are those of a lawyer set on winning at all costs, rather than on establishing truth or participating in reasoned discourse: attack, when counterattacked with evidence, go to the periphery and attack minor points in an effort to raise doubt (not even reasonable doubt, just doubt) that can then be used to attack an otherwise unassailable bit of evidence/position. (READ MORE)

Michael M. Phillips: The Last Letter Home - ORGUN-E, Afghanistan -- "How do you start a letter like this? How do you end it?" On a raw November morning here, along the wild frontier bordering Pakistan, Lt. Col. Michael Fenzel spoke those words as he sat down to write to a father who would never see his son again. Images ran through the colonel's mind. His own two toddler boys, growing up quickly every day he is away at war; the parents of Private First Class Jessy Rogers, whose own child would be forever 20 years old, his age when insurgents detonated a bomb under his Humvee. Lt. Col. Fenzel, commander of the 1st Battalion (Airborne) of the 503rd Infantry Regiment, started writing, then stopped again. He pressed his forehead into his palms. "Jesus, this is hard," he said. (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: Race, Sex, Religion - There’s something to piss off nearly everyone. Nicholas Kristof dives into the race-sex-religion thing, denouncing bigotry all over the place. He left out ageism, though. Also, anti-militarism. But because the “Hussein” Muslim fear-mongering is unfair to Obama, it’s up to Clinton and McCain to denounce it. Not clear why they should be campaigning for Obama, or that Obama would necessarily want them to. It would be kind of embarrassing, to have to have your opponent carry your water for you. Unless Obama and Clinton plan on telling Americans it’s time to elect a cranky old white geezer and a cancer survivor for president. And Obama and McCain plan on talking up a woman for president. And Clinton and McCain plan on urging people to vote for a black man. Personally, I’m less concerned with Obama’s middle name than the fact that he’s so soft on Islamic extremists, between the Iraq pullout plank and the pretty-please approach to Iran. (READ MORE)

Allahpundit: Quote of the day - “The failure of the Iraqi state would be a disaster,” he said at a lunch sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, according to an audiotape of the session. “It would dishonor the 900-plus men and women who have already died. . . . It would be a betrayal of the promise that we made to the Iraqi people, and it would be hugely destabilizing from a national security perspective.” (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: Palestinian Authority: Honoring mass murder of children - The Palestinian Authority supposedly qualifies as a partner for peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but in fact promotes and lionizes terrorists. What other conclusion can come from an official state-funded newspaper putting a picture of Alaa Abu Dheim on their front page with the honorific “Shahid” (Martyr)? Abu Dheim won this title by gunning down unarmed high-school students in a hail of hundreds of bullets: (READ MORE)

Baron Bodissey: The Prophet Cruises the Bar Scene - The Danes are not the only Scandinavians who practice the Great Islamophobic Mojo and thus offend all 1.94 quintillion Muslims in the known universe. Sweden tends to cower behind the flimsy shelter of Multiculturalism in hopes of warding off the evil eye of Islamic domination. But not all Swedes are so timid: Lars Vilks, the creator of the infamous and deadly Modoggies, has repeatedly displayed the fortitude required to take on the Great Jihad. Before I post Mr. Vilks’ latest fatwa-bait, an explanation of what he is doing is in order. (READ MORE)

Dymphna: Calilfornia’s Criminal Parents - Time says about 200,000 children are home-schooled in California, while The San Francisco Chronicle gives the figure as 166,000. Neither source mentions where they got their figures, but I can tell you from experience with other parents that at least three times that number are flying under the radar. Parents are simply not reporting their children to their school district. Unlike others, these non-reporters do not trust the state authorities to protect their children in a public school environment and trust even less the arbitrary nature of the law when it comes to the treatment of children. This past week a California appeals court ruling proved the distrust of the scofflaws to be correct: (READ MORE)

Crazy Politico: Barney Frank's Bailout Idea - I just finished reading Barney Frank's housing bailout idea, and it's clear he doesn't understand a lot of the mess housing is in. First, he gets a few things right. Many folks did act imprudently when getting loans for houses, and some lenders did act stupidly as to who they gave loans to. He gets wrong why it happened. It wasn't just lenders going after every sale they could get. Instead it was a combination of congressionally mandated lending rules designed to make redlining more difficult and home ownership easier, and stupidly low Fed Rates that caused the perfect storm for this crisis. What he gets wrong is the biggest problem in this crisis. (READ MORE)

Don Surber: The war - Cornyn: “Do House Democrat leaders take the threat of terrorism seriously?” Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas has a good piece in Human Events about the battle over updating FISA. While Senate Democrats led by Intelligence Chairman Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia take the threat serious, House Democrats led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco take vacation. Wrote Cornyn: “An incident last May clearly demonstrates the importance of this legislation. Three U.S. troops were kidnapped in Iraq, south of Baghdad, by al Qaeda terrorists. The U.S. military immediately launched a search and rescue operation. Within hours, a new source of information was discovered that required electronic surveillance of phone conversations. Then, a maze of complicated U.S. laws kicked in, stopping progress on the new lead for nearly 10 long hours.” (READ MORE)

Chickenhawk Express: IVAW Member Claims Already Debunked by Army Discharge Review Board - Yesterday I posted about Jennifer Spranger and her statement that she poisoned detainees at Camp Bucca. In the same article, Spranger related an event involving MPs beating detainees in retaliation for the sexual assault of Pvt Jessica Lynch... “Then there was the time when the prison brass turned the other way after one prisoner bragged of raping Jessica Lynch. Three men from Jen's unit tied his hands, dragged him off, and beat him until he could hardly stand, she remembers. ‘It was pretty bad,’ Jen says. ‘He was still walking, but barely.... Our superiors knew what was going on and they just didn't care.... At the time, I didn't care either, I was glad they did that.’” Seems that 4 MP's were charged with crimes related to detainee abuse in May 2003 at Camp Bucca. The Battalion Commander claimed the abuse was retaliation for the sexual assault of Pvt. Jessica Lynch. (READ MORE)

Confederate Yankee: Obama's Plouffe: Retreat, At Any Cost - On the ABC News blog, Political Radar: “Obama campaign manager David Plouffe disagreed Friday with the suggestion that it would be responsible to leave ‘a little wiggle room’ when establishing the date by which all U.S. combat troops should be out of Iraq. ‘He has been and will continue to be crystal clear with the American people that if and when he is elected president, we will be out of Iraq in - as he said, the time frame would be about 16 months at the most where you withdraw troops. There should be no confusion about that with absolute clarity,’ said Plouffe.” In effect, Plouffe is confirming that no matter what the facts on the ground are in Iraq in January of 2009, Barack Obama, if President, would pull all American combat troops out of Iraq. (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: Political terrorism - Jonathan Chait at the New Republic believes Hillary Clinton plans to win the Presidential nomination at all costs, even at the price of wrecking the Democratic Party, because she can do it no other way. Dick Morris agrees with the assessment and so does Michael Barone. What does it mean for the Democratic Party? Chait has the seen the Clinton battle plan and he's terrified. “The morning after Tuesday's primaries, Hillary Clinton's campaign released a memo titled ‘The Path to the Presidency.’ I eagerly dug into the paper, figuring it would explain how Clinton would obtain the Democratic nomination despite an enormous deficit in delegates. Instead, the memo offered a series of arguments as to why Clinton should run against John McCain - i.e., ‘Hillary is seen as the one who can get the job done’ - but nothing about how she actually could. Is she planning a third-party run? Does she think Obama is going to die? The memo does not say.” (READ MORE)

Ace of Spades: Kos Kid: Women Have It Great Under Islam! - Excuses, excuses. Barbaric illiberal tyrannies are supplied with endless apologism because their hearts are in the right place (i.e., they are at war, hot or cold, with America). And America of course is castigated for every flaw, real or imagined. But don't question their patriotism. This particular chappie seems to think women have it better in Pakistan than in Pawtucket, but do not question his passionate love affair with the United States. “Before 9/11/01, the media relegated stories about women in Islamic societies to page B27, below the fold. Ever since 9/12/01, those same stories have screamed from the front pages in 100-point type.” (READ MORE)

Jay Tea: Not Feeling Overly Sympathetic - OK, I've written a few pieces about just why I have a great deal of difficulty feeling sympathetic for the Palestinians, but I think it's time I put it all together into one single piece. It boils down to this: they just don't act very sympathetic. They seem to want to embrace their victimhood, and use it as an excuse for committing some of the most heinous acts imaginable. The shooting in the Jerusalem yeshiva last week is perfectly emblematic. The shooter, it seems, worked for the religious school as a driver. He wasn't some oppressed person, he was a trusted employee, and he turned on his employers and shot 17 people, killing eight -- seven of them under 20, four under 18. (READ MORE)

David Kopel: DC v. Heller: Nathan Kozuskanich's selective reading of American History - In the Supreme Court's Second Amendment case District of Columbia v. Heller, DC and its amici frequently cited a then-forthcoming Rutgers L. Rev. article by Nipissing University assistant history professor Nathan Kozuskanich, a protege of Saul Cornell. DC's reply brief, filed last Wednesday, cites another unpublished Kozuskanich article, this one in the U. Penn. Journal of Constitutional Law. A pair of new postings by Clayton Cramer analyze the J. Constl. L. article, and the Rutgers article. To call the articles "law office history" might be unfair to law offices. Regarding the J. Const. L. article, Cramer explains how Kozuskanich's theory (that the right to arms in early Pennsylvania was only for collective defense of the state) depends on ignoring other evidence, and on strained, implausible readings of the evidence that Kozuskanich does present. (READ MORE)

Mark Tapscott: Rich get richer, poor get ..... but what if the facts don't show that? - Class warfare rhetoric is being flung about by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the two senators fighting tooth and nail for the Democratic presidential nomination to oppose Arizona Sen. John McCain, the Republican nominee, who voted against the Bush tax cuts because they supposedly favored the rich. If these three candidates essentially agree on this "Two Americas" theme, it must be true that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, right? And what about that related claim that is also becoming a fixture of political rhetoric, the idea that the disappearance of the Middle Class is happening because of the growing disparity of wealth and income in American society? (READ MORE)

ShrinkWrapped: Pity the Poor Anti-Semite II - I have read many angry articles and posts this morning regarding yesterday's atrocity in Jerusalem where 8 young men were murdered while studying the Torah. I would suggest that pity is a more appropriate response for the Palestinians. They are a pathetic people, made more so by the fact that their pathos is self-imposed. Hating the Palestinians, while a natural reaction to an atrocity, is no more useful than hating a rabid dog for his venom; the rabid dog must be put down but he is to be pitied rather than hated. The Palestinians thought they were simply following through on a long, storied progression of successful anti-Semites, but the rules have changed and they don't appreciate that they are victims of a bait-and-switch. Throughout history Jews have been handy people to have around. (READ MORE)

Meryl Yourish: Hamas admits they are Iran’s proxy army - Hamas isn’t even bothering to hide anymore the fact that Iran is pulling their strings. “A senior commander interviewed by The Sunday Times said 300 of the group’s ‘best brains’ had been secretly sent to Tehran. Half are still being trained by Revolutionary Guards. They are learning how to make explosives from everyday items and produce deadlier rockets. The rest have already returned from a Revolutionary Guard base in Tehran. Some have been trained as snipers. Others have learnt to use tunnels in attacks on Israeli forces. ‘Iran is our mother,’ the commander said. ‘She gives us information, military supplies and financial support.’ Seven separate groups of Hamas militants have spent up to six months in Tehran since the training began in 2005.” (READ MORE)

Socrates' Academy: Unqualified Hope - Neither Barack H. Obama nor Hillary D. R. Clinton is qualified to be President of the United States. They are both eligible, but not qualified. First, neither one has any military experience whatsoever. They would both be a catastrophe, and given their anti-war rhetoric it is virtually certain that our enemies would test them. Neither has any executive experience. Even the underqualified Bill Clinton was a governor. The equally unqualified George W. Bush allowed. Neither one has a history of bipartisan collaboration, because both are partisans. When forced into working with political foes as President neither would be effective. (READ MORE)

War Historian: Defending “the Surge” and the New COIN Doctrine - COL Peter R. Mansoor, executive officer to GEN David Petraeus and (come September) my new military history colleague here at Ohio State, takes to task occasional BTOOTSA contributor LTC Gian P. Gentile in this post on Small Wars Journal Blog: In his latest missive on the U.S. endeavor in Iraq (“Misreading the Surge Threatens U.S. Army’s Conventional Capabilities”), Army Lieutenant Colonel Gian Gentile claims that the Surge forces and the new U.S. Army and Marine Corps counterinsurgency doctrine had little effect on the situation in Iraq. Rather, U.S. forces paid off the insurgents, who stopped fighting for cash. Once again, Gian Gentile misreads not just what is happening today in Iraq, but the history of the war. (READ MORE)

Lawhawk: Do Or Do Not; Which Way Israeli Leaders Squirm - So, which is it? Has the Olmert government engaged in a cease fire in Gaza, or are operations continuing as Ehud Barak has stated? Well, this should come as no surprise, but the Olmert government is pushing the military to scale back its operations in Gaza: “The IDF has confirmed that the political echelon has instructed the army to scale-down its operation against terrorists in the Gaza Strip, Army Radio reported Monday. According to the report, there is currently almost no military activity going on in the Strip, and the army was ordered to seek the approval of the political echelon for action against any potential target. [IDF troops operate in...]” (READ MORE)

Flopping Aces: The Payola & The Consensus Inside The Global Warming Community - John Tierney writes about the money paid to the man-man global warming crowd in his new article for the New York Times. In it he notes the criticism he received for speaking at a event that was funded by the Heartland Institute. The environazi’s were all aghast because they believed the institute to be funded by fossil fuel companies. Nevermind that the money from fossil fuel companies have never been over 5% of their budget, in their minds thats enough to be a tool for big oil. John notes similiarites with this kind of stuff and the “fat is bad” studies done in the 70’s: (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.

Trackbacked / linked by:
Cables, dispatches and memoranda from Peace Like A River

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