April 7, 2008

Web Reconnaissance for 04/07/2008

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)
Sri Lankan Rebels Set Up U.S. Branch - The Tamil Tigers, a terrorist organization whose suicide bombings and political assassinations have killed 4,000 people in the past two years, have quietly established a U.S. presence to help bankroll and equip its brutal secessionist campaign in Sri Lanka, authorities said. (READ MORE)

Bush a Convert to Nation Building - In October 2000, presidential candidate George W. Bush famously derided the concept of nation building and the suggestion that the U.S. military should take the lead in building up failed states. (READ MORE)

Petraeus, Crocker to Face Scrutiny on War - Capitol Hill Democrats say they will question Army Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador to Iraq Ryan C. Crocker this week about how the 5-year-old Iraq war has sapped U.S. military readiness, imperiled positive results from the Afghanistan conflict and alienated the United States from the rest of the world. (READ MORE)

Coburn Delays State Nominee Over Pro-Iran Radio - President Bush's nomination of a successor to his longtime friend Karen P. Hughes as the nation's top public diplomacy official is being held up in the Senate over concerns about anti-American bias in the Voice of America's broadcasts for Iran. (READ MORE)

Strategist in Trade Flap Quits Clinton Campaign - Mark Penn, the pollster and senior strategist for Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential bid, left the campaign yesterday after it was disclosed he met with representatives of the Colombian government to help promote a free-trade agreement that Mrs. Clinton opposes. (READ MORE)

Self-effacing McCain Gets Frank With Voters - The striking thing about Sen. John McCain's series of speeches this week was how often he apologized for or explained youthful indiscretions, his temper or his bad congressional votes. (READ MORE)

Clinton Tax Lessons - New York Senator Hillary Clinton and her husband spend a lot of time on the Presidential trail deploring the "wealthy" and "well-connected." As their newly released tax records for 2000 to 2007 show, they know of whom they speak. The former, and perhaps future, first couple earned $109 million over the past eight years, putting them among the top .01% of taxpayers. (READ MORE)

Fannie Gets a Pass - There are plenty of bad ideas in the housing "rescue" bill currently flying through Congress (see here). But Senator Mel Martinez (R., Fla.) is offering an opportunity for at least partial redemption. This week he wants the Senate to vote on his amendment to strengthen regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as part of the housing bailout. (READ MORE)

Beltway Fun House - Like 1990s' dot-coms that went public with nothing more than a concept, federal programs today can triple their budgets with a single word: housing. But unlike the tech craze, the taxpayer investment in this project will not be voluntary. (READ MORE)

The Next Campaign Stop: Iraq Hearings - When Army Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker travel to Capitol Hill tomorrow, they might be the ones before the microphones, but the cameras will be trained on three of their inquisitors: Sens. John McCain, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama. (READ MORE)

No Pact, but Bush, Putin Leave a Map - SOCHI, Russia, April 6 -- President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin brought their turbulent seven-year partnership to a close Sunday without a concrete deal on the issues dividing their wary nations but left behind a road map for their successors. (READ MORE)

Rocket Attacks Kill 2 Soldiers In Green Zone, 1 on U.S. Base - BAGHDAD, April 6 -- Three U.S. service members were killed and dozens were wounded Sunday in rocket attacks on the fortified Green Zone and a military base in Baghdad, the U.S. military said. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Star Parker: Will Racial Politics Ever End? - On April 4, 1968, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. walked out on a motel balcony in Memphis, Tenn., and was felled by an assassin's bullet. It is a poignant and hurtful thing to recall. But, now, 40 years later, circumstances provoke more than the usual reflection about this man, his life and our country. Given what King lived and died for, and given his milestone civil-rights achievements in his short life, why are we still talking about race in the United States in 2008? Today, we have not just black millionaires but black billionaires, black celebrities, black CEOs, accomplished black professionals in every field. We have black governors, mayors and national and state legislatures filled with black representatives. (READ MORE)

Neal Boortz: Who's "Right" - A typical column runs some 800 words. For some subjects, that’s far too many. One case in point: your “right” to health care. Among the rights guaranteed (not “given” as Bill Clinton believes) to you in our Constitution are: Freedom of religion - Freedom of speech - The right to peaceably assemble - The right to petition the government - The right to keep and bear arms - The right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures Protection from double jeopardy - Due process - A speedy and public trial by jury - The right to legal counsel when charged with a crime - With one exception, the right to representation in court and a trial by jury, these rights require nothing of any other citizen but that they recognize your rights and not interfere with them. (READ MORE)

Burt Prelutsky: The Race Debate - A while back, I wrote an article in which I pointed out that for over 20 years Barack Obama has attended Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ, whose minister, as we all know all too well, is a vicious hatemonger, and which recently bestowed its highest honor on none other than the legendary anti-Semite, Louis Farrakhan. Among the many e-mails I received was one from an black man in New Jersey. He identified himself as a successful entrepreneur in his mid-30s. The tone of his remarks was reasonable and he seemed to be well-educated, but by the time we had had six or eight exchanges, he’d managed to convince me he was an idiot. Let us call him Mr. Christopher. (READ MORE)

Carol Platt Liebau: The Cynic vs. the Radical: Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama - If you ever get the blues, just remember – it could always get worse. You could be forced to spend the week listening to the rhetoric of Michelle Obama or Hillary Clinton. Judging from last week’s news reports, that alone would be plenty to send almost anyone spiraling into the abyss of depression. Campaigning with Teresa Heinz Kerry last week, Michelle Obama had this to say about her husband’s pursuit of the nomination: “[I]n this ever-shifting, moving bar, Barack Obama will always be the underdog. No matter how much money he raises, no matter how many wins he pulls together, no matter how many delegates he accumulates; he is still the underdog. It’s the way it works.” (READ MORE)

Suzanne Fields: Teaching Violent Intolerance: The Tiny Ticking Time bombs in the Middle East - 'Tis education forms the common mind; just as the twig is bent, the tree's inclined. -- Alexander Pope Parents, teachers, preachers and politicians have always understood the wisdom Alexander Pope boiled down to aphorism in the 18th century. What and how you teach determines the child's character and curiosity as a man or woman. Like plants, children require nourishment and demand care, and by depriving them of the oxygen of countervailing ideas, their growth is stunted and their minds warped. Alexander Pope is not on many reading lists in the Middle East, but there's abundant evidence -- played out in Iraq, Iran and Palestine every day -- that the Islamists have engraved these two lines of Pope's poetry on their culture. (READ MORE)

Robert D. Novak: Obama's Gun Dance - WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Barack Obama, who informs campaign audiences that he taught constitutional law for 10 years, might be expected to weigh in on the historic Second Amendment case before the U.S. Supreme Court. The justices are pondering whether the 1976 District of Columbia law effectively prohibiting personal gun ownership in the nation's capital is constitutional. But Sen. Obama has not stated his position. Obama, disagreeing with the D.C. government and gun control advocates, declares the Second Amendment's "right of the people to keep and bear arms" applies to individuals, not just the "well-regulated militia" cited in the amendment. In the next breath, he asserts this constitutional guarantee does not preclude local "common sense" restrictions on firearms. (READ MORE)

Armstrong Williams: Clinton Fails to Pay the Bills - There’s truth in the adage “don’t talk the talk if you can’t walk the walk.” This week, the Clinton campaign continues to talk the talk, but have somehow tripped (okay, fell on their faces) over Hillarycare…I mean health care. Although Clinton pronounces it as her passion, news reports out this week indicate she has left $292,000 worth of her own employee’s health insurance premiums unpaid. What Hillary seems to have forgotten was that “free” healthcare isn’t really free; someone has to pay for it and in this case, it’s her. If her presidential campaign budget can’t handle the cost of health care on this small scale, how does she expect taxpayers to manage that same health program for all Americans? (READ MORE)

Mike S. Adams: The Prisoner - Last weekend, three guys came over to my house to pick up some furniture and clothes to take to a local rescue mission. It’s one of those faith-based organizations helping homeless men and prisoners alike as they try to make the transition back into society. I called them because there is no faith-based program strong enough to make me think I can lift heavy furniture by myself. I think life after forty is great but sometimes my back disagrees. After putting a heavy chair in the truck, one of the men turned to me and asked whether there was anything else that needed to be loaded up. “Yes” I replied, as I told him to get an ottoman from the sun room. The man walked up the steps to my front door and then suddenly stopped. (READ MORE)

Dinesh D'Souza: The Failure of "Intelligent Design" - As a Christian, I believe that the universe and its living creatures are the products of intelligent design. This belief is not merely derived from theology but is also supported by rational considerations. There is enormous intelligence embedded in the laws of nature. The greatest scientists over the past few centuries have worked to decode the intelligence mysteriously imprinted in the workings of nature. Scientific laws, as spelled out by Kepler, Newton, Einstein and others, reveal nature as exquisitely orderly. So who encoded this intelligence in nature? Since the universe had a beginning, how did it get here? There is no natural explanation, since the universe includes all of nature. It is more than absurd to posit that the universe caused itself. (READ MORE)

W. Thomas Smith, Jr: Why the MSM is dumbfounded by McCain’s refusal to go home - In the summer of 1968, 31-year-old U.S. Navy Lt. Commander John S. McCain III – a prisoner of war in a North Vietnamese POW camp – was offered by his captors a chance to go home. McCain’s father, Adm. John S. McCain Jr., had just been awarded command of all U.S. forces in the Pacific, and the North Vietnamese saw an opportunity for a propaganda stunt: Show the world a “merciful” North Vietnamese government, while simultaneously creating a sense among other American prisoners that the “blue bloods” among the POW ranks would easily accept preferential treatment. The younger McCain refused the bait. (READ MORE)

Austin Hill: I'm A Conservative Republican, But...... - “I’m a Conservative Republican like you, Austin…” The voice resonated through my headphones during the final minutes of my radio program, at AM 630 WMAL in Washington, D.C. The caller to the program - - we’ll call him “John” - - paused mid-sentence, and I sensed that there was a “big but” coming next. “But,” he continued, “we’ve just gotta do something to reign in these excessive profits from the oil companies.” Oil industry executives had been questioned by members of Congress earlier in the day about why their profits, and prices, have been so high. The inquisition on Capitol Hill, which was quite a spectacle in itself, was still top-of-mind for many. “What is excessive?” I asked. “Oh, please, you don’t think they’re excessive?” he replied. (READ MORE)

Donald Douglas: Dueling Patriotisms - Are conservatives more patriotic than lefties? It seems like the answer's straightforward: On the big issues of the day - which I see as the defense of traditional values (like national greatness) and questions of war and peace - conservatives win hands down. Simply, it's just hard to call yourself a patriot when you're rooting for the other side. Yet, there's an interesting little kerfuffle on the topic breaking out in the blogosphere, with Peter Wehner at Commentary taking on Joe Klein at Swampland. Klein's clever, but he's badly outmatched by Wehner on this issue. (READ MORE)

Gabriel Malor @ Ace of Spades: Olympics Drama Continues - The Olympic Torch passed through London yesterday in what was supposed to be "a journey of harmony." Residents and visitors should be applauded for taking the opportunity to denounce China's actions in Tibet. The relay turned into a major circus, with the torch itself invisible behind a wall of police, violent clashes between Chinese nationals and pro-Tibet demonstrators, and a government crack-down on pro-Tibet speech: “Before the torch arrived police circulated among Tibetan demonstrators ordering them to remove T-shirts and confiscating Tibetan flags in an apparent breach of a promise from Met commanders that police would not intervene to prevent embarrassment to Beijing.” (READ MORE)

The Wolf @ Blackfive: Heed this, ye of little faith - Thou shalt not anger the wolf... This upcoming week will likely be one of the most contentious we will see up until the November election- it may even surpass some of the shenanigans to go on during the conventions later in the summer. Maybe not as visual, maybe not quite as dramatic, but certainly as important. As you may remember, a certain General will give a certain report to a certain group of Congressmen this week, in order to report certain progress in Iraq. Will it be all 'rosey' and full of sunshine? Hardly. But it will reflect the ground truth, it will most likely reflect how the Surge has helped conditions, and will help lay out what we will have to do in the upcoming months to further maintain security while the Iraqi government gets its act together. (READ MORE)

Big Dog: Absolut Apology to Protect bottom Line - I wrote earlier about an ad campaign by Absolut vodka that was developed to target the Mexican market. In the ad Absolut displays a map from the 1830s in which California, Texas and much of the south west was Mexican territory. The wording over it reads “In an Absolut World.” There have been calls for a boycott of that product and I indicated that the company had more to lose in the US than it did to gain in Mexico. It would appear as if they now realize that they offended Americans because the company has issued an apology. “‘In no way was it meant to offend or disparage, nor does it advocate an altering of borders, nor does it lend support to any anti-American sentiment, nor does it reflect immigration issues,’ Absolut said in a statement left on its consumer inquiry phone line. LA Times” It does not matter what they meant or what they say they meant, the reality is that Americans saw this as offensive an counterproductive. The company can say it did not mean to do a lot of things but they put up the map and said this is how it would be in an Absolut world thus indicating that in their world this is the way it should be. (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: Tribes - Stanley Kurtz at the Weekly Standard has a summary of Philip Salzman's study of tribalism in the Middle East. After decades of neglect occasioned by Edward Said's assertions that everything dysfunctional about the Arab world was rooted in the West, anthropologists are interested in tribal mechanics again. Salzman argues that a knowledge of tribal society is at least as important in understanding the conflicts of the modern world as a study of Islam. In fact, Islam itself can be seen as a code within which the dynamics of tribal society can be acted out. “The United States finds itself locked in a struggle with fierce jihadi warriors shaped by the pervasively tribal culture of the Islamic Near East.” (READ MORE)

The Captains' Journal: Conservative Versus Liberal: The War Over the Wars - The demarcation between “conservative” and “liberal” over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has not only made for strange bedfellows in recent months and years, it has caused the twisting and spinning of evidence and data to fit into a political model, this model being derived by political party operatives not for purposes of clear delineation and advocacy of strategy and tactics regarding the global war on terror, but rather for purposes of victory in the U.S. electoral college. In the discussion that follows, we will provide three examples of this phenomenon and then an analysis of these examples to show how the traditional boundary conditions of “conservative” and “liberal” no longer suffice as an adequate explanation or descriptor of the positions advocated by an individual or party. (READ MORE)

Discerning Texan: Oil "Starved" America still giving the Saudis a Pass - Here is a question: given that America is sitting on top of an ocean of unextracted oil, which our Democrat politicians refuse to let us drill under the guise of "saving the planet"; and given that America's regulatory environment is a calamity for anyone wanting to build refineries to actually process that oil, are these same Democrat politicians not complicit in our having to go to the root of all Islamist evil for most of our oil, thereby assisting providing billions of petrodollars to the very people who would most love to see us all dead? (READ MORE)

Dr. Sanity: "HOPE", "CHANGE", LEFTIST DISTORTION, AND MASS HYSTERIA - This comment from Glenn Reynolds says it all, doesn't it, about those who are hyping doom and gloom in the economy? “PINK SLIP NATION: Actually, though, the unemployment rate in November 1996, when Clinton rode a soaring economy to victory, was 5.4%. That's right--three tenths of a percent higher than the "grim picture" of a "pink slip nation" painted by this month's unemployment report. ‘That was different, because back then a man from Hope promised Change.’” The Democrats and the left are trying to sweep all of America up into their psychotic delusions; to make everyone believe that everything under Bush is far worse than anything that has ever come before. (READ MORE)

Don Surber: The gang that couldn’t 527 straight - MoveOn organizer learns he ain’t Swift Boat enough for McCain. The liberal 527s outspent the swift boaters 15-to-1 in 2004. The libs were keelhauled. Nevertheless, in November, America Coming Together and the Media Fund brought in Tom Matzzie from MoveOn to head up the generic anti-GOP nominee. “Tom Matzzie has been hired to run a new effort for 2008, which he has described in an e-mail as a $100 million-plus venture organized around ‘issues and character’,” Chris Cillizza reported. Six months later, nada. (READ MORE)

SFC MAC: Taliban to Sarkozy: ‘You Reneged’ - Aw, what a shame: "The Taleban have accused French President Nicolas Sarkozy of reneging on an election promise with his pledge to send more troops to Afghanistan. The Afghan militant movement said they had freed two French aid workers last year because Mr Sarkozy had pledged to pull French forces out of Afghanistan. He had said during last year’s campaign that the long-term presence of French troops in Afghanistan was not assured. Earlier this week, France offered 700 more troops for Nato’s Afghan mission. ‘The Nato-member countries are not only making baseless promises to Afghans but they do so to their respective nations,’ a Taleban spokesman told AFP.” (READ MORE)

Baron Bodissey: "You Cannot Say Anything These Days” - I was away over the weekend at Fausta’s bloggers’ bash in New Jersey. I’m still going through the three quintillion emails that arrived while I was gone. Be patient — I’ll be a while replying to everybody. Meanwhile, look at this comment by a Swede on a post at Snaphanen, reproduced below verbatim (the original is in English). This man’s mind has loosened itself enough from the grip of Sweden’s suffocating politically correct Multiculturalism for him to see through the official lies about the level of immigrant violence against “persons of Swedish background”. But notice that he still swallows the party line about Sverigedemokraterna being a “racist party with proven nazi-relations”. There’s still a long way to go before most Swedes can even begin to think clearly about what’s going on in their country. But this is a start: (READ MORE)

Dymphna: Two Women, Two Cultures - The path of righteousness in Islam grows narrower every day: “A debate is rising over ‘honor murder’ following a case that belatedly revealed that a young Saudi Arabian woman was killed by her father for chatting on the Internet social network site, Facebook. British daily Telegraph quoted Monday’s Middle East news sites including al-Arabiya as saying, ‘Social networking sites, like Facebook, are causing social strife in the Islamic nation and the incident is an example.’” Wrong. What this incident exemplifies is the Arabs’ selective use of Western technology. Mostly they prefer to stick to armament improvements. Young women who learn the ins and outs of “social networking” - which is an inescapable part of Western culture for that age group - are at risk of bodily harm or death for the sin of availing themselves of a remedy for isolation and loneliness. (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: Reuters: Gun collections, gun stores, Germany, Texas — what’s the diff? - News agencies try to match stories with appropriate images to emphasize a certain theme or portion of it in the minds of readers. Often this leads to revealing results, as it does today with Reuters. In an Oddly Enough story about an obsessive collector, Reuters chose to focus on a certain aspect of the story — and chose a picture which misleads their readers about its scope: “A German man was such an avid collector of weapons and other paraphernalia that he ran out of space at home and had to sleep in a hotel, neighbors said following the 71-year-old’s death.” (READ MORE)

Allahpundit: Time reporter in Baghdad: Every Iraqi I know is praying for a McCain victory - Well, every Iraqi willing to talk politics, anyway. I’d like to call this “good news” but the context is grim, albeit obvious to everyone but the left: “For Sunnis, al-Sadr’s continued clout is a warning and a provocation. In the district of Adhamiyah, a Sahwa [i.e. Awakening] fighter named Mahmoud (like his Mahdi Army counterpart, he gave only his first name) tells me there can be no reconciliation between the sects ‘as long as Muqtada is alive.’ Then he makes a grim prediction: ‘Right now, the Americans want us to fight against al-Qaeda, and that’s fine. But we know the real fight will be in the future, with the Mahdi Army. We are getting ready for it.’ Fattah, in Sadr City, is preparing for the same fight.” (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: Wife-Beatage Journalism 101 - A fascinating exercise in elementary “When Did You Stop Beating Your Wife” journalism at a top-shelf deep-think venue is made all the more ironic because it involves 60 Minutes’ Kroft misrepresenting what Douglas Feith is saying about the administration’s line on the Iraq invasion. It could be used as a textbook case of Bush lied, people died logic: ‘Asked why was the decision made to go after Saddam Hussein after 9/11, when even then, the United States government realized Saddam didn’t have anything to do with the attacks, Feith answers, ‘What we did after 9/11 was look broadly at the international terrorist network from which the next attack on the United States might come. And we did not focus narrowly only on the people who were specifically responsible for 9/11. Our main goal was preventing the next attack.’” (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: US, Iraqi Army clash with Mahdi Army in Sadr City - Fighting between the Coalition and Mahdi Army fighters broke out today as operations against the Mahdi Army and the Special Groups continue despite Prime Minister Maliki's call for a halt in operations. Early reports indicate between nine and 20 Iraqis were killed during clashes in Sadr City at the 55 intersection and Falah Street. Abdellatif Rayan, a media adviser to Multinational Forces Iraq said a US Army helicopter killed nine "criminals" in Sadr City. "We do have reports of an air weapons team engagement, a US helicopter, where nine criminals were killed at around 8:00 AM," Rayan told Voices of Iraq. The US military has confirmed several clashes today in Sadr City. "Today, while Iraqi Army Soldiers were moving through those areas they were engaged by armed criminals with [rocket propelled grenades] and [small arms fire]," Lieutenant Colonel Steve Stover, the Public Affairs Officer for Multinational Division Baghdad told The Long War Journal. (READ MORE)

Amy Proctor: Murtha to Petraeus and Crocker: 'You Folks Are Bleeding Us' - On Wolf Blitzer’s Late Edition, Democratic Congressman John Murtha told of a meeting he had with GEN David Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker at Thanksgiving 2007 when he visited Iraq, telling them, “You folks are bleeding us”, referring to the cost of the war. “BLITZER: Well, what happens if the U.S. were simply to pick up and leave? MURTHA: Let me tell you, we have to do what’s in the best interest of the United States, Wolf. And what’s in the best interest to us… BLITZER: Does the U.S. have a moral responsibility to the Iraqis, given what’s happened over the past five years? MURTHA: I know. I hear that over and over again. Ambassador Crocker said that. I said to Ambassador Crocker and I said to General Petraeus, when I was there, just during thanksgiving. And I said, “Look, at home you’re going to find we cannot afford this. It’s obscene, the money we’re spending, $14 billion a month, in this war.” (READ MORE)

Pros and Cons: Wonder where all that oil money goes? - Well, some still goes to buy “foreign travel opportunities” for local hotheads, but in civilized little places like Dubai, it goes here. The even more impressive pictures below the fold come from Doc in Florida. Remember when these guys spent all their money on weaponry they had to hire mercenaries to operate or put it in Western banks that lent money to third-World Dictators in the 1970s? This sort of thing is definitely an improvement. [and proposals to end it all through ‘energy independence’, in addition to ebing environmentally devastating, are often stupid too - not that I’m against nukes, domestic coal or domestic oil exploration … well, just read this.] ‘course, Dubai has lived for over a hundred years under first Britain’s and now America’s defense umbrella. Now imagine if we left … What would it all get diverted to? (READ MORE)

Dan Riehl: God Bless Racist America - I see there have already been some interesting and inflammatory comments in my previous post. While we're in truth telling mode - might as well address the whole silly "racism" deal. Is America racist? Let's pose a better and more interesting question - though perhaps impossible to answer: Name one country that isn't? In some it festers quietly below the surface. In others it erupts in mass murder. Mankind has been tribal since his beginning and we will never fully transcend that. That doesn't mean that we will always, or should ever discriminate based on race, or any other factor. But the notion that factors like race just shouldn't exist is absolutely ridiculous and an impossible reality to achieve. Were America not racist, there would be no "Black candidate" for the Democrat nomination - Obama would be just another individual. (READ MORE)

McQ: A little lesson in leadership - I was reading a post at "Comments from Left Field" in which Kyle Moore tells what he is pretty sure is an apocryphal Navy story about an Admiral and recruit. He prefaced that story with: “There's something of a folklorish tale/urban legend that exists in the training culture of the Navy. It's a parable, really, maybe a fable, either way it comes with its own moral, and I've never seen anything remotely close to it happen in real life.” Well, I have. And, being a lazy Sunday afternoon, it seems like a good time to tell that story. I was a brand-new platoon leader with the 82nd Airborne Div and reported in on a Thursday during a time our brigade was in a post-support cycle (there were three cycles - Post support where you did housekeeping stuff for the Post commander, Training - where you lived in the field and DRF or Division Reaction Force - where you trained but were also packed and ready to go within 12 hours if alerted). (READ MORE)

Right Wing Nut House: Protests Extinguish Olympic Torch in France - The progress of the Olympic torch which snakes its way around the world after being lit in Greece to end up in the host country and carried into the stadium at the opening ceremonies where it is used to light the Olympic flame for the duration of the games is followed with great interest by many around the world. It is a symbol of the Olympic spirit and ideally, should not be extinguished from the time it is lit to the end of the games. Occasionally, the flame has gone out as a result of weather or some mechanical malfunction with the torch. But it has been a long time since it was extinguished as a result of protests against the host country’s political and human rights policies: (READ MORE)

Mark Steyn: HILLARY UNDER FIRE - About this business of Hillary coming under intense sniping, I have some sympathy. The Clintons got away with this sort of thing for so long that you can't blame them for wondering how they missed the memo advising that henceforth the old rules no longer apply. Bill, being warier, was usually canny enough to set his fantasies just far enough back in time that live cable footage was unlikely to be available - his vivid memories of entirely mythical black church burnings in his childhood, etc. But Hillary liked to live a little more dangerously. The defining fiction arose back in the mid-Nineties when she visited New Zealand and met Sir Edmund Hillary, the conqueror of Everest, and for some reason decided to tell him he was the guy her parents had named her after. (READ MORE)

Stop the ACLU: A Good Day, Supreme Court Rules Against Foreign Precedent - In 2003, then Justice of the Supreme Court Sandra Day O’Connor famously posited that our judicial system should take into account foreign court rulings when deciding American cases prompting outraged conservatives to denounce her idea as endangering American sovereignty and destroying the Constitution of the United States of America. This year, the Roberts led SCOTUS has made an important decision that will serve to forestall that possibility. In October of 2003, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor gave a speech in Atlanta where she predicted that “over time we will rely increasingly, or take notice at least increasingly, of international and foreign courts in examining domestic issues.” Naturally, Americans who revere the Constitution were outraged over the thought that we’d place foreign court rulings before our own law of the land, essentially allowing foreigners to decide questions of American jurisprudence. (READ MORE)

ThreatsWatch: CTA Symposium: Iraq v. Mahdi Army - The recent offensive operations taken by the Iraqi government against the Mahdi Army (Jaish al-Mahdi - JAM) of Muqtada al-Sadr have received much analysis and commentary since the onset. Each of the ensuing analysis and commentary offerings have agreed that the Maliki government’s military actions and the Mahdi Army response are revelatory in nature. But that is where the agreement seems to end, as there appears a divergence regarding precisely what has been revealed: Who has operated and enjoys the position of strength, Maliki and the Iraqi government and military forces, or the Mahdi Army forces of Muqtada al-Sadr, which operate at the behest of the Iranian Quds Force and General Qassem Suleimani? (READ MORE)

Ron Winter: Is it Possible for Chris Wallace to Insult John Kerry's Intelligence? - Chris Wallace interviewed Massachusetts Senator, losing presidential candidate, and Barack Obama spokesman John Kerry on Fox News Sunday this week and showed two things: one, why Wallace is considered one of the premier hard news interviewers of our time; and two, why Kerry should be fired as an Obama consultant. Anyone who reads this column with any regularity knows how I feel about Kerry, the disgraced Vietnam War embellisher who was a leading figure in the 60s and 70s movement to bring bring about the fall of Southeast Asia and the slaughter of millions of innocents at the hands of the communists. Thus, when Fox ran the intro to the interview with Kerry I nearly switched channels. I'm not sure why I didn't, probably because Kerry always says something stupid and I hate to miss an opportunity to bash him. (READ MORE)

USO Girls: Faces on the Front - We as a culture are not invested in this war, those who do pay attention are only bombarded by what the KIA count is or how many troops are currently deployed, and how many IEDs were found today. They are extremely important numbers, but they are also so impersonal. We want to do our part to remedy our cultures detachment by introducing you to those currently serving you abroad that we have the privilege to meet each week. Our first victim...I mean...partner in this crazy idea is, PFC Dustin Harvey of the 25th Infantry Division currently serving in Iraq. Harvey was one of our first "friends" of the day. We have many ways that we lure them in, he fell prey to our care package approach. (READ MORE)

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