July 11, 2008

Web Reconnaissance for 07/11/2008

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)
Iraq: Missing soldiers' bodies recovered - DETROIT (AP) – The bodies of two U.S. soldiers missing in Iraq for more than a year have been found, their families said Thursday night. The military would not immediately confirm the report. (READ MORE)

Kyoto's Long Goodbye - One of the mysteries of the universe is why President Bush bothers to charge the fixed bayonets of the global warming theocracy. On the other hand, his Administration's supposed "cowboy diplomacy" is succeeding in changing the way the world addresses climate change. (READ MORE)

Obama The Blur - At his current pace, Barack Obama is going to give Bill Clinton a run for his reputation as a political shape-shifter. Witness his performance this week in the Senate on foreign intelligence surveillance. He voted to gut the bill before he voted to pass it. (READ MORE)

AWOL in Canada - If you want to desert from the U.S. military, you will soon have to find a different refuge than Canada. Ottawa's government has decided to send American deserters back to the U.S. for possible court martial and dishonorable discharge, and Americans should be grateful. (READ MORE)

Sudan Leader To Be Charged With Genocide - UNITED NATIONS, July 10 -- The chief prosecutor of the Internationals Criminal Court will seek an arrest warrant Monday for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, charging him with genocide and crimes against humanity in the orchestration of a campaign of violence that led to the deaths of... (READ MORE)

The Red, White and Eat Your Greens Party - The folks organizing (if you want to call it that) the Democratic National Convention have spent all week trying to squash a major flapdoodle involving political correctness and color that threatened to confirm every negative stereotype about how Democrats are so hilariously sensitive to the full... (READ MORE)

Fannie, Freddie Shares Plunge as Unease Rises - Shares of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two pillars of the nation's housing market, continued to plummet yesterday as investors and federal officials contemplated the possibility that the giants of the mortgage business could require a federal bailout. (READ MORE)

EPA Won't Act on Emissions This Year - The Bush administration has decided not to take any new steps to regulate greenhouse gas emissions before the president leaves office, despite pressure from the Supreme Court and broad accord among senior federal officials that new regulation is appropriate now. (READ MORE)

Gramm Remark Adds to McCain's Difficulty Addressing the Economy - BELLEVILLE, Mich., July 10 -- Sen. John McCain ventured to an auto-parts supplier in this hard-hit Detroit suburb to express sympathy for those affected by Michigan's economic malaise and to talk up his ideas for creating jobs in the region. (READ MORE)

Jackson Incident Revives Some Blacks' Concerns About Obama - The larger point of Jesse L. Jackson's criticism of Barack Obama -- if not the crude way he expressed it -- touched a nerve among some African American political activists who have been unhappy about the senator 's pointed critiques of absentee fathers and other problems in the black community. (READ MORE)

Hispanics seek McCain's reassurance - When Sen. John McCain speaks to the nation's largest Hispanic rights group this weekend, he will face an audience increasingly confused about his immigration position and looking for a declaration that he remains the same champion with whom they have worked for two decades. (READ MORE)

Answers demanded in agent's slaying - The chairman of the Immigration Reform Caucus on Thursday asked President Bush and Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey to "provide a full accounting" of what led to the release from jail last month of a Mexican national suspected of running over and killing a U.S. Border Patrol agent. (READ MORE)

Israel raids West Bank mall - TEL AVIV The ruling Palestinian Authority in the West Bank said it was in a "state of shock" Thursday after Israel shut down a West Bank shopping mall purportedly linked to Hamas, while a fragile cease-fire was further threatened after troops fatally shot a Palestinian teenager in the Gaza Strip. (READ MORE)

Court: Lethal injection OK in Va. - RICHMOND A federal appeals court Thursday upheld Virginia's method of executing inmates by injection, ruling that it prevents them from experiencing excruciating pain. In a 2-1 decision, a panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected condemned inmate Christopher Scott Emmett's argument that Virginia's procedure was unconstitutional. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Kimberly A. Strassel: Dick Durbin and the Chicago Boys - To listen to Democrats, Congress can't wait to crack down on all those greedy "speculators" who are driving up the price of oil. To listen to one Democrat in particular, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, is far more illuminating. If the powerful majority whip is looking a little thin these days, it's because he has been feeling the squeeze. On his left is his party, wild to find a villain on whom to blame high gas prices, intent on deflecting attention away from its own antidrilling policies. It has settled on those unfortunate traders who deal daily in contracts for the world's short supply of oil. (READ MORE)

Matt Miller: Obama Doesn't Have to Run as a Liberal - Some liberals fret that Barack Obama is tacking to the center after his acquiescence to the Supreme Court's repeal of Washington's handgun law, his shift on telephone company immunity for cooperating with wiretaps, and his call for more faith-based social programs. But this is just the beginning. The logic of the race will shortly lead Sen. Obama to buck bigger liberal pieties on core priorities like schools, taxes and health care in order to win. In a sense this is overdue. For all the talk about reaching out to Republicans and independents, Mr. Obama's proposals have been far less challenging to conventional liberal thinking than were Bill Clinton's in 1992… (READ MORE)

Craig Pirrong: Restricting Speculators Will Not Reduce Oil Prices - Commodity price shocks, like those currently rocking the oil market, inevitably lead to witch hunts. And speculators are typically among the first to be hunted down. Many in Congress -- including Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D., Conn.) and Rep. Bart Stupak (D., Mich.) -- assert that oil market trading by financial institutions and investment funds has added as much to $70 per barrel to the price of oil. These charges are echoed by myriad others, including financier George Soros and Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly. Mr. Lieberman wants to ban any pension fund or financial institution with more than $500 million in assets from participating in the futures markets. (READ MORE)

Adam J. Levitin: The Flaws in the FHA Housing Bill - One year and one million foreclosures into the mortgage crisis, Congress will finally produce a major piece of legislation aimed at alleviating the problem. The Dodd-Frank FHA Bill will authorize the Federal Housing Administration to insure refinanced mortgages, en masse. FHA-guaranteed mortgage terms will supposedly be more manageable for homeowners than their current ones. Lawmakers can say they've "done something" about the crisis. The only problem is the bill won't work. Contractual and incentive problems in securitized mortgages will defeat the legislation's attempt to provide a significant amount of relief. (READ MORE)

Ronan O'Sullivan Farrow: No Olympic Medal for Bush - As U.S. congressional leaders disbanded for the July Fourth holiday last week, the White House quietly released travel schedules confirming that President Bush will attend the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympic Games. The careful timing will not mute the impact of the decision. As a rising tide of world leaders boycotts the ceremony, Mr. Bush will lend his imprimatur to a regime that continues to jail dissidents and persecute religious groups, back a criminal junta in Burma and bankroll what Mr. Bush himself has described as genocide in Darfur. (READ MORE)

Charles Krauthammer: The Altar of Soft Power - WASHINGTON -- On the day the Colombian military freed Ingrid Betancourt and 14 other long-held hostages, the Italian Parliament passed yet another resolution demanding her release. Europe had long ago adopted this French-Colombian politician as a cause celebre. France had made her an honorary citizen of Paris, passed numerous resolutions and held many vigils. Unfortunately, karma does not easily cross the Atlantic. Betancourt languished for six years in cruel captivity until freed by a brilliant operation conducted by the Colombian military, intelligence agencies and special forces -- an operation so well executed that the captors were overpowered without a shot being fired. (READ MORE)

John Hawkins: McCain Proves Amnesty is Political Suicide for the GOP - There's a ridiculous myth that RINOs in DC have been spinning about illegal immigration and it goes something like this: Hispanics vote almost entirely based on the illegal immigration issue and if Republicans deliver an amnesty, Hispanics will be so grateful that the percentage of them voting Republican will go from roughly 30% up to 50+%. So, even if we allow 12-20 million mostly uneducated, mostly Hispanic illegal aliens from socialist countries to become Americans and that leads to another 30-40 million (or more) of their relatives becoming U.S. citizens through chain migration, it'll still be a net gain for the GOP because they'll be voting majority Republican. Laugh if you want, but there are "bubble Republicans" in D.C. that believe this. (READ MORE)

Mona Charen: What the Mullahs Should Mull - "I warn you to abandon the filthy Zionist entity, which has reached the end of the line." That, from earlier this year, was but one of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's hysterical verbal assaults on a fellow member of the United Nations. If there is a regime anywhere on the globe whose leader regularly and volubly looks forward to the "destruction" of another nation, I'm not familiar with it. (Ahmadinejad actually anticipates the annihilation of two nations, since he has also spoken of a world without the United States.) In the past several days, Iran has punctuated its threats against Israel and others with a display of missile might, firing intermediate-range ballistic missiles that can reach the entire Middle East and parts of Europe. (READ MORE)

David Limbaugh: Ashamed of America? - Some say Obama's critics have taken their eye off the ball in focusing on his associations with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers, thus giving his far-left policies a pass. But that's a false choice. Those criticisms would have more validity but for the fact that Obama's associations and his approach to policy are inextricably intertwined, flowing from a particular -- and consistent -- mindset. It's no accident that Obama sat for 20 years and had his children baptized in a church whose pastor revved up his congregation by denouncing America with expletives, that he had a working relationship with a professor who expressed pride in his past anti-American terrorism, or even that his wife admitted a first-time pride in the United States with the advent of her husband's electoral success. (READ MORE)

Ann Coulter: The New York Times vs. Helms, Part 529,876 - Last Friday, on the Fourth of July, the great American patriot Jesse Helms passed away. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson also went to their great reward on Independence Day, so this is further proof of God. Helms is now the second great American patriot I've always wanted to meet and never will, at least in this lifetime. The only other one is the magnificent Reagan aide Lyn Nofziger. (Wikipedia quote: "I sometimes lie awake at night trying to think of something funny that Richard Nixon said.") After a week of hundreds of Helms obituaries -- one or two of which were not completely dishonest -- I will mention just a few items that were not addressed or given sufficient attention. (READ MORE)

Lorie Byrd: A Lesson Even Liberals Can Learn from Jesse Helms - Many of those outside of North Carolina never could quite understand how Jesse Helms won reelection to the U.S. Senate so many times in what is considered a moderate southern state. It is no wonder many were baffled by Helms’ political success considering the caricature his opponents and many in the media so often painted of him. Those who knew Senator Helms had no trouble understanding his appeal to voters though. In eulogizing Helms this week, many of those closest to him described attributes he possessed that any politician would do well to follow, regardless of their political ideology. Remember who you serve. Constituent service in Jesse Helms’ office was second to none. North Carolinians knew they could call on Helms’ office to get things done. (READ MORE)

Suzanne Fields: Halftime Entertainment - How clever of Barack Obama to schedule his acceptance of his party's nomination in the Denver Broncos stadium, which seats 75,000 fans. We'll get the halftime entertainment without having to sit through the football game (or a wardrobe malfunction). What a perfect sign of our times -- a focus on noise, light and spectacle. While John McCain struggles to learn how to read a Teleprompter, Barack Obama soars on his talent as a dazzling speaker. His acceptance speech will even fall on the 45th anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s celebrated "I Have a Dream" speech. Few candidates could stand the comparison, but Obama might. The Republican National Convention Committee, displaying more than a little envy, accuses the Democrats of relying on "stagecraft and theatrics" over substance. (READ MORE)

Oliver North: Beirut Comes to Washington - WASHINGTON -- Twenty-five years ago this week, an intelligence report crossed my desk warning that Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon's Bekka Valley were preparing a major attack. Two months prior -- April 18, 1983 -- a Hezbollah truck bomb had exploded in front of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, killing 63 and wounding another 120. With this grim event in mind, we launched an "all-source" effort to determine the nature of the planned attack, the timing and the target. We failed. At 6:22 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 23, 1983, the killers carried out their assault. A single terrorist in a Mercedes truck loaded with explosives crashed into the U.S. Marine compound near the Beirut Airport, turned into the lobby of the four-story headquarters, and detonated his lethal cargo. The blast brought down the building, killing 241 Americans and wounding 81 more. (READ MORE)

Floyd and Mary Beth Brown: What You Don't Know About Cindy McCain Will Surprise You - The media lately are full of adoring pieces about Michelle Obama, but why so little about John McCain’s wife, Cindy? Of course, we can all see that she has model good looks, sparkling blue eyes, poise and confidence. But she is much more than meets the eye. Long before she ever married John McCain in 1980, Cindy’s heart had been captured by the needs of the less fortunate, especially children. Her undergraduate degree is in Education and she has a Master’s degree in Special Education from the University of Southern California. While a student working with severely disabled children, Cindy was part of a pilot study testing Movement Therapy, now a widely used and successful treatment. (READ MORE)

Johnnie B. Byrd: Will Obama Jump the Shark? - Conservative talk show hosts and their listeners are exasperated. They know the Obama candidacy is essentially an act—a calculated, well-scripted, cinematic performance. What really gets them down is the ease with which Obama captivates the imagination of the electorate when the evidence is so abundant that Obama is really an inexperienced, calculating, leftist flip-flopper. Here’s why: Obama gives the audience what they want—an awesome cinematic spectacle. As a result, and in the words of Coleridge, Obama supporters easily slip into “that willing suspension of disbelief for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith.” If conservatives can’t shake the faith of Obama supporters, they can at least entertain themselves with some of the devices and conventions, or “tropes,” used in creative endeavors like literature, film, TV, anime, video games, and, yes, 21st century political campaigns. (READ MORE)

A Newt One: Arrest The Speaker Of The House Today - Force her to answer for her actions - Force her to explain to the American People her treason - There is plenty of evidence that Nancy Pelosi, the Marxist from San Francisco which has suffered via the victim card of sexism in times past according to Her Stretchness, and her moppet Congressman James McGovern (D., Mass.) were very much involved with negotiating with known terrorists for the fall of the Sovereign Nation of Colombia. The two pretty much guaranteed an Obama Presidency to the terrorists and Hugo Chavez as well as guaranteeing that military support to Colombia would whither away, thus making it possible for FARC to overthrow Colombia. Nice, eh? This woman not only has the doctrine of stifling all those that disagree with her Marxist ideology, she has the propensity and a long history of undermining the National Security of this nation called the United States of America. (READ MORE)

Lawhawk: The Impact of the Iranian Photo Edits - The big media outlets generally don't know and don't care that a blogger, did what they could not, discover a fraudulent photo that made its way on to the front pages of US big media outlets - the mainstream media. They sometimes do know where the scoops come from - and then refuse to give them due credit. To admit that a blogger, a pajama clad blogger no less, scooped them shows that the journalist business isn't as tough as the so called experts want you to believe. Some don't have the time to care where the original source came from and simply use reports from others - which is how this mess got spread around the world in hours and picked up on the front pages of major US newspapers (again, big media/MSM/western media). (READ MORE)

Ace of Spades: Shock: NYT Blog Claims Credit For Fauxtography Story They Didn't Break - I'm not sure who exposed it, or how much credit Brian Ledbetter of SnappedShot should have (he was filling my email box), or LAHawk, but I can see that Charles Johnson exposed the picture as a photoshop at 9:00 PM Eastern last night while the NYT filed the same story at 9:00 AM this morning. Whether CJ deserves all the credit, I don't know. I do know the NYT deserves little of it, and ought to stop claiming otherwise. Thanks to CJ. No, a different CJ. (READ MORE)

The Barnyard: Phill Gramm On The Economy - McCain's economic advisor gave some serious straight talk on the economy to the Washington Times and while he is technically correct he pointed his finger at the wrong people as Ace points out. The MSM has been whining about the economy under Bush since he took office and has basically brainwashed the public into believing it despite seven years of continued growth. We have NOT been since the end of the Clinton era and are NOT now in a recession. A recession is signalled by two quarters of contraction in the economy not a slowing of the growth of it and we have expanded every quarter since the Bush tax cuts took effect. This is what Phill Gramm said in the interview. (READ MORE)

Baldilocks: Did Jesse Have a Point? - Asks Mickey Kaus with regard to Barack Obama's perceived arrogance and condescension. And the answer is, of course he did. “Isn't there a better way to phrase it that doesn't set up Obama as a commanding know-it-all?” Kaus is referring to Obama's admonition to some Georgia black youth and to the Spanish controversy--as I did yesterday. (For the record, I disagree with Kaus about the "stay in school" message.) The problem with Jesse Jackson controversy, however, is a combination of factors: the source of the criticism and the over-reaction of the critique--but mostly the source. If Jackson thinks that Obama is condescending to blacks only then he must have missed the senator's Bitter, Clingy comments. (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: Pars for the course - Just as Iranian Revolutionary Guard general was boasting that Teheran’s “finger is always on the trigger and we have hundreds and even thousands of missiles ready to be fired against predetermined targets”, the French energy giant Total was pulling out of the South Pars (the modern name for ancient Persepolis) gas project. RIA Novosti described the scope of the project: “Stages 2 and 3 of the Southern Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf were initiated by the international consortium of France’s Total (which holds a 40% stake), Malaysia’s Petronas (30%) and Russia’s Gazprom (30%) in 1997. The consortium built two offshore platforms with 10 production wells each, two 100-km (62-mile) underwater gas pipelines and an onshore gas plant with annual capacity of 20 billion cubic meters.” (READ MORE)

Michael Kraft: Hostage History: From the Levant to Latin America - Thousands of miles away and three decades apart, the rescue of hostages in Colombia and the killing of Israeli hostages by Lebanese terrorists have some unexpected links as well profound differences. Barring last minute glitches, the Israelis are expected within a week to release five terrorists, including the notorious Samir Kuntar, who bashed a four year old girl to death, in exchange for the bodies of two Israeli Army reservists who were taken hostage by Hezbollah in a cross border raid two years ago that touched off a major conflict. In my op-ed in today's Washington Times I describe a previous attempt to free Kuntar; the 1985 hijacking of the Italian cruise liner Achille Lauro and the murder of a wheel-chair bound American passenger. The murder of the American, Leon Klinghoffer prompted the passage of a major U.S. counterterrorism law that conceivably could be used against the Colombian kidnappers. (READ MORE)

Flopping Aces: MSM Confused About Obama - Dan Balz at the WaPo titled his piece today “Obama’s Ideology Proving Difficult to Pinpoint” which makes me laugh. Only a reporter would say that its hard to pinpoint Obama’s ideology. He is rated the most liberal Senator in the Senate. He ran as a hard-core leftist against Hillary Clinton who he tried to portray as some kind of hawk (laugh). He wants to raise taxes and increase spending. He would meet with Iran and Venezuela without precondition. He wants to retreat from a war we are winning. He desires a stronger nanny state where your taken care of from cradle to grave. He strong support of abortion pushes him farther left then NARAL believing that even babies who survived an abortion should not be protected. He endorsed the gun ban in DC and strongly supports giving Constitutional rights to foreign aliens fighting our country and fighting this war on terror like a law enforcement issue. (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Beware - Do we want the FCC running the Internet? I am sure that many bloggers will hail FCC Chairman Kevin Martin for talking trash about Comcast’s decision to block certain file-sharing sites. Freedom and all that. “The commission has adopted a set of principles that protects consumers access to the Internet,” Martin told AP. “We found that Comcast’s actions in this instance violated our principles.” Any time the government says it will protect you, beware. The Mafia also offers protection. This is wrong on 2 fronts. The first being that file-sharing sites often are used to pirate copyrighted material. I disagree with the Network Neutrality concept for several reasons, this being the major one. There is also the expense of all that data transfer. Companies have rights to handle their own affairs without interference from the government. (READ MORE)

GayPatriotWest: Fred Barnes’ Bad Advice to John McCain - No sooner did Fred Barnes say he thought McCain should use the issues of gay marriage and gays in the military to prevent social conservative voters from staying home, then readers either via e-mail or in a comment asked me in the words of this post, whether gay Republicans would tolerate the Barnes Option. Given the stakes in this campaign, particularly Obama’s inconstancy, especially on matters of national security and his preference for federal profligacy, I would pinch my nose and vote for John McCain (as I voted for W four years ago) if he took Barnes’ advice. That said, I highly doubt McCain will do anything more than he has already done, signal his opposition to lifting the military’s Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell policy and his support for the traditional definition of marriage. (READ MORE)

Heading Right: Bad Actors? Pelosi and McGovern - Are Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) bad actors in a tragedy about the Separation of Powers? In Spring 2007, Speaker Pelosi visited Syria, where she met with President Bashar Assad in a highly publicized, and much criticized trip. She was the poster child for Obama-esque ‘without pre-condition’ foreign policy. But this year, the Speaker chose to avoid the limelight, allegedly preferring to task loyal foot soldier Rep. Jim McGovern with chatting up leftist guerillas closely affiliated with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) - a group identified by the US State Department as terrorists. Much of the main stream media seems content to ignore the Pelosi-McGovern-FARC story. Too much of a political hot potato. (READ MORE)

Gribbit's Word: Global Warming Hysteria: Bad Weather Scapegoat - In the aftermath of record flooding in the Midwest, the hysteria known as Anthropological Global Warming also reaches record levels. You can’t watch a local or national news broadcast about the flooding in Iowa and other Mississippi River Valley states without hearing from some member of the Church of Global Warming of Modern Day Idiots decrying the evils of human nature and blaming every weather related calamity on man’s use of fossil fuels. I wasn’t alive the last time a scapegoat of this proportion was blamed for every single setback of society. Then again I’m not German either. If you are asking whether I’m comparing anthropological global warming hysteria to anti-Semitism born in Nazi Germany? – You Betcha. (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: ABC: Obama’s Iraq plan “almost impossible”; Update: Video added - Barack Obama has spent the last month waffling on whether he will stick to his 16-month evacuation plan for Iraq, saying alternately that he will “refine” the policy with input from the commanders or that the commanders will take input from him, once in office. ABC News spoke to the commanders and their officer corps in Iraq and got some input first, and discovered two points Obama hasn’t taken into consideration. Not only do they not want to leave, but if they do, they’d like to take their equipment with them: “The military has been redeploying troops for years, and Maj. Gen. Charles Anderson, who would help with the withdrawal, told us as we toured Camp Arifjan in Kuwait, ‘We have the capacity to do a minimum of two-and-a-half brigade combat teams a month — can we expand that capacity? Sure. Can we accelerate? It depends. It depends on the amount of equipment that we bring back. And it’s going to depend on how fast we bring them out.’” (READ MORE)

Political Pistachio: Barack Obama: Your Children Should Learn To Speak Spanish - Barack Obama is embarrassed that Americans don't speak the languages of other European Countries? He seriously thinks that our children need to learn Spanish? If I am understanding Senator Barack Obama correctly, American sovereignty isn’t a big deal, and neither are our borders. Obama doesn’t recognize America as a sovereign nation. He sees our country more as a Canadian and Mexican shared something-or-other. Since we aren't America, and we aren't a sovereign nation in Obama's opinion, that must mean then that we’ve just got to learn Spanish (or whatever other language he wants us to learn). After all, we don't want to be embarrassing ourselves, or the noble Barack Obama, when we travel abroad. (READ MORE)

Neal Boortz: DO YOU STILL THINK THE RICH AREN'T PAYING ENOUGH? - In a few weeks, the IRS is going to release its latest data on who pays how much in taxes. But an article in the Wall Street Journal gives us a sneak peak on what we can expect. According to the Treasury Department, perhaps for the first time ever, the richest 1% of taxpayers will have paid more than 40% of the income tax burden. Do you remember when we had Dennis Kucinich on the Boortz Show (audio) and I asked him what percentage of the tax burden do the top 1% of taxpayers pay? His answer was something like 15%. Not even close. I then asked him how much of total income the top 1% earned .. and he came back with the asinine figure of around 60%. In short (pun intended) he didn't have a clue. The actual answer was around 17.5%. Again .. who are these people in the top tax bracket? Two-thirds of them are small business owners. (READ MORE)

Michelle Malkin: Fannie, Freddie, FUBAR: The Mother of All Bailouts - AM Oh, triple-crikey. God save us from bipartisanship again. Washington is in a tizzy over the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac financial crisis. The stocks plunged yesterday and a former Fed governor declared them “insolvent.” Keep an eye on the markets this morning for more freefall. Panicked Republicans and Democrats have joined clammy hands to declare their fealty to these behemoth government-sponsored enterprises because they are “too big to fail.” The Drudge headline and descriptions in the MSM of a “takeover” are misleading. The long-troubled, corrupt institutions are already federally chartered, exempt from normal securities regulations, and enjoy multi-billion-dollar lines of credit from the US Treasury. This won’t be a “takeover,” but a massive, ginormous, Mother of All Bailouts (READ MORE)

Paul Mirengoff: Big three networks hide the ball on political progress in Iraq - A week ago, I noted that the Washington Post had reported, grudgingly and on page 8, that in the judgment of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, the Iraqi government has met 15 of the 18 benchmarks set by the U.S. Congress for measuring political progress in Iraq. This is almost twice the number of benchmarks deemed satisfied a year ago. Our government's assessment, moreover, was corroborated by the decision of the largest Sunni political bloc (also noted by the Post on page 8) to rejoin the Iraqi government. The Post's decision to relegate this powerful evidence of progress in Iraq to the deep in side its news section stands in contrast to its decision the following day to make a front-page story out of our "troop shortage" in Afghanistan. It also stands in contrast to its longstanding pattern of highlighting bad news from Iraq. (READ MORE)

McQ: A Nation of Whiners? - Well yeah, to a degree I agree. That was what Sen. Phil Gramm said yesterday about Americans. He also said for many it is a "mental recession", meaning that to this point they’ve not suffered the results of an actual recession, but have adopted the attitude prevalent during a recession (and, I suppose, help it become a reality). I’ve never been much of a Gramm fan, but his criticism hit home. Just listen to the whining about gas prices for heaven sake. And you’d think the Iraq war was the most costly and brutal war ever fought if you listened to a certain segment of our population. (READ MORE)

The Redhunter: The Iranian Missile Tests and the Presidential Candidates - As I think we all know, yesterday and today Iran "tested" a series of missiles. The ones today were apparently anti-ship missiles, but yesterday's involved the Sh___ 3, a weapon capable of hitting Israel. It is important to note that the missiles were fired by Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, not their normal military. The IRGC is somewhat analogous to the Schutzstaffel; the Nazi SS. Just as interesting as the tests themselves was the reaction to them by the presidential candidates. First up is Barack Obama. I went to his website but cannot find anything there that directly addresses them. There's absolutely nothing about Iran on the "ObamaNews" tab. Regarding Iran, we have this: (READ MORE)

The Sundries Shack: The Democrats’ Last-Ditch Energy Plan is a Temper Tantrum - What is wrong with Nancy Pelosi? This is her unhinged little rant on drilling for domestic oil: “This call for drilling in areas that are protected is a hoax, it’s an absolute hoax on the part of the Republicans and this administration…It’s a decoy to punt your attention away from the fact that their policies have produced $4-a-gallon gasoline.” Yes and if “ifs and buts” were candy and nuts, we’d all have a Merry Christmas, too. Her tantrum makes no sense. The Republican Party has had little to nothing at all to do with current gasoline prices. They’ve been in the minority and have had every single solution they’ve propose get shot down on the floor or killed in committee. Only the most rabid partisan, or the MSM (but I repeat myself, yes?) could seriously blame this on anyone but the Democratic majority which has watched gas prices go from $2.33 when it took over in January, 2007 to somewhere around $4.10 today. Pelosi’s little foot-stomping poochy lip routine doesn’t hide her abject failure one little bit. (READ MORE)

Daniel's Big Trip: The Project - To the few of you who've managed to struggle through reading all of my rambling posts, you've heard me mention a time or ten The Wounded Warrior Project. Well my trip has culminated with my visiting their headquarters... As one would expect, things went well, I was happy, and Rockstar got into stuff. This is that story...I stayed the night with my hookah loving buddies in Hudson, FL (NOTE: lots of people questioned just WHAT was IN the hookah. No worries, it was cherry tobacco. Even I'm not so dumb as to post about drugs or anything, and that's not really "my thing" (or theirs) anyhow...) I got up the next morning and readied myself for my trip to Jacksonville. My friend was busily adding to his blog, something he'd never even HEARD of the day before. We ran out and got lunch in his brothers brand new GT 500 Shelby Mustang which he is storing for him. (READ MORE)

The Right State: Once Again, Barack Obama is Embarrassed by Americans - Barack Obama has a problem, he has an old European mindset in an American body. Every once in a while he drops his guard long enough to give the American people a glimpse in his anti-Americanism. I have had college professors who taught subjects such as Asian (mainly Chinese and Japanese) history, Mexican history, Russian history, and English (with a black writer emphasis). What made these professors unusual was the fact that they were all white and yet they freely admitted they felt more comfortable around the people in their chosen fields of Asia, Mexico, Russia, and African-American than their American counterparts. A couple even told me they should have been born a Mexican and an African-American. It comes from getting too close to your subject area and results in a lack of perspective. (READ MORE)

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