July 29, 2008

Web Reconnaissance for 07/29/2008

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)
Fannie Mae's Political Immunity - President Bush is poised to sign the housing and Fannie Mae bailout bill, after the Senate passed it with 72 votes on the weekend. But an underreported part of this story is that Majority Leader Harry Reid refused to allow a vote on Republican Jim DeMint's amendment to bar political donations and lobbying by Fannie and its sibling, Freddie Mac. (READ MORE)

The Thrill Is Gone - That was a brief fling, even by European romantic standards. One day after his speech before an adulating Berlin crowd last week, Barack Obama said more NATO troops would allow the U.S. to cut its presence in Afghanistan. The "billions of dollars" saved, he told CNN on Friday, could "finance lower taxes for middle-class families." (READ MORE)

The Price of RomneyCare - Gearing up for 2009, liberals are eager to claim Massachusetts as a Valhalla of health reform. Their enthusiasm is apparently evidence-proof. Even Mitt Romney, who should know better, took to these pages recently to proclaim, "Health-care reform is working in Massachusetts." Shortly after Mr. Romney's self-tribute, Governor Deval Patrick wheeled out a new $129 million tax plan to make up for this year's health spending shortfalls. Yet partisans are cheering the cost overruns as a sign of success. (READ MORE)

Lawmakers Agree to Ban Toxins in Children's Items - Congressional negotiators agreed yesterday to a ban on a family of toxins found in children's products, handing a major victory to parents and health experts who have been clamoring for the government to remove harmful chemicals from toys. (READ MORE)

Internal Justice Dept. Report Cites Illegal Hiring Practices - For nearly two years, a young political aide sought to cultivate a "farm system" for Republicans at the Justice Department, hiring scores of prosecutors and immigration judges who espoused conservative priorities and Christian lifestyle choices. (READ MORE)

U.S. Strike May Have Killed Al-Qaeda Aide - An apparent U.S. missile strike on a compound in northwestern Pakistan killed six people early yesterday, including a man believed to be a top al-Qaeda operative and key figure in the terrorist group's production of chemical weapons and conventional explosives, U.S. and Pakistani sources said. (READ MORE)

Four Women Kill Dozens In Suicide Blasts in Iraq - BAGHDAD, July 28 -- Wearing their flowing black garments, they can carry hidden explosives past most checkpoints because customs of modesty prevent male guards from frisking them. (READ MORE)

Sen. Reid Thwarted On Bundle Of Bills - Senate Republicans yesterday blocked consideration of 35 bills that were rolled into one omnibus measure designed to overcome the objections of Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who has used parliamentary tactics to stymie dozens of pieces of legislation. (READ MORE)

Calif. Field Goes from Rush To Reflection of Global Limits - In May 1899, a pair of oil prospectors wielding picks and shovels dug into a bank of the Kern River where some gooey liquid had seeped to the surface. About 45 feet down, they hit oil, and when the local newspaper printed the news, it set off an oil rush that swept up hundreds of fortune seekers, oil companies, a big railroad and even some enterprising school districts that bought up tracts in hope of turning a profit. (READ MORE)

Evangelicals warn against McCain-Romney ticket - Prominent evangelical leaders are warning Sen. John McCain against picking former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as his running mate, saying their troops will abandon the Republican ticket on Election Day if that happens. (READ MORE)

Report finds politics in hiring - Justice Department officials two years ago had no better candidate for a counterterrorism job than a widely respected prosecutor who handled several terrorism cases and had received the department's highest honor, according to a report released Monday. (READ MORE)

Doubts mount on Afghan surge - While U.S. commanders and both presidential candidates are pressing the Pentagon to send more troops to Afghanistan, several military and Afghanistan analysts say a surge there will not solve and could even worsen the problems of a country famous for resisting foreign interference. (READ MORE)

Exchange rate costs U.N. $10 million - UNITED NATIONS Burma is forcing U.N. aid agencies to convert cash to local currency at below-market rates, costing the world body $10 million so far and drawing comparisons to the scandal-plagued U.N. oil-for-food program in Iraq. (READ MORE)

Bush successor faces massive debt - President Bush, who entered the White House to budget surpluses, will bequeath the largest-ever budget deficit to his successor, and the men vying for that honor struggled Monday to explain how they will dig out from the inherited red ink. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
William MCGurn: Mercenaries for Darfur - When Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg announced a new antismoking campaign the other day, they put their money in line with their mouths. The former Microsoft chairman and the mayor of New York together pledged $500 million to target what Mr. Gates called "one of the greatest health challenges facing developing countries." The same day they were announcing their campaign, the president of Sudan was on a visit to Darfur. Presumably it was his way of responding to news that the prosecutor for the International Criminal Court is seeking an arrest warrant against him on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Yet Omar al-Bashir did not appear to be a troubled man. At one rally, the AP reports, he broke into a little dance -- and state television ran footage of supporters "waving banners reading 'No! No! to the prosecutor!' and 'We are with you, al-Bashir!'" (READ MORE)

Michael J. Boskin: Obamanomics Is a Recipe for Recession - What if I told you that a prominent global political figure in recent months has proposed: abrogating key features of his government's contracts with energy companies; unilaterally renegotiating his country's international economic treaties; dramatically raising marginal tax rates on the "rich" to levels not seen in his country in three decades (which would make them among the highest in the world); and changing his country's social insurance system into explicit welfare by severing the link between taxes and benefits? The first name that came to mind would probably not be Barack Obama, possibly our nation's next president. Yet despite his obvious general intelligence, and uplifting and motivational eloquence, Sen. Obama reveals this startling economic illiteracy in his policy proposals and economic pronouncements. (READ MORE)

Michael Soussan: Don't Hold the Olympics Without Iraq - The decision last week by the International Olympic Committee to ban Iraq from participating in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing reflects far more negatively on the committee itself than on Iraq. The country's sin, as described by the IOC, is to have changed the members of its national Olympic committee, awarding posts based on local political loyalties. This is an interesting accusation -- given that the previous chief of Iraq's Olympic effort was Uday Hussein, the son of Iraq's former dictator. If Uday Hussein was acceptable to the IOC, why is the committee up in arms about the Iraqi government's decision to reshuffle its Olympic management team? The answer is that Iraq's new Olympic managers have not yet been accredited by the IOC. What will it take to get them accredited? Will they have to start torturing their athletes the way Uday used to do, when they failed to perform to his liking? (READ MORE)

Garry Kasparov: Obama Should Stand Up to Russia's Regime - Berlin is an ideal place for an American president, even a would-be president, to speak to the world about freedom and shared values. Barack Obama's recent visit evoked the famous speeches of John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan that defended the U.S. stance against the Soviet Union and tyranny in Eastern Europe. Both the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union are now gone, but dangerous, nuclear-armed dictatorships are not. Sadly, Mr. Obama declined to mention this in Berlin. The stage for his disappointing performance was set several weeks ago, when the Illinois senator rejected John McCain's proposal to eject Russia and exclude China from the Group of Eight (G-8). Mr. Obama's response during a July 13 interview on CNN -- "We have to engage and get them involved" -- suggests that it is impossible to work with Russia and China on economic and nuclear nonproliferation issues while also standing up for democracy and human rights. (READ MORE)

Michele Bachman: The Democrats' Energy Charade - Earlier this month the House of Representatives voted on an energy bill called the Drill Responsibly in Leased Lands (Drill) Act. The good news, for those of us who actually want to do something to lower gas prices, is that it failed. The bad news is that Democrats will try again before the November elections. We can expect more legislation that claims to increase production, but in reality offers a framework of heavy regulation, litigation and union rules that could prevent new energy supplies from getting to market. And we can expect legislation that would likely hamper current oil and gas exploration. Consider the details of Drill. It would not have opened new lands to energy exploration. Instead, it would have increased the number of lease sales in the National Petroleum Reserve -- the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge's (ANWR's) sister territory on Alaska's North Slope -- from one lease sale every two years to one every year. (READ MORE)

Bret Stephens: The Berlin Obama Didn't See - "People of the world -- look at Berlin!" - Barack Obama, July 24, 2008, quoting Berlin Mayor Ernst Reuter, Sept. 9, 1948 - By all means, senator, let's take a long, hard look at Berlin: Germany's hip, and nearly bankrupt, capital. A couple of years ago, Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit -- a man Passport magazine describes as "effortlessly personifying" the city's "hip, sophisticated, and tolerant image" -- petitioned Germany's high court to compel the federal government to assume at least 60% of the city's debt, then topping $77 billion and marking a fivefold increase since the city's reunification in 1990. About 12% of the city's budget went to servicing its debt, close to the 15% figure New York City reached when it nearly defaulted under Mayor Abe Beame in 1975. Worse, unemployment in Berlin was running around 17%, about twice the national average, and the city was poorer than it had been 16 years before. (READ MORE)

Wesley Pruden: The messiah who can't break away - Barack Obama leads in the polls, but every pollster understands the butterflies in the bellies of sober Democrats. With everything going for him, why hasn't Barack Obama put a little daylight between himself and John McCain? Querulous minds want to know. Where, asks Kellyanne Conway of the Polling Company, is "the Barack bump?" Where, indeed. Many of the reporters traveling with Mr. Obama on his Magical Mystery Tour of the Middle East (and certain European beachheads of Islam) and the giddy pundits have been treating him as if he were, in Mzz Conway's description, "the fifth Beatle." Gallup found a tiny weekend bump — perhaps a pimple or a zit — over the weekend, and on Sunday put his advantage at 9 points. This is getting close to something significant, but Gallup cautions that "the key question remains as to whether this 'bounce' is short-term (as happens to bounces ... following intense publicity surrounding a convention) or if his lead will persist: (READ MORE)

David Limbaugh: Obama's Ongoing Foreign Policy Implosion - There is one unexpected gift that John McCain's presumptive nomination brings to the GOP. McCain was certainly not my choice, but if any other Republican candidate were running, it's unlikely we'd be seeing as much emphasis in the campaign on foreign policy, and Obama's unfolding incompetence in this area might have escaped essential scrutiny. Democrats were no doubt looking to capitalize on the Iraq issue before it became apparent that the success of the surge had exceeded all but our most optimistic expectations. Because McCain is perceived as one of the most ardent proponents of the surge and Obama fiercely opposed it, Obama finds himself caught in a trap over the entire issue. Obama's arguments, echoing the perennial anti-Iraq-war line Democrats have been peddling for years now, that we shouldn't have attacked Iraq in the first place are falling flat, given the radical reduction in violence levels the surge has produced. (READ MORE)

Dennis Prager: Obama's Naive Berlin Speech - To better understand Sen. Barack Obama, his speech before 200,000 Germans in Berlin is one good place to start. As we shall see, however, it does not leave one secure as to the senator's understanding of history, of America's role in the world, and what to do about evil, among other important issues. Obama: "At the height of the Cold War, my father decided, like so many others in the forgotten corners of the world, that his yearning -- his dream -- required the freedom and opportunity promised by the West." Promised by the West? Or promised by America? It wasn't "the West" that Obama's father went to; it was America. During the Cold War, it wasn't "the West" that led the fight to preserve Western freedom; it was America. Obama concedes this point in his next sentence: "And so he wrote letter after letter to universities all across America until somebody, somewhere answered his prayer for a better life." (READ MORE)

Dinesh D'Souza: Countering Richard Dawkins on Al-Jazeera - To listen to Richard Dawkins, or read his book The God Delusion, you would get the idea that belief in God is a dangerous delusion, even a kind of virus of the mind. Dawkins finds absolutely no rational sense in theism, and moreover, he insists that science stands firmly behind him. Given this, one would think that Dawkins would be eager to debate the best advocates for God, in the firm confidence that he could defeat them. Why should an advocate of the round-earth have any hesitancy in debating an advocate of the flat-earth? Surely a round-earth man should be able to prevail in such debates every single time. Shortly after the publication of my book What’s So Great About Christianity, I invited Dawkins to debate me. Since that time I’ve debated many of the leading atheists—Christopher Hitchens, Michael Shermer, Daniel Dennett, Peter Singer. Yet despite my several invitations, Dawkins has always refused to agree to a debate. (READ MORE)

Cal Thomas: Great Expectations - There is a reason the psalmist warned, "Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help." (Psalm 146:3) It wasn't that he was cynical about humanity. It appears the writer observed that the best efforts of humankind were unable to produce the satisfaction people sought in earthly leaders. Which brings us to the expectations surrounding Barack Obama. It is a truism in politics that you are supposed to lower expectations in order to boost your political stock should you exceed them. Sen. Obama has done precisely the opposite. He has raised expectations so high there is only one way he can exceed them following his nomination in Denver. That is to climb to the top of a mountain peak, there to be transfigured and ascend into Heaven. No wonder Jon Stewart lampooned his messianic personae on "The Daily Show," saying that while in Israel, Obama made a short visit to the manger in Bethlehem where he was born. (READ MORE)

Ed Feulner: Kyoto Treaty: Pointless Promises - Next month, the greatest athletes in the world will visit Beijing for the Olympic Games. Undoubtedly they’ll set new records in plenty of sports. But after the stars go home, China (which has cut back industrial production in an effort to clear the air ahead of the Olympics) will go back to setting a dubious record of its own: It’s the greatest emitter of carbon dioxide on earth. China’s CO2 emissions rose 8 percent last year, after jumping more than 11 percent in each of the two previous years. According to a Dutch study, China alone accounted for two-thirds of the growth in global greenhouse-gas emissions in 2007, and its current lead over the United States in such emissions is only expected to grow. Contrast that with our environmental record. The U.S. government estimates that energy-related carbon dioxide emissions increased by just 1.6 percent in 2007, after dropping 1.5 percent the year before. (READ MORE)

Chuck Norris: Nancy Pelosi vs. Rush Limbaugh - Despite the fact that a recent poll found that Americans now believe (by a 3-1 ratio) gas prices are a bigger problem than global warming, The Washington Post noted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., an avid opponent of offshore drilling, vows to block a drilling vote and even dialogue from occurring on the House floor. And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., echoed the same sentiment when he eliminated energy amendments to his anti-speculation bill. At the same time, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., canceled committee consideration of spending bills for fear that Republicans would include drilling amendments. When President Bush recently lifted the executive ban on offshore drilling, the ball was placed completely in Congress' court to take the next move. But instead of Congress representing the majority of Americans' wishes to drill for domestic oil, they once again are favoring a minority. (READ MORE)

Bill Steigerwald: Government Is Our Problem - On Jan. 20, 1981, when Ronald Reagan delivered his inaugural address to a nation battered by high inflation, punitive taxes and a stagnant economy, he said famously, “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” “Yeah, right!” said all the sophisticated socialists in politics and media who assumed Reagan knew and cared as little as they did about limited government, free market capitalism and individual freedom. Reagan's libertarian rhetoric was better than his actual governance or his ability to derail or even downsize the speeding train of Big Government. But his complaint about government is truer than ever. Behind virtually every major social problem, financial crisis or corruption scandal that afflicts us lies the heavy hand or leaden foot of government, which today in all its levels gobbles up more than 50 percent of our annual GDP and controls more of our lives than ever. (READ MORE)

Richard H. Collins: Next JFK Or No Way? - Is Senator Barack Obama the next John F. Kennedy or Richard Nixon? This may seem like an odd question given their party affiliation, but simply labeling them Democrat or Republican fails to get at their personalities and styles. In terms of style Obama clearly wants to emulate JFK; as the next young, handsome intellectual, with the fashionable wife and adoring crowds. Like the young Kennedy, Obama seeks to rise above mere politics to iconic status. But despite his rock star status, Obama shares some of Nixon’s personality and style: a touch of paranoia and a tendency to stretch the truth in his own defense. And if you get Obama away from a teleprompter, and the large adoring crowds, he is far less eloquent and a great deal more combative. There is an arrogance and obsession with secrecy that is Nixonian. As I have noted before, as soon as he became the presumptive nominee Obama immediately accused his opponents of racism and smear tactics. (READ MORE)

Donald Douglas: Lone Tennessee Madman Used to Smear GOP - I put out the call this morning, perhaps idealistically, for partisans of both sides to end to the politicization of personal tragedies, with reference to Sunday's shooting tragedy at Unitarian Universalist church in Knoxville, Tennessee. It turns out that the alleged killer, Jim David Adkisson, was a fan of right-wing media personalities such as Sean Hannity and Michael Savage. In a four-page letter outlining his intentions, Adkisson reportedly declared not only his hatred of the "liberal movement," but also "anyone different from him." Adkisson was deeply frustrated with his employment prospects and he was divorced after a deeply troubled and potentially violent marriage. Carol Smallwood of Alice, Texas, an acquantaince of Adkission's for 25-30 years, suggested he was facing psychological crisis: (READ MORE)

A Newt One: National Service Act: Amerika's Newest Conscript Nation - The National Service Act: Universal National Service Act of 2007 (Introduced in House) “To require all persons in the United States between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform national service, either as a member of the uniformed services or in civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, to authorize the induction of persons in the uniformed services during wartime to meet end-strength requirements of the uniformed services, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to make permanent the favorable treatment afforded combat pay under the earned income tax credit, and for other purposes.” To REQUIRE? Forced servitude? To AUTHORIZE THE INDUCTION? Forced servitude? I am detecting a pattern here. And for OTHER PURPOSES? What might those other purposes be..prey tell? “Short Title - This Act may be cited as the 'Universal National Service Act of 2007'” There's that "universal" term again. Reps Charles B Rangel, Yvette D Clark and Jim McDermott are responsible for this crap. Yes, it was introduced months and months ago but it hasn't died yet and is still in committee. (READ MORE)

Lawhawk: Trading Fire - It is such an innocuous term. It makes you think of people hanging around a campfire and taking turns keeping it lit or sharing it with your neighbors who are having a tough time getting their fire started. However, the reality is that Pakistan and India were slugging it out across their disputed border region for nearly 12 hours in an attempt to kill each other's troops. “The night-long gunbattle came after one Indian soldier and four Pakistanis were killed Monday along the heavily armed frontier that divides Indian- and Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, the Indian army said. No further casualties were reported Tuesday.” Given that these two countries are nuclear weapons capable, and share a common disputed border that has borne witness to three prior wars, you would think that this story would be far more prominent, especially as the Pakistani foreign minister was in the US meeting with President Bush to discuss Pakistan's ongoing problems with the frontier provinces that are safe havens for the Taliban and al Qaeda. (READ MORE)

The Anchoress: Obama, you’re no John Paul II - In pondering the question of whether or not Team Obama released for publication his prayer at the Western Wall, I wondered if any other politician had done the same. John McCain apparently did not. There has been a case where the text of a prayer left at the Western Wall was purposely released, but that was a very specific prayer, released for a specific reason. As part and parcel of a whole acknowledgment of wrongs against the Jewish people, John Paul II’s prayer at the Western Wall was made public. It was made public because it was pretty much a signed and stamped historical document, one that has been preserved at Yad Vashem. We really need to know if Ma’ariv is telling it straight when they say that Obama released the prayer as he left his hotel and headed to the Western Wall. Says TNR, "Yediot Aharonot, Israel's most popular daily, apparently also received a copy of the note in advance but decided not to print it.' (READ MORE)

Augean Stables: NYTimes Not Interested in Palestinians Killing Palestinians - When Israel seems guilty of killing Palestinians to The New York Times, the newspaper is eager to trumpet the story across its front page. We all remember the June 12, 2006 headline “Errant Shell Turns Girl Into Palestinian Icon“, and the article that suggested that in all likelihood, Israel was responsible for the shell that killed 9 Palestinians. But when Palestinians kill Palestinians, The New York Times is a lot less interested. A car bomb near a Gaza beach on Friday exploded near a Hamas vehicle, killing five Hamas members, a 7 year-old girl, Sareen Safadi, and wounding 22 others (at last count). Did The New York Times put the story on its front page? No, but the article about over-exuberant parents of children at summer camp did. How about the International round-up on page A2. Again, no. (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: The wrong place - Two assertions about Iraq ought to be challenged or at least examined more closely. The first is the idea that security improvements in Iraq and al-Qaeda’s defeat had little if anything to do with the US effort. The second is the assertion that the “real” strategic center of gravity always should have been Afghanistan, because the proper object of the War is to “get bin Laden”. Take the question of whether the growing success in Iraq had anything to do with US effort. Once violence in Iraq began to wane and al-Qaeda was clearly being defeated, the search to find a non-American explanation began in earnest. For a while it was fashionable to credit Moqtada al-Sadr’s “ceasefire” with improving conditions in Iraq. The Guardian report of February 2008 ascribing nearly miraculous powers to al-Sadr typified the explanation that violence was down because he had turned it off. (READ MORE)

Blonde Sagacity: Philadelphia's Folly: "Racial Loyalty Over Citizenship" - I feel like really profound articles are VERY few and far between. Most just hollowly regurgitate an event and those that seek to be moving rarely make the mark. Investigative journalism seems to be dead --whether for financial reasons or maybe reporters are just scared. The inkies shouldn't be baffled that subscriptions are plummeting and sales are at an all time low (even for the NYT). But, that being said, every once in a great while you find and article that you can't just skim through. One in which each line written feels like a slam dunk and you're saying "yeah!" out loud. An article that makes you want to meet the author and shake their hand. I read one of those yesterday by Kevin Williamson on National Review Online. It's an article about the state of affairs in Philadelphia, but I think it can be symbolic of the entire country when it comes to racial issues and the taboo in speaking about them. (READ MORE)

The Captain's Journal: The Surge - Senator John McCain is being taken to task for alleged discrepancies in his surge narrative. Joe Conason with Salon has recently discussed “McCain’s embarrassing assertion that the Sunni insurgency’s turn toward the U.S. and away from al-Qaida came because of the surge.” Conason’s discussion is pedestrian and rather boring, but a more sophisticated hit job is being proffered by Professor Colin Kahl - now advisor to Barack Obama - entitled When to Leave Iraq. I will only deal with one major aspect of the commentary, that being his citation of Major Niel Smith’s paper and the alleged obsession of the Anbar tribes with the stateside talk of withdrawal. According to Kahl, “In short, contrary to the Bush administration’s claims, the Awakening began before the surge and was driven in part by Democratic pressure to withdraw.” (READ MORE)

Confederate Yankee: When Denied A Chance to Turn Wounded Troops Into A Photo Op, Obama Declined to Meet with Them at All - Why did Barack Obama cancel his visit to see wounded U.S. soldiers yesterday at Landstuhl Medical Center in Ramstein, Germany? According to the Politico and the Chicago Sun-Times, the Obama campaign is blaming the military, claiming that the Obama campaign was told the visit "would look too political." But according to MSNBC, Obama and his Senate staff could have visited wounded troops; he simply couldn't bring along his campaign staff and the media. The campaign's response? They withdrew the request to visit the troops. The official said "We didn't know why" the request to visit the wounded troops was withdrawn. "He (Obama) was more than welcome. We were all ready for him." If he can't use them as props, it seems Barack Obama has little use for the military. Come to think if it, that is roughly how they factor into his feckless foreign policy plans as well. (READ MORE)

Dadmanly: Grand Revision - As if in prelude to commentary on Sen. Obama’s Presidential (Campaign) Visit to Afghanistan and Iraq, Israel and Palestinian Territories, and an adoring Europe, this past week evidenced recent evidence of Grand Revision. This, of course, is the long predicted traverse of various political classes of Conventional Wisdom from What We All Knew Was True then, to What We Have Always Known is True now. This turn of events surprises many, even those quite familiar with the various adages that embroider the truism, Defeat is an Orphan, Victory has a Thousand Fathers. Old political hands no doubt have all manner of examples from Partisan Navigation of the various methods and manners of the political pivot. Changes in political trade winds prompt a wise Captain to change tack. Paradigms shift. (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Drill - Lake Erie, too. The Buffalo News has a story that shows the folly of banning offshore drilling. The USA has banned drilling under the Great Lakes. Canada hasn’t. Canada is. Thus not only is the USA ban not working, it is making us further dependent on our No. 1 foreign supplier of oil: Canada. I have nothing against Canada. I rather like its imperial gallon. It is a manly thing, worth 1.2 of our puny gallons. Republican Congressman John Peterson, who represents a Pennsylvania district near Lake Erie (but not on it), is sponsoring legislation to open offshore drilling. “I don’t think the Great Lakes has ever even been a discussion item,” Peterson told the Buffalo News. He said it makes no sense. (READ MORE)

Baron Bodissey: In Enemy Territory - Below is an article from today’s Die Welt, translated into English through the tireless efforts of our Danish correspondent Kepiblanc. It concerns the evolution of huge no-go zones in various German cities. You’ll notice that the construction of the largest mosque in Germany inside one of these areas did nothing to alleviate the problem. It’s also notable that the immigrant groups that are causing most of the trouble are not the Turks — who are the traditional foreigners in the area — but the more recently arrived and “stateless” Arabs: “In enemy territory - In several German cities the police barely dare to enter certain districts, because they are attacked immediately. A visit to a ‘dangerous place’in the Ruhr District. Just take another step across Viehofer Street, and a border has been trespassed. It’s invisible; there are no warnings in the available maps of the city of Essen. But behind the line other laws are enforced. At Viehofer Street the ‘danger zone’ begins. That’s what the local police calls the Northern part of the Essen downtown.” (READ MORE)

Yankeemom: Swindlers and Liars - Our esteemed elected have been putting on quite the show these past few days ~ well, actually longer than that…they are just outdoing themselves lately with their present unadulterated hogwash. I’ve been watching the House and Senate sessions and hearings and conferences on CSPAN as I work here at home. There have been hearings on impeaching Bush (that was a set up if I ever saw one), Gitmo detainee rights (good lord, these people have no clue), the limitations of executive powers (my, my, how the Dems hate Bush), gays and lesbians in the military (just another sideshow by the committee - boy, do they get upset easily!). And that’s just since last Thursday! Gee, I could come up with several other things that really need attention ~ like, our combat troops getting all they need to stay alive and be victorious, the illegal immigration crisis, our wounded warriors getting all the care they need and deserve... (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: Obama the Cipher - Richard Cohen asks the trenchant question of his fellow Democrats in his opening paragraph today, and the answer recalls a Hillary Clinton dismissal of Barack Obama: “‘Just tell me one thing Barack Obama has done that you admire,’ I asked a prominent Democrat. He paused and then said that he admired Obama’s speech to the Democratic convention in 2004. I agreed. It was a hell of a speech, but it was just a speech.” Just what has Obama accomplished in his political career? What stand has he taken, what policy has he promulgated into law? Cohen is at a loss to find anything that Obama has done to differentiate himself enough to run for President. On the other hand, Cohen says he has no problem answering that question regarding McCain: (READ MORE)

Michael J. Totten: The Bin Ladens of the Balkans, Part II - I met Shpetim Mahmudi at a covered outdoor cafe on a cold day in late spring in the ethnic Albanian region of Macedonia. Black clouds hung low over the city of Tetovo. Fat rain drops pelted the sidewalk and the awning over my head as I shivered in my light black leather jacket. “Let's go inside,” he said, “where it's warmer and drier.” We found a table and ordered coffee. He leaned in close to whisper when the waiter stepped out of earshot. “We are really in trouble here,” he said. “We are really in trouble with the Wahhabis.” After the Kosovo War ended in 1999, well-heeled Gulf Arabs with Saudi money moved in to rebuild mosques destroyed by Slobodan Milosevic's Yugoslav army and paramilitary forces. They're still there trying to impose a stern Wahhabi interpretation of Islam on indigenous Europeans, and they're having an awfully difficult time getting much traction. (READ MORE)

Jay Tea: So Always Look For The Union Scumbags - Well, if it's an election year, then it's time to once again reflect on the state of organized labor as it once again assumes the role of John to the Democratic whores. They wave their money and wring all sorts of empty promises and proclamations of true love, of the sheer virility and irresistibility and skillfulness from the prostitute, but in the end all they get is screwed. This time around, the unions are lining up behind Senator Barack Obama. And he seems quite willing to take their money and mouth all the right platitudes. But it isn't really fair to single him out for this -- as happens every election cycle, the entire Democratic establishment is bending over and hiking their skirts (once the checks clear). (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: