March 17, 2008

Web Reconnaissance for 03/17/2008

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)
Mr. Hu's Tibet Replay - The last time Beijing cracked down on Tibet, it was 1989, the year of the Tiananmen Square massacre, and Hu Jintao ran the province. Today, violent scenes are playing out again in Tibet -- this time with Mr. Hu as China's president. It's a reminder that despite China's economic liberalization and some political opening, the authoritarian instincts of the country's leadership haven't changed. (READ MORE)

The Buck Stops Where? - In the credit market panic that began in August, we have now reached the point of maximum danger: A global run on the dollar that could become a rout. As the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee prepares to meet tomorrow, this should be its major concern. (READ MORE)

U.S. boosts deportation of illegals - The Department of Homeland Security, continuing to enforce what it calls a "strict policy of arresting, prosecuting and jailing" illegal immigrants, deported a record number of those caught on the nation's borders last year — more than 280,000 in fiscal year 2007 compared with 186,000 a year earlier. (READ MORE)

Nation awaits D.C. handgun ruling - The District of Columbia's fight to preserve its nearly 32-year-old ban on handguns before the U.S. Supreme Court has drawn nationwide attention as a bellwether vote on the limits of gun control. (READ MORE)

JPMorgan to buy Bear Stearns - JPMorgan Chase said yesterday it will acquire rival Bear Stearns in a deal valued at $236.2 million — or $2 a share — at the same time the Federal Reserve cut its discount rate in a highly unusual Sunday move. (READ MORE)

Cheney makes surprise stop at Baghdad - Vice President Dick Cheney made a surprise stop in Baghdad today, as he began a tour of the Middle East that will focus on moving along the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and on persuading Gulf States to increase oil output and isolate Iran. (READ MORE)

Defiant Tibetans expand protests - Protests spread from Tibet into three neighboring provinces yesterday as Tibetans defied a Chinese government crackdown, while the Dalai Lama decried what he called the "cultural genocide" taking place in his homeland. (READ MORE)

Sarkozy reform agenda reborn - The party of French President Nicolas Sarkozy did better than expected in the second round of municipal elections yesterday, signaling to officials in Mr. Sarkozy's government that many voters want him to follow through with economic reforms. (READ MORE)

Fed Takes Broad Action to Avert Financial Crisis - The Federal Reserve took dramatic action on multiple fronts last night to avert a crisis of the global financial system, backing the acquisition of wounded investment firm Bear Stearns and increasing the flow of money to other banks squeezed for credit. (READ MORE)

Letting the Market Drive Transportation - It took a few moments for Tyler Duvall, the top policymaker at the Department of Transportation, to digest the news from the Hill. But when he realized what it meant, he was stunned. (READ MORE)

Cost Nearly Doubles For Marine One Fleet - A year after Sept. 11, 2001, the White House set out to build a fleet of state-of-the-art Marine One helicopters for the al-Qaeda age that would be safer, more powerful and more reliable than the iconic white-topped aircraft that have landed on the South Lawn for decades. (READ MORE)

Beijing's Crackdown Gets Strong Domestic Support - BEIJING, March 16 -- In the West, the name Tibet has long evoked unspoiled Himalayan landscapes, cinnamon-robed monks spinning prayer wheels and a peace-loving Dalai Lama seeking freedom for his repressed Buddhist followers. (READ MORE)

4 FBI Agents Hurt in Islamabad Blast - ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, March 16 -- Four FBI agents were among 12 people wounded in a weekend bomb blast at a popular Italian restaurant in Pakistan's capital, U.S. law enforcement officials said Sunday. (READ MORE)

McCain Arrives in Iraq, Plans to Meet Maliki - BAGHDAD, March 16 -- Sen. John McCain visited Iraq on Sunday as part of a congressional delegation on an international tour, a chance for the likely Republican presidential nominee to emphasize his support of the U.S. military effort in Iraq and his foreign policy experience. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
John R. Bolton: Salvaging Our North Korea Policy - There are signs, albeit small ones, that the Bush administration may be reaching the end of its patience with the Six-Party Talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons program. These signs could prove illusory. But as it nears its end, the administration has a serious responsibility: It must not leave its successor with an ongoing, failed policy. At a minimum, President Bush should not bequeath to the next president only the burned-out hulk of the Six-Party Talks, and countless failed and violated North Korean commitments. (READ MORE)

Michael A. Cohen: The Divided Democrats - It has been more than five decades since any political party in America has had a brokered convention, and for political junkies a heated battle at the Democratic convention seems like a tantalizing possibility. But for Democrats, a protracted nomination battle, culminating in a convention fight, could undermine the party's hopes of reclaiming the White House this fall. Since voters in Ohio and Texas breathed new life into Hillary Clinton's campaign, some have argued that the current stalemate will not hurt the party's candidate come November. (READ MORE)

Peter Duffy: New York and the Famine - On this St. Patrick's Day, Ireland is peaceful and prosperous. The animosities of the past will have little bearing on the great parade that travels up Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. The so-called Celtic Tiger, with its cubs more interested in the strength of the euro than the durability of sectarian differences, appears to have entered a new era in its history. Perhaps then, on this day of all days, the Irish Catholics of New York should do something that would've been unthinkable even a few years ago: raise a toast to the Protestants. (READ MORE)

Robert Barnett: Tragedy in Tibet - The charred bodies and pulped faces of Chinese migrants murdered during Friday's riots in Lhasa are likely to become a new and terrible image of Tibet. Just as those Tibetans who have died in ethnic violence or at the hands of the security forces, those killed over the weekend in the struggle over Tibet's future died what should have been unnecessary deaths. The situation would be hugely exacerbated if reports of random shooting by troops are confirmed. (READ MORE)

Nima Sanandaji: Welfare Wean - Siamak Alian is something of a rarity in a Scandinavian welfare state -- a successful immigrant entrepreneur. Mr. Alian came to Sweden in 1989 with a degree in nuclear physics from the University of Tehran. Unable to find a job in his field, he pursued a degree in electronics and alongside his studies founded a computer equipment import company. Within six years, his firm grossed some €10 million annually. Mr. Alian notes that many in his surroundings initially advised against becoming an entrepreneur: "Why should one start a business?" they asked. [...]Especially for immigrants, the first signal from Swedish society is not that you ought to work, let alone become self-employed. The message is that the state will take care of you. (READ MORE)

Robert D. Novak: Democratic Racial Divide - WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Geraldine Ferraro often has seemed puzzled during nearly 24 years since she was thrust from obscurity as a congresswoman from Queens to become the first woman nominated for vice president of the United States. But her current confusion is palpable because she has been condemned for repeating what she has heard from fellow supporters of Hillary Clinton and pursuing an apparent major goal of that campaign: to indelibly identify Democratic presidential rival Barack Obama as an African-American. "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position," Ferraro told The Daily Breeze newspaper of Torrance, Calif., on March 7 during a telephone interview published in advance of a paid lecture there. (READ MORE)

Dinesh D'Souza: Is Ferraro Right About Obama? - The columnist Michael Kinsley once defined a "gaffe" as an occasion when a politician accidentally tells the truth. In our age of political correctness, some would place Geraldine Ferraro's remarks into this category. Long known for speaking candidly, Ferraro recently remarked that "if Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position." There's a molecule of truth in this. Obama's appeal is that he is an African American who doesn't sound one bit like Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. Blacks are inspired to see one of their own have a serious shot at the presidency. Whites are relieved that Obama doesn't seem to be motivated by the kind of chronic resentment that seems all too prevalent in black America. (READ MORE)

Mike S. Adams: The Audacity of Dope - There have been some rumors floating around the internet suggesting I engaged in illegal drug use when I was a professional guitar player in the late1980s and early 1990s. I want to take the time to address these rumors because they are grossly inaccurate and unfair. To be specific, they are grossly inaccurate and unfair because they grossly underestimate my former involvement in illegal drug use. In addition to smoking marijuana – sometimes laced with substances like PCP - for a number of years, I also experimented with drugs like hashish, powdered cocaine, LSD, and methamphetamines (including ecstasy). I regret my decision to use illegal drugs in my youth and I’m really sorry. Now that my past drug use is out of the way, let’s move on to Barack Obama. (READ MORE)

Peter J. Wirs: Rick Santorum to All Conservatives — Good Grief, What are You Waiting for? - A principled conservative donor contemplating support for Republican All in One,™ the new GOP interactive grassroots software, was volitive for the imprimatur of former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA). Santorum’s bottom-line response: good grief, what are you waiting for? In an interview, joined by the Philadelphia Bulletin, Santorum responded to our analysis that had interactive software such as Republican All in One™ been available in 2006, Santorum would not have lost by 708,000 votes. Instead he would be reelected by 344,000 votes had, all things being equal, the four traditionally Republican suburban Philadelphia counties maintained a GOP turnout equal to the balance of Pennsylvania, instead of plummeting in half to 47% (while Democratic turnout shot up to 90%). (READ MORE)

Star Parker: Housing Market Needs a Dose of More Reality, Not Government - Watching the housing/mortgage/financial crisis unfold, I keep thinking about the joke about the difference between neurotics and psychotics. The former builds castles in the sky and the latter moves into them. Until the bubble burst, a lot of folks were living in these castles in the air, made possible by bountiful and creative mortgage financing. Now, we're being reminded that there is indeed something called reality from which many became detached. Peter Thiel, president of the global hedge fund Clarium Capital Management and co-founder of PayPal, writing about market bubbles in the latest Policy Review journal of the Hoover Institution, says that "U.S. real estate prices in 2005 were more distorted than in 1929, 1979 or 1989, or at any other time in history." (READ MORE)

Armstrong Williams: It's the Little Things that Count - Whether it’s a couple million for their district or $25 million for their husbands (hey, she’s not the Speaker for nothing!), Democrats are still up to their old earmark ways, despite a bold pledge in the 2006 election to end “runaway spending.” Now I know politicians’ promises last about as long as a New Year’s resolution, but c’mon, this is the singular issue that upsets Joe Six-Pack more than any other, in my opinion. The majority of Americans don’t have money to waste, and they hate seeing their government throwing it down the drain for stupid, selfish reasons. And I recently read that David Obey (D-Wis.) – the King of all Kings of wasteful spending – is sending around some lame, two-question survey to his fellow Democrats in what is nothing more than internal cover for his party to blow the lock off the Treasury. (READ MORE)

Uncle Jimbo @ Blackfive: Winter Shysters - I have been purposely ignoring the farce that is Winter Soldier II. I am obviously doing something much more important and more or less diametrically opposed with the National Heroes Tour, but I will make time to abuse these chumps. Yesterday an anti-war twit showed up at a book-signing and handed out a Winter Soldier preview DVD. Instead of frisbeeing it as far as I could, I made the mistake of watching it, now I'm wicked pissed. I knew they would lie and misrepresent and steal oxygen from much higher life forms, but for some reason spending time with the folks traveling on this tour has heightened my outrage. So I would like to extend two middle fingers and a hearty "f**k you very much" to all the dung beetles scurrying around hating on America in support of this. (READ MORE)

Dafydd: Persistence of (the) Vision and the Crisis-Myths of the Fascist Left - I am always amazed by the curious immunity the Left has to truth, no matter how well established, if it doesn't fit what Thomas Sowell calls "the vision of the anointed." A factoid that seems to fit the preexisting story persists forever, regardless of how often debunked... just as creationists cite the same "failures" of evolutionary theory over and over, without regard to lengthy -- sometimes even book-length -- debunking: But one has persisted above all others: The ludicrous Johns Hopkins "survey" that found more than 600,000 Iraqi civilians had been killed by the Iraq war. It persists to this day, despite repeated, highly credible debunkings by everyone from statisticians to the military to the Associated Press to the Iraqi government itself. And here it bubbles up again from AP -- an unquestioned bit of lore that has become part of the Left's Iraq-war catechism: (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: Hey Santy Ana - The first thing that comes to mind when recalling Tibet is Burma. Jotman, for example, is following the crisis with the same intensity, idealism and expectation as the now forgotten stand by the Burmese monks against its government. In both cases the substantive villain of the piece is China. China was the ultimate guarantor of the Burmese tyranny. China is the ultimate occupier of Tibet. During the Burmese crisis I wrote that the Burmese resistants would have to the solve the problem for themselves, which some of my readers thought was a callous dismissal of the their heroism. I wrote: (READ MORE)

Gabriel Malor @ Ace of Spades: Trinity United Responds - No apologies. Instead, they've gone with the "look over there!" approach. “ ‘AN ATTACK ON OUR SENIOR PASTOR AND THE HISTORY OF THE AFRICAN AMERICAN CHURCH’: Chicago, Ill. (March 15, 2008 ) — Nearly three weeks before the 40th commemorative anniversary of the murder of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Reverend Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.’s character is being assassinated in the public sphere because he has preached a social gospel on behalf of oppressed women, children and men in America and around the globe.” This does not even purport to address the issue. No one is disturbed that Wright tries to better the lives of "the oppressed." People are rightfully angry that he believes it's necessary to tear down "whitey" in the process. Obama spent the last year talking about unity and it turns out that his very good friend, his counsel, his pastor, the man who brought him to Christianity, built a following out of dividing black America from white. (READ MORE)

Dymphna: In the UK, the Time Has Come for Disguises - News stories for this report were collected from The Daily Mail, Times Online, The Telegraph, The Sun, and Melanie Phillips at The Spectator. They were used in compiling this post. Since the incident has some anomalies and contradictions, not to mention the long lapse between the event in question and any release to the media, it seems best to go with a straightforward narrative while leaving the links in one place for your further perusal. Who knows, you might spot some egregious behavior I missed. The basics are this: Canon Michael Ainsworth, age 57, the vicar at St George-in-the-East Church in Wapping, East London, was viciously beaten by “Asian youths” when he came out of the church and asked them to quiet down during the services. Their response was to beat his face to a bloody pulp and kick him when he was on the ground, editorializing all the while on the needless existence of both the vicar and of the church. The latter, they claimed, ought to be a mosque. (READ MORE)

The Foxhole: Traitorous Activists and Media Embolden Terrorists….Say it ain’t so - They didn’t have to waste a ’study’ or whatever amount of funding it cost to come to these conclusions: “Are insurgents in Iraq emboldened by voices in the news media expressing dissent or calling for troop withdrawals from Iraq? The short answer, according to a pair of Harvard economists, is yes. In a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the authors are quick to point out numerous caveats to their findings, based on data from mid-2003 through late 2007…[t]heir results show that insurgent groups are not devoid of reason and unresponsive to outside pressures and stimuli. ‘It shows that the various insurgent groups do respond to incentives and shows that a successful counter insurgency strategy should take that reality into account,’ says one of the paper’s coauthors, Jonathan Monten, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.” (READ MORE)

Democracy Project: Elmer Gantry Needed At Winter Soldier II (Even Feminist Supporters PO'd) - The Iraq Veterans Against the War’s re-enactment of its mentors’ Vietnam Veterans Against the War’s 1971 spectacle is flopping. From promising riveting testimony from 200 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, then 100, then 50, the three days presented some hard-luck stories, but didn’t present anything remotely more than assertions that some of the possible misfortunes of war argue that the Iraq war is immoral, illegal and, oh, you know the drill of fiery adjectives. Reading and listening to some selective transcripts, there’s nothing there re: committing confirmed or confirmable atrocities, mostly just some unsubstantiated and obviously partial and slanted "war stories"... (READ MORE)

Don Surber: DC gun case - LA Times: “A decision against the law could give the 2nd Amendment the same standing as the 1st Amendment.” Duh. I did not know that certain amendments are inferior to others. Oh sure, the Third Amendment is about as relevant as the quill it was written with. But it still is an equal among peers. The only one that doesn’t count is the 18th, which was wiped out by the 21st. The quote is from the promo for the piece in the LA Times: “Supreme Court to hear challenge to D.C. gun law.” The story pointed out that the ban did not do fulfill its stated purpose: (READ MORE)

The Monkey Tennis Centre: Clooney sells watches while the Chinese shoot monks - According to reports coming out of Tibet, as many as 100 people have been killed by Chinese forces in a crackdown on pro-independence protests by monks and their supporters. The unrest is said to be spreading, and more deaths are likely in the coming days. The Beijing Olympics take place in August, and Tibetans are courageously taking the opportunity to draw attention to their plight, and bring international pressure to bear on China. And if his previous form is anything to go by, the Tibetans should soon be able to count on the high-profile support of Hollywood star George Clooney in their struggle for freedom. (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: Iraq poll: Improvements across the board - A consortium of global media companies, including the BBC and ABC News, commissioned an opinion poll of Iraqis to determine their state of mind. They found that Iraqis have grown significantly more optimistic across the board, with major gains in confidence regarding security and a drop in support for militias. The poll comes at the fifth anniversary of the invasion and about a year after the change in American tactics now called the “surge” began: “Fifty-five percent of Iraqis say things in their own lives are going well, well up from 39 percent as recently as August. More, 62 percent, rate local security positively, up 19 points. And the number who expect conditions nationally to improve in the year ahead has doubled, to 46 percent in this new national poll by ABC News, the BBC, ARD German TV and the Japanese broadcaster NHK.” (READ MORE)

Allahpundit: Obama camp: No, Newsmax, he wasn’t there for the sermon on July 22 - An (almost) airtight alibi, refuting the charge that he was present in church and nodding along last summer when Wright indicted the “United States of White America.” So much for Newsmax’s credibility. People were ripping on me in the comments to the Juan Williams post for having called the Messiah a shrewd politician but just look at the game he’s got us playing here — trying to place him physically at the scene of any single sermon at a church he patronized for 20 years, as if absent that evidence we might have to believe his feigned ignorance. Newsmax’s info was bogus? Well, maybe he really didn’t know after all! (READ MORE)

McQ: The "Kos" Strike: Unity is a wonderful thing - How divisive has the Democratic primary been among the Netroots? Well, the roots are apparently splitting over the Democratic race with some writers at the popular DailyKos striking because of the anti-Clinton slant of the place. In an open letter to the "progressive blogosphere", Kos diarist Alegre, who has been posting at Kos for 4 years, has declared a strike. “I’ve decided to go on ‘strike’ and will refrain from posting here as long as the administrators allow the more disruptive members of our community to trash Hillary Clinton and distort her record without any fear of consequence or retribution. I will not be posting at DailyKos effective immediately. I will not help drive up traffic or page-hits as long as my candidate – a good and fine DEMOCRAT - is attacked in such a horrid and sexist manner not only by other diarists, but by several of those posting to the front page.” (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: War D’Oeuvres - You can tell just by looking which ones are going to taste bad. NYT oped page: Nate Fick, Marine Recon platoon leader in the invasion, author of “One Bullet Away” and an acquaintance, gives us the most worthwhile read in NYT’s 5th anniversary Iraq oped-apalooza. Worries Over Being Slimed: “The weapons, we now know, were some combination of relic, bluster and ruse. We focused on the nerve-agent feint, and got roundhoused by the insurgent hook. I wish we could all go back to those nights in the Kuwaiti desert, when a more sober assessment could have changed the way we fought, and maybe lessened the likelihood that we’d still be fighting five years later.” You’ll notice Nate doesn’t suggest going back in time to cancel the war based on what is now known. But unlike most of the company he’s keeping on this page, he doesn’t have any excuses to make. (READ MORE)

The Redhunter: Iraqi Perspectives Project - Saddam and Terrorism - Earlier this week a new IPP report was released: Saddam and Terrorism: Emerging Insights from Captured Iraqi Documents (this is the redacted version. I have ordered the entire 5 CD set, which you cannot download but must order. I missed it's release and only found out about it from Steve Schippert on NRO's The Tank. Apparently, the report was completed in November 2007 but only released this week. The left, including some news outfits (often one and the same), is as usually wrapped up in kooky conspiracy theories along the lines of this being "the report Bush didn't want you to see". As usual, the truth is more complicated. (READ MORE)

Dan Riehl: Obama's Problem Now Isn't Wright, Or Rezko - Unfortunately for Barack Obama, his potentially campaign ending problem now goes well beyond any specific issues surrounding his pastor of twenty years, or his corrupt political godfather, Tony Rezko. The man has now lost the very rationale for his entire campaign for the presidency: change. A candidate steeped for twenty-years and to his own benefit in everything that's old, corrupt, utterly uninspiring and ultimately downright divisive simply can't claim the mantle of change with any genuine credibility. His magic is gone. What is the one word most associated with Obama up until now, after all - the one so associated with the man as to have become a running joke? Change! That word has served as the entire rationale for the man's run for the presidency, has it not? So, what did this great agent of change do when confronted with the usual slime of Chicago politics? (READ MORE)

John Hawkins: Daily Kos Post Of The Day: The United States Needs To Be Invaded - Not Just Invaded - Occupied - Sure, I could have taken the easy way out and pointed out the numerous Kossacks defending Jeremiah Wright saying, "God d*mn America," but I dug a little deeper and came up with this shining example of America hating liberalism from Daily Kos diarist professorfate: “The United States needs to be invaded - not just invaded - occupied. ...We have allowed a Congress and an administration to encourage hate and to hi-jack our compassion. In fact, as a nation we have lost our compassion. Unfortunately, America is at a point that to be able to really feel again, to regain that compassion, it needs to be invaded and occupied in the same way that we have invaded and occupied Iraq.” (READ MORE)

Right Wing Nut House: IRAQ 5 YEARS GONE - In my 54 years of life on earth, I have come to see war in rather stark and uncompromising terms: 1. War is waste. 2. There is nothing moral about any war except working to end it in victory as soon as possible. Spare me your attempts to praise or condemn the decision to go to war based on some moral framework. Standing on the mountaintop preaching to the rest of us about how “immoral” it was to go into Iraq or how “Just War” doctrine applies is supercilious at best and ultimately irrelevant. History will have her way with us, judging whether the decision to invade Iraq was correct or incorrect. In that respect, morality plays little or no role. And those who pretend to know how the future will unfold as a result of our actions can easily be dismissed as charlatans – and that includes everyone from internet pundits to so-called experts who endlessly expound on the dire future in the region because of our invasion. (READ MORE)

Steve Schippert: They'll Be Back: al-Qaeda Targeting Pak Police, FBI in Pakistan - Al-Qaeda is definitely stepping up its battle in Pakistan, as Syed Saleem Shahzad reports. Last week, terrorists struck the offices of the Pakistani police’s investigative offices in Lahore, killing at least 30 with a car bomb. “However, according to Asia Times Online’s investigations, the real target, an undercover office of the Special Investigation Authority (SIA), was missed as the suicide attacker hit the advertising agency. The SIA is a joint initiative of US and Pakistani planners set up to eliminate the strong roots of radicalization in Punjab province which could easily be transformed into very strong al-Qaeda connections. The SIA will remain a target in Lahore as well as other parts of Punjab, including Multan.” The undercover counterterror investigative unit is not a secret, though indications are the bomber imprecisely hit his assigned target, primarily striking a marketing company instead. (READ MORE)

TigerHawk: Notes on the Barack Obama/Jeremiah Wright kerfuffle - While we are sitting around waiting for the stock market to tank and other delights of the new week, I thought I would offer my consolidated thoughts about the controversy surrounding Barack Obama's minister, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and Obama's distancing from same. Without focusing on "gotcha" considerations -- let's not dwell on the implications of Obama's various post hoc positions -- I propose a series of statements about Obama's relationship with Wright's church that strike me as pretty uncontroversial: 1. The Obamas listened to many of Rev. Wright's sermons over many years, so it is highly unlikely that they were unaware of his opinions as now famously expressed from the pulpit. (READ MORE)

Meryl Yourish: The Exception Clause, again - Imagine that two molotov cocktails were thrown at the home of a representative of a Muslim organization. Imagine the outrage, the news articles, the media notice. Now imagine that two molotov cocktails were thrown at the home of a representative of an African-American organization. Imagine the outrage, the news articles, the media notice. Now imagine that two molotov cocktails were thrown at the home of a representative of a Jewish organization. Imagine the outrage, the news articles, the media notice—or not. (READ MORE)

Westhawk: Has the media lost its war of attrition? - The most remarkable finding from the Pew Research Center’s recent study about the American public’s knowledge of current events is that in February just 3% of all news stories were about the war in Iraq. This compares to 15% of stories in July 2007, and over 20% in January and February of 2007. Has the decline in violence and casualties in Iraq made the topic no longer newsworthy? Or has the mainstream media lost a battle of attrition and given up on attempting to influence American war policy? Either explanation leaves the media looking poorly. The decline in media coverage of the war is perfectly correlated with the decline in American combat casualties. This finding reinforces the worst stereotype of the media’s decision-making, namely “if it bleeds, it leads.” Is the purpose of the media to inform the public about important policy issues? (READ MORE)

Mark Steyn: Everyone's A Victim - Well, we will have Hillary Clinton to kick around some more, at least for another few weeks. The Mummy (as my radio pal Hugh Hewitt calls her) kicked open the sarcophagus door and, despite the rotting bandages dating back to Iowa, began staggering around terrorizing folks all over again. "She is a monster," Obama advisor Samantha Power told a reporter from The Scotsman - and not a monster in a cute Loch Ness blurry long-distance kind of way but something far more repulsive and in your face. "You just look at her and think, 'Ergh,'" continued Ms. Power, warming to her theme perhaps more than is advisable even in an interview with an overseas newspaper. The New York Times took a different line. The only monster is you - yes, you, the American people. Surveying the Hillary-Barack death match, Maureen Dowd wrote: "People will have to choose which of America's sins are greater, and which stain will have to be removed first. Is misogyny worse than racism, or is racism worse than misogyny?" (READ MORE)

Douglas V. Gibbs: What Secular Humanism/Liberalism/Socialism has Wrought - Liberalism is socialism is communism. This is a popular belief among the inhabitants of the right side of the political spectrum. Those that reside on the left side of the political spectrum immediately argue that calling liberalism a form of socialism is arrogant of the right, and an irresponsible tactic. From a hair-splitting perspective, of course liberalism is not socialism, and socialism is not communism. There are a few differences. But, as a general overview, each of these political philosophies share a great number of similarities, and each of these political ideas require that the subject (oops, I mean citizen) place government at the top of their list of importance (hence, the need to eliminate any vestige of God, because an all-powerful body of government must be like a god to the people, and will not tolerate any allegiance to any other god). (READ MORE)

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