May 9, 2008

Web Reconnaissance for 05/09/2008

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)
McCain Pushed Land Swap That Benefits Backer - PRESCOTT, Ariz. -- Sen. John McCain championed legislation that will let an Arizona rancher trade remote grassland and ponderosa pine forest here for acres of valuable federally owned property that is ready for development... (READ MORE)

Pentagon Is Open to Moving More Marines to Afghanistan - The Marine Corps may begin shifting its major combat forces out of Iraq to focus on Afghanistan in 2009 if greater security in Iraq allows a reduction of Marines there, top Pentagon officials said yesterday. (READ MORE)

Violence Paralyzes Beirut for Second Day - BEIRUT, May 8 -- Fierce clashes continued for a second day in Lebanon after the leader of the Shiite Hezbollah movement accused the government of declaring war on his party. (READ MORE)

'Blue Dog' Democrats Join GOP in Opposing War Bill - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday postponed consideration of a bill that would continue funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as a bloc of conservative Democrats balked at the high cost of including several of Pelosi's favored domestic spending programs. (READ MORE)

Superdelegates hold back - Several superdelegates from Indiana, Pennsylvania and Ohio are bucking the will of the people by withholding endorsements from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, staying silent even though she overwhelmingly won their districts. (READ MORE)

N. Korea gives U.S. nuclear papers - North Korea yesterday gave the United Sates eight boxes of documents from its nuclear weapons program dating back to 1990 — a move that U.S. officials said clears the way for the North to be removed from the blacklist of state sponsors of terrorism. (READ MORE)

Conservative attack group riling Democrats - Democrats are trying to chase from the political playing field a new conservative group expected to spend tens of millions of dollars this year attacking liberal candidates. (READ MORE)

Pro-choice politicians take Communion - Despite a 2004 order from the future Pope Benedict XVI barring pro-choice Catholic politicians from the Communion table, a quintet of elected officials flouted his wishes twice during his recent six-day visit here by partaking of the sacrament right before his eyes. (READ MORE)

'A lot' pose threat if freed from Gitmo - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates yesterday said a "fair number" of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay military prison cannot be returned to their countries for fear that they might be freed when they arrive home. (READ MORE)

The Clinton Divorce - No, we don't mean Bill and Hillary. We mean the separation now under way between the Clintons and the Democratic Party. Like all divorces after lengthy unions, this one is painful and has had its moments of reconciliation, but after Tuesday a split looks inevitable. The long co-dependency is over. (READ MORE)

'Captive 220' - It's a fair bet that no high-powered American law firm will lend a caring hand to the relatives of the seven Iraqis murdered last month by a suicide bomber named Abdullah Salih Al Ajmi and two accomplices. That's too bad, seeing as how Ajmi was himself a beneficiary of some of that high-powered legal help. (READ MORE)

Georgia in Jeopardy - Vladimir Putin's last significant act as President was to bring the Caucasus to the edge of another war. His first act as Russia's Prime Minister, a job he assumed yesterday after installing his protege in the presidency, may be to push it over that edge. (READ MORE)

ADB Money Shuffle - Asian Development Bank president Haruhiko Kuroda wrapped up the bank's annual meeting in Madrid this week with a promise to raise more money from shareholders. Before he does, he might want to take a closer look at the cash already on hand, and how it's being used. (READ MORE)

Tiger Test - The world's most violent armed group is facing a decisive challenge. For over 30 years, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam -- better known as the Tamil Tigers -- have justified their secessionist demands on the basis that they represent all Tamil-speaking people in their "Tamil homelands" of the North and East. This Saturday, that claim will be tested at the ballot box at an election where they will be only onlookers. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Lincoln Anderson: How to Use the Strategic Petroleum Reserve - John McCain and a number of other senators have been recommending that the Bush administration stop buying crude oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). They're right. Over the last eight months, the Department of Energy purchased more than 10 million barrels of oil for the SPR as the price rose $40 to above $120. This is not sensible. It puts upward pressure on oil prices at the worst possible time. It is a waste of taxpayer money. It gives aid and comfort to unfriendly nations. And it is an insurance policy that, for the most part, is no longer needed. In fact, we should be selling oil from the SPR at $120. Doing so could be a powerful tool for U.S. energy policy. (READ MORE)

Andrew G. Biggs: Obama's Faulty Tax Argument - As the presidential campaign heats up, a key issue is whether to extend the 2001 and 2003 income tax cuts, which expire in 2011. John McCain wants to make the tax cuts permanent. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton want to let the rates rise. Opponents of the tax cuts point to spending programs that could be financed by the extra revenues. Chief among these is Social Security. Sen. Obama's Web site, for example, argues that "extending the Bush tax cuts will cost three times as much as what is needed to fix Social Security's solvency over the next 75 years." (READ MORE)

Maureen Aung-Thwin: A Silver Lining for Burma? - Cyclone Nargis, which hit Burma last weekend, has obviously claimed a horrific number of lives. Burma's military regime, which renamed the country Myanmar in 1989, admits to more than 22,000 dead. But inside observers say the death toll could rise as high as 100,000. The silver lining, say some optimists, is that Cyclone Nargis might accomplish what the United Nations and decades of outside political and economic pressure have failed to – break the military's stranglehold on Burma's democratic movement and usher in a new era of greater cooperation with the outside world. Sadly, as days pass and the death toll climbs, this looks more and more like wishful thinking. (READ MORE)

Peggy Noonan: Damsel of Distress - This is an amazing story. The Democratic Party has a winner. It has a nominee. You know this because he has the most votes and the most elected delegates, and there's no way, mathematically, his opponent can get past him. Even after the worst two weeks of his campaign, he blew past her by 14 in North Carolina and came within two in Indiana. He's got this thing. And the Democratic Party, after this long and brutal slog, should be dancing in the streets. Party elders should be coming out on the balcony in full array, in full regalia, and telling the crowd, "Habemus nominatum": "We have a nominee." And the crowd below should be cheering, "Viva Obamus! Viva nominatum!" (READ MORE)

Kimberly A. Strassel: A Louisiana Lesson for the GOP - As Barack Obama stepped closer to a nomination, Woody Jenkins was closing up campaign shop. The conservative suffered a humiliating defeat last weekend in a solidly GOP district in Louisiana. There's a lesson here for Republicans. No, not the lesson the national press is pushing, that Mr. Jenkins's loss is a sign of GOP disaster this fall, or that it demonstrates how difficult it will be for Republicans to link local competitors to the liberal Mr. Obama. Republicans face tough odds, yes. But that's because they've yet to prove they've learned a lesson, as they demonstrated again with Mr. Jenkins. (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: Al-Masri the Egyptian falls - Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the head of al-Qaeda in Iraq was captured today in the northern city of Mosul according to the Iraqi ministry of defense. Al-Masri's life parallels that of al-Qaeda itself. Born an Egyptian he followed al-Qaeda's fortunes from the Middle East to Central Asia and back. According to US sources, Masri was born in 1967, "joined the Muslim Brotherhood, and in 1982 ... joined Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which later became part of al-Qaeda. He went to Afghanistan in 1999, where he became an explosives expert. In 2004 he was put in charge of al-Qaeda’s overseas networks, and in 2006 he succeeded al-Zarqawi as the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq." (READ MORE)

Uncle Jimbo @ Blackfive: Going for the Kill in Sadr City - It is the conventional wisdom that we made a big mistake not taking out Moqtada al Sadr the first time he poked his head up and had his guys shooting at us. We tap danced around the Mahdi Army and it's control over far too many Shia in Sadr City and elsewhere for far too long. Mookie, or his handlers, was bright enough not to engage us in direct combat, but he and the militias have remained a festering wound impeding the Iraqi government and security forces from achieving full maturity. This was a failure at many levels, but I believe primarily a misunderstanding of the "Big Man" power dynamic in the Arab world. Mookie is a complete muppet at the practical level, uneducated, coarse and incapable of really accomplishing anything. (READ MORE)

Confederate Yankee: Why You Won't See the Iranian Weapons We've Captured in Iraq - Starting over a year ago with the discovery of a new kind of roadside bomb—EFPs or explosively-formed projectiles—American commanders in Iraq began believing that Iran was supplying weapons to militants in Iraq. That belief grew as more munitions were captured, including 34 unfired rockets captured on July 12, 2007 that were said to be of Iranian origin. In recent weeks American forces have claimed to have captured even more Iranian weapons, including those that were new, apparently manufactured in 2008. In addition, Iraqi government forces are said to have captured a significant number of weapons of suspected Iranian manufacture during military options in and around Basra over the past month. (READ MORE)

Baron Bodissey: No To “Talaq” in Maryland - Divorce among Muslims is easy to obtain, at least for the husband. Under sharia, a man who says “I divorce you” three times (talaq, talaq, talaq) to his wife in front of witnesses has legally dissolved the marital bond. The latest rulings by Islamic jurists have even validated the procedure when it takes place over the telephone. In recent years there has been a trend in various Western countries for courts to uphold the practice of sharia within their jurisdictions. Not long ago Britain ruled that polygamous husbands were allowed to collect welfare benefits on behalf of their extra wives. So it comes as a pleasant surprise that the state of Maryland, not known as a bastion of conservative jurisprudence, has ruled against a provision of sharia and denied the custom of talaq any legal recognition. (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Spin - AP turns good economic news into bad — by leaving some of the news out. Sales in April were up for some retailers, down for others, reflecting flat growth for the economy. Instead of reporting this, Anne D’Innocenzio of the AP spun it into a catastrophe. Sales at Saks Inc. were up 23.9% from the year-earlier quarter. Her report began: “NEW YORK — Caught in the maelstrom of higher gas and food prices, Americans — even more affluent ones — are seeking shelter in wholesale clubs and discount apparel chains. Low-price operators Costco Wholesale Corp., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and TJX Cos. reported better-than-expected sales on Thursday, while traditional apparel chains J.C. Penney Co. and Limited Brands Inc. struggled.” Left out of her report was the 23.9% growth in sales by Saks Inc. It did not fit her scenario of bargain-hunting. (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: (Video) McCain losing his bearings by taking the high road? - Bill O’Reilly gave John McCain an opportunity to take up the cudgel of Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers against Barack Obama, but McCain passed on it, for the most part. He told O’Reilly last night that he wants to run a high-road campaign, even while Obama gave a thinly-veiled suggestion that McCain had reached senility. McCain’s answer will likely continue the frustration Republicans feel with his unwillingness to discuss Obama’s pattern of ties to rabid anti-American demagogues and worse: This high-road approach may not last much longer, if Obama keeps up his attacks on McCain’s age. As Soren Dayton notes, that will almost certainly continue. Soren punctures the myth of Obama’s own commitment to the high road, noting that Obama didn’t mind using sexist terms to deride Hillary Clinton: (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: Military Use of Cyberspace - MEMRI: Islamist Internet forums teach wannabe Muj how to make and use explosives. Lieberman, via VOA: We shouldn’t let them do that. “A U.S. Senate panel has released a report concluding that terrorist groups have stepped up their appeals to English-speaking audiences, including those in the United States. The report, warning that such appeals could foment homegrown terrorism, is urging the U.S. government to do more to isolate and discredit the violent extremist ideology. VOA’s Deborah Tate reports from Capitol Hill. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee released the report at a news conference Thursday. Senator Joe Lieberman, who calls himself an independent Democrat, is committee chairman:” (READ MORE)

Neptunus Lex: Something Wicked? - Gahlran smells it coming: “The Fleet Positions Itself for War.” Iran continues to pursue a provocative foreign policy in Iraq and at Natanz. The US NCA is duly provoked. The options left to the US administration are to maintain status quo, compromise, escalate or climb down from the tree and punt to the next administration. The status quo gets us closer to Iranian nukes, further away from honorable withdrawal from Iraq and kills/maims any number of coalition servicemen there along the way. Not very attractive, but neither are the alternatives. It is difficult to suss out what common interests we share with Iran worth compromising on, apart from the fact powers behind the Ahmadinejad throne possibly want confrontation even less than we do, with gas running at $4.00 to the gallon. Possibly. (READ MORE)

Allahpundit: Obama: McCain’s “losing his bearings” by noting that Hamas wants me to win - For once, mercifully, he eschews labeling an attack a “distraction” and opts instead for the much more pleasant “name-calling.” Which this isn’t, incidentally: McCain’s point here goes right to the heart of Obama’s foreign policy. Yes, it’s true that Obama’s stance towards Hamas, incoherent though it is, isn’t much different from the GOP’s, leading one to wonder then why Ahmed Yousef should have any strong preference for him instead of McCain. The answer: Because he knows that the Messiah’s willingness to engage in “aggressive” diplomacy with one set of terrorist slackjaws means he’s more likely to adopt that policy towards other sets. That’s why no matter how much pro-Israeli rhetoric Obama offers, Palestinians continue to bitterly cling to the hope that he’s going to be a new Jimmy Carter once he’s in office and free enough from electoral pressures to let the mask slip a bit. (READ MORE)

Jay Tea: The Perfection Fallacy, or "I'll Give You Something To Complain About!" - Yesterday, the Boston Globe decided to observe Israel's 60th birthday by discussing what it's like to be an Arab living in Israel. And to no one's great surprise who reads the Glob, it's full of complaints about how tough things are for them, and how a Palestinian state just might make it all better. The one thing I find missing from the story is context. It dwells on the challenges Arab Israelis face, and has a little bit of a fantasy about a Palestinian state, but that's where it stops. I thought it might be educational to expand on the article, and look at some other circumstances these Israeli Arabs might find themselves. (READ MORE)

DJ Drummond: Hurting the Democratic Party? - One thing I have been hearing a lot these days and seeing a lot of articles, is how the prolonged race between Sentors Obama and Clinton for the party nomination is "hurting" the Democratic Party. OK, so maybe I'm the kindergarten scissors in a drawer full of power saws, but say what? Shouldn't Democrats be fully informed about the people who want to lead the nation under their banner? Shouldn't the rules in place be followed for selecting their nominee? But there, of course, is the rub. The Donks wanted to have their guy/girl/whatever in the spotlight early on, so they could build up their position. The favorite myth of the Left, that later means worse, is still big with these guys, proving once again that they learned pretty much zilch from 2004. (READ MORE)

Charles Krauthammer: Beating the Cultural Left's Candidate - By the time Hillary Clinton figured out how to beat Barack Obama, it was too late. When she began the race in 2007 thinking she was in for a coronation, she claimed the center in order to position herself for the real fight, the general election. She simply assumed the party activists and loony Left would fall in behind her. However, as Obama began to rise, powered by the party’s Net-roots activists, she scurried left, particularly with her progressively more explicit renunciation of the Iraq War. It was a fool’s errand. She would never be able to erase the stain of her original war vote and she remained unwilling to do an abject John Edwards self-flagellating recantation. It took her weeks even to approximate the apology the Left was looking for, and by then it was far too late. The party’s activist wing was by then unbreakably betrothed to Obama. (READ MORE)

Mitt Romney: Freedom & Religion: Perfect Together – [Editor’s note: This is the text of a speech former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney delivered on Thursday night before the Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty’s Canterbury dinner.] Thank you It is an honor for Ann and me to be with you this evening. We have a lot of friends who work with the Becket Fund. As you can imagine, that makes your recognition even more meaningful. Your mission — and my topic this evening — involve the intertwining of religion and government. It’s not a new topic. It was in the 12th century that Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Beckett famously refused to allow Henry II to control the Church of England. As you are well aware, his conviction came with a high price: he was killed by the king’s soldiers in his own cathedral. Our religious liberty in America was bought in large measure by the sacrifice of men and women like Thomas Beckett. The battle for religious freedom is not over, nor is it likely to ever be. (READ MORE)

Jonah Goldberg: Take That, Big Oil! - Imagine this. You’ve built the better mousetrap. (Because lasers and pneumatic tubes are cool, let’s imagine it uses them.) You’ve persevered through years of trial and error in your garage, enduring sleepless nights, the mockery of friends, the eye-rolling of family, and the non-lethal laser wounds to the family cat. But it was all worth it. You take your invention and, with your last few pennies, manage to bring it to market. It’s a smash hit. It starts flying off shelves. You earn back the investment in raw materials and maybe something close to compensation for your time. Now you’re ready for the big payoff. There’s just one thing left to do: make an appointment with the regional Reasonable Profits Board to find out how much of your windfall is reasonable for you to keep. (READ MORE)

Mike Gallagher: The Ultimate Conservative Nightmare? - I consider it a banner day when I can render my friend Ann Coulter speechless. The wonderful conservative warrior was a guest on my radio show this week (Ann is one of the best guests in the business) and I hit her with something so wild, so preposterous, and so outrageous, that she just, well, stayed silent for a few seconds. After a long pause, she laughed and said, “You know, he’s just stupid enough that he might do it!” The “he” in question is Sen. John McCain. Ms. Coulter has made no secret of her total and utter disdain for the GOP presidential candidate. To many diehard conservatives, Sen. McCain is that horror of horrors, a Republican with enough moderate tendencies as to attract people to him who might not ordinarily vote for a Republican. (READ MORE)

Dave Kopel: Gun Owners For Hillary? - If you doubt the transformational power of Barack Obama, consider the change that he’s effected on Hillary Clinton. The New York Senator came into the 2008 race with a nearly perfect anti-gun rights voting record, following her White House tenure on behalf of the most aggressively anti-Second Amendment administration in American history. Yet today, her candidacy survives because of the pro-gun vote. A Tuesday loss in Indiana would have ended the race. But she eked out a 2% victory by carrying the votes of gun-owning households (who made up half of the electorate) in a 22% landslide. In Pennsylvania, her ten-point win brought in ten million dollars of cash that she needed to keep going. Her 25% margin in gun-owning households of the Keystone State (a third of the electorate) turned what would have been a close contest into a runaway. (READ MORE)

John Hawkins: The Republican Party's Real Problem In A Nutshell - It goes without saying that the GOP is taking a dreadful thrashing right now. Conservatives are unmotivated, Democrats are obliterating Republicans in the fundraising arena, and the GOP's poll numbers have dropped off a cliff. George Bush, the face of the Republican Party, has an approval rating of 30% and according to Rasmussen Reports, one of the best polling agencies in the business, 41.4% of Americans consider themselves to be Democrats while only 31.4% say they are Republicans. Worse yet, voters trust the Democrats more than Republicans on the economy, government ethics, the war in Iraq, health care, Social Security, education, immigration, and abortion. Yes, the GOP still has an edge on taxes and national security, but how are Republicans going to compete in 2008 if they cede all those other issues to the Dems? (READ MORE)

Amanda Carpenter: Former Lobbyist Holds Obama Fundraiser - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has promised he would not accept campaign donations from lobbyists, but apparently former lobbyists don’t fall into his self-imposed ban. Antill E. Trotter, who lobbied Congress from 2000-2004, is holding an “exclusive” fundraiser for him this evening, just blocks away from his Senate office at Union Station in Washington D.C. According to Obama’s campaign website, the minimum donation to attend is $1,000 and donations are encouraged up to $10,000. Those who raised at least $10,000 are given access to a “special pre-reception” with Obama. Senate lobbying records show Trotter was a registered federal lobbyist for Sher and Blackwell, LLP. Trotter specialized in telecommunications, transportation and environmental issues from 2000-2004. (READ MORE)

Hugh Hewitt: The Michelle Factor: Forget Jeremiah Wright. What Does Michelle Obama Think About America? - Whether or not the issue of Barack Obama's two decades under the spiritual direction of Jeremiah Wright remains an issue through the next six months, the views of the possible First Lady at his side will be part of this half-year's discussion. Which is why we have transcribed a major speech she made in North Carolina on the Friday before that state's primary vote, and why we have posted the audio of the speech here. Read it. Listen to it. This is not a speech from the mainstream of American politics. It is a radical critique of the country, and it is not the sort of assessment widely shared beyond the far precincts of the left. Here are just a few of the key assertions Michelle Obama makes: (READ MORE)

Mona Charen: Did Israel Drive Out the Arabs 60 Years Ago? - Sixty is pretty old for a country. Consider that by the time the United States was 60 (counting from the conclusion of the War of Independence), the year was 1843. We'd already had 10 presidents, had nearly quadrupled the size of the nation, and were on our way to becoming a world power. As with the histories of all nations, our birth was not without sins and crimes. The Indians paid a dear price for our expansion, as did the slaves. But this does not (keening college professors notwithstanding) delegitimize the entire enterprise called the United States of America. In fact, our capacity to acknowledge our faults is one aspect of our national honor. Israel is about to celebrate its 60th birthday, but alone among the nations of the world, its legitimacy and right to exist continue to be considered matters of debate. (READ MORE)

Burt Prelutsky: Murtha, Obama, and the Jews - In case you missed it, John Murtha said John McCain is too old to be president. Of all the lines I’ve heard during this political season, that’s the one I enjoyed the most. If you’re wondering why, it’s because of all the consternation it must have caused many of Mr. Murtha’s Democratic colleagues. There are, by actual account, 21 Democrats in the House as old or older than 71-year-old McCain. Charles Rangel is coming up on 78 and John Dingell is 81. I bet they gave Murtha an earful in the men’s room. As for the Senate, although Obama and Clinton are younger than McCain, 11 Democrats are older. Some are much older. Warner is 80, Inouye and Akada are each 83, Lautenberg is 84 and Robert Byrd is 90. I can just imagine what Ted Kennedy, 76, and Dianne Feinstein, who’s just shy of 75, said when they got wind of Murtha’s crack. (READ MORE)

Oliver North: Petronomics 101 - FORT BENNING, Ga. -- Here at the U.S. Army's biggest base on the East Coast, soldiers and their dependents are eagerly awaiting the arrival of their "economic stimulus payments." It's a good thing because, like most of us, these American heroes are going to need the extra money just to purchase their next tank of gas. This week, the Internal Revenue Service begins mailing rebate checks to budget-crunching taxpayers. Bush administration officials hope the checks will be used for shopping sprees to resuscitate the U.S. economy. But instead of getting that new patio grill, consumers are more likely to apply Uncle Sam's payments to their next purchase of petrol. When the price of oil hit $100 per barrel in January, I wrote in this column, "Those who wish to lead this nation in the future need to put more than hot air into solutions such as clean, safe nuclear energy for electricity and hydrogen fuel-cell technology for propelling people and products around the planet." (READ MORE)

Diana West: It's Islamic Jihad, Not Extremism, Uncle Sam - A few years ago, Harvard psychiatric instructor Kenneth Levin wrote "The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People Under Siege." In this illuminating book, Levin examines the Israeli experience of concessionary negotiations with a "peace partner" openly dedicated to Israel's destruction. He also examines the historical Jewish Diaspora experience in which Jewish populations typically identified with their tormentors and even echoed their antisemitism. Such interactions are driven by a permanent condition of siege mentality, Levin explains, and clearly manifest two kinds of delusional thinking. First, there is the fantasy about the intentions of the aggressor (Arab Muslim or European Christian); then, there is the fantasy about changing the aggressor's intentions. (READ MORE)

Ross Mackenzie: U.S. Must Stay in Iraq Till Day is Done and Victory Won - The latte lefties in Congress really are pieces of work — intent, as they seem to be, on crippling the nation’s economy and judiciary, as well as its energy independence. Oh, and declaring defeat in the war on terror. On the economy, their cry — and the insistence of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton — is to raise taxes or to let the Bush tax cuts expire. Obama, for starters, also wants to double the capital gains tax, from 15 to 28 percent. On the judiciary, they seek to stymie nearly every administration nominee to the appellate courts. Currently 11 nominees are awaiting congressional action, seven of them for vacancies deemed emergencies because of heavy docket load. Congressional leftists are determined to maintain as many vacancies as possible until after the presidential election, when they hope to pack the courts with their ideological own. (READ MORE)

A Newt One: War News: Veto Drill Veto Drill...Oil Reaches $125 Per - Thank you so very much to all of the econazis wackos and the fools and drones which make up the vast majority of the DNC sociopaths and quite a few moronic dolts within the GOP. I reported earlier here in regards to the hissy fit SOH Pelosi threw the other day when President Bush chastised the Do Nothing Congress - which by the way STILL holds the LOWEST approval rating in the history of this nation - for pretty much being the direct cause of the economy "tanking" as the Leftinistra so call it. My economy isn't "tanking" one bit...maybe yours is but mine certainly isn't. Yesterday, Gateway Pundit ran a piece second to none in regards to the oil crisis which is indeed having a direct affect on not only our economy but many other countries as well. (READ MORE)

Lawhawk: Hizbullah Seizes Swaths of Beirut - Guess who's the occupying force now. It happens to be Hizbullah, the Islamic terrorist group that operates with the support and blessings of Tehran and Syria. The terrorists have seized large areas of the capital city of Beirut, and its thugs are continuing their campaign of terror and mayhem. “Lebanon’s Iranian-backed Hezbollah took control of large areas of Beirut on Friday, tightening its grip on the city in a major blow to the U.S.-backed government after three days of intense fighting. Security sources said at least 11 people had been killed and 30 wounded in three days of battles between pro-government gunmen and fighters loyal to Hezbollah, a Shiite political movement with a powerful guerrilla army.” (READ MORE)

Donald Douglas: The Coming Post-American World? - Fareed Zakaria's got a new book out, The Post-American World. I'm familiar with the book's thesis from two recent articles from Zakaria, "The Future of American Power," at Foreign Affairs, and "The Rise of the Rest," a book excerpt and this week's cover story at Newsweek." I'll be picking up a copy of the book soon, but I can suggest now that Zakaria's got some tensions in his thesis, or at least in his presentation. In terms of his thesis, as evidenced by the Foreign Affairs piece, Zakaria starts out with a lengthy section comparing the U.S. today to Great Britain's decline from imperial grandeur in the early-20th century. He then he elaborates a theory of how the United States' contemporary great power profile has changed, amid a hypothesized narrowing of the gap between American preponderance and our closest rivals in the international system. (READ MORE)

Big Dog: Mind Games in the Presidential Race - John McCain, the MSMs and Democratic selection for the Republican party, has been the subject of debate because of his age. While Howard Dean stated that the Democrats would not take this up as an issue that has not stopped some of them from chiming in. Jack Murtha, the unindicted criminal who is three years older than McCain said that McCain was too old to be president by stating that it was no old man’s job. B. Hussein Obama recently complained about a factual statement by McCain that the terrorists would rather see Obama win. Since this was stated by terrorists it is not a lie. Obama indicated that McCain was losing his bearings which the McCain camp took as a veiled shot at the candidate’s age. Is age an issue in this campaign? Certainly there is a minimum age requirement for the office of President but there is no maximum age limit. So why are people able to make statements about McCain’s age? Ageism is a form of discrimination so why is it tolerated. (READ MORE)

Jeffrey Imm: Jihad and U.S. Intelligence Resources - How could the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence authorize "the largest funding increase in the base Intelligence Budget in history", but refuse to include an amendment that calls for identifying the Jihadist enemy we fight? But that is precisely what happened on May 8. On May 8, Congressman Peter Hoekstra attempted to strike a blow for reason and sanity in the war against global jihadism, by making the rational and consistent definition of our enemy a priority in allocating budget resources for U.S. intelligence programs. Specifically, Congressman Hoekstra was seeking an amendment that "would prohibit the intelligence community from adopting speech codes that encumber accurately describing the radical jihadist terrorists that attacked America and continue to threaten the homeland." (READ MORE)

Crazy Politico: Fixing The Housing Problem? - The House finally passed Barney Frank's home bail out bill yesterday, though it probably won't make it through the Senate, or past the veto pen of President Bush. Hopefully there is a compromise bill out there waiting in the wings, one that unlike the Frank's plan helps the folks who need it, not anyone who wants it. I know that there are a lot of people out there wondering about the Frank's plan, since I wrote about it in early March that has been the top search hit on my blog. (Sorry Tonya Harding, your nake pix search comes in much lower). Frank's plan, for those who don't remember, would allow a homeowner to refinance the current value of their house into a federally insured FHA loan, provided the lender was willing to take the loss between the original loan and the new value. (READ MORE)

Noah Shachtman: $50 Billion for New Planes, Gear in War-Funding Bill - The latest war-funding bill might pay for more than just the battles in Iraq and Afghanistan. It could add billions of dollars' worth of the latest manned and robotic aircraft to American fleets, as well. Nearly a third of the $165.4 billion measure, $51.8 billion, would be "devoted to new weapon systems," Inside Defense reports. Since 2005, the Defense Department has used these so-called "supplemental," "emergency" funding measures to buy new gear. First, it was equipment worn out by war. Then, upgrades to those depleted items. Finally, a recent Congressional Budget Office report notes, the Pentagon began to use these war-time kitties to "accelerate planned purchases of new systems, address emerging needs, and enhance the military’s capability not only to continue current operations but also to be better prepared for the longer war on terrorism." (READ MORE)

Dr. Sanity: CORNERING THE WORLD MARKET ON PSYCHOPATHS ? When Culture Facilitates the Development of Psychopathy - Why is it that the Islamic world seems to have an excess of psychopaths in positions of power? Are they actively trying to corner the world market? First we have the nutjob-in-chief of Iran, who Thursday declared: “...that the state of Israel is a ‘stinking corpse’ that is destined to disappear, the French news agency AFP reported.” Next we have Hasan Nasrallah, another posterboy for Islamic mega-dysfunction and hate: “The decision by the Lebanese government to shut down a private telephone network operated by the Iranian-backed group Hezbollah was an act of war and Hezbollah would defend itself, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s leader, said on Thursday.” Please note that he doesn't believe Israel has any right to defend itself. But, as long as the psychopaths of Hezbollah are kept occupied by murdering their 'brothers', Israel is probably safe. (READ MORE)

The Monkey Tennis Centre: Freed Gitmo detainee, struggling to adapt to life on the outside, blows himself up in Iraq - Politicians, anti-war groups and the mainstream media complain ceaselessly that America should close Guantanamo Bay, and either return the terror suspects being held at the camp to their home countries or put them on trial in civilian courts in the US. More than 400 detainees have indeed been returned to their countries, where they’ve either been tried for offences committed there, kept under some form of supervision or freed without charge. One such detainee was Abdallah Salih al-Ajmi, a Kuwaiti who was repatriated in 2005 and subsequently acquitted of terrorism charges. While some jailbirds try to make the most of their freedom by ‘putting their life back together’, in Iraq last week Ajmi turned that concept spectacularly on its head by blowing himself apart. Ajmi, along with two other Kuwaitis, detonated two explosive-filled vehicles in Mosul, killing themselves and seven other people. (READ MORE)

Paul Mirengoff: What might have been -- our government's plan for post-invasion Iraq - Few topics have been more thoroughly misreported than our government's planning for post-Saddam Iraq. In the MSM narrative, a project called the "Future of Iraq" developed a plan for rebuilding Iraq, but neo-conservatives in the Defense Department dismissed it and offered nothing in its place. Thus, the conventional wisdom is that "we didn't have a plan" for dealing with Iraq in the aftermath of the invasion. No one who knows anything about government could believe this. Government has many flaws but an inability or reluctance to draw up plans is not among them. Yet the "no plan" refrain is repeated endlessly. I've been on television with otherwise intelligent leftists (Christy Hardin Smith, in particular) who have put forth this facially absurd notion as an article of faith. Responding, other than through ridicule, has been difficult since I wasn't privy to the government's planning. (READ MORE)

Kim Zigfeld: He's Mr. Lucky - When the history of the 2008 Democrat presidential primary is written, if Barack Obama is the nominee then two key facts will been seen to explain his victory. First, the North Carolina primary. A red state that went for George Bush in a massive landslide in 2004 (56-43) was allowed to play the pivotal role of destroying Hillary Clinton's hopes for the White House, history will say, and in determining who the Democrats would use to challenge the Republicans in the general election. Obama's victory came because although he was crushed by Clinton among white voters 50% of the state's registered Democrat voters are black, they turned out in droves on election day, and over 90% voted for Obama, a disturbingly Soviet-like majority, to say the least. North Carolina got this position of authority, of course, by sheer happenstance, luck of the draw. (READ MORE)

ROFASix: Talking Head Generals - Where's the Beef? - I have watched the NY Times and the left wing bloggers beat up the Pentagon because it provided background briefings to retired military servicemembers who turned up as talking heads in the media. The blog, Politico, called it a "'Deafening' silence on analyst story," observing that the politicians are now getting fired up over the story, even though the mainstream media is not. I cannot begin to understand the problem. Is it that these retired military personnel used that access and "insider briefings" to support some of their analysis they later gave to the media? Or is that they often repeated the Administration's line? Geesh, what a surprise. There are a couple of places these guys provide a great service to the media. For instance, today I watched CNN report on video of "tanks" in downtown Beirut. They weren't tanks, but M113 Armored Personnel Carriers, which brings a whole different kind of capability to a fight. These "pundits" know the difference, the media generally doesn't. (READ MORE)

Sigmund, Carl and Alfred: Why Lebanon Is Imploding - As the struggle between the dysfunctional and impotent Lebanese government and the vicious and violent bigots of Hizbollah escalates, the world has a front row row seat row seat to the implosion of Lebanon. At the moment, the upper hand seems to be had by Hizbollah. They have taken over some media outlets. “Hezbollah fighters seized control of rival pro-government strongholds in Beirut today as gunbattles rocked the Lebanese capital for a third day, edging the nation dangerously close to all-out civil war. The Shia Muslim group, the most powerful armed movement in Lebanon, forced the shutdown of all media belonging to the family of Saad Hariri, the parliamentary majority leader. A rocket hit the outer perimeter of his Beirut residence… Mr Hariri, whose father Rafiq Hariri was assassinated in 2005, had made a television appeal to try to calm the situation but this was rejected by Hezbollah…” Nasrallah defended the violent actions in true psychopathic style: (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.

No comments: