April 23, 2008

Web Reconnaissance for 04/23/2008

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)
China Changes Course, Advocating Tempered Response to Its Critics - BEIJING, April 22 -- After weeks of expressing outrage at Western protests over Tibet and the Olympics, officials here have begun tempering their rhetoric in recent days and telling Chinese people to be "rational" about their response. (READ MORE)

Obama's Gloves Are Off -- And May Need to Stay Off - Unable once again to score a knockout, Sen. Barack Obama is likely to make his new negative tone even more negative -- with a sharp eye on trying to end the Democratic presidential nomination fight after the May 6 primaries in Indiana and North Carolina. (READ MORE)

Pa. Win Reaffirms Clinton Campaign - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton scored a hard-fought victory in Pennsylvania's primary last night, thwarting Sen. Barack Obama's efforts to oust her from the Democratic race and strengthening her argument to the party faithful that her rival has been unable to win battleground states key to defeating Republicans in the fall election. (READ MORE)

Americans hoard food as industry seeks regs - Farmers and food executives appealed fruitlessly to federal officials yesterday for regulatory steps to limit speculative buying that is helping to drive food prices higher. Meanwhile, some Americans are stocking up on staples such as rice, flour and oil in anticipation of high prices and shortages spreading from overseas. (READ MORE)

Ex-worker at arsenal faces spy charges - A former civilian employee of a military arsenal in New Jersey was arrested yesterday by federal agents on charges of conspiring to pass U.S. military secrets to the Israeli government more than 20 years ago. (READ MORE)

China urged to halt arms aid - The Bush administration cautioned China yesterday against additional weapons shipments to landlocked Zimbabwe after nations in southern Africa blocked a Chinese ship from delivering mortars, rockets and bullets to the government of President Robert Mugabe. (READ MORE)

Middle East talks in Moscow get scant support - A planned follow-up to November's highly-touted Middle East peace conference in Annapolis will likely be postponed or even canceled because of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' reluctance to take part, Western and Palestinian diplomats said yesterday. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
The Newt One: War News: The War Politicians Don't Talk About - American politics. At times, especially in recent times, can be an international embarrassment. In my short 53 years on this planet, I have been a keen observer of politics ever since I voted for that fellow from Georgia. You know. Him. The guy that hates Israel and loves terrorists and tries to convince people that he is sane. I figured out he was insane when he screwed the Shah of Iran and put into power those "nice religious people". He then accepted the Shah into the US for medical treatment and then had him ejected from the US because those "nice religious people" demanded it. Then, he gave the Panama Canal to the Red Chinese and had American military members killed in Iran on a rescue mission of the American hostages. He later claimed that if he had had one more chopper, he would have won re-election. Idiot. Alas, I digress. (READ MORE)

Gateway Pundit: Peace Thugs, Profs & Hillary Supporters Assault Iraqi Veteran - An Iraqi War Veteran and his family were pummelled by "peace" activists in Pennsylvania this past week. Gathering of Eagles in New York sent this: “Peace Fascists, Professors and Hillary Supporters assault Iraqi War Veteran and Family - For the second time in as many weeks, an Iraq War Veteran and his family held a Support the Troops rally across the street from the weekly ‘peace’ protest in this college town. This week the true nature of the ‘peace’ activists was revealed for all to see. When the veteran’s 14 year old son crossed the street to videotape the protesters and their signs, the protesters became agitated and began harassing the boy. The right to record video in any public venue is long established in law and any attempt to interfere with that right is a violation of civil rights.” (READ MORE)

chicagodudewhotrades: Is America in Economic Decline? - Is America in economic decline? Everyday, it seems there is a new economic statistic about a weakening US economy or a news report about the US$ dropping in value against other currencies. My answer is: NO. Maybe right now the dollar is at a low level and portions of the American economy could be better, but the overall economy is solid and the dollar weakness is temporary. If you read history, it seems to be a good rule to never underestimate the American people or our economy. In fact, i think some of the nation's best economic times lie ahead. I'm writing this mostly because I'm a member of a very popular website called Little Green Footballs (www.littlegreenfootballs.com). Due to my online name (chicagodudewhotrades) I get asked a lot of stock market and economic questions by my fellow LGF'ers. (READ MORE)

Lawhawk: UN Counts Butchers Bill On Darfur - 300,000 dead on its watch, and the number keeps on rising. “The conflict in Darfur is deteriorating, with full deployment of a new peacekeeping force delayed until 2009 and no prospect of a political settlement for a war that has killed perhaps 300,000 people in five years, U.N. officials said Tuesday. In grim reports to the Security Council, the United Nations aid chief and the representative of the peacekeeping mission said suffering in the Sudanese region is worsening. Tens of thousands more have been uprooted from their homes and food rations to the needy are about to be cut in half, they said.” (READ MORE)

A Soldier's Mind: Stop Loss Likely To Continue For Awhile Longer - As much as we all hate the fact that some Troops scheduled to get out of the military, have been stop-lossed, we’re also aware, that with the wars currently underway in Afghanitan and Iraq, that it’s a necessary evil. Troop levels had been cut drastically at the end of the Cold-War era, during the Clinton administration. Now that our Troops are involved in 2 wars simultaneously, those numbers weren’t enough and thus stop-loss was necessary to sustain forces in those two wars. Short of reinstating the draft, that ended after the Viet Nam war, stop-loss was the only was that could help to alieviate the shortage of Troops. (READ MORE)

American Ranger: Iraqi Militias Must Go - Back in 2004, the Mahdi Army consisted of only a few thousand members, mostly young street hoodlums attracted to Muqtada al Sadr because his father was a well-respected ayatollah who was executed by Saddam Hussein. Those of us working the perilous streets of Baghdad that year were disheartened when our bosses decided to leave the Mahdi Army untouched because al Sadr indicated he would turn to politics. We didn’t believe he or his militia would ever disarm and he launched two uprisings that year. Many Americans were killed or wounded by his militia thugs. Now Muqtada’s private army is conservatively estimated to consist of around 60,000 members. (READ MORE)

Ace of Spades: Moqtada al-Sadr: Still Winning By Losing, According to the Baghdad Bob Media - I know we're not supposed to make Hitler analogies, but the MSM is playing Hitler ordering Sadr's phantom divisions here and there to stop Patton and the Soviets. And they're having about as much success at it. Phantom units are great in the sense they can't be killed or captured. On the other hand, they can't hold ground, either. Thanks to CJ. Bonus! The MNF-I formally, rhetorically declares war on Sadr's Army of Assholes. And no, they hadn't really done that before. (READ MORE)

Dafydd: LAT: Is McCain Fit to Serve as Prez - Even Though He Can't Raise His Arms Above the Shoulder? - This entire post is a fractal, contained within its title. Only a quote or two is necessary from today's Los Angeles Times: “On Monday, McCain's staff identified the retirement benefit as a ‘disability pension’ and said that McCain ‘was retired as disabled because of his limited body movements due to injuries as a POW.’ McCain campaign strategist Mark Salter said Monday night that McCain was technically disabled. ‘Tortured for his country -- that is how he acquired his disability,’ Salter said.” Raise your hands, everybody -- not you, Sen. McCain -- who believes Mark Salter actually said that McCain was only "technically disabled." Evidently, it's the Times' position that if one is disabled enough to receive a disability pension, then one is utterly incapable of doing anything with one's life. Disabled people should have no lives; they should just sit in a room waiting for relief from the State, or perhaps sit with a bowl in the train station hoping for handouts. God knows they shouldn't be in the Senate, certainly not the White House. (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: Enemy in sight - The New York Times reports that Barack Obama has started to run against John McCain, ignoring Hillary Clinton. This is the classic organizing tactic of taking a position in order to force your rivals to define themselves in relation to you. Obama probably figures that taking the initiative against McCain will unite the party behind him and put both McCain and Hillary in an awkward position. If Hillary attacks Obama while while he sorties against McCain, she risks casting herself as an ideological saboteur and as a traitor to the Democratic Party. On the other hand, if McCain returns the attack against Obama, he will effectively have established the narrative of McCain versus Obama. In other words, Obama will act the nominee and put the burden of knocking him off the perch to others. (READ MORE)

Farhana Ali: Rising Female Bombers in Iraq: An Alarming Trend - The rise of female bombers in Iraq is now garnering greater media attention. The wow-factor of Muslim women strapping on the bomb is important today because these women pose a security threat to U.S. coalition forces in Iraq as well as Iraqi civilians and security forces. This dangerous trend should not surprise us. The latest television report of this phenomenon appeared tonight on FOX News with Britt Hume's Special Report at 6pm and will air again at 10pm. While an alarming trend, it is worth noting that the majority of Iraqi women are not suicide bombers or supporters of extremist groups. But women who do not join terrorist groups also fall victim to violence. As victims of war, women suffer from rape, kidnappings, and torture. (READ MORE)

Confederate Yankee: ABC News Caught Lying About Guns... Again - I've really had it with ABC News and Brian Ross. Last year in the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre, Ross and the crack staff of The Blotter lied about the effect 1994 Crime Bill as it related to pistol magazines used by the shooter, refused to issue a retraction, and deleted blog comments warning them of how wrong they were while continuing to get basic facts of the case wrong through carelessness. Today, Ross and accomplice Richard Esposito continue that fine ABC News tradition of making up the news, in a story claiming that the U.S. Second Amendment is to blame for Mexico's drug cartel problems. The deception starts with the picture at the beginning of the article. (READ MORE)

Dan Dupont: Lawmaker Accused of Giving Away Troop Positions May Sue - A couple weeks ago we told you the tale of one Rep. Patrick McHenry, Republican of North Carolina, who got in a bit of hot water over a trip he made to Iraq. Upon his return, McHenry posted a video of himself inside the Green Zone that a veterans organization said could give away too much information about potential targets inside -- a video the Pentagon agreed should come down. Well, it turns out McHenry has a primary challenger, a fellow Republican and a veteran to boot, named Lance Sigmon. He's put out an ad aggressively hitting McHenry over the video and another controversy over a speech McHenry gave (on YouTube, natch) in which he huffed about the indignity of being told he could not work out in a Green Zone facility. And now McHenry's threatening to sue. (READ MORE)

Dr. Sanity: The Neo-Marxists' Greatest Fear - Stanley Kurtz has gone through the sermons of Barack Obama's minister and father-figure: “Wright is not merely saying that there are tragic disparities between wealth in the West and in the rest of the world. Wright appears to believe that the capitalist system itself creates and depends upon the poverty and hunger of the ‘black and brown one-half or two-thirds of the globe.’ In effect, Wright believes that just as slavery supported the capitalist economy of early America, capitalism today depends upon the de facto slavery of Third World oppression.” These are the ideas that are mother's (father's?) milk to the likes of Obama, the leftist candidate--the intellectual food on which he was raised. Obama is clever, however. He can't come out and actually say these things in public. But I think he believes them. (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Clinton 15,095,663 Obama 14,973,720 - Nice trainwreck you have there, Democrats. Looking at the numbers at Real Clear Politics, Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton has a lead of 121,943 votes after the Pennsylvania, if you count Michigan and Florida. True that is problematic, but if you are going to include caucuses, where there are no secret ballots and where second choices for Obama count, then Florida and Michigan matter. Besides that is an awfully large number of Electoral College votes to cede to Republican Sen. John McCain. The dream team for Democrats has become a nightmare. Not to belabor the point but there is barely a scintilla of difference politically between these two politically. (READ MORE)

Euphoric Reality: Nazario: Attorney Says Civilian Jury Not Fit to Hear Case on Combat Actions - Sgt Jose Nazario is at the center of another case I’m following. He’s charged with manslaughter in the deaths of insurgents during the Battle of Fallujah. I realize how insane that sounds, but that’s where we are now in this nation. We charge our Marines for killing the enemy. The case is one of the first to be brought under the new MEJA Act of 2000, the law that says the U.S. government can “reach out and touch” anyone connected to the military for alleged acts, long after their term of service is over. Nazario, who was serving as a police officer before his life was rudely interrupted by the NCIS (sound familiar?), is represented by Kevin McDermott, who has a very valid argument. (READ MORE)

Yankeemom: Witch Hunt Henry - I saw this article yesterday and thought, here we go again! Let’s have another witch hunt on the military: More convicted felons allowed to enlist in Army, Marines The title of the article sounds real bad, doesn’t it? Be sure to notice the type of adjectives used in the article. Well, there are a lot numbers stated in the article with little context. Only those who think the military is an evil entity to begin with would believe that our recruiters are enlisting really dangerous people, placing our Soldiers and Marines in even more harm. CJ has his own thoughts on it. Go here. Surprise ~ guess who is heading up the hearing. Yep, Henry Waxman, Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: Sugar mommy? From the party of feminists? - Allahpundit noted earlier the first attack ad from David Brock and his Progressive Media USA, the $40 million attack project for Democrats against Republicans. What did all that money buy? A lame Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous parody tweaking John McCain for marrying a rich woman, complete with a very bad Robin Leach accent. Take another look at the ad and ask yourself what Brooks et al see as McCain’s major sin: McCain had the temerity to marry a strong, successful woman without feeling somehow emasculated by it. (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: Hillary’s PA Victory: The Day After - With 99% reporting, I think it’s safe to call last night’s primary in PA as an official double digit victory for Hillary Clinton, which the punditocracy was saying she needed to be able to credibly make a case for staying in the race. If you were like me and watched the returns come in for most of the night, for a while it looked like it was going to be around 8 points, but as the night went on, it increased to 10. The NYT leads off with an editorial this morning harshly criticizing La Clinton for the way they claim she ran her campaign in the weeks prior to the primary: (READ MORE)

Right Wing Nut House: The Whiner Versus The Iron Lady - One of the criteria the American people use to judge a presidential candidate is “likability” – a nebulous and indefinable attribute to be sure. Experts tell us that part of the “likability” question is whether the voter wants this guy (or woman) coming into their homes every damn day for the next 8 years via television. Obviously, this attribute has not played a huge role in determining how people vote – otherwise people would have chosen Hubert Humphrey’s “Happy Warrior” exterior over Nixon’s dourness and certainly Gerald Ford’s steadiness over Carter’s nauseating sanctimony. But are we really ready to spend the next 8 years with a whiner like Obama? (READ MORE)

John Hawkins: A Daily Kos Double Feature: The Agony Of Obama's Defeat In Pennsylvania - Over at the Daily Kos, the wailing and gnashing of teeth over Hillary's victory in Pennsylvania have been truly glorious to behold. Here are two of my faves...
The first was a variation of a post that you will see many times between now and the election. If America doesn't elect Obama, apparently black Americans will go crazy! “Any Obama Loss Will Put Farrakhan In Play by spearhead What the right-wing pundits and the Clintoneske politicos seem not to have considered: You all know what's going to happen in the African-American community if Barack Obama loses either the nomination or the race for the Presidency, yes?” (READ MORE)

ShrinkWrapped: Playing With Fire - Slowly but surely, led by Iran and its allies in the HISH Alliance (Hezbollah, Iran, Syria, Hamas), the ideology of anti-Semitism is beginning to supercede all competing political ideologies in the Middle East. Al Qaeda's narrative has become stridently and overtly anti-Semitic; countries as diverse as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Morocco have tolerated, enabled, and overtly pressed anti-Semitic narratives in their state controlled press; Iran is in a class of its own when it comes to genocidal public policy. Haviv Rettig discusses a new report (that) discusses Muslim anti-Semitism in today's Jerusalem Post: (READ MORE)

This Ain't Hell: Iraq withdrawal revisted in defense bill - The Democrats have decided that adding a withdrawal schedule to the defense bill AGAIN is a good idea. Ignoring the news that Iraqis have retaken Basra and are in the process of sealing off the remnants of the Mahdi Army in Sadr City, they’ve decided to do the same thing that sent their approval ratings south last year (The Hill link via Redstate): “‘I would expect the House to pass legislation similar to that which we passed in the past … a date for the redeployment of the majority of U.S. combat forces,’ Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in an interview with The Hill Monday. The decision on whether to include withdrawal language in the supplemental spending bill for Iraq is one of the biggest questions looming for Democratic leaders. The Iraq debate consumed the House for months last year, prompting criticism that Democrats wasted time on a politically unwinnable fight.” (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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